A/N: So, here we are at the end, and I want to thank you, one last time, for your support, reviews, and recommendations of this story! I'm truly humbled by all of it, and imagine my surprise that we've reach the 800 mark! The most I've received for any of my stories! Thank you!
Scorpio 11 beta'd this one and made it smoother than I ever could. I'm sure she cringed when she received some of the chapters, but at the end of it, it's a better story because of her assistance. Thank you, S!
SMeyer owns all. I only borrowed them, and will return them after this chapter posts : )
"Oh my gosh! Look who it is!" Maria called as the large group made their way into Essie's Diner on a bright Wednesday morning between Christmas and New Year's.
"You didn't believe me when I told you the whole group was coming home for Christmas," Edward chided her with a laugh in his voice. He was so happy to have all of his family around for the holidays. It hadn't happened in five years because of everyone's schedules, but finally, all the stars had aligned and everyone was home.
"Give me a hug, you rascals," Maria demanded from Jacob, Jared, and Garrett. Each of them hugged the older woman, and then she looked down at the three little boys who were standing next to Edward looking quite shy.
"So, who might you be?" she asked as she bent over and looked at the three of them. She laughed when the taller one stuck out his hand.
"My name is Teddy. I'm five," he introduced himself. She shook his hand and looked at Edward, seeing a smile on his face.
"Nice to make your acquaintance, Teddy. Who are these other two characters?" she asked.
"That's my cousin EJ and my other cousin Carl," Teddy introduced. Maria shook their hands and then proceeded to move tables together so that she could seat the large group.
"So, Edward, you have three grandsons at the ripe old age of…?" the woman teased.
"Actually, I have three grandsons and two granddaughters. The girls were doing something else today, but I'll bring them in before everyone leaves. Teddy is Jared's son, and he has a two year old sister, Liza. They were named after my parents. These two guys are four and two, and they have a six-month old sister, Lisa. They're Jake's. Since he retired from the Cardinals and moved to Seattle to work for the Seahawks, he's been a busy guy," Edward joked, causing the other adults to laugh with him.
"I'll be right back with your coffee. Garrett, do you want tea instead?" Maria asked to which he nodded in agreement. She remembered how Edward used to bring him into the diner on weekends when he was a little boy. It was as if he'd grown up before her very eyes, and as she studied him, she could see he was the spitting image of his father. The young man even carried himself like his father, as did Jared and Jacob. She deduced the family had a special bond, and she felt privileged to have gotten to know them over the years.
While the Masen family had grown with the addition of five grandchildren and two daughters-in-law over the last ten years, not to mention the fact that they'd taken on another family, they had also suffered some losses.
Edward's parents, Liza and Ted, had passed away within months of each other the year Jared and Kim Vaughn graduated medical school and got married. The family had taken their loss hard, but they knew that the elder Masens had lived a full life, so instead of mourning their losses, they celebrated their lives.
Bella's father had retired from the force, but continued to consult with them from time to time. Her mother, Renee, was still teaching school at Forks Elementary. She told everyone that continuing to teach would be the only thing that would keep the Swans from getting divorced.
Carlisle and Esme had decided to take a page out of Liza and Ted's book and split their time between London and Forks after Carlisle retired from practice. Alice and Jasper still lived in Forks, and they worked together at their design firm. They'd only had one child, Jennifer, but they didn't seem unhappy about it. Alice teased that Edward and Bella made up for the fact she'd only had one child by having a brood, and as Edward looked around at his three sons, three grandsons…at the ripe old age of forty-one…he tended to agree with her.
When Carlisle had contemplated retiring, he made a phone call for which Bella and Edward would always be grateful. It was the end of June, and he knew the details would take time but he had a timeframe in his head so the sooner he had an answer, the better for him and Esme.
"Hey, Uncle C," Jared called over the line, happy to hear from his uncle. He and Kim lived in Chicago and were finishing up their residencies. Kim was due to have their second child any day, and Jared was sure it was just his uncle checking to see how she was doing.
"Jare. How's Kim? Any word yet?" Carlisle asked.
"She's dilated to two, and she's like a rabid hyena. If that poor baby doesn't make an appearance soon, I'm afraid Kim's going to kill me in my sleep. Teddy, get the heck down," Jared chastised, seeing his three-year old climbing onto the glass coffee table. He knew if his wife witnessed the latest antics of his son, he'd be blamed, and with her behavior of late, he was certain her wrath wouldn't come without bodily harm.
Carlisle laughed over the line, remembering how rambunctious his great nephew was. He knew Bella and Edward were missing out on their grandchildren's lives, and it was the reason he'd made the call.
Jacob had retired from football after a shoulder injury, and he and Carlie had moved back to Seattle, spending a lot of time in Forks on weekends. The only member missing from the family was Jared, and Carlisle hoped he had the opportunity to remedy the situation.
"Well, you know, babies come along when they're good and ready. So, are you going to stay on at Presbyterian, or are you looking at other options?" Carlisle asked.
"I've been so preoccupied with getting everything ready for the baby I haven't really thought about it. Kim's going to take a year off after the baby comes, and then she'll start looking for something. I guess I'll just stay on at Presbyterian," Jared replied.
"Actually, I've got a proposition for you. I'd like you and Kim to take over my practice. Your Aunt Es wants me to retire, and I want you and Kim to take over the practice. I can't think of two better people to take care of my patients, and you know how to get along with the office manager," Carlisle teased as he referred to Bella, who ran the practice after Gail had retired.
"Uncle C, when are you looking to retire?" Jared asked. He wasn't sure his wife would go along with it, but the idea intrigued him.
"Six months. After the holidays, Aunt Es and I are going to London for six months. We're taking over Ted and Liza's flat, and we'd both feel better if you and Kim took over the practice. You two are really the only people I'd trust with it, so please, think about it," Carlisle urged.
In October of that year, Jared, Kim, Teddy, and a three-month old Liza, moved back to Forks, Washington, having sold the condo in Chicago that Ted and Liza had given them as a wedding gift. They stayed with Carlisle and Esme, and when the couple left for London in January, they sold the house to Jared and Kim with Alice's blessing.
"So, Jake, how's the team? How'd you get out of going to DC?" Edward asked as he passed a cup of coffee to his oldest son.
"I told 'em I've missed too many Christmases with my whole family, and I threatened to quit," Jacob responded, causing laughter to erupt at the table.
"You always did have a way of solving problems," Edward teased, remembering that pink and green cat.
Just then, his oldest grandson climbed down from his booster seat and walked over to where Edward was sitting, tugging on his arm. Edward scooted back from the table and the little boy climbed up on his lap. "What can I do for you, Theodore?" Edward asked.
The little boy cupped his hand and whispered, "Grandpop, tell Daddy that I's old enough for a four-wheeler." Edward laughed. He'd heard from Jared that Teddy wanted a four-wheeler because Mack and Rosalie had bought their youngest son, Jonathan, a four-wheeler for his sixteenth birthday. Jared allowed Jon to take Teddy for a ride once at a family barbecue back in the summer, and it was all the kid talked about.
"Teddy, let me tell you a secret. I haven't been able to tell your dad or your uncle what to do for a very long time. Uncle Garrett still has to listen to me, but these other two numbskulls quit listening to me a long time ago," Edward replied with a smile for his grandson.
"Bullshit," Jacob coughed behind his fist, causing Jared and Garrett to laugh.
"Might I remind you of the trip you and Mom made to Chicago when Liza was born," Jared reminded. Edward laughed, remembering the trip.
"Dad, she's gorgeous. Kim was in labor for a day- and- a-half, but she's finally here. Can you and Mom come out?" Jared asked when he called at three o'clock in the morning on the Fourth of July.
"We'll be there sometime tomorrow," Edward responded without hesitation. He rose from the bed and booked four flights to Chicago, and the Masen family arrived at the hospital in Chicago at 5:00 PM that very afternoon.
"She's a beauty. You're in trouble," Edward told his son as they stood at the nursery window looking at the beautiful little girl dressed in pink from head to toe.
"Just like you with Charlie," Jared reminded. Edward laughed. His daughter was in high school, and the young men who called his house on a regular basis overwhelmed him. Bella kept him in check, just as she always had, but he didn't like the attention his gorgeous daughter garnered from the male population attending her high school.
"God, don't remind me. So, have you had a chance to think about Carlisle's offer?" Edward asked. Carlisle had told Bella of his plan, making her promise not to pressure Jared into any decision. When she returned home that night, she told Edward of the plan, and determined that while she'd promised not to pressure their son, Edward had made no such promise.
"In one respect, it's an intriguing offer, but I'm not sure if I'm cut out for private practice like Uncle C. Forks Hospital is a lot quieter than Presbyterian," Jared answered.
Edward thought for a minute. "Oh, no doubt, but let me just toss this out there. You've got two children and your wife is a doctor as well. How much time do you want to be able to spend with your kids? Trust me when I tell you, son, they grow up very fast. I have a hard time accepting that you've given us two grandchildren and your brother's got one and another one on the way. No pressure, but your mom and I really miss having you guys around," Edward explained hopefully.
"Ted, Grandpop is the one who talked me into moving back here and taking over Uncle C's practice, and he got Jake the job with the Seahawks, if we're all being honest. Maybe he doesn't come right out and tell us what to do, but he should have been a lawyer because he has a very persuasive way about him," Jared informed. "And you're too young for a four wheeler."
The adults laughed as breakfast was served, and when they all returned to the house on Bennett Circle, they found the women busy hanging new curtains Bella had bought for the living room.
"Here you are," she called to the male contingent of her family.
"Yes, love, for once, we're all here," Edward responded with a kiss to her neck and a squeeze of her ass, causing her to giggle.
"God, you two are inappropriate," Jacob teased and he picked up his new daughter from the bouncy seat in which she was resting.
Leah and Susie Uley laughed along with Charlotte and the other women in the room. Over time, the Masen family had forged a relationship with the Uley family, and that Christmas, Leah and Susie were spending the holiday with their brothers because their mother had finally found her "Edward Masen," and she was on her honeymoon.
When Bella heard Emily's assessment of Quil Ateara, a banker Emily had met when she went to refinance her house, Bella had laughed. As strange as it was, Bella and Emily had forged a friendship, likely built on loss, but a good friendship nonetheless.
The first interaction with Emily and the girls had been tense, but Edward had paid their way to Forks, so Bella didn't complain knowing her sons were looking forward to spending time with their other sisters.
What no one in the family anticipated was that Charlotte would take to the girls so much and turn them into baseball fans, just like her and her father. It had taken everyone by surprise when the Uleys began spending the holidays in Forks to be with the Masen family, but even with the very unconventional way the families had come together, Bella and Edward had taken it in stride.
The third year Emily and the girls came to visit, Bella and Edward finally talked them into staying at the house. After that, the girls came to visit without their mom a few times, and when they'd graduated from high school, Bella, Edward, and their clan had gone to Nome for the ceremony.
Since then, Leah and Susie were regular fixtures, even though they were in college in Anchorage, and no one in the family thought anything about the fact that they were the offspring of a man who wasn't ever mentioned in the house at Bennett Circle. Family was family, however it materialized.
"Maybe, but you guys obviously picked up something along the way," Edward teased as he pointed to the five younger Masens who were dragging out toys from the large tub in the corner that Bella kept for them.
"Yeah, clearly we picked up the horny gene from you, Dad," Jacob told him as he sat on the couch and held his daughter.
"Trust me, it will serve you well for the rest of your lives," Edward replied to his older sons as he sat down and took the baby from Jacob's arms.
"Alright, grandchildren, gather round and let Grandpop tell you stories about your dads," Edward announced. Jacob and Jared both groaned, but when the kids all sat down on the floor to look at their grandfather, the twins, their wives, Charlotte, Garrett, Leah and Susie followed suit.
"I met your dads when they were eleven-year's old. They threw raw eggs at my car as I drove down this very street to this very house," Edward began with a smile on his face. He looked forward to telling his grandchildren the stories for many years to come.
He had no idea back when he met Bella and the twins that he'd enjoy such a large family, but as he looked around the room, he knew he couldn't have planned it any better.
E/N: So, I know it's short, but there it is, tied up in a bright, pink and green bow in honor of Pablo, Mrs. Cope's cat, who played a key role in getting this whole thing started! I hope to hear from you!
Thanks so much for reading.
For the last time…xoxo