It's a Beautiful Day
I rushed inside and checked the table again. I hope Elizabeth will find everything perfect, turning 13 is a big deal and it's hard to know what to serve at a party for a girl turning from child to young adult. Pizza's, hot dogs,various types of salad for the girls who insist they don't eat meat or it's by products, cake, ice cream, cookies, Coke, water.
Her five year old sister is standing by the table looking far too innocent.
"Carlie, what have you been up to?" I ask.
Giggling is heard from underneath the table so I lift the side of the cloth and look to see who is up to mischief. Rosalie's daughter, Natalie, is the image of her mother, thank God. Their three year old son Nick is the image of Emmett and I don't think a day passes that Rose doen't thank God for letting it happen that way and not the other. Her new baby, Emily, is bawling loudly and I hope she doesn't wake the twins. That's all I need, two grumpy toddlers to prevent me supervising all these kids.
Alice and Jasper's three boys are waiting at the back door.
"Auntie Bella, Todd let the chickens out" says Jason.
"Edward!" I yell for reinforcements.
Jasper walks in instead and I send him chicken herding.
Charlie Brown is barking up a storm and I have to get this fixed. Elizabeth and her friends will be back from the cinema any minute and she begged the whole family to please act 'normal' for one day.
Next year I think the rest of us will go out for the day and let her and her friends have the place to themselves with just a chaperon. Maybe Jasper. Never Emmett. He already thinks its his sacred duty to tell our daughter and her friends how to play spin the bottle and 7 minutes in Heaven. I have to watch him closer than the kids.
Jasper reports his mission has been accomplished and he has put the dog in it's kennel.
Now if we could just kennel these children whose guilty faces look somewhat sticky.
"I think the candy bags have been found and robbed." I tell Jasper.
"Elizabeth would think it very uncool if you give her friends take home bags of candy anyway. They are way too grown up for that."
Probably, let's hope so.
I shoo the kids outside and send Emmett out with a football. The one place he excels is in organizing sports.
Alice is curled up on the chaise with her brand, new long awaited, much wanted daughter and she still can't tear her eyes off the little pink face.
Alison/Jasmine, name still undecided, is so tiny, she weighed barely six pounds and looks just like her mother. We all sighed with relief when Jaz rang and announced Alice had her fondest wish granted.
We have been through the same thing ourselves. When the twins proved to be girls, I was afraid Edward would be disappointed but he seemed ecstatic and laughed about how many more I had to push out to get to the fifty girls he would be happy to father.
He had chosen their names, and I suspect Carlisle had tipped him off that they were female because he never expressed any hope of his boys showing up that pregnancy.
This one, this time, I know he is desperate for it to be a son.
I feel quite smug knowing what he doesn't. He has hit the jackpot with a second set of twins and they are boys, both of them. I cried my eyes out when Carlisle told me and I made him swear not to tell a soul. Edward always says he doesn't want to know, so, guess what, I am not telling him.
I am thrilled for Edward, and myself and secretly glad this will be the last pregnancy I have to endure. I love being pregnant but twins? Twice as much worry, twice as many kicks, I swear these boys are getting their fighting skills honed in before delivery.
I slump down on a chair and Edward is suddenly beside me,
"Bella, you have three weeks before that elephant sized baby is born, you have to rest. Mom is here now, come and lie down and let her take over."
I feel mean sometimes not telling him this enormous bump houses two babies, I sometimes catch him looking at it and can see he is picturing one very large infant and he is always joking I will never get anything that big out of that tiny place.
I hope I don't have to. Carlisle is thinking a c section may be the way to go because the bottom twin is breech and it could be too dangerous to deliver naturally.
Esme and Renee are both coming to stay and help, though I often wonder how much help Renee will be. Her boys have changed her a lot, she is a much better mother this time around but she won't stay the four weeks she has promised. Charlie and Sue are living here now he is retired so I know I will get more help from them and Leah adores the girls so I can even see her being more of an asset than my own mother.
She almost slipped up once, saying something about the twins then hastily backtracking, Edward said later she was losing it, mixing up this pregnancy with the twin one.
I just smiled.
x x x x x x
Finally they are all gone and Edward is sitting beside me, as I try to calm him down. He caught a boy giving Elizabeth a peck on the lips and suddenly Papa Lion is on the alert, convinced she will be pregnant by fourteen.
"Calm down!" I order loudly. "It was a kiss, and a very chaste kiss at that. And he did it in front of you. If he was 'trying it on' he would have done it behind the shed or something, snuck into her bedroom."
Edward blanches at the thought of a boy sneaking in to Elizabeth's room.
"God, why did we have girls? How am I going to keep them safe from all these boys? You know boys are only after one thing."
"I know you were" I joke and he grins.
"Wrong. I wanted it all, right from the very start. I wanted you forever, all of you."
He hugs me close and traces figure eights on my belly, making the baby nearest his fingers kick him away. Oh, first father/son conflict!
Esme comes to the door to see I am okay and brings me a cup of herbal tea. She and Carlisle are staying until the delivery then he is going back without her until she is sure I can cope. We can cope, I should say, Edward will be doing just as much as I do, he always has. He adores newborns and it never bothers him how long they cry, he just sits in the chair and rocks them. Or lays them on a pillow on the floor and plays his piano.
Our identical green eyed, copper top daughters are asleep within minutes when he plays. Charlise settles immediately, Edina likes to fight sleep for a few minutes but she loses the battle quickly. He has made it a ritual. he bathes them, dresses them for bed then as soon as they are safely in their cribs, he sits at the piano and plays until they are asleep. Trouble is, I end up asleep to and leave the kitchen clean up to him as a result but he never complains.
Edward has always been in this for the long haul. From the moment we knew Carlie was on the way, he was devoted and committed to her and her siblings for life. He has made an amazing father and as a husband, he could not be more perfect.
I love him and have no regrets about leaving Jake and choosing Edward. There never was a choice, really, it was always him.
Bathroom calls again and I struggle to my feet. I know I will sleep like a log tonight.
Edward crawls into bed and spoons me as always. I can feel he is hard and needy but I know he won't ask. He never pressures me when I am pregnant, it's more me demanding he makes love to me. I want him to tonight, I have a feeling this pair will soon be here, I feel like they are nearly ready.
I reach back and encourage him.
"Bella, we don't have to do this. You must be exhausted."
He kisses my neck and shoulders and whispers in my ear how much he loves me.
"Please, Edward." I beg, unashamed.
"The things you force me to do" he says with a mock sigh as he pushes inside me gently.
I love feeling him inside me. All the stresses, the kids, the noise, the work, the hassles, it all goes away when we are just us, just Bella and Edward.
We both finish quickly, no all night sessions these days but I am looking forward to getting them back.
Edward kisses me tenderly and I drift away to the sound of his voice as he sings quietly just for me. He wrote me a song, and it fills my heart whenever he sings it. Its all about our love and how we got lost and then found ourselves but I don't agree it was me doing all the saving, where would I be without him? In a virtually platonic marriage with Jake?
Never knowing the passion and connection Edward and I share again? That was my biggest fear, that if he had died that day, I know I would have died too.I may have lived and breathed and walked and spoken but I would have been dead inside.
He gave me life as much as we gave life to these children.
Morning already, dawn breaks and so does the lower amniotic sac.
"Yes, love?". He nuzzles my neck.
He springs up and grabs my bag, then runs to the door.
"Edward, clothes!" I remind him, before he runs out naked and scares the chickens.
He pulls on yesterdays jeans and has a tshirt half over his head as he yells for Esme.
"Shh, son. You have been through this enough times to know what to do. Now, Edward, breathe." she orders as she helps me from the wet bed and into the shower.
Carlisle offers to drive so Edward can sit in the back with me.
The trip to the hospital is short but agonizing. Every bump in the road hurts and jolts me inside.
Finally, we arrive, and my men help me inside. A quick examination and the doctor announces twin one has turned and is head down and engaged.
"No, this is not the twin pregnancy" says Edward."That was last time."
"Well, you hit the motherload again, Edward."
He monitors the two heartbeats and Edward is confused and stressed and tearing at his poor hair.
"Twins? Again? Are they girls? How many girls can I keep the boys away from? I have nobody to help me." he mumbles as he comes to terms in his own way.
"Bella, are they girls?" he turns and asks.
"We will soon find out" I promise.
"God, I know they are girls. I only have one name chosen. What are we calling the second one?" he says like that is the only problem.
"Let's see what they look like first." I suggest as a massive wave hits and I bear down. Carlisle is assisting and watching things very closely. He has never liked doing natural deliveries after a c section. It seems to be his biggest fear that something will go wrong as a result of the scar weakening the uterine wall.
I can't take on his worry as well. I have to concentrate and get this over, he and his son have to manage their own fears.
"Head is out, mop of black hair" he announces.
"Shit, black hair. I hope she doesn't look like Emmett" says Edward in alarm.
"And pant. Okay, another push. Well done, Bella."
Th baby is out and crying and Edward is smiling and clasping my hand.
The nurse quickly cleans the baby and hands it to Edward, wrapped up tightly in a yellow blanket. She winks at me.
"What's this one's name?" she asks him.
"I thought we should finally go with Annabelle. It kind of grew on me over the years."
"Uh uh, no way. This baby is not an Annabelle." I declare. "Open the blanket, Edward."
He does so and the biggest smile spreads across his face.
"It's a boy!" he whispers.
"I know" I laugh.
He looks truly thrilled and he wraps the baby up and hands him back to the nurse as a contraction reminds us we are not done yet. Suddenly he frowns.
"Bella, if this one is a girl, he will grow up in a houseful of females."
"And why would that be a bad thing, son?" asks Carlisle, signaling me to pant as the head emerges.
"I dunno, I guess it wouldn't. But Lizzie is not dressing him in girl's clothes and calling him a girl's name."
He rarely calls her Lizzie.
"I promise I will never allow that" I say with a grin that turns into a grimace as my ladies part scream at the pain of delivering a set of broad shoulders.
"It's another boy!" says Edward, delightedly, relieved our first son has back up against the girls.
This one has a mop of blond hair but it's already tinged in copper. His green eyes flash as he bellows at being pulled out into the real world.
"You can name the first one. This one is Edward." I inform him. I always wanted a clone of my husband to name after him.
I deliberately named Edan three names, Edan Edward Anthony, because I hoped against hope one day we would have an Edward junior. A little boy we got to raise.
x x x x x x
The girls peer in the cribs.
"He looks like me" says Carlie, of her brother Edward. The firstborn boy is already nicknamed 'NotAnnabelle'. That disturbs Edward greatly. Not the girl's name part, the 'not' part. He explained why and I told him to choose a name for him, then nobody will say this any more.
Edward cannot come up with a name. He has suggested and retracted about six names so far.
I guess he truly expected a girl.
"Uh uh, you were gross when you were born, all icky." says her older sister.
"She was not, she was beautiful" corrects Edward.
"You girls were all beautiful from the moment we first saw you."
I shall always be sorry Edward and I never got to meet Elizabeth together.
The girls all argue about what his name should be. I rule out Zac Efron Cullen very quickly.
Once they have been taken home by Esme, Edward lies on my bed beside me and I gently lay his namesake on his chest and he grins.
"You don't know how long I have waited for this moment." he says quietly.
I knew. exactly. The moment he saw Ace laying on Jasper's chest the day he was born. I wanted that for Edward, too, even back then when it didn't seem I would be the mother of his son.
I shudder when I think, had Tanya not done that terrible thing...things could be so different for us now. We may have never gotten each other back. I can't imagine Edward ever leaving a child of his.
I lay the unnamed baby on my chest and jump a little as a flash of light hits us and Alice is at the door, camera in hand.
"I have a photo of Jasper with Ace, just like that" she says obliviously.
We know. We have gazed at it longingly so many times over the years.
I hand place the second baby on Edward's chest and stand so she can get the photo of just Edward and sons.
I know this photo will be on our wall and in our bedroom as well.
I use the bathroom and sit back in bed, when I come back and Alice is holding Edward junior and Edward is holding his other son.
"Mathew. It means gift from God. What do you think? Too old fashioned?"
"Perfect" I smile. I like the two names together. Edward and Mathew.
I hope they will grow up to be as close as my Edward and Emmett.
x x x x x x x x
"So, that's it, we are done?" I ask as Bella sinks gratefully into our bed two days later.
"Oh yeah, we are done." she replies with conviction.
"I could argue you got twice as many girls as I got boys." I say jokingly. I always wanted two boys, I seriously have no desire now to have any further children. Thank God I have some back up when the boys come sniffing around my girls. I seriously consider putting in a electric fence. That would keep them out.
Would that have kept me from Bella?
Nah. I don't think so.
I shall never be able to fully express how much her love and forgiveness mean to me. And her bravery, she took such a chance on me and I will never look or speak to another woman again unless Bella is by my side. I trust myself completely, nothing like that will ever happen again, but I never want her to even think I am being over friendly to any woman, I never want to cause her the slightest pain. I caused her so much in the past.
I hated her being with Jacob, too, mind you. I think I found that harder than if she had followed my bad example and gone with many random men. I knew he meant something to her and the women I was with never meant a thing. Well, that's not true. Despair, anger, hopelessness, desperation.. That's what they meant.
I have given up wishing I could go back and change the past, all I can do is make sure I give her the best future I can.
We have our family, we have our daughters and now our sons. We can be happy and watch them grow, teach them how to make good choices, good decisions, guide them on the best path and just hope they listen.
Elizabeth is growing up and changing, we missed the easy first years and now we are entering the hard years, for me, anyway. The thought of any boy ...
Unless he loves her like I love my Bella. Then I guess I will have to suck it up and accept him.
But he will never be good enough for her.
I know that.
I never was good enough for my girl, but she loves me anyway.
Sometimes kismet happens.