A/N - Well, this is it! It's been an amazing journey and I've loved every minute of writing this story! Thank you all for sharing it with me. Until the next story...Enjoy!
Epilogue - Family
"Daddy, get a picture of Liam by the moose," I said to Edward, smiling at my little two year old, with his green eyes and messy strawberry blonde hair. He looked so much like Edward, but he was my mommy's boy, through and through.
Edward, the boys and I had gone camping two weeks ago, and while we were canoeing, we were lucky enough to have seen a moose, wading by the shore. Liam had claimed the moose as his favourite animal.
And he'd done it quickly, before Mason could add another animal to his ever growing list of favourites, which included grizzly bears, sharks and Sasquatches. The latter, being the reason for the camping trip in the first place.
Edward was an amazing daddy to our two sons, and did everything he could to keep their active imaginations turning. Adventure walks, building a tree house, horseback riding, and camping trips, looking for the world's greatest mysteries. The sky was the limit and the boys adored their dad.
Edward and the boys watched a lot documentaries together. I thought it was adorable, especially how Mason liked all the shows that daddy did. Mase was a fabulous big brother, shared his toys, held Liam's hand when we went for walks. But one thing he wouldn't share were his favourite animals.
Liam had once tried to say he also liked bears, but Mason told him he couldn't because that was his favourite. So, Liam had been waiting patiently for an animal he could claim as his own. And he got to the moose first.
"I like the moose, too," Mason had said from his spot in the canoe. I knew it was driving him crazy that Liam had called out 'flavourite aminal' before he had. My boys were a little nuts, but they were mine, so I loved them anyway.
"Let Lee have the moose, buddy," Edward had told him. "We still have to go looking for our sasquatch."
That had satisfied both boys, and Edward, the most patient and loving father I'd ever seen, and the sexiest, too, winked at me from across the canoe.
But, this weekend, we were in Calgary for a trip to the zoo for Liam's second birthday, the goal being to get his photo beside his favourite animal. I'd conceived almost immediately after we'd started trying for baby number two on our third wedding anniversary.
I'd delivered him on August 29, 2013, right after the harvest, and made our Mason a big brother to Liam Carl.
We'd gone with the name Liam, because we'd spent the first four months of my pregnancy, before we knew the gender, calling our baby Leah, and Edward didn't want him to be confused, so we picked the closest male equivalent. I adored the name.
And following the tradition of using our fathers' names as middle names, we went with Edward's dad's name, Carl.
Edward's relationship with his father had really come a long way in the past few years, especially following Carl's heart attack the summer before Liam was born. Edward thought he saw the light, because after his recovery, Carl was a completely changed man. And, honestly, had become an amazing grandfather to the boys.
As Edward got the camera out of the backpack in the boys' wagon, I watched my baby boy. Liam looked scared, standing by himself in front of the huge animal enclosure at the zoo. "Mason, please go stand with your brother, love," I said.
"Okay, mama," Mason said, never one to argue.
I smiled as I watched my first born march bravely to go protect his brother. He was dressed in his little cowboy hat and boots, a sheriff's badge pinned to his plaid shirt, all gear his Grandpa Carl had given him for his fourth birthday in May.
Mason was only four, but he was Liam's protector, my little cowboy, and Edward's sidekick. He wanted to help dad on the farm, with the horses, and he even coloured with his crayons when daddy was sketching for another show.
The National Park that was only a half hour from our farm, had a great little art gallery. Edward and I had spent the weekend at a beautiful old hotel up there for his birthday in June.
My parents took the boys for the weekend, and my hubby and I had a chance to get away for a little alone time. Both boys were going through the monster under the bed phase, so we often ended up with company in bed. The getaway had been nice, and Edward got to spend the weekend without pants, just like he had before he'd become a daddy, and I got to enjoy his tattoos, my favourites being the two handprints on his side.
On a lovely walk through the town site, we'd walked into a gallery that had a lot of pieces by local artists. Small clay sculptures, paintings. As Edward looked at a piece, I walked over to the counter and talked to the curator.
"We're always accepting new pieces," she said, with a smile. Edward and I had talked about it over dinner that night. He was initially reluctant, never having the faith in his talent that I did.
"Cowboy. You are the most talented artist. Your sketches move me to tears."
Edward had laughed. "You're my wife. You have to say that."
"Edward Cullen, don't get smart," I said, making him smile. But, hey, I was a mom, now. "I love you, and I think you are so incredibly talented. At everything you do. But your art, Edward, it's phenomenal. The world should get to share in it. Plus, the boys would be so proud of daddy."
He smiled, and I knew I had him. "You had to use the boys, didn't you?"
Edward brought my hand to his lips and kissed my knuckles. "Okay."
And he'd never regretted that decision. I always knew that art was Edward's calling. He was an amazing farmer, but art was his God given gift. He'd been drawing since childhood. The first gift he had ever given to me was a sketch for my birthday, and at every key moment in our lives, our wedding, my both pregnancies, Edward supplemented with his drawings. I had sketchbooks full of his work, and framed pieces throughout the house, that I would treasure forever.
And, Edward's pencil sketches, of horses, scenery, farm life, had been selling like hotcakes for the last two months at the gallery. Edward was the most popular new artist they'd had in a while, and he was surprised by how much money his pieces made. And, being the best father alive, he'd put all of his earnings aside for the boys.
"Say cheese, boys," Edward said to our sons, both smiling proudly, now that they were holding the other's hand.
"Cheese," they said, melting my heart.
I loved my family. They were my world. My life revolved around my husband, sons, the farm, church, and our many great friends. I thanked God everyday that Jess and I had stopped in that old diner, the day my life had changed, and become the blessing it was today.
But, somehow, as busy as my life had become, I'd managed to fit in time for my own project. I was writing a series of children's books. The ideas had come as I made up stories for bedtime.
And Edward, as he'd always been, was nothing but supportive. He had encouraged me to submit the stories to a publisher. And, they'd liked my ideas. Things were in the works with the editor, and I was excited to see my first book hit the shelves by Christmas.
I watched Em and Rosie's oldest two, Henry and Vera run over to my boys, telling them something really cool, I was sure. Our kids were thick as thieves, and the boys adored their 'cousins,' always wanting to go over to play.
Rosie and Em had had another, after Vera. A little girl, Nicole. She was beautiful, like her mommy, but was a total daddy's girl. I smiled as I looked over at Em, holding his three month old little angel.
Emmett McCarty was in his pride and joy when he was with his babies. Like Edward, he was meant to be a father. He was a good one, too. In fact, all of our friends made great parents.
"God, you guys make cute kids," Jess said, wrapping her arm around my shoulder. I turned to smile at her.
"So do you and Mike," I said, smiling over at Mike, who was holding their little one year old, Anna, fast asleep in her daddy's arms. Jess and Mike had returned to Alberta after Jess graduated with her Doctorate. She was offered a position in the History department at the University of Calgary, only a few hours north of the farm.
I adored having my best friend so close to me. We saw each other at least once a month, which was a nice change to the once or twice a year when she was in school in North Carolina.
She was happy, too. No more Dr. Hale. As of when she left, he was still kind of creepy, dating every girl with legs, never settling down. But, while his personal life was out of order, Jasper had done well for himself professionally.
He'd made tenure, and had published two highly acclaimed books on the Civil War, neither of which, I'd read. I was just happy that he was out of my life. Edward was just happy he was out of the country.
Mike was a full time, stay at home dad to his little princess, as Jess was fairly busy with teaching, researching and writing a book of her own. To say I was proud of her was an understatement. They hadn't planned on having kids, but Jessie was a natural, and Anna was their world.
Edward came up behind me and wrapped his arms around me. "Damn right, we make cute kids," he said, making Jess and I laugh. As he rubbed his big strong hands, softly on my belly, I felt our third child, another son, kick. "And this one will be no different."