Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight (in case you didn't know)
A/N: Welcome to: Not Without You, the sequel to The Path We Chose. If you're here it means you've probably read The Path We Chose and you want more, so thanks for coming back!
If you haven't read The Path We Chose, you must read it first or this will not make sense. This is not a stand alone story.
Not Without You
Chapter 1: Rain
It was the last week of July and it was raining. The rain was coming down hard and fast and it was the kind of rain that's loud and gets pelted into your face by the wind, and I was late. I was running late for my six month prenatal appointment. I pulled my hood tighter around my face and splashed through puddles to my truck. Edward was already working at the hospital--the warm, dry, hospital. So he was planning on meeting me there. Before I'd left the house, I'd thought about calling him, but I was only five minutes behind at this point and calling him, would have just made me later. I trucked through the pouring rain, my windshield wipers furiously attacking the splashing water, and still, they weren't quick enough.
I cursed as I hit the first red light. I knew that once you hit one red light in this town, you hit them all. I checked my watch. Even if I drove slowly and was stopped by every light along the way, I would still only be ten minutes late. But life, or God, or fate, had other plans.
I was thinking about Arizona--how in Arizona I would be hot right now, sweating, and wishing for rain. My thoughts were on heat-stroke-inducing Phoenix when my truck started to stall. It putt-putt-putted and then shut itself off. I turned the key in the ignition but all I heard was clicking. I pumped the gas a few times, but still nothing. I sat back in my seat for a minute and stared at the streaks of water ahead of me, now thinking about the fact that I still hadn't replaced my cell phone. I was about two miles from the market where I could use the payphone, but I had no choice. I zipped up my jacket, stepped into the puddled street and walked, pregnant, in the rain, with my head down.
Nearly four minutes into my walk, the rain began to slow enough so I could look ahead and not down at my feet. And once the rain slowed to a sprinkle, there was honking behind me. I tried to ignore it--didn't turn around, but then I heard his voice calling my name.
"Hey, do you need a ride?"
He pulled over, got out of his car and opened the door for me. I frowned at him. "My truck broke down."
"Yeah, I saw it back there. I'll take you to Arnie's." It was actually, Arnold's Auto Works, but since this was Forks, everyone already knew Arnie, the old guy with the freckled bald head, long white beard and dirty hands, so Arnie's was what the place was called.
"You're all wet," Mike said, as he pulled away from the curb.
"It was raining," I said, because apparently when you're in the middle of an uncomfortable silence with someone you barely like, but who's helping you out, pointing out the obvious is the only way to go. "Do you have a phone I can borrow?"
He pulled his phone out of his pocket and I called Edward. He didn't answer with a, "hello," he answered with, "Why are you calling me?"
"Edward," I said.
"Bella? Where are you? What are you doing on Mike's phone?"
I told him about my truck, Mike and Arnie's. "Do you want Mike to take me to the hospital?"
"No, I'll come for you. I just have to finish up something here and then I'll reschedule your appointment."
At Arnie's I waited for his tow-truck driver to pick up my truck and Mike insisted on waiting with me, so we sat in the office together next to the old morning coffee and the dusty water cooler.
"So, you're, uh, really having a baby, huh?"
He gave me a nervous laugh. "Just think, if we had gotten together when we had the chance you'd be pregnant with my baby right now."
Okay, that got my attention. I looked over at him. "What do you mean, when we had the chance?"
"You know, last year when I asked you to homecoming. If it weren't for your fear of dances we would have definitely hooked up."
"Mike. Seriously? People really do live in delusions in this world."
"Never mind. Thanks for helping me out, anyway."
"Anytime." He pointed at my stomach. "Do you have a name picked out?"
I shook my head at him wide-eyed. We hadn't picked out a name. I hadn't even thought about it. Edward and I had been calling the baby, "baby". Certainly that wouldn't be the name. Leave it to Mike to be the one to make me realize that my baby actually would need a name. I didn't have much time to think about it, though because Arnie came back, scratching his beard, to inform me that my truck needed a new alternator and some break work and it would cost me $1200.00.
"Whoa," Mike said and I took a deep breath.
"Mike, I appreciate your help, but you don't have to wait. Edward will be here any minute. I know you have other things to do."
"I don't mind, Bella."
I sighed and my neck was sweating. "Well, if you really want to wait, can you wait outside for a minute?"
I was so afraid he would ask me why, and I didn't want to explain to him that I needed privacy to try and beg Arnie to bring the price down for me. Thankfully, Mike obliged and left me there staring at Arnie.
"Does it really need all that work? Because I can't afford that."
"Sugar, if you want to be safe and avoid breakdowns, then yes, the repairs are necessary, and I've discounted the cost of labor for you already."
I wondered just what kind of "breakdown" I would be avoiding if I coughed up $1200.00.
Late for my appointment, truck stalling, walking through the rain only to be picked up by Mike after the rain had stopped--none of that was as difficult as this. Had I been living with my father, he would have paid to fix my truck, but since I no longer lived with him, by choice, I had no right to even ask him to pay. There was no way in hell I was going to ask Carlisle and Esme to break out their credit cards for me. And I didn't have enough money saved up yet to cover the cost. Which way do you go in this situation? Swallow your pride and ask for monetary help, or impose on others for rides and live a truckless life until you can afford to fix it? Staring and staring at Arnie in his office, I couldn't come to a decision. I needed Emmett for this kind of dilemma. But if I went to him, he'd probably think I was hinting for him to help me pay and that would be humiliating.
"Do you accept payment in installments?" I finally asked after the sound of his throat-clearing broke through my silence.
"Here's what I can do for you. It will take eight to ten days to get your parts anyway, so you will have some time before we're finished working on it. Once it's ready to go, you can pay 50% then and 50% after one month."
I did the only thing I could do at that point; I shook his grease-stained hand and gave him the go-ahead to get started on my truck. Then I walked out of the office because it was too hot in there and I wanted rain on my face again. It wasn't raining anything but Mike outside.
"All finished?" he asked.
"Do you want me to drive you to--"
Edward pulled up and parked by the curb. "Hey," he said as he approached, "sorry. Sorry." He kissed me. "Thanks Mike, really." He shook Mike's hand and turned back to me as if Mike would just leave. "It took forever to get the appointment changed. The receptionist kept going on and on about how she knew you were having a girl by the way your face glowed and how she was never wrong about these things. I heard all about her niece who she also happened to predict would be a girl. Oh man, if our kid is anything like her niece sounds, we are going to need real therapy." He laughed. "Your face does glow. She's right about that." He kissed me again.
"You're having a girl?" Mike said, reminding us he was still there.
"No!" I said. "I mean…we don't know for sure. We don't know the sex. Please don't say anything at all about that, Mike. You know how the people of Forks like to spread news."
He squinted at me like he wasn't quite sure what I meant, so I clarified. "You know, Jessica, Lauren, rumors?"
"Oh. I don't talk to Jessica anymore. Ever since she pushed you, nobody really talks to her. Except for Lauren."
It was my turn to frown in confusion. "Really?" I looked at Edward.
"What? You know I never did talk to her unless I had to."
"But you never told me that nobody talks to her."
"I don't notice that kind of stuff, Bella. I go to school, get my grade, get back to you. That's it."
"Hey, I didn't mean to start an argument," Mike said holding up his hands.
I scoffed. "We're not arguing," I looked directly into his blue eyes. "We never argue." God. If we could get out of this without Mike revving the rumor engine it would be a miracle.
Edward laughed, put his arm around me and kissed the side of my head. "What's up with your truck?"
I told him what the problem was but not how much it would cost. It turns out I didn't have to offer that minor detail because Mike did. This guy was going to be lucky to get out of this without me pushing him. "Mike. I really do appreciate you helping me out. Not many people would have stopped. It was actually really heroic of you, but this part, this is between Edward and me, you know? Maybe we'll see you again, soon."
"Okay, Bella. No problem. It was good seeing you." He started to lean in for a hug but I took a step back and he looked at Edward and must have thought better of it. Then he finally turned around and headed for his car.
I took Edward's hand and guided him toward his car. "It's okay. I worked it out so I could pay part of it now and the rest later."
"Let me pay for some of it."
"It's not your truck, Edward. It's my responsibility and I've taken care of it." I opened his door for him.
"No, it's not my truck, but you're my girl. Let me help."
"Nope." I touched his nose as if that would put an end to the conversation. "You already help enough by being here and looking like that." I put my hand in his hair and messed it up even more. "Perfect." Then I kissed him and when I felt his hands grab my waist and pull me closer, I knew that was the actual end of the conversation.
Back at the Cullens' I slipped my fingers through Edward's, led him up the stairs to his room, folded my jacket over his desk chair, and sat on his bed. "Let's talk."
"You bring me up here with your touch and you sit on my bed looking like that and you expect me to just talk?" His finger tugged at the neckline of my shirt.
"Yes." I patted the spot next to me and he sat down, leaned over and kissed my neck.
"You talk, I'll enjoy." I closed my eyes and enjoyed, too, until I realized it was impossible for me to make any sort of sense while enjoying Edward's kisses as they traveled over my neck and down my chest and up again and to my ear and along my jaw and the side of my lips. I couldn't talk. I could barely breathe.
"Edward…God…what you do to me."
"What you do to me," he said against my collarbone. "I can't stop, Bella."
"I won't." His lips were teasing my neck again and his hand was under my shirt and I was pulling his shirt off him when we both stopped and jumped away from each other because of the knock at his door. Both of us were smoothing our clothing and our hormones as he stepped toward his door. Before opening it he looked at me. "Okay?"
I nodded. He opened the door and it was Alice. I let out a breath I hadn't realized I was holding. I'd expected Esme.
"What's going on here?" she asked, pushing past Edward. "You two look like a Emmett after he loses a mind-wrestle."
"Nothing," we both said at the same time, although mine was quick and his was slow, and nonchalant, and actually believable.
"I think I interrupted something."
"No, you didn't," I said, even though I wanted to say, Yes you did, can you give us a few minutes? Wait in the hall, or something?
"I need to talk to you, Bella. Edward, have you spoken to Jasper lately?"
"Not for a few days, why?"
"Did he tell you about his parents?"
"What about his parents?"
"Well," she said, sitting on the bed next to me where Edward used to be. I looked past her at Edward for a second because I couldn't help it. Edward was looking at me, too, which made it hard for me to tear my eyes away and focus on Alice. My hand automatically came to my neck where his lips had last touched me. He gave me a half-smile. "His parents' divorce is being finalized and they're both moving. His mom is moving back to Texas and his dad is moving to Seattle. They're making him decide who he's going to live with."
"He's moving?" I asked.
"He better not move. " She threw herself back on Edward's bed. " He's trying to figure out a way to stay in Forks--get an apartment or something."
"I'll go talk to him," Edward said.
"Right now?" I asked.
"Yeah." He grabbed my hand and pulled me toward the door and whispered, "I'll kiss you right here again the second I get back." He kissed me at the bottom of my neck, swept his tongue over my skin there.
"But I wanted to talk to you, remember? Before you distracted me?"
"Is it important? Is something wrong?"
"No. Nothing's wrong. It can wait."
"We'll talk later. I promise." He gave me one last kiss before turning to leave but then he spun around. "Wait, here, this is yours." He handed me his phone.
"No it's not."
"Yes it is. Until you get a new one. I can't believe I waited until something happened before I gave this to you. Bella, keep it and don't argue with me." He left before I could say anything.
"What happened to you?" Alice asked sitting up.
"Oh, just my truck and the rain. Forget it." I sat next to her on the bed and put an arm around her shoulder. "Jasper might get his own place? How will he afford it?"
"He's been volunteering over at Birch Gardens, you know, that assisted living home? They offered him a job in the kitchen. He's excited about Saturday ice cream socials," she laughed. "He says he's helped serve ice cream before and it makes all the elderly folks smile and chat, and sometimes their families and grandchildren join them." Her eyes landed on the CD shelf, and just as I was about to ask her if she wanted me to play one, she said, "But I don't know if he can save up enough money in time for a down payment. He better not move. I'll give him money from my savings if I have to."
"Jasper won't leave Forks. Being far away from you would make him miserable. How long does he have? When do his parents plan on moving?"
"They'll both be out before school starts. His mom's already on her way out." She rested her head against mine. "So, you have a phone now."
I laughed at her attempt at changing the subject, but I didn't bring up Jasper again. "Are you hungry?"
"No…but, are you?" She looked at me. "You are."
She pinched my arm and motioned for me to follow her downstairs where she insisted I sit at the kitchen table while she helped Esme prepare dinner. I didn't sit for long. I got up to set the table. The three of us ate together chatting about nothing, really, avoiding any serious subjects when I realized how comfortable I felt. Not once did I feel like an imposition having one of my friends stay for dinner with my boyfriend's mother without even asking permission. And not once did Esme give me any implication that I needed her permission. Was the Cullens' house actually beginning to feel like home?
I was already asleep by the time Edward returned from Jasper's. I knew by morning that he'd been in my room because there was a note next to my pillow that read: I'm sorry we didn't get to talk. Come and see me when you wake up.
I smiled at the note before brushing my teeth and then going directly to Edward. He was still sleeping, so I squirmed into bed with him and pulled his arm over me. He was warm against my back and snuggled closer, pulling me tight. "When did you get here?"
"I've been here all along, Edward."
He kissed my shoulder but it was covered by my shirt so he kissed my arm right after. "No you haven't."
"How do you know?"
"Because I haven't been this comfortable all night."
I turned toward him and thanked him for the note. "Did you kiss me good night?"
"And I slept through it?"
"Here," he said and kissed me. I felt his tongue for just a second before he pulled away. "I dislike it when you brush your teeth before me."
"I don't mind your morning breath."
"Sure," he said and sat up but I pulled on his arm.
"Wait. I want to talk about something before anyone, or you, interrupts again."
"Is something wrong?" The back of his finger traced a line down my jaw to my chin.
"Yes. Our baby doesn't have a name."
"I guess baby will need one of those." He lay on his side again, resting his head on his hand. "Do you have something in mind?"
"I think," I sat up and looked down at him, "a name should mean something. It should be more than just something you think sounds cute, you know?"
"Don't all names have meaning? There are books about it. Should we get one?"
"No, I mean the name should have importance in our lives."
"You've thought about this."
"Only since yesterday when Mike asked me about names. It honestly hadn't crossed my mind before then."
"So, what did Mike inspire?"
He squinted his eyes. "Masen?"
"Don't you like it? I think it's perfect. It represents your family and you and everything positive in my life."
"You sure you don't want to use one of your family names?" He took my fingers in his.
"Nope. My family's a mess. I like Masen."
"Okay, Masen's good. What if it's a girl?"
"Really?" He smiled.
"Really. Either way. That's the name with the meaning I want to give our baby no matter what."
"Thank you." He leaned forward and kissed my knee.
"You don't have to thank me; it was my idea. Now tell me, what went on with Jasper?"
He told me that we would be helping Jasper find an apartment he could afford. They'd already circled some studios in the paper. Then he beckoned me closer with a finger and said, "Bring me your neck. Let me finish what I started yesterday."
So I brought my neck to him because it was what he wanted and who was I to deprive him of anything?
A/N: I don't know why I get nervous after I post my first chapter. But look, a new story and I'm starting over at zero reviews. Please help me build it up again. :)
Feel free to tell me what you think, what you might like to see in the future, or ask any questions you may have. Thank you readers!