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Breaking Dawn till Dusk

Edward and Bella have been married for 3 months. Edward is well into his first semester of law school at Washington State and it is time for some major changes to take place in their lives. Things, however, do not go exactly as planned.

1. Edward’s POV: Phone Call Three months into my marriage and fourteen weeks into my first semester of law school, I was blissfully happy with one and rapidly beginning to regret the other. Medical school had stimulated my brain, challenged me time and time again. A true interest in the field, and of course a real longing to follow in the courageous and hardworking footsteps of Carlisle, had got me through, not once but twice. I had come to the bitter realisation many years ago that I was not capable of practising medicine – studying it would have to be enough. But times change, and life constantly brings with it new experiences and challenges. I was beginning to wonder if the dream of actually practising as a doctor was within reach. In the past two years, my tolerance of blood and my self control had improved beyond belief. Bella becoming a part of my life – the most important and loving part – was the reason. Dr Edward Cullen …… it certainly had a ring to it! Carlisle could easily mentor me through the practical aspects, just as I had mentored him through the theoretical side of things for many years now. Washington State offered a medical degree …. third time around I was guaranteed high distinctions in every subject ……… why was I hesitating? What was stopping me, for heaven’s sake! I had all the time in the world, didn’t I? Besides, the law was so damned boring! I glanced at my watch as the professor’s voice droned on and on. Would this never end? Were there really people out there that dreamed of a career in litigation? I pitied them. At last it was two o’clock, and as soon as the lecturer had left the room I snatched the cell phone out of my jacket pocket and flipped it open. I hit “7” on speed dial and listened as the phone rang 190 kilometres away in Newton’s Outdoors Sporting Goods. After several rings the phone was answered by Karen Newton’s youthful and polite voice, bringing forth a distasteful and unwelcoming image of her heavily made up face and her bottle-blonde immaculate hairdo. “Newton’s Sporting Goods, may I help you?” “Hello Mrs Newton, it’s Edward here”, I fought to keep the grimace out of my voice. “Could I have a quick word with Bella, if she’s not serving?” “Well! Edward …. hello!” she exclaimed. “Didn’t she call you? Honestly, she’s so vague at times …. such a darling, really. I would have thought she’d got in touch with you”. “About what?” I was confused and somewhat impatient. Karen Newton often tested the limits of my patience. “About going home”, she replied. “She was dreadfully pale this morning, and just before lunch she nearly passed out! If it hadn’t been for my Mike …….well I don’t know what would have happened. He caught her just before she hit the floor! I told him to drop her home and make sure she got to bed all right”. Her voice dropped to a hesitant whisper. “Not that it’s any of my business, of course, but there isn’t a chance that she could be ……. well …… expecting, is there?” I gripped the cell phone tightly in my hand and fought down the sudden panic that always accompanied any news about Bella being hurt or suffering in any way. It was a wonder, sometimes, that she managed to make it through an entire day without some type of injury. “Danger magnet” was an immense understatement to anyone familiar with Bella and her endearing clumsiness. “No, no chance of that, Mrs Newton”, I responded briskly. “I’ll catch up with her at home – please thank Mike for me”. “Well, of course I will! Its just that I’ve seen so many expectant mothers …….”. I ended the phone call, too impatient to indulge in her latest theory. I had little time for people so engrossed in gossip that they allowed it to rule their existence, and I couldn’t help wondering exactly how long it would take before the entire population of Forks was informed of the Cullens’ “impending parenthood”. I immediately pressed “1” on my speed dial and waited, growing more concerned by the second, as Bella’s cell phone rang out. I walked quickly to where I had parked the volvo, jumping into the driver’s seat and gunning the engine. I fought back the anxiety crawling its way up from my stomach to my throat, turning the car for home and pressing the accelerator to the floor. * * * “Bella?”, I called loudly as I closed the front door behind me. I raced up the staircase, straining to hear her reply but only encountering an ominous silence. The door to our bedroom was closed, and without hesitating I pushed it open, fearing the worst as I always seemed to do when it came to my beautiful and somewhat delightfully accident-prone Bella. She was in bed, and I breathed a sigh of relief as I moved towards her. Curled on her side, she lay on top of the covers, her knees pressed up towards her chest and her arms wrapped tightly around her abdomen. Her pallor was as pale as I had ever seen it, dark circles visible beneath her eyes, and the way she clutched at her stomach immediately led me to believe that she was in some kind of pain. I knew from experience that her monthly period always left her low on iron levels, and sometimes wracked her body with debilitating cramps, and this was the conclusion I came to as I sat beside her on the bed and gently cupped her pale face in my large hand, managing a smile as she opened her eyes and looked up at me, a mixture of confusion and relief in her expression. “Edward? I thought you had lectures all afternoon”, she spoke softly and I shrugged as my fingers curled protectively around hers. “I think I can keep up”, I told her and pressed my lips gently against her clenched hand. What’s wrong, sweetheart? What can I do to help?” “Nothing”, she shook her head slightly. “I’m just ….. tired, I guess”. Bella’s delicious scent was always stronger during those four to five days each month when she was having her period, but I was surprised to discover, as I bent over her, that this particular scent I had been expecting was absent. I kissed her lips softly, and was taken back when I saw what looked to be fear in her eyes as I met her gaze. “Tell me”, I encouraged her gently. “Is it cramps?” She nodded slowly, and I took both of her hands in mine and pulled them away from her stomach. “Straighten out your legs”, I told her and she did so obediently, uncurling her body and moving onto her back. Silently I unbuttoned her hipster jeans and pulled down the short zipper. I placed my cool hand onto her flat abdomen and began to rub in a firm but gentle circular motion, willing her body to relax under my touch. As I caressed her I watched her pale face, wondering if it was just my imagination or did it look thinner to me than usual. Had she lost weight or was I merely reacting because she all of a sudden appeared even more vulnerable to me than she normally did? “Bella”. I spoke softly. “Did you eat today? You missed breakfast, remember? What did you have for lunch?” There was a full minute’s silence before she replied. “I wasn’t hungry”. “So you last ate when?” I tried to keep the frustration out of my voice, but by the look of guilt on Bella’s face I assumed I had failed dismally. “Edward …. don’t ….” “When did you eat?” My left hand continued its gentle caresses whilst my voice unintentionally hardened. “Dammit Bella, no wonder you’re passing out! Why aren’t you looking after yourself?” “I am. I just ……” she took a deep breath. “I still feel a little queasy from that flu last week. I’ll eat when I’m hungry, Edward, I promise”. I sighed as I pressed my lips against her warm forehead. “I’ll heat up some of that chicken soup in the fridge. Esme made up a gallon of it for you and there’s still plenty left. Give me ten minutes and I’ll bring some up with a slice of toast, and if you don’t eat every damned spoonful I’ll call Esme and tell her you can’t stand her cooking. Oh, and I think you should know, you’ve got Karen Newton knitting baby bootees in between serving customers”. I expected a smile, and instead was shocked when she squeezed her eyes shut tightly and pulled away from my hands. She was breathing in and out quickly, and what little colour had been in her face drained away completely. “Bella? What …….. ?” Without a word she jumped off the bed and rushed towards the bathroom, her hand clamped tightly across her mouth. Seconds later I heard the unmistakable sound of retching. I followed her, pushing the bathroom door open slowly and stepping inside. Bella was on her knees beside the toilet, her hands clutched tightly around the seat, her dark hair covering her ashen face, looking as if she was steadily losing an ongoing battle to hold onto her consciousness. I noticed that the only thing she was bringing up was bile; there was obviously nothing in her stomach. I knelt down behind her and pulled her gently up against me, supporting her weight. She offered no resistance, as weak as she was, and leaned back against me. There was a fresh sheen of perspiration on her forehead and her eyes were tightly closed. The handtowel was within easy reach and I grabbed it, rinsing it briefly under the cold tap with one hand whilst I kept a firm hold on Bella with the other. I wiped her hot, flushed face, folding the towel and then pressing it against the back of her neck. “I’m sorry”, she whispered as I pushed the damp hair away from her brow. “For what?” I spoke soothingly. “I didn’t vomit on you, did I?” “No”, I managed a smile. “You missed me entirely. Just relax, okay? I’m going to take you back to bed. You need to sleep”. I picked her up easily in my arms and carried her through to our bedroom. I tucked her in and then sat beside her, my fingers brushing gently against her cheek. Bella’s eyes were closed, her breathing even although her face was still pale and drawn. Her fingers clutched my other hand and I swallowed, my throat tight with emotion. “I’ll stay home tomorrow”, I whispered as her eyes closed. “I’m not leaving you alone”. Her eyes struggled to open. “No, Edward, I’m okay! Please, please go on your trip. Promise me, okay?” “Let’s see how you are in the morning”, I sighed, and bent down to touch my lips against hers. “I love you, baby. Sleep well now”.

10. Introduction

Rating 5/5   Word Count 1487   Review this Chapter

10. Edward’s POV:

An Introduction

I reversed into the first available parking space, applied the handbrake and shoved the gearstick into “park”. As I switched off the ignition, an audible gasp came from beside me. I turned quickly, and then followed Bella’s gaze. The hospital loomed before us – a second home for Carlisle, a cause of terror for Bella. I reached across and took Bella’s hand in mine. Her eyes were wide, her breathing much too fast, as she stared up at the brick building in front of us. Her fingers tightened around mine and she closed her eyes for a brief moment.

“I hate hospitals”. Her voice was barely a whisper, and I lifted her hand to my lips, kissing it gently. “I always associate them with pain, and lots and lots of needles”.

“Not this time”. I shook my head. “There’s nothing to be frightened of today, Bella. Besides, I told you, I won’t leave your side – remember?”

“Edward . . .”. Her voice trembled uncontrollably as she finally turned to me. “Would . . . would you hate me if I . . . if I told you that there’s a part of me that wishes this was all some big mistake?”

“No”, I managed to smile as I brushed light fingers down her cheek. “I would understand, Bella, truly I would. I know how . . .” I struggled for the right word “. . .how anxious you are – for immortality. Not that I understand that part!” She smiled in return and I held her face gently in both of mine. “If this really is happening, then we’re going to have to put those plans on hold, for at least a year”.

“Oh crap!” she muttered. “I’m going to have to turn 20, aren’t I?”

“I’ll be 108 next year; I’ll still have 88 years on you, love”.

Bella glanced once again at the foreboding walls in front of us, and then sighed heavily. “Lets do this”, she spoke resignedly.

“Good idea”. I held her hand tightly as we approached the hospital entrance. I could feel her body trembling beside mine so I let go of her hand and wrapped my arm around her waist instead. Carlisle was waiting for us, a reassuring smile on his face which did nothing for either of us, and dutifully escorted us to the third floor of the maternity wing. I fought to keep my own nerves in check as we passed an ominous-looking doorway displaying a sign that read “Birthing Unit”. I had never been to this section of the hospital before; the majority of my visits to Carlisle took place in the ER or on the general wards. I suppose to everybody else this maternity wing appeared cheerful and welcoming, with its assorted colorful posters portraying very pregnant women, newborn babies, the different stages of labor, the many different positions recommended for birthing, and brand-new mothers, breastfeeding their tiny, totally dependent newborns. Quite simply, I was terrified. This was a world totally unfamiliar to me, a world I had never envisaged myself belonging to. A father? How on earth was I going to deal with this? How did I even begin?

Through these terrifying thoughts, I was vaguely aware of Carlisle opening a door for us and ushering us through. The room was bare, a hard bench covered by a thin white sheet and a small computer-like machine beside it. Carlisle gestured for Bella to lie on the make-shift bed, pulling up a stool so that I could sit beside her. He reached over to switch on the machine as I took a seat next to Bella, my hand enclosing hers and squeezing comfortingly.

“This uses ultrasound waves to allow us to look inside the uterus”, he explained to Bella with a smile. “We can take measurements of the baby which will give us a more accurate date of delivery. It’s too early to tell the sex of the baby, but at least we’ll be able to determine if the pregnancy is … well, if it’s liable to continue”.

Beside me, Bella was nodding, her face devoid of all emotion. I brought her hand up to my lips and kissed it tenderly. She must have been terrified, and yet she was doing a better job of hiding it than I was.

Carlisle was covering a probe-like appendage with some type of conductive gel. “You’ll need to unbutton your jeans, Bella”, he spoke softly.

As her hands went to the top button of her pants, I noticed the uncontrollable trembling of her fingers. She bit her lip and sent me a desperate glance. I reached across and quickly unbuttoned them myself, pulling down the short zipper and exposing her soft, flat abdomen.

“Don’t stress, sweetheart”, I whispered close to her ear. “I’m right here beside you. We’ll get through this together”.

She closed her eyes briefly and then nodded once, her gaze now fixed on my face.

Carlisle pressed the probe against Bella’s abdomen, just above her pubic bone. Almost immediately an image popped up onto the screen, consisting of several different shapes and colors that tended to blend into each other – impossible to interpret. I narrowed my eyes, leaning closer to the screen and striving to make sense of the dynamic image before me. One glance at Bella’s face told me that she was just as baffled.

“There we are”. Carlisle spoke softly, and when I looked across at him I was surprised to see excitement in his eyes. I turned once again towards the screen – and froze.

Yes, there were greys, whites and blacks that came together in a confusing image, different-sized shapes that meant nothing at all to me; and yet, as clear as crystal, distinct beyond all doubt, there it was – a four-chambered heart that beat as solidly as life itself, 148 beats per minute, blessedly normal for a 10 week old human embryo.

My jaw dropped, and I stared across at Carlisle, desperately wanting to hold onto the hope that had just flooded my entire insides. “Is it?” My voice was barely a whisper. “Is that a heartbeat?”

Carlisle’s previously tense face broke into a huge grin, and he nodded. “Absolutely”. He glanced down at Bella. “Congratulations, mom-to-be! There’s your baby!”

I watched with wonder as Bella’s gaze focused on the screen beside her. The confusion on her face slowly cleared, and her eyes widened as they fixed on the beating pulse of our baby’s heart. The image before us gradually became clearer, and now I was able to make out arms, legs, head, and even tiny fingers and toes. I was incredulous – I had never in my entire existence experienced a moment such as this. I met Carlisle’s eyes and he smiled at me, nodding slightly. My throat was obstructed, if I had been human I was positive the tears would have flowed unhindered, yet the joy I felt could never be surpassed. Our child was alive – he or she had a heartbeat – and I was going to be a father! A role I had not craved in 90 years.

Suddenly, in the space of a fleeting moment, all of my doubts and anxieties disappeared. I no longer worried about my ability to fulfil the role of father. Somehow I knew, without a doubt, that I could do this. Bella and I could do this! I would be the best role model imaginable for my son, or my daughter. I would be there – 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Compassionate, understanding, stern – when it was needed – and always, always loving. I would strive to be the best father I could possibly be. And Bella would be the perfect mother.

Finally, across the image of our child on the computer screen, my eyes met hers. Tears rolled slowly down her cheeks, and I took both of her hands in mine, pressing them against my silent heart. “He’s okay”, she whispered softly, and I nodded, smiling. “He’s ours, Edward. I love him already!”

“So do I”, I swallowed with difficulty. “I think . . . I’m sorry, love, but I really think he’s a she”.

Bella squeezed her eyes until they were almost closed and peered closer at the screen. “What can you see that I can’t?”

“Nothing”. I smiled across at her. “Just a feeling. I want her to be just like you”. I bent down and pressed my lips against hers. “I love you so much, Isabella Cullen”.

“Me too”. We laughed together, and Carlisle finished all of the technical data as we stared into each other’s eyes. According to the ultrasound results, our baby was 11 weeks gestation and was due in late June. He or she had a heartbeat, a future, and was, without a doubt in the world, an absolute miracle.