This was my entry for The Fruit's on the Vine TwiFic Contest: a contest for fic babies! So awesome. :) I am SO honored to say that this story was the winner of the 1st Place Judges' Vote as well as Jadalulu's pick! It was also picked as a judge's favorite by kr2009! Many many thanks to everyone who organized and orchestrated the contest, as well as congrats to all the other authors. I read all of the entries and they are amazing!
This was completed as a single OS, but I've decided to break it down for posting here as there are some nice natural breaks in the story and that is how it was originally envisioned. I have also started working on some additional chapters, since I'm not ready to give up these characters yet! All of the chapters from the original story (about 10) should be posted fairly quickly.
Disclaimer: Any publicly recognizable content is the property of the original creator. No copyright infringement is intended.
Life's Big Surprises
I had always known what I wanted to do with my life.
When I was in third grade, the teacher sat us down to do an art project. We were told to draw what we wanted to be when we grew up. Most of the kids around me took a while to get started, chattering excitedly about this and that, each trying to come up with the most outrageous ideas to out-do their friends.
I didn't hesitate for a single second. I grabbed the closest sheet of paper, pulled out my trusted colored pencils – because crayons were for babies, as my mom had insisted when we went back-to-school shopping that year – and got right to work. I didn't even look up when Mike and Tyler started crying and hitting each other because they both wanted to draw the same thing. Of course, it made perfect sense that there could only be one football player in the entire universe. (I wonder who he would play with?)
I was oblivious to the world around me as I painstakingly sketched out every little detail of the image in my mind. I worked the entire half hour in complete silence, and it was only after physical prodding from the teacher when she came around to collect our drawings that I noticed the room was already empty. I reluctantly got up to go outside to the playground for lunch. However, when Mrs. Cope picked up my picture, she stopped me on my way out the door, her eyebrows furrowed as she looked down at the paper in her hands.
"Is this your family, Bella?" she asked.
"Yes," I told her proudly.
"It's a beautiful picture," she said. However, she still looked confused. "But, dear, didn't you understand the project? You were supposed to draw what you're going to be when you're an adult."
"I did, Mrs. Cope," I explained patiently. Grown-ups could be so silly. I motioned for her to bend down to my height. "See," I pointed to the female stick figure on the far right. "That's me."
"Oh… So, you're the mommy in this picture?"
"Of course." Wasn't it obvious?
I looked over my drawing once more. There was the two-story house, white with a red door and matching red shutters. A large green lawn with colorful flowers and a fence around the backyard to keep the dog in. And the five of us standing in front, holding hands, large grins drawn in on each of our faces.
It was perfect.
"I see." Mrs. Cope smiled back at me, although I thought it looked a little different from her normal smile. "Go on and play now, Bella."
Later that night, my mom got a phone call. She took it in the other room, but I could clearly hear the huffs of displeasure. After it was over, she marched in front of me and grabbed the book I was reading, snapping it shut and placing her hands on her hips.
"Hey!" I protested.
"Isabella," my mother frowned, "I heard you drew something in class today?"
"Yes?" I wasn't sure what the problem was, but I didn't really want to talk about this with my mom. After all, much of the inspiration for my future-dream came from her, and not in a good way. Also, I hated when she called me Isabella.
"Sweetheart," Renée sighed dramatically and sat down on the couch, putting on the "Mom" face that came out only once in a blue moon. "The teacher asked you to draw what job you want to do when you grow up. Not just to draw some family picture. You need to follow the instructions, okay?"
"But Mom, that is what I want-"
"And, honey," she interrupted, "Why on earth would you draw three kids? Seriously, one is more than enough. Really, you shouldn't be thinking about things like that. You need to focus on what you want to do, not get carried away with some fantasy that'll just turn out to be a disappointment. You don't want to end up tied down like your father and I were, so young, do you?"
There was so much I wanted to say back to her at that moment, but I held my tongue. It wouldn't do any good.
"Okay, well, now that that's taken care of." She jumped up and handed back my book. "I've got a date tonight; I'm going to be late if I don't leave soon. Don't stay up too late." She was out the door before I could blink. "Oh, that's right," her head popped back in. "Wash the dishes for me, would you, sweetie?" And she was gone again.
I stared at the closed, unlocked door for a few minutes, hoping it would say something reassuring or comforting, but obviously that wasn't going to happen. Now I had two choices: spend the rest of the night crying into my pillow, or clean the house.
I sighed and went to go grab the rubber gloves. Someone had to take care of our house, and it certainly wasn't going to be Renée. I started with the dishes, then scrubbed the floors and counters. I took out the trash and paid the bills. By ten o'clock, everything was done and I hopped into bed. I yawned and snuggled under the covers.
Someday, I'd find a wonderful man to share my home and my life with. We would split the chores and responsibility. And together we would raise the happiest, most well-loved children. I would help them with homework, go to all their school and sports and music and dance events, tuck them in at night, listen and hug them when they were upset. I would offer advice when they needed it and try not to scare away their dates when they got older. I would keep smiles on their faces whenever possible. I would love them with all of my heart.
I couldn't wait to be a mom.