Chapter 5- Past and Present
The Seattle rain drizzled softly against the windows on that lazy afternoon, as Edward sat with Ollie, tinkering away at the piano while they waited for Tanya to make her appearance. She was supposed to have picked Ollie up over an hour ago for a visit that she'd requested, but was late as usual. Edward was doing his best to keep Ollie entertained and unaware of his mother's delay.
"Okay Ollie, it goes like this," Edward demonstrated, his elegant pale fingers dancing across the keys. "Twinkle, twinkle, little star…"
"How I wonder what you are," Ollie joined in singing, keeping his own fingers from the piano, although his dark eyes followed every movement his father's made. He loved to watch his father play, the way his fingers blurred as they danced over the keys. Most of all, he loved how happy the piano made his father.
Together, they finished singing, while Edward's deft hands played the melody. "Up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky; Twinkle, twinkle little star, how I wonder what you are."
Once they finished singing, Ollie rested his head against Edward's arm, silently encouraging his father to keep playing. Edward continued running up and down the major chords, no longer playing any song in particular, just enjoying the feel of the smooth ivories.
"I liked that song, Daddy," Ollie said, his voice soft and content from Edward's side.
"Thanks, little man. You think you'll be able to play it soon?" Edward questioned, with a smile. Ollie shook his head 'no' forcefully, leaving Edward laughing at his certain denial.
"Why not? You don't like playing?"
"No, I like it better when you do and I gets to listen," Ollie explained.
"That seems fair," Edward agreed. "Since I like to play so that you can listen. Did you know I wrote a song for you when you were still in Mommy's tummy?"
Ollie nodded vigorously, "Yeah, you told me. You loved me before you even knewed me, so you wrote it in a song so I'd never forgets."
"That's right, baby boy." Edward pressed a kiss to Ollie's head.
"I'm not a baby, I'm a big kid," Ollie refuted, his lower lip jutting out petulantly.
Edward chuckled at the defiant look on his face. "Oh, is that so? Who said you were a big boy?"
"Well if Nana Mae said it, it must be true." Edward silently added to himself that Ollie would always be his baby, no matter how old or far away he was.
Ollie hopped from the bench and crawled under the piano where he had a coloring book spread out on the floor, crayons littering the surrounding area. Edward dropped his hands from the keyboard and slipped from the bench as well, crouching down to make sure Ollie was occupied before walking out of the room and going to the phone at the other end of the hall.
He was only halfway through dialing Tanya's cell number when a knock could be heard, followed quickly by Tanya's loud voice.
"Hellooo! I'm here," she called, as she walked down the foyer hall and stepped to where Edward was standing outside the family room.
"Edward, you look good," Tanya crooned as she walked over to him, stepping much closer than he was comfortable with, and running her hand down his black button-up shirt.
"Tanya," Edward clipped out, stepping out of her reach. "You're late," he coolly stated.
Tanya huffed, annoyed she was already being chastised. "Ugh, Edward. I'm not that late. Micah was going as fast as he could but getting this much hair trimmed and colored takes time," she explained.
Edward rolled his eyes. Typical, she would put her own needs above spending time with her son, he thought ruefully.
"Mommy!" Ollie shouted as he scampered into the hall. He ran headfirst into Tanya before crushing himself around her legs in a welcoming hug.
"Oliver, stop. Let go, you'll wrinkle my clothes," Tanya admonished, pushing Ollie a few inches away from her tight, knee-length skirt. Ollie dropped his arms and stepped back, his face solemn.
"Oh, don't pout, Mommy just doesn't want to get messy," Tanya told him, though her words failed to buoy his spirit.
"He's just excited to see you, Tan," Edward reproached her, hating the hurt look on his son's face. Tanya turned her blue gaze to Edward, but he saw no remorse in her eyes.
"I'm going to a gallery opening tonight with Irina and since I'm spending the afternoon with Oliver, I won't have time to change." Her tone made it clear she would rather have skipped the afternoon, which Edward found aggravating, considering she had been the one to request time with Ollie.
Sighing heavily, Edward shifted the discussion. "Where are you guys going, anyway?"
Tanya shrugged, her apathy to the whole situation clear. Edward shouldn't have been surprised by Tanya's inconsiderate behavior but, at this point, it was par for the course where she was concerned. He didn't think Tanya would have time to take Ollie anywhere before Edward wanted him back for dinner anyway, so it was just as well. He rubbed a hand over his face before looking down at the little boy wrapped around his legs, his face tucked behind Edward's knee.
"What if you guys stayed here?" Edward offered. "We could go watch a movie or something. You could eat with us if you have time," Edward said resignedly.
"What do you think, Oliver? Should we stay here with Daddy and watch a movie?" Tanya cooed, holding her hand out for him to take.
Ollie turned his face up to gauge Edward's expression. Edward smiled at him warmly, reassuring him that he was okay with it. Seeing his father's smile, Ollie nodded, his own smiling slipping back into place.
"Okay," he said, his excitement building at the thought of sharing a night with both of his parents. He jumped away from Edward and raced back into the family room, calling behind him, "I'll be back. I gots to show you my art, Mommy."
"So shall we pick out a movie?" Tanya asked Edward, a scheming look in her eye that made his stomach roll.
"Why don't you get Ollie and I'll go find a movie," Edward averted, moving quickly away from Tanya. "Since you don't have much time, I'd hate to come between you two, when you specifically wanted to see him."
The pointed look he gave Tanya hit its mark and she nodded her assent.
Edward, Ollie, and Tanya sat on the large couch as the movie played. Ollie was squished happily between his parents, his head bobbing onto Edward's chest as he fought off sleep. He had missed his afternoon nap in his excitement to see his mother, and was now fighting to stay awake in the late afternoon.
"Should we just put him in his room to take a nap?" Tanya softly said, stroking Ollie's soft brown hair for a moment. Edward didn't like the idea, Ollie was serving as a very good bumper between him and his ex-wife.
"He won't like waking up without having said goodbye to you," Edward fibbed, knowing it was more for his benefit to keep him there than Ollie's.
"I'll wait till he wakes up then," Tanya smugly replied, liking the idea more and more. "Then he won't be upset."
"What if he doesn't wake up for awhile? Won't you be late for your night out with Irina?" Edward tried to dissuade her.
"She can wait," Tanya remarked offhandedly. She knew if Ollie was asleep, she would be able to work on Edward more efficiently.
Reluctantly, Edward decided to move Ollie to his room so he could rest more comfortably, though he didn't like the idea of Tanya waiting. But he knew Ollie would like to say goodbye to her, and Edward would make sure he didn't sleep too long. They did need to eat dinner still, so he'd have that excuse. Nodding, he scooped Ollie up and carried him to his room, tucking him in before heading back downstairs to find where Tanya had gotten off to.
She wasn't in the media room where he'd left her, nor was she in the family room or the formal living room. A quick inspection of the kitchen before he headed upstairs to check the study proved futile as well. He figured she may have been in one of the restrooms or more likely slipped out for the evening. It wouldn't have been the first time Tanya said one thing only to do another.
Giving up a search he really didn't care to make in the first place, Edward went back downstairs to the lavish, chef-worthy kitchen to figure out what he and Ollie would eat later. He rummaged through a few cabinets and was halfway inside the refrigerator when the phone rang. Assuming it was Tanya calling with a weak excuse for her hasty departure, Edward let the machine pick up, returning to making sure he had all the ingredients he needed for his dinner plans. He would consider calling Tanya back later, if he felt like it.
He smirked, since that would be unlikely.
The click of the machine picking up the call and the kind, soft voice that drifted out gave him pause.
"Hello, I'm looking for Mr. or Mrs. Cullen. My name is Patricia Kellerman and I work for Forks General Hospital. A matter concerning your time at our hospital has recently been brought to light, and it's imperative that I speak to you as soon as possible. Please call me at…"
Edward was confused as he listened to the woman give a call-back number before hanging up. Forks General? He couldn't fathom why they would be calling him. The only time he spent there was when Ollie had been born, but that was over three years ago.
What on earth would prompt them to call him now?
Edward made his way upstairs to change his clothes, no longer comfortable in the slacks and button-up he'd been wearing since the morning church services. The message on the machine replayed in his head as he walked up the stairs.
It was in his room that Edward finally found Tanya - spread out and naked as the day is long - across his bed in an enticing pose. Any lingering thoughts of the phone call were erased in that instant.
"Jesus Christ!" Edward shouted, flinging his hands up to shield his eyes from the visual. "What the fuck are you doing?"
"I'm waiting for my husband to join me in bed," Tanya said, sex oozing from her voice.
"Why the hell do you think I'd be willing to do that? We're divorced Tanya, I don't want any part of you!"
"That's not true, we're still married in our hearts, Edward. There's nothing wrong with us enjoying each other. We get our divorced reversed in no time..."
"You have to quit this shit, Tanya. We aren't any good together," Edward explained through a clenched jaw, still averting his eyes.
"Oh, Eddie, baby, you know how good we were together," Tanya purred from her position on the bed. "Nobody fucks like we do. We can still have that, it will be so gooood," she moaned seductively.
Edward dropped his hand and leveled Tanya with a steely gaze, doing his best to keep his eyes from drifting to her naked breasts. He hated that his dick was responding even the slightest bit to her, but he was a man, and a naked woman ready to go was always going to have some effect on him. Besides the fact he hadn't had sex in almost a year…
But, no, he was stronger than his libido; sex with Tanya, no matter how good they had been in that area of their relationship, would only cause more problems than solve them.
"Tanya, you and I are not sleeping together, ever again. Get up, get dressed, and get the hell out of my house!" Edward demanded.
Tanya blanched at his furious tone but quickly regained her composure, ready to try another tactic that rarely failed. "I'm doing this for Oliver," she said. "I'm his mother, I'm doing what's best for him by trying to keep this family together."
Edward laughed darkly. "You are not seriously talking about what's best for our son while you lie there naked, are you?"
"NO! Just get the fuck out!" Edward yelled, his fists clenched at his sides. His green eyes were ablaze with his hard-held temper, not sure how much longer he could hold back from really going off on her. The only thing keeping him in check was the fact that Ollie could wake up at any moment and hear them.
Seeing that Tanya was not making a move to leave, Edward reached down, grabbed her clothes from the floor and threw them in her face, as he stormed past her to his closet. He ripped jeans and a t-shirt from his dresser and took them into his adjoining bathroom.
"You'd better be gone before I get out," he threatened over his shoulder, before locking the door behind him.
He couldn't believe her audacity. Stripping naked and waiting for him in his bed! How long had she been there like that? How long would she have been willing to wait?
It was sickening. Edward was utterly disgusted with the lengths she was willing to go to win him back.
"To bad for her that is never fucking happening," he grumbled to himself as he changed, angrily yanking off his button up shirt and slacks only to yank his jeans and a t-shirt on forcefully.
He gripped the edge of the bathroom counter, doing his best to control his heavy breathing and boiling temper. He didn't want to wake his son up with these loose emotions coursing through him. Splashing some cool water on his face, he ran a hand through his hair as he thought about Ollie.
Ollie was what mattered. Providing the best home for him, with the most loving people in his life, was the only thing Edward cared about.
He wished his mother could be a part of that, he truly did. But she had proven, yet again, why it was best she had no part in Ollie's life. She didn't care about him, not in the slightest.
"Are you kidding me?" Alice screeched, her hazel-gold eyes wide in shock. "She did not!?"
Edward nodded his head in tired resignation. He picked up his chicken gyro, dipping a corner into the extra tzatziki sauce before biting off a piece. He chewed while he thought over his encounter with his ex-wife again.
"God, Edward. That's just awful," Alice shook her head, perplexed that anyone could be so crude. And stupid. As if throwing herself at Edward would change the fact he didn't love her, didn't want her in his life anymore. "I'm sorry you had to deal with that."
"Not nearly as much as I am," Edward chuckled sarcastically. "But I won't be making that mistake again. If she wants to spend time with Ollie, fine. I'm not going to keep him from her but we won't be spending time as a 'family' at the house anymore."
Alice nodded in agreement, though she felt badly that Edward had to go to such lengths to protect himself. He gave up so much of his own happiness to make sure everyone else got what they needed. She worried he would end up alone and bitter about life, if he didn't look out for himself every once in a while.
"Did Ollie say anything when he got up and she was gone?" Alice asked, dipping a pita chip into the hummus dish before eating it. "This hummus is the best, I swear I could live in it," she mumbled happily.
Edward laughed at his sister, she was such a food whore. He loved that she never shied away from eating like so many women did. Her appetite was usually large and in charge, often giving grown men a run for the money when they attempted to take on the petite woman.
"No, Ollie didn't say much. He was quiet for a while after I told him she had to leave, but once we started making the pizzas, he perked back up. He's pretty great that way," Edward smiled softly as he thought about his son.
Alice nodded and speared a forkful of salad, popping it into her mouth. "So, have you been seeing anyone lately?" she asked as she ate.
"Manners, much?" Edward teased, causing Alice to open her mouth and chew widely just for spite. Edward grinned at her, she was such a child sometimes. He loved her carefree nature.
"You're such a catch, Alice. I'm surprised no one has snatched you up yet," Edward joked.
"All in good time, brother dear. All in good time," Alice assured. "There might even be one lucky fellow right now, in fact."
Edward raised an eyebrow in question. "Oh, really? And who is this lucky fellow? Do I need to meet him? Give him the big brother stamp of approval?"
"Uh, no. It's not that serious yet, we're still figuring everything out," Alice explained, snatching a cooling potato slice from Edward's plate. He pushed it closer to her, making it easier for her to finish off his lunch. "Thanks."
"No problem. Do I least get to know his name?" Edward wondered.
Alice pursed her lips and narrowed her eyes at him, thinking over his request. "Promise you won't try and scare him off?"
Edward held up a hand. "I promise."
Jasper Hale… Jasper Hale. The name sounded vaguely familiar but Edward couldn't place it. "Do I know him?"
Alice ducked her head shyly and looked at the table for a moment. She nervously traced the water ring left by her glass as she spoke. "He just moved to Seattle from Dallas. He works in Federal Retirement benefits."
Now Edward remembered. "Oh, Alice, really? The new guy?" he chided playfully. Truthfully, he didn't care if Alice was seeing another employee at Pacific Northwest or not. As long as they both continued to do their jobs and he didn't have to walk into any untoward situations, he would be good with it.
Alice's shy demeanor told Edward she was serious about this guy, however, so he held off on teasing her, simply letting her know if she was happy, he would be too.
Relaxing back into her more effervescent personality, Alice turned the conversation back to its original direction. "Don't think you can slip past me that easily, brother dear. How about you, are you seeing anyone?"
He swallowed a sip of his tea before answering. "No, I'm not seeing anyone."
He tried to avoid eye contact with Alice, looking over at the other tables and patrons in the little Greek restaurant. Alice waited him out, however, and when his green eyes landed on her, she laid it all out for him.
"Edward, I'm not going to tell you how to live your life," she started and gave him an exasperated look when his expression clearly showed he believed otherwise. "I'm not! I'm just going to give you some advice." She reached out and took his hand into hers.
"Don't put your life on hold just because you're a father. I know you love Ollie and want what's best for him, but that includes a dad who is happy with his own life. What are you going to do in fifteen years when he goes off to college? If you only surround yourself with him, how will you survive? And how will he have any idea what love really looks like if he never sees you find it?"
Alice raised her hand to stop Edward from interrupting, as she could tell he wanted. "I'm not saying to start dating every woman that walks by, but maybe some of them? And it doesn't have to be right now, I know just signed the papers to divorce that…woman, but at least start thinking about it, okay?"
Alice's words continued to play in Edward's mind as he went back to his office. He hated to admit it, but she was right. If he didn't have his own life, he would be alone and miserable when Ollie went off to start his own. That was a bleak and ugly future he didn't want for himself.
Truthfully, he would love to find the right woman for him. He'd always admired his parents' loving relationship, how steady and passionate it was, even thirty-three years later. He wanted that for himself, wanted to find someone who would love him like no one else would. Someone who would love Ollie the same way, too - because no matter what, they were a package deal.
Edward sat down in his dark brown leather chair, looking at the stack of papers before him. He was not in the right mind-set at the moment to look over the projected figures and stock holdings. He decided to tend the red blinking message light on his phone first.
"Mr. Cullen, this is Patricia Kellerman with Forks General Hospital. My apologies for calling you at work but I've tried contacting you or your wife at home, though I haven't been able to speak with either of you." Edward cringed at hearing someone refer to Tanya as his wife. She was so far removed from that title in his life and had been for some time, but it appeared the rest of the world hadn't gotten the memo yet. "I can't stress enough how important it is that you return my call, sir. The matter I need to discuss with you is urgent, so please call me as soon as you can. Thank you." The message ended with another number to call.
Edward was troubled by the call once again. He had forgotten about it when he'd had to deal with Tanya but hearing it once more, along with the almost pleading edge to this woman's voice, brought the matter back to the forefront of his mind.
As he picked up the phone to call her back before he could be distracted once more, his subconscious gave a shudder of fear. Something in his gut told him that making this call held the potential to change everything, even if he didn't understand how or what yet.
a/n: Hi friends! It's Thanksgiving here in the states, so this is my wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday.
I'm still working on the next chapter for not only this story, but also AtPM (no idea when it will post, however). Thank you for your support on both stories, and I promise not to give up on either of them.
Thanks as always to my rock-star beta, maiugirl60 for all her hard work and perceptive thoughts and ideas. You make this look good, bb!
I don't normally do this, but since I have no idea when my next update will be, I'm going to rec something—in this case, an author. If you haven't read any of The Fic Chick's stories yet, go do that immediately. She writes lovely, long, in depth and desperately needing more o/s that cannot be missed. I swear it!
Later loves, be good to each other!