A/N- As always, I own nothing, but the memories and my love for this fandom. Let's get down to business. See you at the bottom!
"We're gonna be parents."
"I can't believe this."
Laughing, we both wrap our arms around each other and sit quietly for a few more moments just relishing the warmth of our firm, intimate hold.
"Is this real? Seriously, Edward... is this really real?" Her voice kind of cracks at the end and I squeeze her in reassurance.
"This is going to be amazing, baby."
"We're the luckiest people..." She sighs then raises her head to look at me. Staring into her eyes, still damp with tears, a big, goofy, amazing smile spread across her lips, I understand exactly what she's feeling. "I just- I cannot figure out how we got here. How did we get this lucky?"
I kiss her soundly on the lips then on the forehead. "The best thing I ever did was peep on the girl next door."
As she snuggles down onto my chest again, I hear her yawn and reply, "Best decision I've ever made was to leave that window open."
In an office downtown...
"Department of Psychology and Development, this is Bella Cullen." If another researcher asks me for another grant extension, I'm gonna haul off and slap someone with a DSM-V.
"Mrs. Cullen, this is Athena Jenks from the Little Angels Agency."
"Oh!" Immediately my mind is off paperwork and on this woman's Southern drawl. "Hi, yes. How are you?" I make my way to my office door and latch it, then plop back into my office chair. "Thank you again for your call last week. My husband and I are thrilled." We are beyond thrilled, but this woman doesn't need to know how slap happy and ridiculously idiotic-giddy we are over her telling us we had a match five days ago. When we gathered our family for dinner and told them, you would've thought I'd given birth. There was champagne and squeals, and Esme nearly hurt herself climbing over Carlisle to hug us. And my dad, my god, Charlie... he cried. It was incredible.
"Well, I'm glad to hear that. Things have progressed quite quickly and we have some news for y'all."
"Oh?" I sit up in my chair with a snap. Please don't let Carmen have changed her mind, I silently pray.
"It seems Carmen has gone into labor."
"She what?" My voice echoes in my office as I jump up.
"Labor, Mrs. Cullen. She's delivering your son." I sit silently and she continues. "Today."
"I'm sorry?" I say stupidly as I begin to pace my office. My mind isn't comprehending what Athena is saying.
"Dear, she's gone into labor early. Carmen's water broke this morning about an hour ago and she's moving along. Last I heard, she was three centimeters dilated."
"It's too soon!" I scream into the phone in a panic. "We don't even have a name picked out yet!"
"The baby will be premature, but not by a dangerous amount of time. Right now, Carmen and the baby are doing well, but we need you and Mr. Cullen on a plane to come out as soon as possible. All right?"
"Okay, um, yes." I run out of my office and into my research assistant, Paul's, office, making a frantic motion for him to follow me or go rowing, not sure which. He gets the hint and comes running as I run out. "Okay. We'll get on the first plane out. Thank you for calling, Athena. We'll be in touch."
"Call me when you have flight information and I'll fetch y'all from the airport, dear." Her voice is so calm. Why is she so calm?
"Okay. Will do." Not really sure what else to say, I run back into my office with Paul on my heels.
I hang up my phone and realize I'm simply standing smack dab in the middle in my office with Paul and the secretary, Jarod, both staring at me with their heads cocked to the side like Petey does when we say "cookie".
"The baby's coming," I whisper to myself. "Now. Holy shit!"
"Really? You're gonna go get him? Is he okay? Why aren't you leaving?" Paul yells at me while grabbing my jacket and tossing it at me. He's been hearing about babies for months with Rose delivering and our adoption preparation. Although he isn't a baby person, he's my friend, so I think he's gotten excited along with me.
"I need to get a hold of Edward. I need to call Dr. Meyer about our meeting, We need to get on a flight tonight. I need to pack. I don't have a baby carrier," I start rambling as Jarod bounces up and down.
"Calm your tits, Jarod. It's not your baby!" Paul snaps and Jarod smacks him.
"Shut it. You know you're excited, too!" Paul smiles at him, then rolls his eyes.
Dialing the phone, I try to get Edward on his cell, but nothing. I leave him a frantic message to call me immediately. My next call is to Alice, who I know is with Rose and the kids.
Paul waves at me as I'm scrambling with my laptop case. "I'll take your clients and tell the board where you are. You can get a carrier when you get there. Don't worry, just go. I'll cover you." He wraps his arm around me and Jarod buttons my coat as we walk to the elevators.
I mouth "Thank you" to the boys as the doors close.
When the doors open to the parking garage, Alice picks up. "Sup, bitch?" Always so eloquent.
I'm trying to get out of the building and to my car without bursting into tears or exploding. "The baby," is all I say while trying to get my keys out. It seems I have lost all ability to think properly.
"Yeah, babe, she doesn't understand potty words." I hear a rustle then Alice yelps. "That hurt! Here with Mean Mommy and the baby. I'll mind my words next time. Yes, Garrett," she yells away from the phone. "Garrett's here, too. Kate's gorgeous and amazing and I'm her favorite Auntie. Jussayin." Her voice just keeps going and I'm too frazzled to really care. I just need to get it out, but my brain isn't working right.
"No, my baby," I say, nearly out of breath as I sit in my car wiping the tears off my cheeks.
"Oh, everything okay? Nothing bad happened, right? The girl still picked you guys? What's going on? Talk, Bella!"
"Baby's coming now!" I squeak out.
"Seriously!" I yell into the phone. "The lady just called from the agency. I can't get a hold of Edward. Is he with you guys?"
"No, he's still at work. Isn't he on graveyard tonight?"
"Damn it, yes. I forgot." I yank out of the parking lot and onto the main street. It's well after the lunch hour, but everyone and their brother seems to be heading in the same direction and they all seem to be lost. God damn it!
"Well, have him paged at the hospital." Why didn't I think of that?
"Okay, I'm on my way home then to the hospital. Tell Rose 'I'm sorry' for me. I know we had plans, but as soon as I get a hold of Edward, we're getting on a plane."
"She said to get your ass on a plane and bring home her baby."
"Call Esme for me, okay?" She'd never forgive me if she wasn't alerted of her newest grandbaby.
"Will do. I'll call Charlie, too. I haven't talked to your dad in forever." I smile at the thought of Charlie hearing about his first grandbaby.
"Thank you. Tell him I'll call as soon as I know what our flight looks like."
"No worries, go!" I know Alice well enough to know she is dancing and bouncing around the room now. Hopefully, she put Kate down first before spazzing out.
"Thank you, Alice. I love you."
"Aw, ya big softy. I love you, too!" I laugh through a clenched jaw and tell her I'll call her soon.
Dialing the hospital, I make my way home. When the head nurse on the pediatric floor, Jane, answers, I ask her to page Edward and have him call me as soon as possible. She says he's in surgery and will be available soon. I ask her to relay to him that it is urgent he calls me and she assures me she will. I'm pretty sure I say 'urgent' a dozen times in the two minute call.
Once I get to our place, I call the airline, but there are no flights out tonight. There are two tomorrow, but it all depends on Edward. I book the first flight out at six in the morning and hope for the best. Then I start packing.
Meanwhile across town...
"Dr. Cullen?" I hear the intercom sound.
"Yeah, we're kinda busy in here, Jane." I'm elbows deep in a child's head for Christ sakes.
"I'm sorry to interrupt, but your wife called- said it was urgent."
"Well, I kind of have urgent here. Call her back for me and tell her I'm in the OR and it's taking longer than it should. I'll call her on a break. Also, remind her I'm on graveyard so I won't be home 'til after midnight if this goes well."
"You sure you don't want me to tag in, so you can take a break now, sir?" Dr. Rogers asks.
"Nah, Jamie's been open too long. We need to get this shit done and close him up so he can recover."
An hour later, we're finally done and I head out of the OR.
"Mr. and Mrs. Smith?" The couple rises from their chairs in the tiny private waiting area. They've been here fourteen hours. I've been in surgery for four.
"Dr. Cullen, how is he?" Mr. Smith is holding his wife's hand tightly as she bounds toward me.
"I think we got a majority of the tumor." They sag against each other as I speak, exhaustion etched across their weary features. "We won't know until we run a few more scans to be sure we got all the effected tissue, but I'm hopeful. They're still closing up and prepping him for recovery, but I wanted to give you a heads up. I know it's taken a lot longer than we'd planned. Give me another hour and I'll be back out, okay?" I smile at the mother and father who hold on to every word I speak. Their amount of faith is staggering. If it were me waiting on news about my small child in surgery, I don't think I'd be handling it with such grace. Who am I kidding? I'd be scrubbing in and trying to tell the doctor what to do and Bella would have to anesthetize me.
When I turn to leave, I hear Mrs. Smith call my name.
"Yes, ma'am." I turn back to her and she runs toward me, throwing her arms around my neck.
Smiling and feeling overwhelmed, I hug her back and when she lets go, I quickly make my way out of the waiting room to watch the nurses finish up with Jamie.
My time learning the ropes as a pediatric oncologist has been slow going, but I am head-over-heels in love with my job. I love working with patients and, although being an oncologist has its moments, I can save a kid's life. I know I'm in the right business. I've been working hard to prove myself, working under the head of the department as often as I can to show him what I can do. I cannot wait to bring our research department into the 21st century and get some kids cured and maybe eradicate some cancers completely. Even though I'll be working in research more, I'll still be taking patients. They can't take that away from me.
I plan on working a lot of overtime between now and when the baby comes home. I can't help the turn of my lips into a smile as I think about a month from now holding my son. I talked with the head of the department, Dr. Caius, and his boss as well. I wanted to make sure everything was in order for me to take a month of paternity leave. Then, I will come back and work three days on, three days off with minimum on-calls for the first six months. I am so glad they want an oncologist who likes the idea of research and they understand where I'm coming from as a soon-to-be father. I want to be with my wife and our baby. My son.
When the social worker called us last weekend, I didn't think I could get any happier. Bella's news of us being matched with a birth mother was incredible. But the next day, when Athena called back to say that the sonogram showed that Carmen was carrying a boy, I thought my heart would explode. I was going to have a son. Bella wanted to name the baby Erik Jacob. I immediately nixed that. She was not naming my son after our dogs. We thought about our fathers' names or some family names or Bella's family tradition of naming after a deceased family member, but nothing really meshed. My mother wanted him to be Edward, Jr. but that was not going to happen either. We decided we would meet him and see what he thought his name should be. My son.
One more month. I can hardly stand it.
Focusing back on the task at hand, I go back to getting this little boy back to 100%. I can be patient and get my patients healthy while I wait for my baby.
As the boy, Jamie, is taken to recovery, I make my way back out to let his parents know how he's doing and when they can see him. Mrs. Smith is crying and hugging me and I promise her I'll stay with Jamie until he's out of the woods. He's critical right now and will be until the swelling starts to go down. I know it will be a long night.
Once his parents are taken care of, I make my way to the nurse's station to work on patient notes. Not my favorite part of being a doctor, but everything must be accounted for. My mind is numb as I drop into a chair. What I wouldn't give for a bed right now. I'll be on another nine hours, much of which I'll be worrying about the little boy in recovery.
Eyeballs deep in paperwork, I don't even hear her walking up to the counter.
"Edward," I hear and my head pops up. I'm mid-note so I say, "Hi baby, one sec."
"Ed-ward." I know she heard me. If I stop halfway through surgery notes, I know I won't remember what I was trying to say.
"Babe, writing. Almost done." Finishing the note on Jamie's surgery, I flip the page to make sure I got it all.
"Sorry about that." I look up and she looks like she fell out of a tornado. "What's-" I'm cut off mid-sentence by Jane rounding the corner in a tizzy. "Dr. Cullen, the forms on the Smiths' room change are incomplete."
"Sorry babe." She glares at me, but I turn quickly to get a signature on the forms Jane's waving at me that will let Jamie have a private room so his parents can stay with him. They deserve it after sitting in that waiting room for a majority of the day.
"Edward?" Bella's voice is strained.
"Gimme a minute." Jane looks at me like I'm a moron. "I'm sorry I didn't get this taken care of before. I was busy with a scalpel." She gives me a tight smile then pokes me in the ribs with her pen.
"Edward!" Bella snaps.
Reaching above Jane, I grab the release form for the laboratory to make sure the right research steps are taken in pathology. "In a minute, Bel. I'm almost done then we can grab dinner."
Then she yells, "We're having a baby, dumbass!"
The bustling hallway and station turns stone silent.
Every synapse in my brain fires all at once. "Wh-wh-what?"
"Did you not call her after I told you it was urgent?" Jane shoots a menacing look my way while standing beside my very pissed off wife.
"Baby? What baby?" I feel all the blood in my head drain out and I think my eyes are going to bug out.
"Our baby, you idiot. The agency called. Athena said Carmen went into labor. The baby could be born right now! And you didn't even call me back!"
"She can't be in labor right now... it's- it's too early!" I'm pacing and grabbing papers and handing them to Jane and another nurse.
"Well, she is. We have a flight out at six, we've gotta drop Petey off at your parents' before we go, and Rose said she'd watch Zafrina. But seriously, we're going. Now!"
"Holy shit." That's about all I can find to say.
"Dr. Cullen, do you want me to call the next on-call?"
"I can't leave yet. I have to stay to make sure that Jamie is stable." I look from Jane to Bella. "I have a patient. I just got out of surgery on a little boy with a brain tumor."
"Seriously? Edward, our baby..." I can see her lip quivering as she tries not to cry. "Our baby boy is being born, right now." I rush to her and throw my arms around her.
"I know." I feel so torn. "I made a promise to this little boy that I would be here when he woke up. His parents are counting on me to make sure he gets through this surgery safely."
I can feel her stiffen under my arms. This isn't the first time work has come up as a priority, but she's known this could happen since I started.
Being a doctor has always been a priority in my life. My patients are a priority just like my family.
She sighs deeply then asks, "Can't you call another doctor? What about Jackson or Yorke?" When she steps back, I can see the frustration and sadness in her eyes.
"Yorke is on at five. He worked a triple and we are both on the schedule tomorrow. But he doesn't know the patient like I do."
"Fine," she says with a firm voice. "I'm going. I'm getting on that plane at six. I guess I'll just see you when I get back..." She walks away and picks up her purse before finishing. "...with our little boy."
I know right that moment I'm screwing up, but I'm torn between my duty to my patient and my desire to be with my wife when my child comes into the world.
"I'll get the first flight out as soon as I know Jamie is safe." She nods, but says nothing until she's near the elevator door.
"Don't bother," she says sourly. "I'll be back in a few days. I guess I'll need to get used to being a single parent now that you're working so much." Her words sting, but she's right. There will be plenty of nights I'll be working rather than home with her and our baby.
"I'm sorry, Bella."
"Me, too," she says as she steps on to the elevator.
As the doors slide close, she is staring at me with tears in her eyes and I feel my heart throb and sink.
When I turn to head back to finish my paperwork, none of the nurses are standing behind me. No one is in the hall, but me.
Later on a plane...
"Ladies and gentleman- Welcome to Louisiana. We appreciate you flying with us today and we hope to see you again soon."
I grab my bag and make it off the plane in minutes. I'm now really happy I spent an extra hundred dollars to fly business class. Being in the front of the plane means I am not waiting in line and I head straight out of the airport as I call Athena. She's circling the airport and pulls up quickly to pick me up.
"It's such a pleasure to finally meet you in person, Mrs. Cullen!" She's smiling and hugging me and she's so warm. Suddenly, I miss Esme.
"Where's Mr. Cullen?" And now I miss my husband, again.
"He had a critical patient to tend to," I say, trying to keep my eyes on hers. She looks sad, but then perks up quickly and asks if I'm ready to meet my baby. I am.
We get to the hospital twenty minutes later and we both rush toward labor and delivery. There are several people standing in the waiting room and a woman takes notice and comes straight to us.
"She's six centimeters and wants to push. They're giving her an epidural so she can rest."
"Bella, this is Siobhan, my assistant. She's been with Carmen the entire time." I shake the woman's hand and thank her for her help.
"My pleasure. Carmen is a very sweet girl in a bad spot, but I know she's excited for her little boy's new life." I blush under her scrutiny and she squeezes my hand.
"Siobhan?" Another woman pops her head out of a door.
"Nettie, come here please. This is Bella Cullen." I smile at the woman and reach to shake her hand, but she quickly wraps her arms around my shoulders in a warm hug.
"You'll take good care of my great-grandbaby." My heart swells and pounds in my chest as the Carmen's grandmother squeezes me tightly and pats my back. "You will be a good mother, I just know."
When she releases me, I'm overwhelmed and on the verge of tears. Thankfully, Athena wraps an arm around my shoulder and leads me to a chair. "I'll go find out some information and come back to let you know, okay?" I nod and then stare at the letter for Carmen that Edward and I wrote the day after we found out she had picked us. I flip the envelope over and over in my hands trying to level out my breathing as everyone else heads back into the hospital room.
It feels like days that I sit in the uncomfortable chair and drink watered-down coffee. I text with Paul, Alice, and my dad and I play Words with Friends with Rose and Garrett. I'm given updates and Carmen is progressing, albeit slowly.
My son is coming soon. As I glance around the room, my heart hurts because I see Carmen's grandmother and friends, the social workers, the nurses; everyone is bustling and talking, giggling and joking. I'm sitting alone with my phone and coffee. Edward messages me several times asking for updates, and I keep them simple and to the point. I know he's a doctor; he's a good man who cares so much for every single patient. I have always loved how loyal and caring he is and I knew he would be an amazing doctor. I just didn't think he'd not be here.
My head shoots up and Athena stands in front of me. "Sorry, I must've dozed off. Is everything okay?"
"Perfect. She's pushing. We're almost there." Her smile is radiant, waking me instantly and I jump up to hug her.
"Come with me." She walks me into a small room beside the nurses' station. It has couches and chairs, a family waiting room. "I'll be back out with your son."
In a hospital hallway...
"Bella?" Standing in the doorway where the nurse sent me, I see that she's sitting in a room alone crying.
"Edward? How did you get here so fast?" Her words are garbled with tears and I just pluck her up and hold her. I can feel the tension leaving her muscles as I hold her tightly.
"I'm sorry. I'm so sorry," I whisper into her neck.
"Is your patient okay?" Of course she'd worry about Jamie.
"He is. Jackson is keeping me informed." I pull back to see her face. Placing my hands on either side of her head, I swipe her tears away with the pads of my thumbs. "How's our boy?"
"He's coming along, so they say. The poor girl's been in labor for nearly twenty-four hours."
"God, Bella... I can't believe this is happening." I lean forward and pull her face to mine. Our lips meet and I feel warmed by her presence.
I was so worried when she left. She was so dejected and I felt like the worst husband on the planet. When I went back to check on Jamie, Jane glared at me over his head. As I made rounds, she launched daggers at me with her eyes. When I asked her questions, she would return her answers with a sneer. It's never good to make an enemy out of a nurse, especially not the charge nurse.
After a few hours of self-hatred and Jamie progressing well, I called Jackson and explained what was happening. He told me I was an idiot, to leave immediately and to beg the airlines to let me on a plane. As soon as I knew he was on his way, I bolted. Thankfully, there was a flight leaving within the hour and I left with the clothes on my back: scrubs, lab coat, jacket, and tennis shoes.
As I stand in the little waiting room, the tables now turned as I wait on a doctor or nurse to give us some kind of news, I hold onto my wife as tightly as I can. She's too good for me, I know that. Even when we were in high school, I knew she was better than me. That's why I was so threatened by her at first. She's always been more awesome than me and she always will be. So intelligent and beautiful, but also so strong. She came here alone to get our boy and bring him home. At every turn, she has made me even more proud to have her as my wife.
"Mr. and Mrs. Cullen?" A woman is standing at the door and she has a bundle of blankets in her arms.
My baby boy.
"Is that... is that him?" Bella gasps.
"Well, it seems there's been a slight mistake," the woman says. Panic shoots through me like lightning. Mistake? No.
"I'm afraid this isn't your son." She's smiling. Why is she smiling?
It feels like an eternity I wait as she makes her way across the waiting room to where we are sitting. The woman looks so kind and I have to hold myself back from grabbing the baby and running away with him. He's ours. Bella's hand tightens around mine.
"This is your daughter."
"But we have a son," I croak as she stops to stand in front of me.
"It seems the ultrasound technician was incorrect." I blink over and over. A daughter.
Bella then stands with the blanketed bundle, smiling and crying. A nurse puts a bracelet on Bella's arm and then comes to me and does the same. I stand, unmoving, as the women in the room fuss over the little person Bella's holding.
"Congratulations Mr. Cullen. I'm Athena from Little Angels." I shake her hand without saying a word and she laughs. "I'll leave you three alone to get acquainted, but the nurse will need to take her to the NICU for the night." Athena turns and walks out, quietly latching the door behind her and the nurse. I look back at Bella. The very tiny little person in her hands is moving around and making such tiny little noises.
"I can't have a daughter," I say to myself.
"Edward?" Bella whispers.
"A daughter?" I ask still in disbelief.
"She's so beautiful." Bella steps toward me, the white blanket falling away as the baby moves her arms. Tiny pinkish-brown arms flail a bit and a precious squeak sounds that wraps around my heart. My heart is torn in two. My wife holds a half, deep inside her heart. And now my heart's other half is clenched in the tiny fist that waves from the little being in her arms.
Bella's eyes find mine, her big brown eyes swimming with tears. Immediately, I kiss her and then look down at my little girl, our daughter. She stares up at me with stormy grey eyes, her lips the shape of a little bow quivering slightly. A few little squeaks leave her tiny mouth and without thinking, I place my pinky in her mouth. She latches immediately and I feel my body calm. My other hand wraps into Bella's hair and I pull them to my chest.
"We have a little girl," I sigh into Bella's hair.
"Chelsea," Bella whispers against my shirt.
I smile as I feel my heart thumping in time with the little tugs against my finger. She grips my hand tightly in her soft little fist.
"I love you, Chelsea Cullen. You and your mommy are my life now."
A few days later...
"Baby get up." He's laying with a pillow over his head, sprawled out across the bed.
"No, thank you," he says, and I poke at him.
Pulling the pillow off his head I say firmly, "Edward Anthony Cullen."
"Dude! You're Chelsea's mom, not mine." My heart thumps with glee at his words. He grumbles at me and I pick Petey up and sick him on Edward who starts to flail when the dog's wet nose rams into his ear. I'm so glad we had Emmett drop him off last night.
"I'm up! Christ, you're mean!" I can't help, but laugh as I make my way out of our bedroom and back into the living room. Chelsea is sitting in her carrier. We got home very late last night and Edward immediately crashed. He has paternity leave so he'll be home with us for a month, but I think he was owed some sleep because the second we walked in the door he was snoring. I stayed up, not able to fall asleep, and just watched my little girl as she snuggled into a pack and play that Rose had left for us to use while we worked on the nursery. We all thought we had time. Chelsea really showed us who's boss.
Smiling at my little girl, she tracks me with her grey eyes as she sits in her pretty pink carrier thanks to Athena, who picked it up for us on her way to the hospital on our last day in Louisiana. I didn't sleep at all last night even though I know I should have taken advantage of her sleeping so well. I kept leaning out of bed to look at her in her bassinet from Alice. Pink leopard print with black skulls that have little bows on their heads, of course. Every time I would look at her, my heart would hurt and make me get up and touch her. At one point, she woke up for a feed and I sat with her cuddled on me until the sun came up. I just couldn't put her down. It still didn't feel real that she was mine.
Chelsea stayed in the NICU for two days, but surprisingly, even though she only weighs five pounds, five ounces, she was seemingly completely healthy. We'll have lots of doctor appointments in our future, tracking her growth and progress, but right now she does everything a healthy newborn should-just in a much smaller package. Having doctors in the family shouldn't hurt, even if I'll have to sedate Edward often at the pediatrician.
Our families are coming by to meet our little girl today. We kept them away last night, but I know Alice and Esme would've wanted to be waiting at our house when we got home. Thankfully, they waited. We asked that they only stay for a little bit, but we knew we couldn't keep them away. Esme still wants to have the baby shower next month and I told her that was fine, like I could keep her and Alice from throwing Chelsea a party. Edward had some restrictions for the party. I heard him lecturing his mother on proper newborn care. I'm sure she loved that, having had premature twins and all.
With Chelsea being five weeks early, though, I didn't want people touching her and holding her for a little while. At least by the time we have her party, she'll be old enough to have been vaccinated and had time to build up a bit of an immune system. I don't know if her daddy will let anyone else hold her, though unless he sees them wash their hands first. She's on formula and supplements to keep her growing strong, but I know he won't take any chances with his baby girl. I might be his first love, but she's his last. And I'm okay with that.
Chelsea fusses as I'm putting a basket for shoes just outside the door. I've already put out hand soap and no one will be touching our girl without cleaning their hands. Before I can get back inside to my girl, I hear Edward talking to her.
"Is that my little one talking? So smart, already bossing everyone around. Just like her mommy, not-so-large and in charge." When I come back in, he's sitting with her on the couch, eyes not leaving her beautiful little face. My heart hurts looking at them. My world.
Petey comes to say hello and licks the baby's hand and I lurch toward the wipes. Edward beats me to it though, producing a wipe from beside him. Stupid doctors- always prepared. He smiles at me as he cleans her hand. "It's okay. Daddy's got it." His voice is soft and calming. I've fallen in love with him even more seeing him with his daughter. I send Petey outside and come back into the living room to sit beside my babies.
"Have you seen Zafrina?" I ask and he shakes his head.
"She'll come out when she's comfortable."
"Do you think she hates us?"
Edward laughs. "Well, we know she already hates me. But no, I don't think she hates you, baby." He kisses me then leans down to kiss the baby. "She's just not sure of what changed. It's gonna take some time, but I bet Chelsea and Zaf will be the best of friends in no time." Her grins down at Chelsea as she yawns. "They'll be plotting against me together in no time."
Knocks at the door get me up and I get up to answer it, but stop to give my girl a kiss as I pass them. Edward grabs my hand and pulls me back.
"Yes?" I ask.
"What am I? Chopped liver?" I lean down and kiss him soundly on the mouth, then go to let the hoard in.
It's as though Edward and I are invisible. Alice runs past me and pounces on the couch yelling "Gimme!" in a high pitched voice. Although, I get a hug and a kiss from Jasper, Carlisle, and Esme, they immediately flock to where Alice has Chelsea. Rose and Emmett trail in with Garrett and Kate in tow and swoop down on our girl. Kate is twice the size of Chelsea and everyone remarks about how cousin Katie is a beast like her daddy, which only causes Rose to burst into tears. Garrett is consoling his mom while Emmett laughs like an idiot.
Edward stands to hug his brother and Jasper. His mom sits down beside Alice in his spot. He glares at her, but I know she won't move.
I put my arm around him and tell him, "It's okay, sweetie... we're nothing now. Chelsea stole your spotlight."
"She's just like her mother. Spotlight Rangers." He snorts and I pinch his stomach.
"So what's Chelsea's middle name?" Alice asks as she hands the baby over to Esme with a pout. Esme's smile is overwhelming as she looks on at her new granddaughter.
"Carmen," Edward responds proudly with his arm around me.
Esme sniffles and Carlisle hugs us both. "She couldn't have picked better parents for her daughter," Esme whispers as she cuddles Chelsea and I can't help but think of the sweet, wonderful girl who made our dreams come true by giving us our daughter.
There's a knock at the door and Garrett runs to answer it with Edward trailing after him.
"Hey Charlie!" Garrett yells and throws himself at my dad. He walks over and hugs me tightly with Garrett hanging on his back.
"How's my girl?" he asks as he kisses my forehead.
"I'm good. Did you see what we brought you?" I nod to Chelsea who is now in Emmett's giant arms which makes her look even more tiny. He stands to give Charlie the baby, but he stops him.
"Boy, I will shoot you if you drop my granddaughter." Emmett sits back down carefully and Charlie sits beside him as Rose vacates her seat to feed Kate.
"Give me my girl," Charlie commands and Emmett responds quickly, "You have a daughter."
"I do, and I love her very much. But this is my granddaughter." He beams as he holds Chelsea for the first time. "You break her, I shoot you."
Alice tells us about her telecommuting so she can stay in Seattle longer while Jasper finishes up his tour, then he'll be taking a break. I know she wants to be with her family and spoil her nieces and nephew. I'm glad she'll be around with us.
Soon, Esme offers to cook dinner and Alice goes to help dragging Garrett along to peel potatoes. "The youngest always gets potato duty." He grumbles away claiming that Chelsea and Kate should be doing it then.
"So how's parenthood treating you guys?" Charlie asks. Smiling, I sit beside him on the arm of the couch and Edward sits on the coffee table in front of Emmett. We tell him we are tired, but happy.
"I think you'll be tired for next couple of years." Carlisle chuckles from across the room where he's holding Kate, still unable to stop smiling.
"She's so perfect though," I say, brushing a finger along my daughter's forehead, sweeping a black curl away from her face. "Who cares if we miss a little sleep, now? We'll be able to make it up once we get her on a schedule." I look over at Edward and his eyes flicker with his love and lust for me, and a chill runs through me. I bring my attentions away from my stunning husband and back to my dad and baby where they should be.
"Oh, I'm sure." Charlie seems almost smug. We talk a bit about Kate and Garrett, making plans for baseball season and Garrett's birthday party.
Edward pulls me onto his lap as we listen to Jasper tease Emmett about nearly passing out while Rose was giving birth, again. When Esme calls us to dinner, Edward moves to pick Chelsea up from his arms, but Charlie chides him. "Not so fast."
"What's wrong, dad?" I ask as my father stands and regards us solemnly, Chelsea tight in his arms. He looks back at my beautiful girl, then looks to me and kisses my forehead.
He then astounds me as he leans forward and hands my daughter to my husband and twitches his mustache, a smile hidden beneath.
"She's all the payback I need for everything you ever did wrong, Cullen."
My father pats him on the back, kisses my cheek, then makes his way to the table where our family has gathered.
I look back up to my husband in shock. He stands, holding his little girl, his eyes wide.
With a deep breath he looks up at me and whispers, "I am so fucked."
E/N - :) I have some people to thank. In the beginning, there was SuperstarNanna and Skeezon who encouraged me to write this when it was just a baby plot bunny. Then came along EdwardsEternal, HollettLA, and Ssarrahh1-each of them helping keep my sanity, and Sunshinegal3 has kept vigilance over me throughout this entire process and has become one of my favorite people on the planet. I've had wonderful reviewers like xomessymutt17, TrickeyTricky, NYSue, taylowendy, CdrIvanova, xtothey, jansails, AydenMorgen, and kroseph who have reviewed practically every chapter and cheered me on, even when my world was hard to write in. I truly appreciate you all.
So here is where I leave them. Much of their story was taken from my own life, even when she burned herself with cheese or found the suicidal puppy, her health issues, Edward's ability to screw it all up with a 4.0 and the best intentions, it's all my heart and adolescence, and I've loved sharing it with you all.
With all of your love and support, I've been able to write another fic called Torn that was a lot tougher and a lot of oneshots I'm very proud of, as well as, a novella that was recently published and I'm trying to do it again! I appreciate you and thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Truly thank you,