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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Actually I didn’t sleep – not properly anyway. It was really more dozing as I was aware most of the time of what was going on in the room around me. I knew when Emmett left and when Carlisle arrived, and although my brain was fuzzy and a persistent headache throbbed behind my temples, I was aware of snatches of their conversation every now and then. Carlisle was asking a lot of questions in his calm voice, Edward responding as best he could. I could detect the frustration in his voice, and I wished I could have pulled myself out of the drowsy state I was in so that I could reassure him; convince him somehow that I was not on my death bed, as he so obviously seemed to think was the case.
After a few minutes I became aware of Carlisle’s cool hand on my brow, then his fingers resting lightly on my wrist, no doubt checking my pulse. A blood pressure cuff was gently eased around my upper arm and I held my breath as it began to tighten. “Take it easy”, Edward whispered to me as he began to stroke my hair. “It’s all right, Bella”.
“85 on 48”. Carlisle’s sigh was heavy. “She’s tachycardic as well – pulse rate 130”.
“It looks like it. If she can’t keep fluids down we’ll have to give them to her intravenously. I was prepared to treat her here at home, but ….. I don’t know Edward, I’m thinking she should probably be admitted to the hospital. You may not have noticed because you see Bella every day, but I haven’t seen her since last Sunday, and I can tell she’s lost weight – at least seven or eight pounds”.
“What!” Next to me, Edward’s tone was shocked.
“She needs close monitoring, at least …….”
“Carlisle, no”, I managed to speak the words as I forced my eyes open. “No hospitals, okay? Please, I’ll look after myself, I promise …… just, no hospitals”.
Carlisle’s kind face came into focus, and I saw that he was smiling at me. “Well, hello sleeping beauty. What do you have to say for yourself? Is this some sort of new age diet? Lose a pound a day?”
I did not return the smile. “I don’t want to go to hospital, Carlisle. I’ll be okay – I will”.
Carlisle’s face became serious. “Bella, I really think you need some medical attention – more so than what Edward here can give you”.
“But Edward’s a doctor ……”
“Well, in theory but not in practice”. I saw Carlisle and Edward exchange a smile. “I can give you some fluid intravenously, Bella, but if you’re not better by the morning I’ll have to insist on taking you to the hospital myself”. He paused. “Do we have a deal?”
I sighed and closed my eyes again. “Edward”, I spoke softly. “Could you please get me some ice?”
“Of course!” He was quick to rise to his feet. “I’ll be right back”.
As soon as he had left the room, I reached up and grabbed Carlisle’s hand. “I need to speak to you in private”, I whispered. “Please Carlisle, its important”. He nodded slowly, his face settling into a worried expression. There was an awkward silence whilst I contemplated the right words to say, and just as I was preparing them in my head, I heard Edward’s step on the stairs. “Dammit, couldn’t he have used human speed for once”, I muttered. “But no, he has to show off with the vampire speed”. There was no time for any further discussion before he was coming through the doorway. Edward held the cup of ice out to me, and I took it hesitantly.
“Er …. Edward”, Carlisle met his gaze. “I picked up some supplies from the hospital before I stopped here; could you get them from the car for me?”
“Sure”, Edward was obviously keen to help in any way he could. He gave my hand one last squeeze and then he was gone again.
“Okay”, Carlisle sat down beside me on the bed. “What’s going on, Bella? It’s just you and me here. If this is something you don’t want to share with Edward, I can keep it confidential between us for now. Perhaps I can help, at least I can try”.
“Thank you”. My eyes filled with tears at the kindness in his voice, and I struggled to hold them back. I had no idea how to say what it was I needed to tell him, so I simply took a deep breath and let it all out. “I did a pregnancy test ….. no, actually I did two because they come in a pack of two ……”. I was rambling, I knew, but I couldn’t stop. “It …. they came up positive, Carlisle”. I braced myself and looked up, meeting his gaze. “Both tests said I was pregnant …. I don’t know what to do!”
Carlisle’s hand tightened around mine, and his eyes narrowed. “Bella….” he began.
“Please don’t tell me I’m going crazy!” I exclaimed. “I know it’s impossible, I know it can’t happen …. but I …… I don’t know what to do, Carlisle!” The tears overflowed and I held back a sob, not wanting to break down in front of him. “But . . . most of all, please don’t ask me if this is Edward’s baby, because I know the first thing that jumps into your head is wondering who I slept with, besides . . . Oh, God, Carlisle, I couldn’t . . . couldn’t stand it if you . . .”
“Let me tell you something, Bella”. He spoke gently as he held my hand in his. “I may be totally thrown by what you’ve just told me. In fact, I may even doubt that what you’re saying is actually possible”. He leant closer towards me. “But one thing I will never, ever doubt is your love and the loyalty you feel for my son”. His eyes were kind, and I squeezed his hand gratefully. “I believe in you, Bella. With all of my heart. Now, answer some doctor questions for me, if you can. When was your last period?”
“August, just after the wedding”, I swallowed painfully. “I had a really light one in September – it only lasted for a day or two – and then nothing”.
“When did you start feeling nauseous?”
“Maybe a couple of weeks ago. At first it wasn’t too bad, just this queasy feeling every now and then, but since Wednesday it’s been unbearable”. I closed my eyes as the tears continued to flow. “Carlisle, this can’t be happening, right?”
“I don’t know, Bella”. I looked up at him and his expression was troubled. “I seem to remember something ………….. many years ago” he hesitated. “I need to speak to Tanya in Delani before I can tell you the whole story”. He paused. “Why don’t we get this confirmed before we take it any further. A simple blood test will do that. There’s no sense in worrying, or stressing Edward out, until we know for sure”.
“But ….” The word caught in my throat as I heard the front door slam.
“Our secret for now” Carlisle whispered as Edward’s footsteps sounded on the stairs. I felt a weight shift off my shoulder; sharing my worry with Carlisle had eased the load considerably. Edward set down Carlisle’s medical bag on the end of the bed and looked across at him expectantly.
“I think I might take some blood, if that’s okay with you Bella”, Carlisle glanced at me. “I’d like to check out your haemoglobin levels, and a few other things. Also, I’d like to put a cannula into the back of your hand and give you some fluids intravenously. I can give you a dose of maxolon which should settle the nausea”. He met Edward’s gaze, as if to gain approval. “What do you think?” Edward nodded slowly whilst I hesitated. “If the blood tests show up nothing, and you’re no better in the morning then we’ll have to consider hospitalisation, Bella. There’s no other option”.
I let out my breath in one huge woosh. The thought of a drip in the back of my hand caused the bile to creep up from my stomach to my throat. I remembered only too clearly the many intravenous lines and tubes that had been connected to me last year during my hospital stay in Phoenix. I could feel what little color there was in my face draining out fast, and I was grateful for Edward’s steadying arm as he wrapped it around my shoulders and pulled me up close against his side. What do you think, Bella?” He spoke softly. “Want to give it a try?”
“Yes”, I nodded slowly, and then closed my eyes against a sickening wave of nausea. I was aware of Carlisle placing a tourniquet around my upper arm and his hand gently patting the back of mine, trying to locate a suitable vein. Edward kissed my forehead before pressing my face against his shoulder, his lips on my brow and his arm tightening around me as Carlisle inserted the cannula with one quick move. I felt the sudden sting, and then nothing else. Carlisle was very good at what he did. With the pressure of Edward’s hand against the back of my head, pressing it against his shoulder, I had no opportunity to see the four test tubes filling with my blood.
“All done”, Carlisle said, and I breathed a sigh of relief. I lifted my head and watched as he injected some type of medicine into the cannula, and then connected a line from my hand to a bag of clear fluid which he suspended from my bedside lamp. “Give this half an hour, Bella, and you’re going to feel like a new person”, he assured me with a smile.
I lay down, my head against the pillows as Edward held my hands tightly within his. Carlisle was busy for a few minutes, gathering up equipment and adjusting the flow of fluid that was flowing into my vein. After ten minutes the rolling nausea had amazingly subsided a little, and for the first time in days I could actually think of food without vomiting. Carlisle bent over me to say goodbye, and he touched his hand briefly against my cheek. “You look better already” he smiled. “Give me an hour, and I’ll be back with those results. I’ve got a technician in the lab that will rush it through for me”.
“Thank you”, I whispered.
“You’re very welcome”. I watched as he turned towards Edward, but his words were lost as sleep overcame me, true sleep without dreams, nightmares or fear.
* * *
I awoke to the discomfort of a full bladder. Opening my eyes, I watched Edward replace the empty bag of fluid with a full one, adjusting the flow to a slower rate. He glanced down at me and smiled. “Dr Edward Cullen”, he raised his eyebrows. “What do you think?”
“Sounds good”, I murmured and tentatively stretched my limbs. “Do you think I could get up to go to the bathroom, doctor?”
He sat beside me on the bed and touched his lips to mine for a brief moment. “I don’t think so” he whispered. “I’ll just have to dig up a bedpan from somewhere”.
“Edward!” He chuckled as he pulled away and straightened up.
“How are you feeling? The truth, Bella – I mean it!”
“Better”, I replied. “How long was I asleep?”
“A couple of hours – it’s just after four o’clock. Do you think you could eat something?”
I shuddered involuntarily at the thought. “No”.
Edward was silent for a moment. It looked like he was deliberating upon something important, and I reached up to touch his beautiful face.
“I love you”, my voice choked up, and he caught my hand in his and brought it up to his lips, kissing it warmly.
“I love you, Bella. Never ever forget that”.
“What if ……” I swallowed painfully. “What if things changed …. what if you didn’t want to stay with me because ….. because things were different?” I could feel the tears rising and I fought to hold them back.
“Bella, what are you talking about?”
“I don’t know …..I don’t know anything”. I turned my face away from his and stared at the wall, my heart pounding as I heard the sound of Carlisle’s Mercedes pull up outside the house. My stomach rolled sickeningly and I clamped a hand tightly across my mouth, swallowing desperately to keep it from rising up my throat. I was scared, so damned scared! I didn’t want to hear what he had to say – I knew that he was going to confirm my fears, and I wanted – no, I needed – to hang onto the possibility that this was all a huge mistake, just for a little while longer. Edward’s hand was suddenly cool on my forehead and I squeezed my eyes shut, forcing the tears back. I wouldn’t cry anymore – not today, or tomorrow, or the rest of the week for that matter! I could handle whatever it was that Carlisle was coming to tell me. I would deal with it as best I could, because that was the way I had been raised – to meet every challenge and problem head on. I would not run from this – not now, not ever.
“Tell me what you’re thinking”, Edward’s voice was serious. “I know you, Bella. You are worrying yourself sick over something. Please, love, let me help you if I can”.
Carlisle’s footsteps sounded on the stairs. I caught the look of anxiety on Edward’s face as he turned his head towards the doorway and then back to me. “Bella? Will you talk to me?”
“Yes”. The word barely left my tongue before Carlisle was beside the bed, standing opposite Edward.
“She looks better already”. He gave me a small smile and then met Edward’s gaze. “I’ve got the results, Edward. It’s a clear cut diagnosis”.
Edward let out his breath slowly. “And ……?”“And I’m going to let Bella tell you”. Carlisle studied my face as he spoke to Edward. He nodded encouragingly, and I knew what he was silently telling me. Yes, Bella. You were right. And now Edward needs to know. Be brave – you can do this!
Edward’s confused gaze switched from Carlisle to me. “Aren’t you going to tell her first?”
“She already knows”. Carlisle patted my shoulder, reassuring me before leaving the room.
I did not realize that my bottom lip had been caught between my teeth and that I was biting down until I suddenly tasted warm blood in my mouth. I gagged involuntarily, and Edward quickly grabbed the hand towel next to me.
“Bella! What are you doing, for heaven’s sake – you’re bleeding!” He pressed the towel against my lip, his arm going around my shoulders to support me. I closed my eyes, the dizziness overwhelming as I swallowed, trying to get rid of the copper-tasting blood.
“No, don’t swallow it”, Edward spoke firmly. “Spit it out instead. Come on, Bella, I’ve got the towel right here. Cough it up, sweetheart”.
I did, my throat once again aching with the effort. Edward handed me the glass of water on the bedside table and I took a small tentative sip.
“Yes”. Edward carefully took the towel away. The wound oozed for a few more seconds, and then stopped. He sighed heavily as he watched my pale, anxious face, and as I stared down at my hands enclosed within Edward’s I could see that they were trembling uncontrollably. Edward squeezed them gently, as if to give me courage.
“Don’t be frightened, love. Just tell me. Never be afraid to talk to me, please!” He looked deeply into my eyes, encouraging me to begin. I nodded, as if giving myself the go-ahead, and prepared to shock him into silence.
“I …… Edward I’m pregnant”. The words flew out of my mouth before I could lose what little nerve Edward’s calm and understanding voice had given me, and then I opened my eyes to meet his gaze. The expression on his face did not alter in the slightest, but I detected an instant stiffening of his shoulders. My heart raced in erratic bursts, waiting for his response. I counted up to forty in my head before it came.
“Bella don’t be ridiculous”. His tone was formal. “That’s not possible”.
“I … I know, but ….”
“For heaven’s sake, this is wishful thinking on your part, Bella”. He sounded almost angry, and for one horrifying moment I was reminded of my nightmare, two nights ago. “You know I can’t give you a child – you accepted that fact when you agreed to marry me. That can’t be in our future, Bella – not ever!”
“Edward, just listen to me!” I pulled my hands from his and struggled to hold back the tears that were rising and threatening to fall. “I did two home pregnancy tests, and they both …..”
“Those things are notorious for false results”, he said impatiently. “There are numerous reasons for missing a period, Bella. Why jump to this particular conclusion?”
“Because it’s the right one”. My voice was shaking and I was on the verge of breaking down. “The blood test confirmed it, Edward! That’s what Carlisle was talking about when …… when …”. I broke off, unable to continue, and at last a flicker of emotion flashed across Edward’s stony face.
“When he what?”
I took in a deep, shuddering breath. “The blood that he took this afternoon – he had it tested at the lab. It came up positive too”.
“How?” A look of utter shock was taking over Edward’s face, his eyes widening as he stared down at me. “How could it …. how could it be positive?”
I could only shake my head silently, the tears threatening to overflow any second now. Edward squeezed his eyes shut, the fingers on his right hand pinching the bridge of his nose – a sure sign that he was deeply frustrated.
“Bella, I …. I need a minute”. He stood up abruptly and left the room, without a backward glance.
I watched him walk away, promising myself that I wouldn’t cry, I wouldn’t cry, dammit! He was entitled to some time, some space on his own. I had just delivered a huge shock to his system – what had I expected? Hugs and celebrations? “No”, I whispered aloud as the tears began to fall. “But it would’ve been nice”.
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