Disclaimer- I am not Stephenie Meyer or Bob Dylan. Bob Dylan wrote the song 'Baby Please Stop Cryin' in 1978, of which, I got the title from the lyrics.

A/N- this is for Ms. Kathy's Fandom Gives Back author auction request. Yes, I finally got around to it. The muse just wasn't talking to me until now. I just needed Sweet Little Bullet to give me some inspiration and to beta for me.


I was a doormat all my life.

If it wasn't my father's hand reaching out to slap me, it was my mother's. I went away to college simply to escape.

I was the homebody girl in the dorms. I never had a boyfriend until Charles Evenson, an RA, would say hello to me as I passed the front desk.

The girls on my floor said he thought I was cute. I blushed and said that it wasn't possible.

He asked me out for weeks, pestering me. Finally, I caved in.

"Esme," he said. "This is going to be the best date of your life."

We went to the carnival at the mall parking lot. We ate cotton candy and he insisted on taking me on rides that I didn't particularly want to go on, but he talked me into it. After the Tilt-A-Whirl, I vomited into a garbage can and he laughed, but got a coke for me. We went back to his truck and I was still woozy and couldn't stand to open my eyes as he drove back to the dorm. He carried me up to my room and promised me the next date would be better.

I thought better of it, but ended up agreeing when he called me the next morning to check on me. He took me out to a nice, stationary movie this time, with my feet on the floor.

When he took me home to my dorm room that night, he kissed me. I was almost twenty, and it was the first kiss of my life. "I knew it," he muttered. I didn't ask what he knew.

A few dates later, we were in his truck, kissing. "I knew you were the one," he said. "By the second date. I knew I was already in love with you." He groped my crotch through my jeans, but I gasped and pushed him away.

"No!" I cried.

"Why? What's wrong? I love you!"

I explained how I had been raised with the Catholic belief of no sex before marriage. He laughed. "Oh come on, that's for prudes and homos! You're not either, are you?"

"No, but I just can't!" I explained.

"When I said you're the one, I meant I'm ready to marry you," he said, nevermind the fact that I was only nineteen. Warning bells should have been going off in my head, but I didn't have any experience or self-respect. It all seemed so very romantic to me.

With a few more months of professions of love and insisting that I was the girl he'd marry, I gave in and had sex with him. Being Catholic, I took it on my back, we didn't use birth control, and naturally, I ended up pregnant a few months later.

In emotional turmoil, I turned to my priest. He insisted that Charles and I get married right away.

Charles and I did get married, not that he wanted to get married so quickly. He resented me for it. It meant that he had to give up his RA job, losing his free ride to school. He took on student loans, a job and we moved into family housing. It wasn't long until he slapped me for talking back to him one night after work. It escalated and got worse and worse until I lost the baby.

I berated myself for being such a terrible wife. Charles went into a deep depression and couldn't stop apologizing to me for it. I went back to my priest to confess to him.

"You chose your lot in life, child," he said. "You're married to Charles. Make the best of it." Never did he tell me that Charles had broken our marriage vows when he hit me. Never did he tell me that I was to get away from him. He gave me absolution, a pennance and told me to go and sin no more.

Charles did graduate and got a job in the private sector and we found ourselves pregnant again. Charles insisted that we buy a house and that I not work, but stay home with the baby. The most we could afford was a townhouse in Snohomish. The days were long and lonely while I was pregnant. Charles dismissed all my friends around the neighborhood until I was alone.

The night I gave birth to Emmett, I had to have an emergency C-section. He was an enormous baby, I don't think I would have enjoyed having my lady parts stretched out like that had I given birth naturally. He was ten pounds, two ounces. I was hardly able to carry him in the first three months.

Everything was Charles' way, though. And I didn't know anything, so I believed everything Charles told me. He told me breast feeding could keep me from getting pregnant. So, I breast fed. And, four months after I had healed enough to have sex again, I discovered that I was pregnant for the third time.

"It's alright. I always wanted a big family," Charles said.

Pregnancy hormones made me a mess. Maybe I was going through postpartum depression, too, but it wasn't long before we started clashing again. While I was in my fourth month, Charles and I were arguing so hard, he slapped me and I was knocked down the stairs. I only fell down to the 1st landing, but it was enough of a throwback to my first pregnancy. I didn't cry in the ER when Charles took me to make sure I was okay. When the doctor asked me what happened, it just came out of my mouth.

"He shoved me."

"I'd never hurt my wife!" he cried. I couldn't take my eyes off the biohazard needle box.

"It hurts when you hit me," I said, no emotion in my voice. I knew what was going to happen.

Security was called and he was arrested and the police took a statement from me. I called a lawyer the next morning and got a restraining order.

I didn't go out of the house until I needed groceries and then, my card was rejected for not having enough money. I had to apply for food stamps. And then for welfare because no one would hire a pregnant woman.

I took Emmett out in his stroller to enjoy the air and to reaquaint myself with my friends Charles hadn't allowed me to be around.

One afternoon as I was wheeling Emmett home I saw the real estate agent who was trying to sell the town home next to ours with a couple. The woman was pregnant. They were a young couple, too.

I didn't think much of it until I saw the real estate agent put a SOLD sign out front.

Going through a divorce while pregnant is doubly hard, but it was also good for sympathy. I got more alimony than I expected and I kept the house. He got supervised visits with Emmett and our unborn child once a week, which he never kept after the first three.

Being able to make up my mind about things was a foreign concept to me. The first thing I did was repaint the nursery. I liked painting so much, I decided to keep on painting the rest of my house to expel the vomitirious blank beige walls that Charles had made me live with for so long. I took pictures of Emmett when he got into the paint and laughed when it got into his little black curls, which I had to cut out.

While I finished the last room in the house, I heard a car fire up, the engine revved violently. I heard a loud crash. I ran outside to make sure no one had been hurt and I saw my new neighbor's SUV slammed into the garage door. The husband was standing outside, face in hand, and she was standing outside the car, sobbing loudly, rubbing her belly.

"...Why can't you understand, I'm trying so hard!" she was screaming.

"Liz, please, come in the house," he said, dejectedly.

The entire neighborhood was watching by now. "No!" she screamed. "I'll live on the streets if I have to!" He went over to her, but she flung his arm away. "It wouldn't matter to you if I were to leave-"

"Yes, it would. Just come in the house to deal with this," he said. "Liz, please."

He was begging her to come inside after she had wrecked the car. "You don't care!" she sobbed. She smacked him across the face and I jumped a mile. "You don't care, Carlisle! You're never home!"

I ran inside and called the police.

The police did arrive, but so did an ambulance. I watched through the front bedroom window as Liz was escorted into the ambulance by her husband. He got in with her. Half the neighborhood was standing on their front porches, watching. I watched as her husband got out and I saw it. He had been beaten up so badly by his wife that his face was bloody.

I had never seen an abusive relationship where the man was the victim instead of the woman. I was sickly fascinated.

The next day, repairmen came in and replaced the mangled garage door. After a week, I saw the husband, Carlisle, come home, dressed in scrubs. He was alone. Pizza delivery men came to the door and then occasionally Chinese and then Thai.

For several more days, he was alone when he left and came back. I wanted to do something nice for him, but I didn't know what without feeling like I was being nosy. Finally, I made a plate of dinner and Emmett and I left it on his front porch shortly after he arrived home. I ran back to my house, hoping he wouldn't see us through his front window.

I continued for a few more days until there was a knock on my door one night after I put Emmett down. Since I had walked with Heather down the street that day, I thought it was her. I opened the door and saw my neighbor with the plates in hand. He was much more attractive now, without blood on his face and was still wearing his scrubs.

"Hi," he said. "I wanted to thank you for the food and return these."

"You're welcome," I said, feeling a blush creeping into my face. I rubbed my pregnant belly. "How did you know it was me?"

"I saw you and your son leave this a few nights ago," he said. I knew he was struggling for conversation. "You're a good cook. Uh, how far along are you?" he asked.

"I'm not pregnant," I said.

He looked horrified. "I-"

"I'm just kidding. Eight months. My name is Esme Platt. Would you like to come in for a drink?"

"Would your husband mind?"

"I'm divorced. But, come in anyway. I didn't catch your name?"

"Carlisle Cullen. It's nice to meet you."

He came inside and I offered him a drink. "I don't do well with groceries or cooking," he admitted. "I was ready to starve instead of eat take-out any more. Or cafeteria food. Thank you."

"No problem," I said. "I can make some decaff coffee, I've got water, Sprite, orange juice, I can make some tea-" I spotted something I hadn't seen in a while. I had turned twenty-one while breast-feeding and Charles had restricted my drinking. I had yet to have a legal drink. Yet, I had a bottle of wine in the fridge that had been unopened up until now. "I've got wine."

"Wine would be nice," he said.

I looked at the glasses in my cabinet. I did not have any wine glasses to speak of. I picked up one of the small tumblers. I didn't know how to open a bottle of wine, either.

I fumbled with the wine opener.

"Do you know how that works?" Carlisle asked.

"No, not really," I admitted.

"May I?"

I handed the wine and the opener to him. He showed me how to uncork a bottle of wine.

"So," he said. "Are you having a boy or a girl?"

I had never thought about finding out the sex of the baby ahead of time. "Um, I don't know," I said, instinctively running my hand over my bloated baby bump. Charles hadn't let me find out. But now... This was my body, this was my child, I was no longer Charles' prisoner. "Do you know what you're having?"

"A boy," he said.

"How's your wife?"

"She served me," he said.

Served me... "You're getting divorced?" I asked.

"Yes. I'm hoping to get custody of the baby."

"She's not well is she?"

"No, she's not." I was surprised he was telling me this so quickly. We hardly knew each other. "Her family thinks it's best for her to get divorced and to give the child up to me."

I nodded and noticed his shoulders relaxing. He had been carrying this information for so long. "We all have our secrets," I said.

"Thank you, Esme," he said.

The next day, Emmett and I left dinner on the front porch for Carlisle Cullen. I went home and gave little Emmett a bath and put him to bed after giving him a bottle. After he was in bed, the doorbell rang and Carlisle was there with a washed plate.

"Thank you, Esme," he said. "You're too kind. I'm going to invite you and Emmett over to dinner sometime. Maybe day after tomorrow?"

"Thanks," I said. "It would be a nice break from the monotony."

He handed me the plate. "I'll see you then."

I didn't see his car for a few more days. But on the day he said he wanted to make dinner for Emmett and I, he arrived home.

He knocked on the door at six. "I've made the only meal I know how to make," he said.

"I'm up for anything," I said, picking up Emmett's diaper bag. If he served me ramen noodles and bluebox mac and cheese, I'd be fine with it.

At his house, everything was still in boxes. He had set up a high chair for Emmett that would, inevitably be used for his own baby when the time came.

"What would you like to drink?" he asked. "I've got some wine, some tea, bottled water, cranberry juice?"

"Um, tea?"

He disappeared into the kitchen. I laid out a blanket and set Emmett down, getting out a few toys. The set-up of Carlisle's house was different than my own. It seemed a lot smaller than my own.

"So, you were gone for a few days," I said. "Where were you?"

"Residency training."

"Residency? As in physician?"

"Surgical, yes."

"Down at the Baptist hospital?"

"The University Hospital, yes."

He came in with my tea. "I'm not really sure of how to raise a child," he said. "You seem to be doing alright here."

"Well, experience is the best teacher. And your wife... um, ex-wife-"

"Ex-wife, yes... I'm suing her for full custody when the baby's born."

If I hadn't seen him with a bloodied face and that incident when she wrecked the car into the garage door, I might have thought him selfish and bitter. But I knew that it was the best option. Anybody who'd leave a baby with a woman that hyped up during a pregnancy was a terrible parent. "Well... just call me if you have any questions... By the way, what are you going to do about work?"

"I can get some time off for a month or so, but after that, I'm going to have hire a nanny," he said. "When are you due?"

"July 14th. If all goes well. I decided to have an EVAP, even though my doctors tried to get me to have another C-section. Hopefully, this one won't be as big as Emmett."

"How big was Emmett?"

"Ten pounds two ounces."

"Jesus Christ! No wonder you had a C-Section with him!" he cried. "I think they've delivered heavier babies in L and D. Where are you having it?"

"At Baptist," I said.

"Not St. Thomas?"

I shook my head.

I demonstrated proper feeding techniques for a baby with baby food, since Emmett was able to sit up. "You'll probably have your baby on formula until he's able to start on baby food. I know a lot of pediatricians think this is crap, but I kept all dairy and peanut products out of the house. Emmett's not getting any gluten until he's over twenty-four months, either, that's my plan. But, I don't know what they're going to feed him in day care."

"You're going to work?"

I nodded. "I need to set a good example for Emmett. And baby number two."

"Did you ever decide to find out what sex the baby is?"

I shrugged. "No. But, I think I want to, now. When is your baby due?"

"Two weeks. I already know it's a boy. And while it's somewhat comforting to know, I'm still scared out of my mind at being a parent."

"You'll get the hang of it," I promised.

After a microwave frozen dinner, I gave Emmett a bottle, he fell asleep. "Well, I think I needed a night out. Thank you."

"Good night," he said, walking me home.

I laid Emmett down and went to bed myself.

For the next few weeks I took food by Carlisle's for dinner and he'd invite us over in turn the next night.

When I asked, he revealed that his wife, who seemed so normal when they met and married, but then, a darker side of her came out. She had bouts of depression. Then, she was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder after they were married when she started throwing things at him, breaking his hand fourth year of medical school. He hardly passed with his hand being in a cast. She got pregnant by manipulating her medications. And once she was pregnant, she couldn't take her meds anymore, making her more unstable. He did everything he could to help her, did everything to please her (like buying her a house) but nothing made her happy. Her family said that her problems were Carlisle's fault. She had beaten him up before, but he hadn't had the heart to lift his hand back to her. It was horrific and embarrassing to him- a woman beating him up. He took her to the hospital, and then, she called her parents, who arranged a lawyer for her, and she got a divorce lawyer. He knew the divorce would be difficult without humiliating her.

When I went to the ultrasound, Carlisle came running over on his lunch break to see with me. "There," she technician said. "A female."

"You're having a girl," Carlisle said.

"She's pretty small," the doctor said. She checked the heartbeat. "Everything sounds good so far. Maybe she'll just be a little petite thing."

"Oh, her brother was huge. Ten pounds at birth. He's a year now, and almost twenty-four pounds," I said.

"Well, this could be a huge argument for sexual dimorphism. Or just genetics. Did you have some tiny people in your family?" the doctor asked.

"I have two aunts who were really tiny," I said. "I didn't inherit it."

"Maybe it was recessive genes," she said. "She looks just fine, just really tiny. She'll be a gymnast or something."

I nodded.

After the appointment, I thanked Carlisle for coming with me. "I'm so glad I got to share this moment with someone," I said as he helped me into my car. "I like knowing."

"Me too. Promise you'll help me when Edward is born?"

"You named him already?" I asked.

"Yes. He's being named after my father."

"I guess I need to come up with a good name for my daughter, now."

"Discuss it over dinner?"

"Of course."

That night, I never saw Carlisle's car come into the driveway after his 24-hour shift was over.

I called his hospital and they told me that his ex-wife was going into labor and he had gone to be with her.

A few days later, Carlisle came home. I came out to greet him and he showed me a tiny baby boy sleeping in a carseat. "He's beautiful, isn't he?" he asked. I could see the worry and fear all over his face.

"Just calm down. Babies cry. Just remember, he wants a bottle, he needs to burp, check the diaper, he's cold, or he's sick," I said. "The rest of the time, it's just because he's bored or wants your attention." I had repeated this mantra several times for him in the past two weeks whenever he freaked out about handling his baby. "That was Emmett. There was only three times that it wasn't that, so far."

"Like what?"

"When he started teething," I said. "But that's a ways off. Don't worry about that just yet."

I helped him get Edward inside and situated in his new crib I had assisted him with setting up. Of all the rooms with boxes in them in his house, the one that was unpacked was the nursery. He had painted it green after seeing my cobalt blue nursery for Emmett and my new baby.

"Get some rest," I advised him. "He'll want to eat every three hours or so."

"I'm a master at sleep deprivation," he said, standing up. I almost laughed aloud.

He called me about an hour and a half later while I was picking up Emmett's toys. Edward had had the bottle, was burped, his diaper was dry, was in a long-sleeve onesie with long pants and feet, but was still crying. "Try burping him again," I said.

"I already did!"

"Try once more," I said. "You might not have gotten all the gas."

He kept me on the phone while he tried to burp Edward again and the baby spit up on him. "That was nice," he muttered. "Ugh... it stinks."

"Is he crying?" I asked.

"Not anymore."

"See?"

I had the feeling Carlisle thought that because he was a doctor he'd know these kinds of things, but only parenthood could prepare him.

Our lives continued like this until the night I had put Emmett down when I suddenly got a sharp cramp down my middle and stomach. I held my breath and told myself to calm down. I had had contractions before, mid-pregnancy, Braxton-Hicks contractions that scared me to death. I wasn't sure if this was it. My gynecologist told me to count them. In my case, if there were 4 or more contractions in an hour, I needed to go to the hospital.

I sat down on the couch and tried to plan out the last of my food list for the grocery store. I needed to get some baby food for Emmett. I had been losing weight lately because, to be honest, I didn't have much of an appetite, I couldn't keep much food down and I was almost out of food stamp money. The way the state did it was they gave me a pre-loaded debit card and reloaded it every month. There was one-hundred dollars per household occupant, but they didn't give me any extra because I was pregnant.

Carlisle had been calling me a lot lately because Edward wouldn't take his bottle. He was worried that Edward had a digestion issue. He was going to bring it up with his pediatrician at his two week check-up. At first I had brushed it off, but then I witnessed him trying to give Edward a bottle after the five point check list and Edward literally pushing it away, screaming. I took Edward and tried to give him the bottle, and he bawled, repeating his actions. We took his temperature, checked for bug bites and rashes or anything else that could be causing this. We tried to get Edward to burp, and he spit up something that didn't smell like formula but foul. We bathed him and dressed him in a onesie, and he still screamed and cried. He wasn't running a fever. Edward's pediatrician said it wasn't a big deal. He was just adjusting to his new environment and couldn't sense his mother.

As I sorted through my motherhood books and website to see if I could find anything. I personally didn't think that pediatricians were always right. How could they know your baby better than you?

I suddenly felt another contraction. I checked the clock, and Emmett had only been down for seven minutes.

This was not good.

I just needed to stay calm. The more upset I got, the worse the contractions were going to be and the more frequent they'd become.

I went to the bedroom to lay down for a few minutes.

This baby wasn't coming for another few weeks. I was certain. I wasn't going to let it.

Emmett started crying, I could hear him on the baby monitor. I got up and found Emmett in the crib, covered in poop.

He had recently started reaching into the back of his diaper and smearing it all over himself. I groaned, irritated. I was suddenly struck with a contraction and almost dropped him, but remember to clutch him to me. I stripped off his pajamas and put him in the bathtub, taking off my own soiled clothes. "Okay, Emmers," I said. "I'll be ready in just a moment."

I ran the tub faucet and Emmett's tears subsided when the water warmed up. Despite the contractions. I managed to lean over the tub and give him a bath. When it came time to pull the plug and take him out, I felt the contraction again and I couldn't even pick him up. And then, the phone rang. "Just a moment, Em," I said. "Sit tight, Mommy's coming!"

Emmett looked at me.

I tried to pick him up, but the contraction left me so weak. The phone rang, again in the other room.

"Shit," I muttered.

I was too weak to get my own child out of a bathtub.

"I'm sorry," I apologized to the little face with chubby cheeks and giant blue eyes.

"Esme!?" I heard my front door opening. I had given Carlisle and extra key to hold for my house. He had come in. I was sitting on the bathroom floor in my underwear, pregnant and most likely in labor. But, I couldn't move my child or even stand up.

"Up here," I said, although my voice was now much weaker than I imagined.

He came up the stairs and busted in the bathroom. "Esme?"

"I think I'm in labor," I hissed, clutching my stomach as another contraction came on.

"And you decided to give your son a bath?"

"He smeared shit everywhere," I explained.

He helped me up, finally. "I'll get Emmett. Who was going to take you to the hospital?"

"Heather. Is she home?"

"I'll check. Let's get you dressed," he picked up a bathrobe. "Has your water broken?"

"No," I said, accepting the robe.

He called Heather from the number off my refrigerator.

"Not home."

"Try her cell."

He called her cell. He finally got her. I waited as patiently as I could while he talked to her. "She's got her nephew over for the night."

I groaned.

"I'll take you the hospital."

"What about Emmett and Edward?"

"Heather's going to have to help out watching them," he said. "We don't have any other options. I'll be back in a few minutes." He picked up Emmett's diaper bag and went off outside. I waited for Carlisle to come back while I had two contractions a few minutes apart.

He came back after about fifteen minutes.

"Where's your bag?" he asked.

"It's in the trunk of my car."

He retrieved it and we went into town to the hospital while I called my gynecologist.

Once I was taken to the labor room, I tried to relax and hope that Emmett and Edward were alright with Heather. Of course they were.

My contractions started to feel like the worst menstrual cramps I had ever had. They gave me an epidural and that assisted with the pain. I wished I had gone with the C-section this time in the heat of the moment. But I knew it was better overall for the baby to have an EVAP delivery.

Carlisle came back to my room. "Here," he said giving me a cup of ice chips.

"Thank you," I said. "Has Heather gotten her sister to pick her nephew up?"

"No," he said. "Look, I just did this a few weeks ago. Women do this all over the world every day, too. We've got great medical help here in the United States, we're going to be just fine."

It felt like he was trying to calm himself. I was the one who had done this before.

The nurse checked me several times through the night, checked the monitor. I had discovered with my first pregnancy that the moment I went into labor with Emmett, my body was no longer my own. They checked my cervix. When they wanted to turn me over, I couldn't do it on my own, lest I have a horrible contraction. Carlisle assisted with turning me. They wheeled in the table and assisted me with getting my legs into the stirrups. After breaking my water, the gynecologist said I was ready. "Alright, Ms. Evenson, we're going to have you start pushing, now."

Carlisle took my hand. He was a doctor, for God's sake. He had done this for women in a round in medical school, had been there for the delivery of his son with his ex-wife only a short time ago, but he was scared. All modesty went out the window when the doctor lifted the sheet and turned up the light. My crotch was completely exposed, now.

"Take a deep breath and push down into your rear end," the nurse coached me.

I pushed down as instructed. The pain of the baby's head- I could handle this. They coached me to push again. I kept on pushing and then, I felt something tearing. I screamed.

"It's crowning!" Carlisle shouted. "Come on, just a little more!"

"Push, Ms. Evenson," my gynecologist said.

I pushed harder and felt the girl coming out. They wrenched her out.

"Oh God," I mumbled.

"It's definitely a girl, Esme," Carlisle said. They cleared up the mucous on her eyes, mouth, nose and ears. "She's beautiful!"

She began crying.

"She's a little early, but she's fine," the pediatrician said. "Would you like to cut the cord Mister... um..."

"Is that alright with you, Esme?" Carlisle asked.

"Yeah," I said. "Please do."

He cut the cord and they handed my new daughter to me. She stopped screaming the moment she came into my ams.

At that moment, I didn't care that I had my legs open and my crotch completely exposed to the world. I saw a beautiful little face with blue eyes and the same dark newborn hair as her brother. With Emmett, I hadn't been able to hold him until the anesthesia wore off. Charles had held him and had held him down to my eye level so I could see him. This was different. There were little bubbles coming out of her mouth and she gurgled slightly. I had forgotten how little a baby could be. I felt her little hand and counted each finger, and then the other. Ten perfect little fingers. I counted her toes the same way, squeezing each one. Ten perfect little toes. All my debt, all my woes, all my troubles seemed to evaporate.

After my placenta came out, they took the baby and put her in a crib with a warming light and put a diaper on her. I was left to rest.

"This was a much easier birth than Edward's," Carlisle said, standing by the crib, playing with the baby's little hand. She twitched slightly.

"It was very different from Emmett's," I said. I glanced out the window- the early streams of morning light were shining out over the horizon. "Thank you for staying."

"No problem. This isn't something you can do on your own," he said. There was an awkward pause between us. "So, what are you going to name her?"

"Well, since she was so tiny in the womb and everybody was talking about how petite she was, I'm going to name her after one of my great-aunts who was really petite and always early and would complain that we were late," I said. "Mary Alice. I called my aunt Mary, so I'm going to call my baby Alice."

"She's going to be a looker," he said. "I can already see it."

They moved me to a recovery room where they assisted me with getting her to latch on. She didn't at first, but that afternoon, she finally did. Carlisle called Heather to see if everything was going okay. She said no, it wasn't. Edward had been up all night and nothing had calmed him down. Carlisle had to go home to get Edward and Emmett and find a new baby-sitter. I took a few minutes to sleep while Alice was out.

As I laid down, I was reminded of all the best things about when Emmett was a newborn that I hadn't really gotten to enjoy. I'd get a chance to enjoy them with Alice, now. She woke up hungry at about ten, and I had to nurse her again. They had given her a bath a few hours after her birth before we left the L&D room. I was still having the colostrum milk and she had had a meconium stool. The L&D nurses looked at her and stated we were doing well.

Carlisle came back to the hospital to see me. "Found a new baby-sitter," he said. "I can't believe we've got three non-walking babies between the three of us."

"Emmett will be up and walking, soon," I said. "He's already pulling up on things."

"It's been done before," he said. "By lots of couples."

The released me early since Alice and I were doing so well. Charles didn't even come by to visit although I had called him. I supposed that was because I wasn't his wife any more, he wasn't interested in being the new baby's father.

Carlisle took me to Starbucks for a decaff coffee and then we brought Alice home. He picked up Emmett and Edward and brought them by.

Edward was miserable, as usual. I wondered why. He started crying- he was inconsolable. Once he started crying, all the other babies started crying. I wondered how Carlisle got through it all.

"I really think he's having digestive problems. He hasn't eaten much in the past two days," Carlisle said.

"He probably missed you," I said, swaddling Alice and putting her in Emmett's old baby swing. I turned it on, but Alice wailed. I had an idea, suddenly. What baby Edward was looking for and wasn't getting. I undid my nursing bra and slipping my breast down to Edward's level. He didn't quit get it.

"Esme, don't-"

"No, let's try this," I said. "He's not eating, this is a bad thing. Come on, sweetheart." The baby rejected my breast, just like he had when we offered him bottles. For a moment, I thought that my idea had been stupid. And then, he took to it perfectly. He began to suck. "This is what he's wanted, all this time. His body doesn't like the formula. That's what it is, listening to the baby, they tell us things, see?"

Within a few minutes, Edward had calmed down and needed to burp. I gently patted his little back and a loud burp came out. I switched breasts. All was peaceful for a few minutes.

"Is this real?" Carlisle asked. "My son is calm and fed? I thought he'd be one of those anorexic babies." His head dipped down and I could have sworn he was crying. "I thought I was the worst parent in the world. Or that Liz had done too many prescriptions while pregnant with him."

"No, How awful. He wanted breast milk and didn't have a breast to get it from," I said. "You poor thing. Look, I'll share my breast milk with Edward. If I can just nurse him enough on a regular basis, I think we'll have enough milk between Alice and Edward."

"I thought I could do this all by myself," he said. "Maybe it was foolish to separate from Liz so easily-"

"No, I saw you that night," I said, "when she wrecked the garage door. She'd have hurt Edward eventually. You made the right choice. It's just fate that you moved in next door to me. Maybe Edward should sleep over here tonight in the nursery." His face fell. "I've got a guest bedroom." The little guy was asleep in my arms. He was sleeping so soundly, now. "He can sleep in Alice's crib. Alice can sleep in the bed with me. It'll all work out."

"Alright."

This was the way we lived for a few weeks. I breast fed his son and my daughter on a schedule. I figured out that I was always constantly nursing and never getting anything done when I tried to nurse them separately. I figured that I had to nurse them together. I had to treat them like twins, almost.

I finally just took off my bra and shirt and sat on the floor with my legs crossed, leaned forward, my knees lifted up. I put Alice on one leg and Edward on the other. They started nursing and most of the time, I'd have a book to read. Edward's digestion problems subsided and he started gaining weight and having healthy BMs when I changed his diapers. Who knows how long this "illness" would have gone on while Carlisle would have taken him to doctor to doctor who probably wouldn't have known something so simple for the solution.

On Carlisle's last night off from his residency, we were burping the kids after I had buttoned up my shirt when Carlisle said, "You know, I haven't interviewed any nannies, yet."

"What?" I cried. "Carlisle, you're going back to work tomorrow!"

"Esme, I was thinking... since you're so good with Edward, our wetnursing situation... why don't you be Edward's nanny? You're looking for a job. I'm looking to pay someone who will act like a mother while I'm out for Edward," he said. He laid Edward across his chest. The baby was sleeping soundly.

"I don't know," I said. "I need regular work."

"It will be regular work," he said. "Look, I know it will go on for twenty-four hours a time with my shifts. And for you to give us breast milk for twenty-four hours and then some... I feel like maybe Edward and Alice are going to get attached to each other. And you're worried about what your kids will get exposed to if they're sent to day cares. So, why not stay home and take care of them?"

I looked at Edward, his little mouth open and snoring slightly on his father's chest. With two more kids, what was one more? I liked being a mother. So far, there wasn't a better job out there. I had to be practical, though. "How's that going to work out? Paychecks and taxes and food stamps?" I asked.

"Since when were you on food stamps?" he said loudly. Edward stirred.

"Since my husband left," I said.

"Esme, you left plates of food at my door for weeks! I had no idea you were hard-up for money!"

"Of course, couldn't you tell?" I asked. I had explained to him how I was going to have to apply for jobs once Alice was old enough for day care.

"I would have proposed this sooner if I had known," he muttered. "Esme, you were feeding me out of your food stamp money!"

"I know," I said. "I was trying to be charitable."

"If you knew anything about me, you'd understand I don't need charity," he said. "Esme, look... I'll pay you eighty dollars for every eight hours you watch Edward."

I thought about it. For every twenty-four hours he worked? That would be over seven hundred dollars a week if he worked three shifts a week. Over twenty-five hundred a month, at least. I'd be able to get off welfare and food stamps and have some pride about me for once. But still, I felt like I was jumping into it. Every bad thing that had ever happened to me happened because I had jumped into things without thinking them through. I felt the need to proceed with caution. "I'll watch him just this week," I said. "And I'll think about it."

"Great," he said. "Thank you, Esme."

As I slept in the bed with tiny little Alice in my arms, I promised myself I'd think all my choices that changed my life through. But, before I could think really thoroughly, I fell asleep.

Edward woke up and needed nursing, so I nursed both him and Alice around two. I read a few chapters of my book while they nursed, since my head wasn't so clear.

I let the kids wake me up in the morning. When I did, Carlisle was gone. He had left very early, I guessed.

I managed to figure out a way to feed Emmett while propping Edward and Alice up to my breasts, so everyone was eating but me. Ugh. Babies. They were selfish creatures. Good thing they were so cute.

After I had a morning diaper change for Emmett, we went for a walk so we could get some fresh air. I was able to squeeze Edward and Alice into one stroller seat in the double jog stroller while they napped and Emmett very happily took the front seat. He was usually a big flirt and waved, grinned his dimples and batted his eyelashes at people in our path.

As for my former walking partners, Heather wasn't incredibly fond of me after trying to watch Edward while Alice was being born. I tried to explain to her that he had completely changed from a breast milk diet, but she wasn't having it. A lot of people in this neighborhood kept their distance from me. I think a lot of it had to do with that I had been so weird while married to Charles, and once I divorced him, then I seemed to quickly hook up with Carlisle, who wasn't finished divorcing his crazy wife who had beaten him up and destroyed the garage door for the whole neighborhood to see. The gossip mongers in the neighborhood drank it in and twisted it. They didn't understand that Edward needed me to be his wetnurse. It was too difficult to explain that this was the reason he was staying at my house instead of his own. I was certain the whole neighborhood watched my house with binoculars and took note of when Carlisle went in and came out.

I went home and did a massive diaper change operation and started mid-morning snack before I realized I hadn't eaten yet this morning. After I got everyone fed, changed and in the crib, I made brunch for myself.

My day consisted mostly of playing with Emmett, feeding and diapering all three of them.

I wanted to go out, but I was sort of stuck. While I had Edward's carseat, my little sedan couldn't seat three carseats in the back. As heavy as Emmett was, I couldn't justify putting his carseat in the front seat.

It was sort of lonely without Carlisle to talk to in the house after the kids were put down to sleep. I caught up on cleaning and making a meals for myself that could be microwaved. In the middle of the night, I went up to get Alice and Edward, who needed nursing.

I woke myself up early and took a shower before the kids woke up. I took the kids downstairs in rounds. Emmett had to be in his playpen so he didn't get too aggressive with the newborns. I fed him from the table-top high chair while I nursed Alice and Edward. Around the time I finished, Carlisle walked in the door.

"Hi, everyone!"

"Look, it's Daddy!" I prompted, picking him up. I handed him over to Carlisle. "How was your shift?"

"It went well," he said. "How was Edward?"

"Eh, he was a baby," I said. "It went over well. We took a long walk yesterday. The sunshine was good for us all."

"I'm pretty worn out," he said. "I'm going to go home and crash for a few hours. Do you mind watching Edward for a little while longer?"

"No, that's fine," I said.

Carlisle only slept about five hours before coming back, his hair wet from a recent shower. We took the kids on an afternoon walk, meeting a few other people in the neighborhood. We were mistaken for a couple, obviously. I didn't mind it, though, once we corrected them.

"I couldn't leave the house," I admitted as we headed back home. "There's no way when I can't fit all three carseats in the back of my car."

"I tell you what," Carlisle said. "Why don't we trade cars while I'm at work, then? My SUV can handle three carseats easily."

When we got home, he showed me the bucket seats and then bench seat in the back that could be adjusted and moved. "You can take them out, as long as Emmett doesn't start running, soon."

"Well, that might burn off his chub. But, I'll miss his chub," I moaned, picking up Emmett, kissing his little fat rolls on his thighs.

That night while I was nursing Alice and Edward, Emmett did his usual pulling up off the couch.

"You better watch out, he'll be walking, soon," Carlisle said. "Just like he talks all the time."

"He doesn't talk!" I cried. He jabbered and gurgled, but he wasn't talking.

"Yes he does. He says 'amamamamama.'"

"That's gibberish," I argued.

"No, it's not, he's saying 'Mama.' He says it all the time. At least around me."

"Amamamamama,'" Emmett said for effect. He gave me one of those dimpled grins, displaying the two little knots on his gums where his front teeth were threatening to come out. I needed to give him another dose of baby Tylenol soon or he'd be screaming in a few minutes.

"See?" Carlisle said.

"Amamamamamama," Emmett continued. And then, he let go of the couch and ran across the room to Carlisle in the armchair.

I cried out and Alice and Edward stopped nursing, curious as to what was going on. "Emmett!" I cried.

Carlisle scooped him up. "Good boy!" he cried, laughing. "He didn't walk, he ran! See? Say 'Dadadadadadadada.'"

Emmett just looked at him strangely.

My little boy wasn't a baby any more. He was a full-on toddler. I was a little upset over that. I couldn't hold him anymore. He could get around without my help, now.

As Emmett got better and better at walking, I had to keep him from being aggressive with the babies. I found a mother's day out program once a week at the local Catholic Church and left the kids there once a week so I could have a few hours off myself. I checked a mother's message board daily to ask about feeding twins. I eventually explained that I was wetnursing for a male friend who had recently become a father and was a single parent. There was a lot of 'You don't hear of that too often any more' in response, but the largest response I got was to start using a breast pump for Edward.

Carlisle surprised me on my birthday with a hospital-grade breast pump. Once I figured it out, I found a way to freeze air-tight packages of milk so Carlisle could take Edward away more often and he wouldn't have to stay with me so much. He wanted to take Edward to see his parents in Sacramento. They had briefly met the baby in the hospital. I wondered if he ever explained our situation to his parents. I hardly ever heard of wet nurses anymore.

To my surprise, I got an email one day that asked me for an interview about wetnursing. The Seattle Times wanted to interview me for a story on wetnursing.

Carlisle and I decided we'd do the interview.

A few days later, a fat, portly woman came by to ask questions on Carlisle's day off. They took conservative photos of me with my shirt unbuttoned, nursing, while watching my babies as I nursed them with Carlisle on the floor playing with Emmett. I spoke about how parents of twins had given me great advice. When asked if there was anything romantic between Carlisle and I, we both denied it vehemently, claiming to be just friends and neighbors. Carlisle went on to say that it was only natural that people mistook us for a family. I showed her my stash of breast milk in my freezer that I often gave to Carlisle so he could take Edward places like the pediatrician's office and home.

Ten days later, in the Sunday paper, I saw an article in the Family Section with a picture of me in the nursing position, looking down at the kids. I had hoped there'd be a happier expression on my face, but no. Carlisle was tossing Emmett in the air in the background. The caption said, "Surprisingly, this is not the picture of a happy family, it is the picture of a wetnurse with her daughter and her charge. Wetnursing is making a comeback."

I read the story. She had written a story about how wetnursing hadn't completely died over the years- it was on the rise with Gay, Lesbian and transgendered couples adopting, wanting to give their children the best options possible. And then the women who had breast augmentation like implants and breast reductions not being able to produce milk for their babies, but wanting that for them. Carlisle and I were only a short couple of paragraphs as an example of me doing a "neighborly duty" because Carlisle's ex-wife had left him with a baby and Edward needed breast milk because his body was rejecting formula. And that was it. There were no explanations that Carlisle and I weren't romantically involved except for the picture of us and the caption. Great. The neighbors would be practically snickering behind their hands as we walked down the street, now.

"Well, that's the media for you," Carlisle muttered, reading it.

It took me a while to get over being mad at the newspaper. We calmed down over time when I ordered baby costumes for Halloween for Alice and Emmett online. By now, Edward was rolling over and sitting up and Alice couldn't allow him to beat her at anything. She insisted on rolling over and was working on sitting up, but couldn't quite get it. I dressed her as a little blooming flower and Emmett as a bag of Wonderbread.

Carlisle came over on Halloween with Edward dressed as a Jedi and he was Obi Wan Kenobi. "You're killing me," I said. "Obi Wan?"

"I gotta raise my boy right," he said, shrugging. "How dare you call me out when you dress your son like Wonderbread? Where's your costume?"

I hadn't worn a costume in years. "You're kidding, right?" I asked. We watched TV while I fed the babies and Carlisle answered the Trick-or-Treaters. Emmett made a few fans with his Wonderbread costume.

We took the kids out to the neighbor's houses just to make nice, but after we got to show off their costumes. We were pretty much shoved out the door.

"I've got the feeling nobody wants us in their house," I said.

"Neighbors are temporary," Carlisle said. "There's going to be a day when you can move away from here and start fresh with your family."

"What about you?"

"My residency is going to be over soon," he said. "I'll have to move on when I get my internship in cardiology."

"To sell this house?"

"For some reason, I feel like this is more a temporary dwelling than anything. Your house is more the one we live in. I sometimes feel like your raising him, sometimes," he said.

"No, I'm not!" I cried. "I'm... just doing a job."

"Is that what you think Edward and I are? A job?"

"No! I didn't mean..." I hadn't through about what I was saying. "Do you ever think of how much I'm bonding with Edward and how you're going to take him away one day? And I'm not going to have any say in it?"

We didn't say anything for a few minutes. It was the truth- I was acting as Edward's mother, but there was no way I'd be able to ween Edward and not mourn that I was losing him. He was turning out to be an opinionated baby, I knew his personality as well as Carlisle, if not better. Edward would grunt in dissatisfaction if I was playing or speaking or singing to him and suddenly stopped to answer the phone or what not. I'd nibble on his toes and fingers and tummy to make him smile after changing him. Alice was a clown- she laughed whenever she heard me laughing, even if I was laughing along with the TV or something Carlisle said, as if she got the joke. The only times she wasn't giggling and smiling for everyone was when she was tired, hungry or had a fever.

I loved the three children so much. My babies, although Emmett definitely wasn't a baby. Carlisle and Edward spent a lot of time with us, anyway.

It was about two weeks before Thanksgiving when I took the kids out to the park to enjoy the weather. The women there didn't know me at all and didn't know that Carlisle and Edward pretty much lived with me. It was adult interaction that was nice. There was one lady who had a beautiful little girl. Her name was Gina and the toddler was Georgia who played with Emmett on the playground. We were sitting together, cuddling with Edward and Alice, when she said, "Evan and I are talking about getting married."

"That's great!" I cried. She was a single mother and had met a boyfriend in the past two months. "Isn't that really soon, though?" I asked, thinking of Charles.

"Oh no, he wants to be a father," she said. "Actually, Esme, I haven't told you this, but he actually is a father."

"Really?" I asked.

"He had this crazy harpy of an ex-wife who demanded his kids and lied in court, and got them," she said. "He pays, like, an insane amount of money in alimony and child support. She was having an affair with the doctor next door though, and he's wondering if his daughter was even his."

I felt a chill run down my spine. Evan. Charles was called Evan in high school.

"But, picture it, I'll be Mrs. Charles Evenson."

Why hadn't I seen this?

"Gina, I gotta go," I said, putting Edward in the stroller. I picked up Alice. "I forgot about something. I'll see you later."

I grabbed Emmett, who screamed and cried and kicked as I put him in the stroller and ran for the car.

I had an anxiety attack in the car.

Charles was moving on to someone else that was just as naïve. I began to cry. A friend was moving onto the same fate as me. He was taking her in and was going to destroy her. God knows what he'd do to her daughter.

I spent a few hours collecting myself. When Carlisle got home to pick up Edward, I had some food already made. "You're really quiet tonight," he said.

"I know," I said. "Are you going to stay for dinner?"

"Sure," he said.

We had a quick dinner before I had to feed the kids. I didn't have much of an appetite. "So, what happened?" he asked.

"I found out a friend of mine at the park is dating my ex-husband," I said. "He's telling a lot of bullshit stories about me."

"Sit!" Emmett cried. "Sit! Sit!" I realized he was trying to say shit. I groaned.

"Don't worry about that, he's going to get to wear it out," he said. "Didn't she know who you were?"

"No. But I'm wondering if I should say something."

"She wouldn't listen. Why would he admit to his part in the divorce? Ever? He walks on water to her."

I took a deep breath. "There's a lot you don't know about my ex, Carlisle."

"I can read between the lines."

I sighed.

"Esme, it's something we have in common," he said.

I picked up Alice. "Can I have Edward, now?" I asked.

"Yes," he said, Handing Edward over. I unbuttoned my shirt and undid my nursing bra, getting myself into position. "Esme," he said, running a hand through my hair. "You're not responsible for her decisions."

"But there's a baby," I said. "A child. He's going to destroy them both."

"There isn't much you can do. Just tell her. And just leave it from there."

I felt like crying again. Why couldn't I just take her away from him? To save her the heartache?

"I know what you're thinking," he said, sitting down beside me. "You've got enough to worry about, Esme."

He took my hand.

I took a deep breath and exhaled to let the stress out. I could speak to her. And that was it. I knew it deep down even before Carlisle said anything.

We put Alice down and put Edward in the swing once I was done nursing. I put Emmett in the bath and Carlisle read a story to him, which had become our bedtime ritual. Emmett was still chanting "Sit! Sit!" but not with as much aplomb. We got Emmett to bed.

Carlisle went downstairs and picked up Edward. "I know, it's on your mind," he said as I wrapped Edward up in a blanket. I handed Edward to him with a few bags of breast milk.

"Here." Gina stayed on my mind, still.

"Esme," he said. "I know." He slipped his freearm around me. "I'm sorry."

The feeling of his hands on my back suddenly released all the pressure in my muscles. I hasn't realized how much I needed to be touched until just now. Not in a sexual way, but just to be touched.

He felt it.

And then, he kissed me.

We did not acknowledge the kiss for several weeks. Carlisle planned out a trip with Edward to California for Thanksgiving to see his parents. They were very eager to see him. I missed him and felt a little lonely when nursing Alice alone. I felt tired and depressed with them gone. I was relieved when they came back.

"I missed you," I told him. "Both of you."

"Edward missed you a lot," he said. I looked at Edward and realized that there was dark red fuzzy hair on the baby's head that seemed to have sprung up over a weekend.

"He's changed so much!" I cried. "I'm so sad I missed it!"

"It's cute, isn't it?" he asked. Edward had had black newborn hair but it was now red. I realized something else.

"His eyes are turning colors!" I cried.

"Really?" Carlisle asked. "Liz had green eyes. I'm going to be pissed if they turn brown." I looked up into Carlisle's eyes.

"Why?" I asked.

"I'm blue eyed," he said. "Two light-eyed people can't have a brown-eyed child. It's genetics. Look, why don't we pick out a tree? It's officially Christmastime!"

We bundled the kids up and put them in the car, Carlisle finding the perfect tree farm where we could choose our own. We had to go through a cabin filled with Christmas decorations for sale before we could enter the farm. They offered us a cider, coffee and hot chocolate, but I didn't see how I could handle a drink while holding Edward and keeping an eye on Emmett, who wanted to get into everything.

Carlisle met up with a farmhand who told him to let him know when he and his daughter- we smiled- found the right tree. We combed the rows of trees until we found one without holes and lots of brown needles that was just the right size. We put our marker on it and called the farmhand, who cut it down and shook down all the extra needles. When he tied it to the roof of the SUV, I stopped in the cabin and got some ornaments.

Carlisle took the tree down from the car and we set it up and put water in the stand. "I got something," I said, opening up the bag with the ornaments wrapped in tissue paper. I pulled out the first one. It said, Baby's first Christmas Alice. "One more," I said, getting out the other one. Baby's first Christmas Edward.

I couldn't read Carlisle's expression for a moment. "Was this going too far?" I asked.

"No," he said. "How did you know?"

"About what?" I asked.

"I'm working until four pm on Christmas Eve. There's no way I'm going to be able to take Edward home."

"Oh... So, we'll have a good Christmas together," I said.

"Why don't we go shopping for the kid's presents, then?"

"Online shopping sounds great," I said.

We ordered presents for the kids off Amazon and laid back to relax while I baked Christmas cookies.

I took the kids to the Snow Village in Seattle while Carlisle was gone. I dressed them in Christmas sweaters and decorated my little town house. I never heard from Charles.

We were watching a Charlie Brown Christmas on Christmas Eve when Carlisle came in the door. "Merry Christmas everybody!"

"Hi," I said. "How was your shift?"

"It went well," he said, shedding his jacket and scarf. He proceeded to tell me all sorts of things that went on in his OR. We fed the kids and Carlisle read The Night Before Christmas, taking pictures of the kids as they sat up, playing with the little trinkets I left out around the house. I put the babies in the bathtub and put them to bed. Emmett was so excited about Christmas so we lit a fire and made more Christmas cookies for Santa for Emmett to lay out. He ate one and we took pictures of him sneaking cookies.

After I gave him a bath and put him in his Christmas pajamas, I put Emmers to bed in his new big-boy bed I had bought recently, kissing him. "Good night, Emmett. Merry Christmas."

"Night, Mama," he replied. "Santa?"

"Yes, he is," I said. "But you have to go to sleep first. He won't come if you're not asleep!"

He squeezed his eyes shut. "I asleep!"

I kissed him on the tummy. "Yes you are. Good boy."

I went downstairs and Carlisle had already brought out one of the boxes I had kept hidden in my closet. It was a toy that we needed to assemble for Emmett. He opened it with his key and got out the different pieces in little plastic baggies.

"Oh boy," I muttered. "This is going to be fun."

We sorted the pieces and started putting together the bits. Finally, it started resembling the toy. "I think we deserve some wine," he said, standing up.

"I don't drink," I said. "I don't think I ever have."

"Come on," he said. "It's Christmas." He poured a few glasses and set one down for me.

I picked it up and took a sip. It wasn't bad. He went down to the floor to finish up the toy.

We worked on another one, knowing that we'd be up ridiculously late.

"Alright, directions say I need screw U."

"Carlisle, that's not funny."

He chuckled. "No, I'm serious." He handed me the directions. I looked at it and he had to point out the line. "See? Screw U."

"That's not screw you, it's Screw N!" I cried. I couldn't help but guffaw. "I think that's the first dirty joke I've ever heard out of your mouth." I shoved him back onto the carpet.

"You like dirty jokes? I know a bunch of them. We tell them in the OR all the time while the patients are out cold."

"Like what?" I asked. The wine was making me silly, so I climbed on top of him.

"A man and a woman started to have sex in the middle of a dark forest. After about 15 minutes of it, the man finally gets up and says, "Damn, I wish I had a flashlight!". The woman says, "Me too, you've been eating grass for the past ten minutes!""

"That's not too terribly bad," I said.

"Okay..." he said. "This couple were in bed getting busy when the girl places the guys hand onto her pussy. "Put your finger in me..." she asks him. So he does without hesitation, as she starts moaning. "Put two fingers in...", she says. So in goes another one. She's really starting to get worked up when she says, "Put your whole hand in!". The guy's like, "Ok!". So he has his entire hand in, when she says moaning aloud "Put both your hands inside of me!!!". So the guy puts both of his hands in! "Now clap your hands..." commands the girl. "I can't", says the guy. The girl looks at him and says "See, I told you I had a tight pussy!""

"Ew!" I cried, giggling. I tried to get off him, but I felt something I didn't expect- to enjoy being with him. I liked his hands on my hips. My giggles stopped. "Carlisle, why are we fighting this?"

He moved underneath me. "I don't know."

"I don't want to be apart anymore," I said. "Why not?"

And that was the end of the conversation. I kissed along his stomach, lifting up his light blue scrub shirt with my mouth. I hadn't anticipated how nice his stomach was- just enough tone but not enough to make me feel inadequate. I kissed my way up to his nipple- and sucked, swirling my tongue around it. It seemed kind of odd to want him like this when we had never fooled around before. I had spent months fooling around before actually committing the deed with Charles. But Carlisle was new, different, just different enough. I pulled his shirt up over his head and he assisted me with pulling it off. He pulled off my own sweater and I quickly discarded my nursing bra, knowing how unsexy it was. I got a quick whiff of soured breast milk as I tossed it off, cringing. His hands reached up and cupped my breasts, his cold fingers brushing against my nipples. I shivered, rubbing myself against his hips. He exhaled a bit as I did so, and I could feel him hardening under my seat.

He unbuttoned my jeans but, before I allowed myself to think, I untied and unsnapped the fly of his scrubs, and took his cock out. I took him into my mouth.

Honestly, I wasn't very good at this. I had never done it before, but it just felt right when his hand laced into my hair right as the head hit my tonsils.

"Further down," Carlisle instructed. "Relax your throat."

I tried to breathe through my nose and relaxed my throat. I had to take a few deep breaths before I took it back into my throat. My nose hit his pubic bone and I kept it down as long as I could. "Hum a little bit," he said.

I realized there were tears running down my cheeks by now, just from the effort. I groaned softly, and gagged. I pulled him out before I vomited, his penis coming out of my mouth with a pop.

"That was a good start," he said.

"No more," I muttered, wiping my tears, taking in a deep breath. I didn't realize I was out of breath. "For now."

"You've never done that before?"

I nodded. I didn't want to talk about all the things I didn't do with Charles, how I always took it in the missionary position, how I felt so betrayed by the Catholic Church that dictated every intimate detail of my life, how I let Charles push me around because I felt like that was what was encouraged. I choked on a few sobs. I felt completely let down. I was a single mother now, my ex-husband didn't even want me or our children, he had abandoned them and was lying about us.

"It's alright," he said quietly, stroking my arm. "I know."

I wriggled out of my jeans and panties, leaving them on the floor beside us and mounted Carlisle. I impaled myself ontop of him.

I felt a sharp pain for a moment. Something was wrong.

But, it subsided. I was fine. Don't think. Just love him.

I spoke his name.

No sweeter words had ever come from my mouth.

We left the Christmas presents unfinished that night. We went to bed that night and he laced his fingers between mine. It just seemed natural when I told him I loved him. And he said he loved me back. Our lives were destined to be intertwined in a strange twist of fate.