Betad by Michelle Renker Rhodes
Most characters belong to S. Meyer
Epilogue - Five Years Later
Edward hasn't seen me yet.
He and the rest of the crew arrived from the morning snorkel cruise about ten minutes ago. From where I sit at the marina's restaurant bar, slowly sipping on my Virgin Mango Margarita, I can see the sail waving majestically, the Eclipse logo rolling proudly in the ocean breeze.
"See ya later, Irina!" I call out to the bartender, raising my voice over the steel-drum beats playing in the background.
"See ya!" she calls back. "Tell Edward I said hi. And by the way, you look adorable in that bikini top and sarong!"
I chuckle as I walk off. "I'm not so sure about that, but thanks for the ego boost!"
Now my original plan was to surprise Edward and board the catamaran before he even saw me, but between the heat and exhaustion, it's taken me a full five minutes just to make my way over to the dock. Now he's already off the boat, standing next to the gangway in his white t-shirt and red board shorts, his beautiful, copper hair blowing in the wind as he bids farewell and thank you to all those who took the trip with him.
And as I stand just a few, short feet away and off to the side, in between a couple of large, swaying palm trees that cool me with their gentle flow of air, I watch and smirk to myself as a familiar scene unfolds:
"Help us off, please?"
"Help you off? Sure. That's what I'm here for."
Cue flirtatious giggles as the twenty-something, well-endowed girl makes her way down the platform leading off of the catamaran. She grips Edward's hand tightly, swaying her hips from side to side. Luckily, she manages to make it off without incident.
The next girl however…
She trips and topples - small-mangoes-first - right towards Edward's chest. Yet before her ripe, little melons can make contact with their bull's-eye, Edward quickly lifts his hands to her shoulders and carefully yet firmly pushes her back into an upright position.
"Whoa," he says.
"Oh…ha, ha," she chuckles. "That was close. Thank goodness you caught me before I could embarrass myself!"
I roll my eyes.
"Anyway, that was the best snorkeling cruise we've ever been on! Wasn't it, Bree?"
"Oh my God, it sure was, Gigi! I had the bestest time ever!"
"That's good to hear. We aim to please."
"I mean, when you dove into the water headfirst like that, all strong and sure and…manly," she practically pants. "You didn't even use any snorkel equipment!"
"I don't really need it. I've been doing this for a while and pretty much know what I'm doing down there."
"Oh I bet you know exactly what you're doing down there."
Raucous, salacious laughter explodes from her and her friend.
Edward is silent.
"Would you mind taking a picture with us?"
"Not at all."
The two, half-naked girls flank him on either side, each one stretching out an eager arm to wrap around Edward's waist, but when he quickly takes a step back, they're left with their arms wrapped around one another instead.
Meanwhile, Edward stands just behind them, holding both hands up in the air, each hand making a piece sign as he poses.
"There, this'll be a great shot," he says.
From back here, the look that passes between the girls clearly indicates that they do not agree.
The one holding the camera snaps away a few pictures, but after about ten seconds, Edward backs up even further, which brings the photo-shoot to a halt. He folds his arms against his chiseled chest, and though I can't see his face, I can hear the always friendly smile in his voice.
"Well, on behalf of myself and the rest of the Eclipse crew, we'd like to thank-"
"Do you think you have any room left on tonight's sunset cruise? We'd love to come with you on that one."
"Ooh yes, we'd love to come with you on that one!"
The giggles resume.
"It would be great to have you both join us..." Edward says, "but I don't handle bookings. You'd have to speak to my-"
By this point, I've finally made my way towards him as gracefully as possible - though grace and speed both abandoned me quite a few months ago.
"Good morning, Edward," I say.
He looks up, and when his sea-green eyes meet mine, he grins widely. "Good morning, Love."
I bypass Twiddle-Dee and Twiddle-Dumb and their protruding melons and walk up to Edward, feeling their narrowed eyes on me, eyes that I'd bet my big butt narrow even further when Edward dips his head and presses his mouth to mine, smiling against my lips.
"How was the rest of your morning?"
"Exhausting," I sigh. "And yours?"
"Busy and interesting. Why are you exhausted?" He carries on our conversation as if he and I are the only two people in the world and without waiting for a response, leans down so that his head is level with my bare stomach, cradling it between his hands before placing a gentle kiss right on my protruding belly button. "Were you keeping Mommy awake again, Little Diver?"
"He was," I say.
"Oh, Little Man, not good. Not good at all," he says, talking to my stomach in mock reproach.
This time, I'm the one to giggle. Edward pulls me into his side, somehow managing to wrap his arm around my entire waist so that he can rest his palm over my huge midsection.
"I was just telling a couple of our passengers here that my wife is in charge of the business side of the excursions. They were wondering if there was any room left on tonight's sunset cruise."
"Tonight's cruise? Oh, I'm so sorry," I say. "We would've loved having you join us on the sunset cruise, but I'm afraid the Eclipse is fully booked for tonight. However, I can probably squeeze you in on her sister ship, the Midnight Sun."
Mango Girl The Second moves her big, hungry blue eyes over to my husband. "Will you be there, Edward?"
Edward pulls me in even closer, tenderly caressing my belly. I rest my head on his shoulder because I can.
"No, I won't," he grins. "This was my last excursion 'til our little diver makes his appearance. Until then, I'll be finishing up a few credits and hanging out with my wife."
And then he leans down and kisses me, and I kiss him back, and somewhere in the middle of it all I think we lose Jessica The Second and Mango Girl The Second because when Edward finally lets me up for air, they're no longer anywhere in sight.
"You know, kissing me like that in front of our clientele can't possibly be good for business, Mr. Masen," I smirk, giving him the line I've given him oh so many times over the years. Yet he insists on always marking his territory – or marking mine, as the case may be. Either way, I've got no problem with it.
"And kissing the bulge probably isn't the best idea either," I add teasingly.
"Trust me, Mrs. Masen," he grins wryly. "It won't put a dent in business. And if it does, it'll be worth it."
And that's the response he's been giving me for years as well. Except for the Mrs. Masen part. That part was just added a little over a year ago after I uncovered that ring in the oyster he'd "found" for me, and after he and I, accompanied by our closest friends and family, took the Eclipse out to sea early one Saturday morning for a private cruise that ended just as it was meant to.
Now, Edward moves in close to my ear, his warm breath tickling my skin, making me shudder despite the fact that I'm due to give birth in two weeks. He smoothes his hand over the life we created one night on the catamaran, in the middle an ocean that bore no witnesses other than the ones twinkling above us.
"God knows my bulge had a great time making this bulge."
He makes me laugh. My dirty, deep diver.
"It was a long, three month honeymoon, sailing from one coast to another," I muse.
His finger traces the outline of my lips. "Yeah, but we sure found some fun and interesting ways to pass the time at sea."
"Yeah," I say all breathy, clenching my thighs eagerly because even nine months pregnant, this man gets me throbbing and soaking. "We sure did."
Edward gives me that bikini-bottom melting grin. "Ready to go sign a few papers an own an island now? My little diver needs a place to explore when he finally arrives."
I wrap my arms around his neck, straining to get as close to him as I can considering the protrusion between us.
"Not just yet. Little EJ isn't going anywhere for a few…" My eyes wander to the Eclipse. I watch Tanya, Seth, Paul and Jared wave goodbye to us as they walk away for a few hours of fun in the sun on the island of Key West before it's time to board again.
And then I look back at Edward. "First…how 'bout you take me below deck and remind me exactly how good a time your bulge had on that honeymoon cruise?"
He chuckles wickedly. "Oh, Beautiful Bella, that sounds like a serious plan."
Thanks so, so much to all of you for taking this little trip to the Southernmost point of the United States with me. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. ;)
As for what's next:
I'm preparing an outtake to Spin & Sway as a contribution to the Fandom for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (Fandom4LLS). They're raising money for cancer research. For a small donation, you'll receive a compilation of new stories, one-shots and outtakes from some of your favorite authors. Please go to triple w dot Fandom4LLs dot blogspot dot com for more information, to donate, and to see the list of authors who pledged to donate stories. It's a nice list.
I'm also working on my next plot bunny, which should start posting sometime in late October or so. I'll have more information on that, as well as teasers, pictures and banners, coming in the next few weeks over on my fb page: 'Stories by PattyRose.' You can find a link to that on my profile.
Thanks and enjoy the rest of your summer!