For the very last time, enjoy…
Seven years later, to the day
I sigh onto the papers in front of me, wishing a strong breath was all it took to blow them away. This is the part of my work I honestly don't enjoy.
And, to boot, I've been lost in memories for the best part of the day.
I finish the charts under the bright hospital light and get my things sorted to leave, rubbing my sore neck.
"Can you work on these? There's a rush on it…"
The nurse prattles on, and, after a fourteen hour shift, I make an effort not to cry or commit an act of violence; either one would do. I take a look at the time instead, and peace washes over me.
"I've been off the clock for nearly an hour. Let the next shift take care of it."
"I'll see you tomorrow," I cut, successfully ending the conversation. I smile, shamelessly enjoying my ability to say 'no', and turn to check my Inbox one last time.
One new e-mail awaits me, and the photos make me smile. Lizzie is a wonderful child, with Rosalie's grace and hair, Emmett's playfulness and dimples. I need to remember to clear up the weekend of her christening, or Rosie will shoot me on sight.
I get the notes I want to pass on to the next shift on the table, organized and on sight, and call it a day.
It always feels strange wearing my street clothes as I'm leaving the Pediatric Surgery ward, but I have to remind myself that the children are safe and being cared for.
I never regretted my choice of specialty. When the time came, I knew I had to listen to Carlisle's good advice in Phoenix – and pursue something that touched me, instead of trying and stay detached.
The job was hard, specially the tough cases that didn't allow for much range of action. Keeping the families hopeful while telling them the truth was challenging. Time and time again, I was forced to accept that the reality of what we were doing came with its failures. Sometimes, not all the medicine in the world could suffice.
My windy city embraces me as I leave the hospital; the street lights, already on, mutely try to outshine the setting sun peeking between the tall buildings.
I walk all the way back, even though there's no traffic, just lazily enjoying the scenery, even as tired as I am.
My apartment is high up, and exhaustion creeps on me as I enter the complex through the glass doors and enter the elevator. I very nearly yawn, but shake it off immediately.
I'd promised Jasper I'd be there tonight to support him, so there was no way I could skip this dinner.
I enter the silent, dark house, and sigh, saddened. I hate it.
I hate coming home to an empty place, filled with furniture and devoid of life.
I search for the magazines I subscribed, and remembered to have left on top of the kitchen counter.
They're gone. I frown.
The bread crumbs, traces of my early breakfast, are gone too, and the floor was mopped.
I smile to myself as I roam the house. As I've come to expect, there's a dress – my own best friend's creation – hanging on the bathroom door, waiting for me. It's discreet, soft and romantic. I approve. As I examine her masterpiece more closely, I come to the conclusion that I adore it.
It saddens me to see her talent go to waste. Alice is still struggling to break her way into the Design world – a tough industry – even if her current job pleases her. Event planning suits her perfectly, and she works with none other than Esme Cullen.
I'm glad that Jasper found a teaching job in Chicago, which keeps us close. I honestly don't know what I'd do without the both of them in proximity.
It's too early to start getting ready, and, after such a long shift, my cushy bed extends an invitation I can't deny.
Changing into my pajamas, I sink in bed and turn off the lights, promising myself it would just be one hours. Two, tops.
Silence and darkness envelops me, as the shutters are drawn, and sleep claims my body.
I float back to consciousness, not quite making it, at the sound of music. I turn and twist in bed, smiling at the beautiful sound originated in the living room.
The carpet muffles the sound of footsteps heading my way, and I blink my way back to the world of the living, yearning to see.
Edward's face greets me, with a smile, as he sits by my side in bed, and I tug on him, playfully, getting him to lie beside me.
"Is this new?" I ask, reaching for a kiss he delivers. A few more notes fill the air, and I add: "It's yours."
"Yes," he smiles, in confirmation. "I've been working on it for a while. Do you like it?"
"It's amazing," I reply, letting the sound lull me.
"Ah, you sleepyhead," he jokes, but moves to snuggle against me. "How was your day?"
"Long," I sigh. "And probably not as interesting as having your own production company. Mostly charts, minor surgery."
"What about his day?" he asks, moving to uncover my belly and laying wet kisses round my bellybutton. I squirm to his touch, ticklish, but smile in victory.
He said 'his'.
In spite of my husband's assurance that his feelings towards our child were in no way related to its sex, my absolute confidence that it was, indeed, a boy, was slowly winning him over.
"He was very nice to his mother, letting me keep my breakfast down and everything," I smile, and Edward cups the skin with his hand, trying to feel some sort of movement, even if I keep telling him three months is much too soon.
And then I get impatient.
Because I can't wait to see him, to see just how beautiful he'll be. I wish he's just like Edward more than anything in the world, but secretly revel in the knowledge that there will be a little bit on me in there, too. That we'll be forever mingled in the highest form of love, the gift of life.
My husband's eyes flick back to mine, and I pull him up for a kiss.
He draws the cover over us, and I chuckle.
"Let's stay in," he suggests, but I shake my head, still chuckling.
"We can't do that. Poor Jasper, his nerves are frazzled as it is, with the proposal tonight. We need to be there."
My actions contradict my words, and I welcome him, weaving my hand through his hair. Edward just sighs, and then his smirk and mischievous glint worry me.
"Where are you…" I start, as he gets up.
"I'm drawing us a bath," he explains.
"Foot-rub?" I ask, hopeful, and he sticks his head out of the master bath. The glint is still there.
"It's a start."
I chuckle and hear the water cascading into our tub, the sound mingling with the piano still filtering through the air.
Seven years later, and we made it.
Edward did leave medical school after I went to London, but stayed in New Hampshire. He pursued higher education in Music, and the success was tremendous. He was brilliant and happy about what he did.
Walking our separate paths together was a challenge, and we did spend some time away from each other, even after London – as Edward often flew to Germany for a couple of months at a time, to study.
Turning down the offer to become a concert pianist, he decided to start his own production company instead, and we finally settled down in Chicago, my adoptive city. I fell in love with it during the first trip we did together.
We didn't make the same mistakes, but new ones. Even if, at the end of the day, we never forgot about what was really important.
I hear him calling me and step out of the bed, gingerly making my way to the lit bathroom, shedding my pajamas on the way.
We sink into the warm water, and I warn my husband about the little time we have. He ignores that reality, kissing me instead.
Yes, I think to myself. We did make it this far, and this is just the beginning.
Thank you for you for waiting for the updates, for the reviews you left – either praise or critique –, for the trust you showed, for making it this far with me.
Thank you, readers.