Chapter Seventeen: Trying to Prove Who's Right
January 15, 2018
"How are you feeling?" Angela asked me as I stood at my locker two weeks after the entire school found out I was pregnant. Everyone was shutting me out and Angela and Ben were the only ones still treating me like I was normal. I didn't feel normal, especially as I got bigger. But I couldn't avoid school for the rest of the year and Edward kept encouraging me to face them.
Besides, it wasn't anyone else's business.
"I'm okay," I told her. "We have a doctor's appointment after school today."
"Are you going to find out if it's a boy or a girl?"
I shrugged. "We haven't talked about it yet."
"We?" She asked. She wasn't judging me for cheating on Emmett with Edward, but I could tell she was still unsure about him. And she was surprised when I told her he was very involved.
"Yeah," My brows furrowed. "Edward and I."
"I didn't think he'd be at your doctor's appointments."
"He's been to every single one," I smiled. "He's not all that bad. You just have to…" I stopped, remembering what he told me a few weeks ago. It still made me sick to think about and there were a few times when it kept me up at night. "You just don't know him."
She nodded. "Okay. I believe you." That was my favorite thing about Angela. When you told her something she didn't spend the next twenty minutes grilling you for more details. She accepted what you told her and moves on.
"Hi, Belly," Lauren snickered as she passed us. I tried not to let it get to me. She wasn't worth it. But…it did upset me. She had been my friends for years and she'd thrown all of that away so she could put me on the spot and embarrass me.
After school, I met Edward at my car since I'd driven both of us to school since his truck was making a weird noise. I told him I could have my dad look at it, but he promised that he had a friend who could do it. We made the hour drive to Port Angeles and pulled into the parking lot right on time. I got checked in and laid down on the table and suddenly wondered if my parents should be here now that they know about the baby.
"Hey, you two," Dr. Brooks smiled as she walked into the exam room. "How are you?"
I sighed. "Tired."
"That's expected. Anything else?"
"Umm…" I stuttered as I looked up at Edward. Dr. Brooks looked over at him too and asked if I wanted him to leave. He looked rejected at first and I figured it wasn't a huge deal if he heard. "My…boobs are kind of itchy."
"That's normal," She assured me. "Your baby is getting bigger and your skin is beginning to stretch as a result. And your skin is becoming more sensitive."
I nodded. "Okay."
"And do your best to not scratch," She smiled. "I can give you a few lotion suggestions," She said as I pulled my shirt up and she squirted the jelly on my belly. She placed the wand on my abdomen and then looked around for the baby.
"Wow, he's bigger," Edward observed. "How big is it this week?"
"The baby is about the size of a pomegranate," She explained. "Since you are in your seventeenth week, we can try and see the gender."
I looked up at Edward who was looking like a kid on Christmas morning. "Do you wanna know?"
"I don't know," He shrugged. "Should it be a surprise?"
"I think the pregnancy was enough surprise for a lifetime," I laughed. "But if you want to wait we can."
He shook his head. "No, let's find out. But only if you want to."
"I want to," I agreed eagerly and looked back over at the screen.
"Excellent," Dr. Brooks smiled as she moved the wand around on my belly. When she found the right spot, she looked carefully at the screen and then smiled. "Congratulations. It's a boy."
I stared at her. "A boy?" I didn't know anything about boys. When I looked over at Edward, he was biting his lips. I couldn't tell if this was good news or not. "You okay?"
"We're having a boy," He whispered. "I'm…perfect." After printing some pictures and wiping the jelly off of my stomach, I sat up and Dr. Brooks looked at us thoughtfully. I was about to ask if something is wrong when she spoke up.
"Have you had a chance to look at the different adoption pamphlets I gave you?" She asked and I cringed. I hadn't told Edward yet about adoption being a possibility. I knew it was dumb on my part, but I was still unsure myself. Plus, I thought he had enough to deal with. When I looked at him, though, I realized I was wrong. He looked pissed.
And he deserved to be pissed.
I shook my head. "No."
"That's fine," She assured me. "I'll let you two go on with the rest of your day. Make sure to see Maggie on your way out to set up your next appointment. It should be around Valentine's day."
"Thanks, Dr. Brooks," I bit my lip as she grabbed her things and left the room. Edward's teeth were clenched and I just hoped he wouldn't make a scene.
"The adoption pamphlets?" He asked quietly, but his tone was angry. I nodded. "Why the hell is she giving your pamphlets?"
"Edward," I warned not wanting him to cause a scene.
He shook his head. "She's your doctor, Bella. Not your social worker."
"My dad asked her about it when I came here with them before Christmas," I told him.
"And you didn't think to tell me about it?" I knew we needed to talk, but I was not about to fight with him in the middle of the hospital. I gathered the rest of my things and walked out of the exam room to the front desk. I paid the copay, made the next appointment and headed outside to the car.
"Umm…Bella?" Edward called as I walked towards my car. I was acting kind of childish and I was going to talk to him. I just needed to get him out of the hospital so there wouldn't be a scene. "Are we going to talk about this?"
I nodded. "Yes. But not here."
"My parents are at a business dinner tonight," I told him. "We can talk there."
"You're not getting out of it," He warned. I rolled my eyes. "I'm serious, Bella."
"I know. Just…not here," I begged and he eventually got into the car. The drive home was long and awkward. Neither of us wanted to speak to the other so we drove in silence for an hour. When we pulled into my driveway, I got out of the car while he just sat there and stewed. I told him I'd be inside when he was ready to be an adult and talk. It took him thirty seconds to jump out of the car and follow me up the walkway and into the house.
We went into the kitchen and set our things down. I offered him some leftover spaghetti and meatballs, but he told me he wasn't hungry. I was starving and since I was pregnant, I filled up my entire plate. I stuffed it into the microwave and waited for it to heat up. Once I had my dinner and something to drink, there was nothing left to do. We couldn't beat around the bush anymore, one of us just needed to start the conversation.
"Why is your dad asking about adoption pamphlets?" He asked. "And why is Dr. Brooks giving them to him."
"She assured him that she had no legal rights to tell us her opinion. She was just passing along information."
"I don't like it."
"She's not asking to adopt our baby, Edward," I rolled my eyes.
"So why is he asking her for them?"
I shrugged. "He wants me to consider all my options."
"We need to consider all of our options," He reminds me. "Us, Bella. Not just you."
He shook his head like he didn't believe me. "And what did you read in the pamphlets?"
"They were just general information," I shrugged. "And there were a few agencies we could go through."
"You mean we won't just leave him on someone's doorstep in a cardboard box?"
I stared at him. "That's the beginning of Meet the Robinson's."
"Bella!" He got my attention.
I hesitated. "I think it's a good idea."
"What?" He sounded shocked. "You think adoption is a good idea?"
"Yes," I admitted.
"Because we're eighteen," I reminded him. "And we aren't ready to take care of a baby."
"We aren't?" He asked and I could hear the venom in his voice.
"Are you trying to tell me that you're prepared to take on the responsibility of taking care of a child?"
"My child. Yes."
"You want to give him to strangers."
"No, I just know myself enough to know that I'm not ready for a child!"
"You are not."
"How do you know?" He asked.
I shook my head. "It's not a game of house, Edward. This baby would be our whole lives and we're responsible for him."
"I understand how parenthood works, Bella," He snapped. "I may not have good examples of parents but I understand the concept."
"Don't get smart with me," I sighed. "I know that you've been through hell, but you are not mature enough to be a father."
"And you're mature enough to be a mother?"
"No!" I exclaimed. "I'm not which is why I think adoption is our best option right now."
"Oh, strangers raising our son. That sounds lovely." He said.
"We would get to know them. They wouldn't be strangers once the baby arrived."
He shook his head. "How could you not talk to me about this earlier?"
"You've been thinking about this for a while," He pointed out. "Why didn't you say something sooner?"
"I don't know," I sighed.
He growled. "I can't fucking believe this."
"Nothing has been decided," I argued. "Come on. Let's just talk."
"Why?" He asked. "You and your parents are going to make the decision for yourselves and I'm just going to have to go along with it."
"That's not true," I told him.
He laughed. "Really? Because last time I heard you were planning on keeping the baby."
"No, last you heard was that I had no idea what I wanted to do. Let's just talk."
"You seem to have everything figured out."
"You know what?" He asked. "Fuck it. Do whatever the hell you want. See if I care," He started to storm away and I chased him into the living room.
"Edward, we need to talk about this!" I yelled as he opened and slammed my front door shut. I ran to open it and saw him jogging down the driveway towards my street. "Edward!"
"Fuck you!" He shouted and hot tears brimmed in my eyes. I realize I should have been talking to him instead of my dad about the possibility of adoption, but this was a big change for me. All my life I've gone to my dad with my problems and when I needed someone. Even when I was with Emmett, my dad has always been my go-to guy. But now, Edward was in my life and the father of my child. He was the one I should have gone to and I realize that now. I realize my mistake in all of this.
He wasn't being fair.
But, I couldn't wait around for him forever. He told me to do whatever I wanted and at this moment, I couldn't picture myself raising a baby. Not yet. And I knew his words were filled with anger, but I didn't care. I went back to the kitchen to finish eating and then headed upstairs to do my homework.
But I couldn't concentrate on anything. The fight with Edward just kept replaying in my head over and over again until I threw my English book across my room and picked up my phone. I tried calling him four times, but it went straight to voicemail each time. Either he was avoiding me or his phone was dead.
I was pretty certain it was both.
I tried to refocus myself, but it was proving to be impossible with the weight of the world on my shoulders. Or at least…the weight of my little guy's world was on my shoulders. I stood up and began thinking about everything in my head before transferring everything to paper. I gently touched my stomach and began rubbing my bump. There was a person inside of me who was getting bigger and bigger by the day. Soon he would come out and I would be responsible for him.
And at the moment I felt like it was my responsibility to find him a good, loving family who desperately wanted a child.
I knew there were good people out there. Angela's parents adopted her younger brother when he was a year old after his mom had been arrested for drug possession. I remember the day they got him and how happy they were. And I knew they were able to have more biological children but they chose adoption. There were people out there and their only option was to adopt a child. So many people couldn't conceive a child and it had been so easy for me and Edward.
When I hear my front door open, I go downstairs to talk to them about my decision. If Edward wasn't going to sit down and talk to me, then I was going to do it myself.
"Hey, kiddo," Dad greeted me with a hug as he and mom went into the kitchen to put their leftovers away. "You okay?"
I sighed. "I think I've made a decision."
"The baby," I whispered and they both looked at me attentively. "I think I wanna do adoption."
"Are you sure?" Dad asked and I couldn't miss my mother's smirk.
I nodded. "I'm not ready to be a mom," I cried. And that was true. I had wanted Edward to be a part of this process, but if he was going to act like a child then I was going to have to do this alone.
"You should talk to the Webber's," He said. "It would be good to get some advice on adoption."
"They were on the other side of adoption though?"
"They still understand the process and could give you some advice as far as different agencies are concerned." I nodded in agreement. "But you're sure this is what you want to do?"
"Yeah," I admitted. "We aren't ready. And I think all we would do is fight if we tried to raise him together."
"Him?" Dad perked up. "Did you find out or are you just assuming?"
I smiled wide. "It's a boy."
"Wow," He whispered as he pulled me into a hug.
Two weeks had gone by since my fight with Edward and he had yet to say anything to me. I understand that it was initially a shock but he should have been able to talk about it with me. But he was acting like a child and he was going to have to make the first move if he wanted to make things right.
"What's up with you and Edward?" Angela asked.
I looked at her. "What do you mean?"
"You haven't spoken in over a week," She shrugged. "And whenever you two do look at each other you look really pissed."
"We had a fight."
"Must have been a big one. He usually can't take his eyes off of you."
I sighed. "It was about adoption."
"You're planning on giving the baby up?"
"I don't think I'm ready to have a baby, Angela."
"Does Edward think you're ready?" I nodded. "Wow…"
"We were at our doctor's appointment and my doctor asked if I had the chance to look at the different pamphlet's she gave us when I was there with my parents during Christmas break."
"And that pissed Edward off?"
"He thought I was trying to hide something from him."
"Not on purpose," I sighed. "Anyway, he got really mad and said some hurtful things and if he can't have an adult conversation about this then I don't think he should be making decisions when it comes to the baby."
She stared at me. "It still is his baby."
"I know," I said. "But we need to make a decision so we can start the process of looking for possible parents." She looked at me skeptically. "We'll talk about it. Once he's cooled down and is ready to have an adult conversation." I heard a locker slam and jumped. I turned to see Edward approaching us and I was not ready to have this conversation in the middle of school.
"Hey," He practically barked. Angela told me she'd see me in class and then hurried away. I didn't look at him through and I couldn't practically hear his eyes rolling. "Bella,"
"Oh, so now you want to talk to me?" I asked as I slammed my locker and faced him. "You've had all the time in the world and you choose the middle of the hall to do this?"
"You won't take my calls," He shrugged.
I shrugged. "I've been busy. Discussing all my secrets with my parents."
"Don't do this."
"You started everything."
"I was pissed." His voice was getting louder and we were beginning to get people's attention. "And I think I had a right to be pissed."
"It wasn't like I went out and sold the baby to some other couple," He cringed. I looked around and realized that this was not the time or place to talk about this. "We're not doing this here."
"We need to talk about it!"
"I know we need to talk about it!" I hissed. "Which is why I wanted to talk while we were at my house. But you refused to hear anything I had to say and stormed off."
"I needed time to think!" He shouted. More people were staring at us. "You dropped a bomb on me, Bella."
"We're not doing this here. Things have just started to calm down," I whispered as I saw Emmett, Tyler, and Lauren approaching us. Edward turned around to see them and snickered.
"We're going to be the talk of the school for the rest of the year, Bella. Those so-called friends of yours are going to make sure of that," He said. "So, it shouldn't matter if we're getting people's attention right now."
"Awe," Lauren laughed as she walked passed us. "Trouble in paradise?"
"Fuck you, Lauren," Edward growled.
"Hey!" Tyler snapped. "Don't talk to her like that."
"After everything she said and did to Bella, I'll talk to her however I want."
"Watch it, man," Tyler warned and Edward laughed. "What?"
"You're just like her," He pointed to Lauren who looked like she was enjoying the show. I didn't want him getting into trouble because then his mood would just be worse.
"Edward," I said but he either couldn't hear me or was choosing to ignore me.
He shook his head. "Your little girlfriend is a bitch. And you two deserve each other."
"Hey!" Lauren pouted. "Tyler!"
"You asshole!" Tyler yelled as he pushed Edward into the lockers on the opposite wall. I looked over at Emmett who was smiling because Edward was finally getting what he deserved in his eyes. I knew he wasn't going to be any help. And as I looked around the school, no one was trying to stop Tyler. Edward wasn't the nicest guy around. I understood and I knew why he was the way he was. But no one else did so no one else had any kind of sympathy for him and his situation.
"Stop it, Tyler!" I cried as I watched him punch Edward. I knew that a teacher could walk down the hall at any minute and Tyler would lie and tell them Edward started it and the teacher would believe him. Because Tyler was the popular football player and Edward was the kid who smoked pot outside of school and never did any work other than the bare minimum.
At this point, Tyler had pushed Edward to the floor and continued to hit him. Well, he tried to hit him. Edward wasn't fighting back but he wasn't taking the punches either. I knew no one else was going to stop them since I didn't see Ben anywhere and Ben was the only other decent guy at this school. Plus, he stood by Angela's side and Angela would make him do something. Bracing myself, I jogged over to them and tried to stop Tyler's hands. I gripped his shoulders to try and grab his hand, but I must have started him because he pushed me backward onto the floor.
"Bella!" I heard Edward call and suddenly he managed to punch Tyler and get him off. He stood up and ran over to where I was. "Bella, are you okay?"
"Ow," I moaned as I held my head.
"Are you hurt?" He asked. Then he noticed me gripping my head. "Did you hit your head?" I nodded. "Can you stand?"
"Edward?" My voice filled with panic. "The baby."
"Come on," He pulled me up onto my feet. Lauren was fuming as we walked passed her but I didn't care. I needed to know if my baby was okay. Edward walked me to the nurse's station and explained the situation. The nurse, not having an ultrasound machine, called the paramedics to take me to the hospital. Edward wanted to go with me, but the nurse said he wasn't allowed to skip school so I had to go by myself.
My dad was waiting for me as they pulled me out of the ambulance.
"What happened?" He demanded to know.
"I'm okay," I tried assuring him. But I didn't sound very convincing. "I hit my head."
"Tyler and Edward got into a fight."
He sighed heavily like he was disapproving. "But how did you get hurt?"
"Tyler started it, dad. And no one was going to pull him off of Edward and I didn't want Edward getting hurt or in trouble."
"So you tried to stop it?" I nodded. "Bella, honey, you can't be doing that. You're pregnant."
"Something really bad could have happened…what did happen?"
"I went up and grabbed Tyler's shoulders and I think I spooked him," I explained. "He turned and pushed me backward. Edward punched him to end the fight and made sure I was okay."
"What even caused the fight?" He asked as I was transferred to a bed to be examined.
"Edward called Lauren a bitch," I whispered and my dad didn't look pissed off. "And Tyler tried beating the hell out of Edward."
"Is he okay? Edward?"
"He's learned how to dodge punches, dad," I reminded him. "He didn't fight back though."
He shook his head. "Don't do that again. If that happens again…you get a teacher or someone to stop it."
"The teachers would have blamed Edward."
"I'm more worried about your safety, Bella!"
I nodded as the curtain was pulled and a male doctor greeted us. After running some tests, on myself and the baby, he promised me the baby was okay. I did not have any signs of a concussion but if I experienced any dizziness he suggested coming back to the hospital. After an hour, I was discharged and dad brought me home.
"Dad?" I asked after we'd gotten home. He turned around to face me as I placed my hand on my stomach. "I'm sorry."
"You were sticking up for your…friend…don't be sorry," He tried to smile. "Just promise me you'll be more careful in general. You have to think of him now too, Bella. Remember that."
"I will," I nodded as he walked into the kitchen. I started to cry as I gently rubbed circles on my belly. "I'm sorry, little one. I'll try and do better. I won't let anything happen to you."
It was in that moment when I realized that adoption really would be best for him.