Disclaimer: I do not own anything relating to Twilight. I do, however, own the storyline for Wedlocked.
What the hell just happened? I'm still tying to process the events of the last few minutes.
Everything seemed fine when I left her yesterday. So why the attitude? Hell, fuck the attitude, why the hell is she threatening to keep KC away from me?
"Fuck this," I lash out loud, grabbing my phone and keys from my desk.
I stop by Lauren's desk to let her know to cancel any other meetings for the day.
"Mr. Cullen, I'm so sorry." she rambles. "I tried to tell Ms. Swan you were in a meeting with your lawyer, but she insisted on seeing you.
Then it dawns on me.
Shit! She overheard Garrett and me, and she thinks I'm trying to get custody of KC!
"Shit!" I mumble through my hand as I scrub my face.
"Mr. Cullen I'm sorry. It won't happen again!"
"It's alright, Lauren. It's not your fault. Cancel my meetings for the rest of the day. I'll be out of the office," I rush out, already walking briskly to the elevator. I hope that I'll be able to catch Bella before she gets too far.
"But your mother is coming by to discuss…"
"Tell her I'll call her later," I call out as the elevator doors close.
Fuck! This elevator is taking way too long.
"Fucking hurry up!"
Finally the doors open and I rush through the front doors of the building, looking around frantically. I heave a sigh of relief when I see her sitting in the truck, face buried in her hands.
She looks like she's crying.
"Bella?" I say softly as I approach.
"Go away, Edward. Stay away from me."
She lifts her head and turns to face me, tears streaming down her face.
"I trusted you, Edward. I wanted you to be a part of KC's life. How could you do this to me…to her?"
"No! You can't take her away from me. I…I don't have money for a hotshot lawyer, but–but I will fight you, Edward Cullen!" she stammers, cutting me off. "And if you think…"
"Bella, stop!" I interject, half amused and half heart broken. "I would never take her away from you!"
"You're lying! I heard you and that– that lawyer talking!"
"Okay, listen to me. Get out of the truck, right now."
She wipes her nose quickly with the back of her hand and blinks at me, ready to snap again, but this time I halt her protest.
"Get out of the truck. I want to explain something to you." I open the door for her to exit, and she slowly alights from the vehicle.
She sniffles and wipes at her nose again.
"Oh my God, you beautiful crazy woman! What am I going to do with you, huh?" I reach up and gently brush her cheek with the pad of my thumb, capturing one stray tear.
"What you snooped in on, was not me trying to take KC away from you."
She opens her mouth to speak, but I quickly stop her, "yes I said snoop." I raise my eyebrows at her, silently challenging her to deny it.
"But he said here are the papers for you to sign and good luck with the baby," She counters, and I shake my head at her disbelievingly.
"Those papers are about KC…"
I don't mention that there are also documents to petition for an annulment of my marriage to Tanya. I'll save that for another time. It's too soon.
She angrily turns to walk away from me, not letting me finish, but I wrap my hand around her wrist to pull her back
"As I was saying, the papers are about KC. They're papers I've had drawn up for a trust."
"A trust?" She asks skeptically, but her voice softens.
"As in a trust fund."
A look of confusion, mixed with embarrassment slowly creeps over face when she realizes she that might have been overreacting.
"Bella, I…." I exhale and start again. "I want…I had the papers drawn up because I want her to have a secure future and I would be totally lying if I said that's all I want."
"What do you mean?"
"She's my daughter. My firstborn. I'm going to spoil her rotten!" I laugh happily. "And I knew you would try and fight me on it, so I just did it, okay. Bella, please let me do this for her?"
She dips her head, trying to hold back a smile. I know she wants to say 'absolutely not', but I'm prepared to beg.
"You could've told me, you know." She looks up at me through her lashes.
"Is that a yes or a no?"
"Edward," she warns.
"Bella," I warn back.
"We can talk about it when you come to see your daughter today," she sighs.
"Your car or mine?" I ask with a wide grin.
"Um, yours. My truck broke down in your parking lot, "she replies with a sheepish smirk.
First thing on my 'to do' list, buy Bella a new car.
"Man! Does she always eat this much?" I'm amazed as I watch my daughter drain the bottle I'm holding.
"It's just a little over four ounces," Bella adds as she folds KC's laundry. "She'll probably conk out as soon as she's done."
Sure enough, her eyes start to droop as her suckling finally slackens.
Bella shows me how to rest her on my shoulder and burp her. And once she's convinced that I won't screw it up royally, she leaves us alone and goes into the kitchen to feed Sadie. It gives me father/daughter time to promise KC the world, without her mother objecting.
"I'm going to fix this, Sweetie. I promise." I walk around, rubbing her back gently, waiting for her to burp. "You, your mother and I are going to be together as a family. I swear it."
KC is sleeping soundly, she's burped and contentedly resting on my chest as I walk into the kitchen to let Bella know.
"All burped and napping," I whisper.
"I see. You're a natural. Do you want to settle her down?" She's pulling various contents out of the fridge to make sandwiches.
"I'm so in love with her, Bella," I say proudly. She looks up at me and just smiles as I leave to settle KC in the bedroom.
When I return, Bella has the bread and various fillings spread out on the counter.
"I'm making sandwiches. Do you want to stay for dinner?" She surprises me. I know she's trying her best to co-exist with me for the sake of our child, but for some reason, it just feels like old times.
"Sandwiches?" I grin at her.
"Yes, sandwiches, Edward. We can't always eat in five star restaurants, Mister Bourgeois Cullen."
"Bourgeois? Moi?" She rolls her eyes and starts placing meat on the bread. "And it just so happens that we can eat in five star restaurants whenever we want. Just say the word." I hold out my hands in an offering.
"The word is no, Edward."
I knew that would be her answer, but honestly if she had said yes, I would've jumped all over the chance to take her out to a nice place to eat.
It's too soon, though. And actually, how the hell would it look, me taking Bella to dinner and still being married to Tanya?
"Mayo or mustard, Edward?" She's looking at me as if she's asked this question more than once. Apparently, I've been wrapped up in my own thoughts so much that I missed it.
I know I can't give give her anything or make another promise to her or my daughter, until I tell my family and Tanya.
"Bella, I'm not going to be able to stay for dinner," I say regretfully. "I have…" I pause to think carefully about my next words. "I have something important to take care of."
"Oh," she replies sullenly.
Is she hurt because I'm not staying?
"As much as I want to," I add quickly, trying to make her understand that I want nothing more than to stay. She looks up at me, her expression changing somewhat.
"Rain check?" She asks, reading my thoughts exactly.
"Soon," I reply with a smile on my face and hope in my heart. " Will you kiss KC goodnight for me?"
I fight the urge to reach out and stroke her cheek. Instead, I pick up the sandwich she's just made and take a huge bite.
"You're insane," she laughs.
"This is so good," I mumble with my jaw stuffed. "I'll call you later.
I leave with images of Bella smiling and humorously shaking her head at me.
Soon, baby. I promise.
I arrive at my parents soon after calling from the car. I've told them that I needed to discuss something important. I also asked them to make sure that Alice and James are present.
James already knows about KC, but I know that I'd need him for moral support; for my mother, not for me. I can already envision her hysterics, and I haven't even walked through the door yet.
They're all seated in the family room, waiting. The look on their faces and my father's pacing tells me that I've gone about this the wrong way.
Christ, do they think I'm going to tell them I have six months to live?
As soon as they notice me walking through the foyer, my mother's off the sofa and at my side.
"Sweetheart, are you alright? What's going on?"
"Calm down, Mom. I'm fine." I kiss her on the cheek.
"Son?" My father looks at me worriedly.
"Well, the gang's all here," I chuckle. " Hey, Smidgy." I walk over to peck her on the forehead. "Dad." I give him a quick hug.
"Why the fuck are you so loving today?" James quips.
"Hey! Watch your mouth," my mother snaps.
"You already know why I'm in a good mood, James. Now it's time for me to share the news with everyone."
"In that case, I think we should get drunk. Real drunk, real fast," he says blandly and walks toward the bar.
"Shut up, James." I glare at him.
"Especially you, Mom. Martini?"
"What is this about, Edward?" she ignores my brother's sarcasm.
"There's no simple way to put this, so I'm just going to say it."
I watch as their faces morph into confusion.
"There's going to be an addition to the family," I announce proudly.
"Oh my God." Alice shakes her head, showing her distaste.
"A baby?" My mother's eyes widen, and she screeches in delight. "Finally! Carlisle did you hear that, Tanya and Edward are having a baby! We're going to be grandparents!"
"Wow, congratulations, son!" My father grabs me in a huge bearhug.
I scrunch my face as I make eye contact with James over my fathers' shoulder. He responds by letting out an obnoxious, boisterous laugh. I'll kill him later.
"Hold on, hold on a minute! Tanya and I aren't having a baby."
"I'm confused," my mother says as her smile fades, "you said there was going to be an addition to the family. Doesn't that mean a baby?"
"Yeah, me and Bella's baby."
"What?" she and my sister shout in unison.
"Hellooooo, you and Bella aren't together any longer, Edward. You're married to Tanya remember? The boy has obviously gone off the deep end." My sister mocks.
"Thanks for the vote of confidence, Smidge. I can assure you, I am completely sane. Bella and I have a daughter. She's a month old. Her name is Kennedy…KC."
The room is suddenly silent as my mother, father and sister all gape at me, their expressions begging for an explanation.
The silence is finally broken as I say nothing… low exclamations of 'oh my God' and 'shit' fill the air before voices are raised.
"You have got to be kidding me!"
"I'm not kidding, Mom."
"Edward? I…I don't understand. You have a daughter, and she's a month old, and you never told us about her? How can that be?" My father asks, perplexed.
"I just found out about KC, Dad. Bella…." I pause. "She only just told me about her."
"You mean she kept her from you?" Alice amends.
"It's…. complicated, Smidge."
"What the hell does that mean? Either she did or she didn't."
"She…she wanted to tell me. She tried…."
"What the hell do you mean she tried?"
"She's a liar," my mother interjects furiously. "I don't know why she's using that poor kid to sucker you in, but that baby isn't yours, Edward."
"Wow, I can't believe you just said that! KC is my daughter, and maybe, just maybe we all would have known from the beginning if your and Tanya's meddling hadn't pushed me into making rash decisions, causing Bella to make even more rash ones."
"What rash decisions? My father asks.
"Oh that's right, you don't know. Well, allow me to enlighten you. Tanya dug up some information on Bella's father and used it to blackmail me into marrying her, and Mom knew about it," I say as if I'm reporting the weather.
"Is this true, Esme? He turns to my mother. She opens her mouth to either protest or at least make an attempt to, and he immediately cuts her off. "Of course it's true. I can't believe this. I kept racking my brain trying to understand why you would marry Tanya after seeing how you were with Bella. I knew you loved her."
"Love. I love her, present tense. It hasn't changed, and now we have a child together, and I love her ten times as much."
My father nods and smiles at me. "It's amazing isn't it? It's like no other love you've ever experienced."
I nod. He 's right. He looks at Alice and me then his gaze moves to James and lingers on him. And I finally understand. Children are the most important things to him, even though one of us isn't biologically his.
"When do we get to meet her?" He pats my shoulder.
"This is ridiculous! That girl's father is a police Chief, and he stole a ton of money that he confiscated in a drug raid. Do you think she isn't above lying about a kid to get her hands on our wealth? The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, Edward."
"God, I hope that isn't true, Mother." I shoot her a scathing look.
"You know nothing about Bella's father, or her for that matter. He took that money because after paying for Bella's mother medical expenses, he had nothing left to honor her dying wish. It was wrong, but I understand why he did it."
"He stole drug money?" Alice gasps.
"To put Bella through veterinary school," I clarify, feeling the need to defend Charlie's actions.
"It doesn't matter. He's still a thief, and she's still a gold-digging liar. Carlisle, I cannot believe you're falling for all of this!"
"SHUT. UP!" I yell and pinch the bridge of my nose to calm down.
"Enough, Esme. I made this mistake before, and I won't make it again. And if you're smart, you will stop alienating our children. One day, you're going to lose them." My father berates my mother in his calm voice.
"Edward, I hope we can get to meet our granddaughter soon. I, for one, can't wait. If you'll excuse me, I have a conference call in about five minutes. I love you, son, " he whispers before heading up to his study.
"How 'bout that drink now, Mom?" James snickers.
"I've had just about enough of your snide comments, James."
"I can't believe this. I have a niece?"
"Yeah, Smidge. She's gorgeous. And I call her Minnie."
"What is with you and your obsession with the short nicknames?" she giggles, shaking her head. When…when can I see her?" She stammers, awe-struck.
"I don't know," I sigh, dragging a hand through my hair, "things are still fresh and new. Bella and I are in a weird spot, Smidge." I try my best to explain.
"She is allowing you to see her, isn't she?"
"Yeah, of course. There's just a lot more to the story. I've damaged so much between Bella and me. And then there's, Tanya," I growl.
She covers her face in despair and huffs.
"I always thought Bella was perfect for you, and I'll support you anyway I can. But you know Tanya is my husband's sister…."
"Say no more. This is my mess, and I'll fix it, but thank you for understanding, Smidge."
"Well I'm not married to any Denali's. I will help you in any way I can, little brother." James adds, and my mother damned near splits in two.
"We'll just see about that," She spits and picks up the wireless handset.
"Who are you calling?" I ask.
"Dr. Felix. All of you are so damned quick to make that baby an heiress, and you don't even know if she's truly blood related. You're getting a paternity test."
"Let me speak with Dr. Felix, please. It's Esme Cullen," she speaks into the handset, while glaring at me.
"Jesus Christ, I feel for you golden-boy." James adds.
"Hang up that phone now, Mother, or I swear to God, this little girl right here," I pull the picture of KC from my pocket and hold it up in her face, "you will never get the joy of having her be a part of your life."
The minute I say it, I feel like shit, but I mean every word of it. Something in her face changes as she studies the picture of KC.
Slowly, she lowers the phone and blindly fumbles it back into the cradle.
She reaches up timidly and takes the photo from my hand, her eyes start to well up with tears.
"I'll be damned." Her voice chokes. "Oh my…Edward! She's the spitting image of you!" she gasps.
"I actually thought she looked a lot like you," I amend.
She looks up at me with tears streaming down her face. "She's so beautiful. God, look at that hair." She looks at the photo in disbelief. "What did you say her name was?"
"Her name's Kennedy." I say a little more calmly as I watch her demeanor go from livid to one resembling a gooey marshmallow.
For the next couple of hours, and all through dinner, the conversation is about Kennedy, how beautiful she is, and how everyone can't wait to see her…to spoil her. Even my mother's turn around had been a surprise, but I know that she still hasn't changed her mind about, Bella. She never will.
It doesn't matter though. I'm more than ever determined to be a family with Bella and my daughter. The only thing left to do is to tell my wife.
This isn't going to be easy. I take the long route home and drive slowly. Tanya can be a problem, downright venomous if rubbed the wrong way. This will, without a doubt, rub her the wrong way.
I can handle anything she has to dish out, but I won't let anything or anyone bring harm to Bella or KC.
I'm not completely insensitive to Tanya's feelings. I don't want to see her hurt, but we need to face the inevitable. Our marriage is over. It never really was a marriage to begin with. Mergers, blackmail, basically wedlocked, in every sense of the word.
Now it's time to break free.
I pull into the driveway and kill the engine. I look up at the house and notice that there is minimal, if any, lighting at all inside.
She must be at the office.
I feel a little relieved at the thought, as I figure it will give me more time to handle the situation delicately. The last thing I want is a crying, screaming altercation that results in more threats and even more blackmail.
Taking a deep breath, I climb out of my car and walk briskly up to the front door. I key in the code, enter and rest the back of my head against the door as I close it.
"Shit, this is going to be tougher than I thought," I huff knocking my head once on the door.
"What is?" I hear her calm voice speak from the bay window, her silhouette, the only thing visible.
"Jesus, why the hell are you sitting here in the dark, Tanya?"
"What's going to be tough, Edward?" she dodges my question with one of her own.
I reach over to the wall to turn up the dial on the light. As if she can sense what I was about to do, she stops me.
"Leave the light off."
I oblige and approach her. She's sitting on the window ledge, peering out into the night. I decide not to fuck around and get right to the point. There's no easy way of saying what I need to, so I just take the simple approach…again.
"I have something important to talk with you about. Rather, I have something important to tell you." I sit in front of her on the sill.
"Oh yeah?" she says acidly.
Okay, this shit is getting a bit too creepy for me.
"Are you alright? What's your deal, Tanya?"
"What do you want to talk to me about?" she sighs heavily, not making eye contact. Something is off with her, more so than usual.
"Answer my question, Tanya."
"It's a beautiful night, don't you think? A nice night for drive, putting the top down and just going for a long drive." She's still vacantly staring out of the window.
She's starting to worry me, and I haven't even made a dent in the conversation that we need to have.
"Although the whole day felt like this…beautiful," she cuts me off. "I um…my OB/GYN called me today." She pauses for a moment and looks at me.
"I'm not going to be able to have children."
"I'm twenty-three and that bastard wrote my entire future for me today. No children. All because of some fucked up childhood accident I had."
"Tanya, I'm…I am so sorry," I say sorrowfully, leaning over and placing a hand on hers. She looks at me with tears streaming down her face.
"When I left his office, I just…drove. I drove to the fucking park, where kids were on swings and sliding boards and…." She shakes her head as her voice fades.
Damn it! How the hell am I going to tell her about KC now?
"What exactly did the doctor say?"
"That's not important," she lets out a small, sarcastic laugh. "What is important was me in that park watching those kids." She stands and leans against the wall. "All those messy, untamed, beautiful kids…kids I will never get a chance to have. Kids I won't be able to give you."
"But you don't want kids with me, right? I mean we haven't even fucked!" She yells and buries her hands in her hair, her sobs coming out quickly and vanishing even faster.
I feel like a piece of shit. I have no idea how to comfort her. And the fact that I'm sitting on the mother of all bombshells isn't going to help matters. So I just listen as she vents.
"I sat in that park and cried for what seemed like hours, Edward, until this lady came and sat down next to me, and for some odd reason, I poured out my heart, dumping my problems onto her. She was comforting and so sickeningly sweet that it almost turned my stomach, going on and on about how I have other alternatives…adoption, In Vitro fertilization, surrogacy!" she screams and starts to sob again.
I feel nauseous. I can't tell her about KC now. I can't be that heartless.
I stand up slowly and make to pull her into my arms, but she shoves me away.
"Don't touch me! This is all your fault!"
"Tanya, the woman you talked to was right. There are so many other options for you to have children."
"Oh shut up, Edward. You sound like my doctor, giving me hope with one hand and–and crushing it with the other. Do you know, for a moment I started to let what she said comfort me and make me think that I could explore other options? She had the most beautiful blond-haired boy. He was perfect. And she told me that she had adopted him, and the way he clung to her proved that that kid loved her, and she loved him, no matter how he came into her life. In that moment I thought, maybe I could do this. Maybe there is another way for me. I didn't realize how much I wanted to be a mother, until I found out that I couldn't."
"But you can, Tanya. Don't you see that?"
"Tell me something, Edward?" She ignores my statement. I blink, waiting for her to elaborate.
"When were you going to tell me about, Kennedy?"
I feel my eyes widen briefly before a frown finally sets in.
She knows. The question is how?
"Son of a bitch," she whispers and turns to walk away.
"Tanya, wait. How do you know about her?" I follow her into the living room.
"I told you it was a nice night for a drive," she snarks.
"Don't pull that sarcastic shit with me. How did you find out about, Kennedy?" My anger begins to flare.
"She's adorable, right down to her little carrot top," she mocks.
"Who told you?"
"Your fucking mother told me!" she snaps, whirling around.
Of course she did. Goddamn her!
"But that was after I bumped into your precious Bella at the park, pushing your kid in a stroller. What are the fucking odds?" She gives a disturbing chuckle. "I remember thinking, damn this kid looks a lot like, Edward. And it was almost as if Bella read my mind, because she got this stupid, scared deer-caught-in- headlights look on her face."
My mind instantly warps into protective mode, forgetting all about the fact that she was just crying her eyes out about being barren.
"What did you do? What did you say to, Bella? I swear to God, Tanya if you did anything…."
"You have got to be kidding me! You had a kid with her and didn't tell me, your wife. And now you're here swearing to God about what you will do to me because I found out about it? Fuck you, Edward!"
"I just found out about her. I was going to tell you about her tonight, but then you started to tell me about your devastating news. I didn't know what to do."
"How convenient…use my situation to lie to me about your illegitimate child."
"I didn't lie. I just saw that you were hurting and decided that this wasn't the appropriate time, but since you know now, I might as well get it all out in the open."
I still myself and look right in her eyes that are now alight with rage.
"Tanya, we can't continue like this, and I think you know that."
"I don't know shit, and your next words better not be anything along the lines of "I want a divorce", because it's not going to happen."
Well, that could have gone better.
I knew once I told her, that her reaction would be something like this.
"Our marriage is over, Tanya. My place is not here with you."
She glares at me, shaking her head. "Your place is exactly here with me, Edward Cullen and don't you dare think for a second that you are going to humiliate me and go and play ready-made family with Bella and that baby. It's not my fault that you knocked her up, and I won't sacrifice because of it. And if you cross me, I will have her father in jail faster than you can say the word…well you get it." She retreats up the stairs.
"We'll just see about that," I yell after her.
"We will." She slams her bedroom door.
Definitely could have gone better.
I sigh heavily and think about the next thing to do. I need to make phone calls…but who to call first, is the problem.
I want to call Garrett and let him know about what's just transpired between Tanya and me and discuss what steps I need to take to protect Bella, the baby and myself.
I want to call my mother and cast her out of my life for exacerbating my problems with Tanya.
I want to call Bella just to see if she's okay and to make sure Tanya hasn't done irreparable damage to my already damaged relationship with Bella. This is the call, out of fear, that I least want to make.
I reach into my pocket and pull out my cell. I have three missed calls from Bella, back to back.
I quickly call her and brace myself for the verbal onslaught.
"Bella, are you alright?"
"I'm fine Edward, but I ran into Tanya at the park…Edward she knows."
"I know. I'm at home right now, and we kind of had it out. Bella, I'm so sorry if she said anything to upset you."
"She didn't. She actually didn't say anything and that was a bit…weird. She just looked at KC and me with this knowing look on her face. Edward, she looked like she had been crying. What's going on?"
"It's complicated, Bella," I say, with an exhausting exhale.
There's dead silence on the line for brief moment and then she speaks.
"That must mean you're going to lie to me again. Please don't do me any more favors for my own good, Edward," she emphasizes.
"I'm not going to lie to you. I just don't want to get into it over the phone. I'll explain everything to you soon. I have a lot to discuss with you. Is tomorrow a good time to come by and see KC?"
"Yeah, of course. I don't have class tomorrow. We should both be up early. Come by whenever you're free."
"Thank you. I'll see you tomorrow. I'll call first."
"Kiss her goodnight for me?"
"I will. Goodnight, Edward."
Listening to her end the call scares the hell out of me for some reason. I want nothing more than to tell her that I love her and that everything will be perfect, but Tanya is a ticking time bomb, and I know she won't walk away quietly. She meant every word she said. I have a feeling things are only beginning, rather than being close to being over.
It's around ten a.m. when I show up at her door.
She answers with the baby perched on her shoulder. She looks as if she hasn't slept at all.
Her hair is piled on top of her head with loose strands surrounding her face.
KC is crying uncontrollably, and Bella is bouncing and patting her back gently, trying to shush her.
"Help," she says, looking helplessly at KC then at me.
"Don't." She admonishes and raises a hand to assert her point.
"I was just going to say you look…tired."
I'm thinking more like haggard, but I daren't say it. She's been up all night, obviously taking care of my child.
"Rough night?" I reach out to rub KC's back.
Christ, the kid has a pair of lungs on her. She must get that from the Cullen women.
"A rough night doesn't begin to explain what I've been through. She's been crying for the greater part of the night, and now it's obviously spilled over into today."
"How can I help?" I want to do anything to contribute to stop the crying.
"Take her for a moment, please. See if she stops with you. I've witnessed you calming her once before, just give it a shot, please, Edward," her tone is bordering on desperation. "She's fed, she's changed, bathed and all. I don't know what's wrong!"
"Okay, calm down." I take KC from her and cradle her in my arms, rocking gently. The screaming continues, her little fist clenches at her curls, and she tugs.
I'd say baby KC is thoroughly pissed about something. Poor thing won't have any hair by the time she takes her first steps.
"Yeah, she gets that from you."
I shoot Bella a look for pointing out my and my daughter's uncontrollable habit.
"Do you think maybe she's sick?"
"No…I mean, I don't think so. She doesn't have a fever, and she's eating regularly. Babies usually draw their legs upward when they have a tummy ache. I called her doctor, and he said that if she's eating and having regular BM's and wet diapers with no fevers, then she probably just has gas."
"Bowel movements, Edward."
"Got it." I answer knowingly.
While we've been trying to figure out why the baby is crying so much, we hadn't noticed that she's finally quiet and sleeping soundly in my arms.
"How did you do that?" Bella whispers.
I shrug and tiptoe over to her cradle and gently place her inside. She stirs for a moment then gives a shuddering sigh and settles back into a deep sleep.
"I think she was just tired?"
"I think maybe you're right, and you definitely have the magic touch. God, I'm so exhausted," she breathes out, walking over to the sofa and collapses on it.
I pull KC's little blanket over her and back away slowly to join Bella on the sofa.
I look over at her, with her head resting back on the pillows and her eyes shut. She isn't sleeping, just content in the silence. Then I unwittingly ruin it.
"I want to take the baby to see my family."
We both snap our heads in the direction of the cradle at the sound of Bella's outburst, praying that it doesn't disturb KC.
I knew she would react this way. More like, this is the way I expected her to react at the notion of allowing my mother to spend time with KC.
"The rest of your family is wonderful, but your mother hates me, Edward, and I cannot allow my daughter to be subjected to that kind of…negativity."
"KC is our daughter, Bella, and I promise you, I will never let anyone hurt her…or you. I know I probably have no right to ask, but this is extremely important to me."
I watch as she chews on the corner of her bottom lip. It's a clear sign of her weakening.
I know she understands about family. And even though she doesn't get along with my mother, I know she would never be able to allow KC to grow up not knowing the only grandmother she has left.
"Fine, but I swear if she spews any of her garbage at me, I'm out of there."
"She won't. I promise," I say with a wide grin.
"Don't smile at me. It's distracting." She tries to contain a smile of her own.
I ignore her request and continue to smile. Shit, I'm happy that things are going smoothly, and I'm not going to hide it or apologize for it either.
"Edward, what happened with Tanya?"
So much for happiness!
I mimic her position and lean my head back against the sofa. I don't want to lie to her. I won't lie to her ever again, but I don't feel she needs to know the whole story right now…only the important details. Other shit can wait.
"I told Tanya about KC…more like my mother told her, and I confirmed it."
"Yeah, I told her last night and she couldn't wait to report it to Tanya, it seems. But it doesn't matter. The important thing is that she knows, and things are going to change." I reach out and brush her cheek with the back of my hand.
She raises her head to look at me, trying to understand what I'm saying…knowing exactly what I'm saying.
Her eyes tell me that she understands it all.
"Edward, I…I don't…we can't…"
"Don't say it okay, Bella. Please don't. I know we can't just go back to the way things were, nor do I want to. I want to start afresh with you. Love you. Be with you. Raise our daughter…together. Please don't say, we can't, I don't want to hear those words from you." I stare into her beautiful face. Somehow, the hand I'm using to stroke her cheek turns into one single finger tracing the outline of her ruby lips.
"Things are so…." she pauses, shaking her head.
"Fucked up, I know. I never stopped loving you, Brown Eyes."
"That's a low blow," she whispers breathlessly.
"I can go lower," I breathe, closing the distance between us and pausing just an inch from her lips. Her eyes flutter closed, and I lick my lips slowly. She exhales. Her breath lingers on the wetness of my lips, and I lick them again savoring its sweetness.
"In my heart, to you and KC," I argue and gently peck her mouth. "In my heart I'm married to both of you."
"You don't play fair."
"Not when it comes to you."
This time, she leans in and initiates the kiss, and I quickly act on it, burying my hands in her hair, angling her head and deepening the kiss. It's primal, passionate and long overdue.
Her hands lock around my wrists to hold me tightly to her, and then KC starts wailing.
We both pull away hesitantly, panting. We groan unanimously in slight irritation.
"No," Bella whispers as she buries her forehead in my chest. All I can do is laugh.
Cockblocked by my own kid. Perfect.
"Hey," I lift her face to mine, "lie back and get some rest, and I'll get KC."
She nods and looks like she wants to kiss me again, but she fights the urge. Instead, she pulls away and curls up on the other end of the sofa. I grab the afghan from the back and place it over her. I watch as she snuggles underneath before I go to pick up my daughter.
"Hey, Minnie, what's all this fuss about, huh?" I lift her out of the cradle and the crying stops. "You're a little faker. You just wanted me to pick you up. You wanted your daddy? Is that it?"
She yawns, letting me know that she's still tired. I walk around the room, rocking her back to slumber. I glance over to Bella and realize that she's asleep.
Both of my girls. So beautiful! I smile triumphantly and lean down to place a kiss on my daughter's forehead.
"This is where I belong."
Thank you so much for spending time reading. Reviews are always welcomed and appreciated.