Disclaimer: i do not own twilight.
AN: I don't think there is much more I can say… thank you again, from the bottom of my heart for reading and sharing this journey with me. Thank you Lynda, Erin, Carla, Beth and Jodi for reading, editing and helping me unsuck so much. Love like crazy.
"A flower cannot blossom without sunshine, and man cannot live without love." Max Muller
Edward Masen looked down at the woman in his arms. There were no words to describe the love he had for her.
He was a man with many blessings. He hadn't the space to even contain them. He'd come so far from the man he'd once been, and he swore he'd never fall from grace again. He'd learned to appreciate what he had and finally let go of the things he'd thought he lost.
The day he'd finally stood face to face with his estranged father turned out to be yet another turning point for him. For years he'd grieved the fact that the only thing the man had given him had been a name, only to realize that it was enough. He hadn't needed Edward Masen Sr. for anything more than that. On that day, he'd said his final goodbye to the man, and two days later when Ed Sr. took his final breath, he didn't cry. Instead, he held his wife and thanked her for the family they'd created. His world had been complete all along.
His family was all he'd ever need.
As the years passed, their family continued to grow. He'd thought the Earth was going to open up and swallow him whole the day Lottie came home and announced that she was pregnant. First of all, he wasn't anywhere near ready to be called Grandpa, and he would never be ready to call his daughter-his baby-a mother.
But, it was there. She'd run off to Paris the summer she graduated high school, and came back that spring with a ring on her finger and a swell in her belly. At first, he was angry. So angry. It took much longer for him to come to terms with the situation than it did for his wife, but that was to be expected. She was accepting, always. She only wanted her children happy and healthy, and Lottie was both of those things. She'd fallen in love, and there wasn't much he could do about that. He finally let go and realized that he had been given the benefit of the doubt once, and he owed the young couple the same.
Laurent turned out to be a stand up guy. Edward didn't have much in common with him-he was some sort of artist, but Edward couldn't be sure what kind. He had to admit that at least he treated his daughter well and provided for the child he'd brought into the world.
And that's how Edward Masen once again gave his heart away to a pretty blonde baby girl. Cherish Isabella Dubois had her mother's soft blonde curls and her father's caramel complexion. She was beyond beautiful-she was absolutely perfect, and she'd had her grandpa wrapped around her little finger from her first breath.
He'd always thought it would've been Tanya first, but she'd surprised him the same as Lottie. She'd graduated from college and came home to Washington, to the delight of her mother. She'd found a job as a softball coach fairly quickly, thanks to her notoriety as a local sports hero. For years, she was all over the sports pages and television. She was the best of the best, but once that period was done for her, it was over. She moved on and made a life for herself in Washington with her family.
Irina's softball career lasted longer than Tanya's, and that didn't surprise Edward at all. She'd always been more independent than Tanya, and she wanted to see the world. She traveled with a pro team for years after receiving her medical degree, and then finally, she settled down with her partner, Tracy.
It'd been a shock, for sure, but there was no way anyone could be around the two of them without seeing how much they loved each other. They were yin and yang. Tracy became part of the ever-growing family immediately, and everyone loved her.
Riley had grown into a good-looking boy with piss and vinegar flowing through his veins. It bit at Edward every day, but only because he saw way too much of himself in the kid. He was sure and cocky, a fine athlete and excelled at school, but he had a short fuse and a devilish grin that his mother-and half the female population of Port Angeles-couldn't resist.
More times than Edward could count, he'd been called into the very principal's office at the very high school he'd gone to, and the memories weren't great. He butted heads with his son, but more often than not, they were connected at the hip, either out on their surfboards or enjoying the peace and quiet of the lake while catching fish. It was a balancing act between wanting to pummel the kid and wanting to rub his knuckles on his scalp lovingly.
He, too, was making a name for himself with baseball, amongst other things. He found that he was more interested in girls, and again, Edward had to take the responsibility for those genes finding their way to his son.
He would be leaving soon enough, a senior in high school with numerous schools chomping at the bit to get him enrolled, and then it would just be them-him and Bella. He'd joked over the years about finally getting her alone, and although the thought was still a sweet one, he couldn't help but get choked up when he thought about their empty nest.
It seemed like they'd just been toddlers, those three little beauties of his, running through the house and giggling their sweet laughs. The days of rocking Riley to sleep through colic and then through nightmares as he got older were over, and instead of sitting by his side to watch him sleep, he was staring out the large front window as he waited for him to drive into the driveway on Friday nights.
Yes, things were changing for Edward Masen, but he was far from a man grieving. He looked down at the woman he swayed with on the dance floor and brushed her hair behind her ear.
"I think it's time for me to give another girl a chance, don't you? I think our time has come."
She looked over her shoulder at the woman staring at them from the other side of the room and then back into his eyes.
"Yes, Daddy, I think Mommy is getting restless over there. Felix's uncle Walter is getting on her nerves."
He held that woman's face in his hands and laid a small, gentle kiss on her forehead. "No father has ever loved anyone as much as I love you, baby girl."
She took a long, healing breath and smiled, closing her eyes. "No little girl ever had a daddy as great as mine, either. Thank you for loving all of us with your whole heart. Because of you, I searched and searched and never settled. I think I found someone almost as wonderful as you are."
The lump in his throat threatened to choke him to death. "He better live up to it," he said gruffly.
"Me too," Tanya answered, holding his forearms, and pushing him backward. "Now, go dance with my mother. I've been waiting my entire life to watch you dance at my wedding."
The fact was, so had he.
"There's nothing in the world I love more than dancing with your mother."
He kissed the back of her hand, then walked purposefully toward the gorgeous woman in the light blue dress standing in the middle of the room watching him. She was still as beautiful as the first day he'd found her at that beach. He loved her more, though, and that's what made them the Masens.
Love grows. It grew out of tragedy, success, family, loss, and then heartache. It grew in their garden, at the cemetery at the edge of town. It grew in the hearts of everyone they knew, and they'd planted it in the hearts of their children to share. Theirs was a legacy of love. Just as the snapdragons that grew in the yard bloomed to protect and heal them, their love sprouted a new generation, one they would enjoy and watch and love.
Thank you for reading.