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Shades of Gray

In 1432, Aro heard a prophecy that would change the immortal lives of the Cullens......forever.


6. Gifts in Black and White

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Children see the world in black and white. Bad men wear black hats and have black mustaches. They see the good people as "prince charming" and "the damsel in distress." They see the fireflies as magical and the stars as eyes watching the people on earth. They see things on this earth that adults refuse to see. They see demons and creatures that are only figments of humanities imagination. Then again, they see the good along with the bad. Children see the sun peak over the mountain tips and snow flakes as magical lands holding small creatures from Dr. Seuss's children stories. That is the one thing all people lose when they age. They lose that innocence, that purity that comes with being young and naive.

When people age they realized that the world was made up of different shades of good and bad, they see that the world is not all black and white. There are gray spots in everything. Not every person who committes a crime is evil, and not every person who has a clean record is lovable. Then, there are those who do things that would be considered wrong in order to do what is right. Like, for example, when Edward left Bella, he assumed that he was doing something noble and selfless, but Edward had always been one to overreact.

Even though Edward had this amazing gift that would always be apart of him, the ones he loved around him had figured out ways to beat his mind reading system. How to hide their thoughts and when they did this, it drove him down the path of insanity. It was the beginning of March and warmth was in the air. Bella was barely visible, but she had a small bump and people had to look extremely hard to tell that she was with child. On this particular day, Bella had a plan. A plan that Alice, Esme, Rosalie, and for some unknown reason Aro, knew about. Of course, her mother figure and her two sisters were going to help her create this present she had come up with for her husband. Her husband at the moment was going crazy with not knowing what was going on. It was killing him and that fact made the process even more enjoyable.

The four woman left the castle for the private beach they had rented out for the day. Edward watched them leave, each masking their thoughts so that he couldn't read them; it annoyed the living hell out of him. Esme's mind was filled with locations of baby-clothes stores, while Rosalie was thinking of noone else but herself. It was a miracle that she was even helping Bella, in whatever she was doing at all. Alice's mind, however, seemed to be the most annoying out of all. She was singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Stare in German and was having to much fun with the irritated looks on Edwards face as they were leaving.

The beach was deserted, like they expected it to be. They couldn't exactly preform the present making with a whole bunch of people crowding the place. The waves were perfect, gliding in and out. Each and every woman vampire that stood on that chosen beach and knew that underneath all that water, held another world full of secrets. A world that paralleled theirs. The human race didn't know how many secrets those depths held. Though, if they couldn't even figure out what their own world held, who says they could figured out all the truths of another.

Esme and Rosalie began setting up the shoot while Alice began playing dress-up with Bella.

"I love this idea! Edward is going to die!" Alice said, while prancing around like a pixie princess. She pulled a sparkling black dress, that puffed out such as a very expensive prom dress would, off the hanger and Bella slipped her self into the frame of the dress. She looked perfect.

Bella stepped out of the shadow and into the sunlight. The rays reflected off her skin, showing the beauty Edward had gifted her with. The three woman around her sucked in a breath, even Rosalie was captivated by the beauty that Bella showed. Being a Cullen was anything close from ordinary. She walked along the beach line,andlet the bottom of the dress get wet. She stared at the sun while the wind played a gleeful game with the strands of her hair that where let to hang. Vampires regarded time by the decade, but just for today, Bella enjoyed the moment. She even forgot that other presents were around her. She played the memories that were forever embroidered into her private mind.

Bella replayed her wedding like a movie she seen a thousand times. Her first dance that foreshadowed many more to come. She twirled in Edward's arm's as she knew her father watched. She had played with the puff of her white dress that mirrored the black one she was wearing now. Then she played the memory of their first time. The time Edward had "tried". Though she didn't come out un-bruised; she came out blissfully happy. Being Mrs. Edward Cullen wasn't something she feared, but something that completed her everlasting life. But, the one thing she was never really ready to give up, was the two people who cared beyond anything she had ever realized. Today, under the brutal sun that she could just barely feel, she began to understand the love of a mother, and that was something deeper and more powerful than any other feeling or emotion she had ever compared to.

Esme snapped the camera for the more appropriate pictures while Bella acted normally; as she would have any other time.

"Personally, I would never want to have Edward's gift. Some of the things he has to hear..." Rosalie began, but trailed off. She watched as Esme snapped photos of one of her adoptive daughters.

"I imagine its not all that bad, but then again, I've never been in the mind of Emmett, and personally don't want to!" Alice said, jokingly, and Rosalie punched her in the arm. Alice tackled Rosalie and they fell onto the sand; giggling like school girls.

While the girls had their fun creating the mysterious present that was for Edward, he was at home, brooding. He hated being deaf as much as Alice hated being blind. He understood that it might seem rude to know things that he shouldn't and he understood that his family needed to find a way to mask their thoughts, actually, he promoted the idea. But this time it was different, they were keeping something from him when it was about him. Did Bella feel this way when he kept the secret of Alice's vision about Victoria returning? If she did, he felt bad now, because this had bugged the hell out of him.

Still brooding I see. The thoughts of Jasper floated to him through the open air while his brother wore a knowing smirk on his face.

"I am not brooding!" Edward responded, trying to convince himself of the opposite.

"Right, and I am best friends with Jane. I can feel you remember. You know, that whole, vampire having special abilities. Your wife loves to toy us with hers." Jasper said sarcastically. "Just remember you kept things from Bella, and you will find out whatever they are planing eventually." Jasper said smirking.

"You know, don't you!?" Edward excused.

"Nope. All I know is how Alice felt about it, she was extremely excited about it." Jasper said.

"That only makes me more interested!"

"Ladies and gentlemen, I think we found a way for vampires to die without being dismembered. Curiosity!" Jasper announced to no one, before Edward smacked him upside the head, something that he would have normally reserved for Emmet.

Edward left the room they were discussing in and escaped to his and Bella's personal paradise. Their private living area, which had recently acquired a piano. Edward sat down in front of the keys and began to play a beautiful melody. Bella's lullaby. This song always put him at ease. Once the lovely melody was complete, he pulled out a music sheet that was almost blank. There were a few notes placed at the beginning but the majority of the sheet was blank. That sheet of paper was as empty as most of the world; living without meaning. But it was the people of the world who made the notes of music come alive, haunted by things that mortals only wished didn't exist. It was the hope and the love that made the personal music of each and every soul play. It was the love Edward held for his unborn child that created the music.

He continued to play with keys and writing a precious melody. It held a certain softness and warmth that a child could give. He lost himself within the music as he played the memories he saw in Alice's vision. Parts of his baby's life, something he was longing to experience. He was enjoying the pregnancy though, even if Bella could get irritable at times. She often craved the blood of the oddest things. A platypus, for example. They'd had to have Heidi bring it in from somewhere outside the walls of the city. That adventure annoyed Heidi to bits, but she wanted to please her masters, or just do as she was told, so she would not be ripped into pieces.

Edward continued working. The music pierced the silent household and he knew any being with immortal ears could hear his emotions. That is how he worked, exploding his emotions through music. From his love for Bella to his love for his child. Nothing was stronger than the love a parent held for their child and that bond could only get stronger. That was a miracle that was never meant to happen and part of that realization, hurt. It stung as if someone accepted something they fought hard to ignore. Vampires or the Cullens for that matter tried to ignore what they had become at first. Trying to ignore the fate that had bestowed them. Trying to ignore the things that they could never experience. And after realizing that fact was something painful but when one was giving a gift they thought they were lost but, all they needed to do was embrace it.

He stopped playing the melody and went to the door where he knew someone was waiting to talk with him. Aro was waiting on the other side. Edward stepped away from the opening of the door and motioned for Aro to come in.

"The piano is a nice touch to the room. Though I must admit, it reviles more about you than realize." Aro said, gliding to the couch and made himself at home.

"It does? Pray tell, how may that be?" Edward asked though knowing the answer before it was spoken.

"Emotions are a beautiful thing, but they can betray your most weakest points. Most people have a way of channeling their emotions, yours is through music. That lullaby your writing for your child is one of the most beautiful melody that has graced my ears in centuries."

"Thanks, but I don't understand what your saying."

"Love is blinding and we don't want to see the things that could take that away from us." Protect your child, the world depends on that. Then without a word Aro left.


Edward was banned from their room for what seemed like hours, though in reality it was only five minutes. Bella said that she needed to prepare, the last time she said those exact same words was their wedding night. That thought made this extremely long day, last even longer. He wanted to know what she was hiding from him. She said that she just wanted to make him happy, but how could she when he was already blissfully happy. His after life was like plunging into ecstasy for eternity. The door to their apartment opened and Bella poked her head out.

"You were waiting out here the entire time?" She asked amused while her hands were on her hips. If Edwards heart was beating it would have stopped, but then again, that is how he always was when she was around. Her outfit was simple, comfortable. Sweat pants and a white T-shirt with her hair pulled up into a pony tale. Edward didn't need her to dress up, he really preferred her not to be dressed at all, but since she became pregnant, even a outfit that look as if it was puked on was lovely on her.

"I wouldn't of had to if someone would have let me into the room." He said walking up to her and kissing her on the mouth. He placed hands on her belly which was showing better in this outfit than all the others.

"Oh, is Mr. Cullen pouting because he doesn't know what I have been up to all day?" Bella asked as she trailed kisses down Edwards neck.

"I wouldn't call it pouting." He muttered under his breath.

"Of course you wouldn't. Now come inside like a good boy and see what a treat I have for you." Bella said, a strong hint of mischief hidden in her voice. She took his hand in hers and pulled him inside. A fire was lit in a fire place, that sent a glow through the dark room. Bella opened the french doors that led to their bedroom and above their dresser held a simple black a white picture of the love of his existence.

Bella was alone on a beach in the picture. She wore black dress that, even in the picture, showed her diamond skin glistening off her body. The wind was blowing lightly, for her hair was flowing behind her. And he saw that her eyes were closed and a hand resting on smallest bump of her belly. The picture pulled at his still heart. A simple picture, to record that moment in their lives that woud not last very long. Nine months isn't a life time. The picture sung to him, breathed the melody that he plays in his mind.

The fire crackled in the fire place, flames danced in the darkened room. The shadows played off the walls and passed over their glass-like skin. They were still, perfectly still. They were lost in a trance that invaded them both. If they had moved or breathed it would have broke their connection they felt at that moment. They loved each other, and they felt it in the air. Nothing could of come between them, ever.

After awhile, or maybe an eternity, Bella broke away and moved from the portrait of herself. She wrapped her arms around Edward's still form and his shoulders relaxed. His breath that wasn't needed began to slow, but neither of them realized that he had beenbreathing rather fast. She took his face in her hands and rubbed his cheek bone, something he had done to her thousands of times. They continued like this for hours, not wanting to break away from each other. Wanting to be lost in their internal connection.

Edward moved his hands, which were resting on Bella's shoulders, down to her womb were his child grew. He loved this child more than he loved mortality. What makes a true and wonderful father was a father who loved his children before they even enter this world. This baby sung for him, just as Bella did. Just as Bella filled the empty space in Edward's heart, this child made him complete. Nothing was missing from him and he would have laid down his life for the baby growing in his lovers womb. He expected that Bella would have to do the same, and she would have, no questions asked.

"I love the picture, its perfect." Edward asked, touching his forehead with hers.

"I knew you would, because I know you better than you know yourself. Plus, Alice saw your reaction in a vision. And some other things." Bella replied, while she bit her bottom lip and looked up at him with innocent eyes.

"I just realized how bad I must feel for Alice. I only have to hear them, but she has to see them." Edward said with a laugh. Bella put a finger to his lips and smiled.

"Now none of that, there are children in the room" She said, joining her hands on her stomach with his.

"Indeed there is." Then he covered his mouth with hers while he gently picked her up and led her to the bed.


They drove out of Port Angeles and across the border of La Push. The ride was silent, and they knew that they couldn't be seen. Aro and his "new" family, were blind. Over the centuries, Alec and the other vampires learned ways to hide thoughts and avoid being touched by Aro's cold hands. He could lie while still being honest and he could commit treason and still be seen as loyal. Aro trusted the people closet to him, but, what he didn't realize was that the one monster he needed to be warned about held his protection in the palm of his hand. Nothing was as it seemed.

Children stopped and stared as the black car passed. They didn't understand why or how, but that passing car made their hairs stand on end. Though, the car was not a herse, it did hold several beings that were not alive in the mortal sense. They smelt beautifully, and Alec wanted them. He would do as he always did, pose as a child wanting children to come out and play with him. He would dazzle them and convince them to go places they normally wouldn't go. Then, he killed them with a sickening sense of joy. In fairy-tales, children lived and villains were captured, but in reality, children died and villains ran unmasked. The monsters were real but so were the angels.

Now was not the time to indulge on innocent blood. Innocent was Alec's personal preference. He was innocent once, years and years ago. But when he was human, he still wasn't right. Sickening and murdering thoughts had always run through his mind. The guard was terrified of him for they knew that he had invented several painful ways of death for them. Somethings should be left inexperienced. He couldn't approach them, for, that would show him in bad light with the dogs. A light that wasn't to good at the moment, with him being able to be their ancestors and all. They felt it was inhuman to kill humans. They believed that vampires should forfeit their natural food source. Giving up the feel of blood flowing down their throats was close to insanity.

The Cullens. Alec sneered their name in his head. He didn't really understand it, but he wanted them all dead. He hated them, even from Carlisle's first visit. Death was what he lived for and death is the gift he wanted to give them. He could picture it every single one of them dead and the ways they would die, well almost all of them. He would keep Bella alive for birthing sake, then he would come up with some imaginative way of being rid of her. He hated this child with every fiber in his immortal being. Yet, he wanted this source of power all the same. If he had the baby and raised it to be, in his sense, correct, Alec could rule this earth, and everything that came with it. That is what he wanted.

Alec wanted the mortals to be afraid of every corner. To scared to turn without fearing death. Having to look over their shoulders for someone or something threatening their lives. He wanted stores dedicated to the slaughter of people of all ages. The younger the blood, the finer it came. Alec would spread his disease. Spared the venom through the veins of so many lives. He would ruin families and destroy nations. Alec smiled at the fantasy.

The car began to slow and a strong stench graced his nose. The smell of wet and unwashed dogs reached him. He scowled and opened the door to the view of trees on one side and a cliff on the other. Alec could hear the sound of waves hit the side of the rocks. He smiled as he realized that must be wear Bella jumped off the cliff and drove Edward into suicide.

We should have killed him then, so we wouldn't be in this mess now. Alec thought and wish he could turn back time to change that fatal course of history. Thunder rolled over head and a mass of rain began to hit the tree tops. Within the tree's he saw eyes that watched him and his companions. He looked around and he saw he was surrounded. In front of him was Jacob Black, leader of the pack. Alec waltzed forward while hundreds of werewolves growled in his wake.