A/N: Welcome to the last regular chapter of At Last! Since you guys have read this far, I'm sure you know a few things about this story:
- I don't own Twilight
- I don't condone unprotected sex with strangers
- This isn't an autobiography by any means (even though it would've been way fucking awesome to scream out that "one night stands are the devil" while in a birthing suite)
- This story wouldn't exist if it weren't for the support that Detochkina gave me. She's the best woman EVER, and this chapter is here because of her. True story.
- MizzezPattinson (author of "Starting Over", which you're reading, RIGHT?) and Coldplaywhore are the best pre-readers out there.
- I write annoyingly long a/ns, which I promise to cut off right … about … NOW.
Chapter Eighteen - Being A Mom Is A Glamorous Job. Anything With Vomit Can Be Classified As "Glamorous," Right?
* Maggie, two weeks old *
"Edward! Can you please come to the nursery?"
I heard the pad of footsteps as Edward ran up the stairs to Maggie's room.
"What's up, babe?" he asked, red faced from running and glorious.
He was the best.
Edward had been the most attentive new father ever. He'd made sure that the transition from the hospital to our home was as easy as possible for all of us.
Our home. It truly was our home, too. After my years of fucking around and being a "single-and-not-looking" woman, I somehow stumbled across the best thing that could ever happen to me, and now we were sharing a home.
… And taking turns changing our daughter's diapers. And, since I decided to breastfeed and Edward couldn't help in that endeavor, he'd sit next to me and make sure I was comfortable as possible, even during our one am feedings. And giving our newborn gas relief drops, because she couldn't pass gas on her own without a little help.
God, I loved him so much.
I couldn't help but smile at the sight of him. "Can you look at her belly button? I think it's ready to come off, and I want to give her a bath."
He returned my smile and bumped my shoulder with his own. "Let the thing fall off on its own, why don't you?"
"It's almost there. Hangin on by a thread. An icky skin thread. Take it off. Please, Edward?"
"Now, I ain't no pediatrician, but I'm pretty sure that you're supposed to leave this alone. But since you're so cute and determined," he pinched my cheeks, "and I'm pretty sure you'd try to rub it off anyway, I'll see if I can help out."
He knew me so well.
With a quick move of his fingers, Maggie was freed of her extra belly button skin.
"Yes! Magpie, let's get you in the bath now! Aren't you super duper excited?"
She grunted. I took it as her agreeing with me.
"Bella, darling? She might hate taking her first bath."
"But why? She loves getting her sponge baths."
"It's something new. Not everyone thinks 'new' is exciting."
"Why? She likes the water so far. I know she does." I put Maggie's clothes back on her and placed her in her crib, positioning her right in front of a mirror that was safely hung so she'd be able to look at herself and keep herself occupied for a few moments. My darling baby liked to look at her reflection so much, she was bordering on vain at the tender age of two weeks.
"I just wanted to warn you, babe. Sometimes babies freak out when they're submersed in water for the first time."
I crossed my arms over my chest. "Yeah, well, maybe that's not our daughter? Maybe she likes 'new'. Maybe she thrives on it."
Edward raised an eyebrow in confusion. "Uh … what are you even talking about? Maggie's a newborn. She doesn't know what 'like' means."
"I don't know what I'm saying, Edward. Ignore me. I'm so hormonal still, stupid breastfeeding hormones are really screwing with my body."
"Are you sure? It seems like there's something else there that's bothering you."
"Really, it's nothing. I'm just going crazy. Must be sleep deprivation."
And the idea that my mom won't shut up about the fact that Edward hasn't proposed to me yet.
It wasn't that he hadn't proposed, I mean, I didn't want him to. Really, it was too early. We hadn't even known each other for a year yet!
But we had a kid together, and we were living together. He really hadn't mentioned anything about our future, and it was starting to get under my skin.
Did he not want to buy the cow since the milk was free? I mean, that wasn't the case, right? It wasn't the fucking 1950's anymore. But what if he didn't want a forever with me?
No, that wasn't possible. He couldn't have had second thoughts; he'd been so devoted, so wonderful.
So perfect. Everything I'd ever wanted …
… In a husband.
The way I was thinking was giving me mental whiplash. Not to mention post-pregnancy hormones weren't doing me any favors. I was one humane society dog commercial away from having a mental breakdown, complete with a river of tears and a torrent of snot that always accompanied the tears.
Poor Maggie. Has to grow up with a nut case of a mom. Kinda like I did.
Shit. I'm Renee. I'm totally my mother.
"Bella, baby. Are you sure it's sleep deprivation? I feel like you aren't telling me everything. You went from being giddy one minute to looking like you're gonna cry the next. What's wrong?"
I straightened up and plastered a fake smile on my face. "It isn't postpartum depression or anything. Just thinking about stupid stuff."
"Wanna talk about it?"
I melted. For the bazillionth time, Edward made me completely melt with just a few innocent words. "Don't worry about it. Seriously. Just an overactive mind and not enough sleep. Honestly."
"Okay. Well, I'm here if you need anything. You know that, right?"
And I did. I knew, deep within my bones, that Edward would always be there for me, even if he wasn't my husband. I didn't need a husband … I had the man of my dreams and our love child. Life was perfect in my own little way.
That was what I kept telling myself.
* Maggie, six weeks old *
"Babe, my mom will be here in fifteen minutes. I don't care that you're taking your time getting ready, I just want to make sure that you know not to be running around the house naked if you hear the doorbell ring, okay?"
I rolled my eyes, even though Edward couldn't see me, and continued riffling through my closet. "Thank you, captain obvious. I was totally gonna answer the door in my birthday suit. What's wrong with that?"
"You're such a smartass." He walked up behind me and placed a kiss behind my ear. "I love you."
"I love you, too." I turned to face him to see what he was wearing for our date night. Dressed in a black button up and dark jeans that fit him juuuuust right, he looked amazing.
Even if there were remnants of baby puke on his shirt. It made him that much more perfect.
Before we were able to say anything more, Maggie's cries filtered through the baby monitor I'd kept on the night stand.
"I've got her, babe. Just focus on getting some clothes on before my mom sees you in all your glory." Edward made his way to Maggie's room, chuckling the whole way.
"Hey!" I yelled after him. "She traveled all the way here from New York. Showing her my hot bod is the least I could do for her, don't you think?"
I finally found the shirt that I was going to wear out when I heard Edward's soft voice over the baby monitor. He must've forgotten that the monitor was still on in the bedroom.
"Wish me luck tonight, Magpie. Hopefully I don't need it, right? I mean, it's not like she doesn't know that I love her. Tonight should be a breeze."
Tonight? I thought. What the hell is happening tonight?
His voice crackled over the monitor again, breaking my train of thought. "Oh my God, Maggie. Did you shit yourself?"
I giggled as I pushed the shirt I was holding over my head. I walked closer to the baby monitor to see if Edward was going to say anything else.
I was not disappointed.
"You did! Oh my God, how does someone so small make such a stinky poop? Christ, you only drink breastmilk. Your poop isn't supposed to smell!"
Maggie cooed, Edward scoffed. "Yeah, yeah. You don't need to kiss my ass because I'm wiping yours. Don't worry, I'll do a good job. I'm a trained medical professional and all."
I could hear the rustling of Edward as he got Maggie into a new diaper. He was talking himself through the steps, and it was adorable.
Before he was able to fasten a new diaper into place, he let out a yelp. "Seriously? Seriously, Maggie? You just peed all over the changing table!"
I muffled my laugh into my arm and threw a pair of pants on. Just then, I heard the doorbell ring.
"Bella!" Edward yelled from the nursery. "Can you please go get that? Margaret just peed all over the place, and I'm up to my elbows in urine. And make sure to put clothes on!"
I walked over to the bedside table and shut the baby monitor off, considering my eavesdropping time was over.
"You'd think that you'd be okay with dealing with our daughter considering you were a vagina doctor," I called out as I walked to our door to let Elizabeth in.
I opened the door, and before I was able to greet Edward's mother, Edward yelled at me from Maggie's room.
"You're such a smartass, Bella!"
Elizabeth frowned at his choice of language, and I had to stifle another laugh. "I'm sorry, Elizabeth. Maggie peed all over when Edward was changing her, and I was giving him a hard time."
"It's okay, dear," she said, patting my arm. "You guys have a little while before she starts repeating your swear words."
Our date was amazing. Edward took me to a high class Italian place for dinner, and I enjoyed myself quite a bit.
You know, because I was celebrating the idea of "when in Rome", I helped myself to a glass too many of wine.
For some reason, Edward looked disappointed when I passed the precipice of buzzed and headed into tipsy territory.
I tried to reason with myself that he wasn't familiar with me having a few drinks, but I wasn't quite sure.
What if he doesn't like me drinking?
He looked downright fidgety, and it was starting to get to me. "What's wrong, Edward?"
"Nothing. Why? Why do you think something's wrong?"
See? Fidgety. "Oh, no reason. 'Cept you seem like you're gonna crawl outta your skin."
"No, uhm. I'm just, uh, thinking about Maggie. And hoping that she, uh, isn't giving my mom a hard time right now."
I took another sip of my wine. "It's okay, honey. Your mom is the most able-bodied babysitter. That's why you insisted on having her fly into town to watch her."
"Actually, my dad is flying in tomorrow, too. They're looking at buying a house here and re-locating from New York. So my mom didn't fly in just to watch her only grandchild."
"Why? I thought they loved New York."
He reached out and grabbed my hand, which was on my lap. "They do. They just love their family more."
"I don't blame them. I'd miss you and Maggie, too. I don't ever want to be apart from either of you."
I blinked, stunned that I'd just admitted that out loud. Normally I try to keep those random things to myself, but obviously the liquor was making my verbal filter loose. Edward seemed to be as surprised as I was.
"You'll never have to worry about that, baby. Except, well, when Maggie grows up. She might want to move out of state to go to college and what-not. Or hell, maybe she'll meet her soul mate at a wedding and want to move across the country for them."
I squeezed Edward's hand, let go of it, and reached for my wine glass. "Okay, now you're being cheesy. Soul mate? First fidgety, now cheese. Are you sure you're okay?"
He gave me a timid smile. "Yeah, I am." He rubbed the back of his neck. "I'm okay."
Another timid smile. "You wanna get out of here?"
I looked at my nearly empty wine glass and decided not to finish it. "Sure."
Edward paid the bill, helped me into my jacket, and lead me out of the restaurant. Something was still off with him, but I decided to drop it. If Edward said he was fine, then he was fine.
We got into his car and started the drive to where I assumed was home.
I was wrong. When we missed the road that we would've turned down to get home, I became suspicious.
"Where are we going?"
He reached his hand across the center council and grabbed my own before squeezing.
He was nervous. Super nervous. His hand was sweating, which made me nervous. Why the hell would he be so nervous?
"It's a surprise."
I swallowed thickly, my hands now sweating, too.
"Why won't you tell me, Edward? Are you bringing me somewhere to kill me?"
"Wh- what? Are you nuts?"
"No, but you're scaring the shit out of me."
"I'm sorry that I'm not being very forthcoming with details, but I wanted to make sure that I got tonight right."
"Are you going to break up with me?"
Even in the darkness of the car, I could tell that he was glaring at me. "You can't honestly think that, can you?"
"Uhm … ?"
"What happened to the self-assured girl I fell in love with?"
"She's overrun with hormones. And very embarrassed right now, because of all the stupid shit that's coming out of her mouth."
"She should be embarrassed. Really, Bella? You think that I could break up with you? And don't think that I could forget that you asked me if I was gonna kill you. I mean, seriously."
"Fuck, I don't know! You're so nervous tonight, and you won't tell me why. You're freaking me out, and I'm coming up with the worst conclusions right now."
"Just chill. We have a few minutes until we arrive at our destination. Here, I'll put some music on. Focus on that, okay?"
He plugged his iPhone into his car jack and the first notes of my favorite song filtered through the speakers. I felt myself relax, sighing as I made myself comfortable in the seat next to my beautiful boyfriend.
It wasn't long before Edward pulled up to a building that looked vaguely familiar and parked his car in the attached parking lot. He got out and ran around the front of the vehicle before opening up my door for me. Once he had my hand in his own, he walked us to the trunk and opened it, pulling out a black travel bag.
"Edward, what …?"
"Give me a few more minutes, okay? You don't have to wait much longer until you get answers. Oh, and before you ask? My mom knows where we are and knows that she's going to be staying with Maggie tonight. Don't worry, I packed your pump. And we'll get home as soon as we can tomorrow morning."
He steered me towards the front door of the building that was obviously our destination. Once we entered the grand foyer, I knew where we were.
No, not just any hotel.
The hotel where we conceived our daughter.
"Stay right here, babe. I'll be right back." Edward ushered me over to one of the couches in the entrance of the hotel, and I stayed there until Edward grabbed what I assumed to be our room key.
"Edward, where … ?"
"Shhh, babe. Just a little longer, okay? I have a plan, and I want to stick to it." A nervous smile stretched across his face, but his eyes were glowing.
He was up to no good, that was for sure.
We got into the elevator and I followed Edward to what I assumed was our room for the night. He fumbled with the key before successfully swiping it into the door. He led me into the room and left me standing in the middle of the room before turning the lights on.
Suddenly, I realized what we were doing at that hotel, in that room.
Rose petals - much like the ones from my bridesmaids bouquet from Alice's wedding - littered the floor. He must've paid someone to scatter them all over for him.
"I know it's cheesy, and I know you'll razz me about it forever, but I swear I fell in love with you the day I met you. And I started the first day of the rest of my life in this very room."
"This is the room, isn't it? The one where we drunkenly made love and you left me with your number and your best friend to pick up your one-night-stand pieces."
"Hey, I don't think that's a very fair description of the day after…"
I rolled my eyes and jokingly punched his shoulder. "Mmmhmm, suuuure."
"Okay, so maybe it was." Edward shoved his hands into his pockets. He was obviously still ridiculously nervous. "I love you so much, Bella."
"I love you too, Edward. And I guess this is a nice trip down memory lane… "
"It's more than just that, babe. I just … I wanted to come back here. Make things right, when the last time we were here didn't end the way it should've."
"Hey, I like the last time we were here. And I'd bet that Maggie would agree with me."
"I don't mean what we did the night of Jasper and Alice's wedding. I mean that I regret that I left the way I did."
"You had to work the next day. I couldn't blame you for that. Besides, you have me now. And we all know that I'm quite the catch," I joked.
"You are quite the catch. And I don't ever want to let you go."
Edward took a shaky breath before taking his hands out of his pockets. Except now, in his right hand, he was holding a black velvet box.
What the fuck.
He dropped to one knee.
What the fucking fuck.
"Baby, I love you."
Ohmigod, is this happening?
"You're my world. You and my daughter, you are the best parts of my life."
This is happening.
"Forever. I want you mine forever."
And he's going the cliche route. Okay, I guess we can go with this.
"God, I want to make us a family. I mean, yeah, I already consider you my family." He rubbed the back of his neck so hard that a red mark was forming on the sides of his neck. "But I want you as my wife. Calling you my girlfriend - that isn't enough anymore. You're more to me than that, and I want everyone in the world to know that."
I pursed my lips in amusement. I was pretty positive that he'd overthought all of this, and couldn't decide on which route to go with his proposal, so he was heading down all of them, meshing them into one crazy proposal. I couldn't really blame him, right? He was a doctor, not an author. Really, I should have written his proposal for him.
Deciding to put him out of his misery, I leaned forward and started massaging the back of his red and abused neck.
"So what you're saying is that you 'had a fucking fantastic time' and you want to do it again?" I teased, referencing the ridiculous note he'd left me the day after our first encounter.
He smiled in understanding. "I'm saying that I want to do it forever. Bella, baby, will you marry me?"
He opened the black velvet box, and I was met with the ring that I'd jokingly picked out with Rosalie a few years back, after her divorce was final, insisting that it be the ring that she use to propose to me so we didn't end up old biddies alone in the world. It was still the most breathtaking piece of jewelry I'd ever laid eyes on.
I looked at Edward, the father to my daughter, the love of my life. I couldn't help but smile.
"God yes, I'll marry you."
With shaking hands, he slipped the ring onto my finger. It all made sense now, he was nervous all day long about proposing to me.
As if I'd say no. Sure, we hadn't been together for very long, but it didn't matter.
When you know, you know.
At last, I'd found the man of my dreams. God, I'd turned into a slice of cheese myself.
I smiled as I admired the ring on my finger, only briefly wondering about how many times Maggie would get it dirty for me, before another thought filtered through my mind.
"Can we not be blackout drunk the next time we conceive a child? I want to remember."
God, I'm so emotional right now! AHHH!
You wanna know a secret though? Yes, the next chapter is the epilogue … but I'm not done with the story yet. I can't be! These characters are far too fun to play with to let them go already.
So, if you wanna, keep the story on alert after the epi. I'm gonna post some futuretakes, because even after the epilogue, I feel like there are some fun moments that these characters have in their future that would be a shame not to share with you guys. And if you don't want to read any futuretakes, take the story off alert after the next chapter. I'm trying to make sure that the story stands just fine with the epilogue as the ending (because that's the way I'd pictured it in my mind as ending on day one).
Also, my hero (Detochkina) and I have been developing a new story. If you're interested in reading it, keep me (and Detochkina!) on alert.
Reviews are ALWAYS appreciated, and I'm so sorry if I don't get back to you. I have the best readers ever, don't think I don't know that!
THANK YOU FOR STICKING WITH THIS STORY! I'm so very humbled to have so many AMAZINGLY WONDERFUL people reading my story!