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Being Mrs. Black

Summary:
BMBEdward/Bella, Implied Jacob/Bella. Imagine that the Cullens were late in returning to Forks. Bella arrived on schedule, but her life proceeded normally. She and Jacob become the best of friends and with no vampires to awaken them, the wolves don't mature. When he turns 18, Jake and his friends enlist, going to look for adventure in Iraq. He proposes, and Bella can't imagine ever loving someone more than she does her best friend. They quickly marry and he leaves for war. Two months later she gets some news that will turn her life upside down. And on that same day, a beautiful, dangerous stranger appears. From the moment their eyes meet, Bella begins to question those solemn vows she made. Will Bella Black do the right thing? Banner art and banner by Seisei


Notes:


1. Pregnant Pause

Rating 5/5   Word Count 2035   Review this Chapter

PART ONE: Pregnant Pause

"...If there's anything to see, we should have it in just a moment." Dr. Cullen made some minute adjustments to the screen he was intently absorbed in; I held my breath, waiting for the verdict. The moments dragged on and he kept me in suspense, gliding the cold, slippery probe across my flat belly as he deliberated. I was beginning to wonder if the good doctor had a sadistic streak when he finally nodded, a smile of satisfaction curving his lips. "Ah, there we are."

"We?" My voice sounded choked, but could you honestly blame me?

He chuckled and shook his head, turning the ultrasound monitor so I could see. In the murky darkness on the display, something stirred. There was a steady rhythm to the movement, and I realized after a long moment that the tiny squiggle had a heartbeat. "Judging by what we can see here, I'd estimate that you're eight, maybe nine weeks along?"

"Wow." That was the only coherent thing I could think to say. I didn't imagine it was a typical response to the news of impending motherhood, but Dr. Cullen seemed to take it in stride. To be honest, that was one of the reasons I'd come to him instead of submitting myself to the tender mercies of the tribal clinic. That, and I hadn't wanted the entire reservation to be in on the joke before I left the building.

Taking a deep breath, I let my head fall back against the cushion, contemplating the ceiling as though it held the answer to everything. So... I'd skipped a period. No big deal, right? Happens to everyone now and then. Coming on the heels of the wedding and sending Jake off to Iraq, it really should have been no surprise. Stress makes your body do bizarre things, etc, etc.

Then a second period chose to be tardy. That I couldn't ignore. Bad luck and I were far too well-acquainted to let it slide. Even then, I confess, I never actually considered the worst case scenario. I already had my prescription for birth control. Of course I did, I was too smart to be the dutiful war bride, barefoot and pregnant on the home front while the menfolk were smiting the infidels. I'd insisted on enthusiastic condom usage on our honeymoon, and trust me, that won me no points with my dear husband.

I had done all the right things, made the smart choices, and yet all I had to do to enjoy the fruit of my wasted efforts was turn my head to the left and admire baby's first snapshot. I looked at it out of the corner of my eye, jaw clenched. For a fleeting moment, I considered quietly taking care of this tiny problem. I could go to Seattle, have it all over and done with in a day. Once Jake was home there would be plenty of time for this, time when we were actually ready to be parents.

The pang of guilt was immediate and fierce. There was a life inside of me, small and defenseless. It hadn't asked to be here, hadn't asked to end up with the absolute worst excuse for a mother ever. A part of me and a part of Jake had fused together, and that determined little heartbeat was proof that life had been the result.

"Are you alright, my dear?" Dr. Cullen's hand rested gently on my shoulder, and on impulse I reached up and covered it with my own. The poor man had the coldest hands, it could be downright unpleasant at times, but I had seen evidence in my handful of appointments that he had the warm heart to go along with them.

"Yeah." I smiled tentatively. "It's just a lot to take in."

"I'm sure." He leaned against the exam chair I was reclined in. His unusual golden eyes were filled with compassion, his smile fatherly. "It can't be an easy thing to contemplate, with your husband overseas." Crossing his arms, he considered me carefully. "Normally this is the point at which I'd refer you to someone else for prenatal care. I won't lie to you, Bella, the options are limited here in Forks. Now, obstetrics isn't my specialty, but I've delivered my share of babies over the years. If you think you'd be alright with it, I'll be happy to continue managing your care during your pregnancy."

When he said he would refer me, I tensed. I'm not all that good with doctors to begin with, bringing a strange one into the picture for something this... well... intimate didn't sit all that well with me. "Dr. Cullen, I can't tell you how much I'd like that." My relief was there in my voice. Dr. Cullen had made an impression on me, I suppose. Not only did I find him to be a good doctor, I just considered him to be a good person.

"There is a very good nurse mid-wife here in Forks," he said as he shut down the ultrasound machine. "Once you're further along we can discuss bringing her in for the delivery. You might find it more comfortable to have a woman involved at that stage."

I nodded, a bit distracted at the thought. To be honest, December might as well be a lifetime from now. I still had to live through several potentially life-threatening events in the interim. How the hell was going to break the news to Renee? She'd practically had a stroke over the wedding, announcing that she was going to be a grandmother so soon after that seemed almost cruel. For both of us.
"Take a minute to get dressed, then come to my office. I have some literature for you. Reading suggestions, dietary guidelines, that sort of thing. You'll definitely want to look into a good prenatal vitamin." He frowned thoughtfully, and I almost laughed as I imagined him considering the slim shopping choices in Forks. "The internet may be your best option there," he conceded with a sigh. Giving me another fatherly smile, he patted my knee. "See you in a few minutes."

I hopped down as soon as the door closed, going to the curtained-off corner where my clothes waited. I folded the drape I'd kept over my legs, then gratefully shimmied out of the hospital gown, relieved to get back into my t-shirt and jeans. As I pulled the shirt down, I hesitated, eyes drawn to the dusty mirror that hung on the wall. I turned sideways, running a hand over my stomach. It was a tentative touch at first, then more exploratory, my fingers splaying across my flat belly protectively. Could there really be a life in there? Growing and changing just beneath my fingertips? I bit my lip, wondering when the next time I could talk to Jake would be, wondering what I would say when I did. 'Hey baby, glad you're not dead. Btw, I'm knocked up!'

I sighed and closed my eyes, fighting off a headache. This was going to take some thought.

Scooping up my jacket, I headed for Dr. Cullen's office. The enormity of my news consumed me, and I slipped through the half-open door without registering the fact that the good doctor wasn't alone. It was the sound of a sharply indrawn breath, more of a hiss really, that snapped me back to reality. Startled, I looked up and my gaze collided with a pair of intensely amber eyes.

If those eyes could have eaten me, there would be nothing left of Bella Black but a few crumbs on a napkin. The more disturbing part was, a tiny voice in my head suggested that I just might have served myself up on a silver platter for him. Married women aren't supposed to have thoughts like that, not even about beautiful young gods that randomly haunt doctors' offices. Married women don't find other men so incredibly, heartbreakingly lovely that their hearts race, either. I could have listed off a thousand other things about him that made my knees weak and brought my sanity into question, but those thoughts came to a screaming halt as his expression changed from fascination to horror to loathing all in the space of a heartbeat. This wasn't simple dislike, I've seen that too many times to misread. This was dark, unbridled hatred, as though he'd like nothing more than to wipe my existence from the world.

The tension spiked so fast that I felt dizzy, trembling like a leaf in the wind under the force of his glare. My own fixation was gone, replaced by the sort of primal fear that prey feels when the predator goes on the hunt. It was like standing in the darkness, and becoming suddenly aware that you're not longer alone, and that the darkness isn't friendly.

"Edward." Dr. Cullen's voice was firm, commanding. "This is Bella Black, one of my patients." Later, I'd wonder at the slight emphasis he put on my last name. For now, I was still trapped by Edward's eyes, held captive until the moment when he finally looked away. I staggered back a step, clawing at the arm of a chair to stay upright. Distantly I was aware that Dr. Cullen said something else to him, something too soft for me to hear. "Bella, are you alright?" Suddenly the doctor was by my side, gently taking my elbow and guiding me to sit in the chair.

"I-I'm not sure." I glanced up through my lashes, fearfully watching the young man he'd called Edward pacing restlessly in front of the window. Those amber eyes kept darting between me, Dr. Cullen and the door.

Quite deliberately, the doctor placed himself between us, his back to Edward. "Nothing to be alarmed about. These things happen. I'm going to take very good care of you, Bella." There was a deeper meaning to his words, I could feel it, I just couldn't puzzle it out. "Edward," he said without turning. "Thank you for letting me know you made it here safely. Why don't you go on to the house? I know Esme is anxious to see you."

There was no response, no attempt on the part of the younger man to leave the room. Dr. Cullen turned his head to look at him, and something about his expression that I couldn't see brought Edward's pacing to an abrupt halt. "Edward," Dr. Cullen said again. "Please leave." I watched him while trying pretend I wasn't, and I was a little startled to see Edward's face reflect chagrin, a hint of embarrassment, perhaps even a little sadness.

"I'm sorry, Carlisle." The sincerity in his quiet voice was absolutely pure. "You're right. Of course. I'll see you later, then." Edward immediately moved to the door, staying as close to the far wall as he could. Dr. Cullen blocked my view of him as he left, so I had no way of knowing whether he'd taken a last look before he did, but something about the way the hair stood up on the back of my neck was all the answer I needed.

"My apologies," Dr. Cullen murmured. "Edward is my wife's younger brother. Home from his graduate studies for the summer." He smiled, but there was nothing carefree in his words or his manner. "You really must forgive him, he's a little out of sorts today."

"Oh... no problem." I tried on a smile, and it didn't immediately fall off my face.

"Now then..." He turned back to his desk. "Where did I put those leaflets?"

I didn't hear much of what he said after that, my eyes were fixed on the doorway that Edward had disappeared through. I wasn't sure what frightened me the most, that he might come back... or that I might never see him again.

Did I mention that I was a terrible wife?