Crime Of Fire
Words without summary: 9143
Summary: Sometimes, life gives you a fire that moves through your life and makes you question your whole life
Pairing: Edward/Bella, Charlie
Disclaimer: All things Twilight belong solely to Stephenie Meyer. No copyright infringement is intended.
This was my second entry in the Twilight Crime Crusaders Contest. This one did not win, but I am proud of it none the less! Thank you to my girl, itsmereading for your betaing expertise! Your friendship means a lot to me! Also, I would like to thank everyone for their support in my writing! I am happy that you all like me enough to read and comment on my work! Again, any questions, please feel free to message me! Love you all! -Brier
Looking around, it is hard to tell anything is missing. At least to the untrained eye. If you want to be honest, it looks as though a bomb went off in the house. Scanning the residence, you can see the order of it. The family that lives here has five children, ages sixteen, Hudson, twelve, Hadley, nine, Heidi, and three-year-old twins, Henry and Holden. They also have four foster children, as of yesterday, one was an emergency placement that was placed around 10:30 last night. Their ages were twelve, Sawyer, ten, Miles, six, Tessa and the newest a newborn just a week old, Aspen-Jade. Three of the foster children have a range of special needs, and based on the pregnancy and birth of the forth, she might not be far behind. Not that you could tell any difference from the way these children are raised. The parents do everything they can to raise each child the same.
The father, Carlisle, works as a pediatric doctor at the hospital in town but has no known enemies. The mother, Esme, stays home and in her free time writes children's books. She specialized in books to help children with the challenges of new siblings, especially special needs siblings. Everyone who would read her books loves her. She would even do special request books if a family needed something unique. Frequently not charging the family because she wants to be a blessing to others.
Needless to say, there is little free time for this family. Between the several doctor appointments, therapies, meal preps for two kids who were on special diets, one who was exclusively tube fed, and one newborn on formula. Along with their own children's needs, two who she was still trying to breastfeed. Thankfully for this family, it seems like the biological children loved their foster siblings even with the challenges they often added to the family unit. It is reported that the family, while they could be loud, on average, was well behaved. They screamed love, wanted, and cared for.
Which is why it is hard to understand why there is crime scene tape around the house. Why almost the entire Forks Police Department, Clallam County Sheriff's Office, and local Washington State State Troopers are at this house. Crime Scene Investigators, Fire Police, and ATF are also among those present. The ones who are fortunate enough not to be working are praying for this family, the town and each other. God help us if this ends badly. Signs are not looking good, the house is too quiet.
The family in question usually is not on any kind of police agency radar. Until Christmas when the kids bring Christmas cookies and many different treats for the different local police, fire, and ambulance departments. They are some of the best treats ever! Always made with love and care. You could always tell which of the kids decorated based on the design. But that was one of the things you loved about the family. There was nothing that did not work. A cookie full of sprinkles? Beautiful! A cupcake with a ton of frosting in one spot but none on another? That's thinking outside the box! Drawing with frosting odd designs? It's Tuesday, isn't it?
What was not making any inkling of sense to anyone who works this case, is how someone could do this to such a loving family. Then again, does any family ask for something like this? No. They do not.
Looking at the piles of ash and debris that should be where the house is, it really messes with the mind. Not only that, there is no sign of the family anywhere. Does that mean they were not there when it happened? Or will there not be any evidence left of them? Prayers are being said for this family from people who don't pray. Me being one of them.
My name is Edward Masen. I am a detective in the Washington State Police Department. This is a story that I can already tell will really wreck with the minds of the local townspeople for years.
It is a normal day. A little hot for my liking, but it is a rare sunny day here in Forks, the rain capital of the world or at least the northwest United States. My day started with waking up to my very loveable, grumpy and extremely pregnant wife Bella. She is carrying our miracle triplets. Babies we prayed hard for and that until recently, weren't able to have. For almost as long as we have been together, which was our junior year in high school, we knew we wanted a large family. So, we finished high school and that summer we got married. A simple wedding of sorts, but perfect for us. Bella's dad, Charlie, was able to get us married by his best friend, and Bella's Godfather, Quileute Chief Billy Black on the beach of La Push. She is also good friends with Billy's son Jacob. Jake is a good guy, married to his own wife, Leah. Charlie and Bella might as well be Quileute based on the closeness of their families. Billy and Charlie joked for years that Bella and Jacob should someday marry. That might have worked if Leah and I hadn't come along. They have about twenty kids- or five, same thing with how wild they are! They are ours if anything happens to Leah and Jake. So, we pray very hard every day for their health!
Back to that sunny day in late June. We had our hopefully last doctor's appointment before our triplets were born. They had been doing well and Bella's OB/GYN did not see any issues with the upcoming birth for any of them, I was so happy to hear. Benjamin Anthony "Benji", Elizabeth Margaret "Liza Marie", and Charlotte Rose "Charlie Rose", we're going to be making their theatrical debut any day now or July 1st, whichever came first. I was nothing but excited. Because of Bella's near "due date", my Sergeant Harry Clearwater kept me close to home which was nice of him. I really wished I could have been anywhere but there that day, but I will forever be grateful that I was there that day.
After Bella's appointment, I got a phone call to head out to an old house on the outskirts of town. The address seemed familiar, then again, most addresses in town are familiar. When I got to the doctor's house, my heart sank. I prayed this was a faulty electrical system or something, not arson.
Looking at the faces around me, it's arson.
The saving grace was that at the time of the fire, the entire Cullen family was not home. This normally would look suspicious to investors, except they were at court to finish the adoption process for the oldest three foster kids. Since it was determined that there was close to zero percent chance they could have started this fire since the entire family was in court, we ruled them out. Of course, the town of Forks stepped up and helped the family out. Carlisle was given time off of work to get everything settled with getting the house repaired. The family was grateful it happened when it did or it would have been tragic.
While investigating the Cullen house fire, another call came in, this one a few houses down the street. Unfortunately, the family was home.
The McCarthy family consists of Emmett and his wife Rosalie, and kids Haley, nine, and Emerson, five. Emmett and Rosalie are both great friends of mine and Bella's. It makes me sad to see their house in flames and know they are inside. As the Firefighters work to rescue them and put out the fire, I begin to scan through the crowd. Mainly to see if anyone from the Cullen home is here, which isn't that hard to do since they are so close to each other. Most the people I do recognize as neighbors, except for the Pastor and his wife, Eric and Angela Yorkie. Since it is during the day and the church is four houses down, I don't think anything of it. I do write it down to ponder later.
As I investigate the scene in front of me, I am at a loss of words. Emmett's normally clean yard is a mess. It appears that whoever is responsible for this went from the woods to the back of the house. The fire was started in several parts of the house, one in particular where the garage is. They would not have known there was a fire there. The other near the opposite end of the house is a small greenhouse that is attached. Rose loves her fresh herbs and vegetables. The house is a small ranch house with a full basement with a cellar door. Wait a minute. If they can't get out why aren't they using the basement door?
It sadly appears that they were in the basement and had a hard time getting out by the basement stairs and the lock to the cellar door to the basement was engaged on the outside. That was not like that two days ago. Emmett never locked that door for this reason!
"Lock cutters now!" I screamed.
"Masen that is evidence! Don't touch it!" My idiot captain who would not care about lives lost calls out. Aro Volturi is an ass. Thankfully, a firefighter sees the exchange and brings a lock cutter. He cuts the lock and opens the door. The entire family is on the steps with their dog and cat. They appear to have lost consciousness.
I radio for backup and any available medics to transport them to the hospital. I ran inside stepping over Emmett and Rosalie, grabbing Haley and Emerson pulling them out of the house, as they looked to be in worse shape. As soon as I get them safe, firefighters come out with Emmett and Rose, then the cat and dog. Everyone is brought to the hospital or the emergency vets and more prayers are spoken
Looking around for clues, I find the lock that had been the reason my friends weren't able to get outside themselves. I call for another officer and us along with the firefighter who cut it to bag it into evidence. With me being as close to the case as I am, I want nothing to hinder the investigation. I find my Sergeant, Harry Clearwater, and let him know this might not be a case I can work on due to my friendship with the family. He agreed with me and sent me back to the Cullen's house to talk to them as they were home. I agreed and left.
I look around before I leave and notice more people, several I don't know. This is the part of small towns that is scary. When there is a tragedy and suddenly people from everywhere else come to watch the shit show. I pray that whoever is responsible for this insanity is done. Sadly, they seemed to just be beginning.
Over the radio, as I travel to the Cullen's house, I hear another fire call. The street was mine, but I missed the number. I radio in my location and ask for the address again. Over the chatter I hear my father-in-law shouting. Carlisle was outside waiting for me. The panic in my eyes must have been a lot.
"How old are your children detective Masen?" concern plastering his face.
"My triplets are due any day now, sir." I can't move. Someone grabs me and throws me into a car and I can't even fight back, thankfully it is Harry, Paul Lahote, and Carlisle. We make it to my house and it is up in flames. Charlie is beside himself. The fire department arrived and Bella is trapped in our second-floor bedroom. I can tell the fire is too hot for anyone to go in through the front door.
"Ruin the grass if you need to! My daughter is most likely in her room and the easiest access would be the side window there!" Charlie shouts to the Fire Chief and they move the truck to get to the window.
Thankfully, it appears that one of us opened it this morning because she is right there! She looks tired and winded, but alright!
As I wait for her to come down the bucket ladder, I glance around to see what might have been the cause. Our cellar door was jimmied in an odd way. I call Harry and point to the door and he nods calling for others to come. Firefighters and other officers come, collecting evidence as they were trying to save whatever they could. For every piece, they got ten probably were destroyed by the water.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a couple people in the woods, wearing matching khaki pants and dark shirts. Almost like the uniforms for the church school. Are the Newton kids watching? Nope, it's not them.
Now, sometimes kids are known to hang out back there. There are two that live next door and they have their friends over all the time. Jessica and Mike Newton's kids Kiera and Jack. They are as annoying as their parents were in school. At least those two aren't trying anything as their parents did with Bella and me.
I swear they looked familiar. Like I just saw them. At the other crime scenes, perhaps? But they weren't wearing those clothes. I ask for radio silence and I get it. Until I see another fire at Charlie's house across the street. Yes, my father-in-law lives across the street. His neighbors, the Cope's decided to move to Florida to get out of the rain. They practically gave it to us when Charlie mentioned we were looking for a house for our growing family. At the time it was worth about $150,000. We got it for the bargain price of $50,000. Needless to say, our mortgage is almost paid off and we have had the house for less than five years. We had been paying what we would have if we bought the house at regular price so that Bella could stay home once we had the kids and we would have one less bill to worry about. It has worked out well, with my parents being dead and Renee not wanting anything to do with us after we married young. Wait. Why is Charlie's house on fire?
What in the hell is going on here?
I watch as Carlisle finished checking over Bella and the babies, I was called over to her. Harry telling me he was handling it from here. I informed him of the kids in the woods wearing the church schools uniform.
"Mase, you know school is out, right?" Paul looked worried, like that could have been our fire starters. Fuck!
"No. I don't have kids. The Newton's are not known for sending their kids to school. when they are supposed to. Saturdays, those kids have their acts together and can make the bus time! Mondays, fat chance in hell!" I could not believe that I may have allowed the arsonists to go to Charlie's house! I am an idiot.
"Masen, stop worrying. You have a wife and babies to look after. Looks like Doctor Cullen might want you," Harry slaps my shoulder. I nod and walk towards my wife and babies.
"Detective, right now your wife looks alright. But, I would find a place for her to go to rest. Do you have anywhere to go? Maybe the police station for now until we understand what happened at your father-in-law's house?" Carlisle asks. "I would have offered my home but you saw how that looks. I don't even know where I am going to have all of my family go. We are a big bunch! Go check on your wife! I am sure we will chat later." Carlisle pats my shoulder and walks away.
I get to my Bella and she looks tired. I hold her close to me, kissing every inch of her face, not caring who is around me. I felt the babies kicking me, and the combination of her being here with them kicking me made me cry. I am man enough to admit that I cried. My miracles could have been lost that day, all four of them. Thank God they were not! We can replace our home and stuff but I can't replace any of my babies.
"We need to get you somewhere safe. Where you can sit and not watch our home be a crime scene. Why don't we go to the station? I feel like that would be the safest place for my babies now, alright my love?" I kiss her cheek and kneel down and kiss her belly. One kiss for each baby.
"No. Just let me sit in a car for a few minutes. I just need to calm down. I didn't know if I would lose you or the babies today. " There is no use in telling her no at this point.
"Love, may I suggest that you sit on the ambulance stretcher? Only so if you need to lie down you are easily able to." Not that I was going to say in case we need to go it would be faster. Nope, I am not stupid. I know my babies will be here soon.
"Do you mind if I check on Charlie? I want to make sure he is okay my love. Embry, can you stay with my Bella please?" I kiss her head and look Embry in the eyes. He nods in understanding. He has enough kids and adopted nieces and nephews to know what I mean. Hell, he's adding three more once these babies come. She nods to me and lays on her side on the stretcher. Embry gets her a blanket and puts it on top of her, playing with her hair to calm her down. Almost anyone else but him and Jake, I would have an issue with. But, Embry doesn't see Bella that way, he sees her as a sister. Honestly, now I'd let about anything that calmed her down go. I find Carlisle and he moves to stay near her.
Walking through the woods to get to Charlie's house, I see an old stone structure that I don't remember seeing. I text Charlie and Harry for reinforcements and wait. It hits me what it is. The county was trying to see if some of the old springs were still able to be used even if only for private use. There had to be something hiding in there. I pull out my gun, waiting for Charlie, Harry, and Paul to come back me up. Each of us took a side when we heard a noise coming from inside the structure. It did not sound human. I look around and notice that it is getting darker outside. Oh shit.
"I hate Bats! Why did we pick here to hide!" I hear a familiar screechy voice from inside.
I am closest to the only door. After a perimeter search is done and everyone is behind me, I open the door pointing my gun in the room.
"WASHINGTON STATE POLICE! HANDS UP!" We all shout except Charlie. "FORKS POLICE DEPARTMENT!"
Flashlights focus on a couple.
"What the fucking hell." Sometimes, there are no words. Especially when you think you see ghosts.
In front of me are two people who should be dead. I buried them just before I graduated high school in Forks Cemetery.
Edward Anthony Masen Senior.
Elizabeth Ann Brown Masen.
This can't be! How could they be alive? And setting my house, their son's friend's house, father-in-law's house, and a random stranger? How could they do it? How could they fake their deaths? Why would they fake their deaths and come back?
"Masen, do you know these people?" Harry asks.
"I honestly don't know. They look like my parents. But they died. What, twelve years ago Charlie?"
I look at Charlie and he is in shock.
"Close enough, Edward. Close enough."
"Edward and Elizabeth Masen Senior, you are both under arrest for attempted murder, arson, and possibly other charges including staging deaths, falsifying records, and whatever else we can find." Harry takes the lead and he and Paul arrest them. I stand in shock. They tried to kill my best friends and their family. They tried to kill strangers. They tried to kill me and my family. My Dad.
"Son, let's go find Bella. You may want to change some names now." Charlie was right. I wanted nothing to do with them. They almost took my babies away.
By the time I made it back to the road where Bella was with Embry, she was asleep. I gently bent over her sleeping form and kissed her forehead. I will never get tired of that.
She softly stirs and smiles. "Did you crack the case, honey?"
"We found who did it. Bella, I need to be honest, and we have to change two of the kids' names. I know we love them but after what happened today, I want nothing to do with Edward Anthony Masen Senior or Elizabeth Ann Brown Masen." I breathe in and out trying to take calming breaths.
"Love, my parents did not die. They did it." I put her face in my hands, apologizing every chance I can. She was disappointed, understandably so.
"How did that happen? We saw their bodies? Went to their funerals!" She needs to calm down.
"Bella honey, we need to calm down. I know it's a lot for you to take in, but remember the babies. They don't need the stress. We will handle it. What about different names love? How would you feel about us being a family of Swan's?"
She looks at me and is shocked. She smiles and we hug. She starts to cry, asking to get up and for Charlie.
She stood up, Embry and me on each side of her. Charlie comes to us and hugs Bella. During her hug, she had a sharp pain. Followed by her water breaking. Why she got off the stretcher to this day I don't know.
We managed to get to the hospital quickly and were rushed to the labor and delivery floor. Since she was having a c-section, we were wheeled to the OR. We were asked if we wanted one or two birthdays since we were nearing midnight. We opted for as few as possible but if two were needed that was okay.
Our son was born first. Doctor Riley called Benjamin's name and we got quiet. We forgot they had been named for so long. Next was Elizabeth. Last was Charlotte. Nurses were working on each child as I kissed Bella's hair.
"Thank you for being my biggest blessing and giving me more blessings, my love. Any ideas on names for our first two?" I really hoped she had an idea.
"Who has red hair? Our son?" She asked. That was a good question.
"The first two seemed to have copperish hair. They seem to take after their Daddy." Nurse Bree smiled, which made me smile.
"She looks like an Annabelle. Annabelle Sophia Swan. Our son? How would Garrett Thomas Swan work for you? Do you think Charlotte Rose Swan still works, Edward?" She looks at me with sweet eyes. Like I was going to say no to her? Ever! Except for having a daughter with ASS as her initials.
"I love Annabelle love but not if Sophia will be her middle name. As Masen that would have worked. As a Swan, it wouldn't." I give her a few minutes when it hits her.
"Her name is Annabelle. You think of a middle name, Smartypants." I love her laugh.
"Annabelle is a beautiful name. What about adding another flower name as her middle name?" I thought that was a good idea.
"Annabelle Lila. I love it! Done! Get the baby naming people here. What about our last name? Where's Charlie?! Garrett for our son?" She was in overload mode.
"Charlie can be here as soon as we are back in the room, love. I am sure he knows someone that can get our names changed quickly. I am sure I could find someone if we needed. Yes. Our son is Garrett. Good thing we only told Charlie their names. Let me follow see the babies and let them know their new names. In the meantime, I will message Charlie and tell him the great news! Thank you, my love!" I kissed her cheek and hair as she smiled.
"I love you, Daddy." This made my heart sing for joy.
"I love you too, Mama!" As I follow the parade of Swans' out to the newborn nursery. Congratulations are given to me and I could not have been more proud. I was surprised to see that Carlisle was there waiting for them and gave each one a look over. I was grateful he was there for us. He didn't know me well, but was there even though his family probably needed him more.
"Thank you, Dr. Cullen. This means a lot to Bella and me." Carlisle looks at me with a smile.
"Edward, you solved the case of my home being burnt down. It is the least my family can do. They are beautiful. You are truly blessed. My name is Carlisle." I looked up at him and he puts his arm around my shoulder. "Now who's who? I heard they were called the wrong names in the OR, understandably with what happened today. I am truly sorry Edward."
I laughed because we barely made the choice to change names while we were giving birth to them.
"Honestly, I need to wait for Pop. He is the inspiration for one of our daughter's names. Let me call him. Can he come back here?"
"Charlie Swan needs to meet his grandchildren. Please make sure that he comes back to us when he arrives, Ms. Mallory."
"Yes, Doctor Cullen."
I called Charlie then told him I need him to meet his grandchildren and he said he'd come by after Bella was able to come. Ten minutes later, he was pushing her in a wheelchair rolling his eyes.
"We were anxious and wanted to see my face when I met my favorite grandchildren." Charlie laughed. "I brought a friend with me to get some names changed. It should be done before you all leave here." I smiled.
"Charlie, meet your grandson Garrett Thomas Swan." I said after Bella handed her camera to a nurse who was videoing the meeting.
"Pop, this is Annabelle Lila Swan." Bella said pointing to Annabelle.
"And last but definitely not least, your favorite grandchild, Charlotte Rose Swan. Your little Charlie Rose." I can't say I really ever saw him cry. He did then as he held his only daughter. Several minutes later, he calms down and kisses her forehead.
"Thank you Bells. Son." Charlie is a man of few words. Those four little words mean more than a thousand. Damn it! Who cut the onions! Thinking back makes me cry.
"Dad, we have a serious question for you. You know what happened today. Have you been told why all this happened?" The look on Charlie's face says it all.
"Sadly Bells, the Elder Masen's won't talk until they talk to you, Edward. All the agencies involved know you were here giving me my grandchildren, so they are not rushing the process. They know it may be awhile with the kids being where they are gestationally and they waved their own lawyers since he is a lawyer. Son, I am grateful you don't take after them!" Charlie turned around and sees some people. He walks over to them, they shake hands and talk, walking towards us.
"I hate to do this, but if you want to get the birth certificates done we should do them now. I have Judges Peter and Jasper Whitlock. Gentlemen, this is my son and daughter Edward and Bella. They want to change their last names to Swan. And they need their children's last names as Swan as well. Thank you both for coming on such short notice." He looked almost giddy.
"Between you, Chief and my father-in-law's-friend, Carlisle, you think I had a choice? My Alice would never stand for this. Those poor babies! Bella and Edward, anything we can do for you please let us know! Alice loves shopping! My name is Jasper and this is my brother Peter." We shook hands and go into a conference room to talk.
"I am told you both want to change your last names to Swan after today. Do you want to wait until you know your parents' reasoning? Or just get it over with?" Peter asked.
I can understand why he would ask. But, there is little that can be said for me to want to stay a Masen. My life has been a lie for at least a third of my life. Why would I want to stay with a lie?
"Thank you, Peter it means a lot that you're trying to help my family. What I want for us is to move on. While I don't want to change part of who I am, and who my wife is, I don't feel like I have a choice. We had names already picked out that we had to change because we didn't want our children to feel bad about themselves after they realized who they were named after. Except for our little Charlie Rose. We kept her name. She is named in honor of her Pop." Charlie beamed with pride.
"What a fine name she has that little girl. My little Rose. I can't wait to hold them! Now, what do we need to do so that they can leave the hospital with the start of new names." Charlie is never one to do small talk if it is not needed. A quality I appreciate at a time like this.
"Honestly, you both need to sign these papers. As Chief Swan is swearing at who you both are, and the fact that you are a Detective Edward, makes me feel good without the normal birth certificates and social security cards we normally need. And since your babies don't have theirs yet, just name them with the Swan last name and they will be fine. Any other questions?" Jasper asked.
"No, I want to go back to my babies!" Bella was jittery. "We appreciate this, but we are missing so much already…"
"No worries Ma'am. We should be no more than a few minutes filling the paperwork out. Charlie filled some of it out for you Bella. Sadly, Edward, he left yours for you in case you wanted to change your name. Even just your middle name. And with you not being a Masen anymore, you are no longer a Junior. Your son was not named after you right?" I shook my head no to Jasper's question. "Good. Then let's get this done so Ms. Bella can see those babies!"
Bella's took almost no time since Charlie knew all her information already. He filed out what he could of mine, but forgot my birthday and did not know my social security number. I decided to change my middle name. Changing my last name was going to be hard enough. First and middle names as well, not really easy. I took some time to think of middle names. I couldn't think of any that I liked. Then I thought of Emmett. How I would have been heartbroken if I had lost him. I pray that I haven't lost him or his family.
"Charlie, any news on the McCarthy's? I feel bad that I didn't think of them until now."
"Edward, Emmett would understand your head not being on him. They are doing alright. They all are having breathing issues, but all are in this hospital. We are trying to get them to be on the same unit, but with so many now with individual rooms, that is proving to be difficult. Lord knows once Rosalie is awake, she will want her babies near her. Understandably so. They are going to open an older wing for them tomorrow. You won't be able to see them while the babies are in the NICU though, but once they are awake you can call them. I am sure they would love to hear from you." Charlie patted my shoulder. I nod and go back to work.
"Edward Swan. Edward James Swan. Edward John Swan. Edward Gabriel Swan. Edward Matthew Swan…" I was trying out names.
"Not Matthew or anything with an M. There is only room for one Em in my life and that spot is taken for Emmett Joel. Just saying." I love my wife.
"Edward Charles Swan it is. Thanks, Love." I kissed her cheek and finished filling out my forms. Once done and looked over. I gave them to Jasper and he read them gave them to Peter. Who read them and they both signed and stamped each both had done the same for Bella.
"Congrats! You are now Isabella Marie Swan and Edward Charles Swan! And your children will also be Swans'. Any questions?" I look at Bella and we smiled.
"Just whatever papers we need to change the kids' last names and ours. Thank you both for coming on such short notice!" Bella tried to get up but no one let her.
"Sit! You worked hard cooking those babies! Let these men take care of you! Call me if you need anything and when you are out of the hospital Bella, I am sure my wife would love to meet you! Here is my card call me anytime! It was a pleasure!" We shake hands and they leave. We rewash our hands as per protocol and go see our babies.
With each passing day, each of the babies got stronger. Garrett was the smallest and took a few more days to leave the hospital than his sisters, but it was a blessing to all be home. We were given an apartment to rent while we got our home fixed up. The bank let us off the rest of our mortgage payments, in part because we were so far ahead and so we could use that money to fix the house up. We were able to get our home and Charlie's fixed. With four homes in one small town needing to be fixed it was tough. Emmett's was being worked on last since they were in the hospital, then ours. The Cullen family was first since they had the most need. I had been impressed with how quick it was to get our houses fixed, which was such a huge blessing.
I went and talked with the Masen's. They told me that they never wanted to leave me. They were in witness protection. What I never knew was that they witnessed a double murder that involved the daughter and son-in-law of our now former senator. We had death threats and wanted us to be safe. They knew that I would never want to leave Bella. They also knew that Bella would make Charlie look for me. As for what they wanted to gain by burning all the homes they burnt down. The Cullens bought the now-disgraced Former Senators home. Senator Aro Volturi. Jane Volturi-Collins and Alec Collins killed a thirty-four-year-old wife and mother Tanya Denali and her daughter, eight-year-old Kate Denali. Why were they murdered? Tanya was driving and took the parking spot that Alec wanted. With premeditation, they followed the family around until they were able to get them in what they thought was a deserted area. My parents were walking to their hotel as they were in Seattle for a weekend away. They watched Kate get murdered, then Tanya. They heard and saw enough that they were able to give a pretty good description to the police. Once the Volturi-Collins were arrested, the threats happened. They happened until their deaths. I remember the Senator and his family at the services. I thought at the time it was odd that they would be there but did not think much of it. Really, that should have been a clue, but I was young and did not know any better.
The Masen's claimed that they did not know that the house was sold to another family. They also claimed that they did not know that the Cope's moved out of my house. The Cope family was not nice to my parents after the murders. They knew the Volturi family and actually set Jane and Alec up when they were teens. They never thought it was possible what they were being accused of. They made their lives hell. Lucky for me they liked me and never gave me trouble, or maybe that is why we got the house so cheap. They felt guilty about what happened to my parents. So most of my life has been a lie?
As for Charlie, and Emmett and Rosalie's houses, the Masen's chose a random house nearby to not make it look like there wasn't a reason for them being picked. They planned this out for weeks. Watching and waiting. They claim they never saw me, Bella or Charlie.
I don't believe them.
How can I? How many times had they taken me to their house when Bella and were dating? I think Charlie had lived there for almost eighteen years at that point? Or at least close enough.
They asked about their grandchildren and daughter-in-law. They asked about me. I showed them their grandchildren's birth announcement. Which was also the announcement of my family's new name.
"My son was going to be Benjamin Anthony. My first daughter was going to be Elizabeth Margaret. Charlie Rose's name is the only one we kept. We had all their names picked out for years. We kept trying to get pregnant and had a lot of trouble. When we finally tried a form of in vitro, we finally got pregnant. After trying for eight years, we finally got our babies which you almost took from me. You also almost took my best friends and his family. Thank God for the fact the Cullen family was at court that day adopting three of the kids they had fostered. God knows how that would have ended. They are a special family who did not deserve what happened to them. Not that any of us did. This is the last time you see me or know anything about myself or my family until we testify against you in court, or any other court proceedings. Edward and Elizabeth, goodbye." I got up and walked away, not looking back until I realized that I had left the picture on the table. I saw the look of shock on their faces.
"You are all Swan's now?" My former father asked.
"Yes. My children will never be associated with the people who tried to kill them."
I walked away asking the guard to get that picture from them. He did and gave it back to me. I thanked him and left, never looking back.
Three Year Later
Things happen when you least expect them to. Life moves on and memories are made.
While Edward and Elizabeth Masen both originally plead guilty to their laundry list of crimes, they eventually withdrew their pleas in hopes of insanity or not guilty verdicts. Needless to say, with the guilty pleas, they both had chances of parole. Without them, life. They received life and we got justice.
When the time came for the victim's statements, I asked that anyone who were victims be able to speak if they choose to. The Judge allowed it. Jasper and I had become good friends, as had Alice and Bella. His brother was the judge of this case, even though my family and his were close. Forks was lucky to have any judges, much less two. When the Masen's didn't ask for a different venue for the trial, I knew we would win.
Each of the Cullen's that were able to talk and remember that time did so. They were really powerful statements, your heart broke more for them. Carlisle and Esme both spoke of how they had to refuse emergency foster children for a time because of this fire. Children that instead of receiving a loving home, were sent to a group home that was already overcrowded and in need of shutting down. They lost five kids while the house was being repaired. Three of them were eventually able to move in with them and get the help they needed.
One is on trial for murdering his then-pregnant girlfriend who refused an abortion. Marcus Hughes is doing life without parole. As for the second, Tia Montgomery and her unborn baby girl lost their lives because where they were staying they couldn't get more beds for them.
They almost had to give up Aspen-Jade. They feel guilty for the three lives that were lost due to the damage of their home. While they may not have been able to save Marcus, Tia and Amber, they would have done everything they could to give them a safe and loving home.
Rosalie and Emmett were next. The kids each write something that they read to the court. They then accounted for all the medical issues they, as a family, now have. Four formerly healthy people, two had a hard time walking. Neither of the kids ever wanted to be alone in that house. They had to sell the house and buy a new one. As much as they loved Forks, the kids had a hard time adjusting to what happened. Even with therapy and support from the community, being near their old home made them sick. They ended up moving away. They were only in town to make sure that it was known what it cost them, most friendships included.
Charlie went next. He explained how watching his daughter and son's house burn with her being pregnant nearly killed him. The struggle to not kill the Masen's on the spot when they were found trespassing on his property after they started a fire at his house. The memories that were lost in both our homes. That he was only grateful that his grandchildren and children were okay. He explained how I was in empty for so long trying to be strong for my family and how proud he was of his son. He hoped they rotted in hell.
Bella and I brought the kids. Charlie helped us wrangle them. Bella asked Carlisle to explain different issues each one had after birth. While they were really good for being triplets, it was still touch and go at times. We thanked Carlisle and I asked Bella to speak, all she had to say was heartbreaking.
"I almost died that day. I almost lost my babies. My miracles. Our little rainbows. We had several miscarriages before this pregnancy. I was a high risk pregnancy. This event did not help. It also made us having another pregnancy, not an option. Sadly, before we knew that, we got pregnant again, without trying. Our Anderson Everett was born healthy, but I had to have a full hysterectomy due to complications. The house that was supposed to be where my family grew and I grew old with my husband Edward, didn't feel like home. My bedroom is supposed to be my safe place, it's not. Sleep doesn't happen in that room for me most nights, or my Edward. Forks is my town and I don't want to leave. I will not let you idiots ruin my life anymore. You took years away from my family. You will not get one more minute. Being here now, I see my family will make the changes to our home to make it our home again. You may have been my in-laws at some point, but your behavior will no longer have an affect on me or my family. I will never forget what you did to us, but we are called to forgive. You may burn in hell for all I care, but you won't be dragging me with you. These children with my husband and father, get a good look at them. You will never see them again. Your honor, please throw the book at them."
She stepped away from the microphone and grabbed Andy and Charlie Rose from me. It was now my turn to face my demons. I take a deep breath and walked to the podium.
"I was named after this man. I was once a junior. Everything that he did I wanted to do. I am sorry about what caused them to need to go into witness protection, I understand that they were trying to save me. If that is where this story ended, if I had been traveling with my family and saw them, we would have been shocked, but happy and eventually would have understood. That is not what happened here. Not even close.
"On June 30th, Bella and I had her last check-up with her OBGYN. The babies were happy and healthy. Benjamin Anthony, Elizabeth Margaret, and Charlotte Rose were active and healthy and not expected to come for a week if not more. We were just shy of thirty-two weeks. Which was such a blessing! I brought her home when I was called to the Cullen's house fire. As a Washington State Police Detective, I was asked to help investigate. We were worried that nobody was home, the fire was pretty much destroyed the house. A fine family who has done nothing but help others in Forks and surrounding communities. A well-respected doctor and author. Superstars in the foster care field. The next call was for my best friend's house. That devastated me. The four of them surrounded by smoke and the ceiling was falling around them. There was a lock on the cellar door that was not there two days prior when Emmett and I did something. I am sorry I can't remember what right now. A former supervisor did not want us to cut it as it was evidence. I and two others ignored the warnings and come to find out later, he was involved with the Volturi-Collins family. He thought it would bite him so he did not want witnesses, thankfully he was taken care of.
"I got those kids out. Other officers or firefighters got Emmett and Rosalie out as well as their cat and dog. I was a terrible friend. I have apologized many times, and thankfully Em and Rose have understood. I was trying to solve who burned their home. Then I couldn't visit afterward because of the birth of my children. With them in the NICU, we could not take chances of them getting sick.
"I was talking to Carlisle when the radio call came through for my house. I missed it originally. Thankfully two of my colleagues knew it was my house and pulled me away from the investigation. Carlisle came with us when I told him Bella was having triplets. His family lost everything and he rushed to help my wife and babies. I will always be grateful to him for that. Bella was stuck upstairs. She wasn't on full bed rest but was asked to rest as often as possible which she gladly did. She is a deep sleeper when she is pregnant. She was in our bed sleeping when the fire started. She probably didn't realize it until it was almost too late. Thankfully, she woke up and the window was open. Charlie got the firefighters where they needed to be. They got her out and I looked for anything a miss. I saw my parents in the woods. I feel guilty that I didn't stop them. I thought they were school kids maybe teachers. I don't know. Carlisle checked over Bella when she got down and she was convinced to lay on the stretcher.
"By the time I realized who they might have been, Charlie's house was on fire. We went to his house, resources really thin due to four fires in a small town in one day. We have never had that many fires in a month. Last time we had this many fires, they were training fires for a few abandoned buildings in town, but that's beside the point.
"We knew that there was a chance the person or people responsible might still have been nearby. Charlie, Paul Lahote, Harry Clearwater and I of the State Police went with us and we found the Masen's.
"My heart broke. My dead parents were alive and they tried to kill my wife, our children, my father-in-law, my best friend's family, and a family I did not know well.
"Edward and Elizabeth. What you meant for evil was evil. Some terrible things happened because of you both. But, friendships were made because of that day. Dreams were changed. I used to want another chance with you both. I have had the chance that too many wished they had, but I don't want it anymore. I wish things could go back to June 29th, 2019. The day before the fire.
"Your honor, my loving wife is a better person than I am. I am not sure if I can forgive them as she did. I have been trying, but I can't. Please throw the book at them. Thank you." I look at the former parents who are in shock. I walked away holding my wife and as many of our babies as I could.
Peter sent the jury out and instructed us to keep close. The jury left and the prosecutor told us it might be best for the kids to be elsewhere. They knew we wanted them there for a strange form of closure. We were urged to try to keep them quiet.
Two hours later, we are called back. The judge looked at the jurors' decision and Edward and Elizabeth were called to stand.
"We find both Edward Sr. and Elizabeth Masen guilty of all charges. We recommend life without parole, your honor." The foreperson said looking at them in disgust.
"Thank you for your time jurors. You are excused. The court hereby finds both Edward and Elizabeth Masen guilty of all charges. Sentencing will be in two weeks." Peter banged the gavel.
The courtroom was silent. There was nothing truly gained by the win, but we were given peace.
Three Years Later
Today, we are celebrating three little birthdays. Rett is running around as Batman, cape and all. Sadly, no Batmobile for this kid yet. Charlie is Elsa. Anna is Anna. We couldn't have a full Frozen theme. That would have made too much sense.
"Daddy, I no snowman!" Garrett says. Like I can argue with that logic.
I look back on my life and where it has lead me. The twists and turns that brought my family to this place. The miracles that are dancing around the lawn, or trying to. Uncle Em is trying to teach them a "new dance". Aunt Rose is yelling at him to stop trying to teach the worm. Help me. Someone, please help me. They are thinking of moving back. With the media circus over, there would be more privacy.
We still live across from Pop. Bella and Charlie didn't want to deal with moving, so we remodeled both houses a bit to not lose the integrity of them but to make them different enough to not have the bad memories attached. Emmett and Rosalie wish they had thought of that. But, it really just hit us after the victim impact statements. Three years later. The family that bought their house has to sell, who knows the McCarty's might move back to town.
Pop Charlie is getting ready to retire from being Forks Chief of Police in the next two years. He wants me to think about running. I don't think I really want to work, but Bella and I are talking about it. Either way, he wants to spend more time with his two kids and four grandkids.
I am still a Trooper, slowly working my way up. Sadly, taking my parents down was a huge career jump, one I would have been okay without.
Bella stays home with the kids and runs a couple small playgroups at the library and park. She largely has groups for children and parents with disabilities. She got a playground here in town made for kids with all kinds of disabilities in mind, including a pool. Both are really popular. People come from all over the northwest for them. Tourism is up. The surrounding areas are grateful for these additions.
Why is she so focused with having things around here on families with disabled children? Anderson has Downs Syndrome and Cerebral Palsy. There sadly was a lot of activities that he could not do because of those diagnoses. He has improved greatly since these have been in place. As well as each one of the triplets have some kind of learning disability, which is normal for preemies.
She and Carlisle also helped to get a Center to help children with Disabilities called Aspire. Doctors from all over the country come to the center to participate in studies and teach new techniques for children. It has really helped many families in the Northwest, including ours and the Cullen's. She has also been writing a book with Esme to help kids displaced by fires. Like all Esme Cullen's books, it will sell well.
Carlisle and Esme had to quit taking more foster kids, they kept adopting all their foster kids. All the kids are happy, healthy as their medical issues allow, and wonderful to be around. They have their five, plus the three they adopted the day of the fire, Aspen-Jade, and three more. Brantley, Christine, Harper. They are quite happy with their little family.
My former parents are still in jail. They have tried to get back in contact with Bella and I. They finally see the error of their ways, six or so years too late. But, I forgive them. As a smart woman said, I am not going to hell for them.
My life is far from normal and that's okay. As I watch my wife and children play, I know that I am right where I need to be. Even if it took several fires to get here.
Joshua Graham said:
I survived because the fire inside me burned brighter than the fire around me.
No truer words have been said.