Massive thank youto BookwormBaby2580 and MelissaMargaret for beta'ing.
Thanks, Kelley, Marita, and twicrazreader for pre-reading.
Small disclaimer: I do not own 'Twilight' or any characters from it. I just play with them.
"Shhh, Little Man," I soothed, rubbing his small belly as he rested on my knees in the recliner. "Let's give Mommy a little more sleep, okay?"
It was just past four in the morning and I was wide awake with Owen. Bella had fed him about an hour ago, but he'd been a little fussy since. He wasn't screaming, but he certainly wasn't peaceful, either. She was exhausted, so I tried everything I could to keep him calm. He seemed to like the belly rubbing, at least.
Though he came into this world hours ago, I was still in awe of my son. I was a father again and this time to a little boy — a boy I wanted to keep safe, happy, and healthy. He was so small on the pillow over my legs, swaddled in blankets to keep his temperature regulated while he wasn't on Bella. I couldn't believe he was actually here. It felt like some incredible dream that I was holding him after so many months.
"God, you look like your mom," I said. "You've got her lips, I think. You just . . . you're so much like the both of us. I need you to be calm and caring like her, though, all right? She's got this air about her, you know? She can just make things better. I guess that's probably why you're fussy, but she needs some sleep, too. She's been through a lot."
Bella had been through hell, actually. She'd been scared to death, restricted, poked and prodded, and cut open because of this pregnancy. But I knew she'd do it again just for him — she'd said so. She looked at the terrifying possibilities with a brave face, completely sure our son would be fine.
Her strength was incredible.
"I was so sure you'd be a girl," I laughed, lifting him from the pillow and laying him against my chest as he squirmed to find his comfortable spot. "I kind of even thought the ultrasounds would turn out to be wrong. It was pretty much impossible after how many times we'd seen you, but the thought crossed my mind. I'm so happy to have a son, though I'm thrilled to have a daughter, too. My father never forced me to be like him, but I wanted to be. I looked at him as if he were a damn superhero because to me, he was.
"I hope you'll look at me like that someday. I hope I make you proud, like I am of my dad. I never want to let you down, and I'll never force you to be like me. But . . . surgeons run in the family, you know," I joked as he gave an unamused gurgle. "Whatever you do in life, I'll be proud of. That's my promise to you, Owen. I'll take care of you, I'll keep you safe, and I'll love you — no matter what."
I kissed his head over the hat and rubbed his back as he squirmed in my arms. He didn't care what I said. He wouldn't remember it. I needed to say it, though, and I planned to repeat it often and show him my love, just like I did for Little One.
I really wished she were here right now, curled into my side. I couldn't wait until I could take my family home and we'd all be together. Sofia loved Owen already. When she'd held him for the second time, she did even better. Hell, she seemed more comfortable with him than I did. The fact that not a sliver of jealously was evident made me so fucking happy. We'd prepared her for this, explained time and time again that our love for her wouldn't change, and I think that made this easier for her. She wasn't the center of attention for once, but she didn't give a shit.
She was just as captivated by Owen as the rest of us.
Raising one kid wasn't simple in the slightest, so I had no clue how this would go. I could see jealousy in the future and bickering, but I could also see happiness. Our family had grown last night, and the road wouldn't be easy, but I knew it'd be worth it.
Being a father was what I was meant for and I thanked God that Sofia had fallen into my life so abruptly. I owed this feeling of knowing my place in the world to her, to Bella, and to every wrong turn that had led me here.
"Are you in pain?" I asked, trying to help Bella get a little more comfortable for nursing. I stuffed pillows everywhere, trying to support her sore abdomen as she laid on her side.
"I'm okay," she said as I cocked my brow. "Okay . . . I'm sore. I did just have my stomach cut open, though."
"Do you want to lie flat?"
She shook her head as she tried to get Owen to latch. "No, I want to try like this. I'm fine, Edward. I've got pain medicine."
Honestly, I was feeling a little useless, but it wasn't like I could do much. Owen needed Bella, and Bella needed Owen. I just couldn't stand seeing my wife in pain, which she clearly was. Sighing softly, I sat down in the chair beside the bed and watched as she fed him.
"Dad and Sofia should be here soon," I said, reaching out to rub Owen's back. "Charlie should be here with your stuff, too."
She nodded, laying her head against the pillow. "Thank you for staying up with him. I'm sorry I'm a little moody."
"I think you have a right to be," I chuckled. "It's kind of difficult to turn off the doctor, I guess."
"Eh, I'm sure we'll be calling on those skills soon enough." She smiled. "You've been great, really. I was able to sleep and I haven't changed a single diaper! You keep that up and I might just get used to it."
"It's like riding a bike. And I haven't even used gloves." I smirked.
She laughed. "I'd clap, but my hands are full."
As Owen nursed and she rested her eyes again, my phone dinged in my pocket. I pulled it out, finding a text from Dad that he and Sofia were here. To not startle Sofia with the whole, boobs-on-display thing yet, I asked him to give us a few more minutes. Bella had explained a little, but I figured a demonstration wasn't required.
"Are you sure he's still all right?" Bella asked. "How long will he have to stay?"
I shrugged. "If he keeps doing so well, I wouldn't be surprised if they send you both home together. His lungs are perfectly developed, he's done great with his body temperature, and all of his tests have come back perfect. Honestly, I think you might have been off with your due date."
"How? I've had a billion ultrasounds!"
"But your first wasn't until after eight weeks, so it can be a little off. It's a good thing. He's definitely early, but you were probably thirty-six weeks instead of thirty-five. Some babies just do better than others being born early. He was ready."
She nodded, laying her hand over mine on his back. "Well, I don't even care as long as he's okay. Can we just call him incredible, though?"
"Yeah, we can do that," I chuckled. "How's he doing?"
She looked down at him with a smile. "I think he's almost done. Tell your dad he can bring Sofia in. I miss my baby girl."
"Me too, Nibbles," I said, pulling my phone back out and texting him.
As soon as Bella had adjusted herself again and her nurse had finished checking on her, there was another knock on the door. Bella called out and the door swung open as Little One bounced in with Dad and Charlie right behind her.
"We found Gampy in the hall!" Sofia said as I swung her onto my hip. "Hi, Daddy!"
"Hey, baby girl," I said, kissing her cheek. "I love you."
"Love you, too. Gampy's got Owen's clothes. Can I pick his outfit, please?"
Bella laughed softly, nodding. "Yeah, sweetie, you can do that. Come here first."
She patted the bed and I set Sofia down so she could hug Bella. She quickly kissed her brother's head, patting his back. "Hi, Owen. Does he 'member me?"
"I'm sure he knows your voice," I said as I took the bags from Charlie. "Thanks for stopping and picking these up."
He nodded. "No problem. I gotta get to the station for a little while, but I was wondering if I could bring Sue later?"
"Of course," Bella said. "Rose and Emmett are coming by after lunch, so maybe around dinnertime so it's not too crowded? I want her to hold him, but he was getting a little fussy being passed around a lot last night."
Between Sofia, my parents, Charlie, and Alice and Jasper, Owen had been like a fucking hot potato last night. Rose and Emmett decided to come today so it wasn't crowded, which I was actually pretty thankful for. I wanted my sister and brother-in-law to meet my son, but he wasn't going anywhere. Alice and Jasper only stayed for about ten minutes last night, so I knew they'd be coming by again at some point, too.
"Yeah, that works," Charlie said, stepping up to Bella's bedside. "He looks like you, you know."
"He looks like Edward," she said, shaking her head. "But . . . I have a little hope for our eyes. Brown will totally beat green."
"Sad, but most likely true," Dad said. "Or he could keep blue eyes like me. He needs a little Pawpaw, if you ask me."
I chuckled. "Watch his hair turn blond now."
"No! I like my red-headed babies," Bella giggled, rubbing Sofia's back. "I swear they're the cutest kids in the world."
"That's true," Charlie said. "Pumpkin heads galore because of Edward. I'm going to head out, all right?"
She nodded, lifting her arm to embrace him. "Thanks for coming by. Love you, Dad."
"Love you too, Bells."
After saying goodbye, Charlie left but Dad stuck around. He quickly managed to coax Bella into giving him Owen, and held him hostage for over a half hour while Bella cleaned up and Sofia watched cartoons.
"I'm so proud of you, Edward," he said, rocking with Owen on his chest. The kid was passed out and I was a little — a fucking lot — jealous. My parents were still baby whisperers. "He seems to be doing amazingly well."
I nodded. "Yeah, it . . . it feels like a miracle. Thank you."
"So . . . you didn't want to name him Carlisle?" He smirked. "It's a strong name, you know."
"Sorry, but hell no. Honestly, I liked most of the names Bella picked because we had one rule — not Edward. She was a little worried about naming him after Charlie and not you, though."
He shook his head. "I was kidding. I wouldn't wish my name on any kid nowadays. I like Charles — it fits. As long as he's a Cullen, I'm happy. He's beautiful and his name is perfect."
"You know . . . I wanted a son so that I could be the father to him that you were to me. I've always wanted to be like you, even now that I'm thirty-five and have two kids of my own."
"I made mistakes, son. If I could go back and be there for you more, I would. We share the same passion about being surgeons, but I don't want you to get so wrapped up in it like I did. Be home. Go to games. Do homework. Promise me that?"
I nodding, smiling. "That's my plan. Forks surgical department isn't too strenuous and I've already decided I'll never go for chief of staff. I like being a surgeon in Forks. Giving your position to Emmett was the best thing you ever did for me. It was right."
"It wasn't a decision I made lightly, so thank you for understanding." He sighed, and his eyes softened. "Lives change, priorities change, and I'm just glad you're happy. That's all I ever wanted for my kids."
"I'm the happiest man in the world," I said, looking between Sofia and Owen. "I'm a dad."
After Bella was cleaned up and we spent some time together, Dad left with a promise to return with Mom in a few hours. Sofia sat in my lap in the recliner, which was pulled up right next to the bed. After nursing again — as Bella explained it to her — Little One picked out the onesie she wanted Owen to wear and then held him. He was alert and she kept saying he was looking at her. Her grin was fucking priceless, so if she wanted to believe that, she could. He may have been, after all.
"Can I bring him to show and tell?" she asked, looking up at Bella. "You wanna show him to everyone, wight?"
"I'll bring him to school in a few weeks," Bella said, trying not to laugh. "I don't think your brother is really show and tell material, though."
"But I'd have the best show and tell in the whole class! How about you think about it?"
I smirked, chuckling at her refusal of 'no'. The kid wasn't going to be a show and tell item, but I knew Bella would happily show him off at school soon anyway.
"I'll think about it," Bella said. "Can Daddy take him to check if he needs to be changed?"
Little One nodded and I carefully scooped Owen into my arms to lay him on the bed. Unsurprisingly, his diaper was dirty and fucking disgusting, but I changed it for Bella without complaint. She'd get her turn eventually, and I knew my little man wouldn't go easy on her either.
"He's wide-eyed," I said, lifting him back up and holding him to my chest. I kissed his cheek as he gurgled contentedly, snuggling against me. "So, now are you all right with a brother instead of a sister?"
Sofia shrugged and smiled. "He's okay. If the bow is blue, can I put it in his hair?"
"No," I laughed, sitting down on the foot of the bed. "He's a boy, so no bows, no pink, no sparkly crap, and don't even think about painting his nails. See, bud? I got your back."
"He might like pink," Bella said. "It is a pretty color."
I rolled my eyes, shaking my head. "If he likes pink, fine, but while he can't talk, I win this."
"Well, you just gotta have a girl next time," Sofia said matter-of-factly.
Fuck no, I thought. Bella and I had decided on no more kids, and I was perfectly happy with that. I had all I needed and probably more than I could handle, so Little One would just have to deal.
"We'll see." Bella smirked, holding her arms out as I passed him to her. "They are kind of addicting, after all."
"Traitor," I mouthed as she laughed, peppering his head with kisses.
"And they smell incredible," she added.
I looked over at the trash can, scoffing. "Yes . . . they smell great."
To give Bella and Owen some peace and quiet before our next round of visitors, I took Sofia down the street to a diner for lunch. Though I wasn't entirely happy with leaving, I did want some alone time with my little girl. She'd been so incredible through this, so I fully intended to let her have however much ice cream she could eat.
Which was surprisingly more than you'd think.
"So, what do you really think of Owen?" I asked as she shoveled another spoonful of her fudge sundae into her mouth. "Life's going to be different now, but he'll never be more important than you."
"I know, Daddy. I love him already and I know he loves me too. He smiled at me!" She grinned.
I didn't dare dash her belief of that, so I just nodded in agreement. "Just wait until he can talk, Little One. Nothing made me happier than the first time you called me 'dada' and meant it."
"Isn't Owen your little one now?"
"Not a chance, baby." I shook my head, creasing my brow. "You'll always be my little one — whether you're six or sixty. Owen doesn't change that, I promise."
"Good." She smiled as fudge dripped down her chin, making me laugh. I wasn't sure she could be any fucking cuter, to be honest. "I like being your little one, even though I'm a big sister now. I'm gonna be the best big sister ever."
"Oh, I have no doubts about that. Things will get back to normal once we get home. Well, our new normal, I guess."
"Do I hafta go to school Monday?"
I shook my head. "Nah, one day won't hurt, I guess. But you have to go Tuesday, all right? Hopefully Mommy and Owen will come home soon."
"Yay! she giggled, bouncing in her seat. "I really hope they do because I want to show him my stuff."
"Stuff, huh? Are you planning on sharing?"
"Duh! That's what big sisters do. I'm gonna help Mommy take care of him, too."
My heart felt like it could explode with my love for this little girl. I was so worried about her feeling left out or replaced, but I guess Bella and I must have done something right — probably Bella, to be fair. Little One seemed to make parenting easy sometimes with how quickly she adjusted, and I thanked God for that. She'd probably make up for going easy on me now with her teenage years — which I tried very hard not to think about.
"You're already the best big sister in the world, baby girl." I smiled as I stole her spoon from her, receiving the dirtiest look possible.
Apparently sharing was limited to her brother.
"You are going to break hearts, little boy," Rosalie said, caressing Owen's chubby cheek. "Watch you give your daddy a run for his money."
"Well, I mean, that's obvious," I laughed. "Girls will love him, just like they do me — like father like son."
Bella groaned, throwing her head back. "God, no. Don't even start talking about that! He's mine."
"Ben has three girlfriends already, and he's only in the second grade," Emmett laughed. "It drives Rose nuts, but I think it's hilarious. He's quite the ladies man."
As I looked around the room, listening to the conversation about our children, I couldn't help but remember just a few years ago. If you'd asked me then if this would ever happen, I'd have laughed in your face. It just seemed too fucking bizarre that this was our reality, but it also felt so right.
"So, um . . ." Alice said from her seat beside Bella, twiddling her thumbs. "We kind of have an announcement, and it seems like a good time to finally spill the beans."
"You've been approved for adoption?" Bella asked with a grin, reaching out for her best friend's hand.
Alice shook her head, smiling as tears filled her eyes. "No, but . . . I'm thirteen weeks pregnant."
"Holy shit," I said, looking at Jasper. "You didn't tell me?"
"I wasn't allowed to," he said. "We didn't want to tell people and then have something happen, you know?"
I nodded, smiling as I clasped my hand over his shoulder. "Congratulations, man. This is incredible."
"Alice," Bella cried. "I'm so mad you didn't tell me! But god, this is great! I'm so happy for you!"
Alice wiped her tears, leaning in to hug my wife. "I've wanted to tell you since I first found out, but . . . you know."
They'd suffered through three miscarriages before turning to adoption, so I wasn't surprised they'd waited until after the first trimester to announce. They'd both wanted nothing more than a family of their own, but it just didn't seem like a possibility. The losses had killed them both, so the fact that it was finally successful . . . it was incredible.
"I know, Alice," Bella said. "So, were you trying?"
Jasper shook his head. "We'd given up, you know? This just came at the perfect time."
"What about adoption?" Rosalie asked, passing Owen to Emmett.
"We're not withdrawing our application," Alice said. "We want a big family and adoption is such an incredible thing, so we decided not to change our minds."
"That's wonderful," I said. "I'm so happy for you both. You deserve it, and so much more."
"Thank you," Alice said, smiling. "Now, I want that baby, Emmett."
"I just got him!" he groaned.
After a good hour of passing our son back and forth, everyone slowly left with a promise to stop in once more before we were discharged. We spent the next few hours trying to get some sleep, but around four, Owen's pediatrician stopped in to check on him. He said our son was doing incredible, but he wanted to keep him for a few days — which would most likely coincide with Bella's release. He was still doing great, but the doctor didn't want to take any chances, and I was perfectly fine with that.
Just moments after the pediatrician left, Charlie and Sue came through the door . . . with a shitload of food. I couldn't be sure, but I was pretty certain Bella was drooling as the smell wafted through the room.
"I've heard rumors that hospital food doesn't always taste good, so I wanted to bring you a home cooked meal," Sue said, handing a container to Bella. "Charlie said you love lasagna, so I hope you like this."
"Oh my god, it looks delicious!" Bella said, sniffing the damn container and moaning. "You didn't have to do this."
Sue shrugged, smiling. "I wanted to. So . . . may I hold him?"
"Yes, of course!" she said. "Edward, give her the baby."
"You're trading our son for lasagna, huh?" I smirked, gently passing him to Sue. "That's cold, Nibbles."
She rolled her eyes, stabbing a fork into the food. "He's on loan, is all. Now, excuse me while I devour this."
"There's plenty for everyone, Edward," Sue said. "I promise I won't kidnap him, though . . . it is tempting. He's gorgeous, you guys."
"I've got cute grandkids," Charlie said, grinning as I sat down and helped Sofia with her food.
While we ate, Sue and Charlie got more acquainted with Owen and the old man looked ready to steal the kid from her at one point. Compared to the other visits, this was just nice and relaxing — and the food was fucking delicious. Sue and Bella had gotten closer since they announced their engagement, and it made me so fucking happy to see everything falling into place with our lives.
Life was good . . . it was more than I could ever dream of.
A/N: So, just one more chapter! I really can't believe this is almost over, and I'm not giving an exact date of when I'll update next. The last chapter is halfway done, but it's harder to finish than I thought it'd be. Hopefully, it'll be up in about two weeks again. I just want to take my time and make it perfect.
Thank you all so much for reading and reviewing!
Also, I posted a new story last week called The Second Time Around, and I just posted chapter two. It's another daddyward and doctorward! You can find it on my profile if you're interested.