Disclaimer: I don't own anything Twilight or Stephenie Meyer related.

Chapter 38

"Thank you," I whispered.

"You're very welcome," the nurse said and held the door to Bella's room open for me. "I'll be back in a little bit to check on her."

I slowly walked into the room, my eyes never leaving the girl on the bed. The blood was washed off her face but was still in her hair. From where I stood at the door I could see how swollen and bruised her face was. There were tubes everywhere. There was a tube coming out of the side of her chest, there was one in her hand and she had a breathing cannula in her nose, giving her oxygen. I could see her little belly stick out of the bed and I felt a physical need to go over and make sure our baby was fine. For my sake. For hers.

I wanted nothing more than to go over there and take her into my arms but I felt rooted in place. Looking at her I felt so much sadness, despair, helplessness and anger.

After a few minutes of just staring at her lying in the hospital bed, motionless, sleeping peacefully I stepped closer to her and took a seat beside her bed. I slowly took her hand into mine and laid my head down beside it, all the while holding her hand. My thumb slowly slid over the back of her hand, over and over again while my other hand found it's way to our baby girl.

I kept waiting for that little nudge. The little nudge I had grown to love like nothing else in this world. And when it came, the first smile in what felt like years, escaped me.

I woke to a hand softly running through my hair. It took me a second to realize where I was and why my neck was so stiff. The second I realized where I was I shot up, only to take the hand that was running through my hair and kissing it, repeatedly.

"Hey," my voice broke on that little word. I felt like I couldn't breathe.

"How's the baby?"

"Awake," I laughed with tears in my eyes when I felt a little nudge against the hand that was still lying on her stomach.

"Good," she sighed and relaxed into the pillows.

I stood up and sat on the edge of her bed, never letting go of her hand, just to lean down and kiss her on the lips softy.

"I was so worried," I said, my voice cracking repeatedly.

"Me too," she whispered and brushed my tears away. "I was so scared she'd hurt the baby."

"Did she…," I started, letting the question hang in the room.

"No. At least not the baby. She just hit me…," she trailed off, slowly. She raised her hand and touched the side of her face that was swollen and bruised. "She hit me here," she winced. "because I didn't let her touch me or the baby."

I didn't know what to say to that so I stayed silent, just watching her as she was. Even with tubes everywhere, a swollen face and a lot of bruises she was beautiful. It felt like there was a new facette to her beauty. I always knew that she was a fighter. She pulled through when other people didn't. She fought for the things she loved. But today, for what felt like the first time ever, I saw the mother in her.

"So," she tried to sit up before I gently pushed her back down. "What's the verdict?"

"The bullet missed the bone in your arm but got stuck in a rib so you had to have surgery. They…"

"Wait, I was shot?" she asked, sounding completely baffled.

"Yeah. In your arm…," I slowly trailed off, gripping her hand in both of mine and looking down. "Bella, there was so much blood, I was so scared."

"Oh," she trailed off. "I'm here now tho," she said smiling.

I chuckled softly and traced her face with my fingers wanting to memorize her by touch.

"On with it, Cullen. I don't have all day."

"Hold your horses, Swan. I was just about to continue."

She made a "move along" gesture with my hand and my heartbeat picked up, falling in love with her all over again.

"So, they got the bullet out and all is fine. Sometime during the surgery you were having contractions. They were able to stop them but the nurse said you'd have to be on bedrest for the rest of the pregnancy. At least until close to your due date."

She was silent for a few moments, probably contemplating her fate.

"Well… I wanted to start decorating the shop but… I mean I guess we could wait till the baby is born. But yeah, priorities. This one is definitely a priority," she said and let her hand ghost over her stomach.

I smiled at her and when she smiled back I just about burst with love. I leaned down to kiss her stomach and mumbled, "You're definitely a priority, little one."

"Yeah, well our little Bertha here," I said, rubbing Bella's little belly with the hand that didn't hold Rylan. "is making her mama stay in bed for a while so all we can do is play up here, buddy. We wouldn't wanna leave the baby alone, would we?"

I saw Bella roll her eyes out of the corner of my eye but she didn't comment on my baby names anymore.

"Who's Bertha?" Rylan asked, scrunching up his nose in an adorable way.

"This one here," I said and pointed to Bella's stomach.

"No," he muttered. "Thas Belly."

I couldn't help but snicker at the double meaning. Belly was his nickname for Bella, just like Emmy was his nickname for Emmett and Uncle Eddy the nickname for me.

We were currently at home in the living room. Bella was lying on the couch, a blanket over her and she was watching us both with interest. She'd been home from the hospital for eight days now and was still a little drowsy from the surgery and all the pain medication she continued to get. That's probably also the only reason why she hadn't been whining my ass off yet about not being able to get up.

Emmett and Rosalie were in the kitchen. I could hear them talk from here. Alice was supposed to arrive later today. She hadn't been here when it all happened but she said she "caught the first plane she could possibly take" so today would be, when she arrived.

Bella was looking forward to it, the both of them having become fast friends. I was just looking forward to seeing her happy.

"Edward, you can go outside with him."

"Oh I don't know. I don't know if little Rylan here would like leaving you and our Eleanor alone?"

"You haven't been away from me all week Edward. You've got to want to get out a bit. I'm not gonna dissapear," she said, looking at me with those mother eyes she now had. "And we're not naming her Eleanor or Bertha or Margorie or Henrietta," she hissed, whispering.

"I don't know. I personally really liked Gertrude. What do you think, Rylan?"

"Youse should call the baby Rylan," Rylan said and smiled smugly while crawling off my lap and running towards the front door. "I'm putting on ma shoes."

I sat there, staring after him. I wanted to tell him we couldn't go out but I also didn't want to put a damper on his excitement.

"You can go out. He just wants to play in the garden, Edward. You'll be a few feet away."

"Yeah," I whispered, still not wanting to go.

Everytime I've been away from her this week, and if it was just to go to the bathroom, I felt the panic seize me, squeezing my heart to the point where I felt like I couldn't breathe anymore. I was terrified of not having her near me.

"Come here," she whispered and patted the spot on the floor, right beside the couch.

I sat down next to her, my hands and lips immediately finding the belly that was adorably sticking up from her little frame now.

"I can't believe I'm only at 22 weeks and already on bedrest," she said while running her hand through my hair. "I'm going to go crazy by week 40."

"They said you didn't have to be on bedrest till the end. Just until they're sure the baby will pull through, whatever happens."

"Yeah, 37 or 40 doesn't really make that much of a difference anymore," she whined.

"I can't believe I'm going to be someone's dad."

"You're gonna be great. I can't wait to see you with her."

"I can't wait to see you with her," I whispered and leaned over to kiss her.

I angled my head a little so I could deepen the kiss when suddenly someone screamed, "Unca Eddy, I'm ready" into my ear right beside me.

"Edward, are you sure you can do this?" she asked from the chair, eyeing me with some doubt.

"Of course," I said but it sounded more like a question.

"We can just order pizza, sweetie. It's okay I don't want you to lose a finger or something."

"Ha, Ha."

I walked over to the chair she had been occupying for a while now watching me and crouched down beside her.

"You wanted 'crepes', I'll make you 'crepes'," I said, mocking the way she said it and kissing her nose.

Twenty minutes later, the pile of the burned or broken crepes was two times as big as the one with the useful ones. I was just about to brag with how the last two crepes had been successes, when there was a loud beeping.

"Edward, is that the fire alarm?" I heard Bella laugh.

I turned off the stove, and walked over to where she sat. I crouched down beside her and began tickling her.

"You're gonna laugh at me?"

"Edward, stop, I'm peeing myself on my own as it is I don't need you tickling me oh my god."

I didn't stop though until she was thrashing around and hit me in the nose with her waving fist, knocking me on my ass.

"Oh my god, are you alright?"

"Yeah, woman," I groaned. "You better sleep with one eye open."

I lay down on the floor, looking at the ceiling, all the while the fire alarm still nearly made us go deaf.

I was just about to close my eyes and succumb to the chaos when I felt a belly touch my stomach, and saw Bella on her hands and knees over me, trying to work out how to best lie down next to me.

"This doesn't work the way it used to. Wipe that smirk off your face, Cullen."

I laughed and sat up, knocking my head into hers in the process.

By the time we finally both lay on the floor, we were still laughing.

"This hasn't really been our best day," I mumbled into her hair.

"It's been a perfect day," she said and kissed my chest.