I don't own it, wish I did.
I can't believe we're at the end! You guys are amazing, and I am overwhelmed by your love for this story and your kind words of support.
Sunflower3579 has been a lifesaver! She has caught so many of my mistakes and helped to make this story so much better. Can't imagine having a better beta!
"Come on, Bella, you gotta give me something here. Big O likes it. See? He's smiling."
Emmett turned the tiny boy in his arms toward Bella, grinning and nodding in agreement with himself. Bella couldn't help the giggle that escaped before she composed her expression into one of stern disapproval once again.
"Emmett, you are not calling my son by the same name your wife uses for orgasms. His name is Joshua, and he's not smiling, that's gas."
Joshua Alexander Cullen had quickly become accustomed to his uncle's booming voice and slept peacefully as Emmett cradled him back against his large body. Edward and Bella had brought their son home only yesterday, and their family had arrived at noon today, bringing lunch and gifts. For the last fifteen minutes, Emmett had been trying to convince Bella that her son would be angry one day that she had not named him Oscar, and being the wonderful uncle he was, he should at least be allowed to give him a nickname that began with the same letter.
Edward sat on the arm of the overstuffed chair beside his wife, and offered an alternative. "How about a compromise? If you're determined to give him a nickname, it must be a variation of his name or initials."
Glancing at Bella, Edward was relieved to see her calmly considering his offer. He turned his attention to Emmett, who was now staring at the infant as though he held the secrets of the universe.
"Alright, let's see… Josh… no, that's too easy. Hmmm…Jay, Joe…. Oh wait! His initials are perfect! J – A – C. Jack! I'll call him Jack!"
The room was silent for a moment as all eyes fell on Bella, waiting for her response. Edward was alarmed when her eyes filled with tears and she covered her mouth with her hands.
"Bella? Baby, it's not – "
Edward stopped speaking when Bella's hand shot up in front of him. She stood from the chair and faced Emmett, placing her hand on his arm as they both looked at the tiny boy in his arms.
"It's perfect, Emmett. He can be your Jack."
Emmett smiled at her in response before turning his attention to Edward. "Dude, your woman has some serious hormones going on. I'd be on my best behavior if I were you."
The room erupted in laughter as Bella's cheeks flushed a bright red. She buried her face in Edward's chest as he wrapped his arms around her and encouraged everyone to eat their lunch before it was cold.
Two hours later, the house was quiet and Bella was struggling to stay awake. She was propped up on pillows in the center of her bed, cradling her son in her arms. She glanced up as she heard Edward enter the room.
"I brought you some water and your pain medication. How are you feeling?"
"Loved. And lucky."
"Hmmm…I don't know about lucky, but you are definitely loved." Edward pressed a soft kiss to her lips before he sat gently beside her. Caressing the top of the baby's head, his eyes were filled with awe and wonder.
"I can't believe we made him. He's perfect. The life you've given me is perfect, Bella."
Bella shook her head and smiled, "I never imagined it would be like this, that I could love him so much, and love you so much more for giving him to me."
"You're a natural, B. Jack is a lucky boy."
Bella's eyes shot up to meet Edward's, "You too?"
Edward grinned at her, "Come on, you know it fits him perfectly. I never thought we'd call him by a nickname, but I think Emmett got this one right."
Bella chuckled and shook her head, shifting the baby into Edward's arms before kissing him on the cheek, "Goodnight, Jack. I love you, sweet boy."
Edward grinned triumphantly and placed little Jack in his cradle as Bella settled in for a nap. Once his arms were free, Edward opened the drawer of the bedside table and retrieved an unmarked envelope. He sat beside Bella once again and placed the envelope in her hand.
"What is this?"
Taking a deep breath, Edward rubbed his hand across the back of his neck, "It's a tradition among the Cullen men to give a gift at the birth of a child. Jasper gave Alice a string of pearls. Emmett gave Rosalie a private suite at the symphony. I couldn't think of a more perfect gift for you."
Bella carefully opened the clasp and slid the contents out of the envelope. Unfolding the papers, she glanced back up at Edward, who was watching her face with a mix of excitement and trepidation in his eyes.
Turning her attention back to the document in her hand, Bella gasped as she realized what she was holding. "Edward, is this…"
"How? When did you do this?"
Edward pulled the papers from her hand, setting them beside her legs as he took her hands in his. "About a week after we left the cottage, I called Mrs. Cope and thanked her again for letting us stay there. I asked that if she ever decided to sell the property, that she call me first. She agreed, and six months later, she called. Her son had purchased the land beside his and offered to build a house for her there if she was willing to move. I bought her house and the cottage. I thought we might need the room that the house offers, but I knew without a doubt that you'd want the cottage too."
Bella was silent as her eyes shifted from the document beside her, to her sleeping son, and finally to Edward's hopeful eyes. He squeezed her hands, "What are you thinking, Baby?"
Shaking her head and willing herself not to cry, Bella offered him a watery smile, "I'm thinking that the worst day of my life has given me everything I could have ever hoped for." Leaning forward, she placed her hands on Edward's cheeks, and pressed a tender kiss to his lips, "Thank you for loving me enough to step in that day. Thank you for loving me enough to be patient while I figured out my feelings for you. Thank you for not letting me run, for always reassuring me when I'm scared, for making me feel beautiful and for telling me everyday that you still love me."
"I do love you, B."
"I know you do. I love you, Edward. So much. And I love the house. Thank you!" She barely got the words out before pulling him in for a passionate kiss.
Several minutes later, Bella struggled to keep her eyes open as Edward pressed kisses to her cheeks, jaw and neck. Settling in beside her, he pulled her against his chest as he wrapped his arms around her, "Get some sleep, B. Jack will be awake and hungry soon."
As he felt her breathing become slow and even, Edward hummed softly, hoping Jack would sleep for just a while longer, allowing Bella to get the rest she needed. He knew when she decided to breastfeed their son that he would have to make her rest when the baby slept or she would be exhausted.
He loved it, though. Watching Bella with Jack was amazing and he thought he had never seen anything more beautiful. She was so gentle and nurturing with him, and Edward knew that she had found some peace with her past as far as Renee was concerned.
Bella had continued to receive cards from Renee, and she had even sent flowers and a few sweet children's books when Jack was born. Other than that, there had been no contact. Bella had forgiven Renee, and she had become the mother that she had always wished Renee had been.
Edward brushed the hair from Bella's cheek and kissed her forehead softly before closing his eyes. He could use a nap as well, and had no desire to sleep when Bella and Jack were awake.
He knew every day with them would be an adventure and he didn't want to miss a moment of it.
Thank you all so much for reading and reviewing! You'll never know how much your encouraging words have meant to me.
Look for me close to Christmas with a new story...