Sink or Swim
A/N: Well, my lovelies, this is it: the final chapter. I hope you have enjoyed my little story. Thank you to all who have read and reviewed, and for putting up with my delays.
Many thanks to my beta, ManiacMotherland for listening to me bitch and complain and for pushing me to want to do better. Love you!
Sink or Swim
Chapter 18 Epilogue
35-ish or so years later
"Bye, Papa. Bye, Nana," the grandkids yelled out as they were piled into their proper cars and buckled in.
"Goodbye, kids!" Edward and I called back from our front porch. "We love you!"
We had just had a house full of people who had come to help celebrate Edward 65th birthday and I, for one, was glad it was time for them all to leave.
Now, don't get me wrong. I loved my family and cherished every moment with them. But when you have that many people to entertain, it makes one tired at my age. And yes, for the record, that is "granny age" or "old lady age." Take your pick.
The weekend had been one long stream of visitors. First, there were our kids, Emma Rose with her husband Garrett and their two boys; then there was Brandon and his wife Kate along with their two girls and son.
Also Alice and Jasper, Rosalie and Emmett plus their respective broods.
Alice's daughter was off in New York, where she is now some kind of funky fashion designer, so of course, she couldn't make it. Alice and Jasper may have wanted more kids, but all they ever got was Cynthia. And that was enough for them. They say big gifts come in small packages, and that is Alice and Jasper's daughter to a T. She will do big things one day; I am sure of it.
To make up the quota, however, Brady and Colin and their wives along with their kids, four each, showed up along with their parents. Emmett had wanted more kids but Rosalie put the brakes on after the boys each ended up being 13 pounds at birth. Emmett grumbled at the time, but is now more than happy with all his grandkids.
We were missing two other important people that day as well, Jessica and Tanya. Over the years, we had all gotten a lot closer and they had become part of our family. About five years ago, Tanya had lost her battle with breast cancer, and then a thoroughly heartbroken Jessica mysteriously died a few months later.
But we still had Kate, their adopted baby from Russia.
Needless to say, Kate was the light of their lives. And in the years following, she had become the same for my son Brandon as well.
It always amazed me how much love binds us and pulls us together. Even with great loss, there is always great hope as well.
"I'll call you later on this week, Mom. We'll do lunch," Emma Rose called out to me as she got in her car, breaking through my reverie. "Hope you had a great birthday, Dad. Love you both!"
Emma and Garrett lived in Port Angeles and she and I would try to get together at least one a week. Unfortunately, Brandon and his family had settled down in Seattle, so we only got to see them every few months or so.
After we watched them all drive away, Edward and I sat down on the porch swing the still hung on the front porch. It had been replaced a few times over the years, but we would sit our there many nights after the kids had gone to bed, or sometimes on an nice summer afternoon, just enjoying each other's company.
As I looked at my husband, my breath escaped. After all these years, he still left me breathless. He may have more gray then red in his hair these days, but it was still the same crazy cut it had always been and still so thick. I still loved to run my fingers through it. He may also have a few more wrinkles in his face, but he was still the most beautiful man I had ever lain eyes on. I was still so much in love with my husband.
"I have something for you, my dear."
Edward pulled a bright colored envelope out from under his leg. I hadn't realized he had brought it outside with him.
"Oh, what is it?" I asked, taking the envelope from him. "And shouldn't I be giving you gifts, since it is your birthday and not mine?"
"Just look, Bella," he said with a chuckle. "And stop pestering me, woman."
I opened up the envelope and pulled out the contents. I could hardly believe what I was looking at.
"Oh, Edward! This is perfect. When do we go?"
"I was hoping you would like it. I was thinking August."
"Yes, definitely!" I exclaimed, a big smile plastered on my face.
"The others will be coming too. Is that alright?"
"Oh, my wonderful husband, yes, yes, yes! That just makes it that much more perfect!" I said as I leaned into him to plant a kiss on his cheek.
Edward wrapped his arm across my back and pulled me closer to him. Then he picked up my legs with his other hand and placed them across his lap.
We snuggled there for a moment before he spoke again.
"So, full circle then?"
He looked at me with that smirk of his. Even after all this time it still gets to me.
"Full circle, my love."
Edward had gotten us tickets for a cruise. The same ship and the same course where we had met all those years ago. Although not the same captain, since Aro had passed away many years ago.
We had talked about going on another cruise but never had the chance.
After we had gotten married and then had the kids a few years later, we had just never found the time. Yes, we had gone on plenty of family vacations, and a few times even without the kids.
But this cruise was special to us. Where we had met. Where we had fallen in love.
We had talked about going for years, and then after Edward retired a few years back, we decided to just do it. I guess everyone else's schedule lined up as well.
This was perfect. We may be a little older and wiser but I was sure that we would still have just as much fun as the last time. I wonder if that rock wall was still there. I laughed to myself thinking that Edward would never let me up on that thing now.
I had another vision of Edward running around the basketball court without his shirt on; the first time I had seen his bare chest and attacked him after that game.
"What are you smiling about, my love?" Edward asked interrupting my memories.
"Oh, it's nothing," I lied.
"Bella, you're blushing, so I know it's not 'nothing'."
Damn, he knows me too well.
"I was just thinking back to the first time I saw you playing basketball," I admitted.
"Ah! I see!" he laughed back. "And do you remember what happened after that game?"
"Of course I do," I admitted while blushing harder. I had jumped into his arms and planted the mother of all kisses on his lips that day.
"As do I my love." He nuzzled his face into the crock of my neck. "I never told you, but I wanted to take you back to my room and have my way with you right after that. Having you in my arms was and is the best feeling in the world. I love you so much."
As he pulled back from my neck he places kisses along my jaw until he landed on my lips. As few gentle kisses were all it took, was all it would ever take to get me turned on. I may be an old lady now, but damn if that man still knew how to press my buttons.
I could feel something poking the underside of my leg that was still on Edwards lap. I took me a moment to register what it was and then another moment to determine if I had enough energy to deal with it.
Not that we still didn't have an active sex life. It's just that as you get older you kind of have to plan these things out. I guess Edward had thought of this earlier.
Years back, Edward had gone through some issues with his prostate, so now he needed to take a little something to help get it up. Although sometimes he doesn't, like it would seem right now. And I, for one, did not want to waste it.
"Edward, my dear, did you take a pill today?"
With a chuckle, he surprised me with his answer. "No, baby, that's all me. No Vitamin V for us tonight."
Holy shit! That hasn't happened in a while. A second non-birthday birthday present for me!
I quickly jumped off his lap, almost falling in the process. I could be so clumsy at times.
"Well, get your heinie in the house then, Edward Cullen. Lover, Husband, Father, Old Man, The Joy of My Life. Before we give the neighbors a free show! Because I have one more birthday present to give you, just as soon as you get yourself unwrapped."
A/N: And that is all she wrote. Short and sweet. This was my first story and I will always have a special place in my heart for it. I love my Edward and as you know, I fashioned him after my hubby. He so honest, caring, loving, with a bit possessiveness thrown in the mix. So thank you to my one and only for giving me support in this endeavor. I love you always. (Not that he would read this, but just wanted to give him a shout out anyway).
Much love to my sister who passed away from breast cancer 11 yrs ago. Never a day goes by that I don't think about you. Love and miss you.
Thank you again to all of you have read Sink or Swim and stayed with me during this journey. I love you all to pieces!