I give you the Epi. I know a lot of you hated the story, but that's the way things go. Here's the short ending.
I'd like to thank those of you who supported me through all of my stories. It's been a fun ride. I know we didn't always see eye-to-eye, but I did my stories in the way I wrote them. I wish you all the best.
SMeyer's owns. I borrowed, and I'm returning them to her.
May, Four Years Later
I was relaxing on the couch watching the "Today" show once again. I needed to get my lazy ass up and take a shower, but I'd been quite busy, and it felt so good to simply relax.
"After the break, we're back with Executive Chef Edward Masen on the Plaza. This is 'Today'."
"Honey, I'm sorry, but I'm a failure in his eyes. I tried and tried, but he's just not satisfied with a substitute," Mom called as she walked into the family room. I laughed because I wasn't surprised in the least.
I sat up and unbuttoned my pajama top, opening the nursing bra I was wearing. After I nuzzled him to my chest and he latched on, I patted his dry little bottom, looking into the face of the most gorgeous baby boy I'd ever seen in my life.
Vanessa hurried into the family room and sat down next to me. "Did I miss it?" So much had happened over the past four years, it was nearly mind-boggling to comprehend.
There hadn't been a wedding because we'd reached a compromise. I'd wear that gorgeous diamond ring, and we'd think about getting married sometime in the future when things calmed down. Things didn't calm down at all.
Edward didn't sell the restaurants, but he'd bowed out of his stake at Peter and Charlotte's restaurant in Vegas. I'd met them when we were all at Bellport for Robbie's christening. Kate's parents came into town, and it wasn't hard to get to know them at all. My mom and Kate formed a fast friendship after my mother found out Kate was adapting a book series Mom loved. The two would sit on the beach with Robbie in a pak-and-play, talking for hours about the books. Kate said Mom was an invaluable resource because Mom knew the books like the back of her hand. I laughed and smiled at the two of them more than once.
Life had been busy with our family. Edward eventually hired Laurent as the Chef for "Go Fish" and business was booming. "Tuscana" had earned another Michelin, two years after it earned its first one, and the party we had at the restaurant to celebrate was incredible.
"Seasons" had earned its own accolades, as had "Wild Flower," both being reviewed quite frequently in various culinary magazines. There was even a segment on a cooking channel, highlighting the farm-to-table aspect of "Seasons." That was what brought Vanessa to live with us in New York.
She'd graduated early from high school…in December, actually. She got a job as a line cook at a restaurant in LA, and it made up her mind. She wanted to follow in her father's footsteps, and the first step was that she wanted to attend The International Culinary Institute in Manhattan, not far from our new home, so she moved to New York in March, working at "Seasons" as a line cook.
Kate and Garrett were still in LA, and Robbie would be starting preschool in the fall. Kate had received an Oscar nomination for her screen adaptation of a book, and while she didn't win, Edward, Mom, and I had gone to LA to support her. In my opinion, she should have won.
All of our friends were alive and well…Alice and Jasper in LA where his career was thriving, and Rosalie and Emmett had moved to Boston where Emmett was the head of Orthopedics at Mass General. Rosalie was staying at home with their son, and we kept up with them as much as our busy life would allow.
Angela and Ben had married not long after they moved in together, and were both still working for the "Times," having decided recently to start a family. Jessica…she went back to Forks. She'd fallen in with a bad crowd in New York and had gotten herself into a bit of a pickle with a drug possession charge, so she went back home to live with her parents.
We only found it out because Eric ran into the stock broker and asked him about her. She didn't think enough of us to even say good-bye.
Riley and Eric were still impossibly in love. We had Sunday dinners at Carlisle and Esme's house every week, which was when we all got to catch up because we were all still very close.
"No, they're on a commercial break. Are you nervous?" I asked as she sat next to me on the sofa sipping a cup of coffee Mom had brought her. Mom had come to New York to help with the baby who we weren't exactly surprised to find out about in September around my birthday the year before.
"I've got to go," I whined as Edward pulled me into his arms. It was August and I was due to fly south for business. He'd turned forty-two in June, and he wasn't exactly thrilled about it, but hell, I would turn thirty in September, about which I wasn't exactly happy either. I was set to go to Miami for discovery on a case that was being litigated in New York, and he wasn't thrilled about my leaving at all.
"I think you can take a later flight and give me a little more time, considering you don't know when you'll be able to come home," he guilted. So, without thinking it through, I gave him all the time in the world, rescheduling my flight for very early the next morning.
"God, yes. Please, just come up here," I pleaded as I pulled his hair from where he'd firmly planted his head between my legs. He moved up my body and stroked into me as I tried to get my breath because the man's tongue…holy hell.
"You need to get up?" he asked. I knew what he was asking, and it was time.
"No, Chef. Let's see what happens," I urged as I positioned him to stroke into me. He kissed me gently as he didn't waste any time, likely afraid I'd change my mind. I didn't.
He worked slowly and passionately, moving my legs onto his shoulders and continuing to rock my world. His thumb worked my needy bundle of nerves relentlessly. "Supposedly, if you come, it makes the chances a lot better," he whispered as he stroked into me harder. I planted my hands on the bed and lifted my hips to meet his, and when I climaxed, he followed soon behind me, keeping my legs on his shoulders.
"Um, why are you keeping my legs up there?" I asked as I tried to move them. He held them on his shoulders as he slipped from me, but he kissed my ankles, anchoring me in place.
"I want to make sure this one sticks. I've looked it up, Cupcake. The boys have a better chance of striking gold if you keep your legs up for a bit. So, we're trying, now, and you're going away for likely a month?" he commented.
I thought about my cycle and smiled. "Well, I'm in the middle of my cycle right now, and if it doesn't stick this time, when I get home, we can go at it like rabbits." He laughed at my comment, but he held my legs on his shoulders for half an hour.
We made love in several different positions that night, and when I climbed out of bed at 3:30 AM to shower and get ready to go to LaGuardia for my flight, I kissed him on the forehead and left him a note telling him I was optimistic at the prospect his boys had struck gold the night before.
When I returned to New York two weeks later, I didn't have a period. He'd done the deed on the first time out of the box, and when I finally told him I was late, he got those two smiles…one on a pee stick, and one on my face.
"We're back here on the Plaza. Executive Chef Edward Masen is here with recipes to spark your love life. Welcome Chef! So, what have you got for us today?" the weather man asked.
"Well, a few years ago, a friend of mine asked me to step in to give a class on sensual cooking, and it was pretty fun, especially since my girlfriend was there with me, so I've been researching what foods are good for your love life. I've always shied away from writing a cookbook, but this one, my fiancée was in favor of, so I wrote it. She co-wrote it with me, and if she hadn't just given birth to our son a few weeks ago, she'd be here with me now. Obviously, some of these recipes worked," Edward commented with a laugh as he placed oysters on the half shell on the grill, salting and peppering them.
He worked through the recipes he'd determined he'd use that day, and I could tell he was having a great time. The sensual ballet of watching him cook had me nearly panting, but Charlie was only two-weeks' old, so it was far too soon for anything to happen. I'd have to wait out the next month, just like Edward.
"You guys did good," Vanessa commented as I moved Charlie to the other breast while Edward grilled a baguette for the bruschetta to accompany the grilled salmon with mango-pineapple-balsamic reduction. I chuckled because he found a way to use fruit in many menu items. The man loved his blow jobs, and he'd taken my comment of several years ago to heart.
"So, are there wedding bells in your future?" the female co-host asked as Edward pulled the prepared plates from the warmer under the prep table, passing out forks and pouring wine, just as he'd done the one time I'd appeared with him.
"Someday. We're pretty happy with where we are right now. Hi, Cupcake and Charlie, and Ness, you'll do well. Love you all," he responded as he waved to the camera with a glowing smile.
"Bella, he wants to get married. Why won't you consider it?" Vanessa asked as she turned off the television after it went to a commercial.
I smiled at her, realizing I'd made a very big decision. "I don't have a reason not to. I expect you to cater the reception, Ness. We'll have the wedding at Christmas. I think Eliza would love to have it in Bellport, don't you?"
She squealed so loud I thought the neighbors would show up with the police. They didn't, but she and my mother were very happy with the prospect of a wedding. I knew the chef would be as well, considering I'd been so stubborn about it.
We married at Christmas in his mother's ballroom with Eric singing while Riley played guitar to accompany him. It was romantic and intimate, just as I wanted, and I had my happily ever after.
Eric continued those outdated speed dating events, and he kept a tally of his successes over the years. He had nineteen weddings, including his own, under his belt. I couldn't argue the merits of the event with him any longer.
The night I walked into the first one I'd attended, I'd met my other half, as had my friends including Eric. It was the biggest success of Eric's career as a party planner. We celebrated it every year, right along with my birthday, and my chef…he made those damn cupcakes for me, ending the night with licking batter and chocolate mousse off each other. Cupid's arrow struck that night and wedged in each of us pretty deeply. What more could I say?
The Chocolate Coated End
To those of you who stuck around…thank you.
For the last time…xoxo