|Happily Ever After With My Best Friend's Brother
Author: Zosie PM
Once upon a time, all I ever wanted was a happily ever after with Edward Cullen. Now here we were engaged, planning the wedding, and all because Edward found out a secret from our past and was blackmailing me into it. How could this possibly be our HEA?Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Hurt/Comfort - Chapters: 17 - Words: 81,603 - Reviews: 314 - Favs: 325 - Follows: 178 - Updated: 03-07-11 - Published: 12-30-10 - Status: Complete - id: 6608565
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Happy New Year's Eve, we will be partying tonight! Hope you are all enjoying the holidays. This is old, off one of my other usernames because I am too busy with RL to write anything at all!
Happily Ever After With My Best Friend's Brother
The door opened as I knocked a second time and I looked up and frowned.
His hair shimmered in the rays of sunlight that caught each color and made them sparkle and compete with each other. Gold, yellow, red, copper.
"You may as well come in, seeing you are here. Family, we are being honored by the presence of a famous author, what's her name again? Belle, Billie, Becka?" Edward said, standing back, bowing at his waist and gesturing me inside with his other hand.
"Bella!" squealed Alice, jumping almost into my arms in joy.
"Hi Alice, you look amazing!" I blurted out, but she did. Her fashion design business was going well, nowadays it was rare to open any magazine and not be confronted by an Alice Whitlock design. And clearly she kept the best of the best for herself. Her dress was dreamy, gauzelike, almost see through but layered so you only saw glimpses and I could understand why men loved her work, she cut and draped so cleverly you got just the merest hint of what lay under the gown. But you knew you wanted to see more.
"Bella, welcome," greeted Esme, walking towards me, taking me into her arms. She was the mother I deserved to have. Mind you, she was almost my mother. She had been there for me through my darkest days of growing up, she attended Mother and Daughter day at Girl's Club, she took me to her work on the usually excruciatingly sad "Take your daughter to work" days that always had made me face up to and acknowledge my loss.
Sad as it is to lose a parent through death, how much worse to lose one through complete lack of interest? Renee wanted a different life and she took it. It didn't matter who she hurt and left behind in her wake of destruction, she got the life she always wanted so we were her collateral damage.
Charlie was damaged far more than I was, outwardly, anyway.
He filled his bed with his secret 'friend', Sue Clearwater, and we all pretended she had just dropped by for breakfast each morning, as so many people do. You just never know when you will have a breakfast guest.
She and Charlie hid away in their own little bubble and I was the outsider, no longer needed on journey, by either parent. Her daughter Leah and son Seth stayed with their father, Harry, on the Rez and all the families there except the Blacks, ignored the Swans and pretended they no longer existed.
I didn't care, I only cared about what Jacob Black thought of me, not what the Quileute tribe thought of my father, the wife stealer, the interloper. Charlie was a fully grown man and he knew the consequences of his actions long before he carried them out. I was a child, a hurt and bewildered child, but Jake promised to always be my friend so I pretended the looks and sneers and whispers did not have any effect on my life. Nowadays I couldn't have cared if they shouted their dislike from the clifftops for all to hear.
I had grown up, moved on, moved away, become a person of repute. I had four novels printed, three made it to Number One, the very top of the Best Seller's list in every important list there was, New York Times, US Today and Oprah had featured those three as her Book Of The Month Club selections. The other made it to a respectable second and was unlucky to be up against a fabulously famous proven author's fifth book, so I had no chance of that one reaching the pinnacle.
Someday Best rested in the shadow of Midnight Sun, but even I knew her book was superior to mine, and we had all waited an age for it's publication so it didn't bother me at all to settle for second place. In fact, I recommended her book to every reader who lined up for me to autograph my own effort in the many bookstores on my tour.
"I love your work, who inspired you?" I was often asked and I would smile and show them the cover of the novel I was reading in the quiet breaks. I had read every book of hers, over and over, so there was never a chance to catch me without one of hers on hand.
"Bella! Baby sister of mine, get yourself here!" bellowed my favorite 'brother', Emmett, as he swung me clean off my feet and loudly kissed my cheek with a wet, open kiss.
"Hi Rose," I waved and laughed, from high above. The man is a beast and overshadows everyone else in town. Built like a bear, heart of mush. I loved him as fiercely as he loved me.
"Hi Bella, put her down, Emmett, let us normal folk have a chance to welcome her home," Rose said, making my eyes blur with tears.
She said it like it was just a simple fact. I was one of them, beloved, back in the heart of my family.
"So, what's happening? Any progress with that gorgeous hunk of a man, Aro?" Rose asked, pulling me aside.
"Rose, I told you we are friends," I growled.
"That had better be at least friends with benefits, Missy, or you shall have your Woman Card taken away," she grinned.
"Well, he did take me to dinner and to a Gallery opening," I told her breathlessly.
I was not quite where I wanted to be with him, but I was getting there. Baby steps, didn't want to scare the man off before I at least got to spend a night or ten in his bed.
"Bella! Well done, we are proud of you!" Alice squealed.
I looked around at them all, their eyes all lit with excitement for me and my new life in New York.
I rarely made it back, holidays were a thing of the past. If I had spare time between tours and interviews, and chatting with the screenwriters that were translating my written word to the big screen, I wrote.
And when I wrote, I got lost and time stood still. If Jess didn't come in regularly, not speaking - she knew better than to speak, or make any sound, I would probably starve mid storyline. She pushed cartons of coffee and plastic boxes with chicken and salad sandwiches and takeaway Chinese in front of my nose and I would start, shocked to come back to reality, and automatically pick them up and eat and drink while my mind whirred on, would the handsome hero get the girl this chapter, or should we drag it our further? It's hard to know, hard to hit the exact spot between teasing yet keeping the reader transfixed, and just getting drawn out and boring. You don't want them to give up home and toss the book into the corner, you want them sitting up past bedtime, unable to stop until they know the happy ever after is imminent.
Oh yes, I can write happy ever afters, just can't seem to make one materialise for myself.
But then, who would want a woman who was rarely home, always off on some promotional trip or other, always trapped inside her own head, trying to breathe life into Duke and Rachel, Tarquin and Elonie, always making them so unforgettable yet she herself remaining completely forgettable?
Men don't like self supporting, successful women, it may be wrong and stupid but it is a fact. When the few men I have dated since my runaway success have realized who I am, who lies beneath this pretty but somewhat ordinary exterior, they either feel impotent at my earnings versus theirs, or they see me as a cash cow and try to dazzle me into a quick relationship headed straight towards the altar, so they will be set for life without too much effort on their part.
I tend to avoid dating, you may have gathered.
Aro seems different. To start with, he could buy and sell me a hundred times, his businesses make my income look like spending money, and he is dashing and handsome like few men are today.
"I have put you in the guestroom upstairs," Esme tells me, as Carlisle enters and rushes straight for me, and I am kissed and hugged again and he pulls back and smiles down at my face with unashamed pride.
"Bella, you look amazing. New York must agree with you," he says, smiling, pulling me to the sofa and sitting me beside him. "Someday Best is your greatest story to date, I loved it, and I have all the nurses reading it at the hospital. I bought twenty copies for the library so the patients are eating it up too. Mind you, I think at last count we were down to eight copies, twelve have walked out, no doubt the visitors are 'borrowing' them as well. You should do a book signing in the foyer, we could sell a hundred to the patients and their families and our own Dr Whitlock has been caught a few times, sneaking a quick read between surgeries.
Jasper walked over and stood in front of me, beaming his beautiful smile down at me.
"Guilty as charged. I have to know if Emily is going to pull through and if Simon goes back to Danica. God, Bella, you have me reading chick books, you bad girl."
"Sorry, Jaz, I never thought for a moment men would read my waffling," I laughed.
"Those sex scenes are irresistible, the amount of times I have had to call Alice in to 'bring my lunch' from home after a steamy chapter between Rick and Erica...let me tell you, baby number three was all down to you and Catching Time. It was my favorite book but I think you have outdone yourself. Again."
Alice reappeared with two sleepy eyed children in tow.
"Aunty Bella, Aunty Bella," squealed Alicia, in an exact copy of her mother's voice. I scooped her up and kissed her face a hundred times. Three years old and already a traffic stopper with her jet black hair and sweet pink lips. Jasper's ice blue eyes are replicated in both his children, and the baby, Jack, smiled a toothless grin at me.
"Yes, you are to blame for the Irish twins," growled Alice. "It would have been nice to have this one sleeping through the night before the one inside started waking me up with morning sickness."
"Sorry, my books do come with a clear warning," I offered, laughing.
"So, how many babies have they created now? Do readers tell you things like that?" Jasper asked, taking his son onto his lap.
"Oh sure, I would say we are in the 7,000 region now. And half the boys are named Brody, of course," I answered.
"Brody..it just seems wrong to inflict that type of expectation on a newborn. How many Brody's are going to grow up and be red hot lovers like Brody Masen?" Alice lamented.
"What's the favorite girl's name?" Jasper asked, winking at Alice.
"Is it a girl? You know already?" I all but screamed. Emmett and Rose had produced five boys in a row, so granddaughter's were a rarity for Esme and Carlisle and Alicia was getting far too much attention from being the only one.
"Edward did the scan. He was a pig, naturally, and told me he saw four boys in there. Jasper almost had a heart attack. I am sure that is against the law or something, lying to an expectant mother, and your sister to boot."
"Hey, I don't get a lot of laughs in my line of work," Edward answered, walking into the room properly at last.
I was very aware of his proximity, that damned buzz we always evoke was there, pulling him toward me.
"If it had been male quads, they would be living with their Uncle Edward," Alice answered crossly.
"That would suit me fine, seeing I shall never have a child of my own," he replied, suddenly serious. The whole mood in the room altered, and all eyes were on me. It was not my fault and I refuse to take responsibility for this. He was the one who decided never to father children unless they were mothered by me. I never agreed or made any such stupid rule for myself. If I have children, and I hope I do some day, they will be with someone I love and trust, and he will have to earn my trust, thanks to this beautiful man now taking over the conversation.
"Well, I bet dinner is ready to be served," Carlisle said, breaking the mood and creating a perfect diversion.
We all stood and made our way to the dining room and Edward held out the chair beside his for me to sit in. I didn't hesitate, I am not afraid of him any more. He has hurt me to the very marrow of my bones in the past but not now. I have moved on.
Esme filled our plates with roast chicken and vegetables and Carlisle passed the gravy boats around, one per side. I helped myself to peas, and accepted a serve of gravy on my meat, from Esme who hovered and refused to sit and relax until we all had taken as much as she could force onto our plates.
Alice ate hurriedly, and I grinned at her, knowing how she always had to bolt down her food as soon as the aroma hit her or she would be ill and not eat for hours. She blossomed during later pregnancy but suffered so much for the first few months, it made me wonder how she could sign up for this three times. Once was enough.
I volunteered for clean up duty and chased Esme outside to play with her grandkids. The mini Emmett's had been fed in advance, seeing Rose insisted eating with her boys caused many people to be unable to finish their dinner, so they were already deep in a game of touch football.
I scraped and stacked and watched out of the expanse of kitchen windows. Their father coached them and grabbed Damien, the second youngest, and ran with him and the ball through the line of defence. Jasper was sorting them into teams to start the game over, and I laughed as the small boys climbed all over him and protested about who was on which team.
"Adam, Brandon, Curtis, you guys are the oldest, you can play against Emmett and I and Damien, and baby Edward. Now, stop moaning. Your father and I will be severely handicapped by having to carry the little guys so you know you will win, so shut it."
Jasper scooped Rose's youngest son into his arms and barrelled down the ground behind Emmett as Rose pushed Alicia on the swing and Alice breastfed Jack on a lounger under a big colorful umbrella.
Baby Edward was nearly two and still somewhat unsteady on his fat little legs. Damien was a year older, as were the gaps between all her boys. Rose had worked on the theory the closer they were born, the sooner they would be at school and her life could recommence, she missed her career and adult company. Baby Edward had been her last ditch effort to produce a girl, and so she had named him after the doctor who delivered him, her own brother-in-law.
"He could have been ours, you know," a voice close to my ear said.
"Unlikely, seeing we were on separate continents when he was conceived," I sniped back.
"I always knew Esme and Carlisle would have a grandson named Edward, I just assumed I would be his father," he continued. "Seeing it is my name and all."
"Edward, you could marry and have a dozen little Edwards," I replied, moving away from that lethal body to wipe the benches as the dishwasher worked.
"That will never happen. You know I have only ever wanted children with you. Wouldn't you like to have a baby one day, Bella?" he asked, following behind me and catching me around my waist.
"Sure, I intend to, I am just not through with interviewing the prospective fathers," I answered, stilling, wishing he would stay away.
"I'm so sorry for everything that happened, Bella. I would change things if I could," he lamented.
"Yeah, well, you can't so let's just go on with our lives and pretend there never was an us," I suggested. I tossed the cloth into the sink and made for the great outdoors, it was getting claustrophobic in there.
"So, Jaz really does want to know which of your heroine's has the most popular baby name," Alice said as I sunk into a chair beside hers.
"Ryanne, of course, but do you really want to name your child after a woman like that? I don't get it myself, all these mother's naming their kids after fictitious characters, and none of them are so pure and innocent you would want your child to follow in their footsteps. Don't forget, Ryanne cheated on Nick and ran away with her lover," I reminded Alice.
"Nick asked for it, he should have given her all the love and attention she craved," Alice defended. "She married him under the impression he loved her more than everything, more than his work, more than his family, and he short changed her. He was never home, it was inevitable she would stray," Alice continued.
"We all have our trials and men rarely fulfil their promises," I answered.
"Bella, one day you will tell me," she said , full of self assurance.
"I'm allowed one single secret, Alice, surely. And everyone would hate me if they knew. Please let it go," I pleaded. Some days , it didn't seem real, it felt like it had never happened, and was just a figment in my imagination. Other days it felt like it was only yesterday.
I never imagined I would be 'that girl', but I was, or I had been.
I have locked her away, never let her see the light of day, she is dead now and doesn't exist any more and nobody here will ever make her acquaintance.
I could not bear for them to know, and to have to avoid their eyes, filled with hurt and pain and accusations.