Epilogue Part 1

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Edward asked Bella to join him in the shower after she finished cutting his hair. "You look good like this, too." He cocked an eyebrow. "What? You do, but yeah, I still like the scruff."

"I'll let it grow out a bit, but maybe not as much." She hummed non-committedly taking the body wash and helping him clean up. "What's wrong?"

"I'd still want you with or without it." She shrugged and tried to distract him, her hand wrapping around his erection. His groan was deep as he rested his head on her shoulder. "Whatever you need," she added in a hoarse whisper.

He cupped her face and kissed her, deepening it and losing himself in her. "You, I need you." Slick hands worked to clean each other, soon his lips and fingers started to explore. He washed her hair, gripping it tight in his palm as he slipped inside her soon after. It started slow and easy, but turned hard and fast. Need had them falling apart under cooling water within minutes.

.

.

.

"Stop staring," Bella heard Edward say to Emmett from the backseat of the cruiser a couple of days later. He offered them a ride to the airport, but she would never forget the nearly neck-breaking double take he made when he first saw Edward without a beard and long hair.

"Sorry," Emmett mumbled, clearing his throat. "It's just that I've never seen you without the beard. I'm really fucking glad you never met Rosalie looking like this. She would've left me for you." He chuckled, giving Edward a cheeky grin and showing off a dimple.

Bella couldn't help but giggle. Edward looked over his shoulder and glared at her. "Don't encourage him."

"What? You're hot." She wiggled her eyebrows and licked her lips, knowing it would set him off.

For a few seconds, he continued to glare at her for that little tease, but rolled his eyes and looked out the window. His jaw clenched when they passed a road sign for the airport, confirming her suspicions. Anxiety made him stoic and nervous, his usual gruff self. Bella knew he hadn't been on a plane since his army days. After his release from the rehabilitation center, he drove all the way to California.

The call from his parents only an hour before they left for the airport made him even more nervous. A couple of the surviving members of his unit were attending the memorial and he was having a hard time coping with the thought of seeing them again, too.

It hard enough for him to face his parents all fresh faced and his scars visible, but with everyone else who would be attendance, he had no way to hide. A baseball cap hid his prominent scar, but he wouldn't be able to wear it at the memorial. It was a fact he would have to get used to until his hair grew out again.

Ever since his parents gave him the letter requesting his presence at the memorial, his memories had taken center stage in his thoughts. He often left their bed as she slept, too afraid he'd have a nightmare.

The night before, she checked on him and found him in the living room, asleep on the couch with the television on as background noise. He was only doing it for her protection and she wouldn't go against his wishes by trying to wake him. He had asked that when he had a nightmare for her to stay away until he got himself under control. It was what they agreed on, and she would keep her promise.

Only he started to cry out her name as she started up the stairs. She couldn't help keeping an eye on him from the bottom step, singing softly as she had the first time he had a nightmare in her presence, and every time since. He had awoken with a start and gruffly asked for her. In his arms, he told her about how memories of the attack were mingling with those of the present, seeing her among the dead.

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