A/N: I wrote this as an exercise in exploring Edward's relationship with Elise. It is written in letter format to his daughter the day she came into his life. In the most basic sense, it was a way to explore the myriad of emotions Edward went through and how she changed his life when he never knew it needed changing. I left it intentionally rough in parts so that it kept the feeling of just writing down your thoughts without much conscious effort.

I needed all the help I could get in digging into Edward's head for his talk with Bella, and this was the way I chose to approach it.

There will at least five of these, detailing each year, that will fill in the gaps of their relationship and answer some questions about his past.

Read this on 1/2 page if you have the option. It seems to flow better when you're looking at it on a more compact screen.

My free hand moved on its own accord to trace the faces of the first picture I came to. It was Edward with a baby, a few months old - if even - and wrapped in pink, that I could only assume was Elise. She was a beautiful baby that had certainly turned into a beautiful little girl. Yet, what caught my attention the most was the look on Edward's face. He wasn't even looking at the camera; all of his attention was captured by the little girl held tightly in his arms. Every emotion was evident in his profile though: the dark circles of exhaustion and the parental fear that never really goes away overshadowing his normally bright eyes, the bend in his back as if he were trying to shelter the little thing from the troubles and the hurt of the outside world, and above all, the smile on his face was one of wonder, as if it were his first time laying his eyes on the little girl that had already captured his soul.

(Chapter 10 ~ The first day Bella had been to Edward's house)


August 5, 2005

Baby Girl,

I'm not even sure what to say; words have never been my thing, music has. Notes falling into place along a blank staff has always come easy. Melodies can float through my head and my fingers seem to anticipate the next chord before my mind registers the progression. But words? Words are a lot harder.

But for you...I'm trying this word thing out.

I hope I'm doing this right. Honestly, I have no clue why I'm even writing this except for the fact that I know I need to. It's like, I have to get my mess of thoughts down on paper to prove this is all real. To prove that you are truly real.

That came out wrong.

I know you're real, baby girl. I held you today. It was the first time and I was scared shitless (excuse my language). I thought for sure I'd drop you or hold you too tightly or just do something wrong. Was I going to prop your head up just right? Was I holding your body at a proper angle? Were you going to be comfortable and safe in my shaking arms?

But I didn't drop you. We both made it, baby girl.

I keep calling you that. Baby girl. I mean, you are just that. A baby girl - my baby girl - but you're so much more too. You are Elise Olivia Cullen and you are my world already. Never forget that, baby girl. Never.

That name is the most important name in my life.

Do you know, I never planned on having kids? Well, I mean, of course you don't right now. What I mean is that, I never imagined this; I never imagined holding you. So I'll be honest in telling you that this "dad" thing may take me a little while to figure out and I'm going to mess up more times than I'd like to consider. Please go easy on me. I'm asking nicely.

When your mum left you here this morning, I wasn't sure what to do...what to feel. You were completely unexpected, but once you opened your wide eyes to me, a part of me changed. I'm not sure what it was, but it was like someone flipped a switch and it scared me to death. I felt so many things at once and I wasn't sure I could sort them all out. I was angry, hurt, helpless...and completely captivated by your dark eyes, but I'll explain that all later.

You know, movies always have those characters - parents and children - that are separated for years for whatever reason. When they finally pass each other, like on the street or in the store, they know the other is theirs. There is just this gut feeling that pulls at your very being, screaming that "It's them!" It's a magnetic pull that is utterly undeniable. I felt that. You hadn't even opened your eyes yet, your carrier still sitting against the dirty blue carpeting in the hallway, but I knew. Without a doubt, you were my daughter.

Here I am talking all over the place. I'm not even sure I'm making sense anymore. I told you...words aren't my thing and I'm still not sure where my emotions are right now. Today has been a lot to take in, to be honest.

I wish I could tell you that you were well planned out and created by two people that loved each other. You weren't planned though and I didn't, and still don't, love your mum in the typical sense of the word, but I wouldn't change any of that. You're here now and I love you more than life already. The means of getting to this point mean little in comparison to where we'll go. Scary as it is, it's going to be you and me, baby girl. I'll try to make the best of this for you.

Right now you're sleeping. Snoring too, but just slightly. It's the cutest sound I've ever heard, just a soft rush of air every so often. My mum just left with Rose for a bit, so it's just us now (which scares the bejeebus out of me). You'll love them. I'm sure of it.

My mum, your Gram, is a saint. I swear she is the single most selfless and loving individual ever put on this planet. You'll see, baby girl. And Rose...well, you'll just have to actually get to know her. She's been my best friend forever and is officially family since she married Emmett, my brother and thus your uncle I suppose (you'll meet him soon too, I'm sure). More than that, she's always been my rock - the one person I know I can always look to. I hope you find that one day, baby girl, and until then, I hope you let me be that person for you. I'll try with everything I am to not let you down.

I honestly have no clue what I'm doing. When you cried earlier, I had no idea what was wrong. Were you hurt or hungry? Was your diaper dirty or were you just making sure we remembered you were here, as if we could forget? I was lost. Like I said, this dad thing is going to be trial and error for awhile. I'm glad you're too young to be able to remember any of this.

You know, I'm not sure what I would have done without my mum here. She fed you, changed you and did that burping thing that looks like it takes a lot more skill than I ever would have assumed. She showed me how to make a bottle and how to prop your head up just so when it came to feeding. I shook like a leaf the entire time.

But want to know something?

You spit up all down the back of my shirt after that and I fell in love. It sounds gross, but I knew right then, I would take you, spit up and all, and never look back. I couldn't even if I tried. You were wrapped in a little pink blanket that had been in your carrier when you arrived and I had cleaned off your little face until I saw those rosy cheeks again. I was so tired, running on no sleep already (your daddy hasn't always been the greatest at taking care of himself), but you just looked...perfect. You owned my heart then and there.

I don't have long to write this out since Rose and my mum will be back any minute to rescue me from my incompetence at this fatherhood thing. Honestly, I would have been lost without them today. I said that before, but it's true. They are the definitions of saints and saviors. I called in a panic this morning, not knowing what I was even supposed to do. I've only held one other baby, Rose's son, and that was less than a handful of times. You hadn't even cried yet and I was mess.

I had nothing for a baby in my apartment either, not knowing you existed until you showed up in front of my door. No crib or bottles or diapers. There was only the little bag your mum left with a few staples and your birth certificate, which wasn't going to get us far. That's a story for another time though, like so much else. What I'm trying to say is the moral here is that your aunt and Gram love you already, bringing what they could in an instant. I don't think I'll ever be able to find a way to thank them.

So here we are, you and I. One day I'll tell you everything about your mum and how you and I ended up the team. I'll tell you how you forever changed me with one look and made me want to be things I had never imagined myself being. I'll tell you about all the mistakes I'm sure to make and that you'll be too young to remember, and we'll laugh about them. I'll tell you about it all, the good and the bad, but for now, all you need to know is I love you.

I blinked...and you became my world.

I will love you forever, baby girl.