Third Time's the Charm @sukiethree
Chapter 9

AN: Continuation of Part 2

My heartfelt thanks to MeteorOnAMoonlessNight, annaharding and Midnight Cougar for their help, as always, in making this all make readable sense

Disclaimer: SN owns it all

Third Time's the Charm Part 2 Chapter 9

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

Chapter 9

The traffic was light now that the morning rush was over, and it took only ten minutes to reach Bella's apartment. I was lucky with parking and found a spot only one block away.

As I pushed open the door, Marcus came out from behind his desk. "Good morning, Edward, isn't it? Miss Swan called to say you'd be picking a few things up for her. How are she and that baby doing?"

I grinned, only too happy to talk about my two favorite girls, who'd both become important to me in such a short space of time. "Bella's doing really well, considering how fast the baby arrived, and her daughter, Emily, is fine, too. She's absolutely gorgeous, just like her mom. She has the same color hair, and it's very likely she'll have the same color eyes, too."

"Good, good." He disappeared into a small room, returning in a few moments with a large set of keys. "Come on." He strode to the elevator and pressed the call button. "You know I have to come up with you, don't you, Edward? It's policy to protect the tenants. You understand?"

"No problem. I appreciate you taking care of them."

When the elevator doors opened on the correct floor, Marcus led me to Bella's front door, finding the right key and swinging open the door.

"There you go, young man." He followed me into the hallway and leaned against the breakfast bar while I headed for the bedroom. I did a quick tidy up of the bedroom, putting the clothes Bella took off yesterday in the hamper. The bathroom was still a mess from where her water had broken, so I collected a mop and bucket from the kitchen to clean that up.

Once everything was tidy for Bella to come home to, I checked her closet for a bag and filled it with a clean pair of leggings and a t-shirt. I was a little wary of looking for underwear and was relieved to find a box with a brand new nursing bra. Then I opened her lingerie drawer, quickly grabbing the first pair of underwear I found.

I completed that with a pair of purple Chucks I found in the closet. They looked well-worn, so I figured they would be okay. Next, I checked in the other chest of drawers Bella had told me about to choose something for Emily. I figured that a onesie, a lightweight knitted jacket, and a tiny hat would suffice; babies lost heat from their heads, and although it was warm outside, it was best I brought it along just in case it was needed. I added a couple of disposable diapers to the bag, though they looked as if they might be a little big.

Walking back into the living room, I found a car seat beside the sofa and placed both that and the bag in the hallway, ready to pick up on the way out. Checking the refrigerator, I found Bella had no milk and the juice smelled off. She didn't have a whole lot of anything to eat, either.

I found Marcus sitting on one of the dining chairs, reading a day-old newspaper. "I'm just going to run across the road to the local store. Bella needs some things, and she really doesn't want to be fetching groceries for a few days. Can you wait for me here?"

"That's fine, Edward. I can leave the desk for a bit, but don't be too long."

"I won't."

It took me less than twenty minutes to pick up enough for Bella to at least have food for breakfast, sandwiches, and a couple of nutritious meals until she felt better and able to get out and about. I hoped she would come to rely on me just a little, though I had the feeling she was independent.

Marcus hadn't moved when I got back, and the door was still unlocked. I put away the food in the refrigerator and cupboard. I found Bella's house keys on the counter and tucked those into my pocket before picking up the bag and the baby seat. Getting to his feet, Marcus grabbed a white crocheted blanket from the back of the sofa and dropped it into the seat on his way past and out of the front door.

"She'll need that to wrap the baby, won't she?"

I nodded in agreement and stepped into the hallway, waiting until he pulled the door closed, making sure the lock clicked. We made our way down to the lobby together, and I told him I would be back in a while with Bella.

He nodded in my direction and moved back around the desk while I took the short walk to my car. It took me a few minutes to work out how to get the base into the rear seat, thankful some of my friends already had kids so I knew what to do.

I arrived back at the hospital as her doctor was leaving Bella's room. I knocked lightly and heard her call out for me to come in. Placing the bag on the bed and the car seat on the floor, I stepped back.

"Um, I'll be outside waiting for you. Come out and get me when you're done, okay?"

"You don't have to take me home, Edward. If I could borrow your phone again, I can easily call an Uber. I'm sure you have better things to do than babysit me and Emily today."

"Nonsense, Bella. You gave birth only twenty-four hours ago, and you don't want to be carrying anything heavy for a little while longer. I promise, I had no plans for today except being lazy and maybe catching up on some reading."

She blushed but looked pleased. "Well, thank you. That's very kind of you to offer. Can you give me about half an hour, please?"

"No problem. I'm gonna go chat with Maggie for a bit while I'm waiting."

Leaving Bella to get herself and Emily ready, I headed for the nurses' station. Maggie and my mom were very good friends and had been so for many years. She'd been working for the hospital almost longer than I'd been alive.

"Hi, handsome. I hear it was you who delivered Bella's baby." She looked at me shrewdly. "But, it's a little more than that, isn't it?"

I could feel the tips of my ears turn pink, but I shrugged. "Not sure yet, Maggie."

She smiled knowingly. "You take care of them, okay?"

I nodded at her and turned as the door to Bella's room opened.

"Um, Edward. I'm ready to go if you are?" She looked apprehensive and a little unsure.

I followed her back into the room, heading for the bed where Bella had placed the baby seat. Emily was lying in the bassinet, dressed in the onesie and jacket with the little hat pulled down to cover her hair. She was awake for the moment, but no doubt the movement of the car would send her to sleep as it did for many babies.

Sliding my hands under her small body, I linked my fingers underneath her head and lifted her carefully. I kissed her forehead, inhaling her scent, and transferred her into the baby seat, buckling the straps. I covered her with the blanket, tucking it around her to make sure she didn't get cold between here and the car.

Somehow, having been there and helped Emily into this world made me feel as if I was already part of her life. She'd been a good weight at birth, and she'd passed every test with flying colors; she was just early. Lifting the seat off the bed, I turned to find Bella watching me. She said nothing and raised her eyebrows, smirking at me.

"Gotta make sure she's safe," I said by way of explanation.

I was pretty sure she saw right through me. If I was honest with myself, no matter how much I tried to deny it, I wanted more with Bella. There was already a strong pull between the two of us, and I thought that, sometimes, Bella might feel the same. It was a little too early to tell, and I would have to be careful I didn't come on too strong and push her away. For now, I would settle for us being friends.

"Okay, let's get you two home. Are you okay to take the bag?"

"I think I can manage, Edward. After all, Emily and I are wearing most of what was in it, so it's hardly heavy."

Outside the room, Maggie was waiting with a wheelchair to escort us down to the exit.

"I don't need it, Maggie," Bella said. "I'm perfectly capable of walking."

Maggie shrugged. "It's hospital policy. I'd say take advantage of whatever rest you can get. You'll certainly need it. Come on, hop in."

Bella gave in easily, and the three of us, plus baby, headed for the elevators and down to street level. Maggie waited with Bella and Emily while I headed to the parking lot and collected my car, stopping outside the doors.

I darted around the car and took the baby seat from Maggie, opening the rear door and clicking it into its base. I knew Bella wouldn't want to be far away from her and helped her around the rear of the car and into the seat next to Emily.

Maggie waved to us and disappeared back inside the doors as I started the car and headed for Bella's apartment for the second time today.

There were still no spaces right outside the building, so I drove past, looking for somewhere to park not too far away.

"There are two spaces per apartment, Edward, so you can park in the basement, if you like."

"That's perfect, Bella. From the looks of the spaces, it'll save you having to walk at least two blocks. I'm trying not to fuss, but it's best you relax and rest as much as possible for a day or so."

I pulled into the parking lot under her apartment, and Bella directed me to her second spot. We reversed the actions of half an hour ago as I helped her from the car before unclipping the baby seat from its base.

"Do you have your car keys on you?"

"What do you need them for?" she asked, digging in the front pocket of her purse and handing them over to me.

"I'll swap this base into your car. It'll only take a few minutes."

"Thanks, though I probably won't want to use the car for a while. The grocery store across the street will do if I need anything before I can manage to get to Mariano's."

I handed the keys back to Bella after I'd swapped the base from my car to hers then grabbed the baby seat where Emily slumbered, unaware she was finally home. Bella wanted to stop on the lobby floor to speak to Marcus and thank him for his help both on the day Emily was born and earlier today. I watched his face pink up as she hugged him; it wasn't only me who was captured by her kind nature and her beauty. He, of course, made a real fuss of how beautiful Emily was, and she in turn promised to bring her down regularly so he could see the baby.

We stepped back into the elevator and continued to Bella's apartment.

"Oh, I'm so glad to be home." Bella walked into the living room and took a seat on the sofa. "You wouldn't think with the amount I've slept in the last twenty-four hours I'd still be tired."

I put the baby seat on the floor beside her and sat on the edge of the coffee table. She yawned, leaning back and closing her eyes. Much as I wanted to spend more time with her and Emily, I didn't want to outstay my welcome.

"You should sleep while this little one is." I leaned down and brushed my finger over the soft, downy cheek of the baby. "The next few days will be trying ones, or so I've heard. So, I'll get going. Do you want my number in case you need something? I'd be only too happy to help."

Bella opened her eyes. "No, Edward, I can't take up any more of your time. You must have better things to do than babysit me."

I leaned forward, my hand on her arm. "It's no trouble at all, Bella, really. Besides, I'll miss my Emily fix if I don't see her, and you wouldn't want to be the cause of my misery, would you?"

"Oh God. That look gets you everything you want, doesn't it?"

I grinned. "I don't know what you mean."

"Okay, Edward." She reeled off her cell number as I plugged it into my phone before calling the number so Bella would have mine, too. "I'll call you if I need you, and when you need your baby-fix, you can drop by."

I slid my phone into my pocket and gave Emily a last kiss on her forehead. I wanted to do the same to Bella, but it was a little too soon for that, so I stood and headed for the door. She moved to push herself off the sofa.

"No, it's okay. Stay there, Bella, I can see myself out."

She nodded and settled back. "Thank you so much, Edward. I don't know what I would have done without you yesterday and today. I'll see you soon, then."

~ oOo ~

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