Finding the Way back – Chapter 35

BellaPOV

A few weeks had passed since McKenzie and McKayla's arrival. I noticed some differences between the two. McKenzie was loud. She wailed when she was hungry or wanted to be held. And when she was held, she preferred to be held like a football, her head resting in Edward's elbow and tucked close to his body. Why she wanted to be held like that, I have no idea. I didn't even think it was safe for her to be held like that, but she liked it, so we went with it. McKayla, on the other hand, was quiet. She hardly ever fussed, unless she was hungry, and even then it was quiet. She was also my little cuddler. She'd tuck her head under my chin, tuck her arms and legs under her little body and would be perfectly content. Both girls had brown hair with auburn accents and had hazel eyes. I was a little bummed that they didn't Edward's eye color. However, they both had Edward's smile.

McKenna was my saving grace. She would help me fetch diapers and wipes and would sing to them when they cried. Every Friday night, Charlie and Sue would come over and watch the girls while McKenna and I went to dinner. I still wanted to have special time with her so she wouldn't feel left out. We usually ended up at the diner, but I didn't mind. Usually our conversation surrounded the little world she created for her pets, George and Spike. McKenna loved her pets and she continued to ask for a dog. I was just about ready to give in, but Julie suggested I bring her to the local Humane Society and have her volunteer instead. To say McKenna loved it would be an understatement. Since she was too young to really do anything on her own, we usually walked the dogs on the days we volunteered.

Edward returned to work a week after the girls were born. The first day he was gone I cried the entire day. Both Sue and Esme had been with me to help out, but I still missed him. When he finally returned home after a 36-hour shift, I held onto him for a solid five minutes in the doorway. For some reason I thought he wouldn't come back to us. Silly, I know, but I truly believed that. I think that first day away from us was hard on him. He checked in as often as he could, but I could tell he missed us. He made sure to spend time with each girl – almost as if he was reacquainting himself with them.

After settling into a routine, things became easier. The mornings were spent getting McKenna ready and out the door for school, and in the afternoons the girls and I took a walk around the neighborhood. If Sue and Esme were over, they'd join us as well. At four o'clock, we went to the bus stop to pick up McKenna who would tell us all about her day at school. As she did her homework, I would get dinner ready. After dinner, I would give all three girls their baths, followed by a story and bed.

On the first of November, I returned to work on a part-time basis. Edward tried to convince me to stay at home, saying we didn't need the money, but I missed working at the bakery. I missed meeting with clients and loosing myself in the designs. After meeting with Julie, I agreed to return to the bakery three days a week and Saturdays when I needed to make deliveries. Edward wasn't exactly happy, but he eventually understood that I needed my own time. Sue and Esme worked out a schedule as well for taking the twins.

Everything seemed to be perfect.

Thanksgiving came and we found ourselves at Carlisle and Esme's for dinner, along with Sue, Dad, Leah, Billy and Jake. McKenna, McKenzie and McKayla were in the living room with the guys, while the women were in the kitchen.

"Have you given any thought about the wedding?" Esme asked Sue.

"A little bit. We don't want anything big, so we were thinking of having it maybe having it on the cliffs or at the house. I told Charlie that if we do it there, I want to work on the landscaping a bit. We'll probably work on the it anyway since Charlie wants to sell the house."

"How soon were you thinking?" I asked.

"We haven't even talked about a date yet. We're not rushing anything, but I've been looking at a few things online – mainly dresses. But right now, we're just enjoying being engaged."

"And Leah took the news okay?" Rosalie asked.

"Oh yes. She's very excited. Although at the moment, she's waiting to hear if she got into the beauty school she applied to."

About an hour later, everything was in the oven. McKenna was outside playing with Jake, Emmett, and Jasper. I was upstairs in Edward's old room nursing the girls when there was a knock at the door.

"Bella, can we come in?" Esme asked from outside the door.

"Sure."

I quickly grabbed a receiving blanket and draped it over me as Esme, Carlisle and Edward walked in. McKayla started fussing next to me, so Carlisle picked her up and clutched her to his chest. I had an odd feeling that something was wrong.

"She may need to be changed. There's diapers and wipes in the bag," I said.

"Bella," Esme said as she sat down next to me, "there's something we need to tell you."

"What is it?" I asked.

"Do you remember I told you that a new doctor had started at the hospital last week?" Carlisle asked.

"Yes."

"Well, we invited him to dinner tonight, along with his wife."

"Okay," I said. I had no idea where this was going.

"His wife is Alice," Edward said angrily.

"Alice? What? When did she get married?" I was stunned.

"A month ago, I believe. We weren't there, but she did call us," Esme said. Sadness was apparent in her face. "Anyway, they should be arrive in about an hour."

"You don't have to do this, Bella," Edward said. "We can leave if you want."

"It's alright. I can handle one night. But so help me, if she says one thing -"

"We understand, Bella. Thank you for doing this," Carlisle said.

"Sure."

Carlisle handed McKayla to Edward and left the room with Esme. I could tell they were both relieved that I agreed to stay with Alice coming over, but I knew they missed their daughter. I knew Edward was missing his sister as well, but was still angry with her.

"Are you sure you can handle this?" Edward asked.

"I'll be fine. Just don't leave me alone with her," I said as I placed McKenzie on my shoulder to burp her.

"We can go, you know. We don't need to stay."

"Yes I know, but Emmett, Rose and Jasper are here. We hardly get to see them anymore since they're all are in Seattle."

"We can see them tomorrow," Edward said. I could tell he was uncomfortable with the entire situation. "Really Bella, I don't want her to make you upset."

"Calm down. Things will be fine. Maybe now that she's married, she's gained perspective and has changed."

"Doubtful."

"I promise I'll tell you the minute she makes me uncomfortable. If she does, we can go."

"Alright," Edward said with a sigh.

"Edward, what's wrong? I can tell you're keeping something from me."

"I'm just afraid," he said. His voice was shaky, like he was on the verge of losing it but was holding it in. "I'm afraid that she'll try something with the girls. I'm afraid she'll say something or do something again. But most of all, I'm...I'm afraid I'll take one look at her and see her as my sister and want to forgive her for what she's done. But I can't. As much as I miss my sister, I can't put my guard down."

"If you want to leave, we can leave. I don't want you to suffer like this, Edward."

"And as much as I don't want to see her, I do. I want to see who she's supposedly married to."

"Then tell me what you want to do, Edward. I think we should stay, but if you can't handle it, we'll leave. I can always see Rose tomorrow when we go shopping."

He was quiet for a few minutes. He looked at me, then at the twins before letting out a hard sigh and running a hand over his face. "Lets stay, then. Maybe you're right. Maybe she did change. Maybe this man she's married to has had a positive effect on her."

"For everyone's sake, let's hope so."

About a half hour later, everyone was in the living room. Word of Alice's pending arrival had made everyone on edge. Rosalie was pacing behind the loveseat where Emmett and Jasper were sitting. Jasper's leg was bouncing in anxiety. I was curious how the two of them would act around each other. I wondered if Jasper knew Alice was married and what he thought about that. Jasper had loved Alice with everything he had at one point. I had to believe those feelings still lurked inside him.

"Are you sure you want to do this, Bella?" Charlie asked after the doorbell rang.

"I'm fine."

Carlisle and Esme returned with Alice and an older-looking male. He had older than Charlie, Carlisle and Billy, as his head was full of gray hair. He was dressed in khakis and a blue polo shirt. Alice had black pants, black heals and a blue silk shirt on. In one hand she clutched an over-sized designer purse, and I wasn't sure if it was the real thing or a knock off. In the other hand, she had a large pink gift bag. Edward placed a hand on my shoulder and stiffened when he saw her.

"Hello everyone," she said.

"Alice," Emmett said politely.

"The house looks beautiful as usual, Mom."

"Thank you, dear. Why don't you introduce everyone."

"Everyone, this is my husband, Doctor Gabriel Pena."

"Alice has told me so much about all of you. It's nice to finally put faces to the names," Gabriel said.

"Gabriel and I met shortly after I left Forks," Alice said during dinner. "It was love at first sight."

"It really was," Gabriel said. "I've never met anyone like her."

"What area of medicine do you practice?" Edward asked dryly.

"I'm in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Alice tells me you're in medicine, too."

"Yes," Edward replied coldly. I took note that he didn't elaborate in his response.

"And what is it that you do?" Gabriel asked me.

"I'm a cake decorator at the local bakery."

"Have you started back since having the twins?" Alice asked.

"Yes."

"So where exactly are you living?" Edward asked again.

"We just bought a house on Conner Street," Gabriel said. "Alice has been busy looking for furniture and everything to fill it." I quietly groaned when I realized the house she was talking about was only a few blocks away from ours.

"I think in inherited my mother's love of decorating," Alice said.

After dinner was done, I was in the garage grabbing a beer for Dad and Billy, since Esme refused to keep them in the kitchen. As I bent over to grab a couple of cans, I felt someone behind me.

"Edward, I know we were given the okay to be intimate, but really, now's not the time." I grabbed the beers, closed the door of the refrigerator and turned around. "Oh, Dr. Pena, I'm sorry. I thought you were my husband."

"It's quite alright. Alice tells me you two used to be best friends."

"Yes. We haven't spoken in quite some time, though."

"Why is that?" he asked. I noticed his eyes began to roam my body.

"It's complicated."

"That's a shame. She misses you."

"I seriously doubt that. If you'll excuse me, I need to get back to my family," I said. I was uncomfortable with how close he was.

"Of course. Just one thing," he said. He leaned in close, putting his mouth close to my ear. "I know who you really are."

A/N: eep! runs and hides