Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight
I Hope She Was Worth It
A life In Pictures
14 Years Later
I sat with my legs curled into each other as my hands dug into over a decade of memories. The photos were mostly all of the kids and our family, with the odd image of Edward and I together; someone catching a glimpse of our stolen moments. Every picture came with a fantastic memory and not one passed by my gaze without a smile on my face. They were full of cheesy smiles and funny expressions...they were perfect to me.
A picture of Edward and I holding a new born Abbey caught my eye and I paused for a moment to study it. We looked so young, so full of happiness and joy. We obviously had yet to experience sleepless nights... I thought to myself dryly. But given the chance, I'd do it all again. My children were the cherry on top of a perfect life.
"What's got you up here all by yourself?" A deep velvet voice asked from the doorway. I looked up with a smile to see my husband looking at me curiously.
He hadn't changed. Time was kind to Edward. But I guess he was just one of those people that would be devastatingly handsome no matter what. The only things that remotely showed his age were the tiny crinkles by his eyes and the silver strands at his temples. Yet he was still the most beautiful person I'd ever seen.
"I'm just feeling nostalgic. I thought I'd look through the old family album," I answered as my eyes drifted back towards the photo in my hand. "Want to join?"
Edward limped over and although he tried to hide it, the cringe in his eyes told me it pained him. His back had worsened over the years, but the many doctors we'd seen assured us it was nothing serious. You couldn't just get shot in the back and walk away from it without any damage being done, I suppose. For a while, Edward had no need to go to physiotherapy, but in the last five years it was essential he went at least twice a week or he'd be bedridden.
I sat on the bed and brought the box with me before he had a chance to join me on the floor. He eyed me with a look that said 'I could do it if I wanted to.' I just rolled my eyes and placed a pillow behind his back as he sat down.
"I'm not an old man, y'know," he muttered grumpily.
"Yet you're acting like a child."
His bottom lip jutted out comically and I couldn't not laugh.
"What's this?" He took the photo I'd been holding and scanned it. A smile lit up his face as his finger traced over Abbey's angelic features. "I can't believe how fast she's grown. It's as if just yesterday I was holding her in my arms for the first time. And now look at us; she's all packed up and on her way to college."
Tears welled in my eyes.
'Okay Bella, so Abbey is leaving next week? I've allowed you to reminisce by looking at our old pictures, but no more tears!' I told myself and shook them away.
Edward's hand wrapped around my waist and squeezed gently, letting me know he was here for me. He knew what a hard time I was having letting her go.
"They have to fly the nest sometime, Bella. Our baby has grown up."
"I know," I sighed with shaky breath. "It's just she'll be so far away and what if she needs us or something ba-"
"Stop!" Edward cut me off. "Bella, do you realize who you're talking about?"
I tried to compose myself. I knew where he was going with this.
"This is our daughter we're talking about. Do you remember when she was in the second grade and someone stole her best friends Hannah Montana lunchbox? We got a call from the school saying she'd stormed into a classroom and demanded justice." I laughed. My baby had always been a law abiding citizen. Charlie had been so proud when he heard about that one. "Or when Tommy Philips was spreading rumors about Tyler? She was the first one to knock on his door or warn him not to mess with her little brother ever again."
"I can still hear his mother screaming down my ear to keep Abbey off their property or she'd call the police. She should have looked at her own kid before she started judging mine." I scowled.
"If I recall, you told her just that in a more untamed manner," Edward laughed and I blushed, though inside I was proud. "She's her mother's daughter, Bella. She's fearless and smart and she's ready to take on the world."
I sighed again but I couldn't deny that he was right. "It's just hard to believe how time has flown. She's nearly twenty years old, Edward! How can we own a twenty year old daughter?"
He smirked crookedly and it still made me hot and bothered. "Time is a bitch."
"Tell me about it."
"She'll do good in Florida."
"She'd better. We're paying a shit load of money for her to go to college there," I joked.
"Tell me about it," Edward chuckled deeply.
"Still stealing my lines, Cullen?"
"I'm sorry; I just deliver them with so much more charisma than you do."
I raised an eyebrow and smiled. "Sure you do."
"Can we continue looking at photos or should we keep talking about how great I am?"
"More photo's, most definitely." I nudged him in the side playfully and he feigned hurt.
"For that jab I think we should keep talking about me."
I rolled my eyes but couldn't stop the giggles from erupting.
I pulled a picture of Tyler when he was about six or seven sitting on Carlisle's knee.
Whatever light atmosphere had been when we were joking around was now replaced by a heavy sense of loss. Edward stared at the picture for a long time before his eyebrows furrowed and his eyes welled with tears. He placed it aside on the bed table.
"We all miss him," I whispered and leaned towards Edward, embracing him.
We had lost Carlisle three years ago. He'd only been in his early seventies when we'd found out he had Lymphoblastic Leukemia. He berated himself for not seeing the signs when he'd been a well-respected doctor for most of his life. But he was too busy enjoying his retirement, seeing his grandchildren grow and his family expand that by the time we found out about it, it was just too late.
He'd held on for just under a year before he couldn't fight any longer.
It hit us all hard. No one saw it coming. But no one was hardest hit more so than Esme. She was a shell of her former self without Carlisle by her side and after fifty years of being together, she couldn't cope with life without him. Only recently had she begun to come back to life. But you could see it sometimes when she thought no one was looking; she'd look into the clouds and you could tell she was wishing he was here with her. We all were.
But then again, maybe he was. Maybe he never left. That's what I'd like to think anyway.
"He was a great father…and a better man than I'll ever be. I miss him a lot," Edward admitted into my shoulder. I was shocked. He never really spoke about Carlisle; the wound had always been too fresh.
"I know, honey. But you're a great father and an even better man. He was so proud of you."
He lifted up his head and again gazed at the picture. "Do you really think so?"
"I know so," I assured him.
He smiled but I could see he didn't quite believe me.
"I remember on Tyler's third birthday," I started and suddenly I was there, relieving one of the perfect moments in my life. "The party had ended and it was twilight. Everyone was in the backyard around the fire except for us. Tyler was out cold in your arms and Abbey was resting her head on your lap. You were playing with her hair and she was dozing off. I was supposed to be getting desert but I couldn't stop looking at the three of you; it was beautiful. And suddenly there he was beside me."
I smiled remembering Carlisle's warm cinnamon smell and how everything about him reminded me of home.
In a way, he was my second father.
"He put his hand on my shoulder and we watched together in silence. You had no idea we were even there, you were too caught up in our children to notice. And finally after about ten minutes, Carlisle squeezed my shoulder and said, 'He didn't come out of my belly, but my God, I've made his bones, because I've attended to every meal, and how he sleeps, and the fact that he swims like a fish because I took him to the ocean. I'm so proud of all those things. But he is my biggest pride. Do you know who said that Bella?' I didn't even try to guess. I was still too caught up to think. Then he told me: 'It was John Lennon.'"
Edward's brow furrowed. "Dad hated John Lennon. He said he respected him for his charity work but anything else after the Beetles was total bullshit."
I chuckled. "Yeah, he was still a little bitter that his favorite band broke up."
"So why would he say that?"
I smiled. "He said… and I'm seriously quoting every word; 'I respect him for his charity work but everything else after the Beetles is total bullshit…"
"Damn, I really knew the old man," Edward choked out as he struggled to keep the tears at bay.
"Then right before he left me to sit with you, he kissed my head and told me, 'But for once I can finally see where he's coming from.'"
We'd strayed away from the photos for about a week after the Carlisle talk. It was emotional and it hurt to speak about him still, even after all this time, but I could see what a positive effect it'd had on Edward. He was light and carefree. I think he'd finally moved on from mourning the loss of his father now that he knew Carlisle had been proud with him and content in life before he died.
The kids didn't notice the change, they were all too distracted with Abbey's move to care, but I did.
I hugged her tightly as if she would vanish the second I let her go. "Take care of yourself in Florida, Baby."
"I will, Mom," she assured me, letting me have this moment, even though I could tell she was itching to detach herself from me and get on the road. "I love you."
"I love you too, Abbey. Are you sure you don't want your dad and I to come up with you for the day and help you get settled?" I offered for the nine thousandth time.
"No, Mom. Really I'll be fi-"
"It's just that I worry about you doing this alone. I don't want you to feel like you have to…"
"Mom, really. I'm an adult now. I'm perfectly capable of unpacking some boxes-"
"Even independent people have Moms and Dads that help them out now and then."
She sighed and gave Edward the 'help me' look. He chuckled and pulled me off of her before he crushed her into his arms and kissed her head. "Have fun, sweetie. Call us when you get there so we know you're safe?"
"Will do, Dad. Love you."
"Love you too, Sport."
"Ugh, we get it you love them. Get out of here already. I'm sick of this," Tyler whined behind us. He was just trying to act tough, like his sister leaving was a good thing. He was going to miss her.
"I love you too, Tyler. Not just them. Come here." She wrapped her arms around his stiff posture. At fifteen he was already so much taller than her. He was the spitting image of Edward in more ways than I could count. He had the mop of bronze hair, the lanky posture and the strong Cullen jaw. The only thing I could claim I gave him was the brown eyes.
Slowly he wrapped his arms around her, but not tightly. For a moment, I swear I saw him close his eyes and take a breath before he released her. "Yeah, yeah. Get outta here."
Edward laughed at his son's antics and squeezed his shoulder and my hand in support. Abbey got in the car and drove out of the driveway, beeping the horn as she went.
And that was it. My baby had officially flown the nest.
"She'll be back before we know it," Edward stated.
He was the only one who seemed to be holding it together.
"Yeah," I agreed and dried my eyes. "And she'll probably bring back her boyfriend or fiancé next time she comes home," I added lightly.
Tyler grunted in agreement.
The smile on Edward's face drained right off. "Don't be ridiculous! She's too young to have boyfriends, let alone get married."
"Edward honey, when did we start dating?"
"In college…" His eyes widened. "No, it was a different time back then. Kids are different nowadays. Abbey is too smart to go out with mindless, drooling teenage boys… no offence Tyler."
"Hey!" he protested with a smile and hit his Dad's arm playfully.
"But seriously, she can't… She's just too…"
"Wait a go, Mom," Tyler laughed at his father's expression. "I think you're going give Dad heart failure."
"Nope, that'll be his daughter's doing. They have to fly the nest sometime, Edward," I mocked.
"We have to call her back. She can go to college in Seattle- no wait; she doesn't have to go to college at all. She can work with me on the building site."
"What building site?" Tyler and I asked in unison.
"Just a plot of land I'm going to invest in. It's where the tower I plan to lock her in will be located."
"Yes dear," I patted his arm with a giggle. "Now how about we look at some more photo's before dinner?"
"Can we get pizza?" Tyler asked.
"Why do you continually ask for pizza when there are three frozen ones in the freezer?"
"It's not the same," Came Edward's voice.
"What the hell? You're supposed to be on my side?"
"I will take whoever's side I believe to be right."
"Thank you, Father," Tyler nodded smugly at Edward and already I felt the loss of girl power since Abbey left.
"Boys," I sighed.
When the pizza, which had been ordered not the one from our supplies, was devoured, Edward and I started for the stairs to relive more memories.
"If you guys are going upstairs to do it, please wait till I have exited the house," Tyler voiced with his mouth twisted in disgust.
I rolled my eyes at him. Edward looked at me with a hopeful expression.
I slapped his shoulder.
"What? He offered to leave. I'm just saying we should advantage," Edward defended.
"Tyler, your father and I are not going upstairs for sex." Tyler shuddered at the word. "We're going to look at the old family albums. Would you like to join?"
The kid looked positively green. "I'll go. Just promise me never to use the word 'sex' and 'would you like to join?' in a sentence ever again."
I sighed and chose to ignore that last sentence.
The box was exactly how we'd left it. In the corner of the guest bedroom, with the picture of Carlisle and Tyler placed on the bedside table.
"Grandpa," Tyler smiled when he saw it sitting there. "Is it weird that I've been thinking about him for so long, trying to remember every detail that it's almost made me forget what he looks like?"
"You're trying too hard," Edward rubbed his back soothingly. "If you just trust that you'll never forget him, it'll come more easily."
"Oh my God, Edward look at this!" I laughed as I held the picture out for him to see.
"Whoa, that was a long time ago. I look exactly like Tyler."
"What?" Our son questioned.
We handed him the picture of Esme, Edward, Alice, Emmett and I all crammed into a tiny square photo. I couldn't have been more than fifteen. It was taken outside the Cullen's old home just before they'd moved.
"Yeah, we really do look alike…except I'm better looking."
"Sure you are, Kid. Whatever you got, you got from the maestro." Edward pointed at himself with his thumb.
Something flickered in my memory and a burst of laughter left my lips. Edward scanned the picture with a furrowed brow before his eyes widened and he looked up at me. He knew what I was laughing at.
"Please, Bella. Not in front of my son."
The laughter continued so much that soon I was rolling around the bed in my fit of giggles.
"What's going on?"
"Nothing Tyler…" Edward tried to assure him.
"Yeah nothing Tyler," I choked out. "I just found a very interesting box that day-"
"Bella," he warned, but amusement shone in his eye.
"That picture was taken on the worst day of your father's seventeen year old life. Shall you tell him or should I?" I asked with a smug smile on my face.
"What the hell is going on?" Tyler demanded, his brown eyes darting between the two of us.
"What your mother is referring to is…well…it was a time before the internet…"
"Oh my God, you had a box of porn, didn't you?"
Edward flushed scarlet and I burst out in giggles.
"Yes Son. Yes he did, and Grandma Esme walked into his room and found it when we were unpacking. Luckily Carlisle saved the day."
"It was your Mom's fault. She did virtually nothing the entire day and finally she decides to help but she had to go for the exact box I told her never to touch."
"And now we know why. Gross, Dad." Tyler words said one thing, but the broad smile on his face said another. Edward would still never live that incident down.
"Please, I've seen your internet history," Edward shot back and Tyler flushed scarlet.
My faced scrunched up in disgust. No mother ever needed to hear that about her son.
I decided it was best to move onto the next picture. This one was a picture that had been taken quite recently. It was of Edward and me with the kids, along with Alice and Jasper's litter at Henry's award thing. He was being recognized that day for his work in pharmaceutical science.
"Alice and her uncanny predictions," Edward laughed.
"You're sister is simply amazing. I'll give you that."
I remember her smug smile the day she told me Henry had invented a new medicine that stopped some sort of whooping cough in infants. The moment she told me the news I heard her voice ring through my mind, as clear as the day she'd told me why she chose to name her son Henry.
"I was sitting in the hospital, feeding the baby, when all of a sudden he starts coughing. Not just a tiny cough, like a middle aged smoker cough. I started panicking and the baby can't breathe so I shout for help, because Jazzy wasn't there. Then out of nowhere this guy wearing white scrubs takes the baby out of my hand, gives him this weird drink and, viola, he's better. I ask the guy his name and he says, 'Henry.' Then I woke up and it just... fit."
I swear to God, after the incident with James, I swore never to doubt her again but that; it just sealed the deal further for me.
"Hey guys, what's this?"
Edward and I both looked at our son to see him holding a photo of Rosalie and Emmett's wedding. It was a reject photo from Rosalie's album which she gave to me in a pissy state afterwards. Edward and I weren't even making eye contact and I looked like his touch physically hurts me. While he just looked depressed, unhealthy in general. He was too thin and his eyes are sunk into his head with dark shadows framing them.
I didn't know then what he'd been through or was going through, just like Tyler had no clue what went on before he was born.
We'd promised to tell the kids all that had happened when they were older but there never seemed to be a right time. I mean, they knew Edward had gotten shot and everyone in Forks knew about the Cullen's and James. It's been the talk of the town to this day so it was impossible to shelter them from it. But that's as far as it went.
But this picture was the beginning of our journey. Edward and I locked eyes and he nodded his head, silently agreeing with me that Tyler deserved the truth.
"That was a long time ago. You're father and I weren't married," I answered.
Tyler's eyebrow furrowed. "But you and dad got married straight out of college… this was taken like seven years later…"
"We never told you this but…we think there's a lot you should know. The rest of the family know because they were there. But we'd tried to shelter you and Abbey from the truth until you were old enough." Edward paused for a moment. "For a while your mother and I were divorced."
Tyler's mouth popped open.
"Divorced? For how long?"
"Two very long years," Edward sighed.
"But…why? How? You two love each other more than anyone I know."
"We do now. But it took a long time to get back to where we are now."
I held Edward's hand before I began talking.
"It all started with a phone call from Alice…"
Okay well this is just something I wrote as an experiment. I hope you enjoyed it and please leave a review, I'd really love to hear what you think one last time.
I loved every second of writing this story but I've decided that writing is no longer apart of me. So this will be my last update...like ever. For all of my stories.
I know I'm an asshole because I have unfinished stories but I just don't have it in me, nor do I have the time to sit down and write anymore, although a part of me wishes I would never have to give it up. I know it's for the best though. You're probably sick of me at this stage anyway so I'll keep this short and sweet...
Thank you so much for reading my work, it's been an absolute joy and an incredible journey. Thank you for the kind words and inspiration I got with every review submitted. Thank you to my beta's and my deepest apologies to readers of my unfinished work.
Thanks for everything,