Here it is, the end. SM owns it, Dollybigmomma rocks it, I just write it. Dolly wrote the last page with Jane and that extra baby. Aren't you glad she doesn't narrate your life? Ha!
Chapter 20 – Karma Merry-Go-Round
Taking care of Bella was like knitting with earthworms. She was fit and used to being busy, and more than once she managed to slip away from me and I literally had to pull her down from the rafters. She was well-versed at tightrope walking, telling me not to worry and insisted that the cobwebs needed to come down. I was sure I would die of a heart attack before our children were born.
It turned out most childproof contraptions were also monkey-proof. The apes were very displeased with the cabinet locks and showed their disapproval by throwing crap, literally. Thankfully, Melody stepped in and put them in the barn for time out.
The children were excited about the babies and often asked if they were ready to come out yet. Bella finally made a countdown calendar with them. We knew she would most likely be getting a C-section, so as soon as she got the date she put it down for the kids to see. There was rejoicing by all that night and a party, circus-style of course, was thrown.
The day my Bella was scheduled for her C-section was the craziest of my life. That was really saying something when you realized I lived with circus animals. Bernard took himself for a walk to the local drive-thru, causing a huge mess. Thankfully, when Melody showed up with the truck and bought a mess of burgers, he hopped in and came home. He was mad when she put him in time out in the back of the barn. We actually had a cage for him; it was just rarely used unless he was naughty.
Bella was not being cooperative at all. She insisted on eating, even though she was told not to. She wouldn't take the elevator down, even though she couldn't see her feet and she was supposed to be taking it easy. I didn't think the day could go any worse, but I was wrong.
Timmy and Ara were so excited to see us off that Timmy ended up tripping and falling down four steps, breaking his arm. When he started crying out, Chester and Aunty went running off and got lost in the backyard trees, but not before scaring the daylights out of the peacocks and peahens who somehow got out the side gate and took off into the neighborhood. The only one that wasn't raising a ruckus was Tally the zebra, and that was because we found out later that she had passed away. She was thirty-eight which was like one hundred eight in zebra years, but it didn't hurt any less for my Bella to say goodbye to her old friend.
"I forgot my bag," Bella said before she left the kitchen heading for the stairs.
"Did you not see what happened to Timmy? He can even see his feet! Elevator, woman!" I shouted after her, but she just rolled her eyes at me. Melody had taken Timmy to the get his arm fixed, leaving Ara and I to round up the peacocks in the neighborhood. We had just finished when I found Bella in the kitchen stuffing her face with another bologna and graham cracker sandwich. I was about to chasten her to at least sit down at the table if she insisted on eating, but she stopped me.
"I'm fine, Edward…" she started, but was cut off by a scream as she went down behind the counter.
I ran to her, terrified she had slipped and fallen, but I realized that was not the reason she was on her knees.
"Edward, they're coming!" she cried.
"You're having a C-section," I insisted.
She shook her head no, "Someone…" she stopped, "OOH!" She gripped my hand, "Someone wants out." Ara came running in looking worried.
"I'm fine, baby," she gasped and I did my best to try and pick my girl up off the floor, but she was carrying three babies. She was one hundred twenty pounds not pregnant, but now she was an easy two hundred twenty with all three munchkins inside her. I struggled to get her to the garage. She was able to get in the car. "My bag!" she shouted at me before screaming in pain again.
I ran upstairs, snatching it up and we zoomed off. Once I arrived at the hospital with my wife, I realized Ara was home alone. I quickly called our neighbor, Dr. Schultz, to watch her, telling her that we had left in a panic and Melody would be back soon for her. She told me it wouldn't be a problem and headed over.
"Dr. Cullen, your wife is asking for you," a nurse said and so I sped-walked down the hall back to my wife's room.
Just as I stepped in, the doctor said to push and my son's head popped out as my wife screamed at the top of her lungs. She was only thirty-six weeks and four days along. Our son was quickly born at five pounds six ounces.
The doctor started ordering the nurses to pump my wife full of relaxants, hoping to stop or slow her labor. The twin girls were not in a position to be delivered vaginally and one baby had both umbilical cords looped around her several times.
After delivering my son's placenta, they were able to stop my wife's labor. They quickly did an ultrasound, checking the positions of the girls and the condition of their placenta. It was still intact and they had shifted from both laying sideways to one being head up and the other head down.
"They're in position, but the little one is still wrapped up pretty good."
"She's my dancer," Bella said smiling.
"Because of her being so wrapped up, I still think we should do the C-section."
I nodded in agreement, squeezing my girl's hand.
"How is our son?" Bella asked me. I had watched as they cleaned and did the Apgar test. He scored a six the first time and a nine the second. "He's doing good. His lungs are alright, but they're watching him closely. I'll keep an eye on him."
"About the girls," the doctor interrupted. "We have a unique opportunity here. With the boy out of the uterus now, there's more room and less stress on your body. How would you feel about staying here to be monitored a few more days and see if we can develop the girl's lungs a little more?"
Bella looked at me worried.
I gave her a soft smile. "It'll be what's best for them. You might be able to carry them to thirty-eight weeks even," I offered.
The doctor nodded in agreement, "I'd still like to give her steroids to help with their lung development, just in case they decide not to wait."
"Edward, I'm scared," she finally whispered.
"What are you scared of?" She had already giving birth once, so I didn't think it was that.
"I want to you to check on the baby, I feel like something's wrong. I don't know what it is, but something's wrong with one of our kids."
The doctor took this seriously and pulled over the ultrasound machine, checking on our girls. "These two are fine. They seem to be enjoying the extra room and the little one has unwound one of her legs from her sister's cord."
I squeezed Bella's hand. "See, babe, they're fine."
"Our son, Edward, check on our son."
I nodded okay and as I was getting ready to leave, the doctor stopped me. "So, we're keeping her, right?" he asked looking at both of us. We both nodded yes and he smiled widely. "Good girl, I'll call the nurse and get you moved to a more comfortable room," he said as I slipped out the door.
I hustled down the hall to the nursery, sliding to a stop in front of the view window. My son was easy to pick out. He was the little one wrapped in a blue blanket in an incubator. He had little monitors all over his body and a nurse smiled and waved at me, then came to the side door. "Would you like to come in?" she asked. I looked at the steady heartbeat and the nice high oxygen count.
I had just nodded yes when my phone rang. I hadn't realized I didn't turn it off. The nurse was about to say something when I stopped her. "I forgot. We were in such a hurry," I said hitting the ignore button, worrying because I saw it was Dr. Schultz that had called. "I need to step out and call them back, could you please call up and tell my wife that my son is fine? She was very worried about him."
"Of course, Dr. Cullen."
I hurried out onto a balcony, not wanting to wait so long to call Dr. Schultz back.
"Edward, thank god!" she cried. "I went to get your little girl and she ran away."
"She doesn't know me very well. She got scared and ran into the barn. Edward, the lion is in there with her. She went to hide in his cage. He's so upset he's attacking the bars. She's in there, Edward! I know your lion is tame, but I don't think it's safe for her to be so close to him when he's that upset."
"I'm on my way," I said running through the hospital.
I pulled up to the house in record time, running full speed to the barn. Dr. Schultz was on the back porch pacing nervously. "Should I call the fire department?" she asked.
I waved her off. I had to handle this on my own. "Go on home," I said sternly. I had to get her out of there so I could let my lion out.
"Bernard!" I yelled.
He roared at me.
I snatched the keys off the wall, holding them out and shaking them loudly. "Sit down now!"
He roared and paced pawing at the gate. I was trying to see past him to find Ara when he lunged at the gate again.
"Daddy!" I heard her call.
"Stay still, baby, I'm coming for you, don't move," I called to her.
Bernard jumped at the gate again, rattling it with his paws and startling me.
"Stop!" I yelled at him. I slammed my hand against the gate, "Sit down, Bernard!"
He paced again, not listening.
"Do you want out?" I said motioning with my arms and shaking the keys.
He stood up on his hind legs and bit at the gate.
"Sit, sit down and I'll let you out."
He reached a paw out and swatted at me.
I stepped back and sat down; realizing my fear and anxiety was probably making things worse.
He roared at me, but I ignored him. He rattled the cage, but I looked away. He let out a huff and I finally turned to him. "Sit down," I said calmly. He walked up to the gate and I stuck the key in the lock. "Sit," I said again. He sat down and started scooting his bum closer to the gate, making me smile. I opened it and smiled at him. "Okay, go play," I said and he took off running into the back field.
"Ara, come here, baby," I said walking over to her shaking form.
"There was a stranger trying to get me. You left me, Daddy," she cried, "I had to hide with Bernard and he was cranky."
I picked her up, "She's is not a stranger, honey, Dr. Schultz lives next door and works with daddy. I sent her over to look after you. You know I don't like you to play with Bernard. Don't ever go in his cage again."
She sniffled at me and nodded okay.
"I'm sorry I left you alone. I promise not to do it again," I said kissing her head. "Come on, I'll let you come to the hospital with me for now. Ms. Melody should be back with Timmy soon and then you can stay with her."
"Are my sisters here yet?" she asked.
"No, but your brother is. Your sisters are going to stay in a while longer."
"Isn't it supposed to be ladies first? That wasn't very nice of him," she said pouting at me. I buckled her up and headed back to the hospital.
"Yes, it is ladies first, but we haven't taught him that yet."
"Don't worry, Daddy, I'll teach him."
I sent a quick text to Melody and took Ara to see her little brother. Because she was so young, though, we were not allowed in because of the high risk of illness. I didn't want to take any chances with him. He was so small that it hurt my heart. I knew he would most likely be fine, but being a doctor, I also knew of all the things that could go wrong. We had to settle for seeing him through the glass.
When we made it up to Bella's new room, I was surprised to find my parents there already. I knew they had planned on flying in, but they never call me with their flight information.
"Nana Esme!" Ara squealed and jumped into her arms.
"Where did you go?" Bella asked worried.
"He came and got me from Bernard 'cause strangers were trying to take me 'cause you left me all alone!" she cried out falling to pieces on her mother's bed. I helped Ara up so she could snuggle next to Bella.
"What?" Bella freaked.
"That isn't exactly what happened. I had Dr. Schultz go over to watch her, but Ara didn't know her and ran and hid in Bernard's cage."
"Who is Bernard again?" my dad asked.
"He's a lion, a circus lion. Anyway, he was in time out for going to get burgers on his own this morning and in a bad mood. He scared the daylights out of Dr. Schultz so she called me to come and get Ara out of the cage."
"What have we said about playing with Bernard?" Bella said sternly.
"Not to," Ara pouted, "But a stranger was gonna get me."
Bella hugged our girl tight and kissed her head. "I'm sorry you were scared. Things got a little crazy with your brother coming when he wasn't supposed to."
"But today is his day. We marked it on the calendar."
"I know, honey, but he came out on his own before the doctor could take him out," Bella said as she picked hay from Ara's hair. She turned to me and asked me to get her hairbrush out of her bag.
"Is the doctor going to take out my sisters now?" Ara asked excited as I picked up the bag to retrieve the hairbrush. It was then I noticed that I had grabbed the wrong bag. This one was full of my stinky gym clothes.
"Not yet, we talked with him and he thinks they should stay in a little longer."
"Longer!" Ara whined, "But it's been so long already."
"Believe me, honey, I know, but it'll make them healthy and strong to stay in a little longer. You need to do me a big favor and help out at home. I have to stay here so they can give me medicine."
"Are you sick?" she asked.
"No, but this is like super vitamins to help the babies grow," she kissed Ara on the head. Then she turned to me, expecting me to hand her the hairbrush.
"I grabbed the wrong bag," I confessed sheepishly and sighed. Nothing seemed to be going right for us today.
"Why don't we take Ara and have her come stay with us for a while? Where's Timmy anyway?" my mother asked.
"He broke his arm this morning." She gasped. "Yeah, it's been one of those days."
"I'll check on him for you, Edward, and I'll pick up Bella's bag as well. Then we can take the kids while you take care of Bella and we'll leave the housekeeper to tend to the animals," my dad said.
I stepped forward and hugged him, relieved for the help. "Thanks, Dad."
He squeezed me and patted my back, "That's what family is for; besides, we need to get some extra spoiling in," he said winking at Ara.
"Can we have ice cream?" she asked her eyes widening. I was thankful she was putting her traumatic ordeal behind her already.
"Of course, you can't hang out with Nana and Papa without ice cream. That would just be silly," he said picking her up and walking out of the room.
My mother leaned over and kissed Bella's head, "You get some rest now, honey, because you won't get any for a long time once they get here," she said rubbing Bella's belly and smiling as it shifted under her hand.
"Thank you, Esme, we really appreciate you being here and helping out."
"Anytime, dear. Now, I'm going to sneak down and take a peek at my newest grandson." She slipped out after kissing my cheek goodbye.
It was five days later that our girls made their appearance. I had spent all my time at the hospital taking my time with my wife and my son. I knew that everything was in good hands and I was able to relax and enjoy the quiet moments alone with them.
Once the girls arrived, though, everything was crazy again. They had nurses helping with the three babies and Bella was taking something to help her with her milk production. The kids came down to see the girls and everyone started asking us what we were naming our children. Truth was we were so stunned by them being triplets we hadn't really thought that through. It didn't take long for Bella to come up with suitable names.
William Aro Cullen was the name of our son. Emme Renee and Esme Ann were the names of the girls. When I asked why her mother's name was a middle one, she told me that they had to do it that way for separate billing. If Emme wanted to join the circus, she didn't want her to get mixed up with her grandma.
I sent a silent prayer up that my girls would not want to be circus performers. It was one thing for them to play and spend weekends and summers with the circus, but I really, truly hoped they found a life outside the circus. I saw how it tore up Renee, Charlie, and Bella and I didn't want that for my girls or my boys, but in the end, I guess I would be supportive as long as they were happy.
Once the babies were all home, the real circus began. Thank god for all the experienced people we had around us to help because three babies definitely qualified as a juggling act. It was a good thing I worked out regularly still because I needed all the strength I could muster to keep up. The first three months were hectic, and I began to think I would never get a chance to have my wife alone in our bedroom again. When we finally did get a chance to make love, we were so excited about it we forgot one minor little detail. That led us to where we were today.
"He's beautiful," my mom cooed as she held our newest son.
When we figured out Bella was pregnant again, she actually broke down sobbing. "I love our babies, Edward, but I don't think I can do multiples again," she had whimpered. I said a prayer, sending my wishes for a single, uneventful birth to God's ears, for both our sanity's sake. Thankfully, God was listening and granted that wish. David Ryan Cullen was born on time and with no complications. However, as soon as Bella was ready, and before our family expanded any further, we both agreed that Bella was getting her IUD replaced.
"He looks just like Edward when he was first born," my mom smiled widely at our son, running her hand over his head full of wiry reddish hair. William and the girls had taken their looks after their mother and grandfather, but this kid was all me, poor thing.
With all the babies crawling around and into everything, Tim and Ara were a huge help. They both could change a diaper with the best of us and were troupers about it. Of course, we did have our days when they both just wanted some attention without competing for it, so I was doing just that and taking them out for a while for ice cream and a trip to the park.
"Stay together," I called after them as they ran off toward the jungle gym. I sat on a bench close by. I had been enjoying the sunny day when I heard her.
"Well, look at you, Edward. You're a sight for sore eyes." I turned and stared into the eyes of someone I hoped to never see again. Jane. "Let go of me and go play already!" she spat at the tiny little girl clinging to her leg with wide eyes, shoving her toward the playground. I guessed this was the child she'd had before we ran into her and her husband outside the restaurant that night. The poor little thing looked dirty and frightened, but she took off toward the playground like she was told. "Clingy little shit," Jane grumbled hatefully under her breath. "So, Edward, what's new with you?" Jane smiled at me and I knew that look. It was her 'trying to be sexy' look. I had seen it many times when she had wanted something.
I just shrugged and turned back to watch my kids. I wasn't intimidated by her anymore. She looked like she was pregnant again, but it could have just been all the extra pounds she had packed on. She also looked like life hadn't been too kind to her as her skin and hair were dull and lifeless. She pulled out a pack of cigarettes and plopped down on the other end of the bench, lighting up and puffing away, scratching her large stomach.
"You know, I never realized just how handsome you really are, Edward. Time is treating you well. By the way, I'm divorced now," she sighed, "This was a mistake. Stupid busted condom," she mumbled and scooted further down the bench towards me, eyeing me like I was a steak in a butcher's window. "So, you still with that pepper spray princess?" she sneered, referring to Bella.
"Her name is Bella, and yes, we're married. We just had our sixth child, actually," I said standing up.
"Six kids? Damn, I'll bet she's a whale now. This is my second one, but I'm still looking great," she said with her cigarette hanging from her lips, patting her belly while running her hand through her stringy hair and flipping it over her shoulder. The woman really was delusional.
"Actually, no, Bella's done very well. She's still as beautiful as ever." I smiled and nodded at her, "Good luck with your pregnancy, Jane, although smoking while pregnant isn't advisable. Besides that, it makes you look old and wrinkly." The look on her face was priceless as I walked off to collect the kids and I couldn't help but laugh to myself.
Back home, I slid into bed with my beautiful wife, thankful even more than ever that I had the life I did. My sons were both in bed with Bella. William was just waking up from a nap and David was happily nursing at her breast, grunting like he had a mouth full of the best thing in the world. And he did.
Ara and Timmy came in, each carrying a twin in their arms, and climbed into the bed with us. The babies' first birthday was coming up in a couple of days and Bella and I both had mixed feelings on that. While we were proud to see our children growing up, it was bittersweet. I was sure I would probably cry as hard as Bella at their birthday party.
"Hey, have fun at the park?" she asked and I just grinned.
"Yeah, ran into Jane there of all people."
Bella's eyes immediately narrowed and her lips curled back over her teeth. "Do I need to go kick her…backside again?" she hissed catching herself from swearing in front of the kids and I just chuckled.
"No, baby, you don't. I think karma is doing a fine job all on its own," I said telling her about our encounter and Jane's condition. I really didn't wish her any ill will, yet I felt somewhat vindicated. Yeah, karma could be an evil bitch, but it was also one hell of an equalizer. At one point, I might have wished for Jane to be with me, but I was so glad that never happened. My wife, my Bella, she and my children were all I needed in order to be truly happy. Had I tucked my tail in and allowed someone like Jane to manipulate me into her world, I would have missed out on the beautiful, genuinely amazing woman I was so deeply in love with now.
Sometimes it was a good thing not to get what you wished for.
A/N: Thanks for reading and please review!