A/N: Twilight and its characters belong to Stephenie Meyer. Any similarities to the original characters or themes from the books or media franchise are used here for entertainment purposes only, with no monetary gain for me, the FanFiction author. All original content, ideas, and intellectual property of Rm w/ a Vu are mine . . .
. . . but the responsibility for the replacement of any ruined articles of clothing due to spontaneous combustion after reading the citrusy parts of this story is all yours.
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Chapter 34. Best Laid Plans
I stare at the piece of paper in my hands for a minute, my mind whirling a mile a minute as I try to wrap my head around everything that's happened since I got home from my business trip to Chicago. I hadn't been expecting this surprise upon getting home. I'd expected Bella to be ready for our date—which she is—and then I was going to take her to Different Pointe of View, the restaurant we went to on our first official date.
I'd decided on revisiting the restaurant in hopes that Bella and I would be able to remember the simpler times of our relationship. While I know that things can never go back to what they once were, exactly, I want us to at least try to regain some semblance of what we used to have. Over the last few weeks, we've made it a routine to go out once a week on an actual date. I realize that we've got all the privacy in the world right at home, but getting out of the house and doing something fun is nice, and it helps us unwind after a long week of work—or in Bella's case, school and the few shifts she works at the cafe.
When I stepped through that door and saw Bella holding a blank envelope and looking anxious, my curiosity was piqued. Hearing that Irina stopped by her work to drop this off for me concerned me, because I'm still not sure I can trust her intentions when it comes to Bella. She's been oddly accepting of everything we've discussed—my not accompanying her to the appointments, signing over her rights—and it worries me that maybe she could hold some kind of grudge toward Bella and just be lying in wait for the perfect moment to strike. However, hearing that she only stopped by to drop off the ultrasound results was a bit of a shock. She didn't try to cause trouble, and Bella seems fine considering she came face-to-face with Irina for the first time since we came back from Canada.
We watched the ultrasound DVD together, and it was incredible. Bella held my hand in a solid show of support while we watched the black and blue image on the TV flicker and move around. So many emotions rolled through me—excitement, anxiousness, apprehension, elation—and I think Bella must have felt something similar, because her hold on my hand tightened as she whispered my name.
The entire time we sat on the sofa, I thought back to when she told me how she was afraid that my first experience with pregnancy would always be with Irina and not with her. I understood this fear, and did what I could to help assuage it, even if I knew that whatever I experienced with Irina would never compare to what I knew I would share with Bella in the future. Deciding to forego any of the pregnancy appointments with my ex was the best decision I made, because I couldn't imagine sharing this moment with anyone else in the world other than Bella. She may not be the one carrying this child, but this was an experience I knew that both of us would never forget.
Then we heard the heartbeat, and my own heart sped up. It was the most incredible sound, and I could tell by the way Bella held onto me that she felt the same way—or something close, at the very least.
The minute I picked up that envelope, and she told me she wanted to know the sex of the baby, I knew that this experience was huge for her—for us—and I didn't waste any time opening it.
Which brings us back to right now . . .
We stare at the piece of paper for a few minutes, taking in the word that's scrawled across it and letting it sink in before we turn to each other with matching Cheshire cat grins.
"A boy," Bella says in a wavering voice, throwing her arms around my neck and holding me tight. "You're having a boy."
Her fingers tease the short hairs at the nape of my neck as I return her embrace, closing my eyes and soaking in the moment the two of us seem to be sharing. "Still seems a little surreal," I tell her.
Pulling away from me slightly, she presses her lips to mine gently. "Do you want to call your parents and tell them?"
I think about this, and while I know they'd love to hear the news, I decide that I want to share this with Bella alone for a bit longer. "Why don't we go to dinner and enjoy the evening first. I can tell them tomorrow."
I nod. "Positive. It's been a long few days in Chicago, and I've been looking forward to getting back to you."
This makes her smile widen. "Me, too."
After kissing her once more, this time letting my lips linger a little longer than before, I stand up. "All right, I'm going to run upstairs and change quickly. I'll be down in a few."
It takes me all of ten minutes to change into fresh clothes and run my fingers through my hair, and when I arrive back downstairs, I find Bella still on the couch. Staring at the ultrasound picture. If ever there was a moment where I wanted to get inside her mind to know what's going through it, it's now. These last few weeks have been good for us, but had I been too presumptuous in thinking that the ultrasound made her feel the same way I do? It's possible it has actually done the opposite, making her second-guess everything.
I know I have to talk to her about it—we've kind of prided ourselves on how openly communicative we've been throughout all of this—and decide I'll do it during dinner.
"You ready?" I ask, startling her and gaining her attention. When she sniffles and wipes her eyes, my heart plummets like a lead weight into my stomach, which is a roiling mass of nausea. "Jesus . . . Are you all right?" It takes me all of two seconds to rush to her side.
Smiling, she brushes her tears from her cheeks with the pads of her fingers. "What? Oh, yeah. I'm perfectly fine."
I can't find it in myself to believe her, so I call her on it. "Bella, you're crying. In my experience, that's not the definition of 'fine.'"
Her laugh helps to assuage my concern for her a little, but not nearly enough. "These aren't sad tears, Edward," she tells me, her tone almost amused. When her eyes meet mine, I see what she means; her eyes are alight with what looks like jubilation. "I can't explain it," she begins, "but watching that DVD with you was . . . amazing. I know I said I wasn't ready to be this child's mother, but I think I'm a little more open to the idea than I was ten weeks ago."
Without a word, I pull her into my arms, pressing my face into the crook of her neck and kissing the skin there. "I don't want to pressure you, but you have no idea how happy hearing that makes me."
We remain in this position for a few minutes before Bella's stomach rumbles. "Okay, I think that's our cue to leave," I say with a chuckle, pulling her up from the couch.
She sets the picture on the coffee table and follows me to the front door, threading her fingers between mine. "Where are we going?"
Locking the front door behind us, I grin. "I figured it'd be nice to go back to where I took you on our first date."
Her excitement from hearing this is obvious by the extra spring in her step as I lead her toward my car. We fill the silence in the car with questions about our last few days apart. While we'd talked on the phone every night, it was nice to be able to talk in person—to hold her hand and give it a reassuring squeeze when she tells me about how she thought she almost failed a test yesterday. She didn't, though; she'd only psyched herself out.
When we arrive at the restaurant, I request a seat by the window again. We don't get the table we'd gotten on our first date, but the view is just as exquisite . . . and I'm not just talking about the view of the landscape.
After our server takes our order, Bella and I are given the opportunity to talk about our day, and naturally, I ask about Irina's unexpected visit.
"She was fine," Bella tells me, but there's something she's not telling me. I can feel it in the way she avoids my gaze, instead taking a sip from her soda, and I can hear it in the soft tone of her voice.
"What is it?" I ask, keeping my tone light so as not to make her think I'm upset with her; I only want to know what Irina said or did to make Bella clam up about it.
Bella sighs, leaning back in her chair and wrapping her hands around her glass. "She was perfectly friendly." She pauses, gauging my reaction before continuing. "From everything you and Heidi had said—including Irina's flavour of the month comment—I expected her to be horrible . . . I still don't like her, and I doubt I ever will, but she was civil. And I wonder if it's just residual guilt making her that way."
I may not be a mind reader, but I can tell when something's upsetting my girl, so I prod further. "Guilt? About what?" I ask, more than a little curious.
"It's not my place, nor is it really relevant anymore," she whispers, her eyes darting around the room to be sure no one was listening. My own eyes follow, seeing that everyone is too absorbed in their own conversations to be bothered with ours. When Bella sees I'm not about to let this go, she nods. "You have to promise not to get upset."
"I can't promise you that . . . not where Irina's concerned, because if she did something to upset you—"
"She didn't," Bella interrupts. "Just promise, because, as I said, it's not really relevant anymore."
After a moment of contemplation, I agree with a curt nod, and Bella leans forward, resting her arms on the table and closing her hands around mine. "She admitted to having considered terminating."
This doesn't come as much of a surprise, as it was one of the options she presented to me the day she showed up in January.
"Before she told you," Bella continues. "She'd made the appointment and backed out at the last minute." Hearing that forces me back in my seat, and I expel a large breath.
"She told you this?"
Bella's head bobs up and down. "I think it was a combination of guilt and her way of telling me that she never saw this as a way to trap you or get you back . . . Are you mad?"
I let this news sink in for a minute, and then run her question over in my head before I shake my head. "No, I'm not mad. Surprised, sure, but not mad."
"So that's what we talked about," Bella concludes. "I debated on whether or not to tell you—not because I wanted to keep it from you, but due to the relevance of it all now that she's agreed to carry through with the pregnancy."
"I appreciate you telling me," I assure her. "Really. It actually helps me understand why Irina's been acting so . . . out of character." Inhaling deeply and picking up my wine glass, I take a sip. "Anyway, let's not spend the evening talking about her. There are plenty of other things we could be discussing."
Bella smirks. "Like your baby boy?"
Laughing, I nod. "For one, yes."
"Now that you know you're having a boy, do you have any ideas on names?" She pauses briefly, almost like she's second-guessing her question. "Is that stupid? Do guys even think about that sort of thing like women do? I mean, my mom's all about baby names right now, but I don't know that my dad's really given it any thought." She's rambling, her cheeks filling with colour, and I laugh.
"I haven't given it much thought yet, no," I tell her. "All I know is I want it to mean something. To stand for something, you know?"
Bella nods. "I do. Ever since I was a little girl, I thought it would be cool to merge the names of mine and my significant others' mothers names if I had a girl." Suddenly, her face screws up with displeasure, and she shakes her head. "But I may have to rethink that plan now . . . Renesmee just sounds ridiculous."
I'd just taken a sip of my wine when she said this, so needless to say, I sputter on it a little. "I'd have to agree wholeheartedly with you, sweetheart."
Bella's light giggle brings a smile to my face, and she shrugs. "I guess we still have plenty of time before we have to worry about that, anyway. So, knowing that you want the child's name to stand for something, did you have anything in mind?"
Truthfully, I'd known for some time that, if given the opportunity, I'd like to somehow incorporate my birth parents into my future. Sure, they hadn't raised me, but without them, I wouldn't be here, and without them making the decision to put me up for adoption, I wouldn't be the person I am today. It feels right, somehow.
When I tell Bella this, she watches me with wide-eyed wonder. "I think that's a lovely idea . . . not that my opinion should count for something."
I reach across the table, grabbing her hand and giving it a reassuring squeeze. "Bella, your opinion means everything to me." A pink blush fills her cheeks, and she tries to cover one cheek with her free hand. "Anyway, their last name is Masen."
Bella's hand falls back to the table, her expression turning serious. "Masen," she repeats quietly, and I nod once, afraid and hesitant because I fear she doesn't like it. Only when her lips curl up into a smile, do I relax. "I love that."
Letting my expression mirror hers, I give her hand a squeeze before parting them as our server arrives with our meals. "All right. Then I guess Masen is on the list."
::: Rm w/a Vu :::
As the days go on, Bella and I grow more and more used to the idea of a baby joining our cozy little life. It's been just over a week since we found out the baby was a boy, and, just as Bella had suspected, my parents were over the moon with the news of a bouncing baby boy as their first grandchild.
We'd invited them over for brunch this past Sunday to tell them the news, and it warmed my heart to see that Bella and my mother had formed some kind of bond that I couldn't even begin to understand. They shared something now, something kindred and beautiful, and there would never be anything I could do or say to my mother to let her know how eternally grateful I am for the way she's helped Bella understand and work her way through this.
Naturally, upon finding out that a baby boy was coming into the family my mother's blue eyes widened, and I could practically see the interior design wheels kick into overdrive in her creative mind. The nursery is her favourite thing to talk about these days, and she's coming over this evening while Bella's at work to get to work on converting my game room into the perfect room for a baby boy.
I'm up to my eyeballs in paperwork, finalizing contracts and transfers for various players and teams when Rosalie and Emmett walk in from lunch. They drop my takeout order on my desk—a turkey club from the diner around the corner—and they sit at their desks across the room from mine.
"So," Rosalie says after a moment of silence, "your mom's going to start with the nursery designing tonight, right?"
"She's coming over with a few ideas, yes," I tell her.
"I still can't believe you're giving up the game room," Emmett grumbles, his feet kicked up onto his desk as he tosses a football into the air and catches it. "It's a crime against nature."
Laughing, I shake my head. "We can set up in the basement, man. It won't be lost forever . . . And, besides, I can't just kick Bella out of her room."
"So you should know about what kind of furniture and stuff you'll be getting," Rosalie interjects, somewhat ignoring Emmett's griping—probably because she's more than a little excited to start shopping. She's already taken to calling herself "Auntie Rose," after all.
Having known Rose and Emmett for years, I know they have plans for a big family, so it's only natural they're both excited. Of course, Rosalie's maternal instincts kicked in when she found out about Bella's reaction, and I was happy that she was concerned enough to check in on her.
"I suppose I will," I reply, confused about where this is heading.
"Well," she says in a sweet sing-song voice, placing her elbows on her desk and propping her head in her hands as she bats her eyes at me innocently, "I was thinking you could maybe plan some sort of baby shower. You know, where people—namely me—are given a list of items to buy, and we present them to you, all wrapped up in fun, baby-themed paper and ribbons."
Chuckling, I pull the container with my lunch in it from the bag and open it. "Don't baby showers ideally have a pregnant guest of honor?" I ask. "I don't think that my situation warrants a baby shower, Rose. But thank you."
"Pffft!" Rosalie scoffs. "Just because your situation is different from some—but not most these days—doesn't mean we can't shower you and your beautiful baby boy with love and gifts aplenty." She lifts her head, clasping her hands in front of her and opening her big dark blue eyes wide. "Pretty please? I'll plan the most amazing, low-key shower. We can even wait until the sweet little bundle of joy is here—in fact, I think that would be best."
It's hard to say no to her when she begs like this—in fact, it makes me feel sorry for Emmett every time she pulls it on me, because I can guaran-damn-tee you that she uses this little trick with him more than she does with me. The poor bastard. So, when I cave and tell her she can plan the shower for after the baby arrives, she claps excitedly and fires up her computer. I'd like to believe she's about to dive into work, but I know better; she's party planning. Normally, I'd frown upon this, but she doesn't really have anything urgent that needs to be done, so I let it slide. Plus, I'd be lying if I said I wasn't just a little excited about this party proposal. It's probably not very manly of me to admit, but I'm quite looking forward to being able to show my son off to all of my closest family and friends.
By the time four o'clock rolls around, I'm just finishing up the last of my paperwork. I say a quick goodnight to Rose and Emmett as they prepare to close up the office for the night, and I head home. Knowing she's already done with school and likely starting her shift, I shoot Bella a quick text telling her to have a good night at work, and then I call my mother to let her know I'm on my way to the house. She told me she'd be done working at three after a meeting with a client, and then she'd head over to the house. Chances are, she's already there and measuring the soon-to-be-former game room.
As I suspected, Mom's car is in the driveway and the front door is unlocked when I arrive. "Mom?" I call out as I close the door behind me.
"Up here, Edward!" she replies, her voice travelling downstairs from the game room.
I head upstairs and find her measuring the space and then jotting something down in her notebook. "Hey," I greet. "How's it going?"
She turns to me with a bright smile. "Pretty good. I've got quite a few ideas that I'd like to go over with you."
We take a seat next to each other on the leather couch as she shows me a few sketches and fabric swatches. It's always been somewhat fascinating to me how she can take a room and completely transform it with a few coats of paint and accessories, and the ideas she has are amazing. She's decided to incorporate my work into the room by accessorizing with all sorts of sports memorabilia I've acquired over the years—autographed basketballs, footballs, and baseballs—and the colour palate she's chosen is quite a bit brighter than it is now. Gone will be my couch and coffee table, and in their place a crib and rocking chair.
"And I thought we could move the piano into the foyer," Mom suggests gently, knowing that getting rid of it isn't even an option. "There's enough space there, and I think it would look great."
"Mom," I interject, "I don't think Grandpa intended for the piano to sit unused in the entryway of the house, and it's far too heavy to move all the way to the basement where it'll gather dust as it sits forgotten."
Mom's eyebrows knit together and she nods. "Okay . . . No, you're right." She starts to write or doddle something in her book while continuing. "Well, we can probably incorporate it into the room somehow."
"Thank you," I say.
We go over the size of the room, and she shows me her ideas for the furniture and bedding when I hear the front door close downstairs. "Edward?" Bella's voice travels upstairs, and then I hear her footsteps on the stairs as she searches for us.
"Oh, hey," she says, poking her head into the game room. "I thought that was your car out there, Esme." Looking between us, she steps into the room and stops behind the couch, bending over and wrapping her arms around my neck. "What are you two up to?"
Mom holds up her sketchpad. "Nursery planning," she replies brightly.
Bella straightens up, letting her hands rest on the tops of my shoulders. "Nursery?" I turn my head to look up at her and find her confused. "In here? Why?"
"Uh, because it's the only room available to be converted?" I tell her, the inflection in my tone making it sound like more of a question and less of a statement.
"No, it's not," she argues gently. "You could convert my old room."
My eyes widen and I shake my head. "We're not doing that," I tell her firmly. "It's your room, and I'm not going to take away any of your personal space. You deserve a place that's yours."
"Don't be ridiculous," she tells me, crossing her arms across her chest. "My room makes the most sense for the simple fact that it's right across the hall from yours."
Smiling, Mom pats my knee and stands up. "I'll leave the two of you to talk for a moment. I'll go and put the tea kettle on for us."
My mom exits the room, leaving Bella and me alone. One look at Bella tells me she's not going to let this go, but neither am I; she's already done so much—given up so much—and I'm not about to let her give up the one room she can escape to if she has to study or just get away.
"Look," Bella speaks up, "I haven't stayed in my room in weeks, so it really makes no sense for me to keep calling it 'mine.' I really think this would be in everyone's best interest." Her lips curl up into a playful smile before she teasingly adds, "Unless this is your way of telling me you're not ready for me to move into your personal space."
I laugh. "Of course that's not it. I'd have no problem with you moving your things into the master suite, it's just—"
"This room wouldn't work for a nursery, anyway," Bella interrupts, still trying to get her way. "The placement of the window is all wrong. You're going to want to put him down in the evening, but the light from the sunset will be streaming through due to the western exposure. My room is the clear choice if you want to avoid a serious remodel in the next four months."
I'm stunned into silence. Had she thought of that on the spot or was this something she'd been thinking of for a while now? And better still: How had I not thought of that?
Bella smirks triumphantly. "So, can I take your silence to mean you agree with me?"
My head bobs a few times before I've really given it permission to do so, and Bella looks pleased. "Good. Of course, there's going to have to be a few changes to be made before the baby comes home." I eye her curiously, not only because I want to hear what changes she has in mind, but also because I still can't quite believe we're having this conversation and she seems happy about it. "We'll have to install some kind of baby proof locks on the balcony doors—maybe something at the top of each door that slides into place inside the framing?—and also the ensuite door."
"Well, it looks like we've come to a decision," my mom says from the doorway, a tray with three cups of tea on it. "Shall we continue this conversation in the baby's new room?"
Smiling exuberantly, Bella turns around and follows my mom down the hall toward her room, and I follow them, still in awe over the fact that Bella has offered up her room. Mom sets the tray on Bella's bedside table and starts looking around the room and talking out loud as she plans.
Leaving Mom to her planning, I wrap my arms around Bella's waist and kiss her cheek. "Thank you," I whisper. "This was really sweet of you."
Bella giggles, mirroring my hold on her and hugging her arms around mine. "You don't have to thank me," she replies with a light shrug. "This was the right thing to do. This is where he belongs—across the hall from us."
There's something about hearing her refer to the both of us when referring to the baby that makes my heart burst at the seams with joy. I know she's done this a few times in the last few months, but this is the first time I've really picked up on the conviction in her tone, and I soak it up like a sponge, revelling in the way it makes me feel, not only content, but fulfilled. Then, just as I begin to imagine the two of us in here with the first of a several kids, my mother looks up with a smile and reaches for Bella, pulling her into the middle of the room and asking for her opinion on her design ideas. The smile on Bella's face as she looks over her shoulder at me while Mom talks slides the final piece of contentedness into place, and I sigh reverently.
True, it may not have been how I'd envisioned my life turning out, but it is what it is, and with Bella by my side, I know the two of us can get through anything.
A/N2: So, there's chapter 34. Only 3 more plus a special epilogue :)
What did you all think about Edward having a boy? I'm pretty excited ;)
Until next time...