Third Time's the Charm @sukiethree
Chapter 23

AN: Lunch with Heidi and Esme and a promise for tomorrow

My thanks to my perfect team, MeteorOnAMoonlessNight, annaharding and Midnight Cougar, all of whom took the time to make my words pretty

And of course, thanks as always to my faithful reviewers, favouriters and followers. Where would I be without you?

Disclaimer: SM owns it all

Third Time's the Charm Part 3 Chapter 23

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

Chapter 23

Emily's murmurings from her crib woke me before it was light. I peered at the clock, seeing it was just before six. I rolled over to the sight of Edward sprawled out on his stomach with both arms under the pillow. I couldn't resist the long, smooth expanse of skin, and leaned up on my elbow to plant kisses down his spine. Drawing back, I watched as his skin pebbled, loving the effect I had on him. I wondered how I got to be so lucky, and almost thanked Tyler for being such a douchebag.

I lightly scratched my fingernails down his back. He made a low sound in his throat and his hips flexed against the mattress, but he didn't wake. I straddled his waist and kissed him again, blowing air against the damp patches I left on his skin before leaning forward and gently biting the juncture between his neck and shoulder.

He lifted his head off the pillow and growled at me, his eyes only half-open. I laughed and kissed the same spot, soothing the skin, and reversed my way down his spine, planting more kisses and blowing on each spot.

He growled a little louder and turned the tables, pushing me over onto my back and settling between my legs. His lips landed on mine, asking for entrance, and I turned my head slightly.

"Hey, kiss me," he demanded.

"Morning breath," I protested. "I need to clean my teeth."

"You should have thought of that before you so rudely woke me." He flexed his hips, leaving me in no doubt as to what part of his anatomy he was referring to. "The least you can do is let me kiss you."

It only took me a second to cave. If he didn't mind mine, I certainly didn't mind his.

Emily was becoming a little more vocal now, her voice rising as she tried to attract our attention. Edward pulled away from my mouth and looked over at the clock, reaching out to turn it off before it chimed. He relaxed his weight onto me for a few minutes and rested his head on my shoulder.

"I need to get up, Bella, and it sounds as if Emily is ready for breakfast."

"I don't want to," I whined. "Wanna stay in bed with you all day and do naughty, naughty things."

He kissed me once more, then lifted his body off me and rolled over onto his back, rubbing his hands over his face and his fingers through his hair. I reached over and stroked him over his boxers. He pushed his cock up into my touch before moving and sitting on the side of the bed. Kneeling behind him, I leaned over his shoulder, linking my arms around his neck, and kissed the warm skin of his shoulder.

"Don't tempt me, beautiful. Tonight." He turned his head and kissed me again. "My apartment. I promise to make it worth your while."

He stood and stretched, bending to the left and then the right. Heading to the crib, he leaned over and said good morning to Emily before walking toward the bathroom. He turned and stripped out of his boxers, throwing them in the hamper before smirking and closing the bathroom door. I heard the water turn on and laid back on the bed, wishing we had the time to shower together.

Now that she knew we were awake, Emily made herself heard with a "mumumu," and I slid off the bed, resigned to having to wait until later. This time I wouldn't take no for an answer!

"Good morning, sweetheart."

I picked up Emily, kissing her cheek before heading out into the living room and taking a seat on the sofa. Emily waved her arms around, turning her head into my chest, until I tucked one of her arms behind me and lifted my t-shirt. She latched on immediately, gulping as if she was starving.

Twenty minutes later, Edward appeared in the doorway, dressed and ready for work. He leaned over and kissed me then Emily. She leaned away from me, letting milk drool from the corner of her mouth, and held her arm out to Edward. He took her hand, kissing her fingers.

"Eat your breakfast, sweetheart," he said to her. "I'm gonna pour a coffee and get going, okay? Do you want me to pour you one, too?"

"Please." I nodded. "Do you want me to meet you at your apartment later? I can get groceries and cook, if you want?"

"Yeah, makes sense. I won't be home until around eight tonight. We can order in if you don't want to cook."

"It's no problem. I'm happy to make dinner."

Edward headed to the kitchen and reappeared a few minutes later with a cup of coffee for me, placing it on the coffee table, a travel mug in his hand. "You're having lunch with Mom and Heidi today, aren't you?"

"Yeah." I didn't want to have to think of leaving Emily with anyone at all. I sighed heavily and blinked away tears that so often seemed to be close to the surface. He sat beside me, his arm snaking over my shoulder and pulling me into his side.

"Hey, she'll be fine. You know Heidi will take good care of her, don't you?"

I nodded. "I know—I'm just so used to being with her every day. It sucks that Heidi will get to have her all day… and I'm going to miss her."

I leaned into him, taking comfort from his warmth, and wiped my eyes with the back of my hand.

"It's natural for you to miss her, Bella, and it's okay to be sad about it." We sat quietly for a minute while Emily finished feeding. "I have to go now, sweetheart, or I'll be late. I'll see you later, okay?"

We stood and headed for the front door, and Edward collected his car keys from the bowl on the hall table. Opening the door, he pulled me into his arms, sandwiching Emily between us.

"I'll see you later this evening. Love you both."

With one last kiss for each of us, he slipped out the door, waving until the elevator swallowed him, hiding him from sight. I stepped back into the hall and pushed the door closed.

"Well, sweetie, how about some baby rice while Mommy makes some more coffee and toast?"

Emily gurgled and banged her hand against me, reacting to my voice rather than the words, although she was beginning to recognize some words. I sat her in the highchair we'd purchased only yesterday, buckling the straps around her. She'd already found the fun of banging on the tray, and I left her to it to fix a coffee and some baby rice.

A lot of mess and a coffee later, I changed her diaper and laid her in her crib, switching on the musical mobile above it to keep her amused while I took a shower. By the time I finished drying my hair, the sound of that and the music had lulled her into a nap, leaving me to get dressed for lunch today.

When I arrived at Heidi's house, Esme was already sitting at the kitchen island with a cup of coffee while Heidi prepared our lunch.

"Hi, sweetheart." Esme greeted me in her usual way, with a hug. "Did you have a good time at your dad's?"

"It was great, Esme. I introduced Edward to some old school friends who still live there, and Alice and Rose were visiting their parents, so we had a chance to go out dancing. Dad and his girlfriend, Sue, looked after Emily for us. He never mentioned having a girlfriend before, so it was a bit of a shock to see my dad with someone, but he's happy and that's what counts."

"I'm sure your dad didn't mean anything by it; he was probably a bit embarrassed. It can't be easy introducing your only daughter to the new woman in your life. Did you get along with her?"

"Fortunately, yes. We had Thanksgiving dinner together. Emily loved her and her daughter, Leah, and her son, Seth. They were both really nice too, though they're still in school. What about you? How was your week?"

"It was as noisy as usual, wasn't it, Heidi? Of course, we missed you and Edward and Emily, but you are coming to us for Christmas, aren't you?"

Heidi nodded. "With four kids and eight adults, it couldn't be anything else. Not that we'd ever have it any other way. I love big family gatherings."

"It's always been just me and Dad, and sometimes Billy and his son from the reservation. This year was so different with the seven of us, counting Emily. I'm really looking forward to Christmas with you all. I wouldn't miss it for the world, Esme."

"What about your dad?"

"Well, he won't be on his own. His girlfriend, Sue, and her two kids will be there, and I expect he'll have Billy, his best friend, over too."

"Well, you know they're all welcome at our house for Christmas if there's any change in plans. The more the merrier, I always say, and we have the room for them all. You're staying over, aren't you?"

"I'm sure I can speak for Edward, and we'd love to, Esme. As long as it's okay with everyone else."

"Of course it is. It'll be a great Christmas, I just know it."

Heidi had prepared a Caesar salad for lunch with strawberry cheesecake for dessert, accompanied by mimosas. I was grateful that Emily was able to take a bottle now, so I could indulge in just one of those delicious drinks.

"So, Bella. Are you ready to go back to work tomorrow?"

I sighed heavily. "Not really, Heidi. I don't want to be apart from Emily at all, you know. She's at the age where every day something happens in her development, and I don't want to miss a thing."

"You know she'll be fine with me." Heidi reached out and pressed her hand over mine. "Demetri and I will treat her as our own, and I'll try my best to video and take pictures of everything so you don't miss out."

"I know. I trust you and Demetri, Heidi. It's more about me missing her because I know she'll be absolutely fine with you."

"I'll be around too, Bella." Esme, on the other side of me, pulled me into a hug. "Try not to worry and enjoy being back at work."

"Thank you both for trying to make me feel better. I'm sure it'll get easier in time." My smile was watery, but I knew it was likely I'd never get used to leaving her with anyone.

Later that afternoon, I drove to the store to stock up on groceries for Edward's place, deciding on chicken risotto, which was easy to make, with homemade key lime pie for dessert. I made sure to keep Emily from having a long afternoon nap so she would sleep most of the night.

Edward called at eight, which was when his shift ended, to let me know he wouldn't be home for a few more hours as he and Seth had been called out on a multiple-car pileup.

"I'm so sorry, sweetheart, I really am. We're waiting for the firefighters to finish before we can get in there. As soon as we're back at the hospital, I'll let you know."

"It's okay, Edward, I understand. I'll see you soon. Love you."

I couldn't say I wasn't disappointed, but I also understood that it was the nature of his job, and it meant that sometimes he would be late getting home. I ate and put a plate in the warmer for him. It had been a long day and, eventually, when I couldn't keep my eyes open any longer, I decided to get ready for bed, hoping Edward would get home before I fell asleep. I slid between the warm sheets, asleep almost before my head hit the pillow.

~ oOo ~

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