"Babe, your phone's going off." Edward mumbled sleepily into my ear.
I wriggled my arm out of the cocoon of warm man and sheets that were wrapped around me and reached blindly for my phone. "Hello?"
"Bells, we're at the hospital," Emmett breathed out. "It's time."
"She's in labor?" I asked tiredly. "I'm on my way."
"Yeah, but ... Rosie doesn't want you here."
"Lilly has her first day of school. Rose wants you guys to have your day like we're having ours."
"The fuck I'm staying away!" I snapped.
"We want you here, but tomorrow is Lilly's first day of school. We will not take that away from her. This is a huge milestone for her and she'll need you there," Emmett explained gently.
I sighed as I felt Edward surround me, his lips meeting my neck. "I'll be there after I drop her off," I promised.
"Maybe she can hold the kid up in there until you can make it," Emmett teased.
"Keep me updated, Em," I told him.
He agreed before he needed to get off the phone. My babies were moving, but I also felt a small, metaphorical punch in the gut—Rose had been through everything with me when I had Lilly and now I couldn't be there for her.
"My niece decided to choose today to arrive," I grumbled.
"Bell, today is Lilly's day too. We have to take her to school," Edward reasoned. "Rose has Emmett."
I carefully turned, glancing into his eyes. He was right, but Rose and I had always depended on each other. She was the one who held my hand as I pushed while I delivered Lilly.
"I know, but lately I feel like we just haven't been as close…" I trailed off.
"You've both been busy. She's been getting ready for her baby and you've had me interrupting your life."
"You're not an interruption," I argued, stroking his cheeks. "You are the best thing to happen to me and Lil."
"You are the best thing to happen to me… You all are actually," he said with a smile before kissing my nose.
"This year has been absolutely cray-cray," I told him, running my hand up his back.
Edward tickled my side. "Uhh, what am I going to do with you?" he asked.
"Love me?" I asked with a giggle.
"Deal, now lets get some sleep," he said, nipping at my nose.
I drifted off easily, waking again a few hours later when I felt my daughter's small body crawl in between Edward and me. The sun was still low in the sky when she tucked her feet into the small of my back—something she'd always done since she was little. She was very snuggly this morning.
"You excited about school today?" Edward asked her as he brushed the hair out of her face.
"Kinda," she whispered.
"It's almost like preschool," I assured her. She snuggled even closer and I listened to my baby girl breathe for a minute before she sighed deeply.
"Is Daddy going to be there?"
"I don't know, Lil," I said honestly.
"Edward will be there?" she asked shyly
"I'm not going anywhere without you today. Your mom and I will be there to pick you up too," he told her.
She nodded, accepting his answer. She knew we'd go in with her to see her classroom and check in with her teacher. I'd met her teacher at orientation. He seemed nice and had a real patience for little minds.
I reached over, checking my phone. Emmett had left me almost fifty texts of updates and one video message from Rose telling me she loved me and to tell Lilly how excited she was for her.
Lilly rested her head on my chest as we watched the video message one more time before she decided she needed to check her wardrobe for her big day. Once Lilly left our room, I started to cry. Edward held me and let me get it all out. My baby was growing up and my best friend was going to be a mother all in the same day. It was a lot to take in —especially when I had two babies of my own bouncing around inside me.
"We're moving toward our future," he promised.
And I believed him.
I forgot Renee was here until I heard my dad yelling my name. I hurried with all that I had down the stairs. He was standing with his arm casually hanging around Sue. Renee was looking nonchalant, but I could see her eyeing Sue.
"Hey, Dad," I said with enthusiasm. "What are you doing here?"
"I wanted to surprise my granddaughter with breakfast on her first day of school," he explained, waving the huge paper bag in his free hand.
"Did you forget something?" he asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Mom's here?" I said, more like a question before I blurted out. "Rose is in labor!"
"Emmett called an hour ago," he said, clearly not surprised.
I felt Edward's arm wrap around my waist and saw he was holding Lilly. She was dressed and ready to go. Edward had the whole dad role covered and it made me feel relieved I had him by my side.
"Breakfast?" he asked Dad. I knew what he was doing and it worked because all of us made our way to the kitchen.
Sue helped Edward get the plates and set everything up for our meal. Dad made sure to get Lilly her favorite French toast sticks. She was sucking up all the attention and she loved when Edward and I got a few pictures of her on her first day of school. I just about crumbled when Edward gave her a little necklace with her initials.
"She loves it," I whispered to him when Lilly raced upstairs to clean her teeth and wash her face.
"I wanted to get her something special for today," he murmured.
"Well, you did good," I said, kissing his cheek.
Our perfect bubble was burst by the scraping of Dad's chair. I saw him stand and glare at my mom. I don't know what she'd said, but he looked pissed.
"We don't really have time for this," Edward reminded me. Lilly returned with a clean face and her backpack on her back.
I looked over at the clock and we needed to leave. I grabbed Dad's arm and Sue winked at me as she followed us.
"Renee, we'll be back," I told my mother.
Dad and Sue got into their car and Edward and I got in his SUV. As Edward buckled Lilly in, my phone buzzed. I was staring at the angry red face of Bradley Isabella McCarty when Edward got in and looked at my phone.
"I don't know if I like a boy's name for a girl…" I trailed off.
"She got that from Bates Motel?" he asked, but he knew.
We had binge-watched it on Netflix last week. We'd spent an entire day on the couch, our feet up and our swollen bellies acting like tables for the hot chocolate and snacks we devoured. Rose kept saying how much she loved the name and I should have known right then that Bradley would be her name.
"Mama, do I have a cousin?" Lilly asked, craning her neck.
I handed her my phone and she pointed out that the little face looked like she was already yelling. As we drove, Edward's free hand rested in mine.
This year felt so different from last. Jasper had been getting ready to marry Alice. I felt more alone than I knew I was. Rose and Em were trying for a baby. Now, Jasper's marriage was on the fritz, I had Edward, we were about to have three kids, and Rose and Em had their little girl.
Edward pulled into the school's busy parking lot. I saw Lauren and her usual group of wenches. When she saw us, her eyes bulged out of her head.
That's right bia, look what I have.
Lilly begged to be carried and Edward obliged. As Edward swung Lil to his hip on one side, I caught movement from the other side of me. Jasper. I felt relieved that he had made it after all.
He looked better than he had yesterday. He was back to wearing a gray button-down and black slacks.
"Hey," he said hesitantly.
"Hi. Glad you're here," I said honestly.
I watched Edward whisper in Lilly's ear and then she was reaching out for Jasper. I was surprised that he took her and was holding her, without the usual lecture about how I needed to let her grow up and make her walk. Edward wrapped his arm casually around my waist.
"I was with Rose and Em," he told us.
"So you got to meet Bradley?" I asked.
He nodded. "She's beautiful and she has a set of lungs on her. Lil never made noises like that."
This time I nodded. She was a good baby and we had been really lucky that she wasn't a screamer.
"We'd better get her in there," I said.
Edward and I held hands and Lilly let Jazz carry her in. It was weird that Jazz was acting normal. Lilly seemed calmer with him too. She definitely could sense tension from him in the past but was fine with her dad for now.
When we arrived in her class, Lilly's teacher greeted us. We all introduced ourselves, but I noticed Edward stepped back and let me and Jasper do the talking. Lilly saw a few of her friends from preschool and said her goodbyes to us before running off.
"I'll see you both at the hospital?" Jazz asked.
"Yup, that's where we're going now."
"Okay," he said, giving us a small smile and a wave before walking away.
"Wasn't Alice supposed to be here?" I asked Edward when Jasper was out of earshot.
"Mom and Dad hit traffic and said they'll meet us at the house. I'd guess that Alice will want to stop by the hospital and see the baby," he explained.
"Do you think your sister is done with him?" I asked carefully.
"If she gets that job, she'll be moving," he answered.
I puffed out a breath. Would Jasper follow her if she moved to New York or would we be stuck with his sorry ass moping around?
I got my answer when we pulled into the parking lot of the hospital.
Jasper was running toward Alice. As we watched from the car, Jasper dropped to his knees on the sidewalk. He wrapped his arms around Alice's waist and was begging her to listen to him.
A/N: Thoughts? This is wrapping up. Astro2009 and Dolphin62598 beta'd this chapter for me and I would like to thank them for their time and suggestions!