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Bless the Broken Road

Summary:

Thanks to lunamoon for the awesome banner please show her some love Bella and her family are con artists. Her path crosses with Edward and the opportunity is too great to pass up, making him her next mark. Edward is blissfully unaware, and it will take a lot of mistakes to finally lead him back to Bella and the truth.


Notes:
No copyright infringement intended. All things Twilight belong to SM


24. Survival of the Fittest VPOV

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Chapter 24: Survival of the Fittest

VPOV

I looked at the four positive tests in front of me and wondered how I could be so unlucky. Everything about the past few years had gone horribly wrong thanks to Bella.

After the devastating blow Bella hit us with, with her departure, we were determined to get every cent of our money back. However, our efforts thus far hadn't given us much. What little money we did have we couldn't spend in excess- in fear that we wouldn't have enough. I was angry and determined to make the bitch pay for what she had done.

After a few months of coming up short, Charlie, Bella's sperm donor, gave us the news that she had passed. At first we didn't believe him; it was all too convenient for her to die when she did. We sat in Renee's condo contemplating our next move when we heard someone at the door.

"Go get it," Renee commanded.

I walked sluggishly to the door and opened it, only to be met with a stranger. He was average height and weight with brown curly hair, was dressed in black, and was holding a vase in his hands.

"Can I help you?" I asked, annoyed already.

"You must be Vanessa, I need to talk to Renee, right now!" he said, his voice full of anger.

I was a little surprised that he knew who I was, but my read on him didn't ring any alarms and I let him in.

"Renee, we have a visitor!" I screamed back to her. She hated it when I acted so uncivilized.

"Come in," I said to the man and led him inside.

"Who is it?" Renee asked, walking into the sitting room.

"Charlie," she said softly, almost as if the wind had been knocked out of her. As soon as she said his name her demeanor changed and she wasn't the strong woman I was used to, but a pathetic and weak version of herself.

"I'm not here for a social visit, Renee," he responded curtly.

His words struck a chord because she went back to her bitchy self. "Then why are you here? Bella isn't-"

Charlie cut her off before she continued. "Bella is dead," he said flatly.

My jaw dropped, and I saw Renee stumble and hold onto the couch. I couldn't believe his words, it was impossible that Bella was gone.

“You're lying, Bella can't be dead," I accused.

"This isn't just for decoration," he said lifting the vase. "I don't know what you did to her or what you had her do to make her run away, but she did and she's dead. We were... we were supposed to meet that day," he said, stumbling to get the words out.

"This can't be happening," Renee muttered to herself.

"It is and it has. I let you continue your life with Bella the way you did because I knew she was impossible to change. I was content with knowing that at the very least she was alive and well, but this-" he said pointing at the vase. "This is unacceptable. Bella is dead because of you, you killed her."

Renee was still trying to maintain her balance as she heard this and hadn't reacted until she heard his final words. "Don't you dare, Charlie! It's not my fault the little brat ran away. If she really is dead it's all on you. You were the one who started giving her ideas."

I still couldn't believe Bella was dead; it was just too convenient for her. "Are you sure it's her?"

"Of course, I'm sure. I used every resource I had to make sure. Bella is dead," he said sadly.

"Something doesn't add up," I said. Renee looked at me wide-eyed, warning me to keep my cool. "Bella disappeared on us, knowing we would be looking for her, and now you come here and tell us she's dead. Either you're trying to con us or she has scammed all of us."

"Renee, there is no doubt that Bella is in my arms right now. I retraced her steps, searched her hotel room, double checked the morgue and hospitals, this is Bella," he said caressing the vase.

Renee studied him and gave me a slight nod. "Fine, so what now?"

"What do you mean?" Charlie asked.

"Well, Bella was working a con when she left, now that she's gone we have to clean up after her mess," I explained, annoyed.

"Well, we need to set up a small funeral and make sure her 'friends' pay their respects," Renee said.

"Exactly," Charlie said. "I'll give you some time with her so you can say goodbye."

He gently laid the vase on the counter and let himself out.

"Fuck!" I said as soon as he was gone.

"Calm down," Renee said. "Do you honestly think we believe him? We have to be smart about this and regroup."

"What do you have in mind?" I asked happily.

"Well, now that Edward is single again you can give him a go. We already have everything established, so things should be easier."

"Eww no! I do not want to deal with that baggage!"

"Well, you're going to have to. He's an easy mark," she stated coldly.

"No, I won't do it. Let's just get this thing over with and I'll continue to work the guy I have now."

"You don't seem to understand the gravity of the matter. Not only has the little brat managed to steal everything, but she's made a clean getaway. The very least we could do is get back at her. I want you to marry him so that when we find your stupid sister she will regret ever going against me. Start working on Edward," she yelled.

I thought it over and the devious mind of Renee was just what I needed to get over that fact that we were pretty much broke. "Fine, but I'm warning you, Renee, if he gets to whiny I'm out."

"No, you wouldn't do that. You're too proud," she said, walking away. I cursed her, knowing she was right, once I started something I needed to finish on top.

I watched Edward for a few months, trying to get a feel for him, and not wanting to rush the process. From afar, I saw how his sadness over the loss of Bella sucked everyone in like a black hole and hurt them so. I wanted at all cost to avoid that so I waited. Things progressed and Edward surprised me and everyone else when he started sleeping around. Now he decides to fuck around, idiot. I knew then that this was my only window of opportunity and had to take it, as much as I dreaded doing it.

I walked into the bar and knew that none of my old tricks would work, and I would just have to wing it, never did I think it was so easy. He took me home and I finally got to see him naked, but somehow it wasn't as arousing as it was when he belonged to Bella. I laid there as he pounded into me and screamed her name. I stayed silent, but my hatred for both him and Bella only grew, and grew every time he screamed for her.

I put up with it, hoping that the end justified the means and endured the poor conception he and his family had of me. Soon I learned that snagging Edward wouldn't be an easy task, he was too far gone and deeply broken than Renee and I had anticipated, almost as if he really did love her. Being with Edward was a full time job, I moved in quickly setting myself in his life, so that he would need me, it didn't work.

If he wasn't bringing home little sluts or getting wasted, he usually fucked me and made sure to scream her name to punish me. It was a sick relationship and I knew it, he needed me around not just to remind him of Bella but to punish me and himself. I wanted to end it all, but my hands were tied, and I could never run away like Bella had, I was in too deep.

Things only seemed to get worse after Alice's wedding. It was then that I saw what Bella had seen; he actually loved without hesitation, with devotion, and with every fiber of his being. The pain in his eyes when he saw Alice and Jasper enjoy their moment was my undoing. The vulnerability in his eyes was enough for me to know that it was time to seal the deal. I gave him an ultimatum and he accepted, it was easy enough but I knew the only reason he kept me around was to punish himself and no other reason whatsoever.

We got married right away, and I was annoyed that I was forced to use my real name thanks to Bella's slip of the tongue. His family was not pleased, but Renee and I couldn’t have been happier. She was determined to find Bella with the money we would be getting from Edward. Not knowing when or if we would find Bella, I had to stay married to Edward to fund our efforts.

It wasn't until after I was married that I realized I was falling for Bella's crazy leftovers. It felt as if acknowledging that a man could love the way Edward did, had me reconsidering everything. For a split second I could understand Bella's reason for wanting to stay with him, but that changed every time I saw him take a moment for himself. I knew she was the reason he got up in the morning and went to work, and I hated them both for it. I hated who I was becoming and hoped that a change of scenery would make things easier for me.

I called an old acquaintance that lived in L.A., to cash in on a favor and have Edward relocated. I only picked Los Angeles because I knew it would piss off Rosalie, who had all but spit on me since I came into the picture. She constantly reminded me that she didn't believe my intentions were pure and wouldn't stand for the charade I had created. Los Angeles was also a city that knew how to party and would hopefully be the city that would keep me from falling for Edward.

Another wrong move, it seemed moving to L.A. only hurt me more as I watched Edward soak in the lifestyle and fall of the deep end. I enjoyed Los Angeles as much, if not more than he did, but I hadn’t moved us here for his sake, but for my own. There was nothing I could do to rein him in. I wanted to walk away and leave behind this weaker version of myself because I knew when the time came Bella would use it against me. Rosalie's outburst a few months after our move only seemed to remind Edward that he had to punish us.

Fast forward to four months later and here I was, hunched over the bathroom sink with four positive pregnancy tests. How could this happen to me? I wondered. Never had I wanted children and even with conflicting feelings I knew this child wasn't for my benefit. It would mean settling, stretch marks, and pain. I dialed Renee's number and she answered after five rings.

"Hello, Vanessa," she grumbled into the phone.

"I need to talk to you now!" I screamed into the phone.

"Honestly, Vanessa, what do you think we're doing?" she countered.

"Get over here, now!" I barked and hung up.

I took one more test while Renee was on her way over and was irritated when I saw that dreadful positive sign. I heard Renee let herself in and call for me.

"I'm upstairs, in the bedroom," I yelled.

"So what's the big emergency, Edward running wild again?" she chuckled.

"No, look at the sink and tell me I'm going crazy please," I begged.

She sighed and put her bag on my bed and went in. She gasped and said, "Oh Vanessa, how could you be so careless."

"I don't know what happened! I've been on the pill since I was 14 you know that,'' I said weakly.

"Okay, we need to strategize. This can be used for our benefit,” Renee thought out loud.

“No I refuse to go through with this! I called you over to help me get rid of this thing not keep it!”

“Vanessa, we have to face the facts. Bella has done a pretty good job with hiding herself, none of her aliases have been used and Charlie has disappeared on me. By the way things are looking we may never recover our money," she said, strained.

"So what I have to endure him for the rest of my life?" I asked, hoping and dreading that her answer was yes.

"Not exactly, have the kid and we can use it to get more money in the settlement when you divorce him," she said.

"I don't think that that money will be enough and it's not like we can just go and take the kid, child support is every month, we'd have to stick around."

"I didn't mean it that way Vanessa, if Edward ever wants to see his child he will have to pay a lot of money to gain full custody, and we can finally break free from him, hopefully with enough money to last us a few more good cons."

"I don't know if I like this."

"Do you doubt me?" Renee asked, stunned.

"Well yeah, Edward has never shown interest in children, who knows if the news will bode well for him," I reasoned.

"Trust me, every man has this weird joy when they know their legacy will live on," she said, rolling her eyes.

"That's understandable, but I'm not even sure the baby is his," I countered.

I could see her trying to contain her anger and waited until she did to finally speak, "From now on, that child's only father is Edward. Stop being so stupid!"

"Fine," I grumbled.

That same night when Edward got home I told him the unfortunate news.

I sat on the couch and called him over as soon as he walked into the door.

"Hi, Edward," I said too peppy for my liking. Pretending this news was great was going to be exhausting.

"Hey, Vanessa," he grumbled as he joined in the couch.

"I have some news, it's not official but I'm pregnant!"

"Huh," he said.

"Huh, that's your response?" I knew he wouldn't take this well.

"I mean wow, I thought you were on birth control?" he said disoriented.

"You better than anyone know it's not 100% accurate."

"Clearly, we fall under that unlucky .01%"

"Screw you, Edward. You could at the very least pretend to be happy," I replied angry and disappointed.

"I am. I'm just shocked is all," he stated calmly.

"You sure as hell don't look it," I responded.

"I will be," he whispered so softly I wasn't sure he had said it.

After flirting with the news and getting confirmation from my doctor, Edward finally came to grips with becoming a father and the news spread like wildfire. It somehow seemed to warm Alice and Jasper more and they became prominent figures in our life. Of course I had to take their intrusion in my life with stride and had to pretend that I enjoyed going shopping with her and was excited about becoming a mother.

Edward only changed in regards to the baby, he still slept around and came home at random hours and continued to treat me like a second rate citizen. He only cared if I was eating right and if I was going to my doctor's appointment. A part of me wished the attention would go away, but another part of me just wanted the attention to mean something more to him. Renee urged me to get Edward excited about the idea of becoming a father and I did everything I could, but nothing seemed to work. I dragged him to baby store after baby store searching for car seats, rocking chairs, cribs, and clothes but he just trailed behind me, uninterested. I gave him books to read but it didn't seem to do any good.

Frustrated with the situation, I decided to confront Edward and stayed up late one night hoping to catch Edward at a vulnerable state. He finally came home around 3 am and was surprised to see me still up.

"Hi, Edward, did you have a good time?" I asked sarcastically.

"Yeah, thanks for asking," he responded.

"We need to talk," I began.

"I don't want to hear it," he said.

"Well too bad. Edward, I need you to listen to this. I want us to try, really try," I said.

"I think it's best if we didn't," he said.

"Look, what you’re doing to me, it isn't fair. I need you to give this an honest try. I've let this go too far, and I'm sick of it, I really am. Since we've been together all you've done is punish me, and I can't take it anymore. I need you to do this for me if we're really going to do this you need to change."

"I will," he said, coldly.

"No, I need you to promise me that you won't cheat on me, that you will try to be faithful. Not just for my sake but for our baby," I said, cradling my belly for emphasis.

"All I can promise you is that I will try," he said.

"That's a start," I responded.

"Okay, can I go to sleep now?" he asked annoyed.

"Yeah, fine."

Things changed somewhat, he seemed to have really taken my fake tears to heart and was actually making an effort to be the man he once was.

Jasper and Alice came to visit almost every day, much to my dismay. Things were finally coming together, and all I had to do was keep Edward by my side and the baby in good health.

Around my ninth week I dragged Edward to a doctor's appointment with me to solidify his commitment to me.

I sat in the cold room with that stupid gown on, while Edward sat in the corner with his head hanging low and looking through his blackberry. We sat there in silence until the doctor came in, with the nurse trailing behind.

"Let's see how mom and baby are doing today," the nurse said as she placed that cold gel on my growing belly.

"Have you been following all of my orders?" the doctor asked.

"Yeah," I grumbled.

"Anything unusual?" he asked, getting the scope to examine the fetus.

"No," I answered softly.

"Alright, let's take a look," he said, pointing at the screen.

"Here is the baby, we can see he is taking form, and I think we can get a heartbeat," he said cheerily.

I watched Edward instead of the screen; he had gotten up from his chair and was watching the monitor. I could see him straining himself not to cry, he was finally embracing fatherhood. For the first time in a really long time I saw hope in his eyes and I knew I had him. I couldn’t help but be pleased at how things seemed to change for the better and Edward became the man I needed him to be and made an actual effort to be there.

Our happiness was short-lived when I discovered some spotting. I called Edward from upstairs and he ran up and picked me up and took me to the hospital. In the back of my mind I knew it was gone. It was strange to admit that the loss was almost instantaneous. Everything that mattered seemed to disappear and I was left with nothing.

After speaking with the doctor, Edward joined me by my bedside and didn’t leave my side until he brought me home; even then he stood by me. Alice and Jasper came to visit and offered their condolences, and I didn't have the strength to care what they had to stay. Renee was by my side almost every day, while I saw less and less of Edward. For the first time in a long time both Renee and I had no plan and I didn't care enough to want a plan.

And so it continued for four months, I sat in my room, with Renee, Edward, Alice, and even Jasper by my side. I didn’t know what to feel, I knew I didn’t want the baby, but I still felt a void. I wasn’t sure if I could attest this feeling to the loss of the child or the loss of my getaway ticket, either way it was gone. Most days I felt like an empty shell, or would think about Bella and how unfair it was that she got to live the life I wanted with my money. I wanted to hate Edward, and most of the time I did until he came home and I saw his sad green eyes and knew he was thinking of her.

I wasn’t myself for a long time, how could I be? It took everything I had to get up in the morning. Slowly, I managed to function but it was Renee who finally got me to see the light.

“Vanessa, you can stop the theatrics now, we need to focus,” she said.

“I’m not acting,” I responded dully.

“Well you need to get over it, because we can’t lose track of our goal here,” she reasoned.

“What exactly is our goal?” I mused.

“Find Bella, and get all of Edward’s money,” she said.

“I’m sorry but that doesn’t seem to interest me at the moment,” I replied coldly.

“Vanessa, I know that what you went through must have been difficult, I also know that I’m not the most caring and nurturing parent, but you need to get this together for our sake.”

“How is that for my sake, I don’t think I have anything else to gain,” I said, fighting back the tears.

“Baby, we need to get you out of here, the only way to do is that is by following through with our plan,” she said softly.

“I don’t want to leave,” I admitted.

“What? Not you too?” she shrieked.

“I just don’t have it in me to continue,” I said.

“What about Bella?” she wondered.

“We will continue looking for her, and when we do we will make sure she pays for all of this. All of this is her fault anyway,” I said.

“I don’t think staying is a good option,” she stated.

“I don’t care what you think!” I responded.

“I’m tired of following your lead, this time I’m the one in charge and we do things my way!” I yelled.

Stunned Renee said, “Fine.”

That same day Edward came home straight from work and headed to my room, not realizing I was sitting on the couch.

“Vanessa!” he screamed in a panic.

“Down here,” I responded.

“I’m glad to see you up and about,” he cautiously stated.

“Yeah, I had a long talk with Renee and it helped,” I said.

“Good to hear,” he responded.

“Edward, thank you, for everything and for sticking to your promise,” I said without thinking.

“You’re welcome, it was the least I could do for all that I’ve done to you,” he said, sheepishly.

“I’m hoping, you will continue to keep up with it, I really want this work. I’ve given this a lot of thought and I’m hoping you will agree for my sake,” I said.

“All I’ve ever been able to offer you is that I will try and that hasn’t been fair, but you know the reason for that. I promise to continue to try and do my best,” he said.

This time I believed him, I knew that things were different this time and I was genuinely pleased.

As time progressed, I began to feel like my normal self, and Edward stayed true to his word, for the most part. We weren’t exactly a happy couple but we were making it and it was better than what we had before. I knew he had stopped sleeping around, but instead of finally devoting his attention to me, he immersed himself in work. We both knew he would never be able to love me, but at least he was able to respect me. It wasn’t the result I wanted but it was better than him punishing me and sleeping me around.

Renee and I continued searching for Bella until one day something came up. Renee had become obsessed with finding Charlie, she was sure he was the key player in Bella’s “death.” The latest P.I. we hired was finally leading us somewhere and after only a few weeks we found out where he was. We were shocked and annoyed that he lived nearby, and Renee wasted no time in paying him a visit. I waited patiently at her place with Phil as she went to go talk to him. She didn’t come home until much later than we expected and we worried that something had gone wrong. Renee finally made it home around 8 o’clock looking disheveled and unhappy.

“What happened?” Phil asked.

“Don’t, right now I need some time to regroup and then we’ll talk,” she said, making her way up the stairs.

After an hour of waiting around for her to come down, I went upstairs and found her sitting on her bed in the dark.

I turned on the lights and took a seat next to her. “So what happened? What did he say?”

“She was there,” she responded flatly.

“Great! So how did she react? Did she cry? When do we get our money?” I wondered, happy with the turn of events.

“She didn’t cry, and we’re not getting anything back she… donated the money to charity,” she said trying not to gag.

“Why did she do that?” I screamed. “Please tell me you have a way to fix this.”

“I don’t have anything, my hands are tied,” she reasoned.

“What? By who? Renee, you can’t be going soft on us,” I reasoned.

“I get there, we talked a bit and I waste no time in asking him about Bella. He tells me she’s dead and hasn’t found anything to prove otherwise. I call him out on his bullshit, and he laughs at me and tells me to leave. So as I’m walking out, in walks Bella and Rosalie with two little ones,”

“Wait, Rosalie was there? I just want to punch her!” I scream.

She nodded and continued, “By that point I was already fuming with anger and seeing her again after so long only made things worse. The brat hits me and tells me to leave her alone. Charlie walks out and comes to her rescue. Rosalie takes the brats inside and Charlie and Bella let me have it. She donated all of the money to charity.”

“You didn’t believe her did you?”

“It doesn’t matter if I believe her or not because Charlie said the right things to keep me away. He has evidence of a previous crime.”

“You’ve never been afraid of getting caught, with the money we can finally leave! How could you be so pathetic? That man has always had a strange pull over you,” I blurted out.

“Listen you little slut, don’t you think for a second that you can talk to me like that! I’ve let take the lead for your sake but enough is enough. It isn’t that simple so get off your high horse and listen to what I’m telling you. Charlie has evidence for a murder I committed when I was still with him. Do you understand now!” she screamed.

I didn’t know how to respond to that. My mother had just admitted that she was a murderer. I knew she was a badass way back when but knowing she had committed something more severe than a white collar crime was scary.

“Okay, so did you at least get to tell her that I married him? That we’re living here? Did you at least get to rub that in her face?”

“No, and I’m pretty sure she knows and doesn’t care. Vanessa, she has us in tight spot,” Renee admitted.

“No she doesn’t! They may have evidence against you, but nothing on me. I need to see her! Hopefully I will be able to recover something, and I will get the satisfaction of rubbing it in her face that I have Edward and she does not.”

“Vanessa, besides the obvious reason for not doing that, you should know that Bella has a daughter who can’t be more than 6 or 7 years old.”

“No, she doesn’t get to have that too. I’m going there now!” I said.

“Don’t do it, trust me,” Renee said.

“No, I don’t care what control you think you have over me, but we both know you lost it a long time ago. You’ve become a liability, and I can’t afford any more mistakes. I’m going!”