I promised this chapter would arrive in three weeks, you got it in less than two and a half...not too shabby. ;) Enjoy!
Once Riley's door closes behind me, I collapse against the wall, my eyes pinched shut. Though I know there's got to be a blush to my cheeks because I can feel the warmth, the rest of my skin is cool and clammy, and I'm definitely ready to vomit. Chicken salad food poisoning or…yeah, whatever it is… I'm ready to toss my cookies.
I cannot believe this is happening.
I storm out of Riley's building, get into my car, throw it in drive, and haul my ass off the base. Thankfully, I manage to do it without getting a speeding ticket even though my mind is all over the place. Splintered thoughts, taking me in a thousand different directions adding to the heat in my face and the churn of my stomach's contents.
Not one but two negative results five weeks ago told me I had nothing to worry about. I then immediately followed up with another Depo shot. The doctor suggested one week of back-up birth control, but Edward and I made sure to use condoms for almost two full weeks after my renewed shot because I was so paranoid. Our sexual activities were nowhere near as spontaneous during that time, but it was for our safety and our sanity.
Fat lot of good it did us, because apparently safety and sanity seem to be out the fucking window right now.
I'm pregnant…and for the moment, I'm angry and a little scared.
Angry that life is throwing us yet another curve ball that we clearly thought we'd dodged last month.
Angry and scared that I've allowed myself to drink without care when, if I had known I was pregnant, I wouldn't have had a single drop.
Angry and scared that I have chemicals running through my body to prevent pregnancy, and now a helpless barely-a-baby is having to battle against them in order to stay healthy.
God, please let this little peanut still be healthy.
But most of all, I'm angry that I'm not able to treasure this moment. Instead of crying tears of happiness, I have tears of shock and frustration running down my cheeks. I should be thrilled and laughing and hugging Edward and high as a kite on love and fresh air…but I'm not.
And I'm angry that I'm missing out on that happy.
These sucky feelings won't last; I know they won't. But I feel robbed right now. And there's nobody to blame. Typhoon Sanba is pretty much the only one who shoulders any responsibility here. If not for that damn storm shutting down everything on the bases for a solid week, I would've seen my calendar and been to my appointment.
But then again, without that storm, I wouldn't have had four and a half days of time alone with Edward. Time filled with passion and laughing and crying and intimacy and desire and communication and all-around perfection.
And now I have…this. I put my hand over my stomach, another tear rolling down my face. The dancing glint of the diamonds on my ring finger suddenly grounds me.
You're allowed to be upset right now, Bella. But tomorrow— and every day after that— need to be celebrated in the best of ways.
I pull into the carport of my apartment building, but decide to go for a walk to clear my head a bit. I really need Edward, but first I need to gather my thoughts before I unload on him a speech that will change our lives forever.
Not too much pressure or anything.
The next fifteen minutes of my life whiz by in a complete blur. After some ear-piercing squeals from Rose and Kalia, Riley steps up and yanks me into a bear hug. I'm pretty sure his hug is comprised of several different emotions, the first and foremost being the incredible relief that he's not about to be an uncle to his little eleven-year-old-not-quite-his-sister's baby.
"Major Dad, huh?" Emmett chuckles, offering what begins as a handshake but ends as a hug. "I'm happy for you, brother. When you do it, you really do it."
We all laugh at his choice of words, because it's no secret that in only six short months I've undergone an extreme makeover, taking me from perma-bachelor to ecstatically engaged father-to-be.
I apologize for running out on the evening, but I have to get to my girl and don't want to waste another second. I grab the test stick— which Rosalie has now put in a baggie— my cover, and keys while running out the door with a promise to let everyone know how Bella's doing after I check on her.
Out in the parking lot it really hits me.
She's pregnant…we're pregnant.
It seems surreal. I have a boatload of emotions running through my head right now, but oddly enough...considering my past hang-ups and those I still struggle with— I'm more excited than anything else. At this point, I'm guessing last month's pregnancy scare wasn't a scare at all. Maybe the tests just weren't accurate? I don't know enough about how it all works. I assume Bella can fill in the blanks, but for now I need to find her and tell her that we're going to be fine.
Though the thought of an unplanned pregnancy was a shock to the system at the time, the heart-to-heart we had several weeks ago about a baby wasn't as completely out of left field as she might've believed.
I still remember the conversation we had during our hike up Olomana on our first unofficial date back in May.
"You sure you're not daddy material, Captain Masen?"
"Honestly, I can't see it. If I don't want to commit to a wife, I certainly wouldn't want to just have a kid with any random girl …it's just not for me."
"Well, I hope you change your mind someday. I think you'd make a great daddy."
Ever since we found each other again, all I've thought about is making her mine forever, knowing in my heart that a perfect future with Bella includes having a family. I'm not paralyzed with fear anymore. I'm not allowing my demons to chase me away from love or commitment or the happiness that will come from watching Bella carry our child into this world.
I cherish my relationship with Bailyn. I was able to be there for almost every early milestone from birth to sitting up. I missed her first experience crawling by only two days, but I was there for her first steps and the appearance of her first tooth. I laughed and rolled around on the floor with her. I posed for endless pictures and never cared when she spit up all over my cammies or gave me slobbery kisses. It was fine because I cherish her.
Can I even begin to imagine what I'll do for my own baby? Nothing could possibly stop me from being everything that child will need me to be. To do anything and everything within my power for him or her to be happy, healthy and safe will be my life's work.
I need Bella to know that everything is going to be all right— that we are going to be all right. That even though this might be a little earlier than we planned, there's nothing about this news that doesn't thrill me.
I pass the PX as I approach the gate to leave the base but then quickly do a U-turn.
There's something I need before I see her.
"Babe?" I call out, walking into her quiet, darkened apartment. I hear nothing in response except the whirring from the refrigerator and the faint clicking of the second hand on the clementine wall clock I bought her last month. Tossing my keys on the kitchen island, I sidle through the living room and see her bedroom door partially closed.
She must be resting.
Pushing her door open, I find her bed empty and can see that the bathroom is dark as well.
Where the hell could she be? I saw her car downstairs.
Panic washes over me, but I take a deep breath and try to reel in my nerves.
The sound of amplified violins grabs my attention, tempting me to walk over to the sliding door of the balcony. I step out, seeing the amphitheater lit up with a crowd gathering as a little open-air concert begins. The sun is just starting to set on this unusually warm November evening.
I wish Bella was here. We could be lounging together, listening to a free concert.
Just then, a familiar petite figure moving along the seaside catches my eye.
Taking a walk on her own, probably drowning in her scattered thoughts and emotions. That's just like my girl.
Time to crash her party.
I find Bella sitting on the beach. I approach her slowly enough not to startle her, clearing my throat when I'm about ten feet away, hoping she doesn't jump out of her skin once I suddenly appear at her side.
She looks over her shoulder, and we lock eyes. A faint smile plays on her lips before she purses them and shrugs, realizing she's been figured out.
I sit down on the sand next to her with my arms propped up behind me, stretching my legs out and kicking one over the other. I playfully nudge our shoulders together. "Hey, beautiful."
Her fingers twist and dance around the shells and small translucent pebbles, while she wiggles her toes, dipping them down into the sand, then back up, causing the crystallized grains to fall between her painted toenails.
"Sorry I ran out of the party," she confesses sheepishly, her eyes trained on the mint green sea that laps at the shore several feet away.
I shake my head. "No big deal. We'll all be here for the next three years. There'll be plenty of barbeques." I reach into my breast pocket and pull out the test stick. Passing it to her, I continue, "Uhh, Riley found this in Kalia's bathroom trashcan." I pause for a moment, gauging her reaction. "Needless to say, you gave him quite a scare."
She swallows tightly, taking the test from me with a resigned nod. "A second test stick came in that box from last month, and I've been walking around with it tucked in my purse all this time. I don't know why," she huffs, seeming mystified. "Even though Mallory said she was feeling sick to her stomach after we both had that same lunch today, when I was at the party, I got this crazy feeling that it was more than just bad mayonnaise. Knowing I had the test available, I couldn't wait another minute to take it, so I did it at Riley's on a whim, hoping to just quell my anxiety." She shakes her head, inhaling another shuddery breath, looking back at the sea. "I seriously never thought I'd see a plus sign. My thoughts exploded in a hundred different directions and I just completely freaked." She twists her lips to the side with a shrug. "I had to get out of there. I only realized about ten minutes ago that I must've left the test behind. I went to look at the results again and when it wasn't in my purse, I got worried Riley or Kalia would find it." She sighs, her shoulders rolling forward, exhausted and burdened. "Is he okay?"
I can't help but chuckle. "Yeah, he's fine now that he knows he doesn't have to raise his dead fiancée's baby sister's love child."
Bella rubs her hand across her forehead. "Jesus. I'm batting a thousand today. I'm sure that gave him a heart attack and a half."
"A little one, yeah," I snort, wrapping my arm around her shoulder. She takes her rightful place and tips her head toward me.
"I'm so, so sorry, Edward."
I whip my head toward her. "What on earth for?"
"For this!" She waves the stick in the air. "For fast forwarding our lives when we're just getting started."
"Hey." I twist my body so that I'm facing her. "I'm not accepting an apology because there is nothing to be sorry about." I grab her hands. "Hey…look at me, Bella."
The tears that have been pooling in her eyes begin to spill over. One even makes a big splat on my hand that clasps hers.
"Do you know how fucking in love I am?"
She nods, her wrist coming up to swipe away her smudged eye make-up.
"Good. And do you have any idea how ready I am to be your husband?"
"Yes," she croaks through tears.
"Well then, if you know how much I love you and how ready I am to be your husband…you should know that I am just as ready to be a daddy to our baby."
She barks out a sound between a laugh and a cry.
"Bella," I whisper, moving my hand to her stomach, "I want this baby. I'm ready for this…I'm ready for all of it."
"Really?" Tear streaks stain her cheeks, but I kiss them away and move my hand behind her neck to keep our heads close.
"Yes, really." My mouth seeks out hers and we move together softly, our lips dusting back and forth. "Please, don't be sorry about this. It's alright to be sorry about a couple other things— like running away without talking to me first, or coming to the beach when you said you'd be going home."
I look at her with a raised eyebrow and she's properly chagrined.
"I'm still a bit of a lunatic when it comes to your safety, you know." I'm smiling through my chastising words. "And now that there's some additional precious cargo on board, I'm gonna be double the looney tune from here on out."
She rolls her eyes with a giggle. "Great. Just what we need. More regimented plans from crazy Daddy."
I cup her cheeks and kiss her hard.
"As long as we're on the same page." The jab I aim at myself has us both laughing, which is what we needed to break the tension. "And look, I have something for you."
I pass her the generic bag from the PX, but inside she finds a small, decorative yellow gift bag that has a giraffe on the front with three baby stacking blocks.
She lets out a deep breath, and her eyes find mine again.
"What did you do?"
I shrug. "I was in the mood to celebrate. Just open it."
She pulls out some tissue paper and unwraps the surprise.
"Oh, Edward," she gushes, "…for your little Hard Charger?"
I bark my Oorah at her, and we both grin brightly. She lays out the olive green onesie, the digital green cammie shorts and the matching cammie beanie on her lap. Suddenly she's crying all over again.
"I have to make sure my little Devil Dog has the proper uniform," I say, standing up, dusting off my pants, and reaching for her hand. "C'mere."
I pull her to her feet and wrap my arms around her small frame. "I love you, Isabella Newton soon-to-be Masen."
She sighs into my chest. "I love you."
We just stand there holding each other, as the sunset sends pink and purple streaks across the clouds. The reality of tonight's events flicker through my head, creating a smile I can't shake. A conversation I had with Riley months ago charges to the forefront of my mind, and I realize I need the rest of my life with her to start immediately.
"Wanna get married?"
She chuckles, tilting her head up to find my eyes. "We are getting married."
"I know, but sooner. Like…as soon as possible."
"What? I mean, next summer is pretty close, right? We have a lot to plan between now and then."
"And you'll be ready to pop with our baby next summer," I remind her. "We need to do this now."
"Now?" she shouts through a laugh. "You've lost your mind."
My eyes dart around, thinking of a perfect solution when the light bulb goes on.
"Christmas. Everyone will be here. Your family and mine, our friends and colleagues…let's just go for it."
Her face crinkles adorably. "You're serious?"
I nod, furiously. "Hell yes, I'm serious! You're carrying my baby. I want you—" I drag my palm along her middle again, "— both of you, all the time, starting yesterday."
She stands taller on her toes and kisses me with her soft lips. "Okay."
"Yeah," she sighs. "Make me Mrs. Masen. I am bearing your child, after all!"
I crack up at her snarky response and twirl her around on the sand before lifting her with my arms extended high in the air. I kiss her sundress-covered stomach and our little person tucked safely inside before lowering her back into my embrace and claiming her lips.
Soft and slow, just a few pecks and gentle swipes of the tongue. Uniform be damned, I need to kiss my girl. I can show her just how appreciative I am once we're back behind closed doors. For now though, on a public beach, I allow myself to get as lost as possible in this moment.
In this unforgettable moment, when Bella promised me she'll be mine before the year is out.
"Okay, you two, here's the deal." Dr. Epperly, my newly assigned obstetrician at the Foster Naval Hospital, takes a seat across from Edward and me. "You're definitely pregnant this time around, based on your blood work. Last month, when you took that home pregnancy test and then another with your doctor at the Kinser clinic, it was just way too soon to detect the hCG hormones. "
Edward squeezes my hand hearing this news, and my stomach flip-flops with nervous excitement.
"The lab just sent up the results, and I'm seeing all good numbers, so that's the first positive check in the box." She turns to me. "Bella, I understand you told the nurse that your periods haven't been reliable enough for us to calculate your due date."
I'm nodding along with her explanation, and Edward just continues to grip my hand, looking on, ever the vigilant Marine, probably memorizing all the information she dishes out.
"Because you've been protected since your renewed injection, we're going to assume that you conceived in those couple of days where your shot was no longer effective."
"Yes, that's what I figured as well."
A few keystrokes on her laptop later she announces, "So, we're looking at the first week of July for your due date… maybe the third or fourth of the month."
I smile at Edward who responds with a smirk. "Talk about fireworks."
The doctor and I giggle at Edward's quip while she gets settled at the foot of the bed to perform the internal ultrasound.
Moments later, the room fills with the womp womp womp of our little one's strong heartbeat.
I look over at Edward to find him shaking his head and smiling. "God, that sound is fucking incredible," he whispers in wonder. His amazement at this tiny life we've created makes me love him more than I ever thought possible.
We watch the monitor in silence while the doctor and the technician take their measurements, labeling some of the noteworthy parts.
"This all looks great, Bella. And we're on target for the fourth of July. You're officially seven weeks and five days pregnant."
I take a deep breath and smile. "Okay. Does everything seem…healthy so far? I'm really worried about that last Depo shot."
The doctor shakes her head dismissing my fears. "Well, in my experience, my two previous patients who happened to conceive while on Depo gave birth to healthy babies without complication. But, of course, we'll get more definitive results when we do your quad screen at week sixteen."
"Doctor," Edward starts, needing to clear his throat before he tries again, "what about Bella's cervical incompetence?"
Dr. Epperly removes her gloves and grabs my hand, helping to pull me up into a sitting position. Edward leaps to his feet to help as well.
"This next month should be without incident, but of course you'll keep us aware if you're having any cramping or bleeding. Just after you hit fourteen weeks, we'll do the cerclage, which will stay in place until week thirty-eight."
"Cerclage?" My sweet Edward.
"Just a fancy word for a few stitches in Bella's cervix," Dr. Epperly responds with a smile.
Edward cringes, causing me to stifle a giggle. "Any other precautions we need to take?"
"For now, no. Once you hit your second trimester, we'll monitor you closely and make sure your baby is progressing safely. Just always remember to listen to your body and get as much rest as possible. Once the cerclage is placed, you'll be restricted from any heavy lifting for the duration of the pregnancy. That I can guarantee." She closes down her computer before casually adding, "Oh, and condoms will be a necessity during intercourse."
I must mirror Edward's look, because my mouth is hanging open, too. Dr. Epperly chuckles at our reactions.
"Sorry, kids. Ejaculate contains prostaglandins, which stimulate the cervix. And of course our goal is to make sure nothing gets premature labor going until you're far enough along to deliver safely. You're okay for now, but after your cerclage goes in, you'll definitely have to use condoms."
He and I lock eyes, and I shrug while Edward mutters, "Bummer," causing me to snort.
"Okay," I answer, my voice filled with renewed confidence. "Sounds like we've got a plan in place which I know makes you happy, or at least part of it." I poke Edward in his side as I stand up.
He dips down to give me a peck. "You know me so well."
"Thanks, Dr. Epperly," we both chime in unison.
"Congratulations to both of you. We'll see you back in four weeks."
Now that our stomachs are busting from the Thanksgiving feast we all prepared together, it's time to sit back and relax. The girls are lounging in the living room watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade live from New York City. Our tryptophan comas are kicking in since it's after nine at night here in Okinawa, and we basically ate our weight in turkey and all the trimmings throughout the afternoon, not to mention the spread of desserts that we managed to find room for. Needless to say, I think I brought the definition of gluttonous to a new level.
I pulled Riley aside earlier today and said I needed to talk to him and Emmett about the wedding. He seemed fine with it, but I'm still unsure. I can't imagine what all this celebration must be like for his heart. As thrilled as I am, it seems like piss-poor timing and I don't want to hurt him anymore than life already has. The thought that I could be causing my best friend further pain completely turns my stomach.
With the girls inside enjoying the show, I figure this is the right time.
"So, clear your calendars for the twenty-ninth of December. Bella and I set the date for the wedding," I announce, handing Emmett and Riley beers from the cooler.
"I'll try to move some things around," Emmett snarks, tapping his bottle to mine as I take a seat.
Riley twists the cap off his and chucks it at the bucket in the corner of the deck. He catches me watching him and gives me a wistful smile. "Cheers, man. I'm happy for you."
He clinks the neck of his brew to mine and I nod. "Thank you."
"Have you told your mom yet?"
"No, Bella and I are Skyping with our families tomorrow. Should be interesting." I laugh, thinking about their possible reactions. "I mean, I know they'll be happy. Bella's dad appreciated when I called him asking for his blessing before I proposed. I think they'll just be a little shocked that we're tying the knot now rather than next summer. But then again, last they all knew, it was just the two of us. The baby entering the mix changes everything."
"Ehh," Emmett scoffs, "you know Bailyn's gonna flip at the thought of a being a big cousin. And Momma Liz and Laur will be over the moon."
I smile, knowing he's right. "So my next question is…will you guys stand up for me?"
"Pshhh, you got it, brother," Em responds without faltering, but Riley remains quiet.
I'm hesitant, but ask anyway. "Ri, will you be okay with that?"
He nods cautiously, taking a pull from his beer. "Of course I am. I was the one who told you to go after Bella, right?" he jokes. "If I wanted you to be single and miserable like me, I never would've kicked your ass that day."
We chuckle and roll our eyes, remembering what a disaster I was after Bella left Hawaii.
"But seriously, I'm not going to begrudge you the happiness you and Bella deserve after finding each other again and now with a baby on the way. Life goes on, right? Nalani would skin me alive if she saw me pissed off and unable to be happy for our friends." He shrugs, his eyes glassy. "She's been gone for four months, and I'm sad every single day…but I have to believe that the pain will lessen as time goes by. I can't be frustrated and jealous every time something goes right for somebody else. That's no way to live."
Emmett and I stay silent, letting Riley talk it out. He hasn't been this vocal since he got to the island last month.
"Today's Thanksgiving and even though missing her is killing me, I truly am thankful for that little girl in there. No bullshit. She's just as heartbroken as I am, and she doesn't smile nearly as much as she used to…but she's saving my life. Every single day, no matter how insignificant, I find myself thanking God or Nalani or whoever's watching out for us, for sending us a brief moment of levity. Some days I don't want to get out of bed, but I do it for her." He nods his head toward the living room. "I can't imagine what I'd be doing if I didn't have her as my main focus.
"So of course I'll be right next to you the day you get married. Happiest day of your life, E. Wouldn't miss it for the world."
"I'm so glad I was able to eat Thanksgiving dinner. I really haven't been feeling nauseous since we found out." Bella drops her keys on the counter and kicks off her sandals. "Maybe this baby is going to be really good to me, and I won't have any more days of morning sickness."
I wrap my arms around her from behind and drop a kiss on her neck. "Were you sick the first time?"
"Umm, not too bad. But it definitely wasn't just restricted to mornings. That much I remember. Usually just an "any time of the day" general feeling of ickiness."
"Well, my baby is not going to make you feel icky." I drop to my knees in front of Bella to have a conversation with her belly. "Hear that, Warfighter? No making Mommy feel icky."
Bella runs her fingers over my head with a giggle, and I look up. "Pretty sure I just heard the baby say, 'Roger that, Daddy.'"
"I can't believe you're going to be a daddy."
I kiss my way up her body until I'm standing again, and I pull her close. "Thanks to you."
"And Typhoon Sanba."
We both laugh, falling onto the bed together. Bella immediately kneels and licks her lips, going for my belt buckle.
"I've been thinking about this all day, Major."
I quirk my brow, trying to play it cool, but yeah, she's got my heart racing. "Have you, now?"
She nods with a mischievous smile. "Mhmm."
"Well, carry on, then," I say with a dip of my chin, unable to contain my grin. I tuck my arms under my head, ready to watch the show.
She quickly rids me of my pants and socks. My hard-on needs little encouragement as she squirms on my lap, pulling me up to take my shirt off. When all that remains are my boxers, Bella slides off the bed and yanks her dress off right over her head. Bra gone, panties are no more, hair down around her shoulders leaving only the sparkling diamonds I put on her finger two weeks ago.
She's fucking perfection and I tell her so.
I reach my hand out for her to hold while she straddles my legs again before leaning down and teasing my lips with hers.
"I love you," she whispers in between sensual, lingering wet kisses. "And I can't wait to marry you."
I groan when she trails her mouth along my chest, teasing my nipples as she goes. Her breasts add to my exploding senses as they dust and slide along my ribs, tickling me in their journey south. Her hands wander down and dip inside my boxers finding my dick ready and willing for the special attention only she can give.
My girl looks up with a sultry smile before tugging away the last of my clothing. Wrapping her fingers around my shaft, she positions herself between my legs and licks me hard up to the head, engulfing me in her hot, slick mouth.
"Oh, fuck baby," I pant. "It's so goddamn wrong to say it back right now, but—" the suction is incredible, "fuck, I love you, too."
She snickers but doesn't stop licking and sucking me into her throat, sliding her tongue all around me. Her other hand is massaging my sack when I feel my cock hit the back of her mouth, and she gags a bit.
"Shit, are you all right?"
Without pausing, she continues bobbing her head up and down, giving me my answer.
Yes, my girl is more than fine.
"Baby, you're driving me wild but I don't wanna come like this tonight…c'mere…please?" She pulls up one last time with such force I swear I'm going to bust a nut right then, but I manage to keep it together. She smiles and repositions herself over me, and I sit up to meet her, needing her lips on mine again.
"There you are," I moan, kissing her hard while she sinks down.
We groan together as I start thrusting up while Bella rolls her hips in response. My head lolls back at first because she feels so fucking fantastic, but I need her lips before long. I nip at her breasts, licking and flicking at her nipples, sucking the warm flesh into my mouth, relishing the sounds of her passionate cries.
It's not long before her walls are pulsing around me, and I slink my hand between us to rub her clit.
"Yesss, oh yes, Edward!" She shudders as I roll us backward and increase my pounding, my hips jerking, plunging into her until I'm coming with a growl.
A few minutes later, cleaned up and nestled against my side, Bella glances at the clock on her night stand and giggles.
"What's on your mind, Clementine?"
"I just realized it's the twenty-third."
"Okay…and why is that funny?" I ask, my fingers tracing a pattern along her back.
"Six months ago today you called me in my hotel room to ask if I wanted to spend the day with you."
I smile and hold her tighter. "Boy, am I glad I made that call."
She props herself up on her elbow, shaking her head in disbelief. "Six months, Captain Crunch." She squirms when I tickle her side at the use of my old nickname. "Thanks for not holding that bloody nose against me."
I wink back at her. "Ehhh, you have our whole life together to make up for it," I deliver, smiling.
With a kiss and a hum, she manages to have my heart beating even faster. "With pleasure, sir."
Cammies - slang term for camouflage uniform the Marines wear.
PX - postal exchange. Mall-like store on Marine Corps bases. Carries everything from toiletries to housewares to electronics to clothing. Its size varies depending on the size of the base on which it's stationed, but if you're in a bind, the PX can often come through.
"Oorah" - battle cry of the Marines.
Hard Charger, Devil Dog, Warfighter - all are slang terms and nicknames for Marines.
A/N: Everything's falling into place for our favorite couple. The end is in sight, friends. I'm thinking three official chapters are left. If I get wordy, that number could fluctuate, but not by much. It won't be easy to hit the complete button on this one. *shrugs* This is the life I know and love. Major Spearward has carved his own little fictional Eagle, Globe and Anchor-shaped space into my already USMC-loving heart.
I'm donating a chapter to the Toys for Tots Christmas Wishes Fandom Compilation. It will be the Skyping session between Bailyn and Bella & Edward of when they first told her they'd gotten back together and that she and the family are going to get to meet them in Okinawa at Christmastime. Absolutely fantastic and stunning banner made by the incomparable CaraNo for this outtake. Love that lady hard. Come to the Cabana to check it out! If you'd like to donate, please go to www*christmaswishescompilation*blogspot*com. Donations will be accepted through December 24th. The compilation goes out on the 25th.
So much love and thanks for Team Cabana: LaMomo, Born, Cejsmom and Jules. Their eyes spiffy this place up so nicely, but I still tweek...so ultimately all mistakes are always mine.
I didn't get to all my review replies, but I got a decent chunk of them done...I'm trying, I swear! My Toys for Tots outtake is due on the 15th, so the next chapter might take the same 2-3 week time frame this one took.
I forgot to say thank you in the last update, but holy cow...TotS was voted 2nd place for Favorite Drop Everything And Read Fic in the TwiFic Fandom Awards. Many thanks for those who cast their vote my way. It was an incredible honor to be selected among so many wonderful choices.
And a final HUMONGOID thank you to my faithful readers. I appreciate you all so much, you'll never know. For those who take the time to leave me their thoughts in reviews, I love seeing what you think of the chapters and what the characters are thinking and doing. Alerters, favoriters, tweeters and pimpers...love, love, love and thanks.