Author's Note: Thanks again to moosals for pre-reading. Stephenie Meyer owns all characters.
Back again, with the first of the future takes! This one takes place about six and a half months after the second Epilogue. The twins are 14 months old and Bella is hugely pregnant with their surprise baby.
"Bella," I called for the tenth time. "The house looks fine. You're going to wear yourself out."
I shook my head as Bella continued straightening every knickknack on the bookshelves. Finally, I got up and wrapped my arms around her from behind. "I love you, Bella, but you're making me crazy," I said, kissing the side of her neck.
Bella twisted around in my arms, giving me an exasperated look. "I know I'm probably going overboard. It's just… Jasper and Alice have never seen our house. I just want them to see it at its best. And I don't want Alice to think badly of my housekeeping skills."
"You're seven months pregnant with 14-month-old twins running around creating messes. They know exactly what that's like. I think you'd be forgiven for anything," I replied. I pulled Bella closer, turning her slightly to the side so her enormous — though I'd never be stupid enough to tell her that — belly was out of the way.
I kissed the top of her head before letting her go.
Moments later, I heard the garage door opening — Renee was home from the grocery store. Bella's mom had arrived yesterday, without husband number five, who was unable to get off work for the week. She'd insisted on helping out by doing the shopping for tomorrow's Christmas dinner.
Bella, the twins and I had spent Thanksgiving with her dad in California this year — a first for us. Jasper and Alice had invited us for Christmas, but with Bella due to give birth on February 19, her doctor had forbid her from traveling, so instead it was decided that they'd to come to us. Jasper called when they left Chicago around noon today. They should be here by six o'clock, unless their three children necessitated a lot of bathroom stops.
Bella and Renee put away all of the groceries before joining me in the living room, where I was trying to keep two rambunctious toddlers from getting into anything and everything. The moment they'd started crawling, we'd begun baby-proofing the house, but it was a whole new ballgame once they started walking and could reach things higher up. EJ was especially fond of hiding the remote control.
The doorbell rang around 6:30 and I got up to answer it, shaking my brother's hand as he stepped into our home.
"Where are the babies?" Alison asked, bouncing up and down on the balls of her feet.
"They're in the living room," I said, nodding in that direction. "They're a lot bigger than the last time you saw them!"
I shook my head as Alison went running off. Makayla hid shyly behind her mom, who was carrying baby Jackson. "Let me help you," I said, taking the two bags Jasper had brought in while he went back out to their minivan to get the rest of their things. Together we got all of the bags upstairs and into the guest room with the king-sized bed.
Renee was already set up to sleep in our soon-to-be nursery, where we'd added a small daybed for extra overnight guests. We only had the two cribs, so EJ and Carlie would be bunking together for two nights, leaving one for nine-month-old Jackson. It would be a tight squeeze, but we could do it. Just before the new baby was due, we planned to move one of the cribs to the new nursery and get toddler beds for the twins. Those were two of their Christmas gifts, though I doubted they'd care.
Once everything was settled, we took off for dinner in the two minivans. With five children, a nice restaurant was out of the question, so we settled on Dewey's Pizza. It was a nice, laidback evening, full of excellent pizza. While it wasn't Bella's beloved deep dish, it wasn't St. Louis style either. I felt sorry for the workers who would have to clean up the table and floor after our party left.
Stuffed on pizza, the kids all fell asleep fairly quickly once we got home and put them to bed, leaving the grown-ups time to chat. Though she couldn't drink, Bella poured the rest of us glasses of the wine that Renee had bought.
Finally around 10pm, Alice snuck upstairs to get the few bags of gifts they'd brought with them, setting them all under our tree. They had told the girls that Santa Claus wouldn't know where to find them in St. Louis, and their gifts from Santa would be waiting at home in Chicago. Jasper's dad was going to set them out under their Christmas tree while they were gone, as a surprise for the girls when they arrive home Wednesday night.
I couldn't wait until EJ and Carlie were old enough for all of the Christmas traditions. If their behavior at their first birthday party in October was any indication, they would enjoy ripping the paper off more than the gifts themselves tomorrow morning.
At 6am, Bella and I were rudely awakened by shrieks from the bedroom down the hall. I'd forgotten what it was like to be an excited child on Christmas morning. Not long after the girls began shrieking, the baby monitor crackled with the sound of cries. Well, I guess we were all getting up.
Putting our robes on, Bella and I quickly took care of business in the bathroom before getting the twins out of the crib, joining Jasper's family downstairs. I made my very pregnant wife sit on the couch while I played Santa Claus, kneeling on the floor to retrieve and pass out gifts.
Just as I'd thought, both EJ and Carlie had a blast ripping the paper off of each package, then tossing the box aside for another one. By the time everything was unwrapped, the breakfast casserole that Bella had prepared yesterday was heated, so we all went to the kitchen to eat.
Bella and I had agreed not to get each other gifts this year, but I couldn't resist buying her something anyway. After we finished breakfast, I nodded at Renee to watch the twins and shuffled Bella upstairs so we could be alone.
"What's going on, Edward?" she asked as I closed the door behind us. I'm sure it was the silly grin on my face that tipped her off.
"I wanted to give you your gift."
"I thought we agreed no gifts," she replied, eyes narrowed.
"I know we did. But I think you'll like this," I grinned. Digging around in the drawer of my nightstand, I pulled out a small, store-wrapped box.
Bella eyed me with suspicion as she took the box from me, tearing off the paper. She rolled her eyes when she saw the jewelry store logo on the tiny box. I watched her face as she opened it, her hand immediately going to cover her mouth.
"Edward, it's beautiful," she said, pulling out the mother's ring. Two opals for our twins flanked a round amethyst in the center of the ring. The whole thing was set off by a dozen tiny diamonds.
"They, um, said I could bring it back if, you know, our daughter doesn't cooperate and shows up in January," I replied sheepishly.
Bella laughed as I took the ring from her, putting it on the ring finger of her right hand. "It's a good thing you only mentioned January — because there is no way in hell I'm letting this kid just hang out in my stomach until March." Bella smiled at me, then wrapped her arms around me and kissed me just long enough for me to get excited before pulling back.
"We, um, should probably get ready to go out," she said, sounding as reluctant as I felt.
Once everyone was showered and dressed, we drove out toward Six Flags to drive through Santa's Magical Kingdom and see all of the Christmas lights. Of course, a lot of other families had the same idea, and the line to get in was incredibly long. The delight on the children's faces made it worth it though.
Jasper and I sat with our beers watching football that afternoon while the women were working on Christmas dinner and all five children were napping, exhausted from waking up so early. "So how is Bella doing with the idea of having another child?" he asked me suddenly. "Alice mentioned that when they went shopping last year, Bella's response to us having a third kid was, 'Better you than me'."
"She's excited now, but when we first found out, I think she wanted to kill me." And never have sex with me again.
Jasper laughed. "I can imagine."
"It wasn't so much about the third child as it was another pregnancy so soon though. Carrying twins for nine months took a lot out of her.
"Bella had spent so many years trying to have a baby, and nothing ever happened until we tried IVF. We just really didn't think it ever could even happen without a little help from medical science," I explained.
"I imagine once your daughter arrives, Bella will want to make sure there are no more surprises," Jasper observed.
"Yeah… but I'm trying not to think about that. When Bella first found out she was pregnant, she said she was never having sex with me again," I chuckled, trying not to shudder. She'd held out for two very long weeks, too.
Jasper started laughing, nearly choking on his beer. "Alice said pretty much the same thing to me before Jackson was born, you know? She swore we weren't having sex unless I 'removed myself from the gene pool'," he said, complete with air quotes.
"What does that even mean?" I asked, confused.
"You know… snipped," he whispered, making the universal sign for slitting his throat.
My eyes bugged out of my head. "You mean… you got a vasectomy?"
"Yep, I had it done a few weeks before Jackson was born, so I'd be ready to go when Alice was."
"I just don't know if I could do that," I replied, shaking my head. Just the thought of cutting anywhere near my… nope, nope, nope.
Our conversation ended at that point when the football game returned from halftime. But my mind wouldn't stop. A vasectomy? Was that something I could really do?
"What… um, what type of birth control did Bella use when you guys were married?" I asked, feeling very uncomfortable. I didn't even like to think about the time Bella and Jasper were married.
"She used to get the shot," he replied, "Until the last two years when we were, you know…"
"It's hormones like birth control pills, except you only need to get it every three months or something, instead of remembering to take a pill every day," he explained.
"Well, that seems easy enough. She could just go back on the shot, right?" I reasoned, breathing a huge sigh of relief — there were other viable options than getting snipped.
"Yeah, she could. As far as I remember, she didn't have any problems with it at the time. Or, if she wants something permanent, women can get their tubes tied."
"Why didn't Alice do that?" I asked curiously.
"A couple reasons," Jasper began. "First, it costs up to three times as much for a tubal ligation. And the procedure is a bit worse on women than a vasectomy, which takes like 30 minutes. Alice had read something saying women were 20 times more likely than men to have serious problems. I guess one of her friends had had some complications, so she said it was my turn to suffer since she'd given birth to three children already."
"Oh… I don't think I'd want that for Bella then." I'd never ask Bella to do anything that could jeopardize her health.
A few minutes later, Renee popped into the living room to let us know that dinner would be ready in about five minutes. Jasper and I went upstairs to wake our children, wash their hands and then bring them down to the dining room table.
The women had gone out all, cooking a honey-baked ham and several side dishes. Makayla only wanted the macaroni and cheese, though Alison agreed to a small slice of ham. I cut up the ham into tiny bits for EJ and Carlie to eat with their fingers. They were getting better at eating with utensils, but I still think most of the macaroni that they tried to scoop up with their tiny plastic spoons ended up on the floor.
After our early dinner, we were able to watch the last rerun of A Christmas Story before breaking out my old collection of Christmas DVDs. EJ seemed to be fascinated by Rudolph, while Carlie preferred Frosty the Snowman. Alison and Makayla were both big fans of Charlie Brown. I had to admit — Charlie has been my favorite as a child.
I lay in bed that night still wide awake after midnight, unable to shut my mind off. Renee would be here until the weekend, but then I really needed to talk to Bella about what we would do for birth control once our daughter arrived — assuming she didn't want to take any more chances at getting pregnant for a third time. I was hoping to convince her to go back on the shot, as that seemed like the best option. I couldn't imagine asking Bella to have potentially dangerous surgery, but on the other hand, the thought of getting a vasectomy… I shuddered just thinking about it.
It was the last night before my surgery. I sat on the bed naked, waiting for Bella to finish up in the bathroom. There was no way I was letting some random nurse shave me in preparation for the surgery. No other woman had ever touched me there, and I wasn't about to let that happen now. I'd… you know, manscaped a bit, but never actually shaved any of my pubic hair, so Bella had agreed to help me out. She didn't want a random nurse touching me either.
Bella came out of the bathroom wearing a short red pajama set, her legs bare. She was carrying her pink plastic razor and a can of shaving cream. I gulped loudly, lying back on the bed. As she got closer, I noticed three tiny, round bandages on Bella's legs — had those been there this morning?
"What are those?" I asked, nodding toward her legs.
"Oh, it's nothing," she replied nonchalantly. "I just cut myself shaving."
In a flash I was up off the bed and across the room, holding my hands in front of my cock. "You're not coming near me with that razor," I yelled. My brow furrowed as Bella started laughing — hard. "What so funny?" I asked petulantly.
"You," she managed to squeak out in between her laughs. "You fell for it!"
"What? You mean… you didn't cut yourself?"
Shaking her head, Bella began peeling the bandages off, one by one, revealing her perfect creamy skin below — no cuts at all.
"You tricked me?"
"Yep," she replied with a nod. "Damn, you're easy. I promise to make it up to you though."
"How?" I asked. I had to admit, I was liking the sound of that.
"When I'm finished, you can have a blowjob." She raised an eyebrow, waiting for my reply. Damn it, Bella totally knew my weakness for blowjobs.
I nodded, returning to the bed and taking a deep breath. I jumped when the cool shaving cream hit my groin. I was torn between closing my eyes so I didn't have to witness this indignity and keeping an eye on Bella to make sure she didn't cut anything vital. In the end, closing my eyes won out.
And once Bella washed the shaving cream off with warm water, she took me in her mouth.
"God, Bella, that's so good," I moaned as her tongue circled the head of my cock. The only thing better than Bella's mouth wrapped around me was Bella's pussy wrapped around me.
I tried to hold back and prolong it, but her mouth and tongue were driving me wild. "Oh God," I screamed as I came. When I opened my eyes, Bella was lying on her side next to me, with a shit-eating grin on her face. And she was wearing a light blue nightshirt over her bulging stomach. Huh?
"Merry Christmas, Edward," she said softly, stroking my thigh.
I sat up slowly, looking around the room, the early morning sun just beginning to come through the windows. I was wearing an old gray t-shirt, my underwear pulled down to my knees. I looked down at my softening cock and saw… hair?
"It was just a dream," I mumbled.
"What was, sweetheart?"
"I…" I was suddenly far too embarrassed to tell her what I'd been dreaming about. She didn't even know I'd been thinking about birth control options.
"Nothing… never mind. I can't remember it." I was sure my cheeks were tinged with pink.
Bella looked at me curiously before sitting up, kissing me quickly and dashing off to the bathroom.
I joined Bella for a quick shower, then went to get the twins up while she got dressed. Both of them were awake in their crib when I reached them. One at a time, I changed their diapers, dressing them in some of the new clothes they'd received for Christmas yesterday.
While both EJ and Carlie had started walking shortly before Bella's birthday in September, I was still nervous to let them tackle the stairs by themselves. Carrying one in each arm, I headed downstairs to where Alice was already mixing up the batter for a large batch of waffles.
"Good morning," I greeted everyone. "Bella will be down in a minute." Renee took EJ from me, settling him in his high chair while I did the same with Carlie. It really did take two sets of arms to handle the two of them. I got some juice out of the fridge, pouring it into their sippy cups so they had something to entertain themselves with before breakfast was ready.
When the first waffle was done, Alice carefully cut it into quarters, placing a piece on a plastic plate for each of the four children. At five years old, Alison could handle cutting it up for herself. Jasper cut three-year-old Makayla's waffle into small chunks while I did the same for the twins. He then cut up a banana for the two girls before attempting to feed Jackson his jar of pureed baby food. Alison whined that she wanted more waffle, but her dad insisted she had to finish all of the fruit first.
Alice gave the next waffle to Renee shortly before Bella joined us, kissing me chastely. "Do you need any help, Alice?" Bella asked.
"Nope, I got it, thanks," she smiled.
Once we all had some food, I nearly teared up as I looked around the table at my family. A few years ago, I never would've imagined spending time like this with my brother and his family. It was really, really nice though, and I was incredibly grateful to Jasper for leaving the past in the past and starting over. I knew they were still young, but in a few years, it would mean a lot for all five kids — soon to be all six — to spend time with their cousins.
After breakfast, I helped Jasper and Alice carry everything to the car, waving to them as they set out on the six-hour drive back to Chicago. And so we were down to five.
Renee left on Saturday and the house was quiet again — well, quieter. I got the feeling that things wouldn't be completely quiet for the next 18 years.
It took me the entire day to get up the nerve to broach the subject of birth control with Bella. I finally did it once we were getting ready for bed that evening.
"Um, Bella?" I started nervously.
"What is it?" Shit, she looked concerned.
"It's nothing bad," I assured her. "It's just… I've been thinking about what happens once our daughter is born. You're not planning to stick to your threat of no sex, are you?"
"How long do you seriously think I could resist you, Edward Cullen?" Bella replied with a grin.
"Well, you held out for two weeks when you found out you were pregnant," I replied, cringing at the idea of reminding her of that.
Bella only laughed though. "I do mean it about no more unprotected sex though, Edward."
"Um, yeah, so, about that… Did you have any ideas?"
"Don't worry about it, sweetheart — I don't want to use condoms any more than you do."
I think my eyebrows rose all the way to my hairline. "C—condoms?" I gulped. The idea of that had never even occurred to me. I couldn't imagine not being able to feel all of Bella when we made love.
"It's ok, Edward," she chuckled. "I said I don't want to use them either."
"So what were you thinking about then?" Thank God, Thank God, Thank God.
"Well, I know you weren't able to make it to my last appointment. I talked to my OB/GYN about getting my tubes tied right after I give birth."
"But isn't that dangerous?" I asked, trying not to freak out. I pulled Bella to sit on the bed next to me.
"No, Edward," she replied, rolling her eyes. "The chances of complications are really pretty low."
"But… what about birth control pills? Or the shot?"
Bella shook her head. "I did the shot before, but I don't think I want to do that again. I'd really rather not put hormones into my body now that I'm over 35. And besides, one of the long-term risks of the shot is possible bone loss. My mom was diagnosed last year with an early stage of osteoporosis, so I really don't want to do anything that could contribute to bone loss if it's already in my genes."
I swallowed three times before attempting to speak. "I could… I could get a vasectomy."
"Out of the question," Bella replied immediately.
"What? Why?" I asked, surprised.
"Because you just turned 25 — you're too young for something permanent."
I wrinkled my nose. "What difference does it make, if we're done having children?"
"I am done having children," Bella replied gently.
"And I'm married to you, so that means I am too." I totally didn't understand her logic.
"But what if one day you're not?" she asked quietly.
"Bella, I will never, ever love another woman. I'm not going to have some kind of midlife crisis and trade you in for a younger woman when I hit 40." I rolled my eyes — now who was being ridiculous?
"Wait," I added suddenly, "You aren't… you aren't planning to leave me one day, are you?" I held my breath waiting for Bella to respond.
"No, sweetheart," she replied, stroking my face, "Of course I'm not planning on that. But I know that things do happen… people grow apart. I'm not expecting it, of course, but it could happen."
"And," she continued after taking a deep breath, "I'm 11 years older than you. Yes, women live longer than men on average, but… I could die first."
"Sure, when I'm 80," I replied emphatically. "I don't plan on you going anywhere for a long, long time. And if the worst does happen… I'm certainly not going to marry a woman young enough to still be having children."
"This is so backwards," Bella laughed. "It's so weird for the woman to be talking the man out of having a vasectomy."
"Look, Bella, the one thing we agree on is I don't want you to do anything to jeopardize your health. Of course I'm terrified of the idea of a… vasectomy—" I could hardly say the word — "But I'd rather have a simple outpatient procedure than allow you to have some kind of major surgery."
"It's really not that major, Edward. And it's very common for women to choose a tubal ligation right after giving birth."
"Won't it leave a scar?" I asked. "Did you forget how much you freak out over your stretch marks?"
"It's a small scar, much smaller than from a C-section or something. Edward, I'll be fine, I promise. If I do it right away after giving birth, I won't leave the hospital any later than I would without having the procedure. Yes, I'll have to take it easy for a few days, but Mom is planning to visit again. And as soon as I'm cleared to have sex again, I'll be ready to go with no worries about another surprise pregnancy."
"Isn't there anything I can do to change your mind?" I asked with a hopeful grin.
"Edward Cullen, are you trying to bribe me with sexual favors?"
"That only works with you," she replied, laughing as I pouted.
"What if I threaten to stop going down on you or something?"
Damn it, she had me there. I loved making Bella scream.
"I'll be fine, Edward," she insisted, stroking my face softly. "In less than two months, our family will be complete, with no chance of any more surprises. It's not that I don't already love our daughter, but I'm not getting any younger. It's going to be challenging enough with three children under the age of two. Adding another child to the mix would be so unfair to everyone, and I'm afraid that our relationship might suffer. Not to mention the fact that the probability of problems increases the older I get. I don't want to roll the dice one more time and face a potentially difficult decision."
"So your mind is made up."
"My mind is made up," she nodded.
"It's just… I love you so much…"
"I know, sweetheart. I love you, too. I wouldn't ask you to do anything dangerous either, but this is a common procedure. Don't worry so much or you'll be gray before you're 26."
"On second thought," she added, "Maybe that's not such a bad thing."
I so wanted to pounce on my wife and tackle her to the bed, but I had to settle for kissing her senseless, before lying down and letting her straddle me. Not that I didn't like Bella on top… I pretty much liked Bella every which way. But I was counting down the days until I could be closer to her again.
A/N: Hope you enjoyed the first future take! There will be more, when I get more ideas.
Let me know your thoughts on Bella's decision. Do you think it's the right one?
Edward's dream is a true story that happened to a friend of mine. :)
In case you don't have me on Author Alert, my newest multi-chapter story entitled "Reason For Living," started posting on February 4. Updates will be every Monday morning while the chapters are longer, then moving to twice a week when they get shorter.