Author's Notes: I present you with the first "week"less chapter. It's a new (though shorter) chapter of Jasper and Edward's journey and quite more bumpy. I'd say we have about 4 chapters to go, not including the epilogue. We're nearly there guys and I want to thank you ever so much for showing interest and support in this odd and unusual tale.
But before we get to Sawyer, I'd like to update you on a few things.
Expecting and my One-shot All and Enough have been listed in the The Top 100 Twilight Fanfiction listing on A Darker Twilight, which is pretty damn fantastic. If you'd like to know more, let me know and I'll send you the link, so you can see all the badass stories (many I'm currently reading) that have been listed.
I'm also giving "Juicy" a decent clean-up. It's the start of a sweeping of grammar errors and typos of older fan-fics and also polishing before the final installment of "Juicy". Yes. Final.
Another interesting news update is regarding my recent absence these last few weeks. I was working my buns off to finish a 25,000 word fan-fic to meet a deadline. There was quite a bit of re-editing and brainstorming. It nearly sizzled my brain. I took a breather for awhile before tackling some side stories then working on this chapter. When the one-shot is posted, I'll provide a link and/or put it up in my FF account.
Okay, enough news for now. READ.
I do not own the characters of course.
Chapter Twenty Five: Sawyer Eli Whitlock
The beeping was driving me mad. I turned my head each way, haunted by the big, open operating room.
"We're going to start the implanting procedure," my doctor had spoken to me in soft words, giving me reassuring caresses on my trembling hand, "It has become a much more simple procedure over the years and considering that these developed organs are from your own DNA, your body will nurture them and your' fertilized AU can develop the baby." She smiled softly.
He was supposed to be here for the surgery. He said he would, but as I stared through the glass window, I couldn't make out any shapes or figures other than doctors in scrubs.
"We're going to put you under, honey." She whispered, "Can you count down for me?"
"10," I started, eyes still searching, "9, 8-" My tongue felt like lead and my eyes were heavy. My hand twitched and jerked, yearning for warmth to hold on to - to know he was there and that he cared.
The beeping. That damned beeping. Where was I?
A coo and a whimper. Who was that? My eyes felt too heavy to open and my limbs were like dead weights at my side. In fact, I felt something on my left arm. It was warm and barely held weight.
"Shh, angel," I knew that voice from anywhere. Edward. He was here, "you'll wake up daddy."
Daddy? Who was here? I struggled to understand, but it was difficult when I couldn't open my eyes and see who it was. There was a rhythm of clicking heels getting closer, before they stopped somewhere near me.
"He'll be coming to soon. He's going to feel light and might have some slight nausea." I heard my Doctor whisper.
"What happened in there?" Edward asked. He sounded worry and stressed. I couldn't think why.
"He was having what I like to call a 'freak out.'," The tone was light and amused, so out of place after Edward's question, "He's fine, Edward." She seemed to notice the contrast.
"I thought I-" I hadn't heard him so fearful before.
"You didn't." Her heels clicked closer, "Jasper and his son are healthy."
And like that, I was able to move, to speak to open my eyes. There was swift movement, the weight lifting from my arm as my eyes fluttered open.
"Ed-" my throat was dry and raw. I coughed.
"I'll get him some water." The clicking faded just as I opened my eyes. Lights blurred my vision as I blinked against them. I couldn't see much.
"Love?" There was another whimper, a separate voice in the room.
"Is that him?" I couldn't help the sobs rising in my chest. It couldn't be. Was he really here in the room with me? Could I touch him? It took a moment for my eyes to adjust, but when I was able to focus better, I gasped taking in the sight before me. Edward, out of scrubs, was standing intimately close to my bed holding a bundle of blue blankets that had small, little arms with tiny fingers grasping and waving about. He took a moment to look down at the blanket, a gentle smile on his face.
"It is, love." The tenderness in his voice had my heart stuttering in my chest. That picture I had in my mind weeks before, never would I have believed it would come to fruition, that he'd be one of the first to hold Sawyer close to him, "Do you want to meet your daddy?" He asked in a tiny voice. There was no noise, but the little hands waved about more animatedly. He looked up, meeting my eyes. I couldn't ignore the shimmering green that stared back at me.
"You look beautiful with him." I whispered.
Edward gave me a watery smile and snorted as if hearing a joke, but the look in his eyes were of gratitude, "They let me hold him first after his vitals were checked. The nurses don't know much about the patients, so they assumed I was the..." He licked his lips, before holding his bottom one with this teeth.
"They must've saw the look on your face." My voice was still weak and shaky, but I was sure he understood just what I was implying, judging by the sparkling love in his eyes.
"Here, baby," He leaned over, angling the blanket between my arm and side. The weight was back on me and I was able to put two-and-two together. Edward made sure Sawyer was laying with me as I was asleep, "You can't sit up just yet. They have you in stitches and moving your stomach too much wouldn't be wise."
"I want to touch him." I whined, hoping to at least get a proper look at my son's face.
"And you will." I hadn't noticed that Dr. Denali was back in the room, this time with a clear cup of water. She walked over bypassing Edward, leaning over to the side of the wide bed to press a button. To my surprise and joy, the top half of the bed inclined. I felt the itch and burn in my lower stomach, but nothing too intense to express pain. Edward adjusted the blankets, allowing me to hold the baby in a manner where I could appreciate the view. A gasp left my lips again and to my embarrassment my vision blurred in a watery warp. Little furrowed brows and small puckered lips, Sawyer stared back up at me in wonder. It was hard to pin-point just what color occupied his irises, but I was able to make out the small fuzz of dark, blonde hair on his head.
"Hi Sawyer." I whispered. The wrinkle between his brow deepened and he whimpered again before a soft cry erupted from him. I looked up, hoping Edward was still close enough to the bed to see the reaction I received. I was met with a soft smile.
"He waited all night for you to hold him." Edward leaned over, petting my cheek lovingly before speaking in a much more quiet voice, "You went under unexpectedly."
"Was he okay? Did anything-" He shook his head, just as my doctor placed the water on the stand next to me, "Did he cry?"
Edward looked to the doctor quickly before looking back at me. He didn't speak, "Your little boy is a fighter. He was a bit fussy with the nurses while we checked his vitals and cleaned him. It wasn't until Edward held him that he quieted down." She smiled briefly before a serious look took over her face, "There are papers to be signed before you leave us in a day or two. It is procedure that you sign it once your health is stable and everything is going accordingly for you and your child."
"Papers?" I asked, unable to keep my eyes on her when Sawyer was crying softly in my arms.
"It's an agreement that everything went according to plan and the A.I.S won't be held responsible for any natural sicknesses that you and the baby may get once you leave the hospital." Edward answered without hesitation, "It's also a check-point for the parents," He added in a tortured whisper, "To make sure you're still together."
A panic took over me and I desperately looked between the two, "And what if we're not."
Dr. Denali sighed deeply, "Both you and James are still legally together. His absence, though negligent, isn't reason for any actions to be taken."
"What actions?" The fear in my voice was hard to mask.
"Love," Edward spoke gently, "If there was any suspicions that you and James were separated, the A.I.S. has the right to report it to social services and open an investigation. And if successful in labeling parents unfit, Sawyer can get taken away." My heart hammered in my chest at the thought. I was always aware that it was dangerous if they knew that James left, but I never could think past just what would happen.
And I was foolish to let such a thing slip past my judgment. It was important that I was to be prepared just in case I needed to take action.
"There's nothing to be concerned about, Jasper." My doctor spoke up, "In cases like these - if they ever happen - it is your doctor who expresses concerns. I don't have any intentions to do so, but I can't prevent the 90 day check-up."
"I heard about that." I nodded, remembering a vague description of a visitor coming to examine the child's health and the parent's emotional stability.
"They are meant as well to see how the parents are keeping up." She finished, "And they can report."
"Three months." I spoke to myself. A scenario was already playing in my mind, as if I was automatically searching for the "In case of Emergency" route. My eyes met with Edward's. I didn't need to say much for him to understand what I was thinking. Hurt flickered in his eyes but he said nothing.
"There's ways we can go around this, Jasper. For now, I can get your signature and report that James is out of town but you are under care of a doctor as well as family and friends. And you aren't to worry about actions being taken. I have spoke with Edward and Mrs. and Dr. Cullen. They have signed forms to assure that if you by any chances lose the rights to your child, they would care for him as temporary parents before farther actions are taken." She looked to Edward briefly with an awed smile, "It's a secondary and option we have here, to assure that the child goes without the haggle of stress."
I looked to Edward again and it was as if my love for him grew more. My initial reaction to all this was automatic, but I knew deep down there was no way I could leave him and what I had here. I knew there might be a chance of me leaving town if the threatened to take Sawyer, but it was too soon to speak of this. My attention was brought back to the source of this scrambled attempt to maintain chaos. Sawyer was wailing, perhaps at the tension of the moment, little arms flailing about. There wasn't much movement I could provide for him. My stomach ached and I was already feeling the last 24 hours catch up with me.
"I have him, love." Edward spoke gently. It was like ripping a limb from my body. I gave up Sawyer, watching helplessly as Edward rocked him gently.
"I'll contact everyone outside. Let them know you're up." Dr. Denali spoke before walking out of the room, leaving us alone again.
"Yeah," Edward rolled his eyes. Sawyer was already silent in his arms, "Everyone." We shared a silence together, Edward walking the floor with Sawyer as I watched, unable to hide the rushing excitement that was building in me. He seemed so comfortable holding a newborn, as if it came naturally - a paternal instinct. I rolled my eyes at the thought. It was a leap of a thought. They were easily the most important boys of my life, but it was a stretch to believe that Edward and I would fall in a family role as much as I yearned for us to.
"Thank you." I whispered.
"For what, baby?"
"For loving me." His eyes met mine in confusion, "For loving me enough to love him as well."
"Jasper," Edward's voice was a whisper amongst the loudness of humming machinery and beeping, "I don't love you or your son out of a favor. I love Sawyer because I know what a great human being he's going to be being fathered by you. I know that if I could choose anyone to father, it be him. I knew it the moment he waved hello from inside you." The intensity of his eyes made me tremor where I was, "And there's a endless list of reasons why I love you so damn much, but now we can add the fact that you created a beautiful being."
Once again, tears stung my eyes, "I love you too."
"You should sleep, baby. I heard there will be some physical tests for you tomorrow. Sawyer and I will be here when you wake up."
"When can we go home?" I asked.
There was a beaming, proud smile on my lover's face as he whispered, "We." It was as if the world was offered to him that moment, "We'll be home in a day or two. Alice is making sure we have enough formula, clothes and diapers for the baby. Don't be surprised if her and the boys want to follow us home."
"I wouldn't be surprised." I laughed, feeling my eyes droop in weight.
"Sleep." Edward ordered gently, "We'll be waiting for you."
"Finally!" Emmett bellowed at the sight of me, "I thought I was going to have to blow a nurse to get to you."
"Emmett!" Esme scolded, but there was no holding back her happy grin, "How are you, Jasper?" I stared up at the collection of friends looking back at down at me and Sawyer. I told her I was feeling better. The last 24 hours had been a series of physical tests for me and the baby. I barely had enough alone time with him and I was beyond ready to leave. Edward had been the only visitor other than Carlisle who was allowed to visit. The A.I.S, unlike a normal hospital, were quite tight on outside parties seeing just what went on inside their offices other than actual doctors and confidential patients. Carlisle used his title of doctor as a means of checking up on me after the exhausting check-ups. He did his own separate check-up as well before asking a series of questions about my comfort and health before taking a seat next to the bed. I was able to hold Sawyer more freely then, allowing time for Edward to leave, freshen up and grab a bite to eat. This allowed some private time with his father. It was yet another alarming conversation about Sawyer and me. This time, legal concerns.
Carlisle briefly explained the necessity of providing a lawyer for me for the 90 day meeting with whomever would report on me and my custody over Sawyer.
"I don't understand," My mind was a whirl of custody laws and illegal procedures, "Why would I need a lawyer."
"Because, Jasper, due to the A.I.S's rush to get you fertilized and impregnated, they bypassed some crucial steps in securing your health and well being. They were bribed to overlook certain red flags regarding James and were reckless in their prescription of medication."
"What does this have to do with me and Sawyer now?"
"There is no way they can fault you for James's negligence if they helped facilitate it."
Carlisle sat with me until Edward returned, giving me his last words of support and promises to speak more on the matter when I was healed and rested. I got little rest , but was happy the following day that I was able to pack for home. Seeing the bright faces that greeted me in the lobby was a warming welcome.
"Make room, man with baby coming through." Edward spoke from behind me. I felt the wheelchair gain motion again, before I was escorted out towards sliding doors. I could hear Alice ranting about everything being ready for us at the house and Jacob commenting on the stress of hooking up the car seat.
"I should be fuckingseasoned in it after changing between Emmett's car and mine."
"Language, Jake." Bella scolded with a giggle. I snorted from below, knowing she probably picked up the habit of G rated language from weeks with Mike's mother.
I got a whiff of sweet vanilla before a small voice spoke in my ear, "Rose sends her best. She had to stay home with Hope. She was getting fussy."
"Tell her I said thanks." I smiled, feeling a burst of affection for both girls. I had received endless offers from both of them. They were to visit every few days just to stop by and give baby tips along with Esme. It was a compromise we had come to after denying in-house assistance.
I heard coos and aww's as everyone had a chance to look over my shoulder at a restful Sawyer. It appeared even the roar of Emmett's laughter couldn't shake him from his slumber. I had watched him fall under Edward's remarkable talent. From what I could gather, he must had recognized Edward. Personally, I knew the affects such a melodic voice could have on a person physically. I wasn't surprised to find out that it was a reaction easily transferred to my son. When Edward held him, his eyes were wide and his little pink lips were puckered. He was eerily silent and when rocked, fell asleep almost at the drop of a hat. When he was sure Sawyer was out, Edward helped me in the wheelchair before placing him in my arms. He hadn't stirred since.
Until we moved him into the car.
"Uh oh." Emmett said with a teasing smirk, "Trouble in paradise." Sawyer didn't seem pleased with the lack of body heat to sleep against.
"Jasper, why don't you sit in the back with him?" Edward suggested, already helping me out of the seat. Emmett snorted and pushed him aside, before easily lifting me and placing me in backseat next to a very frustrated Sawyer. I felt a rise of panic at the wail of cries such a small being could belt out.
I looked to Edward, pleadingly, "We both know he'll calm down a lot quicker if you were back here with him." There was no way I was going to make the car ride if he continued crying.
"How about you both sit in the back. I'll drive." Emmett shrugged. Edward wore a look of worry, "Don't worry. I'll drive like a human being." Edward gave a small nod before taking the backseat with me. Emmett called Jacob, letting him know he was our driver and to meet him at the house. He looked over his shoulder, smiling as if entertained by the sight of us, "Okay, let's get Sawyer and his daddies home in one piece."
"Em," Edward groaned in annoyance, but I couldn't help the smile that crossed my face. At the sound of Edward's voice, Sawyer quieted a little, letting out small hiccups of whimpers, "It's okay, angel." Edward whispered gently, then turned to me, a look of concentration taking over, "It'll be time to feed him once we get to the house. Do you want me to make the formula and you can feed him in the nursery?"
I nodded, knowing it would be better if he made the first bottle. I was still having trouble understanding just how such a simple process was done, "I know you won't scold him with the milk." I joked lightly, but he didn't seem amused.
"You wouldn't if you tried, love." He reached over the car seat, stroking my cheek with his knuckle, "I know you. You're going to be obsessive about making sure he is comfortable at home. Just look at how you got me to sit in the back seat."
I rolled my eyes, "So I'm going to be obsessive?" I asked. He didn't answer, rather moved his other hand to tenderly brush against Sawyer's cheek. We both watched the infant for the entire car ride, sharing a comfortable silence. Sawyer was still wrapped in a thin blue blanket, the harness of the seat safely secured around him, but not enough to restrain his hands from moving about. His chair faced towards the seat, allowing for viewing us only. He didn't seem too troubled with the movement of the car or that some of the attention he seemed stubborn for from Edward was averted to me every few seconds, a kiss on the lips or a loving glance. It appeared, that Sawyer - like me - was willing to share.
"This is your fault, you know." He grumbled, before pulling his arm from around my waist. I whimpered at the cold created from the lack of body heat against me, but it was nothing like the cries feet away from us. I could hear the shuffling of his feet before he whispered, "Shh, shh, my love." to the baby. The click of the crib's banister being lowered alerted me that the baby would soon be quieted by his comfort.
I sat up in the bed, fingering the bandage over my stomach, "Sug, you held him at midnight. I'll take him." I offered, knowing full well he'd turn me down again. If I didn't know better, I'd say he really enjoyed those stolen moment with Sawyer.
"No, baby. You sleep. You're still healing."
I laughed, "And what would your excuse be when the stitches are gone?" I teased.
"Shut up." He mumbled, letting Sawyer's head fall on his shoulder before patting his back.
There was no room to complain. Edward seemed on top of things the moment we stepped into the house. He rushed about grabbing diapers and wipes when I changed Sawyer, he jumped up when there was even a whimper of discomfort from the crib. If I was obsessive, Edward was manic about Sawyer. I suppose the only time I outdone him in intense paranoia is when it came to leaving him in the room at night. I needed the baby within eyesight. I just couldn't leave him alone, not with James out there. Edward assured me that we'd have the baby-talkie and made sure to have alarms installed before we arrived back in the house, but I just couldn't risk it. I spent the first two nights in the nursery, asleep in the rocking chair. Edward was too concerned for his own good. He worried about my back and healing relentlessly, but I was clearly too stubborn to leave. On the third night, he offered to wheel the crib into our room.
"It's my way of keeping you with me at night as well as Sawyer under our eye." He told me after he secured the crib next to his lounge chair, opposite the patio door which had been permanently sealed while the baby was in the room, "I miss sleeping next to you at night." He admitted before giving me a chaste kiss.
And it showed. Ever since that night, Edward spooned close, pressing himself against my back and tenderly wrapping an arm around my waist. He'd whisper his love and devotion for me before we'd slip into a needed sleep only to be awoken 2 or so hours later by Sawyer.
"Should I get the bottle, Sug?" I moved to take the comforter off my lap, but Edward shook his head.
"No. This cry is different. He isn't hungry. You think he needs to be changed?"
"I wouldn't be surprised." I shook my head, thinking back to the last week with Sawyer. It was amazing how much diapers he had went through. Edward chuckled, before asking Sawyer quietly where it all came from, "Get the diapers for me, Sug?" I asked.
"Okay, baby." Edward handed me Sawyer before walking out the room to the nursery. He came back with a handful of diapers, giving me one before placing the remaining diapers near the crib. I still wasn't able to successfully handle diaper changing like Rosalie and Alice. On the second day home with Sawyer, both girls were patient with me. I practiced on Hope and Sawyer, attempting to wipe right, put the diaper on the right way and making sure it was secure. It took about 5 tries. After quite a mess from Sawyer, they taught me how to roll the diaper, seal it and bag it before throwing it out.
"It keeps critters from getting to the poop." Alice informed before tossing the bagged dirty diaper at Rose who scowled in disgust. Remembering what I learned, I cleaned up Sawyer, placing the wipes in the mess on the diaper before rolling it up and bagging it. Edward discarded the waste as I cleaned up the baby, making sure he was warm. Edward joined us minutes later, climbing on the bed next to us.
"He appears to be wide awake." I yawned tiredly. Sawyer looked up at the both of us, his little legs jerking about.
"Mmm and just when we were getting sleep." Edward sighed, pressing his cheek to my shoulder, "He should be tired, shouldn't he?" I shrugged, "Should we sing him a lullaby?"
"I don't remember any." I mumbled, "And I can't really sing."
"Me either." Edward pouted, "Mom would always play Bob Dylan."
I laughed quietly, feeling my shoulders shake, "Why Dylan?"
He shrugged, "She said it calmed me down."
I sat with Sawyer between my legs and Edward holding me from behind, thinking just what would have the baby counting sheep before morning. Then it struck me, "Sug, do you have a dock for the ipod."
"Mmm hmm." He nodded, digging his chin into my shoulder, "There's one in the guest room."
"You think some of your songs would put him to sleep?" He was silent for a few seconds, hands caressing my sides, "Sug?"
"You really believe that would work?" He sounded taken back and I wasn't sure why.
I turned my head in an attempt to see him and he pulled his face away so our eyes could meet, "It worked for me, didn't it?" His emerald eyes twinkled before he kissed me soundly.
"God, sometimes the things you say..." He trailed off as he got out of bed. Sawyer and I were alone again. I lifted his small body, feeling a sense of completion when his soft skin met mine in an embrace. Holding him made me feel sure of my existence, why I was here, why things happened the way they did. Leaving home, meeting James, befriending the Cullens. It was all for him. It was the only way things could be as they were, that he'd be here, safe in my arms.
"I love you." I whispered, "All 6 pounds of you."
Edward was back again, "Love, where's your-" He lifted his eyes, met with the sight of me holding Sawyer close. Something stopped him from finishing his question.
"What is it?" I asked.
Edward shook his head slowly, "I never knew that seeing you like this would be so...rewarding."
I frowned in confusion, "What do you mean?"
"I don't even know what I mean. I'm just so fucking happy." He placed the dock on the night stand, "Your ipod, baby?"
"Oh," I pointed to the massive bag by the crib, "In the baby bag." He found it in the front pocket, smashed behind diapers before loading it on the dock, starting the playlist of his work.
"Okay, let's get little man to bed." I handed him the baby and watched as he rocked him to the music. The sight of Edward holding Sawyer never got old.
I yawned again, feeling the night wear me down. I was sure I had at most 25 hours of sleep for the whole week, "Daddy's tired." Edward chuckled, looking my way, "Let's give him a break, huh? What do you say?" He lowered the baby in the crib.
"Make sure he's on his back." I mumbled for the thousandth time that week.
"I know." Edward laughed. I watched from the bed as he made sure the baby was protected, but not suffocated by his environment, "I think its working." He jerked his head towards the dock which was playing a slow melodic tune I knew well.
"Your song." He finished. Even in the dim lighting of the room, I could see the burn of emotion in his eyes.
"Come here." I opened my arms. He didn't hesitate, climbing into bed, taking me down with him as jumped under the comforter. We laid in silence, keeping our ears open for any cries. Edward held me to his chest as our bodies relaxed. Our lips connected occasionally in soft kisses before sleep finally welcomed us back.
"So she's not coming then?" Edward sipped on his coffee, before leaning across the counter on his elbows. His hair looked more messy than usual, the darkness around his eyes apparent in contrast to his pale skin.
"It was her idea." I stated, feeling my shoulders slump, "She said I needed to become comfortable in my environment with the baby. Then she told me about when she first had me and how my grandmother was this nuisance she couldn't get rid of fast enough." I really wanted to see my mother, but I knew there was no way she'd change her mind. After speaking to her after the baby's delivery, she came to the conclusion that it was best to see me and Edward on the Christmas holiday, since there was already plans for a family function with my great aunts on Thanksgiving. "You'll have me from Christmas Eve to early January. I could help keep you sane seeing how this'll be Sawyer's first Christmas and you'll surely need help, Sugar."
"Like my mother." Edward offered. I looked over my shoulder at him, feeling guilty, "Don't apologize, baby. You'd be clawing your eyes out if you had said yes to her 'helping hand'. I love her, but she isn't a person you want looking over your shoulder when you're doing something. She's too anal."
"Nice to know you think such kind things about your mother." I teased.
"I'm sure Sawyer would be saying the same thing about his da-da come 25 years from now." I gaped at Edward in shock.
"Take that back!" I whined, pouting for good measure. Edward just chuckled, winking in my general direction before turning to Sawyer.
"Dad can't take a joke, can he?" The infant gave a wave of his arms, looking up at Edward. There was a coo from him, followed by what could only be described as a laugh. We both stopped what we were doing.
"What was that?" I pointed to over to Sawyer. I was still in front of the stove, finishing the last omelet. He was a safe distance away, on the island counter in his carrier, next to Edward. I could have easily mistaken that noise from a gurgle. There was no way he actually laughed.
"I think he found something funny, baby." Edward stared down at Sawyer, amusement in his eyes.
"There's no way he could be doing that so soon." He was only two and a half weeks old. Bella claimed that Eric started smiling a month ago and he was nearly three months. There was just no way...
"Maybe we're just funny people."
"Thanks for being here, Emmett." The last week with Sawyer was torture. It was difficult in the beginning, but the last 7 days made the first 18 feel like heaven. With lack of sleep and compounding worry, I was becoming easily irritated and frustrated while Edward appeared to be too tired to even speak or work in the studio. After a rough night of Edward getting up out of bed every 30 minutes or so, I offered to take over. I was met with resistance. I was well healed, so there was no excuse about my condition, but logically Edward brought up the fact that it was him that could put Sawyer to sleep quicker and longer than I could.
I knew it was the stress of learning Sawyer, worrying about what was good and bad for him. I knew that I was overly concerned about James and the canceling visit with my mother had me on edge more than ever since Sawyer entered the house. We were happier when we had the free time to eat, sleep and relax, so much of it we did in shifts while the other kept an ear out for the baby. It meant that we spent little time together. It was only a few days, but I was beginning to miss Edward, yet at the same time, I was beginning to envy his ease at handling Sawyer. Other than being extremely tired and silent, he appeared happy and light hearted, while the weight of my thoughts were crushing me. It was that that let to me snapping at him, claiming that he wasn't Sawyer's father and he had no clue what was best for him. Something between us shattered then - our perfect two weeks crumbled at our feet and I was reminded of how much of an illusion it was. This house, this arrangement. Edward didn't have to live as parent. He could easily dismiss the both of us when and if our relationship ended. He wasn't bound by law or blood, not that that kept many fathers to their children anyway.
The realization hurt me, but not as much the look in his eyes.
"You're right." He gently laid Sawyer back into the crib. He stared at my son, a look of loss in his eyes, before turning to me, "I'm sorry."
After getting Sawyer to sleep, I went looking for Edward. I found him in the studio, the door locked and an aggressive wave of music meeting my ears. He hadn't slept all night. He never came to bed and the guestroom's bed was perfectly made like the day before. I tried the studio door again, but like before, I couldn't get in. I knocked and pleaded for him to open it. He only did so when I put Sawyer down at noon. I awoke, curled on the lounge chair next to the crib. I could feel his shadow over me as he held Sawyer and rocked him silently.
"I love you." He whispered, "I'll always love you." I couldn't keep the sobs from shaking in me. When he noticed I was up, Edward apologized, "You were asleep and he was crying."
"Don't." I begged, "You don't have to say sorry, Edward."
He nodded, "Right." He laid Sawyer back in the crib, "I changed, fed and burped him. He should be out for the next few hours."
"You should sleep."
"I'll bring the walkie just in case." He grabbed the walkie that we hadn't used at all since we arrived home. I stood up off the lounge chair, following him. My hand shot out, grabbing his wrist.
"Edward, I'm sorry. I know you love him. I know you care, but I'm still scared. There's nothing that holds you to him, to me. Nothing but your word."
"And that isn't enough?" He asked, hurt.
"It is. I believe and trust you. But I'm not just thinking of now, I'm thinking of the future. I'm thinking about when he's 7 and wondering why his friends have two parents and asking who his father is if he hadn't seen him already or has been taken or-" I stopped, unsure what I wanted to say to him, what I wanted to express. I was just so scared of this bond they shared. I envied it, yes, but I feared more than anything that Sawyer could be robbed of it when he was already robbed of enough.
I felt Edward's gaze on me as I tried to regain some composure. He didn't speak right away, but when he did, his voice was gentler, "I'm scared too, Jazz. That you'll never stop running. That you'll take away my happiness, because you have that power to." And with that, he left the room.
I couldn't take the emotions anymore. I needed someone to talk to and that someone was Emmett. All it took was my shaky, gaspy sobs and Emmett stated he was on his way. When I greeted him at the door, He immediately cupped my face, looking at what must have been swollen, red eyes, "Fuck, blondie, you look like shit." The dimple in his cheeks were nowhere to be seen as he looked me over, "Tell me what happened." I explained as we took a seat in the living room.
Emmett let out a sigh, letting his head rest on the back of the couch, "And he hasn't come out since?" I shook my head "You admit you were wrong, I see." I nodded. He sat up, thinking for a moment, "When you went under in the O.R, it was pretty intense. It wouldn't be a stretch to say it was like you died on the table."
"What?" My voice cracked in disbelief.
"Your blood pressure was high and somehow you just passed out. You were breathing and shit, but I know Edward. After almost losing you quite a few times, I could tell he thought that was it." Emmett gave me a wry smile, "Over reacting of course. Everything went off without a hitch and you were fine, but he was shaken up pretty badly. He told me later that losing you had been his biggest fear these last few months, and now his world just gotten scarier, because he could lose Sawyer too."
"To what?" I asked, wide eyed and worried.
"I don't think that matters, blondie. He just doesn't want to or thinks he can survive a life without either of you." Before I could looked away, feeling the guilt take over, Emmett held my chin to face him, "That's not changing."
"What if he doesn't want me anymore after...some time has passed."
"I highly doubt it would happen, but if it didn't work out, Edward still wouldn't want to do without you," Emmett seemed so sure, "Things were rough between me and him after and our relationship was nothing like yours. We're good now, perhaps even closer now."
A crackle over the walkie and soft cries alerted us that Sawyer was up. I sighed, getting up off the couch, before Emmett stopped me, sticking his foot out to block my path, "I'll talk to him to calm him down. He's really hurt and probably scared, but you need to talk to him after. It's you that can reassure him."
I stayed up in the bedroom with Sawyer all afternoon, fearful of catching any part of their conversation. By 6, I was light headed and hungry. Sawyer finally had quieted after a rough two hours without Edward holding him. I was ready to make a quick dinner, but was surprised to see both Emmett and Edward in the kitchen when I stepped in. Emmett was seated at the island, leaning comfortably in the stool chair and chuckling as Edward stood at the stove, stirring something in a pot. I froze where I stood, unsure if I should walk deeper into the room.
"I'm sorry, I didn't know-"
"It's your house too, blondie." Emmett shrugged, "We figured you'd be hungry, so Edward decided to make some beef stew." Edward's gaze met mine. I searched his eyes fearfully for any signs of disgust, anger, hurt, but all I could make out was that burning love staring back at me.
"Hey love." He whispered gently.
"Hi." I was still unsure of what to do. Did he need space, was he done talking? It killed me that I couldn't curl myself under his arm and kiss him with everything I had right there.
As if reading my mind, he reached out his free hand to me, "Come here, baby." I didn't hesitate, nearly jumping under his arm, hugging his side, before pressing my nose against the curve of his smooth neck, "I love you." He whispered for my ears only.
"I love you too. So much. I need you." My chest ached at the words. They were so true to heart, I felt as if I was literally offering that to him. I heard the scrapping of the chair against the tile before Emmett heaved a satisfied sigh.
"Seems my work here is done."
"Thanks Em." I turned, giving him a small smile.
"I think this calls for a returned favor." Emmett crossed his massive arms over his chest, wiggling his eyebrows at me, "What do you say, blondie?"
"Leave Emmett." Edward ordered, slightly annoyed.
"Alright, I'm going. But I want details after." Emmett left the kitchen. It wasn't until we heard the front door close that I turned back to Edward.
"I'll never say anything like that again-"
"Shh." He cut me off, "We're going to get scared a lot. It happens, okay? Let's just promise to let each other know when we are. Does that sound good?"
"It does." I was relieved that he understood, "I didn't know how much-" how much he loved me? It sounded foolish even in my mind. Perhaps I was never meant to understand it as it seemed that I was taken by surprise by the notion too often.
"I really do." He confirmed. Our lips met in a long, needy kiss until he pulled away, only to check on the stew, "I know you're hungry, baby."
For so much more than he implied, "I am."
"Ridiculous." Edward scowled at the Cullen house. We were parked in the driveway, still seated in the car, too tired to get out. It was a nippy December evening, only a two weeks from Christmas and we were finally getting a handle on Sawyer and his schedule.
And finally getting a sliver of time back.
Each night after putting Sawyer in his crib - which was moved back to the nursery - we'd lay in bed, wrapped in each other's arms and legs. On rough nights, we'd fall right to sleep and on others we'd become entangled in each other, sharing kisses, caresses and our affection. We were only lucky a few times. Edward's mouth would take me deep and I'd return the favor after, but that was as far as it got before we fell asleep. We entertained the thought of going farther, even discussing if it was necessary to use protection seeing how I was clean and he got a check-up after his last sexual relationship. It was a step closer, but not quite there.
We had become more social as well, inviting a friend over every few days for dinner and catch-up. Carlisle and Esme came over every Monday for brunch as well as a weekly look at my emotional and physical health. It seemed that they were incapable of turning off their maternal and paternal nature as well as their professional eye.
We hadn't seen much of Alice and Rosalie in the last month or so and I wondered if it was that that had us at the Cullens house this night. Alice called us the night before, a bit more serious than usual, requesting (though we took it for the order that it really was ) our company for dinner - a family dinner.
In the shadow of the Cullen manor, it was odd seeing Edward's Volvo parked in the drive-way ahead, "I still don't understand why your father was so determined to trade cars."
"Mom put him up to it." Edward shook his head, "She said a two door car was a death trap for the baby. " I couldn't argue with that. It was quite difficult to get him buckled in even if for a two door, it was roomier than most others. We got out the Mercedes - which I knew months before as Carlisle's car - and took to unbuckling Sawyer from the car. We stepped up to the front door, both rolling our eyes at the festive wreath on the massive wooden door before it opened.
"Oh honey, get him out of the cold!" Esme moved aside, allowing me to step inside with the carrier, "He's gotten so big." Esme cooed, kissing my cheek first, then Edward's.
"Good to know, because he eats like a bear." Edward chuckled. He politely forgot to mention that food was faster coming out of him than going in.
"Put him in the family room, honey. Rosalie is in there feeding Hope." I nodded, walking through the house, familiar with the layout. There was the scent of ginger cookies and pine. I walked into the just as Rosalie was laying her daughter down to sleep.
"Hey, Jasper." Rosalie looked up at me with a tender smile, "You look well rested. Sawyer finally cutting you some slack?"
I slipped out of my coat, pulling off my cap as well, "He's let up a bit, but I think I mostly just got used to sleeping a few hours a night." At that, she gave a knowing chuckle, "What have you been up to? I haven't seen you and Alice in a few weeks. Everything alright?" I asked, noticing how her expression changed.
"Been busy with Hope. I think she's coming to understand that she can get her way between the two of us." It didn't really answer my question, but I wasn't going to press, "Leave Sawyer here. Hope's not quite out yet. I can watch the both of them. Carlisle and Alice have been meaning to see you."
"You sure?" I placed Sawyer's carrier at Rosalie's feet. She nodded, a smile already gracing her features as she leaned over to examine Sawyer's sleeping form. His hair was more distinct in color, a wheat blonde just like mine. And although she couldn't see it now, his eyes were a beautiful, bright brown, almost hazel. Coupled with his rosy cheeks and plump lips, he was beginning to look like a china doll. It was something Edward noticed first, chuckling as he commented that it was no surprise that my son looked angelic like his father.
I left the family room, stepping into the massive kitchen where Esme was busily pulling dinner rolls out of the oven. Carlisle stood behind the counter talking lowly, a mug in his hand. His eyes were tight, his skin wrinkled in worry. There was a weathered look about him, one I hadn't seen in awhile. His youthful face now a face of a middle aged man. He didn't seem to notice my presence until I cleared my throat.
"Jasper, how are you, son?" He walked over, patting me on the back, "Edward told me that you finally slept well last night." I felt my cheeks burn at the thought of Edward going into detail as to why I slept so well the night before.
"That's good to hear." He nodded, a smile on his face. It was disconcerting to see that it didn't reach his eyes.
"Is Edward with Alice?"s
"Yes." Carlisle nodded solemnly, "They are in the backyard." I found that odd, but I nodded, unsure if I was supposed to follow or not. I chose to give them a moment to themselves. I peeked on Sawyer, making sure he was alright. Rose still sat in the same spot, rubbing Hope's back in soothing circles as she slept on her side. I smiled, enjoying the sight of her finally at ease in her role as a parent. Rosalie over the last few months seemed to bud into something I never expected making it was difficult to accept she was the shut-in only months before.
Heaving I sigh, I figured now would be the perfect time to check Sawyer and make sure he wasn't hungry or needed a change. I cringed, realizing my mistake of leaving the baby's bag in the car.
I walked through the long hall to the front door. There was no point locking the doors when the property was gated, so I didn't need the car keys. Throwing the door open, I was surprised to be met face-to-face with a young women about my age. She was wearing a thick, red scarf, dark wool jacket and black boots. Her blonde hair was shoulder length and tied into a neat ponytail. She stared back at me with stunning eyes that reminded me of earth and trees and gave a startled gasp.
"I'm sorry. I'm Jane. Jane Carbro. I'm here to speak with the Cullen family." The name, I knew it. I stared at her, trying to put my finger on the ringing familiarity.
"They're just inside." I shook my head, sure that I was looking at her strangely, "I'm sorry, do I know you?"
Her eyes dimmed slightly and her cheeks flushed even in the dim porch light, "I'm Alec Carbro's sister."
AN: Confused? Think this curveball was too sharp? Well, remember the foreshadowing I kept mentioning that not many readers could spot? This is what it was referring to. Didn't notice Alice was acting strange these last few chapters?
Hope you guys were willing to catch the very small and very subtle hints. I'll explain thoroughly in the next chapter, of course.
Let me know how this chapter was for you. Do you like the relationship the boys have with the baby? or No? I'm here for you to vent your feelings. Leave a review and if you forget something, let me know through PM or my twitter account.
As always, thanks for reading!