WARNING: THIS OUTTAKE CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR 'THE HARD WAY TO LEARN A LESSON'
Disclaimer- I do not own any publically recognised characters or items. Ethan, Mason and THWTLAL, however, are all miney-miney-mine :P
A/N: What? An unannounced outtake? I know, shocking, huh? Well, check out the A/N at the bottom… yes, of course it's long :L But, beforehand, this is set in the hour after Ethan's birth and is when Edward and Bella meet their son for the first time- something I know a lot of you were dying to read ;) So… enjoy
'The Hard Way To Learn A Lesson' Outtake- Meeting Ethan
I watched as she stared at him. Her eyes were utterly fixated on his tiny, round face as though she were committing him to memory; which she probably was. Her hair stuck to her forehead a little, and she looked more exhausted than I had ever seen her but at the same time she had never looked more beautiful. It was probably because of that all-consuming love on her face, the utter content that radiated from her and the relief that was written all over her that everything was okay.
I kissed the top of her head from where I sat next to her. "You should sleep," I murmured in her ear.
She shook her head. "I can't. It feels like he's going to disappear."
"Bella, you're exhausted," I whispered. "He'll be here tomorrow, I promise."
She just sighed. "I can't believe he's ours. For forever."
I looked down at the sleeping baby and smiled. "Neither can I."
Bella lent her head down and pressed her lips to our son's forehead for a long moment. When she pulled away, I squeezed her hand. I was sat next to her under the covers of her little hospital bed, one of my arms around her shoulder and the other between us, holding her hand by Ethan's little leg. He was perfect. They both were.
"He's got your hair," she said quietly, her eyes sweeping over his fine – but definitely my strange copper colour – messy hair.
I pouted. "I wanted him to look like you."
Bella laughed. "Well, I wanted him to look like you."
"No," I disagreed. "Besides, you're much more beautiful than me."
She snorted. "Don't kid yourself." She sighed. "I hope he gets your eyes. Brown is so boring."
I felt a smile play at my lips. "You want your son to have my 'gorgeous' green eyes so he can grow up, 'dazzle' girls and be a little player?"
She kicked me gently. "You are going to teach him that player-ism is wrong. With examples, photos and some of your F grade papers from last year."
Bella kissed my shoulder, her tenderness the complete contrast to the profanities and death-threats she had been shrieking at me just a few hours earlier. I had never been so worried for my manhood. "Let's just concentrate on getting past the baby stage first."
I nodded in agreement. "Do they do crash courses on how to change diapers?"
She laughed. "I'll Google it for you."
We were silent for a moment, but then I sighed. "Everything's going to change now, isn't it?"
Bella's tongue darted out to run across her lips. "Yeah." She looked up and met my eyes. "But it's a good change, right?"
I grinned. "I think there'll be a bit of both in there. For example," I ran my finger up her leg, "we won't have as much alone time as we did before…"
She rolled her eyes. "We didn't have much 'alone time' when I was pregnant either."
"Why do you presume that I mean sex when I say 'alone time'?" I pretended to be offended.
She giggled. "Don't even try to deny it, Cullen."
I lifted my finger and stroked along Ethan's head. His hair was still matted and damp, but it felt soft and baby-like under my touch. "You know," I said quietly, so as not to wake him, "if someone had told me this time last year that I'd be sat next to Bella Swan in a hospital unable to take my eyes off of our son… I'd never have believed them."
"If someone had told me that I'd like Edward Cullen I wouldn't have believed them. Let alone that I'd be head over heels in love with him and holding his baby in my arms."
"Bella," I said, suddenly very serious.
She heard the change in my tone of voice. "Yes?"
"If you could go back and change anything… what would it be?"
Bella was very quiet for a long moment, and then she grabbed my chin and turned my face to look at her. "Edward, are you doubting that I want this?"
I didn't answer.
"Freaking hell, Edward. Of course I want this. If I could go back in time, the only thing I'd change is that I would never have run from you. I would have bitch-slapped that Tanya girl off the face of the earth and then I would have fallen into your arms." She looked back at Ethan. "But one thing I would not change… is this. So Charlie practically had an aneurism when we told him. So we're the talk of the town. So this is going to be very freaking difficult. So what? I'm happy with the way things have turned out." She took a deep breath. "Are… are you?"
I bent my head and kissed her lips. She tasted like cherries, and baby, and Bella. When I pulled away I left my forehead pressed against hers. "Of course I am. But… you know what?"
"What?" There was an edge to her voice.
"If I could go back in time, I don't think I'd change anything. Losing you only made me appreciate having you here with me more than I already do. Plus, going to Seattle got me a sister."
Bella scowled at the mention of Jane and I chuckled. Bella and Jane still hadn't quite bonded, but I was sure that, in time, they would.
Thinking about Jane, I remembered the conversation I had had with Mr Marshall earlier that day. It seemed like a lifetime ago now, but I could still clearly remember what he had said. I wondered if Mr Marshall had sat with his wife – Sara – when Jane had been born and just stared at her, as Bella and I were doing now.
"What are you thinking about?" Bella's quiet voice broke into my subconscious.
I looked at her, and, before I had even given myself conscious permission to do so, I knew that I would tell her the truth. Mr Marshall had probably known that I'd tell her when he had told me; there was no way you could keep anything from the person that you loved. "Can you keep a secret?"
"Yes," she replied right away, not even thinking about it. "What? What's wrong?"
"Nothing's… wrong," I said carefully. "It's… well, I was talking to Mr Marshall earlier. I was in his office when you called." I stopped.
"Mmm." Bella prompted my vaguely, though her eyes still traced Ethan's baby-grow-clad body.
I decided to just come out and say it. "He's Jane's Dad."
That got her attention. She stared at me. "What?"
"But… isn't… isn't her father in jail?" Her eyebrows furrowed in confusion.
I shook my head. "That was her step-father. Marshall was her Dad- is her Dad. But her Mum took her away when she was a baby and… well, she died and her husband naturally got custody."
Bella thought about this for a long moment. "Does Jane know?"
"That Grogan wasn't her real Dad?" I shrugged. "I have no idea. But she sure doesn't know about Marshall. He told me not to tell anyone but… well, you don't count. As long as you don't tell."
"I won't," she swore. She went back to memorising every plane of Ethan's tiny form and I fell back into my thoughts as I watched her.
I wondered what it would be like to lose Ethan. I hadn't even known him for an hour, and just the thought tore at my heart like a knife. I knew that it would be agony to lose a child. Even if they weren't truly lost.
And, in that instant, I made up my mind to help him. I already owed Mr Marshall more than I could count, including my family. My little family that was just beginning. There was no way that I could ever repay him for something so incredible, but maybe – just maybe – I could give him the chance to give her money for clothes, and be there at her graduation crying with pride like he had described. Maybe I could even give him the chance to walk his daughter down the isle one day.
And that reminded me of something else I wanted to do. I had been working up to it for months, but I couldn't get up the guts to go through with it. I didn't know how I would phrase it, what I would say. I didn't know how she'd react; if she'd think that it was too soon, or shotgun. But I had to tell her what I was thinking, at least. You couldn't keep secrets from the girl you loved, as I had thought just moments ago. And I was in love with her and I knew that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her; I just needed to make it official.
"Be right back," I whispered in her ear, slipping off of the bed and leaving the room. I wandered down the deserted hospital corridors to the cafeteria, and I prayed that they would have what I wanted in there. I didn't have time to run to the corner shop; I still had to call everyone and tell them. But I wanted to do this first.
Plus, I was putting off calling my house because I knew that it would be very difficult to get off the phone to Alice without telling her Ethan's name. Bella and I had decided on it months before he was born, but we had kept it to ourselves, even after we had initially chosen to tell them. But then we had come to the conclusion that it would be better to just keep it to ourselves for a few more months. That way if we changed our minds, or if he turned out to be a she after all then no one would be disappointed. And I wasn't about to tell my mother over the phone when the name had such significance.
I wandered over to the counter and exhaled in relief when I saw that the cafeteria had both bagels and bags of hula hoops. I grabbed up a plain bagel and a bag of ready salted hula hoops and paid for them with the change in my back pocket. I opened the bag as I walked back to the room that was mine, Bella's and Ethan's until tomorrow.
The butterflies were starting to gather now. I tried to think of something to say, but nothing came to me. I would have to do this without a prepared speech, then. Because if I didn't ask now, it would be difficult to get a moment to ourselves in amongst baby duties, school and the inevitable interruptions that were my family.
Bella looked up when I pushed the door open, the bag of hula hoops in my pocket and the bagel and one hula hoop held safely behind my back. She smiled and mouthed 'hey' but then her eyes narrowed suspiciously. "Where did you go? What have you got behind your back?"
I smiled at her, somewhat nervously, and then I took a few steps toward the bed. I took a deep breath, and then I took her hand and said, "Bella, I am being deathly serious, okay? I know it may not look like it but… well, I am." Then, I got down on one knee traditional-style, and realisation dawned in her eyes. She blinked at me in shock, and then I continued, "Bella, I know we're young, and naive, and possibly really, really stupid. But I love you, and Ethan, and I know that I can't live without you. I know we've promised forever, and I know that we both mean it. But… I want to make it more official. So… one day…" I pulled the bagel and the hula hoop out from behind my back and lay them flat on my free palm. "Do you think you'd do me the honour of becoming my wife?"
When Bella saw the food on my hand, she giggled through the tears that were running down her cheeks. "You mean you want to go through the whole hula hoop wedding again?" she whispered jokingly.
I shot her a stern look. "Of course; I'd do it over and over again as long as I could be by your side. But I said I was serious, Bell. I meant it. Just because I have a hula hoop and a bagel instead of a ring doesn't mean that I'm taking this any less seriously."
"Edward," she whispered, and her hand came up to cup my chin, "do you even have to ask?"
"Well, yeah, because if I just randomly took you to our wedding, I think you'd probably be royally pissed and…"
"Edward?" she said again.
I blinked. "Yeah?"
"Of course I'll marry you. Now, shut up and kiss me."
I grinned and stood up, leaning over her and pressing my lips to hers, careful not to crush Ethan between us. I pushed the hula hoop on her ring finger as my lips moved fluidly against hers, and then slipped the bagel on top of that, squishing my finger in the gap beside hers as well.
When we broke apart, Bella looked down at our hands and burst out laughing. "Is it me or does that look more than a little dodgy?"
I grinned. "Now, we know you're sleep deprived when you start saying things like that." I planted another kiss on her forehead and reluctantly took the bagel off of our fingers. I left the hula hoop on, though. "Give me the baby and go to sleep, love."
Bella hesitated, looking worried.
"Bella." I tried to hide the smile in my voice, but failed. "He's my son too."
She smiled a little. "I'm sorry. I just… I feel like I'm dreaming, you know?"
I nodded; hell, yes, I knew what she meant. "And you know as well as I do that in a few hours he'll be screaming blue murder because he wants to be fed. And that's something that I just can't do." I gestured to my chest.
Bella cringed at the thought of being woken, but kissed Ethan's head and then held him out to me. "Okay." She blew me a kiss and then settled down under the covers. She didn't close her eyes though. Instead, she smiled at me.
"What?" I asked, checking to see that I wasn't holding Ethan upside down or something.
But Bella just said, "He looks like he was meant to be in your arms."
I couldn't help the shit-eating grin that lit up my face. "And you know what?"
Bella yawned. "What?"
"I hope he's just the first of many," I whispered.
She glared at me. "Please don't bring up more children so soon after I just had him."
"One day, though," she said. Her words were garbled now, as she teetered on the edge of sleep. But I could still make out the "I love you" that escaped unchanged by exhaustion.
"I love you too, Bella," I said quietly.
And then I looked down at Ethan. He was just too perfect. I sighed, knowing that there were things I had to do; I had too much time staring at my newborn son in the last hour or so. Although, in my opinion, a lifetime of staring would never be enough, I had things to do.
So I stood up and placed him gently up the right way in the little cot by Bella's bed, and then I slipped out of the door to go and call the people that were waiting on tenterhooks for the good news.
And, as I stepped outside into the late twilight, I realised that I was turning a page. No, screw that, I was starting a freaking sequel. I was saying goodbye to my old life and starting out on a whole new adventure.
And, this time, I wasn't alone.
Hello there, my lovely loyal readers :)
What's this, you ask? Well, I'm mostly posting this because I said I'd post the Mason story today but I'm not actually posting it until tomorrow because of Laura (long story ;)) lol. But, the Mason story is (obviously) not going to be from Edward's POV, so this bit isn't actually going to be in the spin-off.
When I finished THWTLAL back in March (it's now June in case you're reading this later), I got a barrage of requests for outtakes of meeting Ethan, telling the parents and, of course, telling Esme about the name. So I started writing this in March, but only got a page done and then abandoned it. But this afternoon, I was browsing through my folders and I found this and I just picked up where I left off- and it was like I never stopped. So I'm posting it today to get you guys psyched for the spin-off that I will be posting tomorrow ;) Keep an eye out, though, because I don't have a title yet :S
Depending on how popular this is, and how inspired I am, I may add more outtakes as further chapters to this story as the Mason story continues. Feel free to request and I'll see what I can do- but please don't be surprised if I can't do it or it takes me ages, because sometimes you can only write what you're inspired to do. But I will consider doing EPOV or BPOV from bits in the Mason/Jane story if you guys want me to, or maybe an older telling the parents bit that got missed out of THWTLAL.
It is mostly because of these requests that Edward and Bella have kept Ethan's name confidential- so now you guys will get to see Esme's reaction ;) But that will be in the Mason/Jane spin-off ;)
Okay, now, before I go, I'm going to ask a favour. THWTLAL was nominated for an award at the silent tear awards! BUT voting closes tomorrow (15th June) so any votes you can get in now are very much appreciated :L There is a link on my profile.
And that is all I have to say- for once :L
I guess I'll be seeing you tomorrow with the spin-off! Or, at least, I hope I will be ;)
Um… I'd love it if you'd review and let me know that you haven't forgotten THWTLAL? :L
Thank you guys!