Disclaimer: I am not Stephenie Meyer nor am I Tim McGraw (the singer) or Craig Martin or Larry W. Johnson (the song writers according to Wikipedia). I used Stephenie's characters and the song for influence.
A/N: Thanks to my beta Bridget and Lisa and Meg.
I had the inspiration for this months ago but never completely saw it in my head like when I start to write something. A few weeks ago I was day dreaming and it came to me. I sat down that night and intended to get some of it out and ended up finishing it in three hours. Someone has informed me that there is another fic or one shot with the same premise or title but I haven't read it and don't even know the author's name. She read mine and said they are different. So in case you run into the other one, neither one of us ripped the other off.
Warning: The following contains praying to God for help but in my non-religious and open minded opinion is not preachy. If this subject offends you, then don't go any further. Other than that, you might want to grab some tissues, I've made some cry with this piece...
DON'T TAKE THE GIRL
Entering the chapel, I scanned the room for others that may be inside its confines. I was thankful that it was empty as I slowly walked into the small room and headed toward the front. There was a table with votive candles sitting upon it, three of them lit. A large golden cross hung on the wall behind the table, simple but elegant at the same time.
I stared at it because I didn't know what to do. I didn't pray, nor did I go to church. I believed in a higher power, but I didn't worship or confide in Him.
And now I selfishly needed His help.
With shaky hands, I reached for a match and lit one of the votives. The wick caught quickly and started to burn. Staring at the flame, I almost burned my fingers as it neared my flesh. My hand shook the flame out and I dropped the burned match onto the metal table.
I didn't even attempt to do the cross deal. I wasn't Catholic and I wasn't even sure where to start.
Sitting down in the front row, I leaned my elbows on my knees. My chin rested upon my hands as I stared up at the cross on the wall. Moving my gaze to the floor, I entwined my fingers together and spoke aloud, "Dear God, I know I have no right to ask, but I need your help. Please, don't take her…"
I was walking briskly down the road in order to keep up with my father who had long legs and often forgot that, at eight years old, I did not. "Dad, why do we have to take Bella Swan with us?" I asked my father curiously. "I don't like girls."
"Bella's father has to work and he has no one to watch her." He stopped and waited for me to catch up with him. "You'll like girls when you're older, trust me son."
"Girls have cooties and rabies and you die from them when they bite you!"
My father started laughing. "Edward, where on earth did you hear that?"
"Emmett McCarty so it's gotta be true." My father continued to laugh at my remarks, and I put my hands on my hips. "Dad! Stop it! Emmett's ten and he knows everything about girls."
"Come on." Dad continued walking, and I followed behind him dragging my fishing pole. "Trust me son, there will come a day when you'll enjoy a girl biting you. You'll even invite it."
"Eww! That's so gross!"
We stopped in front of Bella's house where I saw her and her father Charlie sitting on the front porch. Bella jumped down from her chair, hugged Charlie, and started down the walk way toward us. She was carrying a back pack over one shoulder that had a yellow plastic bag tied to it and a fishing pole. Bella lifted the latch on the gate that surrounded their yard and joined us on the side walk.
"Hi Mr. Cullen," she said. "My daddy said to tell you the worms are in the bag." She thumbed the air with her free hand toward the plastic bag.
"Thanks, Charlie!" Dad yelled out across the yard. "We'll see you tomorrow when you pick her up."
"Dad!" I kicked the ground with the toe of my shoe. "She's sleeping over too?"
Bella looked at me with a grimace on her face. Dad patted the top of her head and smoothed her hair out. "Now, Edward, be nice to Bella. Her daddy has got to go to work and we can't leave her behind. I'm telling you, some day, you'll change your mind."
"Can't we take Mike Newton? Let's take Emmett McCarty or my best friend Jasper Whitlock."
"Please?" I begged. "Let's take anyone else as long as it's not her. A boy! Daddy, please, I don't wanna take a girl!"
Dad ignored my pleas and turned to Bella. "Come on, Bella, let's go fishing. Mr. Grumpy Boy can go home if he wants."
They started to walk in the direction of the lake. My feet started to move and I tagged along a few paces behind them.
Girls, I thought, Ick.
I learned that my father had been right. I liked it when Bella bit me. Not the first time she bit me, though. When we were ten we were play fighting, and I accidently hit her in the tit. She yelped out in pain before her mouth clamped onto my arm and bit down hard, breaking the skin and making me bleed. It was much later, when we were sixteen and dating, that I realized that I liked it when Bella bit me. Not hard, but just enough to tease me before she would tell me to stop my ministrations on her body.
By the time we were eighteen we had been exclusive with each other for two years. I was head over heels in love with stars in my eyes and I wanted to marry her. My father often gave me the "I told you so" look when he saw us together.
Arm in arm we walked out of the movie theater laughing and wiping away tears. "That movie was so funny!"
I glanced down at her smiling face. "Best comedy ever."
Placing an arm around her waist, I urged her down the sidewalk. I stopped and, leaning down, pressed my lips upon hers. She smiled up at me and we continued on our way. We rounded the corner of the theater and came face to face with a man. He had a hood pulled up over his head and a bandana covering his face.
He held a pistol in his shaky hands.
Before I could protect her, the gunman reached out and grabbed Bella by the arm. Fearful for her life, my name nervously escaped from her lips as he held the gun to her head.
"If you listen and do what you're told I won't need to hurt her." His voice was raspy under the bandana.
"My wallet is in my back pocket," I said. "Take it!"
He continued to stand on the sidewalk, nervously shifting his weight from one foot to another, with the gun pressed against Bella's temple.
"I have credit cards and my keys to my car are in my jacket." I supplied with my hands raised in the air. I didn't want to remove anything from my person, fearful he'd pull the trigger. Bella whimpered in his arms, a single tear falling down her cheek. "Let her go and take whatever you want, just don't hurt her."
"Very slowly take out your wallet and throw it on the ground."
I did as he instructed, moving at a snail's pace to remove my wallet from my back pocket. I threw it at his feet. He released Bella, pushing her at me as he bent to pick up my wallet. He tore off down the sidewalk only to be caught by a police officer a half a block away.
Bella landed on the concrete and I knelt beside her. My hand went touched her face gently while one arm went around her, holding her close to me. "Are you okay?"
A sob that she had been holding in escaped from her lips. Frightened from what had happened, she was speechless and simply leaned in to me.
The next day I proposed. She was my fiancée throughout college, and four years later we married.
I glanced up and stared at the cross hanging on the wall. Hearing a noise at the rear of the chapel, I ignored it and stayed still until I felt a presence next to me.
"We're just here to see if you need anything," Emmett said.
He sat down on my one side while Jasper flanked me on the other. "How are you doing?" Jasper asked.
"How do you think I'm doing?" I replied. "I can't do anything. I can't help her. I feel so helpless and useless."
My feelings echoed that night at the movie theater when the gunman had pressed a gun to Bella's head. I had wanted to save her back then and didn't know how. I had begged and pleaded with the gunman until he had finally asked for my wallet. Once again I was begging and pleading, but I didn't know if I was being heard.
I clasped my hands together and directed my gaze at the floor. "What would you do? Who would you chose?"
"Oh, Edward, don't ask me that… I can't even fathom…" Emmett's voice trailed off painfully. "I can't."
"I'd choose my wife." Jasper said. "I'd pick Alice."
"What if she didn't want you to choose her?" I asked grimly.
"How could I move on with a reminder of her but without her?" Jasper asked with tears in his eyes. "She'd be everywhere but nowhere. She might hate me for the rest of my life, but she'd be alive."
Emmett was being uncharacteristically quiet. "Em?"
"Rose is pregnant," he blurted out promptly. "She's only two months along and now I'm scared this could happen to her too. I can't do this."
He held his head in his hands, his head shaking slightly. The door to the chapel opened up again and a soft voice echoed its way toward me. "Edward?"
I turned to see my father in the entryway of the chapel. "You need to come with me," he said. "The doctor is requesting you."
My heart felt like it stopped in my chest, and I froze in place. Jasper and Emmett stood on either side of me, but I was still planted firmly in my seat. I felt Jasper's hand firmly squeeze my shoulder.
I didn't remember getting out of the seat or walking down the aisle or the corridor where my father led me. The doctor met me outside of the birthing suite.
Please, God, don't take her. Take me instead. Strike me dead right here and spare her.
"Edward," he nodded at me with a slight smile on his face. I considered him sadistic at that moment for seeming happy at a time such as this.
"Doc, what happened?"
"Your wife is exhausted and your daughter is doing well. They are both going to be fine." I let out a gasp and a rush of overwhelming quiet filled my senses as I absorbed his words. I had a daughter and my wife was alive.
I felt my father place his arm across my shoulders as he led me to the nursery, Jasper and Emmett trailing behind us. We stood in front of the glass wall and a nurse wheeled an incubator that held a card which proclaimed "Baby Girl Cullen."
"Can I hold her?" I asked to no one in particular.
"She's too fragile," my father answered. "But you can go in and touch her."
A nurse helped me put a gown on and get sterile. I walked into the room with the incubators, my mouth suddenly feeling dry as a desert. My feet moved slowly across the floor toward my daughter. I eased down onto a chair the nurse had dragged over for me. I slowly reached through the opening in the incubator and gently touched my daughter's finger and was overcome with emotion.
I sat watching her, lightly touching her skin with mine, my eyes never leaving her. I was also fully aware that my cheeks were stained with my own tears.
"Thank you, God, for my girls."
A/N: Thanks for reading and I'd love to hear your thoughts and comments!