Here's another update. I'm just so awed by last chapter's response, thank you all so much! Please, read the note at the end of this chapter.
Disclaimers: All the base belongs to S. Meyer ©
Huge 'thank you' to my beta, Subtlynice! ღ
& special thanks to eyelubtwlight for her help with this chapter.
¤ You Came Too Early ¤
Chapter 4- Doing what's right
Taking a two week vacations hadn't been as simple as I first imagined. But there was no way I was going to stay in Seattle on my own when Juliet was hurt. I knew Edward tried to tell me she was fine, and that it was just an isolated accident, but I wanted to see her, badly. Besides, the mother in me wanted to go and judge that woman, Tanya, to be sure she was apt at baby-sitting my daughters! I still wondered what was Edward thinking when he left them with her. Did he really know her well enough for that?
I couldn't take the first flight in the morning for LAX, since my editor-in-chief made me come to the office. I had to assist at at least one last reunion. Then she gave me two new manuscipts that I would have to summarize for her during my time in L.A. I didn't mind, with a wi-fi and my laptop, I was limitless.
I was packing my bags when I thought about calling someone to let them know I was leaving the State and to come and take care of my plants.
"Hello?" A voice I recongized as soon, answered.
"Hey Jake, it's Bella."
"Hi, Bells! How are you, girl?" Jake, as usual, was his happy-self. Behind, I could hear a baby wailing.
"I'm good, what about you? Is that Emily I hear?"
"Yup. Leah and Sam just left, I'm on baby-sitting duties."
I couldn't help but smile. Emily was my six-month-old niece, and as it had been with my own daughters, Jake and Seth were totally wrapped around her little fingers. They were truly great uncles. "Is Seth with you?"
"Yup, here; he's waiting beside me." He passed the phone so fast I didn't have time to say goodbye.
"What's up, Belly-Boo! Getting bored without your kids? Of course you can come spend the day here with us."
I had to smile. "Aww, thank you, but no. I'm leaving for Los Angeles this afternoon."
"Huh? Why is that?" I knew that was going to confuse my family. Since Edward left, I barely talked of him, or went to see him. I used to fly the girls over there for the summers and come back in the same day. Now that they were older I didn't even bother, letting the flight attendants take care of them. Sometimes Edward came to Seattle to visit his daughters and Esme and Carlisle, but even then we barely saw each other as he came to take the girls and then left for his parents' house. So for me to fly all the way to L.A.—"Wait! What happened?"
I knew Seth would be the first to get it; to understand that something critical must have happened for me to suddenly decide to go to him.
Beside my own marriage, the one relationship that took the whole divorce thing the hardest was Seth and Edward's. I didn't even know if they still talked at all. I knew for a fact that if it could be avoided, Seth didn't like to mention his lost friendship.
He had it easier than me though. Since Edward was always going to be the father of my children, I couldn't just cut all ties I had with him. We had one of those formal, yet civilized relationships ex-husbands and wives often have. He took to calling me 'Isabella' again once we divorced. He only did that at first, then when he was either angry at me or in those moments of passion we shared. I liked that last one, it made me feel special, cherished, a woman. He had this way of pronouncing my name...
"Where did you go?" Seth laughed at my absence, yet he sounded worried. "I was asking you what the hell happened. Are the munchkins okay?"
"Yeah, yeah. No: Juliet broke her wrist. It's nothing major, but you know me; I want to go to her. I asked two weeks off and Edward's picking me up at the airport tonight."
"So you're really going? Two weeks, you said? Are you staying at a hotel?"
"I meant to, but then Edward told me he had enough rooms. Beside I'll be closer to the girls, so it's okay."
"Wow," chuckled my brother. "You're really going to live two weeks with your ex-husband after 5 years of cold shoulder? I would like to be a fly on the wall to see that."
"Shut up!" I argued. "Some things are more important that my own feelings – or Edward's for that matter. I have to be with my daughter. She's never hurt herself that bad before, or even gone to the hospital. She must have been frightened, and I wasn't even with her." I felt incredible guilty about that fact.
"I suppose." I could hear by his tone that right now, Seth was more worried about me than Juliet. "Just... be careful, okay? Don't get hurt."
Knowing Bella was pregnant had been a shock. Realising I was to become a father was literally frightening.
I couldn't believe it. It was the second week of the winter semester, and I already had two essays to write and one presentation to do before the end of the month. That was without mentioning the thesis we had to plan for the end of the year.
It was only my second year of UW in the pre-Law program and I already wanted to give up. I couldn't even remember why I had chosen this program. It's not like becoming a lawyer has been my goal in life. I think I just didn't know what I wanted to do and entering Law school seemed like a nice challenge at the time.
Now, it seemed like my whole life was turned upside down, priorities changing and all.
Giving up on the research of my subject for the first essays, I closed my books and looked at my roommate. I had barely seen Seth since our return from Christmas vacations. I knew for a fact that Isabella – Bella – was suppose to tell her family about the baby. I wondered how that had turned out. I had meant to ask Seth when he returned, but it never seemed like the right moment.
Right now, he was laying down on his bed, a Surf magazine in hands, a bag of M&M's on his side, and a beer on the bedside table.
"Hey, what are you reading?"
Seth dropped his magazine and smiled at me, showing his bright white teeth. "We're planning a surfing trip to San Fransisco during the next spring break! You wanna come, man?"
I stayed surprised. Seth had been talking about showing me how to surf for months now, but we had never find the time. I knew for a fact it was a lifestyle for him and his friends back at La Push, and I really wanted to try as well.
"Really? I mean, I would love to! Who are you going with? Would they mind me?"
"Nah!" Seth's smile never dropped. "It just gonna be Jake, Sam – my sister's boyfriend – Jared, Paul... a few others guys. We would love to have you, newbie! Sam's the best to teach."
Now that really sounded awesome. We would have to talk more about it so we could plan it all, but right now I had other kind of questions. Feeling a bit stressed out, I went to my piano and randomly started a song. That was also something I loved about Seth, who unlike my former roommate, didn't mind my music.
"Say, I was wondering, Seth. How did it go... you know... with Bella and your family?"
"I thought you would never ask." Seth replied, and when I looked at him over my shoulder, I could see he had lost his smile.
"That bad, huh?"
He chuckled. "Not really... it was almost funny, actually." Now that got my attention. "I meant to ask you, by the way, have you told Bella about Jake and I?"
I stopped playing and rolled my bench around to face him.
"Maybe." He raised an eyebrow at my vague answer. "I did mention a boyfriend. I didn't tell her who it was." Seth laughed, surprising me. "Why?"
"I wish you had been there, it was priceless." Seth said, while he changed position so we could really talk. "Bella was looking so afraid, I was sure she was going to throw up into her food. I just wanted to help, so I started for her: 'Mom, Charlie' I said, 'I think Bella wants to announce something'."
"You didn't!" I felt bad for Bella. She must have had felt so small. Seth didn't know how nervous she really was. Not the way I did. It was I who saw her faint just telling my parents. Imagine telling hers.
"Oh, I did." Seth said. "And she kicked me under the table. I saw she wasn't going to talk, so I went for her. 'Bella's pregnant! Congrats, grand'pa!' I said."
"Oh, gosh!" I said. Bella must have been so mortified.
"Don't worry, the girl knows how to defend herself! I had barely finished my sentence when she exclaimed 'And Seth's gay!'. You should have seen the parents' faces, trying to register all the information thrown at them."
I shook my head. "That must have been awful."
Seth shrugged. "It was kind of funny actually. Anyway, I'm glad they know, now."
"How did they react? After the shock, I mean."
"Well, Bella left the table before either could say a word. Charlie went to her bedroom and didn't leave until dawn. I guess they talked. I mostly stayed with my mom and my sister. Leah even admitted she knew it all along – about me, I mean."
"So... everything's good for you?" I had to ask; I felt bad about telling Bella and the way she forced him to come out.
"Yeah. It's good."
Seth shrugged again. "She seemed fine the next morning. I saw her talking to my mom, but we didn't really talk about it all again, her and me."
"Okay, but was there—"
A knock on the door cut me off. Seth was the first to move, jumping to his feet and opening the door. "Hey! Speaking of the devil," he sang before engulfing the person on our doorstep in a hug.
Bella squealed, trying to kick her brother away from her. Seth just laughed and scruffled her long dark hair. While they were fighting, Bella's shirt pulled up and I got a view of her growing belly. Every inclination to laugh left me then.
I made so many mistakes that night. Getting drunk, sleeping with Bella, not using protection. I acted like such a douche, not even realising Bella was still a virgin. I mean, we both had our wrongs, but part of me knew I was always going to feel guilty for the way I acted. I'm not a bad person, really, but it had been a while since the last time I went to a party, and longer still since I last had sex. I'm not one of those guys who prefers one-night stands over a relationship; I never even had one before. But that night, Bella was right there at the wrong time, beautiful and willing.
"Let go of me! Seth!" Bella shrieked. When he did, she pushed him away once more. "Gosh, I hate you!"
"No, you don't."
Bella pulled on her shirt and turned to face me. "Hi."
"Hi," I replied awkwardly. Seth made a face behind Bella's back and it made me smile. Just like that, Bella seemed to relax.
"Can I talk to you?" She turned to Seth, "privately."
"Sure," I said as I stood up, but Seth stopped me.
"Nevermind me, I'm leaving." He kissed his sister on the forehand and left, closing the door behind him. Bella looked around nervously. We were both standing up, face to face, no one talking. After a moment, I gestured to Bella to sit on Seth's bed, and I sat on my own.
"You wanted to talk to me?"
She bit her lips. "Yeah. I was wondering if... I have an appointment next week. The ultrasound? My Ob/Gyn told me we could possibly see the sex of the baby, if we wanted to know. I was wondering if you would like to come with me?"
I could tell that this took a lot of nerve for her to ask. Just like when I asked her to come with me to meet my parents. And as with her, only one answer was possible here: "Sure, Bella. I'll come."
She let out a breath I hadn't noticed she was holding. "Yeah?"
"Of course." Then, she smiled that gorgeous smile that made my legs go weak. She truly was beautiful.
What Bella hadn't told me was that her father would be with her that day.
We met in front of the clinic and Bella barely whispered a presentation before going in. Charlie Swan wasn't an imposing man; 5'8 – 5'9 maybe – with a funny moustache, but his dark brown eyes had a way of looking at you that make you feel small. Or maybe that was just me. I shook his hand when he offered his, but he didn't let go of mine for a long time, crushing my fingers. I swear I almost peed my pants in front of his gaze. Bella had to come back to get me.
"Dad, let him go. I'm already late!"
Charlie didn't come with us to the appointment. I wish I wasn't there either, as the Ob/Gyn was asking very personal questions and all. She didn't see me at first; I stayed where the desk and chairs were while she examined Bella further in the medical room.
That took barely a few minutes before she concluded that everything was in order. She was going to warn the technician to prepare the ultrasound when she finally saw me.
"Is this the father?" She asked Bella with a smile and genuine curiosity.
"Yes," replied Bella as she pulled up her jeans. "This is Edward. Edward, this is Dr. Siobhan Gallagher. She's Irish."
I smiled at Bella's clarification; it was obvious from her accent. I shook her hand.
"Why, yes!" smiled Dr. Gallagher. "You're Carlisle's boy, aren't you? I went to school with your father, honey. Such a good man." Then she looked at Bella. "If the son is anything like his father, you are in good hands, sweetheart."
Bella blushed as the Ob/Gyn left us. I walked toward Bella, smiling. I hadn't realised how little I knew about her pregnancy and the baby as a whole.
"So, everything's normal, then?"
Bella nodded. "It is."
"I'm glad." I was now in front of her and taken by some impulse, I took her hand. Bella looked a long time at our interwined fingers before she raised her gaze and smiled at me.
The door suddenly opened and a young, timid girl excused herself for making us jump.
"Isabella Swan? The ultrasound is ready. If you would follow me."
I helped Bella to jump down the bench and we followed the girl. Her name was Maggie and she was the technician. She had Bella lay down on another bench in another room where the equipment were more technologic than medical. Bella pulled up her shirt at Maggie's request and the technician put some cold gel on her belly while telling us where to look at the screen.
It took some moment for us to realise what we were seeing. At first it was only some white fuzz on a black background, then Bella was the first to spot a beating heart. From there, it all took form. The spinal column, the head with the small nose. The hands – Bella tried to count the fingers – the little legs and feet.
I was amazed. There, on the screen in front of me, was my baby. I had never realised what it all meant. For the first time since I had broken down in my mother arms, I understood what she meant; that everything was going to be okay, that everything would work out in the end. It had to, for there was nothing wrong about this little miracle.
I was having a moment here, when Maggie's voice interrupted my thoughts. "You guys wanna know what you're having?"
For the first time since the image had appeared, I took my eyes off the screen and looked at Bella. She was half smiling, half crying, and she had never looked more beautiful.
"What do you say, love?"
Bella looked at me. "Yes?"
"Yes." I confirmed.
A girl. We were having a baby girl. I didn't know if I wanted to laugh or cry. I think I did both.
Later that day, we were having lunch with Charlie when Bella showed him the ultrasound pictures.
"It's a girl." Bella said.
Charlie looked at the photo with emotion. "Is it, now?" He asked, looking at me with a small smirk. We both knew what he meant with that gaze. From a father to another, I understood; Karma is a bitch.
I couldn't sleep at all that night. All I could think about was my baby girl and her mother. I remembered Charlie Swan's eyes on me, judging me, sizing me up, wondering if I was good enough for his daughter, if I had what it takes to raise a kid.
I remembered my own father's words at Christmas, about doing what they could to help me help them. My parents had proposed to support Bella and I, financially at the very least, if we were to stay together; They would get us an appartment, baby-sit their grand-daughter as often as needed, allowing Bella and I to continue our degrees. Bella wouldn't have to miss a year of school or get a half-time job. Neither would I.
When I told Charlie about that, he looked stunned yet pleased. Bella, on the other hand, just looked at me like she was scared of something.
I was scared too. This was too much, too fast, yet I wanted to do what was best for them. And I wanted to do it right. So the next morning I went and bought that famous single diamond ring.
To be continued...
I want to apologize about the possibility of future delays, as I'm gonna slow down the posting a bit; instead of one chapter per week, you might have to wait a good week and a half, or even two, between each update. This way, it allows my awesome beta time to not rush through beta'ing those awful 'French induced first jets' while she's taking her university exams.