This story was written as a one-shot for the Fandom Fights Domestic Violence. We hope that you all enjoy this story and please consider helping your local shelters and programs in your area, domestic violence is a horrible cycle to get out of.
Disclaimer: All thing Twilight Saga related are not ours, we used some fo the characters names and generalized appearances to write this story, but this story line is that of WeeJessAndTAT.
Special thanks to the ladies who made this readable, our beta and pre-reading team of: AWayWithWords, Savannavansmutsmut, and Chandrakanta
The awesome banner was made by: Chandrakanta
***Warnings: Some descriptions of domestic abuse and attempted murder – mainly in the form of telling of past and a few flashbacks.***
The Baker's Man
"William," I call out, running as I look around.
Where the hell did he go? I feel my heart start to race and my hand goes to my head.
"Please, God, do not do this to me; he's my whole life."
A man in a suit looks my way.
"My son has disappeared, have you seen my son?" I ask, bringing out my cell to show him a picture of my William, but the man keeps walking.
"William, where are you?" I yell frantically.
I can see people looking at me, but they're doing it so slyly. Typical, they want to see what happens without getting involved.
"God, please, where is my boy?"
"Please, someone help me," I sob out and run down the street, looking in the shop windows as I go past. I jump, hearing a fire engine. I take off running to the station, hoping someone there will be able to help me.
"Please, my son, he's four and I can't find him," I say, running up to the fireman that's standing by the truck. He grins at me, putting away the cell that was at his ear, and points to the truck. I look up and I cry more. There's my son, with a big smile, sitting in the driver's seat of the fire truck, playing with the steering wheel.
I move to the truck, pulling William to me and hugging him.
"William, I was so sca..." I cut myself off and just hold him.
"He's fine, ma'am," the man next to me says.
"I'm sorry," I sob out again. Even with him in my arms, my heart's still beating so fast.
I swear, Isabella, you're going to fucking regret this; mark my words, whore! I will kill and destroy everything you love.
I feel a hand touching mine and I jump as it brings me out of my dark thoughts.
"I told William here that I would show him the fire pole. Why don't you come in and get a cup of sweetened coffee to calm those shocked nerves of yours."
I wipe my face. "I'm fine, really. I just moved into the apartment right down the road. When I realized William wasn't in his room where I left him, I ran off with most of my stuff in the street."
The man looks at me in shock.
"Hopefully, I won't find it gone," I say with a laugh, but really filled with worry.
He chuckles with me; I think to be polite. "Where about are you?" the firefighter asks me with a worried look.
William reaches out to him and I'm surprised, but I allow him to go to the fireman.
"I just bought the old bakery on the corner of Fifth Street," I say.
He nods at me, giving me a smile. I frown when he whistles and look around to see some more firemen coming our way.
"Let's go, men, we need to help save this woman's stuff," he says, giving me a wink.
He starts walking away with my son, who is giggling away at him.
I move quickly to him. "Aren't you supposed to stay here at the station?" I ask and he just grins at me.
"Momma," William says in sign language, putting his open hand with his thumb to his chin as he talks.
I stop the fireman and get William to look at me.
I put my hand in a fist and knock at the air saying, "yes," out loud.
He gives me a weak smile. "Sorry," he says, doing the action, too.
"I know, baby, but we're new here, you can't run off. I almost had a heart attack."
He holds out his arms to me and I take him into mine.
"So that's why he didn't talk?" the fireman says.
I shrug my shoulders a little. "He has some speech problems, but his hearing is better now. He has this cochlear implant in," I say, brushing aside his hair to see it.
When we get back to my truck, I'm glad to see that all my stuff is still there.
"Thank you, God," I say in a whisper.
"Okay, ma'am, we're at you service," the same firefighter says.
I chuckle and see that they're all grinning at me.
"Just tell us where everything goes. Oh, by the way, I'm Edward." He holds out his hand for me to shake.
"Bella," I say, seeing how incredibly small my hand seems in his huge one.
"Is your husband around?" Edward asks as I unlock the door to what will become my bakery.
"Sadly, he's in prison," I say out loud, "and not rotting in hell," I try to whisper.
But the looks on some of the guys' faces tell me it wasn't said quietly enough.
The firemen spend forty minutes helping me, before they get called away. Thankfully, with their help, the little we had is now all moved in. It takes me the rest of the night to get everything cleaned and William settled in bed.
I jump when my cell rings and I pick it up.
"Hello," I say with a little smile.
"How is everything?" Rachel, my sister…well, ex-sister-in-law, asks.
"It's okay from what I've seen so far. Some of the local people are helpful."
I sit down on the bed next to where William lies sleeping.
"I'm really worried about tomorrow," she says after a few beats of silence.
"I'm sorry I can't be there."
I hear her small sob. "I know and I don't blame you for getting away. I just want this over. It's been four years, too freaking long," she says.
I nod at her, though she can't see me. "That it has, but once it's done, you're free," I tell her.
"I don't think I'll ever be free. They're always going to be there. What he did to you."
I close my eyes, stopping the flashes of memories before they creep up on me.
"You will be okay? I believe in you, and William believes in you."
"I'll talk to you later," she says.
I hang up and let out a long breath. I'm a twenty-six-year-old single parent. I've just moved more than a thousand miles away to start over again. This is not where I saw my life when I was younger. Strangely, now when I look back, I see all those small signs that were there, telling me the kind of man I was dating. I never listened to my own apprehensions. I always pushed aside any ill thoughts. Somehow, I was always able to pretend that the bad stuff wasn't real. It was like if I blocked it out, then it didn't happen.
I wake up early, and after William and I have our breakfast, we get to making some cakes for the firefighters as a thank you. This time William holds my hand the whole way there. I let him ring the bell and I smile when Edward answers the door with a grin of his own.
"Hello, Bella," he says to me, before kneeling down to William and signing his name as he says hello to him.
"Moring, Ed-ward," William says, stuttering a little, but it doesn't take away his big grin. "We ma-made cakes for you."
I couldn't wipe the smile from my face. I'm so proud of my boy. He has always had trouble speaking, but he doesn't let that stop him.
"Cakes, really? I love cakes," Edward says right away.
"I didn't know you knew sign language?" I say.
Edward looks up at me. "I didn't, but after meeting this charming young man, I thought I should learn some for when he drops in."
I'm taken aback by what he's saying, and I feel the tears collecting. This wonderful man, a stranger, has officially just done more—in a few short hours—for my son than his father and most of his family has done in four years.
"See fire pole?" William asks as he tugs on Edward's arm.
William loves everything to do with firemen. His favorite cartoon right now is a British cartoon he found on Netflix. It's called Fireman Sam and it's not only age appropriate, but very educational. This has led him to say that, when he's older, he wants to be a fireman. I don't have the heart to tell him that it's unlikely with his disabilities.
"Yes, if it's okay with your mom, you can," Edward says, pulling me from my thoughts.
Edward stands up, smiling at me.
"These are the pastries and cupcakes," I say, handing the box to him as he leads us into the fire station.
"These are just mine, right? I don't need to share?" Edward asks, looking between William and me.
"Give me one, no need to share," William says as he signs and chuckles.
"You've already had one, and there are more at home," I say.
William pouts his lower lip at me, and I pout mine back, before turning my attention to Edward.
"Yes, you need to share."
I point my finger at him, showing him I mean business and he chuckles.
"Hmm, these are so good," Edward says as he stuffs a second one in his mouth. "When does your shop open?"
I chuckle at the fact he's licking his fingers, making sure he gets every last bite of cake.
"Next week, if everything goes the way it's supposed to, anyway."
He nods at me and moves to the sink, washing his hands and drying them.
"Coffee," he offers, holding up the coffee pot as he looks over his shoulder.
"Please," I say with a smile.
"What about for young William? There's some fresh apple juice here."
"That's fine, thank you," I tell him.
Edward pours out the coffee and juice and sits them on the table.
"Are you any good at Monster High cakes?" he asks after a few minutes.
I tilt my head, looking at him. "Isn't that like a young girl's cartoon or doll thing?"
He shrugs, seeming a little unsure.
"Yeah, I could do it if you told me what you wanted?"
I blow on the coffee before taking a drink.
"My daughter is coming to see me, and it's her birthday. It's the first time I get to have her on her birthday. I want to make it special."
I swallow a little, hearing some hurt in his voice. As I go to talk, the other firemen start to come in.
"Come over to the shop tomorrow any time and we can talk more."
Edward gives me a smile, nodding at the invite.
"Okay, William, come with me and I'll show you the fire pole."
Edward only manages to get the sign for some of the words, but since he looked at William the whole time, it was all understood.
William and I end up spending most of the morning at the station and we get introduced to most of the staff. All of them promise to come into my bakery once it opens.
I walk around the town with William, getting him and myself familiar with the layout. Around three we're heading to meet William's new doctor.
"William Swan." I look up at the doctor who's smiling our way.
"That's us," I say to William and we follow the doctor to his room.
"Hello, William, I'm Doctor Carlisle Cullen; you can call me Carlisle."
"Car-lis-le," William says slowly and gives us both a big grin when he gets it all out.
Doctor Cullen smiles and nods at William.
"I'm going to look you over today, is that okay?"
"Yes," William says with a nod of his fist.
"I see that he still has unexplained seizures. When was his last one?" Doctor Cullen asks, still looking at William.
"It was six months ago."
He gives me a nod as he carries on with his examination.
"Everything looks good, Ms. Swan, and I see he's due for his next set of vaccines soon?"
I rub my head, frowning. "He had a really bad seizure the last time he was vaccinated," I say, trying not to get too upset about it.
"Yes, I did read that. Where I can't promise it won't happen again, we can put more things into place, so if it does, then you and the hospital will be more ready."
I nod in understanding and he gives me a grin that reminds me of the firefighter, Edward.
"Ms. Swan, I have read your son's notes, so I know a little of the background. Do you have a doctor?"
I swallow and look at him, unsure of where this is going.
"Do you mean a therapist? I had been seeing one: Angela Weber, and she signed me over to a Jasper Whitlock."
Doctor Cullen smiles at me as I talk.
"He's my son-in-law, he's very good and I'm sure that you will like him. He has a certain way about him that is very calming. However, I was asking about an actual doctor. It's just I didn't see your name on our books and we have a few doctors here—you wouldn't have to see me. If you'd like, I could place you in to see Doctor Rosalie McCarty, she's very good?"
I rub my head, knowing I need to see a doctor, too. "Yes, please, I kind of... forgot. Angela had arranged for me to see Mr. Whitlock before I left, but I didn't think about me."
He nods at me and his smile is actually comforting. I look down at William, who is playing away happily with the fire truck that was in the room.
"I will bring you back in next week for his first set of vaccines. I'm on call three days and Rose is on call the other four. If it's okay with you, I will set you up with an appointment to see her for that day, too, and share your son's information, so if anything happens, she'll already be aware of his background information."
"Yes, thank you for your help," I say, shaking his hand.
"That's what I am here for. Goodbye, William," he says softly and William frowns, handing back the fire truck, and gives Doctor Cullen a wave.
The week has gone by quickly with me helping to get William settled in his new daycare. I was pleasantly surprised that the daycare here was able to take children with disabilities and had trained staff on hand. I've also been working hard to get the bakery all set up to open. Today is my grand opening of Swan's Delights, and I'm really nervous.
"Hi." I jump a little and turn to see Edward smiling down at me.
"Hey," I say, standing up.
"You haven't brought William around to see us. We're missing the little guy."
I blush a little. "He's missing you guys, too. I've just been so busy getting this place ready. He also started going to his new school and he had his first appointment with his new doctor," I babble out.
Edward chuckles, covering my mouth with a finger.
"It's fine," he says with a wink. "Now, you're doing sandwiches here, too, right?"
I nod at him rather dumbly and he hands me of piece of paper.
"Can you do this for me today, by lunch time?"
I look it over quickly and nod at him again.
"Yeah, I can do this, but I thought you guys made your own meals down there?"
"We do normally, but one of our men starts back today after being away on his honeymoon. We all missed most of the wedding because of being called out, so this is us making it up to him."
"Oh, well, that's really nice of you all. I can bring it all over at one, if that's okay?"
"That's great, we'll see you then."
"Edward?" I call out as he walks to the front door.
"Yeah," he says, turning to me.
"Your daughter's cake, do you still want it?"
He pales a little and I instantly feel bad for asking.
"No, her mom changed her mind. I'm not getting her until next month now, so I'll miss her birthday."
Even with the smile that he has on his face, it's clear he's deeply hurt by this change.
"I'm sorry she did that. However, you know you can still give her a cake when she comes, right? Charlie, my dad, he and I didn't spend much time together. I was only with him two weeks through the summer each year. I always thought it was his choice to see so little of me. It wasn't until I was twenty-two that I found out it was my mom who was keeping us apart."
I close my eyes, wishing I never started this conversation, because there's no happy ending.
"Just be there for her and tell her you love her..." I say, trailing off.
Edward walks back over to the counter and looks at me.
"Are you and Charlie close now?"
"No, he died before I found out the truth. It's been four years and I still haven't forgiven my mother for what she did." I shake my head at him. "I was just saying, do what you were planning. Make sure you call her, don't take excuses that she's napping or she's out. Keep going to court if you have to. Keep records of everything, and I mean everything, that you do for her. Keeping records is so important."
I feel bad for lecturing him almost, but I think he understands, because he doesn't look offended. Edward gives me a kind smile and nods before heading out.
I get to work on the large order Edward left with me around eleven. Once I'm done, I look at the clock. It's one now, so I turn the sign to closed and place the order in my truck. I drive the short distance to the fire station. I get out and start taking the food out, then I see Edward come running out.
"Here, let me get them," he says, taking the larger box from me. I follow him in with the last box, and I can hear the guys laughing before we get to the open kitchen and dining room.
"Yes, the cake lady's here," Emmett says, jumping up to take the box I'm holding.
"She has a name, Emmett," Edward says with a frown.
"Bella?" I hear a voice behind me that I haven't heard in a few years and I freeze.
Seeing stunned faces looking at us, I turn slowly and sure enough, there behind me, is Mike Newton, the person who saved my son's and my life.
"Hi, Mike," I say and grin as he pulls me to him in a big hug.
"Oh my God, they said some girl who made great cakes reopened the bakery. I never thought it would be you."
He keeps holding me the whole time he talks.
"What are you doing here? Where is little William?"
I rub my head, still a little shocked to see him after all this time.
"He's at the daycare up the road. You should drop by with Jessica and see him sometime."
Mike nods at me, still not fully releasing me. "Now that I know you're here, you can count on it."
"You know each other?" Edward asks, a little amused.
"Yes, Mike was my babysitter," I say with a smile, which falls when the room gets eerily quiet.
I look around the room to see most of the guys are looking at me strangely, and my eyes fall on Edward who looks between anger and being in pain.
"Uh, have I said something wrong?" I ask, looking to Mike who looks ashamed and guilty.
Then it hits me—they know—he must've told them.
"I... I need to go."
"Bella, it's not..."
I shake my head, cutting Mike off.
"I'll see you around," I say as I back out of the kitchen and back into the door. I rub my leg as I walk quickly out.
The whole way back to the bakery, my chest feels like it's closing in on me. As soon as I get inside the bakery, I close and lock it, hiding behind the counter.
As I slide down the wall, my mind pulls me back to that day four years ago.
I jump a little, hearing the door slam.
"Where the hell is dinner?" Jacob yells and I feel my arm shake, knowing he's already angry.
"It's coming, you're home early today," I say with a forced smile on my face.
"You're blaming me on your inability to get my fucking dinner on the table because I am early?" Jacob screams, looking right at me.
"No, just, I thought you'd be home at six like always," I say weakly, and I see his nostrils flare.
"Just get it done, and this place is a mess. What did you do all day, besides sit on that fat ass of yours?"
I don't say anything as I try and calm my breathing, but he keeps going with the yelling.
"I asked you a fucking question?" he screams, turning me to face him, pinching the sensitive skin of my under arm. "What did you do today?"
"I had... I had an appointment. They wanted me to stay longer, because they said my blood pressure was a little high."
I shake more seeing that Jacob is just becoming angrier.
"I'll go cook and leave you to calm down," I say, quickly moving away from him. Before I reach the doorway, Jacob pulls me back by the roots of my hair.
"They want me off the fucking team! I need you and you are running out on me?" he says, holding my hair tighter in his hand as he roars in my ear. I can smell the alcohol coming off him and it makes my stomach roll.
"I'm sorry," I say, not knowing what's really going on.
"You're fucking sorry? This is my fucking dream, and I am getting kicked off because I have to take care of your fat ass."
Jacob takes my head and smashes it hard against the wall.
"You and this fucking thing," he says, shaking my belly, "are taking my dreams from me. You promised I would come first, that this wouldn't come between us," Jacob says as he hits me in the face.
"I don't want it anymore. I lost my dreams, now I am taking care of it."
He kicks me in my abdomen before I can cover it.
I really don't know how long Jacob hit me. When he stopped, he set the house on fire, leaving me there to die. The next thing that was clear in my mind was Mike's frantic voice as he picked me up. Mike kept saying he was sorry for hurting me, but he had to get me out of the house. I woke up two days later in the hospital. I learned that Jacob was kicked off his minor league baseball team. It had nothing to do with me and everything to do with the fact he would show up drunk, slept around when they were on away games, and he seemed to think he was better than the rest of the team.
Mike was driving by when he saw my house was on fire. He called it in and then ran into the house, finding me broken and beaten, but he got me out. Out on my lawn, outside my burning home, he delivered my baby boy who was seven weeks early. Mike kept him alive, I'm not sure how, even the doctors were not sure how he did it. The fact is, Mike did; he saved my son's and my life that day.
William is Mike's middle name, and I named my son after the man who saved his life. I haven't seen Jacob since that day. Even when I was in court, I was kept away from him. I gave my testimony from behind a protective screen. I have been seeing a therapist, too. Where I feel that I'm in a better place than I was, there's still some hidden scars left behind from the four-year relationship I had with Jacob.
A knock on my front door makes me jump. "Bella, it's Edward, can you open up, please?"
I take a few deep breaths and wipe my face as I walk to the door.
"Hey," I say as I open the door a little.
"Can I come in for a moment?"
I let out another breath and nod.
"Sure," I say, moving back, and Edward walks in.
I turn, looking at him, and he pulls at his hair. "Mike has nightmares," he says and I frown at him. "When he first started with us just over three years ago, we saw that he was good and good for our team. We also noticed on the night shifts he would have nightmares. It took him months—and I mean months—to tell us what they were about.
"Even then he was a little vague. He had been working here for six months when it was on the news about some small time minor league baseball player, that had the ability to make the big leagues, but he threw it away for booze. It went on to say that he beat his pregnant wife, leaving her for dead in a house fire."
Edward stops and clears his throat.
"The nightmares seemed to double at that time and then he left for a few days. We saw him on the news as one of the witnesses, and we were all shocked. When he got back, he told us that the girl, the guy's wife, was a young girl he had babysat when she was younger. He told us how he found her, and that the image of what he found that day still haunts him."
I feel the tears fall down my face.
"He said he wanted to see you, but you and William were still healing, so he just left you a letter."
I nod at him. "I've still got it."
"He never, not once, did he tell us your name; we were shocked a little while ago. You... William—it's hard to believe—I swear if we knew..." Edward stops talking and pulls on his hair.
"I understand," I say. "It just caught me off guard. I moved away from my hometown because I didn't want to be known as the woman that got beaten and left to die. I didn't want William to grow up being the boy that has a plethora of medical issues because his own biological sperm donor tried to kill him."
Edward sighs and slowly wraps his arms around me. "Not that I'm making light of what you went through, but to us, you'll always be the cake lady, and William will always be our li'l buddy."
I chuckle a little. "Are you sure?"
Edward pulls back and nods. "Yes, besides Mike told us when he babysat you, you always cooked. I must admit, I'm personally looking forward to see if your cooking skills, meet your baking."
I roll my eyes at him.
"Are you okay?"
I nod at him, feeling better than what I was.
"Good, because if I don't get back there, then they will find where I stashed most of the yummy cakes you made. Here," he says, handing me an envelope.
"See you tomorrow, cake lady."
I chuckle and wave as he walks out.
The weeks seem to go by quickly, but I'm now in a routine with William and my business. I hired Bree, who is the wife of one of the firefighters, Diego. She's really sweet and she's been very helpful. She does well with the customers, and perfectly for me; she's great at decorating.
Mike has come over a lot and our friendship seems to have taken up from where it left off four years ago. His wife Jessica is very nice and she also happens to be a kindergarten teacher. William likes them both as well, and gets excited when he can talk with them.
The other firemen all drop in once or twice a week; well, except for Edward. He has become a regular customer of mine, and slowly we are becoming friends. Where we don't talk about my past, I still find him very easy to talk to, and William really likes him. I still find it strange how much effort he put into learning sign language. It shows how sweet and considerate he is.
My doorbell goes off as the store door opens and I look up.
'Think of the devil and he's sure to show.'
"Hello, Bella," he greets me with a smile.
"This is for you," he says, passing a paper over to me. I frown, looking at him as he takes off his sunglasses, revealing his wonderfully beautiful eyes.
"This form is for a kids' T-ball team membership…" I say, still not getting why he's giving it to me.
"Yes, it's a small local league, and I thought William might enjoy playing in it."
I look down at the paper, not at all confident this is a good idea.
"Edward, I... I... um, I'm not sure about this."
I hear Edward sigh and I look back up into his eyes.
"Bella, he'll be fine. I'm the coach."
I go to say yes to him, but get cut off when my cell phone rings. I pick it up, seeing that it's William's daycare calling.
"Hello," I answer, hoping everything is okay.
"Bella, this is Tia. William is not feeling well. He's rather lethargic and feels very warm to me," Tia says softly.
"Okay, Tia, I'm on my way," I say, feeling a little panicky. Hearing that my son isn't feeling well and is showing signs of being ill always scares me.
"Bree, can you watch the store? Close up if needed—I need to go, William's not well," I holler out to Bree who's baking in the kitchen area.
"Of course," Bree says, rushing out while wiping her hands. "Oh, good, Edward, you're here. Bella, call me and let me know what's going on."
"Come on, I'll drive you," Edward says, taking my car keys from my shaking hands. His fingers linger there for a few seconds, but it doesn't make me feel any better. "Come on, let's go and get your boy."
The drive is quick and I jump out of the car before it even stops. When I get inside, I see William lying on a nap mat and Tia is beside him. I see he is starting to have a seizure. I kneel next to him and do all the things I've learned.
"Baby, momma's here," I say softly, feeling just how warm he is.
"Bella?" Edward says in a whisper. I don't turn his way and just keep talking to my baby boy. "Momma's here, you're going to be all right," I say until he stops moving and I pick him up.
"I need to take him to the hospital," I say and Edward nods at me. We walk back out to the car and I place William in the backseat with me. I pull out my cell phone and call Doctor Cullen.
"Hello, yes, this is William Swan's mother and I need to talk to Doctor Cullen right away," I say to the woman who answered.
As I wait on hold, I feel my silent sobbing wracking my body. Soon, I notice the whimpering sounds I'm barely restraining.
"Bella," Doctor Cullen says.
"Hi, Dr. Cullen, sorry to call you, but William is really warm and started seizing again. I'm on my way to hospital," I say quickly, "and you said I could call."
"Bella, calm down, are you driving?"
"No, Edward is," I say, looking at Edward who's looking at the road.
"Can you put me on speaker?" I nod, though he can't see, and do as he asked.
"Okay, you're on speaker."
I frown, looking between my cell and Edward.
"Hi, Dad," Edward says.
"Take Bella and William to the emergency room and Rose will meet you there. I'll be there in about a half hour."
"No problem, I'll see you soon," Edward says and I hear a click.
"He's you father?" I ask stupidly.
"Yeah," Edward chuckles.
I frown when I feel William starting to seize again.
"Come on, baby, we're almost there; Momma's right here, sweetheart."
Edward pulls up outside the emergency room door and jumps out, taking William in his arms. I end up running to keep up with Edward, who's only walking quickly.
"Edward, bring him in here, please," Doctor McCarty says from outside a room.
Edward walks in the room and places William on the bed.
"I'll park and be right back; it won't take long," Edward says with a squeeze of my hand.
"Bella, when did William start to get unwell?"
I shrug. "I don't know. He was fine this morning. He said he felt a little tired."
She nods at me, letting me know she heard me, as she and a nurse start to examine him. I watch as Dr. McCarty puts an IV in his little arm, swiftly and without making William flinch. She's very good with him and he's alert now, but clearly sick.
"Doctor, his temp is 104.6," the nurse says.
"He's got saline running wide open to help cool him. Push twenty milligrams Carbamazepine and four milligrams Caldolor. Get some cool packs and let's get him cooled down."
"Yes, Doctor," the nurse responds.
Dr. McCarty continues looking William over as the nurse does what she's ordered. Suddenly, I realize that Edward has come back in and is now standing beside me. I see Dr. McCarty coming over toward me.
"Okay, Bella, William is sleeping now. He has a rather high fever and I'm sure that's what's causing his seizures. I've given him some medicine through the IV to help stop the seizing, and to lower the fever, but it also made him very tired. I placed an IV in his arm and we are running room temperature saline wide open. We'll use the cool packs to bring down his fever and we're monitoring his body temperature constantly."
I nod, having heard all this before.
"When Dr. Cullen arrives, we'll move you up to a room. He's going to have to stay until we know what's going on and get this fever down."
"Okay," I say, sitting on the chair and just look at my boy.
"I'll be back with Dr. Cullen when he arrives," Doctor McCarty says, before walking out of the room.
"Has this happened before?" Edward asks as he pulls up a chair next to mine. He sits and takes my hand into his.
"Yes, a few times now. I was told he may grow out of it and that it's a problem linked to the circumstances behind his early birth."
Edward doesn't say anything, just places a soft kiss on the top of my hand.
Just like he said, Dr. Cullen arrives half an hour later, taking over for Dr. McCarty. He looks William over and lets out a little sigh.
"He's still too warm, but it's down a little. We're going to go up to a regular room now and get you all settled in there. I'll make sure there is a cot in the room for you. It looks as if he'll be staying for a few days."
Doctor Cullen walks out and I hear Edward let out a sigh. I call Bree and she tells me not to worry. She'll run the shop until I'm back. I'm so glad all my recipes are written down for her, and that I found her. At least my business will be okay.
They come and take us up to a room and get William all settled in.
"Okay, Bella, I'm going to be here for quite a while this afternoon. If there are any issues at all, the nurses will call me. If you feel the need to speak to me, tell them and they'll call me. I'll stop back before I leave."
"Thanks, Dr. Cullen," I voice at the same time as Edward says, "Thanks, Dad."
Dr. Cullen leaves the room and I stand beside my son and brush his soft hair back. Edward comes and stands beside me, and we just stay there in silence for a while. Suddenly, I realize Edward is wasting his whole day away sitting here with me.
"Edward, thank you, but you can leave. I'll be okay."
"Do you want me to go?"
I can hear the hurt in his voice and I shake my head.
"No, but this isn't a great way to spend your time on your day off."
"And…" he proclaims questioningly, "I'm spending it with my friends, aren't I?"
I give him a nod and it puts an end to the talk of him leaving.
Time seems to go by so slowly with William still sleeping. The television I'm not watching is the only noise in the room.
"I'm going to go and get us something to eat. I'll be right back," Edward says.
I turn to him, and jump back a little finding him really close to me.
"Sorry, I was going to kiss the side of your head," he murmurs.
I watch as his face gets a little red at his confession. I smile softly at him and move forward, so I'm close enough to place a light kiss on his chin.
"Wow, I may never wash again," he says, touching where I kissed him.
I shake my head at his silliness. I watch him go out of the room and I stand, wiping William's face again.
The sound on the TV suddenly becomes louder and the voice of the newscaster is heard.
In other news, Billy Black, a lawyer from Seattle, has been found guilty on charges of neglect and sexual abuse. Billy Black is the father of minor league baseball team member, Jacob Black. Three years ago, Jacob Black was found guilty of attempted murder. He beat his then seven months pregnant wife and set fire to their home before fleeing. Billy Black allowed his son to hide out at his family home, and was charged with aiding and abetting a criminal. During the time he hid his son, he allowed his son to abuse his disabled sister Rachel. Rachel gave a heartbreaking statement and testimony in court. We learned how her father married her off to a much older family friend at the age of fifteen. She spent a year being abused and raped by the man. One day, while she was out going to the store with her mother, they were involved in a fatal car crash. The mother died instantly, and Rachel ended up in a wheelchair.
With her crippled status, the husband no longer wanted her, and Billy Black had no choice but to take her back in. When Jacob turned up at the house, Billy allowed his abusive son to beat and abuse his sister for three months as he hid out.
Billy Black was stunned today when the judge sentenced him to thirty years.
I smile a little and wipe the tears that have fallen. Thank God that is over. I'm so glad Billy has to pay for his part of the abuse. I quickly sent a text to Rachel with a happy face, and I really hope she feels vindicated. I know she's now dating Paul, a physical therapist, and I know she seems a lot happier.
"Sorry, there really wasn't much to choose from in the cafeteria here. I'm not sure how my father does it," Edward says.
He walks in and I turn the volume down, which makes Edward turn his head to it.
"Sorry," he whispers out.
I shake my head at him as he puts down sandwiches and drinks.
"If you need to talk, I'm here for you," he tells me sweetly.
I nod in acknowledgment at him and he sighs.
"Bella, I'm just going to lay it on the line here. I'm really... very attracted to you and I genuinely like you. I know you have a past, but so do I. I would love—once William is home—to take you out on date. We can even start out as just friends and see if we want to pursue something more together. I just want to spend time with you, and with William, too."
I swallow and scratch the top of my head.
"Jacob did a lot to me, and I know not all men are like that, but I'm..."
I stop talking and just give him a small smile.
"Can you maybe ask me again after William's okay? It's just… he needs to be my number one, especially right now."
Edward smiles at me and gives me a nod.
"Are you okay with me staying here and hanging with you longer? I mean, I'm worried about him, too."
I smile back at him and he puts his hand on my face and traces my jawline with his thumb. I can't help but lean my head into his large hand and smile at him.
"Yes, I would like that," I say and he sits back down on the seat next to mine.
Doctor Cullen comes in often, checking on William who has had another two seizures. I'm very grateful that Edward ends up staying with me overnight. After a little bantering, he makes me sleep, saying he'll watch over William and will wake me if anything happens.
It's early in the morning when Edward wakes me with a soft kiss on my forehead, and a smile.
"The fever is gone, and he's awake saying he's hungry."
I look around Edward to see my son smiling and playing with a fire truck.
"Rose brought it in for him," Edward tells me.
I nod at him and leap over to my son.
"I missed you," I say, holding him to me.
"Sorry, I was sleeping," William says like it was no big deal. I chuckle and hug him to me more. After a few moments, I let him go and make him face me.
"I," I say, making a fist with my pinky pointing up, "love," making a gentle fist with both hands, and cross them over my heart as if I was hugging somebody close, "you," I point to him.
I match his bright smile when he does it back. William seems a lot happier as he eats his breakfast.
"Okay, Bella, I need to go. I've got a shift at the station today. My dad said William's going to be kept overnight again to monitor his fever and seizures. If you want, I can get some clothes for you both and come by after my shift?"
The hope in his face is so clear.
"Won't you need to sleep?" I ask and he shakes his head.
"Nope, sleep is for the weak; please let me do this for you—for you both?" he asks, tilting his head to the side.
"If you're sure," I say, moving to get my keys.
"I'm positive; besides, I love your bakery and your cakes."
Before I can say anything, he takes my keys and leaves the room chuckling.
I yawn as William watches a kids' program on the Disney channel.
"Hello," Doctor McCarty says as she walks in.
"I've brought you both some clothes."
I frown at her as she places the carrying case on the bed.
"Edward told me that he was going to get some stuff for you tomorrow. Now, when he told me this, I thought of his poor sister. When she was in here for a few days, he was asked to go and get her some clothes. He brought back two odd socks, which both had holes in them—he actually found them in a rag bag. I believe it was a pink bra, green panties, a sky-blue tank top and bright orange, floor length, pleated skirt."
I cover my mouth to try stopping the laugh that still manages to come bubbling out.
"Yeah, needless to say, he almost ended up in the bed next to her. So, I told him I would do it for him. I figured you'd feel better about me getting some unmentionables out of your drawers than him anyway."
I nod at her, feeling a little sad that I won't see him.
"He said that this doesn't change anything, and he's still coming over tomorrow morning with some better food for breakfast."
"Thank you," I say sincerely.
Doctor McCarty waves me off as if it is no big deal. A lot of these people seem to do things for others without thinking twice.
"It's fine, really, it's been so long since we've last seen Edward truly smile, and I know you and William are both the reason."
I feel my face get warm, but she carries on.
"I dated Edward for a month back in high school." I swallow and look at her with wide eyes.
"Edward is very intense. He's all in or nothing. We were both eighteen and, well, I was looking for fun and I think he was thinking about the future. We kissed once," she chuckles a little, "his words to me were 'oh God, it feels like I just kissed Granny Cullen'. Now Granny Cullen has a beard and she tends to give you really sloppy wet kisses. You know, the kind that makes you want to bleach your face?"
I laugh and she smiles at me.
"Anyway, he never seems to be lucky in love, or able to find happiness."
"What about his daughter?" I ask shyly.
"Well, that is a story, all right. I blame myself for that one."
I frown, looking at her.
"His daughter isn't with you, is she?"
"No, it's just Edward had not gotten…" she stops and looks at William, "some in years. It was at Emmett's and my wedding. Kate is family, a cousin of mine. She said she was looking to get lucky, and I pointed Edward out to her, thinking that he needed some fun. It turns out, her biological clock was ticking and she wanted a baby. She used him for that. When I found out she had a three-year-old that looked like Edward, I just about killed her. I would have, if my stupid husband didn't pull me off her. Edward has been fighting with her for five years to get to see Irina. He's so great with her, but Kate makes it so hard on him. What really pisses me off is she's got some new twenty-one-year-old guy playing house with her right now. Kate has even gotten Irina to start calling him daddy in front of Edward."
She takes a deep breath and I can see how angry she is.
"Edward likes you, and I mean really likes you. This is the first time in a long time I've seen him get so attached so quickly to someone. I know that you were hurt by your ex..." She stops talking and blinks a few times. "Just… if you need a friend to talk to, you know, girl talk, call me."
She hands me a card with her home and cell numbers on it.
"But you're my doctor?"
"So, we can still be friends—and don't tell Edward I told you. He'll kick my ass. And for the record, you can call me Rose."
I give her a nod and she winks at me before leaving the room.
The next few days pass with William staying in the hospital. Each day Edward drops in to see us. It wasn't just to see me when he stops by, it was to see William, too, and I love that about him.
"Okay, William, I am happy to tell you that you get to go home today," Dr. Cullen says with a smile.
"Yay," William says, clapping his hands. "Here," he holds up the fire truck and Dr. Cullen chuckles.
"That's for you to keep."
William smiles brightly and then leaps into Dr. Cullen's arms. I watch as he hugs my son and I feel a hand slip into mine. I turn and there is Edward, and I smile at him.
"What can I say? We're a family that likes to hug."
I remove my hand from his and his smile drops, until I wrap my arms around him.
"Yes," I whisper as I stand on my tiptoes, trying to reach his ear.
"Yes?" Edward says softly back.
"The date, if you still want to?"
"Yeah, of course I still want to," he replies.
"Would you be okay with dinner at my place? I would like to tell you about some of my past. I need to know if it will be a problem or not."
I feel his lips on the top of my head as they move toward my ear.
"I would love dinner at your house, and you don't need to tell me anything if you're not ready. You have to know, I really like you and nothing's going to change that."
He lets me go and helps me get everything ready to take William home.
I look in the mirror, fixing my dress and taking deep breaths. A week has gone by since the day William left the hospital. Bree was such an amazing help with the bakery, and she even made special cookies for William for a welcome home treat. She wouldn't accept extra pay for the days she worked alone. I know I've made a great friend in her.
When Mike heard that I had a date tonight, he said that he and Jessica would look after William. Since it's a Friday night, they're keeping him overnight for me. I was very nervous, and I told them both over and over they could call anytime. If he wanted to come home, he could. Jessica gave me that reassuring nod, but it didn't help any. I had told Jessica and Mike about my plan to tell Edward about my past.
I hear the doorbell, and I have a bit of nerves sprinkling down my spine. I walk down the stairs and answer the door. There stands Edward, looking as handsome as always and holding a nice bouquet of flowers.
"Are those beautiful flowers for me?" I ask in shock.
Flowers are not something I get often…or ever.
"Of course, they're for you, but they don't look nearly as beautiful as you do," he says, handing them to me.
"They're so pretty, thank you," I say, feeling my face get warm.
After taking a deep whiff of the fragrant, colorful bunch, I smile at him again.
"Oh goodness, come in, Edward," I say, still smiling, but mildly embarrassed that I didn't invite him in first. "These smell so wonderful, and they are really lovely."
"Still not as lovely as you," he replies.
I feel my face get warm and I wave him in. We climb the stairs that lead to my living area. The night goes by with us laughing and him telling me what a great cook I am. We move to the sofa, and he plays lightly with my hair while we talk.
"I was eighteen and Renee, my mom, took me to a baseball game. She was dating the coach, Phil. That's how I met Jacob. He was six years older than me, and the first guy to take any notice of me."
Edward frowns a little.
"I was in the land of the skinny girls in bikinis, and as you can see, I'm not a beach babe."
"You are to me," Edward says.
I chuckle, shaking my head, intent on getting this all out of the way before we talk about things between us.
"Anyway, he was sweet and told me I was sexy, and that he loved me. The first six months went by quick with no problems. He had told me a few times that he had a temper problem, and if he was ever angry around me, I should leave and just walk way.
"We had been dating seven months when he drank around me the first time. Some guy winked at me, said I was the sexiest girl he had ever seen. Then he told Jacob he was a lucky sonofabitch. Jacob was real quiet the whole way home. Then, as soon as we got through the door, he was yelling at me, asking who the guy was and how often we screwed. He was so upset and I tried to calm him down. He told me to leave, to get out.
"I should've walked away, but I wanted to talk it out. He hit me and I fell to the floor in shock, and he walked away. The next day he kept asking me why I didn't leave when he asked me to. He told me his last girlfriend cheated on him and that's why he had trust issues. He said that my smiling at the guy's compliments and the way I behaved with the guy brought it back. In a way, he made me feel to blame for our fight, so I took him back.
"He almost went back to the way he was, but he would say odd comments about what I had on, or how I looked. On my nineteenth birthday, he asked me to marry him, and I said yes. We married two weeks later. It was three months later, when the comments started to become harsher and cruel.
"He then started to push me, squeeze my hand, pull at my hair, do whatever he could to punish me in little ways. We were married six months when he started to really physically beat me."
I stop and clear my throat, swallowing to hold back the tears. Thing is, I'm not crying because of loss or pain, but over my own stupidity, which is why I go to therapy.
"He had hit me outside a few times in front of others. He actually had people say that there was a time and a place for that kind of thing, and in front of others was not one of them. It made me feel that what Jacob was doing was okay, as long as it stayed inside our home.
"It was his birthday, and we had been married for eight months when I made him a nice dinner, but he was late coming home. The team took him out for drinks. When he got home, dinner was ruined. He threw it all on the ground and stomped on it as he screamed at me.
"The next thing I knew, he had me on my knees on the floor, grabbing a fist full of my hair. He made me eat it off the floor like a dog, before dragging me to bed. I told him it hurt, that I wanted him to stop, but he kept going. Once he was done, he beat me again, and it took two days before I could move out of the bed."
I wipe the tears that I have falling and take a breather. Edward continues to remain silent and just lightly strokes my hand or plays with my hair.
"I asked my mom, and you know what she said?" I ask, looking at Edward, who looks to be in pain as he holds back his own tears. "She told me that a man can't rape his wife, it's his for the taking."
I chuckle, shaking my head.
"So I stayed, and it got worse. He stopped when I fell pregnant, but I was still scared. Then that night happened. I was twenty-two and almost to the end of my pregnancy. My due date was seven weeks away, when he beat me and set our house on fire. As you know, Mike saved us.
"It was during the court case that Charlie got in contact with me. I didn't read his letter until after the court case was dealt with, but he had died three days before I read it. He left me a load of money and a house. I found everything he kept, and I saw it was Renee, not him, that kept me from knowing him.
"The court stripped Jacob of all of his parental rights. His parents then fought for grandparents' rights, and after six long months in court, their rights were also abolished. Up until that was settled, I was unable to move away or do anything.
"As soon as I was free of them, I went to my father's and cleaned out everything and decided I wanted a fresh start. So, I bought the bakery here, which I found online late one night. I had a list of six different places, and I wrote one place on each card. I put them down and let William pick the card, and this is what he chose," I say, not knowing what else I can tell him. I think I went over everything.
"Can I touch—hug you?" Edward asks softly, and I nod as he pulls me to him.
"It pisses me off that you were so badly hurt, and that he did the things he did to you. Him, his parents, your mom—everyone let you down. But I swear, Bella, I will not hurt you like that—I couldn't. Hell, yeah, I get angry, I get mad; I've even broken a plate or two. However, I've never raised my hand to a woman. I have been in four fights my whole life and I'm thirty-five."
Edward moves, sitting more so he's facing me.
"I would very much like to kiss you," he says softly as he moves closer to me.
He looks in my eyes, edging closer to me. I nod at him and feel him let out a breath when his lips meet mine. The kiss starts off slow and soft, then it heats up, and he pulls me onto his lap. The whole time I was with Jacob, and all the boys I have kissed before him—none of them made me feel like this. It's almost as if he has lit a fire inside of me that needs him, this kiss, to stay alight.
"This may very well be the best kiss of my life, but if I don't go, I'm going to end up taking you to bed," Edward says in a mumble as he continues kissing and pulling me closer to him.
"I want to," I say with a moan.
"What?" Edward asks.
"I want to take you to bed," I tell him honestly.
Edward stops kissing me and looks me in the eye.
"It's okay, I can wait. I'm planning on seeing you again," he says softly.
I swallow and smile at him.
"I know, but I still want to have sex with you. It's been a long time since I was last with anyone, and more to the point, I want to have sex. You've made me feel more in that kiss than I've ever felt before."
Edward looks at me as if he's in pain.
"I really want you, too, but I don't want to fuck things up by moving too fast. So I'll meet you part way. How about we keep kissing..."
I kiss him, interrupting him, and he chuckles, pulling back a little.
"And I'll stay over with you, but nothing more than PG-13 will happen, okay?"
I nod, knowing that he's right.
"I'm falling in love with you, and I know you're feeling something for me. But we both have a jaded past; we've both been hurt, so slow and steady will win the race."
I move off him and offer him my hand. He takes it and I lead him to my bedroom.
It's been two months and things between Edward and I are going great. We became an official couple the day after our first date. When Edward's not working, he's with William and me. We even spend time at his place, and William loves it there.
I have met his daughter, Irina, through Skype. She seems very lovely, but I can see just how lonely she is. She reminds me of myself at her age, and her mom, Kate, seems to be acting very much the way Renee did. This brings fear into my heart, as I know where it led me in my life.
When Kate again changed her mind about bringing Irina over to see Edward, I called Aro. Aro is a semi-retired lawyer, who also held a judge's chair in Magistrate Court. Aro is the man who I trusted to help me beat Jacob's parents when I had their rights abolished. Aro was a lawyer in the children's court for twenty years, and then a judge for thirty. I knew that he'd help Edward see Irina more.
Edward and William have been getting on great and bonding with each other; and right now they're both at the park practicing for T-ball. Edward has picked up on sign language so fast; it's quickly becoming fluent for him. I smile down at the birthday cake, sending a silent prayer to God that Kate doesn't change her mind at the last second.
Edward went along with my idea and is having a late birthday party for Irina; this will be the first time I meet his mom, sister, brother-in-law, and Irina face-to-face. Out of all of them, I'm just hoping Irina likes me as much as she seems to when we talk on Skype.
"It looks great, sweetheart," Edward says, wrapping his arms around my waist as he looks at Irina's cake.
"You smell great," I say, leaning against him.
"I'm all sweaty," he says huskily.
I turn and nod, tilting my head and looking up so I can see him.
"You smell like a man—my man," I purr at him.
I grin as he closes in to kiss me. He pulls back and gives me a few pecks on my head. I love this warm and loving side of him.
"I'll get William cleaned up and then take a quick shower before dinner," he says.
"Okay," I respond.
He kisses me again and then walks off and I get back to the task at hand.
I'm just putting out dinner when my two men appear, both grinning at me.
"Did you have a good time, William?" I ask, smiling at my son as I sign to him.
"Yes," he says with a nod of his fist. "Edward showed me jump and catch."
I frown, looking at Edward who just holds his hands up.
"He's fine, sweetheart, not a scratch on him."
I roll my eyes, getting the plates and place them on the table.
"Mommy," William says just after we start eating and I look at him. "Can I join Edward's team?"
I look at Edward, who's giving his dinner plate all of his attention.
"Would you like to join Edward's team?" I ask a little shakily.
My son gives me a look, which basically says, are you slow or something?
"Mommy, Edward will keep me safe. You don't need to worry."
William pats my hand soothingly, and I look to Edward who's grinning away.
"What have you been teaching him?"
"That we men take care of our women," he says in a caveman-like voice and I can't help but laugh. William even throws in a fist to chest bump.
We eat dinner and enjoy our time together, but I know Edward will have to leave soon. Before I know it, Edward stands up and pushes in his chair. He comes back in and stands beside me.
"Okay, little man and my darling sweetheart, I need to head to work."
Edward leans over, kissing my head and he ruffles William's hair. I pout at him, knowing that I'll be alone tonight.
"Keep safe," I tell him as he kisses my cheek.
"Always," he replies, picking up his bag before giving us as wave and walking out.
"Mommy?" I look back to William.
"Yes," I say and sign.
"Is Edward my daddy?"
I feel a little choked up at what he just asked.
"He's mommy's—I mean—why do you ask?" I stutter out, not sure how to answer this, since Edward's more of a father than he's ever known.
"Dads do what Edward does, only I don't call him Daddy. Is he, Mommy, is Edward my daddy, and can I call him that?"
I take a deep breath and blink a lot to help stop the tears.
"No, I'm sorry... but he's not... well..." I grip my hair, knowing he's right. Edward does do everything a dad is meant to do with William. "William, can I answer you another day about all of this?"
William smiles a little and nods. I hate that he's sad because I didn't say yes.
"Can I watch Fireman Sam?" I nod my fist, not saying anything, and William runs off into the living room to find it on Netflix.
The rest of the night I feel awkward. William must have picked up on it, because he didn't even ask for the second story he usually wants. Once he's asleep, I start to pace the floor with the phone in my hand. I keep dialing the station house number, only to not hit that last number. I'm startled and jump when the phone rings.
I answer the call with a normal as I can, "Hello."
"Hey, sweetheart, I wanted to call before you went to sleep," Edward says, and I lose it and break down crying.
"Bella, what's wrong?" Edward says, sounding panicky.
"William asked me earlier if you were his daddy and if he could call you that," I sob out.
"Sweetheart, you're crying too hard and I can't make you out; take a deep breath for me."
"I... William asked if you were his daddy... I said no, but he looked heartbroken," I say.
"Fuck, sweetheart, I'm going to come over. I'll see you soon."
Before I can respond to him, he's already hung up. It only feels like a few seconds have passed and I'm in Edward's arms.
"He asked if you were his daddy—he wants to call you Daddy—I told him you weren't, but you are... you are," I say and sign to him, knowing that I'm still sobbing and hard to understand.
"Oh, sweetheart, it's going to be okay. I will go by whatever you say. If you don't want him to call me Daddy, I'll understand."
The hurt in Edward's voice only makes me sob harder.
"No, I want him to—but it's too fast—and what about Irina? It's not fair to her."
Edward pulls me close to him.
"We'll work it out; I promise you, we'll work it out."
I nod against his chest and just let him hold me. I start to fall asleep as he runs his hand up and down my back. After a while I'm feeling a little calmer. I feel him kiss me as he picks me up, carrying me to our bed.
"We'll work it out, okay?"
I nod at him sleepily with a slight smile.
"I love you," I say and he grins, winking at me.
"I know, and I love you, too," he says and kisses my head.
"Now, get some sleep and I'll see you in the morning. Night, sweetheart," he says softly, walking back out the door.
I'm more relaxed and feel better than I did earlier. I finally drift off to sleep. I wake when I feel someone touching my face lightly.
"Hey," I say sleepily and Edward grins at me.
"Hey, sorry, I didn't mean to wake you."
I move and pull him as I do. "All right, love, I'm coming to bed, just let me take my clothes off first," Edward chuckles, as he kicks off his shoes. Soon, he's stripped down to his boxers and he gets under the covers next to me.
I hum as I smell him.
"You're really strange sometimes," he jokes, kissing my neck.
"No, I just like your smell," I say, moving closer to him. "How long do we have?" I ask.
"About three hours," he tells me.
I nod and start to run my fingers through his hair, and within minutes he's fast asleep.
I wake, seeing that we have overslept. "Edward, come on, we need to move, we've overslept," I say, getting out of bed.
"Okay, love," Edward says softly and rolls over. I pick up the pillow and hit him with it.
"Get up, you need to take a shower, get dressed and to the airport. We only have two hours."
"Okay, I'm up," Edward says, rubbing his eyes.
I kiss his lips and move out of the room to find William sitting there watching Fireman Sam and eating Lucky Charms.
I tap his shoulder softly, getting him to face me.
"Hey, baby, why didn't you wake me?"
He shrugs his shoulders.
"I think you just wanted to eat your breakfast and watch cartoons," I say and he gives me a sheepish smile.
I take the box from him and stick my tongue out.
"Edward's in the shower and I'm making breakfast. You can watch this, and when Edward's eating, I'll get you ready." William smiles and gives me the thumbs up.
Once Edward is done, I find him and William talking. I frown, looking at them, and Edward tells me that William asked for him to help him get ready for the party. I nod, leaving them to get washed and dressed, knowing we don't have a lot of time. We're all just ready when Rose's car pulls up outside.
"Okay, I'll be there real soon and you'll get to meet my daughter," Edward says, kissing my lips.
I nod at him before I kiss him back.
"Good luck," I say, and he gives me one last kiss before getting in his car. I take deep a breath as Rose drives us to Edward's parents' house.
"You'll be fine," Rose says without looking my way. "They really are just your average family. It's not like they are the royal family or anything."
I roll my eyes at her. "It's okay for you, you're a doctor. What do I do… make cakes?"
"The best cakes I have ever tasted," Rose says as she stops the car. I look at the house and see that it looks just like every other house. I let out the breath of apprehension I was holding.
"What… did you think they had a mansion that was like four floors, deep in the forest with iron gates?"
"Something like that," I mutter and make a face as Rose chuckles at me.
"This is the real world, honey. He's just a doctor and she works as a book editor."
Rose helps me in with all of the food I made. She taps on the door, which is ajar, causing it to open, and walks in.
"Hey, Rose, let me help you," a woman's voice says.
I look to see she looks a lot like Edward. This has to be his mother.
"Esme, this is Edward's Bella and her son William. William, this is Esme, she's Edward's mommy and she makes yummy drinks."
"Really?" William asks as he signs to her.
Esme crouches down to his level.
"Yes," she says, along with a nod of her fist.
"You can sign, too?" William says and signs happily. I know he enjoys having more people to talk with.
"Yes, but I'm just learning, so can you help me do it right?"
William nods his fist at her and hugs her to him.
I help set up and Esme steals William away from me. I'm in turmoil on how I feel about it. On one hand, I know that it's good for him, but on the other, I'm a little jealous that he's allowing people in his life so easily.
We are just about done when Edward walks in with his daughter, and also a hint of a frown on his face. I look behind him and see a woman, who I'm guessing to be Kate. I smile, hoping to relax Edward, but it falls when Garrett walks in behind Kate.
"Bella?" Garrett exclaims. "Your mom's going out of her mind," Garrett yells and I feel myself shake a little.
"This is not the place for this conversation, but as for her, I can't say that I care," I say lowly to him and he glares at me.
"Why did you leave?" he demands in my ear, but I walk away.
"How do you know my daddy, Garrett?" Irina asks in a small voice.
"He's my mother's husband's brother," I say as I look to see everyone looking at me.
"Hey, William, you got a hug for me?" Garrett says and frowns when William doesn't answer him. "I thought that the implant was meant to make him hear?"
I hear Edward growl and I take his hand in mine.
"It helps, but he still has problems; he only has forty percent of his hearing," I say, trying not to yell at him. "This is a day of celebration for Irina, so shall we deal with this later?" I ask, knowing that my irritation is loud and clear.
Garrett rolls his eyes at me.
"Oh, we will talk later," he says before he walks away with his head in the air.
"We need to talk about who you let around my daughter," Kate says harshly to Edward.
"Edward," Irina says.
My mouth drops open and I look at Irina.
"Can I go and open my gift you said I had now?"
"Yes," Edward says. "I'm your daddy." I can hear the heartbreak in his voice.
"Why is she calling you by your first name?" Rose asks, glaring at Kate.
"Garrett is her dad! He's the one that sees her day in and day out, not him," she snarls, pointing to Edward. "He's the one that helps her with her homework, takes her to the doctor when she's sick. I mean really," she turns to Edward, "just sign these, Edward, it's for the best."
I look to the papers that she just handed Edward and I feel my heart beating faster.
"ARE YOU OUT OF YOU FREAKING MIND?" Edward yells, making me jump as he lets my hand go. "THERE'S NO WAY IN HELL I WILL SIGN MY DAUGHTER AWAY!"
Kate rolls her eyes at him.
"I'll get the court to do it; you only see her six weeks a year. Besides, you've got that," she says, pointing to me, like she has a bad taste in her mouth, "to play house with."
"Get out, now," I say and Kate looks at me.
"Irina, it's time to go," she calls out.
"No, you are not taking her—you are leaving—she's staying here."
Kate shakes her head at me.
"I'll call the police."
"Go right ahead and do that; here," I say, handing her my cell and she looks at me confused.
"You see, they will tell you to go; it is his right to see his daughter. The court order was signed this month. He has a right to see his daughter. You can't stop him from visiting. Oh, just so you know, he has a new lawyer, Aro," I say and Kate pales. She looks at Garrett and then me.
"See you in court; be sure to say goodbye to Irina." Kate walks away with Garrett, without even looking in on Irina.
"What was that?" Edward asks a little calmer.
"That was you getting your rights. She can't take Irina away as this is the two weeks the court has down as your time with her. Go to Irina and I'll call Aro for an emergency court hearing."
Edward does what I ask and I get to work at filling in Aro on what happened. Still feeling shocked at seeing Garrett again, but also over how angry Edward got, it has been a crazy day. I have never seen him like that before and it scared me a little; well, maybe a lot.
Once I have William down for the night, I go to my room to fold some clothes before heading to dreamland myself.
"Sweetheart," Edward calls out.
I look to the door, seeing an ashamed Edward standing there. He walks to me, and as he goes to touch me, my instant reflex is to jump away from him, even though I don't mean to.
"Fuck," Edward says quietly. "I'm so sorry that I scared you. Just those papers," Edward says, as his eyes fill up with tears. "I wouldn't have touched her or you. I can control myself. I swear I can."
I touch his face and he kisses my hand.
Edward shakes his head at me as I talk.
"Yes, it is; this is my problem. You're allowed to be upset, you were within your rights to scream and shout."
"No, I hurt you and made you afraid of me."
"I see Jasper twice a week," I say and Edward nods at me. "Would you come with me? He may be able to help with what happened, so we'll know what to do if it happens again."
"It won't happen again," he claims and I chuckle.
"It will. We each have a child of our own, who are our number ones. You're a fireman, that's a very stressful job. We're in love, we will argue, it's a part of being in love. There'll be times I'm unreasonably bitchy, and there'll be times when you're a heartless asshole."
Edward chuckles at my descriptiveness.
"But let's face it head on, because I have had twenty-six years of hiding and pushing shit out of the way, and it doesn't work."
Edward and I talk into the early hours of the morning. He then takes me to bed, where he and I make up completely by making love to each other. It's the second most magical night of my life, just coming in behind the night I found out my son was going to live.
Aro got to work and got a court hearing for the following week. Kate's lawyer outlines that Edward has a dangerous job, and that he's only seen her a few weeks out of the year. He then moved on to say that Kate was happy and set to marry the love of her life.
Where Edward was dating a woman with a kid that had problems, and the woman comes from an abuse-filled life.
Aro smiles as he shows the court the amount of times Edward talks to Irina over the phone and Skype. He then spoke about me and my son, showing that I've turned my life around, and despite what I went through, I'm winning. He then pointed out the fact Edward had learned how to communicate with my son, where Kate's new lover—my child's step-uncle—has done nothing.
Lastly, Aro showed that Irina spent ninety percent of her time with nannies. He brought up the fact that there were times Kate even took her to parties when she did have her. It was hard to hear that Irina was seeing a therapist, because her doctor thought that she was depressed.
After four days, the judge awarded custody to Edward, saying that he felt that the girl needed a change. He felt that we could give her a more stable home and Edward had more of a support system. Kate will get supervised visits for the next year, when he would review the case again.
"Oh my God, I got my girl—I got my girl for a year," Edward says, hugging me.
"I hope you're happy! You just ripped my heart out," Kate screams and I let out a breath.
"Did he tell you why I don't talk to my mom—the woman who raised me all by herself?" I ask Kate.
Kate shakes her head at me.
"Because she, my mother, kept my dad from me. She didn't love him; therefore, she thought I shouldn't either. I felt so rejected my whole life, not knowing what I did wrong for my dad not to care, or love me. My mom would brush me off like it didn't matter.
"When she was angry at him, she would say his name over and over again like it was a bad taste in her mouth. Until I started saying it, too, even to him. Then there were the men. 'Hey, Bella, come and meet your new dad.' It was every freaking month or so, well until Phil.
"I've had six 'dads' between the ages of five to ten, and they all left. When she met Phil, he stayed. But, then she started to leave me behind when she went places with Phil. By the time I was eighteen, I wanted to kill myself, because I didn't feel wanted, needed, or loved. I felt rejected and alone in life.
"Jacob latched on to that, and used it. I told my mom so many times that Jacob scared me; she did nothing. She knew he cheated on me, but she made me feel like it was my fault—that I did something to make him do that. When he left me to die, I woke up afraid of him coming to finish me off. When I was afraid my son may die, you know what she did?"
Kate shakes her head at me.
"She left; she went some place tropical on a nice relaxing vacation. Charlie, my dad wanted to be with me, but she blocked him, so he couldn't come to me. Even during my court case, she stopped him, but I found out when I went to see him that he had passed away. Then I found out everything she did and it was for her—to make her feel better. It was never about me or what I needed, and you, you're just like her!"
Kate looks at me like I just slapped her.
"What? No. I would never allow a man or anyone to hurt her."
"But you are; you allow a man you just met to be called Dad. Did she ask for this or did you put it in her mind? It's not fair to this man right here. Edward is a great dad, and you were stopping them from having that great bond. This time next year, how would you like to hear Irina calling me Mom?"
"She would never," Kate says vehemently.
"Think about it, Kate; think about the pain, because that's what you did to him. Grow up and think of what is best for her. Because I can tell you moving from place to place, thinking her dad doesn't love her, or doesn't care, is not what's best for her."
I pick up my bag and walk away. I sit down on a bench and start to take small breaths. Some people just piss me off. Okay, so you're not in love anymore, great, but you love your child. If you do love your child, then it should be easy to do what's best for them, even if it means sitting in a room with someone you no longer love.
It's different if the dad is like Jacob and is a danger. I mean, if he'd only have cheated on me, and we split because of that, then I would do my best to make sure he and William talked and saw each other. However, Jacob is a danger and I think that's what gets me really mad. My child's father doesn't care. There are so many children out there who have deadbeat dads. Yet, there's these women who think because they push the kid out, they have more rights. Those are worse than deadbeat dads, because they use their child as a tool to hurt their ex.
"Sweetheart," Edward says and he wipes away my tears, "come on. Let's go get the kids and go out for the night."
I nod at him and he hugs me to him.
It's been a year and what a year it has been. Irina fought, screamed, yelled, and smashed up Edward's house, but he never gave up. He stuck with it and told her time and again that he loved her. I still remember the day that it all changed.
She was fighting again and went out back of Edward's parents' house. There's a small hole in the fence that she slid through. Just a little down from there is a small lake and she slipped and fell in. Sadly, she didn't know how to swim, and it was William who saw and raised the alarm before jumping in to save her. I've never been so scared or proud of my son.
A little later, she asked him why he saved her. He said that she's not been that nice to him, and he signed to her that he loved her. He even told her that he wanted to be her hero, just like her daddy. It was the first time Edward and I saw her cry. It seemed to be her breaking point; after that she let all of us in slowly.
It was, in fact, only one month later that she had asked me about William's dad. I told her only that he was in jail for hurting me, and that he didn't love or want William. She again cried.
That night, after William went to bed, she approached Edward and I, saying that she thought it would be good for William to call Edward Daddy, as she would also like to start calling him Dad again. The smile on Edward's face was so large that I thought he would hurt himself.
The last six months have been so much better. In fact, Edward and I, after talking to the kids, have moved in together just last month. The only real downside for Irina is that she has only seen her mom a total of forty days in the past year.
It broke Edward's heart a little when he found out that it was roughly the same amount of time she usually spent with her anyway. Now today, we're back in court, where I'm holding Edward's hand, as the judge looks through the papers.
"Well, I have spent the last week reviewing this case, and I have had reports from everyone. Where I know that the first month Irina stayed with you was hard, I've seen and read there has been vast improvements, such that she no longer needs medication."
Edward nods at the judge in acknowledgment.
"Her school reports are also much better, but what really has me is this letter she wrote to me."
I hear Edward swallow. He looks at me as if to ask if I knew, which I didn't.
"She is a lovely young girl. This is what she had to say. She says that you always make time for her, and that she loves that she has a little brother and a friend in Bella," he tells us but looks at me. "She says you have helped her a lot and you seem to be the person who understands her the most."
I feel myself blush as the judge looks at me.
"She talks of how she loves having a structured family. She talks of missing her mother, but it's clear that she wants to stay with you," he says, looking at Edward and me. "Her family, as she puts it. So, I hereby grant full custody of Irina Katrina Cullen..."
Edward and Kate both gasp at the same time, which silences the judge momentarily.
"Irina's request in my meeting with her is to have her name changed to her father's—as it should've been all along. I grant custody of Irina Katrina Cullen to Edward Anthony Cullen. Miss Young, you will have supervised visitation. I will grant you eighty days, which is double of what you saw her last year. If you want more than that, speak with Mr. Cullen. I trust him to be fair in this matter, as it seems he chooses to do what's best for the child."
Kate doesn't even look at us as she storms out of the courtroom.
"She wants my name," Edward says with a small sob.
"I know, I heard," I say, kissing him lightly.
"Do I what?" I ask and he chuckles.
"Want my name?"
"Edward, it's kind of a boy's name and people will look at us if we say I'm Edward and this is my other half, Edward."
Edward rolls his eyes at me.
"You're going to make me say it, aren't you?"
He laughs at me, shaking his head.
"Only if you'll adopt William, so we can all be Cullens?"
He grins and nods at me as he closes in for a kiss.
"I wouldn't have it any other way."
Five years later
Time flies when you're having fun they say and it really does. I'm pacing the floor as I get shooting pains. So much has changed in the last five years. The main one is I'm a married woman again—this time to a great man. The wedding was a small affair, but it was what we wanted.
Irina was my bridesmaid along with Alice and Rose. Edward had William, Jasper, and Emmett. Mike, my hero, gave me away. Everything that day went well, and Edward and I spent the weekend in my apartment, locked away from everyone.
The next thing we did was get the papers drawn up to have Edward adopt William. The adoption almost went off without a hitch, but it brought Renee—sadly—back into my life. I think the time I had been in therapy, and been away from her, made me look at her differently. She was so hateful and angry at me that it confused me. But after two months of her shooting her mouth off and pushing me to move back with her, I contacted the police who issued a restraining order against her.
It took her being arrested before she gave up and left. Irina and William have been getting on great. Irina is just like her dad and picked up sign language quickly. She did so well, she now works volunteering with other kids who have just lost their hearing.
William received another operation and now has almost seventy five percent of his hearing. His seizures have stopped completely—the last one he had was three years ago.
Kate's still around and now with a new man. She still makes me roll my eyes. She now only sees Irina a few days out of the year. It's so heartbreaking to watch Irina when her mom calls to cancel because she needs to work or her new man needs something. But, Edward and I make sure she knows that we are there for her and always will be. She's now fourteen and becoming a young adult, and we know that in a few years she will turn her back on Kate, if Kate's not careful. Irina still sees a therapist, but not very often, and usually only when Kate's around.
Edward's still a fireman, and still as sexy as he was the first time I really took notice of him in his uniform. My bakery is doing great, and Bree is still a constant help. Irina even comes in and helps out once a week for extra pocket money. She is surprisingly very good at it, and enjoys learning to decorate with Bree and me.
"Sweetheart, take nice deep breaths."
I glare at Edward and he just grins back at me. I have been in labor with our first, and only, joint biological child for twenty-four freaking hours.
"I'll show you breathing," I say harshly to him, before sobbing out in pain. "It hurts!"
I feel Edward rubbing my back.
"That's not helping, please make it stop. I can't do this anymore."
Edward leans in and kisses my forehead.
"You are doing great, baby."
"Oh, fuck, help," I yell.
"Oh, I think someone's crowning," comes a cheerful voice and my head snaps up.
"Whoever could that be," I snark.
The chirpy nurse just takes a step back from me.
"I'll get the doctor," she cheers.
"Why did I get the happy nurse, who's clearly on more drugs than I am?" I ask.
Edward just swallows and shrugs.
"Don't let her near me or the baby. I don't think she knows what she's doing."
Both our eyes go to the nurse, who's looking at the equipment with a clear look of confusion.
"I swear to God she's on something."
I start weeping again. Here I am being a bitch and he's all nice and sweet.
"What's wrong now?"
"I'm a horrible wife."
"No, you're not."
"I am, too," I cry out and he kisses me.
"Okay, Mommy, are you ready to push yet?"
"Oh God," I say, seeing that the chirpy nurse was not a nurse—she's, in fact, my doctor.
One hour later, our son, Kiering was born. He is followed quickly by our daughter Cassandra and our family is now really complete. Yeah, go figure, one was hiding and we get two for the price of one.
It's been a long road these past ten years from when I was left to die by a man I once loved, but with strength, hope, faith, and some good people, I've come back stronger than ever before.
A/N: Thank you all for reading this, please leave us a review and let us know what you think. We hope that you enjoyed this and thanks again for all the love you show us with each and every story we post. Nikky, Jess and Kasi~