Disclaimer- Stephenie still owns the usual suspects.
I own my original characters and original story.
*Thanks once again to the lovely pixiekat7 for her beta work on this and for her encouragement, both have become invaluable to me.
I've made the decision NOT to repeat the announcement to the family. If you'd like to read that bit, go to the final chapter of 'Love Rescue Me' ('Everything I Never Knew I Wanted'), and scroll down to find it. It's fun, and semi-ridiculous, but definitely appropriate for this bunch.
I've also made the decision to only write one story this time, although the POVs will vary. I like hearing what Edward's thinking too much to silence him now. I will try to keep to a single POV per chapter, unless it's really important to the story to switch. Hope that's agreeable; now, on with it…
Warning! Super-sappy, overprotective Daddyward ahead.
Chapter 1 – Christening Gowns & A Careful Man
I see the moon, the moon sees me
God bless the moon and God bless me
I see the stars, the stars see me
God bless the stars and God bless me
I see the world, the world sees me.
God bless the world and God bless me.
I know an angel watches over me.
God bless the angels and God bless me.
I drifted awake with the sound of my mother's voice still ringing in my ears. I knew it had been a dream or an old memory, but it seemed so very real. I stretched out my legs under the warm blanket.
"Welcome back," Edward whispered with a smile as he hovered over where I lay on the sofa.
"I must have dozed off," I answered before stretching my arms out as well.
"Sweetheart, you've been asleep for almost two hours."
"What?" I began to sit up, "I need to start dinner."
"Stay and rest, I'm sure we can make do with soup and toasted cheese sandwiches tonight."
I nodded and watched my husband as he went back to working on his laptop.
I'd been foolish enough to believe that, since Edward didn't start working on the next film until early March, the months of January and February would be quiet for us.
Unfortunately, I'd failed to consider the many award shows leading up to the biggest one of the all, The Academy Awards.
We'd spent a week in L.A., where Edward had won the Best Actor Golden Globe for his role in The Harvest of Avarice. I barely saw him during our stay, as he and Jasper were holed up in meetings with producers and directors of various film projects.
I'd had lunch with Alice and Chris once, but they had a business to run, so I'd used most of my time alone to write. My creative juices had been flowing like mad since Christmas. I'd not only finished another book and sent it to the editors, but was halfway through writing the next one as well.
My publishers would be very pleased.
We'd arrived back in Seattle the day before Edward needed to appear on set for reshoots of Enemy Combatant.
He was actually in the midst of filming when he was notifiedthat he'd once again received the best actor nomination for The Harvest of Avarice, this time from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, or BAFTA for short.
It seemed as if we would be making a trip to England sooner than planned.
"Bella, did you ever consider writing your story?" Shane asked as we waited on set for Edward to finish. "Or rather, your mother's story," he clarified. "I just think that since the foundation is in her name, it would be good for the public to know more about her."
I looked up at Shane and answered truthfully. "I hadn't thought about it. I don't know if I could write about that…" I shook my head to clear my thoughts. "I mean, I don't know if I could do justice to her memory."
"Of course you can. Who better to tell the story than you?" Shane continued. "I'd be more than willing to help, but I'm sure you don't need it."
I thought about what he'd said, and realized that I owed it to my mother to tell her history, otherwise all the general public would know of Renee Swan was what was fed to them by members of the media; a handful of reporters who never knew my mom for the erratic, crazy, wonderful woman she truly was.
Abruptly I was overcome with the desire to share what my mom meant to me with the rest of the world.
Must be the hormones…
"I think I'd like to try," I admitted in a whisper, my eyes filling with tears.
I giggled at Shane's look of alarm. "Sorry Shane, emotional pregnant woman here," I whispered while gesturing toward my chest with my thumb.
That's how Edward found us a few minutes later, me teary-eyed and Shane not quite knowing what to do about it.
"Baby, are you okay?" I could tell he was fighting his impulse to over-react.
I nodded. "Yes, it's just that Shane had a wonderful idea. He thinks I should write about my mother so everyone can get to know the woman behind the foundation."
Edward smiled and kissed my temple. "That's a great idea."
Truth be told, my mother had been on my mind a lot lately. I knew it was partly because I was pregnant and really craved her presence in my life now more than ever before, but also it was due to the fact that Emmett and Rose had decided to have the baby baptized on Mom's birthday.
When they told me of their decision, I'd been so touched that they'd found a way to include Mom in Whit's big day that I'd broken down in tears.
Edward did what came naturally. He freaked out.
Since then, I'd made a conscious effort not to cry in front of him. His sometimes too logical mind was always looking for a way to 'fix things' and, unfortunately, with my silly pregnancy emotions, that wasn't always possible.
We said goodbye to Shane and went home to prepare for our first visit to the obstetrician.
When we discovered that Rose's doctor wasn't taking on any new patients, we met with one of her partners, Dr. Erika Flynn. She came highly recommended.
She looked to be in her forties, was small of stature, no taller than my five foot four; with light brown hair and a slight accent which we discovered was the result of having been born and raised in Germany. She was no-nonsense, bossy and efficient.
Edward and I adored her immediately.
As soon as the nurse directed me to place my feet in the stirrups, I'd forced Edward to come stand by my head. It was true that he was no stranger to my 'lady bits', but there was absolutely nothing sexy about getting a damned pap smear and internal exam.
Ugh, maybe I should have made him wait outside…
"Well Bella and Edward," Dr. Flynn began after she'd removed her fingers from my hoo-ha, and snapped off her latex gloves. "Let me be the first to confirm your suspicions and congratulate you," she said as she held out her hand.
She was big on handshakes.
"You are indeed expecting."
It was something we'd already known, but somehow hearing the news officially caused me to stop breathing for a second. I turned to look at Edward, only to find him sporting a goofy grin. He looked so young, very much like a little boy.
Automatically, my mind filled with visions of a small boy with a beautiful crooked smile, just like his daddy...
Surprisingly, I didn't cry when I saw the ultrasound image of our baby. I wasn't about to let some stupid tears obscure my first view of our little one. It was difficult, especially when I got a look at the expression of absolute awe and adoration on the face of my husband while he stared at that screen. My grip on Edward's hand tightened as I thought back to the first ultrasound photos of baby Whit in which he resembled a peanut. And now, so many months later, he'd grown into the most perfect baby in the world.
Okay, I admit I'm a little biased…
"Oh Bella, this is amazing," he whispered, still staring at the screen while visibly swallowing the lump in his throat. And somehow, I found myself falling in love with him all over again.
"It's time," Edward announced with a mischievous grin on his handsome face.
I smiled while pretending to protest. "Not again," I began as he tried to coax me from the sofa.
"Baby," he gasped in mock hurt, "I thought you loved me."
"Every part of me?"
I smirked. "Absolutely."
"Well that includes my singing voice, so come on."
Even though I tried to explain that it would be months before the baby would be able to hear him, he'd insisted on spending some time every evening either singing to me and baby Cullen, or reading a story, or merely holding a whispered conversation in which he conveyed to our unborn child how much he looked forward to the day when he could hold him or her in his arms.
I loved him so much it made my heart hurt.
He pulled me by the hand from the sofa, over to the piano.
My other Christmas gift to Edward, aside from my news, had been a brand new baby grand piano. Of course, I'd paid for it with his money, but he'd been so delighted when the music store delivered it on Christmas Eve, that I didn't dwell on that fact.
Edward immediately began plans to build an addition to the house which would house a music room, among other things.
I thought back to that Christmas Eve, and how he had surprised me as well. It was the first night he sang for our baby and what he sang had left me a crying, sniveling mess.
He'd written a song, just for me.
"What are you thinking about?" he asked as I sat on the bench beside him.
He smiled knowingly. "It was by far the best Christmas I've ever had my love," he said as he leaned in to kiss my lips and then smiled. "It's funny how things worked out, with you buying the piano and me writing you a song. It was a sort of reverse Gift of the Magi wasn't it?"
I nodded happily and leaned my head against my husband's shoulder as he began to play. Soon, the notes of my song, and Edward's rich husky voice as he sang, wrapped around me, cocooning and enveloping me in a blanket of warmth.
I wondered if our baby could feel how much we loved him or her already, and how much he or she had already become an integral part of our lives?
"You know, it's weird." I said absent-mindedly as I packed my suitcase for our long weekend in Forks.
"What's weird?" Edward asked from across the room.
"If Dr. Flynn hadn't confirmed it; I wouldn't have believed I was pregnant. I really don't feel any different." I said with a shrug. "Well, aside from the mood swings and the fact that I feel a little lightheaded."
I realized immediately that I shouldn't have said anything because before I took my next breath, Edward started in with the worrying. "Are you having dizzy spells baby?" He asked with real concern.
I shook my head. "No, no. I guess 'light-headed' may not be the right term. I just feel a little 'off', sort of like having 'medicine head'?" I said, for lack of a better description. I frowned. "No, that's still not quite right..."
He stood frowning at me a moment longer and then returned to packing his bag.
The next morning, we rose early to make the trip to Forks. I could have kicked myself for saying that I didn't 'feel' pregnant the day before, because as soon as I lifted my head from the pillow I was hit with a wave of nausea.
It wasn't severe by any means, and I didn't feel the urge to run to the bathroom, but it was enough to make me feel like crap for the next several hours.
I hid the way I was feeling from Edward and forced myself to eat breakfast as usual.
For some reason, I discovered that I felt a little better while eating.
We were almost to Port Angeles, when the nausea returned full force. I sat there trying to blame the way I felt on anything other than the fact that I was pregnant, thinking that if I didn't call it morning sickness, it would just go away.
My breakfast wasn't sitting well?
Nonsense. All I had was a plain bagel with butter.
I'd been reading in the car?
That never caused me to be sick before.
I had bragged about not 'feeling' pregnant and now I was being punished?
Oh please, now I'm being a drama queen…
"Edward," I croaked out as I lay my head back against the seat and closed by eyes. "As soon as you're able, could you stop somewhere? Preferably somewhere with a bathroom…"
"Bella, what's wrong? You look really pale all of a sudden," he said, his words coming out in a rush.
"I feel sick," I finally admitted before rolling down the window and leaning my head into the cool breeze, hoping it would help.
Either that or I'll freeze my ass off…
I didn't have a lot of time to contemplate that before Edward was whipping the Vanquish into the parking lot of an Arco gas station.
Less than ten minutes later, I was headed back to the car, feeling a bit better after having been relieved of the contents of my stomach. Edward, who had been hovering around outside the bathroom door when I'd left to retrieve my toothbrush from the car, was now nowhere to be seen.
I took a tentative step toward the entrance, only to see him exiting, carrying a large bag.
I was confused.
"What's going on Edward? Did they have a sale on Slim Jims?" I asked in amusement.
"Ha, ha." He grinned. "If they did, Emmett would have been here before us."
He opened the car door for me, before going around to his side. "No, I googled morning sickness on my phone."
"How can this be morning sickness? It's noon for cripe's sake." I grumbled as we pulled back onto the 101.
"Sweetheart, the website said that it can strike any time of the day. Eating crackers or several small meals a day may help." Edward was on a roll now. "If it gets severe, we should call your doctor because there's something she can prescribe…"
"Edward," I said as I laid my hand on his arm. "I feel better now."
He looked relieved.
"As a matter of fact, I'm kind of hungry."
He turned to smirk at me. "There are crackers and pretzels in the bag. And some juice."
"I think I want tacos."
"Bella," he said in a warning tone. "It also said that spicy foods weren't a good idea."
"But your baby wants tacos." I whispered, watching in amusement as his mouth fell open. "Uh…" He was defenseless against the desires of baby Cullen.
Emmett, Rose and Whit were already at Dad's when we arrived. We wanted to enjoy a quiet weekend together before the Baptism on Monday, after which Rose's parents had made reservations for lunch at a restaurant in Port Angeles.
"He tried to follow me into the bathroom at the gas station." I told Rose with a giggle as we drank tea in Charlie's kitchen.
Rose laughed. "Aw, that man is adorable sweetie. He really loves you."
"I know." I whispered.
"If your brother tried to follow me into a public restroom, it would only mean that he wanted to get it on." She cackled.
"Overshare, Rosalie." I said, but couldn't stop myself from laughing as well.
I looked down at my lap to find Whit staring up at me with his beautiful blue eyes. His little mouth was shaped into a perfect 'o' as he seemed to be studying my face. "He's such a good baby."
"I think so." Rose answered quietly.
I looked back down at Whit only to see his face turning red as he strained. I didn't have time to be alarmed about it however, before he passed gas.
It was so loud in fact that Whit startled himself and began to cry. Rose laughed at what must have been the shocked expression on my face.
"Hmm," came the sound of my brother's voice from the kitchen doorway. "Sounds like that was more than just a little wind."
"I'm thinking the little guy sharted on ya Bells." Emmett informed with a wide smile.
We were relaxing around Dad's dining room table, enjoying the Sunday dinner that Rose and I had cooked, while we discussed the offers Emmett had received to appear on television. "Most of them have come from reality shows. I even got one from Dancing with the Stars."
I laughed. "If you appeared on that, even I might consider watching it."
"Don't hold your breath Bellaboo. Emmett Swan doesn't do reality television. As a matter of fact, there aren't many shows I'd be interested in doing, with the exception of Spartacus." He said the name with reverence. "Being a gladiator fucking rules! But you know, those actors get naked on that show all the time, and I don't think Rosie would be okay with me showing more than my ass on screen."
"Damn straight." Rose agreed.
Obviously, because Whit was asleep upstairs, the moratorium on curse words had been lifted.
I rolled my eyes, trying to think of a way to change the subject.
"Besides, if they were to get an eyeful of my junk, the producers would probably offer it its own show."
I winced. The last thing on this earth that I wanted to think about was my brother's junk.
"Jesus, Emmett," Dad scolded.
"Sunday dinner, family time, and you talking about your dick…. What's wrong with this picture?" Dad asked as he shook his head.
I heard Edward snickering beside me.
I really needed to change the subject.
"Suzanne!" I blurted a little louder than I'd meant to, before reaching around Edward to grasp her left hand. "I haven't had a chance to see the ring yet."
I hadn't seen Dad or Suzanne since Christmas. When they'd returned to Forks, Dad had popped the question. He'd called us immediately afterward to let know that she'd accepted.
"It's beautiful." I said in a low voice. I glanced at my dad and caught him watching our exchange with a proud smile.
"So have you set a date?" Rose asked.
Suzanne bit her lip and eyed Dad before answering. "Well, Charlie and I want all of you to be there of course, so we thought June? That way Bella and Edward would be home from Europe."
Watching my father, I realized I hadn't seen him this happy since I was very young; before Mom and I left to be specific...
Everything in my life was perfect; I had the sudden desire to freeze the present moment in time so that I could remember it always.
"Oh God, oh God…" I could hear Edward muttering from behind me as I hovered over the toilet, having just expelled the contents of my stomach. Somehow he'd found a way to pace in the world's smallest bathroom.
"Edward, would you get out of here," I whisper-moaned. He really wasn't helping matters.
Why couldn't he let me die in peace?
"Bella, I am not leaving. Don't you understand how worried I am about you? You did exactly what I told you not to. You didn't eat the crackers I set on the nightstand when you woke up this morning and then, no offense to your dad, but you proceeded to eat that greasy breakfast he prepared." Without looking up at him, I could imagine how he was worrying a bald spot with his hands.
I love my dad's greasy breakfasts…
Suddenly, I felt my hair being lifted, and a cool washcloth being pressed to the back of my neck. I had to admit that, even though he was giving me shit, he was still very sweet.
"Since you won't listen to me, I'm just going to have to tell my dad or possibly Mom. Maybe they can talk some sense into you."
I sighed and tentatively rose to my feet, the nausea gone as quickly as it had begun. Edward stepped back until he was leaning against the closed door. "Are you being serious right now?" I asked as I reached for my toothbrush.
I felt his eyes on me as I brushed my teeth and rinsed my mouth.
"Edward, I've thrown up twice in three days. That hardly warrants this sort of reaction."
His frown deepened and his jaw clenched. It was then I realized that arguing would get me nowhere, so I tried a different approach. I walked over to him and reached up until my arms were around his neck. "Listen, I'm sorry." I said in a whisper. "I'll eat the crackers from now on, and the smaller meals. Maybe it will help. The book said that morning sickness doesn't last forever…"
I watched as he closed his eyes and took a deep breath. When he opened them again, he had visibly relaxed. "I just love you baby and I want to do everything in my power to keep you well." He said before brushing his lips across mine.
I hummed as he pressed them against me with a little more force while wrapping his arms around me.
Hmm. I like this type of distraction…
As he deepened the kiss, Edward's hands travelled down the length of the back of my navy blue dress until reaching my bottom and then down further.
He broke the kiss and pulled back, smirking at me. "Mrs. Cullen, what are you wearing?"
Oops. I forgot about that.
Since the night I'd told him I was pregnant, Edward couldn't have been more loving, or wonderful, or attentive, or… careful.
His worrying tendencies had even eked their way into our lovemaking.
With the exception of that one hot and steamy night right after Christmas…
My eyes glazed over as I thought back. The night before Dad and Suzanne returned to Forks, Emmett, Dad, Carlisle, Edward and Jasper had gone out to celebrate Whit's birth. Actually, Rose forced Emmett to go out and invite the others, because his hovering was driving her crazy. Suzanne, Esme, Alice and I spent the evening with Rose, but I returned home early to wait for my loving husband.
What I got was a very drunk, very horny, and absolutely fuckhot Edward, who arrived home at about two in the morning and proceeded to make me squeal for the rest of the night.
It was glorious.
But, Edward being Edward, once he sobered up the next day, he felt the need to apologize.
Since that night, there had been no urgency. No spontaneity. Our lovemaking was slow, careful and always in the missionary position.
Shower sex, which we'd had at least once a week prior to Christmas?
A distant memory…
Making love on the floor in front of the fireplace?
Not gonna happen…
Cowgirl? Doggy style? Lap dance?
I was too much of a coward to come right out and scream that he needed to fuck me already. So I'd wrung my hands and fretted about it for almost a solid month before I'd finally broken down and confided in Rose.
Rosalie's brilliant conclusion was that I needed to seduce my dear, darling, clueless husband.
She'd taken me shopping during one of the days Edward was filming reshoots and I was now the proud owner of six sexy new lingerie ensembles designed to drive Edward wild.
The little number I was wearing now wasn't intended to be revealed until we were on our way home to Seattle this evening. If everything had gone according to plan, Edward and I would have barely made it into our driveway before we'd have been steaming up the windows of the Vanquish.
Oh well…let's see if I can get him worked up now instead…
I quirked an eyebrow as his fingers traced the top of my silk stockings through my dress, before continuing to roam. "Hmm. Just stockings and a garter belt; and maybe a thong." I answered with a little shrug.
Edward's sharp intake of breath made me feel giddy inside, but not as giddy as I did when I could felt the hardness of his erection through the front of his trousers.
"Mrs. Cullen, are you seriously going to stand as Godmother to your nephew while clothed in sexy lingerie?"
Cue another twitch in Edward's pants.
"Why yes I am Mr. Cullen. My dress is very conservative. No one will know what I'm wearing underneath of it apart from me," I kissed his lips, "you," another kiss, "and God."
Edward moaned before grinding his now prominent hard on against me.
"Yo! You two gonna be finished in there anytime soon?" Emmett boomed from the hall, making me jump. "I gotta take a piss and the downstairs bathroom is occupied."
I sighed and shook my head while Edward thumped his head back against the door.
"Besides, you better not be up to any funny business in there." Emmett continued. "The room's too small. Rose and I tried it before, broke some of Pop's shit."
I groaned at this revelation.
"And the Chief would probably shoot you for disrespecting my sister like that Eddie."
"Shut up Emmett," I exclaimed as Edward and I backed up in order to open the door.
Emmett stood in the hallway smirking. He raised his hands in surrender. "I know what you're thinking."
I doubt that.
"Yes, the restroom onboard the airplane was technically smaller, but surprisingly sturdy…"
"What is wrong with you?" I yelled, cutting him off. "All you do is talk about sex anymore."
"Oh, that's easy. It's because I'm not getting any. But that will change in a couple of weeks when Rosie gets the 'all clear' from her Doc. By the way, you two are babysitting that night." Before I could even formulate a response in my head, Emmett brushed past us into the bathroom, whistling as he shut the door.
When Edward and I made our way downstairs, we discovered that all the guests who were attending the Baptism had arrived. Rose was seated on the sofa, holding Whit on her lap with her mother and Esme on either side, admiring his Christening gown.
"Rose, this is beautiful." Mrs. Whitlock said as she trailed her fingers across the lace trim. "You said that Emmett's grandmother made it?"
Rose nodded. "Yes, for Emmett's Christening. Bells wore it too." She then turned to me and smiled. "And, after today's ceremony, her baby will be the next to wear it."
"Come sit next to me, Bella." Esme said as she patted the space beside her. I smiled and squeezed in.
"How are you feeling sweetie?" She asked as she took my hand in both of hers. The gesture was motherly, comforting.
"Well, I just threw up," I said in a low voice, making sure that she would be the only one to hear.
"Oh honey, I'm sorry. Do you feel better now?" she said while brushing my hair back from the side of my face with her fingers.
"Yeah," I nodded. "It's only happened twice, but each time I've felt completely fine afterward."
She nodded and glanced over to where Edward was chatting with Jasper and Alice. "Knowing my son, I'm sure he overreacted."
"Oh God yes," I said with a small giggle. "If he keeps going like this, I think he's going to need medication before I go into labor."
Esme giggled with me. "Well, just so you know, he's kind of using his Dad as his sounding board in all of this. Carlisle has promised to do his best to calm him whenever possible. Where you are concerned, Edward tends to be a bit irrational." She informed as she gazed adoringly across the room at her son.
"Don't I know it?" I noticed that Chris had joined the conversation with Alice and Jasper and was speaking animatedly as the others grinned.
"You know that I'm here for you, sweetie." Esme continued, looking back at me then. "Anytime, for anything."
"Thank you Esme," I gave her a hug, tears threatening.
We'd waited until then to hand out the ultrasound photos. The only thing that kept Alice and Esme from screaming when they saw them was the fact that Whit had dozed off on his mother's lap.
The rest of us were in stitches as we watched their silent screams and happy dance. If I'd ever doubted where Alice inherited her exuberance, it was painfully obvious at that moment. Judging from Chris's reaction, I wondered if he could possibly be related to Esme as well.
Emmett met my gaze as our Dad silently slipped from the room, ambling down the hallway in the direction of the kitchen. We both watched as he proudly displayed the photograph of our little peanut next the one of Whit from months before.
"Peace be with you," Father Pat began as we stood in the doorway of the chapel. Dad was holding the baby, as I stood beside him. "What is your name?"
"Charles Whitlock," Dad and I answered together.
"Charles Whitlock, what are you asking of God's Church?"
"What does faith hold out to you?"
"If then, you wish to inherit eternal life, keep the commandments, Love the Lord your God with your whole heart, with your whole soul, and with your whole mind; and your neighbor as yourself."
And so began little Charles Whitlock Swan's introduction to the Church.
Once Father Pat led us to the Baptismal font, the ceremony itself didn't take very long.
"Charles Whitlock, do you renounce Satan?"
"I do renounce him."
"And all his works?"
"I do renounce them."
I happen to glance up at Edward, only to find he and Jasper grinning widely at each other.
With the pouring of the holy water, and the recitation of a few prayers, the Baptism was over.
The photo session inside the church took a bit longer, as everyone wanted the opportunity to pose with Whit.
As we exited the church, we found a couple of paps waiting outside, obviously tipped off to our presence.
We had planned to stop by Mom's grave before driving to Port Angeles. My heart sank at the realization that the paps would no doubt attempt to follow us.
Edward pulled me against him and kissed my temple. "Relax Bella. Your father has everything under control."
Just then two deputies pulled into the parking lot behind what I assumed were the paps' cars, blocking their exit.
I shot Dad a grateful smile.
As we pulled away, I saw two of Forks' finest leading the paps to their cars, no doubt requesting their license and registration.
My Dad is the bomb.
Gah, Bella, you're such a dork.
I stared down at my mother's grave and pulled my coat tighter around my body as Edward stood close beside me. I'd opted not to sit on the cold, wet ground; instead, I would stand to say what I needed.
I watched Emmett, Rose and Whit make their way back toward the cars, where my Dad stood waiting. I ran my fingertips along the gravestone as I set down the small bouquet of flowers, an ultrasound photo of our baby tucked safely inside.
Edward had removed any writing from the photo, even the date. We didn't put it past the paps to snoop around my mother's grave, and we weren't ready to reveal my pregnancy to the public quite yet.
"Happy birthday, Mom," I told her in a whisper, hoping somehow she'd hear and know. "I miss you," suddenly and unexpectedly a sob escaped my chest as my vision blurred with tears, "and I really wish you were here." It was a struggle to get the words out.
Edward held me close until the sobs lessened, but never uttered a word. It was exactly what I needed. We didn't linger, it was January after all, and the biting winter wind threatened to keep the temperature below forty for the rest of the day.
"What was that grinning about between you and Jasper during the Baptism?" I asked Edward as we relaxed in the restaurant. Well I was relaxed; Edward didn't become that way until I assured him that I wouldn't be eating any shellfish.
As I had perused the menu, he'd recited an entire litany of 'foods to avoid during pregnancy' and raw shellfish was among of them.
Not that I would have eaten it anyway…
I wonder if his Dad would consider prescribing him a sedative…
Edward and Jasper chuckled at my question before Alice interrupted.
"Bella, don't you know my brother by now?" She smirked. "These two juveniles," she said as she gestured between her husband and mine, "were cracking up over the fact that you, Charlie and Father Pat were reciting almost word for word the dialogue from that Baptism scene in The Godfather."
"You know, where Michael Corleone is standing as Godfather to his nephew while his henchmen are going around killing all his enemies."
Edward shrugged, still grinning adorably. "What can I say? I love that scene."
"I think that maybe you've been around my brother too much." I told him as I shook my head.
After all my plans to seduce my husband, I ended up falling asleep in the car and was a disoriented, groggy, drooling mess by the time we arrived home.
The following morning at what can only qualify as the 'ass crack of stinking dawn', both mine and Edward's cell phones began to ring simultaneously.
We opened our eyes and stared; both of us wearing matching murderous expressions.
The first thought I had was that someone must have died. If they hadn't, I was pretty certain that someone was about to, as soon as I got my hands on them anyway…
Now, normally I'm a reasonable individual. I could even be classified as a morning person. But, since becoming pregnant, I'd discovered that I needed sleep like never before.
"What?" I heard Edward growl into his phone at the same moment I yelled, "What the hell?!" into mine.
"BELLA!" Rose shouted in my ear. "Edward got the nomination!"
"What are you talking about?" I rasped. I could hear Edward talking in an animated voice as well, but couldn't concentrate on what he was saying.
"The Oscars of course. Didn't you pay attention to a damned word I said yesterday? They just announced the nominees!"
It took a moment for my brain to register Rosalie's words. "Holy crap! I mean, I shouldn't be surprised because he won the Golden Globe, but holeee crap!"
I looked over at Edward and found him smiling at me as he listened on his phone.
I could hear Emmett whooping in the background as Rose continued to chatter, but I needed to hang up. It was very important that I smooch my Oscar-nominated husband. Rose would just have to understand.
"Rose, I gotta go…"
"But Bella, this is so exciting. Oh man, Edward's got to be on my show. Tell him, his first interview must be with me."
"Yeah, I'll tell him," I didn't even say goodbye before ending the call. Edward was grinning from ear to ear as he set his phone on the nightstand.
"Wow," he said while shaking his head. "That was Jasper, by the way, along with a very excited Alice."
"Mine was Rose, with Emmett yelling in the background." I couldn't wait any longer. I crawled across the bed and threw my arms around his neck. "Congratulations, I know this means a lot to you."
"It does, but do you know what the best part is?"
I shrugged and smiled wider. "Winning?"
He chuckled. "No, although winning would be pretty fucking awesome," he leaned his forehead against mine as he continued. "The best part is that you'll be with me. I get to share this moment, win or lose, with the love of my life. I can't even describe how wonderful that feels. Oh Bella," he wrapped his arms fully around me, pulling me against him. "When I think of how empty my life would be if we'd never met," he swallowed hard. "I'd be utterly alone in this..."
I swallowed the urge to cry at his beautiful words, covering my emotions with a smirk. "Edward, if you wanted to have sex, you only had to say so; you don't ever need to sweet-talk me in order to plead your case."
He barked out a laugh. "Silly girl," he said before planting a chaste kiss on my lips. "No, actually what I want is for you to lie back and eat those crackers and drink a little juice."
I opened my mouth to complain, but he stared me down.
Gah, he's especially sexy when he's intimidating
I didn't argue; after all I'd made a promise. "Okay, but then can we get to the sexin'?"
He laughed again. "We shall see my love."
He is too 'in control', it's driving me crazy
After the crackers and juice, I was able to brush my teeth without feeling even a twinge of nausea. When I returned to bed, Edward was lying there waiting, just as I'd requested.
"You okay?" he asked warily.
"Never better," I smiled and crawled on top of him.
"Hmm," he hummed against my lips before flipping me over until he hovered above.
He kissed me passionately as his hands worked to remove my clothes. Once we were both naked, Edward proceeded to kiss every inch of my body as I felt myself slowly melt into the mattress.
Who cares about spontaneous, or cowgirl, or whateverthefuckelse I was complaining about?
"I need you, baby," he whispered just before his lips met mine again, and he slowly eased into me. We moved together in a steady rhythm, our ragged breaths the only sounds in the room. Edward's eyes never left my face as he tenderly made love to me until at last we found our release together.
As we lay facing one another, I tenderly stroked the side of his face and surrendered to the emotions I'd been holding inside. A few tears escaped from my eyes as I thought about my mother. Even though I missed her, and would do so until the day I died; through Edward and his love, I had gained so much: a second mother and father in the form of Esme and Carlisle; along with other family members: Alice, Jasper and Chris; all of whom loved me as much as I loved them.
And our baby.
After Edward wiped the tears from my cheeks, we both lay there as I shared with him my almost giddy excitement over everything I looked forward to in the next few months. Getting to hear our baby's heartbeat for the first time, being able to feel life inside of me as our baby kicked and moved, were the things I couldn't wait to experience.
I was honest and told him I wasn't thrilled about some of the things I would go through such as looking down and not being able to see my feet, or the discomfort of being in labor…
I noticed that Edward got a pained expression on his face at the mention of that.
"But Edward," I told him honestly as I touched his arm. "Anything, any amount of pain will be worth it when I finally get to hold our baby, and more importantly when I get to see you hold our baby in your arms. It's what I look forward to the most."
As I spoke, I noticed he got a far off look in his eyes, as if he was seeing that day in his mind as well. "I don't know how I'm going to handle seeing you in pain, Bella," he admitted.
"Hey," I called his thoughts back to the present. I watched as he blinked a couple of times before focusing on my face. "We'll get through it together okay?"
He nodded and swallowed.
"I can't believe I'm even suggesting this, but maybe you should talk to Emmett. After all, he just went through it, and can give you a father's perspective. I've already found out more than I ever wanted to know from Rose…"
Edward eyed me warily, "Was it awful?" I could tell he was starting to freak out.
"No, no," I lied through my teeth. There was no way that I would confide that some of what Rose had gone through had scared me shitless. "It wasn't that bad."
Oh crap. Why did I tell him to talk to Emmett?
I need to make sure Emmett doesn't tell him anything that will upset him.
Well hell, everything will upset Edward at this point…
"On second thought, maybe you should just stick with your Dad for this one."
I felt certain that Carlisle wouldn't tell Edward anything that would send him off to expectant father 'crazytown'. After my conversation with Esme, I knew that Edward's parents were well aware of the way he tended to overreact.
For the next several hours, our cells phones rang constantly. Edward stayed on the phone with Jasper most of the day, agreeing or declining different interviews, television appearances, and photo shoots, whereas I fielded most of the phone calls from our friends and family.
Every morning show and late-night talk show wanted interviews; not to mention several magazines. The ones he agreed to were under the stipulation that we had to work around my book tour schedule.
As promised, he would give his first interview to Rose.
"Bella, I'm sorry, but I'm afraid these dates are final. The Seattle clients are already upset that they're the last stop on the tour, so I know they won't budge on this date." Mr. Corday informed.
"Mr. Corday, see what you can do. If they think for one moment that I'm not going to attend the Academy Awards with my husband, then they've got another thing coming."
I had run into a snag with the last date of my book tour. As luck would have it, the Academy Awards were occurring the same night I was due to appear in the largest bookstore in Seattle for my book-signing. As Mr. Corday had mentioned, the client was already upset that they were the last stop on the tour.
The publishing company had tried to appease them by touting this stop at the 'most important' because the author was from Washington State and a current Seattle resident. It didn't appear to have had much effect.
As yet, none of the clients knew exactly who Marie McCarty was, so I wasn't sure what was going to happen after my first appearance in New York, when the public realized that she was none other than Isabella Cullen aka Edward Masen's wife. Edward thought all hell was going to break loose, and had made this book tour yet another thing to stress about.
I preferred to adopt a 'wait and see' attitude.
"Bells, I think you should get the Brazilian wax," Rose informed.
She was always trying to talk me into one of those. "I'll give you the same answer I always do. No."
It was two days before Rose was due to return to work, and we were having a 'spa day', while Emmett babysat.
Rose had assured me that it was safe to have the 'pre-natal' massage. She knew the owner personally, and none of her employees would breathe a word about my 'condition' to the press.
"Bells, you really should try it sometime," she said before lowering her voice to a whisper. "I bet it would drive Edward crazy if you were bare."
I could feel my face flame. "Rose, that's not the point. I think I'd die of embarrassment at my next doctor's appointment if I had a naked cooter." I whispered.
Rose laughed loudly. "Bells, believe me, that's not going to shock the doctor. I don't think you realize how many women have it done. Besides, most of your exams for the next few months won't require you to remove your panties."
She nodded. "They're basically just going to weigh you, take your vitals and measure your belly."
"Oh." I sighed. "Well, I'm still not getting the Brazilian."
"I will however, get the bikini wax."
"Bitch," I retorted before we both laughed loudly.
Hours later, once we'd been plucked, waxed, and massaged, Rose and I relaxed in a private sitting room.
"So, I take it the lingerie did the trick?" She asked as she sipped her water.
"No," I sighed. "I fell asleep while wearing the first ensemble, and haven't tried any of the others yet." I said with a frown.
"Jeez Bells," she half smiled while shaking her head.
"It's just so frustrating you know? Before I got pregnant, we had to avoid sex for several days a month because of my fertility cycle. Now, we could do it all the time if we wanted, and what do I do? I fall asleep."
Rose laughed lightly. "Oh Bells, that will pass. You'll only have that urge to sleep in the beginning." She cleared her throat then, "Is, um, Edward still playing it safe when you do have sex?"
"It's Edward, what do you think? I mean, you saw how he was the weekend before Whit's Baptism. He's very careful."
Rose studied me for a minute. "I have to admit that I think his reaction is very sweet." She said with a smile before she leaned her head back and looked up at the ceiling. "Hell, I'd take sex any way I could get it right now. Sweet and cautious or down and dirty," she admitted with a laugh.
"Not sure I wanted to know that."
"I know, I know. You don't want to hear about me and your brother, but God, I miss sex," she sighed loudly in frustration. "I can't wait until tomorrow night."
"You know Rose; I don't mind babysitting. In fact, I adore my nephew so; I'm really looking forward to it. But, I definitely don't want to think about what you and my brother will be up to so… no more sharing, okay?" I told her with a grin.
Rose laughed. "Sure Bells. I appreciate that you and Edward are doing this. I don't know if I could leave him with anyone else right now." Rose said, getting a little misty-eyed.
"How are you going to handle leaving him in day care?"
"Hey, it's not like he'll be far away. The beauty of having a day care in the same building where I work is that I can see him all the time," She relayed with a big smile. "I'm anxious to get back to work, but the thought of leaving him is difficult." She looked up at me, a hint of worry in her eyes. "Knowing he'll be so close is a huge relief."
She took the last sip of her water and stood. "Enough about all that, let's go have some lunch," she directed before we got ready to leave.
Word has reached our ears that Mrs. Edward Masen was recently seen visiting the office of one of Seattle's top obstetricians. The reason this visit caught the eye of so many, was the fact that she was accompanied by none other than her famous husband.
This leads to speculation that the Masens may be planning to expand their family soon, or that there may already be a 'little Masen' in the works.
Baby bump watch has just kicked into high gear people! Stay tuned, we will keep you informed of any further 'developments'.
I sighed as I read the blurb that had been posted on a well-known gossip site. It was even accompanied by a grainy photo and Edward and I leaving Dr. Flynn's office.
"Sorry baby, I just thought you needed to know what was being said," Edward whispered apologetically.
"No, it's okay. I guess we should have expected this. No matter how discreet Dr. Flynn's staff is, I didn't take the other patients into consideration. I'm sure this was leaked by one of them."
"So, what do you want to do?" He asked.
I breathed deeply before crawling across the sofa and situating myself in his lap. "Live our lives. Ignore the press, and go on as usual."
"They're sure to start hounding us more than ever before."
I shrugged. "I doubt it could be any more intense than it was a year ago, during the Tanya debacle."
Edward winced. "But you weren't pregnant then. I worry about the stress…"
I cut him off. "Edward, my darling, you worry about everything. I understand why you do, but you need to calm down."
I watched as he closed his eyes, a sad expression on his handsome face.
"Hey," I said as I traced his jaw with my fingertips. "Edward, nothing bad is going to happen, and even if it did, it wouldn't be your fault."
"I just want to make sure that you and the baby are safe."
"You do keep us safe and I love you for it. Even if we were willing to hide ourselves away from the world, similar to the way we were before we met," I said pointedly, "unforeseen things can still happen. Sometimes those things will be bad. I don't know about you, but I refuse to hide away. I want to live every day to the fullest and I want to spend those days with you."
I smiled happily, and he returned the smile.
"Have I told you lately how amazing you are?" he asked.
I nodded. "Right back at ya Mister Movie Star. Now, stop talking and kiss me."
"As always my love, your request, my command," he murmured before kissing me breathless.
A/N Fluffy enough for ya?
Welcome back to the continuing story of E and B. I apologize that this took so long to post, but I had a lot of other things to compete before I tackled it. Namely, the final chapters of Love Rescue Me. Remember to go and read that last chapter as per my note at the top of the page.
f.y.i. I can't speak for other religious denominations…but during a Catholic Baptism ceremony, only the first and middle names of the recipient are spoken aloud. Also, Godparents must be Catholic, hence the choice of Charlie and Bella. By tradition, if the child is male, he is held by the Godfather during the ceremony; if female, the Godmother.
The next chapter will be from Edward's POV, and there will be a 'flashback' to the night that drunk and horny Edward made an appearance.
Other stuff: If you haven't read it yet, please read and give some love to 'The Harvest of Avarice' (yes, it's the story from Edward's movie), my entry for The Age of Edward contest. It's basically complete, with only an outtake still to be added.
Also, my other stories would love your attention as well. 'Popsicle Sticks' is about to become quite intense, and 'Sugar Cookies' is pure fluff.
As I've said before, reviews not only make me smile, they also inspire me to write faster. Until next time….Mwah!