Disclaimer: All Twilight related characters belong to S. Meyer.
A/N: What can I say, I can't stay away! I got this idea in my head randomly and had to write it down. It's strange that I wrote this before several real life things happened with the Giants that oddly parallel this chapter. Freaky. Anyway, please read and enjoy. I am constantly amazed by your kind words and reviews and I'm sorry I can't respond to all of you. The fact that you're taking the time to read my blabbering means the world. Enjoy and I'll see you at the bottom!
Special thanks to my beta for this chapter, Aussigirl. Her notes make me laugh. Have you been reading her story, We Are Dealt? You should be! Go check it out!
I listened quietly to the sound of the raindrops falling on the cement in front of me. I could hear the tiny splatters against the top of the dugout, on the soft grass before me and pooling into puddles at my feet. The sky was mottled gray and purple with heavy rain clouds, blocking out the sun that had been shining this morning.
Late April showers weren't uncommon but a baseball game hadn't been completely rained out in the ballpark for some time. The lights around the field were still on, illuminating the field with false sunlight. The scoreboard had been turned off and appeared as a flat pane of black, looming foggily in the distance.
I sat alone on the bench, lost in my thoughts and staring out at the empty stadium. Edward was below in the locker rooms finishing up a workout in the batting cages now that the game had been cancelled. I was waiting patiently for him, too uneasy to pace around the waiting room. I fiddled with the wedding band on my finger absently, finding small comfort in having it there. Having Edward.
I heard footsteps from the passageway to my right and I turned my head to meet the eyes of the security guard. He smiled and nodded his head politely. "Mrs. Cullen. You all right out here?"
"I'm fine, thanks."
He nodded and turned to go back down the stairs, footsteps echoing in the deserted hallway.
There was something I needed to tell Edward. Something exciting and new and something I was incredibly afraid to share.
It had been three years since our small, tasteful wedding in the back of the Cullen's house in Sausalito. We had been shaded by fall Maple leaves and lit by candles in the dusk as our loved ones gathered around us to hear us share our most sacred words. I smiled and bit my lip at the memory. I could practically still see the look on his face, his emerald eyes sparkling like gems in the dim candlelight as he spoke his vows.
The familiar brand of Edward butterflies released in my belly and I let out a pleasant sigh. There. That helped to relax.
I played more memories in my head. Our first, blissful year in the condo as husband and wife. The birth of Alice and Jasper's first child, Bradley. Walking Jake around the stadium and over the pier. Buying our first house together on the hills overlooking the bay.
There were painful memories too. A knee injury and the subsequent and complicated surgery after. The broken look in Edward's eyes as he feared losing baseball altogether. The month we feared he may be traded to the Cubs.
That didn't happen, of course. His knee recovered slowly and as this season opened, he was finally back in the starting line up. I stared wistfully at first base, feeling glum that I had missed his performance today. I knew he had been looking forward to showing off. I smiled again.
He and the team had just returned from a long road trip up and down the east coast. New York, Washington and Florida. They had returned late last night and aside from our warm comfortable slumber, we had barely had a chance to talk and I had news.
That was an understatement.
I had been prepared to face the fifteen days of his road trip with a smile on my face, determined to finally take a day trip with Alice to Half Moon Bay and to do some extra work at the library. That had been halted, however when I had to resign myself to the bathroom, heaving over the toilet.
At first I thought it was food poisoning but when it lasted over a few days at intermittent intervals, I started getting concerned. I called Carlisle at once and told him my symptoms. I didn't even think, didn't even consider…
He spoke gently over the phone, concealing his suspicions until I arrived at the hospital for a check up. His face was solemn but there was a certain glimmer to his eyes.
The kind of glimmer I'd seen in his eyes when he carried his grandson, around in his arms.
He was right, of course. He handed me over to his assistant for my check up and I followed her instruction blindly, my heart beating uncomfortably in my throat. When Carlisle returned to the room with the dazzling Cullen smirk and crinkly eyes, he confirmed my creeping suspicion.
"Congratulations, Bella," he said with a grin. "You're seven weeks pregnant and looking healthy."
My jaw had dropped open and I sat ramrod straight on the examining table with wide eyes. No. Way.
I had been mortified that I'd just admitted to not even considering this outcome to my father-in-law who was also a doctor.
Now I was petrified of telling Edward.
No, that wasn't true. I was just plain petrified.
I knew Edward would be thrilled. I was positive that I could tell him I was sprouting another toe and he'd love me even more than he had yesterday.
I sighed and dropped my chin to my chest.
I wasn't scared of Edward. I was scared for myself. Was I ready to be a mother? Was I ready to give up our comfortable little life to share it with someone new?
Who the hell was I kidding? Seeing Edward cradle Bradley Whitlock in his arms whilst carrying on a conversation flawlessly had nearly killed me. In fact, as soon as he relinquished the child to his mother, I had practically dragged him to the hallway bathroom for kiss or twelve.
Okay, maybe more than kissing.
Come to think of it…
I counted on my fingers and rolled my eyes. Figured.
So why was I afraid? Afraid of failure?
Afraid of keeping the baby healthy?
Afraid of giving up my comfortable life for change?
I sighed again and slumped lower on the bench. My fingers were impossibly knotted in my lap. They rested close to my stomach where I was hypersensitive now. I could feel each motion of my tightly clenched fingers against my skin through my sweater.
A baby. With Edward.
The butterflies fluttered around again and the corner of my mouth quirked up. A baby with Edward. Not so bad.
I absently spread my fingers over my stomach.
A baby with Edward.
As if on cue, I heard Edward's shoes slap on the cement stairs and I quickly sat on both of my hands.
That doesn't look guilty at all.
His smile was wide as he saw me seated on the bench in the dugout. "Hey you," he said in a low gravelly voice that made my insides do a flip-flop. He walked over and plopped himself down next to me, his added weight causing the bench vibrate underneath us. "How are you?"
He leaned in for a kiss and I was comforted by the warm, soft lips of my husband. How I adored him. Our contact spread calm through my veins like a drug and I took shelter in the love that Edward poured out of every fiber of his being. Love for me.
When he pulled back slowly he met my eyes with a sheepish smile. "That's it, I'm giving away our box seats so that you can sit down here with me."
I giggled and leaned into his shoulder. "Okay with me."
We were quiet for a moment, watching the field as the rain came down harder on the tarp spread over the diamond. The fog was creeping in and the wispy tendrils of moisture nearly blocking the bleachers from view.
"You're quiet," Edward said finally. "Everything okay?"
After three years, I had given up being surprised when he noticed even the smallest change in me. Stupid, observant, marvelous husband.
I sucked in a deep breath and pressed my cheek into the hard bone of his shoulder. "I need to tell you something."
Edward sat up and ducked his head to meet my eyes. "What's wrong?"
I chewed my lip. "Nothing is…wrong."
His eyes were wide with concern. "I talked to Dad when I got home. He seemed off. Like he was hiding something. Bella, what's wrong? Are you sick?"
"Is something wrong with Jake? Is Alice sick?" His eyes widened even further. "Is Bradley okay?"
I reached out a hand and placed it on his cheek. "Edward, calm down."
He pressed his lips together into a thin line but his eyebrows pinched in the middle, forming the well-worn crease that I could spot from my seat during a game. I lifted my finger and pressed it to the puckered skin, doing my best to iron it out. "I did go speak to Carlisle."
My heart was pounding in my chest, the sound drowning out the raindrops around us. Here goes.
"Edward, I'm pregnant."
I watched as his mouth dropped open the slightest bit, his eyes boring into mine. I moved my hand down his face and brushed my thumb back and forth over his lower lip. It was silent for a beat until his frozen expression was cracked by an impossibly wide grin.
"You're serious?" he asked, suddenly clutching my arms tightly. "Bella, don't joke."
I smiled. "I'm not joking."
"Oh my God!" He leapt off the bench, pulling me with him and wrapping me in a hug so tight that it erased all the concerns from my memory. He lifted my in his arms and spun us around under the shelter of the dugout, my feet peeking out from the overhang enough to feel the raindrops on my ankles.
"Bella!" he said into my hair as he set me down on the ground. "Bella." He cupped my face in his hands and I saw the emotion clear on his face. His eyes were full and his smile pulled tightly at his lips. "God, I love you."
I didn't realize that I was crying until I spoke, "I love you too."
"We're having a baby."
I nodded quickly as he brushed the tears from my cheeks with his thumbs. I did the same with my fingers over his face, brushing aside the wet trails on his skin.
"How far along?"
He looked down at my flat stomach and pressed his hand to my sweater gently. Too gently. I grasped his wrist and pressed it harder.
"You were sick, weren't you? I could hear it in your voice when we talked on the phone."
He wrapped his arms around me and crushed me to his chest. "I didn't even know, I'm so sorry."
I shook my head into his shirt, inhaling the clean scent of him deep in my lungs. "Don't be sorry. I didn't say anything. Besides, there's going to be a lot more sickness coming your way. Maybe even today, if you're lucky."
He eyed me disapprovingly. "Not lucky. Poor word choice."
I clasped my fingers together at his back. "Can we go home? It's cold."
Edward draped his sweatshirt over my shoulders and wrapped his arm around me. "We have the whole afternoon," he said as we walked down the stairs into the clubhouse. "I'm not quite sure how to deal with all of this time on our hands."
I snuggled into the crook of his shoulder and let him guide me the rest of the way to his car. "I'm sure you'll think of something," I mumbled into this shirt.
Of course he did. Less than an hour later I was seated comfortably inside our huge tub; surrounded my warm water and suds. Edward's hands were pressed gently to my back, massaging the strain in my shoulders. Every now and then he would dip the terry wash cloth into the water and squeeze it over my skin. It soothed me straight down to my toes. He was seated beside the tub on a wooden stool, sleeves rolled to his elbows and hair in its normal state of disarray. My favorite.
He brushed some of my wet hair from my neck and pressed a kiss to the base of my hairline. "Mmm, you smell good," he murmured into my skin. He sat back up and resumed the pressure of his fingers on my back. "Do you feel better?"
As if to drive our new reality home, I had rushed into the hallway bathroom to expel the contents of my stomach the moment we reached the house. Edward's hands were in my hair at once, lifting it out of the way before running one hand up and down my spine soothingly.
"It's all right sweetheart," he had whispered, pressing a washcloth to my face. "I'll draw a bath."
Now here I was, trying not to be embarrassed and attempting to mentally figure this into our routine. Me vomiting and Edward holding my hair. Awesome.
His fingers on my face pulled me out of my inner monologue. He pushed my hair behind my ear. "What are you thinking?"
"That I hope you don't get tired of holding my hair."
Edward's face softened and he leaned over to kiss me softly on the lips. "Oh Bella. You're carrying a child. Our child. Everything that comes along with it is all part of the journey." His slid his hand over my bare chest and down to my stomach under the suds of the bath. I felt his fingers as they pressed into my waterlogged flesh, fingers flexing.
"I didn't think I could love you any more than I did in the dugout after you told me but I just proved myself wrong." He smiled wistfully at me. "Every moment, every day I love you more."
I closed my eyes and drew a deep calming breath. "You're disgusting."
Edward shrugged and pulled a face. "I know."
"I love you too, you know."
"I know that too."
He grabbed a towel from the cabinet next to the sink and held it out for me. I stood carefully in the tub and stepped onto the fluffy bath mat on the floor. "Do you feel like soup or something?" Edward asked, looping the towel over my shoulders. "We have some in the pantry."
It was too much for some reason. My sweet Edward offering to make me soup after I spent the afternoon in the bath, proving to him what the next few months were going to be like. His unwavering enthusiasm and love for me and our child. I sunk down on the bath rug, sobbing into my pruny fingers.
Edward dropped to the ground beside me and swaddled me tightly in the oversized towel, pulling me into his lap so I could cry into his chest. We sat there for a while on the sea foam green rug that my doting husband had let me buy to sit next to the gorgeous claw-foot dub that I'd begged for.
"Bella, what's wrong?" he asked, pressing his cheek to my hair and rubbing my back soothingly up and down.
"Our p-p-plans are ruined!" I sobbed into his now-soaked t-shirt.
"All of them." Ok, fine. I was being melodramatic. Whatever, I was pregnant.
"Bella," Edward chided softly into my hair. "What plans are ruined?"
"What about Europe?"
"We were going to go in the fall!" I wailed.
He laughed and I was instantly angry but also slightly soothed. At least one of us was sensible. "Love, that was an idea, not a plan. We can't book anything until after the post-season is decided anyway."
"But now we'll never go!"
I could feel him rolling his eyes.
Now I snorted. "Every parent everywhere."
Edward's arms tightened around me. "We'll make new plans."
"I want the old plans!" Now I was just being childish.
Rather than answer, Edward lifted me up in his arms in my tightly wound ball of terrycloth and moved us both to the bedroom. He sat me on the end of the bed and pulled my pajamas out of the drawer. He dressed me slowly and delicately, pressing kisses to my elbows and shoulders as he pulled the worn and frayed warm up jersey over my head. I was sniffing and batting at my eyes but the tears had stopped and I focused on drawing smooth, even breaths. When I was dressed I scooted back and slipped my feet under the covers while he tugged his shirt over his head and stripped down to his underwear. He climbed in beside me, dressed only in his boxers and pulled me tight against his chest.
"Edward, it's only four in the afternoon."
"And I am just exhausted," he teased, kissing my ear. "Humor me, Bella."
I closed my mouth and snuggled deeper into his arms, letting the warmth from his skin envelop me and calm every cell of my body.
"I love you," he whispered, lips vibrating against my skin.
"I love you too."
"What are you afraid of?"
I turned in his arms so we were facing each other and I looked up at him from my pillow. "I won't be able to travel with you."
"So I'll hurry home faster."
"I'll miss most of your games."
"I could never blame you for that, Bella."
"We'll both be so busy, we'll never see each other. What if–"
His words made me freeze. His eyes were still warm and sincere but his tone stopped my dangerous train of thought.
"Bella, please." His hand lifted from around my waist and pressed firmly to my cheek. "Don't do that. Don't think anything like that. I wouldn't hesitate to leave all of this behind if it meant losing you and our family. I'd retire in an instant. Please, please believe me."
"Nothing is more important to me than you." His hand moved from my face over my shoulder and down to my belly. "And this."
My eyes filled with tears again.
"You have to stop doing that," I scolded, unable to hide my smile.
"What?" Edward looked offended.
"Saying the most amazing things to make me feel better."
He smiled triumphantly. "No way. It's the one thing I bring to this relationship."
Oh how wrong he was. I moved myself closer to him, wishing to melt into him entirely. "Thank you for saying all of that," I whispered.
"You're welcome. I hope you know that it's true."
"Good, now relax. I'll be right here."
I let my muscles uncoil and felt the tightness in my chest subside. I fell asleep as Edward moved his fingers over my skin, his soft breaths beating on my neck.
I wasn't sure what time it was when I cracked my eyes open. The room was dark, illuminated by the hallway light outside the door. The sky was black outside the windows and I could see the bright lights of the city sparkling in the distance. I felt relaxed and more at ease than I had in some time. I remembered that Edward was home and that my secret was revealed. I lay back on the pillow in relief rand my fingers over my face, rubbing the grogginess out of my eyes.
When I settled my arms back down on the bedspread, I noticed the gentle sound of the piano filtering through the floorboards from downstairs. I smiled to myself. Edward was home. The melody was familiar; a tune he once told me he composed when he met me. I sat up, slipped out from under the covers and crept down the stairs as quietly as I could. It was nearly impossible in the old house but I had gotten good at navigating the creaky floorboards.
When I reached the first floor, I walked silently into the living room where Edward's baby grand piano was positioned near the window. He sat on the bench in a faded t-shirt and his boxers, bare feet on the pedals and fingers moving skillfully over the keys.
I leaned against the doorframe for a minute, watching the way his head bobbed with the beat, how his eyes were closed softly behind his glasses as he played and how his broad shoulders flexed as he moved his arms. Eventually he lifted a hand and crooked a finger to me to come in. I bit my lip and did as he said.
He moved over to give me room and I slid next to him, our hips pressing together on the wooden bench. I was mesmerized by the way the muscles in his legs flexed as he pumped the pedals below. He lifted a hand from the keys to shove the glasses up the bridge of his nose. This is why I usually left him alone when he decided to play. I liked listening to him way too much.
"Are you feeling better?" he asked softly, changing his tune to one that I didn't recognize.
I leaned close and pressed an open mouth kiss to the hollow of his jaw. "Yes," I whispered over his skin.
He hummed in approval and smiled before removing his hands from the keys and turning to face me. "Good."
"Why did you stop?"
Edward shrugged and folded my hands in between his own. "I thought of something I wanted to ask you."
"What do you think of turning my office into the baby's room?"
His question wasn't what I expected but hearing him talk about babies made my chest hitch. Do it again. I looked back into his bright green eyes smiling at me from behind the black frames of his glasses.
"Why not the guest room?" I responded, doing my best to play it cool and not to assault him on the piano bench.
The creeping crooked smile on his face told me that he was on to me. "I don't know. I thought maybe we could save that for…"
Edward bit his lip and squeezed my hands tightly in his own. "For more."
He nodded. "More."
I lifted my hands from his grasp and placed them on either side of his face. "Let's see how this one goes first, shall we?"
Edward was grinning as he lowered his head to kiss me. "Deal. Here's another question."
I raised my eyebrows in anticipation.
"What do you think about a baseball themed room?"
I let out a laugh and climbed into his lap. "Inspired."
A/N: Dawwwww….DaddyBBward. Deadly, non? As far as I know now…this is the last Epilogue for a while. I'm going to try to immerse myself in research and writing for Manifest Destiny. Never say never, I suppose.
The real life things that paralleled this story was that a few Giants games were rained out and my real life BBward, Buster Posey got majorly injured and is out for the rest of the season. :( I'm SO sad. So…if you can, send some positive BBward thoughts to San Francisco for his speedy recovery for the 2012 season.
Hugs and baseball love to everyone! xx