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Winter Solstice

Summary:
Maggie gets Kidnapped (sort of) meets the man of her dreams, gets married and turned into a Vampire, all before a huge fight with the Volturi and the Romanians and all in about a week. All your favorite Twilight Characters are in this one, though some may take a while to show up. Spoiler, post BD.


Notes:


5. Chapter 5: Monster

Rating 0/5   Word Count 5948   Review this Chapter

Then she jumped, without a running start, and gracefully landed, one leg at a time. I took a few cautious steps back, the soggy ground squishing under my feet, I ran, sprang forward, and cruised through the air, then stepped back onto the earth with ease. “Whoa,” I breathed, smiling uncontrollably.

A round of congratulations went around, and then I inhaled. The scent I caught immediately made my throat burn, my nose twitch. “God,” I whispered, breathing heavily. “What is that?”

“That smells like blood,” Edward called, then darted forward. I ran after him, then felt a slight twinge of pain as I attempted to stop. Trying to resist the smell actually hurt my throat. Just as I dragged myself to a stop, I saw a shape shoot by me, and Carlisle stopped only a few feet away.

“Maggie,” he warned, holding both hands out cautiously. “Stay where you are,” I barely noticed I was taking a step forward, straining all my muscles in the opposite direction, I kept moving forward. “I don't want to have to stop you, because I think you can do this yourself.”

I shifted my weight from one foot to the other, anxiously looking past him. He didn't want me to, he'd be disappointed. I had to resist it, I had to be strong enough, had to be good enough. While Jasper moved closer to him, Carlisle took an apologetic step forward. I took a deep breath, ignoring the burning in my throat. It was only pain, I'd had worse. I took one slow step forward, reaching out towards Carlisle's extended hand, and slowly took it, holding my breath.

The area around me was still on high alert, Jasper was only one step away as we walked forward, finding Edward staring at something red in his hands. It was a blue shirt, stained with blood. Very old, but still blood. He morosely handed Jasper a piece of paper, then it was passed to Carlisle. I read quickly.

We humbly request your presence in Volterra to welcome the newest member of your family.

-Aro.

Silence hung over the pack for a long time. And then after a while Edward said “I don't understand, why would they have gotten the... the blood?”

“It certainly got our attention,” I mumbled, then realized I needed more air if I intended to speak again. I took a deep breath, winced and squeezing Carlisle's hand tightly.

“They've requested us,” Carlisle said slowly, shaking his head. “But we can't go, Maggie doesn't know anything about her powers yet.”

“But if we don't go there, they'll only come to us.” Edward said weakly, holding the shirt far away from his chest and taking deep breaths.

“Exactly, that will buy us more time,” Alice called, prancing up. Edward nodded, then I took another breath, and smelled something that smelled like food. And it had a beating heart. I charged forward, dancing lithely around trees and then coming to a stop when I saw the deer. There were several of them, a small doe with no spots, a male with only 4-points, and a larger male with 6-points. The two males were fighting, their antlers entangles as they slammed into one another. And the doe was waiting nearby, tail erect and large eyes focused intently. I'll admit, I felt sympathy for the males.

The two of them, thrown together and forced to fight for the heart of a female. Well... not necessarily the heart... in this case. I felt a sort of pain shoot through me, and I realized which one I related too. Darting forward, I slammed into the smaller buck, knocking it to the ground and dislodging it's antlers from it's opponent. Bringing my head back and then plunging forward, I sank my teeth into it's neck. My sharpened line of pearly whites ripped easily through the rough, chewy hide of the buck, easing their way into an artery and immediately receiving a hot, steamy gush of blood.

As the taste rolled down my throat, the sensation of warmth spread through my body, easing the burning along my neck but seeming to increase the heat in my hands. I shuddered at the incredible sensation of warmth, and the pain of my fingers catching fire. I was moving, a sort of primal need to be closer to my prey, I could feel myself arching to be nearer the source of heat. When the source of warmth began to dwindle, I pulled away, quickly wiped my mouth, then dashed away.

I could hear the river, so I easily steered myself towards it, then plunged my aching hands into the cool, welcoming, water. It quenched the burn, and I was able to return to the heard. The other two deer were dead, drained of blood by the looks, and the others all seemed to be fed. “Piece of cake,” I muttered, walking into the clearing.

I received congratulations from the herd, a few pats on the back, then many of them were leaving. Rosalie and Emmett, Edward and Alice, all turned to leave, and darted out of the clearing before I could ask why. I turned back to Jasper, who was smiling at me.

“I so enjoy training inexperienced Vampires,” he said sarcastically. “But, I suppose this could be fun.”

I glanced over at Carlisle, who was standing on the edge of the clearing, smiling to himself. Then Jasper dove forward, swiping at me with an outstretched arm. I ducked, panicking, and ran, stopping and turning when I was a ways away. Jasper ran to me and swung for me again, which I blocked with one arm. His hand latched onto my arm, then swung me around, whipping my whole body around his single hand and slamming me into the ground. I winced, my breath knocked out of me, and looked up at him.

He nodded slowly. “Don't ever stop attacking. Don't assume your opponent will ever do that for you.”

I growled, straightening my outfit. “If you rip my dress Alice will tear your head off.”

“I'm willing to take that risk,” he countered, then burst forward with incredible speed, physically throwing himself at me. I stepped back at first, not sure how to react. His arms would wrap around my head at any second, so I brought both of mine up, stopped his from hitting me and shoved them both away, then pushed my hands forward to knock him away, only his left hand swept both of out of reach, then he called “Stop!”

I froze in place, afraid I'd hurt him, but he simply indicated to my side. “Look. Totally exposed. Never attack from the front, you open yourself up to weaknesses like here,” he pointed to my side, “Or here.” he gestured vaguely to my neck.

“You attacked from the front too,” I demanded, holding my arms out indignantly.

“I'm well trained, I don't have to abide by beginner rules.”

I growled defensively, scowling at him.

“Carlisle,” Jasper called, turning to his father. “Come fight, I want to observe.”

Carlisle donned a somber look, quite seriously walking out into the middle of the clearing, and faced me.

“Carlisle,” I said in a whiny voice. “Your son's being mean to me!” I managed to make him smile, then added “Are you gonna go easy on me?”

“And risk the wrath of Jasper Whitlock? I think not.”

I giggled, then Jasper rolled his eyes. “Maggie, you attack.”

I shrugged, ran forward, and remembering what Jasper had told me, I dove around my husband, but was surprised to find he followed my movements exactly, when I swung for the back of his head, he caught my hand, swung me around in a broad circle as if we were dancing, placed one hand on my hip, and stepped forward, leading me perfectly. I laughed, forgetting completely that we were supposed to be fighting.

He dipped me very low, his higher hand moving from mine and wrapping into my hair, gently moving my head back to expose my neck. I was shocked with the realization that he had just bested me, then pleasantly surprised to find I didn't care. I dropped my head back further, inviting him to my neck and shut my eyes.

“Maggie!” Jasper chastised as Carlisle pulled me up. “Fighting is supposed to be about utilizing your baser instincts!” Upon surveying that I was holding onto my husband and slowly kissing from his lips to his jaw, threading my fingers just under his sweater, he added “But you should try to ignore yours.”

I regrettably pulled away, then backed up a few feet. I wasn't sure what all the fuss was about with being a newborn. I felt the same, except stronger and faster than when I was human.

“Do you know what you did wrong that time?” Jasper demanded, his brow furrowing.

I shrugged. “I suppose cooperating couldn't have helped any.” I folded my arms in front of my chest stubbornly.

“Your body language gave every move you were about to make away,” Jasper explained.

When I looked to Carlisle for a better explanation he elaborated “Your muscles tensed in a way that clearly displayed what you were going to do.”

I nodded slowly, considering, then Jasper called “Again.”

I grinned, then ran forward, trying to change my style, I tensed my muscles like I was going to move one way, then dove the other direction. This cost a great deal of speed, but it accomplished the job, I got to Carlisle's left side, then when he reached out for me I ducked and dove back behind him. I lunged forward just as he was turning and plowed into him head-on, knocking him to the ground and pinning him, my legs straddling his arms, my dress flat against his chest.

“I attacked from the front again,” I said before Jasper could, my eyes locked on Carlisle beneath me. “But it worked.” Placing my hands flat on his pecs, I ran them over the fabric of my dress, massaging the muscles underneath.

“You got lucky,” Jasper corrected. “Were you dueling a more skilled opponent, you wouldn't have gotten away with it. Could you please try to focus?”

Carlisle rolled his eyes, and I giggled, pushing myself away so that I flew through the air and landed gracefully on two feet several feet back. “Again?” I asked hopefully. This was fun, and I never wanted it to end.

Until the next time we fought.

Carlisle attacked first, racing forward and swiping across, but when I managed to limbo under his arm I stood, grabbing his hand and jerking him to my right. He tumble across the ground, he ended face down in the dirt. Jasper clapped dramatically from our left as Carlisle stood slowly, smiling. “That was better,” he said, coming to stand by me.

“I'm sorry!” I called urgently, touching his shoulder gently. “Did I hurt you?”

“I'm fine, you did well,” he assured me.

“Carlisle should have seen that coming,” Jasper said lightly, walking up and standing next to us. “You have to stop taking it easy on her.”

“I don't want to do this anymore,” I said instantly, shaking my head. There had been a minute there when I actually was afraid for my husbands safety, that I may have caused damage.

“Short of actually trying to rip his head off, you won't do anything to hurt him,” Jasper assured me.

“But he looks so fragile,” I protested, taking a few steps back.

“I'm right here.”

I looked over at Carlisle. I actually had forgotten he was there. “I'm sorry!” I said again, inspecting his arm once more. “You're sure you're okay?”

He nodded, smiling. “Perfect.”

“Tell me about it,” I managed with a forced smile.

Then we were at it again. I couldn't help but think that if my mind were more focused on the fight I would have won more of the matches. But I kept wandering back to those three deer. As I ran forward I dove back, then ran around Carlisle. He followed, one step away at all times as I pranced around him, just out of his grasp. I looked around, then when I made it behind him, I jumped.

He whirled around and ducked, allowing me to sail over him. I rolled gracefully, landing in a crouch, then rising and brushing myself off. Carlisle smiled as he walked slowly up to me, until we were only a few feet apart. His demeanor calm, he unexpectedly ran forward, and I dove aside just in time, then snatched hold of his arm and yanked him back, pulling him onto the ground. He landed sprawled out directly beside me, a smile on his face. He leaned forward and snatched my hand, holding on tightly and pulling me down with him.

I fell flat against him, laughing and smiling as he kissed my cheek. Jasper waited patiently, then when we both got back up, he instructed me on the art of, not only pinning or disarming your opponent, but killing. “The simplest was is to remove the head of your enemy. The separate pieces can be burned later and you can move on to the next Vampire. Using your hands, with a quick wrenching motion, or with one hand and your teeth to sever the neck”

I nodded, though I didn't really want to sever anyone's neck with my teeth.

“Calm down,” he ordered, and I did. “You may not have to worry about that, if you develop your powers in the next three days.”

“Three days,” I muttered, shaking my head. “I don't even know what I can do yet.”

“Alright, one more time then,” he gestured to my husband. “Try to get into a position-” my lips twitched involuntarily into a smile “-From which you could remove his head.” I winced, then turned to face Carlisle.

I blinked a few times, took a deep breath, then burst forward, nimbly skipped around Carlisle and sprang forward, grazing his neck and winding my fingers into his hair. I hadn't gotten a firm grip before his hand caught mine and he pulled around to the front of him, then held me to the ground, his body pinning me in place.

I breathed steadily, silently hoping Jasper would leave as I leaned forward. He didn't, just watched with disinterested eyes, then declared boldly “Alright, that's enough. With me this time.”

I gawked at him, then nodded. “Why?”

Carlisle offered me his hand, then pulled me up and Jasper said “You're both holding back too much, the fights are... unrealistic. I won't go easy on you.”

I smiled, a chance to fight Jasper without holding back? I gestured to Carlisle “Stand back old man.”

He complied, leaving the two of us facing each other. My whole body was ringing with anticipation as Jasper walked forward, then he was running, jaggedly tracing across the clearing in a crooked pattern. When I stepped forward and tried to grab him he disappeared.

Everything was deathly quiet in the clearing, the only sound was the beating of my heart, pounding like a jack hammer. I listened for Jasper, shutting my eyes, there was only the slightest of crackling noises behind me, and I waited until I could feel Jasper's breath on my neck before spinning and opening my eyes. Snatching his outstretched hand, I pulled his already moving body towards me, stopping when I could get my hands around his neck, but before I could get a grip on him he pushed off the ground with his feet, sailing past me then turning and springing forward.

I stuck my arm out to stop him, and he knocked it away with ease, both hands hungrily reaching for my neck. I used my other arm to knock those away, then noted the weak spot in his neck, wrapped my arm around his and trapped him in a head lock.

“Very good,” he noted, smiling with approval. “You did well.”

I released him and he nodded to me, then turned and walked out of the clearing. Carlisle chuckled as he approached me, “You taught Jasper a lesson.”

“Three days,” I said again, still in shock.

“Which reminds me,” he reached into his pocket, fluidly getting down on one knee, and pulled out a little blue box. I gasped, my hand shooting to my mouth, and stared in disbelief. “Maggie,” he stated slowly, holding the box up and looking into my eyes. “I've loved you from the first second I saw you. I'd like nothing more than to spend the rest of my existence with you, just trying to deserve you. Margaret Genevieve Delano- Maggie- will you do me the honor of marrying me?”

With that he opened the box, and my heart nearly stopped. The silver band held an extraordinary and bright diamond, enclosed in a thin web of intricate silver winding over top. I nodded wordlessly, holding out my left hand, then when I felt the tears flow, I whispered “Yes.” I dove forward, against his chest, and wrapped my trembling arms around his shoulders. I looked at the ring and winced.

Everything was so surreal. I was married to a Vampire, I was a Vampire, even if I still had a beating heart. My life had changed so drastically in the past week that I had forgotten I'd ever had a life before this. “What do you mean?” I asked, still holding onto my husband/fiance. “Like a ceremony?”

“Yes. Don't you want the white dress, the large reception, your father to walk you down the aisle?”

I cringed at 'large reception'. “Yes. But when?”

“Two days from now,” he answered instantly. “Alice already has people flying in.”

“Flying in?” I asked, my face frozen in absolute horror. “What do you mean- 'flying in'? Are there people from other states -or other countries- coming here?”

“Just a few old friends,” he said easily, smiling slightly.

“Oh my god, I'm getting married- there's going to be a wedding- I'm going to be the bride- we have so much to do- I have to tell my parents.”

“We'll go today,” Carlisle said quickly, standing and holding me up.

“Right now?”

“Right now. If you feel alright?”

I nodded. “If I can resist the blood, I can resist my parents and my brother.”

He bent and scooped me up, carrying me as if I weighed no more than a feather and setting me down when we reached a black Mercedes in the driveway. “Is this your car?” I asked, marveling at the sleek interior. He spun the keys around one long, elegant finger.

“Is that a good thing?”

I slid into the passenger seat and let out a soft moan. Everything in the car was so expensive and attractive. “I'll show you later,” I replied, running my hand gently over the dashboard as he began to drive.

We drove in silence for about a minute before he said “That was a very extraordinary occurrence, when you controlled yourself in the presence of human blood. Your eyes are partially gold as well, indicating you've skipped the newborn phase completely.”

“Is that good?”

“Yes, we're at our most blood thirsty as newborns, you've managed to completely circumvent this stage, meaning a mortality rate with you could be lower or even non-existent.”

“I'm not gonna kill anybody?” I asked in shock.

“It would seem that way,” his gaze flickered over to me and I smiled. I was proud, actually.

“Thank you,” I managed, looking away and staring out the window as we sped down the back road.

“For what?” he asked, his brow furrowing in genuine confusion.

“When I went after the blood -or, the scent of the blood- you believed in me, and I think that's really what got me through it.”

“That had nothing to do with me, you're just stronger than you think you are,” he smiled kindly at me, and then turned back to the road.

Not strong enough, I thought bitterly. Steeling my nerves, I took a deep breath and said “There's something I have to tell you.” Rosalie was right.

The world seemed to slow down as he turned to me, and I had plenty of time to talk myself out of it. The way he looked, so trusting... understanding. But not understanding enough. “You can tell me anything Maggie.”

Oh how I wish I could believe that. “It's just...” I froze, in complete terror, then forced a smile, and said quickly “I'm so grateful for everything you've done for me.”

He smiled, though he didn't look very convinced. “Of course, my family and I owe you so much.”

He totally didn't buy that, and still, he wasn't pressuring me to tell him anything. Doubtful, but not prying. Suspicious, but still trusting. Which just made me feel even worse. As we reached my parents house I reconsidered the entire plan.

“Let's just not invite my parents,” I said quickly, pulling on my cheap sunglasses.

“Don't you want your family there?”

“No,” I shook my head. “And I doubt they want to be there anyways, so let's just go.”

“If that's what you want, then I won't push it, but you have to be sure.”

I swallowed, my heart pounding and my breath caught in my throat. “Okay, just promise you won't ask my father for his permission to marry me, that's offensive in so many ways.”

He chuckled. “Alright, fair enough.”

We walked quickly up to the house, climbing the porch steps with ease, and then I knocked. Fear crept up and I nearly ran, but my husband reached out and took my hand. All my petty worries melted away and I forced a smile.

My mother answered the door, then when she noticed me she seemed confused. “Margaret? Is that you?”

“Yes,” I replied casually. “Hello mother.” I knew I looked rather different, but I was relying on my mom's unobservant nature. She wouldn't know it was raining if she was standing outside in a thunderstorm. That, and the denial.

“Margaret,” she smiled with ease then looked at Carlisle, a frown creeping onto her face. “And who is this?”

“This is my- um- friend, Carlisle.” I noticed him smile and squeezed his hand reassuringly. “Is dad home?”

“Yes, he's sleeping in his chair, are you hungry? I can make you something to eat or what about some tea? Coffee?”

“No, thanks.”

I followed her in, leading the way. He long black hair was pulled back into a tight pony tail but still reached past her thick, lumpy shoulders. Spray tanned and wearing tight clothing for such a jolly woman, she was still looking depressed as always. Then when we came into the living room, she raced forward and smacked my father directly on his large stomach. He jolted forward with a snort, his long nose protruding from his face. Stubbly brown hairs covered his entire flat face and reached past his several chins to his chest where they grew more wildly.

He had the green eyes that I used to have, while my mothers were a thick, heady, bloodshot brown. I guess she'd been worried about the fact that I hadn't called or visited for over a week. My father -Tom- was overjoyed to see me, he stood and immediately hugged me, I cringed as he pulled away in shock. My skin was hot, unlike all the other Vampires in the world. It was much hotter than a humans. And my appearance was different, that must have taken him off guard. Not to mention the fact that everything about me was now screaming “Predator!”

He forced a smile and then looked over at my husband. And my fiance. And my soul mate. I gestured to him and said “Dad, this is Carlisle, Carlisle, my father Tom.”

They shook hands and Carlisle smiled warmly. “Hello Mr. Delano, my name is Carlisle Cullen, and I'm your daughter's fiance.”

Silence overtook the room for a few seconds before my father smiled hysterically, then sat back in his chair in total shock. My mother on the other hand nodded quickly “Oh my god I think I'm having a heart attack.”

Carlisle moved to take a step forward but I held my hand out, blocking him, then said quietly “She has four heart attacks a month, she'll be fine.”

My father was looking between us in confusion. “What was that about?”

“He's a doctor,” I said lamely.

“Mr. Delano,” Carlisle said with a professional and kind look on his face, “I realize that I should have asked you for your daughter's hand before I proposed, but... then there's your daughter. So I'd like to assure you that my intentions are strictly honorable, I care about your daughter very much and I'll never let anything happen to her.”

Again, everything was silent. “Okay,” Tom declared, looking uncomfortable. “That's all well and good, but how long have you two known each other?”

I paused only a second to make sure my husband wasn't going to answer, then said quickly “A few months. We met at college, and just got back in touch.”

College. That worked, right?

My mother, looking surprised and appalled at the same time at how irresponsible this whole thing sounded, said quietly “I guess I always knew Margaret would end up meeting the right man even though she never wanted to. Of course none of the boys in this town were good enough, she only ever went to one school dance and she looked absolutely miserable.” She paused, and I looked towards the ceiling in embarrassment. “You know,” she addressed Carlisle again. “I just can't believe anyone's managed to catch Margaret, she never wanted to be caught.”

“If I hadn't wanted to be caught,” I called, looking down. “Then I wouldn't have been.”

“Alright,” my father said, shaking his head sadly. “If this is what makes you happy, then I'm okay with this.”

“Great!” I smiled calmly and then said “We should probably go,”

“Wait,” my mother said quickly, already crossing the room towards the nursery. “Don't you want to see Aidenn?”

I cringed, then smiled awkwardly and nodded. My little brother was a year old, he had short black hair that fell into his face as he slept. Though his eyes were closed I knew they were a pale green just like mine and my fathers. He had very white skin with slightly flushed cheeks and his nose was cute and upturned like most babies were. I held my breath the entire time we were in the room, then breathed a sigh as I finally left the torturous house.

We had given my parents details about the wedding and they promised to attend. As we climbed into the car I relaxed just slightly, knowing I hadn't done any major damage. “That was horrible.”

“I don't think it was too bad.”

“Were you even there?” I demanded playfully, smiling at the fact that our wedding was only two days away.

“Your brother,” he began looking away. “Was he conceived naturally?”

I pretended to gag and then choked out “Yes.”

He didn't speak, just focused on the road and I sensed there was something he wanted to say to me. Something I was afraid I wasn't going to like. The air hang dense and heavy around us as silence saturated into the car, and when I could take it no longer I simply asked “What's wrong?”

“Nothing.”

“Something is wrong,” I said, my voice cracking and unexplained tears forming in my eyes. They crept over the rims and rolled off my eyelashes, and I couldn't stand the thoughts going through my head. You're a fraud. You're a fraud and now he knows it.

“Seeing you with your little brother. You want that, don't you?”

I laughed with perfect hatred for myself at that moment through my tears. “I never did but I then I met you and it was all I wanted and I can't get it off my mind.”

So he didn't know.

“I'm sorry you no longer have that option.”

“That's not your fault. How did Edward and Bella have a child? You told me about there daughter, Renesmee?”

He looked down at his hands spread out on the steering wheel and said somberly “That was only possible because Bella was still a human at the time.”

“But I'm not like most Vampires, I have hot skin, my heart still beats, and my eyes still have a little green in them-.”

“-I'd never allow that to happen. Bella's pregnancy almost killed her, and it ended her life. We would have no way of knowing how you would react and I won't take that risk even if it is possible.”

“Can you tell me about it?”

He was silent for a long time as if contemplating whether or not it was an appropriate story, then quickly launched into the story as we pulled into the driveway. I was completely speechless as we slowly got out and walked up to the house. His house.

“Are you alright?” he asked quietly, gently touching my arm in a comforting manner.

“Me? No. Definitely not. You? I have no god damn idea.” I ripped my arm away from his grip and began walking away, leaving him stunned. My teeth were clenching so tight I couldn't even explain further, just walked past the yard and into the trees, then ran to blow off some steam. When I jogged to a stop and trees were no longer blurring past me I set my hands on the sides of my head and just stood motionless, trying to squeeze the last few minutes out of my head. I imagined the memories dripping out like a thick black sludge, and then gave up and just slumped onto the ground.

Leaning forward, I placed my forehead against my bent knees and let out a shutter in my breath. What the heck just happened? He actually would have taken Bella's baby at Edwards request. He would have actually drugged her and completely obliterated another living being without the mothers consent.

“Maggie?” A hesitant voice called from behind me.

Without even looking up I knew who it was. “Go away Edward.”

“You can't blame him for that, he already blames himself enough for the both of you.”

“Oh get bent.”

“Really, you don't understand. The baby was going to kill her and she wasn't listening to reason. I came to him and I begged him to help; I take full responsibility for it.”

“You can't take responsibility for that. He had a choice and he chose to-....to.... !” I let out a confused and agitated growl and tucked my head in between my knees, then, wrapping my hands around the back of my neck I was in a safe, protected space.

But Edwards annoying voice managed to penetrate my safe vibe. “Talk to him, I'm sure he'll do a better job of explaining this then I will.”

And then he was gone and I was left alone. Alone with my thoughts in the middle of the woods. I sat thinking for such a long time that it was dark when I returned. I strode quickly up to the house, ready to unleash hell, but when I got there and saw Carlisle waiting on the porch all my anger faded. Suddenly I felt scared and alone. Betrayed, perhaps.

I walked up and sat next to him, sighing loudly. “I think we need to talk.”

He nodded. “I understand. Let me begin by saying that I realize how wrong everything about the situation was. I never should have agreed to assist in such a heinous crime and I've already apologized to Bella, although nothing I can do will ever make up for my actions.”

I smiled slightly with relief. He was sorry, that was something. “Okay, now I need to apologize to you. I had no right to be outraged with you for something that happened so long ago. I want our past to be in our pasts, and I don't want to judge you based on something that I wasn't actually a part of. But there is something I need to address.”

“Anything.”

“If we were in that situation-” I began in a near whisper. “-If that was our baby, my life in danger....” I couldn't finish, just trailed off, and he knew where I was going.

“Edward... Edward wasn't a father yet when that happened. He didn't understand that a father needs to put his child's needs before his own, which, -in a way- is the same in a marriage. He couldn't see past his love for Bella to the bigger picture of his baby. All he saw was a parasite destroying his only reason for living.”

“But you are a father,” I concluded. “You love your children, and you'd do anything for them.” I was smiling, nodding slowly. This was a man I recognized. A man I loved more than my own life. More than even my own existence. This was the caring, kind, considerate man that would never hurt an unborn child.

He smiled sadly. “I'd rather not say the actual words, but I could never do what Edward did. A part of me wonders if that makes me an insufficient husband. Please,” he begged, taking my hand and sliding off the porch, going down onto both knees in front of me. “Please understand that if anything were to happen to you, that would be life altering for me.”

The sky was glowing a faint purple as the sun descended over the horizon and we were plunged into a periwinkle twilight. Stars were beginning to flicker through the flowery haze of the clouds in the background as, twinkling like diamonds, they stared down on us like a million spotlights.

He continued boldly, his perfect gold eyes in perfect contrast with the perfect night. “It would be selfish of me to choose my own happiness in my wife over the life of our child. To decide on the comfort of not being eternally in pain rather than suffering for the necessity of another human life.”

I nodded vigorously, grinning. We were so alike. We understood each other. I separated my grip from his and fell to my knees as I lunged into his arms, inhaling his fabulous scent and saying a quick “I thought I lost you for a minute there, I couldn't stand that.”

“I thought I'd scared you away, I was so foolish back then.”

“Back then?” I teased, squeezing him tighter. “It doesn't matter. We- have very strong feelings for- the people that we are now, not who we used to be.”

He broke away from the embrace and leaned back to look me in the eye. “We 'have very strong feelings for each other'? Maggie, did you think I 'had strong feelings for you' when we-.” He broke off, seeming to draw a blank for the right words, and I laughed.

“Are you trying to find a classy way of say 'smoking hot sex'?”

He smiled slightly, admiring me in a way that made me feel not-so-terrible about myself. “I love you.”

“I love you too,” I said instantly. There'd been no doubt in my mind since the first night we met, I was terrifyingly and recklessly in love with him.

Except it wasn't so terrifying anymore. It was the safest, most comfortable thing in my life. The smartest thing I'd ever done. We'd had a problem and we'd fixed it, we'd talked it through. Nothing was going to stand in our way.

How wrong I was.