I sat in a cell as my knuckles ached and my heart broke. I couldn't get the look on Jamie's face out of my mind. I considered the possibility of her finding out someday I wasn't her biological father, but I thought it would be further down the road, when she would be able to understand.
My biggest fear was the possibility of losing her before I got to explain. She would die thinking I had lied to her and not understanding why. I also worried about Bella and how she was being treated by the Biers. I wanted to believe she would remain strong, but I wasn't sure.
I waited for almost three hours when someone came and told me I was being released on bail and had to return at a later date to see the judge. I walked out of the police department with my paperwork and saw Alice waiting for me.
"Jasper called me," she said to explain. "Bella called Jasper."
I followed her to her car and when we both sat she turned to look at me. "You're not allowed back in the hospital."
"Bullshit," I said forcefully.
"Bella said to take you to the hotel and she'll meet you there later."
A small part of me felt relief that I wouldn't have to face Jamie just yet. I wanted to believe Bella would fix it all and I could continue on ignorantly claiming her as my biological daughter. But another part of me wanted to see Jamie so badly and make sure we were still good.
"How's Jamie?" I asked and wasn't sure I wanted the answer.
"She scared and confused, some prick shows up and tells her he is her father and will save her life and then the man she thinks is her father beats the man bloody. She doesn't know what to think," Alice said as she started the car.
"I just can't do anything right, can I?" I said and sunk low into the seat.
"Bella will fix it," Alice said. "Jamie will trust whatever Bella tells her. Did Jasper tell you his father called him about four years ago?"
"No," I said and wondered why Jasper never told me. I thought back over the years and couldn't remember Jasper ever talking about his father. I guess I always figured the guy died.
"He talked to the man for over an hour, but then went right to his mother to have her explain everything. Jamie won't believe this guy unless Bella tells her she can."
"She needs to hear it from me, not Bella," I said and stared out the window at the cold rain.
"What are you going to tell her?" Alice asked.
"I don't know," I said softly.
She dropped me off at the hotel and I took a hot shower and put on clean clothes. I waited for Bella to show up and she came after lunch when Jamie had finally fallen asleep. I looked at her face as she walked through the door, trying to read her. She walked over to where I sat and knelt in front of me on her knees as she lay her head on my lap.
"Is everything okay?" I asked.
"She wants you, Edward. She is crying and wants to see you. Are you strong enough?"
"What did you tell her?" I asked.
"Nothing, she wouldn't listen to me, she just kept asking for you."
I had to believe that was a good sign and she still loved me. "Did you talk to Riley?"
Bella raised her head and wiped away her tears before saying, "He went to the press so his father can use the story for his run for governor next term. They are only using her. They are also looking into your past and talking to anyone who knows you."
"Oh, God," I said and Bella put her head back on my lap. My life was going to be splashed all over the web and Jamie would be able to read all about it in years to come.
"How did he get the tape?" I asked thinking Tanya had betrayed me.
"They had you followed when you landed. Tanya is out of town so they went through her place."
"What do you want me to tell Jamie?" I asked.
"Tell her the truth, Edward. If Mr. Biers is going to use her for an election we can't keep it quiet anymore."
"I have to get in her room, Bella. I can't do this through the intercom."
"Okay, let's go over tonight when it's late and I'll get you in," she said and I nodded.
I got out my computer and tried to look up stories and poems, anything to help Jamie understand what I wanted to tell her. I finally decided to talk from my heart and let whatever happens, come out naturally. Bella went back after a couple of hours and when she returned I headed back to the hospital with her.
She showed me the locker where a fresh gown and face mask hung and I gloved up after scrubbing my hands and arms. I walked into the room and saw Jamie lying with her back to the door. I sat on the bed and leaned back against the pillow.
"Jamie, it's daddy," I said and she spun around the grabbed me tightly by the waist. I held her and tried to clear my throat so I could talk. "Honey, I love you so much," I said and couldn't get anything else out.
"I don't want him," she said with anger in her voice.
I was so tempted to tell her Riley was her donor and nothing more. I could say he was deranged and as long as he gave her new marrow we would let him think whatever he wanted, but I couldn't do that to her. She trusted me like a father and I had to let her know she always could.
"Jamie, what does the word father mean to you?" I asked.
"Someone who is my daddy," she answered.
"What makes a daddy, how can you tell if someone is a daddy?"
"If they play with you, and take care of you, and love you," she said.
"Well, that makes me your daddy, right?" I asked and she nodded against my stomach. "We're a family, because I love you and your mommy. I take care of you both and I play with you. I would die for either one of you. When your mother needed a father for you, I wanted the job so badly. I came from Chicago just for a chance to be your daddy. You don't have my blood in your veins, but you have my entire heart."
"Who was that man?" she asked.
"Your mommy met him in high school, and when she got pregnant he ran away. She raised you all by herself and thought maybe Jake could be your daddy, but he was too selfish. Your mom thought I was too young, so when I got older I came back and asked again if I could be your dad, she could tell how much I loved you and said yes."
"Will I have to live with him, he said I would come see him in the summers," she said with a shaky voice and my entire body tensed up.
"He'll have a rod shoved up his ass before you'll ever spend a minute with him," I said angrily and Jamie raised her head and said, "You said a bad word."
"Daddy's sorry," I said and kissed her with the mask on.
She smiled and said, "You're my daddy."
"Yes, honey, I am. When I married your mom I went to court and had you legally made my daughter. Nobody can take you from me, Jamie. I'm your daddy for life."
"I was scared that when I went to heaven you wouldn't come," she said as she returned her head to my stomach.
"I'll be there for years waiting for you," I said. "I'll stand right by the door and watch for you to join me when you are an old, old lady."
"Like thirty," she said.
"Don't make daddy hurt you," I said and pulled her up to my chest as I laughed.
We were quiet for awhile and she finally said, "I think daddy's get their kids a pet, too."
"Only really special daddy's do that."
"I think you're a really special daddy," she said and I knew she was going to break some boy's heart one day.
"Jamie, you get your new blood on Monday and I want you to concentrate on getting that blood to engraft and start making more and more bone marrow. You'll get better and I'll let you pick any pet you want, okay?"
"Okay," she said with a smile and I could tell she was trying to fight sleep. I held her in my arms as I sang softly through the mask and she quickly fell right to sleep. I didn't want to leave, I wanted to hold her in my arms for the entire night, but I knew if a nurse came in I would be in trouble, so I gently placed her on the pillow and left the room.
Bella was waiting anxiously for me and when she saw my face she relaxed and smiled. "Everything's good?" she asked.
"Yes, but we need to have a conversations with the Biers, Riley thinks he can have visitation with Jamie."
"What?" Bella yelled. "He signed away his rights."
"But that was before Jamie was political gold. I'm afraid they'll fight for her."
At first Bella looked like she was going to cry, but she suddenly raised her chin and shook her head back and forth. "I'm not a stupid kid anymore. The Biers can't intimidate me. I'll beat them at their own game," she said and opened her phone and looked up the number to a news station.
I quickly took the phone from her hand and said, "I'll support you in anything you want to do…after Monday. For the next two days act like Riley won, and after the transplant you can give him hell."
She nodded and then smiled as she pulled me to the elevator. The door closed and she attacked my mouth, kissing me with such force I got hard and wanted to have her right there in the elevator. We drove back to the hotel quickly and she continued her assault as my hands moved over her entire body.
I pulled the card key from my pocket as she continued to kiss me and when I pulled her into the room she pushed me back against the door. I laughed and her mouth moved from my lips to my neck and her hands began removing my jeans.
When she pushed my jeans down she lowered with them and held my hips firmly. I closed my eyes and remembered the first time she did this to me, in my bed, refusing to let me make love to her. My hands hit the door as the sensation of her hot mouth registered. There was nothing to hold onto so I held the door handle with one hand and pressed my palm to the wall with the other hand.
Every coherent thought left my brain and nothing remained but the feeling of her licking and sucking. I was giving her total control and keeping my hips still. This was a gift she was giving me and I wouldn't ruin it by taking over.
"Ah shit," I yelled and felt my ass tighten as she pulled me deep into her throat. My release was painfully sweet as every muscle I had clenched and jerked. I collapsed back against the door and she kissed her way up my body. I gained control enough to wrap my arms around her and bury my face in her hair.
"Thank you, Bella, for loving me and marrying me and giving me a daughter," I said with tears as my entire body tingled from her expertise.
"You made everything in my life good," she whispered.
I slept soundly in her arms knowing Jamie still loved me and there were no more secrets. We were a family and nothing could tear us apart. I heard the ringing in my sleep and couldn't concentrate enough to answer the phone. Bella moved to reach for my phone and I could hear her talking softly.
She put it back on the nightstand and shook me lightly. "Edward, Dr. Dunn got a call from Riley. He's backed out of the donation."
I rubbed my eyes and sat up to look at the clock. It was almost midnight and I knew the first plane to Arizona or Chicago left at five thirty. I sat on the edge of the bed and rubbed my eyes before I stood.
"Where are you going?" Bella asked.
"I'm going to Sea-Tac," I said as I pulled on my jeans.
"What are you going to do?" she asked with fear, or tears, I wasn't sure which.
"I'm going to either drag him back to the hospital, or kill him," I said and began putting on my shoes.
"Edward, calm down," she said and jumped up to get dressed. She ran into the bathroom to change her tampon and I grabbed my keys and left.
Riley Biers dangled hope in front of my daughter's eyes and let her down all over again. I was tired of dealing with him. I wasn't playing his game anymore. I reached in my glove box and pulled out my Swiss army knife. If he wouldn't share his marrow with Jamie, he didn't get to keep his life, it would be that simple.
My phone rang and I reached in my pocket and shut it off.
I parked in the underground garage and walked slowly toward the terminal. It was quiet with only cleaning crews around. I sat on a bench just inside the automatic doors so I could see the length of the ticket counters. If the place got too busy I would move to the security section and wait there.
I was tired so my fuse was short. I didn't plan what I would say, I was simply telling him he had the choice to return to the hospital or die. Without him Jamie was sure to die so I didn't care what happened to me.
I sat there for over an hour when several men came running through the door. I recognized Mr. Biers and jumped up and walked toward him. "Where is he?" I screamed.
"He isn't here?" his father asked.
"Are you looking for him?" I asked in surprise. He refused to answer and began looking around the terminal. "He's not here," I said and he finally turned his attention back to me.
"Where else have you looked?" he asked me.
"He'll catch a flight to Chicago or Arizona," I said and he shook his head vehemently. I watched his eyes and could see he was very worried about something, and since he was a politician I knew he worried about his image.
"Where do you think he'll go?" I asked.
Mr. Biers looked around and took a step closer to me in order to speak softly. "He's met a girl who doesn't believe in medical intervention. She believes illness is punishment for sin and will end their relationship if he goes through with this."
I stared at him to see if I could sense any deception. "You forced him to come didn't you?" I asked.
"You threatened me Mr. Cullen," he said angrily.
"Who brought the cameras?" I asked. I wasn't sure if it was Riley wanting the exposure or his father and I also wasn't sure I would believe his answer.
"I am trying to fix my sons mistakes," he said and I laughed, because I wasn't his constituent and I didn't buy it for a second.
"You need to understand Jamie is my daughter. Riley doesn't have a legal right to her, at all. But he does owe her the chance to live. She has never asked for anything from him, he owes her this."
"I would appreciate it if you were very vocal about my desire to help you find my son," he said and I shook my head at his audacity.
"My daughter is sitting in a hospital after receiving massive amounts of chemo to destroy her immune system. I don't give a fuck about your political career or helping you save face to the voters of Arizona. You brought the cameras here; you deal with the fall out. Where is this psycho bitch girlfriend from?"
"Boston originally, she lives in Canada now."
"Where in Canada?" I asked.
"I don't know," he said and shook his head.
"I hope you find your son before I do, sir. He won't have the chance to leave another kid with some unsuspecting woman." I turned to walk off and he called his men over and began strategizing.
I drove toward the hotel praying he wasn't pulling a trick by getting me to leave so his son could waltz through the airport and get the hell out of town. I arrived at the hotel and found Bella was gone. I remembered my phone was turned off so I switched it on and had several messages. I didn't check any, I just called Bella.
"Where in the hell are you?" she screamed so loudly it hurt my ears.
"I'm at the hotel, I lost Riley," I said sadly.
"Edward, do you have any idea how badly I want to kick your ass right now. You are such an idiot sometimes. I'm staring at Riley's fugly face right now."
"What….where?" I asked in shock.
"He wasn't going to the airport and if you would have waited you would have known it, too," she screamed.
"Where are you?" I asked her.
"At the hospital, watching Riley get stitched up. Get your ass over here."
I drove with confusion. I wasn't sure what happened but I had to hope he changed his mind about helping Jamie. I also wished I could have been the one to make him need stitches. I headed into the emergency room which was full of people even though it was in the middle of the night.
"I'm looking for Bella Cullen," I said to a young nurse and she began looking through her computer for the name. "She's with Riley Biers," I clarified.
"Oh, in exam room three," she said and opened the electronic door for me. I walked down the hallway and pulled the curtain at exam room three. Riley was on the table as a doctor worked on his scalp. Bella looked over at me and sighed loudly.
"What happened?" I asked.
"My father has buddies on the Seattle force," she said with a sly smile.
"They roughed him up?" I asked with a hopeful voice.
"They found him," Bella said and tried to keep from smiling.
"Who tried to knock some sense into him?" I asked.
Bella pointed at her purse and I looked down to see a brick lying inside the large black bag. I looked at Bella with wide eyes and she shrugged. "It slipped," she said and I covered my mouth to hide my laughter.
I walked over to the table and looked down at Riley. He looked totally out of it and I knew he didn't know where he was or what happened. "Are you keeping him overnight?" I asked the doctor.
"Yes, the officers will sit outside his door," he said and I nodded happily.
"I'm going to check on Jamie, can you keep a protective eye on Riley, I would hate for the muggers to return for him," Bella said and I smiled and got a little excited at the sight of her.
It was amazing how Riley was suddenly fine with medical intervention when it pertained to him. He was very eager for pain medication when he was the one in pain. I was grateful he was stuck in the hospital for Saturday. His harvest would take place on Sunday and he could go straight to hell after that.
Bella was approached for an interview and asked the reporter to please check back with her on Tuesday, she would be ready to talk then. I made sure there was police outside of Riley's room and then went to see Bella and Jamie.
The room was dark and Bella was wiping Jamie's face with a wet rag as she whimpered, still half asleep. I watched her care for her daughter, after assaulting a man on her behalf and I realized how strong and fierce Bella was. She didn't need me, she wanted me, and that made me love her all the more.
I found a comfortable chair and sat down, within minutes I was asleep. Angela woke me with a hot cup of coffee. I sat up and stretched, "Thanks, Ang."
"Mr. Biers is looking for you," she said with a soft smile.
"Junior or Senior?"
"Junior, he's in room 420."
I got up and headed to the room with my coffee. I wanted a shower and a toothbrush but I was too curious to hear what Riley wanted to say. I walked into his room to find him sitting up with a bandaged head.
"You're a patient in a children's hospital...how apropos," I said and sat in a chair. I felt the urge to punch the guy so I folded my arms tightly to keep control.
"I wanted to explain…."
"I don't really care, so save it." If he thought he could unburden his conscience with me he was wrong. I felt nothing but distain for this jerk.
"I'll go through with it, Jamie's a good kid," he said quietly.
"I want to make something clear right here and now. You are not getting visitation with her. You are her donor, you donated sperm and now marrow, other than that you have no relationship with her at all."
He nodded and kept his eyes down in humiliation. I finally had the chance to ask him the one question I needed answered. "Riley, why didn't you tell Bella you weren't coming back. She could have given the baby up and continued on with her life. There was no reason to lie to her."
He took a deep breath and shook his head for a moment. "I liked the idea of something of me existing in the world. My father has always over shadowed me and this was something he couldn't control. I knew Bella was a great girl and would be a good mother. I wanted the kid with Bella."
"I'm going to give you a little advice, man to man. If the woman you're with would leave you for saving the life of a child, you are with the wrong woman. In fact, I would love for her to come inside this hospital and look at the faces around here and tell me her beliefs. She is not on a higher spiritual plane, she's a heartless bitch."
"I've never been in love before," he said without looking at me.
"She would have left you bleeding and lying in the streets after being mugged, do you really think that is love?" I was stunned he would fall for someone so callous after having Bella. Of course Jane may have scared the heart right out of him, but if he couldn't see straight after talking with Jamie, there was no hope for him.
"Is that what happened to me, I was mugged?" he asked and I chuckled.
"Yeah, and be happy man, I was going to kill you, not just injure you." I stood and looked down at him, "You're doing the right thing, you're still a stupid fucker, but this is a step in the right direction."
When I reached the door he called out for me and I turned to look at him. "Edward, Jamie loves you very much. She talked about you constantly when I spoke to her. She's lucky to have you in her life."
I felt tears sting my tired eyes and I shook my head. "No, I'm the lucky one. I don't deserve her, but thank God she wants me anyway." I left the room and found Bella waiting by the elevator. I took her hand and asked about Jamie, who had gone for her final chemo and radiation before the transplant.
"She's so weak, it terrifies me to see her like this, but she is still upbeat and believes she can beat this."
"Of course she can," I said and pulled Bella into the elevator when the doors opened.
We went to the cafeteria and got some food. We were both exhausted and I tried to talk Bella into sleeping at the hotel and let Angela care for Jamie, but she refused to consider it. "Jamie sleeps and I'll sleep along with her."
"Okay, so tell me what happened last night," I asked.
"Oh yeah, I'm pissed at you," she said with a half smile. "If you would have waited I could have told you my father would help, but you took off and turned off your phone. What if something happened to Jamie and I couldn't reach you?"
"I know, you're right, I was just so over dealing with him. I've worried about him for the past four months and I snapped." I gave her the best sexy smile I had and asked, "Do you forgive me?"
"Oh shove it, Edward, I'm not a teenager anymore," she said but her eyes looked away so she wouldn't fall victim to my charm. "He was heading to Canada; I knew he wouldn't return to Arizona. Riley's a chicken and he wouldn't go anywhere you could find him. My dad issued a warrant and his rental car was spotted north of the city. They picked him up and brought him here. I went to hug him but my arm slipped and my heavy purse hit him in the head. I feel really awful about it."
I laughed and reached for her hand. I stared at the fingers which gave love, and hope, and tenderness. Bella had the best fingers in the world. And knowing they were used to hurt Riley gave me so much pleasure.
A chair at our table moved and we both looked up to see Lieutenant Governor Biers sit down at our table. I groaned and sat back in my chair, "I thought you left."
"Did you hurt my son?" he asked looking right at me. God, how I wish I could tell him it was me.
"I was with you asshole," I said harshly. "The cops found him after being mugged. Next, you'll think Bella beat him up," I laughed and Bella kicked me under the table.
"I would like permission to speak to you both on camera," he said and my mouth literally fell open. He had to know we would fry his ass and blame his son for everything. It suddenly dawned on me, it was what he wanted. Riley would be used as the unstable son who tried to ruin his saintly father, as daddy tried to stand by him.
"I have nothing to say," Bella said but I interrupted.
"We are not speaking until after the procedure, and then will let you know," I added.
"I'm flying home today," he said and reached in his pocket for a card. "You can contact me here. I look forward to talking." He stood and turned around to add as an afterthought, "I hope everything goes well for your daughter."
After he left the room completely Bella turned to speak to me. "Edward, you're going to talk to that man on camera?"
"Yes, I am. He is a ruthless bastard who is going to hang his son to save his career; I'm going to hang them both."
"Edward, please just let it go, they are dangerous people," she begged.
"Right, and they need to be stopped. If I expose him on national television I become the safest man in America." I opened my phone and called someone who I prayed was smarter than I was.
Bella's face grew angry when I said, "Hi Tanya, its Edward."
I knew Bella thought I was insane for trusting Tanya, but she didn't know her the way I did. Tanya was the most trustworthy person I knew. Her beef with Bella was female jealousy and nothing more. She gave me the delta to signify my change, but she never believed it would be a permanent thing. Tanya knew me too well.
After everything that happened with the Biers I knew she was innocent. They broke into her cottage and found the tape while she was out of town. I was just grateful Bella wasn't staying there at the time. I also knew Tanya wouldn't leave something like that just lying around.
"Edward, if you want to use the cottage go ahead. My parents are gone too; do you still have a key?"
"I don't want the cottage, but I have to tell you it was broken into and the tape I gave you was stolen."
"Are you sure nothing else was taken?" she asked. "I have some very incriminating photos."
I turned my body away from Bella and asked quietly, "Of me?"
She laughed loudly and said, "No, dear narcissistic Edward. I sleep with a lot more men than just you."
I blushed a little at my ignorance and turned to see Bella glaring at me, so I got right to the point. "Tanya did you happen to copy the tape?"
"The tape they got was the copy. I…edited it," she said and I wanted the kiss her, or maybe just shake her hand appreciatively.
"Is there a way for me to get the tape before Tuesday?" I asked her.
"Sure, I'll call my lawyer and have him courier it to you before Tuesday. Do you want it to come to the hospital? She asked.
"No, send it to the hotel," I said and gave her the name and address. I trusted the hotel to put it in their vault and worried about the expansive hospital losing track of a package. "Tanya, you're a lifesaver."
"I miss you, Edward. You were such a great friend," she said and I knew what she really meant.
"I'll see you later, have a great vacation," I said and hung up the phone to face Bella. "Don't look at me like that, she copied the tape and left the edited version in her cottage. We have the Biers right where we want them."
"I'm sure she can come up with a way for you to thank her," Bella said and bit into her toast.
"I'll let you whack her with your purse, okay?" I teased.
"Don't think I won't," Bella said.
We ate slowly and went back upstairs to wait for Jamie to return. We sat in a chair and both feel asleep. I could hear Jamie crying loudly before the wheelchair rounded the corner. I opened my eyes and looked toward the sound. When she saw me her crying stopped and she let her head drop as she gasped for breaths.
I covered my mouth with my mask and remained seated but asked her what was wrong.
"Nothing," she said as she was wheeled into her room. Bella jumped up to head to the locker room and Angela entered already covered in protective gear. She turned on the microphone and said softly, "Anxiety is brought on by the treatments. I'll give her something to help her rest." She walked over to Jamie's IV and injected something into it.
Jamie rolled onto her side and stared at me through the glass. I smiled weakly but she didn't respond. I mouthed the words, I love you, and she nodded just a bit. I was desperate to find something to make her smile. When Bella entered the room I left to search for a pet shop.
I found a small shop with a litter of new kittens. I explained to the owner what I wanted to do and she agreed to help me. We put the kittens in a basket and went into the back room where I handed her my cell phone and recorded a message for Jamie.
"Hi sweetheart, I have something to brighten your day. Some kittens want to say, Hi, to you." I held up one of the tiny writhing animals as he protested loudly. "Wow, this one is a crybaby." I leaned closer to the screen and said, "Kind of like mommy." I held the tiny cat close to the screen and used my Tiffany voice to say, "Hi, Jamie, get better so I can live with you."
I held up each of the five newborns and had each one say something to Jamie. I sent the message to Bella's phone and thanked the shop owner for her help. She had tears in her eyes and said, "When she is allowed to have a kitten, come see me and I'll give her one for free."
"Thank you," I smiled. "I promise we'll purchase enough supplies to make it up to you."
I headed to the hotel to get some sleep and hoped Bella would be able to rest. We couldn't afford for her to get sick. I got a message as I drove, Edward, thank you. She loved the message and actually laughed out loud. You're a wonderful father.
Her words were just what I needed to hear and I slept soundly for most of the afternoon. The next couple of days were a blur. Jamie was very weak and spent most of her time asleep. Riley had the procedure and left the hospital limping as if he had been severely wounded. He was such a pussy and it sickened me to look at him.
Jamie sat in the infusion chair with the bag of donated marrow in her hand as she smiled for a picture. It made me a bit jealous that it was Riley's marrow in the bag and I couldn't save my daughter. Bella and I were covered in protective gear and we hugged each other as we huddled as a family. I could tell Bella was offering a silent prayer and I worried what God would think if I did the same.
"Daddy," Jamie said with a weak voice. "If this doesn't work, I'll wait for you in heaven."
"Look for me by the door, when you're way past thirty," I said and she smiled.
They hooked up the bag and we watched it travel into the tube attached to her chest. Jamie glanced at it and then back at us. "Here goes nothing," she said.
I wondered if the blood was grateful to be out of Riley's foul body and into such a sweet vessel. We all stared at it as if our will could convince it to engraft and produce healthy marrow. We knew it was possible to have a second transplant, but Jamie's body was so weak there was little hope she could survive a second one. All of our hope rested with this one procedure.
Alice and Rose had taken the time to make a video for Jamie during the transfusion. They went to the school and got all of her friends to say some words of encouragement. They even had Renee film something for the video. Charlie looked so uncomfortable as he spoke his sentiments and it made me chuckle. When my parents spoke I cried like a baby. I couldn't begin to repay them for all their generosity and love. I made a vow to be out of their house and out of their way by summer.
Jamie was taken back to her room as Bella and I sat with the transplant team and went over every issue we could think of. Pneumonia was the biggest worry and basically told us she wouldn't survive if she got it. We discussed her care if the bone marrow engrafted and took over production. We would take her home but she would be under constant care for at least six months.
My medical training and the fact we lived with my father pleased them greatly, but it worried me and added more stress to my shoulders. I now understood the need to get the patients home quickly; it made the doctors feel less responsible.
All we could do now is wait.
Jamie was on massive doses of antibiotics and receiving blood platelets to counteract possible bleeding. Her blood was being drawn often from her port but she slept most of the time. We got a call from Mr. Biers and agreed to a sit down interview with all parties.
A camera crew showed up at the hospital PR room and we sat with the transplant team for what we knew was not going to be a medical report. The doctors spoke briefly about bone marrow transplants and Jamie's chance of survival. The interview quickly moved to Bella and Riley.
"Mrs. Cullen, is it true your daughter was unaware of who her father was?"
"No, she knows Edward is her father," Bella answered.
"So she didn't know Riley was her biological father?"
"He was a sperm donor, never a father."
"But he was your high school boyfriend, correct?"
"He was the boyfriend of many high school girls," she said bluntly and the reporter laughed.
"Mr. Cullen, you had quite the reputation with the girls too, I understand."
"Teenage boys are a scourge on society," I said honestly. "I've done a lot I am ashamed of."
"Well, to be honest we tried to get several girls to tell us about the skeletons in your closet, but none were willing to talk."
My eyes opened wide and I could have been knocked over with a feather. I thought they would have jumped at the chance to tell what an ass I had been.
"As you can tell, they were all too good for me," I admitted.
"Would you like to share anything?"
I laughed and Bella did too. "I think I'll keep it to myself."
"Lieutenant Governor Biers, when did you find out that you had a granddaughter?"
"Excuse me," Bella interrupted. "He is not her grandfather. She has two wonderful men, Charlie Swan and Carlisle Cullen, who are her grandfathers."
"Okay, Mr. Biers, when did you learn your son would become a marrow donor?"
"I heard about it when Mr. Cullen showed up to talk to my son. I had no idea the child existed."
"That's a lie," Bella said loudly. "You came to my home six years ago and asked me to move to Washington to live with my father. You told me my daughter was a liability to your political party."
"Is that true Mr. Biers?"
"I knew my son was involved with a girl who had a child; I didn't know it was his."
"Really?" Bella asked, "Because I hadn't seen your son in over a year when you showed up."
"I would have insisted Riley stay if I knew."
"So why did you write a check to me for fifty thousand dollars last May?"
"My son said a woman he knew needed help, I was being philanthropic."
"Did you hear that America. If you need anything Mr. Biers will send you money with a simple suggestion from his son." I was so proud of Bella and her ability to make the entire Biers family look like asses.
"Let's talk about the transplant. Now Riley was a perfect match, is that correct?"
"Yes, he is. But he put my family through hell, Edward had to force him into being tested and then to show up and donate. He tried everything he could to get out of it."
"My son has a conflict of interest. His religious beliefs are against medical intervention."
"He didn't complain when he was mugged and needed stitches and pain medication. In fact, he begged quite profusely for treatment," Bella added.
I could tell Mr. Biers was growing angry, his face was red and his lips were drawn into a tight line. So I added the final blow. I pulled the tape from my pocket and said, "My wife and I are only worried about the welfare of our daughter. This other stuff is only posturing for the cameras. Here is a tape of my conversation with Riley; you'll know how I convinced him after hearing this. My lawyer has another copy," I added to scare Mr. Biers further. I handed the tape to the reporter and took Bella's hand and stood.
We walked from the room as Riley's father spoke angrily to the reporter. We didn't wait to hear his words, they didn't matter to us. Our focus was on Jamie and the hope her nightmare was going to come to an end.
We stood in front of the glass and watched her sleep, hooked up to so many medications pumping into her frail body. This couldn't be our final chapter, it just couldn't. There was too much of a story left to live and it wouldn't be the same with our precious daughter at our side.
I finally did the one thing I was terrified of doing. I closed my eyes and said silently, "God, I know you love her, but I need her. I'm grateful for everything you have given me, I don't deserve any of it, but Jamie is not something I can give up right now. Let her stay and I'll do my best to save other children, I'll be your hands here on earth."
I opened my eyes to see Jamie staring at me. I blew her a kiss and she smiled. I inhaled sharply and Bella turned to look at me. "Are you okay?" she asked.
"I have to be, I'm a father," I said and pulled her into my arms as we both smiled at our Angel.
I was prepared for a long road, with many ups and downs. I knew there would be days when I wouldn't be sure if Jamie lived or died. I was certain there would be long nights spent on my knees as I begged God to let me keep my girl, but I wasn't prepared for what happened.
Jamie never had a single complication, not even so much as a low grade fever. She got stronger and stronger and came home two weeks early. Bella was relentless in her quest to keep Jamie germ free. The better Jamie got, the more time Bella spent on her bars.
I worked late hours, helping Jasper with the overload of work I had caused and as Jamie says, "Keeping my germs out of the house."
The highlight came in May when Jamie got permission from the doctor to attend a birthday party. She wore her mask but had a ball playing with kids and being the center of attention. I walked in the house after work and performed my usual routine of showering, changing clothing and finally coming out of my room to see Jamie waiting for me.
"Dad, look what I won at the party," she said enthusiastically and held up a small fish bowl with a beta fish.
"Wow, that's gorgeous, how did you win it?" I asked her.
"We played musical chairs, I guess with all the sitting I've done I was a pro," she laughed and I laughed along with her.
"Did you tell your friends you'll be moving to Chicago in two months?" I asked and watched her reaction.
"Yeah, maybe we'll have a party before I go?" she suggested.
"That's a great idea, since you didn't get a birthday party," I said and her eyes grew wide and she ran off to find her mother.
I followed her and found Bella on the phone. When I walked toward her she held up a small cellophane bag with writing on it. I took it from her hand and read, Bella Bar, written in a beautiful script. I smiled and she held up her thumb and smiled.
I waited for her to hang up and Jamie jumped into the conversation first. "Mom, can I have a party before we move?"
"A party?" Bella asked and glanced at me.
"I think a goodbye party is in order. A barbeque or something for her friends," I offered. "I want Perry Smith wearing a mask in case he tries to kiss you," I said and Jamie hit my arm.
"Maybe I would be the one kissing him," she teased and my stomach fell into my feet.
Bella laughed loudly as my face drained of blood. "Oh God," I moaned and sat down. "Put her back in the hospital," I said and was only half teasing.
I suddenly saw myself driving around late at night trying to find her car, or looking around the house for any signs she had been home with a boy while we were gone. I worried about lunch hours in a boy's car and parties on the beach. I couldn't breathe and had to place my head between my legs.
"Remember we wanted this problem," Bella said to remind me how close we came to losing her.
I looked at Jamie's smiling innocent face and said, "Promise me I'll be the only man you ever love."
She shook her head and said, "I love Justin Bieber."
"She has no taste," I said to Bella and she laughed and agreed with me. Jamie ran from the room to begin her party planning so I pulled Bella onto my lap.
"The wrapper looks amazing," I said and she lit up.
"I found a manufacturer willing to take a line of credit. I'm so scared but Jasper insists it's a rush."
"Jasper is an addict, everything is a rush to him," I teased and she took a deep breath.
"Edward, if this works out, I'll be able to finance your medical school. I really want this to work out," she said, "But I feel Jamie is our miracle and I'm pushing it to expect more."
"This isn't trying for more, Bella. This is developing the talent you always had within that had to wait. This was your path all along."
She kissed me and I pulled her into my erection and we both sighed loudly. We were interrupted by Jamie coming into the room with her fish. "I think he's sick, he doesn't move," she said with sad eyes.
"It's a beta fish, honey. They rarely move," I explained.
Her eyes narrowed and she huffed loudly. "Who's heard of a fish that doesn't swim, it is a waste of fishiness," she complained.
"You can flush in down the toilet," I suggested and she gasped loudly.
"Dad, that's not funny," she yelled and stormed out of the room.
"Edward," Bella said softly. "You haven't know Jamie when she was healthy, you better hold on tight, love, because you have no idea what is headed for you."
And Bella was right, the healthier Jamie grew the stronger her personality became. She amazed me, frustrated me, and pissed me off, often. But I wouldn't trade a moment of it. Whenever I wanted to put her up for sale I would remember the feeling of thinking I was losing her. It helped to settle my nerves, most of the time.
I came home from work the week before we were set to move and her bike was sitting right in the middle of my parking space. I honked the horn several times and finally used my phone to call the house. Jamie answered the phone.
"Come move your bike," I said.
"Why?" she asked.
"Because I can't put the car in the garage," I explained.
"Can't you leave it out?"
"Jamie, come move your bike and put it where it belongs," I pushed.
"Why does my bike have to be outside and your car doesn't?" she asked.
"Because the car costs a lot of money and it belongs in the garage," I said as my anger began to grow. "Come move the bike or I'll run over the damn thing."
She hung up and walked from the house in full pout mode. She walked up to the bike and put up the kick stand as she moved as slowly as possible. I waited until she turned her back and then honked the horn. She jumped a foot into the air and then turned to glare as I laughed in my car.
I opened the car door and she said loudly, "You're mean."
"You'll be eating those words," I said and she slammed the garage door and headed to the shed with her bike. I grabbed the box off the seat and took it into the house before she returned. I rushed up the stairs and found Bella in our room packing a box of photos.
"I threatened Jamie with running over her bike. She gave me attitude about moving it," I explained.
"Run it over, it will teach her. She has been so pissy lately," Bella explained. "I think she is worried about the move and acting out."
I suddenly felt awful for teasing her. Of course moving to a huge city would be scary for her. She wouldn't have near the freedom she had this summer in Forks, and I didn't want her to feel like she was sick again and had to remain cooped up in a house.
"Relax, Edward. She'll make friends and grow to love Chicago," Bella said and held up a picture of the night of our first date. I stared at how young we were and couldn't believe I spent my spare time screwing anything that would take me. I looked like a baby, and Bella was a mother and looked like a child herself.
"God, you were beautiful," I said.
"You were a beautiful girl, now you're a beautiful woman," I said and pulled her to me.
"You're just saying that because I'll be supporting your ass for the next ten years," she said and kissed me.
I let the picture fall from my hand and I ran it up her back beneath her shirt. The feel of her skin got me hard and I brought my hand around to her breast.
"Lock the door," she whispered and when I pulled away to shut the door Jamie appeared.
I groaned and tried to adjust myself so she wouldn't notice my erection. She looked at Bella with an innocent face and said, "Dad tried to run over my bike."
"Don't leave it in the garage," Bella said and Jamie's eyes narrowed.
"Hey," I said and she turned to glare at me. "Do you love your dad?"
"Yes," she said with a less than convincing tone.
"Do you want to see how much I love you?" I asked and she gave me a wary look.
I opened the box I had placed on the chair to reveal a tiny kitten sleeping in a curled up ball. Jamie glanced in the box and then screamed and jumped into my arms. "I love you, I love you, I love you," she professed.
I hugged her tightly and said, "I told you, you would be eating your words."
"You're the nicest daddy in the world," she said as she pulled the kitten from the box. "Hi, Libby."
I was her favorite person again and as I pulled out all the supplies for her cat she continued to reiterate I was the best father in the world. Later that night I showed Bella who her daddy was, too. She collapsed on top of my nude body and tried to catch her breath as we remained connected.
"You're amazing," she said and squeezed her muscles causing me to jerk from the sensitivity of my spent cock.
"I'll never tire of you; you thrill me more every time I have you," I admitted.
"Are you ready to get back to school and all the pressure?" she asked.
"Yeah, I don't want Jamie to feel we're too busy for her, do you think she'll understand?"
"She'll have her things to do, I want her to feel as normal as possible," Bella said and I kissed her. "I invited everyone to the barbeque not just Jamie's friends. It will be our big goodbye. I think I'm going to cry," she admitted.
"That's a great idea," I said and knew I would get emotional this time, too. I was finally saying goodbye as a man. I wasn't leaving to hide from my problems or walking away after hurting my friends. I was moving forward with my life and it was going to be bittersweet.
Alice and Rose showed up first, each wearing engagement rings, which sent Bella into tears first thing. They assisted with the decorations and Alice informed Bella more shops were interested in her bars and she would have to double production. She really was going to support my ass for the next ten years.
Charlie and Sue showed up just as a car load of kids were dropped off. I checked each boy to see if Perry Smith was among them and Jamie threatened me to back off. Emmet and Jasper came and we went into the game room to share a beer and talk out of hearing range of the kids.
"I have some premium weed I've been saving," Jasper said, "One last toke for old time sake?"
"Not with the kids," I said but didn't refuse for later in the night.
"We somehow made it to manhood," Emmett said and we all laughed.
"Shocking isn't it," I said and we all nodded in agreement. "Hey, guys, I can't thank you enough for holding me together this past year. I wouldn't have made it without you."
"Let's make a pact right now that we see each other once a year, no matter what is going on in our lives," Emmett suggested.
We all smiled and nodded. "Fourth of July," Jasper suggested.
I loved the idea of spending the holiday with my friends for the rest of my life. We would watch each other grow and build a family. We would be there for each other emotionally and reconnect physically every year. I was a lucky man.
When the food was ready we headed to the deck and I was stunned to see the Denalis there. Bella was chatting happily with them and I walked up behind her and pulled her into my arms. "Thank you," I whispered into her ear.
"I'll be watching," she said and winked.
Jamie had a ball showing everyone her kitten and we let her cut a big cake since she missed her birthday. She fell asleep as soon as the kids left, still not up to full strength and the adults remained on the deck talking and drinking beers.
We left Forks ten years ago. Jamie was now graduating from high school so we remained in the Chicago area until she finished. I accepted a job at the hospital where Jamie received her transplant and we would be moving back to Washington.
Alice and Jasper married and had twin boys. Alice traveled setting up shops and Jasper let the boys run around his office until they were old enough for school. Rose and Emmett settled in Forks. Emmett was an insurance agent and Rose stayed home with their three kids, two girls and a boy.
Mr. Biers lost his run at the governor's seat and Riley ended up shooting himself with his father's handgun five years after saving Jamie's life. My only thought was, "I hope another child he abandoned doesn't need his blood."
Bella was named, Entrepreneur of the Year, after only four years of making Bella Bars. I took her out to dinner to celebrate the award. We sat at an expensive restaurant as I told her how proud I was to be her husband and she dismissed my every attempt to lavish praise on her. When I ordered champagne she finally said, "Edward, I can't drink that, I'm pregnant."
I stared at her in shock. She never mentioned a word about stopping her pills and seemed perfectly fine. I felt I missed some vital information and worried about her being angry. "Remember when I said I didn't want my kids to be ten years apart?" she asked and I nodded. "They won't be, they're twelve years apart," she laughed.
"We're having a baby?" I asked to make sure I didn't misunderstand anything.
"Yes, and it wasn't easy, you're never home," she said with a laugh.
"When are you due?" I asked as my mind reeled.
"July," she said and I smiled.
And in true Bella fashion our son was born on July fourth with all our friends in town for the celebration. I carried Porter Edward Cullen into the room to meet his sister. She took him in her arms and smiled at his face which looked like her and Bella but had my coloring and long appendages.
Jamie looked at me with tears and said, "I'm not jealous of him one bit. I have a little brother."
"And he has the best sister in the world," I assured her.
She looked back at the baby and grinned, "Port, we love you."
I leaned over and kissed her head. "Life isn't always easy, is it Jamie?"
"Nope, sometimes I guess life's just gonna hafta hurt," she said and kissed her brother on the forehead.
Her words rung in my ears as I watched Jamie get her diploma. She was going to Arizona State University for college and my heart ached at the thought of saying goodbye. My little girl was a woman now and I had to let go. It was hard to think Bella was the mother of a two year old child at this age.
Port pulled on my sleeve to lift him up so he could see. He was tall for a six year old but I wanted to believe he would stay my little buddy forever. Bella didn't try to see, she was too busy wiping her tears. We made our way through the crowd to find Jamie hugging a bunch of boys and I made sure to glare at each one of them.
Bella hugged her tightly and told her how proud she was. When it was my turn we looked at each other. She had on her necklace and she brought her hand up to hold it. "I knew you were my father the moment I saw you."
"Being your father has been the greatest gift of my life," I said with a strained voice.
"I'm beginning my own life now, but I need to know one thing," she said as tears fell down her face. "Will you still wait for me in heaven?"
"I'll be right by the door," I said and she fell into my arms.
I watched her head off with a group of friends for a graduation party and felt the pain of her absence immediately, but she was right, I guess it's gonna hafta hurt.