Edward couldn’t take his eyes off the little girl. He had heard every word of her wish and the word that stuck in his head was lost. He had been so lost for so long, ever since that morning in St. Barts.
He awoke the morning after the glorious night with Bella. Reaching out he expected to feel her soft smooth skin, but instead only cold sheets. Jumping up he saw that she was not in the room. Scanning the room, he noticed that her clothes were gone.
“Bella,” he called out, but he heard nothing but silence. Had he dreamed of her?
Look at the bedside stand to see what time it was, he saw a piece of paper and a gold chain. Picking up the note, he read it, then he read it once more. She had been real, but why didn’t she wake him. He wanted to say goodbye, to find out what her last name was, where she lived, would she like to be his forever, however, she was gone. Picking up the gold chain, he noticed the tiny gold swan dangling from the chain. Carefully placing the necklace in his palm , he closed his hand around it and brought it up to his heart.
“I promise to always remember our night together and will never stop hoping to see you again.”
He had two more days left at the resort because he couldn’t get an earlier flight. He spent those days walking the beach and thinking of Bella. Even though they were both a little tipsy from the rhum vanille, he still remembered every smile, laugh, moan, and sigh of satisfaction. The nights were the worst, knowing that she would be beside him in his dreams as he slept.
Checking around the room one last time to ensure he hadn’t forgotten anything, he saw a sliver of white under the chair. Bending down and retrieving it, he pulled it out and gasped. It was Bella’s tiny panties that he had removed. Without even thinking about it, he brought them up to his nose and breathed deeply. Her aroma engulfed him and for a moment warmed his heart and soul. He placed them in his carryon luggage to ensure that the panties, the necklace, and the note made it safely back to New York.
Edward returned to his apartment and checked his voicemails. His parents had called and requested his presence at their estate. He couldn’t call it his home, even though he had known no other home growing up. It was a showcase, not a warm inviting home. Maybe he could just ignore them for a few more days, because he really didn’t want the third degree about his trip. Even worse would be the questions about whether or not he found a woman. Fuck, it was none of their business. He would rather have them think that he was a homosexual than to be subjected to their prying questions about any woman he might have met. There was no way in hell he was going to tell them about Bella.
He was able to avoid his parents for another three days, but on the morning of the fourth day his mother showed up at his doorstep. “Hello, Mother.”
“Don’t hello, Mother me, why the hell have you not returned my calls?” Esme growled, but then she took a look into his eyes she saw so much heartache. Opening her arms wide, she waited.
Edward stared at his mother and after a deep breath, he fell into her arms. Let go of all the tears that he had been holding back. He wasn’t one to cry, but his heart was so broken.
Esme was crushed by hearing her son weeping in her arms. What had happened to cause this? As much as she wanted to demand he tell her what had happened, she knew that right now she just needed to hold him and pour as much love as possible into her embrace.
It felt like he had cried forever, but finally, he was able to stop. Pulling back he looked at his mother’s tender face. “Thank you.”
“You are welcome. Do you want to talk about it?” She questioned.
“Yeah,” he sighed.
They sat on his sofa and he told her how he had met Bella. He didn’t go into graphic details of the night they spent together but told her of the connection that they had. He showed her the note and necklace. Esme, as a woman, could feel from the note that this woman had feelings for her son.
The months passed and it was Christmas Day. He had volunteered to work in the Peds Department, so doctors with families could spend the holiday with them. It was late in the afternoon, when he began to mindlessly walk around the hospital. Suddenly he thought he heard Bella scream, looking around and not seeing her, he found himself standing outside of the view window of the newborn babies. Scanning over all of their sleeping faces of the newborns, his mind wandered to what his and Bella’s baby would have looked like. He hoped that it would have been the spitting image of Bella. She was such a rare beauty with those brown eyes, button nose, full lips, and mahogany locks. He closed his eyes and could almost picture them laying in their bed, as Bella held their baby. She was radiant.
“Dr. Cullen 3244, Dr. Cullen 3244,” the voice over the speakers announced.
After that night, Christmas was always the most depressing day of the year. He didn’t know why, even though he tried to make the best of it. His mother had been very supportive. His father was another story. They had a huge fight about him quitting his position at the hospital to take over the family company. His father eventually came around, but their relationship was never quite the same. Yet each year the holiday season became more and more difficult.
For the last few days, he had been feeling a warmth that he hadn’t felt since St. Barts. Finishing up a long day at the hospital, he decided to take a walk in the park. While he had been at work, it had begun to snow and he loved the beauty of freshly fallen flakes. Coming in from the back gate, he began walking toward the decorated pine that stood in the middle of the park. Its branches were loaded down the newly fallen snow and the street lights cast a translucent glow on it. Taking in its beauty, he felt that warmth again, but this time it was even stronger. Then he heard a child’s voice coming from the back of the tree. Her voice was like a symphony. As he listened, her wish for her father tugged on his heart. He was mad as hell with the man who had left this angel and her mother. There was this invisible pull to see the child and as he stepped around the tree his heart stopped. Other than the color of eyes and hair, she was his dream child with Bella. Squatting down to her eye level, he smiled at the child.
“Hello,” he said.
“Hi. You have my eyes,” Noelle said, pointing towards Edward’s face.
“Mine are not as pretty as yours. Are you here with your mommy?”
“No. I am here with Auntie Alice and Sir Jasper,” Noelle answered pointing towards the bench.
Edward looked towards the bench and saw his friend Jasper sitting with his arm around a petite dark-haired woman. He waved at Jasper and smiled.
Alice had been watching Noelle as she stared at the tree, then suddenly a strange man walked around and began to talk to her. She began to stand, but Jasper stopped her.
“Noelle is safe. That is my friend and neighbor, Ed. He is a doctor and a good man,” Jasper informed her.
“Sir Jasper is a friend of mine,” Edward said to Noelle. “Are you visiting New York?”
“No, Mommy is a doctor and got a new job here. I am so excited because Auntie Rose and Uncle Emmett live next door,” she informed him. “What is your name?”
“My name is Edward, but everyone calls me Ed.”
“Hi Ed, I am Noelle,” she said with a bright smile and giggled. “My middle name is like your name. It is Edella. Mommy wanted me to have a part of my daddy’s name.”
“I couldn’t help but hear. How long has your daddy been lost?”
“Forever. I listened one day as Mommy talked to Auntie Rose, she wished she could find him and tell him about me. She is sad, I see her cry sometimes as she plays with her necklace,” Noelle shared with a frown. “I don’t like my Mommy sad.”
Seeing Noelle’s sad face, Edward’s heart broke. He became overcome, and opened his arms, just like his mother had done all those years ago. Without a moment’s hesitation, Noelle propelled herself into them. As soon as he wrapped his long arms around her tiny body, he felt an electric charge that went straight to his soul. Her tiny arms went around his neck and squeezed tightly. Edward was truly happy for the first time since St. Barts. He had not noticed that Jasper had walked up to them.
“Hey Ed,” Jasper called out.
“Jasper. I understand you know this little princess?” Edward inquired as Noelle released her hold and turned.
“Yes, I do,” Jasper answered with a smile.
“Sir Jasper, I like your friend. He has my eyes and hair,” she giggled.
Jasper looked at them and he saw the similarities. In his business, he constantly looked for common attributes and they had several. The silence was broken by the ringing of Alice’s phone.
“Excuse me,” she said as she turned and answered. A few minutes later she turned back around. “Your Mommy is leaving work, but would like for us to pick up dinner.”
“Okay,” Noelle said then turned back to Ed. “I got to go.”
Edward squeezed her once more before placing her down on the ground. “It was a pleasure meeting you Noelle. If I don’t see you before, Merry Christmas.”
“I always have a Merry Christmas because it is my birthday. I am going to be five.”
“Wow, then Happy Birthday,” he wished.
“What are you doing this evening?” Jasper asked.
“I have a little bit of shopping to do and off to bed early. I am working twelve hours tomorrow for Dr. Stanley, however, this year I am not working Christmas Day,” Edward explained.
“Ed you must come over Christmas Day for lunch,” Alice implored. “Emmett, Rose, and Jasper will be there. I am sure Miss Noelle would like for you to be there as well to celebrate her birthday.”
“YES!! PLEASE COME!!” Noelle screamed looked up at him with those bright eyes. “We are going to have cake.”
“Are you sure her mother wouldn’t mind?” Edward questioned.
“Yes,” Alice replied.
“Alright. Jasper shoot me a text when you are ready for me to come over.”
“Okay, Ed. Maybe we will see you tomorrow at work,” Jasper said placing his hand on Noelle’s head. “Miss Noelle is going to be Santa’s elf tomorrow and bring toys for the children in the wards.”
Edward looked surprised. He knew there was more to the story, but he knew they had to leave. “I will look for you then. Goodnight, Princess.”
Jasper and Alice took Noelle’s hand and walked away. With each step, Edward’s heart longed to go after them. What the hell? Turning back toward the tree his thoughts once again went to Bella. If she had become pregnant on that glorious night, their child would have been due around Christmas and be Noelle’s age. Shaking his head, he knew he needed to stop living in the past. He was never going to find Bella among the three-hundred-twenty-seven million people. Holding out his hand he waited until a snowflake fell on it and then closed his hand.
“Magical snowflake my wish is simple. I wish that Noelle’s request come true. She is a kind, loving child who deserves both her mother and father,” Edward pleaded. As soon as the words were out of his mouth a breeze blew around him, and a swirl of snow encircled him.
Esme had arrived home hours before and was sitting in the living room staring at her phone at the picture of Noelle. She couldn’t get over the fact that the child looked just like Edward. Their family photo albums laid on the coffee table opened to the pages where Edward had been five. The resemblance was uncanny. There were some slight differences, but she looked like Edward. How was this possible?
“Esme, I’m home,” Carlisle called out. When she didn’t answer he walked towards the light in the living room. Walking over he sat down beside. “Sweetheart, didn’t you hear me call out to you?”
“Oh Carlisle, I am sorry. I didn’t hear you,” she said.
“What are you doing with all the albums?” Carlisle queried as he looked down at the picture of Edward when it was a little boy. He loved his son and only wanted the best for him. He knew that sometimes he pushed Edward too hard to take over the company, but it was the family business and should be run by the family. Carlisle hadn’t wanted to run for Mayor, however, he couldn’t sit idly by and allow the previous Mayor to win again; he loved his hometown too much. After winning the election, the job had taken him away from his family more and more. His and Esme’s activities were centered around the requirements and prestige of the position.
Carlisle was proud of Edward when he became a doctor, but he didn’t look happy. So that was when Esme and himself decided to send him to St. Barts to relax and maybe find some happiness. However, when Edward came back he was worse than before he left. Esme told him that it was because of a woman and that their son had lost his heart to her. Carlisle would have spent all the money he had to find this woman, but having only a first name, made it was impossible. Hell, he had even gone as far as to try to bribe the hotel to give him the names of all of the hotel guests. But the hotel refused. A couple of years later the necklace that the woman had given Edward broke and he convinced him to encase the swan in a protective shell so he could carry it with him. It was one of the only times he had seen a genuine smile on his son’s face.
“Carlisle, I met someone today and I am so confused,” Esme said laying her hand on his knee.
“What do you mean?”
“I was walking down Rockefeller Plaza when I spotted this angelic little girl staring up at FAO,” Esme began, then told him all about her time with Noelle. After she was done she turned to Carlisle. “I know it can’t be possible, but you have to see her.” Esme handed her phone to Carlisle and waited for his response.
Carlisle looked at the picture of Esme and Noelle, then gasped. The child looked just like Edward, who looked like Carlisle’s mother. “Who is this?”
“Her name is Noelle Swan. She just moved here from California, because her mother, Dr. Isabella Swan took the position as Head of the Pediatric Neurology Department at New York-Presbyterian. Oh, Carlisle, she has the kindest heart. She took her savings and was buying presents for the children in the hospital,” Esme explained.
“Who is her father?” Carlisle asked.
“See that is the thing. Her father has never been around. She kept going on about wanting for it to snow so she could make a wish for her daddy to become unlost.”
Carlisle kept staring at the photo. It was impossible, however, there was no mistaking that she was the spitting image of Edward. “Do you know how old she is?”
“She will be five on Christmas Day,” Esme answered.
Carlisle got up and walked over to the window. The city looked so pretty with the freshly fallen snow. His mind was racing thinking about Noelle and Edward. Then it hit him, but he needed clarification. “What month did Edward go to St. Barts?”
“It was the first week of April. Why?”
Carlisle began to count and the realization hit him hard. As impossible as it sounded, Noelle Swan could be their granddaughter.