I took the phone from his hand because I was not letting my child's grandmother get away with messing up my life for another moment. The fact she was calling Edward while he stood in my home angered me all the more.
I hit the answer button and put the phone to my ear. "What?" I said curtly.
"Oh, I'm sorry, I was looking for Edward Cullen, did I call the wrong number?" she asked in a sweet voice.
"You tell me, you're the cut throat agent. Our country is in big trouble if you can't even dial a phone," I said as hatefully as possible. I noticed Edward smirking and didn't know if he was happy about my attempt to put his mother in her place or laughing at how easily she would shred me to pieces.
"Put my son on the phone," she demanded.
"I can't, he's dead, remember?"
"So are you, if I recall correctly," she said to intimidate me.
"Oh Esme, you're aging honey, I happen to have information that will keep you from ever coming after me," I laughed.
Edward raised his eyebrows and I shrugged my shoulders telling him I had nothing. I just figured after spending your life in the game of espionage there had to be some guarded secrets somewhere. I was right; she remained quiet for a second or two too long.
"I heard your husband died, sorry," she said and I almost faltered. I was so close to handing over the phone to stop her from using Jake to hurt me, but I took a deep breath and continued on.
"I heard your husband still lives, sorry…for him."
"Tell Edward when he is done consoling the fat girl to give me a call."
She thought she had me, she went right for my jugular with those words but I had one last card to play. I knew it was hitting low and using something so precious to me as a weapon, but it was needed.
"What?" she said in anger.
"You still haven't taught him to use a condom. You really should have."
Edward's eyes popped open in surprise and he covered his mouth to stop his laughter. She stammered for a second and finally mumbled, "He can't have kids."
I gave her a fake laugh and said, "And you think you're the only member of the family who can lie? I have a sonogram that says he can."
She hung up on me, Esme Cullen special agent, hung up on me. I handed Edward the phone and he laughed so hard it put tears in his eyes. It was the happy Edward I remembered, the one who loved being a little boy again.
"So how long before she pays Emmett to shoot me?" I asked Edward and he shook his head.
"And I'm supposed to take your word for it?" I asked with more than a little disbelief.
"When I confronted Emmett with what happened he unburdened his conscious. I guess he was coming to tell you when he found out you were married and happy. He realizes if my mom screws with my life, she can just as easily screw with his. I'm sure that is why she was calling; trying to make amends so Emmett and Alice wouldn't cut her off, too."
"How could she cut off Kam? He's part of her."
"She's trained not to think with emotion, it is natural for her to block things from her mind."
"But your dad is so sweet, why would he stay with her?" I asked and hoped there was a side of Esme I wasn't seeing.
Edward gave me an uncomfortable laugh and said, "Bella, if a government wanted access to the flow of information in and out, where would they place an agent?"
"Carlisle?" I gasped.
"Let's just say his informants are pretty important."
"God, Edward, is there anything in your life that isn't a lie; how do you sleep at night?" I yelled feeling so stupid again.
He looked down at the floor and said very softy, "I sleep dreaming of you."
I was caught off guard and couldn't think of anything in response. I stood in my bathroom, in my pajamas, just fresh from vomiting, and couldn't think of anything to say. Edward make an awkward expression of part pain and part desire to express his feelings. He let his eyes rise to my waist but no further.
"Bella, Jake stepped up when you needed someone for your child. I can do that, too. I can step up and do for him what he did for me. I would be good to you, all three of you, and I would love you for as long as you allow it?"
"Are you saying you want to marry me?" I gasped.
He finally looked at me, stared directly into my eyes, without telling any lies, and said, "Oh God, yes."
I could hear the word, yes, rolling around in my head. I could hear my heart beating in unison with the word, yes yes, yes yes. It was right on the tip of my tongue but the words that came out of my mouth were totally different. "I need some time."
"I understand," he said sadly and I wondered if he really did.
He leaned over and gave me a kiss on my cheek. His mouth remained on my skin as he exhaled loudly making my hands twitch with desire to touch him. I refrained and he returned to the living room to climb into the tent.
I ate some crackers and after keeping them down for half an hour I brushed my teeth and got into bed. I wondered if Jake was in heaven looking down on me. If he was happy to be back in Hawaii and if he knew he had a son or a daughter.
I woke the next morning to hear Edward and Kam talking in the kitchen as they ate some cereal.
"What does Kam stand for, Kamikaze?" Edward laughed.
"No, Kamakei, its Hawaiian. My real name is Cullen."
"Kamakei Cullen?" Edward asked.
"No, Cullen Kamakei Black."
It was silent in the kitchen for about five seconds and Edward yelled, "Bellllaaaa."
I came into view and he was sitting with his eyes wide and his mouth open. "You named him Cullen?"
"You can't do that," he demanded. "If anything works with, you know, it can't be his name."
"Why, Sirhan Sirhan, worked?" I teased.
"And look what happened to him, you are dooming our son to be an assassin," he said and then quickly covered his mouth with his hand.
I wasn't sure what part he meant to keep to himself. The fact Kam was his son, or the fact he would indeed be bred to be an assassin if he was a Cullen.
"You're my new Dad?" Kam asked with excitement.
I quickly cut into the conversation to keep it from escalating, "Both of you clean up the tent mess and then get dressed."
Edward looked at Kam and said, "The first one to clean up the amount of stuff reaching the highest prime number wins."
Kam jumped off his chair and ran into the other room as he yelled, "What's a prime number?"
"Oh man, he's just like his father, jumps without thinking," I said as a joke, but Edward looked right at me as he stood to leave, too.
"You're wrong, I've thought of nothing else for months now."
"Prime numbers?" I asked.
"No, jumping," he said and left the room.
I was so torn. I wanted to believe all the lies were gone from Edward's life and only truth remained. He knew exactly who his family was. He left his life of deciphering encryption to teach the absolutes of mathematics. He still loved me, and Kam, and was willing to love whoever else came along.
I took a run while they cleaned up the mess and spoke to Jake. I told him how much I missed him and how much I wished he could have seen his child. I thanked him for being so kind to Kam when they had absolutely nothing in common. I also thanked him for loving me when I was broken and bringing light into my life. I finally asked him the big question, if I should give Edward another chance?
I was running along the wooded path in the light misty rain and begged Jake to give me a sign if he trusted Edward to love and care for his baby. I had only gone a couple of more steps when the rain ceased and the clouds cleared to shine nothing but sun along my path. I stopped and looked up at the sky with a big smile on my face.
"Thank you, Jake. I love you."
When I got home Edward was working with Kam on the four single digit prime numbers. He was using jelly beans to show him the principle of numbers being equally divided by itself and one. I reached out and grabbed a handful and shoved them in my mouth.
"Hey," Edward yelled and Kam laughed. "Give those back."
I grabbed some more and when he jumped up from his chair, I ran. He chased me down the hallway with Kam running behind yelling, "Get her, get her."
I jumped onto the bed and Edward fell onto me grabbing my hand. "I'll open her hand and you grab them," he said to our son.
I was laughing as he pried my hand open and Kam took the jelly beans one by one. He cheered loudly and ran to take them back to the kitchen.
"Never mess around with Math," Edward said and I stuck my tongue out at him.
Our laughter faded as he stared at my mouth. He was still lying over me and I suddenly became very aware of his body on mine. He pushed my hair back from my forehead and took a deep breath causing my heart to race.
"So beautiful," he whispered and I moved my legs to wrap around his calves. "May I kiss you?"
"Oh God, yes," I whispered.
He touched his lips to mine and it was just like our very first kiss, my very first kiss. He slowly added pressure until we were melded together and moving our heads from side to side as everything intensified.
Kam came into the room and we both jumped apart. "Hey new Dad, I figured out the number seven is a prime number."
Edward and I both laughed loudly and he climbed off the bed and headed out the door with his son. "Kam," I called out and he looked back at me. "You can call him just, Dad, okay?"
He smiled up at Edward and they looked so much alike, both wearing a crooked grin as they walked away. I showered and dressed for the day before Edward took us out for lunch. We drove to Port Angeles and ate along the waterfront. Kam brought his game boy and was oblivious to anything around him.
"I got an offer to run the math department at a junior college in Illinois. It's close to my condo, but the main reason I would consider it would be for…" he jerked his head toward Kam. "There is a great advanced private school right by the college."
"Do they push them too hard?" I asked, worried about my little boy growing up too fast.
"Bella, a public school would not work for him, he would be too different, and I'm afraid he would be bullied."
I looked at my precious son and knew how cruel kids could be. I couldn't stomach the thought of Kam being teased and tormented like I was.
"He would be with kids who are truly his peers. It would be the best solution."
"And your family?" I asked.
"I only see Alice and Jasper," he said and I cringed at the thought of seeing Jasper again.
"You kissed them both, remember?" he pointed out.
"And you were…affected, remember?" I laughed. He kicked me under the table and wiggled his eyebrows looking incredibly sexy.
"When are you due?" he asked and I felt my smile fade.
"January fifth, why?"
"We have the summer to get everything in order. If the condo isn't big enough we can put it on the market and look for a house. We can get moved and Kam can start first grade on time."
He added very quietly, "And we can get married."
"Is there a way to fix the Sirhan Sirhan issue?" I asked.
"Yeah, Kamalei Black Cullen."
Kam looked up finally and said, "What?"
"And the next one?" I asked.
"I'll work on an algorithm to figure it out," he said with a smile.
"Can you teach me algorithms?" Kam asked with excitement.
"Okay, special school, I'm convinced," I laughed and Edward's eyes filled with tears.
And it was just that easy, because the hard work had been done years ago. We moved to Chicago where our daughter Kealla was born. She had Jake's smile and could light up a room with her sweet nature and infectious grin.
Kam had a big group of friends who wrote computer programs for fun. He was on the chess team, the scholastic team, and a member of a gamming group. Kealla danced and loved the outdoors. She would run with me in the summer and complain about the snow all winter.
Edward loved his job and never wished for anything dangerous or exciting. He lived the adventure of being a father. He had a special bond with Kealla and she was a daddy's girl all the way. He saw himself everyday in the face and actions of his son.
Me, well, I have no idea what I weigh. I know my clothes get a little tight in the winter and a little loose in the summer. I never stress over either one. If I ever have a day where I feel a little insecure Edward takes it all away during the night. He loves me with the expertise he's always had and everything in our lives is out in the open and honest…except his family
I go to sleep every night snuggled up with a man I love and admire. I'm not sure we would have made it if we married when I was first pregnant with Kam. There was too much deception to have a good marriage.
Edward walked into our bedroom and smiled, "Kealla wants to marry me," he laughed.
"Did you tell her to get in line behind all the coeds in your classes?"
"I told her she is as pretty as her mother and some man is going to sweep her off her feet. Then she told me she loves Kam's friend Brady. I was quickly replaced," he laughed.
"She's eight, she had no idea what she wants," I told him
"Look what I found," Edward said as he held up the magic eight ball. "It was in Kealla's toy box."
"Does it still work?"
He brought the black ball up to his lips and asked, "Does Bella love me?"
He turned it to read, "Yes."
"Does she know how much I love her?"
"Should I show her?"
I pulled my nightshirt up to show my tattoo and Edward let the eight ball fall from his hands. He climbed onto the bed and into my waiting arms. He held my head in his hands and looked into my eyes. "I want to tell you something that is the absolute truth. I will never lie to you in our bed."
"What, like a confession?" I asked with a bit of apprehension.
"No, something from my heart, something you can depend on and know for certainty."
I smiled at his sincerity, "Okay, tell me something that is the absolute truth."
"I love you so much," he said and I gave him a confused look.
"I know that already."
"No, you don't get it, this is beyond sentiment. I love you Bella and I don't think I could exist without you."
"I get it, Edward, I really do."
When Kam turned sixteen we decided to sit down with him and let him know the truth regarding his heritage. Mentally he was capable of hearing the truth long before now, but emotionally we still worried about him.
Kealla was in bed and we asked Kam to come into our bedroom. I was so nervous I could hardly stay still. Edward seemed anxious but he was ready to claim Kam as his own.
"Son, we need to talk to you about something," Edward began.
"Dad, don't worry, I know all about protection and disease. I'll be careful."
Edward looked at me and my mouth fell open. "We don't want to talk to you about sex, but Kam, do we need to talk to you about sex?" I asked him.
"Bella," Edward butted in. "This is about sex."
"No, it's not. It is about love, and loss, and betrayal, and loyalty…"
"And sex," he said again.
Kam began laughing and said, "Why don't you two discuss it and call me back in when you know what it's about."
"I guess it is mainly about your two fathers," I finally said and looked down so wouldn't have to look at his face.
"Oh," Kam said, "Yeah, I have a question about that."
"You can ask anything," Edward said.
"I realize you knew mom before I was born, I mean, obviously," he laughed.
"Obviously? I asked him.
"A man shows up with my name and my face, it pretty much filled in the blanks," Kam laughed. "I just can't figure out where Kealla came from."
"There is so much more to the story, Kam. I loved your mother very much and was thrilled to know she was pregnant with you."
I looked at Edward to see if there was any trace of a lie. He wasn't exactly thrilled when he heard the news but he was very sick at the time.
I was stunned when he went into detail about his job and his family. I didn't know if it was putting Kam in danger to know everything or not. I watched our son's face change emotions as he listened. I could tell it angered him to hear how we were kept from his father, but his mouth formed a smile when he heard about Jake coming forward.
"Jake loved you unconditionally, Kam."
"I know mom, and I thought he was a wonderful father. I assume you were pregnant with Kealla and dad came forward?"
"Yes," Edward said. "I spoke to Jake when I found out you, and your mother, were alive. He told me how much he loved you both and told me you were happy. I didn't want to ruin your happiness, son. I stayed away so you could have a great childhood. He asked me to come back when you were eighteen or if anything happened to him."
"I was going to tell Jake about Kealla the day he died. I had just found out I was pregnant."
Kam asked a couple of questions about his relatives and left the room feeling loved and secure. We had no idea we had sent him on a mission. He wanted to know all of his family and he also wanted some questions answered.
I woke up and knocked on Kam's door and told him to get ready for work. He didn't answer so I opened the door to find his bed empty and a note on the pillow.
"Edward," I screamed and ran to the kitchen to find him sitting with Kealla. "Kam's gone, he went to Seattle."
"What?" Edward screamed.
I handed him the note and began to cry at the thought of Kam being in the same room with either Esme or Emmett.
"Bella pack us all a bag and I'll get tickets," Edward said and his own nervousness had me in a panic.
Kealla began complaining about all the stuff she had planned but I wasn't about to let ten year old remain behind. In less than three hours we were all sitting on a plane headed for Seattle. I felt sick to my stomach and held onto Edward as if it was the last time I would be able to keep him for myself.
When we landed and got a car I finally asked Edward where we were going. "I want to see Emmett first. He'll be honest with me."
"Yeah, right," I said cynically.
We pulled in front of the familiar house and I gasped with I saw bikes and a trampoline. They had children and we never knew. A girl close to Kealla's age answered the door.
"Hi honey, is your mom or dad home?" I asked.
"Who are you?" she asked in return.
"I'm your Aunt Bella and this is your Uncle Edward." I pulled Kealla forward and said, "This is your cousin Kealla."
The girl looked at each one of us again and yelled, "Mom."
Rosalie came to the door and screamed when she saw Edward. She ran into his arms and cried loudly. I suddenly wondered if there had been a past relationship between the two. It was Rose always coming to check on him at his apartment, and it was Rose taking care of him after his attack.
She pulled us into the house and introduced her daughter, Hillary, to us. She instructed the girl to take Kealla with her to her room so the adults could talk. We sat at her table and she got us some coffee.
"Emmett will be home soon, he ran to the store for a belt on his car."
"How is he?" I asked and hoped she could read I really meant, is he going to shoot me on sight.
"Good, retired," she said with emphasis.
"Have you seen my son?" Edward asked her.
"Did he come with you?" Rose asked in confusion.
"He came last night, he wanted to meet my side of the family," Edward said.
Rosalie pulled out her phone and dialed angrily. She held the phone to her ear and her jaw tensed. I could hear a man's voice. "Where are you, jackass?" Rose demanded.
I gave Edward a nervous glance and he was smiling.
"Don't give me the car shit, Kam's here and she called, am I right?" Rose said.
She hung up the phone without speaking any further and said, "They are all at your parent's house."
Edward stood and I took hold of his hand, "Can I stay here with Rose?"
"I'm going," Rosalie said and stood herself.
We let the girls stay and play as we all got into our rental car and drove to the beach. I was terrified of what was coming and hoped having Edward with me would temper the blows that would most certainly come our way. Esme knew my weaknesses and I had nothing to threaten her with this time.
We pulled into the familiar driveway and I saw Carlisle step onto the porch. Edward smiled at the sight of his father and I had to fight to keep my mouth shut. They met on the stairs and Carlisle pulled Edward to his chest and hugged him tightly.
I hung back making Carlisle come all the way off the stairs to hug me. "It is good to see you, Bella."
"Thanks," I mumbled.
"Come in, let's all sit down and talk," he said and put his hand lightly on my back pushing me forward.
When I saw Kam I ran to him and pulled him into my arms. Edward was not as gracious. "You can forget about using your car for most of the summer," he said as he hugged his son.
It was at that moment I saw her, standing next to the sofa staring with an unreadable expression. I let my eyes drop and waited for Edward to acknowledge her. He looked in her direct and without moving closer simply said, "Mother."
"Hello, Edward, Bella," she said with a slight nod.
"I'm sorry for my son's intrusion. We didn't send him here," Edward said and gave Kam an angry look.
"I came to find out about my family," Kam said in his defense.
"I'm glad he came, I've wondered about him often," Esme said and it angered me.
"Wondered?" I gasped, "You knew where he was and could have picked up a phone at anytime."
"No, I couldn't. I was busy keeping Edward out of the crosshairs. Kam was only safe if he was off the radar. I know you hate me, Bella. But I did everything I could to save your son. And for your information, naming him Cullen didn't help."
My mouth was falling open as I stared in shock. I never once considered the fact she may have been cutting us off to save us. I assumed her and Emmett were the only danger in my life.
"Are we safe now?" I asked her.
"Yes, when Tanya decided to leave Edward I brokered a new deal for her freedom."
"Tanya was a…I mean…she didn't really want…"
"She loved Edward, she just didn't know how fucked up he really was," Emmett said as he entered the room.
Edward walked to his brother and gave him a hug. Emmett picked him up off the ground and swung him around. When he put Edward down and walked toward me I tensed. He picked me up in a big bear hug and said, "Did you tell anyone Bella, and remember I can crush you in one squeeze?"
"I put an ad in the New York Times," I said and Emmett's laughter filled the room.
"You should have seen your face every time I teased you, Bella. It was priceless."
"Teased me, you mean threatened my life," I said and couldn't believe how naïve I had been.
"Naw, I wouldn't hurt you, Bella. It would be like taking candy from a baby," he laughed again.
"You shot at me," I pointed out.
"If I really needed to threaten you I would have taken a knee cap or a foot. I was only playing around."
I stood there with my mouth hanging open and Edward had to lead me to the couch. I sat as I tried to understand everything. I felt so betrayed and wondered what Edward was feeling.
He finally said, "Mom, you should have been honest with me. The lies only hurt us. We could have worked something out together."
"Edward, you got involved in a world you were not prepared to handle. I did everything I could to make sure it did as little damage as possible. Your pain could have been a lot worse. If you want me to be the enemy, I will be it. I'm not the monster you think I am."
"Were you ever going to tell me?" Edward asked.
"Yes, but then you married Bella and moved to Chicago. You had everything you wanted and I didn't want to cause problems with your marriage."
She finally turned to acknowledge me and said, "Bella, I'm sorry. I know it means nothing now, but I'm sorry. I love Kam and think he is a remarkable young man. I would love to be part of your lives, but I understand if it isn't possible."
"My daughter is Jake's," I said to get everything into the open once and for all.
"She has Jake's DNA, she is my daughter," Edward corrected. "Just as Kam was Jake's son, too."
I realized at that moment my children did indeed have two fathers, two men who loved them and shared an undeniable bond with each of them. Kealla was nurtured by Edward but had her father's personality, just as Kam did.
"They can both use three sets of grandparents," Carlisle pointed out and I felt my tears begin to fall. He was right, the more people to love them the better off they would be.
Rose smiled at me and said, "Why don't I go pick up the girls while you call Alice and Jaz. I think a party is in order."
"Rose, did you ever have a relationship with Edward?" I asked her as we walked to the door.
"Edward was the youngest and he was a bit ignored. I wanted children very badly but Emmett wasn't ready. I guess I took to mothering Edward, he just seemed so young at times."
I knew exactly what she meant and even thought he was an adult man, I was glad she had been there for him.
I knew there was one last thing to face, Jaz. I was assured Edward and Alice didn't place any blame on us for our actions but I knew in my heart I had gone to Jaz for sex and I needed to ask Edward and Alice to forgive me. He called his friend and asked them to come over and I waited on the porch for them to arrive. Alice ran up to me first and gave me a big hug.
Jaz smiled and said, "Hello, darlin."
"I need to say something to both of you. I'm sorry. I knew who Jaz was and I singled him out to hurt Edward. He thought I was a threat and he was only responding to catch me. I betrayed you, Alice, and Edward."
"Come on, let it go already. Jaz is hot, who wouldn't want him."
Jasper smiled at Alice and finally admitted something himself. "Bella, I hoped you were the threat because I was very attracted to you. I wanted it to be you I would have to bring home."
"Big fat Bella?" I said with my eyebrows raised.
"Yeah, big fat Bella," he answered, "Because she was thin, hot, and sexy."
"Okay, enough apologizing or you're really going to piss me off," Alice said and punched Jasper in the arm. She introduced us to her two boys and we turned to go into the house.
I noticed Edward standing in the doorway and took a deep breath. "Did you hear?"
"Yes, and I understand, I really do. God, you heard so much through the walls, I couldn't blame you for wanting to get even. And yeah, Jaz is hot."
I gave Edward a sideways glance and asked, "Are you bisexual, Edward?"
"You're kidding, right?"
"Am I?" I said and walked past him into the house.
I didn't get far and he grabbed me by my legs and threw me of his shoulder as he headed down the hallway. "We'll be back in a minute," he yelled to the crowd.
"A minute?" I laughed.
"Yeah, I'm taking you to Jaz," he teased and I pounded on his back.
He took me into his childhood bedroom and tossed me onto the bed before lying on top of me. He stared into my eyes he smiled. His face was so content and happy. It was the Edward I longed to see again. Everything in his life had been made right and we were still together.
"Are we really having sex in your X-men, Johnny Quest bed?" I laughed.
"This was a bed of lies, it's going to finally be a bed of love," he said and kissed me in a new way.
His lips didn't touch me softly and slowly build, he didn't give short stunted kisses, and he didn't even cover me with his entire mouth using his tongue first thing. He kissed me like a man who knew me already. He knew what I wanted and needed without any instruction from him. He kissed me like my husband.
We returned to the party an hour later, coming directly from his bed of love.