Here's the EPOV outtake I wrote for Stories for Animals. Enjoy!
I was sat in my studio sketching random shit when my phone buzzed beside me. Can you come to the apartment? – B
Yea, I can. All okay? – E x
I'll explain when you get here but it's nothing bad. I promise – B
I quickly text her back saying I was on my way, thankful I didn't have any clients this morning. As I walked out Rose was sat in her usual place looking bored. I rolled my eyes as she flicked a page in the magazine. When she saw me heading out she smiled. "Grab me a latte?"
I shook my head. "I'm not going to Starbucks. I'm going to see Bella."
"Oh. Her again?"
I shook my head. "Rose, Bella's the mother of the child that I'm trying so hard to be around for, and I'm hoping one day Bella and I will be together so get your shit together, yea?"
She shrugged. "I don't like her."
"No, you don't trust her, that's the difference, but if you got to know her you would."
"It's not just that."
"What else is it?"
"Don't push me, Edward. You know I don't like it."
I held my hands up, I didn't have time for this right now. "I need to go, I'm not pushing you, I, of all people, understand you but it's going too far."
I didn't wait for her reply as I pushed the door open.
As I made my way to Bella's I couldn't help but wonder what she wanted. I didn't want to think it was anything bad and I knew I'd done nothing that would antagonise our situation but I was still scared. Never before had someone been able to scare me like Bella. First with the feelings I had for her and now because of the fact she held everything I now wanted to live for in the palm of her hands, ready to take it away if I stepped one foot out of line. Which is why I was trying my damnedest to change, I wanted her and Livvy in my life.
I reached her block and buzzed. A couple seconds passed, something that never happened and I instantly worried. Finally, after what felt like forever, she answered. "Hi, Bella. It's me."
"Hey, sorry I took so long. Livvy woke up as you buzzed and I had to get her, come up, I'll open the door so just come in."
As the door buzzed I pushed it open and headed in, the old lady who had let me in when I'd received those papers from Bella smiled at me. I shuddered as I thought back to the parental dissolution papers Bella had served me. I had never wanted that, deep down. Never.
Despite Bella telling me to just walk in I knocked before I did out of habit from what my grandfather had taught me. "Hey Bella."
Before I could say anything else I froze as I took in Livvy, sat on the floor beside Bella and her walker. The one I'd bought her for Christmas. I'd not seen her since she was a small baby, and the change was remarkable. She was beautiful, with brown bouncy curls for hair, and she had my green eyes but the rest of her face was an amalgamation of Bella and I. She was beautiful, as soon as I saw her I knew I loved her and would never let any harm come to her ever. She would grow up with a life far different from mine. I'd make sure of that. I couldn't take my eyes off her as Bella spoke.
"I spent the weekend with my dad, stepmom and half brother. It was great seeing them with her and it made me want you to be with her. To see her. It's been on my mind a while actually but I needed to be sure so I called Jenny and here we are."
This was not what I'd expected when I'd got that text and I immediately blinked, trying to hide the fact I could feel tears in my eyes. From the expression on Bella's face I knew I'd failed. "So, you gonna stand there or come and meet your daughter?"
I smiled and walked over to them sitting down next to me. Bella moved Livvy toward us, placing her on her lap and pointing at me. I couldn't tear my eyes from her. Nor could I believe I really had a daughter. "You see him, he's your daddy, baby girl and he's here to see you properly for the first time. He's worked hard to be here so don't give him a tough time, okay? That's Dadda, baby."
Livvy eyed me from top to bottom and slowly inched toward me, and when she was close enough she placed her hand on the knee of the ripped jeans I wore. She looked up at me, and seeing those same green eyes looking up at me felt so strange but so right.
Livvy seemed unsure of how to react to me so I did the only thing I could think of to break the ice with a baby. I poked my tongue out at her and then she laughed. It was the most adorable sound I'd ever heard and I wanted to hear it every day for the rest of my life and I would. I would work hard to be in their lives everyday.
Suddenly Livvy clambered up on my lap and tried to reach my face, her arms weren't quite long enough so I leant down and moved my face to her hand. Her small hand was warm and the tip of her finger traced the side of my lip, eventually finding my lip ring and tugging it. I winced, I'd had it for years but it still hurt when it was tugged like that. "No, baby girl. Don't do that."
Livvy's lip quivered and she was about to cry, without thinking about it I hugged her close to my body, smoothing my hand through her hair and calming her down. It just seemed so natural, like I was made to be here and have her in my arms like this. "Hey, baby girl don't cry. I don't want you to cry."
As I rocked Livvy I could sense Bella watching me but I couldn't tear myself from watching Livvy, as I rocked her I spoke into her. "I've waited a long time to meet you and I promise I'll be here for you forever, Livvy."
Slowly Livvy's tears calmed and she started to move around and play with me. I managed to catch her and began to tickle her, falling onto my back and taking her carefully with me, never relenting so I could hear that laugh of hers more. I'd never tire of it.
I loved Livvy unconditionally and that would never, ever change. The one thing I wish I could change is that I got to have this sooner.
Since I'd arrived Livvy had barely left my side, she was entranced by me and, I had to admit, I was by her too. She was currently playing in her soft play gym as Bella and I watched her and talked. "Do you want to give her the bottle she has before bed?"
I turned to Bella, freaking out internally but I shook it off and smiled. "I'd love to but you'll need to show me."
Bella smiled. "I will."
Bella stood, telling me she was going to grab Livvy's night things. As Bella moved around in her room I slid onto the floor beside Livvy who had given up on her play gym, and was staring at a soft book filled with farm animals, slowly trying to turn the pages. I slid into place behind her, placing my arms around her, taking the book back to the beginning and turned onto the first page. "That's a sheep, baby. It goes baa."
She laughed and I worked through the book with her sat with me, eventually she moved onto my lap, fully engrossed in what I was showing her.
Bella appeared in front of us with Livvy's bottle, as soon as she saw it Livvy scrambled for Bella, she sat down and changed her on her soft gym. I sat next to her, and she passed Livvy over and talked me through feeding her. Shortly after the bottle was finished Livvy snuggled against me and started to fall asleep.
Once I thought she was totally gone I looked at Bella. "Shall we put her in her crib?"
She shook her head, "I think you've more than earned a bed time cuddle with her but it'll probably be more comfy on the sofa."
Slowly Bella pried Livvy away from me, somehow managing to keep her sleeping, I settled on the sofa and she laid Livvy back down on me, as soon as she was back on my chest her body moulded to mine, her hand fisting my shirt.
As I watched Livvy I looked to Bella. I had to tell her what this meant to me. "Thank you, Bella."
She smiled and stroked Livvy's cheek. "It was time, it was more than time actually but I was scared. I forced myself to get over it and I honestly think having her around will help you."
I smiled and this time I made no effort to hide the tears in my eyes. "Thank you, Bella. She's just perfect."
"I think so too but we're her parents, we're biased."
"God, it feels great being called that. I can't tell you what hearing you tell her I'm her father made me feel. Thank you, Bella."
"You're welcome, Edward."
Livvy stirred and I repositioned her, we sat like that for a little longer until Bella stood up. "We should put her in her crib. Want to help?"
"I'm scared I'll wake her, you'd be better to do it."
Slowly Bella lifted Livvy off me, pausing to make sure she was still asleep and carried her into their room. As I waited I thought back on today and everything it had made me realise. I wanted this. I wanted them both and they meant so very much to me. I would make this work. I looked around the room noting the mess of Livvy's toys and decided to try help. A few minutes later I heard Bella's voice. "You don't have to do that, Edward."
I shrugged. "I wanted to help."
We sat down on the sofa and Bella turned to me. "Edward, I'm sorry."
I tugged my hair, she wasn't the one that needed to do that. I did. "Bella, you don't need to apologise. I need to, I will never be able to apologise enough."
Bella shook her head. "No, I need to say sorry for waiting so long. I should have let you in her life sooner and I'm sorry I didn't. I shouldn't have kept you away from her first Christmas. She deserved to have you there and I wish I had let you be there for her."
I sighed, she didn't need to do this. "Bella, I appreciate your apology but I get it and you don't have to apologise to me. Me on the other hand..."
I trailed off unable to look at Bella. Today I'd realised how much of a shit I had been to her since I'd been around, the hurt I'd unnecessarily caused. I felt Bella's hand on my face and let her turn it toward her. "No, you've apologised enough, Edward. You've proved you're willing to try and I want you in her life. You've proven to me you can do this."
I sighed and took her hand in mine. "But I haven't convinced you enough to be with me."
Bella closed her eyes; and I didn't want to think about what was on her mind but I knew it was all warranted. I deserved whatever she thought after everything I'd done. "Edward, I don't know how I want you in my life yet so let's start as friends and see where it goes, okay?"
I smiled. "Thank you."
"I have something I want to give you."
Bella stood and picked something up from the side, walking back over and handing it to me. It was a picture of Livvy and I from earlier, when I was showing her the book, we looked so happy together. "I wanted you to have a picture of you both together so I took this earlier and printed it after I put her down."
Without hesitation I hugged her not able to find any other way to put into words how I felt. "Thank you, Bella. Thank you."
I decided to leave a little later and hugged Bella to say thank you for everything, for once she didn't move away but embraced me. As I walked downstairs I realised I couldn't remember the last time I had ever felt this happy.
I hope you enjoyed this new insight into Edward's mind! I'd love to hear what you thought :)