Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight

Chapter 15


Driving home from the Zoo I realized how lucky I was. With such amazing friends who took such great care of me I was unsure as to why I was so unhappy. A black cloud was hanging over my head, and it refused to move, no matter what I tried.

Seeing Jacob again had been nice. He'd told me awhile back that he was a zookeeper for the wolves but until today I had not had the chance to go and visit. Once I started talking to him I realized how far I'd come since I'd stopped attending high school when I was sixteen. Jacob had once wanted to date me, and if it weren't for the tragic night six years ago, I'm sure we would've dated at some point. Thinking of the "what if's" only seemed to make the rain cloud pour a little more, thus I resolved to think of something else, such as the beautiful daughter I had and how much I loved her.

When we reached the house I waited for Emmett to come and unload me. Once back on the ground I grabbed my cane and hobbled my way into the house. I came to the couch and sank slowly into it. Going to the zoo had taken more out of me than I thought. I turned to look at the door as Emmett, Rosalie, and Edward came in with arms full of sleeping children. Emmett mouthed "quiet" at me as he carried Cecilia up the stairs and set her in the guest room Hilary had been using. Rosalie was carrying Carson, followed closely by Edward, who, by some miracle, had Hilary in one arm and Drew in the other. I watched as Hilary was put in the same room Emmett had just emerged from, then my eyes followed Edward as he moved down the hallway to the room that belonged to Carson and Drew.

I turned my eyes back to the blank TV screen, thinking back to the lovely day we had just had when suddenly I felt the couch sink next to me. I looked over, my eyes coming to rest on Edward's green ones.

"How are you feeling?" I could tell there was a double meaning to his words.

"I'm fine" I replied, sighing. I knew there was an elephant in the room but neither of us really knew how to bring it up without being absolutely blunt.

"Well, I know this is tough for you Bella, but I really want to try this 'us' thing, even if it's just for a little while." He smiled but it didn't quite reach his eyes. "I really care for you and I want to be close to you."

I sighed. "I know Edward, I know, I just can't seem to fathom the thought of dating anyone. I mean, I haven't dated…well, ever."

"Never?" Edward's shock was written all over his face. "But…how?"

"I was sixteen when…" I trailed off knowing he would get the point. "Prior to that I really had only had feelings for one guy and we hadn't really explored the thought of a relationship yet."

Edward nodded in understanding. "Well Bella, let me start this conversation over. Would you accompany me to dinner and a movie this Friday night."

I paused for a second, thinking, but then I realized that one date couldn't hurt. After all, if I decided it wouldn't work we didn't even have to tell anyone. "Alright Edward, I don't see why not." I smiled slightly, letting him know I really was okay with it.

Edward picked up my hand and squeezed it gently. "I will be here to pick you up at 7, does that sound alright?"

"Sounds Perfect," I smiled at him again as he got up and headed upstairs to check on his boys. It still amazed me, even after a month, at what a good father he was.

As soon as he left the room I hobbled my way into the kitchen, searching the bookshelf in the corner for a phone book. I was so engrossed reading the titles on the spines of the books I didn't even hear someone walk up behind me.

"Bella, do you need something?"

The sound of Carlisle voice made me jump as I slowly turned to face him. He must have noticed my jump as he quickly mumbled an apology for sneaking up on me.

"Um, actually Carlisle, I was wondering," I paused taking a deep breath. "I really want to be, uh, normal again, and I was seeing a therapist awhile back but…" I trailed off, not knowing how to explain I ran out of money to keep going to see him.

"I understand Bella. In fact I have a colleague who I'm sure could help you for a decent price too." He smiled walking over to the landline phone on the counter. "Let me just make a few calls. How does Wednesday sound? It's the kids first day of school and you could just ride to the hospital with me."

"That sounds perfect." I smiled again for the third time in the past fifteen minutes. I don't now what I did to deserve friends like this, but I knew whatever it was I would do it again as long as I could keep them as my friends forever.

I turned to make my way back to the living room when a small bundle collided with my good leg. I reached up to steady myself on the wall as I looked down to see Carson looking back up at me. "Miss Bella, will you play with me?" He asked. I was powerless to resist the cute look in his eye and I nodded, letting him lead me back to the living room where cars and dinosaurs were strewn about.

"What do you want to play Carson?"

He smiled up at me "You can be the big dinosaur. She's the mommy dinosaur. And you can be this one," He held up a yellow velociraptor, "He eats the other dinosaurs but then I stop you," He held up a triceratops. "This guy is tough. He beats all the mean dinosaurs."

"Oh, really? Well he sounds like a good friend to have." Carson nodded, setting up the other myriad of dinosaurs precariously around the living room. I was getting my dinosaurs set up by the others when I looked up to find Hilary in the doorway. That's when I had an idea. "Carson, can Hilary be a dinosaur too?"

Carson nodded picking one up from the floor by his feet. "You can be this one Hilary. It flies, " He handed her a pterodactyl. Hilary looked at me cautiously as if asking permission.

I nodded, smiling so she wouldn't be so apprehensive. I knew she was still not as good at playing with other children as she should be, and I knew this would be good for her. Suddenly, I realized Cecilia had also come into the room. I looked towards Carson and opened my mouth but the three-year old was way ahead of me.

"Ceci, you can be these ones." He held up a bunch of small dinosaurs whose name I did not know. Before I knew it Drew was in the room as well, and Carson had given him the T-rex.

I don't know how long we played, but before I knew it I looked up to find Edward and Esme in the doorway, smiling.

"How about some dinner?" Esme questioned, her eyes coming to meet mine.

"Dinner! Yes!" the kids all dropped the dinosaurs and made a mad dash to the kitchen. I leaned down to pick up the dinosaurs directly by my feet.

"You know Edward, you should really get a bucket for these things. The T-rex could take off someone's foot one of these days." Edward and Esme both laughed as I began gathering the rest of the dinosaurs to put them on the coffee table.

"You've never had little boys. I got them a bucket for the dinosaurs but instead they took turns putting it on their head and running into the walls." I'd never seen Edward smile so big as Esme and I laughed. I could just picture Carson and Drew doing something like that.

Edward followed me as I hobbled into the kitchen, curious as to what dinner was going to be. For the past couple of weeks, Esme had been asking me about my likes and dislikes before cooking every night. Tonight was the first night I hadn't been consulted prior to the preparation. And I had to admit, I was curious.

My curiosity didn't last long as I noticed the table was generously loaded with ground beef, cheese, lettuce, salsa, and sour cream—everything you needed for a taco bar night. I smiled, remembering how Edward had asked what my favorite thing was as a child when we were talking a few weeks back.

"So Bella," Edward looked at me from across the living room as I read. "Other than reading, what was one of your favorite things to do as a child?"

I tiled my head back. "Mmm. Once a month my dad would have these nights called, Taco nights. He would get all the ingredients we needed for tacos and set them on the table like a taco bar. I used to love it. That way we both got what we wanted since we had such different tastes."

I should have known he would arrange this for me. I looked up at him as he pulled out my chair, mouthing a silent "thank you" he nodded his head in acknowledgement.

As we all grabbed hands to say grace, I knew that the rain cloud was gone, I was home, and I could do anything, I just had to start by conquering my fears, once and for all.

A/N: Yes I'm back—and this time with the intent of finishing all my stories. So I know it's been years so I welcome any new readers as well as any of the old ones who are still with me 6 years later! Leave me some reviews with your thoughts!