AN: My thanks to those lovely people who pointed out that slutty nurse Tanya was introduced as Demetri's wife in Chapter 11
I have changed that now since she can't be in two places at one time and Edward actually likes his friend's wife, who happens to be a family friend!
Edward and Bella get a little hotter though not in the way you think - at least not yet
Thank you to MeteorOnAMoonlessNight, annaharding and Midnight Cougar for their help and of course thank you for all your reviews, favourites and follows - they make my heart sing
Disclaimer: SM owns it all
Third Time's the Charm Part 2 Chapter 12
Left pregnant and alone, Bella delivers a surprise to the paramedic who knocks on her door.
The Chicago summer heat increased over the next few weeks, as it typically did. Seth and I attended calls from people who had heat stroke or accidents in and around pools. I hadn't seen Bella for a few days, and I was itching for my Emily fix. So, on my next day off, I texted Bella to ask if it was okay to come over around mid-morning.
I could hear Emily from outside the apartment door, sounding hot and bothered. Bella let me in and immediately threw herself down on the sofa. She was dressed in a strappy top and shorts, looking as wiped out as Emily. I found it hard to drag my eyes away from the sight of the long, creamy expanse of Bella's legs.
Wrenching my gaze away, I leaned over the bassinet, making faces at Emily and picking her up.
"What's up with the air-conditioning?" I asked.
"It's busted. Marcus said they won't be able to fix it until tomorrow at the earliest." For the first time, Bella wasn't her usual chirpy, happy self; although, I had to admit the apartment was hotter than it was outside. "Why is she always so good for you? It's not fair. I'm here all day, every day, and the moment you show up, she's happy," she grumbled. "You must have some sort of magic."
"It's not magic at all, Bella. She doesn't see me often, so she's pacified by a different face." I wanted to laugh, but I figured Bella was grumpy enough without me making any comments.
"Yeah, right. You're here often enough that she knows your face and even your voice. It's magic, I'm telling you."
I couldn't hold my laughter at the expression on her face. "Okay, Miss Grouchy, I think the heat's getting to you." I hesitated for a minute. "Why don't you come to my apartment until your air conditioning is fixed? I have a guest room you and Emily can use, and I'll even cook for you. How does that sound?"
Bella looked relieved and agreed immediately, and I breathed a sigh of relief. "That's the best offer I've had today, Edward. Thank you," she said and headed for the bedroom, calling out over her shoulder to me. "Can you get Emily dressed for me, please?"
While she gathered some things for her and Emily, I picked up one of the little dresses off the back of the sofa, slipping it on over her head. Bella reappeared in the living room, carrying a bag in one hand and a pack of diapers in the other.
"You don't need to bring any diapers, Bella. I—umm—sort of have some at my place."
"You do?" She looked up at me in surprise.
"Yeah, just in case you ever needed any. And my mom gave me my old crib she had stored away. Umm, I've cleaned it up. Emily could sleep in it. If that's okay?"
"Yes, of course it is, and thank you. You didn't have to do any of that."
"I wanted to, Bella. I love y—her, Emily, and I want you to be comfortable in my home. Friends do these things for each other, and I hope that's what we are."
I'd almost slipped up there; it was far too early to know if I loved her—if that was what I was feeling—let alone say it. Undoubtedly, I loved little Emily; it was impossible not to. Bella flung herself at me, hugging me tight and assuring me that we were friends. For a second, I breathed in her scent, closing my eyes. I carefully hugged her back, hoping sometime soon we could move forward to something more.
~ oOo ~
It was surreal seeing Bella in my apartment. I hadn't thought it would happen so quickly. I watched as she looked around in amazement. I placed Emily's car seat on the floor in front of the sofa while Bella explored my home.
"Wow, I didn't think paramedics were this well-paid. How can you afford this?" she blurted out. She whirled around to face me, her eyes wide. Her cheeks flushed and she clapped her hand over her mouth. "I'm so sorry, Edward; that was rude of me. That's none of my business."
I honestly wasn't bothered; there was nothing I wouldn't tell her if she asked. I assured her I wasn't at all upset, and explained about my inheritance.
She seemed embarrassed, and I hoped she would soon forget about it as I showed her through the apartment, ending with the guest room. I'd already put the crib close to the bed and offered to bring Emily for her to feed.
The apartment fell silent, and I leaned back on the sofa, watching a television program. All the restlessness of the last few weeks had disappeared with Bella and Emily in my apartment. A couple of hours later, I heard Emily murmuring from down the hall.
I knocked softly before pushing the bedroom door open wider, seeing Bella curled up asleep. I would've loved her to be in my bed, but I was prepared to take it slowly. Emily was kicking her legs in the air, and when I leaned over the crib, she went still, waiting for me to pick her up. I had to admit I did spoil her, but no harm was ever done by loving a baby too much.
Quietly, I lifted her from the crib and left Bella to her nap. It wasn't often I got to spend time by myself with Emily, and I relished the one-on-one, my mind wandering over what it would be like if she was truly mine.
An hour later, Bella wandered into the living room, yawning but looking much more refreshed than earlier.
"Afternoon, sleepyhead. Are you feeling a little better now? I'm sorry I stole your baby, but she was getting a bit fussy and I didn't want her to wake you. I've changed her diaper, and we've been getting to know each other. I think she needs feeding because she keeps trying to take my fingers into her mouth."
I held her out for Bella to take, and she took a seat on the sofa, lifting her t-shirt. Emily latched on right away, but the small glimpse of bare flesh had me out of my seat.
"Sorry, Bella, I wasn't trying to look. Erm, I'll go and… and…" I closed my eyes, feeling my face heat, but then she offered to take Emily into the bedroom to feed her there. "No, no, no, it's fine. Don't move her now. It's entirely my fault."
I headed toward the kitchen, trying to push the image of Bella's breast out of my mind. Needing to do something, I opened the refrigerator door, pulling out the makings for a pasta dish. It was an easy meal to make, and just over half an hour later, I carried the two bowls over to the dining table.
"Why don't you put Emily in the crib and come and eat?"
I kept my eyes away from Bella as she moved Emily off the breast and carried the sleepy baby down the hall, returning a few minutes later to take her place at the table.
"Hmm." The moan Bella allowed to escape had me hard in seconds, and I fumbled with my fork, dropping it on the edge of my bowl. I concentrated on the food in front of me, willing my dick to calm down and the blush I could feel heating my face and ears to fade. Eventually, I could take a breath, and I risked a quick look at Bella, who was studying her dish.
Our conversation resumed and we spent a couple of hours lingering at the table, talking about anything and everything. Amazingly, we never ran out of subjects, and it wasn't until Emily started her murmuring from the bedroom that I realized it was almost time for Bella to feed her again.
This time, Bella chose to stay in the guest room. Part of me was grateful, as I was finding it difficult to get the images from earlier out of my mind, even though it had only been a quick glimpse. I didn't want to come across as a peeping tom, leering at her.
I cleared away the dishes and loaded the dishwasher before taking a seat at the end of the sofa until Bella came back with Emily over her shoulder. I held out my arms, and Bella placed her on my lap, where she remained until she drifted off to sleep.
The room had been quiet, Bella reading a book she'd brought with her. Her voice broke the silence. "I can put her in the crib, if you like."
I wasn't ready to let Emily go yet and leaned back, cuddling her close to me. I loved having her in my arms and never got tired of the way she made me feel. It was obvious she felt safe with me, too.
"We can watch a movie, if you like, Bella. Or we can put some music on and talk?"
Bella opted for music, and I stood, careful not to wake Emily, sliding her into Bella's arms. Our eyes met, and I wanted nothing more than to kiss her. I was sure I could see the same in her eyes, and the air around us stilled until I pulled away, letting out the breath I'd been holding. I scrolled through the music on my iPod, selecting some relatively quiet, easy listening jazz, and slipping it into my iHome.
Bella was happy to pass Emily back to me when I took my seat again. I leaned back with my eyes closed as Emily slumbered comfortably in the crook of my elbow. The playlist I'd selected came to an end and I looked over at Bella to find her asleep. It wasn't surprising. Even with Emily being a good baby, she still needed attention three or four times a night, and Bella had no one to support her at that time.
I stood, taking Emily into the bedroom to change her diaper and dress her in a clean onesie. Back in the living room, Bella hadn't stirred, and I leaned over to shake her shoulder, Emily nestled safely in the crook of my arm.
Bella woke with a start, sitting forward. "Emily? Is she okay?"
"She's fine, Bella. I changed her again and she's ready for the night. I would have put her in her crib, but she's beginning to make those hungry noises. Why don't you get ready for bed? I'll turn out the lights and leave you in peace."
I pulled her up off the sofa, our hands meeting palm to palm. There'd been other times when I'd felt a reaction against my skin at her touch, but never anything as strong as this. From the look on her face, she had to have felt it, too.
I smiled and said goodnight, watching as Bella headed down the hall to the guest room and closed the door gently behind her.
~ oOo ~