Third Time's the Charm @sukiethree
Chapter 8

AN: Continuing with Part 2.

My thanks as always to MeteorOnAMoonlessNight, anna harding and Midnight Cougar without whom this would be a mess, and of course to all reviewers, favourites and followers. I'm so happy you're liking my sweet Edward.

Disclaimer: SM owns it all

Third Time's the Charm Part 2 Chapter 8

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

Chapter 8

The rest of my shift passed slowly with a few calls for heat exhaustion, a kid who'd fallen out of a tree and broken his arm, and a baby with febrile convulsions. A normal afternoon.

All afternoon, I'd felt a pull to the hospital as if my whole body was aware of Bella, of exactly where she was at any point. Of course, that wasn't physically possible but, somehow, I was aware of her, even though she wasn't actually with me.

As soon as my shift was over, I showered and changed, heading straight for the hospital. On my way up to the maternity floor, I started to second-guess my decision. I didn't want Bella to think I was a stalker, and I worried if visiting her like this was acceptable behavior. Undoubtedly, to her, I was just the paramedic who assisted in the delivery of her baby; she wouldn't know anything of the internal debate I'd had with myself since this morning. I'd known her for all of six hours and already missed both her and Emily.

I groaned internally at the sight of Tanya Denali at the nurses' station. She and I had dated for a while—a very short while—over a year ago. With her being a nurse on a maternity ward, I had mistakenly thought we'd be able to find something in common. How she could work on this floor without liking babies was a mystery to me, and I found her exhaustingly shallow. We'd gone our separate ways after a couple of months and a handful of dates, but she had yet to get the message that I wasn't interested.

When I asked her where Miss Swan's room was, she narrowed her eyes, trying to pick the reason I would want to speak to Bella straight from my head. Reluctantly, she pointed out the room, and I quietly knocked on the door.

"Bella, can I come in?"

For a moment, she looked confused, as if she wasn't quite sure who I was or what I was doing there. As soon as she recognized me, she invited me in, apparently pleased to see me, even though she looked as if she'd been sleeping.

My gaze drifted around the room, seeing one vase of flowers, but no cards, or welcome balloons for Emily. The thought solidified in my head—if I could be nothing else, then I could at least be a friend. Uncertain of my welcome, I headed over to the bassinet that had been placed close to the bed.

A quick explanation that I'd just finished my shift seemed to reassure Bella my intentions were not creepy, but I still wasn't sure I was doing the right thing. A see-through bassinet had been placed close to the bed, and I couldn't resist leaning over to take in that beautiful baby smell.

"She's beautiful, isn't she? May I pick her up?"

As soon as Bella nodded her acceptance, I carefully picked up Emily, making sure she was settled comfortably in the crook of my elbow. She was absolutely adorable, and I settled on the edge of the bed, taking in the pink of her skin, the dark hair on her head and, finally, a glimpse of dark blue eyes as she blinked and then yawned.

"Hello there, Emily, aren't you a pretty girl? She's absolutely gorgeous, Bella. I love that new baby smell; I wish I could bottle it."

I was already entranced—I couldn't wait to have a family of my own. There was a small voice in the back of my head clamoring to be heard. This baby, Emily, and her mom were going to be important to me. I could feel it.

Neither Bella nor I spoke for a while. It was only the squeak of the door opening that broke the comfortable silence between us, both intent on the little girl in my arms. I recognized both women who entered the room. One was Jane Volturi, a hospital lactation consultant, and the other was Tanya, who stalked in behind her. No doubt, she was here to try to ferret out what I was so interested in.

Jane introduced herself to Bella, and as soon as the conversation turned to the subject of breastfeeding, I felt that was my cue to leave, not wanting to make Bella uncomfortable. Reluctantly, I placed Emily back in her mother's arms and kissed the top of the baby's head, inhaling her scent again. I would have loved to have given Bella a kiss too, but it was far too soon for that much intimacy. Instead, I drew in another breath; Emily's baby scent intermingled with Bella's floral one and I couldn't help but allow that to fill my senses.

I hadn't realized how close I was to Bella until I started to pull away. Our eyes met for a split second. She swallowed and closed her eyes for a moment, giving me the impression she wanted the same, a kiss. I withdrew, knowing there was a lot more I wanted to say. However, this wasn't the time.

When she opened her eyes, she gave me a brief smile. "I'll see you, Edward, and thank you for today. I don't know what I would have done without you."

"Hi, Edward."

I cringed at the sound of Tanya's voice as she interrupted us before I could even work out what I wanted to say. She smiled widely, although I could see the fury on her face as she took in my proximity to Bella. She wasn't stupid enough to say anything while in the room, but I knew she would try to corner me once I left.

The scent of her strong perfume almost obliterated Bella's light floral fragrance, and I held my breath and turned away from her. She glared at Bella and I knew she wasn't about to let me get away. With a small wave of her fingers, Tanya walked toward me, her disgusting perfume lingering, and I made a mental note to mention it to Dad. Although, knowing him, he'd already noticed it and would be having a word with her superior to remind her that it was a scent-sensitive hospital.

"I'm just about to clock out. Do you want to grab a drink?"

I was quick to brush her off and caught sight of what seemed to be relief on Bella's face. Maybe it wasn't so far-fetched that she felt the connection between us, too.

It was time to leave for the evening, and unfortunately, from my point of view, Tanya's timing was abysmal. I did try to let her down easy by telling her I had plans for the evening, but she was having none of it.

Tanya followed me from the room, swinging her hand close to mine. It felt as if she was trying to grab me, so I stuffed them in my pockets. "But, Edward," she whined. A very unattractive trait. "We were so good together. Come on, we deserve another chance."

"I'm sorry, Tanya, but we were never good together. We have nothing in common, and I don't think we can ever move forward."

"It's that stupid cow in there, isn't it? I've seen her file, Edward. She got herself knocked up, and now that she's on her own with a brat, she's looking for an easy ride."

She glared at me as if it was my fault, but I wasn't prepared to listen to her spew her words about Bella.

"Her life is none of your business, Tanya. She's braver than you could ever be. We're done with this conversation. Goodnight, Tanya."

Seething, I turned away and headed down the corridor toward the elevator.

"You'll be sorry when you're stuck with a brat and a fat cow, Edward."

She just had to have the last word, but I ignored it as best I could, pressing the elevator call button and heading for the ground floor.

~ oOo ~

My sleep that night was restless and filled with dreams where I was missing something or someone. When I woke, I still had the same feeling and really wanted to go to the hospital—I just wasn't sure it was the right thing to do.

She needed things from her apartment, I reasoned. She had no one to get them, or to drive her or Emily home, either, and even if she'd called her dad, it would be at least twenty-four hours until he could get here.

Despite misgivings on my part, I knew I couldn't let her down, so I showered and dressed then attempted and failed to tame my hair. Taking a deep breath, I took the elevator down to the basement parking lot and climbed into my silver Volvo. Friends had called it a soccer-mom car, and I thanked my lucky stars that Tanya and I had never gotten close enough for her to learn about my inheritance. She would have had me buy an Aston Martin or something equally as ostentatious.

The hospital was only a fifteen minute drive away, something I found myself grateful for, as it, and the attention Chicago traffic demanded, didn't give me time to brood over my decision. Swinging into the reserved hospital parking lot, I found my dad had already arrived and parked beside him.

All the way from the parking lot to the nurses' station on the maternity floor, I prayed Tanya wasn't on duty, and heaved a sigh of relief when I saw Maggie's face and she told me Bella was in her room with my dad, and that she was due to be discharged today. I'd always liked Maggie, and the fact that she was an excellent maternity nurse only added to her sweet character.

I knocked lightly to check if it was okay to enter before pushing open the door. My dad was already in the room checking out Bella's chart. I rubbed my hands down the front of my jeans, feeling slightly nervous. After all, asking Bella if I could help her was also asking her to trust me.

Dad greeted me with a hug, and I could feel his silent questions. Those were questions I didn't really know the answer to, but I could see a conversation about my intentions was sure to follow. However, I put those thoughts aside for the moment; there were more important things on my mind.

"One of the nurses told me you're going to be discharged later today, so I was wondering if you need somebody to collect a few things from your apartment for you and Emily. I'd be happy to do that for you, if you'd like. There wasn't any time to bring anything with you yesterday."

I breathed a sigh of relief when Bella showed no signs she thought I was a stalker and, instead, asked me if she could use my phone to call the concierge of her building. I handed it over and listened as she explained the situation to Marcus, telling him he was to let me into her apartment so I could collect her things.

While she called him, I stepped over to the bassinet where Emily was sleeping. She looked so sweet and trusting lying there, and I was honored knowing that Bella at least trusted me to help her and her daughter.

I felt an undeniable pull toward both of them, and in that moment, I decided I would show Bella how important she already was to me in whatever way I could, no matter how odd it might seem. Bella interrupted my musing and shameless ogling of her baby. It was difficult to pull myself away from such a gorgeous child, and I really hoped Bella would give me, and us, a chance.

She handed back my phone. "Marcus said he'll let you into the apartment. Um, my things are in the large chest of drawers by the window, and there's a smaller one with clothing for Emily. There's also a car seat in the living room. Could you bring that too, please?"

I assured her it wouldn't be a problem and left the room. I was almost at the elevator when I heard Dad calling my name. Resolutely, I turned and waited for him to catch up. I knew I wasn't going to escape some sort of conversation, though I hoped it wouldn't delay by too long.

"Edward, can you spare a minute?"

He stopped, and I recognized his usual way of thinking before he spoke. "I'm aware you're an adult, and a sensible one, but I think this is worth a thought. Be careful with Miss Swan; Bella. She's been through so much alone. Having a baby is a very emotional experience and, for a while, her hormones are going to be all over the place. Not only that, her baby arrived in a pretty unexpected fashion, and she's understandably a little shell-shocked. Please, tread lightly and give her time. Can you do that?"

"I know, Dad, and I promise I'll let her lead. But, you have to know, she and Emily are already important to me. There's this pull, and somehow I just know there's something there. I'll be there for her unless she orders me away. You understand?"

"I do. I felt the same way about your mother, though there were no babies involved. I'm sure she'll have questions for you, so be prepared. Oh, and she ordered me to tell you it's dinner on Sunday, and specifically, I wasn't to accept any excuses."

The slight tension in his frame disappeared as I nodded and assured him I'd take everything he said into consideration, and I'd see them both on Sunday.

~ oOo ~

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