|Raising My Son
Author: chocolate-emeralds PM
Bella Swan is a single mom raising her 4 year old son. Edward Cullen has been a single dad for over 2 years since his wife left him and his now 4 year old son. On the 4th birthday of their sons, their world gets turned upside down with the news - they were switched at birth. Romance, Drama, Humor, some Angst. EB REm AJ. AH.Rated: Fiction M - English - Drama/Angst - Bella & Edward - Chapters: 9 - Words: 67,780 - Reviews: 498 - Favs: 606 - Follows: 1,029 - Updated: 12-03-12 - Published: 07-01-12 - id: 8276471
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Hello All. This is my first fic. I've had a lot of story lines in my head for a while, but this one keeps going and going and I finally decided to get it on paper. It'll be a slow go for a while, I'm just going to post the first couple of chapters to hopefully garner enough interest to keep on writing.
A couple of things about me and my writing style. I'm not big on switching POV's. I tried writing this in 3rd person, but it didn't really sound as good. I do have this whole story outlined, but I'm a firm believer that each chapter builds on the previous and the next, so it is likely that I won't post chapters until I'm a couple of chapters ahead. I think that will make my story better. I love lemons, but prefer plots – if that makes any sense. If a lemon can be worked into the story, they will be.
Bella Swan is a single mom raising her 4 year old son, Anthony. She spends her nights fearing the father of her son, her rapist. Edward Cullen has been a single dad for over 2 years since his wife, Tanya, left him and his now 4 year old son, Aiden. He's still a little mad at Tanya who left them because she felt no connection with her son. On the boys' 4th birthdays, it is discovered that they were switched at birth. How will they deal with this new information? Canon couples. All human. Does deal with rape aftermath, but not as dark since some time has gone by. EB REm AJ. AH.
This is the edited version of this chapter, thanks to my Beta there should be a lot less mistakes! If you've already read this, no worries. You don't have to re-read.
Disclaimer: I'm not Stephenie Meyer. Stephenie Meyer Owns Twilight. Therefore I do not own Twilight or these characters or anything you might recognize.
Chapter 1 – Revelations
If someone had told me that the absolute worst experience of my life would put me on a path that would lead to the best thing that has ever happened to me, I probably would have had him or her committed. Things were, dare I say, normal when it all got turned upside down, again.
I look at him and see so much of a person that I don't know, a person I hate. He smiles at me, and I know it's not a smile I've seen on anyone else before. It's not my smile, it's not my Dad's smile, and although it's been years since I've seen her, I know it's not my Mom's smile. I hate the fact that someone I love so much, someone that represents love, innocence and the very best parts of me, also has ingredients that come from something so awful and evil.
I find it really hard to even think these feelings, because a mother should never have doubts about her child. Still, I can't help looking at the smiles of strangers trying to find the one that's only slightly crooked. The one that turns up on the left when he's being mischievous, or when he's shy or embarrassed about something. It's also a smile that is not crooked at all when he's happy, laughing or telling me he loves me. It's a smile that is all his, but it's not. It had to come from somewhere, right?
When I look at him, I am filled with warmth and unconditional love. He is such a loving and caring little boy and I know that I am responsible for that. I am the one that showed him how to love. When I doubt my skills as a Mom, one smile or hug from him wipes those thoughts from my mind.
Well, years of therapy haven't hurt either. Therapy has helped me come to terms with what happened to me. The thoughts and memories of what I went through no longer cripple me, but I am still haunted by that horrible event. However, rather then allowing these painful thoughts and memories to hurt me, I remind myself how far I have come and how strong I am. Seeing my beautiful son continue to thrive is the best therapy. But still, I can't help but be afraid sometimes. I have many reasons to be.
I was kidnapped. I was raped. I was beaten within inch of my life. I was left for dead. I am not a victim. I am a survivor. I was rescued. I spent months in the hospital recovering from extensive injuries. I fought. I kept fighting for my life. And nine months after my attack, I was a mom.
~~~~~~~~~~~ RMS ~~~~~~~~~~~
"Rose, could you bring me the presents that I hid at your apartment for Anthony's birthday?" I said into the phone wedged between my shoulder and ear.
"Sure thing, girl. I can't believe the little man is going to be 4 this weekend. It feels like yesterday that you almost broke my hand giving birth," she replied.
My best friend likes to bring that up as much as possible. I think she's secretly happy that she got to witness the birth of her Godson. Not because it was such a magical experience or anything, but because she seemed in a hurry to have children before she watched me push a watermelon through a straw. Since then, she hasn't brought up her childless status, instead focusing on being the best aunt possible.
"Do you still want me and Jazz there at 10 am to help set up?"
"Yes. Thanks Rosalie. It's not going to be too many people, but Anthony was at Charlie's last night and I could use a lot of help to get this place clean, all of the food cooked, and the decorations put up."
"No problem sweetie. I told you years ago, you're not alone in this," she replied.
Rosalie continues to blame herself for what happened to me. She feels guilty that she wasn't there; believing that if she had been it would have made a difference. But what I went through has brought us even closer together. She has always been my friend, but I now consider her family. She was a tower of strength in my darkest hours, supporting me unconditionally. Knowing me as well as she does, she knew what decisions I would later regret and helped me to see the alternatives. She was my strength, my shoulder to cry on, and the light in the darkness.
There was a time when I was tempted to give him up, to let someone else raise my son because he was a product of my rape. I was terrified about so many things associated with him. I was afraid that I wouldn't love him because he would be a constant reminder of what happened. I was afraid that he might grow up to be evil. These thoughts caused me shame, I was going to be a Mother, and how could a Mother think these things about her child?
I was afraid of being a single Mom so young, without the money, the resources or the support to raise a child. I had nothing to offer this baby. If I was going to be the only parent this child ever had, I would be terrible. I would fail him and all his mistakes would be because I was a terrible parent. I was afraid of my own shadow and I could not leave my house. I was in no state to be anyone's Mom.
I remember the night I changed my mind like it was yesterday. Probably because it was the first time that I smiled since my attack. Or at least that is what people tell me. I was about five months pregnant and had just come home from the hospital. In all that time, I had never been alone for a single night. It was my first night alone since my rescue.
My family and friends had brought me home and helped my get settled before I asked them to go. I locked my bedroom door and made it very clear to everyone that no matter what happened I wanted to be alone. I was determined to get through the night in my comfortable bed.
But being alone was terrifying. I couldn't turn out the lights or turn off the TV because I was too scared of the silence and the darkness. My emotions were overwhelming and soon I started crying. Crying because I didn't know the man who attacked me. Crying because I knew he was still out there somewhere. Crying because when they found me there wasn't any DNA on my body to collect. I cried for the months my family sat by my side, how they were the first ones to find out I was pregnant. I cried with relief that they knew me well enough to know that I could not abort my child even though his father was my rapist. And I cried with frustration because according to the doctors I was too fragile to perform an amniocentesis and they were waiting until the baby was born to get any information on its father's DNA.
But mostly, I was crying for the fact that this child, my child, was going to grow up without me. My father and Jacob had spent hours talking to me, convincing me that adoption was my best option. My father told me horror stories about being a single parent and all the difficulties and challenges involved. Jacob mostly just worried about my health and my ability to care for an infant in my current mental and physical state.
Me, well I was waiting for a sign that would help me to make a decision one way or the other. Either I could do this, I was strong enough to do this, or I wasn't. But I couldn't see any sign. And I couldn't settle on a decision. One minute I would think I could raise this baby and the next I couldn't. I kept trying to make a plan but every 'If I do this' scenario ended badly. The only thing I was certain of, what I wanted, no what I needed, was for this child to be loved and taken care of. If I weren't the person who was best suited to do that, I would survive.
I told myself that if I decided this was really something I could do, wanted to do, and came to that decision before I left the hospital, then I would cancel the meeting I had scheduled with the adoption agency. But here I was, home again and still there had been no sign.
I was devastated and the perfect storm of being alone, pregnant, raging hormones and my fragile psychological state led to this cathartic release. I tried to remember the last time something had upset me this much. I think the last time that I cried like this was when I was little and my dad told me that my mom wasn't coming home anymore. I asked if she joined Grammy and Grampy in Heaven. Tears came to his eyes as he told me that she had gone to a place where Mom's go when they're sick and can't take care of their kids anymore. I know now that that place was Rehab.
My mom never came back home after her treatment. She didn't want to come back to live with my Dad and I. She eventually found a new family, one that didn't include me. I knew the pain of being a child that was unwanted and unloved by her Mother and there was no way I was going to put the child I was carrying through that. I had always thought that when I eventually became a Mom, I would love and support my child unconditionally and he or she would never, ever doubt how much they are loved and how very special they are.
The fact that I was now having a baby and I had no guarantees that they would grow up knowing this, made me cry even harder. It felt like there was no end in sight to my tears when the sign I'd been waiting for finally came. It felt like something was fluttering in my stomach. The feeling was so unnerving that I gasped in a giant shuddering breath, immediately worried that something was very wrong with me.
Because of my injuries from the abduction, I had been in the hospital for months. The physical rehabilitation and physiotherapy was grueling and painful. But I had continued to fight and I had survived. And despite the odds, so had the baby. My pregnancy was considered high risk because of the traumas my body endured in the early months. It was still very much a wait and see scenario as to whether or not the baby would be ok. And so far, I hadn't felt the child in my womb.
In hindsight, I had felt something like butterflies, but it did not feel unusual so I hadn't give it much thought. But suddenly I felt the movement again, and I sensed an almost immediate calmness settle over me. I knew that it was the baby moving and all I could think about, was the fact that this child, my child, was trying to soothe me. I never wanted my child to have to take care of me, like I had had to do for my Dad a lot while growing up. It was like a light suddenly went off in my brain. In that moment I knew that I was meant to be the mother of this innocent child. There would be no guarantees in life except for my love for him, and that was ok. I spent the rest of the night smiling to myself and talking for the first time to my unborn child.
When I finally did fall asleep, my dreams were filled with the happy future that I could have with my child, if I kept him or her. The next morning I woke up more determined than I had ever been before in my life. I got dressed in something other than yoga pants or a hospital gown, and I made the calls that would undoubtedly change my life. Then I unlocked and opened the door to my room to find Jasper and Rosalie asleep on the floor, keeping watch, even after I insisted I wanted to be alone.
I went downstairs and started cooking breakfast, one of my favorite things to do. It was my way of saying thank you for everything they had done for me. The smell must have awoken my guards, because they came running. I heard them slow down when they got close to the kitchen and enter the room warily. As if to say, 'don't worry, it's all going to be ok from now on,' my child chose that moment to kick again.
According to my two best friends, my hand quickly went to rub the spot on my belly and my face lit up like it was Christmas. Jasper and Rosalie immediately rushed to surround me with a hug filled with relief and pure joy. But before they could start crying, I scolded them and said, "No more tears. Today marks the first day of healing. I have an appointment with the therapist, I cancelled the appointment with the adoption agency, and we have four months to make this place baby ready because you two are going to be an aunt and an uncle."
My dad always said that it takes me a while to make a decision, but as soon as I do I rarely change my mind. He never questioned me on my decision to keep and raise my son. Whether it was my determination he saw, or the fact that he did not want to give his Grandson to a complete stranger to raise, I'll never know.
But back to the present.
"None of that today, Rosalie Lillian Hale!" I exclaimed. "Today is my son's 4th birthday party. Now tell me, are you going to invite that guy whose bed you just hopped out of, or will there be no plus one for you this year?"
"Just me this year. No plus one for Jazz either. I think after inviting Lucy and Eric to Christmas dinner this past year, the grilling that Poppa Swan gave them was enough to make sure no one meets the family until there is a ring on the finger. And when he whipped out those background checks? Well let's just say, your Dad was lucky that Anthony was there to protect him from me!"
I chuckled at that memory. My father adopted the two Hale siblings like his own after Rosalie was assigned as my roommate freshman year of college at UW. Needless to say, Poppa Swan, as they affectionately call him, is a little overprotective of all three of us.
"I think that's one of the reasons that Jacob and Carlie ran off to Vegas to get married."
"Probably. Are they flying in from Detroit?"
"Not this year, although it seems like they sent a whole toy store to make up for it. Billy is coming with Charlie, but the newlyweds just got settled into their new house. I wasn't expecting them to come."
Rose just hummed in agreement. Although she never got along with Jacob, I think she secretly misses him. But since he got married to Carlie and got a job working at General Motors, he's moved away and thus isn't around anymore for Rose to pick on.
"Alright well it's almost nine now and I have to, uh, head home and change. I'll call Jazz on my way to make sure he'll be there by 10 as well."
I said my thanks and goodbyes and got off the phone. There was so much to do, including finishing the cake. The cake, while an uncommon theme for a 4-year-olds party, was actually requested by my little man. He wanted music notes. Ever since we discovered his hidden talents for the piano, I've been overjoyed to indulge his latest hobby. I have a feeling that this won't be just a hobby if the smile on his face is any indication. And that is more than fine with me.
~~~~~~~~~~~ RMS ~~~~~~~~~~~
Two hours later, Jasper is helping move some of the furniture around to make more room for the guests. He has spent a lot of time outside getting the water balloons and slip-n-slide ready. Rosalie is decorating every inch of this house in green and blue decorations. I am in the kitchen putting the final touches on the food. It's a kids party, so they'd be happy with lots of sugary goodness and chips and dip, but since there will be more adults than kids, I'm having a lot of grown up food too. I'm just glad my kid's not picky when it comes to food. Being a chef, I'm constantly trying out new foods and recipes. Luckily Anthony likes to try just about everything I make.
We have the stereo on full blast and the three of us are currently belting, "Don't Stop Believing" by Journey. Jasper's 80s/90s mix has the three of us doing more singing than working.
Jasper at 30 years old, is 4 years older than Rosalie and I, and a retired Marine. It was his idea to plan the 'epic water gun war' or so he deemed it. In fact, I've told the plan to all of the Dads who are going to be attending the party so they could participate too, if they wanted. Of course Rosalie, being a little bit of a tomboy, told me that was sexist, so I invited the Moms to participate also.
Jasper has a list of the participants, and has spent all week dividing the teams to make it a fair fight. I indulge him because my son loves him so much. And because it's just water, I'm hoping that no one gets hurt.
Once a Marine, always a Marine, or something like that. Only now Jasper runs his own security firm. He employs private security personal and bodyguards and installs and manages security systems for homes and businesses. I don't think it was in his original plan, but after what happened to me, he became obsessed with keeping people safe. Charlie tried to recruit him for the police force but Jasper preferred to do his own thing. He's been really successful so far. In fact, he's mentioned once or twice about expanding his business beyond Seattle.
Rosalie is a College Professor. She teaches two classes on Auto Mechanics, if you can believe that, and she is also the college's Swim Coach. At 5 foot 11 inches tall, the beautiful blonde has an air of intimidation that surrounds her. She's my take no bullshit best friend. In college when she was on the swim team, the girl was a size 0, but after graduation, it took her a while to learn what she could eat when she wasn't practicing 5 hours a day. She's put on some pounds since then, but the curves she has make her look better, healthier, and more bad-ass, if you ask me.
Me on the other hand, I'm a private chef. It's the perfect job for me to have while raising Anthony. I have about 25 families that I cook for a couple nights a week. I usually just cook the meals in my home and deliver to their homes before dinner. If a family has a special occasion or event, I'll cook in their house. It keeps me home with my son, but keeps the paycheck coming. I honestly love what I do. I also give private cooking lessons a couple of days each month.
Because the three of us has such flexible jobs, we spend a lot of time together with Anthony. Rosalie was right when she told me I'm not alone in this.
Just as the song switches to Joan Jett's 'I Hate Myself For Loving You,' my doorbell rings. The three of us look at each other and laugh. Five seconds earlier or later we might not have heard the doorbell over the music.
Jasper sets the chair down where it is, and starts making his way to the door. I reach for the stereo remote to turn the music off while Rosalie peeks out the bay window to try to see who's here. I'm not sure who it is either, since the party is not supposed to start for another few hours. I put down the taco dip that I'm in the process of making, and start wiping my hands on my apron. I may be a chef, but I'm probably the messiest chef there is. I'm sure there's flour in my hair or something, but that doesn't ever matter to me.
I hear the door open and Jasper asking if he can help whoever he sees there. He must not know who they are since the door is barely open and I can't see out. Typical Jazz, always watching for potential threats.
I hear a smooth voice ask for me and Jasper inquire what this is regarding.
"You must be Mr. Swan. My name is Carlisle Cullen and this is my wife Esme. We've flown in from Chicago to speak to your wife regarding a very personal matter. I assure you we mean no harm, but it is imperative that we speak with you and your wife."
I'm at the door now and I can barely see through Jaspers stance, but the man and woman I manage to catch a glimpse of are about in their mid to late 50s, impeccably dressed and are looking nervous and slightly anxious. Jasper can obviously sense their tension too, because he shuffles, protecting his position and completely blocking the door to ensure neither of them will come through it.
"I'm sorry you came all this way Mr. Cullen, but I don't know you or your wife and I'm not sure about letting you into this home," Jasper replies. I notice he does not correct the couple about being my husband or this being his home. But I'm used to stuff like that when it comes to Jazz.
"I apologize Mr. Swan but the nature of our visit could not be relayed through a phone call and it really would be better if we spoke about this in private."
My curiosity piqued, I was just about to make my presence known and to tell Jasper to let them in when he decided to meet them halfway.
"If that is the case, Mr. Cullen then why don't you and your wife follow me around the house. We can speak on the back porch," Jasper replies, with curiosity leaking into his tone.
The backyard was decorated with funny posters of Anthony and other party decorations. But it also had been set up for the water fight that was planned for the party. Since Rosalie and I could cut through the house, we beat Jasper and the Cullen's to the backyard. I'm not sure if Jasper wanted us there or not, but I figured if he didn't he would have said something.
I heard her gasp before I saw her. Mrs. Cullen was just rounding the corner, in plain view of pictures of my son, when I got my first good look at her. She was probably my height with caramel colored hair that looked professionally styled. I couldn't see her eyes for they were hidden behind expensive shades. She looked like she was dressed for travelling. Well her husband did say that they had just arrived from Chicago. As she lifted her shades from her eyes, I noticed that she was staring directly at a picture of my son. The picture was of him cross-eyed, holding his breath and pulling his ears out. He thinks it makes him look like a monkey. She brought her trembling hand up to her mouth while the other squeezed the hand of her husband.
Her husband was also frozen, but he was staring in my direction, wearing a shocked expression. Mr. Cullen was tall, probably 6 foot 2, with grayish blonde hair. Like his wife, he is impeccably dressed in a button down and gray slacks.
Jasper knocked the couple out of their trance when he called for me. "Bella, this is," he started.
"Isabella Swan?" Mr. Cullen asked. "I'm Carlisle Cullen and this is my wife Esme." He reached for my hand as I neared.
"Bella, please, Mr. Cullen," I replied, shaking the trembling hands of the couple before me.
"Bella then. Please call us Carlisle and Esme," she replied smiling widely.
"Well then Esme, this is Rosalie and," Jasper cut me off before I could introduce him. I believe he was trying to save me from introducing him as a friend rather than my husband, which the couple before me had presumed.
"I'm Jasper, why don't you follow me to the patio table. Can I offer you anything to drink?" He was taking this host thing a little too far. I don't think Anthony or I have ever been offered anything to drink when over at his house.
They declined Jasper's hospitality as the five of us started making our way over to the patio table.
"I'm sorry for the mess, we're preparing for my son's birthday party later this afternoon," I told them because they seemed a little too interested in the pictures and other decorations.
I heard Esme whisper to Carlisle, "It has to be him. And did you see her eyes?" as we were heading up the steps of the deck.
"Well I hate to call out an awkward situation, but we don't have all day. We have a birthday party to finish setting up for." Rosalie, ever the blunt one, exclaimed as we sat down.
"Rosalie!" Jasper and I both called. Jazz sounded amused. My reply was laced with censure because she came off as rude. But I was also relieved for what she said. I was curious to know what this meeting was about, but did not have the guts to ask these strangers to just spit it out. She just laughed us off with a wave of her hand.
"Bella, if you wouldn't mind indulging my wife and I a couple questions before we tell you the nature of our visit." I nodded; a little amused at the way Mr. Cullen spoke, like he was from a different century.
"You have a son who is going to turn 4 next week, correct?" Again, I nodded. The mention of my son raised the hairs on the back of my neck. I reached for Rosalie's hand, which made Esme's eyebrow quirk that I was seeking comfort from her and not my 'husband'. Jasper sensing the exchange put his arm around my shoulders.
"Your son was born at Northwest Hospital in Seattle, correct?" At my nod, Mr. Cullen grabbed for his wife's hand. "Then there's no easy way to say this other than to come right out and say it. We believe that the child you have been raising may be our Grandson."
At his words, I felt my breathing stop and my heart start to race. Did the parents of the man who raped me really just walk into my backyard and try to lay claim to their grandson? Could this really be happening?
Time seemed to stop as my brain made numerous connections. The color of Anthony's hair seemed to be an odd mixture of both of the Cullen's coloring. My hair is brown with hints of red and I had always thought his hair was similar to mine. His is brown with hints of both red and blonde making an odd bronze shade. His eyes were also the same shape as Carlisle's, but their color was the same as mine.
I was broken from my trance as Jasper jumped out of his chair, making it almost tumble off the deck.
"I can't believe you could show your face after what your son did to Bella. And sit there smiling at us like you have some claim to Anthony, are you fucking nuts?" He was shouting now.
I briefly heard Rosalie on the phone, most likely with my dad. I was just about to beg her to forbid my dad from bringing Anthony here, when she said the two words 'come alone'. Those words made me breathe a sigh of relief. The first breath I had taken since Carlisle had spoken.
Carlisle and Jasper were now shouting at each other, as Esme watched on with a horrified expression, tears streaming down her face. I honestly didn't know what to do when Rosalie slammed her fist on the table, the noise causing everyone to startle.
"That's enough!" She roared.
Properly chastised Carlisle started sitting down, while Jasper just stood there with his arms folded staring at the Cullen's.
"I'm sorry. I didn't mean, I think it came out wrong. We shouldn't have said it like that," Esme started. She was speaking in riddles and not making any sense. I just wanted to, needed to, understand what she was trying to say.
"Esme, please explain it to us then. Why do you believe my son is your grandson?" I asked trying to remain as calm as possible. I don't know how I knew, but something was telling me that this couple did not come here to reveal the identity of my attacker. Nothing however could have prepared me for the news that they delivered.
"Bella, we have reason to believe that your son, and our grandson, Aiden, were switched at birth."
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