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”.
9. Chapter 9 - Guilt
Rating 4.5/5 Word Count 1543 Review this Chapter
9. Edward’s POV: Guilt
Carlisle left a few hours later, leaving behind several ampoules of maxolon, six pints of intravenous fluid and strict instructions on how to administer both. He promised to return first thing in the morning, to check on Bella and to make a decision as to whether or not she needed admission to the hospital.
I watched as Carlisle knelt beside the bed, smiling at Bella as he prepared to leave. “Are you really feeling better, or are you putting on an academy award performance so that I’ll leave you here with Edward?” Despite the drama of the afternoon, I couldn’t help grinning at his words. “I’m not that easy to fool, you know”.
“I don’t think I could eat anything”, Bella spoke hesitantly. “But I don’t feel like throwing up, either. That’s definitely an improvement. I think . . . I’m just tired. I’ll be okay in the morning”.
Carlisle nodded and then glanced up at me. “Keep the fluids going overnight”, he said. “If she does feel like eating, some dry toast or crackers should be okay. And, Edward, if there’s any problem, if you’re worried at all … please call me”. I nodded, indicating my full understanding and Carlisle stood up, ready to leave. “It might be a good idea to arrange for a sonogram, just to determine a more accurate due date for the birth”. He smiled at Bella. “It’s also an introduction to your baby, Bella. You’ll be able to see him or her quite clearly. What do you think?”
“Í don’t know ….” The expression on Bella’s face was one of pure panic, and I squeezed her hand gently within mine, leaning down to kiss her lips softly, wanting to convey just how much I loved her at that very moment.
“I think that’s a great idea”, I whispered. “I’ll be right there with you, sweetheart. There’s nothing to be afraid of”.
“What if . . . there’s something wrong?” Her hand trembled inside mine. “Maybe this is all some big mistake and . . . and the baby isn’t …. isn’t …”
I opened my mouth to reassure her, to tell her that she was being silly, but Carlisle silenced me with a warning glance, an expression that clearly told me to keep quiet and let him do the talking.
“You’re right, Bella”, he nodded. “This is no normal situation – I don’t have any experience with a pregnancy conceived by a vampire and a human. There may be . . . complications, I’m not sure. That’s why I’m recommending a sonogram at this stage – to determine if the pregnancy is viable, or in other words, if we can see a heart beating”. Carlisle met my eyes as I let out an involuntary gasp. “I’m sure you understand, Edward, we need to find out all we can about this baby”.
I nodded, my eyes closing as I pressed Bella’s palm to my lips and kissed it tenderly. I found myself praying, to the God that I had been introduced to by my parents, one hundred years before, to the God I had cursed and turned my back on, weeks after my transformation to a vampire, to that same God that I had begged, only months before, to keep Bella safe, to protect her, to always cherish her, just as I did. Just as I always would. “Please”, I found myself pleading silently to Him. “Please, let this baby be healthy, this baby conceived in love, please allow us to give everything we’re able to give, all the love we can give. Please, please don’t take this miracle away”.
“Edward?” I opened my eyes and met Bella’s gaze. “Are you okay?”
“I’m more than okay”, I whispered to her. “Let’s have this sonogram done, Bella. What do you say? Let’s meet our baby”.
* * *
Maxolon was one of the wonder drugs of the 20th century; perhaps not as important as penicillin, discovered in the 1940’s, but, for the next 48 hours, I was incredibly grateful for its invention. I administered regular doses through Bella’s intravenous line every six hours and kept the fluids running at a steady rate. Despite my threats to find Bella a bedpan, I did allow her to get up, assisting her to the toilet when needed. Although she did admit on these occasions to feeling slightly nauseous, there were no further bouts of vomiting. I began giving her sips of water on Monday morning, which she thankfully kept down, and then experimented with half a slice of toast a few hours later. It took Bella 20 minutes to actually eat it, with tiny mouse-like bites, but she also managed to tolerate it. I knew that it was the maxolon that was keeping the nausea at bay, rather than the fact that Bella actually felt better, but whatever the reason I was grateful that there was something, however miniscule, in her stomach.
I remembered from my Harvard days, during the six weeks of intensive theory on obstetrics and gynaecology, that pregnancy-related morning sickness usually dissipated around the 12 week mark. That meant that Bella had another two weeks to endure. I also recalled something about a small amount of pregnancies – perhaps 2% - where nausea and vomiting continued right up until the birth. I hoped beyond hope that Bella would not fall within that 2%.
I found myself wishing that I had paid more attention during those lectures in my second semester of fourth year, but at the time I had had next to no interest in the topic. My big interest was surgery, and I had very quickly come to the painful conclusion that my extremely low tolerance for human blood made that dream an impossibility. During my second stint at medical school, I had skipped the lectures on obstetrics and gynaecology altogether, relying on my previous lecture notes to get me through the exams. Why hadn’t I paid attention??
Monday evening, she kept down a bowl of Esme’s vegetable soup, and I was positive that some color actually returned to her pale face. I slowed down the rate on her IV fluid and halved the maxolon dosage. By Tuesday morning she was begging me to remove the cannula.
“Please, Edward, it makes me sick to look at it. I’ll keep on eating – I promise. Just take the damned thing out!”
I struggled to hold back a smile. “Bella, you’re feeling better because of the medication. If I take out the cannula I’ll have to give you an injection every six hours”. I paused as her eyes widened. “Is that really what you want?”
“No”, her voice was subdued. “Forget I asked”.
“Are you sure about that?” I couldn’t resist teasing her just a little; the color that had gradually begun to return to her face had lifted my spirits enormously. “I vaguely remember practising intramuscular injections on sponges, back in medical school. I’m sure I could manage . . .”
“Oh, just leave the stupid old cannula for now”, Bella muttered grumpily, and I chuckled as I bent down and kissed her brow tenderly.
“If you insist”.
Because Bella was keeping down sips of water and managing to tolerate light foods, Carlisle ceased both the intravenous fluids and the medication on Tuesday night. “Let’s see how you go”, he told her as I watched him remove the cannula from the back of her hand. “Don’t be afraid to eat and drink, just like you’ve been doing. Come and see me tomorrow afternoon at the hospital, and we’ll arrange that sonogram for you”.
Her gaze met mine and I could read the fear in her eyes. I reached over to take her hand in mine. “It’s all right, love”. I spoke gently. “I won’t leave your side, I promise”.
I insisted that Bella finish every mouthful of her dinner that night. She was very quiet, her mood subdued as we watched some television before going to bed. By the time I came to lie down beside her, after speaking to Carlisle briefly on the phone, she was fast asleep, her breathing slow and even. I adjusted the quilt to cover her bare shoulders, my throat tightening almost painfully as I studied her flushed face, now peaceful in sleep. My whole being ached for her, for what she had been through during the past week without my knowledge or support, and for what lay ahead. I could not deny the joy I was feeling at the prospect of being a father, of holding my own child in my arms, watching him or her grow, showering that child with unconditional love. And yet, how could I express that joy when I knew that Bella did not feel the same way? This was not the future she had longed for. A year from now, Bella had envisioned herself as a strong and beautiful vampire, immortal just as I was. The reality was now very, very different, and it was undeniably my fault. I sighed heavily and lay down beside her, my fingers gently stroking her long dark hair. I knew without a doubt that Bella would forgive me, but I wondered if I could forgive myself.
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