"Well did she say what it was about?" Alice asked. I tapped my finger anxiously as I pulled into the parking lot.
"No. She just said it was important."
"You're probably getting fired," she teased.
"Shut up. I am not getting fired. I don't think…" My chest tightened a little at the thought, even though it was farfetched. Her response to my work lately had been nothing but positive, so I couldn't imagine why they had any reason to fire me. Unless they found out about that time with Edward and me in the copy room. He surprised me and I was feeling particularly stressed because of a deadline, what did they expect me to do? Or maybe it was about the transcript I'd given her. I know she was just a magazine editor, but I liked to think we were friends and she offered anyway. Oh God. She hated it. She hated it and now she was firing me because she finally sees how crappy of a writer I am.
"Remember that time you forgot to see me off at the airport…" she said, her smile almost coming through the phone. It was her little thing that she held above me whenever I got snippy with her. I'd never live that crap down and that little shit was going to make sure of it.
"Yeah, yeah…" I sighed as I nervously played with my ring.
"Listen B, do not worry one bit. I've read everything you've ever written more than once and it's amazing. Even if they don't want you I'm sure you could find another magazine that would."
"Okay. I've gotta go, I'll call you later."
I said goodbye and took a deep breath before I got out of my car. I couldn't lose this job, I mean Edward made good money at his job, really good money, but I still couldn't lose this. It wasn't just about the money. It didn't start out about money and I was thankful it hadn't changed the past few years either. It all started with an onion.
It was only about six months after the wedding. Edward was working late and I decided to make him something special for dinner. I was about halfway through the recipe when I realized I didn't have the onion it called for so I headed to the store. I made it through the store and the checkout all right, but something caught my eye as I walked out.
To my left, beside the carts, was a large bulletin board plastered with want ads and pictures of animals that needed homes. The one piece of paper that caught my eye was bright red. The words along the top advertised a new writing class at the community college.
I bit down on my bottom lip as I read over all the details. It was once a week, taught by a well-known professor and guaranteed to improve your writing. It wasn't an actual college course so I wouldn't have to apply or anything. Just pay the fee and I was in.
I had never realized how therapeutic writing was until after everything Edward and I had been through. I fought through the embarrassment and actually talked to him about it, remembering all the times I'd written to him or about him in letters or in those stupid little notes I'd left him. The next day I found a brand new journal and a red rose sitting next to the bed. I started scribbling little things down and pretty soon I had the entire journal full.
I smiled and took one of the forms for the class, tucking it inside my purse. Edward was ecstatic when I told him and encouraged me to take the class. I was still pretty lost as to what I was going to do for the rest of my life, besides be married to him. I needed something, even if it was just temporary.
I filled out the form and mailed it in the next day, along with my check for the fee. A month later I sat nervously in a classroom, biting on the eraser of my pencil.
A short, stocky man walked in a few minutes later and smiled.
"First one huh?" He asked, looking around the otherwise empty classroom. I guess I'd gotten a little anxious and came too early.
"There's always one." He set his stuff down on the desk so I assumed he must be the teacher. "I'm Harry Clearwater, but you can call me Harry. I'll be teaching the course."
"Nice to meet you Bella."
I smiled and looked back down at my notebook as the other students started filing in. It was quite an eclectic group of people, young and old. A few of the younger guys kept staring at me until they realized I wore a ring on my finger. I smiled, proudly taken.
"Hey guys, we're going to go ahead and get started. I'm Harry, I'll be your…instructor for the course." He laughed.
Harry seemed like one of those cool professors, like he was more of a friend than a superior. I kind of got that vibe when he told me to call him by his first name, but as the first class went on it became more apparent. He wasn't afraid to snap back at snide comments from the students, or call anyone out on their shit. If this was what college was actually like I might have to look into actually enrolling.
"Now I had you all prepare a sample of writing for the class. I'd like to meet with all of you individually to go over it and what you expect and I expect as your goals for this course. I won't be necessarily evaluating you; I just want to see where you're all coming from. I don't do a lot of group work, unless you would like to. We'll do a little peer editing, because I think it's important to bounce ideas off one another, but I think of writing as a very personal experience. Sharing your work with someone, especially a stranger is terrifying and I know that. You're exposing the very deepest, most vulnerable part of you. And I think that's something that you need to work through."
He picked up a clipboard from his desk and I suddenly grew really anxious. The only people who've ever read any of my writing were Edward and Alice. The thought of someone else seeing that side of me was terrifying, just like Harry had said. And I realized I didn't have to wait as long as I used to in school if his list was in alphabetical order. I silently curse Edward for not having a last name that started with a "Z."
I was the third one on the list. He called my name with a smile and my shaky fingers grasped onto my notebook as I made my way up to his desk.
"Have a seat." He patted the chair next to him.
I took a seat and swallowed hard, almost ready to run for the door. I knew that a writing course would probably at some point or another involve someone else looking at my writing, but I guess I didn't prepare very well.
"So before you show me anything, I want to ask you just one question." He smiled. "Why did you take this class?"
"I uh…umm. I saw the ad at the grocery store and my husband thought I should do it."
"Okay that tells me how you got here, but why did you take this class?"
I thought a moment and let his question really process in my head.
"I was…pretty messed up when I was growing up. I met my husband when I was seventeen, under some pretty odd circumstances and through everything we'd gone through I started writing. I didn't realize how much it healed me and how good it felt to get everything I was feeling out on paper until after everything was over. And I guess I just wanted to do something for me." I fidgeted with my hands. "Just for me."
He crossed his arms and grinned. "Good. Now let's see what we're working with." He reached for my notebook and I sighed in relief.
He took his time reading through my entry. He didn't really tell us what to write about or give us any specifics so I wrote about the first time I got high. It was a turning point in my life. It might have been a bad turning point, but it was one nonetheless. And it was something that was oddly important to me, because if I hadn't gone through all that shit I probably wouldn't have met Edward.
Harry gently closed my notebook when he was done and looked up at me.
"This was from personal experience?"
I nodded quickly. "Is that bad?"
"No, no it's very good. Like I said writing is a very personal experience. Its only normal to stick to what we know right?" He handed my notebook back to me. "Your writing is very good Bella. I think you'll do well in this course."
I headed back to my seat and he finished going through the rest of the class. When he finished he set his clipboard down on his desk and stood.
"Okay." He clapped his hands together. "We're done for the day. I want to talk a little bit about your assignment for next week. I want you to think about the most significant event in your life. It may be something big or something small, but the only requirement is it must be significant to you." He pointed out towards us. "I want you to write this idea down in one word. Now I'm sure a lot of you might be confused or excited by the prospect of having such a small assignment, but it's harder than you think to limit your words. You can always bullshit more if you need to but taking away that part of yourself that's written on the page? Excruciating. Let me reiterate how important this subject will be. You will be working with it for the remainder of our classes. Now get outta here."
He turned back to his desk and the group started dispersing. I gathered up my things and started outside. As soon as I brushed through the front door of the building, someone ran up beside me.
"Hi." It was one of the boys from my class. Apparently he missed the memo, unlike the others.
"Hi." I smiled, not wanting to be rude.
"I'm Royce." He extended his hand.
"That's a beautiful name. I guess it doesn't surprise me. It suits you."
I rolled my eyes at his attempts to flirt and kept walking.
"Listen," he said, catching up to me again. "Would you like to go out sometime?"
I stopped and turned towards him, almost feeling sorry for how clueless he was.
"It's Royce actually…" he stammered.
"Whatever. Listen Roy, I'm married." I held up my left hand and flashed my ring at him.
"No shit?" He asked, stunned.
"No shit. And that guy over there." I nodded to my right. "That's my husband." I turned and smiled.
Edward stood outside of his car, his arms draped over the top, looking like sex on legs. I could tell by his stare that he didn't like the company I was keeping and I knew Royce could too.
"Bye," I smiled. I started skipping towards Edward, who lit up as soon as I was beside him.
"Hey baby," he purred.
I jumped up into his arms and pressed my lips to his. I started to pull away, but he held my face to his and spun me around, pressing me tight against the car. His fingers roamed down my sides and rested roughly on my hips as he forced his tongue between my lips
He finally pulled away and I fought to regain my bearings.
"What was that for?" I asked. "Not that I'm complaining."
"I need to have a reason to kiss my wife?" He kinked his eyebrow.
"No, but it was just a litte…unexpected."
"Well I just wanted to." He nuzzled into my neck as I wrapped my arms around him. "And plus I wanted to make sure that dick knew you were taken. Really…really taken." He kissed my shoulder and I saw Royce walking away out of the corner of my eye. He looked pissed.
"Speaking of taken…when are you taking me to bed?" I said softly.
"Right now. Get in the car." He released me and smacked my ass as I skipped around to the other side and got in.
He started the car and zoomed out of the parking lot. "How was your first class?" He reached over and took my hand.
"It was good. I really like the teacher; he's really laid back. Said my writing was good."
"Well I already knew that," Edward laughed as he sped home.
I sat at my desk later that night after Edward had gone to sleep, thinking about the most significant event in my life. I drifted past several things that were seemingly obvious. Wedding…proposal...graduation. After an hour or so I started to realize that every event I came up with just didn't seem like enough. They also had one thing in common and I almost laughed at myself wondering why it took me so long to realize it. I scribbled down my word on the piece of paper and tucked it away for the next class.
A week later I sat smiling in class, the first one again. Harry walked in and said hello before everyone else got here. Royce skillfully avoided my gaze as he walked in and sat the farthest he could away from me, like he thought Edward was going to jump through the window and pummel his ass.
Harry started the same way he did last week, calling us each up one by one. I wasn't as nervous as I was last time, because I knew without a doubt that I'd picked the right thing to write about.
"So Bella. What did you come up with?"
I handed him my notebook and waited.
"Edward," he read.
"Ahh..,.gotcha." His brow furrowed and I suddenly wasn't so confident. "Listen Bella, I know that boyfriends and husbands are significant events in peoples lives, I get that. But I usually discourage most people from writing about them because of this. They usually end up writing more about that person and spend no time talking about themselves. And this is one time I want you to talk about yourself," he smiled and handed the notebook back.
I took a deep breath and composed myself. "No offense Harry, but I can already tell you we're different than most people. And I can't write about myself without writing about Edward because he's apart of me. When he first met me I was a complete mess. My dad hired…"
He held up his hand, effectively silencing me. I felt like I might cower under his gaze, but I sat tall and waited for him to speak.
"I don't want to hear about it…" he said. I was a little taken back by his harsh words. "I want to read about it." He smiled. "Go get started."
My heart fluttered a little and I started back to my desk. I sat looking at a blank page for a few minutes, wondering where to start. There was just so much and I didn't want to leave anything out. And then I realized that the best place to start was in fact the beginning. And so I did.
Over the next two months I wrote our story and filled an entire stack of notebooks. They were full of chicken scratches and long sentences and paragraphs crossed out. Harry guided me a long the way and was always there if I had any questions or needed to bounce some ideas off him. It wasn't even close to finished, but I thought it was something to be proud of and something good for Harry to read. I brought in my entire stack the last day of class, granting strange looks from the other students who probably barely filled half a notebook.
Harry just smiled as I turned it in and said he'd be in touch to schedule a meeting after he'd read it. He called three weeks later and asked to meet me at the coffee shop downtown.
He waved me over when I got there, my stack of notebooks on top of his table. I ordered a latte and sat down beside him.
"Bella you have an amazing story here." He smiled. "Besides the fact that it was well written technically, it was raw and emotional and so honest. I think that's what's lacking a lot in people's writing today. They refuse to be honest with themselves and you've been brutally honest about the things that have happened in your life. Just…excellent. Has he read it?"
"Uh. No. He doesn't really know about it. I mean he knows I'm taking the class and have to write for it and everything, but I kind of refused to let him see what I was working on just in case it sucked. I mean it's our story I didn't want to show him if I was just going to fuck it up," I said quickly. Edward had been a little irritated when I wouldn't let him see what I was working on, especially when I'd been so open with him about my writing before. He tried to sneak a peek a few times before just letting me be.
"Well you didn't fuck it up." He smiled and slid the notebooks back towards me. "Have you ever thought about going to college? I mean actually going?"
"Not seriously. I mean I applied and got accepted back in high school but I didn't go." I shrugged my shoulders.
"It's something to think about. I think you'd do well majoring in something like English." He got up from the table. "It was a pleasure reading your work Bella. Good luck. And you should think about finishing that story." He nodded to my notebooks and left.
I started filling out college applications the next day. I would be starting a semester later than everyone else, but I didn't really care. I started out majoring in English, like Harry had suggested, but somewhere along the way shifted to journalism. It was a different style of writing than I was used to, but it was still writing. In the back of my head I knew I wanted to keep going with our story, but didn't have much time to work on it with school and the part time job and other things.
I sped through my first year of college, granting enough credits to be done in another year and a half. Even after I took a year off to deal with an…unexpected situation, I finished right on time. I graduated at twenty-two and somehow miraculously found a job at a pretty decent magazine writing an advice column. I know it sounds weird that I should be giving advice to people, but after everything I'd been through I think I had some good experiences to go on. My editor, Kate, had been a little hesitant to hire someone so young for such an assignment, but she decided to take a chance.
I've been there for a little less than two years now and started seriously working on mine and Edward's story again about a year ago. I was sure Kate was going to fire me a few months ago when she saw me working on it at work. In all fairness I had already completed everything I needed to do ahead of schedule and I was literally on the last page of the story. I was too close not to finish it. She insisted that I show her what I was working on and after reading a page or two she asked if she could read it when I was finished.
After I typed the last word I let out a huge sigh. I don't think it was necessarily one of relief, maybe accomplishment. This story was one of the most emotionally trying things I'd gone through and that was saying a lot. Sure it was just putting words on paper, but it was so much more than that. I was reliving every single thing we'd been through and I was sharing that with someone, even if it was just a blank sheet of paper. I smiled and scrolled back up to the first page, creating a bit of space at the beginning. I typed up a little something and hit save before printing it out. It was so many pages I had to replace the ink cartridge towards the end.
I finished way after everyone had gone home and slid the manuscript in Kate's box. That was four months ago and she hadn't said a word about it, which made me even more nervous about this damn meeting I was about to walk into.
I took a deep breath and knocked on Kate's door.
"Come in," she called.
I planted a smile on my face and walked in, trying to exude confidence. I was surprised to find another woman sitting in Kate's office with her. I didn't recognize her, but she stood and extended her hand to me.
"Bella, I'm Maggie. It's so nice to meet you."
"You too." I sat down beside her and turned towards Kate.
"You're probably wondering why you're here Bella…" Kate started. I swallowed hard and started tapping my fingers on my legs. My eyes drifted down to her desk and I saw that she was holding my manuscript. "I started reading it the day I received it and could not put it down. It was amazing Bella. Your best work."
I sat there stunned, trying to form words. This wasn't what I was expecting.
"Now I realize that was months ago, but I haven't just been sitting on it. I gave it to my cousin Maggie and she agrees."
Maggie turned towards me and cleared her throat. "Bella I work for a publishing company in Seattle and we'd like to publish your book."
"I'm sorry?" I stuttered.
"We want to publish it." She smiled.
My eyes darted between Maggie and Kate as I tried to digest the information. They wanted to publish my book. My book. They were going to publish it.
"What do you think?" Kate asked.
"Yes," I said, tears forming in my eyes. I never imagined that this would happen, but it was something I poured my heart and soul into. I was honored that they thought other people would want to read it.
"Now I know it's getting close to dinner time and it's a Friday, but I'd love to hash out some of the details with you and get some paperwork signed so we can get this rolling right away. Would you be available?"
"Yeah I just have to call my husband and let him know I'll be awhile."
"Great. Go ahead and take a few minutes." She nodded towards the door and I slipped out and dialed home.
"Hello?" Edward answered.
"Are you done with your meeting already?"
"No. Actually it's going to run pretty late. Are you guys okay?" I asked, glancing at the clock.
"Yeah we'll be good. Is everything okay?"
"Yeah," I smiled. I didn't want to tell him yet until I knew all the details. And I had a feeling this wasn't a phone conversation. He didn't even really know that I was writing this and now they were going to publish it. "I'll be home as soon as I can."
"Alright. I love you."
"I love you too."
I hung up and composed myself again before I went back in. They'd surprisingly already drawn up the paperwork. I guess Kate had known that I would say yes. They went over all the technical details in the contract, like my payment and what I'd receive if the book did well. It also outlined that I may be approached at some point to do another book, but until I was released from my contract with Maggie's publishing company they were the only ones I could write for. Maggie insisted that I take it to a lawyer and have them read it over if I'd be more comfortable, but I didn't see anything I didn't like. She said if I change my mind in the next three days I could cancel the contract with no penalty. It was even a point towards the end.
"Alright Bella. If you're ready, you can sign at the line here." Maggie pointed at the bottom of the paper.
I took a deep breath and a pen from Kate's desk before signing my name and the date.
"Congratulations Bella. Let's get this published." Maggie smiled as Kate pulled a bottle of champagne from behind her desk. She popped the cork off and it spurted a little as she poured it into three glasses. I laughed and took mine, clinking it with theirs before I took a sip.
After having a celebratory glass of champagne they handed me my worn manuscript and I started home, excited to tell Edward the news. Alice called on the way home and I couldn't not tell her. I mean it was Alice; she was going to get it out of me one way or another.
"So remember back when I took that writing class?" I asked.
"Yep," she said anxiously.
"Well I sort of wrote our story, mine and Edward's and I kind of continued with it after the class ended…"
"And my boss read it and had her cousin read it and they're going to publish it," I said quickly, waiting for her reaction.
I pulled the phone away as she screamed into my ear.
"You're going to be famous. My best friend is going to be a famous author. Maybe they'll make it into a movie. Who would play you? Who would play Edward? Oh my God who would play me? I'm in it right?"
"Yes you're in it," I laughed.
"Have you told Edward yet?" She asked.
"Just about to," I said as I pulled into our driveway. I could see the soft light coming through our living room window and his shadow moving slowly behind it. "I'll call you tomorrow." I hung up and started towards the house.
I smiled and opened the door, kicking my shoes off and setting my purse on the floor.
"Look who's home?" Edward said. "Lizzy, Mommy's home." He adjusted our child on his shoulder and she slowly raised her head. He walked over to me and kissed me. "I tried to get her to go to bed, but she wouldn't go without you here. And I know exactly where she gets her stubbornness from," he teased.
I smiled and reached for her as she reached for me. I took her into my arms and smoothed her curly, copper hair over her head. "Hey baby girl…" I whispered. She fisted my shirt and nestled into my chest.
"How was your meeting?" Edward kissed me again.
"It was good."
"Wa-wa," Lizzy said.
I started towards the kitchen and got her some water before starting towards her room. She was half asleep by the time I laid her down so I knew she wouldn't have any problem once I was gone. I kissed her forehead and turned on the monitor before closing her door and heading back downstairs.
Edward had already turned everything off and was in our room watching television. I could hear him moving around behind the door. I shuffled over to my purse, tripping along some toys along the way, and grabbed my manuscript.
"Is she asleep?" Edward asked as I walked into our room. He was sprawled out on the bed flipping through the channels.
"Yep." I slipped off my uncomfortable dress clothes until I was only in a black bra and panties before starting towards him. I kept the manuscript in my hands as I crawled into bed and settled myself on his lap.
"Hi," he smiled.
"Hi." I bent down and kissed him, taking his bottom lip and sinking my teeth gently into his skin. He groaned and slightly pushed his hips up to mine.
"Edward," I mumbled against his lips.
"Yeah?" He pulled back and rested his head lightly against the headboard.
"I have something I want to show you."
"Babe I have a meeting with my boss…" Bella said as she hopped across the room, trying to put some clothes on. "You're going to have to take her or ask Emmett, I'm sorry."
"Yeah no problem. Is everything okay?"
"I hope so." She shrugged but I could tell she was nervous.
The baby monitor started wailing and I offered to get her. I knew Lizzy wouldn't take a long nap since she'd slept so well last night. I kissed Bella as I passed and headed towards the baby's room.
"I'm here…" I whispered as I entered her room. She was standing up in her crib looking pissed that I'd made her wait for so long.
"I want Cheweeohs," she mumbled. I picked her up and started towards the kitchen because she was hungry. Halfway through her bowl of Cheerios, Bella shuffled into the kitchen.
"I've gotta go." She kissed Lizzy and me quickly before rushing out the door.
"Okay kid, I've got to teach a class in about an hour. Do you think you can be a good girl for Daddy today?" I leaned down and she threw a Cheerio at me. "That's what I thought."
She finished her Cheerios and I packed her a day bag before getting ready for work. I was lucky enough that I could actually take her to work if I absolutely needed to. I know they didn't necessarily like it, but they allowed it.
Once we were on our way I called Emmett to ask him if he could come get her in an hour or so. There's no way she was going to sit through one two-hour class and another hour class. She happened to be even more curious and fidgety than a normal three year old and it didn't help when we needed her to keep still for a little bit.
I parked in my usual spot and gathered everything from the car before heading inside. I stopped into Captain Webber's office before my class just to say hello. He looked up from his work and smiled as we walked in.
"I see we have the pleasure of having little Lizzy today," he said.
"Yeah sorry. Bella had a work meeting." I smiled apologetically.
"It's no problem at all. How's everything been going? Is the class treating you alright?"
"Yeah they're great."
It was a little weird being back here as a teacher, but there is no other place I'd rather be. Even though I'd been discharged, I couldn't have gone back into active duty if I wanted to. The injury to my leg prevented that and still gave me some pain every now and then. I shuffled through a few odd jobs the first few years Bella and I were married, but when we found out the little one was coming I knew that I needed something a little more permanent. It was a happy coincidence that they were looking for someone to teach here.
My responsibilities included covering the different strategies and different weapons we used with new recruits and answered any questions they might have. They were a group of little shitheads, but they seemed to really want to learn about it.
"I should get going." I nodded and started towards the door. "Have a good day Captain."
"You too Edward," he answered. "Bye bye Lizzy."
She turned around towards him and waved. "Bye bye."
I went to my classroom and got Lizzy situated before everyone started coming in. They were semi-used to having her around every now and then so it wasn't a huge surprise that she was here.
"Alright settle down everyone." I tapped my foot as I waited for the computer and projector to warm up. Lizzy made it about a half hour, which was longer than usual.
"Daddy!" She screamed.
I tried to keep going, just to get through this slide.
"Daddy!" She called again. There was a low rumble of laughter through the group. "Daddy!"
I sighed and turned towards her. "Yes Lisabeth?"
"Hi!" She waved and laughed at herself.
"Hi." I turned around and continued on with what I was saying. Thankfully Emmett showed up fifteen minutes later to take her because I knew she was starting to get antsy.
"Emmie!" Lizzy reached up for him as soon as she saw his face.
"Everyone take a five minute break." I flipped on the light and quickly packed up her things. Emmett bent down and picked her up, throwing her onto his shoulders. "Thanks for taking her Em." I set the bag in his arms.
"No problem. Have you talked to Jazz lately?"
"Yeah he's just working his way right up." I laughed. If anyone ever questioned that Jasper was born to be a solider, they were being severely proven wrong. He hadn't been in the thick of things in awhile, but he sure was going right up in the rankings. I knew he'd be making a career out of it. Alice wasn't too happy about it, but I think she was just happy he wasn't really in the field anymore. He did more behind the scenes things and worked close with a lot of the highest-ranking people.
Emmett was more than happy to be done when his time was up. He lived across town with Rose and they were planning to get married next fall. It took them long enough. I never thought Bella and I would be married with a kid before they were.
"I'll be over to get her in a few hours." I leaned over and kissed Lizzy on the cheek before they left.
The rest of my classes went smoothly, like usual. I think most of the students liked that I was closer to their age than some of the older guys who teach here.
I packed up my things and started over to Rose and Emmett's around five. Bella should be home soon. She might even beat us back; I can't imagine that her meeting could have taken more than an hour.
I hated to admit that I was a little worried about it. I knew Bella was one of the hardest working people at that magazine, but I think I was nervous because she was nervous. It was just not a regular occurrence for her to have a meeting this late. Most of them were in the morning before work. We had our schedules very tightly coordinated. I purposely scheduled my classes later so I could be home with Lizzy all day while Bella was at work. She went in an hour earlier than everyone else so she could leave early everyday. It wasn't perfect, but it was all we could manage right now. Neither of us really wanted a nanny being with her all day, we wanted it to be one of us or family. We got a babysitter now and then to go out at night, but that was it. Charlie and Emmett and Rose were really good about taking her, but they had lives too.
Bella called as soon as we stepped in the door. I put Lizzy down and reached in my back pocket to grab my phone. She said that she was going to be a little longer, but she didn't sound upset. She actually sounded kind of excited. Maybe she was getting promoted or something.
I fed Lizzy some dinner while I ate leftovers from yesterday. That kid loved food and she could eat like no other. I was surprised she wasn't one of those four hundred pound three year olds.
"Pway…" Lizzy clapped her hands together and pointed to the living room.
I smiled and put our dishes in the sink before picking her up and carrying her out to the living room.
As soon as I set her down she wobbled over to the corner and pulled out her mini-toy piano. When she first got it, Bella and I almost regretted buying it for her because she loved it so fucking much. But all it took was one smile from that little girl and I begged Bella not to take it back. My kid was going to be a piano prodigy, I could already tell.
She dinged her way up and down the different colored keys, completely concentrating as if it was the most important thing in the world. Her brow furrowed with intense focus as she pulled her hand back and slammed it back down for a dramatic last note. She turned around towards me and smiled, waiting for her applause.
"Bravo!" I clapped.
She laughed and scurried towards me. I scooped her up into my arms and we watched television for a little while, but I could tell she was getting sleepy. I glanced up at the clock, wondering why the hell it was taking Bella so long. It was after seven.
"Okay Lizzy let's go get ready for bed." I set her down and started towards her room, knowing that she'd follow me.
"Where's Momma?" She asked.
"She'll be home soon."
I grabbed her pajamas from her room and took her to the bathroom so she could get her bath and be ready for bed. As I slipped her into her pajamas I kept looking towards the door, expecting Bella to walk through. She was starting to worry me.
I tried to put Lizzy down but she refused. As soon as I left the room she'd cry and cry, insisting that she wait for Bella to get home. I picked her up and carried her out into the living room to watch television with me, knowing that she'd be out before the first commercial even aired.
I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw headlights in the driveway. Bella stepped inside a minute later and set her things down on the floor.
I handed Lizzy over to her and gave her a kiss, knowing that she would want to put her to bed right away. I turned everything off and headed towards our bedroom, resuming what I was watching in there instead. I was exhausted and I didn't think I would stay awake much longer. I loved that little girl but she was very talented at draining every last bit of energy that I had.
Bella came in a few minutes later, carrying something in her hands. She set it down in the chair and started getting undressed. I tried to focus on the screen, but my eyes kept peeking at her. It was amazing to me how my desire for her, that intense burning I felt deep inside, never went away. Of course we went through a honeymoon phase, a fairly long one, which resulted in Lizzy. It wasn't something we planned but I've never been so happy about our little oops. Bella freaked out a little bit about becoming a mother so young, she wasn't sure if we were ready. I told her that after everything we've been through I think we could tackle parenthood.
She got really sick the first trimester and I did my best to be there for her. She never complained, which to be honest was really unlike her. I loved her, but she did love to bitch about things.
Once she popped and started experiencing the…joys of pregnancy she lightened her class load and eventually put school on hold. She'd have to for a while after the baby was born anyway. I don't think I've ever seen anything more beautiful than Bella being pregnant. Even though she thought she looked like a beached whale, her words not mine, I found myself just staring at her more than usual. The pregnancy had added a softness and a glow to her that rivaled nothing. My heart melted every time she cradled her full belly.
She was miserable the last few weeks and we tried everything to induce labor, and I mean everything. Renee came up and stayed with us, so someone could be with Bella while I was at work. I was so afraid it was going to happen and I wasn't going to be there, so when she woke me up in the middle of the night saying that her water broke I was ecstatic. And terrified. I'd been there through the whole pregnancy, but it didn't hit me until that exact moment that I was going to be a father.
I didn't realize I had zoned out until Renee tapped my back.
"Edward. We have to get her to the hospital," she nodded.
"O-o-okay," I whispered. I tried to get my feet to move but I was frozen. I was going to be a father. Everything was going to change. I was used to being responsible for other people, but this was different. This was my little person. This was a part of Bella. This was my whole life.
"Babe…" Bella winced and hobbled over to me. "I need you to breathe. Just breathe." She took my hands and took a few deep breaths with me. "Now if you don't move your ass so I can get some pain meds, I'm going to use you as my stress reliever and you're not going to like it. Alright?"
"Okay." I blinked a few times and looked down at her.
"We're having a baby…" she whispered, her eyes welling with tears.
"I love you." I bent down and kissed her.
"I love you too."
"I love you both. Now let's go!" Renee called from the living room. I grabbed Bella's bag that she'd packed two weeks ago and headed out the door.
Renee drove while I sat in the back seat with Bella, rubbing her back. She doubled over and let out a scream of pain.
"What? What's going on? Is she okay?" I stuttered, looking up at Renee completely panicked.
"She's in labor Edward," Renee laughed. "I'm not trying to be gross, but I just need you to imagine what is happening and is going to happen to her body the next few hours…"
As soon as she said that I doubled over along with Bella, frightening images running through my head.
"Oh my God…baby I'm so sorry I did this to you. I'm sorry." I started freaking out when I realized how much pain she was going to have to go through.
Bella took my hand and squeezed hard as she turned her head towards me. "We can do this Edward. I just need you with me okay?" She grimaced and squeezed harder.
"Okay." I leaned over and kissed her forehead. "Okay I'm here." I started rubbing her back again.
When we got to the hospital I ran inside and told them my wife was in labor. A nurse followed me out to the car with a wheel chair and I helped Bella into it. Charlie was already waiting when we got there and Carlisle and Esme told me to call them with any news.
"How far apart are the contractions?" The doctor asked as soon as we were inside.
"A little over four minutes I think…" Bella answered.
"Okay I'd like to do an examination to see how far along you are, but I think we'll be here for awhile guys." He smiled and prepped Bella for her exam. Renee stepped outside and the doctor confirmed his suspicions that she wasn't that far along yet. The guy came in to give her the epidural and then all we had to do was wait. I called Alice and Jasper to let them know and Emmett and Rose eventually migrated up to the hospital.
Alice was devastated that she wasn't there and I heard her tell Jasper to start the car. Her and Bella were nuts if they thought they could handle being away from each other at a time like this. It would take them hours to get here, but from the sounds of it we might have just that.
I felt so helpless just sitting there and watching her endure the pain. I would run and get her ice chips or rub her back or help her walk around a little if she wanted, but I didn't know what else to do.
My jaw dropped to the floor when Alice and Jasper rushed in later that night. I guess it really didn't surprise me that much that they'd actually driven the whole way, but I'd been in a fucking hospital all day with a pregnant wife so I was a little out of it.
"B!" Alice cried as she ran into the room.
Alice sat on the edge of Bella's bed and they clung to each other crying and laughing.
"Congrats man," Jasper said as she shook my hand.
"Thanks." I nodded and sat back down in my chair.
After the hours and hours of waiting I had no idea why we had rushed to get to the damn hospital. Bella eventually fell asleep. I knew she was exhausted and she hadn't even started pushing yet. Alice and Jasper were out in the waiting room taking a nap and Rose and Emmett had migrated down to the café to get something to eat. Renee was sleeping in the bed beside Bella and that left me alone with Charlie.
"I just want to let you know Edward….I'm really proud of you and Bella," he mumbled.
"Thanks. I'm not sure how to do this." I shook my head. "I mean I have no idea how to be a good father. How did you know?"
He laughed a little. "I didn't. You don't ever know Edward, it just happens. You two are going to make mistakes. God knows I made mistakes. You know I made mistakes."
"I think I understand now why you did what you did though." I hadn't even met the baby yet but I would easily kill for them and wouldn't even hesitate to go to extremes to ensure they were safe. Now I could actually see things through Charlie's eyes and from this point of view he wasn't so crazy.
Bella shot straight up in her bed, clutching at her stomach.
"What is it?" I rushed to her side and brushed her hair out of her face.
"I think it's time. I feel like I need to push…" She grabbed my arm and started screaming in pain.
"We'll go get the doctor…" Charlie and Renee rushed out of the room, holding onto one another.
The doctor rushed back in and smiled when he told us she was ready. A few nurses came in and started preparing things all around us.
"Okay Bella…I need you to push during your next contraction okay?" He nodded.
"Okay." She turned her head towards me and the look in her eyes made me want to cry. She was terrified.
"This is it Bella. You can do it. I'm so proud of you," I whispered into her ear. She clenched my hand and I knew she was getting another contraction. "Okay push."
I wanted to keep her as calm as possible so I just whispered how much I loved her and how good she was doing.
Ten minutes later a smaller, squeakier cry broke through the room.
"Congratulations…It's a girl." The doctor held up a pink little thing and I realized she was finally here.
Bella fell back against the bed and started crying as a huge smile spread across her face. The doctor handed me a pair of scissors and instructed me where to cut the cord. I could barely do it my hands were shaking so much. I couldn't take my eyes off of the beautiful pair of brown eyes staring up at me. They were just like Bella's.
I went back to sit beside Bella and gave her a kiss as they wrapped up the baby and made sure she was all right. The nurse smiled and brought her back over to us, placing her in Bella's arms.
"Oh my God…" She whispered, looking down at her. "I didn't think it was possible to love someone you've only just met."
I kissed the side of her head and smiled. "I did."
Three years later here we were.
Bella sauntered over to the bed and settled herself on my lap, still holding that thing. It looked like a huge bundle of papers and I couldn't imagine what it was.
"I have something I want to show you…" She fidgeted with the bundle in her lap. "Remember when I took that writing class, before I went to college?"
"And we had that project that I refused to let you read?"
I laughed and nodded again, remembering how much that drove me crazy.
"Well this is it. I didn't want you to see it until it was done and until I was happy with it. But I want you to see it now."
She handed me the stack of papers and I read over the few words on the front page.
Code of Conduct by Isabella Cullen
"You wrote a book?" I stuttered.
She smiled and nodded. "I want you to read it."
I fingered over the first page and turned it, revealing another short paragraph of writing.
For Edward. Thank you for being the most significant event in my life. I love you.
I tried to hold back the tears as I turned the page again and started reading. She didn't just write a book, she wrote our book. She took our entire story and put it down on paper. Every feeling, every betrayal, every kiss. She didn't leave anything out and wasn't ashamed of anything she'd done. I was in complete awe of how beautiful her writing was.
She sat and watched me for a while as I flipped through the pages, but even she eventually fell asleep. I had thought I was tired, but it completely vanished once I started reading. I was fascinated.
I read the entire thing that night. I finished close to five in the morning and let the papers fall flat on my chest. I turned towards Bella and brushed my lips over her sleeping eyes before drifting off myself.
When I woke up I instantly knew that she wasn't beside me. I slowly opened my eyes and looked around the room. It was almost noon. I shot out of bed, the bundle of pages hitting my legs with a thud.
"Did you hate it?" Bella asked from the corner of the room. She sat in the chair, her knees pulled to her chest.
"No. I loved it. Thank you."
She smiled and crawled over to the bed. "Good." She pressed her lips against mine. "Because they're publishing it."
"They're publishing my book."
I smiled and threw the pages down on the floor as I pushed her down on the bed. "Where's Lizzy?" I asked, planting kisses down her jaw.
"With Charlie for the day," she laughed.
I growled and ran my hands along her ribs and towards the bottom of her shirt. I dipped them underneath and started roaming up, expecting to find the fabric of her bra. There was nothing but Bella.
"You're not wearing a bra…" I murmured against her skin.
"You want to know a secret?" She purred into my ear. "I'm not wearing any underwear either."
"Bad Mommy…" I removed one hand from under her shirt and quickly dipped it below the hemline of her sweatpants. "I don't think you should be allowed to wear any at all…"
"Yes Sir," she whispered.
She whimpered and arched her body to meet my fingers.
I worked slow and deliberate, loving the sounds escaping from her lips, before I slipped her pants off. She tugged furiously at the waistband of my boxers, willing them to join hers on the floor.
I hissed as my skin hit hers and gripped onto her hips, rubbing circles across her hipbones.
"Edward," she breathed, biting down on her lip. Her hands ran furiously down her thighs in frustration.
I smirked and leaned down close to her, pressing our chests flush against one another. "Yes love?"
"I want you now."
"Right now?" I teased.
"Yes." She closed her eyes and forced her hips up, trying to take control.
I grabbed her wrists and forced her arms above her head. "Here?" I grazed my nose lightly down the skin of her arms, back and forth as she whined.
She struggled against my hold, making her body move and contort beautifully.
"You are so beautiful…" I pressed my forehead against hers and briefly brushed my lips against hers before bringing my hips to hers, silencing her pleas.
She grabbed hold of the headboard as it rocked back and forth with my movements. I scooted up on my knees as I brought her legs up over my shoulders, never breaking contact.
We knew each other well enough to realize when we were about to break.
"Fuck," I moaned a moment before she screamed out. I held her hips to me as my other hand ran up the middle of her stomach, across her chest and up to her face. I ran my finger across her lips and felt her ragged breath against my skin. I smiled and leaned forward and pressed my lips to hers, forcing my tongue to hers through her parted lips.
I laid myself down beside her and pulled her to my chest, relishing the feel of her against me.
"Am I really the most significant event in your life?" I ran my fingers through her hair. She turned her face so her chin rested on my chest and smiled.
"Edward you saved my life, literally and figuratively." She shook her head. "You loved me…unconditionally even when I thought I was unlovable. You fought for me. You knew what was best for me, even when I had no idea. You asked me to spend the rest of my life with you. You gave me Lizzy. And most of all you gave me you. Pretty much everything I have and everything I am in my life is because of you." She leaned forward and kissed me.
I leaned back and closed my eyes. I could say every single thing she said to me back to her and it would be just as true. I started to realize that my life could be described in two different ways. Before Bella and after. I barely even recognize myself before her. She was easily my most significant event. And honestly I think that's what love should be. If it's not the most important and significant thing in your world, then what the hell are you doing? It couldn't have been anyone else, it had to be her. It had to be her with her never-ending need to argue, and her stubborn attitude of always having to be right. It had to be her with her feisty personality. Whether I agreed with what she was doing or not, she did it with so much passion in her eyes. Even when I was angry with her, it had to be her. Always…always her. For the rest of my life.
A/N: This was the longest chapter I have ever written and I think I realized that it because I didn't want it to end. In all honesty I had gone through this entire story with a plan for the epilogue but when I sat down to write it I knew it wasn't right so I just kind of winged it and I couldn't be more happy with it.
First and foremost, thank you, thank you, thank you to every single one of you who has read, reviewed, favorited, alerted, recommended, retweeted, blogged and anything else I missed. I never, ever expected this story to be as successful as it was and it means a lot to me because I put a lot into it. Special thanks to my prereader and big pimper secamimom. I really appreciate you taking the time to read my shit. It may seem like something little, but it makes me breathe a little easier. I would also like to say thank you to RoseArcadia and gossip_bangkok who both did some amazing things for this story. You are both amazing. Thank you to my B. Davis, LZTZ for her amazing reviews and the holder of the other half of my BFF necklace smyers09 for being you. Another thank you to everyone on twitter, thank you for all your support of this story. Now you can all recommend it to your friends who only read completed stories.
Another huge, ginormous hello and thank you to our men and women in the service around the world, as well as their families who sacrifice for us. I didn't know much about the military when I started this story, but I learned so much and not even about just technical things. I tried to imagine how I would feel if I were in Bella's situation or Edward's situation or their families and it gave me more perspective on what these people go through everyday. I'm so heartbroken and inspired by you guys and I hope that this story did you justice and paid tribute to your sacrifice.
I have a few housecleaning things to cover, so if you aren't really interested in anything after this epilogue then you can skip it, I won't be offended.
So if you have not heard I will be taking a hiatus, not necessarily from writing, but just from posting for the summer so I can focus most of my energy on my internship, which is going great by the way. I have 6, yes 6 stories floating around in my head, some of which I've posted a little of and some of which I've kept to myself or shared with only a few people. I will continue to work on these behind the scenes over the summer and will start posting ones again in the fall. If you'd like a preview, check out the first chapters of Secret Life and The Mat on , or check out www(dot)gamesetmatchfanfiction(dot)blogspot(dot)com for a teaser of that story. If you are interested in reading any of my other work please make sure to either add me on author alert or follow me on Twitter (MandyLeigh010). My tweets are locked but I will accept you, just protecting myself from my mother who has now realized that I have a twitter haha.
Back to CoC. you probably noticed that I left some things out of this epilogue, like their wedding, or when they find out about the pregnancy ect. I wanted to highlight some of the things that have happened in their life but I also wanted to leave some things for you to create for now. I also wanted to use them as a possibility for outtakes for author auctions or something like that in the future.
I think that's it…maybe. Thanks again everyone.