Sunday, May 22, 2011

CBWR? Epilogue

Author’s notes:
This epilogue is dedicated to my fabulous beta, DK.  It’s just her sort of ending. ;)
I have a fucking mortgage.
“Edward…Edward!  Ugh!”
I blink my eyes a couple of times and feel Bella’s hands against my arm, shoving at me.
“Get off of me,” she groans.  “For goodness sakes, I can hardly breathe, I have to pee, and I need to get ready for work!”
I’ve managed to roll over on top of her in my sleep…again.  I can’t help it –she’s soft and warm and comfortable.
Fucking sue me.
I roll over onto my back, releasing my beautiful wife from my heavy sleep-grip.  She climbs out of bed and runs for the bathroom, nearly tripping over the stack of boxes next to the door.  I had shoved them up closer to the dresser the night before, but they still stick out into the doorway a bit.  I will have to make the bedroom unpacking a priority for today.
Unpacking in our first, real house.
Not an apartment.
I have a fucking mortgage.
The house is not anything grand – just a two bedroom ranch with a kitchen big enough to eat in and a good sized living room.  It has two full bathrooms, too, which is all kinds of awesome.  I’ve managed to furnish a lot of it from yard sales and Goodwill, so the look is a little eclectic to say the least, but still homey.  It’s kind of amazing the kinds of things you can find for very little money when you spend the time looking.
I’ve got the time.
It’s been hard to hold down a job, so I tend to have a decent amount of time on my hands, at least during the school months.  In the summer I’ve been pretty lucky picking up construction or landscaping work.  Even that can be difficult, because I refuse to work under the table.  I’m not taking any chances what-so-ever.  I don’t even go over the speed limit.  When I find the work, I make enough during those months to at least keep us going without too much stress.
Bella is sitting on the toilet in plain view of the bed.  She never closes the door, and it drives me insane.  She always says she just doesn’t think about it and she’s always waiting until the last possible second before peeing, anyway.  Apparently, closing the door just takes too much time.
I reach my arms up over my head and stretch as I listen to the sound of Bella turning on the shower, and I start coming up with my mental list of things to do today.  The toilet in the hall still needs some repair, and there is an outlet in the living room I should replace or at least tighten.  Yeah, the house is a bit of a fixer-upper, but at least the timing was good for buying this place, and it was a foreclosure auction, so we got it for half of what it was worth.  Also, since I’m not working, I have plenty of time for the house stuff.  When you don’t have the money for a plumber or electrician to be at your beck and call, it’s amazing how much shit you can learn to do on your own.
I scratch my stomach and wriggle around in bed a bit – stretching my legs and my neck.  I’m still groggy, but I hear the sound of a fire engine approaching, so I know I won’t be able to stay in bed much longer.  I push myself up and sit on the edge of the bed and run my hands through my hair as I yawn.  Bella walks out of the bathroom with her hair in a towel and nothing else.  I’m immediately awake now, or at least part of me is. 
I push my lazy ass off the bed and go to her, wrapping my arms around her from behind.
“Hey baby,” I growl against her neck.  She giggles and writhes against me, which just gets my dick harder as it comes into contact with her bare ass through my boxers.
“You make it very hard to get dressed,” she comments.
“You make it very hard by being undressed,” I retort as I grind against her backside.  I keep kissing along her shoulder.  “I got nine inches just waiting for you, baby…”
“Oh please,” Bella snorts.
“What?” I ask, honestly confused by what is so funny.  If it is a quickie, there is enough time so she won’t be late for school.
“Nine inches,” she repeats as she shakes her head.
“What the fuck?” I say, my eyes narrowing.  I grasp her hips and push against her and repeat.  “Nine inches.  I measured it.”
Bella turns her head and looks up at me.  Her lips as smashed together, but still turning up at the corners as she holds in a laugh.
“What?” I demand.
“Were you looking at the correct side of the ruler?” she asks, and this time she has to bite her lip to keep it in.
Oh very funny.
“I most certainly was!” I snap back.  I’m not really pissed, but I’m not happy, either.
“Edward, darling,” she says in her most patronizing teacher voice.  Her finger traces a line up the front of my boxers.  “I love your big, beautiful cock, but it’s not nine inches long.”
“It is, too.”
“Did you start measuring at your balls?” she asks with her brows raised.
“Oh I am not putting up with this shit,” I say as I grab her and pull her back down on the bed.   “I’ll just have to show you – again.”
I lie on my back and pull her on top of me, pushing up against her heat and holding tightly to her hips.  She leans over me and plants little kisses up the center of my chest.
“Maybe I’ll just make you count the inches as they go in,” I murmured into her ear.
“You know that isn’t going to work,” she says with a nod towards the open bedroom door.  The fire engine sounds are getting closer.  I release her hips and sigh, allowing her to get back up, throw on her normal teacher attire, and start drying her hair.  A minute later, the sound increases as a red fire engine bursts through the bedroom door.
“I can’t believe you bought him that thing,” Bella scolds me.
“What?  It cost a quarter at the yard sale down the street!  He loves it!”
“I’m not talking about the cost, that thing is so loud!”
“Woo woo woo!”
Our son, Anthony, crawls behind the plastic truck as he rolls it into the room, repeatedly hitting the little button on the top, which makes the siren sound go off again.  He’s wearing nothing but his “big boy” underwear, and happily announces that he is not only dry, but already went potty by himself.
“That’s my big boy!” Bella says with a smile.  She lifts him into her arms and rubs noses with him.  My heart begins to pound as I watch them together.  Bella is so loving and attentive to his every need, and it just makes me smile every time I see them.  They gaze at each other with identical, deep brown eyes.  Their looks also match – showing their adoration of each other and a love that can be felt across the room.
It’s indescribable.
I take Anthony from Bella’s arms and place him back down on the carpet near the truck.
“I think there’s a fire in the kitchen!” I announce.  Anthony takes the bait, and I follow him and the truck out the door and down the hall on all fours, leaving Bella the chance to finish getting ready for work while I get Anthony his breakfast.
I find cereal and bowls for everyone, while Anthony pretends to put out a raging fire on the leg of the kitchen table.  There isn’t time to cook Bella a proper breakfast, so I start thinking about what I can make her for dinner as I pack her lunch.  She comes out of the bedroom, looking too fucking hot in her teacher clothes.  It was a good thing she went with elementary education instead of high school or college.  It would drive me nuts if I thought hormonal guys were looking at her all day.  Anthony digs into his Fruity-O’s and Bella eats her raison bran.  Yuck.  That shit reminds me of prison food, and I do not need that reminder.  I pour rice milk over my corn flakes and chow down.
“Mom’s planning on coming over Sunday about noon,” Bella tells me as she finishes breakfast and places her bowl in the sink.  I know this, and I nod slowly.  It sucks because it’s a weekend day, when Bella doesn’t have to work, but I’ll muddle through.
“I’ll make sure I’m out of the house before then,” I tell her between bites.  Our five year wedding anniversary will be in a few weeks, but Bella’s mother hasn’t said much of anything to me other than “may I speak to Bella” when I happen to pick up the phone.  She’ll be in the same room with me if she absolutely has to be – like Anthony’s birthday – but she doesn’t like it.  I try to just get out of the way so she can visit with Bella and Anthony without the tension. 
“Yeah, babe?”
“She said she would like you to stay…if you want.”
I stop shoveling cereal into my face and stare at my wife.  I’m pretty sure there is milk dripping off my chin.  She doesn’t appear to be joking – not that she would joke about this particular topic.
“She really said that?”
“She really did.”
“Honestly?  I think it was the Christmas picture of you and Anthony.   She said something about how much he obviously worships you, and that maybe it was about time she at least thought about giving you a chance.  For his sake.”
“No shit?”
“Don’t swear!” Bella snapped as she looked over to Anthony.  “You know he’s going to pick up on that.”
“Sorry, babe.”  I try to look properly chastised, but I don’t think she buys it.  I go back to thinking about Renee’s impending visit, and try to wrap my head around what it would be like if she didn’t outwardly loathe me.  It was bad enough that when people who were only acquaintances got wind of my ex-con status, they would stop talking to us or having anything to do with us.  “Wow.”
“I know, right?” Bella shakes her head, takes Anthony’s empty bowl and rinses it out while he goes back to fighting fires down the hallway.  “Just when you think some people will never change.”
I refrain from commenting, but still mull it over in my head a bit.  Anyone can change, if they decide they want to.  This I know.
"I thought she was generally still pissed at my lack of job," I point out.
Bella puts the dishes down and comes over to me, placing her hand on my shoulder.
"You have a job," she says as she stares into my eyes.  "You're a daddy."
I smile, because I know she is right and we've had this conversation before.  It is a big job, and it's the best one in the world.
“I have to get going,” Bella reaches over and runs her hand across my face as she leans against my shoulder.  Her touch can still pretty much halt me in my tracks – there is nothing better.  I close my eyes a little and just revel in the feeling as I wrap my arms around her for a quick hug before she has to go.
I hand her lunch in a sack, and she gives me a quick kiss before she heads out the door.  Images of the Cleaver’s run through my head, but with Ward vacuuming and asking June what she’d like for dinner instead of the other way around.  Maybe I should feel emasculated by the whole situation, but I don’t. 
I really don’t think I could be any happier.
We moved to Arizona as soon as Bella got word she was going to get the job.  She was teaching third grade at a private school, and we were really trying to get ourselves together away from the looks we received in her hometown and the occasional media barrage living in the same general area where I went to prison.  Even after my parole was over, community service complete and my name of the registered sex offenders listing, there was no escaping some level of it.
You can’t just lie about that shit, not all the time.  People found out.  Some judged, some didn’t.  You had to take what you got.  Starting over – again – was never easy, but we made the best of it.  I never saw any of my business associates again, which also suited me fine.  Sometimes Bella would get pissed off about all the money they had taken from me, but I really didn’t want it.  Blood money.  I’m not him anymore.  Besides, Bella only brought that up when the bills got a little tight.  I tried to make sure that didn’t happen.
Renee retired and moved here to Phoenix the year after Anthony was born, so it made sense to be in the same area.  Bella still needed her mom’s support, and Anthony needed his grandmother in his life.  She was his only extended family after all.
“What ‘cha got there, buddy?” I ask as Anthony bounds into the room with his hands grasping colorful plastic items.  He holds a small red boat up with one hand and two little plastic sailor guys in the other.  The people have round bottoms and fit in the molded holes on the boat, so they can be sailed around in the tub.
“Bath!” he calls out.  I laugh, pick Anthony up, and toss him over my shoulder.  He giggles, squeals, and conks me on the head with the plastic boat.
I can’t explain why, but bathing Anthony is my favorite thing to do in the whole freaking world.  He loves taking his little boats in the water, and there is something about just caring for him in such a way that makes my heart soar.  It started in the first few hours after he was born, while the doctor was checking on Bella, and the nurse asked me if I’d like to wash my son.
My son.
I smile to myself.
“Potty first,” I remind him.  He tries to spend time convincing me that he doesn’t have to go, but I eventually win by tossing a handful of generic Cheerios into the toilet and teaching him to sink them.
Hey, we’re guys!
Fu…well…um…just sue us, okay?
I lower Anthony into the warm water and get just the right amount of name-brand baby bath and baby shampoo to get him cleaned up and ready for the day.  It is the one thing I refuse to skimp on.  I watch him float the little boat around, knocking the plastic people into the water, rescuing them, and knocking them overboard again, as I wash his hair and make sure the spots behind his ears are clean.
I never stop smiling.
I have a house, a fantastic son, and Bella as my wife.  Yeah, people who find out about our past tend to get pretty judgmental, and finding work for me is always going to be a hardship.  There’s a beat up Chevy truck in the driveway, and not a fancy, expensive car.   We don’t have a lot of things or a lot of money, but we have each other, we have Anthony, and we have love.
As far as I am concerned, it couldn’t be better.
And in this, I know I am right.
No reason to ask.
Story End Notes:
And so ends the story of Doofusward turned Edward Swan.
I hope you enjoyed it!  I really am completely overwhelmed by the response this story got, from beginning to end.  I’m glad there were people willing to ignore the drama and keep reading.  I’m very thankful to everyone who supported me through the rough times, encouraged me, and kept me going. 
Extra, extra thanks to Just Robin for helping me get this site together (well…okay...doing it all.  I’m useless!), Lolypop82 for her fabulous manips to go with the story (can’t have those on FFN, huh?), and all the people who made banners, rec’d and reviewed this story, and generally pimped it out.
As far as those who bailed either early or late – they missed a fun ride.  I’m a roller coaster person myself, and will choose to leave the carousels to others.  Nothing wrong with going in a circle on a plastic horse – I’d just rather be flying down a hill with a ridiculous grade getting airtime.  That’s just me.  Might be you, too. 
Until the next one…
Savage – out.
Stop by the twilighted forum and say your *sniff!* farewells!

Now to answer a few questions people have had:
Am I going to make this whole story available for download in PDF?  No.  At least, I don’t plan to. 
Are you going to take down this blog now that the story is done?  No, I plan to leave it right where it is.
Are you going to do a sequel?  No.  It’s done.  They’re having a wonderful life.  There is no more story to tell.
Are you going to do any outtakes?  Not in the current plan.  Unless I get inspired by some charity, I don’t see this happening.
Are you going to do another story with this sort of posting schedule?  Maybe.  We’ll see.  It’s been fun, but kind of stressful, too.  Not in a bad way, but I do need a break.