A/N: For those of you still with me, Thank you for your patience. On with the story...

Disclaimer: I don't own it. Stephenie Meyer does. I just like to place her characters into the stories in my head.


~~Edward~~

"I want a restraining order filed against Tanya Hale protecting both Lilly and Bella. I also want an emergency order of termination filed against Tanya's parental rights. I won't stand for anything happening to my family Peter, I won't!" The strain in my voice was evident, it felt like my world was crumbling around me and I wasn't sure how to handle it.

"Calm down Edward, I've already filed those motions with the court, but it will take a few days to get anything resolved. Has your detective friend come up with anything to go by?"

"No. Once Tanya was on the plane to Seattle he lost all traces of her. Bella and Lilly are my life and I don't know how to protect them from unseen threats." I buried my face in my hands and held back the scream of frustration that so badly wanted to be freed.

"Why don't you take them both away from here for a while? It'll be a few days before I hear anything from the judge in your case and with Tanya sneaking around, perhaps its best if you weren't in town; that way when she shows up, your brother and the police can take care of her and your girls will be safe. I can always call you and let you know how the case is progressing."

"Maybe you're right. We won't be far, but it will be easier to protect my girls if I don't constantly feel like I'm looking over my shoulder. I'll call you and let you know where we'll be. Keep me informed."

With those final words to Peter, I left his office and made my way back to the hospital. It was time I talked to my father and let him know what was going on.

~~~D~~W~~~

"Edward, why didn't you come to me sooner? I know I've been strict with you here at the hospital but when something is threatening my children and grandchild I expect to be kept in the loop." My father's voice was gritty with emotion and I immediately felt ashamed.

"I didn't mean to keep you in the dark Dad. At first there was nothing to let anyone know. I had Jenks on her trail and hadn't heard much of anything until a few days ago when he called and told me that she was headed here. Since that phone call I've been trying my best to keep Bella calm and get my legal bearings. I just didn't think there was anything for the family to help with."

"Even if there wasn't much for us to do, we still could have offered our support. It does hurt that you didn't let me know, but I understand where you're coming from. They are your family and the most important things in your world. I can't say I wouldn't have done the same. So now that you've told me what's going on, what can I do to help?" The relief I felt knowing that my father wasn't angry with me was a little overwhelming given my current emotional state.

"I want to get Lilly and Bella out of town for a while. It's only been a few days since I got the call from Jenks, but already both Bella and I are losing sleep. Bella is jittery and nervous and I'm constantly on edge thinking Tanya's going to appear around every corner. Even if it's just for just a few days so that Jenks and Emmett have time to track Tanya down and our legal issues are taken care of. Peter has already filed emergency motions with the court. I just need…" My voice trailed off, I didn't have the words to express my need to hide them away or the amount of dread that was building in my gut.

"Take two weeks and go to the cottage in Oregon. Bella will love it there and it's secluded enough that no one can bother you. Besides, Tanya doesn't know where it is and since the property is in the Platt family name it'll be harder to trace where you've gone. I had a land line installed out there since cell coverage is spotty at best, so make sure you give that number to Peter. I'll make sure Emmett knows what's going on and we'll let you know the minute something happens."

"Thank you Dad. I don't know what I'd do without you and I'm sorry for not coming to you sooner."

"Keep those girls of yours safe Edward, that's all the thanks I need."

~~~D~W~~~

"Bella, sweetheart, are you home?" After leaving the hospital the only thought on my mind has been to get my girls and get out of town. I hope Bella doesn't think I'm too crazy for wanting to leave tonight.

"In the kitchen, babe." Her beautiful voice floated to me from the back of the house.

Upon entering the kitchen, an overwhelming need to have Bella in my arms flooded over me. Unable to resist the pull, I walked up behind her and wrapped her tightly in my arms. Burying my face in her neck, I let out a shuddering breath. The stress of this situation is wearing me thin.

"Edward, honey, is everything alright?" I could hear the worry in her voice and that's what I'd been trying to avoid.

"It will be. I promise everything will be just fine."

"Then what has you on edge? You know you don't have to hide anything from me right? I love you and we are in this together, so talk to me." Bella had turned in my arms so she could look me in the eye; there was definitely no hiding from her when she did that. With a deep sigh, I let everything come flooding out. I told her everything, from my meeting with Peter to my discussion with dad and all of my fears.

"Thank you. I know it wasn't easy for you to share all of that because you want to protect me. I need you to know you're not alone in this though, I have the same fears. You and Lilly are my whole life. If anything happens to either one of you I won't survive. My biggest fear right now is that you'll come to the conclusion that this is all too much to take; that you'll try and work things out with Tanya for Lilly's sake. I have no legal rights to Lilly, no rights to you. I won't…I can't…" My heart broke as sobs ripped through Bella's body and she crumpled in my arms. How could she think like that? No, she may not have any rights to Lilly or me…yet; but she will be my wife and legally Lilly's mom. It's not a matter of if, only when.

"Shh, baby, shh. Bella, love, I don't need to have papers with a judge's signature on them to tell me that Lilly belongs to you or that I belong to you. Nothing that Tanya does or says will take either one of us away from you. When the courts terminate her rights we'll file adoption papers for you. Lilly may not have been born to you but you are her mom in every way that matters. And as far as your rights to me go; Baby you own me heart, body and soul. I wasn't alive before you came into my life. The day I marry you, and believe me it will happen sooner than you know, will be the best day of my life. We are a forever kind of thing, sweetheart. Nothing and no one will change that."

Bella and I spent the next two hours packing and talking. We both got all our fears out in the open and we both gave reassurances to the other that nothing would pull us apart. With our heart and minds settled we packed Lilly into the Volvo and drove off to Oregon.

~~~D~W~~~

The cottage had been in our family for generations and I always loved coming here. It was a modest two story home – three bedrooms, two baths, kitchen and family room – nothing out of the ordinary or extravagant. What truly made it special though was the complete and utter silence that surrounded it. It was nestled in what appeared to be a completely untouched ancient grove of trees and when you stood on the back porch you could see the rolling ocean just beyond the cliffs that marked the edge of our property. There was a trail not too far away that led down the cliffside and to the small strand of beach exposed when the tide was out.

Up here it felt like you were alone at the edge of the world. The only place I felt more at peace was in Bella's arms.

Our lives were in a bit of turmoil right now and I know that there are a lot of unexpected twists that we may still face, but none of it matters now that I have Bella in my life. The sound of her footsteps on the porch brought me out of my thoughts and I turned to watch her expression.

Bella hadn't been out here yet, when we arrived she immediately took Lilly upstairs to get her settled in for a nap while I brought our bags in from the car and explored the house making sure we were secure. I know being in the middle of nowhere provided its own sense of security, but I wasn't taking any chances with the safety of my girls.

I watched silently as the joy slowly spread across Bella's beautiful face. I knew she'd love this place just as much as I did. It was then that I knew. I would not be leaving this porch without asking her to marry me.

"Edward…this place…my god it's stunning." Her voice was breathless with wonder, and while I knew she was talking about the view, my answer only applied to her.

"Yes, it's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen." My eyes never left her face and I knew the moment she understood what I meant. Her blush was as beautiful as always and the smile on her face was breathtaking.

"I was talking about the view."

"I know," I whispered while tucking a strand of mahogany hair behind her ear and leaving my hand to cradle her cheek. "Have I told you today how in love with you I am? How you make all this mess with Tanya meaningless because you are here with me? How I can never live my life without you in it?"

As I watched the love and happiness fill her eyes I knew there was no point in delaying this any longer. It wasn't exactly planned out, but again, that's the way most of our relationship has gone.

Cupping her face in my hands I let my eyes connect with hers and let every emotion in me fortify my words.

"Bella, when you came into our lives seven months ago, you completed our family. You are the love of my life, my soul mate, the piece my heart needed to be whole. In you, Lilly found her mother, the only one she has or will ever know. I want to belong to you forever, raise a family with you, and grow old together. I want to spend the rest of my days showing you how much you mean to me, worshiping you in every way possible. I want everyone in this world to know that I am yours and you are mine."

Tears were streaming down her face at this point, but they weren't sad; there was nothing but pure love shining in her beautiful chocolate eyes. Before she could say anything though, I reached into my pocket and clutched the velvet box hiding there. I'd grabbed the ring before we left the house, wanting it with me in case the time was right. Slowly I lowered myself down onto one knee and took her left hand in mine. I heard Bella's breath halt as I said the most important words I've ever spoken so far in my life.

"Bella, Lilly and I love you with everything that we have. Will you do me the honor of making our family complete? Will you marry me?"

She was stunned and speechless. At first I thought that maybe it was too soon, but then the most beautiful smile I have ever seen graced her face. Bella lowered herself to kneel in front of me.

"Edward, I will never be able to express what the words you've said mean to me, but I promise to spend the rest of my life trying. Of course I'll marry you."

"Yes?" I heard what she said but needed to hear it again. All of my dreams were becoming reality and it was taking a minute to sink in.

"Yes. I love you Edward. You and Lilly are my world. I can't wait to be yours forever."

I crashed my lips to hers, pulling her as close to me as I could. I never wanted to let her go. I lost myself in her, our kiss growing deeper and deeper until we were both gasping for breath. Not wanting to be parted from her skin I trailed kisses along her jaw and down the curve of her neck. Whispering the whole time how much I loved her. I really hope she wants a short engagement, I don't think I can wait very long to call her my wife.

"So…can I have my ring now?"

"Oh shit! Baby, I'm so sorry." I fumbled around trying to locate the box I had dropped near our knees. Bella's giggles stopped me short.

"Edward, I'm kidding. Well, not really because I'm curious to see what it looks like, but you could have asked me to marry you using one of Lilly's slobbered on cheerios and I still would have said yes." Her eyes glittered with amusement and love and I couldn't help but laugh with her.

Grabbing up the box that held my grandmother's ring, I opened it and pulled out the ring I knew was perfect for Bella. Taking her left hand in mine I placed a kiss on her finger and then slid the ring on. I couldn't help but pull her to me and kiss her until we were both breathless once again.

Bella pulled away and looked down at her hand. "Edward, it's beautiful. I love it and I love you."

"It was my grandmother's. She told me that I was to give it to the one that held my soul. I never really understood what she meant and figured she held far too much faith in the power of love. I understand now though, because you hold my soul in your hands and I couldn't be happier. I love you so very much Bella."

We spent the next while kissing, touching, devouring each other. Things were starting to get really heated and I wondered if this would be the moment where we wouldn't stop, where we would finally give all of ourselves to each other. Those thoughts were halted though when a sweet little voice came babbling out of the baby monitor.

"Mamamama….dadadadada."

"Sounds like someone is awake and looking for her Mama," I said as I buried my face in her neck, not wanting to let her go.

"Not only her Mama, Mr. Cullen. She asked for her Dada too." Bella was running her fingers through my hair as we stayed wrapped up in each other, neither one of us willing to pull away first.

"Well then come on soon-to-be Mrs. Cullen; let's go get our daughter before her babbling becomes screaming."

"God I love the sound of that."

"What?"

"Mrs. Cullen. I can't wait to be your wife, and call you my husband."

"Me either baby, me either." With one last lingering kiss, I pulled Bella to her feet and lead the way to our daughter's room.

~~~D~W~~~

The rest of our afternoon and evening was spent enjoying the serenity of the cabin and taking a family hike down to the beach. There was a new found sense of contentment and joy that had settled around my perfect little family. I can only imagine how much stronger those feelings will get once Bella is officially my wife. Just the thought of it is making me as giddy as a little boy.

After a simple dinner and our nightly routine of getting Lilly down to sleep, the evening found us snuggled together under a blanket on the porch swing. As we sat in quiet revelry gazing out on the grounds surrounding the cabin, I couldn't help but wonder what was going through Bella's mind.

She'd been quiet most of the afternoon and if it wasn't for the look of peace on her face I would have been more worried than I was already. I was trying not to let doubt creep into my thoughts but Bella had been through so much in the last year and it was hard to not have moments where I worried I wasn't enough to keep her from falling back into the depression that gripped her so tightly when we first met.

Not able to keep silent any longer, I voiced my biggest worry aloud.

"Bella…you're not, I mean, are you okay with all this? The engagement, you don't regret it do you?"

"What! No, never. Why would you ask that? Unless…do you?" Bella responded her words tinged with fear at the end.

"I could never regret what I asked you today. I've wanted to make you my wife for a long time now; it's just that…you've been so quiet. I'm starting to worry that I've pushed too soon. I don't want you to feel that you have to marry me to keep me and Lilly in your life. Whether you share our last name or not, we will always be yours."

"I love you so very much, Edward. You made me the happiest woman alive today. There was never a doubt or hesitation in my mind when I said yes. I want to be your wife, Lilly's mom, and hopefully one day the mother to a child of our own. If I've been quiet it's because I'm trying to wrap my mind around the fact that I will be Mrs. Edward Cullen. And if I'm honest, I want that soon; very, very soon." As she finished speaking, Bella reached up a placed a gentle kiss on my jaw.

"I love you too, Bella. I never wanted to make it sound like I doubted us or your feelings for me. I think all the stress we've been under has made me forget how simple our love is. We're meant to be and nothing will stop that."

"Absolutely nothing."

We spent the next little while reinforcing that love. Bella's kisses were addicting and it was a drug I would never give up. I had a feeling my kisses were the same for her. Neither one of us pulled away willingly but when we were both in desperate need of oxygen, Bella rested her head on my chest over my heart and I held her as tightly as I could. We were one step closer to being permanently tied together; then there would be no one that could take her away from me.

Before long Bella seemed to be drifting into a light slumber and while I wanted nothing more than stay right where we were, it was time to head up to bed.

"Bella, sweetheart," I murmured while placing a kiss to her temple; "let's go to bed."

"I can't imagine being any more comfortable than I am right now, but you're right. I'll just check on Lilly and meet you up there." She responded while stifling a yawn.

"Sounds like a plan, sweetheart. I'm going to make sure everything's locked up tight and head up in a minute." With a quick kiss we both reluctantly moved out of our cozy spot and went our separate ways.

~~~D~W~~~

It had taken me longer to lock up downstairs than it should have, but after Bella left my side the niggling suspicion and fear that I'd been feeling since hearing Tanya's name again crept back in. I think I checked each window, door, and the security alarm four times before heading for the stairs.

As I reached the landing, I noticed that the light in our bedroom was off. Assuming that Bella had already fallen asleep I decided to make a quick check on Lilly myself.

There really was nothing better than watching my little girl sleep. She reminded me that life was worth living and that we would be okay. This situation with Tanya would go away eventually and then I could really start to live my life with my perfect little family. After placing a light kiss to my baby girl's sweet little head, I made my way to Bella. Part of me had hoped she'd still be awake so we could share a few intimate moments together to celebrate our engagement, but I couldn't fault her for falling asleep so quickly. Our lives over the last few days had been stressful and I know she wasn't sleeping well.

Upon entering our room, my steps were halted by the sheer beauty waiting for me on the bed.

There, dozing peacefully was my Bella; only this wasn't a Bella I was used to. While I have been blessed with seeing my beautiful girl naked before, I've never seen her look as beautiful and sexy as she did lying there in a lacy black nightie. Bella had never been so bold before and my heart swelled with love just thinking about what prompted her be so now.

Before I could think, my feet carried me to the side of our bed and I was gently brushing stray strands of hair away from her face. Though unintentional, my movements startled her awake.

"Oh…," she gasped, putting a hand to her chest over her heart. "Shit…did I fall asleep? I wanted to surprise you." Bella lowered her head and I could hear the disappointment in her voice. Unable to let her get down about herself, I pulled her face to mine and kissed her passionately.

"Baby, you did surprise me. I've never seen something so beautiful. What brought this on?" Even with only the dim light from the bathroom to aide my vision, I could still see the blush creep up her face. "You don't have to be embarrassed with me, sweetheart. Whatever you were thinking or are thinking, I'm right there with you. You know that right? That no matter what, I will always love you, always need you. God, I need you so much it hurts; I want you so much it hurts. So, never feel embarrassed to tell me or show me how you feel or what you want, because I can guarantee you that I have the same feelings and wants."

I couldn't keep myself from trailing kisses down her neck, sucking lightly at the spot behind her ear that always made her shiver. My hands had a mind of their own and were soon buried beneath the lace and silk contraption covering her delectable body.

Bella brought her hands up and buried them in my hair as she pulled my mouth to hers and kissed me with more passion and love than I think she ever has in the past. So much so she took my breath away and I felt the air around us shift. Pulling back slightly Bella began to kiss down my neck, eliciting a groan from me that I couldn't hold back even if I wanted to. What came next were words I'd been waiting months to hear.

"I want you Edward. I'm ready for you to make me yours."

I gasped at the meaning of her words and locked my eyes with hers looking for any bit of hesitation as I asked what I needed to know.

"Are you sure?"

"I've never been more sure about anything, other than saying 'yes' when you asked me to marry you." There was so much conviction in her voice and love in her eyes that I couldn't deny her.

Our passion and fire quickly escalated from that point. I felt like we were trying to consume each other. Our hands roamed and lips caressed. Clothing was quickly shed and soon we were both breathless and naked.

Knowing that this first time would be difficult for her until she realized that her experience would be nothing like it was before, I was determined for her to reach her peak at least once.

I kissed and licked my way down her body, nuzzling my face into the soft, silky curls between her legs. Before she could even react, I was sucking and licking like a man lost in the desert and Bella's essence was all that I needed to survive.

Once I pushed two fingers slowly inside, Bella fell off the edge screaming my name as she flew. As I eased her through her orgasm, Bella grabbed my hair pulling me up to her and into a searing kiss; not even caring that she could taste herself on my lips.

"Please…Edward, I need you now, please." Her body was arching up to meet mine and my erection was nestled right at her entrance, when I thought of something that stilled all movement.

"Sweetheart, I don't have anything. I didn't bring any condoms with me. I'm so, so sorry." I buried my face in her neck and swallowed the lump in my throat. The disappointment washing through me was enough to bring tears to my eyes. Not because I was so much of a man to be concerned about not getting my release, but because I wanted that connection to my fiancée. I wanted her to know how much I loved her with my actions and how someone should be treated when they share their body with another. But I didn't want to put her in a situation she wasn't ready for.

"It'll be okay, Edward. I don't want anything between us. I want to know you, all of you, without a barrier. We're both clean and my chances of getting pregnant are slight anyway. I just want to be with you, and whatever happens I'll be okay with. Unless, you don't…oh, I see…I understand. Um, I'll just…sorry…" Bella moved to get out of the bed and I could see the tears streaming down her face. What had I done?

"Bella, where are you going? What's wrong? Please, just talk to me. I don't understand."

"I was just going to get dressed. It's okay if you don't want to risk having a baby with me. I know it was probably a stupid dream anyway, to expect you to want children with me. I understand really, if that happens then you'll always be connected to me. This way, when you decide that I'm not what you want, you can leave without looking back. I always knew I wasn't worthy of you, I just hoped I had…l-longer before yo-you…realized it t-too." Heartwrenching sobs broke from Bella's chest as she curled into herself and turned away from me.

I sat there stunned for a few moments before a strangled sob tore its way out of my chest as well. How could she think that? We had made so much progress over the last few months I was sure she was over most of her insecurities. Tanya's reappearance must have had more of an impact than I thought. I wanted to hurt myself for being so self-centered. I'd been so worried about how this situation was making me feel and getting my girls to safety for my own peace-of-mind that I didn't even take a moment to look at this from Bella's perspective.

Unable to take another second of being away from her, I wrapped myself around Bella's naked, shaking body and desperately tried to calm her down.

"Shh, Bella, please. I love you so much, I'm the one that's not worthy of you. Please, it kills me a little each time you cry. I never want you to be anything but happy. Please, Bella, please." My own tears were streaming into her hair as I held her as tightly as I could.

I'm not sure how long I cried, or when Bella stopped, but at some point our role's reversed. Bella was cradling my head to her chest repeating over and over that she wasn't leaving me. It wasn't until her words registered that I realized I was begging her not to leave me and that I was sorry.

"Edward, baby, please stop. I'm never leaving you. The only way I'd ever leave is if you asked me to." Her tears were still evident in her voice but the sobs had stopped and because of that I was able to get my own under control.

"When you pulled away from me, the defeated tone in your voice as you spoke, I was sure you were done. I don't know how you could believe that I don't want children with you. Why you would think I want a way out. I want dozens of children with you, Bella; little girls with dark hair and eyes that look just like their mother, little boys that look like me and know that you are the most important person in their world just like I do. My only concern was putting you in a situation you weren't ready for. It hasn't even been a year since you lost your child Bella; I never want to be the one to cause you more pain." I had to look away then before Bella could see the doubt in my eyes. It feels like all I do is cause her pain, maybe I'm not the best option for her.

"Stop that train of thought right now Edward Anthony." I snapped my eyes to hers at the demanding tone in her words.

"I can tell what you're thinking. You are the best thing that's ever happened to me. You were right in saying that it hasn't even been a year since my life went to hell and when I'm around you I seem to forget that fact. I'll never be more grateful than I am to you for that, but moments like these when my insecurities blindside me, snap me back to reality. You have to be patient with me when that happens. My thoughts are far from rational, and our emotions have been a bit high strung over the last week. So instead of taking your disappointment about the condoms as concern for me, I saw it as a rejection. I wish I could take it back, but I can't. I love you, I want children with you, I want to marry you. Please tell me I haven't ruined everything."

"Oh, sweetheart, you could never ruin everything. I love you so very much. I can't wait to have children with you, so if you're not worried that it's too soon then neither am I. I don't know if I'll ever be able to show you how much you mean to me Bella. I just hope that one day you'll come to believe that I'll never be able to leave you. If I don't have you and Lilly, I don't exist."

"Oh, Edward…" Bella kissed me then, a slow intense burn of a kiss. One meant to say so much that words could not.

Although for a time the mood had shifted, the intensity between us started to build again and we found ourselves right back at the start. Only this time it was a deep need that wasn't there before. Where the fire between us the first time was all consuming passion and want, this time it was all need.

The emotions of the night had manifested into an intense need for reassurance and love. To connect ourselves to each other on a level that neither one of our subconscious minds could refute.

With our breathing ragged and our chests heaving, our bodies aligned and our eyes connected. Our souls were speaking to one another and without a word spoken, my body slid into hers and we irrevocably became one.

It was as if our hearts, minds, and souls were waiting for this one moment to align completely, like all the energy surrounding us was just waiting to explode as all the pieces snapped into place.

I had found my home, and the look of pure unadulterated pleasure on Bella's face told me she had found hers as well. Our bodies moved together seamlessly. We pulled pleasure from each other as our eyes kept their connection.

"Oh, Edward…" Bella's breathless sighs, spurred my actions. Our movements became harder, faster, deeper. Our soul deep connection solidified and became unbreakable.

As we both rushed to our peaks, I reach between us and caressed her to make sure we made the jump as one. We both hit the edge and plunged into bliss together, our names reverently sighed by the others lips.

As we slowly came back to earth, I rolled to the side and pulled Bella in close, her head resting on my chest and basked in the new found joy between us. It wasn't long before I felt something warm and wet land on my chest and knew Bella was crying.

"Sweetheart, are you okay? Did I hurt you?" I could feel the panic rising and was scared to death that I had hurt her.

"I'm wonderful…I never knew…I love you so much." Her tears continued but I understood now, that they weren't sad but, happy tears. Moving so we faced each other, I cradled her face in my hands and placed a sweet kiss to her lips.

"That should have been your first time. That's how love between two people should be. I intend to make each and every moment we're together as special as that was. You are my home now Bella. I'm yours and until you order me away I always will be."

"I hope you're prepared for forever then, because I'll never order you away. I belong to you now. You are my home as well. You always have been I just never knew it until now."

"I love you, Bella. I can't wait to make you my wife."

"I love you more than you'll ever know, Edward. I can't wait either. We should try and get some sleep though because there is a little girl just down the hall that will be up demanding our attention before we know it."

"You're right and I just want you to know that if we created a life tonight, nothing would make me happier. Sleep well, my love." We kissed a little longer and both drifted off into a blissful sleep.

~~~D~W~~~

The rest of our time at the cabin was spent just being a family during the day and making love at night. Our days spent with Lilly were some of the best days I'd had so far. Lilly was nearly nine months old and she developed more and more of her personality daily. She was a sassy little thing, always throwing out devilish little looks when she wanted one of us to do something for her. She was also trying her damndest to walk.

I swear that little girl went directly from sitting to standing. She had been struggling with crawling before we left for the cabin but in our first couple of days here she just suddenly got it and we had a hard time keeping her out of trouble. I wasn't two days after she had that mastered that she pulled herself up at the coffee table and started to make her wobbly little way around it while having a death grip on the edge.

Yesterday morning I found Bella sitting in the middle of the living room with Lilly standing defiantly at the coffee table.

"Come on my little Lilly bug you can do it. Just let go and come to Momma." The smile on Bella's face was breathtaking. Watching her interact with our daughter often left me breathless. The love that poured between them was visible to any who watched and I often wondered if that's what you noticed when watching myself with Bella. I knew I could feel it, but I wondered if others could too.

After Lilly made a couple attempts to step away from the table and landed on her diaper covered tush, she just huffed and crawled into Bella's lap. With a quiet sigh of 'ma' she nestled her little head into Bella's chest.

"Oh my sweet little baby; I love you so much. You're getting far too big though, it'll be okay if you don't walk right away I'm not ready for you to grow up anymore." I knew how Bella was feeling, it seemed like only yesterday she was two months old and just starting daycare.

That night after Lilly was in bed and we reinforced our love to one another yet again, we talked about what we wanted for our wedding. It was decided that a simple ceremony in our back yard is what we wanted and that neither one of us wanted to wait very long. We came to the tentative decision that we would get married sometime before Thanksgiving and that we would only invite my family, Seth and few people from both the hospital and daycare. We just didn't want to wait and would make a final decision once we got home and spoke with everyone to determine the exact date.

Personally I couldn't wait to be able to call Bella my wife. The only other thing that could make me happier was if we were able to sign the adoption papers making Bella Lilly's mom officially.

Bella and I also decided that when we got back into town she would set up an appointment with one of the OB-Gyn's at the hospital. While we both had serious doubts that we were able to conceive while we were here, we didn't want to take any risks that if that did happen there could be a problem. I also wanted her to have a second opinion on her reproductive health. As a doctor I wanted to know exactly what we were dealing with so we could address it correctly.

We had heard from Peter on our legal issues a few days ago. The restraining orders for Lilly, Bella and me were granted against Tanya; however, the termination of parental rights suit had hit a snag. While it was proven that Tanya had in fact abandoned Lilly after her birth, the court wanted to give Tanya notice first of the pending termination to give her the option of fighting it. The problem however is that no one has been able to locate Tanya in order to have her served. Both Bella and I were disappointed with the news but Bella was far more understanding than I was.

She said that while they'd have to kill her before she'd let Tanya anywhere near her daughter she understood the courts perspective on behalf of the mother. Me, I just wanted to punch the judge and tell him he was a moron.

We were headed home today and while Bella is upstairs packing up the last of our things I made one last call to my brother to make sure it was safe to come home.

"Hello?"

"Hey, Em. I'm just checking in. We'll be heading home in about an hour or so."

"Oh, hey Ed. Everything is the same as it's been since you left. Although, Jenks did call earlier and said he may have a lead in Seattle. We'll keep you updated but I don't see any reason that you guys can't safely come home. There hasn't even been a hint of Tanya anywhere near Forks and the restraining orders will at least provide you a bit of protection."

"Thanks, man. Hey, do you know if the family has any plans tonight? Bella and I would like to see everyone. I was thinking maybe barbeque or something like that at Mom and Dad's."

"As far as I know, we're all free. Rosie and I can be there and I'll check with Alice and Jasper. Text me and let me know the time."

"Will do, Em."

"I gotta run, but I'll see you when you get here. Drive safe."

We said our goodbyes and disconnected the call. I didn't really expect any news but the thought that Jenks has a lead in Seattle is promising. I made a call to my Mom and she assured me that it was no problem to have a get together at the house. I couldn't wait to let everyone know that Bella and I were engaged. I also wanted to ask Dad who he recommends as a doctor for Bella. I wouldn't stand for anyone other than the best for my girl.

After we had the car loaded and Lilly safely in her car seat, we both paused before getting into the car. Bella wrapped her arms around my waist and sighed into my chest. I ran my hands through her hair pulling her as close as I could get her.

"What's going through that pretty little head of yours?" I asked while placing a kiss to the top of her head.

"That I'm sad to have our peaceful little bubble burst. We didn't have any worries here and once we worked through some of my issues, it's been nothing but bliss. I'm not sure I'm ready to go back to reality."

"They were our issues, sweetheart. But you're right; I'm not ready for reality either. However, I can't wait to share the news about our engagement with the rest of the world. Besides we can't hide forever, we'll take on whatever comes our way together."

"You have a good point. We'll be together from now on. With you by my side we can face anything. Even an over excited Alice and Rose. They are going to be impossible aren't they?" Bella looked up at me with amusement and a bit of fear.

"I think they'll have to fight Mom for the title of most excited. Esme's been waiting a long time for me to get married." I couldn't help but laugh at her expression.

"Come on, baby. We'd better go before Lilly starts getting restless." I placed one last kiss into her hair as she sighed and let me go.

The closer we got to Forks the more I could feel the dread I pushed away blossom once more. As peaceful as our two weeks were, I could not shake the feeling that something bad was coming.


A/N: In regards to the legal issues in this chapter, I'm not a lawyer nor do I have a desire to be. I'm sure there is a lot more that is involved in getting someone's parental rights terminated and restraining orders placed. However, for the flow of this story we're going to pretend that things really are this simple. It's fiction and this is how I choose to write it.

Those of you that have been with me from the beginning, if there are any of you left, are probably wondering why it's taken me so long to post. My health took a serious down turn a few months ago and with it went my desire and motivation to write. I have Multiple Sclerosis and suffered a serious setback. Most days it took all my energy just to get out of bed and shower. Most days in fact are still very difficult for me. I am getting a bit better though and since my outlook is improving so is my desire to complete this story. Even during my worst days I thought about my characters and my faithful readers. If parts of this chapter seem a bit choppy it's because I've written this one bit by bit over the last 6months. If I got the itch to write I would, my energy an motivation usually only lasted for a paragraph or two though. I've attempted to smooth it out as much as possible, but I'll always be able to find the faults.

Anyway, I found my inner writer this morning when I woke up and realized that my life could be much worse. Yesterday was my 35th birthday and there was a time in the last few months that I wasn't sure I wanted to make it to see another year. I'm getting better, my energy and will for life is coming back. I still have all my cognitive abilities and even if my body doesn't want to listen to my brain most days at least I'm still living.

Thank you again for your patience. I hope this chapter makes up for the wait but I also know that that may be quite hard to do. Unfortunately, I can't give you any idea on when the next update will be. Perhaps though, you'll still find it in you to be patient with me.