"Now you want to sleep" She whispers from her knees as she looks at her sleeping nephew. His tiny lips are perfect, his head is perfect. She smiles and strokes his tiny balled up fists as they are under his chubby chin.
Bella quickly pulls her ringing phone to her chest and hurries from the room. She gives Chris a quick glance before answering it. "Hello?"
"Bella, its Lauren"
"Lauren, hi, have you found Jess?"
"Sort of not really" Lauren fumbles over words.
"Did you speak to her, tell her I have her son, that I'm looking for her?"
"Slow down Bella, geez"
Bella rubs her temple because this is not a slow down situation, she has an infant in her care, her sisters infant. She can't fathom how relaxed everyone else is being about this.
"She is fine, she is getting help from this guy"
"He wants this to be hush, hush"
"Yeah I'm sure he does, but I need to speak to her"
"She asked for time Bella"
"Time, where is my sister Lauren?"
"She is at a clinic"
"What kind of clinic, what is the name?" Bella is now pacing up and down the plush hotel room carpeted floor.
"Valley Mental Health"
Bella opens the laptop and typed the name. "Utah, she is in Utah?"
"Yes, I guess you can see the number"
"How is she affording this?"
"The guy, the guy that is helping her"
Bella arches her eyebrows. "Wh-why is she here?" Bella knows exactly why she is here, she would be in a place like this if she didn't get help when she moved away. She knows Jessica has never been a strong as her. That is not a jab, it is just the truth.
"Having a baby was a bit much for her to handle. She just needed an escape"
Bella shakes her head.
"Her cell is on now" Lauren says. "Hey, Bella?"
"Give her time"
Bella lics her lips and nods knowing full well Lauren can't see her. "I have to go"
"Jess, Jessica it's Bella, oh my gosh, are you okay?"
"What is going on?" Bella questions, she feels such relief hearing her sisters voice.
Bella finally sits down and drops her head back. "Nothing much huh?"
"You know a little something much is in a bed in the next room"
"Is Chris okay?" Jessica breathes out.
"He is perfect Jessica, perfect"
"Can you look after him for me?"
"Jessica" Bella sighs.
"Please, Bella I don't ask you for anything"
"Jessica" Bella feels a lump in her throat. "You left him with mom"
"I know, it was stupid"
"Who is the father?"
"This guy that is helping me"
"You know who it is?"
"Of course I do Bella" Jessica says back the words biting out like she can't believe her sister thinks so little of her.
"I just, I didn't know Lauren didn't know, and I have been on Edward Cullen's ass because Lauren said that"
"Oh my god Bella!"
"He is picking me up to take a test in 20 minutes"
"He is not the father; I didn't even sleep with him"
"Don't listen to her, this, Bella"
"Don't scold me, I was trying to help you, help Christian"
"I'm sorry, but Edward Cullen is not the father"
"Does it matter?"
"Yes" Bella prods gently.
"He is a good man, married though"
"How good can he be?"
"He is working on a divorce, we are meant to be together Bella"
"And what about Chris?"
"I-I…will I be a good mother?"
"Jessica, of course"
"I don't know about that" She mutters. "When I brought him home from the hospital, I just, we just didn't connect, is that how it is meant to feel?"
"I don't know" Bella answers honestly. "We didn't have a great role model" Bella reminds her sister.
"He didn't feel like he fit with me"
"Jess, you need to, it takes time" Bella says hoping she is right. She knows nothing about being a mother or how to care of a child, she is winging it. "What is his name, Christian's father?"
"Mike, he is a good guy Bella, I swear"
"Jessica" Bella sighs. "Did he, you are in Utah, is that where he is from?"
"Yes, he got my ticket here and is helping me, got me into this place so I can get my head right for Christian"
"That is good, that's really good, you need to be healthy for Chris, but I can help you, I can pay"
"No, Mike can handle it"
"I just don't want there to be a debt between you two"
"He isn't like that, he – he loves me, the first man…in my life"
Bella licks her lips and her heart clenches.
Jessica moves on. "The doctor I'm seeing, she is real good, sometimes I feel out of control, but talking helps, Mike helps"
"I'll help" She offers again.
"Thank you, you always made things better when we were growing up"
Bella wipes her wet cheeks.
"I need to go" She rushes out. "Please watch him for me, just until I get my head together?"
Bella says the only thing she can say. "Of course, but you have to answer your phone when I call"
"I will, give me a 3 months"
Dropping her head she rubs her temple again. "Okay, I'll keep you updated?"
"Take care Jessica, I love you" Bella says and the words make her chest ache. She hears her sister sniff.
"I love you too Bella"
"Good morning" Edward holds out a cup of steaming coffee. "Hey" He says taking note of her red blotchy face.
"What is going on, is Chris okay?"
"He is in bed still, he kept me up all night and now is sleeping" Bella sips the coffee.
Edward watches her move around the room. "So the test in 30 minutes"
"I spoke to Jessica, you Edward Cullen are not the father" She says in her best Murray voice to lighten to mood. She feels completely embarrassed. He is so upscale and actually a decent guy and she and her family are so small town and, and just trashy. She must look like trash to him.
"I told you that yesterday" He informs her lightly.
"You did, I'm stubborn like that I guess" She mutters reaching for the last of her things.
"Jessica needs some time, and I need to figure out what Chris and I will be doing, where we will be living, with my nut job of a mother is not an option, so I should get going and start my search"
"Let me help you"
"Don't you think" She stops to look at him. "I have taken enough for your time up?"
Edward eyes her. "Are you going to take him to LA?"
"I don't, um" She touches her lips. "I don't know I need to call Jacob"
"How long does she need?" He questions.
"She said three months, but I'm hoping for the best and it is shorter than that" Bella nods firmly.
"Call me when you decide what you are going to do" He tells her.
"I'm not going to bother you anymore" She says looking for a bottle she made earlier this morning, she knows Chris will be up very soon. "I'm sorry for the trouble" She adds.
Edward gets close to her in two strides. "Bella" He takes her arm.
Her eyes look up at him they feel heavy though. "You aren't involved"
"I said. Call me when you decide" He tells her firmly, he leaves no question about what he wants her to do.
"Sure" She tugs her arm away and nods.
"See ya Bella"
"I love you Chris" Bella whispers staring down at this little tiny baby completely dependent on her. She strokes down his nose and he coos, over his cheeks and he ahhs. Bella smiles watching him. Leah is the only person she knows well, with a baby. Honestly these few days have been hell, she hasn't given Leah and Sam enough credit for how they raise Seth.
"Hello, Bella?" Leah says in the phone.
"Hey, do you have a minute?"
"Of course, I just put Seth down"
Bella can hear the smile in her friend's voice. Leah is so natural.
"How have you been?"
"Well doomed, I'm doomed" She looks at Chris as he stares up at her, like he is studying her, continuing his imprinting.
"What is going on with Ask Izzy now?" Leah laughs.
"There is this girl, woman, and her sister ran into some trouble, and this sister needs her sister to care for her infant child for three months max"
Leah makes the right sounds as she listens.
"The sister is going to a mental health clinic to try to get better so she can be a good mother to the infant child"
"That's a toughie" Leah admits.
"That's not all, the older sister lives in LA with her boyfriend who has told her she can't bring the baby hack to live with them"
"What a jackass, and his reason, not that it matters he is clearly an asshole"
"The reasonability maybe, messing with his own plans to save the world and what not" Bella says calmly.
"Holy shit Bella, are you talking about Jacob?"
"I'm in Forks, well Seattle with the baby, my sister is in a clinic in Utah, Jacob is in LA"
"Oh my god"
"I told him I loved him, I don't think I have even said that to Jacob in the 8 years we have been together, he is so dang cute Leah" Bella stares at Christian and mouths a 'yes you' to him as she strokes his cheek.
"All babies are cute" Leah deadpans.
Bella smiles. "But he is really cute, like Gerber Baby cute"
"Oh Sam just walked in" Leah announces. "Let me get him in on this"
Bella bites her lower lip as she waits, she hears Leah speaking to Sam in the background.
"So, what is going on?"
"Had a baby" Bella smiles a bit and makes a face at Chris, she leans in and kisses his stomach.
"Do you want me to talk to Jacob for you?"
"I can't, I can't make him change his feelings"
"Bella, you don't have to do this alone, you can come back to LA and Leah and I will help you"
"Damn straight" Leah calls from somewhere in the house.
"Do you think he will change his mind?"
"You get so much more credit saving the world rather than one child" Sam lays it to her straight. "Come back to LA" He urges.
"I would run into Jacob, we share the same friends, it would be completely awkward"
"Bella get your ass back here and let us help you, screw Jacob" Leah calls out. "I will not hush Sam, you hear me Bella"
Bella sighs. "Tell Leah I love her" Leah is so damn fierce. "I'll call and let her know what I decide to do"
"Bella take care of yourself, you are a good person"
Jacob has the phone pressed to his ear.
"Let me tell you my plan and then you can tell me what you think" Bella starts.
"Dear lord Bella"
"Don't do that Jacob you don't even know what I am going to say"
"I don't, I do, I know you Bella, I'm on your side here but you are a fixer, you clean up messes"
"It is a tiny baby Jacob, tiny, he is tiny and perfect, and needs me"
"Bella, last I checked taking care of a baby was not on your life goals"
"Jacob sometimes they change, sometimes they have to change"
She bites her lip and is quiet for a moment. "She needs three months, so I guess, I guess I'll stay up here in Seattle" She doesn't want to go through the hassle of finding a place in LA, carting Christian to LA. She might as well stay as Lauren is in Seattle. She waits for him to say something.
"What do you want me to say Bells?"
She wants him to tell her, he loves her and come home with her nephew, she wants him to say he will and is supportive and everything will be okay. "I don't know" She whispers instead. Taking a deep breath.
"How are you going to keep the coloum going?"
"I can work anywhere you know that Jake, so many people do it, work and have a child" She agrues.
"This isn't your child" He argues back.
"He is family"
"You don't have family Bella"
That stings. "Jake that's not fair, you can't use my past, what you know about my past agasint me, you can't"
"I don't like arguing with you" She tells him. "This is the only decision I can live with" She tells him, she can't tell Jessica no, she can't send Christian to her mother, or leave him with Lauren, or to the hands of the government.
"I can't live with it" Jacob tells her.
"So where do we stand?"
"I guess, a break" Jacob tells her.
"When I come back to LA, do we just pick up or what?"
"We can try I guess" He answers.
"What do you mean try?"
"Things will be different you know that Bells"
"Will you wait for me?" She questions not sure she actually wants the answer, almost knowing the answer the way this conversation is going.
"We can't make promises like that"
Bella frowns. "We can't?"
"In a mature relationship there are no promises or guarantees, we don't own each other"
"Are we exclusive, have you ever cheated on me?"
"I wouldn't call it cheating but to answer that question, no I haven't"
She breathes a sigh of relief.
"What if I slept with someone else, would you even be jealous?"
"I won't rob you of a chance to experience everything, if you wanted that, our relationship is a matter of trust and openness"
"We have an open relationship?" Her eyes widen and voice goes higher. This conversation has taken a turn.
"Lets get back on track, I will take over your half of the rent until you are back"
Bella frowns at the offer, she wants more from him. She has never wanted more until now. "Thanks, I'll let you know where we end up" She bites out before hanging up.