Entry for the TLS Angst Contest
Word Count: 6504
Title of Story: 'Til Death Do Us Part
Story Summary: After trying unsuccessfully, to conceive a child, Edward is faced with the threat of losing the one thing that matters most to him in the world; his wife, Bella. Feeling broken, Bella asks for a divorce. Edward fights to keep the love of his life from leaving him, reminding her that he made a promise – 'til death do us part.
I want a divorce.
Four words you never want to read, especially by text.
Papers to be served tomorrow.
Five more words you never want to read, after those first four.
I was heartbroken; literally torn apart when I received that text from my wife. My Bella.
We had been high school sweethearts, but going away to separate colleges tore us apart. Seven years ago, at a mutual friend's wedding, we were reunited and married three, short months later.
Bella was my heart. Where she was, a piece of me would always be.
I wanted to text her back, but that would be pointless. She either wouldn't read what I had to say, or she would think I was saying it simply to get her to change her mind.
Truth was, I did want her to change her mind. We didn't have to have kids. I told her I would be okay with it. We could adopt. We could have four dogs and five cats. I didn't care, as long as I had her.
Unfortunately, she didn't believe that. She would tell me she saw how I looked at my patients. At the babies that came into my pediatrics' office on a daily basis. She would come for lunch and hear me talking about the cute babies.
She wanted to give me one.
Her heart ached to make a baby.
Deep inside, I know she hated herself because it wasn't happening.
I took a deep breath. I had to get home. I prayed I still had a home and who knew if Bella would still be there.
When I pulled into the drive, I was happy to see that the lights were on, and a shadow was moving back and forth in the bedroom.
Quietly, I made my way inside, and up to our bedroom. Bella had suitcases on the bed. This was it; now or never.
"Baby, please," I begged. "Don't go."
She turned to me with tear stained cheeks. Her eyes puffy.
"Edward, don't. Please, don't. You deserve better than me. I'm broken."
"Bella, I deserve you. I knew that there was a chance when we got married. I married all of you, even the part of you that," I swallowed the lump in my throat. "We don't have to have kids. Just please, don't leave me."
"Edward, you know you want them. I hear you. Talking to the nurses, telling them about the Conner's baby and how adorable he is. How he smiles at you and tugs on your tie. How you wish we had that. I heard you. Don't lie to me, Edward."
I signed. "Yes, I want to be a father, I love children, but there are other ways to be a father without you conceiving."
"Who says I want to adopt? Who says I want to raise the baby of a woman that can make them but doesn't want them?"
"Bella! Enough!" Every time we've had this conversation it has always led here. She wanted her own children. Not someone else's that they didn't want. I never understood that part of her. There were over one hundred thousand children in the United States up for adoption, why not give one of them a good home?
Her jaw locked. She was pissed. I understood that because I too was pissed. We had been having the same argument for the last eighteen months. After two years of unsuccessful attempts at pregnancy, we sought out a professional. And after two years of working with this infertility and high risk obstetrician, we were still at a standstill. We were no closer to being able to conceive. Bella didn't have regular periods and no matter what we did, there was no regulating her cycle. Her hormone levels were not right. Basically, she had been in a premenopausal state since she hit puberty, and nothing we did could fix it.
"Edward, get out."
"Bella, please," I reached out to touch her arm, but she pulled back.
I dropped my head in defeat.
I hoped if I left her alone she would rethink leaving.
I grabbed a pair of pajamas and walked out of our bedroom.
I seemed to spend more nights in the guestroom than in our room these days.
I climbed into bed and listened as my wife broke down. Her sobs could be heard clear as day. I ached to go to her, to comfort her. She didn't cry often about this, but the last time she had, she rejected me when I went to her.
After listening to her cry out for a good ten minutes, I decided to cut my losses and try to comfort my wife.
For better or for worse.
'Til death do us part.
I couldn't give up.
"Bella, can we talk?" She was curled on the floor, her arms around the picture from our wedding that normally sat on the nightstand.
I slowly walked over to the side of the bed and dropped to the floor next to her.
Her sobs had quieted, but she was still crying.
"Why am I broken? You deserve someone that isn't broken."
"Bella, no, I deserve the one I love. I deserve you. Remember our vows; in sickness and health, until death do us part. Don't go through with the divorce. I want you, Bella."
I placed my hand on her cheek, as I wiped the tears that ran down it with my thumb.
"Love, look at me." I lifted her face with my hand. "I will love you forever, even if we remain a family of two."
She looked at me with wide eyes that were swollen and wet from tears. The pain she felt from feeling inadequate shined though.
But I cut her off. I didn't want to be rejected again. I placed my lips to hers. She was rigid, firm against me, but I wasn't giving up. I wasn't giving in.
"Bella, let me have you, let me have all of you."
She nodded as she wiped her tears, but it was no use, they continued to fall as I lifted her into our bed. I pushed her half packed suitcases off before lying her down.
Slowly, I began to undress her. As I removed her pajama pants, I kissed along her legs. My fingers trailed my lips, leaving tiny goose bumps on her skin.
My hands and mouth both wanted to stop between her legs, but I didn't want my own desires to get ahead of satisfying my wife. I slowly sat her up, lifted her shirt over her head and continued kissing her body.
I did an internal dance at that. Bella hadn't moaned in a long time when we had sex. Not because she didn't enjoy it, but it had become routine, a series of temperature taking and date counting. Sex was never enjoyable, but more of a job for us.
This, I wanted this to be making love. I wanted her to remember why she married me. The love she had for me.
"Edward, please," she whispered.
"Please what, baby," I asked as I kissed the swell of her breast.
"Touch me, please touch me."
I took my time kissing down her body, letting my tongue lick across her nipples and down between her breasts.
My hand cupped her, and I could tell she was wet. She was ready.
I slowly slid a finger into her.
She arched her back, and her eyes closed. The look on her face was pleasure; complete, absolute bliss.
My tongue trailed down from her navel until I found her clit. Greedily, I licked while my finger continued to move in and out of her.
"God, Edward," she moaned.
If I hadn't already been hard, hearing her moan my name would have gotten me there. Foreplay had been all but extinct between us. I prayed we were reigniting our relationship by giving in.
"More please, more," she begged.
I took one last lick, before plunging my tongue into her. I wanted to taste her; all of her. I ran my tongue up her slit before placing a kiss to her swollen clit.
Licking my lips, I climbed up her body.
"God, you are beautiful, Bella. My Bella," I said as I pushed my way into her.
Her back arched, and she tightened around me. Her hands found their way to the back of my neck.
I slowly pulled back, before pushing back in again.
"I love you," I whispered, "so very much."
"I, ahhhh-" Her words were broken by her orgasm. Her insides tightened even more, and her legs shook.
Her arms fell to her sides, and her eyes opened lazily.
I smiled at her as I continued to thrust in and out. Her hands found their way to my neck again, lightly tugging on my hair.
"Oh, ah, Edward, harder, ah, faster. Ah, yes."
Everything she wanted, I was willing to give. I would gladly give it to her harder, faster, sideways and upside down if I knew it would make her come and give her pleasure.
Her body started to tighten around me. My release was right on the edge.
"Come with me, baby," I moaned as I felt her tighten again.
I was pulled even deeper into her as we both came together.
We each took deep breaths, trying to calm down our hearts.
"That was amazing."
"That it was, baby."
I dropped myself to Bella's side and curled her against me.
I woke in the morning to an empty bed and a sticky dick.
Memories of the night before flooded my mind. I knew that realistically Bella and I had a long way to go before we would be able to have a normal relationship that wasn't tainted by the inability to conceive, but last night gave me hope.
I got ready for work with pep in my step. Bella was already gone for the day, and normally I would have been out the door too, but I guess being back in my own bed, and in my wife's good graces led me to have a fantastic night's rest.
I poured a cup of coffee from the half empty pot, and cut a piece of Danish to eat while I headed to the office.
I was halfway to the office when my phone chirped.
It was Bella. I would wait until the stop light up ahead to see what she had to say.
I hoped that this meant good things. A text first thing in the morning used to always mean good things. A simple I love you, or you were so cute sleeping I couldn't bring it to myself to wake you. My heart swelled at the ideas of what it could be.
But this time, this time it wasn't good things. Bella was beginning to be the bearer of bad news via text.
Last night was a mistake.
My heart cracked, my eyes closed, and I threw my phone against the passenger seat.
I was brought out of my own personal misery by the honking of a horn behind me. I opened my eyes; the light was green. Cars were flying around me. The one asshole that stopped too close to me was behind me, still unable to pass. I waved my hand in apology, took my foot off the brake, pressing the gas.
How could she think last night was a mistake? How? It was perfect. It was magical. It was everything we were, before we got so focused on making a baby, and not on our love.
I pulled into the parking lot of my office and cried. I cried for the fact I knew, deep down, my wife didn't want to leave me. She wanted to be with me, but she didn't want to hold me back. She didn't want her inabilities to cause me to regret her.
I knew almost all of the things she felt. I knew why she felt them. I had hoped I had expressed to her time and time again that it wasn't important, but deep down if I was being honest to myself, it was important.
I wanted children.
I wanted someone to teach all the things I know to. I wanted to have a little person that I could raise and nurture. Don't get me wrong, I knew there was a chance Bella couldn't have children, but I never thought she would reject adoption. I thought we would find a mother willing to give up her baby, and adopt him or her as a newborn. The child would never know we were not its parents. It would be perfection, but Bella was against it.
That was the one thing I didn't understand. The one thing I didn't know. Why didn't she want to adopt?
I walked toward my office just as a police car pulled in the lot.
"Doctor Cullen?" the officer asked, pulling in front of my path, blocking me from the building.
"Yes, how can I help you?"
"You've been served. Take the papers and don't cause a scene, that's how you can help me." He handed me a package, put the car in reverse and drove off.
Even if I had the energy to cause a scene, he was long gone before I could have.
I flipped the envelope over. It had my name on it. It looked like nothing important. To anyone else it would look like a regular, manila envelope, but to me it held the end of my marriage.
I sat in my office, staring at the papers.
Petition for Divorce.
Court date was in three months.
States the judge wants the parties to attempt to make it work.
My world slowly crumbled and crashed around me.
I pulled out my phone and read Bella's last text.
It was not a mistake. I got your papers, and I don't want to sign. I promised you – 'til death do us part.
I sent the quick reply and put my phone in my desk drawer.
I wanted Bella happy, and ultimately, if I knew she would be truly happy, I would do it.
At home that night, Bella locked herself in our room. All of my things had been moved to the guest room. Even my toiletries were gone from our en suite and moved into the hall bath.
It was official, I had lost my wife.
I sat on the floor in the guest room, my hand pressed against the wall that the two rooms shared. I wanted to be closer to her, but this was as close as I could get.
I could hear her quiet sobs. I was sure this wasn't what the judge meant by 'trying to work it out.'
I sat against the wall until I could no longer keep my eyes open.
Bella's crying had stopped and was replaced by the quiet hum of her deep breathing.
"I love you, Bella," I whispered to the wall.
I climbed into the guest bed, but never really fell asleep.
The subsequent days were much of the same. Bella was gone before I got up and home and locked in the bedroom before I got home. She would cry every night, and on occasion, I would try and see if she would let me in, but my knocks were always ignored.
After a week, I sat outside the bedroom door, leaning the side of my head against it.
"Bella, baby, I hope you can hear me. I hope you are listening to me. Know I love you and that I hate this. I hate that you want to leave me. Know, baby, know I love you. No matter what, I love you. I wish you would let me in."
I continued talking to the door; my words always going unanswered. We never spoke unless it was through text.
I prayed that as time would go by, she would give in, but it seemed Bella had put up a wall. She didn't want to get hurt in the end, so she was saying goodbye before it was really over.
For me, it would never be over. I would continue to show her how much I loved her until the ink was dry on the divorce decree.
I sent her flowers and chocolates and balloons, but they would all end up in the guest room, rejected by her.
I felt lower than low.
"Edward, are you okay?" Angela, my nurse, asked me.
It had been five weeks to the day since I was served.
"Yeah, I'm fine, why?" I grumbled.
I hadn't slept well in five weeks. Broken sleep was all I got in the guest bed. The few nights I fell asleep outside the bedroom door, my gateway to Bella, I always slept great, but woke in pain. And somehow, she always managed to get past me, even though I slept there in hopes of seeing her, talking to her, telling her I wanted to make this work, she found a way to slip past me.
"Well, you've been staring at the blood pressure meter for about five minutes without doing anything."
I snapped my head toward my nurse and then around the room. Sue Black sat across the room, a look of concern on her face. Her son, Jake, sat on the table in front of me. Jake had been a patient since birth and was now about to enter into the first grade.
"Doctor Cullen, I hate to speak up, but you don't seem okay. Is there anything you need to talk about?" Sue was a psychologist, and I knew she only wanted to help, but I didn't want to talk.
"Thanks for the offer, but I'm good."
I finished the young boy's exam and went back to my office. I asked my assistant to cover the rest of my patient's for the day. There was no way I could continue treating patients with how I was functioning.
I sat in my office and caught up on paperwork. I organized and reorganized the books on my book shelf. No matter what I did, my mind wouldn't stop wondering how I could try and get her back.
I had tried showering her with gifts and notes that told her how much I love her. I had tried ignoring her it hopes she would come back on her own. I tried talking to her, with pure, raw emotion. But no matter what I did, nothing worked. For all I knew, she had her ears plugged in the room while I bore my heart and soul to her through the door.
Idly, I flipped the pages on one of the magazines I had a subscription to for the waiting room.
Big, bold letters stared back at me.
Suddenly I wondered if Bella was cheating on me. Was there someone else? Was that why she was so quick to end it? Was that why she was able to turn around and not look back?
I threw the magazine across the room and dropped my head to the desk.
My Bella wouldn't do that.
Or would she? My mind started to race with all the possibilities.
Working late, leaving early; odd phone calls.
I sucked in a deep breath. I had to get home. I needed air since the air in my office was suddenly extremely thick. I got all my things together and I left for the day.
When I got home, the house was empty. I wandered around. For some reason, it felt strange. Bella wasn't home and I knew this was what it would feel like when this divorce was final. Complete loneliness. I didn't honestly think I could go on, but I would have to. I would continue to fight for her; to try and win her back.
My mind flipped back to the thoughts I had in the office. What if there was someone else? What if she was out with him? My heart started to race and my blood boiled at the thought.
I climbed the stairs and walked to the master bedroom, and pushed the door open. The room looked the same as it had since the night I was last in there. I looked around for signs of another man, but I didn't see one. There was nothing there that gave me any hint that there was someone else, but really, would she be that stupid to bring him here?
I continued to look over every inch of the room, stopping at the bed.
Our wedding picture was now lying on the bed. I wondered if she slept with it.
I ran my finger along the picture. Bella was a stunning bride. I could feel the wetness on my cheek before I realized it was happening.
I sunk down to the floor, picture still in my hand and I wept. I cried and cried and cried until I had no tears left. My lips still trembled and my body ached when Bella pushed the door to the bedroom open.
"Why are you in here?" she asked.
"I-I miss you." I coughed and reached for a tissue to blow my nose. My shirt was soaked from all the tears I had shed.
"Edward, please, don't do this. I can't do this." She was firm. If I hadn't known her for so long, I might have missed the flitter in her eyes to keep the tears at bay.
"Bella, I don't want to lose you. I don't want to!" I demanded. "I promised to be with you no matter what. Don't walk away from me, from us."
I took a step toward her, and she took one back. "Bella, baby, I love you. I will fight for you until the day we die. You are my wife, and I vowed to love you and cherish you until we both die. I will not break that promise. Don't go through with this divorce. Please?"
Bella shook her head, "We have to go through with it. I'm no good."
My mind went back to why I originally came up here; to see if I could find proof that there was another.
"Bella, is there, is there someone else? Did you move on? Do I not make you happy anymore? Is that what it is, Bella!" I started to get angry. My voice started to raise an octave or two.
"Edward, what? No. Just, please, stop. I can't do this with you."
A tear slid down her cheek as she finally let go.
Bella shook her head; tears easily flowing down her cheeks.
"We can do whatever you want, whatever you need to be happy. As long as you don't leave me, as long as I will always be your husband, I will do whatever it takes."
"Please, Edward, I can't-" Her words broke off as she hiccupped, her tears overtaking her.
She took a deep breath, then another to compose herself.
"Please, Edward, go. I can't do this. I can't give in again. I, God damn it, I love you, but you are only worried about my happiness, what about yours?" She sniffled.
"As long as you are happy, so am I."
"That is such a textbook response. What if this divorce is what would make me happy."
I stood and walked over to her. I placed my hand on her jaw, lifting her face so I could look into her eyes. "No, Bella, it is the truth. I live for you. I breathe for you. You are my other half. If you are sad, I am sad. If you are happy, I am happy. And if this divorce would truly make you happy, I would let you go, but I know you are not happy." I placed my lips to her cheek, kissing the salty skin.
"I will be waiting for you," I said as I dropped my hand and walked out of the room.
There was only two more weeks until the court date, and I was starting to believe that I wouldn't be getting my wife back. She had grown more and more distant, and even thought I wanted to believe her words, I had a hard time believing she wasn't cheating on me. She was hardly ever home. We had both been pretty sad and depressed and suddenly she seemed to now be happy. This turn of events made me firm in the thought that she had someone else. She no longer cried at night. She no longer frowned when she would see me, which still remained a rare occurrence.
I was going to lose my wife, and I didn't like it any more now than I did before. The only difference was, now I was angry. I was angry to think of another man having what was mine.
I needed a miracle. A 'god damn I wouldn't believe it if I didn't see it for myself' miracle. I had to put a stop to this.
I rolled over in bed, the guest bed, and looked at the clock. I had managed to stay in bed all day long.
Pretty pathetic if I do say so myself, but when your wife tells you it's time for one of us to move, all you want to do is be pathetic. It really is coming to an end.
I roll out of bed, seriously needing to use the bathroom. I glance at the bedroom door that led to the room I once shared with my wife.
The door was locked. I knew it was. Even when she wasn't home, it was locked. Ever since she came home and I was in the room, the door had been locked.
I guess it was her way to get her needed space, or to make sure I didn't go snooping.
I went to the bathroom, took a quick shower and decided to try to wine and dine my lovely bride. I had fourteen days until we were due in court. I needed to step up my failing game. I needed to try and get her attention.
Since I was no cook, I ordered her favorite meal from her favorite restaurant; roasted chicken and mashed potatoes. She was easy to please when it came to food. I took a bottle of wine from the wine rack and placed it in the fridge.
I set candles around the house, so all I would need to do was light them before she came home.
I looked at my watch. It had taken me two hours to get everything together. Bella should be home within the hour.
The dinner was delivered, and the table was set.
And then I waited.
Fifteen minutes passed, and I was brought out of my thoughts by the phone ringing.
"Bella?" We hardly talked on the phone, and if we did she never was the one to call. The fact that she was calling me had me shocked and confused.
"Yeah, Edward, I need to tell you something." Her words were slow, almost if she was trying to talk herself into whatever it was she wanted to tell me.
"What Bella, are you all right, is everything okay?" I asked.
"Well," she dragged the word out, "I went to the doctor today."
"Is everything okay?" I asked, curious to see where this was going.
"Yeah, everything is fine. I wanted to look into a new pill to regulate me, but really, none of that matters."
"Why are you telling me this?" I took a deep breath. I didn't know what to think. "If we are splitting up, why are you telling me? Is, is there someone else? Is this your way of telling me that?"
"That's not what I'm doing, Edward."
"Then what are you doing?"
"I was calling to let you know that I can't go on the pills."
"And why is that? Why should I care if you can't have what you want?" I was getting annoyed and my tone showed it.
"You should care!" Her voice rose. "You should care because I'm pregnant."
"You're what? How did that happen?" I paused. "You know what, it doesn't matter how it happened. Wow, just wow. Well, congratulations, I guess."
"We are splitting up. You want a divorce, and we haven't had sex in months, so yes, I guess. I hope you will be happy. I hope you found someone to make you happy where I failed."
My heart sank. We knew there was only a point zero one percent chance of us ever conceiving. Maybe it was my swimmers all along, and all she needed was another man to do the deed.
"Edward, what are you talking about? You are the dad! It is our baby!"
"How are you sure?" I questioned.
"Edward? I thought I was supposed to be the irrational and accusing one since I am the pregnant. I'm sure because there's no one else, there never has been, only you. The doctor said I'm twelve weeks. That last time, when it was about us, and not about making a baby, well we made a baby! You are it for me. You are all I've ever wanted, but I also didn't want to hold you back. Like you said, you wanted me happy, well I wanted you happy, and I knew having a baby would do that. If I couldn't give you that, I wanted you to find someone else who could. But none of that matters now because we are having a baby!"
You could hear the excitement in her voice. She was unbelievably happy. The Bella I married years ago, the Bella I fell in love with was back.
"Are you serious?"
I felt the lump start in my throat. I think I was about to go into shock. This couldn't be true. This had to be a dream.
"Yeah, I'm serious, Daddy. We're having a baby. I can't believe it."
"Oh, my, wow. I just, I can't believe it either."
"We need to celebrate. I left work about five minutes ago. I'm headed to the courthouse to retract my petition. I can't believe I was going to go through with the divorce. I must have been losing my mind. I love you, Edward Cullen."
"I love you, Isabella Cullen. Come home after you make your stop, I've got the celebration covered. See you soon, Mommy."
Tears sprung in my eyes.
My miracle had been granted, and I was getting my wife back and a baby. This would give us the happily ever after we wanted.
"Love you, Daddy to be."
I placed the food in the oven to keep it warm while I waited for Bella to get home. I pulled up the 'Babies 'r Us' site on my laptop and I started looking at all things baby.
I ordered a few small things that were unisex. A bear, a few rattles and some green and yellow onesies.
My phone rang again, and I saw it was Bella.
"Hello, my dearest wife and the mother of my baby. Are you already having cravings? Should I hit the store for you?" I said as soon as I answered the phone.
"Who are you and why do you have my wife's phone?" I screamed.
"Mr. Cullen? My name is Embry Call with Portland Fire and Rescue. There's been an accident."
"Wh- what kind of accident?" I knew as a doctor, they wouldn't tell me much of anything over the phone. I would have to go to the ER and wait.
"Sir, if you could please meet us at Emanuel Medical Center we will be able to tell you more when you arrive."
I didn't even grant him a parting word. I hung up my phone, turned off the oven and ran out of the house. I needed to get to my wife.
My heart pounded. Was she okay? Was the baby okay, the tiny little angel that God finally granted us with.
I pressed my foot down on the accelerator, rushing as fast as I could to get to my Bella and our baby.
I parked in a handicapped spot and ran into the ER.
"Where's my wife? I need to find my wife!" I yelled.
My heart pounded. My lungs burned. Everyone seemed to be busy. No one was paying me any attention.
I pulled my ID out of my wallet that I wore when I was visiting patients at the hospital.
I pushed the door open to the ER, and I decided to search for myself.
I knocked on the first door, but the young girl inside wasn't my wife.
I went around and around to all of the non-emergent rooms the ER had. I then moved up to the more serious ones.
At bed two, was where I located Bella.
I stood outside the doors and watched the physicians work; too stunned to do anything else. Bella lay on the table, her left leg obviously broken. Her clothes were cut off and covered in blood.
How did all of that happen in fifteen minutes? I had just talked to her.
They shocked her heart.
Had her intubated.
Code blue to ER bed two.
I stood there and watched.
I watched as the doctor called the time, and they covered her with the white sheet.
My unborn baby.
They were all gone.
Jasper Whitlock, a friend of mine from med school wrapped his arm around me. He worked in the hospital morgue, and I knew what he was here for. Two hours had passed since Bella left me.
Nothing seemed real.
Nothing seemed possible.
None of this.
How was it that one moment my life was back on track; I was getting my wife back, we were having a baby, and yet now, I had lost it all again?
I followed Jasper, unable to leave Bella's side.
"Twenty-nine year old female. Otherwise, healthy. Expired at eighteen fifty-two. Head on collision due to an intoxicated driver." Jasper had started the autopsy.
"She was pregnant," I whispered.
Jasper confirmed with a nod.
"May I?" I swallowed down the lump in my throat. I knew my being here was unethical, and now what I was asking was even more so, but I needed it. I needed to hold my child.
Jasper granted me my wish. He wrapped the tiny baby in a washcloth before handing my baby over to me.
I held my child and wept.
I opened the washcloth just a tiny amount.
I took a deep, shaky breath. I placed a kiss to my daughter's forehead as I wrapped her back up. She fit in my hand. All of her tiny parts already made. Her fingers and toes. Her tiny nose that didn't quite poke out. Her tiny lips. Her bones that were still soft, and skin you could see through. Even though small, she was all there.
I asked Jasper to take a picture. Since she never took a breath and was too small to be classified as a still born, I knew it was a slim to none chance I would ever see my sweet angel again.
"I love you, Grace. I think your mom would have loved that name. You would have graced us with so much, sweet angel."
I lifted Grace and kissed her again before handing her back to Jasper. He laid her on a small table next to Bella.
I leaned down and kissed my wife.
"You got your baby girl, and she is beautiful. Tell her Daddy loves her. Keep her safe in Heaven, my love."
I kissed Bella once more before exiting the room.
I sat in my car for hours, unsure of what to do.
I had nothing to go home to.
My phone vibrated in the center console. I was sure people had heard from other people in the hospital.
Word always seemed to travel fast when the news was bad.
I drove home in a fog.
Candles littered my home, and I wanted nothing more than to burn the house down with them.
How could my Bella, my baby, our baby be gone?
I picked the lock to the bedroom.
Everything was as it always was.
I climbed into bed and hugged Bella's pillow.
At any other time, I would have been happy to be back in my bed, but since I was there and Bella never would be again, I broke apart.
I threw things.
I gave up.
I collapsed back onto my bed.
I stared at the wall where I just threw the table lamp.
Bella loved that lamp.
Grace was buried with Bella.
I had the words 'Loving Mother' added to her gravestone.
Even though she never got to hold our baby, even though she never saw her, I knew she would have made a wonderful mom. She would have loved Grace like nothing else in the world.
I stood with my parents next to me as they slowly shoveled the dirt onto my life.
"Mr. Cullen, we would like to express our condolences for your loss."
A pat to the back.
Each face was the same.
Each touch wasn't the one I wanted.
None of them were Bella.
I loosened the tie I wore to the funeral.
It was green. It matched the dress Bella was buried it.
There was a knock at the door just as I unbuttoned the top button on my shirt.
I opened the door expecting another neighbor with another casserole that would go uneaten, but instead it was the mailman.
"I have a package. Could you please sign?"
I did as he asked and took the fairly large box from him.
I looked at the shipping label and tears once again streamed down my face.
Babies 'r Us.
I opened the box, looking at all the tiny baby toys I had bought just a few days earlier.
A few days ago when everything was looking up for me.
I threw the box across the room.
I went to our bedroom and dug into the back of the closet. I had to get my life back, and this was the only way I knew how.
There was a small safe. I opened it and I emptied out the contents on the floor.
I took out everything I needed.
I went back to the bedroom, picked up the picture of Bella and me from our wedding. Next to it now sat the picture of Grace and me. My girls. My angels.
"I love you, angel. I miss you so very much. I can't do this. I promised you 'til death do us part, but even in death, I can't be apart from you."
I lifted the gun to my temple and fired.