13

I forced myself to cheer up and dressed in my obligatory Christmas sweater, loaded up the gifts for the Cullens, and headed off to spread Christmas cheer. Lilly opened the door with a bright red ring of Kool-Aid over her top lip and still in her nightgown. I laughed and made her pose for a picture to share with Edward.

I was given a very detailed description of each and every gift she received until Carlisle asked her to please put the candy down and get dressed for the day. When she ran from the room I looked at Carlisle and said, "I got a call from Edward."

"Wonderful," he smiled but didn't ask how he was doing.

I narrowed my eyes at him and heard a bell go off in my head. "You're the admitting physician, you get updates don't you?"

"I think I'll go help Lilly," he said rising from his chair.

I turned to Esme and demanded she tell me everything she knew and I noticed the look Carlisle gave her. "I'm a colleague," she said, "I can't tell you anything."

"This is bullshit and you know it. I called you for help. I deserve to be updated as much as you two do," I yelled with tears in my eyes.

"Bella, I can tell you there is nothing you need to be concerned about. Edward is working very hard and making tremendous progress. I am extremely proud of him," Carlisle said to my sad face.

"Why couldn't you just say that?" I said wiping my tears.

He laughed and gave me a big hug. Lilly came back into the room and held her hands our for her gift. Esme chastised her and I told them to stop, Christmas was for kids and she was right to be excited.

I handed her a gift and she quickly tore it open to reveal a complete manicure set with soft colored polishes. Her eyes lit up and Esme mumbled under her breath.

"Come on, she's ten, she'll be dating soon," I added to get back at them for withholding information about Edward from me.

"Lilly," Carlisle said calmly. "You may use that, but only at the table, not in your room on the carpet. And you will not be dating soon."

I handed Esme her gift and she handed one to me. I opened mine to find a gorgeous silver wedding frame. "I thought I would give you something to work towards," she laughed.

"It's beautiful, and talking to Edward today gave me hope it will actually happen." I hugged her tightly and then handed Carlisle his gift. He opened the engraved pen and smiled widely. Esme told me the exact one he was wanting, and who knew pens can cost over a hundred dollars?

I was shocked when he handed me another gift. I looked back and forth between the two of them and Esme nodded for me to open it. It was a simple school notebook of paper, with a red cover. It looked worn and abused and I opened it carefully.

"Edward actually did keep a diary, I think you should keep it to remember how far he has come," Carlisle said as I looked at the hurried handwriting. I was too engrossed to even respond, I was instantly pulled into the page I was reading.

He sent me here just to hurt her. He hates me and wants to punish her for loving me. It would be unbearable if Bella wasn't here. She gets so pissed at me, and I love it. When I watch her smoke it drives me insane, but I can't tell her, because some sick fuck messed her up pretty good. I wish I could see him for just one minute. I would show him what happens when he touches what I want as mine. She needs me to look after her and take care of her. I wouldn't let anyone touch her again. When she smiles it is just for me and I want her so badly. I talked to Carlisle about the fight with my dad, he asked me to consider how I could have responded differently. He doesn't know shit, I'll kill my dad the next time he hurts her. Bella just walked into class, and I saw a guy look her up and down. I'll have a talk with him later. She's mine and he better learn that right now. She's MINE, MINE, MINE!

I looked up at Carlisle with an open mouth, "Oh my God," I said softly.

"Let's eat," Esme said taking the notebook from my hand.

We enjoyed a great Christmas breakfast and I headed out to Forks to see my family before returning home late that night. I fell into bed exhausted. I dreamed of Phil again and couldn't wait for Edward to return so I could snuggle up to him when the terror came.

Alice helped me find an outfit to wear to see Edward. I didn't want something too suggestive but I wanted to look hot. She found the perfect jeans with a blouse and short sweater to go along with my heels. I was so excited to see him and even more excited to show him my tattoo.

I walked into the clinic hoping to see Edward waiting for me. Instead we were ushered into a room and told where to sit. I was comfortable in the soft overstuffed chair but I wasn't there to sit. My fingers were tapping anxiously on the arm of the chair and the other visitors began growing irritated with me.

A doctor came into the room and informed us our loved ones would be brought in, but we were to refrain from speaking to them, or touching them. Was he freaking kidding me?

The door opened and they walked in to sit across from us. My heart was ready to explode. Edward was unbelievably gorgeous. He winked at me and the world fell away. I couldn't tell you a word the doctor said. He was going over rules and plans for the evening, but I was lost in Edward's smile.

I noticed how Edward's eyes kept scanning my body and it was getting me aroused. I wanted to retaliate, so I finally moved my hand to my hip. I slowly lifted my blouse and moved the rim of my jeans down just enough to reveal a bit of the tattoo as I pretended to scratch my hip.

Edward's mouth opened in shock and he quickly brought his forefinger to his lips as he leaned back with his elbow on the arm of the chair. His eyes locked with mine and burned into me. I took a shaky breath and wanted to tell the doctor to please shut the hell up and let me pull Edward into my arms.

It soon became evident we were going to have a session and I wanted to cry from the frustration. I didn't pay attention to anything until he asked Edward to share something her learned. He sat up and cleared his throat.

"I learned to be comfortable with myself and not to find my own value through others."

I blew him a kiss and smiled proudly at him. The doctor looked at me and asked what I hoped he learned the most. I thought for a second and said, "I want the waves to stop."

Edward's eyes lowered and I knew at that moment he could still hear them. "Edward, tell Bella where you are regarding that issue," the doctor suggested.

"I no longer focus on the sound. I'm trying to replace it with other thoughts and it fades. I control it now, but it is still there."

I turned to the doctor and said with irritation, "Can I hug him, this is really cruel." The rest of the visitors agreed with me and began to grumble and complain.

Edward laughed and said, "See what I have to deal with?"

I was forced to remain in my seat patiently waiting as the doctor slowly made his way through each patient. When we were finally released I jumped from my chair and slammed into Edward before he could even stand. He fell back into the chair with me glued to his lap and to his lips.

When I finally pulled back, he held my face in his hands and whispered, "Hi."

I laughed and kissed him again and again, until he stood and pulled me from the common area. We practically ran to his room and even though we had to leave the door open, it gave us an allusion of privacy.

He began pulling on my jeans to get a look at the tattoo. "You will be the death of me," he said with a strained voice.

I unhooked my jeans and pulled them down enough to show him the tattoo. He got onto his knees to see it better and looked up at me with a huge grin, "That is so awesome," he said and then kissed my hip provocatively. He ran his tongue gently over the ink and I actually whimpered a little.

I fell back against the wall to remain standing. My eyes shut and I placed my hand in Edward's hair as he made me completely shocked and amazed. I felt horrible for not having a tattoo on the other hip. I should have gotten my entire body tattooed because he just earned that honor.

"When are you coming home?" I asked with much effort.

"Soon," he said and pulled me over him onto the bed.

I was panting and trying to give his body what he was wanting as he arched back and called my name loudly. I can't imagine life being any better than this moment. I loved him and after all our issues in life we were still here and still trying to make it work.

His eyes were now relaxed and he looked at me with love as he ran his fingers through my hair. I let my head fall on his chest and calmed my own breathing. "Bella, let's set a date," he said without hesitation.

"I so love this place," I laughed and he tightened his arms around me.

"I want to be your husband, I want to know we are a team," he said sweetly.

"Can I ask about kids, or is it a team of two?"

"If it can't happen for us, I'm okay with it, but it no longer sickens me the way it used to," he said in a whisper.

"I don't think I can have a baby," I said with tears in my eyes.

"Shhh," he said, "We don't know anything for sure, let's wait until we know to talk about it."

"What about a May wedding?" I asked him.

"If that is what you want, I'm for it all the way," he smiled.

"Bella Masen…yeah, I can live with that," I laughed.

"Bella Masen," he repeated. "It's music to my ears."

He kissed me quickly and then stood. "Let me show you around this place," he said as he pulled me up. He took my hand and gave me a tour. The dining room was set up with intimate individual tables complete with candlelight. He showed me to a table in the corner and kissed me passionately after I sat.

He went to his side of the table and reached out for my hand as soon as he sat. "I'm so glad you're here," he admitted.

"Has it been bad?" I asked.

He took a deep breath and said, "I see my mother was wrong and my father was right. I feel guilty for having so many memories of her and none of my father. I also know I use anger to make my pain tangible."

"I hate to say I told you so, but shit Edward, I told you so. And Carlisle and Esme told you, too."

"It's like telling Lilly how to solve an algorithm, and then when she learns in high school, telling her I told you so. I wasn't mature enough to hear it, now I am."

A young woman brought us a glass of sparkling cider and I laughed, "Real mature, you can't even drink."

"I think I proved my manhood earlier," he said with a sly smile which melted my heart.

"I'm staying," I announced. "I'm hiding in your shower and refusing to leave."

He laughed and stared at me with nothing but love. I didn't know how I was going to make myself leave. It was going to be heartbreaking. So I focused on other things instead.

"Do you know Dr. Aro, the guy with Jane at the gala?"

"Vaguely," he said as he looked in the air trying to remember.

"I just find it weird that a doctor would bring some street whore to a gala; the same whore that happened to be hanging out at the cemetery."

"You think Dr. Aro sent Jane after Jane?"

"No, I think he sent her after you. Would he have a reason to want you dead?" I asked.

He leaned in close and looked around the room for any eavesdroppers. "I have a computer chip in my head that is worth millions, but don't tell anyone."

I leaned in further and said, "Fu.. u.. ck you."

He fell back in laughter and every time he looked at my face he began laughing again. I was pissed and embarrassed, and didn't care if Dr. Aro sent an entire army after him. I wasn't going to try to figure out stuff anymore.

"Don't be mad, Bella," he begged and then quickly ducked his head, "Was that waitress sent to kill me?"

The young woman walked up to the table and sat a basket of breadsticks down as Edward held perfectly still. After she walked away he wiped his brow and said, "Man, that was close."

"I hate you," I mumbled as I grabbed a breadstick and took an angry bite.

He teased me all through dinner and I put up with it until the evening began moving too quickly. We stood on the back patio as the sun set, wrapped in each other's arms. I tried to take advantage of every second with him. I ran my hands under his shirt and felt the warmth of his skin. He hummed softly as he rocked us back and forth. I knew he would come home and we would be married in May, but the thought of leaving him here was hurting so badly. The bell rang overhead and I began to cry.

"No, don't cry, I can't bare it," he whispered.

"I'm so proud of you, and I love you so much."

He chuckled and said, "I love the tattoo, thank you."

I took a deep breath and smiled up at him. We kissed a couple of times and I let go of him and walked bravely out the front door.

I began the rounds of doctors once again, only this time I went from one gynecologist to the next. Everyone seemed concerned about the possible reason for the toxins and acted like I was doing something I refused to tell them about it. I was at a loss.

I finally met with Alice's fertility specialist and insisted he try everything he could to get my ovaries working. I began daily injections, me, the girl who hates needles would stick a needle into by hip every day. I used a gel that had to be inserted vaginally and I held out hope something good would come from all the discomfort.

By March I was still not ovulating and I began to get very depressed. I was told it was a side effect from all the hormone fluctuations. I felt it was from missing Edward and planning a wedding that I couldn't even discuss with the groom.

I was crying into my herbal tea when my door bell rang. I ignored it for a bit but by the third ring I finally stood and shuffled to the door. I opened it to find a huge bouquet of flowers. The young man smiled at me and I only groaned.

"Just a minute, I'll get my purse," I said as I shuffled away.

When I returned he was holding the flowers high and I had to lean my head see him. I screamed and dropped my wallet when I saw Edward standing behind the arraignment. I cried so hard he began to get really worried.

"Bella, are you sick?" he asked with fear in his eyes.

"No, I'm just ugly, why didn't you tell me you were coming."

He laughed and hugged me to his chest. "You are not ugly. You look…earthy."

I broke into loud sobs and pulled away, but he grabbed my arm and turned me so he could look at my face. "Bella, I thought you would be happy to see me, I'm sorry."

"I am happy to see you, but I look awful, and I'm bloated, and I still can't ovulate," I cried.

He ran his hand through his hair and I was sure he decided to run and was looking for the first opportunity out of there. I walked over to my desk drawer and pulled out a stack of papers from the fertility doctor and handed them to Edward.

As he read, I showered and got cleaned up. I blow dried my hair and walked into my room in a towel to find Edward lying on my bed. He smiled and I couldn't help but smile back. "Do the exorcist thing again," he said with a chuckle.

"The what?" I asked.

"Where your head spins around and you talk in an unknown language."

I picked up a shoe and threw it at him as hard as I could. He tried to dodge it and laughed so hard he could hardly speak.

"Come here, I love you no matter how possessed you are," he said holding out his arms.

"Are you still going to marry me in May?" I asked with suspicion.

"I'll marry you tonight, if you want," he said lovingly.

"Why, you don't want people seeing the monster you are marrying?" I asked in shock, completely consumed by my hormones.

"Bella, come here, I will seriously make it all better. Come let me love on you," he said and held his arms out again.

I moved numbly forward and then collapsed onto him. He sighed and buried his face in my neck as he said such wonderful things into my ear. He pushed to towel out of his way and let his hands run lightly over my body.

"You have the most amazing body, it drives me insane, I have dreamed about it for weeks," he moaned.

I pushed up and began unbuttoning his shirt and then kissed my way to his jeans. I undid them and when I pulled them down something caught my eye. I pulled his boxers lower to see a tattoo on his hip.

It was my name in script over the words, 'My only Need.' It was a gorgeous compliment to my own and I kissed it gently, repeating his reaction to mine. His arms shot out to the side and he held on tightly to the edges of the mattress.

Luckily, my moods stayed semi constant and I was able to welcome him home thoroughly. I was tucked firmly into his side as he ran his long fingers up my arm. "Bella, I need to go to Chicago and get some things done. I think I'm going to sell the house or give it to Jane. I can set up things for the foundation, like video conferencing, so I won't need to be there every month."

"Okay, when should we go?" I asked.

"I don't want you getting sick. I don't think you should come," he said and I could hear the sadness in his voice.

"I'll come and do everything you do and eat everything you eat. We really need to figure this out so I can get the right treatment."

"Yeah, but to figure it out we need to have you exposed again, I won't do that."

"Okay, then I will come and stay with Jane. I don't want to be here without you," I admitted.

He kissed me and smiled, "I don't want to be without you either, I don't think I've changed much at all."

"I have proof that you have," I said referring to the notebook.

"What's your proof?"

"An old red notebook of paper from years ago," I said and watched the recognition sink into his brain.

"I threw it away," he said in a panic.

"And who takes out the trash?" I pointed out.

"That bastard," he chuckled. "He gave it to you?"

I climbed out of bed and headed to the closet. "Walk slower," Edward yelled out to me, so I began sashaying the rest of the way, causing him to laugh. I pulled the notebook from a shelf and brought it to the bed.

I handed it to Edward and he seemed almost afraid to touch it. His hands rose slowly and he hesitantly took it from me. He looked up at me for encouragement and I nodded for him to continue. He opened up to a random page and read a few lines before shutting it tightly.

"Bella, I was a kid, a lot of this is crap from a hormonal teen," he tried to explain as he kept his eyes down.

"Edward, I know you've grown and changed. I don't think of you as that boy, but a couple of pages were pretty interesting."

He looked up at me to see if I was being serious or not. I smiled and he relaxed so I continued, "I didn't realize you really wanted to be Jake's friend, I thought you just wanted to control me through Jake."

He tossed the book aside and groaned as he ran his hand through his hair again. "I know this will shock the hell out of you, but I owe Jake an apology. "

"Not on my account," I pointed out quickly.

"I told Jake a lot of crap, I wasn't healthy and I'm sure he was only looking out for you. It took many weeks of therapy to get here, Bella. Jake was an issue I struggled with the most."

"You can forgive him, I'm not," I said adamantly.

He gave me a stern look and I could tell there was something he wanted to know. I waited for it and prayed it wouldn't be something that would put a wedge between us.

"I'm sure you told him you loved him," he finally said.

"I told him I loved that he wanted me, I wasn't worth his time," I admitted.

"Did I do that to you?" he asked.

"No, Phil did. I was a horrible wife, Edward, because he wasn't you."

He nodded and his shoulders relaxed and he seemed satisfied with the answers I gave. He picked up the papers I gave him earlier and began looking through them. I wanted him to know why I was so moody and not trying to give him false hope we could have a child.

"It doesn't seem to be working, so I should probably just stop," I said sadly.

"Do what the doctors tell you to do, I'm fine either way."

I could feel more depression coming on so I suggested we go see Esme and Carlisle. Lilly would be thrilled to see him and she would help buffer my horrible mood swings. We dressed and drove to the Cullens, only to find a school van in front of their house.

"Ah man, memories," Edward laughed.

We were going to back out of the drive way but Carlisle was taking out some trash and saw us. He came over to the car and gave Edward a big hug, insisting we come inside. I was nervous to see a bunch of messed up kids. I didn't want to ruin their hope of getting better.

Esme squealed when she saw Edward and ran into his waiting arms. She pushed him down the hallway and said, "Go surprise Lilly."

"We don't want to interrupt anything," I told her.

She grabbed my arm and pulled me into the movie room. "Kids, this is Bella Swan, she used to be a student here. Feel free to ask her any questions."

I put my hands up to stop them and gave Esme a terrified glare. A boy said, "Some old lady is supposed to motivate us."

What the f… He did not just call me an old lady? I wanted the old Edward to come in here and use the kids face to bloody his knuckles. I looked directly at him and said, "I thought the mentally handicapped were excluded from this school, how did you get in?"

The group erupted in laughter and the boy spit at me. I noticed a girl sitting across from him, full of attitude, and looking at the boy like she wanted to fix him, or spare him any pain. I knew that feeling so I said something to give her hope.

I pointed at the young man and said, "I guarantee you will be apologizing to me by May, so save yourself the grief and cut the shit. It will make it easier when you wake up and pull your head out of your ass."

"You don't know a thing about me," he said hatefully and I laughed.

"I know everything about you, because I'm marrying the guy from my group who was just like you. You're angry, so damn angry you are prone to rage, and all because you hurt so badly, and so deeply, it is the only way to ease the pain."

The boy lowered his head and refused to look at me, knowing I could see the real him. The girl looked at me and quickly looked away, too. The rest of the group was smirking with happiness that I finally got to the smart ass of the group.

"But, I will tell you something to make it hurt just a bit less," I continued. "Nobody here gives a shit about your pain, because they have their own to deal with. You are not unique; you are one of the many who needs help unloading all the crap the adults in your lives did to you. Punch all the walls you want, it just bloodies your hands, but open up your heart and it changes the rest of your life."

Edward came up behind me and circled his arms around me. "Listen to her, she was hard to crack, but she has a heart of gold," he said to the room.

I looked at the boy who finally raised his eyes to me and nodded to the tough girl looking at him painfully. "It will be worth it," I said softly to him.

He smiled and nodded as he looked at his hands. I backed out of the room, bringing Edward with me and asked about his meeting with Lilly. "She wants to marry me," he laughed.

"Swear you never slept with Angela, because the last child who loved you ended up being a relative," I laughed.

He acted like he was thinking back and finally said, "No, I don't think Angela was one of them."

Esme came running up to us, sparing Edward a knee to the groin. "Thank you, Bella, it was brilliant. I know Faith is trying to help Ryan, but he is so hard to reach."

I rolled my eyes and pointed at Edward, "No need to explain."

Edward's mouth fell open and he said with a set jaw, "I chased you, Bella."

"You just wanted my perfect breasts," I accused. "I'm talking about making changes."

He was about to defend himself but finally just laughed and nodded, "Yeah, I just wanted your breasts."

"We're leaving for Chicago," I informed Esme. "Edward is going to make Seattle permanent, so we need to make some arrangements."

"Is it wise for you to go?" she asked with a worried look.

"I'm documenting everything this time. Hopefully it will give me some answers."

She gave us a quick hug and we left to take the final step in merging our lives together.

14

I carried a small notebook and pencil to write down every single thing I did. I refused to eat anything I didn't prepare myself or could see being prepared. Edward seemed to be watching my every step, determined to make sure I didn't have another setback.

We went right to his house and I sat in the office with him as he called a moving company for an appointment. He set up a meeting with his lawyer to get a trust set up for Jane. He called his accountant to get his funds changed to a bank in Seattle. His last call was to the foundation to set up an emergency meeting of the board.

I watched him work so confidently and with such professionalism it was hard to keep my hands off of him. I finally got so bored I told him I was going to pack up the mess in the attic. He followed me up there to see the boxes of his life strewn all over the place.

"We can have this stuff thrown in the trash," he offered.

"No way, it is all your baby things, I want to keep them," I said.

"It will take you two days to fix all of this," he pointed out.

"So, what else do I have to do?" I walked over and picked up a box just as the doorbell rang.

"Come on," Edward said.

"Why, I'm fixing this."

"I thought we were doing everything together so we know what happens to you?" he pointed out.

I took a deep breath and dropped the box to follow him to the door. It was the moving company and we began moving from room to room showing what he wanted packed and shipped to Seattle. I had no idea where to put his piano, but we would work it out somehow.

The furniture we didn't want to move would be offered to Jane or sold. It took us over two hours to make it through each room. When we were finished he asked us about the garage and attic contents. We walked into the garage and Edward asked if I wanted to drive back to Seattle of have the car shipped.

It really depended on my health at the time, so we made arrangements to have it shipped, just in case. Then we headed to the attic. The poor man saw the mess and his eyes widened.

"I'm going to re-box the stuff, you won't need to do it," I assured him.

He walked over and looked around a bit and then said, "I can't take this because of the mothballs."

Edward and I stared at him dumbly, having no idea why he would refuse to take boxes because of mothballs.

"Naphthalene is highly toxic, we don't move toxic material," he said adamantly.

My heart dropped into my stomach. "Toxic, how?" I asked in a soft voice.

"It can cause nausea, liver damage, blood in the urine, red cell damage…."

I turned and ran from the attic, through the house, and into the yard before taking another breath. I was stunned to find out it was the baby things that made it impossible to have a baby. The irony was too much and I fell onto my knees in tears.

Edward came walking out and I could tell by his face he was fighting his need for rage. He stood in front of me and each time our eyes met his anger got kicked up a notch. The mover came outside to see our reactions and asked if we were okay. What a funny thing to ask. How could we be okay? Edward's mother continued to hurt him from beyond the grave. Her obsession with him made it where I could never have his child. I wanted her to have to see what she did to him, but revenge wouldn't solve anything.

Edward finally turned to the man and said, "Burn it all, burn it to the ground."

"Sorry mister, but I can't do that," he said nervously.

"No, you can't, but I can," Edward said in his calm terrifying way.

I didn't want to stop him, I wanted to see it burn the way Phil burned. I wanted to punish the house for taking so much away from us. It took away our children and it left Edward's chest scarred. It brought back my nightmares of Phil and haunted Jane in the dark.

"Mister," the man said hesitantly, "If you burn it the toxin releases into the air, I think you need to bulldoze it."

I reached up for Edward's hand and brought him down to face me. "Let's get away from here and make the right decision. We can't do it now, we need some distance."

Edward nodded and thanked the man profusely for giving us the answer we had been searching for, even if it was not what we wanted to hear. We would call him if we still needed things moved. We drove to a hotel and I called my doctor in Seattle to give him the information.

I set up an appointment to meet with him when I returned and then sat on the bed and cried in Edward's arms. He cried along with me and when he tried to apologize I stopped him.

"You are not culpable for anything, don't apologize to me," I insisted. "In fact you most likely saved me. If you hadn't insisted I come downstairs with you I would have been up there the entire time, being exposed again."

"I hate that house," he said with a strained voice. "I hate everything about it."

"I want to go home," I said with a sob.

"Okay, I'll put you on a flight. I have to meet with the board tomorrow, so I can't leave just yet."

"No, I want to be with you. I'll come to the meeting and then we can leave," I said as I clung to him.

"I have to meet with Jane in an hour, do you want to come or just rest? he asked.

"I'll come, I want to see her."

I tried to clean up several times, but always ended up in tears again, so I gave up. We walked into his lawyer's office and I hugged Jane tightly.

"What's wrong," she said seeing my swollen eyes.

I realized at that moment I had inadvertently exposed Jane when I hid us in the attic. "Jane, your flu, what were your symptoms?"

"I was throwing up and," her voice lowered, "I was bleeding."

"Blood in your urine?" I clarified.

"Yeah."

"You need to go to a doctor and tell him you were exposed to toxic levels of mothballs," I said in a panic.

Jane laughed and then could see I wasn't kidding. "Am I going to die?" she asked with wide eyes.

"No, but you need to let a doctor know. Hopefully one exposure didn't do too much damage."

Edward stepped forward and pulled Jane into his arms, "I'm sorry I didn't protect you better."

She closed her eyes and let her head rest on his chest. "I'm so glad you're my brother. I've always loved you like a brother."

I looked at him and laughed, remembering how he tried to pass her off as a girlfriend, certain she was in love with him all along.

When the lawyer came in we began discussing assets. It was then I learned of Edward's true wealth. Hell, he could bulldoze the damn house and build a mansion to replace it. I realized Edward was never about the money. He never boasted of his wealth or lived extravagantly. I loved him even more.

He was generous to Jane and her mother and whenever he asked me about something I agreed with what he wanted. The house on the island was given to Jane, he would never return to a place that tortured him so much. He also offered anything in the house we just ran from to her mother. Maybe she had fonder memories than Edward did.

He insisted the house be destroyed and offered to have another one built for Jane and her mother. A place Jane could raise her own kids in someday. When everything was settled we went to dinner. I watched Edward and Jane interact like a real brother and sister. They had a history going back for years and it made me smile.

Edward and I ordered wine and when she tried to order a Pepsi he turned to the waiter, "Bring her just a water."

"I can order for myself," she insisted.

"You get hyper on caffeine, you'll never get to sleep," he insisted.

"Why should you care when I go to sleep, bring me the Pepsi," she said to the waiter.

"You'll be up all night," he mumbled and she laughed at him.

"Remember the night of whipped cream?" she asked him when the waiter left.

He laughed and looked at me. "We snuck into the cans of whipped cream, and ate three cans. Jane was so sick the next day, so I blamed the whole thing on her."

"You didn't, your mom did." Jane turned to look at me, "Nothing was ever Edward's fault. He was perfect," she said using her fingers to make air quotes.

"It was your idea," he pointed out.

"I was six," she yelled at him. "And you know what; your father took me to FAO Schwarz and let me pick out a toy."

He took her hand in his and smiled, "I'm glad, you deserved his love."

The mood suddenly became very somber and she said, "Edward, he loved you very much. I watched him cry over you many times."

"Thank you," he said softly and then took a big sip of the wine when it arrived.

We both had a restless night and I was anxious to get home to my own bed. Edward looked beat the next day when we left for the board meeting. I leaned against him in the elevator and kissed him several times. When it stopped on the right floor he pulled me tighter and let the door close again.

"You're going to be late," I laughed.

"I'm the guy in charge. I can be as late as I want," he said and deepened the kiss.

I melted, totally and completely in love with him. When we finally made it back to the right floor we had to force ourselves apart. Edward took my hand and led me to a large room with men and women in suits sitting around a huge table. My eyes instantly locked onto Dr. Aro's.

Edward introduced me and I sat in a chair behind him as he sat at the head of the table. He informed them of our decision to reside in Seattle and began talking about how that would affect the foundation. Everyone was very vocal and I didn't follow the conversation. My focus was on Dr. Aro, as I tried to read his every expression.

He didn't show any sign of nerves or worry, or even concern about the ability of the foundation to function with Edward living elsewhere. It was finally decided to draft new bylaws allowing Edward to oversee things with another board member being the actual person in charge.

I was tired of sitting and ready to get out of there by the time the meeting adjourned. When people began standing I made my way over to Dr. Aro.

"Hello, I haven't seen you since the gala," I smiled.

'Nice to see you again, I didn't get a chance to tell you how much I enjoyed your song, Elizabeth would have loved it."

"You knew her well?" I asked.

"Only through her foundation, I joined the board when she was still running things."

"Do you happen to have a business card? I would love to call your secretary, Jane, and ask about the shoes she wore that night," I tried to sound as casual as possible, but he tensed and looked around the room nervously.

"I guess it is not really work related, maybe I should just call her at her home. Do you have her number or can you give me her last name?" I pushed further.

He took hold of my arm and pulled me to the corner of the room. I was just about to yell out for Edward when I saw the pain in Dr. Aro's eyes. "Jane was not my secretary," he admitted.

I was about to say, 'No shit, Sherlock,' but he continued on with his confession. "Jane is my daughter and I'm afraid she is not making the best…..choices, in her life."

"Do you know where she is?" I asked.

"No, I had arranged to put her in rehab, but she ran."

Edward walked up at that point and I took his hand, "Honey, Dr. Aro is Jane's father."

The look on Edward's face was priceless. He looked shocked, and then angry, and finally sheepish. He chuckled a bit and gave me a sideways glance. I wanted to scream, 'in your face, Masen,' but it was not the time for gloating. That would come later.

I sat on Edward's lap while he called the detective over our case. I listened as he gave him all the details regarding Jane and her father. We were asked to come to the station and promised they would bring in Dr. Aro for questioning.

We sat in a warm, stuffy room and answered question after question about the night Edward first met Jane. Some parts were fuzzy, since he was very drunk, and it was a reminder of how far Edward had come since that night. When we were left alone in the room I moved over to sit on his lap.

"I love you," I said with a smile.

"Even after listening to my failed attempt to procure a prostitute?" he asked in shame.

"It's the 'failed attempt' I'm choosing to concentrate on, and the fact you called me," I said and kissed his nose.

"I'm sorry for teasing you about this being bigger than what we originally thought," he admitted.

"I deserved it, for the hormonal crap I put you through."

"I think I'm going to ask Carlisle to be my best man," he said out of the blue to make me love him even more.

"Ah, that's wonderful. I'll ask Esme to be my Matron of honor."

"We can always head to Vegas," he suggested.

"Oh, I am going to make a huge deal out of the fact I finally get to have you for keeps."

"I'm not an object you get to own," he teased, making fun of his own issues.

"Damn, I was hoping to keep you in a cage next to the bed, naked of course, and at my beck and call."

He laughed and wiggled his eyebrows, "I live to serve."

I leaned in for a kiss just as the door opened, causing Edward and I both to jump like two teenagers getting caught by our parents. The officer asked us to follow him and we entered a room with Dr. Aro looking distraught.

"I can't apologize enough, Edward. I had no idea what happened to you," he said.

Edward tensed at the thought of admitting he picked up the man's daughter for sex, he was terrified and embarrassed. I decided to save him the pain and spoke up. "Edward offered Jane a place to sleep one night. I showed up and kicked her out, I made sure to give her money so she could get a room."

He smiled softly, "I'm aware of my daughter's occupation."

I blushed and added, "I just wanted you to know Edward did not have sex with her."

"I think it was my fault she sought you out," he said to Edward. "I heard…rumors you spent a lot of time at your mother's grave. I mentioned it in front of Jane."

"Please, forget it. I don't blame you," he said and then smirked at me.

Okay, the guy didn't actually send his daughter to assassinate Edward, but he was indirectly involved. I was right, a little.

We headed to Seattle in Edward's car, but didn't make it far. We were emotionally worn out and needed some time to decompress. We lay in bed and went over wedding details. When I began talking about cakes he laughed and shut his eyes.

"What's so funny?" I asked.

"I really don't care about this kind of stuff, pick what you want," he said with a yawn.

"Alice will just pick it anyway," I admitted and snuggled up to his side.

"Just tell me when and where, and I'll show up," Edward said softly.

"Your enthusiasm is flattering," I said cynically.

He raised his head and looked at me in surprise. "You don't think I'm excited?"

I sat my hand on his crotch and said, "No, you're not."

He laughed hard and laid his head back down in exhaustion. "The day you become my wife will be the best day of my life, and not because I want you surgically attached to me, although I do," he chortled, "But because you actually want to be my wife, and I find that amazing."

"We have some rough days ahead," I warned, thinking of our infertility problems and dealing with the guilt it will produce in both of us.

"You mean it's not smooth sailing from here on out?"

"You're such an idiot," I said sleepily.

"You chose me, what does that make you?" he slurred, trying to stay coherent enough to respond.

"Blinded by love," I said and drifted off to the sound of his soft laughter.

We made it home in four days and had to go crazy with wedding plans to get everything ready by May tenth. Luckily, Alice had been preparing behind my back and had the food and decorations already lined up. We kept everything really simple, Lilly was the flower girl and Carlisle and Esme stood up with us.

Jane flew in with her mother and it was great for Edward to have family there. We sent invitations to only a select few and announcements to business associates. The Cullen's deck served as the chapel and music written by Edward played softly in the background. I didn't do the whole walk down the aisle thing. I simply let my father lead me by the hand to where Edward was standing.

Everyone laughed when I had to ask Lilly to please step away from my groom, so I could stand next to him. We exchanged simple vows and kissed passionately when our dream became a reality, we were married.

The people gathered all stood and clapped vigorously until a scream rang over the applause. Edward and I tensed and looked for where it was coming from. We couldn't see a thing, but we could hear a plethora of profanity rise above the crowd.

"Son-of-a-bitch, holy shit, my damn water broke," tiny Alice yelled.

The crowd parted to expose Alice, ballooning at the waist, standing in complete shock.

"I told you," Rosalie yelled loudly. "It is already two days past your due date."

"I had a wedding to plan," Alice yelled as if the world should stop spinning for one of her parties.

"What should we do?" Jasper asked, suspecting his wife would ignore the child trying to come into the world and continue on.

"Go have a baby, asshole," Emmett yelled at them.

"Have the baby here," Lilly begged.

Alice's eyes shot open wide and she grabbed her stomach and cried out in pain. "You said it didn't hurt," she yelled at Rose with tears in her eyes.

Rosalie laughed heartily, "I lied; it hurts a lot."

"Excuse me, but can you please get out of the middle of my wedding, and drip elsewhere," I yelled at them both.

"I want her to have the baby here," Lilly pouted.

Esme grabbed the photographer and said, "Hurry, everyone line up for a picture before they leave."

We all squeezed together for a few shots as Alice tried to smile and not appear to be suffering from severe constipation. Jasper forced her to leave the party; most likely terrified he would end up delivering the baby.

We finally invited everyone to begin eating and made our rounds to the tables under the small tent. I could see Jake and Leah sitting with my parents and hoped Edward wouldn't insist we stop there. I got tears in my eyes when Jane hugged Edward tightly and told him she was so proud. He kissed her cheek and thanked her for coming. I watched as he hugged her mother, refusing to blame her for what happened with his father.

He had grown so much and I knew we were going to make it through anything. And the very next moment Edward proved it to me. Jake tapped him on the shoulder and I tried to get between them. Edward laughed and moved me aside before hugging Jake firmly.

Leah and I stared in disbelief and quickly felt guilty for not even being civil to each other.

"Congratulations," she said looking at her feet.

"Yeah, thanks," I mumbled back.

Jake nodded at me and asked Edward, "Can I give her a hug?"

"Don't push it," Edward said and pulled me into his side.

Both men laughed and I looked at Edward in shock. "Jake and I went for a drink last week," he admitted.

I looked at Jane and quickly asked, "Did Edward have a twin?"

She giggled and said, "He could, he had a sister we never knew about."

"I told you, I've grown," he laughed and pulled me to the next table.

"This is not growth, Edward; this is body snatcher, pod people, shit."

"Shut up and thank our guests," he said as he shook Seth's hand.

After the luncheon everyone was anxious to get to the hospital to see if Alice had her baby. I changed from my gown in one of the guest rooms and was headed down the hallway when the doorbell rang.

I opened it to find the young girl I saw at the Cullens on movie night. "Hi, you probably don't remember me, but I'm Bella Sw…um…Masen," I laughed at the realization it was indeed my name now.

I saw her eyes fill with tears and she said, "Can I talk to you?"

"Me?" I asked in shock, "Wouldn't you rather have Esme?"

"No, I came here looking for you," she admitted.

I stood back and let her enter the room and motioned for her to follow me to Carlisle's office. I didn't sit at his desk; I wouldn't dare try to fill his shoes. "What did you need to see me about?" I asked.

"Esme always says I remind her of you," she said and blushed.

"And you want me to tell her to stop," I joked.

"I want you to tell me what you would do in my situation," she said softly.

"Oh, I'm sorry to joke. I'll listen, I promise."

"I've been…seeing….Ryan, and we haven't been…careful…." She was struggling to get the words out so I made it easier.

"How late are you?"

"Three months," she admitted as tears fell.

"Do your parents know?" I asked as delicately as possible.

"I just have a mom, and yeah, she knows."

"Do you want to keep the baby?" I asked.

She looked at me as if admitting to a horrible crime, "I don't want to be a mother yet."

"Faith, it is a very mature thing to say. Please don't think you're wrong to feel that way. Lilly is the child of someone I knew at the school. It was the bravest and the smartest thing she did, giving Lilly to the Cullens."

Faith nodded and said something to tilt my world on its axis. "I want you to adopt my baby."

I tried to smile, but my entire body had locked up in shock. I couldn't respond and just stared at her.

"I just think someone like me would be perfect, unless you don't want my baby," she said dropping her head again.

I had to swallow a couple of times to have enough saliva to speak. "I got married today," I said with no idea why that was what I started with. "I can't have children, did Esme tell you that?"

"No, she doesn't know. It just came to me one night in a dream, I know it sounds really stupid but a woman came to me all dressed in yellow and told me to give my baby to you."

I wasn't the type of person to believe Elizabeth was working from heaven to make things up to Edward, I actually didn't believe she even could, but something made Faith's subconscious think of me for her baby and I needed to consider that in my decision.

"Would you mind if I go get my husband?" I asked, needing his strength right now.

She nodded and I walked stoically down the hallway looking for Edward. I saw him across the room with Emmett and one look at my face sent him running over to me.

"Are you okay?" he asked as he held onto me.

I looked into his eyes and couldn't even form a sentence, ramblings were coming out of my mouth and I was beginning to scare him. "Are you sick?" he asked.

"No, I think your mom sent us a baby," I finally managed to say.

15

Edward was silent as he sat in Carlisle's chair listening to me talk to Faith. I could see his jaw was tight but I had no idea what he was thinking. I prayed Faith wouldn't bring up the dream. Edward had tried so hard to work his mother out of his life. I didn't know if he would welcome her intrusion or collapse under the idea.

Faith explained to us that Ryan was not someone she wanted to continue seeing while they were so young and he was supportive of her decision. She wanted to go to college and have a shot at a good life, not stuck as a single mom without an education. I had a million questions, but didn't know where to start until Edward spoke up.

"You haven't asked why Bella and I were at the school," he pointed out to her.

"It doesn't matter," she answered, "If Carlisle and Esme love you; you must be something special."

I felt fresh tears form and even Edward was thrown aback by the comment. He was positive she was after money or something, but now he wasn't so sure.

"I have to admit to you, Faith," Edward said, "I was adamantly against having kids, until just a few months ago."

"So was I," she said looking him in the eyes, "But knowing one is coming tends to give you a new perspective. I grew up pretty fast, maybe you can, too."

He laughed and looked at me, "Esme was right, she is just like you."

"Faith, I don't want you to feel like we don't want your child, it is more a matter of us feeling worthy to raise a child. It is hard for us to think of ourselves as the best solution, maybe a baby changes that, but we want you to see our flaws and not think of us as perfect."

"We have our completion ceremony next week. I need to know something before I go home. Can you think about it and let me know?" she asked, still adamant in her decision.

"Let me give you a ride back to the school," Edward offered and walked her to the door.

"I'll have Esme arrange a meeting by the end of school," I told her and hugged her tightly. "You are a very brave girl."

She gave me an awkward smile and left with Edward. The house was empty and only the party planners were here cleaning up. I sat in a chair, stunned that I got a husband and a possible child on the same day, which also would be the day Alice's baby would be born. I began to laugh and a young man boxing up food gave me a funny look.

I grabbed Lilly's baby book off the shelf and looked at the ecstatic faces of Carlisle and Esme. I wanted that, and could only hope Edward would agree. When he returned his face looked stressed and I didn't want to fight on our wedding day. I reached out and ran my finger over his lips to make him smile.

"Let's not talk about it, I want some time with my gorgeous husband," I said and he looked instantly relieved.

"Mrs. Masen," he said aloud.

"Where," I asked looking around me.

He laughed and pulled me tightly against his body, kissing me seductively right in front of the wait staff. They began to whistle and cheer when Edward's hands ended up on my ass. I pushed him away and grabbed his hand and rushed from the house.

We planned a honeymoon at a remote cabin in Alaska. I didn't want any waves to torment Edward so cool mountain air sounded perfect. We called Rosalie several times from the airport, but Alice's baby had not arrived.

It was so late by the time we finally got a car at the airport and made it to the cabin. I was almost frothing at the mouth to get Edward into bed and make love to him as my husband. The moment we were inside the door, I began pulling on his clothing.

"Let me make a fire first," he begged and I stared at him in shock.

"How long will that take?" I asked with a pout.

He walked to the fireplace and hit a switch. A fire roared to life and he pounded on his chest. "Strong man, make fire."

"Let's see how good you are at lighting my fire," I challenged him.

"Show me the switch," he said with his eyebrows raised.

"If you don't know where it is, I want a divorce."

He walked up and pulled me close with one hand and began very impressive maneuvers with his other, "The divorce is off," I moaned and he picked me up in his arms and carried me to the bedroom.

It was a little past midnight when the phone rang to tell us Alice had a beautiful baby boy named Jackson Jasper Whitlock. Mother and baby were good and we both laughed when we heard Alice was already walking around the floor.

The call brought up the elephant in the room. We were in bed and both thinking about Faith, so Edward finally brought it up.

"Bella, do you feel ready to be a mother?"

"I don't know, do you ever feel ready for it? Maybe it is something you want or don't want. Do you want to be a father, Edward?"

"I look at Lilly and I can see how rewarding it would be, but I am so thankful Carlisle is her father, not me."

"Oh, honey, you would be an amazing father, look how Lilly and Jane are drawn to you. There's no guarantees in life, you will be the best father you are capable of being, that's all you can do."

He squeezed me and I sighed. "Bella, you are my wife, you actually married me."

I giggled and held my hand up to look at my rings. He raised his left hand and placed it by mine. "You're all mine," I said.

"I like the sound of that," he whispered.

"Maybe we can keep it just the two of us, for awhile," I said to calm him.

He rolled me over and looked down at me. "I'm so sorry you have to be dealing with all this pain."

I placed my finger on his lips and shook my head. "No sorry allowed. I fell madly in love with you when you pulled out your cigarette's and sat across from me."

"I was such an ass," he said.

"You were such a hot ass," I laughed.

"I'll show you hot ass," he chuckled and kissed me into oblivion.

The week went by quickly and I was sad to leave the world where only Edward and I existed. I was excited to see Alice's baby, but I knew we had a painful decision waiting for us. I had decided at the cabin not to push Edward. If he wasn't ready, I would tell Faith to find someone else.

When we got home and unpacked I finally took a deep breath and said, "Edward, I need to see Faith before the completion ceremony tomorrow, if you are not ready I totally understand, and I won't mention it again."

He took a long moment before speaking and finally looked up at me. "I'm not ready," he said with a painful expression.

"Okay," I smiled with tears in my eyes.

"I'm sorry, love," he said as he wiped my eyes.

"Don't be, it's fine, really."

My heart was slowly breaking. Carlisle and Esme waited years for Lilly to come along and maybe this was our one shot at having a baby. I wanted him to be ready, but he wasn't and I would respect that. I now had to do something very painful. I had to go visit Alice and see her son, and then tell Faith I couldn't be the mother she wanted me to be.

"Can you come with me to Alice's? I don't want to make it weird for you," I told him.

"I'll come, they've been very good to you over the years," he admitted.

We drove in silence to their home, and even though it had only been a week Alice answered the door and jumped up and down at the sight of us. We walked into the family room to see Jasper rocking his son. I pretended the tears were ones of happiness.

We both commented on how beautiful he was and Alice quickly pulled me from the room to see the nursery. She had gone over the top, making the room look like a scene from a Dr. Seuss book. It made you smile just to be in the room.

Her style was so opposite from Rose's. Houston's room was classic and very organized. Jackson's was fun and energetic. I couldn't help but wonder what my child's would have been like. I could feel the tears forming and turned to Alice and said, "I'm so happy for you, this is what you waited so long for."

"Thanks you, Bella, it will be your turn soon," she said, having no idea how much it hurt.

We headed back into the family room and I was stunned to see Edward sitting in the rocking chair holding the baby.

"Just so you know," Edward said to Alice, "You're married to a con man."

"How did you do that?" I asked Jasper.

"Edward believed there was an emergency in the kitchen," Jasper laughed.

"He told me there was a grease fire and threw the baby at me," Edward explained.

Alice grabbed her camera and took a picture then insisted on printing it that very moment. She came back and proudly handed me a picture that send me into hysterics. Edward stood carefully and handed Jasper the baby before pulling me into his arms.

"I'm sorry, it has been a tough day for Bella," Edward said to our friends.

"Don't push this off on me," I said angrily, "We made the decision together."

"I didn't mean it was tough only for you. Do you think I enjoy knowing I'm too screwed up to be a father?" he answered just as angrily.

"You've spent a lot of time and money to get unscrewed, when is enough going to be enough?" I asked loudly.

"I don't think you can get unscrewed," Alice said with a furrowed brow. "I mean once you've been screwed, you are pretty much screwed. You can be screwed badly, or quickly, or even forcibly, but you can't be unscrewed."

Edward and I both stared at her in utter amazement. I had no idea how Jasper did it, she was like a battery operated toy that never ran out of batteries. We both apologized for bringing our drama into their home and said our goodbyes.

I was in no shape to face Faith and decided to put it off until the next morning. Surely she would know my decision since I didn't show. I got ready for bed and sat against my pillows, reading. Edward came into the room and said softly, "Bella, are you going to punish me for being honest."

I looked at him and tried to be honest too, "No, I'm not, but I am entitled to be disappointed. You're not ready and that makes me sad. We both have to deal with the other's emotions."

He nodded and began to undress. His boxers were hanging low and I saw his tattoo. I sat my book down and walked over to him and wrapped my arms around his waist. "I love you with all that I am," I said into his eyes.

"You're my only need," he whispered to me.

"I really need you to show me how much you love me," I said with tears.

He ran his hand through my hair and looked into my eyes before nodding with a slight smile. He pulled my nightgown over my head and sucked in a shallow breath. He looked at my body and ran his finger over my own tattoo. "It overwhelms me, the amount of love I have for you," he said as he continued to look me up and down.

I took hold of his fingers and led him to the bed. He loved me slowly, keeping his eyes open to watch my every response to him. I was holding him to my chest, running my fingers through his hair when he suddenly called my name.

"Yes," I said softly.

He sat up and looked at me in shock. "It's gone, I don't hear it anymore, it's totally gone."

The realization that Edward won the battle over the waves was awe-inspiring for him. He laughed at first and then cried from relief. His life was moving forward and he was learning to be his own man. I hoped I would see some changes, starting with his ability to believe he could be a father.

I woke up during the night to see a light on in the other room. I reached for Edward but he wasn't there. My nightgown was still lying on the floor so I picked it up and pulled it over my head, before headed out to find Edward.

He was sitting on the couch staring at the picture Alice took of him and Jackson. I waited for his eyes to meet mine and I raised my eyebrows. He patted the spot next to him and I walked over to sit.

"What's going on?" I asked him.

"I don't know, I can't let it go. I don't feel ready to be a father, but it just seems…."

"Right?" I offered.

He leaned his head onto my shoulder and sighed, "I am so afraid of making the wrong decision."

"I can't make it for you, Edward."

"A baby, God, that is terrifying," he said.

I laughed and nodded in agreement. "It would change everything," I warned him.

"We would have to move in with Carlisle and Esme," he teased.

I picked up the picture and looked at the joy on Edward's face as he stared at Jackson. I knew he would be a great father, he just didn't know it. We talked through the rest of the night about the pros and cons of becoming parents. We didn't talk specifically about Faith, but on more general terms.

We fell asleep as the sun began to rise, lying entwined on the couch. I was awakened by a phone ringing and Edward reached out to answer. I could tell he was talking to Esme and I looked up when he told her we would see her at two.

"What time is it?" I asked, hoping I had time to get dressed.

"Eleven," he answered and lay back down on the couch.

"What did she want?" I asked.

"We need to meet with Faith, she's asking for us."

I held perfectly still trying to judge Edward's reaction. His arms tightened around me and he said, "Let's just see what she has to say, okay?"

"Sure," I agreed and stayed in his arms for another half an hour before getting up and making us something to eat and then jumping in a shower.

We showed up at the school and headed right to Esme's office. Faith jumped up right when we walked in and grabbed my hand. "She came again, the lady in my dream, and I'm supposed to tell you it will all work out."

I glanced at Edward and hoped he wouldn't ask Faith what she meant and then smiled at Faith.

She began talking very fast, "I'm not like that, you know, into other- worldly shit. I'm a regular girl just trying to make it in the world, but this baby is for you, Bella."

I brought her back to her chair and sat next to her. "Edward and I have been talking about it all night. We are just not sure."

"I'm not crazy, I promise," she said adamantly.

Edward chuckled, "I think the issue is our sanity, not yours."

She looked at us both and then let her head fall. "I don't want to push you," she said sadly.

"Faith, I can understand why you want Bella, but why me?" Edward asked her pointedly.

She shook her head and whispered, "I don't want to tell you."

"You won't hurt my feelings," he said.

"It's not that, I had a dream, a lady came to me and told me who to give my baby to."

"What if she comes in a couple of months and tells you to give it to someone else?" he asked.

"I don't think that will happen, I think she knows you guys, she is so sure it belongs to you."

"Don't you think she would come to us?" he said softly, trying not to upset Faith.

"I don't know; has a lady in yellow come to you?"

Edward's face instantly paled and he sat back quickly. I cursed under my breath and looked at Esme for help. She held up her finger, telling me to give him a moment.

"Faith," he said quietly, "May we talk with Esme alone for a moment?"

She got up and walked from the room, looking back at Edward before walking out the door. He held his hands up in defeat and asked, "What am I supposed to do with that information?"

"She had a dream, that's all," Esme assured him.

His hands pulled into fists and then he took a deep breath and flexed his fingers a couple of times. He laughed in anger and said, "Wow, this is really testing me."

"Are you angry at Faith?" Esme asked.

He shook his head back and forth and finally said, "I thought I was done dealing with her. Is this just more control? Hell, she's dead and still fucking up my life."

"Or apologizing," Esme offered.

"You don't believe this, do you?" he said in shock.

"No Edward, I don't. It is a young girl who is scared and trying to do the best she can, she had a dream, end of story."

He nodded and turned to look at me. "Looks like we don't have much of a choice, my mother told her it's our baby," he said appalled.

"It's a child, a baby who deserves to be loved. Can you love a child or not, that is all I want to know?"

He sat in deep thought for several moments and finally got on his knees in front of me and took my hands in his, "Bella, I know this hurts. I know you want a baby, but something in my gut tells me not this one. I can't explain it; I just know it to be true. I am asking you to trust in me, please."

I could tell in his eyes he was speaking from his heart. He needed me to believe in him, even if it costs us our one chance for a child. I leaned over to kiss him lightly. "It's your call, I trust you," I told him.

He looked at Esme and said, "I'm taking Bella home, can you talk to Faith?"

"Yes, and please don't stress about the decision. If it feels right to you, it doesn't matter what others say."

I drove home in a daze. I had to believe my happiness would always lie in Edward. Without him I would be miserable. We continued on the best we could and when I had a doctor's appointment the first of June, he willingly came.

I sat in the complimentary paper robe, after giving the always pleasant urine sample, with Edward tapping his foot annoyingly on the floor. I was relieved when the doctor entered the room so I something else to focus on.

"Bella, I looked over you last labs compared to the ones previously and the red cells are up significantly. Luckily, with time the damage may be expelled naturally from your body. We can do follow up…."

A nurse opened the door and showed the doctor a note. He gave her a shocked look and then stood. "I'm sorry Bella; I need to attend to something. Heidi will draw some blood and I will be back soon." He walked out of the room and I exhaled loudly. It looked like it would be a long appointment.

The nurse drew blood and Edward laughed at my squeamish reaction. I had to lie back so I wouldn't pass out. I was almost asleep when the doctor finally returned. Edward was reading a magazine and reluctantly put it down.

"Okay, I want to do a sonogram check on your ovaries and uterus, can you follow me to the next room?"

Edward held out his hand for mine and helped me off the table. I was holding the paper gown closed in front and he laughed and tried to pull it from my hands. The medical profession was so skewed to favor the male gender.

I climbed onto another table and hissed when cold gel was applied to by abdomen. The technician looked closely at my tattoo and smiled at Edward. "Show her yours, honey," I said to him.

"It's in a very intimate place, I'm sure she doesn't want to see it," he teased and the woman turned red.

"He's full of it," I told her and she laughed.

She began running a wand over my skin and clicking off measurements on the machine. The doctor came in and stood behind her as she kept pointing at things without speaking. I was beginning to get very nervous and so was Edward.

When she finished we were led back into the exam room and the doctor sat in front of us with a funny expression. "Bella, when did you stop using the ovulation medication?"

I looked at Edward and said, "When did you get home, mid March?"

He nodded and the doctor looked back at his files and then up at both of us. "Well, I can say it was long enough because you are one hundred percent pregnant."

I gasped and looked quickly at Edward. His head was down as if he was praying, or trying to contain his anger. When his head slowly rose I saw tears in his eyes. I still didn't know if he was enraged or happy.

"All your measurements match up to a pregnancy of nine weeks. Have you had any symptoms?"

"None," I said still too stunned to accept the news. "Could I have problems from the poisoning?"

"Everything appears perfectly normal, the embryo implanted firmly and the placenta is working and the baby is growing. I don't think you have anything to worry about," he said with a smile.

"Edward, are you happy?" I asked in fear.

"No, I'm not happy, I'm out of this world, beyond the moon, head over heels, ecstatic," he laughed and kissed me roughly.

"I'll never doubt you, ever," I said as I sobbed in his arms.

The doctor interrupted our celebration and brought up my biggest fear. "I think we should do an amniocentesis, just to make sure everything is good."

"What specifically are you thinking?" I asked him, not sure if I could handle the information. Edward put his arm around my shoulder to bolster me.

"I want to make sure the embryo came from a healthy egg. I am assuming it did, or you would have most likely had a spontaneous abortion without even realizing you were pregnant. I'm just being overly cautious," he said to ease my concerns.

There are several moments in my relationship with Edward which stand out; little circumstances where I fell in love with him all over again. The reason I love him was never more apparent than the day we got the results of the test.

I was so nervous and he was letting me lean on him, literally. I sat in my own chair but my upper body was leaning against Edward's side as he held me tightly. The doctor walked into his office and smiled.

"I won't make you suffer, the test showed everything is healthy and fine," he said before sitting.

I began to cry and I heard Edward exhale loudly.

"Would you like to know the sex of the child?" he asked.

Edward and I looked at each other and both shrugged. "Do you want to be surprised?" I asked him.

"Not really, I think it will be good to know ahead of time," he answered.

The doctor wrote something down on a pad and sat it upside down on his desk. "I will give you some time alone, if you want to know, turn over the paper."

We stared at the little square of paper, both too nervous to pick it up. Finally Edward had a suggestion. "I'll count to three and we both lift it up." I nodded as he began to count.

I screamed as I read the word, 'girl'. Edward laughed and pulled me in for a kiss. He moved back and held my face in his hands staring at me intently. "Bella, I swear to you I will always protect her, no man will ever abuse her."

I grabbed him and held on tightly, feeling safer than I had ever felt in my life. I truly loved him with all that I am. He changed my life at that moment, by promising to protect our daughter. I would never be able to express how much his words meant to me, he gave me everything with that one sentence.

I want to explain why Edward didn't want the baby. When I made the outline for this story they were going to take the baby and then end up pregnant later. I have learned when writing, the characters take on a life of their own and don't always do what you expect….anyway, Edward would NOT take this baby no matter how I tried to write it and I couldn't figure out why, until I realized it was because his mother was involved. He had finally grown enough to rely on HIS instincts and not hers. HE would make decision regarding his own family and not his mother, if that makes sense?

16

It was time to tell our loved ones about our news. I made it through the first trimester without so much as an upset stomach. Edward came up with a great idea. We invited everyone to a dinner party and borrowed Lilly's easy bake oven.

The table was decorated in pastels and the easy bake oven was the centerpiece. Right before the first guest arrived, Edward put a hamburger bun in the oven. We acted like it was a dinner to celebrate our home together as a married couple. Nobody seemed the wiser.

Lilly complimented our decorations and Alice gave me a pitiful look. Once we finished eating Edward brought out a covered dish full of cupcakes decorated in pink. We stood together at the head of the table.

"Bella and I would like to announce some very important news," Edward said.

"You're moving away?" my mother said sadly, like she was expecting the news at any moment.

"No, we're not moving," I said to soothe her but Edward turned to look at me.

"I think we should look at moving, I mean, it will be better for…all."

I smiled and nodded toward the table. "Later," I muttered.

"I thought Edward was making Washington permanent?" Rosalie challenged.

"Okay, let's all forget about moving, that is not our news," Edward said in irritation.

Lilly pulled on Edward's shirt and asked, "Can I have dessert?"

"Just a second, sweetheart," he said and tried to continue.

"I hope your news is you're getting a party planner because these decorations really suck, I mean it is fine for Lilly, but most people don't decorate for one person, let alone the youngest guest. Well, actually Jackson is the youngest, but he isn't aware of how freakish the decorations are."

"They're not freakish," Lilly said to defend me….or more likely Edward. "And the easy bake oven is mine, but I don't know why there is a hamburger in it."

"Dude, you have a bun in the oven," Emmett laughed.

The room became quiet and everyone turned to look at us. Edward pulled the lid off the dessert and the room was absolutely silent.

"Come on you guys, do we have to simulate sex to get you to understand?" Edward said angrily.

"I thought…you…couldn't," Esme mumbled.

"We were not as incapable as we thought," I laughed.

"Remember, Edward can do it for an hour," Jasper teased.

"Yeah, and dressed in Bella's panties," Emmett added.

Rose laughed loudly and yelled, "Did you have to lick something on him first?"

My father was turning blue, so I told them all to stop talking. Lilly ran over to her mother and whispered in her ear. Esme nodded so she ran back to Edward and asked if she could make an announcement. He pulled out a chair and helped her stand upon it.

"I want to announce that I am getting a baby brother in November."

Every head in the room turned to Esme in shock. She was still so thin and I was going to be really pissed if she was a month ahead of me and not even showing. She laughed and explained. "Faith asked us to adopt her baby. We just found out it is a boy."

The room went crazy, everybody talking at once and trying to understand the stories being shared. My parents were so excited and my mom began tossing out family names.

"I'm thinking of having a natural birth," I said and every woman in the room burst into laughter.

"Women had babies naturally for centuries," I said in my own defense.

"And we used to travel by covered wagons, but somebody invented a car," Rose said shaking her heard.

"If you want to have it naturally," Edward said, "I support you."

"Dude," Emmett yelled in a whispered tone getting Edward's attention. He shook his head back and forth and mouthed the words, 'no way.'

"Bella, have it at our house," Lilly begged and we all laughed.

"She can't," Alice said to Lilly, "Her screaming will wake up your baby brother."

I looked around the room, happy, loved, and healthy. My parents were back together and would be able to see their granddaughter in the same home. The Cullens were more like family than counselors and their dreams of having their own family were coming true. Each of us had overcome our demons and had children to love and raise. Best of all, Edward and I were married; we had what we wanted most in the world.

After everyone left we began discussing a move. I loved my condo, the views were spectacular, but it wasn't a reasonable place to raise a child. The balcony would be dangerous and there was no place to play outdoors.

"Let's move close to the Cullens," Edward suggested.

I laughed and knew he wasn't kidding. Fatherhood was scary for him and Carlisle would add some comfort if he was close by. We sat at the computer and began looking for possible homes for sale. We found three that would be the perfect size.

The first one had a huge yard, but it had so many levels we would be forced to live in a house of security gates. The second had a readymade nursery, but it was painted blue with dinosaurs on the wall. The third one was perfect, but was right next door to the Cullens. I was afraid they would want their privacy and would feel we were too attached to them.

We were looking at the large deck in the back yard when Carlisle saw us. He came out of his house, onto his own deck, and called over to us.

"Are you looking to buy the house?" he asked in surprise.

"We're just looking," I said in embarrassment.

"Stop by when you're done looking," he suggested.

We walked next door when the realtor left, and if felt wonderful to be able to just walk a short distance and visit. Lilly answered the door and was more excited than anything Alice would have been able to exhibit. She grabbed Edward's arm and pulled him into the kitchen, rambling about all the stuff they could do together.

Esme hugged me with excitement written on her face. "Bella, it is a great house and this street is perfect for kids, it is quiet, friendly, and we have a great neighborhood watch."

"You guys wouldn't mind us being so close?" I asked and watched their faces for any reaction.

"I would love having more testosterone around here," Carlisle laughed.

"I could babysit," Lilly offered.

"Bella, don't be absurd," Esme offered in her best therapist tone.

I looked at Edward and smiled when he smiled at me with a slight nod of his head. I looked back at Lilly and said, "It looks like you get your favorite guy next door."

She squealed with excitement and hugged me tightly. I felt like I was walking on air. I was getting everything good that life had to offer, and began believing all my troubles were gone with the waves.

We made an offer on the house and had a message from the detective in Chicago when we got home. He wanted us to know Jane had been arrested, and both her and her pimp, Laurent, were agreeing to plead guilty for a lesser sentence.

Edward was all for it, due to the fact he would have to get on the stand and admit he picked up a hooker. I only wanted them punished, I wasn't out for revenge. Edward's sister, Jane, was having a harder time dealing with it.

Edward spent an hour talking with her on the phone and convinced her to seek some help. I was so proud of all the growth he had made. I was holding him in my arms that night and he began to laugh.

"What's so funny?"

"We're all grown up," he chuckled. "We're married, having a baby and getting a mortgage. Shouldn't I be feeling more pressure, instead of less?"

"We were never normal," I pointed out.

"I guess crazy works for us," he sighed.

"You were crazy, I was abused," I defended.

"I wasn't crazy, I was loved….into crazy," he finally admitted.

"I'm going to spend forever with your crazy ass," I told him as I pulled him to me and loved him for the second time that night.

We moved after taking time to repaint the interior of the house and put together a nursery. Alice and Rose both wanted to help, but I wanted something totally my style for my daughter. Edward painted music staff's around the room and I filled in the notes of nursery rhymes.

Giant instruments made of stuffed cotton were attached to the walls, and a crib shaped like a piano sat under a canister spot light. Whenever I couldn't find Edward, I knew to look for him in the nursery. He was so anxious for our daughter to arrive.

That Christmas we decided not to put up a tree. The baby was coming any day and I didn't want to worry about cleaning up the mess of a tree. Edward and I were up at midnight, staring at the falling snow and celebrating our first Christmas together.

We had known each other for so long, but never spent a single Christmas together. When the clock struck midnight he pulled a small wrapped box from his pocket and held it up. "What's that?" I asked with a smile.

"It's from Santa," he said and kissed my head.

I took the small box in my hands and quickly pulled off the wrapping. It contained a mothers ring with blue topaz circled in diamonds. "Edward, it's beautiful, thank you so much," I cried, because I was emotional from hormones and because I had the greatest husband in the world.

I pulled an envelope from the pocket of my robe and handed it to him. "I know I have been really dragging my feet on letting you purchase a piano, but there was a reason why."

He gave me an odd look and opened the envelope to see a picture of a little girl sitting at a beautiful black grand piano. "It's my mother," he said although it only showed her from the back.

"I found out the piano at the foundation was your mother's childhood piano. It's being shipped here, Jane helped with the arrangements."

He looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, "Thank you, Bella. This means a lot."

"I love my ring, and someday our daughter will give it to her daughter." I lifted my head and kissed him softly.

We stayed snuggled up on the couch and eventually fell asleep. I woke up just as the sun rose to an awful aching in my back. I tried to ignore it and took a shower and got dressed just in case we were going to be heading to the hospital.

Edward made some coffee and walked into our bedroom to see my stressed face. "Are you okay?" he asked with a hint of panic.

"I think we're having a Christmas baby," I said with a slight chuckle.

"Serious?"

"Let's just see if anything progresses," I said trying to remain calm.

When we saw lights on at the Cullens, we gathered our gifts and our cinnamon rolls, and actually drove next door. Carlisle laughed when he opened the door to see our car in the driveway. Then he looked at our slightly terrified faces and grabbed my arm to help me inside.

Lilly came quickly to the door, holding her baby brother in her arms, he was dressed in a little Christmas sleeper with a Santa hat, "Doesn't Cade look so cute?"

"Adorable," I agreed and had to stop talking to breathe through a very hard contraction. Edward was quickly falling apart and moved behind Carlisle as if he would suddenly be called on to deliver his own child.

"Edward," Carlisle said to calm him, "You have hours before this baby comes. Stay calm and let's all have a nice Christmas breakfast.

"Aunt Bella, please have the baby here," Lilly begged.

"No," Edward said quickly. "Your mother is taking Bella to a hospital far from here to have the baby."

I looked at him in shock, "You're not coming?"

"Esme would be much better at coaching and remaining calm," he said with an odd laugh and I wasn't sure if he was teasing or not.

Carlisle put his arm around Edward and said, "I can promise you, this is something you don't want to miss. You'll want to be the first to meet your daughter and when you hold her in your arms, it changes you forever."

Edward nodded as his tears spilled over and he reached out for my hand and took a deep breath. "Let's have a baby today," he said with a smile.

By Christmas night Edward was introducing our daughter to everyone who came to visit. We named her Ainsley Anne, after Edward Senior's mother. When the visitors left I scooted over so Edward could crawl into bed with me.

"We're parents, we have a daughter," I sighed in his arms.

"All of my fear is gone," he whispered. "I know my wife loves me, and I want my daughter to know I love her and will always keep her safe."

"Merry Christmas, Edward," I said with tears falling down my face.

"Merry Christmas, Love."

Five years later, I was standing by the stage of the Masen Auditorium, which Edward had built for the school. He was legal counsel and I was in charge of the school musical every year. I had my hands resting on my bulging stomach as my daughter Ainsley came running up with a sad face.

"Daddy won't let me sit with him on the piano bench," she cried.

"You can't touch the keys while he plays," I cautioned her and she insisted she wouldn't. "Go tell Daddy I said he is playing too fast, but you think it is perfect."

She ran over to the piano and I watched them talk for a moment before Edward scooted over and helped her onto the bench. He reached up with his hand on the back of his head and flipped me off.

"You should parent as a team, Bella," Esme chastised me.

I laughed and rolled my eyes. "I heard Cade tell Carlisle, Houston and Jackson pushed him down, and Carlisle told him to push them back."

Esme tensed and her lips formed a tight line. When Carlisle walked up she looked at him angrily and said, "Why do you hate our son? Why would you tell him to push Houston, that boy could crush Cade?"

Carlisle laughed and shook his head, "Well, Edward used to hold his own with Emmett and he was a mamma's boy, so Cade should be fine."

I laughed at them both and Esme reached out and placed her hand on my belly, "Just wait until he arrives. There is something about a boy that just melts a mother's heart."

Lilly walked up to join our conversation and I hugged her, 'You look beautiful."

"I'm nervous," she admitted.

"I'm sure Angela is a lot more nervous than you." I told her.

She smiled and turned to Esme. "Mom, Cade peed on the bricks behind the auditorium," she told her.

"Why does he do that? " she stomped her foot in exasperation. "I don't know why we even bother buying him toys; he enjoys playing with his penis the most." She walked off and I laughed with Lilly.

"I think Houston taught him to do that," Lilly said.

"I think Emmett taught Houston," I laughed.

Lilly looked at her watch and took a shaky breath. She had finally asked about her mother and Esme had arranged for her to meet Angela. I couldn't believe she was fifteen. She was beautiful, sweet, and smart as a whip. Edward, Emmett, and Jasper were so protective of her and she loved the attention.

Carlisle walked through the door, holding a crying Cade, and Esme was behind him, walking with a crying Angela. I took hold of Lilly's hand and led her to her birth mother.

Angela took Lilly's face in her hands and whispered, "I've dreamed of this moment for years."

"Thank you, for giving me such wonderful parents," Lilly said softly, as she stared in wonder at the woman who looked so much like her. I watched as they threw their arms around each other, both crying too hard to speak.

Edward stopped playing on the piano and turned to watch; Ainsley took advantage of his distraction and began playing with the keys. He came over to where I stood crying and wrapped his arms around my huge middle.

"This is heartwarming," he whispered into my ear.

"I know, Angela is in heaven right now," I cried as I leaned back against his chest.

He rubbed his hands over my stomach and whispered, "No, this is heaven."

I turned to face him and smiled at the distance my stomach put between us. I ran my thumb along his cheek and asked, "Do you still need me?"

"You are my only need, love."

"I still love you with all that I am," I told him and he closed his eyes as if it touched him to hear me say it.

Our son kicked at that moment and Edward's eyes shot open in surprise and he laughed loudly. "He's a boxer," he said and leaned over to talk to his boy, "Go easy, you'll bloody your knuckles."

"Are you ready for diapers and long nights again? I asked him.

"I actually miss it; we may need to have a baby every couple of years."

"What happened to the guy who was terrified of fatherhood?" I laughed.

"All the good outweighs the fear, and there is just so much good," he laughed and looked over at his daughter.

Ainsley began playing louder and quickly moved into pounding on the keys with her little fists. "Play pretty," Edward called over to her and she went back to using her fingers.

He took hold of my hand and pulled me with him to the piano, "I'll play pretty and you sing pretty."

Everyone gathered around and we spent the evening reminiscing of our darkest times and our biggest accomplishments. Edward and I sang and the children all played and fought together. We were all fixed, finally, and life, although it wasn't perfect, there was just so much good.

THE END