If I left out certain "details" in this chap, it's for a reason and that reason would be because IT IS FUCKING GROSS. (you'll see.)
Music = Sia "You have been loved".
Under The Apple Tree
Chapter 52: My Heart, Your Heart.
I stand in the doorway watching.
Bree has annoyed Carmen and her father everyday for the last three weeks to come and visit. They apparently have no idea how to say no to her, either. I have just arrived home from work. I only settled my things in the kitchen and said a quiet hello to Angela as she folds clothes in the laundry room.
Back to the doorway…
I am leaning against it, peering into the living room. Bella is laying on the couch. There are pillows propped up behind her and she is writing something down while Bree reads one of Bella's school books to her. Bella moves the notebook away and her face crinkles.
"None of this makes any sense. Just so you know."
Do not laugh.
Bree does. That's okay. I was talking to myself. I don't want to be caught. Not yet.
"Bel-la, pay attention." She starts reading again.
Bella brings her notebook back to her face and starts writing again. She doesn't move her eyes away.
"I see you standing there, Freak." Her lips smile, but her eyes stay on the page.
I smile back at her. Bree tosses the book aside and comes running in front of me.
"I need a stethoscope."
I scrunch my brows. "Why?"
"I want to hear Jelly's heartbeat."
I shake my head. "Brianna, her name is Grace. We aren't naming the baby after your hamster, sorry. Secondly, did you ask Bella if that was alright?"
Her face says it all. She looks over her shoulder. "Please?"
Bella shrugs and keeps staring at her notebook. Bree looks back to me with big eyes.
"I left my bag in the car. It's in the…" And I don't get to finish my sentence, as she has already taken off to go find it.
I walk towards the couch and take a seat, placing Bella's feet in my lap. I give a little rub and Bree returns. Bella keeps her eyes on the book. I watch Bree to make sure she is doing it right. She starts to, but then her eyes light up and she changes the direction of the stethoscope. The earpiece goes to Bella's stomach and the microphone goes to Bree's mouth.
She lowers her voice. "Hellloooo in there." She laughs and then switches it around to listen. "Darn. She didn't say anything back." Her hands move the stethoscope around. She looks at me.
I curl my fingers and she lets me have it.
I scoot closer to Bella and put the ear-buds in. I move the metal piece around until I find something. I listen for a moment, to make sure everything is okay. It is. I hold the bottom part to Bella's stomach and Bree pulls out the ear-buds, placing them in her own ears. Her face smiles.
"It's loud. And fast." She looks at Bella. "Want to hear it?"
Eyes on her notebook. "I've heard it."
Bree looks at me. "You think Grace can hear when I say something?"
I shrug. "Probably."
She flips the stethoscope around and starts her game again. I let her play for a few minutes, until I notice Bella's expression change.
"Brianna, let Bella study now, please. And go put those back in my bag."
My eyes catch Angela walking towards the steps; basket in hand. And this is why I hate new hires. I try to be nice.
"Your allowed to put those in my room, you know."
She looks at me and then Bella. The notebook is tossed on the coffee table and her feet are pulled from my hands.
"I'll do it. Jesus." Bella grabs the basket and Angela looks embarrassed.
I watch as Bella walks up the steps and wait for her to enter my room, which is now our room.
"Is something wrong?" I ask.
Angela shakes her head. She is not a good liar. "No, Sir."
"Listen," I try to keep my voice down. "I know Bella is a little difficult," I try not to laugh. "But she's harmless. Really. She's just upset with me because she hates people doing things for her and when I hired you, I sort of…took her job away."
Angela looks a tad confused. "Her job?"
"Bella used to have your job. I'm pretty sure you can understand her behavior…if you think about it."
And Angela is a smart girl. She smiles a little as she realizes. "She thinks…"
I nod. "She's just being ridiculous." And smile.
Bella is coming back down the steps and I turn my attention towards finding something on the television. Angela disappears and Bella sinks down next to me. She sighs.
I put my arm around her. "This is why there is a tree house," I joke.
"It was fine when it was just Bree. She was actually helping me."
I smile. She leans her head on my chest. "Does this mean I interrupted?"
Not amused. "Not you."
"Bella. Be nice, please." I kiss her forehead and toss the remote down. There is nothing on television.
"Sorry." She sighs again. "How was your day?"
"Same as usual. Sick children, Rosalie poking fun at me and lunch with Alice. Exciting, huh?"
She laughs a little. Her fingers begin to pick my tie, loosening it. She gets it loose enough to hang and then starts unbuttoning my shirt.
"Guests," I warn.
She puts her mouth on my neck and ignores me.
"Bella," I try again.
She mumbles as she keeps her mouth moving along my skin. "As a doctor, you should understand the importance of sex to me right now, Edward."
"I do, but Bree is here."
More buttons. "Then lets go upstairs."
"She'll wonder where we are when she comes back."
More buttons. "Then lets stay down here."
She shimmies down into the couch, pulling me with her and I have to wonder how a girl who less than half my size, can manipulate this situation. My back is to the couch cushions and my arm is under her neck. I am about to put my mouth on hers when I hear small feet. I pause, looking Bella in the eye, but the feet keep running. They hit the steps.
I don't look away from Bella. "Brianna?"
"Yeaahhhh?" She calls as she keeps going.
"What are you doing?"
"Gotta call Mom. It's almost six." And then the door closes.
I don't hear Angela. I'm going for it. My mouth finds Bella's and is welcomed by her eagerness. She slides her tongue against mine. Fingers scratch and pull my head closer. I kiss along her chin, jaw. I go lower and find her neck. I go even lower and find the top of her breasts. My hand cups one of them and kisses along her cleavage.
She pants, "Cullen."
"Mmm?" A little further down.
Her voice is below a whisper. "Fuck me."
And a phone call to Bree's parents won't be long enough. Not to mention, having sex on the couch at this point, with her belly this big, isn't even practical. I take my mouth away. I look by our feet and reach for the throw blanket. I pull it over Bella and she looks at me confused, but as I put my fingers where she wants them, she understands. I prop myself up on my elbow and look down to her. My fingers work between her legs and she holds in all of her noises. I see them in her eyes.
I study her face and remember what I do every time she closes her eyes and takes her lip in between her teeth. Every time her fingers grip tightly to my shirt. Every time I have to kiss her mouth because I am so afraid she will give away our secret, right now.
And then, when her eyes stare at me and I see what I have looked for. When my fingers slide inside of her and I go slow and gentle and I try so hard to convey with my hand what is in my heart. And it is reflected in her own. Her noises don't need to be covered up when she makes them this time. And I never would.
"I love you, Edward."
I kiss her cheek and tell her the same. I lift my face and it's still in her eyes. And my heart is swollen from the truth being shown so clearly. Her fingers touch my face and I kiss them, working my own inside of her. And the deeper they slip, against the patch where she wants them most, her eyes tell me more of the truth.
"I love you. I love you so much. I love…" And she just chants it over and over until I have to pause. My fingers stay where they are, but I pause.
Angela is passing through.
Bella puts her mouth on my chin. "She can't see. Keep going."
I move my fingers slower, but keep her where I had her.
"I'm going up for the evening, Dr. Cullen. Unless there is something else?"
I look at Angela - dead in the face - and surprise myself.
"No. We're fine. Have a good night." I keep my eyes on her as she smiles and nods and turns and leaves - all the while - finger fucking my girlfriend under the blanket.
Bella pulls my face back to hers. "That was sexy."
I ignore her smirk and go back to my former rhythm. A soft sigh escapes her.
"Say it again, Bella."
"You're fucking sexy."
I shake my head. "Not that."
Her eyes watch mine and I find the spot inside of her she loves, again.
"Mmm. I love you."
Deeper. "Feels so good when you say that, Baby."
And she does again. And again. And again. Her breath catches and her eyes close. And I know what's…
"You'regonnamakemecome. You'regonnamakemecome. You'regonnamakemecome." Her face rolls into my neck.
I keep my fingers moving inside of her. I feel her hand on the front of my pants and she rubs her hand against where I am hard. And extremely sensitive. And wanting her. I move my face so I can find her mouth. She rubs harder and faster and right in the right….
"Bella." And my fingers are still inside of her as I release into my own pants.
Her mouth pulls away from mine. She is trying to catch her breath. I tip my forehead to hers and do the same. Sweet lips kiss softly to my chin.
"Thank you. Fuck. Thank you."
And I laugh a little at her.
"I suppose I could say the same, Bella."
~ Bella ~
Jacob is being so whiney today.
"But I don't understand why you have to leave." He kicks the tree and I stop swinging.
"Hey. Knock that shit off, Jacob."
His face sours and he plops down to the grass. "I don't want you to go."
"It's not forever. And it's not that far either."
He plucks a couple blades of grass and tosses them aside. "School is dumb. Why would you go when no one says you have to?"
I swing my feet a little. "School makes you smart, Jacob. I don't like being dumb. I am going so I can fix that. It's called being a grown-up or some shit."
He laughs. "You curse a lot, Bella."
"Yeah. Whatever." I kick my feet and swing higher. Ouch.
"Is Dr. Cullen making you go?" He asks.
I look at Edward across the field. Family picnic today. He is helping Alice put out the food. He is also wearing jeans and that blue long-sleeved shirt I love. Earlier, he and Emmett were playing soccer with Jacob and a few others. His hair is a little sweaty and more ridiculous than usual. And this need I have to have him between my legs at all times, is just as ridiculous.
"No, he isn't making me go. I want to go. I mean, I want to go to school."
I kick my legs again this time, yeah, ouch. I slow down and get off the swing. I sit next to Jacob on the grass, under the tree. Charlie's side.
Jacob keeps picking at the grass. "When do you leave?"
"After the baby is born. But like I said…I'll come back and visit. Besides, you shouldn't be so bummed out. You have Emmett teaching you all those cool moves, now." I nudge him with my elbow.
Jacob laughs, but then frowns. "He's not you. I'll miss you, Bella. You're my best friend."
My turn to frown. "Doesn't change anything, Jacob. I'll still be your friend."
He smiles a little and his eyes dart away from mine. "Hey…who is that?"
Esme is walking towards the picnic table with Bree. They arrived after us. Bree stayed at her house last night. They were going shopping this morning. I look back towards Jacob and he is wide-eyed and a foolish boy. I smile.
"That's Dr. Cullen's niece. You better watch it."
He keeps his eyes on her. "She's like…an angel. I love her."
And I laugh until it hurts. And fuck…it like…really hurts. Really hurts. Shit. Jacob peels his eyes away from Bree and looks at me. He is concerned.
I put my hand where it hurts. On my stomach and suck in a breath.
His voice is more panicked. "Bella?"
"Go get Dr. Cullen."
"Are you alright?"
"Jacob, please get him."
He stares at me for a minute. I close my eyes and a noise I can't control leaves my chest. Jacob leaps to his feet and takes off running. And it's just me for a moment. Me and the pain and her. And I know…I just know something is not right.
I feel his hands before anything else. They are cupping my face and brushing my hair away. Familiar and comfort, where there is none.
"Sweetheart, what's wrong?"
Jacob is next to him. I don't want him to be scared. I glance my eyes that way and Cullen knows me too well.
"Jacob, can you go help Alice with the rest of the food, please?"
"No. I want to stay."
I chime in. "Jacob, do as he says."
"No. You're hurt."
Cullen. "You will make her better if you do what she asks."
Jacob looks at me and I nod. He doesn't want to leave and a part of me is grateful to this kid for giving a shit, but the part of me that has grown up a little, it is also grateful when he listens and leaves.
Edward focuses on me. "What hurts?"
"I think it's happening."
He shakes his head. "It's too soon."
"Well I'm not a fucking doctor and shit but I am pretty sure…." and I can't finish my smartass reply. The pain is too great and all I can do is cringe and try not to scream.
"We need to go to the hospital." He reaches for his phone, but I stop him.
"Bella, if you are going into labor, you need a hospital. Grace is too young."
My panic is rising and I hate fucking hospitals but I am supposed to be doing the right thing and shit and so….he said something about compromise right? Once?
"Just take me then. I don't want to go in an ambulance and shit."
"Fine. Can you…" And my face scrunching in pain stops him. "I'll just carry you."
And he does. And it fucking hurts. Every step. I feel them all. He places me in the car and I think this where I feel it all. He says something I can barely hear. He is going to tell his mother…..and I lose him at that point.
He is gone and I see God for the first time in a long time, if ever. He is talking to me and my sins through every surge of pain and torture. I feel all of the men I have used and been used by. I feel their hands on me and their bodies in me and there voices in my ears and stale breath on my face.
The man who tried to rape me before Emmett saved me. The first man I let buy me. I close my eyes and cry and the pain is my only company. My knees feel all the bruises from the nights I spent on them. My elbows and the floor of the stage I laid on. My palms are slick and it's the pole I twirled myself around. And the man who snuck his way in and created this. Created all of this….
And Cullen. I cry again and hands are on me and they are familiar and comfort, where there is none.
He is cursing as we drive. It is a beautiful day. A beautiful, unusually sunny Saturday afternoon. Everyone wants to enjoy it. The roads are busy. The hospital isn't far, but the extra cars are making it difficult to get to. So, Edward is cursing.
We are stopped at a red light and I can't…I just can't….
"Cullen." I grip the sides of the seat.
He is irritated, but his voice remains calm. "I know, Baby. I'm trying."
"No…It's….I have to get it out…..I have to."
He looks my way. "Just breathe, Bella. You'll be fine."
The light changes. "No…I have to. I have to. Fuck. I have to."
"We're almost there, Bella."
I hear him dialing his phone and talking to someone. He gives his name and a list of other shit, but all I feel is the need to rid myself of this.
He is still talking. His hand touches my hair.
The phone. It is all he is paying attention to.
He looks at me.
"I can't. I can't. I have to push. I have to. I have to."
"I can't…it's….Cullen, I have to." And I am not a liar. And I have no control over my own body. He curses again and we pull into somewhere that is not a hospital.
My door is open and he is crouched down and I am being turned towards him. And he is a doctor. He is just a doctor. He rubs his face on his arm and curses again. I see him press a button on his phone and set it on the ground. We are in a parking lot. There is a restaurant. I hear his dad on the phone, over the speaker.
He talks to him in a rush as he plays doctor. He looks around and tells Carlisle where we are. His dad hangs up and Edward's phone is forgotten. He gets up and walks around to other side of his car, clicking the truck button. I keep calling for him and I am not lying. I cannot hold it any longer. I have no idea what he is doing.
He pulls our blanket we usually use on Sundays from the trunk and his medical bag. He crouches back down in front of me. The blanket is over his one leg. He checks me and curses again.
Desperation has never been so great. "I have to." Air, never so shallow.
He debates for three seconds. "Then push."
And I do and it is like the greatest relief and pain all in one. It burns and stings, but it's nothing new and I deserve it all. This weight on my chest is the same. It's always been there and it's back and I deserve it. And on my last attempt to free myself….it all just disappears with one last lash from God for all my sins.
And I can breathe.
My eyes open and see Edward. But he isn't looking at me. I am forgotten as his eyes find other eyes. And our blanket isn't our blanket. It is hers and theirs. A new pair of shiny shoes. Carlisle's. They are talking so fast I can't keep up. I see them work and she is gone. He has her in the blanket on the ground.
"Just take care of Bella, please." And his voice is panicked and Cullen doesn't panic.
Carlisle steps in front of me. His face is masked in that same friendly smile and expression he always has….but his eyes are his son's eyes and they tell everything.
The weight is finding it's way back to my chest. "What's wrong?"
"Lay back, Bella. Just stay calm." He has blankets too. He was working at the hospital today - not playing at our picnic - and I hear sirens.
"Tell me what's wrong," I demand and try to see past him. All I see is the back of Edward's head.
Carlisle leans in. His voice is calm, still. "You need to relax for both you and him. If you panic, he will too and he needs to work. Now, lay back so I can work also." He places one of the blankets over the center console and I have to lay back.
Other people are around us, from the ambulance and there is too much commotion and talking and words and codes I don't understand. And I don't hear Cullen because they are too loud. And my heart is being torn right from my body. I am empty and I am so, so empty.
It is dark and there is a familiar beeping.
I need to find them.
All of my strength goes into simply opening my eyes. And more familiar is found. He leans in and kisses my face. He smells like sweat and hospital. And the fact that I don't have this intense craving to claim him like on the couch, a few days ago, leaves me lost and remembering the emptiness.
And my heart doesn't understand anything. Not anything.
He pulls back. His palm smoothes over my hair. "You had a beautiful baby girl." The corner of his mouth lifts. "And ruined my car."
Nothing here is funny. Nothing removes the weight from my chest and nothing his face could do can make it better.
His thumb strokes in between my brows. "She's fine. She's in the NICU." He shakes his head, realizing he is speaking in doctor words. "She's premature, so she has to stay in a special part of the hospital. She's fine, though."
"Then why does she have to be there? If she's fine?" And my eyes are streaming tears I don't understand. He wipes them away.
"She's just small, Bella. She needs help breathing. Her lungs haven't fully developed yet. Baby, look at me."
And I try to, but he is all blurry from the tears.
"I wouldn't lie to you, Bella. Never have, right?"
I nod and try to understand. He touches my face and if he were anyone else, I wouldn't believe him. Familiar fingers trace an unknown pattern on my cheek until my eyes are too heavy. Familiar lips find my forehead and darkness returns.
A few days later, we are home, but not all of us. They made her stay. I haven't seen her. There is a scared I can't control. I can't overcome. Edward helps me up the steps and I sit on our bed. He leaves for a moment, saying he is going to check in with Angela. I nod like the robot I once perfected and he is gone.
I get up from the bed and make my way to the bathroom. I close the door and turn the knob on the sink faucet. The site before me is so odd. The water runs and I just stare at myself. Flat. Empty. I turn to the side just to make sure. I am sure. And this should have felt like freedom. I wanted it to be gone for so long. It was such a short time and now, I don't even recognize myself.
I rinse away the tears with the cold water. I cry into it and try to stop so Cullen won't know. I wait until my face is pale and all the red blotches have faded before I exit. He is sitting on the edge of the bed, flipping through channels as I open the door. I crawl back into my spot and he settles on something.
I feel listless and numb. I feel everything. He gets up and walks to my side. The remote is placed next to me and he kisses my cheek.
"I'm going to make some lunch for us. Be right back." Another kiss and he's once again gone.
The food has no taste, but I chew. The screen shows comedy, but there is no laughter. Edward's phone rings every thirty minutes and I know why. Carlisle checks in. It is the first time Edward has left the hospital since we arrived.
It finally stops when darkness falls. It's late and he is beside me in bed. His eyes are closed and his breathing is shallow. I get up and return to the bathroom. I sit in the closet, on the floor and don't know why. Maybe, because this is the only place I can be alone.
My few articles of clothing are hanging across from his. If there was ever a visual to show the difference between us, this would be it. He is full and rich and well put together. I am….not.
My eyes see the bear he gave me, sitting on the shelf. I stand and reach for it. I pull it down and stare at him. I remember what he said, about the heart inside. He gave me a heart and yeah, he did.
I walk quietly out of the bathroom and then our room. He is still asleep and the rest of the house is quiet. I walk to the room next to ours, and pause. My hand trembles as I turn the knob. And that heart he gave me, it pulses and beats as hard and as fast as the one Bree wanted me to listen to.
The room is soft and gentle and everything a good mother would have made it. Everything…if I were a good mother I would have wanted. And so, maybe I am, because she has it. Who knows. Certainly, not I. I take a few steps and look around. I sit in the rocking chair that Esme has put here. She is the good mother. The bear sits in my lap and we just look. We just…observe.
Everything I see tells me that this is right. Letting him have her and she him, is the right thing to do. He will sit here and rock her. He will read her the books that are on the shelf in this room and she will be smart. And she will look in his eyes and know he is a man of truth. And he will give her a heart. I squeeze the bear and stand. I walk towards her empty crib and place it inside. And it is the only thing I have to offer.
It is the only heart I have.
REVIEW THIS CHAPTER