I don't own Twilight or its characters. Stephenie Meyer does.

Cheryl, Noles, and Gabby, thank you for pre-reading, and April, thank you for editing. Any mistakes left are my own.

CH 23 EPOV

Three…three…not one but three babies. I stared at the screen, feeling overwhelmed. I was now responsible for keeping four lives safe at all times. I could sense my bride was staring at me, waiting for my response. Suddenly, she got off my lap quickly and rushed across the room. I thought she was upset and leaving until I saw her rush into the bathroom, followed by the sound of retching.

Concerned, I went after and held her hair as she knelt in front of the toilet. After a few moments, she sat back on her heels, looking pale. I dampened a piece of paper towel and gave it to her then helped her to her feet.

"Are you okay?" I asked concerned.

"Yeah, I've been doing that a lot lately. Luckily, the medicine is working so it's not happening all day anymore," she said.

"Can I get you anything?" I asked.

"I need to sit down for a few minutes and eat something," she said.

"You're hungry?" I was a little surprised since she just got sick.

"I know. Seems messed up, doesn't it?" She smiled weakly.

She cupped her hands under the faucet and rinsed out her mouth. She was still looking pale, so I carried her to the couch. She rolled her eyes but didn't say anything to me.

"We can order whatever you want and have it delivered, or I can send Lauren to get it," I told her.

"That sounds great. While we wait, would you mind getting me my purse? I have a granola bar in there. I know you probably don't, but by any chance is there a vending machine with orange juice in the break room?" she asked.

"I don't know, I hardly go in there." I retrieved the snack out of her purse that she left by my desk. "This will be enough?"

"Until we can get something else. I don't think you have room to talk about eating habits. When was the last time you had a good meal?" She eyed me critically.

"I'll be right back." I avoided her question as I went outside my office.

"Do we have orange juice in the break room?" I asked Lauren when she looked up at me expectantly.

"No, sir. But I do know the small café off the main lobby has it. Would you like me to run down?" she asked.

"Riley will go." I spotted him leaning against the wall, doing nothing. I glared at him. "Nice heads up by the way."

"Mr. Whitlock ordered me not to," he said.

"Mr. Whitlock was in on this?" I turned my focus on my friend's door then heard Bella calling for me. I glanced back at Riley. "Get the orange juice."

I spun on my heels and closed the door. I grabbed a few menus from a drawer in my desk then went back to the couch. Bella shifted and leaned into my side. I wrapped my arm around her, and her body relaxed. She munched on her granola bar and swallowed as she started to flip through the menus.

"Don't take your anger out on them for me being here. I called Jasper myself. I told him he had the choice of either helping me, or I was going to find a way to get here myself. He decided it was better to help me, so I didn't do anything too risky," she said.

"I don't like being lied to and having people go behind my back," I said bitterly.

"I'm sorry. But at least you know what it feels like now. Maybe it will stop you from doing it again," she stated.

I sighed and closed my eyes briefly. "You're right."

"I've missed you; even though most of the time I was pissed at you." She kissed my jaw.

"I've missed you too, my bride." I nuzzled her hair; I didn't realize I missed the smell of berries until then.

"I'm sorry to hear about your father," she said.

"Really? He was a total ass." I scoffed.

"Well, I didn't think it was right to say ding-dong the dick is dead," she joked.

I laughed. "Did you get that from Emmett?"

"I haven't talked to him. Did he…you know, take care of the filing? Does he feel better now?" she asked.

"He didn't. My mother did, or at least we think she did. We didn't do an autopsy to find out. Emmett was a little upset at first, but he's tickled that our mother beat him to it. He got to have his fun with Yorkie," I told her.

"Your mom? That's unexpected, she must have reached her limit. I guess it is safe to say she's not sorry to see him go either," she said.

"Not in the least, she's talking about moving to Paris or England. She wants to start living her life. I can't say I blame her—she's set for life." I wished my mother no ill will. We never had much of a relationship, so I wasn't going to miss her.

"Did anyone question my absence from the funeral?" Bella wondered.

"A few asked after you, but I told them you had the flu. No one questioned it after that," I told her.

"So, all the threats are gone?" She seemed pleased.

"The threats will never be fully gone," I told her, thinking about the drive-by shooting. It could have been random, but my gut said it wasn't.

Her smile dropped and her left hand rested on her stomach. I knew she was thinking of the baby…babies.

"I can't believe we're having triplets." I rested my hand over hers.

Her smile came back full force, bigger than before. "I'm glad you're still saying we rather than saying that they're only my babies. Because there's no way you are getting out of diaper duty."

"Diapers?" I wrinkled my nose. There was a knock on my door. "Enter!"

She laughed. "You can't tell me you're afraid of diapers with everything else you do."

"Riley will help you." I smirked at him as he set the juice down on the coffee table.

Bella snorted. "With three babies, you can both help."

"Three? You're having triplets?" Riley's eyes grew huge.

"If you didn't know then you clearly haven't been paying attention enough to what has been going on." I gave him a pointed look.

Bella elbowed me. "No one knows besides me, the tech who did the ultrasound, and the doctor in Maine. Not even your aunt knows. I thought you should be first." She grabbed the orange juice and twisted off the lid. "Thank you for the juice, Riley."

"You're welcome. Anything else, boss?" he asked.

I hesitated before shaking my head. "Take the afternoon off. My wife will be staying with me."

"Thanks, boss." He rushed out of the office.

"Well, we better make sure my aunt is the next to know. My ear still hurts from when I didn't tell her I got married. I'm sure she will love to help with the babies too," I said.

"You're not getting out of diapers, Edward." Bella smirked, looking down at the menu. "Oh. I want the Alfredo with both chicken and sausage and ask if they'll put capers on it."

"Of course, you'd choose Italian," I muttered, taking the menu to make a phone call.

NA

I fixed my tie in the mirror and smoothed my hair. My uncle entered the room, smiling.

"Everything is set to go. Do we need to have a father and son talk before we head out there?" he teased.

"Too late for that. About three times too late." Emmett snickered.

"Now, Emmett, you know Edward always goes overboard," Jasper joked.

"Okay, get it out now. Because I won't have you hackling my bride," I warned.

"She loves my jokes. And I would never upset her while carrying Huey, Dewy, and Louie." Emmett smirked.

"I thought the names were going to be Ed, Edd, and Eddy?" Jasper joined.

"That's it, both of you, get out," I ordered.

"Boys, leave him alone. Besides, you could be wrong, it could be all girls," Uncle Carlisle pointed out, chuckling.

"Yeah, if karma was to catch up with anyone with that many girls, it would be Jasper," I said.

Jasper's smirk fell. "Touché."

He and Emmett left the room, still laughing. I shook my head and checked myself one more time. I dropped my hands to my side.

"Why am I nervous? This isn't even a wedding since we're already married," I said.

"It is the first time you stand in front of everyone as head of the family and introduce them to your wife officially. And after what you've both been through, I don't blame you for being on edge," Uncle Carlisle said calmly.

"I'd feel better if we knew who did the drive-by," I admitted.

"I know you won't rest until you have answers. But tonight should just be about celebrating your beautiful wife. You're lucky to have her. And I'm sorry if I put the idea in your head to leave her," he told me apologetically.

"That was all on me, getting into my head," I admitted.

There was a knock on the door and Alice stepped into the room, dressed in a simple black dress and a headset on. "Five minutes until the grand entrance."

"I still don't understand why we couldn't get ready in the same room," I stated.

"Because it will be a more dramatic entrance for everyone to see you, see her," Alice answered me. "Your special guests have arrived, the champagne and the sparkling cider for the bride is chilled, the servers' trays are filled, the cake arrived unscathed, and the chocolate fountain is flowing."

"Chocolate fountain?" I exchanged a look with my uncle then looked back at Alice. "You have guards around that right?"

"Why would I need guards around a chocolate fountain? There are no kids here." She placed a hand on her hip.

"Yes, but Emmett is," I said.

"Puh-lease. He's a grown man, surely, he wouldn't…" She trailed off, looking at our faces. She rushed out of the room, talking to someone on her headset.

"I'll meet you out there," I excused myself to go to Bella.

I wasn't about to let her make a grand entrance without me. I knew she would hate to walk into a room with all eyes on her. Plus, there would be stairs Alice wanted her to go down in heels. A recipe for disaster if you asked me.

I knocked on the door and my aunt answered. She kissed my cheek and told me she'd see me downstairs. I entered the room to see my bride getting ready in front of a full-length, three-way mirror. She was wearing a deep blue dress with sparkles around the chest then flared out to ballgown. Her dark hair hung in waves down her back, I was momentarily stunned to see her.

"You look gorgeous," I commented.

My bride spun around, and she blushed. "Thank you, but I think this is over the top." She pointed to the tiara with sapphires on her head.

"I think it's fitting, you are the queen today. I have something for you." I chuckled when she wrinkled her nose.

I pulled a jewelry box out of my pocket. I opened it to show her the bracelet. "My aunt informed me the triplets would be born earlier than expected, most likely in November. If that ends up being wrong, I'll just have to get you another one with the correct birthstone."

"It's so pretty and so sweet, thank you," she gushed, her eyes misted.

Bella held out her arm for me to clasp the bracelet on. I brought her hand to my lips and kissed the back of it. For a moment, I wanted to drag her upstairs rather than down. But I knew Alice and Aunt Esme would come after us.

"Shall we?" I offered her my elbow.

"Let's get this over with," she agreed, grabbing on to me.

"You know most brides can't wait for this moment when all eyes are on them," I teased.

"Not when they hate being the center of attention," she mumbled as we walked out of the door.

We were halfway down the hallway when Alice came from the opposite direction. "You said that to deliberately get me out of here so you could go to Bella, didn't you? You were supposed to be at the bottom of the stairs to wait for Bella. Think of the dramatic effect of everyone seeing your face when you see her." Alice pouted.

"Good lord, Ali, this isn't a Disney movie." Bella looked amused.

"Are you saying I was wrong about Emmett?" I challenged. I knew my brother, it was only a matter of time.

Alice's shoulders slumped. "You were right. He was dipping broccoli, of all things, in the chocolate fountain. Your aunt had him by the ear when I got there, and your mother was yelling at him. I promised Jasper one dance if he kept him in line."

"He was dipping broccoli in the chocolate fountain. Steamed or raw?" Bella asked.

"Either way ew. I don't care if it's a pregnancy craving, I better not see you do it either." Alice looked disgusted.

"We are ready. As charming as your idea is, think of Bella. One, she hates to be the center of attention. Two, she's in a long dress, heels, and pregnant, and you want her to walk down a slippery marble set of stairs by herself." I tried to reason with Alice.

"Good point. I guess I wasn't thinking. I just wanted to make sure everything was perfect to make up for last time," Alice admitted.

"You have done wonderful, Alice. Thank you," Bella said sincerely.

"I was happy to." Alice hugged her. "Okay, it's time. Your guests are waiting."

Alice instructed for us to wait outside the double doors for the DJ's announcement then disappeared inside. Bella took a deep breath, and I could tell she was nervous.

"Just remember like last time, I will lead straight to the dance floor for our first dance." I pecked her lips lightly.

The doors opened as the DJ shouted our names and A Thousand Years filled the air as I led her into the room. Her hand held onto me tightly as I led down the stairs then through the sea of tables to the dance floor.

When we got to the center of the floor, the music changed to Angel. Bella's eyes widened and she let out a small giggle as we started to dance. She had let me pick the song, but I had kept it a secret, telling her it was something else.

"Aerosmith? Are you trying to give your mother a heart attack too?" she whispered in my ear, her eyes dancing with mischief.

"She has nothing to do with it. You're my angel, my bride. And I thought it was rather fitting." I stared into her eyes.

"You're going to make me cry." She bit her lip.

"Don't cry, beautiful," I told her. "You wouldn't want your special guests thinking I upset you."

"What special guests?" she asked, glancing around. She gasped, and I knew she found them. "Billy and Jacob are here?"

"I knew how important it was for you to have someone on your side here. Besides Alice," I said.

"Now I really am going to cry." Her eyelashes fluttered. "I hate my hormones are out of whack."

I spun around and dipped her, making her smile. When the song was over, I led her to her friends, not caring if I broke protocol, not meeting with other family heads first. The music turned up so others could dance and hors d'oeuvres were being walked around. Bella bent down to hug Billy as I stayed back.

I held my hand out to Jacob. "Thank you for coming."

"Who could pass up a free helicopter ride? Even if it is flashy." He smirked, but his eyes were wary.

"Flashy or not, I'd do anything for my bride. She sees you as family and wanted you both to be here," I told him.

"Well, if she married my cousin Quil, she would be family," he disputed.

It was the first I heard of the guy. "If Quil wasn't man enough to fight for her then that's on him—not me. We don't have to be friends, Jacob, but I do wish to be cordial for Bella's sake. In fact, I'm even willing to make you an offer."

He narrowed his eyes suspiciously. "What kind of offer? I don't do shady shit."

I ignored his tone. "My offer is completely legal. You know Dowling's Automotive in Forks. From my research, he's the shady one, taking advantage of the fact he's the only garage for a forty-minute drive. Charging folks sometimes up to seventy percent more compared to other garages."

"You don't have to tell me. The man is also racist. I applied for a job, and he gave it to a high school dropout who confused oil for window washing fluid," Jacob scoffed. "What does he have to do with me?"

"I want to offer you the loan to start up your own garage. I know the bank refused you," I told him.

"You looked into me?" He looked angry.

"Are you telling me you didn't Google me?" I countered.

He scowled. "What's in it for you?"

"Silent partner and twenty percent of the profits until the loan is paid back. I'm not looking to make money, only to help Bella's family." I shrugged my shoulders.

"You know this sounds too good to be true, right. It won't make me like you," he announced.

"I don't care if you like me. Family helps family even if they don't like each other. You're Bella's family, so the offer is there. Take it or leave it. You have time to decide; when you do, call my office and ask for me or my partner Jasper Whitlock," I stated.

"You really don't want anything?" he questioned.

"There is one thing I want," I said.

"I knew it. What?" He gave me a smug look.

I lowered my voice and glanced around. "Do you know anyone on the Makah Reservation?"

"I have cousins up there." His smug look dropped, and he became skeptical.

"As you know when Bella was kidnapped, she was left in a cabin there. I want you to ask around to see if you can find the name it was rented under. I won't be satisfied until everyone involved has been found," I informed him.

"Why not leave it to the police?" he questioned.

"If they haven't found anything yet, then they probably won't," I answered him.

He shrugged in agreement. "I'll see what I can do."

"Is everything okay?" Bella came over to us. Her eyes darted between us, looking concerned.

"Everything is fine, love," I told her.

She glanced at Jacob, who gave her a small smile. "I'm glad you could come, Jake."

"How could I not with our own private escort service," he said pleasantly.

"Yes, Billy was telling me about the helicopter ride." Bella met my eyes briefly again.

"You look beautiful, Bells. Do I get a dance with the bride later?" Jacob gave her a hug.

"Maybe, I'm not much of a dancer." She stepped away from him and leaned into me.

"How about introducing me to the red head." Jacob glanced across the room.

Bella followed his gaze. "Maggie? She's single last I knew."

"Maggie. Perfect, thanks." He headed across the room.

I shook my head, those two would be an interesting match. "Shall we move on? We don't want the crypt keeper to rot while waiting."

Bella giggled. "Lets. The sooner we're done, the sooner we can eat."

NA

A few hours later, we made our rounds, ate, cut the cake, and danced a few times. Everything was going wonderfully, and Bella was beaming the whole time. While talking with some cousins, Alice came to inform us of our final dance in a few minutes.

"I have to use the bathroom, first. Are you going to follow me?" she teased.

"Yes." I winked at her. I was hoping to steal her away for a moment or two.

I started to lead her to the hallway when Peter interceded us.

"Edward, do you have a second?" he asked.

"Go ahead. I think I can make it myself." Bella winked at me.

I watched her go then caught Riley's eye. He nodded and made his way to the hallway. I turned back to Peter, who was patiently waiting.

"What's up?" I asked.

"I don't want to go into details tonight since I know you're celebrating your wedding. But I think we should meet soon. I might have stumbled onto something you would want to know about," he said under his breath.

"My office. Monday morning?" I suggested.

"I'll be there," he agreed.

My phone buzzed with a text, I glanced to read a message from Riley stating Maggie just left the bathroom while my mother entered. It seemed like déjà vu to me. I made my way down the hall and Maggie approached me.

"Congratulations, again. Maybe I'll be next." She rolled her eyes slightly as she passed me.

I paused in my steps and turned back toward her. "Maggie, if I get a say, I will make sure you don't have to marry any one you don't want to. I'll have my secretary call you soon to set up a meeting so we can talk more."

She blinked a few times and a real smile formed on her face. "I'll be looking forward to it."

As I was arriving at the doors, my mother exited. She saw me and gave a bemused look. "Don't worry, I didn't offer her money, and I was nice."

"Glad to hear it," I told her.

"She's a good girl, take care of her. I will be leaving by the end of the week. There's nothing holding me here anymore," she informed me.

I wasn't even offended since she'd never been motherly. "If you need anything, don't hesitate to contact me."

"I will." She gave me a solemn look. "I'm sorry I could never be the mother you and your brother deserved. I know it's horrible to say, but I never wanted to be one. I wanted the money and the status. It ended up being a bigger role than I ever wanted, and it was either play the part or lose your life. It all changed when I found my sister lying in a pool of her own blood. I wanted to make it up to her so that's why I left you both with her whenever I could. I knew she would be better than me. She was the one that deserved to have babies, not me. I also wanted Carlisle to be your father figure. He is a good man. I had hoped he would steer you away from this life. You could still leave it behind."

"Then why give me flack about changing my name to Cullen?" I questioned.

"All a part of the role. The more I pushed you to what you hated the more you turned away from it," she confessed.

"I wish I knew this years ago," I admitted. "Maybe I could have done something."

Mother shrugged. "Possibly, or knowing your father, we could've buried you too. No more regrets about the past, it's time to move on."

"Keep in touch." I offered her a hug.

She looked shocked, and I knew why; I don't think we had ever really hugged. "Good-bye, dear. I'll let you know where I land."

I watched her walk back to the ballroom and was caught off-guard when Bella wrapped her arms around my waist. She stretched up on her tip toes and pecked my lips.

"Are you okay?" she asked.

"Yeah. I think in some twisted ways, I'm more like my mother than I knew," I said.

"Hmmm." Bella glanced toward the direction my mother disappeared to. "Maybe some part, there's also some of your uncle there too. I don't see much of your father at all."

"Good. Let's get this dance over with then we can get to the penthouse so we can fuck until the sun comes up."

Bella snorted. "Ah…there's my Romeo. I'm surprised you want to wait until we get into the room this time."

"My bride, the elevator was your idea, not mine." I pulled her completely red faced and laughing back to the ballroom.

A/N: A pretty light chapter. Edward was a bit in shock but is seemingly handling it okay. Can anyone else see Emmett playing in a chocolate fountain? Are you still suspicious of Elizabeth? If you're not familiar with Hue, Dewy, and Louie, they're Donald Duck's nephews (Scrooge McDuck's grand nephews. Ed, Edd, and Eddy are three characters from Cartoon Network.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me.