A/N: Well, I thought I was done, but it seemed that Alice began to scream in my ear, she and Jasper needing the final word on this story.
This is now all she wrote. Oh and this is dedicated to my friend and sis Michaela. Just cos I loves her.
Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight, but apparently Alice has taken over my brain.
BAD BOY CULLEN – EPILOGUE
June 2nd, 2012
"Fuck this! Why can't I have drugs?" I howled.
"It's too late, and you did insist on a natural childbirth. Do you want some more ice chips?" the wafer thin, red-headed nurse asked as she finishing examining me once more.
"No, Nurse Ratchett, I don't! And why did you listen to me anyway? Fuck natural childbirth! I want drugs! Bring me drugs!" I snapped.
I was out for blood. I wanted to kill someone for being in this situation…but unfortunately nobody was to blame for my predicament but my traitorous body. Well, that and my husband. He was the one who possessed some sort of freakish super sperm that tore holes in condoms!
"You're at nine centimetres, nearly ten. Won't be long now," she said calmly, as if nothing I could say would rattle her in the least, taking off her rubber gloves and disposing of them.
I swear my head was on the verge of spinning and that any moment green vomit would projectile out of my mouth.
"That's what you said hours ago!" I shouted as she wrote on my chart before checking the print out on the monitor as another contraction hit, the pain ripping through me, my spine feeling as though it was in a vice and was about to be ripped from my body, ass first!
"Now just breathe, darlin'," Jasper said, ignoring my tirade as stroked my hand, his breaths puffing in and out along with mine as I focused on his kind, sweet and very concerned eyes until the pain subsided.
Why did nothing ever rattle him?
Why was he standing there so casually, smiling of all things, while I writhed in pain?
And why, oh why, did I have the urge to kick him in the gonads?
I looked at my husband, his bowtie hanging from his open shirt, the sleeves of his tailor made tux rumpled from being rolled up above his elbows, the blue cummerbund he wore bunched so badly that it disappeared beneath his pants. Yes, it was our wedding day, and as I glanced at my beautiful cream lace and silk Grecian style dress that was draped over the back of the faux blue leather chair in the corner of the room, I couldn't help but let out a huff of frustration.
You see, our child had decided to make his or her appearance four weeks early, and there wasn't a damned thing I could do about it.
Well, besides cross my legs.
It was little late for that, though!
Apparently our child hadn't received the memo that I'd arranged the wedding a month before my due date, so I could be married wearing the most gorgeous maternity wedding dress I'd ever laid eyes on.
It seemed that my exemplary time management skills and manipulative prowess had nothing on the wiles of Mother Nature.
"Where is she?" Sue called out as she walked through the door, waving the younger nurse away, the small familiar overnight bag in her hand. I already had it packed from my seventh month, just in case, but of course didn't have it with me today of all days. I needed my purple satin nightgown, because I sure as hell wasn't going to wear this horrible backless hospital gown while showing off our new baby.
"Doctor Snow will be along in a moment," Nurse Ratchett said as she turned tail and left. I didn't see anyone else delivering my baby than the daughter of one of the doctors who had been so much a part of my family's life. Dr Louise Snow was the best Ob/Gyn in Seattle, and was in such high demand that she wasn't taking any new patients, but I'd managed to secure her as my physician, thanks to her father insisting on it.
"There you go, honey," Sue said as she placed the bag next to the chair in the corner before walking over and kissing my very sweaty forehead.
"Thanks, Sue," I answered.
"It was my pleasure," she said, checking my chart and glancing toward the monitor before she smiled once more. She looked radiant, having married Charlie in a small civil service in Forks after Christmas, her joy at being his wife still written across her face. Bella's mom, Renee even showed up, she and Bella reuniting with a hug, her mother seemingly proud of what she'd achieved.
But it wasn't just because of her marriage that Sue seemed so much happier. She was now employed by Forks Hospital as the new Community Nurse, having been given the responsibility of running the unit that helped care for outpatients in the area. The good thing for Sue was that there was no shift work involved as she was an administrator rather than one of the on-call nurses. Of course she did charge herself with the task of ensuring the utmost care was taken of one special patient. After arranging Billy Black to be assessed, it was decided that disease was worsening so much that he required round-the-clock care. And so, after Christmas, Billy was admitted into the best nursing home in Forks, where he not only received the best care possible, but also appeared to enjoy the company of those who had similar difficulties, making many new friends and acquaintances since his arrival.
"So how's life in Forks? Settling into married life…oh holy fuck!" I yelled, clutching my stomach, another contraction gripping me, tearing me apart.
"Good job, that's it…breathe through it," Jasper encouraged as Sue rummaged through my bag and pulled out a washcloth before taking it to the sink, wetting it, and wringing out the excess water. Once done, she stood on the opposite side of the bed to Jasper and swiped the cool cloth over my sweaty brow, whispering words of comfort as she tended to me with great love and care.
Once my contraction had subsided she said, "Married life is wonderful. Charlie's begun working the day shift, oh and Billy's even sweet on a woman at the home, would you believe!" she said excitedly.
His father's new living arrangements meant that Jake could return to Seattle, and I ended up leasing him my apartment. It suited me to have someone I knew living there, and considering we didn't need the money and Jake needed a leg up while he looked for a job, I charged him very little rent. After hanging around the Gallery to catch the eye of a certain someone, it wasn't long before Riley caved and gave him the job he needed. He was charged with the task of assisting Riley with the set up and taking down of exhibits, his well-muscled form being put to good use by an appreciative boss. After watching him interact with a few clients, Riley also noticed that Jake possessed a gift for relating to the public, so ended up using Jake to do a little PR work. It turned out Jake was really good at his job, and was often in attendance at launches, ensuring the invited guests were kept happy at all times…his warm and sunny disposition romancing them into making purchases they may not have otherwise made. I could see him having his own PR Company in fact, but knew he was more than happy to stay where he was.
It didn't hurt that a certain coat-check attendant worked at the Gallery as well, Jake's charms not just limited to just the clientele of the Gallery. Jake and Tanya had become quite the item, and they'd begun happily dating not long after Jake began working there. Tanya reminded me of Bella a little. She could be blunt at times, but was far softer around the edges; her nature seemingly fitting in with Jake's just fine. I could see a bright future for the two of them, and because of Jake finding happiness, he and Bella's friendship once again blossomed.
"Alice?" Sue asked.
"I asked how you were feeling," she said.
"Fine, considering I'm supposed to be pushing something the size of a bowling ball out of me!"
Sue couldn't help but laugh as she said, "Look at you, cracking jokes while delivering your child!"
As I slumped back into the bed, which was tilted at an angle where I couldn't quite get comfortable, I felt so exhausted I didn't think I'd have the energy to deliver. "Sue, would you mind scouting around for a couple more pillows? I just can't seem to get comfortable."
"Sure. Oh and Riley said to tell you he managed to keep Emmett away from the cake long enough that he saved the top tier for the baby's Christening."
"Oh, thank God!" I breathed, wincing as Sue quickly dashed out and retrieved two fresh pillows before telling me she'd go rescue the cake and put it in her car so that Emmett couldn't get his hands on it.
I smiled as I thought about Emmett and Riley. Not only had they moved in together just after the launch, but Emmett proposed to his man in February after Alec had mentioned that legislation had passed in the State Senate, and subsequently in the House of Representatives legalizing gay marriage in the state of Washington. Ever since then, Riley and Emmett had been busying themselves with making all the arrangements, with my help of course, the two of them opting for a small, intimate wedding on the beach, which they held just last month.
"Shit!" I growled as another contraction hit, bringing me out of my reflections.
After Jasper quietly breathed with me and the pain went away, he placed his free hand on my shoulder and said, "Come on, let's get you more comfortable." Nodding, I leaned forward to accommodate my new pillows, but before I could blink an eye, Jasper was use his talented hands to rub my back, neck and shoulders.
"Oh, God…that feels good," I said in a low, relieved voice.
"That's it, darlin', you just relax and let me work those knots out for you," he cooed softly as he pressed and kneaded the bunched muscles, his attentions causing me to let out a string of low, appreciative moans.
Jasper hadn't left my side since the day I found out I was pregnant, his love and attention toward me so adorable. After completing and promoting my most recent book, Love Beyond Death, a few months back, Jasper then insisted that I take a break from writing. I attempted to argue with him, but he was having none of it, even threatening to take my laptop from me if I even thought about writing another word.
It didn't matter, anyway. I was proud of what I'd achieved writing this particular story, and was happy to sit back and enjoy basking in my success, having given more of myself to this story than any other. It was based on my parents' life and subsequent deaths, and with this piece, I'd achieved the impossible feat of venturing out of my comfort zone and writing my first serious novel, the combination of supernatural with a little romance appealing to the young adult market as well as older women. Of course, the story was not only inspired by my parents, but by Edward. I included the details he subsequently shared with me about his more than real dreams of them, when they 'visited' him in his sleep.
It had sold more copies than all my other novels put together, and critics had praised my work accordingly, and that in itself was an achievement. The story also attracted the attention of Hollywood, and so, after negotiations were finalized with Universal Studios, plans were made to produce a movie based on my book. I had begun working closely with the screenwriters in March of this year, and to ensure that the integrity of the story remained, Peter continued on my behalf after I could no longer cope with the workload. Production was scheduled to begin mid-2013, with the movie due for release in the summer of 2014, and I couldn't wait!
"Thanks," I said as Jasper reached over and grabbed the pillows before placing them behind my back. "Guess this isn't the way you wanted to spend our wedding day," I groused, feeling a sense of loss that I didn't get to enjoy very much of my wedding reception after the pain that I'd been ignoring all day began to worsen in the middle of the speeches, only to culminate when my water broke on the dance floor.
"Are you kidding?" Jasper said, picking up the washcloth and swiping it against my face before kissing my nose. "What more could I want than this? Not only did you marry me today, now you and I get the best wedding gift there is…our firstborn child. This is the most memorable day of my life, darlin'."
"I can't argue with that. Today's a day I'll not soon forget," I agreed a little sarcastically as he placed the cloth across my forehead.
"Plus, it was funny as hell that you actually managed to render Rosalie Hale speechless," he added with a smirk, trying to distract me from my 'woe is me' feelings.
"Remind me to apologize to her for ruining her Monolo Blahniks," I grunted out as the pain surged through me once more. "Fuck!" I cried, my cheeks puffing in and out as I lurched forward and squeezed Jasper's hand. Jasper watched me carefully, offering me a smile once the contraction had eased, flexing his fingers within mine as I loosened my grip.
"I've never seen anything so comical as her running around the dance floor like a headless chicken, freaking out when your water broke all over her shoes!" he laughed.
"Well, they were brand new," I said as I tried to slow my breathing. "And she'd bought them on sale, too," I added, attempting a smile, recalling the beautiful shade of purple of those toeless shoes, gathered material at the back topped with a black lace up bow. They were exquisite.
"Wouldn't have been that long ago that she would've torn your head off for doing something like that…"
And Jasper was right. Rosalie had sure changed. It was odd…all of us kept waiting for the other designer shoe to drop, but it never did. Rosalie and I had become fairly good friends these last months. I mean, not to the level of my friendship with Bella, but things were okay between us, and as long as Seth was happy to have her in his life, I'd always accept her into my small, but special circle of those I cared about.
Of course, she shone when the fundraiser came around, her ability to milk money from the tightly closed wallets of the wealthy meant that the house got the best of everything in it. She didn't go overboard, though. She still hunted for bargains, and even managed to get some free furnishings when she promised (after speaking with her father) that I am Woman would publish an article not only featuring the house and all the good work Seth, Edward and Jasper had put into it, but promoting any businesses that happened to contribute to the cause. She even refused to be mentioned in the article, that little move shocking everyone, but none more than Alistair…her gesture showing all of us that she'd changed.
Alistair even asked if she wanted to come back to work for him, but she refused. It was soon after that conversation that he allowed her back to her apartment and loosened the purse strings once more.
But the pivotal moment that proved there was more to Rosalie than any of us ever knew, was when I saw her with one of the first families that arrived at the house. I'd never seen her cry before, but after hearing their story about their daughter, who had been admitted to hospital with an inoperable brain tumour, I comforted her as she wept rivers for them once Edward left to take them to the hospital.
"Oh, I agree. Thank God your Mama managed to keep her from doing just that," I smiled as Jasper leaned in and kissed me on the forehead.
"She has that way about her," he agreed with a soft sigh.
And she did. Elizabeth Whitlock exuded serenity, and I knew that's where Jasper got his nature from. Even in the chaotic atmosphere where about fifty people were gathered, all noisy and hungry and a little drunk as they enjoyed Christmas dinner, she managed to cater the entire day and still remain cool and calm. After Charlie and Sue decided to travel with Seth and Rosalie to New York to spend Christmas with Sue's family, as a surprise, Jasper flew the six of us down to Houston to spend Christmas with her and a bevy of the loudest bunch of cousins, uncles and aunts I'd ever met. Jasper had such a large family that it bordered on the ridiculous, and being there with them all was a little overwhelming at first, but one thing I could say was that we had never been made to feel more welcome. Once again, after so long, both Edward and I finally felt part of not only a loving family, but a noisy, fun, and hugely extended one, and had experienced one of the best Christmases ever. Even Emmett and Riley felt like they'd come home, their feelings of displacement courtesy of their own difficult family situations all but forgotten once there.
"Where is she?" Jasper muttered, pressing the call button.
The nurse from hell walked through the door and said, "She's stuck in traffic, and will be here as soon as she can." She then proceeded to examine me once more and added, "Nearly there."
"Oh shut the hell up! You said that already!" I roared at her. She merely shrugged and continued reading the monitors.
"Jasper…can you please go and get Edward? If Louise can't make it here in time, I want him here." Not only was he my brother, but if Lou couldn't deliver my child, I wanted Edward to at least be there to assist.
"That's against protocol…" the nurse warned. Many of the staff her knew of Edward, either because they knew our father or through his dealings since then with the Oncology Unit, and though he'd been to med school, he hadn't finished, and she knew that.
"As my coach, you idiot!" I snapped, wondering if Ratchett could read my mind. Jasper pulled out his phone and tried calling, but didn't get an answer.
"I'll just go see if I can find him," Jasper said, quickly rushing from the room, waving his arm in the air and calling my brother's name as he appeared to have spotted him.
"Get ready, a big one's on the way," the nurse warned as she studied the lines as they wriggled across the paper of the monitor.
"Oh my fuck!" I swore, the worst possible pain searing through me as I lurched forward and gripped the metal of the bed beneath the mattress, the sudden urge to push there. "Need. To. Push," I panted as my body shook with pain. The nurse nodded, at the same time checking her pager.
"She's two minutes away," she said, putting her pager away and examining me once more. "Time to get you ready to deliver." I nodded my head in acknowledgement as I breathed through the pain, this particular contraction lasting much longer than the others. As I slumped back into the pillows, feeling already utterly spent, the nurse pulled out the stirrups and placed my legs in them, preparing me for what was to come.
"Found them!" I heard Jasper call out as both Bella and Edward appeared in the doorway, looking far more sober than they had at the wedding, but a little more dishevelled and far more sheepish than I recalled. Bella's hair was everywhere, her lipstick smeared across her mouth and her strapless deep blue bridesmaid's dress a little torn at the slit. Edward didn't look much better, Bella's lipstick all over his mouth and jaw, his hair comically messy, hands in his pockets, white shirt gaping open and missing several buttons.
"Oh hell no…you two didn't!" I said, eyes widening as Jasper pushed past them and rushed to my side as he blushed furiously.
"Yeah, they did. I just busted these two finishing in the supply closet what they started back at the church!" Jasper whined.
It wasn't bad enough that I made the stupid decision to ask Bella to deliver the guy's boutonnieres to them at the church, where Emmett burst in on them going at it in the rectory, even snapping a few pictures before clapping a mortified Edward on the back...apparently they had to finish the job here, when I was just about to give birth!
Of course, as mad as I was at them right now, I knew I'd forgive them in a heartbeat. Besides Jasper, these two people were the most important in my life. Edward, who had gone through so much, was now a man in love, and though the two of them never admitted it to anyone, we knew they'd already declared their feelings to one another.
It was the way he looked at her, as if she was the only person in the room. And it was the way her eyes always sought him out, like a magnet to steel. It really was intense being in the same room with them, the air always thick with emotion whenever they were around one another.
And that was a lot. And if Bella wasn't with Edward, he had a constant reminder that she was a part of his life, what with her newly acquired picture being there, hanging on his living room wall. Bella also had reminders of Emmett's exhibit dotted around her apartment, and in fact nearly every piece had sold.
Bella's book was also near to completion, and from what Peter had told me it was bound to be a bestseller. I was happy that she was finally on the path that she was destined to be on, Jasper having seen it way before anyone else. She bloomed when she spoke about her work, to the point she nearly gushed when anyone asked her about it. It was sure a sight to see. Jasper was expecting big things from her, and I got the feeling Bella wouldn't let him down. Still tough as old nails, Bella continued to be her usual scathing self, and we were all okay with that. Like I said the day I met her, she called a spade a spade, and never deviated from who she was.
I loved her for that.
And then there was Edward. Finally, his life had begun. He was in a place where he had the woman he loved by his side, was healthy and vital, and had a job he could feel passionate about. He took to working with those families like a duck to water, his empathetic ear and boundless energy keeping the families who were enduring so much, buoyant. He and even Bella had also gained a respect for Rosalie, and though their working relationship was strained at times, it was always fruitful and for the most part, they respected one another. The bastard in Edward was still there, and if Rosalie ever challenged any decision he made, he'd always be there to remind her he was in charge, but of course never in front of the families.
He spent his time experimenting with recipes, even going to the trouble of finding out what each family member's favourite meal was and preparing it for them. If anyone celebrated a birthday, he'd be there with a bottle of champagne, home-made cake and candles, ready to celebrate. He'd hold people when they needed to be comforted, listen when they needed to talk, and often shed a tear when he thought no one was looking. In the end, Seth didn't need to visit the house to counsel the families all that often, much to Rosalie's disappointment, because Edward was the one they went to when they needed to talk most of the time anyway.
"Sorry," he apologized. "I thought it'd be ages before you delivered." He stared at his shoes and shuffled from foot to foot, obviously remorseful of his behaviour.
"Well it seems my child has inherited your lack of patience, my dear brother. Now don't just stand there, you two! Get over here and help me get this thing out!" I ordered. The two of them flinched before rushing to my side. Jasper let out a nervous laugh as Edward removed his hands from his pockets, quickly tearing off the rubber gloves he was wearing before taking my hand in his. Bella stood behind him, clearing her throat, grabbing the gloves and quickly tossing them into the waste.
"You two are incorrigible!" Jasper admonished, staring wide-eyed at Edward and Bella before focusing on me once more, taking my free hand in his. Placing a soft kiss on my forehead, he whispered, "I love you, Alice. Now let's make ourselves into a family."
"We already are," I said with pride, feeling a tear spring to my eye as I stared at the ones I loved.
"Okay, I'm here, Alice. Let's get your baby delivered, shall we?" Lou said as she calmly swept into the room, just as the mother of all contractions smashed through me.
"Aaaagh!" I screamed, gripping their hands, both of them grunting as I squeezed them so hard I felt their knuckles crack…
"Jasper!" I heard Alice cry as I felt a hand slap my face. Hard. Why was I being hit? And why did I smell something strange? Oh, fuck, my head felt like it had been stomped on, and I could feel a lump already forming.
The smell was strong once more underneath my nose, causing it to wrinkle. My eyes fluttered open, the white light burning through my retinas as Edward stooped over my apparently prone body.
And that's when it hit.
Oh, shit! Now I remember! Oh hell, the blood! How on earth could the birth of a child cause there to be so much blood?
"He's awake," Edward said glancing behind me with a shake of his head and a cocky grin.
"Oh thank fuck for that!" Bella moaned. "A goddamned tycoon who faints at the sight of blood…what a fucking wimp!" she added.
"How long have I been out?" I asked, feeling more than a little dazed.
"Oh, a little while. You think you can get up?" Edward asked with a snicker as he grasped my arm, pulling me into a sitting position. I still felt a little dizzy but I was determined to get up. I wanted…no needed to see that my wife and child were fine.
And as I moved to stand to my feet, using Alice's bed as leverage as Edward helped me up, that's when I made another realization. I wasn't in the room with just my wife and two friends, oh hell no! The sound of Emmett's snicker and my mother's familiar laugh told me that in no uncertain terms, we had company.
But, it didn't matter, because when I looked down and saw the vision of my beautiful wife, dressed in her favourite satin nightgown and robe as she held our tightly swaddled baby to her breast, the suckling noises filling not only the room, but the one corner of my heart that had been empty until now, everything else just disappeared.
And as I felt my face crack into a beaming smile, a smile so wide that the tears soon followed, I stared at my sweet thang and our child, with one question burning on the tip of my tongue.
"Jasper, honey, why don't you say hello to your daughter," Alice said, smiling through her suddenly welling tears.
"We have a baby girl?" I whispered, my heart surging with pride as Alice nodded, looking exhausted but just as happy as I was, and as she stared lovingly at our precious child, my breath hitched, and as I heard sniffles and sobs of my family and friends echo around the room, I knew we'd done right in choosing the name that would fall from her lips…we'd decided on it the moment we knew we were expecting, but had kept it a secret from everyone.
"Esmeralda Carly Elizabeth Whitlock, this is your Daddy."
A/N: Thank you for allowing me to share this little piece of my heard, and to the new readers I have gained with the last chapter I posted, I thank you for picking up this story.