Time to get back to Bella and see how she's holding up. Hopefully the crazy Cullens (sorry, Rose, I mean Hale-Cullens) aren't overwhelming her too much! And we haven't even met the entire family yet…
More from me at the bottom, if you are so inclined to read it.
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It was so great to see Doctor Hale—I mean Rosalie—again. She was wonderful when she was acting in a professional manner, but it was even better to get the chance to connect with her on a personal level. She was very direct and didn't hold back, with both her questions and her attitude, but that just showed me how genuine she was. She didn't waste time skittering around boundaries; she jumped in wholeheartedly and told it like it was. That approach didn't work for me because I was usually pretty shy, but I really respected her for it. Here was a strong woman who knew what she wanted, and went for it. I was so grateful to Edward for asking her to come over.
Speaking of which, I had been incredibly confused when I first saw the interaction between Edward and Rose. The comfortable teasing between the two of them made it seem like they were not just work colleagues, but very close friends, who possibly could have had some romantic history together. They used cute nicknames and weren't hesitant to be physically close, which honestly made me feel nervous and unsure of my standing.
I mean, it had only been within the last hour or so that Edward and I had really talked and started to figure out how we hoped things would progress between us. Throw in a beautiful, intelligent woman like Rosalie Hale and it wasn't surprising that I'd feel a little unworthy.
Okay, so I was completely jealous. And I'm sure I breathed an audible sigh of relief when he introduced her as his sister-in-law. What a small world!
Rosalie told me a little about her husband Emmett, who was Edward's older brother, and they both assured me that we would get along great. I became nervous thinking about meeting more of Edward's family, but I guess it would have to happen eventually, given our situation. It would be a very good thing to have both of their support.
We were finishing up our lunch by the time the conversation circled back around to the real reason we were all here: my pregnancy. Rosalie now knew I was divorced, and she seemed to take it upon herself to try and figure out who the father was.
On the one hand, it was somewhat hilarious, since as far as I knew we had zero acquaintances in common and there was no possible way she should be able to guess correctly.
And on the other hand, it was slightly terrifying, as the one person we did have in common was in fact the father of my baby, and he was standing in the room with us.
I didn't know whether to laugh or to cry.
While I was pleased Rose was acting as though we were close friends already—which was new to me, and really very wonderful—I honestly wasn't sure what to do. Edward and I had not yet discussed when and how we planned to tell our families. I knew I wanted him to meet my dad and Alice as soon as possible. Even though I was sure to be mortified telling them the story, after everything I'd gone through there was no way I'd even consider hiding this from them. Edward had been worried, but I was sure he'd be able to win my dad over in a heartbeat with his sincerity and just the way he brought a smile to my face.
However, I didn't know if Edward felt the same way about his family's reactions. He had many more people in his life than I did, and it sounded like they were a very close-knit family. Hopefully, this meant that they would be supportive of us, but I still needed Edward's reassurances. I decided to just go with the flow, to see how he handled the situation with Rosalie and hope for the best. At the very least, I was comforted by the fact that he'd called her over to get her medical opinion immediately after we found out. Realistically, we wouldn't have been able to keep it from her after this, anyway.
Still, no amount of careful thinking could prepare me for the blunt force of Rosalie Hale when she straight-up asked, "You do know who the father is, right?"
I knew I was already blushing from the direction the conversation had taken, and with this last question, I felt an automatic increase in the heat spreading across my cheeks. I may have overreacted just a tiny bit, and when she narrowed her eyes at me I immediately knew I was in trouble. She had that same sneaky expression that Alice got when she was about to talk me into a shopping trip. There was no way she would let this go!
And Edward was no help at all. I tried not to look directly at him, hoping not to give it away too soon, but I could tell he was attempting to stifle his laughter. Well, I guess if he found this funny, then he wouldn't be too upset with Rose finding out so soon.
Although, he quickly stopped laughing when her glare was directed at him. Now I was the one trying hide a grin at the deer-in-headlights look he was sporting. And that adorable blush. Gah! I really wanted to kiss him. Was this the pregnancy hormones acting up already?
I was still nervous about letting Rosalie in, but once I locked eyes with Edward, all the uncertainty seemed to vanish. He gave me a soft smile, and I just knew that everything would be okay.
Rosalie's gasp broke us from our trance, and as soon as I looked her way, it was obvious she'd figured it out. We both waited, holding our breath. Her mouth opened and closed several times as she struggled to speak.
I guess I shouldn't have been that nervous about what she'd say.
"Wow, you must have some super sperm there, Eddie."
Everything was silent for a moment.
Rosalie was gaping again, like she couldn't believe those words had come out of her own mouth. Edward's eyes were wide, darting between the two of us. I was certain he was checking to see if I was upset, and if so, he'd be the first to defend me.
Always so sweet, that man.
And as for myself…
Maybe it was all the stress of the previous couple of months, leading up to this point. Maybe it was the intensity of our reunion and the following interaction with Edward in the examination room. Or maybe it was the tone of Rose's voice—seemingly sheer awe at the success of Edward's swimmers.
In any case, completely disregarding the tension in the room… I totally lost it.
I burst into uncontrollable giggles. I laughed longer and harder than I think I ever had before, until I was gasping for breath and frantically wiping tears from my eyes. It was loud, incredibly un-sexy, and remarkably freeing. I was amazed at how much lighter my entire body felt, just being able to let go and release all of those pent-up feelings.
I had done more than enough crying over the last two months—and really, the last seven or eight years of my life. Clearly, laughter was the way to go.
When I finally got myself under control again, I looked up to find two sets of eyes on me.
Edward had finally cracked a smile, his crooked grin lighting up his entire face. He looked so vibrant and happy, and I loved the idea that I had had something to do with it. With no further need for caution, I reached out my hand, his strong fingers meeting mine halfway and sending a familiar tingle of warmth through my body. I soaked up the comfort of Edward's presence for a minute, before bracing myself to look up at Rosalie.
Perhaps not so surprisingly, she was smiling our way with a tender yet clearly joyful expression. Once she noticed my gaze, however, I think we were both surprised—by both our own and each other's actions—when she walked over to pull me into a gentle hug, and I responded by wrapping my arms tightly around her. Although a part of me was reluctant to release Edward's hand, I was still grateful that he took a step back to give us a moment.
While I considered Alice to be my best friend, it was clear that Rose and I had developed a strong connection back when she was my doctor. Having this new familial bond would only serve to tie us closer together. I imagined her role in my life would be something like a big sister—she would never let me get away with anything, if she could help it, but without a doubt she would remain a strong pillar of support, whenever it might be needed.
As soon as we separated, Edward immediately returned to my side, snatching my hand back in his. I gave him a shy smile and he shrugged sheepishly, giving my hand a squeeze. Of course I didn't mind; I felt the exact same way about wanting to maintain physical contact with him.
Rose's low chuckle brought our attention back again. "I'm so happy for you; for both of you," she beamed. Then she lightly poked Edward's shoulder. "You could have told me earlier, though, without all this beating around the bush," she pouted playfully.
He frowned a little, glancing my way. "Sorry, Rosie, it's just… we haven't really discussed that yet. I mean, exactly how to tell the family and all that." He looked at her pleadingly, hoping she might understand our situation without him having to say the words.
She looked confused for a moment, but then her eyes opened wide with understanding. "Do you mean… it was only just now that you guys found out about…?"
Though I only snuck a peek from the side, it was obvious that Edward and I were sporting a matching pair of blushing cheeks.
Rose quickly waved her hand in the air, physically chasing away the brief increase in tension that had filled the room. "Don't worry; I won't say anything. It's not my place, really. Just let me know what you guys decide to do and I'll follow your lead." She smiled reassuringly, which quickly morphed into a smirk as she rubbed her hands together gleefully. "I can't wait to see Esme's face!"
Edward seemed to have relaxed a bit, although he was shaking his head. "Ugh, I know, Mom is going to go crazy…"
I felt the color suddenly drain from my face as I imagined the impending introduction to Edward's parents, and what a spectacular disaster that might turn out to be.
"Mom, this is Bella, my pregnant girlfriend. Well, she wasn't really my girlfriend when she got pregnant, but it's okay, because we're dating now. No, we didn't use birth control the night we met because she didn't think she could get pregnant. Yes, of course the baby is mine—I did the exam myself. So, I was thinking maybe you could invite Bella to your book club?"
I shook my head quickly from side to side, chasing away those ridiculous thoughts.
"—Bella?" I snapped back into reality, where Edward was trying to get my attention.
"Sorry, I was just…" I trailed off, not wanting to go there. "Never mind. What did you say?"
"Rose has to head back soon. Actually, I probably need to start getting ready for my afternoon appointments, as well. But, I was thinking we could ask her a few of our questions first?"
"Oh, yes, of course."
We returned to our seats from lunch, except this time it was Edward beside me on the couch. He started right in with the questions. I was glad he was taking charge because while there were certainly a few things I was concerned about, I wasn't sure that I knew the right questions to ask. I tried to follow along, although some of the medical terminology went straight over my head. I would have to get Edward to explain it to me, later.
"I guess the most important thing we want to know is if, based on Bella's history, there are any possible complications we should be aware of? Any precautions to take, or anything in particular to look out for as the pregnancy progresses?"
I held my breath while we waited for Rosalie's answer, and while it couldn't have been longer than a few seconds, it felt like a lifetime.
"No, there shouldn't be anything to worry about. Any more than the usual pregnancy, that is—I know you're going to worry, regardless," she said with a pointed glance at Edward. His expression was slightly sheepish, yet the determination in his eyes was unapologetically serious. It was clear to me that, as both a doctor and a soon-to-be father, he would be completely dedicated to me and our child.
"Since we only did the testing and consults," Rosalie continued, "there won't be any physical effects from your time at the clinic. As long as the pregnancy was, ah, 'all-natural'," I giggled as she mimed the air quotes, "we can proceed as usual. Of course, with both Edward and I involved—that is, if you'll let me—I'm sure we'll be keeping a close eye on things to make sure there are no surprises."
After sharing a quick glance with Edward, I gave her a grateful smile. "Of course we want you involved, Rose. Thank you so much, for everything."
"No problem, Bella. I'm happy to help. And as great as Eddie is, I'm sure you'll be wanting some female input on things, as well," she winked.
We chatted for a few more minutes before Rose had to go. She gave us both another hug on her way out, and I noticed her whispering something in Edward's ear. He seemed to think about it for a minute before nodding, presumably in agreement with whatever she said. I was curious, but it didn't look like anything too serious, so I figured he'd tell me if it was something I needed to know.
When we were finally alone again, it was only for a few minutes spent cleaning up our lunch mess, before a knock sounded and a nurse stuck her head in the door. "Dr. Cullen—oh, I'm sorry to interrupt. Your next check-up is ready in room 507." She handed him a folder and slipped back out.
There was a momentary pause, as we both tried to figure out what we were supposed to say. There were still so many more things to discuss; so much more I wanted to learn about this man. I hoped I wouldn't have to wait too long to see him again, but this had been an emotional day for both of us, and we probably each needed some time to think things through on our end.
"Can I—" Edward cleared his throat, and I refocused on him. "Can I call you tonight? I'd like to talk some more; that is, ah, if you don't have plans already?"
Hearing his words and the familiar nervousness behind them, I relaxed immediately. It was such a relief to know we were still on the same page in regards to wanting to deepen our relationship.
"Nope, no plans. I'll be waiting for your call." I blushed just saying it, but I truly wanted him to know how I felt. "Um, my number—I put my home number on the paperwork, but let me give you my cell, too."
Edward pulled out his phone and I entered my information. As soon as I handed it back, he pressed a few buttons, and I heard the buzz of my own phone from my purse. We shared a silly grin.
"I'll call you around eight?" Edward asked as he walked me to the door. I nodded.
We'd reached that awkward moment where we were probably both going to over-think what sort of parting gesture was appropriate—a hug or a kiss? On the cheek, or lips? Maybe a handshake? Just because we'd been very passionate earlier didn't necessarily mean we should jump right back into it…
My hand was already on the doorknob, and neither of us had made any move yet. Before I could lose my nerve, I quickly turned and, holding onto Edward's shoulders for support as I raised myself up on my tiptoes, I gently pressed my lips to his. He immediately responded, wrapping his arms around my waist and pulling me close, his lips moving sweetly with mine. Neither of us deepened the kiss, keeping it soft and slow. We broke apart a minute later, and he squeezed my hips lightly before releasing me.
I'm sure I was grinning like a fool as I exited the building. The day had not gone anything like what I'd expected when I woke up that morning.
It was so much better.
I felt a vibration and checked my phone.
Tonight we'll talk, but I'm taking you out on a date tomorrow. Miss you already, beautiful. Have a safe drive home. –Edward
I looked up from my phone and caught my reflection in a store window. I couldn't remember the last time I'd looked so… happy. I stood there for a moment, lost in thought, and my hand drifted unconsciously to rest on my tummy. When I realized it, my smile grew even wider, if that were at all possible.
I hummed to myself as I typed out a response to Edward.
We miss you, too. :) Talk to you soon. –Bella
I was putting my phone away, but it started buzzing again almost immediately. I wondered what else Edward might have to say—shouldn't he be working?—but I quickly realized my mistake. I had been so focused on Edward earlier that I hadn't seen the notification for two missed calls and five text messages. I opened the most recent one with trepidation.
Tuesday is SHOPPING day. Where. Are. You?! –Alice
AN: Hello there! I just wanted to take a moment to thank you all for stopping by. I'm still very pleasantly surprised every time I get a notification that someone is reading this story, haha. I'm having a lot of fun writing it, and am so happy to have the chance to share with you. Thank you for all of your kind words and support.
I have a poll up on my profile; just a quick question out of curiosity. If you have a few seconds, I'd love to get your opinion. Thanks!