The One That Got Away
Edward struggled to remain faithful to his dedication to his craft. He just wanted this tour over so they could start their lives. Living in hotel rooms was never enjoyable for him, and now all his houses were selling like hot cakes, he would soon be homeless. He could never have crossed the threshold of any house he had taken any of his fans to, with Bella on his arm. He wished he could just burn them all to the ground and annihilate the past they had witnessed.
It seemed there were plenty of up and coming stars who wanted to be able to boast of living in a house Edward had owned, and it seemed an almost daily event, signing contracts for the sales.
"So, I never get to even see inside your mansions," Bella moaned.
"Never. Get used to it. I will never go there again and I never want to see so much as a piece of furniture I used or an outfit I wore there. No doubt my clothes will end up on ebay, but I just don't care. You have to choose where we live from now on. Some place new, that only reflects us. No memories."
"Is there a house on that island you bought Esme?" she asked.
Edward grinned. He had never taken anyone there, too personal. It would be the ideal place to flee to once the tour was done. Nobody knew it existed, other than family members and they would protect his privacy to the death.
Edward Cullen would disappear.
They could stay until the baby was born.
Bella headed into the bathroom and he heard her curse. So, no baby this month. It may take a while, Carlisle had warned. That would be natural. The other pregnancy had been completely unplanned and they may have been taking chances for months before it happened.
They hadn't known to be vigilant.
Bella returned and he took her into his embrace, and kissed the top of her head.
"Maybe it's better if she is conceived somewhere beautiful, not in some hotel. We have five days left then we can go to Esme's Island and start this baby making in earnest. Wouldn't you prefer memories of making a love child on an island that has a strict no clothes policy?"
"What if it has a run of cold weather?" she asked him.
"Then I guess we stay in bed. That will be a hardship but I think we are up to the challenge. No photos by the way. Nothing for public consumption once we leave New York. I want our lives to begin completely out of the public eye."
"Of course. But I may require photos for my own enjoyment," Bella replied. Naked Edward would always be her favorite photographic subject. She was slightly disappointed not to be pregnant already but he did have a point. How much nicer making babies on a private island rather than some hotel they would never visit again. Mind you, it would be very surprising if Rose came out of this tour without a little stranger inside her belly.
"Edward, can we book a room further away from your brother in the next hotel?" she asked as they threw their clothes into their bags.
"God yes. That is something I will be happy to never hear again. How noisy does sex have to be?"
"Do you get charged extra every time he breaks a bed?" Bella asked.
"I think they keep the evidence to show the groupies and consider a bed smashed by Emmett a tourist attraction. I wouldn't know. Alice has always paid the bills and taken care of everything."
"Are you going to talk to her? Jasper is getting too antsy, Edward. You are punishing him by refusing to see her. Whatever she did, she is your sister and family is important. The Cullen's are all we have. I doubt Charlie will be playing grand-daddy to this theoretical baby. And Renee will be too far away to be much of an influence. If you refuse to ever see Alice again, you will break your Mom's heart. Alice belongs back with us, Edward. If we are letting go of the past, then all that she did is part of it. "
"How can you possibly forgive her?" he asked, pulling her close.
"Maybe because had she not agreed to letting me come on this tour, you and I would have continued on our downward spirals of self destruction. She may have killed us but she also paved the way for our resurrected love as well. Think about that."
Edward did want to leave everything fixed before they disappeared. He got no joy from being apart from Alice. He just didn't know if he could handle seeing her again.
"Do it for Jasper," Bella pleaded. "Do it for me."
"Unfair," he growled. "That's dirty pool. You know I'd do anything for you."
"Good, then fix this, Edward. Go talk to her alone and sort this mess out."
Edward grabbed at his hair and Bella caught his hand and kissed it instead. "Calm down. You can do this, Edward. You have always put everybody before yourself. Just remember all the good things she has done over your lifetime and forgive her this one slip. Nothing can change the price we paid but we are good now. Share the joy."
"You want everyone to be as happy as we are, don't you?" he whispered.
"Why not? We get our new beginning, and she still has Jasper to win over. That will be a hard enough challenge and.."
"You are her brother, it's up to you to make the first move and forgive her so he can too. Hating what she did is perfectly reasonable but hating her will only hurt you. Be the big man and show her there's always hope for a new start."
Bella held her breath. She had almost said something about Alice's baby and that subject would just inflame the situation. She and Jasper had agreed, that piece of news needed to wait before being exposed. Edward could only handle so much and knowing she was carrying a child when Bella wasn't could make things even worse.
Alice had agreed. She would do and say whatever Jasper wanted. Bella had spent so many years torn apart from the Cullen's, she felt that punishment would be excessive and she knew everyone was waiting for Edward to begin things and open the door to them welcoming Alice home. She was family and they had all missed her.
Alice opened the door and stood still, not daring to speak.
Edward brushed past her and sat down to face her. His hands sought his hair and he stilled them and put them in his pockets instead.
"We need to talk."
Alice nodded agreement and wiped her cheeks with the back of her hand. "I'm so sorry. I know what I did now and I will never forgive myself. I never thought you really loved her, Edward. We'd all been 'in love' and managed to move on and fall for the next candidate and I wrongly assumed your love was no more real than anything we had felt ourselves. I never knew what love was until Jasper opened his heart to me. And now I know what it's like to not be allowed access to that all consuming love."
"We have to let the past go and move on. Bella needs us to be okay and whatever Bella wants, she gets. I don't know if I would have ever even tried to forgive you on my own but she is right, as always. Banishing you won't achieve anything. All I want is for things to be back how they were and I think that's happening, Alice. I think Bella honestly has forgiven me so it's only fair that I pass on the love and forgive you too. You had no way of knowing what your manipulations would do to me. It will take time, mind you. I still cannot believe you let me suffer for so long."
"I'm so sorry. I will stay out of your way and visit the parents when you aren't there, whatever you want."
"That wouldn't help. We are either family or not. Either we avoid one another from now on and never see each other again or we make up and get along. I dare say the next year will help, seeing Bella and I won't be returning to Forks for a while. Use this time apart to fix you and Jas, then fix things with Mom and Dad, and Emmett.
When we return, we'll take it slow and let the past go, okay?"
"Thank you, Edward. It's more than I deserve. I do know that. I know it's you two that paid and I can't alter what happened but I do so want us all to find a way to live with it. Family is all that matters, I know that now. Finally."
Edward stood and gazed out of the window. The curve of her normally concave belly had not gone unnoticed by him and he didn't understand why she deserved a baby and he and Bella had yet to start their own. Fate was a fickle bitch. Maybe his crimes were worse than hers and he was fooling himself. Maybe he would never have the joy of holding a child of their own.
"Good luck. With the baby and Jasper and the family," he said, walking out the door.
Alice sat down and sobbed into her hands and knew she would pay for years to come. She doubted she deserved a second chance but Edward was giving her one and she was going to embrace that. Jasper walked from the other bedroom and sat beside her, holding her in his arms and kissing away her tears.
The audience were stunned as Edward announced the band would never perform together again. The cries of disbelief and disappointment echoed in the stadium and he thanked everyone for making them what they were. He promised to always treasure the music and their appreciation of it and bowed one last time as they cried and clapped or stood there in shock. No more Midnight Sin?
Edward all but ran from the stage and ignored the calls to return. They were done. The record was out, and Jane would reveal the whole truth tomorrow with her special issue, "Dawn Breaks On Midnight Sin- The Ending Of A Band. A pictorial record of the last tour."
Emmett teased the audience by tapping on his drums, as if warming up. Jasper was still on stage, tuning his guitar and strumming quietly. They'd both agreed to be the distraction and let Edward and Bella race for the limo one last time, and be far away before the audience twigged.
"Sing something, Jasper," someone called and he grinned.
"Well, I usually just do back up," he replied and pulled the mike closer.
"Here's a song we never got around to putting on an album. It never suited Edward's voice. It's called 'Never Give Up'. Jake, my man, why don't you grab a guitar and help me out."
The audience sat there hypnotised as Jasper's voice captivated them. The applause was deafening and he turned and raised an eyebrow at Emmett. Maybe they could go on, without Edward.
Maybe Midnight Sin was over, but they still enjoyed the thrill and they could try to be something new, without him. "So, Emmett and Jake and I are thinking of forming another band, what do you think?" he asked and the response was wildly excited and deafening.
Alice would manage them and the show could go on.
"Phoenix," he decided. "We'll be the band that rose from the ashes of Midnight Sin."
They did six songs, that had never quite made the grade due to Edward's high standards and it made them think this could really be possible. The audience loved the new sound and nobody left until the boys left the stage themselves, having promised to work on an album. Jasper assured them all, if sales dictated there was a place for them, they would be back on tour again next year.
Jake had attracted a lot of attention himself, it never hurt to have more eye candy and he was quite decent on guitar, Jasper realised. With a bit of practise, this new band could show promise.
Edward helped Bella from the plane and led her towards the taxi rank. It was slightly weird, no limo at their disposal, but this was a private trip and he didn't want anyone knowing where they were living now. His hair was hidden beneath a hoodie and dark glasses covered much of the rest of his face as he huddled down behind the scarf around his neck, as if cold. Bella was dressed much the same, the way a million young people their ages dressed. No show of wealth , just the casual attire available in most department stores.
No brands or logos, just boringly regular clothes.
The cab driver dropped them on the docks and Edward grabbed their bags and her hand and led the way to the boat.
Another hour and they'd be snug in bed on the island.
They needed some time to be alone and be a couple again and no distractions. They missed the flurry of excitement as Jane's magazine hit the stands and caused many a girl to cry out in disbelief. Jane had contacted Jasper and Emmett and already had an idea. Maybe Jessica could travel with the new band on their first tour next year and she could follow them as they grew and maybe became as famous as Midnight Sin. Phoenix would be Volturri's own resident band and her magazine would have endless exclusive footage to show the world.
Edward wouldn't have cared, anyway. The only thing he cared about was the woman asleep in his bed. There was no white picket fence around the beach house but it would do, until they returned home and moved into their own new house that would be built in their absence. It was his gift to Bella and she would know nothing until they finally returned home to Forks in time for Carlisle to deliver the baby they were working on making.
If she didn't want to live full time back there, he would buy her another house somewhere else, but he had an idea she would want to stick close to his parents so their children would always know family.
He couldn't wait to be truly unnoticed and ordinary again. This next year with not a single sighting should remove him from the interest of paparazzi and fans alike. He had nothing for them now but he was happy to hear the boys were going to form another band, as he read Jasper's text message. They loved the life, he didn't. They would do good and he would be their biggest fan.
Bella opened her eyes and smiled at him.
"Why are you sitting up and not making love to me?" she asked and he grabbed her and lifted her into his arms.
"Because it will be more fun outdoors, under the sun. Maybe even in the edge of the water. You need to grab some water bottles, we wouldn't want to dehydrate," he chuckled and paused beside the fridge while she grabbed the drinks.
They had the entire island and nobody ever came close enough to see them. Clothes were forbidden, unless she started to burn from the unfamiliar sunshine. Then he would allow something to cover her body. Maybe sunscreen.
Maybe it would be best to coat her in that right from the start. He grabbed a tube and headed for the lagoon and lay her on the sand.
His method was simple. Kiss every inch of her body then rub the sunscreen on her, and take particular care of her breasts. She was putty in his hands, a ball of moaning, begging putty, by the time he was half finished covering her skin and he slid inside her body and held her close, her back to his chest. He kissed her neck and rolled them into the sand, only leaving her for a second to change positions so he could kiss her as they made love.
Looking back, he knew that was the beginning of their daughter. He hadn't known at the time, it didn't seem all that different to any other of their sessions of love making except her buzz changed. He was still inside her when he frowned and touched her skin with the palm of his hand above her breasts.
"Something's different," he stated, narrowing his eyes.
"What do you mean?" Bella asked lazily. She never was that alert after exploding around him.
"The pitch of your skin. The sound you emit when we are together. It's changed."
"Or maybe you are just crazy," Bella answered.
He worried a little and wondered what it could mean, until the day she suddenly sprung from his arms one morning when he wished her a happy Saturday, and grabbed his hand.
"I'm late. If this is Saturday, I was due three days ago."
The test seemed to take forever but finally there it was. The proof she had been right to have faith he could impregnate her again.
"You won't stop with the love making, right?" she asked him worriedly.
"I believe it makes for an easier birth or maybe that's an old wives tale. But we could test that theory. See if daily love making leads to an easy delivery," he suggested.
"Sounds good," she replied.
He relaxed somehow, despite the way the last pregnancy ended, and just held on to the belief it would all be okay this time. He cared for her like she would break if he didn't keep alert and recognise danger before it happened. Carlisle instructed him on using the doppler to keep a check on the hearbeat and he told Edward it would be safe to stay away for the first six months, then he would come there himself and escort them home.
Edward cooked and cleaned and hugged and kissed and marvelled at how wonderful life could be. He missed nothing of his old life.
Jasper excitedly kept them updated both with the band news and Alice's progress and they both felt happy for the couple when Jamieson arrived and gave his parents their first experience at grandparenting.
Bella wanted to rush back and see the baby but Edward was determined to stay another five weeks, until she hit the six month deadline.
The wedding occurred to him one night, while he chatted to Esme on the phone alone outside as she updated him progress reports on his newly finished house. The decorating was almost done and the gardens were a work of genius, she assured him. All natural looking cottage gardens full of wildflowers. Charlie had taken on that task and he and Carlisle argued for hours about what would grow best where.
"In the end, I made the call and ordered Charlie to do the front gardens and Carlisle got to do the backyard, and they are still arguing about the side yards," she sighed. "You have two summerhouses, I gave up and let them both win that argument. One out the front overlooking the biggest garden and one well down the backyard, near the pool. You could always have the walls filled in and use it as a changeroom," she suggested."Honestly, Edward, you have five acres around the house and they have argued about what to plant in every inch. You even have a different type of lawn out the back. Now they are watching it like hawks, betting which will be the greener. These men need hobbies. Or a grandchild in common. You couldn't manage twins, I don't suppose?"
"You needed to put in that order five months ago, I assumed we all wanted just the one," he replied." No matter. Bella is already nagging for a sibling for this baby so I think they'll have a mess of babies to play with in no time. Mom, I want you to do something for me. I want you to all come over and fetch us home, but first I want a surprise wedding. Here. On the beach."
"How could we do that without Bella noticing? Why not bring her home and we could all be waiting in the summerhouses and throw a wedding here? Stay somewhere for a night on the way home and get here around noon and we could have it then. We just need a dress, how big is she?"
"Tiny. She insists she is tiny. I'm not bursting that bubble, Mom. I would say any average circus tent would fit her."
"Maybe a lacy caftan? Something loose and unfitted?"
"You decide. I'll snap a photo in the morning with my phone and send it to you."
Bella greeted his suggestion she slip into a bikini with suspicion. They had been naked so long now, she didn't understand why she suddenly had to dress.
"I want to take a photo and keep a record of how you are progressing. For Dad. He needs to see your belly is the normal size for five months," he improvised.
"Is there a right size? Some women are enormous by then. Not everyone stays little like me," she explained and Edward decided to delete the photo after sending, so she didn't get to see the reality. Wider than high, was his prediction of how she would be by nine months if she kept expanding at this rate.
Bella posed happily and he sent his Mom several of the photos and started deleting them just as Bella grabbed his phone.
"Oh my God, I look like a whale. No more swimming with the dolphins in the cove, they may attack me by mistake."
"I don't think dolphins attack whales," Edward replied without thinking, "You will be perfectly safe." And Bella stomped off to the house.
"Okay the pregnancy hormones finally kicked in," he texted his Mom and she wished him good luck with that.
Bella insisted on dressing, every day, after that and expressed the fear she was too fat to make love, a suggestion he promptly disproved as he lay behind her on the bed and moved in close.
She responded and came to the same conclusion herself. There was still room to maneuver.
All the same, Edward sensed it was time to take her home and let her have the company of women. It was only three weeks ahead of schedule but it was time.
He called Esme and she assured him the wedding could be done any time, this Saturday would be fine. The dress was done, the caterers had been booked to do the anniversary lunch party for her and Carlisle that day anyway. She would just switch things about, the guest list was similar, just one or two extras at the wedding now.
Bella slept on the plane trip home and didn't actually need a stopover, but Edward pleaded fatigue so he could follow his mother's orders, and broke the trip overnight.
The next morning, Bella was awake and eager to get home, though she did point out seeing Edward had sold all his houses, they had nowhere to live anyway.
"Mom wants us to stay with her and she said there's been some building activity in Forks while we have been away. She is sure we will find a house to our taste."
"Fine, Edward. But I want us in our own house before his creature emerges," she warned him.
"Not a problem," he replied. He hoped he had gotten the house just right. She liked pretty, and cottagey and white, so he had run with that. He'd stolen her scrapbook of magazine pictures and photos of houses she had been keeping, and Carlisle had made sure to incorporate some of the things she particularly liked. Attic bedrooms, wide staircase, big family country kitchen, white plantation shutters on all windows and doors. A music room with a white grand piano.
Six bedrooms upstairs, two guestrooms down.
They'd discussed how many children they each preferred. Bella seemed to think two was ideal, Edward hoped to persuade her to double that. He wanted both a son and a daughter and four pregnancies seemed to increase that likelihood.
But he had yet to convince her that four kids would be great. Maybe two now and a break, and two more later? They had time.
Bella stepped from the cab and looked about.
"Whose house is this? We aren't going house viewing before we even see the family, are we?" she complained.
Esme, Rose and Alice stepped out of the summerhouse and Bella smiled and held out her arms. He had been right, she needed fellow females to nest.
Esme took her inside, and Bella looked at the matching dresses Rose and Alice wore and laughed. "Was it a sale? I never thought I'd see the day you two would dress alike. I can't believe one of you didn't rush home and change."
It only hit her when the women started removing her comfortable dress and urged her to shower and then they prepared her, and dressed her body and hair, and Rose made up her face.
Edward changed inside the upper floor and checked every bedroom and bathroom.
"Perfect, Dad. She will love it. Everything."
"Then come on and marry her. Jasper and Emmett are waiting."
Edward followed his father downstairs and paused at the sound of the women giggling.
"Edward does know, right? We aren't trapping him into this?" Bella questioned.
"It was his idea, sweetheart," Esme assured her.
"But he didn't even propose," Bella replied.
He'd organised a wedding and not thought to ask the bride to marry him.
He turned to his father, who laughed and shook his head, and reached inside his pocket.
"My mother's ring. She will love it."
"When? We are about to walk down the aisle."
"Now, Edward," he smirked.
Edward approached the door of the guestroom and knocked.
"Did you forget something, Edward?" Alice asked.
Edward went to Bella and knelt at her feet.
"Bella, would you do me the honor of marrying me, here, today? I'm so sorry for forgetting to give you the choice."
"Well, seeing I'm wearing a wedding dress, I guess I will say yes," she replied. Edward smiled and slipped the ring on her finger and kissed her cheek. "Thank you, I will make sure you never regret this," he swore.
"Now go," Rose ordered, painting Bella's nails.
Edward was smiling broadly as he joined Emmett and Jasper outside. Emmett was balancing Jas's son in his arms, swinging the infant in the air.
"I'm going to say it's probably just as well you are just the uncle. Don't drop him."
"He loves it," Jasper replied. "So, you arrive home and get married before even catching your breath."
"I didn't want Bella to think about it too long. The element of surprise is helpful to many men, unworthy of their woman."
"Oh, come on. She loves and adores you. All that crap is forgotten now."
"I will never understand women," Edward confided. "I wouldn't have touched me with a ten foot barge pole. She, on the other hand, never hesitated from that first morning."
"She wanted you back. Sometimes it is that simple. Look at me and Alice. I wanted her back and I didn't let anyone influence my decision."
"That's the only way to play the game. It's between two people only, when it comes down to it."
"Places," Carlisle called and Esme took Jamieson and told Emmett to straighten his tie.
Edward looked back, up the aisle where his bride was walking on her father's arm. It appeared Charlie had mellowed and accepted the inevitable, at last. He even managed to smile at Edward as he handed his daughter over.
Edward nodded his thanks and took her hand.
They gazed into one another's eyes as the preacher said the words that made her his forever.
Edward agreed, he did, and slid a second ring on that same finger.
Bella paled until Rose handed her a ring, and she placed it on Edward's hand.
The guests cheered and Edward kissed his bride.
"Okay, now you need to be bridesmaid for me," Alice said as they reached the end of the aisle.
"What?" Edward asked.
"We are all doing it. Jasper and I next, then Rose and Emmett."
"And who'd have thought, I'd be the one not pregnant nor a mother," Rose joked.
It had always seemed she would be the one to 'get caught out' but it hadn't happened and now she was about to become a 'decent married woman' before Emmett managed to knock her up. They weren't trying, just weren't not trying. It would happen.
Bella stood beside Alice and after that, beside Rose, then expressed a desire to sit down and put her feet up.
Edward managed to hand out the correct rings to the correct grooms and wanted a drink and a rest himself.
He sat beside his wife and put his arms around her waist and felt the baby kick.
"Bridie," he said and Bella looked up at him.
"She's been to three weddings, we should name her Bridie."
"Why not?" she smiled.
Bella was blown away by Phoenix, and danced at Edward's side as he carefully balanced their daughter in his arms, backstage. He wanted to see them perform but not enough to leave his little Bridie in Esme's care long enough to attend as a regular fan.
Bella was bursting with excitement, and grabbed Jake and Jasper and then Emmett into a hug as they left the stage.
"You guys are awesome. We need to come to all your home concerts. Right, Edward?"
"Sure," Edward replied. Maybe the day would come when he could relinquish his hold on his daughter and trust his Mom to keep her safe. Just not yet.
Jessica turned and caught sight of him with the baby and snapped a photo. Edward handed the infant to Bella and chased after Jess, grabbing her as she snapped another celebrity unawares.
"You need to delete that picture, Jess."
"Why? Your fans will be thrilled to see you have a wife and a baby and you owe them."
"No, I owed them a new album and a tour each year and they got that. I've paid my dues. This is my real life and I don't share. I don't want a single photo or word about my daughter to appear anywhere. I knew we shouldn't have come tonight."
"Sorry, Edward. You have the right to decide. Your baby didn't ask to be born to the most popular lead singer of the most popular band."
"That's all in the past, Jess. Thanks," Edward replied, handing back her camera with one less photo.
He truly wanted an anonymous life and was determined to get it.
"Come on, fangirl, let's go home," he said to Bella and she grabbed a Phoenix t shirt from the table and held it tight.
"Hey, I know all the band members. I get to hang with another famous band, Edward."
"Just no sleeping with any band member this time," he growled and put his spare arm around her.
"Okay, fine. I'll just sleep with my husband, Mr Average Joe," she agreed and let him lead her to their car. She wanted what he wanted , an ordinary life. It was enough.
It was perfect.
Sorry for the rush, I have a deadline of Nov 17th to finish these open stories, except So Close. It will be upated after these are done. Cheers, thanks for reading.