My head was pounding.
I opened my eyes briefly, only to squeeze them back shut again. It was too fucking bright, and once again I found myself getting pissed.
"Close the blinds!" I yelled.
And then I felt something warm and moist on my neck, and my foul mood dissipated….well, most of it.
"You are so grumpy after you've been up half the night drinking," Bella mumbled against my skin as she continued to trail kisses down my body.
"It's not my fault I drank so much…I was just trying to keep up with you," I said defensively.
"Hey, you don't see me with a hangover right now. You just need to learn how to handle your liquor better."
"I bet you felt just as bad as I do when you first woke up," I argued. "What'd you do, call room service and have them bring you up a Bloody Mary?"
"Well, 'Mary' is one of my closest friends," she said with a giggle. "And, she has a twin," Bella said while handing me a tall glass of the red lifesaving drink.
"God, I love you," I said while I took the glass from her.
"Was that comment directed at me, or Mary?" Bella asked.
She smirked. "Well, I doubt Mary could do this to you," she said while slowly moving her mouth down my naked body until she reached my length.
Fuck, the woman was insatiably horny. She always made it seem like morning sex was for my benefit, but it usually turned in a way that she was sure to get off just as much, if not more. She often overlooked the fact that men physically need rest periods between orgasms, and hangover sex was just another one of those instances where I needed time to perform efficiently; time, which she refused to be patient for.
"Babe, you are going to make me spill my drink," I mumbled feebly. My head was pounding too fucking hard to enjoy her glorious mouth properly at first, but as her lips continued to slip up and down me, the only pain I felt was from deep inside my stomach, and it was definitely the blissful kind of pain.
Just as the buildup was threatening to explode, she suddenly pulled away. I was about to protest, but before I had the chance to even get a word out, she was straddling me and then she slowly sunk down so I was filling her completely.
"I knew you were fucking horny," I croaked.
"I sleep next to you every night, how can I not wake up horny?" she said with a sexy grin as she started moving on me.
"God, I love you," I huffed as her movements quickened.
"Don't ever forget it," she murmured before she was taken over the intensity of her climax.
As her inner walls clamped around me, I tensed and erupted into her. God, even at thirty seven years old, Bella was just as perfect physically as she was as a teenager.
I was such a lucky bastard.
"How's your head?" she asked with shallow breaths as she stilled on top of me.
"What head?" I asked absently.
She giggled. "I guess we should get ready to go."
"Or we could just stay like this all day," I suggested.
She smiled again, but then she pulled herself off of me, and I was left chilled in the moist aftermath of her warmth.
"We need to get back to Forks, I'm sure Alec has just about gone crazy by now," she said as she climbed off the bed and started dressing.
"Good, he needs a lesson in responsibility."
"Hey now, you were the one who told him to take some time off to pursue his art."
"Some time…not four years," I argued. "He's twenty three years old, and we're still supporting him. I should have never let him drop out of college."
"Like you could have stopped him," she laughed. "He was an adult at the time; he didn't need your permission."
"Still, I should have put more pressure on him."
"Should've, could've, would've, there's no sense in wasting time with regret."
"Wasting time with regret was the best think I ever did," I told her with a smirk.
She walked back over to me, and crawled back on the bed slowly before kissing me gently. "Well, I don't see any magic bottles around here, do you?" she said teasingly.
"Nope…. thank god. I had my one eye-opening trip into 'what could have been', and my life is fucking perfect now; Alec's education is definitely not worth risking my life over," I told her seriously.
"Exactly, so let him worry about it."
"I would….except we're still paying for him."
"Oh, honey. He's an adult, so give him his inheritance from your dad, and then tell him to get a job. He certainly doesn't need to be driving that fancy car of his when he can't afford to pay for it on his own."
I nodded. "Yeah, we should definitely cut him off."
"I didn't say that," she snapped defensively like a momma bear protecting her cub. "But just talk to him and tell him he needs to get a job. Give him time to find something, but make sure he knows it's not going to last much longer."
I narrowed my eyes at her. "What happened to that Ice Queen Bella I used to know?"
She kissed me again, but then deepened it by adding her tongue, which I readily accepted. "The Ice Queen melted," she mumbled against my lips. "You were just too hot to resist."
"Were?" I asked insulted by her past tense form of the word.
"Are," she corrected quickly. "You are just too hot to resist…always." She kissed me one more time, but then she pulled back and got off the bed to finish getting dressed. "Come on, get up we still have a long trip ahead of us."
Bella and I had been spending spring break at the Crystal Mountain Ski Resort with Jackson, Alice, Emmett, and Rose, and I had the bright idea to have Alec watch all eight kids. I was even laughing as I was thinking about it. I loved my brother, but the guy just had no direction in life and it was fun to dump a truck load of responsibility on him every once in a while.
Even though we lived primarily in Seattle for our jobs, we still enjoyed coming home to the cottage whenever possible, and with so many kids for Alec to watch, everyone thought it would be best for them to stay at Emmett's place while we were away because it was still by far the largest residence between us.
As I took the exit off the highway into Forks, I couldn't help but wonder about everything that could have gone wrong during our time away. "So, how many fires do you think he started in the kitchen?" I asked Bella.
"How many fires did you start during your first trip into responsibility?" she replied with a giggle.
"If anything serious would have happened, he would have called us. Just relax."
We pulled up to the property with the Whitmans and the McCartys in the car behind us, and when our headlights reached the main house, a tornado of kids came pouring out.
"Oh. My. God," I said to myself in horror, and I wasn't even sure if I was joking or not.
The moment we stepped out of the car, the kids automatically drowned us in hugs, words of affection, and far too much tattling than I could handle at the moment.
"Daddy, aren't you going to punish him?"
"Carlie, for the hundredth time, I'm not going to ground Alec," I told her.
"But he set my doll's hair on fire, and then he told me to roast marshmallows on it."
"Oh, it was an accident," Alec said dismissively. "And I was joking about the marshmallows."
"Any other major disasters?" I asked him. Bella had been hugging Anthony, but then she turned to listen to Alec's answer.
"Edward, everything was fine," he replied with a triumphant grin. I glanced back at Emmett, and he rolled his eyes knowing all too well that we'd be hearing about all the week's mishaps from the kids over the next few days. But the kids were all tired so for the time being, we decided to just hold off the questioning until later, and we headed home for the night.
Jackson and Alice, along with their son Jasper, lived in Seattle and didn't have a place in Forks, but they came almost as often as we did, and made a home away from home in the local bed and breakfast, which was where they were headed that night as well.
Jackson and my company had flourished since I brought in all of Cullen Enterprises' business, which caused Cullen Enterprises to go into bankruptcy. I couldn't help but laugh at that one. Fucking Carlisle deserved it. Bella and Alice had also been doing extremely well in their career endeavors as well, and the online business completely took off and was rated the top in their market.
Life wasn't exactly how I had pictured it to be after returning from my other worldly glimpse…it was better. Carlie was just about to turn seven, and even though she looked exactly the way I remembered her from the other place, I was beyond excited to see her grow past that point. It was all a surprise after that when it came to her, and I couldn't wait to see how she would grow and change.
Unlike in the other world, Bella and I didn't wait to have Anthony. He was born a year after Carlie, but it was still him. The same little face, with his same inquisitive nature. He was definitely my mini me and emulated just about everything I did. But we also had Little Lizzy, as the other kids called her. She was three years old, and I liked to think she was this world's version of the baby Bella was pregnant with when I spun my way back to where I belonged. I had no way of knowing what happened with all of that, but there was no point to wasting my life worrying about it either.
The cottage wasn't even a two minute drive into the property from the main house, but by the time we got there, Anthony and Lizzy were already fast asleep, so Bella and I carried them to their beds, and then went out to talk to Alec. It was still early enough for Carlie to stay up a little longer, so I thought it would be best to have her present for the debriefing just to make sure whatever Alec was going to say was accurate.
"So?" I asked him.
"So, what?" he played dumb.
"I want to know everything that happened while we were gone."
"Why? I thought you trusted me?"
"I do, but…"
"But nothing. You're coming at me like you think I robbed a bank, or something."
"He didn't rob a bank; he set my doll's hair on fire!" Carlie cut in, as if her doll being destroyed was far worse crime than a bank robbery would have been.
"It was an accident," Alec reiterated.
"Ok, how did this fire come about?" Bella asked.
Alec huffed. "I started a fire for the kids in the pit, and she left her doll on the edge, so naturally the thing caught on fire. Its hair is made of yarn - for crying out loud."
Bella pressed her lips, and then looked back at Carlie. "Sounds innocent enough, what do you say we forgive him this time?"
Carlie crossed her arms in front of her stubbornly, and the look on her face was an exact replica of the former Ice Queen's. It was fucking hysterical.
"Oh come on, I even bought you ice cream so you would forgive me," Alec whined. He then got down on his knee so he was closer to her level, and then gave her puppy eyes. "Will you ever forgive me, Spacey?"
She bit her bottom lip, just as her mother did while deep in thought, and then she sighed and finally nodded. "Ok, but you're on probation," she said sternly. "And my name is not Spacey!"
Alec began calling Carlie 'Spacey' because she had been completely obsessed about aliens since she was two. We didn't exactly know how her interest in the topic came about, but I wasn't surprised. I couldn't get my mind completely wrapped around the two worlds, but the other Carlie had a thing for aliens, so it felt completely natural for this Carlie to as well. But even more curious was the fact that every once in a while, Carlie would say something that made absolutely no sense - no sense to anyone but me….
"Dad, why don't you bowl anymore?" she asked me one day.
"What do you mean, I don't bowl?" I semi-lied. Unlike the other world, I didn't play in a bowling league with Emmett. We didn't live in Forks full time, so it didn't make sense to get involved in such a thing. In fact, I hadn't been bowling in this world since long before Carlie was born, so her question was somewhat startling and completely fascinating at the same time.
"Oh, I thought you did," she replied confused.
Anytime Carlie would ask questions that pertained to the other world such as that, she would always tell me that she dreamed it, or that she had strange fuzzy memories that seemed so real. I felt bad about her confusion, and I promised myself that when she was old enough to understand, I'd explain it all to her.
We never really asked her about her other worldly thoughts or her love of extraterrestrials, but her and I would often spend hours just watching the sky for any signs of life. It was the time when I felt most connected to the other world, as if Carlie was somehow the link to both places just as my father had been.
"We'll be right there to tuck you in!" Bella called after Carlie as she skipped off to bed.
"Damn, that girl is a hard ass," Alec muttered in response to the unforgiving glare that Carlie shot him before she went. "I'll have to be sure to warn whoever she ends up marrying."
Bella smacked him on the back of his head.
"Ow," he complained like a child while rubbing the spot she hit him, but he didn't dare asking her what it was for. Alec may not have been completely raised by Bella the way he had in the alternate life, but he knew better than to mess with her or back talk in any way.
"I'm going to go say goodnight to Carlie, and then I'm showering. You'll be here in the morning, right?" Bella asked Alec.
"Yeah, but I'm leaving early."
"Ok, well, I'll leave you boys to talk then," she said before pulling Alec down so she could kiss his temple, and then she stretched up on her toes to kiss my lips. "Be nice," she whispered to me, and then she disappeared down the back hall.
"Well, I'm beat," Alec said with a yawn. "I think I'll be heading to bed too."
"Not yet, you're not," I said evenly. "We need to talk."
"What now?" he asked with an annoyed sigh.
"I really appreciate you watching the kids this past week, I know it couldn't have been easy."
"Got that right. I really don't know how or why anyone would ever choose to have kids….But, I guess I did owe you one, you know, for supporting me for so long."
"And that's what I need to talk to you about."
"Ah, shit, I knew this was going to come back and bite me in the ass."
I ignored his comment. "You need to figure out what you want out of life. We can't support you forever."
"I am trying to figure it out. What the hell do you think I've been doing all this time, sitting on my ass and playing video games?"
"Maybe. Look, you know I want nothing more than for you to find something that you love doing in life, but…enough is enough. Before you know it, you're going to miss out on life, and you'll only have yourself to blame."
"I get that, but I still don't know what to do. I just have a very hard time staying motivated."
"I know," I sympathized. "But doing anything is better than doing nothing."
"You're right," he said quietly, and then headed towards the front door.
"Where are you going?" I asked.
"Just for a walk, I need to clear my head."
I still had hope for the kid, but I was worried at the same time. He was so unfulfilled, and I knew better than anyone what kind of toll that could take on a person's psyche.
After saying goodnight to Carlie, Bella and I cuddled together on the living room couch and watched an old movie while we waited for Alec to come back. But when he did return, he brought something with him that nearly scared the shit out of me.
"Look what I found," he said excitedly.
"Where the hell did you get that?" I asked, more frightened than I had been in years.
"I was walking up by Coyote Bend and hiked down to where dad used to fish, and saw this just sitting there."
I was completely and utterly flabbergasted. It was the bottle of Forks Own 2000 that I had brought to that spot with the intent to throw it into the river, but that was when I saw Bella, and due to her momentary desire to end her own life, I had forgotten all about destroying the bottle.
"We have to get rid of it now," I said in almost a panic. I couldn't be sent anywhere - I needed to stay with my family in the here and now.
"Oh, come on, you can't seriously believe it's really a portal to some alternate dimension," Alec said in humorous disbelief, but I definitely wasn't laughing.
"You're damn right I'm serious. Go take that bottle back, and throw it into the river," I insisted.
"I'm not walking all the way back there," he protested, and then stretched his bottle clasped hand out towards me in a gesture for me to take it myself.
I raised my hands up in front of me in a defensive gesture. "There is no way in hell I'm touching that thing."
"Edward, it's just a bottle," Bella said soothingly.
"I thought you believed me?" I said in a wave of hurt.
She smiled reassuringly. "I do believe you…but the bottle had power because you needed it to. I really doubt anything would happen again."
"Really?" I asked skeptically. "What makes you think that?"
She shrugged. "That's just what makes sense to me. But your dad was always a little off, so who knows."
"Don't be such a pansy and take the freaking bottle," Alec said while trying to hand it to me again.
"Not going to happen. Besides, if it wasn't still all magical, it would be dirtier. Look how clean the thing is, and it's been sitting there for almost eight years." I shook my head as a chill ran up my spine. "Get that thing out of my house," I insisted again.
"Whatever," Alec said.
And then it happened…. Alec turned to take the bottle outside, but then he tripped on one of Anthony's balls and fell to the ground sending the bottle flying across the floor. It bounced twice, and then began to spin.
I just stared at it for a moment in shock – and then I just reacted. I jumped onto the couch as if I was a panicked housewife that had just seen a rat. "I didn't do it!" I yelled, hoping god, or whoever, wouldn't punish me for my brother's clumsiness.
"Shit," Alec muttered as he collected himself and stood up.
The bottle continued to spin in a surrealistic blur, and the three of us could do nothing but stand there and watch it.
Without seeing her move, I felt Bella's small hand in mine….and then it finally stopped.
"HA!" I shouted in exuberant relief.
"What does that mean?" Alec asked anxiously.
Just like in a game of spin the bottle, somehow I knew that whoever the bottle was pointed at when it came to a rest would be the one who would be subjected to its wrath – and it was pointed right at Alec.
Without letting go of Bella's hand, I stepped off the couch, and patted Alec on the back. "Have a good night sleep, and try not to be a complete moron wherever you end up."
"What?" he asked in a panic.
"Just remember, I'll be here when you finally learn your lesson and come back," I said with a smile, and then I led Bella back to our room."
I wasn't sure why, but I wasn't worried. I knew I wasn't in any danger of losing the life that I had worked so hard to get, and whatever lied ahead for Alec was for his own good.
I made love to my wife, and then held her in my arms while we peacefully drifted off without a care in the world.
Even though I was sure I would wake up in the exact same position I had fallen asleep in, I was still anxious to get out of bed the following morning. When I returned from my trip to the other world, it was like no time had passed for everyone else, so I couldn't wait to see what had happened to Alec.
I kissed my sleeping Bella, and then checked on my kids to make sure they were all still sleeping in their beds, which they were, so I rushed out to the living room where I found Alec passed out on the couch. He looked just as he did the night before, but there was something about his face that made him appear different somehow – more mature.
"Hey," I said gently. When he didn't stir, I decided to be a little more forceful. "Alec, wake up."
He scrunched his face, but kept his eyes shut and then mumbled something incoherently.
"Alec!" I shouted, low enough as to not wake my family sleeping down the hall.
"Get the fire extinguisher!" Alec yelled, and then startled himself awake.
"Whoa, brother," I said with my hand on his shoulder, trying to calm him.
"Edward?" he said as he looked at me confused.
"Yeah….Welcome back, man," I said with a smile knowing for certain that he was just returning from a trip of a lifetime.
"Where are we?" he asked as he looked around the living room.
He took in a deep breath, and then a look of understanding mixed with relief crossed his features. "Oh Edward, it was horrible. I went to college after high school and got in trouble with a fraternity gang, and then you had to come bail me out of jail and ended up getting shot when you stepped in front of a bullet to save my life. Then you died and I had to marry Bella to take care of the kids, and damn, that woman is horny."
I just stared at him in pure disgust.
"Man, I have to tell you, I love you and I'm glad you're alive and all, but I am going to miss Bella's enthusiasm – if you know what I mean."
Ok, the punk was going to lose a limb.
But then he started cracking up.
"Damn, you should see your face right now. You are so fucking gullible. Like Bella would ever turn to me like that if you died….Would she?"
"Get the hell out of my house!" I snapped at him.
"Oh come on, it was a joke - The place I just got back from was far worse than that…." With that, Alec got up and headed for the door.
"Where are you going?" I asked him.
"I gotta fix my life. Hug the kids for me, I'll see you later."
"Wait!" I called after him. "Get rid of this please," I said, and grabbed the bottle of Forks Own 2000 to hand to him.
"Hey-ya, Edward," he said as he readily took the bottle from me.
"Thank you….for everything." And then he reached for me and unexpectedly hugged me tightly. "I love you, man."
"I love you too, and I'm glad to have you back."
I had no idea what really happened to Alec and where he had been, but that was ok, it wasn't my story. My story was Bella and our three children sleeping soundly in the rooms behind me, and I would be forever grateful for the gift of knowledge my father forced me to live through in order to get on the right path towards them.
Our lives were definitely full of chaos and so much more happiness than I ever imagined possible, but the best part of it all was the fact that it was my life. Bella and I had fought through our inner demons and made it out stronger than ever before. There were no easy roads, and every laugh, every embrace, ever smile on our children's faces were all proof that we were exactly where we belonged.
The End….For now!
***A/N: Thank you so much for reading, and reviewing when you were able, I really appreciate the support.
UPDATE – I was planning to write the other version of this story (Fork's Edward gets thrust into the life he would have had if he went to New York) but unfortunately, I just can't seem to get motivated for it. I had the first chapter finished and posted, but I decided to remove it because I hate leaving stories incomplete. I will, however, repost the chapter, along with a few more to finish that version in a form of OUTAKES at a later time. I'm sorry for disappointing you, but right now trying to write for this when I really don't feel it is just going to end up being a pathetic story.
Thanks again, and I hope you enjoyed the story!