"Moh," he squeaked. My attention was focused outside. Past the curtains, through the windows of the small sitting room we'd just finished renovating. There were several small groups of people outside, chatting with each other and sipping on champagne. I was hiding inside. Baby steps.
I wanted this. I told her this was okay. I did it to make her happy because I knew that she needed something for her. This was something for her.
Jasper had worked overtime to make sure the gardens looked extra beautiful for our opening weekend. None of us knew the right way to run a bed and breakfast, but the crowd seemed to be interested so that was a good sign.
"Moh Wucky Charms, Daddy." Christopher poked my chest, pulling me away from my thoughts.
"More?" I raised my eyebrows. "You already ate half of the box."
"Moh." He smiled and nodded his head as he held out his bowl.
"Your mother is going to kill me when you shit rainbows later." I shook my head and poured some more from the box before taking a few handfuls for myself. "Don't tell her I said that."
"What?" He stuck a red balloon in his mouth.
"Shit?" He cocked his head to the side.
"Yeah that. Don't say that word." I ran my fingers through his hair and smiled.
I never thought I'd be a dad. I never wanted to be a dad. I didn't want to put my kids through the hell that I was living in. Didn't want them to get teased at school for having the dad with the fucked up face. But here I was. A toddler and another on the way.
It was strange, seeing how much like me he was. Not incredibly talkative, a little cocky. Not interested in the crowd. Bella had toted him around for close to a half hour before she brought him in here with me because he was throwing a fit.
"Throws a tantrum just like his daddy," she had said with a wink.
She liked to use that word just to push my buttons. I hadn't had a "tantrum" in awhile. Even my tantrums weren't what they used to be. I would never say I was perfect. Never. But to say she made me a new person would be an understatement. She tamed the beast. And somehow I ended up with the beauty.
I glanced outside again, trying to find her in the crowd. I spotted a splash of her white dress here and there, but never fully saw her. Charlie passed by the window and looked inside, smiling and waving to Christopher.
"Poppa!" He waved back. "Go!" He pointed out the window.
"You want to go see Poppa?" I asked. He nodded. "Alright. I guess I should make an appearance." I grumbled as I sat up, pulling him up with me. He settled over my shoulder as he continued to chomp away at his cereal.
Bella had done such a great job with the house. I knew that my mother would have been thrilled to see it looking so light and beautiful. It'd taken us a long time to get here, especially with her pregnancy and looking after Christopher, but Jasper was always there to help. Alice even ended up moving out into his house with him and he was happier than ever. It was like we had our own little world out here again. Except it wasn't as restricting and suffocating as it was before. It was home.
I paused just as I reached the back door and took a deep breath before I stepped outside. A few eyes glanced my way and smiled nervously. They weren't used to seeing me this close. I'd gone into town a lot more often than I used to, but I still wasn't overly social.
"Poppa!" Christopher pointed towards Charlie and we started over there. "Poppa!"
"Hello, Christopher," Charlie said. Christopher handed him a purple horseshoe.
"Yum," Christopher hummed.
"The place looks fantastic, Edward. It really does," Charlie said. "I never thought I'd see you here."
"What do you mean?" I asked.
"When you were a kid, I was sure you were going to end up in prison or dead. Now look at you. You have a beautiful house, beautiful son…you married my daughter."
"I did ask your permission before I asked her."
"Bout gave me a heart attack. Edward Cullen showing up at my door with an engagement ring."
"I wanted to do it right, Charlie. I was never one for getting things right, but it was important because she's important to me."
"You don't have to prove that to me now, son." He laughed. "I did say yes, didn't I?"
"Hey Dad." Bella sauntered over and wrapped her arm around my waist. "What do you think?"
"I think I'm very proud of you guys."
"Thanks." She squeezed me tighter. "How you doing, babe?" She turned to me and smiled.
"Good. Everyone's so excited about the opening. That lady over there," she said, pointing across the patio. "She's from a travel magazine. They're going to do a feature on the hidden treasures of the Pacific Northwest. If we impress her enough, maybe we'll make it in." She put her hand over her belly and smiled. It was barely noticeable that she was pregnant, but she had the smallest bump at her waistline. It was sexy as hell. I didn't think it was possible for her to be more beautiful, but the image her carrying my child was…Fuck.
I shook my head and bit my lip, trying to hide a smirk.
Bella popped up onto her tiptoes and whispered in my ear. "What's going on in that head of yours?"
"I'll tell you later." I laughed and kissed her. "I'm going to go visit my parents."
"Are you okay?" She asked. I nodded. "Are you sure?"
"I'm fine. Go do your….hostess thing. You're so good at it." I waved to her and started towards the forest. Jasper started gathering the group together for a tour of the gardens as I passed by.
Christopher had caught up to me before I even made it out of the immediate yard. There it was again. The need to get away from the crowds. Bella said that he and I were kindred spirits, whatever the hell that meant. Closer than any other father and son. Like a piece of my soul had broken off when he was born and was a part of him.
I hauled him onto my shoulders once we reached the woods so he wouldn't get dirty. We were silent the entire walk, except for a few stray hums from the little guy resting on my shoulders. He absentmindedly played with my hair as we continued onto the meadow.
I smiled as we reached it and set him down so he could play in the grass. Bella and I were married here, just like my parents were. We placed a stone bench next to their gravestone, right beneath one of the large billowy trees. A small inscription was put on the top in celebration of the day with our names and my parents' names. This was always a place of beauty to me, but it also held a tinge of sadness. Now it was filled with hope and remembrance. I found myself coming out here more, even more than I had before. Bella and I had frequent picnics out here when the weather was nice and Christopher loved the openness and the fresh air. It was like our own little slice of heaven. Right here.
"Hi Grandpa, hi Grandma." Christopher waved and pulled one of his little trucks out of his pocket before he plopped down on the ground and started playing with it.
I ambled over to the bench and took a seat as I watched him.
"Daddy, come play with me!" He screamed.
"Okay." I sighed and went to join him. "What are we playing?"
He pulled another toy car out of his pocket. "You can be da truck, because you're da daddy." He handed it to me.
"Thanks for the tip."
We played cars in the dirt, in the grass, over the tree roots and about everywhere else you could imagine before he completely passed out. If I had learned one thing about kids it was that they had more energy than anyone you'd ever see, but could nap just the same.
I laid down beside him and pulled him onto my chest as I rested my arm behind my head.
"I love you, Bud," I said.
"I wuv you too, Daddy," he said, half asleep.
"Good." I patted his head and closed my eyes.
I didn't realize I'd fallen asleep until I heard Bella's voice.
I'd grown used to sleeping without any nightmares at all, even though I didn't want to. I was always prepared for them to come back. I tried to let everything go completely, but there was a part somewhere in my head or my heart that was still hanging on to that one small piece of what my life used to be. My therapist said that its normal to have a hard time completely letting go and that I shouldn't push myself so I guess it was okay.
"I leave you two alone for one afternoon and you end up napping the whole time," she said.
I opened my eyes and squinted into the sunlight. It was seeping through the trees just enough to wash over my face, but it was obviously later in the day. We'd probably missed the whole party.
"I was tired…" I stretched my arms above me, careful not to wake Christopher.
"You slept until almost noon, how are you tired?" She put her hands on her hips.
"Because my beautiful wife kept me occupied all night." I cocked my eyebrow and sat up. She held out her hand to help me up as I held Christopher close to me. The kid could sleep through anything.
"How's everyone back at the house?" I asked. We started towards the traill again as we made our way back to the house.
"Good. They're all getting settled in their rooms. Alice and I were just getting ready to make dinner."
When we got back to the house, the yard was empty, except for Jasper doing some work out in the gardens. Alice was already in the kitchen, starting to work on dinner.
I took Christopher upstairs to get him cleaned up for dinner while Bella started helping Alice. By the time we got back downstairs, our small group of guests were already there. The older couple offered to help with dinner and Bella reluctantly agreed, saying that it was part of their stay to receive home cooked dinners.
Jasper and I helped carry everything to the table and I sat down between Christopher and Bella.
"I'd just like to say something, before we start," Bella said. "It's been…an incredibly long journey to this and I just want to say thank you for sharing this with us. It's an honor and we're so excited to start this new chapter of our lives."
"Cheers." Everyone raised their glasses and we started dinner.
The older gentlemen sitting next to Christopher nodded my way. "Edward, I knew your father. He was a very respectable guy."
"Thank you, Sir."
"I'm so glad you decided to open this place up. I always thought it was an extraordinarily beautiful house."
"Thank you." I nodded and added a quick smile before I went back to my meal. I helped Christopher with his food, since I knew Bella was probably exhausted from the long day she had. When everyone was finished, I took him to the library so he could practice his piano before bed.
I took him to his room when he was done and got him ready for bed. As I tucked him in, he looked up at me and reached out for my face. I always tensed up when he did that, waiting for the day when he was going to ask. I knew he wondered why my face was different, why it wasn't like Mommy's or Poppa's.
"Daddy, what happened to your face?" He ran his fingers along my scars, just like Bella did.
I took a few deep breaths. "A very bad man hurt Daddy. But he's gone now." I wasn't prepared to go into the details about my attack because he wasn't old enough for that shit. I wanted to protect him from it as long as I could. I didn't want my son to know of the evil that existed in the world.
"I'm sorry, Daddy." He turned on his side without another word and without any fear.
"It's okay, Bud. Goodnight."
I turned his light off and closed the door before heading back down to our room. The rest of the house was quiet, so I assumed everyone else had gone to bed early.
I opened the door to our room and stepped inside.
"Bella?" I called.
"In the bathroom!" I followed the sound of the sink and found her brushing her teeth.
"Hey," I said.
"Hey. Is he all set?"
"Yeah." I pulled my shirt over my head and stepped behind her. I brushed her hair over her shoulder and buried my face into her neck, kissing and nuzzling her skin. "He asked me about my scars."
She tensed. "What did you say?"
"I told him the truth. The watered down version anyway."
"Yeah and he wasn't scared."
"Of course he wasn't. You're his father, Edward. He loves you unconditionally. Even if you had three chins, you would still be his hero."
I kissed her neck. "I guess I'm just still not used to being the hero in the story." I reached down over her slightly swollen belly and rubbed lightly before heading lower.
"You were always my hero," she whispered.
I lifted the hem of her skirt up as I made my way up her thigh and towards her center. She fell forward and caught herself on the vanity as she stared at me in the mirror.
"We have guests," she said softly.
"This is still my house." I brushed my finger over her underwear, working my way up the seam until I got to the waistband.
I slipped them inside and immediately pulled her underwear down towards her knees.
Her head lolled back, allowing her hair to brush lightly over my chest. I ran my fingers through it and wrapped my fingers around it. I tugged gently and she whimpered as her eyes fluttered shut.
She turned her head towards me, searching for my lips. I kissed her, pushing my tongue between her lips to find hers. She moaned into my mouth as her hands reached blindly behind her for me.
I let go of her for a moment and quickly undid my pants before pushing them and my boxers to the floor. I forced my body flush with hers. My dick was trapped between us, hard and begging for attention.
She leaned over the counter slightly and looked back at me over her shoulder as her hair fell back across her face.
"It's still your house." She cocked her eyebrow.
I grabbed her hip and angled my hips to meet her. I growled as I inched myself inside her before pulling out and plunging back in.
She moaned and reached out to the mirror, flattening her palm against it for support.
I kissed her shoulder as I moved faster, harder.
"Shit. Baby, don't stop," she whimpered.
I stared at her in the mirror as I reached forward and placed my hand over hers on the glass. I growled as I slinked my other hand around to her front and massaged her, sending her closer and closer to her release.
I closed my eyes as I pounded into her, feeling my stomach tighten more and more with each passing moment. It didn't matter if we were making love or just fucking for the hell of it. It was never boring, never dull. Being with her was always the most erotic experience. Mind, body and soul.
I cried out as I buried myself deep inside her. My forehead fell to her shoulder as my shoulders heaved up and down.
She looked up and me and smiled as she tried to catch her breath. "God, I hope we're never too old to do that."
I laughed and kissed her. I slowly pulled away from her and grabbed my clothes off the floor. I threw them in the hamper, cleaned myself up and pulled on some pajamas.
Bella joined me in bed a few minutes later, pulling the covers up around her with a large grin on her face. She brought her damn lotion with her and sat up in bed, slathering it on her legs.
I watched her and smirked at the blush that was starting to creep up to her cheeks.
"What?" She said softly, refusing to look at me.
"Nothing. Just watching you."
"Oh, I see." She shook her head and set her lotion on the nightstand. "And what do you think?"
"I think I'm a lucky bastard."
"I won't argue with that." She snuggled down into bed.
"I'm serious, Bella. I know that 'happily ever after' crap is completely bullshit, but…"
"Who says it's bullshit?"
"Those fairytales are just stories, honey. And plus did you ever read the original Grimm stories? They were twisted as fuck."
"That didn't mean that they weren't fairytales." She shrugged. "And fuck em. Happily ever after doesn't mean there isn't bad shit in between."
"What does it mean then?"
"I think it means that you're willing to accept the bad shit and keep living your life, Edward. Be thankful for what you have. We got our happily ever after. Don't ever doubt that just because of some story."
"Does this mean we get our own Disney movie?"
"I hope so." She leaned over and kissed me. "Goodnight, I love you."
"Goodnight, I love you." I smiled and closed my eyes. Happily ever fucking after. Consider it done.
My scars would never go away. They would be a constant reminder of my past. I used to look at that as a bad thing, but not any more. It's no longer a painful souvenir of what I'd lost. It showed me how far I'd come. And man, it was one hell of a story.
I no longer felt like a monster. I was a husband. I was a father. I was a survivor. And most of all I was a man. Plain and simple.
*Cue Mrs. Potts singing* and *cut out to stained glass window* : )
So Love Like Winter is finished! For anyone who has read my other stories, you know I don't usually go with a typical epi and while I think this was far from typical it was one of the most normal ones I've had. I figured after everything Edward had been through that he deserved a little bit of normal.
I hope you enjoyed the story. I thoroughly enjoyed writing it, it was one of my favorites.
We started accepting entries for a new historical one shot contest today. So give us the best you've got before 2000! Link for the Time Warp Contest is on my profile.
I'll also be doing a fundraiser during October for Breast Cancer Awareness. The link to the blog with information about the compilation is on my profile.
If you haven't read it already, there is a very important announcement on my central hub blog regarding my writing.
Thank you guys so much for supporting our Beastward and his Lucky Charms! : )