So here it is, the Epic Epi!
SM own it, Dollybigmomma is my magic maker, please give her some props in your reviews and enjoy the wrap-up of this little story.
Chapter 25 - In the End
It turned out that Emmett wasn't as good a liar as he thought. He had several nervous tics, so when he was confronted about the attack, he finally cracked. The judge also reviewed Edward's involvement in the kidnapping and ruled him innocent. He was put in Marcus's custody to help Edward develop further and become a better human. His lack of understanding humanity was what caused the judge to rule him innocent. It was not his fault the people he trusted to teach him about being a good man were less than stellar themselves. In the end, it was deemed the court's misjudgment for letting someone of bad character adopt him. He was deemed under-aged until he turned twenty-one, or in Edward's case, until he graduated from college.
The case received national recognition, since Alice had attacked a school campus. My father was livid and demanded I come home. I refused. I wasn't surprised that I hadn't heard from my mother on the subject. It was just like her to ignore a problem. I just hoped things with my father would smooth over before the baby came.
It was amazing the way Edward blossomed at school. I was angry at first that the judge had sided with Marcus, giving him guardianship, but it really was for the best. If Edward had been deemed competent, he could have been held accountable and considered an accessory to the kidnappings. When I had testified of our first meeting and having to teach him the importance of using water instead of urine in the flower vases, the judge agreed that Edward had not been taught all that was needed to function properly in society.
Emmett was very angry and bitter, because it had gotten out that he was guilty of extortion. He was put on house arrest. Edward, too upset to deal with him, gave Emmett and Rosalie the house Emmett had wanted in the first place. I didn't like the idea of Emmett getting what he wanted given what he had pulled, but Edward wanted to make up for the trouble his parents had caused them. I guess he was seeing things from a different point of view after having been drugged and taken against his will. Apparently, that was how they had moved Emmett and Rosalie to Washington and back. I shook my head at the insanity of it all.
Marcus was surprisingly supportive and helped with the funerals and settling the Cullen's estate. Carlisle died first, so his assets were left to his wife, who also passed away, leaving everything to Edward, her only surviving legal son. Marcus helped with liquidating everything and put the money into savings and trusts. He had Edward enroll in school again, and he helped us pick out baby things and decorate a nursery in his home. He was playing the role of doting grandfather. I was glad Edward still had someone to consider family.
Marcus welcomed me into his home, knowing Edward would not understand me being sent away. Things were a little contentious between us, until one night when he pulled me aside. "Bella," he said with such worry and concern, "I hope you'll come to see me as family. I've always thought of Edward as the son Esme and I never had. It's no secret that I loved her, but she was raised to believe that divorce was not right, and so she refused to divorce Carlisle, even though he was no longer the man she wanted." I remembered how he had sat down and took a sip of his amber drink. "Edward, he was our son," he said shaking his head. "After Bree…" He didn't explain, just went on. "They just disappeared. You don't know how thrilled I was to see Edward at my door, even if it was with a girl in his arms. Honestly, I wouldn't have cared if he kidnapped you. I would've covered for him. DNA may prove otherwise, but he's my blood, my son. I hope to help him get through school and buy a nice house to raise his family. I want to help him to be the man Esme was trying to teach him to be." He looked so sad as he sniffled. "I promise I'll make him a good family man for you. I'm not trying to take him from you. I know you feel like that sometimes, but I promise. I know you know it, but his heart is yours, and I'd never try and break you apart."
It was later I realized that Marcus's creepiness was really just loneliness. He had never married, and he was just happy to have family around him.
With my pregnancy advancing, it was getting difficult to move, and Edward literally had to be pried from my side by Marcus and dragged to class.
"Bella safe?" Edward would ask, as he was getting pulled out the door.
"Yes, Edward, I'm safe and happy. I'll be waiting."
The door was not closed for a full minute, before it was flung back open, and Edward was through it. His arms were around me, as he gently cradled our son. He kissed me softly but deeply. "I love you," he whispered.
"I love you, too." He smiled and nodded, then headed out the door again. "Have a good day, my love!" I shouted after him, and he smiled at me.
"I will, as long as I have you to come home to." He spoke so eloquently sometimes, giving me a glimpse of the man he would grow to be.
Marcus was true to his word and helped Edward study up on the development of our baby. We were not made to sleep in separate rooms. Not that Edward would have allowed such a thing, but Marcus didn't question it or look down on us for it. There was a room that was between our room and Marcus's that was deemed the nursery. Marcus wanted to be close to our son as well, or his grandson as he referred to our baby. The way Marcus doted over me made me miss my father.
My pregnancy progressed, and so did Edward's development. He was turning into an amazing man. His school attire made him look like the gentleman I knew was inside him. He would come home and find wherever I was in the house and hug and kiss me, then move to my stomach and kiss it as well. Marcus had spoken to him several times about the importance of communication in a relationship, so he would take me out on dates. Well, he would take me to a tree house, and we would eat take-out, as I would talk about what I hoped would happen after the baby was born and he finished school. Basically, we planned our future together, and Edward seemed excited about it.
We were putting the finishing touches on the nursery when he surprised me. "You need a ring," he said as I hung the curtains.
I looked at the curtain rings I had in my hand. "I think I have enough to hold up the curtain, honey," I said turning around and showing him the ones in my hands, only to find him on his knee holding out a small black box containing a completely different kind of ring.
I dropped the rings in my hand, gasping in shock. I threw my arms around him, kissing his face all over. I heard Marcus laughing from the door. "That's a yes, my boy!"
I look at Edward's confused face, and I smile widely. "He's right, yes!" I said. He gave me a brilliant answering smile and kissed me madly. I peeked to the door and noticed Marcus had left us alone. Edward carefully slid the ring on my finger, and I looked up at him wide-eyed. "So, you're going to marry me?" I asked.
It was his turn to chuckle. "I'd be a fool not to marry the most beautiful woman in the world when given the chance."
I sobbed on his shoulder, kissing his cheek. "I'm sorry I'm such a moody blubbering mess. I'm really thrilled," I sniffled.
"I know you are."
Two days later, Edward Marcus Cullen Junior was born. He came in a rush of panic and excitement. My contractions had been building all day. I thought I was just overdoing it at first and decided to take it easy at lunchtime and take a nap. Lying down seemed to just make my contractions worse. I glanced at the clock and realized my contractions were a steady seven minutes apart.
This was my first baby, and I was starting to freak out. I was pretty sure I was in labor, so I called the nurse to ask. She told me to have someone bring me in. I called Marcus, and when I told him what was going on, I heard something crash to the floor. "I'm coming!" he panted, and I could tell by the tap of his dress shoes he was running.
Edward exploded through the door moments later, scooping me up, ready to run to the trees. "The car!" I shouted, and he thankfully turned and climbed into the back seat. Marcus came running out with my suitcase and jumped in the car, flying down the road.
A cop pulled up next to us, but Marcus pointed to the back seat frantically, where I was screaming through another contraction, gripping my tummy. The cop put his lights on and cleared the way for us to get to the hospital.
The doctor was waiting excitedly. It was a small college town. The birth of our baby would probably make front page news.
I was surprised it didn't take that long for him to come once we got to the hospital. I had heard about labors lasting for hours and days even when it was a first baby. The nurse asked me when I first started having contractions, and I told her it was about five o'clock in the morning. She smiled knowingly, looking at the clock that said two o'clock in the afternoon.
"Five?" Edward asked me.
"They weren't hard. I'd just finished the nursery yesterday, so I thought I was just having pains from overdoing it."
He frowned at me. I pulled him down and kissed his pouty lips. "I'm fine now." I looked down at our dark-haired baby boy. I knew Marcus would be thrilled to find out we had used his name.
Marcus came in with a huge bouquet of flowers and a big blue teddy bear holding balloons that said 'It's a boy!'
I was holding the baby, so Edward helped him find a place to set his gifts.
"Grandpa Marcus, I'd like you to meet Edward Marcus Cullen Junior," I said, and just like I knew it would, his face lit up.
"Really?" He looked back and forth between Edward and I then hugged Edward tightly, kissing his cheek. He came over to me and gently kissed my forehead, as if he thought I would break. His hand shook, as he reached out and brushed back my son's dark hair. "He's just beautiful, absolutely beautiful," he said with tear-filled eyes. "Thank you."
Our wedding was planned for six months later. The idea was that I was hoping to get into some sort of shape other than round and bulgy by then. Edward didn't seem to mind my shape and often snuggled into my baby jelly belly. For some reason, he found it fascinating. I found it disgusting, but to each his own.
After several letters and pictures of little E.M., my father finally came around and accepted my relationship with Edward. I was excited when he agreed to walk me down the aisle. I still had no idea where my mother was, but my dad said he would let her know if he tracked her down.
To my surprise, our small wedding on the campus ended up being a town affair. The whole student body showed up to show support and cheered excitedly as we were pronounced husband and wife. In true Edward fashion, instead of a car, he scooped me up and took off into the trees. Our honeymoon was a short tryst in the tree house. I had a baby to feed after all.
My dad and Marcus were talking, as my father bounced my son on his knee. The moment I laid eyes on them, I knew my son took after his grandfather. Well, except for his father's green eyes. He definitely had Edward's eyes. They both smiled at me, looking identical, and Edward let out a chuckle, pointing it out as well. I leaned up and kissed him. "We'll get one that looks like you next time," I whispered. His returning smile was bright with anticipation.
"Marcus here was just telling me that Edward only has one more year left of school," my dad spoke with interest.
"Yes, in fact, over the next year, we'll be looking into zoos he can work at. There isn't one close by, but there are a few we're looking into."
"Is the Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle one of them?" he asked hopeful.
I smiled widely. "Yes, it is. It's the one we're looking into the most. The Norfolk Zoo in Virginia doesn't have a lot of primates and no orangutans, which Edward is closely familiar with."
"I see. I'll make sure to make a donation to the Seattle zoo to help the orangutans then," my dad said with a smile.
In the end, things worked out great for us. Edward did get that job at the Woodland Park Zoo and completely redid the orangutan exhibit to make it more animal and visitor friendly. What was once just an oversized gym set became thick trees and heavy ropes. There was a bridge that let visitors walk through and see the animals in their natural habitat. Edward had a very good relationship with the animals and surprised everyone by squatting down and conversing with them.
Because of his ability to talk with Bambo, a male orangutan, they were able to change his diet and fix his stomach problem. It turned out that much of primate communication was very similar, and Edward had become very close with several of the monkeys and apes. He was often seen relaxing at work, talking with them casually. It surprised the curators that he could usually talk to them about exams and treatment, getting the animals the help they needed without sedation. It was saving the zoo thousands of dollars.
Edward quickly made a name for himself and eventually was given his own television show, teaching about the different primates and how humans could make a difference while still living among them peacefully. He was a well-paid consultant and had redone all the major city zoos with primate exhibits. Our son, E.M., was taking after him and was learning English as well as ape. Our daughter was much the same. They were lucky to have their father's sense of balance and agility. I think it helped that he would take them into the trees at a young age, showing them the plant and animal life up close. Our daughter, Mae, had her father's burnt orange hair, and when Gina, the local female orangutan, had her baby, Edward brought in our six-month-old daughter and sat socializing as the babies played.
It made world-wide news, as he explained that the females often met to socialize their children while they ate. Edward had a large bowl of berries sitting between them that they were sharing.
It was ten months later that Edward's agent called me, sounding excited and a little worried.
"I told her that he might want to do a DNA test," Mike said without explaining.
"What are you talking about?" I asked confused. I was not in the mood. I was pregnant with baby number three, and my husband was out of town again, shooting the last episode of his show. I would have gone with him, but the doctors didn't want me flying.
"A woman saw the world wide report a while back. The one with Mae and Edward playing with the new baby."
"She was in Borneo twenty-six years ago, Bella; she lost her husband and her baby on that trip."
"Mike, is this some freak trying to…"
He cut me off. "No, she agreed to go to a local lab in Ireland where she's from. I wasn't sure how to handle this, Bella. If you don't want to tell Edward about it, we can use one of the kids to do the DNA test."
"Yes, that'd be best, we could get it done quickly, before he gets home, and then if she's wrong, we won't tell him. I don't want to get his hopes up."
It was a week later I stood nervously, awaiting my husband's return.
"Daddy!" E.M. called, as he ran to Edward, jumping into his arms.
"I have a surprise for you," Edward said.
"Really?" E.M. asked. Little Mae was squirming in my arms and nearly upside down trying to get to her daddy.
"There's my girl," he said scooping our daughter up in his arms and pulling me in for a kiss. "It's a surprise for everyone!" he said.
"My Goodness! What do we have here?" Marcus's voice rang, and I had to admit, I ran to him, throwing my arms around him, as E.M. attached himself to his leg, shouting grandpa at the top of his lungs.
"Edward said we're expecting another baby in a few months?" he asked excitedly.
"Yes, we are." Edward pulled me to his side, ever possessive, but sweet as he kissed my temple. "I'm glad you're here. I have something I wanted to talk to Edward about, and I think you being here might help him," I said and Edward gave me a worried look.
Once we were home, I set E.M. and Mae up to play, so the adults could talk.
"Mike called me earlier this week; there's a woman who saw the report that went worldwide. Um…" How did I say this?
"Is she a fan?" Marcus asked.
"You could say that," I shrugged. "She knows Edward."
"I think it's fair to say there are few people in the world who don't know Edward," Marcus said proudly.
Edward must have sensed my unease and pulled me into his lap. "Just tell us, my Bella, what's wrong?"
"I didn't mean to worry you. It's just that, she's Edward's mother," I blurted out. They both looked at me confused. "His biological one. I used the kid's DNA to test against her, and it was a match, she's their grandmother."
Edward looked lost and confused. "How? I don't understand."
"Well, from what I gathered, you were only about six months old when her and your father heard about the logging of the Borneo rainforest. Just like you, they were against it and wanted to try and save the rainforest. So they saved up, and when you turned one year old, they thought you had a strong enough constitution to handle the trip. They were standing with the Penan people in protest against the loggers. You were strapped to your father in a baby carrier. They were separated in the chaos, and your father was never found. It's thought that someone maybe mistook him for a logger or something. No one knew what had happened. You were never seen again," I relayed the story she had given me, unsure how Edward would feel about the loss of his father.
Edward looked shocked and confused.
"I made sure it was her before I told you, baby. I didn't want to say anything if it wasn't. I have her email address, and the email she sent telling me about what happened. I also have her phone number when or if you want to call her. She'd just really like to talk to you, see how you are, that's all," I said trying to reassure him.
He moved me off his lap and kicked off his shoes. He went running out the back door and was up in the trees with his first bounding leap.
"Give him time," Marcus said patting my shoulder. I was relieved Marcus was here for this. He had a way of keeping Edward human. I hated that we lived so far away from him, but we were thrilled that he came to visit several times a year. Our children loved Grandpa Marcus.
I was just setting the table, when Edward came in. I put Mae in her highchair, and Marcus sat down with E.M. so I could check on him.
"Edward?" I called to him, as I walked down the hall. I found him in the study, reading the email from his mother.
"There's a picture of her on her email link," he said.
I nodded yes.
"I thought Mae looked like me, but she doesn't," he chuckled lightly, but I wasn't sure if that was a good or bad thing. "She looks like her, doesn't she?"
I pushed my way into his lap and looked at the picture. I smiled at the photo. It was a picture of Elizabeth Masen and her pet dog, Sam. She had round pink cheeks and a dimple in the left one, just like Mae. "Oh, my heavens, she does! Look at that dimple!"
Edward had rested his head on my shoulder and nuzzled his face into my hair. His hand found my pregnant belly, feeling our baby move. "I wonder who this one will look like."
I leaned over and kissed him softly. "It doesn't matter, as long as she's healthy."
"Of course, I'm the wife; it's my job to always be right," I teased and started to get up.
He pulled me back into his lap. "I think I want to talk to her, and if that goes well, I'd like to meet her."
I smiled; I hoped it worked out for him.
I left him be, and he ended up talking on the phone with his mother for three hours straight. As soon as she had seen him, she started looking into him and learned everything she could about him. I was kind of glad she had. Her avid interest in him really helped with healing his heartbreak of being lost.
Elizabeth Masen arrived for her first visit three months after her and Edward's her first conversation. Our new daughter, named Elizabeth after Edward's mother, had arrived, and grandma was excited to come all the way from Ireland to meet us all.
Elizabeth Masen was a beautiful woman, with a soft round face. She and Mae looked so much alike, except Grandma Elizabeth had reddish-blond hair and blue eyes. She was clutching a large bag in her arms, and when Edward took it from her, she practically jumped into his arms. "My wee barren, look how much you've grown. You're so much taller in person."
Edward smiled widely and blushed. Mae pulled on Elizabeth's dress skirt. "My goodness, Edward, what have we here? I think someone dropped an angel from the clouds above." She looked up at the sky, teasing Mae.
"That's Mae!" E.M. shouted. "She's no angel, though," he warned, causing us all to start laughing.
The heavy book bag was full of albums, and we saw pictures of Peter, Edward's father. Edward was the spitting image of his father. It was like a doppelganger or something. "I can see the resemblance. It's shocking."
Edward was tracing the picture sadly.
"They never found him," his mother said sadly, her blue eyes turning watery, making them shine brightly. I remembered Alice had once said Edward's color was blue because he was lost. I could see that now in his mother's eyes, as she still missed her love.
She was surprised, when Edward grabbed her and pulled her into his lap, but that was just Edward for you. She quickly settled down, hugging him back. He held her for a moment, wiping the tears that had spilled down her cheeks. "You found me," he whispered to her.
We talked of Edward's father, Peter. He had been a fisherman, and they had actually taken their boat down to Borneo for the protest. After Peter was lost, Elizabeth lost everything. She sold the boat and flew home to her family, where she worked in a pub run by her parents until they retired.
"Edward is a good name," Elizabeth said, "It suits you."
"That's right; he wasn't originally an Edward was he? What did you name him when he was a baby?" I asked.
She smiled. "He was named after Peter and his father, Fearghus Peter Masen."
Edward looked a bit horrified by the name Fearghus.
"Fearghus," I said, but it didn't sound as cool without the Irish accent.
"I think you should keep Edward," Elizabeth said. "I was never that fond of Fearghus me-self."
We all started laughing, and I hugged this wonderful woman. She was just amazing. Our visit was full of silly stories and superstitions. You could tell by Elizabeth's sparkling eyes that she was just teasing the children, but she loved that she was able to pass down her Irish heritage.
"Mom," Edward called to her, and her face just lit up, "Do you think it'd be alright if we came for a visit?"
"A visit, all the way to Ireland?" she asked excited.
Edward nodded yes.
"You'll be bringing my grandchildren, of course?"
He nodded yes again.
"Saint's be praised, I'll be throwing a party at the pub in celebration! Just you wait. It's been too long since you've been home, me boy," she said hugging him tightly.
Edward was smiling and laughing at her excitement.
We didn't know how long we would have to wait before we could travel with our new baby, Elizabeth, but no matter what, we would be keeping in touch.
"Bella?" Edward whispered my name as I rocked our youngest daughter to sleep.
I smiled at him to let him know I was listening.
"I've been thinking," he said and rolled over to where he was facing me. His brow furrowed, and then he finally spoke. "I think I want to change our last name to Masen."
I smile widely. I had no love for the last name of Cullen, other than it belonged to Edward. Carlisle was just a creep. "I think that would be lovely. Your mother will be thrilled."
"You think?" he said looking worried.
"I think it'll balance things perfectly," I said.
"How so?" he asked.
"You have the name Edward, given to you by your mother, Esme. Your middle name is Marcus, after the man who loves you as his own son, and then you'll be a Masen, the son of Elizabeth and Peter, who brought you into the world. I think being Edward Marcus Masen will bring a nice balance to the family. Besides, it has a nice ring to it."
He nodded okay. "If you're really alright with it all, it'll be a mess of paperwork," he warned.
"You just take care of that. I'll sign whatever you bring me."
A mess of paperwork was an understatement. We had to change our names on bills, bank accounts, social security cards, driver's licenses, and last but not least, our passports.
We were all officially Masen's now.
It was almost a year later that we did finally make the trip to Ardglass, Ireland, the little fishing port that Edward's family was from. We waited until our youngest daughter, Elizabeth, was one. Her little bald head was growing blonde hair now, and her eyes were a vivid blue, just like her namesake. I was so glad we had found Elizabeth, otherwise Edward would have been wondering where the heck the blonde hair and blue eyes came from. She also had her grandmother's round cheeks and dimple.
There was a small parade of people holding up welcome home signs and shouting excitedly at us, as we pulled up to Manny's Pub. It was where Elizabeth worked, and she was outside waiting. She started pulling babies out of our car as soon as it stopped.
"Lord in heaven, if there ever was a question, it was answered right there," a man said pointing to the children and Edward. "That's your boy alright, Lizzy. He's the spitting image of Peter and has little ones who look just like you!"
The small crowd seems to be going wild with excitement. Edward was looking around nervously. I wrapped my arm around him and kissed him softly on the cheek, trying to calm him. Several people were passing the kids around, talking excitedly.
"I best get introducing then, shant I?" Elizabeth said. "This is my brother, Dannon," she said of the first man. "He's holding little Edward here, named of his father, my son," she said just positively beaming. "That there is Molly; she's holding little Mae, and she looks just like me boy." Again, she was preening like a peacock. "And last but definitely not least, little Elizabeth, who looks to be taken after me. She's being held by Cousin Conner. Everyone, this is my son, Edward, and his beautiful wife, Isabella."
"Isabella?" someone said. "You ought to take them to the tower, Liz. I'll bet they'd get a kick out of it."
"I plan on it," she said. "Now, everyone inside, so I can introduce my boy to the rest of his family."
The rest of the evening was spent getting to know Edward's extensive family. When Edward told Elizabeth about changing his name to Masen, she was in tears, but they were happy ones.
She took us home after the party, and we put the kids to bed in the small flat she kept near the bar she managed. The next morning, she had a picnic put together for us, and we headed to see Isabella Tower. It was beautiful, and we stood in awe looking up at it, as we sat and ate our meager lunch.
"It's for sale you know," Elizabeth said. "It's considered historic, so you can't develop around it, but I hope someone buys is and restores it to its former beauty."
Edward smiled at me, and I knew it would most likely be ours by the end of the day.
I was right.
"We just want to add to the history of Isabella Tower. I want to buy it to honor my wife, Isabella, and show my mother that I'll never forget where I'm from," Edward explained to the Realtor.
She was smiling broadly. "I think ye be doing that for sure."
His mother was shocked and thrilled all at once. We spent the summer restoring the tower to its former glory, and we felt like part of the town when it was time to go home. We didn't want to leave, but work beckoned Edward, and much like his father, he set out to save the rainforest. Only with Edward, he was renowned and could really make a difference.
I just knew his father would have been proud of him. I knew I was.
A/N: Thank you for reading and please review. I hope you enjoyed this story.
Oh and Isabella Tower in Ardglass, Ireland is for sale. The link is on my profile. It is pretty cool, makes me wish I had LB$15,000.