A/N I was supposed to post this last week but I was sick and this past week I was heartsick over the bombings in Boston and Texas. Know that my thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by those terrible acts. I think distractions are good at times like this and hopefully this will bring you a smile or two, as you've done for me over the past week. Thank you so much for all your kind words and support with my novel. It means more than I can say and was the one bright spot in the week. Let's check in with WordsWard and ScraBella, shall we? As usual, some differences, but the same situation told in each viewpoint.
Words with Strangers Outtake
"Cut and print!" Thank God. It felt like that scene was never going to be just right. That had been the twentieth take. About time. I ran over to where my assistant Martin was waiting with my phone in hand. He knew the drill by now. He'd been with me for two years and he was used to my obsessive need to hear from her.
"No, Mr. Cullen. No word yet."
Okay, good. Admittedly I was acting like a crazy person but we were already a week past our due date. Weren't first time fathers allowed to be a bit insane?
Our lives had been chaotic to say the least, from the time we met right up until now. I'd been booked solid since our honeymoon, first with the war movie, then another romance and now the final Steele movie. I was stepping away from the franchise which may be stupid but it was time. The character was done in my eyes and the studio's as well, since they weren't recasting it. Right now I was supposed to be in Monaco but we'd had to reschedule shooting around Bella's due date, because I wasn't going to be stuck halfway around the world while my son was being born. We'd shot those scenes at the beginning of filming and everything else was being done in LA. This movie was going to have more CGI than the Lord of the Rings movies combined at this rate, but I didn't care. Nothing was keeping away from seeing my baby come into the world. If he ever came.
Not that my Bella was slowing down any. She'd been working on her second screen play since her first shoot wrapped. Visiting her on set, seeing her so enraptured as her words played out, as her version of our story came to life for the screen, had been a real trip. I was more excited for her premiere than I was for any of my own. I couldn't wait to watch her shine. November couldn't get here soon enough. Neither could the phone call that would change my life. It sucked that I was stuck working for now, but they knew that as soon as the baby was born they were losing me for at least a week, which was why the shooting schedule was such a bitch right now.
"A watched phone never rings!" a voice boomed behind me, followed by a hard clap on the back. I rolled my eyes and turned to face my brother.
"That's not a saying."
"It is now. Don't call her, Edward."
"I just want to check in and…"
"And you already did that twenty minutes ago. It's not going to make her pop out the kid any faster. You're bugging her."
I glared at him. "Did she tell you that or did Rose?"
"Okay, so you're bugging Rosie, who's there with her and won't let her out of her sight. The instant Bella feels a twinge, you'll know about it."
Still. "I'd feel better if…"
"Mom's there." I blinked in surprise. "She keeps making excuses to go over so Bella finally told her to just stay."
Well, that was good. If anybody was good in a crisis, it was Mom. Maybe she could scare my baby out of Bella. Or shit, maybe she was scaring him in. Was she the reason he was late?
"And El Presidente is there, which is why it's better for both of us that we're here." I had to laugh. Emmett was still scared of Charlie Swan. Then again, so was I. There were times that he looked at Bella's swollen belly and then at me and I swore I could hear him plotting my death for having sex with her. He'd made it a point to get to know the Hollywood PD, ostensibly so he could check up on Emmett but it was probably so he could cover up my murder should I step out of line.
"Just think, in a few short months, Charlie will be walking Rose down the aisle to you, if he lets her go through with it."
Emmett sighed. "Don't think I'm not worried about that. I haven't gotten arrested once since I met Rosie." I shot him a look. "Okay, well, Germany didn't count because the charges were dropped. And she started the fight in the biker bar when some guy touched her without permission. Even Charlie admitted that I was defending her and thus not to be blamed. And that disturbing of the peace was just a citation. It's not my fault Rosiewields the fl…"
"I don't want to hear about it!" I cut him off before he could launch into another tale of their sexploits. I swear, those two were this close to going to weird masked parties and doing God knew what at them. I did not want to know. And neither did Charlie. "One more of those and he'll ship Rose to a convent."
"He's not her father, technically." Emmett looked around when he said it, as if afraid that Charlie might be lurking. "And she's an adult."
"Are you doubting Charlie Swan?" I asked, laughing at the look of horror that washed over his face.
"No! I'll be good."
As if Emmett was ever truly good. "Aren't you supposed to be rappelling down a building right now?"
"In a few minutes. They're having trouble mounting the camera on the crane." His name got hollered and he grinned. "Showtime. Hey, if you get the call, let me know. I want to be there to see my nephew come into the world."
"I will." Well, I'd have Martin tell him because I'd be out of here before the words "it's time" could be uttered. I watched my brother wander off and thought back to the day that I found out I was going to be a father.
It was one of those rare days when we were both home with nothing planned. We'd turned down a premiere party and an invitation for dinner at my folk's house. We just wanted to be.
Bella pulled back and looked at me, our bodies a naked, sweaty mess for the second time that day. "It almost feels like we're back in the cabin," she said wistfully.
I smiled and ran my fingers through her hair. "We'll squeeze some time out to go soon."
She shook her head. "Not with our schedules. But as long as we make time for this here…"
I laughed and pulled her to me. "There's always time for this." We kissed long and deep and I was nearly ready for round three but she disentangled herself from my arms.
"Yes, there is, and now there's time for sustenance if we're going to do this again." I watched as she got out of bed; her pale, naked body had me mesmerized until she covered herself with her robe and laughed at the pout I pulled. "Naked dinner is perfectly acceptable, but I'm not cooking fried chicken without some protection."
That had my attention. "Fried chicken?"
She laughed. "Alec approved it for tonight. But he wants you back in the gym first thing tomorrow."
I groaned and buried my face in the pillow while she laughed at me. Letting the two of them become friends had probably been the dumbest move I'd ever made. Bella kissed the back of my head and patted my shoulder. "I might also have stopped and picked up some Chocolate Decadence cookies for dessert."
I was sitting up before she even finished the sentence which only made her laugh harder. "See, at least the gym visit will be worth it." She danced out of my reach as I tried to grab her to tumble her back into bed. "Cut it out, insatiable one."
"You like that I'm insatiable," I reminded her, watching her lick her lips when I moved and the sheet left me exposed. "And you don't seem disinterested yourself."
"Oh, I'm interested," she told me, shaking her head. "It's a tough choice between you and the chocolate but I'm a lucky girl that gets to have both." She stepped back when I stood and moved toward her. "Oh no, chocolate first. You later."
"What kind of priorities do you have, woman?" I demanded, trying to sound hurt but failing because I was smiling at her adorable self.
"I've already had you twice. Now I need some chocolate so I can have you again."
I couldn't fault her logic. "Okay."
"Get a shower, a cold one, and meet me in the kitchen," she ordered. I sighed and headed toward the bathroom. "Oh, and do me a favor? When you get done with that, check your phone. I started a new game with you."
That had my interest. "Did I win?" She laughed at the idiocy of that question and headed out to start dinner. Should have known. Well, I was going to win this time if it killed me. Okay, maybe not, but I was going to try. I flipped on the water in the shower and went back to the bedroom to play my Word while the water heated.
Baby, huh? Maybe we were playing sexy words again. I liked those games, even if I did get turned on at the worst times. I opened our game and was surprised to see that there was more than one word there. BABY HAVE and WE? WE HAVE BABY? We're having a baby?
I dropped my phone and ran out of the room, dashing down the stairs completely naked and yelling Bella's name. "Bella! BELLA!"
She came out of the kitchen. "Edward? What's wrong?"
"Baby? We're having a baby?" The fear and confusion in her face melted into the brightest smile I'd ever seen and she nodded.
"Yes. You were supposed to wait until after…" that was all she got out before I scooped her into my arms and swung her around, kissing her and laughing and just being all around insane. She threw her arms around me and held on tight as we both laughed and celebrated and yeah, sorta cried a little. It wasn't like we'd been trying very long or anything. We'd agreed that she'd go off the pill a little before our wedding and we'd see what happened. Neither of us expected it to happen this fast, but I wasn't complaining.
"When are we due? What are we having? When do we find out?" I demanded, making her laugh even more.
"I don't know any of that yet. I've been feeling sick the past few days and it occurred to me that it was possible that I was pregnant so I bought some tests and took them this morning." She grinned at me. "I may have stolen your phone when got on the computer to check your scheduling with Kate and set up Words. I thought I had to tell you that way."
She did. It was our thing. I kissed her and told her that I loved her and then laid her on the couch and showed her just how much. The fried chicken didn't get made until much, much later and the bathroom was a mess by the time I remembered I'd left the shower on but neither of us cared.
"Earth to Edward." I focused in on Cindy Tate, assistant to the director. "You're needed in ten."
Right. Martin held up the phone and shook his head before I could even ask. Fine. Maybe it wasn't going to be today. This Cullen sure had a stubborn streak, much like his mother. Or God help us all, mine.
I had to smile when I remembered telling the family. We'd decided to go ahead and wait until Christmas since we'd all be together then. Of course, that had been a long three weeks and I swore my mother knew something was up. The woman had a six sense about these things.
"Well, the prodigal son has finally returned!" I winced at the heat in my mom's gaze as she opened the front door. She folded Bella into a warm hug and then gave me the same treatment, but she squeezed me a tad tighter than need be. "Is there a reason you haven't been at family dinners?"
Shit. I was in trouble. "We've just been really busy, Mom. This new movie is kicking my as…tail and Bella's got some rewrites and things have just been nuts." That was my story and I was sticking to it. She'd forgive me when she found out the real reason. Maybe.
"Your brother is on the same movie and he's managed to make dinner."
Her tone was pure ice. "Emmett would fly in from Antarctica to make one of your dinners." I smiled and tried to turn on the charm. "I would, too, for that matter, but it's just taking a toll on me and all my down time is spent with my new wife. I'm sure you understand that?" Yeah, I was throwing Bella into the mix. Mom adored her and if that could keep me out of the dog house, so be it.
"You should always call your mother, boy." I tensed as Charlie swatted my back and then hugged my mother. "Merry Christmas, Esme."
"Charlie, Sue, it's wonderful of you to come." Mom was all smiles then, greeting her guests and ushering them into the living room. Emmett and Rose were already there, along with Alice and…
"Edward!" Jasper got up and threw his arms around me. Hell. I shot a look at Bella who just laughed as I patted the kid awkwardly on the back. "Alice said you're making a war movie. Is it awesome?"
Yeah, it didn't matter that they'd been together for over a year now, Jasper was still my number one fanboy. Alice swore that being around me was the only time that he acted younger than her. Whatever.
"It's pretty cool, Jasper. Emmett can tell you all about the explosions and effects he's doing."
My brother grinned. "Yes, young padawan, sit and be awed by my awesomeness." I gave Emmett a grateful smile and reclaimed my wife, pulling her into my arms and touching her stomach. Our baby was in there. I still couldn't believe it and I couldn't wait to share the news. Mom wouldn't be mad at me any longer, of that I was sure.
"I know we're supposed to wait for the toast but my mom's glaring at me and your dad probably shouldn't be near any sharp implements when we tell him, so can we do it now?" I whispered in her ear.
"Damn, are you two at it again? Haven't you come down from the Honeymoon Hornies yet?" Rose asked, making every eye turn our way. I shrank a bit under Charlie's angry stare.
"We're not…that's not…" I stammered and Bella, bless her, reached up and put her hand over my mouth.
"Edward was just asking if we could make an announcement now or if we should wait for dinner. Seeing as we're the center of attention thanks to you, Rose, I guess we'll do it now."
My mom gasped and held her hand over her mouth, looking ready to pop in excitement. Yeah, she'd figured it out. Bella released my mouth and I kissed her cheek. "Me?"
"You," she replied.
"We're pregnant." Instant pandemonium. Mom pretty much vaulted over Jasper and Alice in her rush to get to us and throw her arms around Bella. Charlie hipchecked me out of the way so he could get close to his daughter. Dad clapped me on the back and told me how happy he was for me.
Emmett hollered "Way to go, Bro. See, Rosie? We have super sperm. You'll be knocked up the instant you're off the pill." She smacked him but was smiling brightly. Alice was bouncing up and down like a mad woman, Jasper looked awed and a little sick, Sue congratulated me quietly before taking a turn hugging Bella. Mom finally came over and hugged me hard.
"Is that why you stayed away?"
I nodded. "You'd know. You'd get it out of me and we wanted to tell everyone together."
She kissed my cheek and held my face between her hands. "I'll forgive you, this time, but next time, you tell me right away. I have things to buy!" And the next thing I knew, Mom had her laptop out and she and the girls were all oohing and ahhing over baby things.
Charlie came and stood beside me. I braced myself for warnings and threats. "I've never seen my baby girl look so happy." I looked at him, surprised. "You've given her the family she always wanted, Edward. Thanks for that, and for my grandbaby." He held out a hand and I shook it. "You treat them right or else." Ha, there was the warning. That was okay. He had nothing to fear where my wife and child were concerned. They were always going to be cherished and loved and never want for anything. I'd see to it.
"Edward to the set." I shook myself out of the memories and headed off to shoot the next fight scene. I was in the midst of ducking a punch when I heard Martin yell my name. I failed to duck and the punch landed right on the side of my head, taking me to the floor. I shook my head, dazed, as people clamored around me. I reached out and grabbed someone's hands, yelling Martin's name and trying to get through the throng that surrounded me.
"Did she call?"
"Yes! It's time!" I screamed for Emmett and yelled for someone to tell him if he hadn't already heard and took off, running past my director, who was trying to beg me to finish the scene, the medic who was trying to look at my eye and everyone else that was in my way. My brother caught up with me as I plowed out of the studio.
"We'll take my car, it's faster." And it was. We hopped in his Ferrari and took off, me frantically searching for my phone so I could tell Bella I was on my way.
"Where's my phone?"
"I don't know, did you get it back from Martin?" The car squealed as we tore around a corner toward Cedars-Sinai. We'd set up for Bella to be put in a private room since they were known for their rich clientele and knew how to keep a secret. We'd been offered ridiculous sums of money for the first photo of our baby and paps would no doubt try to capture us leaving once my baby was born. My baby. He was about to be born.
"Faster Em!" Rather than get annoyed, my brother just cackled and piled on the speed. Even though it felt like it took forever to get there, we got there pretty damn fast. I ran into the building while Emmett parked the car and was quickly ushered to the private birthing suites. Private my ass. Bella was lying in bed surrounded by people. Her father and Sue, Rose, my mother, Kate and Garrett were all in the room.
"Edward!" Mom gave me a hug. "Your father's on the way. Alice and Jasper can't make it down but they're thrilled for you."
Yeah, the gang's all here, but I want my wife. I ran to Bella and my heart kicked up a beat when she grimaced in pain. "Are you okay? She needs medication! Where's the doctor? Is it time to breathe?"
"You need to start breathing," Bella told me, laughing when the contraction passed. "It's a long process, sweetheart. You know this."
"Yeah, didn't you go to the classes?" Garrett asked, getting a withering look from his wife.
"He went to every class," she assured him.
"And every appointment." My directors hadn't been thrilled about that, but I wasn't missing a moment. I'd been with Bella from the very first one, when we heard his heartbeat and saw how tiny he was, when we found out he was a he, when her blood pressure was a bit high and we'd been afraid she'd have to be hospitalized. All of them, I'd been there. I'd have gotten fired and sued before I missed one.
"Hey, DILF," Kate said, kissing me on the cheek. Everybody laughed.
"Stop it, I'm not a DILF."
"You're going to be king of the DILFs, Cullen, but I wasn't talking about you." She gave my father, who had just arrived, a kiss of his own. Dad blushed and Mom laughed like a loon. "God, this family is fun to fuck with," Kate announced, making the rest of the room crack up. "If you'll excuse me, I have to go lie to the press, make them think DILF-to-be's exit from the set was a false alarm. Then I'll plant some rumors that you're over at UCLA. Garrett, come on, let's let them have some family time."
"Wait! What kind of ILF am I, if my dad and brother are DILFs?" Emmett asked, having come into the room at some point during Kate's flirting.
"You're a DOLF, Emmett." At his blank look, she patted his cheek. "A Dumbass Others Like to Fuck. Not me. Go see that girl of yours that is entirely too good for you."
Emmett sulked while Bella giggled and then grimaced again. "Damn, it hurts to laugh."
"Stop making her laugh!" I shouted.
"Edward, it's fine. It gives me something else to concentrate on," Bella assured me, touching my cheek, tracing the bruise that was no doubt forming.
"Okay, I just…"
"I know," she said, smiling at me. "I'm anxious and excited too. He'll be here soon."
But he wasn't. He took hours and hours to get here. Each one seemed longer than the last. Kate and Garrett went home at ten. Rose and Em at midnight. Our parents stayed, catching some sleep on the couches in the waiting area. Bella dozed a little but obviously not for long. I couldn't sleep if you paid me. I got Bella ice chips when she wanted them, held her hand, rubbed her back, whatever I could do to make her more comfortable. Finally at four in the morning, the doctor's decided she was ready to push.
Even though I was exhausted, everything seemed sharp and I was so focused on the moment. Bella's death grip on my hand, the way sweat trickled down her face, the doctor's terse orders to push, the movement of the nurses and hell, even the ticking of the clock on the wall. I heard it all. It was kind of like watching a movie of the moment. Except it was my moment, our moment, and my wife was fighting like a demon to bring our son into the world. I told her I loved her over and over and told her how beautiful she was, which of course she didn't believe but it was entirely true.
That fierce concentration on her face, the way she bore down and cursed quietly and yelled loudly a time or two and the utter focus she had on bringing our son into the world were beautiful to me. And when they said the head was out, and when I peaked and saw a headful of dark hair in the mirror, it took everything I had in me not to demand that they hurry it along. It was only minutes later that the doctor announced, "It's a boy" and they handed him to me while Bella cried and gasped. I looked down into that red, wrinkled crying face and it was just like they always said. I knew I'd never love anyone more in this moment than I did my wife and son.
I cut the cord and handed him to his mother and I swear I saw them bond before my eyes. "Hello, baby," Bella whispered softly. She kissed him and I cursed myself for not filming this moment. She'd threatened my life when I brought it up, but I wished I could show her how incredible she was.
"Shouldn't we call him by his name?" I asked, wrapping my arms lightly around her and my son.
She laughed. "Did we officially decide then?"
We'd gone around about names, considering going the E route but I told her that Emmett had all E names planned for our kids. Then we'd wondered if we should name him after a grandparent, but we both agreed they had old fashioned names and so did I for that matter. There were several decent ones, but I thought her last suggestion worked.
"Aiden Charles Cullen, I'm your daddy," I told him. Big blue eyes looked up at me. "I think he approves."
"Of course he does," Bella told me. "He's got the best daddy in the world."
I kissed her softly. "I'm going to do my best to be the best husband and father to you both. You're my entire world."
"We know," she said, touching my cheek. "We have faith in you." I'd see to it that they always did. My family. All the accolades, the money, the fame, none of it compared to this right here. My wife and child, hopefully plural one day, were my miracles and all that really mattered.