Happy Holidays guys! I decided as a present I would give you guys another outtake and a peak into the future. Hope you guys enjoy it and best of luck in the new year!
15 years later
Scenes of deep green and brown flash by my window as the car speeds down the damp highway towards our parent's home. My hand is grasping Edward's, my husband, hand firmly in the console between us as he drives effortlessly down the familiar road. Our five year old daughter Elizabeth, Lizzy as she prefers to be called lately, pays no attention to us or the scenery as she watches a movie showing from the back of my seat.
It's been almost two years since we've been back to Forks. The last few holidays our family has either flown out to celebrate in our home in Hanover or we've gone to Emmett and Rosalie's place in Miami. I'll admit, while I love a white Christmas, spending it on a beach under the warm sun was a nice change occasionally.
This week we were returning to the rainy town for three reasons. First reason was Forks High School was having our high school reunion this weekend and Alice begged us to attend with her and Jasper. Of course, even in our thirties none of us can say no to Alice.
Secondly, we were house hunting in Seattle as well as we decided to move closer to home. While we've loved living in Hanover and have been successful—with Edward becoming a popular pediatrician and I managed to work my way up within a successful publishing company while also publishing one book of poetry with moderate success and I'm almost finished my second book, this time working in the world of fiction—we've missed Washington. However, we wanted Elizabeth to have a closer relationship with her grandparents and I have missed them myself. Edward has already found a new place to practice with the help of his dad who recommended a friend looking for someone to take over his office as he was retiring. The company I work for luckily had an office in Seattle so I was able to transfer rather easily.
Thirdly, Alice and Jasper had moved back here two and a half years ago and both have wanted us to join them. Jasper is a professor of American History at UDub and Alice is a co-owner in a fashion boutique with several stores now across the country. It was a mix of her own designs and that of a friend (now business partner) of hers that she met at her college in New York, Kristen Janne. It still amazes me that we've managed to maintain our friendships all these years but I'm grateful as I could not imagine our lives without either one of them. I haven't seen Alice in a few months since their last visit to see us and I've missed her greatly, even though we talk several times a week.
The last fifteen years had been busy but rewarding ones, with periods of happiness but also periods of trial. Six years ago Alice and Jasper had three children…triplets to be exact; two girls and a boy. When Alice predicted she would have three children I don't even think she expected it to be three at once. Jasper's face when he got that news was beyond hilarious and I wish now that we gotten it on tape. While they were both excited, and a bit terrified, at their three miracles it was also a very hard pregnancy on Alice. Being as small as she is, she had a great deal of health problems and complications as a result and we almost lost Alice and little Peter when she went into early labour and had to have an emergency C-section. It was difficult being in the waiting room and seeing Jasper cry when Alice was wheeled away by doctors, not knowing if she or his children would survive. Luckily, they came through, though both had to spend an extended stay in the hospital and the other two (Kayla and Cassandra aka Cassy) came through healthy, even if they were a bit premature.
That time was also a difficult period for Edward and I. He was doing his residency and I was busy helping Alice with her pregnancy and working myself, trying to work my way up and keep up with the massive reading load I had. We would go days barely speaking with our erratic schedules and only really seeing each other when the other fell into bed exhausted or was walking out the door. We had only been married for about four years or so and it really put a strain on our relationship. We were both exhausted and frustrated and when we were together we would argue or ignore the other.
It was one argument, that I honestly can't remember how it started, that almost ended us. There was screaming and accusations and harsh words that neither of us meant but said anyway. He ended up storming out of the apartment we lived in at the time and not returning home, even though I sat there for hours waiting for him to walk back through the door. I only knew where he was eventually because Kate texted me that he was at their place in the extra bedroom, passed out from the beers and talk he had with Garrett. I packed up my own bags and went to Alice's for a while and even though she should have been a stress free as possible, and I feel guilty about it now, she comforted me and told me everything would be alright.
I didn't talk or see Edward for about a week and for once I actually thought we might not make it as a couple. It's hard during those periods to sometimes acknowledge or see that the good times in our lives vastly outweighed the bad but I didn't see it. Eventually she and Jasper convinced me to go back home, they were rather pushy actually. I walked into my apartment, expecting it to be empty as I knew Edward was supposed to be at the hospital that night but that didn't happen. Instead the apartment was bathed in a soft glow by the two dozen or so candles lit around the living and dining room. The table was set for two and Edward stood there nervously in black slacks and a nice button down.
For a moment we just stood there standing there, staring at each other. Finally he opened his arms and murmured, "come here." I dropped my bags and ran into his arms, tears streaming down both of our faces and he held each other tightly, speaking softly that we were both sorry and that we loved each other.
When we calmed down he led me to the table and dished out a simple but delicious meal of spaghetti and garlic bread, one of the few meals Edward was good at cooking. When I asked what he was doing home we said he rearranged his schedule with another resident so he could be home tonight and made sure Alice and Jasper got me here. We spent the time lightly touching and talking between bites, having a serious, mature and oddly freeing conversation about what was going on with us individually and as a couple and what we wanted and needed in the future. We reached a new level in our relationship and a greater understanding of ourselves and we were stronger than before.
He made love to me slowly that night and I never felt so connected to him, partially because it had been so long since we had been together like that (weeks!) and also because we got through the biggest test our relationship ever had to endure. It was only a few days later that Alice was rushed to the hospital and that only cemented us further as we both realized how quickly you could possibly lose the one you love. He was particularly upset at the idea that if something had happened to him or me that night we fought, the last thing I would have seen was his back mixed in with words of anger.
In the coming weeks we were both still busy but we managed to make time for each other, even if one had to completely rearrange their schedule, both of us giving and taking. We never wanted what happened during that fight to happen again. It was hard work but completely worth it. I was shocked when eight weeks later, after feeling sickly and tired for several days, I went to the doctor expecting to be told I was suffering from the flu or exhaustion only to be told I was pregnant.
I was baffled as I was still on birth control and it had never failed before. Apparently it's not likely but it does occasionally happen. While it was a surprise and not something I expecting I was immediately in love (and maybe a bit terrified) with the little person inside of me. Edward and I both agreed we wanted children but also agreed to wait another year or so until he was done his residency and life slowed down a bit. Apparently that night I came home after the week apart was the night I conceived our Elizabeth.
I swear it seemed like fate.
When I told Edward he was shocked and a little concerned with the timing but mostly excited, picking me up and spinning me around while he smiled. However, he had to stop quickly because I got sick and barely it made it to the kitchen sink in time. After my moment of nausea thanks to the bean, as he affectionally started calling the baby inside me, we talked about what changes would have to be made. We were both nervous because he still had about a year left of residency and he wanted to be near me more often because of my "delicate condition" as he liked to call it. I could tell he already felt guilty that he wouldn't be around nearly as much as he would like during my pregnancy.
The following months Edward worked hard but eventually decided that even though he wanted to see his residency through he didn't want to be a surgeon. When he told me that by becoming a pediatrician he would have more regular hours to be home with me and Elizabeth (we had found out the gender and picked a name by that point), I was reluctant. I didn't want him to give up on something he truly wanted to do but he convinced me he was fine with the decision, saying that surgery was okay but admittedly not for him. He also admitted that while Carlisle was a great father there were moments when he was absent or missed an event because he was needed for an emergency. Luckily because Forks was so small this was minimal compared to other surgeons in big cities but enough that Edward didn't want that for our child.
My pregnancy, according to the books and doctors, was relatively normal with no major complications, unless you count my addiction to pickles dipped in peanut butter. Delicious! I swear I almost murdered (or at least maimed) Edward a couple times when he said I had eaten enough or didn't want to go to the store at three in the morning to get those two ingredients for me.
But he soon learned that you don't want the wrath of an uncomfortable and hungry pregnant women directed at you. Especially if that woman is your wife and carrying your child.
For the last month of my pregnancy my mom flew out stayed with us at both her and Edward's insistence I not be alone just in case I go into labour and Edward wasn't there; something that greatly worried him and admittedly worried me to. Esme and our dads joined us a few days before I was due and right on schedule to the day I went into labour. Fourteen exhausting and painful hours later we welcomed Elizabeth Alice Cullen into the world.
It seems like just yesterday she was opening her green eyes at me for the first time, giggling when daddy played peek-a-boo or standing up on her own with the help of the couch, her chocolate brown hair bouncing around her chubby face. She truly has been the light of our life, even when she has a tantrum...okay maybe not then but luckily those don't happen too often. She was growing so much every day and soon she would be joined by a little brother or sister as only a few days ago I found out I was pregnant once again. I rub my stomach gently even though it was way too early for me to show. Edward, catching the motion in his periphery, smiles gently at me, still as handsome as ever.
When we passed the welcome to Forks sign and turned and looked back my little girl. "You excited to see your grandparents Lizzy?" Our parents had graciously agreed to take care of Lizzy tonight and tomorrow while we go out to dinner with Jasper and Alice this evening and then attend the reunion the next day. Both sets of grandparents would be spoiling her rotten over at Carlisle and Esme's tonight and then repeat the pattern at my parent's house tomorrow night.
She looks up from the screen and smiles, one of her front teeth missing. "Uh huh, Nana Essy said we could bake cookies tonight!"
"Well isn't that exciting but you can't have too many because they'll make you sick." I say seriously, remembering the one time she somehow climbed onto the counter early one morning before Edward and I woke and ate at least half the cookies in our cookie jar. She was sickly for most of the day even after puking it all back up, her stomach sore and sensitive. She never did that again and to be sure I bought a jar with a child proof lid.
"I know." She looks put out but luckily doesn't argue. Probably because while I know they won't give her enough to make her sick I know, and so does she, that she'll probably get one or two more than she usually would. Hey they will be the ones who have to deal with the fall out of all that sugar not me.
Soon we're pulling into his parent's driveway, our parents coming out of the house to greet us with hugs and kisses. Lizzy is in my dad's arms quickly, telling him all about the plane ride and the type of house she wants us to by (something with a large yard for the dog we are apparently going to buy her, this is news to me) and how she wants to decorate her room and a million other things that pop into her head. He listens attentively and carries her inside as we follow behind them with our luggage. We decided to stay with Carlisle and Esme this weekend and then next few weeks we were staying with Jasper and Alice at their home in Seattle so it was easier to look for homes without having to travel three-four hours from our parents place.
We got settled in and while Elizabeth was entertained downstairs Edward and I shared a quick and innocent shower…okay there was some touching but compared to what we've done before in the past we were practically monks. Besides, I would never do that in my in-laws house and certainly not when Liz was awake as she had a horrible habit of just barging into a room without knocking. I do not want to have to explain (or rather lie) about what mommy and daddy were doing. She's five, I'll talk about birds and bee's with her when's she's like thirty or something. Or perhaps I'll be really cruel and let daddy, who is a doctor after all, handle that conversation.
We got ready for our dinner which was to be casual but still nice. I had a belted yellow straight skirt that came down to just past my knees, a frill blouse, a dark grey cardigan and a pair of brown ankle boots that Alice bought me for Christmas two years ago. I know it would make her happy to see me wearing them, let's just hope I didn't break my neck in the heel; I was better than I used to be when walking in heels but they still made me nervous. I paired it simply with my charm bracelet Edward got me for our first Christmas though it's grown then, charms being added throughout the years.
We say a quick goodbye to our parents, hugging Elizabeth and telling her to have fun but that she was to be in bed by eight; though we said this mostly to our parents. They agreed easily and went back to entertaining her, both sets enjoying having one of their grandchildren around (though even they admit they get exhausted when they have to look after all five of Emmett and Rosalie's children, four boys and one girl. Definitely the most (re)productive members of this family for sure). We have yet to tell them about my pregnancy, saving that for dinner on Sunday, the day after the reunion. We also wanted to spend Sunday afternoon with Liz alone so we could tell her first, hopefully she'll take it well.
We had agreed to meet in Port Angeles as Alice and Jasper were driving up anyway to stay with Alice's parents so they were closer tomorrow. When we pulled in I saw Alice's bright yellow BMW already parked so I knew they had arrived before us.
I spotted them immediately when we walked in and Alice and I walked quickly into each other's arms, hugging each other tightly. I could see Edward and Jasper embrace quickly though they didn't stand there in each other's arms nearly as long as Alice and I. We eventually let go, Alice predictably commenting on my boots, and sit down to eat.
As conversations flow easily around us all I can think is that it's good to be home.
"Mommy, you look boo-tiful." Lizzy says with excitement, her legs swinging back and forth from her perch on the bathroom counter as I do my make-up.
I'm wearing a strapless sweetheart neckline dress that has a purple and black lace top that end just under my breasts and then continues downward but in a pink ruffle pattern, ending at my knees. I have black and dark platinum peep toe heels that have a black bow on the toes. I went with smoky eye make-up and blood red lips tonight and my hair is placed in an elegant side bun with some strategic pieces flowing out. I'll admit I look good. While I'm still relatively thin I'm gonna flaunt it because in a few months I will be huge and nothing will fit the way I want it to. I'm sometime self-conscious of my stomach after I gave birth but I will admit it did result in my hips becoming more pronounced, really giving me an hourglass figure.
Edward also loves my new figure, as he energetically shows me quite often, so I guess I can complain.
"Thank you baby." I kiss her cheek and she giggles when I leave a nice red lip print there. I wet some toilet paper and wipe the smudge away.
"Can I put on make-up to?" She gives me her doe eyes, that look so much like Edwards, and I can't say no.
"Okay but only a little okay?" She nods and I find a light pink, almost clear, lip gloss in my make-up bag, applying a light coat. I also put a little blush on her cheeks and a dabble of nude but sparkly eye-shadow on her lids. When she looks in the mirror she gasps and then hugs me tightly.
"I look so pretty!"
"You always look pretty honey but how about we go show daddy huh."
"Ya!" I help her down and she runs out of the room, calling for Edward. He calls back from somewhere downstairs and soon I hear her thumping down the steps. I vaguely hear him tell her to stop running down the stairs but nothing more after that. I put my stuff away, put on come perfume and leave the bed room. When I'm at the top of the stairs I hear Elizabeth talking.
"Now don't drool daddy when mommy comes down stairs okay? It's icky and you don't want to be icky tonight." She says seriously
I laugh softly and pause so I can eavesdrop on them.
"When have I ever drooled?" There's a pause where I assume she gave him a disbelieving look. "When I'm not sleeping that is."
"Uncle Em, he says you always drool when mommy dresses pretty and she's really pretty tonight. He says something about a bucket but I don't remember." She seems frustrated by this and I can just picture her face bunching up. Figures Emmett was behind her questioning.
I choose that moment to walk down the steps and at the clicking of my heels they both look up. Edward is looking beyond handsome in his black suit, white dress shirt and dark purple tie that I picked out to match my dress (at Alice's insistence). Lizzy beams happily and dare I say proudly at me while Edward looks blown away and in shock, his mouth open a little. I'll admit, my confidence goes up ten notches over the fact I can still garner that reaction from my husband. Liz giggles next to him, running to the table and grabbing a tissue and running back to his side.
"Dad!" She whispers…loudly, and then pokes him in the stomach. He finally tears his eyes off of me and looks at her. "Here." She thrusts a tissue into his hand. I laugh loudly then at his shocked expression. God I love my little girl. He takes it and to placate her daps his mouth, causing a pleased smile to make its way onto her face.
Esme chooses that moment to walk in. "And what all the laughter about?"
"Daddy is drooling over mommy." Liz says simply.
Esme laughs. "Well she does look gorgeous tonight so I can't blame him." She walks over and gives me a hug. "You really do look lovely dear, have a good time tonight."
"Thanks mom." I stopped calling her Esme the day I got married as she insisted she was officially mom now. Same with Carlisle…well I call him dad, if I referred to him as mom it would be just weird though probably funny.
"Alright, you too better get going soon. Elizabeth honey, why don't you get your back pack with your clothes and we'll head over next door okay?"
"Okay Nana." A few minutes later after hugs and good-byes they exit, leaving Edward and I alone. I feel him come up behind me, his arms wrapping around my waist and his lips lightly touching my neck.
"You do look breathtaking tonight Mrs. Cullen." He purrs. I'm tempted to just say 'screw the reunion' and stay in all night with my gorgeous husband but I know Alice would hunt us down so that is not an option.
"You don't look so bad Mr. Cullen but before your hands begin to wonder remember Alice will come after us if we're late."
His hands, which had been moving slowly down my body stop and he groans, mumbling something about evil pixi's. I giggle and pull away, grabbing my cropped tan leather jacket from the hook and my matching clutch, checking to make sure everything I needed was inside. Edward didn't both with an additional jacket as it was early June and quite nice out so his suit was warm enough.
We lock up behind us and head out to the car. He opens the driver's side door for me, placing a kiss on my hand (swoon!) as he helps me in before shutting the door and making his way to the passenger side. I start the car and look up to see my mom and Lizzy in the living room window waving at us. I honk the horn twice and Edward waves as I pull out and head over to pick up Alice and Jasper. When we get there they immediately walk out of the house and I'm grateful Alice was ready on time…for once.
Alice was looking glamorous as usual in her black dress that had a exagerated sweetheart neckline, with a ruffle trim and gold belt. She paired it with goldish silverish heels and a golden clutch. Her hair was longer than it was in high school, sitting softly just past her shoulders in lovely waves. You would have never known that this tiny woman carried three children at once with her figure. She did have to have some cosmetic surgery in that area but most of it was good diet and exercise. As soon as she was out of the hospital she declared Jasper was getting a vasectomy if he ever wanted to touch her again. She loved her children but she didn't want risk another multiple birth, neither one of them did, so he man-ed up and did as she demanded.
"Hey guys, aren't you excited!" While she has calmed down far more than she used to be she was still Alice and she still got excited over events such as these. "I love my babies but thank god mom and dad could watch them tonight and we can have some grown up time. Oh, and thanks for driving to night Bells." She adds on quickly.
"Ya thanks Bella." Jasper says kindly.
I volunteered to drive the four of us tonight as I know there was going to be a bar there and obviously I couldn't drink. Edward said he was fine with driving and not having anything tonight but I insisted that if I couldn't drink then he should drink for both of us. Okay perhaps not that much but tonight is either going to be really fun or really painful, alcohol most likely needed for both. Alice and Jasper didn't know I was pregnant but like our parents they would find out on Sunday as they were coming to dinner.
We all chatted casually, mostly about who was going to show and wondering what some people were doing now. The reunion was at a restaurant in Port Angeles that had a banquet hall that was separate from the main dining area. I was just thankful it wasn't being held in the High School gym.
It only took about 45 minutes to get to Port Angeles and another five to find the restaurant (thank you GPS). There were already a large number of cars in the parking lot in the back and I passed a few familiar looking people walking inside with people I didn't recognize. I found a parking spot easily and soon the four of us were entering the building.
There was a nice cream coloured foyer with dark blue carpet that had one door leading towards the bathrooms and a larger dark wood with brass handles that clearly led to the banquet hall. Parked in the middle of the room was a table with a much older Mrs. Cope at the table with a small lineup in front of it. Apparently we had to check in and get name tags, though luckily it wasn't one of those annoying sticky tags, rather it was a card attached to a ribbon you could wrap around your neck. We waited and soon it was our turn.
"Edward and Bella Cullen." Edward said politely.
"Hmm, I have and Edward Cullen but no Bella Cullen." She murmured, looking at the list.
"I'm probably under Isabella Swan." I offered. Edward looked at me sheepishly, realizing he should have used my maiden name but I don't blame him. I've been Bella Cullen for just over a decade and its easy to sometimes forget.
"Ah yes, here you are." She crossed me out and then wrote our names down on the cards though I giggled when she put on mine Bella Cullen (Swan). We thanked her politely as she wished us a good night and moved aside to wait for Alice and Jasper.
Finally we entered the banquet room which was already filling with people milling around talking to one another. The walls were either a dark wood or brick with white linen draped tables spread throughout the room with a dance floor in the middle. There was a D.J. in the corner playing music from fifteen years ago, a bar and along one wall there were several long tables filled with food. Nothing fancy, just basic pastas, mini sandwiches, meatballs, salads etc…
The first couple I saw were Angela and Ben and I made a b-line straight for her. I haven't seen her or Ben in over a year even though we still e-mail regularly. She was very much pregnant, seven months exactly, but looked gorgeous. She was in a sleeveless beige dress that had a slightly draped front and flowed down her belly to her knees. I know how worried she was last week about finding a dress that would look nice but still fit over her baby bump. "Ang!"
"Bella! Alice!" We exchange hugs with each other, well as much as I can get my arms around Angela. The guys greet Ben beside us and begin a conversation. "It's been too long. Please tell me you were serious last week when you said you were moving back?"
"We are, we're house hunting this week so hopefully no later by the end of the month we'll have a place and can begin shipping our things over. We'll have to go back for a week or so to finish packing but by the end of the summer we should be here."
"Good, I've missed you and so has Alice."
"Damn straight, and the first thing we're doing when you all moved in is having a welcome home/house warming party!" Alice said happily.
I laugh and nod, knowing there was no point in arguing. "Sounds good as long as you're the one planning it."
Alice rolls her eyes. "Of course, you think I make you plan your own welcome home party. Jeez Bells way to have some class." I roll my eyes this time but we all laugh.
The six of us chat for a while as well as with other people who have come up to say hi. I have a long conversation with Jessica and Mike who like us married their high school sweet heart. Both went to UDub and came back to Forks when done. Jessica works at the bank and Mike is now the manager at the store my parents own though from what I heard from them and him, he has made very successful, more so than ever before. In addition they also have a four year old son named Alexander.
I'm deep into a conversation with Angela about our children when she looks up and her eyes pop out. "Well look who it is."
I look behind me and see none other than Tanya walk into the room. I grab Edward's arm to get his attention, nodding in the direction I wanted him to look. Our little group all just stop and end our conversations to stare at the woman who tried her hardest to make our lives hell in school.
For some reason the few times I ever pictured seeing Tanya again I always saw her as overweight and balding, maybe with a missing tooth or two. Not exactly realistic I know but it made me feel better. But no, this was not the Tanya I imagined yet it also didn't surprise me. She was skinny, like unhealthy skinny, yet her chest was bigger, clearly implants. Her strawberry locks were still there flowing down her back and seemed like the only part of her that she maintained properly over the years. Her nails were long and fake and she had on far too much makeup, a lot of thick eyeliner. Her dress surprisingly wasn't super short but it was hot pink with a black belt with matching shoes. When she turned enough to see her back I saw the pink give way to black stripes of fabric and it just seemed she was trying so hard to be eighteen again.
She looked like she was a college freshman about to go clubbing downtown, not a thirty three year old woman at a reunion. Don't get me wrong I think a woman of any age should be able to dress sexy but I think there is a certain sophistication that should and often does come with age that allows you to be sexy without having to dress such a way. Though clearly Tanya has chosen to go the Cougar Jane route instead.
In contrast, the man beside her was a good ten to fifteen years older than her, or at least looked it. He wasn't ugly or anything but definitely older. He wasn't large but he had the hint of a beer belly poking through his white shirt. His hair was thinning and was black with sprinkles of grey through it. However, the smile on his face seemed genuine as people came up to talk to Tanya.
"Should we like snub her or something?" Ben asked and a couple of us laughed at how confused he sounded.
"Nah, I say ignore her unless she comes and talks to us. I guess from there it depends on whether she has changed at all." Everyone looked at me with raised eyebrows. "I know its unlikely but hey one can hope. Now I for one am hungry."
Every murmured in agreement. We all grab plates and serve ourselves an array of food. Edward and Jasper offer to go drinks for everyone. Most get something alcoholic but I ask for an ice tea. Since I'm driving no one questions it. We choose an empty table and we all sit down and continue chatting until I hear the voice current principle of the school come over the speakers. It's a simple thank you for coming and hope you're enjoying yourselves. Then a special slideshow had been put together with photos from the year book and also photos he asked people to send in on the invitation. Edward and I sent in a few and I know Alice sent in a million.
The lights dim and a screen slowly slides down on the walls, the projector attached to the ceiling coming to life. Soon pictures accompanied by music appear and for thirty minutes there are laughs, jokes, shout outs, cheers and reminiscing. The beginning starts with elementary school. One of the earlier photos is some sort of play, a bunch of them appearing one after another. One is a nice photo of all the kids in their costumes standing proudly and the other is actually of Jasper and Edward smiling into the camera but if you look closely in the background you can see some giant yellow thing with strawberry blonde curls peeking out of a hole.
"Is that Tanya in the background?" I whisper. Edward leans in and looks closely just before the picture changes. He nods and chuckles, I join him as we try and be quiet. I wonder if anyone else noticed that?
Finally it got to high school and I saw pictures of Alice, Jasper and Edward (even a few with Rose and Em when they were still there) amongst the various pictures. Finally they showed senior year, giving the most focus to this last period of our high school lives. I started appearing in quite a few of them and I never realized just how pictures were taken of me! Some I didn't even know were taken, simple ones in the hall ways, at lunch, parking lot or a few hanging around town. I saw both Alice and Angela grinning at these and I guessed correctly that they took the majority of those. They ended things off with each of our graduation photos, our names directly under each.
When the lights came on everyone clapped, everyone was smiling. There were a few more words and thanks to those who put this together, surprised to hear Jessica helped out a lot, she hadn't told us. Finally he told us to enjoy the rest of our evening and stepped away. When I looked around I noticed that food tables had replaced the previous dishes with deserts. I wasn't the only one to have noticed it as many began to make their way to the treats, Angela the first among them, quickly moving, or wadling, towards anything chocolate.
"Ben you may want to try and reign Angela in before she eats it all." Mike joked.
"I value you my limbs thank you very much but if you're so concerned be my guest Mike." Ben retorted, laughing when Mike's smile fell and he quickly shook his head no.
During their banter I started shifting in my seat, my bladder increasingly becoming uncomfortable. "I'm just going to use the washroom." I murmured, kissing Edward on the cheek and leaving the room. One thing about pregnancy I didn't like was the horrible bladder issues. I took care of my business quickly, saying hi to a few of the women in the washroom before going back to the room. As I headed towards our table I frowned when I saw hot pink next to my husband.
"You look great Edward, barely aged at all." I heard Tanya say as I got closer, her hand moving upwards to touch his arm. I thought two things right then. First, is she serious? He didn't want you then he ain't gonna want you now hussy. And Second, where the hell was that guy she was with? Did she have no shame? Jeez.
"Hmmm." Was his only reply inching away from her, the fact that he didn't reciprocate her comments hanging in the air between them.
"Sorry I took so long handsome." I purr, molding myself to his side, pretending as if I hadn't seen or heard Tanya just now.
"How could I ever stay mad at you beautiful?" He says huskily.
"You can't." I lay it on thick, giggling a little. I smile at him and wink before turning my head and gasping as if in surprise. "Tanya? Is that you? You look…well I'm sure you know how you look." I smile brightly and I look over her shoulder and see the others trying not to laugh.
"Isabella. So you two stayed together I see." She comments, looking down at my wedding ring enviously.
"Yup, how could I let such a catch go?" I ask rhetorically, giving him a genuine smile that he returned. "Plus I can't let him go now, we make cute kids. Clearly genetically we're a perfect match" I joke and he laughs, kissing the side of my head.
"Children, how…wonderful. How many?" She says, distaste clearly in her voice.
"Only a daughter but we want more soon." Edward answers happily, proud, though not mentioning I'm already pregnant. No way is Tanya, going to be the first to know. Still, how much he loves Lizzy is clear in his voice; he's such a good dad. Still, ee agreed that as of right now we're going stop trying after baby two. We didn't want Elizabeth to be an only child but we also didn't want a massive family either, wanting to dedicate time to both our family and careers.
"I've never wanted children, too messy and they would just ruin my body." She said, running her hand down her said, looking at Edward under her lashes as if she could entice him. "Not that you have anything to be ashamed of, most women gain alot of weight when they get pregnant, it's just the price some must pay." She looks at me almost in sympathy but I can tell she thinks she has attacked my self-esteem. I may no longer be a size four but size eight is nothing to be ashamed of. I have the body of a woman and while I'm not a fan of my stretch marks Edward has never made me feel like he was turned off by them or me. In fact, whenever I get self-conscious about them he always worships my body, thanking me for bringing our daughter into the world.
On cue Edward pulls me close and kisses my neck innocently but also sensually. "I for one think she has never looked better. These hips…" He trails off, running his hands over the curve of said hips, gripping them slightly I blush and giggle, remembering just how much he loves them.
Tanya looks at us in shock and once again I can see the jealousy and envy on her face as she stares at his hands on my body. The eight year old in me wants to stick out my tongue at her and chant "ha ha ha" at her but I resist, reminding myself i'm almost thirty three and more mature than that. Kinda...
Right then the man she came with saunters to her side, kissing her cheek. "Sorry I took so long with that call, I hope I didn't miss much." He looks between us almost sensing some tension but not understanding why. "I'm Marcus, Tanya's husband." He says politely, reaching out to shake Edward's hand. "Which one of you went to school with my Tanya." He says kindly and I realize he seems like a genuinely nice guy, what he saw in Tanya I will never know.
"I'm Edward, this is my wife Bella." I smile politely shaking his hand. "And actually we both went to high school with Tanya."
He smiles widely. "Well then I'm sure between the two of you, you have plenty of stories to tell about my lovely wife!" He chuckles. Tanya blanches and I try not to laugh. Oh ya, we have plenty of stories to tell.
"Not as much as we would like I'm afraid. We weren't very close in school, different circles you know and Bella didn't come until senior year." Edward said diplomatically and her husband looks disappointed but also understanding. "Actually, I'm pretty sure in the slide show they had pictures of our fifth grade play. If you look in the background you can see Tanya as the sun. Poor girl, the costume was too big and whenever she fell, which was often, she couldn't back up, just kept rolling around." Edward says it in a way that it seems like he's looking back on it fondly, which he probably is but for different reasons. Marcus laughs loudly as do I as I recall the photo, meanwhile Tanya looks like he wants to attack my husband right there in then. Marcus notices her face and he squeezes her side.
"Oh c'mon Tan don't look so upset, we all had those moments as kids. I'm sure you were the best sun ever." She gave him a smile but I could see that it was fake though he didn't seem to see that. I have a feeling she's good at deceiving him with fake smiles and I feel a moment of sadness for him and for her, but mostly for him. He seems to truly love her and I have a feeling she is with him for financial reasons, if the quality of his clothes was any indication.
He chats with us politely for another minute or so and I do find out he owns quite a few successful night clubs in Seattle, where he met Tanya apparently. When Edward mentions he's a doctor and what I do for a living I can see the jealous gleam in her eyes again, especially as she takes in my far more attractive yet successful husband. Luckily after a few pleasantries he leads her away to meet more of her high school "friends."
When they are out of ear shot Alice and the others descend and we exchange our own interpretations of Tanya and her husband, many agreeing with my assessment. They congratulate us on how we handled her, Alice particularly finds it impressive I didn't hold her down and scalp her when she tried to touch him. I'll admit it was tempting but once again I am an adult.
The reunion continue for another two hours or so as people slowly trickle out and soon we're all saying goodbye and promising to meet up soon for dinner and drinks. It's almost midnight when we get back to Forks and after I drop Alice and Jasper off I hurry home, wanting to crawl into my bed. Just like my last pregnancy I get tired so easily and this is the first time a few weeks that I haven't fallen asleep before ten-thirty. When we pull up to the houses, my parent's home is completely dark while Esme clearly left a few lights on for us for when we got home.
We make our way into the house, locking up and shutting things off as we make our way to the guest bedroom. We work side by side at the sinks as we get ready for bed. After removing my make-up, brushing my teeth and slipping into a nightgown I fall into the bed, Edward joining me a moment later. He gathers me up into his arms, spooning me from behind, and it doesn't take us long to fall asleep.
I am awoken by the yells of a little girl and said little girl jumping on top of us. "Wake up! Nana made pancakes!" Elizabeth says happily, continually pushing on us.
"Liz, what did I say last time you jumped on us when we were asleep?" Edward says mischievously, his voice still husky from sleep. She looks confused for a moment before squealing and trying to get away, but my husband is too quick for her. He grabs her, pulling her down into the matress and starts tickling her mercilessly. I laugh and join him in the torturing of our daughter while she laughs and pleads for us to stop, tears running down her face. Eventually we stop and she gasps for air, the ocassional giggle escaping her lips.
When she catches her breath she moves up so she's between us being cuddled from both sides, one of her favorite things to do. As Lizzy snuggles up next to us just for a few minutes (she'll be gone once she remembers there's pancakes) I place my hand gently on my stomach, looking up and catching Edward's eyes tenderly looking at me and our daughter. Despite our challenges, past, present and future I knew without a doubt I wouldn't change a thing. I had a loving husband, a beautiful daughter, a child on the way and a fulfilling career.
Here in this bed I was home. I was happy and excited for what the next fifteen years had in store.
Links on my profile