Fandom: Twilight

Fic: Bookends

Author: Bella's Executioner

A/N: This outtake was written for the Fandoms Fight the Floods compilation to help raise money for the relief efforts for those affected by the floods in Queensland, Australia earlier this year. The comp has already been sent out and $16,530 was raised! I just wanted to thank everyone who donated their time, money and energy to support this effort. If you didn't have a chance to donate before you still can. I've posted the link to FFF blog on my profile. You won't receive a copy of the compilation but you will be helping those who have faced hardship this past year due to this tragedy.

This outtake is rated M due to language. If you've read the fic Bookends you know that the story is about heartache, pain and loss. But it is also about love, life and finding the strength to deal with the tragedies that life throws at you. Thank you for your help in supporting those in need. And please enjoy a more happy moment in the lives of the Bookends characters.

Thanks as always to TwilightMomofTwo for being my awesome beta and a wonderful friend. Seriously, I wouldn't still be writing without her encouragement. Check out her work on her profile some time, and tell her Qute sent you.

Bookends outtake: Living the dream

EPOV (Forks, 2022)

I was having the best fucking dream.

Bella and me…on a beach…my tongue down her throat…

"Edward," she moaned as she clutched at my shoulders, shaking my body with her need. All I could do was fucking grunt in response. I could hear the lap of the waves and distant whine of the seagulls.

It was fucking heaven.

We didn't get much alone time anymore. Ever since the twins were born, it was like finding the motherfucking Holy Grail to find some time to just be alone with my wife.

Don't get me wrong. We found time to fuck. They didn't invent baby monitors and child locks on doors for nothing. But to be with my girl…on the beach…warm sun on my back...her hot, wet body under me…

"Edward!" Bella moaned louder, her fingers digging into my shoulder.

"You like it like that, baby?" I asked, feeling my body go hard all over as she called out.

"Hell no! Wake up, for crying out loud!" she yelled in my ear.

My eyes snapped open to a dark room. The sand and sun were gone, replaced with sheets and the red glowing numbers on my clock- three a.m. The seagulls and waves were transformed back into the distinct screaming wail of our youngest over the baby monitor, combined with the interference static from the signal of the monitor from his brother and sister's room.

I rolled on to my back, grunting a sigh. It was a damn good thing neither of us had jobs that required us to get up and go to an office first thing in the morning. If we did, we'd turn into those people with twitching eyelids who you just knew were going to snap one of these days.

I blinked over and over as if it would help rid my vision of the fucking blindness of night. Riley, our never-satisfied-to-just-sleep-through-the-fucking-night one year old, seemed to just know that I was awake—he screamed louder from his room.

"Fuck," I groaned. "He's going to wake up Em and Will. And they'll want to crawl in bed with us because it's dark and there are monsters in the closet. Thanks again for that one, Uncle Jazz…And it's Friday so they have to get up for school in four hours," I grumbled as Riley screamed in continued frustration. "I swear to fuck he makes a case for child earplugs."

"Adult ones, too," Bella mumbled sleepily.

I leaned over and turned on the lamp that sat next to the clock on my nightstand. Looking back over my shoulder at my wife I couldn't help the stupid grin that split my face.

"What?" Bella asked disgruntled and fucking adorable. Her hair was piled on top of her head and sticking out in all directions. She was wearing my Simon and Garfunkel wedding T-shirt and I could tell that her boobs were bigger tonight than they were the other day when she last let me touch them.

I smirked and leaned down to gently kiss her lips. I laid my hand on her barely bumped tummy, wondering if I could sneak a breast feel without her locking me out of the bedroom.

"Just love these quiet moments alone with you," I teased.

Our son emptied his lungs once more and Bella frowned up at me like I was a deaf idiot. Clearly I had to be a moron if I thought right here, right now was a quiet moment with her, but I considered every minute I had with this woman to be the most amazing gift. So, call me sappy but I couldn't have been fucking happier.

Bella cocked her brow at me when I kept on staring down at her like we had all the time in the world to just lie there together. I couldn't help it. She was so fucking beautiful.

She was almost four months pregnant with our fourth kid, still trying to get over a year of no sleep thanks to child number three and completely exhausted from the never-ending day of question and answer sessions that came with having twin five year olds. She had every right to haul off and punch me in the face in that moment. After all, I was the dude who kept knocking her up.

I chuckled as I remembered that she actually did punch me when she found out she was pregnant again only eight months after Riley was born. It was a moment of shock. She told me it was all my fault for being "too damn sexy for my own good".

What can I say? We weren't really good at the keeping our hands off of each other thing. When your wife tells you "shut up, the kids are all napping and I want your pants off now," you don't really think with that rational part of your fucking brain...hell, you don't think with your brain at all. Eventually she got over the shock and we were both excited to welcome another little Cullen spawn into this world.

Much to my relief, Bella didn't get angry with me in that peaceful little moment that we shared. She may have thought I was nuts but she just rolled her eyes and put her hands flat against the mattress.

"What the fuck do you think you're doing?" I asked as she started rocking, to get out of bed. I was a little pissed that she was making any effort to get up in her condition at three in the morning. Unless she had to pee there was no need for her to lose any sleep.

"I'm going to check on Riley."

I growled and put my hand on her shoulder to force her to lie back down.

"I'll go check on him," I assured her. It wasn't like we weren't used to playing tag team at night with him anyway.

"Are you sure?" she asked, her mouth gaping wide with a sudden yawn.

I chuckled and kissed her forehead before getting out of bed. "I'm sure."

She was out before I reached the door. I could hear her snoring as I stepped out into the hallway. I stopped by the twins' room on the way to the now sniffling youngest Cullen. Peeking in, I noticed that Will had snuck out of his bed to sleep next to his sister. I didn't get why he did that. Bella thought it was cute. I continuously asked Em if it was annoying. She would just smile and assure me that she didn't mind it.

I smiled and closed the door before they sensed me in there and woke up.

Mr. McMoody was standing up in his crib when I got to his room.

"Muma," he whimpered.

"Sorry kiddo, I know she's way prettier and probably a lot more fun to be around, but it's just plain old Dad this morning."

At the sound of my voice he stomped his feet in excitement. I couldn't hope to be some big tough guy when I melted at the sight of his tiny hands reaching out for me to pick him up.

"Fuke!" he yelled.

"Shh don't let your mom hear you say that," I warned.

For fuck's sake, you say 'fuck' around a kid once and they think it's your name. At least that's how it went with this kid. Riley had learned to call Bella Muma, William Bubba and Emily Emmy. But me? He called me Fuke.

I put my hands on the railing of his crib, bringing my eyes leveled with his. "You're gonna be the junior me, aren't you?" I prophesied.

As if the challenge was better than candy, he smiled up at me. With a crooked little baby smirk.

Fucking Cullen blood.

"Okay, little man, what's up?" I asked, picking him up. I didn't have to guess once he was closer to my nose.

"Holy…" His bright green eyes watched me, waiting for a new curse word to add to his one-year-old vocabulary. "Shin splints…You stink."

He gave me that smirk again and I held my breath as I changed his diaper.

It was amazing how fast one got over the whole someone-else's-shit-is-too-disgusting-to-handle thing after having a kid. It was still fucking gross. There were times I was dry heaving while cleaning up my kids. But I wasn't one of those dads who refused to take part in changing diapers. These kids were mine. My girl and I created them together. I wanted to spend every minute with them that I could and took my responsibility to provide for them, take care of them and raise them very seriously.

So shitty diapers at three a.m. it was.

There was a trick to changing the diaper of a Cullen boy. My daughter had been easy. Hell, Em was all about helping you make the experience painless for both you and her. She even held the materials for you until you needed them. But the boys…they were a whole different story.

William had been the trial run, which was good because he was less squirrelly than his brother. After the third time Will had shot me in the forehead with a yellow stream I visited Carlisle for some advice. It was a long shot to think Jake had been anything like my boy when he was a baby, but Cullen blood was Cullen blood.

Like some Yoda of urine avoidance, Carlisle had actually been very helpful. "Always remember to cover it up immediately," he warned. "And distract him with anything you can so he…keeps his hands off of it."

I handed Riley a stuffed car as I went about cleaning him up.

"Vroom, vroom," he said, swinging the car in the air.

I laughed. "Are you driving Mommy's Volvo or Daddy's Vanquish?"

"Cankish!" he squealed.

The kid had good taste in cars. "Ah, so you like Daddy's car… Daddy…" I pointed to myself, reminding him what my proper name was.

"Fuke!" he repeated, pointing at me.

I shrugged. So maybe we'll have to homeschool this one.

"Okay, are we thinking about sleeping this morning?"

Riley shook his head and kept swinging the car. I picked him up with a sigh.

"Didn't think so."

I decided staying on the second floor was asking to wake the twins up and probably wouldn't help Bella get any sleep. So I carried my tenacious insomniac downstairs. I sat down at the piano bench, because I loved sitting there with my kids. Each of them had sat in my lap as I played and had been thrilled to stay there for hours for lessons.

It was still too early to actually press the keys, but it was always calming for me to sit on that bench.

"Ging," Riley commanded, tapping his little hand to my chest.

I smiled. He might be the junior me, but he had a lot of his mom in him, too. I cradled him against my chest and hummed his mom's lullaby, rocking us back and forth. He never fell asleep but he did sit still with his ear pressed to my chest, at some points even humming along with me. We sat there like that, for hours, watching the sun come up together.

Em was the first one to come downstairs.

"Morning, Daddy," she said, coming over to the piano and standing on tiptoes to give me a kiss.

"Morning, baby girl." I leaned down and kissed her, rubbing my nose against hers until she giggled.

"You're silly, Daddy," she laughed. The sound of her laughter made my heart burst with joy. I don't think there was a sweeter sound in the world than my little girl's laugh.

Her brother came bounding down the stairs next. Where Em was quiet and sweet, Will was noisy and reckless. The boy didn't have a single cautious bone in his body. He jumped over the last two steps as he ran.

"William!" Bella yelled from the top of the staircase. "What have I told you about jumping down the stairs?"

"Don't do it while Mom's looking!" he yelled back in response.

"No, son, that's what I told you about jumping down the stairs," I reminded him. My wife was not amused as she reached the first floor. Will came over to give me a high five before running into the kitchen.

Bella, though she had a stern look on her face, walked over to give me a sweet kiss on the lips.

"Thank you for the sleep," she whispered.

I smiled and gave her a wink. "Anytime, baby," I whispered back.

Our morning make-out was interrupted by momma's boy in my lap.

"Mum, mum, mum," Riley started chanting.

"Morning, sweetie," Bella said, beaming down at our youngest.

She was so fucking beautiful when she smiled…scratch that. She was just fucking beautiful, period.

"Dad! We're out of Cap n' Crunch again!" Will shouted as if I had committed the worst crime thinkable by not keeping his beloved cereal in stock constantly.

"That's because I'm making pancakes, son," I announced spontaneously.

"You are?" Bella asked amazed. I nodded, smacking her ass as I stood up and headed into the kitchen.

"Edward!" she chided.

"Fuke!" Riley yelled.

I laughed as I heard Bella gasp when she realized what he'd called me.

"Family vote," I said to the kitchen at large. Em and Will were getting silverware to put on the table while Bella strapped Riley into his highchair.

"Chocolate, banana or cinnamon?"

"Chocolate," Will and Bella shouted.

"I want banana, Daddy!" Em yelled.

"I'm siding with the girl," I told Bella and Will. They frowned while Em hopped down to run over and give me a high five.

"That's split fifty-fifty," Bella pointed out.

I turned to Riley. "Chocolate or banana, son?"

"Fuke!" he yelled.

"Banana it is," I announced and started collecting the ingredients.

"How do you figure that?" Bella asked, walking over to the fridge to help me.

"He waved his vote to me. Let me have the final say," I explained with a big grin.

Bella laughed, shaking her head and kissing my cheek.

"I love you, Edward."

I tried to not look like a complete goof as I made pancakes for my family. It was hard. I never really believed I would find myself here one day. This was a million miles away from the life I lived as a kid. It was a total one-eighty from the way Bella grew up. To get to spend the rest of my life with her was a prize I still couldn't get over. But to have all of this…

Em and Will recited poems that they were learning in class. Riley tried to mimic the words he heard his siblings shouting. And Bella was putting Em's hair up in pigtails, while occasionally glancing over at me.

Our eyes locked and we both smiled.

Life was fucking perfect.

Twenty minutes later we were finished eating and Bella was asking Emily how it was that she had banana's in her hair.

"I was giving Riley a hug," Em started to explain. That was more than enough information. The boy was like Pigpen.

"Why don't you go get your backpacks while mom cleans up your sister's hair," I told Will.

"Okay, Dad!" he shouted and took off like a rocket toward the stairs.

"Don't run up the stairs!" Bella yelled as the distinct sound of feet running upstairs traveled to the kitchen. "That boy," she groaned in frustration.

"We'll get him into sports, that will help him focus the energy," I assured her.

"So, what time is the appointment today?" I asked, clearing the plates and loading the dishwasher.

"Um…eleven, I think. The note's on the fridge." She nodded toward the pink note that said ultrasound on it.

"Yep, eleven. Do they let kids sit in on those?"

Bella blinked up at me with confusion on her face.

"Why?"

I looked at Riley and then back at her. The twins would be in school until two but Riley would be with us during the time of her appointment.

"Because one year olds don't go to kindergarten," I teased.

Bella rolled her eyes. "Oh…Well…I was thinking maybe Alice could come over and…" Bella started to explain while she tried to pull as much banana from Em's hair as she could. Apparently little guy put more in his sister's hair than in his mouth.

"There's no need for Alice to f…" I bit my tongue as Bella glared at me over our kids' heads. "Frying come over and watch him. I can frying watch him in the waiting room."

Censoring my language with three little ones in the house was the hardest aspect of my life. I could change a shitty diaper. I could even bake up banana pancakes after getting no sleep thanks to humming to Riley all night. But I couldn't stop saying the word 'fuck'.

"Fuke!" Riley yelled as if he could read my mind. I rolled my eyes as Bella glared at me again.

"Edward... that's sweet but, completely unnecessary. Riley will be fine," she promised.

I hated having other people watch my kids. I didn't mind the kids visiting family members. Or family members coming over to hang out with the kids while Bella and I attempted to go on a date. But I loathed the idea of leaving my kids too often.

I was left alone too often as a kid. I knew what that kind of shit did to your trust in your parents. Of course, Bella and I weren't junkies or whores so…comparing us to Tanya was pointless.

"You don't think I can handle it?" I asked quietly, not even trying to hide the hurt in my eyes.

Bella sighed, telling Em that was as good as it was going to get and walking over to wash her hands before putting them on my forearms.

"Of course you can handle it, sweetheart. You can handle anything. And," she ran her fingers through my hair, her eyes twinkling with pride as she looked at me. "You're the best dang daddy around."

I smiled, feeling my ears turn pink at her words.

"I try."

She kissed my cheek. "You succeed, baby. It's just…I was kind of hoping you could sit in the room with me during the test."

"Hmm," I pouted. She had a point. "Okay, call Alice," I conceded. "I'll drop the kids off at school."

"Okay, see you soon." She rose up on her toes to kiss me on the lips before grabbing the phone.

"See ya in a bit, Junior," I told Riley, kissing his forehead before calling for the twins to get in the car.

Bella yelled at William as he ran down the stairs. I just laughed.

We took the minivan to school. There was a part of me that still cringed at the thought of owning a minivan. But three car seats wouldn't fit in either of our other vehicles. And now with the addition of Cullen number four we definitely needed as much space as we could get with our ride.

I put on my Slippery When Wet CD once everyone was strapped in. Just because I drove a minivan didn't mean I wasn't cool. The kids sang along, off key and in total abandon.

"Living on a dare!" William sang in such sincerity that I couldn't help but laugh.

I loved moments like this. When I could enjoy the little things with my kids. They were happy. And that made me happy. Their biggest problems in life were running out of Cap n' Crunch and singing the wrong lyrics to songs. They weren't afraid of anything but make-believe monsters in their closet. I wanted to bottle this moment up. Keep them this innocent and carefree as they were right now.

But I knew that wouldn't help them once they grew up. There was bad shit out in the world that I knew they needed to be exposed to. Not to be encouraged to join, like their mom and I had, but so that they could make the best choices for their lives.

I wanted my daughter to never lose her sweet smile, and for my sons to still be spirited when they reached my age. I also wanted to shield them from pain but knew that pain was just life. So it was up to Bella and me to teach them how to handle whatever life threw at them. And to never stop reminding them that no matter what, we were always going to be there for them. Good or bad, we had their backs. Always.

The parking lot was busy when I pulled up to the school. Forks Elementary was a foreign land to me. Now, the high school I was pretty familiar with, even if I spent most of my time ditching out of class when I was enrolled there, but the elementary school was a whole other world. I always felt like a giant walking around the campus. The playground equipment was shorter than I was. The tables were lowered down below my knees and the chairs were only big enough for one adult buttcheek. But then again, it was all just the right size for the student population, which was made up of kids all half my height at best.

There were groups of parents standing around the parking lot, bullshitting together about life in Forks. It was sometimes weird as hell to realize that the grownups were the guys I went to high school with only a decade before. Thinking of them as "adults" meant I had to accept that I was one, too. Straightening my daughter's pigtails after she jumped out of the car was proof that I probably was a tad more grown up now than I was back in high school.

"Have a good day, bud," I told my son as we exchanged our intricate secret handshake at the door to their classroom.

"See ya, Dad!" he said, heading inside. Running. I chuckled. Bella would be shouting her ass off at the boy right now.

"See you later, Daddy," Em said, reaching up to give me a hug.

"Have a good day, baby girl," I told her, bending down and rubbing my nose against her neck until she giggled. She joined her brother in the classroom.

I couldn't believe how grown up theywere. It was like they aged over night. And pretty soon I'd be dropping Riley off here…and the new one, whatever it was going to be; baby number four would be coming here, too.

Where did the time go?

"You have such good kids, Edward," a kind female voice informed me, pulling me from my oh-my-god-my-kids-are-practically-in-college moment.

"Thank you," I said, turning to the voice and finding the owner to be the kids' teacher - Mrs. Newton.

Now, when I was a kid Mrs. Newton was the lady who owned the hardware shop across the street. That was a different person, though. This was Mike's wife, Jessica. Bella claims we met her years ago, at one of Alice's fashion shows. I couldn't fucking remember it but that didn't matter, she was nice…and she could put up with the moron so she was probably patient.

"We'll see you at the end of the day," she said in her most kindergarten teacher voice.

I just smile and nodded. My heart squeezed again at the thought that the kids were that much closer to finishing kindergarten. Pretty soon they'd be getting their announcements ready for high school graduation.

I headed back to the car, waving when I caught sight of my nephew heading to his class. Marcus waved with a huge grin on his face. It was amazing how much he looked like Emmett. I knew he was adopted, but damn…they couldn't have picked a better match for Em and Rose in the whole world.

I frowned at that thought. I knew Jazz and Alice were wonderful parents and that Marcus loved them dearly. And it made me fucking proud to see my little brother raising a kid and living a full happy life. But it would have been awesome to see Em and Rose raise him. Fuck, it would have been awesome to just see Em and Rose again.

I tried to not dwell on the depressing memories as I drove home. I couldn't help it, though. In a moment of pure contentment, I somehow always ended up feeling a little guilty that not everything in this world worked out the way it should.

Bella and I were going to the doctor today to find out what our next child would be and yet we never knew what our first child had been. No matter how much joy we had in our lives with our kids, we both carried a sadness with us that we were denied our first child. The time wasn't right. We were just kids ourselves… yadda yadda. That was just the shit we told each other in the dark to stop the tears. The truth was it hurt. It wasn't fair. And no matter how hard we worked at making our lives happy now, we would never just move on and forget our first baby.

I pulled into the driveway at home, a little shocked to see Jazz's truck parked by the garage. Alice didn't like driving the truck. She would have insisted on driving her birthday present that I gave her last year. I laughed when I remembered her shocked look when she opened the box with the Porsche key inside.

I loved getting the upper hand with Alice. She was impossible to surprise.

"Bella, I'm home," I called from the entry.

"Fuke!" Riley yelled from upstairs.

"Stop calling him that!" I heard Bella mumble as she headed downstairs.

"Hey, baby," I said when she reached me. She smiled and kissed me. "Why's Jazz's truck out front? Something happen to the banana?"

Bella laughed. I asked Alice what color she wanted her car to be and she told me bright yellow. Will and Em wanted to know why a banana was delivered from the car dealership a week later. The nickname stuck.

"No. Alice had a class scheduled for the center at Push today. She couldn't baby sit," Bella explained.

"So who's gonna watch Riley?" I asked.

"Isn't that the obvious part, bro?" Jazz asked from the kitchen.

I gave my wife a puzzled look, whispering, "Are you sure he's qualified?"

Bella nodded her head and handed me her coat to help her put it on. "Yes, he comes with wonderful references. He learned all he knows about being a dad from his big brother. And that guy," she said, turning to kiss the tip of my nose. "I trust with my very soul."

I snorted sarcastically and rolled my eyes.

"You sure you can handle him?" I teased as my little brother joined us by the door.

Jazz smiled. He had the baby monitor clipped to his belt and a cheesy grin on his face. "Oh, don't you worry about me. I once knew a kid just like him."

I shared a knowing look with my brother.

"Thanks again, Jazz," Bella said, giving him a kiss on the cheek as we left.

"Remember to keep his hands busy," I warned him as I followed my wife out the door.

"What do you mean?" Jazz yelled. I just chuckled and joined Bella in the Volvo. Jazz didn't have much experience with babies. Marcus was out of diapers when they adopted him.

This was going to be fun.

"You're mean," Bella teased, hitting my arm playfully as I put the car in gear. We were going the hospital in Port Angeles, so she settled back for the hour drive from Forks.

"So funny how many things change and how many stay the same." Her voice was quiet and her eyes were a million miles away when I turned to look at her as she spoke.

"It seems like just yesterday that Jazz was the one driving me to Victoria for a check up." Her face fell when she realized what she had just said.

"Sorry," she quickly offered, with wide eyes at me.

I gave her a gentle smile and shook my head, putting my hand on her leg to reassure her. "I was just thinking about her this morning, too," I admitted.

Sometimes it struck me to the bone to realize how much alike our thoughts were. We spent quite a few years thinking we were living on different planets where our thoughts were concerned. And all this time we were actually more identical than different.

Bella laced her fingers through mine on her lap and smiled. "What do you think this one will be?" She quirked an eyebrow at me.

I shrugged. "Hmm…I'm putting my money down on it being a baby."

Bella smacked my arm again. "Ha, ha, you're so funny, Edward," she said, sarcasm dripping from her lips.

I laughed. "What do you want? Triplets?" I teased.

Bella paled at the thought. Finding out we were having twins was shock enough. Even I had paced in panic when we were waiting to find out if Riley was a multiple or not. It would serve us right to end up with three more kids.

"I know what it will be, baby," I promised.

Bella clutched my hand in hers, casting me a weary glance. "What?"

"Loved."

I helped Bella get out of her clothes and into the hospital gown. I'll admit it I thought I was smooth, squeezing her tits as I slid the gown over her. The glare she shot me told me that would be the last time I'd get to touch them for at least a week.

It was totally worth it.

"Good morning, Mr. and Mrs. Cullen," the young nurse said, entering the room. "Are you ready to meet your little one?"

We both nodded and smiled. I clutched Bella's hand tightly in mine. She squeezed my hand in support.

The nurse went over Bella's health. How she was feeling, and explaining what we should expect from the test today. We'd been through it all before, but I still spent the whole time practically holding my breath.

I didn't remember much of the appointment. Once the heart monitor started echoing in the room and the image of my baby was on the screen, that sound was all I heard. Bella would squeeze my hand and I would look at her and smile. A stupid awestruck look was on my face.

"Now, what was it?" I asked stupidly as we got back into the car.

Bella laughed. "A boy. A little distracted, were you?" she joked.

I nodded. "Yeah."

She held up the picture and pointed at whatever the hell it was that indicated it was a boy.

"How the fuck can you see anything but swirls and lines?" I asked honestly.

"I can't," she said turning it sideways. "But that's how she pointed to it on the screen…I think."

We laughed.

"Another boy?" I asked.

Bella rolled her eyes. "Oh lord, our poor daughter."

"Ah, Em can hold her own. You'll see," I promised.

Bella beamed up at me, pride fucking radiating off her.

"What?"

She shook her head, holding my hand and turning to watch the trees fly by as we drove home.

"I just enjoy spending these quiet moments with you, Edward."

Later that night, Jazz thanked and off on his way home, the twins asleep in their beds, even Riley curled up in his crib, I lay awake in our bed thinking about that image on the screen. I couldn't take it for granted. Sure, people had babies all of the time. Hell, this was our fourth. It was still an awesome miracle to see. And I couldn't just go on with life as usual after seeing it again.

All these years. All that pain. And here we were. Happy. Healthy. Together. I smiled with tears filling my eyes. If I could go back in time and find the ten year old me I wondered what he'd say if I showed him a glimpse into right now. If he'd find hope in it or if he'd laugh at the absurdity that it was possible. Laugh. He'd definitely laugh his ass off. People didn't live happy lives. Dads weren't loving and safe. Moms weren't concerned if you jumped down the stairs so long as CPS wasn't called out to the house. There wasn't such a thing as a cupboard that had cereal in it instead of a bottle of Jack. And there was no way kids could sleep through the night without fearing they'd wake up hearing their mom being beat.

This was a dream.

And at long last I was able to find it, and stay in it. I had no plans of ever waking up from this one.

I felt the bed shift as Bella got up. I heard the delicate padding of her feet against the floor as she went to stand in front of the window. She did that a lot, almost every night. It didn't scare me, or even bother me really. I always gave her a second to look out at the world-reflect on that shit in her head like I was doing right now. It was part of what kept you sane, reminding yourself how crazy you've been.

I drew in a long breath and counted to ten. Then I silently got out of bed and made my way over to her. My wife. My love. My Bella.

It was raining, and I could hear the water hitting the deck by the lake in our backyard. Bella sighed. There was no need for words. I stepped behind her, sliding my arms around her growing waist and rested my hands on her stomach. I kissed her hair and tucked her head under my chin while we stood there.

Looking outside of our dream, seeing the world as a different place than we once knew it to be.

We watched the night pass by with our eyes wide open.

Together.

Forever.

A/N: I hope you enjoyed a look into Edward and Bella's future. For those of you interested I also submitted a one shot to the Fandoms Fight the Tsunami compilation. The link to that blog is also on my profile. That one shot will be posted to my FFn profile in a few months. I'm also working on a new story that I hope to start posting soon. Thank you for your continued support with my work and I hope to hear from you to see how you enjoyed this outtake.

xoxo Qute