I didn’t linger on the phone with my father, but that wasn’t entirely by choice. He ended the call before I could even finish telling him I loved him. Truth be told, this upset Edward far more than it did me. I had never been particularly demonstrative toward my family members, and only recently learned the importance of doing so by watching Edward lose Carlisle. I was not currently in the habit of ending conversations with declarations, but I was working to change this. Edward may have told Carlisle how much he loved him every time they spoke, but I never had. It was a chance I would never have again, and I was determined not to make the same mistake with my own father.

I knew my father and I would never be as close as Edward was with his parents, but I was okay with that. I no longer held on to an unrealistic hope that extraordinary actions would come from ordinary people. I was amazed by the sense of contentment I felt by my newly adjusted expectations and accepted my father for who he was, rather than feeling cheated out of what he would never be.

I spent the next week waiting for a fallout from my outburst during my phone call with my dad, but it never came. I called him the following Sunday, and although he didn’t answer the phone, I left a message letting him know I was just calling to say hello and that I loved him. It wasn’t much, but it was a start.

Soon spring smoldered into summer, and Edward and Esme settled in to a new kind of normal. She claimed she was fine living on her own, but Edward wouldn’t hear of moving back to campus. He insisted it was as much for his own sanity as it was for hers, that he would never be able to sleep knowing she was alone in a house that held so many memories.

The irony of this was that most nights he slept at my house. He insisted it all came down to proximity, and the knowledge from my home, he could be at his mother’s side within ten minutes as opposed to the hour it would take him to drive home from Princeton. I suspected he was using his mother’s bereavement as an excuse to move in with me, but I didn’t call him on it. I enjoyed his presence far too much.

Soon Edward turned nineteen, and I turned twenty-seven. The leaves changed hues and fell to the ground, and before I knew it, I was standing in Esme’s kitchen helping her carve the Thanksgiving turkey.

“I can handle this, Bella. Why don’t you go into the living room and visit with Jack and Kitty?”

Esme’s voice was dripping with sarcasm, and I couldn’t contain my giggle.

“And let you do all the work on your own? I wouldn’t dream of it. Besides,” I continued, suddenly serious. “I know this can’t be easy for you.”

“What, entertaining Jack and Kitty? I’m used to it.”

I was fairly sure she knew I wasn’t referring to the Killer WASPs. I was more concerned that this was the first major holiday since Carlisle died. I knew it couldn’t be easy for her. I also knew from her tone that it wasn’t something she wanted to discuss.

Half an hour later, we filed into the dining room to eat. Edward sat at the head of table that had been previously occupied by his father. He bowed his head and began to speak.

“Bless us, O Lord and these thy gifts which we are about to receive from Thy bounty, through Christ our Lord.” He crossed himself before adding in a whisper that was almost too quiet to hear, “Please take care of my father the way he always took care of us.”

“Amen,” Esme said from across the table, her eyes filling with tears.

Kitty reached over and grasped Esme’s hand.

“I’m fine, Mother. Really.” Esme wiped under her eyes with the back of her wrist and forced a smile. “I guess I’ll go first. I’m thankful for every day I had with Carlisle.”

“I’m thankful for family,” Kitty added, taking a swig of her vodka.

Jack nodded in agreement. “I’ll second that.”

“I’m thankful for Bella,” Edward said, looking at me.

It was my turn to speak, but somehow, I didn’t feel trapped or nervous.

“I, too, am grateful to have known Carlisle and for my family, both the one I was given and the one I found.” I smiled at Esme. “But more than anything else…”

“Capless retractable Sharpies?” Edward teased.

I shook my head. “Just for that, I’ll tell you later.”

“Please?” he whined.

“No. Your sarcasm ruined the moment. You’ll just have to wait.”

He pouted slightly as we began to eat.

The rest of the evening was blissfully uneventful. After dessert, Jack and Kitty said goodbye. Edward, Esme, and I changed into sweats and cleaned up the kitchen before collapsing on the sofa and watching It’s a Wonderful Life. When the movie was over, we called it a night.

“It feels so strange sleeping here,” I said as we climbed into bed.

“You’re telling me.”

“Edward, this is your house.”

He pulled me into his arms. “That’s the weird thing. It doesn’t feel like home anymore.”

“The house does feel different without you father in it.”

“Yes, but that’s not what I’m talking about. I have so many memories in this house and it will always be a nice place to visit, but my home is with you.”

I pressed my lips to his in what was meant to be chaste kiss, but he held me tightly and my breasts flattened against his chest that it was only a matter of seconds before my tongue entered his mouth and our kiss turned torrid. When his hands slipped into my pajama pants to cup my bottom, I grabbed him by the wrist to stop him.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“Coming home.” He gave me a suggestive smile as his thumb brushed my nipple under my t-shirt.

I let out a low moan.

“If you don’t keep it down,” Edward whispered before grazing my earlobe with his teeth. “I’ll have to stop.”

“I’ll be quiet, I prom…ohhhh.” I lost the ability to form coherent words when he began to stroke me between my legs.

We needed to be as close to each other as possible as quickly as possible. We pushed our clothing out of the way and as he entered me, there was a moment where I briefly wondered what I had ever done to deserve him. When we made eye-contact, I had my answer.

I loved him.

I loved him, and my love was enough.

After we were spent, I curled my body into his side and rested my head on his shoulder. I was just about to fall asleep when I heard his voice.

“Bella?”

“Yes?”

“What were you going to say tonight at dinner?”

“If you made me say grace? ‘Yay, god.'”

“No, I mean what you were thankful for.”

I propped myself up on my elbow and down at him.

“Art After 5.”

His eyes widened and he pulled my face towards his. When he kissed me with all the passion he had within him, I knew he understood. I fell asleep in his arms with my face against his chest. For the first time in my life, I dared to dream of forever.





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18 Responses

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  1. on 28 Aug 2010 at 1:44 pmSuccubus

    Aw, this was a great epilogue.

    Thanks for sharing this story again.

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  2. on 29 Aug 2010 at 5:02 pmizziey

    that was per.fec.tion.

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  3. on 01 Sep 2010 at 2:09 pmLotta

    Thank you so much for making this available here. I do love your writing, and I missed reading this before you pulled it from FF. I know you say this is not your best writing, but it is still plenty good. I have already mentioned (on FF, regarding Counterpoint) how much I love your dialogue, and this is true for AA5 as well. You are an amazing writer!

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  4. on 24 Sep 2010 at 11:43 amccaajjaa

    Thank you, thank yu for posting this, I loved Counterpoint but you had withdrawn AA5 before I had chance to read it, so again THANK YOU.

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  5. on 01 Oct 2010 at 4:30 pmlisa89

    That’s a beautiful ending to the story, C. I don’t think I’ve ever felt this pulled into a fic, and I’m so grateful to you for sharing this with us. Thanks for keeping it up! I can’t wait to read Counterpoint.

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  6. on 16 Oct 2010 at 1:32 pmEsmeNessie

    THIS IS A VERY GREAT STORY…. THANK YOU FOR SHARING

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  7. on 13 Nov 2010 at 4:42 pmkng1986

    I’m thankful for the chance to read this again.

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  8. on 25 Nov 2010 at 7:26 pmBooksgalore/Bookishqua

    Wonderful closing line. :) Books

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  9. on 26 Nov 2010 at 11:57 amStephanie

    I’m so glad I found this story again….it was one of the first stories I read in FF when I discovered the Twilight world….your writing skills are so good and your words so real and raw and sensitive I cannot tell how much I think AA5 is a work of genius…
    Thank you for sharing it with us!
    xoxo

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  10. on 10 Dec 2010 at 1:55 amNKubie

    What a beautiful ending.

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  11. on 16 Dec 2010 at 8:43 pmJan M

    Geez, this story was absolutely stunning! I hesitated beginning it because I was pre-judging the fact that Bella was having sex with a 17 year old. I read some of your other stories first and saw where this one might be taken off the website and I simply did not want to miss it. It was the best and I am having a hard time finding any flaws in this. It is just a precious story and I am sad to have come to end of the tale. These characters were so alive and real. But I guess now I will go read Counterpoint and see this wonderful tale from Edward’s POV.

    This is such a classic that I know it will be one of those that I would like to read again and again. I just hope you keep this up for addicts like me who simply love it so much I just don’t want to let it go.

    I will echo some of the other comments– you are a fantastic writer.

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    Janice reply:

    @Jan M,
    I am going to have to ditto your remarks. I found myself very judgemental. I almost didn’t want to read the story because Bella was going to be older. What a mistake that would have been. What a journey this has been. After reading everyone’s reply’s I see that AA5 was removed. How fortunate was I that I received a chance to read it. How beautifully it was written and how I thank you for writing it. I also see that Counterpoint is the next place for me. Thank you again :)

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  12. on 05 Jan 2011 at 7:09 pmAimee

    I am so glad I found this story on your website. By the time I was ready to read it on the fanfiction sites it had be removed. I read Counterpoint and feel in love with all your characters, especially Edward and Carlisle. You wrote a beautiful relationship for the two of them. I have loved reading Art After 5! Thank you so much for sharing.

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  13. on 06 Jan 2011 at 11:46 pmSea4Me

    Siiiiiiiiiigh. :D

    Is this really the end? I’m going to go check out the next chaps & hope to savor your other work slowly.

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  14. on 30 Jan 2011 at 9:07 pmDenyse

    I always feel sad when I’m at the end of my favorite story and I love your story so much. The ending was the best. Thank you for sharing this wonderful story.

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  15. on 17 Feb 2011 at 3:07 amLeigh

    Ok I have been reading various fanfics for years and none have ever made me cry the way yours did. Here I am at 2 am feeling like I’ve been drug through the emotional gauntlet. I just have to say thank you for it! Your story was wonderful. I’m not sure what previous issues you had with people and this story before but I’m so glad that you decided to repost it here for all of us to enjoy. You’re a very gifted writer and I can’t wait to track down some more of your work.

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  16. on 28 Feb 2011 at 12:20 amKoshivuh

    I’m proud to say I found this on my own, even though I know I should’ve looked for a second home for this wonderful work of fiction, instead of asking you to give me all the answers. I loved this. I know, I haven’t left one stinkin’ review throughout this whole adventure, until now. My only – if even valid – excuse, is that I was so taken with and enveloped inside this story, that I couldn’t stop myself from moving on instead of stopping by to give you some nice words, because, really, that’s all they are compared to this…This masterpiece. This has to be, hands down, the best Twilight fanfiction I have ever read in the time that I’ve even known about Twilight. All that’s left to say is that I’m so thankful to you for writing this and I’m so happy I had the chance to read it. I can see myself coming back in months, even years just to read this again and again, and it will never get old, because this story is timeless.

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  17. on 07 Mar 2011 at 11:16 pmlicpa

    I started this story last night and could not stop reading. This is one of my favorite fics that I have read. Your characters are so unique. My heart broke when they broke up but I can see that it was necessary. As Edward said the night of the formal they had to go through that time to get to the healthy relationship. Thank you so much for sharing this story.

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