Disclaimer: All recognizeable characters are the property of Stephenie Meyer. No copyright infrigement is intended.
Author's Note: Thanks, as always, to my co-authors and to our FABULOUS beta!
Secrets by Heartbroken1, Forks1, and Mommyofboth
Chapter Seventeen – The End
We pulled up to the closed gate of a posh Fountain Hills neighborhood. The car eased to a stop and Anthony's brows pulled together and he tapped his bottom lip for a moment before punching in a code. As the gate began to open, he smiled and said, "Edward is so predictable."
I wanted to ask what the hell he was talking about since he was Edward, but couldn't bring myself to voice the question through my seething. I couldn't believe the stupidity. Trust was a dangerous thing and had proved to be heartbreaking. Right now, all I wanted to do was scream at him, but was afraid of the tears that would overpower the anger.
He pulled into the driveway of a beautiful home with a lush, green lawn. "Come on, love."
"Where are we?" I snarled, eyes flicking to the house.
He held out his hand. "Inside that house are the answers to all your questions."
Whether that was meant to be a threat or a comfort, I couldn't be sure. The knot in my stomach grew from a cantaloupe to a watermelon. I wondered for a split second if refusing to get out of the car would really keep my heart protected from further hurt.
"Please, Bella." He re-extended his hand. "Come with me."
"Explain something to me first." When he turned the car off and twisted in the seat, I asked, "Where the hell are we?"
His lip lifted in a smirk that almost undermined my anger. Almost. "Bella, I haven't always been the great guy you see sitting here in front of you."
"You don't seem great at all to me, you two-timing bastard," I snarled.
The other side of his lip lifted into a smile. "Bella, I can't disagree with the bastard part, but…" He filled his lungs with a deep breath and released it in a sigh, then took my hand in his. "Here's the deal, Bella. I love you."
I fought the urge to roll my eyes, but my heart didn't seem to be nearly as angry as my brain was when it hammered against my chest.
"I've never felt this way about any other woman."
"Even your wife?" The words left my mouth before I could stop them. My mind returned to the sweet lady from the doctor's office and the pictures… The pictures of those two beautiful boys. And Isabelle.
"How could you name your little girl after your mistress, Anthony…uh, Edward? That's just sick no matter how you slice it."
"Bella, please love, let me explain what I can and then, if you have any more questions, I'll answer them too. Truthfully, I promise." He squeezed my hand.
I wasn't sure whether or not truth was something I could ever expect to receive from Anthony or Edward or whatever the hell his name really was.
He sighed. "There was a time in my life when I truly was the bastard you think I am. Even a few months ago, before I met you, I would have owned up to just that title. But meeting you has changed me, for the better."
My mouth opened, then closed again when the accusations wouldn't come.
"Like I said, I have never loved another woman more than I love you. This feeling of absolute devotion is new to me. I realize that I've made mistakes, some of which I hope you'll be able to forgive me for." He frowned. "I love you, Bella. You make me want to be a better person; a better husband, a better father."
My eyes narrowed. "Husband? Really, Anthony, aren't you jumping the gun?"
"After we get the answers that are in this house, if you still want to kick me to the curb, I won't argue. I deserve that." He leaned across the seat and I turned my head to receive his kiss on my cheek. "Just don't forget that I love you, Bella."
Under my own power, I climbed out of the car and with irritation pushed past him near the front lawn, letting our shoulders bump. The contact actually hurt, but there was no way I was going to let him know it. I could hear him behind me as I walked up to the front porch, where my fingers formed a fist and rapped lightly on the door.
Anthony stood composed and at, what appeared to be, complete ease. I fought the urge to kick him in the shin, just to make him show some kind of emotion.
The door opened and I nearly lost everything that was in my stomach. "Bella?" Angela, the sweet woman from the doctor's office, asked.
"Well, this answers everything," I snarled at the man standing next to me.
Angela's eyes shifted and I saw the exact moment she saw him. Animosity flashed in her eyes, amongst the quickly forming tears. "How could you bring her here?" she squeaked, stepping past me. Her arm pulled back and launched forward to make contact with Anthony's face. The smack was so hard, my face ached.
"It's not what you think," Anthony said softly, his hand rubbing the red handprint on his cheek.
"That's original," Angela and I said at the same time.
"Angela," a masculine voice hollered from across the yard.
"Mommy," a choir of little voices sang, then added, "Daddy!"
My heart fell to my feet and I had to glance down to make sure it wasn't lying on the front porch for someone to stomp on. Anthony stepped closer and wrapped an arm around my waist. I wanted to push him away, to tell him to go to hell, but could only lean into him for what just might be the very last time.
Angela sniffed and completely composed herself to say to the handsome man, "Ben, thanks for bringing the boys home. Would you mind getting them settled in the playroom?"
Ben smiled at Angela, obviously taken with the beautiful wife of the man I loved. "Sure, Angela, I'll be right back." He pushed past us, glaring at Anthony and offering me a disapproving head shake. Something vile was muttered under his breath as he walked into the house behind the two rambunctious little boys.
Angela looked as confused as I'm sure I did. Anthony looked so smug and I wanted to slap him again just to wipe the smile off his face. Angela's eyes were still filling with tears that were now streaming down her cheeks. "How could you do this to me?" Her knees gave out and Anthony and I hurried to catch her before she fell to the floor.
My heart was pounding in my chest. I didn't understand what was happening in this moment, but knew that taking care of Angela was priority one. "If you can fix this," I said with a sneer to Anthony as we lowered Angela to the couch, "then you'd better start talking."
"I have really needed to get this off of my chest since the day Bella changed my world."
Angela started to sob hysterically and I turned to glare at him. "That so did not fix anything."
"Sorry." He pinched the bridge of his nose. "Angela, I never wanted to hurt you or cause you any pain, it's just that I really need to follow my heart and I need to…"
Anthony was ripped from where he knelt next to Angela. Ben's knuckles met his face with a bone crunching pop that sent him to the floor. "How dare you, you sonofabitch?" Ben's arm was cocked back and he hovered over Anthony.
Anthony's hands flew up to protect himself. "Whoa. Wait," he stammered.
"Ben, stop," a panicked little voice screamed. "Don't hit my daddy."
"Bad Ben!" the other miniature Anthony yelled. "We don't hit!" The two little ones pounced on Anthony as though they were going to protect him from Ben.
Angela stood. "Ben, please, don't do this. Not in front of the children."
Ben huffed a fury-filled breath and turned toward the kids. "That's right, boys, we shouldn't hit. Come on and I'll watch a movie with you."
"No," Angela insisted, shaking her head, "you should go."
To say Ben looked skeptical would be an understatement. Hatred for Anthony, and consequently me, rolled off of him in waves. "Ange, I…" He paused when her head moved more adamantly. "Fine. Call me when you kick this asshole out, and I'll be here for you just like I always am." He stomped toward the door, glancing over his shoulder one more time before leaving.
I helped Anthony up as Angela stood with hands on hips glaring through her tears. My eyes met Anthony's. "Please make it so I can still love you."
"What the hell are you doing here?" a very angry male voice yelled from behind us. We all turned and I nearly met the floor when the mirror image of Anthony stood seething in the entry way. "I asked you a question, Tony," the man asked.
The drive up to Fountain Hills, for the most part, was done in silence.
My nerves were frazzled after the fight Dante and I had gotten in. I still wasn't sure he really believed me when I told him about the several attempts I had made in returning the money.
"The entrance is just up ahead on the right," I said softly, working my hands nervously in my lap.
The car slowed as Dante turned onto the road leading to the entrance of Angela's neighborhood. Luck was apparently on our side with the gates standing open. The rhythm of my heart escalated the closer we got to her house. I bit down on the inside of my cheek wondering just what to say to her—if she was even home.
"Take the next left and her house is the second one on the left."
A chill slid down my spine as Angela's house came into view. Sitting in the drive way was Masen's car.
"Um…can we do this later?" I groaned.
Dante snorted, "No."
I turned in my seat to look at him, "Angela told me that I was not supposed to let Masen know anything about me or Angela knowing about each other. If he answers the door… oh… Dante, I can't… not today."
"We're not leaving until you give that check back.
Please don't let Masen answer the door, please don't let Masen answer the door... I chanted over and over in my head. Dante leaned against the wall by the front door watching me. "You can do this, babe," his voice was reassuring.
I took one last look at him and reached out to ring the door bell. It didn't take long for me to hear the sound of footsteps approaching the door. My whole body jerked as the door swung open revealing Masen. Crap! I glanced at Dante quickly then back to Masen. So many words were passing through my mind but not one of them made it out of my mouth.
Masen finally broke the silence. "Can I help you?" he asked.
Can he help me? CAN HE HELP ME? Are you kidding?
"Are you kidding? Can you help me? Oh. That's rich!" I said mockingly, raising my voice to punctuate the absurdity.
He stood motionless for a moment just watching me. The sound of more footsteps sounded, a pretty brunette holding a newborn came around the corner. The curiosity was plainly on her face as she stood looking at me. She was joined moments later by a shocked looking Angela.
"What are you doing here?" she hissed, walking to stand next Masen putting a possessive hand on his shoulder.
The other woman walked closer, standing on the other side of Masen. I looked at the three of them for a few moments. What in the hell is going on here?
"Oh, how cute," I laughed, "are you going to move to Colorado City now to live out in the open as a big happy family?"
Masen cleared his throat. "You must be Tanya," he said.
I couldn't stop the snort that came out of my mouth. "Let me guess, you're suffering from Amnesia. No wait…it's a multiple personality disorder?"
Angela stepped forward, "I think you need to come in and sit down for a minute," she said.
I shook my head. "No, actually I just stopped by to return this," I said as I pulled the envelope containing the check out of my purse.
"I really think you need to come in," Angela said coolly.
Dante stepped to my side and put his hand on my lower back. "Hi Angela," he said nodding his head in her direction.
Angela's eyes got wide. "Dante!" she sounded shocked. "Come in." She motioned us in. Dante urged me forward with his steady firm hand on my lower back.
I walked forward, following the others into the house. I gasped when I turned the corner into the living room. There was another Masen sitting on the floor playing with the two boys I had met a few months ago. My gaze went from one man to the other until the one sitting on the floor cleared his throat and stood up.
"Tanya?" he coughed.
Angela was right; I did need to sit down. I reached over grabbing Dante's arm for support when my knees felt like they were about to give out. He guided me to the couch and sat down with me.
Masen stood up slowly looking from me to the pretty brunette and back again. "Bella, I'd like you to meet, my ex-wife, Tanya Denali."
I shot a quick look of adoration at my beloved husband and with a grin corrected Masen, "Actually, it's Tanya Boreanaz."
The words struck home as Masen stepped closer to Bella. "Nice to meet you, Mr. Boreanaz, it seems you have good taste in women and clothes. Heaven knows I found enough of them lying around my house."
Bella squeezed his hand and his attention returned to her. He kissed her lightly on the cheek and said, "Tanya, I'd like you to meet my brother, Edward, and as you know, his wife, Angela, and this," he said as he looked back at the brunette with a sparkle in his eye, "is Bella."
Tanya reluctantly took a seat on the couch with Dante, the shocked look on her face mirroring that of mine and Bella's a mere twenty minutes ago. Twenty minutes? Is that all the time that had passed? It seemed like years. And yet, I still didn't have a clue what was really going on. But first, I needed to deal with the boys before a shouting match broke out in the living room.
Edward politely offered Dante and Tanya a drink, disappearing to the kitchen for a minute, while I grabbed a few snacks, getting the twins set up in the playroom with a movie.
"Mommy," Seth said excitedly as I handed them each a box of animal crackers. "There's two of me, and two of daddy… are there two of you and Izz too?"
He was jumping up and down in his miniature seat and although I found absolutely no humor in this situation, I had to laugh.
"No, honey," I smiled. "There is only one of me and only one Isabelle. And you only have one daddy. That is daddy's brother, Anthony. He looks just like him, kind of how you and Seth look alike because you're twins."
"Where did he come from?" Connor asked. "Can he stay and play? I like him."
"I'm not sure, but I need you two to stay in here and watch your show so that I can go talk to him and daddy. Okay?"
They both nodded and I closed the door, sighing. While there were still so many questions running through my mind, I couldn't help but feel relieved that Edward had a twin. It explained a lot. Tanya had obviously been married to Anthony and Bella was involved with him now, so that meant that Edward had not been cheating. Well, at least I hoped that is what it meant. I just needed to figure out why Edward had lied about having a brother.
Returning to the living room, I sat in the empty leather chair, Edward already perched on its arm. He was a bit on edge, his lips a thin line as he glanced between Tony and Dante. No one was speaking, an awkward silence infused the room as all the men glared at each other.
I remember Edward telling me that he met Dante on a flight a few months ago, and that Dante had been sneering at him. I had no idea how Dante was involved in any of this, but I guessed he must be married to Tanya considering she introduced herself with his last name. It seemed like a strange pairing. He had been a gentleman every time I had ever interacted with him, but Tanya-I thought back to the last time Tanya had been in my living room- well, she was nothing like a lady.
I knew Edward also must be uncomfortable next to me because we hadn't been able to discuss what had happened just a few hours ago between us… when I had essentially told him I never wanted to see him again. Right now I needed answers, and looking at the faces of the other two women sitting in my living room, so did they.
"Edward," I started, glancing up at him. "Are you going to explain why you have a brother that I never knew about?"
"I told you," he huffed, glaring at Anthony, "I don't have a brother."
"Well clearly," Tanya interjected, "you do. And I would like to know how the hell I was married to you, Masen, for twelve years and you never mentioned it."
"Look," Edward interrupted as he jumped up from the chair and strode over toward Anthony, "I have no intention of re-hashing our past. As far as I'm concerned, we are not brothers. Ange and I have been perfectly happy on our own and I have no idea why you are choosing now to come waltzing back, infecting my perfect life with your chaos. Why are you here? How did you even find me?"
"Edward," Anthony pleaded in a soft voice. "It has been seventeen years! Can't we put our past behind us? I miss you."
Edward shook his head, and turned his back on Anthony. I could see the pain and conflict on his face, his shoulders hunched over like he was trying to protect himself. I glanced over at Bella who still had a sleeping Isabelle in her arms. She had reached up, placing her free hand on Anthony's forearm, squeezing it soothingly.
"Would one of you two please say something," Bella groaned. "We need to know what's going on."
"Edward," Tony started, running his hand through his hair exactly like I'd seen Edward do hundreds of times since I'd known him. "I'm not trying to hurt you or your family. I know that we made a deal that I would stay away from you, but I had to bring Bella here. She met Angela today at the doctor's office. She saw pictures of you and your family and thought that I had a wife and kids. I just had to set it right. I love her."
Tanya huffed suddenly, an angry look crossing her face. Dante leaned in toward her, whispering in her ear and she visibly relaxed, her features softening as Dante squeezed her hand.
"No." Edward shook his head again, pinching the bridge of his nose tightly. I could see the blood moving out of his hand, leaving it pale white. "No, I'm not putting my family through all this turmoil just so you can set things straight for your girlfriend and ex wife."
"Edward," I scolded. "This is not your choice anymore. You don't know what I've gone through. I need answers, and I need them now." Edward opened his eyes, meeting my gaze, a confused look on his face as I continued.
"As I said earlier, Tanya came to our home thinking I was her husband's mistress, showing me pictures of what I assumed to be your wedding, and other recent ones of you together." I swallowed the lump that was rapidly enlarging in my throat. I did not want to break down again, especially not in front of an audience.
"She told me you had been married for twelve years and I thought you had been lying to me our whole marriage… that you had been married to another woman. I've spent the last six weeks thinking that was true. And then today, when I ran into Bella, I could tell she recognized your picture. I was sure you were cheating with her as well." I could see Edward's confusion turning to understanding and then anger as he processed what I was saying.
"Edward," Anthony pleaded again. "Let me tell them."
Edward turned toward the back windows, likely watching the waterfall as it fell into the pool. He shook his head, but I knew that he understood it had to be done. I nodded, encouraging Anthony to continue.
Anthony took a deep breath, letting it out slowly then began. "Edward and I haven't spoken since our junior year of college because I did something unforgivable." He glanced at Bella and she nodded for him to continue. "When we were in high school, Edward and I used to share girlfriends." Bella groaned, likely afraid of where this story was headed.
Anthony began to pace, his hands in his hair as every pair of eyes but one stared at him.
"It wasn't right and I regret it now, but it happened. We did it all the time and the girls never knew. We ended up going to different universities but still talked almost daily until Edward met a girl. He fell in love with her and wanted me to fly to Dartmouth to meet her because he was going to propose." He stopped pacing then, staring at Edward's back as he looked out the windows. "Edward had warned me that she was off limits, and I knew that, but when I went to visit him… I just didn't see the big deal, I mean, this was our thing."
He shook his head, disgusted with himself. "While Edward was at work she came by and I pretended to be him. I seduced her, realizing too late that she was a virgin."
There was a collective gasp as we all processed what Anthony was telling us. My heart broke for Edward. I leapt off the couch to get closer. As I reached for his arm, Edward pulled me into a tight embrace.
"Edward was livid, rightfully so." Anthony continued, his voice thick with emotion. "I was wrong, completely wrong, but when Edward called me on it, I was defensive. We fought, Edward telling me that I was dead to him and I lost the only family I had." He paused again, clearing his throat. "I'm sorry Edward, truly sorry. I've regretted it for years, but it wasn't until I met Bella that I fully understood what I had done to you… what it must have been like to lose the woman you loved. I wish I could go back and change things, but I can't."
I pressed my face into Edward's chest, breathing, "I'm sorry," as I held him tightly to me, Edward burying his face in my hair. No one spoke, no one moved. I wasn't sure if it was out of shock or just the fact that none of us had any clue what to say. I pulled back to look at Edward's face, his eyes wet with moisture as we stared at each other.
I didn't know what to think. My heart was breaking for Edward, yet this thing between him and his brother was almost two decades old. I couldn't muster up any anger toward Anthony for his past mistake, but I also knew it wasn't my place to force Edward into a relationship with someone who had hurt him so terribly… even if that someone was his brother.
"Well," I spoke, slicing through the palpable silence as I took Edward's hand and turned toward our guests. "Thank you for telling us the truth, Anthony. I appreciate your honesty. We've all been through a lot today and maybe it is best if we call it a night."
I noticed that Dante was nudging Tanya with his elbow and was reminded that she was here to return the check. The check for the seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars I paid her to divorce my brother in-law. Everything from the past six weeks, every single bit of emotional torture I endured since she first appeared in my entryway was a huge misunderstanding. I started to shake, trying to hold it in, but the hilarity of the situation just hit me like a wrecking ball. I burst into laughter, looking at Tanya as I held my sides, struggling for a breath. Everyone stared at me like I had grown an extra head, but I couldn't stop. My laughter was cathartic, the tears streaming down my face as I began sucking in air and snorting. Edward looked as though I had truly lost my mind.
Tanya's lips turned up and she chuckled. "Angela, I'm sorry. Here's your check. I didn't cash it. I felt way too guilty, but every time I tried to return it you weren't home."
Edward looked at me quizzically as I reached my hand for it. He glanced down at the paper, his confusion increasing.
"I paid her off." I laughed, shaking my head.
"YOU DID WHAT?" sounded in unison. I realized that while Edward had said the phrase to me, Anthony had yelled the exact same words to Tanya.
"Stop looking at me like that, Masen," she began, while Dante moved off the couch to stand by her side. "You don't understand. Kate called me and told me she saw you at the mall with your pregnant girlfriend. What was I supposed to think? I came here to confront your mistress, only to find out that she was married to you and was not only pregnant but had your little clones running around at her feet. When she offered me money to get out of your life, I took it."
"But. But." Anthony was fuming. "You don't even need the money. Why would you do such a thing?"
"I know," She countered. "I was just so angry with you for setting up a house and kids… for playing me a fool. I wanted to punish you. I just took it. I knew I shouldn't, but I did. When the money was delivered, I came back here and I tried to give it back, but she was gone."
"I had Isabelle that night," I interrupted, the hysterical laughter completely forgotten as I recalled the experience. "I was so upset after Tanya left. I was contracting… I just couldn't believe that you would do this to me, Edward. I grabbed that heavy vase in the study and threw it, but something ripped inside me and there was blood everywhere. I thought we were going to die." I heard the gasps all around me and looked up to see all the horrified expressions. Tanya sobbed into Dante's chest and shook as he held her.
"AGH. I'm sorry, Angela." Anthony began. "If I hadn't been an idiot all those years ago, none of this would have happened. It's all my fault." Bella had pulled Anthony down next to her on the sofa, attempting to comfort him with her free hand. Her eyes threatened to spill over as she looked at me and then down at Isabelle.
"No!" Edward blurted out as he raised his head from his hands. "It isn't just your fault, Tony. I shouldn't have let it go this far. I should have been honest with my wife." He looked down at me, his eyes pleading for forgiveness.
We continued on like this for what seemed like hours. Questions being asked, then answered… misunderstanding and confusion being replaced with clarification.
The twins had finished their movie and were alternating between jumping on their dad and jumping on Anthony.
When Bella asked how it was possible that they have never run into each other at work, Edward admitted that he honestly had no idea Anthony had become a pilot too. They had never run into each other, probably helped by the fact that he flew private charters, while Anthony flew commercially. I laughed, mentioning that maybe some of the crew had overlapped and thought the guys had multiple personality disorders.
"I do run into Emmett from time to time," mused Edward, "but he never mentioned anything about you, Tony. I assumed you were either not friends anymore, or that he was just keeping quiet for my sake." He laughed at the thought. "And for Emmett… keeping quiet is a huge feat." He answered my confused look by explaining that Emmett was an old high school friend who had ended up rooming with Anthony in college.
Anthony laughed along, then sobered as he spoke. "He told me you moved back, but he was respecting your wishes. He still cares about you a lot, man. It broke his heart to see us like that."
Edward nodded, his face showing regret as he looked at his brother.
"Hey," Tanya interrupted. "What's up with the tattoos? I mean, I know about yours Masen, but when I mentioned it to Angela, she knew exactly what I was talking about. Do you two actually have matching tattoos…on your a…" she glanced over that the twins,
dropping her voice to a whisper. "butt?" Dante chuckled at his wife's quick catch.
"Well," Edward started, only to be interrupted by Anthony.
"This big brother of mine," he laughed as he put his hand on Edward's shoulder, "got the crazy idea that the three of us should get tattoos if we won the regional championship in baseball. My idea was a snake up our back, but Edward was too whimpy. He thought that would hurt too much, so Emmett suggested the lips as a "kiss my a… " he trailed off, smiling at Connor and Seth who were staring up at him intently. Bella shook her head, laughing, as he continued. "So after we got our trophies at the state finals, the three of us dropped our pants, proudly displaying our backsides to the stadium… followed by a three day suspension." He and Edward laughed at the memory.
"Daddy?" Seth asked. "Why'd you show them your bum?"
The room was filled with laughter as Edward attempted an explanation for the boys.
Dante mentioned that he and Tanya had a dinner appointment and Tanya apologized again about the whole "money thing" as she and Dante said their goodbyes.
Somewhere along the line I ordered dinner, while Anthony and Bella took turns holding Isabelle or playing with the twins. For the first time in weeks, I felt relaxed, just enjoying the company of my newly found brother-in-law and his girlfriend.
Seth and Connor could not get over the fact that their Daddy had a matching person just like they did. They clung to Anthony, sitting on his lap and smothering him with attention. He appeared to be in heaven as he tickled them and listened intently to everything that came out of their mouths.
"You know," I said to Bella as I watched the boys using Anthony as a jungle gym, "I nearly killed Edward when he came home this afternoon. I mean, despite everything else that was going on, I thought I had just met Edward's mistress at the doctor's, and that my husband had actually named our baby after her."
Everyone laughed as Edward explained that he just couldn't get the name out of his head.
Sitting here with Edward's brother and Bella felt almost surreal… to go from thinking your husband has no family, to finding out he has a twin was pretty incredible. Bella and I were getting along like we'd been friends for years instead of hours. I could tell that Anthony really loved Bella and I was thrilled for them both. I just couldn't stop smiling. It felt good, really good. Watching everyone in the room interact with each other, was like watching an extended family that had been together for years. I realized that our family was finally complete, even though I never knew that something… or someone, had been missing.
I knew it would take a while for Edward and Anthony to rebuild their relationship… for them to forgive each other and forget everything that had happened in their past, but there was no way we could go back to the way things were. I could tell that Edward wouldn't want that either. I was seeing sides of him that I had never seen as he laughed, joked, and reminisced with his twin.
As I glanced over at Edward and his brother, I realized that Anthony would be a part of our lives now, and although it wouldn't always be easy, I knew it would be worth it.
Author's Note: We hope you've enjoyed the ride... We sure have! We tried to tie it all up with a nice BIG red ribbon, but if you have any questions, you know where you can find us ;)