Disclaimer: Still not mine
It had been a whirlwind month since we'd returned from Vegas. The first thing I did was call Jenks and fax over a copy of our marriage license. He, in turn, released my trust to me. My first order of business was to meet with Jake to give him his money. I ended up giving him not only the five thousand he'd invested but additional money as well because I had promised him if he invested I could double his money. I never back out of a deal if I can help it.
My father was pissed beyond belief when the wedding announcement was published in the paper, but I figured—fuck him. If he couldn't be happy for me then he didn't need to be in my life. If he came around later with an apology then we would go from there.
We purchased all the stuff we needed for the house, and when the gifts started piling in from well-wishers for our marriage, we donated them to women's shelters around the city. We donated any cash we received to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. We felt that some good could come out of our union, and both were things that we supported.
I had somehow managed to convince Bella to work at the shop with me, at least part time. She would work reception and draw or paint while she was there. She'd finally set up a new date for her gallery show, and she would be showcasing the paintings she'd done of me and the one of our hands, though those wouldn't be for sale. I couldn't be more proud of her.
I hired a kid named Seth as a secondary artist and even brought in his sister Leah to do piercings. I couldn't wait until the shop was all mine. Not that I was ready to let go of Marcus yet. I loved him like a father, and he'd always treated me like a son. It wouldn't be easy to see him go.
The night of my gallery show, I was a bucket of nerves. Edward stood with me the entire time, holding my hand and rubbing my knuckles soothingly. I was a little shocked at the turnout, to be honest. I guess my mother invited all of Phil's and her friends. She was proud as a peacock that night. I guess I could manage to do something right after all.
She gushed to anyone who would listen about how talented her daughter was, and the paintings were flying off the walls. There was interest in the pieces I'd done of Edward, but they weren't for sale. They would be going up in our house as soon as the show was over.
Rosalie, Alice, Emmett, and Jasper had all gotten over the shock of us actually getting married. They even laughed along side us when we told them the truth about how the whole thing got started. We had dinner with them at least once a week.
The only dark spot in the whole thing was Edward's parents. They refused to talk to their son, saying that they didn't believe what we had was real, and we planned this to screw his father out of his son following in his footsteps. Edward had explained the noose tattoo to me. I cried when he told me that it represented his father and how he always felt dragged down as a kid, with no choices, only doing what his father wanted. How he had longed to break free, and how it felt when Marcus had done the tattoo and offered Edward a place there with him.
We were both saddened by Marcus leaving the shop. I could tell Edward really wanted him to stay on, but he said he was old and had done his time. It was time for him to pass the torch and travel the world.
I couldn't believe how great my life was now. I had a man I loved, a job I loved, and I still got to paint and draw. Life couldn't be any better. It was hard to believe that two strangers meeting at a wedding and cooking up a scheme could change each other's lives so much, but that's just what happened. As I smiled at Edward and linked my hand with his, our forearms touched, revealing the only gift we'd received that we kept—Marcus's gift—the tattoo on Edward's arm and mine that when placed together read: For Keeps.