Hello Sister, Goodbye Life
Disclaimer: I do not own the Twilight saga. All recognisable characters, content or locations belong to their respective owners. No copyright infringement intended.
Author's Note: To those of you who couldn't review, the reason for that is because I deleted two chapters and the last two chapters that I posted up were replacing the two deleted ones. On the topic of reviews, thank you to those of you who took the time to actually just PM me because you weren't able to review – that meant a lot.
Before you start busting my chops about no proper climax for the story, let me just tell you that I've tried to incorporate real life into this story as much as I can. How have I done this so far? First, none of the families mentioned in this fic are the traditional fifties nuclear family. The Cullens have three children, two sons and a daughter, rather than one son and one daughter. The Swans had two children twenty odd years apart, Renee was disowned by her parents. The Hales, well, that's self explanatory. And then there's Edward and Bella's little family, made up of two adults, unmarried, a toddler sister and two children from a previous marriage. I've also made sure that none of the characters are as clichéd or perfect as they seem. Rosalie had a drinking problem, Bella swears like a sailor. Edward's insecure, Alice is tired and Emmett's actually responsible. You all get my meaning? Real life doesn't follow a narrative structure – there are no falling and rising tensions or climaxes or whatever else. So, yes, that was why the climax was rather anticlimactic. This'll probably be the last chapter, followed by the epilogue.
We'd decided to spend the day cleaning out my parents' bedroom. So while Eva, Maddie and Anthony were entertaining themselves with some bubble wrap on a flattened out cardboard box that lay on top of the bare mattress, Edward and I slowly but surely made our way through all my parents' belongings, deciding on whether or not to keep them or sell them.
Definite keepsakes was mom's jewellery, that I would divide between Eva, Maddy and any other future children when I believed they were old enough to take care of them properly, the silver brush and fine tooth comb that had been in Grandma Swan's family for eons. Another was the family portrait that, after dusting off, was moved to near the edge of the wall, to fit three more family portraits. The one beside the original family portrait was the Cullen family before Rosalie, Maddie and I joined them, the next one being of the Cullen family after we did so, the last being of just my and Edward's young family, with Maddie in Edward's lap, Anthony playing with blocks on the floor and Eva standing beside where I sat. All the old fashioned wooden furniture was moved into storage, replaced with gleaming black rawt iron framework and the most comfortable mattress I'd ever had the pleasure to lie on.
It had been determined on the twentieth of May that I, indeed, was with child and, now, exactly a month later, the bump was growing every day.
"Should we go out to dinner?" I asked, picking up the perfume bottles, gone stale by now, and moving into the bathroom to pour them down the sink.
"I'd like to stay in tonight, love," Edward replied, emerging from the wardrobe door into the ensuite, arms laiden with shoe boxes. "Christ, your mom owned a lot of shoes."
I laughed. "Don't let Rosalie hear you say that; she's one of those women that garner the belief that you can never have too many shoes."
He shook his head, an amused smile on his face, and one by one, began stacking the shoe boxes into another cardboard box. They'd be going to charity because I would never, in my life, wear my mother's shoes and, when asked, no other self respecting woman with my mother's shoe size, that I knew, would, either – it was a common known fact that Renée was rather eccentric when it came to clothing choices, a fact that I'd always found amusing, given that Renée had been one of the best interior designers out there.
"You're turning twenty nine and you don't want to go out to dinner," I mused, finishing off pouring the last of the perfume down the drain and, after bubble wrapping the bottles, putting them in to another shoe box that went into another box, labelled "Keeps". The perfume bottles would be converted into candle holders and placed all over the place, a Renée tradition that I'd promised myself I'd uphold.
"Yeah, maybe just have the family over, is that alright?"
"Hey, it's your birthday, whatever the birthday boy wants, the birthday boy gets."
"Remember that later, love," Edward chuckled before, once more, heading into the wardrobe to gather up more shoes.
As Edward desired, I, after lunch, while Edward was setting the kids down for a nap, called up the Cullen family and invited them around for dinner, gaining affirmations of their attendance.
When I hung up on the last phone call, I returned to the master bedroom and looked around. The air had been ventilated and so my parents smells, though they'd turned stale a long time ago, no longer lingered.
Looking around, I found that everything that had once belonged to Renee or Charlie was packed away in the various cardboard boxes littering the room and the only thing left to do was pack them away into storage. Which was why Edward had told me to tell the family to come by at four o'clock, to help him out with the moving of everything into the shed at the end of the backyard.
When that time arrived, Rosalie, Alice, Esme and I made ourselves comfortable around the pool, watching as Maddie and Anthony splashed about in the inflatable kiddy pool, Eva paddling around the shallow end with a kickboard under her chest.
"How is it going, Bella?" Alice asked, gesturing to my abdomen that was hardly rounded, though still noticeable, given that I'd been as thin as Rose before I found out.
"Tireing," I groaned, "I don't even know why, I'm just tired all the time. I don't even do anything tireing."
"And is the joys of pregnancy," Esme laughed, empathy in her eyes but amusement in her smile. "Oh, a fifth grandchild, I'm so excited."
"Rosalie, you better jump the bandwagon," Alice giggled, Esme joining along.
Rosalie managed a weak smile, something I did notice. Getting up, I looked to Rosalie. "You, me, kitchen. Now." Looking back at Alice and Esme, I said, "Sorry, Rosalie's having an insecure moment. We'll be right back."
I dragged my blonde haired friend into the kitchen where we began to fill a tray with sliced chese and a bunch of crackers.
"I'm afraid I'll end up like my mother," Rosalie didn't hesitate, as was how strong our friendship was, even if we were somewhat more distant than we were before.
"Puh-lease," I snorted, "You'll never be like Evelinda Hale, Rose. You are Rosalie –soon-to-be Cullen, garage owner, heiress to a despised family fortune, blonde bombshell, Bella's best friend, Maddie's favourite aunty and a whole load of other stuff but never, ever, are you ever going to be like your mother. Not in personality, not in business and most certainly not in parenting. Now, tell me where these insecurities are coming from?"
"Geeney," Rosalie replied on a heavy sigh. "I see her with Sebastian and she's amazing with him and…"
"And I'm sure she has her moments; no one's perfect. Nor do they know how to be a parent."
Rosalie smiled a watery smile at me. "You'll be godmother, right?"
"You don't have to ask," I replied, hugging her tightly. "Congratulations. When did you find out and does Emmett know yet?"
"Yesterday," she replied, "And yeah, he knows."
We returned to Alice and Esme, Rosalie smiling a genuine smile as she wrapped Esme up in a hug. "Congrats, Grandma Esme, four grandchildren and two on the way."
Esme's face, and quickly after, Alice's, lit up like Christmas trees and both began spewing rapidfire questions at her.
As we all sat for dinner, Edward pulled Rosalie into my study, leaving me, curious, between two empty seats. What the hell? Since when am I rejected?
They returned moments later with both grinning ear to ear, Edward with his hand in his pocket, Rosalie practically bouncing in excitement.
Dinner passed with minimal fuss. Baby Noah, who wasn't much a baby any more but a toddler, was munching away at his mashed potatoes and Maddie and Anthony were babbling to each other, Eva watching on with what could only be amusement.
The cake was braught out by Esme, lit with twenty nine candles and Edward sighed in defeat, though he was smiling all the same. After the birthday song was sung and the candles blown out – "Make a wish, bro," from Emmett, it was sliced and a piece was given to everyone but myself and Rosalie – clearly, neither foetus agreed with the cake.
It was halfway through my sipping my glass of apple juice that Edward stood and pushed his chair back, his face suddenly pale, his hands trembling.
He turned to me and though his face was pale, his eyes were glittering and his breathtaking lopsided smile was on his face.
"Remember, love, you said this morning that, whatever the birthday boy wishes, the birthday boy gets?"
I nodded as he turned my chair to face him, my eyes widening as he got down on one knee. Oh. My. God.
"Bella," Edward began, rummaging through his pocket and pulling out a navy blue velvet box. "I love you, more than anything and I want to spend the rest of my life waking up to your beautiful face and do all that other cheesy shi- stuff. So, as the birthday boy, I want you to say 'yes'. So, Bella, will you marry me?"
The stupid tears rolled down my cheeks but I smiled. "It doesn't have to be your birthday wish for me to say yes, love," I replied, cupping his cheek, "I'd have said yes any other day of the week. Yes, I'll marry you. Yes, I'll wake up everyday to see your face and do all that other cheesy stuff. Yes, I love you and want to spend the rest of my life with you." I laughed, throwing my arms around his neck and hugging him fiercely, a difficult feat seeing as he was still kneeling on the floor.
He took my left hand and slid a ring onto my third finger. A single platinum band encrusted with lots of tiny cut diamonds, the centre jewel a circular cut emerald.
"It's beautiful, love." I pressed my lips against his in a chaste kiss. "Thank you."
There's something special about sharing aspects of life with your best friend, I mused as Rosalie and I lay out on my pool chairs. Whales. We were beached whales. Beached whales watching our pod swimming in the pool that Edward had insisted on turning heated, which was why we were currently in an indoor pool house.
Carlisle and Esme were teaching Maddie and Anthony how to swim properly and Edward was launching Eva off his shoulders, the girl giggling and shrieking as she hit the water. Alice was hovering over Noah who was in his floaties and in the shallow end with Carlisle, Esme, Maddie and Tony, Emmett and Jasper in a wave war.
"Got names?" Rosalie asked me, out of the blue.
"Yeah," I replied, "If it's a boy, he'll be Timothy Charles Cullen. If it's a girl, Caitlin Renee Cullen. What about you?"
"Yeah," she replied, rubbing her swollen stomach with one hand, her ring hand, I noted. "Should we try the pendulum test?"
"What is it? Circle, it's a girl and back and forth, a boy, right? Nah, I'm not doing that because it's the air current that causes it to swing in whichever direction. Anyway, the names?"
Rosalie rolled her eyes. "Lily Erin and Mitchell Jason."
I twirled a lock of my hair around my finger and sighed, burrowing further into the deck chair. Eight months and so, so ready for this baby to come out. Ugh, pregnancy, no matter what people said, sucked ass.
Of course, I decided that pregnancy was much, much better than childbirth, something I wished to never, ever experience again. Because my mom had a bad reaction to epidural with me, they weren't going to risk me with the same anesthetic and so, unfortunately, I had to go o natural. After lots of tears, swears and threats on Edward's masculinity, little Timothy Charles was braught into the world. Only to be joined, by everyone's surprise, by Caitlin Renee.
"Huh," Edward mused, "You never told me that you had the twin gene in your family."
"It never crossed my mind," I replied truthfully, "My mom had a twin that died in childbirth so I didn't know her, obviously. I think her name was Renata. Yeah, that's it – Renee and Renata."
When Caitlin opened her eyes, I was greeted with the baby blues that Maddie had inherited from our mom, and I touched the baby fine dirty blonde hair on her tiny little head. I could definitely see my mom in her – the same nose and ears, though the miles long eyelashes of Edward, the eyes the same shape as mine. She had Edward's lips, thin and shaped like Cupid's arrow, though her cheeks were rosy and her skin alabaster, inherited from me and, in turn, my father.
Timothy had baby fine hair as blonde as Carlisle's and matching blue eyes, though the shape was mine and the lashes were Edward's, inherited from Esme. His nose was mine, from my dad, and his lips were from me, from my mom. And last was his skin tone, rosy cheeks and alabaster skin, same as me and Charlie.
"Heartbreakers, if I ever saw them," Rosalie commented. "Their parents facial structures with the colours of Carlisle and Renee."
Perfect little babies with ten fingers and toes.
Once upon a time, an angel asked me, if I could swap my world for a perfect world, would I? I had replied that no, I wouldn't, because for that moment, this not-so-perfect world was perfect. Back then, we were on our second date and pushing swings and yeah, things were perfect, for the moment. Now, as I was wheeled out of Seattle Private Hospital by a nurse, my fiancé holding a baby carrier in one hand, another one on my lap and four doting grandparents in the form of Grandma and Grandpa Swan and Carlisle and Esme walking Eva, Tony and Maddie to Emmett's Jeep, I decided that this moment was perfect, but so was my life as a whole.
Author's Note: Well…. That's that. Thanks to everyone for reading, reviewing, favouriting, alerting and just being all round awesome. I couldn't have done it without you guys.
Much much love and mental hugs
PS. I'm open to suggestions for outtakes.
PPS. Please review? :P