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Banner Designer: Celesticbliss
Title: Names and Faces
Warnings: Use of vulgar language, underage drinking, sexual suggestion and slight violence.
Beta: MzBionic, UnaRJ
Summary: Sometimes names and faces don't match. Bella, Edward and her son, Noah, are on their way to a happily ever after but a face from her past turning up threatens to bring it all down.
As Edward drove his car through the quiet neighborhoods that led to his parents home, he couldn't help but notice Bella fidgeting in the seat next to him. She had been unusually quiet through the entire ride. It was starting to unnerve Edward a bit.
"Bella," he said while reaching over and grasping her hand. Despite his concern, he couldn't help the slight smile that formed on his lips when he felt the cool metal or her engagement ring. "Are you all right? You've been staring out the window an awfully long time."
"Just thinking, is all."
Bella knew she was probably being ridiculous, but it didn't stop the thoughts she was having. "Is your family really going to be okay with us wanting to get married?"
"Of course they are. Bella, they love you," Edward told her, ending his statement with a firm nod of his head.
"Edward, I know they like me well enough," Bella started. "But I'm just worried that they see me as trying to find a daddy for Noah and pushing you into this. You're cousin Alec said as much when we met."
"That's because Alec is an insensitive jack a… in the box. A silly Jack in the box," Edward covered up his almost slip of foul language when Bella squeezed his hand. A quick peek into the rea-rview mirror confirmed that the three year old in the backseat was, indeed, awake. "Hey, little man, did you have a good nap?"
"Yup. I dreamed about fishies in the ocean." Noah's answer made Edward smile. No matter what he was talking about, Noah made everything seem so exciting. "Can I watch my movie now?"
After Bella set up the portable DVD player, she focused her attention back on her conversation with Edward. "Regardless of what Alec is, he at least had the guts to say it."
"Don't worry babe. I don't like Alec, nor do I care what anyone really thinks. We both know what it is I want."
"Oh yeah? What, exactly, do you want, Mr. Cullen?" Bella asked with a teasing note to her words.
"I want…" Edward trailed off, giving a dramatic pause. "To marry you and give you my last name. To become a proper family ; you, Noah and I. He's been my son for as long as I can remember, marrying you and adopting him just makes it official, sweetheart."
Bella smiled, she had known all of those things, but hearing him lay them out loud still made her heart skip a beat. Everything he had said was true and had been discussed well before an official proposal was made. When things had gotten more serious Bella had worried over the dubious talk of the future, but it had been for naught. Edward wanted her, Noah and the chance at happiness with them.
When Bella had found out she was pregnant and envisioned her life, she never imagined a man half as wonderful as Edward wanting her. The fact that he did still astonished her at times.
At the age of twenty Bella had was studying art history at NYU. Though she had spent most of her times in the classrooms or museums her dorm-mate, Alice, had managed to drag her out for a sporadic night on the town.
One night in mid-October, Alice managed to coerce Bella into hitting up one of the trendy bars she enjoyed. Dressed to the nines, the two girls ended up being invited into the VIP section with a party of supposed up and coming models. The people were friendly, the booze were flowing and Bella found herself under the arm of a cute guy.
James Dradin, as he had introduced himself as, was inline to become the next big underwear model. His blonde hair and blue eyes had given him an All-American-Boy quality that Bella found appealing having grown up in a small town. As the night progressed the two found themselves trading kisses in between drunken suggestions. When he had asked if she wanted to get out of there, Bella made a rare bold choice and said yes. The two had gone back to James' place where they indulged in each others bodies, numerous times.
In the light of the next day, Bella had been unsure of where they would move on from there but had asked for James' number. She didn't really have the intentions of calling him, but felt it was the polite thing to do before she excused herself from him apartment. He had been nice enough, but without the alcohol clouding her judgment, Bella began regretting her daring move. She resigned herself to focus on her studies and made a vow to resist Alice's please for her to go out.
A little more than a month later, however, Bella had found a reason to use the number still saved in her cell phone. She had taken at home tests and gone to the campus clinic, both confirmed that she was pregnant.
Three days passed from the time she learned about the baby before she was able to muster the courage to try calling James. Unfortunately she was met with an automated message declaring that number was out of service. Bella didn't allow the setback to get her down though. She remembered where James lived.
Visiting the apartment was quite the experience. The man who opened the door was wearing nothing but dreadlocks, a Speedo and a smile. When she asked for James, the man licked his lips and told her in a thick French accent that he could be James if she'd like. The conversation continued in the same roundabout fashion with Frenchie hitting on her at every turn until another man came to the door.
He told Bella that the man she was looking for was long gone. The apartment was owned by a talent agency and that the man she was looking for had only been there for a few days to do a shoot for footwear. They had no idea how to get in contact with him but suggested she contact his employer.
The agency was a dead end as well, not that Bella had thought otherwise. It was her last ditch effort to get in touch with her baby's father. It was a hard pill to swallow, knowing she was going to be a single parent at the age of twenty. But from the moment she learned of her pregnancy, she knew she couldn't abort it or give her child away.
Bella's trip down memory lane ended when Edward's phone rang. Picking it up he greeted the caller excitedly. From what she could gather, it was Edward's other cousin, Emmett. She hadn't met him yet, but knew that he had been Edward's best friend growing up.
Edward ended the call with a smile on his face. His cousin, who he hadn't seen in close to six years was visiting with his folks. When Bella asked him what was going on, he replied happily, "Emmett and his girlfriend are at my parent's house. He went to see his mom and dad but forgot they went away on a cruise, so he stopped in to see my mine."
"Ah, the infamous Emmett," Bella laughed. "I finally get to meet him. We've dated for three years and I've heard so much about him, but I don't think I've ever even seen his picture."
"Well, we're about to correct that. Though, I've got to tell you, I am the more handsome of us," Edward joked. "You definitely got the better cousin, even if Em will try to convince you otherwise."
"Tell me what your cousin is like. I want to know what to expect."
"In a word? Crazy," Edward laughed, thinking back over all the trouble he had gotten in to as a teen with his cousin. "I remember this one time, I was fourteen, he had just turned sixteen and gotten his license, I thought he was so cool because of it. Well, we decided we were going to go to Seattle for the day, skipped school and everything."
"You skipped school? Mr. I-can't-miss-this-class-even-though-I-have-a-fever-and-cant-stop-puking, ditched?" Bella teased him.
"Well, I guess you can say I learned my lesson," Edward shrugged. "Anyway, so we get to the city and decide to go to Pike Place but couldn't find parking. Emmett finds this ally and decides to leave the car there."
"That doesn't sound so good."
"No," Edward shook his head. "When we went back to the car a few hours later it was gone. We had to call our parents and make them drive into the city to get us and help find the car."
"Wow, that sucks. Where'd you end up finding it?" Bella asked.
"Cops towed it. Cost Em and I everything we had in our savings to get it out and even then he wasn't allowed to touch that car for three months."
Edward continued to tell Bella stories as they continued on their journey. When she asked him why they hadn't seen each other in so long, Edward sighed.
"When Emmett graduated he didn't want to go to college. He fought with his pops about it and when Uncle Marcus told him he had to go to school or he was kicking him out of the house, Em left on his own. He moved to L.A. and was discovered," Edward made air quotes with one hand and rolled his eyes.
"So he's an actor or something?" Bella questioned.
"Uh, I think or something ," Edward stressed the words, "would be the best description. Some talent agency signed him on to be a model. Fucker dyed his hair, hit the gym religiously to get ripped and even used a fake name."
"That doesn't seem so bad," his girl mused. "Have I seen him in anything?"
"Not exactly. After all his work making himself over, they only ever used his hands, feet and legs to sell like shoes and socks."
"Daddy," Noah interrupted the conversation, causing both adults to smile. Noah had recently taken to calling Edward daddy, something he did not mind at all. Since he had met the little boy he had felt a strong paternal bond.
"What's up, buddy?" Edward asked, peeking into the rear-view mirror.
"We almost there? I gots to pee." Edward told Noah that they were close and asked the little boy to tell him a story. He figured with only a few blocks to the house it was a great distraction. Noah took to the task right away, spinning a tale about a duck and a monkey who liked cookies.
When the small family walked into the house, Bella immediately guided her son to the restroom. Edward on the other hand went in search of his family. He found his folks plus Emmett and who Edward assumed was his girlfriend, sitting on the back patio.
Walking through the screen door, Edward cleared his throat to garner the group's attention. Within seconds Edward was in a headlock and his older cousin was giving him a noogie. The two resembled young children with their playful roughhousing.
"Edward," Emmett stood with his arms open wide after they stopped the wrestling. "Man, it's been forever!"
"I know," Edward agreed and the two gave each other one of those macho man hugs. Pulling away, Edward smirked and pointed to the blonde woman. "So, you going to introduce me or what?"
Emmett reached over and put an arm around the woman. "This is Rosalie. Rosie, I'd like you to meet my little cousin, Edward."
They exchanged pleasantries and Edward moved to greet his parents. His mother immediately inquired about Bella and Noah's whereabouts. She couldn't wait to see Bella's ring and was just dying to cuddle the precious little boy.
"So you didn't make up a girlfriend," Emmett laughed.
"No. And not girlfriend anymore," Edward smirked. Emmett raised his eyebrows in question. "I proposed last week and speaking of my fiancée, here she comes."
Walking outside Bella watched as Noah ran ahead of her, going straight to Edward's mom. She heard, who she figured was Emmett teasing Edward. There was something about his voice that struck Bella as familiar, though.
"Bella," Edward called to her causing everyone to turn in her direction. Her jaw immediately dropped open. "I want you to meet my cous-"
"James?" Bella gasped, staring at the man from her past.
Edward looked between Emmett and Bella. His cousin looked like he had no idea who she was, while Bella's face had gone from shocked to down right angry. "Bella," Edward prompted moving closer to her. The thoughts running through his mind didn't seem possible, he was hoping Bella was mistaken. "I don't understand what's going on, sweetie. Isn't James…" he trailed off, his head nodding towards Noah.
Emmett looked to the little boy sitting with his aunt, then back to Edward and his fiancée. He wasn't sure what was going on, but he didn't like that this girl knew his alias from him modeling days. "Why did you call me James?"
"I don't know," Bella quipped. "Maybe because you told me that was your name when I met you. Four and a half years ago!" She went from glaring at Emmett to smiling sadly in the direction of her totally oblivious son.
"No," Emmett shook his head, his eyes pinging between Bella and the child. "No fucking way! I don't know what kind of shit you're trying to pull, but you're not pinning that kid on me, bitch."
One second Edward was standing next to Bella, but upon hearing his cousin degrade his woman, he snapped. Running across the patio he tackled Emmett to the ground, yelling "Don't you call her that, you asshole!"
Edward had brought his fist back, ready to punch the other man when he heard Noah cry. Forgetting his cousin, Edward stood and walked over to the boy who was clinging to Esme. He took him from his mother and cradled the boys head to his chest. "It's okay buddy, I was just playing. Only pretend."
"D-d-daddy," the boy cried. "I scared." Those words, spoken through tiny cries, hit Edward right in the gut. Keeping hold of the boy with one arm, Edward walked to Bella and grabbed her hand, heading for the door.
"Son?" His father called out. There was an unvoiced question within the one word.
"We're not leaving," Edward said turning back to his parents. "But I need to take care of my son, first."
Emmett was still laid out on the ground when Edward left the patio. Rosalie was kneeling next to him, fussing over Emmett like he was on his death bed. After waving his girlfriend off, he stood and faced his Aunt and Uncle.
"Emmett," Esme sighed, her tone a mix of pity and disgust.
"That chick is tripping," Emmett waved off. "No way in hell have I ever seen her before. And - not to be crude Auntie- I always wrap it. She can't put her mistake on me."
It didn't take but a second before Emmett found himself on the ground again. This time courtesy of his Uncle.
"You listen here, Emmett Daniel," Carlisle spit. "If that girl says you fathered that child, then my money is that you did. How can you not remember if you were with her? How could you lie and deceive any woman, just to sleep with them? Your parents didn't raise you to be such a lowlife."
It wasn't often that Emmett felt guilty over his past, but having his uncle lay it out the way he did, made Em hang his head. The only other person that had caused such shame in Emmett was Rosalie.
When he had met Rosalie, Emmett transformed his partying, playboy ways. But every once in a while they'd run into one of his former flings. It would embarrass all parties involved, but seeing how Rosie dealt with his transgressions ate at him. Looking at Rose now, Emmett knew that this could be the final straw for her.
Carlisle and Esme must have known the couple needed to talk and had excused themselves inside. When the house door closed Emmett sat down in a chair and waved Rose close. She walked close but chose to sit next to him instead of in his lap.
"Em," Rose started softly. "Do you honestly not remember her?"
"No, I don't," Emmett scoffed. "Why would you even ask? Anytime we've come face to face with someone from my past, I've manned up and owned it. Why would I lie now?"
"This is different and you know it."
"Why? Because she's trying to say her kid is mine?"
Rose shook her head, as much as she'd like to deny Bella's claims, she had seen the little boy. "Did you not even look at the boy? My God, Em, he looks just like you! I don't know how Edward could've missed it before."
"No, I didn't bother to look at the kid." Emmett's tone was very condescending. "I was a little busy, what with some chick calling me her baby daddy and my cousin trying to beat my ass."
"I wish he had," Emmett heard Rose mutter under her breathe. When he asked what she said, Rose fired back at him. "He has you dimples, Em. The same curly hair. And when your aunt was asking him about cookies, the little troublesome glint in his eyes was all you."
"That's all well and good, Rose, but it's not enough. Plenty of people have those features."
"So find out for sure. It's not that hard to get a test done, Emmett," Rose told him like it was the most logical thing. And to her, it was. Who wouldn't want to know, with absolute certainty, that they had a child out there.
"And if he's mine? What then? Huh? What do I do then?"
Rose looked at Emmett and for the first time ever, she didn't see him as the man she loved. No, sitting in front of her was the immature boy she had met a year ago. One who's only concern was finding the hottest parties and chasing girls. Tears were welling in her eyes as she realized how big this situation was and what she stood to lose. "You do the right thing, Emmett. That's what you do, the right thing."
Inside the house, Edward and Bella were in his childhood bedroom. They had gotten Noah to take a nap after his crying jag had ended. The little boy had been legitimately scared earlier. He'd never heard Edward yell that loud, much less get physical with someone.
The couple sat, Bella in Edward's lap, at an old computer desk. While waiting for the old desktop to boot up, they both watched the little boy sleeping across the room.
"So," Edward spoke, turning them to face the monitor. With a few clicks of the mouse, he brought up a file of photos. Maximizing one of a very blonde Emmett, he asked Bella, "Is this James?"
"Yes. Even without the blonde hair, I'd know his face anywhere."
"I know you would, baby," Edward shook his head. "I just… I had to make sure. I mean, this is a big deal."
"I know it is." Tears started falling slowly from Bella's eyes. "When we got serious and talked about the future, neither of us imagined that we'd ever have to deal with Noah's father being in the picture. The fact that he might be and that it's your cousin… I get that it could change everything. I'd understand if…" She trailed off and reached for her engagement ring.
"No. Don't even think about it," Edward told her, stopping her from removing the ring. "I love you. This situation will not change how I feel for you. It doesn't change how I feel about Noah, either. That," Edward paused, and turned the chair back to face the sleeping child. With a pointing finger he continued, "Is my son. Nothing will make my cousin his father. I'll make sure of that."
A/N: This is chapter one of a fic I will be writing slowly. Chapters will first be used as donations to charity compilations and eventually added to my FFn profile (or various other sites).