A/N: Hi, my lovely readers. I can't believe I'm greeting you for the last time today — and only a day late ;). Yes, this is finally it; the epilogue. Before I get teary eyed, let me thank all of you for following, favoriting, and most of all, reviewing.

Like always, four wonderful women have helped me with this. EdwardsMate4ever, evelyn-shaye, LaPumuckl and Midnight Cougar, thank you all so much for making this shine.

I'll let you get to it now. See you for a long-ass A/N at the bottom ;).

Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight …




~Three years later~

"Mommy, can I sleep in my new big-boy bed tonight?" an excited little voice asked from behind me as I stored the last of his socks in the top drawer of his new dresser.

"Of course you can, sweetie. We're all going to sleep in our new beds."

I winced a little as I straightened my aching back. Standing for extended periods of time didn't do me any good these days. Absentmindedly, my hand started to rub my swollen belly, and instantly, its inhabitant rewarded me with a nudge.

"Is my li'l sista kickin' you 'gain, Mommy?" My little man — always the protector — was right beside me, stroking his chubby hand where he thought I was hurting.

Ruffling his unruly copper locks, I smiled at my son. With every passing day he looked more like his daddy. His hair was a bit darker but had the exact same texture, while his eyes were the same deep green as Edward's. "It's fine. You kicked me a lot, too, when it was you in my belly, Trip."

It didn't take long for Christopher to get his nickname. Emmett and his incessant calling him "Triple C" stuck, and eventually, it was shortened to "Trip."

Three years had passed since Edward and I had given in to the feelings we'd been working hard to hold back. Three years that had been the happiest of my life. Edward had never returned to his own room after spending that first night with me, and I was sure that, had he tried, I'd have dragged him right back.

With his residency starting a few weeks later, night shifts and irregular schedules returned to our lives. Since I'd finally agreed to Edward's plea for me to stay home the first year and then drastically cut back on my hours after that, working only two days a week from home and one from the office, we still managed to spend a lot of time together despite his crazy hours. I even found the time to write the novel I'd always dreamed of. It took a lot of time and effort, but after a few months, I found a publishing house and my first book was going to be published in the fall.

In a few weeks, Edward would finish his residency in pediatrics. At first, he'd wanted to go into private practice to have a more reliable schedule and make more money, but in many late-night talks, we'd discussed the pros and cons of him applying for a fellowship to acquire a further specialty. In the end, he decided to try to win one of the two fellowships Luri offered in the field of emergency medicine. It meant another three years of double-shifts and all other kinds of weird work hours, but I knew he really wanted it, and I'd support him in every way I could.

After Alice and Jasper's wedding, I was sure I wanted to marry Edward — eventually. Little did I know he was to propose on my birthday that same year. Esme had offered to take Trip for the night so we could enjoy a few hours to ourselves. Instead of going out or throwing a party, we decided to spend a quiet night at home. We ordered pizza and were about to start watching a DVD when I opened the pizza box to find "Marry Me" spelled out in pineapple on a tuna bed. Looking up with blurry eyes, I found Edward on one knee, holding out a beautiful diamond ring to me. Not able to speak through the lump in my throat, I could only nod my affirmative answer.

We got married the next year on the second anniversary of the day we first met with only close friends and family in attendance and Trip as our ring bearer. That day, I was utterly content and blissed out to share Edward and my son's last name.

Although Edward would probably be in training for another three years, we'd decided one and a half years ago that we wanted to try for another baby. Trip was eighteen months by then, and we didn't want him and his brother or sister to be too far apart in age; that way they could actually grow up together.

Considering our first child was an accident that happened in only one try and despite me being on the pill, we were surprised trying for a second turned out to be a lot of blood, sweat and tears. Of course, Trip was living proof we didn't actually have fertility issues, but that didn't make it easier to see negative pregnancy tests month after month after month.

After half a year, we resorted to monitoring my ovulation and having scheduled sex to make a baby — very disappointing after dozens of people told you making a baby was fun.

In the end, I was so stressed that Edward threw out my ovulation tests, thermometers and fertility books, packed a bag, dropped our son off at his grandma's and took me on a weekend trip to a spa in the middle of nowhere. I was spoiled and pampered during the day and thoroughly worshiped by my husband at night, and bang, two weeks later, the test showed two blue lines.

"Mommy, can I go to Daddy now?" Little hands pulled on the hem of my shirt impatiently.

Gazing out the window quickly, I saw Edward and Emmett were about done putting the swing set up in the backyard.

"Sure, sweetie. But be careful on the stairs, okay?" As I turned around, he was already out the door.

Having lived in an apartment building with an elevator all his life, my son didn't have much experience with stairs, but he'd learn quickly now.

When we knew for sure our family would expand in the foreseeable future, we had to admit our condo, as much as we loved it, would be too small to live in with two children. So we'd started looking for a house outside the city center.

When we found a two-story home with a beautiful backyard in a lovely neighborhood, I immediately fell in love. Jane, the realtor who'd sold Edward the condo, had shown us all four bedrooms, two-and-a-half bathrooms, the state-of-the-art kitchen, and cherry wood floors, and I was a goner. When, at the end of the viewing, she told us the price of almost $800,000, I was close to tears. That was way more money than I'd ever imagined paying for a house — and way more than I ever could pay.

Edward, seeing my distress and immediately knowing something was wrong, thanked Jane for her time and told her we'd be in touch. The drive home was a rather quiet affair with me staring out the side window and Edward leaving me to my thoughts.

"What's wrong, baby?" he asked as I let myself plop down on the couch in our living room.

I nibbled on my lip, then sighed. "It's so much money!"

"And?" he prompted, his eyes searching my face. "You know it's not an issue, right?"

"But your trust fund is dwindling. It doesn't feel right."

We hadn't talked about money since the morning after my flight three years earlier. When we got married, he told me about his will and the fund he'd set up for Trip, but none of that changed the fact we were living off his savings and those wouldn't increase in the foreseeable future.

"Becky, we'll sell the condo. It's worth about as much as the house. And, in the meantime, we'll take a loan —" he made air-quotes "— from my account. No harm done."

Still, I wasn't convinced. I knew there were millions of houses out there that cost under a half-million dollars. Why did we have to buy one that could pay for four others?

"Baby, did you like the house?" Edward asked imploringly.

I couldn't lie. "I love it."

He took my hand, fondling my wedding ring. "I do, too. The neighborhood is great and we don't have to make many renovations." He paused, smiling to himself. "I can already picture a swing set in the backyard. And there's room for at least one more baby." His smirk was too cute, and I had a hard time finding valid points against the house.

A yell coming from the backyard made me gaze out the window to see Trip running into his daddy's outstretched arms. The swing set Edward had pictured was fully erect.

"Dear, do you have a minute?" Esme asked from the open door.

She'd been here all day, helping me clean and unpack.

"Of course," I answered, following her down the corridor and over to the nursery.

Over the past few years, Esme and I had become really close, almost closer than I was with my own mother, due to the geographical distance. My mother-in-law had gone through a lot since she'd decided to leave her husband. Her lawyer had advised her to sue Carlisle for all of their collective money, and chances were good she could actually have won, considering everything they had was derived from her parents' inheritance and Carlisle's fault for the failure of their marriage. Esme was aware, though, that her ex-husband was all about money and appearances, so she'd predicted a long, hard and probably ugly fight.

Weary of having to deal with him and eager to be free once and for all, she offered him a settlement which entailed splitting their whole estate equally. After a few weeks of respite and brooding, Carlisle reluctantly agreed, and the divorce was final within the month.

Aro was of invaluable support for her during that strenuous time, and ever since. He accompanied her to appointments with her lawyer or court dates and persistently stood by her side at social events; smiling proudly at the woman on his arm, no matter what the gossips were spewing at the time.

Rumors were at their worst when, a year after the divorce, Carlisle got married again to a woman half his age. His children weren't invited. In fact, neither Edward nor Alice had ever met the former model who had become their step-mother. But they didn't care. Aro more than made up for the poor father Carlisle had been.

Two months ago, Aro finally asked Esme to become his wife. We'd all been gathered around Esme's dining table when Aro rose from his chair. In a dramatic move, he told us how much he loved being accepted as part of our family, then declared his love for Esme; that he'd loved her for most of his life, and asked her to marry him. My mother-in-law jumped up from her seat and threw her arms around his neck, whispering a tearful "Yes" into his ear.

Once we were settled into our new home and our new family member had arrived, Esme had planned to move in with her soon-to-be husband.

"Bella," Esme started as we stopped at the nursery door. "This is it. I know you're not into the whole princess thing, and I did my best to rein in Alice."

Just like with Trip's room back in the day, Alice had been eager to design the new baby's room, all the more since we knew we were having a girl. Esme offered her help and assured me she'd dial down the pink explosion her daughter was planning. Seeing as she and Jasper had a son of six months, she was desperate to do something girly for once.

I had to admit I was a little scared of what they'd come up with, but at the same time, I was curious to see where our little girl would be sleeping and playing. Inhaling deeply and holding my breath, I slowly opened the door, revealing what seemed to be a little girl's dream.

The walls were all painted in an off-white and the furniture were the same crib, dresser and changing table that had already stood in Trip's nursery in the condo. The dark wood made the room seem warm and inviting. The eye catcher, though, was the mural over the crib on the wall across from the door. Hundreds of little butterflies in various shades of purple, pink and blue seemed to emerge from the baby's bed and fly up to the right hand corner next to the window. Over the changing table hung a wooden mobile that, again, consisted of butterflies in several sizes and colors. The bedding in the crib was purple as were the changing mat and the beautiful translucent curtains which, once more, picked up the butterfly theme.

"So, do you like it?" Esme asked tentatively as she stood behind me, waiting for my response.

"It's … it's beautiful. The butterflies are perfect," I whispered in awe.

Esme walked past me and stopped in the middle of the room. "We thought about doing something with beetles since you call her your Little Bug, but that didn't seem appropriate. So we decided on butterflies as the next best thing."

Staying true to the Triple C theme, we'd long since decided our daughter would be named Cecilia Claire Cullen, but we hadn't told anyone so far. Even Trip didn't know because we were afraid he'd blurt out the name when the whole family was around. Edward and I both loved Cecilia, and Claire was Esme's mother's name. So both our children would have part of the people who loved and cared for Edward as a child when his mother couldn't.

Esme clearing her throat made me remember where I was. I smiled sheepishly and she smiled right back.

"Dreaming of your little girl?" she asked softly.

I nodded, stroking my belly with my hand.

"Not much longer now, honey. You're due in four weeks, but she could come any day now. Enjoy the quiet while it lasts." Esme laughed lightly, and pulled me in for a hug.

"Thank you so much for doing this for us. I couldn't have created anything remotely that beautiful."

"Oh, honey," Esme cooed, stroking my back. "You're welcome. Our little princess needs a castle, after all."


Later that day, we had a barbecue on the patio, celebrating our move into our new home. Rose had joined her husband, bringing their two-year-old daughter Amelia with her. Trip had taken an instant liking to his little friend, always following her around and watching over her since the first time he laid eyes on her. Emmett couldn't stop making jokes about Trip being his future son-in-law.

Alice and Jasper had arrived only a short while later with their son fast asleep in his carrier seat. Alexander George Whitlock was six months old with the cutest chubby cheeks and blond curls. Alice had made good on her promise to go off the pill after their wedding. Unfortunately though, they had problems conceiving. After a year of futile attempts to get pregnant, the doctors discovered an anomaly with her ovaries and they started fertility treatments, which weren't easy on them. Finally, the third round of IVF brought them their desired son.

Remembering my own frustration and beginning depression at not getting pregnant with Little Bug in a timely fashion, I was even more in awe of Alice and her unwavering optimism. Even after one failed IVF and a miscarriage, she hadn't hung her head for long or even considered giving up. She always looked at life with enthusiasm, finding something positive in every setback.

"How are you holding up, Bells?" Rose asked as we sat down, waiting for our men to actually cook something on the new state-of-the-art barbecue grill.

I rubbed my belly, watching her spoon some potato salad on her daughter's plastic plate. "My back has been killing me for a few weeks now and sleep's been rare lately, but other than that, I'm great." Sarcasm was dripping from my every word.

"Oh, I can so remember that special time. It was just magical." Alice's eyes had a fanatic gleam, but a sardonic snort from Rose made her frown a bit.

"Magical, my ass. Having to pee ten times an hour and not being able to tie your own shoelaces is embarrassing and degrading."

Although Rose had been secretly happy about her unplanned pregnancy, she'd been more or less irritated and cranky for the whole nine months. Edward and I had been waiting for the shit to hit the fan when Emmett, at some point, would inevitably mess up and she'd find out about his hand in their "accident."

Surprisingly, it took him until Amelia's first birthday to spill the beans after one too many beers. But Rose's reaction stunned us all. Instead of kicking him out of the apartment and filing for divorce, which we'd expected, she made him sleep on the couch and enforced an indefinite embargo on sex. For once in their relationship, Emmett didn't fight her, probably because, deep down, he knew he'd wronged her and deserved everything coming at him.

After a week and a half, though, she caved and dragged him back into their bedroom. She told me back then even though she was furious with her husband for the way he'd trapped her into marrying him, she was actually happy he did it, because otherwise, she wouldn't have had the courage to say yes and knew Amelia was the best thing that ever happened to her.

"How's the house coming along?" Esme asked Rose after she'd placed Trip in his chair and took a seat beside him.

Two weeks ago, Emmett and Rose closed the deal on the house across the street from ours and would move in as soon as the renovations were completed. I was really looking forward to living so close to my best friend.

Rose wiped her daughter's messy face with a napkin before answering my mother-in-law's question. "We already met with a few contractors, and they'll start work next week. If everything works out, we'll be able to move in around Labor Day. And Emmett's practice will be up and running by then, too, so he should be able to take a few days off."

After finishing his residency in internal medicine two years ago, Emmett stayed at Northwestern Memorial. Then, in January, he was approached by a few doctors planning to open a private practice for families, and since the money, as well as the hours, were so much better, he agreed to join them. The official opening would be in July.

"That's great, dear," Esme said, smiling. "I'm sure Bella's over the moon to have you this close."

"Oh, now only Jazzy, Alex and I have to move here too, then we'll all be neighbors," Alice cheered.

I loved my sister-in-law dearly. She was there for everyone whenever they needed her, but having her live only a stone's throw away was definitely too much. Thankfully, our neighborhood consisted of middle class family homes, and although Alice wasn't the typical spoiled princess, she and Jasper lived in a much bigger house close to his parents' estate.

Aro joined us then, ruffling Trip's hair and kissing Esme on her forehead as he took a seat beside her.

"How much longer till we can finally eat?" I inquired with a groan. He should know since he'd been standing with the other guys until he decided to come over to us. "I'm starving."

He chuckled good-naturedly. "Not much longer now. Little Bug will get her meat soon."

Sighing, I placed a hand on my baby bump. "I can't believe I'm constantly hungry. I already feel as big as a house."

"Honey, you're gorgeous. There's no need to worry," Esme stated soothingly.

A few minutes later, Edward and the other two joined us with a plate full of burgers. Before we could help ourselves, though, Aro cleared his throat.

"Edward, I have great news for you. I wanted to tell you personally instead of doing it in a formal letter. I'm so happy to let you know that you won the fellowship in emergency medicine. Congratulations!"

My jaw dropped and Edward jumped up from his chair, pulling me into his arms. "Oh baby! I made it. Out of a hundred applicants, I won!"

At first, Edward hadn't been sure if he should even apply, being afraid Aro would throw in his weight to sway the vote in his future step-son's favor. But when the Chief of Staff promised to forfeit his influence and stay out of the vote, Edward finally agreed to hand in his application. All the more, he had reason to be happy and proud of himself now.

"Congratulations, baby. I'm so happy for you." I kissed his lips enthusiastically, then released him to receive everyone else's praises.


A few hours later, we were relieved to be alone and in our new bed. Eager to sleep in his new Cars-themed room for the first time, Trip had fallen asleep immediately. Now, in the privacy of our own bedroom, my head was on Edward's chest; although my swollen belly kept me from snuggling closely into my husband like I craved to.

"I'm sorry," he whispered after we'd silently cuddled for a while.

I frowned, having no idea what he was talking about. "What for?"

"That I got the fellowship. I know it's inconvenient, and things would be much easier for you and the kids if I hadn't." He sounded remorseful and apologetic.

Of course, it would have been easier on our family if he'd decided to go into private practice now instead of starting another three years of training, but knowing him the way I did, I was sure he'd never feel satisfied if he stopped without specializing further. Maybe that was a remnant of what Carlisle had drilled into him from early age, maybe it was his own inner drive. Either way, he needed this, and our relationship was strong enough to get through three more years of weird work hours.

Although it wasn't easy in my current condition, I struggled to prop myself up on my elbow to look at him.

"Edward Cullen, stop feeling guilty where it's totally unnecessary. I've told you from the start that you should apply for the fellowship. Sure, I'd love to have you home each night, but I knew what I was getting myself into when I married a doctor. I'd rather have you fulfilled and content than home all the time, miserable and bored. I didn't lie when I told you I was happy for you, because I am. We'll make it work."

Carefully but with determination, Edward rolled me onto my back and passionately touched his lips to mine. My eyes closed automatically as my hands wove themselves into the soft hair at the nape of his neck. No matter how often he would kiss me, I'd always melt in his arms as if it were the very first time.

Edward's tongue gently slid into my mouth, starting an enticing dance with my own. Unfortunately, after months of great pregnancy sex, physical love had become very uncomfortable for me over the past few weeks, and we'd almost given it up completely. I still wanted him, and although I felt like a whale, I knew he wanted me, too, but with my back pains and the baby bump getting in the way, we held ourselves back.

After a few minutes of searing lip-lock, we pulled apart, panting.

"I don't know what I did to deserve you," Edward said, his forehead leaning against mine. "I love you, Becky, more than I could ever say."

I smiled, placing a feather light kiss on his mouth. "I love you, too. So much."

And I did. When we were together like that, our lives were almost perfect. I couldn't wait for our Little Bug to join us and complete our family. The next three years wouldn't be a walk in the park, but we'd gone through worse, and came out on top. What were three years when we had the rest of our lives together stretched out in front of us.


A/N: I can't believe this is it *sniff, sniff*. This epi has been a real pain in the ass. It didn't want to come out right, and I had a hard time beating it into the right shape. I hope you liked the little peek into everyone's future and are satisfied with what Bella and Edward accomplished in the past three years. It's hard to say goodbye to them after such a long time, but their story is told, and I feel like leaving them to live their lives in peace is the right thing to do.

I want to thank you all for being along for the ride. Your support means the world to me. Everytime my phone pinged with a new alert, it put a smile on my face. You're the best readers an author could have.

This story wouldn't have been what it is without the help of my team. LaPumuckl has been there for me from the first idea through to the last word. Thank you so much for your friendship and invaluable help. evelyn-shaye and EdwardsMate4ever, you've been my betas since Puzzle of My Heart, and I can't believe you agreed to do this project with me as well, considering my total lack of puntuation skills and American style. You two are the best. Last, and absolutely not least, thank you, Midnight Cougar, for jumping on board in chapter 13. Your unerring way with words takes my writing to a whole new level ;).

With tears in my eyes, I'll hit complete for this story, but to keep it on alert will pay off since, in December, I'll be allowed to post the outtake I wrote for Fandom4LLS. So, whoever of you wants to know what really happend the night Trip was conceived should stay tuned.

Also, I'm happy to tell you that I started working on a new story, and a first piece of it will be posted in mid-September. I'm afraid I can't tell you much about it, but you'll understand my reasons once it posts. So, if you're interested, you should put me on author's alert. As soon as there's anything to share, I'll post the news in my Facebook group, Payton79's Fanfiction.

As sad as it is, we're though. I could give you several completed recs, but I think it's easier if you just go look at my own favorites list. There are many great stories there.

That was everything out of me — for now ;). Hope to see you again when my next story starts. Until then, laters.

xo Silke