Sometimes, I really hated the holidays; Christmas in particular. People were always so greedy that time of the year as they fought and cursed their ways through last minute shopping deals. Even the Santa Clauses, who ring bells outside of stores, were often rude.
"Oh what? Mr. Money bags is too good for charity?" one particularly nasty Santa said to me one afternoon as I was coming out of Walmart.
"Laurence?" I said as I squinted my eyes to see through the beard.
"Fuck you!" he replied casually.
"Ha, it is you!" I said surprised. "Well, it looks like you're doing well," I said sarcastically.
"Go fuck yourself," he said while keeping his careless tone.
"Wow, that was nice Santa, we'll see if we leave you any cookies by the fireplace," I said mockingly before heading to my car.
I threw my bags in the trunk, and then put the car into drive, before that same Santa stepped out in front of my exit.
"Do you want to get run over?" I asked irritated.
Laurence then pulled down his beard and walked over to my window. "Wow, I can't believe you actually got this thing back," he said while looking over my Volvo.
"No thanks to you," I said coldly.
"What? If you really won that fucking bet, then you should have come back for it."
I rolled my eyes. "Dude, that was over thirteen years ago, get over it; I have," I said before trying to roll up my window, but his hand jetted out to stop it.
"I fucking made you, you'd be nothing if it weren't for me," he said irately.
"Excuse me?" I asked with a laugh. "How are you responsible for my life?"
"If it weren't for that bet, you would have been just as much of a fuck up as I am. I gave you that pretty little wife of yours, your kids, and your fucking career," he said sourly.
I thought about it, and nodded in agreement. "Hey, I guess you're right. Thanks man, I appreciate it."
"That's it? That's all you have to fucking say to me? The way I see it, you owe me."
"I owe you what?" I asked amused by his seriousness.
"Everything…but I'll settle on just the shit in your fucking wallet," he said as he pulled out a gun and stuck it in my face.
"Wow, you're not really a charity worker are you?" I asked unfazed. "I bet you swiped the Santa suit from some real do-gooder, and you pocket all the money you make here, don't you?"
"I'm not fucking playing here Masen, give me your fucking wallet!" he demanded while cocking his gun.
"Is this the same one you threatened me with all those years ago?" I asked as I looked at the barrel.
"Your wallet!" he shouted.
"Fine," I said with a huff. I looked in the seat next to me where I had thrown my wallet, and picked it up to give to Laurence. I suppose I was lucky, he could have followed me home and turned the gun on my family, and that would have ended very badly…for him that is.
I held it up, so Laurence stepped closer to take it, but then I grabbed him by the collar of his costume, and twisted it so he was actually choking from it.
"Listen you fucking prick," I said sternly as I practically pulled him through my window. "I really don't appreciate having a gun in my fucking face." He looked scared shitless, and he probably was because he was a fucking pansy. The idiot couldn't even remember that he had a fucking gun then, but I suppose being choked was a little distracting. "Now, give me the gun," I said calmly.
He gargled and made choking noises as his face turned sever different shades of red, but of course, he handed me the gun.
"Thanks. And since you're a fucking moron, this whole little interaction between us was caught on the security cameras up there….oh and look, the cops are already coming to welcome you to your new home in a jail cell," I said cockily.
After I told the police what happened…well, they were more like parking lot security guards, Laurence was detained while they waited for the real cops to come and arrest him, and I continued on my way home.
"Hey, did you get it?" Bella asked as she took the bags out of my hands.
"No, they were all out of Justin Bieber shit, so I got fuzzy kittens," I said dryly.
"Are you serious?" she asked in a panic as she looked through the stuff I brought home. "This is all Justin," she said, annoyed by my fib.
"Of course. What fucking store would run out of that floppy haired little dream boat?" I said mockingly. "Do you know how embarrassing it is for me to walk around with that shit in my cart? Next time, you have to go buy it all."
"I'm doing everything else for the party. The least you can do is the shopping," she said distractedly as she looked over everything and compared it to the things we already bought. Since Rapunzel's birthday was so close to Christmas, we had to buy everything in advance because of the holiday rush.
"You know, I kind of think we should skip the party this year," I said with concern lacing my words.
"Why?" Bella asked confused.
"She's turning thirteen….as in 'teen'…as in she's becoming a teenager….as in life as we know it is completely over."
Bella smiled and then leaned in to kiss me tenderly. "It'll all be ok," she murmured against my lips before kissing me again quickly, and then returning to her inventory.
"I don't know why you do all this shit anyway. Alice is a far better planner than you," I said truthfully.
"Well Alice and Jasper won't be here until Christmas morning, and that's too late," Bella explained.
Alice and Jasper had married the year before, and they were living the fast life in New York. Neither of them had any desire to have kids, they were just happy to be together; although with Esme's guilt trips, I had a feeling they may cave on that issue one day.
The phone rang then, and I was about to answer it, but Bella got there first.
"Hello?" she asked. "Yeah, he's right here, why?...Okay," she said while going into the living room and turning on the TV. I curiously followed her of course, and there it was, my little altercation with Laurence on the local news. Fucking small town with nothing better to do than report on nothing. "Oh. My. God. No, he didn't say anything to me….yeah, I will….ok, bye."
Bella hung up the phone, and just glared at me.
"What?" I asked sheepishly.
"You were held up while at the store?" she asked with a mix of fear and irritation that I didn't tell her right away.
"It wasn't a big deal," I said nonchalantly.
"Not a big deal?" she asked frustrated. "You had a gun pointed at you."
"What? It was Laurence. The guy is a tool, but he's not a murderer. I knew he wasn't going to shoot me."
Bella shook her head. "Is Garrett your only friend from high school that was sane?"
"Yes," I said doubtlessly, but then I thought about it and changed my answer. "Babe, you were my friend in high school," I said as sweetly as I was capable of.
"Ahh, thanks honey," she said with a smile.
"Oh, I wasn't implying that you were sane, I was just stating the fact that we were friends….sort of….well actually, we weren't really friends, were we?" I teased.
"You could have just finished your comment with us being friends," she said playfully bitter.
"Mmm, but what fun would that have been?" I asked as I wrapped my arms around her.
"Don't get all affectionate on me right now," she said feebly as I began kissing down her neck.
"Why not? Carlie is at Claire's, and Eli is sleeping," I said without stopping.
Carlie's relationship with Claire had suffered greatly from their parent's ended engagement. Jacob was heartbroken for about six months, but when he met his current wife Leah, he pretty much realized that Bella was never the right woman for him, and he let the girls be friends again. Surprisingly, we had all hung out a few times, and it wasn't even awkward. Bella and him had never really had a romantic relationship, so there wasn't any lingering jealousy from any of us. We weren't friends by any means, but for the girls' sake, we were pleasantly amiable.
"Eli isn't sleeping anymore," Bella said with a slight pout as we heard our eighteen month old daughter crying upstairs.
"I'll get her," I said before kissing her one last time, and then running up the stairs.
Elizabeth Esme Masen, was named after my two mothers, but we called her Eli for short. She was a very laid back little girl, who only really cried when she needed something. But having another daughter definitely made me realize just how much I had missed from when Rapunzel was little. It was time that I would never be able to get back, and I would always regret not being around for.
Bella and I talked about adding a third child to our family, but our lives seemed to be constantly stuck on the fast forward button, and we just wanted to enjoy the kids we had as much as possible. So, I got a vasectomy. Everyone was shocked by our decision, they all just assumed that we'd want to try for a boy, but to be honest, I loved the idea of just having my girls, and boys were all little punks anyway.
We lived bicoastal for awhile; jetting back and forth to New York and Washington, but home was Forks, and that's where we wanted to plant our roots. We bought a house near the Cullen's place and even though it wasn't Port Angeles like what Carlie was used to, it was still familiar to her and we truly became a family there. When we were in New York for longer than a week at a time, Carlie would do school by correspondence, but most of the time when I had to work, Bella and I would just go out there for a long weekend alone, and the kids would stay with Esme and Carlisle.
People in Forks knew us, and they didn't give a shit what I did for a living, so I was confident it was the best place to find privacy in our everyday lives, without being bothered too much. Of course, we still had to deal with normal small town gossiping bullshit, but in comparison, it was definitely worth the alternative.
The fact that I had gotten married and become a devoted family guy, actually pleased Aro and my record label quite a bit. They were tired of always fighting off questions about my dating life, or lack thereof, so they were thrilled about the turn of events. My stint in 'rehab' had definitely brought more attention to me and my band, so having a stable family to support me was a bonus…Of course, Aro was also hoping for an affair and divorce to follow, and quite possibly another bout in rehab, but those were things that I refused to cooperate with. My family was secure, and ending any part of it would never happen.
Bella had slowly become more comfortable with our times in New York. She leaned to play the part, just as I had. We'd dress up, smile for the cameras, go to the parties and clubs when we were asked, and then we would fly back home to our kids and just be normal again. It took time to get used to, but as long as we stayed together, we could handle anything.
But now I was the father of a teenager, and I was fairly certain a mid-life crisis was to follow.
"You're too young for a mid-life crisis," Bella said casually a few days later. Christmas had flown by, and it was the day of Carlie's big birthday bash... and yes, I was freaking out a bit.
"Bella, think about it; she's going to start dating soon, and then she'll be sneaking out in the middle of the night, and then we'll be grandparents and wonder what the fuck happened," I said in a rush.
Bella just laughed and then kissed me, before going to put the final decorations up.
My house was filled with fucking Bieber fever. It was annoying, and frankly, a little insulting. I wasn't bitter over the fact that the little prick had just beat my band out for the top spot on the MTV countdown, I seriously just didn't understand the appeal in the kid. He looked like a girl, and sang like one too.
But, what Rapunzel wants….
As the party moved forward into full swing, it seemed that everywhere I looked, there were screaming girls. They were in all the bathrooms and in every corner of the house…it was overwhelming.
"I thought this was supposed to be a backyard party?" I asked Esme as she walked past with a tray of cupcakes.
"It's freezing out," she responded quickly.
"So…they have…jackets. And what about all those heaters I had put in?"
"Honey, just relax," Esme said with a pat to my cheek before continuing on her way.
So, I did the only thing a man could do in that situation, I found my father and brothers, and we popped open some beers and relaxed in our own little bubble of testosterone. Being together was our only defensive strategy against the throngs of overly shrilly females.
"So…bro, I've been meaning to talk to you about something for awhile now, but there was never the right time," Emmett said hesitantly as we sat out there on my cold back porch. Fucking heaters didn't seem to be doing their job very well. It was freezing out, but still better than being around all the adolescent girls inside.
"So you thought this was the right time?" Jasper jumped in jokingly.
"Well, we're all just sitting here," Emmett said defensively.
"I think it's the perfect time, go ahead," Carlisle urged.
"What's up?" I asked him, agreeing with Carlisle that there was no reason to hold back. None of the girls were paying attention to us anyway.
"Rose and I are in the process of adopting a child," he said quickly.
"Really? That's awesome," I said, genuinely excited for them, but the look on his face made me think otherwise. "This is a good thing, right?"
"Well…he's twelve and his dad, who was his only family, was just killed in a car accident a few months ago. He's been living with a foster family for awhile, but he has some emotional issues. The adoption agency told us that we were better off adopting a baby, but….when we heard about this kid, we just felt compelled to give him a home with us. After being around you and your…traumatic past, we understand how difficult raising such a child could be, but….we really want to give him a family that he's never really had before."
"Wow…well, that's great. And you know you can count on Bella and me for anything you need. I'm sure Dr. Amun can recommend an excellent child psychologist for him to meet with as well," I suggested.
"Yeah, that's a good idea…." Emmett mused, but he still seemed anxious about something, as if he had more to say but was nervous by how I'd react.
"What is it?" I asked.
"It'll be fine Emmett, just tell him," Carlisle encouraged.
"The kid's name is Riley…he's Vicky's son," Emmett said unexpectedly.
"Seriously?" I asked a little wigged-out. "I thought James was raising….oh. James died?"
"Yeah…apparently he was drinking and driving… I guess we should have told you, but we didn't find out until right before the adoption agency called us, and we just were so consumed with this kid, that everything else never came back up. I'm sorry man, I know you were close to him for awhile."
"Yeah, well…." I really didn't know what to say about that. James was my friend, but he was also partially responsible for all the shit that went down resulting in me missing ten years of my daughter's life. It was good of him to step up and raise a kid that wasn't his, but it was hard to mourn him after everything else that had happened. And the kid, although I'd never blame a child for something his bitch of a mother did, it was still weird to think of Emmett raising the child who was trying to be passed off as mine for awhile.
"This boy has no other family, and I do foresee much work ahead of you with his emotional well being, but I think it's a very honorable thing to do," Carlisle told Emmett. "Children of his age and background often have a very difficult time finding a permanent home, so I'm very proud of you, son."
It was obvious that Carlisle had known about it all for awhile, but it was good to hear him say all that anyway. It showed me perspective. Carlisle had taken me in around the same age as this kid, and granted the situation was vastly different, but still, a child with nowhere else to go, just needed some unconditional love, patience, and stability.
"I think it's awesome of you Em," I told him finally.
"Really?" he said surprised.
"Definitely. It doesn't matter who this kid's monster of a parent was, he just needs the right people to help him succeed in life….to still love him through all his massive fuck ups, which I'm positive he'll have. My offer still stands. Anything you need for him, you can count on me," I said sincerely.
"Wow, I do have to say, that is definitely not the reaction I was expecting from you. But I'm really glad. You're my brother, and I'd hate for something like this to put a wedge between us," Emmett said heavily.
"No, I mean, I may have to go back into Dr. Amun's emotional rehab again because of this, but it's cool."
Emmett just stared at me in shock.
"Dude, I'm fucking with you," I said with a laugh.
"Oh… right," he said, and then laughed with me, although his laugh was still a little uneasy.
"Well, you know what this means, boys?" Jasper said with a mischievous grin.
"What?" we all asked.
"Time to bring out the cigars….complete with baby blue 'it's a boy' tags, and everything," he said excitedly.
"Not around the kids," Carlisle responded quickly.
"Not here, not now," Jasper said frustrated, and then turned back to Emmett. "We need to have a guy's night and kiss goodbye to your freedom."
"I'm not a single guy getting married, so why the hell do I need a bachelor's type of outing?" Emmett asked confused.
"Because, we all remember the kind of shit Edward pulled when we were younger, I'm sure Carlisle never got a night's rest. It's time to have one last hurrah," Jasper explained.
"Yeah, I have to agree. We should go out…you know, like to go…bowling, or something," I said pathetically. God, I was getting old.
"Yeah…bowling, super exciting," Jasper said sarcastically.
I was about to come up with a good comeback, but then my big birthday surprise arrived for Rapunzel….and all the girls started screaming, so we went inside.
"Hey, thanks for coming," I told the floppy haired girly pop singer.
"Definitely," he said in return. "But remember, you owe me an appearance at my mom's birthday; she just loves you," Justin said like the little punk I always knew he was.
"Yeah whatever. Get up there and fucking sing for them. I'm paying you enough, so I better get my fucking money's worth," I said lightly… at least it sounded light and jokingly in my head, but the scared shitless look he gave me, made me think otherwise.
I knew it was a little over the top to get the cheesy teen poster boy there for Carlie's thirteenth birthday party, but hey, what the hell good was my career if I didn't take advantage of it every once in awhile. Bella always kept me grounded and refused to let me spoil our girls….and that's why I never told her about this surprise.
Everyone went outside to watch the little twerp perform a few songs, and even the cold couldn't chill the girls' enthusiasm.
Bella looked at me from across the yard with a mix of shock and a little bitterness, but even she couldn't hide her amusement entirely. I shrugged sheepishly, and she ended up smiling at me while shaking her head.
"Da-da!" Eli squealed as Rose brought her over to me.
"I tried to keep her entertained, but she just wants you," Rose explained.
"Of course she wants me," I said at an annoyingly high pitch. "Hey, baby girl," I said to her with a kiss on her chubby cheek.
Rose went to join all the other crying and cheering girls, and I took Eli and went back to the guys.
"Wow man, how the hell are you going to top this next year?" Emmett asked me, in reference to the surprise pop star appearance.
I huffed. "Hopefully next year she'll like someone a little cooler," I said as I gave Eli a cracker.
"Yeah, like Angelina Jolie," Jasper said with a smirk.
"Definitely," Emmett agreed.
"Nah, you can save Angelina for your kid," I told Emmett.
"Really? Can you pull some strings?" he asked hopefully.
"Oh come on, there is no way someone like her would even be open to speaking to me. Get over it, it's not going to happen," I told him irritated.
The Biebs stayed for another hour, and then he left back to his insanely busy life. Carlie was absolutely over the moon.
"Thanks daddy," she said emotionally as she came to hug me. "You're the best."
"I know…just remember that when you start to date," I mumbled.
"Huh?" she asked as she pulled back and looked at me confused.
"What?" I played dumb. "Just go enjoy the rest of your party," I told her tenderly before kissing her forehead.
Eli had toddled off with Esme chasing after her, so I took that opportunity to go kiss my wife. I wrapped my arms around her from behind, and let my lips caress down her neck.
"I can't believe you did that," she said in an attempt to sound angry, but it only came out sounding amusingly impressed. "Why didn't you tell me?"
"Because I knew you'd say 'no'. You really need to relax with the whole 'spoiling' thing," I joked. "It wasn't just for Carlie anyway. Did you see all those girls' faces? Carlie gets to be around celebrities whenever we go to New York and LA, but those girls will probably never get that opportunity again."
"So, you did it for the greater good?" she said with a laugh.
"Of course….You know, everyone is pretty distracted. I'm sure no one would even notice if we disappeared for a while."
I expected her to playfully smack me before walking away, but she did the exact opposite. She smiled, grabbed my hand, and then hurried us into the house and up to our room.
"Wow, Mrs. Masen. Did that teen dream boat get you all hot and bothered?" I teased.
"No, I like my pen-ups a little more…manly," she said as she pulled my shirt over my head before kissing my chest.
"It's the scars, isn't it?" I joked.
"No, it's just you," she said as she pushed my pants down. "All of you."
I never thought my life would turn out the way that it did, and it had nothing to do with my career. Something as simple as a joke about my scars, would have been impossible several years before. And even though it was no joking matter, I had definitely let go of my anger and resentment towards my father. There would never be forgiveness for him, but I didn't really need to. I was confident that my mother and sister were at peace, and I refused to give my father one more day of my life.
Surprisingly, it wasn't the therapy that gave me the last nudge into fully letting go, it was Pastor Swan. I took all of Bella's love, and the Cullen's support, along with the tools of therapy, and I continued to work every day at being better, but it was a conversation with Charlie that made me let go of my hatred for my father…
"Everything happens for a reason," he said to me one day, and before I could get pissed and yell at him for his comment, he continued. "Sometimes people come to this world with the purpose of bettering the lives of the people they touch. And when their goal is met, they are welcomed back to heaven for the rest of eternity….and then there's people who will forever rot in hell," he said unexpectedly.
"You don't need to hate the man Edward, he's suffering enough right now as it is. Your anger towards him is pointless, 'cause all it does is make your life unfulfilled. Give your love and hatred for your passed family members to god, and live your life for you."
I wasn't a particularly religious guy, in fact, I had shied away from any kind of beliefs since the day my mother and sister were murdered, but for whatever reason, his words actually made me feel better. My anger was pointless, and if there was a higher power, I had to trust in him to take care of my departed family so I could focus on my family in front of me, because they were all that mattered.
"You know, I never told you this before," Charlie went on. "But I think it's awesome that you followed your dreams and became what you did."
"Uh, thanks Charlie," I said uncomfortably. I wasn't used to getting compliments from him, and it was awkward to say the least.
"I love my life path that I chose, but…..I would have made an excellent cop," he said seriously.
I just stared at him dumbfounded for a moment, and then I started laughing uncontrollably."I bet you would have," I said through my laughter.
Life wasn't perfect, and challenges would always arise, but as long as I kept my priorities intact and I had Bella by my side, I knew life was going to be as amazing as I wanted it to be. Like Charlie, my life path is in my hands, and I choose to live it the best way I possibly can.
**** Wow, I've had enough cheese to last a life time! LOL. (No, I'm not a Justin fan, but I tried to think about what a 13yr old girl would want that only a celebrity dad could get, and that's what I came up with. *rolls eyes*)
I really appreciate all your support, even when things got tough to read through, and I'm truly grateful that you have stuck with me till the end, so thank you very much!
Most of you already know, but I've started an ALTERNATE ENDING for this story which forks away before Edward leaves town as a teenager; so no cheesy rock star, and no ten years of missing his girls. It's called 'Unintended - A Loss of Faith', and you can find it on my profile along with a banner for that version as well. I still like this ending, but its fun to play the 'what if' game
Thanks again, and I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. If you want to read a similar type of story as this one, check out my 'Moon Scars', but for something that is unique and probably different than anything else you've read before, try my 'Lies of the Soul'. But I do have quite a few different stories, so take a look and see if anything catches your interest.
Peace out and happy reading.