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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8. Edward’s POV: Acceptance
I stared out at the pouring rain, battering against the trees in the backyard. I had fled to the library – I didn’t know why, but as I fought desperately to control my breathing I could not help but think how ridiculous this was. I didn’t even need to breathe, and here I was, hyperventilating! My hands were clenched into fists at my sides and, one at a time, I concentrated on flexing my fingers slowly, trying to rid myself of the tension as my mind raced in erratic circles.
What was Bella thinking? What was she talking about? A child? How in God’s name could we conceive a child together?“The blood that he took this afternoon – he had it tested at the lab. It came up positive too”.
Bella’s words played over and over in my head, until slowly but surely the words began to make sense through the persistent fog of confusion and doubt. I suddenly froze as I recalled Bella’s bout of flu over two weeks before, and how she hadn’t really seemed to recover. Her fainting spells, her queasiness, her loss of appetite. I tried to remember when I had last been aware of Bella having her period. It had been August – a week after our wedding.
“No!” I breathed the word out slowly, stunned beyond belief as I struggled to accept the possibility that Bella was actually pregnant. A sudden hand on my shoulder caused an involuntary gasp to escape my lips, and then I was looking into Carlisle’s calm, golden eyes, standing beside me.
“Are you all right?”
“No”, I shook my head. “I … can’t get my head around this, Carlisle. How could this happen? Is she …. is she sure?”
“There’s no doubt, Edward. I had pathology fast-track her blood sample for me. Her Hcg levels are through the roof – equivalent to a ten week gestation”.“Ten weeks! But …. how?”
He smiled at me. “Didn’t you and I ever have that talk …..?”
“Carlisle please!” I was not in the mood for his humor.
“Edward, be calm”. Carlisle’s expression sobered and his hand tightened on my shoulder. “Whilst I was at the hospital I called Tanya in Delani. I seemed to remember something like this happening once before, quite a while ago. It was 1969 actually. One of the coven, Philip was his name, had a brief relationship with a young lady from Anchorage – human, of course. Nine months later she gave birth to a baby boy”, he paused. “Perfectly normal and healthy”.
“And …… human?”
“Absolutely”, Carlisle assured me. “Tanya keeps in contact with him. He works as an architect up in Nova Scotia. Happily married with children of his own”. I released a pent-up breath as Carlisle continued. “Apparently, certain body fluids, only small amounts, can remain in our bodies for decades, centuries even. We all have a certain amount of blood in our veins – you know that. In your case, Edward, your body has retained semen. Warmth has obviously taken the sperm out of their frozen state, making them mobile”. I could feel the tension leaving my face under the warmth of his smile. “It’s quite a miracle, Edward, It just needs to sink in, and once it does, and the initial shock wears off, I think you’ll see it as a miracle, too”.
I pushed my hands through my already tousled hair, thinking only now of Bella. She did not want this, I knew. This would mean delaying her transformation indefinitely, instead becoming a mother at the age of 19. It had been a stretch to eventually convince her to marry me at such a young age, and now ……”
“Dear God!” I groaned. “She must hate me right now”.
“Why on earth would you think that?”
“Come on, Carlisle. Bella knows very well how I feel about her …. joining us. She’ll think I did this on purpose so that her transformation wouldn’t happen any time soon; that I tricked her into ….”
“Edward, for heaven’s sake, listen to yourself!” Carlisle’s abrupt tone surprised me. “Bella loves you, with every fibre of her being. Why would she think of you in those terms?”
“I don’t know” I groaned. “I just … she must be feeling devastated right now”.
“Yes, I imagine she is”, he nodded. “But not because she’s having a baby. I think it may have more to do with the fact that you walked away from her a few moments ago, perhaps when she needed you the most”.
I suddenly remembered my abrupt departure from the bedroom, Bella’s eyes pleading with me to believe her …….. to understand. She had been terrified of telling me, had gathered up her courage and finally spoken the words, and what had I done? Fled like a petrified rabbit, leaving her vulnerable and alone. Dear God, I was an even worse monster than I’d always thought! How could I have been so selfish? So blind to what she had needed from me at that moment? I had turned my back on her and walked away.
“Unforgivable” I muttered, furious with myself. I turned away from the window, intent on returning to Bella, but Carlisle stopped me.
“Be careful with her, Edward”, he spoke softly. “She’s very fragile right now. One wrong word and she could fall apart. She’s been carrying this burden alone for over a week now”.
I nodded. “I’ll take care of her”. My voice was barely a whisper, and then I turned and left Carlisle alone, to stare out at the storm.
* * *
I pushed the bedroom door open as quietly as I could, reluctant to disturb Bella if she was sleeping. I needn’t have worried. I watched in anguish as she lay, curled on her side with her back to where I stood, her shoulders heaving with the sobs escaping from her throat. I was reminded of the night, five months earlier, when I had held her close as she cried, just as she was crying now, after saying goodbye to Jacob Black. I had hoped with all of my heart on that endless night that I would never again have to witness such heartbreak. To know now that I had been the cause of this distress made it so much worse to bear. The guilt was overpowering.
I went to her, kicking my shoes off and climbing onto the bed. I lay on my side facing her and reached out my arms. Bella’s hands were clutching the pillow and I gently pried them open, enclosing them in my own cool hands for a moment before gently placing her arms around my neck, careful to not disturb the IV cannula in the back of her hand. She would not meet my gaze, squeezing her eyes tightly shut as the tears trickled down her cheeks. I held her face carefully between my hands and then I pressed my lips against her brow, her eyelids, her cheeks and finally her mouth.
“Bella, sweetheart”, I whispered as I pulled away. “I am so very, very sorry”. She shook her head slowly, her whole body convulsing with uncontrollable sobs. I let go of her face and gathered her up close against my chest. At first her body was stiff, unrelenting, but then I became aware of the gradual releasing of tension, the almost hesitant response as her arms tightened around my neck. Her tears had soaked through my shirt within seconds, and I felt the dampness against my shoulder. “Please don’t cry”, I closed my eyes, the guilt and the pain unbearable as I listened to the outpouring of her grief. “Please, Bella, I can’t bear it”.
“I … I’m all .. all right”, she hiccuped as she buried her face into my chest, and I gently pulled away from her again, holding her shoulders within my hands.
“No, you’re not”, I spoke quietly. I looked down at her face, wet with tears, flushed with humiliation, her eyes closed tightly, not wanting – I knew – to face me. “You’re very upset, and you have every right to be, because you just told me the most wonderful news I’ve ever heard in my entire existence, and I reacted badly, before I could take it in”. I stroked her cheek lightly, and to my relief she opened her eyes tentatively and met my gaze. “Sweetheart, forgive me. Let’s …. let’s rewind back to 15 minutes ago and start over”. I gave her a small smile and gently brushed away the tears on her cheeks with my fingertips. “Now, tell me what’s wrong. What’s the matter, Bella?”
She took in a long shuddering breath and her hands trembled on the side of my neck. “Go on”, I encouraged her gently.
“I’m pregnant, Edward. I ….. I don’t know how, but I am”.
For some ridiculous reason her words, although totally expected this time around, caused my insides to tighten up in a sudden grip of terror, just like last time. I ignored this escalating panic and concentrated instead on relaxing my shoulders and breathing deeply. Her eyes conveyed her intense fear, and I bent towards her and softly pressed my lips against hers, my hand cupped around her cheek as I kissed her, ever so slowly.
“So”, I whispered as I moved my lips to her jaw, her throat, below her ear. “Are you telling me we’re having a baby?”
“How do you feel about that?”
“I’m scared”. Bella’s eyes filled once again with tears, and before I could speak her face had crumpled once again and her body began to shake uncontrollably. “I can’t …… Edward, I can’t do this! I’m so scared!!”
My arms once again wrapped securely around her trembling frame and I felt the stab of guilt through my soul as I thought of what I had done to her. She was 19 years old, for heavens sake! Little more than a baby herself. Because of my actions I had forged out a path for her which she had little choice but to take; a path which lead in the opposite direction to what she desired with all of her heart – immortality. Somehow, however, I had to make it right, somehow I would give her what she wanted most in this world.
“Silly Bella”, I murmured to her as I stroked her dark hair back from her forehead. “Why would you be scared, when you have me right here beside you, every step of the way? You’re not alone, Bella. We’re in this together. You’re not going to get rid of me that easily”.
“But, Edward”. Her voice was muffled against my shirt. “You don’t want this. You never planned for this to happen”.
“No, I didn’t”, I spoke honestly. “But that’s because I never thought in a million years that it was possible. I never considered it an option”. I paused. “Bella, do you remember the night you agreed to marry me, right after your big seduction scene?” I looked down at her and was encouraged at the tiny smile on her face. “You told me that you had never been that kind of girl, the kind of girl that wanted to settle down with a husband and children. And I said that I had been that kind of boy, when I was 17 years old and human, living in Chicago. It was how I was raised, Bella. That was the type of life that was expected for me, and that I wanted, more than anything. When I was ….. changed, and I came to realize what I was, I had no choice but to accept that my dream for any kind of normal life was over. I would never be the husband and the father that I had forever longed to be”. I rubbed my thumb gently over her full lips. “You’ve just given me my dream back, Bella. Its taken 90 years, but you’ve done that for me”.
“I don’t …”. She paused. “Edward, I don’t know how to be a mother”.
“Guess what?” I whispered. “I don’t know how to be a father either, but I do know that we’re going to work it out, day by day. I’m fairly sure that the only requirement needed here is love – lots of it”. I smiled at her, and this time she returned my smile, her eyes filled with tears. “You know what, Bella? I think we’re going to be great at this!”
“But …… Edward ….”, Bella’s tentative smile disappeared and her hands tightened on my shoulders. “What about …. me becoming a vampire? I can’t give my dream up! I just can’t Edward! I want to spend the rest of eternity with you and ……”
“Bella stop”. I pressed my finger against her lips. “We will work it out, I promise you. Let’s get you through this pregnancy first. Once you’ve finished nursing the baby, I don’t see why we can’t follow through on your dream, if that’s what you really want”.
“Yes, really”. I tightened my arms around her. “Do you have any idea, Isabella Cullen, how much I truly love you right now?”
She reached up to press her lips against mine. “I think I do, Edward Cullen”, she whispered. “I really think I do”.
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