All things Twilight belong to Stephenie Meyer, I just play with her toys.
Ok, I know this is a long, long, long time coming. Don't fall over and die.
There are many reasons why this took so long. One was some reviews that really killed my drive to work on it (they weren't nice), SEVERE writers block (I didn't know how the story ended), and then Breach. It literally took a year for my writers block to break, and what I saw made me realize that their story is over. The conflict is resolved and there is no reason to keep it going on longer than necessary. So, I'm sorry you all have waited so long for this and that there isn't more, but their story is over.
There is a reason why I suddenly finished it up today, and that is the story Mask of Indifference by Isabella N Edward. The vibe of her story reminds me a lot of HWYDTM, and gave me the itch to get back to it.
Thank you all for waiting, for following, and for supporting HWYDTM. I've enjoyed their journey, and they hold a special place in my heart. Earlier this year I did an interview and one of the questions was "Which is your ideal Edward that you've written?" The answer was easy; HWYDTM's Edward. I've always loved him and I hope you all did as well.
There are two outtakes in EPOV on my profile. If you haven't checked them out, take a look.
No beta, forgive the errors.
Chapter 22 - Love Unending
It was a few days before Christmas while wrapping presents that Bella took stock over how much her life had changed over the past year. She'd lost the job she had made her life since graduating college, suffered through unemployment, swallowed her pride and worked for a man she despised. Then, fell in love with said man, moved in with him, and was carrying his child.
What a year.
Putting the scissors down her hand moved to run over the now obvious bulge of her stomach. It was only protruding a little, but it was much more obvious. She could feel the faint flutter of her little girl moving within. Her heart was filled with something she couldn't' describe. It was a combination of warmth and a little bit of fear.
It wouldn't be long until their 'little angel', as Edward called her when he spoke to Bella's stomach, was with them. While Edward had experience with children from his siblings, Bella had none and her mother was far away. For the most part, a baby was uncharted territory for both of them.
The fear of not knowing what to do, what needed to be done, was always weighing on her mind. They had signed up for parenting classes with Jasper and Alice that started just after the new year.
It had been over two weeks since they had reconciled and talked, really talked, about their issues. Since everything was brought out into the open she felt like a weight had been lifted from her heart. With the freeing feeling she opened up fully to him. She realized she'd been holding back, still weary from their past.
They talked every day, laughed every day and loved every day. Through it all she realized just how much she did love him and knew that she would never be able to leave him again.
They'd had conversations about moving and what kind of house they would want. Edward showed her all of the listings the realtor had given him and they went through them all. They had viewed them all and had narrowed it down to two. It pleased Bella that they had done it as a couple, and Edward hadn't complained or tried to take control once. They were a team for the first time in their relationship.
The one act had shown them they could do it, they could compromise, let go, and work together to accomplish common goals. They were happier, healthier, for their efforts, and Bella found herself falling more in love with him.
She found herself wanting to say 'yes' more and more.
The office had regained its usual air, and she and Edward had resumed their fighting ways, much to the delight of Mrs. Cope who retired her books to the shelf once again.
"Baby, what are you still doing up?" Edward asked from the archway that led into the great room. Looking to the clock she noted it was almost eleven; she'd been falling asleep earlier as of late.
At Edward's insistence, and something Bella was more than willing to let go than fight about, Bella left the office no later than six in the evenings, leaving him there some nights to continue working. Which worked out well as she found herself to be exhausted much of the time and was able to get more sleep. The planner that he was, he was already setting things up for their absence, fully intent on taking paternal leave to be with them during their child's first few weeks.
"Just wrapping some gifts," she replied with a smile.
"I thought you'd be in bed," he said, leaning down to kiss her forehead.
"I took a nap when I get home," she assured him.
"Any presents for me?" he questioned, sitting down on the floor behind her. Bella leaned back and Edward wrapped his arms around her.
"Wouldn't you like to know."
"I've been a good boy this year."
"I think you've been very naughty this year," she teased.
"Only naughty with you, Mrs. Cullen," he said with a smile.
"Mrs. Cullen? So sure of it are you?" She couldn't help her lips turning up into a smile.
"Baby, all I want for Christmas is you… to be my wife."
"Oh, you're cute," she said with a laugh. "It does have a nice ring to it, doesn't it?"
Edward's face lit up, pulling her closer. "Yes, it has a very nice ring to it, Mrs. Cullen, and I have a very nice ring for you."
"Of course you do," she said with a roll of her eye.
"Come on, momma, let's get you to bed," he said, pulling her up from her floor work station.
Bella picked up her glass of water and placed it in the kitchen before taking his hand and heading toward their bedroom. It hit her then – why wait? She'd been putting him off, but now all she could think of was being married to him. They were going to have a baby, buying a house, why not get married? They had issues, yeah, but who didn't? They were working on them, and she couldn't remember a time in her life that she'd been happier than with Edward. He challenged her mentally, and drove her wild physically.
"Ask me," she said as they walked hand in hand.
"What?" he questioned, confusion evident one his face.
"Ask me again."
He understood then, and the emotions of what she was requesting made tears well in his eyes.
"Isabella Swan, will do you me the honor of becoming my wife?"
"Yes," she whispered.
He swept her up into his arms, crashing his lips to hers. It wasn't the way he wanted to do it, they way he'd planned, but it didn't matter. All that mattered was that she said yes.
He picked her up off the ground, her legs wrapped around his waist, and carried her into the bedroom.
"I love you," he whispered against her lips as he laid her down and began to strip her clothes off.
He loved the way she looked naked and spread out before him. How he'd denied himself of her for those weeks he'd never know. He stripped his own clothes off as well as ridding her of her pants, his eyes glued to her baby bump. The sight had him harder than ever before.
"Baby, I need you," she begged, her eyes heavy.
Edward groaned and moved back on top of her, wrapping his arms around her, his lips on hers. She was his, she'd agreed to marry him, a wish he'd had well before they found out they were going to be parents. He'd felt so much for her long before that fateful night after too much to drink, possibly even love, but fought it, leaving him wondering why. Because loving her was so much better than hating her.
His hands found purchase on her skin, grabbing, pulling her closer as his mouth devoured hers. He lined up and slid inside her, both of them moaning at the connection. Buried to the hilt wasn't close enough, it was never close enough. Her arms wrapped around him, legs as well, but it was still too far.
With each thrust of his hips a moan slipped past her lips, the delicious sound that spurred him on, pushing him harder, faster. She tensed beneath him, her back arching, a silent scream filling her before erupting, her body exploding beneath him.
She gripped him tight, both inside and out, nails digging into his back as her walls clenched around him. It was too much, too tight, and then he was coming, jerking as he spilled inside her. Inside his Bella, his everything.
His weight rested on his elbows, head nestled in the crook of her neck, breath coming out in pants. He turned, falling next to her on the bed. She snuggled in close to him, and his fingers moved to run through her hair.
As they lay in post coital bliss Edward reached into the nightstand and pulled out a small box, setting it on his chest. With one hand he opened the blue box, revealing to Bella the ring he'd picked out for her. Nestled inside was a large diamond ring. It held a large center stone and smaller ones on either side, the band had filigree decoration.
Bella sat up, her eyes not leaving the ring. She watched as Edward pulled it out, sitting up as well, silently asking for her hand. She gave it to him and he slid it on her finger.
It was a perfect fit.
Bella couldn't stop staring at it and the way it sparkled in the light.
"Edward, it's beautiful," she whispered in awe and amazement.
He smiled at her. "You like it then? I did good?"
"I love it and you did very good," she smiled back before launching her body at him, wrapping her arms around him.
"Thank God," he sighed. "I was so worried you wouldn't like it."
She shook her head and smiled. "I don't like it, Edward, I love it."
Two days later no one knew. It was to be a Christmas surprise for everyone, thus Bella had to keep her ring tucked away while at work. She and Edward had been acting like teenagers in love ever since. A high, euphoria, had taken over and keeping it a secret had only increased it.
Bella knew Angela had noticed their strange behavior, but would wait until after the holidays to tell her and Mrs. Cope. The top office was closed on Christmas Eve all the way until the second of January.
They were heading to Edward's parents on Christmas morning when Bella, with a giddy smile, pulled the ring back on. Dressed and ready to go, Edward grabbed Bella's hand and were off.
Half an hour later they pulled up in front of Edward's parents, walking hand in hand with identical smiles on their faces. Alice, all knowing little sprite, answered the door jumping up and down, wrapping her arms first around Edward and then Bella.
Her screeching drew the attention of first Rosalie and Emmett, then Esme and Carlisle. It wasn't how they'd anticipating telling his family, but they couldn't hide it after Alice's exuberance.
Holding up her left hand Bella showed off her ring. Everyone was shocked, that she'd finally agreed, and how happy the couple was. Bella was glowing, but so was Edward – grinning from ear to ear.
Esme ushered everyone to the dining room for food before they opened gifts. Rosalie took hold of her friends arm as they walked.
"I can't believe you said yes," she whispered, shocked but smiling just the same.
Bella shrugged her shoulders. "I love Edward. We've lost so many years denying each other and after all we've been through… Why wait? I know we're going to get married, but I chose now rather than later."
"About time you came to your senses, Swan," Rosalie said, hugging her friend before going to sit next to her boyfriend.
Everyone took their seats, and once settled Carlisle rose his glass in the air and cleared his throat.
"Before we eat I want to say a few words. First off, I want to officially welcome Bella to our family. We're so happy to have you, and that you and Edward finally got your heads out of your asses." Everyone chuckled, knowing he was right. They'd both been so stubborn. "I'd also like to welcome Rosalie, who has made our Emmett smile like a buffoon from the day he met her. Next year we will be blessed with two tiny additions to our family, and I can't believe how much we have expanded in such a short time. I'm thankful for the love of my family, and the love I see everywhere in this room. Cheers!"
Everyone took a sip of champagne except Bella and Alice, who held glasses of water instead. The food was then served and was passed around until all the plates were full.
"So, Edward, Bella, when were you thinking about having the wedding?" Esme asked. Edward had been surprised it took her that long. She'd been chomping at the bit from the moment she saw the ring. Her oldest was finally settling down.
"I want to get married before the baby is born and before I get too huge," Bella said, making Edward's grin stretch from ear to ear. The sooner the better in his eyes.
"Oh, wow. We have our work cut out for us, don't we!" Esme exclaimed.
"Sounds perfect to me," Edward said kissing the side of her head. "We'll hire a wedding coordinator and be married before the month is out, how does that sound?"
"Perfect. Though I also don't want anything huge or elaborate. Just our friends and families," Bella stressed.
"Oh! I know! You could have it here!"Esme exclaimed, her face lighting up.
Bella smiled and nodded in agreement, taking Edward's hand in hers. Everything was falling into place. All the years of bickering and fighting, hiding an attraction that would lead to something greater than either could imagine.
It took many years of balance on the thin line between love and hate, but love unending was worth the fall.
Four months later:
It was hard to believe that they had done it. In late January, Isabella Swan married Edward Cullen, her arch nemesis. Only, he was no longer her arch nemesis, but her partner in crime and the love of her life.
It had been a small ceremony at Carlisle and Esme's, out in their atrium. Rosalie was maid of honor and Emmett was the best man.
Emmett proposed that night, and Rosalie accepted with tears in her eyes that startled everyone.
The wedding guests held only family and a few close friends; twenty people in all. Just as Bella had requested. Edward wanted hundreds, wanting everyone to know that she was his and he was hers, but then again, he could never deny her anything she wanted. In the end, he was happy they had done it her way. It made it that much more special and memorable.
Beautiful white flowers by the thousands were hung everywhere matching the white snow that covered the ground outside. A simple ceremony followed by an extravagant dinner.
"I just wanted to say a few words about the bride and groom," Emmett started. "It was years ago that my brother fell in love with Hottie VP. He didn't see it back then, but I did. She got under his skin like none other. The fact that she fought with him and pissed him off… well, that was when I knew they were perfect for each other. It was a very bumpy road for these two stubborn people, but they finally made it and now not only do I have a new sister, I'm about to have a niece. So, a toast. To Edward and Bella, may you have a long and happy life together."
Alice and Bella had a joint baby shower a month later and received nearly everything that they would need. The parenting classes had been a great help, as had Alice, in preparing them for what was to come.
Days passed quickly after that. Edward and Bella were busy trying to get everything in order for their bundle of joy that was soon to arrive. Including getting the company ready for their absence. Emmett was really stepping up to the task to help out and Edward and Bella were trying to close up and negotiations.
Time was closing in on them with only six weeks left when plans changed.
Something was wrong. It was a small feeling, but growing, making Bella wonder if it was the kind of feeling Alice had.
Bella hadn't felt right all morning. Then again, she didn't feel right any morning since just before she found out about the growing baby girl within her.
The uncomfortable feeling she woke with was more than normal and she felt on edge.
Thirsty, she stood from her desk and took a few steps toward the door.
It was then that the feeling came to light. A sudden pain ripped through her stomach causing her to lean against her desk for support. One hand supported her while the other held onto her stomach.
Moments later, once she'd recovered from the shock, was when she could feel something begin sliding down her thigh.
She began to shake, frozen in fear.
"Edward!" she called out, her voice shrill. "Edward!"
Through the haze of anxiety she could see Mrs. Cope stand from her desk and make her way to the door, but Edward made it first.
"What is it? Are you ok?" he asked, panicked by her reaction.
She couldn't speak, but he would see for himself soon enough. He would confirm her fear.
"My legs," she whispered, mustering as much volume as she could, unable to voice her fears that something was very wrong.
His gaze moved down and it took a moment, but a moment was all that was needed. She watched the blood drain from his face and his body freeze. It was only for a few seconds before he had his phone out and was dialing nine-one-one.
Bella's hands started shaking uncontrollably as she rubbed soothing circles on her round stomach, tears forming in her eyes. She stared into Edward's eyes as he talked to the operator, his gaze never faltered.
"Yes, my wife is bleeding… she's pregnant… thirty four weeks today," he spoke into the phone.
His voice was calm, but his exterior was anything but. There were more words that were exchanged, but the word 'bleeding' was on repeat in Bella's mind, drowning everything else out.
Her baby was in trouble.
Edward walked to Bella and leaned his forehead on hers as he snapped the phone shut.
"Everything will be fine," he assured. "She's fine."
Bella's fingers fisted into his sleeves while her chest let loose a sob.
"She's going to be ok," he reassured, his voice cracking. "You're both going to be ok."
"Mrs. Cope," Edward called.
"We have everything under control here, Mr. Cullen. Don't worry about anything."
His jaw clenched as he tried to stay strong for Bella. "Thank you. Can you let Emmett know what's going on?"
"Already have, sir. He's on his way back to the office now," she answered.
Ten minutes later they were loaded into an ambulance and speeding off to the hospital. Once there it was a flurry of doctors and nurses, poking, prodding, questioning.
Ten minutes after arrival they reveal the placenta had detached and they needed to act quickly to get her out.
It was another ten minutes later that Edward held Bella's hand and wiped the tears from her face as the doctors made the incision. His eyes never left hers until he heard a cry fill the room.
Looking over the sheet he saw her. So tiny in form, covered in gunk, but she looked strong and healthy.
He couldn't help but smile at the strength of her lungs. Looking down at Bella with nothing but love he could feel the sting of tears in his eyes. He leaned down to kiss her.
"I love you, so much," he said.
"I love you, too," she replied, a smile lighting up her face as she calmed, listening to her newborn girl's cries fill the room.
While the doctors worked on patching Bella back up a nurse brought their little girl over and placed her in Edward's arms.
She was shaking, but her blue eyes opened and looked up at him. She was so tiny, just over five pounds, and Edward could not imagine anything more perfect than her. He leaned down to show her to Bella. She had a sprinkling of brown hair atop her head, and when she looked at Bella her mouth quirked up into a smile. Their little Lilly Annabeth Cullen.
Edward leaned down and placed a kiss on Bella's forehead, whispering words of "I love you".
A short time later they wheeled Bella and baby up to the maternity ward. Esme and Carlisle were on the floor when they arrived a few minutes later, to the surprise of Edward who hadn't even gotten to call them yet, but figured Emmett had. They were already in the hospital as Alice and Jasper had welcomed Nathan Alexander Whitlock into the world just the day before.
Rosalie and Emmett showed up a little while later and everyone was hoping from one room to the other. Everyone had smiles filling their faces as they held the babies, pictures to document the day being taken, and hugs being given. Laughter, tears of joy, and loved filled the two rooms.
Years of hate produced a greater love than either expected, and a new life to share it with.
Once again, thank you for waiting, I hope you liked the ending. There were things I wanted to show, but felt they would have drawn out the story for no reason. Perhaps I will show them in an outtake.
Check out Mask of Indifference by Isabella N Edward!