I don't own these characters. They are the sole property of Stephenie Meyer. I only borrow them. No humans are permanently harmed through my actions, though I do confess to harassing, annoying, torturing, and exasperating them – just because it's fun. I make no money from my little stories, sad day. I only play in the sandbox, I didn't build it.
Author's Note: This is an outtake/sequel/epilogue of sorts from "Bad Blood." It was originally written for the Leukemia/Lymphoma Fandom Gives Back. I hope you enjoy another quick visit with these characters! I know I did.
They were lying on their bed, tangled in a mass of limbs. Of all the moments Edward spent with Isabella, these were some of his favorites. There was an intimacy in the quietness and stillness, the languid movements and soft murmurs of sated lovers, the gentle touches as the urgency of their need faded into a satisfied glow. Isabella was the only woman he had shared such moments with; she was the only woman with whom he ever would.
He was content with the arrangement.
She was sprawled on the bed, her head resting on his chest, her fingers tracing idle patterns on his chest and belly in movements that were almost, but not quite, ticklish. He buried his nose in her hair and inhaled deeply, enjoying the unique scent of her. Isabella pressed a kiss to his ribs and then over his heart. "Edward?" she said softly.
"I want a baby," she whispered, looking up at him. "I want your baby...inside of me."
He stared at her for a moment, struggling against the old fears. Then he smiled and tucked a strand of hair behind her ear. "Okay," he replied simply.
She squealed with triumphant laughter and immediately straddled him. Barney, who had decided it might be safe to take up his customary place on the bed once again, gave them a look of canine exasperation and trotted away from the door as if fearful of what his eyes might see. Isabella pressed kisses all over Edward's face. "We're going to make such a beautiful baby," she said.
He watched the play of passion on her face as he moved over her, inside of her. Their eyes met and he shuddered, feeling the power of what they shared surge through him. With a shout, he came inside of her, spilling his essence with abandon. Even as Isabella trembled with her own completion, she pulled him close, their heaving chests pressed to each other's. Her arms secured him to her.
Finally, he caught his breath and leaned up on one elbow to study her. Intuition made him still her when she shifted as if to move. "Hold on," he whispered. "For just a moment," he added in an urgent plea.
Her smile was bemused. "Why?"
He kissed her. "I think...I think we're making a baby," he confessed.
A few weeks later they were both trying not to stare at Edward's watch. Isabella could never be bothered to wear one, but Edward never went anywhere without his. It was accurate to within 1/60th of a second. But even those microseconds were dragging by with shocking slowness. Finally, he heaved a sigh and looked at his wife.
"Okay," he said. "It's time."
"You look," she said, pressing the plastic stick into his hand. "I can't."
"You should be the one to look," he insisted, pushing her hand back toward her without opening her fingers to take a peek.
"No," she said. "I want you to look." She sounded strangely adamant and Edward wanted to sigh in resignation. There was no budging Isabella on an issue once she had dug in her heels. Ever. He knew that well enough since he had tried. Often. And always failed.
He looked. He knew. He knew that they were going to have a child. And, for the rest of his life, he would love that child.
He smiled at her. "Why?" he asked, holding up the little piece of plastic that had changed their lives.
Isabella returned his smile, looking both mysterious and wise. "Because I want to tell our child that you were the very first person in the world to know they existed."
"And you were the second," he whispered.
They kissed and laughed and kissed some more. Barney chuffed. No one knew what Baby Cullen did to celebrate the moment.
Isabella was sitting on the couch, methodically pulling apart Oreos. She would lick the creamy frosting from the cookies and then put the chocolate shells in a growing pile on her belly. Edward watched her with a growing sense of awe and disgust. "That can't be healthy for you," he observed quietly.
She continued twisting, licking, stacking. Every now and then she would toss a cookie to Barney, who wagged his appreciation. Isabella shrugged. "Tastes good though," she countered.
"It's...gross," Edward ventured.
"Don't knock it until you've tried it," Isabella suggested with a scowl.
The baby kicked and the stack of Oreo cookies listed to the side and then tumbled down. Barney cleaned up the mess. "Don't let him eat all of those," Isabella said anxiously.
Dutifully, Edward picked up the rest of them, ignoring Barney's accusing stare. "He shouldn't be eating chocolate at all."
Isabella frowned. "I'm not sure this really counts as chocolate," she said.
"Then you throw them away and try to ignore those pitiful brown eyes," Isabella said and Barney wiggled at the loving tone of her voice, somehow sensing she was talking about him. Barney shot Edward another disgruntled look.
"You could eat them," Edward ventured.
Isabella made a face. "That's disgusting."
Edward gave up trying to understand the vagaries of the pregnant appetite. Barney gave him a look that told him to mind his own business.
Edward stood in the living room, anxiously shifting from foot to foot, his keys whirling on his finger. Isabella looked up from her Oreo destruction. "Where are you going?" she asked, with a pointed look at the dark, night time sky outside their windows.
"I'm going to put gas in the car," he said. "Will you be okay here for about twenty minutes?"
She shot him a look of amusement. "I think I'll manage," she said. "But why not wait until morning?"
Edward gave her an exasperated look and rolled his eyes. Isabella laughed because that was her move. "Because," he said, and she practically heard the 'duh' in his voice. "The baby's due tomorrow and I don't want to get caught with only half a tank of gas."
"Edward," Isabella said patiently. "First of all, only five percent of babies actually arrive on their due dates. You remember that right?"
He nodded, but was clearly unconvinced. She was well acquainted with his "Let's humor the pregnant lady" routine.
"And second of all, the hospital is only fifteen minutes away," she added, her lips quirking.
"Seventeen and a half," he corrected. "And that's not taking into account rush hour traffic, which means the trip takes twenty three minutes."
Her lips trembled and the Oreo tower shook on her belly. "All right then, worst case scenario...twenty three minutes." She patted the couch beside her. "So even if – and it's a big if – the baby arrives on her due date, we have plenty of gas to get us to the hospital. Even at rush hour."
Edward sat down gingerly and put the keys in his pocket. His hand worried at them for a few minutes while he watched Isabella lick the frosting from the Oreos. Her words were rational, but there was no harm in being sure. "I'll be right back," he finally said, unable to endure it any longer and surging to his feet.
Isabella laughed and shook her head, but waved him out the door.
Early the next morning, he was not surprised to feel Isabella's hand on his shoulder. "Edward," she hissed. "It's time...I think."
He calmly got out of bed, put on his watch and gathered up the keys that were on the night stand. "You get dressed while I let Barney out," he said, his voice smooth and soothing.
Isabella, who had started to feel a little anxious, took one look at his calm expression and breathed in deeply. "Okay," she said. He centered her, as much as she did him. That was what made them work. She felt her fears fall away from her, leaving only a sense of anticipation.
Edward pulled on his pants and shrugged into a tee-shirt as he called for Barney. The dog jumped off the couch and wagged his tail in joy at this change in his routine. His ear stood at attention as he waited for Edward to open the back door.
Letting the dog out, Edward sank to the floor. "Get it together, Cullen," he told himself. "You have to be calm...for Isabella."
As always, Isabella's love was his balm, his talisman against all darkness.
He would be calm, cool, and collected.
Even if it killed him.
He could only stare at her for a long time. She was a tiny bit of humanity, too small to be real. A small tuft of reddish hair stood up on end, giving her a comical air at odds with the solemn expression on her little face. There was an innocent sort of wisdom in her face, both fresh and ancient at the same time.
"Do you want to hold her?" Isabella asked with a soft smile. It was a new smile, one he'd never seen on her face before. It was the sweet, proud smile of a mother.
"Yes," he said. "I want to hold her. But..." How to explain that for the first time in a long time, he felt unworthy of his life, of the gifts this little girl represented. Isabella had chosen him; but this child had had no choice in her father. No more than he had had. As always, there was no need for words because Isabella saw through every subterfuge and barrier.
Instead of pressing him, she turned her attention to their daughter. "I think..." She tilted her head as she studied little Sloane. "I think she looks like you...and your mother." Lifting her face again, Isabella smiled that brand new smile. "I think we chose the right name for her. Sloane Marie Cullen – it seems only right that she would be named after her grandmothers."
And that was all it took, that reminder that he was more than his father's spawn. He was his mother's son first and foremost. His mother would have wanted to see him happy. She had wanted him to live, after all.
Run, Edward, run...
Edward held out his hands and into them Isabella placed the infinitely precious bundle. Her weight was warm and lax against him; her trust in him was utterly pure. He vowed to himself that he would earn that trust every single day of his life. "She's..." He did not have the words, but Isabella did not need them. She already knew.
"Yes," she murmured. "She is."
Their eyes met, and yet again they were in perfect accord.
Twenty-nine years, seven months, and six days later...
Edward adjusted his tie. Again. He turned when he heard the door open and smiled to see Isabella studying him. When she reached him, she adjusted his tie and smoothed it. He looked into the mirror. It was perfect.
"You look very handsome," Isabella whispered, giving his cheek a kiss.
"I look old," he corrected.
Isabella grinned, still irrepressible, still beautiful. "No, we still have a few good years left in us," she told him with certainty. So he could not help but believe her.
"Is Sloane nervous?" he asked.
Isabella laughed and shook her head. "Not her, she's her father's daughter," Isabella replied. "She's cool, calm, and collected."
"I should have known she wouldn't get nervous, even on her wedding day," Edward observed.
"Not much makes her nervous," Isabella agreed. "Zach, on the other hand, is a wreck," she added with a little smirk.
"That bad, huh?"
"He's not even cracking jokes," Isabella said and nodded emphatically when Edward made a sound of disbelief.
It had been a shock to everyone when Sloane had fallen in love with a comedian. Literally. Zach had just signed a contract to be the opening act for a big name comic, and the future looked bright. On the surface, Zach and Sloane seemed an odd fit, but it had only taken Edward about thirty seconds of observing them to realize that Zach was to Sloane what Isabella was to him.
"Did Rachel get the girls settled?" Edward asked. Rachel, Tim's wife, was in charge of getting their two and three year old daughters dressed and ready to walk down in the aisle before their aunt. It was a challenging job, especially since the girls continuously tried to stay one step ahead of the other so that they could "be first" and therefore claim victory.
"They settled down fast enough when Sloane gave them the look she reserves for rowdy suspects," Isabella snorted with laughter.
"Ah yes, she's rather good at that," Edward noted. "Is Rachel feeling okay?" Rachel was about three weeks away from delivering her third child – a boy this time if the sonogram was correct. Tim was still campaigning to name the baby Houdini, since he claimed he didn't know how the little guy had come into existence. Rachel was just as adamant that they would not, and Edward had a feeling that she would prevail and he would have a grandson named Caleb.
"She's fine," Isabella soothed, knowing how fond Edward was of Rachel.
Isabella came to stand beside Edward and he studied their images in the mirror. "It's hard to believe, isn't it?" he asked quietly.
"What?" she asked, just as softly.
"That all of this started with impertinent and nosy young woman who knocked on my door and threw my entire life into chaos," he said, pulling her close.
Isabella guided his mouth to hers and gave him a deep kiss. When they pulled away, she caressed his face, her dark eyes shining and full. "You're welcome," she said, hearing his unspoken thoughts and knowing, as she always did, what was in his heart.