One Year Later
The tree was even more glorious than the one from last year with twice as many presents but also special envelopes for the parents of the children. Noelle’s selflessness in giving had spurred a wave of kindness from others as well.
So much had happened during the year, that Bella couldn’t help but sigh. She remembered every detail of that wondrous night. When Noelle had tugged on Edward’s lab coat and asked him if he was her father, his face displayed a kaleidoscope of emotions. First was shock, but in the briefest moment changed into overwhelming joy. His green eyes sparkled just like Noelles’ whenever she saw a puppy.
When he dropped to his knees and enveloped her into his strong arms, Bella couldn’t help but start crying. Placing her hand on his shoulder, wanting to feel his warmth, she watched through her tears. When Edward pulled back with tears running down his face, he cupped Noelle’s tiny cheek in his large hand.
“Noelle, I don’t know how, but I think my heart always knew that you were out there somehow. On the day of your birth, I felt your spirit being born and I had an unknown longing to find you. Oh, precious girl, yes, I am your Daddy and I promise that from this day forward to never be lost again.”
At this point, all their family and friends were weeping, overcome with joy for their cherished Noelle. Even though all of them but one had figured out that Edward was Noelle’s father, it didn’t take away from the special moment.
Rose couldn’t believe that she hadn’t seen the resemblance between Ed and Noelle. It was plain as day, but somehow it had eluded her. When everyone began to speak, she realized that she had been the only one not to see it, hell, even Emmett had figured it out.
As they gave out gifts to the children on the floor, Noelle never went far from her Daddy and Bella never let go of his hand. They both needed him close. When they had given out all the gifts, Edward picked up Noelle and wrapped his arm around Bella, then stood in front of Christmas tree enjoying the decorations and the sparkling lights. Jasper motioned for everyone to step away from them and once they were out of hearing, suggested to them that even though they all wanted to be around them, that they needed time alone. Carlisle and Esme were the most upset but realized that Jasper was right.
“Why don’t we get you home,” Carlisle said to Edward and Bella.
Edward smiled looking once more at his daughter and the love of his life, Bella. “That sounds great Dad.”
Jasper took Alice, Rose, and Emmett in his truck back to their apartment building while Edward, Bella, and Noelle rode with his parents. The ride was unusually quiet, as they just held each other. Once arriving at the apartment building, his parents said they would see them tomorrow and invited all their friends to their home for a festive Christmas/Birthday party.
Edward looked at Bella who nodded in her agreement to the invitation. When they stepped out of the car, Esme gave each one a hug and kiss. Carlisle stood back, but Edward walked forward once again, still holding Noelle in his arms. “Thank you, Dad.” Carlisle’s eyes began to tear up and as soon as Edward engulfed him with a hug he lost it. The love he had for his son rushed out of him and he silently promised that he would be a better Grandfather than he had been as a Dad.
The rest of Christmas Eve was spent together as a family catching up and just enjoying each other’s presence. Noelle fought sleep not wanting to be apart from her father, but after promising her that he would be right here when she awoke and reading her a bedtime story she drifted off to sleep. Edward sat beside her for the longest time just watching her sleep. This was his daughter.
Turning back to Bella, who stood in the doorway just admiring the scene before her, and smiled. “She is perfect,”
“She is,” Bella whispered.
A few moments later he stood and took Bella into his arms. “I have a lot of time to make up for,” he growled into her ear. The rest of the night, they made love over and over again. Their hearts and souls reconnecting, healing, and growing even closer.
Esme had done the impossible by throwing together an unbelievable party in such a short amount of time. Noelle was the center of the party and she drank in all the attention.
Edward couldn’t keep the smile off his face. For so long he had to force himself to smile, but now it came naturally. His parents had welcomed Bella with open arms. She was a perfect fit for his family and he knew that he wasn’t going to waste another moment to make her his. As Noelle was sitting on her Grandfather’s lap, Edward took Bella’s hand and led her toward the door. Once they donned their coats, he took her hand they walked outside. Walking around the side of the house, well mansion, they made their way to his mother’s garden. Esme had designed it and lovingly cared for it throughout the year. They stopped in front of the large fountain which was not working, but the water that had remained had become ice, making the whole area appear magical.
He was thankful that his mother had slipped his great grandmother’s ring in his pocket earlier. Getting down on one knee he took Bella’s hand and smiled.
“The past twenty-four hours have taught me that when you find your soulmate not to let them getaway. I have loved you from the first moment I saw you, yearned for four years for your return, and will love you until my last breath. I want us to make brothers and sisters for Noelle. Marry me, Bella,” he urged holding up the ring. His great grandfather had designed it and it had stayed on his great grandmother’s finger until her death at the ripe old age of one hundred and one.
“Yes, oh God, yes I will marry you,” Bella cried.
Not wanting to wait, but wanting a special day, they decided to have a destination wedding in the place where it all started, St. Barts. A lovely sunset ceremony on the beach on Valentine’s Day. Noelle stood beside her parents and held their rings. She was so excited because she was officially Noelle Edella Cullen. The judge had signed off on the name change the day before they left.
They held their reception at the restaurant that they had met and they served their favorite drink, rhum vanille. Everyone was having a great time, but Bella noticed that Rose wasn’t drinking.
“Do you have something you want to tell me?” Bella whispered.
Rose smiled and placed her hand protectively on her stomach. “I’m pregnant.”
Bella hugged Rose. “When are you due?”
“Get this, Labor Day,” she laughed.
“Oh my, that is funny. How is Emmett handling it?” Bella asked.
“You would never guess that he was an obstetrician,” Rose answered. “He is worried about everything.”
“What are you hoping for?” Bella questioned.
“We don’t care and we are not going to find out. I remember the look on your face when you heard Emmett tell you it was a girl. We want that surprise.”
After their wedding and honeymoon, they returned to New York and their respective jobs at the hospital. On top of the list of things to sort, was finding a larger place to live, because they were actively trying to get pregnant. Thankfully, the penthouse apartment in their building went up for sale and Edward quickly made an accepted offer, securing the sale.
Jasper decided to buy Bella’s old apartment and renovate it, joining it with his own. Once Emmett heard what Jasper was doing, he decided he would do the same with Edward’s old apartment. It is a miracle what an unlimited budget can get done quickly, so by the end of July both apartments were ready and none too soon. On the morning of August eighth, Rose went into labor. As soon as the labor pain started, Emmett went from a nervous father to the omnipotent OB doctor he was. Bella was Rose’s coach, and thrilled that she could be there for her as she had done for her at the birth of Noelle. She was also excited that she was again carrying Edward’s baby. By a strange twist of fate, this child’s due date was December twenty-eight, just like Noelle’s due date.
Two hours later, Rose held Lilly as Emmett held her twin sister, Bree. They were identical and looked just like their mother. He was going to have his hands full.
Noelle didn’t think she could be happier. Her Daddy was here, and she was going to get either a baby brother or sister around her birthday. Along with having her Daddy, she also now had and loved her Nana and Papa, spending lots of time with them. They doted on her, but also helped her with her dreams of making Christmas bright once again for the children in the hospital. Carlisle had set up a foundation to help her and she was allowed to name it. The foundation was named Snowflake Wishes, it’s main purpose was to make the holidays bright for sick and injured children. But because of the outpouring of support, they were fortunate to be able to pay off hospital bills for them as well.
Carlisle loved every moment he got to spend with Noelle. He had once loved being the Mayor, but it took much of his time away from his family. Talking it over with Esme, they decided that he wouldn’t run again. As he had heard from his wise son, life was too short.
Jasper and Alice’s love bloomed. They still had not had been intimate and she was apprehensive if she ever could. She was still afraid that her step-father would find her and abuse her again. However, Jasper Whitlock wasn’t going to allow James Hunter anywhere near her again. He had friends in high places, but he also had friends in low places and James Hunter became a victim of a home robbery gone bad. When Alice heard the news, her worries were set to rest, her therapy was progressing, and she began to heal; allowing her to fully embrace her relationship with Jasper.
On a magical carriage ride through Central Park after the first snow of the season, he promised to love and care for her. He presented her with a beautiful diamond to rest on her delicate finger.
As they placed the last present under the tree, Bella felt the first contraction. Not wanting to spoil Noelle’s hard work, she hid the pain until the last gift was opened, however, when she stood from her spot near the tree, her water broke. Edward was nervous about Bella’s health. As a doctor he knew she would be fine, but as a husband he was also aware that there were things that happened during childbirth that were beyond even the doctor’s control. If he knew one thing, it was that he couldn’t survive without her. Funny that he became calmer after his daughter told him that it was going to be okay, and for him to settle down and enjoy the experience. Bella was the strongest person he had ever met, handling the pain to bring their child into this world for a second time.
Two minutes past midnight, Nickolas Edward Cullen took his first breath with a strong cry. All their family and friends had been a part of the experience.
Noelle couldn’t fall asleep until she saw the baby. After Auntie Rose had checked out her brother and brought him back to her Mommy, her Daddy picked her up and placed her on the side of the bed to see him.
Looking down at Nickolas she smiled. “Hey, little brother. I promise to be the bestest big sister ever. I will never allow you to become lost and will always be here for you.”
Bella and Edward had no doubt of this declaration. Their family was together, and they were perfect; all because of Noelle’s Wishing Upon a Snowflake.