A/N ~ Sorry it is a long one, but please read.
This is the last chapter. I have made each chapter longer than I normally do, and also added an extra bit into the last chapter.
Thank you to all who have taken time to read and leave reviews. Please, if you have wandered on by let me know you have been here.
I am continuing my other stories now this is out of my system. Work continues first on leading me to comfort and maybe a chapter of other stories as we go along.
I don't own Twilight or anyone in it! This whole story is dedicated to ButerflyBetty who has inspired me, supported me, spell checked me, and threatened to spank me...LOL.
The Journey is rated M for Lemons, so if you are not old enough then step away now...
And a tissue warning for the tears, if you haven't already guessed...it's time for Pops to go home.
Please review. xx
The Journey ~ Chapter 4.
Emmett patted his Pops' shoulder, kissed Bella's head and whispered into her ear. "Stand tall; you are a Swan and a Cullen Bells."
The whole family apart from Rose and Emmett returned carrying chairs from the kitchen and sat listening to Edward and Bella play for Pops.
The only dry eyes at the end belonged to the tearless Peter and Charlotte.
Edward turned to Bella. The music he could play with his eyes shut. The words lay in his heart.
He wanted to watch her get lost in his melody, he had written it for her and her alone.
Bella had put the love in his life.
They had yet to make love, but he knew she was the only one he would ever want.
The notes stopped, his fingers became still on the keys, and her fingers played the last few solo notes on her strings.
He turned to her, and right in front of his family he stood up and took the few steps to her side before kneeling down and taking her hand.
"I love you. I will always love you. Marry me?"
No one spoke a word, waiting for her response.
Bella looked to Pops who smiled before looking back at Edward.
Only seconds had passed, but no one in the room had taken a breath waiting on her answer.
They almost didn't hear her reply.
But Edward and Pops did.
Edward scooped her up, whooping in delight at her answer.
Everyone was overjoyed, Emmett came running through at the noise, quickly turning on his heel to go and get Rose to join in the celebrations.
Only Peter and Charlotte sat in their sets watching the exchange of hugs and kisses, he was amused, but she sat there with nothing but disdain on her face.
"It is hardly behavior becoming of this situation." Charlotte sneered at Peter who watched his family with amusement. It had been a long time since he had felt the joy obvious between Edward and his new Fiancée. He loved his wife, his boys, he even cared for the two women they had married, but he doubted he ever saw his wife in the same that Edward saw Bella.
He had married Charlotte out of duty; she was pregnant with their eldest son. Neither had planned to have a serious relationship, and had taken their wedding vows to save embarrassment and appease Charlotte's family.
Pops was proud that Peter had stepped up to his responsibilities but always felt Charlotte and Peter had both missed out on finding love.
"Make sure you sign a pre-nup dear." Charlotte said clearly to Edward when he walked over to share in his good news with his relations.
"What?" Edward stepped in shock.
"I will sign whatever you need me to." Bella responded. "I don't love him for his money." She tried to stand tall...but she felt very little at the moment.
"You say that now, but I see you in expensive clothes, living in a lovely house and I hear you have no family..." Charlotte's eyes were hard and steely, she never looked away from Bella, "Do you deny any of that?"
Bella shook her head. "I didn't ask for these..."
"You didn't refuse them either."
Charlotte was enjoying this now, she didn't know this young woman before her but didn't care for her much either. How dare Carlisle spoil their day preaching to them about a dying man? Peter had made her leave the country club and head on over here, insisting she came with him, and she had no idea why.
"Do not come here and talk to her like that!" Esme stepped up and stood beside her newest daughter.
"She is the same as you were, a poor girl who needed someone to put clothes on her back and she was easy enough to lie down and work for them!" Charlotte spat back.
Bella's head fell in shame. "I didn't, I haven't, I...we..."
"You owe her no explanation my Love." Edward was so angry with his uncle's wife he could hardly speak calmly.
"Get out of my house now." Carlisle would protect his family even if it meant the expense of his relationship with his brother.
"Oh Carlisle this house still belongs to Edward senior...and he is ...still alive as such."
Peter had reached the end of his tether with the woman standing beside him. He did not know where all this venom came from. She had all she ever wanted, including his turning a blind eye to all her affairs.
"How can you speak to her like that, my own mother, she had nothing when my father fell in love with her?"
Charlotte raised her eyebrow, bored with what she was sure to another repeat of stories how his father fell in love with a poor woman and loved her even after she died.
She had heard it all before.
Sighing she looked at the polish on her manicured fingers. This pink really wasn't matching well with her outfit today.
Peter realized how little he cared for her, and how much she loathed him.
"Go home, go home and I will collect my belongings, the house, it's yours. I will be out as soon as I can."
He had her attention now.
"Leave? You won't leave me...what would people say?"
"They would say...why did they stay together so long?"
Peter laughed, here was Edward in love with a young woman who clearly loved him with all she had, and his father who loved his mother every day since the day they met. He did not think he had ever felt as lonely as he did right now.
"If I walk out of here you will no longer be my husband." She threatened.
Peter shook his head, "You stopped being my wife when you slept with the pool boy." Stunned Charlotte looked at him, she didn't realize he knew about her indiscretions.
"You knew about him?"
"Oh I knew about all three of them, and the golf instructor, and the others, I have been stupid but not blind."
Charlotte picked up the glass of fruit smoothie Bella had prepared for Pops to sip on and threw it all over her husband.
"Are you finished with your conversation Uncle Peter?" Jasper asked, resting his hand on his shaking relatives shoulder, trying to calm him.
Peter nodded; unable to say anything more to the woman he had shared everything with.
"Then let me help you with this..." He turned to Charlotte. "It is time you left here now."
"Don't you lay a finger on me..."
"Is he too old for you...?" Alice mocked; she had heard the rumors of Charlotte's like for men as young as her own son's but nothing had ever been more than a rumor.
Peter sat down and held his head in his hands. Bella moved to sit beside him, and placed her small hand over his, taking it down from his face to rest on his knee.
Charlotte left; escorted by Alice who threatened to kick her scrawny ass all over the town if she looked anywhere near her family again, while Rose called her colleague Jenks, the family lawyer to start protecting Peter's assists.
"I am so sorry..." Peter started to try to clean up the spilled drink dripping from his body all over the wooden floor.
"I will get it." Bella said using the cloths she polished the cello and piano with, "Edward, can you get Peter something to wear please?" she asked her sweetheart.
"I am sure you will feel better after a shower." She spoke quietly but with so much compassion in her voice, Peter felt unworthy of her care.
Edward showed him upstairs, it had been decided he would sleep in the room beside Pops tonight, and was going to move his stuff into the spare room that had been intended for Bella before she took Jasper's room.
"Welcome to the family Bella." Pops laughed shaking his head, as she snuggled beside him on the recliner. His thin frame now allowed either Alice or Bella to cuddle up beside him.
Bella suddenly realised that it was unlikely that Pops would see her and Edward marry.
She tried not to cry, she really did. But Pops felt her breathing change and knew what was going on.
"What are all the tears for Sweetie?" he asked taking her hand in his.
"You won't be here..." Bella whispered.
"No...maybe I won't but you know that I will always be close by." He whispered back. Bella nodded, but her heart was breaking.
How could she have gone from feeling so much happiness at Edward's proposal to grief stricken at the thought of losing her Pops? She curled up and he held her close by, allowing her to cry, knowing the tears were for both him and Charlie.
The rest of the family looked in, Pops shook his head asking Carlisle Edward & Peter to come into to the room. Bella had cried herself to sleep. Pops asked him to lift her up and carry her to his room. Carlisle and Peter helped Pops back to his bed, and like any grandpa he let her sleep curled up on his bed while he watched over her.
Knowing time to leave her was soon, was something he didn't think was going to be as hard as it had become. He had no doubt she would be loved and cared for, his life had been made richer for meeting this charming girl. He thanked his Angel Beth for sending Bella into their lives.
Edward sat in the recliner in Pops room watching the two friends nap. He had never dreamed of finding his love in the way that he did, and had no doubt his Nana Beth had everything to do with it.
He missed her so much; he could remember her teaching him to cook, and cleaning his scrapped knee when his bigger boisterous brothers played rough.
They had always lived nearby Nana and Pops, a childhood filled with more love then any child could need. Knowing Bella had only been loved by her Dad made him feel overwhelmed with emotion. He shook his head and looked at Bella who had just woken up and was watching him lost in his memories.
"Are you ok Edward?" She whispered quietly moving to get up without disturbing Pops.
"I am just thinking how lucky I am Baby."
Bella smiled and moved to sit on Edward's lap. "The last three and a half months have been the best of my life." She grinned.
"Fells like so much longer."
"Pops married Nana just a few weeks after meeting." Edward told Bella more of the love story, "And my parents were married within two months. Alice and Jasper waited a while, she wanted to plan a big fancy wedding with all their friends, Emmett and Rose took us all to Vegas a few months after first setting eyes on each other."
"What about Peter and Charlotte?" Bella was curious.
"Well they married six weeks after meeting...and their first son was born early...looking like a full term baby." Edward laughed.
"What do you want Edward?" She asked knowing what she would like his answer to be.
"I would marry you tomorrow Baby girl."
"Next week. Give me a week to make a cake and sort out a few things; I want to marry you while Pops is still here."
"Yes...yes please...!" he tried to whisper to avoid waking up Pops, but it was too late. The old man looked at the two loves before him and chuckled.
The meal that night was full of joy and planning. A wedding was planned; Pops loved having both of his sons at the table, and he even managed a little more soup and some of Bella's rice pudding. Carlisle was convinced it was the food she made Pops laden with fruit, cream, honey and love which was the goodness that was keeping him going.
In less than a week the women of this family would have a wedding perfect for Edward and Bella, simple and full of love.
As they snuggled up together, Edward turned to Bella and asked her what she thought about not making love until their wedding night.
"I am not a virgin you know."
She moved her fingers up and down his abdomen, drawing around the defined muscles and moving up and down his V.
"I know..." He shivered.
"Then I won't make it any harder." Bella started to pull her hand away. "Too late..." He held her hand firmly in place.
They moved her hand lower, her finger tips quickly coming in contact with his glorious erection.
He was much bigger than Mike had been, and although slightly nervous at the thought of being impaled on this beast she was more thrilled at the thought of him filling her and taking her to new levels of satisfaction.
Her fingers now traced Edward's arousal, circling the head and trailing up and down the shaft, paying particular attention to veins and changes in textures.
"You are killing me here baby..."
His fingers found her center, "Oh you are so wet honey...so ..."
No more words, they moved together, kisses and touches, groans and moaning until they both fell over together!
Bella started laughing; she loved how Edward could be reduced from being so eloquent to a speechless smiling fool. She loved him, he was her fool.
"I cannot wait to make love with you baby girl." He pulled her closer and kissed her before getting up to clean up and bring a warm wash cloth to help cleanse her before they snuggled up to go to sleep.
Pops spent his days enjoying Rose and Bella's company. Emmett dropped Rose off each day unless he was an early start in which case they both stayed over. Rose had been frustrated at first giving up her high powered career as a children's lawyer but was now settled spending her day sewing, reading or just relaxing with Pops and Bella.
They sat together chatting as Pops slept more and more each day. Bella learned about Rose's childhood; how Charlie had helped the Cullen's give her a new start.
"He was a good man your Daddy."
It was the first time she had talked to anyone about Charlie without crying. Her heart was healing, the Cullen's had done that for both Bella and Rose.
The week passed in no time at all. Esme and Alice managed to make slight alterations to Beth's wedding dress. She wore Beth's bangle that Pops had decided to leave to her in his will. She thought it was her something old.
Flowers were picked from the garden, food had been cooked, neither Edward nor Bella had any desire to have a huge wedding, Bella invited Mrs Stanley, the only other people there, was the family and Peter.
Carlisle walked Bella towards the spot where Edward was patiently waiting. Pops sat in the recliner that the boys had taken outside to sit under the shade. Everyone else stood around him waiting for Bella to arrive. Rev Weber smiled and welcomed everyone to the ceremony.
"Who brings this woman to join this man in wedded bliss?"
"I do on behalf of her father and this family." Pops said with all the effort he could manage.
Vows were spoken and rings exchanged, Bella placed Charlie's gold band on Edward's finger, promising to love him, be faithful to him and forever hold him in her heart. Pop's had given Edward Beth's wedding ring to give to Bella.
The fit was perfect as he repeated his promises back to her. He would love no one else, and his heart would always belong to Bella.
They danced to music from the iPod, Bella snuggled with Pops for the father daughter dance. It was all they wanted.
Peter danced with Mrs Stanley or Jane as she insisted he call her.
She laughed at his jokes, he pulled a chair for her to sit down on, and they spent the whole day at each other's side.
Who knew that his heart would be pieced back together by Esme's school friend and Bella's employer?
She had been a widow for many years, and was quite taken with the happy man who had been hiding away under the sham of a marriage for way too long.
A friendship would grow and would lead to much happiness for them both.
Their honeymoon was put on hold, neither wanted to be too far away from home, with Pops becoming frailer each day. Edward took his new bride to spend the night in the old grounds keeper's cottage that Esme had maintained as a guest house and now converted for them until they were ready to find their own home. Walking hand in hand down the lawn had the newlyweds filled with mixed emotions.
They were both very nervous but so excited about consummating their union. Bella had declined Alice's offer to change into another outfit, wanting to wear the beautiful dress for as long as she could. Bella's shoes had been kicked off a long time ago. The grass tickled between her toes, but the giggles that Edward heard coming from Bella was due more to nerves.
He picked her up to carry her over the threshold, Bella squealed in delight at her husband's playful action. His lips met hers, their eyes closed, both savoring this moment between them both.
He looked at her face; she had never looked more beautiful.
Her cheeks were flushed, her eyes wide in anticipation, but when she licked her lips it was almost too much for Edward not just to strip her and take her there and then.
This was going to be as good as her first time. Her previous encounters with Mike had been less than satisfactory, and the added pressure of making sure he got it right was weighing heavily on his mind. But this was his Bella, and he would do everything to please her.
"You take my breath away my Love." He touched her cheek with the tip of his nose, drawing it across her face until his lips lined up with hers. They kissed softly before he carried her to the bedroom and stood her down outside the bathroom so she could have a moment to herself as he lit the candles placed around the room.
Bella washed off the small amount of make up from her face, brushed her teeth and took her pill.
Taking a calming breath she reminded herself how good Edward had made her feel with everything they had done so far. She was so nervous and fully believed that her nerves might just get the better of her.
Taking in the room before her brought a tear to her eye. Edward had scattered rose petals and scented candles filled the room with a gentle glow and the scent of freesias and lilacs.
"This is beautiful Edward, thank you."
"You are Beautiful my lovely Bella."
He kissed her softly before turning her around slowly; his shaking fingers unfastened each small pearl button from the base of her neck to the small of her back. Between them the delicate dress was peeled over her shoulders and down her body. Edward offered his hand assisting Bella as she stepped out of the dress.
Edward bent down and picked it up, placing it on a hanger to keep it safe.
Bella stood before him wearing an ivory slip, panties and bra. Edward had seen her in less, but this was looking at her with new eyes.
"Your turn..." Bella removed his dress shirt and pants. He stood before her in black silk boxers. The iPod played a song they both loved. Edward pulled her into his arms and they swayed to the tune.
"I'm ready Edward."
He nodded and lifted her up into his arms again. Talking slow steps they ended up beside the bed. Edward lowered her before him, his fingers moved under the thin straps on her shoulders. It took very little to slide them off and the skip to pool just like the dress had done. He stepped behind her, melodically plucking each hair pin out that had supported her cascading curls one by one, until a small pile of them lay on the bedside unit.
Her ivory silk bra was taken off one strap at a time. Bella's hands cupped her breasts over the silk as Edward reached around to unfasten the clasp at the back. His fingers returned to the middle of the bra and slowly he peeled it away, Bella's hands moving away, unveiling her soft breasts to him.
"Bed?" she asked slightly breathless.
Edward nodded and grabbed her up into his arms and jumped on the center of the bed. They lay down together, kissing, touching the different areas they both knew caused the greatest response.
"No...need to make you feel good first..."Edward shook his head as Bella's fingers went to lower his underwear.
He lowered her drenched panties and nudged her legs apart, Bella held her breath exhaling sharply as he began kissing her very core.
This was like nothing she had felt before; this was a new intimate experience for the couple. All too soon it was almost too much and not quite enough. Edward held her body in place and he used his lips, tongue and fingers to bring her to the edge and fall over in bliss.
Edward lay down between her legs, his head resting on her pelvis as Bella got her breath back. "That was quiet something to see..." He admitted proudly. Bella laughed as she massaged his scalp.
"Come on up here my Love." She panted.
She wanted him now, and did not want to wait any longer. Between them they pushed the last remaining cloth barrier away from Edward's hips.
This would be the first time Edward had sex without a condom separating him and his lover. It turned out this was going to be the first time he had made love.
Bella was ready for him; they aligned their bodies and moved so he slid inside her. It was the moment Edward had waited for; it was the moment Bella thought she would never experience.
Edward held still, allowing himself a chance to focus and not lose it in the first few thrusts. As much as Bella needed Edward to move, she knew she had to give Edward what he needed right now. His hips began to move; the full sensation inside her intensified and began to take over her body. She moved her leg up and around his hip. Edward reached down and pulled her other leg into the same position, thrusting him even deeper inside. This angle took Bella's breath away. The noise of her groaning spurred Edward on, in no time at all she was dragging her nails down his back and pleading with him to go harder and faster. He gave her everything she asked him for and more, he could feel her walls tightening around him. Just as he thought about moving his fingers down to give her clit more stimulation she took a massive breath, arched her back up and screamed for him to come with her...he held her hips and thrust with all he had. The gripping of her internal muscles around him took him over and beyond the edge of any climax he had ever had!
He collapsed on Bella without withdrawing and rolled so she lay above him, both panting and saying each other's name over and over again.
Edward laughed as Bella giggled, the vibration causing such a unique sensation at the point they were still joined.
"Please, please tell me you that I did not leave you hanging there?" He lay there with his eyes closed, his heart pounding right through his body and straight into Bella's chest. She opened her eyes and looked down at him.
"No baby, you did a good job there!" she started laughing hard until Edward moved slightly and slid out of her body. They both felt the loss of the connection emotionally as well as physically.
"Was the worth the wait Honey?" Bella asked nervously.
"More than worth it Love, more than worth it!"
The night was spent exploring slow tender love making, before sharing shower sex in the morning. Both dressed in jeans and tee shirts Edward carried Bella on his back as he ran up to the house with her laughing and holding on tight the whole way.
Pops watched the young couple as they cantered up the garden from his recliner in the music room. He just had one more wish to hold on for.
Rosie waddled through and sat down on the other chair. Pops watched as she rubbed her back with one hand and soothed her swollen stomach with the other. "Is someone giving you a hard time in there this morning Rosie?" Pops asked as his hand reached over to touch her belly. Rose took her hand and moved Pop's hand to rest above the place the child was most active. He chatted away to the unborn child, telling stories of how everyone was waiting for their safe arrival, how proud he was of Rose and Emmett for doing everything to keep the baby safe. Rose cried quietly, knowing how much she would miss Pops, feeling sad she was that her baby would not grow up having this amazing man in its life.
"Rosie...you know I love you, and you know I will always be around watching over you and this little one."
She nodded, tried to smile, but her heart was sore.
"No tears my little Rosie." Pops shook his head and tried to lean over to wipe her face. Rose bent forward to meet him more than half way, but did not get very far as her stomach prevented her moving as far as she wanted to.
They both laughed as Rose tried to move forward and realised she was stuck, using the baby monitor the called Emmett for assistance, and could hear his booming laugh all the way down the hallway.
Edward and Bella stepped into the room just as Emmett was pretending to struggle to move Rose from the chair. She stood up and everyone but Emmett stood back as her waters broke.
Carlisle called the hospital but Rosie didn't want to leave Pops.
"It's time for you to go and welcome this baby Honey." He reasoned. Fear that he would not be here when she got back paralyzed Rose, but Pops was too frail to go with her.
"Then I will stay here." She whimpered through the contraction.
Everyone tried to encourage Rose to go to the hospital, but she was no for leaving.
"No...no...no...I want to stay here." She cried lowering herself to the floor on her hands and knees, rocking back and fore, groaning as the pains got quickly stronger.
"Dad...please do something!" Emmett pleaded.
Carlisle asked if he could see how far gone Rose was, at this point she didn't care who looked she just wanted to stay here and have her baby. The pains were sharp and too close together already.
The men left the room apart from Carlisle and his father, Rose turned so she was hiding her rear end from Pops and the women assisted as best they could.
"Oh...we won't be going anywhere." Carlisle looked up at Rose, "we are almost 9cm dilated Honey...have you been in pain for long?" She explained how her back had been hurting and she had been having Braxton hicks for a while but nothing really more than usual.
Esme summoned the boys to gather a mattress, towels and Carlisle's medical bag. Jasper and Edward looked after Pops while trying to avoid looking at the delivery, Emmett sat in behind Rose supporting her body as she groaned and pushed when told. Alice and Bella held Rose's legs, coaching her with her breathing while Esme and Carlisle guided a healthy little girl through her journey of birth.
Baby Cullen screamed her way into the world, easily calmed by an exhausted but delighted mama Rose.
Peter appeared with Jane telling everyone the paramedics were here. They checked Rose over, delivered the afterbirth and helped Emmett cut his daughters cord. Both baby and Rose were exhausted but healthy and Rose got her wish to stay at home.
Esme made sure that everything was cleaned up while Rose settled in a bedroom with Emmett and started getting to know their daughter. Pops thankful for his last wish knew time was running out. He had got all he asked for and more, he watched Rose deliver his great granddaughter with strength like a warrior princess, no pain killers or interventions required.
As much as he would have loved to be around to watch this little one grow up, that was not part of the plan. This little girl would know how much he loved her, and would want for nothing. This whole family would love this wee girl no matter what.
Peter sat beside his father's bed and the two men sorted out everything that needed to be said between them. Pops had made peace with all in his life. It didn't matter than Peters sons had not been to visit, they had called and Pops had said his goodbyes.
Peter was not ready to hear that conversation, but he understood he had been given a second chance having the short time he had been gifted with his father.
It had been quite some day for the whole family, they all went to bed, exhausted and elated with the early but safe arrival of the newest Beth Cullen.
Bella spoke with Pops, if he didn't mind her doing it, she wanted to look after him rather than a nurse coming in each day to tend to his needs. He reminded her she was a newlywed and should spend her time with her husband. But she was adamant along with Edward that this is what they wanted. She learned how to shave practicing on Edward, before allowing herself anywhere near Pops face.
He grew weaker, as she grew stronger; her confidence fed by the love her family gave her each day.
Each day's routine depended on how much energy Pops had. Bella helped him get washed and dressed into fresh pajamas. She got help from one of the boys to change the bedding and move Pops into his chair even if just for a short while. He always enjoyed hearing Edward and Bella play for him, he watched in fascination as Baby Beth changed in little ways each day. His heart was full of joy; his body was failing but his life was complete. He held her, supported by pillows and took in everything about her. Beth was never quieter than she was in her Poppy's arms.
He talked to each and every person about leaving them, how much he loved them and how proud he was of them. He had no regrets, and enjoyed life lived with love, how many people could say that at the end of their days.
On the day that Baby Beth had been due to be born Rosie noticed a change in her beloved Grandpa. Alice called them all telling them it was time. Everyone who was out came home.
They sat with him, took turns holding his hands.
There was nothing left to be said.
His breath was more of a struggle now.
Bella climbed along one side, Alice lay at his feet while Rose and Beth snuggled at his other side. Esme sat beside Carlisle and stroked her father in laws hair. The boys knelt beside the bed, guarding the man who had inspired them to try to be the men they had all grown up to be.
As the last few cords of Edward's recording played, Pop's took his last ounce of energy to speak.
The all told him they loved him too, tears streaming down their faces.
"Beth..." Pops stared into Bella's eyes, he was sure the last thing he saw was his wife looking back at him...
He took another long breath, but this one didn't feel labored.
A wave of energy shot through his body, suddenly he sat up, with no pain at all.
The bed was gone, his body was young again. The brown eyes looking back had no tears in them. The smile was just as he remembered.
"Beth...I have waited such a long time to see you again my Love."
"I have been waiting for you Edward my dear." She was here.
He stood before her, wrapped his arms around her and kissed her soft pink mouth. His hand moved through her long chestnut curly hair.
Standing next to her was the man he had been speaking to for some months now, ever since he realised just who Bella was.
"Hello Ed...Thank you for looking after my girl for me."
"The pleasure was all mine Charlie. She is easy to love."
The End. X x