DISCLAIMER: The characters do not belong to me…they are all the creation of the wonderful Stephenie Meyer. All are human.
This is Our Little Man, the sequel to Life's Little Choices. Bella and Edward are 23 years old. This is Bella and Edward's fourth Christmas together. They've been married for a year and a half. Everyone is human, which of course means they will be OOC - plus, Emmett raised Bella, so she's a lot more outgoing.
"What time is your doctor's appointment?" I asked, looking up at her reflection in our bathroom mirror.
"Ten," she replied, looking back at me.
"Do you want me to go with you?"
"No. It's fine. You're probably right. It's probably just a relapse of the flu I had a last month. He'll write me a prescription for more antibiotics and I'll be back to my normal self in no time."
"I hope so. I knew we went out dancing too soon after."
I mentally berated myself for the umpteenth time for agreeing to Alice's demands for a night of dancing. It had only caused Bella to have a relapse of the flu. She had really scared me the first time around so I was even more apprehensive about her having a relapse. She'd been so sick with such a high fever, and she had stubbornly refused to go to the doctor. I ended up having to carry her to his office myself.
"Don't start that again!" she fussed, waving her toothbrush at me. "I felt perfectly fine that night, as evidenced by the way we stayed up all night making love when we got home. I know your parents heard us!"
"My mom may have mentioned something about wanting to soundproof our room," I joked, grinning at her.
She slapped my arm playfully. "You keep that up and it'll be a very long time before those hands of yours get anywhere near me."
I took her into my arms and hugged her gently—she'd been sick this morning and I didn't want to chance squeezing her stomach too much. "I love you, Bella Cullen."
"I love you, Edward Cullen." She stood on her tip-toes and kissed my nose. "I'm off to the doctor. I should be home a little after lunch by the time I get the prescription."
"Would you like me to cook for you?"
"We better wait and see how my appetite is. Right now, I couldn't possibly think of eating, seeing as it would just reappear."
"That's really gross, Bella," I said with mock disgust.
"You can complain when you're the one puking first thing in the morning," she shot back. "I'm taking the Volvo since you're staying in with Emmett and Jasper."
"How do you know I'm staying in?"
"They're home and the Xbox is hooked up," she replied, a smug smile on her lips. "Don't get into too much trouble with those two while I'm out."
"Wouldn't dream of it, love," I laughed, pulling her close. I tucked a stray strand of hair behind her ear before giving her a goodbye kiss.
She smiled and then she was gone. As I stared at the open door, I wondered again if I should have gone with her. Bella had a tendency to edit and I knew if the doctor ordered more bed-rest, she wouldn't pass that information on to me. She was nothing if not stubborn. I shook my head and smiled, knowing that I would never care how stubborn she was, because I loved her with everything in me.
I laced up my sneakers and headed downstairs to find my brothers-in-law. Rose, Alice, and Lily were the only ones in the living room, though. "Where are your weaker halves, ladies?" I asked, sitting next to Rose and Lily.
"They made a stupid bet about who could run a mile and back without getting winded," Rose replied.
"There won't be a winner," Alice said knowingly.
Lily giggled and I looked down at her. "And how is my favorite niece this morning?" I cooed to Lily.
Lily had Emmett's light-brown, curly hair and deep blue eyes. She also had Rosalie's pale face, slender nose, and pouty lips.
"She was hoping Uncle Edward wouldn't mind taking her into the kitchen and feeding her breakfast," Rose said slyly.
"And just where might her mother be while we're in the kitchen?" I asked, lifting an eyebrow.
"Her mother will be on the porch, waiting to see her husband make a fool of himself," Rose chuckled.
"In that case, I would love to," I said, holding my hands out to Lily.
Lily immediately leaned forward for me to pick her up. Bella and I had been more than happy to baby-sit for Lily on numerous occasions, and Lily and I had become good buddies.
"Come on, Lily Bear," I said to her, holding her close. "I bet Grammy Esme has some strawberries that need eating."
"Her Cheerios are in the cabinet to the right of the stove," Rose called.
"Got it," I replied, as I walked through the swinging door that led to the kitchen. "Cheerios and strawberries, Lily. One to throw and one to mush all over yourself. Sounds like the perfect breakfast."
I settled Lily into her highchair and made sure she could see my while I prepared her breakfast. I grabbed the box of Cheerios first and shook a handful onto her highchair tray, causing her to giggle and clap. She was truly a happy baby and her laugh always made the rest of us smile and laugh.
I reached into the refrigerator and pulled out the strawberries. As I sliced up the fruit, I talked to my niece. "So how's life in the crib, Lily Bear? Made any new friends lately? I heard from Aunt Bella that your daddy lost Mr. Frog."
"OHS!" Lily cried as she tossed a piece of cereal at me. She had good aim, but not much force so the piece of cereal hardly went past her highchair.
"What kind of gratitude is that for your uncle? I'm here, slaving away to cut up your strawberries and you're tossing cereal at me."
She stuck out her tongue, blowing spittle at me, and I laughed. After cutting the last piece of fruit, I brought the cutting board over and pushed the strawberry pieces onto her highchair tray. Lily grabbed a piece and put it in her mouth. She started making little noises as she chewed on the piece of fruit.
"I take it you like it," I chuckled as I walked away to put the board into the sink. I grabbed the knife from the counter and put it in the sink as well before sitting down next to Lily.
She made a game out of offering me her food and drawing her hand back as soon as I leaned close to her. Her giggles were nearly constant as we played this familiar game.
"Lily Bear!" I said, pretending to be sad. "Hasn't Uncle Edward earned one little Cheerio?"
Emmett's boom laughter filled the house, announcing his return with Jasper. Lily forgot all about me as she clapped and immediately started repeating one of her newest words, "daddy".
The kitchen door swung open and I looked up to see Emmett and Jasper sauntering into the kitchen, wearing identical, goofy grins.
"Was there a winner?" I asked.
"A mile is a lot further than I remember," Jasper chuckled, as he sat down next to me.
Emmett crouched down next to Lily with his mouth open wide. She giggled and tried to put a strawberry piece into his mouth, but her aim was a little off. She ended up squishing it against the corner of his mouth. "Thanks for that," Emmett chuckled, swiping at the fruit with his tongue while Jasper and I laughed.
Lily had definitely brought out a softer side of Emmett. Nothing could turn him from a grizzly to a teddy quicker than her smile. And with having his own baby to raise, Emmett had finally stopped treating Bella like a little kid…for the most part.
"Emmett said you sent Bella to the doctor. Is everything okay?" Jasper asked, once his laughter was under control.
"I'm pretty sure it's a relapse of the flu," I said.
"Maybe not. Maybe it'll be sinuses or something simple like that," Emmett offered. He knew how worried I had been about Bella when she had been sick.
"Maybe," I sighed, not all that confident it would be something simple.
Emmett was never one for serious conversation, so as usual, he changed the topic. "Care to partake in some video games?" he asked with a big grin.
"Actually, I think I better get started on grading some of the papers for my students. I'm sure they'd like to have their grades before the year ends," I said, getting up.
"All work and no play makes Eddie a dull boy," Emmett chuckled.
"And calling me 'Eddie' will make Emmett something I can't say in front of sweet, little Lily Bear," I retorted.
"Saved by the baby once again," Jasper chuckled.
I shook my head at them as I walked out of the kitchen. As I passed through the living room, I noticed that Alice and Rose were deep into yet another fashion magazine. It was nice to see that even though we'd all grown-up and started families, some things never changed. My sister was still a shopping addict and Rose could still rival any model in the world. And my Bella was still as amazing and captivating as she'd ever been. I hoped, once again, that she just had a stomach virus or something else that was short-term.
As I walked into our room, I grabbed my briefcase and brought it over to the sofa. I opened it up and grabbed the first of many final essays for the music class I taught. Bella and I were both college professors now, and I taught Introduction to Classical Music, while Bella instructed a course on nineteenth century literature. It was perfect for her since she was able to share her passion for the authors of that time period.
I was finally getting near the end of the pile of essays when Bella came home. I heard the door close and started reading a little faster, anxious to find out what the doctor had told her.
"Edward, I need to talk to you," she said softly.
She sounded a little nervous and I wanted to make sure I gave her my full attention, which would only happen if I finished this paper. I tended to be a perfectionist at times, and I knew it I would keep thinking about this paper if I didn't finish it.
"Okay. Let me finish this paragraph and you will have my undivided attention." I raced through the final paragraph, then put the paper down and smiled at my beautiful wife. "Go ahead."
"It's about the car thing. I think we're going to need to get another one," she said.
"Did something happen with the Volvo today?" I asked, her nervousness taking on a new meaning.
"What does 'not exactly' mean, Bella?"
"I just think it might be time to let you get me a new car instead of the used one we replaced my truck with." She edged a little closer to me, still looking hesitant and nervous.
I opened my arms for her and she sat on my lap, facing me. "Why the sudden interest in a new car?"
She shrugged. "I just thought you might want to have your child riding in a safer car. I'll keep the old one if you want, though."
Child? My brain and lungs shut down for a second. Did she just say "child"? I had to have misheard her. She couldn't be? Could she? "Bella?" It was all I could manage to croak out.
"I'm not sick, Edward. I'm pregnant."
I felt my jaw drop and my eyes grow large. This had to be some sort of vivid daydream. We'd always been careful to make sure Bella was consistent with her birth control.
"I know!" Bella cried, pointing at my face. "That's the look I gave the doctor. I asked him how this was possible. Seems that antibiotics knock out the 'control' part of birth control, leaving the 'birth' part behind. So that lovely night of dancing we were joking about just this morning was the culprit." She gave me a moment to process her words before she spoke again. "I know this is a lot to process, but could you say something before I scream?"
"You're pregnant?" I questioned, checking to make sure I had heard correctly.
She nodded her head slowly, biting at her lower lip.
I felt a smile creep across my face as I realized the amazing angel before me was really, truly pregnant with our child. "You're pregnant." I needed to repeat it once more, to make it completely real for me.
She nodded again, this time with a bright smile on her gorgeous lips.
I pulled her into my arms and ran out of our room. I stopped at the top of the stairs and yelled out across the house. I wanted everyone to know this wonderful news. "BELLA'S PREGNANT!"
Doors started opening across the house and Bella clung to me, as the sound of running footsteps filled the air around us.
"Oh, Bella!" Alice shrieked, as she ran up the stairs, beating everyone else.
I pulled Bella away from the stairs, seeing that Alice was over-excited. Bella wasn't always steady on her feet and I didn't want to risk an accident. She tended to be a bit of a klutz at times, although she'd gotten much better in the last few years.
Alice hugged Bella tightly around the shoulders, but kept away from her stomach. "I'm going to be an aunt!" Alice squealed.
"Not that I'm not excited, but how did this happen?" Emmett asked, holding Lily in his arms. "I thought you two were being careful. You haven't been out of college that long."
I was ecstatic to see him being so calm. He could be a tad unreasonable where Bella was concerned, often going to extremes to make sure she would be safe. He'd once bruised a rib on her after freaking out over an outfit my sister and Rose had dressed Bella in to go out to a club.
"Well, dad!" Bella said sarcastically. "It was an accident. There was a little something Renee forgot to mention and I never knew to ask about."
"Which was?" Rose asked, as she took Lily from Emmett.
Bella kissed Lily's forehead and smiled at Rose. "The antibiotics they give you for the flu can make your birth control ineffective."
"Oh!" Jasper cried, as he started laughing and sat down hard on the stairs. "That's just … Oh!"
"What's with him?" I asked Alice.
My sister smiled. "That's how Rose and he came to be."
"Carlisle, we're going to be grandparents again. Better break out your old man slippers," Esme teased.
"I will be the youngest, hippest grandpa, Esme," Carlisle quipped. "No slippers for me."
"We have so much to decide and plan!" Alice said, taking Bella's hand in hers. "There's clothing and accessories, and where you're going to live so we can get a nursery underway as soon as possible."
"Alice, stop," I said softly, prying my wife's hand away from my sister. "You're going to freak Bella out unnecessarily. Let's just be happy for the moment and enjoy Christmas. We can talk about all of this after."
"Fine! But we will talk about it," Alice warned. She quickly started smiling again. "I'm going to be Auntie Ali!" She sat in Jasper's lap, throwing her arms around him. "How's that sound, Uncle Jazzy?"
"We already have those names, Alice," Jasper chuckled. "Lily, remember?"
"Of course, I remember! I'm just excited! We all knew Rose would have a family. But who would have thought little Eddie would grow up, marry a beautiful woman, and bring a baby into the world?" Alice giggled.
"So then everyone is happy about this?" Bella asked. It was clear in her tone of voice that she was nervous of everyone's reaction to the news.
We all screamed her name together. "Bella!"
"God, I hope the kid has better sense than you," Emmett joked, pulling Bella into a hug.
"Just so long as the baby has her sense of humor," Rose added.
"But the baby has to be musically inclined like Edward," Alice said.
"Stop!" Bella chuckled. "Can I just be pregnant for a whole day before you all map out our baby's life?"
I turned Bella around and smiled at her. "Our baby, Bella."
"Yes, Edward," she said, wrapping her arms around my neck. "Our baby."
"Now that you've all been informed, I'm stealing my wife for the rest of the afternoon," I announced.
"Edward, you can't do that!" Alice pouted.
"Watch me," I challenged. I lifted Bella up bridal style and rushed her into our room, locking the door behind us.
Alice pounded on the door. "Edward Anthony Cullen! You bring Bella back out here this instant."
I put my finger over Bella's lips, hoping the silence would help convince Alice to go away for now. I was sure the pixie would try to steal my wife again later on.
"Alice, let them be alone," Esme chided. "They need some time to discuss the news amongst themselves. You will have plenty of time to torture Bella with shopping and planning later on."
"Mom, it's not torture! It's very necessary," Alice defended, her voice fading as she walked off with the rest of our family.
Bella looked up at me, love and humor shining in her deep, brown eyes. I pulled her closer and kissed her, letting her know just how much I loved her. This woman, my wife, was going to make us parents and I couldn't have been happier about it.
"Edward," Bella sighed, pulling away from our kiss to breathe.
I settled onto the bed, with Bella lying on top of me, her back against my chest. I put my hand under her shirt and held it against her stomach, my goofy grin growing wider. There was a baby growing right beneath my hand. Our baby. We had created a life together…bits and pieces of the both of us. God, I hoped the baby would look just like her…and have a mind like hers, too, but definitely with my math skills.
"What are you doing?" she giggled, putting her hand on top of mine.
"I just told you. I'm stealing you for myself for the rest of the day," I said.
"Okay," she sighed, relaxing completely against me.
"What? No complaints? No insisting that I share you with the family?"
"Nope. None," she said. "I think we should probably have an actual conversation about things."
"And what things would you like to discuss?"
"I would think it would be pretty obvious, Tutor-boy!"
I frowned at her, even though she couldn't see it. Four years together and I still hadn't been able to get her to give up on that nickname.
"I can hear you frowning," she chuckled.
"Bella, you cannot hear a frown."
"I can," she replied with conviction.
"Make me stop frowning then," I challenged.
She turned in my arms and looked down at me, a smug smile on her gorgeous lips. "Edward! We're going to have a baby."
"That did it," I sighed, lifting my face up to meet hers.
"So, what do we do now?" she asked, pulling away at the last second. Those beautiful, brown eyes of hers showed me so many emotions: love, happiness, elation, curiosity, and a little bit of fear. Bella had always been bit apprehensive of change.
I moved us so that we were lying on our sides, facing each other. "For right now, this very second, I say we just enjoy each other's company."
"That sounds…excellent." She snuggled closer to me, draping her arm across my waist.
I started stroking her hair and shoulder, knowing she had given in too easily. Her questions were going to eat at her before long, so I waited patiently for them to begin. Bella was capable of a mean, rapid-fire version of twenty questions when something grabbed her attention.
"Edward?" she called after about five minutes of silence.
"Are you really happy about this? About us having a baby?"
I titled her chin up with my finger, getting her to look at my eyes. "Bella, just as there are no words to express my love for you, there are even less to describe the elation I feel at knowing there is a life growing inside of you." I moved my hand, resting it against her stomach, and she put her own over mine. "Are you happy?"
"Ecstatic! I never thought I would know what it was like to be a part of a family again, until I fell in love with you. So to know that we are going to bring a baby into the world…Edward, it's beyond anything. It's beyond everything!"
"Emmett took it rather well, don't you think?"
Bella laughed happily, her brown eyes sparkling. "I think it was only because he was holding Lily and Rose has really been on him to watch his mouth around the baby."
"What brought that on?"
"Lily started saying 'crap' every time Rose went to change her diaper," Bella giggled.
"I suppose that was bound to happen seeing as that's one of Emmett's favorite naughty words."
She started biting her lip and I had to hold back my laughter. Any second now, she was going to break and the questions would come pouring out of her. I tapped her nose playfully with my finger, and it was as if it was an on-button for her.
"Do you want a boy or a girl? Do you have a preference? Do you think I'm going to get very fat? Do you think my belly will be as round as Rose's was? Are you going to run out in the middle of the night if I have a craving? Should we call Angela and Ben? Do you think Charlie and Renee know? If they do, do you think they're happy?"
I put my hand over her mouth. "Bella, if you don't stop and take a breath right this second…"
She pulled my hand away and gave me a gorgeous smile. "You still aren't any good at threats, honey."
"I noticed you took a breath, love," I chuckled.
"So!" she sang.
"So," I chuckled.
"Edward! Won't you answer any of my questions?" she pouted.
"I would, except you fired them at me a little too quickly this time. If you'd like to slow down and ask them one at a time, I'd gladly answer them for you."
"You're no fun," she giggled. "Okay! I'll start over. Do you want a boy or a girl?"
"Either. It doesn't matter. As long as the baby looks just like you."
"Don't curse the baby, Edward. That's not nice." Bella had always had trouble seeing herself clearly and recognizing her own beauty. No matter how many times I told her she was beautiful and gorgeous, part of her always doubted my words. Luckily, I could be just as stubborn as she could and I would never stop praising her.
"Isabella, you are the most beautiful creature on this planet. How could you say the baby would be cursed?"
She completely ignored my question. "If it's a little boy, I want him to have hair just like yours."
"Now that's a curse," I laughed. "Poor little guy will never be able to do anything with it."
She reached up and ran her hand through my hair. "I happen to love the natural untidiness of your hair. He'd be lucky to have his be this nice."
"I definitely want the baby to view the world the way you do, love."
"Okay, but we need to balance that out with your math skills."
"I agree," I laughed. "Next question."
"Should we call Angela and Ben?" she asked.
"I think we should tell them when they come over for the traditional Christmas Eve pancake breakfast in two days."
"I like that idea. Good thinking, honey."
"Thank you, beautiful mother-to-be."
"Aw, Edward," she sobbed, burying her face into my shirt.
I held her close, rubbing her back. "What did I say? Why are you crying?"
"I don't know," she said, continuing to cry.
I couldn't help it, I started laughing. "I can tell the next however many months are going to be very interesting. Speaking of that, you never did tell me how far along you are."
Bella lifted her head and wiped her tears away. "I don't know. We're going to find out on next Friday. I made an appointment to see Dr. Johnson. The nurse says you can come with me, if you want."
"As if there was anywhere else I would ever be," I told her, placing a tender kiss on her forehead.
"Do you think my mom and dad know and are happy?" she whispered.
When I first met the beautiful angel lying next to me, she was reluctant to mention her parents in anyway. Her parents had died in a tragic car accident when Bella was only fifteen, and she had refused to let herself think about them or grieve for them properly. Over the last few years, Bella had worked hard on letting go of her grief, and concentrating on the happy memories she had shared with her parents. But I was sure she was missing them a great deal at the moment.
"I believe they know and are extremely happy," I said, trying to reassure her.
"Do you think I'm going to get very fat?"
"More questions?" I chuckled.
"A few more," she admitted. "So do you?"
"Pregnant women are not fat…ever! They are round with child."
"Good answer, Tutor-boy!" she giggled.
I smiled and placed a kiss on the top of her head. "I mean it, Bella. You'll look beautiful regardless of any baby weight you may gain."
"You're being awfully presumptuous," she replied.
"Fine. I'll let it go for now. Do you think my belly will be as round as Rose's was?"
"That is one question I can't answer. Everyone is different. But if you take after your mother, as you do in many ways, I'm sure it will be perfectly round and lovely."
"What if it's odd shaped or something?" she asked, her nose crinkling slightly.
"Bella," I laughed. "That is a ridiculous concern at this point."
"Yeah, I know. I'll move on to the next question then. Are you going to run out in the middle of the night if I have a craving?"
"Absolutely. Twice, if need be."
"You are such a good husband, Edward. I love you."
"I love you, too, Bella."
She was quite for a few minutes as she traced patterns onto my shirt. "Edward?"
"Do you think I'll be a good mother?"
"Without a doubt." And I meant that. No child could wish for a more loving person to be their mother. "What about me?"
"I think you'd make a horrible mother, but only because you're lacking some of the necessary equipment. But if you don't mind being the father, I'm sure you'll be perfect at it. You're practically perfect at everything. You very nearly got the lights on the tree correctly this year."
"Isabella Cullen, what am I going to do with you?" I growled playfully, as I cupped her face in my hands.
"The same thing you always do…Love me and tell me I'm beautiful."
I smiled and kissed her cheeks softly. "I love you and you are beyond beautiful." She was an angel in every way imaginable. And now, My Bella was pregnant with our baby. It almost seemed too perfect to be real.