Title: Whatever It Takes
Summary: Bella Swan has leukemia. She was diagnosed when she was sixteen years old. After her first round of treatment she successfully makes it to the remission stage. But just before she reaches that five year mark she relapses. Things were going so well for Bella. Will she succumb to the illness or can that new and young doctor put a smile on her face? AU, AH, & a little OCC. Canon pairings.
Disclaimer: Twilight belongs to Stephenie Meyer. I own nothing.
Comments: Christmas one-shot.
Thank you, Candy!
I know this story is finished, but since its the holidays I wanted to give you amazing readers a Christmas one-shot. Originally, I was going to write a one-shot from scratch... meaning I wasn't going to use any of my preexisting characters... but Whatever It Takes demanded to be used for the Christmas one-shot.
This is fluffy. This is sweet. It's totally non-dramatic and no angst. I felt like we need something cute and sweet to read since it's the holidays. :)
I hope you enjoy this!
Whatever It Takes: A Christmas One-shot.
Six years after the epilogue.
"Daddy!" Aria and Ethan cried, as I opened the front door.
The weariness of the hospital left my face as I closed the door and bent down to pick up my babies.
Aria was six years old now, and we had another addition to our family. Our little boy, Ethan Anthony Cullen; he was only ten months old when we adopted him. Now, at three years old he was a twirling tornado. The kid had so much energy!
I picked them up easily with Aria on my left and Ethan on my right hip.
"Daddy, you have snow in your hair!" Aria squealed. She tried to brush the snow off of me and giggled when I shook my head to rid myself of the snow.
"Daddy, you're silly!" she laughed. She gave me a kiss on my cheek and then screamed, "Mommy!"
I walked into the living room and found it empty. No Bella there.
"Where's Mommy?" I asked, looking at my son.
He grinned and shook his head.
"You're not going to tell me?" I said smiling.
I glanced at Aria and saw her mischievous smile. She looked at Ethan, and the two of them erupted in giggles.
"She's making us hot chocolate!" Aria exclaimed happily.
I made my way to the kitchen and found Bella adding marshmallows into two mugs.
"Hi, honey, I'm home," I said teasingly. I set the two kids down and looked at my wife of eight years. Bella was truly beautiful in my eyes. She looked just as youthful and alluring the first time we met when she was only twenty-one. At thirty years old, she was an established English teacher at the local high school. I was so proud of her. She really beat all the odds and she was living proof that anything was possible.
Bella picked up Ethan and set him down at the bar stool. She handed Aria and Ethan their hot chocolate, and walked over to me.
"Hi," she said smiling up at me. She reached up on her tip-toes and kissed my lightly on the lips. "Guess what?"
"Our Christmas lights don't work. You have to go to the hardware store and pick up new ones."
"They don't work?"
"Nope," she replied. "We've had them for a few years now. I guess its time to buy new ones."
"Okay, I'll go. Let me change first?"
"Go ahead. And hey, maybe you can take the kids? I haven't let them out a lot, and they really missed you."
I looked over at the kids. They were happily slurping their hot chocolate and throwing their marshmallows around. I laughed, and scolded them for making a mess.
They mumbled an apology, and then Aria reached for some napkins.
"Yeah, tell them to get their coats and shoes on," I said turning to Bella. I left the kitchen and bounded up the stairs to change out of my scrubs.
It was a week before Christmas, and Bella was decorating the house. She set up our tree the other day, and now she was focusing her attention on the yard. We were always late with our Christmas decorations. Since Bella was teaching, she had to schedule things around her school schedule and Aria's school schedule. Thankfully, my girls got three weeks off for Christmas and New Year.
Over the years, I learned not to question Bella. She had these ideas about the way we celebrated holidays. Obviously we both brought our own traditions and made some of our own, but like I said, I learned it was better to shut up, and go with whatever she wanted.
I changed out of my scrubs and pulled on some jeans, a shirt, hoody, and my leather jacket. I slipped on some boots and raced down the stairs.
Bella was pulling a beanie over Ethan's brown hair. She brushed some fly aways from his eyes and kissed his forehead.
"Ready?" I asked looking at Aria. She was wearing her lavender parka and mittens.
"Yea!" they shouted.
"Give Mommy a hug and kiss," I said pointing to Bella.
The two of them ran to Bella and attacked her with hugs and kisses. I watched as Bella laughed and kissed them back.
The two of us have come a long way in our relationship. We've faced so many obstacles and roadblocks in our marriage, but everything that happened in the past led us to this point. We have two beautiful and healthy children. Bella was one hundred percent fine, and she was having such a great time teaching. I liked the hospital. It wasn't as hustle and bustle as the city, and it gave me more time with my family. We were very blessed.
Aria and Ethan slipped their hands in mine and we were out the door.
Because Bella and Aria were on Christmas break, Bella spent all her time with the kids. She didn't take them out all the time because she was afraid they'd get cold and sick. On the rare times she took the kids out, she took them to my parent's house.
I strapped Ethan in his car seat, and then checked Aria's seat belt. Once they were all settled and secure I got behind the wheel and peeled out of the driveway. I was normally heavy footed, but since having kids I became extra cautious and mindful of the speeding limit. Bella often said I drove like an old man whenever the four of us went out.
The drive to the hardware store took less than ten minutes. The kids and I walked inside. Aria found the lights.
"Which ones?" I asked. I looked at the assortment and couldn't make up my mind. "Did Mommy tell you what kind of lights she wanted?"
"She said Ethan and I could pick."
"Okay," I replied. "Go pick out the colors. How many boxes should we buy?"
Aria and Ethan argued over the lights. Aria wanted white lights, and Ethan wanted multicolored lights.
Aria was bossy, and Ethan was on the verge of tears.
I grabbed both of the boxes. Aria and Ethan looked at me in surprise.
"We'll put up both."
That stopped their arguing. The three of us went to pay and there they spotted their grandpa Charlie.
"Grandpa!" Aria said running over to him.
Charlie turned around and picked her up. Charlie was close to both the kids. They had him wrapped around their little fingers.
Charlie scooped Ethan up and then glanced at me.
"Bella sent you guys out?" he asked with a slight smirk.
I sighed. "Yeah. As soon as I got home she sent me out."
He chuckled. "That's quite a collection of lights you've got."
"The kids picked them out. They were fighting, and I didn't know what to do, so I just got both of them."
"I'm sure Bella can work well with them."
He finished paying for his light bulb, and then he took the kids aside to wait for me.
I grabbed the bags of lights and picked up Ethan.
We saw Charlie often. In fact, we saw almost all the members of our extended family often. Living in Forks brought us all closer. We virtually lived less than fifteen minutes from our parents. It's nice because we always have at least one last minute babysitter.
Charlie was coming over on Christmas of course. He was teasing Aria that Santa wouldn't come. She believed whole-heartedly that Santa would come for her and her brother. Charlie knew he could joke with Aria because she was feisty. She was stubborn just like Bella, a trait I could have lived without. The kids said their goodbyes to Charlie, and we went back to the house.
The days following the Christmas lights outing were eventful and very tiring. Since I wasn't working on Christmas, I had to be at the hospital for the days before the holiday. My hours went up, but I could deal with it. Bella was used to my crazy holiday hours, and she never complained.
Work was work. It kept me occupied and running. I thoroughly loved my job. Helping people was something that left me with a rewarding, but humbling experience.
When I got home at night, I was met by the three most important people in my life. My Bella and my babies were everything to me.
Our nights consisted of watching holiday specials and playing games in the living room. Every night when the kids were in bed, Bella and I would do our Christmas gift wrapping. We'd take out our purchases and sit on the carpet together and warp gifts. Bella always insisted that I never had to get her anything. Over the years, she'd accumulated an impressive jewelry collection. She liked every piece I bought her, and she still wore her wedding ring and the journey bracelet, but as of late she wasn't interested in jewelry anymore. Why would she be? I gave her so many pieces over the course of our relationship. My jewelry gifts were becoming too predictable. I wanted to give her something she would cherish forever. I wanted to give her something different.
I conjured up the perfect thing. What did Bella love?
Aria and Ethan.
So with that in mind I put my thoughts in motion.
Bella's gift was ready. She had no idea what it was, and the great thing about it was that she wasn't expecting anything from me. When told me not to get her anything, I agreed I wouldn't get her anything. Bella believed me.
Bella was wrapping up Aria's new set of tu-tu's.
Aria danced ballet. Bella and I signed her up when she was three, and since then Aria's kept at it.
The tu-tu's were pretty cool in my opinion. She had a lot of standard pink ones, so we got her blue, green, purple, and patterned ones with stars, hearts, and animal stripes.
I wrapped up another one of Ethan's gifts. Originally, we were going to adopt another girl, but when we saw Ethan we knew he was meant to be in our family. He was tiny and precious. Bella came up with his name right on the spot and from then on, he became a Cullen.
Aria was only three when we adopted Ethan. Having a boy was so different than having a girl like Aria. Besides the obvious fact that they're different genders, Aria and Ethan have very different personalities.
Aria is a bit of a drama queen. She's girly, and once she sets her mind on something, she's stubborn. She won't relent.
Ethan, on the other hand, is quiet. He's sensitive and he's into playing by himself. Aria tries to play with him, but Ethan preferred to be by himself. Bella worried he wouldn't do well socially in school, and in a hasty decision she enrolled him in mommy and me classes. Ethan was shy to say the least, but he's been doing well. He's made friends and Bella was happy and relived.
I placed the gifts under the tree. Bella was lying down on the couch with a blanket covering her body. I sat down on the carpet beside her and leaned down to kiss her. Her lips were still as soft and sweet as the first time I kissed her.
I gave her a butterfly kiss and she reached out and massaged the back of my head.
"Esme and I have the menu planned out. She's making her pot roast and ham. I've got the potatoes, casserole, and vegetables covered. Alice is bringing the wine and snacks for the kids, and Rose is bringing the dessert."
Every year we had Christmas at our house, New Year's at Alice and Jasper's, Thanksgiving at Rose and Emmett's, and Easter at my parents'.
"I'm sure everything is going to taste wonderful," I told her.
Bella always tired at least one new dish every Christmas. She got her recipes off of Food Network. This year she was trying out a casserole dish.
"You always say that," she murmured.
"You're always nervous," I commented.
She rolled her eyes. "I can't help it."
I laughed and kissed her nose. "I love you, Bella Cullen. Can you believe this is our tenth Christmas together?"
It was true. We'd celebrated ten Christmases together now. Our first was when she was discharged from the hospital. I remember I went to her apartment and really didn't know what to do. All I knew was that I had to see her. She was so little and sick back then. Of course I still saw her beauty and I was immensely attracted to her even then. That Christmas was special; because it was the first time I realized the intensity of my feelings for her.
"Ten Christmases together, huh?" She sat up and leaned forward. Her lips touched mine, but before I could kiss her she spoke against my lips. "Here's to ten more Christmases together."
I would never tire of kissing Bella. Every time I kiss her, I'm reminded of the amazing opportunity I have-to have a forever with her.
There was a time when I was terrified of losing her. I was a mess, and that really severed our relationship. I wasn't scared of her illness. I was doctor for goodness sake, I was used to disease. But Bella was different. I'd never met someone like her. I loved her, and therefore I was terrified of her being taken away from me. Bella set me straight though. It was hard. It was difficult, but together we got though that roadblock.
Our life together was incredible. Bella worked hard for everything. She never had an easy way. I loved her resilience. She was a tough cookie, and she had an absolute heart of gold. I loved her more and more each day. When I see her with our children, it just does something to me. She's so light and happy with them.
If I was proud of anything, I was proud of the life we built together. Bella and I aren't two separate entities anymore. We're one. We're in this for the long haul.
For as long as forever.
I was woken up by Edward, Ethan, and Aria.
"Mommy! Merry Christmas!" my precious boy and girl cried as they jumped on me. Aria pulled the covers off of me and they attacked me with kisses.
After about a minute Edward grabbed each of them in his arms. "Okay, Mommy's awake now. Good job, my little elves!"
They laughed and squealed as Edward held them high above the bed.
"Edward!" I said warningly.
He grinned at me. "I've got them, love. Don't worry."
"I'm a mom. Worry comes with the territory."
He laughed. "Come downstairs. The kids and I made waffles."
"It's Christmas, Mommy! It's Jesus' birthday! Can we open presents after we eat?"
The kids knew I didn't like it if they demanded their gifts first thing in the morning. Christmas was a religious holiday after all, and I just wouldn't feel comfortable celebrating it without acknowledging it was Christ's "birthday."
Aria learned a long time ago the true meaning of Christmas. She knew she was fortunate to get gifts and that as long as she knew and understood what Christmas was, and then I'd be happy to shower her with gifts and holiday spirit.
The four of us walked downstairs. I was pleasantly surprised to see the kitchen table all set.
I really enjoyed breakfast time with my family, especially on Christmas morning. The kids were old enough now to eat solid food and feed themselves. Aria always had us laughing and talking. She was so outgoing. Ethan was her polar opposite-he was shy.
I was glad the kids woke me up at a reasonable hour. Seven a.m.
I had a lot of cooking to do today, and I needed all the time I could get.
Edward and I cleared the dishes. I stuck everything in the dish washer so I could follow the kids to the living room.
Edward had the camera ready and we began our Christmas gift exchanging.
The kids liked their toys and clothes. Well, Aria liked her tu-tu's, but it was safe to say Ethan didn't care much for his new leather jacket. Edward eyed it at Port Angeles. He bought it so Ethan could match him.
I gave Edward a gift.
A new laptop. I had Edward turn it on and urged him to click a windows video file. When he did, he was met with a little montage of Aria, Ethan, and me.
"You can play this between visiting patients when you're at the hospital. I know you hide out at your desk sometimes, so this should brighten your day."
"Bella," he sighed. He went over to me and hugged me close. "That's exactly what I need. Thank you, my loves."
He kissed me, then Aria, then Ethan. Edward showed Aria and Ethan the slide show I compiled. I admitted I got one of my tenth graders to teach me how to use Windows Media.
I was cleaning up the wrapping paper, and the children were playing with their toys. Edward set aside the camera, and swiftly presented me with boxes.
"Edward!" I said laughing. "I told you not to."
"Do I ever listen?" he joked.
First, Edward slid a tiny box to me. I thought it would be earrings based on the size, but it wasn't. Instead it was a keychain. A clear picture keychain with Aria on one side and Ethan on the next.
"Don't speak," he said sliding another gift to me.
The second box was a standard medium sized box you get from Macy's gift wrapping. I tore the paper away and lifted the lid. Inside was a white shirt. On the front was a picture of my boy and girl, with the writing of "#1 Mommy."
"There's more," Edward murmured. He slid another box to me.
I tore at the paper, and carefully lifted the lid. It was mug with a picture of Aria and Ethan on one side.
I noticed the picture he used was new. He must have taken the kids out to get their photo taken at the mall or something.
"Well?" he asked. "Better than sapphires?"
I got up and sat on his lap. "It's perfect."
It wasn't because he didn't get me a diamond necklace. It wasn't because he didn't get me a ruby ring. I liked all the jewelry he gave me. He had impeccable taste and they were all lovely.
It was because I didn't need them anymore. I appreciated it. I loved being cared for by Edward, but I didn't need gold or silver to know he loved me. Edward understood that. I explained it to him.
I forgot my kids were in the room, and I gave Edward one long kiss.
"Cover your eyes, Ethan," I heard Aria whisper not so quietly.
I pulled back and laughed. I looked into Edward's angel green eyes and saw the light in them dancing.
"Busted," he said amusedly.
"Yes, we are. And by our own children," I replied, playing along.
"What shall we do?" he mused with a quick glance in their direction.
"Hmm, I don't know," I said smiling.
"I think we should go after them," he said loudly, causing Aria and Ethan to shriek and run out the room.
I jumped off of Edward's lap and together, we chased after our children.
The morning was spent playing around as a family. We eventually caught the two rugrats, and put in a Disney holiday movie for them.
Edward cleaned up the kitchen for me and I picked up all the mess in the living room.
By one o'clock I was buried in vegetables. I was peeling, cutting, dicing, and mixing carrots, potatoes, celery, and all other sorts of vegetables. The potato casserole I was trying out made me on edge. The recipe seemed easy enough, but not many people were big on potato casserole, right? I added cheese for good measure.
Everyone knew that when I was in the kitchen, I had to be left alone. Edward and the kids knew better than to come hurling through my war zone.
I was glad Edward had taken Christmas day off. He tried to rotate which holiday's he could get. The hospital at Forks wasn't over staffed, and everyone depended on Edward. Today though, he was on kid duty.
I managed to have everything done by the time Rose and Emmett arrived.
My brother and Rose were regular visitors in my house. Rose loved children, and she was happy to be an aunt. For years she and Emmett have tried to have children. It hasn't worked out that way for them. Rose was bitter at first. I understood her feelings. I too, wanted the gift of bringing my own children into the world. I wanted the whole package-the pregnancy, the labor, the child rearing. I felt like I'd been robbed of something, but there was nothing I could do. Rose and I connected over this common issue. I suggested adoption, and Rose was still miffed about not being able to have her own kids. It was understandable, but when I brought up that Aria and Ethan were adopted, and that just because they didn't come from my love with Edward didn't mean that they weren't any less important or part of our family.
I never once wanted Aria and Ethan to feel isolated from us. Yes, they were adopted, but I learned that blood lines don't make up a family.
Over time, Rose grew to like the adoption route. She loved Aria and Ethan; she saw them as her niece and nephew. With that in mind, she went on a mission to find her own child.
Rose and Emmett have a boy. They adopted a two year old boy three years ago. His name is Nicholas, Nick for short.
Rose ushered me out of the kitchen. I was grateful to be relived from kitchen duty. I said hi to my brother and nephew and then headed upstairs to get cleaned up.
I loved the holidays. Each one of them was special, but I loved Christmas.
There's something about the winder holidays that get me so happy. Maybe it was the fact that I was celebrating it with Edward again. We'd be celebrating our tenth Christmas together this year. That was an incredible milestone for us. For me.
Our past was always present. Neither of us could forget it. It's what made us… us. Our past was special because it made living in the present so much more rewarding.
I was very grateful and blessed to be where I am, and to have what I have.
My children are my light. They bring me and Edward so much joy.
Life in general is challenging, but like Edward taught me many years ago, it's worth living. It is okay to take a step back, and pause. I'm still here, and I'd be here for as long as forever.
Christmas dinner was exactly what Christmas dinner should be-filled with family, kids, and second helpings of Esme's pot roast.
My family was wonderful. I'm so very thankful that I have these amazing people in my life.
Alice was still my best friend. We'd only grown closer as time went on. She and Jasper only have Peter. The three of them are really cute. I often tease Alice that she has her "two men" looking out for her. Being the only girl had its perks.
My dad, Esme, and Carlisle have been our rocks. They've helped us so much, and they continue to be selfless with their time and love.
My life isn't perfect. I still struggle. Edward and I fight. We make up. We learn from each other, and we move on together.
Everyday, I go to work, I pick up my kids, I make dinner. I wait for Edward and we spend our nights with our children, watching TV with them, and reading them bedtime stories.
It's these things that many people take for granted. And its these things that make me the happiest woman alive.
You like their gifts to each other? I tried coming up with something a little bit corny and a lot of cute.
So how did you like the kids? I admit, I like Aria and Ethan a lot. Since I wrote them in the story... I feel like their Mommy in a way. LOL!
Merry Christmas everyone! And have a Happy New Year!