A/N: For those that know the drill... I'll see you at the end... ENJOY! *whispers* You may need some Kleenex.
7 years later
"You're at six centimeters, Bella. You're doing well. Rest when you can and I'll check on you in an hour." Dr. Weber patted Bella's knee as she fixed the blankets she'd moved in order to check on Bella's progress.
"When can I have the drugs, Doc?" panted Bella as another contraction hit her.
"I think we can get them started now. I'll put in the order." She turned to talk to the nurse that was assigned to us and ordered the epidural.
I moved back to stand by Bella's bedside. Kissing her forehead, I pushed back a few damp strands of hair. "Do you want some more ice chips, babe?"
Instead of answering, she gripped my arm and panted as she fought through another contraction. I winced internally at the mild discomfort her grip caused. Watching her struggle to deal with the pain and exhaustion of giving birth was nothing like the videos we'd watched. We were going on ten hours of labor and it was only in the last few that she'd made decent progress.
"Breathe, Bella. In through your nose, out through your mouth." I rubbed her back as she did her best to breathe through the pain.
When she finally slumped back after the worst had passed, she looked at me, exhausted, but never more beautiful.
"Ice chips would be great. My mouth's a little dry." She gave me a weak smile in gratitude. I kissed her cheek before going out the door to head down the hall to the nurse's station.
It was still hard for me to grasp that our child was going to be born soon. It seemed like such a hard road to get here. After we got married we'd decided to wait and enjoy just being us for a while. There was no rush for us to start a family. So we did the things we knew would be hard to do after kids entered the picture.
With me having my summers free, it allowed us ample time to travel and indulge in one of our favorite pastimes, surfing. Ever since I helped her find her surfing legs, we spent countless weekends going up and down the coast in search of the perfect waves. Bella was glued to the surfing report on the Weather Channel and it wouldn't be surprising for me to come home from school on a Friday afternoon to find Bella standing there with our bags already packed. She knew I could never tell her no when she looked at me with her hopeful grin.
We also spent several summers going to all the places we wanted to see. We surfed in Hawaii for a few weeks. Another summer we went to Europe and road tripped all through England and Scotland before flying to Ireland to complete our tour. On a whim we decided to see if we could look up any ancestral information on my family. We had a rather helpful librarian who was also an expert genealogist and was able to track down a few living relatives I had outside Dublin. The librarian called them up and they met us at the local pub. It was fun to share a few pints and learn about my family's history.
As much fun as that trip was, the best one was when I surprised Bella with three weeks in Italy for our anniversary. I somehow managed to keep our destination a secret until the pilot notified us that were landing in Rome. We nearly ate our weight in pasta, wine, and bread. We took a Vespa tour of several vineyards and even spent the night at one of them when our bikes broke down unexpectedly. The hospitality they showed us was amazing. Through broken English they told stories, talked about the wine they produced and even allowed us to help make some. To this day, we still exchange cards and letters with them throughout the year.
It was after that trip we decided to start trying to enlarge our family. Seeing the love and happiness our host family had for their children and grandchildren that lived with them made us realize we were missing that last piece to our lives. But it wasn't as easy as Bella stopping the pill or throwing away the condoms and having copious amounts of sex.
When six months had passed and still no baby, Bella kinda lost her head and became obsessed with her fertility cycle and taking her temperature. Let me tell you, having sex because a little thermometer tells you to, sucks the joy out of it. Hard to believe, but it was true. One night I'd had enough, and I snapped.
Bella was all over me and I just wasn't feeling it. Of course it didn't help when she came running into the room saying, "Its time! Let's have sex!" With no warm up, Bella started to strip me out of my clothes and began to crawl over me.
"I heard this was the best position for a girl. I'd love a girl first, wouldn't you?" she asked while barely rubbing my cock. There was zero spark of desire and I was starting to feel like just a means to an end, so I pushed her off of me and got up from the bed.
"I...I'm sorry Bella, but I can't do this anymore! I feel like your personal sex toy and not in a good way." Feeling rather exposed, I started to get dressed. "You've gone a bit crazy with all this temperature taking and sex on demand. It's sucked ALL the joy out of making love and being intimate with you. Do you have any idea how long it's been since we've had spontaneous sex? Just because it's Tuesday? Just because the sun is shining? Just for the hell of it? It's been months, Bella. Months of being ruled by when your little thermometer says it's the right time."
I paused to let my words sink in. Her brow furrowed in concentration and I knew she was trying to refute my words, but there'd be no way she could. When her eyes turned despondent, I knew she realized I was right.
"But it's been so long since we've started to try…"she trailed off unsure where to take her thoughts. "The doctor said…" she began again, but quickly lost her argument.
"I know what the doctor said, Bella. There is nothing wrong with us, she warned you that it may take some time for your body to adjust to life off the pill. But you know what I want more?"
She turned her tear-filled eyes toward me.
"I want you, my wife, my lover. I want to go dancing and come home and fuck you up against the wall because the desire is so overwhelming that I have to have you right then and there. I want you to come home on your lunch break for a quickie over the back of the couch and I want to fall asleep with you in my arms all sweaty, sated and blissful."
Her lower lip began to tremble, but I forged ahead. I'd remained silent for too long.
"What I hate is being told when I can seduce my wife, or that having sex when you're not ovulating isn't worth it. I hate that after we do have sex, I can't cuddle with you, instead I watch as you contort yourself into some position you've read about on the internet that helps the sperm find the egg. I'm more than a means to an end, Bella and you need to start treating me as such." I walked out of our room to cool off and to give her time to think.
Later that night we talked and she apologized. She admitted that her desire for a baby had morphed into more of an obsession and when it didn't happen as quickly as she thought, she felt like a failure as a woman. After that confession, we both agreed to relax and let things happen when they would. Gone was the constant temperature taking and charting and in its place was the woman I fell in love with who was up for a slice of afternoon delight on a Sunday.
As the fates would have it, four months after our little talk we became with pregnant. The joy that we both felt was almost too much to bear. We sat there staring at the stick for a long time reveling in the knowledge that we were finally going to be parents. It took Bella a few days to really believe that it wasn't a dream. But when it did sink in, she was the best mother-to-be. She followed every one of her doctor's recommendations and took amazing care of herself and the peanut she was carrying.
"Ooh shit! Edward!" Bella's pained cries brought me back from my memories. I quickly began to rub her back as I eyed the contraction on the monitor.
"Breathe in and then out. It's almost over, you can do it. One last breath and now let it out and it's over." I kissed her damp forehead. "You're amazing, baby. I love you."
We went like that for the next hour and when Dr. Weber finally ambled in, Bella was experiencing near constant contractions. "I have to push, Doc," she moaned.
"Let's check you out real quick." She moved the blankets out of the way and her eyes went wide. "Not only are you fully dilated, but the baby is crowning." With those words the room went into choreographed chaos as the doctor barked orders to the nurse, me and Bella. After about thirty minutes of pushing and one ear-splitting scream from Bella, we heard the first cries of the newest member of our family. Bella slumped back and we watched with awe-filled eyes as the doctor and nurses did their thing.
"Care to cut your son's cord, Edward?"
"A son?" Bella and I asked at the same time. A nod from the doctor had us crying even more and with blurry eyes, I severed the physical connection my son had to his mother. Within a few minutes they had checked him out and wrapped him up in a warm blanket and handed him to Bella.
Her arms cradled him as we looked him over. His face was wrinkly and puffy at the same time. He blinked his eyes slowly before he let out a giant yawn. While Bella's finger traced over his delicate features, I counted ten toes and fingers and marveled at how something so abstract became a reality in a few short minutes.
"Do we have a name for this little fella," asked Dr. Weber as she walked over to the bed to look at the small bundle in Bella's arms.
Bella and I looked at each other and with a quick nod and beaming smile from her, I turned to the doctor and said, "Meet Marc Edward Cullen."
BPOV- 5 Months later
"Those are your guardian angels, baby boy. You're named after some incredible men." I cooed to my son as I talked to him about the pictures of Marcus and Edward Sr. that sat in our bookcase. He was going through a growth spurt and was having a hard time going back to sleep after his bottle. Edward had school the next day so I got up so we didn't disturb his sleep. Though in all honesty, I enjoyed these late night talks and walks with Marc. They were peaceful as I rocked him in my arms.
I looked down to see his deep green eyes watching me. Edward was thrilled when the watery blue eyes gave way to deep green. Marc had my mouth and chin, but when he smiled, it was just as crooked as his dad's. The only thing we didn't know was the color of his hair. At five months, he's still as bald as he was the day he was born. He has a few small wisps of hair, but they were light so it was hard to tell what color they were.
Before he was born, we knew almost right away what name we'd pick for a boy. There was never any doubt. Well, there was one point of contention; I felt Marcus was a bit old fashioned for a baby. After several days of discussion and maybe a few well-placed pregnancy tears on my part, we settled on Marc. It wasn't until a few hours after he was born that I realized we never even picked a girl's name.
I walked softly to the couch and settled in before I picked up the photo album. I'd made it just before Marc was born. It contained pictures of our family and friends over the years. My intention was to give the baby a tangible view of our history that he could look at. I flipped it open to the first page and explained what Marc was staring at.
"That's Uncle Mike and Jake on their 'Gotcha Day'. They were so happy. You'll love your cousins Seth and Emily." My eyes took in the four beaming smiles and I couldn't help but smile myself. They fell in love with the three year old twins who came from a drug addicted home. They saw their pictures on a waiting kid's website. It was unusual that toddlers were on the list, but the social worker explained that Seth was developmentally delayed and Emily refused to be separated from her brother. Mike fell in love with both of them so they began the long process of first fostering them which led to them eventually being able to adopt them.
"Seth loves trucks, I'll bet he'd share them with you." Marc just stared at me and then gave me a wide gummy smile. I kissed his head and turned the page.
"That's Uncle Em and Auntie Rose, James and little Paige. When you get older we'll fly to California so you can see them and maybe go to Disneyland. Don't let Uncle scare you, he may be a big tough Marine, but he's really just a huge teddy bear."
After James was born, they had it rough for a while. They ended up surprisingly pregnant with twins and around week fifteen, she lost them both. Turned out they both had a heart defect and their little hearts just gave out. It nearly destroyed not only Rose but their marriage as well. It took over a year of therapy for them to get to a new normal. When Paige was born, it helped to heal them a little more.
I pointed to the other side at a picture of Jasper and Alice and their brood. "You know crazy Auntie Alice. She's the one who squeals on the computer. Those are her girls; Angela, Bree and Catie. I know ABC names. Blame that on your crazy Auntie."
Whereas Rose and I share pregnancy woes, Alice was the opposite end of the spectrum. They got pregnant with Angela within a few months of trying, then eleven months later they had Bree. Now, one would have thought they would've learned their lesson, but no, not my bestie. She either had a massive case of pregnancy brain or she and Jasper couldn't keep their hands off of each other. Exactly eleven months after Bree, Catie was born. I've heard of Irish twins, but Irish triplets? It was insane, but I've never seen her happier.
"They'll be coming to visit this summer and the girls are going to eat you up. Alice says the girls are already fighting over who gets to babysit you." I laughed and Marc just looked at me before he let out another a yawn. "Getting sleepy, little dude?" I hummed to him as I flipped through the rest of the pictures I collected for him.
When I got to the ones of our wedding, I slowed down and held them up. "Until you came along, this was the happiest day of my life." It was also the most perfect day ever. I had worried about having a beach wedding. There was no guarantee that it would be sunny. But when we were looking for venues, nothing fit and we both confessed to wanting it on the beach. So we gambled.
It paid off spectacularly. The day dawned bright with not a cloud in the sky. The entire day was as low-key and relaxed as a wedding could be. We didn't want anything huge, so we kept it to just family and close friends. Since it was so small, we gathered for a brunch at a restaurant that Aunt Cynthia had found. It was great to not only have my family, but Edward's family together. To see Emmett talking to my Dad about sports on the West Coast, while Esme, Sue and my mom discussed when they'd get a grandchild from us, it warmed my heart.
When it came time for the ceremony, I was so excited to finally be marrying Edward that my Dad had to hold me back from running down the aisle toward Edward. With the setting sun as our backdrop, we pledged ourselves to each other. Our tears mingled when we kissed as for the first time as husband and wife, it was absolute perfection.
I flipped to the last page of the photo album and looked down to see Marc fast asleep in my arms. I smiled and kissed his head.
"I hope you grow to be as wonderful as your Dad and find a girl that loves you as much as I love your daddy," I whispered my wish into the quiet night. My eyes fell to the page that held our written vows and I couldn't help but replay them in my head.
Edward's eyes shone with unshed tears as he began his vows. "From the moment I spotted you on the very same beach we're now standing on, I was captivated. In that moment, you got me hook, line, and sinker. The summer that followed was one of the best and worst of my life. Watching you walk away was so very hard. But when you came back, I promised myself I'd make sure you never had a reason to leave again. I promise to love you, protect you, cherish and support you. I want to be your friend, husband, confidant, and lover for as long as we both shall live. I will make sure you know every day that you could never be anything but mine."
By the time he finished, tears were falling freely down my face. Edward always knew the perfect thing to say. The fact he quoted his letter, just added that much more meaning to them.
"You have proven time and again how much you loved me. You let me walk away, trusting that I'd come back to you when I realized that you truly loved me and I loved you too. You gave me space and time to deal with my demons so I could come to you a whole woman. I love you, Edward. I think my heart recognized its soul mate the second we met, because you mesmerized me from the second you smiled at me and said hello. Looking back, I'm not sure why I fought so hard. But as we stand here today, I promise that I'll love you every day of our lives. You're the other half to my soul, the keeper of my heart. While you say I'm yours, I know for certain that you could never be anything but mine."
His eyes went wide when I repeated his words back to him. It seemed fitting, they were the words that made me face my feelings for him. They were the words that we had etched on our bodies. They were our words.
A soft gurgle from Marc brought me back to the present. Seeing that he was still asleep, I crept back upstairs to his room where I placed him in his crib. With one last glance, I walked to our bedroom and smiled at the sight before me. Edward was on his back, arm flung over his eyes, leg sticking out of the blankets that he'd pushed down to his waist. I crawled in next to him and marveled at the fact that I got to keep him.
Softly I kissed his cheek and on an impulse I kissed the tatt that laid over his heart.
"I don't see how you could be anything but mine," I whispered to him before I curled up next to the love of my life and fell asleep.
A/N: And we are done! There are a few outtakes/future takes that are in the works.. so put this story on alert so you can get them! Now.. time for me to say my thanks!
First to Sandy- you are my official Google picture queen.. thank you for taking my garbled abstract ideas and finding the perfect picture!
To Dawn who let me rant, vent and talked me down from the edge so many times and was always there when I asked.. got a minute to read something?
To Mandi- who told me to run with this story! *Mwah* To Nikki- Panera writing dates and your encouragement helped immensely! Thank you for your love and support!
To Pixiekat... *shakes head and wipes tears* Thank you for all your hard work.. somehow you got me and this story.. and took my crazy mess and turned it into what I couldn't find words for. So many times I read your changes and I was like.. THAT was what I meant. I love you hardcare! It's been an amazing journey!
To a few readers that I got to know along the way.. Lori, Jasmine, Janella, Mz Peaches and of course.. the lovely and dear to my heart- Granma Dee.. your words were looked forward to every chapter! To all the peeps in the FB group.. your thoughts, questions and pleas for me made me smile... You were the reason why I bugged pixie to send me the edits! haha
Lastly but never least- to ALL my readers.. your words, your tears and your laughter is why I do this time after time after time. I cherish everyone of you.. known and unkown.. and I look forward to hearing from you again.
I always do a whats next when I finish a story.. and this time will be no different. There are several things in my mind and in the hopper: I've been working on my first original fiction story.. its about 80% done.. and I hope to have it out and available by the end of the year. Me and nikki (blueyedcherry) have been discussing a plot bunneh that wont die. I threw it at her, she loved it.. we are in the sketching out phase. I also have an idea for another story based off a song.. this time.. a Garth Brooks one... So.. put me on author alert or friend me on FB.. You'll get the news one way or another...
As I hit complete.. tell me your thoughts one last time! Thanks and love! Witchy!