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Enduring Love

Summary:
Story Banner Edward leaves more then just Bella behind during New Moon. Unbeknownst to Edward, he leaves Bella pregnant and in more danger then he could have ever dreamed possible. Now three years later a reunion is possible, will they finally be a family or will a new danger stop that from ever happening. Story Banner by Pixiefanpire


Notes:


2. Chapter 2

Rating 4.3/5   Word Count 10648   Review this Chapter

Chapter 2

I had already known that this evening’s discussion with the four Cullen family members was going to be difficult, but I had somehow prepared myself for it. Now I’d just made it a thousand times more difficult on myself by trying to include the entire family. Deep down I still wholeheartedly believed that they all needed to know about everything, but what was once just a throng of butterflies in my stomach was now an all out herd of rhino’s.

While trying to calm down my stomach, I watched Esme and Emmett get the laptop hooked up to the fifty inch plasma TV in the living area of their suite. While watching them, I started to wonder if it would be too much of an inconvenience to them if during our meeting I eventually showed everyone digital pictures that I had with me.

“Um… Emmett?” I asked, slightly intimidated by the massively huge vampire. “At some point during our meeting I would like to show some digital pictures that I have with me. Would you have any problem with me hooking up my external hard drive to your laptop when that time comes, so that everyone will have the ability to see them?”

Emmett looked over at me and grinned. “Sure thing, that shouldn’t be a problem at all. Just let me know when that time comes, and I can help you out if you want.”

I gave a small smile. “Thank you.”

Carlisle must have noticed just how nervous I was because he slowly made his way over to me. Since it was really only the first time I had spent any time around Carlisle, this was my first time seeing just how perfect he was for a role as a doctor. Somehow he just seemed to have a real ability to make a person seem important in a way that could probably help anybody trust him. All you had to do was look into his caring, peaceful face and you could tell that he would do everything he could to keep you from feeling discomfort.

“I just wanted to let you know that Alice isn’t telling Jasper anything about you being here. We figured it would be best to not mention that quite yet. I hope you don’t mind?”

“Not at all, it actually makes a lot of sense to handle it this way. Where do you think is the best place for me to be when you get started?” Part of me truly hoped that I could hide someplace for a few minutes, but I would do whatever Carlisle thought was best.

“I think for starters it would be best if you waited in one of the bedrooms. It would give us an opportunity to bring them up to speed on everything that has happened so far tonight. I can only imagine the reactions that my other three children are capable of having and I would like to keep you from having to witness that. I hope you don’t mind.”

Mind? Why on earth would I mind? That sounded absolutely perfect to me at the moment. “I don’t mind at all, Carlisle. Is there a specific room you would prefer me to wait in?”

Carlisle just smiled at me and proceeded to lead me to one of the bedrooms. While I slowly drank the rest of my hot chocolate, I methodically went through all my digital photos, putting together a slideshow that I could show them all. Part of me was really starting to feel guilty that I was doing this behind Bella’s back, but I knew this needed to be done. At this point all I could do was cross my fingers and hope for the best.

Eventually I figured they must have started the meeting because every once in a while I could hear a raised voice. I figured that whatever was being said to the other Cullens someone was bound to get upset by it, so I tried my hardest to just ignore it all. I knew that if I tried to listen in on what was being said, I would only get more nervous.

Finally after what felt like hours Alice walked into the bedroom and gave me a shining smile. “We’re ready, Angela.” For some reason I had a feeling she would enjoy the potential torture this would have on Edward. I had a feeling that Edward was a very lucky man at the moment. Not only was he out of immediate danger from Emmett, but he also didn’t have to hear what was going on in Alice’s little head. My best guess was that she would be saying, ‘I told you so. Why on earth do you have to be such a stupid, idiotic, overbearing idiot?’ At least that’s what I would be saying if I were Alice.

After I got all of my things together, I nervously made my way back into the other room and followed Alice to the seat that she directed me to. It was then that I realized I was being seated between Esme and Alice. I felt myself relax even more when I felt Alice put her arm around my midsection and whisper.

“Everything is going to be okay. Just take your time.” I gave her a weak smile and concentrated on the cup of hot chocolate in my hands in an attempt to channel my fear away from me and onto an inanimate object.

When I was finally able to gain the courage needed, I lifted my eyes to the TV. There on the TV screen was the rest of the Cullen family; Edward, Jasper and Rosalie were sitting on the couch in their home, wherever that may be, but it wasn’t the three of them that got my immediate attention. What got my attention was something I would never have expected to see, though I really shouldn’t have been overly surprised considering their wealth.

Hanging on the wall behind the three of them was a breathtaking painting I’d seen a few times before. It was a beautiful landscape of children enjoying a beachfront sunset. The scene was so serene that it seemed to give me a sense of calm I wouldn’t have thought was possible at the moment. I knew that if things started to get rough, I would focus on the painting and let it calm me.

I finally tore my gaze away from the painting, my eyes wandering toward Edward. I could see the same look of utter desolation I used to see on Bella’s face. Although Bella was happier now, she never could remove all of the sadness from her eyes. I knew that the only thing that would truly bring all of Bella’s happiness back would be if Edward came back into her life where he belonged. Wanting my best friend to be happy, I was determined to do whatever I could to make that a reality.

Rosalie had a look I completely expected to receive from her, a look of pure and utter hatred. Between my own times seeing her at school in addition to what Bella had told me about Rosalie, there was one thing I knew. Rosalie disliked humans and absolutely, positively hated Bella Swan.

Where I felt dread over seeing Rosalie I felt quite the opposite when I saw Jasper sitting on the other side of Edward. Considering his ability, I could only imagine how hard this meeting would be for Jasper. Not only would he feel every range of emotion Edward and Rosalie would experience, but he also would have to deal with his own feelings as well.

Carlisle being head of their unique family was the first to speak.

“Angela, I have explained to the others how we ran into you earlier tonight down in the lobby. I also explained what you told us when you first got here.” From Rosalie’s expression I could tell she was beyond furious, but I turned my eyes to Carlisle so that I didn’t have to see Rosalie for the next few minutes. “I hope that you can feel comfortable enough to tell us everything, but we will understand if you change your mind.”

Esme put her arm around my shoulder, giving me a reassuring squeeze. “Hello, Edward.”

“Hello, Angela, you look well.” His voice sounded so dead, so monotone, not like the musical quality it had last time I saw him.

“Thank you, I am well. I hope you don’t mind, but I would like to begin by reassuring you that Bella is well.” I could see relief come across most of their faces. “In fact, Bella is here in Rochester. I guess if I am to be perfectly honest with you all, the last time I saw her she was downstairs in our room getting ready for bed.”

Alice absolutely did not disappoint me with her reaction, she instantly started bouncing up and down and squeaked, “Bella’s here? In Minnesota?” At the same exact moment I saw Edward’s face express a mixture of both joy and pain. I figured that the joy was in knowing that Bella was alive, while the pain was maybe due to the fact that he wasn’t as close to her as others in his family were at this very moment.

“Yes, Bella is in town with me, I decided to tag along with her when she found out she had some business to take care of.” Actually that wasn’t quite accurate but it was mostly true. “When I saw the four of you downstairs, I just knew that this meeting was meant to be. I know without a shadow of doubt that she would give anything to see every single one of you again.” Before saying anything else I looked right at Edward’s image on the TV. “And Edward, just so you know, Bella still loves you just as much now as she did when you were still together.”

It sounded as if Edward made a pained sob before choking out, “Thank you, Angela.”

“If it’s okay with you all, I would like to start this off with a question for you, Edward, because at the moment I don’t know exactly where to start.” When Edward looked at me with a confused look on his face I continued. “I truly hope that you were upfront with your family about this, or I may be putting you in a very awkward position, and for that I am sorry. Does your family know exactly what you said to Bella that day in the woods?”

Edward’s eyes became as big as saucers and the only word that came out of his lips was, “No.”

“What did you say, Edward?” It was quite obvious that not even Alice knew what transpired that day which I found odd, especially considering her ability to see the future. I decided to make a mental note to come back to that in a few minutes. Right now all I did was look at a very uncomfortable looking Edward.

“After school that afternoon, Edward asked Bella to go for a walk with him into the woods outside Charlie’s house. Once they were there, Edward proceeded to tell her you were all leaving Forks. When she asked whether or not she could come with him, Edward basically told her he didn’t want her anymore, that he was tired of pretending to be something he wasn’t. Then if that wasn’t bad enough, given the fact that it has always been completely obvious how insecure Bella is, he finished his little speech by telling her she wasn’t good enough for him.”

I could clearly see the shame on Edward’s face, in addition to the shock on everyone else’s. But what surprised me the most was Rosalie. Without any hesitation Rosalie went off and smacked Edward in the back of the head and hissed. “Idiot!”

Esme was practically sobbing she was so upset. “Edward how could you hurt Bella like that? You told us only that she understood why we were leaving. That we were leaving so that we could keep her safe.”

I gave a snort of derision at that, if they had only known then how much danger she was really in they never would have thought that. It seemed that they honestly believed that there would be no more dangers in Forks once they left.

“Just so you know, Edward, Bella tried to follow you that day in the woods. She walked further and further into the woods, getting more lost the further she went. Eventually she somehow ended up lying down on the ground where she made no attempts of getting up. When Charlie got home from work and found a note Bella has since told me she never wrote, telling him that she had gone on a walk with Edward, he began to get nervous.” Though I had already known Edward wrote the note, his reaction confirmed it. “He first tried calling your house, hoping to get a hold of someone, but eventually he tried calling Carlisle at the hospital which is when he found out you all had left town. This made him even more worried so he put together search parties to try and find her. It took several hours and around a third of the town, but finally around two in the morning she was found by Sam Uley.”

“Was she hurt?” Emmett asked in a tone that promised pain to Edward.

I looked over at Emmett, where I could clearly see that all of his anger was directed at his idiot brother. “Bella wasn’t physically injured, but emotionally she was devastated. For that first week after you all left, Bella stayed in her room, pretty much catatonic.” Alice and Esme were now quietly sobbing at the knowledge of what happened to Bella that night.

“At the end of the week, per Charlie’s request, Renee came to Forks. Charlie thought that maybe if Bella left Forks she would get better. Also I don’t think Charlie wanted to be the one to make a decision if it was determined that Bella needed to be put into a psychiatric hospital, something the doctor had mentioned at some point that week.” Edward cringed at the mention of a psychiatric hospital, but I refused to feel sorry for him right now. This had been his fault. “Needless to say when Bella realized what was happening she woke up and threw an absolute fit, refusing to leave.”

Emmett chuckled and when he realized he was getting weird looks from the rest of his family he just shrugged and said, “What? You gotta love her temper.”

When everyone just rolled their eyes at Emmett I decided to take the focus off of him and continued the story.

“Even though Bella stayed in Forks, she wasn’t really there. For those first two months she was completely lifeless. Lauren being her normal crude self started to refer to Bella as the She-zombie behind her back, but that is basically how she acted. She would go to school, work and took care of the house like she always had but it was as if she wasn’t there. She refused to listen to music, watch TV, read books or even speak to anyone at school. If anyone mentioned your family, especially Edward’s name she would clutch her midsection as if she was fighting to keep herself in one piece.”

Carlisle seemed confused about something, so it was at this point that he stopped me so that he could ask a question. “You said she was like this for the first two months?” When I nodded he asked me the one question I was expecting. “What happened after those first two months to change her pattern of behavior?”

“Well I will answer that question in just a moment, but if you don’t mind I actually need to ask Alice a question first.”

“What is it, Angela?” Alice asked.

“Can I assume by your reaction a few minutes ago, that you did not see how Edward was going to leave Bella?”

“No. I didn’t see anything.” Alice looked extremely upset about this. “Believe me if I had I would have stopped him.”

“I thought so.” I felt that somehow everything was starting to come together now. “Do you mind telling me when your last vision of Bella was?” I had my suspicions about this and I was hoping to find out.

“When was my last vision of Bella?” When I nodded she replied, “The last vision I had that included Bella happened the morning of her eighteenth birthday. I saw Bella trying to get out of coming to our house for her birthday party. I haven’t seen anything else since then.”

“Hmmm. . . Actually that’s exactly what I thought.” I whispered to myself, forgetting that I was with a group of vampires who had excellent hearing.

Esme placed her hand on my knee before asking, “Why do you say that?” She seemed clearly confused by my reaction to Alice’s comments.

“Well you see, I’ve always believed that if you had seen any of the events that happened to Bella or even the town of Forks you would have come back.”

Alice looked really upset. “I don’t like the sound of that, Angela. What happened exactly?”

“Believe me you won’t like a lot of what I need to tell you. Since your departure from Forks a lot has happened, but your answer just kind of confirmed my theory as to why you don’t see Bella anymore.” I looked over at Carlisle and continued, “In fact it also helps me answer Carlisle’s question regarding Bella’s change in mood two months after your departure.”

Looking quite curious Carlisle asked, “What would that be?”

I stared at the tortured face of Edward. “Edward, can you remember anything that happened that afternoon, something that may have changed Alice’s ability to see Bella?”

Edward’s eyes widened at my question. “Huh? What do you mean? What have you been told?” He clearly was not going to admit anything, willingly at least. I knew deep down that he knew exactly what I was talking about. Why was he so scared? Then again, knowing how they reacted to his little speech to Bella when they left, how would they react now, once they found out about this?

“What are you talking about, Angela?” Jasper asked while giving Edward an odd look. “Edward whatever it is I can tell for a fact that it’s something you’re dreading for us to hear. I can feel guilt, pain and absolute dread coming over you Edward. What on earth did you do?”

Looking at Edward’s tortured face, I began my theory after it was obvious that he was not going to answer. “The day you had your last vision, the same day as the birthday mishap, all of that happened the same day as something else.” I silently pleaded with the Edward on the TV hoping he would say something, but he didn’t. I wasn’t even sure if he was paying attention right now.

Alice seemed to be getting extremely impatient with me. “Please, Angela, I’m begging you to please tell me what happened that day. Why do you think it caused my ability to see Bella to stop?”

“Well you see, after school that day, Bella and Edward went back to her house to watch Romeo and Juliet.” When Alice nodded I continued, “That same afternoon something changed in their relationship.”

“What happened, Angela?” Esme asked, sounding anxious.

“That afternoon Bella and Edward took the next step in their relationship.”

As soon as the last words were out of my mouth I saw Edward cringe while Alice, Emmett, Jasper and Rosalie all stood up and shouted at the same time. “YOU DID WHAT?!”

“YOU BETTER BE THANKING YOUR LUCKY STARS THAT I AM NOT THERE RIGHT NOW! HOW COULD YOU LEAVE HER AFTER THAT?” Emmett was so angry. It was a good thing that he was not with Edward, though at the moment it looked like Jasper and Rosalie would gladly take his place.

Alice, attempting to find out more asked, “Why do you think Edward and Bella having sex, turned off my ability to see her any more?”

Edward wanting his own question answered as well asked, “Bella actually told you?”

Edward’s question actually made me angry, so I tried to speak as calmly as possible, “The reason I think Alice can’t see Bella anymore, the reason she came out of her zombie like state and the reason I know about what happened between the two of you, Edward, is all the same. Because on that afternoon, something happened to Bella when you two had sex.”

“What happened, Angela?” Alice was almost panicked at this point.

“Two months after you left, Bella realized that she was pregnant.” There were audible gasps heard all around us as what I said settled over the Cullens like a fog.

Edward looked stunned, “What do you mean Bella found out she was pregnant? How on earth is that even possible?”

I looked at him, a bit floored by his questions. “Excuse me? Are you actually asking me how Bella could have ended up pregnant after you two had sex? Shouldn’t you know how it works, you were there after all.” I could hear Emmett and Alice chuckle softly at what I said, but I ignored them. “I mean my God, Edward I could have sworn that Bella had told me that you had acquired a couple of medical degrees in your lifetime. Didn’t you ever learn about the birds and the bees and the possible outcomes that could arise from having unprotected sex?” Was he just in shock or was he actually being serious right now? I really didn’t remember him being this dense when I knew him in Forks. He had always seemed so intelligent back then.

Edward rolled his eyes at me. “Angela, I know very well how the whole birds and the bees process works, what I meant is that I had always been under the assumption that once I was turned it was impossible for me to be able to father a child. Carlisle, did you know this was possible?”

Carlisle shook his head. “No, Edward. I had no idea that this was possible. Even though I have heard legends about the possibility, I always thought of it as myths.” Carlisle turned to look at me. “I’m sorry, Angela if we seem a little shocked by this new development in your story. It just seems so unbelievable.”

“No that’s okay, Carlisle. I guess I can understand how you are all shocked by this.”

“Bella and I have a child together? I’m a father?” The shock was quite evident on Edward’s face in addition to his voice.

“Yes. To be perfectly honest with you, Edward, you are actually the father of twins.” I couldn’t help the grin that spread across my face when I thought of them. “You have the most beautiful daughter and son in the entire world.”

Anyone watching Edward could see the struggle he was having with this new information, no matter how much he wanted to believe it. After what felt like several minutes he whispered, “What are their names?”

“I have pictures that I will show you all later, but your daughter’s name is Renesmee Carlie Cullen. Her name is a combination of her grandparents’ names—Renee and Esme for her first name, Carlisle and Charlie for her middle name.” Both Carlisle and Esme’s face lit up at that little bit of news. “Renesmee looks almost identical to Bella; the only thing that is different is her hair color. She has the same bronze colored hair you have, Edward. I have to say that at the age of two she is already well on her way to breaking many hearts.” Though she most definitely had one persons heart without even trying, I wasn’t about to get into the fact that she had also been imprinted on. That little tidbit was just going to have to wait a while.

“Your son’s name is Masen Edward Cullen, obviously being named after his father, but Bella was adamant to make sure your biological family was also represented which is why she went with your human surname. He has Bella’s hair color, but everything else about Masen screams Edward, right down to your trademark crooked grin that dazzles her. According to Bella, he even has your human eye color of emerald green.” Bella had been so happy about this, she had always wished she had the ability to see Edward’s human eyes, and now she could.

That seemed to startle Edward. “How did she know what my human eye color was? I never told her.”

“I did,” Carlisle answered, “It was the night of her eighteenth birthday, while I was stitching up her arm.”

Emmett, who seemed excited at hearing about his niece and nephew asked, “When you mentioned earlier that Bella is in town, are the kiddos here too?”

I grinned. “Yes of course they are, Bella won’t go anywhere without her children.”

Emmett was practically bouncing up and down he was so excited. “Do you think we’ll be able to see all three of them?”

“That could be arranged, although I think you all should hear the entire story first.”

“Please continue,” Carlisle said. “We want to know everything, regardless of what it is.”

I nodded. “When Bella found out she was pregnant she was basically ostracized by everyone at school. The only people willing to talk to her at school were Mike, Ben and me.”

At the mention of Mike’s name I could hear Edward growl. When I looked up at the TV, Rosalie waved off his response.

“Oh don’t mind the jealous bastard. We all know he has no right to be angry that Mike Newton stayed friends through that. Knowing Bella she was probably grateful that he stuck by her.” Rosalie’s reaction was quite surprising to me. I wondered what could have happened to change her demeanor.

“Bella was extremely thankful. She slowly started to act like her old self. Mike, Ben and I were there for her at school, while Jacob Black and Bella spent a lot of time together outside of school. Well at least they did until she was around five months along. That was around the time that Jacob started phasing and Sam the pack leader decided that it was in Bella’s best interest that Jacob stay away from her until he obtained better control of his phasing. Sam didn’t want to see Bella get injured the same way Emily did.”

“Who’s Emily?” Jasper asked.

“Well Emily is Sam’s wife, his imprint. You see, Sam was the very first wolf and learned the hard way what can happen when he loses his temper when he is near someone. He got overly upset one day and phased too close to Emily. She now has scars that will never go away, and I think Sam will feel guilty about it for the rest of his life.”

Carlisle looked startled. “I remember hearing about that. We got reports at our hospital about a young Native American woman being attacked by a bear. I’m assuming that’s the cover story they came up with?”

“Yes, that’s why Sam was so careful when someone else started phasing. He wouldn’t allow the new member of the pack to spend much, if any, time with humans. He wanted them to learn better control before putting anyone at risk.”

“I would think that would be the safest way to go about things while they are so new to that way of life. It’s too bad no one had been there for Sam.” Esme said in a very sympathetic voice, and I just nodded in response.

“Anytime Bella tried calling, Billy would just give her excuses about Jacob being really sick with mono. But Bella didn’t believe Billy; she knew that something else had to be going on.”

Edward practically snorted at that. “That is so typical Bella. Anytime there is a mystery she will pick away at it to find out what it is. She won’t give up.”

I smiled. “Well, what can I say? That’s Bella for you. While all of this was going on, some people started spreading stories about massively large bears being seen in the area, and there were also reports of campers going missing. Unfortunately it wasn’t the wolves causing the disappearances, it was vampires. That was when the wolves were seen by people. They were out trying to pickup the trail of two vampires in the area.”

I could slowly feel the tension building during this part of the story, but that really was unavoidable, and I knew that it was only going to get worse. “Charlie told Bella that she should stay out of the woods until the animal was caught, but Bella being Bella….”

At that Edward groaned. “Bella being Bella? You mean she was her typical stubborn self and went into the woods anyway, regardless of the warnings of dangerous creatures in the area?”

“Yes,” I said, causing everyone else to groan along with Edward. I could tell how well they’d known Bella from the way they all responded. I knew that if Bella were here right now she would be rolling her eyes at their predictable reactions. At the time, she thought that she had very valid reasons, and I was positive that once Edward found out he would act a little differently.

“What did you expect, Edward? Bella wanted to feel closer to you; she wanted to go to your meadow. She felt that she could have a stronger connection to you if she went there.” When I saw Edward’s face scrunch up, I knew all I could do was continue. “She also wanted to go there and tell the babies all about their beautiful, loving father and the rest of his family. But Bella is a danger magnet and it was probably around an hour after getting there that she noticed a familiar face come out into the meadow.” I was dreading Edward’s reaction to this.

“Who was it?” Alice asked.

“Laurent.”

Before today, I had imagined hearing one menacing vampire would be a scary thing to be around, but to hear seven of them at the same time was downright terrifying. I shuddered at the sound, but I was determined to continue.

“He started asking her questions about where you all were and laughed when he realized you all had left her pregnant and unprotected. Bella was determined to keep him talking, anything to try and keep the babies’ safe.” I don’t think I could have been coherent enough to keep my head during this. To think that Bella had been brave enough to try and distract him was amazing to me.

“Eventually Laurent brought up the fact that he was doing a favor for Victoria.” Again I was terrified by the vicious snarls coming out of everyone. The most menacing of them all was, of course, Edward. “She wanted Laurent to find out how easy it was to get to Bella. You see, she considered Edward responsible for the death of James and she felt it only fitting to do away with her. Mate for a mate Laurent said, only she had plans to make it a very slow and painful death for Bella.”

At that I could see both Jasper and Rosalie restraining Edward. He was definitely not taking any of this well. I raised my voice in hopes of getting his attention through all of his snarls. “Edward, you must calm down. You need to remember Bella is ALIVE. Your children are ALIVE! Three people still here that would not be here if either one of those monsters had been successful!”

Thankfully that seemed to help, and once Edward calmed down I continued, “Laurent made a comment to her about the fact that Victoria was going to be upset with him. He was too thirsty to let her go, but before Laurent could get any closer, five wolves walked out. Sam thought that the shock of Laurent and the wolves may be unhealthy for Bella; he figured she might feel safer if Jacob stayed with her. Jacob was given orders to phase back to his human form and to explain everything to Bella, if she was calm enough to handle it. So while the others chased down Laurent to kill him, Jacob phased and started to tell Bella everything.

“Once Jacob finished explaining, Bella explained who Laurent was and told him about Victoria’s plan.” This part of the story I liked because it showed Jacob’s softer side. “Not wanting to put Bella and the babies under anymore stress, he carried her back to her truck and drove her home so that she could rest. It was on that day that Sam put into motion an around-the-clock watch over Bella. Also, in her attempts to keep as many people safe as possible, Bella decided to switch over to an online home schooling program.”

Alice giggled. “That is so typical Bella, worry about everyone else first.” Everyone else nodded their heads in agreement with Alice.

“Not having much else to do, Bella completed high school in a matter of just a couple weeks. During that time all activity regarding Victoria stopped and over the next two or three months nothing happened with the external dangers threatening Bella.”

“What do you mean external dangers? Did the pregnancy cause her additional dangers?” I hadn’t paid attention to who asked, but it definitely sounded like Edward.

“No, the pregnancy didn’t give her any problems. In fact the pregnancy brought to light another more dangerous health issue. Bella started having some other medical symptoms that came to the forefront when she was seven months along. It’s a good thing that she was pregnant, otherwise those symptoms may not have been noticed and things could have ended up a whole lot worse.”

Carlisle decided at that time to ask me another question while at the same time apparently some kind of sign I didn’t see because while Carlisle asked me his question, Jasper took hold of Edward’s shoulders, probably sending him an extra large wave of calmness. “What did Bella have?”

“She was diagnosed with having a very aggressive case of ovarian cancer. The doctors wanted to deliver the babies right away but Bella refused. She was determined that Renesmee and Masen be completely ready to be born. She informed the doctors that she would not deliver the babies any earlier then thirty-seven weeks.”

“Why thirty-seven weeks?” Alice asked.

“A woman is classified as full-term once they reach thirty-seven weeks gestation. It means that most babies will have no trouble surviving if they are born at that time.” Carlisle explained.

“During the next five weeks not much happened, other then Bella’s attempts to find you all. She wanted you all to know about the babies and to be there for them if she couldn’t. Finally at thirty-seven weeks she went in for a combination cesarean and hysterectomy while they also took the necessary tissue samples needed to see how far the cancer had spread. What they discovered was that the cancer had already spread to her abdominal wall. She was classified as having stage four ovarian cancer with only a ten percent chance at survival.”

“Did she start chemo then?” Alice asked.

“She did, but she first needed to have a few weeks for her incision to heal.” I took several deep breaths to try and calm myself down. This next part of the story affected me the most, and I had to keep a handle on my emotions.

Esme, noticing my anxiety asked, “Are you okay dear?”

Having finished my hot chocolate by this point I thought I would stall by requesting a drink. “Do you mind if I get a drink of water?”

“No problem, Angela, I’ll be back in just a second.” And quite literally Alice was back in a second with a bottle of water from the mini-fridge, at the same time taking away my excuse for a break.

“Thank you, Alice.” I took a few sips of water and went on. “Around the same time the twins were born, the pack started to notice a trend on the news. There were reports coming out of Seattle regarding a massive increase in murders.”

While Edward hissed Jasper said, “A newborn army?” When he noticed my confused expression he elaborated. “I’m assuming that Victoria created a lot of vampires to use them in her plan to get Bella and probably the wolves as well?”

“That’s exactly what it was. Sam Uley put the clues together and increased patrols to include the entire region. It was also decided that due to the increased danger that Bella and the twins were in, Charlie had to be partly told about mythical beings. He knows about the wolves and that their sole reason of being here was to protect humans. They explained what kind of danger Bella and the babies were in, but never told him about vampires, though I think he suspects.” I couldn’t tell what their thoughts were about Charlie knowing something. I hoped they weren’t too upset about it.

“From that point on Charlie, Bella and the babies basically lived on the rez. Sue Clearwater invited them to come and stay with her. Sue’s husband Harry, one of Charlie’s best friends had just recently died of a heart attack and having them stay with her helped her as well. It also didn’t hurt that her daughter and son were both wolves, allowing even better protection.”

Emmett looked like he wanted to break out in hysterics. “A girl wolf. I would never have thought that was possible.” Clearly the idea of a female wolf was too much for his child-like brain to handle.

I could see that Rosalie was not amused by her husband’s reaction and gave him a menacing look. “Alice will you do the honors in my absence?”

Alice grinned and proceeded to walk over to Emmett. “It would be my pleasure,” she said, swiftly hitting him on the back of the head.

“Ow!” Emmett rubbed the back of his head, while pushing out his bottom lip in a pout.

Rosalie gave her husband one more scowl then asked, “Angela will you please tell us the rest?” The looks everyone gave Rosalie showed just how surprised they were by her question and nice demeanor. Clearly it was a rare thing for her.

“It was a few days after her first chemo treatment and Bella was very ill. Wanting to keep the res safe in addition to Bella and the babies, Sam split up the pack. Five stayed on the res while the other five went out to the woods.”

“Ten wolves? Earlier you said there were only five.” Emmett had a look of awe on his face.

“Yes, but by the time Victoria came back with her army there were ten. You see the wolf gene gets activated when there is a danger of vampires in the area. The phasing started up after you all moved back to Forks, and even after you left the threat of Laurent and Victoria in addition to all of the ones in Seattle continued or sped up the changing process. Twelve year olds were starting to phase by the time Victoria and her army appeared.”

“Oh my!” Esme exclaimed.

“Fascinating,” seemed to be the only word Carlisle could say about that.

“The day the newborn army came was also the same day as the Forks High School graduation ceremony. I had already agreed to stay at home and watch my brothers that evening so that my parents could go out for their wedding anniversary, so I didn’t go out to celebrate that day. The rest of the gang decided that they all wanted to go camping to celebrate. Ben had offered to stay with me, but I told him to go have fun, that we would do something special later.” My eyes started to prickle with tears, but I knew it was important to tell them.

“The wolves found the newborns, but there were nineteen of them. At some point during the battle a few of the vampires got away. As soon as the wolves finished off the ones still there they went in pursuit of the ones who got away. Unfortunately, it was too late, they got to the campsite just as the vampires were finished killing Ben and the rest of the gang.”

“Oh Angela, I’m so sorry about Ben,” Alice pulled me into a hug while silent tears fell from my eyes. “You and Ben always seemed so happy together. Do you mind telling us who all went camping that night?”

I took a deep breath. “Well, the gang included Ben, Mike, Eric, Jessica, Lauren, Tyler and Conner.”

“Oh dear, so much death, I’m so very sorry, Angela.” Esme said. “If we had known we would have been there to help.” I could see the guilt in her eyes; I could tell that she really wished that they had been there to help.

I turned and looked at Esme. “The only one to blame for all of this is Victoria. Once they got there, Sam and the other four were able to take care of the remaining newborns.”

“What about Victoria?” Edward asked.

“Victoria went to the rez where Jacob stayed behind with the other four.”

“Did they destroy her?” Rosalie asked.

“Yes, they were able to destroy her. Afterwards when Bella heard what happened to our friends she was devastated; she blamed herself for everything. If she hadn’t had Renesmee and Masen inspiring her to survive that disease I know for a fact she would have given up. But regardless of the fact that she was sick and in pain she made sure she was there for me during Ben’s funeral. It was there at Ben’s funeral that Jacob imprinted on me.”

I knew that now was the chance to get them to truly understand imprinting, maybe it would help out later on when they found out about Nessie. “Though he imprinted he never once pushed me into a relationship. The sole purpose of an imprint means that the wolf becomes whatever the other person needs. That’s just what he did, he became my best friend, my rock and would have been more than happy to keep our friendship just like it was, but eventually last year my feeling towards him started to turn into something more.”

“That is very nice,” Esme said while putting her arm around my shoulders to comfort me. “I’m glad he was there for you.”

“Yeah, actually all three of us were there for each other. We helped take care of Bella and the babies during her chemo but she always seemed to be there for us as well. She was always concerned that we find happiness.” I cringed at the memories of how sick Bella was. “Bella had a difficult time with the chemo, but she faced it with such courage, strength and sheer determination. She really is the strongest person I have ever met,” I giggled. “In other words Bella is the most stubborn person, or creature on the planet; Victoria had nothing on her.”

Edward grinned at that. “Yes, I would have to agree with you there. Bella is most definitely one of a kind.”

Alice smirked when she looked at me. “Actually I think she has just the right amount of stubbornness in her to make her perfect for Edward.”

Both Jasper and Emmett called out. “That’s for sure.”

Esme smiled, “Well it’s probably a good thing that Bella is Edward’s true mate. Their stubbornness alone proves that they are perfect for each other.” Giving her own dazzling smile to her husband, “Just think of it, Carlisle, Edward is a father, which in a sense makes us grandparents.”

I could see her eyes glistening with tears. “Esme that is exactly what you are to them. Bella tells them stories about you all every single day; she wants them to know all about you. In fact Bella has even created her own special photo album so that they know exactly what you all look like in case they ever saw you.”

Edward seemed clearly confused by what I just said. “How on earth could she have pictures of all of us? Before I left I made sure all pictures and gifts that we had given her were hidden from her.”

Esme was now mad. “How dare you, Edward Anthony Masen Cullen!? What gives you the right to take things away from Bella?”

“In the woods I told her I would make it as if I never existed. I was hoping that she would forget about all of us. I figured that was a real possibility since her human memories are just a sieve.” Edward explained quickly.

“You know what, Edward, right now you have proven to me just how much of a complete and utter idiot you are,” I stated angrily. How on earth he could have so little faith in Bella’s feelings? Doesn't he know her at all? “I don’t think you ever had any concept of how truly committed Bella was in her love for you. You never grasped that even your leaving would not stop this all encompassing love she has always had for you. Don’t you realize that there are humans all over the world who when they lose the love of their life they never move on from that relationship?”

I was seething now, I was so mad at him. I looked at Rosalie. “Rosalie, could you do me a favor if I asked?”

“I guess, but it would depend on what that favor would be,” Rosalie answered me carefully.

“Would you please hit Edward on the back of his head as hard as you can—” Before I could even go on with my reasoning Rosalie got a huge smirk on her face and did just as I asked. In fact Jasper followed her lead and did the same thing to Edward.

It made me feel temporarily better. “Thank you Rosalie and you too Jasper.”

Jasper smirked. “You’re very welcome, Angela, don’t hesitate in asking. Edward deserves far worse in my opinion. All Edward ever had to do was ask me what Bella’s feelings were, and I could have shown him. Bella is one of a kind, she is the only human I have ever met with the ability to feel emotions just as strongly as any vampire. I can’t imagine the pain this idiot put her through when he left her.” Jasper looked angrily into Edward’s pained face and went on, “Remember how your feelings pretty much ate you alive, how painful it was to know that you weren’t with Bella anymore? Bella probably felt even worse than that considering the fact that you told her you didn’t want her anymore. How would you feel if she ever told you that?”

Edward fell to the ground with a look of pure self hatred on his face. “How will she ever forgive me?”

“Quite easily, Edward, this is Bella. She loves you more then her own life and all she has ever wanted since the day you left her was to be reunited again. She wants nothing more than to be the family you guys should have always been.” I only hoped that I could help this dream come true for Bella.

“What type of photo album did she make, if she didn’t have the pictures that Eddie over there stole from her?” Emmett asked.

“Well if you don’t mind I would like to wait a little bit on explaining the photo album.” Looking at Edward I said, “Just so you know, last year Bella found the pictures and birthday gifts that you hid from her when you left.”

“She did?” he asked.

“Yes. She did.”

“Angela, do you mind if I ask you a few questions?” Carlisle asked.

“Not at all, Carlisle, I’m sure there are a lot of questions you all have.”

“First off I have a question regarding the children. From what it sounds like Bella had a fairly human pregnancy. Do the children show any signs of being half-vampire?” He seemed enthralled with the possibilities.

“You are quite correct that Bella’s pregnancy showed all signs of being a normal human pregnancy. After I knew the truth about you all I asked Bella about that. She gave me a theory about that.” When I saw his eyes grow eager in excitement I decided to continue. “Bella believes that if the babies had shown signs at that time of being half-vampire she would not have been able to survive. Can you imagine a mere human girl being pregnant with twins who have the strength of a vampire? She could have been killed by the slightest movement that they made.” Everyone shuddered at that.

“Bella believes that though they appear more human now, that once they are full grown things will change. Much like the wolves, when they were full grown and the wolf gene activated, the same thing may occur with Renesmee and Masen.” I grinned wondering if I should dangle a bit of a carrot in front of them. I decided I wanted to have a little bit of fun at Edward’s expense. He did deserve it after all. “However you might be interested to know that from a vampire’s standpoint they already show signs of having talents.”

Alice bounced up and down, clearly excited. “What kind of talents?”

“Renesmee has the ability to project her thoughts onto somebody just by touching their skin.” Looking at a still distraught Edward, I grinned, “You might be interested to know, Edward, that Renesmee can even get into Bella’s AM frequency.”

Edward gave me a grin. “Really? She can project her thoughts into Bella’s mind?” When I nodded he asked, “What about Masen?”

“Well I don’t know if I should say.” Looking at the hurt look on Edward’s face made me laugh, and I turned my attention to Alice. “I think Edward may be very jealous of his little boy if he knows what Masen is capable of doing.”

Alice gave me an evil grin. “Oh? I think I like the sound of that. This ought to be good.”

“Oh, it most definitely is,” I said laughing.

Edward was getting a bit impatient. “Please tell me?”

“Well much like Nessie’s talent, Masen has to touch the person for his ability to work.” Quite honestly I was stalling, I didn’t know why, but I was having fun watching him squirm.

“Please Angela, I’m dying over here,” Edward said in an overdramatic tone.

“Really, Edward? Carlisle, can a vampire die from anticipation? Bella never told me this before.” I grinned at Carlisle.

“No,” Carlisle chuckled. “Though it could be true that the vampire might drive the rest of us so insane that we may contemplate finishing the fool off for his own good, a vampire cannot die from anticipation alone.”

Alice being eager to find out Masen’s ability, decided to ask. “What can Masen do, Angela?”

“Well when Masen touches you he can read your thoughts.” I looked at Edward with an evil grin, before continuing, “and that includes Bella’s thoughts.”

Edward gasped. “Really? He can read Bella’s thoughts?” When I nodded, he broke out into a huge grin. “Maybe I can read Masen’s thoughts?” Then he frowned. “That is unless he’s like his mother and his thoughts are private to me as well.”

“The only way to know that for sure is to find out for yourself!” I simply stated, hoping that he would see it as a dare.

After waiting a minute I turned back to Carlisle. “Did you have any other questions, Carlisle?”

“I’m wondering about Bella’s health. Is she in recovery? Did the chemo work?” At Carlisle’s questions everybody’s faces became more anxious looking.

“Bella underwent chemo; it was quite awful. It made her so sick. I honestly don’t understand how a medicine so dangerous can actually do any good. It’s no wonder that some people don’t survive the effects of the chemo. For a while none of us believed that Bella would be able to survive.” I shuddered at the memory. “There were many times she would be so sick that she would have to be rushed to the hospital due to her fever and the extreme dehydration she would suffer. There were a couple of times I thought she wouldn’t make it.”

“Just before her last treatment, we started to notice a physical difference in her. She had more color than she had had in months. She didn’t even get sick with her last round of chemo. It was so odd; we thought for sure Bella would end up having the same exact reaction she always had after her treatments, but she didn’t. She didn’t get sick at all. In fact the next time she went in for her tests, there was no trace of the cancer anywhere in her body. She hasn’t been sick a single day since.” I remembered how all of us had considered this a true miracle.

Alice looked at me with sad eyes. “I’m assuming she lost her hair during her treatments?”

I nodded. “Yes she did, though her hair is just past her shoulders now.”

Esme, who had, looked quite relieved since being informed about Bella’s health, asked a question. “Do Bella and the children live with Charlie?”

I grinned. “No. Though Bella did buy Charlie’s house from him when he got married to Sue Clearwater and moved onto the res.”

“Charlie got married?” Esme smiled while Alice squealed with excitement. After I confirmed the answer she asked another question, “How could Bella afford a house?”

I grinned. “Oh, I guess you could say our dear Bella is quite talented and is in no way hurting financially.”

“Talented in what way?” Alice asked.

“Well she mainly lives off of her hobby but she also teaches a class twice a week.”

Before I could go on Alice perked up. “Oh, I bet she teaches something having to do with literature. I can totally see Bella teaching about her love of books.”

“Sorry, Alice, but you’re not even close.” When she gave me a disgruntled look for guessing wrong I told them. “Actually twice a week she teaches Bikram Yoga.”

Laughter is what I heard coming from a majority of the Cullen family. I started to get aggravated by their reaction until I realized that the last time they had seen Bella she had still been her former clumsy self. Deciding I would give them all a break, I let it pass, for now.

“I’m being serious. Bella started doing yoga as soon as she found out she was pregnant. She was determined to work on her balance problems, and in fact I think it helped her during her recovery as well.”

“You’re actually being serious? My clumsy little sister is no more?” Emmett asked, almost sounding sad at the idea.

“Yes, I’m very serious. With yoga she slowly started gaining confidence that she never had before. Since her health has improved, Bella has also started running, pilates, kick boxing, weight training and has even learned self-defense. She figured that since she is the mother of half-vampires in addition to being a danger magnet it would be a good idea to be as strong as possible.”

“So you’re saying that Bella can kick some ass?” Emmett asked.

“Well when it comes to an opponent like a werewolf or vampire, no she wouldn’t hold up in a fight. However, bring in a human and I can guarantee Bella would be able to kick some major ass.”

“Cool!” Emmett grinned.

Edward seemed to be contemplating something for a moment but then decided to ask another question. “You said Bella earned the majority of her money from her hobby. What is her hobby?”

“Well it’s a hobby she didn’t pick up until after she found out she was pregnant. It was something she started doing as a way try to lessen the nightmares she was having on a nightly basis. She didn’t even think much of it at first, but she was clearly talented and slowly grew to love it.”

“Did it help?” Esme asked.

“It kind of helped. She still has the nightmare on a nightly basis, but she hardly ever wakes up screaming anymore.”

I sighed at Edward’s impatient face. “You want to know what her hobby is, Edward? I know what you can look at to show you exactly what her hobby is.” I gave what I would consider an evil grin at the camera. “Why don’t you turn around, Edward, and tell me what you see.”

They all looked very confused. I could hear all three of them say, “Huh?”

It was Esme, who seemed to understand, she grabbed my hand in her excitement. “Are you saying what I think you’re saying?”

“If you’re thinking what I’m trying to say, then yes.” I knew I was being confusing, but I couldn’t help it; I was having fun at the moment.

“Huh?” all of the rest of the Cullen family said.

Esme was in awe. “I can’t believe it.” I could see tears in her eyes. “Is that really them?” She understood now that the little boy and girl with their backs to us on the large hanging behind Edward, Rosalie and Jasper were Masen and Renesmee holding hands, while walking along the beach at La Push.

Noticing that the entire family was still confused and also starting to get irritated, I said, “Edward, what does the signature say on the bottom of that painting.”

Edward looked at the painting and seemed to freeze for a minute as he read the name. Finally he said the name very slowly, “Ella Masen.”

Emmett jumped up. “Wait a minute—are you telling us that Bella is a painter? That she goes by the name Ella Masen?”

“Yes, she is a very talented artist.” I looked over at Esme. “Bella will be so happy to know that you were the one who purchased Enduring Love. That painting was all of our favorites, we were all sad to see it go. On Renesmee and Masen’s second birthday we had all gone down to First Beach. We spent the entire day out there, having an absolute blast. Towards the end of the day, Bella took them down one last time to walk along the beach. Both Renesmee and Masen took each other’s hand and just started walking. When the sun started to set Bella was caught up in the beauty of her children, the sunset and the beach and she pulled out her camera and started taking a bunch of pictures.” It had been a beautiful night; everyone could see that Bella had been caught up in a surge of inspiration when she started taking so many pictures.

“Later that night, after she got the children in bed, she went into her little studio and started this painting. She was up all night working on it; she said something inside her was screaming to get it done immediately, that it was a matter of great importance.”

Esme’s cold hands were still holding onto mine for dear life. “It’s like fate was working with all its might to bring us this link to them, and we didn’t even realize it. There was something inside me urging me to go to Seattle early last June. When I was there I felt compelled to go into this art gallery I had never been to before. There were so many beautiful paintings headlining this local artist, Ella Masen. As soon as I saw that painting I knew I had to have it.” She looked at me. “The representative at the gallery said that it was a good thing that I had shown up on that day. Apparently that particular painting had just arrived that morning.”

“You have to understand something,” I said quietly, “Bella had never allowed a painting that included her children to be put up for sale before. She is very private, especially when it concerns them, but she said that something just told her that it was essential for this one to be let go. She got a call that night from the gallery owner letting her know that the painting had sold.” It truly was a small world.

“I was so drawn to this painting, the scenery and those beautiful children gave me such a feeling of hope when I saw it. But in all honesty it was the young man off to the side that really pushed me into buying it,” Esme confessed. “It looked so much like Edward that I just couldn’t resist.”

“Yes, she wanted Edward to be a part of this painting. She mentioned that when she was taking the pictures the one thing that was missing was Edward. There was such a feeling of love and calm in the air she said that if she concentrated really hard it was almost like she could also hear you playing her lullaby to her.” The look on Edward’s face said it all. You could see the hope, the love and the pain he was feeling at this very moment. I really hoped that he didn’t blow it; Bella deserved to be happy again.

“Would you all like to see the digital pictures that I have on my computer?” Everyone nodded their heads instead of speaking, so I walked over to the table so that I could get everything ready. Once I was done, I turned on the slideshow and watched the various Cullen reactions. I could tell instantly that they were captivated by the pictures.

The pictures started with photos of Bella while she was pregnant and slowly went into different pictures that had been taken since the twins were born. I could see the sadness in their eyes, when they saw what they had missed, but the pictures of Bella with a scarf on her head to cover up the fact that she didn’t have hair anymore in addition to the dark circles under her sad looking eyes got audible sobs from Esme, Alice and somebody I could only guess was Edward coming over the TV. When the pictures finally finished I removed my external hard drive from their laptop and made my way back over to the couch.

Rosalie surprised me the most; she looked visibly affected by all of this. What she said next surprised me even more. “You have two very beautiful children, Edward. Now that you know about them, I hope you realize the gift that you have been given and cherish them always.” I was beginning to wonder how much of Rosalie’s cold persona was a result of wanting things she would never have.

“You’re right, Rosalie.” Edward smiled. “I have been given the best possible gift anybody could ever have. I hope I can prove to all three of them that I love them and that I never want to let them go again.”

“Does that mean you have finally come to your senses?” I asked Edward.

He only took a moment before answering me. “Yes, I would have to say that I have finally come to my senses. I just hope I can convince them that I love them.” he said soberly. He probably knew that he would have a bit of an uphill battle to guarantee his return into Bella’s life. It would be worth it in the end though. I just knew it.