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”.
13. Imminent Arrival
Rating 5/5 Word Count 2205 Review this Chapter
13. Bella’s POV: Imminent Arrival
I awoke just before the breaking dawn, alone in the king-sized bed, Edward’s absence apparent by the emptiness my hands encountered as I turned to reach for him. I sighed and closed my eyes again. Unlike other nights recently, I had just slept undisturbed for nine hours. Yet, for some unfathomable reason, I did not feel refreshed and alert. My body ached, particularly my lower back, and my eyes felt sore and grainy, as if I had tossed restlessly during the night instead of having just had nine hours of peaceful, dreamless sleep. Commonsense told me to allow myself to drift away again, perhaps another hour or two was all I needed, but I was suddenly aware of my heart racing inside my chest, a strange and unknown fear crawling up my throat, from the pit of my stomach, and more than anything else, I wanted Edward. I needed him – right now!
I sat up slowly and pulled back the covers, slipping my feet into my warm, fluffy Elmo slippers. The baby kicked vigorously just below my ribs and I placed a hand over my stomach, unable to quash the rising terror that was threatening to blossom into a full blown panic attack any minute now. I had no idea why I was feeling this way; I knew it was unreasonable. Still, I stood up, determined to find Edward, one hand pressing firmly against my lower spine where an unexpected sharp pain had suddenly taken hold.
I held my breath, anticipating the pain to travel around to the front of my abdomen, just like all of the pregnancy books had said it would, when you were in early labor. After a moment, however, it subsided and I released the pent up breath, relieved that it wasn’t yet that time! I was nowhere near ready; besides, the baby had another four weeks of growing to do before it made its presence known.
After a ten minute hot shower, and two more gripping pains in my lower back which lasted a minute each, I struggled with a pair of pink leggings and a short black maternity dress. I pulled my wet hair into a loose ponytail, smiling at my reflection as I glimpsed that still unfamiliar cleavage visible just above the neckline of the dress. Having been a B cup all of my adolescent life, I was determined to enjoy the brief but definitely welcome gift which came with pregnancy – a C cup at last! And cleavage? A miracle, to say the least! Even if it did disappear after nursing a baby, I was planning on enjoying it while it lasted. After all, it wasn’t as if I was ever going to be pregnant again.
I was dressed, my teeth brushed, ready to go downstairs to find Edward, and yet I lingered. My hand rested on my stomach, my thoughts focusing on the tiny baby inside, almost ready to join this world. A boy or a girl? Did I really care? Would the arrival of this baby cause me to change my plans? Would I give up my dream to spend eternity with Edward, to become immortal, a vampire until the end of time? No! As much as I had finally come to accept this pregnancy, the prospect of becoming a mother at such a young age, the thought of having somebody totally dependent on me for years to come, I knew I would never ever change my mind. Edward would always be my first love, the most important person in my life. I would follow him anywhere – anywhere at all. He would be a wonderful father, the perfect role model for any child. I knew this like I knew my own name. And yet, he would always be my Edward. First and foremost.
“Bella?” His voice came from the kitchen downstairs, and I caught my breath as another sharp pain shot through the bottom of my spine. This time, it had me clenching my hands into fists as I struggled to keep my breathing even as my heart began to race again with fear. What was this? What was going on? The pain wasn’t in my stomach, for Heaven’s sake, so it wasn’t labor. And if it wasn’t labor, then what? I counted to seventy before the pain began to subside, and I took a deep breath, forcing a calm and relaxed expression to settle upon my face as Edward’s footsteps sounded in the hallway just outside the bedroom.
His head appeared around the doorway, an expression of surprise on his face as he saw I was dressed and ready for the day. “That was quick” he muttered, as if to himself. “Ten minutes ago I practically shoved you out of the bed onto the floor, and you still didn’t stir”. My favorite crooked smile appeared on his face only briefly, and then was replaced by a look of concern. He walked towards me, and I struggled with a lump in my throat as he reached for my hands, squeezing them tightly within his own. “Bella? I can read you like a book – what’s wrong?”
“Nothing” I shrugged. “Just … tired, I think”.
“You slept like a log all night”. Edward watched me suspiciously. “Tell me what’s going on, or else I’ll have to go looking for my weapons of torture, to get the truth out of you”. His arms were around me, pulling me gently against his chest, and I rested my head there, my hands clutching at his black t-shirt. Another pain suddenly gripped me without any warning, and I could feel my body tensing automatically, my breath caught somewhere in my throat. Edward could indeed read me like a book. He pulled away and looked down into my eyes, his expression wary. “Bella, is something happening? Tell me, sweetheart”.
I shook my head slowly. “No, its . . . nothing’s happening. I just . . . my back’s still sore, I must have slept funny”.
Edward wasn’t buying it. His eyes tightened in an expression I knew only too well. “Bella, you didn’t stir all night. You slept for eight or nine hours, at least”. He paused, and his arms tightened around my waist. “Are you having contractions, Bella? What is it you’re not telling me here”?
“No!” Something snapped inside of me, and I pushed him away with my hands, frustrated and angry, but at who or what I had no idea. “I’m not . . . nothing is happening! I just have a sore back, that’s all!” I sank down onto the bed, allowing my weary head to rest in my hands. “Just, leave me alone, please! I want you to go away!”
Nothing could be further from the truth, and Edward must have sensed this. After a moment of silence I felt his weight as he sat beside me on the bed. As his fingers wrapped around mine, a sob escaped my throat and unwanted tears rose in my eyes. “I’m here”, he whispered softly. “I’m not going anywhere, so when you want to talk, just say the word”.
I brought his hand up to my lips and kissed it, my tears falling as I tried unsuccessfully to gain control. “I’m sorry”, my voice trembled. “I didn’t mean to yell at you. I just … I’m so scared right now”.
“Tell me what you’re scared of”.
“Everything”! My eyes met his. “I woke up this morning with this . . . this feeling that something wasn’t right. My heart was racing and I . . . all I knew was that I needed you here beside me”.
“And here I am”. Edward smiled and tightened his hand over mine. “I’m not going anywhere, love, so I’m afraid you’re stuck with me for an awfully long time”. I closed my eyes as his other hand pressed against my stomach, and almost immediately the baby kicked, bringing a smile to Edward’s lips. “She’s active this morning. She knows she’s stuck with me, too”.
This time, the pain that gripped my lower back was ten times worse than before. I gasped, one hand digging into my spine, as if to drive the hurt away, and the other clenching into a cruel grip around Edward’s fingers. I stood up suddenly, thinking that perhaps straightening my spine would relieve the agony, and Edward quickly stood beside me, his arms supporting me as I fought against the compulsion to bend over, tears of pain burning my eyes. I was aware of Edward’s hand resting on my stomach, and I struggled to breathe, to swallow the pain and to regain control of myself. I didn’t want to worry Edward – the concern all over his face was already too much for me to bear. “I think . . . I need to lie down for a while”. I managed to say, but Edward was shaking his head.
“No, I think you’re going to have a baby”. His voice was very calm, and the panic flared up inside of me.
“Edward, these aren’t contractions! They’re in my back, nowhere else. All the books say I’ll feel the pain in my stomach. I think I hurt my back yesterday when I . . .”
“Bella, I’ve had my hand on your stomach for the past five minutes. Your uterus is contracting – I can feel it under my hand. I think I’d better get you to the hospital”.
“No! Edward, it’s not time! I’ve got four more weeks to go!”
“Babies come when they’re ready, love. Not when it’s time”.
I shook my head desperately, my heart thumping inside my chest, unable to catch my breath. A full blown panic attack – recognisable but unstoppable. “Edward – don’t . . . don’t leave me!”
“Never”. He pulled me close and cradled me against his hard chest, his hands gently stroking my hair back from my face. “Don’t be afraid, Bella. I will never, ever leave you. I promise. Everything is going to be all right”.
“But . . . they’re not contractions. Not yet”.
“Okay”. Edward soothed me with his lips pressing against my brow. “Let’s just wait and see. They’ll either stop, or they’ll get stronger and closer together”. I nodded and held onto him tightly, willing the pains to go away and leave me alone. I wasn’t ready for this. I was nowhere near ready! I still had four weeks to prepare – four weeks to come to terms with a future very different from the one that I had mapped out for myself many months before. It couldn’t be happening now . . . could it?
I did not have long to wait before my tentative question was answered. The next contraction took a firm hold on me – and this time the pain ripped through my lower spine and around to the front of my stomach, resembling a sharp, debilitating period cramp, times one hundred. I bit down on my lip to stop myself from crying out, but my hands clenched tightly around Edward’s shoulders as I tried not to hold my breath.
Edward’s hands were immediately soothing as they cupped my face, his golden eyes gazing anxiously down into mine. “Bella, breathe!” He reminded me firmly. “Don’t stop now. Come on, you can do this – breathe all the way through for me”.
“I … I can’t!”
“Yes, you can!” My fingers dug mercilessly into his biceps as I concentrated on taking slow, even breaths. As the pain began to fade, Edward leaned down and kissed me gently on the lips. “That’s my girl. You can do this, Bella”.
I pressed a shaking hand hard against my mouth and pulled away from him, suddenly aware that my stomach was going to lose its contents any second now. “I’m going to be sick”, I managed. Within three seconds I was in Edward’s arms and in the bathroom, thankfully beside the toilet as I began to vomit. He held me close, one hand against my brow, his other arm securely around me until I was spent. I felt the cool, soothing touch of a wet flannel wiping my hot face and pressing against the back of my neck, and I leant back against him, allowing Edward to take my weight.
“Yes”. I closed my eyes wearily. “I’m sorry, Edward”.
“Shhh”. His lips pressed against the side of my temple. “We need to get you to the hospital. Tell me when you’re ready, and I’ll bring the car around”.
“Just . . .” I took a deep breath. “Just give me a minute to brush my teeth”.
“Bella”, Edward began. “You don’t need . . .”
“One minute”, I begged him. “By the time you go pick up my bag from the bedroom and grab the car keys, I’ll be ready – I promise”.
I could see the conflict in Edward’s eyes as he helped me to stand. “I’ll be exactly 60 seconds”, he told me. “Don’t close this door, Bella, I mean it.”
He was gone in a flash, and I leant heavily against the wash basin as yet another contraction surged through me.
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