Pike Place Market really was worth the extra effort it took to get there. So much more fun than the grocery store. Who care's if it's twice as expensive. People come from all over the world to buy this overpriced fruit! I shifted my backpack and redirected us to my favorite produce stand.
"Cheerwies, Mommy?" my little companion asked.
"Ok, but just a few," I replied. His hot little hand wiggled in anticipation, fighting to pull me forward. The popular stand had a line. While I waited, I watched his beautiful eager face, completely engrossed in the jewel toned fruit, ignoring the happy chaos of the Market around him. The lingering but still pleasant smell of fresh fish, the jostle of meandering tourists, the damp floor tiles, the Technicolor floral displays, none of them could tear his focus from the cherries. Smiling at my boy's sweetness , I placed our order.
I felt eyes on me as I pulled out a huge fresh cherry for Owen. I knew someone was watching us. Thinking it was probably just a friendly grandma, I straightened up and smiled, ready to go through the obligatory "Cute Kid & Mom" routine. But my smile faltered. It wasn't a grandma. Oh crap. I heard my heart beat in my ears. Oh crap. A black tunnel formed around my vision. Oh crap. I gripped Owen's hand fiercely and pulled him reflexively to me. Oh crap. Edward was standing no less than five feet from us. A very pretty blonde lady was holding his elbow protectively. She was giving us some serious evil eye. He looked pale. He looked shocked. He started to look angry. I saw his mouth start to move. I knew he was going to say something horrible. He was going to be furious. I shoved our cherries in my bag and quickly grabbed up Owen. I turned, I left, and I didn't look back.
"Cheerwies, Mom! I want cheerwies please!"
"As soon as we're on the bus, sweetie!" I said, "You can eat all of them on the bus, but you have to be quiet and a good listener please."
"We going fast, mommy!" he said as I slipped through the crowd.
"Uh-huh..." I just needed to get to the pig statue. I shifted Owen to one side and felt for my bus pass. Still in my pocket. There were buses practically every 30 seconds once you got to the street. We just need a bus to come. Quick. Please quick. I could never deal with him angry. I hated disappointing him. Don't let him catch up to us. Please. I dashed through a hole in the crowd and walked quickly up to the street. Owen laughed gleefully as he bounced on my hip. At least someone was having fun. I felt cold and sweaty and sick. A bus was coming towards us, just behind a few slowing cars. I watched it, willed it to roll quickly, to take me away from this place, this embarrassment, this encounter. I never thought I'd see him again. I thought all ties had been cut. I'd thought things out so carefully. I'd planned out our good-enough life without him. Oh crap. Oh crap. Oh crap.
I screamed in my head. He was still far enough away. We could make it.
"Mommy, that man say 'hi'."
"I know sweetie. But we're getting on the bus." The bus released its brakes with a squeal and began to slowly roll towards us.
"Bella! Bella please!" People in the bus queue began to turn their heads, staring at the soon-to-be-spectacle. I heard him now, just behind us. I didn't want to see him. I couldn't face him. So I closed my eyes and turned around. Blindly I told him, "I have nothing to say to you, Edward. Please just let us go."
I could hear the bus stopping behind me, and feel the warm summer air being displaced, smell the fumes. I turned quickly, pulling my pass out, and fled. Again. He didn't follow this time either.
I heard him call my name again, muffled through the window.
I gave Owen the cherries. I tried not to cry.
After Owen was in bed, once I was done being "Mom", I finally let myself realize what happened. I'd seen Edward. He'd seen Owen. Why was he even here? He was supposed to be in Boston, or Chicago, or some other big far-away city curing cancer and doing his Big Things. He hated the Northwest. That's what he'd always told me. He wasn't staying. Was he just visiting Seattle? That would make sense. Lots of visitors go to Pike Place. Visiting his family? They'd moved from their old house, but maybe they were still in the area. I rubbed my eyes with the heel of my palms and groaned. I hated remembering.
I met Edward when I was in my junior year at UW. We'd only been dating for a few months, but I was head over heels. Totally and completely in love. Then I missed my period. I didn't think much of it. I wasn't very regular. But when seven weeks passed, I knew something was wrong. Two little lines on a pregnancy test. It wasn't "right", but I was happy. It was the wrong time, the wrong place, the wrong way, but with the right person. Sometimes surprises are the best gifts. I worried about what Edward would think of this surprise. He wasn't a surprise kind of guy.
Edward was a genius. Literally. He could multiply any number in his head in less than 30 seconds. I was embarrassed to use my calculator in front of him. He was smart and very sensible. A middle aged man stuck in a super hot body. He didn't seem to get along with people. At least that's what Alice told me. Alice was his crazy little sister. She was smart too, but not Edward-Smart. At sixteen Edward started college. When we met, the fall of my junior year, he already had his masters. He was teaching a few classes and pursuing his doctorate. He was working in a lab doing genetic research. Yes, WORKING AT A LAB DOING GENETIC RESEARCH. I was working in the school library and using my calculator to figure out the tip for my dinner check. I never really understood what he saw in me. Sure, I was pretty in an average way. Nothing was really wrong with me, but there wasn't really anything that stood out about me either. Even in my graduating class of 50 people, I still didn't get a title like, "Most Likely To Succeed!" or "Best Hair!" Things I know about me:
1. I'm sarcastic.
2. I love old books.
3. I'd rather cook at home than go out.
4. I was an English Major, but am terrible with grammar.
5. I will never successfully serve a volleyball.
6. I've never dyed my hair.
7. I like to make lists.
Things I Know About Edward
1. Edward is rich. Like trust fund baby rich. Like make-me-want-to-vomit-a-little-he's-so-rich rich. Like what-is-he-doing-with-me,-I-don't-even-know-where-to-BUY-a-Prada-bag,-how-can-we-possibly-be-together rich.
2. Edward is very good looking.
3. Edward is a genius.
4. I loved Edward (That's kind of about me, but it's my list, so I can add what I want.)
5. Edward intimidates a lot of people. Maybe even me.
6. Edward does not like to be in public places.
7. Once Edward makes a decision, he doesn't change his mind.
I was so nervous to tell him about the baby. He knew something was wrong because I'd sort of been avoiding him. I was going to make him a big fancy dinner & then tell him the news, but I was afraid I'd throw up in the middle of cooking. One night he finally came over and wouldn't leave until I told him what was wrong. I finally took a deep breath and told him.
And then he didn't say anything for a long time. He kind of sat back on the couch and thought about it for a minute.
"Are you sure?"
I showed him the calendar. I showed him the tests (not the actual tests, gross. I showed him the 7 empty boxes, all of which had told me the same thing that I already knew.) He closed his eyes and sighed. Then he gave me a big hug and said, "It's going to be ok, Bella. We'll figure it out. Carlilse has connections, we'll get you the best doctor." Carlilse was his dad, and of course a super important doctor himself. Of course. But I was relieved to hear him say that about a doctor. That was a good sign. "Really?" I asked, tearing up a little. "Does he know a lot of OBGYNs? Does he know any midwifes?" I asked.
"What?" Edward asked, confused.
"Does he know any midwives. I've been thinking about doing it natural."
"Natural? Love, I don't think there's a 'natural' way to do this…"
"For delivery? Natural delivery? Wait…. Oh."
And then heard my heartbeat rush in my ears for a minute and realized that my life, and my baby's life, would be a lot different than I imagined.
"You don't want a baby, do you Edward."
"Of course I do, some day. But we can't have a baby right now." He was so sure. Already. With less than 5 minutes to think about it, he already knew. We wouldn't have a baby. We were too young. That was that.
We both sat there silently for a minute. I leaned forward with my head in my hands, and he rubbed gentle, familiar circles on my back. So sweet. And the new part of my heart that was growing with love for my baby broke off from the part of my heart that belonged to Edward. My heart was broken.
After he left, I sat for hours on my lumpy student apartment couch staring at my blank student apartment wall. I knew some new things.
1. Edward didn't want this baby.
2. I did.
3. I couldn't keep Edward and my baby.
I knew it was bad. It was really bad. But I was still in shock. I went to bed and slept. The next morning he called me to tell me that he'd spoken with Carlilse. That they'd chosen a doctor and he wanted to know when I was available for my "procedure". A "procedure" sounds like a boob job, not the termination of a pregnancy. I felt sick. I gave him a date. We were almost into finals, so he agreed it'd be best to wait till we were done. I had a deadline. I needed a plan.
At first I tried to talk him into it, "We don't have to get married. You keep studying and working at the lab and do all the things you were already doing."
"But what about you?" he countered.
"I'll….I'll just get a job and take care of the baby."
"No, Isabella. I'm not going to let you ruin your life because of my mistake. This isn't your fault. I can't let you do this."
I was a little insulted that he was taking all the blame. It's not like he did this totally on his own. He's the genius, he knows it takes two people. Sure, I'd told him when we started dating that I wanted to wait to have sex. But I was so in love with him. And when he told me he'd wanted to spend the rest our lives together, we sort of skipped ahead.
"What if it's not a mistake?" I asked. "What if it's an accident? A happy accident."
"But Edward…" "
I tried really hard not to cry. I looked at the ceiling and willed the tears to dry. I bit my lip. I counted backwards from 100.
"Bella, love, please don't cry."
(It didn't work.)
"Edward, I can't do this. I don't want to end the pregnancy."
"No, Bella. Please. Please, let's just take a break. I can't talk about this anymore."
And so we did. We watched a movie. Or we had dinner. Or we just sat next to each other in silence holding hands. Edward was always sweet about stuff like that. Holding hands and sitting quietly.
It was bad.
I knew I was keeping the baby. At the time, I was studying English. Once I graduated, I'd be qualified for many minimum wage jobs, or a career as a writer/journalist (also known as unemployed). I decided to get realistic. I would be supporting this baby on my own. I needed a career pretty quick. Hopefully one that paid well and had good hours so that I could spend time with my kid. I called my mom, Renee, and broke the news. She took it pretty well. My mom was a massive, flighty burst of chaos, but she was also practical. She could also always see the bright side. Her silver lining was that I was coming to live with her in Florida AND she was getting a baby to cuddle, but that she didn't have to take care of. A grandbaby. I found a Dental Hygenist school and arranged for the entrance exam, gave my roommates notice and started the paperwork to end my scholarship at U.W.
The good news was that I almost enjoyed my finals week for the first time in my life. Of course it was horrible and emotionally exhausting, but at least I didn't have to worry about studying. Just everything else in my life. I spent as much time as possible with Edward. I knew it was selfish, but I knew I'd never be with him like this again. It was hard to enjoy our time together when I was trying not to sob uncontrollably the whole time. I tried to memorize every detail about him. The way he smelled, the color of his eyelashes, the faded little freckles on his nose. The way he looked at me, like he loved me. I was a mess, but luckily he blamed my emotions on the pregnancy and upcoming "procedure". He was so sweet. And his sweetness just broke me apart that much more. When finals finally finished, we celebrated by spending a whole 24 hours together. And that was the last time I saw him. My appointment was in 2 days, and I needed to finish getting everything ready. I wasn't going to go, obviously. Instead of meeting Dr. Jacks to end my pregnancy, I'd be on my way to Forks, my truck packed with the last of my things that weren't coming with me to Florida. Luckily I didn't have much. Once I sold all my books, everything I owned could fit in the back of my truck. And then I'd be flying to my new life. The new life that was so, so different than the life I thought I'd have, but the life that I had chosen anyway.
I'd been packing and preparing and sleeping every minute I wasn't with Edward or carelessly filling out a final. Edward knew I didn't want to have the abortion, he knew I was very emotional about the whole thing. Edward didn't deal well with emotion, so it was easy to convince him not to see me as I finished up my plans, or accompany me to the appointment. I'd told him my roommate Angela was going to take me and that I'd call him when I was feeling better. I told him I had to do this on my own. He didn't argue. He was pretty much letting me have my way on whatever I wanted lately. I asked him a million different times if he could reconsider, but he wouldn't. Couldn't. I wasn't surprised, I knew he wouldn't change his mind. That's why I made my plan. I figured if hell froze over and he all of the sudden decided he DID want to have a baby with me, I could always cancel my ticket. I knew that wasn't happening. The day of the appointment there was a huge bouquet of flowers outside my front door. I put them in a vase for my roommates, grabbed my bags and finished loading the truck. The flowers were the last thing I saw when I closed the door to my crappy student apartment and the life I could have had.
Edward had given me a promise ring after he told me he wanted to be together forever. It wasn't an engagement ring, but I still didn't feel right keeping it. It was a family heirloom and it looked like it was worth a fortune. So on my way out of town I stopped by his parents place. I planned on leaving the ring and a breakup letter in an envelope & then calling him to tell him where it was. It was safer and I didn't think Edward would be there. When I got to his parents place to drop off the letter, his dad opened the front door and caught me.
"Isabella," he said. His face was carefully composed. I knew that HE KNEW something was wrong.
"Dr. Cullen, " I said.
I shrugged my shoulders in response. I wasn't going to be ANYTHING from now on. This was the last time I'd see him.
"Would you like to come in?" he asked.
"No. Thank you."
"I think we should talk."
So I went in. It was as awkward as you'd expect. I told him I was leaving. He knew I didn't make it to my appointment. He thought I was trying to ruin his son's life. I tried to make it clear I wasn't. "
I don't want anything from you. I just can't do what Edward wants me to do. I couldn't stay with him if I had an abortion. How could I look at our future children and know that they could have had a big brother or sister?"
He seemed to understand. Especially the part where I didn't want anything from them.
"Edward can terminate his parental rights. I know he doesn't want this. This is my choice."
He seemed taken aback by that. But I was serious. I didn't want anything from them. He offered me money anyway. I told him no. He offered again and started writing out a check. I left. He followed. The last time I saw him, my truck was peeling out of their ridiculous circular driveway, spraying gravel into the flower beds. (I didn't feel too bad. They had "people" to deal with that.)
I started school as soon as I got to Florida. I only took two weeks off after Owen was born, jumping right into the program as soon as possible. When I graduated I looked at jobs in Seattle and Miami. Seattle to be close to my Dad, and because I was sure Edward would have left. (He was almost done with his doctorate when we were dating and all the jobs he'd been considering were on the east coast.) I knew through Angela that his family had sold their home (the open house was featured in the Seattle Times. It was THAT kind of house.) When I got an offer for a position at a swanky Dental office in Belltown, I made the move. Four day work weeks, $70K salary, and a cute little apartment across from the zoo. I was set.
And that's how I broke up with my amazing, brilliant, beautiful, sweet boyfriend and ran away to have his baby.