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”.
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12. Edward’s POV:
“And you said there was no chance of it!” I cringed inwardly at the scoffing tone and the irritating laughter. “Thank heavens Mike was right there that day, ready to catch her. Imagine if she’d hit the floor, in her condition! Of course, I was the first one to know, the first one to notice. As soon as . . .”
“Is Bella coming?” I was aware that I was being rude, interrupting her with my brisk tone. Karen Newton always seemed to bring out the worst in me. I had pulled up outside the sporting goods store at precisely 12 noon, when Bella was supposed to finish work, and had groaned loudly to myself when the glass door had slid open, Mike’s mother bounding out, a huge grin on her face as she rushed towards my car. I wondered idly if the six inch heels that she wore would perhaps trip her up before she could reach me, resulting in severe head trauma, unconsciousness and inevitable brain death. I forced back the vengeful smile, shoved the delightful fantasy out of my mind, and pressed the button to roll down the window. Hopefully that would stop her from opening the passenger door and jumping in beside me.
“She’s just getting her bag,” Karen Newton leaned inside the open window, and the overpowering scent of her musk perfume had me close to gagging. “Edward, you are such a rascal! I heard the news yesterday from Angela Weber’s mother, though of course I’ve known for quite some time now, even with you denying it and all. Now I want to reassure you that I’m not working Bella too hard. I’m making her take a break every hour, and I’ve told her she is not to climb the ladder, or to pick up anything too heavy. You mustn’t worry about her when she’s here, Edward.”
“I appreciate that, Mrs Newton.” I forced myself to be pleasant. “I know she’s in good hands . . .”
“Now, Bella tells me she’s 14 weeks along – is that right? That would mean a June baby? Oh but that’s just wonderful! A summer baby!” Her face dropped. “Oh dear, wait a minute – what was I thinking? It’s absolutely awful to be close to giving birth in the hot weather! I should know; Mike was born in August and . . .”
“The cottage has air conditioning, I’ll make certain she’s comfortable.”
“Well that’s something I suppose. Still . . .” I glanced over at the door once again. Where the hell was she? “It can get quite humid here, even as early as June, and she can’t spend all day inside”.
“Mrs Newton,” I sighed, unable to stop myself, “She’ll be fine, believe me. I’ll take very good care of her.Both Bella and I had known that this would happen: as soon as we shared our news it would spread like wildfire. The gossipmongers in Forks were having the time of their lives right now. Number one on the speculation list was that Bella was further on in her pregnancy than what she was stating. I had read Jessica Stanley’s mind just yesterday as I had passed her outside the drugstore. I KNEW it! I knew they had to get married!Everybody guessed, as soon as they told people they were getting married right after graduation. What did they take us for – idiots? Now I suppose the baby will be premature! Yes, of course! I can’t wait to tell Lauren . . .I had hissed under my breath and glared at her. My God, what’s wrong with him! It’s as if he can read my freakin’ mind!Number two was that we were handing the baby over to Carlisle and Esme as soon as it was born. Jesus, they’re too young to bring up a kid! Hasn’t she ever heard of the Pill? Doesn’t he know what condoms are for? Anyway, that doctor and his wife have adopted those other freaks; what’s another one? That had been the contents of Eric Yorkie’s mind, as I’d passed him in the lecture hall at college yesterday. I had growled at him, my eyes blazing into his for a brief moment before looking away in disgust. Jesus Christ! If looks could kill I’d be six friggin’ feet under!
I realized that Karen Newton was still prattling on, as I brought my attention back to her. Something about fathers changing diapers, and how she thought this was a gigantic step forward for mankind. And then, at last, the door opened and Bella emerged. I quickly turned the key in the ignition, the radio blaring to life and drowning out the irritating words. “Sorry Mrs Newton,” I yelled over the music. “Have to get Bella home so that she can rest.”
“Oh, of course, of course”. I grinned with relief as Bella’s beautiful face replaced Karen’s at the passenger window. She opened the car door and jumped in, glancing at me warily as I continued to chuckle.
“What’s the joke? What did I do?”
“Nothing,” I leaned across and kissed her warmly. “I was just incredibly rude to that boring, self-absorbed woman.”
“Oh, she’s not that bad. She’s very protective over me suddenly.”
“She was telling me all about it, don’t worry.” I drove away from the kerb, my right hand holding hers on my lap.
“I’ll bet she was. I wish we could have waited a bit longer before telling everyone.”
“I know, but we couldn’t Bella. We were pushing our luck leaving it this long.” I glanced down at the small rise just above her pubic bone, the button on her jeans left undone. Our baby was making its presence known.
“You are so beautiful.” I released her hand for a moment to place mine on her growing bump. “You are absolutely glowing, do you know that?”
“I am not,” she muttered, self-conscious.
I laughed again. “As beautiful as you are, you can’t walk around with your clothes unzipped and unbuttoned. I think its time for a shopping trip with Alice. She’s been wanting to buy you some maternity clothes all week. It can’t be comfortable wearing clothes that are getting too tight, love.”
“Okay, but I’m not letting her buy me huge, ugly floral things with bows and ribbons.”
“Fair enough. Knowing Alice she’ll probably go for the sexy range – bikinis, midriff tops, silk lingerie – so I don’t think you need to worry.” She nodded and I took her hand again, lifting it to my lips to kiss it tenderly.
* * *
During the months that followed, there were many memorable occasions that would remain with me for eternity. The first time Bella felt our baby move when she was twenty weeks; she had gasped, her eyes filling with tears as she had pulled my hand from the steering wheel of the car and pressed it tightly against her stomach. I had slammed on the brakes and met her gaze, awestruck, as something faint but noticeable had fluttered against my hand. The many nights when I lay facing her, my cool hands on her belly, smiling as our baby kicked and rolled underneath my fingers. The sonogram that Carlisle carried out at 32 weeks, when we had both watched – absolutely fascinated – as our baby sucked away furiously on its thumb. The beautiful, unforgettable image of coming home late one night when Bella was 35 weeks and seeing her on the couch, fast asleep, one hand resting on her huge belly, a peaceful smile on her lovely face.
And as expected, there were also moments that were not so good. Telling Rosalie about the pregnancy had been traumatic – for both Rosalie and Bella. I wanted very badly to be understanding and compassionate with Rosalie, knowing that this was her dream, not Bella’s, but the harsh, uncaring words that had been thrown at Bella, hurting her deeply, had erased my compassion and I had reacted with rage instead. The afternoon that Bella had returned from work, exhausted and aching when she was 15 weeks pregnant, and had snapped at me before going to the bathroom, slamming the door behind her. She had come out seconds later, tears streaming down her white face, almost incoherent as she told me that she was bleeding. I had made her lie down, elevate her feet and had held her through the hours that followed as she cried, terrified of losing the baby. Yes, there had been bad moments, but they had passed.
It was a very unpredictable time – Bella’s hormones were reacting crazily to the pregnancy, which Carlisle reassured me was perfectly normal – and I never knew what I would find when I returned home to Bella. At times she would be in high spirits, planning out the second bedroom as a nursery, discussing colors and designs with me. Other times I would come home and she would excitedly show me a tiny item that she had bought for the baby, usually blue, because girls can wear blue too, she’d tell me often, but you can’t dress a boy in pink! Some days I would walk through the door and she would greet me with open arms and frantic lips, not satisfied until I had taken her upstairs and made slow and careful love to her. I had to admit it, I looked forward to those. The days I hated the most was when I would open the door and she would be crumpled on the couch or on the floor, sobbing heartbreakingly, unable to tell me what was wrong or why she was crying. Just the hormones, Carlisle told me time and time again, but that didn’t stop the pain I inevitably experienced whenever I walked in on this scene. I would pick her up and cradle her close to my chest, sooth her with gentle words and rock her slowly back and forth, the way a father would comfort a child. Later, when I tried to question her, she would always have the same explanation – I don’t know, Edward. I just felt really sad, but I don’t know why! Yes, hormones during pregnancy were volatile things. I didn’t know whether to be grateful for them, or hate them with a vengeance.
We reached the 36 week mark, amazingly unscathed. This one night, I cooked her dinner while she paced the living room, unsettled and irritable. When I placed the plate of ravioli in front of her she ignored it, scowling at the television instead.
“Bella,” I brought my face close to hers. “What is it, love? You told me you were hungry”.
“I was but now I’m not.” She stood up again and resumed her pacing. I noticed one hand pressed tightly against the small of her back.
“Are you in pain? Please, Bella, tell me what’s going on.”
“It’s not painful, it’s just a backache,” she spoke wearily. “I think the baby’s resting on my spine. I’m sorry, Edward, I think I’ll go to bed.”
“Don’t be sorry.” I walked over to her and pulled her close against my chest. “You need a good night’s rest. I’ll be up in ten minutes.”
“Okay.” She managed a smile. “Love you.”
“Love you, sweetheart”. I watched as she walked slowly up the stairs, and my silent heart ached with everything I felt for her.
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