"But she's so still." I pull our interlocked fingers upward, clutching them to mychest. "I
have done something wrong."
My father is suddenly at my side, laying a palm on my hunchedshoulders. Part of me does not wish to be comforted, especially if myincompetence has caused any harm to befall my Bella… but another part of me –the broken, weeping part – craves the soothing, familial gesture."Or something right, Edward," Carlisle says. His tone rings with quiet confidence."Son, you did everything I could have and more. I'm not sure I would have hadthe persistence, the faith it took to save her." His hand squeezes my shoulder for a moment. "Stop berating yourself. Bella is going to be fine."A broken whisper escapes my parted lips. "She must be in agony.""We don't know that." Carlisle has a gift for speaking so calmly, smoothing thefrayed edges of my nerves with the simplest logic. "She had so much morphine inher system. We don't know the effect that will have on her experience."
Perhaps I will ask her about it, once she's had time to adjust.
I tune out his speculations. I do not want to think about Bella's 'experience', whatshe may or may not be enduring in her unusual stillness. Pulling my face awayfrom her shoulder, I place a feather-light kiss on the crease of her elbow, in thesame exact spot where my teeth had ruptured her silken flesh. "Bella, I love you."The sentiment wafts over her prone body as a barely audible murmur, and I praythat she hears me. "Bella, I'm sorry."Both my father and I tense slightly as a scuffle erupts downstairs. Despite theheartache I feel for the woman lying in front of me, I have the sudden urge to rollmy eyes in exasperation. Again, Rosalie and Jacob are arguing over whose turnit is to hold my –
– newborn daughter.Renesmee has disrupted my family's existence in the most wonderful, profoundway, and I love her with a love that is just as strong as what I feel for Bella, onlychanneled in a different direction. The responsibility of fatherhood is a conceptthat I thought I would never experience, and now Bella has given me – not only atimeless life with her, my soul mate – but also the gift of seeing myself mirrored ina child's face.Eternity is not nearly long enough to repay all that Bella has done for me.A low growl rumbles from below; Rose's thoughts are considerably worse and far more murderous than her wordless warning. Jacob should consider himself verylucky that she is, as of now, only making idle threats on his life. Carlisle glancesat me from the corner of his eye.
You ought to head downstairs, Edward, and claim your daughter before we have a real war on our hands. I can stay withBella until you return.
My head is already shaking in the negative before his train of thought draws to aclose. "No, I'm staying right here," I whisper fervently, my body unconsciously