I do not own Twilight, I just hate the cockblocking.
Epilogue: Moving Pictures
"you and me and all of the people
with nothing to do
nothing to prove
and it's you and me and all of the people
and I don't know why
I can't keep my eyes off of you
what day is it?
and in what month?
this clock never seemed so alive"
—Lifehouse, "You and Me"
Amazing how this room gets messy in the blink of an eye.
I'm cleaning toys and books and half eaten crackers off of every flat surface in the family room of my house.
I stop to straighten the framed photos on the mantle. There are so many pictures I had Edward put an extra shelf over it to make more space. I look over all the memories captured on film and inspect each one with a smile on my face. Soon I'm lost in lovely daydreams.
The first photo I look at is of Edward and me at his Dartmouth graduation. He's in his cap and gown and we have our arms around each other, completely and utterly in love. I look especially ecstatic, and for good reason.
"Edward, do you need me to iron anything?" I call out to him from outside the bathroom where he's almost ready to start getting dressed.
Today is Edward's graduation and I'm trying to make sure everything is all set before we leave our apartment to go to Commencement.
"No, my clothes are fine, thanks," he answers.
Just then he opens the door, a towel wrapped around his waist. He's clean shaven and his hair is a still a little damp but messy and wild as always. He puts his hand through it unconsciously like he always does.
"Hi, beautiful," he purrs, kissing my neck and groping my butt.
I laugh and push him off me gently.
"We don't have time," I remind him but I'm really trying to remind myself too.
"As you wish," he relents, kissing my hand.
"I'm going to grab myself some coffee from the kitchen, do you want some?" I ask.
"No thank you, I'm just going to get dressed really quick," he replies, smacking my behind as he walks passed me and into our bedroom.
A few minutes later I hear him call for me.
"Can you bring me my cap and gown? They're hanging in the hall closet," he asks.
I open the closet door and reach for his things. But before I take them, I notice that the cap has something tied to the mortarboard, where the tassel hangs. It's a red ribbon with something heavy on the end of it. I slip off the ribbon to get a closer look.
In my hand is a diamond ring—a beautiful, huge, ostentatious diamond solitaire ring.
"Bella sweetness," Edward says, behind me on one knee and smiling.
I turn and face him and he takes my hands in his.
"I can't really explain in words what you mean to me, because I don't think I could do it justice—trying to describe how much I love you and how you always make me happy," he says, holding my hands in his.
I'm just a crying mess. The ring, the bended knee, the unexpectedness of it all, it's reduced me to a Buddle once again.
"Bella, would you do me the honor of marrying me?"
"Yes, Edward, of course!"I reply without hesistation, laughing and crying at the same time.
He takes the ring from my hand and slips it on my finger, smiling at me from ear to ear.
"Edward…" I murmur, trying to talk but having trouble from being so choked up.
He looks at me. I think he knows what I'm about to say at long last, after holding it inside me for an entire year.
"I love you, Edward. I love you," I say, the words pouring out of me, finally free from where I kept them locked up and unspoken. I wrap my arms around him and sob into his freshly pressed shirt.
"I love you too, Bella," he says, lifting my chin and kissing me sweetly.
With a wistful smile I look at the next framed photo. This one is of my own graduation two years later. We were extremely fortunate in that Edward was accepted to Dartmouth's medical school and there wasn't any need for us to be forced to try having a long distance relationship.
We had to rush off to Chicago literally the day this picture was taken. Edward and I were getting married later that summer and heading to France for our honeymoon, so we planned on spending the entire summer in Chicago, have the wedding there and then leave for our honeymoon. One weekend early that summer in particular comes to mind.
Memorial Day Weekend 2012
"Mmm, Bella, I can't keep my hands off you when you've got one of your bikinis on," Edward groans into my ear, his hand on my bare butt.
I've come to accept my fate as a g-string bikini wearer. I had no chance in winning this battle when Edward, Alice and Rosalie were all my opponents. Seeing how excited it made Edward did make for a nice trade-off though.
Esme and Carlisle are away for the long weekend and so Edward and I have the indoor pool all to ourselves. The two of us have been very busy with our summer jobs—Edward continuing his med school studies as a summer intern alongside his father, and I returned to volunteering at the literacy program, now in my fourth consecutive year.
"Uhhhn, that feels so good," I purr into his ear as he slips his hand inside the flimsy material of my bikini top.
"Bella I really, really need to have my way with you," he growls.
What, like I'm stopping you?
I'm lying down on one of the chaise longues next to the pool, Edward pressing his weight on top of me and prying my legs apart. I happily oblige. Our slick bodies move against each other and I eagerly lower his board shorts, groping him while he pulls my bikini top off with one quick motion.
I just need him inside me right now. It's been more than a week since we've had any fun at all. We haven't even made out. Edward worked constantly and I just got over a bad bout of stomach flu, not keeping anything down, not even water.
"Now Edward, please now, now, now…" I beg, my voice urgent and demanding.
He presses into me quickly because neither one of us is feeling like we can wait any longer. I'm kissing him so hard my lips are hurting but I don't care. This is like an itch I just need to scratch. I wrap my legs around his waist and work my hips like a madwoman. He has one hand on my breast while Magic Thumb goes exactly where I need it to be. I'm over the edge pretty fast.
God, I'm ridiculously horny. No Sex + Edward in board shorts = Horn-dog Bella
"Uhhhn, yes, yes, fuuuuck," I moan loudly.
Edward doesn't even have the patience to talk. He grunts into my neck while finishing off inside me frantically. There are times for slow romantic encounters and then there are other times when a girl just needs to get screwed soundly and go on about her day.
The next day Edward comes down with my stomach flu and spends the rest of the weekend in bed and/or puking. His puking causes me to get my usual sympathy nausea and even though I'm not sick, I still can't keep down anything because I'm playing nursemaid to him all day long.
My daydream is interrupted when my eyes fall on the next photograph. It's our wedding portrait. I laugh to myself when I look at the expression on my face. I look positively miserable. It's because I felt miserable. Edward on the other hand, is sporting his trademark 'shit-eating grin,' that face he makes when he's especially pleased with himself. His lips form a sort of half smirk, half pout and his eyes look unbearably playful. He wore a tux on our wedding day and if I wasn't feeling so horrible, I would've spent more time ogling him. I start thinking back to what lead up to me feeling so crappy.
"Bella? Bella, wake up sweetness, you've overslept again," I hear Edward say as he rubs my back to bring me out of my sleepy haze.
"Uhnnng, sooo tired, just so tired," I mutter.
Edward puts his hand on my forehead to see if I'm running a fever.
"Bella this is the third day in a row you can't get out of bed. Last night you passed out snoring at 7:30," he tells me.
"I'm coming down with some bug. My throat doesn't feel right," I say, still not able to open my eyes.
Edward tries a more direct approach to wake me up. He slides up behind me and puts his hand on my breast while kissing my neck. His hand grazes my nipple and his fingers play with it, pinching it.
"Ow," I say, gasping at how much that hurt. "My boobs are killing me," I add, noticing how odd that is considering I don't really get tenderness there.
"Bella?" Edward says with sudden concern in his voice. "When was…" he tries to ask.
I sit bolt upright like a shot, my eyes suddenly very open and very wide. My hair is a wild mess and the strap of my nightgown is hanging limply off my shoulder.
Holy shit, holy shit, holy shit…
"OHMYGOD,MYPERIOD,WHENWASMYPERIOD?" I exclaim, the words flying out like bats out of a cave.
"You don't remember?" he asks, a little alarmed that I lost track of such a thing. He sits up and faces me.
"My pills…I was supposed to start them over when I got my period so that I wouldn't have it over the honeymoon. That was…was…FUCK…that was like three weeks ago!" I pant, feeling frantic beyond words. My heart is racing.
"You were expecting your period three weeks ago?" he asks, trying to do the math in his head. He grabs my desk calendar and starts counting backwards.
"Yes. What kind of a moron doesn't notice that her period doesn't come?" I ask rhetorically, in a full blown panic. "How did this happen? I thought the pill was like 100 million percent effective?!?" I demand, wanting to know exactly what went haywire.
"Bella, if I'm figuring this out right, you conceived…around…the end of May," he says, the penny suddenly dropping for both of us.
"Memorial Day weekend…the pool room, the lounge chair…" I think out loud, my mouth forming a perfect 'o' shape. "Oh God, Edward, we made a baby on a piece of lawn furniture! That's just…wrong!" I gasp. I'm crying at the idea of such an inauspicious beginning for our own child.
Edward chuckles at my full blown freak-out. I don't see how this is funny. He puts his arm around me to try and calm me down.
"I don't understand why my pills didn't work," I continue to wonder, my hand over my forehead.
"Bella, are you sure you took all your pills? You must have missed some," he suggests.
"Yes, I know I took them all…I mean…" my face turns red.
"What?" he says, as he eyes me suspiciously.
"Well, I never always take every single one?" I say like a question.
He's just looking at me with a raised eyebrow. I bite my lip.
"You know, there's always a couple that get lost?" I mumble.
Edward just tilts his head. He's waiting for me to spit it out already.
"I usually drop one or two every month—I'm really clumsy in the morning. They bounce down the drain before I can catch them," I explain, feeling like a complete idiot.
"Missing one or two shouldn't make a difference, unless they're consecutive, then maybe. Anything else you can remember, any other reason why you wouldn't take a pill?" he asks, trying to jog my memory.
"I can't think of anything, I mean that weekend wasn't exactly anything to write home about. You caught my stomach flu. I went from puking all the time from having the upset stomach myself, to puking all the time from watching you get sick all day," I reply.
"You were throwing up a lot? I was working that entire week non-stop so I could have the weekend off, I didn't see much of you," he says, only now finding out a piece of information that would prove to be key in all this.
"Oh, it was awful. I couldn't even keep down…" I say, my voice trailing off as I realize something rather devastatingly important but altogether too late to do anything about it. "Couldn't even keep down…" I try to repeat.
"The water you took with your pills?" Edward offers, nodding his head as he speaks.
"…the water I took with my pills…" I say, staring blankly into space, covering my mouth with my hand.
All of a sudden, he's laughing and laughing at how idiotic I am. He's sort of justified, really.
"So, between dropping two pills down the sink and vomiting them up solid week of them, I think it's safe to assume that you pretty much completely invalidated your birth control…completely inadvertently," Edward says, shaking his head and grinning from ear to ear.
I can't respond because I'm sobbing. I can't believe, first, that I literally went brain dead with keeping track of my cycle; second, that there was only one possible time this accident happened, and it wasn't exactly a meaningful, loving encounter; and third…no one in the right mind should trust me to have a baby for more than a few hours, let alone grow an entire baby inside my body.
"Bella sweetness, don't be upset, please," Edward says as he moves a lock of my hair out of my eyes. "This is happy news," he adds, smiling and kissing my hand.
"But, I…this…we…" I stammer incoherently.
"OK, the timing isn't perfect, but we are getting married in three weeks," he reasons.
He pulls me onto his lap and I softly cry into his shoulder.
"But…school," I hiccup. "We're going back to New Hampshire next month, I'm supposed to be starting school," I say.
I was just accepted into a two year Master's program in Comparative Literature at Dartmouth. I'd be finished when Edward is done with medical school. After that, we plan on moving to Chicago.
"You can still go to school. You'll just need bigger clothes," he teases.
I laugh because that actually was quite humorous.
"It's all so sudden, I don't know how we'll manage—school and a baby," I say, wondering if I can handle this kind of responsibility.
Edward puts his hand on my abdomen below my belly button and kisses my cheek.
"Bella, it'll work out. I seem to remember you telling me once that 'things will happen the way they're supposed to.' I'm pretty sure this is one of those things," he tells me.
"I did say that, didn't I?" I say, feeling buoyed by Edward's optimism.
He smiles and kisses me sweetly.
"I'm not sure how to have a baby and not miss classes," I say, laughing at absurd it sounded for me to say 'have a baby' out loud.
"Bella," Edward says with a laugh, "do you honestly think you'll be short on babysitters? My mother will descend on New Hampshire with an entire staff of people at your disposal. Alice will be over every weekend from Boston—I'd bet money on that," he tells me.
Things didn't seem quite so muddled and daunting now. Edward is right, we'll figure it out. Lots of people have babies. I think about the young mothers I've been helping all summer, every summer. They had a lot fewer resources than I do, and almost no support—financial, emotional or otherwise. If my students could manage, I'm sure I could too.
"Esme," I say, smiling brightly. "Can I tell Esme?" I ask, feeling the need to share this with someone who I know would be happy to hear it.
"We should probably make sure you are actually pregnant," Edward says, his smile still as bright as ever.
"Oh," I say, realizing that maybe I was getting ahead of myself. There could be other reasons why I haven't gotten my period. The stress of all the wedding plans, plus working—those things could cause me to miss a cycle.
I feel sad all of a sudden. I was just getting used to the idea, I would hate for it to not even really be happening.
"Are you OK?" Edward asks.
"I don't…" I start to say but I choke on my words. "I don't want the baby to be gone," I say and start crying again.
"Bella, you have a lot of symptoms, you should just take a test and then we'll know for sure," he says, kissing my forehead.
A short while later, I'm standing in my bathroom and holding my breath. I look down at the long rectangular piece of plastic on the counter in front of me. When I notice the little display window, I start to cry again.
Edward peers in and comes inside. He hugs me and tries to comfort me.
"Don't cry Bella, we can try for a baby right away if you want, whatever makes you happy," he offers, hoping to dispel my disappointment.
"No, it's alright," I say, wiping my eyes. "I don't think we need to," I add.
I look at him and smile.
"It's positive," I tell him.
I pick up the wedding portrait to study it more closely. I felt so nauseous on my own wedding day. My face actually looks green. Most people attributed the nausea to nerves and no one knew except Edward, me, and his parents. There was no way I couldn't run straight to Esme as soon as the test confirmed what Edward and I suspected. I needed someone to talk to that had been through it and besides, she would be thrilled. So of course Carlisle had to be included as well. He ended up referring me to one of the best doctors in Chicago for my first prenatal visit.
Putting the picture frame back in its usual spot, I smile at my handsome groom's face.
It's like he's thinking 'been there, tapped that, left a baby in it.'
There was one thing about me in the picture that looked good—I had on the prettiest antique diamond earrings. On the night before the wedding, Edward offered me his great-grandmother's earrings again, like he did on New Year's Eve four years before. This time he was more insistent, saying that someone had to hang on to them until the baby was old enough to have them. I couldn't resist his logic.
Next I look at one of my most favorite photos of all. It's the first picture taken of Edward and me as a new little family. Our faces are side by side as I hold in my arms the result of our frisky little tryst in a lawn chair. I insisted we name him Edward Anthony, just like his father, but oddly enough I never call him that. Ever since we brought him home from the hospital, I developed a habit of calling him Tony and it just stuck. Although at the ripe old age of eight, he now insists on being called Anthony.
Just as Edward had predicted, Esme and Alice were all too eager to help with the baby. Esme even bought herself a small condo near our apartment in New Hampshire so that I could continue going to school while she helped with Tony. She absolutely dotted on her grandson and they adored each other.
We have all kinds of photos of our friends during their happy memories as well. There's one of Alice and Jasper at their wedding in Philadelphia, where I was maid of honor. Next to that is a first portrait of Brandon, their baby and my godson.
Another picture is of Rosalie and Emmett at their wedding in Rochester, where I was not in the bridal party because Rosalie refused to have one. Next to that is a family portrait of the McCarty clan from last Christmas—all seven of them. Somehow Emmett managed to talk Rosalie into having one baby. To most people's utter shock, she absolutely loved pregnancy and motherhood. So much so that she's been pregnant consistently for the past eight years and just had her fifth baby right before Thanksgiving. She keeps accusing Emmett of replacing her birth control with Tic-Tacs, but I've never seen anyone so happy to trade her Manalos for a pair of Uggs.
My eyes settle on another wedding picture. Now this couple and how they came to be still surprised me to this day. The fact that the bride has been a close friend of mine for years is also a little mind-boggling.
Tanya Denali is one of my best friends. But her mom still hates me.
Tanya spent six months in treatment after Edward and I shipped her home to her parents my freshman year. She came back a different person. I think her addictions were masking some deeper issues that treatment forced her to assess and take control of. Part of her recovery involved mending her relationships, so when she began calling and emailing me my sophomore year, I gave her an honest chance. I'm so glad I did because she sincerely wanted a friendship. Before we knew it, she was coming up to Dartmouth every few weekends to hang out. And then something so bizarre and amazing happened that I still don't know what to make of it.
Tanya Denali, heiress and Chicago high society debutante, met Mike Newton, the son of a sporting goods store owner…and they fell madly in love. Mike had no idea that Tanya came from so much money, I think he just saw her as a beautiful, smart girl from Yale who tried really hard to lose her pretensions and be a real person. And there must have been something about Mike's uncomplicated Midwestern charm that stole her heart.
They got married the year before Edward and I did and they've been two lovesick fools ever since. Tanya is now the heiress to the vast Newton Sporting Goods empire, living in cosmopolitan Sheboygan, Wisconsin with her husband, three kids, a dog and a minivan. All jokes aside, I really believe that this completely boring and ordinary lifestyle was exactly what Tanya needed and wanted for herself. The proof is in the pudding—she just emailed me a .jpg yesterday of her ultrasound. She's ten weeks along with baby number four.
"Hi, Mom," I hear from behind me. I turn and smile at my son.
"Hi, Tony," I reply, running my hand through his thick bronze hair. Tony looked like a mixture of people in our family, but his hair was all Edward.
"Mom, it's Anthony now," he insists.
"Right, I apologize, Anthony," I say, trying very, very hard not to laugh.
"Where's Dad?" he asks.
"Upstairs somewhere—his study, maybe?" I reply.
"Mom, I need your advice. It's rather important," he informs me.
Rather important, I see. This kid is the most serious eight year old I've ever met. And it makes me just want to kiss his cheeks all over.
"Of course, tell me what you need help with," I oblige.
"There's a new girl in my class. She just moved here. Mrs. Turner switched our seats and she sits next to me," he explains. "I try to be her friend, but when I ask her if she needs to borrow my markers, she just looks away," he laments.
"It sounds like she's just shy. I bet if you gave her a little time, she'd warm up to you," I say, speaking from a depth of personal experience. "She might be acting shy because she has a crush on you," I add, smiling at him.
He's thoughtful for a moment. And then I see it. The one trait that plagues me and now it plagues my poor son. He's blushing furiously.
"I just want to be her friend, Mom," he objects. The blushing tells another story. "And I think her behavior is perplexing," he adds. His vocabulary and observations make me shake my head and giggle.
Hmm, perplexing members of the opposite sex. Sounds familiar.
"What are you reading?" I ask as he flops down on the couch with a book.
"Dracula," he says. "Dad said I could," he adds.
Figures. Corrupting his own child. It's depraved.
I'm almost done rearranging my framed pictures when I gaze at one of my very favorite ones. It's of Edward, smiling a huge toothy grin with his eyes closed. On other side of his face are two little profiles kissing his stubbly cheeks.
I finally finished up my doctoral program a year and a half ago, and with perfect timing on my second go around, gave birth to my twin daughters a few weeks later. Portia and Emma are upstairs, hopefully napping.
I had a much easier time with the girls—emotionally at least. I was prepared this time and not nearly as nervous. However, Edward and I had an odd role-reversal. He was the very nervous one this time. Once we found out we were having twins, he seemed a little apprehensive because of the complications that can happen. But when we learned the twins were both girls, it was like he lost a bit of his sanity—OK, maybe a lot of his sanity.
Edward now has three females to get insanely possessive over. That's a lot of irrational jealousy for one person.
I look up when I hear the sound of Edward's footfalls. He's got a chubby toddler in each arm.
"You woke them up, didn't you?" I ask, squinting my eyes at him playfully. Two little mouths yawn in unison to confirm my suspicions.
"I couldn't help it, they kept saying 'mama' in their sleep," he tells me sheepishly.
Edward hasn't changed much at all in the twelve years I've been with him. He looks just as gorgeous as the day I met him. His face filled out ever so slightly in the first couple of years we dated, giving him a more masculine air. Other than that, he looked exactly the same. Not a gray hair on his head, not one ounce of fat. I, one the other hand, still have pregnancy weight to work off, although Edward does tell me he likes my butt a little on the rounder side. Still, he could pass for 21 again if he wanted to but I never could. I hate him.
Who am I kidding? I sleep with that every night—what's there to be bitter about?
"I should get some food ready before your parents get here to take the kids," I say.
Edward has a rare night off from work where he's not even on call. He's finishing up his residency at the same hospital Carlisle practices at. I'm so glad he'll be done soon because then he'll be in private practice and his schedule will be much less busy. He going to specialize in family medicine, a decision he made entirely on his own. The only restriction I placed on his choice—NO gynecology. None. He knew better than to argue.
I'd don't care if she's 105, he's not putting his head between anyone's legs but yours truly.
A few hours later, the kids are fed and happily off to grandma's for the night. I wave through the open front door, then turn and shut it closed.
Edward is staring at me. I twirl my hair.
His head slowly tilts to one side. I lick my lips.
Heh heh heh.
His right eyebrow goes up, up, up… I roll my right shoulder toward him and sigh.
Come to mama.
His nostrils are flaring.
WOOOOT! Git R Done, baybee!
"Bellaaa," he growls, "don't tease me," he warns.
"Oh Edward," I pout. "I've been such a naughty, naughty girl," I say, ripping that pin from the grenade with my teeth and laughing.
He lowers his head and glares at me through his intense low brow and I know if I play my cards right, I'm in for a treat.
"Fuck me," I purr.
And then I run upstairs to our bedroom with Edward close at my heels. I'm heading straight for the bathroom counter because sometimes a girl just needs to get screwed and go on about her day. Or you know, have a bath and then some dessert.