Stephenie Meyer owns anything resembling Twilight. I just play with the characters. Oh, that sounds naughty.
A huge thank you goes to my beloved Red. Without her, I would most likely hide in a corner, scared and biting my nails. Love you so much, pretty girl.
I have a little cheerleading section who gets me through the rough spots, and I love them forever. You three know who you are. :-*
Jessy, my lovely girl, I hope you enjoy this.
Chapter Twenty-One – BPOV
"I'm what?" I ask incredulously. "That's not possible. No."
The doctor raises an eyebrow. "You're telling me you haven't had sexual intercourse in the last month or so?"
I blush furiously, feeling the color flood my face in a rush. "Well, of course I have, but I can't be pregnant."
"I don't know what to tell you, Miss Swan, other than you are indeed pregnant." A smug smile lifts his cheeks slightly, relaxing some of his natural sternness.
Edward stands frozen at my bedside; he hasn't spoken one word since the doctor uttered that tiny phrase. I can't look at him. I'm suddenly afraid of his reaction. We talked about kids, sure, but it's never been a definite thing, and it was always adoption if we decided to have them.
Against my better judgment, I glance at Edward, scared of what I'll find, but I am surprised to find a look of complete wonderment in his eyes. A single tear falls over his lashes, drips down his cheek, and falls to the ground, catching a ray of sunlight and sending a small rainbow shooting across his pant legs before it splashes noiselessly on the floor. I fix my eyes to that spot, unsure of what I'm feeling, let alone what Edward's feeling.
Dr. Masen hasn't said another word, but I see him shifting somewhat uncomfortably in my peripheral vision. Obviously Edward notices the same thing, because his voice cuts through the heavy silence.
"Um…" he begins uncertainly. "Is there any way we can push back Bella's interview? I think we need a moment to ourselves. This is a little bit overwhelming."
Overwhelming? More like fucking insane. I feel chagrined at my harsh language in reference to a pregnancy—my pregnancy—but it's just so unbelievable it doesn't seem real.
I hear Dr. Masen's soft reply as he leaves the room, but I can't make out his words. So many things are falling into place, different symptoms over the last few weeks, things I should have recognized.
Another part of my brain argues. But why would I? It's not like I knew it could happen.
My hands fall to my belly, still flat, in complete disbelief. I close my eyes, feeling the familiar burn of threatening tears. I have long since written off any hope of having children. I knew it wasn't in the cards, not in the natural way anyway. And now here's this doctor telling me something I believed, this one thing I was certain of, is wrong. But still, it's a baby. A baby! I open my eyes, staring down at my abdomen in wonder.
"Bella?" Edward's voice cuts through my inner monologue. "Honey, are you alright?"
"Huh?" I look up from my stomach to his concerned face.
He steps next to my bed slowly—one step, pause; one step, pause—until he's standing next to me, taking my hands in his. A look of intense concentration furrows his brow. I don't know what to say, what to do. I feel like my world's been turned upside down. And really, it has, but in the best of ways.
"Are you okay with this? Having a baby…with me?" His tone belies his steady grip on my hands; he sounds so nervous, and I suddenly feel incredibly selfish.
I draw myself up on my knees, somewhat clumsily, so I can be as close to face-to-face with Edward as I can be without him lifting me up. I rest my hands on either side of his scruffy face and look deep into his eyes, feeling my IV trailing down my arm. "I love you so much, and I can't imagine anyone in this world I'd rather have a child with. Listen, Edward." I kiss his lips gently. "I was convinced there was a reason I couldn't have children. That for some reason I shouldn't have them, but now it kind of makes sense. It's you. You make all the difference. Look how much you've changed me. I'm practically unrecognizable to the woman I was just a half a year ago, and I have you to thank for that. You pulled me out of the horrible cycle I was in, and you showed me I was someone worth loving, and that I have something to give, other than in a physical sense. You want to know if I want to have a baby with you?" He nods between my hands. "Yes, I want to have a baby with you, more than anything."
Strong arms wrap around my waist, squeezing me tightly, and I can feel a few stray tears soak into my hair. "I'm so glad to hear you say that. Oh, baby, I love you so much."
I pull back with a giggle, feeling like a whole new person. "Are you referring to me or your child?" Your child. Wow.
"Both of you," he says with a grin. "Now, how about we get you back into bed? You've got to be tired."
"I should be, but I'm not. I feel wired," I tell him honestly. There is an odd energy flowing through me, and despite everything I've been through, I want to celebrate. I want to call Alice and Rose and… My thought halts there as I grab a small basin from my bedside to vomit inside.
Edward's terrified voice cuts through the sudden ringing in my ears. "Bella! Are you alright? Do you want me to call the doctor?"
When I stop heaving, I answer hoarsely, "No, but maybe the nurse wouldn't be a bad idea." I clear my throat and taste the vile flavor on my tongue. "I'd really like to brush my teeth." I shove the plastic container to the end of my bed and throw my blanket over it, revealing the lower half of my body and the catheter tube poking out from the bottom of my gown. "And I want that thing gone."
He chuckles at my glare and drops a kiss on my forehead, realizing there's nothing more than pregnancy making me sick. "I guess this is something we have to look forward to in the coming months, huh? I'm going to run out and see who I can find."
"Why don't we just push the button?" I lift an eyebrow, not really wanting him out of my sight.
"Well, I have to use the restroom myself," he says with another laugh.
"Hurry back. I'll miss you."
"I will, little mama." Edward squeezes my shoulder and leaves the room.
I can't help but smile as I lie back, carefully staring at the ceiling. I might hurl again if I so much as see that bowl.
It's hard to believe less than forty-eight hours ago I was being kidnapped and thinking my life was about to be over. I can hardly think about that now. I'm so elated with this current turn of events. In eight months time, I'm going to be a mother, and I'll be the best mother there ever was. Edward will be such a great father…
My door cracks open and I grin. "Jeez, you can't leave me alone for two minutes?" Glancing at the door, my lightheartedness deflates faster than a pinpricked balloon. That's not Edward.
"Miss Swan, may we have a moment?" a man in a crisp officer's uniform asks.
I feel my face drain of all blood, and my mouth become as parched as the Sahara. I stare blankly at the tall, russet skinned man, unable to answer. He reminds me of Jake, and it sends a chill down my spine.
"You are Miss Swan, aren't you? Isabella Swan?" he continues, looking me up and down while I nod. He pauses, appraising my face with his dark eyes. "I'm sorry, but are you feeling alright?"
I shake my head and mouth, "No."
"Excuse me. What is going on in here?" Carmen is back.
I never thought I'd be so happy to see her, and close behind her is Edward.
The policeman doesn't seem quite as encouraged by their appearance as I do, especially when he takes in the look on Edward's face. "I'm interviewing Miss Swan. We really need to get this taken care of."
Edward interjects, "Can't it wait? I mean the poor girl just got—"
I cut him off with a wave of my hand. "No, he's right," I say, finally finding my voice. "I really need to tell you what happened." I steel myself for the onslaught of unpleasant memories I've thus far been pretty good at keeping in. It's time for me to put off my excitement and anchor myself to the harsher reality. It's only temporary, I think. Soon I can sit and float in my happiness.
The man introduces himself as Officer Call, and I focus on keeping myself calm while the nurse shoos him from the room for a moment while she cleans my bedding and removes my catheter. After I brush my teeth – under my own steam – I get settled into my fresh sheets while Edward pulls his chair closer to my side.
"Are you sure?" he asks, brushing his finger along my cheek.
I turn to kiss his palm and give him the most reassuring smile I can muster. "Yes, I'm sure. When all of this is past, we can focus on us, and on our future."
He nods as Officer Call walks in. Carmen follows him with a clearly disapproving glare. She stands near the door, keeping a watchful eye on the room.
Edward squeezes my fingers while Officer Call explains his need to record our conversation. I sign a piece of paper giving my consent, and the tall, dark man murmurs a few quiet words into the small piece of equipment. He turns his eyes on me and says, "Miss Swan, your doctor has insisted a nurse be present. Is this okay with you?" I nod. "Alright, then, whenever you're ready, please begin."
I take a deep breath, letting the oxygen fill my lungs in a wonderfully life-affirming way and let it out slowly. "I saw Mike standing there, right outside of our apartment, and he was talking to someone, gesturing wildly. The other person was hidden from my view, so I couldn't tell who it was. Then he moved. I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw Jake, Jacob Black, standing there, arguing with Mike, and I snapped." I pause to look apologetically at Edward. "As bad as it was to see Mike, I was out of my mind at the thought of Jake being so close to my home. I couldn't think of anything but making him pay for all of the pain he put me through. It was stupid, I know. But I couldn't stop." I run quickly through the next several minutes, up to when Mike grabbed me from behind, stuck me with a needle, and dragged me to his van.
"What happened after he abducted you?" Officer Call's voice is quiet, but insistent.
"I blacked out almost as soon as I hit the floor. The next thing I knew I was in a dusty room, in a cabin out in the woods." I relay the details in a haze, choking when I get up to the point of being on the receiving end of Mike's pistol. I can't bring myself to look at Edward, but his short breaths tell me how hard this is for him to hear. "He was aiming at me, but he was drunk, so it was wobbling all over. I never thought I'd make it out of there alive. He kept mumbling to himself, saying things that didn't make sense, something about nobody having me if he couldn't." Tears drip silently down my cheeks, but I keep my voice steady. "I kept throwing up, and it distracted him just enough where I could grab the gun out of his hand. I don't know what came over me, but I just lunged. We wrestled, and he kept hitting me and slapping me, but I managed to knock the gun under the bed, out his reach. He became irate, screaming at me, and he kicked me to the floor. I saw him unbuckle his pants, so I curled onto my side, trying to stay away from him."
I pause to calm myself. Looking over at Edward I see his hands are clenched so tightly his knuckles are white. I can hear his teeth grinding together. I close my eyes and prepare to tell the rest of my nightmare.
"I was terrified he'd rape me, but I glanced over and saw the gun. It was just out of my reach. Mike was panting heavily, and he fell to his knees, completely exposed from the waist down. He started grappling at my hips and legs, trying to remove my pants, so I flung myself forward and got a hold of the pistol. Without even thinking…" I gulp. "I pulled the trigger."
I stop as three separate gasps sound collectively.
Edward's arms are around me before I can inhale. "Oh, Bella, I'm so sorry." His voice dissolves into quiet indiscernible mumblings.
I look up to see Carmen, trembling, with tears dripping down her cheeks; and the cop looks at me with searching eyes, seeking an answer to his unasked question.
Gently, I push Edward back and shake my head at Officer Call. "I didn't kill him, if that's what you're wondering. I grazed his arm, but it was enough to scare him off of me. I used the gun to make my escape, threatening him with it while I ran out of the room. I grabbed the keys and got out of there as fast as I could. By the time I made it home, it was just too much, and I started to pass out just as I was getting off the elevator." I look into Edward's eyes. "And that's when my boyfriend found me."
"Thank you, Miss Swan. We should be able to corroborate your story fairly easily. We have eyewitnesses from the scene of your kidnapping, and with all of your injuries and reports from the medical staff here, we've as good as got him put away for a long time."
My voice raises an octave. "You caught him?"
"Well, no," he answers, apology filling his tone, "but we're close. The vehicle was registered to him, and we've got officers at his house, looking for clues."
"I don't think he'll go home."
"I can show you to his cabin."
"Bells, no!" Edward jumps to his feet, terror on his face. "You can't go back there!"
"Edward, how else are they supposed to find it? What if he finds me first? Are you willing to take that chance? Because I'm not," I tell him angrily.
"Of course that's not what I meant, but be reasonable; you haven't even been released from the hospital yet."
"I can leave right now if I want, and it just so happens I do."
Growling, he turns and storms out of the room, scaring poor Carmen closer to the bed.
I do feel somewhat guilty for upsetting him, but I am beyond ready for this whole thing to be over. I want to live my life without fear or doubt.
"Officer Call, would you be so kind as to give me a minute? I'd like to get dressed now."
Filled with a new determination, and a touch of horror and déjà vu, I point out directions from the backseat of a police cruiser. Edward is beside me, gripping my fingers almost painfully.
A thought strikes me as we make our way through the winding roads, driving deeper into the forest. "Wait, Officer Call? What about Jake? Did you catch him?"
Edward interrupts just as he opens his mouth, "Actually, Bella, he didn't really have anything to do with this, not directly anyway."
"What? But he was with Mike!"
I watch his expressions flow from anger to grudging acceptance as he explains the entire situation.
"Huh. I don't really know what to think. I mean, I knew he had a substance abuse problem, but I didn't realize it had become so bad." I sit back and mull over everything, occasionally pointing out a turn. It's kind of a relief to know I have nothing more to fear from him. I still want nothing to do with him, and I can't really say I don't hate him, but I think I can move on now.
Edward watches me closely; I can feel the protectiveness oozing off him.
"Honey, it's alright," I say, feeling sure in my words as I rub my hand gently over my abdomen. "I don't know why, but I just know things are going to be okay."
"I wish I was as positive as you, my love." He kisses my fingers and looks out the window at the ever-thickening trees. "I'm still getting a protection order against him," he mutters.
I smile and pay closer attention to our surroundings. We're nearly there. "It's just up here. The house is about a half a mile down the driveway."
The trees are so dense and the road so remote there are no other cars or people to be seen.
When we reach the driveway, the small caravan of bulletproof-glass-windowed vehicles pulls to the side of the road, and into the ditch. Edward and I stay put as Officer Call slides his long frame out of the car to rendezvous with the other men and women. We watch as they confer, and part of their group splits off to slink through the woods, forming a long line in the trees. When he returns to the car, he tells us he's going to drive slowly, followed by a couple of other officers, down the drive.
The car starts forward and creeps down the lane until the cabin is in view. I shudder and sink into Edward's side. He wraps his arm tighter around me and we stare unblinkingly at the yard before us.
"Oh my god…" Officer Call's voice trails off just as we see Mike's lifeless body hanging limply from a tree.
I gasp and close my eyes, not wanting to see any of this.
The next minutes pass quickly, and yet, with the pace of dripping molasses.
The cops search the premises and find that Mike hung himself only a few hours ago. He left nothing behind, except for a sloppily written message in the dirt beneath his swaying feet.
"I still can't believe it. Oh, Bella!" Alice wraps her arms around me, squeezing me until I feel like I might burst. "I'm so glad you're alright! I still have nightmares about it." She releases me and gives me an odd look before she kisses my cheek and skips off to sit on Jasper's lap.
I'm instantly wondering if she felt my slightly swollen belly. It's been nearly two months since I escaped with my life and discovered I was pregnant. We decided to wait until we were through with the first trimester before telling our friends, just for good luck.
"Well, it wasn't all bad," I say with a grin and a sidelong glance at Edward.
He nods at me from across the room, where he's pouring champagne for all of our friends. Rose, Emmett, Alice, and Jasper all look at me with raised eyebrows and pursed lips. Edward walks over, balancing a tray full of fluted stemware, to hand everyone their glass, a smile permanently etched on his handsome face.
I laugh and let them in on our little secret. "We're pregnant!"
Rosalie and Alice both squeal and pounce on me with tears streaming down their faces; and the guys both jump up to give Edward a hearty clap on the back.
"Oh, Bella, I am so happy for you!"
"Wow, Edward a dad! I can't believe it!"
"When are you due?" Rosalie asks excitedly. I can already see her planning a huge brunch in the baby's honor.
With a giggle, I tell them, "In mid-April."
"Wait? Are you guys going to get married before or after she's born?"
"Alice!" Jasper and Rose admonish at once.
I blush and look down. "Well, we haven't really talked about it yet. And besides," I say, trying to change the subject, "who says we're having a girl?"
"Actually," Edward says as he steps between our friends to kneel in front of me, "I was just waiting for the right time."
Everyone steps back in murmured awe, watching us both with expectant expressions.
"Edward?" I ask in quiet voice, suddenly feeling very shy.
"Bella, my love, my heart, soon-to-be mother of my child, I have been captivated by your very presence since the first day you bumped into me at Glitz. I couldn't stop thinking about you, but you didn't seem to care for me at all. Never in my life has anyone made me feel so frustrated and impassioned at the same time. You kept me on my toes; you kept me wondering, until that one day, that fateful, life-changing day, when you called me. You sounded so unsure, so scared – you, the most beautiful, confident woman I have ever known. And since then, every day has been better than the last…"
"Kidnapped," Emmett coughs loudly into his hand, and everyone laughs nervously.
"Well, almost every day," he amends. "Darling girl, even before we became a we, I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life showing you how amazing you are. So I want to ask you, in front of our family, will you marry me?"
My heart is in my chest, fluttering wildly as he pulls a small black box from his pocket and opens it slowly. I stare at the ring; a large, round sapphire, flanked by matching set of round-cut diamonds. Sudden sunlight breaks through the clouds, shining into our living room. The light reflects from the stones, sending tiny rainbows over the most beautiful face I have ever seen. Tears stream down my face, for what feels like the thousandth time this year, and I whisper, "Yes."
Edward slips the gorgeous ring on my finger and scoops me up off the couch, pressing his lips to mine in the most heart-stopping, breathtaking kiss I've ever experienced.
We break apart and he lays his hands gently against my stomach, running his fingers over our growing child.
Alice speaks up in a teary voice, raising her glass to the ceiling. "To Edward and Bella!"
A small chorus of "Edward and Bella!" rings around us, followed by the sound of tinkling crystal. It resonates deep within me, each separate note flowing through my soul. This is the start of our forever, our beautiful, brilliant forever.
A/N: Thank you so much for reading, for sticking with me for the past…well, more than a year. I hope you liked the end of my little ride. Let me know what you think!
Also, I've been thinking about an epilogue. I might do it, if y'all wanna see the wedding or the baby, anyway. ;)