Disclaimer: You know the drill.

Author's Note: I'm blown away when I see the stats for this fic. Over a thousand views on the last chapter. Over a thousand favorites and follows. You guys are freaking awesome. From those of you that review, I thank you so very much and to those of you that simply read, you're still much appreciated! (:

"Making the decision to have a child—it's momentous. It is to decide, forever, to have your heart go outside of your body." – Elizabeth Stone

Chapter Eight

I was starting to get used to spending time with Bella. When she used my car, she returned Friday evening, the car void of any dents or scratches I might add—and stayed the night, as well as the following evening. She insisted I take her to work the next day, though, not wanting to be responsible for my 'overly expensive vehicle'. She made fun of me, referring to me as a Stay-At-Home-Wife, since I truly had nothing of great importance to do most days. It must have seemed strange to her, never seeing me work. She had the entire day off on Sunday and insisted on spending the day lounging around until it was time to take her home, but not before I played a piece for her as I had promised.

She accepted my pesky little friend request, too, while using my computer to check her email.

Her second night here, she woke up around three in the morning and ran to the bathroom to throw up in the toilet. I was behind her the entire time, pulling her hair back into a hideous ponytail and rubbing her back. She asked for some crackers which must have helped settle her stomach because she didn't get up the rest of the night. It happened again the next morning-after a night of us being tangled around each other I thought it'd be nice of me to make something for breakfast.

She threw up as soon as she came out of the room and smelled the eggs cooking. I apologized profusely, but she just waved me off. I wet a wash cloth for her and dabbed it against her forehead, wanting to do whatever I could to help. It all just seemed so violent, and I felt bad for her—she couldn't seem to keep any food down at times and I wondered if this was what she typically went through when I wasn't around.

Sitting at home now, though, it felt rather empty after two days here alone. I spent a few hours in the music room, then found myself on my computer again. God damn you, Facebook.

Tyler Crowley:

McDonalds should have a third drive thru window. So you can return all the wrong shit they gave you at the second one. They can't seem to get it right, ever. McFuck McYou.

Peter Roberts

Revenge! Because Karma is too slow.

Isabella Swan

Do you ever go on YouTube to just watch a music video and then five hours later you find yourself watching a tutorial on how to talk to a giraffe? I need to get ready for work—do something productive.

Her post caused me to smile.

As if she knew I was thinking about her, my phone started to buzz and her name appeared.

"Bella," I said, my smile was evident in my voice.

"Hey, you," she replied, sounding slightly nasally. "How's it going?"

"Bored out of my mind to tell you the truth," I told her. "You okay?"

"Congested. I woke up to a nose bleed, today. I don't know if I prefer that or blowing chunks," she sighed heavily.

"Can I come by and see you? I can bring something to help you with that, too," I offered.

"I have to be at work in a little bit, sorry. I'm off tomorrow though," she informed me.

"I'll be over around noon?"

"Sounds good," she said. "Hey—are you ever going to get a job?"

I laughed out loud at her question—she had teased me with this question whenever I said I was at home, doing nothing.

"On a serious note, I actually got a call from a company I was working with in California. So I have to work on a demo for them. If they like it, I'll probably do quite a bit of work for them."

"Really? That's awesome Edward! Congratulations, when did you find out?"

"Yesterday, they emailed me all the information and stuff for it today, though. I'm kind of excited to work on it," I said.

"You still haven't played me anything. And if you could see my face right now, I'm visibly pouting."

"The next time you're over I will, I promise."

"I'll hold you to it. I gotta get ready, though. I'll call you later?"

"Sure. Don't work too hard."

She laughed lightly in my ear, "Bye, Edward."

I arrived at Bella's apartment, right on time as usual, with a bag from the drug store in hand.

"Hey, you," she greeted, smiling and holding the door open to let me in. "What's in the bag?"

"A humidifier for you to plug in when you're going to sleep—it should help to clear up your sinuses."

"That's so sweet, thank you. Set ir down on the table for now, I'm in the middle of a movie," she said, going to sit on the couch. She leaned over the coffee table, closing a notebook and pushing it to the side.

"Marie Antoinette?" I asked rhetorically, watching the screen.

"She's my favorite," she shrugged lightly, settling back into the couch.

I placed the bag on the table before joining her. We resumed our normal position, with her snuggled up to my side.

It seemed as soon as we got comfortable, my phone began to buzz and I pulled it from my pocket, checking the screen to see who it was. I pressed the talk button.

"Emmett," I answered.

"Hey, what are you doing?" He asked.

I glanced at Bella.

"I just got to Bella's place. What's up?"

"Really? What are you guys doing—breathing exercises?"

"Shut up, what do you want?"

"I'm kidding, when do I get to meet her?"

This was obviously one of those 'Emmett Calls' that didn't really serve a purpose. He was probably sitting at home, watching Animal Planet with nothing else to do.

"I'm not sure you should," I told him. He would undeniably meet her at some point, but he was rather insensible and didn't really know when to cut his jokes short.

"Aw, don't be like that. Bring her around to my place in a bit," He offered.

"I don't know if she's up for it."

"Just ask her, and then bring her," he said before promptly hanging up the phone.

I sighed, pushing the phone back into my pocket.

"Who was that?" She inquired curiously.

"Emmett—do you want to meet him?" I asked after a moment.

"Emmett," She repeated the name, as if tossing it through her memory. "As in your best friend?"

I nodded.

"Sure, that would be nice—I need to get out of the house for a bit."

I hadn't expected her to accept so quickly—and I'd been kind of hoping she'd rather stay at her place and just relax a little.

"Oh, wait…I told Alice we would hang out later. Do you think she could come with us?"

"I don't see why not," I told her, knowing Emmett didn't mind guests in the slightest.

"Good. I'll call her and then find a pair of shoes," She announced before standing up, picking her phone up from the coffee table. She pressed a few buttons and walked away as it rang.

She reemerged a minute or two later, shoes on her feet, and her purse on her shoulder—that was fast.

"I told Alice we could pick her up, is that okay?"

"Of course," I said, sincerely. I was interested in properly meeting her; she spoke about her often.

We left her apartment and drove a few blocks down to where she said Alice lived.

Alice looked just as I hazily remembered from the night at the club. All short with dark hair and bright blue eyes.

Bella immediately turned around to formally introduce us when Alice slid in the back seat, "Alice this is Edward. Edward, Alice."

"It's very nice to finally meet you, Alice—properly, I mean" I said, smiling at her from the rearview mirror as I pulled out onto the street again.

"Same here. It's not often you get tossed into a situation like this, but honestly, I think Bella needed something to spice up her life," She teased, letting out a small giggle.

It was contagious, and I found myself chuckling.

The ride to Emmett's was filled with small talk. I discovered that Alice was in her final year at a design school, and waned to open up a boutique when she graduated.

Emmett and I lived in the same building and had keys to each other's condo, so I let us in when we arrived. He wasn't anywhere in sight but I could hear loud music coming from his game room. I led the ladies down the hall and to the room. We all halted and watched him bang away at the drums to his Rock Band set from the doorway. The song soon finished, and the girls erupted in a round of applause, which caused him to jump and turn around to look at us. He smiled and we entered the room.

"How nice of you to let yourselves in," He said sarcastically. "I'm Emmett. And you must be Bella." He added, his gaze fixed on her.

I looked at Bella as she nodded, offering a soft smile. He walked towards her and enveloped her in a hug, though I could tell he was refraining from squeezing as hard as he normally would have.

"This is my friend Alice," She introduced, gesturing to her friend at her side.

He stepped to the side and bent to give Alice a hug—he was much too friendly.

The girls giggled and he gestured towards his console.

"Can I interest you ladies in a game?"

They nodded, and Bella immediately went to the drums. Alice donned the guitar and Emmett shrugged, "I guess that leaves me as lead singer. Unless…did you want to, bro?"

"No, no thanks—I'll watch."

Emmett picked up a controller and navigated his way through the menu, and they waited as the game loaded.

I leaned back against the wall, watching the spectacle in front of me. This would definitely be entertaining.

Alice started playing first, and the guitar led into the vocals of 'My Name is Jonas' by Weezer, and soon after Emmett unleashed his awful singing, Bella began beating at the drums—messing up a little at first before picking up her pace. It was a sight to see, Emmett was the most energetic of them all, with Alice following behind in a close second. I laughed out loud; though they couldn't hear, thanks to the volume level, as well as Emmett's booming voice.

"My name is Wakefield. Got a box full of your toys, they're fresh out of batteries—but they're still making noise, making noise," Emmett belted out, raising the decibel level of his voice noticeably higher. "Guess what I received, in the mail today. Words of deep concern from my little brother," He made a show of putting on a sad face and pointing in my direction which caused the girls to laugh.

I rolled my eyes as he turned his attention back to the screen and continued singing. When the guitar and drums took over he made a point of making an announcement to their audience that consisted of me. "Rockin' out on guitar, we got spunky Alice and bangin' on the drums is Bella!" He imitated the sound of a crowd going 'wild', causing Alice and Bella to laugh harder than they already were, though they weren't deterred. Bella's bottom lip was caught firmly between her teeth as she concentrated on not missing a note, and Alice's head was nodding to the beat of the drums.

All too soon the song was over and Bella stood, ringing her hands together when they were finally free of the drumsticks. She looked to me and grinned, shrugging her shoulders.

"Nice job, both of you."

"It's nothing close to playing the actual drums in the slightest, I bet," Bella said, walking towards me and wrapping her arms around my waist. I hugged her back and placed a kiss atop her head.

"You're right, but it's still fun, no?"

"It was, you can really take your anger out on those things," She murmured into my chest before taking a small step back. "Emmett, have you got anything to eat?"

Her simple question caused me to smile, glad that she was up for eating something.

"That's an unnecessary question—give me a minute and I'll whip up some steaks," He said, in the process of turning off the game console.

"I'll help you," Bella offered.

"Sure, if you want. I hear you cook really well," He said, walking out of the room, Alice and I following in suit.

He and Bella went into the kitchen and I motioned for Alice to follow me into the living room where the large television screen was. I turned it on and handed her the remote which she shook off.

"I'll end up changing it to 'What Not to Wear' and you'll regret that decision," she informed me.

"It's possible, but I won't mind too much," I shrugged.

She took the remote and immediately changed it to the show she had just mentioned. Alice was tuned into it, and I attempted to pay attention, not wanting to seem rude. I quickly caught the gist of it—the hosts of the show, a man and a woman (Emmett would have said two women) basically told a person that they didn't know how to dress, and gave them an entirely new wardrobe and a makeover.

Alice gasped and she put her hand over her chest, "That is the most hideous dress I've ever seen. The floral print? Oh my," She shook her head, disappointed.

"Is she making you watch 'What Not to Wear' in there, Edward?" Bella's voice said, at first from in the kitchen but then steadily growing closer. She was soon standing right next to the sofa, smiling down at me.

"He told me to pick something," Alice shrugged.

"Just be happy it's not the weekend, they usually have marathons," Bella bent down to whisper in my ear. She stood up straight, winking at me. "I'm going to finish helping Emmett."

Alice and I were soon left alone in the living room again.

"So, you're in design school, right?" I asked, wanting to strike up conversation. I wanted to learn more about her, too, seeing as how she was Bella's best friend. I was sure Emmett was doing the same in the kitchen with Bella, but I only hoped he was on his best behavior and not throwing any cheeky remarks her way. She was under enough pressure with the pregnancy already.

"Yes. I'm taking a few extra courses, otherwise I would have been done by now. I'd rather learn as much as I can before throwing myself out into that dangerous world," she told me, tearing her eyes away from the screen to look at me.

"Do you only design clothing? Or interior as well? My mother is an interior designer," I told her.

"I enjoy both, clothing a lot more though. I just about throw a fit if Bella isn't matching or wearing something the proper way," she admitted, giggling.

"I don't mind the way she dresses," I said, shrugging my shoulders. I really didn't see anything wrong with it. I actually preferred it that Bella wasn't the type of girl to overly obsess about something so fickle.

"That's good for you then," she murmured with a teasing glint in her eye. "But don't think for one second I'm going to let your baby walk around in olive drab—unless he was born with your eyes. Hey," She paused, turning fully to face me on the couch. "Have you ever considered adding more green to your wardrobe? Doesn't have to be anything big, subtlety can work well in your case. Perhaps a dark colored shirt with green accents or, a green tie if you wear business suits."

In my case? I didn't even know I had a case. I looked at her, saying nothing, just blinking. How were you supposed to respond to something like that, anyways?

"Sorry," She said, shaking her head, "I tend to do that a lot. I go off on clothing tangents."

"It's all right; I've just never had anyone say anything like that to me."

Alice let out another giggle, "Well, remember what I said, it'd bring out the green in your eyes. That's one of your best features and Bella's favorite asset about you—but don't tell her I told you that."

Bella's favorite asset was my eyes? That was a reassuring thought. I knew green eyes such as mine were really rare, but I never thought to co-ordinate my clothing with them.

"So, when I suddenly start matching in an 'Alice' sort of way, she won't grow suspicious?"

"Not until you start wearing Alice Brandon originals, but I'm sure we have a bit of time for that," She informed me, letting out another bell-ringing giggle.

For the most part she tuned back into her show after that, and I was barely paying attention. She would bring up something during the commercials breaks and I would respond. I discovered more information about her boyfriend; Jasper, how they met, and she asked a bit about my music.

Turns out she and Jasper met during some kind of rally, though they were both on opposing ends of the spectrum. He was in the army, and she was rallying for peace. It sounded romantic the way she told it, anyway. He had finally been stationed to New York after serving his required amount of years away, with visits back home few and far in between—they had always lived together, but most of the time their apartment was left empty and she crashed at Bella's.

Eventually, Emmett told us to come out on the balcony to eat, and we seated ourselves around the table before digging in. It was exquisite; I had already learned never to doubt any of the food Bella had a helping hand in making. It was tender, juicy, and flavorful. I hadn't realized it was possible to develop such feelings over a steak.

"Edward," Alice spoke up after taking a sip of her water, "You were telling me about how you and Emmett started off as enemies or something?"

Emmett guffawed at this, nearly choking on the food in his throat. He must have been laughing at the memories.

I rolled my eyes, "We were neighbors, yeah, and our parents were always pushing us to hang out he first summer that I moved up to the Hampton's and Emmett didn't really like that, seeing as how he was two years older than me."

"Oh, it wasn't always that bad," He shook his head, but was still grinning.

"Not until he stared middle school and I was still in elementary. He started picking on me relentlessly—but I still wanted to hang out with him, for some reason," I said.

"Because I'm cooler than you," He chimed in. "Anyways, I'll tell you guys one of the funniest stories. Edward was always a little…nerd, if you will. He wound up skipping the fifth grade and shit and became the over achiever that he is. So you see, I thought it'd be funny to play a little trick on him. One night during one of our required sleepovers—his parents were out of town that time—I convinced him to leave the house with me probably around midnight or so. We rode our bikes down to the edge of the woods and then got off. I blind folded him and walked him into the forest for about twenty minutes and I told him to count to a hundred and then come find me and then I took off as fast as I could for the house, but when I got there, he was waiting on the stoop for me," Emmett said, chuckling.

"How did he get back before you?" Alice asked.

"He's a genius," Emmett suggested, shrugging.

"Either the North Star really works, or I remembered the steps and I'm just a faster runner," I explained.

"Followed the North Star, eh?" Bella asked, smiling as she stuck her fork into another piece of steak. "Nice navigation skills, Mr. Columbus. How did you retaliate?"

"I don't think I did, honestly. I don't think I ever did," I told her.

"That makes Emmett sound like even more of a bully." Alice said.

"Don't let the innocent looking dimples fool you—he can be brutal. He was probably just trying to get a rise out of me," I shrugged my shoulders.

"Damn you for always remaining so calm when I provoked you. That always pissed me off, you know," Emmett said, pushing his plate away from him when he took the last bite. "Excellent, excellent steaks, Bella."

"Thank you," She murmured appreciatively.

After everyone had finished eating we remained on the balcony talking for another hour or so. Bella yawned and admitted to becoming tired, and Alice mentioned that Jasper would be home from work soon. We all said our goodbyes to Emmett and I took the girls home. Once in Bella's apartment, she immediately began to rid herself of her clothing, dropping them on the floor as she walked into her room, voicing how exhausted she felt. I chuckled and picked up the clothes, following after her.

She settled in on her bed and I sat down at the foot, unfortunately I wouldn't be able to stay the night—but I did have a question for her.

"Are you doing anything for on the eleventh?"

"I'm not sure if I have the night off, yet, why?"

"My parents always have this charity event at the house around Thanksgiving every year, and I want you to come with me, if you can."

"You want me to meet your parents?"

I nodded. "As soon as Emmett and I got to my parents house, he told my mom about you," I laughed at the memory. "He'll tell her anything she wants to hear, if she makes her famous apple pie."

"Do you think they'll like me?" She sounded uncertain.

Having never brought a woman home to meet them, I couldn't honestly say for sure.

"I like you," I shrugged, "So they don't really have a choice."

"That's so reassuring, thank you, Edward." She rolled her eyes.

"I don't really know…but there's only one way to find out, right?"

"I'll see if I can get the night off," she said, causing me to smile.

"Great," I beamed. "It's at five, so I'll have to pick you up a little after three so we can get there in time, traffic getting there really sucks."

"Okay," she nodded softly, pulling the blankets up to her chin. "Are you not staying?" she eyed my clothing.

"Not tonight. I actually have some work to do tomorrow, can you believe?"

"I think hell just froze over," she cocked her head to the side playfully.

I shook my head, standing from the bed. "Let me know if you can make it, okay?"

"Sure, sure. Lock the bottom lock from the inside, okay? I'll get up in a minute to lock everything else up."

"Alright," I walked around to the side of the bed she was lying on, kissing her on the lips.

We still hadn't put a label on this…thing we had—it felt like a relationship to me, though. I wasn't one to rally behind couples staying together for the sake of the child, which could cause a train wreck in the end. If we tried and it didn't work then so be it, but a part of me, somewhere deep down had its fingers, toes, arms, and legs crossed in hopes that it would.

See you guys next time, when we meet the parents.

xo chams