With a small sniffle, I give you the final chapter of Britward. It had been a joy to share this one with you. Thank you for reading and your kind words. Many thanks to my prereaders Liz, Lady and Trina and my beta Midnight Cougar. I am blessed to have them.
We did make a baby that night. Or one day the next week. Bella bought more than one kilt and she wore them a lot. I wore mine too, so we were both in a frenzy most of that week it seemed. Either way by the time we arrived back in the States, Bella was well and truly pregnant. When she became sick with what we thought was the flu a couple weeks after the 'kilt week', my mum took her to the doctor, and when I got home that night after filming I found a teary-eyed Bella and an over-the-moon Mum, both bursting to tell me the news. My swimmers were strong—I was gonna to be a daddy. Hearing the words from Bella and seeing the look of joy on her face—a joy that matched my own—was overwhelming. Wrapping her in my arms, I realized I held my entire world at that very moment, and I shed my own happy tears.
I was ecstatic.
I had a beautiful wife, a successful career, and a baby on the way. I had never been happier.
To nip things in the bud, I let Rose release a statement saying while out of the country, Bella and I were married and were now expecting our first child; news we welcomed with a great deal of happiness. I still refused to talk about it or my private life, but I decided to get ahead of the rumours this time. Bella was already glowing and I knew soon enough she would start showing. She already had a small bump I liked to run my hand over and press my lips against while I chatted to the baby.
I drove her doctor crazy with my questions, read far too many books on the subject, and once again, made everyone laugh with my lists.
This time I made multiple copies so when Bella was fed up with me checking them and fed them through the shredder I had extra handy. I went to every doctor's appointment, held Bella's hair during her bouts of morning sickness, rubbed her sore shoulders, and brought her crackers to quell her queasy tummy. Very quickly I learned the three new faces of Bella while her body raged with all the additional hormones, some of which frightened me no matter how often they appeared.
HB—Horny Bella – My favourite one. OJ loved it, as well. We both actively encouraged that hormone.
IAB—Instantly angry Bella—We weren't big on this one.
EB—Emotional Bella—Our least favourite.
Often I could sideline EB with HB if I moved fast enough and it was the right sort of day. Frequently IAB dissolved into EB. I was never sure. When I brought up the subject with Dr. Emily, wondering if there was some sort of indicator I could find so I knew what Bella I would find waiting for me when I walked through the door, she actually smirked at me while Bella glared then cried. I hugged Bella while looking at Dr. Emily with my 'see what I mean expression' who simply shook her head. Her look said 'live with it'. So I did.
I added it all to my lists. My lists were a great comfort to me. Bella hated my lists.
I also drove Bella crazy with my constant worrying.
Nothing could happen to her, or to the baby. I made sure she kept her stress to a minimum, I added extra security, a driver, and as often as not, went with Bella wherever she was going, until the day she told me I was smothering her. And then sobbed because she thought she hurt my feelings. After that, I tried to give her a little more space, but I was never far away in case she needed me. If she had any idea how often I contacted her security when she was out, IAB would have shown up and maybe taken up permanent residence. Luckily Jake understood my over-the-top concern and kept me covertly informed. I gave Leah the job as housekeeper, leaving only the part of keeping me on track to Bella. No one could help keep me on track like my wife.
And nobody could cook like my wife.
I couldn't live without her turkey sandwiches and cupcakes.
Especially the cupcakes.
Which was the reason I was currently being scolded by IAB. Vehemently.
I had to admit when she was hissing at me in anger, almost spitting in her fury, she was highly adorable. I tried very hard not to smile as she cussed me out. That only made IAB angrier.
She did tell me she was making the cupcakes for Jake and Leah—I admitted that. I didn't think they'd miss one.
Apparently I was wrong. Very wrong. And my plea of sympathy cravings wasn't working.
Now I had ruined the entire day.
I braced myself for what I knew would happen next. I hated this part more than anything. I watched anxiously as Bella's face changed, the anger draining away as quickly as it started and her voice trailed off. I waited, counting in my head for what would happen next.
She was in my arms sobbing out her apology for yelling. For being such a horrible person. I was the best husband in the world. She loved me so very much. Chuckling at the complete about-face, I gathered her close and rocked her in my arms as I crooned soft words to calm her. I hated seeing her cry, but her hormones were so out of whack it happened almost daily, and always after the angry hormones made their appearance.
I kissed her head as her sobs eased off, and pulled back a bit to gently wipe away the wetness from her cheeks. She gazed at me with sad, teary eyes. "It's okay, Beaker." I grinned. "That was a short one this time."
Her lips started to tremble again and I did the only thing I could think of to stop a second weeping session. I used the one hormone I could count on: HB. Cupping her face, I crashed my mouth to hers, sweeping my tongue in and kissing her deeply. It took her about two seconds to catch up and then we were on. Her hands gripped and yanked at my hair, pulling me closer. I tilted her head to get deeper into her mouth, panting and groaning at the sudden passion. It was only the sound of the throat clearing behind me that reminded me we weren't alone.
"You know," Emmett's amused voice spoke up. "This is how you got into trouble in the first place."
"Actually, there was a wall involved." I smirked as I winked at Bella, my fingers stroking her warm cheeks. "And a very sexy kilt."
"TMI, Edward!" He groaned and walked out of the room.
"You started it!" I yelled after him.
Bella giggled and I sighed with relief.
"Sorry," she whispered.
"So am I. I shouldn't have eaten the cupcakes. They looked too good to ignore."
"I shouldn't have yelled."
I chuckled. "Yell all you want. But I'd prefer it if you didn't cry. I hate it." I pulled her back into my arms, nuzzling her hair. "It makes my chest hurt when you cry, Beaker."
"You love me too much."
I tightened my hold. "I do. It's a shame."
The buzzer went and Bella groaned.
"Do you want me to tell Alice to come back?" I asked gently as I led her to the table, trying not to eyeball the cupcakes still sitting there. One emotional outburst today was enough.
She shook her head. "She's here with dresses for the Oscars. I need to choose one." She grimaced. "If I can fit into anything she brings. I'll be almost six months by then and I'm already so fat! Maybe I should stay home." Her lips started to quiver and I quickly knelt in front of her, trying to stave off the tears.
"No. I need you with me." Carlisle and I were presenting two categories and I needed her beside me on the red carpet; I needed to be able to see her while on stage. "You'll be the most beautiful woman there," I insisted, laying my hands on her rounded bump. "You are not fat, my darling girl. You're pregnant."
She sniffed. "You're just saying that because you made me fat."
"Am not. You are sexy, Bella. And you're only getting sexier. I love how you look, round and curvy with our son. I can hardly wait to see you all dressed up for me."
Gently she placed her hands over mine. "Our son," she whispered.
I kissed her soft mouth. "My sexy wife." Leaning down, I kissed her tummy. "My healthy son."
Alice walked in. "My pretty dresses. You'll be stunning when I'm through with you. And you should see the shoes I found. Tiniest heel ever!"
I stood up chuckling. "I doubt you have anything with you as beautiful as she is, Alice. But you can try." I winked at Bella. "And there better be a red one in there. You know how I love her in red."
Bella's face flushed at my words, but she smiled warmly.
"Edward," she called softly as I walked away, knowing better than to stay and offer fashion advice. My outfit was chosen and ready, Alice sworn to secrecy. Carlisle and I were both wearing dress kilts to do the presenting in homage to The Highlands. Bella didn't know yet—I knew she'd love it, my only hope being she didn't attack me until we left the ceremony. I'd hate to have to walk onstage with a torn kilt.
I turned back, smiling at her.
"Take the rest of the cupcakes. I'll make more tomorrow."
Grinning, I covered the distance between us in three strides, hauling her up and kissing her breathless. Then I grabbed the plate and left quickly before she could change her mind. I'd share my score with Emmett.
Well, at least two of them.
She was beautiful at the Oscar's. Beside me she glowed as brightly as the jewels she wore under the lights. Her red dress left her shoulders bare and flowed like a waterfall over her very rounded tummy. She took my breath away when I saw her walk down the stairs toward me, and I was beyond proud to have her on my arm. Having her close and seeing her in the audience kept me calm and focused. She always kept me centred and my need to make sure she was okay overrode anything else. By the end of the show, she was exhausted, and I was more than happy to shake a few hands and take her home for a nice foot rub. Carlisle and Esme stayed behind for the after parties, giving Carlisle a chance to talk up The Highlands even more. The buzz about the movie was already high and he wanted to make sure it stayed that way until its release in the fall.
Bella did, indeed, love the kilt, her hand delving under the plaid, constantly teasing my bare skin as soon as we were in the limo. The only saving grace was we stopped to pick up Carlisle and Esme, sharing the limo, and she behaved once they joined us. I was grateful for that; my sporran was large, and if she had kept up her teasing, would have stuck out at a frightening angle, given the ginormous erection I was sporting. I pressed my lips to her ear, nipping the lobe and grinning as I promised her we'd be alone for the return journey and both OJ and I would be at her mercy—happily. She giggled when I informed her I would tell the driver to take the long route back home, with the privacy window firmly in place.
We stopped only once on the way out to the waiting car. The reporter who had interviewed us months earlier caught my eye, waving us over and we stopped to chat with him. Sam was full of well-wishes on our marriage and upcoming birth which we happily accepted. We talked briefly, and I made sure to do some shameless plugging for The Highlands. Just as we were turning to leave, he grinned at Bella.
"Still a big OJ fan, Bella?" he asked. "I remember you were pretty big on it."
She grinned at him, as my hand tightened on hers in shared amusement. "Absolutely. I have as much OJ as possible these days."
I nodded. "I keep her pretty full of OJ, Sam. Her cravings are endless."
Bella giggled and I chuckled as I wrapped my arm around her, nuzzling her head and ignoring the flashes happening around us. With her beside me, laughing, nothing else mattered.
He laughed with us, not understanding the joke which only made it funnier to Bella. "You two are cute, even with your orange juice fetish," He smirked as he shook my hand. "Perfect for each other, I'd say."
Walking away, I kissed her head. "He's right," I murmured as I helped her in the car. "We are perfect for each other."
She beamed at me, her happiness radiating from her lovely eyes. "We are."
I had to kiss her again.
And I didn't stop all the way home.
Holding my new born son in my arms was one of the most profound moments of my life. Watching Bella work to bring him into this world was unbelievable. I was astounded at her strength. Throughout her entire pregnancy she had been the calm one, always brave, never panicking; often laughing when I ran to my lists to check on things. But seeing her today made me realize she was truly amazing.
Gently, I laid our son on her chest. "Someone has been waiting to meet you, my lad," I whispered as I nuzzled both their cheeks; one so small and soft and the other warm and damp with joyful tears. Bella's toffee-coloured eyes shimmered with emotion as she looked at our son.
My own eyes grew damp as I looked down at them. My family. Blinking, I smiled at Bella and our son. "Does he still look like an Adam to you?" I asked softly. We had both liked that name.
"Yes," she whispered, stroking his downy skin as he snuggled into her warmth. "Adam Charles Cullen."
I nodded, leaning down to kiss them both again.
My wife and my son.
I shifted anxiously in the meeting. I really didn't want to be here. I wanted to be with Bella and Adam at his three month checkup, but the appointment had been moved up and I couldn't get out of this meeting. My mum was with her, but I liked to go to all the appointments with them. The fact Bella had been a little under the weather the last couple weeks made me want to be there as well. She promised to make sure the doctor would check her out while she was there. She seemed more tired than usual, even with Mum there to help look after Adam, and I was a little worried, even though Bella assured me it was normal for new mothers to be tired.
Carlisle kicked me under the table and I brought my mind back to the business at hand. I enjoyed being partners with him, but hated all the business stuff we had to deal with. When the meeting was finally done, we made our way to our cars, separating quickly. He knew I was anxious to get home, see how things went, then discuss our upcoming project with Bella. Some of the location work would mean being away from home and I hoped she would be up to some of the travelling with me—at least the shorter trips. Carlisle and I had discussed hiring a private plane so the trips would be more comfortable for her and Adam. Both Esme and Mum could come with us, if Mum was here for a visit. Since Adam had been born she was here at least once a month for a week or longer.
Entering the house I made a beeline for the kitchen, finding Mum with Adam, cooing at him as he blinked up at her. I gathered him up; breathing in his baby scent—something I loved. Nuzzling his little face with mine, the whole day faded away and all that mattered was the tiny, warm body nestled against mine. He was already growing so fast; I hated to be away from him. His dark eyes, so much like Bella's, shone with happiness as I held him and as usual, I felt the overwhelming rush of love for my little boy flow through me.
"She's, ah, lying down. She just fed Adam."
Her voice sounded strange. "Is she okay? Did everything go all right at the doctor?"
She stood up and took Adam from my arms. "Go see your lassie."
Panic crept up my spine. "Mum? What's wrong?"
She narrowed her eyes at me. "Nothing is wrong. But go see your wife, Edward."
My legs couldn't move. Something was wrong.
Mum cupped my face with one hand, her voice soothing. "She is fine. But she needs you, lad. Go to her."
My feet carried me to our door and I slipped inside. Bella was on our bed, a box of tissues beside her. When she looked up, her eyes were red and swollen as they filled with fresh tears. I was quick to cross the room, kneeling down in front of her, holding her hands, my imagination running wild with fear. "Tell me," I demanded hoarsely.
Tears trickled down her cheeks and I reached up to wipe them away. "Do you remember when I got ready for the Oscars and I was worried because I was so fat?"
I nodded; unsure why she was thinking about that night. "You weren't fat, you were beautiful."
"What did you say to me that night when I was lamenting about my loose, flowy dress?"
I racked my brains. "Um, I said when we went to the Oscars next year for The Highlands you could wear something racier if you wanted because you wouldn't be pregnant then."
She stared at me, her lip quivering. "Wrong," she whispered. "I won't be able to."
I frowned, not understanding for a moment, and then realization hit me. "No way," I gaped at her teary face, before dropping my gaze down to her stomach. "But … we were protected and you're breast feeding!" I sputtered. "My lists said it lessened the chance! And we used condoms!"
"Your lists were wrong. I'm pregnant, Edward. Again." She shook her head. "And that one night …"
She'd been in the kitchen late one night, making us a snack, only wearing my t-shirt. When she'd bent over to grab something, showing me her sweet ass, I had moved in; one thing led to another and the snack was forgotten. So was the condom. We'd had just gotten the six-week clearance and neither of us were planning on it at the moment—but it happened. And now …
All I could do was stare at her.
How would her body handle this?
How would Bella handle this?
"What did the doctor say? Is this … safe? For you?"
"I'm fine. She says I am very healthy. We may need to take some precautions, but she says I should be fine."
I hesitated, swallowing the lump I could feel growing in my throat. "Do you want this, Bella?"
Her eyes flew to mine. "Yes!" She paused. "I'm still in shock, but Edward, you don't—" Her voice caught.
I thought about what lay ahead. Another nine months of hormones. IAB, EB, and HB—all of them would be back. Anger. Tears. Throwing up. Worry. But then at the end: another child. Our child.
I looked up at her as she watched me. Nothing else mattered. We'd make it through as long as we were together. I'd make sure she had the best care and I would look after her. I'd take all the yelling and the tears because she'd need me to.
"Yes," I insisted gently. "I want another child." Leaning up, I captured her mouth with mine. "I love you."
A small sob escaped her lips and I sat beside her, pulling her onto my lap and letting her cry as my mind raced. We were both in shock.
"We'll get some help," I assured her. "I know two babies less than a year apart will be hard." I chuckled. "Irish twins, Beaker. We're having Irish twins."
"It's entirely your fault," she sobbed. "If you weren't so damned irresistible I wouldn't be knocked up again!"
I chuckled into her hair. "I told you before, Bella. OJ is packed full of natural goodness. And determined it would seem. It was only one time."
She let out a giggle and I nuzzled her hair. "We'll be fine." Drawing back, I swept the hair away from her damp cheeks. "We said we wanted two close together," I paused with a grin, "maybe not this close, but given your advancing years it might be a good thing." I kissed her nose teasingly. "We can have our family done before you're totally decrepit."
She smacked my chest but grinned. She knew I was trying to make her smile. I waggled my eyebrows at her. "OJ did himself proud."
"I'm probably going to be really fat this time." She sighed. "I haven't had a chance to get back into shape yet."
I hugged her close, knowing she needed my reassurance. "I love you really fat. I think I proved that last time." It was true—I couldn't keep my hands off her. "And besides, you are in amazing shape. Perfect, in fact."
"The press will have a field day."
I nodded. "The never ending pregnancy." I groaned. "Emmett is gonna kill me."
She sighed, nestling her head into my neck. "He'll be fine. He loves being an uncle. Although I am sure he'll tease us both mercilessly. So will Carlisle."
I held her, stroking my hand through her hair in soothing passes as we both lost ourselves to our thoughts.
"I want to talk to Dr. Emily."
"I already made an appointment for next week. She asked if you would be bringing your notebook."
I chuckled. I would be. A new one. This was a whole different ball game. "Maybe we need to decide on the house in England soon."
"Your mum and I talked. I thought maybe we could go over in a couple months, check on the work and get it ready? Go back after the baby is born?"
"I like the sound of that. We can enjoy some time with our children."
"I'd like that too."
Tilting her face up, I smiled at her. "Thank you, my Bella. For my son, for this rather shocking but blessed piece of news—for everything." My fingers stroked the soft skin on her cheek. "I'll take good care of all of you. I promise."
"I know you will. You already do."
A cry echoed in the house and I smiled. "Meanwhile, our son wants us, well, probably you. I'll go get him."
"I'll come down. Your mum, no doubt, is bursting. She was so excited at the doctor's. Another 'grand-wean'."
I chuckled. "She is going to be giving Carlisle a hard time about this, you know. I bet she tells him to man up." I puffed out my chest. "My boys are a determined lot. He has a lot to live up to."
Bella giggled. "I bet you're right."
I wrapped my arm around her as we walked down the stairs. "Maybe we'll have a girl this time, Beaker. I'd like that."
"Maybe," she agreed. "We have a fifty-fifty shot."
With a grin I nuzzled her head. "If not … we can try for number three."
With a glare she pushed me away. "I don't think so, Oscar," she muttered. "And I am cutting you off until I'm back on birth control after this baby is born." Shaking her head she stomped away to the kitchen, leaving me laughing, since I knew she didn't mean a word of it.
IAB was back.
And so it began.
Bella's eyes fluttered opened, her dark eyes unfocused and confused. "Edward?" she whispered groggily.
Cupping her pale face, I leaned in, pressing a soft kiss to her forehead. "I'm right here, my darling girl."
Her voice became anxious. "Olivia?"
"She's perfect, Bella."
Tears welled in her eyes, running down her face as a small sob escaped her mouth. "Really?"
Pressing my forehead against hers I reassured her. "She's fine, baby. I promise. I was holding her. She'll be back in a few minutes."
She shifted, wincing, and I helped her get more comfortable, moving her gently. "Easy, love, you just had surgery. You're going to be sore."
Gripping my hand, she kept crying, her voice weak. "I was so scared."
"So was I. Dr. Emily was amazing and Olivia is fine. You'll be fine. Everything is okay," I reassured her.
"I want to see her."
"Soon, love. I need you to rest."
"You promise," she pleaded.
I grabbed my phone, holding it up so she could see the pictures I had taken. "Look, I'm holding her—and there is one of Mum with her. She's fine, I promise. Rest a little more and when you wake up, she'll be here and you can hold her."
She relaxed a little seeing the pictures. I stroked her hair softly as her eyes drifted shut. She was still under the influence of the anesthesia they had administered. My fingers scrolled over the pictures as I sat beside my wife. Our daughter was tiny. Adam had weighed almost ten pounds when he was born and Olivia Elizabeth Cullen had barely broken the five pound mark. But her delivery had been fraught with drama—too much blood and pain—and when Dr. Emily made the decision to do an emergency C-Section and put Bella to sleep, I was terrified. Seeing Bella lying unconscious again brought back so many bad memories, I struggled to stay calm.
But they were both fine. Bella would recover and my daughter, although tiny, was healthy and I would take them both home soon. Where I knew she would be greeted happily by a very loud little boy who no doubt was driving his Nan crazy wanting his mummy.
I wanted her home, too.
As soon as she was well again and able to travel, we would return to England and build a life there. The house was ready and so were we. We wouldn't need the security that surrounded us here. We would both relax. Jake and Leah would stay on; taking over the third floor that had been Bella's and the rest of house would stay our home for when we were here in L.A. Thanks to Mum's help, we found a wonderful woman who would aid Bella with the children. We had met her last time we were in England and she had come over a short time ago to help us on this end. Adam adored her, as did Bella, and I knew Angela would be a great friend to her as well a huge help. She was a kind, loving person and exactly what we all needed in our life. Her soon-to-be husband was now the groundskeeper at the house so they lived nearby in a cottage of their own— it was perfect for us all.
After finding out Bella was pregnant again, I had only accepted smaller parts since The Highlands. Ones that kept me close to home and my family. Carlisle put off the project we had been discussing, but we were now revisiting the idea, since he planned on filming in England again; it would work well for me. The part excited me enough to consider taking on a bigger role again. The Highlands had won huge at the Oscars including: Best Film and director for Carlisle and Best Lead Actor for me. Bella had been so proud and excited that night, I'd been afraid she'd go right into labour on the spot. The bookshelves in the den now held two new golden statues; gleaming symbols of my career, and yet their importance was diminished compared to the health and happiness of my family.
As I watched her sleep, I made a decision. This pregnancy had been too hard on her. Through it all she remained cheerful and upbeat, but it had been a struggle, and watching her had been difficult for me. We had been blessed with two healthy children, for whom I was grateful, and they were enough. With all the research I had quietly done, I knew I didn't want Bella back on birth control pills; the side effects were simply too frightening to me for that. I was going to tell her I was getting a vasectomy. I had spoken with my doctor about it and he told me if I wanted, I could freeze some of my boys in case we changed our mind in the future, but I was sure after everything she had gone through she would agree. We'd both said we'd like two children, and no matter how I teased her about a third, today had been too scary for me to even contemplate it. I only had to convince her to let me be the responsible one and have the procedure. I chuckled to myself. People were still getting used to the idea of me being responsible. Slowly, I caressed her hair, smiling as she sighed in her sleep. The change was because of her.
She made me responsible. Her love gave me the strength to grow up and become the man I was supposed to be. I was still a git, and I would forever mess things up and say the wrong thing at the exact wrong moment, but Bella insisted that was part of my charm. My mum insisted that was my dad's contribution to my DNA. But as long as the two most important women in my life loved me, I was okay with that. Thank God they both had huge capacities to forgive my constant cock ups.
The door opened behind me and the third most important woman in my life was brought in. Eagerly I stood up and accepted Olivia from the nurse. I pressed a soft kiss to her warm, little cheek, pushing back the pink bonnet that covered her hair. The reddish wisps glinted in the light and I grinned. Bella said she wanted our daughter to look like me. She may have gotten her wish.
I looked up to see Bella was waking up. "Let's go and introduce you to your mummy now, baby girl. She's been anxious to meet you."
Gently, I placed her in Bella's waiting arms, sighing at the sight.
My beautiful, beautiful girls.
A few hours later, I was smiling so wide my face hurt. Mum and Dad were in the room, along with Carlisle, who was chatting with Emmett and Rose. On the bed, nestled together, was my family. Adam was snuggled into Bella's side staring away at Olivia, his dark eyes round with excitement, his blond hair gleaming under the lights. He looked exactly like me at that age with the exception of Bella's dark eyes. Mum told me my hair had darkened and become redder when I was about ten but until then I was a tow-head as well. Olivia already had the red in her hair.
Esme was in the corner, the quiet click of her shutter letting me know she was capturing this sweet moment for us. Bella looked up, her eyes meeting mine. Peace and contentment radiated from her warm gaze and I knew she saw the same in mine.
We were surrounded by family, friends and so much love.
In the middle of it all—the nucleus of my entire world. The woman who owned me completely.
My heart ~ My home.
Thank you again.
My next fic will start posting April 27th - once per week. It is called Volunteer #13 and the idea was born from the video that was out of strangers asked to kiss. E/B HEA. Always. I hope to see you again!
Until then, be safe.