It's been a few months since I saw first-hand Garrett in the middle of having sex with Kate, his secretary at the office party at Garrett's boss's house.
Christmas was thankfully uneventful. Neither I nor Garrett wanted to tell our families that I had filed for divorce and were currently living separately – at least we would start doing so after Christmas and New Years. I found it somewhat ironic how easy it was for Garrett to pretend like we were still the happy perfect family. The charade was going fairly well until it came time for everyone to leave. Alice gave me an extra-long hug and whispered in my ear:
"I am not stupid Bella, I know that you and Garrett are heading for a divorce; just know that me and Rosie support you."
I was left speechless as my sister smiled and quickly left out into the cold Chicago air.
Had I really been that blind, that everyone knew how unhappy Garrett and I truly were?
But then came New Year's Eve, man that was a much more exciting time. A new year, a fresh start. I had talked with a friend of Jasper's who was a divorce lawyer when I went to Alice's townhouse for New Years. I agreed to let Garrett take the kids with him to spend New Year 's Eve with him and his parents. I needed some alone time, and especially some alone time with my intuitive sister and her husband, and her husband's parents.
Though I felt a bit out of place, it was nice to get to spend time with my sister and a small group of friends. Rosalie was here too, she mentioned in passing that her and Emmett seemed to be hitting it off rather well. They had been on a total of eight dates and he hadn't even pressured her to have sex with him. My personal thought on that particular subject is that I think they both are a bit afraid to make the first move – no one wants a repeat of the Royce incident again.
When it got closer to midnight I was all alone, and it didn't help that Edward was all the way in Florida with his family. With ten seconds to the New Year, I heard my phone ding with a text message and it was from Edward wishing me a Happy New Year.
Awe, he even added a smiley face and a heart.
It wasn't until almost March until I got word back from that lawyer friend of Jasper's. By then Garrett and I sat down with Charlotte and Alex and explained how daddy wasn't going to be living in the same house as us anymore. Being the strong-willed daughter that she is, Charlotte put on a brave face and agreed, but I could tell that Alex was having a hard time wrapping his little head around how much his life was about to change.
Samuel Uley was his name and he was top of his class at Harvard Law – yes I googled him after the New Year's party. He has a high success rate and his clients almost always won their cases. When I spoke to him at the party I told him that I probably couldn't afford his retainer fee. Samuel said that Jasper had given him a brief overview of the circumstances, and he wouldn't charge me the fee. I was speechless I didn't know what to say, so I did the only thing I knew how; and that was just nod like a complete idiot and thank him profusely.
"So, daddy's not gonna live here no mores? 'den where he gonna sleep?" My son asked. Ok, my heart broke a bit. Garrett calmly explained that "mommy and daddy are no longer happy together and are going to try to be friends, but live in different houses." This seemed to make a bit more sense to my son, but he still didn't like that his daddy wouldn't be in the same house as him. Garrett assured him that he would still see him and Charlotte, but it just wouldn't be all the time.
Though the kids didn't take the news well, Edward responded to the news by giving the most passionate kiss I think I've ever had – if that's even possible. I haven't introduced the kids to Edward yet, and Edward agreed to wait until the time was right. That same day I told Edward about the divorce, he found a way to get me into bed with him; but we all know that I didn't need much coaxing.
It wasn't until the beginning of April – April 1st even – that Garrett, his attorney, a woman with shoulder length brown hair and a tanned complexion to match, myself, and Samuel went to court. I was very thankful that Alice and Rosalie agreed to spend the day with the kids. My parents were kept in the loop through text messaging and Alice calling Charlie – who had no idea, and didn't want to learn, how to text message.
The entire time was spent listening to both Samuel and the woman, whose name I learned was Emily, argue continually back and forth. I swear, my son and daughter never argue as much as these two. But something was off with these two, and I was proven right in their opening arguments.
"Mr. Jacobsen, isn't it true that you spend sixty plus hours working at Katz Law Firm? Who's to say that if you are awarded joint custody, at best I might add that you would actually have the time to spend with your son and daughter?" Samuel spoke sternly. He had a point, but his tone was very demeaning. I knew that Garrett cheated, but he has always been a very attentive father.
I had tried to tell Sam to cool it, but he assured me that he was just doing his job.
But then when it came time for Garrett's attorney to talk about how good a father Garrett was, and that it was 'her client' that provided for me and the kids.
"Mrs. Jacobsen, isn't true that your husband," I was about to correct her, but she beat me to it, "I'm sorry, you're "soon to be ex-husband" provides a very well established lifestyle for you?" I wanted to object to her, but I was ordered to answer the question only with a yes or no. I grumbled out a 'yes' and crossed my arms over my chest.
"Isn't it also true that you have to means of providing for your children once the divorce is final? Don't tell me that you plan on living off the alimony you are sure to be rewarded with." This woman was seriously in this to win this. She would stop at nothing to paint me as this gold-digging wife looking to scrape together anything I could get my hands on!
That entire court session was a waste of time. We got nowhere, and the judge ruled that we take a few days to go back to mediation and try and work everything out there, and then try court again if there was no agreement.
It wasn't until after the judge adjourned the session that I learned the reason both Samuel and Emily were brutal in the courtroom. They were 'effing' married! They were both divorce attorneys and thrived on the thrill of outdoing the other. If I would have known that then I would never have asked him to represent me. Garrett came and found me just as I was walking down the steps of the courthouse. He told me that he had fired Emily, and that he had no idea that she was going to try and paint me as this gold digger. I could tell by the look in his eyes that what he was telling me was the truth.
Both Garrett and I agreed that we should get rid of the lawyers and try a less extreme approach. A few days later we tried seeing a marriage counselor, and that went about as well as the court hearing. We were asked why we were divorcing and that got us started in this big argument about Garrett cheating on me for the past five years, and me constantly nagging him about, to him, little things.
It was getting closer to the end of April, and Garrett's schedule was somewhat calm as of late. Alice had mentioned during one of her, what she called, and therapeutic shopping trips that Garrett and I should try mediation again, but with a different person; and leave lawyers out of it. I wasn't holding my breath, I was preparing for what happened with the counseling, and the court hearing, to happen today as well.
When it came time to make an attempt at this mediation, I agreed to let Garrett's mother watch the kids for today. Speaking of his mother, since I filed for divorce she has looked at me with a bit of distain – like it's my fault her son cheated on his wife for a long period of time. I didn't bother starting an argument and dropped them off with her. When I got the building, I looked over the building directory mounted on the wall across from the elevators. I skimmed through the different business and finally found the one I needed.
White and co. Mediation & Counseling – fourth floor, 428
The elevator dinged and I was met with a blinding canary yellow-painted wall with a deep pumpkin color accented crown molding. If she was going for bright and chipper, I think she passed it a few shades back I think. But then I saw the door I needed and walked right in. A receptionist greeted me and took me to the conference room. This office was a welcome relief to my senses, it was a more muted, more calming environment compared to the obnoxious colors out in the hallway. Garrett appeared in the conference room a few minutes after I did and we patiently waited, in uncomfortable silence, until the mediator finally made his or her appearance.
"Hello Mr. and Mrs. Jacobsen, I want to take the time to say "Thank you" to both of you for taking time out of your busy schedules to come to this mediation session today. My name is Marissa White, why don't you both take a seat." This woman looked like she could be Rosalie's twin sister; it was uncanny how much she looked like her. She had the same blonde hair, same brown eyes – hell; she even had the same lipstick shade as Rosalie did. "Now I had a chance to look over your guys' files and I see here that both of you have decided not to have attorney's present today. It also says that both of you have signed a prenuptial agreement when you both got married. I looked over that as well, and I saw that both of you had added in an infidelity clause." This wasn't news to me, I knew about the agreement; I knew about the infidelity clause, I knew that I would be awarded everything. But I didn't want everything; I just wanted custody of my children, and enough money to be able to find a home big enough for me and my kids.
I glanced up at the clock; It was ten in the morning on a Monday. I swear God had a sense of humor for allowing this mediator chick to schedule us for an early session on a Monday! Then I got to thinking. I knew that the divorcing process could take anywhere from two months to years!
I hope that it doesn't take years…
Both Garrett and I verbally acknowledged that we signed the infidelity clause of the pre-nup and that I was accusing Garrett of breaking the clause.
This is why we are now here in a conference room of a mediation office.
"It says here in the infidelity clause both of you signed, which if either party were to have had an extra marital affair that the spouse who had the affair would receive little to no compensation in the event of a divorce." I felt my pulse quicken as she continued to read all of the paperwork we had to hear about in court with the lawyers.
The mediator had mentioned that I had cited 'irreconcilable differences' under where it states 'reason for divorce', and asked me to elaborate on that. I calmly told her that I had hired a private investigator who had found tangible proof that Garrett had cheated on me for an extended period of time. I handed the file Jenks had originally given to me to the mediator.
I didn't miss the subtle glare she gave Garrett once she finished looking it over.
Then I felt my chest tighten when I thought about how I was no better. I had cheated with Edward, technically twice, while we were still technically married.
I could hear my sisters both yelling in my ears to, "keep your damned mouth shut, you get the house, the cars, and most importantly the MONEY!"
Just as the mediator was about to start talking about the house and whether or not it had been paid off, I shouted the last thing I expected to leave my mouth.
"I had an affair! Well…it was more like a one night stand…that kind of, maybe turned into more…" Both Garrett and the mediator stared at me dumbfounded. Marissa, the mediator, wasn't sure how to address what I had just admitted, and Garrett was rendered speechless. Is it bad that I took sick pleasure in how he had no idea that I was just as devious as he was; I didn't think so, and I smiled to myself for shocking him like I did.
"I see, well I will make sure to make a note of that…at this time I'm unsure as to how, or if, this will affect the outcome of the divorce. How do you feel about this new piece of information Mr. Jacobsen?" I looked over at Garrett for the first time this entire session and saw that he was definitely thinking about he should answer this loaded question. I knew that if he was angry at all, that there was a chance I would end up with nothing and I would have to either move in with Alice, Rosalie, or god forbid…move back to Forks, WA. But then I realized that he was at fault, he was the one who had been cheating for five years and that I was the victim, I could actually win this thing possibly.
"I should be angry; hell if circumstances were different I would be pissed off. But I know now that neither of us has been happy in this marriage for quite some time. So, that is why I am comfortable with giving you the house and the Explorer, Bella." And before the mediator could ask any other questions, he had said that both house and the car had been paid off.
This was typical Garrett, he had always been the type of person who hated making payments on things, he would much rather buy it flat out. He added that he had paid bulk payments on the house to make sure that the house mortgage was paid off, and the cars were as well oddly enough.
"So, if I am to understand what you're saying Garret, you are willing to give Bella the house, and her the car?" Garrett nodded in agreement.
Then came the part I had been dreading – and that was who would be awarded custody of Charlotte and Alex? This is what it all boiled down to for me; it didn't matter if I had all the money, but if I still had Charlotte and Alex then this whole divorce would've been worth it.
"Both of you would like to maintain full custody, but I do have to ask; Mr. Jacobsen, if you were awarded joint custody how would you make time for your son and daughter when you work numerous hours a week?" I started chewing the inside of my cheek. It was a fair point, but I just hoped that this wouldn't be a repeat of how Samuel slammed into Garrett about his parenting of Alex and Charlotte. "Well, if I were to get joint custody of Alex and Charlotte then I would hire a babysitter to stay with the children until I got home from work." I wanted to scream at him that I didn't like the idea of a strange person staying with my children during the day while Garrett was at work. I had just worked up the nerve to do just that, when the receptionist poked her head in and told Marissa that a client had arrived for their appointment. Instead of ending our session she told "Caroline" that they could sit in the reception area.
"Now Mr. Jacobsen, I will agree that you have put in a lot of thought into what you would do if you were awarded joint custody, but you cannot sit here and claim that you will have a babysitter to be with your children while you're at work. I am more comfortable with awarding Mrs. Jacobsen with physical custody of Charlotte and Alex. Now what this would mean for you Mr. Jacobsen is that your children would live with Bella, but you would still have legal custody of your children. Do you understand what this means?" Garrett nodded his head. I had done some research, and legal custody was the same as joint custody, and physical custody meant that Charlotte and Alex would live with me full time. It wasn't what Garrett wanted, but he seemed to like that he would still have a say when it came to what to do if either Charlotte or Alex were to get sick.
Finally after about five hours of mediation we came to terms on an agreement and were able to resolve the divorce. Garrett would get the kids every weekend, and half of the summer. It would take another few weeks before the paperwork could be filled out and everything would be final. I agreed to every weekend, only because I was fairly certain there would be some weekends when Garrett's work would require him to be there more than just during the week.
It was strange how much weight felt like it was lifted from my body after the mediation session.
Garrett and I rode the elevator, and walked to our cars in an awkward silence.
I had just got to my car door when Garrett finally spoke, "I want to meet him." I froze. Did he mean he wanted to meet Edward? I was about to ask when, "The guy you're seeing. If he is going to spend time around my kids, I want to meet him for myself." I tried my hardest to will my cheeks to stop flushing. "I'll let him know that you want to meet him. But know that he loves children Garrett, he's a very good man." It felt awkward talking about Edward to Garrett, but at the same time it felt very refreshing to be able to hold an actual conversation with him for once. It was the first civil conversation we had that didn't end up in a yelling match.
Celia still had Alex and Charlotte for a few more hours, so I decided to meet up with Edward. We haven't made love for quite some time, but it was mainly due to all the stress of the divorce. There was, however, one night after my workout session. Emmett was out with Rosalie at some fancy French restaurant, I didn't need much persuasion and I followed Edward up to his apartment. God that was the most wonderful two hours of my life. I still can't believe he made me have multiple orgasms, I didn't know that was even physically possible.
Since I really hadn't had sex with him except for that one time, it meant I actually got to know him on a more personal level. I learned that he is very good at music – he even took piano lessons as a child. I learned that his favorite food is a good burrito from Taco Bell; something that I now tease him about, seeing as how he is a personal trainer. He told he has two middle names, but there's a reason for that. He is named after both of his great grandfathers. Edward Anthony Masen Cullen.
Before Garrett walked away to find his car, I asked him how everything with Kate was going. He told me that they were taking a break during this whole divorce process. I should be angry that he is still seeing her, but I wasn't. I was actually happy that he had someone he could be happy with. I had Edward, and he made me the most happiest I've been in a very long time.
Then I remembered Kate's son, Arron. He had to be Garrett's son. I mean there's no question about it. Arron has Garrett's hair color and his goofy grin even. I wasn't planning on telling him, but I suppose that he needed to know the truth.
A ragged sigh left my body and I walked around my car and looked Garrett square in the eye and told him about the information J. Jenks had showed me about Kate and Arron, and if he did the math, that there was no denying that Arron was his son. At first Garrett blew me off and told me that I just had an overactive imagination, but then he started to really think about what I had said. His laughter ceased, and his expression turned cold. I handed him the file that J. Jenks had put together on Kate and her son Arron.
I hated telling him this, though I will admit that being able to witness karma catching up with him did amuse me quite a bit. He quickly made up an excuse to leave and sped out of the parking lot away leaving me to stand there feeling guilty yet at the same time euphoric.
"So now do we just wait for the divorce to be finalized? If that's the case then you can finally make an honest man out of me – wait, I didn't mean it the way it sounded." It was Edward's turn to blush a nice shade of pink. I liked seeing him blush, I imagine this is how I look when I blush as well.
Laughter started pouring from me and I assured him that I knew what he meant – he and I would finally be able to be public about his and my relationship. Alex and Charlotte have yet to meet him, but I decided to hold off on that until after Garrett meets Edward – lord knows no one wants to see Garrett get into a pissing match and threaten to call his lawyer and file for custody.
I was in bed snuggled up next to him. Alice decided to hold my kids, as she called it, "hostage", but I knew that she wanted to spend some time with her niece and nephew. She also added something about me being crabby because I wasn't getting enough sex. I swear that woman and my brother-in-law must screw like little bunny rabbits; it's a wonder I'm not already an aunt.
I chewed my bottom lip as I watched this gorgeous Adonis get up out of bed and walk to the bathroom stark naked.
God, I could stare at his ass for hours.
I was thinking about seeing if Edward was up for round three, when all of a sudden I felt a wave of nausea come over me; it got so bad that I contemplated running into the bathroom and throwing up. Then it hit me like a Mack truck; I sat up suddenly, making sure to keep my bare chest covered. I had just realized that I should've had my period already.
I didn't want to panic. I had taken the Depo-Provera shot about two months ago, and it's known to cause my cycle to be irregular. I didn't want to have to worry about remembering to take that damned tiny pill every month, so I resorted to getting the shot; it starts working immediately and is good for a lot longer than just a monthly pill. I also heard that if you get the shot, that it's less likely to get pregnant; but then I got pregnant with Alex even after the shot.
Don't worry Bella; it's just your imagination. You can't be pregnant; it's a small chance – even if you 'did' have Alex after having the shot.
Ok, I needed to get out of here. I needed to get to the corner store and get a home pregnancy test – or two…maybe three.
"Aren't you forgetting something?" I froze at the door and realized that in getting dressed I had forgotten one vital thing.
I turned around and there he was, my Adonis was holding my panties and swinging them around on his index finger.
Now, I don't normally go all commando, but the few times I've stayed the night at Edward's I've worn jeans and he's been known to hold my panties ransom until the next time I see him. But since I've been working out more, I've found myself wearing skirts. I just love showing off my toned legs.
I knew I was blushing three shades of red when I quickly grabbed them and hurried out of his apartment building and to the nearest corner pharmacy.
After a very embarrassing encounter with the girl behind the cash register I was back at the house. Just to be certain I bought three different pregnancy tests. This meant that I would have to drink gallons of water, but I was in a hurry and grabbed a gallon of Sunny Delight orange juice with the three pregnancy tests at the store. I forced myself to drink the entire gallon. Thankfully it didn't take long before the gallon of orange juice caught up with me and I was able to supply enough pee for three tests.
Now all that I had to do was wait and see what they said. I about gasped when I glanced down at the three tests. It didn't even take the full two minutes for the tests to show the results.
They all had the damned sign.
I had a mixture of emotions, I was ecstatic that I was pregnant, but then I also realized that my divorce wasn't even finalized yet. Then I thought about how Edward would react when I told him the news. I mean, he and I were just getting to know one another better. He still had to meet Garrett, and then there were the kids. I knew that they would love him, but I wasn't sure how I would explain to them that on top of mommy and daddy getting divorced, mommy has a new boyfriend; oh and you're getting a new baby brother or sister.
The stress of the whole situation was getting to me. The couch looked comfy enough for a nap, but before lying down I double checked that the security alarm was on. When I was sure that it was armed I snuggled onto the couch in front of the fireplace and decided to rest my eyes.
Why was it so hot in here? Did I forget to switch the heat to the air conditioner? I barely opened my eyes, and what I saw a thick cloud of smoke that engulfed the entire sitting room.
It was getting hotter in here. It was getting harder and harder to concentrate. I just knew that I needed to get out of here. I tried to breathe, but that was a big mistake. I took in a lungful of smoke and started coughing as if I had been smoking six packs a day.
I need to get out of here.
When I tried to sit up my body felt like it was being held down with lead weights. I managed to roll off the couch and on to the floor, but that was about as far as I got before the blackness of the smoke started to cloud my vision. I tried desperately to breathe in good air that was closest to the floor, but that didn't seem to be enough. I felt my consciousness slipping further and further away from my grasp.
"Mrs. Jacobsen, Mrs. Jacobsen, my name is Gabriella Rodgers, do you know what happened to you?" I cringed away from the suddenly loud voice and tried to open my eyes, but when I did my vision was blurred. My nose felt like it was dipped in acid, it hurt so badly. I reached up to try and rub the pain away, only to feel that I had some sort of mask covering my nose.
An oxygen mask maybe?
Then I remembered that the woman asked me if I knew what happened to me. I tried to shake my head no, but I'm pretty sure that I didn't, because the woman asked me again if I knew what happened to me.
Lord, help me remember to get my last name legally changed back to my maiden name; being constantly reminded of your failed marriage was getting old fast.
"The fire department was alerted by your security alarm that your house had caught fire. You were inside. Do you remember? Mrs. Jacobsen, I need you to tell me if you understand what I'm asking you."
"What about…baby?" I croaked. Then I felt myself being pulled back under into the darkness. I was trying to fight to stay awake. My thoughts were scrambled, first I was thinking about Alex and Charlotte, and then I thought about my Adonis.
As I was losing the battle to stay awake, I heard the woman start talking in code and yelling at the person driving – what I assumed as an ambulance – to drive faster.
That was my last conscious thought before I was pulled back down into the fog.
Let me know what you think. Was it an accident? Could it be related to Bella's almost mugging? Or is it a gang retaliation from Garrett's case? I want to hear your thoughts in the reviews and I will see you all next Wednesday! :)