"Lucy? Sweetheart? What's the matter? Why are you crying? Come here to mama."
Little Lucy ran to her mother, throwing her arms around her and burying her face in her chest. Tiny sobs wracked her body and her tears soaked through Bella's t-shirt.
Bella stroked and soothed her distraught daughter, whispering words of comfort until the little girl's breathing steadied and her body relaxed.
"Now then, baby, do you want to tell me what's made you so sad today?" Bella asked.
Lucy responded by vigorously shaking her head and pressing herself even closer into her mother's bosom.
"Are you sure, sweetheart?" Bella cajoled. "It might make you feel better."
Humming softly, Bella held her daughter a little tighter and began to rock slowly back and forth, hoping to calm her into a confession.
It worked; a few minutes later, Lucy lifted her head to look up at her mother, gazing into her eyes, working up the courage to reveal her fears.
Bella smiled down at her, patiently waiting for her to bare her soul.
"Mama, please, please don't trade me for Edward!" Lucy finally revealed, the words tumbling out of her mouth in a sudden rush.
"Trade you for Edward?" Bella repeated incredulously. "Lucy, wherever did you get that idea?"
The floodgates had been opened, so Lucy let her thoughts flow freely.
"The other day, when we were at the park, and Edward was getting ready to leave…you hugged him real tight and gave him a big kiss. You told him that you loved him so much and that he was really special to you and that you didn't know what you'd do without him."
"You heard that?" Bella asked. "You have really good ears."
"I know," said Lucy. "Mrs. Cope told me that too when she heard me tell Lauren that I heard her telling Mrs. Stanley that Mr. Banner was an idiot."
Bella grimaced at hearing this, but decided not to press the matter at the moment. Instead, she gathered Lucy in her arms, hugging her with all her might before pulling away to look her daughter in the eyes.
"Lucy," Bella said, cupping her daughter's face in her hands. "I love you. So, so very much. You're the most important person in my life. And you're right, I love Edward, too. But the love I feel for Edward is a bit different from the love I feel for you. A person can love many ways and a person's heart can swell up and hold love for lots of people. So believe me when I say, I'm not going to trade you for Edward. Never."
"Never?" Lucy questioned hesistantly.
"Never, ever," Bella affirmed.
"Promise?" Lucy asked.
"With all my heart, sweetheart," Bella replied, once again cradling her daughter in her arms, trying to assure her with her touch as well as her words, that she was never going to stop loving her.