I'd opened that envelope months ago. As I'd read the words on the document, I found myself floored that even though I knew my father was a cold, mean bastard, it seemed beyond the realm of possibility, even for him.
But there in black and white it stated that my father would only agree to the divorce if my mother's parental rights were stripped from her. She wasn't allowed to contact me until I turned 18, which just left me with doubt and more questions about why I wasn't important enough to her. I'd turned 19, and then 20, and there had never been a word from her.
I didn't understand why she or my grandparents didn't fight for me. They had the money for a great lawyer. My other question was why hadn't my mother just stayed? Instead, she thought only of herself, leaving me to be raised in a cold, unloving household.
Now that my belly was round with our child, I knew if Edward ever tried to keep me from him or her, I'd fight with everything I had. I'd steal them away, I'd risk my life, give them my last breath, just to spend just a minute in their presence.
My relationship with my grandparents had suffered, as well. I loved them, and I knew they loved me, but I still felt slighted because they'd never really fought for me. Neither of them had ever pushed for more than what my father was willing to give. So while we still spoke, it was strained, and even though I was sure they'd had their reasons—and maybe one day in the near future I'd be willing to listen—I wasn't ready to hear them. I was heartbroken, and I needed time to heal.
I moped around for weeks, feeling sorry for myself and for the hand I'd been dealt in life until Edward finally pulled me from my funk. He came home from work one evening, slapping a catalog down on the coffee table. "Carlisle told me to bring this to you. He wants to pay for the nursery; he said to pick out anything and everything we need, or think we need."
I'd stared up at him, tears stinging in the corner of my eyes. "He really said that?"
He dropped down on the floor in front of me, grasping my hands in his. "Yes, and can I tell you how excited I am to do this with you? You know I was raised similar to how you were, except you had grandparents who showed you affection. Sometimes, I wonder how I became the man I am, but I promise you, I'll always love you." He rested his hand on my belly, smiling when our son or daughter gave him a strong kick. "And our child, with everything I have. I'll never be the man my father is."
"You really mean that, don't you?"
Concern washed over his features. "Have you been doubting my love for you?"
I shook my head. "No, not exactly—more the fact that maybe I'm unlovable."
"Oh, sweetheart." He sighed, climbing onto the couch and wrapping his arms around me. "You are so far from unlovable. You are the sweetest, kindest person I know. You make me smile every day. You know, unless you're being thick and arguing with me." He grinned. "Even then, I still love you, Mrs. Masen."
My mind cleared, and I realized that everything I needed was right here in this room. He loved me despite my faults. I didn't have to do anything, or act a certain way, in order to earn his affection. His love for me and our child was pure, without any conditions.
I took a deep breath, letting the contraction subside as I thought back to my first visit to the obstetrician.
It was a nightmare, and I cried for hours afterward. He'd been cold and condescending, and made me feel as if I was a burden for being pregnant. Thank God I was married, or I couldn't imagine the talking to I would have gotten from him.
Edward was beside himself, not knowing what to do for me or how to help, but then he'd come home one afternoon with a grin on his face. "I think I've figured it out, Bella."
"Figured what out?"
"I overheard one of the secretaries at work today. She has a friend who's pregnant—"
"Office gossip, really Edward?"
He sighed, rolling his eyes at me. "Will you just listen? There's a hospital not far from here that has a practice of midwives. I asked her about it—probably more than I should have, really—but she was very understanding when I told her your concerns. She said the midwife, Angela, is very kind, and it's all very natural—"
"Please tell me you got the phone number?"
He kissed the top of my head. "Of course I did, sweetheart. We'll set up an appointment immediately."
"Cullen Incorporated, Mr. Masen's office," Edward's secretary answered the phone.
"Esme, it's Bella."
"Mrs. Masen! How are you?"
"In labor." I knew I had horrible timing. Edward was in the middle of a huge meeting. He'd told me that none of it mattered, though, because I was his top priority.
She gasped loudly. "Just one moment and I'll get Mr. Masen for you."
A few minutes later, I heard Edward's voice. "Bella? Esme said—"
"That I'm in labor, yes. I'd like you to come home now."
"Bella, are you alright?"
"I'm trying not to cry, Edward. I'm terrified, so please—just come home!"
"I'm on my way!"
"Push, you've got to push," Edward spoke softly in my ear.
Angela was at the foot of the bed, and she sounded a bit distant to me while Edward's instructions were clear. I thanked God that he was there with me. I knew if we'd gone the traditional route, he'd be sitting in the waiting room.
He glanced at Angela before speaking again. "That's it, now breathe for a moment, Bella. Relax. Now, push!"
I groaned loudly, bearing down again with what energy I had left.
"Bella, quick! Put your hands out!" Angela called, and I gasped, crying as my baby was born into my own hands.
"It's a boy!" One of the nurses grinned at us, helping me to put him on my chest after he'd been cleaned up.
"I've never seen someone so perfect." Edward ran a finger over the soft fuzz on our son's head. "He's amazing," he whispered, his voice full of awe.
I glanced over at Edward, his cheeks stained with his tears, and I knew that everything we went through, the months we spent apart, were all worth it.
"You are amazing, aren't you, Andrew?" I cooed softly at our little boy, smiling when his mouth opened in a yawn that looked too big for his little body.
Every tear I'd shed, and every man I thought I could love before Edward came into my life, had been worth it. Everything I'd gone through with my parents, and Edward with his, taught us exactly what not to do.
I knew we'd never make the mistakes our parents had made. Andrew would be loved unconditionally, and we'd do our best to always show him what a loving marriage was.
There was nothing life could throw at us that we couldn't conquer, as long as we were together.
A/N- Well, it's been a fun journey once again and I'm sad to see it end. I hope you all have enjoyed spending some time in the 1960s with me, and thank you for all of your love and support.
Thank you to all of the wonderful ladies that help me to make my stories better than they ever could be!