Cheers for reading, this was not so much a story as a practice for my class at University, we had to write something featuring 'misdirection'. I wrote this epilogue before the story so it was always going to end this way.
It Ain't Over
"Bella?" I said, as I walked towards her. "Who is this?"
I took Harley from her and a voice behind me made me aware for the first time that there were others in the room.
Jacob Black stood and strode to my wife's side.
"This is the newest member of our tribe. Meet Seth," Jacob replied, taking the other baby from my wife and holding him in his arms. "He will be officially welcomed as soon as he and his mother are released. You are welcome to attend: all his blood relatives and their families are invited."
Bella beamed and finally took her eyes from the face of the little honey skinned infant.
"Edward, I have a brother."
I shook my head.
Renee was past childbearing age surely, so this could only mean...
Charlie stood and took the baby from Jacob.
"It's the damndest thing," he said, looking both proud and amazed. "Sue had no idea...no symptoms. I actually rushed her in here fearing she was...was..."
He shook his head.
I had never seen Charlie get emotional about anything but clearly he had feared the worst and mistook the pain of labour for something more deadly.
"Congratulations," I said. He would never know just how relieved I was. Charlie had always seemed to me to be the type of man who would have a lot more in common with a son, although he had obviously loved Bella from the moment she was born.
He looked a little dazed.
"I always wanted a brother," Bella assured him, putting her arm around him and smiling at me. "Of course, I kind of wish he had been born before me, or at least when I was still a kid. That would have been cool. Anyway, now Harley has a nephew to play with as they grow up together. I guess this is what happens when one's parents marry partners half their age."
I could only think this was the best possible ending and one I had never imagined.
"It will be great, Charlie. Finally you have a child who can join you on your fishing trips, and you will get to watch him play baseball. I am so pleased for you, and for myself."
Charlie nodded and misunderstood my enthusiasm.
"Sure, Edward. Daughters are amazing and I don't have to tell you that, but I know what you mean. A boy is a whole different kettle of fish.
The door opened and I glanced up as the daughter I loved and feared for and missed so much skipped into the room a few steps ahead of a bashful Alice.
"Scarlett," I said with the most profound relief I have ever felt, as she ran towards me.
I wrapped my arms around her and thanked God, all the Gods, Fate, Karma, Mother Nature, every one, for sparing us from the scenario I feared.
Even though Bella had been confident that our girl would not be ready for motherhood for years yet, I had never trusted Jacob Black and I honestly thought he may have found her, wooed her and impregnated her as a way to hit back at Bella.
Thankfully I had never spoken of this fear out loud as I would have looked rather silly and paranoid right now if I had.
I laughed, and almost cried, as I hugged Scarlett against my chest one handed, holding her baby brother to the side so we didn't squash him.
Alice immediately took him from me and shrugged.
"What can I say? I never saw this coming," she said ruefully.
It didn't matter.
"Isn't it amazing? I have an uncle, right? Seth is my uncle? Yeah?" Scarlett asked excitedly.
"Right. Your uncle," I agreed.
The best uncle in the world.
I was so happy I looked up at Charlie and grinned.
"I absolutely insist on giving your son a college fund, no arguments," I stated.
Charlie looked like he hadn't yet thought about formula and diapers, so college had never entered his mind.
"I owe one of your children at least the chance to attend college and have the educational opportunity I stole from your daughter."
I'd buy this kid anything he ever wanted, just because he was the answer to many a prayer.
Sitting on the familiar fallen log on First Beach, I gazed at the embers of the bonfire.
Who saw this night coming?
Not me, that's for sure.
Not Charlie either, but he looked as proud as punch as the Quileute tribe, all in full tribal costume, gathered around and Jake took Seth from Billy's lap, and held him up so everyone could see the tiny infant bundled in the brightly patterned blanket that had wrapped many a new tribe member in the past.
Maybe even Sue.
I had no idea if baby girls were given the same welcome as boys but I hoped so.
Edward was sitting beside me, our own son snuggled inside his father's coat, just his little pale face exposed at the top of the buttons.
On his head was the little knitted beanie I had made to match Edward's battered old headgear. Of course I had made him a new one as well, but he'd thanked me for my efforts and put it away 'for later', preferring the one I'd made when I was fourteen years old.
Harley stirred and fought against the confined space, and Edward automatically put his pinkie in the baby's mouth to soothe him.
It was so much better this time.
This was the babyhood I wish we could have offered Scarlett when she was born.
Two parents home, on call, 24/7, always there ready to provide whatever the infant needed.
Edward has taken an entire year's Paternity Leave and Carlisle even suggested he extend it for a second year if he wants to.
He and Esme were falling over their feet to do anything and everything for their son, and grandson.
I hope Edward forgives them, because holding on to hate and old wounds doesn't help anybody, especially him. I want him to accept his parents are just people; just as flawed and selfish and repentant as everyone else in the world.
None of us are perfect.
I had walked from a marriage, the only marriage I ever wanted and divorced my soul mate, so I could hardly judge them.
Scarlett walked over to join us, her latest beau at her side, sticking like glue. Joined at the hip, as they had been ever since their arrival here. I was glad she had a whole house of her own, next door to ours. There were some things a parent did not need to hear.
She still had the odd drop of baby blue paint in her hair from the makeover of my childhood bedroom in Charlie's house into a nursery for my new brother.
I glanced at my husband, just to confirm he was okay with their public displays of affection.
He merely narrowed his eyes and smiled at them both.
"Ah, so pretty," he whispered.
I was confused as to whether he was referring to our girl or her boyfriend. Benjamin was definitely an attractive young man. In a way he reminded me of Edward at that age.
And Scarlett reminded me of myself, which worried me a little. She gazed at his face as if he were the only man in the world, and we all know where feelings that intense can lead.
As if reading my thoughts, Benjamin put a hand on my shoulder gently as he sat down beside me.
"Don't worry. Scarlett is my life now and I will never do anything reckless. I am in this for the long haul, Mrs Cullen. Her future is my future and I want her to experience everything other girls her age do, before we settle down and even consider anything too adult. I will keep her safe, I promise."
"Bella," I muttered automatically.
It felt weird, being considered old enough to be called 'Mrs Cullen' but then, it was the title I had craved to have back.
"I do trust you to do that, Ben," I assured him.
It was a little strange, how relaxed and accepting Edward was of this relationship.
I had expected him to haul our daughter aside and lecture her on the birds and the bees, and emphasize that motherhood may be wonderful but only when the woman in question is mature and ready and preferably thirty five years old, but he seemed to think he had already been granted all his dearest wishes and he was willing to let the cards fall where they may when it came to Scarlett.
I was surprised, but happy. Maybe just having the most smothering parents in the universe had made him react in such an opposite way? Who knew the workings of this beautiful man's mind?
I knew he finally had everything he ever wanted and money did come into that. It allowed us the luxury of free choice and let him be home with me to watch our son, our second chance child, grow and I expected to hear "dadda" as Harley's first word some day, seeing as how Edward so rarely put the baby down or let any of us have a turn.
I decided right there and then to breastfeed for as long as possible, if only to ensure I would get equal cuddle times.
I admit I do like it; having my partner be the one to get up at night at the first squeak our son makes, and have him passed to me all sweet smelling and freshly diapered before each feed.
Not to mention how he is then taken back afterwards, and winded by his father, and settled back to sleep after I have returned to slumber myself.
Yep, life is good.
I hope Benjamin proves to be much the same type of man as Edward.
I hope Scarlett is as lucky as I am.
Few women experience the joy of being with their One, and I shudder whenever I remember our seven horrible years apart, but they are over now.
Never forgotten, always regretted but life is too short to dwell on our mistakes.
Better to just celebrate our good fortune that sometimes life does give second chances.