The First Cut Is The Deepest

Chapter 10/EPI


Bringing Christie home to our new home was strange. It was like the final pieces of our future life were coming together. I could see Edward was torn about his promise and he made himself busy, putting her clothes in the washer and unpacking my belongings as I sat and fed our daughter. I was drinking gallons of water and trying hard to get my supply re-established full time.

Finally, all the busy distractions were done and he stood beside us, nervously opening and closing his fists.

"Just relax. Christie is not going to judge your performance," I assured him. I sat her in the playpen in the middle of the room and she started playing with her new toys, and pretty much ignored us.

I sat down on the bench beside him.

He gazed into my eyes and smiled, and ran his hand through his hair.

It seemed like he was wary of exposing something to me, that the music would reveal more than he wanted me to know.

His rested his fingers on the keys and closed his eyes.

Nostalgia hit me like a tidal wave.

He wrote this song for me.

It was my eighteenth birthday present.

I remember the party and the noise and gifts and Mike DJ'ing as everyone danced and then they all left and only Edward and I had remained.

He'd been nervous that evening, as well.

Ignoring the mess, he'd taken my hand and led me to his piano and sat down. Next thing this wondrous melody had filled the air and he'd blushed at my surprise and close attention. I'd sat beside him and listened with my heart as well.

It had seemed like the music was telling me things he had not yet worked out in his head, and although he had never said anything, ever, about loving me, it was this music that had made me think he did.

Deep inside.

Maybe deeper than he could reach himself.

It was as if the music declared and admitted things he couldn't.

I know my feelings gelled permanently that night. I could not ever imagine loving anyone else on this entire planet, and apart from our daughter, that had not changed.

I let the music roll over me, and just as he had done that other night, as he ended it he turned and took me into his arms and kissed my lips in a way he had never kissed me before, back then.

They were familiar kisses now, freely given every chance he got, but that first meaningful kiss had given me hope, and although the events that followed should have dashed them, that little flame had always burned in my heart.

It had flickered at times, like when he read me his List, and when he went away, I had feared it had extinguished completely, but now I could feel it again.

It was still there.

Still burning brightly.

"Edward," I sighed, "Edward, I..."

He placed his hands on my shoulders.

"I love you, Bella. This song said what I didn't know myself back then. Surely you can hear that."

I nodded.

"Edward, I think I do love you."

"Again?" he smiled.

"Still," I admitted.

"Bella, I am so happy, and I promise I will never hurt you gain. You are my life now and I will always be here for you. For eternity."

Christie lay in the playpen and gurgled her approval.

We felt like a family.


Esme held her arms out open to me as we stepped through the airport security and I gladly stepped inside her embrace.

"Edward, it was so good to hear from you. We are both so happy you have found your peace and come back to see us. Oh, goodness, who is that baby? If I didn't know better..."

"This is my daughter, Christie. She was born eleven months ago, while I was still in France. I know Bella called you, looking for me."

"Oh, yes, so many times. I should have suspected there was more to those calls than just her missing you. May I hold her?"

Bella handed the baby over and Esme stood there, smiling at my daughter's green eyes and copper hair. Alice snapped a photo and held onto Jasper with one hand while shaking the Polaroid photo with the other.

She handed it to me.

"They look like mother and daughter almost. Esme looks so young, way too young to be the mother of you and that oaf...oh my God, Emmett! How are you, you big lunk."

My brother was grinning madly and he did the rounds, man hugs for Jas and I, proper full hugs for Bella and Alice.

Then he stopped in front of Rosalie and looked unsure what he should do. He knew nothing of her ordeal but he seemed to somehow sense she would not appreciate being grabbed and tossed about like a doll, the way he had treated Alice and Bella.

He held out his hand.

"Emmett Cullen. And you are?"

"Rose. Rosalie Hale," she replied.

"Welcome, Rosalie Hale. I've heard of that name."

We all froze. I mean, news did seep through eventually, to the little newspaper run here.

"You used to be the lead dancer at the Fork's Ballet School," he said, letting us all release the breaths we had been holding. "I saw you dance a few times when Edward here dragged me to watch Bella on stage. I hate to admit this in front of my favorite sister, so to speak, but I tended to watch you more than I watched her. You were pretty amazing."

"Thank you. I wish I could say I noticed you watching but the lights were rather blinding."

Emmett nodded.

"So, you are a local. Come back for a bit of excitement? I hear the city can be rather boring compared to the thriving metropolis Forks is."

"Sure, I miss the Big Smoke of Forks," she replied.

Bella quickly raised and lowered her eyebrows at me and I nodded.

Chemistry in the making.

Of course, he would be the wrong man for her and she would probably be too burdened with her own baggage to be good for him. But what did we know?

Jasper and I got the bags and Emmett grabbed Rose's case and led her to his jeep, while Jas and Alice got in the back. Bella and I strapped Christie's carseat into place and sat either side of it in the backseat of Esme's car.

"Well, I didn't tell Carlisle you were coming, because I thought he would enjoy the surprise but I guess it's even more surprising now. Bella, I wish you had told me. I would have made a lot more effort to locate Edward. I thought it was best to let him come home to us in his own time. I had no idea how much you would have needed him."

"He didn't know, Esme. I didn't do a test until after he was gone. Then I waited because I wasn't sure how he would react. After Emmett and the pregnant girls at school, and all. I know Edward was angry about them, and thought they had behaved cruelly towards Emmett, so I assumed he would be angry about me as well."

"It was entirely different," Edward butted in. "Emmett had two kids to random girls he was with once or twice. You and I have always been something, Bella. It's changed and evolved over the years and we are a family now. There was no comparison between Emmett's situation and ours. I'm very glad you had Christie. I don't know if I would ever have come to the conclusion I was good enough to be a father. It's a huge step, one I was better being pushed down than asked to step up and choose for myself. I don't regret this baby one iota, know that."

"I'm so glad you said that," Bella replied, taking my hand and holding it.

Christie joined her little hand to ours and from that single moment, it felt like it was meant to. All three of us, in this together. Then of course she tried to prise Bella's hand from mine and pulled my hand to her mouth, to bite on my fingers.

"Ouch. How the heck do you feed her with those teeth?" I asked Bella.

"She's a quick learner. I flick her cheek if she attempts to bite. She only did it once and she got plonked into the crib only half fed, so she worked it out."

"Smart girl," Esme stated. "So, you and Bella are back together and all is right with the world?"

"Things are improving, we are getting there," Bella admitted. "Edward played the piano for Christie when she got home from hospital."

It had been quite an event. I had felt more nervous beforehand than ever before any performance I had given in front of judges.

Christie had sat there, transfixed, her eyes flashing and gazing at me in surprise. She hadn't made a sound as Bella sat beside me on the piano bench.

I'd chosen the song I'd written for Bella's eighteenth birthday. It seemed like the day before everything went slightly off kilter. If only I'd waited and not gone to her bed. If only I'd recognised my feelings for what they were, before we had become intimate.

Sex had confused things.

Missing the step in between had meant I never had to examine how I felt about her or admit how important she was to me.

We'd become a habit, and one that didn't grow and get stronger, because I'd put us in the friends with benefits category and not seen it as the beginning of something so beautiful...

"We'll have to stop somewhere and buy a travel crib for Christie," I warned Esme and she laughed.

"We have two nurseries at home. Emmett has full custody of Emily-Rose. Mandy decided to move away to Utah and start again with her ex, David. They have a son now and she's broken off all communication with us all.

She wanted a new start and Emily-Rose prevented that happening so she has given the child completely over to Emmett. Mandy signed away her rights, so he is officially a single parent to Emily.

He's had full residence since she was just a few months old.

As a result, we do have all the usual baby related items still, up in the attic. Emily is in a bed now, so we can use her crib for Christie.

Max stays over twice a week and every alternate weekend. Emmett has handled things quite well, considering. I'm proud of him. Carlisle has calmed down at last. That boy had better not ever father another child before being in a proper relationship at least, but he does know that. He hasn't touched another girl since he found out the babies were on their way. I think 'scared straight' is the term."

"I guess having the babies takes up all his spare time anyway," Bella said.

"Sure, but he's changed. He no longer lives for himself alone. Those two children are his first concern."

Esme's housekeeper met us at the door and us boys took our bags inside. Emmett got the crib out of storage and we made it up in my old bedroom, so Christie would be close by us and I jumped up and left the room, coming back with a Japanese room divider. I set it up between the crib and divided the room, giving us privacy from our daughter.

"She's too young to witness the things that will happen in this bed," I whispered in Bella's ear.

She blushed a becoming shade of pink and touched my face gently with her hand.

I can't believe I have her back again. It's more than I could have hoped and dreamed and far more than I deserve, but I will never point that out to her.

Emmett left to check on his daughter, who was taking a nap in her nursery on the second floor, and we were alone for a little while. Esme was getting acquainted with Christie, who was calm and happy after being fed, and I wanted to get acquainted with Bella.

She let me lay her down on my old bed and kiss her until she was dizzy, but she grabbed my hands that roamed under her blouse and growled.

"Edward, behave. There are people everywhere and anyone could wander in here at any minute."

"You never used to let that bother you," I reminded her. I had taken her here many times, sometimes only finishing as we heard Esme's feet stepping up the staircase.

It had been a rush, and we'd always been sitting up, side by side, studying History or Politics by the time Mom appeared at my door.

"Bella,we will hear anyone coming," I whispered, sliding her zip down on her jeans and putting my hand inside her panties.

"Yes but they will hear us coming as well," she whispered, and she moaned softly as I found her clit and stroked around it. She was instantly wet and needy and I had kept to the rules at home, only making love to her when she started things herself.

I wanted to show her how much I wanted her, in case she had forgotten.

I slid her jeans and panties off her and then slid my own jeans to my ankles , and I sat her on my lap, her legs straddling mine. She had a long cheesecloth top on that resembled a dress, anyway, so we were both fully hidden. Of course, it would still be obvious what we were doing but I wanted her and she was stroking my shaft under her frock.

She held my gaze and bit her lip as she rose up and inserted me inside her body.

I closed my eyes and hummed as I felt her tight around me. God, yes, this was home. Anytime, any place we were together like this, that was home.

I opened my eyes as I felt her move, and took her hips in my hands and guided her up and down, shivering in delight.

"It seems you are a naughty girl, after all," I whispered and she grabbed my hair and hid her face in my neck. The feeling of her desperate breath on my shoulder made me want to stay like this forever. However, Bella had other ideas and knelt her knees on the bed and rose up, almost completely off me, then sank down hard. The thrill shot right through my body and I choked back the cry I wanted to make.

Seeing she was taking charge, I felt free to explore under her loosely fitted shirt and find her breasts. Her nipples were hard and erect and I kissed them lovingly and sucked on one as hard as I could. Bella always laughed and warned me I would cop a mouthful of breastmilk one day, when I did this but I was smart. I always waited until she had just fed our daughter and anyway, the idea of tasting that was kind of intriguing. I'd tasted every inch of Bella and licked away everything she ever gave me. A fear of breast milk was hardly going to stop me enjoying every part of her.

Bella instantly became desperate, it seemed her nipples were directly linked to her core and she started moving faster, more erratically.

"Edward," she pleaded and I helped her out, circling her clit as she pushed against my hand. There were times and places for long and slow, this was time for fast, if we were to remain undetected.

She bucked against me and I removed my fingers and pushed against her with my body instead, feeling her clit swell as it rubbed just above where my penis joined my body. Feeling her against me, pushing madly closer for relief, made me feel like we had been made just for one another and I guided her body faster, until I felt her flutter on my skin.

She grabbed me and held me tightly as she rode out her orgasm and I let go and released inside her, making her moan and sit down on me even harder.

"I can feel you coming inside me," she whispered in a moan.

I kissed her throat erratically, thrusting up as my seed filled her body. Times like this made all the past pain and hurt and angst worth it.

I wanted her to say it and I held her gently and waited.

"God, Edward, I love you so much," she said and I grinned. The sweetest words in the world.

"As I love you, my Bella."

She rode her body on mine again and stilled.

"That was seriously awesome. You are a Sex God."

I was. With Bella, I was. But it was the love that made the difference.

I felt so close to her, like we should have always felt together.

"We should take a shower," she said and I reluctantly let her go.

My mother had inadvertently played along with my fantasies and put strawberry shower gel in my bathroom.

Bella laughed and started coating her body with it, and as the water hit her breasts, she created a thousand pink bubbles to cover herself with.

"Bella, Baby, you know I have a thing for your boobs and bubbles," I sighed and started washing them clean with my hands.

She turned away and backed up against me and excited my dick again and I had to bend her over and enter her from behind, there was no choice unless I walked around with a steel rod in my pants all day in front of my family.

"Fuck, you are a naughty girl," I admonished her and thrust inside her roughly. She placed her hands on the tiled wall and laughed, and I took the challenge. She thinks it is harder for me to get her off this way but I can actually feel her g spot easier in this position and I pounded it until she cried out. I reached around and pinched her excited clit and she collapsed onto her hands and knees, her pussy spasming madly around my dick.

Fuck me, she isn't often this submissive. I had to take advantage and I thrust inside her long and hard until she started shaking and as soon as she came again, I released and pulled out mid stream and finished coming on her backside, massaging her skin as the shower water washed her clean.

We used to play backdoor games, back in college but it had felt out of bounds to me this time. She has never asked me to take her there again but I wanted to. I massaged her back opening and slid a finger inside and put another on her still pulsating clit and prolonged her orgasm.

"Edward," she moaned and I was instantly hard again.

I couched over her and rubbed the tip of my penis against her and worked her clit with my fingers until she bucked back and I slid inside the holy grail.

Fuck she was tight. I had an instant flashback to the first time we had tried this. Alcohol had been involved and Bella's defences had been lowered but the next time, it had been without the need for intoxication and it became just something we did, usually in the shower.

I slowed as inched fully inside and I massaged her swollen clit and felt her reawaken.

She was holding her breath, and I leaned in to kiss her neck.

"Just breathe, Baby. Tell me if you want me to stop."

She dropped her head down and stayed in position so I gently slid out and then back in, until she started to respond and moan with me. I could barely hold back, it was so erotic and intoxicating, and so much better than when we had done it in the past.

I felt myself start to stream inside her and pulled out as she came on my hand.

Washing her clean, I kissed her neck and pulled her to her feet, turning her to face me.

"Did I hurt you, Baby?" I checked. I really hoped I hadn't, because I wanted to make that part of our routine again.

"I'm fine. I'd almost given up hope that you would do that to me again," she said, kissing my chin.

"You liked it?' I said, always surprised.

"Of course I liked it. I love every way you take me, Edward. I always have."

I touched her body, slowly massaging her skin, rubbing circles across her back and down the top her thighs.

"We are done for now," she whispered, stepping away. "Tonight you will be doing whatever I command, Edward. It will be my night."

I nodded.

Whatever she wanted.

We went downstairs and Emmett was holding a pretty little toddler with black curls on his hip.

"This is Uncle Edward and Auntie Bella," he said. "This is Emily-Rose."

"Hi, " Bella said with a smile, walking to my brother's side and taking the little girl's hand. I watched her closely, marvelling how she went from seductress to Mommy mode just like that. Jasper stepped to my side and leaned toward my ear.

"I got sent up to bring you two down. I said Bella was feeling a little jet lagged. Maybe even a little travel sick. That would account for the moaning in the bathroom, right?" he snickered quietly. "You randy bastard. I had to call Alice upstairs to assist me with the fucking wood in my jeans before I could go downstairs again. Thanks for that, it's not embarrassing, having to fuck your girl in a hallway because your best friend is doing all sorts in the shower. Sound travels."

"Not all the way down here, I hope," I murmured.

"Nope, otherwise Emmett would have had to make some crude remark, and he didn't."

"How are you feeling now, Bella? Jasper said you were travel sick," Emmett asked, frowning. He clearly didn't know what to make of this.

"I hate flying. It takes me time to come back down. I felt quite high upstairs, still," she replied, not missing a beat. I guess she knew Emmett well enough to have an answer ready.

"Bad luck, Edward. No sexy times for you tonight," he crowed.

"I can wait," I replied. "It almost feels like the last lot of sexy times we enjoyed together just happened, anyway. I have a great memory," I smirked.

He glared. Oh yes, it had clearly been way too long since Emmett last had sex.

Alice was being busy, folding and unfolding table napkins and avoiding looking my way. The skirt of her dress was wrinkled, so unlike Miss Perfectly Dressed Alice. I wondered if Bella would have found the news we had sent them into a frenzy of lust funny or a turn on.

I would find out later tonight.

Esme appeared and handed Christie to Bella.

"You should all go outside and look at the gardens. I've done a lot of work since last time you were here and there's a kiddies playground down the back. I'm sure Emily will show you the way."

"Do you need any help getting lunch?" Bella asked.

"I would like a chance for us to chat, just you and I," my Mom admitted and I took Christie and followed the others outside.

"What were you to doing anyway?" Jasper asked me. "The way you were moaning, it had to be something special."

"Something we have not done since college," I confirmed and he smirked.

"I knew it. I told Alice it had to be that and she said I needn't think I was doing that here, in your parents house. I see you have no such hang ups."

"Jasper, she never indicated she would be receptive to me taking her that way again. I took a chance and she wanted me to follow through. What was I supposed to do? Ask her to hold that thought and take a flight back home? Sometimes you have to strike while the iron is hot."

"Hot and willing," he agreed. "You, my friend, are a very lucky man."

I put Christie into the baby swing and started pushing her.

"She's back, Jasper. She's completely mine again and I love it. I have lived for this connection for so long now. This latest incident just proves she is fully into us as I am. She would never do that if she wasn't in love with me. I know she used to let me do it because she knew I liked it but it's different now. I think she missed me, in every way. And now she wants us back, and wanted me to do that to seal the deal, so to speak. She wanted to do everything we have ever done before."

"We need to change the subject, while we have children present," Jasper sighed. "I wish Alice and I could stand to break up for a day or two and then get back together and do crazy make up stuff," he said. I was impressed how he managed to speak in child friendly words and not burst into more descriptive terms.

It was something I had to remember. Always mind my language around the baby. I had always spoken to Bella openly and expressed my desires out loud. That would have to change.

Alice and Rose were standing together, and the way Alice was blushing and Rose was laughing, I knew what the subject they were discussing was.

Rose shook her head and the smile fell from her face.

I could read her surprisingly easily. She missed sex. Real, proper, consensual sex. The rape had not left her petrified of all sex, just forced pack rape. She wanted a chance to get back in the saddle. And being a long way from where everything happened, I think she would probably welcome Emmett's inevitable advances.

I just had no idea whether to warn him to be gentle with her and let her call the shots and set the pace or whether this was something I should stay out of.

He called Alice over.

"How would Auntie Alice like to spend some quality time with Emily? She's easily pleased. She will sit on that swing for hours, if you push her."

"Oh sure. Hiya, Emily. I used to love swinging too."

Emmett looked a little shocked and Jas and I laughed. Alice had been quite the swinger in her day.

Emmett walked over to us.

"So, Rosalie. Do I have a chance, do you think? Or does she have a boyfriend back in the city?"

"Nope, she's not had a boyfriend for a while," Jasper replied.

"You are kidding me? You city folk let someone that hot go without a partner? Is the smog getting into your brains?"

"I would like to point out, Jasper and I have girlfriends," I replied. "Exclusive girlfriends. We don't play around."

"So, I'm going to go chat to Rosie," he said.

"Don't do anything we wouldn't do," Jasper laughed.

Emmett turned and walked back and whispered.

"Then I hope you two would fuck her, because I sure intend to."

He walked towards Rose and she looked at me.

I shook my head and she mouthed the word "Thanks."

Clearly, she felt she could handle Emmett and didn't want him told anything.

They walked down towards the creek and sat together on a fallen tree. Jasper and Alice and I kept the two little girls amused and watched from afar.

Alice seemed calm, and I trusted her to know her friend and what she was capable of handling.

"Oh Edward, Emmett's a big teddy bear. Rose will keep him in line. If anything happens between them, it will be down to her. Emmett has changed, hasn't he?"

"Maybe not as much as you think," I warned her.

"Edward, Rose wants to, um, have some fun times with him. She needs to break the drought and she thinks he might be the one to do that with. Don't panic. She can handle you-know-what, she's been in therapy for over a year and she feels it's time."

"He has been going though a drought of his own, according to Mom. He hasn't been,um, drinking, since the announcement about certain young infants being on the way."

"Good, then he will want what she wants. Some friendly drinking with no strings. And she can't get pregnant, don't forget. There's no chance of her adding to his brood."

We all went inside when Esme called us and sat at the large dining table in the formal dining room. Highchairs appeared and Christie sat beside me, seeing she is going through a stage of preferring me to Bella at the moment, except when she wants to breastfeed.

I spooned mashed vegetables into her mouth as Bella and Mom served our lunch and a surprised Carlisle walked through the front door, beaming at us all.

"Well, look what the cat dragged in. It's great to see you all again."

He paused and blinked in shock at the sight of my lookalike daughter.

"Edward, you are full of surprises. Who might this be?" he asked, standing beside the high chair.

"This is your granddaughter Christie. Bella and I wanted you to meet her."

"Christie. I seem to recall you saying you would name your daughter that name back when you were just a boy and Christie Brinkley was flavor of the month."

"Oh, I see," Bella commented. "Our daughter is named after your pin up girl."

"What can I say? It's a beautiful name for any beautiful female."

"And you won't object when I name our son Orlando Bloom Cullen, then," she stated.

"Orlando is a great name," I agreed. I was hardly going to object, if it mean she was willing for us to have another baby some day. I really wanted to experience every stage, from the months of trying to impregnate her then the positive pregnancy test, to the months wrapped around a pregnant Bella, then holding her through the delivery and seeing my son take his first breath.

Alice had given me copies of her dvd's of Christie's birth but I hadn't been able to watch them yet. I had gone as far as putting one into the player and watching Bella, bent double, holding her belly, and Alice and Rose were helping her walk into the Delivery Room.

I knew they might evoke a sense of having had that experience stolen from me and Bella and I needed to bond and connect a lot more before I could handle any negative feelings.

I knew it was my fault for not keeping in touch but somewhere, deep inside, there had to be a degree of resentment at what she had done without me having a chance to come back and be part of the whole thing.

Emmett had attended the births of both his babies, even though he was strictly friends by then, with the birth mothers. He'd never wanted to marry either of them and even after getting to know both, he still felt it would be a disaster to pretend either woman was what he was looking for.

Time had proved that true, with Mandy returning to her former boyfriend after the birth, and now she was married to him and had their own family.

Emmett and Max's Mom were only in one another's company long enough to hand the boy over.

She had resented the 'other' pregnancy and had assumed Emmett was only sleeping with her, so she had held a fair bit of hate towards him.

Esme had told us she had mellowed but she definitely had no expectations these days that anything would ever occur between them again.

Carlisle sat down and ate with us all, and caught up on our news but I caught him looking my way often and knew he would be wanting a full explanation later tonight in his study.

I wanted him to accept Bella and the birth of Christie in a wholly positive way, so I had to think before I spoke.

He headed back to work and at the front door, he touched my arm.

"Later, Edward."

"Sure, Dad. Later," I agreed.

We were all tired and Christie became grumpy so we headed upstairs and Bella got the baby to sleep then curled up beside me on my bed.

"It's kind of weird being back here," she said, and I kissed her face.


"I guess I always pictured us like this, back then. Then I lost hold of the ultimate dream and figured you may never even know your daughter existed. I thought you may complete the dream with some other girl and I would grow old, alone, always waiting for you to come back, and you'd be raising a house full of kids with some other woman."

"I would never have wanted that," I assured her. I may have gotten lost and wandered from the path but I would have found it again, somehow.

"Are you sure you are okay? You looked a little worried at lunch," Bella asked me.

"I still have a hurdle to cross, Bella. I have to watch the birth of Christie on the TV, it's going to be a very poor substitute for being there to experience the real thing. I don't want it to come between us. I know my Father wants to ask me how this happened and I fear talking about what I missed. I'm not blaming you entirely, don't think that. I think we each are equally responsible for how things happened, but I don't want to resent you. I couldn't bear anything to tear us apart."

"Maybe wait, until I'm pregnant again and you have the actual experience happening. It may help. Do you want another baby, some day?"

"I do, but how much of that is based on the fact I missed the first pregnancy, not a desire to have another child, I'm not sure. I know we are nowhere near ready yet. We need a honeymoon period and to settle down as a family properly before any changes happen. I'm sure, as much as it will be wonderful to have another addition, it will also be a stressful time and we don't know how we would handle any extra stress yet."

"I'm so sorry I stole that experience from you," Bella said tearfully.

"I know. Just as I'm sorry I fucked up your first experience of being in love. We both got things wrong, Bella."


"Are you sure you want to stay?" I asked Rose again. Going back without her would be strange.

"I'm sure. Emmett might not seem like the obvious perfect match for me, but since we met, I've found myself healing. I have a ways to go, but I finally feel like I've found my place in the world. He already has two kids, and has no desire to add to that total. He loves me, and I think I pretty much love him back, Bella. Just be happy for me."

"Oh God, I'm happy for you. Don't doubt that. We have always been sisters by choice and that won't change. I'm going to miss you so much."

"I'll miss you and Alice, and Christie too, of course. But you will come back often, right?"

Edward walked over and put his arm around my shoulders.

"We will be moving back as soon as Bella decides the time is right to have another baby. Christie deserves to grow up here, where we did. Masen's clearly runs just as smoothly without either of us. I think we'll be back next Christmas, one way or another. Whether Bella is ready to have a baby or not, to be honest. I'm sick of city life as well. I know who my true family is, and they live here in Forks, not in the city."

"You are giving up on your bio's then?" Rose asked.

"Not so much giving up and accepting I have no place there with them. I guess I was never someone they needed in their lives and it hasn't changed. I could stay and spend my life banging my head against a brick wall, begging for their attention, or I could come home here and be near the parents who chose me and love me."

"Good choice. You are choosing right," she agreed and kissed Edward's cheek.

"I just worry about leaving Alice here alone. That's the only thing making me return at all, really," I admitted.

"She has Jasper. If they get lonely, they'll come back too," Edward replied.

"I feel like my family is being split up, and I don't know which half to stay with," I admitted.

"We will be there for six more months, then you can decide. You've had a taste of life back here. Now you can see what it's like living as a family in the city and if you don't like that, home we come. You only have to say the word."

"There's Mom to consider," I reminded him.

"She seems to have cosied up to Charlie again. She has already decided as soon as we come back, she will too."

"Then why are we even going back there?" I asked.

"Good point," Edward replied. "I can resign by phone. It's not as if I'll be missing my going away party. It might be less award all around if Jasper and Alice pack up the apartment and send on our things. We could stay here. I'd need a job."

"Or you could concentrate on your music again," Carlisle suggested.

"Please, Edward," I begged. He would never be complete again if he didn't try to walk down that path again."Music is your first love and you could be amazing again. You know that."

"You are my first love," he corrected me. "You and our daughter. You two do inspire me. I guess I could look into completing my studies at the Port Angeles campus."

"I could work," I volunteered.

"You could stay home and look after Christie. Money is never going to be an issue, I told you that. Work if you want to, in the future, when Christie is older, but for now, just be her fulltime Mom. You know you love doing that. Look how happy you have been here for the last few weeks. This could be our life now."

"After all the trouble you went to making your apartment so perfect."

"It's bricks and mortar. Someone will buy it and benefit from all that. I don't have any emotional attachment to it. It's who you live with, not where you live, that counts. The ties that bind are with humans, not buildings."

"It could be fun, recreating a home here," I decided.

"Let's do it. Let's tell Alice and Jasper we aren't going back with them," Edward pleaded.

"Two spare seats, too late to get a refund. I'm glad they are down the back. We can spread out, make use of them," Jasper smirked. "A blanket, a few mini bottles from the bar. Could be quite a party."

"It would give us room to stretch our legs," Alice agreed.

"Like your short little legs need room," Emmett laughed.

Rose took Emily from him and kissed her face. "I never knew how much I wanted this. I cried over losing my options but until I met Emily,I don't think I realised how much you can love a child that isn't yours."

"Esme can tell you all about that," Carlisle grinned. "I swear she forgets at times. It's entirely possible to grow to love a child so much you forget his roots and feel like he has always been yours It will be the same for you, in time."

"Looks like we all get our happy ever after," Edward replied, stroking my face.

"It's been a bumpy road but this feels right," I agreed.

"Welcome home, Bella," Edward said, holding me close.

"It's good to be back," I agreed.