Blind Ambition – Epilogue
Leah pulled her coat tighter as the wind whipped around her, and tried to make it to the coffee shop as quickly as she could. She couldn't move quite as fast as she could before the fifteen (and counting) extra pounds, not to mention the swell of her belly under her coat. With a sigh of relief, she flung open the door to Starbucks and got in line behind a girl in leggings and big, black boots.
She felt self-conscious as she tried to pull her coat closed over her belly, but it was no use. Instead, Leah just it fall open, not worried if people thought her shirt was too tight over her growing form. Edward had been telling her for weeks to buy new clothes, but she was dead set on making them last as long as they could. Of course, she was lucky that he couldn't actually see her trying to wrestle them on in the morning. He laughed at her enough just listening to her.
When it was finally her turn at the counter, she reluctantly ordered a half-caff beverage and grumbled her way though her payment. Pregnancy was beautiful and lovely and a complete pain in the ass when she was exhausted and still had three appointments left in her day. The barista didn't seem to notice her mood and cheerfully handed Leah her coffee which would probably do nothing but make her have to pee a lot.
She turned to leave, but stopped abruptly at seeing a woman in the corner. Her laptop was on the table and a stroller was next to her, moving back and forth with the movement of her foot. Occasionally she would look over and smile, and that made Leah smile. It wasn't until the woman looked up did she realize that she'd been staring.
"Hi," Bella called and gave Leah a smile and a wave.
"Hi," Leah replied, taking a step closer to the little workspace Bella had created. "How are you?"
"I'm good." Bella smiled, then leaned over and picked the baby up from the stroller. Leah smiled back, watching as she settled the baby girl in her arms, and surreptitiously checked for any sign of Edward in her features. "This is Ellie."
"She's beautiful. How old is she now?" Leah asked, observing the little girl's dark brown hair and big brown eyes.
"Almost five months. I've been working from home since she was born, but today I have a big meeting so she's spending the day with her father," Bella told her, like she was conversing with an old friend and not the woman who was now married to her ex-fiancé.
"So you aren't…?"
"No." Bella shook her head. "We haven't been for a long time. It just wasn't right between us, I guess."
"I'm sorry," Leah said softly. Movement in her belly caused her left hand to move, brushing her coat aside as it rested over her.
"You should sit, you look exhausted," Bella said, and then laughed at Leah's reproachful gaze. "I wasn't being insulting, I promise. I just know how you feel."
"I'm sorry, I must be a little more sensitive that usual these days…" Leah offered her a small smile.
"How is Edward?"
"He's…" she trailed off, unsure of how to answer the question. There were so many words to describe her husband, but she just wasn't sure Bella wanted to hear any of them. "He's Edward," Leah finally answered, and Bella smiled.
"I'm glad. I know that things didn't go well the last time we saw each other, and I'm sorry about that."
"You really don't have to apologize, we understood-"
"No, I do. I was just angry and desperate. I know that Edward would have never- he would have never done what I did. I needed someone besides myself to blame my misery on," Bella finished with a small shrug.
"Edward is a good man. He didn't deserve what you did," Leah said, her voice quiet.
"I know, but…I don't think I was strong enough for him."
It took Leah a moment to realize that she was being complimented before she nodded slowly.
"Do you know what you're having?" Bella said after a moment.
Leah smiled. "A boy."
"I bet Edward is over the moon," she said and Leah laughed.
"He is." Her left hand moved over her belly, a simple gold band shone around her finger. "I'm sorry things didn't work out for you, Bella. I can't imagine that it's been easy for you."
"I was so scared after Edward's accident that I didn't know what to do with myself. I didn't know how to take care of both of us, you know? That's no excuse for what I did, but now…I don't think I would change it. I don't know what my life would be like without Ellie, no matter what happened between her father and me."
"Then she's a very lucky girl."
"I think we both are," Bella said before planting a kiss to the top of her daughter's head. "Do you want to-"
Bella's question was cut off by an alarm on Leah's phone going off and her quiet groan.
"I've got to go but, um…it was nice to see you, Bella. Really."
"Yeah. You too." Bella gave her a small wave as Leah stood and walked away, feeling a little lighter. She didn't know why Bella's attitude toward her had changed, but she was glad it had. It was hard to imagine that someone could hold such resentment against a person, but becoming a mother had seemed to change that for Bella. Of course, Leah could never be sorry for what Bella had done. After all, she wouldn't be with Edward if it hadn't happened.
She hadn't gotten very far when her phone rang, and didn't even get to say hello before Edward started to speak.
"That had better be decaf you're drinking," he said sternly and Leah just laughed loudly, thinking that his intuition was a little too much sometimes.
The bell rang over the top of the door to the shop and Bosley's ears shot up. He gave a gruff bark from Edward's feet, and Edward smiled. Bosley had joined their family a little over a year ago, and fit in perfectly, especially with his best friend Cooper.
"Who is it, boy?" Edward asked, though he and his seeing-eye dog already knew exactly who it was.
Little feet pounded the hardwood floor and crossed the store quickly. Edward braced himself against the counter just in time for small arms to be thrown around his legs and a face to be buried in his thigh. He reached down and carefully slipped his hands under his son's arms and lifted him up into a tight embrace. Edward breathed in deeply, inhaling his little boy smell: soap and sweat and something so familiar that he couldn't even think of anything to call it except Will.
"Hi, Daddy," Will said quietly. Edward smiled, holding his son with one arm wrapped tight around him as the other hand went to his face, brushing his hair back and gently running over his features. Will held still, and then wrapped his arms around his father's neck when Edward was finished. He was used to being greeted this way and, for a while in his short life, didn't understand why everyone didn't tell him hello the same way his father did.
"Hi, my favorite son," Edward greeted him with a kiss to the cheek. Leah laughed quietly from Edward's side as her hand ran down the back of his neck. She rested it there until h leaned over so she could meet him for a kiss.
"I'm your only son!" Will cried, making his parents laugh.
"For now," Edward whispered and raised his eyebrows suggestively in Leah's direction.
"Very funny, Daddy," Leah replied tightly before she carefully helped Will down from Edward's grasp. "Are you all set here?"
"Yeah, I just need to lock up," Edward told her before she led them from behind the counter. Bosley followed dutifully, and Leah laughed as he herded Will out of Edward's way. "Chill, Bos," he said with a scratch between the dog's ears.
"He's just telling me where to go, it's okay," Will said as he sprinted toward the door. "Can I lock it?"
"Sure thing, kid." Edward smiled and dug the keys out of his pocket, not worrying about handing Will the right one. His son was very knowledgeable of all Edward's little tricks.
It was almost two years after Will's birth that Edward's eyesight started to deteriorate more. They went through tests and thought about experimental treatments, but Edward didn't want to take the risks. He and Leah had known all along that he would eventually be completely blind, they just weren't sure when it was going to happen. Of course, not in any of their tough moments did they regret their son. Edward had always felt like part of him was missing and he found it, very simply, through his family.
"Where'd you park?" Edward asked after Will had given him back his keys.
"Just a couple of blocks over. I thought we'd stop at the bookstore before we went home," his wife explained.
"Lead the way."
"I always do," she said and he grinned.
Will's little hand slipped into Edward's, and the sight of them made Leah's heart do backflips. She had been so worried that they would have trouble adjusting when Will was born but- as always- Edward's resilience surprised her. The day their son was born had been a whirlwind of emotions. Watching as Edward held him for the first time, how his fingers traced over Will's tiny features, and how she could practically see the love radiating between them. Leah realized then that it didn't matter if Edward couldn't see with his eyes, because he saw with his heart. Every day after that continued to be a beautiful surprise.
"I've got it," Edward said quietly as he slipped out of bed.
Leah grabbed his wrist and pulled him back toward her.
"What if he's hungry, you don't really have the right equipment…" she teased in her exhausted state.
"I've got it," he repeated, kissing her hand and slipping out of their bedroom.
Edward returned a few moments later, waking Leah as he settled into bed.
"Just needed a diaper change and a little dad time," Edward replied as he pulled her closer.
"How did you know he wasn't hungry?"
"I know everything," he muttered and she elbowed him gently. "What? I can't tell you all my secrets…"
"Can we get a book about how to take care of kittens?" Will asked as they entered the book store.
"And why do we need a book about how to take care of kittens?" Edward asked, with raised eyebrows.
"I can't see your eyes, Daddy. I don't know if you're asking a serious question or not," Will said matter-of-factly, so Edward slipped off his glasses and asked again.
"Why," he exaggerated, "do we need a book about kittens?" Edward asked again, but his son simply fell into a fit of giggles and ran down an aisle.
"Ethan got a kitten," Leah murmured, slipping her hand into her husband's.
"Damn that Alice," Edward muttered back. She laughed and rested her head on his shoulder.
"I told him we would think about it. Maybe for Christmas."
He sighed. "You win."
She laughed quietly and kissed his cheek, running her hand gently over the side of his face after.
"He looks like you today," Leah whispered.
Edward smiled and squeezed her hand, then let Bosley lead them down the aisle to where Will had gone, and then they settled on the floor while their son took turns in both of their laps looking through books and pretending to read stories. Edward simply smiled and listened as Will explained the different pictures in the books to him and he let his son guide his hands over the different textures of certain books. After a while, he went to the special section where he often picked out books in Braille for Edward to read to him, and when it was time to leave they did so with a heavy bag and plenty of reading material.
At their home, Cooper greeted them excitedly and Edward let Bosley off his leash. Will bounded up the stairs with his new books, while Leah led Edward into the kitchen.
"You aren't happy about this kitten thing, are you?" she asked, as she laced their fingers together and pulled him closer.
"It's not that, love," he chuckled and kissed her forehead.
"What is it then?" Leah frowned and leaned up to brush her lips against his jaw.
"I just think that he's going to be really disappointed when he gets a little sister for Christmas, instead of a kitten," Edward said as he pulled a hand free and rested it over her growing belly.
Leah laughed quietly and wrapped her arms around his neck, drawing him into a kiss.
"I should have thought about that, I guess."
"Yeah, you really need to think about these things, Leah," Edward said seriously.
"You are so right. I think right now would be an excellent time to tell him," she said, playing along with him. Leah slipped away from him and clasped her hands in front of her, ready.
"Exactly. You go right on ahead. I'll be waiting for you here," he replied with a wide grin, crossing his arms over his chest.
"No way in hell I'm doing this alone, Edward Cullen!"
Edward laughed loudly and pulled his wife back into his arms.
"You know what, love?" he whispered into her hair.
"What?" Leah whispered back.
"I think we should just get him the kitten. It might soften the blow a little bit."
"I think you just might be right."
Thanks again to Capricorn75 and killerlashes, you're my favorites.
Blind Ambition is up for Top Ten Fics Completed in November over at www . twifanfictionrecs . com.
Thank you for reading!