A/N: Still don't own Twilight. Still do own Pen Pals and its outtakes.
So, this isn't technically an outtake. It's a future-take; not far past the end of the original story, though, just a couple of months.
The scene: it's a sunny afternoon in late-September and Edward has once again gotten off of work early. Our favorite letter-writers are taking baby Harrison to visit… an old friend.
Thanks to Rory for adding just enough to make it better! Love you!
Outtake #2: BLAST FROM THE PAST
As I drove home from work, I found myself thinking back to Bella's letter to Harry. She'd had an interesting idea that she'd penned there: taking the baby to meet our old teachers. Under normal circumstances, I'd have thought that was bizarre and lame, but considering the fact that Harrison wouldn't even exist if it wasn't for our little 'pen pals' project, it seemed… I'm not sure appropriate is the right word, but it worked. We couldn't take him to see Bella's old teacher since she went to school in Forks—not right away anyway—but we could take him to see Mr. Banner at the high school near my parents' house. I just hoped he was still teaching.
Harry was seven months old now, and starting to be more active. He couldn't quite crawl properly yet, but he did this little scooting thing that reminded me of a soldier. I'd even (playfully) accused my brother of training him to be an army guy before he was even a year old yet. Jasper had taken it in stride and had even played along with me, saying, "It's never too early to learn to serve your country."
In the past few weeks, I'd learned more about Bella and Harry's schedule, and tried to be careful not to come home during scheduled naptimes. According to the normal routine, they should be up and about by now; the thought of visiting Mr. Banner seemed better and better by the minute and I was anxious to do it today if we could—of course, that depended on if Bella had anything already planned, though; I didn't get off in the afternoons often. In fact, today was the first free afternoon since my birthday nearly three months before.
Just as I'd suspected, my wife and son were playing together in the living room when I unlocked the door and let myself in. "Hey," I greeted them.
"Hey," Bella replied, sounding surprised. "I didn't expect you to be home this early."
"Yeah, it was a bit of a surprise for me, too, in fact a total coincidence; I had three cancellations for this afternoon and a meeting rescheduled with Dr. Snow." I walked over to them and sat on the edge of the couch behind Bella as Harrison army-crawled over to me and Bella reached up from her kneeling position on the floor to greet me with a hug and a kiss.
"That's great honey, surprises like this you can give me any time you want."
"So, Bella, I was thinking about this all the way home, about something you said—or wrote, actually—and since I'm home early enough today…" I looked at her expectantly, and she just cocked one eyebrow at me, silently asking me to continue. "Remember in your letter to Harry, you mentioned maybe taking him to visit the teachers who assigned the Pen Pals project? Why don't we take him to see my old teacher today? And when we go visit your parents for Thanksgiving, we'll take him to see yours. I'll even commit to staying a few extra days to make sure we don't miss out."
I nodded my head at her question. "Unless have something else planned?"
"No, we're free. This sounds like a great idea; let's do it."
She kept a diaper bag for Harry packed and sitting next to the door all the time, so it was always ready when she was. It was brilliant, really, and another example of the logic she'd learned as a lawyer being used in real life. She assured me that he was freshly fed and changed, so she just slipped on a pair of sandals and we were out the door.
When we pulled up to the high school, I was encouraged to see plenty of cars in the lot even though it was nearly three-thirty in the afternoon and school had let out fifteen minutes earlier; it was late enough that these wouldn't be students, but there were enough of them that I held out some hope that one belonged to Mr. Banner. Bella carried Harry, and I draped one arm over her shoulders, and we made our way to the front office. It was crazy to me how the place hadn't changed even one bit since I'd graduated over twelve years before. The secretary greeted us with a smile. "How can I help you?"
"I was wondering if Jim Banner is still teaching here," I started, "and if so, would he be okay with a visit from an old student."
"Give me just a second and I'll check," she said, then picked up a phone and dialed a four-digit number. After a hushed conversation she let us know that Mr. Banner was quite interested in seeing a former student and she gave us his room number.
Despite all the years it had been since I'd stepped foot in this place, I remembered the way with no difficulty and we were entering my old English classroom within just a few minutes of having left the main office.
Mr. Banner's face lit up in instant recognition as soon as I walked through the door. "Edward Cullen," he gushed. His gaze flashed from me to Bella, to Harrison and then back to me again. "My, my, my, what's brought you here? You're a doctor now, right? I think my sister is a patient of yours."
I strode briskly across the classroom and shook his outstretched hand. "Hey, Mr. Banner. Yeah, I stayed local and went to undergrad and med school here in Chicago, and now I work out of the clinic on the second floor of Grace Hospital downtown. I've been there about a year and a half now."
He sat down on one of the student desks and with a wave of his hand invited me to do the same. I was glad he didn't seem to expect me to sit in the attached chair. I probably would've fit—I wasn't that much bigger than I had been in high school—but there was some sort of message that that would have sent, I thought. It didn't matter, though; we were both sitting on top of desks, facing each other like old friends. "So, to what do I owe this pleasure?"
"Actually, sir, I wanted to introduce you to my wife." I looked up and realized that Bella had paused at the back of the room near the door. I gestured for her to come join us. She watched her feet the entire way up and looked embarrassed now that we were actually here, doing this. I knew she was out of her comfort zone, so I didn't try to pressure her into speaking or anything. She stood next to my desk and I wrapped one arm around her waist. "Mr. Banner, this is my Bella, my wife, and our son Harrison."
"It's very nice to meet you, Bella," Mr. Banner said.
"You, too, sir," she replied quietly.
"Mr. Banner—" I began.
He cut me off before I could get any further than that. "Please, Edward, call me Jim. You're not my student anymore; we can be casual with each other."
I blinked a few times. I wasn't entirely sure how comfortable I was with that, but he seemed to be insisting. "Okay, Jim," I actually stuttered over his name. Laughing at myself, I apologized. "It'll just take some getting used to; I've never called a teacher by their first name. Anyway, the reason I came here today, and brought my family, is because we wanted Bella and Harrison to meet you… to thank you, really." I paused for dramatic effect.
It worked; his interest was piqued. "Thank me? I don't understand."
"Bella was the pen pal I was assigned when I was in your ninth-grade English class."
The room was so quiet I was sure you could've heard a pin drop. Mr. Banner kept looking back and forth between us, and finally a huge grin broke out over his face. "That is amazing news. I never expected to hear that. How did you eventually meet? I mean, Shelly's class is what, near Seattle, right?"
"Forks, actually, about four hours north of Seattle," Bella said, appearing to loosen up.
"Well, this is fabulous," Mr. Banner—I just couldn't call him Jim, at least not unless I had to—said. "Tell me the whole story."
Bella and I glanced at each other in silent conversation, and I gave an abbreviated version of our tale. I explained how we'd kept in touch and eventually decided to meet. I left out the parts about the botched wedding, unplanned pregnancy, and paternity tests. "So, we've been married almost a year now, and we have you—"
"And Mrs. Cope," Bella interrupted.
"Yes, you and Mrs. Cope to thank for it."
"I am absolutely floored," he said, and he looked it.
A few more seconds of looking back and forth between us, and he said, "Well, I always knew that project was worthwhile, but now I'm more sure than ever that it's great for my students. I'm so glad you came back to visit me, Edward and that you brought your lovely pen pal here and your son. I'm sure you've probably heard this before, but he really looks just like you."
Bella and I just laughed and nodded our heads in unison.
"I hope you don't mind if I tell your story to my students when I give out the pen pal assignment? That's on the lesson plan for next week. I have a feeling that it is a tale that many will find inspirational."
"Of course Mr. Ban… I mean Jim, we would be honored if you did," I replied, smiling widely.
The conversation continued from there, and we visited with Mr. Banner for nearly an hour. He even held Harrison for a little while, and spoke to him, "I'll make sure to get you a really special pen pal of your own in a few years."
At one point, Bella pulled out the digital camera from her purse. I thought it was crazy the way she kept it with her all the time, but she always insisted that you never know when you'll need it with kids. "Mr. Banner, would you mind if we took a picture of the four of us? I think it would be a really good addition to Harry's baby book."
"On one condition," he replied, looking back and forth between us. "You have to email me a copy to use for the introduction of the pen pals project next week."
"Deal," Bella and I agreed simultaneously.
By the time we left, the three of us were like old friends. I couldn't make a promise that we would definitely come back to visit, but I did promise to try.
"That was so worth it," Bella said when we were settled back in the Volvo. "It'll be fun to see if Mrs. Cope has the same reaction when we visit her."