OK, last chapter…sorry, but I promise another awesome story very soon!
Just as Edward has predicted, Carlisle was ready to have his tumor removed just two months after starting chemo. We rearranged our schedules to be at the hospital the day of the surgery, and Lizzie even came along to help keep an eye on the kids – except Aina and Keely, who were at school.
It's been difficult explaining this whole ordeal to them. As soon as the questions started, Edward and I sat the twins down and had the discussion.
"Momma, why is Grandpa losing his hair?" Keely asked one day after Carlisle and Esme had left.
It had been a month after the chemo sessions began, and we were all starting to notice Carlisle was losing his beautiful, slightly graying, blond hair. After Edward and I put the younger children to bed, we sat on the couch with the twins and broke the news gently.
"Your Grandpa Carlisle is very sick," Edward said. "And, the treatment they're giving him causes his hair to fall out."
"What's wrong with him?" Aina asked on the verge of tears.
"He has cancer," Edward replied quietly.
"NO!" Aina screamed as she buried her face in my shoulder. Her tears soaked through the shirt I was wearing as I stroked her hair soothingly, "Shhhh, it's OK, baby. Your grandpa is going to be fine."
"That's right, girls, his treatments are working and they're going to be able to operate on him soon," Edward explained. "And, after that, he should be much, much better."
"Are you going to be operating on him, Daddy?" Keely asked.
"No, sweetie, I'm not a surgeon," he said. "But, the best surgeon in all of Washington is going to do it, and he's going to do the best job possible."
"But, you're the best doctor in the world, Daddy," Keely countered.
"That's true sweetie," I said, shooting Edward a smirk. "But, he doesn't do surgeries. Don't worry; Grandpa is going to be fine."
We reassured the girls – and ourselves – a few more times before sending them to bed.
A part of me wished they could have been here today, but I told them Lizzie would pick them up from school and bring them here directly. Carlisle should be out of surgery by that time, and I'm sure he'll be asking where his twin terrors are.
Nurses from the post-natal wing kept coming over to see Rory and Donovan throughout the day. They're just four months old, and they are already more than capable of wrapping any woman around their tiny fingers. They're miniaturized Edwards. In fact, once I had pumped out some breast milk and stored it in a fridge in the post-natal wing, two of the nurses volunteered for feeding time.
Lizzie sat with Alys on her lap and a smirk on her lips. "Guess you don't need me here."
"Of course I do, sweetie," I said as Owen and I sat on the floor and colored.
Just as Lizzie went to pull some goldfish crackers out of the diaper bag, her phone started beeping. I recognized that as her text alert. She checked the message and immediately snapped her phone shut in disgust.
"Someone you don't want to talk to?" I guessed as I turned to her.
"You have no idea," she began, "For some reason, Jacob decided to just start texting me again."
"Really? When did that start up again?"
"Just before New Years," she said. "He asked me to a party out in La Push, but I was already going to The Saint with some friends. So, I figured that would be it; and then he showed up at the bar."
"Yep, that sounds like Jake," I said.
"Yeah, he shows up and starts acting all lovey-dovey with me and buying me drinks," she said, "Even though, he was the one who showed at my parents' house before Christmas and broke up with me."
"So, what did you do?"
"What could I do?" She asked, "It's not like I could slap him and tell him to leave me alone in the middle of the crowded bar. So, I just avoided him all night."
"And now he won't leave you alone?"
"Yeah, I mean, I have to admit a part of me is thrilled I have reduced him to a groveling wimp," she said. "But, it's also too pathetic – and, I don't want to date anyone who's pathetic."
"Well, have you told him that?" I asked.
"Not really, I just keep avoiding him every time he tries to call or text," she said.
"This could be your problem," I replied. "I think you just need to sit down and talk to him. He needs tough-love, Lizzie, he doesn't take subtle hints."
"I'm just afraid if I meet with him, he's going to use that puppy-dog face on me," she said. "He's really good at that – it turns me to mush."
"You want me to come with you for moral support?" I asked.
"Would you? That'd be so great," she said excitedly.
"Sure…just let me know when."
Edward walked back in from talking to one of his doctor friends and looked around in confusion, "Where are the twins?"
Just as he asked that, the two nurses who volunteered to feed them walked in, oooing and awing over them. The nurses were young, probably in their late-20s or early-30s, and they looked like the type who were still searching for the right guy to settle down with – kind of like Lizzie.
The brunette nurse walked over and handed me Rory. The blond one, however, walked up to Edward with a flirtatious look on her face.
"Are you the daddy of this little guy?" She asked in a sickeningly sweet voice.
"Yes I am," he said simply. He didn't even seem to notice the girl, he just took Donovan into his arms and kissed him gently on the nose. After a moment, the nurse walked away in a huff.
I shook my head and chuckled as the brunette nurse, named Jordan, gave me a shocked expression.
"Wow, no one ever ignores Carrie," she said. "He must really love you."
"Hey, he knows what's good for him," I replied. "And he knows if he ever looked at another woman, I'd cut his balls off."
Jordan laughed in disbelief as Lizzie stood up and put Alys on her hip, "Oh yeah, that man is whipped good."
Edward finally joined the conversation as we all finished cracking up.
"What's so funny?" He asked as he leaned in for a kiss.
"Men," I replied as I planted a soft kiss on his lips.
"Anything in particular, or just men in general?"
"In general," Lizzie said.
"Having men troubles, Liz?" He asked.
Lizzie and I looked at each other and started laughing again. Edward just shrugged and sat down with Donovan in his lap. Owen jumped up into the chair next to his daddy and stared at his baby brother in awe.
"Hi Donovan," Owen said as he stroked his brother's head gently.
Esme and Alice, who had been out getting coffee at Starbucks to take her mind off of Carlisle's surgery, walked in with Aiden, Jacee and a drink holder full of coffees.
"Here we go, coffee for everybody!" Esme announced as she set the cardboard drink holder on the waiting room table.
"Granny!" Alys called as she held her hands out to Esme. My mother-in-law took Alys into her arms and sat on the nearest chair to play with her. We all sat around talking and sipping our coffees for the next hour, and then Dr. Baker walked out in his scrubs. He was smiling.
"Hello folks," he said.
Edward stood up and walked over to him, "How did it go?"
"Everything went exactly as we expected, the tumor was completely removed – it hadn't spread to any other organs – and he's in recovery as we speak."
"When can I see my husband?" Esme asked as she stood with Alys still in her arms.
"Soon," Dr. Baker said. "He needs to rest a little bit, but you can go in and see him in about an hour or so."
"That's perfect timing then," Lizzie said as she grabbed her purse, "Because I have to go pick up Aina and Keely."
"Wow, is it almost three already?" I asked.
"Good, Carlisle will want the whole family around him when he wakes up," Esme said.
Lizzie was back about twenty minutes later with the older twins, and they ran to me and Edward eagerly.
"Where's Grandpa?" They both asked in unison.
"He's in a room waiting to see us," Edward said. "We can see him in a little bit, but he's still kind of tired right now."
Aina and Keely sat down at a waiting room table and started their homework until a nurse came back and told us we could see Carlisle. Esme, Alice and Edward went first while I sat with the kids and Lizzie, waiting for our turn. Jasper showed up then, he wasn't able to get off of work for today.
"Is Carlisle out?" He asked me as he lifted Jacee into his arms.
"Yeah," I said. "Edward, Esme and Alice are in there right now."
Once they came back out, Edward took Donovan back from Lizzie and we all walked back to Carlisle's room. It was so strange to walk in and see my strong, confident father-in-law lying there, looking weak and tired. He smiled at me as our eyes met and I returned it as best I could. Aina and Keely ran to their grandfather and jumped into the seat next to him.
"There are the terrors," he said. "How was school?"
"Fine," they both replied.
"How do you feel, Grandpa?" Keely asked.
"I feel super, Babygirl," he said. He reached up towards me and motioned for me to hand him Rory.
"Are you sure?" I asked.
"Yeah, I'm fine," he said. "I can handle it."
I set Rory in his arms and he held the baby close to his chest. Rory instinctively snuggled into his grandpa's shoulder and stuck his thumb in his mouth. It only took him a moment before he was sleeping serenely.
"Now that's a Cullen, right there," Carlisle said. "We can sleep anywhere, can't we little man?"
Edward sat in the chair on Carlisle's other side with Donovan as I picked up Owen so he could have a better look. Carlisle looked at my oldest boy with a wistful expression, "You been good for your Momma today, Owen?"
Owen nodded before burying his face in my neck.
Carlisle chuckled, "And how about little Alys? How's my little bug?"
"Poppa," she said in reply, pushing against Lizzie to try and reach for her grandpa.
Carlisle passed Rory to Edward so Lizzie could put Alys in his lap. I watched as my father-in-law played with his grandchildren and had a hard time swallowing the lump in my throat.
I guess it's true what they say – that which does not kill us, only makes us stronger. My family survived an attack from a mad man and Carlisle's cancer. I'm pretty sure at this point we could survive anything.
I didn't want to go back to work, I would have rather stayed by Dad's side and watched his progress a hawk. But, I guess I'm just going to have to let Mom do that.
And, it turned out I had another thing to worry about – Bella told me she would be accompanying Lizzie to confront Jacob and ask him to leave her alone. I suggested I be the one to tell off Jacob, but both girls vehemently vetoed that idea. So, now my wife would be taking our four youngest kids to Rosalie's for safe keeping, while she and our nanny confront a large, possibly dangerous young man.
I didn't care what Bella said, Jacob has great potential to be violent and dangerous. He's 6-feet, 7-inches of angry, unpredictable male – that's a powder keg just waiting to be set off.
I couldn't help myself, I sat around the office worrying all morning and my new nurse, Lauri, finally smacked some sense into me – so to speak.
"Dr. Cullen, just go," she said. "You don't have another appointment until 2, and you said they're meeting at noon, so go and make sure everything is OK."
I put down the chart I was staring at, but not really reading, and stood up, "You're right. What kind of husband would I be if I let my wife go meet with a guy I don't trust? I'll be back as soon as I can, Lauri. If I'm longer than two o'clock, I'll call you."
She nodded as I took my lab coat off and grabbed my winter jacket from the back of the office. I drove to the deli where they were all meeting and was relieved to see no one was there yet. I sat in the back of the restaurant and waited, hiding in a booth with a hat pulled low on my head.
Suddenly, Bella and Lizzie walked in and sat down at a table near the front. Good, at least they knew to keep close to an exit. They ordered their drinks as Jacob walked in and attempted to greet both ladies with a kiss – neither one responded. That made me more than a little smug.
They chatted for a bit, but when the server came back by with coffees for the girls and a soda for Jacob, Lizzie told the woman they wouldn't be having lunch today. This came as news to Jacob, who said he would like to eat. The waitress seemed to realize she was in the midst of a tense situation and excused herself.
Luckily, there weren't too many people in the deli yet, and I could hear their voices pretty well. Lizzie looked at Bella, who gave her an encouraging nod, and then turned back to Jacob.
"Jake, I'm just here because I don't want to see you anymore, and I'd like it if you'd leave me alone," she said firmly. "Remember, you're the one who broke it off in the first place. And I had to admit, I felt like things had kind of fizzled out, too."
"I didn't break things off because I didn't have feelings for you anymore," he said. "I did it because I thought I wanted something I couldn't have."
He gave Bella a meaningful look that made me want to jump across the restaurant and break him in half.
"Be that as it may, I'm done and I want to move on," Lizzie continued.
"And what brought this on?" He asked, giving Bella an accusing look – I was proud that she didn't seem to cower away from him.
"Please," Lizzie scoffed, "What did you think I was going to do, just sit around and wait for you to come back to me? I've been seeing other guys, Jake; and I think I found a guy I can fall in love with."
Jacob stared at his glass and seethed. I was on edge at that moment, just waiting for him to do something rash. I was surprised, though, when I noticed a tear run down his cheek. He looked back up and his expression had changed; he was sad, but he also seemed resigned.
"I guess I deserve that," he said. "OK, Liz, goodbye then."
Jacob stood and threw some money down on the table. He waved to both and walked out, leaving the girls – and me, for that matter – beyond stunned. That was it? He left just like that? I stared after him for a while, making sure he got in his truck and left – which he did. After his white truck pulled away, I leaned against the back of the booth and let out a sigh of relief.
Suddenly, someone touched my shoulder and scared me out of my reverie.
"Enjoy the show?" Bella asked as she and Lizzie stood next to my booth and smirked at me.
"Well, it wasn't as exciting as I thought it was going to be," I said. "But, it had its moments."
"I'm just glad he took it so well," Lizzie said. "We both just need to get on with our lives."
"Since you two didn't get a chance to eat," I began, "How about you join me?"
"Sure," Bella said. "We're in no hurry to leave anymore."
OK, that's the end. Hope you all enjoyed it, and thanks for reading!