Chapter One: In Your Eyes
"I can't believe how perfect she is." I cried as I sat on the edge of the hospital bed, looking down at our beautiful baby girl wrapped in pink.
"She really is." Bella agreed as our daughters face pinched. "Thank you for giving me one of the most beautiful little girls."
"I can't believe she's here." I shook my head, reaching down and gently placing my hand on the top of her hatted head. There was a soft knock on the door and the baby squeaked in protest to the visitors who were walking into the room.
"Oh, Bella." Renee gushed when she said her granddaughter in Bella's arms. "She's gorgeous."
"What's her name?" Ava asked excitedly. She was completely impatient at this point since we'd kept the gender a secret from everyone but ourselves. I looked down at Bella and smiled.
"Everyone, we'd like you to meet..." She trailed off as she looked down at the baby. "Paige Alexandra Masen."
"What a pretty name." My Mom gushed as she scooted closer to her first grandchild. I smiled as she looked down lovingly at our daughter and grabbed her hand tightly.
"Mom, you wanna hold her?" I asked when I saw Renee smile at me to let my Mom hold her first.
"Oh, yes please." She gushed as Bella gently placed Paige into my Moms arms. In that moment, I didn't think she would ever let her go and we'd need security to pry her off. But, Mom was willing to share and after a while, handed Paige over to Renee to hold.
Our family stayed in the room with us, passing Paige back and forth, until a nurse came in telling everyone that Bella needed some sleep. Our parents finally put the baby in the plastic bassinet, and left us alone with Ava and Paige. Once everyone was gone, Ava looked up at us in excitement.
"I've always wanted a sister." She said softly as she looked down at the baby. I smiled at her as I placed my hands on her shoulders, giving her a squeeze. "She's really cute."
"She is." Bella agreed before yawning. "I have two beautiful daughters now."
"Was I this cute?" Ava laughed as she went and snuggled up next to Bella.
"You were." Bella agreed as she leaned her head back onto her pillow. She started having contractions yesterday morning and her water finally broke at lunch. We'd been here for almost a day and we were both exhausted. Even though I hated to see her go, Bella needed her sleep so I had to send Ava back with Charlie and Renee so everyone could get some rest.
I spent the entire time Bella was asleep, watching Paige as she slept. She was just so small and innocent and it was still hard to believe that she was mine. Bella and I had created her, and I was just mesmerized by her. Every squawk, jostle, and pinch of her face made me melt and I didn't know how I was ever going to go back to work.
At around dinner time, after Bella had gotten some sleep, there was another knock at the door. Our friends walked through and Alice nearly screamed when she saw the baby in Bella's arms. She was the first one to hold her, and like my mother, I suspected we were going to need security's help getting her back.
"What's her name?" Jasper asked after he'd finally gotten Alice to let her go.
"Paige." I told everyone, and like I predicted, Alice told us that was the perfect name. But, according to Bella, she also said Ava was the perfect name and nothing could top that.
"Where's Hunter?" Bella asked as Jasper handed the baby to Rosalie.
"With Rose's folks." Emmett answered as he looked down at Paige, making the dumbest faces at her. He may not have known much about babies, but he sure knew how to make them smile and laugh. "Shelby has been begging us for more Hunter time."
"She looks just like you, Edward." Rosalie smiled as she stuck her tongue out at Paige. "Look at those eyes already."
"She's got a lot of you in her too, Bells." Alice pointed out as she reached out and grabbed Paige's tiny hand. "I just can't believe she's finally here. I feel like we've been waiting forever."
"You feel like you've been waiting forever?" Bella laughed. After everyone had a chance to hold Paige, we had to kick them out so Bella could feed her. She decided she wanted to try breastfeeding this time around and I wasn't going to argue with her when I read about all of the benefits.
Three days later, it was time to bring our beautiful baby girl home. I buckled her into the seat as Bella slowly walked around the room, gathering her things. I told her I'd do it, but she insisted on doing it herself. Paige fell back asleep immediately after I'd buckled her in and I just smiled at her.
I didn't think I'd ever get enough of her.
"Ready?" I asked when everything was cleaned up. I grabbed the carrier and the diaper bag and headed for the door, but Bella stayed behind. "Bella?"
"I know that I've done this before but that was almost fourteen years ago." She told me. "I don't...what it..."
"Bella," I said softly, walking over to her and putting the carrier back on the bed. "Last time you did this, you were alone. I'm here this time and...you're a great Mom. You always have been."
"Right," She nodded. "We can do this. Oh my gosh, just look at her." She gushed as we looked down at Paige, who was yawning. "Let's go home."
"Please." I smiled as I grabbed the seat again and Bella sat in the wheelchair the nurse had brought in. Another nurse came in and wheeled Bella down the hall so that I could carry the baby. She wheeled us right to the car and helped Bella get into the backseat. I latched Paige into the base of the car seat and jumped up front.
I was definitely one of those new dads who drove way too slow on the way home from the hospital, but I didn't care. I wanted to be absolutely sure my daughter got home safe and I wasn't going a mile over the speed limit. When we got home, Bella rolled her eyes when she saw all of the cars parked out front.
"They did it again." She laughed as I helped her out of the car. "This happened when I brought Ava home from the hospital."
"They're pretty great." I laughed as I grabbed Paige's carrier. We walked up the front path to the door and Bella grabbed her keys to unlock the door. When we opened the door, an group of people yelled surprised, scaring the Paige awake.
"You guys," Bella said as tears filled her eyes. "This happened when I brought Ava home, too."
"You're so damn emotional." Mike laughed, handing Bella a tissue. Mike and his wife had moved to a town about an hour away when she got a job offer. They didn't see much of him anymore, but he was there when it counted. And I was really happy when he was there to meet Paige.
"I can't help it." Bella laughed as Rosalie gave her a hug. We took some time to show Paige off to the people who didn't come to the hospital before taking her upstairs so she could eat and sleep. I let Bella feed her and put her down in our room, and waited downstairs with everyone.
After an afternoon full of congratulations and people coming in and out of the house, the party was finally finished. My parents said their goodbyes, and I knew how much they wanted to stay and spend time with their granddaughter, but their schedules just wouldn't allow it.
"You sure I can't keep her?" Mom asked as she held Paige one final time. "I'll take really good care of her."
"I don't think Bella would allow that." I smiled as I kissed the top of Paige's head. "But, nice try."
"We'll be out here soon hopefully." Dad sighed. They had already come out for Thanksgiving and Christmas since Bella couldn't travel at that point in her pregnancy. I knew they didn't have much vacation time left, and we couldn't travel with the baby for a while.
"We'll FaceTime." I promised, knowing that even though it wasn't as good as in person, it was a good second choice. Mom tearfully gave Paige to my Dad so he could say his goodbyes and went to give Ava a hug goodbye. I knew Ava considered my parents more grandparents than Jake's folks, but that was only because she saw them more. And I knew my parents loved Ava as if she were mine.
Charlie offered them a ride to the airport so I wouldn't have to leave Bella alone, and I went upstairs to see what my girls were up to. I smiled when I walked into our bedroom and heard Ava reading a book to Paige as Bella sat on the bed with the baby in her arms.
"Goodnight voices everywhere." Ava whispered and leaned down and kissed Page on the cheek. She was already such an amazing big sister, and it was so clear how excited she was for this. I just hoped Paige's screams in the middle of the night didn't sour Ava's mood.
"I'm happy to see you're starting bedtime stories so early." I laughed, taking Paige from Bella's arms. "That's a great book."
"I know." Ava smiled, scooting closer to Bella. "I remember Mom always read it to me when I was sick or hurt. She read it a lot when I fell off the jungle gym."
"Please don't remind me of that." Bella said. "That was the scariest time of my life." She said, looking up at me. Even though that was the scariest moment to ever happen to me, I couldn't help but be kind of thankful it happened. It was because Ava fell off the jungle gym that Bella and I really had time to get to know each other.
"No," Bella groaned when Paige's screams filled the room for the third time that night. It had been a stressful few days, and the two of us were already completely exhausted. Bella was especially tired since she had to get up to feed her every time. "She weighs like three ounces, how is she hungry again?"
"I'll get her." I offered, pulling the blankets off and standing up. The wooden floor was shockingly cold against the bottom of my bare feet and I practically ran over to the basinet. I gently picked up up, and she calmed down slightly as I walked her over to Bella.
"Oh, Paige." She sighed as I handed her over. I stood by the window while Bella fed her because in a few minutes, it would be time to burp and change her. Once Bella was finished, I took her so she could fall back asleep and grabbed a burping cloth from the top of the dresser.
I walked over to the window and watched as snow slowly fell from the sky. I gently, but firmly, patted Paige's back and after a few good pats she finally burped. I removed the cloth and put it in the laundry basket and continued to walk Paige around the room until it was time to change her diaper.
By the time I had her swaddled and put back in her bassinet, Bella was already fast asleep. It was good though since she was used to doing everything for the baby in the middle of the night. I was glad that I could be there to relieve some of the pressure.
Paige had woken us up two more times before our alarms went off to get Ava up and ready for school. Bella didn't have any energy to make her eggs and toast like normal, but she didn't complain. Since Bella was upstairs feeding Paige, I even let Ava have the sugary cereal that was saved for the weekends.
"Did the baby wake you up?" I asked as I poured myself a second cup of coffee.
"Yeah, but it's no big deal." She shrugged. "I fell right back asleep once she stopped."
"You're being such a good sport." I smiled, patting her back.
"She's my sister." Ava shrugged, taking another big bite. "I knew she was going to scream a lot when she was born."
"I wished someone would have told me." Bella laughed as she came downstairs with Paige in her arms. I went over and kissed both of them on the cheek before Bella put her down in her bouncer on the kitchen island. We'd gotten more bouncers than we'd asked for, but the extra proved to be handy. We didn't have to keep carrying it from room to room.
"Mom, you knew she was going to cry." Ava laughed.
"You barely ever cried, Ava." She told her as she poured herself a cup of coffee. "I mean, you obviously did because you were a baby, but Paige cries a lot more than you."
"I guess I was just the poster child for perfect babies." She laughed and we just rolled our eyes.
"You ready for school?" Bella asked after she'd taken a minute to enjoy her hot coffee. Ava was starting a new semester of seventh grade after their winter break. "Your bag packed?"
"Yep, Edward made sure I had everything last night before I went to bed." She told Bella. Bella turned to me an mouthed a thank you as Paige started cooing from her seat. I went over and smiled down at her and I knew I really would never get enough of her.
"Alright, we gotta go." I said, clapping my hands together once I saw what time it was. Ava took her last few bites of her cereal, said goodbye to her sister and mom, and I grabbed the car keys. I dropped her off in front of school and made sure she made it inside before heading to the store.
I grabbed everything we were out of, which was pretty much all food, and headed home. I sighed in relief when I saw Renee's car parked out front. I knew how frazzled Bella was already with the new baby, and I knew Renee was the perfect person to help her.
I carried the bags inside and put the groceries away while Renee and Bella sat in the living room. Once I was finished with the groceries, I got some cleaning down around the house that we'd been neglecting. I just wanted Bella to have as easy of a time as she could, especially since I would have to go back to work at the end of the month.
Bella had finally finished school once Ava was a little more independent when we'd moved in together. She'd done some freelance writing, but she decided she wanted to stay home with Ava. By the time she felt she was ready to go into an office to work, we found out that she was pregnant. I knew Bella and if she had to choose between her job and her family, she'd choose her family every time.
"Thanks, babe." Edward smiled as I sat down on the couch beside her. I wrapped my arm around her shoulder and smiled as I watched Renee with Paige.
"Do you think we have to worry about her?" I asked, referring to Renee who probably hadn't put Paige down since she'd gotten here.
"Not sure." Bella sighed. "I lived with her when Ava was born. There wasn't anywhere for her to go."
"I would never steal her." Renee told us, sounding very offended that we would even think that. "I would only borrow her for an afternoon."
"You wanna borrow her for a night?" Bella laughed as my phone buzzed in my pocket. I untangled myself from Bella and reached to grab it. I saw that Emmett was trying to FaceTime me and I looked at Bella in confusion. This never happened, especially since he only lived ten minutes away.
"Hello?" I asked when I answered the call and his face popped up on my phone.
"He's walking!" Emmett shouted excitedly. "Hunter's walking! Look!" He said, turning the phone to where Hunter was. Bella and I watched in amazement as he slowly stumbled towards Rosalie who was holding one of his stuffed animals.
"Look at him go!" Bella gushed as she grabbed my arms. "Rose!"
"I know!" She smiled as she picked him up and kissed his cheek. "He'd been cursing for a while and then just a few minutes ago...he let go of the table and walked over to where his toy box is."
"Did you get a video?" I asked.
"Only about twenty." Emmett laughed. "I just didn't know what to do so I called you."
"Awe, thanks." Bella sighed. "He saying any words yet?"
"No, but we're working on it." Rosalie laughed as Hunter saw us in the phone and started waving. We waved back as Paige started crying over in Renee's arm. I checked my watch and it was time for her mid-morning snack. "How's Paige doing?"
"Bella says she's crying a lot more than Ava did." I told them. "But she's really good. Still the cutest baby ever."
"Cutest baby girl ever." Rosalie pointed out. "We've got the cutest baby boy."
"Oh stop, Rosalie." Bella laughed as she picked Paige up and went upstairs to feed her. I spent a few more minutes on the phone with them before Hunter started getting fussy and they had to hang up. I put the phone on the coffee table and slumped back on the couch.
"How are you doing, Dad?" Renee asked.
"I have no idea how Bella did this by herself with Ava." I sighed, closing my eyes as my head rested on the back of the couch. "I gotta give her way more credit now."
"It'll get easier." She assured me. "You're just getting into a routine."
"Yeah," I yawned as Paige's screams filled the house. I squeezed my eyes shut before standing up and going upstairs to see if their was anything I could help with. Bella told me she was just being difficult, and unless I grew some boobs, I couldn't help. So, I sat with her while she fed Paige and took her to be burped.
"I'm gonna get the laundry." Bella said once I had Paige safely in my arms. "You good?"
"Always." I smiled, leaning down and kissing her forehead before she walked out of the room. "Oh, Miss Paige. Why do you have to make everything so difficult?" I laughed as I patter her on the back, coaxing her to burp.