I know, i know. I've made you guys wait forever. i have a good excuse...my laptop committed suicide :(
Anyway, thank you all for reading and demanding more. I hope this doesn't disappoint.
To get this to you faster, i didn't submit this for beta'ing. :/
oh and thank you to MsEm for sending huge traffic my way. Check out her story and C2s!
SM Owns Twilight. I own a shameless obsession with R/K
Cold sweat runs down my body. I'm holding the phone to my ear painfully tight. It's the only thing that's keeping me from collapsing to the floor in a heap of nerves.
"I'm sorry Miss Swan, but Mr. Cullen is not available at the moment. Can I take a message?"
Fuck. It's the same response I've been getting every day for the past month.
"No, no message. Thank you." I hang up the phone and feel more hopeless as the days pass.
It's been five weeks since I found out I'm pregnant with Edward's baby. For the past month I've been trying to contact him and I've failed miserably. My baby is not even born yet, and he or she already has a fucked up family. I blame myself for being so utterly stupid and destructive with my life. I know I can't erase the past, but I can try to make it better for my baby. I want him to know about this little life that we've created.
The next day I decide to go to his office as a last attempt to tell him about the baby. He can hear me out or not. It's his choice, and I will not make him take responsibility if he doesn't want it.
My nerves get the best of me this morning and I throw up at least twice before breakfast. It's not a great start to my morning, but I'm no stranger to it either. I pick myself up off the floor and get in the shower. The water is hot and soothing on my body and I try to take deep, long breaths to calm my nerves.
I wash my body, running my hands over my soft abdomen. It's not visible yet, but I know it will be soon. I rub tenderly, conveying to my child that I will do my best to make this right for us. And I whisper an apology just in case it doesn't go well.
"Just know that mommy will always be here for you." I tell him. Or her.
No matter how terrified I am of doing this alone, I am too fucking determined to be the best mother my child can have. You can call it mother's instinct or whatever, but I'm not fucking this up. This is greater than me and even greater than Edward, and I feel like I've been given a second chance to make things right and learn what love is. Because I know that my love for this baby is immeasurable.
This kind of love I would die for.
"I'm here to see Mr. Cullen." I tell the receptionist. I hope to god that I don't look as nervous as I feel. She doesn't seem concerned so I figure not.
"Let me check with his assistant. Do you have an appointment Miss…?"
"Swan. Isabella Swan. And no, I don't have an appointment. I was hoping he could fit me into his schedule today." Damn it, I'm so nervous. I put my hand in my pocket and finger the small envelope I have in there. It helps to remind me of why I'm here. It has nothing to do with me.
The receptionist, Maggie, her badge says, calls his floor and speaks to Charlotte. She listens intently to Charlotte, when she hangs up she seems almost reluctant to pass on the message.
"I'm sorry Miss Swan, but Mr. Cullen is in a meeting and won't be available the rest of the day. He-" My heart drops. I stop listening to what she's saying. Not intentionally.
"Does…um…does he know I'm here?" I interrupt her, feeling hot and cold. I clear my throat. "Mr. Cullen and I know each other and I have some things to discuss with him." I tighten my hold on the envelope, but am very careful not to wrinkle it.
Maggie looks around the empty lobby and then leans in. I lean a little over the counter to hear her.
"Miss Swan," she starts tentatively, "Mr. Cullen has specific orders to not let you in to his department. He requested for us to call security if you show up again without prior notice to him."
"Wha…" My mouth is hanging open and I make no effort to close it.
"I probably shouldn't be telling you this but his wife filed for divorce not too long ago and your being here can greatly affect his situation. A lot of people know that he was having an-" she clears her throat and lowers her voice further, "an affair. They just don't know who youare. He's just looking out for himself. I'm sorry. Maybe you can arrange something with Charlotte over the phone." She says apologetically.
I walk out of that fucking building in a haze. I'm too stunned to be properly embarrassed, since clearly everyone knows about Edward and me. They know I'm the home wrecker and I can't even be seen anywhere near him. And how humiliating to get this information form Maggie, the fucking receptionist!
I walked in with as much dignity and confidence that I could muster, only to leave completely humiliated and broken. A part of me knows that I deserve it but it still fucking hurts.
I don't know how I get to my car, but as soon as I sit and close the door my body is wracked with sobs. The pain is immense with the reality that my baby will never know his or her father. And deep down I also mourn my own loss. I loved him when it was wrong, and it still hurts like if it was right.
I clutch my sides tightly, trying to hug myself and my baby. We are all we have now.
I've lost him for good. I don't try to contact him again.
Woah, no way is this normal.
I look at myself in the mirror. I turn left and then waddle right. My eyes are huge, looking over my naked body. I don't even think I can call it my body; it's so…huge, and bulging. My eyes start to tear up. I feel so ugly and like a-a…fucking whale!
There's a soft tap on the door. "Bella, honey, are you alright?" My mother calls. "You've been in the bathroom for a while. Do you need help?"
I cover myself up with the towel and walk to the door to unlock it. I peek out; my mom is standing on the other side, concern written all over her face. I know she means well but I'm so tired of this. I have to depend on my parents to help me right now.
The doctor put me on bed rest two weeks ago because I was at a high risk for pre term labor. I have about two more weeks to go before the baby can actually decide to come out. My mom has been staying with me since I told her about the bed rest. I'm not gonna lie, I love having her here, but she's a little too overbearing and annoying as hell. I still fucking love her though. I don't feel so lonely with her here. It also helps that her cooking is amazing.
I hope to be an amazing mother to my daughter like she is to me. And yes, I'm having a baby girl—a girl who I've already grounded her whole life for scaring the shit out of me when she wanted to come out of the oven early.
After my mom helps me over to the dreaded bed, she helps me put on my fluffy socks. Other than that, I'm naked under my towel and it feels so damn good to lie like this. I ask her to cuddle with me for a while. I don't care how old I am or how pregnant I am, I still need my mom to comfort me.
I'm so thankful to have her. She makes me forget of the person who is not here.
It seems like so long ago that I used to dream of giving him a family. I used to imagine going through every milestone with him and our baby. I was such a fool. I'm embarrassed of the person I used to be. And I hate myself for almost destroying his family. If he didn't care about them, that's on him, but I never should have taken what was not mine.
Now that I have this life growing inside me, I'm learning the value of family. And I would do anything to protect it. Protect her.
She is my everything.
I don't talk about him to anyone, not even my mother. She doesn't bring it up because she knows it upsets me. I still remember what she said to me when I told her that I was doing it alone.
She said, "Sweetheart, you'll never be alone. You've got us, me and daddy, and grandma and grandpa—all your family. Just remember, you're not missing out on a life with him,he's missing out on a life with two of the most amazing people in this world, you and my grandbaby."
I must have cried for hours on the phone with her. She didn't know that I'm the one that was fooling around with a married man and that even if we hadn't had that fallout, my baby would still not have a real family outside of me. Edward probably would have kept her a secret too. And I'll be damned if my daughter was going to have the same fate as me. I'm not ashamed of her and I will do anything in my power to never let her feel less than anyone.
Mom cuddles with me and eventually I have her rub my back until I fall into a deep, restful sleep. It's the kind where I don't even feel my baby kicking the shit outta me. It's that good.
Lily Belle Swan.
She's in my arms. It's like a dream. After all that pain, she's finally here.
I'd like to take a moment to thank the epidural gods, sigh, that heavenly nectar was all kinds of amazing.
And whoa she's huge. The nurse told me she was 9lbs 10oz. Holy shit, I don't know how I did it, but I definitely have the stitches to prove it. Ouch. And I may have severed my mom's hand once or twice, but it was worth it. She's worth it all.
"She's beautiful." My mom cries softly next to me. I did enough crying through this whole ordeal, now I just want to smile and enjoy my little Lily.
"I love you," I whisper to my daughter. And so many happy tears fall.
I'm so nervous, now that she's here.
I try the breastfeeding thing, but I totally suck at it. She gets so angry when she can't latch on, her little chubby face just scrunches up and turns beet red. I giggle; she's such a moody one. She squirms in my arms in all her naked glory. I take a moment to finally look at her. She's got ten perfect toes and ten perfect fingers.
If I wasn't so overwhelmed by her beauty I would cry at the mere sight of her soft, red hair. You know what, screw it. I fucking cry over that red hair. It's just like her daddy's. Everyone comments on her hair and the way it contrasts so beautifully against her porcelain skin. No one needs to know that these are sad tears.
He will never know the beauty that is his daughter.
I see a lot of Edward in her tiny face. She can be his replica, if not for the girly features that I claim to be mine. She's us. But so, so much better.
She's all that is pure in this world.
I learn to dodge questions about her father while I'm at the hospital. Everyone just wants to know where he is. And it's not because they know my situation; I hear the nurses asking the other new moms too. Some say their husbands went home to bring back a few things, and others are out grabbing a bite to eat. My daughter's father is with his other family. I try not to think about it. I change the subject all together.
Filling out her name was the hardest thing I had to do today. If the father was not present to sign the birth certificate, then the baby could not have his last name. I don't mind her being a Swan, but she's rightfully a Cullen. It was hard for me to accept I couldn't give that to her. Just another thing I failed her.
I kiss Lily's head. I haven't put her down since they brought her to me. She sleeps forever and I just watch her. Her cheeks are the softest pink I've ever seen. I find myself nibbling on them quite often.
"You should get some rest, honey," my mom says, interrupting my nibbling session.
"She won't be this calm once you get her home, Bells." My dad warns. "I know what I'm talking about. You were the sweetest angel at the hospital, but then we brought you home…whew! We didn't sleep for days!" he laughs, shaking his head at the memory.
"I wasn't that bad." I protest.
"Oh, yes you were!" They both gang up on me. It's all in fun, though. There is nothing that can take away our happiness today.
I notice my dad, itching to hold the baby again. He's folding and re-folding her little blankets, and I think I just saw him fluffing up her bassinette. I hate that cold-looking thing. My mom filled it with blankets, to make it more comfortable…but then again, nothing is more comfortable for my baby, than my arms.
"You want to hold her, don't you, daddy?" I smirk at him. His smile broadens and he nods his head.
"Well I do miss my little Lilybug, you've been hogging her all day." He comes to sit next to me on the bed and takes Lily from my arms. She whines because we disturbed her beauty sleep, but as soon as dad starts to rock her, she goes right back to sleep. He's a natural, he's been practicing.
I watch him with her. She's brought so much joy into our lives. I find comfort that he will be there for her like he has been for me. Any absence she might feel in a dad, I know my dad will be there to fill some of that void.
We are not alone. And I think I finally understand what that means.
I just wish things were different, and the person that should be here, would be here with us on this very special day.
It's Lily's first day of kindergarten. I'm such a nervous wreck! I run around the kitchen like a headless chicken. I don't want to be late.
"Mommy! I only want the whites, not the ucky yelloooowww!" Lily whines.
I can't even get her breakfast right. I start a new batch of eggs. Whites only. I place a bowl of fruit in front of her to eat while she waits.
She sits as patiently as she can on the stool. Her long, red ringlets bounce all over head and onto her face. I knew that was going to be a problem. She didn't let me braid her hair today, so most of it is gonna end up on her face. I give her a warning look and she immediately tosses her hair back.
I don't care how much she protests, I'm not going to let her walk out of this house looking like Medusa—at least not the first day of school. I briefly remember his hair, and how wild it used to get sometimes. Of course hers is curled at the ends, but she manages to get it a little too wild for my liking. She's definitely his daughter. Her face is a dead giveaway if the hair isn't. It's like looking right at him, but thankfully all I see is my daughter.
We walk hand in hand to the little school three blocks away. It is the exact reason why I chose to move into this neighborhood. Aside from the safety aspect of it, it's also close to her school and my job. I've been blessed with a great paying job now and I'll be looking into actually buying my own home. This is just a step up for us. This is the kind of neighborhood that I dreamed of raising my kids in. Lily is in love with it.
Everything is finally how it's supposed to be. We're settled and happy. My parents still live a good hour away from us, but we visit every other weekend. I'm proud of all that I've accomplished on my own. And everything I've done is for her.
I look down at Lily with her princess Belle backpack and her super cool—her words—pink chucks. She's skipping along; happy and carefree. I braided the front of her hair and left the rest loose—per her request. I'll always remember this day, cause I know there will be a day when she won't need me to do her hair. Yup, I'm getting emotional over hair. My baby is growing up so fast. I hate it!
Half way to the school, I get a call from Jake. He's my friend and then some. Lily loves it when he's around; she says he's so silly. He's the only man that I've brought around her. I'm too paranoid that I'll confuse her or something.
"How's my favorite girl doing this morning?" He greets.
I smile. "She's ready to own kindergarten this year." I wink at Lily. She starts jumping up and down, wanting to talk to Jake herself.
"Ah that's my girl. Let me wish her good luck, babe." I hand over the phone and mouth to Lily, "one minute."
She chatters for the full minute before I pull the phone away.
"Bye Jake!" she yells. Sometimes I imagine Edward being like this as a child, because I sure as hell wasn't that outgoing at five years old.
I shake away those thoughts and get back to Jake.
"I gotta go Jake. This walk is pretty monumental for us."
"Wait, are you still coming over to visit your parents this weekend? We can hang out…" I know what he wants, and what I might need too. I try not to make it a "Jake weekend" when I visit my parents, but some weeks are more stressful than others…and the relief I get is…really, really good.
"We'll see. I'll let you know."
I get two more calls, one from my mom and the other from my dad. They both wish Lily a great day at school.
By the time we get to the school, Lily has managed to loosen two of her braids. I pull her aside and redo them.
"Please don't mess up your hair, honey. You look so pretty when it's all nice and neat." I figure that since I'm starting a speech, I might as well do it all now.
"You're gonna do so great today, baby. I'm already so proud of you. I don't want you to worry about a thing, you're gonna make lots of friends and learn a whole bunch of new things. I'll be here to pick you up when class is over." I finish my speech without crying. Thank god. I kiss her cheeks and hug her before we make our way into the building to look for her class.
The hallways are crowded with parents and children. Many of the kids are kicking and screaming. It breaks my heart. Lily holds my hand tighter. She's trying to be so brave, but I spot her eyes getting watery. I want to stop and go right back home. The first day of school should not be this nerve wracking. It doesn't help that I'm lost.
I pull Lily along as I keep searching. The room numbers are going up, so I'm going the right way.
"It should be around the corner." I tell her.
I feel her pull on my arm and she stops walking.
"Mommy, I'm scared." Her eyes are huge and watery. "I don't wanna go to school." Her tiny voice shakes. Tears stream down her rosy cheeks and the lump in my throat grows ten times bigger. I wipe them away gently.
I move us toward the wall, close to where the hall turns. I kneel in front of her and take her hands in mine. She looks so tiny and fragile at this moment.
I speak to her softly. "Lily you shouldn't be afraid. The teachers are really nice here. They're gonna do lots of fun things with you and when it's all over; I'll be here to take you home." I kiss her hands. "If it makes you feel better, I'll wait outside of your class the whole time. Just to make sure you're okay. What do you say, sweetie?" she hesitates for a second and then she nods.
"You promise to stay the whole time?" she asks quietly. My eyes tear up and I fight so hard to keep them from falling. I hate seeing her so unsure. She's usually so outgoing and happy. She is nothing like that right now.
"I double promise." I touch her little nose with mine.
"Okay, mommy." She sniffles and stands up straighter.
I take her hand as I stand and turn to round the corner.
"Umph." I collide into someone. In the brief second that my face is to this person's chest, I smell it. Edward's cologne. Never in a million years did I ever think it was actually him. But it is.
He hasn't aged a bit in five years. Damn him for being beautiful. And damn me for still thinking that. My heart aches when I see those eyes. They used to be everything to me.
It feels so wrong, but I know now how much I've missed this man. And seeing him here is like the worst torture. I can't make my heart stop aching for him. I just can't.
I'm sorry, Ally. For loving him. For everything.
"I'm so sorr—" he stops talking when he sees me. He can't believe it. Neither can I.
My first instinct is to protect my daughter after he recognizes me. I quickly look down at her and he follows my gaze. I don't have time to pull her behind me.
Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. This isn't happening.
He takes a sharp breath. "Oh my god." He whispers in disbelief.
"Da-aad I'm gonna be late." I never even noticed the little boy next to him. He has Lily's hair color and pale skin. His eyes are green like their daddy.
He looks at the little boy and then back at Lily. She gets nervous at his intense stare and she buries her face in my skirt. When he looks up at me, I don't expect the emotions so clear in his face. His eyes are watery like his daughter's and I know he's devastated. I can't even imagine what is running through his head at this moment.
"Dad, come on!" the little boy tugs on him. He looks torn. He doesn't want to leave, but he has responsibilities. I literally can't move from where I'm standing. I'm holding Lily close to me and my right hand clutches the material of my blouse, close to where my heart wants to jump out of my chest.
He steps aside and starts to walk away, almost like a zombie. He doesn't take his eyes off of me and my little girl as he passes. My heart is POUNDING. I feel it in my ears and all the noise from the people around us is no longer the center. It's the pounding in my ears.
Holy shit, that's Edward. And he knows about Lily. He knows.
Once he's a few feet behind me, I gather up the strength to walk again.
His voice stops me as I'm about to finally round the corner.
"Bella—" he says it softly but I hear it loud and clear. I turn to look at him and his eyes are pleading. "Please—" He looks down at Lily. "Give me a chance." He croaks.
He waits for my answer and he checks on his son who is still walking down the hall. I have just seconds to decide what I want to do. I don't know what makes me say the next words. Maybe it has a little to do with me and a lot to do with Lily.
"I'll be waiting outside of room 110 all day." I don't wait for him to say anything. I keep walking and finally make it to Lily's classroom.
There's a bench just outside of Lily's classroom. My heart is still pounding.
I called my office and took the next several days off. I need the time to just…get a grip on my life that's spinning out of control. Up until this morning, everything was going great, fantastic even. But running into Edward today…it just flipped everything upside down.
Nothing feels sure anymore.
I have millions of questions circling through my mind.
What does this mean for me? For Lily? Will he try to take her from me? Will she want to live with him instead?
I try not to cry, as thoughts of him taking my daughter bombard me. It may seem ridiculous, but one just never knows. She is his daughter.
I hear laughter coming from the classroom and I smile. Lily didn't even hesitate to walk in the classroom. She ran straight to the art supplies and never looked back.
She'll be just fine, I thought to myself.
"Bella…" his voice carries through the empty hallway, making me jump in my seat. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to scare you." He points toward the space beside me. "May I sit?" He's nervous. That makes two of us.
I find my voice, but it's shaky at best. "Sure." It's involuntary. The heat I feel when he's this close to me.
I also want to throw up…on his black converse. He's wearing jeans and a t-shirt, which really surprises me. He seems so laid back now. Not like the man who was always consumed by work—suit, briefcase and shiny shoes. He looks normal—like a dad. The look fits him.
He sighs next to me. From the corner of my eye, I see him tugging at his hair. He's thinking and gathering all his thoughts. I'm trying to read his face without staring too much.
I fidget a little, waiting for him to say something. Anything.
He's so close to me. God, how I've wanted this for so long. Not so much today. Today, he's making nervous.
And then he speaks. And I wish he was mute…or just not here, in our lives. I'm so afraid of the unknown. I want to protect her. Myself too.
"What's her name?" He's staring at the floor, his jaw set. I don't know what to make of it. I don't want to answer, but then again, why did I leave an open invitation? He's here because he wants to know.
"Lily." I whisper. I swallow the lump in my throat, but it still burns and my eyes get watery. I'm overwhelmed with emotions. I want to cry and I want to laugh with joy, because this is my daughter we're talking about.
Then fear sets in.
She's mine. She's mine. She's mine. I chant in my head.
"Lily." He tries out her name. And then again. "Lily." Her name rolls off his tongue like silk. He sighs and closes his eyes, pinching the bridge of his nose. When he opens them, they're red and full of unshed tears. I have to look away.
"Does she have a middle name?" I give him a curious look. I find it a little odd. He hasn't yelled at me or demanded an explanation for anything. He's accepting what is. "I just…want to know everything." He chokes out, pleading, waiting for any bit of information.
I can barely speak. My throat is constricting. "Belle. Lily Belle." I smile at her name.
He looks up at me and there's a small smile tugging at his lips. "You named our daughter after yourself?" He's not upset, just musing. And I'm having a very, very hard time breathing when he says our daughter. It sounds so right, my heart leaps.
I shrug. "My name's not Belle."
"No." He shakes his head. "But it means beautiful. Like you." He holds my gaze with his eyes. There was a time when I used to believe those eyes. Everything they said to me, I believed. No questions asked.
"Where's your wife?" I bring him back to reality. I'm not the same person I used to be. If I was, I would have jumped him the minute he sat next to me. I don't actually know if he's still married. I may be fishing for information here. I think I'm allowed that.
He groans and rubs his face with both hands.
He looks over at me and hesitates for a minute. He doesn't want to tell me what I already know by reading that look. He's still hers. He didn't lose his family all those years ago.
"We have a newborn…she's home with him." He looks almost apologetic—like it's a bad thing he's still with his wife and having her pop out a million adorable kids.
It doesn't mean it doesn't hurt me, though. Of course it does. It fucking hurts.
It's the life I wanted. A life I'll never have.
"Congratulations." I try to smile.
"Bella—" He sighs and shakes his head. "I've made so many mistakes in my life." He pauses to take a deep breath. "But I can't say you were one of them—not when you're the mother of my child. My daughter. God! I didn't even know!" He repeats, "I didn't even know—" I stay silent while he berates himself. I fight the urge to comfort him. That would be bad for me.
He roughly wipes away tears from his face.
I sniffle and try to clear my throat. "We both made mistakes. I'm sorry you didn't know about her."
I will never look at this hallway the same again. Hell, this school will forever remind me of this day. Of this conversation. Of Edward falling apart before my eyes.
"I'm sorry I pushed you away." His eyes are sincere. "I would have helped you. I never would have turned my back on you. Never. Had I known, Bella—" He covers his mouth as a sob escapes.
I appreciate his words, but they don't do me any good anymore. I've been on my own with my daughter for close to six years. I've tried accepting his absence. It's so hard.
"What do we do now?" I ask him. It's a loaded question. I don't know if I can find the courage to share Lily. I know that's what he'll want.
"Will you let me meet her?"
I can't say no to those eyes.
"You found my daddy?" Lily asks excitedly.
All I have ever said to her about Edward is that he had to go away, but that he loved her so very much—more than there are stars in the sky.
"Yes, and he wants to see you, baby." For now, she doesn't need to know the messy details. She just needs to know that her daddy wants to see her.
Her little face beams at my words. "When? When can I see him mommy?"
There is one thing that I can never be to her and that is a dad. I've tried, since the day she was born, to give her everything, but that one thing was unattainable. Until now.
"Tomorrow," I tell her. I've waited three weeks to finally set a date with Edward. I'm still nervous even as I tell her. "We're going to the park, the one with the duck pond. How does that sound?"
She nods her head excitedly.
I text Edward again, confirming for tomorrow.
He says he's nervous and excited.
Don't be nervous. She already loves you.
I'm gonna make things right. I promise.
I can't wait to meet her.
Make things right...
I went to lunch with Edward about three weeks ago.
I was hesitant to go but he insisted that we needed to talk some more. Obviously pouring our hearts out in the hall of our daughter's school wasn't the appropriate location. There was so much to say still.
We had been sitting here for close to an hour. Talking. I answered questions about Lily, about our life. He wanted to know if we were doing well. I assured him that we were and that he didn't need to worry about that. He also explained which seemed like an excuse to me, how his attorneys were the ones that advised him to stay far away from me as possible while his divorce was going on. Then turns out, his wife wanted to work things out and they dropped everything. By that point I had already given birth to our daughter. I never gave his office a second look, let alone step foot in it. He went on with his life, and I went on with mine.
"I want to be a part of her life." He finally said. "If you'll let me." I was somewhat prepared for this. I knew coming here, that something like this would come up. So I answered back with what I had rehearsed.
"You can be a part of Lily's life if you can accept her openly. She won't be anyone's shameful secret. I want her to feel that her dad loves her and that he's not afraid to be seen with her. That's my condition."
"Done." He didn't even hesitate. "I plan on telling Ally. She knows about…you and she forgave me for what I did to her. I have nothing to hide. Lily's my daughter. I want my sons to meet her too, eventually. She's gonna have four boys protecting her…and her dad." He grinned proudly. "I want this, Bella." Sincerer words have never been spoken.
I cried happy tears.
"I'm gonna make this right, Bella. I promise."
More tears of joy.
He's told me this many times over the last three weeks. It's his decision in the end. There's a little girl's heart at stake here, and he knows it.
The next day we wake up extremely early. Lily is way too excited to start this day. I have to convince her that she needs breakfast and a shower before we can actually leave. She does both in record time. I thought I would get more arguments out of her.
"Where is he mommy?" Lily tugs on my arm and tries to make me walk faster across the parking lot toward the pond.
"He's by the pond, Lily. He said he got us a really good spot." We walk hand in hand and I steer us toward the direction that Edward gave me.
It's such a beautiful day. It's warm out and the sun is shining, but not burning. The park is filled with smell of barbeques and the warmth and laughter of families.
I finally spot Edward at a picnic table, under a huge, shady tree. He's grilling and he looks so happy. Our eyes meet and his smile turns impossibly brighter. He waves and for a second he doesn't know if he should come to us.
I kneel down in front of Lily and turn her body toward the water, where Edward is.
"Your daddy is right over there." I whisper to her. I'm holding back the tears that I know will come. Her little eyes search everywhere…and when she reaches him…I know she's found him. "Go." I encourage.
She doesn't hesitate. She takes off in a sprint. Edward strides toward her; he opens his arms just in time for my little girl to jump right into them. He picks her up and swings her around. Both of their smiles are brighter than the sun. Her laughter is music to my ears.
They study each other's faces.
Lily's arms are tied around his neck so tight. I know what it feels like to never want to let go.
I'm an ugly-sobbing mess. And I don't care because my daughter has her daddy.
It doesn't matter what my history with Edward is. Or that he has another family, a wife. What matters is that our little girl knows and feels that we both love her—that her family is unique, but just as special as she is.
Our daughter will never pay for the mistakes we made.
Edward and I both will make sure of it.
~X~ The End ~X~