Entry for the Jake's Puppy Contest
Genre/Universe: Romance, Drama / canon-AU
Rating: M (sexual situations, some language)
I stared down at Annabelle Sarah Black as she lay sprawled on my chest. She had been born with Ventricular Septal Defect, otherwise known as VSD. My baby girl had a hole in the wall that separated the two lower chambers of her heart. She didn't develop symptoms until a few weeks after Bella gave birth.
She had just turned five years old a couple weeks ago, and we had open-heart surgery scheduled for when we got back from the beach.
I was terrified and helpless to stop this from happening to her.
We lived through the irrational guilt, the abject misery of watching her grow up and struggle to breathe normally. We had to stop her from getting too over-excited which had caused us both anguish. Was it too much to ask for her to have a normal life?
I could feel her heart beating against my chest as she slept. Her hair was as dark as mine, but had Bella's wave to it. Her long eyelashes fluttered as I brushed a lock away from her face. She was on medication to ease the symptoms, but Bella's hand would always find mine at doctor appointments when they checked to see if there was any permanent damage to the lung's blood vessels. Her nails would dig into my palm until we got the result. So far, Annabelle was doing okay. She was smaller than normal due to her struggle to feed as a baby, but she was as strong-willed as both her parents - and had a hell of a personality - which was a good thing.
She took her restrictions in stride, though there were occasional tears over not being able to do something the other kids could do. We fervently prayed that after the surgery she would be able to play without being held back.
Our son, Will, was eight years old and fiercely protective of his little sister. He was a godsend with Annabelle. We had gotten so lucky with him; he took to her right away and helped keep an eye on her. There had been occasional rough moments when he felt neglected, but we made sure to spend time with just him and he knew how much we loved him. He was a smart kid and didn't cause trouble.
Bella came into the bedroom and locked eyes with me. She leaned down and brushed her lips over mine. Our love for each other had solidified and grown even stronger over the years. We had our share of arguments, especially when we were both struggling to deal with Anna and the VSD. It had been particularly bad one time, and she threatened to leave me.
We did what we promised we would always do, though.
Space was given to calm down and we came back that evening and talked, long and seriously, and came to some agreements. I had held her that night, whispering, "I don't ever want to be without you. I love you, Bella; I love you so damn much."
Her hands had soothed me, her whispered words of love a balm to the wounds we had inflicted on each other, and after that we handled everything as a team.
"It's time for her medicine," Bella whispered after I released her from the kiss. "I have all our stuff packed up, too."
"I'm sorry. I wanted to help you…"
"Don't be sorry, Jake. I know you didn't want to disturb her, and I didn't want you to either."
"I'll pack up the car, babe. You keep Anna occupied," I said.
I rubbed Anna's back, easing her out of sleep. It never worked too well to get her up quickly. She yawned and snuggled into my neck, looking for her wake-up kiss, which I was always glad to give. While I pressed my lips to her cheek, Bella kissed the other side, and she woke up with a smile.
"Going to the beach?" she asked hopefully.
Bella laughed. "Yes, baby, we're going to the beach in California."
Her eyes widened and she struggled to get down, excited, but as soon as her breathing got heavy, I eased her back. "Slowly, honey. I know you're excited, but go slow, okay?"
She slowed down a bit, and Bella helped her down. I headed out to the hallway where Bella had most of our bags. Anna was chattering away to Bella, a little out of breath, while she had her snack. Hefting the bags, I began loading our used SUV that I had restored to proper maintenance.
Will came zipping around the side of the house. "Daddy? I mean, um, Dad? Can I help you load the car?"
I hid my grin. Will was trying to be a grown-up, but he occasionally forgot. It was something I hoped he kept slipping up on because I liked hearing it. I caught him in a head-lock and pretended to drag him to the door.
"Yes. Me need help."
He laughed, wiggling away, and helped me carry the rest of the bags out. I finished loading them and went on a search for beach chairs, an umbrella, a blanket, and a beach bag. Once they were loaded, I ruffled his straight, black hair and let him run off.
"Everyone ready to go?" I called out and received a chorus of yes.
We got Anna and Will buckled in the car and we were on our way.
"I heard from my dad," I told Bella as we began our trip. "He and Charlie are going to drive together to meet us there. They'll probably leave in an hour."
She leaned her head back. "Okay, great."
Out of the corner of my eye, I examined my wife. We had gotten married two years after the Cullens had left town when Bella chose to be with me. The newborn fight and my subsequent injuries had made her re-think her decisions, and she came to side as I lay in bed, broken and loving her as desperately as a sixteen-year-old can. She told me she was in love with me, wanted me, and would never leave my side again. And she never did.
Three years after our marriage was when Will came along.
Bella had aged gracefully; the only tell-tale sign were more laugh lines and crinkle lines around her eyes. The occasional pinched, worried look came to her face, but I did my best to erase it when I saw it.
I was grateful Charlie and Billy were coming with us, too. We were splitting the cost of an apartment that would sleep the six of us in Noe Valley in San Francisco, so it helped with the money issue and they would be there to watch the kids, too. It made me feel bad, but I really wanted some time alone with Bella as well. There was never a moment I regretted, and I always wanted to spend time with our kids, but I missed being with Bella. Anna often came to our room at night, having woken from nightmares or having trouble breathing, so it wasn't easy for me and Bella to find time together.
I often felt guilty, though, because I loved having Anna and Will in my arms at night. So did Bella. We could watch them sleep and know they were okay.
When we got to San Francisco, we found the apartment we were staying at and got everything situated before unpacking. It was on a nice level street, one of our major requirements, because of Billy. He had teased us, bitching about how we had to choose a vacation that was known for having hills. Shortly after we got there, Charlie and Billy arrived.
"Daddy, look!" Anna said excitedly from Charlie's arms. "Can we sleep in the living room with the bed?"
"Honey, Grandpa Billy and Granddad Charlie are sleeping there. There's a bedroom that's closer to me and Mommy for you and Will."
She took that in stride. We got the food we had brought with put away and checked out our rooms. For a brief moment, in our soft-blue painted bedroom, I wrapped my arms around Bella's waist. She leaned back against me, and I brushed my lips over her ear, her neck, and turned her in my arms to press them to her soft, pouty mouth.
"This will be good for us; to spend some time away from home, to have some fun, and for you and me to get to spend some time together," I whispered against her lips.
She smiled, trailing her fingers through my hair. "It will be. I love you, Jake."
"I love you, too, honey."
We prepared some lunch and went to the Golden Gate Park for a picnic. We ate turkey and ham sandwiches, Anna and Will rode the park's carousel, and we explored the aquarium in the Academy of Sciences. At Fisherman's Wharf, we ate at Luigi's Pizzeria, the kids chattering excitedly.
"Mommy, Daddy, can we go to the zoo tomorrow?" Anna pleaded, with Will chiming in, on our way back to the apartment.
"Yes, but you need to get to bed early tonight," I told them.
They were both exhausted from traveling and being so busy during the day. They passed out immediately once we got them to bed. Bella gave a small sigh, leaning into me as we watched a bit of television with our fathers.
Once we went to bed, it didn't take Anna long to creep into our room. Her breathing was labored, and she was sniffling. Bella and I curled into each other, Anna settled between us, soothing her until she calmed down.
"It's okay, baby," I said, smoothing her hair. Will came in, hair messy, rubbing his eyes.
We knew he often felt left out in these moments, so Bella held an arm out to him. "Come here, honey. I'd rather you two stay in here tonight until we adjust to being away from home."
He hesitated, wanting to be strong, but he caved and eagerly climbed into our bed. We all slept together until Charlie and Billy woke us up the next morning.
"How about we take the kids to breakfast?" Charlie suggested. "You two can sleep in a little bit if you want to until we get back and get ready for the zoo."
It was what we both wanted, but it was still hard to let them go.
"You need Anna's medicine," Bella said worriedly. "And you have to be careful…"
"Bells, honey, I know. I'm going to carry her when she needs to be carried, or she can ride on Billy's lap if she wants, and I've given her the medicine many times before. It's okay."
They were both eager to go, so that made it easier. Once they were gone, I turned to Bella, a smile on my face. She laughed softly. "You just wanted to be alone together, didn't you?"
I rolled on top of her. "I miss holding you, kissing you, and making love to you in bed," I whispered, nuzzling her neck.
She sighed, tilting her head so I had better access. "I miss it, too, Jake. I want you."
Eager to oblige, I slid a hand under her t-shirt, finding her bare breast. She was so incredibly soft, and her nipple grew hard under my ministrations. "Mmm," she sighed. "Jake, I want to feel you against me."
Hurriedly, I disposed of our clothes, and our bodies pressed close. Her lips parted under mine, her tongue doing a slow sweep of my mouth. I nipped at her full top lip, tracing the line of her mouth with my tongue. She gave a small whimper, sending a thrill through me, and I began my descent. There was no spot left unkissed as my mouth made its way to her pale breasts with those perfect, rosy nipples.
When I took one into my mouth, flattening my tongue over it, she fisted my hair. Her soft moans were turning me on even more. Bella arched her back, and I obliged by squeezing and massaging one breast while devouring the other with my mouth.
"Oh God, Jake," she panted. "I need… need…"
"Tell me, baby, tell me what you want."
"Your tongue, your touch, your dick inside me… I want everything," she gasped.
I was so damn hard, I felt as if I would explode. I knelt between her thighs, lifting her hips, and bent to taste her. Bella cried out, her hips thrusting up toward me, as I skimmed my tongue along her pussy. Dipping my tongue inside, I tasted her, loving how she squirmed underneath me and moaned so eagerly.
"Jake… now… inside me," she whimpered.
I rolled onto my back, pulling her on top of me. Bella lifted her hips and plunged down onto me. The bite of her nails on my chest just excited me more as she began to rock and swivel her hips. She gripped the head board, taking what she wanted with her eager movements, affording me a view of those gorgeous breasts bouncing above me.
The head board was now banging against the wall as I thrust up to meet her. I sat up, winding my arms around her, pistoning my hips upward until she began to moan with abandon. She was close, and I knew what would push her over the edge. Tangling my fingers in her hair, I gently pulled so her back arched and her breasts were right there to sample. As I suckled them, I reached down and began rubbing her clit.
"Yesss," she ground out. "Oh God, yes…" And she screamed when she came, triggering my own release.
A sweaty mess, I lay sprawled on my back with Bella on top of me. Damn, it was fantastic to be with her again. I nuzzled her cheek, still feeling a bit revved up, kissing underneath her ear, making her murmur and wiggle on top of me.
"I need to shower," she mumbled. "And we should eat something before they come back."
I gave her ass a little smack, making her jump. "Come on, babe, let's save some water and shower together."
She grinned, laughing as I hauled her into the bathroom for another quickie in the shower. We managed to dry off and get dressed quickly, and we were sitting at the breakfast table feeding each other muffins and fruit - and a side of waffles for me - when Charlie, Billy, and the kids came back.
"Daddy! Mommy! I had waffles with strawberries and whipped cream," Anna said excitedly, her breathing becoming more and more labored.
I lifted her onto my lap, slowly rubbing her back, and hopefully making her breathing easier. "Mmm, that sounds delicious, baby. What did you have, Will?" Bella asked, looping an arm around and pulling him into her side.
He smiled, snuggling close, in one of his affectionate moods. "Chocolate chip pancakes," he said, his dimple making an appearance at the thought.
We finished getting ready and headed to the zoo for a couple hours before going to the beach for the remainder of the day. Thankfully, the sun was out and the weather was closer to seventy degrees today. Bella and I stretched out on towels near the boardwalk where Billy and Charlie were stationed, all of us keeping an eye on Anna and Will as they built a sand castle.
Bella dozed off for awhile, and I propped my head on my arm, watching Will and Anna collecting seashells by the water. After awhile, I could tell she was tired, so I called them over and we ate a little lunch from one of the nearby vendors, Anna curled up on my lap. Will was burying Bella's feet in the sand, and Anna was watching two teenagers goofing off and dancing together further down the beach.
"I like that," she announced. "But it makes me tired. Do you think someone would dance with me like that?" She looked a little sad and wistful.
Bella smoothed her hair back. "Honey, everyone will be lined up to dance with you."
I held her against me, standing up.
"Mommy's right, baby. Everyone will want to. In fact, I think you should dance with me right now." I took her arms, wrapping them around my neck, her face a mix of surprise and delight as she held on.
Starting out slow, I dipped her, spinning in a slow circle. Feeling a little silly, I continued to sway with her, holding her little hand. It was all worth it seeing her eyes so like mine brighten with excitement and her smile grow wider.
"Daddy!" she giggled, holding on to my neck as I two-stepped over the sand, making complicated twirls. Doing the tribal dances over the years had thankfully at least made my moves a little smoother.
Bella came out, too, dragging Will with her. He looked as if he wanted to flee and hide, making me laugh, but I could also tell he wanted to do it, too. He laughed and sand flew up in little puffs as they twirled along with us while Charlie and Billy cheered us on.
I set Anna down; her face was wreathed in smiles. "I hope someone dances with me like that!" she said.
"If they don't, I'll kick them," Will proclaimed making me muffle a snort of laughter. "But I'll dance with you. Come on, Bananabelle!"
He took her hands and danced her as gently as an eight-year old could after Bella cautioned him. Laughing, Bella wound her arms around my waist, as we watched our children dance in the sand.
I twirled Bella around in a circle, giving Will a sign to slow it down as Anna began breathing harder. She came over to us and we lifted her, both of us holding on, while Will came to our other side. My little family spun and spun, oblivious to the chuckles, the cheers, and the smiles directed our way.
It was painful watching Anna's breathing become more labored because of her fear. She cried a little, not wanting to go through with the surgery. She lay on the hospital bed, her breathing too labored. I lay my hand on her chest, whispering, "Deep breaths, okay? Slow and steady."
"Daddy, hold me," she whimpered.
I never knew how much a heart could break until now. Seeing my child scared and wanting me to hold her had my own heart beating faster. Anna had a death grip on Bella's hand, so I maneuvered her onto my lap, pulling Bella in close.
"I don't want to," she whimpered. "I'm scared."
I smoothed her hair back, kissing her forehead. "I know you are, honey. This will help you breathe like everyone else, though. You will be able to run around after you heal, to play tag with Will, and you'll be able to dance. Remember the stories about the wolf protectors? Well, I was like one of them, and you have that in you, too. You're as strong as a wolf."
She liked that, though we continued to reassure her. Bella held her on her lap then, telling her how brave she was and that we would all have a big sleepover in the living room when it was all over and we left the hospital.
"Can we make popcorn, brownies, have soda, and watch a movie?" she asked, wiping her tears with the back of her hand.
Bella gave a watery chuckle. "Yes, we can do that, too."
She lay back on the bed, and I leaned down to kiss her again before the doctor came in to wheel her away for her surgery. We watched as they began down the hallway, trying to be brave. "Remember," I told her, patting my chest. She patted hers in return, though I could still see her tears.
Bella leaned her forehead against my chest and cried a little. "She'll be fine. They do these surgeries often and it's always a good prognosis," I soothed, rubbing her back, and feeling my own eyes burn a little.
Bella gave a shaky sigh as I led her to a bank of chairs. "I know. I just hate putting her through this. I really hope this is the end of it."
"It will be," I murmured, tilting her chin up to press a kiss to her lips.
We sat there quietly after Bella called Charlie to tell him she was in surgery. He was watching Will and would bring him when it was over; we didn't want to put him through this and then to have to sit and wait. After awhile, Bella got up to go get us some sandwiches and sodas from the cafeteria. When she got back, she had a peculiar look on her face.
"What is it, Bells?" I asked, suddenly feeling worried.
She sat down next to me, looking pale and a little stunned. Her worried eyes met mine as she took my hand. "Jake, you know how I didn't feel so well when we got back from San Francisco?"
When I nodded, she paused. "Well, they did a blood test, and I just got a call from the doctor while I was down in the cafeteria. I'm two months pregnant. We're having another baby."
I froze for a second, stunned. We were going to have another baby?
A smile began to bloom after my moment of stunned surprise. "We're going to have another baby," I whispered.
The worry lines in her forehead eased, her eyes lightened a little. "I know money has been a concern what with the hospital and doctor bills we'll be getting. And now with the doctor appointments for me again, and this trip we just took, and I don't know if we can manage…"
I kissed her to shut her up. I wrapped my arms around her, resting my palm on her still flat belly. "Bella, honey, we'll be fine. Yes, money has been a little tight, but we're making do. I know this is going to be expensive, but the business has been picking up a bit more as well. You're getting more work. We can do this and the hospital is willing to work with us. As long as we're all healthy; that's what's important."
She relaxed then, leaning her head on my shoulder. I rubbed her back. "Bells, are you happy about this?" I asked, uneasy all of a sudden.
"Yes," she said reassuringly. "I love having your babies. It just caught me off-guard and today of all days…"
"It's a good thing," I said. "So, how did this happen? I thought you were on birth control."
"I am," she said. "I think it was when I was still taking that antibiotic and getting over that cold that did it. You talked me into it while we were alone at the beach that one time."
"Oh, so it's my fault?" I teased her.
She grinned. "You're potent, Jacob Black."
I laughed, giving her a nudge. "I wield a mighty sword, Bells. You knew that."
She giggled, and I grinned, loving the sound of her laughter.
Finally, after some more television, reading a magazine, and getting worried and antsy again, we heard word from the doctor. He came out, called us over, and I still couldn't help feeling the sick swirl in my stomach. Bella was obviously feeling the same.
"Annabelle is fine," he assured us. "There were no complications with anything else. We've been keeping good track of that. They're about to wheel her to her room in recovery. We monitored her afterward and there were no problems from the surgery. In a few months, I don't doubt she will recover from this and be running around like any other five-year old."
Bella worked her shaking hand into mine, and I gave it a squeeze. "Thank you," I said fervently.
He gave us the details, how long she would need to recover, and what she could and couldn't do. We got the prescriptions for her medication, Bella called her dad, and we went in to see our little girl. She looked so small and pale, and I still felt that helpless twinge that I couldn't make her better right away.
Bella stretched out carefully on one side of the bed, while I did the same on the other side. When Anna woke, we would be right here.
A few days later, Anna was ready to be taken home. Charlie and Billy had helped Will make a big welcome home banner. He was excited to have his sister back, though there had been an incident before school ended where a boy had laughed at the situation. It had made me furious, but I needed to stay rational because Will had punched the boy.
A long talk with him had calmed him down.
Anna was just waking up in the backseat when we got home, and I grinned as I saw her eyes brighten at the banner stretched over the door. "Is that for me?" she said excitedly.
Bella lifted her out of the car. "Yes, baby girl, it's for you. And we have brownies, popcorn, soda, and Will got out Finding Nemo to watch tonight."
Billy and Charlie kissed Anna, promising they would be over for dinner tomorrow night, wanting to give us the chance to be alone tonight. Sue had supplied us with a casserole so we wouldn't have to worry about dinner. Following the nurse's instructions, we bathed Anna carefully. As she sat in the tub, she looked down at the bandage on her chest.
"What if kids think I'm ugly?" she said, her eyes welling with tears.
I wrapped a towel around her, pulling her onto my lap, as Bella knelt in front of her. "Annabelle, you are one of the prettiest little girls I've ever seen. If anyone were to ever think that of you, they don't deserve to be your friend."
My heart constricted as I held my baby - my little puppy she liked to be called now after the wolf reminder in the hospital - and hated that there could be kids cruel like that.
"You tell them it's your badge of bravery and don't ever let someone make you think you aren't a smart, pretty, and wonderful little girl. You hear me?"
She sniffled and nodded. "Okay," she promised. "They stink if they say that to me."
Bella and I both laughed. After dinner, Bella made the announcement about another baby coming. Will warmed to the idea of being a big brother again right away. Anna was a little worried, afraid she wouldn't be our little puppy anymore.
"You'll always be our little puppy," I promised. "That will never change. Now we're just going to have a litter."
Bella cracked up, though Anna and Will were a little confused. We talked about it with them, told Anna she was going to be a big sister and could help Will take care of the baby, and she began to get excited.
Bella stretched out on the sleeping bags on the floor with Will, while Anna sprawled on my chest on the sofa. We ate our junk food, watching the movie we'd seen a million times before. Anna complained her chest hurt and cried, but once she got her medicine she relaxed against me again.
I held Anna, stroking her back and hair, and reached down to occasionally touch Will and be thankful he was okay, too. He smiled at me from his upside down position, seeming to know I needed to do this. Bella had been doing the same thing, so he was used to it. Bella pressed against my one leg, Will the other, and feeling Anna's breath on my neck and her heart beating against my chest, I knew just how damn lucky I was.
AN: This is what I found in Noe Valley that was the inspiration for where they stayed on their vacation
vacationrentals [dotcom] / vacation - rentals / 53437 [dothtml]
And the link to the lovely banner that AnaJadeYu made and said I could use for this story is on my profile.