These characters are the creation on SMeyer. Here is a quick little one-shot. Enjoy!
"Happy Fucking birthday to me…" I muttered tipping the glass bottle in a private toast.
My haunting reflection gazed back at me through the brown glass bottle. My wallet tells me I have done everything right. My heart tells me I have done everything wrong. My brain is the devil's advocate, fluctuating between a sense of accomplishment and a sense of defeat.
I narrowed my eyes and lifted a brow at the half-empty bottle and my reflection as if I was daring the inanimate object to lecture me on my internal musings. It seemed I was always at war with myself. One side patting me on the back for all I have accomplished. The other side wagging a finger, hand on hip, hip cocked to the side telling me what a pathetic excuse of a life I am leading.
Sighing heavily, I brought the bottle of bitter amber liquid to my lips. Before I could feel the ale trickle down my throat, a disturbance interrupted me mid-swallow, causing me to cough and dribble Sam Adams down the front of my shirt. A muttering woman unceremoniously slumped into the bar chair next to me, accidently hitting my arm with her flailing hand, causing the alcohol to flow quicker and down the wrong pipe.
As soon as she realized what she had done, she jumped up, grabbing napkins and began smacking me in between the shoulder blades.
"I'm okay! I'm okay!" I coughed, trying to calm her down while attempting to remain stiff to her blows, which were quite powerful. My body strained in protest, wanting to flinch from the contact.
"I'm sorry, so sorry, so so sorry…oh good God!" She stammered in sheer panic continuing to hammer on my back despite end of the coughing episode.
I managed to twist my torso to face her, hoping she will calm down enough to realize I was not coughing any longer.
"Oomph!" I grunted as her palm landed in the middle of my chest.
I held her hand against my chest, my eyes following her arm, up to her shoulder, and across her face, finally meeting her brown eyes. I sucked in a deep breath holding it in while I looked at her; we remained frozen in a trance for an undetermined amount of time. It could have been hours, minutes, just mere seconds we spent frozen in our own world emotions swirling in the atmosphere.
"Edward?" she whispered so softly, I wasn't sure if I actually heard her voice or recognized my name on her lips.
"Bella?" I croaked, my voice betraying my no longer dormant feelings.
"Listen, I've been looking for you for so long and I know I don't deserve a thing from you, I just…I don't…mmm." She closed her eyes, shaking her head vigorously, grimacing in attempt to clear her head.
"Bella, it's just me. Same E. What to do need?" At that moment the past didn't matter anymore. I didn't care about what happened 4 years ago. All I could think about was at the moment; I was staring at the object of my tortured dreams.
She searched my eyes for some unspoken answer to her unspoken question, evidently finding what she searched for.
"Just to talk. I need you to hear me out. Not here, can we go somewhere else? I have a hotel room up the block…or we could walk on the beach?" The look of uncertainty on her face was devastating. My strong, confident Bella was gone. Left was a shell of what she used to be. The longer I took to answer, the farther away she retreated.
Startling at the realization of her slowly getting away, I jumped up, gently grabbing her hand.
"My house is up the block. Let's go there and talk." My voice shaking with nerves.
My house was everything I had. I wanted to share my new life with her. Home kept me calm and grounded. A sanctuary of sorts and I doubted this would be a comfortable conversation. Paying the tab, I led my past out of the beachfront pub and into my present.
The walk was silent, our flip flops making a steady rhythm against the sand covered sidewalk. I had yet to release her hand, almost afraid to let go. We reached my door rather quickly; given the house was literally 3 doors down from the pub. I led her through the entryway and into the large step-down living room with large built-in shelves, exposed beams, and nearly floor to ceiling windows overlooking Pebble Beach. The room was lit by the fireplace and the moon, a soft haze settling. I flipped on a floor lamp softly illuminating the room and sat down on the one and a half person leather chair under the lamp as I let her roam the room.
She surveyed the years catalogued on the walls in pictures, tracing over the pictures of me with my family with her fingers, giggling at the silly pictures of me with my siblings or smiling a nostalgic smile when I was pictured with my parents. She silently glazed over the large collection of books, music, and films taking residence on my built-in shelves. I followed her with my eyes, letting her have space until she roamed to a spot I rarely frequented, both in body and mind. I froze for a moment and then shot up from my seat, quickly making my way across the room. I was hoping this particular subject would remain untouched. While I wasn't naïve enough to believe she wouldn't want to discuss it to some extent, I didn't want to rehash every detail of the most painful period of my life.
She stood in front of the built in shelf nearest to the wall of windows, unmoving. I stood behind her as I too, looked at the contents on the shelf. The shelves held sacred keepsakes; pictures of our high school graduation, wedding, and candid shots documenting our lives as one. On the middle two selves sat pictures of our tiny family…complete with a blue sports patterned receiving blanket with a tiny pair of blue and red plaid converse sitting on top.
Bella picked up the tiny shoes and blanket, burying her face in my chest, her body shaking with sobs. Tears leaked down my face as the memories hit in full force as if it all happened yesterday, instead of 4 years ago to the day. Pulling herself together she placed the blanket and shoes back in their spots. Her eyes drifted to the back of the shelf. Reaching back, she gently grabbed the blue2 picture frame engraved with two dates, one under each picture.
Next to the picture of our newborn son was his memorial program.
"Ethan Anthony Masen-Cullen. Our miracle. Born June 15 2004. Grew wings to fly to heaven on June 17 2007." She spoke with a strength and reverence I hadn't heard since the day she told me we were going to be parents at the age of 19. Ethan came two days before my 20th birthday.
The weight I had been carrying for the last 4 years crashed down as I crumbled to the floor. On the day I celebrated my 23th birthday, I lost my wife and my son. The day after we lost Ethan, I woke up alone and hadn't seen or heard from her for the last 4 years.
I felt her arms surround me as she knelt at my side, rocking us back and forth. And despite everything, I felt comforted for the first time.
"Why Bella?" I hiccupped between quieting sobs.
She took my face in her hands, her cocoa eyes etched with sadness and desperation.
"It was easier to be broken. It was easier to hide, Edward. It crushed me when Ethan left us. Not for me but for you. I had a strong bond with Ethan as his momma, but the sun rose and set on that little boy in your eyes. I didn't think you could stay with me without Ethan, so I made it easier for you. "
"Easier for me? So you believed the only reason I married you was for Ethan?" I whispered weakly, hoping it wasn't true. Her subtle nod sent a searing pain through my chest.
"Bella, did the 6 years we were together before Ethan mean nothing in showing my love and dedication to you? Bella, you were my world. You are everything to me. That fact hasn't changed since the first day I met you, the first day of middle school. I am not saying it would have been easy, God knows I was barely functional. But things could have been different."
"Every hospital visit, you became a little more detached. You immersed yourself in Ethan and forgot about the world around you. I didn't know what to think, Edward."
"Yeah, Bella! With every hospital visit, Ethan's lifeline shrunk. The leukemia was taking over my baby! Every time he went to the hospital, he stayed for a little bit longer, until he never came home. I didn't forget about the world around me, I just figured it would still be there when Ethan wasn't."
"Edward, I selfishly interpreted things different. You were removing yourself from me. You have always been focused on my wants and needs. I have never had to share you before. I didn't know what to make of it. I didn't know if it was your way of dealing with our cards or your way of shutting me out of your life. I wasn't in my right mind either, E. Instead of fighting for us, I fled. I was 23 years old; my three year old son was gone, and I thought I was going to lose my husband, lose you. I couldn't take it. "
"I get it, Bella. I lost my wife and my son on the same day. I know how it feels. I also know how it feels to be without the other half of your soul. Now we have a chance to get something back. We can't have Ethan, but we can have each other."
She looked deep into my eyes, her brown searching the depths of green. The smile that graced her lips lit up the room and shocked my barely beating heart into overdrive. Leaning closer, she softly touched her nose to mine in a sweet Eskimo kiss, which used to represent a peace offering. My lips tugged at the corners as I returned the sentiment.
Then, the four most beautiful words escaped her mouth.
"We have each other."
2 year later
Edward and Bella Masen-Cullen welcome
Allison Alexandra Masen-Cullen
Born June 17, 2013 at 12:03 AM
6 lbs. 4 oz, 20 inches