FAGE 10: Reborn

Title: Hardware
Written for: Rhiannon St Clair/blueeyedcherry

Written By: Rebekah Adams/Rebadams7
Rating: M

Summary/Prompt used: Candlebox's Music - Far behind, every time I ran to it - It fit my heart to a T. I can see my life rolling along, but someone else is living it. I need my own love again. B&J….B&E

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HARDWARE

Bella

Anticipation grew in my veins as I pulled on some old scrub pants and an oversized hoodie. I knew that the very air in the shop would suck me right down memory lane. It was always the same scent of paints and other exotic solvents. Then it was all as simple as breathing. Sure, we'd seen each other around. First Beach, meeting with our dads' at Fork's TruValu, Fall Fest, when I was in town for it, and a few times fishing with dad on my summer vacation. I was at University when Jacob surprised me at my dorm, decked out in his Marine Corps dress uniform, a bouquet of flowers and a bottle of decent California champagne under his arm. He'd gotten his first overseas orders and he'd come to spend his leave with me. I was just finishing my first set of senior finals and had a week before I would start clinical rotation. We were free and young, he caught me a fish at Pike's Place, we walked along the ocean, we ran all over Seattle, and then we holed up in a small hotel, the Maxwell until he had to leave. We talked about the future, how happy our dads' would be, what a great pairing of a nurse and a Marine would make. It was light, it was silly. We had fun. I made a photo book for each of us from that week.

That book. My copy of "Our Beginning" That stupid, stupid book. I have to force myself to smile as I read it now. I have to read it out loud. I have to keep protecting two little hearts. They need to believe. They don't need to sing my sad songs.

Now maybe I didn't mean to treat you bad

But I did it anyway

And now maybe

Some would say your life was sad

But you lived it anyway

And so maybe….

Then Jacob left. I kept busy, working hard for my last semester and graduating with honors. Jacob sent an enormous iris and Cala lily bouquet, delivered to me at the ceremony. We wrote, we called and we visited when we could find time between my hospital shifts and his deployments. He re-upped with the Marines and then he proposed. He took me to dinner at Anchovies and Olives, popping the question as we sipped our drinks, waiting for our dinner.

It was a marriage made in moments. A moment to tell our fathers and my mother - she cried for more than a few moments. I think she knew what was in store for me but she never let on. Our fathers slapped each other on the back at the ceremony. It was quickly put together in a few days and on First Beach. I wore a dress from a thrift/vintage shop and he wore his dress uniform. Our honeymoon was back in Seattle at the Maxwell. It felt like it was over in a moment and I then I followed him to Camp Pendleton. It took a few weeks to get my California license. It seemed like it was just a moment before I was working full time, in a med-surge general unit. One moment we were having dinner and the next he was deployed again. My memories of those moments - I was now a sergeant's wife. I went to the NCO's spouses group. I kept our place clean. I made friends on the post. I read, I watched TV. I waited. I had learned patience while bouncing between my parents and I put that practice to good use. PCS moves to new bases. Working the swing shift to let me have a decent shot at Skype-ing with my husband. My marriage remembered in moments. They were sweet mostly. We weren't together often enough to really fight. Or really get to know one another either.

I figured that out later. I figured It was what I deserved. Me, the little bookworm. It was easier to be lost in my own head, reading a book, than always dealing with my sweet airhead of a mother, or my calm and mostly quiet father. I wasn't sure of how much I knew of either of them. What they knew of me as an adult would fit into a handful of moments.

At the end of his second enlistment, Jacob had seen enough and said he wanted to be home. He left active duty and we'd been together in Washington state for over three months - our longest stretch in over 5 years of marriage. Civilian life was a challenge for him, his skills far outstripped his position as a mechanic in the same garage where Embry worked. His friend from the Rez had gone to school to become a mechanic and Jacob had picked that up as a secondary training to his usual military duties.

Maybe if I hadn't wanted a house, maybe if we talked more, Maybe if ..if ..if….

I'd pulled up a few houses, that I thought would be great for us, on my laptop, to show him while we ate breakfast together. At that moment I thought we were on the same page. He didn't even glance at them, he jumped onto the keyboard and pulled up a different website.

Bydand Inc. It was private security. It was calling to him like a lost lover. It was paramilitary. It was nothing like I thought it was. Jacob was grinning ear to ear as he showed me information. In that moment I could not deny his happiness. Who was I to complain? I loved being a nurse. He deserved the same happiness.

Happiness. I had mulled that word over, as I pulled up to the hardware store. Would new paint on the walls and a new bathroom make me happy? It couldn't hurt.

I averted my eyes from the racks near the check stand. I'd been here a bunch since I'd finally closed on the duplex. I was fixing it up before I moved us in. I'd learned to be handy. If I could find a vein in an arm I could find a stud in a wall.

As I searched through some bolts I noticed a father kneeling down next to his little girl, their coppery heads close as they looked at something on the cabinet isle. For a moment my heart ached as much as it made me smile. I had memories, but the ache grew as I realized my own kids would not know those things from their father. They could not have what I now cherish.

"Bells, you meet mostly good people in Hardware stores. They are responsible and they fix things, mostly themselves - that makes them willing to try and patient and involved. Meet someone in a hardware store and you'll probably have a friend for life."

I'd been recruited to California, because of my experience and license. He kept the old house. The one we'd closed on just before he left. It was too small for us. Rooms become prison cells when your heart is broken in them.

Now maybe I didn't mean to treat you bad

But I did it anyway

And now maybe

Some would say your life was sad

But you lived it anyway

And so maybe

Your friends they stand around they watch you crumble

As you fall to the ground

And someday …

Jacob

I shifted in my seat, anxious to get this day behind me. The heat from the studio lights, the smell, it all made me remember the time …..the time Bella and I came into LA from 29 Palms to be at a taping of Let's Make A Deal. Some deal I've made. The lights also make me anxious. It was under such lights that I was put through my paces with Bydand. I literally remade myself those weeks of training. Bella had no idea how I was changing, transforming really. The first jobs were skate - celebrity backstage duty, a few politicians, often home at night and Bella had shifted her schedule to see more of me. She was setting up us for a home, for the long haul and as soon as I'd seen she'd been looking at houses, I took that moment to show her the public face of Bydand. She beamed as she realized it would make me happy. I should have told her then how far I was willing to go. How far I would go.

An assistant called me over and I took my place next to Ness, holding Rebecca as Nathan stood in-between us. I had them, they are here and they are safe. My family. Really, everything else is collateral damage. Acceptable. Damages I have created and I have to learn to live with the effects. Just then the camera's went off, startling Rebecca but we still looked the perfect family. Hiding in plain sight. It just took me a while to get there. Next, the actors came into the photo with us. At least the interviews were over. All I wanted was to get home and take the kids and play with our dogs. The rest of the world could fade out. At least I can hope it won't find me anytime soon. I pray her kid's don't see this too soon. Is it awful I have never thought of them as mine? I have only seen them in a photo she pushed under my face. Dad will go to see them. I won't interfere

I know I'll be judged if things come to light. I don't think they will. That is not her style. She always has and will continue to avoid the limelight.

Shite! I am fooling myself and I know. I am darn good at it. It saved me, it brought me, Ness. Everything else, just details.

Edward

When I remember how I first noticed her, she was always neat, her brown hair pulled off her face, in pressed scrubs as she parked in the same place each morning, and walked her children up the block, into their daycare, the same one my Ellie attended before and after kindergarten. Her little boy was tall, and I thought they might be in the same group, but Ellie didn't know him, she was the tallest in her age group at The Sunshine Place.

I'd developed the habit of spending a few minutes in my car after dropping Ellie and crossing the road to the 7-11, kitty-corner from the school. It was the quietest few moments of my day and now seeing her each day was a highlight. It also let me know it was time for me to get over to my office and start my rounds.

Ellie and I had settled here a few years ago, after. After Kate. Kate was once my world and I was planning to marry her, but she had wanted to wait, to be slender in her dress. I was in the ER when she was brought in, with the other injured when on a rainy afternoon, a truck had flipped on the Dan Ryan, causing a multi-car pile up. She had stopped to help and was struck by another vehicle. Ellie was just 4 months old. Her parents buried her in her wedding gown. The world was in tiny pieces and nothing mattered but I had my little angel and an offer to come to the sunshine of California.

I had met Kate in the rain, under an awning while waiting for a shuttle at the U of Chicago - we were Med students and we became a couple at the end of our second year after flirting through hundreds of hours of study group. We got engaged after our intern year and our residencies would keep us both in Chicago. After we had set our wedding date, Kate found out she was pregnant and didn't see any need to rush…

I got to keep my daughter and had no say in the final care for Kate.

I have my memories and photographs. Ellie will know about her mother. Her grandparents have kept contact, it's strained but we get them together at least once a year.

One thing we had wanted to do was build a house. We each had such specific ideas and wants that we felt we would have to build it from scratch. We'd sat in on a rainy Sunday or three, planning and dreaming about that place. Who knew I would come close to it in California. Add a porch, a window garden window and we were there. The house hadn't quite been finished when the couple that had ordered it had been transferred. Their predicament was the answer to my prayers. Now Ellie and I could finish it. Kate would have done it with Ellie, she was the more mechanically minded - Orthopedic surgeon after all. I was a hospitalist. So, off we go to the paint store, the furniture store and of course the hardware store.

Bella

I rolled the cool metal in my hand. It brought me back to the afternoon, the last afternoon of my marriage. I had tucked the metal container for Jacob's favorite sunglasses in the pocket of his backpack. His suitcase was at the door. This was a bigger assignment. It was out of the country. He'd estimated one to three months, but the bonus would be enough for a down payment/expenses on a house we'd been looking at. His VA had covered most of it, but there are always extra costs and it was time. I would miss him, and I knew that communication might be difficult at times. Nothing we hadn't been thru before. I'd learned the full drill from another Bydand spouse as well as an information session I had attended at their headquarters. Headquarters - the building was nondescript, and it was probably a shared conference room with the other offices in the building.

I'd never go there again. Sam or one of the other managers stopped by from time to time. Omega site was in a hotel. Public. Maybe they'd chosen it because there I wouldn't make a scene.

I mulled over the memory. In our session, we learned: Alpha - first contact for staff after a completed mission. On short ones, it was the office, A beta site for repatriation was used only when out of country, delta site would be where one would be sent for further care…I hoped I would never have to hear he was at that level. Omega, that was for reunions after long assignments.

I was given a name and a phone number for contact. I had a PO box for mail, that seemed odd to me at first, but as the weeks went by without any response I craved even a photograph of his handwriting. I had only the one, the note photographed and emailed to me, then deleted from the servers somewhere. I printed it out, for memory purposes.

Hey B

I'm safe and sound for now. Back at you when I can. LUMUBS Me

Love you

Miss You

Be Safe

Was that even true when he wrote it?

I wrote dozens of letters those first six months and even enclosed copies of the sonograms. In later years, photographs.

I reached out to Sam, my contact. He told me the letters were in the system and Jacob could see them. He never told me that Jacob had refused to see them.

Now he's part of a hero story. I'm the secret along with my angels. Well paid to be calm and quiet. Well paid to be safe, to keep them safe - hiding in plain sight. Nobody tells you how to tell your children that they had heard lies for all of their short lives.

But you go on. You move, you buy another home and work to erase what pain you can. You tell stories….

Your daddy loves you. (lie, he doesn't care to even meet them) He has to do other things to be safe and keep us safe. (alternate view of the truth)

Someday… (yeah right, someday the truth will come out and I won't stand in your way of whatever you'll need to be ok, confront or forget.)

Mommy is fine and happy….(mommy is only happy when you two hug me)

Happy is overrated after you are 30. Happy is new paint and locks, a kitchen that is easy to clean.

Happy is guarding your family against a world that will hurt them one day and hope they don't come to hate you.

Here's to a new beginning in a new place. Maybe that damn book will get lost in the move.

Jacob

One Cold can of Coca-Cola in my hand and Boom! I'm right back - 24 hours into the mission and we were chilling in a cafe. Cold beers, sharp eyes and playing like my cover was bulletproof. She came in with several girls, smiling over their Coca-Cola and dinner plates.

It was like the world had stopped when we looked briefly at each other. There was no mission, no cafe, no team.

No Bella.

As luck would have it, I'd never believed in the old tales, that our family, our tribe fell for our beloved like a toppled stone or a thunderbolt. Bella was warm, beautiful, comfortable. Passion? I thought I knew.

I was an idiot. I'd let her go, she'd find someone who would be more for her, because when I found my everything - I'd want that for her. Guilt was fleeting;

at least then it was.

When she stormed into Omega, she was nothing but controlled fury, bottled into my favorite navy wrap dress that had me doubting the story of twins. I had sent word to our team to draw up the divorce papers. They'd sold the story that I'd married in-country (True) believing me to be a widower…..

After I met Ness I'd penned a note, and burned it, then tried again, several times before I gave up. I let her go in my mind, thinking she'd give up on me….

I'd forgotten how strong she was. It was hell in that little conference room. Her eyes were so sharp, piercing my confidence when even the brigaderios hadn't cracked it once. Finally, for the safety of her children, she'd let me go. To see hope and love drain from her eyes as we signed the papers. The bridges are burned. Destruction - That, I am good at.

Finally finished! Finally, we can get to the airport and leave this place alone. I noticed the Hardware store as the SUV sped up an access road. My Dad loves those stores. I'll take Nathan to one when we are home.

Good fathers teach their kids how to fix things.

Edward

I knew a couple of the staff in this store, and the only one I spied today was the teen clerk who seemed to only have eyes for the phone in his hand. Technology is no picnic when he even barely acknowledged a pretty blonde who purchased some faucets for a bathroom. When I was sixteen …ha! Who am I kidding, I was a nerdy little nerd with my nose always in a textbook. I probably would have been too flustered to say too much.

I turned to look into a face I really only knew from a distance. My morning mystery girl was very studiously looking over the doorknobs and locks. This brought a feeling that I thought I'd long lost to warm my core. Carpe diem and all that, I had to try at least.

"You look like you know what you are doing."

"Well, either learn to fix things or learn to live without. I'm fond of things working, so I taught myself whatever my father didn't."

"I'm sorry, I'm Edward, Edward Cullen and over there is my daughter Ellie. Can I ask a favor? Can I pick your brain for some advice, parent to parent?"

She stilled for a moment, an uneasy shadow passed over her features, but she nodded her accent and I continued on, praying I wasn't a rambler.

" I think I've seen you at the Sunshine Place - My daughter goes there before and after school," I noted her face soften and a warmth wash over her eyes as she responded.

"My twins are four. I'm sure that's why you seem familiar. I'm Bella. My children are Lizzy and Will Black"

"I've seen you in scrubs. The color makes me think you work at USC?"

"Keck, I'm a nurse there."

"Maybe there then. I'm one of the hospitalists. " Her responding smile told me I was on the right track. "I'm trying to finish our house and I'd promised Ellie's mom even before she was born that we'd finish our house as a family. My dad always told me you meet the best people in hardware stores."

"Mine used to say that too."

"Perfect. I'm trying to find some things that Ellie can do, besides paint a bit. Do you think a 7-year-old can put on some cabinet hardware? Help with doorknobs and handles?

"It can't hurt to have her try."

Just then Ellie turned and smiled up at Bella. "Daddy, I choose these. Will they look nice in the kitchen.?"

I was at a loss when Bella got to Ellie's eye level. "Hi, Miss Ellie. Your dad told me your name. I think you go to the Sunshine Place with my twins. I can tell you a way to think about your choice. Can you close your eyes and see your kitchen in front of you?" Ellie nodded

"Tell me what you see." Ellie described the white cabinets, and the shiny appliances, as well as the dark floor. Then Bella asked her to hold that knob in her hand and then imagine what it will look like on the cabinet. Ellie's face screwed up and concentration for a moment and then a soft smile broke over her features.

"Oh! I can I can see it Miss Bella and it isn't the right one. I need to… I know which one I need to pick!" And then she darted back up the aisle and began to look through the bins again.

"Well, Miss Bella you seem to have the touch. " I jammed my hands into my pockets like a middle schooler and took a chance. "This is awkward but is there a Mr. Bella? I don't see a ring and I don't want to be too forward…?"

"That's a story, but no. I'm just me now. Me plus mine make three. Too much?"

"Not at all. I'd love to hear it."

"So no ring for you either. I hope I'm not too forward but is Ellie's mom in the picture?"

"No, is the short answer, but it's a tale. Would you be willing to have dinner and swap stories?"

The look on her face flashed between disbelief and hope and then a light and a smile took my fear away as she answered.

"If you are willing to ask me out when I'm in my …well then yes."

We exchanged numbers and addresses, deciding that tomorrow night, we'd meet at the Hyperion Public in Silver Lake. I wanted to join Ellie in skipping to our car, and even in LA, I think the sigh of a man over six feet tall skipping down Hyperion would not go over well.

As Ellie and I worked, one I was glad I'd hired painters to take care of the majority of walls and two - I have a vision of sending Ellie off to care and school with a giant glob of paint in her hair.

As we screwed in the doorknobs on the bedroom doors, I listened as Ellie spoke to her self and imagined a room for Miss Bella and then another room for her twins remarking since they were still little they'd share a room at least until they were a bit older

My daughter was nothing if not wildly optimistic, or a visionary like her Aunt Alice, my kid sister. I said nothing, but I did note her idea had merit. Even a doctor can dream after all.

Bella

Angela was the first person I met when I began the renovations at the duplex. She and her husband lived in the "back house" next door and she was a teacher at the Sunshine Place. Her husband was a vicar and their home was rented to them by a member of Ben's congregation. By some miracle, she wasn't sick of children on the weekend and she was happy to occasionally watch my two from time to time. That is how I was able to slip up to the hardware store unattended and graciously she and Ben will watch the kids for my date. Angela is one of the few that know most of the story. What I can tell her at least. She's my local cheerleader and is practically pushing me out the door. In case I decided to drink a grown-up beverage - a martini is calling me - I decide to Lyft over to the Hyperion Public before I lose my nerve

My favorite blue dress met its demise in a small bonfire, so I dug out a pretty blouse and a favorite skirt for dinner. I manage to feel a little more like myself, no mom self or responsible RNSelf either. Not bad for 33 I thought as I put on my only pair of dress shoes that had survived the move. My Lyft would be there in five. Fortune favors the bold was an old saying of … and tonight it did not make me upset - it fit.

Edward

The Hyperion was busier and louder than I'd expected for a Sunday. We decided to give it a rest after one drink upstairs at their bar and we wandered down the street to Barbrix. It was quieter, almost romantic and a good place to swap stories. I decided to be brave and go first. The look on Bella's face as I spoke was mesmerizing. Her eyes glowed with a deep understanding. I felt a kinship rather than sympathy, which had lost its luster, or its common twin, mere pity. I almost felt like I had a partner in crime. A crime I didn't commit, mind you, but maybe just maybe we could make some mischief.

I think at that point she could have told me any story and I would have listened and sympathized. I realized that if she'd asked, I'd have told her she had me that very night.

Bella

I was in a little bit of disbelief that our night was going so well. It had been so long since I had felt so comfortable, in fact, I don't think I'd ever felt that comfortable with anyone. I toyed with the stem of my wine glass as I gathered the courage to share the whole story. Edward made me feel a kinship as I had recognized his story from the news. For some reason, it had stuck with me. I took a deep breath.

"I was married to a Marine….."

I told him the whole thing. I wrapped it up with a mention of the movie to come. I watched his face. He'd been nodding and gesturing in agreement and at the end, he pulled me into a hug. He kissed my forehead. He just sat, holding me and accepting it all.

He could have asked for the moon right then and I would have tried to grab him a piece.

Best for our sanity that he just left me with a soft kiss as he put me into my Lyft home that night.

We texted for the better part of two hours after we'd both assured each other that our children were safe and asleep.

Edward.

Do you know that feeling of having someone to talk to who just knows who you are and loves and accepts you for it? No changing, no criticizing. I don't expect this bubble to last forever, but the acceptance. The Love. I'd had it once. I hadn't dared hope for more, but to find it. To share it. To have it surround your family and breathe a peace back into your heart is truly proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.

I was happy. It showed at work, in my care of Ellie but most of all in my care for Bella.

We found moments to talk once we realized we were often only a floor apart. We dated for a few months before we found a place to meet as full families. If your thought was the TruValu, you'd be close. We came together in the garden center at Lowes.

I am saving a lot of things for when Ellie is older because she tried a few times to wait up for me on date night.

I set up a dinner with the three of them to surprise Bella for Mother's day. We went to an old-school French restaurant that wasn't too stuffy near Echo Park called Taix. Bella had worked the day shift, as was her habit, and this was my first chance to spoil her a bit. That afternoon, Ellie surprised me by sitting with Lizzy and Will, the three of them making a card for Bella and discussing how long it would be before I would make them all official. Ellie stated to them that she needed a mom she could hug, not just a photograph, and Will agreed that a Here Dad would be better than a book dad.

She didn't need a prince to sweep her off her feet. She needed one beside her, as I needed my princess to be next to me. Share things, even ridiculous things.

Precious things. It was time for me to visit a different kind of a hardware store.

Kate's ring was in a box for Ellie, so I took the trio to Tiffany's in the Americana at Brand. I think it was the quickest ring sale the store had experienced as Will and Lizzy saw something on the way in that they had to show me. It was in the window of Barnes and Noble and it gave me a perfect idea what to do for the three of them…..

Bella

Our first night together was almost a last-minute affair. We'd watched Frozen with Ellie and then Edward tucked her in as I poured some wine and waited for his return. Angela and Ben were at my house with Will and Lizzy, I had a bigger kitchen and Angela wanted to cook for the week. It was a win-win for me and so I found myself dozing on the overstuffed sofa. The week was catching up with me and the drive back to Eagle Rock suddenly seemed twice as long. Before I knew it, Edward had scooped me up and was carrying me back toward the bedrooms. I'd only spied his room once before when he was giving me the "dime tour" His place was huge compared to mine, and his room was enormous to my tired eyes.

He set me on the bed and slipped off my shoes. His face was so close to mine as he tucked me under the duvet.

"Rest. It's been a busy week and I know the feeling. I'll be just over here…"

I looked to see a large chair and oversized ottoman over near the windows. It looked cozy for reading but not for the night.

"Edward, just come here. We're both beat. I've slept plenty with little fingers and toes poking me. I think something bigger and warmer will be a perfect change of pace."

Without another word he slipped off his shoes and jeans, sliding under the duvet and wrapping his arms around me, kissing my cheek as we both drifted off.

Somewhere in the night, most of the rest of our clothes landed on the floor. But for kisses and caresses, the dawn found us still chaste but determined. Edward made a phone call to a friend of Ellie's from school and arranged a playdate. I knew Edward was using a bit of a ruse to garner our privacy but for once I didn't care. I had promised Angela I would be home by 1. It felt a little like sneaking around after school but our tables were turned.

I heard the door close and the silence gave me a rush of courage. I decided to wait in the bath for Edward. Cleanliness and all that.

I wasn't long in the bath, till I heard the door open and his footsteps toward his room. His green eyes sparkled as he caught my smile as I leaned back in the oversize tub. Whirlpools are so kind as we fumbled with kisses long on instinct and short on technique.

"Sweetheart we have time to learn each other. Practice makes for more fun" he whispered in my ear as I felt my skin begin to prune.

"How about some dry land practice now?"

"I thought you'd never ask" he growled in my ear as he opened the drain and helped me to stand. The bath sheet was warm to my chilled skin, and my nipples pebbled from the loss of the warm water. His tongue flicked over each, sending a thrill from my toes to my head as he completed wrapping me up. He had a thing for carrying me as he brought me back to his bed, and we landed and rolled, sliding together on instinct. To feel as one, to be whole. To have the most delicious ache satisfied. The thrill of his touch multiplied by a hundredfold. To see wonder in his eyes, and to hear him groan "oh god" into my shoulder. To know what I did to him. To feel him. To feel good again, better than I ever had. To be held and accepted and drift off to sleep, not feeling so alone in the world. That is love, and we'd be practicing the art as much as we could; if I have any say in it.

Now maybe some would say you're left with what you had

But you couldn't share the pain

No, no, no

No one to make a Mother's day for me….I'd worked so those who had a chance to celebrate could enjoy the day.
My mom, she didn't expect a card, but If I didn't call, that would "kill her Buzz" and mess with her Karma….and my dad was oblivious to the day since his mother had died not long after his divorce.

This year had been different. Lizzy had insisted I change out of my scrubs at the hospital and Edward and the kids had driven me there after a stop for my favorite McDonald's breakfast biscuit with bacon.

There was a Lyft driver waiting for me as I left the hospital in my new dress. Taix was a charming restaurant and old school. The four of them were waiting just inside for my arrival. Will held a small bouquet and Ellie and Lizzy held a poster-sized card. I'd been a Mom for over five years and this took my breath away as much as when I first held my babies.

Now it's father's day. I've called my dad but he didn't answer. I'd sent Billy a card and new photographs. He'd promised not to forget his first grandchildren and his namesake, but I let him call me now. I'd asked Edward how he'd like to celebrate and he asked for an afternoon at the beach. His housekeeper, Ellen Gordon, had packed a big picnic for us and Ellie had helped me find a few small gifts that I wrapped with the three of them. Edward had chosen the spot and as we walked along the sand from our parking space at Will Rogers, I spotted my father already sitting on a blanket. Will and Lizzy took off at a trot and I sprinted right along with them. It had been a while since I had seen Charlie and it was a thrill to feel his arms wrap the three of us up. We built sandcastles and memories. Charlie charmed Ellie and he and Edward chatted about sports and such, taking a stroll on the beach. We all sat on the blankets and demolished most of the lunch. We gave Edward his gifts and I promised dad he would see his gift (a new tackle box) when he came home.

Couldn't share the pain they watch you suffer

Now maybe…

Jacob

I saw the photographs posted on the fridge. The children. Then the children and more with Bella. Flowers and hugs. A tall man with a child on each shoulder, kneeling on the beach. There were three children, and they each sat, holding a book over their heads

Then I saw the invitation:

Charles Swan and Renee Dwyer

Dr. Esme Cullen and Dr. Carlisle Cullen

Ellie, William, and Elizabeth

ask for your prayers and presence

for the Marriage of

Isabella Marie Swan Black

and

Dr. Edward Anthony Masen Cullen

and the celebration of our new family!

Sunday, August 13th

Half-past Four O'Clock in the Afternoon

Mount Calvary

Beverly Hills, California

Reception to follow

Beverly Hilton

Regrets Only

Surprisingly, it stung.

The little ones…

Elizabeth and I wanted to wear white - those dresses were as pretty as Frozen, so mine had a blue ribbon and Lizzy's had a pale purple one. They are the same color as the books Daddy made for each of us. Mama's dress was what she called soft white, and it had a ribbon as green as dad's eyes around her waist. Dad and Will wore "monkey suits" with green ties. Lizzy and I walked up first, and the look on Daddy's face when he saw Mama…well! I hope someday, my prince looks at me just like that.

I thought all our hearts would just burst. I watched Mama and Daddy dance. I held hands with Will and Lizzy. We spun around and around. I was sure we would hold this moment in our hearts forever. I looked at our "hardware." Daddy had given Mama, Lizzy and I each a bracelet with a crest that matched the one he had on his ring and Will got a cuff. Daddy was right. You can find forever friends while searching for the right hardware.

Fin

With thanks for the Prompts, the FAGE organizers - bless you, Grammarly and PutASporkIntoIt. Extra thanks to MarieCarro for the brilliant Banner!

Until the muses are kind again

Rebadams7