A/N: Hi everyone. This is it. The last chapter. I would've had it too you sooner but life was hectic and then Jasper and Bella didn't want to cooperate. Haha. So thank you everyone for reading and reviewing. You guys are amazing.
Thanks to HopelessRomantic79 for being my beta and guiding light through this story 3
Five very long years have passed since that fateful day. I can't really remember much from then, besides the overwhelming feeling of wholeness I felt when I saw Jasper pacing back and forth on that sidewalk. The pain and emptiness I felt for the years that he was in prison, vanished. I cursed myself for not going and visiting him while he was in there. Hindsight really is 20/20, because now that he was out and with me, I couldn't figure out why I didn't go and see him. My reasoning made no sense.
The first year he was out was really a test in strength for us, separately and together. We continued to live apart, by suggestion of our therapists, multiple therapists. We each had our own therapist and a marriage counselor. It was helping, immensely. We were moving forward, albeit very slowly, but enough where we were starting to feel like ourselves again.
We moved in with each other again two and a half years after he was out. We decided to get rid of the apartment and start fresh. A new place to go with our new outlook on life, it was good. It was a small little apartment but it worked for us.
Jasper and I both worked with Peter, and now Charlotte too, for the family construction business. It was growing despite the economy and providing us all with a decent lifestyle. Mary was sad to see me go at the diner, but was more than happy to see us working everything out. We still go and see her at least once a month, if not more.
Six months ago we bought our first house. It was beautiful two story house not far from Peter and Charlotte's. The three bedroom, two bathroom house was a must have buy, because once again, I was pregnant.
This time however, it was planned.
After much consideration, and many sessions with our marriage counselor, we decided to try again. It was an emotionally charged time for us. It actually took us eight months before we conceived again. I was devastated each month when it would turn out that I wasn't pregnant. I had worried that losing the previous baby and the trauma from that had caused me to become infertile, that I was becoming too old to conceive, or that I was being punished by God for whatever reason and this was my price to pay. It was a month after my 35th birthday that two pink lines finally came back on the pregnancy test. I took four more to make sure it wasn't a false positive.
When Jasper found out, he was ecstatic. We went and bought a new house and he and Peter immediately went to work on one of the spare bedrooms. They painted, they built, and they wouldn't even let me in. He kept the door locked so it 'would be a surprise' for me. And boy was it! It was gender neutral, because we wanted the sex to be a surprise, with a beautiful jungle theme. I guess even Charlotte came in and helped because there was a giant tree painted in one corner of the walls with its branches extending across the ceiling and walls with happy jungle animals all over. She painted it for us all by hand.
I cried so hard that night, and over exhausted myself, to the point that Jasper demanded I be on 'bed rest' for the rest of the pregnancy. He didn't want to take any chances and neither did I. While Jasper was at work, I was slowly unpacking and setting up our new house. Needless to say I ran out of things to do quickly, and was swiftly becoming a bored stay at home mommy with no baby to care of yet.
But all that changed today when my water broke while Jasper was at work, to be more specific, on a job in a city more than five hours away. He didn't want to get sent on this job so far away with only a few weeks left in my pregnancy, but the chance at such a high paying job was too great, especially when Peter and Charlotte just found out that they were pregnant with their fourth child. They were both still able to come home for three days of the week, but it wasn't the same. I spent most my time over at Charlotte's with my nieces and nephew. And that's where my water broke. Thankfully, Charlotte was an old pro at this now and got me to the hospital and our husbands called in no time.
By the time Jasper was finally able to get to the hospital, I was nearly ready to push. The doctor was surprised with how fast this labor was but I wasn't paying attention that much. I was in too much pain but within a few hours the doctor was putting a small blue bundle in my arms, a son. After checking for ten toes, ten fingers and all the necessary body parts, they whisked him off, and I fell asleep.
"…and you're going to love your new bedroom. Your uncle Peter and your Aunt Charlotte both helped me set it up for you little man. Your momma, she was so surprised when it was finished. I wish you could have seen her face. I should have taken a picture for you." I whispered to the little sleeping baby in my arms. My son. I was a father…again. I stared down in his little face, his bottom lip pouting out slightly as he dozed the night away. Bella was still asleep in the bed. She needed her rest and I needed a little bonding time with my son.
I was still having a bit of a hard time with all of this. It made my heart ache that we never got to have this moment with our little Madeline May. That asshole took that away from us. But with that same thought, I took this moment away from him. He could have been a daddy someday too. And that was one of my biggest regrets. I took away the chance for someone else to feel the overwhelming joy I was feeling now. Regardless of how much of a bad guy he was, he still deserved the chance. I was still seeing my therapist, and would definitely be going in soon. I was beyond happy that we were moving on and had our family but my guilty conscious would not lay to rest what I had done, self-defense in the end or not. And I probably would always regret it.
Madeline May Whitlock had her own little grave at our, newly purchased, family plot. And our son will grow up knowing that he should have had a big sister. I'd like to think they would have been best friends. She could have taught him how to ride a bike, like Peter did with me. Or made sure other kids didn't pick on him in the school yard. She would have been ten years old this year, an unimaginable number to me.
"Why do you look so sad while holding our son?" I heard Bella hoarsely whisper from the bed. I looked up at her and tried to smile. "What's wrong?"
"Nothing. Well….I was just thinking about Madeline and how she should have been here with us." She stretched out her arms towards me and scooted over in the bed slowly, wincing while she did.
I placed our son in her arms and gently laid down next to her. A single tear dropped down her cheek as she adjusted the blanket around him. "I miss her too. So so much. Especially after today. But you know she is here with us, looking down from heaven and watching with a smile." She leaned down and kissed our son's forehead gently.
We sat quietly for a few minutes, just watching our son sleep. He was handsome. He had a little tuft of kind of wavy dirty blonde hair on his head. His nose was definitely Bella's. My lips, I think. And maybe my ears too. Poor kid. But he had Bella's eyes, darkest eyes I had ever seen on a baby.
"We really need to come up with a name for him," she whispered.
"We could name him after your dad?"
"No way. I love my dad but Charles is such an old man name." I laughed.
"What about Jack?"
"Veto." She said while laughing, trying to keep quiet so she didn't wake him.
"What's wrong with Jack?"
"It reminds me of the Titanic and how she whispers Jack. I would constantly be thinking that if I ever had to say 'Jack, come back.' So no." I laughed at her reasoning.
"I like that." She hummed. "But…how about Samuel Peter Whitlock?"
I smiled. "You want to name him after my brother?"
She nodded. "Your brother and Charlotte were there for me, no questions asked, when I couldn't even get my own family on the phone. If it wasn't for Peter, I don't know what would have happened to me while you were…away."
"Hello Mr. Samuel Peter Whitlock." I whispered as I leaned down and kissed his forehead. This little boy had me wrapped around his finger and he wasn't even a day old yet. I don't think there wasn't a single thing in this world that I wouldn't do for him. "Welcome to our family little man. How would you like to have some younger siblings?"
"Jasper?" Bella shrieked while laughing.
"What? The clock's ticking. We should get started on filing our house up as soon as possible." I wiggled my eyebrows at her and she blushed. After 10 years, I still loved that blush.
"Well…there really is only one more room left to fill…" I whipped out my phone and started to text Peter. "What…what are you doing Jasper?" She tried to lean over and see what I was typing. I quickly finished off the text and closed my phone.
"Oh…I was just letting Peter know about our next project at work."
"And that would beee…?"
I laughed and lifted our little Sam man out of her arms. If I had him in my arms she wouldn't be tempted to smack me when I told her. "Oh just the expansion on our home. A couple more bedrooms, play room, jungle gym in the backyard. Nothing big. You know…for all those children we are going to get to work on making as soon as possible."
She laughed. "Only you Jasper. God, if I didn't love you so much…."
"Yeah, but you do. And I love you too." I leaned in and captured her lips with mine. We may have had a rocky, unconventional start to our happily ever after, but we were well on our way to getting there someday. It wasn't a step too far away now.