The Path We Choose

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Outtake Number 1

EPOV~ Mid January 2012

“Say that again,” I begged, praying to God I wasn’t losing my fucking mind and Bella had just said what I thought she said.

One look at her beaming smile and the tears that fell unchecked down her gorgeous face was all the proof I really needed, but I wanted to hear the words again. Needed them.

She nodded her head, the smile she wore somehow grew even bigger and she said, “Edward, I’m pregnant.”

Every ounce of air I had in my body left it in one fell swoop. I felt light-headed and my knees totally gave out as I fell to the floor.

Pregnant! My Bella was pregnant. We were going to have a baby!

Holy shit!

I picked my head up, as I still knelt on the floor and stared at her. All of a sudden I swore I could envision her months from now, her hair up in a ponytail, a short dress on, covering a very prominent baby bump. She was very pregnant, totally gorgeous, and all fucking mine. I looked farther past and could picture her lying in bed, cradling a baby with a head full of brown hair against her chest as she smiled lovingly at the bundle. It all took my breath away, well, what little I'd managed to get back. I shook my head and tried to focus on right now and as I stared at Bella, my wife, the mother of our unborn child, and narrowed my eyes at her when she began to laugh at me.

I raised an eyebrow at her, realizing she hadn't moved yet, but then again neither had I. "What?" I asked, still on my knees because for some reason I couldn't get my body to move.

Bella crossed her arms and squinted at me as I kept looking at her, opening and closing my mouth, unable to form even the smallest of words. My mind was a jumbled mess, and I knew I must have looked like a raving lunatic kneeling on the floor, in a stupor, but damn.

"Edward, don't you have anything else to say to me?" Bella asked and the tone of her voice did a damn fine job of snapping me back to reality.

"Oh, fuck! Baby," I stammered as I looked at her. Thankfully she took pity on my moronic ass and walked over to me. She held her hands out to me and as much as I wanted to pull her down on the floor with me, there was no fucking way I was doing anything that had even the remotest chance of hurting her.

"You are such an idiot," Bella giggled as she took my hands in hers and helped me up off the floor. "From the looks of it, it's a good thing I told you at home or else you'd have passed out on me out in public someplace. And then what would all your fans think?" she teased once I was finally upright.

I swept her up in my arms in a flash and crushed my lips against hers before she barely had time to breathe. After kissing the shit out of her until we were both breathing heavy, I pulled back slightly. "Ask me how much what anyone besides you thinks means to me?" I asked as I bent my head down to kiss her again.

She was really pregnant, I thought to myself as I felt her shift in my arms.

"You're really pregnant?" I asked again, still not quite believing it was all happening. I knew Travis and Tanya both had told us not to be upset if it took some time for Bella to get pregnant. I never would have imagined it would happen so soon for us.

I carried her over to the bed and gently laid her in the center of it. I crawled on the bed after her and she reached out and ran her fingers through my hair when I laid my head down on her stomach. "I am. I'm sorry I didn't tell you that I thought I was pregnant, Edward. You're not upset I waited until I was sure are you?" she asked in a very worried voice.

I picked my head up so I could look at her, really look at her. "Bella, baby, no," I told her honestly. "Sure I would have loved to have been with you when you got the news from Travis but I know how worried you've been about being able to have a baby, even after the surgery and all. Everything looks good, right?" I asked, a million thoughts racing through my mind as I went over a quick list of things to ask Travis the next time I saw him.

Bella nodded her head and then said, "All Travis did was confirm that I was pregnant and write down a few preliminary notes. He did a quick exam, but I wouldn't let him let me hear the heartbeat because I wanted to wait for you. As long as he heard it and he said things so far looked good, all I wanted to do was tell you."

"You waited to hear the heartbeat?" I asked as tears immediately stung my eyes. I couldn't believe she did that, well actually I could, and I knew immediately how much I appreciated the fact that she did. "Thank you, Angel," I said softly as I moved so that I was above her. I held myself up on my elbows, careful not to hurt her, though I knew better than that. "I can't begin to tell you how much that means to me, Bella," I told her as I began to pepper her face with light kisses. "I want to share every moment with you, every ache and pain, every backache that needs a massage, every craving, no matter what time it is...everything, Bella. You have given me so damn much," I whispered against her lips before allowing myself to press my lips firmly against hers. "So much, Bella," I said again as my need for her continued to grow.

I slowly slid down her body and then pushed up the t-shirt she had thrown on earlier after our little interlude from before. That one was quick and needy. This time I planned on showing Bella just how much I loved her, every part of her. "Hi, little one," I said softly against her stomach when I moved the shirt out of the way. "You are so loved already," I said and my voice caught in my throat. It was amazing how less than thirty minutes ago I didn't know the baby existed, but now that I did, I loved it with everything I had. "Your mama tried to pull a fast one on Daddy, can you believe that? Sending me an email to let me know you were here," I teased and chuckled when I heard her giggle.

"Edward," she said with a sweet tone when I looked up at her. Her eyes were shining from the tears I could see leak from the sides of her eyes, but I knew they were happy tears.

I kissed her stomach again before moving back up her body. "Bella," I said with a grin and before I knew it, she had pulled my head down against hers and attacked my mouth. She kissed me, hard, and in no time we had each been rid of our clothes. I swept my eyes down her body and noticed, well now that I knew she was pregnant, the subtle changes in her body already. Her breasts were just a bit fuller, her stomach looked just the tiniest bit bigger, but she looked absolutely magnificent.

"A baby," I said again in an awed whisper.

"A baby," Bella answered in much the same voice and then she shifted her hips and I slid inside of her. Effortlessly, instinctively...much like the way we loved one another outside of the bedroom, not just in it. She was my everything, and I knew she felt the same about me. We were partners in all we did, parenting Maddie and Masen, and now a new little one.

I began to move in and out slowly and felt her squeeze me as I moved. There was nothing else that mattered but her at this point, nothing. "You are everything to me," I told her, forcing the words past the lump in my throat. I swallowed a few times so that I could speak some more. "My whole world is wrapped up in you, Bella. Nothing means anything without you," I said as I stared into her eyes.

My hips swiveled against hers and she began to throw her head back and I could tell she was about to close her eyes, but I couldn't have that. "Please don't," I choked out, knowing that I needed her to stay connected to me. "Keep looking at me, I need you to look at me," I told her again, feeling as if my heart was about to explode from all the thoughts and emotions flowing through me.

Her brown eyes found mine and she held my gaze. They were worried eyes for a moment and then they softened as she stared at me. "I'm okay," I answered her unspoken question and she smiled tenderly at me. "I love you, Edward," she said in her gentle voice and it was all I needed to put me back together again. "Always and forever, my love," I told her before dipping my head down and making a trail of kisses across her collarbones from one side of her body to the other. Then back again and up the side of her neck to the spot behind her ear. "You always smell and taste so damn good," I rasped in her ear as I pressed myself more fully inside of her.

"Oh God, Edward," she moaned in a breathy and sexy as hell voice.

"That's it, Isabella, I can feel you squeezing me, pulling me deeper inside of you," I said as I panted in her ear. I flicked my tongue against her earlobe and reached up with my left hand and slid it beneath her head and into her hair. "Can you feel how hard I am inside of you? Can you feel what you do to me?" I asked her as I continued my slow, steady rhythm.

"Yes, oh Edward...yes," she cried out and I held her head in place so that I could look at her once more.

"Bella," I breathed out as I lost myself in her bottomless brown eyes. The eyes I had the privilege of seeing first thing when I woke in the morning and the last things I saw before going to sleep at night.

"I love you so much it hurts sometimes," I whispered as her breathing came in quicker bursts. Her eyes still were focused on me and I could tell my statement confused her. "Not it a bad way, baby, but in that way that keeps me connected to you. The way it hurts when we're apart, the way you are a part of me and I'm a part of you." She smiled at that and I smiled back at her.

The air was thick around us, the sounds of our breathing and our bodies moving as one the only noise in the room. "I have never felt closer to you or more connected to you than I do right this second," I whispered and bent my head down to kiss her forehead. "We will always be a part of each other now, through our baby."

"Edward, oh sweetheart," she said as she took a deep breath. "My Superman," she giggled and though what was happening was deep and profound and as soul touching a moment as any we had ever shared before, I couldn't help but chuckle at how adorable she was.

"Well, guess that makes you really Superwoman now, huh?" I teased back and nipped at the skin on her shoulder. "You, my love, my wife, are going to be the most pampered, spoiled, mama-to-be you have ever seen," I promised her and laughed even more when she growled at me. "Shut it, Isabella. You had to know the second you found out you were pregnant, that I was going to do everything in my power to make it so that you won't have to do anything but glow and let our baby grow inside of you for nine months."

I ground my hips against hers and smirked when she moaned out in pleasure. "Let me have this, Angel. Let me show you every day how much you mean to me, how much I love you and our kids, our life, our family."

My mouth found hers again and my tongue slid inside of hers and I kissed her with all I had. Bella wrapped her arms around me, pulling me closer to her, so close there wasn't an inch of our bodies that wasn't touching. "I'm so close, Edward," she panted in my ear.

"Together, sweet girl. Come with me," I said against the side of her neck.

I felt Bella raise her hips to meet each of my thrusts and it didn't take but three smooth, deep strokes until I felt her walls flutter and spasm around me as she came which caused me to come right after. Our mutual orgasm seemed to last and last until I finally had to collapse on top of her.

As soon as I realized what I was doing I tried to roll off her, but she wrapped her arms around me and held me against her. "Edward, you're not going to hurt me. Stop freaking out...already. We have a long way to go and I'll tell you right now - I'm not putting up with nine months of you acting crazy over every little thing. I'm nervous enough as it is about all this. I don't need you freaking out, too."

Okay that statement was more than enough to stop my crazy train. "Bella?" I questioned and picked my head up to look at her. She was biting her lip and her hands had stilled on my back. Bad signs, both of them. "Baby, you don't have anything to worry about. You'll be fine, the baby will be fine, and I promise I will try not to be too overprotective, but you have to know it's not going to work," I told her with a grin. I was only telling the truth, no sense even trying to sidestep that issue.

She groaned and rolled her eyes at me because she knew I wasn't lying either.

I pulled out of her and rolled on my side, taking her with me. I laid my hand over her stomach, marveling that something the size of a lima bean was, right this second, growing inside of her and in nine months would be a baby boy or girl.

Smiling at my internal musings, I began to rub small circles on her stomach. It was a habit I was sure would get more and more pronounced as we went along. I mean, I'd known Bella was pregnant for only a little over an hour and I already couldn't stop touching her.

Bella yawned and I chuckled at her. "And so it begins," I told her quietly as I kissed the tip of her nose. "Let's go get cleaned up and get you in bed, beautiful. You need your rest."

"And so it begins," she giggled as I helped her up and into the bathroom.

My sweet girl didn't know the half of it.


EPOV~February - About 10 weeks

“Edward, what are you doing up so early?” my dad asked as he sat down next to me at the table, setting his mug of coffee down.

I held my own cup in my hands and stared at the steam that billowed out of it. “I couldn't sleep,” I answered him with a shrug of my shoulders.

“Edward,” Pop said in the tone of voice I knew so well. The one he used when one of us tried to not tell him something.

Taking a deep breath, I plowed ahead. I hadn't really talked to anyone about this yet, especially Bella, but I needed to. “For some reason I'm really nervous about today. I don't know why, but I am. Bella would be so upset if she knew how much.”

He took a drink of his coffee and then looked at me, a soft smile on his face. “Son, there isn't anything wrong with being nervous. I'd be surprised if you weren't. You didn't get to experience any of this the first time around and Bella means a hell of a lot more to you than Lauren ever did.”

I snorted at that because truer words had never been spoken. “Amen to that,” I said, lifting my mug in my dad's direction. I sat back in my chair and ran my hands through my hair before leaning forward and resting my elbows on the table. “Pop, it's more than just that. Deep down I know that Bella will be okay, but I can't shake the thought of something happening to her or the baby,” I admitted with a whisper.

Dad reached his hand out and covered mine with his and squeezed it until I looked up at him. “Edward,” he said in a soft voice, “I know what happened to Bella before with Jane still haunts you from time to time, but this is completely different. She's going to be fine, Edward.”

“I know that here,” I said pointing to my head, “but here is a different story altogether,” I finished as I laid my hand over my heart. “If anything happened to her...I almost lost her once, I wouldn't survive it a second time.” I wasn't over-exaggerating either. Watching her in that hospital as she fought to come back to me wasn't anything I could live through again.

“Son, Travis is an excellent and well-respected doctor. She is getting the best care possible. She's young and healthy, not to mention the strongest person I know. Besides, Bella is a Cullen now, we're a strong lot.” he said with a chuckle.

“She is all that, and a whole lot more. Bella just wanted this so bad, I just want everything to be perfect for her,” I said as I finished my coffee.

“Of course you do, Edward, because you love her and she is always most important to you. Have a little bit of faith son. Don't make me sic Father O'Connor on you,” he said as he stood up. “Love you, son. It will all be fine, you'll see. I'm betting on a boy this time,” he teased with a wink.

Groaning I said, “Pop, not you, too. What is it with all of you and boys?”

“Did you ever think that maybe we just want another you?” came the amused voice of my wife as she softly walked into the kitchen. “Morning, Dad,” she said as she passed my father, kissing his cheek before coming to stand beside me.

“Bella, you look wonderful this morning,” Pop said as he carried his mug to the sink.

“Good luck with everything today you two. I'll see you later, love you both,” he said as he walked out of the room.

Bella slid her hands down my chest and rested her chin on my shoulder. “You okay?” she asked after she kissed my cheek and the side of my neck a few times.

I reached up and laid a hand on top of hers and nodded my head. I really was, for the most part anyway. “I'm just excited for today,” I told her, not lying but not worrying her either.

“Me too,” Bella said as she moved around to sit on my lap. “I can't wait to hear the heartbeat.” She reached for my hand and placed it on her stomach. “I know there is a baby in there, but hearing it will make it so real,” she whispered.

I leaned my head down and kissed the top of her head. “Our little Ladybug, I can't wait to hear her,” I said with a grin. The baby was a girl, I just had a feeling.

“Him,” Bella responded back immediately.

“Well, we'll just have to agree to disagree then, won't we?” I teased and chuckled when she snorted.

She reached up and grabbed my head, pulling me down closer to her so I could kiss her, which I was more than happy to do. After obliging her, I pulled back and kissed the tip of her nose. “Let's go get ready so we can hear her.”


“Edward, would you stop? You're making me nervous,” Bella said as she placed her hand on my bouncing knee.

“Sorry, Angel,” I said as I let out a long exhale. “I hate waiting.”

“Noooo, really? I never would have guessed!” Bella said with a roll of her eyes.

“Smart ass,” I muttered under my breath...with a smirk. “Ass,” she said cheekily.

“Bella, you can go on back now,” Travis's receptionist said after a few more minutes had passed.

She stood up and held her hand out to me, “Come on, Daddy, let's not keep the good doctor waiting,” to which I answered with an eye roll of my own.

The nurse showed us to the exam room and Bella got undressed and into one of those horrid gowns and hopped up on the table as we waited for Dr. Hughes. I had to admit, I was more relived than I could express that he was Bella's doctor. Good looks and my irrational instincts aside, the man was excellent at his job.

“Ah, Bella, Edward,” Travis said pleasantly as he walked into the room. The man was one smooth son of a bitch, I had to say.

“Hey Dr. Hughes,” my wife said with the smallest hint of a blush on her cheeks. Good Lord, here we go, I thought to myself.

Travis held his hand out to me and I shook it. “How are you, Edward? Everything going well up at Lake George?” he asked as he began to look through Bella's chart. My fingers itched to look as well, but I had to keep reminding myself that he was the doctor in this case and I was just the patient's husband.

It wasn't easy.

I nodded my head at him when he looked up at me and said, “Just fine, thanks.”

“Well, let's get going shall we? I'm sure you are both anxious to hear the heartbeat and then get out of here,” Travis said as he sat down on the stool.

The nurse walked in and he began the exam, measuring her stomach, seeing how much she weighed and such. Parts I'd rather not think about, too, but I knew it all was necessary. “Looks good,” he said as he finished up and held his hand out for the Doppler he would use to listen to the heartbeat.

“Let's see if we can find Baby Cullen shall we?” he said with a smile as he stood up and waited for the nurse to arrange Bella's gown and the sheet .

Bella reached out her hand to me and I took it quickly, weaving our fingers together. I picked up her hand and brushed my lips across her skin, taking a deep breath before Travis started. “Love you,” I told her as I turned to face her.

Travis held the instrument in his hand and began moving it over her stomach. One moment there was nothing, but in the next, the room was filled with the unmistakable sound of a fast, tiny heartbeat. “Edward,” Bella said in a quivering voice and when I looked at her, her chin was trembling as she tried to keep from crying. “Oh, Angel,” I said tenderly as I bent down and kissed her forehead.

“It's good and strong you two. Everything sounds and looks so good. I'm very pleased and optimistic that things will continue to go well,” Travis said as he let us listen to the heartbeat for a few more moments.

I'd never heard anything so amazing and miraculous in my life. A tiny baby was inside of Bella, one that would grow and become our child, a part of her and a part of me. I had no words to explain what that meant to me, how much she meant to me.

“Edward?” Bella called to me and I smiled down at her. “I'm fine, just speechless at the moment,” I said with a smirk.

“I've never heard anything so wonderful,” she said quietly, the awe evident in her voice.

She had tears in her beautiful brown eyes, and though I knew they were happy ones, I wiped them off with my thumbs as I held her face in my hands. “That's our baby,” I told her and kissed her softly.

I leaned my forehead against hers silently while we waited for Travis to finish writing down some notes. “Bella, Edward,” he said, getting our attention once again. “Like I said, everything looks and sounds just like it's supposed to at this stage. Bella and the baby are both progressing just like they should. Have their been any pains, spotting, anything out of the ordinary?”

Laughing at that I looked from Bella to Travis before saying, “Well, it depends on whether you think eating a jar of olives while drinking a glass of pink lemonade is ordinary?”

“Really, Bella?” Travis asked with a grin and my girl could only huff and nod her head. The first time she asked me to stop by the market and get her olives and lemonade, I couldn't believe it. But, it's what she wanted so it's what she got. As cravings went, it could have been worse I supposed.

“Well, Edward, count yourself lucky. When my wife was pregnant she wanted pickles dipped in cheese was gross,” he said with a shudder.

Bella scrunched up her face adorably and said, “Eeww, well, now I don't feel so bad.”

“Tell me about it,” Dr. Hughes said as he stood up. “I'll see you in a month. Keep taking your vitamins, make sure you get plenty of rest and exercise, and no stress, Bella,” he said as he looked at her.

“Edward, it was good to see you. I hope to see you next time,” he said as he shook my hand and then walked out . Grudgingly, I admitted he wasn't that bad of a guy.

“Bella, I'll get your appointment set and you can pick up your reminder card on the way out,” the nurse said and then left.

I helped Bella sit up so she could change back into her clothes and after picking up her appointment card, we were on our way.

“Edward, can we stop and get a lemonade?” she asked sweetly as we drove off.

“Anything for you baby, anything at all.”


BPOV~ Mid-March, about 18 weeks

"Mama, where's my backpack?" Masen asked in a quick breath as he ran into the kitchen.

"Buddy, I'm not sure. Did you check by the front door or by the table where we did our homework last night?" I asked as I finished making scrambled eggs for breakfast.

He huffed and ran his hand through his hair and I had to hide my smile because he looked so damn much like Edward when he did that. "Yes, I did," he said in a tone of voice that let me know he probably hadn't looked there at all. Little man couldn't fool me.

I turned around, standing on my tiptoes, and went to reach up into the cabinet to pull a stack of plates down when I heard a throat clear behind me. "Bella, what do you think you are doing?" Edward asked as I lowered my arms and put my feet back on the ground again. Sometimes it really sucked to be short!

I blew out a frustrated breath and narrowed my eyes at my extremely gorgeous but even more overprotective husband. "Edward, I'm quite sure that when Travis told me to be careful, he didn't mean I couldn't get dishes out of the cabinet. Goodness!" I said exasperatedly at him.

Edward just stared at me and waited for the inevitable. "Fine. Edward, can you get the plates down for me so we can eat breakfast, please?" I finished in a sickly sweet voice.

He moved past me and grabbed the plates I'd started to get a few moments ago and set them down on the counter beside the platter of eggs. He bent down and gave me a quick kiss on the cheek and said, "You're more than welcome, Angel."

I harrumphed at him and then turned to my son who was growing quite impatient from the looks of the scowl on his face. "Masen, you can go look for your backpack by yourself," I told him as I began to fix everyone's plates for breakfast.

"But, Mama," he started to whine and I closed my eyes and took a deep breath so I wouldn't snap at him.

This morning was not a good time for any of them to try my patience. I felt fat, I had to pee all the damn time, and this morning when I was brushing my teeth I made the mistake of looking up into the mirror and I swore I saw a pimple on my forehead! My back hurt constantly and I felt like I could burst into tears at the drop of a hat.

All normal side effects of being pregnant I knew, but knowing it didn't make it any easier to live with.

"Mommy," Maddie said as she ran into the kitchen...wearing a top I had specifically told her last night she couldn't wear. It was a thin tank top and was something to wear in the middle of summer, not the end of March when it was still cool enough to need a jacket.

I laid the spatula down that I'd had in my hand and looked at both of my children. Oohh, I loved them each madly, but there were days they made me want to pull my hair out. Apparently today was one of those days.

"Look, you two," I said in my stern voice, the one which conveyed I meant business. "Masen, you know perfectly well that your backpack is wherever you left it last. Go check by the front door or by the table. The thing doesn't have legs and it can't get up and move by itself, so just think about the last place you had it and start there," I told him with a pointed look.

I didn't know what it was about the male species but they always asked where something was before even bothering to look first. He stomped off in search of his wayward backpack so then I turned to my daughter, who was trying to win me over with the ever-famous Cullen pout.

"No way, little missy. You can put that pout away right this second. Maddie, I told you last night you couldn't wear that shirt today so march right back upstairs and," I finished with a raised eyebrow.

"But, Mommy," she whined like her brother had and I shook my head at her. "Now, Maddie," I said leaving no room for her to misunderstand.

She marched off exactly like Masen had and I let out a sigh and turned to glare at my husband when I heard him chuckle from the breakfast table.

I picked up his plate, since he was ready to eat and slammed it down in front of him. "Thanks for the help, Edward," I snapped at him.

I heard him sigh when I turned around to grab the kids' plates and I squeezed my eyes shut and blew out a long breath in the hopes it would relieve some of the tension I felt building up. I knew I was being a little...well a lot...irrational, but I couldn't help it.

Out of whack hormones really sucked.

The kids raced back into the kitchen, with a backpack and changed shirt just like they were supposed to.

I sat down at my place and it wasn't a minute later that I felt Edward's hand as he reached under the table and held mine, giving it a squeeze. When I looked up at him, he gave me a sweet smile and I tried to give him one right back.

I sniffed and took a deep breath to keep myself from crying. I was normally such an even-tempered person that the ups and downs were really beginning to take their toll on me. I loved being pregnant, I really did. So far I'd been really lucky with the morning sickness, or mostly lack thereof. With the exception of the occasional upset stomach and brief periods of nausea, I'd had it pretty easy so far...or at least I'd been told numerous times by Esme, Diane, Sue, and Charlotte. I wasn't counting my lucky stars just yet though, it would be just my luck to be the only pregnant woman that didn't glow at all the entire time she was pregnant.

“Okay, you two, go brush your teeth so we can get a move on,” Edward said once we had all finished eating breakfast.

I gasped because normally I took them to school but Edward was already shaking his head at me when I turned to look at him. “Bella, let me take them this morning. You just stay home and relax,” he said and then raised his eyebrows at me when he saw I was about to argue with him. “Really, why don’t you just go back up to bed and get comfortable with a book…maybe even the baby book and start making a list of names?”

I huffed, because I hated feeling like I couldn’t take care of things, but today for some reason my moods were all over the place and crawling back into bed sounded heavenly. I nodded at him and then hung my head.

“Hey now,” Edward said softly and lifted my chin up with his fingers. “Baby, you’re entitled to have an off day every now and then. Stop beating yourself up about it and enjoy a quiet day. You deserve it and I know Ladybug will, too.”

I snorted because he and Maddie were still so convinced the baby was a girl. Masen had other ideas. To say they were excited about the baby would be the biggest understatement ever. There had been no agreement at all among them or Edward about what they wanted the baby to be. Maddie was adamant she wanted a sister and Masen hadn't wavered at all about wanting a brother. It did take a few heavy conversations with Maddie before she was convinced that just because Edward and I were going to have a baby, it didn't mean we would love her any less.

I heard the kids come running down the stairs and knew it was time for them to leave so I stood up. “Edward, our son isn’t going to appreciate being called Ladybug,” I told him as I turned to face him.

Edward slid his hand around to the front of my stomach and lifted my shirt up. "Ladybug, you don't listen to a word your mama says," he said softly as he bent down and kissed the bare skin before he lowered my shirt. "Bella, you're going to give our daughter a complex if you keep referring to her as a boy if you don't watch it," he smirked as he stood up and kissed my cheek.

"Whatever, Edward. I don't know why you're so convinced this baby is a girl," I teased back and heard Maddie grunt as she walked up to us.

"That's because it is a girl baby, Mommy," Maddie said as she patted my tummy. "I told you this a long time ago. You'll see," she said simply and walked off to sit and wait on the couch.

After kissing everyone goodbye I took a deep breath and heard…nothing. Rufus padded up next to me and I bent down to rub him on the top of his head. “Well, big guy, it looks like it’s just you and me for the rest of the day. Let’s hope I don’t lose it with you, too.”

I grabbed a bottle of water and made my way up the stairs, thinking about what Edward had said earlier. I knew that the way I was feeling was due to hormones; nothing else. The baby was healthy and so was I. We hadn’t had any complications at all and Travis was very optimistic that it would remain that way until the end of my pregnancy. The entire family was beside themselves with happiness over the impending arrival of the newest Cullen and Edward sported a proud smirk every day. All in all I was lucky and I couldn’t be happier.

The baby’s room was going to be across the hall from ours and I stopped and looked inside it before I continued to our room. We had moved all the furniture, well Edward, Emmett, and Peter had done it one weekend Rose and Em came to visit, into the garage outside since the other guest room was already furnished. We hadn’t started looking for baby furniture yet, but I knew we would need to start soon. I knew a weekend long shopping trip was in store for me but instead of dreading it, I couldn’t wait to share it with Esme, Sue, Ali, Rose, and the others. Edward had said he wanted to share everything with me, but I’m not sure that extended to days worth of shopping either!

“I’m getting so excited to see you little one,” I said softly as I laid my hands across my stomach.

With one last glance into the room and a smile as I pictured it filled with furniture and stuffed animals…and of course the baby, I went to our room. I did exactly what Edward suggested and crawled into bed and wrapped myself in the blankets before I picked up the book of baby names. For some reason I found myself looking at the girls’ names first and I snorted as I thought about Edward and Maddie. I knew Edward was just teasing with me, that he would be happy with whatever we were having…and thank goodness it was only one baby! At that first appointment with Edward when we heard the heartbeat for the first time, I can’t even begin to explain how relieved I was that it was only one baby. I wanted to have plenty of babies with Edward, just one at a time. Besides, Maddie and Masen were the WonderTwins and I kind of liked the fact that so far, they were the only ones.

I felt my eyes get heavy after looking through pages and pages of names so I closed my eyes. What felt like only a few moments later I woke up and after a quick glance at the clock realized I’d been asleep for almost two hours. I hadn’t even asked Edward earlier if he was coming home for lunch today but I decided I’d get up and take a short shower and make him something to eat, just in case.

As I stood up, I felt a flutter in my stomach. It lasted barely longer than a second and I figured it was just from getting out of bed so quick so I shook my head and went into the bathroom. I stepped carefully into the shower, still a bit leery of my footing. Slipping that one time did a number on me, that was for sure. I hurried through my shower, wanting to get done and out as fast as I could.

Once I was done, I grabbed my towel and wrapped it around me, tucking it in underneath my arms, and stepped carefully out and onto the bath mat. I breathed a small breath of relief when I had my feet firmly beneath me. My biggest worry was slipping and falling accidentally and hurting the baby somehow. I was almost irrational about it, it was the one thing that I tended to be a bit obsessive about, but I couldn’t help it.

I reached for another towel and began to dry my hair when I felt that fluttery feeling again, only this time it was a bit more pronounced. I dropped the towel I’d been using to dry my hair on the floor when I realized what it was I was feeling.

“Oh my God,” I whispered out loud and picked my head up to stare at my reflection in the mirror. My eyes immediately filled with tears and I smiled so big that if anyone had been in the room and saw me, they would think I’d gone mad.

“Hello, my precious one,” I said in a soft voice filled with awe. “I wish your daddy was here to meet you,” I said and giggled when I felt the flutter again. “Yeah, I know, I’d be excited to see him if I were you, too.”

I’d known there was a baby growing inside of me, I’d heard the heartbeat, seen the ultrasound pictures every day that were proudly displayed on the front of the refrigerator, but feeling the baby move was something entirely different altogether.

I let the towel I had wrapped around my body fall to the floor and turned sideways in the mirror to look at myself. All the insecure thoughts I’d had just this morning about feeling fat and awkward melted away. Now as I looked at my reflection, all I saw was the miracle of life…and the result of mine and Edward’s love. All that other stuff, was just…stuff. Swollen ankles, backaches, clothes that didn’t fit, it was just a part of bringing this little one into the world so we could love it for the rest of our lives.

I closed my eyes and felt the warm tears fall down my face. I laid my hands across my stomach and said a prayer of thanks for all that I’d been blessed with. Edward, Maddie, Masen, and our little one most of all.

“Bella?” Edward said softly from the doorway of the bathroom and turned around and smiled at him.

“Are you okay, why are you crying?” he asked as he stepped closer to me. I reached out and grabbed his hand and placed it on top of mine on my stomach and said, “I felt the baby move.”

“Oh, Bella,” he whispered and fell to his knees in front of me. He kissed my stomach over and over again, whispering so quietly I couldn’t hear what he was saying. He finally looked up at me and his green eyes were shiny with his tears.

Edward reached for my left hand and kissed my wedding ring and then said, “I never believed my life would be so full, that I would be so blessed. Thank you for all you’ve given me.”

“Edward,” I said with a sigh as he pressed his forehead against my stomach. I ran my fingers through his hair for a few moments before he stood up and reached behind him, grabbing my robe and sliding my arms inside it. He reached down without saying a word and picked me up, cradling me against his chest and walked us to our bed. He set me down in the middle of it and then kicked off his shoes and took off his tie before he climbed into the bed and laid behind me. He pulled me tight against him and he started to whisper in my ear.

“What did it feel like?” he asked first and I smiled. I picked up his arm and then rolled over so I could look at him. I needed to see his face, to watch his expressions so he could share this with me. It would be awhile yet before he could feel the baby move, which in a weird way made me feel really sad. I wanted to share everything about this with him.

"Well, at first I didn't know what it was because it was so quick and I had just gotten out of bed. When I got out of the shower, I felt it again and knew immediately what it was. It feels like bubbles inside my stomach...or a butterfly," I told him quietly and reached out to run my fingers down his face and across his jaw.

"Ladybug," he said with a wink and reached down and untied my robe and pushed it aside so he could lay his hand over my stomach. "I can't wait to feel her. I know she's in there, but feeling her has to be different," he said and I nodded my head because I had just thought the same thing.

"It's weird, but I feel bad you can't feel it yet," I told him and leaned forward so I could kiss him.

"You're so cute," he chuckled at me and pulled me close to him.


EPOV~ Almost 5 months along

"Bella!" I called as I walked in the house. I set my briefcase down on the island in the kitchen and grabbed an apple out of the bowl beside my briefcase before going in search of my wife. I knew Maddie and Masen were with Wyatt and Emily at their house so I hoped Bella had taken advantage of the quiet time. She'd been so lucky, hell, we'd been lucky, with everything so far. Health wise the baby was fine, progressing just as she should. I was absolutely convinced the baby was a little girl...another ladybug to wrap me thoroughly around her finger. I just couldn't get the picture of a little girl with Bella's gorgeous brown hair and my green eyes out of my head. Like Bella, I didn't really care one way or the other as long as both baby and Mama were healthy. Nothing was more important than that.

Speaking of Mama..."Bella!" I called again as I went up the stairs when I didn't hear her downstairs anywhere. I got to the top of the stairs and turned left toward our room and the room Bella was going to make the baby's nursery. It was actually my favorite of the bedrooms because it had a wall of windows that looked out over the lake and the view was spectacular, but it was too small to make it the master bedroom. Maddie and Masen had chosen rooms at the other end of the hall, probably knowing that they wanted to be as far away from ours as possible! Even after making the room the nursery, there was still one more room that we were currently using as the guest room. If I had my way, it wouldn't stay that way for too long.

I would never forget the day Bella had her surgery and Travis had told us the prognosis looked good. I sure as hell would never forget the day Tanya told us there was no reason we couldn't have a baby. It was definitely in the top of my favorite things I've ever been told, right behind the kids saying Daddy for the first time, Bella telling me she was pregnant...and of course Bella saying she'd marry me. I couldn't lie and say I hadn't been worried we might not get good news, but I had faith that things would work out and they did. My girl was too special of a person to not be able to share that with a child of her own. I knew beyond everything that she loved Maddie and Masen as if she had given birth to them, but the undeniable fact was she hadn't, and it was something I had wanted very much for her. I'd seen plenty of women in my line of work and though I didn't intimately know what it felt like to carry a baby and give birth, intellectually I understood. I wanted that for Bella.

It wasn't that I thought she would love our baby more than she loved Maddie and Masen. It wouldn't ever be more or less, but equal, because that was just the kind of woman Bella was. I had to imagine that the tendency would be there for other women in her same circumstance, but my wife had proven time and again that she wasn't like anyone else, nor would I ever want her to be.

I wanted it for myself, too, of course, but it was mostly for her. I wasn't lying when I told her before about missing out on things with Lauren and the twins. She'd done everything she could to keep all those special moments away from me.

Lauren surely was a supreme bitch and when I thought about how foolish I'd been all those years ago, it made me cringe. Of course, without Lauren there would be no Maddie and Masen and that thought was almost enough to bring me to my knees. Staring at my beautiful wife as she slept in the rocking chair of our as of yet unknown gender baby's room was enough to keep me focused on the here and now.

The sun shone into the room, falling across her body as if there was a spotlight shining down on her and she looked so beautiful she took my breath away. Her hands were laid across her growing baby bump and she had on a pair of loose shorts and one of my old baseball t-shirts. As I leaned against the doorway and stared at her, I seriously thought I could stand there for hours and just watch her.

Creepy and stalkerish...perhaps...but it was the fucking truth.

Nothing in the world brought me as much pleasure as just looking at Bella. Well, that wasn't exactly the whole truth, but I sure enjoyed looking at my wife.

"Why do I get the feeling that you still do that a lot?" Bella asked. Her eyes were still closed but she sported an all-knowing grin.

"Hmph," I grunted and smirked at her when she opened one eye to look at me.

I pushed off the doorway and walked toward her. When I stood next to her, she opened both of her eyes and looked up at me. Her brown eyes were as clear and as bright as I'd ever seen them and I smiled down at her.

"Have a good nap?" I asked softly as I reached down and ran the back of my fingers down the side of her face.

Bella nodded at me and reached up to grab my hand with hers and pulled it toward her mouth. She placed a few soft, wet kisses along my palm and the inside of my wrist. I stepped around the chair to the front and held my other hand out to her. When she put her hands in mine, I pulled her up and then sat down in her place, setting her on my lap. Bella curled up against my chest and laid her hand on my chest over my heart. Her heart, since she had owned it since the very first time I saw her.

Bella sighed softly and I chuckled before lowering my head so I could place a few kisses on the top of her head. "Did you have a good day today?" I asked against her hair.

"Mmmhmm," she answered back, sounding extraordinarily relaxed which she needed.

Once Bella got past the first trimester and Travis had adamantly assured her that everything looked great and the baby was healthy and there weren't any complications, Bella's entire persona changed instantaneously. Not that she had been difficult, because that wasn't Bella at all, but she was nervous and worried incessantly. I remembered the time she slipped in the bathroom as she got out of the shower. I was brushing my teeth and she had stepped over the edge of the tub and had lost her footing and had started to fall. Of course I had her safely in my arms before anything happened, but it had shaken her up something terrible. No matter how much I tried to convince her that everything was okay, she wouldn't believe me until we saw the back-up obstetrician the next day. With Bella's high risk status, Travis and Tanya both insisted that we had a local doctor to go to...just in case of an emergency. The closest hospital was in Glen Falls which was about twenty minutes away. Dr. Lennox was a very well-respected doctor and she and Travis had consulted so she was well aware of Bella's medical history. After that little mishap, Bella made me stay in the bathroom with her when she wanted to shower and more often than not, I would shower with her…water conservation and all.

I ran my fingers through her silky hair and enjoyed holding her close. I bent down and kissed her temple and then nuzzled my nose against her cheek for a few moments before I said, "I'm so excited about the ultrasound tomorrow."

"Ready to meet your son, huh?" she teased and I snorted at her.

"You'll owe me a hell of an apology when I'm right, Mrs. Cullen," I answered back before pressing my lips against hers. I flicked my tongue at her lips a bit before she opened her mouth and allowed my tongue entrance. Languidly I swirled my tongue with hers, circling and dipping over and over until all I could do was moan against her lips.

"Bella," I said with a sigh as I pulled back.

She shifted her body against mine and I let out another contented sigh when I felt her stomach against mine. Her baby bump made it so it was getting more and more difficult to sleep facing her, not that we usually slept that way, but we did usually start out facing each other so we could talk. After that I would lay on my back and Bella would curl up against me with her head on my chest or I would lay behind her, holding her close to me. I loved that position, now especially, because every night I would lay my hands over her belly in the hopes of feeling the baby move. Bella could already feel it move from time to time and I knew that any time now I would be able to feel it as well. I couldn't fucking wait.

"This is nice," Bella said somewhat dreamily as I rocked us in the chair and she ran her fingers through my hair.

I squeezed my arms around her and ran my hands up and down her back. "It sure as hell is," I agreed.

With Maddie and Masen and their schedules, moments of complete quiet were surely hard to come by.

"I love you, Edward," Bella said and I could tell she was enjoying being quiet as much as I was.

"Always and forever, Angel," I whispered and continued to rock the two of us knowing that by this time tomorrow, we would hopefully know whether the newest Cullen was a boy or a girl.


"Mama, come on!" Masen huffed as he bounced up and down on the balls of his feet as he stood in the elevator.

Bella grunted at him and though she tried not to be annoyed with our son, she failed miserably. "Mase, you do realize it takes me longer to move around nowadays than it used to, don't you?" she asked as the elevator shut and we headed up to the floor where the ultrasound would be done.

"Pshh," he said as he rolled his eyes at her.

Bella had been convinced for a few weeks now that she looked as big as a whale - her words not mine - which the three of us argued against vehemently. Yes she had a baby bump, but she was, without a doubt, the sexiest, most beautiful pregnant woman that ever my totally biased and not so humble opinion.

Maddie reached out and patted Bella's tummy gently and said, "Mommy, Masen just wants to meet our sister." She giggled when both Bella and Masen groaned and shook their heads at her.

"You said it, princess," I said with a wink in her direction. As the elevator stopped and the doors opened, I looked at the three of them and said, "Okay everyone, let's go see Ladybug."

We walked down the hall and found the room where they would be performing the ultrasound. I looked at Maddie and Masen and reminded them, again, "Now you two remember that Mommy has to change her clothes and they need to get the machine set up before anything will happen. Not only that, remember that there is a chance we won't find out what the baby is today, too."

"Kay, Daddy," they each answered and I silently said a quick prayer that our little bundle would cooperate...for all our sakes.

"Edward, Bella," a technician said as she walked up to us. "My name is Janet and I'll be performing your ultrasound today." Janet smiled at us and then turned to Maddie and Masen. "And you must be big brother and big sister," she said and laughed when they nodded their heads enthusiastically.

"Yes, Ma'am," Masen said, standing up straight.

"Well, why don't your mom and I go inside and get situated and then I'll come get you three and we'll take a peek at your brother or sister."

"Sister," Maddie said happily.

"Brother,” Masen answered even louder.

"Dr. Cullen, any thoughts?" Janet asked with a smirk.

I looked at Bella, who was biting her lip and rubbed her stomach with her hand. "I don't care either way. I'm already happier than anyone has a right to be."

She nodded her head at me before she turned to Bella. "Well, then, let's get you prepped so we can meet the newest Baby Cullen."

Finally after what seemed like forever as I nervously bounced my leg up and down, Janet called the three of us in the room.

I rushed to Bella's side and kissed her forehead before I grabbed her hand in mine. I just needed to touch her, feel her skin against mine. Knowing that our lives were about to be irrevocably changed, suddenly threatened to overwhelm me.

Never being able to experience this with Maddie and Masen made this incredibly special, and a bit bittersweet if I was being truly honest. It was hard sometimes to keep myself from feeling guilty about enjoying all the firsts I got to experience with Bella. I was sad at the fact I'd missed out on them with the twins, but extremely grateful to do so now.

"You doing all right?" I asked her as I squeezed her hand in mine.

She giggled at me and I heard Janet snicker as she reached for the gel to put on Bella's stomach. "Maddie, Masen, do either of you have any questions before we get started?" she asked, and I was so impressed and grateful for inclusion of the kids in what she was doing.

Bella and I had set out from the very beginning of her pregnancy to include them as much as we could in things as they progressed. We didn't want them to feel the least bit left out and we felt it was important that they feel like they were as much a part of what was going on as the baby.

Janet had set two stools beside me for them to sit on and they looked at me before Masen asked, "Is that where we'll see the baby?" he asked as he pointed to the ultrasound machine.

She nodded at him and said, "Yes. Hopefully we'll get a good picture and be able to tell whether you two are getting a new brother or sister."

"It won't hurt the baby will it?" Maddie asked and I couldn't help but smile at my sweet little girl.

Janet shook her head and said, "No sweetie. We're just taking a picture. It's a bit different from what you're used to, but that's all I'm doing today."

She waited to see if the kids had any more questions and when they didn't ask anything else she got up and turned the lights down and scooted her stool closer to Bella. She moved the sheet out of the way and folded it carefully so that all that was exposed was her stomach and she smiled as she looked at the kids and in a conspiratorial whisper said, "Want to watch Mommy jump?"

The kids giggled and Janet looked at my wife who tried to look displeased, but wasn't doing a very good job. "Sorry, Bella," she said as she squeezed the cold gel on her skin and Bella did indeed jump...and squeak...much the the delight of our kids.

"Edward," Bella warned when she saw the corners of my lips twitch and I grinned at her. "Can't help it, Angel, that was funny."

She grunted and then looked at the three of us in turn. "I won't forget this," she promised and we all just smiled at her.

Janet picked up the wand and almost instantly we all stopped laughing and focused on the screen next to her. As soon as she had the dials correct, there our baby was in all its glory.

"Wow," Maddie and Masen whispered in unison as Janet held the wand still and took a picture. "Do you two want to come closer and get a better look?" she asked and before she'd barely gotten the words out, they had climbed off the stools and scurried over to her.

"Do you see right here?" she asked as she pointed to the middle of the screen. "Right there is your little brother or sister. You can see the arms and legs, and right there, is its little heart beating," she said patiently.

I heard Bella sniffle and I tore my gaze away from the screen to look at her. "What?" I asked. "They're just so cute and sweet," she whispered. I looked up and the two of them were still totally enthralled with the screen so I bent my head down and kissed her quickly on the lips. "That they are, but they're just like their mama," I told her. Cheesy...yes, but true nonetheless.

"Smooth, Edward," she grinned at me and all I could do was nod.

"Okay, you two go back by your dad and let's take a few more pictures and then we'll see if we can tell if it's a boy or a girl," Janet told them and they hurried back to their seats.

"Daddy, that was so cool!" Masen exclaimed, echoed by his sister.

"Well, we're not done yet," I told them each with a smile.

Janet typed in some information and then moved the wand again, taking measurements and recording them. Once that was done, she stopped again. "Maddie, Masen, and Bella you too since this is your first time for this, did you know that right now the baby is about as long as a banana and weighs about one pound?"

"It's so small," Maddie whispered, her eyes glued to the screen.

"It is," I told her. "But, from here on out, the baby will grow really fast. Mommy's done such a good job already," I said as I turned and looked at Bella and gave her a wink.

Janet typed in a few more things and then faced the four of us. "Is everyone ready to see if we can tell what Baby Cullen is?" she asked and everyone laughed when I gave an enthusiastic 'yes'.

I reached for Bella's hand and again, and lifted it to my lips and kissed the back of it. "I love you so much, Bella," I whispered to her.

Her eyes filled with tears and I kissed her forehead before turning to Janet. "Let's do this," I told her, anxious as hell to finally find out.

"Let's," she said with a chuckle and began to move the wand around again.

"Daddy, I can't tell anything," Masen said beside me and I chuckled at him. "Well, little man, Janet is trying to take a good picture so we can see," I told him.

"Ah, and there we have it," Janet said and gave us all a big smile.

"Really, you can tell?" Bella asked in a whisper.

"Yep, we have a good, clear picture. Little Baby Cullen sure likes getting their picture taken," she said with a chuckle. "Is everyone ready?" she asked, and each and every one of us nodded our heads. I pulled Bella's hand up to my chest and then wrapped my arm around Maddie and Masen together.

"Everyone, meet baby girl Cullen," she said softly and we all sighed at the same time.

"Ladybug," Masen said sweetly without even a hint of disappointment that it wasn't the brother he'd hoped for. My boy, he was one in a million.

"A girl," Bella whispered and I looked at her with tears in my eyes. "A girl," I told her and because I'm me..."And you owe me and Mad an apology, Mrs. Cullen."

"Daddy," Maddie said, and then giggled. "A sister!" she squealed and then clapped her hands, making us all laugh.

"Mase, you okay, little man?" Bella asked as Janet began to wipe the excess gel off Bella's stomach.

He nodded and looked at her. "Yep. That just means the next one will be a boy."

I couldn't help but laugh at that and then bent my head down and swept my lips across Bella's. "Thank you, Angel. I'm so damn happy. Thank you, thank you, thank you."

"Oh, Edward," Bella said with a sigh. "I love you so much."

"Back at ya, baby...both baby's," I smiled and then bent over to kiss her tummy before Janet lowered the sheet. "Ladybug, I can't wait to see you."

"Well until you can meet her in person, let me get you some pictures to take home and give the rest of your family," Janet said as she stood up. "Congratulations to all of you. You have a beautiful family," she said before she left to get some copies made.

We heard a ruckus in the hallway and then unmistakable voice of my idiot brother. "Ed, man, where are ya?" he bellowed. I huffed and then kissed Bella on the cheek before going to open the door. Unsurprisingly, our entire family crowded around in the hallway and with an exaggerated sigh, I opened the door and stood back so they could all come in.

"Well, what is it?" Emmett asked as he pushed his way in front of everyone.

Rose pinched his arm and scowled at him. "Emmett, knock it off and wait a damn minute. Jeeze," she huffed and then turned to look at Bella and I. "Well, what is it?" she asked with a snicker.

"Bella, dear, everything is okay?" Mama asked as she shooed me out of the way to stand next to my wife.

"Edward, you look extraordinarily pleased, son," my dad said as he slapped my shoulder.

I wrapped my arm around him and kissed the side of his head. "Pop, you have no fucking idea," I said with a grin.

"Hey brother mine," Ali said as she slid in beside me and wrapped her arm around me. "Hey Aunt Ali," I said as I bent down and kissed her cheek.

"God, I love the way that sounds," she said as she laid her head on my shoulder.

"Edward, Bella, come on! You guys are killing us here," Jasper whined as he stepped up beside Alice. He reached around and slapped me on the back.

"Yeah, hurry the hell up. We've got money riding on this you know," Seth said and then cringed when Tanya slapped him on the back of the head.

"I don't know, baby, I think we should make them sweat. What do you think?" I asked Bella with a wicked smirk.

"Edward Anthony Cullen, if you don't tell me what my newest grandchild is, I swear you'll be sorry," Mama said as she leveled a stare at me.

"Nana! Daddy is too old to be in trouble," my son said.

"Masen Samuel, remember this...children are never too old to be in trouble with their mama's," she warned with a shake of her finger.

"Edward, we'd better tell them before they turn on us," Bella said with a giggle.

"Seth, what did you bet on, boy or girl?" I asked, hoping it was a boy. Really, betting on what we were going to have! Too bad, I'd bet on girl. I'd known it all along.

"Boy," he said as he bounced up and down on his feet, looking exactly like the kids instead of a twenty-five year old man.

"You lose," I told him without preamble and waited for everyone to react.

Suddenly we were flooded with hugs and kisses and slaps on the back mixed with lots of congratulation wishes.

"Well, it certainly looks like everyone liked the news," Janet said as she entered the room carrying a stack of pictures.

"Are those what I think they are?" Mama asked as she began to move toward her, only to be stopped by my dad.

"Es, dear, let the woman give them to Edward and Bella first. I'm sure we can get copies if there aren't enough. They are, after all, the parents. We're just Nana and Papa," he said as he gave her a kiss on her cheek.

"But Car, I want one," she pouted and I had to laugh at my mother. "Mama, I promise you can have at least one picture of Ladybug."

"Here you go, Dr. Cullen, and I made plenty when I saw the crowd in the hallway," she said as she handed me the stack.

"Help," Bella cried pitifully, and I looked at her. "Oh, baby, I'm so sorry," I said and tried not to laugh. She was situated on the exam table just so, and it made it hard for her to sit up. With all the excitement of everyone in the room, she got lost in the shuffle.

"Mommy, are you okay?" Masen asked as he rushed to her side and pulled on her hand and helped her up as I slid my hand behind her back and sat her up straight. "Sorry, Mama," I whispered in her ear.

She swatted at my chest and then smiled at me. " I see how it is, little Ladybug has already replaced me."

"Not a fucking chance, Angel. You're always number one," I told her and kissed her temple.

"Hand me my picture, Edward," Mama demanded with her hand out and I passed them around to everyone.

It was quiet for a few seconds as they all looked at the picture, including Bella and I. "I love her so much, she's so beautiful," Bella whispered as she ran her fingers over the film.

"Just like her mother," I told her.

"Rosie, I want one," Emmett said, causing the whole room to erupt in laughter.

Lord help us all, that child most of all.


BPOV~End of May about 26 weeks pregnant

"Ugh," I moaned quietly, hoping I didn't wake Edward up. We'd gotten a late start leaving Lake George last night and by the time everyone had rubbed my belly and we had visited for a bit, it was way past my bedtime. Since it was toward the end of May, Maddie and Masen had spent the weekend with Carlisle and Esme and we would see them tomorrow before my appointment. School was almost over and we were in the fun part of the end of the year so Edward and I didn’t really mind them missing a day of school.

I ran my hands over my growing baby bump and smiled as I remembered how excited everyone was to see us last night. It had been awhile since we'd announced our news to the family, but it sure seemed like none of the excitement had abated in the slightest. I knew Edward’s hadn’t either. If anything, it only continued to grow more and more with each passing day. Even though I was beginning to feel really uncomfortable, Edward kept insisting I was beautiful…even when I would make him go to the market to get me olives and pink lemonade, I was feeling really good and even I had to admit I made a pretty damn cute mama-to-be.

It was a good thing that I felt so good because Edward attacked me anytime he could get his hands on me…and vice versa. Ever since Travis had told us awhile ago at an appointment that everything looked really good and we'd passed the first trimester safely, it seemed like a switch had been flipped. My sex drive shot through the roof almost overnight and well Edward being turned on and ready to go had never been a problem, but it was even less so now. Damn, most of the time it would only take the slightest of touches and he was raring to go...again it wasn't like I ever complained either.

My boobs had filled out, much to Edward's supreme and attentive delight. I couldn't ever tell which he loved more, my boobs or the growing bump at my waist. He surely was an equal opportunity attention giver, no question about it. Case in point, not only was his head firmly planted on my chest in between my breasts, but his hand laid protectively over my stomach...and he'd been in this position when I'd woken up quite awhile ago. He hadn't moved an inch since.

Every time I tried to slide out from beneath him, he would just squeeze me tighter, but if I didn't get up and into a bathroom, I might give Edward a reason for his sex drive to come to a complete standstill.

"Edward, baby, I have to get up," I whispered as I ran my fingers down his back. The way his muscles bunched under my fingertips was almost enough to make me forget how bad I had to pee, but not quite.

"Mmph," Edward grunted against my chest and I couldn't help but smile.

"Seriously, baby, you have to now," I urged as the ...urge had grown to an almost unbearable level.

I poked him again, harder this time, until he finally picked his head up and sleepily looked at me. "Bella, angel, what's wrong?" he asked immediately when he saw the look of discomfort on my face. His hands flew over my body, carefully touching to see what the problem was. That of course made me snort, which in my present state was not the smartest idea I'd ever had.

I rolled my eyes at him when his hands stopped and he looked at me, still really confused.

"Edward, I have to pee so bad that if you don't get off of me like in less than half a second, I swear to you on all that is holy, we won't have sex again until six weeks after I have this kid," I shrieked.

He rolled off immediately either because he could tell I really had to go or because he was afraid I was serious about my threat. I quickly made it to the bathroom, barely making it in time, and thanked the heavens above for small favors. I mean really, it was bad enough women had to endure all we did while pregnant, you would think that not making us have to pee all the damn time would have been the least someone upstairs could have done!

"Angel, are you okay?" Edward sweetly asked. Suddenly hearing his voice made me forget all about every uncomfortable moment I'd had thus far and would continue to have. All I wanted now was him. I hurried and washed my hands and brushed my teeth and then flung the door open. Edward's head whipped in my direction from where he sat on the edge of the bed and when he took in my heavy breathing and my dilated eyes, he flashed me a sexy as hell grin.

"Again Bella? I'm not a machine you know," he smirked at me as he laid back on the bed on his elbows.

"Well, you better figure out a way to recharge your batteries or something because," I told him as I stared at him from the bathroom doorway.

He was so fucking sexy as he laid there and smirked at me. He never slept with a shirt on, a fact of which I was extremely thankful for, pants either for that matter. Just a pair of black boxer briefs which were now trying to contain his very prominent erection.

'Not a machine my ass' I thought to myself as I licked my lips.

My appointment with Travis wasn't until after lunch and Maddie and Masen would not be here for a few hours yet. I missed my kids something fierce and I surely planned on showing them just how much when they got here, but for now, I planned on seeing if I really could get Edward's batteries recharged...multiple times.

"Bella?" Edward asked with a raised eyebrow. "You plan on just staring at me all morning or do you want to do something about this?" He waved his hand over his crotch and I swore my mouth watered when I saw how hard he was.

"Oh, I plan on doing plenty, Dr. Cullen," I said in a husky whisper as I pulled my cami off and pushed my pajamas down my legs.

Needless to say, I found plenty of ways to recharge Edward's batteries and by the end was almost convinced that I could last until the end of the day without having my way with him again.


A short while later as we sat at the island in the kitchen while Edward moaned and groaned about not being able to go my appointment today, I heard the elevator and knew the kids were about to come tearing through the door. Edward had promised Jasper and Emmett he would help move some furniture around for Alice's new bedroom, and since this appointment was just a checkup, I convinced him he needed to help. He'd gotten better about dealing with Travis and was actually almost friendly to him most of the time, thank goodness. There were still the occasional grunts and glares, but he behaved more often than not.

To make matters even worse, Rose and Alice, well Esme and Diane too, thought it was all hilarious, especially after Tanya told everyone of Edward's little rant after my surgery. Travis had never been anything but professional, but try telling my overprotective and ridiculously jealous husband that. Sure Dr. Dreamy could flirt like no one's business with his 'hi honey's and 'have a good day, darlin's' but he was a happily married man. I'm sure his wife had plenty to deal with, without adding me to the mix.

"Mommy!" my two terrors yelled as I opened the door to let them in. I hadn't seen them in a few days. Carlisle and Esme had come to spend a few days with us and brought Maddie and Masen back home with them on Friday after school. Since my appointment was on a Monday, we figured it would work out good to come in last night, go to my appointment today and then head home afterward. As things progressed with the pregnancy, keeping fingers crossed that there weren't any complications, we would have to make more frequent trips into town until closer to my due date, at which time we would just stay in the city.

"Hey you two," I giggled as I bent down to kiss them each on the cheek as they wrapped their arms around my waist.

"Hi baby," Masen said softly as he leaned down by my stomach and I couldn't help but smile at how sweet he was. He could be rotten as all get out sometimes, but moments like this made those few times he acted out, fade away into the background.

"Are you going to the doctor today?" Maddie asked me and I nodded my head at her. "Yep, sure am babygirl. You and Masen will go with Daddy to Uncle Jasper's house and we'll see you over there when we're done."

"But I want to come with you," Maddie pouted and I was torn about what to do. I hated telling her no, ever, but I wasn't sure she should come today or not.

However, my little princess knew exactly what she was doing when she pouted at me and when I rolled my eyes at her, she knew she'd won...again.

"Yeah!" She giggled as she clapped her hands and I turned to glower at Edward when I heard him chuckle from behind me.

He had stepped up behind me and wrapped his arms around my waist and splayed his hands over my stomach. "Mama, you are such a sucker," he whispered in my ear and then kissed the side of my neck.

Edward had taken to calling me Mama from time to time since shortly after I told him I was pregnant. I couldn’t say I minded a bit. It was kind of funny because poor Masen got so confused sometimes. He would get excited and call me Mommy and other times he would hear Edward call me Mama and he would follow right behind. I had to admit, I loved being Mommy, but hearing the word Mama did something to me. I couldn't quite explain what it was, but I knew what emotions it evoked in me. A sense of home, of belonging, of unconditional love. Maybe it was because Edward called Esme Mama, I didn't know for sure, all I knew was I loved it.

"Well, if you are coming with me to see Dr. Hughes, you better go find your iPod before we have to leave," I told her and swatted her gently on the butt as she ran off.

"Hmmm, Hughes. Nolan's last name is Hughes," she said absentmindedly as she ran off to her room.

Maddie and Nolan still kept in touch regularly through instant messaging. She was way too young for Facebook and a cell phone, so every night after homework was over, she was allowed thirty minutes to get on the laptop and talk to Nolan. It was the cutest thing ever, and I was actually really proud of her for making such an effort to stay in contact with him.

I turned to Edward and pulled his arms so he would wrap them around my waist. When I felt him hook his hands at the small of my back, I smiled up at him. "Have you ever seen Nolan's dad or Travis's wife?" I asked him, thinking it would be a huge coincidence if somehow Travis was Nolan's dad and Amanda's husband. A good coincidence I thought, but a coincidence just the same.

He shook his head at me and bent his head down and nuzzled his nose against my cheek. "I really hate that I'm not going with you today," he said as I felt his warm breath against my skin.

I lifted my arms and wrapped them around his back and laid my hands across his shoulder blades. "I know, sweetheart, but Jasper and Em really need your help, and this is just a checkup. You aren't missing anything," I told him as I stretched my neck because it just felt so damn good when he kissed me there.

“I want to share everything with you, Bella. Not to bring up a sore subject, but I missed all of this the first go round. I don't want to miss a moment this time, even if it's for something as simple as a checkup," he told me, his eyes burning with so much emotion.

I reached up and ran my fingers through his hair and pulled his head down to mine. I kissed him over and over again, just light kisses, but they were full of so much love and so much happiness, I was sure he could feel it. "If you want to come today, Edward, then come with me. I don't want to do any of this without you either," I told him as I played with the hair at the nape of his neck. "Jasper and Em will understand it if you beg off for today."

If he wanted to come with me, there was no way I was telling him he couldn't. This whole experience was just as much for him as it was for me and I wanted to share every moment with him, too. Big ones or small ones, they would all be firsts for the both of us.

Edward chuckled and stepped back, running his hands through his hair. "So, I guess you all will go to Jas and Ali's after you're done?" he asked and his voice was a bit tense, but not overly so. He really had a hard time letting me out of his sight, so I knew he was struggling with today, but I also knew he wouldn't say anything, so neither would I. He knew before we'd even gotten in last night that I was going to this appointment without him, so he'd had plenty of time to get used to the idea.

“Yes, Rose is meeting me at the office for the appointment and then we’ll go from there to meet you guys. Everything will be just fine, sweetheart,” I told him as I grabbed my purse and cell phone so I could head out.

“You’ll be safe right, careful getting in and out of the cab and you’ll call me as soon as you’re done with Travis?” he asked and though I really wanted to roll my eyes at him, he was just too adorably overprotective that all I could do was smile at him.

I nodded my head and grabbed his hand, pulling him to the door with me. “Yes, Edward, I’ll be careful. I know you worry, but try not to. Me and Ladybug are going to be just fine,” I promised and ran my hand over my stomach.

“Love you, baby,” I said with a smile as he kissed me goodbye.

“You make sure Dr. Dreamy behaves himself,” Edward warned, even though the corners of his mouth twitched as he tried not to smile at his totally unnecessary remark.

I blew him a kiss as we stepped on the elevator, chuckling to myself.

Dr. Dreamy was…well dreamy, but he wasn’t Edward…not even close.


“About time you got here,” Rose said as Maddie and I walked in the doors of the building where Travis had his office.

I turned toward the sound of her voice and laughed out loud at the sight in front of me. Every female member of my family: Rose, Ali, Esme, Diane, Sue, Heidi, and even Tanya were in the lobby and all had the same looks on their faces.

Mischievousness…with a hint of excitement.

I looked pointedly at Tanya who just shrugged her shoulders at me. “What do you want me to say, Bella? They all want to meet Dr. Dreamy,” she chuckled and I shook my head when every single one of them nodded their heads in agreement.

“We can’t all just go up there,” I tried to stall, frantically trying to figure out how not to go up there with an entourage like I was Mariah Carey or something.

Rose snorted and her blue eyes glinted like they always did when she was up to something. “All taken care of my friend; Tanya has worked it all out already. We’re way ahead of you, Bell,” she said as I looked at Tanya incredulously.

“Oh come on, Bella!” she laughed as we all made our way to the elevator. “Even you have to admit he’s something else to look at. Besides, we just wanted to be here for you since Edward is with the guys,” she finished, not sounding the least bit sincere.

“Yes, Bella. You wouldn’t want to upset my son would you? Poor man thinking you’re going to be all alone today,” Esme snickered and I huffed at the whole lot of them.

“Babygirl,” I said as I ran my hand down the back of Maddie’s hair. “When it’s your turn a long, long time from now, do me a favor and make sure you have a girl doctor. Makes things much easier,” I finished in my best put-upon voice.

She looked up at me, totally confused but she said, “Kay, Mommy.”

The others laughed at my outburst and I could only imagine the shit I would get from Edward when he found out about this. As soon as I thought about that, I realized the others would get in even worse trouble. I had to be here, they didn’t.

Oohh, I was really going to love it when this came back and bit them all on the ass. Every last one of them…yes, even Esme. Sue was the only one that didn’t have to answer to anyone, but I had a feeling Seth would have plenty to say about his mother making a special trip to ogle a hot doctor.

We exited the elevator and I heard a voice that made me cringe just a little, no matter how much I loved her.

“Her appointment was today, I’m sure it is,” came the unmistakable voice of Carmen Denali.

“Tanya,” I groaned as she huffed behind me. “Well, I couldn’t not let her come,” she said and I shook my head.

This just kept getting better and better.

“Ah, Mrs. Cullen,” Travis’s receptionist greeted us. She tried to hide her smirk as we approached the desk. She worked with the man every day, but I’m sure she’d never seen a small army in the office just to look at Dr. Hughes. But, who knew, maybe she had?!

“Sorry,” I mouthed to her and rolled my eyes at the actions of my family.

You’d think they’d never seen a good-looking guy or something the way they were all going on about seeing him.

I heard the door open from the back to the waiting room and I quickly looked around the office and noticed for the first time that it was empty.

“Tanya!” I hissed as I grabbed her arm. “Normally this office is full of people.”

“Relax, Bella. It’s no big deal. Travis just rearranged a few appointments so you’d be the only one here,” she told me.

I was so embarrassed I could die and I could feel my cheeks warm and knew without looking they were beet red.

“This is mortifying,” I said softly, but Rose heard me.

She started to say something but Travis walked out just at that moment, saving her for the time being. I was all for harmlessly teasing Edward, but this was pushing the boundaries of acceptable behavior.

“Bella, my favorite patient,” he said with a wide smile as he walked toward me. I wanted to crawl in a hole and hide, but I knew I couldn’t. “Hey, Dr. Hughes,” I told him, hoping he would just pretend his office wasn’t full of a bunch of women that were only here to gawk.

“Bella, dear, don’t you want to introduce us?” Carmen asked and I huffed when I heard the receptionist snicker behind her desk.

“Dr. Hughes, let me introduce you to everyone so they can leave and let you get to work,” I said snarkily and turned to glare at the lot of them. I couldn't help but smile when I saw the awestruck looks on all their faces. Realizing that Travis wasn't going to make a big deal about it all, I decided to let it go as well. I mean the man was nice to look at.

“This is my best friend Rose, my sister-in-law Alice, my mother-in-law Esme Cullen, my Aunt Diane,” I said and took and exaggerated breath so I could finish. “This is Sue Clearwater, Heidi, you already know her,” I said with a scowl as I pointed to Tanya, “and lastly, this is Tanya's mother, Carmen Denali.”

He cleared his throat and then smiled at all of them, and I couldn't help but chuckle at the fact the tips of his ears were red. “It's really nice to meet all of you. I must say, Bella, you have a very beautiful family,” he said smoothly.

They all swooned at him, every last one of them. Esme and Diane, too. I rolled my eyes at them all, wanting to get my checkup done so I could get back to Edward. “Well, they've taken up plenty of your time,” I said pointedly, only to be interrupted by my daughter. “Mommy, what about me?” she asked as she stared at Travis, much like the rest had been.

“Oh, and who might you be, pretty girl?” he asked as he bent over at the waist to look at her.

“Maddie, that's my mommy,” she said sweetly as she pointed to me.

He stood up and looked at her, cocking his head to the side. “Do you play soccer?” he asked and she nodded her head. “You're Nolan's Maddie,” he said with a smile and she looked back at him, confused. “Sorry, darlin',” he said and turned to me. “I'm Nolan's dad, Amanda's husband. I always thought you looked familiar, but I just couldn't place it,” he said with a shake of his head. “I feel like an idiot for not recognizing you. I remember seeing Edward, and...the rest of you now,” he said as he looked at my family.

“Well, I was usually on the sidelines helping Scott,” I told him and he nodded and said, “Well, and I always got there late and had to leave early, so it's no wonder our paths didn't cross. Nolan will be mad at me tonight, pretty girl, that is for sure,” he said as he tweaked the end of her nose.

“Let's get started, shall we?” Travis said as he looked at me and I nodded. “It was really nice to meet all of you,” he said and then walked to the back.

My checkup was just fine, and he even let Maddie listen the heartbeat. She kept him busy with her never ending questions about the baby, me, and most especially, Nolan.

“He doesn't have a new best friend does he?” she asked, more than once.

“No, sweetie, you're still and will be number one,” he said as he finished up and stood up. “Bella, everything looks really good. You will have to start coming in more often, every two weeks, here before too long. Will that be a problem?” he asked and I shook my head.

“Not at all, and I promise no more visits from all the members of your Fan Club,” I told him with a shake of my head.

He flashed me a smirk that my husband would be jealous of and said, “It's okay, Bella.”

“I take it this isn't the first time?” I asked and the poor man hung his head and let out a long sigh. “Your wife must love that. Amanda must have the patience of a saint,” I said with a giggle and he smiled again.

“She does. Trust me, I'm not the easiest guy to put up with. Besides, I'm sure you've had your fair share of women throwing themselves at Edward. I remember how the nurses used to talk about him, too,”

“Oh Lord,” I said with a groan and proceeded to tell him about what happened when he first opened his practice.

He laughed when I finished. “I'll have to tell Amanda that, she'll feel better,” he said and I pushed against his shoulder as we walked back out to the others.

Travis gave me a quick hug, and patted Maddie on the head. “It was great to see you two today, I'll be sure to let Nolan and Amanda know.”

“Please tell them hello for us and tell Amanda that next time I'm in town, maybe we can get the kids together.”

“Will do, have a nice day,” he said and waved before going back to his office.

I reached down and grabbed Maddie's hand and then turned to look at the members of my family. “Well, since all of ours at the same place, how about we head to Jas and Ali's? I can't wait to see you all get out of this!” I said with a laugh.

“Totally worth it,” Rose snickered as she stepped beside me on the elevator. “That is one fine-looking man.”

“Rose, my dear, I have to agree with you,” my mother-in-law agreed and I rolled my eyes.

“We'll see,” I told them all.



"Hey Jasper, where did you say Ali was?" I asked as we moved the monstrous dresser in their room to make room for the even more monstrous dresser that was being delivered in a few hours.

He grunted as we maneuvered the awkward piece of furniture out the door and into the guest bedroom. Once we had carefully set it down, he stood up straight and stretched his back for a minute before he looked at me. "I'm pretty sure she said she was going to meet Bella at the doctor's office."

"I thought Rose was going with Sweet B," Emmett said as we met him and Seth in the hallway.

"Bella told me that, too," I told him knowing for a fact Bella never mentioned Ali going too.

Seth looked between us and shrugged his shoulders. "Tan said she was going and she was taking Heidi with her."

I ran my hand through my hair, wondering what the hell was going on. "Well, son, I'll tell you, your mother and Diane mentioned they were going with Bella today as well."

"What the hell?" I asked, knowing no one knew anymore than I did other than the fact the all the girls were with Bella today at Travis's office.


Travis's office!

"Son of a bitch!" I hissed as I looked at each of the guys. "They all went so they could meet Travis. I'll bet you a hundred fucking bucks."

Each of them took a moment to comprehend what I told them and you could see the light bulb go off for each of them in turn.

“No way!” Emmett hissed and I nodded my head. I was convinced they had, but I also knew Bella had no idea they would be there...sneaky women.

“He's really all that?” Jasper asked as we made our way downstairs to their kitchen where he handed each of us a beer.

I shrugged my shoulders and I took a long pull on the bottle. “What the hell am I supposed to say? I don't make it a habit to ogle other guys you know.”

“Well, we all know how much you hated her having to see him in the first place,” Seth said and he gave me a pointed look.

“Yeah, well we all know I'm a jealous ass, especially about Bella, so no one should be surprised by that,” I told him and every single one of those fuckers agreed with me.

We talked about the girls and how Bella was doing until we heard the front door open. “You all better not let them off the hook too easy,” I warned as I turned to look at them all. “Even you, Pop. Bella had to have been mortified at traipsing into that office with all of them tagging along.”

“No kidding,” Jasper agreed as he stood up when the girls entered the room.

I watched their faces for a second until my girl walked in. I rushed to her and wrapped her in my arms and gave her a big kiss. “I missed you, baby, and you too, Ladybug,” I whispered against her stomach as I bent my head down.

“Edward, I'm...” she started to say but I cut her off with another kiss. “Nope, I already know and I know you had nothing to do with it.”

“Everything go okay?” I asked as I pulled her to a chair at the table.

I sat down and put her on my lap. “Yep, everything is just fine.”

“Good,” I whispered and kissed her cheek. “You can tell me all about it just as soon as we watch the show,” I said with a chuckle as I pointed with my chin where my brother, father, and friends were standing with arms crossed, facing their women.


1 comment:

  1. Oh, This is gonna get good, MmmmHmmmm~! All going to ogle poor Travis... Edward knows just how he feels~! LOL And now the ladies pay the piper~! *snicker* for said ogling... heehee.