Dollybigmomma danced on this chapter.
Chapter 45 - (Epilogue) A conclusion is the part where you got tired of thinking.
Heaven. That was the only way I could think of to describe the way I felt when I was with my wife. I loved her and her quiet craziness. I looked over at her shirt and smiled.
'Why yes, this is a beach ball under my shirt, why would you think it's a baby?'
The caption was scrawled across her chest and swollen belly in bold lettering. She looked so beautiful.
As you could guess, she'd talked me into having another baby. Our daughter was due any time now.
Rose came huffing past. Her son in her arms was covered in chocolate, and his head was half shaved. "Have you seen the girls? I swear I'm going to strangle them, when I get my hands on them." The triplets had a mischievous streak, or should I say the girls did. Rose definitely had her hands full.
With nine kids, soon to be ten, in the house, we decided to employ a nanny. Of course, my wife was the one to hire her, since I'd been the idiot who had hired my Aunt Margaret, who had been out to kill us.
It turned out that Victoria had not been her real name, either. Her name was Margaret Cullen, which we discovered when they'd gotten her prints back. She had posed as a maid and had been hired by my father. She had disguised herself with padding, had dyed her blonde hair red and had given herself freckles so she could get into the house to kill my father. The fool had been too drunk to see his own sister through the disguise
The cops searched her room and found all manner of paraphernalia to assist her in poisoning us. It looked like we had caught her just in time.
We'd also found quite a few books from the library hidden under her bed. I realized these were all classics my father had had rebound, like the one I had taken from the hallway table before my father had been killed, but it was still unclear as to why Margaret would have had them.
Upon further inspection of the books, I'd noticed that the binding seemed rather thick, almost padded. Whoever had done the binding had done a nice job to make them so plush. One of them fell from my arms, when I stood with a stack of them, landing hard page-side down on the wooden floor, causing the cover to crack along the edge. When I picked it up, I noticed what looked like the corner of a piece of paper sticking out of the crack. Gripping it with my fingernails, I began to pull. What emerged through the crack shocked me.
It was a one hundred dollar bill.
I pried the new binding away from the book to discover it was lined with crisp new one hundred dollar bills on both sides. I picked up the next book, and using my thumbnail, I slit the new binding on it as well; again, it was lined with one hundred dollar bills. I continued to remove the new bindings from all the books. Each book had exactly twelve thousand dollars bound into the covers, and there were twenty books under the bed. We would later learn that there had actually been twenty-five books originally.
It was three hundred thousand dollars. I could only guess how she had gotten the money into the books.
We donated the money from the books to Our Lady of Grace homeless shelter for a new building to house battered and neglected women and children, supplemented handsomely by an additional donation from grandpa of all the trust funds he had set aside for my aunts' kids.
As I watched all our kids playing in the yard before me, I knew Emmett and I were the ones who were truly rich, and our real wealth had nothing to do with money.
My twin boys, now almost four, were playing tag. I couldn't say I knew who was it, but they were running in a circle again. Some things never changed.
"Violet and Lily!" Rose called her girls, "You get over here right now. I see you behind those bushes!"
I saw the girls making their way out of the garden, using their patent, 'I'm sorry, and look, I'm too cute to be in trouble' faces. Yeah, I'd fallen for that one too many times. I looked to see if it was working on Rose.
Nope, her angry mommy face didn't budge. Those girls were going down.
"What the heck were you two thinking?"
"We were playing beauty shop and sharing chocolate with EJ," Violet said pouting, too cute for her own good.
Of course, Emmett had named his son after himself. He wouldn't budge on it, so we all just called the little guy EJ to avoid mix-ups.
"You're both in deep trouble when Daddy gets home! These were Mommy and Daddy's special chocolates that you knew you were not supposed to eat!" she yelled holding up an empty box that had once held erotically-shaped chocolates.
I couldn't help but snicker at that. Rose shot me a glare, but I was saved by the bell…the doorbell that is. I jumped up to answer it, since we still didn't have a butler. I tried to get Bella to hire one, but she wouldn't budge. I guess I couldn't blame her.
I opened the door and laughed at the shirt I saw Alice wearing.
'I'm not fat! This is all stolen goods hidden under my shirt.'
She and Bella decided they wanted to be pregnant together, and both were thrilled to be having girls, Alice a set of twins, actually. There had to be something in the water around here. Jasper was holding their younger son, who had just barely turned three. His name was Ethan. When he saw my boys running around in the backyard, he tried to wiggle free. I told Jasper to let him go join in. Ethan hit the ground running and joined in the circle running, squealing as loud as my boys were.
Nathan was still a bit shy, and I saw him poke his head around his dad and ask where Joseph and Michael were.
I sent him off to the boys' room and smiled when I saw he was carrying a tub full of GI Joes.
Jasper gave me a fist bump, and Alice asked where my wife was.
"I'm in the kitchen!" Bella yelled, ignoring the intercom system. I'd tried to show her how to use it once, and she'd asked if we could just get walkie-talkies instead.
In the end, she found yelling across the house was just easier.
I walked them to the kitchen, where my wife was making food, when the doorbell rang again. I shuffled out of the room to answer the door again. Jasper was laughing. They had a butler, damn him.
I opened the door to Jake and his (proven by paternity test) new little boy. Tanya came huffing up behind him. "You could have waited, honey," she said sweetly.
He just shrugged in response.
"Really, Edward, you should have valet parking for these functions," she snapped at me, as she patted her hair. "Give me Little Chief, honey," she said to Jake, reaching for their baby boy. His name was William, after Jake's dad, but Tanya insisted everyone call him Little Chief.
"The women are in the kitchen," I told Tanya assuming she would want to join them, but she let me know she would be waiting on the veranda.
I took Jake to the kitchen to say hi to Bella and let her know Tanya was on the back patio.
The doorbell rang again, and Jasper laughed at me. I pouted at Bella, and she rolled her eyes at me and then shooed me to answer the door.
Gramps was there with Dora at his side. "Edward, Son, how are you doing this evening?"
"Great, Gramps, you guys are looking well, too." I hugged Dora, and then I gave my grandpa a big hug, too. Bella said I should hug grandpa more, because it would soften him up, and he was a tough ole' dog.
I did as my wife said and took them to what was now referred to as the back patio.
Just as I got there with them, the doorbell rang again.
"I'm sorry, Gramps, I gotta grab the door."
"It's called a butler, Son. See about getting yourself one," grandpa said.
"Please tell that to Bella," I begged him.
I answered the door to my mom and Charlie's smiling faces. "Hey, Edward, do you mind if I steal the floor for a bit to make an announcement?" Charlie asked.
"Sure, I don't see why not." I was nervous about what might be said. I still hadn't gotten over the whole checking for skin cancer debacle.
My mom kissed my cheek and hugged me. "How are you, sweetheart? How is Bella feeling?"
"She's doing good. She's in the kitchen if you want to say hi, or you can wait for us on the veranda." I used the word veranda with my mom, because she used to live here and wouldn't know where the back patio was.
When almost everyone was here, we all sat down to dinner. My nephew, EJ, had a freshly shaved head and had been cleaned up. The girls, Lily and Violet, were pretending to be angels, so grandpa would give them silver dollars.
Emmett came running in just as we all sat down to eat. Bree and Emma were with him and were chatting up a storm. I smirked at Emmett, when I saw he was carrying their purses that were pink and glittery. "I smell food, please tell me Bella cooked and not my wife."
Rose whacked him on the back of the head, and he leaned down and kissed her. "Sorry, baby, I love your cooking, when it's in the bedroom."
She smiled and settled down with the rest of us around the table.
The crowd finally settled down, and we got back to eating. I saw Charlie looking nervously at my mom, and she seemed to be trying to encourage him to do something. She finally stood up and tapped her glass, getting everyone's attention.
Charlie stood up next to her and looked over at Bella with a smile. "You know I've been dating Esme for a while now, and we've decided to take the next step. I've asked Esme to marry me, and she's accepted."
I was scowling, until my wife stomped on my foot to tell me to stop it. Emmett hugged my mom and Charlie, welcoming him to the family. Alice started talking wedding plans, and Bella jumped in, chattering about the same. A frightening thought shot through my mind, though, and I prayed that my mom was either past the ability to conceive or was on birth control. Her having a kid would be just a little too hillbilly for my comfort.
As if he'd picked up on my though process, Emmett, the brat he was, pointed out that I was going to be married to my sister. Jerk!
Rose hit him for me, though.
After dinner, Jake insisted we all join him in La Push for a celebratory bonfire. Tanya tried to correct him, calling it a 'beach soiree' now. She scowled at Bella, remembering how rowdy she'd had the crowd the last time, but then smiled when she saw how pregnant Bella was. I doubted that would stop Bella. I had learned over the years that my wife, mischief that she was, had a mind of her own, and I was just along for the ride.
Angela came out to get the kids. She was the new nanny. Her husband had been transferred to Seattle, and she couldn't find a job, so we had taken her on as our nanny. Bella just loved her. I had to admit, she did have a way with the kids.
She got them dressed for the beach, and we all carpooled down to La Push.
Tanya was chatting Grandpa's ear off, like she was the president's wife. In a sense, she believed she was. I guess in a way, she sort of was, since Billy had turned things over to Jake after they were married. I asked Jake if he was happy with her, and he smiled.
"She's special, Edward. I know you didn't like her, but I think she was just what we needed. I wasn't thrilled about taking over, but she's shown me all the good we can do. She also has a mess load of connections that I didn't have. We got funding for a new school that should be ready by the time Little Chief here is ready to start."
"That's great, she does seem happy," I commented.
"Yeah, she's in her element." We watched as Tanya made her rounds, talking to all the people at the party. "She does bring some class to the reservation, doesn't she?"
"Yeah," I smirked at him. "Sounds like you love her."
He chuckled and smiled. "You know what, I'm pretty sure I do. She may have been power hungry when we first met, but she's doing a lot of good with that power now. It's hard not to love her for it."
Tanya turned and saw us watching her. She smiled and blew a kiss to Jake. He blew one back. It was cheesy, but she smiled even wider when he did it.
Later that evening, Tanya came and took Little Chief from Jake, kissing Jake and thanking him for watching the baby while she visited with her friends.
I was a little shocked, when he suddenly grabbed her and kissed her deeply in front of everyone. I heard him whisper, "I love you," in her ear, and her eyes watered. She whispered it back, and they walked over to where my family was sitting with Billy and some of the other Elders. Billy took the baby in his arms, proudly showing him off to everyone.
The night hadn't been too rowdy, but then Bella stood up and stretched. She looked at Jake and nodded to the open area.
Jake smirked in return, and they both let out a howl at the same time. They were answered back by several of the pack, and then Tanya was in shock, as Jake picked her up and started tossing her around like he had done with Bella the last time. The look on Tanya's face was priceless.
Bella sat down next to me. I looked at her, surprised that she was not joining in the fun.
"What? I don't want my water to break on someone's head. That would not be cool."
I looked at my family, who were laughing with me, and Jake, who was now kissing his wife happily. I couldn't help but think that if it hadn't been for my beautiful quiet girl, none of this would ever have happened.
She was the reason I truly believed silence was golden.