Third Time's the Charm @sukiethree
Chapter 14

AN: Hi everyone. Now we're onto the third part of my extended entry for The Perfect Date Contest and life beyond

My thanks to MeteorOnAMoonlessNight, annaharding and Midnight Cougar for their tireless efforts in making my words pretty.

Thanks also to everyone who had reviewed over the last 13 chapters and I hope to hear from you again.

Disclaimer: SM still owns everything, though I'm claiming this Edward as my own

Third Time's the Charm Part 3 Chapter 14

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

Chapter 14

While I grabbed some clothes from Emily's dresser and took her into the living room to dress her, Bella picked out a dress, and I reassured her she looked beautiful. I left her to finish and gathered everything needed to accompany any trip out with a baby.

The whole situation felt bizarrely domestic, especially after Tyler arriving. Every hope I'd had over the last six weeks or so seemed to be coming to fruition. I was almost afraid to question it in case it was something I'd dreamed up.

Bella had been very nervous to meet my parents before he arrived, but the confrontation had bolstered her confidence and all the panic from less than an hour ago had vanished. I had no doubt some of the nervousness would reappear when we arrived at my parents' house, but having Emily to look after would surely help that dissipate.

My parents lived close to Lake Michigan, and the house I'd grown up in was admittedly large and spacious. They'd also been the recipients of an inheritance; although Mom's interior design business and Dad's practice were more than enough to deal with the running costs.

Surrounded by trees and without close neighbors, it had been a dream place for me as a child, and it was the kind of place I wanted to bring up my own children. I said nothing of this to Bella; everything was too new to be making future plans yet. We hadn't discussed anything other than professing our love for each other and mine for Emily; I already thought of her as mine.

Before I switched off the engine, the front door opened and Mom practically leaped down the steps, Dad close behind her.

Her eyes zeroed in on Emily, who was fast asleep in the back. Bella had chosen to take the seat next to Emily as the car seat was a rear-facing one, and Bella wanted to be close to Emily. I could see Mom wanted to get up close, but she stepped back as I opened my door, giving us space, even though she was vibrating with her need to touch and hold Emily.

I rounded the front of the car, helping Bella out and grabbing the diaper bag. Bella took the bag from me and I headed around to open the rear door and unclip the seat from its base.

Bella stood there nervously for a second until I took her hand, squeezing it lightly. She gave me a smile and relaxed.

"Mom, this is Bella Swan, and this little cutie is Emily."

"Welcome, Bella, I'm so happy to meet you."

"Likewise, Mrs. Cullen. Thank you for inviting me."

"Pssh, none of that, Bella. Mrs. Cullen is my mother-in-law. Please, call me Esme. I understand you already know Edward's father."

Dad stepped forward, taking her hand and smiling. "Good afternoon, Bella. It's nice to see you again; you look well. How are you coping with Emily?"

"I'm getting used to it, Dr. Cullen. Emily is such a good baby and, of course, Edward has been a real help."

"I think since you're here with Edward, Bella, you should call me Carlisle. I hope we'll all become good friends in the near future."

"Well, come on in, Bella," Mom said. "We're planning to eat out on the deck. I hope it'll be cool enough for Emily."

I took Bella's hand again, and with Emily in her seat on the other hand, we followed Mom inside the house, Dad closing the front door behind us.

I leaned in to whisper in Bella's ear. "Don't look so worried. Everything's fine."

She squeezed my hand, and we followed my parents into the cool foyer and through to the kitchen.

"This is gorgeous, Esme. I love how cool and light you've made it."

"I'm glad you like it. I've recently finished updating the kitchen. Would you like something to drink?"

Emily was beginning to wake, so I placed the baby seat on the counter, unbuckling the straps and lifting her out. Handing her to Bella, I placed the seat on the floor and took a seat next to her at the breakfast bar.

"Thank you, Esme," Bella said as she took Emily, setting her into the crook of her arm. "Um, if you have orange juice, that would be great."

Mom opened the refrigerator and poured a glass for Bella, and when I nodded, one for me, too.

"So, is anyone else coming today?" I asked her.

"Heidi and Demetri should be here shortly. You'll like them, Bella; they have a little boy, Liam, who's three, and baby Chelsea, who's three months. Carmen and Eleazar are away on vacation, and Irina and Laurent have gone with them—a cruise, I think. Senna has a rash, and although Zafrina doesn't have it yet, Kate and Garrett said they'd come next time. They didn't want to risk passing anything on to this sweet little girl. They sent their love and said they're sorry to have missed you."

Esme and Bella chatted for a while, and I could see Bella begin to relax. As promised, Heidi and Demetri arrived fifteen minutes before lunch was ready. Liam entered the house the way he normally did—like a little whirlwind. Bella's innate shyness made an appearance for a short while, but there was no way she could remain like that with Heidi. Within minutes, they'd swapped babies and were talking non-stop about their girls.

"Can I do anything to help with lunch, Esme?" Bella asked. Mom was busy loading the counter with salad, pasta, and drinks.

"Thank you, Bella, but it's all under control. All the preparation is done, and Edward and Demetri can take the food out to the deck, and then come back for the flatware and plates. Can you two boys see if Carlisle needs any help while you're out there, please? We girls will be out shortly."

I glanced over at Bella, who nodded to tell me she would be fine, before Demetri and I collected various dishes and made our way outside. When we returned, Mom had disappeared with Heidi and Bella. I shouldn't have worried; they trooped out onto the deck, laughing and smiling. Lunch was perfect, and Bella fit in as if she'd always been there.

Mom wouldn't hear of her helping with clearing the table or doing the dishes. Emily was ready for her lunch now, and I showed Bella to my room so she could have some privacy.

"I'll collect the diaper bag for you while you get situated, okay?"

"Yes, thanks, Edward. Can you stay with me, please? I feel a little odd in here by myself."

"Of course, I'll see you in a couple of minutes."

I returned a few minutes later to find Bella sitting cross-legged on my bed, feeding Emily. We'd spent a fair amount of time together over the last couple of months, and Bella had perfected her routine, so I didn't have to leave the room. On my part, I had become more comfortable and no longer was as embarrassed, having to disappear, as I once had been.

Emily was completely milk-drunk in ten minutes, her head lolling back and her eyes closed.

"She looks so cute."

"Hmm, not so cute at 3 a.m. She's taken to waking and not going back to sleep again for a while. It's when I'm the most tired, too."

I had to clamp my mouth shut before I offered to take care of her at those times. It was too soon to think about us sharing apartments in that way, though my body often betrayed how much I wanted us already to be there.

"Can I change her for you?" I said instead.

Bella readily agreed, handing over a sleepy baby, and while she freshened up in my en suite, I changed Emily's diaper. We headed downstairs shortly after I showed Bella around the upper floor, finding everyone in the family room. Liam had finally succumbed to an afternoon nap and Chelsea was safely ensconced in my dad's arms, where he was quietly talking to her as he walked around the room. She was quiet, fascinated by his voice, and as Mom asked if she could now hold Emily, I hoped that Bella and Emily would soon be part of my family in the same way.

The rest of the afternoon passed with laughter and conversation, and I could see Bella was comfortable with Mom and Dad, and Heidi and Demetri; she fit in exactly as I'd thought she would.

~ oOo ~

Right on the heels of Bella meeting my parents, it was my turn to meet Charlie Swan, Chief of Police. I understood Bella's nervousness, but Charlie Swan packed a gun! My only consolation was he wasn't likely to have it on him.

I'd offered to pick him up from the airport, thinking I might earn some brownie points, but he was adamant a taxi would be fine.

"Edward." Bella's touch brought me out of my thoughts. "It'll be fine. He'll love you because I do."

The buzzer telling us he was here echoed through the apartment, and the sweat on my palms increased. Bella answered, and I rubbed my hands down my thighs, blowing out a breath.

There was a light knock on the door only a minute or so later. Charlie's presence filled the apartment, and Bella threw herself at the dark-haired man.

"This is Edward." Bella grabbed my hand and drew me forward.

"Good morning, Chief Swan, pleased to meet you."

His hand squeezed mine for a second, and then he smiled, his mustache lifting at the corners and his eyes twinkling with humor. "Nice to meet you, Edward. I hear I have you to thank for delivering our Emily safely."

"Yes, Sir, but anyone would have done the same."

"But it was you, and from what Bella tells me, you've been helping her ever since. Thank you for that."

I nodded, not sure what to say. Fortunately, Bella interrupted, pulling him into the living room.

"Hey, Dad, why don't you drop your bags in here, and we can go out for an early lunch. Edward can always eat, and I'm hungry, too. There's a great little café a couple of blocks down. How does that sound?"

"Sounds great, sweetheart. I'll check in at my hotel this afternoon."

"You know you can stay here, Dad. I can sleep on the sofa."

"Wouldn't hear of it, Bella. You need your rest with that little one—"

Emily's muffled cry came from the bedroom, interrupting our conversation.

"I'll get her, Bella. You stay and talk to your dad."

"Thanks, Edward."

Bella stood on tiptoe and kissed my cheek as my eyes met Charlie's over the top of her head. Their voices continued in the background as I headed for the bedroom, lifting Emily out of her crib. She'd grown so much over the last few weeks, and now the bassinet was too small for her.

"Hey, sweet girl. What's the matter, hmmm? Smells like you need a new diaper and then we have to find you a pretty dress so you can visit with your grandpa."

Emily's face widened in an unmistakable smile as I laid her on the changing table. I beamed back at her and quickly changed her diaper. I found a yellow dress and bonnet, dressing her wriggling body. She was much more mobile now, making the task take a little longer than usual.

Tucking her into my favorite position, the crook of my elbow, I picked up the diaper bag and headed to the living room where Charlie and Bella were still talking.

"Hey, Bella," I interrupted, "Emily smiled at me; it was definitely a smile this time. I'm sure of it." I looked down at Emily and brushed my fingers over her cheek, grinning at her. "See, there it is again. No mistaking it for gas," I teased.

"I said you had magic, Edward." She took Emily from my arms and turned to Charlie. "She's as good as gold for Edward. She adores him."

"I'm so sorry I haven't been able to make it out here before, Bella. You know how work is. I'm just glad Edward's been here for you. Now hand her over. I want to meet my granddaughter properly."

Charlie easily fit Emily into the crook of his arm. She was such an easygoing baby and rarely made a fuss when handed to a stranger. She was no different with Charlie and her face creased into a smile almost immediately. She waved her arm around, looking as if she wanted to touch his face, or more likely his mustache. He wiggled his mouth, making the ends twitch, bringing another smile to Emily's face.

"Well, look at you. Don't you look pretty today? I'm your granddad, but you can call me Pops or Grandpa. Your momma did real good." Charlie looked up at Bella. "She's absolutely gorgeous, Bella, and looks so much like you did as a baby."

Bella pulled the stroller out of the washer/dryer closet and stepped outside the front door to get it set up. Charlie handed Emily to Bella, and she strapped her in while I attached the sunshade to the handle. Bella then stepped back inside to grab her purse, pulling the door closed behind her.

The walk to the café wasn't too long, and thankfully, there was a decent breeze. Charlie and Bella walked side by side, talking about Forks. I walked behind, listening to their conversation; although there wasn't much I could add as I'd never heard of it before getting to know Bella.

The café was one Bella and I had been to before, and they were okay with her breastfeeding. There was still a lot of prejudice surrounding breastfeeding in public, so we took one of the booths so Bella could feed Emily more privately if necessary.

We ordered bottled water, iced coffee, and a burger each. Bella and I added salad, but Charlie insisted on fries.

"Dad, you should eat healthier. More vegetables would be a start, and they're so much better for your heart. I need you to be around for a lot longer."

"Don't fuss, Bella, I'm as healthy as a horse. Now, where's this pizza Chicago's famous for?" Charlie joked. "I could get a burger at the diner."

"Oh, Dad, stop it. We'll go out and eat pizza tomorrow, maybe. Edward has offered to cook tonight, and he's far better at it than I am, though I keep asking him to teach me."

"Where'd you learn to do that, Edward?"

"My parents didn't want me to grow up not able to take care of myself, so I can do most chores around the house."

He nodded, hopefully in approval. It was important to me that Charlie liked me. I had every intention of spending the rest of my life with my two girls.

The rest of the meal was filled with general conversation, though I did notice he was asking a fair number of questions about my life. No doubt he was sounding me out, since it was fairly obvious to anyone who looked at Bella and me that we were a bit closer than friends.

Bella discreetly fed Emily, and Charlie didn't seem fazed at all. He seemed to be a simple but fair man, and I already liked him. While Bella was in the ladies restroom changing Emily's diaper, I approached Charlie about his plan to check into a hotel.

"You're welcome to stay at my place, Chief Swan. I have plenty of room, and it'll be more comfortable than a hotel."

"If you're sure, Edward, that'd be great. I'm not a fan of hotels, and Bella's place isn't really big enough for the both of us. Wouldn't be the first time I've slept on a sofa, but the older I get, the more I appreciate the comfort of a decent bed. You should call me Charlie, too."

I settled the bill while we waited for Bella to return from sorting out Emily. She always protested my paying, and today was no different. She only accepted it when I agreed she could pay the next time. We took a slow walk in the warm afternoon sun, going back to the apartment while Emily slept, and the conversation turned to my offer to Charlie.

"Bella, Edward has offered me his spare room. Are you okay with that?"

"Why wouldn't I be, Dad? I've stayed there before, and the bed's really comfortable."

"How about we head on over to my place shortly? Charlie can get settled in, then we can have dinner there, and I'll bring you home later."

"That's a good idea, Edward. Though, if you have something you need to do today, I can always drop Dad at your apartment later this evening."

"It's fine, Bella. I took a vacation day so I could be around for you all today. I'm free to do whatever's needed." I didn't want to push myself into their time, but I'd hoped to spend the whole day with her, Emily, and her dad, if I could.

"Sounds like a good plan, Edward. Bella, I'm looking forward to us getting to know each other better, and I'll be fine while Edward takes you home later this evening. Besides, I can see what he's capable of doing in the kitchen."

We headed back upstairs to the apartment after Bella stopped to say hello to Marcus and introduce Charlie. While Bella collected some things for Emily, Charlie and I sat back with a coffee, switching on the television and getting into a baseball game.

"So, you've met Tyler, then?"

"Yeah, and I wasn't impressed."

"Good ball player, but shitty person. I never thought he'd up and leave Bella the way he did." Charlie shook his head. "I'd planned to be here the week Emily was due, but she sure turned that plan on its head. I'm glad you were there for Bella; she must have been really scared."

"Charlie, I can't tell you how brave she was; most of her worry and fear was for Emily because she was early." I sat forward, ignoring the game for the moment. "It was that bravery and her love for Emily that first attracted me to her. I mean, she's beautiful on the outside, of course, but it's what's on the inside that makes her so important to me."

There was a short silence, and when I dared to look over at Charlie, he'd also leaned forward.

"Look, Edward, I know you've only been together for a very short while, even though you've been here for my Bella for a couple of months now. But I trust her judgment; although, after Riley and Tyler, I'm not sure I should. However, she's grown up a lot since she found herself pregnant without a partner, and I'm sure she'll make the right decisions for her and Emily."

"Yeah, she's told me about both of them, and I've had the dubious pleasure of meeting Tyler. I promise I'll be here for both of them. I love that little girl as if she was my own."

"I can see that, Edward. I see you with that little girl over there." He nodded at Emily who slept in her car seat, oblivious to the serious nature of our conversation. "And you're already twice the father Tyler would ever be, even without a blood relationship. I'm asking you, as one father to another, please don't hurt my little girl. I can see you understand where I'm coming from. I can trust you, can't I?"

"You can, sir. You can trust me with their lives; I won't hurt them—ever."

Charlie nodded at my declaration, Bella's return to the living room stopping any further discussion. I could read his unspoken words warning me to take good care of them both or he would make sure I regretted it.

Bella narrowed her eyes but said nothing, and within half an hour, we were on our way to my apartment. I could see Charlie look around at my home, although he didn't ask any questions. There would be time enough for those conversations later.

Even though Bella and I had tentatively made plans for me to cook the following evening, I put together a simple roasted chicken, and the three of us spent the rest of the evening watching a movie, Bella snuggled up to my side while Charlie took the easy chair.

I really didn't want to take Bella and Emily home to her apartment, but asking Charlie to sleep on the sofa at mine was as bad as him sleeping on Bella's, especially after I'd offered him the guest room; it didn't make sense. Much as I would've loved to have Bella sleep in my bed, it wasn't the time to ask. I promised I would drop Charlie off at her apartment on my way to work the following morning, and leaving him to get ready for bed, I drove Bella home.

I parked a couple of blocks from Bella's apartment since, once again, there were no parking spots right outside. With Emily sleeping in the back, Bella managed to maneuver herself onto my lap, sliding between the steering wheel and my body.

Sliding my seat back a little to make more room, I barely had time to take a breath before her lips were on mine. The heat from between her legs rubbed over my cloth covered cock, which hardened under the onslaught of her lips on mine and her breasts against my chest.

She drew back first, running out of breath, and leaned back. My mouth followed her, licking and sucking, and leaving wet kisses up the column of her neck while my hands slid under her t-shirt, pulling her down to my body.

"Oh, that feels so good, Edward." She rested her head on my shoulder, her hot mouth and breathless voice turning me on further. "I want you."

"I want you, too, but your dad will be waiting for me to get back. Emily needs to be in her crib, too. Soon, Bella, soon."

Reluctantly, we drew apart and Bella returned to her seat, both of us quiet as our breathing returned to normal.

"I know, and so will Dad if you don't get back soon. He'd never say anything, but you got on so well today that there's no sense in jeopardizing it." She breathed a sigh. "Come on; walk me back to the apartment?"

Much as I would've loved to take things further, there was a time and a place, and our first time would not be in the front seat of the Volvo with a sleeping baby in the back seat.

~ oOo ~

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