Here we go…
My snot sobbing is at the end…
Three Years (and ten pounds) Later
"Bella! You need to come here and deal with this!"
I'm standing…well, cowering really, inside the shower.
Faith is sitting on the toilet, right on the other side of the curtain, and she refuses to leave until she can see my 'junk.'
I'm going to kill Jasper.
His son, William is three years older than my sweet, innocent little Faith.
It's not his job to teach my girl about the birds and the bees.
Or apparently the peen and the beav.
"But Will says girls have beavs and boys have peens. I just wanna see it," she whines, trying to pull the curtain away with her freakishly strong little hands.
"Jesus, Edward. It's normal for her to be curious. Just wait until she starts sporting a bush and wonders why I don't have one. Try explaining a Brazilian wax to a kid," Bella whisper-yells as she escorts Faith out of the bathroom with the promise of oatmeal cookies.
I release my death grip on the curtain and put my head under the warm water, trying to remember when exactly my life got so crazy.
And so full of love.
"Is it time? It's time, right?" Faith asks, bouncing on the couch next to me.
"We have twenty more minutes until they get here," I sigh, trying to stay calm.
Someone needs to stay calm.
After Faith was born, Bella put on a good show about not having any more children…but I knew it was just an act.
She would sit in the nursery, rocking Faith and crying.
My heart would break watching her grieve for our lost opportunities.
But a closed door is just an open window somewhere else.
And our window opened up in Maine.
While attending a seminar in Bangor a month ago, Bella was walking from the conference center to her hotel when she discovered a young girl sleeping in an alley.
Her name was Sara.
Bella, being Bella, brought the girl back to her hotel and forced her into the shower while she ordered room service.
It was then, as Sara came out of the steamy bathroom in just a towel, Bella realized Sara was pregnant.
Over a bowl of tomato soup, Bella listened to the girl's tearful tale.
Tissues littered the table as both of them cried over lost innocence.
And after she tucked the girl between her sheets, she called me, crying.
"We have to help her."
Of course we did.
"What do you want to do?" I'd asked, visions of a cross-country kidnapping flashing through my head.
"She said she's due any day now. She…she doesn't want the baby. She wants us to take it," Bella whispered, her voice so full of hope, yet trembling with fear.
I knew exactly how she felt.
The thought of being given such a gift was amazing.
But what happened if she changed her mind?
It was better if we didn't get our hopes up.
"Bella…" I warned, keeping my voice tender yet firm.
"I know. I just…she feels right to me. This feels right. I was meant to find her," she said and I could hear her tears through the phone.
I took a deep breath, realizing that was the exact same way I felt about Bella.
I was meant to find her.
She was destined to be in my life.
And apparently, so was this girl.
The night Bella called to tell me Sara was in labor was torture.
She was so scared, not only for Sara, but for us as well.
I wasn't sure what would happen if Sara changed her mind.
Bella would be heartbroken.
I'd been cautious about telling Faith too much about where her mom was.
Bella and I could get over the loss of a potential child much easier than Faith could.
She wanted a little brother or sister so badly.
"It's a boy."
Hours later, when the phone rang and Bella's quiet, tearful word came through the line; I was at once overjoyed and devastated.
"She wants to keep him, doesn't she?" I asked, trying to keep my tone even.
"Yeah," Bella whispered, her voice cracking.
My arms ached to hold her, but she was halfway across the country.
"Baby," I sighed, listening to her cry.
"I wanted this…so bad," she sobbed.
"Do you want us to come to you? We can be on the next flight," I offered, knowing she would say no, but needing her to know we'd be there in a minute if she said the word.
"No. I don't want Faith to see me like this," she whimpered, breaking my heart.
"I love you," I said.
"I love you. I'm gonna go make sure Sara is all settled before I head back to the hotel. I can't stay. I just…I can't see him," she whispered and I nodded even though she couldn't see me.
But Bella never went back to her hotel.
She stayed by Sara's side through the first diaper changes and midnight feedings.
Two days later, when Sara and the baby were discharged, Bella took them back to the hotel she was staying at until she could find them a permanent place to live.
It was costing us a fortune, between the hotel and hospital bills for Sara and the baby…but it was worth it.
The front door slams open and Faith jumps off my lap, taking off down the hall.
I follow at a slightly slower pace.
Bella stands just inside the door, a blanket-wrapped bundle in her arms.
Faith throws herself at Bella, knocking her off balance, but Bella just laughs and bends over, showing Faith her new brother.
I smile when I see Sara standing in the doorway, no longer able to hide behind Bella's body.
She looks so much younger than seventeen.
And the fear in her eyes hurts my heart.
Bella convinced her to bring the baby and come live with us.
How she managed to travel from Maine to Washington with a post-partum teenager and a newborn, I'll never know.
The only thing that matters is that they are both here and they're safe.
And I can once again hold Bella in my arms.
I set up Faith's old crib in the spare room, s Sara could have the baby with her.
Once everyone is settled and asleep, I can finally crawl into bed with Bella.
She snuggles against me, her cheeks wet.
"I was so happy when she agreed to come home with us," Bella sighs, her arms tightening around me.
I kiss her head, breathing in her comforting scent and smile.
"She'll be happy here. They both will."
With the stress of the last month, I've developed a nasty habit.
Which is how I find myself alone with Sara in the kitchen at three in the morning.
"Oh, hey," I say lamely, trying not be too sad when she flinches at the sound of my voice.
"I'm sorry. I was just…I wanted…I'll go," she whispers, trying to scoot past me.
"No wait! I wanted to tell you how happy I am that you decided to come live with us. I know this is a big adjustment, but I hope in time you'll be comfortable here," I ramble, my palms sweating.
"You're a …you're a really big guy," she says quietly and I smile my self-deprecating smile.
"You should have seen me before Bella got her hands on me. I was an epic fatty!" I joke, knowing that Bella would have my head if she heard me put myself down like this.
Sara cracks a small smile and looks me up and down.
"So, she helped you lose weight?" she questions shyly and I take a minute to think about how to answer her.
"She helped me find the happy, healthy me inside my old body. I'm still not at an 'ideal weight' but I'm happy in my own skin now," I say, realizing my words were perfect.
That is exactly how I feel.
Sara walks over to me, her steps hesitant, and wraps her arms around my waist, resting her head on my chest.
"She makes me feel that way, too," she whispers before she releases me and walks back upstairs.
I'm left standing alone in the kitchen, shaken to my core.
After all that she's been through, she is still able to see the good in people.
And we are so good for that girl.
"Now you're sure you have everything? Your lunch money? I could pack you a lunch if you'd rather do that," I ramble, my hands shaking at the thought of watching her disappear into the big, yellow school bus.
"Edward, calm down. I've got this," Sara sighs, sounding so much like Bella it's scary.
Although we told her she could finish high school online, she really wanted to go to school.
And today is her first day.
"Now you be good for daddy, you hear me?" Sara whispers to Aiden as she covers him with kisses.
Even though Sara couldn't stand to give him up, she knew she couldn't provide him with the kind of life he deserved.
So we did the next best thing…
We took them both.
Sara will get the chance at a future she would have never had otherwise.
And in turn, she shared her child with us so our family could be complete.
"Have fun. And do not, I repeat…do not talk to any boys," I growl, accepting Aiden's slight weight from her so she can grab her book bag.
"I won't! Hemorrhoids and stretch marks were enough of a deterrent to stay away from anything with a penis!" she giggles, smacking me on the arm as she heads out to meet the bus.
God, I love that kid.
Once Sara is safely off to school, I walk back inside with Aiden sleeping soundly on my chest.
Bella and Faith are still asleep, snuggled together in our big bed.
I look down at them and try to remember what it felt like to be alone and unhappy in my shitty little apartment.
Bella wriggles around, trying to get away from Faith's freezing cold feet and looks up at me.
Her smile is contagious.
"Sara get off okay?" she whispers, trying not to wake either kid.
I nod as I sit down next to her, smoothing Faith's hair off her forehead with my free hand.
"We really have to think about putting a daycare in the gym," Bella sighs, poking her finger into my squishy belly.
"Rude," I snap, smacking her hand away.
Her laughter is music to my ears.
I've gained some weight.
I've lost some muscle.
I may always be a fatty.
But I'm happy, healthy and surrounded by people I love.
And in the end…that's all that matters.
And that's it.
There is so much of me and my own experiences in this story…it's hard to believe that I actually wrote all that pain down! Seriously…you guys pretty much know me and all my secrets now. I'm actually a 363 pound man…no…I'm not. I'm just trying to make you laugh
The people that shared their stories through reviews and in the facebook group…I can't thank you enough for being so brave. Keep up the good work.
The generous readers who donated prizes and $$ for the race…I'm awed and inspired by your thoughtfulness.
SexyLexi…who started on this trip with me until I was too fail to get the chapter to her…thank you for forcing me to fix my cum to come and add commas where they belong.
Bornonhalloween…who made me giggle and cringe at the same time with some of the errors she found. Her praise made me blush and wish I could hug her. My heart is yours.
My Melanie, my soul, I know you worried about this story. You were afraid of how I would portray the 'fatty'. I told you I was a recovering fatty myself and would do the story justice. I can only hope I did. I love you…you know that.
Now…go read 'Recovering Fatty'…I added a little futuretake to the last chapter
Make sure you send me your race times and age (age group if you'd rather) so I can figure out the winners! I'll be sure to contact you! I'm hoping to be able to join you in the run. I broke two toes tripping over a kid on Friday and damn...do they hurt. Poor little fuckers...and there's nothing you can do for broken toes except tape them up :(