A/N: Merry Monday, friends and neighbors.
Fic update: Oblivious chapter is done, so you can expect that soon. Little Dreamer will update sooner than later because I DO want to set it on a posting schedule for Mondays (Oh, give it one more week before I decide schedules are for people whose brains don't skip as much as mine does-LET ME HOLD ON TO MY DELUSIONS).
And without further adieu...the Nightmare epilogue.
"Oh, god. Oh, fuck. Fuck god."
Edward lifted his head from between her legs, and Bella groaned. He grinned at her. "You have a filthy mouth," he said, and he tsked. Then he tsked again with his lips against her clit. Bella's hips bucked up against him as she cried out.
Her hands flailed. She scrambled for a hold on the headboard, then grabbed the comforter, then a fistful of his hair. His tongue at her clit, his fingers inside her, Bella tensed. There was that moment of fear just before she lost complete control of herself, but it was over quickly. She let her orgasm take her, screaming with the strength of it.
It was her fifth orgasm. Their daughter was ten months old.
When Bella came back to herself, her breath calmed to something less than hyperventilation, she glanced down to find Edward smiling serenely at her, his head resting against her belly. She stroked his hair adoringly, tracing the shell of his ear. Now she understood what was meant by the term 'generous lover'.
Sex with Mike had only ever been about him-when he wanted, how he wanted, and he didn't give a damn about Bella's opinion on the matter. He'd given her orgasms only so she couldn't say he was selfish. Even in that, he'd done it like a chore he wanted to get over as quickly as possible. It worked only because Bella's body was naturally responsive; it didn't take much to make her come.
Edward, on the other hand, was slow. Each caress, each flick of his tongue was heavy with what he felt for her. It wasn't a means to an end-the goal of making her come. He was worshipping her and would only consider his adulation complete when she was unraveled for him. Always, when he did this, he teased and titillated her until every inch of her skin was alive and aware and crying for climax. He made her feel as powerful as a god, and in return, she gave over control of her body, trusting he would never, ever, use it against her.
Slowly, Bella was rewriting all she knew about sex. It wasn't something to be feared or conquered. It was something to be enjoyed in the very least, and at most…
Bella hooked her finger under Edward's chin, drawing him up her body. They kissed languidly, Bella licking her own taste from his lips. They rolled together, limbs tangling. Bella reached between them to guide him to her entrance. She moaned when he thrust inside her; she was still over-sensitive from her orgasm, but when they were joined, she felt a deep sense of peace and rightness. "I love you," she whispered against his lips.
"Bella," he murmured, the word a prayer and a declaration wrapped up in one.
Some time later, they were both calm and cool again. Bella lay on her side and Edward on his belly. They were staring at each other, speaking the lover's silent language.
Just as Bella's eyelids began to grow too heavy, the baby monitor squawked to life. Edward started to roll over, but Bella grabbed him by the arm. His eyes narrowed, and she squinted right back at him, locked in the same silent battle they'd fought a number of times.
Bella was of the mindset that Emilia could and would self-soothe if her father wasn't so ready to pick her up every time she cried. It was only natural that Edward wanted to cater to Emilia's every whim, comforting her because he hadn't been able to comfort Xavier, but Bella was trying to ween them both before the baby grew up spoiled. Theoretically, Edward agreed with her, but he had a hard time letting his baby girl cry.
Emilia's whimpers took a turn though. Both Edward and Bella were used to her different cries, and this one was the rarest. Her whimpers escalated to cries of full blown fright. A nightmare, no doubt.
"Da. Da. Da," she chanted, miserable and scared.
Edward and Bella both moved to get out of bed, but Edward waved her back. "She wants me." He never was able to keep the broad grin off his face when he said that. "You sleep."
His smile was so proud, Bella never had the heart to point out that Emilia called everything "Da". She and Edward were both Da. So were Esme, Carlisle, her uncles, and aunts. Lots of people on the television were Da.
Emmett's kids weren't Da, though. Bella wondered what that was all about. Baby logic.
By that time, Edward's soft voice cut into her musing. "Emi. Emi, baby. I have you. Daddy's here. Shhh, little love. Hush now. It's okay."
Emilia continued to cry, softer now, muffled as she had likely pressed her face against her father's robe. For a couple of minutes there was only the sound of Emilia's snuffles and Edward's gentle, "shh, shh, shh." Then, he began to sing.
Bella hunkered down in bed, pleased. She loved it when he sang. She hadn't even known he could, that he had such a nice voice, until they brought Emilia home.
"You are the woman that I've always dreamed of. I knew it from the start. I saw your face, and that's the last I've seen of my heart."
Bella curled up on her side, squeezing herself, unbearably happy. Moments like these, she still couldn't believe how lucky she was. Once upon a time, fate had taught her that the consequences of making a mistake could shatter her body, soul, and psyche. So how the consequences of this mistake, how she'd picked a random stranger out of a sea of strangers and ended up with this, Bella couldn't quite wrap her head around.
Still tired from before, it didn't take long for Edward's soft crooning to have its desired effect. Wrapped safe in their bed with his scent around her and his voice soft in the room, Bella fell asleep.
When she woke some time later, Edward's half of the bed was still empty. Bella frowned, pushing herself upright as she blinked at the clock. Only half an hour had passed, but there was no sound from the baby monitor.
She groped for her robe and went in search of her boyfriend. More than likely, he'd fallen asleep in the rocking chair. Last time he'd done that, his neck had been stiff all day.
The door to the nursery was open, so Bella peered in. She found Edward not in the rocking chair but stretched out on the bed that had been hers for a time. She had long since given up the idea she wanted to sleep away from Edward, but they hadn't moved the bed out as of yet.
Leaning against the doorjamb, Bella watched for a minute. Her heart panged with a memory, her lips tugging downward for the first time in hours. Not so many months before, Emilia had come down with her very first cold.
It was a bad time for both of them. Bella was a natural first time mother, half-convinced that her baby's every sniffle was a national emergency. Edward, of course, had already been through the worst case scenario, and tried without success to pretend he didn't believe it would happen again. They both wanted to be there for the other, but they'd struggled.
Even after the doctor had assured them repeatedly Emilia was fine, Edward had been almost unbearably selfish. He'd pushed everyone, including Bella, away, insisting on being the one to nurse Emilia back to health. For almost three days, he could hardly be convinced to let her go.
At the time, Bella was more than a little irritated. She'd thought he thought she couldn't be trusted to take care of their daughter. Young as she was, Bella often felt stupid and out of her depth. Edward's family was loving, but they were all much older and more experienced with children.
It wasn't about that, of course. Months ago, Bella had come to the nursery to find Edward in this bed, clutching Emilia to him. The baby was asleep, but he was awake, staring at her, quiet tears running down his cheeks as he listened to her slightly labored breaths.
Now, Bella was startled out of that memory when Edward lifted a hand, awake after all. She took his invitation and went to join her little family. Edward's eyes were on her, soft and happy in the dim light from the nightlight. He lifted the blanket so she could climb in, and Bella did, turning onto her side to face him. She twined their legs together, and Emilia let out a soft grunt, her eyebrows furrowed in annoyance at being jostled. But they smoothed out a few seconds later as she drifted back into a deep sleep between them.
Edward cupped Bella's cheek, and she looked up as he stroked the pad of his thumb across her lips. This moment was the antithesis of the one some months before. Emilia was the picture of health-all easy breaths and her cheeks warm only with baby heat instead of fever. Edward, rather than anguished, was happy. He was only a tired daddy who had fallen asleep soothing his baby from a nightmare.
"It's not so much the things you say to me," Edward sang quietly, picking up the same song from earlier as he looked at Bella. "It's not the things you do. It's how I feel each time you're close to me that keeps me close to you."
He kissed her then, and they snuggled closer together, their daughter healthy and safe between them.
It was strange, because she couldn't really say she'd gotten her life together. She was still stumbling through school, motherhood, and she was far too young, in some ways, for the man beside her. She was still trying to decide what she wanted to do with her life, who she wanted to be, and yet…
Bella wasn't drifting. She had the love and support of a wonderful man. He, in return, had given her not only his love, but his family too. Tomorrow they were going to go to Carlisle and Esme's house, letting their little family integrate into the larger one as they celebrated Bryce and Brent's birthday.
Maybe she wasn't quite sure what she was doing yet, but it was a good life.
Trying to put clothes on a squirming fifteen-month-old was almost never an easy task. Today, though, Emilia was excited about her clothes, which meant she was still and cooperative as possible as Edward dressed her. Everything he was putting on was Emilia-approved today.
Emilia gasped, and Edward glanced up to find her watching him in rapt fascination as he put her new boots on her feet. Her eyes were wide, her lips pursed. Shaking his head, Edward got back to the task of lacing up the boots. "They're pretty, Emi. I'll give you that, but they're not half as pretty as you."
He stepped back, keeping his arm out lest the baby tumble from her perch. "Ooooo," she cooed, kicking her feet out to admire the boots. It took some effort-they were heavy, which he had warned her of at least a million times. She didn't seem to mind. She knew damn well her daddy would carry her whenever she wanted, and even if he didn't, she was too excited about the fact her shoes were miniature platform boots just like her mother's. Well, Emi's were neon orange where Bella's were black, but that was a negligible difference. The little girl had been obsessed with her mother's boots for quite some time, and had been beside herself when her bratty boy-cousins had bought her her very own pair.
She kicked her feet up again, taking in the sparkle-of course they were covered in sequins-and clapped her pudgy hands in sheer delight. She looked up at her father, her grin huge as she giggled. "Pitty!"
Edward laughed and pulled her into his arms, planting a big smooch on her cheek. "Beautiful, baby girl."
At her insistence, Edward set her down on her feet. She swayed, her hands out, and he had to resist the urge to scoop her up again. Taking a deep breath, he took a step backward, giving her room. She touched the gauzy fabric of her punk-skirt reverently, taking in the black and orange stripes, and then she stomped in place, giggling her fool head off before she lost her balance and landed on her padded bottom.
Edward started, but of course, she just looked up at him and giggled merrily. She put her hands on the floor and her butt in the air as she pushed herself back to her feet. He sighed. Had it really only been a couple months before she could barely stand?
The first time she pulled herself to her feet, holding on to the backs of his pants, Emilia had been one day older than her big brother had ever gotten to. She'd hit at least three milestones Xavier had been too sickly to achieve. Her whole life was already so much more than his had been.
Watching his little girl take her first tentative steps in clunky boots, Edward smiled. His heart ached for his son-it always would-but it didn't overshadow his pride at his daughter's achievements. Now, with time and perspective, these moments were all the more precious to him.
No, losing his son only made him cherish all the moments with his daughter all the more.
He still winced when she fell on her ass again, but she was fine. Relaxing, he picked her back up, set her down on the dresser, and began gathering her hair into a ponytail on top of her head. Emi helpfully searched around the dresser-oblivious to the fact moving her head wasn't helping him in the slightest-and proffered him a bow with a skull on it.
"This bow is pink. Your dress is orange," Edward said.
Emilia looked at him and shook the bow.
"Well, okay. Just remember it's your fault if the big kids tease you," he said, and kissed the tip of her nose.
By the time they got out the door, they were, as usual, running late. They hit every red light on the way to the university. By the time they were parked and out of the car, Edward was practically sprinting to get to the small auditorium. He hoped Bella wasn't first up.
"No." Emi said almost as soon as they were in the building. She hated jackets and sweaters. They'd trained her to keep them on outside, but as a result, the second she was indoors, she wanted them off.
"Shh," Edward said, setting her down so he could get her light jacket off. "Remember, we have to be quiet."
Emi put a finger to her mouth. "Shhh."
Picking her up again, Edward moved inside the small performance space. They were just in time. He could see Bella waiting on the steps. Jasper was on stage, praising whomever had just stepped off. He cleared his throat.
"Okay. Now a performance from one of our veterans. Bella Swan. A performance called, uh..." He squinted at the paper. "Nah, nah, nah."
Bella looked like the girl-woman-that had awed him two years before. Her hair was sleek, her dress punk-rock sexy, and those boots… Those boots were still ridiculous and alluring as ever. She exuded confidence he knew for a fact she had to work to feel, but she smiled at Jasper as she took the mic.
"That's Na-na-na, and you should know the title," she said, shaking her head at him. "It's the song you 'sing' with your niece."
Spotting her mother, said niece bounced in Edward's arms excitedly. "Momma! Momma! Momma!"
"Hush," Edward said, trying to get Emi to settle. The little girl struggled, grunting as she tried to get down so she could run as fast as her big orange boots would let her.
Bella heard her baby, and grinned out at the audience, looking for her. She beckoned, and Edward walked forward, setting Emi on the stage and stepping back.
Standing side by side they were a stunning sight. Emilia was Bella's miniature. Brown hair and eyes. Same secretive smile and button nose. Emilia, seeming to notice for the first time everyone in the room was looking at her, put on a big, cheesy grin and waved at the crowd.
Absolutely none of her mother's shyness, apparently.
Bella picked her up and whispered something in her ear. Emi nodded and yelled into the mic, "Na-na-na!" A song that she sang all the time, and the perfect introduction to Bella's poem.
Edward stood back and watched his girls, listening to the words Bella was saying, enjoying the reaction of the crowd. Like the very first time he'd seen her, she knew how to get them going. It was a different kind of mood-so much lighter than her poem of darkness and suffering. It spoke of the uncertainties in life, that the suffering was there, the darkness, but it was interrupted by cries of-
"Na-na-na!" Emi said into the mic, and the crowd laughed.
Grinning, Bella kissed the baby's cheek and leaned in to finish out the poem.
"Once upon a time, I wanted to believe in fairytales
In a gallant prince who could slay my nasty dragon
In happily ever after in a castle in the clouds."
She looked to him and smiled, an intimate smile filled with all the love she had for him. Edward smiled back, beaming, proud, and so very much in love with these two gorgeous human beings.
"Fairytales look different out of Disney's hands
Your princes have nasty dragons too
Sometimes trouble doesn't rear its ugly head
Sometimes trouble sings to you."
"Na-na-na-na," Bella and Emi said together.
"Instead," Bella finished.
The crowd whooped and hollered. Emi, enchanted, clapped back at them. Bella stepped off the stage and into Edward's waiting arms.
A/N: Endless love to Packy 2.0, MyOnlyHeroin, jessypt, barburella, songster, and GinnyW for their support, flails, and naming of fictional babies.
Thank you for coming along with me on another journey. Yes, there is an outtake I have in mind, but I make no promises. You guys mean a lot to me. I hope you know that. Mwah! See you next time.