What's Love? Ch 24
Ten Years Has gone by
Ten Years later
I can't help but stare at myself in the mirror thinking about how I got here, my fifth wedding.
Going home after I was shot was nerve wracking. I upped the security features of our home, and when I say ‘upped', I mean I started planting tracking devices on everyone and had Charlie follow them. My family staged an intervention when Rose found hers located in her purse. I let up a little on the security after that. Very little.
I also refused to go out with Miah alone, feeling that I failed her and Edward. Miah didn't believe that at all; to her I was a hero and she still idolizes me as her mom. It was almost six months after I got home that Miah managed to guilt trip me into taking her to school and picking her up without anyone with us. I had the shakes and sweats, but I did it. After that, I slowly started to do more things with her again outside the house.
Edward and I went to counseling and worked through the concrete walls that I put back up hard and fast around myself. It was around the same time that Miah guilt-tripped me; it freed me to open up and make love to Edward again.
I smirk to myself, remember reading the plus signs just a few weeks later. Lucian and Damon are my twin miracles, followed two years later by Piper, and then four more years later we had Masen. So here I am with a fourteen, two nine, a seven and a 2-year-old. Edward and I were ecstatic with each pregnancy, considering I never thought I was going to have any children, let alone four. Of course, the doctors had me on strict regulations with each one because of my scar tissue and everything else that happened to me.
Edward proposed to me at Jasper and Alice's wedding, which was so perfect, but I said no to him. I love him to pieces, but I just didn't feel like I deserved to be married to him. He tried again after we found out about the twins, again when Piper came, and once more when Masen arrived he got down on one knee.
It wasn't until Jasper and I were working together on a foster housing project last year that he lectured me. "Bella, why won't you put Edward out of his misery and marry him?"
"After all my false marriages, and what happened with James, I don't deserve to carry his last name," I whispered in shame.
"You need to get that out of your head. James wasn't your fault; you saved Miah. Miah deserves you two to be married, hell, all your kids need you to marry their father."
I left the house we were working on without saying another word. I went to our new home that Edward and I built from scratch that sat on fifteen acres outside Forks city limits. It's gated and fenced, of course, so I put my code in and drove up to the brick mansion that we designed and had Emmett build. I helped with the electrical installation so that Miah and I could be involved with things.
I pulled into our detached garage that fit the four family vehicles plus the recreation vehicles we have. Yes, we have too much money. I finally made it inside our home and there were all the kids, a crap ton of rose petals, and Edward in the middle on one knee.
"Mom, please marry Dad," all the kids sang to me.
I teared up, because I knew then that I was hurting our family by not agreeing to marry the best man I could have ever asked for. My tattooed, foul mouthed man.
I smile at the memory, walking into the lavish room at the hotel we rented out for the wedding. I see all the kids, and of course my sisters and mom ushering in the hair and makeup people and their equipment they need.
"Boys, what are you doing here?" I playfully scold my twins. Lucian is holding Masen's hand, all of them wearing their father's lopsided grin.
"Making sure you don't get cold feet, Mommy," Lucian replies.
I can't help but stare at my son with his copper hair and green eyes; such a mini Edward he's almost a clone. Damon is on the other side; he has his dad's hair but my brown eyes.
I roll my eyes at them, grabbing up my baby and kissing him loudly. He begins to giggle. "Mommy, stop," Masen wiggles away from me.
"Alright, you three, back to the boys' suite, us ladies need to begin our day of preparations." Esme escorts her grandsons out.
I smile at all the women in my life now. Alice and her seven-year-old daughter Marie; their four year old son is with Jasper and the men. Emmett and Rose just have one boy, Max.
"Let's get this show on the road people!" Alice shouts out. I feel myself getting pulled by my daughters and pushed into a chair. I look at the women in the mirror and can't believe how wide-eyed and happy I look.
I see the photographer taking pictures, and in the corner of the mirror I look at Miah who is on her tablet with her brows pulled down, biting her lip with concentration. It reminds me of the time I caught her in Edward's and my room.
Miah had just had her tenth birthday, and I was carrying the twins on my hips. "Miah?" I said her name in question when I spotted her sitting on the floor going through some old boxes.
"I..." She turned her eyes down to the ground, letting her dark hair flair in front of her face. I put the boys down and sat down across from her on the floor, waiting.
I heard her sniffle, "I just want to see what she looks like. I thought maybe Dad had a picture of her somewhere. I know they were never in love, but I just thought maybe..." She never finished her sentence, instead shrugging her shoulders.
"You want to know about your birth mom?" I asked, pulling her gently into my lap.
"You are my mom, I just see the likeness with the boys and you and Dad, and I'm just curious."
I nod my head. "That's normal, sweetheart. When Dad gets home, we'll talk about it some more and see if he has a picture around."
"Do you think she would want to see me?"
"You want to meet her?"
"I don't know."
Edward, Miah, and I all discussed Irina, Miah's birth mother, and whether meeting her would be a possibility.
It was a few months later that I took Miah to the diner Irina owned with her husband.
I couldn't believe that Irina was Miah's mother, the same Irina that long ago shared a room with me. We watched her through the front window of the diner. Miah studied her for the longest time before asking to go home.
"I thought you wanted to meet her?" I asked, walking back to the car.
"Watching her, I see I have her hair and cheekbones. But," she paused a moment. "She looked so happy and content. Seeing that made me realize she didn't want me, and that's okay. Her letting me go allowed me to have you as a mom and some amazing brothers. I don't need to know anything else."
I smile fondly at Miah through the mirror even if she doesn't see it. Miah grew up so quickly.
"Miah, where are you thinking about going to college after next school year?" Rose starts the discussion.
"I don't know yet. We're going on a college tour after Mom and Dad get back from their honeymoon," Miah answers her aunt without even looking up.
"That's sounds fun." Rose eyes her niece, who doesn't even notice Rose, then eyes me. "She gets that compulsion from you."
"What?" I try to feign ignorance.
"Please, Bella, when you were writing the medical hologram scan thingy you were so out of it I'm surprised Edward didn't smash your computer." Alice laughs from the chair next to me.
I roll my eyes at them both. My program that she speaks of is now in most hospitals around the country and has helped so many people. It actually helped Rose and Emmett conceive.
The day goes by so fast, and before I know it it's just me and Jasper waiting for the signal for him to walk me down the aisle.
When the doors open I see Edward wide eyed and looking like he's about to cry.
My happily ever after waiting for me.
I used to ask what love is. Now, all these years later, I know exactly what it is.