A/N: I know this is a story that even those who read it back in the day probably have forgotten all about, but this is an futuretake that I have had in my head for about eight years. It popped into my head not all that long after completing this story, when I was listening to music and a longtime favorite song of mine by Martina McBride came on, called "All The Things We've Never Done", and this couple instantly popped into my head. But since then, it has been on the back burner while I've been writing other things and trying to finish stories that took me way too long to complete as it was.
However, when I completed the remainder of my stories on this profile back in May, I hit a sort of a brain roadblock. I have several stories either started or almost finished on my computer, but I haven't had the mojo required to really work on them—which SUCKS! I am trying still, though, since I'm happiest when I'm writing, and I'm hoping that since I managed to finally finish this, I'll be able to get other things finished and posted again real soon. But I wanted to celebrate my birthday today by posting this.
Thank you Krystel for reading this over for me! And as always, thank you to ericastwilight for always being there with words of encouragement for me. I love you both so much!
Warning: There is some sensitive subject matter within that even made me cry. I don't want to give anything away, but if you have any concerns before reading, feel free to pm me.
Hope you all enjoy this! Take care!
All The Things We've Never Done ~ Only You Can Save Me Outtake
I can't believe that ten years have passed since I married the love of my life, I thought as I stood in front of the full-length mirror in the bedroom I'd shared with my husband for the past five. A smile touched my lips as I fastened my earring into place and took in my reflection.
When I met Edward twelve years before, I hadn't been looking for love, nor had he. We'd both been nursing broken hearts for different reasons, and in one another, found exactly what each of us needed, with no small amount of help from his daughter. And now, I couldn't imagine what my life would have been like had he and Ellie not entered it.
My thoughts were interrupted as a strong pair of arms slid around my waist and soft, warm lips pressed against my neck. "Good evening, Mrs. Cullen."
I released a soft sigh of contentment, leaning back into him as I waited for his eyes to meet mine in the mirror. "Good evening to you, Mr. Cullen. Don't you look nice. Hot date tonight or something?"
Edward chuckled softly and gave my collarbone a gentle nip. "As a matter fact, I do. So incredibly hot. I think maybe she and I should skip dinner and never leave the bedroom tonight."
I reached back and playfully swatted his hip, but I would've been lying if I said the same thought had not crossed my mind as well. One thing that had stood the test of time in ten years of marriage, the births of our children, and even Ellie making us grandparents to a beautiful little girl the year before, was our passion for one another. It had been a long time since we had a completely child-free house, thanks to Ellie taking the boys for our anniversary night. However, making love to my husband wasn't the only thing on my mind. "As tempting as that sounds, I'm really looking forward to a quiet meal with you. It's been way too long, between the shop and the boys."
Our gazes held in the reflection again, and he nodded, and then brushed a kiss to my cheek. "I know. You ready?"
"Yeah," I replied as I turned toward him and took his hand. "I love you."
Edward's dimpled smile returned, and he leaned toward me to brush his lips on mine. "I love you, too. More than ever."
Leaving our house hand-in-hand with him, I felt like a teenager on her first date, with all the same excitement and exhilaration coursing through me as we approached his bike. It had been a while since we'd ridden together. After having Seth, and our second son, Charlie, three years later, the SUV had gotten more mileage than the bikes, at least by me. Edward still rode his nearly every day.
Once he straddled it, I climbed on behind him, snaking my arms around his waist and kissing his neck. His hand gently ran along my bare thigh where my dress had ridden up, before the engine roared to life, and we were on our way.
An hour later, we sat beside one another at a small table with champagne flutes raised, toasting to ten wonderful years of marriage and shared a gentle kiss. He had been very quiet throughout the meal, even for Edward, and that was saying something.
I could see the thoughts whirling in his mind, but if there was one thing I'd learned in our time together, it was that he opened up more when he was allowed the time to do so on his own terms. Yet, I had to admit, he had me a little worried when he set his glass down and remained quiet, staring down at his wedding ring as he spun it on his finger.
"May I interest you in some dessert?" our server asked when he suddenly appeared at the table.
Edward shook his head and then glanced over to me. I was definitely more interested in having some alone time with my husband, where I knew he'd be more likely to talk, than anything sweet.
"No, just the check, please," I replied, only briefly glancing at the server before returning my gaze to my husband.
The young man set the leather folder on the table, and Edward immediately dug his wallet out of his back pocket, paying the bill along with the generous tip in cash. Once we'd made it back out to the bike, I stepped in front of him before he could climb on, leaning back against it and looping my index fingers in the belt loops of his jeans. "You okay, baby?"
Edward nodded, his small smile crinkling the corners of his eyes, but then slowly dissipating, and he gave a shrug. "Just thinking."
"Obviously," I replied with a gentle tug of my fingers, jerking him toward me. "You're a million miles away."
He shook his head and wrinkled his nose but wouldn't meet my eyes. "I just can't believe it's been ten years already. They've flown by, and I really haven't given you much."
I stared at him in disbelief with my mouth slightly agape. "How can you say that? You've given me everything. We have two beautiful little boys that I wouldn't have without you, and you've busted your ass so I could stay home and raise them. I have Ellie because of you. We have a beautiful home. I want for nothing, so how can you say that you haven't given me much?"
"I still haven't been able to replace your engagement ring, and it's been six years since you had to have it cut off. And we were supposed to be in Maui for our tenth anniversary, but instead, all I gave you was dinner at a restaurant," he said with a sigh, his eyes growing sad.
"Charlie was worth every swollen finger and losing my engagement ring for, Edward. Even if you hadn't replaced my wedding band, it wouldn't have mattered. I would still be just as married and in love with my husband, even without a single piece of jewelry. Besides, what could I have in Maui that I don't already have right here, aside from a bunch of flowers around my neck and a drink in a pineapple?" I asked, my tone softening, and I brought my hands to frame his face. "Have you ever cheated on me?"
Edwards eyes grew wide, and his brow tightened. "Of course not! You know how I feel about that. Why would you ask that?"
"Have you stopped loving me?" I continued and watched as his gaze only grew more abashed—offended, even.
"Bella, how can you say these things? You know I haven't."
Again, I didn't respond to his question, and instead moved forward to the most prevalent point I could make in that moment. "Did you leave my side once when we lost Lily?"
My eyes began to tear along with his, as memories began floating back to me.
A little over a year after our youngest son's birth, we found out that we were expecting again. We'd agreed to try one more time for a girl and were beyond ecstatic when one of my ultrasounds finally confirmed that we were in fact having one. We'd had the discussion with my doctor about tying my tubes after the birth, since we felt our family was complete with two boys and two girls, including Ellie, picked out a name and even closed on a new house with an additional bedroom.
Yet something was off from the start, though I kept trying to assure myself that it was simply that I had never been pregnant with a girl before. Then, in my twenty-seventh week, a sharp pain in my abdomen struck me, and Edward rushed me to the hospital, only to have our worst fears confirmed.
Not only was I in pre-term labor, but there was no detectable heartbeat on the fetal monitor. Our little girl never even took her first breath.
Our marriage went through the ultimate test over the following months as I fell into a deep depression. I blamed myself for our daughter's passing. I should have taken my pregnancy feeling off more seriously, or listened to my instincts, or noticed more when she wasn't moving in the days leading up to her delivery. No amount of reassurance from my ever-patient husband that he hadn't thought much on it, either, since Charlie had been such a calm baby while I was pregnant with him, made any difference. I was her mother; she was inside my body. I should have known.
For several weeks, after we moved into the new house, I took to sleeping on an air mattress in what was supposed to have been Lily's room, closing myself off almost entirely from my husband. Even then, his calm and patient support never ceased. He still told me he loved me several times a day, despite my lack of reciprocation more often than not. When I finally returned to our bedroom and sleeping beside him at night, he never pressed me for physical contact or sex, but never failed to hold me when I needed him to. And not once did I see him break down in that entire time over the daughter that he had also lost, though I found out later from Ellie and my mother-in-law that he could barely hold himself together when he wasn't in my presence.
It wasn't that I'd ceased to love Edward or had forgotten what an utterly amazing husband I had. Nor had leaving him ever once crossed my mind. At the same time, it was hard to see past the dark cloud that surrounded me, as well. Nothing I had ever experienced in my entire life—combined—could even compare to the pain of losing our daughter, and I had no idea how I would ever move beyond it.
Six months passed before everything finally came to a head. Edward had suggested that we see a grief counselor together since I still was not coping well with life in general, and even the boys were really starting to noticeably feel the effects—and I erupted.
"What is a grief counselor going to tell me that will make any difference? That it's natural for my heart to break because my daughter is dead? That it will get better in time, and I will be able to move on? What is that supposed to solve, Edward?"
With a tense jaw, he looked at me, and for the first time since we buried Lily, I saw tears in my husband's eyes. "First of all, she was our daughter. I lost my baby girl, too, and nothing—not even losing Sam—has ever broken my heart more. It hurts like hell, Bella. I know our experiences weren't exactly the same, since I didn't have her inside me, but that doesn't mean that I loved her any less. Or that I didn't feel a piece of my heart die with her that day."
A loud sob escaped me as he spoke, and I crumpled to the floor, burying my face in my hands. Guilt began crushing down on me in a sudden rush, and it still didn't even seem like a full minute had passed before I felt him kneeling beside me and taking me into his arms. My fingers moved to his chest, gripping his t-shirt in a tight fist as my tears began soaking into the fabric. "I'm so sorry, Edward. I've been selfish."
"No, you've been grieving. We both have," he responded in a whisper and pressed his lips against the top of my head. I held onto him tighter, trying to pull him closer, and he seemed to be doing the same as his arms secured around me more. "I just don't know what to do anymore. Losing Lily has been unbearable, and I can't lose you, too."
I lifted my head to look at him, finding his eyes pinched closed with a singular wet trail falling from each. My hand rose to cradle his jaw, and he instantly leaned into it, desperately seeking out my touch—and my heart aced with a new ferocity. While nursing my own pain, I had been neglecting to see his, and that he needed comfort and support as well. "I'm not going anywhere, honey."
His deep draw of breath caught my attention, drawing my gaze back to his face from where it had fallen to his chest to mindlessly watch the path of my fingertips. Again, he seemed a million miles away, but then shook his head. "No, but that's something any decent husband would do. It's nothing phenomenal."
I rolled my eyes back for a moment to stem the torrent of tears that wanted to fall at that moment, and then lifted my hand to trace my fingers through his hair. I couldn't help the smile that tugged at my lips as I gazed at him—even at forty-six years old, with strands of gray becoming more noticeable at his temples and along the sides, he was still the most devastatingly handsome man in the world to me. More importantly, however, he was such a naturally good husband, friend, and father—and he never sought credit for that. "You knew I needed you, even when I was keeping you at an arm's length, and you were there. That is phenomenal in my eyes. It meant everything to me. I've never felt second to anything, except maybe our kids, and that is more than okay. I can't imagine being any happier in Maui than I am right here in this parking lot with you. I'm the luckiest woman in the world."
"That's a bit of an exaggeration, Bella," Edward replied with a shake of his head, meeting my eyes when I clasped his face between my hands.
"I have a husband who is as devoted to me as I am to him. After all these years, and everything we've been through, we haven't grown apart in the slightest. If anything, we are closer now than we've ever been. You still love me, and there isn't a moment that I ever doubt that. There is no vacation, or amount of money, or even a new ring, that could ever compare to that. Those are things…this is priceless," I stated emphatically, circling my arms around his neck and guiding his forehead to lean against mine. "I love you, and you have kept the most important promise you ever made to me. You swore you'd spend the rest of your life making me happy, and you've done that and so much more. Everything that truly matters is right here in my arms, and fast asleep in their beds at your daughter's house. And I have no regrets."
The tension in Edward's shoulders decreased minimally, and his gaze met mine. "Neither do I, but I will take you to Maui someday."
I chuckled, stroking my fingertips over his lightly stubbled cheek. "Okay, but until then, I'll be just as content curling up on our couch with a glass of wine and watching a movie with my gorgeous husband. Or not watching a movie."
Edward released a breathy laugh, and finally, the smile lines around his eyes made a full appearance as he relaxed completely and leaned down to brush a kiss on my lips. "That sounds like an excellent plan to me, Mrs. Cullen."
He guided me gently away from the bike to allow himself to climb onto it, and I followed suit quickly thereafter. Through the entire drive home, my chin rested on his shoulder, while my hands explored his chest and abdomen. Despite the fact that my husband was only a few short years from his fiftieth birthday, he'd still managed to keep himself in remarkable shape. Touching him was something that I never tired of. He also never acted his age, especially in moments like that; riding through the back roads of the desert on a motorcycle with his girl, the wind whipping through our hair. Rarely did either of us go without a helmet, especially since Seth's birth, but there were occasions where we would, just to feel that freedom. Ellie had also consistently lectured us both—while lovingly—on the dangers of doing so at all. "It only takes one accident," she'd remind us, and we couldn't agree more, but sometimes, we just couldn't help ourselves.
It felt amazing to be wild and reckless once in a while.
When he finally pulled into our driveway and cut the engine, I tightened my hold around him, wanting just a few more moments before we headed inside. It was such a beautiful night for early August in Arizona, and I wanted to soak it all in. From the soft breeze circling around us to the feel of Edward's body in my arms, I didn't want to move.
"You okay?" he asked with no small amount of worry in his voice as he covered my hand with his, where it rested on his chest.
I nodded silently, pressing my lips to his shoulder blade. "I'm more than okay. Why, are you in a rush to get inside for something?"
"Not at all," he replied, turning his head to kiss me. "Just sitting here might get a little uncomfortable after a while, though."
"Well, I can't argue with you there." I laughed softly and dismounted, and Edward did as well, but he tugged lightly on my hand as I began to move toward the house. "What?"
Edward motioned with his head for me to come closer, which I instantly obliged. He then leaned back on the bike, turning my body to face away from him and rest against his chest. His arms circled me from behind, and he began trailing a path of kisses along my neck. "Never said I was in any hurry to head inside just yet, either."
My entire body relaxed back into him, my gaze lifting to the sky above us, filled with stars. Some of our best memories were made under that sky—the night Edward asked me to marry him and we made love in the open desert, our wedding at the Grand Canyon, the camping trips we started taking with Ellie and the boys once they were old enough. Now, something as simple as standing in our driveway, in the arms of the man I had spent ten incredible years of marriage with, looking forward to many, many more.
I couldn't imagine myself any happier, through all the highs and lows of the last decade.
"Thank you," I whispered softly, trailing my fingers along his forearm laying across my stomach, and turned my head to brush a kiss against his bicep—where there were now four tattoos of Chinese characters encircling it. One for each of our children's birthdates, with Lily's being adorned with a small pair of angel's wings.
"For what?" Edward murmured against my hair.
"For everything you've done," I replied, turning my head to look at him again. "And even more for all you haven't."