Finding the Way back – Chapter 31 (22 weeks preggo)

EPOV

A few days after Bella's little breakdown about moving, we found out the house we wanted was ours. To say we were excited would be an understatement. We moved in two weeks after that and ever since, we've been trying to get the house presentable. McKenna's new bedroom set arrived a few days ago along with ours, but we were still waiting for the dining room and living room. Mom has been a big help with the move and decorating. She was able to find an artist to do a beautiful butterfly design throughout McKenna's room and found the right fabrics and colors to make our room soft and romantic, just how we wanted it.

Bella and I also talked about what would happen after the twins were born. Bella said she wanted to take a few months off to take care of the twins before returning to work, but she was worried about our finances. I told her to let me worry about that, and that we would be fine even if she decided she didn't want to go back. I knew she missed everything when McKenna was an infant, so I wanted her to be a part of everything with the twins. We have yet to pick out names for them, but we were looking forward to doing it.

About the same time we found out the house was ours, McKenna started school – a Pre-K program at the elementary school. Since I had the day off, I decided to take her with me and get the few things that she needed that Bella either forgot to get, or was added to her supply list last minute. Who knew Pre-K would have supply list? When we went school supply shopping, she had picked out a backpack for me that was bright pink and matched hers because apparently, I needed one, too.

"But, Dad, isn't it pretty? You could write your name on it so our bags wouldn't get mixed up," she said.

"It is a pretty bag, but I don't think pink is my color. Besides, I don't need one." I chucked as she huffed and walked away.

Once the supplies were all paid for, we headed to a specialty store that sold scrubs. I had the standard blue that everyone wore, but thought that since I was working with kids, maybe something familiar to them would help calm them. McKenna, once again trying to be helpful, found an assortment of Sponge Bob and Disney scrubs. It was nice to have some alone time with her. I didn't realize how much I was missing out on until today. I was noticed little changes in her: the way she smiled like Bella when she got her way, the way she would curl her hair around her finger when she was thinking about something, or how her eyes narrowed like Charlie's did when she was listening to something. I loved this little girl so much.

Once we were back home, McKenna went out back and played with a few friends from the neighborhood. I quickly put everything away and threw my new scrubs in the wash while I waited for Bella to return home from work. As I started making a light snack for McKenna and her friends, Emmett called and asked if everyone could come over for a cookout since the weather was still nice. I told him that would be fine, but to be careful around Bella, as she's been hormonal and tired lately. He assured me no teasing would occur and that he would bring over everything we'd need. Once I was off the phone with him, I called the rest of our family, including Billy and Jake and invited them over as well.

A few hours later, everyone was over at the house, the grill was getting hot, and McKenna was trying to get Jake to play in her tree house. Mom and I were in the kitchen with Billy and Charlie getting the food ready when I heard Bella's car pull into the drive.

"I'll be right back," I said. I walked outside and helped Bella out of the car. "How was work?"

"Tiring. Who's all here?" she asked.

"Pretty much everyone. Emmett wanted to break in the new grill."

"Oh. Can we talk for a few minutes?"

"Of course."

Bella and I walked into the living room, where she sat on the couch and put her feet on a few pillows. "Ugh, my feet are so sore."

"Do you want me to rub them?" I asked.

"No, but some ice packs would be nice."

"I'll be right back."

I quickly went into the kitchen and grabbed the two large bags of frozen peas and corn, as well as a few kitchen towels. Once I was back in the living room, I placed them carefully around Bella's swollen ankles.

"Better?"

"Yes, thank you."

"So, what's up? How was your day?"

"I quit."

"You quit?" I asked.

"Not yet, but I need to. It hurts too much. The bending, standing, all of it. Even when I sit my back hurts. I just can't do it anymore."

"What did Julie say?"

"She understood completely and I told her I would call her with my final decision after talking to you about it. She said after the babies are born, and when I'm ready to come back, my job would still be there. Are you okay with this? Can we even afford me not working?"

"Yes. You don't have to go back to work if you don't want to. I've told you this before."

"I know, but...I've been worrying about what you'll say for the last hour."

"I would never be mad at you about this. To be quite honest, I've been waiting for you to say something. I know how much you hurt and how tired you've been. Now, do you want to come out back with everyone or rest in here until dinner?"

"Out back, please. But, I need to call Julie and tell her first."

I left Bella and returned to the kitchen with Mom who told me to go outside since she was just finishing the burgers. Everyone was enjoying themselves. Jake was standing of to the side talking to a girl he brought with him. Billy said she and her mother just moved back to the area and that Jake was quite taken with her. Sue was also here sitting between Charlie, whose hand she was holding, and Billy.

"Was that Bella who pulled up?" Charlie asked.

"Yeah. She'll be out in a few minutes. She's just talking to Julie."

"Everything alright at work?"

"Yeah. She's just letting her know that she isn't coming back for a while. It's too hard on her."

"That's understandable," Sue said. "She's close to delivering. I'm surprised she hasn't stopped sooner."

"She still has a little bit before that happens, but I've been asking her to stop for a while now. I can tell how miserable she is. Her doctor's been asking her to cut back at work, too." Just then, Bella appeared in the doorway with her peas and corn. She moaned a bit when lifting her legs onto the lawn chair. I could see indents from her socks as well. I was thankful then that she decided to stop working and take it easy.

"How are you feeling, dear?" Billy asked.

"Large and front heavy like I'm going to tip over. I'm constantly tired. I haven't seen my feet in who knows how long and my back is sore from the minute I wake up until I go to sleep. And the two little monkeys in here never seem to stop moving," Bella said with a smile. "I can't really complain about that, though."

We all sat and chatted a bit more, while I rubbed her legs and feet when she would let me touch them. Mom and Dad came out with food for the grill when Jasper and Emmett came rushing over. McKenna was screaming her lungs out in Jasper's arms.

"What happened?" I asked worriedly over McKenna's cries.

"She was climbing up the ladder to get into the tree house when she fell," Jasper said.

"She landed on her arm pretty hard," Emmett said.

Jasper set McKenna on my lap while Dad looked over her arm. Even though he barely touched her, his touch seemed to make her scream even more. I looked over at Bella who was crying as well. I could tell she wanted hold and comfort McKenna, but I was too afraid to hand her over and cause her more pain.

"I'm about ninety-five percent sure it's broken," Dad said.

"It hurts, Papa," McKenna cried.

"I know, but we'll get it fixed, okay?" he replied gently.

"Okay," she sobbed.

BPOV

A few hours later, Carlisle, Edward, McKenna and I returned from the hospital. McKenna had passed out on the ride home, so Edward took her up to bed, hot pink cast and all. Thankfully she didn't require surgery to set the bone. Billy, Jake and his girlfriend had left, with just Esme, Sue, Charlie, Emmett, Rose and Jasper remaining at the house.

"How is she?" Jasper asked. He had guilt written in his face.

"She'll be fine," I said.

"I'm so sorry, Bella."

"Jasper, you don't have to apologize. It was an accident. Besides, you said she fell off the ladder, right? It happens."

"I know, but I didn't catch her in time. I'm so sorry, Bella."

"It's alright, Jasper," I said as I hugged him the best I could.

Feeling hungry, I walked into the kitchen where I was joined by Sue, who closed the door behind her.

"Bella, could I talk to you?" she asked.

"Sure," I said curiously.

"I just wanted to let you know that your father and I have been seeing each other for the past few months."

"Really?" I asked. I knew they were close, but I guess I never realized they were a couple. Talk about being oblivious.

"Yes. We wanted to say something sooner, but I wasn't sure how you'd react, and I didn't want you to think I'm disrespecting your mother's memory."

"I know you would never do that, Sue."

"So, are you alright with this?"

"I'm shocked that Dad never mentioned anything. We tell each other everything. Does he make you happy?"

"Oh yes. Very much so. Plus, he's such a help with Seth and Leah as well. Your father is a very good man, and he's still very protective of you and McKenna. I'm lucky to have him."

"So how serious is it?"

"I'm not all that sure, but we've talked about the future a few times."

"Marriage?" I asked.

"I don't know. At least not yet."

"He deserves to be happy, Sue. Now that I think about it, he has been different lately and I can only attribute that change to you."

"So, you're okay with this?" she asked again hopefully.

"Yeah. Thank you for telling me about it, though. It was really thoughtful of you."

I went to bed that night happy for Dad. I knew he and Sue had grown closer recently, but I had no idea they were actually together. Amazingly, the thought of my dad loving another woman didn't upset me. After everything he had been through, he really did deserve some happiness. Sue was a good fit for him, as well. She was smart, funny, loyal and she seemed to care for him deeply.

I also had a weight lifted from my shoulders when Edward told me we would be okay if I didn't work anymore. I know we had talked about it before but looking back, I didn't believe him. Now, however, I just couldn't do it anymore. Not only was I bumping into everything with my overly expanding belly, but my back and feet were always in pain. I probably shouldn't complain since these two little ones are a miracle, but I just don't know how much longer I can take this.

So here's a cute little fluffy chapter. Next up: baby shower and a surprise!