After the holidays, Edward went back to work. It was a bit of a shock to the system. They went from seeing each other all day, every day, to only seeing each other at night, when Edward was not on call. Bella was also preparing to go back to work, but only after the twins’ birthday party. They were turning eight on January nineteenth and were having a combined party, the weekend after their actual birthday. Bella was coordinating all the plans with Alice, Esme and Sue.
And those weren’t the only plans that were being made. Edward and Bella were moving forward with their upcoming nuptials. Edward wanted to get married on Valentine’s Day, as in two months from when they were engaged, but Bella was adamant on having more time to pull things together. After discussing it with Alice, Bella’s matron of honor and Esme and Sue, who had taken on a motherly role in Bella’s life, they decided to get married in early June in Key West, recreating their first family vacation.
Then, after their wedding, Edward and Bella would be flying to Jamaica for a week-long honeymoon while the kids were staying with Nana, Poppy, Papa Charlie and Grammy Sue.
It wasn’t the immediate wedding that Edward wanted, but it was a fair compromise for both. Bella wanted to have the memories of a wedding, albeit a small one, but not going to the courthouse, like Edward suggested. He felt like a tool, remembering that this was Bella’s first wedding and he didn’t want to deny her dreams of being escorted down an aisle on Charlie’s arm and beginning their new life properly.
“Momma, I got a few more RSVPs,” Lucy said, handing Bella a stack of cards. “Everyone is excited to go to the Jump Zone. I think Liam has some, too.”
“Excellent,” Bella sang, looking at the names. Almost everyone they’d invited were coming to the party. One or two were unable to come, due to previous commitments, but they had already delivered gifts to the house from their children. It was an unexpected, but welcomed gesture from the parents. “Where’s your brother?”
“I’m here, Mom,” Liam said, clambering into the backseat. “Sorry. I was talking to Hunter about the party. Here’s his invite-thing.”
“Thanks, sweetie,” Bella smiled. “We need to get stuff for the goody bags and assemble those tonight. Do you have any ideas what you want?”
“Dad used to take us to the dollar store and we’d pick out toys and stuff,” Lucy suggested. Bella nodded, but she knew that the toys at the dollar store were not the best quality. They were only a dollar.
“I think we can get something a little nicer at Target,” Bella said. The twins nodded and she pulled away, driving them to the closest Target. They did find something for the goody bags that wouldn’t break the bank. For Liam’s guests, he got them some sort of superhero action figure, a small coloring book and a set of crayons. Lucy’s guests got a girly doll or small stuffed animal, a sticker set and some lip gloss. They got some plain small gift bags and curling ribbon, heading back to the house.
The twins darted off to work on homework, while Bella made dinner. She was finally freed from her wrist brace but it would always be weak and she would know that it was going to rain, thanks to the scar tissue and early onset arthritis. Bella kept dinner simple, reheating some lasagna she’d made over the Christmas break. As she was putting in the garlic bread, Edward came home. The dress clothes he was wearing were gone and he was in a set of dark blue scrubs. He looked so sad. “Everything okay, Edward?”
“Lost a patient today,” he sighed, walking over to Bella and nuzzling her close. “I was working at the office when one of my regular kiddos came in for shortness of breath. It wasn’t shortness of breath, Bella. He had a massive tumor growing in his belly and his mother thought he was having an asthma attack. It came out of nowhere. So, I went to surgically excise the tumor with Dr. VanDuzor. He just wouldn’t stop bleeding. We couldn’t cauterize the blood vessels fast enough. Dr. VanDuzor and I, we worked for hours trying to save this kid, but he lost too much blood. He bled out on the table.”
“Oh, Edward,” Bella sniffled. “I’m so sorry. How old was he?”
“Same age as Liam,” he said, holding Bella tighter and inhaling her soft, feminine scent. “The mother was so upset and understandably so. She threatened to sue us for malpractice, but it wasn’t anything we did. The kid is going to have an autopsy, at my insistence. We need to find out when the tumor began growing. I’m also going to check his history to see if it was something that I missed. His medical records are being delivered to my office tomorrow.” He looked at her, cupping her cheek and kissing her tenderly. “It hurts so much when you lose a patient. And to think that it could have been my fault.”
“Don’t think that way, Edward,” Bella said, her fingers massaging his shoulders. “You did everything you could to save that boy. The mother was probably overcome with grief and needed someone to blame. You were there and she attacked you.” She ran her fingers up to his hair and scratched his scalp. “Go upstairs. Take a shower and relax. Dinner will be ready when you’re done. Also, love up on your kids.”