A/N: Well.. CullensTwiMistress asked for a future take.. and well.. who am I to deny my Twifey what she asks for- especially since this was a story all for her. So here ya go my dear... I love ya hardcore bb!
Much thanks to Twiddler83 for her help with plot and pre-reading and to the always wonderful Midnight Cougar for getting this bad boy beta'd in no time!
Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight... but thats ok.. I'm still cool! ENJOY! I hope you like it Missy! *mwah*
9 Months Later
My heart was pounding in my chest and my mind going a million miles a minute. Everything was happening so fast, I wasn't sure if I was ready. But like it or not, I had to be. I watched anxiously as the nurses fluttered around Bella. Her small trembling hand was in mine and I tried to soothe her even though I felt less than calm inside. When another contraction hit, she squeezed my hand and curled into herself.
"Don't push," reminded the nurse as she eyed the fetal monitor.
"I'm trying not to," panted Bella, frustration and fear laced her words.
"Hang on for just a little longer. In no time this will be over and we will have our baby." She looked up at me, her brown eyes so tired from the ten hours of labor she had endured only to need an emergency C-section. The baby's heart rate indicated it was in distress as it never went back down to normal after a contraction, and when she tried to push it went dangerously high. The doctor feared that the cord might be wrapped around the neck and wanted to get the baby out soon.
We hadn't prepared for this outcome. We expected and wanted a normal birth, but the circumstances were out of our hands. I needed to find some way to be strong for Bella. When the last of the IV's were set up and meds were pushed through her system, they wheeled her to the operating room. I whipped off my clothes off and rushed to put on the scrubs they had provided for me. I practically pushed aside the nurse who was leading me to the OR in my haste to get to Bella.
The sight of her covered in blue draping cloths stunned me. I hesitated as I took in the busy hum of the room. One side the nurses were waiting for the baby to be born, another doctor was by Bella's head monitoring her anesthesia and last, there was the doctor and nurses that were busy cutting her open to get to the baby. It was almost too much and I wanted to cry in fear and anxiety, but when Bella swung her head in my direction, her eyes wide with fear, I knew I had no time to wallow in my own concerns.
The anesthesiologist motioned to the chair on the other side of him and I sat down, eager to be close to Bella.
"You can hold that hand, but don't touch anything else. Stay on this side of the blue curtain." I nodded to let him know I heard him, but I kept my focus on Bella. Her hand was cool and there was a slight tremble to it.
"How are you doing, baby?" I brushed a kiss across her knuckles just to have something to do.
"Fine, nervous. All I feel is pulling and tugging. It's a weird feeling." She gave me a small smile and I gave her one back.
"Everything is going to be fine, I can feel it. Just think, in a few minutes we will meet either our son or daughter."
It wasn't our choice not to know, but every ultrasound either the legs were closed or the baby had their back to us. Bella commented that it was already stubborn and it hadn't been born. When I commented it was just like her, I got smacked. We had a room full of green and yellow clothes and accessories waiting for us. Bella was not amused that we had to resort to neutral colors. I promised her that I would repaint the room later in the summer. It appeased her for the meantime.
"I can see the baby," stated the doctor by her belly. My attention shifted from my memories to the head I saw over the blue curtain. I felt Bella squeeze my hand and I looked to see nerves replaced with excitement.
"You may feel some extra pressure, Bella. I have to pull the baby out of the birth canal." I watched as Bella's face scrunched up.
"Are you in pain?" I asked and then I looked to the anesthesiologist.
"No, it just feels weird; I can feel the pulling but it doesn't hurt."
There were low murmurs and a flurry of activity by her abdomen. "I see the head. The cord was wrapped around twice, but the baby looks pink so that is a good sign. Cutting the cord now and we have a… boy."
The doctor held up a slimy looking thing that was covered in the grossest crap I had ever seen. But none of that mattered because it was my son she was holding up.
"Oh, my God! It's a boy, Bella! We have a son." I kissed her forehead and when I looked up the baby was gone.
"Where is he?" I asked.
"He's in the corner. Go check him out, Edward," replied Bella through her tears. "Make sure he's okay."
With one final kiss, I made my way over to the corner where two nurses were busy cleaning him. I watched in fascination as the slime gave way to wrinkled pink skin. I counted his fingers and toes and breathed a sigh of relief when he had them all. He was as bald as bald could be and screaming like a pissed off sailor.
"Eight pounds, eleven ounces, twenty-one and half inches long, Daddy. He is perfect. Do you want to finish cutting the cord?"
The nurse said that all as if it was the most normal thing in the world and to her maybe it was, but to me, it was the exact moment when I realized I was someone's dad; someone depended on me to provide for them. It was a scary and thrilling feeling at the same time. All of this raced through my brain at light speed and it was only when I saw the scissors I realized an answer was expected. Words escaped me, so I nodded mutely. With shaky hands I cut through my son's remaining umbilical cord. It felt like cutting through tough rubber.
With that ceremonial action completed, they placed a blue clamp at the end, then wrapped him up in a swaddle of blankets and held him out to me. For one brief moment I wanted to ask her why in hell she was giving him to me, I didn't know what to do. But I swallowed my fear and tucked him into my arms. He weighed next to nothing and he was hard to see under the cap and blankets, but sleepy eyes opened and blinked at me. Finding me worthy, he closed them once more and fell asleep.
The next several minutes were a whirlwind of activity. I stayed with the baby as they stitched up Bella. One of the nurses brought him over to her after he had been rechecked so Bella could see her son. I could hear the emotion in her voice as she commented that he was perfect. I snapped picture after picture just to make sure I captured the moment.
I followed the nurse with the bassinet as they moved my son from the OR to the room Bella would occupy once she was closed up. My eyes were glued to this tiny little person that we were responsible for and I felt overwhelmed. My perusal of him was interrupted when Bella was rolled into the room. She looked exhausted, pale, and sleepy. Tubes were still stuck in her hand and she was cloaked under several warm blankets. As she drew closer, I could see she was shaking.
"What's wrong with her? Why is she shaking?" One nurse busied with setting up the IV while the other gave me a sympathetic smile.
"It's all the narcotics we flooded her system with prior to the C-section. They are being used and absorbed by the body and this is a mild form of withdrawal. She'll be just fine. We'll be checking on her periodically, so don't worry too much." She walked over to the bassinet and took in the sleeping form of my son. "He's adorable."
Pride swelled in my chest to the point where I thought I would burst. "Thanks."
I turned back to Bella who was blinking rather slowly. "Is he okay?" she slurred. I brushed a strand of wayward hair behind her ear.
"He's perfect. Ten toes and fingers, healthy heart, and lungs. You rest. You're gonna need it." She nodded, and I kissed her forehead.
Looking back at the tiny baby, it was hard not to remember what got us to this point.
Bella had to spend the night, after the accident for observation, which pissed her off. It wasn't until the nurse reminded her that she was pregnant and that the observation was more for the baby than her, she finally acquiesced. I wanted to stay with her, but Bella begged me to go home and get some rest, as well. I had a few stiches on my forehead and a pounding headache.
"Can I… um… come and see you tomorrow before you're discharged?" I feared that if I stepped foot outside of her room that she and the baby would disappear. Not like she would go into hiding, but more that she would have second thoughts about wanting to start a relationship with me.
"Sounds good." She smiled at me and I felt the fear slowly ebb away. "You can buy me breakfast or lunch, or whatever because hospital food sucks ass. We can talk, you know… about… us." She blushed at the last word, and I couldn't help but smile at her.
"I'd like that." The impulse to kiss her was strong, but I reined it in. Instead, I kissed her forehead and then laid my hand on her abdomen. "See you both later."
The next day, after she was discharged, I took her out for a late breakfast. At first the conversation was quiet, stilted. Both of us nervous and unsure what to say or do. It was only when the silence got to be too much for me that I finally spoke.
"I don't want things to be awkward between us, Bella."
"I love the sound of you saying my name," she blurted. She over compensated for her impulsivity by stuffing her face full of the French toast she was eating.
"I like saying it, Bella." I gave her a gentle smile. Her answering smile had my heart stuttering with excitement. "Go on a date with me?" My eyes went wide with my lack of verbal filter. I wanted to ease into asking her out, but my heart had other plans, so I continued onward.
"Please, let me take you out. I want to take you out, show you off to everyone." My body vibrated the need to touch Bella. I brushed her hand and my jittery body calmed. I took a chance to look up into her eyes and what I found stunned me.
Bella's eyes were wide and shining, her lower lip quivered, and an ear to ear smile covered her face.
"Yes," she answered simply.
Later that week, I bounded up the stairs to her front porch. She lived in a quiet neighborhood that had a family atmosphere written all over it. I could see our kids running around the yard. The second the thought flew through my brain, I paused, uncertain and hesitant. I let the images loll around my mind; kids running through the sprinkler on a steamy July afternoon, taking pictures in Halloween costumes, and wrapping the porch railings in Christmas lights. With each new image, the rightness of it all settled deep in my gut.
It was in that moment I knew Bella was my one.
We ate dinner at a quiet café a few blocks from her house. We talked about everything and anything that came to mind. We laughed at the irony that she worked for a country radio station and I loathed country. I nearly had a coronary when she told me she had never listened to Ozzy. I tried to call dibs, stating I got to be the one who musically influenced our child, but she vetoed that adamantly.
We stayed at the café for close to four hours. It wasn't until the manager asked us to leave that we realized how late it had gotten. But that night was just the beginning. We spent as much of our time together as we could, even if it was at my shop while I was working.
There was one night that I will remember for the rest of my life. It was around the time she was five months pregnant. I remember because her belly was soft and had roundness that I loved to touch whenever I was around her. Bella thought that it was because I was always horny. That was part of it, but the bigger part was that I was fascinated by feeling the baby kick. The first time I felt the little nudge I was stunned speechless. Bella got a kick out of the big deal I made. One afternoon she walked into the shop and set a single sheet of paper at my drawing station I was curious as to what she wanted, but when I looked, it was blank. I looked up at her with a quizzical look.
Bella was chewing on the skin around her thumb, shifting from foot to foot, and looking at anywhere but me.
"Oh, a blank piece of paper, what I always wanted." I chuckled, trying to alleviate the sudden tension that filled the room. A few silent moments went by before I grabbed the hand she was currently gnawing on and enveloped it in my hands. "Bella, baby, what's wrong? Talk to me." My words were gentle and soft; hoping to coax her into telling me what was on her mind.
"Design a tattoo… for us… the baby…" She spat out these words in rapid succession, but I was having a hard time tracking. My brows knitted in confusion. I watched as Bella took a few deep breaths, closed her eyes, and tried again.
"I want you to design a tattoo that we can get after the baby is born. I'd like to help as well." Her voice was timid, shy as if I was going to reject her at any moment.
I squeezed her hand. "I would love to. Sit down, let's get started." With a relieved sigh, she took the seat next to me and we spent the next hour or so hammering out a design that we could both live with. Since we were keeping the sex of the baby a surprise, as the baby wouldn't cooperate anyway, the tat had to be somewhat gender neutral. So we came up with a Celtic knot that sort of resembled a stylized heart. In the middle we would put the baby's name. The knot would be inked in black and use lots of shading, the colors for the name part would be determined once the baby was born.
When we walked out of the shop later that day, I sensed a shift in our relationship. It was as if Bella was always keeping me at arm's length, afraid was I was going to hurt her or leave her. I knew of her relationship with Fred and how badly he had hurt her. I knew words alone couldn't sway her into realizing I wasn't going to do that, my actions had to speak louder. So I made sure she realized how much I cared for her and the baby. I had hoped after that moment in the shop, she finally understood that I was in this for the long haul.
About two months before the baby was born, we decided to move in together, at Bella's place. It was larger, nicer, and it felt more like home than my one bedroom bachelor's pad. We seamlessly merged my life into hers, and after a few days of moving in, it was like we had always been that way. That wasn't to say living together was easy, especially when she had the penchant for listening to her kind of music way too loud. She would complain that my socks never ended up in the hamper. But none of that mattered because we were together.
Once we were living in the same space, I tried to get us on the same page in terms of our relationship. Bella clung to the ridiculous notion that I only wanted to marry her because of the baby. She still had a difficult time understanding that even before the baby I was falling for her. Even though I told her how much I loved her and wanted to be with her, she still guarded her heart from me. Regardless of her reservations, I never stopped trying to show her just how much I needed her in my life.
I was jarred from my trip down memory lane by a nurse coming into Bella's room. She looked at me and smiled.
"How's everything going in here?" She glanced at the sleeping baby in the bassinet. She checked that he was still swaddled in his blankets before going to Bella's bedside.
"We're good. Everyone is still sleeping." My eyes moved between Bella and our son, never quite sure who to focus all my attention on. But that dilemma was solved with a light knock and two curious faces peering around the door.
"Come on in guys, but be quiet, Bella is resting."
My parents crept into the room with silent footfalls, eyes zeroed in on the tiny baby boy. Esme reached him first and scooped him up, while Carlisle talked to the nurse about how Bella was doing. I watched, amazed, as Esme swayed from side to side as she held him. Her finger stroked his chubby, little cheeks, and then she bent down to nuzzle her nose into the crook of his neck.
"Did you just smell him?" I asked with a smirk on my face.
She just narrowed her eyes at me. "He has that perfect baby smell; fresh, sweet, and pure innocence."
Just then, I heard Carlisle speak.
"Hey, Bella, how are you feeling?" I whipped my head around to see Bella was yawning and grimacing in what I feared was pain.
"Okay. I feel like my gut was ripped open, they snatched a baby, and patched me up." She gave him a wry smile. We all chuckled at her humor. She tried to move, but paused with her mouth in a tight line. "Ohh, that does hurt."
In a rush, both the nurse and Carlisle worked to get Bella more upright and comfortable. The nurse also dispensed her some pain meds. Once all was as settled as could be, the nurse left the room with a promise to check back later.
Bella eyed Esme as she held the baby, and before I could even ask if she wanted to hold him, Esme walked him over and placed him gently in her arms. Tears welled in her eyes as really she took in our child for the first time. She unwrapped him from the blankets and caressed his arms and legs. She cooed when he opened his eyes and looked at her. The look of love and awe shined in her eyes, and all I could think was how happy I felt in that moment.
A few hours later, we were finally joined by Renee, Bella's mother. Her flight from Florida had been delayed. We smiled as we watched her become familiar with her grandchild.
"Now that we are all here, can we hear his name?" My mom's face was bright with expectation. We had kept our choices from everyone, saying we would announce it when the baby was born. I was going to tell my parents, but Bella wanted to wait till her mother arrived. Emmett and Jasper would have to wait untill they got back from their vacation later that night.
I picked him up from the bed he was lying on, looked into his muddled blue eyes and smiled. I nodded to Bella, letting her know that she could do the honors. She cleared her throat and looked down at our son.
"I'd like to introduce you to Jackson Thomas Masen."
While everyone exclaimed at the name, I glanced at Bella in confusion. She had always been adamant that the last name be Masen-Swan. She never told me that she changed her mind. But her sweet smile and warm hand upon my cheek told me all I needed to know. She was ready. I wanted to ask her right then and there, but Renee came up and hugged us both.
"Thank you," she whispered to us both; her voice thick with emotion.
"Why did you pick that name?" asked Carlisle.
"We both love the name Jackson and it works well with Thomas, which was Bella's dad's middle name. We wanted a way to honor him."
"It's perfect," stated Esme and we all agreed.
About five days later all three of us were finally back at home. Renee stayed to help out as Bella was pretty restricted in what she could and couldn't do. I thought having her around would be weird, but she was such a help. She allowed us both time to sleep and eat. With an extra pair of hands, Bella was able to rest much more and not stress out too much. I could take as much time off as I needed, since I had more than enough people to cover the shop. Therefore, I was able to spend as much time with JT as much as possible.
It astounded me how he grew and developed so fast. About a week after he came home, his muddy eyes turned into a stunning hazel, a perfect blend of us both. I loved rocking with him after he had a bottle. He always stared at me as we rocked gently, so I talked or sang to him and his eyes never left mine. We got on a routine fairly easily and a month after he was born, Renee went back home. Bella and I worked to make sure we both shared in the activities. While I had never felt more exhausted, I had never felt more alive and sure about my life.
One night, after we had put JT to bed, we stopped to watch him sleep. His pink lips pursed like he was looking for a kiss and his arms flung up over his head. The slow rise and fall of his chest mesmerized me and I couldn't help but snuggle up behind Bella.
I wrapped my arms around her and pressed her close to me. I nuzzled her neck and we both just sighed in contentment.
"Thank you for giving him to me, Bella. I love you both so much."
She squeezed my arms in reply and snuggled in closer. It was that exact moment, I could see everything I had ever wanted and it was right there in that room. Although I wanted to make it romantic and sweet, I knew that was the perfect time. Spinning her around, I captured her face between my hands. Making sure I had her attention, I held her gaze and said the words I had wanted to for so long.
"Almost a year ago, you stormed into my life and offered what, I thought at the time, was every man's dream, sex with no strings attached. But right here and now, in this time and place, I realize how wrong I was. This is my dream. Having a child that I love with the woman I adore. The only thing that is missing is being able to call you my wife. Isabella Swan, will you marry me?"
Tears fell like rain upon her cheeks, but all I could see was her smiling face nodding.
"Yes!" she whisper shouted before launching herself into my arms. "Yes, I'll marry you."
It didn't matter that I didn't have a ring, or that I didn't get down on one knee. All that mattered was how in that moment, all my dreams became reality.
A/N: Aww.. they got their HEA, their baby.. and a WVG proposal! Soo.. tell me what ya think.. ok.. cuz I've been going thru a review withdrawl.. Toodles!