A/N: This was my contribution to the Stand Up for Katalina compliation. Katalina requested that we meet up with Ass girl and Sex hair to see how they have been doing. So I came up with a future take. Thank you to TeamPattinson who did beta duty once more and Twiddler83 and CullensTwiMistress for pre-reading! *mwah*
Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight... just Ass girl and sex hair! ENJOY!
End of the Road: Seattle Express Future Take
Summary: It's fifteen years later, and while one journey has come to an end, another could be starting.
Dedication: To the survivors and those left behind.
Fifteen Years Later
Weak light filters through the blinds, waking me up. I try to roll back and snuggle next to Bella's warmth, but it's no use, I'm up. As quietly as I can, I slip into my slippers and robe to ward against the chilly morning. With Christmas just a few short days away, the weather in Seattle is trying its best to be winter-like.
As I make my way into the kitchen, I fire up a huge pot of coffee knowing that both my girls are going to need it when they wake. Bella is anxious for today and Liv had a late night at the Winter Formal. I heard her come in around midnight. When I have enough to fill a cup, I take it to the window seat situated under the big bay window. It's a favorite spot for almost everyone in the family.
I look upon the yard which is covered in a light layer of snow. I'm sure in a few days it will be gone, but for now it's enough to make it feel like Christmas. I sip the warm savory coffee as I wonder where all the time went. It's still hard to believe Liv is a sophomore in high school and Liam is a junior college.
I shake my head, I feel so old.
It feels like only yesterday that we brought Liv home from the hospital, Liam was only five and excited about having a little sister.
I'm interrupted in my thoughts when I hear movement above me. I wait to see who will come down and join me and turn anxious eyes toward the stairs when I hear soft footfalls. By the hem of the dark blue robe, I know its Bella. I start to walk back into the kitchen to top off my cup and pour one for her.
"Good morning, dear," she says with a smile.
I turn to face her and we kiss gently before I present her with cup of coffee, black, like always.
"Morning darling. Did you sleep much?" She had been tossing and turning most of the night, too anxious for Liam coming home.
She shakes her auburn locks that are now streaked ever so faintly with silver. Even though we have both gotten older, Bella still looks as beautiful as the day I met her. She can still take my breath away with a simple smile.
"No, not much. Too excited." Her warm brown eyes are bright and shining. "If I need to, I can nap later. How long have you been up?" she asks as she takes a sip of her coffee.
"Not too long. It snowed a bit last night." I gesture to the big bay window I was looking out of.
Bella's eyes light up as she pads over to the window. I sneak up behind her and snuggle her close, her familiar scent envelops me and grounds me to the here and now. We sip our coffee in silence, just looking out the window.
It has always been like this for us. No need to fill silence with idle chatter. Her face and body tell me all I need to know. Like right now I feel her tension, her excitement- the pure happiness to know her family will be under one roof.
"When does his plane arrive?" I ask her.
"At ten. He still insists on taking a cab here. I told him it would be no big deal for us to pick him up." She huffs in irritation. Liam is just as stubborn as his mother, a trait they share in common.
He is a perfect mix of Bella and I. He has my eyes, but his face is all Bella, their hair color is almost identical. He inherited my height but somehow got Bella's willowy frame. He was always a bit on the skinny side as a kid, but he has a fierce and intense personality. He has always been an avid reader, getting that from his mother and he was smart, like razor sharp.
He is also a very sensitive kid. He always lends a helping hand, made friends with everyone. He never abided by the cliques that form in school, he forged his own path. When he was about eight, he fell in love with dancing after watching some street performers. He was with my parents and when he came home; his eyes were so bright and full of fire.
He excitedly told us all about the dancers and how cool and fun it was to watch. Esme explained how he kept making them go back to watch and how one of the dancers even pulled him into their group and taught him a few moves. He was a goner.
He begged us for weeks to allow him to dance. We relented and he took to it like a duck takes to water. He started out in hip hop and thrived. He immersed himself into dance and he seemed to be a natural. But it was more than his talent; it was his drive to be the best.
We never pushed him; instead letting him take it as far as he wanted to go. It was Liam that went to his teacher and demanded an audition for the competition team seeing as there wasn't an all-boys hip hop competition team. It was him that came to us with the reasons why he wanted to join.
When he had read about how ballet and tap help improve balance and flexibility, he once again petitioned the studio and us to allow him to take ballet and tap. I remember being worried that he would get picked on or teased at school for being in dance and I expressed these worries to Bella.
Being the wonderful mother that she is, she calmed me down enough to make me realize how well liked he was in school, how he rose above the cliques to be friends with everyone. In fact, during a school talent show, Liam with a little help from his dance instructor, choreographed an entire dance and performed it in front of his classmates. When I saw their standing ovation to him, I knew I had nothing to worry about.
So when it was time for him to go into high school it came to no surprise to Bella and I that he wanted to enroll in a performing arts school. Like the intelligent kid he is, he had already done all his research, listed the pros and cons of each school as well as his personal preference. With such passion and dedication, it was hard to tell him no and in three years he graduated from Seattle Performing Arts High School.
Now, he is in his last year at Juilliard and he is busy lining up auditions with Dance Companies all over the country. I can't be more proud of him.
The patter of feet rouses me from my memories and I look over to see Bella watching eagerly toward the stairs. We know that Liv will be full of excitement and chatter about last night's dance and will want to talk our ears off.
"Oh, Mom, Dad wait till I tell you all about last night!" Her face is beaming. How we ended up with a child who was a morning person, I'll never know.
She runs to the kitchen, dumps in a packet of cocoa mix, and adds some coffee and milk to her cup. It is a strange concoction she has had since she went to Starbucks for the first time. She stirs it up as she comes to the living room and plops down next her mother.
I make my way over to where they are sitting and wait for her to begin her tale. Bella looks at Liv from over the rim of her cup and eyes her with a speculative look.
Where Liam was a perfect mix of the two of us, Liv heavily favors me. From her hair that has more red than brown and has my characteristic unruliness to it, to her intense green eyes that look as if they could see into your soul. She even has the same crooked smile as me. Where you see Bella is more subtle, the shape of her face, the slight curl to her hair, and the fairness of her skin.
"So," drawled Bella. "Last night, how did it go?" I watch as Bella smiles at Liv when a dreamy faraway looks crosses her features.
"It was perfect, Mom, just perfect." She takes a few sips and stares out into space. We wait in silence as she gathers her thoughts.
"I hung out mainly with Marc, Carmen, and Diego. Whoever was on the decorating committee actually did a decent job with the decorations. They weren't lame at all! The DJ kinda sucked, but that was 'cuz he played rap junk all night except when he played slow songs."
She rolls her eyes and sighs dramatically. I smile, knowing that she is just working her way up to the important parts.
"But even with the crappy music Marc danced with me. I even got him to dance some slow songs." Both Bella and I laughed at that. Marc, or really I should call him Marcus is Liv's boyfriend. He was a shy boy, but has been crushing big time on Liv. Once she gave him a shot, she quickly found out he was just as big as a video game freak as she was. They bonded over that and then about three months ago they started dating.
He is her very first boyfriend and I worry about her. Bella says I'm being too protective. I remind her that she is my baby and it's my prerogative as a father to be protective. No man is good enough for her, even a shy computer geek like Marc.
I tune out the chatter when they discuss the dresses and who was wearing what and what relationships ended or started. It's not that I'm not interested, okay, I'm not, it's just that talk of taffeta and satin bores me.
So instead I watch how animated she is and it's hard not to notice how different my children are. Where Liam is quiet and contemplative, Liv is boisterous and exuberant. Liam is a bit introverted and reserved, Liv is extroverted and outgoing. Liam found his one true passion and stuck with it, Liv flitted from activity to activity, never finding something that resonated with her.
It wasn't until she was in fifth grade that she found a sport she enjoyed and true to Liv fashion, she found two of them; volleyball and soccer. I never figured out what it was about those sports that captured her interest. But on her first day of volleyball practice she came home all buzzing about her coach and teammates.
Now, even though she is only a sophomore, she is on the varsity team. She's the only lower classman on the team and I'm immensely proud of my baby girl.
"Ohh, here is the best part of last night!" Her squeals break through my musings and I once again focus on her.
She is sitting on the edge of the sofa, practically bouncing up and down. Her arms were waving and her face had a huge smile as she makes sure that we are paying attention.
When she sees that she has out attention she takes a dramatic pause before she screams out, "I was crowned Snow Princess, or one of the Snow Princesses. But still I got a sash and everything and a crown. A real crown!"
She whips out her phone and starts to show us the pictures. She also tells us how, the Snow King and Queen vote on their court royalty. I look at the pictures of her in her crown and sash and she looks beautiful. She has her mother's poise and elegance. Just looking at her I know she is going to break hearts far and wide.
As Bella looks through the pictures again, Liv runs up to her room to bring down her sash. She models it for us and I can't help but smile at her infectious enthusiasm. I laugh as Bella snaps a few more pictures and Liv does her best model poses.
When they are done she runs over to me. Seeing her so grown up makes my heart ache just a little bit.
"You were always my Princess, Liv." I hug her to me, relishing the feeling her still being my little girl. "You looked beautiful last night. I am so happy for you."
"Thank you, Daddy." She kisses my cheek and runs over to Bella where they babble excitedly.
"I say this calls for a celebratory breakfast. You get to choose, baby girl, what do you want?" I look over at Bella and mouth Liv's answer as she is giving it to me.
"Oh, chocolate chip banana pancakes," she squeals.
I chuckle and nod. "Sounds good. Why don't you shower and when you are done breakfast will be ready." She skips away as Bella and I head into the kitchen to begin making breakfast.
As I fry the bacon, Bella mixes up the pancake batter and I notice a wistful look on Bella's face.
"Penny for your thoughts, love." I rub her back gently and in a blink, she is nuzzling my chest.
"I guess it just hit me today how much they have grown. Pretty soon Liv will be at college and it will just be us. Where did all the time go, Edward?"
I kiss her head as we sway side to side. "I don't know, babe."
We stay like that for a little bit until the bacon starts to crackle and hiss reminding me of my cooking duty. I kiss her nose before I pull away. She gives my arm a squeeze and begins pouring out pancakes.
Once breakfast is done, I drag Bella to the shower. While I tell her it was so we can get ready faster, I also have an ulterior motive. I just want some last minute alone time with my wife before the chaos of the holidays sweep us away.
I take advantage of Bella when her eyes are closed as she rinses off. I pull her close and slide my hands all over her wet and soapy body. She relaxes into my body and tilts her head, silently asking for kisses. I rain kisses all over her neck and shoulders as I push her against the shower walls and slide gently into her slick folds. Gently and softly I reaffirm my love and desire for my wife, as I love her completely.
I whisper how much I love and need her still after all this time as I thrust gently into her. Her soft pants and moans spur me on. My hands wander her body, kneading, plucking, and rolling her nipples into hard points. As I feel her begin to clench down on me, I speed up, and pinch her clit to send her over and follow her into bliss.
I slip out of her as she turns to face me. She pulls my face down to hers and rains kisses on my face, whispering, "I love you so much, Edward."
"I love you too." I kiss her nose and we wordlessly dry each other off.
As we make out way down the stairs the front door opens and Liam walks through. Bella pauses on the last step, frozen with surprise and confusion. She looks at the clock.
"You're early. What? How?" She is speechless to see him so early.
"I wanted to surprise you so I took an earlier flight." He smiles at her and like that, Bella runs across the room and throws her arms around him.
From where I am I can hear her crying and sniffling. Even though he towers her, she still gets them swinging from side to side.
"Please don't cry, Ma. It's okay." He looks up at me worried. I just shake my head and mouth that she will be fine.
It has been six long months since we've seen him. He left to go back for his last year early as he was picked to participate in a summer internship with the New York Dance Troupe. It was too good for him to pass up and so we encouraged him to take it. He never made it home for Thanksgiving as got a job dancing in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. It was last minute and too late for us to join him there.
"Bubba!" screams Liv. She tears past me and leaps into Liam's arms. "You're early!"
Liam smiles at her use of his nickname and catches her easily and they do a group hug. I slowly make my way over to him, making sure the girls have all the times they need to say their hellos.
Liv slides down and I sneak in to give him a one armed hug as Bella is still glued to his side.
"You are too thin, Liam. Are you making sure you are eating? Do you want some breakfast? I can whip something up for you." Before he can answer, she is already dragging him into the kitchen. "Sit down and I'll get you something."
"Mom, don't go to too much trouble. I'm fine." He quiets when Bella glares at him.
"You are too thin." She points her spatula at him to punctuate her words. He raises his hands in surrender.
"Smart move, kid." He just smiles at me.
The next few days are a whirlwind of activity. We try and cram as much time in with Liam, knowing that he has friends that he wants to see as well. But when it came to Christmas, we made sure the entire day was set aside for family time.
My parents come over early so my mom can help Bella with the cooking. Liam and Carlisle head out to the airport to pick up Bella's parents flying in from Florida. When they arrive the whole house is bustling with activity. While Bella and the grandma's cook, I help Liam, Liv, and the grandpa's wrap up the gift baskets that we will deliver later in the day.
We had started a tradition with the kids when they were younger to give gift baskets to homeless shelters and domestic violence safe homes. When Bella's books took off, we added more baskets to make sure that there was something for everyone.
Dinner is loud and full of life and energy. The grandparents dote on the kids. Esme and Renee listen as Liv tells them all about being crowned Snow Princess, as Liam and the grandpa's get into a heated discussion over football. Both of them are dismayed to find out that Liam now roots for the Giants.
With dinner done, Liv drags us into the living room and plops herself in front of the tree. While she may no longer believe in Santa, she is still young enough enjoy the gifts. Charlie plays Santa and soon everyone has piles of gifts, wrapping paper, and ribbon surrounding them.
I snuggle next to Bella as we watch our family enjoy Christmas. The way our kids eyes light up with each new gift, or the way the grandma's eyes tear up at receiving a DVD of Liam's most recent performances. I help Bella with the clasp to her new charm bracelet and explain the meaning behind all the charms Liv helped me select.
It is a perfect way to celebrate the holidays and I can't be more thankful that I have my family with me. I know I need to cherish each one of these, because each is precious.
A few days before Liam is set to go back to school, I find him sitting up in the middle of the night. He is sitting at the window seat, staring out into the inky blackness with only a small lamp providing any light.
"Hey, buddy. What's up? Worried about the finals you have coming in a few weeks?" A few days ago I watched as he practiced his dance moves for his practical finals in a few weeks. Even after all these years of dance, he still shows passion and joy when he moves. It never ceases to amaze me.
He turns to look at me and I see his contemplative face. "No, I'm as prepared as I can be for those, just thinking."
I sit on the other end of the seat and look out the window as well. "Anything I can help with?"
Liam shrugs and sighs. "I don't know. It's just … have you ever …" He bangs his head against the window.
I have learned not to rush him, to let him sort it out in his head and when he's got it sorted out, he'll talk. So I just close my eyes and rest against the window.
"It's just, have you ever been afraid to make a move, ya know, on a girl?" He blushes. I pause to see if there is anything else to the story. "You see, there is this girl I see on the subway almost every day. She is so beautiful Dad." He smiles and I'm sure he's thinking of her.
"Why don't you go and talk to her?" I ask as I begin thinking of when I first saw Bella.
"I get a vibe from her that she is a bit shy, ya know? I don't want to scare her off."
Hearing the wistfulness in his voice I can't help but chuckle. Liam turns to me with a scowl.
"What's so funny Dad?"
I smother my laughter and face him. "Have I ever told you how I met your mother?"
He looks at me, perplexed. "Um, no. What does that have to do with me?"
I smile at him. "Everything. You see it all started when we were both living in Tacoma. Your mother had just moved there and we both rode the Seattle Express."
A/N: *sniff* GAH... the ending still gets me everytime! I would love to hear your thoughts! Thanks to Born and TexasBella who invited me to participate, to Katalina for thinking of doing this in the midst of her own personal struggle and to all who dontated to help raise a boat load of money for cancer research!