A/N: See bottom for full note. Too much to type up here.
Disclaimer: I own nothing. No beta, you've been warned.
We don't always get along. In fact, we don't even get along 50% of the time. But I think that's one of the reasons why I love him so much. I can be an intimidating woman. I know this. But he's not afraid to challenge me. Edward isn't scared to disagree with me. And believe me, we disagree often.
I think a big reason why Edward and I have lasted so long is that we are so very different. We come from different backgrounds; we grew up in different cultures. We each bring something to the table that the other is missing. As cheesy as it sounds, we complete each other. Apart we're just average. We're regular. Boring. Together, we're special. We're great.
It feels like that day in San Francisco was a lifetime ago. In reality, it's been 6 years. It's been 6 years since I put everything on the line and went to him. It was the first time I ever made myself vulnerable to someone and I was terrified. With Edward being Edward, he didn't let me down.
I spent a glorious week with him and we talked about everything. We talked about our time apart, our time tomorrow, the future, our families, just…everything. And it really felt like I was getting to know this amazing person all over again. I loved it. I loved it almost as much as I loved the sex. And damn, makeup sex is really awesome.
After I flew back to Seattle, I started arranging my move to San Francisco. I figured it was time for me to make some sacrifices in my life. Edward had built a life in San Francisco and as much as I would miss my friends in Seattle, I couldn't be apart from him any longer. 3 months later, I was moved into his apartment and job hunting.
It was the best decision I've ever made.
6 years together and he can still surprise me. He still tells me I'm beautiful and sexy and he still kisses me like I'm that 23 year old girl he met in a tattoo shop. And that magnet in my belly? It's as strong as ever. Maybe stronger.
We still live in San Francisco. We got a bigger apartment 2 years ago when my clothing collection started taking up the entire closet. We now have an entire bedroom turned into a makeshift closet. It's kinda ridiculous. And the third bedroom, well, that one will be occupied soon enough.
Edward still works at Aro's shop. He worked his way up and isn't a rookie anymore. He's put more time and effort into his art than anyone I know. He loves this. You can see it in his eyes when he walks through the shop door. He's in his element when he's tattooing.
He's had lots of tattoos added to his body in the past 6 years. He's got a few on his arms and legs, a large piece on his back, and the newest, a small one along his collarbone. A name.
I never really thought about kids before Edward came into my life. I was convinced I would never get married or have children. And really, that's how I wanted it. Before Edward.
Now, well now I'm pretty much on the opposite end of that spectrum. Edward and I got married 4 years ago. We had a small ceremony in Seattle with all of our friends and family there, including Edward's parents. They don't visit often, but things aren't as tense as they used to be. They've grown to accept Edward for who he is, not who they want him to be. And me? Well, who doesn't love me? His parents love me.
And now, after 6 long years, we're having a baby. That's right, I admit it, I was baby hungry. It started right after Rosalie got pregnant, which was almost 5 years ago, before we even got married. When I saw that tiny bundle of pink skin and soft hair, I was done for. I think it was that day that I realized I wanted one of those. I wanted my own tiny bundle. I wanted a little boy that looked like Edward. I wanted those tiny fingers wrapped around my own.
And now, finally, here we are. Even when I begged Edward, begged him for a baby, he held off. He wanted to make sure we were financially stable before we started trying. So last year, when Marcus left the shop, Edward was the artist with the most seniority, Aro let him buy into the shop. We now own 25% of the shop and Edward is okay with labeling us "financially stable".
And me? Well, I couldn't just stop tattooing. It's a part of me. Just like it is for Edward. I don't have half of the raw talent he has, but I know what I'm good at and what I'm not.
I got a job at a shop in downtown San Francisco a few months after I moved here. I've been there ever since. It's nothing like Emmett's shop, but it's okay.
I miss Emmett most days. We're all growing up, but him most of all. He married Rosalie and they have 3 kids. He still manages the shop, but for a different reason now. Now, it's an income. It's money in the bank. It's a new swing set for his girls and a new car for his wife. And that's okay, because that's how adults think.
And just like usual, when I think of Emmett I think of Jake. And now I'm crying. God, I miss him.
I think back and it's like I never told him how important he was to me. I never told him how much I loved him or cared about him or that he was my very best friend. Always.
He passed away just under a year ago. He had been seeing Nessa regularly before that and they were driving from Seattle to Idaho to visit her family. The roads were slick from a storm and a car hit them head on. Neither of them made it. He never said it, but I think he was in love with her. I think she wouldn't take any of his shit and wouldn't settle for any less than his best, and that's what made him love her.
A few months after that I got pregnant. And when I found out, it was like some weird sign from God or something. I've never been religious in anyway. Never went to church or anything like that. But the idea that I lost my best friend and was given this amazing miracle, all within a few months of each other, seemed like too much of a coincidence.
Edward walks in the room and I'm still sniffling back my tears.
"Baby…what's wrong?" He crawls into bed with me and lies down. He wiggles his way over the bed under his face is right in front of mine.
"Just thinking about Jake." My voice is scratchy from the crying.
He nods, understanding exactly what I'm saying. He hand rubs small circles on my swollen belly and I close my eyes. It feels so nice. He keeps doing it, changing the pattern every so often so I don't get used to it, and I drift off.
"This is absolutely ridiculous." Edward is laughing a little while he talks, so I know he's not totally pissed.
I narrow my eyes at him. "Edward, stop. This is his first birthday. We only get to do it once." He's making fun of my enthusiasm and I don't like it. I'm freakin' excited, goddamnit.
We're decorating the apartment in cowboy hats, boots, and everything in between. We've got bandannas for all the kids, cookies shapes like sheriff badges(that I made myself, thank you very much), and an awesome lasso game that Edward is currently giving me shit for.
"Bella, he's one. He won't be able to play any games." Again, with the laughing.
"Edward Cullen. I swear to God. If you ruin this for me, I will hurt you." I shoot a dirty look over my shoulder as my fingers work to turn a regular rope into a lasso.
He slides up behind me while I'm bent over and flexes his hips. He bends over me and whispers in my ear, "Let's go upstairs before everyone gets here." I can feel his bulge growing against my ass and push back into him a little bit.
Esme is here for the party and she's upstairs with the baby while Edward and I get the game together in the apartment's courtyard.
"Your mom is up there…" I whisper back, still pushing against him. He flexes his hips again and I'm wondering if there's a bush we can sneak behind.
"We can be quiet. Please baby. I miss you." And now he's just playing dirty. He knows what that does to me.
I admit, I never thought my sex drive would diminish. I figured I would also be some crazy sex-crazed 40 year old who's jumping her man as soon as he walks through the door at night. I think Edward didn't realize what he was getting into when he married me.
Sadly, children can put a damper on that party. When Ben was born, we tried everything we could think of. But I just couldn't get in the mood with a bassinette sitting next to the bed, Ben swaddled up inside. I was too worried we would wake him or I was just too tired to even try. Edward got creative though. We found ways to flirt and touch and even fuck. God bless baby monitors.
When Ben was born, I quit the shop I was working at. My hands aren't the same as they used to be. My knuckles are stiff and the joints pop a lot. I might be getting arthritis. I'm too scared to go to the doctor to confirm. That would be I'm getting really fucking old.
Now, I'm a stay at home mom. Ben and me, we chill at home. We play with blocks and get in the bath and eat and nap and poop. This is what we do all day. And I truly couldn't be happier.
Sometimes, I wonder what Ben will think of me. When I'm older and he's older and he can form his own opinions. I wonder if he'll think I'm the weird mom because I'm covered in tattoos. I wonder if the other moms will think I'm the weird mom. As much as I'd like to think I don't care what anyone thinks, I know now that I do care.
I care about what Edward thinks of me, what my family thinks of my, my friends. And now, Ben. I care the most about what he will think of me. I think we'll be okay though. I think so.
I've changed a lot in my life. Before, I was cold, arrogant, and just really bitchy. I didn't care about anyone but myself. Now, I try to be more than that. I try to see people for more than the physical looks. I try not to take people at face value. I know that everyone has a story that I know nothing about. Just like they know nothing about me and my story.
Edward is still behind me and I realize I'm zoning out. Ugh. The lack of sleep is killing me. His hands grip my hips a little tighter.
"Bella…" His voice gets a little whiny at the end and I laugh.
"Okay, okay. You don't need to beg." I turn to him and look into his green eyes. "I want you just as much, baby. Let's make a deal. I need to shower. Soooo, we can do it in the shower if we're quiet. Ben needs a nap before the party."
He's nodding before I even finish talking. His eyes are hungry and I wonder how I ever got so lucky. How did I ever find a man that loves me this much?
While he's dragging me up the apartment stairs, I make a silent promise to always love him back just the same way he loves me. Always.
A/N: To everyone that originally read this story and has come back to finish it with me, thank you! To the brand new readers, thank you! I had a lot of fun with these two. I say had because really, I'm a completely different person now. I'm writing this A/N 4 years older than I was when I wrote my first A/N. It's bizarre to think about, isn't it? 4 years. Damn. I appreciate all of your kind words and encouragement. I appreciate the PMs asking about the story. I'm a little bit sad to say goodbye, but so happy to say it's complete.
If you haven't yet, go check out my new story The Finish Line. I'd love to hear what you think.
ALSO! Before I leave this story for good, I have 2 other stories that are in-progress. I will be working on those as well. Check 'em out.