Hello, people! It's been, what, 6 months now? Well, I've been crazy ladden with studies (giving my MCATs soon, so you can imagine).
Well, let's get on with this one final chapter for The End, The Beginning.
There's not much "Edward Bella" time per se, I wanted this one to be more about the kids than anything else. So, I hope you like what you read ahead!
Beta'd by Heather *love*
Disclaimer: Still don't own nothin'...
Nine years after 2014 (2023)
"Liz, Daddy's in the grocery store. Do you want macaroni or spaghetti tonight?" I ask my seven-year-old daughter Annalisa who's coloring Dora's face a weird shade of red…Is this Dora sunburnt?
She looks up and scrunches her tiny nose looking so fucking adorable that I can't help giving her a smooch on her rosy cheeks. She giggles and answers, "Spaghetti. White sauce with mushrooms and broccoli and baby corn and lotsa olie oil, Mum."
I nod and relay the little girl's demands to my husband. "…and don't forget to get EVOO. Liz needs to see that olive oil floating on top of her food or she won't eat it."
"Jesus, Carina, our daughter wants broccoli? Aren't kids supposed to hate broccoli and vegetables in general? Nate sure does," he snorts. Our nine-year-old son Nathan picks out vegetables from his food like a hawk, stealthily dumping it all in Liz's plate. "And don't you have olive oil at home already? I mean, you do own a company that makes olive oil."
"The carton's empty, I checked, and I need some olive oil right now. You just get it from the store, I'll tell someone from the office to drop by with a carton of bottles later." I narrow my eyes as he hums and I hear that distinct crunch of paper. "I hope you're not buying Doritos for the kids, Edward." I can hear him picking out cartons and dumping them into his cart. And when I hear the crunch of paper, I feel the need to intervene. The kids are eating too much junk as it is these days what with the fast food and gluten overdose; add a constant supply of chips and salsa to the mix and obesity and health problems in the future is what you have.
"No, no of course I'm not. Why in the world would I ever do that?" he says, adding snorts to punctuate his very convincing lie.
I roll my eyes and pull the crayon Liz has inserted into her mouth from her grasp and give her wide eyes and my no-Liz-bad-manners face. "Right, silly me. Get a big bottle of Coke though, and also some mud pie. I don't feel like making anything from scratch tonight."
"I love you."
And then this. These sudden little flutters of joy and happiness that my husband brings me are what keep me going.
I beam and shake my head. "Love you too, Edward. Get home soon, yeah?"
"Yeah," he whispers. "See ya."
I cut the line and get back to checking the accounts. While I was pregnant with Nate, I'd decided that enough was enough and I was done wasting all that money and time I'd put into my education. So, I researched while I vegetated on the bed with a huge belly, and decided that I would start my own olive oil business. We were Italian, and Carlisle and Esme had lots of friends back in Sicily, so it was most fitting that this business would prosper. Siclie, my company, wasn't so much work that it took up all my time, just enough to keep me busy. We imported fresh, organic, top quality olive oil from Italy and supplied it to the top restaurants in Chicago. The business was small, profitable, legit—mostly—and I intended to keep it that way. Of course Edward sometimes laundered black money through Siclie…but it was what it was.
"Mom!" my son yells, running into the kitchen with flushed cheeks and an angry scowl.
"Nate, do not yell," I say sternly. "What happened? Why are your pants wet?"
"That little, irritating, good-for-nothing Viola," he rants, but stops to take a deep breath, breathing through his anger. I stifle a giggle; Edward and I sure make the cutest babies possible. "Mom, you won't believe it," he pauses for effect, my little drama queen, "she emptied a jar of her pee down my pants. Like, she actually peed in a jar. And then drained it all down my pants!"
I gasp. "Viola did that?"
Little seven-year-old Viola was Alice and Jasper's second surprise baby, born two years after their first surprise son Teo. She was a beautiful little girl with Jasper's blond hair and thoughtful nature, Alice's mischievousness and beauty. She was a force while Liz was all smooth talk, and all the three boys in the house were already fiercely protective about both their little sisters—Viola and Liz. But when it came to Viola and Nate…they had a sort of love-hate relationship. It was super cute.
"Yes! Now you see what I do to that little…" he murmurs and stomps off toward his room.
Just then, Viola enters the kitchen, laughing. I'm stunned this sweet little girl could do something like this, and while I can take a good joke, this is completely unacceptable. She's a girl after all, and these are just sick things.
"Viola, sweetie, is Nate telling the truth? Did you really empty a jar of your pee—"
She shakes her head vehemently. "Oh no, Auntie Bella, it wasn't my pee." I sigh in relief and she giggles adorably. "I mixed a few drops of that liquid, yellow antiseptic you use, in water and put it in a transparent jar. I told Nate it was my pee and he actually believed me. Oh Jesus, you should have seen the look on his face when I poured it down his pants." She falls into fits of laughter, and I chuckle, shaking my head. Kids. Genius little kids though, I must say.
"He's out for revenge now, though, you do know that right?"
She nods solemnly and slinks towards Nate's room. "I'll tell him the truth now. See ya, Auntie Bella!"
She runs off while I begin to stack up all the papers, deciding that I'm not getting any work done today. Teo and William will soon be here with their parents from their baseball practice, so I needed to get the house straight anyway. We'd sent Nate to a few baseball lessons too when he was younger, but my son had instead taken to soccer, and played rather well for his age.
Today was 31st March, and the whole family, all eleven of us—excluding Carlisle and Esme who now lived in a tiny village in Italy, wanting to spend their last years with their roots—got together on the last day of every month for a brunch. This time, the venue was our house.
Things were going good, so good in fact that it scared me some days. Nine years ago, when Edward had walked out to murder the Lazanga clan, I had been shattered. So fucking worried, anxious, so stressed that I barely functioned the twenty-one hours and sixteen minutes that he was away from my sight. That day…it was burned into me forever; knowing that my husband was out there killing people, that my Edward might never come back to me, it made my brain freeze and my life pause. But he did return, they all returned, and we didn't speak anything of it until two years later. After that day, Volterra grew five times what it used to be, and I could just watch as a bystander as Edward became the very definition of illegal, a bounty hanging over his head constantly. And yet…and yet Edward Cullen was untouchable. Still is.
In all these nine years, there had been no serious threats to any family member, Volterra wasn't looking to expand anymore, finally content with being the best there was, and all of us lived as normal a life as we could.
What was "normal" anyway? Each family made their own "normal", and for us thirteen Cullens, "normal" was being not dead.
So, yeah, things are good.
What the future holds, who knows right?
Nineteen years after 2014 (2033)
"Bella, get up," Edward whispers in my ear, shaking me.
"Whaaa…?" I ask as I sit up, disoriented and irritated to be waking up in the middle of the fucking night. I check my phone and see that it's twelve thirty. What in hell?
I look at Edward and see he's got his phone to his ear. I jerk my chin and scrunch my eyebrows, silently asking him what's up.
"Nate says he can't find his textbook. His…" he pauses as Nate probably tells him the name, and then says, "his Parts of a Machine book and notes register. Did you pack it in his suitcase? He has some test tomorrow."
"Jeez, that was two weeks ago! Umm…I can't remember." I think back to when I packed Nate's suitcase as he left for his second semester of Mechanical Engineering at MIT. I'm pretty sure I'd packed everything in the list he'd given me. I hold out my hand for the phone. "Let me talk to him."
"Hey, Mom, I'm so sorry I woke you up, but I can't-I can't find this book and register and, God, I really, really need it! Shit, where is it?! Fuck, I've looked everywhere!" he sounds so flustered and panicked, my heart clenches to hear my baby so scared. So what if he's nineteen? He'll always be my little Nate!
"Nathan," I say in a calm and collected voice, knowing that it'll calm him in turn. "First, stop pulling your hair." He got that from Edward, and when I hear a loud sigh, I know he's detached his fingers from his hair. "Good. Now tell me, did you look under your bed?"
"I—" he pauses, and I hear rustle and bustle and then my son's shout of "Fucking found it!"
I chuckle and shake my head. Silly boy. "Great. Now let your mother sleep."
"I can't even—how do you do this? How do you always just…know?"
"I'm surprised you're surprised after all these years," I say, mighty smug about by awesomeness. "Bye, baby, best of luck for tomorrow."
"Bye, Ma, thanks for this. And sorry for disturbing you. Love ya."
"Love you too, baby." Gosh, my little boy is so grown up. Oh, I'm going to start crying again.
"Duh," he says, and with that, cuts the line.
I stare at the phone and shake my head. "Cocky shit."
Beside me, I hear Edward snort. "I wonder where he gets that from," he says, all smug and shit.
I roll my eyes and bark out a laugh, nestling into my husband's warmth as his arms wind around me.
All the five kids—who weren't really kids anymore—now obviously knew about what the Cullen family business was all about.
William, Rose and Em's son, was following in his parents' footsteps and was a pre-med student at Michigan State University.
Viola and Liz were in a private boarding school in New York, both the girls showing an uncanny talent in designing. While Liz was more into interior designing and architecture, Viola could design clothes and stuff like no other. So, Liz and Viola at seventeen, were studying at a special training school, and had already been accepted at the best design institutes in London for next year.
While Teo had shown interest in joining the mob, Nate had shown absolutely zero interest and had left to MIT to pursue his passion in the Engineering field. To say Edward had been angry and shattered was an understatement. He had been so sure that Nate would eventually want to follow in his father's footsteps, seeing as how much he was like Edward both in looks, nature and mannerisms. Especially after Edward had decided to send a seventeen-year-old Nate on an assignment and then a sit-down, and Nate had come back with a sparkling result, Edward had been so hopeful, saying how Nate was such a "natural". Natural what, I never knew, because I never asked. If my son had bonked someone…I was just better off not knowing.
But after that one time, our boy seemed to have a mind of his own and absolutely refused to "be a part of this fuckery", as he put it. I had obviously supported my son whole heartedly, so fucking relieved and elated that he was sensible enough to stay away, and Edward had finally come to terms with it as well.
So now, Teo was under Edward and Jasper's wing, learning the ins-and-outs of Volterra. Teo knew that it wasn't his rightful position, and he was okay with that, knowing that he was only filling in until Nate "came to his senses"—the boys' words, not mine—and when he did, Teo would happily step down as the Consigliore. I knew that Edward hoped that someday, something would change Nate's mind and he would choose to be claim his rightful title as the Boss Man, as Skip.
I just prayed that Nate always did what he wanted to.
Over the past ten years, Volterra had shut a few bookies, closed down a handful of clubs, and now was completely out of the diamond smuggling business. Edward said that it was getting too much, and that the stakes and risks were getting too fucking high to be dabbling in everything all at once. The change was gradual, but it was fucking welcome!
My olive oil business was just as it had been ten years ago, and though we'd had tons of opportunities to expand it and really profit from it for real, I just didn't see the point. Who wanted all that extra stress and workload? We were happy as we are.
All in all, life is good.
One year later… (2034)
In the morning, as Edward leaves for work, I make another cup of coffee for myself and settle into the couch in front of the TV, with my laptop and a bunch of work emails to send.
"God, I can't even—my kid is going to make me lose my damn mind!" I snort into my cup as I hear Rose barge into the house, her frustration shining gloriously through her words and angry footfalls. "Where the fuck are you, Bells? I need my little sister!"
Yeah, there's nothing "little" about a forty-one year old woman, Rose…
"In the living room," I shout in the direction of the entrance and close my laptop. No work happening now, that's for sure. As Rose comes to sit beside me, I take her hand and squeeze it; a little tension leaves her. "What did my little William do now?"
She shakes her head and closes her eyes, sighing loudly as she thumps her head on the sofa. "Your not-so-little William, apparently can't keep his little willy in check and bangs anyone with a fucking vagina!" She's exaggerating, he isn't that bad.
He just bangs anyone from twenty to twenty-six-years old with a vagina.
Nate told me so. My good mama's boy. He's the one-woman-man kind, searching for his true love and having some serious, and some not-so-serious, relationships until he finds his one. He's not the casual sex kind. And I'm not just a biased, blind mother; Liz told me this about Nate when he'd been sick a few months back, and I was freaking out when antibiotics didn't work and I'd been so sure he'd caught an STD of some kind, my daughter finally took pity on me and gave me the deets about her brother's love life. Turns out, he had some stomach worms. I digress.
"Come on, Rose, you know he's not that bad. He's just…young and hormonal. It's a phase, it'll pass. He's a brilliant kid, getting great grades and—"
She holds up a finger and shakes her head at me, her eyes flashing with anger. "Oh, I'm not done yet. So get this, he apparently had sex with this, he says and I quote, 'psycho stalker bitch Mia that won't leave me alone', and now he's hiding in his old room. For the past week, he hasn't been staying in his dorm and just goes to college and back. I humored him in the beginning, and I was fine with him under my roof again, giddy even, but this morning, I go to the kitchen and there she is! This half-naked girl, all freshly fucked and eating breakfast in my kitchen."
I gasp. This is some of the best gossip I've heard in a long time. I'm totally juicing it for everything it's worth. Oh our kids are so amazing.
"Who?" I whisper, clutching at her arm and leaning into her as if she's about to tell me the secret to life or something. "That psycho stalker bitch Mia?"
She laughs humorlessly. "I thought so too at first. But no, when Mr. William McCarty swaggers into the kitchen in his boxers, also looking freshly fucked and gives me this sheepish, guilty grin and goes, 'Hey, Mum, morning. This is…what's your name?' Can you believe he didn't even know her name?! And then the girl got like, really embarrassed and stammered and shit and couldn't get out of there fast enough."
"No," I gasp again. Okay, this is no joke. What you do at your college is your thing, but at home, all the kids know better than to invite just anyone over. "He did not. He fucked a random chick in your house? And she wasn't even his girlfriend? This is unacceptable and disrespectful!"
She nods furiously. "Right? I fucking tore him a new one this morning! Emmett was so angry that Will let anyone into the house without even informing us—fuck, Bella, she could've been a spy for all we know!" I nod right along her words. Rose rubs her forehead, looking tired. "I think after today, he'll finally tone this shit down a notch. I mean, I could tell he was really embarrassed and he did feel really guilty about it, but he can't be doing this shit, Bell. I mean, he needs to get serious now, you know?"
"Yeah, no, you're absolutely right. And William's got a golden heart, he's just a little loose with his body. I'll tell Nate and Teo to have a talk with him. Those three have always been like the three musketeers and shit, they'll straighten him out."
"Hmm, you do that." She sighs and slumps down. "So, I hear Nate's getting a girl home to meet you guys for Thanksgiving next week?"
Oh goodie, more gossip!
"Yup," I say, grinning. "He's never wanted us to meet anyone before, so this one must be serious serious. He said her name's Kylie Hamel, and that she's the shy kind, so we're not to be too pushy or anything. Edward did a background check on her, naturally, and turns out, she's part French!"
"Ooooo Nate got himself a French beauty. Oh, that boy always has been my favorite."
I laugh. "Oh, oh and get this, she's a vegetarian!"
This time, it's Rose who gasps. "Really? What'll she eat on a Thanksgiving dinner then? Mashed potatoes?"
"Right? That's exactly what I asked Nate, and he said surely we had more than mashed potatoes as the vegetarian dishes. Well, at the time we didn't, so then I called the chef we hired for Thanksgiving and told him to prepare at least four vegetarian dishes too. That'll be enough right?"
She nods. "Yeah, yeah, four should cut it. Oh, I'm so excited to meet her!"
"Totally! This is the first time any of the kids will bring someone home. Such a milestone in all our lives, I tell you—"
The ringing of my phone interrupts me, and I see it's William calling. I hold out my phone to Rose, but she shakes her head and says, "Go on, pick up, he's calling your phone, not mine."
I sigh and answer. "Hey, William, what's up?"
"Umm…he-hey, Aunt Bella. Is Mum there?" Yup, the boy sounds all the right amounts of guilty, sheepish, hesitant and scared that he should. Definitely not a gone case yet.
"Yeah, she's here, honey. Do you want to talk to her?"
"No…ye—no, she left…and I didn't know where she was going, so I was just worried." He takes a deep breath. "I-I'm really sorry about today, I feel terrible about it. I didn't think, obviously, but I swear I won't ever let any of you down again this way."
Oh, the poor boy.
"We're just glad you understand, Will, we know you never meant to let anyone down intentionally. We trust you, boy, you're a good kid. You don't need to sleep around to have fun, you know?"
I can almost hear him nod. "Yeah, yeah, no definitely. I-I think I needed this eye-opener, and I'm going to be better now. This whoring around…seriously, why do I even do this? No, no, I'm definitely done with it."
I smile, I fucking beam and look at Rose. "Then you've made your mother most proud. Here, talk to her."
Rose takes the phone, and I know she heard bits and pieces of what he said by the small smile on her face.
Our kids really are amazing.
One more year later… (2036)
"Can you see them? Can you?" I stand on my tip-toes and search the airport. "Dammit, I can't see them, Teo! Look, man, look! You're practically a giraffe."
"Yes, Teo, look for my little girls!" Alice says too, her stance just like mine.
He places one hand on my shoulder and the other on Alice's, and forces us back on our heels. "Aunt Bella, Mom, chill. Vi told me she'd call when they landed."
I swat his hand away. "Don't you tell me to 'chill'. I'm seeing my girls after seven months! Fuck, where are they?!"
Alice shakes her head. "My daughter is completely irresponsible that way." She shakes her finger in front of Teo's face. "You call Viola now, Mister, and check whether her phone is on yet."
He rolls his eyes at us but takes his phone out. "You two are batshit crazy. They're big girls, they'll—hey, Vi, where the hell are you guys? These two women are—oh yes, I see you!"
Both Alice and I yell simultaneously. "Where? Where?"
I finally spot them, pointing them out to Alice, both of us practically vibrating with excitement. "I see her, I see my Liz! Oh look at them, they've grown so much! Oh my God, are those purple streaks in Viola's hair, Al?! When did she get that done? I can't believe she would—Edward, you're squeezing my waist too hard, babe."
Edward, Jasper and Nate had stood on the side all nonchalant-like, but as soon as we saw the girls, all three of them came running to get a glimpse of their princesses. Nonchalant my ass.
"Is it just me or is Lizzie's hair shorter?" Edward asks, and I look up at his face to see him narrowing his eyes to get a clearer view. Poor man forgot his specs at home. Gosh, we're getting old.
The girls are now almost through security, and both of them are waving wildly at us, finally having spotted us as well.
Liz turns to the side to say something to Viola. I gasp as I catch a glimpse of my baby's beautiful auburn hair that's now no more than shoulder length. "She got all her hair chopped off, Edward!" I hold his hand tighter. "Oh, my heart! First Viola with the streaks, now Liz with no hair, what has London done to our girls?!"
Finally, finally, they're close enough and I smother my daughter in a hug. Edward and Nate put their arms around both of us, and it's a sweet, sweet moment.
"Mom, Dad, oh my God I missed you guys so much!" Liz says against my neck, and I can feel her tears on my skin. "Nate, you ass, God I miss you every day! I can't even…God, Mom, I never thought I'd say this, but I miss your smell. Shit, I sound stupid, but just…I'm so glad to be home!"
Edward and Nate pull back, and then so do Liz and I. I take her beautiful face in my hands and look into her brown eyes. "Annalisa, don't cry, honey. Today's a day of happiness, smile for your mom!"
She manages a weak smile, but fresh tears slide down as Edward places a hand on her shoulder. She whips around and throws her arms around her father's waist. "Oh, Dad, I missed your bone-crushing hugs. I love you guys so much!"
My own eyes fill with tears as I look up to see Edward rest his cheek on our daughter's head and take a deep breath, reveling in her love. "Love you too, baby, love you the most."
And to hear him say these words to our daughter that he'd only ever said to me, it makes my heart quadruple in size.
This is it. This is my family, my everything.
Liz releases Edward with a kiss to his chest, slamming into Nate, crushing him in a hug. And as I meet my son's wet eyes over my daughter's head, I know that soon, Kylie will be a part of this family too.
"Stop hogging my niece, you selfish people!" Alice says, as Liz laughs and goes to hug Alice.
I smile so fucking wide, my eyes cutting straight to Viola. "Come here, you!"
"My favorite Aunt Bella! I missed you so much!" I hug my petite, blonde—and now purple streaked, Jesus, why?—niece and rock us.
"It's so good to have you girls home!"
Suddenly, Teo says, with Nate standing beside him, both of them all smirks, "Hey, Nate and I aren't getting a group hug from our two brats or what?"
The girls laugh and hug their brothers, while they wrap their arms around them protectively, their eyes soft and their expression content.
Edward, Jasper, Alice and I stand and look on at the four people who make us who we are, who give us joy and love and a reason to smile every day.
I would love, love, love to know what you thought about this!
If you've read the story, this last time, please review and let me know your thoughts about it.
For all those people who asked for a sequel-I don't really have plans for it right now, but let's see if these characters want to come out again.
Also, I'll definitely be posting a new story, Humor/Romance, sometime around May, so put me on Author Alert if you'd like to read.
Anyone who reviews for this chapter, I swear on everything that's holy that you'll get a reply!
Thanks for reading and lovin' *makes grabby hands*
Till the next story! Ciao.