Disclaimer: All characters belong to Stephenie Meyer. No copyright infringement is intended.
Chapter 19: Epilogue- Daddy
When Bella told me that she was pregnant, the fear almost overtook me. The only reason I was able to keep my fears in check that night was because of how worried Bella had been about telling me. She clearly thought that I was going to be upset. I felt horrible that she'd been bearing the burden of this secret because of me.
Still, I had never been around babies. The idea of me being a father was so scary to me. I'd never even known my own father and had no idea how to be one. I wanted to think that I'd be okay, but honestly I wasn't confident. Not a comfortable feeling for me.
After the first ultrasound, where I could hear the heart beating in Bella's belly, it didn't matter anymore. I already loved that baby with everything I had, and the fact that Bella was its mom solidified it for me.
Bella's body changed almost as often as her moods. I swore one minute I'd look at her and the next minute, she'd look bigger but always so beautiful. She started feeling the baby kick and the blissful look on her face when it happened made me get extremely excited to meet this little one, who already seemed to have quite a good relationship with Bella.
I'd heard that pregnant women glowed and there was definitely truth to it. It was definitely what Bella was meant to do and she looked amazing. Of course, she felt dumpy and unattractive and there was no convincing her otherwise, despite my telling her or showing her as often as she would let me. There was just something so incredibly sexy and alluring about her carrying our child. All I knew was that my body craved her.
I got the news about my deployment when Bella was about 19 weeks along. She was incredibly disappointed that I wasn't going to get to go to the 'big' ultrasound with her, but assured me that she'd scan all the pictures and email them to me.
This deployment was only six weeks, but I hated that I had to leave her when she was pregnant. It worried me tremendously.
"What if something happens to you?" I said softly as I pulled her into a hug and pressed my forehead against hers. "I couldn't handle it."
"Hey," she said, using her fingers on my chin to life my face to meet her gaze. "We've done this before. Nothing's going to happen to me. Besides, I have Alice here and my dad. We'll be okay."
Bella rubbed her belly as she said 'we' and it made me smile.
"I know you're right…I just…I can't lose you."
"You won't. Just promise me that you'll be careful and come home to us," she said as she kissed me gently.
"I will." I reached down and grabbed my bag and kissed Bella one last time, then kissed her belly. "I'll write when I get there."
The date was April 29th. Six weeks to go.
I hated leaving her behind, especially since she was pregnant. Bella was strong and healthy but I couldn't help but worry.
The plane ride was long and tiring and I couldn't sleep at all. Jasper tried to reassure me that the trip would go by quickly, but it wouldn't be quick enough.
It was well into the next day when we finally arrived at the base that would serve as our home for the next month and a half. I was hot and sticky and needed a shower, but before I could do anything, I needed to let Bella know I was safe. I knew she worried about me when I was gone, and stress was bad for the baby.
To: Bella Cullen
From: Edward Cullen
Subject: Arrived Safely
This is the first opportunity I've had to write you. The trip was long and I couldn't stop thinking about you and the baby. I'm so sorry I'm not there to help you. It feels wrong to leave you in your condition.
Write soon. I love you. Be sure to tell the baby that daddy loves him (yes, I've decided it's a him).
I closed my computer and was finally able to close my eyes and get some rest.
By the next morning, there was already an email from Bella in my Inbox.
To: Edward Cullen
From: Bella Cullen
Subject: My Condition?
You crack me up with all your talk about me and "my condition". I'm pregnant, not mentally ill, but thank you for thinking of us. I have my big ultrasound in a few days and can't wait. I know we couldn't decide if we should find out the sex. Should we? I kind of feel like we should wait since you won't be here. Then we will both be surprised together.
Anyway, I'll be sure to tell your daughter that you love her (yes, I'm convinced it's a girl).
I laughed when I saw her email. We decided after that to wait on the sex. It would be something special for us when the baby was born.
Jasper was right about this deployment. We were incredibly busy during the day, so I had little time to worry about Bella. They days flew by. Bella assured me that she and 'bun' were fine. I had named the baby 'bun', which was derived from 'bun in the oven', since it was easier than calling it "it" or "the baby".
I arrived on the landing strip on a warm, yet overcast June afternoon. Bella stood there with a sign over her head that read "Welcome Home, Daddy."
I had never loved her more.
I pulled her into my arms and kissed her passionately, mindful of her belly, which had grown considerably since I'd left.
I leaned down, kissed her belly and spoke in a whisper against it. "Hi, bun. Daddy's happy to be home. I missed you and Mommy so much."
"Come on," she said, throwing her arm around me as we walked, "Let's go home."
"Edward," Bella said frantically, as she shook me awake. "Edward!"
I rolled over, opening my eyes while trying to adjust to being awoken so abruptly.
"Is everything okay?" I asked sleepily.
"My water broke, and I've been having contractions for about an hour," she said bluntly.
I stood up; adrenaline suddenly coursing through me as I quickly gathered all of our things. We'd been packed for nearly two weeks, but our toiletries were all over the place.
Bella was calm as she breathed through each contraction. She was a champion and I was so fucking proud of her.
We arrived at the hospital; they hooked Bella up to all sorts of machines, and soon after we were moved to a private room.
Bella's labor had been quick, so by the time we got there, she was already five centimeters dilated and in quite a bit of pain. I wished I could take away her pain, but all I could do was be supportive. She was so much stronger than I could ever be and she was enduring this pain for us; so that we could have a family. She was amazing.
They finally gave her the epidural and that made Bella relax quite a bit, which in turn, made me relax.
"So, I understand we're ready for a baby in here," Dr. Gerandy said cheerfully as he walked into the room.
"You have no idea," Bella said sarcastically, but I could see that she was as nervous as I was.
They wheeled in lights and a bunch of other equipment and soon it was time for Bella to push.
Once again, I was reminded of how strong my girl was. Considering I was a SEAL and trained to be tough, I felt humbled by Bella. She was totally focused and determined.
"Come on, Bella, don't give up now," Dr. Gerandy called. "The baby's almost here."
Bella steeled her resolve as she clung to my hands and pushed hard, while I counted to ten.
She screamed loudly and then I heard it.
I spun my head around as Dr. Gerandy pulled the baby up so we could see.
"Congratulations! You have a son."
I would never be able to describe the emotions I felt at that moment. Nothing else mattered to me except my beautiful wife and my new son. Bella had given me everything and I could never express how much I loved her in that moment.
Dr. Gerandy rested the baby on Bella's chest, which was heaving from her sobs and exertion. She clung to my hand and I couldn't stop the tears from falling.
I couldn't remember the last time that I had cried. It must have been when I was a child. Yet, witnessing the birth of my son was the single most emotional and incredible thing I'd ever witnessed. I was completely overwhelmed.
"Charles Edward Cullen," Bella said with a wide smile. "We've been waiting a long time to meet you."
This deployment had been different, incredibly hard. Not only was it a six month leave, but I got the orders after having only been home for five months. It seemed like I had spent more time away in the last year than I had at home. It was hard on all of us.
Leaving Charlie and Bella behind was excruciating. I missed them tremendously. Not only had I left them, but also my daughter, Elizabeth, had been born while I was away. Bella sent videos and whenever possible, we Skyped each other. But, I had never met Elizabeth and I was dying to see my family.
I had received the good news that I'd been made a SEAL trainer, which would mean no more long deployments. This deployment had been so hard on us, and I was thrilled that I wouldn't have to make a habit out of leaving my family for extended periods of time. Being a parent motivated me to make changes in my life so that we could be together more. I hadn't told Bella yet, and I couldn't wait to break the news to her.
Charlie's little arms around me snapped me out of my reverie; as I was engulfed in a huge bear hug practically the minute I got off the ship.
I pulled him to me and gripped him tightly, noticing how big he'd gotten. "Hey buddy," I said then kissed him over and over. "I'm so happy to see you. I missed you so much. Have you been a good boy for mommy?"
He nodded and looked at me with a huge toothy smile. He looked so much like Bella. He had her deep eyes and wavy brown hair. His smile made me melt. I had to admit that Bella and I made some pretty cute kids.
"Mommy has a surprise for you at home. We put up balloons and we made a cake for you, but I'm not supposed to tell you."
Five-year olds. Gotta love 'em.
I set him down and ruffled his hair as he stayed by my side, clinging to my leg. Bella was walking over to me, pushing a stroller in front of her. I was so nervous and anxious to meet Elizabeth for some reason. I was actually shaking as they approached. What if she didn't like me? What if she didn't know that I was her daddy? I knew, of course, that she was a baby and would eventually come to know me, but it was strange to be meeting my own daughter like this, well after she had been born.
The last time I saw Bella she was pregnant, my frayed nerves calmed instantly as soon as I held her in my arms. As I kissed Bella, I instinctively spun us around, relishing in the feeling of her in my arms again.
"I missed you so much," I said in between kisses. "And look at you! You look great."
"I don't know about that. Elizabeth is still getting up at night, so I haven't been running on all cylinders."
"Trust me, you look gorgeous. You always do."
She bent down to the stroller and unbuckled the straps.
"Well, look who's awake?" Bella said, cooing into the seat. "You want to meet your daddy?"
I was a bundle of nerves and felt like I would spontaneously combust at any moment. I had missed my precious daughter's birth, but she would know her daddy loved her. I would make sure of that.
Bella lifted her out and handed her to me. She was tiny and it had felt like a lifetime ago when Charlie was that small. I could barely even recall how it felt to have something so small in my arms. Bella had dressed her in a delicate white dress and a headband that had a bow on it, which tamed her soft brown hair. She had on little white socks with lace around the edge.
"Well hello there, Elizabeth," I said as I gently kissed her forehead and outstretched my finger so she could grab it. "Daddy's home and I love you so much."
I looked up at Bella with tears in my eyes. "She's so beautiful."
"She looks like her daddy," she said.
"I love you so much," I said, pulling Bella into my side as I held Elizabeth while Charlie still clung to my side.
"Let's go home," Bella said.
A/N: Okay, so I know I said that that the previous chapter was it, but I got so many requests for Daddyward, that I couldn't help but oblige. I hope you enjoyed this! This is for all you who reviewed and pushed me to write this!
Thanks for all the support! I'm going to miss this story so much. My betas and pre-readers helped a ton with this one. Also, I've got to give a shout out to Whitney Love, who stepped in to help so I could get this posted.
My new story, Surviving the Rain, just went up and chapter 3 is going to be posted this week.
Here's the summary:
Extreme circumstances force Bella and Edward into an intense relationship amidst devastation, but will their foundation be enough to survive reality?
I hope you'll come check it out!