"Bella, wait!" Edward called as Bella turned around to leave. He took one look at his family before hurrying after her. "Please don't go!"
"Edward you said you were alone," she hissed as the two of them stood before the elevator. In her deep eyes he could see she was itching to leave and possibly never return. As far as she knew, Edward had lied to her. "You lied to me."
"No I didn't," he pleaded. "Please just stay for dinner and I can explain everything. My family being here is as much of a surprise to me as it is to you."
She was silent for a moment, staring at Edward with weary eyes. She hadn't planned on meeting anybody new today other than Edward and meeting someone's family for the first time was usually done by couples in the advanced stages of their relationship. Not strangers who had only kissed once. "Fine," she acquiesced with a small sigh. With a beaming grin, Edward took her dish and led her into the apartment where dinner was being placed upon the table. Alice was demonstrating to Taylor how to correctly place the silver ware while Rosalie and Esme placed the finishing touches upon the table. As they normally did, the men in the family watched in anticipation.
"Everyone," Edward announced with a quiet cough. "This is Bella. My friend."
"Hi everyone," Bella smiled with a wave. Alice skipped over to Bella and took the dish. She was quickly enveloped in tight hugs before Esme announced that dinner was ready to be eaten. Bella flashed a grin at Edward before taking part in the traditional Christmas blessing.
"Now let's eat!" Emmett boomed once the blessing had concluded. They all took their respectful seats around the dinner table and the perfect set up that Esme had so carefully arranged was demolished.
"So Bella," Esme said amidst the chaos. Taylor was sitting quietly in her seat with the plate that Edward had prepared for her. She hadn't spoken a word since they'd sat at the table. "How did you and Edward run into each other?"
"We met in the park," she explained quietly. "We just spent the day together and he invited me to dinner so of course I couldn't say no. it just isn't fun to spend Christmas alone."
"Or so I thought," Edward muttered.
"What a lovely Christmas present it is to get a grandchild," Esme beamed, looking to Taylor who was picking at her food aimlessly. When she realized all eyes were upon her, she looked up and flashed the crooked grin she had to have inherited from Edward himself. "And a very pretty one."
"Thank you," Taylor smiled as she tucked her hair behind her ears. "You're very pretty too."
"And so polite," Esme said happily. "Where are you from, sweetheart?"
"Alaska," she answered. "It's so cold there!"
"Yes it is," Esme chuckled. "How did you manage to come here all by yourself? Didn't anybody wonder what such a young, pretty little girl was doing walking all by herself in the city?"
She shook her head and looked towards Edward who was listening intently to the conversation. Edward hadn't seen Tanya in years so how she knew where he lived was beyond him. He wasn't known to have the best memory so maybe they had somehow crossed paths but it seemed unlikely.
The small time dinner conversation continued for what seemed like hours. By the time all the food was gone and all that needed to be said had been said, Taylor was nearly falling asleep at the table and the rest of the family was becoming ancy. Bella could see that it was time for her to head home.
"We should probably head back to the hotel," Esme finally said as she helped Rosalie up from her chair. "It's late and you need to get Taylor to bed."
After the goodbyes were said, Bella, Edward and Taylor were the only ones left in the now empty space.
"I'm gonna head home, too," Bella told him. "Thank you so much for everything Edward."
"Thanks for sticking with me," he laughed, running his hands through his hair nervously. Rather than going in for the kiss he would have preferred, he wrapped his arms around her in a tight hug. "I don't know if you have my cell phone number."
"No I don't think I do," she pulled her phone from her pocket and they quickly exchanged numbers. With one last goodbye, she exited the apartment and Edward and Taylor were left in the silence. Only, when Edward turned around to escort her to where she'd be sleeping, she was gone.
"Taylor?" he called, walking through the apartment. She wasn't in the living room or the bathroom. "Taylor!"
Finally he entered his bedroom to find her asleep on his bed, her small shoes on the floor and her bag wide open. In her arms was a ratty blanket and she was still completely clothed. Edward could see that he would be sleeping in the guest room.
He was preparing to sleep when he heard the doorbell ring. He opened the door and was surprised to find Bella standing in the doorway.
"I forgot my dish," she said. Edward nodded and stepped aside for her to enter. He followed her into the kitchen in silence as she picked up her dish and walked back towards the door.
"Bella wait," he said before she could leave, grabbing her arm to turn her around. Before she could say anything, he pulled her face into his to crash his lips onto hers. He could sense the reluctance at first but it took only seconds for her mouth to open to hers in one of the most heated kisses he'd experienced in quite some time.
Her tongue was like a feather on his bottom lip, each trail leaving flames. Her hands were tight in his hair, keeping him close as if he would leave any second.
"Edward," Bella breathed, pulling away. "I should get home."
"You should stay," he told her. "I could pour some wine and we could talk. Get to know each other. Taylor is sleeping. I can explain everything about this evening. What do you say?"
"I..I would like that," she nodded with a smile.
Edward grabbed one of his finest bottles of wine and led Bella out onto the balcony of his apartment that overlooked the city. Together they sat drinking the wine and talking about whatever they could think of. Edward explained to her the chaos that was his family and Taylor and he could see that she somehow understood.
"It's almost dawn," Bella said quietly as the sun began breaking over the horizon. They were sprawled out on a lawn chair, her head resting comfortably on his lap. The wine had been emptied hours ago but the conversation had yet to die. "I need to get back to my apartment."
"Taylor could be awake soon."
For one final time, they said their goodbyes and Bella was gone. Just as he had predicted, Taylor was awake not long later.
"Edward," she called out quietly. Rubbing her eyes, she walked over to the couch where Edward sat reading. Without question, she climbed into his lap.
"You're up awful early. Did you sleep well?"
She nodded and rested her head on his shoulder. He'd only been a father for nearly a day, yet he could feel a connection forming with the small child in his lap. He knew that he would need medical proof that she was biologically his—though their eyes were the same. All throughout dinner, he could see Alice reeling over the fact that she could very possibly have a niece to spoil. Hopefully Rosalie wasn't too upset over the fact that she wouldn't be giving the Cullen's their first grandchild.
"Today we need to go to the doctors," Edward said to her. "Is that alright?"
"I guess," she sighed. "Am I gonna see my mommy again?"
"Sure you are," he answered. "Now, why don't we get you cleaned up and we can get going with the day, alright?"
"Okay!" she chirped. "I would love to see Chicago!"
Giggling loudly, she left Edward's lap and ran towards the bathroom. With a light smile, Edward followed after her.
After she was bathed and after she'd insisted on dressing herself, Edward began searching the phone book for local pediatricians. After he'd called and made an appointment with one that seemed suitable, he bundled Taylor up and they hit the town.
"I'm Edward Cullen. I called doctor Gerandy for an appointment," Edward said to the receptionist once they'd reached the doctor's office. The receptionist nodded and handed him the necessary forms.
"We'll call you back shortly," she said curtly.
Taylor sat in the chair quietly while Edward filled out the forms. They were the only two in the waiting room, as it was extremely early. He couldn't have been more relieved when they were finally called back by an elderly nurse.
After the standard pediatric procedure by the nurse, Edward and Taylor were joined by Dr. Gerandy where Edward explained what the situation was.
"Now this will hurt a little bit," Dr. Gerandy told Taylor as he pulled out a thin syringe. She seemed oddly calm when the needle pricked her finger. She didn't even flinch. "Or not. Why don't you two wait here while I run it through the lab?"
Dr. Gerandy left the room and Taylor looked up at Edward with a smile.
"I got a shot back in Alaska that didn't hurt," she explained. "I don't mind needles. They don't really hurt me. Mommy hates them."
"I know she does," he muttered. He knew more about Tanya than he led on, but he wouldn't always admit that. "Trust me."
They waited in silence for the doctor to return and when he did, the expression on his aged face wasn't one for celebration.
"Well she is your daughter," he told them. A large smile crept across Edward's face but quickly faded when he realized that the doctor wasn't finished with his news. "Taylor, why don't you go sit with the nurses outside so I can talk to your dad?"
"Okay," she agreed, shrugging her shoulders. She glanced warily at Edward before exiting the room. Once she was gone, Dr. Gerandy looked to Edward with a much grimmer expression.
"We ran procedure blood tests, just as a precaution," he began with a long sigh. "Taylor has a very advanced form of leukemia. She's terminal, Edward."
Okay so don't hate me for being unrealistic or ruining the story but I don't even know if those kinds of tests could be returned that quickly. I don't know much about cancer in children or cancer at all but if anybody would like to help me out, let me know in your reviews!