My leg bounces as I rub the palm of my hand over my jeans. I'm out of my element and I think it shows. It's a room full of woman with round stomachs, sleeping, eating, and fussing newborns, Izzy is pointing out how cute they are and what strollers she likes. I think I have to pick my jaw off the ground when she asks one new mom where she got her stroller. I wonder if it occurred to Izzy this stroller with winter and summer kits, for an extra two to three hundred dollars each, already costs about twelve hundred, cause she looks at me as if we can't raise our baby without it. "Edward how perfect for the beach or for when we are in Chicago freezing!" I can only muster a nod, hoping she will be happy with a stroller from Babies R Us. I clear my throat and change my attention to the baby magazine I am using solely to divert attention from how uncomfortable I am. I'm the only guy. It's hard to concentrate between my anxiety over Izzy, and the toddler acting out whose mother is pretty much helpless to control him in her state of what looks to be twelve months pregnant.
"Are you sure you don't want me to come back with you?" I whisper to her.
"Positive. I actually can't think of anyway to make it more uncomfortable then to have you in the room while my legs are in stir ups and some Doctor has his face inches from my vag which is held open by some cold metal instrument. I don't want an audience." She shakes her head. I know she is just as anxious and uncomfortable as I am by the rate of her speech.
"Say no more..." I trail off, not really liking the visual she created in my head. It be the equivalent I suppose of her being in the room for a prostate examine. Just plain wrong.
"Just knowing your out here waiting for me when I'm done is...enough." She leans into me, placing her head on my shoulder. "I am a tad bit afraid of what will happen when I leave you with all these hormonal woman. They may attack you."
"I used my secret weapon this morning - it keeps the ladies at a safe distance." I joke with her, kissing her head.
"Isabella Swan?" A nurse steps out of the doorway to bring the next patient back.
I squeeze her hand as she stands up, she looks back at me and I mouth 'love you' to her. She smiles, then starts to follow the nurse and I watch her until the door shuts and I don't have anything left to look at but this magazine full of...babies.
That word; baby. It plays over and over in my mind and I can't seem to grasp how that is going to change my entire world and I'm not ready at all. The crying toddler. The mother attempting to calm him down. The round stomachs. None of the woman have that stupid glow. If you ask me, they look pretty miserable and uncomfortable, in turn probably making their husbands pretty uneasy.
I run my hand through my hair and close the magazine that offers all these tips on raising a human being. I don't think I can raise a human being yet. I don't even know how Izzy is handling that concept...maybe she hasn't. Maybe she's been ignoring what it exactly means to have a baby.
Five minutes seems like five hours and I have no idea how I am going to survive this. I need air. I don't want her to come out and not know where I am though.
I walk up to the desk, "Do you know how long Isabella Swan might be?" I ask her before she even has a chance to ask what she can help me with.
She looks at her computer, "She's having a coloscopy...I'd say another twenty five minutes if it goes perfectly."
"Perfectly..." I know I sound as concerned as I feel.
"I mean Dr. Adams could be held up with another patient, or she could have a lot of questions...I didn't mean anything like complications."
I just nod my head and thank her. "I just need to run out to the car...so if by some chance she's done before I'm back..."
"Of course," she smiles at me.
I sit in the car for the next twenty four minutes trying not to freak out over Bella being pregnant. I start to wonder when I got so fragile as I walk back inside. I'm about to have a seat when the door opens and she walks out holding some papers.
She looks like she is uncomfortable, I'm not sure if she was crying. She goes to the front desk, and asks if she needs to make an appointment.
I take the papers from her. One is a prescription for pain medicine, the other is instructions on what to expect and what she should call the doctor for after the procedure.
"Dr. Adams will call in Friday at the earliest to let you know if you need to come back in."
Bella nods, "Thank you."
I take her bag, and help her put her jacket on. I hold her hand till we get to the car opening the passenger door for her.
I don't drive away right away. I start the car, but am focused on the information about spotting being normal, or light bleeding more common if pregnant. That she shouldn't have sex or put anything in her vagina for ten days. Fever, chills...anything that could be a sign of infection to call the doctor.
"Are you okay?" I ask her.
She nods, yes, yet wipes tears.
"Is this medicine safe for the baby?" I ask looking at the prescription.
"He said it's a low dose, and Motrin is the best, but that is even worse. It's only six for the next two or three days if I really need it," she explains to me
"Are you in a lot of pain?" I ask her.
"Yeah...I am actually."
"Why don't I take you back to your apartment and then I'll go to the pharmacy." I offer.
She just nods, her head back and her eyes focused out the window. The drive to her place is silent. I have no idea how to find out what is going on inside her head.
When I get back with her medicine, she's still a million miles away. "Gonna tell me what's going on?" I ask her.
"If it's anything that needs treatment I have to wait until the baby is born...the Doctor suggested I examine my options more closely. That there was still time, and I was young, and single, in college...and from what he's seen...I'll probably need to have treatment like laser or freezing...and I can always get pregnant again...but no one can promise me that the cells aren't aggressive and it won't escalate in nine months...and that it will be curable at that point."
"Izzy...then maybe we should talk about that," I offer her. Her eyes fill with anger and sadness.
"No - how - I don't even - I can't -" She is so flustered, and so hurt by my words.
"Okay...okay. I'm sorry." I try to calm her down.
"That's not a choice Edward."
"But I can't replace you..."
"But this baby is replaceable to you?"
"We can make another one...later after we are married...when your done school."
"It's not like this baby will just be the same...it's not replaceable either. Just like the one I lost in high school. It's an individual...I guess it's too much for you to realize that since you can't see it, but that doesn't mean it's just some cookie cuttter baby. It's not even open for discussion."
I don't even really know what to say. "Just the thought of losing you...or having you suffer through that if there is something we can do to prevent it...I don't want to see you suffer. And I don't think I can even think about losing you."
"Do you think I relish the thought of what it could mean? The price is too high. I've paid it once already, and I'm not going to do pay it again willingly."
"I didn't mean to make you feel worse."
"Do you not want this?" she asks looking at her stomach.
"If you want me to be honest with you..."
"Always," she whispers.
"It's not something I've found peace with yet, it scares me to think of being responsible for the shaping of person. Having to put this fragile little life above all else...every choice I make will effect the outcome of what kind of person she becomes. Yeah...it is scary. And I'm trying really really hard to be the adult here and strong for you."
"What because I'm not an adult? And if you're not ready I can't even be close to being ready for motherhood, right? Well, this baby is apart of me - and it's growing inside me and I already love it more than anything. I'm ready to put his needs above mine. And I may not have all the answers, but I'm sure I'll figure it all out even if I do make a few mistakes along the way."
"Iz, I have no doubt that you will be an amazing mother...but what kind of mother will you be if you..." I don't even want to say the words. "If you're not even here."
"I'm going to be the type of mom who gave life a chance. If I do what the doctor suggests...what you are suggesting. I'm not going to be any type of mom. So, if this is too much for you...if you're not ready or too scared...or if you are here out of some sort of obligation, you should just go back to your life. With the job that is a windfall, and beautiful woman with successful careers falling all over you, and your perfect little townhouse two blocks from the beach, and early morning jogs with your dog...and I'll be the best mom I can be, because I believe if I do my best and love him more than anything, it won't matter how much we have or how many mistakes get made along the way...we will turn out just fine."
"Izzy...you are right. You could do this by yourself and do your best and it be better than most parents...cause I see the kids who are products of parents that have no idea how to love them the way you are talking about right now. I feel shitty okay? I feel like I am contributing to your inability to do everything you want and deserve to do...like Banard. Like doing what you need to do in order to ensure a healthy long life."
"Then maybe this is a mistake...you being here. Because I don't think it be healthy to have someone in my life who feels guilty for holding me back - but that's only in his opinion."
"Look, I think you need to get some rest...I need to think about a lot. Why don't we just think about everything for a day or two...and come back to it with clearer heads, okay?"
I go to kiss her, but she pulls away, "My head is clear - crystal clear. It sounds to me that you are the one who needs to figure out what he wants..." she shakes her head.
"I'm sorry, Iz...please I didn't mean to upset you. I talked to my father about this a lot, and I can't lose you. That thought...it kills me."
"The thought of losing him..." she touches her stomach. "It kills me." She looks back up at me. "I thought you felt the same way about our baby?"
"I'm just really confused...and scared...and one wrong move could cause not only my life, but yours, and our child's, to come crashing down. Bella - I know I'm older and that I should be wiser and have more answers...but I don't. I've been trying to tell myself and everyone else that I can be everything you and that baby needs and I can't keep pretending that I'm not freaking out. And the thought of losing you...it is just overwhelming me...cause I don't know how to be a father and I really don't know how to be a single father with some serious guilt eating away that I caused you to grow up too soon...that I stopped you from living up to your full potential. That I took away opportunities away from you to have an amazing education. And I hate to say it... but I feel really shitty about myself. If I heard about some twenty four year old sleeping with a sixteen or seventeen year old girl...I'd think what a piece of shit. How disgusting. And that was me. I don't want to look back at anything in my life and feel that way again."
She is silent. For the next ten minutes she doesn't say a word she simply sits in her bed the covers up to her neck. She won't even look at me, she just stares blankly at the covers over her body.
Finally she looks at me, "I don't feel very well. I'm in a lot of pain right now...can I have one of those pills you got for me?"
"Sure," I tell her. I go grab her a drink and hand her the pill then the drink. I place the pills on the night stand next to her bed.
"I don't want to talk about it again until the results come back from the doctor," she tells me. "And if you are ashamed of us...you should leave. I'm not an obligation, and no ones charity case."
"I don't think that about you. I have loved you since I laid eyes on you...and no matter how wrong it was...and how hard I tried to be with someone more appropriate...I couldn't ever stop loving you. I just want you to understand all the things going on inside of me. Nothing more than how much I love you...and how much I can't be without you even when it was so wrong."
I don't know if she is listening, because all I get in response is a request to turn off the light so she can get some rest.
I spend the whole night staring at her, thinking.
I chew my bottom lip, taking a sip of my tea. I'm trying not to cry, but I don't know how much longer that will work.
Hormones are a bitch.
"You wanna know what I think?" Jamie is watching me over her coffee.
This morning I jumped out of bed before Edward woke up, grabbed Jamie and made her come down to the cafe with me. Of course I left Edward a note, I have no doubt that he'd send the FBI after me if I didn't.
"I'm sure you're about to tell me anyway." I mumble, rubbing my belly.
"I love you, but you're being a brat. I know you're scared, so many things can happen. Sure, Edward is older, but Bell... he's scared too. The man loves you in that gushy gross, can't wait to have my own kind of love."
"It's just.." I start. "I know he loves me, it's in everything he does. I just feel like our past and our future are so..." I trail off when Jamie raises her hand at me.
"I also know that when something good is going on in your life, you wait for it to fall apart. If you lose him again, could you really stand it?"
I think about what she says. I know the answer.
"I just...after everything we've been through... Losing that baby in high school... almost losing each other, countless times; I'm just..." I trail off.
"What if it's not worth it? What if it was doomed from the start?"
Jamie looks at me like I've grown three heads.
"No one holds on for that long, and goes through that much shit... for nothing, Bella."
"I just.. I can't..." I shake my head. "I love him so much,that I feel like it's selfish. It feels like he's so against having this baby that he'll give up, and leave me behind. Then i'll be dying and have a baby."
Jamie's just watching me.
"How the hell am I supposed to have a baby, and attend college? God, Jamie. It's Banard."
The tears are flowing, and I can't stop them.
"It seems to me like you need to talk to him about it, Bella. Just do me a favor, okay? Don't get stressed out and don't get angry and not hear him out. Let's go home?"
I nod, as we get up from our seats. I grab the box of muffins, and as we walk out, Jamie grabs my hand.
"I can't stand the thought of you leaving. You're my best friend, you know that right?"
"Don't be mad but I called him. This waiting for results thing? It's ridiculous. Communicate with him. Don't shut him out."
I want to glare at her, but I can't.
Edward stands across the street.
"See you at home, love." Jamie says, taking off.
I wait until I can cross the street. He watches me and as I reach him, I can't help but wipe the smile off my face. I know we have things to talk about, and I may even yell at him. I can't deny the truth, though.
I can't let him walk away.
We walk side by side, to the park and even if we don't say anything, our hands are clasped together. We sit on a bench in front of the playground, and I can imagine us here one day soon, watching a little boy with his fiery red hair, and green eyes.
I wait for Edward to get angry at me or to yell and tell me how selfish I'm being, but instead he leans down, and puts his hand on my belly.
"One summer, I met this girl. I fell head over heels with her, and for a while I had to live without her. Everyday, I prayed and I wished that we'd be together again. Do you know how many people have to live without the love of their lives? Too many. It's the most painful thing in the world, to have something so close, to just have to close your hand around it... and then have it slip away."
His voice is soft, and I think that maybe he isn't talking about just us anymore. He looks into my eyes for a split second, and I just know he's talking about the baby we lost.
"Your mommy is really mad at me right now. She has every right to, too. I love you, both. I just wish she'd see that I can't, won't; have one of you without the other."
His voice is soft, and I can feel his hand on my stomach, rubbing. I wait, just in case he has more to say.
"Your mom is the most amazing woman. She's strong and smart. She'll fight for you until she can't anymore. She's so stubborn, always getting what she wants. Sometimes it comes at a price. You see, when I had to live without her once; It was the most painful thing I've ever had to do. I don't ever want to go through any of that. We met each other at the wrong time, and even then it felt so right."
He's quiet, and before I know it, he's wiping the tears from my face.
"All morning, I've turned it over and over in my head. Can I say that I know anything about being a father? No. I'm scared to death wondering how this will all turn out. I can't lose you again. There is one thing I know, without a shadow of a doubt."
"You walking into that bar that summer, was the best thing that could have happened to me. When I imagine my future...you're there."
He gives me a small smile, like he's nervous.
It's then that I know. No matter what happens, we'll make it.
All three of us.
I grab his hand pull him up, and hug him. I tell him that we'll make it, that we have to make it.
He smiles back at me with the most beautiful smile.
Later, that night after he;s packed and ready to back to Wildwood, his head is on mlaps and his arms are wrapped around my belly.
"We're going to have a family." He mumbles in his sleep.
We don't talk about what will happen and my test results come back bad. I just have to have hope that we will be a family.
That I'll be okay.
"I miss you." His voice is soft,but I can hear a hint of a smile to it.
"I miss you." I say, rolling my eyes at Jamie making gagging noises.
Edward left to go back to Wildwood two days ago before Marcus came to Chicago to drag him back himself.
"Hold on, babe. Gotta change."
I can hear fumbling, water running. I know he's getting ready for bed.
"Mmm" I say, mostly to freak Jamie out, I don't think Edward has picked up the phone yet. "I really miss watching you get ready for bed."
I giggle as Jamie throws a pillow at me and walks out of the living room. She's such an easy target.
"So how was your day?" He asks. I can hear the rustle of the blankets and him fussing at Angel. I laugh picturing him trying to push her to "her" side of the bed.
"It was okay." I don't tell him that Jamie and I ran into Gage. Gage seemed happy for me. I also didn't miss the way he and Jamie looked at each other. I made a mental note to ask her about it.
"Just okay?" He questions, he sounds tired.
"Everyday sucks without you, Edward." I say with a dramatic sigh.
He laughs. "So I had lunch with Em today...He thinks there's something he needs to know."
"Well, there kinda is..."
I know for sure that Edward didn't tell him anything. I'm pretty sure Em would be trying to bust down the door to my apartment now.
"So what did you tell him?" I ask.
"Do you know how hard it is to lie to him? I remember how it feels when he punches." He mumbles.
"So does my nose."
"I told him we were seeing each other again. That I really do love you."
"and?" I ask.
"He wants you to come out, for New years. He's calling you tomorrow to ask." He says, I hear the mischievous tone in his voice, He's up to something.
"and..." I wait.
"And what? I told him would be great for you to be home."
""Would it? We don't know what's going to happen... I could.." I trail off.
"Hey. One day at a time, okay? Make something up if you think you need to."
I look down at my belly. What will happen in a month? Edward is coming to Chicago for Christmas, and I already planned on going home for New Years.
"I know." I say
I hear Edward yawn. Looking at the clock, I realize it's almost midnight there.
"I should let you go to sleep." I say. I hate the time difference. I hate the distance.
"I miss you."
"I miss you." I repeat.