|Forever Yours, Faithfully
Author: SuddenlySandi PM
Bella comes home to run the family business after the death of her parents and the ruin of her marriage. She befriends a young boy who teaches her to use her heart again. All HumanRated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Drama - Bella & Edward - Chapters: 10 - Words: 75,339 - Reviews: 20 - Favs: 37 - Follows: 7 - Published: 04-09-11 - Status: Complete - id: 6891758
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
The days were passing quickly and Edward noticed how much Bella seemed to be bonding with the girls, but not with him. She was sweet and polite but she acted like a guest in his home.
He was actually a bit relieved when Jessica showed up. She walked in after giving a curt knock and ran to Bella, pulling her into a tight embrace. Bella looked stunned and held her arms out without actually hugging Jessica back, just as she had done with Edward.
"You look great, Bella, God look how thin you are, maybe I should let James kidnap me. I understand your loss of memory, if I was married to 'boy wonderless' I would forget, too."
"This is Jessica, she was your charity project," Edward said to explain who the woman hugging her was.
"We were best friends since preschool, and then one day you found this mutant," Jessica said and pointed to Edward.
"She doesn't remember you, so leave," Edward said and Jessica pulled Bella by the arm into the bedroom.
"We can talk now, come on, you remember me right? You just don't want to stay married to Edward."
"I honestly don't, remember you that is," Bella said.
Edward had followed them and stood in the doorway.
"It's okay, I repeat myself so often I don't mind filling you in again. I guess I should start by telling you Edward and I are friends now."
Bella looked shocked and not by the news but by the way they spoke to each other. She felt they were anything but friends.
"I'm married to a really ugly man, but I like it that way," she continued on. "I'm trying to get pregnant and I'm sure our children will be monsters, but I love him. You and I were thick as thieves in school and I was a bit wild, but you were perfect and virginal and blah, blah, blah."
"That doesn't help," Edward said with irritation, but Bella felt it did help her to know she was a good person and she didn't deserve the scars on her body.
"Then you got obsessed with Edward and I took the back burner, God you spent every second with him, but I didn't know you guys were sleeping together and…"
"Jessica, we were not sleeping together," Edward said and looked nervously at Bella.
"Don't lie, Bella told me, didn't you…oh, I guess you don't remember. You said you let him go out of your bed and it cost you the man you love."
"There was a lot more to it," Edward said to soften the blow.
"She wasn't ashamed of bedding a boy, you were hot, Edward."
He opened his mouth to speak but laughed instead as he looked at Bella as he shrugged, "I was hot."
She blushed and let her head fall so he couldn't see her smile. He was still hot, but it took a lot more than that to make a relationship work. Carlisle was hot too, but it wasn't what made her love him.
"So what should we do first? Do you want to hit the mall in Port Angeles or get manicures?" She looked at Bella's hair with a disappointed face and said, "Maybe we should get you an appointment to have your hair done."
"What's wrong with my hair?" Bella asked and reached up to run her fingers through it. She wondered if Carlisle had been embarrassed by her style and instantly wanted it fixed.
"Nothing, you're beautiful," Edward said softly and Bella looked over at him. He looked at her with so much love and she wanted to beg him to stop. It was creepy to have a stranger look at her in that manner, even if it was her husband.
"I'm taking her with me," Jessica said and pulled Bella up by her hand.
"Do you want to spend some time with Jessica?" he asked and she quickly shook her head up and down. She needed to be out of his constant gaze and wanted to update her look.
He watched them head out and felt his time with her coming to a quick end. He could tell she was putting in a week and then planned on rushing back to her relationship with Carlisle. He was going to have to step up his game and push her into remembering.
He made plans for the girls to spend the night with friends and arranged a romantic night with Bella. He felt it was his last hope to keep her forever.
When she walked through the door she saw the roses sitting on the counter. Edward walked into the room and his eyes widened when he saw her. "Wow," he said loudly. "You look amazing."
"Thanks," she said shyly and couldn't wait to show Carlisle her new look.
"I hope you don't mind, I planned an evening for us," he said softly and she looked nervously at the flowers but he didn't respond.
"I made your favorite pasta," he said and pulled out a chair for her.
"So, what is my favorite pasta?" she asked as she sat at the table.
He laughed and got a dish from the oven. "Mushroom ravioli with French bread and wine."
She nodded and worried about the wine. He lit some candles and lowered the lights before sitting across from her. "I'm not setting up any big seduction scene; I just thought you would enjoy an adult night."
He poured her some wine and she took a quick sip. He watched as she took a bite of food and then smiled up at him. "You are a great cook."
"It is your recipe," he said and she was tempted to ask him for it, so she could make it for Carlisle.
"Jessica is…interesting," she said to keep the awkward silence away.
"I've never understood your attraction to her," he said as he shook his head.
"Is her husband really as ugly as she says?" Bella asked with a laugh.
"I'm afraid so, but I respect the guy for being the one millionth customer served," Edward said and Bella had to cover her mouth with her napkin as she laughed.
"Tell me about yourself," she pressed hoping to keep the conversation moving.
"I have two sisters who are a lot older than me. My father died when I was twelve and I was raised by my older mother. When I began working for you I spent most days and nights here. I had my own room and you were my best friend. I love old movies and you taught me to love horses, but swimming was more my thing. You came to every football game except two, because you were mad at me."
"Why was I mad?"
"You didn't like my girlfriend," he said bluntly.
"So, we weren't really sleeping together?"
"We had sex twice, the night before I left for college. I came by and told you I loved you."
Bella took another long drink of her wine and ate without commenting. He didn't push her into conversation and let her process the information he had given her. After filling her glass for the second time he put the wine away. She didn't mind, it was already relaxing her and that was all she wanted.
"I have a horse saddled for a ride," he said and she looked up with a bit of fear. "We used to take slow rides at night all the time. Buster is a very gentle horse and we usually rode in silence," he said to ease her tense body.
They both cleaned up the dishes together and her silence had Edward so worried. He was slipping into a deep depression and tried to keep his face hidden from her watchful eyes. They dressed warmly and after helping Bella into the saddle he grabbed a blanket and climbed up behind her.
"We're riding together?" she asked in shock.
"Yes, it is how we always rode," he said sadly and wrapped the blanket around her shoulders before bringing his arms around her and taking the reins. They made the same lumbering trek they had so many times before.
She began to relax and his body was keeping her warm as she nestled into his chest. She thought she felt him kiss her hair a couple of times, but she wasn't sure. His arms tightened around her and she closed her eyes and enjoyed the sensation of the slow walk.
When they reached the cemetery Edward climbed down and tied the horse to the fence. "Can you climb?" he asked.
"We're going inside?" she asked and got off of the horse.
"Yeah, I want to show you something."
They both climbed effortlessly over the fence and walked silently over to two headstones. She looked at the names and saw, Charles and Renee Swan. She sat down on her knees and felt her tears falling. She had no idea who these people were, but that didn't change the fact they were her parents. She was part of these people and it meant something to her.
"I wish I knew things about them, but I never met them," Edward said. "Billy was your father's best friend and business partner; he can tell you anything you want to know."
She looked up at Edward and realized what a nice man he was. "Thank you," she said and looked back at the headstones. "Is your father buried here?" she asked and he nodded. She stood and held out her hand for his, "Show me."
He took her hand and walked to another section and stopped by the large stone with the name Masen engraved across the top. "Charles Masen, our father's have the same name. How did he die?" Bella asked.
"He had a heart attack while mowing the lawn. I was the only one home."
She looked at his sad eyes and tightened her hand in his, "I'm sorry, Edward. I don't remember my pain; it must be difficult for you."
"I can't complain, it led me to you," he said as he looked at her face.
She looked directly in his eyes and felt a strange feeling, a sort of remembrance and she quickly looked away. He closed his eyes as his heart hurt. "I'm sorry; you were always made uncomfortable by my eyes."
She looked back at him in shock, "Why?" she asked.
"You said they could see into your soul and see all of your secrets."
She forced herself to stare at him and it sent chills went down her spine. She didn't remember anything but his eyes made her know for certain she had loved him once, but she had nothing to connect the feeling to, so she brought Carlisle back into her mind and looked over at the horse.
"We better head back, it is getting colder," she said to hide her shivers.
They made the slow walk back to the house and she admitted to Edward she really enjoyed the ride. She watched as he put the horse away and they walked together back into the house.
He led her to the sofa and put on the movie, Love Story. She watched in silence and didn't mind when he pulled her feet onto his lap and rubbed them for her. When the movie ended and she was wiping her tears on her sleeve he scooted closer and held her face in his hand.
She closed her eyes as he wiped her eyes with his thumbs. He leaned in very softly touching his lips to hers. He hoped she would respond, but she held perfectly still. He kissed her several times, never escalating the action.
"I'm afraid you won't be here for Christmas, so I would like to give you your gift now," he said with a broken voice.
"Edward, you shouldn't have gotten me anything," she said sadly.
"I would give you the moon, if I could," he said with a smile and her heart sped up.
He picked up a gift from under the tree and brought it over to her. She held it in her shaking hands and was afraid to open it. His sweet nature made her feel awful for planning a life without him.
She finally opened the package to find a beautiful bracelet with the words, Forever Yours, Faithfully. He took it from her hands and placed it on her wrist. A tear fell from his eye and landed on the white gold metal.
He kissed her fingers and stood to leave the room, "Goodnight, Bella," he said with a strained voice and walked away so she wouldn't see him crying.
She stared at the words, thinking they must have some meaning to them and wishing for the first time all week she could remember what it was.
She stared at the unfamiliar room and noticed small things, like the magnets on the fridge, one a B and one an E. She looked at the picture drawn by a child, of a family of four, framed and placed on the mantel.
The tree was obviously decorated by children and she noticed a paper plate hanging from a bough. She walked over to see the face of Edward, still a teen, smiling like he was in on some big joke.
She walked to her room and began packing her things. She chose things which would be good for summer weather and tried not to think about saying goodbye to Kelly and Annie. She opened the draw in the small side table and found the letter Edward wrote on their Disneyland trip.
If there was some way to make herself remember she would do it, but she had to follow her heart, and it wanted Carlisle. Edward was kind, and gentle, and funny, and handsome, and if she didn't get out of here soon she would fall in love with him, too. Her life was complicated enough without adding another man into the mix.
She saw the stack of photo albums he placed in her room and she walked over to sit next to the wall and looked through them. Her father was handsome and her mother seemed so devoted to him. She wondered if she would ever look at Carlisle in that way.
Almost every picture had her on a horse and she always had a huge smile. She raised her head to look at her floor length mirror. She didn't smile often, and she wondered if it was only since losing her memory. She reached over for another album; it had pictures of her, Edward, and the girls. She had a big smile in each picture.
She noticed in every single photo Edward was touching her in some way. She closed her eyes and tried to imagine his hands on her. She felt a warmness spread through her and she wrapped her own arms around her body as she sighed loudly.
After her heart calmed she picked up another album. A picture fell from the pages and she picked it up to see a picture of a pair of green eyes. It was all there was to the picture, two eyes staring at her.
She gasped and tried to stand, but fell back to the ground. "Edward," she screamed with all her might as she tried to walk her hands up the wall so she could stand.
Her door flew open and she held out one hand for him as she held onto the wall with the other. "Edward, oh God, I'm here," she cried out and he ran to her side.
She threw her arms around him and hung on with everything she had as she screamed in anguish. "Bella, what's wrong?" he said as he held her tightly.
"Don't let go," she cried and brought her legs around his waist. "Don't let me go, Edward."
"Never, love, I've got you," he cried along with her, not sure if she remembered him or not.
"Did he hurt her," she said and looked around the room in a panic. "Where's Kelly, is she okay?"
"Bella," he said as he carried her to the bed and sat as he held her. "We're all here, we're together. You're mine, Miami, all mine."
She pulled back and looked at his face as she struggled to breathe. "Hey," he said so she looked at him with her wild eyes. He smiled and mouthed the words, "I love you."
"Edward, I didn't know," she said as she began to cry again. "I didn't know…anything, do you hate me?"
"I could never hate you, you're my wife and I am so lucky to have you," he said as his cries mixed with hers.
"I told him I wanted him," she said with shock and climbed off Edward's lap, covered her mouth, and ran to the bathroom.
Edward ran after her. "Bella, honey, please," he begged and she turned to look at him again.
"I brought him here and made you see us together. I'm so sorry, Edward." She took a step toward him and suddenly turned back and threw up her mushroom pasta.
He left the room and grabbed the photo's the police gave him. He returned to the bathroom and held out the pictures. "Bella, this was how they found you. I don't blame you for forgetting about us. Look what that bastard did to you."
She reached out for the photo and looked at it with terrified eyes. "Oh my God," she whispered.
"You are a miracle, Bella, my Christmas miracle."
She looked at her wrist, knowing exactly what the words meant on the bracelet. She looked back at Edward and said softly, "I never slept with Carlisle, but I don't know what Jimmy did to me."
"It doesn't matter," he said gently. "I need you to tell me if you still love me, Bella."
"I'll love you forever," she said and fell into his arms.
He kissed her neck and head and face and she suddenly pulled back and covered her mouth. "Get out," she said, "Let me get cleaned up."
"It isn't necessary," he laughed.
"Go, please, I won't take long," she said as she pushed him from the room.
He grabbed his flannel bottoms and changed before making a big fire. His heart was pounding with joy and he was having a hard time remaining calm. He finally went back to their room and leaned against the bathroom door. "Bella, hurry," he begged.
She opened the door, dressed in a tight satin nightgown and her hair in wet curls. He pulled her against his body and kissed her with so much passion they were melded together. His body was screaming with need and when she touched him with her hand he cried out.
"I missed you," he said still attached to her lips and picked her up into his arms.
"Show me," she said as he carried her to the family room and laid her on the floor next to the fireplace.
He was yelling at himself to calm down and go slow but she was pulling on him with frantic need and he couldn't make his body calm. They were both offering unintelligible words of love, and desire, and appreciation.
As the clock struck midnight they screamed out their ecstasy in unison with the chimes. It was fast, but so wonderful, and she knew there was no way this night would ever leave her memory.
"Edward, tell me you love me, tell me over and over again," she cried.
He put his mouth next to her ear and whispered seductively, "I love you so much. You are my wife, mine, forever."
"Yes," she said as she clung to his nude body.
"I love everything about you, Miami. Your smile, your heart, your mind, and your body," he said as he pressed into her.
Her eyes grew wide and she said in shock, "You and Jessica are friends?"
"Ah man," he moaned, "Did you have to bring her up right when I was going to impress you with my quick turnaround."
She laughed and he smiled as he watched her mouth closely. "Music," he moaned.
"What?" she asked.
"Hearing you laugh is like music," he said with emotion.
She looked into his eyes and found her salvation there. Her hands wouldn't stop touching him, running gently over his flesh. "How are the girls doing?"
"Annie seems good, I worry about Kelly. She has become a bit reserved, maybe it is age?"
"Edward," she gasped loudly, "You stopped your residency, no you can't."
"The girls needed me," he said softly and tried to smile.
"Okay, I'll spend extra time with Kelly and you need to get back to the hospital. And Edward, the pool has a heater, for God's sake, let Annie swim."
He laughed and pulled her to him, "We needed you, Miami."
She sighed in bliss and whispered, "You can impress me with your quick turnaround."
He loved her slowly and tenderly with moves she knew in her heart and mind. His love removed all thoughts of Carlisle from her mind and she belonged to Edward alone. They slept next to the tree as the fire slowly died in the fireplace.
Billy opened the door and walked in to find them tangled together under a blanket and fast asleep. "What the hell," he said loudly and they both jumped.
"Hey, Billy," Edward said calmly. "Bella got her memory back."
He looked at her for verification and she blushed and hid her face making Billy chuckle. "When you find your clothes be sure and look over bubba's work with the books. I'm not too sure he knew what he was doing."
"I'm not working today, Billy. Christmas is in three days and I have shopping to do," Bella said as she pretended to go back to sleep.
"Yep, she's back," he said and turned to walk out of the room.
"Sue won't be so diplomatic, you better get dressed," Edward said and stood to head to the bedroom. Bella smiled as she followed behind and appreciated the view.
As soon as she was dressed the back door opened and Bella ran to the other room to greet Sue. They hugged and cried until Sue brought up the one painful subject. "Did you call that other man and tell him you're staying?"
Bella let her head drop in shame and worry."Do you want me to do it?" Edward asked a little to enthusiastically.
She glared at him and walked over to the phone. "I'll do it," she said with dread.
"Tell him about my turnaround," Edward said with a big smile and Bella tried so hard not to laugh but she couldn't do it.
Carlisle answered quickly and Bella felt her heart clench. "Hi," she said softly and turned her back to Sue and Edward.
"I can tell you don't have good news for me," Carlisle said.
"I got my memory back," Bella said.
"And do I stand a chance?" he asked.
"Carlisle, I love my husband, heart and soul. I'm sorry."
"Don't be, you are home, where you belong. I'm glad I got to know you, Bella."
"Thank you, for everything you did for me, especially for your control and holding back physically."
"I wish you all the best."
"Thank you, goodbye, Carlisle."
She hung up the phone and turned to look at Edward's worried face. She walked over and wrapped her arms around him. "You're mine," she said and he let out a rush of air.
"Let's go get the girls," Bella said and Edward kissed her head.
"I'll get them and talk to them first. You wait here with Sue," he suggested and she nodded in agreement.
Edward left and the women sat at the table drinking coffee. "What made you remember?" Sue asked.
"Edward's eyes, that picture I took at his birthday that first year. I looked at just his eyes and everything came rushing back."
"He was such a mess without you, Bella. But he did everything he could for those babies. He's a good man."
"He's a great man," Bella corrected.
"So what was with the doctor?"
"I'm so ashamed of bringing him here, God, I can't imagine what it did to Edward."
"He won't take you for granted, that's for sure," Sue said as she patted Bella's hand.
They talked for close to an hour when Bella heard Edward return. The door opened and both girls looked at her hesitantly.
Bella got on her knees and held her arms open. They ran to her and she hugged them as tightly as possible. "I'm so sorry," she told them.
"Do you remember us?" Annie asked and Bella kissed her face.
"I sure do, and I think we need to turn that heater back on."
Annie's eyes grew huge and she tightened her arms around Bella's neck until she was almost choking her. "You really are our mommy."
Bella looked at Kelly and said softly. "I remember how brave you were. Did you tell Annie you swam in the ocean?"
Kelly smiled and nodded.
"I left with Jimmy because I would truly die for you, Kelly. He couldn't hurt me as long as you were safe."
"But he did hurt you," she said as she looked down.
"How, we're all together, we won? I have my husband and my precious daughters, he didn't hurt me at all."
Bella wanted to see the girls happy and she really did need to do some shopping so she took a deep breath and said, "We need to go to the mall."
Both girls cheered and ran to get ready. Kelly came out with an exasperated look on her face. "Mom, can you fix my socks?"
"Oh dear Lord," Edward mumbled.
Bella sat her on the counter and pulled up her pants to look at the perfectly folded socks. "Oh, this is easy to fix," she said and got some tape out of the drawer and pulled the socks up to put the tape under the fold before bring them back down. "Perfect," she said and Kelly threw her arms around her and kissed her cheek.
"I'm so glad you're home," Kelly said with a huge smile before jumping down and heading to the car.
"What did you fix?" Edward asked. He was sure it was some knowledge universally held by girls and he would finally find out what it was. He would never be stumped again by sock drama and offer his assistance to any father dealing with an emotional little girl.
"I have no idea, but she's happy now," Bella laughed and headed to the car.
Edward growled loudly.
It was Christmas morning and Bella spent a miserable night tossing and turning as she worried over Edward's gift. She was trying to keep it a secret but it wasn't easy. Jessica came up with the idea, and that alone worried Bella.
Her reunion with her best friend was not the hug fest it had been with Kelly and Annie. Jessica was a bit disappointed she wouldn't be able to fill Bella in by rewriting history or at least make some major revisions.
The bedroom door opened with a soft creek and the girls tiptoed to the side of the bed before tapping Bella softly on the arm. "Mommy, it's Christmas," Annie whispered.
"Are you sure its not too early?" Bella teased.
"No, it's seventeen o'clock," Annie said and Kelly quickly said, "Seven o'clock."
"Okay, go look in your stockings while Daddy and I get dressed."
The girls ran from the room and Edward rolled over and smiled, "Do we have enough time for Santa to give you a little something?"
"No," she said trying to sound adamant, but also wondering the same thing. "Santa can give me something later, and it better not be little."
He rolled out of bed and dressed before grabbing the camera and joining the girls. Bella threw on something special and made her way to the kitchen to make hot chocolate. The girls were looking in their stockings and begging to eat some candy, so Bella sliced some oranges and set them on the coffee table.
The girls tore into their gifts and swore each one was their absolute favorite. Bella was actually very impressed by Edward's choices, and he didn't tell her sales women helped him.
Bella handed Kelly a small box and watched as she unwrapped it excitedly. She opened the box and picked up the medallion. Bella smiled and spoke softly, "It is St. Nicholas. He is the patron Saint of children, he will watch over you and protect you."
Kelly looked at her with teary eyes and smiled. "Can I put it on now?"
Edward took the necklace and secured it around her neck and kissed her. Bella held out her arms and when Kelly leaned into her she whispered, "It will all go away soon, honey, I promise."
Annie looked at her sister and said, "Did I get one?"
"No, I got you something different," Bella said with a big smile. She stood from the couch and quickly pulled up her dress revealing a swimsuit. Annie screamed loudly and ran to her room to put her suit on.
The air was absolutely freezing and small tufts of snow dotted the patio, but the water was warm and Annie swam as if she was nourishing her soul. Bella stayed in the water with her for most of the morning and then insisted they take a break after changing the bandage on her surprise three times.
Edward had cooked a turkey and Sue made some rolls and her special potatoes. By afternoon Edward's family began showing up from Seattle. When they all sat down to eat Bella began to cry. She was so overwhelmed by the love she felt and realized how close she came to losing it.
"Everything I care about it right here at this table, I love each one of you," she said as Edward held her for strength.
Alice smiled and said, "Well, keep crying because I have some news for you."
"What?" Bella and Edward asked at the same time.
"My daughter has a college roommate who is pregnant and isn't keeping the baby. The adoptive family fell through and she wants you and Edward to take him."
"Him?" they said again in unison.
"Yes, but she is being induced on Monday, can you manage a baby so soon?"
"Excuse me," Bella said and ran from the table. The room became silent and Edward left to check on Bella.
She was standing in the middle of the bedroom as if frozen. He walked up to her slowly and leaned over to look at her face. "Are you okay, love?"
"Edward, a baby," she said in a whispered hush.
He continued to stare not knowing where she was headed with the conversation. She looked down at her hands as she held them out in front of her. "He thought he took the opportunity away from me, but we get a son, Edward. We get a baby."
"Baby, Charles," he said as he took hold of her hands.
Her eyes looked up at him and she nodded as her tears fell, "Charles Edward."
He pulled her into his chest as she cried from unbelievable joy. They were a family and they were growing. She would have two daughters to teach how to become women and pick good, tender men to love. And Edward would have a son to watch play football and teach him how to be a good man.
"I love you," Edward said as he tried to dry her tears. "You are going to be the best mother."
"This house will be full of children," she smiled and her tears began to fall again.
"So shall we tell them we're coming to Seattle on Monday?" he asked.
"Yeah, let's tell them."
They walked back to the kitchen and everyone looked at them in silence. Edward smiled and said, "It's a boy!"
The room cheered loudly and Bella began to cry again. The girls came over to hug her and she held them tightly. "You get a brother," she tried to explain.
"Can he swim?" Annie asked.
"I'll help you take care of him, mom," Kelly said and Bella laughed.
"Just keep Annie from putting him in the pool," she said and ran her hand over Kelly's cheek. "He's going to be so lucky to have such a brave sister."
After dinner Alice made a phone call and let Edward and Bella both speak to the girl. They made plans to contact her lawyer and have everything in place by Monday.
Bella could hear relief in the girls voice and had no idea how to express their gratitude. How do you tell someone they made everything in your world better, colors were brighter, music was prettier, and love was so much deeper? Bella told her the only thing she could think of, "I can promise you're son will only know love."
It was late by the time everyone left. Bella found Edward in their room and she walked over to hug him from behind. "Do you feel like a bath?" he asked.
"I can't," she confessed, "It will have to be a shower."
He turned to look at her, "Why?"
"I got you something for Christmas, but now I feel stupid because I feel like such a mom," she said to confuse him more.
"Why would feeling like a mom make you feel stupid?"
"No, my choice of gift makes me feel stupid."
"I'm lost," he confessed.
She stepped away from him and took a deep breath before removing her clothes. He watched with a lustful smile and she just shook her head and soldiered on. When she bent over to remover her pants she pulled off her underwear with them and stood to show him the tattoo low on her pelvis.
His eyes flashed back up to hers as if he was imagining what he was looking at. She nodded and he stepped forward to get a better look. He dropped to his knees and placed his hands on her hips to hold her still for his inspection.
He looked at the small circular stamp that read, If found return to Edward Masen, Forks, Washington.
Bella waited for his response with her eyes closed and his roaring laughter forced them open. She looked down to see him lying on the ground holding his stomach as he continued laughing.
"It's not supposed to be funny," she said and pulled her pants back up to cover the tattoo.
"It's hysterical," he said with limited breath. "I could have just taken you to the vet and got a chip put in your arm."
"I'm having it removed," she said angrily and turned to walk away, but he reached out and brought her tumbling down to the floor on top of him. She tried to get up so he rolled onto her to keep her in his arms.
"I think it is sexy as hell," he said and she glared at him.
"Yeah, right, that's why you're laughing your guts out," she said as she kept her head to the side and stared at the wall instead of his eyes.
"I can't believe you got it, I mean, I love the idea of marking you as mine, I should have thought of it years ago. I'm just shocked you would actually do it."
She finally turned to look at him and her expression wiped the laughter from his face. He swallowed and took a big breath as she slowly wrapped her legs around his body. "Edward, I would do anything for you, all you have to do is ask."
"Will you love me forever?" he asked with just a breath.
"Faithfully," she whispered.
"Will you remain my wife?"
"Will you mother our children?"
His mouth began to lower toward hers as he asked, "Will you make love to me?"
"Passionately," she answered and they collided.
By Monday morning they had the nursery ready, supplies gathered, and an appointment to sign the papers waiting at the lawyers office in Seattle. They travelled together as a family and waited anxiously in the hospital waiting room for news of his arrival.
When they were finally called back and placed in sterile gowns Bella's heart was beating out of her chest. Edward was ready with a camera and when the baby was placed in her arms he began clicking away.
He was beautiful and perfect in every way. She held his tiny hand with one finger and cried as he opened his eyes. "Hello, son," she smiled and Edward stopped taking pictures to come see his child.
They stared in awe as he lay contently in Bella's arms, never crying or fussing. The girls were allowed to come back and look at their baby brother. "He's so tiny," Kelly said as she touched his hair with her fingers.
Annie looked at Edward with shock and said with wide eyes, "He can't go in the pool."
"No, not yet," Edward said and gave her a hug.
She turned back to the baby and spoke in a high shrill voice, "Hi baby, I'm your big sister. I'm almost five, and you can come to my birthday party."
Kelly leaned over to kiss his forehead and said, "I'm seven and I'll protect you from Annie."
Both girls nudged each other and Bella smiled, knowing how much he was going to be fought over and loved. "Do you want to hold him, daddy?" Bella said and Edward leaned in to give her a deep kiss before taking him into his arms.
Bella left to see the young woman who gave them such a miracle and thanked her for her sacrifice. When she returned, Charles Edward was being held on the lap of both girls as Edward took pictures. A random thought, coming out of nowhere crossed Bella's mind. She had too much to lose, and what if Jimmy came after her again?
They returned home the next day with their son and spent almost an hour taking pictures of him with Billy and Sue, in his new room, and under the tree with wrapping paper lying across him.
The girls were obsessed with their brother, until the first dirty diaper arrived, and he suddenly lost his fascination in their eyes. Bella was sitting in the rocker, in the middle of the night after feeding him a bottle, when another wave of memories returned.
She watched the incident in her mind as if watching a movie, disconnected to feelings it should have produced in her. She remembered trying to open her eyes which were so swollen it took all of her effort just to get a tiny sliver of vision.
Jimmy wasn't going to get the satisfaction of doing this again, she was finally going to fight back. She pulled her bruised and bloodied body from the ground and stumbled to the doorway. He had used a screwdriver to remove the door. He wanted to make sure she didn't lock him out this time.
She reached for a long screwdriver and tightened her hand around the grip. Jimmy was singing loudly in his drunken euphoria so he didn't hear her walk up behind him. She waited, just like he always did, for the most opportune time. He let his head fall back as he took another drink and stumbled a bit, but his hand held onto the rail of the boat and kept himself steady.
He sensed her behind him, waiting, so he turned slowly around and raised the bottle in his hand in the same manner he had done for years. It was time, the moment was now, and she thrust the tool right into throat. Blood shot high in the air and he arched back as his hands came to his throat.
Bella had no reaction, even though her grotesque, mangled face wouldn't have allowed one. She backed up enough to raise her foot and kicked him in the chest, sending him tumbling over the side and into the dark water. He only surfaced once and then his arms floated away from his throat and he sunk slowly into the deep.
Bella stood and looked down at her son sleeping, tightly wrapped in a blanket, and safe. She went to Kelly's room and saw the medallion secure around her neck, and knew she no longer needed protection. She checked on Annie, curled up with a stuffed dolphin and laughed to see her sleeping in her swimsuit. Swimming would remain fun for her and she would never have to swim for her life.
Her final stop was at Edward's side as he slept holding her pillow to his chest, just as he had all those nights without her. Nobody would ever come between them again and he could forget all the pain.
She decided to keep the memory to herself, it was her problem to deal with and her problem to solve. She protected her family and there was nothing but happiness for them now.
Edward easily released the pillow as she pulled it from his arms and scooted herself in its place. He pulled her tightly into his chest and mumbled, "Mmm, my Bella."
"Forever Yours, Faithfully," she whispered and fell asleep with a smile on her face.