A/N: Hey guys! So this one shot just kind of hit me as I was listening to Elvis… it's not based on any particular song or anything, but let me tell you the King can be persuasive. Just a word of warning before you head into this one: this is a very human Edward reflecting on life with Bella. It has it's ups and downs, and it also assumes that Edward's left, and not come back… I hope you like it!
And you guessed it! I don't own these guys… I only wish I did…
I think that I had expected life without you to be easy. But in reality, it was anything but. The day I left you, I think that I died, too. To watch the pain in your eyes as I told you I was leaving, and then the devastation of one lie.
I lived with that everyday, you know; haunted by the hurt and anguish in your eyes. I couldn't escape it, but for some reason I never wanted to. Probably because if I had, I knew that I would have lost you completely.
I'll never forget the first time I saw you after all those years; at the first day of kindergarten, no less. It was like I could see colors again, my world just came alive. All because of you love.
I saw you across the room and I panicked. I had no idea what you'd say to me, if anything at all. And then I noticed the little boy clutching your hand. He was beautiful, just like you, with those dark brown eyes and crazy mop of matching brown hair. I looked back from him to you and much to my surprise, you smiled at me. My heart leapt in my chest, and I think I smiled back, but your expression faltered ever so slightly. The boy dropped your hand and all of a sudden you were moving toward me, determined and assuredly. I was so scared then, I didn't know what to do. I was just stuck in place, waiting for you to come over and yell at me, because after all, I did deserve it.
But you surprised me once again, Love, and put your small hand on my arm, as your brow knit together.
"Edward, what's wrong?"
To this day, I have no idea how you could have known that my entire life was falling apart, but I am so incredibly happy that you did. I smiled at you, completely mystified, and you just squeezed my arm, and turned your gaze back to the throng of screaming children.
"Which one's yours?"
I never took my eyes off of you as I answered. "That one." I pointed vaguely to my daughter.
"Oh, God she looks just like you." Your eyes flicked back to meet mine and I turned toward my little girl. She was crouched down next to your son, the way only a five year old could be and they were poking at a puddle of mud with a pair of sticks.
"What's her name?"
"Grace." I replied. I couldn't tell you then why I'd picked the name, but it was because the word always reminded me of you. You might have been an accident prone danger magnet, but to me you were never anything but Grace.
"And yours?" I asked, almost afraid of the answer.
You hummed contentedly and your eyes traveled back to the children. "Alex."
We watched them for a moment longer before the hand on my arm squeezed for my attention.
"Do you want to get lunch?"
How, my love, could I deny you anything?
We left the school and our two oblivious children and headed to a small restaurant around the corner, and settled into a booth. I'm sorry, love, but I just couldn't stop from staring at you. You were so beautiful; more so than I ever could of imagined, and I wondered how I had gone all through the years not being with you.
"So, what are you up to?" You asked, carefully avoiding my gaze.
"Well, I just moved back. My dad tipped me off to an opening at the hospital, and I needed a new job, so I moved back."
"Where were you before?"
"Chicago. I moved there with Grace's mom a few years ago."
"Oh." I watched your bottom lip get sucked into the vortex of your mouth, and I knew you were trying to decide whether or not to ask a difficult question. I am so, so glad you did.
"And Grace's mother? Does she like it here?"
"No, she probably wouldn't. We were divorced last month. She moved to Monaco with her new boyfriend."
Your eyes snapped up to meet mine, and they were wide with horror. "But that beautiful little girl… how could she just leave her behind?"
"Sophie just wasn't the maternal type. She never much cared for children, so I was relieved when she agreed to let me keep Grace."
"Yeah, I suppose." You weren't satisfied, though, I could tell. But what you said next, I don't think I could have ever prepared for. "Edward, you won't leave her, right? You aren't planning on dumping her with Esme and Carlisle?"
Anger coursed through my veins as you spoke to me. I couldn't imagine that you would possibly think that I could leave behind the most precious thing in my world. But then I remembered; I had left you. My anger ebbed immediately.
I reached across the table and took your hand in mine, "Bella, I could never leave my child. Not ever."
That was the first moment your façade faltered and I could see the very same pain you'd had the day I left reflected in your eyes. I broke me all over again, love. You squeezed my hand and smiled back at me, when emboldened me enough to continue.
"What about you? What are you up to now?"
You grimaced slightly at me, and pulled your hand away. "I…. Uh, well, I'm a stay at home mom."
Not what I expected, but nonetheless I was happy for you. I told you as much, but I watched your eyes focus beyond me.
"Bella, what is it? Tell me."
You looked at me, and I could see you were debating whether or not to trust me. Love, I am so happy you did.
"My… husband. He's having an affair. He's been having one. For about a year now."
If you had told me to kill him, I would have. I wanted to. Spineless prick.
"Bella… you have to leave him. You just have to."
Your eyes filled with tears and your bottom lip began to tremble. "Why not? You can't let him do this to you Bella, you just can't. I won't—"
I was going to say that I wouldn't let you, but then I remembered that I didn't have any right to make such a claim. You weren't mine anymore, after all.
"There isn't just myself to consider. There's Alex, too and his sister."
You nodded, "Reese. She's only seven now. I can't… take them away from their father. And I don't have a job. We'd have to move in with Charlie and—"
The tears started flowing freely down your cheeks and I couldn't watch them fall any more.
"Hey, shhh…. Shhh… It's okay. I'm sorry, Bella. I shouldn't have assumed I knew what your life was like."
You squeezed your eyes closed and then opened them cautiously. "It's okay."
A blunt, bold statement that I interpreted as a kiss off.
We ate and talked about other things. I asked about Charlie, and you asked about my parents. We talked about college and the things we did (or didn't do) there, until we'd finally exhausted all topics. I paid the bill as you protested, but I didn't give in. I just smirked as you continued to huff. It wasn't until we were leaving that I found the words I hadn't even realized I was dying to say. I grabbed your arm and pulled you into me, crushing you to my chest and looked into your eyes as I spoke.
"Bella, you have to know that I've never stopped loving you after all these years. I see your face at night when I sleep, and I hear your voice in my head, urging me forward. When Grace was a baby, I used to rock her and pretend she was ours; that you'd been the one to give her life, and even now at the mere suggestion of it, I can't help the joy I'm feeling. Bella… I left, and I'm sorry. So fucking sorry every day. I just wish I could take it back. I'd give anything to take it back."
Your eyes were wide and I took a deep breath before I continued. "Bella, I just had to say it. I know it's a horrible thing to dump on you, and I don't even have an excuse for why I had to do it. I just did." I laughed sadly to myself, "I just had to."
I felt you stiffen in my arms so I let you go. I knew then that I probably wouldn't see you again; that you'd go running for the hills, and love, I can't say I expected anything less. You backed away from me slowly, looking completely confused, nodded a couple of times before turning and walking away. You hadn't said even one more word.
I laughed at my own stupidity, and headed back toward the kid's school to pick Grace up.
She was the only thing in my life that meant anything any more; my little girl, with her auburn curls and sparkling green eyes. She was the only thing I'd ever done in my entire life that I was proud of.
Even when she was covered head to toe in mud.
"Daddy!" She wailed as she saw me along the perimeter of the playground.
"Hey, baby." I called, kneeling so that I was eye level with my girl. "What happened to you?"
She sniffled and ran a dirty hand under her nose. "Mikey Newton pushed me in the mud. But Alex tackled him."
At first I was shocked that Mike Newton was still in kindergarten, then I realized that it must be his son. Then I looked across the blacktop and saw you, with a hand latched to Alex's shoulder as you nodded to the teacher, who seemed to be giving you a more detailed run down of the afternoon's events.
"Are you ready, lovely?" I asked my girl.
"Uh huh," she said as I stood and took her hand. "Daddy, can I come back tomorrow?"
I laughed at her and then looked back at you. You were looking right at me, so I nodded. "Of course, baby. You can come back everyday."
Grace squeezed my hand and I put her in the Volvo to take her home. We went through our nightly rituals, but it wasn't until I put her to bed and I watched sleep over take her that I felt the shift in my world. I tucked my girl in and headed downstairs to clean up our dishes from dinner. It was just after 11 when I heard a knock at the door.
Love, you never do what I expect.
But there you were, on my doorstep your arms wrapped around your chest and your eyes were bloodshot.
"Did you mean it?" You asked me before I could even register that you were here.
You snapped your eyes shut, but I saw a few tears escape. "Did you mean it?"
Your eyes opened at that and I could see the relief flooding your features. "I love you, Edward. I never stopped."
I didn't wait for anything else; I just crushed you to my chest and held you close as you cried on my shoulder. I didn't care about anything except the fact that you were in my arms and that we were together again. I felt whole.
"I left my husband." You whispered into my shoulder. I lifted one of my arms to cup the back of your head and pull you closer to me. "We're going home… to Charlie's. Only until I can find a job and get some money together for my own place."
You tried to pull away but I didn't let you. "Bella, you are home."
And I meant that, love. You always would have a home with me, and I vowed then and there never to let you cry like this again.
"Where are the children?" I asked.
"In the car. They're asleep."
"Well, let's get them to bed."
I let you go then, and headed to your car. "Edward, we can't stay with you… it's too much of an imposition."
I stopped and turned back to you, cupping your cheeks in my hands. "Bella, Love, You're home. Stay with me."
I leaned in and kissed your forehead, and I felt the familiar shock burst through your skin and into my lips. It was comforting to know that time hadn't diminished it. I released you and turned back to your car, effortlessly lifting Reese while you unbuckled Alex. I motioned for you to follow me into the house and shut the door with my foot as you headed up the stairs and we put them in bed in the guest room. I figured you'd need some time with them, so I went back downstairs to finish up the dishes. I wasn't expecting your arms to snake around my waist a short while later. I smiled to myself as I felt your cheek pressing into my back.
"Edward, do you think that we're destined for disaster?"
I shut off the water and turned in your arms. "Why would you say that, Love?"
"Because the first time… the first time, we—"
"I was an idiot, and I couldn't see that the best thing in my world would last. I couldn't see that You were tied to my happiness. Bella, I haven't been truly happy since the day I left you. Even with Grace… those moments are tainted with sadness."
"Do you promise not to leave again?"
"I'd die first."
"Well you can't do that. The children need a father after all."
I kissed the top of your head and we held each other in the kitchen for what felt like hours. Then you tilted your head up and smiled at me. "I think you can really kiss me now."
"Love, nothing would make me happier."
So I did.
I touched my lips to yours and I knew then that this was how I was meant to spend the rest of my life; kissing you, holding you, making love to you. This was right. I picked you up and took you to bed. Some might have said that we were moving quickly, but I'd been waiting years to be surrounded by your warmth. It felt like heaven to finally be there; to be running my fingers over your breasts, kissing my way down your body and whispering to you as I move inside you. You look so beautiful when you come, and that first time you nearly took my breath away. I hadn't ever imagined that sex could be that beautiful; it certainly hadn't been before.
We spent the night wrapped in each others arms, and I was vaguely aware of you pulling my tee shirt over your head and thinking that it was such a waste to cover up perfection, and then you threw me my boxer briefs and told me, with as much authority as you could muster with your sex hair, to put them on. I didn't want to, and yet I obliged. But I was glad you did when I felt a small hand pressed to my cheek.
"Daddy?" I heard Grace whisper, "I can't sleep."
"C'mere, baby." I hoisted her into the bed and tucked her into me, but kept the two of us turned away from you. She was a violent sleeper, and I didn't want her kicking the crap out of you. But soon enough, I realized I could fall asleep without your touch, so I shifted the two of us over, and kept Grace tucked into me, so that I'd get the brunt of her little kicks and punches. You were turned toward me, fast asleep with a lazy smile on your face. I couldn't help but to reach over and trace the curve of your cheek, and smile. I couldn't believe that you were here. I couldn't believe that we could be that lucky. Grace shift and turned toward you, then curled her little body into your chest, and you responded by pulling her ever closer, and resting you chin on top of her head. I watched the two of you settle in, and fall back to sleep. I didn't hear a peep out of either one of you for the rest of the night.
I woke up the next day, only to find myself alone. Briefly, I wondered if it had all been a dream; that you hadn't really been there. I groaned and shut my eyes, rolling over onto my back. Then I felt a hand on my forehead, and I quickly snatched it and kissed your fingertips.
"Are you alright? I heard you moaning, and I wanted to make sure you were okay."
I laughed to myself and pulled you down into bed, wrapping my arms around you. "I thought it was all a dream, love."
I heard you laugh back at me, then reach up to brush the hair from my eyes. "Well, open your eyes so you can see that it's not."
So I did, and there you were. You were even more beautiful than I had dreamed you could be, and you were smiling back at me. I was so happy that we had found our way back to each other again. I leaned in and kissed you, and I could feel you smiling against my lips.
"C'mon. We should get up; the kids are waiting for us downstairs."
I released you only because I was so shocked at how natural that statement sounded. The kids are waiting for us. I smiled to myself and got out of bed, quickly pulling on my discarded jeans, and throwing a shirt over my head and following you downstairs.
In the kitchen I found the three of them sitting at the island, devouring waffles. Love, you made them waffles.
"Daddy!" My girl cried, her lips caked with syrup, and a dollop of whipped cream on her chin. "The Bella made us wafflies!"
"The Bella?" I inquired, looking at you for answers. You just shrugged, and turned back to the waffle iron, which by the way, I didn't even know I had. I laughed again to myself and grabbed a cup of coffee before turning back to them. My breath caught in my throat when I saw your daughter looking back at me. I hadn't noticed the night before just how much she looked like you, with those big brown eyes and matching long hair, and at first I thought that she didn't approve. But then a wide smile broke out across her face, and I couldn't help but smile back.
"Hello, Mr. Cullen, I'm Reese."
"Hi." I said. I couldn't get over how grown up she sounded. Just, as I'm sure, you once did.
"Daddy?" I heard Grace say.
"I asked the Bella to be my mommy. I told her you wouldn't mind."
I laughed and looked back up at you. You'd turned bright red by that point and I loved that something my brash and decisive little girl said would embarrass you. I wanted to take you in my arms and tell you not to worry, but I was afraid to do that in front of the children. As far as yours knew, you and their father were still together. So we let the moment pass, and I followed your lead.
"Okay, so you guys ready?" You asked them, wetting a paper towel and wiping Grace's mouth.
"Ready." Reese called, heading toward the door. I was vaguely aware that she had slipped her hand into mine and tugged me toward the door as I watched you with my daughter. You two were just so natural together, that I almost let myself forget that it hadn't always been like this. But soon Reese tugged me out of my dream.
"Mr. Cullen; we're going to be late!" I looked down at her and laughed.
"Honey, I think you can call me Edward."
She smiled up at me, and my God she looked even more like you. It was in that moment that I knew that this was all supposed to happen; that we were supposed to come together one day and be a family.
All of us.
We went to see the lawyer that afternoon, and I was so happy when your divorce went through smoothly. I didn't want you to have any extra stress; you didn't deserve it after everything else. You and the kids officially moved in the day it was finalized, Grace and I were thrilled. We were finally able to make a family together; to start over fresh and build the life we should've had. I don't think I'd ever been more excited to be engaged, and subsequently married. The first time, I knew it was a sham. It was what I was expected to do, so I complied giving into my parents desire to have a grandchild, and gave them one. But when I saw you on our wedding day, coming down the aisle on Charlie's arm, grinning at me, I knew it was right; I knew that this was the moment I had been journeying toward for my entire life. You were spectacular, my darling, and I couldn't imagine my life being any better.
That is, until you told me you were pregnant.
It was only six months after we were married, and I found you crying in the bathroom.
"Love, what is it? What's wrong?" I grabbed you and pulled you into my chest, suddenly worried that something had happened to the kids while I was at work.
"Nothing," you whispered, looking up at me and smiling. "We're going to have a baby."
I couldn't help the smile that broke out across my face as I scooped you up into my arms and kissed every available piece of flesh my lips could find. Nothing could contain my excitement; I was finally having a child with you. We really would be together for ever, completely and wholly bonded. Telling the kids was easier than I had assumed it would be. I had assumed that Grace and Alex wouldn't be too thrilled to be dethroned as the babies of the family, but surprisingly, they were all thrilled. I couldn't help but smile proudly at you, as you talked to them about being pregnant, while holding Grace in your lap. She wasn't really paying attention to you; she was twirling your hair around her tiny fingers and watching it coil and then release as it fell. She was so enamored with you, Love, even then. Then I began to imagine that it would be our child who was sitting in your lap, and I felt an overwhelming surge of pride run through my body. You were going to give birth to my child. Words could not express how happy I was to finally be able to even think those words. It was something that I thought could never happen. That night we tucked the kids in after about a million more questions about the baby. It was so adorable how excited they were; almost as much as you and I. You got into bed with me and we curled into each other.
"Are you happy?" You asked your voice heavy with sleep.
"Happy? Happy doesn't even begin to describe it. Love, I'm ecstatic."
"Maybe we could name the baby Happy, since she's made us so happy."
"How do you know it's a girl?"
Your hands slipped down to your still flat stomach and you rubbed soothing circles over it. "I just do."
I laughed into your hair, and we fell asleep like that. It was in that moment that I realized I would do anything for you; even name my child Happy, if that was what you wanted. You pulled away sometime in the middle of the night, but I wanted to watch you sleep. You had such a contented smile on your face, as you let out the occasional sigh that I couldn't help but smile right along with you. Then out of the corner of my eye I saw the door to our bedroom open, and then the padding of small feet over to your side of the bed.
I felt the bed depress, and then saw the familiar mop of unruly hair as Alex leaned over your side to see if you were awake. He pressed one hand to your forehead, but you didn't stir. I heard him sigh in defeat, and then he turned his little head to me. I snapped my eyes shut quickly, and I didn't think he noticed. This was confirmed when I felt him come over to my side and again press his little hand to my forehead. I pretended to flutter my eyes open.
"mmm…Alex? What's up buddy?"
He shrugged, "I can't sleep."
I looked more closely at him and I could see the sweat on his forehead and matting in his hair. I sat up and put my hand to his face. He felt a little warm.
"Honey, do you feel okay?"
He sniffed and shook his head. I got up and scooped him into my arms and took him into the bathroom to clean him up. "What's wrong?" I asked.
"I just feel yucky. I can't sleep. My eyes hurt. I'm tired…" He trailed off and I could see the tears start to spring to his deep brown eyes. It was just a cold, I knew, and he was merely over tired. I pressed the wash cloth to his forehead one more time and pulled off his shirt. I turned back to him, and he had his arms out for me to hold him. It took me by surprise because Alex was the lone hold out in our little family, and I couldn't say that I'd blame him. I probably would have been just as wary. But regardless, my heart leapt and I gathered the little boy into my arms and rocked him as I felt his little tears begin to dot my bare shoulder. I shut off the light, and went back to our bed, keeping him on my chest. I started rubbing circles on his back to get him to calm down, and we were just drifting off when I felt him shift.
"You get to be the new baby's daddy, right?" He asked quietly.
He sniffed and rubbed his nose with a little fist before continuing, "Do you think that maybe you could be my daddy, too?"
I chuckled a little to myself, and then kissed the top of his head, "Of course, Little Man."
He pressed a kiss into the skin over my heart, and I squeezed him tighter. That was the moment that he became my son; the only son I'd ever have.
You were right, love. The baby was a girl, and when she came into our lives seven months later I couldn't believe the amount of love I was over come with the first time I held our daughter in my arms. She was absolutely perfect, with a few faint wisps of my bronze hair, and I could only hope that she'd grow to have your brown eyes.
"What do you want to name her?" You asked, with Alex curled into your lap as I held our daughter and Grace played candy land on the floor with Reese.
"You don't like Happy anymore?"
You snorted and rolled your eyes at me. "I don't think so, Dr. Cullen. Try again."
I laughed and smiled down at the little thing in my arms. So, so much like her mother.
"I suppose we can't name her Isabella?"
I gaped at you and the finality of your tone. You quirked an eyebrow at me, "Unless your willing to consider Edwina."
I shuddered. As much as I would have loved to name her after you, I could saddle her with a name like Edwina. It was too cruel.
"You win, Love."
"What about Violet?"
"Violet Cullen? No."
You sighed. "Okay, fine. Maybe… Pete?"
"You want to give my daughter a boy name?"
"Finee… and she's my daughter, too." I saw your eyes sparkling at me, and I couldn't help but smile back. She was our baby girl, and I knew that I would agree with the next thing out of your mouth, if only because you'd given me this perfect creature.
"What about Lily?"
I looked down at my—our—daughter, and knew in an instant that that would be her name. Born to be a Lily.
"Lily it is."
The six of us went home later that day and we settled back into our routine. We switched off waking up with her in the night, but soon enough she would sleep straight through. The kids still seemed to crawl into bed with us every night, without fail. I lived for those moments, Love. To have all of them crushed into bed, one or two in between us, another at the foot, and maybe Grace or Lily (once she was old enough) was latched to my back. It was absolutely insane how quickly you turned my life around, love. One moment I was wondering how I was going to manage raising my daughter on my own, and the next I was coming home to a house full of children and to you, my love, my life, my soul mate.
Once again, I had a hard time remembering why it had been a good idea to let you go in the first place. The years passed by, and each seemed to be better than the last. I adopted Reese and Alex, just before his seventh birthday, and you went back to school and started teaching English at the high school.
It seemed like nothing could get us now, but at the same time, I knew it wouldn't last.
It was about a month after Lily's fourth birthday, and I was working a shift at the hospital when a call came in that a patient was being rushed in. Young woman, mid thirties. My heart dropped instantly.
"Who is it?" I asked the nurse, panic reaching into my voice.
"I'm not sure." She replied, but before I had a chance to ask another question, the door burst open and the stretcher rolled through. I couldn't believe that it was you, Love.
I felt a strangled sob wretch from my body as I went to follow the gurney. I wanted to be with you; I wanted to know what had happened… how I could have let this happen, but my father stopped me.
"Edward, let them help Bella. You'll only be in the way."
"She's my wife!" I cried. " I need to be with her… move!"
He held me back, and this time he didn't let go of my shoulders, "Son…"
I broke down at that, remembering the four children we had at home. They were all sitting in school now, completely oblivious to the fact that all our lives were about to change. Only a half hour later, I got the news that they'd lost you. A brain Aneurism, the attending said. I couldn't say anything; I couldn't even breathe.
You were gone, Bella; this time you had left me.
"Can- can I see her?"
He nodded and they let me into the room. The sheet was pulled up to your shoulders and they had cleaned up the blood. I went over to you, carefully, so sure that they had made a mistake. It couldn't be possible; I hadn't even had a chance to say good-bye.
"Bella?" I called softly. You didn't respond. I felt the tears start to leak from my eyes and I reached for your hand. It felt so, so cold.
"Love? Baby? Oh, God Bella… I love you, and I'm so sorry. I—don't know what I would have done, but I would have saved you, baby. I would have given my life to keep you here. Oh, God, Bella. Please tell me it's a joke. Please? I can't—I can't let you go yet, it's not fair! We hardly had any time—"
I had to stop then as I began to cry into your hair, which still smelled of strawberries, despite the sterilized environment. I sat there for what didn't seem like long enough when my father placed a hand on my shoulder.
"Edward, your mother and I will take the kids tonight. You need some time to yourself."
I didn't say or do anything to acknowledge him; I just wanted to be alone with you. I wanted you to come back to me; I wasn't ready for us to be over. We hadn't had nearly enough time. But all too soon I realized you weren't coming back, and that you really were gone. I said good-bye to you one last time, and it broke my fucking heart. I hated that I was doing this now, and that I would have to go home with out you. Then I thought of our children, and how terrified they would be. I had to go to them; you would've wanted me to go to them.
Once you were… gone, I raced out to my car and raced toward my parent's house. I needed to see them, and hold them. They were all I had left of you.
My car lurched to a stop in their drive way, and I got out just as the front door flew open. Reese was in my arms quickly and she sobbed into my shirt.
"Daddy, Daddy, please…"
"I know, baby, I know." I held her as she cried and I felt the tears flowing from my eyes, too. Soon enough, I felt Grace's slender arms wrap around my neck, then Alex collapse against my back. We stayed like that until we were all cried out, yet still unable to comprehend the fact that you were gone.
It's been ten years since you've gone, Love, but I still think of you every day. Reese decided to go to med school, just like her old man, and she's working hard. She's so smart, just like you. Alex decided to play baseball, and Love, he's rather good. He's in the minors now, but his coaches keep saying it's only a matter of time before he makes it to the majors. He says that it's all about determination. Sometimes, he sounds exactly like you. Grace is at college in Seattle, studying English, just like you. She said that she liked the idea of escaping into a book. I think you told me the same thing, once. But lastly, there's our baby, Lily. God, Bella, she looks more and more like you every day. She's kept my bronze hair, but with her fair skin, easy blush and molten brown eyes, she's her mother's daughter. She's a teenager now, and I almost can't believe it. It breaks my heart though when she tells me she can't remember you sometimes. It kills me that I have such vivid memories and she has very few. I hate that I can't give her mine, and I hate that you aren't here to give her more.
Bella, I miss you so much that it feels like my heart will never heal. I want it to all be a dream so badly, and every morning, I avoid opening my eyes, just waiting for you to come into the room and brush the hair off of my forehead. I wish I could've gone with you; I wish we didn't have to be apart. But the kids… they need me. They need someone to help them through the rough times, and to yell at when things don't go their way. I've tried my best, Bella, but I know you would've done better.
"Daddy?" I hear Grace call, "Are you coming to bed?"
I'm sitting in our living room, looking over the pictures from our wedding which suddenly bleeds into your pregnancy. There's one shot of Alex and I fast asleep, him curled on my chest, then another of you and Reese baking cookies and Grace just standing beside you, her little eyes barely level with the counter.
"Daddy?" She calls again.
She smiles sadly at me while biting her bottom lip. I wonder who she got that from…
"I'm sorry that you miss Mommy so much."
She only calls you 'mommy' when she's had a rough day. Any other time, it's 'mom' or 'my mother'. I stand up and pull my almost grown daughter into my chest, and she starts crying. I smooth back her hair, and kiss the top of her head.
"Baby, it's okay…"
"It's just not fair… we barely had anytime with her."
"I know, Baby… I know."
"I just… I can't even feel her around us anymore."
"Baby, she's here. She's always here. She'd never, ever leave us. Not ever."
She settles down a little after that, and she pulls back so I can wipe the tears from her cheeks.
"Thanks, Daddy." She says, a warm smile gracing her lips.
"For finding her. She was just what we needed."
"She was, wasn't she?"
"She's the best."
I laugh and nod in agreement. Because that's the truth, Love. You were exactly what my little girl and I needed all those years ago, and you seemed to know it even before I did. I love you, Isabella Cullen, and I'll never let you go.