Author's Note: This chapter was hard to write. I had about five different ideas to open the chapter. I rewrote it and rewrote it and rewrote it. However, most of my requests were for the new baby, Carlie and Masen, and a hot lemon. So I included all of them.
Disclaimer: Stephenie Meyer owns all that is recognizable. I own Carlie, Masen, and the new baby.
"Daddy," Carlie sighed as she ran into the kitchen and saw me standing in front of the stove. "You don't cook as good as Mommy."
"I know," I admitted. "But we're pampering Mommy today. She doesn't feel well. How were school and ballet? Where is Aunt Alice?"
"School and ballet were fine," she shrugged. "Aunt Alice is in the living room."
I flipped the chicken breasts over in the frying pan and led my little girl away from the stove. We went to the living room, where Bella had her feet up while Masen rested against her tummy. My sister Alice was complaining about our decision to let the gender of our new baby be a surprise. "I don't know if I should buy pink or blue, and I hate unisex colors!" she sighed.
"Hey, little sis," I greeted her, picking her up off her feet and spinning her around. Alice was a tiny thing. She had quit growing in her early teens.
"Daddy!" Masen squealed. "Put Aunt Allie down!"
"Yes, sir." I saluted him before setting Alice down on her feet. "Thanks for picking Carlie up," I told her.
"Anytime," she smiled. "I don't see my niece and nephew enough. Jasper and I are trying for a baby of our own, you know."
Bella snorted. "You'll rethink it if you see me go into labor-which is quite possible if you stay for dinner."
"Not at eight months," I prayed aloud
Alice clapped her hands in glee. "I can't wait. Do you want me to take the kids off your hands for the night?"
Bella shook her head. "No, I'm trying to have a normal routine as much as possible before the baby gets here." She ruffled our son's hair and kissed his forehead. "One more month, Masen Man."
"Okay," Alice said. "I'll give you guys some family time. Call me as soon as it happens and Jazz and I will be here in five minutes!"
She kissed Bella's cheek before dashing out.
"Come read your school book to me, Carlie," Bella said. "Masen, do you want to listen?"
"I want to sit in your lap," he sighed.
Bella kissed his hair soothingly. "Sweetie, we've talked about this. Mommy's belly is kind of making that impossible right now. And when the new baby gets here, you will have to share my lap with him."
Masen looked grief-stricken. Bella hugged him against her full chest before wincing. "Ow, that hurts, too."
"I'm going to finish dinner," I told her before kissing her foot-the nearest thing to me.
She smiled and nodded. "Thank you, my love."
I made Bella's latest pregnancy cravings-fried chicken and scrambled eggs, as weird as it was-and then some mashed potatoes and steamed vegetables. I took her a tray with lots of food and all the eggs, and a large glass of iced tea.
"You're so good to me, Edward," she sighed. "Your youngest son is going to be a very happy baby!"
"My youngest daughter," I corrected her. "Carlie and Mase, we're going to eat in here with Mommy."
Carlie sighed impatiently. "When is the baby going to be here?"
"A month, sweetie," Bella said. "One month, God willing."
Masen suddenly looked tearful. "I don't want the new baby to be here," he said softly.
"Why not, love?" Bella asked him, smoothing his hair.
"I want my lap back!"
Bella sighed as Masen started to cry, hugging him tight. "Masen, baby, you're still going to have Mommy's lap. You'll just have to share it. Don't cry, honey..."
"Masen," I said softly. "Do you want to come help me in the kitchen?"
He shook his head. "I...want...Mommy!"
"I've got you, sweetie," Bella told him. "Daddy, will you go get Masen's dinner for him?" She winked at me inconspicuously.
"Yes," I said, feeling guilty that she had to comfort him. For some reason, her energy had been drained since the night before. I heard her hush him and murmur to him as I made two plates for the kids.
"Masen," she said quietly but firmly. "You're wasting your time with Mommy before the baby is born. Will you sit by Mommy and quietly eat your dinner?"
"I...want...to...rock," he sobbed.
She sighed. " Go get your blanket from your room."
He nodded, sniffling, and trudged down the hall.
"I'm being a big girl," Carlie said proudly. "I'm going to help Mommy with the new baby."
"I know, baby," I told her. "Why don't you turn on cartoons while you eat?" I bent over Bella and stole a kiss while Masen was still getting his blanket. "Are you okay?" I asked her quietly. "I can rock him."
She shook her head. "He needs me to do it. I understand that he's nervous he'll be shoved aside. He's used to being my baby." She sighed and gave me a little smile. "And yeah, I'm fine. I could really use a back rub, but let me try to put him to sleep first."
"I'll go put your dinner in the microwave," I told her.
When I returned, she and Masen were in the rocker, him wrapped in a blue blanket. Bella had him awkwardly cradled to her chest, on top of her belly. She was singing in his ear and patting him to sleep. He was surprisingly cranky and tired. I wondered if he was going through a growth spurt that required him to sleep more. He was already way too big for my pregnant wife to rock, but of course she was doing it for her sweet Masen.
Carlie was exhausted from ballet, so after dinner I gave her a warm bath and changed her into her pajamas. She was easy to get into bed. When I returned to the living room, Masen was asleep, his arms securely wrapped around Bella's neck. I pried him away and tucked him into his "big boy" bed, his special blanket covering him warmly. He woke up and stirred as I tucked him in.
"Daddy?" he mumbled. "I want Mommy…"
"Mommy doesn't feel well," I told him. "Can you please be Daddy and Mommy's big boy and go back to sleep?"
He sighed. "I don't want the baby to come. He's going to take my mommy away from me."
"Hey, listen to me, Masen Man," I said comfortingly, stroking his face. "Mommy could have fifty babies and you would still be the apple of her eye. Mommy loves you so much that no one will ever take your place in her heart. You're just going to have to share her. But do you know what?"
"What?" he asked me.
"New babies are fun. You get to play with them and you can help Mommy like a big boy. And when the baby takes a nap, you can still have your special time with Mommy. Okay?"
He nodded thoughtfully. "And you'll still play with me?"
"Of course! I still have to have my lightsaber fights with you, don't I?"
He smiled. "And Carlie and the new baby aren't allowed to have lightsaber fights. That's our game."
"That's right," I said, kissing his forehead. "Go back to sleep, sweet boy. If you wake up tomorrow and Aunt Alice is here, that means we've gone to the hospital. Okay?"
"Okay," he said, looking a little glum again. "Will you sing to me?"
I sang a quick lullaby and he finally drifted off to sleep. Finally, I went back to the kitchen and took Bella's plate to her. She was sitting on the couch with her legs stretched out on the ottoman. I noticed for the first time that she was wearing a maternity shirt of a beautiful blue. It looked so pretty with her pale skin.
"Hello, my very hot wife," I greeted her. She laughed and looked up at me, kissing my cheek.
"I don't feel hot," she admitted, hungrily eyeing the plate of chicken and eggs.
"You look hot," I assured her, sitting next to her and feeding her a bite of chicken. "Your tummy is swollen with my child, your breasts are very big, and you're still glowing. Maybe gorgeous is a better word."
She laughed again. "Enjoy the glow while it lasts. Mmm, this chicken is good."
I fed her another bite. She giggled and closed her eyes as she ate. When she finished, I kissed her slowly. "What can I do to make you more comfortable?"
She bit her lip. "I'm fine..."
"No, you're not," I replied. "A backrub? A foot massage? A warm bath? Some cheesecake?"
"You do so much for me already," she smiled, picking lint off my shirt. "You're an amazing husband. Why don't you take a break?"
Her hands traced the planes of my chest. I leaned down and nuzzled my nose to hers. "I have an idea," I said. "Pajamas, a romantic comedy, and cuddling. We're not going to get to snuggle for much longer."
"You're brilliant," she said, leaning in to peck my lips. "I'm going to go brush my teeth and change."
"I'm going to put the leftovers up," I told her. "Um...since Baby gets in the way our entwining on the couch, would you like me to move our mattress into the living room floor?"
"No, that mattress is huge-thank you, by the way," she winked. (I had just bought a new mattress and a new bed for our anniversary.) "We can go to the guest room and watch the TV in there."
"Alright. Pick something to watch, love. I'll be there shortly."
I tried to hurry as I put the leftovers in the refrigerator and washed the dishes. I finished in the kitchen and went to put my pajamas on. Bella and I usually slept in next to nothing, but I didn't expect anything tonight-just some tender intimacy made of snuggling, some kisses, and feeling the baby kick. I smiled as I crawled into the bed in the guest room. I was really looking forward to it.
She ended up choosing The Notebook-quite predictable. I rolled my eyes as she put it in the DVD player and joined me in the bed. "What?" she teased, kissing my cheek swiftly. "You said it was my choice."
"I did," I admitted. "Just don't vocalize your lusting after Ryan Gosling, please."
"As long as you keep your eyes off Rachel McAdams."
"Aw, she was hotter in Mean Girls," I whispered in Bella's ear, making her playfully swat me and snuggle into my side.
I spooned her as the boring movie began, but after five minutes, she rolled on her back. "Not comfortable," she confessed sadly.
"It's okay, love," I assured her, sitting up. "I'm your body pillow. Make yourself comfortable."
She grinned and wrapped around me, her huge belly pressed into my side. She was wearing maternity shorts and a big maternity tank top-she tended to get very warm when she was pregnant-and it was impossible to find that not distracting. Even when she was eight months along, she was so beautiful and just downright sexy. I softly rubbed her leg, smiling as I remembered our encounter the day before. Her back, legs, and feet had been aching, so after I sent the kids to the neighbor's house to play, I drew a warm bath in our Jacuzzi. She had been self-conscious about the fact that she could no longer reach her legs to shave them, so I had shaved them for her. At first she had been even more self-conscious about that, but the way I massaged her legs and feet afterward had stirred up another emotion in her...
"What are you grinning about?" Bella asked me, looking up at me as I continued to stroke her smooth leg.
"I like this movie," I lied, looking toward the screen. Ryan Gosling was hanging from a Ferris wheel with his pants pulled down. Ick. "Don't watch that part."
Bella laughed. "Are you jealous, Dr. Cullen?"
"Definitely not," I fibbed, making her giggle. She reached up to kiss me softly.
"You know, you're suddenly really happy. Is the stress lessening? Feeling better?"
She shrugged. "Sleeping in the guest room...I kind of like it. It's like we're on a weekend getaway…your parents are keeping the kids and we just need a change of scenery…"
I moaned softly. "That sounds so wonderful right now. But you're right. It does feel like it."
She kissed me again and rolled back over to watch her movie. I was still distracted by her body. But she giggled when she saw Noah and Allie make out on the piano bench. I automatically knew why. This was brought up every time we watched The Notebook.
"Do you remember the first time we slept together?" she murmured, her gorgeous brown eyes staring up at me.
"Of course," I replied. "How could I forget? I took you home to meet my parents…"
"And Carlisle and Esme went out for the night and you played your piano for me," she cut in. "And I was so amazed that you had such talent, that I pretty much just straddled you on the bench…"
"And the rest is history," I chuckled.
"I felt so guilty afterwards," Bella admitted. "Especially when Esme told me that she enjoyed playing the piano, too."
"I felt guilty, too," I laughed. "But I love piano sex."
"Me, too, hun."
She returned to the awkward scene of the two teenagers taking their clothes off. Rachel McAdams had a good body, I supposed, but she was nothing compared to the angel that was laying in bed with me. Bella rolled over so her belly was pressed into my side and her head was on my chest. I kissed her forehead and stroked her long hair.
By the time Noah and Allie were having sex, Bella was all too willing. She turned her little face up to me and caught my lips in a kiss. The kiss quickly turned passionate as our fingers tangled in each other's hair and our bodies pressed together…
"Not comfortable," Bella mumbled a minute later.
I realized how difficult this night would be. Her hormones were running wild, and I wasn't exactly calm, either. But Bella really was quite huge and actually making love would be a challenge.
So even though my erection was straining against my gym shorts, I kissed Bella one last time before ducking under the covers.
"Oh, yes," Bella sighed happily as I moved between her legs and pulled her shorts down. She quickly uncovered me. "I want to watch," she admitted.
Once her wet pussy was exposed, I immediately began my work, kissing along her inner thighs. She moaned lightly as I kissed her pussy lips, softly licking.
"Oh, god," she murmured.
Oh, my hormone-sensitive wife. I smiled as I worshiped the part of her body that only I could worship. I finally finished the—foreplay?—and sucked on her clit while slithering my fingers into her stretched-out entrance.
Of course she came quite quickly—and quite loudly. When I was finished, I crawled up her body—hovering over her swollen torso—and kissed her to quiet her down. The last thing I needed was for Masen to run in and see his mommy spread out before his daddy. My three-year-old already wanted to know what a uterus was…we should have never taken the kids to the ultrasound. Hopefully he would forget that one.
Tasting herself on me only made her kiss more passionate.
"My turn," she murmured before slowly sliding down the bed.
"You don't have to," I said as she gently pushed me down on the mattress.
"I want to. And you're awfully hard, sir."
I rolled my eyes happily as she pulled my gym shorts down. My wife always wanted to please me, and I appreciated her so much for that. She tenderly sucked me and stroked me until I came in her mouth. After she finished, I curled up next to her, my hand on her belly. As usual after Bella got worked up, the baby was moving actively. I could feel the flutters against my hand.
"Beautiful," I whispered.
She smiled. "Pregnancy really is an incredible thing. That baby is kicking for his daddy."
I kissed her softly.
"Okay, I'm tired," she admitted as she collapsed against the pillows. The movie was still playing, so I tucked the blankets around her and let her lay her head on my chest again. She fell into a deep sleep, first puckering her lips for a kiss. I kissed her gently. "Good night," she sighed happily.
"Good night, love."
I found sleep as well, but she woke me up around four AM, saying, "Edward? Edward, love? Honey, you need to wake up. Please."
I leapt up. "What is it, Bella?"
"I'm in pain," she moaned. "I think we need to go to the hospital."
After calling Alice and her husband Jasper to come stay with the kids, I quickly packed a bag for Bella while she sat on the couch, cradling her belly in her arms and timing her contractions. I knew she was worried.
"Five minutes," she announced just as the doorbell rang. I ran and opened the door. Alice shoved past me and went to Bella.
"Are you okay?" she demanded.
"I don't know," Bella admitted. "I'm a month early. Edward, we have to go."
Jasper helped me help her up. I let her lean against me as I led her to the car. "There are instructions on the refrigerator," I told them. "Have fun. You guys can crash in our bed-the guestroom isn't clean."
"We will," Jasper assured me. "Good luck, little sister."
"Thanks, Jazz," she murmured.
I helped her into the passenger's seat and sped to the hospital. While I was driving and she was panting, she asked me, "Edward? What are the chances of…?"
"The chances could be good," I told her. "This is the biggest baby we've ever had. I bet she is really strong. Deep breaths, love."
She squeezed my hand tightly.
We finally made it to the hospital. I made her sit in a wheelchair and immediately followed the nurse's instructions to the maternity ward. They immediately lodged her in an examination room. When I told them she was only at eight months, a doctor came in and checked her quickly.
"You're already dilating quickly, Mrs. Cullen," Dr. Cheney smiled at her. "It is worrisome that you're early, but so far I don't see any signs of stress. We'll take your vitals and get the baby's heartbeat."
I held Bella's hand, kissing it as Dr. Cheney moved over her. Bella's blood pressure was a little high—probably from the sudden stress of the situation-but when Dr. Cheney hooked her up to hear the baby's heartbeat, we all breathed a sigh of relief.
Baby Cullen was going strong.
"Oh, thank God," Bella murmured, collapsing against the pillows.
Bella was hooked up to a monitor that displayed her heartbeat, the baby's heartbeat, and the forces of her contractions. Of course this made it easier, because I could tell when was the best time to kiss her and stroke her hair. Not that I was ever stopping.
"You're doing well," I whispered to her. "Everything is going to be okay."
"I'm hurting," she admitted. Bella never did well with pain.
"Do you want an epi—"
"No. I had Carlie and Masen naturally. I'll have this baby naturally."
"It could help your blood pressure, love."
"If it comes down to that, then I'll do it, but right now I'm going to be stubborn. No epidurals."
I kissed her forehead. "You get to choose, sweetheart. I'm not going to force a decision on you."
She smiled. "Edward, we're about to see our third child. Can you believe it?"
"Thirteen years together," I beamed at her. "And eight years of marriage."
I stroked her face softly as the next contraction hit her. She moaned through it, gripping my wrist. "That's okay, love," I told her. "You're doing fine…almost over."
Finally, she breathed a sigh of relief. I saw tears in her eyes. "Edward? Can you talk to me?"
"Anything. Just distract me. Honestly, I'm thinking about pianos right now. Is that weird?"
"No," I assured her. "It's a pleasant thought. It's perfectly normal you would want to think that."
She smiled. "Tell me one of your memories of us."
"Okay," I said, running through the past thirteen years. "Um…have I ever told you about the first time I saw you?"
She closed her eyes and shook her head. "No, I don't think so."
A big smile spread across my face as I remembered. "We were in Dr. Banner's Biology laboratory at the University of Washington. I was late, as usual, and there was only one table open. I was upset that I didn't have a lab partner, because I liked teamwork better…and then five minutes into the lecture, you walked in. You were soaked with rain and you wore a blue Nirvana t-shirt."
"You remember what I was wearing?"
"Of course I do," I replied, stroking her arm softly. "I had never seen anything more beautiful. I remember anxiously looking around the classroom and making sure there wasn't an empty table. Finally, you batted your eyelashes and convinced Dr. Banner to let you in because you had gotten lost on campus. He visibly melted…and told you to go sit by Mr. Cullen. It was in that minute that I froze. I watched as you walked down the aisle, and you tripped over someone's backpack."
She blushed. "I remember that."
"But you held your head high and kept walking toward me. When you finally sat next to me, your strawberry-scented shampoo hit me. I couldn't move. I couldn't breathe. I couldn't speak. I could only stare at you."
"And you wouldn't respond to anything I said," she laughed softly. "I thought you were a deaf-mute."
"I was paralyzed," I confessed. "I stared at you for a solid week before you finally asked me what was wrong with me."
"And you said that you were partial to the color of my shirt."
"Yeah, you were wearing a blue hoodie."
"How do you remember that?" she asked me, letting me tuck her hair behind her ears.
"It was one of the most significant moments of my life," I stated. "I had no idea you would be my wife one day…but I hoped for it, especially when you showed off your intelligent mind in that class. I went home and dreamed about you every night. And finally, when you got the nerve to ask me out on a study date…well then, I somehow knew we would end up being together."
"And when we went to the library to study, you pulled out a pizza with Canadian bacon, my favorite topping," she smiled. "How did you know that?"
"I heard you order a slice in the cafeteria," I admitted, blushing. "I didn't follow you, but I didn't stay away, either."
She laughed quietly. "And at the library, when I decided to touch your hand…"
"I freaked out again," I chuckled.
"Mmm." She winced as another contraction hit her. "Oh…"
"Squeeze my hands," I told her. She grasped them tightly, nearly cutting off circulation. "You've got it, love," I told her. "It's peaking…"
"It's finishing," I assured her a little later, kissing her forehead. "I'm so proud of you, sweetie."
Her contractions were in full force, but she was only dilated four centimeters. I sighed as I heard Dr. Cheney's diagnosis. I was ready for Bella to have our baby and stop hurting…
After Dr. Cheney left, I softly hummed to Bella as I rubbed her feet. Anything to distract her…
"Talk to me some more," she encouraged me. "Tell me something else."
I pursed my lips as I remembered. "Do you remember our first kiss?"
"I remember being surprised that you went for it," she replied. "You were so shy."
I nodded. "Yeah…it was when we went to see that production of Dracula…and we had to park so far away from the theatre. It was raining really hard, and I was holding your high heels under my coat so you wouldn't ruin them. We were at a crosswalk, waiting for traffic to let up, and you leaned against the pole…you were wearing a red trenchcoat and you had worn your hair straight, but the rain was making it curl again. Once again you looked breathtaking, like you had stepped out of a movie. I wasn't even thinking when I leaned down to kiss you."
"I was so happy that you finally did kiss me," she admitted. "After five dates, you would think it would happen. I had already planned on attacking you when you dropped me off at my dorm."
"Your lips were so sweet and warm," I reminisced. "I remember thinking you tasted like flowers, if that makes sense. You still do. That night, I went to my dorm and saw Emmett…"
She chuckled at the memory of my college roommate—now my brother-in-law. "What did you say to him?"
"That I had finally kissed you, and he threw a sandwich at me and told me it was about time. And then he blamed me for wasting a sandwich!"
She laughed quietly. "You never told me that."
"It was embarrassing," I explained just as my phone rang. The caller ID read Mom. "Uh oh," I mumbled. "I think I'm in trouble. I didn't call Mom and Dad…"
"Answer it and explain everything," Bella told me.
I clicked the phone and put it to my ear. "Hey, Mom. Everything is fine. Bella is in labor early, but the baby is very strong and healthy."
"Thank God," my sweet mother breathed. "Carlisle, she's okay. The baby is doing well. Alice called and we've been worried sick, Edward."
"It's five AM," I told her. "Go back to bed."
"Like that is going to happen when my daughter is in labor! Carlisle and I will come up to Seattle today. I can't wait to see my little granddaughter."
"Grandson," my dad called from the background, making me laugh.
"Well, go support your wife," Mom told me. "Be a good husband. I'll see you today, love!"
"Okay, Mom. I love you."
"Love you, too. And tell Bella I love her."
"Me, too!" Dad called.
"I will." I clicked the phone off. "Mom and Dad said they love you."
"You better call my parents," Bella sighed. "They'll be furious if we don't let them know."
I called Charlie Swan and then Renee Dwyer, relaying the same messages to them. I assumed Alice would let my other sister Rosalie know—and her husband Emmett.
By then, my head was starting to hang with sleepiness. I lowered the rail on Bella's bed and laid my head on her shoulder. She kissed my forehead before squeezing my hand again.
Here we go again…
By the time that contraction was over, I knew I had to get some caffeine. Bella saw it, too. "Go get some coffee," she encouraged me. "I'll be fine."
As I walked to the cafeteria, I started to pray that everything was going to be okay. I wasn't a particularly religious person, but I had grown up in a Christian household, so I knew how to do it. Bella and my children were the most precious things in my life. I couldn't lose any of them…
Some time later, it was time to go to the delivery room.
I had drank a few cups of coffee, so I was wide awake by then. I held Bella's hand as they rushed her to delivery, preparing her for the birth of our baby. I stayed by her head and kissed her temple, stroking her hair and whispering to her that everything was going to be okay.
"Start pushing," Dr. Cheney directed her.
Bella had both of my hands and let out a noise of frustration as she began to push. Sweat left a sheen on her forehead, and her hair hung limply with the moisture. Still, she looked beautiful, with flushed cheeks and the look of determination in her chocolate eyes.
"Talk to me," she begged.
"Our wedding day," I said, using the first thing that came to mind. "I was standing in my parents' living room, waiting impatiently. There was a nagging little pain in my brain that told me you had decided not to marry me. I knew I didn't deserve you. I knew that you could probably find someone so much better. Dad, Emmett, and Jasper stood at the altar with me, and they kept telling me over and over that you were just getting ready for the ceremony, that you wanted to make yourself beautiful for me. I knew that was ridiculous. You were already so beautiful without the frills...finally, the doors opened and the music started to play. Alice, Rosalie, and Jessica walked out in their silver gowns. It made me impatient; while all eyes were on them, I only wanted to see you..."
"Push!" Dr. Cheney instructed her.
I kissed Bella's forehead as she let out a shout. I watched the heart monitor...her blood pressure wasn't letting up...
"Keep talking," she instructed through gritted teeth.
"And finally, I saw a flash of black. It was your dad's tuxedo. And then the doors opened, and you started walking down the stairs. You looked so breathtaking in your white gown. You were like an immaculate angel. Your hair was curled just how I liked it, your cheeks were blushing as everyone stared at you, and even the flowers you carried seemed to compliment you. I couldn't believe I was so lucky. I remember Dad having to touch my back, reminding me to breathe. I kept thinking you were going to vanish into thin air. I certainly wasn't good enough to have someone like you. I remember bargaining with God, saying that he would never have to bless me again if I could just stay with you for forever."
"That's it, Mrs. Cullen," Dr. Cheney told her. "The baby is moving fast. Push harder."
I knew Bella was under so much stress. "And then the next significant moment in my life," I continued. "When you were sitting on the lid of the toilet, holding that white stick in your hand. I was terrified at first when I saw the plus sign. I didn't know how to be a daddy...but nine months later, you were in a room just like this, and I heard my daughter cry...you started crying. Weeping. I could see that you were already cut out to be a mother. I remember you murmuring, Carlie. Carlie Renee. The doctor asked me if I wanted to cut Carlie's umbilical cord, and I said yes. That was so symbolic for me. You were already a mother. I wanted to be a daddy. When I cut the cord, it felt like she was finally mine, finally a tangible object I could love. They had to take her from me so they could clean her up. As soon as they put her in your arms, I realized the impossible: I loved you even more. You kissed and cooed over Carlie, and you invited me to do the same. When I saw that she had wispy curls, I started to cry. She was gorgeous, so gorgeous. Just like you. You were such a strong woman and you gave me the greatest blessing in my life..."
Bella had tears in her eyes.
"Again," Dr. Cheney directed. "Come on, Mrs. Cullen, you're doing so well."
"And when we saw Masen's ultrasound," I continued. "Oh my god, that scared me even more. The technician congratulated us, telling us we had a healthy little boy growing inside of you. I wanted a boy so badly, but the fear set in. I knew how to braid hair and put tights on our little girl. I didn't know how I would take care of a boy. I didn't know how I could balance my love for Carlie and my love for our son. But when he was born, I once again saw the love in your eyes for him, and I was attached. When I cut his umbilical cord, I knew that this was my son, and he was made out of our love. He looked like you, just like Carlie did. But the fact that he had my green eyes-well, I knew that we had created a little miracle and I made a promise to myself that he would grow up and see how a real man lived. I wanted my son to be able to love his wife and children. And I can already tell that we've done well with Masen, because he loves his mommy so much. Not only is he the apple of your eye, but you're the apple of his eye. Once again, I had the greatest blessing. I remember thinking that I needed a new suffix to go on the end of great."
Bella smiled, still pushing, and whispered the only three words I needed to hear. "I love you," she mumbled.
"I love you, too," I told her, kissing her.
Some time later, I heard the sound of my third child crying. Bella nearly fainted with relief. Crying was good. Crying meant the baby was breathing and reacting.
"What do we have, my love?" she asked me.
I glanced over at Dr. Cheney, who was holding our dirty baby. "A girl," I gasped in shock. "Oh my love, we have another daughter."
"Claire," she whispered adoringly. "Claire..."
"She's perfect," Dr. Cheney spoke up. "Daddy, do you want to cut the cord?"
I nodded, bending to kiss Bella sweetly.
And the next significant moment in my life: I was a daddy again. To a healthy little girl.
After I cut the cord (so precious), they took her and cleaned her up. I returned to Bella, who still had to pass the placenta. After that, I came and nuzzled my nose to her face.
"Is she beautiful?" she murmured.
"Did you give birth to her?" I teased my wife, kissing her lips.
"Here's your baby," a nurse said, cradling a little pink bundle. Bella took her eagerly, and gasped.
Anna Claire Cullen was perfect, weighing seven pounds and nine ounces. Dr. Cheney said it was lucky that Bella's body had decided to deliver early, because the baby could have gotten too big if carried to term, and they might have had to perform a C-section.
"So gorgeous," Bella whispered.
Claire had my father's blond hair-so all of those little playful arguments over whether she should have bronze or brown hair were completely pointless. She also had Bella's brown eyes and my lips. I could even see a teeny version of my mother's nose on her face.
But Bella was exhausted, so they took Claire to the nursery so she could rest. "I love you," I told her as she faded into sleep.
"I love you more," she replied. "Thank you for telling me all of that, sweetheart."
"Thank you for giving me every one of those moments," I answered. "And thank you for giving me another daughter. Are you disappointed she isn't a boy?"
"Definitely not," Bella smiled. "She's flawless."
Later during the day, after Bella had woken up, Carlie and Masen bounded into her hospital room.
"Where's the baby?" Carlie demanded.
Masen gasped. "Mommy, your tummy isn't as big anymore!"
Bella laughed. "Daddy will go get the baby."
"Is it a boy or a girl?" Carlie asked, climbing on the bed.
"I want on the bed with Mommy!" Masen begged, too little to climb onto the high bed.
I lifted my son up, kissing his cheek. He laid next to Bella, and she wrapped an arm around him. "Well," she said happily. "You two now have a little sister."
Carlie squealed in delight, and Masen's mouth fell open. He looked a little disappointed, but he looked happy at the same time. I saw Bella snuggle with our two oldest children before I went and got our third.
Alice and Jasper were waiting at the window of the nursery. "Which one is ours?" Alice asked in excitement.
"I'll go get her," I said.
Claire was surprisingly awake, staring at the ceiling and sucking on her knuckle. She smelled like baby powder as I lifted her up to my chest. She practically melted into me, perhaps recognizing who I was.
"Anna Claire," I introduced her to my sister and brother-in-law. "Claire for short."
"She's gorgeous!" Alice gasped. "And she has my nose!"
I laughed. "Yes, she does. Carlie and Masen are about to die to see her, but you can come with us."
"Nah, we'll give you a moment," Jasper winked at me.
Carlie and Masen were waiting expectantly as I walked into the hospital room. I sat on the bed and passed Claire to Bella.
Carlie gasped. "She's so pretty!"
"She has hair like Grandpa and Aunt Rosalie," Masen observed.
"Isn't she cute?" Bella asked them.
Masen nodded. "I like her."
I laughed and tickled my son's belly. He giggled loudly. "Stop, Daddy! You're going to scare-wait, what's her name?"
"Claire," Bella said. "Her name is Claire."
"Can I hold her?" Carlie asked.
"Me, too!" Masen exclaimed.
"Of course," Bella told them. "Carlie, sit against the pillows and hold your arms out."
As I protectively sat on the other side of Carlie so she couldn't possibly drop Claire, I realized that yet again, I was experiencing one of the most precious moments in the world.
Through my eyes, this was significant.
And through my eyes, I was the luckiest man in the world.
Carlie Renee-In the Saga, Carlie is Nessie's middle name and of course Renee is Bella's mom.
Anthony Masen-In the Saga, Edward's full name is Edward Anthony Masen Cullen.
Anna Claire-According to the Twilight Lexicon, Anne is Esme's middle name, and Claire is just the other significant child in the Saga.
FYI, I highly doubt I'll write another chapter. If you have an idea for another one, leave it in a review and I'll consider it.
I really love reviews.