And here we all are, the end has come. I actually feel quite tearful.
Please read the little note at the bottom.
Spring and some of summer had passed in a whirlwind of farming, children's laughter, and family moments that I would treasure for the rest of my days.
Charlotte had been moved into her own room and had acquired a puppy – thanks to her devoted grandfather – and the boys were now in their own room and giving their tutor serious problems with their mischief.
It hadn't been long before Isabella had put her foot down and said that the children needed to move out of the nursery.
Alice and Jasper had moved from the main house into a smaller one on the family land and were now settled in, and Alice was now glowing with her pregnancy.
Emmett, Rosalie, and little William were regular guests at the house, when the farming allowed for it, and Rosalie had been working wonders with my wife on the new building with the new kitchen for the business.
All in all, my life was perfect.
Or it would be if our next new addition would make an appearance.
Isabella had been expected to go into labor at the beginning of October, which had been a week ago, and she was still holding in our baby.
"The baby will come when it's good and ready," Mrs. Cope had laughed last night at dinner, but it did not put my mind at ease.
Isabella and I had not been intimate in what felt like months, even though it was only two weeks ago. She was so hot at night that I could not even hold her when she slept.
I was like a bear with a sore head, according to Mother, and it was all well and good for her to joke, but I wanted my wife back.
She had been very busy over the last few weeks making sure that she had everything ready for when the baby came. Mother called it something about 'nesting', whatever that was, and although Isabella should have been in her confinement, she was not.
And I hated it.
My wife, the mother of my unborn child, should have been resting and relaxing, but she was doing the complete opposite.
"Edward, why are you scowling?" Isabella asked as we ate lunch in the garden. The children were enjoying the last of the warm sun. It was good to get out in the fresh air away from the smell of the house or farm animals.
"I was just thinking about you, and how I think that you should be resting a little more than what you are," I replied honestly.
"I am not that busy, Edward. Rosalie and Esme have been doing more than I have, but if it is worrying you that much, I will slow down. I just hate feeling useless; I cannot bear to sit around while everyone is busy around me," she replied. While I did understand what she meant, it did not help how I was feeling.
"I just do not want you to push yourself too hard. Since the summer you have been working all hours, as well as being a full-time mother. I just love you too much to lose you," I said, letting a little of my fears seep out.
"I will not do anything to cause harm to me or the baby, Edward, I promise," she replied, and then leant over the plates to kiss me.
Three days later following our warm picnic, the house was locked up tight as the first storm of the season had come and the children were staying with their grandparents in the living room while Father told them ghost stories.
Isabella had been acting strange all day and I'd dismissed it, thinking it was because of the change in the weather.
"Are you comfortable?" I asked while placing a tray of warm ox tail soup and bread on her expanding belly.
It had become a good joke of ours that she would miss the size of her belly and what it was useful for, but I knew that she was getting fed up of it, too.
"I am, thank-you." She winced a little with her reply.
"Isabella?" I asked, but she wouldn't meet my eyes.
"If you do not answer me, I will go and get Mrs. Cope, you know that she is only a few rooms away," I warned.
Mrs. Cope had been staying with us this last week, making sure that she would be here when Isabella went into labor.
"I was there when our Isabella was born, I will be there when this little one takes its first breath, too," she had warned with a smile.
"I have been aching all day but put it down to doing too much in the nursery. Now I am looking at the clock on the mantel piece, and I do not think it is down to me overworking," she whispered, her tearful eyes looking at me while a small smile graced her lips.
"It is time?" I asked, hope burning inside of me.
"I think so, but I do not want to hope too much. I wanted to have something to eat and rest a little while to see if anything changed," she replied nervously.
"Okay, then we will wait a little while, but if you start to be in real pain, I will go and get Mrs. Cope," I said, and urged her to eat some soup before it got cold.
Three hours later, and with the storm raging on outside, I went to Mrs. Cope and asked her to see Isabella.
Her pains had become almost constant, and she was now walking around our room in varying patterns across the rug.
"Isabella, is it time, do you think?" Mrs. Cope asked the moment she walked into the room.
"I think so, but I do not know for sure," Isabella replied timidly, and held out her hand for me to take, which I did.
"Should I send for Mother?" I asked as Mrs. Cope ushered Isabella to the bed.
"Yes, please, Edward, and alert Heather in the kitchen, she will know what I need," Mrs. Cope replied, and I was quick out the door.
Mother was overjoyed that Isabella was now in labor and hurriedly went to our room while I went to wake Heather.
I was soon back in our bedroom. Mrs. Cope and Mother had changed Isabella out of her thick nightgown into something more lightweight, but she was no longer on the bed.
"Where is she?" I asked, but Isabella soon came from the bathroom, a weak smile on her face.
"I think my water has just broken," she replied, and I instantly went to hug her.
"Stay with me? I know that it is unheard of for a husband to be by the wife's side, but I cannot do it without you. I need you, Edward," she pleaded in a whisper, and who was I to deny her?
"Of course, my love, where else would I be?" I replied with a smile.
After the initial shock of my staying in the room – nothing about my relationship with Isabella had been orthodox thus far, what was one more thing – Mrs. Cope and Mother got to work on helping Isabella with whatever she needed.
At one point she wanted to get in the bath, so she did, only to get back out five minutes later. She sat in the window seat watching the lightening, and then she was hunched over the end of the bed, rocking her hips side to side.
The women stood back and let her do whatever came naturally, and I just stood there, helpless.
I had no idea what to do or to say.
"Mrs. Cope, I cannot take it anymore," Isabella cried out, and Mrs. Cope made her way over to where Isabella was at the bed.
"Would you like me to check?" she offered, and Isabella nodded.
I did not know what she had meant by that question, and I did not find out because Mother sent me into the bathroom.
"Some things a man should not see," Mother whispered as she stepped into the room with me, and then closed the bathroom door behind us both.
"What do you mean?" I asked, but Mother shook her head with a small smile.
A few minutes later we were called out of the room. I found that Isabella had been stripped of her nightgown.
"She is ready. Edward, if you are determined to be here, I want you to stay up at her head. Do not get in my way. Lady Cullen, are you ready to meet your new grandchild?" Mrs. Cope said with a smile, but I did not see or hear her answer as I made my way over to Isabella.
Her hair was a mess and sweat was pouring down her face and neck, but she had never looked more radiant.
I dutifully did as I was told and stayed at Isabella's head all through the time that she pushed. It was so hard to see my wonderful and amazing wife go through that pain.
"One more, Isabella, you can do it," I whispered encouragingly, earning a smile from Mother.
Three more pushes later and all went quiet for a moment until one of the most beautiful sounds graced my ears: the sound of our child.
"Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Cullen, you have a beautiful, little baby girl." Mrs. Cope grinned widely at us, and I heard Mother let out a little sob, but my eyes were focused on the small bundle that Mrs. Cope was holding in front of me.
My little girl was placed in my arms, but I could hardly see through my tears as she squirmed and wriggled in my arms.
"Oh, Isabella, she is beautiful," Mother cooed.
"Let me see her," Isabella whispered, and I carefully angled my body so that Isabella could see our baby.
"She has your hair, Edward, I am sure of it," Isabella murmured, and I could not help but lean forward and kiss her.
"Thank you, my beautiful wife," I sobbed, placing the baby in her waiting arms.
Elizabeth Renee Cullen was christened in the village church just a month after she was born and was the talk of the county when Alexandrina and Albert paid a quick visit to her on their way to Sandringham.
She indeed had my hair, the color and the messiness of it, but in all other instances, she was a little version of Isabella.
The other children were besotted with their new sister and Charles was proud to be a big uncle. They were, of course, asking when we would be having another child.
"Not anytime soon," Isabella laughed from her bed the morning after she had given birth.
Charlotte had pouted a little, but we knew that more children were to follow in the years ahead of us.
A lot was to come in our lives.
Happiness, some sorrow, but love was always there, holding us together as a family.
And it all began with Isabella, my farm girl, the love of my life, and the woman who hated to wear corsets, even around the Queen.
I'm not going to mark this as complete just yet. I had a couple of messages about possible outtakes and it's got me thinking lol. If you want to see a future take, please feel free to let me know.
On a personal note, to each and every one of you, yes, even LB/VD... Thank you for taking the time to read this. Out of all the stories that are on the site, to know that you have chosen mine to read means more than I can put into words.
And thank you, from all of my family, for your love and support while my brother went through his operation etc... Thank you, seriously, you have truly humbled me.
And to Rach - R.E. Hargave - My ever constant supoprt, your friendship means more than words can express. First you were my beta well over ten years ago. Then you became my best friend. Then, of course, you bullied me with my overused words and ly word issue when it came to publishing my original works. You are, simply put, everything to me. One day we will meet and hug the shit out of each other, even if I do have to fly across the pond (gulps).
Until very soon... Loves ya!