Special thanks go out to Sarah Elizabeth Emily Woods for Beta'ing this for me!

All characters are property of Stephenie Meyer.


"This is all your fault, you know," I panted, leaning my face into the hollow between his neck and shoulders that seemed to have been created just for me. Who was I kidding? Everything about this man was created just for me. I felt him chuckle from his position seated behind me.

"I'll take full responsibility, my love," he replied, placing a soft kiss on the top of my sweaty head. I was too tired to really care. I found my mind drifting as I considered how my life had gotten to this place, into this man's arms. I was so lucky, though I hadn't always been.

I was only sixteen the first time I saw him. I had fallen out of a tree in my front yard and broken my leg. My mother was beside herself and wanted to know exactly what I was doing up a tree. I couldn't exactly tell my mother that I was daydreaming about what my first kiss would be like now could I? I think I made up some story about wanting to see a squirrel, but I'm not sure she believed me. How do moms do that, anyway?

I was sitting on the hospital bed in the ER, waiting for a doctor to come and look at my X-rays, though I already knew I was in for a cast and crutches. I had heard the snap. My mother was sitting in the chair next to me, reading a magazine. I went back to daydreaming. Imagine my surprise when the most perfect man I had ever seen walked in, holding a chart and what I assumed were my X-rays.

He smiled. Oh, please tell me he's smiling at me! He was so . . . handsome didn't even begin to describe him. He was beautiful. The awful lights in the hospital room seemed to somehow make him glow. His blond hair framed a face that was perfectly symmetrical, with soft blue eyes looking at me in concern. That's when I realized I wasn't breathing. That's also when I realized I was in love for the very first time.

I don't think I heard a word that beautiful man said to me. Mom had to get my attention. I started, and pushed my brown hair behind my ear in a nervous habit.

"What?" I asked, unsure of what I had missed.

"Honey, you have to have surgery to set your leg," she replied, looking upset at me. I had almost forgotten about my leg and I flushed. As I thought about surgery, I got nervous and started to panic. The amazing doctor noticed and set my chart down on the bed before moving to my side.

"Hey, it will be alright. I'll take good care of you, promise." When he smiled at me like that I knew everything would be okay. And that's when it happened. He leaned forward and pressed his perfect lips to my forehead. My first kiss.

I panted, brought back from the lovely memory by the sharp pain ripping through me. I felt his arms tighten around me as I tried to remind myself that this would all be over soon. He was running his soft hands up and down my arms with light movements. It was comforting, and I was grateful to be so loved.

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I held the love of my life, the woman of my dreams and my daytimes, in my arms and wished I could take all of her pain away. I had sworn to myself once that I would never cause her pain but I knew she would get through this and be better than wonderful. It just brought back memories of another time seeing her in pain.

It was my fifth year at the hospital and I was approaching my thirty-first birthday. I loved my work but sometimes it broke my heart, more than I wanted to admit. There were days I considered going into private practice, just for a change of pace. I sighed, and looked at the board in the ER. Eileen, a sweet nurse that I had come to consider a friend, since she was the only one that wasn't constantly flirting with me, handed me a chart.


"You might want to take this one. She says she fell down the stairs," she said quietly, her eyes betraying her true feelings. I knew what 'falling down the stairs' usually meant. I had seen it entirely too often here. I nodded at her.

"Where is she?" I asked, dreading this patient. All too often, these women would stay in the relationship until they were killed. I had seen that, too. It grieved me and I could remember the names of every abused woman I had treated that had come in later to the morgue. There were too many.

"She's in curtain 3." I sighed again and headed for the designated area.

"Ma'am? Can I come in?" I asked. I always made sure I was as sensitive as possible in these situations.

"Come in," called a soft voice. It caused a strange reaction in me and I felt like feathers were dancing over my skin somehow. I tried to shake it off and adopt my usual professional persona as I entered her space. I was surprised to recognize her. It took me several moments to place her lovely face in my memory but then it flooded back to me. She was just a young girl then, with a broken leg. It was the one time I had broken my professional demeanor and I had kissed her on the forehead. She had blushed. It hurt to think that her life had brought her to this since then. I didn't know if she remembered me, so I acted as if this were our first meeting.

"Can you tell me what happened?" I asked in a soft voice, trying not to startle or frighten her. She refused to look at me.

"I fell," she whispered, and I could barely hear her. I set her chart on the table next to her and slowly reached for her hands. She clutched mine in desperation, holding on for dear life. I just waited, and her eyes lifted to meet mine. They were just as I remembered, soft gray with hints of green. The only difference was that they seemed haunted, and far too old for her face.

"I can help you, if you will let me." There was a long pause, where I waited with bated breath for her answer.

"Please."

Her hands gripping mine again in pain brought me back to the present, and to the love I spent every day trying to deserve.

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I can do this; I can do this; I can do this... I was chanting it over and over in my mind as I was being ripped apart. Well, that's what it felt like anyway. Stupid breathing exercises that never work!

"Is it time yet?" I asked for what felt like the hundredth time. My beloved husband, lover of my soul, continued rubbing my back as we swayed through the pain. I had thought standing might help speed things along and I found myself dancing in the arms of my love.

"Soon, my darling. I promise it will be over soon," he soothed. Again my mind wandered, this time to another dance in these same arms.

The past months had been like a dream. That fateful day in the emergency room had changed my life and brought me back to the arms of the first man I had ever loved. My first kiss. He had helped me escape from my abusive husband, kept me safe during the divorce, and, eventually, taught me to trust and love again. I didn't deserve him, but I did love him with everything I had.

Tonight, he had brought me to a beautiful lake, where we had a picnic on the shore in the moonlight. It was romantic, and perfect. He fed me bites of dessert while the moon glistened on the glassy surface of the lake. Candles flickered all around us and soft music played from somewhere nearby.

"Can I ask you something?" he said nervously. I looked into his beautiful eyes that I loved so much.

"Anything."

"Do you love me?"

I smiled. That was easy. "More than anything in this world or the next." His eyes lit from within and seemed to glow.

"Marry me?" I gasped, not expecting that. I looked down to see the most exquisite ring I had ever seen in my life. It was white gold, with a single large stone in the center and smaller diamonds going around the entire band. Tears filled my eyes and flooded down my face as I nodded my acceptance. He slipped the ring onto the ring finger of my left hand before kissing it.

"My love for you will never end. It will be an unbroken circle for the rest of our lives. I will spend the rest of my life showing you every moment of every day how much I love you. You are my angel, a precious gift that I will treasure with everything I have for the rest of my life. I can't wait to be your husband." His eyes shone in the moonlight and I had to catch my breath.

Husband.

That word used to strike fear in me every time I thought of it. When he said it, it filled my heart with light and love, driving out the last traces of darkness left by my past. I was finally whole, and I wanted nothing more than to give myself to this man before me. I raised my hand to caress his face.

"You saved me, in every way a person can be saved. You brought me out from a darkness that I didn't think I would ever escape. You healed me, and loved me, even when I knew it was difficult for you. You stood by me no matter what came. I will always be grateful but, more than that, I will always love you. Time brought us together and I will belong to you for the rest of my life."

He couldn't hold back his own tears as he stood, taking my hand. He pulled me into his arms and we began to dance to the soft music. The moonlight caressed us both and I knew that I was home.

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I danced my beautiful angel around the room, trying anything I could think of to relieve her pain. Of course, nothing would work entirely. Only time.

"I'm here, you're OK," I chanted to her, over and over again. I needed her to know she wasn't alone, that I would help her do this. "I've got you."

I had never been more nervous in all my life. I knew that she loved me and that this would be the most amazing day of my life thus far but I really wanted to find the closest trash can and throw up everything I had ever eaten.

Since this was my love's second wedding, and the first was such a disaster, we decided to keep things small. We were getting married on the lake shore where I had proposed, only six weeks ago. Neither of us wanted to wait to start our lives together. It was just the two of us and a few close friends. I wore a suit in charcoal gray with a white shirt and a sky blue tie that matched my eyes. I had a matching handkerchief in my breast pocket. I paced anxiously on the shore, waiting for the love of my life to arrive.

I heard someone take a quick breath in and turned to see the vision before me. She had a wreath of flowers in all the colors of spring resting in her caramel hair. Her dress was a soft pink and it floated gently to just above the ground. She looked like the most beautiful wood nymph as she crossed the grass to stand beside me. I couldn't take my eyes off of her.


We said vows, I know we did, but all I remember was the look in her eyes. Hope shone from them and I knew she wasn't the same battered woman I met all those months ago. I could see the girl that had flushed when I kissed her forehead in her eyes now. I loved them both. I felt as though I would explode with joy and light. This amazing angel, my love, was mine. I was easily the luckiest man alive.

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I panted and screamed, unable to contain it any longer. It was finally time.

"You're doing amazing, my dearest! Just a few more pushes... I know you can do this!" I fought the exhaustion that weighed heavily on my body and mind and tried to distract myself.

I was so nervous. I hadn't been this nervous on my wedding day. I stopped for a moment to stare at the rings on my finger, still finding it hard to believe that I had spent the last year married to the man of my dreams. Literally. But were we ready for this? I took a steadying breath as I heard the key in the door.

"What a beautiful sight to come home to!" He always knew exactly the right thing to say. I found myself relaxing as he pulled me into his arms. I sighed, perfectly content in that moment. He kissed me deeply before letting go so he could remove his jacket. This was my favorite time of day, when I got to take care of my husband.

As he got settled, my nerves started to return. I quickly got dinner on the table and we ate in companionable silence.

"How was your day?" he asked with a smile. This was it.

"Surprising actually." I knew I had his full attention. "I had a doctor's appointment today." His eyes filled with concern.

"Are you still feeling sick?" I had struggled with what I had thought was a flu bug several weeks ago. I gave him a small smile.

"No, not exactly. I'm pregnant." There. I had said it. I stared at my hands for a few moments before daring to peek at his face.

He looked . . . stunned. I continued to watch him as slowly the biggest smile I had ever seen stole across his face.

"A baby?" I nodded. "I'm going to be a father?" My smile couldn't get any bigger. He jumped up from the table and rushed over to me. I found myself twirling in his arms, delighted laughter spilling out from both of us. Suddenly he set me down and kissed me passionately. He pulled away quickly and ran his hands down to the tiny bump in my abdomen. I was startled when he fell to his knees and laid his face against my stomach. I ran my fingers through his hair, unable to contain the tears of joy running down my face. He just held me, and our child.

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Finally, with one final push, I felt the most amazing sensation as our child was born into this world. Truly there is nothing like it and no words can accurately describe life passing through one's body. I fell back into the arms of my husband, my Carlisle.

"You are a goddess," he whispered to me over the cries of our son. We watched with indulgent eyes as our son, not amused at being evicted from his warm home, met the world for the first time. Already the pain of labor and birth were fading, being replaced with an awe and an overwhelming love for the tiny person currently screaming his displeasure. Once he was wrapped and warm again, the nurse brought him back to us and placed him in my arms for the first time. He stopped crying at once, looking at us, his parents, with more understanding than a newborn should have. He had beautiful green eyes and a fuzz of coppery hair on top of his head. He was easily the most perfect infant I had ever seen.

"Do we have a name for him?" the doctor asked, smiling from ear to ear at us, a brand new family. I looked to my husband, before answering.

"Edward."