She Will Be Loved
Life in New York was definitely different than how I expected….in a good way. I really thought we would take awhile to get adjusted to life together in the big city, but the three of us quickly fell into a comfortable routine. It was like we were meant to be there, and everything seemed to fall into place.
Edward headed up the East Coast portion of Jasper's company, and he seemed to really enjoy it. Being the boss definitely had its perks, the biggest of which was being able to take spontaneous time off to be with his family whenever he felt like it.
Anthony loved his new start in New York as well. He made one of the top hockey teams, and actually made some real friends.
During the remainder of my pregnancy, I did an online course to get my GED. Even though I was almost twenty six years old before I got my high school diploma, I was actually really proud of it. For the longest time, I never expected to live to see my mid twenties, so the fact that I had gone so far, really was amazing to me.
Edward and I married in a civil ceremony two months before the birth of our baby, because neither of us wanted a huge lavish wedding. We didn't want anything big and flashy; we just wanted to be married. Jacob was my maid of honor and served as our official witness, and Charlie, Emmett, and Rose all flew out to be there with us as well. It was at the courthouse, but was surprisingly intimate and full of love, which was absolutely perfect for us.
The years past, and our lives became just like I had always dreamed, wonderfully monotonous. Before I knew it, Anthony was in high school.
"Hi, Mrs. Masen," one of Anthony's friends said when they were all over after school one day.
"Hi Tyler, how are you today?" I asked distractedly while finishing my homework. After getting my GED and taking a couple years off to spend with my growing family, I was finally on the road to getting my English Literature degree at NYU. I started at a JC, but worked hard to get the grades to transfer to the university after only eighteen months. I stayed in touch with Esme over the years, mostly over the phone, and she encouraged me to look into becoming a therapist. She said I had a natural way with people, but my real professional love was still books, and my goal was to become an editor. I was a full time student, but I refused to miss out on my kids' lives, so I made a point to always be home when they finished school every day.
"Can I help you with anything this afternoon?" Tyler asked me strangely over my shoulder. He was standing a little too close for comfort, so I looked up at him questionably.
"Uh…no thanks," I said uncomfortably.
"Damn it Tyler, I told you to leave my mom alone," Anthony said angrily as he stormed into the room.
"What? I was just seeing if she needed anything," Tyler said innocently.
"Yeah right. Stop drooling over my mom before I kick your ass, and then my dad will get home and kick your ass a second time," Anthony threatened him.
"Anthony," I said with a scolding tone.
"Mom, he has the hots for you, and I'm not going to put up with it anymore," Anthony said before grabbing his friend by the collar of his shirt, and pushing him out the door. "Don't come back until you learn some boundaries."
I had no idea what to say about that, so I shrugged it off. "Are any of your other friends staying for dinner?" I asked him casually.
"Nah, I'm going to send them all home so I can take CJ to the park. He wants me to help him with his batting."
"He's five," I said incredulously.
"Don't knock the kid, he's driven; he told me he wants to be a pro ball player. I tried steering him towards hockey, but all he cares about is baseball," Anthony explained.
"Ok," I said with a grin.
CJ had just turned five, and he was definitely a handful. He was always being mischievous and he never had an ounce of shyness. He'd talk to anyone, and was never afraid to play ticks on people. Needless to say, we had already been in the principal's office for the trouble he caused in his kindergarten class on multiple occasions. CJ had his dad and brother's gorgeous face, but his hair was dark like mine and he had Edward's eye color, which was opposite from Anthony. I had been secretly hoping for a girl when I was pregnant with him, but having another boy was actually perfect. From the moment he could walk, CJ followed his big brother around like a lost puppy. They adored each other, and I couldn't think of anything more heartwarming than that. We named him Charles Jacob Masen, CJ for short; it was a way to honor two important men in our lives, and before he was even born, I knew that had to be his name. Edward agreed completely.
I'd never forget the moment we revealed his name to them….
"This is Charles Jacob," I told my dad and best friend when they came into the recovery room to meet him. Charlie looked honored and became teary eyed, but Jacob completely lost it.
"No one has ever done anything like this for me," Jake blubbered. "I just can't believe it, you have no idea what this means to me."
"I would have died without you," I told him emotionally. "From the moment I found out I was pregnant, I knew he would carry your name; there isn't a single other name that would have fit."
"Well, it's a good thing he was a boy then. One cross dresser in the family is enough," he said jokingly.
"If he turned out to be a girl, her name would have been Carlie Jaclyn," I said with a wink.
"I love you so much, and I'm so proud of you," Jake murmured with a kiss to my cheek.
"I love you too," I whispered back. "Thank you for always being there for me."
Having a newborn in the house, was an amazing thing. CJ was a very calm baby, and actually managed to bring us even closer as a family. Edward was always happy to change diapers and help with three am feedings; of course, I was nursing so there wasn't much he could do in that department.
I seriously worried that having a baby on my breast all the time would have been sort of a turn off, but Edward seemed to get even friskier than ever. The moment I felt up to having sex again, we were back on, and even more passionate than ever.
Obviously, it wasn't long before I got pregnant again.
One month before CJ had his first birthday, we welcomed our daughter into the family. We named her after Edward's mother, and my grandmother; Elizabeth Marie. CJ couldn't pronounce Elizabeth, so he called her Les, which actually stuck. We all called her Les, and she had all of us wrapped around her prissy little finger. She had auburn hair, and the most beautiful eyes I had ever seen. Anthony's eyes were brown like mine, CJ had green eyes like Edward's, and Les was a mix of both; brown swirled with green, and completely mesmerizing.
A few weeks after Les was born, I actually became the one who was horny all the time. Edward had learned his lesson by getting frisky too soon after CJ was born, but I wanted him so badly, even more than normal, and to be honest, condoms weren't something we ever even thought about using. So after some long discussions, we decided to have Edward get a vasectomy. We were happy with our three kids, and knew our family was complete. Plus, I had been pregnant for almost two years straight, and I didn't care to ever do it again. Feeling a baby inside of me was a magical thing, but it was extremely exhausting at the same time, and I wanted to enjoy the kids we already had.
"Are you taking Les to the park too?" I asked Anthony after he made his friends all leave for the day. Our condo seemed to be the social meeting place for all of Anthony's friends, which was fine by us, but it wasn't very often that Anthony didn't have someone over, so I was planning to take full advantage of our family only time.
"I thought she had dance class?" Anthony asked confused.
"I'm sure she'd rather go to the park with her big brothers," I said encouragingly.
"Alright. We'll be back in a couple hours for dinner," he said before grabbing his car keys.
"Anthony, the park is around the corner, you don't need to drive," I said to him. He just got his license, and he was loving his new found freedom. He drove anywhere he could, but since the park was so close, and with it being the city there wasn't much parking available, I thought it was a little silly.
"But mom, what if it starts raining or something," he actually whined.
"This is New York, not Seattle," I said while looking through the window at the clear blue sky. "You'll be fine," I told him before grabbing his face tightly, and pulling him to me so I could give him a big fat kiss on the cheek.
"Mom, that's gross," he complained, but I saw the smirk he couldn't contain as he wiped his face off with his sleeve.
"Oh, you love my kisses," I teased.
"I'm not ten anymore, someone could have seen that," he said paranoid as he looked out the window behind him.
"We live on twentieth floor," I said with a laugh.
"Still, there are…birds, and things," he said as seriously as possible, but then grinned at himself.
"I love you," I said sweetly.
"Love you too, mom," he said with mock annoyance before going to get his siblings from their rooms.
"By mommy," CJ said as the three of them walked towards the door to leave.
"Listen to your brother, and no fighting," I told both CJ and Les. They were so close in age, that they were often mistaken for twins; they adored each other, but they fought just as much.
"I'm going to be the catcher," Les said, and I had to giggle at the way she was dressed. She was wearing one of her tutus over a pair of holy jeans, and one of Anthony's old hockey jerseys, which was way too big for her.
"OK, have a good time," I said as they came over to hug me.
"And where are you going?" I heard Edward say to Anthony as he came home from work.
"Oh, you know, the alleyway to find a homeless dude to buy me and my friends some beer," Anthony replied like a smartass.
"Cool, just don't get anyone pregnant. I'm too young to be a grandfather right now," Edward said lightly while slapping him on the back.
"Daddy!" CJ and Les yelled simultaneously, and ran to throw themselves at him.
"Hey," he said while scooping them both up and tickling them.
"Daddy stop, we have to go to the park," CJ said through his laughter.
"The park? What about dance class?" he asked Les.
"Not today. Today, Anthony is actually playing with us," Les said excitedly.
"What? Anthony is taking time out of his busy social networking to play? Wow, what's the occasion?" Edward teased Anthony. "Wait a minute, you did get a chick pregnant, didn't you?" he joked with fake horror.
"Dad," Anthony said annoyed. "My girlfriend lives on the other side of the country."
"How do boys get girls pregnant, anyway?" CJ asked Edward curiously.
"Uh-ha," Edward said flustered.
"The Dildo bird comes, stupid," Les said to CJ.
Edward and I just stared at each other baffled for a moment, before I realized what she was saying. "No honey, you mean Dodo bird, but I think you're actually talking about a stork."
"Oh right, a snork. Rose said that's where her baby came from," Les said with a smile.
"Stork," I corrected her with a giggle.
"Is a stork really coming here for Anthony?" CJ asked confused. "If you want, I can get the beebe gun grandpa got me, and I'll shoot it when it comes."
"You're not old enough for that gun yet, and there's no bird bringing a baby for Anthony," I said sternly while shooting Edward a dirty look. Edward smirked sheepishly, and then put up his hands in a defensive position.
"How is that long distance thing working out for you anyway?" Edward asked Anthony seriously. "She is still a little young, you know."
"Dad, just because you were too stupid to realize what you had with mom when you were my age, doesn't mean that I'm going to make that same mistake. Claire and I are fine. She's only two years younger than me anyway," Anthony said snootily.
Claire was Rose's daughter, and after a long battle with social services, Rose finally got back custody. She and Emmett married and recently had a son together. They still lived in Washington, but we visited as much as we could; besides, Charlie was still the police chief there, so we would always return on vacations and holidays.
From the moment Anthony and Claire met, they were immediately smitten with each other. Their friendship quickly grew into something more, and unlike his father before him, Anthony wasn't afraid of it. He was old enough to know the truth about what happened between Edward and me, so he refused to follow down the same path. Anthony loved Claire, and he knew he could be patient and move at her speed as far as romance was concerned. They were sixteen and fourteen, but I could see that their connection went far deeper than their years. It still baffled my mind that both Anthony and his girlfriend were older than I was when I became pregnant with him. They both seemed so young, and I couldn't imagine either of them going through what I did
"Come on, Anthony," CJ pleaded.
"Ok, ok," he said and then grabbed Les's hand before the three of them walked out the door.
"You really need to cool it when it comes to Claire with him," I told Edward when we were alone. He walked over to me and ran his hands down my arms, and he moved his lips so they were brushing against mine as we spoke.
"I know, I'll apologize when he gets back," he puckered and kissed me gently. "I just realized that I didn't even say hello to you yet," he said, staying in the same close position.
"Hello," I said with a smile.
"Are we really alone?" he asked with a scheming tone.
"Completely," I said before pressing my lips back to his, and immediately began undoing his belt.
Our love and desire for each other never decreased over the years; in fact, it probably grew stronger. We could hardly keep our hands off each other, and even on the rare occasions when we did argue, we always ended it with fit of passion afterwards. With the exception of when he was away on business, there wasn't a night that went by when we didn't make love in some way. Even during my cycle or when one of us was sick, we still found a way to connect. It wasn't even about the sex; it was just the need to physically express the very deep and intense love we had for one another. Sometimes, it felt so strong that I was sure I'd burst if I didn't express it with him immediately, and it didn't matter where we were at the time, we could always find a place to be alone to work out that tension.
"What did I ever do to deserve you?" Edward asked after we made love on the kitchen countertop.
"Nothing," I said straight faced, before cleaning up after our tryst. We didn't really make a mess, but I felt uncomfortable knowing the kids frequently used that counter surface to leave their drinks on and whatnot.
Edward laughed once. "I meant it as a rhetorical question."
"I know," I said seriously, but then broke down and smiled. "But I deserve you, so just be grateful."
"I love you so much, and I'm unbelievably grateful," he said before wrapping his arms back around me and kissing my neck.
"Mmm, you better stop before we have to make love again, and risk the kids coming in and catching us," I muttered feebly.
"We probably have time…" he said before lifting me back onto the counter.
"I just cleaned this," I protested.
"Mmhum," he mumbled as he continued to kiss, lick, and nip at my neck.
"Ok, well I could always clean it again…just don't give me a hickey" I said breathlessly while completely losing my battle with self-control.
After we finished our second round of passion, I pushed him away from me and wouldn't allow him to touch me again until later that night. If I let him, he definitely would have pushed our luck and tried for a third time, which we definitely would have be caught during.
The kids came back as I was cleaning up again.
"Hey, how did it go?" I asked before noticing that the two younger kids were covered in dried chocolate ice cream. "I see you got a treat," I said with a smile.
"Yeah, sorry, I know its dinner time and all, they just wouldn't take no for an answer," Anthony explained. "What is for dinner, anyway?" he asked after noticing that I wasn't cooking anything.
I looked at Edward shamefully, because I just realized that we had been having sex practically the entire time I was supposed to be making dinner.
"We're ordering pizza," Edward said quickly with a wink to me.
"Yay Pizza!" CJ cheered.
"I want cheese and pickles," Les said.
"Cheese and pickles?" Edward looked at her disturbed.
"We'll just get cheese, and you can add the pickles on your own slice," I told her. Les always wanted to experiment with new types of food, whereas the boys were pretty picky, so I tried not to discourage her odd combinations.
Edward grabbed the phone to call in the pizzas, and then Anthony suddenly seemed like he remembered something, so he ran back out the door.
"Where's he going so fast?" CJ asked.
"I don't know," I said honestly.
Anthony came back within five minutes, with a hand full of mail.
"Are you expecting something?" I asked amused as he started discarding everything he wasn't interested in.
"It's Wednesday," Anthony said plainly.
"Oh, that's right," I remembered. On top of phone calls, email, texting, and Skype, Anthony and Claire agreed to send a hand written letter to each other once a week, and Claire's always arrived on Wednesdays.
I started to casually look through the 'unimportant' mail that Anthony threw to the side, when something caught my eye.
"What's that?" Edward asked curiously.
"I'm not sure," I said as I opened the medium sized envelope that appeared to have been relabeled. Inside were two smaller envelopes, along with a letter.
Hope everything is good with everyone.
These came last week, and I debated whether or not to actually send them to you,
but I know you're fully capable of handling this sort of thing yourself.
Love you, can't wait to see you for Thanksgiving.
I put his letter aside, and looked at the envelopes; one was labeled 'Bella' and the other was labeled 'Anthony'. Even though there weren't any return addresses, I knew immediately that they were from Tanya. It had been over five years, and this was the first time I heard from her since she threatened suicide at the mill. My first reaction was anger knowing she had sent a letter to Anthony too, that was never part of the deal, but for some unknown reason, I couldn't bring myself to just throw them in the garbage.
Edward became distracted by playing with the kids, so he didn't question what I was looking at any further, and I wasn't going to bring it to his attention at that moment either. I put the letters in a drawer and decided to look at them closer at a later time.
Three days later, and I had yet to open Tanya's letter or even tell Edward about them, but each time I walked into the kitchen, I felt like it was screaming at me to open. So that night, after I had worn Edward out and he was asleep, I reluctantly went quietly to the kitchen to read the letter alone. I wasn't sure at the time why I didn't want to tell Edward about them right away, I had no plans on keeping it from him, but after really thinking about it, I guess I didn't tell him because I knew he'd react negatively, and I wanted to try to keep an open mind. As I opened the letter addressed to me, I still wasn't sure if five years was nearly enough time to be in any contact with her whatsoever, but it was there, and I felt like I had to read it.
I wasn't planning on writing to you so soon, when you mentioned that we could possibly make contact again one day, I knew you meant after a few decades, but I felt like just needed to reach out to you. I also included a letter to Anthony, and before you get angry, please know that it's just an apology and I fully expect you to read it before giving it to him. I'm sure he's old enough now to understand everything that happened, and I needed to tell him how sorry I am, but if you decide not to give him the letter at all, I completely understand.
I just wanted to begin by telling you that you were absolutely right. Of course you were right, you were always the smarter one of us, but I needed you to know that what you told me about finding my own way, was entirely true. I spent three years in intense therapy, and will continue to go for the rest of my life, but I believe I have come a long way.
Last year I moved to Alaska, and even though I have always hated the cold, I absolutely love it here. I've taken up painting, and this is the perfect place to find inspiration…not to mention the fact that the man to woman ratio is like three to one, or some insane number like that. And six months ago, I did the impossible, I fell in love. True, deep, passionate love, the kind I never thought could ever exist for me. She completes me in a way that I never expected, and no, you didn't read that wrong, I did write 'she'.
Her name is Siobhan, and she is the love of my life. I never had desires for a woman before, but when I met her, it was like my entire life had been leading me on the path to find her; she understands the real me, my 'core', and doesn't judge. I was a little uneasy about talking about my new life partner, but I figured that if anyone understood blind love, it was you. She's a photographer, so we spend a lot of time camping in the wilderness so she can take pictures and I can paint. I know what you're thinking, Tanya… in the wilderness…it doesn't make sense, but I really feel like a different person now. Siobhan has made me so happy, though the men here aren't too thrilled that two women are unavailable to them because we're dating each other, but we really don't care. We have four babies together, all of the canine variety, but that's all we need. We live in a small one bedroom house, where the electricity is often out and the internet is nonexistent, but I couldn't imagine life any better.
Bella, I'd understand if none of this interest you, hell, you probably will throw this away without reading it and never know anything about me, but I just wanted to say Thank You…for saving my life. You saved my life that day at the mill, but you also saved my sanity and gave me a chance to find true happiness.
Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, and I love you more than either of us could possibly believe before. If you ever want to write to me, I included my address on the inside flap of the envelope, but I won't get my hopes up. I hope your life is as full of love and happiness as you deserve, and if Edward or anyone else ever treats you wrong, I swear I'll be the first one to make him pay.
May the rest of your days be beautiful,
"Hey, I felt cold so I rolled over in bed, and you were gone. Is everything ok?" Edward asked me softly as he joined me in the kitchen.
I laughed quietly. "You were cold, or horny?"
He thought about it for a moment. "Both," he said shamelessly. "What's that?" he asked after seeing the paper in my hands.
I sighed, and then handed him the letter. "I got this a few days ago, I just wasn't sure if I was actually going to read it until tonight.
"It's from Tanya," he said surprised.
"Do you mind if I read it?" he asked me hesitantly.
"Go ahead, prepare yourself though, it's a little shocking," I said truthfully.
Edward was quiet while he read the letter, but then the intense expression on his face suddenly broke, and he began full out laughing.
"What's so funny?" I asked and couldn't help but smile at his hysterics.
"I turned her into a lesbian," he managed to choke out between his laughter.
"That's not something you should be proud of," I teased him, so he abruptly stopped laughing.
"Oh…right," he said quietly to himself.
"Although, you can't really take credit for this, I mean she was with a lot of other guys during your marriage," I said casually.
Edward nodded. "I bet she was always a lesbian…it sure would explain a lot," he said seriously, and then we both started laughing again.
I wasn't sure how to feel when I was reading her letter, but since Edward and I were laughing about it, I knew without a doubt that were both completely and entirely long past hating her. Our lives were too full and far too amazing to hold any room for hate, even for her, and I felt extremely light from that realization.
"Do you think we should give Anthony his letter?" I asked him after a few minutes.
Edward shrugged. "He already knows everything, but it's your call."
"I think we should. Maybe he still has some unresolved issues with her that he's hiding deep down, and this could help him," I decided.
Even though we agreed that Anthony should have his letter, we still decided to open it and read it first. It was actually very heartfelt, basically consisting of her sorrow and regret, along with her love. It was things she was never able to express to him before, but while reading them, I actually believed every word.
The next morning, we sat Anthony down, and gave him the letter. I waited anxiously while he read it without any facial expressions, and when he was done, he very casually got up and tossed it into the garbage carelessly.
"Anthony, are you ok?" I asked concerned.
"Yeah, why?" he asked confused.
"Well, how does that make you feel?" I asked worriedly.
He shrugged. "I've been over this for a long time now. It doesn't make me feel anything, because I really don't care anymore. I'm glad she's happy, I guess, but I could care less if I never hear from her again."
"Are you sure?" I asked skeptically, unsure if he was being honest about his true feelings or not.
"Mom, I swear, I have no pain, or sadness, or even anger left for her. That's nothing but the distant past, and I have no desire to dwell on it."
As Anthony spoke, I knew it was the truth. He always saw things very clearly when it came to Tanya. He was strong, and if anyone could handle what she did, it was definitely him.
"He gets that from you, you know," Edward said tenderly after Anthony left the room.
"What?" I asked confused.
"The quiet fierceness that makes him able to move past the most painful situations, along with limitless ability to forgive. You are his strength; before you, he wasn't even half of what he's become, and he would have never reached any of it without you. You gave CJ and Les that strength too, and I will never cease to be amazed by you."
"No, I just knew what I wanted and refused to stop until I got there," I said, feeling very emotional from his compliment.
"When will you ever see yourself clearly," he said lovingly, and then he pulled me into him for a soft but passionate kiss….
"Eww!" a little voice said from the hallway.
"Eww?" Edward said teasingly. He went and grabbed Les, and swung her around before peppering kisses all over her face.
"Daddy stop, that's gross," she said while giggling.
CJ ran to them from the other room, and practically jumped into Edward's playful arms.
"Hey, where did Anthony go?" Edward asked me while the kids wrestled on top of him.
"I think back to his room," I guessed.
"Hey, come on, let's go bug your brother," Edward said to Les and CJ.
"No daddy, he said we weren't allowed in his room," CJ said quickly.
"Well, then this will be even more fun. Come on, let's go," he told them mischievously.
"Yeah, let's get'em," Les said eagerly.
I followed the three of them into Anthony's room, and watched with a smile as they all dog piled on top of him on his bed. There wasn't anything I loved more than watching my husband playing with our kids; it was my biggest joy, and when my life was over one day, I'd look back on my time and be blissfully satisfied.
I had everything I ever wanted, and as much as I liked to say it was wonderful to take it all for granted, I knew I never would. I walked a decade in hell to get to where I belonged, and that was something that could never be taken light of. I won, I beat the demons that held me back, including the ones within me, and I created the family I always needed. Even if I would never admit it out loud, Edward was right, I was strong, and I had every right to be proud of everything I accomplished.
"Mommy come on, help us beat up Anthony," Les called to me while laughing.
I smiled, and then ran and jumped on top of the piled up Masens on the bed. Anthony was bitter about our intrusion at first, but then he gave up his teenaged sulk, and we all played together for the rest of the morning…. just as we would for the rest of our lives. Always together, even if not physically, our love would keep us united forever.
A few weeks later, I wrote to my sister. I told her about my life, as she had told me about hers, and I introduced my two younger children to her by sending a picture. Two weeks after that, I got another letter from Tanya.
Your children are beautiful, and I can't believe how much Anthony has grown.
Thank you so much for sending the picture.
May you always be so blessed….
I knew we would continue to write back and forth, but only time would tell if I'd ever be willing to have a real face to face meeting with her again; at the moment, I still couldn't imagine it.
I was so confident in my family and in my future, that I had no fear. Hatred, resentment, and anger were all things of my past, and I would not fall victim to the cancer that those negative emotions can create, the way my mother had. Life, love, passion, those were my future, and I would hang onto them until long after the day I die.
**Once again, thank you so much for reading this, I really hope you enjoyed it as much as I did writing it. Like with all my stories, I'll actually miss these characters, but their lives are happy now, and happiness is boring. lol.
Don't forget to look on my profile and check out my other stories. I have a lot of them, all of which have banners or collages, and my new B/E AH story 'Between Love and Honor' will be up soon.
Please, please, take a minute and give this story one last review, I'd really appreciate it.