A Year In Purgatory

Chapter 12/Epilogue

Eternity

Bella Cullen

Standing beside Edward, our hands clasped together, fingers intertwined, I could feel the relief and the level of tension drop as the baby's cry filled the room.

I gasped in new air, suddenly aware I had been holding my breath for the longest time.

Jasper looked so relieved, he almost fell down, Alice had to support him.

Watching Rose and Emmett's baby be born had seemed like a cosy, friendly, happy idea, the reality had been somewhat more.

Feelings I had not expected to ever feel again tore at my chest as the baby was placed on her mother's belly.

I turned my face and looked at Edward and he smiled knowingly and squeezed my hand.

Could we really do this again and welcome a sibling for Sami, after all this time?

I only know, in this moment, I felt a stronger longing than ever before, to be the woman in the bed, reaching to hold her newborn for the first time.

Edward cupped my face and wiped away the tears off my cheeks with his thumb. He kissed my forehead and leaned in close.

"I want to, if you want to, just say the word." he whispered in my ear.

"I want to." I replied.

"I want to, too." said Alice, shamelessly listening in to our conversation.

"I do as well, let's get this show on the road." said Jasper.

"I think it would be polite to stick around and admire the baby." hissed Alice.

"I think it would be polite to give them some time alone to greet her." suggested Edward.

We four left and tried not to appear to be eagerly racing to our cars.

Sami was in school, it was barely noon, we had all afternoon.

"Gonna find my baby, gonna hold her tight, gonna grab some afternoon delight.." sang Edward as he drove us home by the shortest route.

"My motto's always been: when it's right, it's right, why wait until the middle of the cold, dark night." I added.

"When everything's a little clearer in the light of day."

"And we know the night is always gonna be there anyway."

We both burst out laughing.

"Edward, are we really going to do this?" I sobered.

"Oh, why not? Sami is a constant source of happiness, why not take a risk and double that?"

"Do you want a boy this time?" I asked.

All men want boys.

"I have absolutely no preference, so long as it's a little bit me and a lotta you, I will adore whatever we manage to produce."

"Do you think it will be like last time?" I asked, my voice a little unsteady.

"Bella, you created a beautiful and perfect miracle when you gave Sami life, if we do that well again, I will be proud and well pleased."

We both had our doors ready to open as he pulled up and Edward grabbed my hand as we ran inside.

Clothes were scattered from the front door to the bedroom, well, to the hallway before the bedroom, we never made it to the bed.

Edward held me against the wall and pushed himself inside.

"God, Bella, I can't wait, I have to be inside you."

I threw my legs around his waist and laughed as he struggled to walk us toward the bed. The chaise was closer, so he sank us both onto it instead.

"I didn't have time to take my Pill this morning." I warned him. Rose had called really early, as soon as her water broke so we had raced to the hospital, leaving a sleeping Sami in Martha's capable hands, then Edward had come back and taken her to school.

She wanted to come to the hospital and see her new 'cousin' born but I really didn't think she was ready for the reality yet.

She had only witnessed Disney births, where the baby slid out unseen and was clean and had a ribbon in it's shiny clean hair and a smile on it's face and probably a tooth or two already . It was silly, letting girls think that was how birth was, but she was barely six years old, time enough in the future to burst that bubble. How shocked are we are at the real long, painful thing when it happens and the wrinkly, bloody, alien-like baby that emerges?

Not quite the same.

"So, chances are, this is just a warming up, we will have to repeat this every day for a while?" Edward smirked.

"I guess so, but if a job's worth doing,..."

"Oh I think we can do this properly." he laughed.

He was so gentle and loving, even as he pumped firmly inside me, I could feel the love and care he radiated.

I deserved this Edward, the one I was promised from the start and I would never want to exist in a world he wasn't in.

My thoughts became centered on our joining and the sensations he was making me feel.

"Bella, Bella, God, Bella..."

He was lost and he took me with him and my body sang before it collapsed against his.

His lips were on my neck, kissing, licking, and his hands were everywhere at once.

"Maybe we need to try for twins."

"No way, I think two is perfect, you know what they say, never let them outnumber you."

"Good point." he agreed.

One more baby would be perfect.

xxx xxx xxx xxx

Edward Cullen...nine months down the track.

Jasper paced and looked at the clock and destroyed his hair.

"Relax, Alice is doing fine. First baby's are meant to take this long." I reminded him.

He had been sent out to the waiting room for a short while as the nurses attended to Alice, who had been in labor nearly twelve hours already, and no end in close sight.

We had been here for four hours, and Sami was at home safely asleep in her bed.

Bella had lasted well, but an hour ago she had visibly wilted and I encouraged her to lie down and sleep for a while, promising to wake her if Alice suddenly became ready to deliver.

Bella slept deeply, her belly swollen and firm, and she rolled on the bench beside me and moaned.

I held her to keep her from falling off.

"Edward." she sighed and for a second I thought,' Uh oh, not one of those dreams now.'

"Edward!" she said louder, holding her abdomen and sitting up, her eyes suddenly wide open.

"What's happening?" I asked, concerned at the hint of panic in her voice.

"It hurts...really badly."

I helped her onto her feet and she almost immediately bent over double.

"I'll get a nurse." said Jasper, disappearing at a run.

"Breathe, Bella." I reminded her, rubbing her back with my free hand as she clutched the other hand tightly in her own.

"This way, how far apart are they?" asked the nurse and we were led to another delivery suite. I stood under the shower with my wife for an hour or so and rubbed her back which seemed to be where most of the pain was. Suddenly she grabbed me tightly and bent at the knees.

"I want to push!" she cried, opening her legs wider.

The doctor stepped up and examined her where she stood, still under the stream of water.

Her water broke as he estimated she was almost fully dilated.

"You can come out and climb up onto the bed, or we can put a mattress on the floor, or we can do this right here." he explained.

"Mattress." said Bella, and I helped her out of the cubicle and to the makeshift bed on the floor, as a nurse dried her skin.

I left her long enough to strip off my wet boxers and pull on my jeans, and rub my dripping hair off a bit.

"Edward!" she screamed and I sat down and held her again.

"Okay, we have a head crowning. Do you want to squat or stand or go onto your hands and knees?"

She scrambled onto her knees and I sat before her and helped her balance, her arms around my neck and her head resting on my shoulder.

The baby's head was emerging as Bella screamed through the pain, and I hoped to regain my hearing in that ear one day soon. The baby turned and slid out quickly and was wrapped and handed to me as the nurse helped Bella squat, to deliver the placenta.

I looked at this brand new little person, as they cleared the mouth and the baby screamed in protest.

"What is it?" Bella asked.

"I don't know, but it's ours and it's beautiful." I answered.

I handed her the baby and we both looked it over.

"What do you hope it is, Edward?' she asked.

"I guess I am kind of partial to little girls but a boy would be fine, too."

"I hope Sami has a sister." she said and we opened the towel and both grinned.

A girl.

Sami was a big sister and she got the little sister she had ordered, loudly and insistently, on many ocassions.

She and Nash were often at loggerheads and she had decided boys were too bossy and smelt funny, and I hoped she kept up that opinion for a long time yet.

"I want a sister. I want to have matching dresses with her."

Bella had bought her a doll that did everything a baby did, just about, but we had not brought it with us tonight, thinking we were just visiting Alice.

She had also secretly bought matching dresses for the baby, Sami and the new doll, for the baby's going home outfit.

I suspected she was hoping for another girl even though she seemed convinced I would want a son. It didn't matter to me, I had everything already, a new baby was an unexpected bonus. Bella had never expressed any desire to have a second child, regardless of the state of our marriage.

This pregnancy had been impulsive and I was glad she fell so quickly because she had already started rationalising why maybe it was better to stick to just Sami, when it became clear it was too late. No turning back now.

Alice had also conceived the same night so I suppose we shouldn't be surprised they would deliver the same night as well.

I went to find Jasper to borrow his camera.

"Edward, what's up? How is Bella progressing? I guess the girls will be competing to see who can deliver first. Mind you, we did have a twelve hour head start." he smirked.

"Bella and our new daughter are doing well." I informed him proudly. "may we borrow your camera?"

"Not fair, we were in here first. That's cheating or something." he growled.

I took the camera and returned it an hour later. Still no baby yet for them.

Bella was showered and settling into her room, so I took the opportunity to make a quick trip home and get her bag and our camera and the doll.

Sami was sleeping peacefully. I will bring her in to visit after breakfast in the morning. No sense waking her tonight.

Marta looked at me and I cracked.

"It's a little girl. Seven pounds seven ounces so a lot bigger than Sami was. They are both doing well. I want to tell Sami so please don't let on, call me when she wakes up, I will try and be home before that but who knows?"

Bella was waiting impatiently for my return.

"We have to name her. It's important, Edward. We need to introduce her to Sami, with a firm name or she will try and talk us into naming her Dora the Explorer or something equally weird."

"I named Sami, you choose." I suggested.

"I would adore 'Lucy', what do you think?"

"Perfect. Lucy Isabella. No arguments this time."

"Fine. But Sami has three names."

We sat around, admiring our new daughter and suggesting names to add but nothing fit.

"Maybe we should put 'Rose' in her name, seeing we put Alice in Sami's name?"

"Lucy Isabella Rose Cullen. Perfect."

"Good, now you can go do the calls, while I do the first feeding attempt."

My parents were over the moon, Rose was touched to hear we used her name, and Charlie hung up abruptly to call the airline and book a ticket.

Renee and Phil were pleased. Renee had not been thrilled when Sami made her a grandmother 'at my age! So unfair, now everyone will assume I am so much older.'

This time the damage was already done so she was actually happy and pleased for us.

Jasper was pleased but still annoyed.

Sami was asleep when I got home and Martha made me a coffee and toast and I was sitting at the table when an alarmed cry of "Where's Mommy?" alerted us to her presence.

"Mommy has a surprise for you." I told her as she climbed onto my knee.

"Is it a sister?" she asked.

"It is and her name is Lucy."

"Not iCarly?"

"Definitely not iCarly. Lucy Isabella Rose."

"I like Lucy but why does she get Mommy's name as well?"

"Because I chose that, I want her to have Mommy's name in her name. You have Mommy's other name, Marie, so we have to be fair."

"But nobody has your name, unfair."

Personally, I think one Edward Anthony Masen Cullen is quite sufficient.

"Maybe Mommy will have a baby boy next and name it a name with Edward in it." she suggested.

"We will see. Now, breakfast and then you need to get dressed and take your gifts in for Mommy and Lucy."

Sami painstakingly wrote her sister's name on the card and we went to introduce our daughters.

Jasper met us in the hallway.

"A girl, six pounds nine."

"Congratulations. Give our best to Alice."

"Hah, Nash loses, he is the only boy. We girls can gang up on him now." announced Sami.

"What's your baby's name? Ours is Lucy Isabella Rose Cullen."

"I think her name is Summer Jasmine Whitlock, it was the last name Alice was considering so it may be what she goes with."

Sami was in awe when she saw her sister and Bella held Sami on her lap and I passed Lucy to her and Sami got her first cuddle.

"Her hair's funny, like daddy's."

I sighed. The bedhair gene dominated again.

"You had the same hair as that and look how beautiful your curls are now. I am sure Lucy's hair will be beautiful real soon."

"It's already perfect." said Bella.

"Daddy and I want you to have a baby brother next." Sami announced.

"I think that would be a great idea." Bella answered, surprising me.

"Really?"

"I think we should round off the family with a son. Girls are great but I want a Mommy's boy."

I kissed her lips and decided, a son would be great. And such fun to make.

"No big age gap this time, we need to start once Lucy sleeps through the night." Bella added.

Oh even better.

I shall be singing this baby to sleep as soon as she gets home.

"Alice has a daughter." I announced.

"I know, I have seen her, Jasper brought her in."

"Cool, now Natasha and Lucy and Summer will all grow up together."

"Summer? Alice said she was naming a girl 'Aisling', though I think she should spell it 'ASHLIN' as it's pronounced or nobody will ever say it correctly."

"When did she say that?"

"When I was in the labor ward with her while you took Jas for coffee."

"I guess we shall soon find out."

I took photos, Bella took more, the nurse and Rose took more still.

Rose's baby looked enormous and she was tearful went I handed Lucy to her.

"Rose, not again!" warned Emmett.

"One more, Emm. We still have frozen embryoes, we should at least try and use them."

"Shit, here we go again." sighed Emmett.

"Nash needs a brother, none of these women have given him a male cousin." Rose added.

"Bella and I will be rectifying that, next year." I assured them.

We all went to visit Alice in her room.

"Hermione Alicia Jaslyn Whitlock. What do you think?" Alice asked as we admired her tiny, black haired daughter.

"Don't worry if you don't like the name, Alice has changed it three times already." Jasper added.

"I do like Siobahn...or maybe Tayla." she admitted.

Her baby cried and we all laughed. She will have a great life but she will have an unusual mother. And I can't wait to see her unique outfits.

Sami liked her doll but complained that Bella got a real baby and she only got a doll, but she played with it and named it iCarly so we were al pleased with the outcome.

As Sami fell asleep in my arms that night, I looked forward to Lucy doing the same the next night, and I climbed into our bed and collapsed for one last decent night's sleep before I brought my girls home.

I had called Jake and told him our good news and his words echoed in my head.

"You are the luckiest son-of-a-bitch on the planet, you know."

Oh, I do know that.

I truly am.

The End