Refunded, Darling

Driftwood Forts

A week of rain-blurred days, shrouded by sleepless nights and decaffeinated mornings passed in a gray and tiring fashion, exhaustive in their predictability, yet comforting in their familiarity. Each day was punctuated by sidelong glances across the kitchen and living room, inconspicuous to the plaid-shirted husband and father slumped in his usual seat.

Bella's sudden attachment to her cell had roused suspicion and she was acutely aware of the invisible hourglass that Sue had turned almost two weeks before. The intimate snippets of information exchanged between Edward and herself had increased alongside their growing web of friendship, and he too had made it clear that he desired something beyond the digital print that often brought a smile to her face.

EdwardC:

GTKM Fact Thirty Eight: My blood type is O negative; blood banks are in love with me.

My schedule's free tomorrow, work has been slow.

- E.

She hadn't responded to the text that she had received earlier that morning and had left her cell in her bedroom to avoid the prying eyes of her parents. It was odd how she now felt like she was more sixteen, than she had seven years ago when she was skipping classes and ignoring her nighttime curfew.

"Have you thought about what I said?" Sue sidled up to her seat at the kitchen table, while she used a fork to slide around the food on her plate. Charlie had left for the station only a few minutes earlier, and she'd wasted no time in pressing Bella for information again; Bella had become a closed book in regards to Sue's excessive prying and it had irked her to no end.

"He's free tomorrow," Bella finally relented, dropping her fork to the tabletop as she pushed the leftovers of her breakfast away.

"Seth has a play-date with Brady tomorrow, set something up," Sue replied off-handedly, returning to the stove to dither with the crumble she was making for her church group. Sue's fleeting demand belied the hesitation both she and her mother felt at the prospect of inviting Edward into the most private part of their lives; their hometown, their home.

Suddenly, the thought was entirely too intimate and the little, cozy home she'd loved through its rags and riches was closed off to any potential meeting she would have with Edward.

Past haunts tumbled over one another in her mind; a sloppy cacophony of diners, coffee shops and harbour side restaurants that she knew as intimately as the back of her hand. A memory of Douglas firs and Redwood alder braided itself among the fleeting images in her mind's eye and the soft thrum of comfort it brought to her heart sealed the question of where. It was a home from home and like a comfort blanket, the security of its familiar surroundings would ease the tension that was inevitable in their given situation.

"How about Sequim?" Bella asked, clutching the coffee mug in her hands a little tighter.

"Why would we go that far?" Sue responded with a frown.

"It's a half-way point for all of us," Bella shrugged and sipped her coffee, "I know neither of us is comfortable bringing him back here."

"That's a lot of buses, Kid," she shook her head, "It'll take us hours to get there."

"Not if I drive," Bella dared to suggest the thought that had been lingering in the back of her mind; Sue's face paled.

"If we get up early enough, we could catch the bus on route fourteen and be in Port Angeles for ten," Sue ignored her suggestion and turned back to sprinkling sugar atop the crumble.

"You're gonna have to get in the car someday, Mom," Bella soothed, knowing that her mother's sudden, jittery movements were foreign to her natural, self-assured stance on life; it killed her to watch Sue fall victim to the fear.

"Your father and I did it once when the cruiser went in for repairs; you threw-up in the picnic hamper halfway down route thirty. Shouldn't take more than two hours if we're lucky."

"Mom-"

"Oh, It'll be lovely this time of the year, we could go to the spit," Sue mused, ignoring Bella's lame efforts to convince her otherwise.

It was fruitless trying to change her mother's already made-up mind. The tell-tale burn of frustration tightened in her chest as Sue continued to impart Sequim fact from the years worth of vacation memories they had of the idyllic, backwater town.

"Am I a fool for allowing this?" Sue questioned herself out-loud, turning to Bella with a momentary doubt; the attorney had been hesitant in their last call.

"No more than I am for actively seeking it out," Bella replied.

"Are you insulting me?" Sue asked, as she attempted to run through the rings in her head, "you know you're still a candidate for a clipped ear under this roof."

"I know, Dad got me the other day," she chuckled; Seth was still reeling from the fake spider she'd slipped under his duvet.

"We should have told Charlie by now."

"I know," Bella teased her teeth over her bottom lip, "but you know how he gets…"

Sue was unusually quiet as she replaced the lid to the sugar canister and put the dish of crumble into the refrigerator. Bella knew that the secret Sue harbored for her was a burden, especially when the secret had to be kept from her husband who already had his suspicions. Any fallout in the future would not only be put upon her own shoulders, but those of her mother, who hadn't actually anything to do with her own selfish actions.

Charlie was renowned for being a hard-ass when it came down to his daughters, especially with Bella considering Leah had dated Jake from the age of fifteen. In Charlie's eyes, Bella was still the coffee-eyed six-month old that pulled at his mustache and giggled until she was blue in the face; and he was always hesitant to distance himself from that.

"Thank you for coming with me," Bella proffered her thanks; getting Sue to leave Forks was a feat in itself, but getting her to meet the man who had helped give life to her grandchild was an effort that she was not obligated to undertake.

"Look, Kid," she warned, "I don't want you to get your hopes up about this; it's not my intention to go and welcome him with open arms."

"I know," Bella assured her, "I don't expect you to."

"I think you do, deep down," Sue shook her head, "you might be looking out for his feelings in all of this, but I'm the one who's got yours. I won't have anyone steamroll you into doing something that you might regret ten years down the line."

"Don't say stuff like that," Bella whined as her eyes welled, "you know my hormones can't take it!"

"Oh, I can't wait to see you postpartum," Sue teased.

"I'll come for you first," Bella threatened, "snot and all."

"I wouldn't have it any other way."


Once again, Bella's alarm became redundant when she felt a weight drop onto the right side of her mattress; breathy giggles escaped a hand over mouth and she pretended to sleep through the disturbance. However, the tiny fingers that slipped under her duvet and teased her ribs elicited a sharp scream and giggle from her, and she had to swat Seth's hands away before the urge to pee made her wet herself. Ever since her practical joke had sent the six-year old screaming down the wooden hill, Bella had been subjected to his sub-par retaliations, and she had to admit that she was regretting the prank as the early light of dawn shone in her face.

"Stop, I'm up!" she breathed through the pressure on her bladder.

"Momma's got toast and juice ready," Seth told her with a toothy grin, "she made extra for your belly."

"You callin' me fat?" she turned to Seth with a fake scowl.

"Noooo…" Seth's eyes bugged out.

"I think you did," she teased, hands on hips.

"I'm just gonna go," he said, slipping off the bed.

"Yeah, skidaddle," Bella called, as he high-tailed it out of her bedroom.

She met Charlie in the hall and he gruffed a tired "Hello", kissing her on the crown of her head before ambling down the staircase. The sound of clinking plates and cutlery echoed from the lower floor and the smell of Charlie's breakfast bacon lingered in the air; she was the last to have risen.

"…he was supposed to go to Brady's but Maggie just called, he's come down with the stomach flu overnight," Sue was saying as Bella traipsed into the kitchen in her bathrobe.

"So? Take him with you to Sequim, he'd love the spit," Charlie replied, removing the sports section from the newspaper and casting it aside; Bella had already Tivo'd last night's Mariner's game for him and he had yet to find out they'd lost.

"Brady's sick?" Bella asked as she settled herself at the table.

"Yeah…hey, why aren't you dressed?! We're leaving in thirty!" Sue exclaimed.

"What's the hurry?" Charlie gruffed, "the buses are every hour."

Neither women were ever adept in the art of excuse, and both flailed for something to say until Seth's sneeze exploded through the room.

"Whoa," Seth looked shocked with himself.

"Jake could take him for the day," Bella suggested; Jake had admitted that he missed the little boy.

"I don't know about that," Charlie warned, "Paul saw him in the bar last night and said he wasn't looking too pretty."

Bella thumbed the tie of her bathrobe as the table quieted; the family knew that they had a certain responsibility when it came down to Jake, but the morning-after burnouts were usually to be avoided.

It was finally decided that Seth would have to tag along with the girls; Bella cringed at the thought of a two-hour bus journey with a six-year old, but was comforted by the fact that Sue had already gone through the motions of the journey once before with both Leah and herself.

Edward's response to her arranged meeting had been a frantic, seemingly excited "I'll be there!", followed by an "Oh shit." She'd run out of characters in her initial text and had to delay the news of her mother joining them in a separate message that he'd received after his reply. He had called her for the first time that night, cussing and freaking out over the phone in a way that she had only witnessed in the elevator and Angela's apartment.

But this, this wasn't a response to anger; this was fear and Bella knew the feeling all too well.

"Mothers don't like people like me."

She hadn't the heart to tell him that Sue wasn't necessarily out to 'like' him and kept quiet as he vented over the line; a rambling, incoherent mess of exhaustion. She'd coaxed him off the line sometime around one am and had fallen into an uneasy sleep, taunted by a recurrent nightmare that she couldn't seem to shrug off.

"Be down in ten," Sue ordered, as she finished her breakfast and returned to her bedroom.

She tried to slip on her Chilli's band tee only to find that her abdomen had expanded beyond its cotton limitations; her eyes were immediately drawn to the folded tee that she'd found shoved into her duffel two weeks earlier. She was certain of the fact that she'd left it in Stix's bedroom and its presence confused her, but she pulled it over her frame anyway.

"Isabella Marie Swan!"

She rolled her eyes and descended the stairs where Sue and Seth were dressed and ready to go.

"Don't blame me if the kid pops out while we're sprinting to the bus stop!" Sue warned as she glanced at her watch.

The first hour on the Clallam Transit service was hell as Bella's breakfast threatened to make a reappearance; the potholes and uneven surfacing of the roads caused the bus to jolt sporadically and the eight inch, pull-down windows barely allowed any fresh air into the body of the vehicle.

She had spent the better part of the journey with a cautious hand slipping to cover her mouth while Seth pointed out various landmarks from Sue's lap. There was a strained silence as they neared the latter part of their trip, and only Seth's excited voice made itself known over the roaring hum of a well-traveled engine.

As the fog thinned, the outline of the Olympic mountains became clear and Sue had to pry Seth's face away from the glass that was smudged with dirty fingerprints and breathy condensation. Sequim had always been a beautiful place, even under a perpetually gray sky. There was a saving grace in that it fell in the rain-shadow and was one of the driest places on the West Coast, precipitation comparable to that of LA. It was the warmest place Charlie would venture to from Forks and even then he spent most of his time fishing in the Dungeness River.

"Don't you just love it, girls?"

And they had.

There hadn't been time for a family vacation to Sequim after Seth's birth; Bella was busy applying to college, Leah and Jake moved up North and Sue and Charlie were attending to Seth's late night feedings and screams. Like an aged toy, Sequim had been cast aside and forgotten as the family aged and outgrew its rudimentary offerings; the beaches and the spit, lavender fields and big-leaf maple trees, all forgotten.

"Alright, this is us," Sue nudged Seth onto his feet.

The bus came to a jolting stop and Bella was glad that she'd remained in her seat before alighting.

"Is he here yet?" Sue asked her as they entered the parking-lot of a waterfront restaurant.

Bella scanned the lot for the beaten-up, burgundy Volvo but failed to find Edward waiting for them.

"He probably ran into traffic; his route's a lot busier than ours," Bella placated Sue as they entered the restaurant. Seth was complaining something chronic and Sue ordered him a burger to stop his whining as they discussed Edward's absence.

"You told him we were meeting here and not the spit, didn't you?"

"Yes, Mother," Bella rolled her eyes.

"No need to get snippy," Sue raised her brow.

"He'll be here, that's all," Bella shrugged off the need to defend Edward for the moment; you couldn't feign the excitement he'd expressed past his cursing the previous night…or so she had thought.

"Here ya' go little fella'," the waitress placed down Seth's order in front of him.

Bella was running out of excuses for Edward as forty-five minutes passed and he was still absent from the restaurant; she had called his cell, texted him, paced up and down the street, and had checked online accident reports. She had nothing to excuse his no-show and Sue's back-handed comments were beginning to grate on her.

"What did I tell you? They all talk the talk, but when it comes to walking the walk…"

"I got it, Mom," Bella exhaled deeply.

In, out…in, out…

"Well, I'm not waiting to order any longer; what are you having?" Sue grabbed for the menus.

"I'm not hungry."

"Oh, stop moping," Sue chastised, "pull up a menu and pick before I order us both the clam chowder."

"Vomit," Bella grimaced, "just get me the ravioli," she said, glancing over the menu before shoving it back into the holder. Her appetite really wasn't all there after the bumpy journey, and once coupled with the nerves, put her off wanting to eat for the moment.

"Fine, one clam chowder," Sue sighed, "you really don't know what you're missing, Kid."

"Yeah, what's wrong with you?"

"Edward," Bella whipped herself around in her seat, gently catching herself on the table as her stomach refused to circumnavigate the rounded edge.

"Hi," he greeted, nervously rubbing a hand over the back of his neck, trying not to glance over at her Mom and brother who were now staring at him.

"You're late."

"Mom!" Bella cringed at her rude welcome.

"Yeah, um - the directions I printed out from the public library led me to some cliff edge half an hour from here."

"Oh, well I called you," Bella reminded him, a little put-out by the fact that he hadn't the decency to inform them that he was running late.

"Oh," he frowned, pulling his cell from his pocket, "…it's on silent," he explained.

"Never mind," Bella sighed, sliding a little to her left, "take a seat, we were just going to order."

"Who are you?" Seth asked Edward in a tone that Bella recognized all too quickly; Charlie had him versed to a tee.

"I'm Edward," he offered his hand for Seth to shake but Seth merely looked at it before crossing his arms over his chest. It was all very Machiavellian- the way Sue allowed her son to belittle Edward without her having to cast the first stone, and Bella knew she would be having words with her father later that evening.

"He's my friend, Seth, be nice," Bella encouraged.

"Does my Pops know you?"

"Mom, tell him he's not a cop yet, please."

"Hey, what he says is gospel at the moment," Sue declined to stop Seth's intrusive behavior.

The arrival of the waitress was the only respite Edward would get from the interrogation that hadn't even afforded him so much as a 'hello' from her family members.

"So, Edward, how old are you?" Sue asked as 'Poppy' placed a basket of bread onto the center of the table.

"Twenty-six," he answered.

"And where do you work?"

"I'm a barman at a club back in Seattle," he admitted with a little hesitancy; he had already expressed his fears to Bella over the phone and she knew that he was worried that Sue would find it an inappropriate career choice for an expectant father.

"Is it good pay?"

As much as Bella felt that Sue was being entirely too intrusive, she harbored her own element of intrigue and she knew that she would have to be privy to such detail if he was going to be a part of her child's life.

"Not really," Edward replied, "but I recently got hired at a bar and grill so it'll be an addition to whatever I make there."

"You got a second job?" Bella turned to him surprised; Jasper said that he already worked grueling hours as it was.

"Yeah, I've been sitting on the offer for a couple of weeks to see if the bar would pick up, but I guess I can't wait much longer."

"Bella did mention that Jasper hasn't been contributing to rent," Sue commended his effort, "that kid has always been a handful."

"Hmm," Edward hummed; Bella had a feeling that there was more to his second job than he was letting on but he didn't seem to want to fill Sue in on that and it confused her; why make yourself seem less valiant when given the one chance to impress?

"Did you go to college?"

"Leah didn't go to college, Mom," Bella interrupted, gently making it known that her last question wasn't really of any importance to her.

"Fine," Sue relented, but she was still determined to make Edward squirm, "Bella tells me you have a girlfriend?"

The wide-eyed panic that settled on Edward's face made Bella feel a little guilty that she'd shared so much with Sue, but the fact still stood that Edward had other commitments in his life and they were not to be glossed over.

"I do - "

"And what does she think about this whole situation?"

The fact that Edward had yet to touch his food that was brought by the waitress minutes before was a foreboding of the day left to come. It was clearly evident that Edward was trying to impress her mother, his language was no longer colorful and he'd resisted the urge to smoke over the time that they'd been seated at the restaurant, but Sue was a force to be reckoned with.

"She's supportive," Edward nodded.

"But for how long?" Sue shot back, "you have to realize that what you're asking for here is a life-long commitment, if the day comes that she isn't so supportive…you have to understand our reservations here."

"Angela's not like that," Edward dismissed Sue's concern, turning to Bella, "don't use her as an excuse."

"Alright, I see we've touched a nerve," Sue raised her brow as she buttered a bread roll, "let's say this whole agreement goes through - what would you expect from Bella?"

"What do you mean?" Bella asked confusedly.

"You two kids have jumped into this without even thinking; when will visitation be? Bella lives with her father and me at the moment and you guys live three hours apart; depending on Bella's choices, the baby will be dependent on her for at least six months before overnight stays could be considered. I want to know what you want from Bella."

"Oh, well, we haven't even…uh, talked about it.." Edward trailed off awkwardly.

"Exactly," Sue placed her fork onto the table, "you coming into this whole situation complicates a lot of things."

"Leah dying complicated a lot of things," Bella retorted, finding Sue's insinuations a little too harsh; she understood her mother's point of view, she really did, but there was no need for nastiness.

"I think it's something that Bella and I have to figure out ourselves," Edward said, and by his tone, Bella knew that Sue had been quieted.

The adults finished their meal while Seth played on his DS that Sue had packed for him and Bella slipped into easy conversation with Edward over Jasper's search for employment. Sue's quiet demeanor unsettled Bella as time wore on and when Edward left the table to settle the bill, her mother's irritation came to the surface.

"Does he really think that paying a bill is going to get him in our good graces?"

"He's trying, Mom…unlike some."

"I don't need his approval," Sue reminded her as she plucked Seth's shirt away from his skin and jiggled it to remove the crumbs covering his front.

Bella and Edward trailed behind Sue and Seth as they walked a slow amble to the Dungeness Spit; Bella had convinced her mother to give Edward a breather before she forced them all to turn on one another.

"Fuck, your Mom is a hard-ass," Edward exclaimed once Sue was out of earshot.

"She's not so bad," Bella shrugged, "underneath all the formality is a wolf-loving, crocheting ball of emotion."

"She doesn't like me," he said as their path evolved into the sandy island of the spit.

"You said Mom's don't like you," she teased, "what did you expect?"

"I didn't want it to be true!" he said exasperated.

Bella chuckled and traipsed her way over to a large piece of sanded driftwood, motioning for him to join her as she perched herself on the end. The coastal breeze rouged her nose and cheeks and her thoughts were instantly drawn to the humid summers spent dragging pieces of driftwood up and down the spit to make teepee forts.

"I'm gonna bring the baby here," Bella murmured as Seth challenged the surf up ahead, running to and from the fast-moving spray.

"It's a cool place," Edward nodded, "I didn't even know it existed, I've never been further west than Seattle."

"It's swamped by retired folk but the nature reserves and trails make up for the lack of city-life," Bella explained, "we never did the holiday from home sort of thing; it was fishing in the Nessie river, hiking up to lighthouses and scraping knees on the trails…some of my best memories are of this place."

"Well, we have all the time in the world; we can bring the baby here and make new memories…raise a little nature warrior."

"But can we really?" Bella tuned-in on the doubt that lingered in her heart, "will this really work out? Angela's alright with this now, but once the baby's here things could change and I don't want to be the cause of that."

"Whatever happens, happens," Edward shrugged her concern off, "stop over thinking things."

"How can you say that?" Bella frowned at his blasé attitude.

"Because when I promise something, I mean it. This is my kid, and no one seems to want to put faith in me; I get it, I get that I'm some burned-out failure-"

"I don't think-"

"I'm going to be more than that sixty dollars a month, Bella," he promised, "I'm a good person and I want this. People don't doubt you when you tell them that you're gonna raise the baby, even though it wasn't your first intention, but it's different for me. I'm the outsider and people expect me to want to run in the opposite direction…you want me to prove myself? Give me the chance."

His focused, hardset eyes bore into hers with a determined, stony seriousness and she could do all but quell the relief his words injected into her heart.

"I'm-"

"Shit, I made you cry," he immediately wrapped an arm over her shoulders and tugged at the ends of her wayward hair, "I'm sorry."

"Don't be," she sniffed, scraping the cuffs of her jacket under her eyes, "it's just…why don't people understand that they can't say stuff like that to me?"

"Did you want me to tell you that I wanted to bail- out?" he looked at her like she'd lost it; perhaps she had.

"No, you Dufus," she chuckled, jabbing him in the side with her elbow, "it's all these freaking hormones that have taken over my body. I feel like E.T on earth."

"So I said the right thing?" Edward furrowed his brows and looked down at her for confirmation.

"Yeah," she breathed, "you said the right thing," she offered, and his lips soon quirked into a smile of relief.

"He's changed his tune," Edward nodded towards Seth who was giggling as Sue chased him around the shoreline.

"Blame my Dad for his bad attitude," Bella explained, "anyone who isn't family, female or forty isn't allowed to associate with me, unless approved by the Swan men. The three 'F' rule - that's why I'm hoping this little one is a boy," she admitted, gently scratching her fingertips over the taut cotton of his shirt.

"Hmm," Edward smiled, "you got it then."

"You put this in my bag?"

"I know I pissed you off and that I was an ass, but you loved the shirt from the word go."

"But it's your favorite," Bella replied, still uncomfortable with the notion.

"I don't care," Edward shrugged, "it's keeping my kid warm and I wouldn't have anything less than the Chillis do that."

"I have something for you," Bella admitted as she reached for the flap of the bag that was slung over her shoulder. There had never been a debate over who the second sonogram picture was for and she passed over the grainy image with a sudden need to impress; their baby was perfect.

"Is this..?"

"It is," Bella's smile tore at the corners of her lips.

"Wow."

"I know, right?" She bit her lip as he examined the image. It was a beautiful feeling to finally accept her role in her unborn child's life, the gentle threads of excitement and unadulterated love knotting in her heart, but seeing Edward's reaction to the first sonogram picture was awing.

"This is mine to keep?" he asked hopefully.

"Of course," she nodded, "mine is on the refrigerator, next to fingerprinted pictures of a caterpillar Seth found."

"I'd like to say that's where mine is going, but Jasper still doesn't know…"

"We'll have to tell him at some point or another," Bella sighed, "I just felt uncomfortable, y'know? Leaving like that?"

"He's fine," Edward assured her, "he wanted to give you some space."

"I still owe him an explanation…and I need to apologize to Angela."

"She said the same thing about you."

"Where is she today?"

"At church - Lauren's mom refuses to leave until she's been granted prep rights, so she's had to go in and placate her."

"Does she know you're here?"

Edward nodded, and in that moment, she felt marginally uplifted.

"Good."

"Hey, Belly!" Seth came barreling towards the pair, pants dusted with sand and water stains from his adventures on the spit.

"Hey, Bud," she scuffed his hair.

"Wanna make a fort? Momma said you and Pops made one when you were little."

"Sorry Kid," Bella told him with a heavy heart, "my back's aching."

"Your back always aches," he groaned.

"I can help you?" Edward offered.

"You've never made a fort before," Seth brushed him off, ignoring the olive branch that Edward was kindly extending; so much like his father, Bella noted.

"Hey, I was a boy scout," Edward informed him, "I know how to build a fort better than smelly Bella."

"I wanna be a boy scout!" Seth's eyes widened in awe at Edward's little slip of information.

"Then lead the way comrade," Edward ordered, "let's put my wilderness survival badge to good use!"

All too soon, Seth's unsavory behavior had transformed and he was running back and forth, arms laden with driftwood and twigs as Edward held their creation steady. Neither cared about their wet kneed jeans or the itchy, bitty particles of sand that stuck underneath their nails and in-between their fingers. It was a glimpse of life to come and Bella was strangely content with the sight of Edward giving his undivided attention to her younger brother.

"It's all up to you,Kid," Sue perched herself next to Bella on the driftwood, "I want to accept all of this, I really do…but you know why I'm hesitant, don't you?"

"Because you'll always be waiting for the other shoe to drop," Bella nodded, "but I get him. It's just this gut feeling that I can't shake…"

"I have one of those," Sue smiled.

"You do?"

"Yes," her mother nodded, reaching out to pat her abdomen, "my grandkid is going to be gorgeous."

"It's the hair, right?"

"Oh yes," Sue smirked, "definitely the hair."

"He got a second job to support the baby," Bella explained as they continued to watch the boys pile wood into a teepee formation; Sue had to know his true intentions, Bella wasn't going to let him sabotage himself.

"I know," Sue replied, "I never said he wasn't a good man, I just want him to prove it without a shadow of a doubt."

"And how does he do that?"

"Well, for now," Sue paused, brushing the windswept strands of Bella's hair behind her ear, "we let things fall as they may."

"So you approve?"

"We're a long way from approval," Sue shook her head, "but I'm not standing in the way."

The relief that washed over her was indescribable.

"Thanks, Mom."

"That's okay, Kid."

As the afternoon cooled and Seth's fascination with the erected teepee waned, it was suggested that the day draw to a close. Seth stuck to Edward's side as they trailed back up to the mainland, regaling him with various backyard adventures that Bella knew stretched the truth.

"You should come back to Seattle again," Edward told her as they neared his Volvo, "we could tell Jasper about the baby and you and Ange can have that girly day you never got."

"I'll think about it," she nodded, "but this one's not far from being baked so…"

"Thinking about it is all I ask."

"Bella, the next bus is in three minutes," Sue called from the sidewalk.

"I have to go," Bella sighed, "and just so you know…my Mom doesn't hate you."

"Really?"

"Really," Bella assured, "you can thank me when you get a knitted wolf sweater for Christmas."

"She wouldn't?" Edward asked horrified.

"I have three," Bella teased before turning on her heels and ambling back up to her family. She chanced one last glance over her shoulder and caught Edward peering at the sonogram picture she had gifted him again, and the warm, gut-feeling that she had confessed to Sue returned with a vengeance.

It wasn't until she was seated on the Clallam Transit bus that her cell trilled and she eagerly pulled it from her pocket as Sue eyed her with a knowing glance; she didn't care that her goofy grin was bared for all to see, and she re-read the text several times for the warm, glorious feeling that made her heart thrum.

EdwardC:

I think this kid has my nose.

-Proud Dad.


I've been wanting to get the Sequim scene out of my head for a while, and now it's finally here in print.

This chapter was beta'd again by the lovely SUNFLOWER3759.

Again, thank you to everyone who is reviewing and rec'ing this story, I heart you all. It's lovely to know that all of this counts for something in some way or another. Next update is Monday Folks!