Third Time's the Charm @sukiethree
Chapter 10

AN: Edward continues to woo Bella

Thank you to MeteorOnAMoonlessNight, annaharding, Midnight Cougar for their help

Third Time's the Charm Part 2

Left pregnant and alone, Bella delivers a surprise to the paramedic who knocks on her door.

Chapter 10

After I got back to my apartment, I spent most of the afternoon wandering around. I couldn't settle to reading anything, nor did the television hold my interest. I did check online for the prospectus for medical school, though I wasn't too sure I could commit myself to the years of study it would take to become a doctor.

In addition, though I loved being involved in the birth of any baby, I had a feeling I was much more invested because of this situation being about Emily and Bella. I had to admit I really liked the variety being a paramedic brought to my life. Of course, there was the day-to-day, run-of-the-mill stuff, but there was also the huge responsibility of being first on-scene. I thrived on it. I decided it would be a good conversation to have with my dad on Sunday. I didn't dare not turn up for dinner or Mom would be after my head—on a platter.

Eventually, when the day cooled, I shut down my laptop and changed before heading out for a run in the local park. The sun was still hot on my back, and the steady pounding of my feet on the pavement combined with the music in my ears slowly settled my mind. I returned home much more relaxed than I'd left, now certain of what I wanted: Bella and Emily.

Unfortunately, despite my best efforts to wear out my body, sleep didn't come easily, nor was it particularly restful. Morning and my alarm came earlier than I wanted, and I would have liked to spend the day with Bella.

Having come to a decision during the wakeful hours of the night, I'd made a tentative plan to court Bella. She was not in the right place for me to ask her out on a first date, so I would have to play clever and work within the boundaries of friendship. I wanted to show her how much she meant to me, so she would gradually accept me as a partner, hopefully, or at least a boyfriend.

With that plan in mind, I asked Seth to stop outside a local florist while we were between calls, and I ordered a dozen yellow roses; the symbol of friendship. He looked at me quizzically, but I refused to be drawn into any conversation about what I was doing.

The morning wasn't busy, and there was some downtime between calls. Seth and I spent the time cleaning and tidying the interior of the ambulance and making sure we were fully stocked. The day crept along, though it was the same as any other day, until lunchtime finally came.

"I'm gonna get a sandwich and a coffee from the store. Do you want me to fetch you anything, Seth?"

"Yeah. Can I get a sub, please, Edward? Italian beef, yeah? Soda and chips, too. Haven't had a chance to get cash from the bank, so I'll settle with you later, if that's okay."

"No problem. I'll be back in a bit."

It was only a short walk to the deli on the corner where I picked up sandwiches, soda, and chips for both of us. While I waited, I took a seat at a stool, ordering a coffee. I looked at my phone, scrolling to Bella's number and debated on calling or texting.

It was acceptable to text her, wasn't it? After all, she had given me her number, so it wouldn't be stalking, would it? She'd be okay with me texting, wouldn't she? Maybe I could ask her if she'd received the flowers.

Eventually, I decided it was perfectly admissible to send her a text. It wasn't as if I was a total stranger.

Hi Bella. It's Edward. Hope it's okay to text you. I wanted to check if you received the flowers ~ E

I waited nervously for her to answer, and it didn't come until I'd finished my coffee and lunch was waiting on the counter beside me.

Hey, Edward, I wasn't sure which number was yours since I forgot to save it to my contacts. Sorry for not answering right away, Emily needed changing. I did get your gorgeous flowers. No one's ever sent me flowers before, so thank you ~ B

Glad you liked them, Bella. How is Emily today? And you? Are you coping okay? ~ E

I'm still getting used to all the changes, but Emily has been a little angel so far. I gather I have you to thank for the groceries, too. Marcus said you went to the store for me ~ B

I didn't think you'd want to go out for food shopping right away. It was nothing. If you need anything picked up, you can call me anytime, day or night ~ E

I'm okay with calling you during the day, but I'd like to think I could manage without bothering you too much. You have a busy job and you can't be chasing around for me every day ~ B

Of course. I know how capable you are, but I assure you, there's nothing I want more than to help ~ E

Thanks, Edward, that's so kind of you. I have to go now, but I'll text you later ~ B

I picked up Seth's and my lunch and headed back to the ambulance bay at the hospital.

What did she mean by later? Later today? Or later tomorrow? Or another day?

When I reached the bay, Seth was already gesticulating at me and waving me over to the ambulance. I hopped in as he answered a call over the radio, and we sped out into the afternoon Chicago traffic.

We were pretty busy for the rest of the day, and I didn't have much time to think about Bella and Emily, although they were always in the back of my mind. At the end of my shift, I made my way to the L, heading for home. After a shower, I called for take-out, not really in the mood to cook for myself. I wondered what Bella was doing, though I guessed it was likely to be baby-centric.

I found myself pacing yet again, wanting to be there, to hold Emily and snuggle up to watch a movie while she slept. I really wanted to call Bella and picked up my phone off the coffee table a dozen times, then put it down again. I felt like a stalker, and that couldn't be good. So, when my phone rang, I grabbed at it.

"Bella?"

"No, Edward, it's your mom. Who's Bella? Where did you meet her?"

I could have kicked myself for blurting out Bella's name without looking at the caller ID. Now, I'd never hear the last of it.

"Dad didn't tell you?"

I tried to stall her, but I could tell she wasn't going to let it go. I would have preferred to have done this on Sunday.

"No, should he have?"

"Erm, I delivered her baby at home the day before yesterday—"

"On your birthday? I told you to take the day off and come over."

"Mom, stop interrupting and I'll tell you. Miss Swan—Bella—it was an emergency call, and she was too far along in her labor for us to make it to the hospital, so Seth and I had to help her."

"Well, that doesn't sound too bad, sweetheart. Though why would she be calling you? You put too much of yourself into that job. You're not on-call like a doctor. How did she get your phone number?"

"Mom, please."

She stopped abruptly, and when I was sure she wasn't going to say anything else, I continued.

"I felt for her, you know? She's on her own because her partner deserted her, she didn't have any friends close by, and her dad lives in Washington. So, I was just trying to help her."

"I see."

My mom was the master of loaded statements; she'd used it when I was younger and almost always had me confessing to whatever I'd done. There was a minute's silence again as if she expected me to say more, and I had to bite my tongue to stop myself from blurting out how I felt about her. Not that I was sure how I felt anyway.

"Did your father tell you about lunch on Sunday? I expect you here since you were working on your birthday."

"Yes, Mom, I'll be there."

After ending the call, I decided to take a swim in the complex pool as it was a bit too late for a run. I knew Mom would be giving Dad the third degree, and I was resigned to getting the same on Sunday. A forty-minute swim did wonders, as it always did, leaving me feeling calm and refreshed, and I was able to watch a television documentary before heading to bed.

Much as I wanted to send Bella more flowers the following day, I decided it might be a touch desperate. Instead, I thought it would be a nice gesture if I arrived with pizza. We could at least spend a few hours together. Fortunately, she didn't think I was a crazy stalker, and let me in with gratitude.

"Hmm, that smells divine." She sniffed at the box as she let me into her apartment.

"You don't mind me dropping by without calling first?"

"No, of course not, you can drop by with pizza any time you like." She smiled and laughed.

"I didn't know what you liked, so it's half vegetarian and half meat. Is that okay?"

"It's perfect; I like both. The only thing I don't like on a pizza is pineapple. That's disgusting. Go and sit, Edward, and I'll get some napkins."

We shared a wonderful couple of hours of comfortable conversation, talking about books and movies and finding out we had a lot in common. She confessed to her love of fanfiction, stories written by amateur authors for free, using characters from various books and films. She admitted she had indulged in writing and one day hoped to pen her own best-seller. I had no doubt she would achieve her goal.

I talked about how much I loved my job, and although my dad was originally unhappy about my choice of career because he wanted me to follow in his footsteps, he soon came around when he realized how happy I was. I explained I loved the variety and the responsibility.

It was late when I left because Emily had woken for a feeding. I'd waited in the living room while Bella fed her, and then she allowed me to change her and spend some time with her. I was reluctant to leave, but Bella kissed me on the cheek and told me I was welcome anytime.

~ oOo ~

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