this is the end my friends. thank you for following this journey
Three Years Later
He has one eye on his wife and the other on the clock hanging on the wall by the office door. As soon as the little hand hits twelve, he tosses a pan in the sink and stomps over to her workstation. With one finger, he plucks the ear bud out of her ear, making her jump and clutch her chest.
"Honey! You scared me."
Instead of apologizing, he takes the bag of icing out of her hand and sets it in a bowl. "It's noon. Time for lunch."
She rolls her pretty brown eyes. "I'm sure it can wait five minutes. That's plenty of time for me to finish these last few cookies."
"No." He shakes his head.
"No? Honey …"
"You promised, Sugar. Don't make me call Dr. Banner."
Bella huffs and pushes past him, roughly brushing up against his shoulder as she waddles to the office. "He said to take it easy, not that I needed to be tied to a chair for twenty hours a day."
"He also said to stay off your feet. We've been here since five, and you haven't taken a break in hours."
Bella sighs and plops down in a chair.
Edward is quick to grab a step stool and gestures for her to put her feet up.
"Sugar, we aren't fighting over this. Put your feet up and take an hour to rest or we're going home, and you can kiss your half shifts goodbye." He isn't happy until her slightly swollen feet are elevated, and she's munching away at the sandwich he brought for her.
"Are you just going to stand there and watch me? Because you're starting to give me a complex."
He sits across from her and reaches for a bowl of fruit.
"I will not apologize for being worried about your health and wellbeing."
Bella sniffs. "You act like I'm not perfectly capable of listening to my body, Edward." She sighs. "I'm not asking you to apologize. I just need you to back off, just a little."
Bella groans. "Sure, sure."
They eat in silence until the door swings open and a flustered Angela comes bustling in.
"Sorry I'm late, y'all. The babysitter was running behind, and Benji was being a dramatic fool. It took me an hour to get him to calm his tits."
"It's fine, Ang," Bella insists. "Edward and I are just having lunch, and then we'll be wrapping up for the day."
A grin spreads across his face at these words. He's had to drag her out the back door every night these days.
"Okay, I'll get to it then. Enjoy."
The door shuts, and Bella holds up her hand. "I don't want to hear it."
"Tea party, Uncle Ed?"
Nearly four years old and Edward still can't find it in his heart to tell his niece no.
They settle down at the coffee table with a plate of finger sandwiches and a plastic tea set. Edward watches her doctor up her "tea" with far too many sugar cubes and very little water—her special recipe.
"I'm pretty," Kat states, matter-of-factly, as she sloppily pours him a cup.
"You are very pretty."
She pops a sugar cube in her mouth and chews on it loudly while she thinks.
"Babies will be pretty?"
Edward nods, and her smile turns into a scowl.
He sighs and offers her a sandwich, but she crosses her arms.
This argument is nothing new.
It's a touchy subject that Kat tries to bring up at least twice a day since she realized that she won't be the baby of the family anymore.
"Other people can be pretty too, remember?" Edward asks.
Kat just grunts and crunches on another sugar cube.
"Isn't Mommy pretty?"
Her pretty blue-green eyes roll. "Duh."
"And what about Momma?"
"Momma is berry pretty," she insists.
"She sure is. And Auntie Bella is pretty."
Kat takes a sip of her tea, pinky up, and then wipes her mouth with the back of her hand.
"Auntie Bewwa is fat."
Laughter floats down the stairs, and Rosalie comes swooping into the room, glaring at her only born. She takes Kat's chin in her hand and leans down until they're nose to nose. "All right mini monster. We've talked about this. Auntie Bella is pregnant, not fat."
"She is fat!" Kat argues. "And her is lazy."
"Katherine Marie Denali."
Everyone winces at Irina's firm tone. No one plays a better bad cop than Irina.
"Sorry, Momma." Kat sighs.
"No, ma'am. You need to tell Auntie Bella sorry."
"Oh, stop it, Ri. She's just a kid." Bella laughs and appears at the top of the stairs. "She's right. I am lazy."
"See." Kat cries.
"Sugar …" Edward hedges.
"Honey, Dr. Banner told me to take it easy. I'm not even on partial bed rest." She pulls at the hem of her too tight shirt. "Come help me downstairs so I can attend the tea party that Kitty-Kat was nice enough to invite me to."
"Tea party." Kat squeals and gets to work setting up enough cups and saucers for everyone.
Edward helps his heavily pregnant wife get down the stairs safely and doesn't stop fretting until she's resting in her favorite spot on the couch with her feet propped up.
"You're starting to swell more," he mutters and pushes at the puffy skin on her ankle.
"It's fine, Honey."
Kat happily plies everyone with sugar water and soggy sandwiches, making sure that pinkies are up and shoulders are straight.
"Mmm. This PB&J is to die for, Kitty-kat." Bella hums. "Very delicious."
"The babies are really happy right now. Do you want to feel?"
Kat bites her lip. Despite feeling threatened by their impending arrival, she's very curious about her cousins.
"Come on, Kitty," Bella coos. "Tomorrow is their birthday, and you won't be able to feel them swimming around in my belly anymore."
They watch her face light up with excitement as the babies kick and punch against her hands.
"When we get home from the hospital, we'll have cake. I promise," she explains. "You get to help Auntie Angela decorate it, remember?"
When Kat finally goes down for a nap, cuddled into her Aunt Bella's side, the adults spring into action.
While Bella tries to relax and get one last good rest in before all the excitement begins, Irina and Rosalie are meal prepping for the weeks to follow, and Edward packs and repacks the hospital bag.
He's sure he's forgetting something but wants everything to be perfect. Finally, after two years of struggling, the hormone shots and blood tests, their dreams are coming true. When the fertility specialist warned them that if successful, the first round of IVF could result in multiples, both Bella and Edward were open to the possibilities and agreed to implant all four viable embryos.
They prepared for four and were gifted two.
And they can't be more excited to start this new chapter of their lives.
"You're a dad!" Bella cries when the nurse plops their second child onto her chest.
Edward's no pro, but he fights the urge to ask the medical professionals to be a little gentler with his children.
He has two babies.
"You're a mom."
He presses a kiss on her trembling lips and looks down at the wailing babes as the nurses work to get them clean and warmed up.
Two bright pink faces, scrunched in discomfort from all the bright lights and rough hands.
He chokes back tears and takes inventory.
They're perfect. All fingers and toes, pouty lips, and button noses.
After all the heartbreak and struggle, and then the anxiety and fear, they're here.
Edward chokes back a sob. "Sugar, you did it."
She lifts a shaky hand and caresses his face. "We did it. We're a family."
"We've always been a family, Sugar," he insists. "Faith and Hope just make it bigger and better."
"So much better." She sobs.
"How's she doing?" Alice asks softly as Esme fawns over her new grandbabies.
Bella's laughing at something Carlisle said, and her smile is as genuine as can be.
"Fantastic," Edward answers honestly. "She's coping better than we could have ever dreamed."
A lot has happened over the past year. Business is thriving, and word of mouth has gotten them far. Alice and Jasper finally got married, and Irina and Rosalie jumped on the bandwagon shortly after. Angela gave birth to her first child, and Irina officially adopted Kat.
Bella and Edward sold their townhouse and bought the Pepto Bismol pink house around the corner so they'd have room for their expanding family. They made changes to make it their own. It's gray now.
The door, solid oak, has a wide pane of glass rather than a peephole because the years have taught Bella that she has no reason to hide away.
Her life is full and wonderful and worth sharing.