Fifteen Years Later
It wasn't supposed to be this way. I retired last year at 65, Bella quit working at 49, the triplets were all out of school and settled in their own lives at 25 and this should have been our time, just the two of us. I was 17 years older than her; I never thought it would happen this way. I admit I worried about what she would do when I was gone; it never crossed my mind that I would outlive my wife. She was my entire life, how did the universe expect me to live without her.
Part of me knew I should be helping the kids and grandkids deal with their grief but the truth was I couldn't see passed my anger to help anyone. Her death was senseless. She hadn't been battling an illness, she hadn't been sick at all. She had been doing some last minute Christmas shopping, like a lot of shoppers in Chicago. She had been walking down the sidewalk minding her own business when a SUV plowed into the crowd, killing 10 people, killing my Bella. I am so fucking angry. Angry at a 17 year old girl who was too busy texting her friends to notice traffic had stopped and jerked the steering wheel to avoid hitting the cars, jumping onto the sidewalk and killing 10 people. I was burying my wife two days before our 27th wedding anniversary. Yeah, I was very fucking angry.
I stood in the bathroom doorway looking at the bed I had not been able to sleep in for the last five nights. Would I ever be able to sleep in this room again? It still smelled like her and her things were out all round, waiting for her to return. I was waiting for her to return. I walked to the bed and picked up her pillow, pressing it against my face, inhaling her scent. I didn't realize I had fallen to my knees until I felt arms wrap around my neck and hug me tightly.
"It's time to go Daddy, the limo is here." Emily had spoken softly and her voice held no emotion. In the five days since...I have not once seen her break down or cry at all. Didn't see care that her mother was gone? Suddenly my anger had another outlet and I wanted her to hurt like I did, so I lashed out.
"How can you be so cold about this?" I shouted at her. "Your mother is gone. How can you act as if nothing is wrong?" I threw the pillow on the bed. "Didn't you love her at all? She is gone, forever." I yelled in her face before I collapsed on the floor, sobbing." Emily lay down next to me and I saw all the emotions she was holding inside in her eyes. She refused to let the tears fall.
"In the thirty years she was with us do you know how many times she asked me to do something for her? Something important, something other than clean my room or run to the store or just be happy in my life?" I shook my head as I reached for her hand, hoping she would realize I didn't mean what I had just said. "Once, only one time." I sat up and pulled her into my lap, like I use to when she was little.
"It was several years ago when the two of came for a visit. I think you had just redrawn your wills. She was telling me about how you were concerned what would happen to her when you died. She recognized that it had never occurred to you that she could die first and she made me promise. She said she knew it would be hard but that she saw my inner strength and I would have to be strong for you if that happened because you wouldn't be ready for it. She said she knew that I loved her and thought of her as my mother, she didn't ever want me to doubt that. Then she said she had a selfish thing to ask of me, that if I wanted to honor her I would put my grief aside and help you through this. She knew that someone would have to be strong and help you through this time, she picked me. Do you understand? She picked me. That may come off as unfeeling to you but I will not fail at the one thing, the only thing, my mother ever ask of me. I will help and handle and take care of the most important possession my mother ever had, my father and his heart. Don't ever tell me I don't care. I love her so much I am swallowing my own grief to carry out her only request of me, to protect and keep safe what she valued most in this world."
"I am so sorry for yelling at you. It is just so hard with out her. I keep expecting her to walk in the room..." I couldn't control my sobs any longer.
"I know daddy. I know." She stood and held her hand out to me. I used the ride to the church to compose myself and look at my family. I loved them so much.
Emily had been my rock so far. Bella had left detailed instructions in her will about what she wanted and Emily was carrying those out. I welcomed her help. I wasn't in any condition to make decisions. We were on our way to the church because Bella had not wanted a viewing. She wanted a service, burial and then a wake. A full on party wake with people telling embarrassing stories about her and lots of laughing, I have led a blessed life Edward with the man I love more than anything else, celebrate that, I remember her telling me once and we planned on doing just that.
The church was full. I think that would have surprised her. She thought of herself as just a teacher, nothing special. Looking around I was sure most of the people were former students, she touched so many lives. As I walked behind my family to the front of the church I couldn't place the name of the song being played but I knew it was Pink Floyd and one of Bella's favorites. The silence that came over the church made me uncomfortable, I wanted to go home and curl up with her pillow and pretend she would come back to me. How was I supposed to go on when my heart and soul lay at the foot of the altar?
The pastor spoke, music was played and different people stood and spoke what I am sure were meant to be words of comfort. I barely heard what they said and I knew she would have hated the attention. The boys and I along with Charlie and Matthew moved to her casket to take her out of here, to her final resting place. A Green Day song was playing and while I knew the sentiment was right I had never liked the title, Good Riddance.
As I sat in my chair at the cemetery and watched people file by, touching her casket, saying goodbye, I felt my last moments with her slipping away. I watched the well wishers leave and my family say goodbye until it was just Bella and I. I clutched the small bouquet of yellow/orange calla lilies and white snowberries in one hand as I slowly laid my other on her casket.
"How do I do this without you? Why do I have to do this without you? I don't think I can Bella. You have always been the very best part of me." For the first time today the sun peeked through the clouds and I felt it on my face, it felt as if she was with me.
"I miss you so much." I could smell freesia on the breeze. "I know you are with me, I know you would never leave me on my own, but I want you here with me physically. I want to reach out and touch you. I want to hold you close to me at night. I want you to look at me and laugh because I react like a caveman when I catch some man eye fucking you. It is so hard not being able to do those things." The breeze shifts and for second I can almost feel her fingers running through my hair. "I love you Bella, you took my heart with you." I say and I know I hear her whisper, I am with you always Edward, I love you.
I don't remember leaving the cemetery, I don't remember returning to the house and I don't remember the wake. The first thing I do consciously remember is Emily discussing what Bella wanted each of the children to have and asking them if there is anything specific that want to have of hers. Listening to them I mentally laughed and sent up a prayer of thanks that we had sorted through everything several years ago, they wouldn't be in for the surprises they would have then.
We did it because we never wanted them to go through what we did when my father died. We received several shocking moments sorting through his things. My mother had passed several years ago and he had packed her things up not gotten rid of anything. We learned more about both of them than we ever wanted to know. That experience is what had us sorting through things once the triplets started to settle down. We purchased a shredder and made sure to destroy various pictures, the cd's we had made over the years and various other items. I realized I would need to ask for help clearing out the playroom that is something I did not want to explain to my children. There had been close calls over the years but we never had to sit down and explain our lifestyle to any of the kids, I wanted it to stay that way.
After New Year's Charlie and Sue returned to Washington and the kids returned to their lives. I didn't begrudge them their lives. I wanted them to have full happy lives. They deserved it and it is what Bella would want for them, to be as happy as we were. When I watched them together or with their own families I could see the hand Bella and I had in making that happen.
The days were hard and ran together, trying to fall asleep at night was almost impossible and I had taken to spraying her side of the bed with the body spray she used so I could sleep. The nights are when the dreams would come and I could be with her, if only for a few hours. They seemed so real.
I would catch her up on what was happening with the kids and grandkids, we had 10 of them now and we would reminisce about our life together or things we could laugh at now but hadn't seemed amusing when they were unfolding. I told her that I hated waking up because she would be gone and she always assured me that she was waiting from me. For those first few precious moments after I woke I would reach for her side of the bed knowing I would find her there. Upon finding only cold sheets the process would start again.
The next weeks were spent packing up and selling the house, I moved into a condo. The house was too big and held to many memories for me to live their by myself. I would never date let alone marry someone else but I did keep our bed and other things that were important to me at the condo. The dreams still came every night and I never spoke of them to anyone but they are what kept me sane. I knew I would see her again someday.
Three years later
I was peeking in on my family. It was difficult to be so happy when they were sad. I knew this would be hard on them but they had each other to help them through.
"They'll be fine Edward. Not right away but eventually and we will check on them as often as you like." My angel said.
"I know" I said, "but I feel guilty for being so happy to be with you again."
"That's natural and we can watch them as long as you like." She put her hand in mine and it was like I came home again, home to my Bella.
I watched Samantha as her boyfriend comforted her and Bella said she thought they would get married. She was wild and Bella thought he would be the one to finally calm her down. They met when he came in to her shop and was shocked to find that 'Sam', the best tattoo artist in Seattle, was a woman. Unfortunately for him, he spoke those words out loud and she refused to do his tattoo for six months. They have been together ever since.
Sabrina leaned in to kiss my cheek and say goodbye before leaving with her husband, Bradley, and their twins, Becca and Charles. They fit together perfectly, both geeks at heart. They met in college at the library. Both needed the same book, reached for it at the same time and then proceeded to have a shouting match over who needed it more for their paper. Sabrina grabbed the book and ran, it took him two weeks to track her down. She was impressed with his tenacity and asked him on a date. They married the summer after graduating and live in Washington D.C., working for a think tank.
Simon was leaning heavily on his partner, Anthony, I was sure he felt as if they had lost one of their last supporters but I knew his siblings would step up and help them. I remember when he sat down with Bella and me to tell us he was gay. He had no clue that we had figured it out long ago. As he sat in our bedroom and tried to stammer out what he wanted to say, Bella pulled him into a hug, ask him what the name was of the man he loved and why wasn't he here with Simon. He was shocked and broke down, telling us how they told Anthony's parents first and they all but disowned him. They were not looking forward to telling us because they were sure Anthony's parents would accept them. Bella did get angry when Simon explained how Anthony was at hotel because he was scared of how we would react. By the time we caught up to her she was letting herself into their room with the key she bribed off the clerk and packing Anthony's clothes as he looked on in a towel because he had just gotten out of the shower. She threw some clothes on the bed and told him she expected him to be in the lobby in 15 fifteen minutes because she was taking him home, where he belonged and he had better not make her come back up here. I laughed and followed Bella out of the room as the two boys tried to figure out what had happened. They were currently trying to adopt a baby.
"We did a good job with them Edward. They all have good lives and people who love them so much." Bella said.
"I know but I have put them through a lot these last few years." I knew I had, as hard as I tried I could not be happy without Bella. My eyes landed on Anna as Evan rubbed her very pregnant belly. They were about to welcome their fifth child and couldn't be happier.
"They understood you were grieving, especially Emily, she more than the others knows just how much we loved each other. She was old enough to know what we went through to be together, she has always known how deep our bond is."
"I know, she is what got me through the last three years." It was true, without her I would have given up in the first three months. As I watched her with Matt and their three kids I knew she would be okay, she understood that I needed to be with Bella.
"I was with you too Edward. I never left you alone, always watching and waiting. I love you so much."
"I know, I felt your presence every single day Bella. I always felt your love." I said as I looked at Ethan and Summer, they never married. They adopted six children from different countries they visited. Ethan was sterile from a virus he picked up somewhere but they didn't let that stop them. When they were adopting their first child I ask him about not being able to have any kids of his own, he was handling it so well I felt sure he was repressing his feelings and just wanted him to talk to me. He told me that Bella and I had taught him that a family is what you make it and it didn't matter if you were born into it or not. I couldn't have agreed more with him.
We watched as the children said goodbye and slowly left the room. We watched as the nurses came in and disconnected the machines I had been hooked up to after having a massive heart attack.
"Goodbye daddy. I know you held on as long as you could. Go, be with mom, be happy, and know that we felt your love everyday. We know both of you love and watch over us." Emily whispered as she slowly closed the door.
"I will miss them." I said softly.
"You can see them whenever you want." Bella said and when I looked at her I saw her at 21 again. I quirked an eyebrow at her. "Look at yourself Edward, you can be what you want." When I looked in the mirror I looked to be about 25 or 30.
"I'm ready Bella. Let's go spend eternity together." She ran her hands up into my hair and pulled me down for a long kiss.
"I have missed you Edward. I can't wait to show you the house and I think you are really going to like the playroom, Master." She purred at me as she palmed my now hard cock.
"Oh Isabella you are in trouble now, my naughty kitten." I growled at her as I chased her into our forever.
Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight or its characters.
A big thanks to everyone that has read or reviewed this story. I love this Edward and Bella and hate to see it come to an end.
I will post the links to the two songs from Bella's funeral on my profile later today.