Milk Money Chapter 10
I was falling for him, and hard. It had been such a short time period, yet Charlie held a huge piece of my heart and I was so glad that I was given the opportunity to play such an important part in his life. I’d nursed him successfully all day and he was able to latch on most of the time on the first try.
He’d just finished nursing and had fallen asleep when I heard Elizabeth scream. It was the kind of scream that makes a mother’s heart drop into her stomach. I jumped up and put Charlie in his crib as quickly as I could. I heard her scream again and then laugh. I ran down the hall to hear another screech followed by more giggles.
I don’t know what I expected to see in the living room, but it wasn’t Edward with a towel over his head chasing Elizabeth around. She was screaming and giggling as he’d get closer to her.
“The tickle monster is going to get you,” he laughed causing her to scream again and run from him, only to run closer a moment later so that he could ‘catch’ her and tickle her. When he let her go it started all over again.
I couldn’t help myself and I burst out laughing. Edward pulled off the towel and looked up at me with the sheepish little boy grin on his face that melted my heart and made me forget for a moment that he was another woman’s man.
“I uh… we were playing,” he explained.
“I see that,” I said, walking down the stairs. I looked around for Alice.
He must have known what I was thinking because he continued explaining the situation. “Oh, um, Alice went to help the woman who came to pick up Tanya’s dress choices for the Oscars. I said I’d keep an eye on Elizabeth. We were playing I hope it’s alright.”
I bet Alice loved talking to the designer, even if it was just an assistant. Alice was always into fashion and had once wanted to work in costume design for movies. And of course it was alright. I was just about to say that when Elizabeth spoke.
“More!” she giggled picking up the towel and handing it to him. He looked at me and back at her. “Pweese!”
I saw his cheeks turn a bit pink before he put the towel back over his head and resumed chasing her around the room.
“Of course it’s alright. She loves it!”
They were still playing when Alice came in. Elizabeth couldn’t get enough. She seemed to crave the ‘rough house’ type of play. It made me worry that I wasn’t playing with her in the way that she needed and it made me a little bit more angry that Jacob had left her life before she was even born.
Our first night started out uneventfully. I gave Elizabeth a bath and put her to bed. She slept in Charlie’s portable crib, though Edward said he’d order her any crib I wanted to put in her room.
She went to bed without a fuss and I found myself in the room between hers and Charlie’s. The new pair of pajamas I’d ordered felt amazing on my skin as did the sheets. I was asleep in no time.
I don’t know how long I slept, but when I heard the cries of Charlie I sat up. Glancing at the clock, I saw it was a bit after one in the morning. He’d slept for at least three hours. I knew he’d be starving. I got up quickly and went to him before he could wake anyone else.
I picked him up and he stopped crying instantly, his little mouth rooting at my pajama top. I quickly unbuttoned my top, but not before he’d become frustrated and had started crying again. I wasn’t wearing a bra, so that helped, but he’d worked himself into a frenzy from crying.
What happened next happened so fast, I’m not even really sure what took place. One minute I was looking down at Charlie in the glow of his nightlight, trying to get him latched onto my breast, and the next thing, the room was flooded with light, blinding me. Edward yelled out, “OH SHIT!” and flipped the lights back off.
I sat there in stunned silence for a moment. Then I heard a soft knock at the door. “Bella? Oh God. I’m so sorry. I don’t know what the fuck I was thinking.” Edward was whispering loudly.
“I um… Edward what happened?” I was trying to be quiet so I didn’t wake Elizabeth or make Charlie start to cry again.
“I heard Charlie cry and I guess I’m so used to getting up to get him, I forgot you might get him too, and well, I didn’t see much.”
MUCH? My mind raced. What had he seen? He said something else but I couldn’t hear. I looked down and covered Charlie with the light blanket while he ate. “Edward, I can’t hear you. You can come in.”
He was silent for a minute. “Did you say I can come in?”
“Yes,” I whisper shouted back checking once more to make sure I was covered.
He opened the door slowly and walked in the room. He was looking the complete opposite direction. “It’s alright, I’m covered.”
“Oh!” he said and turned around slowly. His cheeks turned pink when he realized that I was still feeding Charlie. You could hear the loud slurping sounds that newborns sometimes made when they were very hungry.
“He, uh... wow that’s loud!” Edward finally said breaking a bit of the tension.
I smiled. “It just means he’s hungry and the gulping sound means he’s swallowing so it’s all good.”
Edward nodded. We were silent for nearly a full minute, but it felt like ten. “I am really sorry to have walked in on you. I wasn’t thinking. I’d been sound asleep.”
I didn’t want to tell him that it was obvious he’d been asleep. His hair was standing on end and completely tousled, yet he looked sexier than I’d ever seen him. I hadn’t even thought about what I looked like until that moment. I hoped I didn’t look awful. I had to laugh to myself, why was I even worried? Sure, he was hot, but he wouldn’t think that I was. I mean, he was engaged to Tanya Denali! She’d just had his baby.
“He will probably wake up again,” I said looking at the clock. “You don’t have to get up next time.”
Edward shook his head. “I don’t mind. He usually needs a change. I won’t come in until you’re done though if this bothers you.”
He was being so sweet. “No, this doesn’t bother me.” The truth was, I was nervous as hell, but not because I was nursing, well that was a little of it, but it was more because I was sitting in a bedroom, alone in the dark with Edward Cullen. Edward Cullen! “And you don’t have to change him. I really don’t mind changing his diapers.”
“He’s my son, and you are doing more than enough. I just want to care for him when I am here. I know that I’ll be gone soon enough.”
His words hit me like a ton of bricks. Gone? Flashes of Jacob came back to me. It wasn’t the same, of course. Edward and I didn’t have a child together, but still, something about the thought of him being gone upset me.
“When do you go?” I asked, looking down at Charlie and not into Edward’s eyes.
“I have two weeks left before filming starts.” Charlie would only be three weeks old. It seemed so young. “I wanted to wait longer, but this is a great opportunity. Do you watch the show Criminal Analysts?” I nodded. Of course I did. Who didn’t? It was one of the most popular shows on television, but Edward wasn’t on it. “Well, the main character, Harry Clearwater, is retiring and I’m taking his place. I wanted a bit more time off, but this is such a good opportunity. I will have steady work close to home. I’ll only shoot a few months a year. The rest of the time I can be with Charlie, and even when I am shooting, I can make it home most nights before he goes to sleep.”
“That’s great. He will appreciate having both of his parents around.”
Edward looked at me in confusion for a moment, then spoke. “Oh, well it will be just me for sure. Tanya is starting a movie in a few months, once the doctor clears her from the birth.”
Now it was my turn to look confused. “She’s going away so soon?”
Edward sighed. “Tanya has lots of great qualities, apparently motherhood isn’t one of them.”
I found what he said hard to believe. I couldn’t imagine any mother leaving her baby on purpose. Then again, I couldn’t imagine her not nursing him when he clearly needed it. That thought brought my attention back to Charlie. He was turning his head. It was time to switch sides but with Edward there, I wasn’t sure the best way to do it. I was about to speak when Charlie pulled off with a loud pop and started to cry. Edward looked concerned. “I need to switch sides, um, do you mind turning around?”
“I’m sorry,” Edward said, blushing and turning to face the wall.
I moved Charlie quickly and fixed the blanket. “Uh, it’s alright now,” I said in a soft tone so I wouldn’t wake Charlie or Elizabeth.
Edward turned back around. “I think it’s wonderful what you are doing for him. He is so lucky to have you. Before you, I dreaded when he woke because I knew that all he did was cry. Now I look forward to it.”
Edward’s face turned bright red. “I mean, I look forward to playing with him, not you nursing him.”
I couldn’t help but laugh. I knew what he had meant. The laughter seemed to break some of the tension and we just had a conversation after that. He told me about his television show shooting schedule.
When Charlie was finished, Edward changed him and put him back to bed. I went back to bed listening to him talk to his son. I didn’t even know I’d fallen asleep until I heard the crying again. When I looked at the clock it was four in the morning.
It only took me a moment to get up and get Charlie. I’d just sat down to nurse when Edward knocked on the open door frame. “Bella?”
I pulled the blanket over Charlie’s head. “Yes, Edward. I’ve got him. You can go back to bed.”
“No, it’s alright. I’ll just wait …”
He was cut off by another voice. “Mommy?” Elizabeth called.
I stood up with Charlie trying to keep him latched on. I’d made it only a few feet when I heard, “Mommy is with baby Charlie. Do you want to go see her?”
I didn’t hear an answer, but a moment later, Edward was in the doorway of Charlie’s room with Elizabeth in his arms. Elizabeth looked at me and smiled. “Mommy!”
“Hi Sweetie,” I said smiling back at her.
“Where baby?” she asked in her cute little voice.
“I’m holding him,” I said, pointing at the blanket.
Elizabeth didn’t seem to believe me so I moved the blanket a bit and she smiled. “Baby!” she said. Edward let out a soft groan and I worried that she was hurting him.
“If she’s heavy, you can set her down,” I said to him.
“She’s not, but I’ll sit with her.”
It was only five minutes and Elizabeth was curled up on Edward’s lap fast asleep again. I wasn’t surprised, it was hours before she normally woke up. What I was surprised about was how quickly she seemed to have bonded with Edward and how much my heart melted when I saw her sleeping in his arms. We didn’t even speak, and when Charlie was done, I put him down while Edward returned Elizabeth to the porta crib. Long after he returned to his room I lay in bed thinking how wonderful it would be if this was really my life. If this was how it always had been and how it always would be.
When I woke at six, I went to check on both of them. Elizabeth was awake and playing with her stuffed bunny that was in the porta crib. I lifted her out of bed. Holding her in my arms, I decided to check on Charlie too. I was surprised that he was awake. He was just laying in his bed sucking his thumb.
“Baby!” Elizabeth said pointing at him.
“Mommy will pick him up, but you have to walk. Can you be a big girl?”
Elizabeth nodded and I set her down. I knew a few people who had kids that were a year apart. I had a whole new respect for them. The stairs were tricky. I held Charlie tightly and held Elizabeth’s hand. She’d been walking for a month now, but I’d always carried her on the stairs. We made it to the bottom safely and I headed to the kitchen. Charlie was starting to fuss, so as soon as we got in there, I grabbed a banana, handed it to Elizabeth and sat down to nurse Charlie. Elizabeth climbed up next to us and ate happily. It was a peaceful moment until I heard Edward yelling from the top of the stairs.
“BELLA? OH GOD BELLA!”
“I’m in here!” I answered, but he was still yelling. His voice got louder and I could hear him running down the stairs.
“EMMETT!!!!! I NEED YOU NOW! SOMEONE TOOK CHARLIE AND... Bella.” The last word was said softly as he burst into the kitchen spotting me at the kitchen table nursing Charlie.
“I’m on it boss!” Emmett’s voice said through the phone Edward held in his hand.
“Nevermind. I uh, over reacted.” Edward froze on the spot staring at me. I had a small receiving blanket covering us. A bit of my cleavage was showing, but I was mostly covered.
“You thought I stole Charlie?”
“No, well, for a brief moment, but I was actually more worried that someone took all three of you!” he answered, still not moving.
“I’m sorry I worried you,” I said as Emmett threw the back door open at the same time Alice ran into the kitchen.
“Is everything alright?” both of them shouted at nearly the same time.
I responded, “Yes,” but Edward was busy doing something else entirely to answer. He’d ripped off the t-shirt he was wearing and put it over the front of me covering my chest and Charlie. He was glaring at Emmett.
“What are you doing?” I asked in shock. Half from his actions and the other half from the view I now had of Edward Cullen wearing only sleep pants in his kitchen.
“I wanted to cover you in case… I don’t know...In case you didn’t want Emmett to see you nursing.”
Emmett laughed, a low rumble coming from his wide chest. “I have four sisters and they all have kids. I’ve seen enough nursing not to be bothered by it.” He walked over to Charlie and took Edward’s t-shirt from where he’d just thrown it. “He won’t be able to breath, and besides, she’s got it covered.” He smiled at me. He was right, nearly all of my chest was covered with the receiving blanket.
The situation got lighter after that and things at Edward’s house were great. We spent the day much like the one before swimming and just talking. Edward and Elizabeth spent a lot of time together, which surprised me. He really seemed to like playing with her. They splashed in the pool and he continued to fill the house with her screams when the tickle monster came out.
Jasper came over and said he’d issued the press release. Since the release, there were only a few people at Edward’s gate and he expected the same at my apartment. All the same, Edward insisted that he send a moving company there to get our things. Alice and I decided to keep the apartment since this living arrangement wasn’t necessarily permanent and we had a lease. Paying the rent on the place would be easy with what Edward was paying us. He’d also insisted that our food was part of our salary and that he’d just adjust the amount of food the staff ordered. After adding a few things that both Alice and I liked and baby food for Elizabeth, things seemed all set.
We’d been there three days before anything unusual happened, and it all seemed to happen at once. It was late afternoon and I’d been in Charlie’s room nursing him. He’d just woken up from his nap, as had Elizabeth. Edward and I had been laying by the pool with the baby monitor between us. I heard Charlie start to cry first, then Elizabeth.
I’d stood up, but so had Edward. It wasn’t unusual as he often took one or the other when Alice was in class. Even when she was there, he was usually helping out in some way.
So I’d headed up the stairs to Charlie’s room and left Edward to get Elizabeth. I’d just started nursing when the two of them came in the room. “Mama!” Elizabeth said wiggling from Edward’s arms.
He set her down and she came over to me. “Baby?” she asked pointing at the bundle in my arms under the blanket.
“Yes, this is Charlie,” I said smiling at her.
She smiled at me and then smiled at Edward. “Tittle monter?” she said. We both knew what she meant.
Edward laughed. “You want the tickle monster now?”
“Yes!” she said flapping her arms and giggling.
“I’ll get the towel,” Edward said excitedly.
“No, bwanket!” Elizabeth exclaimed and pulled the blanket right off of Charlie. Elizabeth had no clue what she’d just done, but Edward sure noticed. He was standing there with his mouth wide open, gulping for air staring at Charlie suck madly on my breast.
Technically most of my breast was covered by his head. My nipple was, as it was in his mouth, but still, I felt more naked than I ever had in my life. A groan came from Edward.
“Tittle! Tittle!” Elizabeth said happily, having no clue the situation she’d just created. I still hadn’t moved and neither had Edward.
“Uh… Tit..tittle… I mean tickle...” he said, making us both turn red.
I don’t know how long we just stayed frozen like that, me in the chair nursing Charlie, Edward staring at me wide eyed, and Elizabeth in the middle looking between us. It was an unexpected voice that broke us both from the trance.
“What the hell is going on here?” I heard a woman shout from downstairs. “It looks like a baby store threw up in my house!”
I didn’t recognize the voice, as it was a high pitched screeching, but there was only one woman who would call this place home. As happy as I was for Charlie, a bit of me felt like it died inside when I realized that the wonderful pretend family we’d been having would be over now. She’d take her son back, and I’d just be there for feedings. I didn’t realize how attached I’d grown to him until that moment. I held him just a little bit tighter.
“Oh Shit!” Edward said turning toward Charlie’s door the moment he’d heard her voice. He looked like a little boy who’d been caught with his hand in the cookie jar, only he hadn’t done anything wrong. No one had really. I mean, my other breast was covered, and he really couldn’t see much of the one Charlie was nursing from. “Tanya’s home.”