To my dearest readers, I am truly sorry it's taken this long for an update. There has been little to no inspiration in my life over the past few months, so this story really got put on the backburner. Thank you for keeping faith in me!

No copyright infringement intended in writing this story. All characteristics, names, and likelihoods of Twilight characters were created and developed by Stephenie Meyer. I did come up with Hope and Kailey, so I can at least call them mine.

I may not own Twilight, but I own some great Twilight swag.

EPOV

"Daddy how come someone is being mean to Miss Bella?"

I'd taken Kailey out to the living room to relax for a little while as Bella and Hope slept. I thought she'd play with her dolls as she normally does, but instead she took right to my lap when I sat on the couch.

"I don't know why munchkin. I just know that we need to make Bella and Hope as happy as we can. Do you think you can help me do that?"

"Uh huh! Should I draw Bella a picture?"

"I think she'd like that. Do you want to draw in the music room? I'm going to play my piano."

"Yes please. Can I use markers?"

"I think that would be okay."

Kailey tugged on my hand after she left my lap and pulled so I would get up. She let go after I got up and darted off to her room to get her paper and markers, and met me in the music room.

"Daddy…"

"Yes munchkin?"

"May I have some water please?"

"Of course, just not near the piano okay?"

"Okay."

After I'd gotten Kailey some water, and set everything up for her, I started playing my piano. I'd had such little time to play, and there had been little to inspire me since Irina passed. I played for Kailey when she asked, but I hadn't come up with a new composition in at least six months.

Things just flowed naturally, morphing from all my feelings of mourning Irina, to Bella coming into my life, to what happened today. It was completely melancholy at first, beginning in a minor key. As the song seemed to naturally progress, things changed from minor to major and it became lighter, and seemed to almost take on a new persona.

I don't know when I had closed my eyes while playing, but after it had happened, I could see Irina in my mind. It was almost like having a vivid dream. Everything we'd shared together floated through my head. I knew the tears were welling up in my eyes, and I couldn't stop them from falling.

"Daddy why are you crying?"

I felt her little arms wrap around me, and knew she was giving all of the love she had to me.

"You don't need to be sad. Mommy wants us to be happy."

"I know she does baby."

Kailey squished my cheeks together and smiled.

"Mommy sent Bella to us, and she wants us to take care of each other. We'll make each other happy, because that's how mommy would want it."

"When did you get so incredibly smart?"

Kailey let go of my cheeks and hugged me tightly once again.

"I'm always smart daddy."

"Yes you are. Did you finish your picture for Bella?"

"Uh huh. And I made one for Hope too. Can you play me my song?"

"Your song, your song…"

I played something simple and smiled when Kailey laughed at what I was playing.

"No daddy, the song you made me when I was a baby."

"Oh that one! Well I think I remember it."

It was a song that was clearly implanted in my mind. Whenever I played her lullaby, I remembered sitting with Irina watching me, waiting for me to finish it.

Flashback

"You've been at it for hours Edward. Come to bed, the piano will still be there in the morning."

"I know, but I want it to be perfect. You know how I am."

Irina had gotten up and put her hands on my shoulders. I could feel the swell of her belly against my back as well. Turning around on the piano bench, I kissed the mound between her hips and smiled.

"Little one already knows that daddy is a perfectionist, but, I know that little one only calms down when you're playing."

"And what about when I'm not playing?"

She took my hand and placed it on the side of her stomach. I could feel the little kicks that our baby was giving and it filled my heart with more love then I thought possible.

"This is what happens between the times you play. I can't wait until I get to hold our baby in my arms and listen to you play. It'll be nice to rock her to sleep."

"So you think it's a girl?"

"I know it is. I can feel it, and Alice may have mentioned it too."

"Her and her premonitions on our future. Give me five more minutes and I'll come to bed."

"If you're not in bed by the time I'm done getting ready, you'll pay for it."

"Well in that case…"

Many of our nights had been similar. She'd been on day shifts after her first trimester, and every night, I'd play to her and the little bundle growing inside of her.

"Daddy, I love when you play. How come when mommy died you stopped?"

"I just didn't want to. Mommy and I had a lot of memories in this room. We used to rock you to sleep every night in here when you were just born."

"Will you play more from now on? Please daddy."

"I'll try to, promise."

Kailey started twiddling around with the keys and all I could do was smile. There was no real meaning to what she was doing, but she seemed to enjoy it.

"Baby girl, do you want to learn how to play?"

"Will you teach me?"

"I will if you want me to."

She hugged me with all the strength her little arms had and it made me smile. I knew Kailey was the reason I had to keep moving forward, and each day helped. Bella and Hope were the other two reasons I wanted to move forward.

"Do you want to start with your lessons right now?"

"Yes please daddy."

Kailey was a fast learner when it came to the piano. In a short half hour she'd picked up how to play a five note scale with both hands, and it did nothing but warm my heart.

"Do you think mommy will hear me whenever I play?"

I felt hands snake around me from behind and could feel Bella's head rest against my back.

"She will, even if you play quietly. And she'll help guide you when you feel lost. If you can't remember something, it'll be okay, because she'll help you. That's what angels do."

Bella had been the one to speak so freely to my daughter. When Kailey heard Bella, she stood up on the bench and tugged at Bella's hand. It didn't take much for Bella to release me and pull my little girl into her arms.

"How do you know Bella?"

"I just do. My mom does the same thing for me since she's up in heaven. And I bet that my mom is helping your mommy learn all the ways to be the best angel she can be."

Hearing little sniffles, I knew Kailey was the one crying, but Bella lifted her off the bench and held her tightly.

"You were doing very well playing sweetheart. I know your mommy would be proud of you."

"Daddy is a good teacher."

Kailey was playing with Bella's hair, which always seemed to comfort her when she was feeling sad.

"I bet he plays pretty well too then."

"Daddy is better than me. Daddy, will you play?"

I sat on the bench and smiled up to Bella and my little angel.

"Should I play your song again bumble bee?"

"Uh uh, play the song from before."

"I'll try to remember all of it."

I began playing and could feel myself becoming emotional once again, but knowing Bella was listening, I managed to rein it in and continue playing. As I finished, I felt Bella next to me. I wrapped my arms around her and felt a few tears fall. I didn't know when she'd let Kailey go, but she was no longer in the room with us.

"You're my strength Bella, and right now, I need to be yours."

"We're here for each other. Sometimes I'll need you, and sometimes you'll need me. No matter what though, we're in it together."

I kissed her like she was my last breath. It felt as though it lasted for minutes, when I knew it was only a few seconds.

"Wow."

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to…"

"No Edward, it's a good wow."

I could see the smirk playing across Bella's lips. She'd truly made me forget about everything bad in that moment. I knew I was falling fast and hard. It scared and thrilled me at the same time.

"Where'd Kailey go?"

"Hope walked in while you were playing, so I sent them to play for a while. I hope you don't mind."

"Not at all."

With that, I took her face in my hands and sweetly kissed her again. I felt myself pouring everything into that kiss.

"Mommy…"

"Looks like our time is up," she'd whispered to me. "What is it baby?"

"You th-aid you would come play with me and Kailey."

"I did, I'm sorry. Edward and I were talking a little bit. We'll come play with you right now."

I let Bella get up before me and we followed after Hope down to Kailey's playroom. The doorbell rang just as we entered.

"I'll go see who it is. Be right back."

I kissed Bella's cheek and went to the door, only to find my parents on the doorstep. My mother had her hands full, as did my father when I ushered them in.

"I brought plenty for Bella to wear, and Alice gave us some stuff for Hope. She's still at the hospital with Jasper."

"I thought you were letting him leave today dad?"

"I am. He's going in for a follow up x-ray and he had his first physical therapy session today."

"How is he?"

"As well as can be expected really. Alice is the one who needs someone else to talk to though.

"She's freaking out?"

"Of course she is. She's worried about how Jasper will manage when they don't have someone to help out."

I rolled my eyes and heard the sounds of my daughter barreling through the hallway.

"Papa! NANA!"

Esme set everything down near the door and pulled Kailey into her arms, kissing all over her little face.

"How come you're here?"

I chuckled slightly as Kailey played with my mother's hair.

"Well, your friend Hope and her mommy needed a few things, so papa and I brought some things over. Do you think you can help me put it in their room?"

Kailey nodded and let go of her grandmother. I handed a bag to Kailey and she scampered off with my mother in tow.

"Edward…"

As I turned around, I noticed tears in Bella's eyes as she walked toward me.

"Don't cry beautiful, please don't cry."

When she wrapped her arms around me, she smiled.

"Happy tears. Dr. Cullen, it's nice to see you again."

"You as well Bella. And please, call me Carlisle."

Hope had followed and cowered behind my legs.

"And it's nice to see Hope as well. I'm very sorry for the circumstances right now however."

"It's okay." Bella turned her head to look down at Hope, "Sweetheart, it's okay, he won't hurt you. He's very much like Papa Charlie."

I could feel the little girl trembling. Letting go of Bella, I crouched down to be on the same level with Hope.

"Hope, are you scared?"

She simply nodded her head and wrapped her arms around my neck. I picked her up, while rubbing her back when Kailey and Esme came back in the room.

"I wasn't sure where to put everything, so what we took in there is on the dresser."

Bella turned to look at my mother, and I felt Hope's grip loosen slightly.

"Thank you, even though we haven't formally met. I'm Bella."

Bella politely held out her hand, but my mom had none of that. She immediately pulled Bella into a tight hug which caused Hope to jump in my arms.

"Esme, and who is this beautiful little lady?"

"This is my daughter, Hope. I apologize; she's a bit shy when it comes to anyone new."

"Nothing to worry about Bella. I wish our first time meeting was under better circumstances."

Hope looked up at me and I could see the question in her eyes. I may not have known Bella and Hope for long, but I could just tell when either of them needed something.

"She's my mom…and can I tell you a secret?"

When Hope nodded her little head, I whispered into her ear.

"She gives the best cuddles. They make all the bad things go away."

Seeing Kailey out of the corner of my eye wrapped around Carlisle's leg made me smile. Hope looked to Esme in that moment and spoke very quietly.

"I-th that true?"

Kailey looked at us and nodded her head profusely. She always loved getting cuddle time from her Nana, and would tell me when I got sad that I just needed a cuddle from her too.

"Would you like to find out?"

As soon as Hope nodded, Esme stepped closer to us and placed her hand on Hope's back, which surprisingly didn't make Hope flinch as I'd seen her do before.

"Mommy?"

Bella looked on and nodded her head. Immediately, Hope let go of me and latched onto my mother. I smiled at the sight. Esme was the most gracious, and loving woman that I knew, and that she took quickly to Bella and Hope warmed my heart.

"We brought some dinner. We weren't sure if any of you would be up for going somewhere, or if Bella could endure easy-mac."

I looked at my father and smirked.

"Hey, I'm king of easy-mac!"

"Maybe daddy but it's kind of icky."

"You're just spoiled rotten by your Aunt Rose."

"Uh uh! Uncle Jasper cooks better!"

"Well then you are spoiled by both. Anyhow, thanks dad…and mom."

I pulled Bella to my side and kissed the top of her head.

"Are you hungry?"

"I could probably eat."

I smiled and watched as Kailey tugged my father into the dining room.

"It's just Chinese. Kailey's favorite is in there, and we made sure there was nothing with any type of nut, peas, or lemons."

Bella looked up at me then to my mom. I could only figure that Kailey had something to do with her knowing.

"Rose told me when she called because I mentioned bringing you something. She has to know all the kids' allergies in her class."

"Remind me to thank her, and thank you Esme. I'll definitely need to make sure I go get some groceries soon for the house. No offense Edward, but with your lack of cooking skills and Hope's allergies, I'll have three kids to cook for."

"Three kids?"

"Yes, Edward, three…Hope, Kailey, and you."

"Hard-ee-har-har Bella. Maybe you can teach me how to cook then."

"I might just have to. You know, your daughter and father might be getting a little restless waiting for us."

"You're probably right."

I took Bella's hand and walked her to the dining room while my mom followed with Hope. Kailey had the table set up and was waiting patiently in her seat, while my dad was already helping himself to some chow mein.

"Carlisle show some respect."

Bella laughed and sat down next to Kailey. When Esme tried to put Hope down, she latched on tighter and whimpered a little.

"Hope, sweetheart, you have to eat. You can sit next to Esme."

"No, plea-the mommy."

"Bella it's okay just this one time. There's really no harm coming from it."

Carlisle rolled his eyes and Bella looked on with trepidation.

"I don't want her to become dependent on comfort for everything. It's not that I don't trust you Esme. I just feel the 'just this once' could turn into more."

"It won't, will it Hope?"

Hope shook her head relentlessly. Kailey had done the same exact thing right after Irina had passed. I allowed her to sit with my mother that one time, and that was that. After the one time, she never again asked.

I sat down next to Bella and pulled her chair closer to mine.

"She'll be okay for tonight, and so will you."

Bella huffed out a breath and let it go. I rubbed soothing circles on her lower back throughout dinner, and it went without incident. Kailey ate way more than she should have, as did Hope. It made me happy to see both girls enjoy themselves and carefree, if only for an hour.

"Nana, will you stay and read a story?"

I felt Bella tense up again and wrapped my arm around her.

"This will give us a chance to talk Bella. Hope and Kailey can have some Nana snuggle time."

"But she's…"

I put my finger up to Bella's lips to silence her. She looked at me like I was a bit crazy, but I ignored it.

"Mom, will you help the girls get ready for bed?"

She nodded and got up with Hope still in her arms. Kailey took her hand and started to lead her out of the room.

"Wait!"

Hope was looking at Bella and I with tear filled eyes. Esme put Hope down and she ran to us.

"We'll still be here baby girl. Esme will help you get ready for bed and read you a story."

"But I want you to…and Edward."

As I pulled Hope up into my own lap, she looked down at her own. I lifted her chin up and smiled at her.

"We are going to be here still when Esme's all done with her story. Then your mommy and I will come in and read you another story okay?"

"But I want you and mommy."

I could feel her tears seeping through my shirt and her little body trembling.

"I'm going to take Kailey to get ready for bed Edward. Carlisle and I will see ourselves out."

Kailey had come over and hugged my arm.

"Goodnight daddy. I love you."

"I love you too pumpkin. I'll see you in the morning."

"Goodnight Bella. I'll leave my favorite teddy bear in your room for my sister."

Bella looked curiously at me, and then back to Kailey.

"Your sister?"

"Yes. Hope is my sister now. Now and forever. I love you Bella."

She quickly hugged Bella then scampered off with my mom. Bella watched as she walked away and I took her hand.

"In a very short time, you and Hope have come to mean a lot to Kailey…and to me."

"I can't…we can't…Edward it's too much too soon."

"It might seem that way, and normally, I'd agree. But Bella, we care about you. I care about you."

"What happens if things don't…"

"They will work. Let's get this one ready for bed, then we can talk some more."

I got up and headed toward the guest room. I knew Hope was getting tired again just from her grip loosening on my shirt. Bella soon followed me and took a couple things to the bathroom with her.

"Hope do you want to stay in these pajamas, or change?"

"Th-tay."

"Your mommy is in the bathroom, and I need to go get a book for us to read. Do you think you'll be okay if I leave you for a couple minutes? Kailey left her favorite teddy bear for you."

Hope nodded slightly and curled up around the bear. I left the room to not only get a book, but change out of my jeans and into some sleep pants. When I'd entered Kailey's room to get a book, she was fast asleep already and my mom was just watching her.

"You and dad can go. You don't have to stay here with us."

"I know. I just wanted to be sure she was fully asleep. She didn't even want a story tonight, just to pray for everything to be okay."

"They will be. I'll make sure of it."

"I love you Edward. Keep them all safe."

"I will. Love you too mom."

Esme got up and I heard her quietly tell my father that it was time to go. I kissed Kailey one last time and headed back toward the guest room. Bella was curled up with Hope, whispering quietly to her.

"I know baby, and Papa will be okay. We'll be okay too. Edward promised to keep us safe."

"And I will, no matter what."

I sat down on the bed and Hope crawled up onto my lap. Rubbing her back, I looked over toward Bella.

"She's worried about her Papa Charlie."

"Why are you worried Hope?"

"He ith all alone."

"He'll be okay though. Your papa is very safe and always will be, I promise."

"O..kay."

Hope's sobs broke up her answer, and she leaned heavily against me. I kissed the top of her head, and Bella moved closer to me.

"How about a story before you go to sleep?"

"Okay. Mommy?"

"What is it sweetie?"

"I love you."

"I love you too. Do you want me to read, or Edward?"

"Both."

Bella looked at me, and I opened up the book. Together, we read a chapter to Hope while she fell asleep. Since I'd finished the chapter, Bella had fallen asleep as well. I knew we needed to talk some more, but I also knew she was exhausted still from the events of the day. I tucked the two of them in and kissed both of their foreheads.

"Thank you Edward. Love you."

I heard it in a whisper as I was leaving the room. Surely, Bella was only giving the sentiment because she was asleep, not because she actually loved me…yet.

A/N Again, thank you, thank you, THANK YOU…for sticking by this story and waiting so long for an update. I know this seems a little…off probably, but I'm really trying to move it forward. Bigger developments will come in the next chapter with "The talk."

Don't forget, you can find me over at .com…on Twitter Rosmelie – or doing my newest project PLTshirts – you can find us on Twitter and Facebook using that tag!