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Chapter Five.

Quick thinking and even quicker reflexes saved Elijah Hamilton from a trip to the emergency room that night as the crystal tumbler his best friend had been sipping from flew across the room, aimed directly for his head.

"You were fucking my fiancé. My Mariah!" the enraged man roared. "We were supposed to get married in two weeks, and tonight I walk into the house that I built after taking out a loan, which I am struggling to pay, to see you fucking her in the same bed we shared. Now, to top it all off, you have the gall to ask me for help! No, Elijah, I will not be helping you! I owe you nothing."

"Edward, please," his mother pleaded, standing a good distance away from the fight in the arms of her husband.

"No! I won't subject myself to a DNA test because that kid she is carrying is not mine. It could never be mine," Edward roared, turning his burning gaze on his mother.

"How can you say that, Edward? What if…" their mother said softly, pleading with her son to see reason.

"There will be no 'what ifs.' I never fucked Mariah!" Edward spat.

"What?" Elijah stuttered out, his eyes widening in shock.

"Did I stutter?" Edward mocked. "Then let me say it again. My cock never went near that loose pussy. I never slept with Mariah. If she told you that I did, then she is lying. I was waiting for marriage because that was what she wanted," Edward said as callously as he could at his friend. "But I was the fucking fool. You were already working her over so she had no need for me."

Too far gone in his rage, Edward barely registered the shocked gasp that left his mother's lips or how his father, Carlisle, and brothers, Emmett and Jasper, flinched from his words.

"Where is she anyway? Not interested in seeing the damage that she has caused this family?" Edward chuckled darkly before throwing himself down onto the couch.

"Edward, I am sorry. I am so very sorry. I don't know what I was thinking," Elijah confessed, brokenly, his back colliding painfully with the wall as he gracelessly sunk to the floor.

"Save your apologies for someone who gives a damn," Edward spat. "Congrats to you, though. You've got the woman of your dreams, but, at the same time, you lost a brother."

Seven years later, Esme Cullen could remember with perfect clarity every word that was said that fateful night; the night her son severed all ties with his god-brother and best friend.

The catalyst for the destruction of a relationship that withstood the trials of life. They stood strong, supporting each other when there was barely any money for food and rent. Neither was willing to see the other afraid, both taking turns to crawl into one another's bed well into their teenage years simply because starting over in a new town unnerved them.

She never thought that she would live to see the day when her sons were nothing more to each other than boats passing in the night.

The betrayal had shocked Edward to his core; while Elijah had attempted to make amends for his indiscretion, Edward wanted none of it, especially when there was living proof of what had occurred.

Seven months after their fight, Esme found herself collapsed on the floor of her closet, pounding at her chest as if in an attempt to beat back the suffocating grief that flooded her on the birth of her grandson. Tears poured from her eyes, her sobs muffled only by the sleeve of her dress that she had been biting down on. How could she love someone so much who was the proof of what had broken her heart?

She remembered that pain and torment. She remembered that way Elijah looked at her, pleaded with her to meet his son, but she could not. Her mother's heart wouldn't; it was Edward that changed it all for her. It took a few whispered words from a voicemail that he had left well after midnight two weeks after her grandson had been born. "Emmett sent me a picture of Eli, Mum. He's so handsome. All I see is Elijah, though. He's innocent, Mum. Love him for me because I don't think I can love him as much."

The morning after she received that message, she cooked a huge breakfast and took it over to Elijah's house. No words were said. No explanations were given, but Esme did what her son had asked her to do and she allowed herself to love her grandson.

Eli Masen Cullen was the light of her life. He was the one thing that made breathing easier. By the time he was two years old, he was a carbon copy of his father, from his unruly blond hair to his piercing blue eyes. He loved steak and threw his vegetables through the window when he thought that no one was looking. He played baseball as well as a two year old could and ran from girls as if they carried the bubonic plague. He loved his family and he adored the uncle he never met; the uncle who sent him five hundred dollars every birthday and Christmas, in addition to whatever ridiculously expensive gift the uncle had purchased.

Esme knew that Elijah's fury ignited every time he saw what Edward had sent for his son. On several occasions, Elijah had destroyed the gifts only to have them replaced a couple days later with another delivery from Edward. Esme knew, though, that Elijah's anger was fueled by his own guilt and jealousy both for what he had done and for what had become of Edward. But what Edward had become frightened Esme to her core.

He was cold.

He was callous.

He was merciless.

He was numb, blind to the havoc he created in his path to gain what he wanted.

He became a success, though, building up an empire that over-shadowed all others. His power and influence stretched out and, soon enough, she saw pictures of her son shaking hands with world leaders, dining with royalty, and standing as a man to be feared and revered.

Slowly enough, after he attained the power and position he wanted, Edward began to reintegrate himself back into the family he all but left behind, but before he even had the hope to rekindle his friendship with Elijah, the unthinkable happened.

His and his wife's ashes still sat on her marble fireplace a bitter reminder that even the good die young.

Through the entire process from having her god-son and his wife's body removed from the wreckage that was their car to their cremation, Edward was silent. No emotion was seen on his face. He took care of all the expenses before even she knew and handled everything associated with the funeral services.

It was only at the reading of their wills, did Edward break. It was then that he learned that he had been appointed as Eli's legal guardian and that it was the hope of his god-brother and his wife, that he adopt Eli as his own someday.

Someday came soon than most expected because within just a matter of two days, Edward began the process of adopting Eli as his own.

With that, the process of finding a mother for Eli began. Some would think that the woman would only be after his money, but that would not be the case at all.

Selena Madison was a god-send who loved Eli more than she could love Edward and she married Edward for that very reason. She dedicated her time and love to Eli tending to his every need and Edward loved her for it. He was still cold, callous and ruthless, but not with her.

Only a year had passed since their wedding when Edward and Selena announced that she was pregnant with a little girl, but, once again, Edward had been destined to suffer.

Selena died at the young age of twenty-seven, living just long enough to see her daughter placed in the arms of the man who, despite being so flawed, would love that precious bundle purely.

Edward mourned openly for his wife, a wife who, he would later find out through her doctors, was well aware that the pregnancy would claim her life.

He was left with a broken heart, a beautiful newborn girl and a letter written to the both of them.

When his Madeline was five, he once again found his heart being stolen by a woman, a woman who became his second wife.

Esme would never know if it was grief or if she was so beautiful, but Vanessa Rellson was more venomous than a cobra and she was determined to destroy all that stood in her path to get to Edward, but more so, his money. For some time it did seem like she was winning, but her hold on him soon ended when he learned that she was pregnant with another man's child.

And so began the divorce than turned into a media bloodbath.

Her son went from villain to hero, dead beat father and wife beater to widowed father and cheated husband. By the time it was over, and done with, Edward walked away without losing a penny, without losing any clients, and built up a wall around his heart that only his children could crack.

He kept his family at a distance. He spent his time with them, joined them at barbeques, and camped with them when he was free, but it was never the same. He celebrated with his brothers on their engagements, but that was it. He closed himself off from the world.

Esme did not know what to make of this.

His wife stood half behind him, clearly relying on him to be her protector. She saw the two young boys, standing with them, both of them holding onto one of his legs.

"Your wife?" Esme stuttered, taking a step towards them.

"Yes. Do you have a problem with that?" Edward, questioned in a monotone voice, raising one of his eyebrows.

"Edward…what have you done?" her husband's voice, echoed out behind them, but, instead of turning to look at her husband who had joined them, her eyes were locked on her son as he did something that she had only seen him do once before, with his Selena.

He took a step and stood directly in front of the girl.