Hey guys! Thanks for much for tuning in for the last chapter. Crazy, isn't it?! I'm so glad you took the time to read this story and stuck with me until the very end. I have another story in the works (of course lol) but it's in the super early stages and I'm going to be just focusing on Me and You for the foreseeable future. Of course, when I get further on my next story I'll post on facebook, so if you haven't added me and would like to, my profile is Cynosure Fanfic.
Thanks again times a million, and I hope you enjoy the final chapter! It's a long one so buckle up!
Edward Cullen, Fourteen Months Later
I noticed Bella acting differently, but I tried not to focus on it. After all, we were both busy. I had just gotten accepted into Loyola's nurse practitioner program a few weeks ago and was preparing for that, and her makeup line had just been picked up by a large online beauty retailer, giving them more exposure and business than ever before. Violet was almost done with first grade now, and although she was our pride and joy, she was also a handful more often than not. But we were happy and thriving.
Even so, our relationship wasn't always easy, and we both continued to battle some demons. At first, when we struggled, both of us had tended to close off and that caused even more problems. It took a lot of fights and then finally the introduction of couples counseling to break that chain. Now I felt like we more solid than ever, and I had even moved in with Violet and Bella at the beginning of the year. I knew what the next step was, and I was excited for it. The ring box had been stuffed in my gym bag for almost six months now.
But now something seemed to be bothering Bella, and I didn't know what it was.
"Are you tired, Bella?" I asked, reaching over and brushing some hair out of her eyes. We were sitting on the couch watching a movie with Violet perched between us, and Bella's eyes kept drifting closed even though it was only seven o'clock on a Friday night.
"Kind of," she admitted, snuggling closer to Violet. "I don't know why though."
"Why don't you go to bed?" I suggested. "You've been tired all week."
"Shh," Violet said, her eyes glued to the television.
Bella rolled her eyes, but kissed Violet on the forehead before standing up. "I think I will try and lie down."
"I'll come in to check on you in a little while," I promised, kissing her when she leaned down towards me.
When I came into our room less than an hour later, Bella was asleep sprawled on top of the comforter, still wearing her jeans and flannel shirt. I pressed my hand to her forehead, noting that it didn't feel warm. I did my best to maneuver her so that she was under the blankets, but she woke up before I managed.
"Sorry," I said, sitting down on the edge of the bed. "I didn't mean to wake you."
"It's okay," she replied, leaning against my shoulder. "I really don't feel well, though."
I frowned, putting my arm around her. "What's wrong?"
"I just feel so tired, and kind of sick to my stomach," she said. "I haven't felt so crappy since…"
She trailed off, stiffening slightly.
"What?" I asked, concerned. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine," she said immediately. "I'm fine. I just…I just realized my period is late."
"How late?" I asked, trying to wrap my mind around what she was saying.
"Today's Friday, so only a few days. I'm just not usually late."
"Do you think you might be pregnant?"
She hesitated, then looked up at me with wide eyes. "Yeah, maybe."
We were quiet for a moment, her words sinking in.
She had experienced this feeling before, but I never had. It was surreal, and even though I knew it was just a suspicion and nothing concrete. But in the whole time that we'd been together, she'd never come to me with a 'maybe' before. So the fact that it was happening now seemed much more serious.
"What if I am?" She asked, holding my hand. "I know the timing isn't great with you getting ready to go back to school, but…"
"What? No, no," I said quickly. "There's nothing wrong with the timing. If you are…I'll be incredibly happy. I know it's earlier than we planned, but we've talked about having more kids…and we're good, right? We're at a good place. Happy and healthy."
"Definitely. I just…wow, this feels weird," she said. "To be back here…and to know that if I am, I can't mess things up like I did before."
"Hey," I murmured, slipping my arm around her shoulders. "Don't do that. Don't go back there."
"I know," she said, wiping at her eyes. "I try not to. It's just all coming back to me."
The tests were all positive. I sat on the floor next to Bella, totally overwhelmed by what I was feeling. Being a father was already the best thing that had ever happened to me, and I couldn't wait to do it again.
I tried not to think about it, not only for the sake of our relationship but also for my own benefit, but I knew I hadn't gotten to experience all of this the first time around, and I hated that I had missed out. I wouldn't miss out on anything this time and maybe all those old scars would finally, finally heal for good- once and for all. And for both of us. I understood Bella's guilt, but that didn't mean I wanted her to feel that way. Instead, I wanted us to move on. And this was a chance to do that.
"I love you," Bella whispered, wrapping her arms around my middle.
I kissed her, feeling her tears and feeling some of my own gathering. "I love you, too."
"What do you think, Vi?" I asked, stealing a bite of her ice cream.
"Hey!" She protested, stealing some of mine in retaliation.
"Vi," I prompted, nudging the ring box closer to her. "Come on, tell me what you think."
She looked at it again; touched the center stone with one timid finger. "For mom?"
"Yeah, for your mom. I love her, and I want us to get married. We're already a family, you know, but this is just another part of that."
"Why weren't you getting married before?" She asked, spooning more ice cream into her mouth.
"We needed some more time," I explained, always unsure of how to explain this kind of thing to her. "Everyone does things at their own pace."
She refocused on her ice cream, and we finished eating in relative silence. However, as soon as her spoon clattered into her empty bowl, all bets were off.
"Do you like the ring?"
"Ya," she said enthusiastically. "It's so sparkly."
"It is," I agreed. "Do you think your mom will like it?"
"Mmm hmm. I'd like it more, though," she said, peeking up at me. "Can I have it instead?"
I laughed, reaching over and stroking her curly hair. "I'll get you something of your own," I promised. "But this is for your mom."
"Because you want to marry her."
"Yeah, because I want to marry her," I confirmed. "Does that sound good to you?"
"What will change?" Violet asked.
"Well…not a lot," I admitted. "We'll all still live together. And we'll still love each other and love you. But your mom will have my last name, and so will you. There will be a wedding first though, and I bet you and your mom will get to wear fancy dresses."
"Okay," Violet said, shrugging. "You can get married."
I grinned, but knew there was another part of the plan that would probably prove more challenging. "Good, I'm glad. But Vi…can you keep this a secret?"
"From Mom," I said. "Just until we ask her."
"You haven't asked her yet?!"
"Not yet, I wanted to ask you first," I laughed. "And you and I can ask her together. But when we do, I want it to be a surprise, okay?"
"Okay. A surprise."
There had another surprise, and this one was for Violet. She was enamored with Mary, Alice and Jasper's baby girl, but otherwise there were no other babies in our lives. She had told me once that she liked being the only baby, but Bella was certain she would be excited for a baby brother or sister. I hoped she was right, even though there was nothing we could do if she weren't.
But I shouldn't have worried, because when we told her, she was over the moon.
"Will the baby share my room?" She asked, clapping her hands together. "Will I get to play with her all day?"
"You won't share a room, and we don't know if you'll get a baby brother or a baby sister," Bella said. "He or she won't come for a while."
"How long? Will I get to name the baby? Is there only one?"
The slew of questions continued, and Bella and I were grinning so widely we probably looked like maniacs. But she was happy, and we were so happy.
"And I have something for you, Vi," I said, reaching into my sweatshirt pocket. There were two rings there, but I picked the smaller one first and held it out.
"Wow. I can't believe you kept that," Bella said, tears welling up in her eyes. I couldn't decide if it was the hormones or the sentimental factor, but I kissed her all the same.
"Couldn't get rid of it," I admitted, looking down at the small gold ring.
"Let me see," Violet demanded.
I showed it to her, and winked when she met my gaze.
"I want to give it to Vi," I said to Bella. "Even though it's going to be too big for a while."
"Oh, I think that's great," Bella said. "That used to be mine, Blossom."
"Now it's mine," Violet said with a huge smile, not missing a beat. She held it carefully when I held it out to her, examining it closely and admiring the small stone. "I love it."
I watched her with it for a moment, and then Bella helped her put it on the chain I had bought and fastened it around her neck. "I bought that for your mom a long time ago," I told Violet. "I gave it to her because I wanted her to know that one day, I'd like to put another ring on her finger and marry her. Because I loved her, and I still love her. It's been a long time since I gave the ring to her, but you know what, Vi? That hasn't changed."
Bella brought her hand up to her mouth as I reached into my pocket for the remaining ring and handed it to Violet, too.
"Mom?" Violet asked, holding the ring out to her, just like I had asked her to do. "Will you marry Dad?"
I felt like this had been a long time coming, and I had been sure I already knew her answer, but hearing her say yes was an amazing feeling. She took the ring from Violet and let me help her put it on, and be both kissed Violet before kissing each other.
"I love you, so much," Bella murmured. "Thank you…for everything."
"When do you want to get married?" I asked later that night as Bella and I laid in bed. Her naked skin was soft against mine, and I couldn't get enough of her. Knowing that she was having my baby and agreed to marry me just…made it that much better.
"I don't know, what do you think?" She asked, kissing the bare skin of my shoulder once, then twice. She seemed just as insatiable as I was now that she wasn't dealing with feeling so tired and sick.
It had only been six weeks since we had found out, and she was twelve weeks along now. Less than halfway, but it felt monumental. I loved the soft curve of her belly, which she swore had appeared so much sooner than it had with Violet. She said this pregnancy was so different than the first, and so some of it was new to both of us.
"Well, before or after baby is born?"
"After," Bella said immediately. "We only have six months to go until then."
"Wow," I said, staring up at the ceiling. "In six months, we'll have a baby." I touched her stomach, excited for when we'd actually feel movement there instead of just skin. "Do you think it's a boy or a girl?"
Bella laughed, covering my hand with hers. "You're full of questions tonight. I don't know…this pregnancy is so different, maybe it's a boy."
"Do you want a boy?"
"I just want a healthy baby."
"Well, yeah, but…come on. Do you have a preference?"
"What, does that mean you do?" She asked, eyebrows raised.
I shrugged, knowing she had me pegged. "A boy would be…good. Different, I mean. But a girl would be good, too. Violet 2.0."
"Don't say that," Bella groaned, elbowing me. "We'd never be able to handle two of her."
Wedding plans were tentatively set for the following winter, almost two years from now. Neither of us minded the wait, though, because like I had told Violet, not a lot would really be changing just by us getting married. However, our lives would change immensely before that, when the baby came. That would be our life changing moment, and the wedding would be icing on the cake.
Violet was excited for both- to be a big sister and to be in the wedding.
By the time of the wedding, the house we would be building in Forks would be complete.
My grandfather had left me the land when he had died- more than ten years ago now. The plans I'd once had for the land had fell through, but now there was a better plan. We didn't want to relocate to Forks, but the three bedroom house we were building would perfect for long weekends and for the wedding. It would be mostly family, and then Bella and I would spend the week there alone while Violet and the baby stayed with their grandparents. It wasn't a grand getaway- our kids would, after all, be just a few miles away. But it was what we wanted and therefore it would be perfect.
Every step of Bella's pregnancy was absolutely fascinating to me. She laughed at my obsession with baby books, but Violet loved it when I'd read her some of the tamer parts.
"Nineteen weeks is the halfway mark of a pregnancy," I read. "The baby is about eight and a half ounces and six inches long. The brain is designating specialized areas for the senses, so smell, touch, hearing, vision, and taste are forming more." I paused, squeezing Violet's side. "The baby is starting to be able to hear us," I explained. "And soon you'll be able to feel the baby move."
Bella had felt the baby move for the first time recently, so I was eagerly waiting to be able to feel it, too. I spent incredible amounts of time with my textbooks for school in front of me but one hand on Bella's stomach, anticipating that first kick. Luckily Bella found it endearing, and hadn't gotten sick of it…yet. Violet was almost as excited for it, but she had been disappointed when Bella and I decided we didn't want to learn the sex of the baby.
When she was pregnant with Violet, Bella hadn't opted for the surprise. She had found out as early as possible. This time, we wanted to experience it together and not until he or she was born. Violet couldn't be convinced that was such a great idea, but obviously there was nothing she could do about it other than pester us every once and a while.
Bella and I had asked her opinion on a few names, but nothing was set in stone. All we had for now was the last mine- mine. It reminded me that Violet was a Swan, and it didn't feel right to me that the new baby would be a Cullen while Violet was not. It probably wasn't as big as a deal as I was making it out to be, but Bella had agreed with I had brought up changing Violet's last name now. Around this time next year, all four of us would share a name and we'd be on to start the next adventure.
I jolted awake, sitting up immediately. "What?!"
"Shh," Bella murmured, reaching for my hand and placing it on her stomach.
It was the middle of the night, probably around two o'clock. But I didn't care when I felt a little nudge against my hand.
"Holy shit," I whispered, suddenly wide awake. I pressed my hand down harder, feeling more movements in return.
Bella's hand covered mine, and she laced our fingers together. "You feel it?"
"Yeah. It's…incredible. Thanks for waking me up."
"Of course. It is incredible, isn't it?"
We laid back down, and fell asleep with our hands still joined over baby.
I had wanted to experience and soak up every single moment of Bella's pregnancy, but nothing compared to when the nurse put the baby in my arms for the first time.
He had come just a little early, and was small. But he was strong and healthy and perfect. I didn't waste a moment, placing him on Bella's chest and seeing the beautiful sight of her getting to hold him for the first time. She kissed his head then looked up at me, smiling through happy tears.
I was crying too, but kissed him on the head too before finding her mouth and kissing her soundly.
Once Bella was settled into the maternity suite, we got the all clear to bring Violet in.
She could hardly contain her excitement when I went to get her out of the waiting room, and she practically flew into my arms.
"You've got a baby brother, Vi," I said, spinning her around.
The whole family cheered, congratulating us and passing out the blue suckers my sister had brought along. I teased her that maybe she could save the pink ones for when her baby came, in just a few months.
"Is the baby small?" Violet asked, tightening her arms around my neck.
She was big, but I didn't mind carrying her for this. Her legs weren't so small anymore, and she was growing like a weed. But she was my little girl, and she was excited for her baby brother.
"Hi, Blossom," Bella said as soon as I brought Violet into the room. I set her down on her own two feet and watched as she went to meet her brother for the first time.
Seeing them together was beautiful, and the look I exchanged with Bella told me she felt the same way.
"His name is Benjamin," Bella told Violet. "Benjamin Lane."
"That's part of my name!"
"It is. Is it okay with you if Ben shares it with you?" I asked, sitting on the chair next to the bed and pulling her into my lap.
"Ya. I'll share lots of stuff with him."
"Good, I'm glad," Bella said, smiling at our girl. "You're such a good big sister, Vi."
She was. Over the course of the years, she would prove to be the best big sister to Ben and then eventually Matt and Grace. We built our family slowly, not welcoming Matt until three years after we were married and then Grace almost two years after that.
Building a life together meant that the past was pushed even further from our minds. Instead we focused on our children and our marriage.
We both still made bad choices- all the time. Parenting was never easy, and neither was marriage. We messed up and fought and struggled. We worried about our kids and hoped we were raising them right. But we had each other to fall back on.
Some of our choices in life had driven us apart. They had caused us to hurt each other and inflict damage that had once seemed impossible to overcome. But they had also brought us back together, and gave us our family. In the end, we just chose to be happy.
Love all of you! I hope you enjoyed. Marking this one complete now- let me know what you thought and I'll see you either for the next one or for the next chapter of Me and You.