Disclaimer: We do not own Twilight. Babe? Are you crying? …no…. Awww, honey, what's the matter? It's our last chapter! Holy shit, you're right! There's nothing after this! I know…. But honey, that's a good thing. The story finally gets its ending. I guess…. How about later, I make you feel all better ;) And suddenly, I'm not so sad :D
To the TGIF Gang! Your ongoing reviews were amazing and we thank you for all your love and support.
However, that goes for all of you! I'm so excited that you guys embraced this story and patiently waited for updates, even when they were late. Seriously, the reviews for this story were downright incredible and we couldn't ask for better readers. To all of those that read but don't review, I just want to say thank you, and for everyone stumbling across this, thanks for reading. We certainly hope it was worth your time.
I'm actually really excited about what you guys will think of this final chapter. It goes through a lot of lives highlights and I really think it wraps up nicely. I hope you guys feel the same.
And of course, thank you to the boy. I remember how this all started so long ago. Sitting at our computers and brainstorming plot ideas (I don't think I had my lappy at that point…lol). You have been my inspiration for Edward. You are truly My Edward :D
Hi people! Yes, we are posting the final chapter! It's great and sad at the same time. I just wanted to thank everyone for reading and taking this in with us, I know I've enjoyed it, and I'm almost positive that the girl has. Now, that being said, there MAY be off-shoots or one-shots in the future. I doubt there will be a sequel anytime soon, but never say never.
It makes me happy that everyone seems to like my Edward, although I STILL think he's not that great, and nowhere NEAR SM's, but thanks to those who enjoy how I portray him
We're working on another story, but I'm not sure when we will post that. Just depends on when the lovely Ash lets me…So BUG THE CRAP OUT OF HER! Anyway, I'm sure it will be soon, that way you guys don't have to go too long without us! Just joking, I'm not conceited, honest!
I want to thank the girl, especially for taking this journey with me. She's not only been there to help me with this story, and craft ideas when we need it, but she's helped me with some problems I've been dealing with lately. I love her more than the first day we met, and I love her more each day.
Come on, Collective Awwww. I feel like I need to be blushing like crazy right now *hehe…giggles nervously*
Right, well the one, the only, the ending to TEOTH!!!!! Turn around, Mr. Brighteyes as we both decide to chant, ON WITH IT….
The gel was smeared across her slowly swelling belly, and Dr. Andrew's was smiling at me as my intense gaze watched the screen. She drug the device across Bella's belly, moving the gel around, "There's the head, and the heartbeat, and the arms, and legs. Would you like to know the sex of your baby?"
I glanced at my fiancée, awaiting her response before I gave my own. We hadn't really discussed whether we would find out the sex of our child during an ultrasound, or if we'd wait until he or she was born. Bella nodded, her long brown hair falling out of the messy ponytail she'd thrown up before her appointment, "We'd love to know, actually."
Melanie smiled, deep dimples showing as the device pressed against my soon to be wife's belly, "Have you thought of names yet?"
Grinning, I nodded, "Sort of. Now, the anticipation is killing me. Is it a boy or a girl?" I didn't let my voice show prejudice towards either sex; but I knew which one I'd prefer. I had my little girl, and now I wanted that little boy.
Bella's doctor glanced up at the screen, and pointed to the apex of the child's thighs, "Well, there's your answer."
"Ooh, ooh, Quinlan!" I glanced over at Bella as she sat on the computer chair, her finger tracing the name that was on the screen. My stomach was still wrapped from my injury, and as I walked closer to her, she bounced in her seat, rubbing her belly, "Edward! I love this name!"
Scratching my head, I narrowed my eyes at the computer screen, trying to lessen the glare, "Quinlan? Bella, love, that sounds like the name of a country."
Libby, who had bounced into the room, giggled softly. She'd wanted a little brother and had made the fact very clear; never partaking in our discussions unless we were talking about boy names, "What about Princess, Daddy? Or Yellow?"
I chuckled, leaning down to tickle Libby's sides, wanting nothing more than to hold her. I had a few more weeks, and then the internal damage would be healed enough for me to do some lifting, "Nope, you're my princess."
"But Yellow, Daddy! My little brother could be named Yellow!"
Shaking my head, I kissed Libby's hairline, "No, baby, your brother won't grow up to be like your Uncle Liam."
Bella snorted, her eyes still locked on the screen as she browsed through the list of baby names. "Edward, what about Henry? Henry Quinlan Cullen!"
"Bella, love," I sighed, thinking about my fiancées hormones, I didn't want to hurt her feelings. Pickles and ice cream weren't exactly delicious smelling when scooped together, "I was thinking about using Jacob's name. I like Henry, but how about Henry Jacob?"
"Or, or, or…" Bella paused, spinning the chair towards me, a shit-eating grin on her face, "QUINLAN!"
A little boy. I was getting the son I wanted, and now our little family would be complete. Bella reached out her hand to grasp mine, pulling me closer, "You got what you wanted, Mr. Cullen."
I kissed her hand, letting my lips graze over the warm flesh of your hand, "Thank you for giving me a son, "Mrs. Cullen."
Bella giggled, "Yes, we wouldn't want you to chop off my head," she paused, "because it would be YOUR fault!" Each word was followed by a poke to my chest. She wanted to avoid my stomach as much as possible. Leaning down, I kissed her lips as Dr. Andrews stood, waiting for us to 'finish.'
"I believe a celebration is in order. What do you think, my love?"
"Oh I think I'll be extremely busy tonight." My face fell, and Bella laughed at my obvious pout, "Busy with the world's sexiest man."
"Hugh Jackman is here!" I glanced around the room, and this time, Bella hit my stomach. I doubled over face in pain, and began breathing in and out deeply. Just as Melanie was about to call for another doctor, I stood up straight, grinning devilishly, "Gotcha!"
Flushed cheeks, narrowed eyes, and a cruel smile met me when I looked at my future wife, "Oh you'll pay for that, Cullen."
Licking my lips, I grinned, "I can't wait for that, Isabella."
Melanie cleared her throat, "Well, you two, I think it's time to send you home. Your son looks healthy, and I'll see you back here soon, Bella."
The waiting room was full of our family, and the man we wanted to be our son's godfather. I'd never thought that the guy I'd punched at the basketball court would be the man we chose to watch over our son if something happened to us.
Jacob was taking turns carrying Gabe and Libby on his shoulders, each of the children unable to get enough of the act. As we entered the room, we were met with silence. My hand gripped Bella's and I stood by her side as she announced the news about our son. Our son.
The day had come and the sun was shining as bright as ever, just as the local weatherman had predicted. I forgave Earl, the channel 84 weatherman for all his past mistakes in weather predictions. Yes, he was fine by me now, now that he had gotten the weather right for my wedding day.
I was in Esme and Carlisle's room as I gazed at myself in the mirror. When Edward and I had realized that we both wanted a small wedding we knew the perfect place for it would be the grand white house where he had grown up in. So, as I looked at the white chiffon and lace adorning my body, including my now large belly, I realized that Edward was just down the hall, waiting for me.
"Hey," Alice said gently. I was surprised she could be so quiet on a day like this. "You look beautiful," she told me as she smiled softly and her hands fluttered about fixing the veil atop my head.
"I wouldn't expect anything less from one of your masterful designs," I smiled back at her, making her exhale a laugh.
Alice had begged me to let her design my wedding dress when I had told her about our small wedding. She vowed that being pregnant would not mean an ugly wedding dress for me. When she wasn't obsessing about my dress for the premiere of mine and Jacob's new movie, or laying out outfits for interviews for said movie, she spent every second she had sketching away in a little notebook and consulting with Rosalie. They wouldn't let me see it until they thought it was absolutely perfect, and I had to hand it to them, it was.
Simple, and perfect.
Crisp, clean white with a sweetheart neckline leading to small sleeves of white chiffon that just covered my shoulder and then went to wrap around my back. It had a diamond broach fastened just below my breasts and just before my tummy pushed the fabric out. It flowed softly down to the ground and was so light weight and airy, it almost felt like I wasn't wearing anything at all.
My hair was swept up with curls, some hanging loosely around my face, and a white freesia pinned to mass of curls atop my head. The veil was held on by a diamond studded beret and draped down to the ground, along with the rest of my dress.
The bridesmaids wore a pale yellow that complemented well with the sun we were fortunate enough to have today since it had been rainy for the past three days. They carried freesias and some pale yellow flowers that I didn't know the name of, but Alice had picked them out, and they looked lovely.
"Congratulations, Bella," Alice said, knocking me back to the present, as she hugged me carefully around my stomach and kissed my cheek. "I always knew you'd get your happily ever after."
With that, she walked from the room to wait for the wedding to start downstairs. We were to walk out of the house from the front doors that hung open, down the steps of the porch, and to the white alter standing in the front yard. All I could think about in that moment was: that's a lot of stairs in these shoes when I can't even see my feet anymore.
I sighed as I thought about how I could potentially go tumbling down the stairs face first, and automatically put my hand over my belly.
"Don't worry," a voice interrupted my thoughts, "I'll have a good hold on you," Charlie laughed as he stepped into the room.
"How did you know…?"
"Please, Bella. I saw the shoes you'd be wearing, and I walked up all those steps. It doesn't take a father of an only daughter to know what you were thinking about," he smiled.
He walked up to me and kissed the top of my forehead gently. "You've never really needed a man in your life, not even me," he laughed. "But I sure am glad you found one you want."
"Me too," I smiled up at him before kissing his cheek.
I looped my arm into his tightly making sure that if I stumbled I would be able to pull myself up and not fall onto my face, and then we walked out of that room.
I watched as one by one, pairs of mine and Edward's friends walked from the house and to the alter in their dresses and tuxes. Jasper and Heather, Emmett and Rosalie, Jacob and Nessie, and my maid of honor Alice walking with Edward's best man, Liam. They were followed by the most adorable kids on the planet. Libby, dressed as the miniature bride, walked with her bouncing bronze curls next to Gabe as the ring bearer in his little tux.
As my dad and I walked down the steps, making our way to the door, I could hear the guests rise from their seats and stand.
The sun was the first thing I saw. Blinding white light shone so that I had to close my eyes before I could adjust. I swore I could hear some of the people laughing at me, but come on, it was bright outside!
But the second thing I saw could outshine the sun any day. Edward stood at the altar, his hands folded in front of him as he smiled at me, and just like that the world around us melted away.
I was now only vaguely aware of Charlie next to me, my arm still looped with his. By now it felt like I was floating, like there was no chance of falling. The people sitting in the white, fold up chairs were silenced by the breaths I took with each step towards my soon to be husband. With my father placing my hand in Edward's, I knew that was where I truly belonged. I knew my heart was home.
Embarrassingly enough I could feel my eyes start to prickle, and I could've kicked myself. I had been telling myself the whole time that I wouldn't be one of those overly emotional brides that cried at their wedding. It was frustrating as hell that now here I was, salt water trying desperately to leak from my bottom lid, and the only thing Edward did was smile at me and wink. I told myself it was the hormones that made me do it and left it at that.
I was surprised I knew what to say and when to say it. My mind kept wandering off on me every time Edward looked at me with that crooked smile of his. I just couldn't help but find myself dazzled throughout the entire wedding ceremony.
But that kiss at the end sure as hell woke me up. The term 'sealed with a kiss' had never meant more to me, and I was sure glad that this deal was now closed. Now I could concentrate on forever with the man I loved. The man that was my entire life.
The protector of my life.
The father of my child.
The stealer of my heart.
Now and until the end of time. Now that is what I call a good day.
"Would you like to hold your son, Edward?" I shivered and nodded as the tiny creature was settled into my arms. I could tell already that he had long curly eyelashes and his mother's hair color. It was as messy as mine, but then again, any baby's hair would be messy. When he opened his eyes to reveal a blue color, I gasped. My son, Henry Jacob Cullen was born April 22.
Bella, alerted, tried to sit up and ask what was wrong. I just chuckled, "Nothing, love. I was going to make a joke, but I decided not to. Little Henry shouldn't know his true parentage until he's older. Damn milk man."
Had a child not been in my arms, a bedpan surely would have been launched at my head. I kissed my son's forehead, my lips lingering on his soft, warm flesh before I settled the blue hat back on his head. Moving closer to Bella, I perched myself on the edge of her bed and as the door to the private room opened, I beamed at my oldest child.
Libby moved closer to me, her hand resting on my knee, as my parents and Charlie stood behind her smiling. My wife had officially adopted Libby the day before our wedding, and Charlie was taking on the role of a proud grandfather of two. We were learning that Libby was the less clumsy version of Bella, and Charlie was going to be her tee-ball coach, alongside of my father.
"Can I hold him? Please, Daddy?" Kneeling down, I made sure that Libby could hold her little brother properly. Once he was settled in his older sister's arms he began to fuss, so I gently took him back from Libby, and handed him to Bella.
"The nurse said he would be hungry soon. Do you think…?" She trailed off, blushing. I looked towards my mother, who nodded her head, and ushered us from the room. Esme had agreed to help Bella through any 'embarrassing' moments, and I knew that my mother could be trusted to make my wife feel comfortable.
A week had passed since we'd brought Henry home, and I was as exhausted as Bella. Libby was lounging on the couch, eating grilled cheese, as I rocked my son. My eyes had dark circles underneath them, hair sticking up at odd angles. My father had brought Libby home from preschool, since Bella and I were taking turns relaxing.
I bounced the tiny creature, watching as my daughter reached for the remote to heighten the volume. Henry was eating breast milk from a bottle, since Bella was sore from the excessive feedings, his lips sealed around the rubber nipple as his sister drank from her juice cup.
"Yes, Libby Bug?" I was never cross with my daughter, even though I was mentally and physically exhausted. I had a meeting with the board at the end of this week to discuss my residency at my father's hospital. Libby tried to hand me her empty plate, but I shook my head slowly, "Go put it in the sink, please. I'll wash it later."
"But Daddy, the sink is full, see?" Taking a deep breath, I closed my eyes, knowing that keeping my temper was something that would be extremely important. There was no reason to be cross with my daughter for pointing out the obvious.
"Yes, baby, I see. Just sit it on the counter, and I'll wash it later." The plate and empty cup were on the counter, and once Henry was finished with his bottle, I set the empty plastic next to the sink, and burped my son. Libby scurried off out of the room, and I sighed leaning against the wall. Finally, a moment of rest…
I tried not to smack my head against the paint when I heard the doorbell ring, and Henry began to cry into my ear. His whimpers didn't cease as I opened the door to reveal my parents, who upon taking in my current state, sent me off to my room. Apparently, my wife and daughter needed me, and my parents would take care of the house, and my newborn son.
My shirt dropped to the floor, and I smiled when I saw Libby snuggling close to Bella, her thumb in her mouth, as Bella spoke softly to her. Libby's breathing was growing heavy as I crawled into bed next to them, and rubbed my daughter's back. I wanted to lull her to sleep, hoping to have some 'alone time' with Bella.
…Three Years Later…
"Elizabeth Cullen, clean this mess up right now, please!" A loud groan of disapproval sounded from above my head. Libby had left her crayons scattered all over the kitchen table, scraps of paper and glitter had fallen onto the hardwood floors, the room looked like a mess.
"But, Dad! Henry made a mess too!"
Pinching the bridge of my nose, I grabbed the vacuum from the hall closet, my body on full alert, waiting for Bella to come home. She'd been on location for the sequel to her and Jacob's movie and I'd missed her. Since Libby was in school, it was harder to pull her out to go on the set with mommy. The school and all of Libby's friends knew that her mom was a famous actress, but I wasn't willing to pull my daughter from a normal life, with normal friends, and home school her. I didn't have the time.
"Daddy?" Henry was grappling at my pant leg, burying his face in the soft material. Shockingly enough our son was the opposite of his boisterous sister. She loved the spotlight, but he liked the quiet. He was reserved, and shy, but extremely smart. His messy brown hair stuck out on his head, and he had inherited my green eyes, much to Bella's delight, as he'd grown older.
"Yeah, champ?" He squinted up at me, making me worry. We were certain that our son would need glasses once he was older, but regardless, he was our son.
"I have a cookie, please?" Reaching up above his head, I pulled a chocolate chip cookie from the cabinet, just in time for my wife to walk in.
"Edward Anthony Cullen, what exactly are you doing?" Jacob, who was standing behind her, chuckled softly. Henry ran towards his godfather, the cookie forgotten.
"Hey Bella, I just wanted a cookie…See?"
"Mhm. Come kiss me, mister." Henry grabbed at her hand, so she lifted him from the ground. He pecked her lips softly, and then reached his arms out for Jacob. The actor lifted my son from Bella's arms, and cuddled him, tickling the boy's soft stomach through his black t-shirt. Once they were out of the room, I leaned in and kissed Bella, hoping to taste her soft tongue before we were interrupted.
"I missed you, love." My voice was husky, and I was undoubtedly horny. I'd missed my wife, and she'd have whatever she wanted tonight.
"I missed you too," I answered as soon as he had freed my mouth from his own which was now trailing down my neck.
"Do you think Jacob can watch the kids for a while?" he asked, his hands rubbing small, soothing circles in my back, relaxing the muscles there.
I nodded my head in agreement, and only a soft "mhm" came up from my throat.
"Good," he stated before picking me up bridal style and carrying me into the living room to head towards the stairs. I giggled as my feet kicked lightly and my hands grasped around my husband's neck.
"Thanks for watching the kids for a while," Edward called behind him, followed by a deep chuckle from our family friend.
"Should I cover their ears as well?" Jacob yelled up from the front hallway, though Edward and I were already half way up the stairs.
Edward stopped and turned to look at the darker man. "Perhaps it would be a better idea if you just took them out," he said with a smirk gracing his kissable lips.
"Good idea," Jacob laughed.
"And why, might I ask, would he need to take the children out of the house?" I asked, with an eyebrow raised.
"Because, Mrs. Cullen, I intend to make you scream so loud, you'd scar our children for life," he winked at me before setting me down gently on the mattress.
"Well then, by all means, proceed," I giggled, sitting up onto my elbows to watch him.
He came forward, laying his lean body on top of mine before starting to kiss me slowly as his hand gently brushed at my sides up and down. I could feel my lips starting to swell just before he finally released them, moving to suck and nip at my shoulder instead.
"Mmm, Edward!" I gasped with each graze of his teeth against my skin.
"That, my love, is only the beginning…."
Our days slowed considerably since Henry grew up. We were both glad that he no longer woke us in the middle of the night for feedings or changing, to which we were grateful for. And although there were times we missed the company of our tiny baby in our bed, him growing up made our lives less hectic.
"Bella, can you grab Libby's coat?" Edward called up to me from downstairs.
I walked into our daughter's brightly colored room to grab her jean jacket hanging on the back of her bedroom door.
"Alright I got the jacket," I said, tossing the denim to my daughter who caught it with a smile, "I got the girl," I continued, grabbing Libby's hand in mine.
"I got the boy," Edward checked off as he picked Henry up to hold him.
"And I got Daddy!" Henry yelled before burying his face in his dad's neck.
We walked to the park; the weather was so gorgeous that we didn't want to waste time taking the SUV. The sun was shining but there was a slight breeze so we were sure to bring along jackets for the kids. But the weather could've been cloudy and drizzling for as much as the kids noticed. They were far too busy giggling away as we pushed them on their swings.
"Mom, let me try myself," my daughter said as she laughed whilst pumping her legs.
"Alright, Libby Bug," I said, stepping back and slightly away, but remaining close enough in case she needed me.
It was an interesting place to be. On the one hand there was the relief of Henry growing up. No longer having to worry so much about him getting into things and places he wasn't supposed to get into. There was the watching of his personality develop, and seeing that though he had inherited his father's looks, he had somehow gotten a hold of my infamous blushing habits. And of course it was an absolute joy that he could talk. He was the cutest little boy the world had ever seen and magazines had done whatever they could to get the first picture of baby Henry.
But, then there was the aging of Libby. Our little Libby Bug was growing up so fast that I just wanted to stop time, or at the very least, beg it to slow down. She was growing up into such a beautiful girl and she was mine. I had been so lucky to be a part of this little girl's life, and the only thing I could've possible regretted, was that I did not know her sooner. Though she was almost eight years old, she still was, and would forever be, my Libby Bug.
"Mommy! Look!" she shouted and my heart jumped at her calling me 'Mommy' once again. And sure enough, there she was on her swing, pumping her little feet and swinging by herself. "I'm going by myself!" she giggled.
"I know, honey. Good job," I said quietly as I felt my eyes start to tear up. It was yet another mile stone that she was climbing over.
"I know, love. It's hard," Edward was by my side, whispering in my ear as he now held Henry close to his body. "It's a good thing she was too young to remember when she said her first words. I cried like a baby," Edward chuckled. "You'll get used to it, honey."
"I know," I smiled up at him, "and then we can do it all over again with Henry."
"And perhaps another after that?" he asked, his eyes shining with love and affection.
"Perhaps after a while, another after that," I said softly before looking back over at a swinging Libby.
After all, we weren't a Hollywood couple, not deep down. The tabloids and entertainment news programs could say what they wanted, but we kept to ourselves as much as we could. Sure, Edward and I would go to parties and the kids enjoyed going to the premiers of their favorite Disney movies and meeting the stars they watched on television, but they were just normal kids, so could you blame them?
"Mommy, can we go home now?" Henry asked, making me blink.
I looked up and the sun was starting to set already, the entire day blown away in the light wind. "Sure, baby," I said, pushing his soft, dark hair away from his face.
Libby ran up to take my hand and Edward wrapped his arm around my waist for the walk home as he carried Henry. As we walked down the side walk I knew that my life was perfect. I had everything I could possibly want…the people that make you feel loved, and make you feel worthwhile.
Yes, I would watch my children grow, and I would see my friends start a family of their own, and things would change. Things always change. Sometimes for the worse, but this time I had a feeling it was for the better. Through all the twists and turns life could throw at me (and has), I knew that so long as I had the people in my life that loved me most, and that I loved more than anything, I could take it on. We would take it on.
"Come on, Henry, hit the ball." His eyes were squinted in concentration, shaggy brown hair falling out from beneath his helmet. He was ten years old, and full of energy; so much that we had him enrolled in three different sports: baseball, football, and swimming. My fourteen year old daughter stood on her tip toes, fingers gripping the silver chain linked fence, protecting us from any stray baseballs.
"HIT IT, HENRY!" I chuckled at my daughter's enthusiasm. Shockingly, Libby had grown out of her "princess" phase, and into softball, after playing tee-ball. Anytime someone complimented Henry's ball playing abilities, Libby's chest would puff out with pride, claiming she taught him everything.
"Come on! Please, please, please!" Bella's fingers were crossed, and she too was bouncing on the balls of her feet. It was the bottom of the ninth, and Henry was the team's "last hope."
Last but not least, our youngest son, Masen Charles Cullen, stood silently by his mother, peering out onto the field. He was my clone, a carbon copy. The four year old smiled up at me as I winked down at him, copying the wink just as my daughter had done at his age.
Henry's bat came in contact with the ball, and it soared into the outfield. I grinned at my wife, who smiled back at me, as our son rounded the bases. He slid into third; putting him in perfect position to score as Brennor Michaels stepped up to the plate.
My godson's hair had darkened as he'd gotten older, now a brown that matched Henry's. Some people thought the boys were brothers; except Brennor had hazel eyes, and Henry had my eyes. Liam stood at third base, signaling to his son, letting him know whether to swing or not.
The boy could be stubborn, sometimes ignoring his father's instructions, but this time, Brennor grit his teeth, and nodded, preparing himself to hit the ball. The ball hit Brennor's bat, and floated over the shortstop's head. Henry sprinted for home, and the shortstop threw the ball to the catcher.
Our son slid, his legs touching home plate, and both the catcher and Henry looked up towards the umpire for his ruling, "OUT!"
Henry's fists came in contact with the now dusty plate, as the other team ran towards the pitcher to celebrate their victory. I stood off to the side, as Brennor ran for home, and helped his best friend out of the dust. Liam and I didn't need to hear what had been said because Brennor's arm wrapped itself around Henry's shoulders after they were both standing.
Handshakes with the other team were exchanged, but as Henry walked towards me, I couldn't ignore the tear stains on his dirty face. He tried to brush past me, but my hand shot out to grab around his waist, pulling my little Tasmanian devil back towards me, "Good game, champ."
He shook his head, sniffling, pressing his face into my shoulder. I felt the tears through my coach's shirt, and I rubbed his back. Henry lifted his head back to look into my face, "But I lost. We lost because of me."
I sighed, wiping the dirt from his face. Once his cheeks were clean, I lead him to the dugout. Kneeling, I rested my hands on his knees, watching his green eyes fill up with tears again, "Can I tell you something, champ?"
My son hiccupped and nodded, waiting for me to continue, "Losing, son, in its own weird way, is winning."
Henry eyed me warily, apparently worried that his father was losing his mind, "No dad, losing is just losing. And I suck."
My voice hardened slightly, "You don't suck, young man, it's not possible, do you know why?"
"No…" The word trailed off, disappearing into the dusty air as Henry heard the tone my voice had taken.
"Because first of all, Cullen's do not suck, and second, how we lose, and how we've changed because of it, and what we take away from it that we haven't learned before to apply it to other ventures is how losing is also winning."
Henry blinked, "That was the worst run-on sentence in the world."
"And now I've learned something!" I chucked him under the chin, and light laughter answered my sarcasm, "But it's the truth. You lost because you went for home too quickly. Had you waited for the next batter, then you may have made it. Next time, you'll be more wary about your decision."
"Hey Dad?" I glanced up to see Libby looking down at me, Masen standing next to her, his head cocked to the side.
"Yes, Libby Bug?"
"Mom says shut up, we have to leave. The team is expecting us at Dairy Queen, and Uncle Li says it's your turn to pay."
My children laughed and Bella smiled from where she stood on the outskirts of the dugout. Brennor called out to my kids, and they took off towards Liam and Heather's SUV. Apparently, they were riding with them.
"Good game, Coach." I grinned cockily at my wife, who moved closer to me. My hands reached out to rest on her waist, rubbing circles on her hips. It was awkward for her to come to the children's sporting events because people would often stare, but she was always there for her kids.
"I'll show you a good game, Mrs. Cullen." Bella squealed as I dipped her, my lips moving to brush against hers, her eyes brightening as they stared back into mine. Our lips moved slowly, savoring the moment of silence, until a loud horn pulled us from our lip lock.
"Hey, get a room. A dugout is too dirty, Cullen, I thought you were classier than that." Had there not been children around, Liam Michaels would have received a very rude gesture, but the twinkle in my eye promised him a rebuke.
Dust followed the SUV as it left the ballpark, and I grasped Bella's hand as we walked towards our own vehicle. Her thumb rubbed over the top of my hand, making soothing circles across my skin. Once we were securely in the car, I backed out of the spot, and onto the dusty road.
Bella's hand rubbed over my leg as we pulled into the parking lot at Dairy Queen, preparing ourselves for the loud children and parents. She always knew how to soothe me, and as my tense muscles loosened, I leaned over to kiss her lips softly, "Let's do this."
"Ugh! I can't believe you guys are watching this again. Must we watch it every time we have a family get together?" I asked as I came into the house, my arms full of grocery bags.
"Oh come on, Mom," Libby said with a smile from her place on the couch. "It's so fun to watch!" I looked at my family all huddled around the television in our family room as they watched a film from back in the day. A recording of the 84th Annual Academy Awards.
Libby sat with her husband Derek, on the couch, her belly bulging just like mine had once as Derek had her tucked protectively into his side, his arm around her shoulders.
Henry was now engaged to a beautiful woman named Stephanie and they were in the midst of planning for their wedding.
Masen was still single, though he got his fair share of women. Of course he did, since he was an exact clone of his father. I wanted to roll my eyes at the thought. But though he could have any girl he wanted, he just hadn't found 'the one' yet.
Alice and her family were there, along with Rosalie and hers and Jacob and his. It was almost strange to look at the film we were watching and remember that we didn't look like that anymore. Our souls would always be in our twenties, like the days when we all came together to form a bond that had stood the test of time.
"Oh Bella, don't you remember that?" Edward asked, his arms snaking from behind me to wrap around my waist. "Remember that night? "
I nodded as I put my hands over his. I sure did.
"Mommy, good luck!" my youngest boy yelled into the phone.
"Masen, stop grabbing at the phone," Libby told him as I imagined her trying to pry him from the phone.
"But I wanted to tell her…" Masen's tiny voice pouted.
Libby's voice softened considerably, "Okay, Masen, I'll tell her for you, alright? Mom, Masen says 'good luck'," she repeated obediently into the phone.
I giggled at our children as Edward's body shook with laughter beside me, his head pressed tightly against mine as we listened together on the phone. "Well thank you," I told my children in response.
"Oh, and Henry wants to know if you've seen Shia Labeouf yet?" she asked in a more timid tone.
"Oh Henry wants to know that, does he?" I laughed. "No, Libby I haven't seen him yet," I rolled my eyes at my daughter's fascination with the movie star.
The bulbs flashing in my eyes made me blink suddenly and I looked up to find photographers' attention now turned to Edward and I.
"I have to go now, honey. Tell the boys we love them. We'll talk to you soon," I told her feeling the tears start to prickle my eyes, wishing that my children could be here with me on a night as important as this.
"I will. Good luck and we'll be watching you," I could almost hear the smile on her face as she spoke.
I snapped the phone shut and then just looked at the small device in my hands for a moment longer.
"They'll be fine. Alice is there along with Jasper, don't worry," Edward soothed as he put his hand on my bare shoulder.
"I know," I smiled up at him, ignoring all the paparazzi and cameras watching. "I hope Alice doesn't eat all our food," I laughed as I slipped my phone back into my clutch. Alice was expecting a little girl, and she was due next month, but still, I worried. She looked like she could pop any second.
"Bella!" Jacob called in his husky voice. "You two can get a room after the show!" he chuckled as he walked towards us with a very beautiful Nessie. She was wearing a baby blue silk gown, her bronze hair in ringlets down her back and around her shoulders.
We shared hugs and kisses as photographers snapped away like they did with everyone else on the red carpet, but we paid no mind. While Jacob and Edward talked about…whatever it is guys talk about, Nessie and I were busy admiring each other's gowns, jewelry, and hair, and then gushing to one another about how fantastic it was to be here, in the middle of our very own fairy tale; Our first time at the Academy Awards.
Though Edward had never been to one before, he was always so cool and collected, he didn't have the urge to jump up and down like a teenage girl that just got an autograph of her favorite movie star…I did. And, it was nice that Nessie shared that same urge with me. It would've been horrible to be the only one fainting when Hugh Jackman passes by. Now, at least, we can do it together.
As we walked, we stopped and posed, then walked, then posed, then walked, then gave an interview, then posed some more. We were introduced to celebrities I used to watch in the movie theatre, and I even bumped (literally) into iconic stars that I imagined had their faces on billboards even over in China.
All that was incredible, it was a little girl's dream come true, but nothing put the butterflies in my stomach like when it was time to enter the theatre so that the Awards could begin. I clutched Edward's arm in a vice like grip as I stared up at the two building sized Oscars, and like the perfect gentleman he is, and always will be, he leaned over and placed a kiss on my temple in attempt to calm my nerves.
When we arrived at our seats, it was no coincidence that Jacob and I were sitting by one another, along with Aaron and Marcus and had Alice felt up to it, she and Jasper would be there as well. But what was surprising was that Miss Rosalie Hale was seated next to Emmett in the row directly in front of us.
After sitting down in my seat, sandwiched between Edward on my right, and Jacob on my left, I leaned down and whispered in her ear, "Do you ever wear any other color than red to one of these things?"
I saw her shoulders shake with laughter from behind before she turned around, and she smiled at me. "Honey, you don't mess with a trademark. When people expect something, you can't disappoint," she winked. Her smile became tender and less cocky as her eye glanced down before looking up again. "Good luck, Bella. I've never met someone so deserving of what they wanted, then you."
"Thanks, Rosalie," I leaned forward and we hugged awkwardly over the red seats. "And don't trip on your dress," I added, making her push me away and teasingly slap my shoulder.
Rose wasn't up for an award, not this year. She had taken the year off to spend with Emmett and they were now planning to start a family of their own. Rosalie had finally decided to give up her perfect body for nine months of pregnancy. No, instead of being nominated, she was a presenter this year, for wardrobe, or something to that effect. I found it to be quite fitting considering in the morning she would be on the best dressed lists of everyone with a camera in front of their face.
The Awards began as they always did, with some comical skit in the beginning. I remember laughing from home at skits such as the one I was watching, but when I was there, when I was right there, seeing it happen in front of my very eyes, it was different and the only thing I could think was, oh my god, I can't believe I'm actually here!
The night went on, and acceptance speeches were given. By the end when they were about to announce Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, and Best Picture, I was about ready to take off the shoes Alice stuck me in and throw them at the stupid band that kept cutting off the acceptance speeches. It's a fucking Oscar! You win once in a lifetime…if you're lucky, and they can't give you a couple minutes to rattle off a few names? Please, I'd take that wand and shove it right up that orchestra instructors' ass if he did that to me.
Oh crap, it was my category being presented! I had totally missed who had won Best Actor, concentrating so hard on how good my aim would be with a black pump. Which meant they probably zoomed in on my face, which was probably a glare directed at the instructor I wanted to throw said heel at.
I remember looking around nervously to see if anyone had seen the glare I was probably emitting, and to my horror, those sitting closest to me were glancing from the stage, to me, then back to the stage, where, on the giant screen showed my face looking around nervously. Shit! Could this get any worse?!?!
"And the Oscar goes to…" Drew Barrymore slid her finger across the envelope to break the seal. Wait a minute, why was Drew Barrymore presenting the award for Best Actress? "Isabella Swan, After the Dust Settles!"
"It's Bella!" I yelled out in annoyance. Wait a minute. "That's me!" I yelled out, turning to look at Edward for confirmation, but his arms were already wrapped around me, and he leaned down to kiss me gently.
All around me was an explosion of cheers and pats on my back…there were hands of people that I didn't even know touching me. Still in a daze that it was my name that had been called, I tried to make my way down through the seats that stood in the way of me and the aisle.
I tripped more times than I cared to count, but at that moment, I didn't care. I grabbed my purse and practically jumped over the people to get to that aisle, and then held my dress up so there was no chance of my tripping on it, as I half walked, half jogged, half skipped (wait a minute…) up to the stage.
Drew, a very nice lady indeed, handed me the little golden man which was much heavier than I thought, and kissed my cheek before leaving me alone, in front of hundreds of people, to talk. Bitch. I changed my mind about her.
My one hand clutched the statue as my other still held my purse and I tried to look for the words to say. I opened my mouth as the crowd silenced for my speech, but the only thing that came out was a string of sounds that didn't make any sense at all, causing the audience to giggle and chuckle at me.
I thought back to the common denominator in all acceptance speeches and started with that.
"I…" I started with a shaky voice, "just wanna thank…."
And I need you now tonight
And I need you more than ever
And if you'll only hold me tight
We'll be holding on forever
And we'll only be making it right
Cause we'll never be wrong together
We can take it to the end of the line
Your love is like a shadow….
It took me a moment to realize it was my cell phone ringing in the purse that I had mistakenly brought up with me in my haste, then a moment more to dig it out of said purse.
"Hello?" I answered, earning more chuckles from the movie stars in their seats.
"YOU WON, MOM!" Libby's excited voice rang out as I heard my boys and Alice cheering in the background.
"I know, I can't believe it! Ummm…what should I do?" I asked her, trying to whisper into the cellular device, but the microphone had carried the question out to all those listening.
"Right." I turned back to the crowd, keeping my phone in my hand and raising it as if that would help Libby to hear. "I just really want to thank my family. My darling girl at home and my two boys, and the man that made all my dreams come true. When I first decided to become an actress, I had my hopes, my dreams, my life, all painted like a neat little picture inside my mind. It was wonderful, the best life I could possibly think of. But none of it could ever come close to what I have here in my hand," I held my hand with the phone up as far as it could go without dropping the purse between my arm and side, "and sitting in that red chair down there." I looked right at Edward to find him winking with his lopsided grin on his face.
"Dreams are a great thing to have…they give you something to shoot for. But nothing can possibly compare to reality, so thank you, Edward, Libby, Henry, Masen, and all my friends and family for making my life a reality that far exceeds any dream a girl could possibly have."
I didn't even wait for the music to play or the crowd to cheer before I walked off the stage, and that man with the wand by the orchestra is damn lucky he didn't cut me off, or he wouldn't be able to walk straight.
"Mom….?" I heard the muffled voice.
"Oh Libby, honey I'm sorry."
"I love you, mom," she whispered into the phone.
"I love you too, Libby Bug," I whispered back.
We said our good-byes and I closed the phone just in time to have Mary Hart come up to interview me about my win, but that was cut short when Edward ran in backstage and picked me right up, kissing me like we were newlyweds again.
"I'm so proud of you," he said before setting me down and kissing my forehead.
"Me too," I smiled before hugging him tightly to me.
The laughter brought me out of my reverie as my family and friends watched as I answered my phone on the television, just as I had been remembering.
"Bella!" Alice laughed out. "I can't believe you did that!"
"Hey," I defended. "It was memorable. James Cameron was the King of the World, Hillary Swank forgot to thank her husband, I had the cell phone," I shrugged my shoulders which only earned more laughs.
"Alright, stop laughing, and let's eat!" Emmett said, clapping his hands together as he attempted to get up from off the floor, but in his old age, required assistance from Masen.
Time seemed to fly as we all ate and reminisced about things that the kids were too young to remember. Photo albums were brought out and I suddenly felt the need to hold onto Edward as tightly as I could, as I watched pictures of my children grow from the babies I once carried, to the grown, independent adults they had become.
They left in a slew of hugs and kisses, and laughs. Edward and I, along with Rosalie and Emmett and Jacob and Nessie were going out on a triple date with Alice and Jasper next weekend. It almost made me laugh when Alice had first proposed the idea, but with the kids out of the house, things had gotten a little quieter than we were used to. So, more than a few years ago, we had started the tradition of going out once a week together.
I let out a deep sigh as my head hit my pillow and I stared up at that ceiling of our bedroom. Edward's weight sunk the mattress next to me and he scooted over until he was snuggling me close to his body. He breathed in my scent as if it was the first time he had smelled me, and his nose gently traced my jaw. It was ridiculous that his touch could still stir my stomach into frenzy.
"What's the matter love?" he asked as his hand started to rub soothing circles in my side.
"Life goes by so fast. I can remember being each of their ages. Being pregnant with Henry, being engaged with you, being single and having nothing but my work. It's crazy that life has seemed to fast forward to this point."
"Yes, it may have seemed to go fast, but every step taken forward, and every breath breathed on each new day was worth something. It brought us closer to this point in time. A point when we can watch our kids have all the fun we had once, and come up with new adventures of our own. Just because our kids' lives are starting, doesn't mean ours' are ending. There's far more for us to see and do."
I turned onto my side and wrapped my arms tightly around my husband, loving the warmth of his embrace and the scent his body always seemed to give off.
"Oh yeah?" I teased. "Like what?"
"Like eight tickets to Australia for a month," he smiled down at me.
"Edward, that's really a ridiculous…." I noticed the smile he was giving me and my sentence just stopped. "You didn't."
He nodded, the same, shit eating grin on his face.
"But we can't!" I exclaimed, sitting up in bed.
"Oh no? Give me one reason why not?" he said, his face leaning closer to mine.
"Because…" but I didn't have an answer. No kids to worry about, I still made movies, but even that was when an exceptionally good script came along.
"Imagine, Bella. Crisp, clean beaches. You in a swim suit," he kissed my neck teasingly, "warm weather, kangaroos, and if you'd like, I think you could still have a Quinlan," he wiggled his eyebrows.
I slapped his shoulder at that, but the idea was a good one. I could feel the smile growing on my face as I asked, "You say eight tickets, eh?"
He once again nodded, "Mhm, adults only."
"Alice is gonna want to plan a shopping day!"
"But you're mine tonight," he said, tackling me to the bed and assaulting me with kisses.
As his touch overwhelmed me, I thought mildly about how no matter what happens, no matter what age we grow to be, we will be the same. Our love and friendships are more than a meteor that shine brightly across the sky before disappearing. They're the sun that shines in the day, and lights the moon at night. They light your way on the path you chose on your journey and will still be shinning when that journey reaches its end.
"Mmm, Edward," I groaned out as his sweat slicked body moved against mine in a rhythm all our own.
"I love you, Bella," he whispered into my neck.
"I love you too, Edward," I said back. "Oh, Edward! Oh god, babe, I'm gonna…"
Once upon a time I was falling in love
But now I'm only falling apart
There's nothing I can do
A total eclipse of the heart
Once upon a time there was light in my life
But now there's only love in the dark
Nothing I can say
A total eclipse of the heart
That was the end. I promise, even swear? Am I allowed to swear? I dunno, you'll have to ask my girlfriend.
I'm sure you're wondering what our new story is about. It's going to be called "Arrogance" and it is set during Bella and Edward's senior year of high school. I know, I know! God, get off my back! It's a high school story, yes, and everyone and their brother does them, BUT, this one rocks. So that's the difference? Yup, that sounded conceited again, but I'm not, I SWEAR!
When Bella and Edward go with others to perform a senior prank at the school, they get caught, and must serve community service, together. The only problem is that Bella HATES Edward with a passion because she knows he's the school's biggest player, but, she can't help falling in love with him.
That's the general gist, and there is a bit of a love triangle (guess who?).
Thanks again for reading Total Eclipse of the Heart, and keep your eyes peeled for Arrogance, which will also be posted on Ash's profile…
See you soon,
P.S. Here's a preview of Arrogance. Ash and I had an epic battle and I won…BECAUSE IM A MAN! BOO YA!
I only caught pieces of the conversation, as I twirled my car keys around my index finger. I heard footsteps as they came toward me, and when I glanced up, I bit back a smile. Voice hoarse, I spoke when she stood close to me, her palms pressed against the cold metal door, "Hey Bella."
Bella Swan offered me a weak smile, and if possible, an even weaker wave, "Hi."
Edward Cullen was never at a loss for words, so what was happening now? I swallowed, coating my suddenly dry throat, "Nice night, isn't it? I love the stars, absolutely beautiful."
Her voice seemed slightly cold when she spoke, but I knew it wasn't from the bitter Washington air, "I know what you're doing and I don't need it."
"Excuse me?" The tone of her voice was one of scorn, as if she'd rather be anywhere else then next to me.
"Trying to make the new girl swoon over the King Player? I know how you are, Edward Cullen. Don't try any of your tricks on me, they won't work."
Pushing myself away from the brick, I looked down at the smaller girl, her brown hair curling due to the humid air. Her gorgeous blue eyes were locked to the ground, a sign that she refused to look at my face when she spoke. Chin pressed against her chest, Bella stood with a look of defiance, but the way she stood showed vulnerability, as well.
Sighing, I shook my head slowly, "Fine. Talk to yourself. I'll be over here if you need me."
Indeed! Thanks, baby. That was just a small preview for the story we have been working on, as of late. We already have three chapters done, and are discussing posting it next week. Arrogance is one of the most fun things I've written since MLOONAA and I'm really excited to post it.
Now, tell us what you think of the end? Did it sum everything up? I hope so. I had soooo much fun writing that last BPOV and I can only IMAGINE the trouble Alice, Jasper, Rose, Emmett, Jacob, Nessie, Edward, and Bella could get into in Australia!!!!!
It's been a joy to write for you guys and to have so many of you take so kindly not only to the story and our adaptation of the characters we all love, but to Hayden and I as well.
Much love and even more writing,