Three-and-a-half years later…
Alice Cullen wasn't kidding when she predicted we'd be using her penthouse in London over and over again. With her permission, we were now living there with our son year-round. This past January, after Bella found out she was pregnant again, we decided she'd stay at home and raise our children rather than relying on the au pair we had hired. I had no problem with her decision, especially since it would give our kids an upbringing that neither my wife nor I ever had since we were both latch key kids. So, we did not renew our teaching contracts after the current school year ended and decided to return to Forks to raise the kids when the opportunity of a lifetime came up.
While searching on the Internet for available jobs on the Olympic Peninsula, I happened across a job advertisement for a new private American school in London that was desperately seeking a qualified, licensed school teacher able to plan and implement a new curriculum for grades K thru 8. I was curious so I responded by email, and received a reply almost immediately. By the following day, I had interviewed with the headmaster over Face Time and been offered the job. The position I was offered was Dean of Curriculum and Instruction, which resulted in a significant pay raise—more than double my current salary—and provided a stipend for housing, health insurance, and had the additional perk of free tuition for my children when they came of age.
I had been contemplating whether or not to accept the position when I received a text message from Alice Cullen.
Live in the London penthouse and keep the housing stipend for your savings. You still have the keys. Bella will love the idea, and your children will grow up seeing the world. Love~A
I thanked Alice just like Bella always did and went to tell my wife the great news. She was, as the seer predicted, over the moon with the idea. I accepted the position immediately and as soon as the school year ended, we moved to London.
It was Saturday afternoon, Bella and I were lounging on the sofa, reading, while our son napped in his room. His name was William Mark. His first name was in honor of William Shakespeare, not Billy Black; although, we never discouraged him from thinking our son was named after him. How could we? Both Billy and my mom were completely tickled by the thought, and they'd get all giddy whenever we talked to them on Face Time. Paul and Rachel actually thanked us because it saved them from having to name their son after the tribal chief. They named their son Embry, and I was completely flattered by the gesture. William's middle name Mark was in honor of two men who Bella loved dearly: Mark was Edward's father's name as well as Edward's middle name. Edward's father broke down in tears when he heard our son's middle name.
Bella abruptly stood up, and high-tailed it to the bathroom again. She was pregnant with our second child and due in two weeks. I chuckled because, with the baby sitting on her bladder, she was—for all intents and purposes—waddling.
I decided to go check on Will because it was almost time to wake him up from his nap. I walked into his room and he wasn't there. He must have gotten up already. I looked in our room, the nursery for the new baby, and the rest of the rooms, before checking in the kitchen where I found him.
"Daddy!" he chortled excitedly.
"Did you have a nice nap, Will? What are you doing?"
"In the kitchen. What are you playing?" And then I looked a little closer and noticed the bottom freezer drawer of our refrigerator was open. Clearly, my boy had been digging around in there. I quickly shut the freezer, thinking we had to do a better job of childproofing the penthouse. I squatted down so I was eye level with my son.
"Daddy, my nose got peed."
"You have a stuffy nose, Will?"
"Uh-huh." He nodded.
"You don't have pee in your nose; you have a runny nose."
"No, I got pee in my nose," he insisted.
"Come here, kiddo. I'll help you blow your nose."
I picked him up, and seated him on the counter. Turning to him with a tissue, I got a good look at him, and my eyes bulged in horror. "Oh boy. You really do have peas in your nose."
"I told you, Daddy!" Will shoved his finger up his nostril to try to dig out the frozen peas.
"No, no, no! Stop! Stop! Don't put your finger in your nose!" Oh, man! He just shoved the peas up deeper! What the hell am I going to do? "Bella, can you bring the tweezers from the bathroom?" I called.
I heard the bathroom door open. My wife walked out, taking deep breaths. She handed a pair of tweezers to me. She continued inhaling deeply, then exhaling.
"What's wrong with you? Do you have to go to the bathroom again?" I asked.
"No. I'm just having some Braxton Hicks contractions. I'll be fine in a few minutes." She shifted so she was in front of our son. "What's the matter, buddy? Do you have a splinter?"
"No, I got peas, Mommy!" Will jammed a finger up his nostril again, pushing the peas in even deeper. "Ouchie!"
I turned to Bella. "Don't panic!"
Her mouth was wide open, and she turned from me to our son. "Oh my God! Willie! What did you do?" She tilted his head back and peered into his nostril. "Embry, his nostril is bulging!"
"I told you not to panic!"
"I am not panicking, Embry. You are." She kept Will's head tilted back for me. "Let Daddy see."
I peeked inside his nostrils. Even with my powerful wolf vision, I couldn't see the peas. "I can't see the peas."
"What do you mean you can't see the peas? You have super-vision!"
"They're in here, Daddy!" Again, Will rammed his finger into his nostril. I pulled his finger out. "Stop, William. You don't want to push the peas in deeper."
I shined the flashlight of my phone to his nostril so I could get a better look. Nothing. I could no longer see a thing, but I knew the peas were in there. I turned to my anxious wife who was desperately looking up ways to extract peas from nostrils on her phone when Will pointed to her and the floor and cried, "Mommy pee'd!"
My eyes drifted from the small puddle on the floor to my wife, who turned to me with an alarmed expression on her face. "Please tell me your water didn't just break?" I pleaded.
"Okay, I won't." Bella grunted, clutching my arm for support as a contraction hit her. "Ooh! That was a big one!"
"Oh, honey. Breathe in through your nose. Out through your mouth." I breathed with her.
"Daddy, I try, but my nose can't breathe," Will cried. His finger was once again inside his nostril.
"Oh, God! I'm not going to panic. I'm not going to panic," I repeated. Why is everything happening to me at once?
"Embry, you're panicking. It seems to me the best place for us now is the hospital," Bella suggested wisely, then buckled over as another contraction hit her. "If we make it there."
"Do we call 911 for an ambulance in England?"
"How am I supposed to know? This is the first time I've ever lived in England."
"Mommy! It hurts!" Will wailed, holding his arms out for his mother.
"Oh, baby! It's going to be okay," she said in an attempt to soothe our son.
I picked up my phone, scrolling to figure out how to call an ambulance in England, but decided just to gather my wife and son and head to the hospital in a taxi instead. I opened the front door to usher them out when Will's voice rang out with, "Who are you?"
I, of course, was in complete shock. Standing in front of us was Carlisle Cullen and his wife Esme. The doctor was carrying his medical bag. "Alice sent a text stating I was needed here."
I stood stupidly staring with my mouth hanging open. There were two vampires standing in front of us offering to help. I had been taught to treat them with hostility, but found, after all these years communicating with Alice, that I could not.
I smiled at the kind couple. "You're just in time. Will has peas stuck in his nose and Bella's water broke."
"Well, then, let's see about your son first," he replied with a kind smile. "You know, kids sticking objects up their nose is a fairly common occurrence. I once removed dimes from a little girl's nose because she thought it would be the best place to keep her money safe. At least young William here stuck with food products."
"Come in, please." I motioned. It was amazing how much younger he looked than I did now. He looked as if he were in his early twenties; yet, he was many centuries old.
As soon as they were in the penthouse, Esme took over Bella's care and led her to our bedroom. Meanwhile, Dr. Cullen swiftly removed the peas from Will's nose using a surgical steel medical instrument that looked like a cross between kitchen tongs and scissors.
Will didn't even cry. He was fascinated by the medical device. Maybe he'll become a doctor? Doctor William Call—how cool would that be?
"Now, you are no longer going to put anything in your nose, including your fingers. Is that understood, William?" Dr. Cullen asked him.
"What if I have a booger?"
"Then you blow your nose. Now, how would you like to bake cookies? Aunt Esme, brought all the ingredients to play in the kitchen with you."
"Yay," Will chortled and obediently headed to the kitchen where Esme was. Apparently, she had already helped Bella into bed.
"How's Will?" Bella asked immediately.
"Oh, he's fine. Dr. Cullen removed the peas, and he's as good as new. He's baking with Esme now."
"That's a relief." Bella turned to Carlisle who was currently examining her progress. "Thank you for coming."
"It's my pleasure, Bella. Thank you for the privilege of delivering your baby." He acknowledged me with a nod.
We ended up chatting while supporting Bella as she labored. It turned out Carlisle and Esme were currently residing in London where he was working as a physician and she was working for a design firm. I thought it was awesome how they had careers. Years ago, I thought vampires were monsters. It was Bella who helped me to see that they were just another type of supernatural being, and not so different from the rest of us. In the end, we all just wanted to live our lives and be happy.
Five Years Later…
It took an hour-and-a half to deliver Blake Carlisle Call—after the famous poet and the kind doctor. After the delivery, Carlisle and Esme quickly left, promising to visit the following day to check on us. He informed us he had filed the paperwork, informing the proper authorities of Blake's home birth and declared us both to be in perfect health. Carlisle was so tickled we gave Blake the middle name Carlisle in his honor, that he gifted both William and Blake with college funds. Naturally, in true Cullen style, after that grandiose gesture, Embry and I were unable to contact them to return the over-the-top gift. Alice, of course, refused to help.
We were currently visiting California as part of our vacation in the States. I was sitting in front of Eddie's grave reflecting on my life. Embry had taken the boys to visit with Mark and Lisa, Eddie's parents, so I could do this on my own.
"Did you know, Eddie? Did you know that I'd fall in love again after you earned your wings?" I plucked a few weeds from his grave. It had been maintained well for the most part. "I want to thank you. All those years ago, you made me promise you that I would love again. You were so kind and unselfish, even when you knew it was the end. And I really thought it was the end for me, too. But you knew. You knew it wasn't the end, and you were correct I did fall in love again. Thank you, Eddie. Thank you for giving me permission to love again. I love you so much, and I will always keep you here in my heart."
I kissed his gravestone and sat with him for a little while longer thinking about our short, but blissful time together. When I stood to walk back to Mark and Lisa's house, I turned to see Embry leaning up against our rental car with his arms open wide. I rushed into them and relished in the feeling of being held.
"I thought you might need me. Mark and Lisa are spoiling the boys with some ice cream. Walk with me. I have something to say to Eddie."
I returned to the grave, hand-in-hand with my husband, who kneeled down to speak. "Thank you, Eddie. Thank you for sharing Bella with me. Thank you for giving her permission to love again. I swear that I will continue to look after her, and that I'll love her forever."
And I had no doubt that he would. He came into my life when I thought I would never love again. We loved each other, purely and simply—now and forevermore. I was so fortunate to have found love twice. I was so lucky to love again.