My eyes felt heavy and I still had a dull headache. Around me, the sound of a pair of heartbeats echoed and I tried to lift my hand, but someone tightened their hold on it. I didn't need to open my eyes to know it was Edward; I always knew when he was holding me. Prying my eyelids apart, I lobbed my head to the side and found him sitting next to my hospital bed. I vaguely remembered being in the emergency room, almost like I'd just been dreaming it. Of course I hadn't, that would have made life too easy for me, for Edward, and for our boys.
"Hey," I whispered.
Edward tried not to smile, but the corners of his lips turned upward. "Hey. How are you feeling?"
"Okay," I lied and knew the minute narrowed his eyes at me that he knew I was fibbing. "Edward —"
"Don't," he muttered, standing up from his seat and sitting on the edge of my bed. "I'm really pissed with you."
"Yeah, I know," I groused, pushing myself up in my bed, which wasn't an easy task to complete with the size of my belly. "How long was I out?"
"Nearly ten hours." Edward shuddered. "You should have told me that you weren't feeling good," he added, just adding to the guilt I was already feeling.
"I didn't think it was that big of a deal," I said, not believing the words spouting out of my mouth any more than he did. Edward shook his head and looked away. "Edward, it was just a persistent headache and a few nights of insomnia."
"No, it was more than that," he muttered and looked back at me. "You're blood pressure had spiked — again. You could have had a stroke and . . ." He shook his head. "Then you add on that you're anemic." Edward blinked several times. "Bella, I can't lose you, too. I can't. It'll kill me. The boys need you, our daughters need you. You can't do this to us."
"I'm sorry," I cried, grabbing his hand. "I really didn't think it was a big deal. I swear, I didn't."
"Yeah, I know, but you refused to listen to me about staying home, you refused to tell me how you really felt. Why can't you trust me?" There was no mistaking the hurt in Edward's words.
"Baby, I do trust you," I exclaimed. However, Edward shook his head. "Yes, I do!"
"Then why didn't you tell me about your headaches?" he asked.
"Because I knew you'd worry," I replied, honestly. "Since the day I found out I was pregnant, you've been knot of stress and worry. Then you add in the cold I had, Renee showing up, my blood pressure becoming an issue. I'm so sorry, but I refused to add to the growing pile of stress on your shoulders."
"You're my wife, the mother of my children. Worrying is what I do," Edward said, bringing my hand up to his lips. "You don't have to do it alone this time."
"I know that," I muttered, dropping my gaze from his.
"Do you?" Edward placed his and under my chin, and tilted my head back. "Do you really?"
"Logically I do, but it's hard, Edward. With Alex . . ." I trailed off as my eyes filled with tears. "When I was pregnant with Alex, I didn't have anyone but Charlie who cared about how I was feeling. You know it's hard for me to let that control go."
Edward smiled and nodded. "I do, but I'm not giving you a choice now. If Tia releases you from the hospital, you're going start being honest with me about how you feel, and you're going to let all of us take care of you."
"What do you mean if she releases me?" I sat up straighter. "I am not staying here in the hospital."
"If she says you are, you will," Edward replied.
Before I could get another word out, the door opened and Alex and Anthony came in with Emmett right behind him. The boys looked over at me, tears filling their eyes and my heart broke. I'd made my sons worry about me, about their sisters. Releasing Edward's hand, I reached for them. Alex and Anthony pulled away from Emmett and ran over to me, nearly pushing Edward off the bed as they climbed up and nestled themselves in my arms. Edward opened his mouth to complain, but one glare from me stopped him. He may have a point about me being a stubborn bitch, but my sons needed me to hold them right now and I wouldn't refuse them.
"Momma, are you okay?" Anthony asked, shifting his eyes up to mine. The look of worry and fear in them had me on the verge of tears again. He'd already lost one mother and now, he was afraid of losing another one.
Brushing his tears off his cheeks, I tried to sound positive as I said, "I'm okay."
"Are you lying again?" Alex groused, refusing to look at me.
"No," I replied. "I am okay. Not great, but okay. I'm sorry I worried you both."
"You wouldn't wake up," Alex whimpered. "Dad kept yelling at you to wake up, but you wouldn't."
Closing my eyes, I hugged them tighter to my body. I'd let my selfishness cause them to worry about me. As it was, both of the of the boys had suffered more loss than they should have to, both of them spent the first five years of their lives being raised by single parents. They'd gravitated toward each other, and Edward and I. Together, we became a family and I'd caused them to cry because I didn't want them to worry about me.
Shaking my head, I sighed. "I'm sorry, guys. I really am, but Daddy's already laid down the law and told me that I have to let you take care of me."
"Yeah, bet that went over well," Anthony scoffed and sat up so that he was facing me.
"No, not really," Edward added, sitting on the edge of my bed, "but she's gonna listen because she knows that she's wrong."
It wasn't until then that I realized Emmett had left. Smiling at my boys, I shrugged my shoulders. "I was, and I'm sorry. I'll do better I promise."
"Yeah, yeah." Alex sighed and sat up. "When are you coming home?"
"I don't know," I told them. "Depends on what the doc says."
"And the doc says that it's gonna be a few days at least." We looked over and saw Tia standing in the doorway of my room with her arms folded in front of her and a frown on her face. "You're lucky your boys are here, Bella, or I'd give you a real piece of my mind."
I huffed. "Everyone's pissed with me, I get it already."
Tia hummed and walked around my bed, pulling up the strip that showed our daughters' heartbeats. "They're strong."
"That's good, right?" I asked, placing my hands on top of the boys. "Means the girls are healthy."
Tia smiled and looked over at me. "It does, but that still doesn't excuse you for not taking better care of yourself, Bella."
I shifted my eyes away from hers.
"Bella," she sighed.
"I know. Everyone has been quick to tell me just how selfish I am," I grumbled, trying to sniff back my tears.
"Boys, go back out to the waiting room with Uncle Emmett," Edward murmured.
"But, Dad!" Anthony whined, but Edward gave him the look that made it clear not to argue with him. "Fine, whatever."
Climbing off of my bed, the boys stalked out of my room and let the door shut behind them. Edward moved over and sat down on the side of my bed, reaching out and taking hold of my hand.
"Bella," he whispered.
"Don't," I whimpered, but tightened my fingers around his. "Just don't."
"I'm sorry if it seems like we're all ganging up on you. We just worried."
Nodding, I said, "I know. Believe me, I know, but I can't change what happened. Everyone . . ."
"Everyone what?" Tia asked.
I used my free hand to brush the tears off my cheeks and looked over at her. "I have two boys to help raise, a husband who is working himself into the ground in order to take care of all of us, we're stuck in an apartment the size of a shoebox because my crazy bitch of a mother may or may not have burnt our house down, and I have no idea if our new house is going to be built in time for us to bring the babies home from the hospital. Tell me how to get rid of all of that worry and I will, because my family is everything to me — everything."
"Baby, you don't need to take care of me," Edward said, pulling my attention to him. "I'm fine."
"You're not any better of a liar than I am, Edward, so don't start now," I quipped. "How many photo shoots have you had to reschedule in the last month? How many nights have you been up till three or four in the morning sorting through proofs, just to get up at six and take the boys to school?"
Edward shifted his gaze away from mine, but didn't answer.
"Yeah, that's what I thought," I added. "You jump my ass because I'm not being honest when you're doing the same thing."
"But I'm not the one carrying two babies," Edward argued.
"Okay, enough," Tia exclaimed, causing us to look over at her. "This isn't about whose suffering more than the other." She turned toward me. "Bella, I get that you have a lot going on. Losing the house did a number on you, I get that, but you can't ignore your health just so that the people who love you don't worry about you. Am I clear?"
"Yes," I chirped.
Tia spun on her heel and looked over at Edward. "No offense, Edward, but you look like shit."
"Um, offense taken," he grumbled.
"You should have called me the minute you realized that she wasn't feeling good. You saw the signs."
Edward nodded. "I did, but I didn't want to fight with her."
"Yeah, well, we're not going to have that problem anymore," Tia snickered before turning back to me. "Will we?"
"Nope," I mumbled.
"Good," she chirped. "Now, I'd like to monitor you for a few more days before we decided whether or not to keep you until you deliver or let you go home where you will be on strict bed rest until you deliver."
"So, either way I'm gonna be stuck in bed, huh?" I asked.
"Yep." Tia gave me a pitiful smile. "Sorry, honey, but between your blood pressure and your iron levels, I'm not taking any chances."
"Yeah, I know." I lay back on the bed, and sighed.
"I know it's hard, but it's for the best," Tia said, before adding, "I'll be back in the morning to check on you. If you need me, call. Do not be stubborn about this."
"I won't," I replied and rolled my eyes. Tia laughed as she walked around my bed and left me and Edward alone. I shifted my eyes back to him. "You should take the boys home."
"They're gonna stay with Emmett and Rose tonight," he explained. "And don't even think about arguing with me. I — I can't leave you here alone."
"Okay." I looked over at the clock. "It's late. Will you go get them so I can tell them goodnight?"
"I will." He stood up and kissed me. "Be right back."
While Edward went to get the boys, I adjusted my bed into a more comfortable position — if that was remotely possible. A few minutes later, they came in and the boys climbed back onto my bed. Emmett waited in the doorway with a small frown on his face.
"So, looks like I'm gonna be here for a few days," I started, trying to keep the tears from falling once again. "I need you both to promise to listen to Aunt Rose and not let Uncle Emmett talk you into doing anything stupid."
"Hey!" Emmett call out, throwing a hand up.
"We could just stay here with you," Alex interjected.
I shook my head. "Sorry, honey, but you can't. Just promise me that when I go home that you won't have any holes in your heads, or unexplainable bruises."
"I promise," Alex muttered.
I turned to Anthony, who had his eyes locked onto the floor. "Anthony?"
Tilting his head back, he looked at me with tear-filled eyes and trembling lips. "Promise you're gonna be okay?"
"I promise," I whimpered. "Me and the babies are going to be fine."
"Okay," he cried. "I'll be good."
"I love you both so much," I wept, pulling them in for a hug.
"We love you, too, Momma," they whispered.
After a few moments, I released them and they climbed off my bed and walked over to Emmett. He turned to walk away, but stopped when I called out to him. "Take care of them. I'm trusting you."
Emmett smiled. "You have my word, Bella. Take care of yourself and let me and Rose take care of the boys. Deal?"
"Deal," I said.
Placing a hand on their shoulders, Emmett led the boys out of my room and down the hallway. It was harder to watch them leave than I thought it would be. Edward closed the door to my room and came back over to my bed, sitting on the edge. However, I needed him closer. Grabbing his hand, I pulled him up to lay next to me. He laughed, but did as I asked. Shifting onto his side, he propped himself up on one arm while placing his other hand on my stomach. The babies pushed against his touch, almost like they were trying to tell him that they were there.
"I'm sorry for making you worry all the time," I whispered. "I really didn't it was anything big. If I had, I would have told you."
"I know, but I need you to tell me when it's even the smallest things," he replied, his tone echoing the softness of mine. "How about we make a deal? I'll try not to bug you all the time with my incessant worrying, and you try to understand where I'm coming from."
"I do know where you're coming from, Edward, I do. After Sarah . . . I know that you're scared, but I really didn't think there was anything wrong. If I had, I would have told you."
"Okay, but now you have to swear that you'll tell me everything, no matter how meaningless it may seem."
I smiled. "Deal. Just relax, okay? You're going to end up in a bed next to me if you don't."
"I'll relax when our daughters are born healthy and I know that you're going to be okay."
"Let's just hope the girls wait a while longer," I said, thinking about how at twenty-five weeks I still had a long way to go. Laying my head on Edward's shoulder, I yawned. "I'm tired."
"Sleep," he whispered, kissing the top of my head. "I'll be here all night."
"Forever sounds better," I mumbled, already drifting off to sleep.
"Forever is a given, baby."
Thank you for all the reviews. I'll admit that some of them were quite heated toward Bella. I get where y'all are coming from, but I see her side, too.