It's been three months since that trip to the cabin.
Three months of getting to know more about myself and how Edward fits in. Actually, he fits in rather nicely; we rarely sleep apart these days. I've come to love the weekends when Edward and I hop on his bike and take a ride. He has offered many times to purchase me my very own, but I quite enjoy being wrapped around him.
I remember the morning after my birthday when I finally woke up. Edward was in the kitchen making the most amazing breakfast I have ever eaten. He was standing by the sink washing fruit when I noticed him, his lower half only covered by a towel. It was right after my ogling of his back side that I noticed a new tattoo on his ribs. A pair of swans, their necks circled. I crossed the room quickly to get a better look.
"Good morning sunshine." Edward spoke as I touched his skin.
"When did you get this?" He raised his arms so that he could see what I was talking about.
"Oh, it's new, do you like them?"
My eyes met his, his deep green swimming with playfulness. "What are they for?"
I knew Edward had a story for every drop of ink on his body. I had to hear the reason for this new addition.
"Well, I found out recently that swans mate for life."
My eyes fixed on the pair, their necks drawn so intricately; united together for eternity.
"I happen to have a swan in my world that I want to be mated with for life as well."
I know my eyes were bulging out of my head at this point. Was he proposing after only a short time?
"Calm down Bella, I'm not asking you yet."
He took my hand from his ribs and held it to his chest.
"You can't be surprised that I want that with you though. I've made my feelings for you very clear."
His honesty and his permanent show of his feelings were enough to put me into overdrive. Edward scooped me up quickly and returned me to the large bed. We ate that breakfast several hours later.
Ben completed all of the repairs on the house and they were able to move in three weeks later. Angela has been doing small projects here and there getting ready for the new baby to arrive. Ben has more work than he knows what to do with thanks to Edward. He has even been able to hire three guys.
Billy, however, hasn't been quite as blessed. The leg, which the monitor was on, had to be amputated from infection. The judge didn't even blink an eye when he sentenced him to fifteen years for his involvement with the construction scandals. He had the nerve to write me a letter shortly after he arrived in prison asking if I would be willing to buy him a television for his room. I started a fire with the letter later that evening in my fireplace. Edward and I made love a few hours later as the letter went up in smoke.
Edward has been nothing short of amazing since the night I came to my senses. He has encouraged me at every turn to spread my wings and discover the world around me. Carlisle has been a huge help in opening my eyes to the career possibilities that lay at my feet. I've been milling over the possibility of returning to school and becoming a Physician's Assistant. Carlisle offered to help with the expenses if I would work with him for a few years after my internship was over. I'm considering that one very heavily.
Tonight though, tonight I am having Edward's parents over for dinner. It was the first opportunity they've had to come for a visit. With Rosalie's pregnancy and my and Edward's new relationship; Elizabeth and Edward Sr. had arrived.
Elizabeth was a female version of Edward. She was breathtakingly beautiful; however, Edward Sr. was a force to be reckoned with. His charm rivaled even Edward's.
"Look Ed, she is more beautiful than her picture."
I hadn't realized Edward had any pictures of me.
"And look at those hips; she will certainly need a C-section with tiny hips like those."
Maybe she thought she was whispering, but I clearly heard everything she said.
"Oh! And what gorgeous grandbabies she will give us."
I tried to let Elizabeth's words be just that-words. Edward and I hadn't been together even six months, not to mention, I hadn't had enough time to discover who I was yet.
"Bella, you have to share your secret with these potatoes." Elizabeth spoke.
"It's no secret really…an error if anything. I accidently poured some of the beef juice when I went to mash instead of milk."
"Well, mistake or not, these are wonderful." She sprang back as she placed another fork full into her mouth.
I smiled and winked at her. I wanted her approval desperately, but I was uncomfortable with her talk of grandchildren.
"Edward, I noticed that the land near your sister's is for sale. It would make a great place for you and Bella to build a house and raise a family."
I could feel my insides jump at her statement. I studied the ice in my glass of water so hard, I'm surprised no one seen heat rays shoot out from my eyes making the ice spontaneously combust.
"I mean you have all that money your grandfather left you just sitting around collecting interest."
"Mom…." Edward began.
"Mrs. Mason…." I interrupted.
"I appreciate your kind words about my cooking and how Edward and I would make these super model babies, but I must inform you of something."
I didn't want this to be another one sided relationship between Edward and I. He knew I wanted to have time to explore the world around me.
"However, Edward and I haven't been a couple long enough to even have the discussion of marriage and children on the table. I have only recently begun to use my degree and have feelers out now to possibly return to school to further my education. Although, I do see myself with Edward for a long time, it will be as his girlfriend and not his wife."
Once my words were out, I waited for the anger or rejection, but certainly not what actually happened.
"Very good choice Edward, she passed with flying colors."
I looked at Edward Sr. clearly confused, but he only smiled reclining back into his chair.
"See Bella, Elizabeth is somewhat of a worrier. She was concerned that you would hear about Edward's fortune and be ready to conceive a child even before the dishes were washed."
This had been a test. This entire evening had been to test my intentions with Edward.
"I'm so glad you gave my son a chance. I have always told him the best things in life or the ones you have to work hard for."
Later that night after his parents wished me well and made me promise to keep in touch, Edward and I settled in with a glass of wine beside the fire.
"Bella, I want you to know I had no idea she was going to do that."
I snuggled in closer to him. "I know Edward. I was a little surprised that's all."
He kissed the top of my head as we sat silently for several minutes.
"I bought that land she spoke of."
I didn't even open my eyes as he spoke.
"I want to be ready when the time comes."
"Ready for what?" I questioned quietly, not wanting to break the magic we had created.
"When I do ask for your hand; I want to carry my new bride over the threshold and into our marital bed."
I pulled away from him looking deeply into his eyes, there, all I found was love and honesty.
"Edward, I thought we had tabled this discussion?" I stood up and walked towards the fireplace.
"Bella, tabling it doesn't make it go away. It's no secret I'm getting older by the minute and sadly, so are you. I would like to discuss at least a time table for us."
I spun around quickly to look at a completely relaxed Edward looking back at me.
"Ok, from what I've gathered, the Physician's Assistant program is two more years of school. Luckily, all of my credits from the nursing program will transfer. I can start in the spring if I want to."
Edward gave me the look I knew all too well; he didn't have to say a word.
"I want to travel Edward. I've been in school for most of my life and I have never been out of this state."
I should have known the crazy devil had a plan before I even answered.
"Well then, it's a good thing you have been such a good girl this year."
He rose from the couch approaching me like a lion after its prey.
"I happened upon a very good deal earlier this week and I couldn't help myself. I've booked us on a trip to Florence, Italy. Merry Christmas, baby!"
My eyes grew huge and I was speechless.
"I've talked to Carlisle and he had planned to close the office anyway to give all of the employees the week between Christmas and New Year's off."
He was quickly closing the gaps in my excuses that I hadn't even shared.
"You can travel on your breaks from school and two years is nothing. We can get to know each other much better in two years."
That night I dreamt of Italian villas and a naked Edward. Around three am I woke with the worst sinus headache I had ever had. I stumbled my way to my medicine cabinet and retrieved two ibuprofen. I tried hard to go back to sleep, but the pain and the pressure was too much. I left the house early and had Carlisle take a look at me. In addition to a sinus infection, Carlisle gave me the grand news that I had strep throat as well. So back home and to bed I went. Edward was amazing; he brought over more movies than I could watch in a month. He made certain I took my medicine when I was supposed to, but best of all once I was better, I was ready to return to work. He turned my bedroom into this very romantic oasis.
"You are beautiful even when you sick. It has been very hard for me to not touch you."
That night by the glow of candles, Edward reminded me how deeply I was in love with him.
"Just make sure you have your passport, we can buy anything else you need."
I had been making lists for two weeks for what to take to Italy. I just didn't want to leave anything behind I would need, but with our plane leaving in three hours my time was up.
"Your right; if I have forgotten anything I'm sure they sell it in Florence."
Even though the plane was an overnight flight, I tried to sleep but was too excited. I was finally doing something I always wanted to do. When we exited through immigration, I smiled at the pleasant lady wishing me a good day.
Edward hailed a taxi, which shocked me to see it was a Mercedes. The older gentleman was quick with the compliments as to how pretty I was.
"You on honeymoon?" He questioned with a thick accent.
"No sir, just trying to show her the world."
"Well then, welcome to Firenze-the city of lovers!"
The taxi guy was right. Everything about this city screamed love, from the winding brick roads to the intricate buildings; the small cafes and souvenir shops. I was instantly in love. Once we had checked into our hotel, I wanted to see everything this city had to offer. Although, watching Edward change his shirt gave me something right in this room I wanted to see first and more.
Florence had been more than I ever expected. The ancient buildings held secrets from long ago tales. Oh, how I wished these ancient walls could talk. We dined outside every night, listening to the sounds of couples talking and the music that was played by the restaurant. I have never eaten such wonderful food or drank wine that was so robust. I loved every second of it.
"Baby, we can come back anytime you want. We can see a different city this time."
Edward knew I had fallen in love with Florence. I didn't want to go back to real life. I wanted to stay in this bubble of love and discovery.
"I'm holding you to that." I responded with a kiss.
"I love you." He whispered in my ear then nibbling on the lobe.
That was perhaps the best part of the trip, the second night we were here, we had just finished dinner and decided to taste gelato. Edward had been here a couple of times before, so he knew of a place not far from the hotel that had been making gelato since the forties. It was so worth the walk and the wait as the cold and creamy goodness awoke my taste buds. We found this quiet table that over looked a quiet, serene garden. Edward took my hand and smiled while I thanked him for the hundredth time.
"Bella, the last time I was in Florence, I came to this place and sat just over there. " He pointed to another table that was closer to the chipping brick wall.
"I took in the look of this garden and I just knew that when I met the girl I wanted a forever with I would bring her here and tell her how I feel."
He scooted closer saying the words that would send my heart into my throat.
"I love you, Bella."
I was so happy that I nearly cried. I couldn't have asked for a more perfect man and a more perfect setting.
I caressed his face softly, "Oh Edward, I love you too."
We solidified those declarations for many hours that night.
I had decided to go ahead and enroll in the Physician's Assistant program. I had only one more thing I had to turn in which led me to tearing up everything in my bedroom trying to find my receipt for my SAT exams. I had to turn in a copy or retake the exam. While I was tearing up my house, I came to the realization I must have left it at Billy's house. I would call Port Angeles College in the morning to see if they could send me a copy, until then I would keep looking.
I was rummaging around in my backseat of my jeep, not sure what I thought I would find back there, but I wanted to look everywhere. I did stumble upon a grocery bag that had been wedged under the front seat. I pulled it out to find the bottle of shampoo and conditioner that I bought to go to Italy, I was mad that I had to use Edward's while we were there, along with a pack of gum and a travel size box of tampons. I tucked the bag under my arm and continued looking, only to freeze when it hit me.
I was due to start my period while in Italy, I completely forgot while I was there that I was expecting it, and we had been back from Italy for nearly three weeks.
"Don't panic Bella; you take that pill every day when you brush your teeth." I tried to assure myself.
I locked up the jeep and rushed into the house to the bathroom to verify that I had taken my pill and that I hadn't missed any. However, the reality was I had never been this late before. Edward called later to say that he wouldn't be over tonight as he had a client that needed his car by tomorrow morning. I told him I loved him and released a deep breath. I needed to figure this out before I spoke with him about it.
"Ok….my last period was at the end of October. I remember having it while handing out candy with Edward. November…yes I had it just after Thanksgiving. December…what happened in December?"
I tried so hard to remember what had happened in December. I finally laid down around midnight hoping some sleep would clear my head and help me to remember what happened in December. I had just slipped into sleep when I bolted straight up in bed.
"Holy hell Bella, you're an idiot."
I tossed back my covers and went to the medicine cabinet. I still had some prescription decongestant that Carlisle prescribed me when I got sick. The prescription date was December 5th. I grabbed my lap top and googled the antibiotic I had taken for the strep throat.
There in black and white:
Use of this product may render oral contraceptives less effective. An alternative method is recommended while using this product.
I couldn't believe how stupid I had been. I'm a nurse for Christ sake, I remind women all the time to use a backup method. I tossed on some shoes and my heavy coat. I wanted an answer now. I passed Edward's shop on the way to the pharmacy, the lights inside still glowing and his car parked just outside the front door. Maybe I should pull in, tell him what's going on.
"You don't know yet, dumbass. First take the test." I said talking to myself.
I pushed the gas harder and sped away. Hoping my issues would be left at the red light. As I pulled into the parking lot, I was relieved to see only one car parked in the back isle. Maybe, if I'm lucky, it will be an employee and not a patron.
I locked up my car and headed in. The ever popular elevator music played overhead while I quickly walked to the back of the store. I scanned the isle noticing that pregnancy tests and condoms were located next to one another. This had to be someone's poor attempt at humor. Finding the exact ones we used at the clinic, I snatched it up and headed for the counter to pay. Once I reached the checkout, I noticed that no one was behind the register.
"Hello?" I spoke loudly.
"Sorry, give me just a moment." A voice called out from my left.
I looked in the direction of the voice when my eyes landed on a kiosk of bumper stickers. Pharmacies are famous for having loads of crap at the checkout desks that calls out, "buy me." Some of them were cute and I got a good chuckle, but the last one really spoke volumes.
Want to make god laugh? Tell him what your plans for the day are.
I had made plans with Edward to wait until I finished school to even consider the next step. In one moment by no fault other than my own, I threw those plans away.
"Sorry to keep you." The young man in the red vest smiled brightly, too brightly for one o'clock in the morning.
"Will this be all?" He question brightly.
I smiled and nodded my head. He was only being nice and doing his job.
After I paid, he smiled wishing me a good rest of the night. I quickly took the box and headed back out into the cold. As I started my car, I wondered if I should just stop at Edward's shop and talk with him. If the roles were reversed, I would want to be there for him. Before I was even aware of what I was doing, I had my cell out and listening to Edward's phone ringing.
"Bella, what wrong?" His voice was full of concern.
"I…I… did something stupid." The flood gates were wide open and I couldn't hold back the body jerking sobs I began to have.
"Baby, where are you?"
I couldn't even answer him I was crying so hard.
"Baby, please calm down. I can't help you until I know what's wrong."
I tried taking deep breaths, but hearing his voice just made it worse. Finally, I squeaked out one single word that I hoped he would understand.
I hung up the phone and began to type as fast as I could.
I'm down the street and I have to talk to you. I did something really stupid and it will affect you.
He was sitting outside his office when I pulled up. He opened my door and kneeled beside me.
"Just answer me this."
I wiped my eyes with the sleeve of my shirt and tried to look at him.
"Did you kill someone?"
I shook my head.
"Did you cheat on me?"
I shook my head faster and my eyes grew bigger.
"Then I doubt what you have to tell me will affect me too much."
He tried to smile in an attempt to make me smile, but I could only cry harder while reaching over to grab the bag. I pulled out the box and handed it to him. He looked from the box to me and then turned the box around a couple times.
"Are you late?"
I shook my head yes.
"Then go inside and let's take this test."
He reached over and grabbed my purse, and then he pulled me up wrapping me in his arms.
He sat me down on his desk going back to lock the front door. He placed the box on the desk beside me. My sobbing had decreased considerably and I hoped I could talk now.
"So, how late are you?"
I took in a deep breath while he handed me a tissue.
"I was due to have it while we were in Italy."
I watched as Edward nodded his head. His calmness was rubbing off on me.
"That was a month ago, but why did you wait until now to tell me?"
I blew my nose and began to tell him how I found the box of tampons in the jeep. Edward was patient and let me take my time in telling him.
"Edward, I'm just so stupid for not taking extra precautions."
"Hold on there… You're not the only one at fault here. I was a very active participant and if I was concerned, I could have pulled out a condom at any point."
I wanted to hug him for what he was saying; he wasn't going to ditch me if this was for real.
Edward wrapped his arms around me while we were standing in his bathroom. He took the test out of my hand and lifted my chin to look at him.
"Nothing changes between us, no matter what this test says."
I nodded my head as the tears began to fall again.
Three minutes felt like an eternity when you're anxious. Edward made me leave the test on the bathroom sink while we waited. When my cell phone alarm sounded he grabbed my hand and we walked over to see the results.
Like a flashing emergency light, the two pink lines got my attention. I was pregnant.
"I'm not going to lie to you and tell you I'm not really happy about this." He said as we looked at each other in the mirror.
"Edward, do you not realize that my life is going to change so much. I can't possibly go to PA school now."
He gently grabbed my face and made me look at him.
"Don't you do that." His voice was rough this time.
"Don't you make this into something it isn't. You can still go to school and travel and do everything your heart desires."
I tried to pull my face out of his grasp, but he wouldn't allow it.
"We are going to have this baby. You are going to PA school. And I'm going to be there every step of the way."
Beta Note-*Squeals* A baby! Love babies…And yes Bella, when you have kids, your life doesn't just stop. You want to go somewhere? Take them with you. Where I went, my kids went. Love Edward. *sighs* What a man!