*There is an edit in this chapter. I had accidently had Leah tell Bella that she and Eli were engaged, but their wedding was mentioned in the last chapter, so I fixed it here to what it was supposed to be, she announced that she was pregnant and that she wanted Edward and Bella to be the godparents. You can re-read that part to see the changes, otherwise just continue on with the next chapter, which is going up today. Thanks to Siriusmunchkin for catching the mistake and PMing me about it.*

Thank you for your patience with this chapter. I've done all of the research I need to ahead of time, so I have the remainder of the story mapped out and now it's just a matter of writing it. I'm still working on this and the stories that need wrapping up, so you'll see a few things coming from me as they are done, but this is at the top of the list.

Once again this month, I've been nominated for Top Ten Favorite Completed Fic of April, for An Angel in Hell. Link on my profile to the site if you'd care to help me out and vote. You can vote once a day between now and June 1st.

Mizzdee worked very hard on this chapter, including sending it back for a re-write at one point...something I'm really grateful for because what came out of it was so much better. Love to you wifey.

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

Chapter 13 – The Battle Begins


From the moment Bella told me that she had cancer, my mind was in hyper drive. There were a million things to do before her doctor's appointment on Tuesday and I would burn the midnight oil to do them.

That night we stayed at my parents, and after Bella cried herself to sleep I snuck downstairs to talk to my dad.

"How's Bella doing?" my dad asked when I joined him in the living room.

"Sleeping, finally," I told him. "Dad, I need you to level with me. What am I facing here?"

Sighing, he turned to face me fully. "Bella's first bout with cancer was lucky in that it was self contained. So much of this will be new for her, and incredibly scary.

"Her treatment could go on for most of the year and it will be tough on her body and her emotions. You're going to have to find a strength that you never knew you had to help her through. But you won't be alone. We are all going to be here for you."

"What about her oncologist? Is he who we should be seeing, or is there a better doctor that we can get her an appointment with?" I asked.

"Dr. Banner is the best oncologist on the West Coast, and he got his start in cancer research, before becoming an attending at Sloan-Kettering before he relocated to Seattle. Bella's in excellent hands and I'm sure if you tell him you want a second opinion that he'll give you names of other doctors," my dad reassured me.

"Good," I said because she better get the best of everything. "What about the surgery? That's your area, so what can we expect there?"

"Every patient is different, Edward, and we don't even know what surgery she's going to have. Her cancer team will have these answers for you. Virginia Mason is one of the best hospitals for cancer care and Dr. Banner is gathering his team, who will help you both figure everything out."

"Thanks, Dad." I yawned, alerting me to the fact that I should go back to bed.

"Goodnight, Son."

I climbed the stairs and walked down the hall to check on the babies before returning to Bella. She was curled up on her side, so I climbed in beside her and pulled her to me. She rolled to face me and I fell back asleep with her in my arms.

The next morning after breakfast, we packed up the kids and headed home. Masen was going crazy when we walked in, so I put him down and let him crawl over to the living room area. He could walk fine, but crawling was faster and he wanted to beat his sister to the toys.

Abigail was clingy, so I took her and let Bella head to the nursery to unpack while I watched the kids. I started thinking about all of the things I needed to get done, and calling Victoria to let her know that I wouldn't be working on anything concrete for the foreseeable future was high on the list.

Bella needed to be my focus now.

After a little work I got the kids to relax and after putting them in the play pen so I knew they were out of trouble, I went to check on Bella.

"What are you doing in here?" I asked while I watched her flip through a folder.

"I was looking for the reading material that Dr. Snyder and Dr. Banner gave me when I met with them yesterday. There's a bunch of stuff in it that you should read and I wanted you to be able to do it before my appointment."

"Do you know what's going to happen on Tuesday?" I asked her.

"Well, he's going to give us more information on what he's discovered after having the time to review my full chart, and he will be introducing us to the coordinator, and then they'll tell us the plan and give us all of the options," Bells said. "The surgeon will be there to give us the options, and then we'll have another appointment in a week to make the final decisions and move forward with the treatment."

"Shouldn't we be moving faster than this? Why aren't they starting right away?" I asked, annoyed.

"This is 'right away' for cancer. It doesn't grow fast enough to require emergency surgery, and the week will give us the time to plan, and then the few weeks for the surgery to happen will allow us to tell everyone we have to and make sure all we need to put into place is handled."

"What has to be handled?" I questioned, not having any idea about what she could be thinking of that could take weeks.

"Your family has to be told, our close friends…I'm assuming you're going to talk to Victoria about taking a hiatus before starting your next novel, and I need to tell Jake and Emily and all of my employees. We need to meet with the lawyer-"

"Lawyer?" I asked.

"We haven't updated the will since the kids were born, we need to do that now," she said quietly.

"No we don't. Bella, altering your will is something you do when you're dying and you aren't-" I told her emphatically, but she cut me off.

"You shouldn't just do it because you're facing death," she countered. "The children are only mentioned in an 'in the event that we have children' caveat. We need to set up their trusts properly like you keep saying and then put in there who will be in charge of their care. We chose Leah and Eli as their godparents, but would you be okay if they were the ones to raise them? Leah loves your family like they're her own extended family, so you know that everyone would see plenty of them, but would it cause any problems with your family if we chose them?"

I was reeling at everything she was saying. "I don't think they would mind considering we talked about it when we chose Leah and Eli as godparents, but that wouldn't even come into being unless something happened to me too."

"I know, but I want it to all be set now. It will make dealing with everything else easier for me to deal with knowing that the worst possible outcomes are covered," Bella explained, but I had to change the subject.

"I'll make the call on Monday, so that we can make my dad the executor of the kids' trusts and Leah and Eli their guardians should something happen to the both of us. Now can we please put a hold on this conversation until the lawyers have drawn up the papers and we have to go to sign them?"

"Sure," Bella agreed as she handed me the papers she'd been searching for.

Bella started throwing together something for lunch while I got to reading. Everything I learned in the articles and pamphlets was worrisome. The length of the treatments, the effects they would have on her body and the possible effects on her mental and emotional state. One article in particular was for the caregiver, detailing what would be my struggle in the coming months and the best ways to help Bella and myself deal with her illness.

I was so engrossed in my reading that I didn't hear the knock at the door, but the raised voices in the next room let me know that we had company.

"Shakespeare, how was the trip?" Leah asked as she walked over to give me a hug.

"Too long, but I'm back now for the duration," I told her as I reached out to shake Eli's hand. "So what brings you by?"

"Well, we have some news and we couldn't wait to share it with you both," Eli told us with a smirk.

"I'm pregnant!" Leah shrieked uncharacteristically.

"Yes, and we'd love it if you both stood up as godparents when the time comes," Eli added.

Bella paled and I walked over to check that she was okay. "Love?"

"Bella, what is it?" Leah asked her.

"I'm sorry, congratulations, both of you…but I'm not sure I can be your baby's godmother," Bella told her.

"Why not?" Leah pressed.

Bella teared up as she tried to find the words to explain it without using the word that would need no further explanation. "I have breast cancer and I don't know if I'll be around long enough to-." Bella broke off and I stepped closer to support her.

"B," Leah gasped, rushing to her to pull her into a hug. She whispered something into her ear that I couldn't hear, and I didn't want to intrude on their moment so I motioned for Eli to follow me into the kitchen.

"How's the leg?" I asked, because besides the limp and a little bit of stiffness, you could hardly tell he was wearing a prosthetic under his jeans.

"Doing better. I still feel twitches every once in a while, which is a weird thing when I'm wearing the prosthetic." I snorted a laugh and Eli immediately became solemn. "I'm sorry; I shouldn't be joking at a time like this."

"Trust me, Eli, we'll need the laughter now more than ever," I said as I opened the fridge to grab us each a beer, returning to the girls with a pair of sodas.

"Anytime you need someone to watch the kids or help out in anyway, you call us. And we will talk more about the beby later, we don't need anything set in stone now," Leah told us as she sat down beside Eli in the living room.

"Edward, can I talk to you for a minute?"

"Sure," I told Bella as I followed her into the bedroom.

"I'm just going to order a pizza, but would you mind calling your siblings and asking them to come over for dinner tonight if they can, I'd rather get it all out of the way today and be done with it," she said.

"I can do that, but what do you want to do about Irina and Laurent. I could call them, if you'd like-"

"No, I'll call her this afternoon," Bella told me.

Bella ordered the pizza while we talked about her pregnancy and life in general, Leah asking questions about Bella's diagnosis without pushing, having been here with Bella before.

Leah must have sensed that it was getting to be to much for Bella, because as soon as the pizza was gone they left with a promise to talk soon. We worked together to put the babies down for a nap and then Bella went to call Irina while I called Alice and Rosalie.

Both agreed to come over for dinner, so I popped into the bedroom to give Bella the news when I found her crying on the bed. "What happened when you told Irina?"

"She started crying, and then I started crying. She was planning on coming down this summer to see the family, but now she said she could push it back until it was a better time for us, but I tried to convince her not to change her plans, but I don't think it worked." Bella sighed as she rolled over on the bed.

"We'll work it out, Bella. But as it stands we have my siblings headed here for dinner, I can pick something up if you want." I was hoping to take the pressure off her, but she shook her head.

"If I don't cook dinner, they'll know something's up. I'll make it simple though. What time are they coming?"

"Six o'clock," I told her.

"Then I'm going to throw in one of the frozen lasagnas I made last month, that way it won't take too much effort and we'll have a nice home-cooked meal for when your brothers and sisters show up," she said as she moved to the kitchen to begin her work.

At her request, I called Rosalie and asked her to pick up some Italian bread on her way over, so we wouldn't have to head out for the bread and then I returned to the kitchen to watch her work.

"Rosalie will get the bread after she drops the kids at Mom and Dad's. Emmett's coming from work and Jasper and Alice are coming together. Alice was excited to have an adult night in before she's 'too big' to enjoy it," I mocked my sister's melodramatic turn, but Bella gasped.

"Oh my, God, she has to be close to four and a half months now," Bella whispered. "The last time I saw her she wasn't showing yet, but she's probably getting close if she isn't already."

"We'll see for sure in a few hours, now would you like some help?" I offered.

"No thanks, the salad's almost done and there's little left to do. I'm just going to take a nap while it's cooking."

"Are you feeling okay?" I asked.

"I'm fine, it's just been an emotional afternoon and it's going to get even worse," Bella explained as she threw the last of the salad ingredients into the bowl and sat it in the fridge.

I kept an eye on the babies while Bella went to lie down, and around five o'clock I heard her starting to move around in the bedroom. Putting Abby back in her play pen, I went to check on Bella before Masen woke up.

"Feeling any better?"

"I'm nervous to tell everyone," she admitted. "Everyone we tell makes it a little more real."

"Don't worry, Bella, we'll make it through this together," I whispered as I went to change my shirt and get the high chairs out for the kids.

Six o'clock came faster than we wanted it, and soon everyone was here.

"Lasagna, for me? Mighty Mouse, you shouldn't have," Emmett teased as he hugged Bella.

"I'm never going to outgrow that nickname, am I?" Bella asked as she went to check on dinner.

"Sorry, Bella, Em's nicknames are for life," Rosalie said and I focused my attention on Danica.

Without realizing it, Rosalie had hit the nail on the head, but Bella waited until after dinner to tell everyone. The meal itself went by with lots of banter, but by the end they could feel that something was up so we were officially out of time.

Watching Bella as she told the closest thing she would ever have to brothers and sisters that she had breast cancer was one of the hardest things I would ever do. I felt so damn helpless. Alice and Rosalie cried, pulling her into fierce hugs as they vowed to do everything they could to make things easier. Jasper and Emmett were crying too, both offering what they could as we all sat there and tried to come to grips with what we were up against. I also noticed the way they looked at me, silently promising to support me as much as Bella and for that I was grateful.

They left a little while after our bombshell, giving us a chance to try and come down from our emotionally draining day.


Monday was spent taking care of the last of the loose ends. Edward went to his lawyer and accountant, as well as meeting with Victoria and his manager. I called Jake and broke the news to him before meeting with Emily. I was lucky that they practically ran the bars one hundred percent on their own, so it wasn't a matter of day to day changes, but it was emotional telling them that I would be stepping back completely while I fought for my life.

That evening, while Edward and were lying in bed, he started to ask me more about what the appointment would be like tomorrow, so I tried to give him the answers he needed. "They're going to discuss the different treatment options, and since the surgeon will be there we'll talk and make sure we're both comfortable with him and if so then he'll schedule the lumpectomy-"

"You mean the surgery that's decided on tomorrow," he said and I sat up to look at him.

"No, I mean the lumpectomy. The only thing that would alter that fact would be Dr. Gerard strongly advising against that, but I can't see that happening. The other parts of the treatment aren't set in stone, but that is," I told him.

"So I don't get a say in this?" Edward huffed.

"Edward, it isn't really a choice for me. The lumpectomy is the only thing that I'm one-hundred percent set on. It's the safest for me and it's my personal preference."

"What, were you just going to spring this on me tomorrow? This is a major decision to make without me, Bella."

"Edward, when I went to my appointment on Friday, the lumpectomy was what I was urged to have. Dr. Banner said he would discuss it with Dr. Gerard and a few colleagues, but we're going on the assumption that I'm having the less invasive surgery."

"I don't understand why you're being so quick to make this decision. It may be clear in your mind, but it isn't in mine," Edward yelled. "Why won't you consider the options, Bella?"

"I have, Edward. A lumpectomy is recommended for early stage cancer because it is less stressful on the body and shows a higher survival rate. I would only agree to a mastectomy under extreme duress and since I've been told by several people that I'm better off with the less radical surgery, then I'm going with it."

"Do you know the rate of women who have lumpectomies only to require a mastectomy down the road?" he asked.

"Do you know that the rate of survival for patients who choose lumpectomy is higher in early stage cancer than it is for those who have mastectomies?" I countered. "Medically speaking it is my best option. I'm sorry if this blindsided you and I'm glad we're talking about this now, but we haven't talked much about the treatment options yet. Besides it being best for me medically, I would have fought for a lumpectomy anyway."

"Why would you fight for a surgery that has a better chance of leaving cancer behind?" he asked me.

"Because, my breasts are the only thing I have left that make me a woman and I refuse to give them up without a fight," I snapped.

"Your breasts don't make you a woman, Bella," Edward remarked but I couldn't stop the tears now.

"Edward, you're a boob man, you've never really tried to hide that fact. Are you telling me that I would be just as attractive with a completely flat chest? I wouldn't even have nipples if they did a radical mastectomy.

"I love the way you look at me like I'm the most beautiful thing in the world, and to see that look wither and die as everything you love about my appearance is destroyed would kill me." I was in tears at the end of my explanation, but there was silence beside me.

"How could you think that your looks are the most important thing to me?" Edward sounded gutted by the question.

"I don't think it's the most important, but I'm not stupid enough to think that it wouldn't matter at all. I already couldn't give you children, but when they've chopped off my breasts and the hair that I've been growing for more than ten years is only a memory, I won't want to look at me, how can I try and force you to. I'm in for the fight of my life and I'm begging you to be in it with me."

Edward released a sigh before turning to me. "Baby, I'm in this with you. Please don't doubt that."

"But," I said, sensing that was going to be his next word.

"If the doctors have changed their recommendation and decide a mastectomy might be better, would you consider it then?" he asked.

"If they said that my best chance was a mastectomy, then I would…as much as I would hate it, I would. But I can do this, Edward. I'm strong enough to do this the way I want," I implored him to believe me.

"And I will be there every day to hold your hand and help you. Now, is there anything else that's been decided on from the last appointment?"

"No," I told him and he seemed to relax.

"Good, thank you for being honest with me about all of this."

"I'm sorry, Edward. Last time I was alone in this so I made the choices and that was that, but now I have you and at the first turn I was shutting you out." The tears started to flow and Edward moved right beside me and pulled me into his arms.

"I know you didn't mean to, and we'll make it through all of this, Bella, we have to."

He held me like that for a while, I didn't remember falling asleep, but I eventually gave in to my exhaustion.

Edward tried to get me to eat something, but I was too stressed to keep anything down. Dr. Banner was having us meet him at his office at the hospital so that we could meet with the other key members of my cancer team and that was what had me worried. Today was a day of answers, some of which I knew I wasn't ready to face.

I got dressed in a fog and then after leaving the kids with Eli, we drove to the hospital for my appointment.

The receptionist gave us directions when we arrived at the front desk, and after navigating the halls we were in another reception area for the cancer wing of the hospital. Dr. Banner's office was easy enough to find, and soon we were sitting in the waiting room anxiously anticipating what would come next.

"Mrs. Cullen, how are you feeling this morning," Dr. Banner asked as he walked in to bring us back to his office.

"Nervous, but otherwise I'm managing," I told him honestly. "This is my husband, Edward. Edward, this is Dr. Banner."

"Doctor," Edward greeted him as he shook his hand.

"It's nice to meet you, Edward. And I'm glad you're here, it will help Bella to understand what she's facing in the weeks and months to come." Dr. Banner opened his office door and let us walk in first before he moved to sit behind his desk.

"I want to start by telling you that I heard back from two of my former colleagues after I sent them your file. One is still working at Sloan-Kettering, and the other is at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, and both have agreed with my assessment of treatment. I know that Dr. Snyder told you to stop taking the hormone replacement therapy, and I'm sure that you're going to start to feel those effects if you haven't begun already, but it's imperative that we cease any additional hormone introduction. I know that you're young to be going into menopause like this, but that is something that can be faced once we've worked on curing the cancer.

"The standard regimen of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation will be the course here, but the specifics of that will be honed as we go along. Today we are going to introduce you to Dr. Gerard, who is the general surgeon that I've asked to consult on your case. If you feel comfortable with him, then he will be the surgeon that will perform your operation. Also, Nurse Denali will stop by to give you a tour of the common areas and talk to you about the beginning of your treatment sessions. She will be the person that you will see the most of here and will be able to answer many of your questions."

I nodded and tried to listen as he explained the schedule, he had mapped it out of us and would be giving us a copy, but his discussion of time tables and CAF, the specific type of chemo drug I would be using, were lost on me at the moment. Sensing my withdrawal, he called Dr. Gerard to come in and speak with us.

"After speaking with Dr. Banner, we should be able to move ahead with the lumpectomy three weeks from today. I know you have an appointment with Dr. Banner next Tuesday, so I will make myself available at that time to answer any other questions about the surgery then."

Edward sighed beside me, and I was suddenly glad that we'd had this conversation last night. I knew he didn't completely understand my fears, but he was what I needed to make it through all of this, and having him there to hold my hand as the doctor told us about the steps to come meant everything.

"So the lumpectomy is March fifth?" Edward asked and Dr. Gerard nodded as he pulled out his phone to mark it on the calendar.

"Excuse me." A beautiful blonde poked her head into the office and was immediately ushered in.

"Tanya, come in," Dr. Banner greeted her. "Bella, Edward, this is Tanya Denali, she will be your Nurse Coordinator and the person who you will have the most interaction with. Tanya, would you like to give them the tour now?"

"If you have anything else you need to discuss, then I can come back. That way I can give them the tour and then walk them out." Tanya smiled, and I tried to return it.

It only took a few more minutes until we were done speaking with the doctors and soon Nurse Denali was giving us the tour. She was very knowledgeable and compassionate as she made sure we were well prepared as she showed us to the area where I would have my chemo treatments, the radiology area, and introduced us to a few of the nurses we would see during my time here. I was sure that I'd become close to her, but at the moment I just wanted to get home.

We said goodbye to the doctors and as soon as we were in the car I saw the emotions flash across his face before he kissed me, filling every crack in my soul as his love healed me.

The rest of our day was spent relaxing and the following day we tried to get things in place. Esme had called to ask about the surgery date, and I gave her all the information we had so far so that she could help out when needed.

The remainder of the week between the two doctor's appointments was spent finishing up the will and getting the rest of the information we needed so that we could ask any last questions at the appointment on Tuesday.

Our second meeting with the cancer team was much better than the first. Edward was able to get his answers and for the first time he seemed to relax a little about where we were going next. With two weeks until my surgery, we started to plan for the coming months.

I found some really great recipes for food that would keep me healthy during chemo and radiation, while Edward was on the phone with the insurance company. That call had me worried, but with the exception of our deductible, we weren't going for any treatments that weren't the norm, so there wasn't a problem there.

We spent a lot of time with family and friends, making the most of the time when I was healthy and energetic, until the morning of March fifth came around.

I woke up early that Tuesday morning, spending the extra time in the nursery as my children slept. At eighteen months they were just starting to become people, their personalities more pronounced as they slowly gained language. We had laughed when, true to form, our Abby first said 'dada' and Masen chose 'mama' as his first word. I couldn't keep the thought out of my mind of the fact that this cancer could take me away from them, not only as an active part of their daily lives, but as they're too young to really make memories, I wouldn't even be a fond thought for them. Edward and the Cullens, along with Leah and Eli, would have to tell them about the person I was, and how desperately I had fought for them.

"Bella, what's wrong? Why are you crying?" Edward asked, knowing the reason behind it, but not the specific cause.

"I was just thinking about the kids," I whispered. "If something happens to me, they won't have any memories of me."

"We can do something about that if you want, Bella," Edward offered. "We can record video messages for them so they can see and hear you as often as they want. But I need you to be positive today. No bad thoughts when they take you into surgery."

"You're right. And we can start them these next few days while I'm resting from the surgery, so there are a couple before I have a chance to lose my hair." I hated thinking about that part, having watched my mom go through it, but I knew it was a real possibility. "I'm going to have Alice and Rosalie take me shopping for real hair wigs before I lose my hair. It will make it easier to accept."

"We're stronger than this, Bella, just remember that. Now, do you want to take a shower now, because you'll be stuck with sponge baths for a week or three depending on the sutures," Edward asked, remembering the after surgery list we'd been given at our last appointment.

"As long as you're giving me the sponge baths, I don't think I'll mind too much." I winked at him before checking on the babies again to see that they were sleeping and heading to take that last shower.

The kids blessed us by sleeping until seven, so we could get everything ready and have our time to spend with them before I had to go to the hospital. Esme arrived at nine-thirty ready to take the kids for a sleepover at Granny and Poppy's with Carlisle staying with us.

"Dad, I didn't know you were going to be stopping by," Edward said even more surprised when he didn't follow Esme out.

"I asked him to come. Though he isn't someone who does a lot of them, Carlisle is familiar with the procedure and will be able to keep you calm you down while I'm in there. He wasn't sure that he would be free this morning, which is why I didn't mention it," I explained.

"My patient needed another round of tests performed before her surgery, so it was rescheduled last night, it's why I came along."

Edward sighed as he looked between his father and me, but the answering smile was all the thanks I needed.


Still a little surprised that my dad would be coming with us; the three of us headed downstairs so that we could make the trip to the hospital. Dad was following us in his car, so we had a little bit of privacy for the drive. I didn't say much, and neither did Bella, giving way to both of our nerves. When we arrived at the outpatient part of the hospital, we were greeted by Dr. Gerard, who didn't seem to mind the fact that we had a surgeon with us.

Bella was taken to get ready, and Dad and I were taken to the waiting room, only to have a nurse come to find me a half an hour later. "Mr. Cullen, you can sit with your wife for a bit while she's waiting for them to be ready for her, if you'd like?"

Thanking her, I walked back into the pre-op area where Bella was lying in a bed, a cap on her head holding in her hair and a gown on in place of her clothing. "Hello, Sweetheart."

"Baby, I just got back from my ultrasound, so they've got me all ready for surgery," she said, referring to the ultrasound needed so they could mark the exact location of the tumor on her skin and the incision guide, even though her tumor could be felt, because he wanted everything to go as smoothly as possible.

After about twenty minutes, they told me I had to return to the waiting room, giving me a bag with Bella's clothes so that I could bring them to her recovery room. Walking back out to where my dad was, we began the waiting game.

Time crawled, seconds taking millennia, minutes seeming to never pass until I was ready to go mad. My dad tried to distract me with no luck until it had been ninety minutes since I'd been kicked out of pre-op. That was when my hands found my hair and my mind started to race.

"Edward, you have to relax. There is no reason to panic," he whispered, but I shook him off.

"It's been ninety minutes and he said it takes fifteen to forty minutes for this procedure," I told him.

"Yes, but Bella wasn't in the OR when you left her. She could have been back there for another half an hour before being taken to the anesthesia room. Then they have to wait for the IV to be set up and then they wheel her into the OR and begin the surgery. Dr. Gerard is thorough, so he will make sure he takes a good margin while not taking more than necessary and he'll have to insert a drain and suture her up."

"You really think so?" I asked.

"I do, mainly because that nurse hasn't been bothered in the last half hour. If something was worse than they had thought, someone would have stopped in to speak to us, or at the least, checked in with her to make sure they knew who Bella's next of kin was if they had to talk to us about something urgently. Give them time to get her settled into recovery and they will tell us when you can go and see her."

"I'm sure you're right," I agreed just as Dr. Gerard came into the room.

"Surgery went well, Edward," he reassured me. "Bella will be moved to recovery and you can visit her, and then once she's met all of the requirements and has been taught proper drain care and goes over her incision instructions she will be free to go home."

"When should I be able to see her?"

"Thirty minutes to an hour depending on the nurse's ability to get her settled. Someone will be by as soon as you can see her."

"Thank you, doctor," I said as I shook his hand.

True to his word, thirty minutes later we were escorted to Bella's curtain partitioned area of the recovery room. She was still asleep from the anesthesia, but she looked so beautiful. After a while, her eyes fluttered and then found mine.

"What did they say?" she whispered.

"That things went well, he will be by in a bit to talk to you about everything," I told her and she smiled.

"Your hair survived, so Carlisle did his job." She laughed and he joined her.

"We had a close call, but I was able to save him from tearing it out," my dad joked at my expense.

Dr. Gerard chose that moment to come in and go over all of her after care. Once again he spoke about how the surgery had been a success and he was happy with what he had found inside considering the size of the tumor, which was on the larger size for Stage Two, but had thankfully not spread beyond her breast. Her pain medication would be filled by my dad on our way home, and we were warned about keeping the kids away from her left side, especially until her drain was removed. That part of her after care didn't sound too pleasant, but it was better than the alternative of her staying in the hospital. Her stitches would dissolve, and the bandage would remain on until her follow up next Tuesday, when hopefully that and the drain would be gone.

She had exercises to do and was told that only sports bras should be worn until she was healed because it would put less pressure on her incision but still offer support. This was all a rehash of everything we'd been told, everything we had noted at home and that my dad would be sure to enforce when he came to check in.

It took most of the afternoon for them to be happy with Bella's alertness and her knowledge of her plan, but eventually they were releasing her. Kissing her soundly once they'd given her the green light to be discharged, we got her changed into her button down top and yoga pants and seated in the wheelchair that would take her to the car. My dad ran to pull it around, and soon he was following us back to the apartment.

It took a lot of maneuvering once she was in bed, but Bella finally found a comfortable spot and dozed off. My dad gave me the prescription and then did something else I didn't expect, he went into the guest room to change into something more comfortable.

"This way, if you have any questions at 2 a.m., you have a surgeon who can tell you that it's normal. Bella felt better knowing that she could turn to me if something was worrying her," he explained.

"Thank you, Dad, for everything," I said.

"No problem, Son. This is just the beginning and I'll be here for whatever you two need."

With that comforting thought, I went to take a nap beside Bella, suddenly exhausted by the events of the day.