Happy Friday everyone, I hope you are all ready for the epilogue. Don't forget to check out my note at the bottom for info on my next story. Thank you to all my wonderful readers for all your support. You guys are the best!
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Rose and I were making our way through the maze of people that were rapidly filling Safeco Field. I was six days past my due date and trying to keep up with her was not an easy task. Her long legs seemed to be moving faster than what they normally did.
Today was a make it or break it day for the Seattle Mariners. Actually it was win or hit the golf course for the Mariners and the St. Louis Cardinals. They were playing game seven of the World Series and both teams were tied three games each. Whoever won today would be the World Series champions.
Because today's game was such a big one for Emmett, everyone was attending but not all of us had arrived yet. Alice and Jasper were coming with Carlisle and Esme, and Edward was on his way from the airport with my mother and Phil whose plane had been due to arrive hours ago but because of severe weather in Jacksonville had been delayed.
Edward and I had spent the night in Seattle at Rose and Emmett's house since my mom and Phil were arriving this morning. Phil had made the switch from playing baseball to coaching two years ago. Having never made it from the minor leagues to the majors, he was ecstatic about attending a World Series game even if it was as a spectator and not a player. When we'd learned of his and my mother's late arrival, I'd ridden with Rose to the game so she could get Lizzie, who was now ten, and her five year old son EJ, short for Emmett Jr., settled at the childcare center provided at the stadium for all the players' children. They would sit in the stands with Rose on occasion but most of the time they enjoyed playing with the other kids more.
"Esme tells me you've finished the nursery," Rose said as we finally made it to our seats and sat down, waiting for the game to begin.
"We did," I told her as I ripped off a piece of the huge pretzel the two of us were sharing and dipped it into the cup of cheese I'd gotten to go with it. "Edward put the furniture together weekend before last and then we finished putting everything in its place. Now all we have to do is wait for this little one to get here." I rubbed my hand over my swollen midsection and was rewarded with a series of quick kicks.
"You know it's driving Alice crazy that you guys haven't told anyone other than the grandparents what sex the baby is."
"I know it is. But when we saw how crazy she went when you were pregnant with EJ we knew we had to do something to hold her back. Edward figured if she didn't know whether to buy for a girl or a boy it would at the very least keep her somewhat under control."
"You think she was bad with EJ? You should have seen her when I was pregnant with Lizzie," Rose sighed at the memory. "I swear Lizzie had enough clothes to wear a different outfit everyday for at least a month. Probably more."
"Did she ever wear it all?" I asked while thinking we had done the right thing in keeping what we were having a secret.
"No. I ended up exchanging at least half of the outfits because she grew too fast to wear them."
"There they are." Rose and I heard a familiar voice call from behind us. We turned to see Alice, Jasper, Carlisle and Esme coming down the steps toward our seats. Once they reached us, we stood and gave each of them a hug.
"How are you feeling, sweetheart?" Esme asked me as she gently rested her hand on my baby bump and rubbed it lovingly.
"I'm good. Praying I don't make it to my doctor appointment on Monday, but I'm feeling pretty good today."
"Dr. Sinclair tells me she is going to induce your labor on Monday if you haven't had the baby yet," Carlisle commented with an expression that was a cross between professional doctor demeanor and concerned father-in-law.
"That's what she said. But I'm still hoping I don't make it that far even if it is only three days away."
"Where's Edward?" Esme asked.
"He's on his way now. My mom's plane was delayed."
"Speak of the devil here he comes now," Jasper added.
I looked up and saw Edward practically jogging down the stairs towards us. My mom and Phil were a few steps behind him.
My relationship with my mother had finally returned to how it should be. I would even say it was much better than it had ever been. We'd taken things slow that first year after Edward and I had gotten married. That had allowed me time to build my trust in her again at a pace I was comfortable with. She had never pushed or tried to force anything on me concerning the pace at which we discovered the ability to be friends again first. Once we got past the initial rebuilding process and I was comfortable that I could really trust her, we were able to reestablish the mother-daughter bond we had lost before and that led to the relationship we had now.
Another change that had taken place since Edward and I had gotten married was that my mother and Phil had tied the knot too. Phil had proposed to my mom several times and she had finally agreed to marry him last year. She hadn't been ready but once she was she didn't hesitate or want to wait. They had flown to Vegas the first weekend where Edward and I could meet them there and had gotten married in a small quiet ceremony.
I waved to my mom and smiled brightly at her and Phil as they approached us. I was really excited to see them since we hadn't seen them since June when Edward and I had flown down to Florida to visit them. We had taken a two week vacation and had spent a week with them in Jacksonville and then a week on Sanibel Island off the coast of Fort Myers, Florida.
It had been a wonderful trip to both places. The week on Sanibel had been an especially nice getaway for us since we knew the further along I went in my pregnancy we wouldn't be able to travel. Also once the baby was here, alone time would be less easily obtained. So we took advantage of the opportunity while we had it.
"Why is everyone standing? Are you okay, baby? You're not having contractions are you?" Edward asked in a slightly panicked tone as he came up next to me and slid his own hand across my belly. It was there so frequently you'd have thought it was being held by some invisible force. Which I guess in some way it was—his love for our child.
Edward must have mistaken the scene he had come upon when arriving at our seats. Several members of our family standing there, gathered around me and Esme having her hands planted on my swollen stomach must have made him think something was wrong.
"Everything's fine. We're fine," I told him quickly as I placed my hand on top of his and eased any budding doubts he had about my or the baby's well being. "Everyone else just arrived too," I added. "We were just catching up and your mom was asking how I was and where you were."
"Okay. Good," he responded with a sigh of relief as he leaned down and kissed me softly.
Edward had become incredibly protective of me since the moment we'd found out I was pregnant. Thank goodness he hadn't become too overbearing or a complete worry wart. It was actually really very sweet the way he insisted on taking care of me and doing things for me. He had amazingly found a way to do it without making me feel helpless or useless and I loved him even more for it.
"He's just like Carlisle was with each of my pregnancies," Esme informed me as she winked at her son, both teasing him and reassuring us both that his behavior was completely normal and expected. She also inadvertently clued me in on the fact Edward would react the same with any other children we might have in the years to come.
Everyone finished their hellos to each other and we all settled into our seats for the start of the game after the National Anthem had been sung.
Nearly three hours later, in the ninth inning, I couldn't sit anymore. I had become restless and tired of sitting. My rear end was hurting from the combination of sitting in hard seats and the pressure the baby was putting on my nether region.
I turned to Alice who was sitting in the seat on my right. "Want to go get some nachos and take a walk?" I asked her. The game was tied and felt as though there was no end in sight. I really needed to get up and move around. Not to mention a stop at the restroom was in order.
"Sure," Alice replied eagerly. I knew that baseball wasn't really her thing, but she did want to be here to cheer her big brother on with the rest of us.
"Wanna come with us?" Alice asked Rose.
"Where?" she asked in return.
"Little momma here wants some nachos." Alice hitched her thumb and motioned to me.
"I'll go, but you get to answer to your brother if I miss some big play or hit he makes."
Alice simply shrugged her shoulders like handling her bear of a brother was the easiest thing in the world.
I slid my hand from Edward's and leaned down to grab my purse, which was a challenge all by itself, before I stood to leave.
"You need something, honey? I'll go get it for you," Edward offered glancing back and forth between me and the game.
"Well, I'm kinda hankering for some nachos, but I need to use the restroom and more than anything I need to get out of these seats. Between them and our baby my ass is numb."
"Wait? Numb? Is that normal?" he asked.
"I think I recall reading something about it somewhere. Something about pressure on the sciatic nerves or whatever it is down there that the baby's head is pushing on."
"Do you really think you should be walking so much?" he asked, his voice clouded with concern.
"Edward, I can't sit here any longer. The game has been tied for five innings now. I have to get up," I whined, hoping he'd give in when he saw how badly I needed to move around.
"Is something wrong?" Carlisle asked from his seat behind us.
"Bella's bottom is numb from sitting and she wants to get up and walk around," Edward relayed to his father. I could tell by the somewhat pleading tone in his voice, he was hoping Carlisle would back him up and say that I should stay there.
"And you don't want her to?" Carlisle questioned his son.
"Well, what if she goes into labor?"
Carlisle smirked at his son before saying, "If she goes into labor it's not going to make much difference whether she is sitting here with you or walking around with the girls. Either way there will be plenty of time to get her to the hospital."
"Are you sure?" Edward asked.
"Yes," Carlisle told him confidently before letting a small chuckle escape. "First babies are notorious for being stubborn and slow. At least in the delivery process anyways. And this baby is already six days late so it is already fulfilling that expectation."
"You've got your cell phone right?" Edward asked as he reached up to take my hand and squeeze it like it was some sort of lifeline between us.
"Yes, dear," I told him with a smile as I rolled my eyes at him.
"And you promise to call me if there is any sign of you going into labor?"
"Okay. Don't be gone too long."
I nodded and glanced at the score board as I waddled my way out of the aisle our seats were in. It was still three to three. Hopefully one of the teams would score soon and we'd leave for a much more comfortable place.
The three of us stopped at the restroom first and then got an extra large order of nachos to share as we walked around the ball park. Alice and Rose gave me a look of horror when I ordered them with extra jalapenos, and I was certain I'd probably regret eating them later, but for now I had to have them.
The walking really seemed to ease my discomfort and before I knew it we were half way around the stadium.
"Ooh look," Alice squealed. "It's the gift shop. Let's go in and see if they have any cute baby things."
"You mean any that Emmett hasn't already bought," Rose added with a snort, correcting her sister-in-law.
Rose was right too. Emmett had buried us in a plethora of Mariners baby items and according to him it didn't matter whether or not the baby was a boy or a girl. He claimed that either would be equally cute decked out in all the stuff he had given us.
"Emmett is buying gifts for the baby?" Alice asked in a shocked tone as I dumped what was left of the nachos in a nearby trash can and headed into the Mariners' team store.
"Very much so," I replied trailing slightly behind the two of them. I wasn't able to move quite as fast as they were.
"Oh look at these," Alice cooed, holding up a bottle set that came with a bottle, pacifier, sippy cup and bib.
"Got it already," I said with a sigh.
"You do?" Alice asked.
"Oh my god," I huffed. "Binkies, blankets, onesies, bottles—all with the Mariners logo on them of course." I picked up a bottle I saw to show Alice and then told her, "Even a mini Emmett Cullen jersey. I swear this baby will have as much Mariners gear as regular clothes."
Alice looked at Rose as if wanting an explanation for Emmett's actions.
"What can I say," Rose told her. "He's excited to be an uncle." Seeing the pout on Alice's face, Rose asked her, "You didn't think you were the only one that knew how to spoil a baby did you?"
"Well…" Alice commented with a shrug.
"You know," Rose said as she nudged Alice's shoulder with her own playfully. "If you and Jasper would ever get around to having a baby he would spoil it too."
"Yeah, I suppose you are right. But we just aren't ready yet. We are enjoying our freedom. Is that selfish?"
"Not if it's what you both want," I answered."You and Jasper have only been married a couple of years longer than Edward and me. It took us nearly four years to be ready."
"Bella's right, Alice. Just because Emmett and I got pregnant less than a year after we were married doesn't mean you are wrong for waiting. You guys will know when it's right."
"Thanks. You guys are the best," she chimed.
"That's what sisters are for," I told her as she wrapped one arm around each of us for a hug. Or as best as she could anyways given that Rose was nearly a foot taller than her and I was probably that amount rounder right now.
We were engrossed in looking through the vast array of souvenirs when a loud roar cheers that erupted from within the store, causing me to drop the keychain I'd been looking at.
I squatted to pick it up. When I did there was a sudden snap or popping feeling inside me and I felt a sudden gush of fluid run down my leg soaking it, my shoe, and as I looked down stunned by what I was feeling I saw a puddle on the floor under me.
"Shit," I muttered under my breath, thinking I'd peed on myself, that the squatting had forced the baby to put pressure on my bladder, causing me to pee. However when I went to stand back up so I could get Rose or Alice's attention I was met with an intense cramp that caused my whole abdomen to tighten and get hard along with causing me to have the sensation of wanting to bear down; I knew that I hadn't peed on myself.
The pain left me gasping for air and unable to stand so I sat all the way down on the floor. There was nothing else I could do. I fought the urge to cry as the full realization of knowing my water had broken and I was in labor hit me.
"Rose," I called to her but she didn't even flinch and kept her gaze fixed on the TV screen. I couldn't really blame her. I'd seen the images on the monitor before I'd bent over. If it had been Edward up on that screen partaking in one of the biggest moments of his baseball career, I'd be glued to it too.
However I had to get her attention. I couldn't just sit here and have this baby on the floor in the team store. "Rose!" I shouted a little louder this time. She was closest to me and I really didn't want to draw the attention of everyone in the store.
"Oh. My. God! I know, Bella. I know," she called. I instantly knew it was not my current state she was so pumped up about when she didn't even turn to look at me. "It's friggin amazing isn't it?" she asked, her voice choked with emotion and excitement for her husband.
"Rose!" I screamed frantically. That got her attention and several other people's too. Being the center of attention was not what I wanted right this minute, but it really couldn't be helped.
"We're the World Series champions and Emmett got the game winning hit," Rose exclaimed as she spun to look at me. Thankfully what was happening in the game was more exciting to the other fans in the vicinity because they all quickly turned back around not wanting to be distracted from their celebrations by some crazy woman sitting on the floor screaming.
I glanced briefly to the TV mounted on the wall and saw what appeared to be the entire team jumping up and down with their arms around each other. Confetti was flying everywhere, fireworks were booming in the air and the word "champions" was flashing on the screen as well.
"Oh shit, Bella. Are you stuck? Do you need help standing? Gosh I hope you didn't overdo it walking. Edward will kill me," she ranted while making her way to me.
"Call Edward now," I muttered through gritted teeth as another cramp surged through my midsection.
She stared at me for a second before her eyes really saw what was going on. "Holy shit! You're in labor! Alice!" she shrieked sounding totally like our sister-in-law.
"What's wrong?" Alice asked as she fought through the crowd of people that had gathered around the TV, somehow already having her hands full of World Series Champions merchandise.
"Go find an employee and tell them to call for medical assistance. Now!" Rose ordered as she pulled her phone out of her purse and began dialing what I hoped was Edward's number.
"What? Wh—" Alice stopped whatever it was she was about to say. Her eyes followed Rose's to me. Her eyes about popped out of her head as soon as she looked down and saw my hunched over form clutching my midsection. Without saying another word she dropped everything in her hands, spun and took off in the direction I remembered seeing the checkout counter when we'd first entered the store.
"Come on, Emmett," I chanted as my brother came up to the plate for what could possibly be his last at bat of the season.
The game was now in the bottom of the eleventh and the whole thing had been an amazing pitching duel put on by both sides after a few initial runs had been scored early in the game by both teams. The score was tied three to three and while both teams had threatened to score a couple of times since it tied-up, neither had been successful.
Emmett had been hitless in his previous at-bats. He got set in his stance at the plate and took a fastball from the pitcher, Crowley, for a strike.
This was our last chance to end the game without going into another inning of overtime. I knew Bella was anxious for it to be over. She'd gotten restless as the day went on—her fidgeting in her seat had given her away—which was why she wanted to walk around for a bit. I tried not to protest too much, but I just couldn't help think that the longer she remained pregnant the more likely it was she was going to go into labor and I wanted her close to me if that happened. But with the reassurance I'd gotten from my father, I was more at ease with letting her go. Plus she was with my sister and Rose, so the rational side of me knew it was likely they'd be okay with the three of them together, that they'd call me immediately if anything happened.
I also knew if Bella was really craving those nachos there was no point in trying to deny her of having them. Her moods could change at the flip of a switch and she could become a fiercely cranky pregnant woman if she didn't get whatever it was she was craving at the time. I'd learned that the hard way at three am one night months earlier when she wanted McDonalds' fries and realized all of them were closed at that hour of the night.
Glancing down at my watch then up at the scoreboard again, I realized that they'd been gone for nearly two full innings and it just seemed as though they should have been back by now. In all the excitement of the game going into extra innings I hadn't realized it before. But now in the eleventh inning I was beginning to.
Thinking of the words my father had said to me earlier, how even if Bella did go into labor she'd be fine and we'd have plenty of time to get to the hospital, I focused my attention back on the game. Emmett had worked the pitcher to a full count. The entire stadium was on their feet in hopes that he'd get a hit here and declare the Seattle Mariners the series champions.
The roar of the crowd was deafening as he fouled off a long ball; if it had been just a couple of feet to the left it would have been a home run.
"Damn, Emmett. Straighten that shit out," I muttered to myself.
The next pitch came and he hit it foul again, this time straight back behind him; the ball hit the backstop with a resounding thud behind home plate. You could just feel the tension and anticipation growing in the atmosphere around us. The Seattle fans were hungry for their first ever World Series birth.
Emmett took a step back from the plate and tightened the straps on his batter's gloves as he held his bat between his legs. Stepping back up to the plate he tapped both his cleats with the bat before taking his stance, signaling he was ready for the next pitch. The crowd began to chant, "Cullen" repeatedly.
The pitcher released the ball and my eyes tracked it on its path toward my brother. I heard the smack of bat against ball as I watched my brother send the ball sailing over the right field wall.
The stadium erupted into a deafening roar as Emmett began rounding the bases. Everyone was jumping up and down, cheering, hollering and just exploding in excitement over Emmett winning the game and thus the World Series championship for his team.
"Holy fucking shit!" Jasper shouted.
"He did it! He hit a fucking home run!" I shouted back as I gave a big fist pump in the air over my brother's achievement.
I had barely heard Jasper or my own cheers of celebration through all the other cheers, whistles and hollers that were sounding all around us when I felt my phone vibrate in my pocket.
Seeing it was Rose I answered it right away thinking she was calling about the amazing hit her husband had just made.
"Did you see that?" I called into the phone. My voice was raspy from my own cheering.
"Edward, you need to find an usher and get to the first aid center."
I wasn't sure I had heard her right. "What?" I hollered into the device.
"Bella is having the baby, Edward. Go to the first aid center now!" she screamed.
"Fuck," I shouted as a slid my phone in my pocket. I sucked in a deep breath and tried not to worry, but that really wasn't helping much. I quickly informed everyone what was going on. I was still fighting the urge to panic as my dad assured me once again everything would be okay. Although I couldn't help thinking that I should have just walked Bella to the bathroom and to get her nachos before insisting that she come back to our seats.
The two of us took off to find someone who could lead me to my wife after telling everyone else that we'd let them know where to go and what to do as soon as we knew.
We found the nearest usher and explained to him what was going on. He asked if I knew where Bella had been when she went into labor and I said no, only that she along with Alice and Rose had gone to get some nachos and walk for a bit.
Apparently there were two first aid centers in the stadium. So the usher called in on his two-way radio to see if anyone was aware of which one Bella had been taken to. He quickly learned that she was halfway around the ballpark. Not wanting us to get lost, he called for security to come and escort us to the location.
It felt like much longer but after about five minutes a security officer pulled up in front of us in a golf cart. We climbed in and while we were on the way my father called my mom and filled her in on what was going on and to sit tight because they'd probably be taking Bella by ambulance to the nearest hospital. He then told her he would let them know as soon as he knew.
The security officer drove as quickly as he safely could through the mass amounts of people still trying to make their way out of the stadium. Despite the fact that the golf cart had a flashing light and siren similar to that of a police car, it still amazed me how many people just kept on going and disregarded the oncoming vehicle.
After what seemed to take forever, we finally arrived at the first aid location.
Just before we walked through the door, my dad stopped me and said, "Calm down, Edward. Chances are Bella has just simply begun to have contractions, possibly fueled by her walk, but it's likely still going to be sometime before the baby is actually born."
I let out a sigh knowing he was right, that I needed to calm down before I faced Bella, but I just didn't know if I could. I was anxious, nervous, excited and desperate to see her and know that she was okay. I also somehow wondered if my father had been able to take his own advice when it had been him that had been rushing to his expectant wife. I remembered having once heard a story once about how when my mother went into labor with Alice, my father had been busy delivering a patient's baby and he'd nearly missed being there for Alice's arrival into this world.
"Edward, do you hear me, Son?" he asked me.
I nodded in reply, knowing I could do this for my wife and child. I had to be cool under pressure so that she was since this was definitely not how either of us had envisioned our child being born.
My father rested his hand on my shoulder and gave it a reassuring squeeze. "Ready?" he inquired.
I nodded again and took a deep breath while scrubbing my hands over my face in an attempt to calm myself down.
Pushing the door open, I was met with a gurney rolling past me and my wife screaming, "I'm not leaving here without my husband."
"Edward, thank god," my sister called out in relief the second she saw me.
Suddenly Bella's head turned and her neck and back arched in such a way that she could see me.
"Edward," she cried and instantly I rushed to her side as fast as I could.
"I'm here, baby," I told her as I leaned down and kissed her quickly before smoothing her hair back from her face.
"It wasn't supposed to happen like this," she whined.
"I know, baby, I know," I told her and continued to run my hand through her hair and hold her hand with my other one, trying to get her to settle down.
"I'm so sorry. I should have stayed with you."
"Hey, you have no reason to be sorry. I knew you were uncomfortable. So you started having contractions. It's not a big deal, we'll ride in the ambulance and get to the hospital and have the baby."
"Oh, shit!" Bella cried out and squeezed my hand as if she was trying to break it in two.
Before I could say anything the paramedic was speaking, "Sir, I realize you want to know what's going on with your wife, but if we don't get her in the ambulance and on her way to the hospital she is going to deliver that baby right here."
"What? What do you mean she's going to have it right here? How is that possible? She just started having contractions," I argued as I ran my hand through my hair in frustration. Surely he couldn't be serious. He was just a paramedic. He had to be wrong. "Dad, tell me he is wrong. She can't be that close already," I begged my father.
My father introduced himself quickly to the paramedic and explained to him that he was the chief of obstetrics in Forks and asked for a quick rundown on what they'd found when they examined Bella.
"Edward, I'm afraid he's right," my father said as he turned away from the paramedic. "Apparently part of Bella's discomfort this afternoon must have been labor related because when they examined her she was already dilated to an eight and it won't take long for her to progress the rest of the way. Especially since her water has already broken."
"Oh, god not another one all ready," groaned Bella as her body appeared to be trying to pull her up off the gurney on its own. "Oooh this is different, I feel like I need to go to the bathroom."
"We really need to go," my father stated. "It seems that this baby is now in a bit of a hurry."
"It's gonna be okay, baby," I said softly to Bella as I held her hand and followed alongside the gurney as the paramedics began to roll it towards the waiting ambulance.
"Wait. What hospital are they taking her too?" Alice hollered after us.
"Harborview," the paramedic called back to her.
Bella yelped as the gurney was bumped and shifted about as it was placed into the back of the ambulance.
"Ahhh, I feel like I need to push," Bella cried. Her face turned red as she panted in an effort to get through the contraction that was slicing through her tiny frame.
"Dad, please tell me this baby isn't going to be born in this ambulance. You said she'd have time to get to the hospital if she went into labor. Why aren't we moving any faster?"
I could hear the sirens blaring loudly, but it seemed to be taking forever for us to get through all the traffic surrounding the stadium. There was just so much of it, there was nowhere for anyone to go to pull over and let the ambulance pass.
"What's going on?" Bella asked.
"We're trying to get through the traffic, baby," I explained to her hoping it didn't freak her out. But I immediately noticed the expression on her face and knew I had done exactly that. She was about to panic and I had to do something fast to prevent it.
Scanning my brain for something I knew would make her laugh, I stumbled upon a memory from the summer before I left for college.
"Hey," I said to her as I gently lifted her chin up so her gaze met mine. "Remember the summer before I went to college and they had just started clearing the area around the lake for picnics and camping?"
Her brow scrunched together for a moment as she thought back and then slowly a soft smile spread across her face. "I fell in the lake," she murmured.
"You did," I told her as I smiled back at her. "Not only did you fall in, but you pulled me in with you."
"Was that the time you came home soaked and we had to get the front seats of your Volvo professionally cleaned due to the smell the lake water left in it?" my dad asked, joining in on the conversation. I was sure he could see how much it was helping to keep Bella relaxed.
"Yeah it was," I said with a chuckle. However the smile was wiped from my face almost instantly when Bella began having another pain. She wanted so badly to be able to roll over on her side, but was unable to due to her being on the ambulance gurney. I slipped my hand under her and rubbed her aching back as best as I could until her discomfort subsided and she was able to be comfortable again.
I recognized a hint of worry on my father's face. I wasn't sure what it was about, but I trusted that if it were serious he'd tell us. He whispered something to the paramedic and looked back over at Bella and me, picking up the conversation we'd been having a moment ago. "How'd that happen anyways? I don't think your mother and I ever got the real story from you back then," my father questioned us with a smile of his own.
"Bella and I have always hung out at the lake—it's a special place for us," I began to explain while flashing Bella my uneven smile and winking at her to try and help my attempt to keep her relaxed. "We enjoyed the quiet and would often go there to be alone or have a picnic lunch. So one afternoon, not long after they began clearing the immediate area around the lakeshore for the picnic area and camping grounds, there were a bunch of logs floating on the water."
"And the two of you were horsing around and fell in?" my dad asked.
"Sorta," I admitted with a laugh. "This beautiful but stubborn and clumsy wife of mine just had to try and walk across one. Sitting on it successfully was not enough for her." Bella reached up and smacked me playfully on the arm. That was when I knew my plan was working. She had a smile on her face and was calm—at least for the moment. "What?" I teased her. "You are all of those things even now." I leaned down and kissed her lightly. "But those are just a few of the reasons why I love you so much."
"I love you too," she whispered. "And you can be a bit stubborn yourself you know."
"Yes he can," my dad added. I could tell he was about to say something else, but I held my finger up at him indicating he should stop since Bella's hand once again tightened like a vice on my hand indicating she had another contraction building.
I nodded my head at him to let him know it had passed and he could continue with what he was going to say. It didn't go unnoticed by me that he looked sternly at his watch for a little longer than it seemed he would were he just checking to see what time it was before he started to talk again.
"You hanging in there, okay?" he asked Bella.
"Trying to," she said while squirming to get in a somewhat more comfortable position.
"Good. Now how did you and Edward end up in the water?"
"See there was this one log that was real close to the shore. I wanted to sit on it," Bella told him.
"That's right she did, but like I said before sitting on it wasn't enough for her. Despite Bella's knack for being clumsy, she still has a bit of a daredevil streak in her."
"Why doesn't that surprise me?" my dad interjected with a snicker.
"This log was right on the shore so we took our shoes off and wadded through the water to it. We'd been sitting on it for a few minutes and I might have stolen a kiss or two, when Bella decided that because the log seemed to be not moving much she wanted to walk on it. She stood while holding my hand and was doing fine until she tried to go further than my arm would reach. When she let go and then lost her balance, I tried to reach out for her and she caught hold of my hand but fell anyways, pulling both of us into the lake."
My father was chuckling and shaking his head at us while saying, "You do know that paybacks will happen? Your child is going to give you full retribution for all those moments you had when you were younger."
"That's what Esme…tol—here comes another one!"
"You can do this, Bella. Come on, baby, use your breathing. Long breath in and let it out slow. That's it." Once the contraction had passed and Bella was somewhat relaxed again I looked over at my father and asked him, "Hey, Dad. Her contractions seem to be getting closer together. Is it just my imagination?"
His lips pursed in concentration as he glanced down at his watch again. Letting out a long sigh as his eyes bore into mine, he ran his hand through his hair much the same way I always did when stressed. "No, Son. You are right. They are getting more frequent and judging by Bella's reaction, stronger too."
He got up from his seat next to me and moved over to the other side of the ambulance. I watched as he leaned over and began speaking softly to the paramedic that was in the back of the ambulance with us. After a few moments the paramedic nodded at him and then turned around to grab something. As he handed it to my father, I saw what it was and watched as my dad slipped on a pair of medical gloves.
"Bella, sweetheart," my father said to her as he came around to the foot of the gurney. The ambulance had started to move more and the swaying of it along with the tight quarters of the vehicle made it a bit difficult to maneuver around. "I'm going to examine you. I need you to try and relax. I know that's a bit difficult right now, but I need you to try. Can you do that for me, sweetheart?"
I brushed Bella's sweat drenched hair back from her face after she nodded her response to my father's question.
I lowered my face to Bella's ear and whispered to her how much I loved her and how much she meant to me as my father took care of things on the other end.
"Here comes another one," Bella moaned. "Shit it's a strong one."
"Breathe, baby. Come on, just like we learned in class," I encouraged her.
"She's about nine centimeters, maybe more. I stopped because she was already having another contraction. Can you call for emergency back up to get us through this traffic?" my father practically growled at the paramedic.
"I'm going to have this baby here aren't I?" Bella hissed through gritted teeth as she was hit with yet another contraction. They were coming every couple of minutes now.
I glared at my father again thinking of his words earlier when he'd said that even if Bella went into labor there'd be plenty of time to get her to the hospital.
"Dad?" The tone of my voice was probably a bit more harsh than I had intended it to be.
"How far is the hospital?" Bella asked, gasping as she began to try and breathe through her next contraction. They were getting even closer together. "Ungh," she moaned. "I need to push, the baby is coming."
"Fuck," I muttered as I buried my face against her hair and took a deep breath to prepare myself for what was about to happen.
"Ooohhhh, Edward," she cried.
"It's okay, baby, I'm here. We are going to get through this together and then we are going to meet our baby. Let's focus on holding our baby in our arms."
"Okay," she whimpered. "But it hurts. They're…" She paused and sucked in a deep breath. "They're coming one right on top of the other now." She had barely gotten the words out before another one slammed her, causing her to cry out in pain.
My father moved to check her again. "She's at ten. Looks like this baby isn't going to wait any longer."
"We've notified the hospital and they have everyone ready in the ambulance bay waiting for us," the paramedic told us.
Bella cried out again as she had yet another contraction. I hated seeing her in so much pain and not being able to do a damn thing about it, not to mention get her to the hospital any faster. "It's all gonna be fine, baby. You are doing great." I kissed her lightly on the lips and then focused on helping her through the birth of our baby.
"Okay, Bella, I know this isn't how you planned on this, but we are going to get him here safely I promise," my father told her as the paramedic undid the straps that were holding her to the gurney. I was sure it wasn't something they'd normally do while in transit, but there was no way Bella could get into position to deliver our baby with them holding her to the bed. "When your next contraction begins I want you to go ahead and push just like you learned in Lamaze class. Okay?"
Bella licked her lips and then nodded while squeezing my hand.
Everything seemed to happen so fast after that.
My father's words carried through the ambulance. "That's it, Bella. Push!" he told her.
Grunting and panting she pushed as hard as she could. Her face turned bright red from the force of her efforts.
Over the next several minutes Bella continued to push as the ambulance felt like it was barely creeping though the monstrous traffic jam caused by the celebration going on around the stadium.
"We got a police escort now. They are going to break up the traffic for us and blocking everything off to everyone else until we get through," the ambulance driver hollered back to us. "Five minute ETA."
"She's not far from crowning so they aren't going to be able to move her off this gurney. Tell them to be ready to deliver this baby in the back of this ambulance," my father relayed to them.
I heard the paramedic relay my father's words through the radio to the hospital and noticed that the ambulance had finally picked up some speed.
Bella was pushing again and just as my father said, "I can see the head, with your next contraction or two he's going to be here," the ambulance came to a sudden stop and the doors were flung open from the outside.
"He's almost here, sweetheart. You are doing so great. I love you," I whispered to her as she tried to catch her breath between contractions.
Unable to speak, she nodded in acknowledgement as my father moved over to her other side across from me and began relaying everything to the ER doctor who had climbed up in the ambulance and took over the delivery. As much as it would have been great for my father to deliver his own grandchild, because of strict rules against treating your own family members, I knew he wouldn't be allowed to.
"Okay, Mrs. Cullen, I'm Dr. Martin and on this next push I want you to push as hard as you can so we can get your baby out okay?"
"Okay," she gasped and just like that she was pushing as another pain hit her. "Ahhhh," she cried as she gave it her all. My dad and I both helped to raise her and help her pushing efforts along.
"Head's out. Good job," the doctor encouraged Bella. "Okay, Mrs. Cullen, the baby's shoulders are rotating so don't push yet. I know you are going to feel a lot of pressure and want to, but I need you to use your breathing and not do it until I tell you."
"Ugh…okay," Bella grunted. "Here comes a contraction."
"Wait. Breathe just a little bit longer," the doctor ordered.
"Almost there," he told her. "Count to ten with me…One. Two. Three…Okay, now. Push."
The next thing I knew the doctor was holding my and Bella's baby in his hands and a loud wail was echoing through the ambulance bay as our baby took his first breaths and cried. "It's a boy," he declared.
"He's here," Bella sighed as she slumped in my arms.
"He is and he's amazing just like his mother," I whispered as I leaned down to kiss her forehead.
The doctor held our son as the nurse quickly wrapped a few blankets around his tiny, red, squirming body and then laid our son on Bella's belly.
"Bella's hands were instantly reaching for him. "Can I hold him? I want to hold him," she cried.
"I promise you will as soon as we get you both inside and we cut the cord. Right now we need to get you out of this ambulance and inside," he reassured us.
The doctor then draped a blanket over the lower portion of Bella's body and legs before jumping out of the way. Bella held onto our son while the paramedics swiftly pulled the gurney out of the vehicle and my father and I followed along quickly as they wheeled the bed inside.
As soon as they had Bella situated in the hospital emergency room, they cut the cord that still tethered our son to Bella.
"Mr. and Mrs. Cullen," the doctor spoke, pulling our attention from our son as the nurse took him across the room. "The nurse is going to clean him up plus perform all the routine newborn tests. Once you have delivered the afterbirth and we've made sure you don't have any unexpected tears or injuries resulting from your sudden delivery, I promise to give him right back to you."
"Okay," I told him, answering for the both of us.
"He's perfect," I whispered to my wife as I gazed down at her holding my son in her arms about an hour later. I felt tears begin to pool in my eyes when I saw a few trailing down her cheeks as she looked up at me with the brightest smile I think I had ever seen on her face.
"I love you," I said returning the smile and then bending down to kiss her and our son.
"I love you too."
A short time later, after Bella had been switched to a regular hospital bed, she and our son were resting comfortably as we waited for her to be moved to her room up on the maternity floor. Neither of us seemed to be able to take our eyes, much less our hands, off of him at all.
There was a brief knock on the door followed by my dad entering the room. "Okay for me to pop in?" he asked.
"Of course," I said standing and pushing my hand through my hair. "Um, actually could I talk to you for a minute out in the hall, Dad?"
"Sure. What's up?" he asked. His brows furrowed in his confusion.
"I'll be right back, love," I whispered to Bella as I gave her a soft kiss.
"Is something wrong?" she wanted to know.
"No, I just owe my father an apology. I'll explain later," I told her.
She nodded before turning her gaze back to the bundle in her arms.
We stepped out into the hall and with my hands slid into my pockets I considered how to phrase my words.
Exhausted from the day's events, I went with what was easy. "I'm sorry, Dad."
"Whatever for, Edward?"
"Some of the things I said…how I acted at times today. It was…Well it was out of line wrong and I'm sorry."
"It was," he stated. "However," he went on as he reached out and gripped my shoulder with his large hand, "you were stressed and under pressure, not to mention worried about Bella."
"It's no excuse though. You didn't deserve it."
"No, but under the circumstances I'm willing to let it slide."
"You're welcome," he told me and he pulled me into a hug. "Now how about you introduce me to my grandson, before everyone else gets here?"
Walking back into the room, I moved over to the side of Bella's bed. "I think Grandpa is eager to meet someone."
Bella placed a few soft kisses on our son's forehead and handed him to me, smiling widely.
"Dad," I said as I placed the sleeping tiny person in his arms, "I'd like to introduce you to, Charles Anthony Carlisle Cullen."
His gaze had been fixated on his grandson until he heard little Charlie's second middle name. In that instant his eyes shot up to mine and I didn't need any words to see just how much it meant to him that Bella and I had included him when naming our son.
Answering his unspoken question, I told him, "When we found out we were having a boy, Bella wanted our son to be named after the three most important men in her life."
Bella had spoken to her mom when we'd decided on the name and was assured by Renee that Phil would not be disappointed or hurt at all. It was just simply a matter of Bella and Phil not having the close father-daughter relationship she had with my father. She liked and cared for Phil, but we just didn't spend enough time around him for the two of them to develop that type of bond. So our son was named after her father, my father and me.
"I…I'm honored. Thank you," he replied in a shaky voice full of emotion.
Later that night after everyone had come and gone, Bella was sleeping finally and I was lying next to her in the bed with Charlie nestled between us in my arms.
His eyes drifted closed as I stroked the side of his little cheek. I hadn't ever imagined anyone could have skin softer then his mother, but he did.
It hadn't been long after Bella had been moved to her own room later that evening when everyone, including Emmett, had burst through the door dying to meet their grandson, nephew and cousin. I almost felt bad for Lizzie when she'd had a brief pouting session over that fact that we'd had a boy. She had been hoping that we'd have a girl.
They had taken turns passing little Charlie around until they'd all had an opportunity to hold him. I was certain I'd seen something sparkle in my sister's eye when it had been her turn to hold him. I had a feeling it wouldn't be long before her and Jasper might have something to announce.
Of course everyone had been instantly smitten with Charlie. Their comments had all varied, but it was Emmett's that had us all laughing and awing at the same time. First he said that he was going to call him Chuck because it was more fitting for a baseball player. He had then told him as he held him that he better be ready for baseball lessons from his uncle. Because any boy who was going to be born when Emmett hit the game winning home run of the World Series was destined to play baseball. We'd all known Em was serious too. And honestly I couldn't wait. I didn't want him to grow up too fast—I wanted to cherish every minute—but if he chose to follow in his uncle's footsteps I knew that I'd be incredibly proud of him. I'd be proud no matter what he chose to do. Even if he followed in his Grandfather Charlie's footsteps.
A little squeak escaped his tiny mouth as he yawned widely and squirmed for a moment before dozing back off. As I gazed at the two loves of my life in my arms, I was flooded with such a huge feeling of love and joy, more than I'd ever felt before. It was an amazing, incredible feeling and I knew then and there that I had everything I'd ever wanted and more, and the two of them were all I'd ever need.
And they lived happily ever after, right? Well of course. I hope you enjoyed this little story. I know I had fun writing it. There is a picture on my blog of all the stuff Uncle Emmett bought for Baby Charlie.
Some of you have asked if I have a new story in the works and I am happy to say that I do. It will be a full length story and I think it's going to be a little different for me. Below you will find a summary for the story and a teaser for the first chapter. I hope to begin posting it in a few weeks.
Somewhere I Belong
Born to parents living a rich and glamorous lifestyle, Bella had never felt as if she belonged in their world where life often felt fake and pretentious. Wanting more out of life and wanting to make a worthwhile difference, Bella assumes a fake identity and heads off to spend her last summer before college doing something real and meaningful. Her journey starts with meeting a handsome stranger, raised to help those need—and to detest the rich.
Large hands with long slender fingers reached up to grab my bag. When his hand touched mine a jolt of energy shot through me, causing me to jump and the sudden movement sent my sunglasses tumbling from the top of my head to the floor.
"Shit. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to startle you," he apologized.
"It's…um…okay," I replied. I stood there staring at him somewhat dazed and slightly stunned by my reaction to his touch.
I shook my head briefly to clear it from the fog I felt like I was in and bent to pick up my glasses, not realizing he was already in the process of doing the same thing. Before either of us had time to react, the back of his head was colliding with my chin and I found myself falling backwards and landing on the floor of the plane. My hand immediately went to the spot where the two had connected and I rubbed it, trying to ease the dull throbbing sensation that was occurring.
"Oh my god, are you okay?" the stranger asked.
I looked up at him and saw him rubbing the back of his head and staring down at me. I couldn't help but notice he was probably the most handsome man I had ever seen. Judging by the look of sincere remorse on his face he knew how to behave like a man too. If this had happened with one of the pimple faced, squirrely, immature high school boys I constantly refused to date back home, they'd be instantly spewing some lame line about how I needed to watch what I was doing. Instead he was concerned about whether or not I was okay.
Thanks so very much for reading, I appreciate each and every one of my amazing readers. I have had a few suggestions for some outtakes, so you just never know when one might pop up.
Let me know what you thought,