It Ain't Over
Rosalie filled my wine glass again and resumed laying back on her beanbag.
"So, update me on the two beau's. Or is it beaux? I wouldn't know, I've never dated two men at once myself."
"Goody for you Actually it's quite nice."
"I suppose they both have to be on their best behaviour all the time. That must be good. Neither game to do anything wrong in case you give him a black mark against his name."
"You may be right as far as Jake is concerned but Edward seems to just enjoy us being together. He acts pretty much as he always did."
"You can't blame Jake for trying harder. He has a lot to beat. You and Edward have always been a natural match.
He must find it quite intimidating watching you two. You are different with him. He moves, you move. Like magnets.
Jake must feel awkward and clumsy by comparison."
"He doesn't need to. They are different men. I don't want Jake to become more like Edward."
"So, who is scoring top marks? Who brings you the nicest roses and best brand of chocolates?" she asked.
I reached for my bag and handed her the latest two boxes from Jake. If I ate every box he gave me, I'd be twice my size by now.
"Yum. DeLafee's. My favourites. Try one, Bella. Maybe not. If you like them you won't keep giving them to me."
"No thanks. I still don't believe the whole 'edible gold' part. If it's gold, it's not edible. If it's edible, it's not gold. Anyway, who wants to eat gold, edible or not?"
"Keep telling yourself that. From Jake, I presume?"
"Of course. I wish he would relax and give me something simple.
A bunch of daisies.
I mean, every woman likes a nice professionally arranged bouquet now and then but daily?
The house looks like a florist shop threw up inside it.
Edward barely stayed an hour after our last date. He sneezed the entire time."
"Poor Eddie. What's he given you this week?"
"He made up a coffee table book full of photos. We never took many ourselves, of course, but luckily Esme was always hovering around with her camera.
Now the house is vacant, Edward has gone over there a few times and looked through all their photo albums and copied the ones he thinks I will like. Mainly ones of Scarlett at every stage of development."
"Cute. How is she by the way? Still waitressing, or has real work lost its appeal?"
"No, she likes it. She gets to meet a lot of people and she likes the other kids who work there at the restaurant.
I think she likes saving up her own earnings instead of just using her trust fund.
Bree has inspired her to become independent and able to survive all by herself should it ever prove necessary."
"Has she been to California to visit the new Cullen mansion?"
"No. Esme has invited her a few times. Apparently there's a vastly superior suite of rooms waiting for Scarlett should she ever choose to go live with them. So far she seems to have a bit of a girl crush on Bree, so she is staying put."
"Esme cannot be pleased about that. I'm surprised she hasn't rushed over to London to reclaim her substitute daughter."
"She and Carlisle have visited of course but Bree insisted they stay in a hotel. She is protecting Scarlett like any good Momma Bear would. I like that. It's good to know someone who lived through her own childhood overindulged and cosseted by Esme knows exactly what she is like and what she is capable of. Bree is a great friend to Scarlett."
"It's a wonder Carlisle hasn't found a way to reclaim Bree's trust fund and freeze it. Anything to get her away from the main prize."
"Oh, he can't. Bree has her money, and Scarlett's invested with some bank where she is good friends with the manager and Carlisle has no influence. He will never get his hands on any of it.
Once Edward gave Scarlett control of her own inheritance, Carlisle's money became irrelevant. Scarlett doesn't need anything from them now."
"Where is your big ass necklace Jake gave you, by the way? Scared of being mugged if you wear it?"
"No, but it is pretty heavy. Everytime I turn my head I risk whiplash."
Rose got up and flicked through her vinyls.
She is a believer that cd's and iPods do not capture sound as purely as good old records.
Janis Joplin filled the room with her sad tale of love and loss. I could relate.
Freedom was just another word for nothing left to lose.
"I'd trade all my tomorrows, for one single yesterday, to be holding Bobby's body next to mine..." we both crooned along with her.
"Bella, you said 'Edward's' body" Rose laughed.
"I did not. You imagined it."
"It's not me imagining things. Admit it, you'd love to be holding Edward's body next to yours."
"I do get to lay beside him. Sadly he always insists on covering me in several layers of quilts. I think he is using them like a giant condom. Safe sex taken to the extreme. He is always so in control. It's weird."
"Hmm. I can't see why he wouldn't be pushing the limits all the way. He must know if he gave in and just shagged you, you would forget Jacob Black exists."
"It's definitely a possibility. Jake's not nearly such fun as he was now we haven't slept together all these months. It's one thing having a hot, young fit guy in your bed, it's another thing having to talk to him.
He thinks the movies we saw as kids are vintage classics. He listens to these weird new bands that have no idea what real music is. Miley Cyrus?
Explain why she was naked on that wrecking ball."
"No idea. Maybe her version of a sex tape. Well, if you date teenagers you have to expect them to like teenage things."
"He's twenty six in a weeks time."
"But isn't the rule now that you have to deduct ten years from a guys age to get his true emotional age?"
"Rose! That makes him sixteen."
"And that makes you a true cougar. You could be his Mom 'emotionally'."
"Gross. Give me more wine."
"Whose night is it tonight? I've lost track."
"Jake's. Edward and I went out last night."
"So, where is Jakey Boy taking you? Disneyland to go on all the rides or are you staying in and watching Tellytubbies?"
We ended up going to a restaurant in Port Angeles.
Jake was in a strange mood. Usually he put on his 'ideal date' persona, but tonight he seemed a little fed up and impatient.
"When does this all end? I have to travel again soon and I want you to come with me. How much longer are we pretending you are considering taking your ex husband back?"
"I am considering that, Jacob."
"No way. If you were in love with him you wouldn't be here with me. You would have sent me packing from the start. Face it Bella, if it takes this long to think about it, it isn't going to happen because it's not what you want more than anything else in the world."
"What do you want more than anything else, Jake?"
"For you to tell Cullen to fuck off and never come back. That's what I want, and I think you do too."
Edward suggested our Sunday date should be hiking up to the meadow. I'd avoided it thus far because I knew I'd be overwhelmed by memories.
It wasn't possible to go back to the place where we lost our virginities under the cover of a picnic rug, and not be taken back in time.
He didn't say anything when we finally reached the clearing, just spread the blanket on the grass and started setting out glasses and food.
I walked around, reacquainting myself to the trees that had borne witness to our first successful attempt at lovemaking, and sighed.
Edward walked over and put his arms around me.
"We may not have ever made it to Paris, but we will always have this meadow."
"Maybe not. It is so beautiful up here, someday whoever owns it will build something here and we won't be able to trespass any more."
"I don't have any plans of ever building here. Not unless you want to. Maybe a cosy little cabin in the woods would be nice."
"You own this?" I asked in surprise.
"Bella, it's the very first thing I bought when I got my inheritance. Keeping it just like it was has been very comforting through the bad years. I have visited often. Sat back over there against that tree and just remembered."
"Lots of memories," I agreed. "Why didn't you ever come after me and try to get me back?"
"You didn't want me to. You asked for your freedom and I gave it to you. That's what love is. Setting someone free and waiting to see if she comes back. I wanted you to do it in your own time, but I admit I had given up. I had considered moving on.
How impossible that proved to be.
I dated four women in those seven years and Tanya was the only one who lasted more than a month.
Even she only kept my limited interest because lust was rearing it's ugly head."
"Yes. Abstinence is a bitch, right? Didn't you sleep with any of her sisters, then?"
"No. What about you? Did anyone sneak past my constant stalking of your house to see who was getting allowed inside? I never saw anyone stay overnight."
"You stalked me? Why?"
"Because if you had taken on a lover then I would have given up. I never saw a single strange car parked outside."
"But you knew I was dating Jake and you didn't just walk away. How come?"
"You know why. That night reminded me of everything we once were. Everything we could be again. That night reawakened a lot of things, including my eyes.
I saw clearly that all Tanya had been was a way to resume my sex life but although it hadn't seemed completely empty at the time, making love to you made me compare the experiences.
There is no point having sex unless you make love.
That's how it is for me, anyway."
"Mmm. I guess I always thought that. But sometimes it can be a beginning. I needed to know there was a chance I could resume life. Living above Charlie's garage, never dating, never going out to enjoy myself unless you count being the third wheel with Emmett and Rose... It wasn't the life I wanted."
"And now you have the chance to choose between two hopefully better lives. Whichever way you choose I really do believe you will get what you want. A chance to be happy, and to have a new family. I can't help feeling excited for you even though I don't have a clue which future you will choose.
I wish Jake was a tool. I wish he was someone I could hate, but he is a good guy. I have talked to Charlie a lot about Jacob Black and I am satisfied he would be good for you.
You managed to endure the years it took me to mature and become a man, so you can do the same with him."
He smirked and I slapped his back.
"Jake is very mature for his age. He's had a lot of experiences. He's travelled, and met a lot of people, and become famous. He could choose just about any female and he has chosen me. That makes me hesitate and really think things through. If he wasn't sincere, he would have kissed me Goodbye months ago.
No guy wants to go through this stupid situation. I know I'm freezing time, keeping everyone involved in a time warp.
I need to make a choice and let us all live again."
"And that means letting at least one of us go. Maybe both."
"You don't want to keep dating if I decide I don't want anything permanent?"
"Bella, I want whatever you will give me."
Edward kissed my lips and hugged me tighter. I ran my fingers through his hair and kept his face close to mine so he couldn't pull away. I watched his eyelids flutter and close.
"No. Open your eyes, I want to look into them," I begged.
"I can't...I have to close them," he replied, trying to step back.
"Edward, what are you doing? Are you afraid of me?" I asked suddenly. As stupid as that seems, with him being almost a foot taller and definitely a lot heavier, that was how he was acting.
"I can't trust myself not to get out of control with you unless I close my eyes," he admitted.
"Then keep them open. Be out of control," I begged.
"I want to, believe me. But I can't. We have to keep our eyes on the bigger picture."
"Okay. Fine. Under what circumstances would you agree that we can make love, then?"
"If you decided you were ready to say Goodbye to Jake. Not before."
"Edward, What do you want more than anything else?"
"For you to be happy. For you to know your own mind and be happy."
"What if the one thing that would make me happy was to have another baby?"
"I know you want that. I guess I would agree to father the boy if that's what you wanted."
"Really? You would agree to giving me a baby without forcing to marry you first?"
"If that was what you wanted."
"I find that hard to believe. You insisted we got married before Scarlett was born. You said you didn't want any child of yours coming into the world to anything but a proper family waiting for them."
"I guess I've gotten more flexible in my old age. I want us to have a baby and I told you that you could have as much or as little of me as you wanted. If you really want this baby, and want me to be the father, then you need to break up with Jacob Black. That's my only condition.
I would want our son to know I was his father and I would be part of his life on a daily basis. But if you want us to live next door to one another, then I guess I would have to endure it if you gave me no other choice."
I pushed him back against 'our' tree and he lifted me in his arms. I wound my legs around his hips and rocked against him.
"Bella.." he said warningly.
"If two people make love in a forest and nobody hears them, did it really happen?," I murmured, moving against the hardening bulge in his jeans.
I watched his eyes hood and heard him sigh.
He slumped to the ground, laying me beneath him on the rug, and hovering above me.
I have never wanted anything as much as I wanted him right then, but the one thing that stopped me was the resignation in Edward's eyes.
He can read me, but I can read him just as easily.
He wants this but not now, not this way.
I rolled us so I was on top, and moved further down so I was merely straddling his legs.
"It's okay. I understand. I think you should take me home. I have things I should be doing. Charlie will expect the Sunday roast ready at seven pm sharp as always."
It was barely one o'clock but we needed to end this.
I stood up and walked over to the creek and pretended to watch the tiny fish swimming amongst the rocks, while Edward packed everything up again.
I was pretty sure I was insane for not just agreeing that a tryst in the woods could exist only in our minds. If Jake never knew then who were we hurting?
But what if she wants to get us back on a level field and decides she owes him now.
We walked down the hill to the car in silence.
I wasn't sure how much more of this I could stand.
"Could you drop me at the diner, please?" Bella asked. "My phone battery is almost flat. I don't want to risk missing a call from Jasper. It must be happening any old day now. Jess will let me charge it there, and then I can go to the supermarket and grab some things I need for dinner. I'd enjoy the walk home."
I nodded and hoped she was not feeling the widening gulf between us that I was.
This was not a step back, I told myself.
She stopped us.
She said she understands.
I'm not sure she knows how crucial it is to free herself of Jake or me, soon. Now.
Before we all end up spontaneously combusting and all we will leave behind are ashes.
"See you Tuesday night. Eight suit you?" I asked as she got out of my car and waved at Jessica, who was sitting at an outside table catching some sun. It was a rare day in Forks when the sun was hot enough to wear Summer clothing but Jess was taking full advantage. She still fit in her Daisy Dukes that she wore back in High School.
"Sure. See you Tuesday," Bella replied.
Her cell buzzed.
"Mike? No, I'm a bit busy today, how about..."
She paused at looked at Jess again.
"No, on second thoughts, meet me at the diner. Now. Maybe we can do dinner tonight."
She laughed and leaned back into the car.
"Maybe I can finally push this pair together. I bet once he sees how long her legs are, and what a pretty rack she has, he won't even notice me leaving."
"Good luck with that," I replied.
Maybe he would but to me, any other woman was eclipsed by Bella.
I wouldn't notice if Jess was naked.
I took a shower and lay down on my bed.
Were we progressing? Was Bella any more sure about who she wanted, if either of us?
She has always been so independent that I worry that she will choose to have the baby and raise him alone.
But I know I won't deny her the right to do that.
What if Jake has offered something even better?
Like, just being the sperm donor?
Letting Bella have complete care and control over every aspect of the child's life.
Maybe it had been a test.
Maybe Jake had refused to even consider impregnating her unless she married him first.
Maybe that was what I should have said as well.
Had she simply been trying to find out which one of us could not live without her, without making her his wife; without giving her a proper family?
Had I failed?
My work cell lit up.
"Edward, I am on the way to the hospital. Alice isn't having regular contractions yet but she says we have to go now, and that the baby will be born within the hour. I'm not doubting her now. Can you meet us there?"
"Of course. I'll arrive before you. See you in five."
After months of having to share Bella with Jake, tonight it ends.
It's all over bar the shouting.
The baby will arrive, and Bella will take one look and know what she wants to happen.
It could be the beginning of us.
Or it could be the end.
With my parents living in Los Angeles, we are short staffed and have to depend on locums taking up the slack, but tonight I'm on call and the other doctors here are new.
Better me than one of them, ushering this precious life into the world.
"One more push," I promise.
Emmett is sitting outside, having decided he didn't need to see Alice's 'hoohah', especially in this state.
Rose is at Alice's right hand side and Jasper sits behind her, supporting her back.
I offered him the chance to be the first person to touch his baby as it emerges but he assured me he was fine with that person being me.
I'm to be a Godfather anyway.
He feels Alice needs him more than the baby does as this point.
Everything has gone textbook smoothly, to my relief.
"And the head is out," I announce excitedly.
This child means more than just being my Godson.
His birth is the catalyst Bella needs to choose, and even though I am no more sure which way she is leaning, I need it to be over.
"And here he is. Say hi to Mommy and Daddy, little man."
The midwife cleans him up and I deliver the placenta and hand it to the nurse to take away to be examined.
Everything looks perfect.
Alice would know if there were any issues with the baby and she has already told me things this boy will do when he is an adult so I don't have to fret about his health.
He is fine, and his lungs are working particularly well as he screams his anger at being thrust out into this world.
"Oh wow," Rose gushes, leaning closer and to my surprise, shedding a tear or two.
"He's perfect. He's so tiny. Look at his hands. They are like doll's fingers."
I shrug off my not so clean scrubs and change into another pair and when I go back into the delivery room, Bella is there.
I had called her a few times and kept her updated.
Alice is watching Bella's face warily, waiting.
I watch too, waiting also.
Bella takes the offered bundle and straightens up, gazing into the newborns eyes.
Rose immediately rushes over, wanting to hold the child herself.
Alice and I exchange looks.
Sure enough, suddenly Bella starts to cry.
"Dammit, it's time. I want one of these. I want my own little baby boy."
She hands the baby to Rose's eager hands and turns to leave.
"No," Alice says as I rush to grab Bella's arm.
"Let me go, Edward. I have to find Jacob."
"Bella, just wait. Just think for a minute. You and I could have another baby together.
I'm more than willing. You don't have to choose him. Please."
She stares at me then shakes my hand off.
"I have to do this, Edward. You swore you would never stand in my way."
"Please," I begged again.
Bella gave me an impatient shove and pushed past into the hallway.
Emmett jumped up.
"What's wrong? Why is Bella crying? Is the baby okay?"
"Everything is fine," I replied, sitting down.
"Where is she going then?"
"To find Jake," I admitted, defeated.
Cheers for reviews, have a good weekend, be back next week hopefully. School is about to resume here so I have to go buy uniforms etc for Declan, I'll be back once he's settled in. Oh, and btw, for those who asked on my other user about the baby, Carter can walk now. He will be one late Feb, and is doing fine.