Epilogue: 12 Years Later
Well let me first start off by saying I am supposed to be doing a shitload of paperwork and grading right now it's not even funny, but this letter was long overdue. Your 32nd birthday is now over a month behind us and I still haven't written this fucking letter. I have thirteen of these wonderful letters and you need the same amount…it's only fair.
Holy shit, Bella Cullen, we have been together for thirteen years. That's a long time. Maybe too long…just kidding! It's been the best thirteen years of my life I'll have you know. Yeah we went through some pretty shitty times, but the good times kind of cancel those out don't you think?
Okay so I am supposed to say what's been going on with our life. Well Alice started college so that's pretty fucking amazing if you ask me. We'll just try and forget the fact that she is also dating a 24 year old when she's only 19. I guess I kind of screwed myself over when I decided to sweep you off of your feet when we were both that age. I don't regret it though, beautiful.
And let's not forget our two little bundles of joy and stress. Nah I'm just kidding about the stress part. They are the most amazing little beings I have ever set my eyes on so any stress they cause you and I doesn't seem so bad. I'm still worried about our Lukas, but you already knew that. I think me worrying about him will always be there no matter how old we get. He just can't have IED. He can't. He's a smart, funny, determined, loyal, and loving five year old and I couldn't have asked for a more perfect son. I really couldn't. I am so proud of him and the little man he is becoming. I keep telling myself what you always tell me. He's perfect, he's fine, and if he isn't, we will help him through it.
And now Taryn. At this point, all I can say about that kid is she will be the death of me. I swear she will be. I knew she would be trouble the moment she threw up on me the first time I held her. Seriously though, where the fuck did that kid come from? She isn't like me and she isn't like you at all. She's loud, she's stubborn, she's full of energy, and she's outgoing. I mean I guess she gets her stubbornness from me, but where did the rest come from? I thought all of her shenanigans were supposed to be done and over with once the terrible twos went away…now she' s three and still driving me up a wall. I wouldn't trade it for anything and you know that. She's my little girl and she's stunningly beautiful and she has her moments of sweetness and what not but oh boy…she will be the reason I go grey.
Okay I was planning on making this thing really elaborate about what's been going on with our family and all that shit, but I really don't have time, chick, so I hope you understand. Our family is good right now. Our friends are good right now. Everything is just good.
But I can't just end this without making you aware of my feelings for you. I think I tell you enough, but I'm probably wrong. Being married to you has made me realize that I'm usually wrong, and if I'm not, I should just say I am anyway because you are one crazy and scary bitch when you're mad at me. But don't worry, I love you anyway. Actually, after being married to you for four years, I have come to realize that you can love and hate someone at the same time. I love you and I hate you.
I love that you have been the greatest mother to our children. They trust you, the worship you, they think you're funny, and they love you. They love you so much and I try to be the best father to them, but what makes it easier is knowing that you are right there with me, and if for some reason I fail as a father, they will always have you as their mother. I can't thank you for that enough.
I love that you still love me. I don't really know how to elaborate on that more, but I had to say it. The fact that you can love a guy like me—a guy that has given you more stress than you deserve and more fights than I would ever want you to fight—means the world to me.
I could go on and on for days, my wifey, but I'll limit it to three for now. If you want me to tell you others, come see me tonight…in our bed…door locked…naked. (wink, wink) Just kidding. You can ask me over dinner if you want or while I'm fixing the fucking faucet in the bathroom that decided to shit the bed.
I love how you were there for me and were my rock during the couple of months that I was really sick and when I got my surgery. I know I don't talk about it much with you because I hated those days that I was sick. Who would have known that a failing kidney could be so painful and so debilitating? I despised the fact that I was practically useless for a certain time and I couldn't even pick up my kids. You helped me through that. I loved when you would wake me up in the morning by having them crawl into our bed to wake me up. I loved that you rubbed my back when I was crying from physical or emotional pain. I love that you didn't leave the hospital that night after my kidney removal when I was freaking out and telling you I wanted you away from me. Thank you for staying then and staying now.
Oh shit I should have structured this fucking letter better but it's kind of late now. I realize I should have put the things I hate about you before the whole lovey dovey thing because now you will probably be pissed at me for reading this letter but oh well…you'll still love me right?
So here's the thing. I hate that you consistently forget to turn that fucking computer off every night. I mean come on, Bella. That shit costs us money and I don't need our electric bill through the wall every time because you always forget. What if that thing blows up? Those fucking things are unpredictable…it could come alive in the night time and torture us and our children. Think about the children, Bella. Think. About. The. Children.
Oh and I also hate the fact that you think its oh so funny to put fucking confetti in my lunch bag. Where the hell do you get this stuff anyway? I don't even know how you do it honestly. I make my lunch, I go to work, I open my bag, and bam! It's like a fucking fairy took a shit in my lunch bag. Not cool, Bella. Not. Cool.
Okay and last one. I hate that you made me write this fucking girly letter to you. I mean do you see the sappy shit in this thing? Oh my fucking word…I'm going to stop now because soon you won't have any man parts to pleasure you anymore and my hand fucking hurts from writing you this thing. I hate that you have made me write thirteen love letters. THIRTEEN. I can't believe I'll have to write about 100 more. Excuse me while I go take some extra shots of testosterone and maybe even some steroids.
I love you.
Your (very manly) hubby,
I wiped the tears from my eyes and covered my face as I laughed at my husband's sweet/manly love letter to me. It really wasn't supposed to be a love letter…it was only supposed to be a birthday letter, but as much as he will deny it, Edward was a romantic at heart. He covered it well, but yeah…I've known him long enough to know the truth.
"Bella?" I looked up at my doorway and saw Ms. Stanton at my door with her purse over her shoulder and her long coat on. "The guys want to know if they can lock up. You aren't staying here right?"
I shook my head. "Oh no. Sorry I was just reading something."
I wiped the tears from my eyes hoping she didn't see them, but of course she did. Jeana had become a good friend of mine since I started in the new school and even when I became principal. She had been a good help and she was a great secretary.
"And what were you reading?" She asked curiously and kind of nosily. She was a nosy person, but she meant no harm.
"Oh nothing…just a letter from my husband."
"Aww he writes you letters? The only form or word play I get from Ivan is some text messages asking me what's for dinner."
Jeana and Ivan had been married for longer than Edward and I have been married, and they were completely perfect for each other. They came over for dinner sometimes and Taryn was particularly fond of Ivan. It was probably because they were very similar.
"He doesn't do it often. It's just a thing we have. We write letters to each other on our birthdays."
"That is so flipping sweet. So sweet, I can't believe Edward would be a part of that."
I laughed and got all of my papers together in my bright pink folder. It was decorated by my beautiful daughter and it was a bit pink and extravagant for my tastes usually, but it was kind of the most perfect folder I had ever laid eyes on. My daughter was talented.
"Yeah well he has his moments."
She snorted. "I'm sure he does. Go home now, Bella. You've been working too hard."
I walked around my desk and followed her out the door. I really couldn't wait to get home and see my kids. I hated leaving them all day long, but I needed to do my job. I at least got the summers off and vacations with them so that was good.
They were at school and daycare most of the day anyway, so they barely had time to miss me but still. Edward picked them up from school and everything and I usually got home between four and four-thirty. It really wasn't that bad really, but I just really hated being away from them. People always explained the love they had for their child, but they weren't all completely accurate because it was really unexplainable. When Lukas was born, my life and Edward's life completely changed. It makes me laugh thinking of that because it seemed so cliché, but it's true.
I guess a part of it was that Lukas and Taryn were both a part of me and a part of Edward. I loved finding little things about them that reminds me of Edward or myself. Lukas purses his lips when he's really concentrating on something just like Edward does. He also hates seafood just like I do. Edward says Taryn eats like I do…whatever that means. She was completely like Edward personality wise though. He likes to say she isn't, but she so is. She was a handful and so was Edward.
Things could get crazy in our house sometimes, but I really couldn't complain. I loved all three of them to death. They were my world.
It didn't take me long to get home. We moved into a small house right before Lukas was born…literally. On moving day, I was nine months pregnant and my ankles were swollen and I was in a pissy mood. I swear Edward was probably close to killing me that day since I was being picky about where everything would go and all that. But it was really funny, I was having mood swings and what not and I started crying because I wanted Edward (he was in the other room) and he came inside and brought me to bed and we both laid down and cuddled, and then I started having contractions.
Lukas Edward Cullen came into the world twenty hours—yes twenty fucking hours—later. Edward gave him his first name and I got to pick the middle name. I gave him the middle name of Edward for obvious reasons, but Edward's reasoning for my little boy's first name is not as obvious. Well maybe it is when I mention Star Wars. Yes, my husband named our son Lukas so he can one day say, 'Luke, I am your father.' At first I wanted to slap him for even thinking of such a ridiculous scenario, but I ended up loving the name. It was cute and strong and it fit my little man perfectly.
Taryn's story wasn't as carefree I guess you could say. I ended up having sever preeclampsia in my sixth month of pregnancy. It was really scary and painful and I thought I was going to lose her. I cried so much during that time. My doctor had me in the hospital on bed rest and they gave me a lot of medications to lower my blood pressure and make sure my little baby was okay. The worst part about it all was that I was away from Lukas. I remember he was all I could think about because he was only two years old and I wasn't home. I couldn't tuck him in at night or hear Edward read him his story. It was the first time I was worrying about both of my children at the same time and it was tough.
Taryn Beverly Cullen was born in the middle of the night when I was only thirty weeks pregnant. She was two pounds and four ounces. She was tiny. She ended up having to go on oxygen and get fed through a tube and she was in the hospital for over a month. That was hard as well. All I could remember though from the moment she was born, was that cry of hers. It was strong and it was loud and I always liked to think that it was her way of telling me and her father that she would fight through everything…and she did.
Despite everything, Edward and I ended up with two healthy and beautiful children and we decided to close the baby shop. I got my tubes tied after Taryn's caesarean. I honestly don't think I could go through another pregnancy after all the stress and pain I had during the time I was pregnant with Taryn. It was so worth it and if I had to, I would do it one hundred times over for my children, but I didn't want to put any of us through that. I had my boy, I had my girl, and I had my husband…I was happy.
I walked up to the front door of our house, and I could already hear Taryn screaming and crying about something on the other side. I took a deep breath to compose myself, because knowing Taryn, it was probably something that really didn't warrant that much screaming and crying.
As soon as I opened the door, I could hear her running over to me to just tell me what's been bothering her. She rounded the corner looking like a beautiful mess. I'm really not just saying this because she's my kid, but she was so absolutely beautiful that I thought twice on if she was really our daughter. I told that to Edward once, and he assured me she was since he checked her tag when she was born. He's such a goof.
Her curly reddish hair looked adorable in her little pig tails that Edward put on her. He was actually really good at doing her hair. She looked a lot like Edward it was kind of scary. She had the shape of his face and his hair, but only redder. She was born with light reddish looking hair, but it got darker as she got older. The only thing she had from me was her eyes. Everything about her was just gorgeous.
"Mommy! Daddy's mean!" She screamed and continued crying. They were definitely crocodile tears, but it didn't mean I could really stand watching her like that.
"What did he do, my baby?" I dropped my bag beside the door and took my jacket off.
"H-h-he won't give me sumfin like a s-snack!" I smiled at the way she asked for her snacks. She always said, 'can I have something like a snack,' and I had no idea why, but it was adorable.
I reached over and lifted her up in my arms. She was still really small for her age which was normal since she was born so early. I kissed her face, but she continued crying. "Well honey, it's almost dinner time so I'm sure Daddy is just making sure you don't spoil your dinner."
"No it's cuz Daddy doesn't wike me!"
I had to hold back my eye-roll. Here we go. I sighed. "Your father loves you so stop it with that."
I walked into the living room and the subject of our conversation was sitting at the desk in the corner of the room hunched over some papers. I was sure he was grading them. Since he became co-owner of the shelter, him and Alan decided that maybe expanding it a bit would be a good idea and they now have educational services there. It wasn't anything extravagant, but they had someone teaching basic reading, math, and Edward taught them different languages. He loved it. He loved working with the kids and most of them showed a lot of enthusiasm for it. It would be beneficial to them in the future because anyone hiring someone for a job likes to know they are bilingual.
"Nuh-uh! Watch." Taryn said to me with an expecting look on her face. "Daddy?"
"Yes, Taryn?" He asked.
"Do you wike me?"
"Nope. I already told you I'm not your friend anymore." He said without even looking away from his papers and Taryn started crying again and put her head on my shoulder. I rolled my eyes.
"Oh boy, you two are going to drive me crazy." I said lowly, but loud enough for them to hear.
Edward obviously liked our daughter. He loved her to death and she knew that. Their relationship was one that is hard to explain. I guess it could be boiled down to the fact that Edward teases her a lot. And she knows he's teasing with her, but she still reacts as if he were being serious. The funny part is I can hear them talking about their fights at night and they both just laugh about it. It really didn't make sense, but that was my everyday life with those two.
"See Mommy? You're my only fwend!" I laughed at the expression on her face and pulled her in for a hug. My poor little girl. She spent the whole day with Edward since he doesn't work on Mondays and Fridays and Lukas goes to school and then he has soccer practice right after that so it was a Taryn and Daddy day.
Edward turned around on his chair and placed his arm over the back of it. He made me nervous when he did that. It was really just a normal movement of his body, but after he had the surgery, I always got nervous when he even moved suddenly. It would be something I would have to grow out of I guess.
Edward had to have one of his kidneys removed and he was still recovering since it was so recent. He suffered from acute kidney failure and those couple months were terrible for all of us. Edward was in a lot of pain and could barely move half the time. He ended up in the hospital for a while and they tried to find a match for a transplant, but there was none. Finally, after he was on dialysis for about three weeks, the doctors decided that they would just remove the problem kidney, and wait until a transplant was available. Of course that surgery had to take place the day before my birthday.
Edward was really upset about it. He wanted to do something with me before he got the surgery done, but he really just couldn't because he was so sick. Instead, he just asked the doctor to at least go home the night before, and the four of us spent the day in bed. It was a bitter-sweet day of course.
The person most affected by Edward's surgery other than Edward, was Lukas. My poor boy was so worried for his father the whole time he was in the hospital. I remember I would pick him up from soccer practice and he would just want to go to the hospital to be with Edward. He would bring a different book from the library at his school every day and they would read it together.
"Well guess what little miss," Edward said to Taryn, pulling me out of my thoughts. "Your mother is my best friend."
"Noo! Now I have no fwends!" She yelled and started crying again. I really couldn't take that much crying right when I got home.
"Edward! Stop it!" I said as I kissed the top of my little girl's head, trying to get her to just stop crying. Knowing Edward, he probably didn't try and put her down for a nap all day and she was overtired and that usually led to her being overemotional. Edward didn't help with the situation.
He chuckled and got up from the chair and walked towards us. "Oh she's fine." He said all calm, cool, and collected.
I envied him really. He was an amazing father. I don't think I had ever seen Edward stressed out when it came to dealing with our children…maybe a little bit with Taryn, but that was just because she drove him crazy, but I mostly mean the decisions and dealing with them. He knows when they are just acting out to get attention and he knows when they are really hurt. I guess it was partly because he already had experience with raising Alice, plus I had to admit he got more patient as he got older, but I don't know. I felt jealous of his ease of parenting, but I also felt so lucky to have him by my side.
"You're hurting her feelings." I said as I bounced my baby and her crying began to slow down.
Edward just shook his head and chuckled. "Hey Taryn…Taryn look at Daddy, baby."
She lifted her head and looked at him. "What do you want meanie Daddy?"
"What if I give you three cookies instead of two after dinner…will you stop crying?" He asked her sweetly. I loved watching him speak to our children. I loved watching him play with them. I loved watching that look on his face when he looked at them. There was nothing more beautiful than watching him with them.
His words were like a cure to her worries and a bright smile lit up her beautiful face revealing her slightly crooked teeth that I thought made her look even more adorable than she already was.
"Yes! Thank you, Daddy!"
He laughed and reached for her. She fell over into his arms and Edward kissed her head. "See, Bella? You tell the little thing what she wants to hear, and then we get a little more meat on this tummy…" He said and tickled her stomach making her laugh loudly. "It's a win/win situation." He said looking back up at me with those green eyes that I fell in love with.
"Well excuse me, Taryn whisperer." I said with my arms crossed.
He kissed Taryn on the cheek and placed her on the ground and she ran away into her and Lukas' playroom. I turned to Edward and he wrapped his arms around me. I wrapped my arms around his middle and hugged him back. I loved being in his arms. It was hard to explain really. I mean I hugged a lot of people, but Edward's hugs just felt better. I hoped these feelings I had for him never went away because they haven't so far. It's been thirteen years and he still makes me smile when he walks in a room. He still makes me laugh every day. He still turns me on more than any man ever could. He still makes me feel loved every day and he is still the most amazing man I had ever met. I loved him. After all the fights, after all the times I kicked him out of our house, after all the tears and heartache, my love for him remained the same.
I felt completely lucky.
"Lukas should be home any minute." Edward said.
I nodded my head against his chest. "I know. I can't wait."
"Zachariah is picking him up today. Bev isn't feeling well."
I sighed. Bev was doing okay. She was obviously getting older and her energy levels have been really down lately, but she was okay. I could tell that being away from her grandkids and her kids had been taking its toll on her, but she still missed Leon. She says she doesn't want to be away from him…and by that, she means his grave. She has been visiting him more often and has brought me there as well a couple of times. It broke my heart seeing Bev cry, but she cried every time she went to see him.
She had her good days and bad days. She loved our kids of course. They call her Grandma just because we thought it was appropriate. Edward thought of Bev as his mother and Bev was honored to take the title.
"You think we should go by and see her?" I asked. Bev lived not too far from us, and we visited her a lot or else she visited us of course.
He shook his head. "Nah…she said she was tired and I already talked with Alice; she's going there later on."
Alice has really been Bev's caregiver if you will. Since Edward and I worked a lot and had the kids to keep up with, Alice willingly went to check on Bev and make sure she had whatever groceries she needed and that she was comfortable on her bad days.
He pulled away and looked down at me with a smile. "So did you like your letter?"
"Nope. I hated it. I ripped it up and fed it to a street dog."
He laughed and kissed me on my forehead. "You bitch."
I laughed and pulled him down to me to kiss him. "I love you."
"I love you too, wifey." I reached up to kiss him and right before my lips met his…
"Daddy! Daddy your phone is winging!" Taryn screamed from her play room.
Edward pecked my lips quickly and went running for his phone. It could have been a very important call from work and Edward took his work very seriously. As he exited, Taryn reappeared with one of her play dresses on and a crown on her head.
"Mommy wook it I'm a pwincess." She said and spun around.
I sat down on the couch and looked at my little princess. It was actually a part of the reason I named her Taryn. There were many meanings for the name, and little princess was one of them so I couldn't pass it up. Edward got to name our son and I got to name our daughter.
"I can see that baby…are you going to go look for your prince?"
She shook her head sadly. "Nope. Daddy says all da pwinces are weally monsters."
I rolled my eyes. "Oh don't believe your father."
"It's true Mommy!" She said so assuredly. "He told me a stowy! His fwend was a pwincess and her pwince ate her!"
I laughed and decided to just let it go. I could never beat an Edward story and Taryn believed every word that came out of his mouth, so there was no changing her mind.
"Come here baby…Mommy missed you today." I said with my arms open for my little girl.
She fixed the crooked tiara on her head and skipped over to me. I pulled her up in my arms and she cuddled up close to me. We sat in silence and I could hear the sound of Edward talking on the phone with someone. I could just hear the hum of his voice, but that with me sitting on the couch just relaxing with my baby made me feel more relaxed than I had in a long time. The only thing missing was my little man sitting on my other side.
"Ughhh!" I heard someone grunt towards the door. Oh. There was Lukas. I heard the door slam and his feet stomp up the steps. Fuck.
I heard Edward stop the call quickly and he reappeared in the living room with that look in his eyes. That look in his eyes that held so much fear. I hated seeing him that way, but it always appeared whenever Lukas threw a fit. Ever since he was a little baby, Edward would panic whenever he showed any signs of IED.
"Was that…" He asked and swallowed loudly. My poor Edward.
I nodded. "Yeah it was."
He ran a hand through his hair and nodded before rushing out of the room and to Lukas' room. I kissed Taryn's hair.
"Do you want to go start dinner with me, honey?"
"I don't know how to cook!"
I chuckled. "That's okay. You can still help."
I guess I should have gone upstairs to check on my son, but I knew Edward would take care of it. Plus Lukas really didn't like it when a lot of people saw him upset because it made him really uncomfortable. Like father, like son. Edward didn't like when I said that. He was terrified every day that Lukas would one day be diagnosed with IED. He's completely convinced that it will go down every generation of males since his father had it and then he had it. I didn't think it was that cut and dry, but I couldn't blame Edward for worrying about it. I worried about it to, but I was more optimistic about things.
Even if we found out that Lukas had IED, we would deal with it. Edward's medication seems to be working—with a few bumps along the way—and I'm sure if we get Lukas started on some young, he will be okay. I would never wish it on my child and it sucked to think he would have to deal with something like that, but we would help him through it. He's a strong little boy and he had a strong support system.
And he had Edward. Edward understands the disease more than anyone, and I knew he would do what he could to help our little boy through it if something like that were to happen.
I hoped it never had to happen.
"Luke, come on buddy let me come in."
"I don't feel like talking, Dad." He yelled from inside his room.
There was about an inch separating myself from the inside of that room and it felt like miles. I needed to get to my son. I hated when he got angry because I was afraid he would lose it. Taryn gets angry frequently, but I could just tell that she was throwing a normal three year old tantrum. It's different for Lukas.
It's always been different.
"You can talk to me. I want to know what has you so upset."
"Just leave me alone, Dad!"
I knew how he felt. I knew what it felt like to want to be alone when you are upset about something because you didn't want to lash out on someone you loved and you didn't want them to see you vulnerable. I knew that feeling. I hated that he was feeling it, and if I was considerate enough, I would have just left him alone, but I couldn't. I tried every single time, but I couldn't. I needed to make sure my boy was okay.
I opened the door slowly and saw him on his bed with his knees to his chest and his arms around his legs. He was a really skinny kid. I guess with a lanky dad like me and a skinny mother like Bella, it was only to be expected, but Bella and I were worried he was too skinny for a while. The doctors assured us he was fine though and said he just had a fast metabolism.
He looked up at me when he heard me coming in. "Dad! What are you doing!"
I held my hands up in surrender. I knew he had IED. I felt it inside of me. I knew it from the moment he was born. At first I thought I was just thinking the worst, but my boy has the disease that I had and I couldn't explain how that made me feel. Technically, I'm the reason he will have to go through therapy and have to take medication. He hasn't had an episode yet. Those don't start until later on in life, but I would be ready when it did happen. I would make sure the disease didn't bring him down like it did me at one point.
"I'm only trying to help, son. Please just talk to me."
He glared at me for a second and I could tell that he was internally making his decision. I knew he knew he could talk to me. He just didn't want to. I got that, but that wasn't good enough for me. I wanted to gauge his reactions to things.
"It's Hunter. He's mean." He finally said.
I sighed. "Is that kid still messing with you?"
Hunter was a kid on his soccer team that was obviously jealous of Lukas. I'm honestly not saying this only because he's my son, but Lukas is the best player on his team. I remember I used to make fun of Bella when she was pregnant with him and he would kick and she'd say he would be a soccer player. Everybody said that, but it was true with Lukas. He was amazing. He already had high schools…HIGH SCHOOLS…looking to get him into their schools. He's five years old. That's what happens when the kid is averaging three goals a game.
"He tripped me three times today and he called me a girl."
"And did you tell your coach?"
"Yeah and he got in trouble, but when I left he called me a baby. I'm not a baby, Dad."
I sighed and sat on the end of his bed. "I know you're not, bud. I've told you millions of times to not listen to what people say about you."
He groaned and pulled at his long brown hair. "I know that, Dad, but it still gets me mad! I'm not mean to him, so why does he have to be mean to me?"
I shrugged. "That's just the way kids are, buddy. But like I tell you all the time, don't worry about them, only worry about yourself and be different from them. Ever heard the expression, 'kill 'em with kindness?'" I asked him.
He snorted like Bella does to me all the time. "No. What does that mean?"
"That means just be nice to everyone, even the people who are mean to you because if they're being mean and you're being nice, they really don't have any reason to be mean to you, so them they start feeling even stupider and then they will leave you alone."
He nodded thoughtfully. "Okay…but do I have to use that with Taryn?"
I laughed. "I guess you should, but you probably won't, huh?"
He chuckled. "Probably not. Gotta keep our sibling rivalry alive."
I through my head back and laughed. Whenever Lukas and Taryn would fight and Bella would be freaking out, I would hold her back and told her to make sure the sibling rivalry would stay alive. Lukas must have caught up on that and I couldn't wait for Bella to hear him saying that.
"That's my boy." I said and got up from his bed. I kissed the top of his head and ruffled his hair. "Doesn't it feel better when you talk about it?" I asked him.
He sighed. "Yeah I guess."
"Well you know you can talk to me whenever you want to."
"But what if you're in the bathroom?"
I smiled. The kid was too much like me sometimes. "Then you can call my cell phone."
"What if you don't have it?"
"Then you can go get it, and then slip it under the door and then I'll answer it and be like 'what's up, Lukas.'"
He giggled. "And then I'd be like, 'this is so gross, Dad, since you are either doing a number one or a number two on the toilet.'"
"Yeah that is pretty weird. Do you think you could just wait until I'm done?"
He pursed his lips thoughtfully. I smiled because Bella said I did the same exact thing when I was thinking. I have been living with myself for a bunch of years and I never noticed it, but I guess Bella was right.
"Yeah I guess I could wait."
"Good. I'm glad we got that cleared up, buddy. High five for compromise." I said with my hand up for a high five.
He got up on his knees and slapped my hand with his. The high five for compromise was something Bella and I used with our kids. Sometimes the petty little arguments got old, so we taught them to compromise. It worked sometimes and sometimes it didn't work, but at least we tried and at least they learned what compromise was.
"What's for dinner?" He asked.
"Um not sure. Why don't you come downstairs and say hi to your mom and sister." He nodded and followed me down the stairs still with his soccer outfit on.
I followed him down there and made sure I didn't miss any calls from Alice or Alan. I'd been worrying about Alice a lot, but whenever I texted her and asked her how she was, she said she was fine.
I walked into the kitchen and watched as my two children hugged Bella around her neck and she was laughing at them. My family was fucking beautiful.
Bella pulled away and kissed the both of them. "Okay, okay, enough momma lovin. You little boy need to go shower before dinner and you little girl need to help me finish dinner."
"Oh but Mom, I don't want to shower right now. Can't I just shower later?" Lukas whined.
"No. I'm not going to sit at the table with you smelling all sweaty."
"I'm not all sweaty."
"Maybe not now, but you smell like it. You sweat like your father."
"Hey!" I said in offense. "I sweat very nicely, thank you very much."
"Yeah me too!" Lukas said.
Yeah us guys got to stick together and shit. I couldn't wait till he was older and I could swear in front of him and stuff and do more guy stuff.
Bella rolled her eyes and Taryn yelled out, "Sweating is icky!"
"You're icky!" Lukas yelled back to her.
"Shut your trap, Wukas!"
Bella put her hand on her head in exasperation. Taryn and Lukas fought a lot. And by a lot I mean they fought A LOT. It was really over stupid little things and mostly innocent, but it was enough to drive Bella and I crazy. It was only in the daytime though. It was the strangest thing. At night after they had their baths and what not, Lukas would always go to Taryn's room and give her a kiss and a hug goodnight and tucks her in tight. They are both extra sweet with each other once the day begins to die down, but not really the time before that.
"Alright, alright both of you shut your trap before I chop my ears off." They both started laughing at that. I had the sweetest children, really. "Lukas, go shower because no one wants to be smelling your body odor while we eat," He sighed and nodded his head. I looked to Taryn. I kind of forgot what Bella wanted her to do. "And Taryn you just sit there looking pretty."
She smiled cheekily. "Okay Daddy how am I doing?"
I chuckled. "Wonderfully, baby girl. You're the prettiest thing I've ever seen."
"You don't get out much do you, Dad?" Lukas asked with a hidden agenda. The kid was too much like me. I loved it.
Taryn gasped. "Go take a shower stinky head!"
Lukas was about to say something but Bella butted in. "Okay! Enough! Lukas go. Taryn, go play for a little while."
Lukas snickered and shook his head while jogging to go take his shower. Taryn moved the hair off of her forehead.
"I'm pwetty, right Mommy?"
Bella's face softened. "Of course you're pretty, sweetheart. Your brother is just kidding around." She kissed the top of our daughter's head. It was amazing seeing her with our children. She turned into a completely different Bella and I loved it. She had a space in her heart especially for them and she gave that part of her to them completely.
Taryn smiled proudly and skipped out of the room to go play. Bella sighed loudly and rested her head on the top of the counter. I walked over to her and rubbed her back.
"What's wrong, hermosa?"
She looked up at me. "Our kids are nuts." I laughed and accidently spit in her face a little bit. "Ew! Edward!" She said loudly while wiping her face.
I wrapped my arms around her waist and pulled her to my chest. I placed my hands on her ass and squeezed tightly making her squeal. "First of all, our kids are crazy because we are crazy and therefore we have crazy and perfect little spawns." I ducked my head and brought my face closer to hers. She had her arms around my neck and if it weren't for the children scattered around the house, we probably wouldn't be talking at all at that moment. After being sick and bed ridden for months, I was left without my wife for way too long. It made me desire her even more and I was pretty much in the mood all the fucking time. She's pretty fucking hot so I couldn't really blame myself. "And second of all, we have swapped spit before, so are you saying it grosses you out now?"
She swallowed and answered in a squeaky voice. "No."
I smiled at her obvious restraint from jumping me. Her grip on my t-shirt and the quickening of her breath were a clear indication of that. I couldn't leave my baby hanging like that so I gave her what I could and bent down more to press my lips against hers. She moaned softly and tightened her grip on my shirt and pulled me closer. I slipped my tongue past her lips and…
I groaned and loosened my grip on Bella. I gave her a final kiss on her perfect lips and lifted my head with my arms holding Bella against my chest while she caught her breath.
"Yes my daughter that I love oh so much?" I said between clenched teeth and Bella laughed at my obvious frustration.
"I don't want to watch this show but I don't know numbers yet I'm too wittle!"
I sighed and kissed the top of Bella's head before letting her go. "I'll be back. Got to use my number expertise."
"Tonight?" She asked hopefully.
"Absolutely, Mrs. Cullen." I said with a wink. She hated when I did that. She said it looked dorky, but I think secretly it just drove her crazy. "Now cook my food for me woman." I said teasingly as I left the room.
"You're lucky our kids are in ear-shot, Mr. Cullen!"
I chuckled because I knew she would let me have it later. She wasn't one to let things like that slide. I smiled looking at my daughter studying the remote. She looked frustrated and she was wearing a little tiara on her head. Bella and I made some pretty cute kids.
"Daddy this remote is so meaaannn!"
They were a bit crazy, but they were perfect.
"It's getting late, Bella." I whispered to her.
We were both outside of Taryn's door waiting for her and Lukas to finish talking and conclude their nightly ritual. They were actually really quiet which was strange for them, but they got really pissed off if Bella and I interrupted them.
"I know, but I don't want to mess up their bonding time!"
I thought about it a moment. Could I deal with this today? Yeah, why not.
"I'll deal with it." I said and opened the door.
I let out a breath when I saw them both sleeping. Taryn was curled up to Lukas' side and he had a protective arm around her. This was a rarity. I debated on if I should move them or not but that internal battle lasted all of two seconds. Who the hell would break up something as beautiful as that? I couldn't help but look at them and feel proud that I took part in their existence.
"Aww, Edward." Bella hugged my arm. "Look at our babies."
"Yeah I guess they're pretty fucking cute."
If I wasn't going to fucking explode if I didn't have sex with my wife as soon as possible, I would have just stayed in the room and watched them. I did that a lot with Alice. If there was a day when she was especially crazy, I would just watch her while she slept and that would make me forget about the stress she caused me. Kids just always looked so peaceful and completely perfect while they were sleeping. So innocent and just good. I didn't mind getting all sentimental about my kids. It was what was right. Their existence was magical in itself.
"You know what else I think is cute?"
I smirked and looked over to her. "What is that, wifey?"
"Meet me in our bedroom and I'll tell you just what I mean."
I laughed. "Alright, I'll meet you there. Let me just turn the lights off for them."
"Okay." She kissed my arm and walked over to our room down the hall.
I turned the lights off and kissed them both one more time before leaving the room with the door cracked open just a little bit. Taryn was still too short to reach the door knobs and if she had to go to the bathroom at night, it was easier for her.
I was halfway down the hall—or halfway to heaven if you wanted to get technical—before my cell phone rang. If it was work, I would have just ignored it, but I'd be damned if I ignored a call from Alice.
I heard her sigh in relief. "Ecy."
Her nickname for me never wore off. She said she would stop calling me Ecy once she turned thirteen but it barely lasted a day. I loved it. She was the only one who called me that name and it made me feel special to her world.
"What's up, kid?"
She cleared her throat. "Nothing uh…what are you doing?"
I didn't like the tone of her voice. "Nothing. Bella and I just got the kids to bed."
"Shit, I forgot to call them today."
Alice loved my kids. She brought them out to do fun things and they slept over her house frequently. Not so much lately since circumstances in Alice's life have left her a little distant. She still called me every single day though…sometimes multiple times a day. I remember once she didn't call me and I drove to her house at midnight just to check on her. My need to protect Alice is something that never went away and never will.
"It's okay; don't beat yourself up over it. They'll live. They were distracted by making fun of each other at every opportunity."
They had actually asked about Alice during the day, but I wouldn't tell her that. It would only make her feel worse.
"I'll bring them out for ice cream tomorrow."
I snorted. "And who would benefit more from that?"
She laughed softly. Still not completely back to the old Alice, but she was getting there. "We'd all appreciate it, I'm sure."
I laughed and leaned against the wall of the hallway. I heard our door open and Bella was at the door with a robe around her. She saw me on the phone and looked at me with a questioning expression on her face. I mouthed, 'Alice,' to her and she nodded sympathetically.
"Are you okay, kid?" I asked finally. She was being particularly quiet.
She sighed. "Yeah…well no. I just wanted to know you're there."
"I'm always here, Alice. You know that."
She was silent again and I could hear her quicker breaths. She was going to cry.
"I hate to do this, but can you come over?"
"I'll be there in ten minutes." I said without hesitation.
If I didn't think that Bella wouldn't understand completely, I would have tried to calm her down over the phone, but Alice had been fragile and Bella knew that. She would have been pissed off at me if I would have said no for whatever reason.
I hung up with Alice and went to our bedroom to find Bella fully clothed in her pajamas curled up on the bed watching TV. She didn't move from her spot when I walked in and gave me a small smile when I walked in silently letting me know that she wasn't mad. She knew I was going to leave.
"I got to go. She needs me."
She nodded. "Okay, baby. Take care of her and hurry back to me."
I smiled and walked over to her kissing her forehead. "Always." I kissed her on the lips. "I love you."
"I love you too, baby." She said sweetly and turned around in bed and sighed.
She worked hard. She must be exhausted. As I walked out of the house and headed to Alice's house, I wondered if Bella knew how much I appreciated her. I mean I told her I loved her every day, but appreciation was something separate I guess.
It didn't take long for me to get to Alice's house at all. She moved into her own apartment close to both Emmett and I. She wasn't planning on living alone, but things changed. Life happened…actually death did.
I jogged up the steps to her apartment and knocked on the door. She didn't answer, but the door was already unlocked so I just walked right in.
Her apartment was dark. I sighed and walked throughout to find her, but I already knew where she was. I went to the second door on the right once I walked through her apartment, and she was there. She was sitting in a rocking chair in her pajamas. Her long and dark brown hair was pulled up in a bun on the top of her head. Her beautiful face was hiding from me because she had it resting on her knees that she had pulled to her chest. My little Alice was all grown up and it was hard to accept at times, but she had been through so much and grew so much in the last year or so.
I knocked my knuckles on the door gently to get her attention and she looked up with dry tear marks on her face. It was always terrible seeing her so broken. It wasn't all the time lately. She has been getting better but she says the nights are the worst. I couldn't even think about her pain. I couldn't imagine how much it would hurt. If I were her, I would have probably already been dead.
She's so much stronger than me and yet she leaned on me to hold her up. I would do it willingly.
She dropped her legs down so her bare feet were on the floor and she had her arms crossed in front of her. "Hi, Ecy."
"Hey, kid." I walked into the room and placed my hand on her shoulder and rubbed.
She closed her eyes and sighed. She was tired. I could tell. Alice was still an early bird after all these years. It was just a little after 8:30, and I knew she was sleepy…especially since she had a hard time sleeping through the night.
She grabbed onto my hand. "Thanks for coming. I always feel like such a ba…sissy."
I shook my head and squatted down beside her. "Don't ever feel like that. You know I'm here. Whenever you call, I'll come running."
"Or driving…" She said with a small smile on her face.
I chuckled. "Yeah that too. Or I may take my spaceship."
She smiled and nodded her head. "Yeah. That thing rides nice."
I squeezed her hand with a small smile on my face. I liked seeing her smiling and joking again. I knew she would go back to her old self…it would just take a while. Losing a child doesn't weigh lightly on the heart and soul.
"Where's Jasper?" I asked.
That name brought another smile upon her face. I couldn't deny the fact that the guy made my sister happy as much as I tried. He was there for her after everything and he was a reason why she was functioning.
"He will be gone the rest of the week. He has a conference in New York."
Jasper was an architect that worked for his own architectural business. He was doing well in his life…just gave me another reason to have to accept the guy.
"What do you need me to do?" I asked.
"I don't know. I just didn't like being alone. I just miss her a lot." She said with her eyes on me and a crack in her voice.
I got up and lifted her out of the rocking chair. She wrapped her arms around my neck and rested her head on my shoulder while I held her and brought her into her room just next door. She didn't need to be talking about it in that room.
The room where her daughter would have been.
It really wasn't something I liked talking about. Alice ended up being someone that Alice just wasn't. My worst fears came true and Alice began to question about our parents. She began to feel alone no matter how much our whole family tried to prove her wrong. This all happened when she was sixteen and it was a long couple of years making sure Alice was staying out of trouble.
But then she got pregnant. My little sister got pregnant when she was eighteen years old.
I am not going to lie and say I was fine with it because I was far from that. I was furious. I was livid and for the first time in my whole entire life, I was disappointed in her.
I didn't speak to her for over two weeks after she told me. I just couldn't believe that she would really get pregnant by some random guy. And it was a random guy. He didn't want anything to do with the baby of course. He was young and stupid and in a haze of alcohol and drugs. I even knew at the time me giving Alice the cold shoulder was hurting her, but I did it anyway. I just couldn't bring myself to accept the fact that Alice really got pregnant so young and that she probably wouldn't be able to go to college. It just wasn't right to me.
Alice was alone and it wasn't until I finally realized I was being a douche bag that I also realized Alice had changed…for the better.
She was back to her old self after she got pregnant, and she was excited for motherhood. She knew she was young and she knew it wasn't the best of circumstances, but she did the best with what she had, and at that point, she had a baby and a life to put back together.
Emmett, I and the rest of our family were happy to see her that way. Alice and I had our own little tiffs in between, but she and I both knew I could never really ever leave her or stop supporting her.
Somewhere in between it all, she started getting involved with Jasper. They were friends ever since they met each other, but never really close and never really romantically according to her. My respect for Jasper grew when I saw how much he adored her and how he was more than willing to help her out with the baby. There weren't many guys out there who would do such a thing, and I could tell that he was genuine…if he wasn't, I would have done something about it.
Everything went back to normal eventually besides the fact that Alice was pregnant. I accepted it eventually and I actually got excited for her. My kids were excited to have a new cousin (it was a girl) and everything was great until it went completely wrong.
Alice lost the baby. When she was seven months pregnant, she suffered a placental abruption, and the baby died before it was born. It wasn't a time I really liked thinking about or even speaking about. I was there when it happened. Jasper was out on a business trip, Emmett and Rose went on vacation with their kids before they left for college, Bev was in Florida with her family, and Bella was working. It was just me there and I had to be the one to tell her when she woke up from surgery. It was the worst moment of my life seeing her like that. She hit me and punched me and told me I was lying. The doctors had to sedate her.
I also held the baby. Actually, her name was Edith. Edith Rose Cullen and she was a beautiful, tiny baby. I held her and I told her that she was loved immensely and she had to keep an eye on her mother. I gave her three kisses on her forehead; one from Alice, one from me, and one for all of her family that loved her. And I did love her…a lot.
But again it isn't something I like to think about. That baby is a little angel and as much as it killed me knowing that little girl didn't get to experience life, I knew she would be waiting for her beautiful mother when the time came.
The hardest part has been helping Alice bounce back.
I really couldn't blame her. I had children and I had Alice; and the thought of losing any of them is enough to make me mad, never mind it actually happening. It was difficult making her realize that she can still live a life even though she wasn't in it, but she was slowly getting there.
I placed her on her bed and she just sat there wiping her eyes. I went over to her closet and took out a sweater and some shoes. I got up to the bed beside her and placed them on the bed. She looked over at them.
"What are you doing?" She asked.
"We are having a sleepover!" I said in a giddy voice while clapping my hands together. She chuckled and covered her face in second hand embarrassment.
"Ecy, you really don't have to do that."
I held up two shirts. "Which one do you want to wear tomorrow?" I asked.
She smiled. "The red one."
She picked the brighter color. That could be interpreted as a good sign, right? Maybe I was just hoping it was, but I decided to go on that.
"Okay and it will be fun. I'll go get you some ice cream and we can watch TV or something. We haven't hung out in a while don't you think?"
She rolled her eyes. "I was over your house all day just two days ago."
I stuffed her clothes in a bag. "That's a whole forty-eight fucking hours. That's a long time."
She laughed. "Okay, Ecy. If you say so."
She picked up her sneakers and started to put them on her sock clad feet. I stuffed a bunch of random shit in her bag because I didn't know what she was going to need, but she had enough at my house anyway. She even had her own room. It was technically a guest room, but she was the most important guest.
"You know what I was thinking about today?" She asked.
I sat down on the bed beside her. "What?"
"I wondered if she would like ice cream as much as I did."
She didn't sound sad really. I mean there was always a hint of sadness when she talked of her, but she was a strong girl. She knew she had a life that she had to live for herself and for little Edith.
"I really think there is no doubt about it, kid. I think the better question would be who would have eaten more in one sitting."
She chuckled. "True."
I thought it was great that she was able to talk about the baby. She was progressing. She was past the point of blaming herself, so now she was just working to build her life back up. She was in college taking classes, but hasn't decided what she would major in. She was working with one of Rose's aunts at a grocery store and she was doing great.
"Come on. Let's get there before Bella falls asleep so she can join us."
"Okay." She said.
She got up from the bed and followed me out of the house after grabbing her phone from the table. I got into my shitty car and drove off. Poor Sacajawea recently shitted the bed and I had to get rid of her. I was not happy about it at all, but I had to learn to let go.
"You know what else I was thinking?" She said when we were halfway there.
"Oh never mind." She said with a sigh.
"I will stick my head out the window and yell 'I'm a pretty princess' if you don't tell me. Now would you really want that embarrassment?" I was a master at blackmail, what can I say.
She laughed and covered her face. I guess she took my threat as more of a joke rather than an actually threat though because she just started cracking up laughing.
"I would pay lots of money to see that, Ecy."
"Just fucking tell me already, kid."
I pulled up to the front of my house and saw the light on in our room. I smiled thinking that Bella was still awake and I'd get to spend some quiet time with her and Alice. Life got so busy sometimes I don't get the opportunity to just sit back and admire all the good I have in my life. I felt life was zipping by and taking me along with it with no recollection of what goes on. I have a good life…a great life even.
I turned the car off and looked over at her, waiting.
She shook her head. "I know you don't like the sappy conversations though."
"I do today. Just tell me. If it's bothering you, I want you to tell me."
"It's not bothering me…maybe it is, I don't know."
"You know, these cryptic statements are hard to decipher. I'm not that smart."
She chuckled and shook her head. "You're the smartest person I know." She said seriously.
The intensity in her voice cautioned me to stop joking around and just hear what she had to say. I didn't know what it was, and it kind of scared me, but I didn't want her holding things from me. I was the last person she should have to do that too.
"Thank you." I said. I wanted to say something along the lines of she didn't get out much, but I couldn't find it in me to do it. Me cracking jokes would only defer her from saying anything.
"I guess that's what I'm trying to say…thank you." She looked over to me and shook her head. "No, I really want to say sorry…or both. I don't know, Ecy."
"You don't have to say anything…"
"No. I do." She said persistently and turned in the seat so she was facing me completely. She had her head down so I couldn't see what she was feeling, but when she finally looked up at me and I saw the tears in her eyes, I got worried. "I was so stupid. So, so stupid." She said finally and wiped her eyes.
"Alice," I grabbed onto her hand. "You are anything but stupid."
"I'm just so sorry for putting you through so much shit, Ecy. You've done everything for me and I treated you like shit and even after all of that, you are still here."
Oh. I knew what this was about. Alice and I hadn't really talked about her rebellious phase a lot. I didn't bring it up because I was scared she would just resent me and I guess she was embarrassed, plus with everything going on…
"You know, after I told you I was pregnant, and you didn't want to speak to me, I was kind of happy you did that." I tilted my head to the side in confusion. "I wasn't happy that you were upset with me necessarily, but I deserved that. I deserved your disappointment, because I know it wasn't just because I got pregnant so young and irresponsibly…it was a build up."
I nodded. "Yeah I guess it was." I said lowly. If Alice came to tell me she was pregnant when she had all her grades up and wasn't getting into trouble in school, I may have been a bit more understanding, but who knows. "That's in the past though."
"I know that. I'm just sorry. I'm sorry for the things I've said to you, I'm sorry for trying to look for them, I'm sorry for anything I did that made you ashamed of me or…"
"Whoa." I said interrupting her. "I was never once for a little tiny second ashamed of you, Alice. I am so proud of you, you have no idea." More tears fell from her eyes and she let go of my hand to wipe the tears from her face. "I know the kind of person you are, and I knew you were going through a tough time, but you're still my Alice. Nothing you could do would change that."
My words only made her cry more and she was breaking my heart quite literally.
"I don't want them, Ecy. I don't care what our parents did because I don't care about them, especially now. I mean after I lost Edith…I…I have never known a worse pain. They had their kids right in front of them and they just didn't care enough to do something! Why would I want to associate myself with those people?" It was nice to hear that she finally realized how terrible our parents were, but I hated the pain in her voice and the tears rolling down her cheeks. "You are the one person who kept me fighting, Ecy."
"What do you mean?"
She sniffled and wiped the tears from her eyes with a new determination on her face. There was the Alice that I knew. She looked me straight in the eyes.
"I can't explain to you the things that went through my head when I lost my baby, Ecy. I really can't, but I can tell you some self destructing things have passed through my mind, but before I could even get too into it, I would think of you." She grabbed my hand and kissed my knuckles. "You fought for me when no one else did. You fought for me ever since I was born. I couldn't let you down and let this destroy me, because that would also mean destroying you."
I nodded and held let out the breath I was holding. I was going to cry I just knew it. It was moments when I realized I did something right with my life and for Alice's life that completely demolished any emotional barrier I had within me.
"I do it because I love you."
She smiled. "I know you do. I love you too, Ecy."
I reached forward and pulled her into a hug. It wasn't the best hug since it was over the middle console, but I felt her arms tighten around me and mine tightened around her.
"I just want to say thank you for saving my life." I held her and kissed the side of her head. A sob overtook her. "I wouldn't be where I am if it weren't for you."
"Same here, kid."
Life wasn't some random thing. Everything happens for a reason and that was the truth and I would fight anyone who said otherwise.
There is a reason Alice came into my life when she did. She saved my life. There's a reason why Bev was in that shitty apartment when I moved there; she was meant to help us. There was a reason why I met Bella when I did because she made me realize what true love was and she changed me for the better. There was a reason my uncle was in jail (and still is in jail) he had to realize his wrong ways. There was a reason Alan got lung cancer; he met the love of his life while in chemotherapy and they were both in remission and completely happy. There's a reason my son was born with IED; he has me to help him through it. There's a reason why my daughter was born so early; she taught us what a fighter she is. There's a reason Alice lost baby Edith; she realizes what's really important in life and it led her into the loving arms of Jasper.
Life was full of shit, but that shit means something so don't just wipe away the shit of life.
I made that up one day and Bella questioned my sanity, but oh well. It was true.
Sometimes you just had to sit back and look around. Sometimes it would take something tragic to make you embrace the beautiful. I would say just live life to the fullest and hug your family. Hug your children especially because you are their hero.
Oh fuck there I go again getting all sappy and shit. I really needed to stop doing that before I force my wife into a sudden same sex marriage. I didn't feel like being a woman.
I like big trucks…I like sports…I like beer…I like woman…I'm manly…I'm a husband…I'm a father.
And that's all folks. Thanks all for sticking with me through this story. I know there were many times some of you may have wanted to kill me or at least just strangle me a bit, but I sincerely hope you felt it was worth it in the end. Special thanks of course to Alexa because without her the story wouldn't be what it was.
There will be a future-take of Alice in the future, so look out for that.
I will be posting my new story (Fickle Beings) this Wednesday, so if you are interested, I will see you there, if not, this is the end. I hope you all enjoyed the story. I know I enjoyed writing it for you all. Thank you.