EP Read Along Week 28 Chapters 79-Epilogue
Ciao mia bella tesoros. Here we are the ending chapters. I know we have a few more weeks to finish up with some delicious outtakes, but these chapters were “Fine-The End” ones. Once again, they are huge chapters and so it will be difficult to summarize them into small portions, but I did my best.
For my part, this will be the last review/summary I write for this. And I want to take a minute to thank both Marie and Kassie for taking my love for EP, sharing it with me, and allowing me to express my devotion to it by creating this re-read along. It was great revisiting with finicking, adorable, delicious Edward in the land of mafiaward.
You are both the very best, real life tesoro for sure for giving me a place to do that. Well let’s get on with it, we’re in for just a teeny bit of bittersweet angst, lessons learned the hard way, some much needed happy times, and some hot steamy lemons mafiaward style!
Chapter 79 “Forever” EPOV (the last regular chapter)
The chapter starts off at Esme and Alec home as the family continues to reminisce about Carlisle. Edward is fascinated as he watches and listens to Bella as she nervously, yet boldly speaks up and tells the story about how Carlisle helped her during her darkest moments. She tells how it helped her when he promised Bella that if and when she was ready, he would take her to Chicago and to Edward. Edward listens to her and realizes she’s grown, become a confident women and that his leaving her allowed all this growth to happen. Isn’t it just like Edward to find this new side of Bella sexy?
Edward still feels guilty about bringing Bella into this world again and as he’s about to leave to go home alone, Alec brings him down a beg once again. Alec rips into him telling him he has no respect for his family, treating them like they don’t matter and to stop being so selfish that his family is hurting right now. Edward yells at Alec that Alec is to blame for his family’s hurt because he killed Carlisle. Alec gets so pissed at him for that disrespect and lets him know that the only reason he doesn’t shoot him is because his family is already in pain. Alec tells him to get a grip and man up. He lets Edward know he needs to stop obsessing and worrying that Aro will retaliate and go after his family. Alec says that Edward insults him and doesn’t he know it’s Alec’s job to protect his family not Edwards. He even says that Edward is insignificant, that if Aro and company wanted him dead they would just get him. If Bella and his family were being placed in harms way because of Edward Alec would never have let them near him. Notice he doesn’t say Edward is safe though!
Edward goes back and finds Bella talking with his brothers. She looks so happy when she sees Edward and I love what he says; “...her eyes sparkled with happiness. My heart nearly stilled at the sight, and it took everything I had in me not to fall to my goddamn knees right there and beg her to always fucking look at me that way. I wanted to plead with her to never stop loving me, for her to forgive me for everything I ever did wrong, even the shit she didn’t know about and never would...” He doesn’t know that she all ready has forgiven him, dumb shit that he is! They all banter like old times, teasing each other. They get on Edward’s case for his drinking and drug use and even mention “Molly” which Bella thinks is a woman. He later explains to her what Molly is and that he hasn’t been with any woman since her. He tells her that Bella is the reason he was able to stop using drugs and how Alec made him hear how well she was doing, that she’d done what he’d asked, gone out and lived freely. And that it was time he held up to his part of the deal to be fine too so Bella could be proud of him as well. Bravo Edward! Edward tells her that not even drugs could bring him the happiness he had on that Valentine’s day, and it’s that happiness he was trying to feel again using drugs, but couldn’t find any peace without her.
Edward watches Bella feel Rosalie’s belly and he gets jealous. He knows he can’t have the cliche family because of his life style. He wants the normal that his brothers have, he wants to be able to give Bella what he promised her before he initiated, all the babies she’d want. Esme asks Bella if she wants kids and Edward hears her say she’s not sure anymore, that there are so many kids out there already that need homes. Esme shares with her that she’d thought once about adopting too.
Edward and Bella spend some time together getting reacquainted. They end up going back to Edward’s house. Bella looks at her painting hanging on his wall and asks her what he thinks it means. It’s not surprising that he’d think it’s about his crazy ass life. But she informs him it’s about “The Best Day of Her Life.” Valentine’s Day and the music he played for her, the red roses twisted together represents the first time they made love and the haze was steamy romantic feelings he made her feel. Perfect representation, right?
Even though there was so much in these chapters that are “heavy” Khar manages to get some Edward funny in too. For example, when Bella says you’re still the Edward Cullen I remember, the one I love. And Edward asks her to say it again, but “this time add “fucking” to it because that shit was hot.” Got to love Edward and his naughty self.
Bella asks Edward to tell him what he’s been doing and he doesn’t want to because he thinks she’ll be ashamed of him and she’ll not see the real Edward anymore and run away. She tells him to stop making decisions for her, that she’s not going to run away and nothing he tells her will change how she feels about him. He tells her he hasn’t “killed” anyone but that when he looks in the mirror he sees all the people he’s hurt and how awful a person he is. She tells him he has no choice but to do those bad things in order to have saved her.
Edward is called away and Bella stays and waits for him. Poor Edward, he gets dragged into these situations by Alec without any information. He’s required to just follow Alec into this run down house, no gun, and he thinks Alec is about to kill him. Now why couldn’t Alec give Edward a heads up, let him know they were about to bring Aro down?! It’s no wonder Edward freaks out, he’s always so unprepared to deal with the horror that’s forced on him. That’s just what happens. Alec planned the whole thing to get revenge on Aro for all his past evil. Alec’s plan works, they leave wounded Aro for the rats to finish him off. The rat story, yuck. He got what he deserved though, right?!
Edward asks Alec why he shot his father and Alec explains that Carlisle was going to die anyway, and he did it to save Carlisle from killing himself. Alec and Carlisle believe that suicide would prevent you from going to heaven, and he wanted Carlisle to be in heaven where Elizabeth would be waiting for him. He told Edward that his father and he, believe that in order to be forgiven for your sins you have to be remorseful, repent, and Carlisle was trying to do that his whole life especially his end plans. I think that’s the Catholic way, to repent and sins are forgiven. I can see that Edward is like this as well. He hates what he has to do, he tries to make it up to those he hurts in order to be forgiven.
Alec tells Edward how Carlisle had it all planned, how he did it all to protect his family, every single thing he did was for his family’s safety especially Edward’s. So looks like Alec and Carlisle are the heros in all this. Still, I wanted more. As I’ve said, I wanted Carlisle to get Edward away from that life, free, to lead a “normal” life like his brothers and he just couldn’t do that.
After Aro gets wiped out, all the mob bosses get together and vote Alec in as head of the family now. Alec tells Edward that although this looks like they all have a say in this and vote him in, they in fact don’t. His bad ass self just took control over this mess and decided to clean house and get “the family” back to it’s ‘honorable’ roots. Alec calmly takes the rein as everyone fears and looks up to the man who practically single handedly brings down Aro’s band of mobsters and is now in charge of the Chicago mob family.
After yet another massacre shoot out, reliving Carlisle’s death, and mob boss drama, Edward is completely falling to pieces. He’s so overwhelmed but the minute he goes home and finds Bella there, waiting for him, he realizes he could survive this as long as she’s there with him. He’s thinks that her peace, hope, her goodness would over power the ugliness that was and will continue to eat away at him. She tells him again she won’t run from him and he promises never to leave her again.
Did you not melt when Bella asks Edward if he’d been crying, and he replies, “Maybe...” and she comforts him as only Bella can. Poor Edward.
They kiss and he asks if she still feels the electricity between them and she does of course. He tells her he needs her and she says she’ll be there as long as he wants her and he says “Sempre...”
The hormonal Edward who hasn’t “gotten laid” in almost two years wants Bella badly but she slows things down saying they’re not ready for the physical part of being together yet. And so they just take it slow, snuggle up together like they used to back in their Fork’s bubble, warm and safe in each other’s arms. Did you like Edward’s new swan tattoo that he can’t even remember getting? Bella did.
It’s time to read Carlisle’s will but before they do Alec talks to Edward. Esme indicates she had something to do with what Alec has planned for Edward’s future. Go Esme! She says she likes it when she gets her way, meaning she had something to do with Alec’s plans for Edward! I do too in this case. First Alec reminds Edward that La Cosa Nostra comes first and he’s swore to that life and there isn’t anything Alec can do about that. Edward agrees and will honor his commitment. But Alec goes on to say he realizes Edward isn’t made out to lead this violent life style, he’s not good at it. You, think Alec?! He says that since he’s most like his mother he’d never survive this life but he does want him to succeed somehow. So he’s found something important for Edward to handle for him. Alec asks Edward what he thinks about moving to the southwest to take charge of his gambling business, be the middle-man. Alec needs someone he can trust, and Edward says he can trust him to do the job. Alec wants him to think about it and talk it over with Bella first. I think it’s a good solution, right? Even if the brat in me, still wants Edward completely out of the family business but, this important role gets him out of the most of the dangerous stuff anyway.
The chapter ends with the reading of Carlisle’s will. He leaves a beautiful letter of apology to his family, and leaves them each appropriate items. It brought a tear to my eye as he writes he knew Rosalie was having a baby and how sorry he is he won’t be around to be a grandfather. The house in Forks should go to Jasper and that he’d make a wonderful doctor, and the ring to Edward and how noble Edward is and that he is so proud of him. Of course the most tears was brought on by the note to Bella, “You were worth it.”
This is why I loved Carlisle, he really was so broken himself, tried to do the best he could to save his family from the life he led, and he tried to make Elizabeth proud by righting some of the wrongs in his life. What was Carlisle’s most shining moment?
Chapter 80 “Addiction” BPOV and EPOV
This is a VERY long part 1 Epi but here goes...
It is now two years after Carlisle’s death. They are still in Chicago and Bella is complaining because Edward insists she be chauffeured around for her safety. Bella agrees to some of his obsessive requests because she knows it brings him some peace of mind. Bella realized early on that Edward was addicted to alcohol and drugs, using them as a crutch to hide from the pain in his life, and she doesn’t want to become one more crutch for him. So she takes things slow to allow them both to heal in a healthy way. And it seems as if it’s been working. Edward has been going to AA meetings and Bella is going to school. Their life has some normalcy to it.
I loved the scene when Bella comes home and finds a small child wrapped around Edward’s body. I loved that visual of Edward as a daddy, cuddled up with their child. Didn’t you just think it was theirs at first? It’s Emmett’s, Little C and Bella and Edward are his godparents. It was Little Carlisle’s birth that made Edward realize he needed help with his addiction, he wanted to be someone he could look up to. It was fun watching Edward babysit especially during the shower sex scene when they were interrupted by a crying child. Edward says, “You know, this shower sex shit is fucking sexy in porn.” and Bella says everything’s sexy in porn even (she means the “other” kind of kinky act)...and Edward perks up and says, “Fuck, do you want to try that next, tesoro?” And the new, independent Bella says no she’ll pass. Again, shows an example how Edward is still Edward and Bella has grown up and has her own voice. It’s nice to see Edward’s lighter side again. He teases her about not mind “eating out” and “eating her out” every night is something he’d never get tired of. She calls him a pervert and Edward loves how he can still make her blush. I also loved the fortune cookie scene, how Edward plays the game his brothers used to by saying the fortune and ending it with “in bed.” I tried that myself and it was funny, my husband didn’t get why I thought that was a cool game, but now every time I read a fortune I have to add Edward’s version to it.
We find out that Esme and Alec adopt Chelsea the young girl Bella helped out in CA. Edward and Emmett cheating at Candyland was funny and showed that B/E have gotten some of their fun family times back again. Edward is dressed up in shoes and suited up the way Alec expects his men to look, as he and Emmett take a business trip before the wedding. Rosalie, Alice, and even Emily take Bella out for a bachelorette party at Alec’s club. Bella drinks Patron shots with the girls and they discuss how hot Alec and Edward are, even Rosalie finally admitting that Edward has grown up and she likes him now. They drink and toast to Bella and Bella drinks to “freedom.” The girls think that attaching herself in marriage is losing freedom. But Bella says, it’s not ironic toasting to freedom the night she’s about to get married because if it weren’t for Edward, she’d never know what real freedom was.
The next scene begins my other favorite part to this story, the wedding. Here Bella is looking at herself and remembering her mother and how she would be happy and proud of her as all her dreams are coming true. Rosalie is matron of honor, go figure that it would be her and not Alice. But they’d gotten close since being together in Chicago.
Alec is giving Bella away and he tells her that he once told Carlisle that he couldn’t see Bella as a principessa della mafia. That she didn’t look like one of them, but now he sees he was wrong. Look at Alec getting a little emotional. Alec leads Bella down the aisle to Edward looking handsome as ever when Bella teases him about wearing Nike’s, perfectly Edward, right? They say their vows but Edward hesitates when asked if they will accept children, he still doesn’t want to bring kids into his crazy world I guess. Bella recites vows she made up and one of the things she says is that Edward gave her hope, he believed in her. Of all the people in the world, he picked her. She’d been used to being overlooked, invisible but he saw her. I just love those lines. Isn’t what we all seek, to be picked, to be seen, and to be valued? And it’s an important theme in this story, along with the redemption, freedom, and most of all choices we make.
“I see you Tesoro, you are Worth It”
Then it’s Edward’s turn and he says how from the minute they bumped into each other on the kitchen floor she stole his heart right from his chest and that she saved him. That although it may be unhealthy, he needs her to make it, and then he blurts out “Christ, and curses more says shit..and then Little C starts yelling out and repeating the curses after Edward. Well it wouldn’t be Edward without some naughty words, even in church. Cute when Bella just puts her hand over Edward’s mouth so he doesn’t continue to make matters worse. I gets that’s what Bella does best, she helps Edward not make matters worse.
Edward’s wedding point of view is the best. How some have things changed! Jasper says he can’t believe he’d be at his little brother’s wedding drinking grape juice and no liquor. This of course gets on Edward’s nerves, he’s on edge as it is, not liking events and all those people around. Poor Edward and his anxieties and now he can’t even have a drink to help soothe his craving. Instead Bella pulls him out of it, by just being herself He’d like nothing more than to go back to drinking his Grey Goose. He’s struggling but he remembers how ashamed of himself he was, being arrested on felony charges caught with a gun. He doesn’t want to return to that out of control person. But the best part of the whole dam wedding, and the best written wedding speech ever, and just fit this perfectly, was Emmett’s sports analogy. He decribes Edward perfectly; “he’s stubborn, foolish, finicky, moody, erratic, quick to judge, and even quicker to react...foul mouth, protective, and extremely selfless and sacrifices when he thinks it’s for the best, even when he doesn’t want to.” I won’t repeat the speech here, but it’s worth everyone re reading it because it’s wonderful how he gets Edward and Bella’s personalty and gives words of wisdom while being out loud funny. And it can apply to real life too.
Edward dances with Bella to “18th Floor Balcony” and romantically sings in her ear. He marvels how happy Bella looks and he’s so proud that HE was the one who made her happy. Doesn’t get better than that.
So adorable when Edward apologizes for messing up the ceremony by cursing and Bella says he didn’t really. He managed not to say the F word for only the second time in his life.
So here is the scene that brought me to tears, blubbery like a fool. Jasper asks Edward what possessed him to have a big traditional wedding. Emmett agrees that a big Catholic wedding is so not Edward or Bella’s style. His reply is just one more reason Khar’s writing blows me away. Brilliant: Edward says that Bella would have been happy to elope in Vegas. Or they could have had a private family one. But that he couldn’t let something she’d dreamed about her whole life take place in a Vegas drive through or something small and intimate because: ”It was my idea to have the big wedding, though. Nothing about us is traditional and I wanted to at least do this, have this one thing, so we could say we did this shit right. And quite frankly, I wanted the whole world to see it happening. I wanted every motherfucker we ever met to watch us get married. She spent her entire life in hiding, thinking people were ashamed of her and that she was worthless. I wanted her to be seen.” That right there was deep and so meaningful to the story. And made me sad to think Edward felt like that, that they didn’t have that “normal” part of them, and he wanted to make up to Bella and show the world how normal they really were for this one special moment...I don’t know it just touched me deeply that Edward would give her every thing he could to try to make it up to her. To give her a piece of the traditional “normal” life event. Did you feel a tug on your heart too? How about when Edward asked Chelsea to dance and then made her feel special calling her Sole, and what it means to him. I think he sees a little of Bella in her. Oh how Edward has grown up! Isn’t he just a wonderful man now? But I still feel so badly for him, he’s still struggling and I hate that. Do you see it like that?
Alec pulls Edward into a mini initiation meeting. He says when he agreed to “give her away” he was really handing her over to Edward. He had to vouch for her and now Edward is responsible for his wife’s allegiance to the family. I guess this is one more example of Alec being able to trust Edward.
This chapter ends with the honeymoon on the 18th floor of a beautiful hotel. Edward plays Clair de Lune on a piano as Bella enters looking very sexy. Edward charms her as only he can. The love scene is as beautifully written as the Valentine Day one, yes? At one point he moans out “La mia bella ragazza” but then changes it to “bella donna” because “You’re all woman now, tesoro.” And isn’t that the truth.
So I loved that during their passionate love scene Edward says, “Tell me you love me.” and she does. Then he asks, “Tell me who you belong to.” and she says “Me.” “I belong to no one but me.” and Edward replies, “That’s my girl.” Another brilliantly written detail.
Next Bella decides what she wants to do is burn down the Swan home and barn. Edward can’t deny her anything so he agrees even after he realizes it’s probably not a good idea. They burn it down which puts some closure for Bella about her past.
Last scene has Edward sitting outside their home outside Vegas. Edward is making an AA list of all the people he feels he’s wronged so he can make amends to them. Bella looks at his long list and tells him he’s being too hard on himself. She tries to defend him by pointing out he did what he had to do in self-defense.
They describe their home as being like their bubble in forks. Bella picked it out. It’s a place they can be isolated from his job in Vegas and just be themselves. They talk about their future, Edward might take music classes and she could teach painting and he’d build her an art studio. He tells her he’d do anything for her. They talk about building a new home, with a pool, room for entertaining new friends and having the family over. They seem at peace with this new life they are talking about. Their sanctuary , their form of normal and a place away from the part of his life he’s forced to live.
And the chapter ends with one of their funny bantering as they talk about silly pets they could get when Bella blurts out,”Okay, not pets, how about a baby?” He tells her ok, if that’s what she wants. She tells him she’s pregnant. With the wedding and all, she forgot to take all her pills. He teases her that the poor baby will have half of his DNA, and per Edward, says "Poor little fucker." Then it's so cute when it dawns on him and he says "We're going to have a baby, Tesoro." He worries he won't be a good father and Bella reassures him he will be. If she can withstand slavery and he the mafia, together they could survive parenthood. He knows she's right and that they will be ok. That Isabella's goodness would counter any bad they have. That she is his peace, his safe place to be him, and that together they would be happy because it would be worth it.
And as sweet as this ending is, it still left me melancholy. It just seems bitter sweet, not a complete Happy Ever After. How about you did you think they had a HEA?
Epilogue 2 BPOV
This was a short chapter where Bella explains about sacrifice and how it’s something we all do in life. Everyone giving something up for others, letting go even when you’d rather not. She repeats the nothing ventured nothing gained quote from Jasper via Elizabeth. That if one didn’t even try nothing would ever change. She tells about the ugly facts about slave trade and how many different forms of slavery there is even today.
Bella talks about how Elizabeth knew that just surviving wasn’t good enough. That you had to strive to make the world a better place by sacrificing. That Schweitzer quote “my life is my example” that what we say is less important than what we do. So Bella’s life, Elizabeth, Carlisle’s and anyone else who sacrificed to help someone, couldn’t help themselves, it was who they were. Bella gives examples of the slaves she knew, Maggie, and then “Nonna” who became like a grandmother to the Cullen boys. They all had their stories, they weren’t only slaves, they were just people with hopes and dreams and fears like everyone else. That what Edward once told her was true, that what other people call them or see them as doesn’t define them. That They made themselves who they really were.
Bella explains their life wasn’t perfect, or fairytale like. They didn’t have that happy ever after I was looking for for them. Because happy endings were just unfinished stories. That life went on and as long as they pushed on they wouldn’t lose, because they could never turn their backs on what mattered.
Bella thinks that it wasn’t Carlisle that freed Elizabeth, but she herself did through her children. By loving them, sacrifice, nurturing three charming boys into protective men and the world was a better place because they were in it. Even Edward was a good man, that it didn’t matter how people judged him and even though she did not like some of the things he did, he was a man of honor.
Bella understands now what Emancipation Proclamation really means, it means being able to choose your burden in life. Finding something worth living and fighting for and taking a risk for it. She says that when she and Edward said their vows they weren’t sacrificing, they were choosing their burdens together and that had been the moment Edward had actually set her free, her Emancipation Proclamation.
When I wrote to Kharizzmatik once and asked her if she’d please consider writing a HEA for Edward/Bella, freeing him of the mafia world because the way I saw it, Bella could never truly be free if Edward wasn’t. And part of me still believes this. Khar however, repeated what I just wrote here. That Edward, Carlisle, and Bella along with all the characters and all of us in real life, choose our burdens yet find a way to make it work, make our happiness in spite of our choice of burdens. And that everyone gets to have the HEA that decide it to be. And I guess she’s right. And there is the lesson in this story. I loved it, all of it, the angst, the humor, the life lessons. I even loved Alec the man of honor but scary as hell.
So come on, tell me what you liked, didn’t like, agreed with or not, what would you have liked to see as an ending, or did like Khar say, see this as a HEA?
To all Mia Bella Donna’s out there,
you are forever my tesoros.
Come back next week to discuss the outtakes. The Alec Novella will be the following week.