Lovely readers your patience is requested: HSB is fully written but I have now caught up to my wonderful busy beta with updates. She is away for work and will get the last chapters to me as quick as she can. I will post as they come in. Thank you! x
"When you love you should not think you can direct the course of love, for love, if it finds you worthy, directs your course."
― Kahlil Gibran
"He's doing really well, Bella. He plays so nicely with the other babies, and he really is just a good, happy little boy."
Ben reached his arms out to me as the other day care teacher walked him toward us. The center manager wanted to give me an update on his progress, knowing we had somewhat special concerns given Ben's recent past. He seemed to be a well-adjusted little dude though. We hoped that would continue as we started to tell him more about his mom and why she wasn't around once he started to get old enough to take it in.
He was on his second week of three morning sessions. Emmett dropped him off before work, and I collected him two days and Alice collected him the third. She'd started taking Friday afternoons off work as part of her way to get her head around what had happened and wanting some time to grow her connection with our nephew. I was definitely pleased not only for Ben's sake but also for Alice taking more care of herself during her pregnancy. Emmett worked from home on Mondays, and I had Ben for a full day on Wednesdays. It sounded logistical, but it wasn't. He fit into all of our lives very simply.
While it was easy with Ben for me to be living at Em's, I felt like it might be time to leave him to have his space without me in it. I just didn't know if that was something that he wanted yet. The reality of his house with just him and his son in it was going to be another huge change for him to adapt to. The idea of going through that myself scared me; I couldn't imagine what it would be like adjusting to not having your wife around, making your house a home.
I wasn't really keen on getting my own place, but I wondered if it was time for me to head back to Charlie's. Financially I could probably afford to move out, but after the turmoil and change of the past months, it really wasn't something I wanted to do right now. I liked having the company of Em, Charlie, or Edward, and an empty house to do what I wanted with wasn't something that appealed as much as it might have once.
Always on the mark with his timeliness, the night before Edward had broached an idea with me that I was finding difficult to get off my mind. It wasn't something I had thought would be an option yet, given we hadn't been together for all that long. He said he didn't really see the sense in waiting when he loved having me at his place and suggested that instead of going back to Charlie's, that I move in with him. The thing about him saying it was that it didn't even seem like a life-changing big deal of a proposition. It just felt like us taking the natural course that our relationship seemed to be on.
I called him once Ben and I got home that afternoon.
"Hey gorgeous." The fact that I could always here the smile in his voice down the phone line was one of my favorite little Edward details. It was becoming a long list, and I wanted to remember every one of them.
"So, I've been thinking today. I'm going to talk to Emmett and see where he's at, but perhaps I could gradually wean myself away from this place and take you up on your suggestion?"
There was a small laugh-cum-snicker down the line, and I knew he already considered my answer to have been yes when he first asked me.
"Check your handbag," he said.
I unzipped the pocket inside my handbag and reached in, pulling out a packet of M&Ms. I didn't eat a lot of chocolate, but I had a very weak spot for those.
"Yes, but keep looking."
I reached in and pulled out a silver key ring with an inscribed heart on it. I recognized it from browsing when we had been out to get Alice the Tiffany three key pendant for her birthday – she'd cried like a baby when she opened it, which turned out to be pregnancy hormones as well as sentimentality.
He was so sneaky…
"You couldn't just give me the key to your house, you had to give it to me on a Tiffany key ring?"
"I like to set high standards for myself and see if I can top them."
I could tell by his tone he was fucking with me.
"Edward…this is too much. I can't believe I'm saying this, but stop spoiling me."
"Bella, you're my girl. I live to spoil you when spoiling is necessary. I'm fucking excited about the prospect of you being in my house all the time. I wanted to mark the excitement with more than a dollar store key ring."
"I like being your girl," I said softly.
"I know, isn't it the best?" He laughed and totally got away with the fact that is was mostly amusement as his own teasing. "See you in two hours, gorgeous."