I heard Audrey crying hysterically from her room so over to see what'd wrong.
"What's wrong, honey?" I asked, approaching the bed and sitting at the edge while brushing the stray hair out of my daughter's tear strained eyes.
"Is Daddy dead?" Audrey asked straight out.
"What? No! Where would you get an idea like that from?"
"My teacher told me what death is... that you never see the person anymore and you can't talk to them... and I haven't seen or spoken to Daddy in forever." After hearing her words, I understood the stream of endless tears. Audrey had always been close to her father, since the day she was born they were inseparable. But since his job had taken over his entire being it had been like he forgot that he even had a family at home.
"Audrey, Daddy is not dead. Daddy... he's just been really busy lately, sweetheart. He doesn't have time to come home as often as he did." I explained, hoping that Audrey wouldn't demand any further explanation. After all, Edward's absence wasn't exactly my favorite topic of discussion. "He's fine." I promised.
Then came the words that I feared. "But why?" Audrey asked sadly, tears still glistening in her eyes. "Does Daddy not like me anymore? Did I do something wrong, Mommy? Cause if I did I promise it was an accident. I'll say sorry and be grounded forever for what I did."
"No, Audrey, you didn't do anything wrong." I answered with a sigh. "You didn't do anything to drive your father away, honey. Sometimes people just lose sight of their priorities. You didn't make any mistakes, you didn't do anything wrong. This is not your fault in any way. Do you understand that?" I asked, looking into my little girl's eyes.
"Yes." she whispered and sniffled.
"And I need you to understand from now that even if your father doesn't love me anymore that doesn't mean he doesn't love you. If we were to seperate, Aud, it would not be because of you. In fact, to be honest you may be the only reason we're still together."
"What?" Audrey scrunched up her eyebrows. "You're going to seperate?" she asked, her voice sounded more devestated by the second.
"No..I mean I don't know. Audrey, you really shouldn't worry about any of this. You're five. You shouldn't have to have our marriage as a burden on your shoulders." I answered. "But I'm being honest with you, honey. I don't want you all of this happen with you lost in the midst. Your father and I got married a very long time ago and at the time we were young and...in the moment. I knew I loved him, I still do but I can't say the same about him. Don't you think it's mean to make him pay for a mistake her made years ago because he got so caught up in the moment?"
Audrey nodded tearfully. Any other five-year would not understand all of this. But Audrey had grown up before her time, she saw the arguements, she realized the tension. She could feel the awkwardness, the fakeness but she thought that's how all parents were. She didn't know why her father disappeared, all she knew was that it had been a month since she last some him...maybe longer.
"So what I'm saying is...we've got to let Daddy move on with his life. He shouldn't have to pay for his mistakes like this because this way he's not only hurting me, he's you and he's hurting himself."
"So you and Daddy aren't gonna be married anymore?" she asked sadly.
"I'm not sure, honey. It's up to him. But what ever he decided, you have to keep in mind that he loves you regardless."
"I was the only one in my class who didn't have de-horsed parents."
"Divorced." I corrected with a small smile. "And I'm sorry."
"Are you sure that Daddy's not dead?" she asked, almost as if she'd prefer that a lot more than she would having divorcing parents.
A meet was called in early this morning, as I was making my way to the meet I heard Bella calling my name. I turn around wondering what she was doing her.
"Will you stop for just one second?" she begged. "I really need to talk to you, Edward."
"Right now?" I asked, my voice sounding so nonchalant and calm.
"Remember when I would visit you at work and you would ditch these meeting. We would screw around in the on call rooms because we knew no one could walk in on us? That's how we concieved Audrey..." I gave her a small nod. "Do you want to ditch this with me so we can talk?" she asked, although it sounded more like desperate plea.
"We're not horny interns any more, Bella. We're mature adults. My absence will be noted."
"Do you honestly care that much?" she asked. "Who cares if they realize you're not there? What are they gonna do? Give you detention? Please, Edward. I'm begging you, I never beg...ever. But right now I will get down on my knees and beg if you want me to."
I rolled his eyes. "Fine." I agreed, following her in a familiar direction that I hadn't taken in years. Within minutes we found ourselves on the roof of hospital, overlooking the excitement of the city. When I was an intern Bella would visit me and we would spend countless hours on the roof, it was like our romantic getaway when I had a few free minutes to be with her but it had been years since we had been up here. "What did you want to talk about?" I asked, watching her walk to the edge and look over the railing at the life going on beneath her.
"Audrey asked me if you were dead yesterday." Bella informed me. "She was hysterical, crying like I've never seen her cry. Her teacher explained to her that death is when someone is gone and you can't see them or talk to them anymore. She realized she hadn't seen or spoken to for a while and she was terrified that she's lost you."
"What did you tell her?" I asked, my own guilt now building up.
"I told her you were fine. I explained to her that you've been busy for a while and you haven't had the time to come home. She thought she may have dont something wrong that caused you to back away, so I told her it wasn't her fault...And I also talking to her about a divorce." her voice died down, and even though she couldn't look at me she knew I was staring at her.
"A divorce?" I asked. "Why would you talk to a five year old about divorce?"
"Because it's inevitable at this point, Edward. When it does happen I don't want her to feel lost and confused. I told her you'd love her regardless of how you felt about me and that if we are to separate it would not be because of her. She took it better than I expected, we both argreed that it wasn't fair to make you pay for one mistake your entire life."
"What mistake would that be?"
"Marrying me." Bella answered, finally looking up from the ground with tears shining in her eyes.
"What makes you think marrying you was a mistake?"
"Because you haven't told me you love me in two years, the last time we had sex was 11 months ago, you stopped coming home, we barely talk, you don't bother to even smile when you see me, you avoid me when possible. If someone was to do that to you wouldn't you assume they aren't too fond of you?" She said.
I sighed, my guilt striking me all at once. I never realized how much my work actually affects my family, I had never thought how my family felt about it. I never considered what I was missing out on. When her tears started flowing I stepped closer and wrapped my arms around her. "Bella...you were never a mistake." I promised.
"That's not how it seems." she sobbed.
"I promise you, Bella, marrying you was not a mistake. Having a child with you was not a mistake. I build my life with you because you're the one. But I can't settle for what I have, for what we have...I want more. I want you and Audrey to have everything. I want to give you everything. I need to work to give you more than you can ask for."
Bella pulled away. "But Edward, the only thing Audrey and I want is you. We don't need more money; we don't need you to work to the point of insanity. We just need you." she emphasized the last two words. There was no way she could go on any longer; at this point she and our daughter had a desperate need for me.
"I'm sorry, Bella. Things will change." I said honestly.
I was sitting in the living with a stack of files on the table in front of me. Audrey was coloring on the table beside me, pretending that her task was just as important. Every time I took a sip of my wine Audrey would mimic the action by drinking the apple juice she had insisted be poured into a wine glass.
The silence in the house was broken when the front door was heard opening and closing. Audrey instantly jumped in arms in fear. The thought that it could be Edward probably never crossed her mind; instead she believed it was a murder or burglar of some sort. She wrapped her arms around my neck and held on tightly. "Relax, baby," I begged, only because Audrey was holding on to me so tightly that it felt like I was being choked.
Audrey looked up from my shoulder, and her arms loosened when she saw Edward. Audrey's arms fell to her side and she rested her head on my shoulder with a sigh, having to admit that she felt stupid for believing it could be anyone else.
"You're not gonna give me a hug?" Edward asked, pouting his lips playfully as he stepped forward toward us.
"Is it a ghost?" Audrey whispered in my ear, although it really couldn't be considered a whisper. She said loudly enough for Edward to hear her and it brought him stabbing pain of guilt.
"No, honey, he is not a ghost." Bella replied. "Your father is not dead, okay? So he can't be a ghost. I spoke with him at work today and he and we decided that we are not going to get a divorce. Instead we are going to try to work all of this out. What that means is...Daddy is going to be home a lot."
"He is?" Audrey asked, as if it was the most unbelievable promise ever made. She looked up at me and I nodded surely.
I held his hand out to my daughter, pinkie sticking out to her. "Pinkie promise?" I asked. She giggled and wrapped her own tiny pinky around mine for a second before I lifted her off of Bella's lap and into my own arms.
"You can't break a pinkie promise, Daddy. It's serious. I heard one kid made a pinkie promise but lied and his pinkie fell off." Audrey warned innocently. "I'm not brain surgeon, but I think you'd look weird with no pinkie."
"I know, I know. A pinkie promise is legit stuff." I agreed. "I'm a fan of Pinkie Promises on Facebook... that's got to mean I know how serious it is."
"You have a Facebook?...I didn't even know you knew what Facebook is, seeing as you haven't seen light outside the Hospital in an eternity." Bella asked.
"Of course I have a Facebook." I answered. "Who the hell doesn't have a Facebook now a days? I would just be weird if I didn't have one, like Audrey said...it would be as weird as not having a pinkie. Even if both of those things are useless."
"Well, thanks for adding me as a friend." she said dryly. "Does your relationship status say single? Because what's on Facebook may as well be on your tax forms. It doesn't get more official than Facebook."
"I know…there is a fan page like that too." I replied. "I'll send you a friend request next time I'm on…and I'll send you one of those 'relationship requests' so your newsfeed will say 'Bella Cullen is now married to Edward Cullen.' That way the world will know that we're serious about making this marriage work..."
"Are you trying to be funny?" Audrey asked with a straight face as she stared at me as if I could disappear at any second. She turned to her mother with the expressionless face and asked, "Is he trying to be funny?"
"Edward... don't get her hopes up if you're going to ignore her to the point that she thinks your dead... Don't make me regret spending the whole day trying to convince her that you're alive. If you're serious than you need to be in this one hundred percent. You need to show us that you're serious and it's not all a joke for you."
"I am serious." I assured. "I'm even willing to make a pinkie promise on it and put it on Facebook."
A/N: Yes... Pinkie Promises and Facebook is as legit as it gets. Okay... I'm not that naive but for the sake of this One-Shot, pretend it is.
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