It was just before twelve o’clock when Edward finally arrived at the family’s Cape Charles home. He had only stopped to get something to eat and get gas. The weather in Cape Charles was warm and humid, being located so close to the water. Pulling up at the house, he opened the door and let out a deep cleansing sigh. It hadn’t changed at all. His parents had a cleaning lady that came in once a week to take care of the cleaning, even though no one lived there. Emmett, Jasper, Rose, and Alice came to visit often, enjoying the peaceful tranquility of the house. There had been a conversation by the family to have a vacation together this summer and Elizabeth was excited to see the house and spend time on the water.
Deciding he needed a shower, he walked upstairs to the master bedroom. Stripping off his clothes, he turned on the water and stepped inside. Placing his hands on the wall, ducking his head, he turned on the faucet to the hottest setting; allowing the hot water to beat down on his back. He felt so drained; emotionally, physically, and mentally. To say he was confused, was a massive understatement. Why had fate allowed this to happen? The odds of this occurring were astronomical, yet here he was, facing a situation that was one in a billion. Shutting off the water, he dried off and walked back into the bedroom. Searching the drawers he found a pair of shorts and a t-shirt that was his father’s. Forgoing underwear, he slipped them on and went back downstairs. As he walked around the family room, he could see all the family touches that his mother had added over the years. Pictures of him and the family, each of the couples, too many of Elizabeth; the room was full of memories. Walking around, he looked at each one, and then he came upon one that took him by surprise. It was of Bella. She was nestled in between his brothers, and they were laughing at something. Next to that picture was one of Bella with his parents. She looked like she was part of his family, intertwined in all their lives. How had he not seen or known about this?
Looking out the window, he gazed at the water, the sun glistening upon its waves. It was glorious, and he wondered if Bella would appreciate the serenity of it. He had come to know so much about her, and one of those things was her love of the water. She had expressed how she loved to water ski but hadn’t had a chance to do so for years. Was it because of her illness? He could only assume that was probably the case.
Running his hand through his hair in frustration, he again questioned as to why she did not tell him about her surgery. They had talked for hours, but she never once said anything about it. Fuck, if he hadn’t seen her taking her meds, would she have ever told him. There is no way she would have been able to hide it. Him being a doctor, she had to know he would have figured it out. Walking over to the sectional, he sat down and decided to watch a little television, mindlessly flipping channels until he found a game on. Stretching out on the sofa, he settled in to watch the game, however before he knew it, he was fast asleep and began to dream.
He was all alone on a boat, but as he looked around he saw it was in fact a ferry. Just like the one he was on when he first met Maggie. As it moved across the choppy water an eerie fog began to float closer to where he was sitting. Staring into the gloomy fog a sudden lightness began to emerge. Quickly, the light intensified, until finally, a bright light burst through causing the darkness to melt away. Suddenly Maggie was standing in front of him. She was beautiful, just as he remembered her from when they first met.
“Maggie?” Edward gasped.
“Yes, sweetheart,” she said with an angelic smile.
“How is this possible?”
“I don’t know, but I am here to set your mind to rest, and possibly beat some sense into that thick head of yours. I can’t believe that you are even considering letting Bella go. Damn it, Edward, I sent her to you so you could go on with your life and what do you do, you screw it up,” Maggie growls.
“I don’t know how to deal with the fact that she has your heart,” Edward explained, grasping the hair on his head.
“Edward, is it only her heart that you love?” She asked with a raised eyebrow.
“No,” he answered.
“Then what is it about Bella, what draws you to her, what do you love about her?”
“Oh Maggie,” he smiles. “It’s her smile, and the way she is with Elizabeth, the way she chews her bottom lip as she is trying to figure something out, and the way she moves as she dances, the way she says my name,” he whispers then again ran his hand through his hair. “Damn it, I love everything about her. But Mags, I didn’t mean to fall in love. Maggie, please understand, she burst into my world, lighting up the darkness that I had been in since losing you. At first, I tried not to notice her, but I couldn’t help it.”
“Edward, it’s alright. Sweetheart, did you think I would want you and Elizabeth to be alone for the rest of your lives? Bella feels the same way about you, you know,” Maggie smirked. “She is a perfect match for you and her love for Elizabeth is beyond measure. Elizabeth deserves a mother, Edward. It’s time.”
“But,” Edward started.
“NO MORE BUTS!!!!” Maggie yelled. “Edward, I know you will always love me, however, it is time to give your whole heart to Bella. Not many people get second chances, Edward. Are you going to throw that away because of some notion you have that she has my heart? She possesses the organ, Edward, but the love she feels for you and Elizabeth is hers.”
Tears formed in his eyes. “I do still love you so much, Maggie. But you are right. I can’t throw away the chance I have been given for Elizabeth and me to be loved again. I promise you, I will stop being so thick-headed.”
“Great,” she said as she looked over her shoulder. “It is time for me to leave.”
“Will, I ever see you again?” Edward asked.
“I will never be far and know that I am always looking out for you and Elizabeth. Give her a kiss and a hug for me, my love,” Maggie said as she blew him a kiss and disappeared.
Edward awoke sometime later feeling better than he had in a long time. Had it only been a dream or had Maggie really come to him? Either way, he knew in both his head and heart that he loved all of Bella. Fuck, he had been such a fool. Getting up he looked outside and saw that the sun was starting to set. It was his favorite time of the day here.
Walking out the back door, he walked down the dock and stared out across the water. Taking a deep breath, he allowed the sight before him to infuse into every cell of his body.
Bella finally arrived in Cape Charles. After she had left Carlisle and Esme’s house, she ran home and changed into a sundress and sandals. Esme had warned her how hot it was in Cape Charles. Before leaving, she picked up her pill bottles, just in case it went the way she hoped and prayed it would. She contemplated and rehearsed her reasonings the entire trip. She just needed to get Edward to see that although she had Maggie’s heart, it was her love she was offering.
GPS directed her to the house and she parked in the driveway beside Edward’s car. Taking a deep cleansing breath, she got out of the car and looked around. The house was absolutely the most stunning home she had ever seen. It looked like it had been dropped out of a history book. Then she smelled it, the salty brine of the ocean and she smiled. Glancing around she noticed that the ocean was behind the house and she didn’t know what pulled her towards it, but she felt the need to go behind the house.
Walking around the corner of the house she saw that the sun was setting. The warm glow of orange and red danced across the water. It was mesmerizing. Then she saw movement to her right, as she turned her head, she saw Edward. He was standing at the end of the dock. Saying a small prayer that she would be able to stay strong and fight for the love she felt for him, she started towards the dock.
Crossing the backyard, she continued walking until she reached the dock, walking towards Edward. He still had not turned around and she was able to walk right up to him. Steeling her nerves for a moment, she reached out and touched his bare forearm.
Edward felt a touch on his arm and turned, clearly shocked to see Bella standing there with him; or was he imagining her. “Bella?”
“Yes,” she answered.
“Is it really you or am I dreaming again?”
“No dream, it’s me in the flesh and I need to say something to you,” she started.
“Bella, I,” Edward began but was cut off by Bella.
“Keep quiet and listen to me until I am finished, please.” She paused to take a breath before continuing, “I didn’t know who my donor was and now I know that it was Maggie, but for me, that didn’t change anything. I am still the woman that I was yesterday and the day before. Last night when we made love, it was me, all of me and not just a heart. When I told you I loved you, I meant it. I know that you loved Maggie, but as horrible as it might be, she is no longer alive, and damn it, Edward, I am.” Bella fumed, but she wasn’t finished yet. “But I not only love you, I love Elizabeth as if she were my own child. Should I have told you about the surgery sooner, yeah looking back I should have. But I didn’t know how you would take it that I could possibly never be able to have a baby. For so long I cried over this fact, but now I am fine with it because Elizabeth is in my life.”
“But,” Edward interrupted.
“NO MORE BUTS!!!” Bella yelled, however, instead of shock on Edward’s face she saw him smile.
“What are you smiling about?” She growled. “I am trying to fight for us and you think it is funny.”
Edward reached out and pulled her into his arms. “That is the second time today I have heard, no more buts. Bella, I was so wrong to run out on you. I overreacted and I am so sorry that I hurt you. I needed some time to work out the information, but with the help of a dream I had, I know what I want.”
Bella pulled back and looked up into his sparkling green eyes. “What is that?”
“I want you. I love your soul, I love your laughter, I love the way you dance, I love how you love Elizabeth, and I love YOUR heart. It is yours, all yours,” Edward proclaimed.
“Oh Edward, I love you too, so much,” Bella replied.
Edward leaned down and sealed their confessions with a kiss that was filled with their love. Finally breaking away, he looked down into her eyes. “When I first met you, you had me In a Heartbeat and you still make my heart Skip a Beat.”
Skip a Beat
Book Two: Heartbeat Series