A/N: I don't own this, we all know who does. What I do own is shame for taking so long to update this story. Seriously, writers block sucks! Don't get it...just don't. :D
Thanks to my Superbeta, MaggieMay14, for being wonderful. And amazing. And marvelous. And attentive. And caring. And patient. And pretty...I could go on all day. :D She's just that terrific! Plus she'd stand in line for a midnight showing of Channing Tatum's new movie with me. If only we didn't like 50 bajillion miles away from each other. :D
Thanks to my prereaders Twilight44, Unchanged Affections, & burntcore. They make me happy, and my life better and funner. I don't know what I'd do without them. Though I do know that this story wouldn't be what it is today.
Thanks to My Constants. My Girlies, MyUberbeta, coldplaywhore, and My Wifey, Mrs. Robward.. They are lovely…
The girls who got this chapter early were – Sujari6, stormy315, scary1016, twilight2, natalie0118, nrbl, & chillzhowdy. Thanks for the encouraging words. I'm so glad you liked it. :) trishchar and Erikajo, I messaged you but you didn't respond. Get me your email address and I'll send you the next chapter early. :)
In case you've forgotten, and you probably have since it's been so long...E.C. is in the hospital after being hit by a car. Edward and Bella are devastated, and are leaning on each other for support. After going back to Edward's house to sleep, they end up having sex and talking about their issues, promising each other that they want to start over again. They then wind up having hot, frantic sex in the shower, because honestly? Why wouldn't you? :D 4 ½ years away from Edward Cullen...yeah, you're gonna get on that as often as you can! :D Hope you enjoy what's up next for them!
WHTM Ch 35 – Making Memories of Us
I'm gonna be here for you baby
I'll be a man of my word
Speak the language in a voice
That you have never heard
I wanna sleep with you forever
And I wanna die in your arms
In a cabin by a meadow
Where the wild bees swarm
And I'm gonna love you
Like nobody loves you
And I'll earn your trust
Makin' memories of us
"Memories of Us" by Keith Urban
After getting dressed and a few more rounds of kissing, Bella and I arrived at the hospital. Even though I knew the world was the same as it had been the day before, everything seemed different now. It seemed brighter, better. I knew that was because of Bella, and I held her hand tight in mine as we made our way down the hospital corridors toward our son. Just before turning the last corner, I felt her slow down, and her fingers wiggling a bit. She wanted to let go. I turned and waited until I caught her eye.
"Together, right? You still want this?" I asked, hoping to remind her of what we had both committed to earlier.
Her teeth bit into her lower lip, like she always did when she was nervous or worried. "Yeah," she said with a nod. "Together." Her fingers dug into my flesh, and we continued on.
My parents were standing outside the room talking to Emmett and Alice as we approached. My mother was the first to spot us, and her eyes focused immediately on our clasped hands. A huge smile broke out over her face, and then just as suddenly it vanished. I knew she was just trying to contain her excitement about us, and not scare us.
"Hi, did you sleep well?" she said, the rest of my family turning to greet us.
"How is he?" Bella asked.
"He's good, things are looking better. The doctor started cutting back on the dosage of his medication this morning, so he should be awake sometime this afternoon or evening," my father said with a smile.
After a few more questions, we walked into his room, finding Renee and Charlie sitting in the chairs next to E.C.'s bed.
"Hi, Dad," Bella said, quickly moving to give Charlie a hug. E.C. was still wrapped up in the blankets on his bed, and I went to stand next to him, running my fingers along his cheek. His coloring looked better than it had the night before, and for the first time since the accident, I felt like maybe things really would be alright.
A few hours later, I decided to go to the cafeteria and get us something for lunch. I knew Bella was hungry, even though she insisted she wasn't. She asked to go with me, and I happily agreed, wanting a few more moments alone with her. While I loved our families, they had been rather excited all morning, which I knew was because of the obvious closeness between Bella and I. Alice almost seemed to be bouncing off the walls with joy, and I couldn't deny her that, especially since I was feeling pretty similar on the inside.
As we neared the cafeteria, I heard my name being called. Turning around, I saw Angela, Carmen, and Peter walking toward us. They were all sporting rather guarded smiles, and a wave of nausea washed over me as I thought about Bella and Angela being near each other. I knew they would each be nice and congenial, but they were both important to me, and I hoped that maybe—some way—they would be able to get along. I didn't deserve to have my life go that easily, but I was still hoping maybe it would.
"Hey, we found you. I wasn't sure where his room was. How's E.C. doing?" Angela asked.
Carmen rushed right up to me and wrapped her arms around my waist, hugging me hard as she sniffled. Angela stood back a bit, and I knew that normally she would have been hugging me as well, but since Bella was there, she was clearly nervous. She stood near Peter, waiting and possibly testing the mood between Bella and me.
"He's okay. He's actually doing better today, and the doctor's are reducing his meds. He should be waking up tonight, which is good," I said.
"Oh, that's so great! We were so worried," Carmen said.
"Thanks, guys." I was glad to see my friends. I had felt horrible calling them the day before, telling them that I wouldn't be able to make it to our class presentation, but I needed to be with my son. He was my first priority. My professor understood when I spoke with him immediately after, saying he would work out something as far as our grades went.
"The presentation went well," Peter said. "We got an A as a group, and the professor said he'd average our individual grades and give you that. I hope that's okay."
I smiled, relieved that something else seemed to be going well. "Yeah, that's great."
Angela smiled at me, and I saw her eyes glance to the side, where Bella was standing.
"Oh hey, I don't think you guys have met Bella. Peter, Carmen, and Angela, this is Bella, E.C.'s mom. Bella, this is Peter, Carmen, and Angela, my friends from school."
"Hi," Bella softly said, leaning against my side. I wrapped my arm around her waist and pulled her in closer.
"Hey, nice to meet you, Bella," Carmen said, as Peter mumbled something similar.
"We were gonna get something to eat. You guys wanna come with us? We can go up to the room afterward, if you want," I said, hoping they would stick around a bit. I could tell that Angela was curious about how things were between Bella and me, and I hoped that maybe we'd get a chance to talk before the day was over. Plus, I wanted my family to meet my friends.
As we sat in the cafeteria eating lunch, they told me all about the presentation and their plans for Thanksgiving. Bella was quiet and she didn't eat much, but she ate more than she had the past few days, so I was glad. On our way back up to the room, I held her hand again, catching the smile on Angela's face when she noticed. My parents were happy to meet my friends, and they each looked in on E.C., before they headed home.
"Bella, can I talk to you for just a minute?" Angela said.
Bella nodded and I watched as the two of them walked down the hall a little ways, until they were out of earshot from me. I stood silently by, watching as Angela talked and Bella nodded. I had faith that Angela wouldn't do anything to hurt my relationship with Bella, and I felt relieved that I'd told Bella everything that had happened between Angela and me. I let out a sigh as the two of them started walking back toward me, both of them smiling and seeming a little happier than they had been a few minutes earlier.
"I'll see you later, Edward. I'm leaving Wednesday afternoon, so I'll try and come by again tomorrow. I can probably get notes for your classes, if you want," Angela said.
"Sure, that'd be great. Thanks a lot," I said, nodding as I pushed my hands into my back pockets and shifted my weight from foot to foot. "So, um...is everything okay? I mean, with that..."
She laughed. "Yeah, everything's fine. Don't worry, we're good." She looked over at Bella who was standing on the other side of the hallway. "Bye, Bella."
"Bye, Angela. Thanks, for everything," Bella replied.
Angela smiled and nodded before glancing back at me. "Bye, Edward, see you tomorrow."
With that, Angela and my other friends were gone. I watched them walk down the hall until they turned a corner. Glancing over toward Bella, I found her watching me closely.
"We okay?" I asked nervously.
She smiled, walking toward me until finally her arms wrapped around my neck and she pulled me in for a kiss. "We're perfect," she said.
I heard Alice giggling from inside E.C.'s room, and I knew that I wasn't alone in my joy.
We hung around the hospital all afternoon and into the evening. I knew everyone wanted to be there when E.C. woke up, and they were all afraid they'd miss it if they left. His stat's were good and the doctor assured us that he would be waking up soon. As the hour got later, and he was still unconscious, I started to worry a bit. My father reminded me that it was fine, and that everyone responded to medication differently. I hoped he was right, and Bella and I situated ourselves into the chairs next to our son's bed as we waited.
Around midnight, just as Renee and Phil were thinking of leaving, E.C. started to stir a bit. First he moved his fingers, wiggling them back and forth. One of his arms was casted, and those fingers were covered with bandages, but the ones that were loose were moving, and Bella quickly let him wrap them around her hand. The smile on her face was one of the most beautiful things I'd ever seen, and we all moved a little closer to the bed.
Soon enough, he started to move his head back and forth. He couldn't move much, with as tightly as his bandages were wrapped up, but he was trying his hardest. When I heard him grumbling and moaning, I thought my heart might leap out of my chest. I was sure his throat was probably a little sore from the respirator and breathing tube that had been removed earlier in the day. I wondered for a moment if he could drink water once he woke up, and if that would help him at all. I watched him closely and realized that he was really waking up, finally, and I had to fight hard to keep back the tears that were building in my eyes.
"Baby? E.C.? Can you hear me? It's Mommy, honey. Wake up, baby," Bella whispered, leaning in close to him.
"Momma?" he said softly, his voice a little gravely from having not spoken for several days.
"Baby, I'm here. And Daddy's here, and all your grandma's and grandpa's, too. Open your eyes and wake up, baby," Bella coaxed.
"Daddy?" he said.
"Hey buddy, I'm here. Wake up, let me see your eyes."
I gently ran my finger along his forehead, over his eyebrows and then down along his cheek. He always loved when I did that at night, when he was having trouble falling asleep. He leaned toward me a bit, sighing. "Daddy," he whispered as his eyes fluttered and he looked right up at me. "My head hurts, Daddy. I gots a owie."
A smile covered my face as a laugh bubbled out of my chest. I couldn't stop it, just like I couldn't stop the tears that began to roll down my cheeks. Bella was crying too, leaning over the other side of the bed and still gripping E.C.'s hand.
"Hey buddy, I missed you. You've been sleeping for a while. I know your head hurts, but is the rest of you feeling okay?" I said, wiping at the wetness on my cheeks. I could hear our mother's sniffling behind us, watching on as our little boy woke up. They were just as happy as we were, but they sat back, letting us have a moment with him.
"I'm all stuck, Daddy," he said, struggling against his bandages and blankets.
"You gotta hold still, okay? You're in the hospital, so you gotta be still. Do you remember what happened to you?" I asked, as Bella and I tried to calm him down.
"No," he whispered, looking over at Bella.
"You ran in out into the road and a car hit you. We brought you to the hospital so the doctors could fix you up. You hurt your arm and your head, and the doctors let you sleep for a long time. I was worried about you, baby," Bella whispered.
"How come you's cryin', Momma?" he asked.
Bella sniffled. "I was just so worried about you. You know you're my favorite boy ever."
E.C. sighed just a bit and seemed to relax a bit. "I knowed that."
Soon the doctor came in, accompanied by a few nurses. They invited us to stay, but I knew they were busy and the sooner they could complete their check up, the sooner they'd be gone. I urged Bella to come with me to the hall, but the farthest I could get her to go was the doorway. Truth be told, I didn't want to lose sight of E.C. either, so I stood with her, watching him. His eyes seemed to search for us, too, every few seconds. He remained fairly even tempered with the doctor, and did his best to answer all the questions he was asked, as well as endure the poking and prodding he was receiving.
After several minutes, we were let back in to see him, with strict orders that only two people could stay the night. The doctor wanted E.C. to get some sleep, and he was worried that with so many people around, that wouldn't happen. There was no question that Bella and I would be staying, and soon enough we said good night to our family members, knowing that we'd see them the next morning.
Since E.C. was still the only child in the room, the nurse allowed us to use one of the other beds, and I insisted that Bella sleep there while I slept in one of the reclining chairs. E.C. managed to stay awake for an hour or so, and then he got sleepy and nodded off.
"He's really okay, isn't he?" Bella whispered as she sat on my lap before we both crashed for the night.
"Yeah, I think he is. Can you believe it?"
Her head lay on my shoulder and we both watched our son sleeping. I felt Bella's body relax, and I stood, carrying her over to the bed where I laid her down. Her arms wrapped around my neck just as I was standing to walk away, and she pulled me back down to her. Her lips met mine and I kissed her good night, reveling in the taste of her, and the softness of her skin. I'd missed her so much, and how easy it was to be with her like this. Finally, things were turning around for me, and I couldn't wait for us to get out of the hospital and get on with our lives. Together.
Tuesday and Wednesday passed by pretty quickly. Between me, Bella, and our families, there were always a few people with E.C., which was great. It kept him entertained and calm. I was a little surprised that he actually stayed in his bed for most of the day Tuesday. By Wednesday afternoon, he wanted out. He was a normal four year old boy—he didn't want to sit still, and there were only so many cartoons he could watch.
"Can we's go outside, Daddy? I wanna pway outside," he whined to me.
"I'm sorry, Bud. We gotta stay in so you can get better. The doctor said maybe you can go home tomorrow. Would you like that?"
He nodded just a little, reaching up to scratch at the bandages that were still wrapped around his head. He was improving by the minute, getting better and better each time the doctor or nurses checked on him.
"And I's can pway with Sadie."
Bella and I hadn't really had a chance to discuss a new care schedule for E.C., but I was relatively sure she was going to want to take him home with her. That was fine with me, since I had no idea how to care for a child with a broken arm, who was also recovering from head trauma. I was going to be a doctor, so it was something I would need to figure out eventually, but for the time being, I could barely manage to keep him fed and clean when he was functioning normally.
"Well, I think you're gonna go home with Mommy tomorrow and stay at her house for a while. That way she and Nana can take care of you while you get better."
"But I got's to feed Sadie, Daddy. I got's to pway wif her. Her misses me, huh Daddy?" he asked, his eyes wide and starting to fill with tears.
"I'm sure she does, but Granny and Grandpa have been watching her, and Uncle Emmett's been taking her for walks, and Uncle Jasper's been playing with her, so I think she's okay right now. But, I'll tell you what. How about if I bring her over to your house to see you on the day after tomorrow? Do you think that would be okay?"
He nodded a little, careful not to move too much or too quickly. He'd learned that lesson Tuesday morning and been rewarded with quite a headache for the next couple of hours.
"You got's ta ask Momma, 'cause I think her don't wike doggies so much."
I smiled, knowing it wasn't that Bella didn't like them, as she'd always been a little afraid of them. Sadie was pretty small and very sweet, so I didn't think it would be much of a problem.
Thursday afternoon we packed up E.C., with lots of orders and instructions from the doctor about what he could and couldn't do at home. He had an appointment scheduled for Monday in the doctor's office, but until then, we were on our own. I was grateful that my parents were planning to stay through the weekend, and I knew Bella was, as well. She'd finally confided in me that she was a little nervous about taking him home, since she didn't know how to care for him. My parents promised to help, having endured their fair share of tending to broken bones during Emmett's younger years. My mom was a pro at wrapping casts for bath time, so I knew Bella would get the hang of it pretty quickly, too.
Our parents had decided that even though Thursday was Thanksgiving Day, we would hold off on our big meal until Friday. Everyone would be there for it, including my siblings and their spouses, as well as Emmett and Rosalie's baby. E.C. was very excited to see little Emmalie again, and giggled when she tried to suck on his fingers.
"Can her stay here wif us, Daddy? I wike pwaying wif a baby," E.C. said as he tried to tickle her and make her laugh.
Bella and I looked up at the same time, looking at each other for a moment, before I finally smiled and winked at her. She blushed just a bit, and quickly looked away. I knew Emmalie couldn't stay with us, but maybe someday there would be another baby for E.C. to play with. I knew I wanted more children, and I hoped that Bella did, too. We were going to make this work, no matter what. I couldn't let her go again, and I hoped she realized that.
After E.C. was tucked into bed, Bella and I sat on the sofa and watched T.V. for a while. There wasn't much on since it was kind of late, but I enjoyed just spending time with her. Her mom and Phil had gone to bed, reminding us that we'd all have to be up bright and early if we were going to get our Thanksgiving meal prepared. Alice and Rose were planning Black Friday shopping at several stores in the area, but I knew they'd be back before all the real work on the food got started.
My arm was around Bella's shoulders as she leaned against my side. I wanted nothing more than to kiss her and lay her back on the couch while I crawled on top of her and showed her how much I loved her, but we were taking things slow. We'd messed up with the shower thing on Monday morning, but I was determined not to screw it up again. We were going slow now, and I was okay with that. Well, at least I would learn to be okay with it. I turned my head and rubbed my nose in her hair, inhaling the scent of her shampoo for a moment before placing a kiss on her temple.
"I should probably go. It's getting kinda late."
Her hand that was resting on my thigh started to grip me tighter. "Can't you stay?" she asked, looking up at me with her beautiful brown eyes. I wanted to stay, to give in to her. She knew the affect she had on me, and I could tell she really did want me there.
"I really should go. We're going slow, right? Dating?"
"Yeah, but this is E.C.'s first night home from the hospital. I think you should probably be here, don't you? For when he wakes up in the morning?"
"Oh, that's why I should stay, huh?" I asked, wondering if that was the real reason, or if she had something else in mind.
"Of course. For E.C.," she said with a nod, as the corners of her lips turned up every so slightly.
I let out a sigh. "Alright, I guess I can stay. I'll just sleep here on the couch, that's the best place, right?"
She squirmed just a bit, looking down at floor. "Well, I figured we could both fit on my bed, if you want. I think there's plenty of room."
I couldn't hold back the smile that took over my face. "In your bed, huh? My, my, Ms. Swan. I get the feeling you're trying to seduce me or something. And to use our recently injured son as a way to get me into bed... I didn't know you had it in you." I laughed quietly, reaching down to wiggle my fingers in her side and make her laugh.
"Stop!" she laughed, grabbing at my hand. "Just stay with me, okay?"
I paused, watching her closely. When our eyes met, the smile slipped from my face. "I'm not going anywhere."
"Promise?" she whispered.
I traced my fingers along her cheek, then under her chin as I tilted her face up toward mine. I kissed her softly, hoping to show her just how much I meant what I said. In no time, our one kiss had turned into several deep, tender and heated kisses, and I knew that by all likelihood, if I stayed the night—in her bed—things would not stay PG rated.
"Maybe I should sleep in E.C.'s room tonight. I'll be fine on the floor," I huffed, already willing the bulge in my jeans to go away.
"Maybe that's better. I think if I'm lying next to you, I won't be able to stop myself from doing what I really want to do with you."
I smirked. "Hold that thought, okay? We'll get there, and when we do, you can have me any way you see fit."
She clung to me for a few more minutes before she started to yawn, and I turned off the television. We found a few pillows and blankets, and I used them to make up a bed on the floor in E.C.'s bedroom. I sent my mom a text telling her where I was, just so that she wouldn't be worried. I planned on heading home in the morning, so I could get showered and dressed for the day.
"Goodnight," Bella said as we stood in front of her bedroom door.
"Goodnight," I whispered before kissing her sweetly and hugging her to me. I waited until she'd gone into the room and closed the door before I returned to E.C.'s room. Situating myself in my makeshift bed, I smiled at the thought that for the second time ever, Bella, E.C., and I were all sleeping under the same roof. It was an amazing feeling, and I quickly fell asleep with a smile firmly planted on my face.
The next day was insanity, madness, and mayhem, all rolled into one. Renee and Bella cooked up a huge dinner, while my mom, Alice, and Rosalie helped with whatever needed to be done. Emmett and Jasper were engrossed in several different football games, while Phil and my dad ran errands for my mother and Renee. Charlie sat next to me on the sofa, with E.C. between us, and Emmalie laying on the floor on top of a blanket. E.C. loved watching her, and it kept him still, so I was happy. Sadie ran and played happily in the backyard, and had been overjoyed to see E.C. that morning.
As we all sat down to our meal, I held Bella's hand and listened as Phil offered a prayer over the food, giving thanks for our family and for E.C.'s speedy recovery. I thought about all the things that had happened to me over the past five months, realizing the complete turn around my life had taken. At one point I had no real direction, no real desire or drive. I had nothing to move toward. Sitting next to Bella, peeking around her at our son, I saw how completely different my life was now, and I was happy. For the first time in years, I had something to be thankful for, and I squeezed her hand, winking at her when she glanced up at me. Once the prayer was finished, I leaned over and softly kissed her cheek, whispering an "I love you" so that only she could hear it. The blush on her face assured me she did, and then I let myself be consumed by the joy and love being expressed all around me. It was a good day, and I felt truly blessed.
My mother decided to stay with me for an extra week, volunteering to watch E.C. during the day while Renee worked, and Bella and I attended our classes. Bella was taking some time off from work, hoping to avoid Jacob, who had apparently taken to hanging around the cafe each day, waiting for her to show up. She didn't want to see him, and I was glad for that. I didn't want her anywhere near him, and was a little upset when she refused my offer to escort her to and from each of her classes. She insisted Jake wouldn't hurt her, but I wasn't so sure. I still didn't know why he'd acted the way he had, and until I did, I was nervous.
E.C. bounced back quickly, and was soon begging to go back to preschool. I finally agreed, and took him on his last day before the Christmas break. They were having a party, and he didn't want to miss it. Bella had heard from the parents of several of his friends, and they were worried about him. His teachers had tried to explain what happened to E.C., but some of the kids didn't really understand. Bella and I thought it might be good if they could see him, and know for themselves that he was okay. Plus, it was a good lesson for them when it came to listening to their parents, as well as looking both ways before crossing the street. E.C. had been spending each night at Bella's house, and I'd slept over a few times—always either on E.C.'s bedroom floor, or on the sofa in the living room. I was looking forward to having him in my house again, though I was kind of anxious about it, too.
My mother returned to Washington, after teaching Bella and I a lot about caring for E.C.'s injuries. He was a strong kid, and very resilient, so I quickly started to feel better about taking care of him. I knew I wouldn't break him very easily. It was still difficult to keep him from running around the backyard, chasing Sadie. He wanted to run, he wanted to climb, he wanted to slide and swing. Sadly, he wanted nothing to do with sitting on the couch and watching movies, like I wanted him to do. He was getting back to his old self, especially with Christmas quickly approaching.
I hadn't planned on decorating, but E.C. soon talked me into buying a tree, and he and Bella spent an evening at my house helping me decorate it. E.C. laughed at my lack of color coordination when it came to the decorations I bought, but Bella just smiled and arranged them all on the tree. It looked wonderful, and that night we cuddled together on the sofa after E.C. had gone to sleep. He was spending the night, but Bella was going home, much to my disliking.
"You sure you can't stay?" I asked for the fifth time, my hand sliding up the back of her shirt. We were making out on the couch, her body pinned underneath mine.
"Yeah, I told my mom I'd help her wrap gifts in the morning. If I stay, there's no way I'll get up early and get home, I'll be too tempted to stay in bed with you."
The thought of her in my bed again made me crazy with desire, and I kissed her hard, my tongue sliding against hers as my fingers moved toward her bra strap.
"Edward," she whimpered.
"I know, but I can't help it. I want you so much, baby."
I pressed my hips against hers, so that she'd understand exactly how much I wanted her.
"Edward, wait," she said, pushing her hands against my chest. It took every bit of strength and self control I had to push myself away from her.
"I know, I'm sorry," I said, not really meaning it in that moment.
She ran her hand through her hair, and I could tell something was bothering her. "What would E.C. say if he found us in bed together?" she asked.
I froze, realizing I'd never honestly thought about what he would think if that were to happen.
"Um, I don't know, why?"
She let out a soft sigh, looking at me until I met her gaze. "He has friends at school who've told him that moms and dads sleep in the same bed. He thinks they do that because they're married. Edward, if he finds us in bed together, he's gonna assume that we're married, and that we're all going to live together after that. I've heard him talk, that's what he thinks."
"Oh," I said. I hadn't expected that answer, by any means, and it surprised me just a bit. "So we need to talk to him about this stuff, or what?"
"Eventually, yeah. But for now, I think we just need to keep things pretty PG around him, you know? We aren't taking any big steps right now, so I don't think we need to mention it to him just yet, but in a few months, maybe."
"Like, in a few months if you guys move in with me? We'll talk to him about all this stuff then?" I asked, hoping to judge her reaction to my words.
She smiled. "Yeah, like then."
I already knew I wanted Bella and E.C. with me always, but I also knew I had to prove how serious I was. That would be a permanent change in our lives, and I didn't want Bella to think it was something I would take lightly. I had every intention of doing things right, it just wasn't time yet.
Christmas came quickly, and I spent Christmas Eve at Bella's with her parents. Of course my family was sad that we didn't return to Washington for the holidays, but with E.C.'s weekly doctor appointments, it just wasn't feasible. We tentatively planned to go back over Spring Break, though Bella's schedule would be a little tough for the next semester. She was doing her student teaching at a local elementary school, which was great for me. It meant she would finally quit her job at the coffee shop right after New Year's, and then hopefully we wouldn't have to worry about Jacob much anymore.
Of course he chose Christmas morning to stop by her house. Phil insisted he would take care of it. He had run Jake off several times before when Bella wasn't home. Phil only knew a few bits of what Jake had said. Bella edited the details when she explained things to her parents, knowing that between Phil and Charlie, something really bad could happen if they found out all the things Jake had said. That morning, when he knew for sure the Bella was home, he refused to leave, and Bella agreed to talk to him. I didn't want to let her, but as long as I stood on the other side of the front door in case he tried anything, I was willing to let her take care of it on her own. I knew it was important to her that she be the one to finally end things. If Jake thought her family or I had made her cut him off, he never would give up.
"What, Jake? You know I don't want you around us, so what do you want?" she asked, her tone angry and tight.
"I just wanted to see you, and to see E.C. I miss you guys. I brought a gift for E.C., and I'd like to give it to him. Please, Bella, I'm sorry. It was just guy talk, you know? I didn't mean any of what I said, I swear."
"Whatever, Jake. I'm done with this, so just get out what you need to say, and then go. I don't want my son to have your gift, so take it to a homeless shelter or a charity or something. Do something good with it. Then, don't come back here, because we aren't friends anymore."
Phil was hovering in the kitchen in case things got out of hand, while Renee kept E.C. occupied in his bedroom with some of his new toys, but I knew that probably wouldn't last forever. He'd already asked about Jake a few times, but neither Bella nor I knew what to say to him. It wasn't like we could tell him the vile things Jake had said and done, but it didn't lessen the hurt of seeing my son sad over missing someone he considered his friend.
"Bella, please, I was just talking crap, you know? I don't even know anyone named Leah, I swear."
After several minutes of Jacob's ramblings and Bella's no nonsense approach, he broke. "Look, I just wanted to get close to you, okay?" he said. I didn't like the tone of his voice, and I could feel my fists clenching in response to it.
"Why? Why did you want me? Why did you come after me, Jake? I don't understand. I thought we were friends, I thought you were my friend. What happened? Why me?" Bella asked, and I could hear the emotion in her voice. She truly didn't understand why things had happened the way they did. She and I both needed answers so that we could put this whole episode behind us and move on with our life together.
"You really don't know?" he asked, his voice sounding honestly surprised.
"No, I don't know. What?"
"Do you remember the first time I ever saw you?" he asked. I didn't like where this was going, but I bit my tongue and remained silent.
"At work, I think," Bella said.
Jake laughed. "No, it wasn't at work. You have no idea, do you?" His laugh was growing more menacing, and I was getting closer and closer to losing my cool. I tried to take a few deep breaths and calm down, feeling my heart rate begin to accelerate.
He continued. "Let's see...it was about four years ago this spring, and you were standing in line at the student center. It was lunch time, and you were buying a sandwich and juice. Ringing any bells?"
Bella shook her head. "No, should it?"
"I walked up to you. You were the most gorgeous woman I'd ever seen, and I wanted to ask you out. I was nice to you. I made small talk, told you that you looked cute, flirted and was funny. I even offered to buy your lunch for you, but you totally turned me down. Oh, you smiled and said a few things, but you completely blew me off. Do you have any idea how much crap I got when I went back to my friends after you shot me down?"
"What?" Bella asked in disbelief.
"I told my friends I was gonna get your number, and you wouldn't give it to me. I had to go back to them with my tail between my legs. Do you have any idea how embarrassing that was for me?" he asked. He didn't sound like the nice Jake my son was friends with. This Jake was bitter, angry, and cruel sounding. I didn't like it at all.
"Wait, so you had this big plan to screw me over just because I turned you down four years ago?" Bella asked.
"Yeah, pretty much."
Bella laughed. "Do you even realize how sad and pathetic that is? To harbor a grudge against someone for four years just because they didn't instantly succumb to your charms? That's disgusting."
"Bella, I always get what I want, especially when it comes to girls. And then there was you...too high and mighty to go out with someone like me. I needed to knock you off your horse a bit, show you who was really in charge of things. You blew me off way too soon, you didn't even give me a chance."
"Jake, I never dated anyone. Do you know why? Because I had a brand new baby at home, Jake. I was seventeen years old, and in love with someone else. I'd just run across the country, breaking both our hearts, and I was in no place to start looking for someone new. My turning you down had nothing to do with you, Jake. All of this was for that? Seriously? I can't believe this, that's such a stupid thing to do!"
"Bella, you just don't understand. I'm king around here, Bells, and you needed to know that."
Bella smiled, stepping back a bit so that I could see her face. "I know everything I need to know now. Jake, I want you to leave, and don't come back. We aren't friends, apparently we never were. You stay away from me, you stay away from my son. Go find someone else and be happy, Jake. As much as I hate you right now, you were my friend and I want you to be happy, to have a good life. Go do that, stop living in the past and carrying these idiotic grudges. Leave me and my family alone, and move on. I have."
With that, Bella closed the door, locked it, and threw herself into my arms. I was expecting tears or anger or sadness, but she was none of those things. She hugged me tight for several moments, then pulled back and placed a kiss on my lips. "Let's go find our boy, see how his Christmas morning is turning out. And then, I think I'll make my two favorite guys some breakfast, whadda you think?"
I smiled at her. "I think that sounds perfect." She started to pull away, but I kept her tight against me. "Are you okay? I mean, you finally know what Jake's deal was, so are you alright with it?"
Her hands were at the sides of my waist, her fingers clenching the fabric of my shirt. "Yeah, I think so. I just wanted to know, and now that I do...it just seems so stupid and wasteful. Seriously, who does something like that? How dare he think he's entitled to me just because he liked me and offered to buy me lunch? I can't believe he spent three years trying to get back at me. It's just the dumbest thing I've ever heard, you know?"
I smiled. "Yeah, it is kinda weird. I can't say I blame him, though. I mean, if I'd been in his shoes, I'd have been following you around like a lost puppy, too, just without the freaky need for revenge." I reached up and brushed her hair back behind her ears, then leaned down to kiss her cheek. She sighed, and I moved lower, leaving soft kisses along her skin until finally my lips were on the skin just under her ear.
"Edward..." she moaned lightly, her chest pressing against mine. I knew I had to stop, especially since we weren't alone in the house.
I lifted my face until my lips were even with her ear. "I love you, Bella," I whispered, then kissed her ear lobe.
"I love you, too," she said, holding onto me for a few more moments, before finally pulling back and smiling up at me.
I kept my arm around her waist, and she kept hers around mine, as we walked through the living room toward our son's bedroom. I could hear him giggling and laughing as he played with some of his new toys, and I thought to myself, this was the best Christmas of my life. And I was happy.
Good? Things looking up? Finally got that pesky Jacob out of the way? Yeah, he's a creeper. :) I was interviewed on a sweet little site, so check that out. I told them how amazing my readers are, so don't let me down. :) Take out the ()'s in the link. :)
Now to rec's...
Fatherhood, Formula, and Other F Words by anhanninen. "When man-whore, foul-mouthed Edward's life takes an unexpected turn, he's left with a baby to raise. With the help of a friendly neighbor, he learns sometimes the unexpected could be the best thing that's ever happened." This story is so good, I can't get enough of it!
Last Call by Robsmyyummy Cabanaboy. "The past she's struggling to remember is the time he'd rather forget... Can they move beyond the scars and forge a new beginning together or have they missed their Last Call?" Seriously? I can't wait to wake up on Wednesday mornings because I know there's gonna be a new chapter of this. And I LOVE it!
And something complete...
Second Page by CaraNo. "The first page didn't belong to them, because it was dedicated to someone else. Eight years later, we flip to the second page. It's theirs. EPOV. Daddyward, Mechanicward, Inkward, Olderward." So good...ugh, really wonderful. She has such a knack for finding new ideas and writing about them. This is just outstanding. :)
As always remove the ()'s from the links. :)
I'm on Twitter, and it's fun.
And Facebook, which I tried to avoid.
And this has a thread on Twilighted. I haven't been there since I got a virus on my laptop from the site. I'm scared now. :D
Since the next chapter is the last one, I was thinking I'll try something different. Everyone who reviews this today will get the next, and final, chapter a day early. Just so you know, you have to have your PM's turned on, otherwise I can't message you on ff dot net. Even if you just turn them on for this week, do it. At least until you get a review reply from me where I'll ask for your email address. :D Don't worry, I won't go all stalker on you. :D Well...I probably won't, anyway. :D
Thanks for sticking with me. Writer's Block is real, it's depressing, and it kills brain cells. Or at least the story writing ones that had been residing in my head. :D One more chapter and the epi to go... Can you believe it? I have NO clue when it will be done, but it WILL be done, eventually. Hopefully in the next month or two. We'll see. :)
Thank you for being wonderful. You'll never know what it means to me. :)