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Sunset

Summary:
Twelve years ago Edward left Bella thinking she would be safe and happy away from the dangers of his world. She wasn't. How can he make it up to her? Each chapter written from a different POV with some overlap as the same incident is seen from a different perspective. Some new characters of my own imagination.


Notes:
You know, all the recognisable characters are not mine. They belong to Stephanie Meyer and I hope I've used them in the spirit in which she created them.


34. Bella - Not Their Baby

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“When did you first realise that you were in love with me?” Edward asked me. “When I woke up the morning after Port Angeles. For the first time I was positive you were a vampire and that a part of you really desired my blood. I didn’t know how strong that part might be but it was irrelevant because I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with you. When did you realise you were in love with me?” “It sort of snuck up on me. But I accepted that I loved you when you said my name the first night I went to your room. I knew I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with you when James was after you. But I still didn’t fully understand the strength of that love until I sucked the venom from your blood. The fact that I could stop is still thought of with awe by the rest of my family. I know it is something that you don’t understand, but I could never forgive myself if I was responsible for you losing your soul.” Perhaps I should try to think of it from his perspective a little, but .... “It shouldn’t have been your decision. I do understand why you wouldn’t want to take it, but can you understand that without you my soul is just going to spend eternity in loneliness? It will be like the twelve years we were apart, but forever.” “I hope that I am wrong and that I do have a soul so that as soon as I have joined you in death, we can be together again.” I stopped what I was about to say. “Do you mean to say that as soon as I have died you intend to actually get yourself killed?” I wanted it clarified. “Of course. I can’t exist in the world if you don’t.” “But what if the Buddhists’ idea of what happens when we die is right? What if all you have to do is wait for me to be re-incarnated and old enough for you again?” “I don’t know. I never thought of that. But why did I never meet an earlier you before this life?” “Because you weren’t ready to meet me without killing me before then. If it was hard thirteen and a half years ago, how hard would it have been a hundred years ago?” “You might have a point there. At least I know I have never killed you before since I have never come across a mind that I couldn’t read before and I only went after the bad guys.” “But how do you know that you haven’t rescued me before? Perhaps I was one of your preys’ intended victims. Did you try to read the minds of all the victims?” “No, sometimes I could hear what they were thinking, but I didn’t bother to try to read them. I would, however, never have ignored your scent if it was anything like now.” “And how do we know that Jasper or Emmett haven’t killed me before?” “Another good point. Maybe we would have met before if one of them hadn’t killed you. We’ll never know.” A thought occurred to me. “Would a vampire recognise the taste of blood that they had tasted before?” Not that I thought that would help in considering the possibility of re-incarnation since blood type was determined by physical markers not emotional pointers. “Some might, others wouldn’t. I wouldn’t unless it was yours. Why? Do you want to plan an experiment? I warn you, it’s not a good idea to give vegetarians meat, or alcoholics spirits.” “I know you’re right and the physical attributes of blood wouldn’t be the same in different bodies. The soul might be the same, but nothing physical would be even if there was re-incarnation so it wouldn’t be a valid test. But it would really be something if it could work, don’t you think?” I had never really had any religious beliefs, just the thought that it might be possible to prove to oneself even if no one else that certain beliefs were more than a matter of faith. “It would certainly be something.” Edward agreed. “And I wonder how many times Carlisle might have come close to finding Esme in previous lives” I mused, thinking of the possibilities. I hoped that I had given him enough of a reason to at least pause before arranging his own death after I died. Now I had to think of something else to give him reason to stay alive when I was gone. We had returned home to Carcrix and were preparing for our temporary move to New York when Linda Jones called me to say that she had found a teacher so I didn’t need to return to her school after the holiday. It was actually a relief. I told Edward and suggested that we go somewhere for a while so that we could make it look to the people of Carcrix that I was teaching somewhere. Edward could return during the day every so often to be seen about town. I could return for one or two weekends a month to stay at our home and he and I could be seen together, but not obviously together at first, during that time. “Sounds good, but where do you want to go?” Edward asked. “Back to Forks. I want to be there when Claire has her baby. With you there I will be sure that the right decision is being made otherwise I will always wonder, as, I am sure, will Lizzie and Jake: and possibly everyone else involved.” Alice and Jasper returned from New Zealand. They said it was ideal in many ways except there wasn’t enough wildlife for them to be able to feed for any length of time. “One weekend we flew to Australia to hunt which was quite good actually but we wouldn’t be able to do that in their summer” Alice said. “So we thought that it would be a good place for us to spend winters if we could find somewhere in the northern hemisphere to spend northern winters and we could go from one to the other for a couple of years until we wanted to settle in one of our homes” Jasper added. “You mean use as a bolt hole if we need to move away from somewhere before we’re ready to set up home in the next place?” Rosalie asked. “Yes, it would be perfect for that. We could buy a large chunk of the South Island, even have our own airstrip so it would be easy to fly to feed if we bought a small plane” Jasper said. “We could build our own home if there is nothing suitable to renovate and as long as we had access to an underground spring we should be able to make it self sufficient provided we stocked the freezer and bought plenty of tinned and packet food for Bella” Alice smiled at me. It was nice that they were thinking of my needs when they made their plans. The more I thought about it, the nicer it sounded except for one thing. “What would you all do while you were there?” I asked. “Research, writing, composing, painting, sculpting anything that we wanted to” Alice said. “I like to draw and do watercolours” Esme said. “I’ve been wanting to try to do something similar to Mount Rushmore for ages. Would there be a mountain that I could use? I would need to think of what I could sculpt” Emmett said. “There are lots of mountains. There’s probably one or two that are not accessed by humans very often at all. You could research Maori legends and chose something from there.” “Good idea Jazz, I’ll do that.” “So are we agreed? We try to purchase a large tract of land in the South Island of New Zealand and prepare to use it as a bolt hole for the months April through to September?” Carlisle asked. “Yes” said Esme. “Yes” said Emmett. “Yes” said Rosalie. “Yes” said Alice. “Yes” said Jasper. “Yes” said Edward. It was quiet for a while as everyone looked at me. “What?” I asked. “You have to vote too” Edward explained making it clear that I must be an idiot for not realising. And I felt an idiot, but, really, how could I vote on what they should do? “What would happen if I said ‘no’?” I wondered. “We would want to know your reasons and if we couldn’t resolve them then we don’t go” Carlisle replied patiently, but once more the vampires were speaking as if I was dumb. “You are part of the family Bella, your needs have to be considered.” “Okay. Let me think for a sec.” It was obvious that I wouldn’t be able to get a lot of fresh fruit and veg, but most of the nutritional benefits could be obtained from tinned and frozen. I ate a lot of pasta but I also ate a lot of eggs. Could I go without eggs for six months? No. “How often could we get to a town to shop?” “Probably once a month or more” Jasper replied. Well eggs could last at least two to three weeks. I could probably go a week or two at a time without them if necessary. We could get some pancake mix and I could have pancakes. “Okay, I vote yes provided we also have a bread maker so I could have some decent bread.” “Very well, that’s unanimous. Esme, do you want to go over and start looking for somewhere?” “I’ll start on the net and appoint a lawyer.” “Perhaps later on Edward and Bella can investigate possibilities for the months October through to March” Carlisle suggested. I realised that being part of the family was going to be a lot harder than just officially living with Edward, I would have to be part of the decision making process which meant that I would have to start learning what that all meant. It wasn’t until after Alice and Jasper had been back a week when I realised that Edward hadn’t been away to hunt since I got back from Phoenix. He had clearly hunted, because his eyes were not black. “When have you hunted since I returned from mom’s?” I demanded. “When you spent your days with your friends I went and hunted. How come you’ve only just noticed that I’ve not being going away?” “But you shouldn’t be hunting during the day, it’s too dangerous! There’s too many people about, especially this time of year!” “But you don’t like it when I’m away at night so I’m not leaving you if I don’t have to. As long as I take reasonable precautions in making sure that there are no humans around I’m fine.” “But, but ...” I stuttered. “Bella, don’t worry. I will not allow myself to get too thirsty. As long as I can hunt during the day I will do so. If I need to go further afield then I shall arrange for someone to come and stay.” I thought about what Edward said. I was glad that he wouldn’t leave me as often as he had in the past, but I wished I was strong enough to be able to tell him to go more often. Maybe one day I would be able to do so. “Just don’t take any risks, please. I don’t want you to regret it.” He knew that I was meaning that if he lost control and fed off a hiker in the wrong place at the wrong time because it was something that we would both feel guilty over. The last week of August arrived and Edward and I went to Forks. I took the precaution of getting a letter signed by Carlisle Cullen allowing me unlimited use of the Cullen family home in Forks just in case it was discovered that the house was occupied and the local police came to investigate. I was confident that hospital records would be able to confirm that it was Carlisle’s signature if it was ever questioned. I think that Edward liked it at Forks because of the proliferation of food sources for him. He was even able to get the odd mountain cat, his favourite, while we were there. It did mean that he had to be a little more careful then when hunting around Carcrix though since hikers were more common in the Olympic Peninsula. Of all the pregnancies that began earlier in the year for the pack only Claire and Quil’s had yet to be born. The other babies were overwhelmingly male: six out of the eight were boys. Then came the news that we were not expecting, Leah was pregnant again! If this pregnancy progressed at the same rate as her first she would give birth at the end of September. Claire wanted Carlisle to come down to Forks for the delivery so that she could observe and help. Leah said that she didn’t care as long as it was as smooth as Pia’s birth was. Pia came to visit us with Nahuel. We watched through the large glass wall to the rear of the house. Pia leapt over the river as if it was barely there. She was definitely something to see. She was still the most beautiful little girl that I had ever seen and she was shockingly intelligent. “Edward, can you teach me to play the piano please?” she asked him as soon as she discovered that the grand piano in the house was his. “Of course if your mom and dad don’t mind.” “They won’t. And can you teach me other stuff too? Mom and dad have already taught me everything they know and I now need to learn some new things. Do you think I should try to learn things by computer?” “That might be a good way to learn facts. Is there anything you want to learn in particular?” “Well I can already speak Spanish and Portuguese so I thought I should learn to speak French, German, Italian, Russian, Arabic, Mandarin and Japanese. Then I think I should learn how to do something that can let me earn lots of money so that mom and dad don’t need to worry about it.” Both Edward and I looked at each other. This little girl was talking about what job she could do so that she could support her parents. “I would need to give that some thought. Even though you are very intelligent the law does not allow very young children to do lots of jobs so I would need to take that into account in thinking what you could do now and what you could do when you are fully grown.” “Okay. When can I learn the piano?” “I will give you your first lesson tomorrow at nine in the morning. We will do the lessons in French so you can learn to speak that at the same time.” Pia beamed at Edward. “Tell me Pia, do you write as well as you speak?” I asked. “No, I have never been taught how to. Can you teach me how to write Bella, and to read?” I realised that this poor child had managed to find ways to learn advanced work but had completely missed the basics. Other then when I had done my teacher training I had never had to worry about teaching the basics, but I agreed to try. Then I wondered how much she had been taught about numbers. She could count, but could she recognise numbers when written? I was actually looking forward to teaching someone who actively wanted to learn – a rarity when one usually taught High School students! “Bella, you are very pretty when you smile. Not beautiful like mom, but like Aunt Angie when you smile it’s like a light in your face.” And she said it with all the seriousness of a child who hadn’t learned to tell lies or prevaricate. Pia was very engaging as well as exceedingly clever. Edward began their piano lessons by teaching her the pattern of the keys. He then insisted she should learn to read music and showed her the pattern of the notes. As expected Pia’s quick eye allowed her to spot which note every crotchet or quaver was meant to be without having to count up or down the stave more than just the once. Her fingers were not as agile as her brain however. Although she could read the complicated music very quickly, she couldn’t play it. But Edward found some music that didn’t go faster than the occasional semi-quaver so that Pia could show how she could play the piano and gave her some exercises to practice to build up the strength and flexibility in her fingers. Pia was well pleased. The French lessons were also remarkable. Edward had to speak to Pia in French and then repeat every sentence in English and then again in French. Pia made her replies in English and Edward repeated them in French for Pia to then say in French. Conversations took a lot longer than I was used to but Edward had infinite patience with Pia. It made me think that Edward would have made a brilliant father. Perhaps I had been too hasty in having my ovary removed. I was going to die anyway, but if I had been able to leave Edward with a child it would have definitely been something for him to live for. Teaching Pia to read was easier than it should have been. Her writing was not as good. She could write very well provided she could do the letters quite large but, as with the piano playing, she didn’t have the manual dexterity to write neatly, but it would come if she would only be a little patient – something that Pia actually wasn’t very good at at all! As soon as she saw the pattern to the numbers she picked up basic arithmetic, mental and written, very easily. “Pia, if you practice the piano exercises and do some writing or drawing every day your work will become much neater and easier. Remember most of us take years to get to the point that has only taken you a couple of days!” I tried to reassure her but she was still disgruntled that her physical limitations were holding her back! Claire was adamant that she didn’t want her mom to be with her at the birth of her baby. “But even if you’re not keeping it, why should it go to someone outside of the family? We should bring it up, not some strangers!” Claire’s mom had allegedly declared. Claire said she responded by saying that Embry and Tanya were not strangers and Quil, Emily and Sam agreed that Embry and Tanya would make the most perfect parents and since Tanya can’t have children it was somehow right that this was happening. I had to admit that each time I saw Claire I was surprised at how sure she appeared to be. She hadn’t bought anything for it except one outfit and a blanket to wrap it in. Lizzie decided to buy a bottle and some baby formula just in case it was necessary. We got a call to say that Claire had gone into labour. Emily was acting as the midwife. Edward and I were asked to be in another room so that Edward could read Claire and Quil’s minds about what they really wanted. Edward and I were sitting in the living room with Jake. We could hear Claire crying “Please, baby, hurry up and arrive, you’re hurting me!” I was amazed at how restrained Claire was. After eight hours of labour Claire delivered a little boy. “Well little boy, you’re almost as attractive as your mom. Don’t you think he’s nearly as beautiful as Tanya, Quil?” “Well I think he’s cuter than Tanya and definitely better looking than Embry.” Well I thought they were sure that the little boy was not meant to be theirs. I looked at Edward. “They think of him as their nephew. Claire is holding him now, but she feels no maternal instincts towards the baby” Edward said. “And if she feels like that then the chances of Quil wanting to keep him are practically nil. I suppose I had better call Embry and ask him and Tanya to come down” Jake said gloomily. He clearly had thought that they would change their mind. “You had better tell them to get here quickly too” Edward added. “I had better get to the shops and get some basic supplies in for the little mite. How heavy is he so I know what size clothes to get?” “Seven pounds two ounces according to Emily” Edward replied. “Are you okay to drive my car or do you want me to drive and hide in it while you shop?” I had to think. It would undoubtedly be easier for me if he were to drive. The windows were darkened so no one would be able to see inside. Edward could quickly climb behind the front seats while I scooted across to the driver’s seat to exit as if I were the driver. “I would much rather I didn’t have to even touch the steering wheel of your car. I would be bound to crash it despite the anti-impact device and it would be such a shame to scratch it.” “Good point love. I’ll drive.” It took me a lot longer than I thought it should to do the shopping. People kept stopping me to talk, telling me how well I looked. “Yes, my physiotherapy is paying great dividends at last” was my reply so many times that I lost count. Everyone wanted to know how I got the car: some thought I must have splashed the whole of the money from the sale of Charlie’s house on it. Others wanted to know why I was buying baby things. “Some friends down La Push have had babies but with the influx of twins they need a few other bits. I offered to shop instead of baby sit.” They nodded understandingly. I was so glad when I was safely back in the passenger seat of the car and Edward was driving us back to the family home. Lizzie rang me to ask if Claire and Quil could bring the baby to our house to wait for Embry and Tanya. Claire wanted to know if we, Edward and I, would help her and Quil to look after him until Tanya and Embry could take over. I didn’t know how I could refuse so I agreed. “For the first time ever, I wish Rosalie was here with us” I said to Edward when I told him of the conversation. “Don’t worry, they won’t be long if they’re running unless Embry can’t keep up.” I had to laugh. Embry would probably easily beat Tanya in a sprint, but over hundreds of miles Tanya would out run him. But that reminded me of something. “The day you first met me you had to borrow Carlisle’s car to drive to Denali because it had a full tank of gas: why didn’t you run?” “If I was running I might not have been as careful about running into humans as I would have been surrounded by metal protecting me from their scent.” It did make a kind of sense. Edward told me later that the following hours were probably harder on me than Claire and Quil. At no point did any doubt enter their mind that the baby belonged with Embry and Tanya and they were merely the means by which it could happen. Quil said that he wanted to be the one to explain to Embry and Tanya rather than Jake. At first neither Embry nor Tanya believed him. They couldn’t understand how Quil and Claire could give up their baby. “He is not our baby” they both replied. “Jake said that if we were adamant that we didn’t want him, and only after we had both held him, he could be given for adoption. Well we’ve both held him and we’re still sure that he is not meant to be our baby.” “I felt as if a weight had been lifted off my shoulders” Claire went on. “I was so glad that there was a purpose to me falling pregnant other than to make me miserable. I still feel glad that this little boy is going to strengthen the ties between the Quileute and you veggie vamps. I am not his mom: I am Auntie Claire who is going back to school in September to carry on with my education so that one day I can be a doctor. That is my purpose.” “So what are you calling him?” Quil asked. “I don’t know. I’ve never thought of having to name someone. It just can’t be the same name as anyone else” Tanya said. “How about using letters from Irina and naming him Iain Call?” Embry suggested. Edward later told me that Tanya was pleased that Irina was being remembered but simply replied “That’s lovely. Okay, Iain it is.”