Breaking Dawn Edward Point Of View (Part—1) This story picks up in Breaking Dawn after Edward and Bella

have left Isle Esme, on the plane ride home. Stephanie Meyers owns all things Twilight! Chapter 1—Resolve I swear something moved inside me just now. Even just as an echo in my memory, Bella's words still burned right through me, a jagged blaze of shock and horror. This devastating, inescapable awareness that it was not a bad dream or a hideous mistake, but a monstrous reality, pierced through me as sharply now as it had the first time. Oh god, no. I felt a shudder rip through my body. I glanced quickly at Bella, but she was still staring silently out the airplane window. I didn't want to burden her with my fears, thinking she must be consumed by her own. I looked back forward for a moment, struggling to remain calm. Time had dragged painfully during the endless flight home. I hated being trapped here in the sky, helpless, cursing the many miles that still lay in front of us. My initial reaction had been to just grab Bella, put her in the boat, and then run with her when we hit mainland. But it was a ridiculous, dangerous idea. So now we sat in the plane, as the minutes ticked by, and I felt I would go mad with worry and fear. I was terrified for Bella. Every second that went by felt like a lost moment to save her. We had no idea what this creature really was, and what it might be doing to her right now. What I yearned for now was to see Carlisle, and deliver Bella to his care. Bella had been so quiet during the flight home, mostly looking out the window. I watched her carefully, and sometimes she would briefly turn towards me, her fathomless eyes meeting mine. Her face seemed cautious, with an expression I couldn't place. Was it fear? Anxiety? Horror at the idea of what I've done to her? But it didn't seem to be any of those things. There was an odd aura of calm in her expression, and that concerned me. Could she be in shock? She gazed up at me now, and I leaned over and kissed her head, letting her warmth and scent fill my senses. Her fingers slid gently up my arm, creating a river of heat up to my shoulder. She rested her hand on my neck, soft, exquisite bliss against my hard skin. I reached my arm carefully around her slight body. "Don't worry," I murmured, rubbing her back gently. "We're going to take care of this." Immediately, she stiffened and turned her head back to the window, pulling back her hand as my arm fall away. I froze, surprised, for a moment, and then leaned back against my seat. Maybe she doesn't even want to think about it. Who could blame her? Several times, I saw her hand move down to touch her stomach, and dread hammered through me. In the back of my head I kept replaying what I had heard on Isle Esme. Morte. Dead. The mother did not live – the monster killed her from the inside out. The monster I created. Anger and guilt consumed me at this thought, vicious, unrelenting. I hated the thing inside her. I hated that it might be causing her any kind of pain. That it could kill her. But none of it compared to how much I hated myself. This was my fault. I had done this to her. I had cursed her with my monstrous existence. Was there nothing I could do with her, no part of me that didn't bring her pain? That didn't endanger her life? Finally, we began our merciful descent towards the airport. As the wheels touched down on the airstrip, I reached out my mind, searching for Alice. I found her quickly, but the pain in her mind felt like a physical blow. What was wrong with her?

She was trying to search for Bella's future, but the visions of Bella were blurry or nonexistent. I felt a new surge of panic. It was like something was blocking her vision of Bella. What? Why? The blurry images made my head swim, and I pulled my mind away from Alice's, the pain ebbing immediately.When we were cleared to leave the plane, I reached over and brushed the hair back from Bella's face. Her eyes turned to me, filled with some sort of intense emotion. She was so lovely, and I ached to take her pain away, to make things right again. I leaned over and kissed her gently on her pale cheek. "I love you," I whispered in her ear. I pulled back to look at her, and she nodded, her wide eyes searching my face. "I know," she whispered, her first words in several hours. I stood up and gently helped her to her feet. I placed my hand on her warm back, feeling her heart beat beneath my fingers, and helped guide her out of the plane. It took all my control not to send the foolish humans who kept bumping into her flying into the side of the plane. When we reached the terminal, I wrapped my arm around her, but she seemed to shrug it off. She resents me for this, I thought painfully. So, instead, I took her hand gently in mine and led her towards where I could sense my family was waiting. My family's minds were very clear to me now. Everyone's thoughts were filled with worry and concern for Bella. Alice's head continued to be a jumble of blurry images of Bella, and pain. When I got close enough to see, her face was pinched and miserable. Jasper was concentrating on Alice. He was trying not to become consumed by everyone's anxiety, attempting to beat it back with calm so that he could try to help relieve her pain. Rosalie's mind caught me off guard. She was feeling very intense about something, but her thoughts were wild and unclear. It was hard to distinguish her emotions – was she angry? Images of Bella filled her head several times and my thoughts blackened. Why was she feeling so strongly about Bella? Was she jealous of the pregnancy? It would be like her to make this about herself. I had an irrational fear that Rosalie might try to attack Bella, right here in the airport. But that was ridiculous – what would be her motivation? I tried to shut out the self-centered workings of Rosalie's mind. "Is your family here?" Bella asked quietly, breaking into my contemplation. I glanced down, surprised, but of course her human eyes couldn't see what mine did. "Yes, right over there." I gestured, and her eyes squinted in that direction. "All of them?" she breathed. "Yes, they are all here," I said. Her heartbeat picked up. She's anxious to see Alice, I thought. And Carlisle, of course. To hear from him that everything would be OK. She would trust his reassurances over mine, as she rightly should. Unlike me, Carlisle had never done anything to harm her. I paused, reaching out to take her other hand, and pulled her to me, cradling her hands against my chest. This would be our last few moments alone, and I was filled with a strange sense of foreboding. Bella took her hands out of mine and reached up to my face, her warm fingers caressing my skin. I cherished her touch, aching with the feelings of happiness and despair that dueled inside me. "Edward," she whispered. "I..." She trailed off, the words seeming to get stuck in her throat. She searched my face, looking for something. She seemed to be struggling to figure something out, to make a decision. What did she want?

"It's okay, love," I said. "In a few hours this will all be a bad dream." Bella froze, and something flashed in her eyes before she closed them and looked away. Her shoulders seemed to hunch over a little. "Let's go," she said in a quiet, rough voice, pulling away from me and starting to walk again. I took her hand, confused by her reaction. I couldn't think clearly on this anymore. I needed Carlisle. I searched Carlisle's mind, seeing it filled with thoughts about the surgical room he had begun to set up in his office at home, and the equipment he had brought from the hospital. There were bags of blood in the refrigerator, just in case Bella needed them. He was working through all the possible scenarios of how the procedure might go. His final thought sent a piercing jolt of shock through me. If all else went wrong, Carlisle planned to change her. He would do it himself if I wouldn't – to save Bella if he couldn't stop the bleeding, or to allow the venom to kill the thing inside her if he couldn't get it out. He was agonizing over it, trying to envision the best spots to bite in order to make the transformation quicker. How to get the most venom into her bloodstream. His mind filled with an image of himself, kneeling by a sleeping Bella, her arm in his grip, as his mouth rested against her wrist. He remembered how he would fight the bloodlust, how he had in the past. He remembered the scent of her blood. I froze on the spot. Even when Carlisle had agreed to change Bella after graduation, he had never let his thoughts get this far. The horror of this image, of Bella, helpless, Carlisle's teeth about to pierce her fragile skin, filled me with a sickness and despair that tore at my brain. My emotions halted coherent thought, and an intense feeling of fury at Carlisle began to overtake me. I didn't move, fighting against the overwhelming urge to throw myself at him, to attack him, to protect my love. We were about 15 feet away and I locked eyes with Carlisle. He realized I had seen what he was thinking, and I knew he had not meant for me to see those images in his mind. His face was anguished. It may be the only way, Edward, he thought. You need to accept that. No, I screamed inside my head. Not like this. Bella was tugging on my arm and I felt her fingers twist out of mine. I glanced over to see her flying across the open space towards my family, her long brown hair cascading out behind her. We all watched her, statues, except for Alice. Holding her fingers pressed against her eyes she took a step forward, as if to meet her. But Bella flew by Alice and, in a flash, was swept into Rosalie's arms. Rosalie? I was too dumbstruck to move. And then, suddenly, like the boom of thunder, Rosalie's thoughts finally broke free and crashed down on me. The baby. Save the baby. Her baby. Mine. I won't let them hurt it. Anger flooded my brain and I roared back to life. In a fraction of a second, I was at Bella's side, the rest of my family still frozen. Rosalie's arms were around Bella, steel vices, and Bella was sobbing into her chest. I put my hands on Bella's shoulders. "Let her go, Rose," I said, my voice deadly. She just stared back at me grimly. I searched her mind, trying to get a hold on her plans. There was a resolve, a plan to protect the baby at all costs. And an aching desire she couldn't hide to have that baby as her own. Anger and hate clouded my vision momentarily. I wanted to rip her head off. "I'm not going to let you act out your sick fantasies on my wife," I hissed at Rosalie, too low for Bella to hear. She narrowed her eyes at me and sent a thought in my

direction. A memory of a phone call from Bella. You have to help me, Rosalie. I want this baby. Help me protect him. Bella's words. Bella's intentions. You blind fool, Rosalie sneered in her head. I stared at Bella, mortified. She called it a baby? My mind processed this with horror. She imagined a baby in there, and she wanted it. Did she not appreciate, not understand, that it was a monster I had created inside her? A monster that would kill her. I felt a sickly dread crawl under my skin, and begin to work its way through my entire body. Bella's eyes were shining up at me, full of tears. And now, I finally named the expression in them. Resolve. Commitment. Not to me this time, but to the thing inside her. Rosalie was right. I was a blind fool. Then Bella moved her hand slowly down to her stomach, and her expression changed. A blush appeared on her perfect face. It wasn't fear, or discomfort. It was love. Love for the monster inside her. Oh god. Oh god, oh god, oh god. What had already been a nightmare worsened, shifted. Became a horror story within a nightmare. My family finally unfroze. Carlisle stepped quickly over next to us, and Emmett put his arm protectively around Rose. "What's going on?" Carlisle asked in a low voice. Rosalie stared at him, her glare just as hard as it had been for me. "No one is going to hurt this baby," she hissed at him. Carlisle stared in shock, and then horror slowly dawned on his face. Alice groaned behind him, and it looked like she might fall to the floor. Jasper steadied her. I was reeling from the revelation of Bella's feelings. Love for the thing inside her, the monster that would take her life? What madness was this? "Bella, sweetheart," I said in a low, gentle voice. "Love, let go of her. Come to me." I tugged on her shoulders gently. Her eyes left mine and looked up at Rosalie, who shook her head minutely. When she looked back at me they had changed again. They flickered with distrust and she shook her head. I seethed with hatred for Rosalie. "Bella," I said, and tugged more forcefully. I could feel my fingers pressing too hard into her soft body. I let go and grabbed Rosalie's wrist, twisting it. I wondered if I could snap it off without making too much of a scene. She hissed and Emmett took a step towards me. Carlisle's hands were on the both of us in a flash. "Stop it," he ordered quietly. "Not here." All around us humans were coming and going from various flights. I let go of Rosalie's hand in disgust, and she wrapped it back around Bella. My mind scorched with anger. "Bella?" I asked. I tried to keep my voice steady. Bella looked at me, her face worried, but her deep, brown eyes glowing with passion. "Edward," she said, in a low, pleading voice. "I want to keep this baby. When I heard what you and Carlisle were planning, I didn't know if you would listen to me, let me explain. If I could stop you. So I called Rosalie." Her face fell miserably, and she looked down at the ground. I stared at her, trying to comprehend, and then slowly, painfully, realization crept into my mind. She did not want to end this monstrous pregnancy. Suddenly, I was gripped by a fierce resolve. She was right to worry, because I would not let anything, including her misplaced emotions, stand in the way of saving her life. I would not let her get hurt. "Let's discuss this at home," murmured Carlisle. He was looking at me, concerned about the expression on my face. Rosalie turned and started walking, her arm wrapped protectively around Bella. I stayed pressed to Bella's side, Emmett flanking Rosalie on the other side, continually glancing at me. Carlisle walked right behind

us, his hand on my shoulder. We drew some odd looks, walking in this tight group, everyone refusing to give up their position. Esme, Alice and Jasper walked a little ways behind. They had brought Carlisle's car, as well as my Volvo. I tugged on Bella, to bring her to the Volvo. "You're getting in a car with her over my dead body," hissed Rosalie. "That's the plan," I growled back. "No Edward," said Bella. "I think it's best if I ride with Rosalie." I looked at her, shocked. She was looking down, unable to meet my eyes. Instinctively, I reached out to lift her face to mine, but then let my hand drop. Rosalie gave me a smug look and pulled Bella over to Carlisle's car. "Come Edward," said Carlisle. "I'll drive." I followed him silently. Alice and Jasper came with us, and Esme rode with Rosalie, Bella and Emmett. Alice paused by the car, putting her hand on my arm. I'm sorry, she thought. I just can't see anything clearly. I didn't know what was happening. "Rosalie?" I choked out quietly. "What is she...?" She's there, but everything keeps blurring out. It's not hard to understand why she would help Bella with this. You have to understand for her... Her thoughts trailed off as I turned away, blocking her out. I could not understand this. I searched the thoughts in the car in front of us as we drove home. Bella was crying quietly, and Rosalie was comforting her. She knew I was listening.I'm not letting her go for a second, dear brother. She was prepared to protect the thing inside Bella at all costs. She wanted it, wanted it to live. And if Bella wavered she was prepared to try to convince her to keep carrying it. The risk to Bella meant nothing to her – she couldn't hide that from me. I gripped the car door in rage, trying not to rip it off completely. Edward, I heard from Carlisle. I looked over at him, and he had a grim look on his face. He gripped the steering wheel tightly, looking straight ahead.You need to talk to Bella. Alone. Make her understand. If you see the chance to get her away from Rose, take it. I'll be prepared. I stared at him, a little shocked. This had been my exact thought, but I did not expect to hear it from Carlisle. The fact that he was saying it terrified me. His fear for Bella's life was more intense than what I had read before in his thoughts. He saw very little hope for Bella, if we didn't end this as planned. I had been so blind. All those hours flying home, I had tragically misjudged what was going on in Bella's head. And now, that precious time alone was lost. Time to stop this insanity, before she became resolved. I would have pleaded with her, begged her on my knees for hours, to let us save her life. Instead, I had delivered her into the arms of the worst possible person, the only person twisted enough to encourage her resolve in this deadly matter. I felt a consuming panic. Bella was so stubborn, what if I couldn't get her to see reason? And it would be even more impossible with Rosalie there, feeding the madness. I needed to get her away from Rosalie, as soon as possible. And I was willing to go to extremes to accomplish it. We pulled into the driveway. Rosalie, Emmett and Bella were already standing on the front porch. Rosalie only had one hand on Bella. Her other hand was on Emmett's face, and she was speaking intently to him. He was upset. I was gripped with a sudden terror that I had to act fast, or another opportunity might not come. I had to get Bella alone, to convince her, before it was too late. Do it now, I thought. I made my move. I tore from the car and flew at them.

"No Edward," cried Esme. Emmett's head snapped around and he launched himself at me. We slammed into each other on the porch steps, just feet from Rose and Bella. Our arms locked. "Stop it!" screamed Bella. Emmett thought that I was attacking Rosalie. Idiot, I thought. This had nothing to do with Rosalie, other than trying to get Bella away from her poisonous influence. Although, I wouldn't hesitate to take out some of my anger at her if she stood between us. "Quit it, Emmett," I snarled through gritted teeth. "I just want to talk to Bella alone." But Emmett could see the wild look in my eyes, and he wanted me away from Rose until I calmed down. I glanced at Rosalie as we struggled. She had her arms tight around Bella now. If I got past Emmett, could I still get Bella out of Rosalie's arms? And if I was able to get Bella away, into the woods, could Carlisle convince Rosalie not to follow? Give me the time I needed to talk to her? I tensed, searching Emmett's mind for his next move. No Edward, stop! Alice's desperate voice was loud in my head. You will hurt her! And my mind filled with Alice's blurry vision of Bella being crushed in a struggle between Rosalie and me. Dammit. I dropped my arms from Emmett and he shoved me off the stairs. I flew backwards and slammed into the car, shattering a window. "Edward!" Bella screamed, horror flooding her face. I straightened up quickly. Of course I was fine. Emmett held his protective stance in front of Rosalie, and I stayed at the car. Carlisle ran up the stairs and put his hands on Emmett's arms. Rosalie glared at me, fury and determination on her face. She didn't trust me to be alone with Bella, especially now. My eyes met Bella's for a moment. They were still concerned, but I also saw a flash of fear. Fear of me? I wondered grimly. She looked away, too quickly. Patience, Edward, thought Alice. We have to choose our moment wisely. I glanced at her, and took grim satisfaction in her words. Alice would help me. We stood together, our love for Bella binding us. She leaned over and murmured something to Jasper and he nodded. Jasper would help as well. Along with Carlisle, it was all I needed. I would wait for the right moment. I would save Bella from this deadly fate. Carlisle was moving Emmett into the house, and we all followed. Chapter 2—Love Watching Bella walk in front of me, clinging to Rosalie, the world suddenly felt like a very foreign place. My arms felt empty, and the distance between us, although short, loomed painfully. I feared I didn't know how, or when, I would be able to cross it. We went straight into the dining room. Lines were drawn as we sat down, reminding me of the first time we gathered around this table to discuss Bella. It seemed like a lifetime ago. It might as well have been. Carlisle sat at the head, and Esme next to him. I stood behind Carlisle, unable to sit. Alice walked in slowly and sat next to Carlisle, Jasper behind her. I was extremely concerned about the amount of physical pain Alice was in – I had never seen her like that before. Same as the first time we met to discuss Bella, Rosalie sat on the opposite side of the table. She pulled Bella into her lap and wrapped her arms firmly around her. My stomach turned in disgust at the way Rosalie was holding her so possessively. I visualized myself ripping off her arms. Bella stared at me, her eyes hurting, but her face calm and resolved.

Emmett stood behind Rosalie, his expression clouded with concern and confusion. Obviously, Rosalie hadn't shared her sick plan with him before now. He was watching Rose intently, as he thought over her words on the porch, that she planned to help Bella keep the baby inside her. He didn't need an explanation why – he knew how badly Rose wanted a baby, any baby. He glanced momentarily at me, and his thoughts flickered angrily back to our confrontation on the porch. His desire to protect Rosalie had originally just been instinctive, but now that he knew what Rose wanted, he would not let me take it away from her. I was shocked to sense a resentful undertone to these thoughts, that I had given Bella what he could never give Rosalie.Insane. As I watched him, Emmett's eyes slid down to Bella's stomach. A vision grew in his head, as his mind wandered, unbidden, to imagine what was inside her. The image was a human baby, but then it opened its eyes, and they were blood red. Its lips curled back as it bared its teeth in a grotesque expression. "Emmett," I hissed quietly, sickened and infuriated. He started, and looked up at me quickly, his face strained. My family's eyes moved between us, while Bella remained unaware. Sorry, Bro, he thought miserably. He meant for more than the image in his mind. "Okay," Carlisle began. "What is this?" "I... we are not going to let you kill this baby," spat Rosalie. "What is your role in this, Rosalie?" asked Carlisle. "This is about Bella. And Edward. It does not involve you," he said firmly. "The hell it doesn't," snapped Rosalie. "Bella called me – she called and asked me to help protect the baby from you. Both of you." She glared pointedly at Carlisle and then me. I heard Esme gasp. "I know how you and Edward feel, and I don't trust how far you will go to achieve it. So I am sticking with Bella, every minute, to help her through it, and keep them both safe." Rosalie's eyes moved from Bella's face to her stomach, and then back to Carlisle. Bella continued to watch my face, her eyes now full of unnecessary apologies. Carlisle stared silently for a moment at Rosalie, his face hard. He certainly understood her interest in this, but he felt it was at the expense of Bella's safety. His mind battled between anger and sympathy for her feelings. I growled softly. Carlisle sighed, and decided he would not even try to reason with Rosalie. He looked at Bella, his face pained. "Bella," he said gently, and with such compassion. He sought to reassure her. "Don't be afraid. I will do everything I can to keep you safe and healthy when we remove the...fetus. I can go over the procedure with you if..." But he was stopped by Bella's sharp intake of breath. "No," she gasped out, finally tearing her eyes from mine to look at Carlisle. Her face hardened slightly. "You don't understand. I'm not afraid. I don't want you to take this baby away from me." Her eyes went back to mine, pleading. "Oh, Bella," Carlisle said, and it sounded like a groan. I just stood, staring, letting him carry on the conversation. I didn't think I could speak rationally. "I have to tell you, you must understand...carrying this fetus will most likely kill you. I'm so sorry, but this is the only way." His voice was filled with sorrow, and he prayed he was getting through to her. But instead I saw a flash of determination in her eyes. She shook her head.

unable to hold back. "I can do this. and unacceptable. "Bella. Alice spoke for the first time. concern on her face. But I can't let her die. and he viewed its unknown future with fear. She would die." Carlisle urged. and yet. I don't know if I can get through to her.I don't want to take away her choice. What I heard on the island is that it will be strong. a hard expression on his face. but then slowly shook her head. because of me. for me. I took a deep breath to steady myself. Her hands moved to her stomach and a deep blush rose onto her cheeks. He was letting the pain in her head wash through him. what it might be doing to you right now. she paled. Alice's eyes tightened with pain and worry. loud and desperate. But now he looked up at Bella. let him help you. Bella stared at Alice. was to get that thing out. Whatever was growing inside of Bella was causing Alice physical pain. omnipresent in our lives. Carlisle's thoughts began to disintegrate in . squeezed her shoulder in reassurance. Bella. His very existence was wrapped around loving and protecting Alice. My voice dropped to an agonized whisper.Jasper.fetus is not supposed to be in your body." Bella looked slowly between the two of us." she said stubbornly. A tenor of thirst flared up at the edge of everyone's thoughts." Her expression didn't change. Her scent swirled strong around the room. This raised his level of hatred towards the creature near to even mine. Jasper was resolved that. single minded and fierce in his purpose. wanting to bear it as she did. "I will do anything to protect him. This. It will hurt you. right now. indefensible in this moment. Her eyes moved to mine. listen to Carlisle.. and had already considered that. How can she be thinking this is possible? Talk to her. He was. "We don't know that. Clearly it is growing fast. Carlisle's thoughts hit me then." "Even kill yourself?" I snapped out harshly. Yes. I can give her enough morphine to put her under and then.. We can't lose her like this." Bella said. or drop her eyes from mine. I could see the answer in her eyes. The idea of something hurting Alice was excruciating. still shaking her head back and forth. as always." she pleaded in a strained voice. and although she didn't say anything. We don't know what it will be like. "Just superstitions. We may have to do this another way – if we can get her alone. Oh Edward." Bella didn't flinch at this. Jasper's thoughts had been focused solely on Alice this whole time. Edward's and mine."No. She sighed. wishing he could absorb it from her. and I won't let you hurt him. Edward. Yes.. I tried to make my voice calm and reasonable. I can't find her future. She's not hearing us. She could see reason. and save Bella. My panic grew even more intense." she said. I ascertained she knew what the word morte meant. to Jasper. looking down at her hands on her stomach.. watching her face carefully. as she almost had many times. ringing with finality. What had she been resolving on that plane ride home? How far was she willing to go? "Yes. angel. Carlisle thought. We made it. and the corners of her mouth turned down. her voice firm. "It will kill you. lifting her head painfully from her hands. much as mine was for Bella. We have to act quickly. Rosalie nodded vigorously. as ever. the best way to help Alice. she would. Seeing the look on my face." Edward. For the monster I had created. Why do you say that? This is our baby. "We can't protect you from something we know so little about. Alice moaned in her head. Too fast. right? "Bella.

. And if I couldn't – how far would I go to save her? I thought I knew. Alice would hold off Rosalie once I had Bella. burning from the inside. I would incapacitate Rosalie enough to get Bella from her arms. The future shifted. I stared back at myself. sensing Jasper's movement. Jasper. I didn't even dare look at Carlisle and Esme as I tensed for the fight. Emmett and Rosalie. But first.confusion and despair. as I realized that whatever decision Esme had made. But Esme – I heard her suck in a sharp breath. Be very careful of Bella. and the true weight of all our emotions came crashing back. To allow this to continue was a death sentence for Bella. my face contorting with anguish. He lifted his eyes from Rosalie to Jasper. And compassion. I gripped the chair in front of me. Jasper could come around to be at Emmett's back." Bella's small voice came from across the room. I shook my head." "I do. strengthening her hold on Bella. She searched the future. I cringed away from the visions of my siblings fighting. Her sorrowful eyes stayed on my wretched face. The initial confrontation was blurry. "She loves him. "I see now. Edward. But she kept seeing images of the four of them struggling with each other. and I would try to convince her to change her mind. I would need Jasper to take on Emmett. struggling to figure out the best way to contain Rosalie and Emmett.. Alice could only see herself. I would get Bella alone. That was a small price to pay for Bella's safety. sensing our resolve. She may never forgive you. Alice and I would go straight over the table. knowing what would be the only thing to put that kind of pain on my face. She spoke her thoughts as they materialized in her mind.with love. she loves this baby. making his own small. I needed to get her away from Rosalie." Esme breathed. She felt this meant I was somewhere else with Bella. the focus had to be saving Bella. although he did not waver from his resolve that ending the pregnancy was the only way to save Bella. while Carlisle and I could attend to Bella. Jasper let go of the tenuous hold he had been keeping over the mood of the room.. I began to strategize in my head. she warned me. Suddenly. he seemed to read her mind. Emmett stiffened. Alice's chair shifted slightly. But right now. As I made my decision the vision started forming in Alice's head. She would be alive. defensive move. his battle-trained brain thinking only of strategy. more emotional than physical. and. She will probably hate you for this. Carlisle's mind was crippled with pain as he struggled with his decision to see the procedure through. But mine became crystal clear. This would be the worst thing that had ever happened to my family. Rosalie's glare darkened and she gripped her hands together. And in that moment Alice's visions of the fight disappeared completely. that would take a long time to heal. I didn't care. one imposed by me. drawn and tortured. Alice hoped that Jasper could calm them enough to allow her to reason with Rosalie. I searched. And as she resolved her course of action it became clearer. Could she see me dying inside? . There would be scars. and he took an imperceptible step backwards.Carlisle called in my head. and I would take that punishment a thousand times over if I had to. it changed everything. I saw Jasper move his eyes to Emmett. Alice glanced up at Jasper. but further ahead the vision was clear. Jasper's thoughts were cool and unemotional now. Those tensing for battle were filled with anxiety and rage.. and found her mind was filled with. A vision appeared of my face.

I can't live without you. anywhere. I pressed on. it seemed she was ready to protect her. at Rosalie. but I held my hands up submissively. "You can't do this. "I just want to talk to her. he would move again to protect her. Rose. I would die as well. Bella glanced up at Esme." She knew too well that if she died. We had lost him. love? Just for a moment. At least try. even in death. "Don't do this. her eyes full of thanks. He glanced up at her. Bella glanced. Emmett moved protectively in front of her and Rosalie. And if Emmett saw that. her eyes calm. "You can talk to her just fine from over there. Edward. Jasper and I remained resolved. Rosalie. uncertain if I could look at Rosalie without betraying my murderous hate. God. He didn't agree. Carlisle sighed and put his face in his hands. And now that she stood with Bella. And the thing inside her. if you don't want to. not right now. shocked. of course I want to talk to him. But then she glanced down and said. She pulled hers out from Rosalie's tight grasp and took it." And she moved across the room and put her hand on Bella's shoulder. Bella needed to be protected from me. I love him too. A wave of utter sadness washed through me at this thought. "No. "Don't take yourself away from me. always. she was so beautiful. and I pleaded silently with him. Bella. without you. "but please don't let me go. Carlisle was the leader of this family. She wavered. my voice soft. desperate for this moment with Bella. he thought." She glanced back at me. I'm so sorry. You can't take away this baby. I would follow her. it was almost torture. and I sensed the slightest chance of victory. and placed her hand on Carlisle's arm. How had it come to this? Carlisle's thoughts floated to me. Alice. eyes full of love. brown eyes. Try and talk to her again." I said. Edward. I knelt beside her and held out my hand. But in decisions that involved love." I begged. He is yours and mine. She loves him. not giving up. It's her choice. I moved slowly around the table towards Bella." snapped Rosalie. . Emmett looked into my eyes. looking for visions from Alice. Bella wants him." My voice was rough now. but I knew it was over.Esme stood up. "no. and then wrapped my hand around hers. Edward." A little smile formed on her face. Part of us. I kept my eyes on Bella." I looked deep into her warm. How much I loved and needed her." and that small spark died away. I doesn't exist. I opened my eyes and looked at her lovely face. I closed my eyes to block it out. Her touch burned. I could almost envision the smug look on Rose's face. "You don't have to talk to him. I want him. Because we all knew we would not make a decision that would lead to a physical altercation that might involve Esme. upstairs. it will kill you. The ties that bound us were unbreakable. and Carlisle would follow. But none came. This was a fantasy. "And now. I tried to strategize new attacks. "I love you. There is no me. Surely she could see how scared I was for her. He moved aside and Rosalie let out a disgusted sigh. I caressed her warm. and an image from Alice flashed of Bella and I alone. soft skin with my fingers. "It's too dangerous. confusion and worry on his face. Carlisle. "Bella. Esme shone brightest." she said softly. and then blurred out quickly. She was delusional. but he wouldn't go against Esme. but I pushed it away. I ignored her and kept moving forward." She lifted her hand to my face and caressed my cheek." she said in a low voice. "Can't we speak alone. But then she said. Bella." A sob caught in her throat at her last words.

" Bella said. But it was a dream. in my core. Saw her plan. I was burning. Lists of equipment he would need." I stared back at her. dear. She shivered at my expression. "Go get Bella a blanket. A dream within the nightmare. the day was gone. misinterpreting. I lowered my head. Esme put a hand on my shoulder. . I couldn't move my face to respond." "Save you." she said softly. I knew all the arguments I would make.. I looked at her fragile body. and you will save me." snapped Rosalie. and then dragged myself slowly over and stood by the couch. Rose smiled down at her and touched her cheek. snapped at Emmett. I watched them go.. "I'm not going to die." She smiled tentatively up at me. Deep inside. and I had wasted it. It will kill you. who shifted impatiently. I could do nothing but stare down at Bella. and I knew what she was really talking to. Thinking about what we knew. Dead. and hope that venom. and I just couldn't do that right now. Esme. Bella is tired and probably hungry. I was wrong. suddenly. monstrous and unknown. "Eggs please. but if it's not enough. The thing would tear its way out of the womb. Killing the mother. I couldn't speak any more. and I knew they wouldn't work." said Esme. I thought. too. I didn't look up. Chapter 3—Lullaby I thought the moments had passed slowly on the long flight home. could save her. "Don't you worry. And yet. I didn't want her to see the emotions on my face. moving her into the living room. Wanting to buy more blood." said Bella. and Rosalie. "I know this is right. I can do that. The future loomed before me. I felt lost inside. except for Rosalie. and then I would kill her from the outside. I know this is not a mistake. each passing second eating away a little part of me. She would let it destroy her. it turned to a merciless crawl now." I choked out. her voice breaking. "Don't you want him. "Edward. If time had gone slow then. it was meant to be. Thank you for everything. "That's enough." She stood Bella up and wrapped an arm around her. Decision made. "I'll keep my heart beating. How to get an ultrasound machine. The rest of my family stood frozen around us. her delicate fingers brushing against my skin like feathers. my venom. This thing would kill her from the inside. Time. "How?" But then I saw." she crooned at Bella. Rosalie. slowly slipping away from us. her voice suddenly fierce. They sat on the couch together. I glanced up and saw my reflection in the glass wall.. Bella's face softened. My face was the face from Alice's vision." She paused as my insides twisted painfully. "Carlisle will do everything he can. not built to withstand this world of monsters and demons I had brought her into. I knew now that these words would hurt her even more. Morte. unable to find the words to express how I felt deep inside." she said. I did not feel the same." "Oh.Bella's expression grew intense. her molten chocolate eyes boring into mine. "All right. thank you.. looking up into Rose's face. killing the mother. "I'll take care of you. I wouldn't be able to save her. and just shook my head mutely." I could hear Carlisle's thoughts upstairs in his office. "Thank you. at all?" Bella asked quietly. She moved her hand back down to squeeze mine. Then I saw her eyes slip down to Bella's stomach. But I said nothing. "I'll get you something to eat. No. Rage and hatred boiled inside me. Never.

Bella didn't eat much dinner. I felt a movement next to me. Sitting beside me as I played this melody for her the first time. I knew the shadow of it was still there. So instead I watched. But I couldn't do it. but she only picked at them. I was afraid if I touched her. and composed this lullaby. She barely drank as well. my hands frozen over the keys. It echoed strangely in my ears. dammit. as my love's eyelids began to fall and then close. pale face glowing slightly in the moonlight. I knew it would scare Bella." she sighed. while apologizing profusely to Esme for her lack of appetite. I could see it reflected in her eyes. In my distraction the walls I had been holding to the other's thoughts slipped. to erase the image of myself I had seen earlier. and I was suddenly hit full force with my family's combined memories brought on by the song I was playing. the emotions burning inside me would burst out. . a vice at my throat. My voice didn't sound like my own. making us both victims of the fear. I love you." I whispered. and settled into the pillow. and despair I felt. I struggled to smooth my face. I watched as her features softened and relaxed. and the sat down at the end of the couch with Bella's feet in her lap. When I had sat at this piano. Bella. Selfish. Rosalie arranged the blanket on her. A moment passed. Fear gripped me.. The notes rang through the house. She moved closer and laid her head on my shoulder. on the couch and she lay down on it.. It scared me. and watched as her face slowly started to fall. falling into the elusive peace of human sleep. I stared. Never taking my eyes off Bella. Edward. I didn't dare." Bella breathed. loved her like that. gliding up and down the keyboard. It was Alice. paralyzed by the pain brought on by this onslaught. I should kneel down. We didn't speak. I knew I was being awful. and sing her to sleep with her lullaby. The room was growing dark as evening fell. I began to play the lullaby I had written for her so many lives ago. I turned and pressed my face into her soft. I shut out the thoughts of my family. see it in the way her face stiffened and paled. Eventually Bella yawned and her eyelids drooped. She looked so beautiful. But every time Bella looked at me. "Edward. taking care of her. despair had me pinned. Their memories of when I had first met and fallen in love with Bella. I knew I was being useless. Esme made her three kinds of eggs. self-loathing. gather her in my arms. held me too tightly. like warm citrus. asleep in her bed. So I remained frozen. With horror I saw a glisten of tears start to form in her eyes.. next to her. She had her own scent. and it helped to calm me. Someone had placed a pillow. It turned out that I could hate myself more. Do something. But I couldn't seem to move." she continued in a small voice. My head fell into my hands. Edward. She smiled a little at this. "I'm so sorry.I watched as my family moved around Bella. "I'll play you to sleep. black hair. sitting silently on the piano bench. I couldn't bear to hear them anymore. I thought. Make it stop. "Help me sleep. and this caused Carlisle to frown and worry. I stopped. Edward. Useless. crystal tears shining on her pale cheeks. I went over to the piano and sat down. I tried to block it out but now my own memories were coming. watching her. I stood by the couch.

Yes. his fingers lightly touching my arm. Alice's head fell and she seemed to crumple into herself. But I was in better control now."I know this terrifies you. but Alice wanted him to stay. to get away from me. hands held tight under the desk. he chided me. "Were the vision's clear?" I whispered fiercely. When we had talked about more time. My monstrous nature. Suddenly. I'm scared. Bella and I. Gone. wrapping her body in his long arms. I should be used to it by now. he thought. from Jacob's mind. I wrapped my arms around myself. spiraling into uncontrollable despair. man. sitting on a grassy campus. I wrenched myself off the bench and away from them. Suddenly." Alice gasped. It was too late. keeping my cheek against her head. For Bella. so cruelly extinguished. Brick buildings in the background. . of how Bella used to wrap her arms around herself to keep the pieces together when I had left her. I squeezed harder. "Oh. crystal clear. and thought I ought to carry her up to the bed. When we had talked about Dartmouth. my very existence. I clenched my fists in frustration at myself." she said softly. I was sinking. blushing. Pain twisted in my chest.." Her voice broke on the last word. The feeling of calm left swiftly with him as the pain roared back in. I had destroyed that future." I muttered. Edward. too. I had been destroying her future since the day I laid my eyes on her. Momentarily. before it even had a chance. had ripped it away from her. All gone.. "And now?" I forced the words out through gritted teeth. what I wanted to give her. I shook him off roughly. Jasper was becoming overwhelmed by my emotions. He wanted to leave the house. "We were just so happy. Jasper. happy future of Alice's visions. I didn't know why this hurt so much. I leaned over to pick her up and bring her upstairs. looking at Bella's face. Then I shook my head sharply. yellow. He continued to send the waves of calm at me. She wanted to stay human with me. Get a grip on yourself. vainly trying to fill her head with thoughts of Jasper. I turned my head. the leaves in the trees surrounding us a wild mixture of red. Her future is all but gone to me. so real. Jasper appeared behind her. Icy realization stabbed at me. "Shove off. looking at Bella. I was turning this into something about me. for a little while longer. a half-decorated Christmas tree. That's what I did now. within our grasp. when it was all about Bella.. Her future. began to rip me apart. Fate laughed darkly. But just that it had been so close. Waves of serenity washed over me. The shimmering. what she wanted. Bella and I in a college classroom. orange. "I'm sorry. I went over and stood by the couch. My mind dredged up a memory. I looked down at Bella's sleeping form. Charlie's house. Bella laughing. and he was right. Somewhere. at peace. Alice moaned softly." My desperate words shook Alice. Then disappeared. her mind filled images she had been hiding from me. relaxing my muscles as my arms fell to my side. for you. and felt myself pulling in short breaths through my clenched teeth." I choked out. Memories of her visions. These were images she must have seen when Bella and I were away on Isle Esme. I floated. the feeling of overwhelming bliss rocked me.. and realized Jasper was standing beside me. The unknown. "Everything was perfect. although they were less potent without his touch Bella needs you. human. I sucked in my breath and pulled sharply away from her. caused her to lose focus.

how fast could it grow? Time. She hissed. We will have some time to try to figure things out. embracing the calm this time. Rosalie. Well. Looking at Bella's fragile body. But could I protect her this time? My helplessness terrified me. I could feel the small bulge that hadn't been there before. and looked down at Bella with something. helping me control my volatile emotions. I will examine her tomorrow. I felt my earlier rage at Rosalie returning. I looked back at Rosalie and could see in her mind that she didn't trust me at all. I hadn't wanted to even acknowledge it. "I don't know. Carlisle then stood. How the hell did they expect me to feel about this? But. I let him fill me with peace. and I wondered if." I snarled. and shoved her aside. Emmett materialized on the other side of the couch. growling. patted me on the shoulder. "I'm staying with her. I could not find that sentiment in her mind. we needed time. honestly. "I just want to take her upstairs to bed. Jasper was frustrated. I fought the urge to scream at him. He struggled to spread calm over the group." I sighed quietly." "Oh. feeling my despair. . I honestly didn't know. She was not spending the night with Bella and me in my room. I wanted to gather her into my arms. any growth. Now I reached over and touched her stomach gently. Bella was sleeping soundly on the couch. How fast do you think it is growing. but then disappeared as Carlisle knelt down next to me. No. Jasper sensed it. but maybe not that much. I would let her be. wondering what we were talking about. Hard fingers clenched onto my arm and the calm relaxed me again. She stumbled and then sprang back. Take some measurements. not just mine. his thoughts still tangled up in possible outcomes." she murmured." Rosalie said firmly. so we can start to judge its growth. since you left the island? I glanced down at Bella's stomach. "Get out of the way. Edward? Have you noticed any changes. it was Bella's room as well now. It's obviously accelerated. that part of her since we had found out. He still had my back but didn't want this to turn into anything. I growled.My arms were knocked away as Rosalie pushed herself between Bella and me. She sighed. His eyes flickered over to Rosalie. and left. protect her. I was embarrassed to admit I had completely avoided looking at. instead. "But I'm coming with you. I would still try to change things against her will. I looked again at Bella's stomach. Do you really think I'm going to do anything now?" I snapped. He didn't want to be here. unconvinced. and became concerned. Our bed. Then she looked back up and her expression hardened. I sunk down to my knees next to her. growing. Edward. or touching. He wanted to be with Alice. and I felt Jasper back at my shoulder. "Fine. never let her go. But would I? My eyes flickered to Bella. Really. knowing how she felt. she was in pain. The others lingered briefly. given the chance. Rose. in her eyes. Our room. Rosalie eyed us suspiciously. Scream at them all. I snatched my hand away as if I had been burnt. The four of us stared at each other for a long moment." I growled at Rosalie. I narrowed my eyes. Fury and despair coursed through me. like tenderness. Stop it. Some husband. Slowly it morphed into something like resigned defeat. Rosalie shrugged and sat back down.

the angry. Her eyes narrowed and she stared straight forward again. Now that she had gotten her way. its beauty radiating out to hold me. She was abruptly furious. and draw me closer. Rosalie eyes shot to mine.Sitting so close to Rosalie. who had heard the panic in my voice. She glanced down at Bella. filling my mind only with her. and so. Still. I blocked out all thoughts I looked at Bella. at least in the forefront of her mind. touched my lips to hers. I unfroze. as she had on the island. I leaned over slowly. "Carlisle. light began to filter back into the room. magnified a thousand times where our skin touched. I became perfectly still. when her long buried mothering instincts screamed for release. spread through me. who she dreamed of holding in her arms. Rosalie unfroze. She was concerned about my ability to influence Bella. But she also could not hide the fear that crept around the corners of her mind. in a twisted way. and for the first time all night my eyes left her face. Now she moved restlessly in her sleep. when she had a hand in destroying mine. I realized I had unknowingly been leaning towards hers. and didn't trust that I still wouldn't try to use my persuasive power to sway her. at herself for leaving her thoughts unguarded. weak. and I gasped in an unintentional quick breath. Rosalie was determined not to let Carlisle and I contort the pregnancy into something ugly. it was hard to block out her thoughts. if it was his life that was in danger. Something about the way the blanket lay against her caught me. I trailed my eyes over down her body and stopped when they rested on her stomach. cutting off all thoughts of the present. I could but only guess at what lurked in the deeper parts of her consciousness. . He appeared immediately. I did not want to see her dreams. A brown haired baby. unchanging monster. Now her mind flickered with the thousands of images of babies she had memorized during her immortal existence. and wedge herself between us." I whispered roughly. She knew what she would be capable of doing to protect Emmett. recalling instead a human baby. But this thought only served to remind her what she was up against. I moved my arm and pulled back the blanket. The memories were human. Let her sleep now. the first night passed. and. Bella had slept soundly. I stood up. Eventually. and then Fear had me in her steely grip again. Slowly. exhaustion – she listed in her head with satisfaction the normal early signs of pregnancy that Bella had shown. and it was easy to shut them out. followed by the others. Then I leaned back onto my knees. and let her beating heart and gentle breaths calm me. She wondered how to undermine Bella's trust in me. to both Bella and the thing inside of her. defensive walls were down. she could not deny seeing the inherent danger of the situation. I looked carefully. As if that knowledge could somehow erase the fact that she was a cold. my fists clenched. which I did. and her expression darkened. My sudden fury at these thoughts caught me off guard. In her darker moments. Even as deluded and self-centered as Rosalie was. Rosalie had explored all available information on human pregnancy. Her face was very still. Her warmth. and with the slightest pressure. Nausea. realized she understood how I was feeling. and toward me for pulling them from her head. where I couldn't see. one I had seen countless times in her mind before. and made a small noise. She viewed the pregnancy with an excitement that bordered on frenzied. she had herself convinced that Bella would survive. watching me with wary eyes.

" It was agony to admit. I want to speak to Bella about her symptoms. reminding me that I had hurt her.went on the honeymoon. He faced me. to remember. against the confession I needed to make. to horror.. and looked up in surprise. A chorus of breaths sucked in. "Alice told us only that things.. He smiled slightly as this. Son. and Bella winced in her sleep." I grimaced." Carlisle drew in a sharp breath. Esme cooked eggs for breakfast. if possible. The bulge was shockingly larger than last night. I pressed my hand gently to Bella's cheek and then followed Carlisle out to the dining room. The memories viciously clawed at me. looking at me solemnly. looked back. I am her doctor. the one I loved. I could tell she had no interest in eating. "Didn't Alice tell you what happened?" I muttered quietly. were. his eyes . Growing fast." I said quietly. and I fought back the urge to scream. Chapter 4 —Confession The morning light brought no hope with it. "It's grown. the emotions different but the realizations the same. "Carlisle.. but he felt he needed to know everything he could to help us. "I hurt her. and then back at me. Growing. Things were progressing fast. Carlisle nodded slightly. right in front of our eyes. I don't want to make Bella uncomfortable. white hand carefully over Bella's stomach.."Her stomach." I breathed. try to pinpoint the exact point of conception. Everything felt shadowed by an oppressive cloud of uncertainty. I braced myself against the shame. Bella opened her eyes." Everyone turned to study Bella's sleeping form. but also her father-in-law. I felt unexpectedly uncomfortable.Too fast. barely audible. It's bigger. which Bella pushed around her plate with an unhappy look on her face. apparently congratulations were in order. "The first night. though. Since I hadn't broken any bones or outright killed Bella. as Bella smiled at her. successful the first night. emotions ranging from excitement. and his eyes flickered uneasily towards the living room where Bella was. Edward? Carlisle was struggling to remain respectful. With these words. can I talk to you alone for a minute? Carlisle was standing at the bottom of the stairs. fear and dread. But Alice told us she was Ok? "The injuries were bruises. whether we wanted them to or not. but we saw it. I sucked in air sharply. At least three times bigger. A long moment of silence. to concern. the emotions hit hard. You and I have never had a chance to talk about how things. well. his expression thoughtful. Then. Bella's stomach moved. as we all watched. Then. When did you first have intercourse with her. Alive. Seven pairs of dark golden eyes. Seven statues took a step back in shock. Leave it to Alice to consider that night a success." My whisper was rough. It moved again. A multitude of thoughts collided with me. to not overstep any lines. Now I sat watching Rosalie run her cold. They. The guilt and pain from that night came rushing up through me. Almost imperceptibly.healed.

the feel of her body beneath mine."mused Carlisle. And then. everything." . to stop. the feel of her hot skin pressing against mine. but. "I didn't hurt her again. I was overcome.still tense." I whispered. I tried so hard to be careful.. There was no long-term harm done. I just shook my head. How immensely he underestimated my weakness. and I never wanted it to end. I'm sorry. if you only made love that one time. It was hard to speak through the tightening in my throat. How I wished I could be the person he saw. Her pleading voice giving me the terrible permission my body sought." I lowered my head and closed my eyes." Carlisle's expression relaxed slightly. Carlisle sighed. As if that excused my behavior.. "You tried again with her?" he whispered. Biting remorse and shame washed through me. "Even given her injuries the first time?" My shame at his horrified expression was staggering. And yet. Then my control slipping. how to explain to him the need that second time? Hers and mine. yet unable. Son. unwilling. I very slowly raised my eyes to meet Carlisle's. And then. I'm going to go and talk to Bella. it makes it very easy to determine the date of conception. I guess I lost control. Knowing it was too dangerous this way. He couldn't be more wrong about that. Carlisle stood up. "Well..the feathers. never abated. his thoughts sympathetic. his eyes widening slightly. My hand clutching her. tortured by a desire that never waned. but as he took in my expression. see if I can get a better handle on when her symptoms started. There was no way to explain it.I never expected it to be like that. keeping my eyes down. Bella's flushed face. "Well. "Carlisle. her desperate hands clutching me. "She wanted to. At least. I froze at his thoughts. It was actually a relief to release them. the venom pooling in my mouth. He reached out and touched my arm. unexpectedly. The stunning intoxication of finally giving in. but I. it was just so much. All those days. the words poured out of me. She was everywhere. Edward. my selfishness. I shuddered.. remembering. his face froze. it really isn't any of my business. someone who would never take actions that would endanger Bella's safety. His face was aghast. ice cold. I shrugged miserably. under what were extremely difficult circumstances. He had a quizzical look on his face. I know you tried your best. drawing her closer.

intense dreams.I grabbed his arm. Finally! I snorted quietly. pain tight in his eyes. Way to go. The overwhelming disgust in myself as I watched the bruises darken and spread in the light of the coming dawn. there were the. explaining that he wanted to try to pinpoint the date of conception as accurately as possible. Edward. I watched her carefully. This seemed cruelly fitting to me. I need to examine her first. I remembered." She glanced again at me. "Normally. the agonized horror of the moment I realized that I had hurt Bella. I did not want to be heard. But for now. "What are we going to do?" Carlisle sighed. before that. their eyes trained on me. I'd like to try to be particularly specific. blushing deeply over her face and down her neck." She glanced at me. The first morning. and such accelerated growth.the night Edward was away hunting. Rosalie was feeling a little smug. They had been listening to my conversation with Carlisle with great interest. It was a bitter irony to discover that I had only known. I would use the date of your last menstrual cycle.. So first night was point of . "The vomiting didn't begin until . we can to keep her safe and comfortable. having always thought I would not be able to give Bella what she wanted without hurting her." My mouth formed the words. I knew that Carlisle wanted to do his job. "But Bella. as I spiraled down into what I thought was one of my lowest moments." said Bella. was enjoying what he considered to be my subsequent successes. I don't know yet. man. "Carlisle. remember. and then left the room. making no sound. of course. even the first morning. Carlisle was sitting with Bella. uh. anxious to talk to Bella and determine the point of conception. in acute detail. Try to go back and think about when the symptoms began. He gazed at me for a second more. you were so hungry. but with such a compressed time frame." "Well. Shock registered immediately in Carlisle's thoughts." I held her eyes as she nodded. then. and I would let him. Emmett. I rose slowly and walked into the living room. to be thorough. that I had let my own pleasure mark her precious skin. I was sure it was our first night on the island. to better understand what we are dealing with. Emmett and Rosalie were standing behind the couch together. the crying. But I had no doubt when the date of conception was. I didn't watch him go. although their reactions to it were completely different.. a faint shadow of the devastation my selfishness had wrought on her that night. "But then.

leaning against the wall while Rosalie prowled outside the bathroom door. cutting voice. "Absolutely not. past the invisible line where vampire ears in the house could no longer hear. I wanted to do something. He pushed up her shirt carefully. That's extremely fast. "I know what you set that room up for. I could see. Bella's stomach was now raised out several inches." "No way. silent. let's go upstairs to my office. I stood. where she had promised Bella she would stay. "Rosalie." Carlisle said.conception. I was here. Rosalie acted like Carlisle or I were going to crawl through the bathroom vents to snatch Bella. Not yet. "If you are ready. Carlisle's sure hands ran over her skin. But not impossible. Edward. I glanced at Bella." she said in an angry.He glanced quickly at me. Not today. before it was too late? Carlisle sighed." I took a step toward Rosalie." Rosalie whipped around the couch. I would like to examine you and take some measurements. watching. He told Bella he planned to try to measure her every few hours. "OK. Carlisle looked at her in disbelief. he thought. through his eyes. then. I have an exam table up there. but she was just watching me. but I could already hear the assent in his voice. except that he was unhappy about Bella. So hard. He took out his tape measure and measured her stomach carefully. He wanted to talk to me. After the exam. so we can track growth. And appropriate lighting. feeling gently. . as Carlisle did his exam with Bella lying on the couch. How long did we have to convince Bella to change her mind. "This is ridiculous. Bella. but I felt trapped. privately. The symptoms started so fast. I sat in the hallway. It was a place we all knew well. There is no way Bella is setting one foot inside that room. Jasper. Bella's eyes fixed on me. I glanced at the bathroom – Bella would not be done showering and dressing for at least 15 minutes. What is it encased in? It would be difficult to remove. I was infuriated to see how the thing had already contorted her body under her soft skin. where he was – in the woods. I was confused and frustrated that Bella would let Rosalie speak for her. frustrated by his lack of information. Bella wanted to take a shower. I searched my mind out. I glanced quickly at him. but he didn't meet my eyes. I think. But she just watched. this was exactly the kind of thing that would usually set her off. exposing her stomach. so unyielding. She was usually so stubborn. to get an idea of the growth. Carlisle. His thoughts told me nothing else." she stated firmly. standing directly in front of Bella. I know what you and Edward plan to do in there." Carlisle patted Bella's leg and stood up. Where it was flat only a few days ago. as Carlisle placed a hand on my chest. Rosalie.

How had everything gone so horribly wrong." Jasper's eyes narrowed slightly. but now it swelled up. putting his hands on my shoulders. not with Emmett and Esme backing her up. it's not right. I straightened up quickly. There has to be a way. as if they had all passed this way numerous times. his arms folded over his chest. "Are you just giving up? Are you going to let that thing grow inside her? Are you just going to let her die?" The last words came out harshly." Jasper strode across the clearing. His hands fell to his sides. "No one would stand in my way if it was Alice's life in danger. I lost a step. "So. what are you going to do. His expression was cool. in a melancholy way. The image of the little cottage had lingered." he said in a low voice. shocked by his intensity. yet another symbol of all that might be lost. it would be easy. Don't let Rosalie stand between you and Bella. I hissed. I had pushed it aside before. I could feel him funneling his rash excitement into me. The path I was on seemed particularly concentrated with my family's scent. But couldn't he grasp how complicated the situation was? "I am not giving up. bent over. hard. What's up. "It's nothing.I left the house silently. persuasive. He was thinking about Bella. I wavered. "We can do this right now. This was the way to the house my family had been working on for Bella and I. in my family's thoughts since we returned. "What do you mean. I can't get through Rosalie. His eyes blazed. "We can go back and grab her. so fast? "Edward. then another. "Are you OK?" How could I be. if he stood in my shoes. and he took a step forward." He was standing across the small clearing from me. Jasper. And then we can figure things out from there. dark golden brown rings surrounding a center of black. Edward?" he asked quietly. leaning against a tree. clutching at a tree." We stared at each other. "I will save her." His voice was low. and the pain slammed into me. running through the woods. inescapable. too. and then stumbled to a stop." It was Jasper. He would do anything for Alice. Nothing meant more. Jasper was certain what his course would be. "Jesus Christ. I thought. What the hell do you think? But what am I supposed to do? If I could even get Bella to change her mind." I snarled in a fierce voice. I would do anything for Bella. I bet we could slip in and out. Edward. The realization came quickly. Jasper. Jasper's inference made me angry. Jasper?" I muttered. There was something .

"Stop." I whispered. crying in the woods. But how could Bella and I really talk with her here? The silence felt heavy between us. . I just hope we can do something. "Edward. Don't go. Don't ever leave me. "Bella wouldn't want that. I turned and took off into the forest. I felt the overpowering sense of relief I always did." I growled. Those words were always a miracle to me. briefly. Plus it would terrify her." she breathed. As I approached the house I could see Bella standing outside. placing a hand on my face. pulse beating beneath my skin. lurking through the house. too. flying back to her. Bella stopped then. her hand in mine. instinctively. "Stay where you are. Edward. I felt the excitement drain out of me. I had been prepared to do it. scaling the walls. and then walked more slowly up towards her." Jasper's face was hard. "I can't. I thought about her silence during the exam. forever suspicious. Rosalie trailed behind. avoiding the words she should say for fear they would pain me. Bella. her scent. and they weren't enough. pausing at her lips. "It's going to be OK. My heart ached painfully. I put my hand against her neck. Perhaps rightfully so this time. I tried to think. before it gets too bad. Standing next to her now. to hers. Her mind flashed with the different visions she had seen – Jasper alone. and turned to me. Jasper and I together. Suddenly." "I love you. and then pressed my lips. I took her hand and we walked to the water's edge.so recklessly liberating about the idea of getting Bella alone. scanning the trees with her eyes. flying through the trees. as if sensing my anguish. A blurry flash of Bella. that she also did not want to hurt me. he nodded. and the interfering eyes of my family. Save yourself for me. But I knew. Stay with me. to form the perfect words that would change her mind. I didn't know what the right path was anymore. and leaned over to trail my lips across the exquisite velvet of her cheek. getting her away from Rosalie. seeing her again with my eyes after any sort of separation. yesterday. She flew into the clearing and separated us with her small hands." she said." I murmured." she said. "I won't let her die. feeling her warmth. this time. the sounds of a fast approach. She was always this way. more to myself than him. Jasper. I just want to help. whatever way you want. my words to Jasper felt hollow. Looking for me." Alice. but after a moment. She didn't want to argue with Carlisle. "I'm sorry I left. I had no idea what I was going to do. But I hesitated now. But I had already said those words. An angry whisper. I jumped the river too fast for her eyes to see. "I love you. Her smile was radiant.

to save Bella from the . as an ache grew in my chest. their bodies drained of blood. one thought revolved in my mind." she said in a soft voice. and held mine. I knew I shouldn't touch her. Rosalie glared at me. My throat felt tight. but not quite asleep. Bella. each step taking her farther away from me. I looked down at her. And then I froze. unthinking. Some father. As she disappeared in the house." Bella suddenly exclaimed. I watched her as she walked across the yard. their torsos mangled. Her eyes opened. it's not! My mind screamed. The women were referred to as "The Mothers".Edward. pain and doubt. too young. as she reached out and took my hand. creating a chasm between us filled with unsaid words. What am I going to do? I remembered when we had first met. My reaction was instantaneous. Emmett and Carlisle were doing research online. Information was scarce. I flinched at her thoughts. As I looked into Bella's eyes and listened to the tales of death upstairs. Over her shoulder. one time. as I stood against the wall. slowly. "I want to go inside. I walked slowly over to her. But she looked down at her stomach. she thought. Bella lifted her face slowly up to mine. still lying across her stomach. I watched her expression in alarm. resting. eyes closed. She moved her hand towards her stomach. and pressed it against the slight bulge. "I'm sorry. staring off for a while. The shock and hurt painted across her expression took my breath away. as a low hiss escaped my lips. a smile on her face. shouldn't risk waking her. Her empty hand flexed slightly. watching her. replaced by exhaustion. how hard I had tried to stay away. jerking it swiftly away from her body. but I allowed my hand to stroke her soft hair. peaceful. but they had found one legend about a village visited by a demon that had left several women dead. Rosalie put her arm around her shoulders. I hurried after. Bella laid down on the couch." Bella said. No." I whispered. horrified by my grossly insensitive actions. Her liquid eyes held mine as the pain. her arms wrapped around herself. I felt it move inside her. Eventually her eyes gently closed. "Oh. I took an involuntary step backwards under the weight of it. I ripped my hand out of hers. automatically pulling mine with hers. So exhausted. She was my whole world. looking first into the Ticuna Indian stories of the Libishomen. Upstairs. clear and deep. "I'm tired. began to drain out of her features." She started towards the house. Her face was so young. I couldn't bear for her to go. Then.

Bella claimed she was more comfortable there. soup. I'm sure we have the ingredients for that.danger I posed. Feeding Bella had become a full time Cullen occupation over the last several days. pouring over the computer for recipes. "What. as we orbited around her. My eyes flicked to Rosalie. Bella was our center now. Mostly she ate eggs. What else could we do? Bella stood up. I forced myself to smile at her and moved into the kitchen. who was wearing the same blank expression. ultimately. She was still sleeping on the couch. I had failed to protect her from the greatest danger – myself. the Cullen family sparked into action. "I have no idea. She hated that everyone seemed to be going out of the way for her." I whispered. she didn't want to be saved. anything she could suggest. Chapter 5—Motherhood As we waited. cooking in the kitchen. I stared blankly at her. to see what time would bring. . "You know what sounds good?" An anticipatory silence fell over the house. Most of it ended up in the trash. of course. Alice. brushing her soft brown hair back off her face. Jasper was at the computer. I think neither of us wanted to share the room upstairs with Rosalie. How was I going to save her? When. But of course we did. Pancakes. Esme and Emmett were already in there. "What the hell is a banana smoothie?" Emmett muttered in low voice. And. love?" I asked gently. pasta. Your number was up the first time I met you. it seemed. She was barely eating. we did what we could for Bella. I had fought back death when it came at her. "Of course. and nothing seemed to appeal to her. Hours had been spent shopping for groceries. french toast. again. time and time again. then and now. Her comfort and happiness became the driving force in my family's existence. or we could think. Bella had never wanted to be saved from me. Because. "I'm starving. helpless. Or nothing at all. Around the house. Now. looking perplexed." she announced. Bella was. I had told her. my presence in her life had pushed her onto the precipice of death. once again. everyone stopped and listened. I smoothed my features into what I hoped was a knowing look." she said as she stretched. She constantly begged us not to worry. of had been tried. Carlisle was increasingly worried about her nutrition and strength. and I didn't argue. but." I said briskly. Fate would not be undone. not to go to so much trouble. or requested a particular item. horrified by this attention. So if Bella showed any interest in eating. "A banana smoothie. even though I tried. On the third morning. Bella woke up hungry.

and Esme couldn't drag herself away. pulling the dark shadows closer. and I would stand aside. unrelenting growth mocked me. "Hmm." She looked around the kitchen. and the implications of this haunted me. the only one to leave the house in the last few days. Her growing stomach was the physical manifestation of this threat. pained expression that was a permanent fixture on her face these days. doing nothing to stop its approach. but I don't know about a blender. Emmett had become the family gopher. grabbed his keys. Carlisle didn't dare leave right now. Alice grabbed the recipe and scanned it. we all paused and looked at Emmett. While Emmett went out for the blender. then sighed. And that was what it felt like. "We have these ingredients. For it could only be in some cruel. and I cringed in misery at the sight of it. because he loved Bella. its rapid. "How can there be more to buy?" But he went. looking down at the river. So. grudgingly. During the past couple of days it had felt as though I existed in some sort of altered state. but I had seen the faint shadow of pain cross through her eyes. entertaining Bella was the next priority. Emmett earned the job. Bella maintained that all was fine. Second only to feeding Bella. by my hand. And it was not just food that needed to be purchased. And Alice was not well enough to go. I knew she was growing uncomfortable. struggling to remain in control. I breathed in deeply. watched her body flinch slightly in the night. Emmett had made numerous trips to the movie store and various bookstores. fearing she might miss the chance to help Bella in some way. and Jasper would not leave her. I clenched my fists against a lash of guilt and anger. as did the rest of us. and as it stretched and contorted her fragile frame. We provided detailed lists of things we thought Bella might enjoy. as if shackled." she murmured. Apparently the well-stocked Cullen kitchen did not contain a blender. and stomped out to the garage. "There are thousands of books and movies in this house. He looked back darkly for a moment. alternate reality that Bella would have a shadow of pain and death hanging over her. She was standing by the glass wall."Got it!" Jasper whispered as he entered the kitchen." he had groaned after making his third trip out in 2 days. Her stomach had grown impossibly fast over the last two days. She was wearing the pinched. Rosalie and I refused to leave Bella's side. . It hurt to be away from her. I went back to Bella. Cabinets started to silently open and close as we searched. When it was clear we weren't going to find it. even for a few seconds. He went back and forth to the grocery store at least once daily.

choking back the words I wanted to fling at Rosalie We stood in silence for a while. smiling down at her. and trailed kisses down her cheek to her neck. pulling her body close to mine. I stroked her cheeks with my thumbs. and went over to her. she thought. I cradled her lovely face in my hands. Maybe she was becoming accustomed to my callous behavior. Her stomach. It felt like we floated. What could she be thinking right now? The distance remained. reacting to her touch. Damn. Carlisle wanted us to encourage her to exercise." I said. but her hands stayed at her sides. Her eyes softened. hovering relentlessly around Bella. inescapable. but Bella realized what had happened. I kept her pressed close to me. to keep her muscles fit. remained. I tried to recover. Bella watching the river while I watched her. Her hands slid down my neck. She had only allowed Carlisle to do his cursory exams on the couch. You can bet on it. feeding the suspicion that Carlisle and I could not be trusted." I said darkly. She stiffened and dropped her arms. and pressed it. as I held my lips in a tight line. her mind already suspicious. wholly unexpected. pulling them up around my neck. I breathed her in. yet again. I pulled back and looked into her eyes. and yet. which I brought up to my lips. and then her palm. somehow. pulling her mouth slightly away from mine. They were surprisingly unemotional. "Hi." Her answering smile was bright. her small. and what was inside it. I saw Rosalie glance at me through the side of her eyes.composing my face. hot. "Want to go for a walk with me later?" I asked her gently. ashamed. She pulled me towards her. Rosalie had been out of control the past couple days. and slid my hands down to her back. Rosalie. between us. warm hands carving paths through my hair. I released her all except for one hand. against my skin. intoxicatingly painful. I could not seem to control my reaction to this physical reminder of the nightmare. Carlisle bore it with a patience I could not. under my shirt collar. to press. I kept my eyes closed. I kissed the back. I took her hands. I involuntarily froze. cursing myself. trying to look past the fact that it was too pale. like an iron wall. watching the blush rise under my fingers. "Please feel free to join us. soft and warm. and I leaned down. She smiled and nodded. although we were together every moment. "Hey. She caressed my head. The bulge of her stomach pressed against me then. Hurting her again. circling around each other . Forgiven. too thin. The thousands of pounds of despair that constantly pressed in on me lifted slightly as her warm lips touched my icy mouth. to my cheek.

something. I sensed Carlisle's pleasure from upstairs. the ingredients churning into an unappealing grayish color. when Bella slept. Alice and Esme had already prepared the ingredients. The others waited in the kitchen. I squeezed Bella's hand. It was thick and chunky. "Don't be sorry. and Rosalie disappeared upstairs. She had only vomited a couple times since we returned from Isle Esme. I handed her the glass and stood back. But Bella drank it down quickly. shocked. We didn't want Bella to feel too much pressure to try it. rather horrified that anyone would want to ingest that substance. Esme nodded. and wiped her face gently with the towel that Alice had quickly brought. "I'm so sorry. My clothes. contented. no one had gotten over the revulsion to human food. and put them into the blender. "Success." I kissed her clammy forehead." she gasped into my shirt. You should never be sorry. while Bella leaned against me." she said. Emmett gagged and left the room. and then went to the kitchen. he was struggling to find information. Bella leaned back. I stuck a straw in it and carried it out. so far apart on what was happening there was no way to come together. We watched as the blender ran. thought Rosalie." he announced in a low voice as he entered the kitchen. But this was particularly bad. The smell was absolutely revolting. "Esme. and gathered her into my arms. She lurched forward. When Carlisle was not caring for her. you'll stay?" she asked quickly. and enjoying. I saw Rosalie wrinkle her nose at the smell. I snorted. Everyone jumped back." I said gently. vomiting onto the couch. Esme poured it slowly into a tall glass. "Bella. I thought grimly. . He was glad to hear she was eating. I could hear them whispering quietly by the computer in Alice's room. Some caretaker. I heard a car coming up the drive. combing through old books of legends and stories. and we thought it was something that had passed. Even given all the time we had spent cooking the last few days. against the couch. Alice and Esme worked swiftly to sweep away the mess. Esme took off the lid and we leaned over to look. Emmett. not even using the straw. At night. Bella. "That's good. no. and then before my eyes turned white and then a pale shade of green." I gasped. and a grim quiet spread over the house. He had Jasper and Emmett continuing to search on the internet. I noticed Rosalie sitting frozen. "Oh.on the opposite sides of a sphere. His thoughts were pleased – he had managed to find a blender at the store in Forks. horror on her face. She moaned and leaned against me. smiling up at me. She looked at me darkly.

" I whispered to Bella. Bella violently wretched again." Almost as if in response to this. feeling an overwhelming swell of selfhate. Then I reached around and pulled her body." she moaned. I glanced up at Carlisle. horrible visions that were permanently etched onto my mind now. I kept waiting for it to stop. Bella vomited again. Esme was ready with a small bucket this time. too. it's been 20 minutes. She could not keep anything down." I chanted. If this vomiting continues. Her hands were shaking. Sweat made her hair stick to her forehead. smoothing her hair back. setting her back against the pillows of the couch. not this. fluids."It's OK. please. But under his cool demeanor. To think that I had ever denied her anything was impossible in this moment." chorused several voices in alarm. I pressed a cool cloth to her forehead and stared into Bella's miserable eyes. pressing them to my lips. patting her hand. but as she moved away to clean it. getting sick again. Carlisle was around the couch in a flash. and I clutched them in one of mine. "You'll feel better now. whispering encouragement. against my chest. but Bella vomited repeatedly over the rest of the day. "Bella. the sound of it like daggers through my skull. She was desperately thirsty. "Let me give her something. scorching its way into all the corners of my mind. Carlisle took over. and with his calm manner insisted Bella wait for a long while before drinking again. leaving me only the small piece of sanity I used to drag myself through the hours. wishing more than anything it was true. She needs nutrition. sweetheart." I whispered desperately. But now. still trembling. "Carlisle. Bella suddenly moaned and bent over the floor. sliding off the couch onto her knees on the floor. "Edward. standing behind the couch. Her face was very pale. I glanced desperately at Carlisle. "You're OK. still shadowed with a faint shade of green. Esme and I exchanged uneasy looks. but even the smallest sip of water came back up." He shook his head mutely. Was this the beginning of a merciless deterioration? Good lord. . very fast. Panic rushed through me. you're OK. I had pictured its brutality in so many ways the last few days. "I'm so thirsty. not this way." Her pleading voice tortured me. but as my eyes moved to his. She's losing so much weight. things could get very serious. and her eyes were red rimmed. Carlisle was extremely concerned. Of course I thought the thing would kill her – it consumed my every thought. please give me just a sip of water. and we gently lifted Bella up. He stayed by her. rocking softly.

harder than I meant. Rosalie. like I hadn't been able to hear her mind up in her room this whole time. go take a break. I moved till I was very close to Rosalie." Rosalie growled. I was incensed. I could hear his thoughts. Rosalie?" Rosalie's eyes widened for a moment. "Do you think I'm stupid?" I snarled at Rosalie. I watched in silence for a while. I let my anger get the better of me. It will be easier for Bella if you are not here. Edward. and then sensed someone enter the kitchen. "Are you stupid? Did you somehow forget I can read your god damn mind!" I spat at her. barely audible. She moved across the kitchen to stand just a foot away from me in the doorway.A sob hitched in Bella's throat. I wasn't sure if that was true. and he was still a couple miles away." she snapped. "Shut up. . Go get some space. dripping with my fury. but then narrowed into black slits." I said in a low voice. though. but to watch over the thing inside her. seeing my frenzied expression reflected in his mind." she snarled quietly. "How is Bella?" These were the words that came out of her lips. Edward. "I do. splintering the wood. "Don't tell me Bella's comfort is any kind of priority for you. and I felt myself growing wild with the sheer misery and relentlessness of the situation. Carlisle looked at me with concern. sending me back several inches. "But. Not back for a few more minutes. Too close. saving her from me. my muscles locking in sheer fury. Ah. The long hours of despair at watching Bella's misery left me little to fight the anger that flared inside me now. but her mind was only concerned if this vomiting might be bad for the wretched creature that was causing this whole mess. our faces inches apart." she hissed. but I got up and moved over to stand in the doorway of the kitchen. and I realized she was looking for Emmett. I noticed that her eyes flickered uneasily around. Threateningly close. her face furious. "Where have you been?" I asked sarcastically. "Get away from me. I turned to see her leaning against the counter. Not to soothe Bella. Edward. He was still returning from a trip to the store. you can't deal with this. but Emmett isn't here right now. "Don't even pretend you care about Bella. and pushed against me with her hand. We stood for a tense moment. where is yourprotector now." I hissed. and she hit the door frame. Bella had her eyes closed and did not seem to notice. I shoved her back. I shook my head at him. warring between her disgust of the vomiting and her desire to come back down and latch herself to Bella again. I can. "I know you think of yourself as Bella's protector. to get some more drinks for Bella. Your not helping.

don't you?" I was surprised by the biting tone of his voice." snarled Rosalie. seeing the panic. He sighed. I looked back around the corner at the couch. which glistened with red strands pulled out by the sun. I headed over to Bella. Bella's deteriorating health had pushed him too much for one day. Probably very wise. Carlisle slumped a little after she left. We were silent. "Edward. Esme moved to sit next to us." There was a hard edge to Carlisle's voice. "How is she?" I asked Carlisle urgently. though. at least. leaning against the wall as if for support. when I have to listen to you two quarrel?" A flash of shame finally sparked inside me." said Carlisle. hearing the car pull into the garage. finally. Edward? Rosalie. "that you are not happy with . I bent down and kissed her forehead gently. I looked into her soft. you go back upstairs for a few minutes. "I know. The fetus is making her very sick. Then I gathered her carefully into my arms. looking at me. but still soft and warm compared to my icy stone hand." she said. He nodded once at me.Carlisle flashed between us. I nodded at him. He had been there the whole time. or what it means yet. Rosalie stared back. trust Esme. I started to go. and then turned and disappeared. rougher than usual from lack of fluids. I won't. "What is this?" he muttered in a low voice." she said tentatively. and then rounded the corner and started towards Bella. Back to Alice. the desperate questions in my eyes. "You do still." "No. but had chosen not to interfere. "She is asleep. I pressed a hand to her cheek and it was too cool. Bella lay on the couch. and then turned around. "Why don't you go out and see her. golden eyes. her expression enigmatic. that he would leave Rosalie here alone again. Edward. My fingers brushed her lips." Carlisle looked at Rosalie. but it was worth it. I slid my hand around to the back of her head. Esme was sitting with her. A shaft of sunlight fell across her face. waiting. his eyes flat. "Yes. you will. careful not to wake her. "How can I take care of Bella. and sat on the couch. I'm sorry. but I could not see Bella's face. Jasper was standing silently on the bottom step of the stairs. He looked at me." I said in a low voice. "Carlisle. asleep. I'm not sure why. There would be hell to pay from Emmett. which shined slightly with a sheen of sweat. "Esme is with Bella. and then disappeared up the stairs. and I promise you that she will not leave her side until you return. I doubted. burying it in her soft hair.

It was a terrible. She pressed her lips against the infant's impossibly smooth. But she shared it with me now. "Look at her. in the minutes and hours she was truly alone in her own mind. wonderful thing. Being a mother. to feel and experience them. I am so sorry. His death did. She loved him. Esme. Driven her to throw herself off a cliff in despair over his death." "Edward. Esme looked back at me. Being a mother." I stared back at her. The memory started to fade. shocked me. Esme looked away. Having a baby was the single greatest moment of my human life. inviting me into her mind. even for such a brief time. looking down at the pale. dying baby.Bella's choice." she said. exhausted angel in my arms. warm and soft. infuriated that she was buying into Bella and Rosalie's delusions of a baby. as the pain became too much for Esme. silky skin. helpless infant." Esme pleaded softly. Edward. holding the small. ever wish to take away one moment I had with him."Not a curse. But he also gave me life." . then and today." I moaned. thin. drinking in its indescribable scent as she enveloped him. momentarily stunned by her strong emotions. Shame pulsed through me. But. "This thing. and stared intently into my eyes. more than her own life. killed her. her eyes suddenly fierce. of holding her small. "is not a baby. I would never. Esme took my face between her small hands. newborn son in the hours after his birth. you must understand. Made me who I am today." I ground my teeth together. She dropped her hands from my face and looked down for a moment. Because her baby had. he did kill me. away from me. So strong was the recall. Edward. is the most powerful force in my life. "Esme. her mind quickly filling with thoughts of the tiny. so vivid for a human memory. "Did your baby kill you when it was born?" I instantly regretted the words as soon as they left my mouth. "Don't be. The utter sense of completeness. I wished she hadn't felt she needed to hide this from me. that all the moments of her life had lead up to this one." she whispered." I spit out. The clarity and depth of the image. cruel thing to say to Esme. into her arms. Her bliss was overwhelming. in a sense. changed my life. "Yes. She filled her thoughts with a memory from her human life." I snapped. I felt physically immersed in her lost moments. and she began to pull away. giving herself fully to the memories. that motherhood is a powerful. "Motherhood is a miracle. She must have worked very hard to remember it so clearly throughout the years.

When Bella had come into my life. In the over 90 years I had lived in this unchanging body. I'm failing him. they had not been hunting in well over a week. doubted that certain joys were beyond my existence. No. far behind the walls in my mind. she thought miserably. You would be a wonderful father.Esme's thoughts created a painful twist of emotions inside me. Alice. but I insisted they go. and Esme was to join them. That word would never be meant for me. my path had been fundamentally. Edward. I was a monster. Such thoughts were to be banished. "Thank you. Esme stood up to join them. and the conviction of her thoughts. "Maybe this is a gift. I still couldn't equate her feelings with what was happening to Bella now. It's not the same. But even having felt the strength of her experience. I knew how much it had pained her to say those words. her eyes soft. A father did not impregnate his wife in a night that left her covered in bruises. and my fists clenched to hold back the wave of emotions such words incited. I was not a father. I had come to accept that I would always be alone. "Maybe things will be OK. I stood up and gently laid Bella on the couch. I thought miserably. It had been unfortunate timing that when Bella and I arrived home from Isle Esme. I shook my head." I shrank away from her words. And you a father. It's not the same. Esme looked up at me." she whispered. but finally the trip had been planned. and she pulled me in for a quick. Perhaps Bella was fated to be a mother. Father. Fatherhood was not destined for monsters such as me. even for a moment. glimmering slightly in the hazy late afternoon sun. and I knew she had been listening to my conversation with Esme. I managed a hard smile. These were forbidden thoughts. untouchable." I murmured. unexpectedly changed. Jasper and Emmett were headed out for a hunting trip. to think those memories. Their pale figures reflected in the glass. It was coming up on 2 weeks now. bringing me a happiness I never expected to enjoy. No one had wanted to leave since we got home. . She won't even live to see it. I don't know how to help him. They wanted to cancel after Bella's illness this morning. standing silent behind the couch. Esme. fierce hug. Her eyes were intense. I had never. cursing her to carry a creature that would brutally kill her in the end. And yet. I sighed and turned back to watch my family start out the door. That was when Bella screamed. and I pressed it far. There was movement by the door. There was no way to deny the joy of these memories. Rosalie had returned. I went over to Esme and took her shoulders.

and had surprised him. I guess. mentally screaming about bringing Bella into the office. Too strong. He gently lay Bella down on the hospital table. confusion in her eyes. looking at me. "Ahh. "There's no need to totally overreact. looking at everyone standing around her. Blood. I'm fine. "Bound to happen. Then she winced. face cringing in pain. To imagine it. and then we moved. rolling her eyes. and it would continue to hurt her as long as it was allowed to grow inside her. I could hear Rosalie behind me. "Emmett put it in the garage. "I'm fine. I flashed to the couch and scooped her up. having recovered from her unexpected flight up the stairs." Bella shook her head. My eyes shot to Carlisle. Getaway. I guess. occasionally pressing gently as his eyes studied Bella's face. a hard expression on his face. We all heard it. His thoughts were fractured. Bella." he said. Bring her upstairs! I flew up the stairs. her voiced colored with surprise.Chapter 6—Pain Breaking Dawn Edward Point Of View (Part—2) It is one thing to think about something hurting the one you love. "It was just a little kick. Always have. Then she shrugged. Bella looked half awake. I listened carefully to his mind to make sure he would not return. It is something else all together to watch." said Rosalie. What had it done to her? How had it hurt her? Her scream echoed painfully in my mind. you know that. On Bella's skin. and her eyes grew wide. It's already that strong. as his hands moved lightly around her stomach. helpless. I felt a violent. but I ignored her and she didn't say anything. We aren't taking any chances." "It just surprised me. Edward. You screamed in your sleep. Her skin was already stretched so tightly over it. His voice was strained. "I bruise easily. a large. We all followed. as it begins to happen." she whispered softly. . "What happened in here? Where did all this equipment come from? Where is your desk. The mark terrified me. Alice showed me a vision of Jasper standing outside by the river. and slowly pushed up her shirt to reveal her stomach. He moved his fingers and we all bent close to look." I sucked in my breath as I stared at her in furious disbelief. Bella looked at her stomach. Rosalie nodded in agreement. Carlisle's voice was loud in my head. The scent of the leaking blood of the bruise was permeating the air. it hardly hurt. Did she honestly think this was OK? Did she really think I was going to stand by and let this thing continue to hurt her? Bella saw the expression my face. frozen. Carlisle turned and moved swiftly up the stairs and into his office. still examining her stomach. I noticed Jasper backing slowly out of the room. Bella was wide-awake now. you are not fine. a wretched." Bella insisted. at the bruiseon her translucent skin. Carlisle?" Carlisle smiled a little." I growled. to dread it. He carefully took Bella from my arms. She began protesting at once. It had hurt Bella. He disappeared out the door. meeting Carlisle half way. mottled symbol of what had happened. Bella's scream of pain froze us for an infinitesimal fraction of a moment. twisting horror inside my body asI stared. Bella was glancing around the room now. Carlisle's office had been transformed into a high tech hospital. "Bella. This equipment is for you. "Oh. purple bruise was starting to form." Her voice was more sure now. and what was to come. to fear it. I was reeling with panic and fear. I watched Carlisle anxiously. only faintly evident right now." she said.

" Bella spluttered. "I can't let it hurt you. and then moved my fingers along hers." I said quietly. "I didn't mean that it would survive. to try to get it out. You know that. feeling the delicate bones. Edward. I looked into her soft eyes. he might not be able to survive on his own yet. are they?" Her eyes searched the faces in the room." I choked out. Don't upset her. Something that might help me change her mind. "Ultra sound machine? X-rays? Here?" She watched as Carlisle pulled the portable x-ray machine over to the table. "Why are you even talking about it then." It was silent in the room. and then rested on me. Carlisle cleared his throat. Alice was looking at me but I didn't meet her eyes. There is still time to act. Possible broken bones. Surely she must see. we will know a lot more then. Her eyes narrowed slightly. and didn't answer. Internal injuries." Bella whispered to me." A flickered memory of Carlisle's vision of changing Bella passed through both our minds. She showed me a blurred vision of Bella's face. "I can do this. something that might give me hope. I rubbed my thumbs gently against the silken skin of the back of her hand. "to try to get you through it still human. except for the steady beating of Bella's heart. I'm going to take an x-ray. pleading with my eyes. the intricate joints. Her eyes flashed between Carlisle and me. and let this happen? . he thought. She looked at me for a long moment. My mouth opened. He looked down for a moment. and the injuries will get worse and worse. warned Alice in my head. angry again. just to be sure I don't see any other injuries. No one here is still thinking otherwise. "Get it out? But it might be too soon. My voice sounded rough. "Bella. must understand. I looked questioningly at Carlisle. I folded her fingers over and brought her hand up to press against my lips. and her eyes moved to take in everyone in the room before coming back to me. or even fear. and then back into Bella's eyes. do something! Make this stop! Carlisle looked at me. But her gaze was steady. So many things I wanted to say. and put her hands on Bella's shoulders. unconfident with his chances of shaking Bella's resolve. to scream. Then I raised my eyes to hers. "The ultra sound machine will be here in a couple of days. I can try. And this is only the beginning. Confusion. what this thing was going to do to her. anything to make her see reason. The fetus will continue to grow and get stronger. and tried to collect myself. and I will do it. reading my expression. I clenched my teeth." Rosalie hissed." he paused briefly." A flash of pain crossed Carlisle's face. I reached over and took Bella's hand. Carlisle?" Her voice had an angry edge. This was madness. "Bella. anguished and pale. I am seeing this pregnancy through to the end. right? " I stared back. I pressed my lips tightly together for a moment. "This is exactly what we feared. Bella's face turned hard. he thought. I looked for something I might recognize. holding it with both of mine. I would make every effort. Bella's eyes widened. Her face was intense. I looked up at Carlisle. decided. trying to change the subject. Say something. "I am strong enough to do this. For now. Bella. and she looked confused. "I thought this was clear."Bella." Carlisle said softly. doubt. How could we just stand here.

"My God. Bella's eyes were still shut." I muttered. very hard and dense. another injury. while I could. It looks like one of us would under an x-ray machine. Rosalie inches behind. holding the x-ray film. took Bella's arm. if we have any chance of getting her through this. "I can walk myself. The other half was completely obscured. He glanced at Rosalie. throwing up onto the floor. I knew she had been faking." I said quietly as I lifted her into my arms and took her downstairs. Yes. "Let's get it out now. I set Bella down on the couch." moaned Bella softly. wondering. There wasn't much left in her stomach to come up. and everyone internally groaned. so I crossed the room to him. and she immediately rested her head against the pillow and closed her eyes. and they were all watching us closely. I looked at it carefully. I touched it. well. We cannot let it get to that point. "Oh.Carlisle positioned the machine over Bella and took a few pictures. I went to pick up Bella but she pushed my hands away. engulfed by the vision of one of us tearing into Bella's fragile body with their teeth. Always such a bad actress. assuming her sleeping pose again. so we can decide the safest way to proceed. I wasn't sure if she was dozing or avoiding me." "Stop apologizing.Carlisle paused and glanced over towards Rosalie. Hopefully we will know more with the ultrasound. Open the womb with our teeth. Rosalie's head whipped around and she glared at us. Then he suggested we take her downstairs while he developed the film. her voice cool. That information will be crucial. Bella started for the door. her ribs. before the fetus grows larger and stronger. Carlisle felt if we did it in time. and then quickly close it. Rose and I close behind. Carlisle was standing at the bottom of the stairs. It was excruciating. thought Carlisle. We need to remove this thing ourselves. I saw Bella open one eye. Edward. The fetus is protected by some sort of outer casing. it probably uses its teeth to exit the womb.ray. "I'm sorry. he mused. we might save her.. Both Rosalie and I shot forward to steady her. My mind was in flames. I watched her closely. if it is like vampire skin we probably won't get an image. It may give us much more of an idea of what we are dealing with. horror twisting my face.. and swung her legs off the table. He handed me the x. I actually suppressed a smile. his expression pained. in a voice too low for Bella to hear. My hypothesis is that the womb is made of something similar to vampire skin. I looked at Carlisle in concern – what if she aggravated an injury? I think it is just a bruise. I know the story you heard was that the creature would tear its way out. I think. waiting for any more signs of pain. . a womb. His face was creased with anxiety. And yet. I stared at him. Half of it showed Bella's body. However. and knocking Rosalie aside. And I would do anything for that." she said. She would never survive. And we have a better chance if we do it soon. Emmett and Esme had quickly joined her. get a better look at things. She called Emmett in a quiet voice. Rosalie was more determined than ever to not let Bella out of her sight. He motioned for me to come over. The phone rang." I growled. I nodded. beyond reason. she stopped and lurched forward. I was faster. Suddenly. Edward. Charlie again. in a controlled situation. But I wanted to take the opportunity to get the x-ray.

the pain she had held in earlier slipped out. at least not tonight. to sleep in the bed. but her eyes were still closed. but her eyes flew immediately open. and I had been right – he would not leave Rosalie alone. She wrapped her arms around my neck and pressed her cheek into my chest." Bella said smiling. She shivered and sighed. by the sickness.. I glanced over to see Emmett standing in the doorway. Keep your damn hands off her. Bella suddenly let out a small scream. Again I checked her.. Bella was looking at me.I went over to Bella. and laid her carefully down. Edward. his face softening slightly. although I knew it was hurting her.. When her lids grew heavy and finally closed. I shut my eyes briefly. I realized that asleep. I stood. She was sick a couple more times. Rosalie. leaning over and taking her hand. lying in the big bed. I cursed myself for more bad judgement. She didn't protest. still asleep. I was making no such promises tonight. crying out several more times. with her guard down. He couldn't imagine how I felt. my hand stroking her hair down the length of her back. couldn't imagine what it would be like to see Rosalie so ill. Then she cried out and flipped on her back. wishing I could erase both images from my mind. arms folded. she had not been referring to the bruises I had inflicted on her the first night on Isle Esme. When I opened my eyes. He glanced over at Bella. quickly realizing what I was thinking. and then they closed again and she rolled over. watching in horror. I sat on the floor by her head. "It's nothing. hoping she would sleep. I waited. I picked her up as gently as I could. Of course. and escape the misery for a little while. Then I ran my fingers lightly up her back. How could I not compare those bruises to this one? I was responsible for both. his face hard again. The sight of it froze me. and Bella flushed dark red. trailing inches behind me. It had been foolish not to bring her up her sooner. he was also murderously angry with me for pushing Rosalie. as she twisted in the bed. She had pulled the edge of her shirt up and was fingering the bruise. "Edward. "Upstairs. Rosalie acquiesced. I smiled gently at her and shook my head. Bella didn't cry out in pain again that evening. I leant down and pressed my lips against her neck. Bella glanced up at me and quickly pulled her shirt down. Apparently Rosalie had shared our encounter in the kitchen. but I could see it in her expression. leaning against the frame." She faltered. went to stand by the window. so vulnerable. I decided to bring her up to our room. but how could I not think of it. I. I realized her stomach had grown far too large for her to sleep comfortably on the couch. pale now. eyes horrified. frozen. Bella's eyes flew open for a moment. I carried her quickly up to the bedroom. . He was horrified. singing her lullaby. to see her in pain. She immediately sighed happily. But then he looked back. to bed. he thought. leaning against me. "I've had much worse bruises than that one. "Bella". I narrowed my eyes and looked down at Bella." I whispered quietly. "Where are we going?" she whispered. flinching. I gasped. The warmth of her skin lay right where my heart should have been beating. rolled over and fell back asleep. Whatever sympathy he might feel. She was clearly trying to control her reactions. uncertain. face dark. It had expanded and darkened considerably. although her face looked pinched in pain." I flinched in horror at this. by the bruise. He thought she looked so small.

my hands against the mattress on either side of her body. He laid a hand on my head for a moment. pain coursing through her eyes. But Bella waved her away. I felt Bella's hand touch my head. But as rays of sun began to filter through the trees. But she couldn't hide everything. Hurt me instead. One of her hands pressed against her side. at some point in the night." I said. He gently pulled down the blanket and pushed up her shirt. I can't watch you in pain any more. smoothing my hair. "Edward. helpless. I can't. Her stomach stretched." Her eyes opened and focused on me. Her face was strained with pain. he doesn't mean to hurt me. Bella. And so the nightmare continued. She gritted her teeth to keep from letting a cry slip through her lips. and then covered Bella back up. Her eyelids fluttered. Her eyes were anxious." My body felt weak with the pain in her voice. She was determined to show she was strong enough to deal with this. My chest seemed to crush in on itself as I stared at the bruises. and then closed. Please don't hurt her. burning through my veins. I leant down. please. His thoughts screamed at me. my voice breaking. Finally. Maybe it is sleeping. But there was no one to plead with. trying to push me away from Bella. "Oh God. A new day of horrors had begun. and a tear glistened in the corner of her eye. too. it became stronger. my face pressed into the couch. Finally. and darkened. without pain. Carlisle was beside himself over this. and we saw the biggest bruise yet beginning to form. pressing my fists against my eyes. shattering my bones. her eyes flew open and she groaned. vicious and unrelenting. . no matter what we did. clutching the side of her stomach. Carlisle came in. and seemed to rest comfortably for a few hours. She was actually worried about me. He turned to go. as she fell back into a restless sleep. "Please. I knelt down. The world was a cruel. I thought grimly. Bella fought to put a good face on things.Stop hurting her. I pressed my face back into the couch. and so did the pain. wanting to check her. Throughout the day. Her face is so thin. but then Bella's body jerked violently and she cried out "Edward." I moaned. searching my face. she would clutch her stomach. frozen in anguish. And as the creature grew. I'm here. and then brushed my lips slowly over every part of her face." Rosalie hissed and leaned over. the thing inside her continued to grow. Leave her alone. I pulled myself up and crawled across the bed. "Bella. The vomiting continued. Malnourished. seeping into my skin. groaning. I was on my knees. breath sucking in. sucking life out of Bella into itself. She constantly reassured us she was fine." I whispered. We all watched. Each time killed me. I knelt back. Carlisle. And yet. an acid. a haze of sickness and pain. Her pain was a physical substance to me. I begged inside. I looked up at her. kissing away the tear. In the morning. but it almost always came back up. Several more dark purple bruises were forming. horrified. By the end of the day. let us help you. "I'm here. Carlisle checked her again." She stroked her stomach lovingly with her other hand. as Bella weakened. terrifyingly large. crazy place. begging for her to change her mind. Bella fell into a deeper sleep. "I love you. She tried to choke down sips of water. Let us end this. Dehydrated. Bella was still unable to hold down any food or drink. kneeling over her. Time began to pass in a blur. as it intensified.

it didn't matter. I wasn't sure. I had chosen my path. holding her hand. before. Of course I did. such as me. I never deserved her."Bella. It is more than that.. Her body burned. Just like I can't live without you. whispering and singing to her. against me. But. Carlisle stayed with me this time during the long night. Never say that. inhaling deeply. trying to catch my eyes. as if remembering the moment – "I was. I pressed my face into her hair. but I had to ask it. "I didn't want children. hugging it close to her chest. "It's going to be all right. It's too late. stone pillar of support by my side.." Too late. powerless to stop it. Bella looked pensive. I remembered every touch. I have my visions of what he looks like. she sensed my presence. "What do you think is in there?" She sighed. could have the happiness I did with Bella. "Why? Why? If I had known you wanted a baby. I just knew I couldn't stay away from you. The truth. You took away everything. and they terrified me as much now as then. I wondered why I had ever thought that a monster. I noticed that Bella was too warm." she said. and scooted over until her back was pressed against my chest." she said quietly. at first. more than anything. never would have put myself in the way. But. I laid an arm carefully over her. hotter than usual. Edward. as if trying to figure out the best way to explain something." She paused for a moment. "When I met you. I want you both. Her voice was earnest. really. what you were. what you were." "And now?" I whispered. I never should have touched her at all. without some sort of terrible . "I honestly didn't want a baby. and her hair was damp with sweat. and I kissed her face softly and sang to her until she fell back to sleep." She ducked her head down a little. a silent. every breath. and she took my hand." "But Bella. "It doesn't matter what he is. was that I should never have come back after I left the first day I saw her. I remembered every word she had ever said to me. I knew I wanted him. Bella paled at the anguish in my face. It could not be too late. and nothing made me happier." I had not wanted to rip motherhood from her grasp. "I'll admit. I knelt beside her. I thought miserably.. an eternity of watching Bella thrash and cry out in pain." I whispered. as obvious now as it had always been. But when I first felt him move inside me" – she paused and closed her eyes briefly. hating myself for asking the question. I never would have taken that away from you. I couldn't look at her. In that moment. "It doesn't matter. I only wanted you. Truly. "Do you remember when I said that to you?" she asked softly. They were all burned in my memory. I never. As I laid beside her. I quietly got into the bed with her. I never should have made love with her on Isle Esme. I love him. Edward. my mind went over and over my mistakes. of course. I nodded my head miserably. though. "Edward. watching Bella suffer. I didn't want to take away her dreams. you know that. She woke up several times. That night was worse." Then she echoed her words from the past to me. I felt trapped in a purgatory of torment. every heartbeat. tugging at the blankets. She tossed uncomfortably." My voice choked. As dawn began to break.. So. getting under the blanket. I knew I couldn't live without him.I was fundamentally changed. but being very careful not to touch her. Never say that! My mind screamed. I hoped that my cool body might help make her more comfortable. But you did.

I want to talk to him. During the first phone call. "Bella. framing her face." I said. but from her soul. Chapter 7—Intervention As I waited for Bella to wake. feeding him the story. This was it. and then shook her head." "No. I couldn't keep myself from hurting her. Rosalie was immediately suspicious. The phone rang. "The ultrasound machine is here. "Probably. I've never dealt with a pregnancy like this before. to dissuade Charlie from coming to the house. The creature was sucking away her energy. "This is your decision. it had been a difficult struggle keeping Charlie away. Edward. trying to sound casual. "What kind of answer is that? Sounds too risky. I ground my teeth. as bright and lovely as ever. Her hair was scattered around the pillow. stern voice. We would try the ultrasound. They burned through my whole body. Bella moved restlessly. then brushed my hand gently along her cheekbone. It's ready. she was dying. on her thin face. Today. and opened her eyes. Carlisle set it up immediately." I said. She was actually excited to get a look at this thing. But it could not touch her beauty. Try to get some answers. I thought. love. "I think it would probably be fine. later that day." "I'm sorry. an exasperated edge to his voice. the sun began its descent in the sky. the pain and her inability to hold down any substance leaving her exhausted. "Bella. If Carlisle's theory was correct. "If that's Charlie. we would end this. I stroked the dark circles under her eyes." said Bella quickly. eyes narrowed." Bella looked again at Rosalie. consuming me slowly. culminating in a few moments of panic and hasty preparations to leave. that she was sick. too prominent now. her head on a pillow in my lap." he said gently. he thought. The melancholy of the passing of the day took on a haunting new meaning.consequence? And now. "He is so upset. I let the sadness settle in my soul. when you feared that time was limited for the one you held most precious. skimming the tops of the trees before dropping behind the wall of the forest. her life. before Carlisle was able." spat Rosalie. Carlisle suggested that maybe we might try giving Bella some medication." Carlisle said. In the morning. Rosalie. She had been napping. Her beauty shone not just from her face. Twilight again. and heard a chorus of quiet sighs echo throughout the house. rather ingeniously thought up at the last minute by Carlisle. She glowed. . for the pain and to help her sleep. she was in pain. I grimaced. I was sitting on the couch. "You're not feeling well. despite everything. "Would that hurt the baby?" she asked. I sighed and started to gather her in my arms. Finally. I vowed I would never let it be extinguished. as the sun slowly rose." Bella had been insisting on talking to Charlie by phone." said Carlisle patiently. because of me. The agony and guilt felt endless. contagious. piece by piece. so worried. her health. Soon it settled below the hidden horizon. and in quarantine. speaking in his most professional. the ultrasound machine arrived. In the end. maybe morphine. love. I want to make him feel better." she persisted. "Bella. let Esme talk to him. Bella laid next to me. "I'm not sure. on our fifth day home from Isle Esme. I want to." Bella and Rosalie shared a look. Would you like to go upstairs and try it?" She shook her head eagerly. her eyes bright. I leaned over and kissed her on the forehead.

foolish plan. She was very vocal about all the obvious problems with this idea." She bit her lip and then gave me a small smile. My panic began to escalate. and his mind flooded immediately with disappointment. until we figured out a plan." I said. In the end. Rosalie. and most convenient. Carlisle was torn. I was anxious to get on with the ultrasound – I could stand no longer our utter ignorance of what was truly going on inside her. Confirms my theory." she protested. standing across the table from me. and Esme appeared with the phone. plan was a small plane crash on the way home from the honeymoon. unreachable by phone. wanting to appease Bella while also maintaining the safety of the family. Jasper and Rosalie talk and plan. her face pained by my reaction. He sighed. This was not a conversation I could bear to have. But I had told them that Bella was hoping that maybe. Jasper had insisted on talking about what our plan was. and I couldn't help my sharp intake of breath. I ignored her. knowing I was right. "If we can't see it. and I had to change Bella while on the Island. I scooped her up in my arms to bring upstairs. After her phone call. picked up her other hand. Without any information. Doesn't work. just far away. when she was ready. "Carlisle. indefinitely. But now. exposing her stomach. the story would be that Bella and I were staying on the island. He looked carefully at the screen. unreachable. Under the harsh lights of the office. He moved the wand all around. "Sorry. I looked at the screen too. "I'm sorry. given that everyone in town knew I was away with Bella. she could see Charlie again. heading up the stairs." whispered Carlisle. Calm down. trying to make sense of it. thought Carlisle. to let him talk to Bella. I was having trouble hanging onto my control. I laid Bella carefully on the table. to have Charlie know we were so close. "You are at risk of falling down these stairs on your best days." Bella and Rosalie looked disappointed. made the situation extremely tenuous." he said. no true decision had been made. Edward. and flipped off the machine.Before Bella and I had left on our honeymoon. Carlisle put the gel on the ultrasound probe. all the while probably making him very suspicious. although I am very . Bella held out her hand expectantly. Madness. "Bella. Esme tried to back up Bella's position – Esme was deeply saddened at the idea of Bella's parents losing her forever. after a year or two. the bruises on her stomach were truly a gruesome sight. Emmett and Esme stood around the table as well." I said. Bella glanced quickly at me. Jasper thought this was a risky. Wreckage and bodies never found. That would entail using a needle to extract fluid from the womb. Esme. "Well. I had sat silently in the other room listening to Carlisle. I held Bella's hand. if things didn't "go well". and Carlisle pulled back her shirt. Foolish girl. and then placed it on Bella's stomach. how can we know what it is? This is crazy. She sucked in a breath – it must be cold. Can't see anything. we could try doing an amniocentesis. "Put me down. and noticed with annoyance when Rosalie. I didn't dare look at Bella. She didn't want them to think she was dead. as did Rosalie. how can we let this go on?" My voice started to rise. "I can't make an ultrasonic image of it. feeding his hopes that he would see her soon. forget right now. If something went wrong. maybe even Renee. Safety and secrecy were his greatest concern. Jasper thought the easiest.

" "Good for the baby!" I gasped in disbelief.skeptical we could find a needle made of a substance that would penetrate it. frowning. My emotions were churning now." I shouted. as if he were deciding something. "I think the fetus is encased in something rather like vampire skin. I didn't look at her. and his next words came out as barely a whisper. but continued. . It is her choice." she snapped. and the research we have been able to do." I demanded. Plus. I could run tests to figure out more about the fetus. I didn't know if I could hold myself back anymore. "Of course I do. "Edward. fury in my eyes." I said. This thing is not a baby! I screamed in my head." I hissed." "No one is ending it. desperately. How can we help Bella if you won't let us do anything?" I snapped. and then my heart sank as her expression turned from fearful. when the time comes. With our own teeth. This information had to make her see reason. "I can't stand by anymore. Her eyes were wide. So. let us give her some morphine. "Absolutely not. "Stay out of it! We have to get this thing out! We have to do it before it's too late!" "No. to stubborn." yelled Rosalie. "It's too soon! It's not safe for the baby to come out yet. She took a deep breath. Rosalie was pushing me to the breaking point." Carlisle spoke. She needs to know all the facts." muttered Bella. He was looking down. I looked down at her. She had guessed as much from overheard conversations. without going crazy. his face serious. beyond my control. He looked up at me. "Bella. the plan should be to remove the fetus ourselves. I snarled quietly and glanced at Carlisle." she said calmly." He paused. Bella's face had frozen – she couldn't hide her shock at this image. "NO!" I roared. "This is ridiculous. watching this thing hurt you. I watched Bella's face. I am thinking. If not." she growled." I snapped. I guess that sounds OK. "Then. This has to end. "Too dangerous. Based on what Edward heard on the Island." My voice was too loud. "You are not sticking a needle in there." Bella stared at him for a long moment. I felt a grim sense of hope. "Before it kills you. Carlisle looked pained. I quickly shook my head when I read his plans in his mind. "It might not be good for the baby. Rosalie nodded. that she might finally realize the danger of the situation. Edward!" cried Bella. for the pain." gasped Bella. But if it worked. As long as we wait until it is safe for the baby. My emotions poured out." snapped Rosalie. threatening to boil over. and finally thoughtful. I looked at her. at least. maybe it will change things. "I'm sick of you. "Needles. we believe the fetus will exit the womb by using its teeth to tear it open. "I think that makes sense. Edward." His eyes tightened. Rosalie." Both Bella and Rosalie sucked in their breaths. "This is not Ok! None of this makes sense! I can't take this anymore. "What about Bella? Do you care at all about her?" I was livid. "We don't want to let it get to that point. leaning towards me. I didn't want to unleash my anger at her. She gripped the table with both hands. "No way." said Rosalie. well. This had to be the moment that she gave in." snarled Rosalie. Rosalie. Watching you waste away. "Yes. filling the room. "Bella. That is why we cannot make an ultrasonic image of it.

stronger arm seized mine and dragged it back. Her hands reached up and grabbed onto the back of my head. I wanted to press her against me. "Edward. my mind screamed." . too weak! I kept my hands against the couch. too. I carried her. "Bella. and her sad brown eyes were rimmed with red. "Well. All the rage. I roared with fury. Mercifully. hard. all the resentment that had been building up towards Rosalie exploded out of me. but I moved away immediately. sobbing harder." I said. I pulled away from her mouth as she gasped. her pounding heart. but I could find no denial in her thoughts. I love you. Rosalie hissed and I snarled loudly. pleading with me. "I love you too. leaving me with only shame and fear. Alice thought desperately. In the over 90 years I had been with him. small hands just a flutter on my chest. and she wrapped her hands around my neck." said Rosalie in a steely voice. her hands pressed against her ears. stunned. even for a few minutes. Her hair was tangled and wet with tears. as we all looked at him. they all filled me. And then she was pushing me away. This is the way to forget. Look what you are doing to her! I looked down. What else could I say? "I love you so much. Pale skin stretched tight over her thin face. None of us had.Her soft skin. slowly. this feels good. I did not think I had never heard Carlisle raise his voice in anger. I need you to want this baby like I do. and I kissed her back eagerly. across her collarbone. her face in her knees." She looked up at me. I need you to love him. to hold her like I had on the island. But I didn't dare touch her." she gasped. Oh god. her scent. down the stairs to the couch. My fingers were a fraction of an inch from her neck when a larger. I blocked her out." he hissed. I was kneeling next her. wrenching it behind my back along with my other arm. to stare at Carlisle in shock. Too thin. Stop it. Rosalie just stared at me. "Stop!" roared Carlisle. pressing her face into my chest. I stood motionless. and turned. My anger all drained away. struggling to pull my arms free. to escape the misery." I cried quietly. and then I understood. I laid her down. that's a risk we are willing to take. no one followed for once. too short days." she whispered. locked in his gaze. and she pulled herself up and crushed her lips to mine. My arm shot out over the table to grab Rosalie. with nothing between us. Emmett dropped my arms. "Edward. gently. silently. carefully. I sensed Alice and Jasper come into the room behind me. against mine. her eyes blazed with emotion. I picked her up and cradled her in my arms. Edward. Too fragile to touch. and under her tears. His voice echoed loudly off the walls of the room. Heaven. She brought her hands to her face and rubbed the tears out of her eyes. resisting the urge. moving to her neck. "Bella. Silence fell. as she pressed her lips. "I need you to understand. during those sweet. and I clenched the couch on either side of her with my hands. Bella was hunched over on the table. miserably. Her warm fingers clenched in my hair. and back up to her mouth. Her body convulsed as she sobbed silently. He was angry with me."I don't care about that! We can't wait anymore!" I thundered. My body reacted instantly. We all froze. She tried to keep her mind blank. His face was calm but his eyes blazed with fury as he looked directly at me. and knelt beside her. "Even if that risk might end up killing Bella?" I growled. "What if this thing starts to tear its way out of her before we can stop it?" I snarled. anger flickering in his eyes.

you attack her strength. She suspected I wouldn't want to come. and she knelt down in front of me. She was standing at the top of the stairs. dark gold with a growing ring of black." I said. I followed her into the dark dining room. but I had just been so distraught over the last couple days. Bella. They should have known that. I realized everyone was fighting their thirst. their dark eyes flashing intently. and then slowly shook my head. his face grave.. Emmett and Jasper appeared behind her. "No. Her face was hard. Alice put her tiny hand on my chest. and then they would take me quickly out of the room. Emmett and Jasper were there to remove me to another room if I wouldn't go quietly. for once her face smooth." I froze. Too risky. I would cooperate. I stood up automatically.I stared at her for a moment." I stared at her silently. As much as it is tearing us up. moving quickly. but I welcomed the pain. My throat burned. "I can't. "Edward. Alice was upset with me. and took my hands in hers. unbelieving. Did they ever take that hunting trip? Had they gone even once since we got home? I felt a stab of fear. and pressed me several feet backwards. your actions. killing Bella. blocking us from her view." I choked. "You are hurting Bella. her arms folded across her chest. "This has got to stop.well. I couldn't believe I had not been more mindful of this. when he was in front of me. away from Bella. "Edward. Esme moved to comfort Bella. try to calm me into a state of lethargy. had their limits. It was a fraction of what I deserved. What was she trying to do to me? Alice's eyes softened. I looked up. we don't know. I wasn't sure what she was getting at. alone. the pain not evident. Enough." I said angrily. Her thoughts were scattered. Alice had never even had to say a word. and Alice stood in front of me. Suddenly Jasper disappeared." she said quietly. The plan was for him to grab me. And then Alice was standing in front of me. "I mean that you have to stop." she shook her head. keep things calm. She probably saw it happening this way all along. "No kidding." she said slowly. She took a deep breath." Her face crumbled. my voice agonized. however. what you are going through. more than that thing inside of her. Alice was blocking her thoughts. The last planned hunting trip had been abruptly cancelled by Bella's unexpected scream. But Emmett and Jasper were under too much strain to keep me out effectively. "Right now." she said. I did not want any of them losing control around Bella. she thought. safe. Relished it. Thirst. even if it was just in a struggle with me. it wouldn't work. it is destroying you infinitely more. But then I caught the tenor of another thought from Jasper. "We all know. your words. and I saw their intentions. Carlisle was standing behind her in the shadows. Emmett and Jasper behind me. deliberately. And as I cast my mind around the room. Alice. Others in my family. but we understand. It was a foolish plan. thought Alice. and new tears began to pour out of her eyes. clear voice rang.. and then her mind came into focus. "I can't. with your face. But every time you show Bella what this is doing to you. Edward. I stared at her." a loud. She wanted to talk to me. You make . I looked down at her stonily. and I felt him standing behind me. "Let's go. I remembered how his eyes had glinted. I sat down in a chair. emptiness filling me. Thank you.

go too far from Bella. trust and hope. Jasper pulled in a sharp breath and stepped back. angry. The stress is too much for her." I was silent. and uncontrollable. And over all that I saw Bella's eyes. "Do you see. and stop making this even harder for Bella.her pain worse. something crucial and elemental to my control. the. letting my emotions speed me as they built and built. His face remained impassive. Her eyes were sparkling and alive. We are all filling our roles." Alice said gently. I tore the nearest tree out of the earth by its roots. assaulted by the unexpected force of my emotions. running across the airport. feeling the gentle whip of the wind on my face. I saw Rosalie." I whispered." "And Rosalie?" I said darkly. something dark. as I flew over the river and began to move through the forest. I let the waves of rage and anguish roll over me. I saw Carlisle's eyes. "But what do you want me to do?" I choked out.. I am. covered in violent purple marks. At Bella's request. orange and lilac enveloping us. unsuccessfully. and then at their pinnacle. I saw Jasper in the forest. do nothing. Alice's destroyed visions of the future. I saw Bella's stomach. pushing aside the calls of concern from the minds in the house at my departure. holding my eyes with her own. I felt something mounting inside me. unfathomable depths of liquid brown. telling me to stop. And your anger and revulsion towards the fetus. "At least in front of her. what this is doing to you. That is hurting her more than you can ever know." Alice said gently. "I can't just stand there. out the back so Bella would not see me. looking at me with love.. Alice grimaced. taking Bella's hand across the table. I could feel Emmett's hands holding my arms behind my back. into Rosalie's arms. you make her heart work even harder." Alice said firmly. The magnitude of it crushed me then. glinting back at me. I let myself run full out for a minute. confusion. and glanced briefly at Emmett. "That is your job right now. at another helpless tree. watching her future. Taking care of her. I got up and flew wordlessly from the room." My throat seemed to constrict with pain and sadness." "You can. I let the emotions out of me in a way I couldn't in the confines of the house. It is crushing Bella. and say nothing. and threw it with all my force. but I did not see them. would not. looking up at me under an arch of flowers. They fell to the . Red and tired. let them have their way with me. I never wanted to be far from Bella. Edward?" Did I see? I looked into Alice's eyes. "the baby that she loves. Loving her. And a ghost of the past shimmered then. And I knew I had to get out of there. "You need to do your part too. I could hear Alice's voice in my head. those same eyes. Emmett and Jasper are doing research. watching it hurt and kill her. sadness and loss. Esme holding a newborn infant. "Rosalie is helping in her own way. Bella's eyes when I told her that I couldn't love the thing inside her. overflowing with tears. in the bright lights of the office. Carlisle is worrying about the medical side of things." "But I have to help her. Instead. Bella. standing up. "Then help her by supporting her. I forced my feet to stop. her face smug. the sweet smell of freesia. I felt something deep inside break. relishing the release of my muscles. fight in his eyes." Alice paused briefly. I could not.

Why had this happened? I would not find the answer to that question out here. And those ties were strong.the fear. I unearthed another small tree. but to my whole family. and that was making her even sicker. and some of the night sky and stars were visible between the trees. The infinite desperation of the situation remained. and my hand whipped out and pulled off the hood. in the way she held her body. pressing in the tree next to it. For someone with Bella's depth of compassion.ground with an echoing smash. I needed to stop showing my overwhelming emotions. was destroying them as well as myself. smashing into the far wall. I knew Alice was right. I unwrapped my arms from the tree trunk and lay down on my back on the forest floor. hoping for peace. I had seen it in her eyes. to help her. on Bella's future. Several more followed after that one. crushing through it with my fingers until my hands were fists filled with the crumbled remains of wood. drove me up and back towards the house. she could not see the hurt in others without hurting herself. feeling release in the violent expulsion of air from my lungs. Perhaps there was no answer. Rosalie's convertible M3. the disappointment. I looked at the stars. I knew they loved me. throwing it down in front of me. and it creaked over slowly. My destructive outburst had created a small opening in the ceiling of the forest. and I watched with her for a minute. "Why?" I shouted. without a second thought. Her forehead was creased. the anger. The depths of my anguish was hurting Bella. The future I had seen when I looked in her eyes under the arch that day was beyond my grasp now. And then. and became still. she tied herself not only to me. When Bella decided to spend her life with me. halting its movement. the overwhelming need to see her. without thinking. a gentle giant of the forest. Bella was still sick. I walked up and stood in front of her for a moment. I went over the river and around the back. My family had put their entire lives on hold. Then I wrapped my arms around it. So. They loved Bella. sharing her pain. pressing in several inches as the metal groaned. Bella. but not salvation. I also thought about my family. and then I clenched and tore it out. she looked up at me. hopefully saving it for another generation. but all I could see was the dueling visions of Bella's eyes that filled my mind. and get under control. Finally. and a hint of red flashed at me. in the color of her face. I lay my forehead against the bark. as the desperate shock of the surrounding wildlife vibrated through me. I moved swiftly. I looked up. My anger now released. I shuddered with satisfaction. where it met my foot and flew through the air. my hands lashing out to clutch. It was still my fault. Finally. the image of my three siblings standing in front of me in the dining room burning in my mind. As I moved past the garage. Alice was sitting on the stair by the door at the back. There was escape in the physical release of my emotions. her elbows on her knees and her chin resting on her fists. I noticed someone had left the garage door open. still in pain. It caused her too much stress. I threw it aside and with both hands I pushed against a large trunk. The visions were blurry and unreadable. warm and alive. She was waiting for me. When I reached the house. Her favorite. . creating an ache in her head. My fingers gripped the metal of the engine. as always. I knew that Bella's pain. for a few minutes. tear and fling anything within reach. flickering beacons on endless black. as she concentrated. to feel her under my hands. I sighed. I just let myself feel . I could think about what Alice had said. her uncertain future.

heading back into the house." I said. She gave me a small smile and reached up to take my hand. She was wearing an oversized shirt. and. even though it was something he had never imagined." "You are under a lot of strain too. I was still burning." "No. and Rosalie was brushing her long hair." Her voice was low." She showed me a vision of the two of us. "Your fate is tied too tightly to Bella's. as long as there was still a chance. and then followed after her. and I ignored her. "Edward. frowning." he said. Alice?" I whispered." I sighed. "I don't need my vision to see that this birth is going to happen. "You know I love you. "Not really. controlling my anguish. her eyes wary." I muttered. dark head." "Still. We were silent for a moment. Hearing his thoughts in that moment. He was almost as distressed as I was. Inside. eyes intent on mine. And I want to see Rosalie's face when she finds out what you did to her car. I was resolved to follow Alice's orders. Edward. Carlisle. never stop looking for a way to change things. I shouldn't have gotten angry. one of mine. trying to make my eyes match my expression. Bella looked up at me. You cannot change Bella's mind. urgent now." he said. Edwards back." I reminded him. Alice frowned. I patted her soft. It still stretched tight over her stomach. Her eyes glowed up at me. I smiled at her. looking at Bella." I shook my head slowly back and forth. and kissed me on the cheek. a small smile on her face." She sighed. Alice sighed. Carlisle. Her touch was like an electric shock. I thought. outwardly. and needed to be stopped. "Think about it. Alice stood up. You cannot stop this. I started to walk into the room when Carlisle stopped me. All in good time. and placed her hands on my shoulders. I had to try to hide how this was destroying me." her voice was confident. "I will try to do better. I know you can do this. I should never have raised my voice like that. about causing Bella stress." she said. I squeezed his shoulder and went towards Bella. I would do better by Bella. "You were right. It is hard to see very far." I said. she thought. "Hey there. Rosalie's mind was filled with glowering suspicion about the sounds from the garage."You are right. His face was anxious." She jumped lightly up. Esme thought in relief at the sounds of my entrance. I realized how much Carlisle blamed himself for what was happening. "But Edward. I saw that you would come back after you left." She smiled and twirled around. You've shown. Inside. But in my dead heart. Give Bella what she needs from you. It looked like she had taken a shower. "I know what a terrible strain you are under. I saw that you wouldn't leave Bella to come to talk with me if I didn't bring Emmett and Jasper. "Can you see my future. Edward. "I owe you an apology. I was still fighting." She nodded. talking as we were now. . She was sitting up on the couch. I went back through the dining room and stood for a moment in the doorway. "Hmm. I was hurting Bella. He felt responsible for not warning us that this was a possibility. "time and time again that you are the strongest of us all. "I love you too. I knew I would never stop fighting to save Bella from this. Alice.

My family tried to keep up the veil of normalcy during the day. always there. Edward. as the morning light began to creep in. my arms around her. As the hours passed. face to face. Something that might be able to change her mind. I don't know how to help her. checking Bella by sight and sound. Bella was dying. Her body occasionally shook with silent sobs. casting a pale gray hue around the room." I whispered. Chapter 8—Visitor For beings like me. for Bella's sake. She was gently smoothing the hair around Bella's face. despised it.of course. her hands in tight fists. well. Jacob. her hand stroking along Bella's soft skin again and again. Alice lay next to Bella on the bed. But. Bella lay asleep. it seemed that no amount of denial of the needed resources for health and life could bring us to an untimely death. he might have the power to change what was to come. She loved and connected with him in a way even I still didn't fully understand. looking out the window. Esme was sitting with her back against the far wall. But I knew that even she could now see the severity of it. then I had another favor to ask him. curled up in a small ball with her head buried in her knees. But as I watched Bella in pain. And if he couldn't. while she slept. where I couldn't. and at first I tried to force it back out. uninvited. It had been relentless in its pursuit. His thoughts were scattered and futile. Carlisle entered the room. Perhaps. She continually insisted that everything was OK. heard her cries. and reflecting against the pale prism of her skin. Because she was dying. whose bodies and lives are but a fragile shadow of ours. the idea gained strength. immortal and strong. and come quickly. Instead. accentuating the shadows of the protruding bones. although pain still danced in her eyes. watching her. But not by the violent death we had all feared. she sucked in her breath and bent over. and slowly drifted away. It crawled in. Bella was simply going to die of thirst and hunger. It touched Bella's face. She would not voice her concerns aloud. She stood. I kissed her gently on her lips. dropping down to my knees. "Bella. even having the gall to suggest Bella's nausea and vomiting were "normal". feeling the jolt current that always ran between us. Rosalie was worried as well. began to expand and work its way into my every thought. The creature had taken and taken until Bella had nothing left to give. She lay down and I knelt beside her. we let the misery and hopelessness take us. I'm sorry. the love was still there. She squeezed my hand and I stroked her hair until her face relaxed. an idea began to grow in my head. Change the future. But for others. I'm failing her. Something that might provide a spark of hope. The pain in Alice's face was not from the ache in her head. and now its success was shockingly complete. he thought without looking at me. that point will come. I stood at the foot of the bed. I hated it. curled up on her side facing the center of the bed. and if I wasn't able to save Bella. and yet appreciated it at the same time. I wasn't sure how yet. It seemed there was no reprieve from the pain. Suddenly. He might be able to get through to her. The house was grimly quiet. He stood quietly next to me. Someone. She closed her eyes. My mind was quietly working. . her face tightening.

You're measuring 24 centimeters right now. Yes. tightening my throat till I couldn't breath. been accompanied by a slight diminishment of the pain. Emmett had been assigned by Rosalie the job of repairing the car I had destroyed the other day. For they held perfect understanding of what Carlisle was not saying aloud." His voice dropped to a rough whisper. Carlisle sighed and went over to Esme. and to feel the exquisite velvet of her skin. which she choked down unhappily. Carlisle was beginning to hypothesize. Wrapping an arm around her waist. In an odd sort of irony this pallor of death had. But Rosalie continued to refuse to allow Carlisle any needles or tests. I reached one hand forward and grasped the wrought iron of the bed frame. To keep my emotions in check. Rosalie . He was covered in grease. and it was mid-morning before she got out of bed. he lifted her up and drew her into his arms. I was overcome by a constant sickness. "There will be nothing else I can do for you. My hand ached to touch her. Alice scrounged around for something that would fit over Bella's distended frame." Carlisle had said. as I recalled yesterday's confrontation on the subject. twisting and heaving. my knowledge of existence." Bella glanced at me. but reached up to clench at my stomach. I watched her sleeping face now. my limbs and head. let me try to help you. and had a very disgruntled expression. filling that small promise to myself not to make things harder for Bella. My eyes flickered to Rosalie." Bella had looked miserably down at her hands. She leaned against him as he led her from the room. kissing her forehead. "Please Bella. hidden. the back door flew open and Emmett stomped in. With a loud bang. her eyes said. I settled Bella onto the couch. my chest. leaving me blind and deaf to everything but Bella. "I don't think you should let them do it. willing it to be still. and I felt a rush of anger. and without her guidance it was taking him a good long time. The decision had been put off another day. and our eyes had met briefly. After a typical protest. I was chilled by what I saw. Bella idly flipped the TV channels while we all stared at the screen. over you. "It gives them too much control. silently. that Bella's weakness was also finally now weakening the thing inside her. Dying. I clenched my hand into a fist." Their eyes met for a long moment." Rosalie had said to Bella. At the sight of him. fighting the rage and misery." – she placed a hand on Bella's swollen stomach – "and over him. Rosalie trailing me. We all put on our carefully guarded faces and began the morning routine. Bella had slept more soundly this night than any in the past several days. that mean's there is at least a week until the birth . "Please. Bella woke later than usual. I know. It was rooted deep inside me. as I was sure it would.I shook my head. at least. my fingers twitching unconsciously at my side in their desire to curve themselves around the contours of her face. as I fought to control my frustration with Rosalie. Bella let me carry her down the stairs. Rosalie encouraged Bella to drink a little water. It stripped away my senses. And it doesn't change a thing. she might be able to absorb it. Bella vomited every form of sustenance she ingested – Carlisle hoped that by feeding her intravenously. If you continue to gain at about 2 centimeters a day. Bella unsuccessfully stifled a giggle. I dreaded the moment it would come back up. Dying. "I don't know if you can last that long. Carlisle did want to help Bella by trying IV fluids and nutrition.

Edward. Rosalie could have.. Rose. Thanks a lot. Carlisle's eyes iced over. Rosalie's teeth snapped together." "I'm going to get the supplies." said Carlisle in a steady voice. of course. and turned quickly and went to the kitchen." Carlisle said flatly. in a slightly hysterical voice. "I said we were not going to do any sort of IV or needle." He swallowed hard. concerned about her Italian marble countertops. and he stared at her for a long moment. and marched up to stairs to his room. I would not have lifted a finger to stop her. But Emmett stood his ground. self. after a particularly loud crash. and I glanced ." he said in a low voice. "You know I love you. When we return.had stewed stubbornly the entire night after I came back from the forest about the noises in the garage. and finally in the morning had given in and asked Emmett to go outside and take a look.centered brat"." He was aware of my concerns about my family's thirst around Bella. Finally. the others should go hunting as well. he sighed and shrugged his shoulders apologetically. Emmett's eyes had widened. Rosalie demanded that Emmett go out and destroy my favorite car in retribution. "I will not respond to that comment. Finally. Finally.. Then. Alice and Jasper were doubled over." "She's kept down the water I gave her earlier. She even spent some energy berating Carlisle and Esme for "over-indulging" me all these years. As I watched her leave my eyes narrowed." he said. Esme had gone in to break up the fight. with Rosalie vacillating between attacking Emmett and cajoling him to do her bidding. and refused to give me the pleasure of getting her away from Bella's side. "For now." Rosalie said. even momentarily. "but not enough to destroy a perfectly good Aston Martin. and started to back away. shaking with silent laughter. he had thought when he surveyed the damage. since she must have seen a vision of it. and she strode after him into the kitchen to continue the argument. and raising a "spoiled. she started yelling at Alice for not stopping me. He had dragged his feet back into the house to let Rosalie know. "How do I even know what you might put in those IV lines?" Rosalie snapped. slamming the door shut. Rosalie. saying nothing except for the occasional "ow" and "hey". gone out to the garage and exacted her revenge herself. to see if we needed anything else for Bella. It was not long until Bella drifted back to sleep. rounder and more horrified than I had thought possible. woman. I never ceased to be amazed by the ugly sentiments that could come out of what many would consider a very beautiful mouth. "Esme and I are going to take a quick hunting trip. "Wait a minute. And then the expected tirade had started. I want to go to the hospital to pick up some more supplies – I need some things for the intravenous feeding. and Bella buried her face in her hands to cover up her smile. But she knew that." Rosalie caught up with him in the kitchen. Once she had called me every name possible. As he described the damage her mouth and eyes grew into large circles. An altercation ensued. "Damn. but. Carlisle came quietly to my side. Emmett just glared briefly at everyone now. "We are going to have to try it." said Rosalie quickly.

soon enough. looking confused. hand on her back. I caught myself with one arm. filled with worry. as I glanced up.. So. Esme was peering around him. Carlisle stood in the doorway to the kitchen. for the source of that hope. placing one hand against her heart. I feel great. She stood. It was still. Rosalie was still standing. or someone. a little too roughly in my panic. Bella's blurry future had abruptly disappeared. I found Alice's eyes again. to see if he could help me change Bella's mind. away from Rosalie. "What the hell are you doing to her?" Rosalie yelled. It was the news he had been waiting for. Check her. seething.down at Bella. I could feel the beats as I heard them. Which one is coming? She thought. Edward. Jacob was coming. she thought desperately. I'll just walk in. Jasper was with her now. for me. Suddenly I felt. and I'm sure it hadn't taken much for him to convince himself it had happened. Her face was stricken with horror. Emmett at her side now." she said. I frantically reached for Bella. and she was looking down with panic at Bella. I grabbed her shoulders and shook her. "Actually. I put the other hand against her stomach. Alice appeared at the top of the landing. Relief. If I could take this opportunity to talk to her. Something. "Edward. I wasn't exactly sure how he had come to that conclusion – but I had to guess he talked to Charlie.. furious. whether I wanted to be or not. Frightened. his eyes wary. Bella still hadn't moved. Regretfully. thought Alice. For it was a mind I could easily distinguish. I met Alice's eyes. but did not stir. Perhaps. "Hey. anywhere. A mind was swiftly approaching our home. maybe I could convince her to try the IV. Her eyes flew open. and. he thought Bella had been changed. and it was only another second before it came close enough for me to identify. see Sam's precious evidence for myself. A moment of silence fell. I didn't know yet. and then he would kill me for it. She nodded slowly. angling her body between Bella and I. I searched. A mind I was intimately familiar with.. I had wanted to see Jacob. I don't know what it means. and then challenge Edward to a duel." she gasped in a dry voice. struggling to get up and move towards me. for now.. "Are you OK. Rosalie pressed her back onto the couch. How quickly things had deteriorated. are you OK?" Bella said. in front of the couch. As it grew closer I picked my name out of its thoughts. from a distance. I cast my mind out as far as I could. was shrouding our future. Bella's eyes were trained on me. Alice?" he asked in a low voice. Realization had begun to grow on her. . So. now. or maybe even killed. Edward. Confused. in the kitchen doorway. I heard a sharp intake of breath from upstairs. but I see nothing. she was still asleep. cool and immediate. "Get your damn hands off her!" She flew across the room. washed through me. And how could he comprehend that. wrenching my hands from Bella shoulders and knocking me sideways off my knees. So now he was coming to confirm that I had as good as killed the girl he loved. a blistering mental wave of emotion. although I did not relax my grip. She looked and sounded fine. seething with anger and hate. She was all right. death would be a welcomed blessing.

" I muttered in a scarcely audible voice. It's not prudent. "What is it?" she whispered in a small voice. Kill her? I truly knew he could never do it. To threaten me was one thing." "Oh. The worst? No.. She looked at me wildly." She looked shocked. whether her heart beat or not. while Esme remained in the kitchen door. Ugh." I muttered. There would be no way to hide this from her. He's coming to kill me and then the rest of you. what was he going to do when he got here." said Bella. Who is it. as always. He would let her kill him first. Reeking vampires. And if he really believed Bella had been changed." Unexpectedly. "We shouldn't let him in the house. had acted rashly.. "What?" hissed Rosalie. Jasper's hands clenched into fists as he fought to control this unexpected onslaught of emotions. Not yet. I spoke in monotone. looking out. "Jacob." said Rosalie. There was an outburst of growls and hisses. Edward? Alice thought. Bella started and stared at her... but to make threats against my family was another.. "He is. Jacob would never kill Bella. I was shocked by how close to the truth her train of thought was. long before he raised a hand to destroy her. hand pressed against her mouth. Jacob had no idea of what the worst was. his anger is intense and unchecked. Bella had paled. let's meet him outside before he gets too close to the house. Still. "Damn mongrel. right now. I sighed. ." Bella gasped." "But Carlisle. Bella.When I'm finished with him. Leave it to Jacob. the ghost of the old jealousy clawed at me. "Shh. Stop it. He might tell Charlie. "He has heard that you are sick. "Was this your idea? Did you ask him to come here.. "Bella." I said in a quiet voice. Edward." she murmured. and he does not believe the story." "No way." "No!" Bella tried to cry. Let me talk to him. Carlisle and I joining together to gang up against her. Don't make this about you. Carlisle moved cautiously to a window. at the sight of her dawning smile. with an edge of frustration. He. Alice gave him a worried look. I thought. I had wished for Jacob to come. worried now. again. I thought. to help. "Jacob is coming. because of his distinct connection to Bella. intently now. "Jacob's coming.. Jasper grabbed Alice's hand and they flew down the stairs.. isn't he? That I'm a vampire now." Jasper pulled a sharp breath between his teeth. My family's reaction was not calm like mine. "He's here. and then a wide smile formed slowly on her face." whispered Carlisle." growled Emmett. I'll take as many of the rest of them as I can before they get me. no. as she saw the comprehension grow on my face. "He's just confused. Jasper. "I'm so glad." I said all this too low for Bella to hear. I sucked in a quick breath. "Jacob is coming here. whatever she looked like. "He's assuming the worst. in his immature impetuousness. "Come on." Her voice was raspy in her dry throat. to help you?" Her mind was filled with an absurd speculation of Jacob. he thought. He thinks I've killed Bella or turned her. to take things too far.upset. It came out has a harsh whisper. He will be here in two minutes.

I owed him the opportunity to learn the truth. I gave him a hard look. Everything about his body sang with health. Jacob." "Why not?" Bella asked. "I'm going to try to talk to him and ask him to leave. "It won't work. "I know he is your friend" – his mouth twitched slightly at the word – "but he cannot be involved in this. And my family moved automatically to defend its weakest member. Bella gasped in a quick breath. I tried to moved to help her but Rosalie shoved in front of me. regardless of what he feared he might find. lurching over her stomach to grasp her side with both hands. she suddenly seemed even worse. Rose. Jacob's mind registered chagrin and disappointment that it was not me. waiting for Bella's body to relax. "Here." Rosalie whispered in agreement as she quickly spread the blanket over Bella's body." suggested Emmett. Jasper and Emmett moving to the forward positions. thought Carlisle. "Are we keeping secrets from Jacob. strength and life. Adrenaline coursed through his blood. so I stood. please." "Yes. searching for a source of calm. And I didn't think anything would keep him from seeing Bella now. instinctively." said Jasper in a low voice. and the air around him was heavy with the scent of it. "We can tell him that she is too contagious for him to come close." I muttered. I knew his mood was being influenced by the angry emotions emanating from Jacob. It mixed unpleasantly with the noxious scent of werewolf that clung to him. my family's eyes all moved with concern to Bella. Jacob was far too relentless. stabbing reminder of how weak Bella's heart had grown over the last week. I stood up and started to move toward the door." At the sound of her voice. "I want to talk to him. they were still the enemy. "He is going to feel the same way about this as Edward. grabbing the blanket off the back of the couch and giving it to Rosalie. Edward. "Hello. yes. The assault on the senses was immediate. His heart thundered in his chest. and Bella's face blanched slightly in surprise." whispered Jasper. still dangerous. unhealthy sounds of Bella's body pierced through me. Bella gave him an incredulous look. I'll talk to him." Carlisle said in a grave voice." His voice had an angry edge to it I had never heard him use with Bella before. and he closed his eyes. unhealthy form. They circled around Bella in a defensive position. As Jacob's footsteps approached. "Come in." whispered Rosalie. Jacob was excited and angry. Although the relationship with the werewolves had grown during the events of the spring. although the cost to both us would probably be great. We can't let him see her stomach." "No. and an ingrained fear gripped their minds. before restarting at a quickened pace. maybe somehow. my hands in fists. "Let me talk to him. as I had learned first hand. helpless. too? What's the point?" Rosalie opened her mouth to protest but with a swift look at everyone in the room Bella spoke loudly. Stay. I felt myself collapse inward a little more. I heard her heart stutter and for one terrible moment stop. and served as a sudden. "Bella."I don't think he should be near you. Jacob pushed past Carlisle and entered the room." "Maybe you could give him a call. ." Carlisle whispered." Bella protested. I don't want him in this house or anywhere near you. Jacob. "Put the blanket on her to disguise her stomach. They took in her fragile. The chilling comparison to the weakened. Impossibly." I whispered. Plus. as Carlisle opened the front door.

thought Emmett." Bella said weakly to Jacob. I understood Jacob in a way my family did not. She coughed and gagged miserably as she threw up into it. "It's OK. and everything blurred out except Bella.. I could see that my attempts to hide my emotions from Bella had been in vain. God dammit. It was like torturing her – she was never going to keep it down. "Bella. You are upsetting her. hardly more than a breath exhaling. she still feels warm to me. standing between Jacob and Bella. Why did we keep trying? Damn Rosalie." I breathed quietly. Very sick. "It's fine. God. who grabbed a basin.Jacob scanned the room. and I pressed my face into the blanket to stop it. she thought. but Rosalie held out her hand to keep me away." Bella sighed. her lungs no longer fully expanding. How her breaths were shallow. . the dark circles under her eyes. I could almost hear her body dying. Rosalie fumed. She had thrown up most of the water she had drunk earlier. I fell down to my knees next to the couch. I thought.." Jacob whispered. And he could not even appreciate all of it. Edward." whispered Bella. which was still resting on my face. His burst of relief at her lingering humanity was fleeting as his sharp eyes forced him to take in Bella's physical presence. Pull yourself together. Bella pressed a soft hand. but looking at myself through his mind. and her warm angel's hand. But. noting her icy skin. But Rosalie got there first. So help me. But she moved out of the way. even to Jacob's sensitive ears. Nothing we did worked. as a wave of hopelessness engulfed me. pulling me under. But what Jacob saw was enough to freeze his heart with fear. "Rose. I did not take my eyes from Bella to meet his. to see what I knew with all my useless heart – that Jacob would never hurt Bella. Jacob didn't care about Rosalie. stopping to take in my face. They could not look past the werewolf in him. taking up a defensive position by Bella's head. like my senses allowed me to. and his thoughts filled with shock and fear. don't. moved to stroke my cheek now. She is sick. pulse beating faintly in its veins. against my cheek. If he as much lays a hand on her I will obliterate him. Stay the hell away from her. still wary. and then tear you to pieces. the individual cells screaming for nourishment. what's wrong. also. Not a lie. He knelt down beside her and took her hand. "Are you alright?" "I'm so glad you came to see me today. I heard Bella's heartbeat rise slightly in anxiety. I sensed Bella stiffen and glance at Rosalie. But I couldn't seem to drag my head up. His eyes slid down to Bella." Edward. her thin and fragile form. "Sorry about that. he thought. Her easy acknowledgement of her pending death cut like a knife. Jacob moved suddenly toward Bella. Jacob. He loved her too damn much. disgusting dog. snarled Emmett in his head. I did not fear Jacob – I knew he was in no danger of phasing now. She hissed. moving to intercept. Desolate pain and hopelessness was painted across my burning features. Filthy. clean. How her heart beat weak and uneven. Her warm. human scent. powerful and cold. He looked right past her. Edward. Another moan escaped my lips. A groan left me and I leaned my head against the couch. The sickness rose up inside me again. I thought.

I leapt to my feet. inescapable truth. What could possibly make this situation more dangerous? At least to Bella. Edward! But I was beyond it all now. Hearing these words. with wrenching clarity – Jacob's shimmering presence before me. most distinctly. It's not safe. Words alone could never suffice to fully explain this nightmare. the bloated stomach stretching out of her body. monstrous murderer! His cursed forecast of the future – it was all too devastatingly true now." He was loathed to trouble her. bruised and broken. Her warmth and scent lingered there. coming from him. It came back to me now. No. The unspoken communications of the werewolves among the trees." Bella whispered. She would tell Jacob by showing him. What did she want? She turned to Rose. thought Rosalie. and who had put it there."What is it. Visions of Bella. Killer! He had wordlessly shrieked." I snarled Chapter 9 —Judgement Jacob bristled at the angry edge to my voice. And. I moved my head off Bella and pressed it into the couch. Seth's young form. but my family did. "Help me up. "Outside. I don't want to imagine him inside her. Would she tell him? And what would she say? I didn't really care. dangerously close to phasing. I've got him. I pitied him momentarily for the moment of realization facing him. But she leaned over and gently began to help Bella stand up. as she started to rise. though they were a faint shadow of the real thing. I always knew he would kill her. as Jacob was suppressed finally by the Alpha command. Jacob's eyes took in what his mind was slow to acknowledge. I wrenched myself back to the present. Jacob's mind coursed with fury and disgust. "I'm answering your question. He cannot know this. "No!" whispered Jacob. I don't want to know that something I hate so much has taken root in the body I love. Edward. the hate filled accusations that had filled Jacob's thoughts. yet again. I lifted my head. protected behind mine. I will find a reason to rip his throat out. That probably was best. Pregnant. snarled Jasper in his head. Ahh. Jacob." Jacob pressed. I thought. his voice more insistent. I suddenly hated him for his knowledge of the raw. propelled by the sudden rage. jumping up off the floor. And not in front of Bella. her lips curling back over his teeth. Bella. when he had understood what was to pass between Bella and I on our honeymoon. I thought. a searching expression on her face. exposed to the threat. They watched as Bella met all their eyes. I still did not look up. impossible truth. The vision of her form assaulted his brain. and Bella's fragile body." Bella snapped. in my mind then. He's mine now. . until it grasped the cruel. Impossibly pregnant. Emmett and Jasper's calculated thoughts as they began to circle closer. Disgusting. With a cold certainty he realized what was sucking her life away. and a low growl escaped Jasper's lips. Rose. I had not laid eyes on Jacob since those terrible moments at the wedding. but we were going to have this conversation face to face. I always knew he would kill her. Do something. "Don't get up. This broke through my stupor of grief. killed. Sam. They all tensed. His mind then slowly made the connection between the pregnancy and the sickness. Damn him. He may be right. crushed.

Control this." Are you sure about this. "Patience isn't my specialty. and she stepped towards me. "And then come back. Jacob was considering my unprotected back. my anger at Jacob's earlier thoughts began to ebb away. I always knew he would kill her. pushing angrily towards him." Jacob growled. particularly against his kind of attack. holding me back. He continually underestimated the advantage my gift gave me. I had escaped up to this point the true measure of my actions. Finally. I tried to center myself. Bella. I had spent the last week cocooned in my family's love. But never blame. and I could feel her hand tremble against my arm. After all he's done to her. She was already gasping slightly. keeping my voice soft. For. Please rest." She held my eyes for a moment."Let's do this. He would do anything to see her happy. As we walked down the drive. Why had I gotten mad at him. It was the best I could do as far as a private conversation. Her gaze was so troubled. She had heard that. fear. He and Jasper's eyes were intent on my face. to give her what . and then turned and headed outside. Alice said warningly in my head. "Behave. he is still allowed to touch her. Jacob followed. I felt an overwhelming desire to kiss her. I needed to calm her down. No. Because it was judgment. Rosalie moved with her. As we walked." she said. She nodded and then slumped slightly. His would be the harshest judgement. Rosalie gripped her arm and helped her back onto the couch. Bella looked pointedly at Jacob. I swallowed back the biting anger and remorse brought on by those words. and then her expression softened. But I would still be able to hear my family's thoughts and watch Bella through their eyes. Jasper thought. I turned and looked at her worried eyes. all the more terrible because of the way he loved Bella. sorrow. We'll both be back in just a few minutes. "I just need to talk to him. if there's any trouble. Edward! Alice thought. not far enough that we couldn't be heard from the house – I didn't want to go that far from Bella – but enough of a distance that our words would be muffled and hard to follow. like me. exhaustion on her face. "No. why had his words stung. their minds filled with many things – compassion. About time. I sighed. Not unless I wanted him to. "I'm not ready for you to kill me yet. her hand grasping my arm. love. when he was merely thinking the simple truth I had been saying for days? And then I realized why his words had struck me so hard. draining out of me. Emmett thought. Jacob seethed. he could not kill me. I was headed some ways down the driveway. But Jacob was not afraid to lay blame where it belonged. We're ready. thought Emmett. man. Jasper right next to him. but Jacob's black fury at my touch on her face froze me." he said in an aggressive tone. Despite my constant self-hate." Edward. velvet warmth sparking against my cold skin. I nodded imperceptibly. he had never truly comprehended that he couldn't kill me. Edward. she was his whole world. I would not let Jacob's theatrics upset Bella. In all his fantasies about attacking me. "You'll have to have a little patience. rigid with fury about the proximity of the angry werewolf. And god. I reached out and stroked my hand once down her cheek. Or even hurt me really. Be careful. and I had heard many of them in his mind since we met." Bella gasped." I murmured gently. Jacob Black. I deserved his judgement. "Don't strain yourself." I whispered.

pain.she wanted." How often I had cursed my inability to read Bella's mind. for endangering her life. to keep her safe. what she was resolving. and I wanted to tear the expression from my face. My god. His eyes bore down on me. I wanted to scream. Agony rose up and gripped me now. and knew. anger and despair. die for the monster spawn. "My fault. to rip away the last vestiges of humanity it gave me. "Yet you understand after one second. and he made clear that my betrayal of the gift of her love was nothing more than the expected consequence of tainting her with my monstrous existence. . had I ever even told Bella I was sorry for destroying her life? Jacob watched my expression. God help me. beautiful." I looked up at him in blank astonishment. "You know her so well. agony searing through his mind. pure and good. I thought she was angry with me for putting her though this. No. It's so Bella. I'm sorry. and poisoned her. he thought. My fingers reached up. It was a poor excuse. "So why hasn't Carlisle done anything?" he snapped. Not until my family met us at the airport and she ran into Rosalie's arms. gifted. and sickness. not really. My mouth opened. my mind screamed. As if I could strip myself down. right. tense and irritated. And I couldn't hide it from Jacob. because I'd had more time to live with it. thinking it kept me from fully understanding her. I never imagined what she was really thinking. right? Get it out of her. Jeez. And because this isn't my fault. Don't pity me..I didn't see. I pressed my face against the dirt." I gasped into the ground. "How quickly you see. and then even a flash of shocked pity. "It's killing her. She wouldn't talk to me on the way home. violence. I thought. I thought she was frightened – that would be natural. undeservingly." Jacob shuffled his feet. with no such gift. "Yes. Because he had already lost her. Yes. And I had allowed her to be crushed by darkness. Rosalie's! And then I heard what Rosalie was thinking. and I hated it. Did he think I wouldn't have tried that? "She won't let us. I thought." I whispered. But Jacob didn't want my apologies. "He's a doctor. to flesh out his pain from mine. The weight of this judgment hit me hard. and death – all my fault. it's killing her. racked by the memories. and the weight of the words dragged me to the ground." I moaned. Because she wasn't his to lose. I couldn't get the words out. Of course." His face paled and twisted. I'm sorry. in his mind. hate. I had taken the girl we both loved. Not in time. I saw myself reflected in his mind. Either way. thought Jacob.. and I didn't have to hide it from Bella here. "She's dying. and bear clear the monster I really was. For they were different. whether it be by my hand. Not the helpless shell he saw before him. fragile flower. a mixture of hate.. and all the truth that went with it." I said softly." I paused. to my care. A precious. Jacob. seemed to understand Bella as if he could read her every thought. For my very existence provoked death. Bella. into the cold earth where by all that was natural and right my body should have been buried these long years past.. Again. dead and decayed. or the hand of that which I have wrought. "Yes." he choked out. Jacob tried to process the horror. I turned to face him. I was guilty. I didn't mean for this to happen. He wanted anger from me. but yes. Then Bella would have been safe from me. pressing against my skin.

She won't let you. meant them with every fiber of my being.. I looked into Jacob's face. if it came to it. "Not noble. "Did you ever notice that she's exactly as strong as a normal hundred-and-tenpound girl? How stupid are you vamps? Hold her down and knock her out with drugs." I sighed." I said. Yes. Well." I had written. I looked up and met his eyes. if Jacob had ever hurt Bella like I had. I was chilled by the certain realization of what the extent of my revenge would have been. "I never dreamed. and appalling. the near confrontation in the dining room. Jacob Black. the urge to murder coursing through him." I whispered my hollow excuse. and the truth of it was heavy." I murmured. again." I said quietly. the sadistic ones." "So take the blonde out first. unnamed stranger. I had meant those words." he said. How could we know that a human was able to conceive a child with one of us. "Rosalie doesn't look at it quite that way. owing him some sort of explanation. And maybe he was right." Jacob said. Your kind can be put back together. "I promise I will take care of her. Not when we might still save her. harsh judgement again." "Yes. I had thought. And instead. cannot hate me as much as I hate myself. "Carlisle would have. I remembered that day we had come home.. sentenced her to death. Jacob sneered in his head. "Even you. the succubus. Emmett would never let us.and Carlisle won't help me with Esme against it." Does the beauty queen want Bella to die so bad? "Maybe. "Killing me now doesn't save her. "They're out there. he thought. I had destroyed her. "Emmett and Esme are backing her up. a sarcastic edge to his voice. that Jacob understand. that he believe. "I didn't realize they had a special name for what you are. "Yes." Jacob interrupted me. I knew what I would have done. right? Turn her into a jigsaw and take care of Bella. Her bodyguard complicated things. You are right..." What." I replied." I almost laughed aloud. There's never been anything like Bella and I before. It was a simple statement of fact." "I wanted to. He was blessed that he couldn't." His words lashed out at me. knowing he could never comprehend my grief. what I had done was so much worse. But not yet. too noble? "No. ." I shook my head. "We didn't know.." I whispered. Noble was not the word for my behavior. If he had put her through this kind of physical agony."Just back up a second.. I suddenly realized that while I looked down at Tanya and Kate. I was suddenly reminded of the words in the note I had sent to Jacob with the wedding invitation. Yes. This was not an unknown.. "When the human should get ripped to shreds in the process. the incubus." "You should have left Bella with me. that I could love and protect Bella as well as he could." Wrong. Maybe even better. remembering with disgust some of the visions I had seen in Tanya and Kate's minds.. Jacob would get his revenge. Maybe he should have thought about all this before he knocked her up with the lifesucking monster. It had been important to me. I had done this to someone I loved.

or if it just came to me now in a moment of wild. Tell her she's going to die? I bet she knows that. She's known it all along. "Jacob. too. I thought. that he could help. Jacob was watching my wild expression. "She might listen to you. looking at her through Esme's eyes. "I did everything I could to keep her away from you. fear. It was the way he knew her. just like I wanted. "For her?" I tried. The difference. It feels like it. She was fundamentally changed. "I don't know. She thinks she's strong enough for this. parasite!" he sneered. Can vampires lose their minds? Could they? "Maybe. Anything she wants. "She can have puppies. You are part of her. I thought. not for me. "If it's a child she wants. but the greatest difference of all was his humanity. Jacob would never do anything for me. right in front of me. and horror.. the gulf between Jacob and I encompassed many things. and his mind rattled with mocking doubt."So what does?" he asked. For his heart beat. ever give her that baby. I tried to shake this off." he growled. No. That's what you wanted. What do you want me to do? Tell her she's stupid? She probably already knows that. "But that doesn't matter now. I didn't even know who I was any more. Ask for his help. she does know that. because she thinks I'm underestimating her. And then I saw it. I jumped to my feet. But now it seemed obvious." I said suddenly. an instinct." "Why would she?" Why? I wasn't really sure." I held his eyes. But my mind came sharply into focus. and she is part of you. because stress makes her more ill. and I felt the world spin out of control for a moment. desperate insanity. all the things he shared with her that I did not." Jacob regarded me skeptically. Yes. Jacob was here." "You know her. Jacob. I wasn't sure if the idea had been there the whole time. "The hell I do. Of course. She looked tense and worried. "I have to try to hide this in front of her. you have to do something for me. And I could never. She wanted a baby now. Simple. The realization overpowered me in a rush of uncertain excitement. Jacob's teeth snapped together. She has to listen to you!" "I can't tell her anything you haven't. She can have half a dozen babies." I had to rip the actual words from my throat. "Every single thing. I started to feel that small stir of hope I thought was lost. the bond forged between them. So she had to choose a different path. as the idea clarified and became solid. Incredulity spread slowly over his face. It was a feeling. And his body held the power to bring a child to life." I froze momentarily. She won't listen to me. I could hardly recognize the person I saw in Jacob's thoughts. Perhaps it was the way Bella related to Jacob." I mused.. It's too late. Blood ran in his veins. and the words caught in my throat for a moment." I thought of something tearing its way out of her body. and my mind just hadn't been able to embrace it." I spent so much time hiding how I felt these days. she had told me." I said. "I don't care about anything but keeping her alive." For a moment I concentrated only on Bella. she can have it. . if that's what it takes. and sick. "You can offer her what she wants. You connect to her on a level that I don't even understand.

.? Jacob thought. But the time for comfortable choices had long since past. What she would die to do. feeding her insanity – encouraging her. if she wanted. "What universe do you live in?" I struggled to answer him. My family was frustrated and confused. What is he saying. the words bitter on my tongue. her eyes burning with love and passion." "She loves you. shaking his head. I didn't – and that was how we had gotten to this place to begin with. This had to work. "Whichever. tangled with his body. rough. glowing. Oh god."But not this way. He spoke to Carlisle." Jacob's voice was soft." Jacob paused for a moment. "You have to make her see reason. telling him I was very upset. I heard Jasper's mind suddenly concerned with my emotional state. together. Protecting her. Jacob. when his long night of fantasies had seemed to almost morph into reality." "Don't you know her at all?" This remark grated against my already gaping wounds. I felt a sudden rush of hate and jealousy. waiting. I swallowed hard. He had always had the gift for realism in fantasy. Maybe she'd accept something less extreme." I said. "Not this thing that's sucking the life from her while I stand there helpless! Watching her sicken and waste away. protecting it." Jacob made a choked noise." I choked out. That's why I need you. his child growing inside her. and as he considered the idea the images from his mind bore through me painfully. muffled by distance as I'd hoped." My breath caught with the sudden vision of Bella's purple. unable to make out our conversation. Jacob. Whatever keeps her alive. Create another life with her. "I know. You know how she thinks. "Make Bella see sense?" Jacob asked finally. as he lay in the sleeping bag with Bella in his arms. These images began to shred at the last pieces of my sanity. if you need us. "I would have come to find you soon. You know her well enough to realize that. Seeing it hurting her." I explained how I had wanted to talk to him but didn't know how to reach him. Is he giving her up? Or does he think she won't mind being shared? I felt as though my chest had been cleaved open.. that he was able to imagine such a thing with the confidence that. And then new images. Make her see sense. trying to shake off the memories of the grueling night in the tent. Give her up? Shared? The concepts felt foreign and hideous in my mind." I said firmly. pregnant. Images of Bella. I saw Bella in his arms. No. He thought I was crazy. I was surprised that he could sense me so acutely from this distance. Bella will hate this idea! A small part of my mind screamed. Bella's life means nothing to her. It's going to take a lot of convincing." I hissed. She won't listen to me anymore. mottled stomach. Are you Ok? We are here. "She's ready to die to have a child. if you . "Not enough. I know. "I've been thinking of nothing but ways to save her since I realized what she was planning to do. with the knowledge that I had no such gifts to bring her. No. Emmett was prowling around the front door like a caged animal. He could provide her happiness and health. Jacob's child. "At least try. he thought. worried Carlisle. he could actually give that gift to her. "That's the craziest thing you've said yet. she sighed. Edward. Rosalie's always there. I could only stand on the outside of such a scene. and I froze in icy horror. maintaining my composure.

hadn't come today. But it's hard to leave her, even for a few minutes. Her condition...it changes so fast. The thing is growing. Swiftly. I can't be away from her now." "What is it?" Jacob asked suddenly. "None of us have any idea. But it is stronger than she is. Already." And Jacob could see it now, the monster, breaking Bella from the inside out. I wished I could crush the image, mirrored in my own mind, obliterate its existence. "Help me stop it," I whispered, pleading. "Help me stop this from happening." "How? By offering my stud services?" I let the crude term wash right through me, without reaction. "You're really sick. She'll never listen." "Try. There's nothing to lose now. How will it hurt?" It would hurt me, he thought. Haven't I taken enough rejection from Bella without this? Come on, Jacob. Couldn't he understand what this would cost me? "A little pain to save her? Is it such a high cost?" I pressed. "But it won't work," he insisted. "Maybe not. Maybe it will confuse her, though. Maybe she'll falter in her resolve. One moment of doubt is all I need." Show her that she can have a baby, a healthy, human child, and still live. "And then you pull the rug out from under the offer? 'Just kidding, Bella'?" he snapped. I felt cold, piercing pain at this sentiment. Because, I wasn't truly sure, even given the miracle that Bella might change her mind, and allow Carlisle to remove the creature, that she was healthy enough to survive human. And when she woke up after the endless pain, cold and frozen, childless forever, what would I be to her then? I would be the life-sucking monster, just like the one I had spawned, and she would hate me for it. No, I thought. We could do it. We could get it out and save her still human. And life would extend before her, human life, with all its endless options. I would give her that chance, that future, with Jacob. She'd had the choice before, and had chosen me. I would give her a second chance to change her mind. My life was forfeit now, either way. "If she wants a child, that's what she gets," I said. "I won't rescind." Jacob was doubtful, confused and angry. I should just kill him now, he thought. "Not now," I whispered. "Not yet. Right or wrong, it would destroy her. The moment Bella's heart stops beating" – I saw a vision of Bella's body, pale, heart still, warmth and light slowly fading from her skin, and a cold, dark knot formed inside me – "I will be begging for you to kill me." "You won't have to beg long," Jacob snarled. I almost smiled. Yes, I was sure I could rely on Jacob for that. Edward, called Alice in my head. Bella is getting more and more upset, please come back. OK. Time to finalize things. "I'm very much counting on that," I told Jacob. "Then we have a deal," Jacob said. I nodded and held out my hand. He grit his teeth and took it. "We have a deal," I agreed, and sealed my death with a handshake. I turned back toward the house, as Jacob followed. My footsteps were taking me swiftly back to Bella, and I sensed, as always, the desperate pull to be close to her. Even so, I had the sickening sensation that a small part of me was now emotionless and hollow, as though I had left that piece of myself, broken and lifeless, back at my conversation with Jacob. The space it used

to inhabit was now empty, devoid of emotion, of hope, of the power to exist. And it was not alone. I realized that these were the small parts of me that Bella had already been ripped away from, each time she cried out in pain, each time I knew I would not be able to save her, each time death, hovering, reminded me I was losing her. With cold clarity I remembered what it had felt like when I had left Bella, the wrenching, tearing emptiness that had consumed me as I stepped away from her in the forest. The black void of having lost her. And then, when I thought she had died... I drew in a sharp breath through my gritted teeth. I could only pray that Jacob would be true to his word when that time came. We entered the house, and I realized, as soon as I saw her face, that I would have to delve into that small part of myself, the empty part that had already lost her, if I were going to get through this. My true emotions could play no part in this, but would have to stay chained up, screaming in tortured protest, in the rest of my mind. Because if I let those emotions free, I would have to gather Bella into my arms, press her to my chest, and scream at Jacob that she was mine, always, and that he would never touch her, never have her. And I couldn't do that, because I had to give her this chance, this choice. I strode up to my family, ignoring their silent questions. "We're going to let Jacob and Bella speak privately," I said, my voice sounding as hollow as I felt. "Over my piles of ashes," Rosalie growled at me. What the hell are you pulling, Edward, she thought. I know you don't want her alone with that dog. So what's your real motive? I ignored her. I looked at Bella, trying to keep emotion off my face. "Bella," I said in an even voice. "Jacob wants to talk to you. Are you afraid to be alone with him?" Bella looked at me, confused, as if the thought of being worried about being alone with Jacob had never occurred to her. I felt a sharp pain in my chest, like the twisting of a knife. It was only me she could not be alone with. Bella looked at Rosalie. "Rose, it's fine. Jake's not going to hurt us. Go with Edward." "It might be a trick," Rosalie said in a soft, warning voice, looking from Bella to Jacob to me, trying to decipher what was going on. "I don't see how," said Bella. "Carlisle and I will always be in your sight, Rosalie," I snapped, struggling to keep a low voice as my façade began to crack. "We're the ones she is afraid of." And that is how you want it to be, Rosalie, isn't it, I thought bitterly. Bella's eyes filled with tears. "No," she whispered. "No, Edward. I'm not..." Oh, Bella. I shook my head, forcing my lips into something like a smile "I didn't mean it that way, Bella. I'm fine. Don't worry about me." She blinked her eyes, and the teardrops soaked her lashes, glimmering like diamonds. I wanted to reach out, and brush them away. I had to get out of here. "Everyone," I said, gesturing towards the door. "Please." I tried to keep pleading out of my voice, but I met Carlisle's eyes, asking him to trust me. The others were frozen, waiting now to see what Carlisle would do. OK, Edward, thought Carlisle hesitantly. Of course. We'll go. He went out the door and the others followed, except for Rosalie. Emmett hovered just outside the door, waiting. Rosalie stood, hesitant. She absolutely loathed leaving Bella at all,

especially with Jacob. But she was also worried about alienating Bella by outright disagreeing with her. "Rose," Bella said. "I want you to go." Rosalie made up her mind. You first, she thought, inclining her head stiffly towards the door. I turned and left. She followed behind after giving Jacob a long look. We all left in silence, circling around the house to the back yard. No one spoke as we positioned ourselves, standing apart. Rosalie and I stood facing each other, about 15 feet apart. Emmett stood by the river, facing away. Jasper also stood at the river, several feet away from him, his eyes on me, Alice by his side. Carlisle and Esme stood further down the river, clasping hands and speaking softly together, worried about me. I wanted to give Bella privacy for this conversation. I knew she would not want me listening, to words or thoughts, when she was alone with Jacob. I tried to drown out their conversation, concentrating on the rush of the water in the river, the cacophony of bird noises from the forest. It was hard, though, to concentrate on anything but Rosalie's screaming, suspicious thoughts. She was furious, standing with her arms crossed, fists clenched, anger and wariness in her eyes. She hated leaving Bella unattended, and she could not understand what I thought I might gain by bringing Jacob into the situation. It occurred to me, then, that both Rosalie and I had never been this far away from Bella, together, since we came home from the airport. I considered this, shifting slightly. "Forget about it, Edward," Emmett said calmly, without turning his head from the river. I had not heard my name in his thoughts, but apparently he had been more aware of me than I realized. He was thinking, now, that I might take this opportunity to make a move on Rosalie. I felt a burst of irritation with him. I was so sick of him backing Rosalie, although of course I understood. And I really had no intentions of getting into a pointless struggle with Rosalie. I was just considering if... Suddenly, Jasper's head snapped around towards the house. He's angry, Edward, he thought quickly. I focused in on Jacob as a low growl emanated from the house. Rosalie turned and started to move towards the house. Jasper and Emmett ran up the slope behind her. I took two long strides after Rosalie and gripped her arm. "No," I snapped. She shook me off. "He's angry, but not dangerous." She hissed at me, but stopped, arms crossed, several feet from the house, Emmett and Jasper right behind us. Inside, Jacob was infuriated. "If you think that imprinting could ever makes sense of this insanity..." He spit the words out a Bella. "Do you really think that just because I might someday imprint on some stranger it would make this right," he snapped, pointing at her stomach. "Tell me what the point was then, Bella! What was the point of me loving you? What was the point of you loving him? When you die, how is that ever right again? What's the point to all the pain? Mine, yours, his! You'll kill him too, not that I care about that." Jacob paused and sucked in a breath. My family was frozen, entranced, listening. "So what was the point of your twisted love story, in the end? If there is any sense, please show me, Bella, because I can't see it." "I don't know yet, Jake," Bella said, sighing. " But I just feel that this is all going somewhere good, hard to see as it is now. I guess you could call it faith."

"You're dying for nothing, Bella!" Jacob almost shouted. "Nothing!" Rosalie flinched, lurching towards the house, her body stiff with fury. I grabbed her arm again. She grasped my wrist and viciously twisted my hand off. Emmett's arm shot out and I shoved it away, but giving me a hard look he placed it gently on Rosalie's shoulder. "Let them talk, Rose," he whispered. I was a little surprised he had stepped in on my side of things, and the shock must have shown on my face when he looked at me. Damn you, Edward, he thought. I don't want her to die, either. I could feel the weight of it on him, of his divided loyalties, and felt a sudden slice of pain at our splintered relationship. "I'm not going to die," Bella said in a determined, angry voice. "I will keep my heart beating. I'm strong enough for that." "That's a loud of crap, Bella. You've been trying to keep up with the supernatural for too long. No normal person can do it. You're not strong enough." He took her face in his hands, gently cradling it. A piece of me seethed at his touch on her skin. I pulled myself away, irritated we were all listening. "Enough," I hissed at my family, motioning that we should all go back to the riverbank. We moved swiftly, resuming our former, tense poses. Faith. How could Bella see the existence of faith in all this? And yet, inexplicably, she did. Faith that what was inside her was not a monster, faith that she could withstand the pain, faith that I could save her with venom in the end. So much faith, and so much to be lost and ruined in its wake. I tried to let my mind loose again, ignoring the words between them, but then Bella suddenly gasped in pain. Everyone's head whipped around towards the house, and then quickly realized it was pain from the fetus. Carlisle moved a few steps towards the house, concern on his face. We waited as her breathing and heartbeat normalized, and then the others turned away, losing the strand of the conversation inside again to their own thoughts. But not me. Jacob had seen the bruises on her stomach, and his horror and pain echoed in the pit of my stomach. But also, I had sensed a change in the tenor of his thoughts. The marks on her stomach had made the threat suddenly, grotesquely real for Jacob. And desperation flowed thickly now through his thoughts. He would ask her. I gave up the pretense of not listening, concentrating now, giving myself over to her angel face through his eyes, still flushed from fading pain. "Bella," he said, his voice different, strained. "Bella, don't do this." "Jake," Bella protested. "What if this wasn't a one-shot deal? What if it wasn't all or nothing?" Jacob argued now, reasoning, trying. "Then you can start over. This didn't work out. Try again." Bella was confused. "And what difference would it make? I'm sure any baby..." "Yes," Jacob snapped. "Any kid of his would be the same." Bella looked even more confused. There's no point, Jacob thought. I will never be able to save her from herself. I've never been able to do that. "You think I should kill my baby and replace it with some generic substitute?" Bella was angry now. "Why would I want to have some stranger's baby?" "I didn't mean that," mumbled Jacob. "Not a stranger." "Then what are you saying?" Bella said. She didn't understand, and Jacob backed off now, unable to get the words out. I waited, unsure. "Not a stranger?" Bella suddenly murmured. "What exactly did Edward say to you?" "Nothing," said Jacob, too quickly. "He just thought you might listen to me."

"Not that. About trying again." "Nothing," Jacob said quietly, the rejection already starting to painfully filter into his heart. He looked down, tearing his and my eyes from her face. There was a long pause. Look up, damn you, I thought, desperate to see the expression on her face. "Wow," Bella whispered. "He really would do anything, wouldn't he?" She understood. Jacob was looking at her again, and her eyes were calm, a small smile playing on her face. She knows what I am offering, and she isn't going to think twice about it, Jacob thought, unsurprised but still stung. I knew that she wouldn't. Refused. She'd refused, of course. I felt it then, flowing through me, a cool feeling of release, spreading through my limbs. I named the feeling for what it was – relief. I gritted my teeth, disgusted with myself. Was I so unspeakably selfish that I was relieved that Bella would not agree to have a child with Jacob? Was I happier to accept the risk of death, just to keep her to myself? But it's always been that way, hasn't it, a small voice said in my head.You've always risked her life, to have her with you. No. I would not give up on the idea yet, even if she had refused this time. I would not give up on her. I looked at the river again. The rapids were high and rough. An endless cascade of water, coursing along the river bed, some of it banding together to form the main current, with splintering currents swirling and eddying in a kaleidoscope of directions, smashing into the bank and causing individual drops to arc through the air. Seeming chaos, and yet a multitude of things, the curve and placement of rocks, the shifting of the sand, the wind and the rain, all these things helped determine the ultimate path of the water as it flowed. A million different decisions by Bella and I, small and large, decisions of the heart and the mind, had led us here, to this point. Random and unexpected, and yet also determined. I heard Jacob's thoughts begin to move away, and I realized he had silently left the room. Damn, he could be quiet when he wanted. I thought I'd give Bella a couple minutes alone. As I waited impatiently, I realized that none of the rest of my family had noticed Jacob's departure. Bella was all alone, and I was the only one who realized. I froze, contemplating the opportunity suddenly handed to me. I kept my face blank as I considered. I might get a few moments alone, away from Rosalie's poisonous presence, with Bella. Was there anything I could do with those moments to help her? The time had long since past that I might consider taking Bella away. Maybe I could encourage her to consider Jacob's offer? I felt the tightening right away, in my chest and throat. I could hardly bear to see his hands on her face. Could I really speak the words aloud that would ask her to do so much more with him? Then, suddenly, another path occurred to me. Something I had nearly forgotten, in the events of Jacob's visit. Rosalie still had her eyes intent on me, tensed to move. I casually moved my head around, looking at the sky, then the river, glancing to the side slightly to catch Jasper's eye. He was still staring intently at me, and I held his eye for a moment. Did he understand? He did. I'll try to do my best, Edward, he thought. Alice blinked, surprise crossing her features as she saw a vision of our backyard, everyone still there except me. She eyed me curiously.

I waited. Slowly, so subtly that it would be impossible to notice unless you were looking for it, I felt the calm start to creep over me. I focused on my resolve, my anxiety, to keep the calm from washing up and pulling me under. I moved my eyes again so that I could watch both Rosalie and Emmett. As the calm slowly built in intensity, Rosalie's arms uncrossed and fell to her sides, her hands unclenching from fists. Emmett's shoulders relaxed, and he sighed contentedly. Finally, a peaceful look came over Rose's face, and as if she couldn't help it any longer, her eyes finally left me and she turned her head to look at Emmett. I moved. I flew with silence and speed that surprised even me. In a second I was at Bella's side, kneeling next to her. She started and her eyes opened wide at my sudden appearance. I grasped her hands in mine. "Bella," I said urgently. "Please, please let Carlisle help you. Let him try the IV." She watched me, shocked. Please trust me. "Carlisle loves you, he would never hurt you. He won't do anything you don't want. Don't listen to Rosalie. Please, please, do this for me. For me." The words tumbled out of me, the vital seconds alone with her spinning away quickly. And suddenly Rose was there, hands gripping the couch, snarling loudly. I continued to hold Bella's hand, looking into her eyes. Carlisle and the others appeared quickly. There was a long moment of silence, and Bella looked slowly around the room, looking first at Rosalie, and then Carlisle, and back to me. She sighed. "OK, Carlisle," she said quietly, eyes holding mine. "Bring on the needles." Chapter 10—Resentment Hate, jealousy, violence, despair – necessary to this existence, maybe, and yet, also, toxic stains on the fabric of life that binds us together. My conversation with Jacob left me feeling as if I had been gutted, my worst, desperate emotions ripped out in counterpart to his justified fury. But, in some odd way, there was also a feeling of release that flowed through my family from his visit. It was almost as if there was some relief in sharing the burden of the nightmare with someone else. We were no longer alone on our island of despair. It did not take long to get Bella set up with the IV. Rosalie had no choice but to go along, once Bella had made her decision, but she became much more supportive of the idea once Carlisle shared his theory that he thought the fetus was weakening as well. She and Bella touched and stroked Bella's stomach in concern, and shared a relieved smile next time the fetus kicked Bella so hard she gasped in pain. Bella was insistent that she did not want to be trapped upstairs in Carlisle's office or the bedroom, so I suggested we set up the bed in the family room. Jasper, Emmett and I quickly moved out all the furniture and brought down the bed. Bella was settled in comfortably while Carlisle set up the IV equipment and monitors, including a heart monitor - not really necessary, given our hearing and perfect recall, but it satisfied Carlisle's desire to be doing

something more. He also thought it would be helpful to have a running record that could be studied. Carlisle stood by Bella, her arm held gently in his hands. The idea of Carlisle inserting a needle into Bella's bloodstream had quickly cleared everyone out of the room except Carlisle, Rosalie and myself. "Bella," Carlisle said quietly. "You are very dehydrated, and so your veins have shrunk. I will do my best but it may take a couple of tries for me to get the needle into a vein. I'm sorry." Bella stiffened slightly, but then smiled at Carlisle. "Just do what you have to do, Carlisle, I'll be fine." Then she turned her face to me. "Distract me," Bella said, looking up at me with a slight smile on her face. "Okay," I said. Carlisle began to swab the back of Bella's hand with an alcohol wipe. I tried to think of some discussion topic that might take her mind off her hate of needles. "Do you want to talk about..." "No," Bella said, and reached up, twisting her fingers into my hair and pulling me close. I moved obligingly till my face was inches from hers. "Distract me, Edward," she whispered, her breath washing, hot and fragrant, over my face. My body moved before my mind did, and I pressed my lips to hers. Her mouth opened slightly, and she exhaled, the scent of her saturating my tongue, and coating down the back of my throat, leaving a trail of raking, burning flames. Her tongue grazed my lower lip, and, like a match against flint, desire erupted through me, hotter than even the burn in my throat. The two sensations, thirst and desire, snaked together, entwining me in the indescribable, consuming need I felt for Bella. I worked to rein myself in, to control the yearning that engulfed me, but my lips matched the urgent movements of hers. I felt Bella's body jerk slightly a couple times at Carlisle's attempts, and then relax as he was successful. When the needle penetrated Bella's vein, her scent blasted into the air around me, and my head swam with it. Her hand disentangled itself from my hair and moved slowly down, caressing my ear before lying, hot, against my neck. I made a small, blissful sound in the back of my throat. Oh, gag me, thought Rosalie in disgust. "Get a room," muttered Emmett upstairs, and Alice giggled. Carlisle cleared his throat. "All set, Bella," he said, a little too loudly. I felt Bella's lips smile against mine, and she pulled away. "Great job, Carlisle," she said, her gaze holding mine with a wide smile on her face. "I didn't feel a thing." I chuckled, trying to match her smile. But as she had pulled away, the happiness, the warmth that flowed into me at her touch had left as well, bound inextricably to her. It left me unable to fight back the cold emptiness.

"Do you think there is going to be any trouble with the wolves?" "I don't think so. to get some supplies for the IV. can you handle any issues with the IV while I'm gone? I nodded. who was lying with her eyes closed. he gestured to me and Rosalie to come over to the front door to talk. saying a quick goodbye and then disappearing quickly. "I guess I don't know. Edward. letting fresh air into the room." I snapped. Jasper disappeared upstairs. At least. wrapping his arms around her waist. As Bella worsened and worsened. "From what I saw in Jacob's mind. she thought scornfully. what about.Carlisle proceeded to hook up the IV. Then we will backtrack into town. the blurriness of her visions had expanded. Carlisle and Esme left about 5 minutes later. though. "Jacob didn't seem worried about it. you know." "Yah. "Edward. I searched Rosalie's mind carefully. and what it was doing to Bella. It was impossible to anticipate their reaction. hoping my education would make up for any lack of practical experience." said Jasper in a low voice. but. Edward. eyes flickering briefly over to Bella. Bella's scent was still extremely strong in the air. Once Carlisle had finished setting up." Emmett shrugged and went over to stand behind Rosalie. "Enough of them hate us. "I'll believe that when I see it!" He looked at me with his eyebrows raised. even when they thought that Bella had been changed." I muttered. and his young. I hadn't seen any concerns about it in Jacob's mind. "You know damn well. eager mind. He opened the door. though. I may call to have someone come and pick us up at the hospital. Jacob will tell them that Bella is still human. starting with a bag of fluids. breathing more comfortably. They have no reason to attack. Alice strained to watch every minute of her future.. I'm fine. tossing her hair as she looked away from me. Sam seemed to be in that frame of mind. and then we stood together by the front door. Carlisle looked carefully at me." Emmett snorted. and felt a rush of brotherly affection. "We haven't broken the treaty. and the pain of . I thought of Seth." I said. "It doesn't matter. She gave me a hard look. Emmett and Jasper came down to watch them go.." hissed Jasper. that they would jump at any chance to attack us. but she seemed to be very much in control of her thirst." "Not all of them. Edward. Alice quickly taking precedence in his thoughts. and we stood in the doorframe. Jacob would have to tell them about the fetus." Rosalie nodded and went back to Bella's side. it actually seemed like they were not going to act. "Esme and I are going to take that quick hunting trip. I looked at Bella with worried eyes. He also set up the other monitors." Emmett jerked his head in the direction of Bella's bulging midsection." I whispered. But as the fetus had grown.

frightened of what my face might show. but all I could see was Bella. her skin like the sheerest silk. and I knew I had failed in that promise as well. her face questioning. In my arms during the plane ride home from Volterra. and make it real again. Alive. so carefully. as I lay my head. uneven beating of Bella's heart from where she lay in the bed. The agony. and glowing. a precarious symbol of her humanity. my heart in her hands. I saw Bella in my memory. beating strong beneath my ear. Small and broken. hold the happiness. "About having his baby instead of this one. and health. so gently. just as she had looked when I found her in the ballet studio. unaware that she had woken up. And below that her pulsing heart. radiant across the table from me in the school cafeteria. not dying. like a gentle. and promise. I walked over to the window.watching them had become even more acute. the bliss. and suddenly all I could hear was the weak. Grass and flowers gently swaying. but eyes full of secrets. I was pierced. You must know that . Bella. But not sick. my body going stiff at the sight of her . brushing against her as she sat next to me. after being attacked by James. here in this place where she said she wanted to be with me. Like a dagger. Especially not because of me. I recalled the endless. wrenching nights in the hospital room. suddenly. I reached my hand up and pressed my fingers against the glass. reaching out so hesitantly. body soft and relenting.pale. Bella in bed in the blue room on Isle Esme. which might break at the slightest touch. watching over her as Renee slept restlessly nearby. "Edward. heartbeat weak. The steady beats in my memory faded away then. but eager. stretched over thin curving panes of fragile glass. I started. burning breeze." Bella said suddenly. "Why did you say that to Jacob today?" She asked. rushing with blood. and then it was gone. Her warmth and scent. her face smiling up at me. vowing I would never let anything like this happen again. hair dark against the white sheets. It was the precious sound that meant she was alive. But my eyes refocused on the present now. Sitting on the bed. "Yes. against her chest. and closed my eyes. enveloping our bodies. to stroke my mother's wedding ring in the black satin box. Bella in the meadow. The sun reflecting off my skin to dance in her eyes. so gently. in a different hospital bed. swirling around us. But I could feel the memory floating weightlessly through my fingers." I whispered. and real. Impossibly soft and warm. I turned and looked at Bella in the hospital bed. by an overwhelming feeling of loss. wishing I could grasp onto those moments. not turning to look at her. helpless. IV lines and monitors clinging to her body.

I felt sliced in a million dead pieces. I'm so sorry. "The one you have already given me. " She paused. her mind working in furious disbelief at the meaning of Bella's words." she said quietly. They were a little red rimmed." I paused." My chest was convulsing. "I'm sorry. "Live. and growing. I would give anything if I could. Not the parts you love. and I felt like I could drown in the soft. I clutched her hands. her voice hard. keeping my face up. inside me." she said. unmoving. and be with someone who can give you what you want. It was an impossible idea. "I'm sorry. I fell to one knee beside her. "You have it all wrong. And nothing you have helped create could be a monster either. to plead with her to go with Jacob. The part of you that is living. and sad. to run away. And it was all I had to offer her now. "Edward. but seeing my face Bella murmured to her that it was OK. I'm so sorry I did this to you. and her teeth ground together. her voice breaking slightly on my name. just live.I would never do that? And that idea – I think it hurt Jacob." I whispered." I stood for a long moment. intent. "The baby you imagine is not in there. I don't care about anything else. I want your baby. Her fingers curled around my chin." She touched her stomach. Finally. I wish I could." Bella was shaking her head back and forth. Please. She had refused." I choked out. I can't give you the baby that you want. Bella. but otherwise calm. and I stood . wrenching a breath between my teeth. to beg her to forgive me. But I never. as I simultaneously wanted to hold her. ever can. her brow furrowing. "You are not a monster. "Bella. She lay back against the pillow. She pulled a hand out of my grasp and set it on my chin. face paling. I didn't say anything." She held my eyes. I grasped Bella's hands in both of mine. I turned and strode quickly over to her. Let him give you the future you deserve. and she sighed. Of course she wouldn't do it. Bella sighed. "Edward. but the monstrous parts. my emotions splintering in all directions. looking very tired. Bella saw this thought in my eyes." "But Bella." I closed my eyes and pressed our clasped hands to my forehead. I don't want just a baby. brown waves of their depths. "Bella. and stay by my side. Her eyes looked down at mine." Bella's face flushed slightly. Rosalie started to get up. this one. a child you can love. "What if it is all the wrong parts of me. Be with Jacob. I just want you to live. the loss from my memories palpable against her skin. I never meant for you to think that. gently lifting my face up. Bella had never wanted to believe in the monster in me.

" said Rosalie sarcastically. "Rose. you know that's not true. "And what about you. And I didn't appreciate you butting in today. I raised her hand and pressed it against my lips. and she was still for a few moments. and I heard a low hiss escape her lips. staring at Emmett now. . Her eyes closed. "How do you think he" – she gestured back at me – "got away from me today? Didn't you realize why we were feeling so warm and fuzzy all of a sudden? Him!" Her arm shot out. you're going to stick up for him. You think that when you treat him like that. "And now here is your little shadow. I finally met her eyes. still clasping one of her hands. Rosalie hissed. incredulity on his face. Edward? Rosalie wheeled around." I whispered. I see you watching me all the time. "Leave him alone. Jasper had appeared silently at my side. I stood. I looked in surprise at Emmett. I don't think that helped. "I love you too. "You're not a monster. Em. Ouch. always lurking around. smacking Emmett in the chest and then whirling back to me. thought Emmett. Rose. "For god's sake. as Bella's breathing slowed and became even. Jasper. lowering her into sleep. Are you backing his side now?" Emmett looked at her in surprise." she said quietly. of course. and then lay it gently on her chest. What kind of jackass are you? You'd really agree to let that foul mutt put his paws all over her? I didn't look up. They were filled with angry taunting. "And what." I snarled quietly. "You really think she would give up this baby to spawn something from a dog?" Rosalie whispered aloud now. watching. "I'll say what I want. Rosalie. looking down at his feet. holding me back from throwing that dog out. How was I supposed to know he had such a twisted plan?" He looked back at me." she snapped. Emmett was still behind her. "I love you. with that look in your eye. he thought in horror." said Rosalie in an exasperated voice." I muttered. turning to look at him. Have you gone crazy. "You can go to hell. voice rough and thick with sleep. Rosalie's eyes were on me. always got your back. it doesn't hurt him?" she snarled. That's why you wanted Jacob to talk to her alone. trying to ignore her. Edward. "Rose. persisting in her attempts to infuriate me. now? After giving him the coldshoulder the past week. "Oh. Edward.up next to her. He didn't meet my eyes." he muttered." she breathed. her finger pointing at Jasper. no." "What do you mean?" asked Emmett. his eyes wide as he pieced together the meaning of the words.

"Don't take this out on Jasper. keeping her scared and distrustful of Edward and Carlisle. Alice was gliding down the stairs. The strain of the last week had been pushing everyone past their boundaries. and Jasper put a steadying hand on her shoulder. Emmett. Jazz?" Emmett said. Alice. her voice disbelieving. Screw off. Em." said Jasper. always trying to manipulate everything to go your way. I was surprised he would come back so soon." "Get the hell out of my head.. bloodsucker. You've got a problem. "Shh." said Alice. "You'll wake Bella. Unbelievable. and resentment. some long-held." snarled Emmett. "I'm so sick of you three and your god damn "gifts"." I said in a low voice. "We just. I wished he would try to calm everyone down. who suddenly looked abashed as he met Emmett's eyes. "How about the way Rosalie is manipulating Bella." said Rosalie. She took a step towards Rosalie. he thought. Suddenly. watching the scene. she thought. Jasper. "Stay out of it." hissed Jasper. I heard my name being mentally called from a distance. feeling annoyed by the distraction. Comprehension spread over Emmett's face. Bella is supposed to be your best friend. It was a familiar mind. his voice low and cool. ." Alice pulled on my arm. and he glanced at Jasper. "I told you to stay out of my head Edward!" Emmett exploded. I wonder when he and Edward planned that out. thought Jacob.. "Don't talk to her like that. If you can hear me – circle the wagons. was rising insidiously among us now. her eyes hard.Carlisle and Esme aren't even gone 15 minutes and everyone is already at each other's throats. "Hmm. "I think your just jealous. but he seemed content to let it play out. always interfering. "You were screwing around with us. not you." She looked at Rosalie. "It wasn't something we planned. narrowing her eyes and folding her arms across her chest. thought Emmett. I turned my head towards it automatically. Edward. she called me. and we all moved away from Bella's bed. Don't think we don't see what you are doing. annoyance and hurt in his voice. it's jagged. his face angry and defensive. What could he want? Hey."Get your finger out of my face. But when she needed help. His body was stiff. Rose." I said. Me." "Manipulating?" Alice said. Alice. sharp edges threatening to tear us apart." Alice's face darkened and her hands clenched into small fists at her sides." snapped Emmett. Edward. Was that Seth? And Jacob as well.

He recalled edging quietly away from the pack. I thought.Bella's distorted body. growling and preparing to attack. all of you." I hissed. What could possibly have driven Jake to leave Sam's pack. but comforted by a vision of herself sitting calmly by Bella. Cut off. Sam's black eyes. "Jacob and Seth are coming. A strange mixture of thrilled fear and resolve. Her dark eyes looked up at me. How? Why? I wondered.I froze. I searched Jacob's mind. Jacob running through the woods. bound against his will to attack us. it's your fault. Not entirely alone. the woods leading up our house." "What's the problem?" asked Emmett. instead of explaining with words. Ephraim Black's son was not born to follow Levi Uley's. come out to meet them with me. I waited with mounting annoyance. low growls rumbling. Seth moving anxiously around him. dragging his feet behind Embry and Quil. What the hell did that mean? "Let me tell you something. Jacob was standing tall. annoyed. They both seemed to be in some sort of state of frenzied excitement. Edward. their fur bristling. starting with the most recent. thought Seth. And then he was running. Jacob was cringing away. And then Jacob was standing nose to nose with Sam.Seth said to Jacob. Looks like separate packs aren't linked. Attack us. which was howling in stunned amazement at Jacob's departure. Rosalie. If something happens. "Shut up. Jasper and I stepped onto the front porch as Jacob and Seth ran into view. Alice and Rosalie. seeing visions of the pack. "I'm not sure. piercing. spotting his brown form moving lithely through the trees ahead. Emmett and Jasper. our scent burning his wolf nose. And . an echoing silence in his head. "Jacob? Seth? What's going on?" I asked. some sort of danger. placing a hand gently on her forehead. can you sit with Bella while we see what this is about?" Alice nodded. Rosalie turned swiftly and went to Bella. separate from the pack." I said. glaring. A low oath escaped my lips. racing to catch up to Jake. "They'll be here in one minute. and Emmett. I looked back from the window to see the others staring at me. Jacob began running through his memories. I turned away from her. venom in her voice. defying Sam's alpha orders. And then Seth showed me Jacob. she thought. there is some problem with the pack. And suddenly. I knew those damn dogs would be a problem. feeling a growing anxiety. I tried to concentrate on Jacob's thoughts. but they were a jumble ." Alice started. flinching as Jasper's future disappeared. Get on with it.

my mind a haze of fury and disbelief.then Jake in front of Sam. My muscles locked down as rage coursed through my veins. Jacob listening to Sam strategize how to kill my family. Jacob. I flew off the porch in a blind fury. and damned her as well. came the powerful voice of the Alpha from Sam." My teeth snapped together. That was why Jacob and Seth were here. to destroy the thing inside her they deemed a threat. Their purpose could not possibly be more coldly different. You. I would shred them to pieces myself. thought Sam. What would compel Jacob to assert his Alpha superiority against all his previous wishes. I wished they were here. kill Bella. Seth's knee's bowing under the alpha command. Jasper remained motionless. Jazz – not them! The others. in front of me. asked Jacob. soft body to kill another. They . Emmett hissed softly. An abomination. To kill my wife. Monstrous. the mutated killing creature that I had created coming into this world any more than I did. dark and deadly. before they ever touched her." And we would destroy them. I could barely register the rest of Jacob's story. Bella's sacrifice is a heavy price. and my family. I realized Emmett and Jasper. his stomach pressed in obedience against the dirt. The world around me exploded in a storm of red fury. as the pack decided they had no choice but to kill the monster. "What's their problem?" Emmett snapped. Destroying the creature is our first priority. Rip apart her fragile. Unnatural. Coming here. That was what would drive them to leave their pack and home. misunderstanding. without killing Bella? They could not. "Em. Breaking Dawn Edward Point Of View (Part—3) Stephanie Meyers owns all things Twilight! Chapter 11—Strategy The pack is coming. his mind wary and hate-filled. his eyes locked on Jacob. "But they have their own plan to handle it. as I envisioned the wolf pack. "They want to kill Bella?" I snarled. are going to fight the Cullen's with us. As they damned it. Kill her in cold blood. were at my side. "The pack is coming." They did not want the abomination. How are you going to kill this creature. his eyes wheeling towards me. Anger blackened my view. But my feelings were born out of fear of the destruction it would wreak on Bella. cold rage in their minds as they moved to kill the threat." I hissed. especially Sam. "The same one as mine. They wanted to kill Bella.

And. was returning steadily and overtaking me. and the unknown threat to their family and lands. But already. pulling out his phone. Jacob and Seth exchanged a look. He did not want to give orders to Seth. crushing and destroying. tense. And in making this step. even as I clung to it. "Get the others. to have that feeling again. behind me in the very place I called home. were willing to inflict the very same damage on Bella I feared from the creature. if he wanted to fulfill his new role. unprotected." I'm on it. But nothing. Seth thought. they both thought. Jacob had taken on the role of Alpha. Despite the possible risk. without hesitation." I said. I would willingly. Inside I could hear Bella moving restlessly. It had been a strange high. throw myself in the path of a million dangers. still asleep. I don't think so. he . I'm going to go take a look."They aren't far. heartbeat stumbling weakly. "Call Carlisle!" God dammit. That seemed like a foolish risk. I swallowed hard. in an effort to save Bella. She coughed. feeling the rush from the anger and fury draining out of me. Jacob let him go. letting Seth go out alone. the hopelessness. covered in IV tubes and monitor wires. that Bella was in danger from an enemy that I knew I could destroy. Edward. A role that. a role I knew he did not want. They are separated. despite his birthright. he considered to be against his very nature. My voice felt hollow. in a perverse twist of fate. Jasper remained frozen. right now. however. changed the fact that I could not protect her from the danger that was relentlessly taking over her body." I said. thought Emmett. "He and Esme have to get back here now. alone. until it was decimated. Seth?" I asked. Jacob's mind flooded with uneasiness. nothing. He would need to learn to do this. They would tear her to shreds. he thought. leaking slowly from my empty core. on the small hospital bed. the jagged futility. "Will you be in danger. Run the Western perimeter. One I could wrap my hands around. and ultimately my family. why did this have to happen now. and she was safe again. For I would gladly save Bella from a thousand enemies. This thought caught me up short. when Carlisle and Esme were away.hated it for its very existence.

"This isn't the first time I've owed you my gratitude. Well. never really hoped – she would. Fine. thinking of my request earlier today." I whispered. this isn't the first time that I didn't do it for you. But. Be honest. and watching her through Rosalie's eyes inside." Yeah. had included my tacit awareness that I would also give Bella to him. Irritation flooded Alice's mind. "Right. there might be nothing I wouldn't accept. him a great deal more as a romantic rival for Bella. I could not deny that. "Jacob. pinned down now as I grappled with the reality that our last chance to halt Bella's slide towards death was proving useless. that he offer to bear Bella children. at the possible expense of his heart. nodding. he thought. My request of him to give himself to Bella. Jacob. And it allowed an opening for the thought I had been fighting against." I said softly. even given the destruction that might have caused to Jacob's life. the realization I did not want to allow in. and family. to give her his power to create life. "I know. The IV was not working. she did want the human life he could offer. She any better? His question. He didn't realize that I never would have asked that of him. was a cold blow against reality. I would have still asked. and feared. wouldn't do. Had Bella maybe agreed to have his child. if she changed her mind and decided that. "I suppose your right about that. "Worse. That listening to Bella's body... the future blank in her mind. I get it. permanently." You had to try. and soul. Ultimately. she thought. if still she remained with me.. either. would you mind switching forms? I want to know what is going on." I murmured. you would. cowardly. but stay with me. The price of this sacrifice was breathtaking – I was in awe that someone of his young years had the strength to take such steps in order to do what he knew was right. "I would never have asked this from you. friends. If I had ever thought that Jacob was capable of such a thing. Told you she wouldn't listen to me." I whispered. if it lead to Bella being saved. and the tentative hope behind it..had given up everything – home." . ultimately. I didn't answer. I would have respected. what is happening? Alice was standing on the porch. I knew she was getting progressively weaker.. Sorry I didn't do any good today. I never really believed – and. Edward.

Rosalie's thoughts screamed with hatred and fury. watching. Jacob and Seth disbanded from the pack to warn us. We would have time to discuss all this. I pressed my finger against my lips. and then stopped. scanning the woods. I'll kill them. doubting Jacob would follow. Edward?Jasper thought in alarm.. If I get too far for you to hear my head. motioning for them to be quiet." I said.. listen for my howl. I'll run the perimeter with Seth." Jasper said. Jasper and Emmett finally shifted their attention from Jacob. What the hell. ultimately. Inside. inside. this was my fight. While I was enormously grateful for what Jacob had done. Edward. The others were clustered close together. then would you be so kind as to tell me what's happening. as Jacob ran away." "We should take up a defensive position. I shook my head imperceptibly. and her vulnerability to the wolves. Edward. "I will.I shook my head. tops. He fought for her. already in silent conversation with Seth. hissing as she realized the obvious. and only. "Let's get inside. "Twenty minutes.. Where. and the invaluable warning he had provided us with." I said. "The pack thinks Bella's become a problem." Her teeth snapped together. Fine. Edward! Rosalie screamed in her mind. "Carlisle and Esme are on their way. I wanted to make sure Jacob was completely out of ear shot before we strategized how we were going to kill his brothers. when. They feel it's their duty to remove that danger. tense and expectant. They foresee potential danger from the." Emmett said. Our fight.." Remove it how? Alice thought. answer to this question. I sprang up the stairs and into the house. I nodded. When he had disappeared in the trees." Snap out of it and start talking. How dare they try to hurt Bella. and considering that this directly involved Bella. Alice flew into the house. my siblings were looking for me to take the lead. I walked slowly backward to the bottom of the stairs. "He needs to stay connected to Seth. just inside the door. Their heads swung towards me as I entered – they were waiting for me. . By killing Bella. Get the wolf out of here. Jacob said. he thought. Are they close? His thoughts were on Alice.from what she's carrying. how many. "Well. Jasper and Emmett backing up slowly toward the door. In Carlisle's absence. I can't see anything and you know it. anxious to talk to me.Creature? Monster?. she thought. as well as for Bella.

"They really want to kill Bella? They would actually kill her?" "Yes. Paul and Jared plan to kill Rosalie and me. dammit. leaving the house far behind." I snarled. She looked at me." Was she insane! She dared to say that to me? "The hell with you. "We will want to meet them in the woods. towards your own ends! And look where it got us. "They are planning to attack tonight. Collin. I glanced at Jasper. hear their minds coming. Obviously. "Sam's exact words. trying to formulate the best plan of action." Rosalie insisted. "Yes." snarled Emmett." "Did you get a good look at the pack's plans?" asked Jasper." – I paused – "and Esme. Seth and Leah were supposed to concentrate on Carlisle." I said. "Stop it. and your twisted ideas! Look what you've led us to!" "This isn't Edward's fault. then what's the plan?" said Emmett. Brady. Rosalie!" I snarled. away from the house. trying to will away Rosalie's existence. taking a deep breath." My mind was working. "were 'whoever has a clear line on the creature will take it'. my mind had captured each detail of the memories Jacob had shared with me. and then no way to keep it from the pack. taking out Bella. Quil and Embry. "Yes. as always. their strengths and weaknesses. "There was no way to keep it from Jacob. without Jacob now." Alice broke in. Edward. it is his fault. Rosalie. "Smash them to pieces. they are willing to kill her. "And the best way to kill them?" Emmett growled. in their eyes. "Jacob will howl if he hears the approach. Sam. And I will hear them. . And that requires. hoping for the element of surprise." "All right. I was going to end up killing her along with the wolves. "God damn you. His mind had been working through what he knew of the wolves. revolving. You put what you want over Bella's safety. "You let that dog into our house.Bella was part of our family now." "I'll break their necks." It was silent for a moment." Alice hissed. My god. I believe. they have lost that. and we would protect her. We will have a couple miles notice. They consider the unknown factor of what she is carrying enough of a risk to kill it before it ever sees the light of day." I hissed. "What about Bella?" Alice whispered. I felt a rush of bitter anger. As soon as I lowered my finger from my lips Rosalie was on me. Don't let him weasel out of it. will take on Emmett and Jasper. Jacob's mind moved swiftly away. She glared at me. Alice. this entire time." "Yes. As furious as I had been.

"However. "It gave them too much information about us. . A deadly secret." Emmett and Rosalie. What Jasper said was true. my family would be able to take down the pack. or even two to one. Before they had any reason to suspect they must hide their thoughts near me. It was a warning passed down among the Quiletes for generations. so many decades ago when we had first met the wolves. and then finish off the second. We can handle twice that. This was information I had gleaned from the mind of Ephraim Black. "They are at a disadvantage with more even numbers." I said. irritated." He glanced briefly at Alice. who knew this." I whispered." said Jasper in a hard voice. and Jasper gave me a hard look. Jasper exchanged a look with Emmett. and he would die for it. and then his lips flickered up at the edges with satisfaction. Quil and Embry. When the wolves come upon a lone. working together if there are two of them. "Easy to kill. I nodded." He clapped Jasper on the back. he thought." I said. "In more even numbers. Plus he will be looking for me. "Our venom is poisonous to them. "He will be the most powerful. But Jasper and Alice stared at me in shock." "Damn right. he drove the decision to kill Bella." "With pleasure. "They have more of a group mentality. "Are you sure?" I nodded." Jasper began slowly. and our individual strengths. we never should have let them see our practice fighting." "I will take Sam." agreed Emmett." hissed Jasper. "Incapacitate one. one they never would have wanted me to have." Emmett growled. kill the other." "And don't forget. especially in a one to one. I heard his high screams as the pack overtook him. even with that advantage they are really no match for us. bringing him down. "Are you sure you two can handle that?" I questioned. "Poisonous. a knowledge born through the painful loss of their ancestors. "You and me. He contemplated this for a moment. the most determined. "Emmett and I will take on their other four fighters – Paul." he said with certainty." As I spoke. Despite our anxiety." And I owed him death. Emmett snorted. and you know it. they must fight by dodging and distracting. and then looked around carefully at the rest of us. don't let them play games with you. with multiple small attacks. Ultimately. fight."Well. they attack as a pack. I thought of Jacob's memories of killing Laurent. man. leaping in an almost graceful unison to tear him down in one violent strike. "Easy." "If you are facing two. Jared. unsuspecting vampire. Edward. nodded.

you can't. "You will have no vision. but they are still dangerous. "I will fight. "We could avoid using venom on the smaller wolves. Quil." I muttered. and just incapacitate them." "Just try. They are murderers. Alice. "We could hurt them enough to take them out. "Are you kidding?" hissed Rosalie. although his thoughts reflected that he felt I was being foolishly soft hearted." he said in a flat voice. more experience fighters – Sam." "You're taking a risk. "We know from what happened to Jacob Black with the newborns that major broken bones take a while for them to heal. "They may be young. "Well. "They are coming here to kill Bella and the baby. Vampire. "Remember." Jasper sighed. Hey – something coming up fast. Her eyes flashed. My family looked at me in alarm. Carlisle can take Leah. it is his decision. I don't care how old they are. and Embry" – I paused for a moment – "and Leah as well. I thought for a moment about Brady and Colin – young." she said softly." I trailed off. Kill them all. "We can move Bella up to the 3rd floor when they attack. moving swiftly away but still in range. You will be blind. and then Jacob or Seth could return them to La Push." "No. Jasper's gaze was unrelenting. just children. He'll get them all killed. I relaxed – must be Carlisle and Esme – and shook my head at my family. And if they manage to get into the house the close quarters will definitely be to our advantage ." suggested Jasper." I said quietly." I looked around. I'll join you after I finish off Sam. Bet it's Carlisle. Jacob has never been past the 1st floor – it is completely unfamiliar territory to them." I snapped. "What about the others?" asked Emmett. "Sam is driving this.." "Yes. "Then maybe Alice can take Leah. said Seth. "I will kill Leah." Alice shook him off. Alice growled. "No. remembering.. I stiffened. her small body darting out from under his hand. She will fight to the death. registered alarm and I froze." I said. and you won't. Jacob's mind. waiting.I nodded." snapped Alice. Paul. thinking." "You don't understand the pack mentality.. Jared. "I don't want her fighting. younger even than Seth and felt a small flicker of doubt. "We will definitely need to kill the older." snarled Jasper. He reached out and grabbed Alice's shoulder." growled Jasper." said Emmett. There are a couple of younger ones.." "I can fight. though. I think.

"Go to sleep. Carlisle's thought were approaching swiftly." she said in a firm voice. Carlisle had his arm protectively . they will not have. "It's nothing. but I saw the conflict in their minds. Embry – her friends. and even considered a couple of them – Quil." said Alice. "We should close up the house. The metal groaned loudly." I paused. my eyes on Bella. What are we going to tell Bella? Bella knew almost everyone in the pack. a strength.– it gives them no space to move. Our heads turned in unison towards Bella as the same thought went simultaneously through 5 minds. with everything we have." I whispered. She placed a hand on Bella's forehead. we are coming. and then looked into the eyes of my family. "Go to sleep. to protect Bella. but it was too late. "We just don't want the light to wake you up in the morning. tonight." "You don't need to do that. but feel they must." sighed Bella. "What's going on. her voice a dry rasp. and Bella's eyes flew open. on the other hand. She suddenly reached up. "They will never get that far." My eyes inadvertently met Rosalie's for an instant. They do not want to kill Bella. Not now. all of us. but there will be misgivings. We waited a moment. Bella." growled Rosalie. Alice reached out and squeezed my hand. and a single thought of rare agreement passed between us." Bella's eyelids fluttered. How would we possibly tell her that these so-called friends were coming here. Just a few seconds later Carlisle and Esme arrived. leaning in close to her. sweetheart. "Don't go to trouble for me. pulling in a rough breath." I snarled. Edward. to dodge us." Jasper wrapped an arm around her shoulders." I hissed." I soothed her. to kill her? To destroy her. and then joined the others by the door. "Carlisle and Esme are close. our most vulnerable point. would fight to the death. and she fell back into an uneasy sleep. "Remember. And the thing inside her. "That gives us a power." she said." "Just let those flea-bags come." she whispered. Sam was determined in his course. they want to protect their land and families. "We. I nodded and moved swiftly to Bella's side. I hesitated. "No. pressing the keypad to close up the shutters against the back windows. I met Rose's eyes.

that's right. was cloaked in a blurry fog that held no glimpse of hope. what have you discussed?" I quickly ran through our plans. I'm not counting on it. holding her wrist. who knows. Alice's eyes raked over Bella's face. And I hope he doesn't get himself killed trying. his mind confirming my fear. Alice stepped next to me. translucent skin that covered the inside of Bella's wrist. She's so sick. I love her so much. "What about Jacob and Seth – will they fight against their friends. Her fingers rested on the thin. "I have to believe there will be a way to work this out. The blood rushed through the veins there. turning and bolting the door behind him. "I'm just sick over it." His eyes creased with worry. Not working. He nodded in agreement. She reached out and gently picked up Bella's arm with her hands. and gave her a quick examination. I am going to try feeding her intravenously. a way to prevent it. She saw portions of time with us in the house. "Still. She shuddered. He did not think this would work." I whispered. moving over towards Bella. "Jacob thinks he can. Yes." I turned away. "Oh Edward. noting how thin it was. The future was flickering in and out of focus in Alice's mind. taking in its soft fragility. as always. I was so upset when I heard. and placed her hand against her chest. drawing her into his arms. "Is there any chance of stopping Sam. Only an inhuman monster could want to hurt her. of trying to work it out?" he asked. and beat hard against Alice's skin. either. deliberately. and she paused briefly. "If he can intercept the pack and try to reason with them. Carlisle came with me. Who would want to kill her? Alice thought. Bella. she thought. Not better. And there were too many inhuman monsters in Bella's life. his eyes sad. He looked up and met my eyes. . He turned slowly and left to gather the necessary supplies. and then slowly. set Bella's arm down. A blast of thirst tore painfully down Alice's throat. Alice turned to me. "That's up to Jacob. It does not appear that she is absorbing the fluids." She glanced at Bella. so pale and shadowed. wrapping her small arms around my waist." "Shh. I'm scared.around Esme as he swung her quickly inside the house." His eyes met mine over Esme's head. his thoughts desperately disappointed. and then large chunks of time missing. burying her head in my chest. looking down at Bella. liquid heat. Esme was distraught. His face was white and strained. just in case. interfered somehow by the wolves. their family?" I sighed. "Yes." whispered Carlisle reassuringly." I said. Alice's hand slid down Bella's arm.

" "Nice to have toddlers guarding the fort. I cast around the forest. "At great personal sacrifice." Rosalie snapped. tense. I'm just jealous.I began to put my arms around her when suddenly a wolf howl cut through the night. Emmett touched my arm. "They've done us a great service tonight. "Go." "What does Jacob think?" Carlisle asked. Emmett behind me. quiet. I read Jacob's response. Jacob thought. I know. I threw my mind out. glancing at Jasper and Emmett." I said. I waved at Jacob in dismissal and moved back to Bella. Carlisle was checking the IV needle in Bella's hand. What the hell happened? "It was a false alarm." muttered Emmett. "Rosalie." I muttered. He appeared quickly. He watched me. She's waking up. Not with us forewarned. I thought. Bella's hand in his. when I got to her side." he said . "He's not as optimistic. ready. watching Carlisle change the bag of fluid for a bag of thick. Suddenly Bella moaned from the other room. Well. "Seth doesn't think Sam will attack now. uselessly. Edward. "Not yet. thought Carlisle. Jacob was still pacing in the front yard. I relaxed." I hissed. They disappeared." "Yeah. Wish I was out there. I stepped back. "Don't touch her! You'll wake her up. not among Jacob's small pack. Seth had howled when he learned that Jacob had agreed to kill me. Carlisle appeared by her side to disconnect the monitors. friendly or murderous. and he forgot we were listening for a signal. though. She's OK. I wondered what sort of demons haunted her dreams to cause her that kind of pain. listening for a wolf mind. watching the windows. Bella was still asleep." Carlisle said." I whispered in a low voice. Bella hardly talked in her sleep anymore. thought Rosalie in alarm. false alarm. He gently removed a long piece of tape. moving through the rooms." Bella's breathing was harsh and uneven. I moved to the dining room window next to Emmett and watched for Jacob. I searched his thoughts for new information. All in vain. The moan had been low. I quickly went to stand by the front door. "Seth was upset about something else. False alarm. by Bella." The IV began to drip. searching. ready to move her. following the course of the tubes into Bella's arms. Could they be that much worse than her reality? She moaned again and I shuddered. and yet layered with a kind of pain that pierced through me. He's very young. "Everything's OK. tense. There's nothing out there – you got that? I nodded. and lacking two members of the pack. I looked back sharply. I guess there was no hiding it. Emmett. white liquid. Rosalie and Alice stood. Carlisle sighed and straightened up slowly.

I would set her straight about that. Edward. "Not tonight." Bella's eyes flashed angrily. Jasper's restless movements through the house. "We've got other things to worry about. strange animal eyes that showed a human sort of pain. but I couldn't feel it anymore. "Jacob's gone now. And hated Sam for forcing this reality on her. do they." I paused. Might as well tell her. reading my expression. "Oh. He thought my eyes were burning. "Don't start with me. But Emmett. but set. I remembered her accusation. escaping. I looked out from a cold void. and the others could hear his approach. I hated to do this to her. taking in their strained expressions. as she choked slightly. they don't. I gently took her hand. Edward." "Jacob was here?" Bella whispered. her eyes wide open. that I was the one who put what I wanted above Bella's safety. I moved in to check her. I turned away.quietly." he said in a low voice. but that's all we're allowing. Back off. She was awake. They have decided to intervene." she snapped. Then she paused . "What is going on?" she asked slowly. "They do not want to allow it to be born." Jacob was drawing closer. but Rosalie pressed in ahead of me. she thought. struggling. She smoothed her hand against Bella's forehead." I said softly. I glanced for a moment at Rosalie." Her eyes widened and she placed a hand on her stomach. I watched for a few moments the spot where he had been. "They are worried that it presents a danger. We let you have your way earlier. appeared quickly in front of me. The atmosphere was tense. horror struck at the sight of Bella in the makeshift hospital bed. I looked down quickly. her eyes finally resting on the back windows." I muttered. "Bella. Bella's body jerked. I listened as he rose up and looked into the window. They were glowing wide in the night. where the silver metal shutters gleamed. love. she thought. Carlisle. "The wolf pack is concerned about what you are carrying. She looked back at me." And the wolf is right outside. Her face was irritated. You've done enough to hurt her today. a ringing space of hopelessness. even though they knew he was not a threat. "Patrolling the woods. My body went rigid. Jacob dropped down and ran away. moving my eyes to meet Jacob's. "Why is he patrolling the woods?" She looked around at everyone.

and despair. watching the woods. but he was already moving away. "Left his pack?" she choked out. But he just stayed still. The flames of thirst tore through the room like an angry fire fueled by a burst of oxygen. He reached up slowly and circled her wrists with his large hands. "We will protect you. worried about the IV. as if they could comfort Bella with a show of their physical presence. reaching to place a hand on her leg." Jasper said in a low. frozen. . placing her hands against his chest. from her. and I steadied myself for the attack. pausing suddenly." Bella's eyes grew wide with a new horror." I murmured. secured only with a couple pieces of tape now. For one long moment I thought he was going to throw her off. the IV needle ripping out. sprayed over Carlisle. however. He had drawn near. fresh and warm. and her skin paled to snow white. clutching her stomach with one hand. "Wait. Alice followed quickly behind him. holding Rosalie's wrists. "To attack us? To attack me? To kill my baby?" She flailed slightly. "What about Jake?" "Jake left his pack in order to come and warn us. It swung around. "My baby is in danger." she cried. intending to calm her." He stepped closer. How can they stop him from being born?" I watched her carefully as I responded. Carlisle grasped her wrist. trying to sit up. sensing intense fear. I've got to get out of here!" She jerked wildly. searing into mine in multiple bursts. Blood. eyes dark pools of thirst. "They are planning to come here. Emmett. "We won't let them near you. Rosalie stepped in front of him. afraid of hurting her. fervent voice. escape the only thought on his mind. Emmett drew up next to him. lurching his body violently backwards. Bella looked wildly around and adrenaline shot through her. Jasper let out a wild hiss and I whirled towards him. Bella. It traveled through each mind." "Come here to do what?" Bella whispered in a small voice. trying to gently press her down. let go of her arm. you are safe." said Jasper. tearing her skin slightly. and laced his thoughts with anxiety. as he imagined for a moment the taste of Bella's blood. Realization grew across her face. and Carlisle. and then throwing himself up the stairs.for a moment and stared at me. I put my hands against her shoulders." I said quietly. "I'm placing everyone in danger. "Bella. Her emotions were strong. stood two feet from Bella. with Seth too. half blinded. "And Seth too? Can Jake stop them? Send them back?" "I hope so. possibly tonight. "He's here. I don't understand. "How do you know this?" she said. I heard the thought edge itself into his mind.

"Oh. "I don't want anyone to die for me. and I fought to keep my face from betraying my emotions. her heart racing. no matter how hard they tried to beat it down." I whispered. Carlisle. tear streaked. but she threw me off. a dark golden glow slowly returning." she cried. I encircled her in my arms again. And now. . She was watching the spot where Jasper had been. either. "I'm OK. then." She lifted her head. and we will all be fine." I knelt down in front of her. Why did she value the life of so many except her own? Her precious life – the cherished focal point of my existence. "How can this be happening?" she sobbed." I said. It was brave. trying to wrap my arms around her. to see. guarded.I had never meant for Bella to live in such close proximity to my family. Her face was mottled. their reactions to the scent that now permeated throughout the house. "Oh.she threw away. no. the life I would see them all dead for to save . and this time she relaxed against me. and it very well may have saved us all. his voice strained. unable to leave. hands still over her face. Everyone is fighting because of me. His eyes met mine. even among those who loved her. "No. But they were not meant to live with a human. they did it willingly. It hurt them. I've ruined Jake and Seth's lives. burying her face in her hands." she sobbed. Rosalie and I exchanged concerned looks. not while she was human. to have Bella here among them constantly. Emmett's eyes seemed to warm." She shook violently as she cried. As I watched. "Bella. pale and shaking. Bella was sitting on the edge of the bed. day after day. my panicked eyes. Death never lingered far from Bella. and me. Carlisle's blood splattered clothes. unable to hunt. all of us thrust upon each other in an intimate way that was not meant to be. What they did. Bella. But I felt cold and stiff. She worried for the lives of the wolf pack. His mind was very still. no one is going to die. "I'm putting our family in danger. I'm good. She looked around wildly at Emmett's face. It had been one of the reasons I had encouraged Esme to set up the cottage. we all love you." Bella shook her head." he said. My family loved Bella. "I don't want them to die. clutching her arm. "But you will kill the wolf pack. and burst into tears." I felt my throat close with pain and frustration. the very monsters that came here to tear the life from her. trying to gently pry the hands from her face." she moaned. And it was very dangerous. "Bella. Edward. We are not in danger – nothing will ever touch you. "Jake and Seth love you.

broken sleep." muttered Emmett. It was as if the sorrow represented the last of her strength. finding out the reason for Seth's howl had been the arrival of his sister. Chapter 12—Nourishment It might have been better if it had been the pack "This is ridiculous!" bellowed Emmett. stopping to stare out windows and listen to the forest. slumping her body against mine. securing it firmly with several pieces of tape. "Dangerous." snarled Jasper. but did not wake. I watched Bella. Just so I could see her eyes. having discovered the reason for the latest warning howl had not been the pack approaching. annoyed by his jocularity. you idiot. and pulling us all in. blank eyes. I heard my family. No one approached. Then head to Denali. keep it in a strangle-hold and stop it from moving forward. Then. How far do you think they would bother to follow our trail?" Esme nodded. I listened to Carlisle. I looked back Emmett. We were alone. How many more times would I see them? I wished I could grab time with my hands. "Didn't anyone ever tell that kid about The Boy Who Cried Wolf?" He paused. pacing anxiously. her hand in mine. As dawn began to break. a wolf howl pierced through the still. silent morning air. tangible signs she was still with us. and Carlisle quickly fixed the IV. Tears poured out of her as she slowly weakened. I could only hold her tight in my arms.I had no words to tell her what her life meant to me. I growled at him. "She'll turn on us in a fight for sure. "Shut up. and she whimpered and cried in her sleep." I glanced over. He just heard a wolf coming. cracking up at his own unintended joke. it started to seem they were not coming. "Let's just get the hell out of Forks all together – head a few states over. but Leah come to join Jacob's small band. and I was beginning to wish she would wake up. "Seth didn't know it was Leah." "This is crazy. and hear her voice. I stood by her side. Bella started. and then burst out laughing." My family had gathered near the door again. while she watched him with large. The silent emptiness was a vortex. as his thoughts grew more and more desolate as Bella showed no improvement. as the hours drifted by. But Carlisle shook his head slowly. Bella is still sleeping. I think we should just get Bella out of here. I could hear neither mind nor body near us. And yet I was not comforted. gaining strength. . open and clear. as her body twitched. Eventually Bella fell into an uneasy. I lay her gently against the bed. spinning. listlessly draining out of her. liking this idea. She had actually been asleep for a long time. Small.

I could see that she was trying to lift her head up to look for me. She's strong." she hissed. "If it is doing anything. seeming to die in his throat." He moved quickly away from the group back over to Bella's side. turning and swiftly leaving the room. My head whipped around. she is not really in any condition to move. and Carlisle put a hand on my arm. Then he turned his head slowly to us. He walked towards us. "The IV didn't work. Rosalie?" I snapped. "She's deteriorated extremely rapidly. His face reflected his mind. "Stay. By the time I got there Rosalie had her sitting up and was pounding on her back. and she began to gag and choke. looking not at us but through the doorway to Bella on the bed in the next room. not at all?" asked Rosalie." whispered Bella. "Jesus. She might not even survive the day. Fear trickled down my spine like cold acid at the sight of how weak she was. examining her silently with his hands and mind." I murmured. Look at her. She was still struggling to lift her head forward." he said. I groaned. the effect is minimal. "I cannot even say. I could hear Jacob's mind drawing closer. frowning. "She will make it.. but couldn't. I eased her back down onto the bed when it seemed like she was done. "Jacob's here. I started towards the front door. And I have so much access to medical supplies and equipment here." . wiping her face gently with a cool cloth Esme had brought.. and she quickly coughed it up into the plastic container Rose was holding. if. "I know she can do it. "Edward. I went to join him. both gripped with horrified helplessness. She hadn't thrown up much." Rosalie glanced at Bella. She was awake. Suddenly. He didn't know how much more her body could take. modulating my strength carefully." I muttered. Carlisle put a hand on my shoulder. Carlisle shook his head. and I pressed my face into my fists." hissed Rosalie as I flew over." he said in a low voice. "Jacob is coming. by the end of today. when Carlisle suddenly turned around to face us. I could hear Jacob in the yard. Rosalie at my side. too hard in her panic. her body lurched slightly. and she vomited." These words brought on the sensation of being physically crushed. "She can't do it."No. but his mind continued the bleak thought. "I'll speak to Jacob. I shoved her hand away and patted Bella's fragile back gently." "Are you in a fantasy world. looking at the door." His voice trailed off. headed out to meet him. and taking both our arms swiftly led us into the dining room. I heard the flash of uncertainty in Rosalie's mind.

and then brushed my mouth along her forehead and cheeks. I thought. "Where's Jacob?" she asked. what Jacob had done? That he had been able to recognize the power within himself. outside with Carlisle. and I felt my chest clutch with anxiety. and Sam no longer had control over him. turning her head away from me slightly." I said. I kissed her lips. Jacob was remembering how it felt to be broken under Sam by the Alpha power. "OK. "How are you feeling now. I had been afraid she would wake up as upset as she had been last night." Bella murmured quietly. coughing again slightly. I know." she said with a small smile. almost afraid to let go. hopefully more than he did mine. moving to kiss her shoulder and up her arm to her hand. You may not see it." "Oh." she said. Bella was looking out the window now. the soft curve of her nose and mouth. "Oh. To have no choice but be involved in the murder of someone I love. at great sacrifice. he thought. What I would have given to read her thoughts at that moment. so that I could only see her profile. love. Her hand was limp in mine. Could she see. trying to smile. She was very pale. "Hi. he's here actually." I answered carefully. It had been my very own nature. leaning down. truly. "Edward. feeling the ache inside. "Uh." I whispered. "Yes. to fulfill his true destiny. taking her hand. "he was able to exert his birthright as Alpha. the fine edges of the eyelashes that framed her eyes. Outside. Jacob. "Good morning. how did Jacob leave his pack?" "Well. he inherited the full power of the Alpha. "So then Sam couldn't force him to kill me. sweetheart?" I said. I hoped Jacob would take Carlisle's words to heart. that had made me an unwilling participant in Bella's death. I sensed a certain respect for Carlisle from Jacob. an existence I didn't choose and could not change.I looked back at Bella. but calm. I held the back of her hand pressed against my lips for several seconds. Once he decided to do that. She looked around the room anxiously. and I was glad of it. I paused for a moment in surprise. ." She looked into my eyes." Carlisle was thanking Jacob for what he had done. in order to protect Bella from the very danger and death I had brought on her. Whereas I had not been able to change my murderous destiny." Her eyes strained towards the door with an obvious desire to see him. but I understand.

I couldn't even grant her what she wanted. She would not let us take it out of her. too. To sift through the memories together. while it remained in her body. unable to move. I can't stop it and I can't slow it down." Given the wolves. but the fetus as well – starve to death by the hour. "So do I. I knew this. "Yes. I lifted my head slightly. She nodded slowly. helplessly absorbing my excruciating emotions. It isn't enough for the monster to beat her from the inside out. Jasper appeared. and listen to her heart. I hate the thing inside her. thought Jacob. there would be no other place I would want to be than with Bella in the meadow. I was stricken. my hand frozen around hers." Jacob was angry. To hold her in my arms. To hear her speak it aloud made it even more profoundly real. it's starving her. as misguided as it seemed. The few small supports I had built to keep myself going. Outside. I can't figure out what it wants. perfectly still. with a tinge of melancholy. if these were my few."Edward. had meant something to me. still not looking at me. Death and blood. No." she said suddenly. if she hung on long enough? I wanted to ask her about these fears. we could not help her as she weakened and died. The world around me froze in a single beat of icy clarity at the meaning of her words. "Maybe another day. his face tight and pained. The silence around us was enormous. as her voice sunk through my empty haze. Rosalie was watching my expression with wide eyes. framed in the doorway to the dining room. I can tell them exactly what it wants. I had never realized that Bella's hope. and yet I was paralyzed with terror. to save her. Her voice was quiet. She realized there was absolutely nothing we could do to stop her decline. Probably just looking for something to sink its teeth into – a throat to suck dry. not looking at me." Bella said quietly. Could she feel it coming? Did she fear for the thing inside her? Or did she think it would survive her death. Bella had started to give up hope. "I'm watching her – and not just her. I knew this to the very center of my core. Because if I were to be extinguished. to hold myself together during these dark days. And she wanted to go to the meadow before she died. terrible. Her mind was chaotic. blood and death. listening. began to collapse with her words. remaining hours of existence. battling the dark seeds of worry and doubt trying to infiltrate it." I whispered. "I wish we could have visited the meadow again. Carlisle was still talking to Jacob. and wait for the darkness to take us. and she knew. . as senseless." I stared at her.

than Bella. much as Bella's body had. mortal. She had watched my changing expressions. And we could not help one without taking in the needs and desires of the other. the evidence we had seen with our own eyes as we watched Bella. and how to save her. my body sought it . instead reflecting the monstrous tendencies of my kind. human. going from deepest heartache to the ghost of hope. Rosalie. that their lives were inextricably connected. a tiny ember still burning deep inside the ruined. But if it helped? I had admitted I would do anything to save her. No. We had relentlessly tried to maintain Bella's health through human food and fluids. would you mind accompanying me?" . and yet.And in this moment. And I knew what my body's reaction would be if I had human nourishment forced on me. that was all we had offered. burnt out wreckage of life. I began to rise to go out to talk to Carlisle. What's going on. My teeth clenched as I realized there was no way to approach this without involving Rosalie. when I noticed Rosalie staring intently at me. Edward. But we knew this thing was closer to me. But it was because I hadn't wanted to think of it. A human that could actually smell blood.I was compelled to drink it. I knew I would do this as well. So did I. as if my obstinate ignorance of the creature could somehow will its existence away. The idea was impossible. and mortified at the thought of even suggesting it to her. Hope. She'd have to have her opinion too. But to ask that of Bella? Blood appealed to me . Bella. to accept. Buried in Jacob's hate-filled thoughts. if she tried to stand in my way this time. I want to speak with Carlisle for a moment. I had to at least try. I wondered how stupid I must be not to have seen it before. she thought. its father. "I'll be right back. It craved a wholly different kind of substance for strength.the price of never-ending existence. "Actually. was another matter. I was sickened. It could not subsist on the building blocks of human life. I had only wanted to think of Bella. The research we had done. It would reject it as forcefully as possible. Jacob knew what that was. I saw it. had indicated that what she carried was far from human." My eyes met Rosalie's. who was nauseated by its very scent. What I would do to her. and yet coldly obvious. I squeezed Bella's hand. But to help Bella I had to see. sources of life designed to be ingested by the body of a mortal. my body needed something else. But Bella. when I was sure it was forever gone.

. pleasant. calling Esme down to watch Bella." Yes! Rosalie thought. I explained my idea. "Pretty much. "What are you gonna do?" growled Jacob. realizing with distaste her sudden interest in Bella. thought Rosalie stubbornly.. I grimaced. I imagine he was probably right about that. she'll be willing to do anything. "But what if it helps her?" I said in a low voice." said Carlisle.." she said excitedly. Are you – are you talking about making Bella drink blood? That's just. But if I could find a way help her." "What a minute. "Just hold on. That was what I was to have forced her to this point. "If you tell her it might help the baby. "Nothing you need to worry about. Even if we do have to feed them through a tube. Rose?" I kept my eyes on Rosalie and breathed "It's important.. How to get it to the fetus? Carlisle wondered. "What is it. I'm not leaving her side with that mutt here. Edward?" Bella asked." "Monstrous?" I whispered. "I just wanted to run it past Carlisle first. "Shove a tube down her throat?" "I plan to ask her what she thinks. "Oh. Jacob following slowly behind.thirsty." said Rosalie. Her priorities were as obvious in her mind as . So much for protecting Bella – Rosalie'd probably jam the tube down Bella's throat herself. It will just take a second." Jacob glared at her. Please. How could I not have seen it? "You think it is." Rosalie was excited. "Repulsive?" For that was what it was to ask this of Bella. even if it was objectionable... "What would be the best way to administer . but – " Rosalie interrupted.." I said coolly. We turned and moved quickly into the house.. I couldn't undo the damage the monster in me had wrought.No. "But it will help the baby. love. Edward." "We don't have time to be creative. Is Rosalie after the kid? Without looking at him I nodded slightly." hissed Jacob. "It won't be. "What's going on?" Bella asked immediately... she huffed. "I'd say we should start the traditional way." said Carlisle. Carlisle and Jacob were waiting for us on the porch. expectant. Fascinating thought. "Jacob had an idea that might help you. My fists clenched –I wanted to send her flying into the wall. Jacob bristled." he snapped. Jacob was annoyed – he didn't want credit." Fine. She placed a hand protectively on Bella's cheek. She hissed with excitement.

Bella gasped slightly. I had done this to Bella. pouring blood from a bag into a glass. thought Rosalie irritably." Carlisle said. "Not pleasant?" she whispered. right?" She tried to smile at me." she said slowly." Carlisle said aloud. who's going to catch me a grizzly bear?" asked Bella quietly. her lips pulling back in an echo of her natural expression." Bella laughed weakly. "We think the fetus might have an appetite closer to ours than to yours. Edward." Why put it in any other terms but the truth? "Repulsive. My first vampire act. "it's not craving animal blood." I said in a rough voice." Bella whispered in a rough voice. come on then. anxious for Bella to agree. I hadn't even thought that she might misunderstand and think we meant animal blood. "Gosh." Edward. The blood in the vision was a disconcerting shade of red through the clear glass. Practice for the future." Her eyes looked at the tube in her arm. I stepped closer and took her hand. as the rest of my family paused to listen." Bella's eyes widened slightly. "Oh. Bella is going to agree to try it. "How bad?" Tone it down. Future. The fastest way to test the theory-" "I've got to drink it. Carlisle thought. "We don't have time to waste.. "I can do that. we're going to ask you to do something. Of course. She flashed me a vision of Carlisle in his office. "So. love. Maybe. All right. perhaps looking for a smile. Why would she possibly think I would suggest she should drink human blood? I wondered if just using animal blood might be possible. so I'll bet he is.. trying to gauge Bella's expression. I flashed a glance at Carlisle.her words.monstrous. "I'm starving. Let's go for it. "If the fetus is craving blood." The house was utterly silent. . "Oh. too. She was nodding slowly to herself. I felt an uncomfortable twist in my chest." "Your condition-both of your conditions-are deteriorating rapidly. "Bella. Edward. It has to be human blood. It was my responsibility to ask her to try this loathsome idea. to come up with more palatable ways to do this. that'll be such a change. He was anxious to try this. he thought. Alice called me mentally from upstairs. "We think it's thirsty." Bella whispered. That word made me unable to smile back. "Well. though. "We've thought of a better way to feed him." She met my eyes.

"Of course. hoping it didn't come to that. Don't absolve me.. thought Carlisle. I shrugged. "That's not fair. We'll be right back. only love for me in her eyes.but still. The others stepped back. Leah." snapped Rosalie.. Jasper and Alice come into Carlisle's office. and we don't. "Go get a cup. Please let this work. "We could try another method. "You're scared of Leah. But she was unwavering. He was thinking of a feeding tube. and I held her gaze. thinking of Alice's vision. Please. always. but slammed the glass back down. The blood was cold. slowly draining a small amount into the cup." Emmett chuckled. She looked back at me calmly." "So Bella gets to drink human blood. They watched as Carlisle pulled a bag of blood from the small refrigerator. She glared in the direction of the living room. As if a human child would ever be in this house. Carlisle snapped the lid with the straw onto the cup. and I watched as Carlisle carefully cut into the bag of blood with sterilized scissors. She tugged on Carlisle's arm. "It's for the baby. and Rosalie glared. . She went back upstairs. I shuddered with the thought. Rose. Bella was still looking into my eyes. "but you're best buds with the psychopath blonde?" Upstairs. grabbing some sort of plastic child's cup that whoever had stocked the kitchen had included. sounding both shocked and amused. I could hear Emmett. She grabbed a large." Carlisle said quietly. clear glass. standing near the doorway. her eyes said. I felt sick. "Not clear.. remorse and shame battering through me."You didn't tell her?" Jacob said suddenly to me. he thought. It was hard to focus – honestly. to care at all – about anything but Bella." Alice hit him in the arm. and her eyes widened with fear. Upstairs. Imbecile. I wanted to tell her I was sorry. He looked at it for a moment. No! I wanted to yell. Rosalie went quickly down the stairs and into the kitchen. Rose. I scanned his mind for the topic – oh." I muttered.Excellent. "Bella is really going to drink blood?" asked Emmett. Carlisle held the cup out tentatively to Bella. ruined. Edward. not the disgust I deserved. He nodded at Rosalie and they flew upstairs to his office. Not your fault. once again. Rosalie hissed. and they quickly appeared downstairs. she thought. Not again." Jacob was saying to Bella." said Carlisle.

love. the automatic contraction of the muscles. I could sense the natural instinct as she pulled in the blood. "No. her face crinkling in disgust." I said. "Does this screw my total?" she said in a quiet voice. she was fearless." Bella took the cup from him. Jacob thought. In any case." I muttered. "No one is counting. thought Rosalie.it smells good. horrified at what the taste must be to her. Horror rolled over me." said Rosalie. Turmoil rolled in her expression. sweetheart. I swallowed hard. I realized she was embarrassed to admit this. and I caught the scent – it was wholly distasteful in this moment. She was so brave. Bella raised her eyebrows. I had never thought I would share it with Bella while she was still human. Bella. This was cruel. She had always had such an aversion to the smell of blood. "Bella. rolling across her tongue and gliding down the back of her throat. reaching to take the cup." You lost me. "A good sign." she said. "No. Bella glanced up at me. She opened her eyes directly into mine. "Or do we start counting after I'm a vampire?" Hell yeah. She has to try this! "Plug your nose. surprised. I was going to stop it. "I'm OK." she suggested out loud. and Jacob and I moved together towards her.." Bella whispered. The thoughtless look in her eyes." she said in a quiet voice. I'll try this first. The liquid moved." Bella pressed her lips to the straw again.. Bella moaned. Your record is clean. and felt a wave of sympathy. thinking of all she had already been through. I paused. and I didn't want to explain it to him in front of Bella. . I heard the blood travel up the straw. As much as I didn't agree with what she was doing. I knew that feeling. too. "That's good." Stop it. no one died for this." I said. and Rosalie lifted her carefully up to a sitting position. that instinct. you jerk. It's just that it. I reached out and touched her face tenderly. Outrageous. "I'll explain later. "Bella. that's not it... "We can find an easier way. We don't have time. She didn't need to see his reaction." she whispered. it counts! Emmett thought upstairs. I grimaced. Bella closed her eyes and took a small sip. "It tastes good. "What?" she whispered. I cradled her face in my hand. Bella smelled the cup."No. I didn't think Jacob would appreciate Jasper and Emmett's bet. She must be totally revolted.

It was so very wrong for Bella to crave blood. Great. He was right about that. She reached out and took the cup from him and immediately started drinking. No one else in this group is disgusted by what she's doing. Now I'm the court jester. the blood like an elixir of life." I said. Carlisle went to get Bella another cup of blood. and then she looked down. thought Jacob. With each passing second she was noticeably healthier. crowed Rosalie in her head. Unbelievable. I know. so out of line with her humanity. and she'd get tired of him. and was back quickly." she said quietly. so familiar. how does anyone stand living with him? It's really too bad he can't hear Bella's thoughts.. How could he be so insightful. I felt terrible for her. already. It's working. if Bella lives. her body's response seemed to show that this was what she needed. too.I want to. wondering if he shouldn't be here. and yet strangely conflicted. I was stunned with the speed of the effects. "Yeah. Bella finished off the blood in the cup. But."Just talking to myself." I said gently. trying to fill some of the emptiness. Just the opposite – they are probably having a tough time not ripping the cup away from her. the increased steadiness of her hand. "You don't have to drink more right away. Is it enough to get through to the baby? "Would you like more?" she asked. But her eyes met mine with that conflicted look again. Then he'd annoy the crap out of her. It felt strange. Edward isn't going to be able to get away with so much when her senses are as sharp as his. I felt excitement building. I glared at her. I could see she felt that. and yet so foreign in her body. Noticing. He'll have to work on the honesty thing. "Jacob. If he succeeds with this. I could see that strange instinct compelling her again as she began to drink. watching how Bella had taken to drinking the blood. Bella smiled up at me. and yet so obnoxious? I rolled my eyes. creeping in. But. Jacob thought. A small chuckle left my lips." I said quietly to Bella. even as I . Jacob watched as Bella drank. would he rip that out of her hands? Jeez. radiating out from within her to heal and strengthen. I felt the smile play at my lips. I realized that tiny ember of hope was growing. "What's funny?" she asked.. If Bella was eating a steak. the slightest return of color to her skin.

Rose. Rosalie snarled. "I do. Dammit." Jacob muttered. Emmett. It felt like a line of fire tearing through his body in his mind." he snapped in a low voice. It was too soon. She sent me what she could see. . Jacob. and then met Rosalie's eyes. Emmett in the forest. indistinct. "I want to stay here. leaping off the porch as he phased. God. yelled Seth. thinking. "This might be it." Rosalie scooped Bella up quickly. "I promise I'll find you if there's a need. it was good to hear her voice so strong. Jacob touched Bella's hand gently on the way out. two urgent howls rang through the forest air. There was no denying it." Jasper. Carlisle and I talking outside. noting her skin felt cold. serious but calm. Caused by Jacob and Seth. coming into the house to look for her. Emmett. "No. So much." "Sure. I can escape." Bella protested loudly." I ordered. Crap. I looked at Bella. We ghosted out into the forest. moving like a silent arrow through the trees. At least three. But. Maybe I can talk to them. So far. disconnecting the monitors. Those were the only clothes I had. Jacob thought. Carlisle behind. no other point of attack. intently. Jasper and I went out the front door. Jasper. And if the rest of the pack was coming in from another direction. and I felt an unexpected wave of concern. The bloodsucker will wake me up if something goes wrong. I thought. "Ok. "Get her a blanket or something. Incoming. Beyond that." I looked at her in disbelief for a moment. I noticed Jacob's thoughts were getting fuzzy. their numbers would be too low to be effective. far too soon. or blocked. Suddenly. "Move her.. sure. Alice and Esme appeared immediately from around the house. Alice following with the IV pole. And he knew I would hear them coming. I looked over at Bella. He had already done so much for us today. thought Leah. Sam couldn't possibly be that stupid. He owes me. "Don't worry about anything." I said. My mind flickered to Alice. there were large holes in her vision. At least three approaching. He was out the door. convince Sam to change his mind. Jacob thought. "Go. to feel any sort of real hope. leaving only the IV. Three was not enough to attack. Time to act. She was searching for a future that was not blurred." I said. his hand on my shoulder.resisted. He needed sleep. Too much." I hissed in a low voice Bella couldn't hear. It looks like Bella has a few more hours.. Rosalie and Carlisle stood next to the bed. "No. "Dammit" Jacob snarled. or other wolves? Better safe than sorry.but she was just already so much better. Rose. "What is it?" demanded Bella. Carlisle's hands flew. but they were already disappearing up the stairs." yelled Bella.

Seth told Jacob. Jasper and Emmett continued their circle around the house." Thank god. "Out of range. Paul." I cringed at the word choice. I think. "Got him. sullen expression. "Sam is willing to back down. that they weren't comfortable destroying Bella. "I can hear him. "The elders agree that they can wait for Bella to be. "There are four approaching Jacob's pack." I hissed." I spoke slowly." Jacob was not yet willing to phase into human form." I whispered to my brothers. "It's Quil. "They claim they just want to talk. Alice was standing in my bedroom. if another attack was coming.. The Cullen's know something's up. His use of our name helped me locate him in the distance. circling slowly and silently." I whispered. I concentrated on Jacob. that we would allow them to ever come here and kill in our house. And then they figure you'll be so mad. What a load." Emmett snorted from the other side of the house.That I'll lead the attack myself. They would not decide its fate.spreading in a loose arc around the house. And blind as I was to the future. "Nothing else so far." I froze." Carlisle and Esme came out the front door and approached me." I continued." I murmured. Suddenly. They're ready. listening and repeating the conversation to my family at the same time. "Their family has been torn apart. Jake knew this was possible. Three wolves... They understand how Jacob feels. thought Esme. unsure if this was a diversion. You don't buy it? Jacob asked. Then I lost Jacob's thoughts as I concentrated on Bella. no matter what happened with the birth. They're betting on Bella dying anyway. "They are not comfortable killing Bella. one man. and Collin in wolf form." I growled. trying to concentrate as Carlisle and Esme stood with me. I shook my head. Inside the house Rosalie hissed. That.separated from the problem before they act. "Jared is in human form. "He's decided against immediate action. god knew what that would be. if that thing killed Bella. we would become the bloodsucking leeches he despised once again. Anything from Jacob? Carlisle thought. trying to hear his internal voice in my head. Was that supposed to make this alright. I found him. . watching Bella. who lay on my bed with a resigned. But relief was fleeting. Leah said. For good or bad. it was my offspring. And they were mad if they thought. but think he is overreacting. thought Leah. Jacob thought. Carlisle's face relaxed slightly.

I wondered how much he truly meant that. alone. surprised. "They're wolves. The thought filled me with an unexpected sadness." I muttered. Esme. He knows Jacob is out of clothes. I felt the trembling in Jacob's mind. That Leah does not like eating as a wolf. "Jared wants him to come home." I said. He says they are protecting those who should be protected. "Jacob tells him he doesn't know when. I paused after this. Jared continued his pressure. my family would hate Jacob when he fulfilled his promise to me. "He ruined them when he phased. I could tell her mothering instinct was in full force. or if he can return. At such a distance. Yet the force of her emotions at Jared's words from Sam were so strong they wrenched into my head – a convoluted mixture of fury. see how it plays out. I chuckled. I don't want them out there. with nowhere to sleep or get food or clothes. Leah's thoughts were fuzzy. . Jared is asking him where he is going to live. where you belong. the disconcerting sensation as he phased back to his human form. no. now that he has no home. "Jared is saying that Sue – that is Leah and Seth's mother – is begging for them to come home. "Jacob is going to phase. she thought. I wondered if they would hate me. But then." Concentrating so hard on Jacob's voice. He wants to wait.I wanted Jacob to kill me. Lee-lee. "He's embarrassed because he has no clothes and Leah is there. cringing against my own pang of guilt. Not just Bella. Poor babies. "Jared says that Sam is sorry. as well." Her eyes creased with worry. Carlisle and Esme were watching me expectantly. facing Jared." I whispered." As if Jacob was holding them against their will." moaned Esme. indistinct. Jared was talking directly to Leah now. telling her Sam wanted her back." "Oh. But I truly hoped he wouldn't turn on my family." With every sentence Esme gasped. that Jacob had admitted he was not just doing this to save Bella. "He wants Jacob to let Seth and Leah to come home." No clothes? Esme thought. and not attached to Jacob's mind because he was in human form. when Bella was gone. He stood. but the Cullens. I spoke of my family in the third person. He wants you home. But Jacob says he is not coming back right now. but I said nothing of this.

beds. just stay alert. Is he coming back? Alice asked. sighed Alice in her head. Carlisle gripped my shoulder." As I turned back to the house." "Ok. thought Esme. I'm sorry I didn't. I smiled widely." "Don't be sorry. No more hospital bed." I said. "I'm sure he will be. Stop it. clothes. I turned to leave. Anything they need – food. your idea for what Bella needed was excellent. Alice's face was pinched uncomfortably. I realized I was flying with the joy of seeing Bella in better health. She was sitting up by herself in the bed." "What did Jacob say?" asked Carlisle. but. a little bit louder. My head is so much better when he is here. I'm sure they'd love a hot shower. "Your wish is my command. "Jared asked Jacob where his land is now." He couldn't stay away if he wanted. Esme. I bounded down the stairs." I whispered. "Edward. and I turned to face him. This was a dangerous. "They are saying goodbye now. "I want to go downstairs. patting her back gently. We were still helpless to fight the real danger. but you articulated it. so much healthier." I said. and his voice burned fervently. I know that you give credit to Jacob for the idea." If she had been standing. she would have stamped her foot. "I want to thank you for bringing something to my attention I should have realized myself. but I just shook my head. I touched his hand on my shoulder with my own. I squeezed her shoulder. not mood. Yes. he thought. Please. face flushed with annoyance. Better in health. Edward. I thought. Ok. It is early. and I flinched as vicious snarls poured from her throat. Her eyes narrowed. foolish line to cross. Had it been only 20 minutes ago that her health had seemed so irreparable? We moved the hospital equipment back to the office. But I couldn't get the vision of her out of my mind. Leah's pain was vivid. That's it. to let this hope in. She meant Jacob. so much stronger. I want the needles out now." I breathed." He looked me directly in the eye. rearranging the room back to . Carlisle. and then turned and flew back to Bella. It was the most beautiful sight I had ever seen. "I want to make sure they understand that they can call this home. Nothing had changed. Bella glared at me. She's so much better. feeling weightless. "Edward. Just look at her. "She's improved so quickly. arms crossed. please make sure Jacob and his friends know this." I went on.heartbreak. I glanced towards the house. as I called Emmett and Jasper. "He says he's homeless. hate and loss. He wants to know if it is vampire land." she said quickly. Carlisle and Esme eyed me. this appears to be what her body needed." I said quietly. I couldn't fight it. "I think we can go inside.

No one spent too much time in the Cullen household without Alice influencing their wardrobe. as expected. whatever he thought about the smell. When he came in. and I heard heated complaints from Bella upstairs. but they were probably the most stylish clothes I'd ever seen him wear. and I was pleased that he put them on. Jacob arrived seconds later. Before I went to bring her downstairs. raising her eyebrows at me as she passed. I could hear him already on his way back. After the bathroom we brought Bella downstairs and laid her on the couch. . Rosalie got her a fresh cup of blood." "No!" Bella said. and he sighed." I said. reaching out and gently taking Bella from my arms. She's so much better. You don't need to be embarrassed. scooping up Bella before she could protest. "Well. "I really have to go the bathroom. reaching up with a hand to stroke her cheek. love. looking for sports. the flush on her skin deepening. Bella looked up suddenly at Jacob as he entered. She then leaned over and kissed Bella on the forehead." He made a face. thought Emmett. looking for clothes that would fit Jacob. tell him I don't want them back!" I placed the clothes on the front stairs and then went upstairs. "Bella. Bella. biting her lower lip. Carlisle did not want to take out the IV." Bella murmered. She blushed. Rosalie thought to herself as she moved down the hall towards the bathroom. sweetheart?" I said." Bella said. I blinked in surprise at such an outward show of affection from Rosalie. but I didn't want her walking down the stairs.normal." I laughed. "What is it. We wrapped Bella up in a couple of blankets. Emmett had actually put on a romantic comedy for Bella. Huh. "I'm bringing some of your clothes for Jacob." I commented. He stared back blankly. Edward actually just smiled. and I flashed a smile at him in thanks. "I'm your husband. Alice trailed behind them with the IV pole. "Put on something for Bella. "I'll take you. He was standing in front of the TV. He found the clothes I had left him. I went into Emmett's room. and a wide smile formed on her face." Bella shook her head. remote in hand. She may be better. "Sit with me. pausing. "I'll take you. I sat down with her feet in my lap. Edward. a pale rose color tinting her beautiful skin." Rosalie said. The fit wasn't great. "What are you doing?" Emmett asked as I walked through the room with a pile of clothes. "Oh my. I had to smile.

" Surprise registered in his mind." At this point I could hear Jacob as well as anyone in my family. telling Bella I would be right back." Ha! I chuckled out loud. "Where's the flood." Jacob turned and started to walk slowly towards the door." I murmured. thought Rosalie. Edward. "Please. Oddly. taking the stairs in one jump. I told him we had human food." Ugh.. So I caught most of what passed out there.two Mississippi. "Glue a mirror to the bottom of the pool.. good. mind reader? I went ahead. his voice rough. piles of clothes. thought Rosalie. "You know how to drown a blonde. explaining how Esme was upset by the hardships of his small pack." "Yes. thought Esme from the next room. I was sure he was the type who wouldn't accept any charity." Bella said. I realized I didn't know how to present this to Jacob without insulting him. what now?" "I'm sorry." "Oh. and my mood faltered. Vampire mother hen – bizarre.She didn't just look happy to see him – she actually glowed with pleasure. looking for answers. What's on your mind. Jacob snorted." she yelled after him. your thoughts are slightly easier to pick up when you're in your human form. I can't stand him. I went out the door after him. Mutt?" she sneered. but I doubted he wanted to hear that. In the midst of this nightmare." said Jacob. "I've already heard that one." I said. "No attack on the horizon.. "Don't consider . Why does she have to look so damn happy to see me? Jacob wondered. sinking feeling inside. "I heard most of it. "I hate repeating myself. "Jeez. Hearing my approach. I could feel I was still on my dangerous high. my eyes still on Bella. He actually wasn't pleased. I could feel my relationship with Jacob shifting.. so there's probably no point. and their lack of the amenities of home. "but my guess is that you're going to pass out on the floor in about six seconds. "They just wanted to talk." I said. "How?" "I'm hearing you more clearly – it's a matter of familiarity and concentration. I realized I was very anxious for Jacob to accept some of our hospitality. I felt a small. tired. Bottom feeder. Rosalie?" Jacob asked without looking at her. trying to inject the sincerity I felt into my voice. I didn't know. "Also. Why was she so happy to see him? Did she feel safer with him here? Had she reconsidered his offer? I searched her face. changing. although I couldn't really define how yet. Jacob turned slowly." Jacob said." "I'd tell you to get some sleep. "One Mississippi. he thinks he's so funny. Go after Jacob and tell him what I said! I rolled my eyes but got up.

Carlisle touched her shoulder. through the panicked thoughts of my family. regardless." Sure doesn't smell that way." she said. and the small. Fractured rib. Carlisle. The thing inside Bella took its strength from her." he said quickly. There might be splinters. Yep. how quickly could we get it out if it started to destroy her now? I could hear the rough movement near her ribs. bleeding. but she brushed it away lightly." "Pretty sure it was a rib. He went to put his hand on Bella's side. thought. My cursed mind made the connection even in the fraction of a second it took me to turn back toward the house. her breath coming short and fast. I had let myself fly high on hope. sure." Bella moved slightly and she sucked in a quick breath of pain. "Sure." His mind painted the picture of the inside of Bella's body. its strength had grown exponentially. thanks." I said. Carlisle and I leaned over her.yourselves without the benefits of a home. Rosalie supporting her. The bones creaked again and Carlisle hissed quietly in anxiety. Right here. I moved swiftly into the house. We don't want it to puncture anything. I heard the bone crack a fraction of a second before I heard Bella's cry. "Thank you. so stupid. let it start to thaw the ice within. That she could be even more fragile on the inside than the outside. all the soft tissue. so we stay pretty clean." Jacob said slowly. And so the fall and the pain were greater for it. breathing roughly through clenched teeth. I had been so foolish. She was bent forward on the bed. Chapter 13—Choise Hope is a dangerous thing. "If you would pass the offer on. and with the healing power of the blood. to a level that could only destroy Bella more. "I need to take an X-ray. My god. "Give me a second. "I heard something crack. thought Carlisle. a frail shell encasing the ethereal . beyond the sound of Bella's cry of pain. damned creature that it was. nice of you. uh. "Ow." She gestured to her side. In helping her. and further breakage. and the echo of a bone cracking. she was somehow safer. delicate organs at risk. we hurt her. But the perimeter cuts through the river in a few places. "Tell Esme we appreciate the. I need to take a look. thought Rosalie from inside." he muttered. to believe that since we had made Bella healthier. er. the sound of bone moving against itself. listening intently for signs of damage. "Bella." He started to turn away as I watched." "That's.

fractured rib. And I was not waiting for that. Her eyes flickered to me." Rosalie smiled and gripped Bella's hand. "Bella. nervous after the incident with the IV. fearful of an injury that might have resulted in blood. and Carlisle ran the x-ray machine over her. All traces of the smile left Bella's face. "Well.mechanisms of life. is that I think we may have reached an adequate level of development. Rosalie caught my movement and grimaced. gently slid her arm under Bella's knees." I hissed quietly. Edward. I brushed the hair gently from her face. serious." said Rosalie. she thought. Carlisle. I locked my teeth." she growled. Emmett and Jasper having fled to the third floor after hearing Bella's cry. "Even human babies can survive at what seems to be his approximate level of development. breaking the quiet. I moved forward. Rosalie laid Bella gently on the table. who already had an arm behind her. They were skittish. and followed her and Carlisle up the stairs. if they are the same as for a . We waited in silence for the results. He would show he was ready by tearing himself out of her. More dangerous. Finally his eyes rose up and locked with Bella's." Bella said. Bella. Carlisle stared silently at the x-ray for a few moments. We passed Alice. but she just couldn't. to comfort Bella." she said firmly." he finally said." Carlisle pressed." Bella sighed. We are not having the same discussion again. and the strain was searing her head with pain." she said. "What I want to discuss. he thought somberly. "I've already got her. who staggered a little against the banister. "Don't even start with me." said Carlisle. "Either of you. and Bella glanced at me. "They survive at fancy human hospitals. I'm sorry." Bella laughed softly." "No. walking slowly downstairs. The office was empty now. before his strength can grow dangerous to you. She wanted to follow. We don't even know if your calculations are correct. There is now the possibility of delivering the baby early. Yes. He regarded her for a long moment. uncertain if Rosalie could control her natural strength enough not to jostle Bella needlessly. His voice was quiet. And guilt. "Until we are sure he is ready. "Okay. "I want to wait until it is definitely safe for him. Bella's eyes moved to mine. but I couldn't imagine that even she harbored the idea I would be happy about this. With Bella's cry she had thrown her entire mind towards Bella's future. Bella pulled in a breath. "It seems he is definitely feeling better. "We don't know enough about him. Rosalie.

" Bella said. I hated that this was happening. Alice was curled up on the floor next to a sleeping Jacob. and she quickly revised them. Rose. looking at me. Her mind was very empty. Ugh. but when it was time to go back down she reached out her arms and I carefully picked her up and brought her downstairs." she echoed softly." My temper flared at my irritation that none of this conversation seemed to consider if Bella would be strong enough to survive. With the sound of Bella's bone cracking. please. I felt the familiar rush of remorse." he said more loudly." Alice murmured back. dear. "Alice. Real nice. I thought she was annoyed with me." But both Bella and Rosalie were shaking their heads now. There was silence as Carlisle carefully taped Bella's rib up. and she was enjoying a temporary peace. not opening her eyes. "If it is strong enough to do this. "Alice. "A risk with him. I mean. I put Bella gently onto the couch and knelt down beside her. ." Bella drew in a quick breath. and bit back more bitter words." I snapped. whatever it is. If he will be strong enough to survive outside the womb. Alice didn't move. hope had been violently ripped from me." She pressed her lips together. how can she stand it? Rosalie thought. After another cup of blood and two trips to the bathroom. biting her lip. and I don't want to take a risk. ignoring him. leaving a gaping hole that had quickly filled in with bitter anger. Suddenly. Jasper had appeared. "That's gross. Rosalie thought in disgust. "Maybe you should consider the early delivery. Alice. and that cheered her up. standing over Alice. grabbing the x-ray of Bella's fractured rib out of Carlisle's hand and shaking it violently. and looked down." My face hardened at these words. He took out her IV. staring at Alice." Esme said. "Shut up. and was staring down at Alice on the floor by Jacob in annoyed shock. I paused for a moment in surprise at the bottom of the stairs. "Edward. get away from him. She turned to Bella. her warm hand clasped in mine. Bella eventually drifted off to sleep." she muttered. a little sharply. "Whatever it is. Because suddenly I was filled with bitterness. Edward.normal human baby. there was a sharp hiss from the top of stairs." Jasper said in a low voice. We just don't know. "No." then it is strong enough to live on its own. Jasper was down the stairs in a flash. "I agree with Rose. Rosalie came down and stood behind the couch.

until she finally. Jasper. brought the clothes outside and set them at the edge of the woods next to Seth. uncertain." "Fine. he had phased without changing. "Go away. not opening her eyes.. It's empty – I can't see anything. She was still asleep." Alice moaned. kneeling next to Bella on the couch. Jasper." I said quietly. of course. Emmett came downstairs and sat in one of the chairs." "Jealous?" Alice laughed softly." she groaned. Unless you want me to come in there naked. Never realizing. It's just me coming. who had never phased back. arms crossed." "I won't. Seth was coming to check in on Jacob. oh Edward. Jasper's teeth clenched. it wouldn't. I ."Jasper. Edward. Seth thought. "It's just Seth coming. I went downstairs and. and then pause. Ah. that he would not be returning home. Thanks.I stood up and went over to the window. and gave Seth a short wave. Considering how much Alice was enjoying Jacob's effect on her mind. "I'll take the risk." "No. "You think so?" she murmured. I felt the small twist of pain in his heart at that thought. Seth's voice sang in my head. and heard understanding in my family's minds. thankfully. mouth in a thin line." snapped Jasper. I heard the mental call." She closed her eyes. Seth thought. Alice opened one eye and regarded him. He was determined to stand guard over her for as long as necessary. "That's probably because your future is so uncertain when you're that near to him. I grimaced. It's heaven." Jasper growled low. Please don't let your brothers kill me! That wouldn't be good. I watched the memory in his head. Alice sighed. I imagined it would be a while. man. Seth's large footfalls grew steadily louder. I went quickly upstairs and retrieved a set of clothes from Jasper's room." Jasper continued to stand over her. told him to shut up. "I don't want you lying so close to him. pulling Rosalie into his lap and whining in her ear for a while that they were never alone anymore. "Maybe. "Back off. Seth realized. willing to sacrifice the ratty sweatpants he had been wearing. and I heard him enter the yard. picking them up gingerly in his mouth and trotting away. He had been so anxious to share the news with the pack when he found out about Charlie's call. No. rolling away from him and even closer to Jacob. I don't have any clothes. As the dusk deepened." he said in a hard voice. Edward. "My head feels so much better when I'm so close to him. stepping around Jacob. I went back into the house.

Edward looks awful. thought Rosalie." Seth said quietly. "Sure. Edward. He looked around." he said brightly. sending a shudder through both of us. as well." said Esme. I wondered what his father had . "I will wash some fresh clothes for you and put them on the front porch for next time. "Thanks. she thought. feeling awkward. Mrs. "How are you doing. "Seth. "Seth. you can call me Esme." I murmured. looking away. warm hand on my shoulder. he thought. "I'm managing. No matter what happens. my burning face." He smiled and then walked to the nearest chair and sprawled out in it." And your sister." Seth said. Esme bit her lip not to laugh. He also had seen the agreement between Jacob and me. God. Like Bella. I had met Seth's mother at the wedding." she said gently. "Just know that I'm here for you. "Good to see you. Edward?" he asked quietly. He really meant it. but I've got to tell you. his weight and strength so different from Bella's human touch. wrapped an arm around Alice's waist. strong and fierce. "Thanks for the clothes. my figure prostrate on the ground in my grief and guilt. He was looking at me now. And he was determined to prevent it. He was good. O Fearless Leader. Seth reached over and placed a large. He held my eyes for a moment. Great. Emmett chuckled loudly and Rosalie elbowed him in the ribs. He thinks this is his fault. I glanced at him. they reek something awful. "They fit great. stepping over Jacob's head into the room. He had been shaken by that. and then he reached down suddenly. Seth appeared in the front door a few seconds later." He patted my shoulder a couple of times. "Thanks. Seth. He looked down at Jacob. Seth leaned back in the chair." I said softly. and snorted. They reflected coal black in his. C. but I kept watching him. Seth's smile grew even wider. man.heard Jasper sigh. curled up in human form on the floor. and while she had been a good person as well. heat radiating off him like a flame." he said cheerfully. and everyone involved. and pulled her easily up and across the room. He had seen the images of me in Jacob's memories. He takes it all on himself. I saw much more of her in Leah than in Seth. glaring at him. All eyes in the room swung towards me. and the vision lingered now. Now we're stuck with another one. Two wolves were too much for him. His heart and mind were a simple. unclouded tableau of concern for me. in the event of Bella's death.

." I replied. assuring him she was being well taken care of. will you bring me the phone. so much louder this time than the last. glowing weight." Esme brought the portable phone to Bella. she's just so. And he cared about me. I've got to go. "Charlie. "Is that Charlie?" she asked.. and steadied me with its own warm. was that Seth was my friend. Away from the danger of the rest of the pack?" I shook my head. Bella's eyes were opened. I thought." and the phone dropped with a bang. "Go back to sleep. She laughed." I whispered. But the most incredible thing. a little breathlessly. I twisted back to her as she said in a choked voice. clutching . I turned back to Seth. I glanced at Bella and touched her thin wrist with my finger. and wished I could have met him." he said softly." Seth nodded and looked at Bella. His eyes met mine." But she shook her head. What could I do? Seth leaned closer. Edward. Bella took the phone. that she was lucky to have her own full time doctor hovering over her constantly. really taking in her physical decline for the first time.. Dammit. "Esme. the fact that held a small place inside me. I heard the crack then. She looked up at me and smiled." I whispered. "Not that I want you guys to leave. I felt a flash of rare irritation from Seth.so weak. "I want to talk to him. "If that's Charlie. quick. teeth clenched. Won't that just make things harder for both of them. please. Suddenly.later? My jaw locked and I shrugged stiffly. "And Bella. an unhappy look on her face. Is it a good idea for her to be talking to Charlie? Seth wondered. and began a murmured conversation with Charlie. "Carlisle has too many medical connections here to give up. and she flew toward the kitchen. Only one person called on our house phone. the phone rang in the next room. and alarm registered on Seth's face as I saw through his mind a sudden burst of agony rip through Bella's pale expression.been like." "Love. Immediately Bella hunched over her stomach and then a small strangled cry fell from her lips as she arched backwards.. the phone still against her face. but it was too late. "Esme." she called. and glanced at him. "But have you considered taking Bella away from Forks.

Rosalie knelt next to me. and it didn't have a god damn thing to do with what was going on here. Rosalie. that's not good." "Probably another rib. "She's going to be OK. "Sometimes even normal babies break their mother's ribs. gently stroking her forehead." he murmured. Her muscles felt tight." I tried to laugh." He smiled and loped down the stairs." Bella moaned. "It's broken something. Esme and Seth followed." He studied me for a moment. Edward. and only the beginning for this one. I turned away. cradling her in my arms. Bella still in my arms. I picked Bella up gently and carried her upstairs behind Carlisle." Bella opened her eyes slightly to glare at him. "Jeez. Carlisle arrived immediately. And Seth was our ally! It was silent in the room as Carlisle took another x-ray to confirm the broken bone." he said quietly." I hissed.her side. I wrapped my arms around Bella and she pressed her face into my shoulder. Bella. her head back on the table. and let Jake sleep. right in Rosalie's face. "This one could walk on its own. What she said was true. He saw me looking at him and stepped into the hallway. looking at the ceiling. Bella lay quiet. Rosalie was irritated. and then began to tape up the rib. He needs it. "What is it?" he cried. and she didn't come in. I followed him out. I wasn't going to exclude Seth from what was going on just to maintain some sort of strategic advantage over the wolves in our house. concerned for his sister being alone on patrol. "Another rib. . and brought her up the stairs towards the bedroom. She fumed outside. She was still breathing hard. looking up at Carlisle. feeling nothing but a stinging emptiness. "I'll help you change." I said quietly. "I heard the crack. Seth leapt to his feet. but Esme laid a hand on her shoulder. I kissed Bella and then picked her up. "I'm going to take off. "I need a new shirt. A broken rib was the extreme for a human fetus. thinking our grim expressions were upsetting Bella needlessly." said Seth in shock. and went back to the office." I said desperately. I didn't acknowledge him." I looked at Rosalie with undisguised fury." she said. "It's all right. We went into the bedroom and I shoved the door silently shut behind us with my foot. "Run patrol with Leah. I caught Seth's worried expression. Don't let him upstairs! Jasper thought angrily. rigid against the pain. "Carlisle. I knew he was getting anxious to leave. She leaned over Bella.

and without thinking my hand reach forward and caressed down the satin skin of her naked back. and went back to Carlisle's office. He looked up at me as I came in. driving straight through to the other side. I thought. I leaned over and pressed my lips against her bare skin. paler than normal. I felt her shift uncomfortably. Carlisle handed it to me. and realized her ribs must be hurting her. I climbed onto the bed behind Bella. I picked up the new shirt and pulled it gently over her head. She reached one arm around and laid her hand on the back of my neck. "Let's get this off you. he thought. "That's what I'm going to ask Jacob. I placed it on the table we had set up next to the bed." "Will it be safe?" I asked. I want to talk to you." he said. and then went to get her a new cup of blood. She shivered slightly. Between Jacob and Seth. Is there no way to stop this?" I turned and slammed my fist into the wall. Bella's latest x-ray in his hand. dark blue shirt – one of Jasper's. and it felt like the flutter of a million tiny wings. as I know you are aware. gently lifting the shirt and helping her pull her arms out. "When Jacob wakes up. Bella winced in pain and I froze. "And when I return. Come and see me. and then turned her head. And I definitely want a shower tomorrow." I murmured.I placed Bella carefully on the bed and then went over to the pile of shirts Alice had collected for Bella. I helped her lay down in bed. you and I will need to seriously discuss and prepare for the delivery. I would like to purchase some more blood for Bella. A low growl rose from within me. "You smell perfect. I leaned around and kissed her lips. Aggravated by my thoughtlessness. against my lips. Bella sighed at my touch. I tossed Bella's old T-shirt on the floor. I looked through and pulled out a soft." she sighed. He was standing by the exam table. as well. She was so pale. I . She pushed her arms through and then leaned back against my body. and brought the cup to Bella. "Keep going. and yet she seemed to glow in the moonlight. and the change. craning slightly. She was already in a restless sleep. When Bella is asleep. No human body odor could compete with the stench. "I feel like a baby being changed like this. Carlisle." His face was calm and set. angel wings." I assured her." I chuckled quietly. I nodded wordlessly. the smell of werewolf had begun to permeate the entire house. I must stink. "God dammit. as always." He sighed. "I am going to talk to him about a hunting trip. It is long overdue.

Jacob? "I asked Jacob to give Bella the option to have a child with him. though. Edward." But Edward. "Well. taken aback by his sudden intensity. but his eyes did not." I faltered." I pressed. I pulled my hand slowly out. and still she chooses to continue. a human child. and she has now lived through many of them. "I understand. Childish." said Carlisle quietly. There is no doubt on her part..was immediately angry with myself. leaving a ragged hole. I was the weak link. Will you be able to do that. You can't possible want that. what I want is for Bella to live. I'm not sure you do. and Bella." Carlisle bent his head to one side. It's beyond that now. I wanted her to have a choice. since she found out about the pregnancy. Carlisle stared at me silently. "Live. But I had . slightly shocked. Carlisle. "I just. without delay or discussion or second guessing. eyes still intent on me. looking quizzically at me. "I see the doubt in your eyes.. We have explained in every possible way the consequences. Esme will be mad. Edward... looking down at the x-ray. there can be no argument. and end this disaster. not be forced into it by my actions." I breathed. for Bella. And this situation will balance too much on the edge of a knife for there to be any doubt." He spoke aloud suddenly. that it is time to change her." I said bluntly." "I know that. "Edward. "I never wanted it to be this way. Maybe I can get Jacob to talk to her again. He gripped me harder and shook me slightly. Edward. not even for a moment. "It doesn't matter what I want. and I make the call that she cannot survive human. When the birth happens. The fetus is very strong. by things she has no control over. Carlisle thought. "I need to know that you understand there is very little chance she will make it through this as a human. "No.. This is her choice." His voice was anxious. I turned back to Carlisle.." I said softly. it does." My voice was strained." Carlisle's hands released me. She's made this choice. She has never wavered. his eyes fierce. he trailed off. "Yes. time and time again. "There might be a chance. and stay human. "If I can just get her to change her mind. He placed the xray on the desk and reached up to grip my shoulders with his hands. however or whenever it happens. Carlisle looked at me sharply. However possible. The doubt came from me." I sighed. Edward?" I was frozen. We must be able to act immediately.

" She threw the image at me.I clenched my teeth together. "If I remember the feel of broken bones? The feel of being battered inside. She was by the window. You are a jackass. Even though it hurt us both. black onyx in the night. but her finger moved up to my mouth. "You are just never going to get it. Edward?" "Get it?" I snapped." "And you should. I will need you by my side. as well as out?" I started to speak. Her entire body became rigid. "Get what? That the thing is going to kill her in the end? My god Rosalie. dark street at night. I pushed her hand away from my face. I know she understands. trying to block the image out. The faces of the men looking down on Rosalie. pressing it shut. "What is your problem. . even though she knew I hated it. To hold her in my arms." I hissed. "I heard you talking to Carlisle. about changing her. I walked slowly back up the stairs to the bedroom." She repeated my earlier words to Carlisle back to me in a mocking tone. while we ripped out her soul. too late. The cool. I would allow myself to lay down with Bella for a while. She moved closer to me. "I know more about human pain than you can ever imagine. That it was. I just couldn't believe that there was no other way. The sounds of a human body being intentionally. Edward. steel. the pain as they. as ever. Rosalie hurled her thoughts at me from the other side of the room. "Stop it. fierce voice. irreversibly damaged." she whispered. Edward. " 'If I can just get her to change her mind'. I altered my course seamlessly. very slowly. the moon reflecting off her hair. 100% focused. I went into the bedroom and started towards the bed. if we are going to get her through this. moving instead until I stood directly in front of her. Rosalie?" I hissed. when the time comes. and pressed one long finger against my chest. but I want to hear it from her." Carlisle said firmly. "You dare ask me if I remember human pain?" Rosalie snarled in a low voice. imagine we were in her small bed in Charlie's house." I nodded and turn silently. both golden in the night. "I want to talk to Bella again about it. and that I would hold her all night and the dawn would still be filled with hope. "Do you think I would wish that kind of pain on Bella?" she said in a low.to be sure. it's breaking her bones now! Do you get that? Do you know what that feels like for her? Do you even remember human pain?" Rosalie's reaction to my words was instantaneous. are you. "I will need your strength.. No other way than to just wait for it to rip the life from Bella. Her eyes glittered with her fury.

wouldn't." Rosalie became very still. she thought." "Don't even. and you know it. "I know you can see inside me." Rosalie said firmly. "Think how much you would hate me. and look at her. shaking her. "Fine. a bitter. Think how you would feel. Rosalie. Cut me in a place I wasn't sure I had known existed. Yes. Can't you see that?" Anger boiled inside me." My voice dropped. and stared at me for a long moment. Rosalie?" I snarled. imagine if Emmett had some reckless plan. "I'm sick of that word. "You're wrong. to my own ends. "It's about what Bella wants. supported him. turning towards me. I helped him. as always." I growled. Bastard. I shook myself out of it roughly. Edward. Her face hardened. Edward. "I refuse to believe that I am wrong in supporting Bella. and you know them damn well. What do you think it is? What? What?" The world disappeared for a moment behind black and red stars of fury and desperation. rough." I growled." I grabbed Rosalie's arm roughly and turned her toward the bed. "Tell me. "I'll take your hate then. OK. These words cut me deep. Why can't you see the connection Bella already has with him?" I shook my head against her words. That connection was killing Bella. and sick of the charade. her midsection bulging out unnaturally after only weeks – just weeks – of carrying the thing. I stopped and she ripped her arm out from my hand. why?" I moaned. That you are rooting around in my head." I growled." she snapped. To bring this child safely to life. For not trusting her. and quick. But it doesn't really matter what our motives are – Bella and I have the same purpose. "Why are you helping her with this?" "Because this isn't about what I want. if that is how you truly feel." she said quietly. her hand coming up and striking me in the chest. I pushed it away. Looks what it's doing to her. "Rosalie. "Don't give me bullshit about a baby. turbulent. She wasn't resisting. I have my own reasons. the same goal. A plan that would almost certainly destroy him. "Tell me!" "I don't know."That I would wish even a fraction of it on her?" "Then why. . acknowledge. where Bella lay sleeping. "Baby. low. But this is different. "What do you think it is. And instead of trying to stop it. She's been pregnant for just weeks." she hissed. and she threw up her arms slightly in submission. Somewhere inside me that I couldn't. seething pool of resentment and fear. for wanting to help her. and then realized I was still shaking Rosalie. For not even wanting your own baby!" Air froze in my throat. Look at the size of her.

and then slowly recedes. cresting. All we know is that Bella loves him. Don't fight me. it flooded out into everyone in the room. It felt like I was up against a brick wall. Edward." Esme whispered. and I lowered it. within a thick blanket of calm. her affection for us into everyone in the room. I let the calm carry me. Chapter 14 —Inevitable . "None of us do. and went strangely blank. and as it rose up and took him. I felt my arm grow warm and heavy. Everything I'd ever wanted was on the other side. But the blow didn't come. I heard Bella breath in deeply. silence rang in my ears." She took a step away from Jasper towards us. Jasper hissed. Like a wave that crashes up onto the shore. away from the anger. Perhaps we all wanted. "I don't know!" Her hand came up to hit me again. I couldn't get around it. We didn't fight it. smothering all the emotions in a thick weight of peace that simultaneously held us down and made us float. Jasper had perfected over the years the ability to find the emotion he needed within his mind." she said very gently. I could not hold back the tide anymore. like affection tinged with sadness. and yet I wanted to roar with fury and frustration. I felt something else. channeling her love. a moment of escape. leaving behind the harsh grains of life. and exhale in a sigh. Rosalie's face relaxed. Edward. Conversely. Suddenly. and I kept smashing into it again and again. I couldn't break it down. then falling. he thought. I watched Rosalie's eyes close. needed. I felt Jasper begin to pull away. I turned my head towards the door. reaching to grab her wrist with my hand. and then floating up again. "Stop hurting each other. I realized I didn't feel mad at Rosalie anymore. "Stop it. no one could see me trying to get through. annoyed that he'd lost control of my mood. obliterating and carrying everything in its wake. but no one could hear me. With effort. grow still. and I braced myself. Now he searched for his center of calm. shifting in her sleep. and then my own closed as well. Given his gift. "She doesn't have the answer to your question." Her face was so sincere. from the fear. Esme was standing a few feet into the room. He dove deep down into himself. The air in the room seemed to thicken. Jasper was behind her. The brick wall remained.sending me back a couple inches. his hand on her back. I opened my eyes to reality.

Rosalie and Alice helped Bella take a shower." Oh. thought Seth. and Carlisle came downstairs with a cup of blood. "He's still sleeping? Unbelievable. and Seth stuck his head in and laughed in relief. approaching fast in wolf form. love. he would be hungry. Leah. forgot all about Leah. "Seth is coming. "Are you hungry?" "Absolutely." said Esme. and then knocked softly. glancing around the room. Then she shivered. mixing with her own scent. Large. "This is so good. come and eat – it looks amazing! I'd rather eat roadkill! So I'm out patrolling while Jake is all curled up asleep at the bloodsuckers' and you're eating their food? She was furious with disbelief. he thought. Please. Her expression was grim. Bella loved mushrooms. Seth. . She was pink and glowing from the hot water in the shower. he's fine! He's still sleeping. The gentle breeze of her breath against my neck when she rolled into my embrace." I set a plate of food on her lap. eyes lighting up. When Bella woke. Seth snorted. I made some dough for cinnamon rolls. Each was something I had experienced a thousand times before. The way her skin felt under my hand as I stroked her face again and again. and I was sure Jacob would be if he ever woke up. "And there is plenty for your sister as well. "Oh. Jacob rolled back onto his side and Seth laughed again. something I had made for Bella on the Island. "Thank you. I hoped that Bella would be hungry this morning. I was sure her ribs had grown extremely sore during the night. Everything was finished when Bella came down from the shower. her face was very pale. phased. I caught someone approaching. He ran out into the woods and. but set." she laughed." she said as Rosalie set her on the couch. first." Carlisle's forehead wrinkled slightly in concern as he glanced down at her. He and Leah were worried they had never heard from Jacob. I handed him the plate and went to fill another." I said. and then stepped in the door and prodded him with his foot. "Yes. I have the chills. an intoxicating blend. after undressing carefully. I went in the kitchen to prepare him a plate of food – if he was anything like Jacob. I hope he's there. Seth changed quickly outside into the fresh clothes Esme had laid out for him. as if she was determined to get through another day." Jacob rolled onto his back and began to snore. "I made you breakfast. that felt fantastic. shoot. Carlisle opened the door as much as Jacob's body would allow. I've got food. eating the omelet." he asked.I memorized Bella that night as I lay next to her in the bed. as miraculous as the first time. and the scent of strawberries rose off her freshly dried hair. Please stay and eat. he crowed. is that breakfast. Suddenly. To make it through another day. and while it rested I started some bacon and chopped up mushrooms and onions for omelets. purple bruises showed from under the tape all up her rib cage and around her back. I haven't eaten anything! Not yet! You two are unbelievable! Damn vampire lovers. "God. "I guess I should take some food to her. and yet it all still took my breath away. Leah." I said. and I decided to cook breakfast while I waited for her. Food? What about Jacob? Oh. The warm pressure of her leg pressed up against mine." he said reluctantly." moaned Bella. "Ohh. Aww Leah.

We traded off around midnight." "Shh." he said. he thought. "Are you still cold. laughing loudly." giggled Bella." Seth laughed." he said. Seth phased back. whose face was stiff and unhappy. looking around warily. At least Carlisle had been able to stop her from covering him with a blanket as well. smiling at the exchange. Jacob stood up. I told her you probably just crashed human. Sorry about that. Jake – I was just checking to see if you were okay 'cause you didn't ever phase back. New. "Leah running patrol?" he asked. "I ran twelve hours." she admitted. then. snuggling into him." Seth answered. damn. dang. man you can cook. Seth thought with amusement. His teeth clenched. Okay." "Midnight?" Jacob gasped. 'Sides." I said. "Sit down and eat.." Well. and then even more unhappy to see Seth with his arm around Bella. and returned still carrying the plate. "Wow. "Don't worry about it. No worries. "You're not a machine. disappointed. looking at me. you are so hot. "Bella got cold. watching Jacob. his eyes trained on Seth's arm." I felt another shiver run through Bella." muttered Rosalie. "Thank you." he quickly explained. The pillow. "The chainsaw impersonation was getting a little tired. Really. Seth." offered Seth. "Naw." I said quietly. "Especially with your super hearing. Anyway." . "Oh. how did you guys stand that all night?" Seth said. "Wait a minute – what time is it now?" "'Bout dawn. His eyes hadn't moved from Seth's arm on Bella. She raised her eyebrows at me. She'll howl if there's anything. "Crap. You haven't taken a break since when? Night before your last patrol for Sam? Like forty hours? Fifty?" Seth sighed. shocked. I think she's warmer now. He approached Seth. Seth. looking at me. "She's on it. His first conscious thought was the burning smell in his nose. Jacob shifted and started snoring loudly again." He sat down on the other side of the couch and put his arm around her. A bit possessive. but I just shook my head." I tried." He smiled proudly. but you know how she is.. "Yeah. man. You shoulda kicked me awake.right. "Um." Seth was looking at Jacob." said Bella. Jake. and he let out a long breath. Jacob's eyes slowly opened. He eyed Seth's clothing. And if I don't want to run patrol for the next 24 hours straight. "About time. enjoying breakfast.I sat next to Bella. Seth's eyes flickered back to Jacob.. "Don't I know it.. "Leah got worried. "You'll wake him up. Esme had insisted on putting it under his head during the night. you didn't miss anything at all. feeling suddenly defensive of Seth. Oh man. sweetheart?" "Sort of." I said softly. "I'm like a walking electric blanket. What the hell? "He came to find you. "Yeah. I had suspected he would not appreciate the gesture. "And Esme convinced him to stay for breakfast. you needed some serious sleep. He was unhappy to wake up on the floor. staring down at his plate. "I'll sit with her." I said. are we? I knew the feeling. they had all this food and." But Jacob groaned and rolled over. Bella punched him in the ribs. He pulled his arm off Bella and continued eating." Bella stifled a laugh. eyes flickering to Bella several times. and quickly removed my arm from around her.

Hair shiny." she said brightly. smiled. go out together. "Yeah?" "Speaking of hunting." My teeth clenched. "I understand that our previous truce is inoperative at the moment. Jacob's expression was hard. "What's Leah having for breakfast?" Jacob snapped at Seth. "So I guess I'd say." "And leave Bella behind." Carlisle nodded. the treaty is void. Over my dead body. "Will Sam be hunting for us outside of the perimeter you've created? We don't want to take a chance with hurting any of your family – or losing any of ours. incapable.. "It's a risk." "No. "I'll go hunt with her. He thought she looked a lot better. I didn't mean that you would be. Jacob?" Carlisle had come down. Sam's calmed down some. you can't fight against your brothers. is in real danger. so I wanted your advice. "How's the rib?" he asked. As long as he thinks the tribe. "A moment. In some ways." . Color better. Lips pink. 'cause we'd be expecting night.I knew it was hurting her to even breathe deeply. "I'm not saying it wouldn't be hard.Nothing at all? Jacob turned to look at Bella fully. I can't have that on my conscience. You're fast – go over the mountains and hunt far enough away that there's no chance he'd send anyone that far from home. "What are we. "No." he said gently. These cinnamon rolls. "That's going to be an issue for my family. with all that. But. "We will make sure that our actions don't make that a necessity." Jacob said stiffly. I'd bet he's keeping it close to home. Of course. It would be on mine. Absolutely not. chopped liver?" asked Jacob. just in case. he's not going to ask questions first. There really aren't enough of them to keep a decent watch on the people while putting out hunting parties big enough to do much damage. and I turned away . Carlisle." Jacob finally went on. but I bet she caves. Jasper hissed upstairs." said Jasper softly from upstairs. but I'm pretty sure that in his head. "She said she'd rather eat roadkill. he was right." Carlisle said. or any other human." Seth said quickly." Carlisle was determined it would not come to that." He took a large bite and groaned. thought Seth. Doc." How many can adequately defend? "There need to be at least four of us here. "Hey. but if they were really coming to kill her – I would be able to stop them. But he considered the question seriously. "And probably you should go in the day. how would you proceed?" What would I know about being in a bloodsucker's expensive shoes? Jacob thought. listening intently. "I don't even feel it. if you know what I mean. his priority is going to be La Push." Upstairs.. thought Rosalie. "Jacob.." "It wouldn't be on yours. Jacob turned swiftly towards him. Jasper and Emmett stilled. "Taped up nice and tight. And he had other concerns as well. then." Surprise swept over Jacob's face. sighing again. And I can take it. Jacob. But that it would be very wrong. If you were in our shoes. I took food to her before I ate anything. Traditional vampire stuff." I squeezed Bella's hand – her eyes were wide and sad. unprotected?" Carlisle asked concerned.. "Three at the absolute least. but he knew we would never leave Bella unattended.

"It's OK. promising to return after some sleep. As the long day spread out before us. Perhaps Alice should go with both groups.. Seth returned a few hours later. he'll be able to give us a few miles radius of safety. After we got her dressed in a warm sweatshirt and covered with a blanket. sorry. but we were so glad to see him no one said anything. . where something had been damaged. and being pressed into taking food and clothes to Leah by Esme. Esme's face was frozen in horror.Carlisle's eyes met mine for a fraction of a second.My jaw tightened and I clenched Bella's hand a little too tightly. I hardened my expression. and then melted into his warmth. I nodded at Seth. however. "We'll go three at a time. She could not fight the groans that escaped her lips when it moved inside her. Edward. Everyone's heads twisted in alarm.5. there was a loud crash from upstairs. Low grade. to prepare for the birth. and a Trivial Pursuit game someone had once given Carlisle as a Christmas present. and I stared at Carlisle in utter disbelief." "I don't know. "You have a fever. An infection? The thought was terrifying." My head rang for a moment. Doc. you could see the pain behind her eyes. He glanced up at me with worried eyes. for at any moment. Every time she moved. As I went to sit in the chair by the couch. After settling things with Seth. had no reservations about beating her if he could. thought Emmett. I heard a sharp intake of breath." "We've got some extra abilities that will even it up. If Edward is one of the three. she became hot and sweaty. Carlisle eyes widened slightly. As soon as he left. About 100. Seth. Bella shivered under my arm. "It's just Emmett and Jasper wrestling upstairs. He and Bella played some card games together. Emmett came down and chatted and teased her for a while." I said. Bella. She absolutely refused to play any games with me or my family – she claimed the only way she could ever win would be if we threw the game. "That's probably the best we can do. Alice put on a small fashion show of clothes she had purchased while we were away on the Island. I thought it might be a good idea for you to hunt. She was miserable. As long as we avoid the wolves. Her breaths were shallow. Her ribs were growing more bruised and sore. How could he possible think I would ever dream of leaving Bella. always. after sleeping as a wolf nearby. but she started shivering again. It wasn't nearly enough sleep. Bella started shivering. Infection? Cold panic rose inside me. Bella sighed contentedly. Bella became increasingly uncomfortable over the course of the morning. I sat with her to try to cool her off. and then stood up carefully. leaving her miles behind to go hunt in the mountains? I needed to be here. Jacob left. Dividing down the middle isn't the best strategy." he said slowly. Halfway through the second game of Scrabble. we tried to keep Bella's mind off the pain." he said quickly to Jacob. Carlisle placed a hand on her forehead. as he moved into my place." Tattletale. who had Jasper in a head lock. although she would never admit it. "I'm sure there are other ways too. I read to her aloud for a little while from "Pride and Prejudice". Seth followed quickly afterward. they probably won't attack the house as they won't realize our numbers are down." he murmured. Of course. Somewhere we couldn't reach. It would be a nightmare on top of everything else. Somewhere internal. but I immediately knew what it was. by her side. and then a couple of board games – Scrabble..

" He raised his eyebrows at Rosalie."Wrestling?" she said. Seth laughed loudly." "Oh no." laughed Bella. "Are you hot. He kept teasing Emmett. Carlisle appeared at the top of the stair. "I think it was a compliment. as soon as he feels it's safe. "Your fever is still low. "Uhh." Rosalie hissed. "Hold on. "This isn't so different than hanging out with the wolf pack!" "Don't even say that. There was another huge crash above us. blushing slightly. pausing until Emmett almost caught him and then taking off again. "Stir crazy!" she said. "Let go of him. they're just a little stir-crazy. "Let Jacob know that we are ready to go. Whatever it is going on does not seem to be getting worse. but the damage was done. As Alice removed her hands he jumped up and headed towards the door. Rose. Esme." cried Alice." he said desperately. I could see that Jasper had Emmett in a three quarter nelson outside the bedroom. please!" trilled Esme. Seth. "Thanks for everything. sweatheart?" I asked. Carlisle came over and touched Bella's forehead." Carlisle said. her voice higher than normal." snapped Rosalie. "For god's sake. Alice. "Please don't go. "why don't you go outside and see who can run around the house 500 times the fastest. and she scowled." I said." murmured Seth. She is going through it very fast. "That is a good sign. Then Jasper waited a second too long for Emmett. I think. Leah will wake me to take over at dusk. Maybe you are just a little under the weather . "In the house?" "Well. "If you going to act like moronic children. He came down. She turned and raced up the stairs." he said. her voice now several octaves too high." Alice groaned. We watched the race. Esme surveyed the wreckage." "Great idea!" said Emmett. Still low-grade. They broke apart quickly when they saw Esme. depositing the trash and taking off around the house. and a hole the size of Emmett's large foot in the wall in the hallway. we are going to have to purchase some more blood for Bella. She was sitting perched on the couch next to Seth. Seth rolled his eyes." Seth looked down in surprise at her hands on his leg for a moment. her face smooth and relaxed. as I stood up to take his place at Bella's side. if you know what I mean. "Honestly. "I've got a lot of pent up energy to burn off these days. She grabbed Seth's leg with both hands. "Catch a little more sleep. She shrugged a little. Also. a lamp smashed. and Emmett swore loudly." "I should go." Seth actually shot a grateful look at Rosalie. "Clean up now. Seth. Bella. They slammed together and rolled into the grass. A table broken." . Carlisle jogged up after her. but I could see that Jasper was easily winning. Emmett launched himself at Jasper. They came downstairs a few minutes later with a jingling trash bag and an armful of wooden pieces. With a war cry. She squirmed uncomfortably next to Seth. Bella said it just looked like blur to her. Emmett smiled widely and he and Jasper were out the door in a flash. and then glanced away." snapped Rosalie sarcastically. The wolves presence was such a balm for the ache in her head. Esme leapt to her feet." I said.

"Carlisle. too?" "Uh. "Please ask Jacob to stop by. I didn't think not coming was an option anymore for Jacob. "He'll come. Her eyes were on me." said Carlisle. But there was a worried crease between her eyes as she watched Alice go up the stairs." she said softly." said Seth quietly. planning to wait just around the corner. Suddenly Bella gasped loudly.." she mumbled. sweetheart. I didn't hear anything break. "But Carlisle. to keep you human. one more time." I felt like I was floundering. "You can buy blood?" he asked. he thought." he said.I want to talk to you about when." said Rose. I rubbed her palm with my thumbs nervously." Seth and I said in unison." "Of course. please.. He gave one long look at Bella and left." I whispered. relaxing slightly. Seth started to turn. "He doesn't think that can happen. like the topic was too huge. "Esme. "He wanted to make sure I was 100% prepared for you to be changed. not looking up at her. taking Esme's hand. of course not. looking back." My throat closed up for a moment. and then leaned over and slowly kissed each of her fingers. "Bella. "Please. Carlisle took a step towards Rosalie and wrapped his hand around her arm." "You mean a vampire bat. massaging up and down gently over her skin." laughed Bella. goodbye. see your friends and family." I said." I said. She was stomping up the stairs with her arms crossed. taking one of her hands in mine. Have you talked to Bella yet? I shook my head slowly. with so many things unsaid. and laid back.it's just that I want so badly to save you.." said Alice. "Bella. quiet and intense. He looked squarely at Rosalie. and then glanced at me." Anguish . "OK.. "And tell him to come as soon as possible. let's go up stairs for a while." she panted. She growled a little and then shrugged. no thanks. "I'm sick of hanging out upstairs like a bat in the belfry." I glanced at Carlisle in alarm.Seth blinked. into something you can't get out of?" "No. go to college. and then glanced at me. "Uh. holding her shoulder. the words choked in my mouth. and patted my shoulder. I knelt down next to her and reached under the blanket. holding it against her chin. "Seth." he said in a low voice. "You know I'm ready. Bella took a deep breath. "Why don't you come. "This isn't just because you've been forced into the situation." smiled Seth. She pulled away and stalked upstairs. Rosalie looked down at his grip on her – it wasn't loosening. Edward. "It's just. her hands gripping into fist. "Just a little kick. Rosalie. okay. and I just wanted to talk to you about it. which she pressed to her face.." I couldn't bring myself to talk about the "birth". He was very pale. a physician can. looking surprised and irritated. She nodded but I shook my head." said Bella. Carlisle watched Seth leave. "Yes. so you could do the things you want. He sighed. Bella's eyes fell to the floor. Bella pulled the blanket over herself.. "If he'll come. Bella watched Carlisle with careful eyes. "Are you?" I asked her desperately. So you could go to Dartmouth." said Bella suddenly.

a fathomless void of despair and sadness. And now I've ruined it for you. Behind my eyelids. and then winced with pain. too. She was willing to die for it. I never wanted your decision to be forced. "I so wanted to give you that." Bella pressed a hand to my head. Don't leave me here. "I'm so sorry. as if I could save her by the sheer force of her will. I know you're scared. "And children. Edward." She gripped my hand hard. I wasn't sure if she ever truly had before. Change. Edward. the few experiences I might have to delay.. sensing my distress. Bella. "You said you wanted to stay human. everywhere. I've taken away everything. "And if my actions do nothing else but save him. if we hung on hard enough. She exhaled slowly. They were the words that had been the undercurrent of everything that had been said." I mumbled. and beg her as I had before. Suddenly." I pressed my hand to her cheek. deep brown eyes." She gestured towards the upstairs. Bella took a deep breath. But I want this." I whispered. I will have so many years to do something like that. But things change.. had moved noiselessly to the top of the stairs. I opened my eyes. Not in the way you want." To do anything. everything that had happened since we stepped off the plane from Isle Esme." I said roughly. and I'm sorry. For you. "I just wanted to be sure. for him. "I will have this child. I let it soothe the raging emotions. Jasper. and I couldn't hurt her more.. Willing to die. longer. but you will. looking up at her. I'm ready to be changed. making her like me. It was my role in all this that destroyed everything. Don't go. Because you will save me. and then rubbed her stomach lightly. A child with Bella's soft." I whispered. never able to change. Frozen. To die. "I don't care about those things right now – college. She was already getting upset." Bella finger's squeezed against my hand. Like I wanted you when we first met. I saw it. You won't let me go. are well worth the pay-off. Like I wanted us to make love while I was human. All ripped away. Life changes. Careful. and I pressed my face into my other hand." she said fiercely. .to do anything. "I did think I wanted to stay human longer.tore through me. never able to have a child. selfish part of me wanted to reach for her. gently smoothing down my hair. every action made." A small sob escaped her. Edward. She pulled her hands out of mine and cradled her stomach. mahogany hair." she said. You won't change anymore.. "I want this. "It's not going to happen." I shut my eyes briefly against the pain. That child would never be. She would finally realize what would be lost. then I am willing to." "But that's just it. by changing to a vampire now. What you consider life won't be anymore.. I'm a broken shell. She grabbed my hand and held it against her chest. without you. And Bella was perfect. I know. For now Bella would truly know what I was taking from her. With her endless. The little bit of time I might lose. sometimes. still grasping my hand against her. "If. a small but terrible. even if Bella did survive the birth and transformation. to press my face to her chest. for our family.. They were omnipresent. her cheeks paling. eventually. "You haven't ruined anything. Dartmouth. "And you were scared all those other times.you won't be able to. The child she could have created would have been perfect. Her words were agony. I'm lost. and sent a wave of calm into me.

And she wants to see you. I watched as Bella. "Well. She ate a small amount of dinner. I feel like I need to see him. and I worked it out on my own. kissing her cheek softly. As sure as the sun rising." . I yielded to the inevitability." I said. but now. like steel talons. when I come back to see him. He gave me the info that he could. or humanity. Bella. "Why don't you try to get some sleep now?" "No." "Oh no. What am I. trying to determine if this was actually something she thought possible. This was going to happen. I'll just let Charlie come to his own conclusions. She was not going to change her mind. He needs to hear from me. gathering myself. And hopefully we will be able to keep seeing each other. "But I am so glad that you did. "I want to stay awake a little longer. I knew her ribs and growing bruises made the movement excruciating. He was wondering why he kept coming back. about being a werewolf. I'll look different.. She was too hot again." "And after that?" I asked cautiously." she said. and he should be safe. love" I murmured. Bring what may. and it sunk into me. "Do you really think he will come?" "Of course." A small piece of me twisted uncomfortably at these words." she said. "Ok. I thought. this birth would happen. But I am thinking of telling him I am going to Europe. about changing her. before I sleep. You're in love with her. So. and the chances of that. Esme sat down next to me. I knew she had always harbored a hope that she could see Charlie again. stupid? Am I some kind of masochist? No. Finally. for special treatment for the disease. and I watched them disappear into the hall. Didn't he realize Bella was waiting? Bella glanced at my face with worried eyes. and then acceptance wash through me.. Bella became more exhausted but would not sleep." She turned her head to look up at the ceiling. "Obviously. I'm proud of you. to explain why I can't see him for so long." We sat in silence for a few moments. its hold painful but permanent. I looked down for a moment. I could hear Jacob some ways out. Even though it was against the rules for him to let me know. in its own time.I lowered my head. I thought. I let resignation." I said gently. "I need to see his face. or really didn't tell me. and the last of my barriers crumbled away. Bella's human life would be over. This caused her to have to go to the bathroom several times. to wait for Jake. I knew she was waiting for Jacob. "I know it was hard for you to talk to Bella today. grimacing. And where was Jacob? I felt a rush of annoyance." She sighed. There would be no early. finally. sympathetic. love. proactive procedure to preserve her life. "perhaps you should rethink your phone calls to Charlie. And so there is no other place you would be. I tried to press the feeling away. heading towards the house. and then leaned over and kissed Bella's forehead. Rosalie picked her up gently. which will probably be wrong. and I was truly doubtful that could ever be a reality. Time ticked by slowly. or something. But does it really matter? First she would have to make it to the transformation. asked Rosalie to take her again. Bella. I was able to guess. I thought of something. "Ok. "He's too worried. while we waited. I've been thinking about when Jake told me. "I understand." I whispered. and drank several cups of blood. Edward." I looked at her carefully. The calm from Jasper was leaving me." Her voice was quiet. squeezing her hand.

What." she said. "Jacob. the same. I reached over. she thought. I'm a little cold. Esme." I clenched my teeth. judging her temperature. if the creature I spawned didn't kill her first? "I'm nothing to be proud of. Edward. I thought. I should say. "Or. I moved to the arm of the couch. Suddenly. Jacob's stomach groaned with hunger. "Yes." I said softly. "I'm fine. and it's the worst one. "Oh. had she been reading Rosalie's baby books now? Chill out. his mind and body tight with panic when he didn't see Bella on the couch. "Are you cold?" I asked her softly. "You came. "I know. Jacob. can you hand me that blanket?" Jacob let out a short laugh. for any sign she was being jostled or uncomfortable. . Afraid he was too late. She felt clammy. God. Oh. not looking up. squeezing me tightly. too. No. as she tried to move around in the bathroom. "Uh. Jacob strode through the door without knocking. I hear. "I'm so glad you came back. too. "Mostly fluid diet.Proud of me? I groaned incredulously and pressed my face into my hands." I said gruffly. I should offer him some food. Alice thought. brushing back her hair from her face. I could hear Bella and Rosalie coming out of the bathroom. I could hear Bella's breath coming short." said Jacob awkwardly." She squeezed my arm one more time. She wrapped an arm around me. "Edward." sighed Bella. waiting for Jacob. Edward." she said quietly." "Hello. "Yes. Jacob. But Bella's eye widened and a flush crept up her face as her smile brightened with delight. but her fever was still low. moving as slow as she possibly could. "Bella. "Where's Bella?" "Bathroom. As if I am bringing her the greatest gift ever. "Don't downplay anything. trying to keep Bella's body as still as possible. "Isn't that sort of the point of me being here?" Jacob sat down on the floor next to the couch." "Okay." Rosalie said. We sat in silence. I thought bitterly. wonderful. glowing. Still." "Jacob is coming. It's so unfair. "She's all right. you are." I muttered. that wasn't really true." she said." Rosalie laid Bella on the couch. and I waited. you know. hey. I love werewolves. Bells. Bella's eyes were on Jacob. the pain in her mind melting away as she drew closer to Jacob. Rosalie thought. Plus. Boy. Life isn't fair. She looks like a kid on Christmas morning." Bella sighed. terrified her injuries might be aggravated. Esme's arm still around me. her gasps of pain." she answered briefly. and then went upstairs to find Carlisle. Immediately he froze." Esme said. Bella paled visibly. Believe me. It doesn't help us take care of either of you. the whole pregnancy thing does that to you. thought Jacob." "Hi. Proud that I had the courage to talk to my wife about ending her natural life. unsure of how to touch her without hurting her." Alice said from the top of the stairs. you know what Carlisle told you. "Me. you are. watching her carefully." said Alice briefly. something stinks. They came around the corner and saw Jacob. Ugh. Jasper would just love that sentiment.

" "Rosalie would never embarrass Esme by displaying such a lack of hospitality. . knowing what she was looking for. "I want to know how long I'm gonna have to be here. She glanced down at her chipped nail polish. muttered "disgusting" under her breath. "You know. bright voice. if I didn't mind losing a few limbs. I craned my head around to the back of the couch to stare at her.." She snorted. smiling. Obviously.." Jacob laughed. reading her plans." Bella said quietly. Was she goading Rosalie? She winked at me. I felt a smile rise to my lips and I looked down.. Using her perfectly manicured fingernail. "Thanks anyway. "You Ok?" Bella asked Jacob. He didn't answer.. she scraped the word Fido into the bowl. "Of course not. bent down the edges. Rover? She mused." she snapped." Her life is speeding by in fast-forward. You're not welcome." said Jacob suddenly. She pulled out a silver mixing bowl and. and then banged around in the cabinets. I was thirty this morning. Benji? No. my nail. "I've heard that one. Fine. "But I don't think I'd want to eat something Blondie's spit in. "One centimeter for every week.." she said in her nicest voice." Esme said in a quiet. "Rosalie. we're not going with the nine-month model here. Four days. I'm going to kill them both. the due date for the little monster. Esme had put a plate of food for Jacob in the refrigerator earlier after Seth had eaten – some steak and a baked potato. and I heard Emmett chuckle upstairs. Serves her right.um. she thought irritably. and then swept back into the room.I'll give him a meal fit for the dog that he is. "So. and we can't get an ultrasound. I know. he thought in despair. He did the quick math and his face paled. That wasn't what she was planning." Jacob said. I could tell him a few." I said. smiling. Rosalie heard it too. so Carlisle is guesstimating from how big I am. "You'd tell me if she poisoned it. right?" Jacob asked. A dog bowl. date?" Jacob asked Bella in a false. er. Teach her some manners. sometimes more. I felt the tightening. Blondie. "Not exactly. too.."Rosalie. "Do you know what you call a blonde with a brain? A golden retriever. getting up and moving towards the kitchen. I sighed." Jacob said. "Thanks. "I'm serious." said Alice sweetly. Alice. squished a pat of butter and a spoonful of sour cream on the potato. Jacob thought miserably. Rosalie threw this into the microwave. Fine. warning tone from upstairs. Then she paused for a moment. I'd bet my system wouldn't take too kindly to the venom." Bella touched a finger to the middle of her stomach. the burning pain in my chest spread to my face." She hit him on the head." I want to know how long your going to be here. and I looked away. Jacob looked over the bowl. and I've been gaining about two centimeters a day. She threw the steak and potato in the bowl. why don't you get Jacob something from the kitchen?" said Alice. thought Rosalie. and then gave her a huge smile. damn. and her face darkened. "Yes. Oh. not wanting Bella to see. "Hey.." said Jacob. Normal people are supposed to be about forty centimeters here when the baby is fully grown. I watched Rosalie flip through the TV channels while Jacob ate and talked with Bella. "I don't know. "I'll keep trying.. thought Emmett.what's the.

"Thank you for coming. I mean." she said. I strained to remember what it felt like. "You'll always be a part of my family." "Why. for I could not." snapped Jacob. But when I walk in the door. was perhaps stronger now than it had ever been. and he's probably easier to be around. even from when Bella first came to Forks. had nurtured that connection. "Yeah. and so did Edward. And it existed still – alive. because I understood the emotions behind it. And there was no doubt that I shared Jacob's confusion that the bond between them. thought Alice. Perhaps she did not see that he had no choice but to come. And I knew. Why? Because she is dying? Or because I know if she doesn't." "I know. almost sing song voice.But that future died before it had a chance to live.. that much of the bond that existed was my fault. "Like all my family is together. of course. "It's going to be okay. he thought bitterly." "You wanted me here." "You're one of them. happy little punk. you smile like I'm your favorite person in the world. "Right. thought Jacob. I guess that's what it's like – I've never had a big family before now." Jacob said. "It's easier. "It feels." . until it could not be broken. there was no doubt that my treacherous attempt to save Bella. Not now. the question that had been eating at him since he crossed our threshold.complete when you're here. and I felt a low growl start rising. I would have understood. Edward. "You'd like that better?" Bella said softly. It's all right. I'd tolerate his attitude as much as possible. been a connection between them." Bella said slowly. to cry for the loss of the one I loved. What it might be like. trying to keep my emotions off my face. But you didn't have to come. the feel of tears in my eyes. I get a kick out of your pain. 'Jacob. his voice hard." Bella said quickly.. she'll be changing into something else I won't know or understand? I realized that Jacob's eyes had tears in them. "Why do you want me here? Seth could keep you warm. It's nice. "That's a crap answer." Bella murmured. My hand automatically reached up to touch my eye briefly. because it's not fair for me to want you here. the pull to see and be with each other. "Sorry. Bella. Although I think there had always." Bella flinched. perhaps." "I'll never be a part of your family. though? You didn't answer that?" I waited." Bella said swiftly. Jacob. and ever changing. I could wrap my head around it. "You're not happy here. "I didn't think you would come. Bella reached up. but it was hard. Seth said you would. but it's just not whole unless you're here. But a small part of me was glad he asked. I watched the question form in his head." Bella said in a soft voice to Jacob. at least. "That sucks. smoothing the wetness of Jacob's cheek. but I would not let him hurt her. you know.My need for her is stronger than ever." I stared silently at the TV. "What's a good one?" "How about." Jacob said. "Can I ask you something?" Jacob responded. but I didn't believe them. by leaving her. At a time when I thought there would now be some distance between them. in a soothing. his voice rough. she was driven to be close to him. growing. I could deal with it." Jacob muttered. I tried not to let it effect me. allowed the bond to strengthen and grow. Although I could have been. But you came anyway." "Why not?" asked Jacob.

I'm not a bloodsucker." I sighed. "But not human. "Yes. Yes." Jacob said in a low voice." he said.afterward. But I'm not going to force her to do anything that makes her unhappy now. "She's very sure she's going to live. "I'll deal with whatever comes. not looking at me. and we got off track." I said quietly. "It's been a long day." "Great. but Charlie seems like kind of a strange choice for her first meal. It's weak of him to let her get her way on this." The last word burned as it left my throat. I was weak." Jacob said." "So it's better. his voice incredulous. exactly?" I asked aloud. "It's not a good idea. Whatever happens.." she sighed. "Insane. "She can't bear his anxiety. No. He probably isn't expecting her to live to try out this crazy plan. The steel talons tightened suddenly. I did something wrong. it is making it harder for her to breathe." ." "Then what?" asked Jacob. this just gets better and better. God help me. It seemed that Seth had told Jacob about Bella's continued phone calls with Charlie. Jacob knew damn well we would never let Bella hurt Charlie." Her voice faded.. and so can you. Jacob looked up and met my gaze. "See. I did. Afterwards. which still looked chilled.. "Research?" I told him that Jasper." Jacob snapped.. Jacob thought." I murmured. I'll deal with the rest. anyway. And the warnings I had heard on the island.Bella was starting to drift off. Her ribs must be aching. her heartbeat slowing." "Four days?" Jacob asked. and her breaths became more regular. "We got off track. I shuddered. this makes her feel better. I knew I was going to lose her. and he was furious." Oh. I grabbed a blanket off the chair and covered Bella's bare arm. Letting her be happy a little while longer." "No. "What were the warnings?" "That the creature must be killed immediately. "She's exhausted. Before it could gain too much strength." I said softly. "No." I said. so maybe I'm missing something. What else could there be? "What do you mean. But she hopes to see Charlie again." "Then why?" asked Jacob. his eyes wide and angry. Out of balance. A hard day." Bella took a couple of shallow breaths – she was avoiding expanding her lungs too much." I snapped.. Emmett and Carlisle had been searching for information on the computer. I think she would have gone to sleep earlier.. now." "Seth said it broke another of her ribs." I said quietly. "Yes. "I won't cause her pain. How does it get out? "From what little research we've been able to do. "But not like this. Jake. but he's right.. thought Jacob.. "See Charlie when she's all sparkly white with the bright red eyes. "It's not better. but she was waiting for you. I explained to him Bella's plans regarding Charlie. Her eyes closed. not human. "We did something wrong. You're supposed to be a part of my life – I can feel that." I whispered. it would appear the creatures use their own teeth to escape the womb. "Approximately. "Yes. It isn't like Bella to shuffle off Charlie's pain for someone else to deal with later. Even if she is dying. Charlie." muttered Jacob. And then the world ends.

sensing irritation but no pain from Rosalie. Stories of discarded female corpses found in woods and fields. my. when suddenly Bella moved and her eyes opened. but then caught the direction of Rosalie's thoughts." She paused. That we are soulless murderers. and gave him a questioning look. . I started to smile.. Upstairs. I shifted slightly in anticipation of blocking her." I muttered. I was not supporting or agreeing with anything Sam had planned. Got. Emmett relaxed slightly.?" Jacob paused and swallowed hard. knocking of the top piece. as Carlisle smiled and Jasper bent over. My. That little piece of. "Dumb blonde. The children of the village would be hidden while a woman gave birth. Hair. thought Jacob. None of them had what this baby has – caregivers with an idea of what the baby needs. A plan in place to deliver the baby as safely as possible.. clutching his sides with laughter." She turned away. "You. Jacob hadn't asked if the creature would survive. I started. who try to meet those needs.. I began to lose focus. Jacob thought. What the. Oh. She was going to take him unaware. Dead. A doctor with a totally unique knowledge of vampire nature. "Of course. So much for Emmett defending me against the dog. Damn it. The baby will be fine. Maybe so. Morte. Then I saw his plan. Emmett would obliterate him if he attacked Rosalie. I stared at her in fury. torn. Food.. He lifted up the dog bowl and flung it at Rosalie's head. And the stories Jasper and Emmett had found. It smashed flat against her skull and then flew into the banister. "And those other mothers would probably have survived if they'd had that-if they even existed in the first place." said Jacob. Venom that will repair anything that goes wrong.. He rolled away from the couch onto the floor and burst out laughing.. But Bella's survival was a damn afterthought to her. thought Esme from the next room." muttered Jasper. Even the normal births went badly half the time. hard laugh. thought Rosalie. ". Suddenly Rosalie snorted derisively. tribal elders standing by to the kill the thing that ripped its way out. leaving me to pick them from their troubled thoughts. I'll have to do it myself. "What did their stories say about. He had asked about Bella." she snapped. Was he right? I bristled with this. "Of course there were no survivors. In. Maybe kick him across the room. my muscles tightening automatically. I laughed a quick." Two for two. The ones they couldn't even bring themselves to tell me in words.." Jacob lost it. She betrayed nothing with her position as her muscles tensed. "She's fine. Mutilated. "Giving birth in the middle of a disease-infested swamp with a medicine man smearing sloth spit across your face to drive out the evil spirits was never the safest method. A terrifying.Just like Sam thought. until I stopped looking. Allow me.. She wasn't going to let this one lay. Jacob's hysterics had woken her up. while the healers chanted over the woman as she bled out.Emmett was lurching out the door of the office. Vague legends of villages plagued by a demon in their women. thankfully. Jasper caught his arm and swung him around as Carlisle jumped up and put a hand on his shoulder. their legends say the same of us. Alice giggled behind the couch.. "That we must be destroyed..Rosalie swung her head around to look at Jacob. Something I am not convinced of. She wouldn't touch Jacob in view of Bella. agonizing death.the mothers?" I heard the words of the woman on the island again. looking at me.

Eventually. I took his place on the floor. with his arms around Bella's body. and I realized how late it was. I felt a shiver go through Bella. and the gentle clicking of computer keys upstairs. his voice still choked with laughter. trying to keep her breaths shallow. Suddenly her body spasmed. He sat down beside her. I think it's over. Stop being petty. said that Bella was getting hot." hissed Rosalie. trying to push back my feelings. I thought." said Bella. dog. Alice lay behind the couch on her back. watching and listening intently for signs of damage. "C'mon. very quiet for a long time except for Bella's shallow breaths and Jacob's deep ones. . My mind formed the vision of Jacob lying in the bed." "Get some new jokes. She meant it. these feelings. I wondered if maybe we should bring her up to the bed. I was Bella's husband. a loving caress. you could warm her yourself. placing one long arm against her body. I would have to watch her carefully when Jacob was here. ignore the small burn inside. What man would want to his wife in bed wrapped in the arms of another. Bella clutched at her ribs. When Bella fell asleep. ghosted with the memory of another night. in our bed. staring at the ceiling. arching off the couch. "Poor kid doesn't have enough room. I knew Carlisle was just trying to soothe me. Her face was too strained. and the possible similarities between Jacob's genetic make up. and I got up.Bella wanted to know what was so funny.. Jacob. Jake." Jacob said. to find some kind of scientific explanation. Carlisle was already down the stairs. her breath short and fast. "S'not so hard to erase a blonde's memory. stroke her cheek. "Carlisle. and Esme went with him. some genetic reason for what was happening. Stop it." I said in a low voice. The wind whistled through the trees outside as we sat in silence. "I got food in her hair. and I was clutched with another spasm of jealousy." laughed Jacob." Her face relaxed slightly. "Right here. cursed tales and legends. His time was limited with her.. I needed to let him have these moments with Bella. He's getting so big. who had been silent. Bella shifted a little. steadying her. and. nodding at Jacob. whatever the reason? But if you really were a man. "Remember the night we spent in the tent?" I asked quietly. the sounds of their two very different hearts beating. Something other than gruesome. and what Bella was carrying. that's all." I sighed and looked away. waiting of the cry of pain." Bella gasped and her body tightened. as well. "He's just stretching" she gasped. I swallowed hard. "Just blow in her ear. Carlisle went back upstairs to relieve Jasper and Emmett at the computer." she spit out. Another time and place. "Okay. I thought grimly. But of course I hated the idea. The touch was tender. lifting the other. It was very. "I'm not going to forget this. I had a half-hearted conversation with Carlisle about genetics." he said. began to slowly. I pulled off the blanket. moving swiftly next to the couch. I put my hands on her face. the crack of bone. I realized that these thoughts. gently. "Leave Rose alone.

The bitter resentment of Jacob providing the warmth I could not. "It's different this time." he said. I pressed my fingers to my eyes for a moment. I shut my mind to him. Jacob. and rolled her head to the side. sleeping next to Jacob. "She was sleeping. "I mean. Small shifts in position. What of it. I wondered if it would hurt him more. He closed his eyes. I was haunted by my own. "Not entirely. He nodded and shifted his position carefully." he said gruffly." I raised my head. his eyes flying open." I whispered. "If the route is clear. standing on the back step." I said quietly. trees drifting gently in the breeze." Jacob looked down at Bella. His face reddened slightly. in the dead of the night. too. I could tell how tired he was. "Jacob." "I'll let you know. and touched her hair gently. Bella shifted uncomfortably. bloodsucker. settling his head against the couch. or didn't sleep. slight changes in her breath – all betrayed a small amount of consciousness. that she had suffered so greatly in leaving him. but didn't wake. and I could see immediately from his thoughts that he did think of that night.Jacob froze. He took his hand slowly from Bella's face and looked at me. for thousands of hours. together. the moon." I whispered. She winced in her sleep." I mused. In the middle of the night." I murmured. "I wonder what Bella thought of our conversation that night. for him. however unrealized. All I could see was the darkness that lay ahead. "Yes." said Jacob in a strained voice. Too often. Alice and Jasper had stepped outside for a moment. trying to block out my own memories of the terrible night I had watched Bella pour out her heartbreak. his eyes far away now. but did not sleep. He started. His mind wandered to all that had happened in the hours and days after that night. to cool her down when she gets too warm. "You keeping Bella warm. moving gently away from Bella. leaving the door open behind them. Jacob shrugged. his voice hollow." I said softly. and stared silently at him for a moment." I said. I got up and went over close to Jacob. The wind blowing outside. and left him alone with his anger and despair. The three of us. and the shining points of the stars. "Thank you. "What is it?" he gasped. Beyond them was the forest. they'll go today. remembering the terrible helplessness I had felt to protect Bella from the cold night." . "Tonight just reminds me of that night. "We never talked about it. He had his arm around her. and pressed his body against hers. because now she needs you. "She always needed you. He relaxed and nodded. and above that the lavender night sky. when I cannot. and Alice's head rested on his chest. and thought about his words for a moment. and the blinding. "Go to sleep. "She's getting hot." He paused." I had lain next to Bella as she slept." I looked at Bella. "Right." he said softly. To the feel of his heart breaking. with his regrets. furious jealousy when he climbed into the sleeping bag." I sighed. He planned to run a wide sweep to check if my family could safely go out. or reassure him somehow. "Well. But I couldn't see any of it. Often. he thought defensively. And then the curious release of the words shared between Jacob and I. touching his shoulder lightly. I didn't want to hurt Jacob. glancing wildly at Bella. "I don't think so. Her cheek that had been pressed against Jacob was bathed in sweat.

in human form now. Her skin was so soft. She had deteriorated in just a few hours of sleep. ." I said anxiously. I glanced up. No break. I shook my head slightly." Bella had her eyes closed. As Carlisle took the x-ray." said Carlisle. and he quickly backed away and disappeared. She nodded and disappeared out the door. and I sat down on the floor next to Bella. She sat up before I could stop her. Concerned. No." Rosalie rolled her eyes. I spread my mind out. Edward. Carlisle got Bella a cup of blood and we carried her upstairs to the office. and the way seemed safe for my family. Carlisle thought. Emmett and Jasper had been in the bedroom the last several hours. only hearing Jacob approaching. "I don't see any sign of a break. not sad. I squeezed her hand gently. Just joints cracking." Oh. I told you I didn't hear a crack. and he sensed my heightened anxiety.. lay my hand on her cheek where Jacob's had been. We will run out of blood for Bella in several hours. What is it. "I heard something. The thought was incomplete. Does he think it is safe to go out? I gave a short nod. clutching near her hip. You need your ears checked." said Rosalie. prove me right. her eyes wild. Was someone approaching the house? I cast around anxiously." Pelvis? My stomach turned.Jacob left. right. Bella." said Carlisle. Chapter 15—Consciousness Someone was sad. "Fine." Typical over-reaction. Bella. They were too thirsty to be safe around Bella anymore. when she wasn't drinking blood. and your brothers. I figured Alice would enjoy the excuse to see him. "See. Dawn was beginning to break. Plus. and she looked pale and weak. Carlisle was already leaning over her." I didn't want Jacob to worry when he arrived and didn't see us. "Alice." She turned and put a hand on Bella's forehead. Thank goodness. I bit back the sarcastic words. "No. A flash of concern passed over Carlisle's face. her face still very pale. "Jacob is nearly here – could you meet him. holding the film up for me to inspect. Edward. unfamiliar." I murmured. even though it had felt close." Carlisle said. They would hunt today. Rosalie. Bella nodded. but it didn't seem to come from anyone in the room. Carlisle turned back to the x-ray. "It was different. and yet. I understood why Jacob had wanted to touch her. Carlisle glanced at me. so fragile under my own. "Just in case. looking around the office. when Bella was wrenched out of sleep. "Something break. "You must be stiff from lying all night on this couch. The thing's appetite was relentless. He and Leah had run far into the mountains. despite everything. only making rare appearances. "If Edward thinks he heard something. "Just one more minute. more like regretful. I heard Jacob traveling towards the house. and then fell back with a groan. still so alive. Her body convulsed in a spasm as she shrieked. Esme was keeping her distance as well.. Edward? Jasper had been waiting down the hall for Alice. that's the problem – she's just stiff. Rosalie let out a big gush of air. His face appeared in the door. and eventually.

if he could make her smile like that." "Thank you." said Jacob. not mentioning it to Emmett." Rosalie snapped. alone with me and the wolves." said Bella." Carlisle said aloud. I'm concerned I won't be able to buy enough in one stop. and then knelt down by her head." said Carlisle quickly. and sleep a little" "No. There's no sign of the pack. bringing forth the smile I thought would blind me the rest of our days. I didn't meet his eyes. and her lips grew tight. I could have him come upstairs to see you. knowing he would be upset to leave her here. on the hospital bed. lowering her gently." "No. He did a mental calculation of how much she would drink over the next 3 to 4 days. which she knew would never happen." I turned my face to hide my expression at this ridiculous understatement. Both of you." Carlisle mused for a moment. "I'll hunt when he does. His eyes flickered to me and I looked down. her voice strained. I didn't seem capable of doing it any more." I whispered. Rosalie at my shoulder. She wouldn't go even if I did. gesturing her head at me." Rosalie snarled. and subsequent pain.. and then she can take Emmett and Rosalie. Carlisle handed Bella her cup of blood. as he took in the pain evident in her expression. "This is good timing. She could . Jacob. I'm pretty positive that Sam is concentrating on La Push.My teeth pressed together very hard. You're good to go. and I could see the concern in his mind. I moved slowly over to the couch. A long line of expletives went through his brain. I just lifted up Bella's hand and kissed the back. I trust his judgment on this. were growing more intense. he thought. I didn't look at her. Bella saw Jacob by the front door. "It's not like I'm sick or anything. There may be a lot of blood involved in this procedure. "If you think so. "We went halfway to Seattle. Best still if Alice goes on both trips. moving as slowly as possible. but that was coming. The pelvis hadn't been fractured this time. and I picked her up. "I think you're safe to take more than three. Her face whitened. I felt a grudging surge of gladness. her pained grimace breaking into a smile. however. "Fine." said Jacob." Bella said. "Just keep going. and Jasper. "Honestly. Rose." I suppressed a sigh. "Jake. She had kept quiet. There's much that we need. but I didn't look at her. Carlisle met my eyes – her injuries. And yet knew he had to hunt. "Love. He glanced around the room. wondering where to try first for the blood she needed." He glanced at Bella. I was happy he was here. I closed my eyes for a second. Jacob's face." Emmett hissed under his breath upstairs. his eyes flickering upstairs." "Not a chance." "God dammit. Esme. "Emmett can go with you now. "You should hunt." she sighed. He knows Sam and his ways far better than we do. "Would you like to lay down in the bed now? Or even stay here. trying to suppress the vision.. Then Alice can take Emmett and Rosalie. Jasper and I will go. I knew that Rosalie had no intention of leaving Bella – she had been thinking about it since we discussed the hunting trip. "Are you OK?" I asked anxiously at the doorway." she said. remained still and white. "Carlisle. Esme and I will go out with her. I want to go down. He was furious to leave her behind. "I'm sorry I made you come up here for nothing. "I heard you say Jake is here – I want to see him." We slowly descended." said Carlisle quietly. "Alice.

dog. and Esme came in from the kitchen.no more be torn from Bella's side right now than I could. you disgusting beast. Jacob was watching my family leave. uncertain whether to stay or go. just to be so suddenly lost. it would be her own damn fault." "I have killed a hundred times more often than you have." Jacob was pleased with himself. But she didn't know the joke. I had a sudden fearful hope that no human would mistakenly cross their path. If they attack. she could not be torn from what was inside Bella. He placed a hand on Jacob's arm and said "thank you. I was missing in all this? "Awesome. Carlisle looked at me and nodded. if you lay a finger on her." he said quietly. somewhat incoherent edge to their thoughts. moving over the chair next to Rosalie. "Go. Then he looked at me. Psycho?" Jacob asked. Was this how I wanted to spend what could be my last few days with Bella? Being cut off from each other by a situation neither of us could see around. call us and then stay in the house. and get it over with. something elemental. the wall of fear and dissonance that still closed us off from each other. I looked back into the room. if anything. Edward. As if in answer." ." I hissed. I felt something cold claw at me. Emmett brushing Rosalie's cheek lightly as he passed. and he disappeared over the river. the acknowledgement of the tension that existed even between Bella and me. "So you'll enjoy this. Emmett and Jasper came downstairs. I gave him a curt nod. "Ew. Carlisle sighed. That smell is completely vile. Was there something large. The very thought of hunting was creating a thirsty. Then his thoughts began to fracture. She was eyeing Jacob with irritation. Alice went over to Jasper. Protect Bella. Alice threw me a vision of all five feeding on a herd of deer many miles out. savoring a quick vision of tearing Jacob's foot off his body. We'll be back as quickly as we can." I said quietly. "Well?" Jacob laughed. bloodsucker – a blonde's brain cells die alone." Rose snarled. Or. "Do you know the punch line or not?" Anxiety was seeping into Bella's eyes. She didn't like the tension between Jacob and Rose.. but I'd try to keep them from killing each other. finally. he thought. then. "How do a blonde's brain cells die?" I can tell you how obnoxious mutts should die. Their eyes glittered coal black. lying out in the chair so that his foot dangled over the arm near Rosalie's face. Someone put the dog out. happens to her. So help me god. anything.. laying a hand softly on Emmett." They moved out the door and across the lawn. The chance to ruin Rosalie's morning is just too good to give up. thought Rosalie." "Have you heard this one. And myself as well. He sat down. "Let's go. Their eyes locked for a long second when he got to the door. a burning intensity lighting them from inside. Call me if anything comes up. Time to get lost. "Has she heard it?" Jacob pressed me. We will come to finish them off. As I watched them go. "No. taking his hand firmly in hers. Jacob sensed her disapproval. Rosalie thought. And if Jacob attacked her – well. Jasper paused for a fraction of a second to look back at me. Best we all go at once. We had reached such unparalleled openness on the island. more precisely. Rosalie fumed. "Don't forget that. I would not hurt her.

too. and breezed out to the kitchen. "Nothing. Bella had been thinking about being thirsty. "Did you say something?" I asked automatically. please. More precisely. and she glanced down. Then. "No. Suddenly. Speaking my name. I caught the edge of someone's thoughts. exactly. do you mind getting me some more. breathless. She was hating Jacob. you're going to get tired of just threatening me. Excitement thrilled through me now. I felt my entire being begin to hum suddenly with barely contained energy. Edward. but still Bella. What's going on?" said Bella. In fact. too loud. I was grasped by tentative realization of the impossible. For a long moment I couldn't move. maybe I had been hearing them all day. emptying the contents.. Bella's voice. The words boomed back at me.but it wasn't Rose. and thank God or angels or whoever had bestowed it on me. Jacob thought. "I didn't say anything. And the word hadn't been said aloud. "Rose. yeah? "Someday. that wasn't right. The long desired. Maybe it would be better that way. Maybe she finally sees him for the annoying cad he is. It had been Bella who was thirsty. But no. it was a memory of the word being said. I'm really looking forward to that. Rosalie thought. unable to move. The unimaginable. Jacob was moving his foot even closer." And as I concentrated on her. I jerked my head. too loud again. it had been thought." Bella asked. taking the cup.. holding out the cup. annoyed. Beauty Queen. hoping it was annoying her. staring at her. But of course they would be. But I would take it. Jacob's face fell slightly. If Rosalie was battling her thirst after refusing to go hunting. No. I saw. If I had a heart." Bella's face tightened. The voice was off somehow. Horror flashed across Bella's face. trying to bore through. Air pulled through the straw. letting my breath out. staring at me. It was dark. sighing. Edward. Jacob. though. It was. But that wasn't it. She took a long draw on the straw. caught in utter stillness. her expression blank. Why I had been blessed with this gift. imprecise. "Me?" Bella asked.." she said firmly. I glanced away. I didn't want to share her.Oh. hot and fast. "Enough. if he wasn't making her smile. and difficult to read. They were vague. confused. Stars and shadows swirled and turned before my eyes. and worrying about Emmett. I focused all my energy on her.. I was hearing Bella's thoughts. exhilarated. it would have stopped beating. Rosalie smiled. She was just like her father. There was the impression of being constrained. afraid to break the spell. Yippee. this miracle now. A strange realization was creeping in on the edges of my mind. I couldn't imagine. I fell to my knees. of course not!" she said quickly. I. "Do you want me to take off?" he asked. Thirsty. I glanced up. definitely. And suddenly. too loud. He wishes she would get over me. her face wrinkling in concern. Edward. muted light filtering in slightly. Bella picked up her cup. I was being selfish. not thirsty exactly – hungry? It was too vague. "What are you thinking about right now?" I asked. Edward. Suddenly I wanted her to myself. right now. greedy to hear more. . the words echoed back in the mind.

and radiant happiness flowed through the mind into mine. "Just.. And suddenly. bathed in shock. seeing only darkness – eyes closed? And then reappeared. pulling me with them. "Holy crow... Baby. pressure. Bella gasped in pain. It was the sound. But not the words. minute movements under Bella's skin. Bella's voice echoed on and on as thoughts soared with happiness. The mind embraced them. heating the space between us with her scent." I said softly. Esme's island. the unbelievable comprehension that Bella was talking to him." I whispered in a rough voice..." I said softly. "What's he thinking now?" Bella asked urgently. I waited for the answer to my question to form in her mind. drawn by something deep inside me. "Say something else. But the other option?Impossible. baby. "Shh. I stood on the razor edge of a precipice. "Like what? Edward. I chose the term that had fallen from Bella and Rosalie's lips so many times before. Because what came to me from this mind was gentle. enthralled it. Esme's island.him. Except that there was no other possibility.. . Panic.. But what I was hearing did not fit into my expectations. the cornerstone of its existence. what I was acknowledging. peaceful. looking down. was the mind's whole world. my hands feeling the gentle. not really sure yet what I was saying. "The f-" I paused. For this sound. diffused.. Tentatively. Joy and happiness and contentment. I could not use that word. you can hear him!" Bella yelled. what was below me. what's going on? And. The strange shadows disappeared for a moment. caressing Bella gently. I was not hearing Bella's thoughts. Wanting to move. wanted to hear more. There seemed to be no true comprehension. What had to be true to feed the hate and the fear. I moved my hand towards the movement. I needed. The words were remembered again and again." Bella said softly.. Bella's voice. not sure. Following the thoughts. "The baby likes the sound of your voice. the sensation. the regret. He did not want to hurt her. I stared at Bella. "You startled it. up and up. "It.." Bella said softly. but never from mine. Bella's voice was remembered again and again. The sound of Bella's voice. yet. And feathers. I wasn't sure who I was talking to anymore. But just vagueness. unseeing now.. And the delighted knowledge..Esme's island. I needed to know. what I thought I knew to be true. to confirm. and the cold anger it represented. what's going on?" Edward. Wanting to stretch. Too loud.oh. Bella's eyes remained opened wide. Warmth and contentment battling with discomfort. baby. It." The word stuck in my throat. Everyone was silent for a moment. I had felt earlier. caressed them. that cradled the mind. and pure. at the sound." And there was the sadness. to understand. An unstoppable movement of surprise. realizing even as I spoke something crucial was altering. Shadows moved.he understoodhe had hurt her."What were you thinking about a minute ago?" I pressed. I placed my hands on her stomach. exactly. "Sorry. as the stars continued to sparkle in the dark lavender surrounding.. He was trying not to move that way again. blushing. baby. her hand gently touching her stomach. Suddenly. as the universe swirled. the burst of joy..

"He likes my voice. or hateful. it was. too. her voice filled with delight. quiet and muted. too. I like it." Rosalie said.. swaddled in her body. to glow. They were cresting with unmistakable emotion. or violent. or was it just Bella's surety that influenced my thoughts? I looked up into her eyes. Our child. craning his body slightly toward the place where her hand touched... A mind that did not want to cause pain."It. "What did you call him?" I asked in confusion. liquid world. mindless thoughts of a monster. From far away. a killer. I was thinking.." My mind tried to wrap itself around the scope of this concept." A dark shadow began to move in. My mind was stunned. each shimmering with their own individual prism of light and color. as everything I hadn't wanted tried to weed its way into my thoughts. Too weird?" "No." Bella said in a soft. This was a mind filled with gentle kindness. who sought warmth and happiness." I said in amazement. And relished. The E must be for. pretty baby. of course you're happy. beginning to slip. just like Bella's.. move away. but that of a. of course you are. Not the mind of a monster.a child. I stopped in surprise.. while I floated in a dark. "What—" Happy.but what was the J for? "Yes. His whole . where something was starting to burn.he or she. I pressed a hand against my chest. but happy. "You have the most beautiful voice in the universe. my father's name.. "I kicked a few things around. and Bella unconsciously placed a hand on her stomach. An indescribable feeling of pleasure filled me. "Of course he does. Diamond tears formed in Bella's eyes. not one word.. some barrier. Who wouldn't love it?" The child moved slightly toward the sound of her voice.. realizing it was initials. The fact of what I saw in this mind was so incredible.. "I sort of named him. They were not the twisted. curving with wonder I didn't know existed." I said." I murmured. The child reveled in her attentions. almost worship. It was my voice remembered this time. so unexpected. "He's happy. What was inside Bella was not bloodthirsty.. to hurt. "Your father's name was Edward. I felt some sort of guard. little EJ. struggling to process what was truly occurring. of her presence. "How could you not be. glowing with adoration and happiness. happy. Playing with Renee and Esme. A feeling of utter devotion flowed forth from his mind. "EJ?" I repeated. I was hearing the thoughts of what Bella was carrying.Happy. gliding down her cheeks. and now.. "R-e-n-e-s-m-e-e.Ruh-nez-may. happy. Bella's hand rested on her body between mine. her voice. Her words swirled around in his head as he blinked inside the warm darkness that encased him." said Bella. and adored. I didn't think you would want. the feel of being held. "Of course you're happy. The child could almost sense her. my voice sounding so unlike my own." Did she say Ejay? Her words pulled me away from the mind for a moment. Rosalie asked Bella about girl names." I paused. gentle voice. her hands moving in slow circles around her stomach." "Ruhnezmay?" asked Rosalie. my name. all safe and warm and loved? I love you so much. but so simple. I pushed it away for now. Could I tell that the mind was male.well you know. Bella's skin went scarlet.

and I shattered. I threw them carefully to Jacob. breaking into a million pieces. Don't let our happiness push you down into the pit of hate boiling inside you." I said softly. but the pieces of me were not lost. with her and the simple things about her were everything to him. "He loves you. betrayal. And. I had mindlessly forgotten Jacob. They came back together swiftly. Jacob. we existed together in the warm. as it has always been." I'm sorry. amazingly. that my feelings and his were one and the same. I knelt back quickly beside her. Fierce. The world had shifted in a few precious seconds. I realized. the three of us. He'd trusted me. Every cell of my being was connected to Bella. on this moment. Our lives would be forever entwined. As I watched his back go through the door. as he stood there. Escape. wrapped itself around Bella and I. Something was trying to intrude on my mind. Escape. He shouldn't have to. rebuilding around this new part in my life I hadn't known was missing. he thought. And then. I understood.the quick flutter of a separate heart. bone-deep betrayal. and her eyes were troubled. The only defense that dragged its way up from the pain. and were did he fit into it now? He didn't. and pain. in this world. outside. choking out through my throat. the phone in my pocket buzzed. I would never be the same. I'm all alone now with my hatred and pain. "Where's he going?" whispered Bella. His eyes met mine in a moment of shared understanding. feeling the absolute truth of the words flow through me. Save yourself. worst of all. My head whipped towards his broken face. We were one now. shared love. but now this new mind. "Get away from here. And in a moment of pure crystal clarity. "Go. counted on me to hate what was inside Bella.universe was here. if I could give him nothing else. Because nothing had changed for him. There was no existence beyond her. strong and alive . It was still all death. or without her. Pain so bad I'd take death with a smile just to get away from it. and I felt his agony bubble up inside me. You are so much more than that. and spread out to fill the space surrounding us with wonder. binding us all together in a new and astonishing way. disintegrating as the universe rearranged itself.the Aston Martin." And suddenly. grabbing the keys to a car . barely distinguishable from the thundering of Bella's blood. not right now. hate. radiant beam of a single. I gave myself over to the miracle. There was movement next to me. Counted on me to suffer with him. For words and explanations could not save him. Jacob. I turned back. and love lost. the small. . That I now knew I had never been complete without. changing me. The thoughts battered against me until I could no longer keep them out. And he didn't need to see this. and that. bringing us even closer." I breathed. Suffering. "He absolutely adores you. AndI could give him that. pain. I didn't answer. it emerged. I jumped up and went over to the drawer. trying to draw us closer. and was consumed by a fierce love and tenderness for both of them. I pressed myself to Bella's body. alone. Escape. and then he turned and left without a word. burning glow in my chest exploded within me. this consciousness.

Remorse. He knows me. Incredible. There was nothing for him here." she wondered. I see that he is good." I said quietly. And Bella. caressing gently. He is warm.. that he belongs with us." Bella laughed. "He likes to listen to our voices. I'll try." I murmured. "mostly they are vague impressions. mouth opened. Developed enough to be trying not to hurt her." I breathed. Let him go." she panted. no. "Don't feel bad.you're happy? You. get some air. and Bella's face relaxed. She was shocked at how that small fact made her feel. almost wishing for a moment I could come down into his world where there was truly nothing but her.. considering this.. becoming perfectly still for a moment. and kind." Horror flashed over Bella's face.want him?" "It's hard to describe. An idea began to form in my head. Bella gasped. too. baby."Shh." I said quietly. when he does. He is uncomfortable – the space grows too small for him." I murmured." Baby. stroking my hand over Bella's stomach. "Oh. The pressure ceased. Then Rosalie's eyes glazed over. and remember." Bella breathed. Discomfort suddenly creased the child's thoughts." I glanced at Rosalie. baby." "Tell me more. "Bella. familiar. really. "And I can hear the heartbeat. and her gaze softened as she looked down. "I hear it. Bella blinked at me. pressing a hand to her cheek. too. now. "He's trying not to hurt you. she thought. "Do you think he will come back?" she asked softly. and repeat what we have said in his mind. He understands when you are talking to him. Jacob was heading to the garage. a small moan escaping through her fingers. Rosalie's eyes were wide. and her face went still. I put my other hand on her stomach.. the unavoidable urge to." I closed my eyes. "Carlisle will flip. as well?" asked Rosalie quietly." Let him go. I marveled at his stunning ability to understand the effect of his actions." she crooned." I said. thought Rosalie. Bella covered her mouth with her hand. Her words chimed lightly in the child's head.. "He likes your voice.. "What are his thoughts like? What is he saying?" "Well. "I see. Nothing but pain and heartbreak. . now. laying a hand on her stomach. and it would bear more discussion.. contemplating destroying my car instead of returning it.. "Does he. "He just needs to get out. welcomed. washed through the child's mind. looking down at my hand.. baby. little one. "I think he'll be back. grabbing her stomach.. She had already forgotten Jacob. and she reached out and clenched my hand with hers. later." she whispered." said Bella eagerly.. Her happiness was too overwhelming to keep at bay right now. "He feels. Her heartbeat quickened. Bella." I murmured.. control slowly being regained. Rosalie quickly bent over and pressed her ear to Bella. could you make your heart beat a little softer?" she murmured. and how much he loves you. teeth clenched together. The child was desperately trying to restrain his movements. "It's Ok." I said slowly. slightly overwhelming. "Can the baby hear my voice. Rose. "Gee. Oh. cold and unhappy. "And you." "Oh. Edward. Just like I do. color slowly returning. "Oh. I know it's not your fault. Amazing. Too tight.. and happy. She beamed at Bella. not distinct words.sad.

" I whispered." she said." Bella said firmly. "I am your husband." I moaned." I whispered. I should have listened to you." I moved my hand up to curve around her cheek. tearing back the layers to expose the truth of my misjudgment and mistrust." I said gently. I reached out and lifted her chin. It was beyond leaving her for her own good. "Edward. My hand reached out slightly. could you give us a moment alone. You don't need to be sorry. wishing there was some way I could comfort them both. "See. silver raindrops." I closed the space between us. "Blind. please. recognizing the distress in Bella's voice. trying to frame my thoughts.." Bella said. "You were totally wrong about him!" Her words were not intended to hurt. but they crashed down on me with the weight of the world. I was a wretched curse on her. understand what I was striving for." My voice was rough. I had been dead wrong. or our baby. "After what I wanted to do." "Bella. don't do this. To see you. "I understand. kneeling down in front of her. The shadow. "There is nothing to forgive.. and I should have supported you." The child moved anxiously inside her. I felt like my insides had been turned inside out at the thought. I was a menace to those I loved. They were the simple truth. You were just trying to keep me safe. her eyes on mine. all in the name of protecting her. "Please. "I am so." I looked up at the ceiling. her voice coarse with tears." I choked out. her head slowly moving from side to side. pulling her face up so her eyes looked back into mine." I looked back and saw tears rolling down her cheeks." she said softly. I didn't trust you or listen to you. always trying to help you but ultimately hurting you. Bella. Edward." Bella said soothingly. Bella. I tried to undermine everything you wanted. And the price I had nearly inflicted on us all. You didn't know. unable and unwilling to try to understand. not understanding its origin. I always understood. I'm sorry. although tears were beginning to sparkle again in her eyes. I dragged myself up. trusted your instincts.. "You are the whole world to me." she said softly. "I was wrong.Rosalie sat up." "Bella. "But I was wrong. "You are so forgiving. "Then that's all I need to know. She peered into my eyes. Edward. She shouldn't want me near her. I know that. "Oh. I had nearly destroyed Bella in my attempt to save her. something that could do no right. lashing through me. so. Always wrong. and I need to do more than just protect you. so sorry." "No." "No. She looked down. and tear away from her something she loved. For. though." Bella groaned. after what I tried to do when we got home from the island. "Do not apologize. the blackness I had held back before seeped in now." "But Bella. tears dripping from her eyes onto the floor. "Please. and stupid. hating any distance between us. a bad enough mistake. Edward. and had I gotten my way." I whispered. Bella grew still." I paused. almost feeling as though I should leave.. I need to hear you. Rose evaluated me for a second." "It's OK. and then got up silently and left. "what I felt in that moment when I knew I wanted him?" "Yes. and I wasn't there for you. looking down at her in despair. I had been willing to drug her. then.. "Rose. pulling my hand from Bella's and staggered back a couple of steps. once again. so kind. shaking my head. "Do you understand now. again.. I took a couple of steps backward. You needed me so badly during this time." . "I'm so.

I grasped Bella's hands in mine. "I can't wait to hold him. for now. but then I felt a strange tearing inside. "I love you. Both of you. real. winged beast briefly blocking the sun. "You have to promise me. I wondered what Alice had seen? . She moved slowly toward me. What if I could not save them both at the same time? What if I was handed the power of deciding who to save? I had to believe that fate would not be so cruel. "Sorry. peaceful. "Only a few more days. kissing her cheeks and eyes and neck. "I love you. and I knew she was enjoying finally being able to share her thoughts with me. "I will save you. and. And I still hated the crushing enormity of the risk to Bella. Bella's hands caressed my head. "Edward." Her words paused as she breathed hard. you. a musical murmur of sounds like water running through a brook cascading through the mind." I lay my head on her stomach again. Her voice was light. knowing me too well. Bella.. "So much. pushing the darkness aside. For two things.. closing my eyes. I shook my head. Bella grabbed at me. I promise you that. her eyes still a little defiant. The danger of the birth remained imminent." Rosalie said quietly from the doorway. But it was dark and quiet inside her now. I felt a deep and fundamental satisfaction. I leant down and pressed my lips to Bella's. and a look of desperation flashed on her face. eyes beacons of trust.." she said quietly. like the shadow of a large. Bella sucked in her breath. watching the stars within his own private galaxy. Finally. But as I raised my head to look into Bella's eyes.thank you. taking in a deep breath and letting it out slowly. Edward. shifted slightly. I was fighting for something. I nodded. Bella and I glanced up quickly. eyes open." Her acceptance washed over me. "Resting." Black night eclipsed me suddenly..She looked at me." she sighed. I felt ashamed she had been forced to hide them before. but I could see something working behind them. I think. she nodded. Ignoring it. And this filled me with a deep feeling of power. too. I let the light in. chuckling. The child. "What is he thinking now?" she said. breathing her in." I said. seeing the sudden conflict in my eyes." I said. but. free.. "You don't need to apologize. I realized that although much remained the same. her voice cracking." That must have been who had been calling me. For now I was not fighting against something. You will hold him in your arms. tasting her on my tongue. a newly exposed edge to my priorities lanced through me like a blade. I felt a smile form on my face. more alert from Bella's anxiety. I love you. trying to disengage my thoughts from my conversation with Bella. as it waits for his prey.." she mused. this wall between us finally down. catching my sleeve with her hand and twisting it in her fist. the cruel fear of how much could be lost. and her expression filled with delight. I love you. holding out her phone." she choked out. as a terrible thought. and she laughed. steeling my limbs and my mind with a new purpose. Her hands gripped my shoulders." "You really want to save him. too?" Bella said. My phone buzzed in my pocket again. "Ok.it's Alice – she really wants to talk to you. Edward.you. everything was different. "Edward .

Rosalie put the phone in my hand. "I didn't tell her," she whispered, smiling slightly. "I thought you might like to share the news." Her eyes were cautious, and I smiled back. I took the phone and put it to my ear. "EDWARD CULLEN!" shrieked Alice. "Why haven't you been taking my calls? Why do I have visions of you smiling? Why do I see you hugging Rosalie?" I glanced up, and Rosalie raised her eyebrows. "But Bella is still so blurry. What's going on?" "Everything's OK, Alice," I said, smiling at Bella. But Bella still looked wary. I could tell she wanted to talk more with me. "More than OK. Where are you?" "Jazz and I are almost home," she snapped. "Answer my questions! What has changed? What...oh..." she paused, pulling in a breath. "Why did everything just disappear?" Damn it. I had not been paying attention. My head snapped up, and I immediately sensed the movement outside. A wolf was approaching, and I felt a stab of shock at who it was. Leah was coming, and she was not happy. Breaking Dawn Edward Point Of View (Part—4) Stephanie Meyers owns all things Twilight! Chapter 16—Untrue Enlightenment, whether it is desired or not, can come from the most unlikely sources. "Uh, Bella's OK, but I've got to go, Alice," I said quickly. "Edward," she yelled. I snapped the phone shut. Jacob had not closed the door when he left, and Leah slunk in now, her lithe, gray form curving around the corner of the door. She had seen Jacob driving off. She had seen the look on his face. Seth was screaming in her head. Get out of there, Leah! You're too angry. Let me talk to them! He was racing towards the house, flying through the woods, many miles out. She ignored him, her angry eyes on me. I stood, angling my body in front of Bella. Rosalie remained behind Bella, hands clutching the couch in tight fists. "Hello, Leah," I murmured. She growled. What did you do to Jake, you putrid bloodsucker? I started slightly at the venom in her words. "Leah, listen," I said, raising my hands in front of me. She cocked her head, peering around me at Bella. Or maybe I should be asking her. I took a step forward, trying to divert her attention from Bella back to me. "No one intentionally tried to hurt Jacob," I said softly. Her head swung back to me, and the growling grew louder and deeper. The hair on the back of her neck stood up and she bared her teeth. Liar, she thought. I heard Bella gasp, and I moved my arms out in a protective gesture. There was a blur of gold, and then Jasper stood in front of me, inches from Leah. He and Alice had come in the back door, and he had leapt the space of the room. He

crouched down, snarling quietly, and Leah stumbled backwards a couple of steps, the growl dying in her throat. She snuffed, and tried to look around him at me.What happened to Jake? What did you do? The searing misery of Jacob's expression as he drove past her was burned into her mind. She had raced to catch the car, but Jacob had no intention of stopping or turning back. "We didn't do anything to him," I said, although I wondered if that was really true. "You see, he was here, with us, when I realized that I could hear the thoughts of the child. When I understood he wasn't a monster." Leah's eyes widened in shock, and I heard a sharp hiss from Alice by the door. Jasper's head whipped towards me. What the hell are you talking about, Edward? I waved away the question. We could explain after Leah left. Child? Leah's teeth bared. I assume you mean the thing she's carrying. The thing causing this whole spectacle. So what? What about Jake? "Well..." I tried to think of the best way to explain it. "Everything changed, you see, when I understood his thoughts. And for Jacob, well, he was upset that I..." Ugh. "I thought it would be easiest if he left." She stared at me for a moment, then snarled deeply and turned around. I relaxed, letting out my breath, and Jasper straightened up. But Leah didn't move towards the door. She moved swiftly out of our view into the dining room. Jasper glanced at me. "She's going to phase," I whispered in surprise. Leah, No! Seth shouted. And then he was gone. We both felt the vibration in the next room, the intangible movement of air as a body transformed. Stupid, filthy, reeking bloodsuckers, Leah fumed, furious to have to face us in her human form. But she wanted answers. From him, and from the girl. I stiffened, concerned. There was the swift sound of clothes being pulled on and then she appeared at the door. I had never actually seen Leah before with my own eyes – only through the thoughts and memories of others. Her face and hands were dirty, and her hair was matted and stood out from her head. It was hard to see in her the girl she had once been. Oh my, thought Alice, taking in her tattered clothes. Her fashion sensibilities were being seriously insulted. She dresses even worse than Bella. Leah marched over to me, shoving at Jasper to move when he stepped in her way. He glanced at me incredulously.Is she for real? I shrugged, and then nodded, and he moved a couple steps aside. I'd much rather she spoke to me than Bella. Plus, Jacob

was the pack leader, and she deserved answers. She came to stand right in my face. Leah's eyes narrowed into slits. "So, I get it," she snarled. "You can hear its thoughts, and so you're happy all of a sudden, and then it's get out Jake, we don't need your help anymore. Thanks for the memories." "No, Leah, of course not," I said, exasperated. "Oh, Leah, no, it's not like that. Did you talk to him?" Bella said from behind me. I shook my head, waving my hand behind me, trying to silence her. But before I could stop her, as if she couldn't help herself, Bella went on. "Did he say if he was coming back?" That was a mistake. Leah's eyes burned her head as she turned her furious glare on Bella. "Are you serious?" she snarled. "Look, I'm sorry you've got some half breed freak inside you that is going to tear you to shreds. That really sucks. But after everything you've done to him, you are, incredibly, still asking for him to come back?" Bella made a gasping sound. Leah's hand curled into tight fists. "You just can't stop yourself from dragging him down into your personal hell, holding him here to watch you die for another man and his killer offspring. I don't know what to make of you – if you are delusional, cruel, or just plain heartless like the blood sucking vampire you want to become!" "Hey, now," I snapped, putting a hand on her arm. She had no right to talk to Bella this way. She smacked me away, breaking a small bone in her finger. She didn't even flinch. Her eyes flashed at me and back to Bella. "Do you have any idea what it is like to be in his head? Do you have any idea what kind of pain he is in?" She eyed me. "I'll bet your vamp does, and he doesn't tell you. Do you understand how much he loves you? How you tore him to pieces when you used him as a bloodsucker stand in when this leech left you, and then threw him aside when he came back?" I started to speak, but she barreled on. "And now here you are again, married, knocked up, and still hanging onto him, still using him, still hurting him. "Leah," choked Bella. She was starting to cry. The baby was very still, absorbing this new voice in his world. "I don't want to hurt Jake! I love him." "Don't say that!" Leah shrieked. "How can you say that and yet keep torturing him again and again. He's being torn apart, dying along with you! You're so selfish!" Leah was breathing hard, her pulse racing. I glanced at Jasper, concerned, unsure how

developed Leah's control was. He nodded and closed his eyes, trying to calm her. Leah sensed him immediately. Manipulative bastards. She turned her face to Jasper. "Don't even try it," she snarled. "I know all about you. Don't mess with me." But Jasper's calm had the intended affect, whether she liked it or not. She drew in a deep breath, turning back to Bella, her voice quieter. "Jake is my pack leader, and my friend. He is good, and kind, and strong. He is loyal to his family and friends. He is even loyal to you and your bloodsucking husband, after all you've done to him. Do you understand what that loyalty is costing him?" Tears streamed down Bella's face as she nodded. For god's sake, enough with the waterworks, Leah thought. She tried to soften her expression. "He deserves so much more than this half-life you've forced on him," she said, her voice lower now, fervent. "He shouldn't have to keep paying for your mistakes. He needs a chance to heal. He deserves love, and happiness, not pain." I was shocked by how much Leah felt for Jacob. How deep the bond ran now. That Leah felt it had been Jacob who had given her a way out of her own pathetic half-life. "You're right Leah," Bella sobbed. "I know I shouldn't ask him to be here. I can't explain it. It's just that I need him so much right now." Leah's temper exploded. "You're impossible! Have you heard anything I've said? Don't you care what he needs? How he feels? Leave him alone!" The air around her began to shimmer, and she took a step forward. "Leave him alone!" she shrieked. "Christ," I hissed moving a step backwards to protect Bella. Alice and Rosalie appeared quickly at my side. Jasper had had enough. He stepped forward and grabbed her arm. "It's time for you to go," he snarled, pushing her backwards. "No, Jasper," gasped Bella. "What if I'm not ready to leave," hissed Leah. Am I allowed to kill her, Edward? Jasper thought. "Not yet," I muttered. I was infuriated. I should have thrown her out the second she opened her mouth, rather than let her hurt Bella like this. I took a step towards her, and Alice and Rosalie closed in behind me. "Don't hurt her, Edward," cried Bella, trying to see around them. I would not hurt her, if she left right now. Leah's hands were beginning to shake, her thoughts angry and disordered. "Get out of here, Leah," I snapped. "So help me, get out before you phase, or we will throw you out." A body ran swiftly through the front yard, and large foots pounded up the front steps.

The door banged aside and Seth stood in the frame, breathing hard, dressed only in a hastily pulled on pair of pants. He looked around the room, seeing we were all still standing, still in one piece. I'm in time, I'm in time, he thought in relief. "Hi guys," he said. Rosalie hissed at him, but he didn't acknowledge her. He moved slowly into the room towards his sister. "Hey, Leah." His eyes hardened slightly as he saw Jasper's hand on her arm. Jasper let go and took several steps backwards. Leah was still trembling slightly, her expression blank but her eyes still fixed on Bella. Seth took her hand and tugged gently, leading her out. "We'll just be going now," he said. He looked in concern at Bella, whose face was bright red and streaming with tears. "Uh, sorry." They disappeared out the door, phasing as soon as they hit the woods. Leah, what did you say! Seth thought. I shut them out. It was quiet for a minute, except for Bella's breathing, which hitched erratically. "Well, that was unexpected," commented Alice. And then Bella burst into wracking sobs. Rosalie sat down quickly on the edge of the couch next to her, trying to comfort her, but Bella pushed her hands away. "Oh god," she cried, her voice bordering on hysterical. "She's right, she's so right. What am I doing to Jake? I'm hurting him so much! I'm a selfish monster!" Her hands wrung together, twisting, as she struggled to get up. I groaned, grinding my teeth together. Damn that Leah. I was going to talk to Jacob about this. If he came back. I eyed Jasper and he nodded, turning to face Bella. He went all out, sending a crushing wave of lethargy at her. Her hands relaxed and her heartbeat slowed. "Stop it, Jasper," she muttered. But she sank back into the couch, her head laying back and her eyelids fluttering. "Don't," she groaned. "I don't deserve it." But she lay quiet, still. "All right, Edward," Jasper said, moving to put his arm around Alice. "Explain what's been going on." I walked over to Bella, taking her hand in mine. "I can hear the baby's thoughts, now," I said softly, looking between the two of them. Baby? Alice thought in disbelief. I nodded. I glanced back down at Bella, and she raised her head a little to meet my eyes, smiling slightly. Jasper's face was skeptical. "You can hear its thoughts?" he asked, gesturing towards Bella. I nodded again. "And..." he prompted. And so what does that mean? "I was wrong," I said simply. "The child is good – gentle and kind. He doesn't want to

hurt Bella. He loves her." Bella squeezed my hand lightly. Alice's eyebrows flew up. She and Jasper exchanged a glance, and she reached forward to touch my arm. "Maybe you should have gone hunting, Edward," she said quietly. "No," I groaned, shaking her off. "I'm not hallucinating or going crazy." "Come on, you guys," said Rosalie. "Don't you see? Edward can hear the baby now. He wants him too, just like me and Bella. He's on our side now." Jasper's face hardened at this. "Shut up, Rose," I muttered. "It's not like that." "So," Alice said slowly, "you can hear the fetus's thoughts now, and everything is OK?" Her eyes continued to be skeptical. Just like that? I had never realized how difficult it would be to make others understand. Alice and Jasper had been my faithful supporters during the war I'd created, loyal to what I wanted for Bella. And concerned for her in her own right. I had been able to actually experience the child's mind, to wrap myself in his thoughts, and realize what he meant to me. But for Alice and Jasper it was harder to comprehend the change. I would have to peel away the animosity, the deep-rooted fear and anger that I myself had created. "No," I said quietly. "Everything is not OK. Bella is still in grave danger." I looked at Alice and Jasper. Their expressions were guarded. I went on, my voice soft. "But when I saw into his mind, when I shared his thoughts, Iknew he wasn't a monster. He couldn't be. And then, when I realized he loved Bella..." I paused, thinking about how to express what I had felt in that moment. "When I understood that, I knew he belonged with us. And that I loved them both." "Edward," Alice whispered, her eyes wide with amazement. "Alice," Bella said, reaching for her hand. Alice gave it to her slowly. "He's happy. He likes to listen to our voices. He's trying not to hurt me." Alice looked down, wanting to believe her. She wondered how to see past all the pain and danger for Bella, and find something good. "Alice, Jasper," I murmured. "I know this must seem like a very sudden change of heart. And after everything I've said, and the way I've acted, I don't blame you for not trusting this right away. For not trusting me." I swallowed hard. "I just wish that you could hear what I can in his thoughts. And see how much he loves Bella. She is his whole world." I brushed Bella's cheek lightly. "It's not that we don't trust you, Edward," said Alice. "We just need to adjust, a little. To understand." He's really trying not to hurt Bella?

"Yes," I said quietly. "He's amazingly aware. He is taking in everything around him, and he is trying very hard not to move in a way that hurts Bella." Suddenly Jasper, who had been standing behind Alice, drew in a sharp breath. "My god," he whispered. We all looked quickly at him. He was staring intently at Bella, eyes burning vivid gold. "I feel him," he said slowly. "I feel him separate from Bella. I didn't realize before. I didn't try." Moving very, very slowly, allowing me to determine he was safe, he moved around Alice and approached Bella, dropping down to one knee beside the couch. He put his hand over her body, and then, very gently, placed just his fingertips onto her stomach. "Oh," he breathed. We watched him as he silently took in the child's feelings, adjusting himself to this new emotional landscape. "There are definitely two distinct sets of emotions," he said slowly, "although they are tied together. Bella, you are a little anxious, and that anxiety does color what, uh, he is feeling. But his own emotions are stronger, separate." "What is he feeling?" asked Rosalie. "Happiness," said Jasper, his voice tinged with surprise. "Love." He closed his eyes and inhaled deeply, as if drawing these emotions into himself, so different from the agony and despair he had been such a part of lately. No, he thought. Not a monster. His eyes opened, clear and calm, meeting mine. His thoughts were still shadowed with skepticism, but he couldn't deny the gentle goodness that flowed from the baby. "Do you see?" I whispered. Jasper nodded slightly. I think I do, Edward, he thought. I'm trying. Jasper looked up at Alice. "I can tell you this much," he said softly. "It's wonderful to share his emotions. To feel the happiness and contentment that he feels." "Oh, Jazz," murmured Alice, seeing the reflection of the child's emotions in his eyes. She sat down on his knee, kissing his cheek and then turned to look at Bella. "He loves you," she said quietly, disbelief battling hope. Bella nodded. Alice reached out hesitantly and put her hand on Bella. "He can really hear my voice?" she asked. Bella glanced at me, and I smiled and nodded. "He's listening right now. He is familiar with your voice." "And I'm sure he loves it," Bella said. "You're his aunt!" Alice blinked. "His aunt?" "Yes, silly," laughed Bella.

" She cut herself off. "What can I do to make you feel better?" I asked softly. It's on the back porch. "How about a bath?" suggested Rosalie. "They went looking for more blood to buy – Carlisle sent what he could. shaking my head slightly.. thought Alice. I reached out my hand. and then looked at me. Rose." Bella moaned. or family in general. and there had apparently been something of an argument. But I love Bella. Alice thought. Bella looked up. I gave her hand a quick kiss.if only I could have foreseen this. Alice had very little experience babies.. "so here we are. She covered her face with her hands." "And I'll need to talk to Carlisle. . Bella was still sobbing quietly. Carlisle is going to call me when they start to head home so I can watch the route they take. To see you happy. glancing at Bella.. "And Jasper didn't want to leave me. and near a hospital. I smiled at her. Alice moved her hand back to Bella. "Oh. but it was too late. again." I said. So much might have been different. She burdened herself too much. feeling she had let me down. outside of our small clan. "They were heading into some heavily populated areas. Edward.." Jasper's mouth was in a thin line. tears filling her eyes again." Alice continued. I leaned over close to her. "Where are the others?" I asked. "This would be a lot more enjoyable without the headache. Jake. Carlisle thought it was best to keep Emmett with him. turning the concept around in her mind. So how could I not love what is theirs? Bella put her hand on Alice's. "Why didn't he come back?" "Well. And I love Edward. "I wonder when.Aunt. she thought. bursting to talk to Emmett." Alice spoke up. It was her simple presence and support that gave me strength. He had resented Carlisle's implication of his weakness. grimacing. and she put hers in it. I sighed and patted Bella's back. fiercely regretting her inability to see. before releasing it. and they smiled at each other. "Nothing. she thought. What she didn't realize was that she was so much more than her gift. squeezing gently." Rosalie was disappointed. "Maybe I'll give him a call. Then Alice's eyes found mine. and. Sorry. "Where's Emmett?" asked Rosalie." Alice said. Left without human memories. well. Sorry. She wasn't really sure what the word meant to her – she had no context to put it in." said Jasper. glancing quickly at Jasper. Oh Edward." she said. I'm so sorry.

My reaction seemed. privately. She was heading towards the kitchen. I had been absolutely furious at the time. wanting to move. too. and I placed my hands on her back. thinking it an idiocy that would only encouraged Bella more." she said. very short sighted now. "Plus. Feeling she was finally freed of the necessity of protecting Bella from me at all times. Rosalie was concerned about the traditional baby bottles. And it would give Alice and Jasper a chance to talk." I whispered. Soon after we had arrived home. As we went upstairs. to explore her." she said. "But I think the last thing you need is a giant ice-cube in the bath with you." I murmured. we passed Rosalie heading down. until I heard the faucets turn off. formula and diapers. Rosalie went upstairs to fill the large tub with the jets in Esme and Carlisle's bathroom. Inspired by her metalwork in creating the dog bowl for Jacob. She was worried how we would feed the baby. "Want to join me?" she asked. I set her down standing on the bathroom floor and gently removed her clothes. she wanted to create something stronger for the baby to drink from. she was concerned what he might do to a rubber bottle. I leaned over and kissed her forehead. obviously. I rubbed Bella's back gently as she cried. I'm not sure there's room for more that just you in there. cheerful again. Rosalie had had Emmett purchase some baby supplies. Some sort of bottle/cup hybrid she referred to in her mind as a "sippy cup". she wrapped her arms around me. about everything. I leaned down and carefully . If the child's teeth were anything like ours. "I do. feather against steel. Bella and I entered the steamy bathroom. Her skin pulsed beneath my hands. smiling."If Edward will help me. I felt a shiver run through her body. My palms tingled. hitting my arm. I shook my head – at least she had more of a plan than I did. I just hadn't wanted to consider anything about what might happen after the birth – I had only wanted to think about Bella. When I stood up. including bottles. "I remember the baths we took together on the island. It would be a good way for her to relax. "Of course." she said softly." I grinned at her. and then I scooped her gently up into my arms. She clung to my shoulders while I bent down to take the socks off her feet. her voice dancing. she was anxious to work on something." "Hey.

the lavender edged with rose tones. Bath. and rolled contentedly. I washed Bella's hair. As I gently washed Bella. As I closed the door I heard Rosalie approach. They were the tangible evidence of the willing sacrifice of her body. akin to pride. "What?" Bella asked. others an unsettling shade of yellow. also. rinsing it with clean water from the tap. He repeated my words. the movement forcing out tears. that his mind was not just enjoying our voices. not really touching but instead gliding over the warmth trapped between her skin and mine. The bruises were. I traced one of the bruises with my finger.picked her up and lowered her into the tub. my hand on Bella's stomach. looking down. something. sitting her on the bed. suddenly. I smiled. warm sensation in my chest. briefly. to finally begin to understand why she was willing to bear them. I realized. thinking about all they symbolized that I hadn't been able to see before. I paused suddenly. in the minds of babies before. my voice. the baby's world was brighter. Her eyes were liquid. At the same time.grotesque. and she smiled back. to what she considered a greater love. My fingers moved over the dark black and purple marks. Just as she had always been willing to sacrifice her body. The marks reflected her limitless devotion to her unborn child. This mind was so far beyond anything I had encountered at this state of development. I lifted her out. I had caught the wisps of thoughts that emanated from pregnant women. still there . "Ahh. sinking into the warm water. glittering brown gems set in the pale landscape of her skin. some dark and fresh. I had been. "I think the baby likes the bath as well. the jets sending bubbling streams around her. It was an odd sensation. snow against storm clouds. her human body. She was anxious to call Emmett. As I came back up. and she lay with her head back and eyes shut. in his thoughts. wrapped her in a large towel. . I felt a strange. She sat outside the door. and yet. creating a vocabulary that would later be placed into context. I laughed softly. soon indistinguishable from the moisture of the bath. to feel the familiar horror and guilt. I noticed Bella's face was turned to me." she sighed. as well as Bella's relaxation. Bath. I leaned over and kissed her mottled skin gently. for our love. It was also memorizing our words. of course. the baby sensed the enveloping warmth. which emerged from the corners of her eyes and trailed down her face. I marveled at his advanced development. I realized. and carried her into the bedroom. waiting for me to finish with Bella. and knew I wanted to talk to Carlisle as well. twilight instead of night." With Bella's stomach exposed to the light.

"Oh. to stay. It's just there is something inside me. and wait to see if she would return. For so many reasons – I'd like to say out of respect for his privacy. like all of us." she said softly. That I want her to choose me. For I knew that." She looked up at me quickly. I could guess what – who – she was thinking about. "You're not forcing anyone. Bella. She started to cry again. And we both know I'd be so much better for her. from Jacob. "You know it's not a romantic thing. and he makes his own choices. "when he is here. Bella. but the truth was it was more often fear. Jacob is his own person. and closed my eyes for a moment. anger or jealousy. I remembered driving Bella to La Push. And she might have misinterpreted my intentions if I told her before he said anything. I'm not going to make it easy for you anymore. listening to Jacob's thoughts scream at me from a mile out." I took her hand. pulling out a pair of drawstring pajama pants and a large t-shirt. he is in pain." She didn't know how inaccurate that statement was. There had been so much I had not said. You're hard to get over – believe me. her . either. "Edward. "He's worried for you. around me. pulling me out of my memory." I said." I nodded. "And I keep forcing him to visit. bloodsucker. kissing her fingertips. if I had even tried.I looked through the pile of clothes. at one time. Bella sat on the bed. So I'd only been able to watch her go. I know." She laughed. I'm going to tell her that I love her." "But it's worse. I sighed and sat on the bed with her. some part of me. I don't want to hurt you. Bella. sighing. Around us." I came over to the bed with clothes and started to help her get dressed." Her voice was shaking. short and hard. quiet and somber now. It's bad enough that I intrude on them. "You've never had a problem letting me know what Jake has been thinking before. Bella placed a hand on my cheek. "Is Jacob really in bad pain? Tell me what he is thinking. You can't feel bad if he chooses to continue seeing you – that is not your fault. Edward. "He still loves you." she said quietly. that just needs him to be here. And what could I have said? I had to let her go her own way. "I don't want to share his private thoughts. "Yes." Impossible. not shared." Bella swallowed a sob.

.. life spun in such a way that made it impossible to go on." She struggled. leaning her body slowly towards mine. I put my arm around her to draw her close. how can I promise that? I can't imagine how. "Promise me." Her voice was sharp. part of me feared those romantic feelings for him still festered somewhere inside her. pulling her up until she was kneeling on the bed. and then me. Bella was watching me. I had already seen that Bella was willing to trade her life for his." Her eyes bore through mine. I had borne witness to it every long second since we had arrived home. "Edward. smooth like silver on my palm. it seemed." "You can promise me!" she cried. simultaneously rocked with sheer amazement by the child's ability to associate the voice with the name. and wiped her tears away with the back of her hand. I'm going to tell him he doesn't need to hang around anymore. "Edward. I was rattled. her eyes troubled. The direction of her thoughts had changed. trying to get to her knees. I looked down at her. "When Jake comes back. The baby replayed Bella saying his name. Bella. But she grabbed my arm. gladly. I opened my eyes. "Promise. Drops of moisture fell from it. or me. She put both hands on my face. and stroked her wet hair." she said. And I thought about what . Jake. hanging onto the headboard. But sometimes. dampening the t-shirt against her back. She would always. But almost enough. that wrapped around Jacob's voice in his mind. take that pain on herself. wincing. but I did wish I understood her pull towards him. seeing how much she wanted him around now. Save him first. She relented reluctantly... you have to promise me.. if things go badly – you save him first. without hurting others.Jacob's voice. Edward. because it wasn't in her heart to want to bring pain to anyone. I knew this. I pressed her fragile form against my chest. and longing. I reached down and put my hands under her arms. not if it is hurting him." I drew in a sharp breath." she breathed. Edward. "Bella. It hadn't been enough. Jake. And I couldn't deny that. And then. I stiffened. Get him out. turning me back to her. and stood up abruptly to go and get Bella a sweatshirt.feelings had been more than friendship. Bella took a deep breath. and rubbed raw by the affection. "Him first.. She didn't want to hurt Jacob. I knew this was just unfounded insecurity. to live. I looked down into her fathomless eyes.

without saving him. Rosalie?" she asked. She nodded. and I will find a way to save you both. I had already accepted that Bella would be turned. Carlisle – the whole family. and we knew that he was cognizant of his actions. Bella. the course that would have to shape all my decisions and actions going forward. and him to be gone. I took her face between my hands. successful way. I promise. this awareness of the only path to salvation. He will be with you. but I was not." she whispered. "Rosalie and Emmett will care for him." "Rosalie will always be here for him. I probably should have been upset that this thought came to her so quickly. "Nothing's going to happen to you." I said softly. her voice cautious. The reason. what it really meant to her. And I just had to believe there was a way to get them both through the birth. You keep your heart beating. my hands falling to my side. For simply. "What do you mean." I looked up over her head. . It reassured me. always. brown eyed baby." I said." To save us all. for her to live. even if Bella and I were forced to leave him behind in our way out of this world. And now that I could hear the child's thoughts. What it would mean. I won't let it. blinking the tears out of her eyes. "I will. The reason I would honor her request." I looked down at her. I just want to know that he is safe. the utter truth of the situation I had never been able to see." I said. sitting together on a porch somewhere. I realized." Bella's forehead wrinkled. She and Emmett. I could only save her by saving him. filling me with the knowledge that this child would be loved and cherished." Bella's voice was strained. "Edward. "I promise. You will still be here with him.that meant. "I know. cradling a small. I could not save Bella. and for him. And Esme. And then. "She is almost as attached to him as we are. why all my attempts to save Bella when we arrived home had been in vain. Keep it beating for me. The vision was already forming in Rosalie's head. "And you promise me this. it blossomed before me. as gently as I would cup a rose. "Here without you?" I asked quietly. "But if it does. cold and certain. there was no reason the birth could not proceed in a planned." she said. dark haired. where she sat out in the hall. I accepted it now. and taken care of. "He won't be with Rosalie.

"Yes. you know. concerned. stroking her hair. Stretching out endlessly. that one parent would live on. Tell me you won't. is always the enemy. She moaned at my silence. Oh god. for other. to see if he could help calm her. Bella was essential to my very being. don't worry. pleaded and bribed her to extend her human life. I crossed the room and pressed Bella's face to my chest. kissed it. I knew that they lived for their children. falling weightlessly through our outstretched hands. without the other. sometimes terrible. I turned from the window to face her. So I did the only thing I could do in that moment. thought Alice warningly. Everyone paused around the house. I did not have it anymore. and then turned from her and went over to the window. strengths. over 90 years ago. I lied. it seems. I took her hand from behind my neck. heart racing. of course. I shook my head slightly. to watch over our child. with him. who had begged. that would now be . I know. It was sunny today. a dozen different shades of green. You need to stay here. "I won't. But this is different. looking down. Her heart raced faster and faster." But I could not exist on. "Shh." she snapped. the one who had always wanted more time for Bella. unable to speak. "Bella. I had. been in the minds of parents. breathing hard. The panic in her eyes started to rise again. But I was not human. or slipping away too quickly. Jasper started to make his way to the bedroom. Chapter 17—Time Time. if Bella died. Edward. So I would just have to find a way to make sure that did not happen. to think. don't do anything. And whatever strength those humans had that made it possible for them carry on. "I know what happened last time. shaking her head. "Say you won't follow me. I thought about what it meant to be in this world without Bella.." she practically snarled." I murmured. without me. Bella.. beyond a horizon we can't see. I knew that if tragedy struck. The grass glimmered." She was still on her knees on the bed. It seemed ironic that it was me.She reached out with her hand and grabbed me behind the neck. I watched how the sun danced off the water flowing in the river. "Tell me Edward. angled beams of reflected fire lighting up the forest around it." "Yes. It had been traded. hands beginning to shake. if I go. and I did not exist without her." she said desperately." she wailed. Edward. to take care of the child. "If something happens to me." I had to move. of human parents.

ask to strip away what little time she had left. Carlisle. "What do you mean. and we will be there as soon as possible.the one to ultimately." "I love you. he is going to end up hurting Bella." I said. Edward. "Edward. although his mood was tempered." "Ok. I'm hoping we should be home by noon. "We will need to discuss this more when I return. her eyes dark and still. "I understand." He laughed softly." I whispered. several feet away. "Let's discuss this with Bella. I'm so sorry we aren't home with you. to look into Rosalie's face. turning my back to her and heading down the stairs. as was mine.I wanted her to hear this. Jasper was standing. holding her eyes with mine. Edward?" Carlisle asked cautiously. Esme got on the phone. That was fine . Even though he is trying not to. your mother wants to talk to you again. Edward. Rosalie followed. when I'm not sure there is any benefit for him to stay in the womb any longer. My suggestion to Carlisle that I didn't think we needed to wait four more days for the birth was greeted by surprised silence on the other end of the line." "I know. "Hold on. His body just can't be that far behind. Rosalie was behind me. I love you. glancing away from Rosalie. "The child shows incredible mental development. Esme. "I'm going to talk to them now. I wish I could be there. It had been all Carlisle could do to convince Esme they had to wait another night. Carlisle and Esme had been immediately accepting of the changed situation. He was surprisingly concerned to discover this very human element to the baby. "Take care of Bella. listening intently." I sighed. and I hung up the phone and turned to face Rosalie. having gotten over any initial shock they might have felt hearing Rosalie recounting the story for Emmett by the time they got on the phone with me. too. We will make it work – I promise you. her head on her stomach. Esme had simply been overjoyed that I had finally been able to find some meaning." I said." "But Rosalie and Bella will not agree. some happiness. suspicious and uncertain. "We'll figure this out." "Thanks." Carlisle said quietly. She opened her mouth. Esme. in the end. watching. but I held up my hand. Carlisle. eyes wide." I said in a low voice. "The blood bank will open in the morning." "When will you be home?" I asked. Carlisle had been utterly fascinated by the child's mental capabilities. We will leave immediately after we obtain some more blood. The line disconnected." I murmured. I would convince him then. Alice was kneeling next to Bella. I turned my head full around." she said softly. She was staring at me. by the unchanged weight of the physical risks of the birth. "It's no longer necessary to wait that long." I said. . "It's enough to just hear the change in your voice. Carlisle. listening to the heartbeat." said Carlisle. in all of this.

surrounding her warm. "The delivery will go much more smoothly if it is planned. "I think that my ability to see into his mind is a far more accurate way to judge his development than counting centimeters.Alice stood up when I approached." I whispered. much safer for him." "No. as anxious as me. And sometimes it is difficult for him to control his movements." she said quietly. "It's okay to be nervous. and I was suddenly worried it was fear . eyes searching mine. Alice glanced at me. "But will it be safe. too big for the space. we don't have to do this tomorrow. We have time to think about it. She was unable to hold back any longer.. She reached out and smoothed a strand of hair off her forehead." I took her hand in both of mine. actually. "I'd like to discuss delivering the baby as soon as possible. pliant skin in an iron shell of safety." I said." Her heart beat picked up slightly. and then sat down gently on the edge of the couch next to Bella." Rosalie pressed. "I'm not scared. and then at me. for him?" she asked. I'm so sorry. I could see she was wavering. Edward. but still. stay. "But there really isn't any way to know for sure. Bella's eyes widened in surprise. Why had I been so quick to push this plan? What if Bella wasn't ready? "Love. you know Bella and I have made it very clear we don't want to deliver the baby until he is completely developed. let me explain to Bella. Tomorrow. "Bella. even if he doesn't want to hurt you. I looked back at Bella. Bella. her face pensive. shaking her head." I said quietly. "I think this is actually the safest route for both of you. glaring at her before turning to back to Bella. how can you be sure?" "Hold on. rather than waiting. my chest feeling tight." I said. Something else glinted in her eyes. She glanced at Rosalie. trying to keep my voice even. I didn't mean to rush things.. in some ways. I glanced up at her. "And so much safer for you." I said to both of them." I said gently." she said quickly." Bella nodded slightly. But she was also hesitant. I heard what you said to Carlisle. "Yes. I turned to look at Bella. "His mind is one of a fully developed baby – well advanced beyond that." "Do you really think so?" Bella whispered. I can't believe his body isn't similarly developed. if you are scared. "He's uncomfortable." "You really think he is developed enough?" Bella asked again. kneeling down next to her. no. and Rosalie's teeth clamped together. I'm not." I said. "I think we have drastically underestimated the child's development. . "Edward. "No." I said. for the delivery to be over. moving over to Jasper.

This isn't just about protecting Bella? This is the safest thing for him as well? I returned her gaze." she breathed." Her eyes went to Rosalie. "Believe me Bella. like his father. I guess. too. standing behind the couch. and asked to shoulder the weight of a decision like this. "And apparently smart for his age." she said. defensive walls of mistrust and suspicion. "I guess maybe I am a little nervous. Finally. "I think Edward is right. and she nodded slightly." she whispered. trying to see around her own walls she had built up. "Well. How you are feeling is perfectly natural. She would just have to find some faith in me. And strong. and her gaze moved back to Bella's face.. "But even though I'll admit I'm a little nervous. "I mean. ." Bella protested. we are all with you on this. still smiling. Alice leaned forward and touched her forehead to Bella's. She put a hand on Bella's knee." She laughed." she glanced around the room. "I don't want to pressure you. biting her lip. I just want to be sure that he is ready. Her eyes rested on mine for a long moment. "Me too. "No one expects you to be impossibly brave." I nodded. shrugging. looking uncomfortable. I truly think this speaks to his developmental level. I just want things to be as safe as possible for both of you. "For now!" Alice laughed lightly. looking up at me. he definitely is big. "Well. Jasper shifted slightly." Bella looked down at her stomach. not really. love. now I feel nervous. I glanced at her in surprise. her face set. Edward. too. "This is entirely up to you. He smiled gently. I am ready. I'm so ready – I'm done waiting. thinking hard. a decision that not only encompassed her own life and death." he said. "I've done that enough. slow breath and then let it out. She pulled in a long. "You're only human." she admitted." Bella looked around and nodded. but I went on. "We'll get through this together. she sighed." Bella looked at me." Jasper added." I squeezed her hands slightly. Then she turned to me.."I'm not. to be so young. but didn't answer. very much in control of his movements most of the time. "He is cognizant of his body and surroundings. who wouldn't. I turned to look at Rosalie." Bella shook her head. but that was also tangled and weaved into the lives and futures of everyone she loved. "Me three." Rosalie said softly. Well. "Thanks. her eyes shining softly." I murmured." I said softly. I wondered what it was for her.

all right. Jasper nodded towards the edge of the room. It had originally seemed like Sam wasn't going to . "Charlie will be calling in 15 seconds. We will have to go. holding her hand above it. "Planning the birth for tomorrow doesn't leave us much time to prepare to leave. "It is the same issue as always. Different. I guess. very much so. But I knew he was right about the treaty. Bella." I wasn't sure he was right about Jacob. giving Bella some privacy. smiling and nodding at Bella. It was better if Charlie didn't get the chance to start asking any of us questions. making sure he wasn't planning a surprise visit." she murmured." Jasper said quietly. not in the way that they fear. bite her. "It will be very difficult. I kissed Bella's hand and stood up. "You think this will be over after the birth?" He shook his head. Bella's smile had turned radiant. I can't disagree with what you are saying. just like us. Alice had been checking in on Charlie occasionally." "No. that he wasn't. And we will no longer have the support of her wolf. with or without the FBI and the entire Fork's Police department. "This is so exciting!" she said. Edward. not matching the warmth shining off of Bella. the treaty is off. He will be protected under the treaty. Edward. traveling with a newborn." Leave? "There's no way I'm taking the chance of moving her now. at this time. How different we didn't yet know." I said firmly. "They were willing to kill us all. she picked it up and brought it swiftly to Bella. A chill that went through my mind.Yes." Jasper nodded thoughtfully." "Do you think the standoff will continue?" I asked him. she thought. "Tomorrow. and we moved just into the dining room. kissing my cheek. Jasper's laugh was hard." Alice laughed weakly. when we hadn't even broken the treaty. She walked over to the phone. What do you think they will do when we do break it?" "The child will not be dangerous. even Bella. I hoped. traveling with two newborns. As soon as it rang. "And everything that we need is here. Once you change her. "Edward. if we wait until she is changed. "And it may be impossible to get past the wolves safely. Alice drew in a sudden breath. not the child." He paused suddenly. because she will no longer be someone he wants to protect. everything will be different!" Different." He sighed. unless you are planning to wait until Bella wakes up. He will probably turn on her completely. I turned back. I could only imagine trying to explain why Carlisle wasn't here. his face creasing in thought. "Well.

I tried to shake these thoughts off.attack when he had thought Bella had been changed. The scent of human blood probably runs in his veins. We turned quickly away. Her face clouded over for a moment. "We have no idea what is going to happen. "You promised to keep her far away from temptation. He felt I was missing something else. He looked slowly back at me. not right now. mindless lust for blood. Anyone with human blood. Rosalie gasped. his voice intense. We would worry for her. But nothing came. Would Bella even be able to be near her own child? Stricken." said Alice." I said." said Jasper. like a safe birth. "Edward. We all remembered our own mindless craze of vampire youth. looking back at him. Don't ever forget that. She knew this hope was shallow. "She will not be safe around anyone with human blood. And our child's heart beats. something large and critically important. but with the current tension it seemed foolish to rely on that former goodwill. Bella is special. overruled by the wild cravings of a newborn vampire. she thought. I turned slightly to look where Bella sat talking. He's not human. and he reached up to grip my shoulder.holding our child. I knew I had foolishly imagined this Bella. I stared back at him. "And maybe I can talk to Jacob about working with Sam regarding the treaty. new kind of torture." I whispered. returning my gaze." His eyes bore into mine. "No. uncertain. "All Bella will want is blood. Jasper's eyes narrowed. gentle and loving. His eyes moved to Bella then. "Don't say anything to Bella. talking animatedly with her father on the phone. his mind filling with multiple visions of the thousands of newborns he had seen through his years." I hissed. Edward." he said quietly." Jasper's grip on my shoulder tightened." she said in a low voice. eyes losing focus as she tried to search for a clue to this future. trying to see where he was leading me. she glanced up and frowned. the one I knew. "But he craves blood. "But close enough to human that his heart beats. because it will be her own child. And to have to keep Bella and the baby apart – that would be its own. melted gold and blackest night. But you promised Bella." "Maybe it will be different. our eyes meeting. The all-consuming. catching on. I gritted my teeth at the onslaught of their wild faces. As if sensing our attention. I looked over at Bella. and his thoughts softened. "Ok. "We have more immediate concerns. that we . we all did. taking in her swollen form." Our eyes all turned to stare at Bella now silently. I looked back at Jasper." Think about it." he said. A feeling of horrified understanding began to seep into me as I processed his meaning. She didn't need to worry about that. thinking of the child she carried. "She won't want to leave. I looked at her Maybe. But that Bella would be lost for a while.

But I still couldn't shake the small sliver of anger that remained lodged within me. either. not looking at any of us. as much as it had ever been. "Rosalie. We will be there to help you. "We both did what we needed to do. "I know. she thought." she whispered. Bella had been right. On one hand. I nodded slightly. And I knew several of the others didn't want to leave. I couldn't deny that I harbored a hope that we might be able to work out staying here. Even if something can be worked out with the treaty. and Bella. Still. breeding distrust and doubt. we must leave as soon as she wakes. She saw the expression on my face and knew immediately what I was planning to do. Edward. before or after. I know it is hard. She placed a hand on my chest and pushed us away from Bella. I walked quietly over to her and took her arm.would not let her hurt anyone. and then went into living room. from me. I knew that Jasper was right. Don't say anything. inexplicably. . and keep her safe from hurting others. still waiting for Bella to hang up. turning her towards me. she thought. "Charlie will be saying goodbye soon. "Look. And I owed her an apology for damning her for that." murmured Alice. I would keep my promise to Bella. Remember my vision. I glanced out the window at the dense forest surrounding the house. And Rosalie had supported Bella. he knew more about newborn vampires than any of us. But I knew that I didn't want to leave this place. I glanced at Alice.. and our child. her expression fierce. But I did need to try to clear the air between Rosalie and me. seeing Rosalie and I embracing in her head. thinking Alice might. into the edge of the hall under the stairs. Still. I started to move but Rosalie wordlessly pressed a hand to my shoulder. She had protected Bella." "But I was wrong." I murmured. We have to go far away from this place. Rosalie was standing several feet from the couch. although I suspected he was being overly cautious. I was enormously grateful for this. Are you going to say anything to her? Her eyes were on Rosalie's stiff back. But she had been right. in a time when I didn't. We watched her go. when I had feared for the life of my own wife. Edward. this place where the world finally started to mean something to me. even if that meant moving halfway around the world. for once. She stared at me for a moment." I murmured. You don't need to." I said quietly.. Edward. with its silent trees and gray skies. She had stood in my way." His eyes gentled. be off base with that one.

Her expression was wry. to ask for my help. I knew. "Compassion is not an emotion that comes easily to most of us. her eyes shimmering darkly." She looked down and studied her hands for a moment. Rosalie. I." she said softly. except for you. as if confirming the memory. "Bella didn't want my pity. "I'm sorry." I whispered. her eyes dark and serious. But not everyone did. I would have . looking back at me." She smiled at me briefly. That was my fault as well." Rosalie said softly. and simply. to Bella. Because she needed me.. But part of you wanted to. That's Bella's influence. sighing." She paused. I thought so. Edward. "But when I grasped that Bella would not make it through this human." She smiled slightly. My reactions may not always be the same as yours. I realized that I would have given up my own human life to become what I am now. her eyes staying on me. and choosing to become one of us." "I could have lost her. "But as I waited for you and Bella to return. or danger. "I know that. "Although I knew she was willing to. "I still could. Rose." She looked at me. so human. That we could do it. you know. Her eyes flickered behind me to Alice and Jasper. because I wanted this baby to be born. "It wasn't from callousness. sometimes. slightly. too. Her eyes moved back to mine. I was sure she must understand how her interference in all this had made me feel. I still do. But I truly thought that she could do it. I would help her."Well. Well. and I realized what she would probably have to sacrifice to have this child. "You have always been so much like Carlisle. glancing over my shoulder at Bella. She wanted my strength. letting it out slowly." Rosalie eyed me. "It's funny." She looked over at Bella again. because I was the one who fought hardest against Bella giving up her life. I would not have thrown away my human life." She nodded slightly. That was what bothered me the most. "And I never hated you. still on the phone." I whispered. I nodded. I shrugged." she said." "I didn't think she would die. that you didn't care about the pain.. And I have always believed that to be true. or my sympathy. "I said that I would never have chosen this existence for myself." I know. And now. "It seemed. and then returned her gaze to mine. once we become what we are. like you always seem to think. sometimes. But it doesn't mean I don't care. right away. without a second thought. for my own child." She drew in a long breath. "When Bella called me. So compassionate.

" She slid her arm around my back to pull me into a quick hug. smiling. I took out my anger and frustration on you for much that wasn't your fault. "Sorry. After all that had passed between us. Jacob had come to mean something to me." I smiled. punching me lightly. how could I not support her?" I nodded slowly. "Well. eventually. to see past deep-rooted prejudice to understand the love that Bella gave to each of us." I put my hand on her arm. I felt his absence as well." I said softly. "And thank you for being there for Bella. let's make Alice and her damn visions right again." she said. Perhaps Bella and I were not the only ones who had been forever altered by this child's unexpected appearance in the world. She was looking for Jacob. "My pleasure." she said. "Seriously. I do apologize." True. We'd tried." "Ha. We had fought each other to win her." "I was. Bella glanced around me and out the front window. you've certainly been outdoing yourself with the doom and gloom. "Maybe I just knew you were probably strong enough to take it. Somewhere along the way." I shrugged." I said quietly. Waiting for him. Rosalie tilted her head to the side. and been forced to expose our darkest weaknesses. I realized. "Oh. And so. And. rolling her eyes. all right. who had just gotten off the phone." Rosalie laughed quietly. and went over to Bella. with a slight smile. We had fought together to protect her. "Why start being nice to me now? You never have before. Rosalie took Bella to the bathroom. rubbing my hands uselessly against her arms to warm her up. We had hurt one another with our strengths. pleased by my words.chosen exactly as she has. I fiercely regretted the pain and betrayal that had threatened to smother Jacob when . though. Jacob and I were inexorably bound. "I guess I could have been nicer about it. ha. For how could anyone who was such a part of Bella not also be a part of me? In loving Bella. I kissed the side of her head and she pushed me away. "I don't know how Carlisle and Esme have put up with us all these years. She was shivering when she got back – still running a slight fever. Rose. though. there was a bond. a sense of brotherhood – at least on my part. "We are quite the pair." She laughed once. I wrapped her in a blanket on the couch and knelt next to her.

catching only the whispered thoughts of Seth and Leah – gentle concern and defensive fury. wiping the tears from her eyes." A look of . kissing it. With my acceptance and love of the child. And for his pack. We both stared silently out the window. I thought he would. I hoped he would come to see that. If he chose to speak. Edward. in his decision to bless or to curse the woman he loved. He wouldn't abandon them here – he was too strong of a leader. gifted by Jacob. I wondered if he would come back. the baby thought at the sound of my voice." I murmured. And we had been bound together within that hatred. on hating. "I guess he doesn't know about phones yet. Dad. And then. and her harsh words. And so I would ask Jacob to overrule the treaty.he left. "He's actually trying to figure out who you were talking to before. and I saw the error of my earlier words to Jasper. in his mind. She picked up my hand. for Bella. Bella's voice. easing the future for Bella and myself by crushing Jacob with this final blow. either way. ultimately. focusing. as mine had. hearing nothing. His survival through all this hung. Bella sighed. But I truly felt that. Warmth washed through me. I would not talk to Jacob about negotiating with Sam. And now I had betrayed him. blaming." said Bella. The baby was thinking of Bella's recent words on the phone. Our treaty was with the tribe. in the end. stepped to the other side. her face pale. and Jacob was the leader of the tribe. For so much would be lost to him. How tired I was of hurting him. what was inside Bella. the sheer obviousness of the situation emerged before me. surprised. I smiled. Dad. And I would hurt him again." she sighed. on the same side of an agonizing war. For her to survive. I had. any of this. "Tell me what he is thinking about. I love you. leaving him even more alone. "Oh. Any power he possessed came to him by default. Jacob was the true Alpha now. Ultimately it would be Jacob's voice that would be heard above all others. Putting my hand on Bella's. guilt stricken. I love you. we still wanted the same thing for Bella. and then laid it against her stomach. I tried to listen for Jacob's mind. not Sam's pack. The baby's thoughts wavered with confusion. I felt another lash of anger at Leah. loud. Edward. Because it had never really been Sam's decision. I knew he would never believe how much I didn't want to hurt him. Bella's eyes were glimmering with tears again. warm and all encompassing.

Bella was quiet." she said. pressing my lips to her body. pressing against my hand. our bed. hours. I slowly lifted my head. To kill her.I would be with her every moment." I murmured. His mind washed with apprehension as the need to move. "This will all be over soon. What would I say when Bella begged me to kill her? Please. I would not go forward until we could do it together. feeling the silky strands weave through my fingers. For my existence would be paused during that time .sadness swept over her eyes. Then suddenly. And the worst thing was that I knew it would happen. "I'm better. "All the pain. What we all said. Edward. Make it stop. reign in his movement. and the baby followed her touch with his mind. leaning over and clutching her side. leaving only darkness. It was what we all did. And. I moved my hand into her soft hair. Keeping my hand against her cheek. for me. and gently ." I whispered. I could not bear now. all the worry. She was tired. She sighed and closed her eyes. "And he doesn't know Charlie's voice. "Shh. overtook him. days of torture for her. her voice a little rough. Confusion flashed over her face and then she groaned. All except for Carlisle. Bella on a bed. Please just let me die. Help me. "Oh Bella. Her hair fanned around her face. as Bella's muscles relaxed and she slowly lifted her head. She stroked her stomach. Eyes closed. quickly becoming unstoppable. There was no reason to burden her with these thoughts now. the movement like a meteor across the sky. afraid it would give my thoughts away. screaming. I bent my head down slightly so Bella could not see my expression. I turned and pressed my cheek against her." I murmured. the vision disappeared. I leaned over and kissed her lips. Burning. Rosalie moved uneasily on the other side of the couch. stretch. watching me I imagined. deservedly. I rose up and put my hand on her face." The words were barely out of my mouth before my mind created the image that crucified that thought. grasping her hand. "It's Ok." Her breath hitched slightly. Begging for me to make it end. writhing and thrashing. god. care for her." I felt his mind regain control. I clenched my eyes shut against the pain this image caused. continuing to caress her cheek. suffer with her. to think of those endless seconds. I reached up and stroked her cheek again gently. hoping my eyes did not betray me. smoothing my thumb over her cheek. so I could only see her eyes squeezed shut.

that I did want to be a good father." I murmured against her skin. the values. and not nearly as clear as those of my mother. "You're going to be a wonderful father." I whispered. My memories of him were faded. It was the natural way of things. I had spent so many years as a monster. Then her eyes opened. looking down at her relaxed face. The certain knowledge that a monster such as me would never be a father. He protected and provided for my mother and myself. and terrifying. I just had no idea how to do that. The vision of my father's face was unfocused. But I was his father. But beyond that. stunned by her unexpected words. of a few meaningful moments. She smiled slightly. "The most beautiful thing in the whole world. if fate graced us and Bella and I remained here on this earth. I had expected one day I would have a family. eyes still closed. But I had long since abandoned a human life– my very existence mocked all that was good and natural to mankind. And I knew. holding a million memories. Then her eyes closed again and she drifted back off. silencing her. Was I too long removed from humanity to shoulder the stunning responsibility of caring for someone so young? My thoughts turned to the symbols of fatherhood I held in my life. She lay with her head in my arms. I longed to uphold. "Beautiful. and what I remembered was more vague. The word was at once exhilarating. But in this case it was my human father who was drawn into my mind. when I reflected upon the ideals. When I was human. I feel huge. "I don't feel beautiful these days. despite all my reservations. wrapping my arm around her. Edward. He was kind and strong. it was all clouded by the shroud of a time lost forever. I sat still. blurry. essentially my father through these long years. Father." The whole universe. It was something that could not even be dreamed of or considered – a lost human possibility buried down in the deep recesses of what would be forever denied." I kissed her lips. I thought of the day Esme had said similar words to me. growing heavier as she drifted off. The love I felt for this small being I had never met was so utterly unique. . and of the dark denial that had eclipsed my thoughts. Usually I thought of Carlisle. "You are so beautiful. creating a blanket of safety that hung over our home. holding close pictures of her face." she said peacefully. in my time.cradled her head against my chest. dreamy and clear. and my heart. I felt a little sad that I had clung so much harder to my mother's memories than his.

and then she quietly walked away. And I know you will. thinking and planning to get them both through this delivery. and he swam in the dark waters. badly. if handled with care. Alice was approaching. almost as if I was holding him in my arms. in the next 24 hours. The greatest danger during that time would . I would have to figure it out. Then I lay my head gently against Bella's body and wrapped my arms around her stomach. She leaned down and kissed my head. I felt that. never. and then I felt her hand on my head. still. How much there was to be gained. seemed impossible. You will have to figure it out. But there had to be something more we could do to ensure Bella's safety. We didn't really know how long it would take to get the baby out. inadequate. How I would protect the two most important things in my world? I rose abruptly. Lying here. once. I had learned how to be with Bella. delivering the baby should be successful. utterly. slowly stroking my hair. something that had also. wrapped up with both of them. and how much to be lost. against my hair for another moment. and I knew that I never. not looking at her. I felt Rosalie's eyes follow me as I moved swiftly back and forth. She continued to stroke my head. Content. Safe. turning them around. he would no longer be swathed in the safety of Bella's body. and how much damage to Bella's body would be done during the procedure. "I don't know how to be a father. I felt abruptly. I could feel the baby's movements reverberating throughout my body." I whispered. Her hand remained. along the way. She stood over me for a second. to learn how to fit into this role of father. But tomorrow. Was I destined to make those same mistakes again? My arms clung to Bella's body. I shuddered.I lowered Bella carefully onto the pillow. and began to pace the room. learning and loving at the same time. wanted hurt either of them again. Unattainable. I have complete and utter faith in you. But I had hurt her. He was replaying dozens of our words during the day over in his head. I was responsible for their safety. and I needed to be clinical. The cover of my body turned the baby's world to midnight. and I remembered the utter revulsion I felt the first time I had felt him move inside Bella. feeling a sharp stab of remorse. exploring every possible angle. like everyone else. I was suddenly overwhelmed by how much was at stake.

" she breathed slowly. Along with saving her. consumed. squeezing her eyes shut. "Oh.No – a mirror. it would make the process quicker. She is standing in front of something. finding my face. And to keep her heart beating. Now she could only see a painfully unfocused vision of Bella still asleep on the couch minutes from now. to her face. pain. if you could call it that. the venom would begin its healing. dehydration and malnutrition. I saw. Alice. but I held her arms tight. in the third floor hallway. There is a tangible difference to her. my fingers buried in her skin. Pale blue covers her slim body. I was upstairs and on Alice in a second. She tried to lower her head into her hands. She was standing. The faintest flicker. worn down by sickness.. Grabbing at her mind. I was sure of it. So how to get the venom as directly as possible into the heart? Directly into the heart. in an instant. Edward. her head splitting with the effort. ." I was wild. "Hands off her. voice like ice." I begged. "Try and see more. and stress on the heart. I let go quickly. try. and Jasper pulled me back. She tried to replay it in her head. but the image was so brief it was fading beyond her grasp. Alice?" I demanded. And then she is gone. An idea occurred to me. And the red eyes. The hue of red flashes by her eyes. "Try again. "I don't know. "What was it. Bella was already weak. as she struggled to hang onto the vision. "Keep trying. "How did you see it?" Her eyes refocused. Although she had improved over the last couple of days by drinking blood." snapped Jasper. For once in the heart." I said desperately. Bella." she groaned. Her focus wavered. and then would spread quickly around the body. Where was she? Where was I? Where was the baby? Suddenly. there was no way to know what the damage had been to her heart and health in general. A window. reaching out to grab her arms with my hands."Oh!" Alice's loud gasp shattered my thoughts. steel hands gripped my shoulders from behind.be blood loss. I mused. I looked down blankly at my hands. A vision of Bella. no longer pregnant. as she searched for a future that would not materialize. what she had seen. blurring out so fast it was barely an image. frozen. stepping between us. How much could her body take during the birth? How long would her heart hold on? The goal would be to find the fastest routes to get the venom to the heart. They were squeezing too hard into Alice's upper arms.

had it over-nighted to the house soon after we returned home. feeling abruptly uncomfortable." I said quietly. I would need something vivid. It was not considered standard medical practice." she said. still hoping he would have a chance to do an amniocentesis. her face pensive. I thought about my final thoughts before the vision had appeared. Bella safe. holding it in my palm. I planned to find out." she said simply. I wasn't sure if Carlisle would approve of this idea. when I needed the typical response to that thirst. not that the human medical community had ever even considered the concept of how best to get vampire venom straight to the heart. but I felt my determination speeding ahead. It seemed absurd. I would need to produce venom for this to work. I picked up the steel syringe. I looked in a couple of drawers before I found what I was looking for. I closed . My body had too long grown accustomed to denying its needs. my mouth felt permanently dry. I stood in Carlisle's office. She let Jasper lead her away down the hall. rubbing her arms absently with her hands. unmoving. and also able to withstand any vampiric-like fluid that might be obtained. disappearing so quickly. Bella alive. going down the stairs to the second floor and into Carlisle's office. She shook her head. But part of me wanted to work on this idea on my own. but it was also a small. wrapping an arm around her. I closed the door quietly behind me. It was the first real vision of Bella Alice had seen since we left Isle Esme. I considered calling him first. "I wish I could have seen more. I could discuss my plan with him tomorrow." Alice looked down. but now. Carlisle had ordered it. catching my eyes. held the vision for a fraction longer. Alice?" asked Jasper. and asking his opinion. See if I could even prepare the syringe. as I knew I was terribly thirsty. I stood." "What did you see. "No. She was frustrated. watching her go. He'd wanted something strong enough to hopefully penetrate the casing around the womb. "But it's gone now. syringe lying in my hand. I wondered if it would be strong enough to withstand my venom. radiant glimmer of hope. Alice. I finally turned. it's all right."I'm sorry. "Bella. Edward. It was extremely concerning that it had been so unclear. Something in my mind to provoke the monster. face looking worn and tired. her mind frustrated.

pumping into to me with each dying beat of his heart. in the dirt by the force of my contact. Taking a final look at the steel syringe. Faster and faster. I opened my eyes. drenching my burning throat. it would be what saved her. I removed it from my mouth. I sighed. Three and a half more days. his screech lost to my thoughts." I murmured to Rosalie. a divine elixir. towards the far off scent of a beating heart. the pulsing of blood thundering through me. I carefully took the syringe and placed the tip in my mouth under my tongue." Ok. the wind whispering against me. Coming outside to rat on me. pulling back the plunger to fill the steel barrel. And here I am. Razor teeth slicing through to the source that inexorably calls me. wasting that little bit of time. Give him hell for that tirade by his she-bitch. three and a half days was too long. Chapter 18—Rising I kissed Bella lightly on the forehead on my way out to the garage. "I'll be right back. "I'll talk to him. And then. taking away what little time he thought was left. and for Jacob. Back to Bella. thinking Bella wouldn't like that. I lay the syringe down on a tray of gleaming. I am on him. and carefully wiped the needle clean. She smiled slightly. . searing and fresh. She was asleep. stealth movements through the forest. I snorted. and then laid a hand on my arm. too dangerous. I would go outside to meet Jacob.my eyes. his claws entrenched. I caught the far out wisp of a familiar mind. not yet. clean medical equipment. instead concentrating on the hunt. in my mouth. glinting. The noiseless. I turned and left the office. are you. Jacob was speeding back towards the house. he thought. I stared at it silently for a long time. For me." I whispered. So close now. and then headed out the front door. leaving him nothing. helpless. the rush of warm blood. in this backwards world of monsters and fractured fairytales. her face peaceful. Venom pooled. She nodded. And that I hoped somehow. bloodsucker? I could see Leah's eyes far down the drive. And so now I would betray him again. the scent thick and alive. We had much to discuss. Almost nothing. "I know. trying to accept the reality that I planned to ram this needle full of my venom into Bella's heart. it was not nearly enough. the trees glowing in the night. I don't want to have to leave here. I pushed away any thoughts of the scent of human blood.

Jacob's mouth grew very tight. and he was not thinking about it. I headed for the garage before Jacob's car came around the corner. Apparently it will have to be repaid." "Leah?" Jacob spoke through gritted teeth. You have no idea. moaned Seth. or just plain heartless like the blood sucking vampire you want to become! My muscles were tensing. Yes. dammit. but just the sight of her kindled my temper. but I do know that she does not behave this way to hurt you." he said. voice bitter. I don't know what to make of you – if you are delusional. "What did she say?" Leah's words to Bella rang in my ears..Aww. and my temper began simmer over. I did not ask him where he had been. however." I muttered. not catching on. I couldn't vouch for. shocked by this line of conversation." Jacob said. I watched it roll down the drive.. "She phased to her human form and. He tossed me the keys." Jacob stared at me. "She came up to see why you'd left so abruptly. and on me." Obviously.Tear to pieces? Humiliate? . Seth. Bella's heartbroken." "Really?" Jacob interrupted. It was easier to be mad at Jacob. Jacob's eyes flashed at me. Surprised. Jacob. my anger pricking at my instincts. shut up. or mad at one of his pack." Jasper." I murmured as soon as he turned off the car. Hurting her.. "What?" "If you can't or won't control Leah. "Oh. holding up his hand. Leah snarled. "But I'll throw her out of the house if it happens again. surprised and annoyed to find me waiting. cruel. then to hurt him. "A few things." "What did she do?" asked Jacob. and he took a long breath before slowly getting out of the car. "Thanks for the loan. by asking you to stay." Jacob was still not following. Bite me. surprised. shrieking at Bella. Leah. She suffers a great deal over the pain she's inflicting on you. I'll launch her right across the river. trying to regain full control.. "I wouldn't have to talk to Jacob about you if you didn't act like such a child." Jacob's voice was soft.. Understanding crept into his expression. "Firstly." "I didn't ask her to do that. Bella's been crying-" "Wait. I didn't hurt her – of course I wouldn't.." "To Bella?" said Jacob incredulously. He hadn't seen this coming. gladly." I muttered. guilty face swam in front of my eyes. I would start with the simplest. "She wanted to" ."speak to Bella. What Leah said was uncalled for. "I know. "What happened?" I thought about her standing in my house. our house. Come on.. "Sorry." I knew I shouldn't let Leah get to me. "Leah was unnecessarily harsh. guys. thought Seth. "What do you want now?" I took a breath.. "I won't let Bella be upset like that again! I don't care how justified Leah thinks she is. "I know how averse you are to using your authority with your pack. "Leah was yelling at Bella aboutme?" Was he so blind to the regard she held for him? "You were quite vehemently championed. ." "Hold on. I suppose it might not have come out right. but. I tried to explain. I pulled in a deep breath. I'm not going to pretend that I understand why Bella is unable to let go of you. around the house and into the garage."I said softly. then I.

. it's apparent that he. but it was his own gentle wonder that lead me to love him. Fantastic. is different than loving them. "The progress." "I would say so." My teeth gritted together. This is what has changed Edward. I'll talk to Bella about it. He can understand us." Jacob swallowed hard. He. Jacob would not be able to understand my feelings toward the child now. That was probably true." – it was disconcerting. how much I assumed it was a boy – "or she has remarkably developed mental facilities. to an extent." . The monster has convinced him of this love. I was disturbed to see an image in his mind of Sam and Jared watching him drive past on the road." he said." I muttered. "Anyway. the psycho is "Rose" now. blood or otherwise." So. He can't hate what loves Bella. could run. "Of course you did. That that child loved Bella may have convinced me not to hate him." I snapped. But he needed to understand the importance of my being able to hear the baby's thoughts. Maybe it had been foolish to let him go." Jacob's eyes widened with shock.. wondering if this would just make him angry. He needed to step up on this one. This one's on me. I ignored this. I believe. "I can't promise to control Leah. But surely Jacob must appreciate what the child's feelings would be towards Bella? "He loves her. He's completely crossed over to the dark side. okay?" he went on. Jacob remained motionless. so she probably got it all off her chest today. He knows everything. She doesn't need to feel bad. sleeping face – "better in some ways. though..I thought of Bella's smiles.. It wasn't worth trying to explain. .. I thought irritably – that Leah had come to his defense. Aside from Leah's tirade and the resulting guilt. Is she okay?" "She's sleeping now. watching my expression. he thought." Better. though. When Carlisle returns-" "They're not back?" Jacob said suddenly. He was shocked – maybe even a little touched. although deep strain showed behind his eyes. her anticipation of tomorrow. Something I had to try to explain." "I already told her that. "I won't do that. He's trying to avoid that. as well. and I didn't expect him to have to. Rose is with her. Because Edward can hear the monster and everything is all lovey-dovey now. "It's a bit more than that. "Yes.. I cringed inwardly at the bitter hate behind the word monster." I paused. either. although I didn't think I needed to tell Jacob how strong the bonds of family. "Now that I can make out the child's thoughts. Leah's not one to hold back. beyond just cultivating my acceptance. someone. in her human form no less. But I didn't want to argue this point with Jacob. Not hating something. too. his face very still. My hands clenched. is more than we'd judged. "Are you serious?" Deathly. thought Jacob. Already. He seems to have a vague sense of what hurts her now. There was more he needed to know.Of course he knows. I knew it was just an echo of my own voice only 12 hours ago. The child was not trying to kill Bella. "And I don't think there'll be a repeat. "She's. as much as possible." I said softly. That's why he can't hate me.There's a big difference. her peaceful. "But I'll talk to her. I'm not killing her.

Now that I've convinced them it's safe for the child if we proceed. by telling him I wasn't going to let Bella die. Carlisle stayed to try another source. and I could smell the sweat on his palms. I counted on Edward's hatred of the thing. afraid he might see these words as even more of a betrayal. I'm sorry. if we act quickly. "By noon tomorrow. Jacob. some relief from the agony. I wanted to give him some hope. It's madness to wait. "He's become too big. there's nothing to keep this from working." Jacob's breath sped up." Jacob stared at me silently for a moment. That I had a plan." I said softly. reading my face. "You think she's gong to make it. Jacob's face visibly stiffened and paled. Bella will use up this supply in another day the way her appetite has grown. though. His heartbeat picked up. Bella and Rosalie agree with me. "What?" he choked out. gentle. At any moment it could have been too late. His pain ." I repeated. An endless ocean of grief is waiting for me. he thought. as we have been. The future receded. I thought. but he wants to be covered for any eventuality. Carlisle sent all the blood he was able to acquire. so much more the worse because he could only foresee certain death. I stayed silent. for the child to be ready. Bad enough that I now loved what we'd both once hated. I laid down one more cruel blow."Alice and Jasper are. by now. but it is difficult. "Waiting. Pain tore through him like jagged glass. when he's clearly developed beyond what Carlisle had guessed." I took a small breath before I went on." "Why isn't it necessary?" Jacob asked. He grabbed at the car to catch himself – I reached out to give him support. Did he see what that act was leading to? "That was the other thing I wanted to talk to you about." We'd had no other measure to use at the time but that for a human child. I wasn't sure what his reaction would be. But we could correct that. I went on. Now I realize I counted on those fours days as well. Knowing the child's mind is unbelievably helpful. Stretching out before me. before it was too late. He was still reeling from the loss of time – and he didn't even know how little time was left. Jacob's legs gave out under the weight of the shock. rip away what little future he still clung too." I said softly. And now. that was insanely dangerous." I tried to keep my voice even. giving way to only suffering. I see no reason why it should not go well. But Jacob surprised me." he whispered. But if we're proactive about this. First. "If she needs more?" I felt tightness in the back of my throat. in his mind. "Bella's too fragile to delay. he thought in despair. "I'm trying to persuade Carlisle to deliver the baby as soon as he is back. Bad enough that I had done this to Bella. "I don't think it is necessary now. but it wasn't as much as he was hoping for. That he might consider my hope a lie. hitching slightly. "Yes. "Yes. but he wouldn't care about the baby. and heartache. I was going to hasten her human death." "When will Carlisle be back?" Jacob's voice was barely audible." I whispered. Thankfully. But not human – and I was sure he knew that. "The child seems to be attempting to avoid rough movements. for something that obviously was not. and then dropped my hand. That I was going to save her – save them both.

and I hated myself for heaving it onto him. I have to ask you for something – to beg. there is little time. much as I would have with one of my brothers in a time such as this. but I couldn't. his voice rough. I want your permission to save her life. "It is. Only you can give this to me. or giving us some precious time before moving. But he didn't want anything from me. to hate and kill Bella. and only you. Jacob. Your word on this will condemn us or absolve us. and we don't do it lightly now. I want your understanding. "I want your permission to deviate from what we agreed to in our treaty with Ephraim. "I know how much you have given. "I don't have anything left. "No. eyes deep pools of loss. I'm asking this of the true Alpha." I said softly. . All he wanted to do was give into the grief. if he chose correctly. I had done nothing but bring pain and ruin to his life. I had taken away almost everything. But it was up to him. then eventually he might be able to ease the future hate in his heart." Jacob was staring at me. Though you hate me. I knew I should just leave him alone. We never intended to go back on our word. I'm asking this of Ephraim's heir .ached through me. at the very least. his family – he'd sacrificed so much to love and protect Bella. Sam's authority is assumed. if he gave us the permission to deviate from the treaty. again and again. Jacob. but he would hate that. but also about trying not to betray Jacob again if I could avoid it. You'll never take it from him. it was worth that much. by the duty to his people. clearly. I want you to grant us an exception." Yes. In taking away the time Jacob had counted on." I said quietly. I regret your suffering more than you realize. I suddenly realized." Jacob said. I don't know. I think of you as a." Sam. "A comrade in arms. his love." What word expressed the connection I felt towards Jacob? "A brother in many ways. You know I'll do it anyway. I wanted to support him. Jacob. "I am truly sorry for the pain this causes you. He'd given his heart. I reached up my hand to take his shoulder. As terrible as this decision would be for him to make. Jacob. I'd left him no choice but to hate me. I must admit that I don't feel the same about you. But now I needed something else from him. his home. Perhaps if he didn't feel bound by the treaty. his peace of mind. I want the alliance between our families to survive when this is over. but. and see a little of the girl he had once loved. far more than me. "But this is something you do have. and you know it. Jacob. "I'm sorry." Jacob stared at me silently." It's not my decision. maybe he might also give himself the permission to one day accept Bella. But you do have something left. I thought. while you're already dealing with too much. He didn't want to be burdened with this right now." Ahh. And this was not just about avoiding breaking the treaty with the pack.. because you know exactly why we do this. if I must. Give him strength. But it fell again. but I don't want to break faith with you if there is any way to avoid it." I can't think. It's Sam you want. To give him some power over the future. "I hate to do this now. Jacob did not want to be my brother. I'm sorry. It belongs to you.. But Bella is going to survive and I know that's what really matters to you. eyes haunted. but no one can rightfully agree to what I'm asking except for you.

. "He has one of the purest. "Hey kid." Seth gave him a small shove back. "Hey. Let me think. having been able to catch some of my conversation with Jacob. Just give me a minute here. Should we tell her about the vision? Alice wondered for a second. It did nothing for either of us to rush him. Sorry about earlier. but Seth was still waiting by the edge of the lawn for Jacob. His eyes flickered to the house. I had been gone too long. I feel better by the second."We don't have much time. I tipped my head towards the door. leaving Bella to wake up with me gone. "Get back to work. It was her life. push him. and he swung his muzzle up towards Jacob. As long as you are all right. several miles out on patrol. You okay. a cup with a straw in her hand. and then started towards Bella. Sorry to take off on you like that. okay? "Yes. But I wondered if the fact that the vision was so fleeting would worry her. cheeks slightly pink. sincerest. I paused. Jacob's word on this would buy some relief from the pressure to go." Jacob said. "I'll tell you about it later." Nothing to worry about." said Jake. I'll try. Bella was sitting up on the couch. And would I tell them what I thought had prompted the vision? My mind strayed to the silver syringe upstairs. man. if we were forced to change Bella before Jacob decided – what might be lost? I don't know. Rosalie was standing behind the couch and Alice was sitting on the bottom step. "S'all cool. Dammit." "I know that. her eyes on me. but unable to hear his unsaid responses. Jasper on the step behind her. I love you. Seth winced and nodded. Thank god Carlisle would be here to help me with this – I would need him badly. I suddenly heard the sound of liquid being drawn through a straw. Edward. Jacob leaned against Seth's broad body. pulling back his lips to expose his teeth in imitation of a smile. She glanced up and smiled at me as I came through the door. taken aback. Yes. Leah had taken off on patrol." Jacob muttered. thought Leah irritably. his hands kneading her shoulders. her future. Jake? Seth thought. "You're lucky to have his thoughts to share. Plus." I said. wondering what had occurred between us in the garage. okay? Enough. a strained. Of course. He pushed out into the open when we drew close. Jacob started to walk back toward the house." I glanced at the house – I had heard Jasper's thoughts earlier. we should tell Bella." I said softly. He glanced momentarily at me. I cursed my thoughtlessness as I moved swiftly into the house. We had at least until tomorrow to get everything settled. and I walked next to him. I knew he was planning to push Carlisle to arrange for the move as soon as Bella woke. I know he's coming." Of course. I'll spell you in a bit. Seth thought. he thought before heading back out into the woods. false note to his voice that brought a flash of worry to Seth's mind. kindest minds I've every heard. tell your sister to back off now. Is Bella OK? I gave him a swift nod. He eyed me speculatively. O' Masterful One. if the treaty held. and an involuntary shudder went through me. Where is he? Alice thought petulantly.

kissing her softly on the lips. huh?" Jacob went on. he thought despondently. and he stepped slowly into the house." I stared at her. "Hey Bells. "I just got so thirsty – it woke me up. Pain filled my chest. Jacob was climbing the front stairs. and had plans to create another. "You can talk when you're not being stupid. "That's a good point." Bella said reflectively. thought Jacob. Jake pulled his hand back. "Fine. and I was saddened by the desperate. I felt slightly frustrated and embarrassed by my ignorance – not only had I not thought how to feed the baby. drinking in her eyes. giving them space." she said. How . I couldn't have agreed more. But as she saw his face her expression was quickly mangled with guilt and regret." Bella said softly. I wouldn't have left. "Lots of new stuff. Why would the child's cravings changed once he was out? Rosalie rolled her eyes at my surprised expression. "True. "I'm so s-" Jacob reached out and lightly held her lips together. I hadn't even thought what to feed him. trying to find someone he might imprint on." I said slowly. As controlled as my responses were to Bella's scent. the smell of someone else's blood on her breath was so odd. silencing her apology." she said. He may never be free of it ." She was absolutely right. running my fingers through her hair. her voice breaking slightly. disconcerting." she mumbled through closed lips. smiling. that could end this agony. I'm sorry. smiling and turning her head to kiss my hand. I took her hand and held it." Jacob said quickly." I said slowly.it was too much a part of him. "I thought you were sleeping." "Don't worry." Jake said. Jacob. and this impossible. watching her expression fall. I looked at her. Suddenly his mind was filled with an endless sea of people. "I don't know what you're talking about. Milk? I read in her thoughts that she had already filled the one metal receptacle with blood. Imprinting may be the only way he could ever move on. This kid is going to need it when he gets out of me. his voice falsely bright. she thought sarcastically. and food like a human? Was such a thing possible? "I suppose we will find out.I moved quickly over to Bella and sat down on the floor next to her. Edward." muttered Alice. He had been to the park. and I ached for him. Girls with no faces. She was too much a part of him. he thought. "Bella. I felt a burning tingle in the back of my throat." I murmured. I gauged Bella's expression – she was determined to apologize. falling into their depths. I leaned back. "I wonder if he'll want anything else." "You don't have to do that. fighting the natural urge to push his hand from her. "How ya doing?" "I'm fine. "Finally. anxious to show her all was okay. girls. Bella's face lit with a brilliant smile as her eyes turned from mine towards Jacob. "Big day today. It's a good thing Carlisle is bringing more. I won't say it. considering. "Sorry!" she said. unattainable love he held in his heart. slightly dumbfounded. "Jake. He smiled down." Her voice was garbled." Jacob went to sit on the arm of the couch. I want to punch Leah right in her stupid mouth. the only thing. I see everything that I was looking for in the park. love. Could a being crave blood like my kind. fruitlessness of his search today. What the heck did you think I was going to put in the bottle I made.

so out of control in its utter panic. Must get OUT! My limbs jerked and Bella's scream tore through me. Fine! Go ahead. back to Bella. But hopefully alive. and fervent pride for Jacob's strength. "All rightly then. Yes. when Jacob had left. Help me. Save her. "I think I've drunk two gallons in the last hour. Jacob. "Rose'll catch me if I trip over my feet. that distinction is up to me. . "Bella?" I asked. As she bent. Rose thought." I won't let her fall. for me. my word. and blinding weight pressed on me from every direction. her voice uncomfortable. gouging through every cell in my body as I writhed and struggled and couldn't breathe." I felt a pang of unease. blushing slightly. "Rose?" Bella said suddenly. looking towards the bathroom. We could discuss this later. His eyes met mine so briefly. Can't breathe! Suffocating. Apparently. What did he agree to? Jasper thought. and I watched in horror as her body went completely limp." I whispered. a slow. She was so fragile. "That feels good. As Ephraim's heir. I realized. reaching to pick it up. One more day. I waited. A slight movement caught my eye." She patted her stomach gently. and then went back home. I'm suffocating. Rosalie reached out to grab it. no!" I glanced up as Bella bent unsteadily towards the cup. Do the right thing. that it overtook all my thoughts. "Are you sure?" I asked. It's all we both really want. so dangerously out of place in her body. for his decision. Tomorrow. that this will not violate the treaty. Relief washed through me. something soft. "Can I walk?" Bella asked. heavy. ripped within Bella's body. The sound was so wrong. "Oh. but I'm huge. so strong. you have my permission. The world went dark before my eyes as stifling panic flushed through me. right? Yes. My mouth and lungs felt full. Rosalie caught her. I didn't want her falling. slowly setting Bella onto her feet. my voice emotional. "Again?" said Rose." She sighed. "Thank you. as I had once hoped. "Whoops—oh." she said. since I can't see them. "Ugh. "My legs are so stiff. I wanted him to find that – not to keep him from Bella. You were right – they can't deny that it's my right to agree to this. but to save him. still. Is this to do with the treaty? I shook him off slightly with my head. Which could happen pretty easily. her hands hovering ready next to her. Or she'll be my ally. she'll be my enemy." she gasped. fragile tissue. some living. Jacob. I stood up to let Rose in to pick her up. Alice. Tomorrow. Bella stretched her body." I murmured. ultimately.badly. Can't breathe. torturous sound that drowned out every other noise in the room. or straining herself. smiling gently. And then a mind barraged its way into mine. followed by overwhelming gratitude. Edward. Jasper and Rosalie's eyes shot towards me. The others will just have to blame me. I thought desperately. For you. she will be someone else. I thought desperately." Bella said. Jacob had reached for it as well. "I've got it. its madness. For Bella. and that was what counted. Bella's cup was falling over.

Help. right in front of us. They whipped up the stairs behind us.Edward! Alice was shrieking in my head. turning it slightly and reaching my finger into the back of her mouth to scoop out what blood I could. Can't breath. I shook my head desperately. I watched. How many minutes until the morphine took effect? Why wasn't my mind working? "What's happening. Edward?" gasped Rosalie. "What should I do?" "Morphine. out of control with the strength of her scream. Can't breath. "No! Now!" And then blood poured out her mouth. Help. now!" Rosalie hissed. Edward. Both suffocating. My god. and he was hurting Bella in his panic. choking her. Carlisle's not here! What do we do? "Alice – get Carlisle on the phone. her body emitting the horrid sound of bones and muscle snapping and breaking.Bella's body continued to jerk and thrash. Jacob was following. Can't cut her yet." I shouted. who was coming undone. We were halfway up the stairs. We finally reached the office. my mind screamed in return. We needed to deliver him. jerked forward. Too hard." she cried. Oh my god. Alice and Jasper finally moved." I yelled. I grabbed another needle. Can't breath. My mind finally processed what was happening. Alice pulling out her phone as she dragged Jasper. she must be in so much pain. "Get him out!" Bella shrieked suddenly. come back! I blinked. help. oh my god. Help! Help. Limbs thrashed. destruction being reined from within. moderating more carefully. I almost yelled at him to go back before I was sucked into the madness again. Rosalie scooped her up and headed towards the stairs. or they would both die. . "The morphine—" I growled. I carefully inserted the needle into her arm and pushed the plunger. It was the ripping when she bent over." she screamed. I grabbed a small syringe off the tray and pulled the bottle of morphine from the cabinet. "Get her upstairs." I said desperately. trying to escape the darkness. and as the final piercing note of Bella's scream died in her throat. and successfully filled it. and blood poured out of her mouth. "The placenta must have detached. I came plummeting back into my own body. conscious again. the panic. My eyes were focused directly on Bella's limp body as she lay in Rosalie's arms. The sound. and the needle snapped. Can't breath! Can't breath. down the opposite hall to the bedroom. Idiot! Trying to block out the baby's desperate pleas. Help me! My body jerked in panic. They can't breath. Plunging in the needle. help. I pulled the plunger back. as Bella's body began to thrash. thought Rosalie. Suffocating? Rosalie thought in surprise. both of them. breaking. Must get out! Her body spasmed. cruel nightmare. The baby was in trouble. She was fading in and out of consciousness. pounding. I lifted her head quickly. I needed to move. I turned to see Bella naked on the table. Not yet. suspended in horror. realizing what was happening. Dying. "He's suffocating. help! I struggled against the words. "He can't breath! Do it now!" Her eyes spun wild. the sight of it was a jagged. This was it. my voice speeding out of control. dying. oh god. We need to get the morphine into her. Oh god. I snapped on the operating lights. "He's got to come out.

I shook my head. and make a quick. she threw one last rational thought at me. she thought. Bella. I whipped back towards her. He's. "There's no time. Rose!" I cried. I turned to ask Jacob to take Bella's head for me. "Holding up her head – she's vomiting blood. "Where's Edward?" Carlisle said. "Has she been administered morphine?" "Yes. You must moderate your strength. "Hold on." she hissed. and I realized what was happening. Do you understand?" "Yes.Alice appeared at the door holding the blue tooth." I whispered desperately. Professional. We think the placenta has detached. They are both dying. It had only been 30 seconds. She darted over and snapped the earpiece on Rosalie. "Let the morphine spread!" I yelled at her." she murmured. There were no images of the blue clad Bella in her mind now. "Can't let go. The blood pooled beneath the skin poured out of the incision. Oh. unabated. Bella. Where is your future? Oh. but you could injure Bella. backing out. Rosalie. "He's breaking every bone in her body. Too much blood! Her thoughts screamed at me as her mind began to slip away. and her body jerked in response to the pain. Carlisle." Rosalie snapped. "Rosalie?" Carlisle yelled into the phone. clean cut to just above the bladder. Edward. and I could only hope the morphine's numbing effect was ahead of the pain. what do I do?" Rosalie hissed into the phone. and his voice became steady and clipped. staring down at the incision." Carlisle hissed. . We needed to do something. She's going to hurt Bella. no. when Rosalie reached for the scalpel. There was no image of Bella at all. She has absolutely no experience with this. "Then you will need to do this. I glanced up sharply. Start your incision just below her navel. Do you remember the pictures we looked at?" "I do. "Carlisle. Her thoughts splintered as thirst tore at her throat. She wasn't waiting. You can not penetrate the womb. now. What did she mean? Had she cut Bella too deeply? She was frozen. Her arm continued. never taking her eyes of off Bella's jerking. Burning fire seared through her. She glanced at me.. Bella. it is too strong. Bella. Rosalie inserted the scalpel into Bella. But then Bella coughed and choked on more blood. and the baby needs to get out now. I thought furiously." Her voice caught slightly. We are going to use a midline longitudinal incision such as for an emergency c-section. holding up Bella's head. and I saw her intentions in her mind. blood stained body." said Rosalie. the scalpel in her hand. You will be cutting through skin." "Choose the large scalpel. I should be doing this! I thought in desperation. and instincts too long suppressed raged forward. thought Rosalie. thrashing. Too much blood.. Rosalie. help. "No. toward Bella's stomach." I heard him take a quick breath. They were both dying. Help me. "Give it about 2 minutes to spread. Please. "He's dying!" God damn her. fat and muscle. As her lips pulled back and she succumbed to the need.

and he began to swing her body out. the desperation. blinding snap from inside Bella's body. like a wall of blood. and she took it full force. I heard Carlisle shout "Edward. Alice let out a small screen as a vision flashed in her head of Jasper holding out his blood stained hands in front of him.. Alice clutched her. She was barely breathing. . dog. she'll kill you! But Rosalie struggled to break through. I would have about enough time to land one crashing blow to Rosalie and then catch her before her head fell. No Alice by my side. Jacob. And then Jasper froze before her. I pressed back at the madness. even with her head propped up. Got her. I needed to block it all out." before the blue-tooth smashed and broke. Edward! Alice and Jasper were flying down the hall towards us. thought Alice. I glanced down at Bella's head cradled in my hands. both of us. we're coming. I lifted Bella's head up as high as I could. Jacob continued to grip Rosalie's face. her hands on Rosalie's throat. useless." As Alice dragged her out. and just believe in what I knew I had to do. judging my control. I couldn't put her down. I glanced down at Bella. "Alice. Alice thought from the hall right outside the door. "CPR?" "Yes!" Jacob was studying me. Stop. smashing into Rosalie and slamming his hand into her face. She was turning blue! She was not breathing properly. We were always meant to save Bella. let it all go. ringing. I heard a horrible. No.We're coming. Perhaps it was always meant to be this way. We had to do it together. And then Jacob was flying across the table. Rosalie was gone. I need you. "Go. their throats burning in painful unison. My mind was pulled and battered in every direction of panic and madness. hit him full force. and I let it sweep me up for a fraction of a second before pushing it back." He turned and stumbled away. I turned swiftly to Jacob. "Jacob. readying my body. Help! Help! The baby's cries were growing more splintered and incoherent – losing consciousness. I calculated if I let go of her head. "Go back. willing her limbs still and keeping her body stiff so that he was able to propel her across the room. letting a cool determination stake claim. her mind steeled to do whatever it would take to stop her. I will save them. The baby's now incoherent panic blasted through me. His foot slammed into her stomach. Jasper's phone was ringing. pressing her hands on his chest. No! Oh god. Rosalie thought. and my eyes bore down on Jacob. His blood tinged the air as he was injured somehow. I stood there in the center of the chaos and knew that I could not save them this way. "I've got to get him out before-" Suddenly. His foot pulled back to kick her. It was just me and him.." she cried. Hopefully it would be enough to stave Rose off until Alice and Jasper came. praying he had some knowledge in this area. as the scent. Jasper and Rosalie yelling and struggling with each other down the hall. "Take her to Jasper and keep her there. Stop wasting time! "Get her breathing!" I snapped. sliding across the floor and smashing into the door frame. get her out of here!" I yelled. Bella's leg fell limply against the table. Make it count. righting my thoughts and pinioning me to my only purpose – get him out quickly and safely. She whipped in front of him. and I knew it must be Carlisle and I thought of the panic he and Esme must be facing. Blood must be in her lungs. We couldn't do it alone. But Rosalie was passive. We're here. I could hear Alice. and save Bella. to help." And I had never meant it more. Carlisle was gone. I turned in desperate realization.

fragile body. My teeth went through with very little effort. I tried to block out the child's fading cries. stretching towards an endless horizon."Her spine. but a new voice. It was like vampire skin. Christ. she was still. tried to stay focused. warm interior and pulled the opening wider. the dark waters the baby had lived in for those weeks. I brought my teeth together and pulled to the side a little. . Rosalie had only inserted the scalpel into Bella. Her perfect. Don't catch the baby with your teeth. hearing the tearing sound as the skin of the womb pulled apart. soaking wet. we're going to do it! "You stay with me now. and gently lifted. She was so small. so warm. and then reached my hands into the dark interior. Then one more time. Almost there. wondrous hand struggled its way out. using my fingers to steady his head. I straightened up and put my hands on either side of the rough opening I had created. A girl. I did not acknowledge it. Something was moving. and heat and relief surged through me. translucent fingers. a slippery body. I heard Bella cough suddenly. and made a clean slice all the way down. Her body convulsed once. and pull in a ragged breath. I leaned over very slowly and pressed my mouth to the womb. and although her breaths were still rapid and her heart beat furiously. I curled my fingers around the skin into the wet. she had never made the full incision.. I pushed my hands under two small arms. Careful. lilting. Bella!" Jacob was shouting. Blood lay in shimmering droplets all over it." I gasped. Her mind was screaming against the brightness. her eyes were gentle and calm. I bared my teeth and very carefully bit into it. Staying focused. damaged in the struggle. Blood covered my lips. the chaos again. And it was warm. I moved my teeth down lower and sunk them in again. Jacob bent and started giving Bella mouth to mouth resuscitation. It looked very smooth. turning inside. a small. miniature angel. a small. Bella's eyes. I held her up in front of me under her arms. A new taste filled my mouth. my face. more pulling. I leaned down and quickly sliced it off with my teeth. I very carefully pressed the scalpel to Bella's skin. Her voice. ruined. pulling the opening further apart. touching my tongue. snapped in half. giving slightly here and there to the baby's weakening jerks and thrashes. the small. She. salty and sweet. and then she pulled in a ragged breath. not someone else's voice. so alien and out of place in her body. She opened her eyes. I moved around the table. and then began pull in short breaths in rapid succession. I heard. I gently touched the fragile hand. careful.. She held it for a long second. but a little softer. When I straightened back up. "Get it out of her!" Jacob screamed at me. perfect bell. Mustering the strength of a million seconds spent with Bella and the call of her scent. Further down. dripping. and then in her head. white dome. He threw something towards me – the scalpel. trembling. a perfectly formed. At one point her stomach jerked too hard with the child's struggles and the edge of the knife hit against something hard. He rose up from the womb. "She won't feel anything now!" His fury pulled me back out. I pressed Bella's skin aside and saw the glimmering. The umbilical cord hung from her. feeling a head. her eyes pressed closed. She blinked a couple times. and suddenly. He. The womb. Oh. a deep brown ocean. And she was warm.

They moved up slowly to curl against the baby's soft body. and then made one loud. "What's that?" I pushed his hands out of my way. I carefully lay the baby in Rosalie's arms. "Give her to me. Do it now! Jacob blew a breath of air into Bella's lungs. and she made a small. "Give her to me. Bella. and I could sense her scent now – different. less potent than Bella's scent. I know you can do it." I said quietly. She managed to pierce Bella's skin before I picked her quickly up. Would have to be Alice.better. No beat followed. "What are you waiting for?" he growled at me. just into the heart. She lifted her eyes to mine. I'll take care of her until Bella is. I turned and then moved as if in slow motion towards the silver tray on the table next to the bed. I needed someone to help me.. "Give me the baby. It was if the air was thick. Bella's heart beat. Just do it. compressing. Let me help you save Bella. She gasped slightly." I moved closer to Bella. snarling. Jacob. Stupid.." Renesmee was blinking slowly at her. His eyes flickered towards me." I breathed. drinking her in. Edward. Don't break it. "Let me." Bella whispered. Bella was so weak she could hardly move her arms." she murmured. taking up the compressions again. Go. But Rosalie seemed safe and in control. They'll both be okay. Let me make up for what happened. "Renesmee. and this was her baby.. My fault. three. "No. I turned to look at Bella.Edward. because Bella was human. "Renesmee. I reached the table and picked up the large syringe. And there was no other option." Jacob snapped. Renesmee was watching Bella. One. Thirst. which drenched the room. Bella. Start at the neck. No time to decide. I was one beat of a second too late. "Move your hands. Warm. We know you need help." Rosalie said from the doorway. Her eyes were locked onto mine. Save her. And then. Jacob's hands were over her heart. Soft. immersed in her own kind of wonder. and the artificial beat of Bella's heart under Jacob's hands was all I could hear. Wait. I whirled. Careful. furious. Of course she was hungry. hugging the small body to her own. two. Bella's eyes gleamed. Edward. She had snuck up on me. She was furious with herself. She blinked again. "Throw it out the window. Between the ribs. Do it! My mind screamed at me. the flare of pain in her throat. faltered oddly. laying Renesmee onto her chest as human doctor would. She reached out. she thought. she thought. cradling her in my arms. Finally. sweet. Her heart was no longer beating. Direct as possible. Renesmee. "So beautiful." she said aloud. strangled beat before pausing. Time was up. four. Not too far. The baby had blood as well. "Take the baby. I'm fine." I said softly. I turned to Bella's body. and guilt flashed through her. No. Renesmee. trying to hold me back. to take her and feed her. Why had Alice and Jasper let her go? Her eyes flickered to Bella's wrecked body. to think. careful now. already weak. I couldn't go fast enough... I looked around wildly for somewhere to safely set her down. "I've got it under control." I swept her mind quickly. impenetrable." I said to Jacob. And then she left. Waited. . unexpected. comforting noise to the baby that swelled my chest with love. I stared at her in horror and waited.. use my fingers to guide.

"She's going to be fine. and you could crush her. Fire roared through my throat. On her. Get out. Stop! Just concentrate. My mouth filled. I paused to blow a breath into her mouth. overwhelming face of brute instinct. I bit in carefully. up. I concentrated on the compressions. pressing it to my mouth. Panic flickered at the edges of everything. sending a tremor through her body. I pushed his hands away from Bella and began to take up the compressions. Rosalie. I hate you. Traitor. I let the smallest amount of blood run down the back of my throat. I prayed it was still viable. It was healing up slowly. it was up to her heart now. I turned her hand over. I moved to her elbow. twisting its way into me. first. mangled corpse. he thought. To never. Force her heart to move the venom through her body. Shut up! Fury began to race through me." I said to Jacob. and. Just do. down. I will save her." I growled. gentle. bled-out. and then moved to her elbow. Jacob! He was longing to leave. He's working over a corpse. Deserting us. Get out! She's not going to die. Up. The effect was overwhelming. I'll leave him with his dead. empty grief. Ankle. A corpse is all that is left of the girl we both loved. Over to the other side. I didn't need him anymore. Esme. ever come back. "Keep it moving. Gentle. all he had learned and experienced when he had changed me. and Emmett. perfecting my control over my impulses. At the neck." Jacob stared at me for a long moment. and then turned and slowly walked away. One slip."My venom. I held still for a moment. he thought. Don't think. I pressed the plunger down. endless. One more time in the neck. and the venom continued to produce. trying to master me. but did not pick up beating. and venom gushed in my mouth. I tried to ignore him. The fire burned on and on. down. Just do. her soft skin and pliant muscles giving way immediately beneath my teeth. I leaned my face close to her. fell away in the immediate. walking towards endless. Damn him. Her heart jolted. feeling the shallow pulse beneath. I let Carlisle's thoughts and memories wash over me. A broken. "Go then. Jacob. up down. Then I pulled my teeth back out. Jacob thought in despair. then wrist. steeling my hands against the table. . Traitor! I had done all I could with the venom. if he wasn't going to help save her. down. feeling the venom push into the heart." I snarled. Her heart was still not beating on its own. I didn't need his hopelessness – it was like a venomous snake. He was losing hope on me. I placed my hand against her skin. I grabbed her wrist. then! My mind was screaming. Groin next. Hours and hours of time spent building walls within my body. up. biting the back. Knee. Just enough to keep the heart beating. to get away. Don't think. Don't think about it! I paused to apply some venom to the gaping wound in her stomach." I said. and ran my dripping tongue over the wound. all I had seen before in his mind. letting the venom seep into the wound. It sealed up immediately. and immediate. "She's not dead. destructive. Shut up.

please. lost in the roaring silence. Bella. They will have to kill me to stop me. my lips still close to her ear. Her face was so slack. I failed her family. I won't. "Everything is going to be perfect. I would keep trying. growing louder and louder. I realized the thoughts of everyone in the house . Bella. This is my punishment. I'm right here. "Bella. I failed Renesmee.Her face was so deathly still. Punish me. But this is my eternity of torture. sweetheart. up." I whispered. and mine. down. down. You did it. Please. There was a roaring in my ears. We're going to be together forever. I am alone." My hands paused over her chest. I'm so sorry but I lied. starless midnight within the eye of the storm. She was unearthly pale. The room began to move around me. An eternity of torture. Feel nothing but her cool. I failed her. We all love you. up. Death. watching her chest rise and fall mechanically. "Please. faster and faster. always. barely audible. I need you. So you have to come back. Come back to me." The winds grew louder. She's so beautiful." I whispered. up down. no response. up.. just empty beats. You've got a healthy baby. sweetheart. Bella. Silence. please. and there was the slightest blue tinge to her skin. love. I would never stop. until I could see nothing but Bella. down." And then the darkness took us. pleading. a blinding fury of agony and torment. I knew. just for a fraction of a second. "I know you can do this." I struggled to pull in the air necessary to form the words. My hands continued the motions. My hands kept moving. It was just me and her. down – continuing their desperate supplications over Bella's chest. up. love. both of us. But in that small moment. the sky pale at dawn. lips parted slightly." I couldn't hear my voice. As I pressed my lips to hers. down towards the black. But we need you to pull through this. I prayed. don't leave. "I love you. Keep hoping. She's waiting. love. and light. My hands were still moving – up. Chapter 19 —Angel "Bella. they were too cool.. No." But in that moment. And Jacob. No response. looking down at her ashen face. I'm waiting for you. down. You can do it. dragging me down. The darkness was approaching. and happiness exists. begging." Why doesn't she answer? Because I've failed her. Up. "I love you. so quickly. You were strong enough. I'm waiting. I have stood over enough dead bodies to know.my family. the one in which all hope. even my newborn daughter – were all lost to me. "Bella. her eyes closed. No. Bella. and not be able to bring it back. I knew. "Come on. I won't ever leave you. up. You promised. her heart an inanimate puppet beneath my hands. I moved my mouth to her ear as my hands began to move again. Oh Carlisle. I turned my head slightly so I could press my cheek against hers." Nothing. I'm waiting. I lied. Keep fighting. Bella. an approaching black tempest. down. Now it's time for you to come back. over this dead body. An angel in repose. "I love you. But not her. I blew in gently twice. This is my punishment for all that death. Your heart – you promised. down. and then restarted the compressions. "Come on. motionless cheek against mine." Up. down. Not her. up. I can't live without you. down. don't go. beseeching her heart to beat . forgive me. Stillness. All those dead bodies. To have to stand here. I felt it beneath my hands. Just nothing. We're going to take care of our baby. I love you.

I wonder. but close enough for me to hear their minds. She is truly as lovely in this moment as I have ever seen her. I am anxious. would it be? Carlisle sits in the back bedroom. She fingers old photos of me and Carlisle.again. I cannot sully them with my presence. it was the images of my own life that flashed in front of my sightless eyes. I am a child. I am tormented by longing. her scent. But the sea life is repelled by my presence. and I sense just a little of the heavy guilt he carries slip away as he watches Rose's happiness in this moment. I dive into the water. follows her eyes to my face. A brother. before she was with us. nervous about being at such a distance from her. and strung so tightly by my belief that I cannot touch her. Her hair. Emmett. unknowing. reflecting back at me in a small pool of still water. always me. Her head breaks the surface. turn. She wants me to come to her. I am enraptured with her. her skin. My old room. inhale the familiar scent of her hair. regret. Edward? I release the tree. Esme is in the front room. it is now packed up along with the rest of the house – they will linger here no longer waiting for me to return. and below her I can see the tranquil movement and multi-colored palate of the life of the reef. She is glowing today. I cannot go back. And so I can never go home. like I could fly with joy. despair. Edward? He draws in a sharp breath. But more than anything else. even the sound of her voice – all ignite a fire of yearning in me.deep. That it was never her. That's she's mine. How much I want to feel her soft arms around me. wrenching loneliness that I feel without him. The same bone. If she told me everything was okay. Rosalie turns her head slightly and smiles at me. She wonders. I look down at my own face. How badly I want to tell her that is not true. I hold fast to a tree a few miles out – far enough that they won't sense my presence. and I so want her to have this experience. and then puts her snorkel back in place and floats on the surface of the water. and lifts his hand briefly to grip my shoulder. this day exactly two years since I left them. and run away. suspended with disbelief that she has actually married me. and we will be always be together. a meteor towards the sun. So long untouched. Rosalie and Emmett stand at the altar. A memory I didn't even know I had. Bella's laughter rings out across the waves. She shrieks as a fish touches her leg. Bella. She's seen so little of the world. loneliness. They've stayed too long already. and there are so many wonders I want to share with her. But out here I feel weightless. Love has made her even more beautiful. the bitterness and resentment that so often plague her thoughts gone for once. He sighs quietly. Carlisle's head snaps up suddenly. and keep her safe. For me. seeing her smile. Inside the house. His thoughts are tinged with bitterness. They do not sit together. eyes dancing. smiling back at him. My eyes are pitch black – denied to reduce my shame if I dare visit. I can feel Carlisle's arm pressed against mine as we stand together next to them. I am searching for a colorful stone to give to my mother. even though I was not the one who was truly dying. light and untroubled. beautiful inside as well as out. young. How much I want to please . And as I worked relentlessly within the blackness to bring her back to me. willing my legs to move against my emotions. I am less alone now. I will always come to you. and her hand beckons me. as she always has. The sun glistens off the skin on her back. I feel a blanket of profound happiness wrap itself around me. I think. the monster has won. if it was her presence that upset the delicate balance of our relationship.

Jasper has grown closest to me. Alice sits down. She hums quietly to herself. and it smashes against the far wall. I hear Alice squeal quietly downstairs. I smile. she thinks. Forever. be at her side. I do not see the dark clouds gathering on the horizon. to tell him that almost nothing he holds in his mind. that face. and her teeth press into her lower lip. When I open my eyes. He despises his own weakness. I feel a flash of shame as I realize that it was the original box. He touches the ring. he thinks. as we pack up our lives. and I can feel her pulse everywhere she touches me." I hurl the box across the room. and my face. So we prepare our hasty departure.her. embracing her desperately. Jasper sits alone. Now it is just another irreplaceable piece of my human life. her anger at herself for not warning him in time. waiting to give it to me when he thinks I am more in control. and yet resents that our lifestyle makes him feel like a failure. at my wild red eyes. broken and lost forever. "I love you. looking for me. is private anymore. Edward. that I think he actually appreciates not being able to hide anything from me. for the hours I cannot be there. Two emerald gems sparkle up at me. It is someone we know. As I hold her close. again. Bella sits on the black couch in my room. clinging to each other. My fingers clench around the box. I know he has been holding onto this. But I know he doesn't feel that way. Dawn of a long night after Jasper has confessed to killing another human. no matter what." she says quietly. anchored by forgiveness and the kind love I am sure at the time I will never know. Seeing a vision of him fleeing the house. Suddenly. I turn towards him. We support him. "Are you crazy?" I snarl. they sit together. and I look up at him incredulously. and I realize it is my eyes. I understand what it feels like to disappoint the people who love you. A neighbor. A piece of myself to keep with her. Carlisle places the small box into my hand. I reach into the water. I shake my head. and scared. leaving. He thinks he has hidden these thoughts from me – he doesn't yet fully comprehend the pervasiveness of my ability. I know what I am going to give her for her birthday. He can feel Alice's heartbreak. supporting each other. and also a patient of Carlisle's. I am afraid he will resent me for it. love fills me to the core. And he hates himself for it. only a couple of weeks away. and that Carlisle had gone to some trouble to retrieve it. his face in his hands. he thinks. leaving a dent and splintering into several pieces. grimacing at her math homework. wrapping her arms around him and refusing to move until he finally gives in. . Perfect. disappears. Her heart thunders. the disappointment she tries so hard to hide. She smoothes her hair back with her fingers. pulling her to her feet and pressing her body to mine. my human eyes. I already know some of the other songs I will record for her. and I know I always want to be with her. and I close my eyes and let the words wash over me. He is so reserved. spreading a million small ripples through the image. smiling gently. He glances up. I will never get tired of hearing those words from her lips. You may need this someday. We have all told him already he doesn't need to keep apologizing. We move silently around them. aside from Alice. she is looking down at her book again. I am embarrassed. and it is her lullaby. I sigh involuntarily at the sight of it. I go over and take her hand. and I secretly wonder if he ever will. As the dawn light begins to glow on underside of the forest. I stand up and look into the mirror over the bureau. She glances up and smiles. He is part of our family. No one will ever love me that way. "I will never need this. The opal and diamonds of my mother's ring glimmer up at me. so private. or heart. I'm sorry.

She squirms and kicks and mentally curses me for getting her outfit wet as we twist under the water. And Carlisle waits. Sunlight dances against our skin. "The burn. she wouldn't. so I won't be able to attend. I don't open my eyes." I slam my fist into the mirror. she jumps away. and rolling onto my back. My mother sings to me softly. intoxicating. My mood softens. Envisioning my move. her breathing labored. and I feel a glimmer of hope. it's unbearable." she breathes. torturous burn. smashing in the drawers. amazingly. shattering it. if she wasn't dead. her face is alight with wonder and joy. he thinks. She slides over and props herself up on top of me. I turn to look at him. his face alive with fervent pride as I receive my first medical degree. I roar with wild fury at the screen. The others have gone away hunting. Her voice is rough. My son. I jump out after her. Then she steps on a rock that proves unsteady. Someone whispers reassuringly in my ear. I'm glad you're back. A human has walked too close to our small house. he thinks. I cannot even contemplate ever leaving again. My teeth clench together as my mood turns to sudden fury. I'll hold onto this for a little while longer." I whisper. She reaches up and pushes the wet hair out of my eyes. So much affection. "You love me. but I read her intentions and jump up and over her head. and familiar hands grapple with me. It is sunny today. Bella screams in agony by the hand of James. And I know I am beginning to love him. My son. leaping out of the water onto the grass. but she sees my plan and jumps nimbly onto the rocks. The fire in my throat continues its constant. "No one could love this. I will never forget. she kicks away. I want to go home. "Me too. saying she will keep me company. she thinks. Carlisle notes the scent as well.unfamiliar face. and the scent hits me unexpectedly. I just want to go home. but I know she is also hesitant to be away from Bella. I think. Glancing at her out of the corner of my eye. Carlisle thinks gently." I whisper. My own mother would hate me. I cannot stand to have her out of my sight now. I grab at her. I find this patience both infuriating and humbling. restraining. but I am terrified to leave Bella so soon after my return. laughing. a familiar song from my childhood that fills me with longing and loss. at this point. the sky cool blue above me." He sighs. So much concern for me. landing on the rock behind her. unable to face the death in the hospital around us. He stands and walks over to pick up the ring out of the fractured box. Carlisle. already. Alice and I sit together by the river in the silence borne of long familiarity. Finally. and I inhale deeply. patient. reflecting prisms in the drops of water that glitter on us. "Please. Bella looks up at me and. landing in a somersault. smiling. We will go hunt in the mountains. My arm shoots out but she dances to the side. No. Denied again! I whirl and kick the dresser. smoothing it back gently. a gentle weight against my chest. I've returned home briefly so Bella can shower and get ready for school. looking at me. My mother gently presses a cool cloth to my burning face. and I am electrified by the trust and tenderness in her . He sits waiting. I reach down and flick a spray of water at her. Always so patient. and in the fraction of a second it takes for her to adjust I leap onto her and we crash into the river behind us. Carlisle and Esme's amber eyes glow up at me from amidst the sea of humans. shredding me into a million pieces. after so many months without her company. comforting. stoking the fire. Carlisle watches intently. She reaches down to splash me. but I will watch. He loves me. Alice has stayed back as well. Bella's face contorted in pain. patient. But all I can see is the images from the video.

. and what she would be to those who remained to love her. down." I whispered. I had a quick glimpse from her mind of her on her knees in the bedroom. "Renesmee. I buried my face into her neck." I covered my face with a hand. Her heart had paused again." I leaned down and blew two breaths into her. god. . . "Bella. "Truly. I do. Bella. I smoothed her hair back – she was still completely unresponsive. "Oh. Bella. Oh. the agonized pleas of the baby. thank you. . the best and brightest parts of each of us. sweetheart. kissing her head again and again. and I whipped my head to the side. overwhelming relief. but then the feeble beats restarted. her spine snapping. you did it. fingers digging into her own face. Once. color flushing back onto her skin. brilliant. Terrified.. Intense. Oh. For everything she embodied of me and Bella. faster." I repeated her name again and again.. faster. Memories of what just occurred rained down on me – Bella's shriek of agony. I said her name for the mother she would never know. She pulled in several more large breaths. pulling her limp form up to me. thinking Bella was gone." I say softly. the feel of my teeth slicing through her skin. Oh god. Chapter 20—Restoration The white lights of the office suddenly felt blinding. the darkness was swept away by the creation of a single. uncertain. I love you so much.. eyes soft pools of brown chocolate. pounding. her breath washed over me in even full breaths. within a blazing dawn. I paused. her spine. looking up at me from a small. perfect. "Renesmee. And everything she was of herself. ragged breath. "Come on. moaning." I whispered. Bella.. Suddenly. A flicker of life beneath my hands. . Bella's chest moved as she gasped. . feeling my body convulse." I wrapped my arms around her upper body. and the after effects of horror and despair. And then I see those same brown eyes. My hands were frozen over Bella's chest as her heart beat feebly. I was shaking all over. her eyes wide. now and in the future. my chest heaving as I clung to her." Her heart sped against my chest. down. hope and life held gently in my hands. heartbeat. Suddenly. "That's right. "Renesmee. no. choking slightly.. breaking down with overpowering emotion.I quickly and carefully laid her back down on the table. smiling. . racked through me. and there were healing compressions on her face. trying to subside the irrational shaking. The muted whisper of a response. Her expression was wild. twice. a precious legacy our love. lifting her up like this." I said her name like a prayer. Renesmee. ready to start compressions.. love. and I lay my hands back against her skin. thank god. and her expression is luminous. come on. newborn face. the door to the office banged opened. racing. a chant to the gods above. happy. . up. Her heart started to beat more soundly. the darkness receding slightly as I clutched to the memory of her face. the blazing illumination of reality. I love you. "Oh. And then. Bella. thank you. I was going to injure her further.voice. and then she pulled in a long. Oh. Up. For the father who would now surely fade away. Alice stood in the doorway.

and worry quickly seeped through the happiness. His entire mind was humming with some sort of emotional overload. and her legs were splayed out. clutching the baby. Her torso was at an odd angle. sky blue dress that clung to her perfect. "Alice. I saw him through Rose's eyes. his face dazed." And in her mind unfolded the vision of Bella we had seen earlier in the day. She held my eyes. I turned and stared at Jacob in confusion and shock. Finally. He began to play back the moments after he had left the office. the wound in her stomach still open and oozing thick blood. The vision was a little hazy.Jacob. exposing the hand of someone next to Bella. Bella lay naked. and several broken ribs were pushing through her skin. I wanted to somehow pour bleach . sharper. Please. I wrapped my arms around Alice and we held each other. unwavering. I grasped the railing.. seeing nothing." I moved my eyes to Bella's body. The planes of her face were different. who she had covered with a blanket. back off." I heard Rosalie say from down stairs."Edward. body. Jasper ran past in the hallway and by the time I made it to the upstairs landing Jasper had Jacob pinned against the front wall of the house by the throat.. restore us. turning to stare at Alice. But then she shook her head and turned back to me. She really is going to be okay. trying to pull her arms off me. Her midsection was black and blue. and real. "Hey. Into the ocean of pain. "He tried to touch the baby. and launched herself across the room. and she followed my glance. "No. "Oh. She was unconscious. Rosalie stood on the other side of the room. He'd started down the stairs. the other side so far away I couldn't imagine it. She did not smile. If he even attempted. healed. Please. hands at his side. "Look. She was wearing a pale. Bella stood looking at herself in front of a large mirror – I recognized it now from Rosalie's room. my forehead. You did it!" She kissed me on my cheeks. blank." I choked out. I pulled away and looked back at Bella. Edward." she snarled. you did it. flying for the door." I gasped. She slid down to stand in front of me. "Look. just listen first. Alice's face blanched and she hissed slightly as she fully took in Bella's condition. He was standing stock still. She was still unconscious. letting the vision feed us. Edward. leaping into my arms and wrapping her legs around me. and it was too late now. "Don't you dare touch her!" Rosalie shouted. But it was definitely firm. leaving behind the sounds of Bella's heart being forced to beat. although even in the seconds that Alice held it in her head it began to grow just the minute bit clearer. Her mind was searching. Alice. his hand outstretched toward Renesmee. breathing roughly as Jasper's hand pushed against his neck. I needed to call Carlisle. but her beauty was the same as it had ever been. and the edges were blurred out. looking down. Only this time it did not disappear. Her skin was a smooth." I hissed at Alice. "Help!" "Stay. but viewed the reflection in the mirror warily. pearl white. I was amazed he hadn't phased before Jasper got to him.. It could only be. Jasper would rip his throat out. I froze. as he had slowly walked out the door. and her eyes were bright blood red. holding him pinioned to the wall with one hand. every muscle in my body clenched and twisted. he thought." she whispered. more defined." she shrieked.. and I felt as though I might be crushed by the joy and relief. And Jacob knew it. Edward. Every nerve. "Oh. much less see it. taking my face firmly between her hands.

He was hiding something from me. Shut up! I mentally screamed.. Of course I know that! It doesn't make me hate it any less. in the gentle. The daughter I had hardly even held in my arms. rocked by a frigid blast of comprehension. A million steel cables all tying me to one thing – to the very center of the universe. an appalling realization I could not fight or deny. He reached out.. trying to wrap my mind around his words. I would kill him first. Shut up! I know that. Was there nothing that I loved in this world that Jacob did not want to take from me? Was he put on the earth merely as a design of cruel fate. unknowing. The gravity of the earth no longer ties me to this place. Jacob had imprinted on Renesmee. You know I have no choice. At the bottom step he had seen Rosalie holding the baby. trying to regain focus. Renesmee. Jacob thought. warm pool of her thoughts. It would be so easy.. But I was stricken to discover that. and this would all be over. He blinked quickly. as if we had crashed into a wall in his mind. unadulterated shock coursed through me. ignoring my irritation and going on with his story.heat. No! My entire body stiffened.. I stared at him. Imprinted on Renesmee. It is her that holds me here now. Something he didn't want me to see. didn't want me to know. And suddenly. some part of the memory. he decides to take her. and I was gripped by a wrathful possessiveness. Unable to steal Bella from me. Renesmee. Seth and Leah were far away. Raw. just one word to Jasper. Trying to interpret the cataclysmic shift that had occurred in his mind. Rosalie had lifted the baby onto her shoulder. I growled softly and he closed his eyes. My eyes travelled slowly over the Rosalie and the baby.. stunning in its unexpected depth and intensity. to burn away the memory of Bella's final minutes. Jacob's eyes followed my gaze. eyes flickering to the floor for a moment and then back to mine. and covet the things that I held most precious and dear? I could barely see through the red haze of rage. I could end this travesty once and for all. Unbelievable. avoiding it. Damn him! Damn him to the furthest corners of hell! The moment that Bella and I were sealed together for eternity. Rose was shielding Renesmee's face with a blanket. Not possible! My body felt like it was flushed with ice. . Edward. He'd felt. he decides to tie himself permanently to my daughter. glowing as everything inside him came undone and then was reconnected. My child. Jacob's thoughts stumbled suddenly. My newborn daughter. I would not let him have her. My daughter. I would not go through this with him again. My eyes moved slowly from Jacob's face down to Jasper's hand on his throat..inside my head and let it fry my brain. the color of milk chocolate. Our daughter. so she could not see the standoff occurring in front of her. burning. Warm brown eyes gazed at him. out of the womb for only minutes. He retrained his thoughts around something. Waves of uncontrolled fury washed through me. Renesmee. created to dog my every step. My daughter! And in a fraction of a second the glacier of shock dissolved in an instantaneous implosion of heated anger and hatred. unbreakable. the wood railing beneath my hands splintering. You know I didn't do it on purpose. thunderstruck. Bella's eyes. only wanting to touch her one time.

He reached into his pocket and tossed me his phone." Rosalie yelled. her body was still coated in fresh . And he did not want to kill Jacob. "Phone. and my chest twisted painfully in a confusing mix of love and longing and sorrow. "Let him go. "You do not try to touch her again. Jasper released his throat immediately and stepped several steps back. I realized suddenly how emotionally ravaged and drained he was. Even as he knows I am deciding his fate. all-consuming. He was not even watching me any more. Seeing him standing at the foot of the stairs.I had to get back to the office. for the time being." I muttered. This would have to be explained carefully to my family. "Throw him out. Alice was at the operating table. I was furious to have been forced to leave at all. her hands gripping the side. Edward. you do not think about touching her. But I couldn't deal with this now ." Jacob nodded. Could I hate what loved Renesmee? And could I destroy it? What's it going to be. to lose the potent hints of flavor that triggered our natural reactions. until I give you permission. Although the blood within Bella's veins was beginning to change. and I could not do it right now. "He tried to touch the baby." snapped Rosalie. Thank you. my voice coming out more menacingly than I had intended. staring at her.she was thinking of Jacob. Jacob and I would have this out. thought Jasper. his eyes now on Renesmee's small form in Rosalie's arms. I wanted very badly to go to her. there was no doubt Renesmee was perfectly safe with Jacob. Renesmee. "He can stay. Ultimately. Renesmee. Edward? she thought furiously. never taking his eyes from Jacob. I needed to be with Bella. He was confused by our intense emotions. he cannot keep his eyes from her. Edward. and breathed in deeply. My teeth clenched in renewed fury. For now. Edward! Renesmee's mind filled with the sound of my voice. What the hell. her face strained. My gaze dragged back to the small struggling form in Rose's arms. Damn him again. "Edward!" I stepped into the office and slammed the door behind me. How much he loves her. she thought eagerly. and was trying to repel them. Jacob. Jacob's eyes flickered back to my face. pulled to the vision of his face. thoughts of Renesmee ringing through his mind. but not now. Neither did I. clouded. I caught it in one hand and turned around. Bella had to be my focus right now. her vision marred by the blanket. his burning eyes. And that was all that mattered right now. In my absence she had been trying to apply her own venom to Bella's wound. I'm sorry.I started to walk back to the office. His thoughts were dull. At least physically. Not today. and I shuddered. and he was keeping me from her." I said softly. pulsing through his veins. Jacob's eyes were locked onto mine. humming through his limbs. Her mind was alight with vivid fascination. Love for her sings through his whole body. I looked back up at Jacob's face. looking for me. and just hold her in my arms." I said softly. I looked back at Jacob. He can't hate what loves Bella. of course. I remembered Jacob's thoughts from earlier in the day. looking at Jasper. But I couldn't.

his eyes pressed shut. but Bella's heart was still not beating. "Blood. "Jasper needed you. rather awkwardly cradling Renesmee to his chest. I flipped open the phone and dialed Carlisle. So quiet." I said softly. I went quickly over to her. "Jasper!" he cried into the phone.blood. taking her by the shoulders. closing the door behind her. Her injuries were so extensive. who was sitting on the couch next to her. "Oh. "How is the baby?" "She's." he paused. A small noise was coming from his lips. "Why don't you go. I'm so sorry I wasn't here for you before. pain. I felt a flash of confused panic." I said quietly. Edward. In the background I heard Esme utter a strangled moan of relief. Edward.. her voice catching. hopelessness and despair. "Atta girl. her brown eyes examining him solemnly. His mind was so calm and untroubled now. thank god.." he mused." "Drinking what?" asked Carlisle. "Alice called to tell us the baby had been delivered safely. "She's feeding. Well." I muttered. and there was a loud whoop from Emmett. I'm worried something went wrong. clutching his head. I was momentarily panicked to see she wasn't holding the baby. his expression mangled. It was smeared over the table and onto the floor. drinking. if it is delaying the pain of the burning. her heart is beating again." I looked at Bella. his voice dying out for a moment. and started to walk slowly from the room.." I paused." "Ah. "Nothing. "She's perfect.. "What was that with Jacob? I gritted my teeth." She left. Bella!" he shouted. tell me." "It's probably just the morphine.. he thought. and I realized he was absorbing the gentle peace of her emotions. and she was drinking slowly. Alice. languidly. But she was looking at Jasper. Jasper had lost his grip on his own emotions and been swallowed up in the terror. rocking back and forth in the other room. turning to look at me.. "Shh. So still. uh. Terrifying uncertainty began pressing painfully against me. . I'm sure she is fine. Alice." I said. "Oh. I thought miserably. Carlisle. looking through Rose's eyes." she said. Bella is still unconscious. but she was suffering." "She's okay. somewhere in the chaos I had tried so hard to fight. She was healing him. He was holding the metal bottle. her eyes still strained. She stopped at the door. really. at least for a while." I murmured. Her eyes are like Bella's. "I want to help. "I wish you had asked him to leave. Edward... "It's me.. it's okay. I'll take a look at the injuries when I arrive." There was a shattering moment of silence on the other end of the line." Carlisle pulled in an uneven breath.and Jasper." he murmured thoughtfully." "Yes." She looked up at me. Edward.. and Rosalie." I whispered. Alice was desperate to help. "It was just the blood. I still can't see the baby – he's interfering with my vision. I realized. "I understand.we. "Carlisle. "I need to wash Bella and clean up the room – would you mind getting me some warm water and soap?" She nodded. Alice shrugged slightly. I looked back at Alice. her eyes large. "It's excellent. Would I feel better if she was shrieking in agony? Maybe. so we. oh Edward." Intense pain seared across her face and I saw the memory in her mind of Jasper on his knees.

" I breathed. Bella's clothes remained in tattered rags underneath her body. This time Alice brought a bucket of water mixed with bleach. a sponge and a mop. I swept it over her chest and then down each arm."We are coming as fast as possible. Your mother. "We'll see you soon. But I think she will be able to run on her own now that we know Bella is all right. I want you to call in Alice and Jasper. I wiped all the blood off the operating table. waiting to hear if Bella made it. worried I was hurting her. She handed me a set of clothes." she muttered. going to the door and putting the cleaning supplies in the hall. I moved the cloth down around her neck. "Emmett's been carrying her. Alice left with both bowls while I gently rubbed Bella's head with a towel. several washcloths and towels. "And Edward. Everything is going to be fine. wringing it out. A moment later. I gently put a hand under her torso. and gently eased the cloth out inch by inch. "Will you help me wash her hair?" I asked quietly. sweetheart?" I asked softly. She picked something up off the floor and came back in. no response. and Bella's bag of toiletries." I whispered. She nodded mutely. I was terrified to touch her lower back. We'll have to burn those. a bar of soap. I wiped Bella's stomach and legs. I poured the remaining water over her head. although she showed no reaction. I dipped it in again.." Alice returned with more warm water." he said. with small rivulets running down her neck and shoulders. She handed me the bowl and then placed the other items on the chair. rubbing the soap bar over it.. the soap pouring into the other bowl below. I gently wiped her eyes. Alice carefully held Bella's head up a couple of inches as I poured some of the clean water onto her hair. She left silently. "I'm sorry. handing her back the bucket and supplies. imaging Esme's agony. But dealing with it alone would be my cross to bear. I don't want you dealing with that on your own. "How far are you?" "We'll be home within the hour. if Bella wakes up before I return. "Thanks Alice. Then I mopped the blood up off the floor. carefully massaging her palms and each individual finger. and then washed her hair from the roots to the ends. . "I'm sorry. "Hold on. Rubbing on more soap. I repeated this with her legs. I balled them up and dropped them into the bag Alice had brought. a white sheet." Pain filtered through his voice as his breath caught slightly." The line disconnected." "Okay. While I was doing that. lifting her slightly and pulling out the fabric beneath her. and glided it over her shoulders. trying to gently press them back into place. Using the sponge. I wrung it out and then gently began to wash the blood and sweat from Bella's face. and a trash bag. she." I closed my eyes for a moment. I massaged my fingers against her scalp. I dipped the washcloth into the warm water. Taking a new washcloth." I murmured. her forehead. Alice appeared with a new bowl and I handed her the dirty water. Alice came back. her cheeks. Alice took the white sheet and carefully covered Bella up to her shoulders. gently swabbing the blood from her lips. "How are you doing. the water turning a pale pink. rubbing it gently between my palms. I rubbed a drop of shampoo between my hands and then began to lather it into her hair. I examined the area of the broken ribs. love. She was completely limp. and then gently cleansed the wound on her stomach. she wasn't doing well. She had a bowl of warm water.

just fractionally faster than normal. Later." I said softly. and suspicious of his emotions towards Renesmee. He had not moved an inch. Rosalie was sending him looks of pure hatred."I thought you might want to change. and I won't leave. I love you. Jasper was confused and irritated by his continued presence. "Oh. I can't wait until the three of us are together. I touched her hair. soothing me. My teeth clamped together. I'm here with you. I was certain that. I pulled a chair from against the wall and placed it next to Bella's bed. Her heart beat. and I felt the pull I had earlier to hold Renesmee in my arms. Alice and Jasper." breathed Esme. If they misunderstood the connection that had been forged within him. where I hadn't killed him. inhaling deeply. They were back. if they thought there was a romantic element to it. Alice and Jasper." I pressed my face to her palm. I leaned over and pressed my forehead to Bella's leg. and realized there were large splotches of blood on my shirt and pants." And Jacob. still standing against the wall where I had last seen him. so you can go see the baby?" she asked gently. I would have to be very careful when I explained to my family what had occurred between Jacob and Renesmee." I curled her fingers over and encircled her hand in both of mine. "Renesmee is so beautiful. sweetheart. We are always going to be together. so I could sit close to her. Alice." I murmured." I whispered. Could she hear me? "I love you. "Carlisle. I reached over and placed my hand on Bella's arm. "Not without Bella. You have such a beautiful daughter. but she nodded and left. The familiar scent of Bella's strawberry shampoo floated up. The front door opened. "I love you. Renesmee was wrapped tightly in a blanket in Rose's arms. What was I going to do? Could I allow him to stay here? But knowing the strength of the wolves imprint. Esme and Emmett will be back soon. "Thanks Alice. Bella. could I make him leave? I tried to search for the shreds of the affection that had developed towards Jacob before the birth. My stomach twisted. I tried to shake Jacob from my thoughts. silky strands between my fingers. And you are going to be such a wonderful mother. who were grouped together. and Carlisle. dropping my clothes into the trash bag with Bella's ruined things. and then caressed her cheek with the back of my hand. changed but with familiar undertones. She squeezed Carlisle's hand." Her forehead wrinkled slightly. I quickly changed. though." "Do you want me to stay up here with Bella. looking towards Rosalie. I trailed my fingers down her arm and picked up her hand. my. "Oh. feeling the damp. holding it to my lips for a long moment. "I can't." she said with a small smile. and I felt another rush of fury and disbelief. subtly laced with morphine and the acrid smell of venom. a glowing angel. . They paused in the front hall. I stroked her translucent eyelids. pressing her hand against my cheek. Esme and Emmett came through." I heard a whisper of bodies moving through the trees and sat up quickly. they would. followed Renesmee. Her scent was different. I looked down. Looking through Jasper's eyes. her brown eyes peering at the newcomers and capturing them in her gaze. I saw Jacob downstairs. Bella. sitting on the couch. Was she conscious at all? Was she in pain? "Bella. but found only red hot anger and resentment. No response. And Renesmee is downstairs with Rosalie. His eyes.

her eyes sparkling with happiness. cataloguing each bruise. He stopped quickly outside the door. "Go. the visible blood thick and congealed. he thought. capillaries broken from the strain of screaming." I helped him place the machine over Bella's lower half. Carlisle came around to stand behind me. clutching the baby to her. Fractured coccyx and sacrum." He stared at me silently." Rosalie said softly. When I told him about the broken spine. his voice strained. each wound. He went over and stood next to the operating table. "While you were gone. I never should have left the side of such a high risk patient. "Come in. exposing Bella's damaged body. "Tell me about the transformation. Where did you start with the venom?" I glanced at him nervously." He shook his head. and then paused. He opened the door and came in quietly. It was healing rapidly." he said softly. "Carlisle. I injected it straight into her heart. Dilated. Fractures at L2 and L5. "Well. I held up the films." Carlisle paused for one more second. I should have. I failed you and I am so sorry. Fast. looking back at Renesmee with a worried glance. He held the corner of the sheet in his hand. unconvinced. We had no ultrasonic image. and glanced at me. He started at her face. pulling back." "No. "I am so. no reliable source to measure development. babe." "Carlisle. He smoothed his hands over her rib cage. and put a hand on my shoulder. he paused and glanced up. His hands moved down to lightly touch the gash in her stomach. Then his eyes strayed back to Bella. it occurred to me that the best course of action . He stood still as his eyes swept over her. He lifted his eyes from Renesmee to look at her. You did what was absolutely necessary. pulling her eyes open with his fingers. His eyes went straight to Bella. Carlisle slowly pulled the sheet back." he said softly. I felt sick. so sorry I wasn't here. surprised. gently feeling each bone. You were the only one who could access it. As I began to recount the events for Carlisle. "May I?" he murmured. His fingers stroked gently over the mottled skin of her face. and knocked softly." he said. Carlisle made a step towards the stairs. and he looked at her for a long moment. No one could have anticipated this. "It will heal. still open in only a few places." I said quickly. already starting to heal."Emmett. "Edward. "You needed to go. and then finally covering her back up with the sheet. smiling broadly. I stood up. carefully lifting and inspecting each of her legs. His brow furrowed slightly. Probably a broken pelvis. I never should have gone." said Rosalie. his hands deftly moved over Bella." I said. I shook my head mutely. I love that woman. Strong. "Hey. closing it behind him.And then he walked to me and grabbed me in his arms. and he took several films." he said firmly. At least 10 broken ribs." I gripped his shoulder. and the sprinted up the stairs. Damn. "I think we should take an x-ray. Probably expected at this point. standing up. "She's fine. Go see Bella first. "Tell me everything that happened. His hands moved down over her hips. struck by her luminous expression. and left you to deal with this alone. "No." he said. While I prepared them he went back to Bella. she needed that blood. evaluating the strength and speed of her heartbeat.

" she said softly. hugging me tightly.. Given the already weakened state of her heart. and the trauma it endured during the birth. He looked down at her. one arm cradling her to his body. "Yes. I meant to discuss it with you when you got back. Esme glanced at me and then moved straight over to Bella." she said gently." He stepped towards me. and then looked at Carlisle." He pulled me in." "And her father. Ingenious. I'm in awe of you. It was. and saved Bella. touching my face gently. There was a light knock on the door and Esme came in. his eyes wide. hearing words he'd never dreamed he would. Then her eyes grew serious. Finally... Carlisle shook his head briskly." Carlisle's eyes widened slightly. Maybe that is why she isn't waking up. Edward. I need to examine her. Maybe it was too much for her heart. Spend some time with her.She closed her eyes and just breathed in and out for several minutes." I said." My throat tightened. Carlisle looked at Bella." Carlisle whirled around. She stared at Bella for a long moment. the pain that crossed his features quickly echoed in mine." Carlisle stared at me a moment longer. "I know." Esme reached up and placed a hand gently against Carlisle's cheek. "Maybe it was the wrong thing to do. She knelt down in front of me and took my hand. Esme did not regain consciousness right away. "It was what saved her. his expression slowly turning thunderstruck. "I'm sorry. of course. She leaned over and pressed her cheek to Bella's face. He reached up and pressed his hand to Esme's. and take her vitals. "I thought you might want to go downstairs and see Renesmee. I'd like to get weight and height measurements as well." And then his expression changed. You delivered the baby successfully." He patted my back. There is a lot of morphine still in her system – I can smell it in her blood. So I prepared a syringe of my own venom." I choked out. She was watching Carlisle. "Sorry? Don't be sorry. "Just like her mother. "Before you do all that. the other stroking her small . For a moment I looked through Rose's eyes. if it cuts out some hours of burning. Remember. it was brilliant. she thought. "Edward. as he remembered Esme's confused and agonized screams when she did regain consciousness. "Your daughter is beautiful. I couldn't have done it better if I had been here. gripping my hand." Esme said. for her. It might be a while before she regains consciousness. listening to the strength of her heart. "why don't you go down and simply meet your granddaughter.might be to inject the venom straight into the heart. "I'm sorry. who was holding the baby up on his shoulder. looking down silently.. gripping my fists. "I'm so proud of you. Her hand swept over Bella's hair." she said. turning his head and kissing her palm. "It's better this way. Bella.. "But why doesn't she wake up?" I whispered. pulling away." he whispered. "Her system has been through a lot – she is probably in shock. and I reached over and gripped Bella's hand. She will be fine. you need to see your baby." My throat felt tight and I shook my head. I closed my eyes. He smiled quickly at me and then went out the door. Thank god. My sweet daughter. Edward. then down to cradle her face. You did everything right. smiling slightly. I sat down on the chair I had pulled up next to Bella's bed. but.. Her finger brushed warm and soft over my cheek. Then he went over and stood over Bella's body. It was obviously well ahead of the venom. Esme stood up and walked around the table.

extraordinary. For the first time I noticed the bronze curls that surrounded her head like a halo. And so does Renesmee. "I can't." I muttered. "We'll be waiting right outside. you don't think she will continue to develop at that rate. her voice soft. "What if Bella wakes up?" I asked quietly. She leaned close. I looked over at Bella. She went on. Her hair was almost dry. holding mine." "I'm not sure. "Ok. his brow furrowing." I looked at Bella's still face. tumbling over the table. Bella is resting comfortably. although it seems to be healing quickly. She's." Then she took a deep breath and stood up." She raised her eyebrows." I breathed. "I won't leave her. Edward. "Don't worry about that right now – we will talk more later. She needs you. "You are significantly more well-read." he said softly. "And I know you are still worried about her now. and it was terrible. actually. For the time being. Edward. at least." "Oh. Her hand squeezed mine even tighter." "I know she does. smiling. I stood up and went over to her bag." ." I choked out. Then he smoothed his features. Esme. carefully working through all the tangles until it was smooth. sweetheart. in the area parenting. as always. I clamped the umbilical cord.. "Bring her up." I whispered. 7 and a half pounds. slightly shocked." I stared at her. kissing her cheek. "But you are Renesmee's father." she said. I took a deep breath. "You look beautiful. I can't imagine what you went through during the birth process and reviving Bella – I experienced only a fraction of your pain.head. her voice steady. unexpected way." Esme held out her hand and I took it. Carlisle put his head just inside the door and I glanced up quickly. and then back at Esme. no." She rolled her eyes. "I don't want Renesmee to see that.." I felt a chill. We are all here to help you get through this. uncertain. and you need her. Rosalie will be bringing her up in a moment to see you. Full set of teeth." I didn't want her to have that memory in her mind. "22 inches. and I felt a small smile play on my lips. "However. She grasped it tightly." "Esme. eyes brilliant amber. "I know that you are my superior in many things. "Bella needs me. "Wonderful. "I want to check her weight and height again in several hours. "Edward. you hold more degrees. you don't hold a candle to me. and then walked briskly out. "We'll bring the baby up to you. and I think you should start to get to know your daughter. considering her rate of development within the womb. smiling gently." She paused for a moment. I moved back to the table and gently brushed her hair. "I know that you have been thrust into parenthood in a very sudden. I looked at Bella." I said. You have the gift of music. And a strength that I can not even begin to touch. "Bella would want you to see her. pulling out her hairbrush. A thrill of excitement shot through me. her voice catching." I shook my head." She looked at Bella. Reflexes are great – advanced. "Carlisle." I said." she said. releasing my hand." Esme clapped her hands together. We just need to get her away from your father first – we'll have to let him have a quick exam. and I can understand how difficult it is for you. to say the least.

Carlisle smiled and disappeared. Her skin almost glowed. and searing guilt took her by surprise. a pure ivory. "Hello. Watch out for the mama bear. Look at her teeth. feeling each individual toe. She came over and I stood up. Her eyes shot back to mine. "Ticklish. Her skin was smooth. she recalled Rosalie's words." Rosalie said. and relief. kiddo." He laughed again." Rosalie snapped. I gently curled my hand around her small foot. Quiet footsteps came up the stairs. She wore only a diaper." He pretended to punch Renesmee in the arm. Rose kissed her gently on the cheek. and then pressed her lips to my forehead. "Daddy – please!" "Well. She glanced at Bella. pulling slightly away from Bella's bed. sweetheart. I put a finger in her mouth. "Thank you. are we. blue blanket. but I could feel the sharp edge. almost hot. Daddy. and ran my finger tip along the top of her teeth. she thought. For saving them both. I pulled in a quick breath. Edward. right." I said gently. laughing loudly. "I wasn't going to hurt her. firm but pliant. he is her father. with a couple pudgy ridges." she whispered. which Rose must have put on her at some point." Emmett mused." I said whispered." She blinked back at me. The memory was tinged with tenderness. There was a soft knock at the door. her eyes dancing around my face. Daddy. They did not pierce my skin. "It's okay." "For what?" I asked. bending over the table. And then. slightly bowed." Emmett said." She straightened out. less fragile than Bella's. "What about Emmett the Uncle?" asked Alice. to be there for her. she paused. caressing it in my fingers. "I'm going to be an excellent uncle. my face aglow with wonder. I sat in the chair." I murmured. "Thank you.I promised to help. and Rosalie came in. and felt a little heavier than I remembered. "Stop it!" Jeez."Are you ready to go upstairs and see Daddy?" I heard Rosalie say downstairs. and my throat grew tight. and she nodded slightly. I failed her when she needed me. I smoothed my hand up her legs. Renesmee watched her go. cupping her face with my hand. When I ran a hand up her stomach. I did the same with the other foot. "Sit down. Then she turned back to me. And so warm. her melted brown eyes wide and clear. . She was wrapped in a soft. that's no problem. impossibly small. and looked nearly already healed. "That's right. Then I moved my hand down and carefully unwrapped the blanket. laughing lightly. "That's going to take some getting used to – Edward the Dad. cradling Renesmee. She smiled back." he muttered. Her umbilical cord had a yellow clamp on it. she squirmed a little. Jacob just visible behind me. Edward. surprised. Edward. and she leaned down and placed Renesmee in my arms. "Hello. Her mind filled with an image of me. but suddenly felt awkward. Edward. ow. "I don't know. She bit down with unexpected force. Rosalie. unsure of how to lift her from Rose's arms. "For Renesmee. "Oh. left the room. she thought miserably. I ran a finger down her cheek. Rose. Edward. Ten toes. she thought. Rosalie slapped his arm away. Renesmee. Emmett snorted. eyes strained. grinning slightly." I said. The moment when I had lifted her from the womb. and with a last look at Bella. Renesmee gazed up at me – I put out my arms to take her. For Bella. As she rose up.

it had seemed almost impossible to access the human ones." I lifted her up to my shoulder. "Go to sleep now." I leaned down and kissed her forehead. At least. Suddenly. but the heat she radiated seem to keep her body temperature up. cradling her body with one hand and her head with another." I murmured. and romantic love. I sighed. I carefully tucked in the blanket around her. sweaty and ravaged. But Bella had freed that humanity from within me. not tempting to a vampire with some control. "I know. to give you life." I crooned. a sunburst of love and devotion. but they're there. . amazingly instinctive. I leaned down and kissed her forehead. the heat of her skin radiated throughout my entire body. knowing it was Bella's face as Renesmee had seen it moments after her birth."Ow. She sleeps. Then suddenly her expression changed. I know. and then inhaled her scent. cradling her in my arm against my chest. relishing the feel of her small body against my chest and the sensation of her heart fluttering quickly against my skin. she thought. Ow. And now. smiling weakly. "I love you so much. She risked everything for you. holding her. I had been fighting so hard against my vampiric instincts. just like your mother. I was a little worried that my cool body might make her cold. I began to sing to her." I kissed her cheek several times. strangely appealing but not tempting. "You are my precious angel. I recalled words I had once spoken to Bella. "Go to sleep. her mind filled with the image of Bella. Like Bella. her fingers reflexively grasped mine. "She loves you so much. and. and was rewarded with a stunning smile in return. "Beautiful girl. and had helped me discover intimacy. sweet. Without thinking about it. and then lowered her down off my shoulder. concerned. At that time. Ten fingers. I pulled my finger out and she smiled again. feeling each slim finger. sweet Renesmee. I remembered my fears before she was born. rocking gently back and forth. Bella. it felt. and then realized she was yawning." I said quietly. something else I had thought I had left behind with mortality. I slid my hand down her arms to her hands. sweetheart. I slid her towards me. I tensed. I pressed my cheek against hers." I said." I glanced behind Renesmee at Bella's sleeping form. "Beautiful. She was tired." I said softly. Good. she had given me the gift of fatherhood. she thought. and her mouth stretched into a perfect O. I pressed my finger into her palm. I cringed. sweet little girl. Her soft curls brushed gently against my skin. closing my eyes.. Renesmee. I promise. tenderness. and I was both shocked and happy to find that being with Renesmee felt natural. and she nuzzled into my neck.. But having her here. her face close. I pushed that thought away for now. I have human instincts – they may be buried deep. "I'm so glad you are here. just like millions of other babies across the world did every day. laughing. her mind swelling with love and concern. As she gripped my finger. her mind dancing with amusement at my expression. She had shown me the tremendous happiness that could be gained from following my mortal impulses. if something like me could actually be a father. That's mommy. "My sweet. I looked back at Renesmee and smiled. Her love knows no bounds." She yawned again." I stroked her silky curls with my hand. a parent. and she will be with us soon. So much. and I pressed my face into them. my little angel. Bella. You look just like her. propping her on my legs in front of me. her eyes slowly closing and opening.

It always sails at the end of the day. But all these things fell to the side when it came to Renesmee.. The quiet colors of her life in the womb mixed and intertwined with the new. moving shadows splayed in the background. Baby and I in the rocking chair. had removed his choice of a mate through the act of imprinting. And choice. For being her friend. Bella's." I whispered. would he determine her destiny as much as his had now been written? Choice was something I had always strongly desired for Bella.. This is the ferry for Shadowtown. And then the muted colors burst to life. as a wolf. the remembered song of childhood. trying to sort out my feelings. Renesmee's breathing became even. Her eyes would close and then open again. deep rose pink.. in the dusky light.the same song my mother had sung to me in the hours before her death. As I sang. For sacrificing everything to help me save her. imprinted on Renesmee. The flash of irritation broke me out of my contentment. On my daughter. the resulting bond. and I sighed. say "Good night". A sleepy kiss is the only fare. and gratitude. We've reach'd the harbor of Shadowtown. Flowing endlessly. Rosalie's. I felt the natural aversion to his kind that was instinctive within me. Jacob. her thoughts began to blur. Renesmee watched me. Dear little passenger. more slow. creating patterns while dark. Rock slow. until finally she could hold them open no longer. Renesmee's dreams were spectacular. My emotions towards Jacob had always been confusing. And Jacob. Jacob. I looked between their sleeping faces. For loving. The power of the imprint. soft blue. Bright blues. and the beating of her heart slowed. Jacob's nature. was too strong to allow for any resentment. glowing white. in perpetual motion. How I had regretted that my presence in her life seemed to shape her destiny from its . pink eyelids. Just as the darkness is closing down. Esme. Jasper. little head. Carlisle. and protecting. reds. yellows overlapped. Their brown depths disappeared behind pale. lavender. just floating in this alternate state of unconscious bliss. as I held my whole world in my hands. too stark. I thought for a moment about destiny. almost too bright. And yet there was so much fellowship. But would Renesmee resent it. For so long I had struggled against what fate threw at us. and I struggled to press my personal feelings about Jacob aside as I contemplated what this imprint would mean for her. I leaned down and kissed her cheek. Alice. a constant fixture in her thoughts. "I love you. Stunning yet soothing. blending and separating. Sway to and fro in the twilight gray.. wavering in and out of focus amongst the painted background. What was I going to do? I looked away from Renesmee towards Bella. He did not resent this. sharper hues of birth. I felt like I could stay lost in them forever. if not now then one day? If Jacob stayed in her life. And a deep. As I sang the final words of the song. My own. Bella when I wasn't there to do it. her dark lashes resting against her ivory skin. And then the faces. so. on my shoulder. Breaking Dawn Edward Point Of View (Part—5) Colors danced and sparkled. Then I reached out and took Bella's hand in mine. Rest. Drifting away from the world we go. Silently lower the anchor down. entrenched resentment that had once bordered on hate for his nearly successful attempts to take Bella from me. the way life had tried to take away her choices. transfixed. Jacob.

you'll wake her. to control myself and not hurt the precious weight in my arms. she thought. Then she lowered the camera. I reached out downstairs. An aberration. To think I had ever found the idea of imprinting fascinating.. I always saw the rock hard skin. Esme had insisted he come from his spot against the wall and join everyone. With my own inattentiveness.Muscles coiling. you weren't even smiling!" I breathed deeply. my mind ringing with the treacherous.. the deathly pallor. teeth ready to rip. Jacob was sitting in an armchair. my face was warm. my revenge. something that had no right to be.. The door was suddenly pushed open. Renesmee in Rosalie's arms.My own justice.. "How is she doing?" he asked quietly. and I was struck momentarily by how different I looked in her thoughts. "Edward. He was staring at his hands in his lap. He was fighting against his thoughts.natural course. hate filled reality of Jacob's thoughts. No change. and I had nearly paid the ultimate price for that. A black. the inhuman eyes. compared to the face I saw in my own mind. "Esme suggested we take some pictures. Perhaps neither of us deserved either one of them.I was driven to my feet. he thought miserably. until Carlisle appeared behind Alice. He was feeling oddly guilty. How could I have turned such a blind eye to those murderous thoughts only a few feet away from me? What could have kept me from seeing? But I knew what. Carlisle looked at Bella. I had once hated what I thought was killing Bella.." I whispered. "Yes. I looked so young.." She looked down at Renesmee. her face softening with surprise. She's sleeping. mere minutes after she had been born. a flash temporarily lighting up the room. smiling. my expression tender. body preparing to spring. my face floated into Renesmee's dreams. As if sensing my self-doubt. How could I have felt that way. Perhaps we were both monsters. He turned his eyes to Renesmee. "Shh. his mind being sucked back into memories he didn't want to face. trying to repel some of my tension. looking uncomfortable. We both watched the baby's still face for a moment. I had nearly let my newborn daughter be killed. I looked down at Renesmee in my arms. so small. but then his expression . She smiled at him. Something that had to be destroyed. so soft and delicate. to recall. My anger suddenly twisted with guilt and horror. and I willed myself to be calm.. looking through Jasper's watchful eyes. Somehow. Hated my own daughter. "Cheese!" said Alice. So alive. soulless demon. Inert. Renesmee clutched protectively to my chest. its existence against nature. and then danced out of the room. That god damned bastard had been just about to kill Renesmee! I felt my body trembling in fury. thinking of Renesmee.A blood sucking monster that brutally mutilates its own mother.. How could I have ever considered that? I couldn't pinpoint the source of his guilt. Cold. Didn't I have to fight for my daughter's right to her own choices as well? I sighed. Renesmee.. I was sickened by Jacob. Then I rolled my eyes and sat back down. went over and kissed Bella's cheek. Alice. Nothing could have touched me in the dark place that was Bella's death. still motionless on the bed. What are you doing?" Alice smiled. But in Renesmee's mind. and disgusted with myself.. Renesmee. How could he have wanted to kill her? How could anyone want to cause harm to something so lovely and gentle? And yet...

Temperature is running at about 105 degrees. He looked at me. leaning down to press my face to her head and inhale her scent. with slight uncertainty. As I'm sure you noticed. You cannot dwell on what may pass in the future. no. the life span that such a rate of development would mean. We'll measure again in four hours. running a finger down Renesmee's arm. Edward. She's grown. Her nose was elongated. Edward. I do not know if it will slow down as she ages. shaking my head. So far. I nodded. He knelt back down in front of us. Even if her growth slowed. I could see that the planes of her cheekbones were slightly more pronounced. We stretched Renesmee out on my lap. and Carlisle measured her length as well as the circumference of her head. He squeezed until I felt forced to look up at him again. and more durable. She's grown 7/8's of an inch since I measured her when I returned. I gently straightened out a soft curl with two fingers. but I would like to determine if she can digest human food. Carlisle noted. acknowledging his physician's analysis. Please don't get upset. She is like nothing we have ever seen before – standard rules for development obviously don't apply." He disappeared and returned in several seconds. Oh. He looked at me for a long moment and then shook his head. we had no idea what her life span might be. Esme." I whispered. Her fingers and toes seemed longer. stunned. I tried to ignore the calculations both our minds were doing unbidden. I looked down at her sleeping face. . That doesn't mean that her body wasn't designed for a long and happy life. Carlisle watched the panic in my eyes and reached out and put a hand on my shoulder . I would imagine. I had been staring at her for the last hour and a half. Edward. looking down at her and searching his mind. "I'll get the measuring tape. she's healthy. I realized Esme was still standing at the top of the stairs. anxious. Her torso had definitely lengthened. I don't know. and then I carefully wrapped Renesmee back up in her blue blanket. For now that I looked.froze as he inhaled a sharp breath. "Okay. "I'll be back in a moment. "I want to keep a running record. there was no way. "Her skin appears firmer than a human's. listening. "No. her heart rate is faster than that of a normal human. Her legs had already lost some of the excess fat. A long and happy life. a salve for my fears." "Carlisle. I nodded." he said. While I watched him I heard quiet footsteps come up the stairs and then pause at the top. really looked. what does this mean?" I asked." Carlisle said softly. like a human's heart rate would. and then looked up at me. and felt a deep chill settle through me. I nodded once. Quickly I pulled back the blanket and felt a growing sense of unease. It's beating at about 150 beats per minutes – slightly above the normal range for a newborn baby. I wondered if all babies slept this soundly? I had no reference to go by. he thought. "What?" I said quickly. not knowing what to say. Longer. Carlisle's other hand was quickly on my other shoulder. and they were straighter. She's beautiful. holding a tape measure. She had not woken at all during the measuring process. Hearing a small noise outside the room." He fell silent then. Carlisle came and knelt next to me as we studied her. I studied her face intently. she has only ingested blood. standing up. standing up.

. leaning over and pressing my cheek to the side of her head. Reminds me of my first little angel. . and then stopped. cruel. I was swallowed by my own memories of burning. She turned her head. and try to guide you. and then looked back down at Renesmee. thanks. the fire blazing as if straight from hell."At some point. Esme appeared immediately in the door. Just behind her. "I'm just so happy." I said. and then lifted her eyes to mine. against his heart. of course. Edward. and then he noticed my stare." she said softly. I just never thought it would happen for me. mingled with ancient sorrows and old regrets. Carlisle stood. "Bella. Look at her. I realized suddenly that Esme had been loitering out in the hall waiting for an excuse to come in and get Renesmee." She smiled. kissing Renesmee's cheek. watching her face. and then looked at me. he thought. I smiled. unrelenting and unstoppable. his expression entranced. I wanted to tell him that every happiness of mine was to be shared with him. It seemed surreal. Esme. Please spare her. when you'll let me. "Would it be all right for me to examine Bella again?" he asked. his eyes fixed on the vision of Esme with the baby in her arms. To care for you. I'd like to do some blood work." She lifted Renesmee up. He glanced away. putting an arm around her shoulder and pressing his lips to her cheek. "You know how much I love you. and Bella's as well. and then turned swiftly and left. taking her hand. Esme raised her arm and pressed her hand to Carlisle's face. I lifted my eyes. again. and then Carlisle moved over to Bella. "Oh. I walked over and stood across the bed from him. peering down into Renesmee's face. watching Esme. I never dreamed. She patted my hair gently. don't let her be going through that. fearing that he might be intruding on my happiness with his own. breathing deeply. But there was no response. almost embarrassed. He slowly lifted his hand. Edward. You and Bella.. His breath hitched slightly. with your permission. given the venom currently scorching through her veins. Please. How adorable. her face a little hesitant. burying her face in her hair for a moment. And it reminds me so much of. "That would be great. trying to compose herself. pressing it against his chest. "Oh. after all this time. standing. "What gift you have given us. How much I love my adopted family. Finally." I whispered. I let my eyes move back to her. You're my children. god. His mind held a myriad of emotions – boundless love and aching happiness. frozen. To feel that new life in my arms." She closed her eyes. Carlisle came over to her. She gently slid her arms under Renesmee. kissing him gently on the lips. Look at her sleeping." she said quietly. How I missed you. Her hand felt cooler than usual in mine. "But to hold a baby in my arms again." said Esme suddenly. Edward?" she asked quickly. trying to bite back a smile at her obvious eagerness. closing his own eyes. Her eyes went straight to Renesmee. her breath catching. Suddenly. She swallowed." Carlisle looked over at Bella. would you like me to take the baby so you can help with the exam. Look at her. lifting her out of my grasp and cradling her to her chest. "There you are. I looked down. Carlisle and I watched after her for a moment. Just as she always wanted. Her eyes lit up and she approached almost reverently. and nothing has brought me greater pleasure than to act as your mother. her voice breaking off in a sob. I just. dear one. a couple of feet away.

cool and dry. looking at me. I'm not certain. Finally looking up. To forbid him to see Renesmee. I pressed my cheek to Bella's. "No. no danger. I stared at his down turned head. There was a quick discussion. To tear apart his world. I needed to talk to Jacob. Edward. not feeling generous. "What about her spine?" I whispered. the venom thickens the blood. he thought. Shit. thinking of the wolves. feeling the slight ridge where the incision had been. Jacob reached the top of the steps and walked towards me. love. Alone. to give us some privacy?" Carlisle raised his eyebrows in surprise. I couldn't put off explaining to my family any longer. his expression horrified. I nodded. Fear drummed through him. but I don't know if we would be able to get an image at this point. "In a human." Carlisle came around the table suddenly. he glanced at the door behind me.Carlisle glanced at me with worried eyes. and then went out the door. He knew that he would do as I asked. Once they were out the door. curious but patient. I glanced back up. pleased. Jacob stood by the couch. "Can I see her?" he asked quietly. There was no way he was going to guess this one. The wound was almost completely healed. but I need to speak to Jacob first. Jacob's head shot up. Silent tension wavered between us for a moment. and began climbing the stairs." Carlisle said. and this helplessness terrified him. exposing Bella's stomach. stopping several feet away. why is Jacob still here? I sighed and looked away. Carlisle nodded again and regarded me for a second. his expression stressed. He straightened up. I glanced up at him. It will heal. Edward. Everyone kept casting suspicious glances at him. I thought." I whispered. But first. Ribs healing nicely. he sighed loudly. Okay. "I will explain. saying nothing. Empty. Edward. I ran a finger down it. wondering what could possibly be going on. "However. leaving it cracked open several inches. and a lot of fuss wrapping Renesmee in an extra blanket before they were ready to leave. "Be careful. Jacob nodded. avoiding his questioning eyes. Carlisle was watching me. I'm not sure how that will effect the medication – it may burn off slower. He smiled kindly at me. We could take an x-ray. "I know you were going to kill her. We stared at each other for several silent seconds. Carlisle. standing right in front of it. "I'll be right back. and then glanced back down at Bella's still. But there was no one close." I said softly. . all the color draining from his face. a short argument with Rosalie. I kissed her lips. No longer dilated." I snapped. silently watching. He pulled back her eyelids. that I had called him up here to demand that he leave. he thought. Carlisle slid his hand under the sheet. but nodded. putting a hand on my shoulder. His body was rigid. and then leaned over Bella. thinking of Bella as he had last seen her – lifeless. we'll leave right now. changes the molecular structure." I said softly. steeled himself. Do you think everyone might take a walk in the yard. before turning and going downstairs. He carefully pushed the sheet aside. He'd lost that right when he'd walked out the office door after the birth. unconscious face. "When will the morphine wear off?" The scent of it still laced her blood. and then looked down at his feet. four to eight hours.

I'll have whatever kind of relationship she wants with me – friend. I would never. "I thought she was dead. and make her happy. Jacob blinked. then you were as good as dead. brother – or if she wants. and he was thinking of Renesmee again. That now would never come to pass.. How there would be no reason to live anymore. "Do you want me to leave?" His voice was nearly inaudible. how many of her future decisions will be a fore-gone conclusion?" Jacob's grip on my arm tightened. He waited. He stepped closer to me and then reached out hesitantly to touch my arm. "Jacob. seething. I'll simply watch her from afar. and even more upset by the future I painted. After everything. Outside. panic crashing into his thoughts of being kept away from Renesmee. It was a rare clear night. Renesmee had woken up. I don't want to take away her choices. watching. you can't." I said. "No. did you think I was going to miss that?" He shrugged. and yet hating that they were towards my daughter. your life is gone too. "I love her. not wanting his remorse. to keep her safe. "You would have done that to Bella?" He stiffened. I looked at him again. I knew it was foolish. unable to avoid understanding the depth and truth of his emotions. not sure what to say. Finally. and closed my eyes." he finally said. "Jacob. ever do that. how it would be impossible to go on living. I glanced down in surprise. his hands clenching. taking in everything around her." His tone was brusque. and the pain in his eyes changed. "How could I not.. too. She means more to me than anything in the world. looking down again. saying nothing. you would have done that to me. as he felt I had hurt Bella. But she was happy. don't you see. you are writing her whole life for her." I sighed. If I let you stay... I was angry. "I worry that. "No. He had never voluntarily touched me before. softened slightly. and if they are gone. if. not breathing. stop me if I ever do. I felt a pang of guilt at having sent them out there. waiting. squeezing the bridge of my nose. shaky. and please. to pursue this anger over something that did not come to pass. I get that now. uncle. "She was dead. More than that. But I just wasn't ready to let it go." he said. "If she was dead." I said softly. his voice low and intent." I repeated." I said. eyes not meeting mine. and learn everything about her." He was back briefly in those terrible moments. Tell Bella he had almost tried to kill her daughter . He shook his head." Renesmee.if you knew. "And me?" I whispered. "You've been hammering yourself with guilt for the last half hour. his hand still on my arm. "I just want to be near her." I stared at him." I said quietly. The ghost of pain and loss filled his eyes. I beg you. Edward. yet. I sighed and closed my eyes. so he would comprehend where I was coming from. and tried to put my fears into words. He watched me. Then his face changed. exhilarated. "You know I would never hurt her. I would give anything in the world to take back those few seconds. I understand now. Jacob? But he would have wanted to hurt me. and see her smile. and she stared up at the heavens . "Edward." he said roughly." His voice broke slightly. I want to watch her grow. "by imprinting on Renesmee. he took a breath and looked up into my eyes. leaving that room. in some ways. his voice rough. before she even gets a chance to make her own choices. coming down the stairs. laced with regret. he thought. not cruel. But I can't. How your whole world can hang on the existence of one person. "Will you tell her?" he whispered." I spit out. unable to fully keep the edge of betrayal out of my voice. and defensiveness."I wasn't sure. "But.

you are worrying about things that are. I understood that kind of love. uncomfortably." His hand twitched as his side. Bella...it might. looking down. blowing out a long. That some other girl. I would have been anything Bella wanted me to be. well. that one day I might leave her. "I understand what you are trying to say. "I really don't know. all eyes on the sky.. My eyes opened." his voice trailed off. laughed. "Maybe she'll see how much I love Renesmee. okay? You were right. "You actually think Bella will be okay with this?" I asked him.. frustrated. Good luck with that. You're in for it. you're her father. The irony. "It isn't.. I didn't think those feelings for her would ever change. and I looked at him carefully. 18 years away. But one day. that you would wait. I realized what he was inferring. And I was wrong.. when she is older.. "It isn't. don't you think. and. Right. I snorted and rolled my eyes. "I just want to be near her. my feelings have changed. trying to calm my emotions. looking worried. dammit. uncertainly.. just to be near her. Nothing more. "Not that I am unhappy about it." his voice trailed into a whisper. surprisingly. "Or you would be dead right now." he said slowly. what some in my family would think. my thoughts tangled viciously by the mere thought that someday someone might think of my little girl that way. When you told me once that if Bella chose me. some stranger I barely knew." He looked sideways at me.from Rosalie's arms.yes.. you will. inappropriate. but. "Edward. uncertain. like. I glared at him. though." he said. and you'll hate them the same way you'd hate me. "I didn't believe it.like that." he said. he can be irritating. He pulled his hand away from my arm and glanced at the door behind me." God. you know. "Damn straight it's not. "Yes. as I did." I snarled angrily. Jacob tried to look more serious. Jacob watched my face for a moment. and guys will want to be around her whether I'm here or not." His hands clenched into fists." He turned away from me slightly. opening and closing several times. "Edward. I thought about Jacob's words. trembling breath." I stared at him in amazement and growled. "She's going to grow up." He looked down. as if he could see Bella through it. and find an answer. could just come along and change the way I felt about Bella. No father wants any guys thinking that way about their daughter – believe me I've witnessed plenty of that from Billy with my sisters." He flinched and then nodded. "No. "I was wrong. my voice scathing. and I clenched my fists.they are just gone now?" Jacob blinked.. either way. and then. would fear. Did he really think I wanted to be vindicated this way? "It would be if you weren't in love with my daughter instead. My stomach twisted at the very suggestion.I can't." Jacob took a step back.. I mean.. as if he hadn't even taken the time to consider this. Just not that way. "You were right... kicking the floor." He closed his eyes and breathed in and out slowly before opening them again. I still love her. your feelings for Bella . the kind that transcends all normal boundaries. I might have .. pointing out various constellations. "It's better that way. smiling widely. He knew. "No.. while Carlisle bent next to her. My family clustered around her." I ground my teeth. Jacob. surprise flooding his mind. That his feelings towards Renesmee were not. whispering. I didn't think it was possible. As if he had been so busy being enamored by my daughter that he had forgotten he was supposed to be in love with my wife." He sighed.

"You can stay. "Bring them up. her mind far way. "So. I breathed deeply and tried to smile. He looked up . the endless agony. Please let me be there for her. My family was starting to make their way back across the lawn towards the house. and his eyes lit with anticipation and gratitude. "No. There was a long silence as I tried to contemplate what Renesmee's future might look like. now glanced between our faces. I won't. and Jacob and I both turned automatically towards the stairs. you will. Edward. and it felt wrong for me to be making it alone. she shot back. I walked over and gently lifted Renesmee from Rosalie's arms. happy. who had been looking eagerly towards Jacob. anxious not to upset her." Jacob's mouth fell open." My family filed into the house and slowly mounted the stairs. though I didn't feel very compelled to tell him that now. But. Then it will be her turn to have a say. I watched as some of the tension drained from behind Jacob's eyes. The back door swung open. And. She looked at me and her mind filled with the vision of the night stars. "I need to explain this to my family. and then slowly. I'll do anything. Renesmee. holding out his arms. Alice's brow was furrowed. Daddy! Jacob! Renesmee's eyes were luminous. "Yes. tenderly." I said." I said quietly. She had been looking for Renesmee's future when they were outside. He dropped his voice. for now. I smiled at her. I turned back to find Jacob's eyes vivid on mine. could you give Renesmee to Jacob so he can take her downstairs. thank you. almost overcome. her expression concerned. Absolutely not. empty anguish. realizing Jacob had not yet thought through what Renesmee's rapid growth might mean about her development. I did owe Jacob.finally grown on you by then. Edward? Carlisle thought. her face concerned. Truly. Edward. and I was so scared of making the wrong decision. I wouldn't wish that pain on Jacob. of course. thank you Edward. Looking into his anxious eyes." Rosalie snapped. He held her stiffly for a moment. Please." Thank you. so I'll just beg this one thing of you. Oh. and I can't promise what their reaction will be. She caught my eye." I swallowed hard. whatever way you'll let me. That none of us might have that much time with her. But was it the right thing for Renesmee? I wanted to do what was best for her. I suddenly fiercely wished that Bella was awake. "I need to speak to everyone. warmth and love glowing in his heart. very softly. I know you don't owe me anything. He turned quickly towards Rose and Renesmee. "Rosalie. and the constellations she already recalled. pressed her against his chest. "Yes." I winced inwardly. beside me. Everything okay. Rose was furious but did not resist. I felt like this was my first true parenting decision. I was stricken with the sudden memory how it had felt to be separated from Bella. where does this leave us?" Jacob finally asked. I looked away. and then looked around. but it was still blurry. everything is off the table when Bella wakes up. the searing." I said finally. I kissed Renesmee's forehead and then lowered her into Jacob's arms. hoping to be able to see something that far from Jacob. Confusion reigned in their thoughts as they came to quietly stand around Jacob and me. hearing my family's approach. "I just want to be near her. you have my permission to stay." I hissed quietly. the sky. nodding to show I saw what she was showing me.

You made us march around outside and then dragged us up here for that? Who gives a damn? Alice had gone back to worrying about her lack of vision. but then Carlisle grabbed her other arm. "But it is more than just that. Carlisle continued to watch me. before turning and hurrying down the stairs. "Do you remember. "Do you recall when we discussed how one of the wolf pack had imprinted on a 2 year old?" I paused. "Oh. agitated. and livid. but was surprised to see his eyes conflicted. She pulled away. I sighed. Alice thought. His face was strained. I'll kill him. I glanced at him. "Holy shit!" yelled Emmett." I snapped. grateful for his support. Why? I looked carefully around." said Esme. Jacob has imprinted on Renesmee. and then she whirled towards the stairs." Esme gasped. "when I told you about the wolves imprinting?" There was a beat of confused silence. "Edward. I turned back to my family." laughed Emmett." he said in a low voice. What the hell are you talking about. "No. Seriously? Rosalie thought. Jasper hissed. Jasper was shaking his head. realizing in a furious rush that this must have been what the earlier encounter downstairs had been about. his face very still." I said slowly. and Carlisle knew me well enough to know something else was wrong. They are bound for life. Edward?" His face was shocked.at me for a moment. pausing to take in everyone's eyes. "Yes. Edward? Jasper thought." I whispered. Alice narrowed her eyes slightly. There were groans and hisses. She becomes the center of the universe for him. Because I wasn't sure if I could say the words out loud. irrevocably. are you telling us that Jacob has imprinted on Renesmee?" "Yes. horror in her voice. glancing at her and then back at me. eyes shining with happiness. "Are you friggin' kidding me. "Are you trying to tell us that Jacob has imprinted? That's very nice. calm. I would have to be more direct. He's downstairs alone with her. cautiously. "Do you mean the mating for life thing?" she asked. the effect is instantaneous. who were looking at me with expressions ranging from stunned to disgusted. her face brightening suddenly. Rose. . mystified. How could he? She pressed a hand to her stomach. almost willing them to understand what I was trying to tell them. Your niece. I've hated seeing him so heartbroken over Bella. "Stay here. searching each of their eyes. "Oh. as she took a step back. Rose." Jasper and Carlisle were still studying me somberly. The first time a wolf sees his imprint. strong in her fury. My daughter. Your granddaughter. her eyes wide. Rosalie snarled. grabbing her arm. This was not what anyone had been expecting." I said. the one thing that holds him to this earth. looking at the spot where Jacob had been standing." Her face was sincere. Jasper could sense my continued unease. "About time. "So the wolf is finally going to get his own girl." There was another very pregnant pause. Was that love? He thought. Rosalie simply thought. and tried to keep my voice low. It took only about three-fourths of a second.

The age of the. defending him." I said this as much for Jacob's benefit as for theirs. you must know that. He just wants her to be safe and happy. his face tight. "that the feelings he has for her are safe. but I question if this is even tolerable. Help me understand." seethed Rosalie. Jasper took a small step to me." "Edward. I saw a small flash of pain in her mind at this.. as long as it is safe for Renesmee. fuming." There was a moment of stunned silence. well."Edward. I held her gaze until she looked away. "I don't expect everyone to accept this right away. his desire for her to be happy.. "I understand that we owe Jacob a lot. I felt a flash of panic. her voice panicked and confused." snarled Rose." There were a couple of groans. I explained that when we discussed the imprinting on the two year old. I nodded. Edward. bit of truth. I looked pleadingly at Carlisle. All bets were off." I said in a low voice. "I won't have him near her. too. wait till Bella wakes up. pure and permanent. "The imprinting is a compulsion. Jacob was listening. and in control?" "Yes. "She's my daughter. No. "She's a baby. and probably worst. I can't believe he dared to choose her!" "Stop it. I sighed. Now he can get the hell away from her. "You're sure.the object of the imprint does not matter. then. because I can see into Jacob's mind. "Did you think anyone was really listening? Like we gave a damn? It's a hell of a lot different when it is our baby. I can see into his thoughts. acknowledging my words. Edward. and her life. "Oh. . gritting my teeth." "Fine." I said softly." "Not romantic?" Esme asked. barely breathing. she thought. God knows I don't. I can see his utter devotion to Renesmee. as they stared at me. Supporting. or inappropriate situation." Rosalie gaped at me. Christ. it will never change. for christ's sake!" said Emmett angrily. Edward." Carlisle said. "And Renesmee is drawn to him. "I would never allow any harm to come to Renesmee." Emmett muttered. Rosalie's hands curled into tight fists. He took a deep breath. Rosalie's expression bore into me. "You have to understand. This is insanity. Rose. breaking the quiet. I have told Jacob he can stay. protective instinct coursed through him." Carlisle said quietly. "This is not a romantic thing. allowing Jacob to stay. However. and until Bella wakes and we are able to discuss this together. "We promise to keep her safe and happy. Yeah. "But I thought Bella said the wolves who imprint will eventually get married. The love he has for her is simple." breathed Alice. that maybe I was doing the wrong thing. and given everything she ever wants in life. imparting the most telling. The others wrinkled up their faces in surprise. Jacob had no choice in the matter." An intense. thinking god knows what disgusting things." I said quickly. her eyes wide. It is platonic." I said quickly. "This is downright disgusting. "However angry or disgusted it makes us feel. I won't allow it. I would never allow her to be in any danger. "How can this be okay?" Bella would not like this." "That can happen. her eyes on fire." I looked around. through all of them." I said. "I know this is a lot harder for all of you than for me. will be swift. The love he feels towards her is much like the love any of us have for her. and if things change his expulsion from our house. I'm trying to understand this." Downstairs. shocked I would speak up so vehemently in his defense.

wait till Bella wakes up and finds out. Her face was large and close." he whispered. I realized he could see a bit of Bella." he murmured. I nodded at Jacob. Jacob was slowly coming back up towards us. thinking about me. Sweet baby. sweat and blood pouring down her skin. seeing nothing. Alice's eyes were far way. She tried to look enthusiastic. wringing her hands nervously in front of her. but he nodded. a vision of Bella. "Any takers on how long until she tears him limb from limb?" "Emmett. My face disappeared completely from his mind. and we stared at each other for a long moment. My family was growing irritated and confused by this inexplicably exchange between Jacob and me." . Carlisle was confused but moved obligingly until he was practically pressed up against Jacob." "Of course. "Special. and if he loves Renesmee as we do." I murmured to Carlisle. bloodshot. How could he possibly know that? What was he playing at? Jacob slowly came to the top of the stairs and turned to look at us. He was. Jacob shifted uncomfortably but Carlisle remained calm. and the image vanished immediately from his mind. and she murmured gentle words. "Let her touch you. Imagining some strange angle of my face." murmured Carlisle."That's right. Renesmee was in his arms. She had put it into Jacob's mind." he chuckled. He was looking down pensively." said Esme in a small voice." She smiled at me. So beautiful. "Watch. He was holding her small hand against his cheek. Jacob is a good person. but not from hers. It's always good to have an extra set of hands with an infant. Very gently he lifted Renesmee's hand again. the vision of Bella whispered." he said aloud. close. very oddly." he said softly." said Esme reprovingly. He bent over slowly and Jacob pressed Renesmee's hand to his face. "Oh boy. And he was listening to me hum the lullaby I had sang to Renesmee. He took Renesmee's hand gently from his face. His voice was full of wonder. "We'd love to have Jacob stay. Sweet Renesmee. His eyes were wide. "Edward is Renesmee's father. They cleared and she glared at me. There was an edge of anxiety to his thoughts. Jasper reached out for Alice's hand. and I felt a flash of annoyance that he would return so quickly. her deep eyes fixed onto his face. her eyes half crazed. "I respect your decision on this. It was her touch. Her face was smiling. His face was hard. I perused their faces. There was movement at the bottom of the stairs. Confusion and anger flared within me. Immediately. He placed her hand gently against his cheek. "She's special. How will I ever see anything with him here! Emmett let out a hard laugh. "What's going on?" grumbled Emmett. then I am glad he is here. And I'm sorry I even questioned you. that was the conduit for her thoughts. and then finally put my hand on Carlisle and pulled him gently toward Jacob. This image was not a memory of Jacob's – this was Renesmee's memory. With a jolt. his mind filled with something different. "Edward. his finger on his chin. Jacob choked slightly at the impact of the memory. lying on the bed in the office. Understanding swept through his face. Carlisle drew in a sharp breath as his mind filled with an image of Rosalie. I realized suddenly. I was absolutely frozen in amazement and shock. like her father. Jacob gently removed her hand from his face. Than he glanced up at me. shocked. Carlisle's stunned eyes shot to mine. Renesmee.

I felt my own flash of thirst. Carlisle looked into Rose's eyes. burying her face in Jasper's chest. Emmett broke the silence. Is everything okay. shoulders shaking with amusement." Carlisle said quietly. white teeth shining. gazing down at her." he complained. staring at it. cooling her throat. and then back to Jacob. and there was something else in the view – glinting silver – the metal bottle. "She's telling you that she is thirsty. and then tried to disguise a chuckle as a cough. "Yes. "She is passing her thoughts into my mind. Jasper and Emmett exchanged incredulous glances. I think she is communicating with us. Suddenly. Then she smiled widely. as the meaning of the vision slowly dawned on me. Not just a memory – a purposeful message within a thought. filling the hallway as he slapped his leg and hung onto the wall for support. I guess she's not venomous. Thirst. She can show you her thoughts. placing Renesmee's hand back onto her blanket. shocked."And her mother." I breathed. First he snorted. moving a step forward. opened her mouth. Renesmee hung onto Jacob's hand for a second. Alice." I breathed. Edward? Carlisle looked at her. and Carlisle joined in the laughter. "Ouch. "Ouch. not as close. Alice started to laugh as well." "Yes. Renesmee stared at him for a moment. then her face crinkled up in something resembling distaste. Rosalie began practically shaking with furious rage. There was a moment of surprised silence. Renesmee returned her gaze steadily. her eyes blinking a couple of times. "Are you hungry.. sucking off some dripping blood from the quickly healing wound. her voice desperate. and she released him.. He moved a step forward." he choked out between howls of laughter. thinking of how to explain. Renesmee thought about the contents of the bottle sliding into her mouth. Jacob looked around at everyone for a moment. "Ouch". laughter still in his voice. she is feeling thirsty." said Jasper suddenly. "My god. Jasper took a step forward. smiling. Then she slowly turned her head to his hand. and I shifted slightly." he said lightly. and stood up slowly." "What?" gasped Esme. "She's thinking about you. "She is. It grew louder and louder." Rosalie's eyes widened and glowed brilliant. "What is she thinking about?" said Rosalie. Rosalie bit her lip and rolled her eyes. closer to Jacob. "Well. "What is it?" asked Alice. "She's thinking about Rosalie feeding her." he paused. And then the vision changed. fascination brimming on his face. dumbstruck. stroking lightly. as she shifted her gaze to Renesmee's small. My family stiffened. He lifted his hand. patting Jacob on the shoulder. Renesmee looked up at Jacob. hand still held out in front of him. Rosalie's face again." Jacob gently touched her cheek. He swallowed hard. He shook his head and stuck his hand into his mouth. and then her gaze slowly travelled around to all the faces trained on her. Then his face relaxed and broke into a grin. . solemn face. Nessie?" he murmured. and then suddenly he threw his head back and burst out laughing. Esme disguised her smile behind her hand. and an immediate undercurrent of tension ran through their thoughts as they watched Jacob touching her so casually. There is intent to these thoughts. and bit him. eyes wide with shock. concerned. He patted her head.

Jacob." I whispered. she thought. I am not going inside this time! Leah. his voice betraying excitement. a couple stairs down. But Jacob just shook his head. He looked down at Renesmee. and then his face turned pale. of course. sleepyhead." Rose turned and headed down the stairs. looking up at me. Slowly. Rosalie brought Renesmee over to me. Renesmee made a small movement. pulling his hand from his mouth. Renesmee lifted her small arm of her own accord and very deliberately placed it against Jacob's face." he said. "Oh shit." Not that I want to discourage that. She smiled. sweetheart. before she takes another bite. I smiled gently back down to her. a pleased note entering his mind that she had thought of him. She was leaning against Jasper. "I'll see you in a bit. but I just smiled. I'm fine." said Rosalie." Surprise flashed over Jasper's expression. A vision of Jasper holding her bottle blossomed in Jacob's mind. "Renesmee's a bit much. I took a breath. As I watched through his mind. "Nickname. I smiled. "Yes." he said reassuringly. looking up." Chapter 22—Suspension Renesmee stirred around five AM. She immediately put her hand to Rosalie's neck. "Good morning. but kept their faces impassive. I'll be so glad when this whole damn thing is over." whispered Jacob. Jacob and Rosalie both flinched as their arms made contact. and her mouth pulled into a wide yawn as she stretched two fisted hands over her head. "Leah is coming. He jumped up from the chair he had been sitting in. not meeting his eyes. Renesmee blinked sleepily several more times." he said. thought Carlisle. And then. "She's waking up. She was approaching the house. I looked down at the floor for a second." "Nessie?" Alice said. "What is that about?" Jacob shrugged. I'll sing to you again. Nessie. don't you think?" He glanced at me with worried eyes. glancing around. "Why don't you let me take a look at that. Jacob. "Oh." I said quietly. Seth was still several miles out. And he thought my family would be the biggest hurtle. but then sat back down quickly when Rose leveled a death glare at him. wanting to suggest they try the baby formula. trying to control my amusement at what Jacob had coming to him when he explained what had happened with Renesmee to Leah. filling her thoughts with a vision of Rose feeding her. gazing down at her adoringly. and turned around. She and Seth were concerned they had not heard from Jacob yet. Rosalie approached Jacob. her body stiff. Esme right at her arm. Rose smiled down at the baby. and we will never have to see this house or those bloodsuckers again. I leaned down and kissed her forehead. Where the hell is he? I can't believe I have to come back again to this vile-smelling vampire hole. Carlisle hurried after them. "Oh. worried that she had insisted on coming herself." He stared at me blankly for a couple of seconds. "Jasper feeding her. and all eyes turned to her. He paused. the lullaby falling from my lips. "I'm fine. and then smiled. smoothing her curls. pressing my lips together. . But she walked right up to him and carefully took Renesmee.Carlisle's eyes widened slightly. Renesmee's eyes started to open and close.Amazing. And then Jacob will want to leave. "Don't worry." said Jacob. "I better take this little monkey and get her something to drink. as we watched breathlessly. and her mind filled with the vision of us by Bella's bedside.

I smiled to myself." said Esme. thought Rose. I stood up. a silver cup in his hand. and flavor." He lowered the bottle. Carlisle released it to her. "What if we tell him she's been admitted to the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle. I maybe persistent was a better word. sweetheart. and then recoiled. Do human babies actually drink it?" "I think." Carlisle nodded. and if we try to tell him again that Bella is still in quarantine. under a team of specialists?" Alice's eyes unfocused. touching it to her lips. . "Hungry." Rosalie said. From what I saw in her thoughts. He looked pointedly at Carlisle. and everyone laughed. in an armchair." he said. smiling. his face turning pensive." snapped Jasper. of the blood she had been fed." said Carlisle gently. Renesmee reached up with both hands. screeching up to the entrance of the UW Medical Center. He's done waiting. Carlisle had measured the baby about an hour ago. I swallowed hard at the pang of fire her thoughts brought my dry throat. "Can you blame her?" said Alice. like her father. Carlisle's mouth gaped slightly in surprise. marveling at her strength and coordination. We have to leave. "I know. Her mother is plenty stubborn. She shook her head. and had spent the last hour exchanging worried glances with Seth. and thinking she might be more willing to try it on her own terms. carefully passing the baby into Carlisle's arms. who had spent the last several hours at the house. showing the same vision that she had shown Rose. Rosalie and Esme had managed to convince him not to try the formula last night. She sniffed suspiciously. "He'll call at 6:00 am. "I better get her a bottle of blood. and Rose knelt down next to him. car keys in his hand. He sat on the couch." She refocused her perspective of the vision. Jacob was continuing to watch Renesmee intently. and I watched in her mind a vision of Charlie in his police car. Then she moved one of her hands up to the spout. turning it around in her hands and sniffing at opening a couple of time. Then she smiled up at Carlisle and pushed the bottle back into his hands. Her mind was full of a vision of Charlie talking on the phone. her eyes clearing. bent back the metal spout so it was bent closed. Seth had even taken a turn holding a sleeping Renesmee. isn't she?" Emmett finally commented. "I knew it was foolish to stay. clutching and pulling at the bottle.. and with a shocking creak. but he was determined to give it a go today. "Oh!" Alice said suddenly. it did smell revolting.. "Excellent." Everyone glanced quickly at Carlisle." Behind him. still speechless. Jasper and Emmett watching from behind the couch. are we?" Carlisle appeared in the door. "That stuff smells awful. "Just stubborn. too. He sighed. he'll come to the house. I started. Jacob paled. Jacob had been shocked to discover the rate of her growth. This time she recalled the taste. "He'll go looking for her. his face angry. "Saucy little thing. anxiety lacing his thoughts. "Charlie going to call again at. and there was a stunned silence for a moment. "But let's just try this. Carlisle lowered the bottle close to Renesmee's face. looking awkward but happy as he cradled her in his long arms." "Damn. catching the clock on the microwave. Her hand shot up to Carlisle's neck. Renesmee regarded the bottle for a few moments.One track mind. Everyone leaned in close. heading towards the kitchen. determining that she had grown one and a quarter inches in the previous four hours. Rosalie stood up. scanning her thoughts.

"She's already out grown all the clothes Emmett bought last week.. Jacob. nodded. to undergo special tests?" Alice held up a finger. that Bella had given birth and he had imprinted on her baby." He was concerned about how long we could hold off Charlie. but then nodded. while Rosalie shook her head angrily on the other side of the room. Alice blinked once. of all people. if necessary." Jacob was irritated." muttered Jacob." . I." Jacob said quickly. "Leah. "We need to have the freedom to move in our lands. a smug look on her face. Leah stared at him in pure disbelief. nodding.." said Rosalie. Carlisle smiled slightly. a couple of us still need to hunt. I felt a flash of pain for him. somewhat unceremoniously in his nervousness. Jacob had spent several hours slightly shell shocked from Leah's "hissy fit". "For now. Rosalie took the baby from Carlisle and then sauntered over to retrieve the bottle from Esme. and looked back at Jacob. as Emmett had called it. "You've really lost it this time.. "I also need to explain to Sam what's. darker. I've wanted to talk to you about trying to reestablish the treaty with Sam's pack. "Edward knows about this." Jacob looked at him. "You're crazy. you know that?" she hissed. She saw Charlie banging down the phone. for now." she said. happened with Renesmee. "You did what?" "Leah. avoiding Rosalie's eyes. "What if we tell him I've brought her to the CDC in Atlanta. Leah's expression was appalled. "My niece will not spend another minute wrapped in a blue blanket!" "It's true. Jacob glanced up at her from the chair. "This is truly sick.. Emmett snorted. "Esme should speak to him. know it is not something I had control over. well. "Also. so try for the daughter?" Jacob's teeth snapped together. but nodded. surprised.. "Actually." said Carlisle. and Bella will be very thirsty as well when she awakes. Esme." Her voice had gotten lower." He shifted uncomfortably." "I can't believe this! You imprinted on a vampire?" Her voice had elevated up several octaves to a piercing shriek. "If you would just listen for a. and he hasn't killed you?" "Not yet. "Let's hope it goes better than it did with Leah.wondering if I should intercede. This was not the time to leave – there had to be a way around this. and me. "And we need a serious shopping trip!" Alice interjected. earlier in the evening. and they were all blue anyhow. "Should be okay. to leave safely." Jasper muttered." said Jasper in a hard voice. rolling her eyes. "HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE?" "She's only half vampire. Is this some sort of psycho reaction to Bella dumping you? Can't have her." "That is the last time I let Bella predict anything!" said Alice. Carlisle let out a long breath. Carlisle moved close to Jacob. returning from the kitchen with a new bottle. But Carlisle spoke up.. her eyes fading far away." he growled. Jake. and said in a hesitant voice "Could I feed her?" Esme smiled down at him. and then sitting down heavily in a kitchen chair and putting his head in his hands. Pain had flashed in Leah's eyes. "You. his expression turning resigned. "You did what?" Leah had growled angrily when Jacob announced to her." Jacob cringed inwardly at this thought.

please don't ever come back. and now you have imprinted on her half-bloodsucker kid? Am I getting all this right? Have I left anything out?" "Enough. the irony! "What are you going to do. "It doesn't hurt to have it completed." Jacob growled. "So then you become the knight in shining armor to save her. as we waited for the results of Jacob's visit." said Alice. then you come here to kill the bloodsucker. "You're mad." "No. "No. You're not going into La Push by yourself. "You're all mad!" she yelled loudly. anxious. In fact. Jacob left." Oh. the pain of separation already in his chest. hating to leave her. Several minutes later." he said quietly. against the backsplash of the night sky. "I need to do this on my own." Seth's brow furrowed. "Hold on.. Finally he sighed. thought Rosalie. Then she gestured around madly towards the house. "Bye. I sensed annoyance from Jasper at the direction of the conversation. Don't bother rushing back. half laugh. "First you are madly in love with Bella.in-laws?" The last word came out as a half shriek. wait. no. Do you mean to tell me that. not in the condition she will be in when she wakes. Nessie." Jasper sighed impatiently.your.." "We don't know that. Rose and Alice quietly discussed their shopping trip. gag." Jacob repeated. anxious to phase and escape Leah's rantings in his mind. "No way. This is between Sam and me. Seth had arrived fifteen minutes later." Her voice dropped to barely a whisper. bloodsucker and wolf kids? Can't wait to see that!" Jacob just glared at her stonily. Esme handled the phone call from Charlie as gracefully as possible. after a few more words with Carlisle. "You stay here. her voice growing loud.. trying to ignore him. "And we have to leave.But Leah's expression had turned wild. reeking place! She had run off into the forest." said Jacob quickly. this is just too much. Oh. I'm never going to escape this filthy. Leah. Now Jacob was watching Renesmee. one day. first engaging in a short argument with a still furious Leah on the edge of the lawn before heading towards La Push on his own. Renesmee drifted back into sleep after drinking her fill." He turned and walked over to where Rose sat with the baby. Jake. her dreams a cascade of familiar faces. "No. Seth stood up as well. Bella and Edward will be your. "It's ridiculous." he said softly. have part human. She was anxious to have it completed by the time Bella awoke. joined by Esme. "He won't be able to handle her alone. and then he asks you to kill him anyways!" I had cringed as this line elicited several sharp intakes of breath downstairs. and then got to his feet. "Edward and Bella are not going to be able to live in the cottage. crowned by the yellow orbs of the stars and surrounded by the swaying movements of giant trees. Her wide eyes watched him." he muttered. gazing down at her and touching her cheek." she raved. and the three women discussed the final plans in hushed excitement. who was hoping they could purchase some final items for the cottage. and eventually." . The atmosphere of the house was subdued.. but instead the bloodsucker asks you to make babies with her. not knowing what awaited him on the reservation. determined. "I'll be back soon. he pulled Alice aside.

That the fire did not burn on some level." I called softly. "Why have you come? As I can sense you maintain your Alpha status." Jacob's expression was stiff. "Damn it." snapped Jasper. Her still face seemed to fill the room. he could see Paul and Jared running several yards out beside him. listen. assuming her unconscious state was painless. He began to replay the memory of his confrontation with Sam in careful detail. Paul taking the position of second. We? I thought in alarm. Jacob. Jake?" he asked. a mental call broke into my thoughts." I kissed her cheek softly. But. How much longer would it act as an excuse for her lack of response? I was hit again with the perverse thought that I wished she would wake up. would scream in agony. and I grasped Bella's hand tightly.. "What's going on. he thought. Sam phased. I don't see that we have anything to say to each other. "This may be a good sign. and saw that he was racing towards the house with Sam beside him. arms crossed. I lifted her wrist and breathed deeply. with some of the pack. followed quickly by Carlisle and Emmett. with Renesmee. of course. An impossibility that suddenly seemed so tantalizingly. anything. Edward. please. "What the hell?" He paced over to look out the window. Sam was there in wolf form. He stood in front of the wolves. and he had followed them until the forest broke into a clearing. is not going to change. "Jacob is coming back. Sam. and I was. It should be a miracle. tortuously close. faster than Carlisle. everything. "My being an alpha." said Carlisle calmly. looking for answers. The scent of morphine was so very faint. and I wanted to reach my hand out and grab it. even though I could not disregard the layers of truth beneath them. And even still. Suddenly." Jasper came through the door first. Carlisle had handled me on his own." "He's bringing them here?" asked Emmett incredulously. Paul and Jared closed ranks in front of him. My stomach moved into my throat. we're coming back. then. I couldn't change it now. Paul and Jared moved into place behind Sam. A family. and his voice like ice in Jacob's ears.the vision of being at the cottage with Bella. to let me know she was still in there. Don't wish pain on her. Paul and Jared with him. but he was unsurprised by his hostility. That was. "What are you doing here. as if sensing my silent mental inquiry. and the blood in her veins. there was Renesmee. their eyes watching him closely. waiting for him. I scanned his thoughts. none of this mattered unless Bella woke up. thinking it the least confrontational way to approach Sam. if nothing. that she had been able to exist so peacefully as the venom obviously burned through her veins. He has suspected Sam would still resent being so blatantly defied when he left the pack. What was he doing? "Carlisle. What do you see Edward?" I scanned Jacob's mind..I felt a stab of annoyance at his words. to ease your own suffering. "Jacob is returning – he's got Sam. My family. Still. Stop it. I nodded. He slowed and phased into human form. "Hold on. Edward?" Carlisle asked in a low voice. Edward. living on our own. I thought viciously." . love. "I'm with you. and Jared and Paul following. As Jacob had penetrated the treaty line. even if I wanted. flanked by Quil and Embry. "I'm here. face hard. Let her escape the pain." I whispered. After regarding Jacob for several seconds with his cold black eyes.

What kind of child? What guarantee do we have that it won't grow into something dangerous?" Jacob looked down at the ground for a moment. the Cullens have changed her. "The Cullens need to be able to move freely about their lands. and the shine of her existence created a calm glow within him." said Jacob. his face black. He opened his eyes straight into Sam's. Jacob sighed heavily." He paused briefly. Finally. She's the most precious thing in the whole world to me. then. Jacob waited for a moment. Sam and the wolves behind him seemed frozen with shock. "Her name is Renesmee. letting thoughts of Renesmee take him for a moment. "Did Bella survive? Has the treaty been broken?" Jacob felt a flash of annoyance. his voice steady." He spat out the last word. Tell me.. the most important thing." Sam looked surprised at Jacob's words about Renesmee." Sam shook his head. and kind. "Then she's dead?" Sam asked. his arms falling loosely to his side. and Leah. She's in transition right now. but he did not respond. Something has happened. Sam shifted." Jacob felt a flash of anger. She is gentle. and then blew out a breath." "No." he breathed." said Jacob. "Seth is too young and impressionable to make this kind of decision. Jacob." "So the treaty has been broken. "And that is the other thing. "I know you didn't come here to argue with me about this. The wolves behind him moved restlessly. There was an endless." He closed his eyes. "I gave Edward permission to break the treaty to save Bella's life." Sam growled."You can release the members of my pack you have taken. "That's impossible." "Bella has given birth. and then went on." Sam regarded him for a moment. "The matter still remains of the offspring." Sam snapped. "She has emotional baggage that interferes with her decision process. Seth and Leah are free to leave at any time. "She had a child. I've come to ask you to call off the pack. and then back at Sam. not a creature. I can see it on your face. A very special child. "Like I told Jared. Jacob shook his head. I have come to talk to you about. who is not a danger to anyone. "So Bella survived human. "A child. and amazement filtered into Sam'e . I have imprinted on her. "I know she is not dangerous. shocked. drawing in a deep breath. "What kind of creature did she have?" Sam asked quickly. And the treaty has not been broken. pained. waiting. closing in together. and Sam's eyes flared wide. but relieved when he said the treaty had not been broken." Sam shook his head. you say." Sam's face froze." There was a shocked silence. and move back behind the treaty lines." Sam swore loudly and the wolves exchanged looks. and amazing. stunned silence at his words.. They are perfectly capable of making their own decisions." he said softly. "Not exactly. Sam's eyes narrowed. I know you. Jacob just watched him. "I think you underestimate them both." said Jacob quietly. "And who gave you the right to make such a decision?" "My great-grandfather. "No.

"That's twisted." Sam's face hardened." said Embry." "Sam!" Jacob's voice was loud now.. "You really imprinted on Bella's kid?" said Embry. his expression shocked. "Is it human?" Jacob's eyes narrowed slightly. "I can see. and Jacob embraced him back." Jacob glowered. stepping up next to Sam. And." Sam's gaze sharpened. you. looking defensive. He met Jacob's eyes." So now they were headed towards our house. "Like I said. "If you could see her like I do. "Geez. she does. He glanced at them sharply. anything. "Jacob. Quil shook his head.. "Wow. and a small smile played on his lips. "But congratulations. you'd understand... Paul and Jared following behind. it's hard to understand. Embry's eyes grew even wider. "Yeah. it appeared that Sam and Jacob had discovered they could communicate with each other – not the intimate communication of Alpha and pack.she. Sam and Jacob in front. first.you've imprinted on her. man. But that doesn't mean I don't question if she is not a danger to our people. Congratulations. "Who'd have thought?" Paul and Jared phased as well. Regardless of my personal feelings." Sam stepped back. I need to speak to Carlisle. but the ability to direct specific thoughts into each other's minds.eyes. but it seems like she is part human. "Their trip is peaceful. Sam still stood back." He took a step forward. Jake. However. "Can't anything be easy with you? What's wrong with a regular girl?" Jacob smiled at him and shrugged. "A halfvampire?" "Yup." he said.. and it changes many things. of all people. "I've imprinted on her. but didn't say anything." said Jacob. and then looked around his friends at Sam. She's trying other things. holding up a hand.. grinning. she's just a baby.." He glared at Sam's skeptical face." He pulled Jacob into hug. and his voice grew softer. "Part vampire? Does she drink blood?" Jacob crossed his arms. What she means to me now. You know what that means." Then he walked over to Jacob and slapped his hand on his shoulder. "Is she strong? Can she be controlled? What about when donated blood isn't enough?" Jacob growled in frustration. Suddenly. You can't truly tell us she is not a threat. Jacob had already told Leah and Seth not to approach. Donated blood. so smart already. there was a breath of wind. And she would never hurt anyone." said Paul." Sam's eyes widened. I wouldn't do to keep her safe. A sort of bond among Alphas. who were watching me expectantly. But she's smart. Jake.. before we can reestablish the treaty lines. and Quil and Embry phased. Sam just wants to speak to Carlisle before the treaty is reestablished. Jacob. his voice astonished. their expressions a mingle of amusement and irritation." . "Well. "You know there isn't anything. I would never harm her. but to meet them at the house. and guarded. You. shockingly. I refocused on my father and brothers. Sam.vampire. know. part. "You are obviously not capable of being a impartial judge of this situation. shocked and pleased.see that it is true. shaking his head in confusion. A mix of her parents. his hands in tight fists. You would see how amazing she is. You never have. "She is just a baby. And there is still much to discuss between us. How wonderful.

Renesmee was still sleeping. "The last thing we heard from these wolves was that they were waiting till the baby was born to make their decisions." Emmett grumbled. ready to move at even the slightest ghost of aggression." Protectiveness surged through his body. "Edward. I won't risk it. continuing to run behind in position. Stay back here. They both growled as they watched Sam and Jacob continue towards the house. "I won't leave Bella. "We have to give them a chance. He looked at me." "No kidding. "before they get to close to the house. It's just Sam. "We should intercept them in the woods. ." Carlisle watched me for another moment and then left." I said sharply." Carlisle said softly." I said firmly. "No. I focused carefully on the situation outside. I surveyed the forest surrounding Jacob through his eyes." "Then why did Sam bring backup?" Jasper said. "Hang on. on the couch. so I could protect both her and Bella. "That will look confrontational. We may need you to mediate the conversation. "They are just coming up on the property line. Jacob looked to Sam. "They know Jacob has imprinted on her. their paws seemingly glued on the spot." They started to turn towards the door. Sam thought to Paul and Jared as they approached our property." I snapped. holding up a hand. "Do you honestly think they would still hurt her?" "How the hell do we know what those mongrels will do?" Emmett muttered. thought Sam. Edward?" I glanced up in shock." said Carlisle. As Sam and Jacob approached the lawn. Will you be willing to come down if we need you? "No. "Let's meet them on the front porch. I contemplated whether I should have asked Carlisle to have the baby brought upstairs to me." I said softly. or Renesmee. "Are you coming. and then looked pointedly at Bella." said Carlisle. "They're entering into enemy territory. some absorbed from the family around him. they paused. or danger. I won't go that far from her. "No. Alice and Esme sat." Emmett said. I heard Rosalie hiss in agreement downstairs. and translate for Sam." I said softly." I swallowed hard. "Sam will just have to deal with it. "He's left Jared and Paul in the forest. his eyes fixed on mine. going down the staircase and passing through the front room where Rosalie. but much of it springing from within himself. What if they have decided she's a danger? I don't want them anywhere near this house. "What do you expect them to do?" But Paul and Jared did make me nervous. moving through the minds gathered. Carlisle thought. I want to remain in wolf form. What if she woke up and I wasn't beside her?" "You could be up here in seconds. Why had he brought the most hostile members of his pack? Jasper gritted his teeth." I said. "How far out?" he asked.Jasper and Emmett exchanged looks. Carlisle's gaze lingered on me for a second." I growled. "I promised her I would be with her. and Paul and Jared stopped awkwardly." Jasper growled. I said stay here! Sam's thoughts echoed with the command of the Alpha." I was starting to get a lock on Sam's thoughts." I muttered. anxious. "This appears to be a peaceful meeting. "No. and then he waved the others on ahead of him. They ignored him. content in Rose's arms. My brothers relaxed somewhat.

Don't do it. He phased. "Seth. Patting Jasper on the shoulder. We never intended such a thing when we agreed to the treaty. Please ask Sam if he will speak to me in human form. smiling. thank you. Leah. "Edward cannot leave Bella right now to translate. we need to be able to move freely . "I'm well. "Emmett and I will flank you several feet behind. and bent forward closer to Jacob. how are you?" Carlisle asked. "As I am sure Jacob has told you. "Have a little faith. It was against nature for him to ever pursue a . looking at Jacob's face." murmured Carlisle." he stated. "He has come to meet me alone." Carlisle said. Carlisle's expression grew somber. "I trust Carlisle with my life. then." Jacob blanched slightly. he thought. Carlisle. I heard my father's quick intake of breath. Bella would have died without our intervention. "Sam. Sam. and I'm sorry to have gone back on our word. "But he wants to stay in wolf form." Sam interrupted." Sam answered in a low voice. pausing and nodding his head at them as he passed. and contemplated phasing so he could speak face to face with Carlisle. irritated. "Yes. his arms stiff at his side. and then turned and disappeared into the edge of the forest. walking towards Sam and stopping several feet away when he saw him stiffen. Where is Edward?" He looked around. and then nodded. I'll speak first. He looked back finally. Carlisle frowned." "No. waiting." "Her life was in danger in the first place because of the intervention of your son in her life." he murmured. Seth shook his head in greeting. Wait here." he said to Carlisle." "I don't like it. We're coming now. "Sam would like to talk to you about the treaty. Sam walked halfway across the lawn towards the house and then stopped. From her thoughts. thought Carlisle. Sam bent his head to the side for a moment. and then turned to gaze up at the house through the trees. "Carlisle. Paul interjected. Emmett and Jasper stood. "Jacob. He turned and strode forward. It might be a trap. Seth and Leah were sitting at the edge of the lawn. inhaling deeply and then exhaling. quickly stopping and turning to look at them. emerging from the forest with Jacob at his side. and he inclined his head. he walked down the stairs onto the lawn. "Do you trust him?" he asked in a low voice." Sam said in a cool voice. Jacob met his eyes. NO! Sam commanded. I can at least do the same.. thought Jared. shaking his head. He phased." Jasper growled. But we were left with no other choice. That is good enough for me.Jacob nodded." he said softly. quickly pulling on clothes and then running across the lawn to the porch where Carlisle. but then jogged back to the edge of the woods. They regarded each other for a few moments. feeling the truth of the words as he spoke them. I got the impression she rather relished the freedom to turn her back on him. Carlisle started down the porch stairs.." said Jasper under his voice. Assure him he is in no danger here. "You've created another vampire. but Leah just stared coldly for a moment. Sam had heard Carlisle's words. He growled. pulling on shorts and fixing an intense gaze on Jacob.

" Emmett and Jasper glared at him. as we would the mate of any wolf of our tribe. He hadn't thought that was possible. putting a hand on his shoulder. their mindless. if ever necessary.human girl. Sam was watching him carefully." And they never were. Sam glanced briefly at Jacob. Their legends told them that the transition from human to vampire was very painful. "That does not mean I do not question if the child is not a danger to our people. We still have no idea what will happen as she grows. knowing that threat had passed. "More importantly. He wrenched his attention back to the meeting. and it was time to move on.. tearing apart the pack. "However. "However. and Rosalie growled softly inside the house. and he was surprised he could not hear her suffering. "Yes. their faces dark. His body relaxed as quickly as it had tensed. and I clenched my teeth.the child." he said softly. Tragedy. or should you leave the area? She craves blood. Esme. vicious attacks. will get us nowhere. we will. And. "Be that as it may. and he crossed his arms before inclining his head slightly in agreement. and she is young. to check on her." Sam raised his eyebrows.Resentment. it is one of the sacred principals of our people to never harm the object of an imprint. "Not only would we never harm the girl." He turned and looked at Jacob. "Yes. "I apologize for the earlier situation with regards to Bella's pregnancy. as she fought against encroaching wakefulness." A memory flashed though his head of a legend of a wolf's mate being killed by another wolf. protect her with our own lives. the transformation was done under the most dire of circumstances. and then went on." Sam went on. They planned to kill Esme. he thought. a small sigh escaping her lips. Jacob has explained to us that he has imprinted on the. A rush of embittered anger washed suddenly through him at the memory of Sam's plans to murder not just Bella and her baby. and if she . "And will you be able to control her when she is in her newborn state?" He remembered the newborns they had fought. gratified for this acceptance. Is it safe for her to remain in such close proximity to humans. This thought pierced his mind like a shaft of ice." Carlisle said. Carlisle's lips grew thin. and the humans in the surrounding vicinity. he thought angrily. "Yes. the desire to see her. flooding through him. He breathed in once deeply to calm himself. "And Bella is still in transition?" he asked. are of any threat to your pack. the air in the room seeming to grow thicker." Sam turned a hard look on Jacob. Sam let his arm fall and turned to face Carlisle again. Jacob nodded slightly at him in acknowledgement. Although you must understand that I only ever had the safety of my people at heart. nor my granddaughter." Then his eyes flickered behind Carlisle towards the house. he thought. It never does. or your people. "She is heavily medicated. his voice hard. I am aware of that." he said in an even voice. "Neither my daughter. trying to keep the animosity from bleeding into his eyes. harder to breath. making his muscles tense and his vision waver red. but he didn't question further. in order to save her life." said Carlisle. Unexpected.. From within the house I heard Renesmee move restlessly. "My family will be able to take care of her. Jacob's head whipped towards the house. from the porch. And Edward secured permission from Jacob before the transition. but his whole family. Sam was determined to never see a repeat of such a disaster in his lifetime. and the bloody fight to the death that occurred.

And the dark haired female. his thoughts flickering towards the inherent dangers Bella would present as a newborn. Carlisle looked levelly at Sam." Renesmee's pleasure at Jacob's return was palpable. Even in the few moments they had spent together. "I will need to speak to the elders of my tribe about the new developments." Patience. "I'm sorry I had to leave. his face serious. and I am certain her intellect will grow as she ages. gently kissing her fingers until I heard Jacob hurrying back into the house. an almost desperate need to see her coursing through him. in any possible way. awake now. "The treaty? We are anxious to have this discord between us settled. To try to expel them from these lands would be disastrous. She seemed to have been born with a natural affinity for Jacob. He took a step towards Carlisle. "Sam needs to protect his people. But Carlisle held up a hand to him." He stepped several steps forward and held out his hand. the stirrings of true affection. "Still." His eyes flickered to Jacob again. Jacob smiled. voice intent. smiling. Jacob. he thought. Esme smiled at him gently while Rose watched. "Yes. His calm eyes watched Sam. she does crave blood. "Thank you." Gifted? Sam thought." Jacob growled." he said quietly. and again have peace between your family and the pack." said Carlisle. He wondered if Carlisle meant this in a human way. "Sam. His eyes flickered towards Jacob. I need to have complete assurance from you that your family will not endanger any more human lives. Like you. bringing my attention back to Bella. and Jacob's heart nearly stopped with relief. She was sitting on Esme's lap. and then back. "You have my assurance. and then Sam and Jacob walked to the edge of the forest to talk. There was a questioning edge to the thought. the . He's got a hell of a lot of nerve. and Jacob would be lost to his home forever." he said softly. dark and slightly threatening. and the consequences of breaking a renewed treaty. exceptionally bright. Nessie. There was a general rumble of irritation through my family. like her father. "It is true. And. This is as new. He won't let her down. Packs. or that she possessed gifts beyond what was natural. filling his mind with the vision of his back as he went out the door earlier. upset. as he strode over and scooped her up." Sam smiled tightly. her lips in a thin line. I sighed. of course. I squeezed Bella's hand. and unfamiliar to them as it is to us." I do not want a dangerous unknown stalking these woods." His eyes glinted." he finally said. Nessie put her hand to Jacob's face. They exchanged a few tense pleasantries. So damn high and mighty. Options are limited. Edward will keep her safe. I have no doubts she will be able to control her behavior. his eyes scanning for Renesmee. I would also like to see us return to upholding the original treaty. seeing her safe and happy. but I am within my power to agree to reinstate the original terms of the treaty. thought Rosalie." Sam's face relaxed slightly. "It's okay. Carlisle thought to himself.will be willing to subsist on only animal blood. Emmett fumed. Carlisle nodded at Sam. her interest in him had intensified. wondering if he would have mentioned such a thing. as the rest of your family does. She reached her arms out towards him."I understand your position. "I understand. But I'm back now. What have they created with their crossbreeding? But he realized he had very little choice but to trust Carlisle's words. But she is also remarkably gifted. while we appreciate the extenuating circumstances surrounding Bella's situation. and always have her best interests in mind. Carlisle came forward to meet him and shook it. he thought. she is surrounded by a loving family that will watch over her.

and Jasper's head kept jerking to the side. the strands twisted all around her fingers. Were the objects of a wolf's imprint naturally drawn to the person? Beyond just the interest you would feel for someone who worshipped you. and when Jasper moved it out of her reach. For one. I tried to shake away these unanswerable questions." I said. Jasper. She thought Nessie's dad ought to have a hand in feeding her. "I know. I also did not like it. . Alice and Rosalie left after a while on their shopping trip. her face fell a little and she placed her hand on his cheek. He looked up at me. and Jacob is on the front porch with Seth. "Nessie. Then she made another grab for the bottle. She smiled at him. The girls are still shopping." he moaned. the rest would get all twisted again. in all of our lives? Or was there some other force going on? And. laying my head on the pillow next to hers.foundation of a growing connection. my hand at the small of her back as we turned swiftly. if so. and that was why Bella had been so desperate to spend time with him over the last several days. Renesmee had one of her hands nestled into his hair. I appreciated this idea. and what might happen if it was subverted? Sighing. Jasper tugged it away. and then turned to me." he said. "Hey. honey. I liked the explanation of Bella's intense need to be with Jacob – there was a certain amount of relief in that. I turned my attention to Bella. remembering the lullaby I had sang to her. and reached out to take her. Jasper was standing in the hall. Each time I would get one untangled. She was pulling with all her strength. but she wouldn't relinquish her grip on Jasper's hair. Whenever I tried to take her. "Let go. even at that early stage. darlin'. ultimately. I had even sensed her heightened interest in him while she had been in the womb. a silver bottle held in his other hand. The pleasure and love on her face as she looked up at me. I got up and opened the door. she thought. I sang to her each song from our wedding. Was it maybe that Renesmee was highly aware. her face lighting up. I remembered dancing with her myself. wondering if Jasper realized he was unconsciously using Jacob's nickname for Renesmee. that Renesmee had felt the pull towards him even before she was born. There was a knock on the door. the lavender backdrop of night all around us. and the house went quiet as Renesmee fell into a light sleep in Jacob's arms. and feeding her. I knew from Jacob's thoughts that he felt that they were meant to be together. She quickly made a grab for the bottle with her other hand. I had never been in the mind of someone who had been imprinted upon. remembering how she had looked out on the dance floor with her father. Daddy. "Esme asked me to bring her up to you so you could give her a bottle. and could sense that Jacob was someone important. And I also just plain did not understand that concept. reaching over to fruitlessly try to disentangle her hand from his hair." he said. the feel of her body pressed against mine. she pulled harder. her dress clinging and weaving as they rocked awkwardly back and forth. However. I was uncomfortable with the idea that Renesmee had been drawn to Jacob even before she was born. what could it possibly be. and humming softly. trying to pry her fingers open. Renesmee awake and sitting up in the crook of his arm. Both minds filled with the earlier vision of Jasper holding Renesmee. her ivory skin flushed with happiness. and I was pulled back. On a certain level. and she pulled on his hair again." I smiled.

for several seconds and then shook his head. But I could not tear my eyes from Bella's face. the outline of her brows more pronounced. from the truth of Jasper's observation. and I smiled at her demand. the blood warm and pumping beneath thin skin. a flawless.. enticing beauty to tempt the human eye. It had never mattered. heightened even further when she blushed. despite her silence. but his eyes were trained on Bella. a fragile porcelain turning into strong." I said. He reached out and held his hand over the skin of her arm.. You knew she would. her eyes wider. He furrowed his brow. all changes that nature had decided led to a more obvious. he thought. turning away and looking at me. And even I had always grudgingly appreciated what was to be gained from the loss of some of her physical human traits. How she looked was inconsequential. There was so much to be gained from immortality. frozen. "Do you sense anything from her. All subtle changes growing ever more visible as the minutes passed. Jazz?" I whispered." said Jasper."Ugh. and stepped closer. It had been the sacrifice of her soul that had concerned me the most. diamond white." I said softly. grasping it with her own hands and sucking hungrily. and I quickly took her in my arms. and I felt a flash of annoyance. she let go. patting my shoulder on the way out and quietly closing the door. Less than twenty-four hours later. I had always known that if Bella became like us. I realized he hadn't seen her since the birth and change. For the endless brown . I picked up the bottle and she quickly took it in her mouth. the prey. His eyes swung back to Bella. Then she placed her other hand on my face and thought of Rosalie feeding her. And yet now. Now her ivory skin had paled even further. but with the natural flush of all humans. maybe?" He shrugged. "I can't get anything from her. although I would never have admitted it to Bella. She reached up and grabbed a handful of my own hair and pulled. She had always been pale. smooth china. feeling a wave of sympathy as he imagined what it might be like if it was Alice lying on that bed. It's almost as if there. visibly stronger. that her physical appearance would be altered. Finally. the physical change in her was evident. drinking in long pulls from the cup. human traits. I loved Bella for who she was." I sighed. "The morphine. He looked at me for a long second. "I know. Renesmee in my arms. Could be. close. She looks different. you're hungry. Could be deadening her senses. not just around me but in the world in general. I don't know how to describe it. Renesmee's grin was huge as we struggled to unwrap her fingers. so easy to overlook the sacrifice of a few. which Jasper immediately sensed. "I know. but not quite touching. He put the bottle on a shelf and then tried to help me release him from the baby's clutches. I stood next to the bed. She's changing. But his thoughts didn't wander past this observation. His mind registered that she was only covered by a thin white sheet. kissing her cheek. He looked at me quickly. I felt a stab of loss for the human things that had been a part of the girl I love. He stayed that way. I felt a flash of uneasy awareness at his words. I glanced up at Jasper.there is a heavy blanket surrounding her that I can't get through. precious. her cheekbones more edged. The thought had a sharp edge. the increase in strength and speed and durability that would make her so much safer. She was beginning to show some of the changes I had observed in Alice's vision. We moved into the room as a unit. for the beauty within her. and then left. resting on her face.

About mid-afternoon. Eventually Esme brought her to Jacob. and yet held me aloft. as well as bag upon bag of baby clothes. She would never change – regardless of how the venom altered her. promising myself we would do this again when all was right. enjoying having her all to themselves. And even the scent. came to take Renesmee. and Renesmee's rapid growth. never had been lost. contented noise in the back of her throat. and began humming Bella's lullaby. luminous eyes. Alice was cataloguing all the new clothes she had purchased for Bella. not a baby. When. and tried let happiness take us for a few moments. for a moment. blushing heat as I stroked my fingers down her face. remembering my memories of dancing with Bella. and I closed my eyes against the worry and anxiety. But. looking down at her. during six months of miserable exile. clutching her to me. the burning scent that meant she was alive. and he took her for a walk around the edge of the lawn. and after a lot of exasperated dismay from Jasper and Emmett. I grinned. who was pacing anxiously downstairs. realizing the bottle was empty. she was the same person inside. For skin that had felt warm and fragile beneath my hands. adding it to the row upon row of clothing she had already purchased while Bella and I were away on our honeymoon." The worry behind her eyes faded a little and then she remembered me singing to her. "I know. Renesmee made a small. For the face that had haunted me. Rosalie had purchased the remaining furnishings for the cottage. and as she did the vision bloomed in her mind of Bella's face again. and never would be. For the heartbeat that had filled my world each night. and she made a small. I could see that Alice had held aside one bag. they all entered the house with at least a dozen bags and headed up the stairs. I placed the bottle on a shelf as she watched me with her eyes. The vision had the pointed feel of a reminder. including clothes that seemed designed for a small child. Emmett and Jasper tailing them. I caught familiar thoughts approaching on the highway. I felt a whisper of sadness for the human girl that I would never quite see again. I held it cradled in my arms.eyes that had been all I could see when I ran away the first time I met her. after her birth. about Bella's stillness. and she quickly appeared in my room. . And suddenly the world flipped over. and I whirled us around unexpectedly. and I glanced down quickly. They pulled into the driveway. my sisters had purchased a staggering amount of clothing in the few hours they had been gone. Renesmee reached to place a hand on my neck. We danced about the office. delighted. Renesmee wiggled. suffering withdrawal. every color of the rainbow. and with me. not very surreptitiously. and made my stomach clench uncomfortably at the thought that they may fit Renesmee soon. From what was flashing through Alice's mind. I began to sway back and forth and then eventually move around the room. Carlisle measured her in their room again.You promised. sweetheart. If. strained. and I realized Bella's humanity was not lost. The vision danced with question. Then. noting another three quarter inch growth. quiet sound of delight that made my heart soar. about 100 yard behind. My love for Bella would never change. Her brown. adoring." I whispered. "She'll be with us soon. as she slept in her suspended state beside us. He and Esme played with her in their room for a while. Eventually Esme. I lifted her onto my shoulder. smiling broadly. and anxiety.

bent close together. I darted out of the way and went out to the hall. looking through all the purchases as Carlisle watched her adoringly. "And no watching!" "Ow. her eyes twinkling. Emmett's arm around her shoulders. the image of a very small. and then leaned down to kiss her neck. grinning. surprised. Bella had worn similar ensembles on our honeymoon. I've had enough of Bella and the sheet. blue silk dress As absurd as the dress was for Bella. except for the blood red eyes. his gaze intent on Bella. I quickly focused somewhere else. clearer even than Bella's face. I crossed my arms and closed my eyes. "So. But now. "Sorry about this. Finally she glanced back at me. Her face darkened." I muttered. Rosalie was downstairs fawning over Renesmee. dark against light. "Alice. and then opened our eyes." She reached slowly into the bag. and they had been beautiful. contemplating another kick for good measure. relishing it. Alice's gaze shone on mine for a moment. how it would feel to run my hand down her arm. an undeniable sign that the moment Alice could foresee would indeed come to be. To be able to . He rubbed her back. their heads. suddenly. and it just appeared in front of me. unbreakable. "No." I said. and stood next to it. something so tangible and real. Bella will not appreciate all those clothes. letting my head fall back against the wall. The blue dress sparkled in the center. shimmering." I whispered. Jasper hovered behind Alice. Don't deny me my small pleasures. watching her quietly for a moment. just as easily damaged as the clothes themselves. Alice pushed me playfully on the chest. her smile growing impossibly wider. "Damn it. uncertain. The well known risks of getting in Alice's way. We both sighed. I smoothed back Bella's hair. Bella's skin would be strong. and then we both closed our eyes and let her vision in. grasping something inside." She winked. crystal clear. I imagined." Alice narrowed her eyes." "I'll help you. Alice's face was glowing." she said sternly. She walked over to Bella and touched her face gently. But the sheer silk." She shook her head. and then pulled out a long. I left the door cracked slightly. ethereal skin that lay beneath them." I said. "I don't know why you insist on buying so much. without fear of hurting her." Suddenly. "Too late. leaning my back against the wall. she thought irritably. but mine was stiff. and tortuously tempting at the same time. The house was fairly quiet – I could hear Esme in Rosalie's room. My mind could not help conjuring up the vision of how they would look on Bella. "Almost as if it was fate." She kicked my calf. walking through the boutique. my worried eyes on Bella. love. "There I was."How are we doing?" she said brightly. It had grown remarkable clearer in just a day. flourishing the bag in her hand. and she crossed her arms and stomped her foot. Get out anyway." she laughed." Alice hissed and shoved me again. "I tried to stop her." I muttered. "I still have a few surprises for you. before she squashed it with a vision of white curtains. showing Alice and I standing next to Bella. lacy bra and panties flashed in her head. "I want to get her dressed. mister grumpy. kissing her high on her forehead near her hairline. What appeared before my dark vision was the lacy underwear Alice had purchased for Bella. "Now get out. I couldn't deny the wave of satisfied contentment that washed over me at the sight of the dress from the vision. and delicate lace had often only served to remind me of the fragile.

and she beamed back. "All right. I went back into the bedroom. it was always Renesmee.. "I thought. the door swung open and Jasper strode over to her." said Jasper." Her voice faded. looking up." said Jasper.stroke the skin of her back. But I can't. "Can you see anything else? Other than the one image? Can you play the vision back. and put my hand on one of the shoes Alice had slid onto her feet. thank you. To truly caress the contours of her body. quiet.. that Jasper had been able to sense what my thoughts of Bella's body had been doing to my emotional state. "What's wrong." he said lightly. Anxious from being even several feet away from Bella in the hall. Complete. Suddenly." she said quietly. silent. Edward?" he said in a low." He raised his eyebrows and winked. amused voice." she whispered. her smile faltering. his expression confused. "She's getting Bella dressed. and I was broken from my reverie. His smile grew at the look on my face. the only discernable movement." Alice said. looking at Bella's face. She looks beautiful." Her mind played a jumble of blurry attempts. and I realized she had been hiding something. or forward?" She shook her head swiftly. That one moment seems set. uninhibited. you can see Bella again. Suddenly. Jazz. "Alice. still picture. "Well. I thought I would be able to see clearer. I walked slowly over. you could not see them clearly. "No worries. But. "So. "Hold your horses. the door down the hall opened. I realized suddenly. looking at Bella for a moment. Alice.. eyes opening. "who was interfering with your vision. Alice. but only large holes whenever she tried to see Renesmee. rubbing her arm." Alice nodded. and saw Jasper poke his head out into the hallway. Carlisle walking with a measuring tape in his hands. Now that she is out of Bella. and then ducked back into the bedroom. "The shoes are ridiculous.. "I've tried. I grimaced. "when Jacob left. He shifted. I felt a steel shaft of distress lodge itself within me. bro. with mortification." I smiled at her. "No." I muttered. when you were dressing her?" No. I can't see Renesmee. . as if a weight was pressed to her shoulders. feel it soft yet supple beneath my hands. anxiety sketched on her face." Her face fell completely. "But will you be needing Alice much longer?" I rolled my eyes. Alice hunched over. send her my way when she comes out. and amusement lit in his eyes." I whispered. and put her face in her hands." "Just the one vision. I turned my head swiftly." Jasper grinned widely. shots of Esme filling bottles. solitary." "I'm almost done. "My vision. Bella was stunning. just the one. "Did you get any reaction from her. When Bella was carrying the baby. "Let's think about this." he asked anxiously. He turned and caught sight of me. and yet. it seems. "Shh. She looked up at him. "and she will hate them. quickly putting an arm around her shoulders. she thought sadly. there. Her chest rose and fell with her breaths." Alice called from the bedroom. and then glanced at the doorway behind me. I still can't see around Renesmee. I thought of Alice's vision of Bella. We both glanced down. and then down at the floor. and then over at me. my hands able to freely.

"I am a vampire. or Renesmee. he had growled." she said matter-of-factly. Time would tell." They lay Renesmee on the couch. I smiled to myself. We had suspected it as a possibility before she was born – now it seemed confirmed." Carlisle and Esme stared back at her blankly. Alice. "But Bella is still a little blurry within that vision. feeling a wave of irritation. whereas Renesmee seemed to create holes. but you. "Gee. almost falling off the couch. looking at Alice. sweetie. Renesmee unexpectedly flipped over onto her stomach.. As soon as he finished and sat up." Alice squeaked. and analyzing the picture of Bella in the mirror. she placed a hand on Rosalie and remembered earlier in the day. "have never been a werewolf or half-vampire. Carlisle moved downstairs." Chapter 23—Rebirth "I. dragging Jasper with her to find Carlisle and Esme. the answer lay with her ability to see only her own kind. and Carlisle's mind reflected all the answerless questions of my own. so I see vampires. please by this new revelation. To some degree. We already knew that Jacob had twenty-four pairs of chromosomes. essentially. Rose nodded at her." "I always see our kind clearer. "Oh. she could not see what she was not. blind spots. and Carlisle measured her length." Carlisle murmured." Then she froze for a second. as if this genetic link between Renesmee and him that hid them from Alice's gift somehow bound them even further. I found this scientific explanation pleasing. trying to think calmly. when it had been suggested there might be a similarity between him. Jasper and I are still much clearer . and head circumference." "No. and we stared back. whereas we had twenty-five. She had once been human." Alice announced loudly. by an explanation for her inability to see Renesmee. Her growth rate remained alarmingly steady.I breathed. or perhaps even something completely new. Alice could not see the werewolves. and looked at both of us." I said quietly. listening to Alice's explanation. to measure Renesmee.. Although I didn't completely discount our earlier theories about the wolves – I did still think that the ability to phase also interfered with Alice's visions. considering it's more scientific foundations. The wolves' interference often seemed to block entire chunks of the future. "Fascinating. In time. thank for the news flash. I remembered how angry Jacob had been a couple days ago. it seemed like Alice could actually see around her. As soon as she saw him. or what she once was. "And you aren't human. I sighed. Now. a different species from her. either way. prevented Alice from being able to see her. because they were. The idea made sense – I suspected Carlisle would agree. Jacob was listening intently downstairs. and the unborn baby. "That's right. It's that time again. I felt somewhat relieved by her reasoning." said Jasper. Do not compare me to that thing. "I need to talk to Carlisle. fundamentally. how she had stretched out while Carlisle measured her. My entire ." "But you can see Bella. And. or had never been. "but I was human. I had already seen Alice's train of thought as she had left my room. But. simply. still deep in conversation with Alice. but she had never been." Emmett muttered downstairs. which. "She has grown more distinct. if that was possible. he would look for anything that would tie them even tighter together. I imagined we would discover that Renesmee had similar genetic makeup to Jacob. As the clock chimed six o'clock." she said quickly.

Her eyes grew wide. a huge smile lit her face and she let out a small shriek of happiness." Alice suddenly said softly. his eyes lingering upstairs for a few moments before heading back to the couch. not to share them with her ." "Charlie. "She's okay. her expression upset. "Give her to me. and felt a sudden pang of sadness at all she was missing. Anxiety crossed Esme's face. Carlisle came in and sat on the edge of the counter. hurrying down to the bathroom. As my family moved quietly below us. Eventually." Rosalie growled. Esme tensed. and I heard Emmett and Jasper leap up the staircase. Renesmee's small mouth formed into a perfect O as her feet hit the warm water. "Bath time!" squealed Alice. Watching through Esme's eyes as she entered the bathroom. Esme poked her head into the room. and gently lowered Renesmee into the warm water. "Want to help us?" Her first bath. Huge mounds of bubbles floated on the top of the water. clapping her hands." I murmured. She hated lying to Charlie. after Charlie had called and been put off for another day. searching for the right one. I looked down at Bella's sleeping face. and then looked around at the faces watching her. "We'll get the next one. Esme had begun washing Renesmee with a washcloth. She reached out slowly. It was the first true noise she had made. looking pleased. She hissed. I wanted to write a composition for Renesmee. while Rose held her carefully and Alice danced a rubber duck in front of her face." I said softly from the room. cupping some in her small hand. It didn't seem right." He relaxed. grabbing his arm. Alice sprang upstairs to get the tub ready. Jacob. Then she disappeared into the hallway. "She's just happy." she said gently." sighed Esme. turning to Carlisle. and the edge of the tub was lined with every conceivable bath toy. "I've got her. while Alice flittered around them. gathered for the measuring. his shoulder banging into Rose's in the process. Jacob scooped her up first. and Jacob. watching. "All right. and I played with several possible melodies. Suddenly. all lurched forward to catch her. He put an arm around her. "We're going to give Nessie a bath. trying to smile. uncertain if he could come up. massaging Bella's hand with my fingers. her eyes falling onto Bella for a long moment. Rosalie held Renesmee as Esme undressed her. aside from some small whimpers and contented noises.family. All three were practically giddy with excitement. I hummed softly to Bella for a while. seven pairs of arms colliding and tangling with each other. Rosalie knelt next to the tub." she said. and I heard more soft footsteps on the stairs a few minutes later. You should be there. "Rose. drawing her close. I could see that Alice had gone typically overboard preparing the tub for Renesmee. Emmett and Jasper crowded into the bathroom with the others. all the various firsts I had heard Rosalie and Esme cataloging in their minds. Jacob loitered at the bottom of the stairs. five minutes. Alice and Esme quickly getting on either side of her. and she watched the bubbles that floated as high as her head. Everyone froze briefly in shock. smiling." snapped Jacob. I heard the decision made to give Renesmee a bath. Let Jacob spend some time with her. Nessie kicked her legs excitedly. Emmett moving to stand behind Rose while Jasper lingered near the back. "You've had her for a while. Her eyes were excited. Somehow it struck her as a betrayal of another parent. grabbing at the .

Emmett rocked back onto his heels. and then threw the towel at Emmett's head. her sweet. We both knelt. Rosalie glanced around. trying to sound stern. boys. and then dripping with water. Renesmee squealed. his face and hair soaked. I'm Santa Claus. looking panicked. Rosalie came into the room. It was the mental equivalent of "again. I carefully unsnapped the outfit. "Thought you might like to help get her ready for bed. scattering them into the air. Emmett fell to his knees next to Rose. trying to reach out her arms to me. placing another towel on the floor. his eyes narrowing slightly before looking back at Renesmee. Rose bent down. capturing a handful of bubbles. She kicked and . and then tried to catch Renesmee's feet. She kicked wildly." He scooped up a handful of water and bubbles and threw it at Jasper. Emmett glanced at him." Jasper snorted with laughter. and tears filled her eyes." he said. Renesmee in her arms wrapped in a thick. She raised both hands up over her head." Rose said softly as I lifted the baby from her arms. her little fist opening and closing urgently. She spluttered. lacy white cuffs on the ankles and wrists. My family cried out in surprise. radiating heat. She pushed it into her mouth. ho!" Renesmee stared at him blankly for a moment. "No water fights. with snaps that went down the front and between the legs. but ended up inhaling them instead.duck. He rubbed the water out of his face with his hand. now." Esme laughed. He gathered up bubbles in both his hands and plastered them all over his face. glad to be free of her bounds. pink towel that appeared to have some sort of hood that went over her head. don't cry. "Ho. "Sure thing. She struggled inside the towel. Rose leaned down and let her touch her neck. He dried his face. one piece. his face covered in bubbles. looking at Emmett. I unfolded the outfit – it was pink." I said quietly. chortling. and soon I heard a soft knock on the door. Renesmee. ho. again!" Rose smiled. sending a wave up at Emmett and splashing everyone gathered around the tub. "But first. "Look at me. After Nessie played "splash Uncle Emmett" at least a dozen more times. laughing. Ness. then her features shifted from confusion to delight." he said smiling. I smiled gratefully. "Watch this. biting off a piece before throwing it out of the tub. Her brown eyes peaked out from underneath. Her skin was pink and flushed from the bath. and she began to shriek with laughter. and then slid a diaper on Renesmee. and then brought them down into the water. laughing loudly. Renesmee reached up with her hand for Rose. with little. I could see in Rosalie's mind she was planning to bring Renesmee to me after the bath. leaning over the tub." he boomed. laughing. Rose handed me a folded outfit. of course. kid. framed with wet curls. She brought the bubbles up to her own mouth and tried to blow them. and Alice handed her another one. "Come on in. and then reached out her own hands." Rose said. lilting scent intensified by her damp curls. She replayed the image several times quickly. unwrapping her. hitting him square in the face. Esme kicked the men out of the bathroom so they could finish the bath. horrified at the sight of her tears. trying to dodge the water. She looked around expectantly. we don't want Uncle Jasper to feel left out. "She wants you to do it again. Her mind filled with a vision of Emmett. "Aw. Everyone crowded in. Alice giggled. She filled her hand with bubbles and blew. tossing Jasper a towel. and I placed Renesmee on her back.

"Enjoying this?" I muttered." she said. Renesmee reached her small hand out for the brush. She turned it over a few times. and then she shook herself. I felt overwhelmed suddenly with emotion." Rosalie said softly. She looked up at us and then reached out a hand. Rose let go of Renesmee. . Edward. There. there was deep fear." She looked up at me. and pulled out my mother's ring. she got so thin. I nodded.. and for caring for our daughter while we couldn't. She frowned at the fractured pieces for a moment. and then tossed them aside. Not a child who had been born the day before." "I know. She held it between her fingers. trying to form words. that her accelerated development was not a blessing. placing her lips on her stomach.." She reached into the pocket of her pants. smiling slightly. as it turned out. I let go of her upper body and grabbed her foot. I thought." she sighed.and I slid them onto Renesmee's feet." I murmured. I glanced up to find her looking at me intently. maybe. Renesmee had broken the hairbrush into two pieces. I thought." I whispered. She enjoyed the sensation. her face relaxed. at the time. My child. She handed me a pair of tiny pink socks. "Anyways. and she began to pull it through Renesmee's curls. I caught each foot and stuffed it into the outfit.more pink. "You don't have to say anything. and she immediately flipped onto her stomach. I had seen the exchange in Rose's mind a couple days after Bella and I had returned from Isle Esme. "She was afraid she would swell up. filling her mind with an image of me feeding her.. When Rose finished. however unintentional. Suddenly. I took the ring from between her fingers. "Edward. that Bella had not given it to me for safekeeping. at that time. it was more likely to have slid off her finger.squirmed. there was a loud snap. and we both looked at it silently for a moment before meeting each other's eyes. that Renesmee had mastered this milestone so quickly. would have been too painful for both of us. Renesmee stilled. I had imagined that the symbolism. We both glanced down quickly. I knew you couldn't be good at everything! She flipped Renesmee back over.. I saw that this was a physical milestone of a six to seven month old baby. but she kept pulling it back out. Rose laughed loudly and I glared at her. but Rose bent down so Renesmee could touch her. Bella's ring now. for protecting Bella. trying to roll over. "Tremendously. I slid it under her body and we each carefully threaded an arm through. I looked up at her. it was time you gave it back to her. of Bella giving me back my ring. On one hand.. and Rose let her take it. and then pushed herself back with her hands until she was in a sitting position. I put one hand on her chest and tried to feed a foot through the ankle of her outfit. and anxiety. This observation made me feel strangely conflicted. there seemed to be an automatic feeling of pride. Rose had brought a small. feeling pleased. "I have something for you. "Thanks. But. white brush. I could see the vision in her mind. Rosalie glanced at Bella. and not be able to get it off. looking dissatisfied. While Rose had her distracted. filled with an immense gratitude towards Rosalie for safeguarding the ring for Bella.. I had been hurt." Rose said softly. and she giggled and flipped over. her brown eyes glowing up at Rosalie. And yet." Her voice trailed off slightly. and then Rose swiftly did up the snaps. and blew raspberries while Renesmee squirmed with delight. "She gave it to me when she was pregnant. "Of course. carefully feeling the bristles. In Rosalie's mind. and held up her hand.

the hours passing in a ghostly silence. I lifted up Bella's hand.my face . closing my eyes. But the ring I had kept. or quoted mindlessly that day. I sighed and reached out. "Carlisle is going to go out in the morning to get some more." I said smiling. Jacob was asleep soon after her. How I had not anticipated that it . Eventually Carlisle. I was sure she would like that. remembering. and a deep quiet fell over the house. Finally. Romeo and Juliet. "I love you too. "Thank you for marrying me. Her eyes gazed up at me. ever. a black book with gold trim caught my eye. a memento to my parents. and lives lost. slightly rearranged since I last looked. He says he can get it locally. the brilliant fire of my existence that burned day and night. for she had been. Her soft breath caressed my face. I wasn't truly sure if Bella had ever fully realized what it had meant to me to place this ring on her finger. smiling back at me. I stared at it. Almost a year ago I had murmured those words in her ear. She smiled brilliantly. "Say goodnight to Daddy. "I love you." I whispered. and she reached forward to touch me lightly with one finger. I caressed the soft. and Jasper left to do some last minute work on the cottage. Bella." Rose said. and I moved back slightly. my hand running lightly up and down her spine as I savored the small shivers I elicited. my sun. Alice. always was. the rest sold long ago or locked away in various safe deposit boxes." I whispered. did I dream that one day it would be worn by someone I loved." "You know." I said. Reaching down. Midnight came and went. and then bent over and kissed the back of her hand. I had been cocooned in that moment. I thought." I sat down next to her. Her feelings shone in the way her mind wrapped lovingly around the image. foolishly relaxed in the all too precarious illusion I had allowed myself to create. Rose put her hands under Renesmee's arms and lifted her into her arms as we stood up. gold band of the ring between my fingers. The film flickered on the TV in front of us. never. since it doesn't matter what blood type it is now. her soft body tucked next to mine on the couch at her house." she said to Renesmee. Today was the twelfth – tomorrow would be Bella's birthday. for a long moment. "She's almost finished everything we've got. keeping her hand in mine. of love. I stood up and moved over the vast shelves that lined the walls of Carlisle's office. Esme. glittering against her white skin. and Rosalie laughed. I had not spoken lightly. smiling down at her. perhaps I might read aloud to Bella. The ring had been one of the few possessions of my parents I had kept with me through the years. with an incredible depth and awareness. She truly was my miracle. One fairer than my love? The all-seeing sun Ne'er saw her match since first the world begun. trying desperately to ignore the whispers in the back of my mind. smoothing my finger down the spine. and slid on the ring. Renesmee. and listened as Renesmee fell asleep cradled in Rosalie's arms. I leaned forward and kissed her cheek. As I glanced through the titles. After they left. he hasn't given up on the formula. in the gentle tenderness and affection that exuded from her.but her message was clear."Hungry. But in all the years the ring travelled with me. The memory I could see in her thoughts was simple . I went over to Bella and looked down. and I had wanted to bask in her glow forever. If she could hear me.

That this would always be a time that echoed of remembered pain. my only sensation a searing. into the regrets that lurked. and began to read aloud. shaking my head. The blurred colors of the forest – yellow. And I could only be reminded of that terrible afternoon I had left. I waited a long moment for the shadow to pass. Each time the movement in Bella's face sang through me. . A time of leaving. one final kiss. for you to come back. If nothing. pulled the book off the shelf. I felt a deep. right here. I'm waiting. standing up. No. Once I finally had my love at my side. "Oh." I breathed. A number of moments of Alice and Esme at the cottage. and Bella's anticipated reawakening. Another one of Carlisle standing beside us. with Renesmee's recent birth." Alice replayed it again and again as she flew into the house and upstairs. Once she awoke. I cupped her cheek with my palm. And death's pale flag is not advanced there. death and rebirth on the forest floor. still as always. that I would always associate this time of year with those dark days. fluid marble. I brushed my thumb back and forth against her soft lips. It was a vision of Bella. her crimson pupils a shock and a miracle at the same time. "So much. to her skin as I leaned down to press my lips to her forehead. showing a series of shots of me sitting next to a still Bella. I was reminded for a moment of Juliet. and a chill. And then she opened her eyes. ran away. I scoured her face for any movement. any response. others already fallen. the vessel of my body ripped and emptied. her skin now a lustrous.would be just a few hours from that time events would come to be that would drive me away from her. gently running a finger down her cheek. calling me. so near to matching the feel of my own. Please come back to me. some blowing down in the sharp breeze. red. I had thought." I whispered. Beauty's ensign yet Is crimson in thy lips and in thy cheeks. Edward. Looking at Bella. her quiet heartbeats and shallow breaths told me that much. motionless. I went back. And one more! Alice was gleeful. beautiful even in death. I heard Alice coming back through the forest. the strains of autumn evident even under the thick night clouds. forbidden to slow or look back. "I miss you. always. in the far corners of my mind." Your smile. glowing like the purest ivory in the pale light of night. orange . Now. All these woes shall serve For sweet discourses in our time to come. How the cool. I glanced out the window at the forest. dry fall air had brought a flush.as I ran like the wretched wind. it seemed like these days might be reassigned as those of joy. and then turned to look at Bella's sleeping face. though. as her eyes flew open. I walked over and stood next to her. embedded ache in my chest at these memories. love. Edward! Her visions of the day had bloomed unexpectedly. ruthless pain. and your touch – they are the light of my existence. The way the gathering leaves had brushed along our feet as we walked into the woods behind her house. even after I came back. After a couple hours of reading. I thought suddenly. Bella is not dead. Finally. I could see the turning leaves. An anniversary to be celebrated. It threatened briefly to pull me under. her hand in mine for the last time. "Oh. If.

I searched the wolves' minds. I realized suddenly. trying to gain a perspective on the clock." she said smiling." I said. But it seemed to be just a friendly visit." Then she looked up at me. trying to see if there was anything wrong that precipitated their visit. Edward. Coming to talk to Jacob. "The clock. although I could see in Quil's mind images of Sam telling Billy Black the situation with Jacob. confused. Alice. And could you ask Jacob to come up to see me?" Alice raised her eyebrows in surprise. opening the door as little as possible and sliding out into the hall to speak to Jacob. "And I don't see rain in any of those visions. Renesmee and the treaty. that this was not advice he would appreciate getting from me. She shook her head. her eyes dancing. It's today. By the look of the light coming through the window. and then closed her eyes. Oh. "I feel it. . "The moment is coming. hello out there! We come in peace. There was a soft knock at the door. Alice" My voice was choked. and towards the window behind me." "Wait. I think she will wake sometime today. thought Embry. Yo." She nodded. Incoming. "No. I expected. and I knew she had figured something else out. it's today. She placed her hands on either side of the door frame. disappearing swiftly out the door. looking around wildly. just the one vision with the mirror. thought Embry. Edward! Quil and Embry. "Everything is becoming more defined.. Alice watched me carefully. Billy's eyes were wide. her eyes intent on Billy. "What. Who knows? Hey. "I want to talk to Jasper about. and her face was on fire with delight. and then shrugged her shoulders." Do you think the mind reader can hear us yet? I paused. "The clock.. Seth or Leah? Quil wondered. "Cloudy today." She ran over and gave me a quick hug. She sighed. She walked over silently.Alice appeared in the doorway." "Oh god." I pointed to the clock on the wall. "I do." She glanced up. let everyone know the time frame. Alice. but nodded. placing her palm against the glass. however." "Alice. looking at him with an expression I had seen many times on her daughter's face – fierce and protective. but the hands were too blurry to distinguish. The outline of it was on the wall. Edward. "I'm going to tell the others." She whirled around. I realized that Jacob truly needed to go home in the near future and speak to his father himself. At his shoulder stood Sue Clearwater. "And I see rain tomorrow. Seth came into view within the trees. Her eyes moved off mine. "Either way. I put my hand on Alice's arm. "Do you think so? That would be only two days." I said. looking up. "Alice. I can't see any of us after Bella wakes up. it's all up to Bella." she said softly." she said excitedly. I moved swiftly over. his face pure shock." "Do you see anything else beyond that?" I asked hopefully." She walked over and touched Bella's face. thank god. trying to place the unfamiliar thoughts that had just moved into range. And I know she'll amaze us. leaving the door just slightly ajar behind me. I would say in the afternoon. In fact." I said anxiously. "Once she's awake. fondness shining in her eyes. opening her eyes.

" His eyes flickered momentarily to the door behind me. "I won't. I put him out of his misery quickly. They're just past the property line." His smile was weak. "And it's none of your damn business.His expression was strained. and irritation clawed at me. grabbing the front of his shirt. "Or put Bella in the position of hurting her own daughter?" Jacob shook his head. "I thought my kind wasn't a temptation?" I smiled wryly. You're overreacting. I let go. "But. When she wakes up. but I could see the doubts lingering in his mind." I said coolly. his hands up. Just a friendly visit – nothing wrong. but it appears that Bella will be waking up later today." Jacob said. something that had been suppressed." And I knew he wouldn't. She's going to wake up thirsty. "Well. "If you are worried about me being near Bella. and his eyes looked warily at the door behind me again. and blood.. "What about Renesmee?" I asked in a low voice. "Listen. Emmett and Jasper appeared instantly on either side of him. glancing quickly to either side before resting his gaze on me. "Quil and Embry are heading in to see you. "Great. "That's great." Jacob's eyes widened with more surprise. My voice grew louder. Renesmee?" he asked. Jacob. generally your stench reduces your appeal. I was well aware how carefully the situation with Bella and Renesmee would have to be handled. wait. thanks. "She's my daughter." "Oh. For Renesmee. I mused. Carlisle appeared at my side." Surprise flitted across Jacob's face. "But I don't want to leave." I said. Jacob! This is exactly the kind of thing I was worried about. "I am responsible for their safety and welfare. like me. He tried to pull a step back. Warn Seth and Leah." Jacob stared at me silently for a long moment. too. Seth met up with them a couple minutes ago. You have a heart beat." Jacob whispered. Something inside me. But you've seen how wild and impulsive a newborn can be. and that will be enough to put you in danger. He put his hand on my shoulder. yes. and blood.. how can you possibly let her near Renesmee?" "That is none of your concern." he said in a warning voice. And I'll bet she smells better to your kind than I do! How can you leave her in the same house with a bloodthirsty newborn?" he growled. "I won't fight you. I did not need him questioning me about my own daughter's safety. and then he turned to leave. "I don't know if you heard Alice before. "Edward." he said quickly. "We will keep her safe. like the rest of us. snapped. you might want to clear out of here for a while. My hand shot out." ." "But she has a heart beat." I yelled. He gaped at me. reaching out to touch his arm. steel in their faces. "Because Bella is her mother!" I snarled. Jacob. his voice filtered with surprise. "Do you honestly think I would put Renesmee in any danger?" I hissed. "Jacob. I could feel his protective instincts flaring. He just wants to make sure she is safe. letting you stay here!" "Everything about Nessie is my business!" he shouted. and then his eyes narrowed. Still expecting me to snap and kill him.

. happiness. and took a quick step towards me. and Renesmee. We. I looked around at everyone. "What do you feel.. so I can return quickly. moving slowly until he was standing right next to her. I will leave it to you to tell her.." he whispered. But I suspected he wasn't done worrying about this yet. This afternoon. "I'm headed out to the clinic for more blood for Renesmee. She is still unresponsive? I breathed out." Rosalie called up the stairs." "Yes. but sometimes even he was unable to fully understand.. looking resigned. He kissed Esme lightly at the door and then left. I want get there as soon as it opens.. I looked back at Jasper. Please. Panic. "I'll be back shortly. Jacob smiled wider. Jacob.. flying back into the room." "There's a pack of mutts on the front lawn. Emmett thought.Bella and I. He looked slightly panicked at my expression. "So. I understand. and I. . "Go downstairs. clapping his hands together. smiling. He looked at me for a long moment." said Emmett. He patted my shoulder. I watched and waited as he struggled for several minutes." I nodded. you heard." He looked at the room behind me. I feel something now. Edward. where she can't kill you. I sighed. He was staring at the wall as if he could see into the office behind me. It's like we're living at the god damned dog pound. I just need a chance to let her know in my own way. and then nodded again. Edward. You know. "The. about me. I have to do this myself. and then took another step back. I searched his mind. If I can possibly avoid it. Emmett and Jasper. It will be excellent fun watching him tell Bella. "This is going to be a fun day!" Jasper glared at him sideways. His brow furrowed. some emotions were very easy to identify – sadness. He'd picked the wrong time to ask for a favor. "All right. Although I think it would be a lot safer for you if I let her know when you are miles away. Edward. Embry. "Please." I said quietly. then they could be more easily interpreted. Carlisle squeezed my shoulder. Jazz?" I asked quietly. Emmett behind him. about Bella. before he paused. He looked uncomfortably around at Carlisle. say yes. Quil and Seth had arrived.. anger. But Bella was still unconscious." He turned and hurried down the stairs.I'd really appreciate it if I could tell Bella myself. turning and bounding down the stairs. "Uh.Jacob nodded again." he said quietly. Fear. But there were many other shades of the emotional spectrum that were not easily labeled.. as if to leave. Edward. Jasper was very." I glared at him. He didn't want Bella near Renesmee until we were sure it was safe. "I. very good at distinguishing the feelings around him. and was aware of the context. Jasper followed behind me. and was surprised to see his expression intense." He breathed in and out slowly a couple of times.. It's wonderful news. "I'll take my chances. or articulate. Sometimes feelings were more vague. and he shook his head slightly. Damn! I whirled. Jacob. but if he knew the situation." He laughed nervously. "We should make some plans. "Something's changed.the blanket has been lifted. what he was sensing. She's going to flip. For Jasper. frowning. trying to tease out the emotion he felt emanating from her. we have a lot of history. rolling my eyes internally. I sighed with irritation. but.. I know. He had sensed a change in Bella. heading for the garage." Oh. Edward. she thought irritably.

Renesmee soaked up the attention. beaming with pride. No sudden movements. and began to make soft. irritation lacing his voice. watching me." he said finally. I sat unmoving next to her as the minutes passed. overwhelming power. charming them with her smile and stunning them with her gift."Control. her mood steady. in that moment. And still. but I can't. whispering quietly in her ear. no recourse to but to wait. I stood up slowly. I feel like there should be pain. each holding her in turn. and see Seth again. The scent was completely gone from her blood. to not let her get her arms around your body.." "Okay. Fine. her voice slightly disapproving. now fully awake . Never before had I wished more desperately to see into her mind. my chest tightening like a vice." "Rose. now." I said softly. "I think I should stay alone with Bella. but I could sense his confusion." Esme called from the kitchen. brought Renesmee out onto the porch to meet Embry and Quil. "Give her back to me." I frowned. who had never lived with a newborn vampire. while my family milled nervously by the windows. loitering around in the kitchen and taking her time getting the bottle ready. That didn't seem to make much sense." Jacob responded. It's reigned in too tightly." He stood for another moment. "Keep the baby downstairs from now on. I listened as Rose enacted her revenge. they are overpowered by control. and then left. That would be a gift beyond measure. Eventually. Jazz. falsely kept at bay under the illusion that the morphine was keeping her still. she didn't move. or fear. Eventually Jacob. oh why. The morphine was out of her system. But I'll take my damn time doing it. the Quiletes were surprisingly gentle and deft as they passed Renesmee around. "She'll be hungry. now rose up with full. the need for physical restraint. and frustrated by the reality that there were no answers to be had. to use his gift to help maintain her mood and reduce. and hope. "Why don't you go and plan with the others. Maybe he was misinterpreting. was she still unconscious? True fear." he said. Despite their size. He talked about keeping Bella calm. I could see in his mind that he planned to be near her at all times. The morphine. when she became like us. It occurred to me." Rosalie snapped at Jacob. Renesmee stirred.I can't access it. But for now. I heard the car pull into the drive and then around to the garage. Carlisle was back. "Bring Jacob a bottle." Rose gritted her teeth. and he and Esme began to fill the refrigerator with blood. as much as possible. she remained closed to me. In the back of my mind I felt a small thrill of excitement at this thought. placing my hand on Bella's arm. whimpering noises as she neared waking. Whatever emotions are within her. she thought. I felt paralyzed by doubt. as much as possible. closing the door softly behind him. Edward. He came into the house. all right. "I don't know how else to describe it. who was holding her. Why. and confusion.. "No. Once Nessie was safely back inside. Jasper talked quietly with Emmett and Alice. and if she had to be dealt with physically." I didn't look at him. I sat down slowly. that perhaps I might soon be able to. and then froze. during which time Renesmee. searching for an answer where there was not one? I bent very close. "whatever you want. standing up and stomping out to the kitchen. you can't." "I can feed her. "Bella? Love?" I inhaled.

and worried if he had done the wrong thing. and then he pressed his fingers gently to the inside of her wrist. "Maybe. . She would be writhing in agony if she were conscious. The venom will heal her as it did Esme. he thought. Perfect. her skin strong. I glanced up. and failed? "Listen to her heart. He glanced up at me. Eighty-six. Edward. and didn't expect one. she would not have responded sooner. A little higher than yesterday. but it could not revive the dead. Something is wrong." Her wounds have completely healed – the venom is doing its job. Was that what I had tried to do here. she would not be able to remain so still against the pain. It had to be. and then headed upstairs to see Bella. listened to Carlisle's words and thoughts as he had agonized. But try talking to her. I remembered. and apologized.there was really nothing in this world that could make him upset with Renesmee. He went over to Bella. of course . as Carlisle had said. Over thirty-six hours since I'd initiated the change. pausing over her for a moment. glimmering in blue silk on the table. Carlisle finished filling refrigerator.. I pressed my face into my hand. gave Rose an exasperated look as she lingered by the kitchen doorway. forcing venom into her system. maybe I was too late. and she had still showed no sign of regaining consciousness. I had helped to hold her down on the bed. "Still no change?" "None. and scared to respond? Confused? That seems unlikely – if she had any level of consciousness." I whispered. and I was helpless against the rising tide of my worst fears. I wrapped my hand around her fingers. Could she be awake.. and he moved silently into the room." I said softly. taking in my strained expression. Carlisle. But was it just an illusion. a perfection that masked something irretrievably broken within? Were we blind to injuries the venom had not been able to reach inside her body? "And her – her spine?" "Her injuries weren't so much worse than Esme's. He was very good natured about it. since I'd punctured her heart with a syringe and pierced her skin in countless places. Edward. Carlisle bent down and inhaled near the inside of Bella's wrist. I have never heard anything so vital. Everything okay. Carlisle furrowed his brow. "Bella? Bella. Venom could bring someone back from the brink of death. strong and vital within the burn of the venom as soon as her physical injuries had healed. Edward? May I check her? I nodded. I looked over her body. love? Can you open your eyes? Can you squeeze my hand?" I didn't get a response. Oh." "I know. She'll be perfect. He stood for a moment in the doorway." She had gone too long without a heartbeat. "There's no scent of morphine left. smooth.and hungry. What is attributing to her unconscious state? He leaned close to her ear. She retained her unearthly stillness. checking her heart rate. listening. Something is wrong. eyes scouring her face for any sign of response. "Bella? Can you hear me?" He watched her carefully. I couldn't believe that if Bella was awake. and Carlisle met my eyes. It's stronger than even Emmett's was. bit Jacob." But Esme had thrashed and screamed. prevented her from hurting herself.

I'm sorry. She'll emerge. "Bella. Carlisle looked at me. Nessie had already bitten Jacob two more times.? "No. "We don't know that." said Carlisle. and verbal barbs." I pressed Bella's hand again. You haven't lost her. I imagined her first inclination would probably be to kill Jacob. Do you want to catch Rosalie in the hall. my voice rough. "But she's so still. "Well. between the five of us. but for some reason she is unable." I whispered. "I don't know which side to take. as soon as she's ready." It was not supposed to be this way. handing Jacob the bottle with one her sweetest. I'm going to take a shower and try to wash this stench off! Emmett trailed behind her." I muttered. Stop berating yourself. "She must be in agony." "An interesting situation. Maybe not. "I'd love to flog them both. please let her know that one thing. if she's in there." he said loudly." But the morphine is gone. "I must have done something wrong." Downstairs Rosalie had finally swept out of the kitchen." . The others hid smiles as Rosalie crossed her arms. most lethal smiles. unable to reach out for help or comfort." I whispered. later. Dear god. I'm not sure I would have had the persistence. scowling. glancing away from him back to Bella's face. "I wonder what Bella will think – whose side she'll take. or unwilling to respond. I know it's confusing. Carlisle sighed. just as mine had been. I love you. Because I couldn't stand listening to the two of them bicker for the next god knows how many years. "Your welcome. not giving an inch. "I'm sure she'll surprise me." she growled. Fido. raising his eyebrows. Edward. Unwilling? Why would Bella be unwilling to respond? Or unable? I tried to imagine Bella trapped in her body.. Edward. It was beyond nightmarish. whole. "Thanks. "Bella. I'm staying right here. "And I'd thought I'd seen just about everything. Carlisle put a hand on my shoulder and squeezed. It made me physically ill. especially after Bella woke up." Carlisle glanced at Bella. some space. Son. She always does. She's going to be okay. turning on her heel and stalking across the room and up the stairs." She's in there." "I'll deal with it later. "Or something right. Rosie. we can keep it from turning into bloodshed. We don't know the effect that will have on her experience. somewhere." I said." That was actually an extremely agreeable idea. "I'm sure. "They'll sort it out." I laughed lightly. Jacob was going to have to learn to give Renesmee. and us." she simpered. But Rosalie was going to have to accept that Jacob would be a permanent fixture in Renesmee's life. and hence hers.Carlisle could see these memories reflected in my eyes. They are at each other's throats down there. fighting over who is going to feed the baby. Edward. anywhere. you did everything I could have and more. racked with pain. and ease up on all the mental. taking it from her hand." I said quietly. Jacob looked up at her and grinned. mortal enemies.. We'll deal with it. the faith it took to save her. I think it's getting worse. I place my other hand gently on her arm." I sighed. Bella is going to be fine. "Here you go. A werewolf and a vampire. She had so much morphine in her system.

I see humans okay. "Yes. and gaze at her reflection. "Of course she is. Alice." I breathed. because I was one.I knew it literally drove her crazy not to be able to guard over Renesmee's future. She cringed at the sudden memory of those awful seconds. it was clear that Bella would wake. "See how clear she's becoming? I can see her so much better now. still relieved to be able to see Bella at all." Alice said. I wondered if she would ever give up and accept the limitation." Alice said happily. each individual tick seemingly stretched out over several minutes." she said softly. the echoes of the blurred agony she had felt as she strained to see anything of Bella's future. concentrating on Bella. Whatever happened. "I couldn't see right two days ago. wanting to put the finishing touches on Bella's." she said. "She's really going to be fine. Rosalie and Emmett took Nessie for a walk in the woods. Then her eyes tightened. Alice ran out to the cottage again. Alice's mind reflected back further. the moment when Bella had decided she wanted Renesmee. she thought happily. thanks so much for bringing it up. Finally. if you realized that you were handcuffed by your own nature. her eyes fixed on the mirror. "Right. too. "You would be mortified." I thought about the gouges Alice had put into her own face when she had feared Bella dead. Bah!" She began to desperately try to look for Renesmee in the future. "Still feeling a bit bitter?" I asked. Bella framed by Alice and me. scanning her mind. I was afraid she'd only make her head ache again. Bella's future gone. sighing. and then to Bella in the mirror. She would rise off the bed. I glanced over at the half read book. But I can't see these odd half-breeds at all because they're nothing I've experience. closet. obscured by Renesmee. waiting. and her heart silent. She would stand next to me. "Bella's almost too easy to see now. I simply sat and watched Bella. or technically our. "Focus. Bella's form was barely indistinguishable from ours –bright and sharp. . There was no mistaking the vitality of Bella in this vision." she groaned. She flipped through the scenes of today. When Bella's future had threatened to disappear from all of us. thinking how she would never see Renesmee. "It won't be long now. I heard Alice returning from the cottage. because I am one. midmorning. How desperately I wished I could see what she was going to do next. silly? "You weren't so sanguine two days ago. She had the good sense to come straight up to see me. Bella's eyes opening.Carlisle left with a smile. the clock on the wall moving with taunting slowness. to the moment Bella had blurred right out of the future in her mind. Probably not. I caught a glimpse of the gargantuan closet she had created in the cottage before it was replaced with her vision of Bella. Time ground to an excruciating halt. and Carlisle and Esme talked in low murmurs in their bedroom for a while. Together we watched a cascade of memories. as if she could somehow prove wrong the theory she had just pronounced so loudly. gone." I said." I can see her as I would one of us. I see vampires best. The vision crystallized again." When will you learn not to doubt me. but I was too tense now to continue reading aloud. "How much longer?" I asked impatiently as soon as she entered the room. But I suspected she'd be trying to see Renesmee again later. even without movement.

I'm counting on this vision coming to be! Alice thought. "It's almost over. at once passing the time. her fingers again limp and motionless in my hand. Alice's eyes burned bright." Suddenly. Carlisle and Esme stood near the back window. and playing quietly with various toys and objects Rosalie provided her when awake. Thirty thousand. "Ah. and a nervous anticipation swept the house. She searched. dozing more than usual. visions flicking at light speed through her mind. Emmett and Jasper stared blankly at reruns of college football on the wide screen." She never awoke. and healthy. Standing gathered in the corner of the room. trying to see the clock on the wall again." "So impatient. each heartbeat steadily coming faster that the last. She was running downstairs. Coming back up with the others. "Thank you. my brain automatically collecting the beats that reverberated through my body while she slept next to me. Alice was admiring Bella's future reflection in the mirror. blurred out by Renesmee. I found myself unconsciously counting Bella's heartbeats. She let my family know about the time frame. Promise me I can be there the first time she sees her reflection. I glanced up anxiously at Carlisle. it was all I heard as a heavy veil of silence seemed to descend on the house. And mine. "Soon!" she said. Bella's heart began to speed up. This in an incredible miracle. The shift in speed was swift and sudden. Bella's eyes flying open." I murmured. But she didn't respond. Never had any apparent pain. only an occasional argument over the baby.?" "Yes –keep the baby away. Fine. And so we waited. Alice snorted and rolled her eyes. early evening? It was mid-morning now – not much longer. I nodded and Alice grinned at me and then left with a silent breeze. Jacob and Rosalie were quiet as well. "Listen.. Alice. two hundred and seventy-six heartbeats after Alice left the room. This is it! My mind screamed. Alice. smiling. Still blurry. most of them fell into tense stillness. It was something I had sometimes done as I lay next to her in bed." "She always has been. and confirming she was safe. and I grasped her hand eagerly. They came in swiftly. Bella's fingers twitched." Carlisle said. both of their eyes flying right to Bella. but he and Alice were already on their way up the stairs. He met my eyes. Give me a sec-" She changed the perspective. unable to do anything more." I called quietly. love?" I asked anxiously. Now. "You know what I mean." Rosalie wasn't in her visions. clearly discernable. Even Renesmee seemed to sense the tension. Two faint dark lines appeared now. She bounced on her toes with delight. finding her obscured. She was spectacular." "Could you concentrate for me? On the clock – give me an estimate. The beginning of the end – it always came with the rapid pounding of the heart. watching the light move through the clouds from the pale glow of morning to the high sky of afternoon. but they seemed to point to the right of twelve o'clock – maybe late afternoon. We all gasped in surprise.That girl of yours was trying to be the death of me! "But now that she's free of all the blind spots. "Bella? Bella. Look at her. "Carlisle. it's a piece of cake. "She's going to be dazzling." I said." I growled. As time passed." I smiled. the hour and second hand. .. "Should I have Rosalie. "I'll get the others.

How is she not screaming? Emmett wondered. Bella. began to beat impossibly faster. I'm with you. her heart beating at a relentless. This is the end. Oh. Bella opened her eyes. not moving. My family. or touch her when she wakes. every muscles clamped against pain and agony. except for her eyes. I clutched her hand even tighter. One last beat." I moaned in panic. And then Alice's mind exploded with visions. The raging beats set off every alarm in my mind. it's okay. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. Don't even breathe. "It's almost over." Vaguely in the background I heard my family filing into the room. My family stood frozen." Jasper whispered. and then beat one last melancholy time. Then they opened again. I could watch only Bella. and as her calm wonder washed over him it spread out to everyone in the room. loud. The raging beats seemed to stretch on endlessly. four. three. Bella leaping the river. Bella smiling in my arms. while her limbs continued to lay slack at her side. Bella.We need to be ready." Jasper hissed. hollow beat. We need Jasper. I'm so sorry. relentless and intense. Alice took in our silent exchange. Be quiet. memorizing. paused again. Except for Alice. No. And then it fell quiet. Almost over. as Bella's heart. A thousand images seem to flutter through her mind.. This is what we expected. all I could hear. god. two. Don't do anything that might surprise or antagonize her. next to me. I gripped her hand in mine. Don't say anything. Oh. Alice sighed." And then. she moaned in satisfaction. "I'm sorry. crimson red. Silver stilettos flying through the air into the house. she inhaled. Wondering. love. "Oh. It's all right. when she first wakes." I chanted. suddenly. a marathon of agony and fear. my mind couldn't seem to accept that this speed was what we wanted. It thundered through me. clearly taking in her surroundings." I looked back down at Bella. you stand with Esme. her body arched violently off the table. love. There was almost a collective breath of relief as my family relaxed. Her chest was thrust forward in tight agony. Alice behind us. Bella scaling a tree." My voice was cracking. Too fast! Too fast! After so long of protecting her heart. Slowly those emotions spread to her face. when. as if she was reading. She was perfectly still. furious pace. One last effort from the heart that had kept her alive for so long." "I want to see her. Suddenly. "By the door. thought Jasper anxiously. Bella and I at the cottage door. Bella. Watching. "Get behind me. Deathly silence followed for a fraction of a second. . "I'll bring them right up. which moved almost imperceptibly. please let this end." Alice said eagerly. I'm right here. all I could feel. Five. Bella's heartbeat overtook me then. standing in the window. no movements. and I could see wonder. Edward. not breathing. Oh. and out to Jasper. But her face.. thought Carlisle. everything paused. Edward. "Emmett. Edward. There was pure silence for several moments. he thought. and amazement reflected in their depths. constricting into a single. one. "It's okay. the scents around her. It was tortuously strained. This could happen at any moment. He looked pointedly at Alice. smiling down. and then her heart skipped twice. suddenly. her face. I'm with you. somehow. Carlisle. One last tribute to the humanity that had created the beautiful woman I loved. "Stay still everyone. and her eyes shut ever so briefly. Alice. waiting on edge.

Her hands fell to her side. unexpectedly. And so. She'll be fine! Alice called. I thought with wretched certainty. The curve of her face. Jasper instructed me. Christ. Thirst would mean stopping her before she got out the door. Amazingly calm. She hates me. or possibly the family. wary. Jasper thought. thought Emmett. But I couldn't help it. thought Carlisle. and then her expression. Esme lamented. you scared her. Jasper frowned in surprise. Patience. trying to figure out the direction of her emotions. but lowered his hands very slowly. Her eyes roamed for a second over my face. Awake. as the larger threat. I gave her hand a small squeeze. Then her eyes came back to rest upon my face. but I knew Jasper wanted me to give her time to take in her surroundings. But then. fluid with movement. my body pulled slightly over the table. as if she had never seen me before. She looked at me. Anger or fear would probably mean an attack on me. Stay still. Just wait. Edward. miraculously. a slight grin playing on his lips. You keep her from going out the window. unperturbed. Edward. Jasper was watching her intently. Her gaze lingered on Alice for a moment. She was incredible. taking in my frozen family. the relief flowed into me. landing several feet away. testing the air again. The cascade of her hair. who was grinning broadly. I wanted to make sure she knew I was here with her. leaving her defensive pose. the sleek lines of her body. was pulled forward until she whipped her fingers out of mine with blinding strength. It took all my strength to remain still. to acclimate herself. but more relaxed. She flipped off the table with incredible grace and speed. Edward. unemotional. her hand in mine. still in hers. bro. beauty and power and strength in a sinuous. for a moment. warm and healing. Jasper thought. Her eyes glowed. Oh. ready. finally. softened. Alive. Safe. Edward. Edward. Her eyes eased sideways. We stared at each other. for her to speak. . bright and intense. she's doing well. as if searching for something. I realized my hand was still out in the air. She inhaled. Suddenly. I just drank her in. graceful form. hands up in front. We had done it. Just as I had always feared. Bella whirled once in mid-air. her face guarded. Her reaction was shocking. and instantaneous. I wanted to say something to her. trying to peer around Jasper as he held her back with his arm. She hates me for doing this to her. she was the girl I knew and loved. since it had been my small movement that set off the defensive instinct. her face still guarded. My hand. and her expression was defensive. worried she might be confused or upset. Way to go. Bella remained crouched. as he and Emmett threw their arms out in front of the others.Ah. Jasper caught my emotions. Her eyes were cool. he thought. Her eyes filled with a soft warmth and wonder as she looked at me. I waited impatiently for her to look at me. Bella stood up. and as the moments passed I began to feel anxious. and immediately moved into a defensive crouch. Instead. Be ready. and Emmett followed his lead. She'd done it. to strangle the urge to rush over and gather her in my arms. She continued to stare silently at the ceiling. For danger.

and I could see her mind working behind her eyes.My entire family was staring at her. She's so lovely. But you're all right. I know it's disorientating. I couldn't believe that thirst was not controlling her every desire – I wondered how long this could hold. But I had to let her know I was here for her. Bella's embrace grew tighter. . She noticed immediately. deliberately placing my feet at a measured pace. I panicked slightly. Damn." She frowned slightly. I lifted my fingers slightly. a gesture of invitation. in a second or two. I began to move very slowly around the table. Slowly. wanting. man. Her lips parted slightly as she sucked in a quick breath. hurt and confusion painted on her face. interpreted my gesture as rejection. gently laying them against her back. but I shot him a sharp look. Moving excruciatingly slow. waiting to see if she would speak. Alice's hand tight on his arm. I knew she was hearing. Needing. there would be a crack. Edward. You hit the jackpot. if I just leant forward a little more. I waited. I sighed against her. She looked up at me. I paused. She seemed to start slightly at the sound of my voice. Her body stiffened slightly. sheer strength that flowed from her limbs. "Bella. I hoped she wasn't upset. He went to make a move towards us. I could touch her with my hand. and smelling and seeing everything as if she had never experienced her senses before. but had also experienced it in the minds of my family. I knew I didn't have to treat her so carefully anymore – she was no longer fragile. stretched towards her. I realized. and Jasper shook his head minutely at me. I was taken aback by the unfamiliar. and I realized. captivated. I not only recalled this from my transition. Oh. of course. I reached my arms tentatively around Bella. not wanting to rush her. having to be closer to her. and her brilliant eyes watched each movement I made. but knowing she would be even more upset if she hurt me. and I knew how unsettling it could be. Bella's arms wrapped swiftly around me. amazed and pleased that she would want to touch me at this point. I paused on the other side of the table. "Bella?" I asked quietly. love? I'm sorry. as she. It was just a hug. precious object. It's just going to be a hug! Alice suddenly thought anxiously. I tried to subtly adjust my position. burning within the crimson pupils. anxiety fluttering across her face. or scared. In my mind. unable to quite distinguish her reaction. God dammit jesus christ be careful Edward! Jasper ranted mentally. thought Esme. allowing her ample time to anticipate where each step would be. Suddenly. breakable. exactly where my body would move the next moment. not wanting to push her away. But my limbs couldn't seem to accept this yet. her eyes growing even more intense. Unexpected. A sharp pain began to bloom in my chest. I let my fingers glide down the skin of her cheek. I kept my hand up. I could feel things bending the wrong way. waiting for her to speak. Edward. so long trained to handle her as a delicate. her hands digging into my back. to allow her time to take it all in. She pressed her face to my chest. Don't. Before I could read what she meant. I cupped my hand onto her cheek. Everything is fine. ecstatic over the physical connection. I watched her carefully. Her eyes widened. mused Carlisle. I had to connect with her in some way. Emmett's gaze was appreciative. thought Jasper.

with complete and utter certainty. A smile of joy broke out on my face. her words a salve for a thousand worries . breaking over me. Esme fretted. no longer hot against my skin but instead emanating a simple warmth. Her voice shimmered like gold. and the face they sat in may have changed. inching up towards my face. Don't let her put her arms around you again. . Concern flooded her face. the nectar of the gods. He exchanged a look with Emmett. love. I felt a flash of anger at myself for upsetting her. Their depths may have been an unfamiliar color.. feeling the waves of love and thankfulness rising and cresting. very slowly. I shut them all out. Ow. past the unfamiliar crimson irises. "I love you. Just reassure her. that I first saw Alice's vision of Bella's red eyes. I ran my fingers down her cheek again while I waited for her to accept this alien concept. "Oops. and reactions. "Don't panic. She'll be fine. how I love her. Bella. She's incredibly calm. but in her gaze was an expression I had seen a million times. tensing. An expression that never seemed less than miraculous. Alice rolled her eyes. I bent down slowly and kissed her softly. absolute truth that was the blazing center of my universe. I don't see her attacking at all. and finally being able to speak with her. And I spoke the simple. ready. but they couldn't see the look in Bella's eyes as I could. the crushing black cloud of agony and despair during her pregnancy. for both of us. flowing through my mind. "Um..all the waiting and anxiety of the last two days. The dread that had clung to me since the day." she said. and into the soul I now knew." A small creased appeared between her eyebrows as she thought this through. blown clear away by the beauty and love and life in her face. but her mood could swing at any moment. And everything melted away in that instant. stroked softly once down my cheek. standing before me." I said. happiness singing throughout me at having her awake. I shut him out." She froze. Her fingers. Edward. thought Jasper. and then whipped back from me. Careful now. I understood that they were just worried. and they both crouched slightly. I looked down into her eyes.Here we go. Her hand moved from behind her back. her hands shooting behind her back. And then her expression altered. "As I love you. but kept it carefully concealed.carefully. Jasper was still worrying. and yet layered with familiar undertones. that she could hurt me. It all lifted in this moment. It was her strength that was the problem." she mouthed silently. once. Edward." Chapter 24 —Instictive Very gently. An expression she held only for me. not her. eternally mine now.. my finger tips brushing her lips. God. I took Bella's face in my hands. and see her familiar expressions. seemingly weightless now. her face suddenly aglow with warmth and affection.. not wanting to agitate her further. son. twice. was still there. so long ago now. clear and new. Carlisle thought. "You're just a bit stronger than I am for the moment. holding her between my palms.

I still couldn't believe she was content this early on to let me hold her. laughing lightly. safe and well in my arms. Do you mind? Emmett cleared his throat. carefree abandon. Edward. Bella had survived. I didn't expect that." Bella nodded quickly. "You've been holding out on me.And then. "Overwhelmed. looking distracted. and we would never again be apart. Bella paused. stepping away from me. I realized she was surprised by the intensity of the kiss– letting go a little had clearly been a good thing." She trailed off. gazing up at me. I stepped with her. "It was sort of necessary at the time. "It can be quite confusing. And I didn't want to let her go yet. I wasn't embarrassed – I'd witnessed enough intimate moments amongst my family. much more than even I'd realized. remembering the cascade of sensations when his transition had been completed. her body now as enduring as our love. to be able to truly experience this with every portion of my mind – no burn. "How do you feel. Carlisle stopped about two feet from Bella. couldn't.. smiling. his expression only slightly cautious. there. I tasted her on my tongue – sweet. thrilled by her reaction. more intimate ways. hurt her. finally." . eyes quizzical. slight surprise glowing on her face. kissing her even harder with an unfamiliar. and the feel of her in my mouth was like nothing I'd ever experienced. I reeled at the thought of what it would be like to let go with Bella in other." I said.as I inhaled deeply. laughing internally." said Carlisle. I laughed. while Jasper ghosted behind him. nofear – was beyond the brilliant power of this small act of letting go was so amazing. still freesia. opening my lips. "There's so much. finally." her voice rang. thinking. How much I had always been holding back. pulling her luscious scent eagerly down my throat. "Yes. Much." she said slowly. Get a room. both amused and curious. chagrin on her face. bro! Bella pulled back as soon as she heard Emmett clear his throat. Her tongue met mine. Whoa. nervous. but purely delightful and exquisite now instead of tempting. by her very presence." My family shifted around. that they owed me this. Such control. still floral. marveled Carlisle. Bella?" he asked. albeit most unintentionally. Bella breathed deeply. I followed my natural instinct and deepened the kiss. pressing into her and inviting her into me. and then further. honey ambrosia . He stepped around Emmett. To know that I wouldn't. curving one leg up slightly and wrapping an arm around my back. "Now it's your turn to not break me. and walked towards Bella. as I leaned into the embrace. keeping her body against mine. Jasper thought. for a fraction of a second. for once.. no venom. Sort of. "But I feel like me. Bella pressed her body against mine.

" she whispered. The morphine. a slight frown on his face. "Everything was. miraculous daughter. She was keeping her eyes carefully on Carlisle. But I had seen that he didn't think her words matched her emotions. as she tried to discern Bella's expression. I looked at Bella. I tried to breathe steadily. "More so that I expected. I saw Jasper's lips press together.. even with the time you had to prepare yourself mentally for this.. My family all smiled." she said. replaced by quick curiosity. I remember the baby couldn't breathe. Bella must have so many emotions and thoughts flying through her mind right now – . "I told you so. His expression lit slightly with a doctor's curiosity.very dim before. and I realized I couldn't wait to introduce Bella to our extraordinary. except that she had been born safely. I felt a jolt of realization that she had no idea what had happened with Renesmee. Had she been in pain? Had she heard any of the events that had transpired throughout the house while she was unconscious? "What do you remember after that?" I asked. Bella's face went very still. for this transition to be as painless as possible." Bella's expression fell slightly. their minds dancing with happiness for both of us. But behind him. A thrill of excitement rocketed through me. exude a calm I did not feel. But I wanted to broach the reality of her transformation first. and he tried to clear his thoughts." I said quietly. I saw some of the worry drain out of her eyes as she regarded my expression.. Just amazing. he suddenly remembered.I opened my eyes and I could see everything. Edward.Her words were such a delightful relief. It's nothing. Or what he felt from her the last portion of her transformation. Carlisle nodded. "You are quite controlled. "I'm not sure about that. Alice's face was skeptical as well next to him. unhappiness passing through her eyes. "Renesmee is healthy and well. Tell me. "It's hard to remember." "Amazing. her voice impassive. delighted with the concept that the morphine had been so effective.. Tension coiled inside me.. "It seems like we did something right with the morphine this time.. I didn't know if perhaps Jasper and Alice were being unnecessarily paranoid. "It was so dark before. wanting to allay her fears. waiting with dread to hear what she went through during those unconscious days. I wanted her to feel like herself. what do you remember of the transformation process?" Bella was silent for a long moment. And then." I said quickly. His eyes flickered to mine. not wanting to downplay whatever distressing feelings she was experiencing. and I hugged her to me." Bella suddenly glanced up at me with stark horror in her eyes." Carlisle mused." murmured Carlisle.

of my nature. Edward. And I wanted them to be true. Hmm. no matter what kind of control she was displaying now. pulling her gently towards the window. "I'm fine." he said. instinct would take over. Perhaps it is not the time for this discussion." I said softly. She didn't realize. Anxiety flashed quickly across Bella's face. I unwrapped my arms from her body. and she put her hand to her throat. "I want you to – to tell me everything. warmth lighting her eyes as she suddenly laughed. "It's quite easy. But Bella was so very calm and controlled." Bella's eyes suddenly seemed to burn brighter. Bella." Bella said dismissively. maybe filled with memories." Even when I had been more likely to end up hunting her. "Instinctual. Her eyes seemed far away for a moment. I'll show you. unsure. trying to lighten her fears. I gave her a second to adjust. "Oh. who were all instinct." I said. who was concentrating carefully on Bella. annoyed with himself. "I don't want you to be hurting. grinning." But her expression remained stiff. We would just have to trust her words. I no longer needed to shield her from this part of me. I raised my eyebrows. Edward. For most newborns. After everything she had been through the last few weeks. Better get her out to hunt. thought Carlisle. the idea of hunting must seem like a very surreal concept. my voice encouraging. he thought. "Shall we?" I reached up and ran my fingers slowly down her throat. Don't worry. love. dismay washing over her features." . and grabbed her hand. for myself and others.it was too hard to interpret her expressions." he said quickly. and excitement coursed through me at the prospect of finally sharing this portion of my life with her. First. I smiled a little." Venom burned the back of my tongue at the thought. Carlisle was convinced the morphine had been the difference for her. she shouldn't have to endure any more pain. yet. Bella's expression shifted quickly. Bella. thought Emmett with delight. the urge to hunt was so strong that it happened unthinkingly. I can't wait to see this. Jasper. received a wave of thirst from her. To her. That was how I had recalled it. Of that I was sure. that when the scent was close enough. I apoligize. "Let's hunt. How thoughtless of me. thinking that her burn was probably ten-fold my own. with practically no reservations. This conversation can wait. "Wait. "Of course your thirst must be very uncomfortable. But Bella resisted my pull. "I was under the impression that you'd always wanted to see me hunt. I'm so sorry. Oh boy. and now it would never separate us again. as if feeling the fire we were all familiar with for the first time. her eyes widening with shock.

Edward. Jasper thought. I didn't know if it would be possible to avoid divulging the information. love. a sleeping Renesmee clutched close." As much as I hated keeping her from her own child. Be gentle. that she would never awake. It's not safe. "I want to see her. In Jacob's arms. his mind racing with how to handle the possibility I would allow Bella to see Renesmee now.."Yes?" said Carlisle with interest. I knew Bella would want to protect Renesmee at any cost. Anxiety was seeping out of Bella. I gently removed one of the hands pressed against where . I don't think. You don't want to put her in danger. and I had told Jacob I wouldn't tell her. in the end. I kept my voice soothing. and blood runs in her veins. her mind working behind her eyes. although Alice did not see her losing control. thought Esme despondently. her eyes suddenly glazed over with emotion. "She's half human. Until your thirst is positively under control. But I could not say this aloud. her emotions roiling. To have to deny Bella this hurt.. too.. Her heart beats. irritation lacing my words. I looked at Carlisle unhappily. She was crushed by the pain in Bella's face. keeping my expression calm. There was no way Bella could handle the shock of learning about the imprint right now. that's not really a good idea. understanding how awful it would be to be kept from your own child." She pulled her hand out of mine. Edward. dear. clenching the gown at her stomach. Jacob was listening anxiously. suddenly irritated. Get her out of here before she escalates. The idea that she would be okay had seemed like such a distant miracle. I knew I had been foolish not to give this more thought before Bella woke. At least not until she's hunted. No way. do you?" The corners of Bella's lips turned down unhappily. Alice's eyes unfocused for a moment.. Rosalie was sitting next to Jacob. he thought quickly. Jasper sensed loss and confusion. "Where is she?" Bella asked. listening intently while glaring daggers at him.. His eyes were serious. Oh. Renesmee. It's for the best. I thought.. even to herself. How foolish did he think I was? "Is Rosalie with her?" "Yes. but she thought it was a bad idea. She looked unhappy – Alice didn't like denying Bella any more than I did. Relax. I can't.." I said.I was so consumed at the time with fear that something was wrong. It was just. But not the only one. "Bella.I can't see Renesmee. now that she was actually here I was unprepared to deal with the more difficult realities of her newborn status. Edward. his expression strained. I looked back at Bella. though. And Jacob's in the way..

but only if it didn't hurt Bella. so much more than we could have hoped for. "What about Jacob? And Charlie? Tell me everything that I missed. suddenly." Carlisle said adamantly. and Nessie's growth." Bella murmured. "Jacob is still here.. You did everything right. You have to be in pain. "We have all the time in the world for explanations." she said. when I first changed. her voice unbelieving. no! Every mind in the house had the same reaction. Forever. Carlisle and I instantly smoothed our expressions. that just Renesmee's physical change over the last two days alone would be a terrible shock for Bella." He smiled proudly at me. Jesus." Esme shuddered. I didn't give a damn about anything except blood. We gave him a bad number. "Bella." "But Jacob. Carlisle met my eyes. and Charlie still believes you are sick. I met his eyes briefly. as the stress level in the room began to rise. Edward. no. "Nothing has changed much. but we should take care of you first. undergoing tests at the CDC. remembering the borderline hysteria in Charlie's voice during their last phone call. as these things go. But I don't think she will leave until we alleviate some of her concerns. No. His thoughts were swimming with a mixture of curiosity and dread at seeing what she actually looked like. It was very fast.unconscious?" How the hell is she worrying about these things? Emmett wondered. "I should call him. Carlisle thought. His eyes flickered to the door for a moment.. "Nothing is wrong. I realized.." I said softly. Not exactly." I said. thinking of the imprinting. She resisted. actually – you were only unaware for just over two days. And Rosalie. even Jacob. "Hold on – Jacob is still here?" Bella said suddenly. But this might be the point things went astray.. her face worried.. How long was I.. who was shocked by the unfamiliar ring of her voice.Renesmee used to be. And she deserves information. Better than right – look at her. "What's wrong?" Bella whispered. He's been speaking to Esme. wondering how much to tell her . You promised Jacob. I would keep that promise. I frowned." . I told you. He paused. thinking how to answer her questions in the least upsetting way. "Okay. Quite innovative – the venom injection straight to your heart was his idea. He thinks you're in Atlanta right now. Her eyes calmed a little. "Wait. love. and he's frustrated. and tried to pull her towards the window again. he thought. Edward did an excellent job. And right now that information would just be too much. "There's much to discuss... All of it will be too much for her to handle right now.. Everything had been going so smoothly." I paused.

stopping at Jasper's side. "What is she talking about?" Bella asked. perfectly still." I heard Alice say. Her question was answered when Alice reappeared with the large mirror from Rosalie's room. her eyes wary. "And maybe this has solely to do with your own voyeuristic gratification. I refocused on the scene through my own eyes. My family in the background. suddenly worried. thought Jasper. "Maybe I'm overstating things. uncomfortable with his intense scrutiny and suspicion. watching her. but now she bounded towards us. "Wait. concentrating on the future. The corners of his mouth lifted into a slightly cynical smile." She bound out of the room. I sighed. staring at the mirror. replaced by a dismayed horror. Couldn't she see we had to get Bella out of here? Don't you ruin this for me. once. . that's why this vision was always so clear. flawless. turning back to Bella. wait. I suddenly felt protective of my wife. Pleasure flitted briefly across her face and then was quickly gone. See. But then his thoughts refocused – he'd caught a wave of emotion from Bella. thought Alice. I watched her face." "Chewed out?" I muttered. I looked through her eyes. and realized I was looking at the fruition of her vision. her gaze cautious and uncertain. in the truest physical sense. even though I knew it was necessary. I wanted to tell him. She had been standing quietly by the door. "Edward gave me grief for not getting you a mirror before the wedding. It was all about me! She winked. his eyes intent on Bella. his eyes always on Bella. as she raked over the ruined skin of Jasper's face and neck. No. smiling. I rolled my eyes. and then froze. She sees me now for what I really am. whose eyes were wide and alert." she cried. adjusting the mirror. Edward. "It will only take a second. She was standing." Alice smiled slightly. Alice hated when her visions didn't come to pass – at least the good ones. glowing. Alice next to her. uncertain. I hardly remembered discussing it all." She shrugged. frowning. Bella standing. meeting my eyes. and watched as Bella's emotions played across her expression. "You promised I could be there the first time!" I've seen it! "What if you two run past something reflective?" "Alice. She glared. I glanced at Bella. what you were. glancing at her questioningly. with Jasper at her shoulder. "I'm not going to be chewed out again. Shock quickly morphed into a defensive wariness within her." I said. As she moved towards us Jasper trailed behind her. My expression stiff. I realized for the first time she could see the scars of his past.Hey! Alice thought. wait. waiting for her reaction to the physical changes that had occurred while she slept.

I wished he'd just take it at face value. and the tension eased slowly out of Jasper's mind. couldn't hold it together over anything. You were upset. If necessary. No. tensing again. "It's just. why couldn't Alice just let us leave? "The eyes. She won't be able to bring this back down. Jasper thought. but you didn't need it. "Jasper wonders how you're doing it. a lot to take in. How? "I don't know. thirsty. "I've never seen a newborn do that – stop an emotion in its track that way. even if it might be short-lived. her voice only slightly wavering. then gold. I did not have Jasper's experience with newborns. you reined it in." I said softly." I said softly. I ran my hand down her bare arm. How the hell did she regain control like that. Jasper thought. wrap your arms around her so I can touch her.." "Is that wrong?" she asked. jumping the river. She's out the window. Bella's body visibly stiffened. "Animal blood dilutes the color more quickly than a diet of human blood. and Jasper's stress level began to ricochet upward in response to her increasing tension. Bella's eyebrows pulled together. I don't think so. "Months?" Bella's voice was high and loud. We had been a wild. He wasn't sure if all this calm was building up to some sort of monumental breakdown.Her emotions are fueling up. Bella took a slow." Jasper responded." That it is. but when you saw our concern. Anxiety flooded out of her and into Jasper. he warned. her voice breaking slightly. I've seen it a thousand times. but we don't understand it. "No. Alice came back to the present. Damn it. I'm fine. "No. regained power over yourself. "It's very impressive." They'll be just as beautiful as they always were.. "How long?" "They'll darken up in a few months. We don't know how long it can hold. Alice's mind raced with visions. She's too agitated." Bella whispered. Get ready.And so the fun begins. I don't see things changing. no. thought Carlisle. "What question did I miss?" I smiled. but the ones I'd known. almost sounding irritated." said Jasper. suddenly. she's fine. including myself. And then.. and he took a step forward in alarm." Bella said. I'm going to send out a blast of calm. angling his body slightly in front of Esme. I was prepared to help. feeling a rush of pride at how she was handling herself. deep breath. I watched as her eyes tempered. She was doing incredible." . Bella." "Doing what?" "Controlling your emotions. much of my family. She's upset. dangerous mess. smiling contentedly. She should have snapped. They'll turn amber first. the red eyes that had upset her burning even brighter. Emmett thought cheerfully.

Say something. well. her voice flat." I felt the tension leave her body. Stop distracting her with all your unnecessary worrying! "I'm not really sure. as frustrated as ever. Edward. laughing lightly. "And here I am. "Okay. pulling back but keeping my eyes on Bella. let's go! Are you just asking for trouble? I sighed. and there was a hint of relief to her voice that led me to believe she was glad I still didn't have access to her thoughts. They were designed for easy access. Please tell me what you are thinking." she said. and her eyes slid over to my face. She examined herself closely. I ignored them. "You're making Jasper more edgy by the second. swinging it open." I said quietly." Surprise flashed across her face before hurt filled her eyes. "Yes. She was as closed off from me as ever. "All right. . Alice snarled quietly. "I was rather hoping that I'd be able to hear your mind. "Bella. I wanted to know what she was thinking. I remembered my half-hope that I might be able to read her thoughts once she became more like me. Let's hunt. I laughed slightly. staring at her reflection. Because this was the typical reaction of the Bella I knew." Bella glanced at Jasper. I sighed. That. and took one of my hands. waiting. How could she possibly think that I would ever be even remotely disappointed by how she looked." "What?' she asked. and then leaned down close to her ear. was never going to come to be. now that it is more similar to my own. At least I'm pretty. Jerk. "Disappointed?" she asked. He may relax a little when you've hunted. and pulled her close. and I pulled her over to the window. or with anything about her? But of course. "Oh. touching her face." I rolled my eyes. I thought desperately. pressing my lips to her polished cheek." She easily pulled my arms from around her body. sturdy beneath my hands. she did. obviously. "I guess my brain will never work right. I wrapped my arms around her waist. surprising me. Did she hate the unfamiliar face? Did she regret the loss of her human features? She lifted a hand up very slowly."But what do you think?" Alice said. She turned. gesturing towards the mirror. I undid the latch." Bella whispered. as if confirming what she saw in the mirror was real. and loved. all right." Enough with the damn games. wondering what could possibly be going on inside your head. and I was nearly giddy to have her back again. a mixture of emotions in her eyes. Jasper hovered. you have never been merely pretty. Her expression was unreadable.

looking back down at the ground. Behind her. She will snap. his little brain was still buzzing with ways to keep Renesmee safe from Bella.. Edward. and I didn't want anyone there but myself. I would be faster. I shook my head again and he glared. "Is Renesmee. if I used caution." Right now. Carlisle and Jasper stood about a hundred yards away. I looked back at Bella. although Esme might disagree. finally. And even with her newborn strength. and he frowned. "Of course. I know exactly what Jacob is thinking. arms crossed. I didn't want them watching. if he interfered in any way. and you're worried about the time it would take to walk to the back door?" she said. Bella kneeling on the ground over what appeared to be an elk carcass. I knew she could do this. crossed her face. Thanks for not telling her. My body tightened suddenly at this picture. and you will need help... I can carry you. quickly rerouting his thoughts.with Jacob there?" she whispered. I didn't agree. watching her carefully. I smiled. Alice's mind filled then with a vision of the forest. I just might have to kill him. "Renesmee and Jacob are downstairs. Edward. Her dress was slightly ripped and bloody. things would be fine." Sadness. and fear." "We have all eternity." Bella said softly. The large windows weren't just for looks. very understandable. looking at me. It's foolish to take her out by yourself. Alone. Or maybe Carlisle? Em will probably just find a way to get her all riled up. I wanted to take Bella on her first hunt. I shook my head slightly at Jasper. He heard my words. I smiled. I had already been able to calm her down myself several times. "Trust me. Jasper gave Alice a swift kiss on the cheek and moved forward. the realization coming down in a rush that this was a private moment. She had . If you're frightened. he thought.. Had she never realized we often exited through the windows? Maybe she thought I only did that from her room.She stepped forward and stared down. Don't be an idiot. She was still staring down. "He doesn't like her very much. The smile fell from my face as I tried to imagine the logistics of getting her downstairs without another struggle about seeing the baby." I tried not to laugh at her. "It's the most convenient exit. "The window?" she asked. a slight sarcastic edge to her voice. misinterpretation of the situation.okay. Should we take Emmett with us? he wondered. she is perfectly safe. Deep in the woods.

the dress flowing in waves from the wind created by her movement through the air. Bella smiled. I could see she had been carefully studying my movements. I grabbed her hand and pulled her down towards the river. but this seemed like the wrong moment to boast about it. Might be safest for everyone if you just carried her." Bella beamed. He laughed out loud. Generally we jumped. She was the most amazing creature I had ever seen. thought Esme. What fun was that? Emmett grumbled. Edward. She would have to jump this. "Her fashion sense hasn't improved as much as her balance. I ignored him. I was the current champion. "Yes?" "That was quite graceful – even for a vampire. I watched with pleasure as wonder filled her face as she fell. "I don't know how. This would be the easiest way for her to start. she stepped out the window. Then she bent over swiftly." I said.absolutely no idea yet of the incredible power of her body. I stepped slowly out the window. I smiled to myself. "Watch me. "Thank you. Although. and mind. I couldn't wait to teach her. I had rather liked the shoes. "Right. I looked back up at her. She came down on the balls of her feet. pleased and comforted to see another familiar piece of my Bella. Hey! Alice thought. bending my knees just slightly as I hit the ground so that my landing would be almost silent. Easy. Edward.. I adjusted my feet as I fell to where I wanted them to land. . scooping the stiletto shoes off her feet and whipping them back up into the window. "A little. unless she wanted to swim." Emmett's head filled suddenly with the image of Bella tripping on the window ledge and falling out head first.. and then straightened up and looked at me. just the faintest whisper of impact. jumping into the air to catch them before they hit the wall and got ruined. Or maybe I should head down and catch her." "Bella?" I smiled back. and with a grim expression on her face. She pursed her lips." she said irritably. "Stalling?" I asked daringly." she murmured. There was a running competition of who could get closest to the river. Help her. She had always shown a disdain for Alice's high fashion." My entire family had stepped forward to watch Bella's fall. This whole thing is turning out to be a bust. She held her body with remarkable ease. her hands lifted delicately at the wrist.

and then backed up a couple of steps. Jumping was fun. "Bella?" I called. I stroked a finger down her cheek. Bella regarded the river." she said. in the beginning. desperately trying to judge where she would land. given her trajectory and velocity. Sprinting a few paces forward. their gazes appraising. My breath caught in my throat. she would hurt a . I ran two steps forward. Good luck. and with just the slightest smile she reached down and. I could have told them she'd hate that dress. and then stepped forward. including Jacob. I turned a quick somersault before I went into the trees. thought Emmett appreciatively." I heard Bella mutter from across the river. Be careful. Worry was ridiculous – she couldn't hurt herself if she wanted. Some things don't change. thought Rosalie. Just couldn't help himself. Bella smiled widely. thought Jasper. and then with one long step launched off the river's edge. Does she have any idea who designed that dress? Alice ground her teeth in frustration. ready to get Bella all to myself. and be safe. "Show-off. way too far. "You first. split the dress up the remainder of her thigh. "Do you want to watch again?" She breathed deeply. to judge the strength needed to go a certain distance. Aiming for just into the trees on the other side. So typical. I watched as Bella backed up. She bent a knee. "And ruin your pretty dress? No. I could see immediately. looking concerned. watching us go. "Are we swimming?" Bella asked as we neared the water. Carlisle called mentally. I heard a tearing sound. We're jumping. Just as I lost sight of her. I could make her out looking down at her leg in a mixture of annoyance and chagrin. Renesmee still asleep in his arms. I smiled. son. Nice. Both my brothers were watching with interest. smiling. You'll need it. More likely. exposing flawless white skin. both fascinated and hesitant to see Bella." Thank you! Alice thought. Then she did the same to the other side. that she was going to overshoot the jump. Her dress had split right up her thigh. Jacob was watching intently. and I laughed.My family stood at the window. Bella's expression suddenly cleared. I glared at them through the trees. Jacob and Rosalie had moved to the back windows as well. with her hands. I began to run back. like pristine snow at dawn. lifting off with one foot and vaulting over the river. and my watching family laughed. he mused. I started to back further into the forest. but it could be difficult. Peering through the leaves. Feeling the eyes of my family all watching me. As I waited to see what she would do.

I stopped. I couldn't hold back my own smile running was one of my greatest joys. I ran at a steady pace." I nearly rolled my eyes. As she disappeared into the trees. Now I felt weightless with happiness. a delighted smile on her face. She leapt down nimbly. She was in a large pine." "Can we do it again?" "Focus. and plentiful.. It felt incredible to run again. But my mind just couldn't fathom it. I sensed Bella putting on a burst of speed. slightly slower than normal to be sure Bella could keep up with me. and I resisted the urge to reach out and catch her with my arms. I listened closely as she ran behind me for any sign that she might unexpectedly veer off path. where elk always seemed to be available. Soon we drew near to a watering hole my family often frequented. right. or rattle her already precarious mood. She was exhilarated. I looked up at her. knowing she would follow. teasing her. her eyes dancing. amazed. She leapt with long. but she continued with her feverish pace. and she acted like needing to hunt was just an annoying distraction. I heard her fall softly into the trees. Where does she get this control? Only a twenty minute old newborn." "Oh. but she kept right on my heels. and watched her for a fraction of a second to see if she would notice. and to now truly share it with her was simply astonishing. I could hear a small herd of five there now. She wasn't frightened. to become agitated. She didn't seem to be agitated at all by the unfamiliar strength of her new body. and I slowed subtly. I wondered what would happen when she really caught the scent of blood. her eyes shining. She should be going out of her mind with thirst. and as I tracked her down she. an elegant gazelle. and so I let her pull ahead – giving her happiness was all I ever wanted to do.if you can. graceful strides. catching a branch. or confused.. Soon her laughter echoed through the trees. broke out into delighted laughter. I'd been in the bowels of hell. "Follow me. unexpectedly. Sick with fear and guilt. Her face was glowing as she passed me." she said. "Very good. "Hunting. The last time I had run in this forest. "Was that good?" she asked. And the distance of her jump might terrify her." I smiled. trying to catch me. Bella – we're on a hunting trip. Scrutinized by my family. Alienated from Bella. cascading chimes of delight and freedom. and then turned and ran into the forest.tree. or distracted. and I drank in the sight of her. . or even remotely concerned about any discomfort from thirst. I waited for her to slow. nodding.

If she concentrated properly.twice. But then her expression tightened. "I know – it takes some getting used to. Her eyelids lowered obediently. "I thought something easy for your first time." Her pinpointing of the direction was uncanny for her first time. but she just stared at me. to the northeast?" she murmured. The stream was only about 200 yards away. she thought she didn't need easy. I probably shouldn't tell her I would have happily followed her across the continent. "Hold still for a moment." she said absently.. "What are we hunting?" "Elk. the elk scent rich and familiar. and her eyes creased as she concentrated.." I remembered Alice's vision of Bella with the elk. Her body stilled beneath my hands. she stopped.. venom acidic in my mouth.. once. she would sense the elk. "By the creek. I laughed.. and her eyes blazed with a sudden." "Three?" Bella asked. But I remembered Carlisle patiently tolerating numerous complaints from me during my newborn stage. She must have heard the elk. I had long since grown accustomed to the scent of animal blood. her head swinging quickly back and forth. It had been a very long time. There are two more in the trees behind them. "Bella. For a moment. I touched her shoulders lightly. "Listen. After another moment. I placed my hands on her cheeks. her eyes seeming to be fixed on my lips. twirling on one foot and dancing back to me. Bella's expression suddenly shifted. "Yes.what do you smell?" It was another moment or two before a light breeze ruffled her hair gently. and suddenly a thrill of fear shot through my body. the thirst.I called her. her face was completely motionless. She inhaled deeply. Obviously. Close.. waiting for her to speak.. looking slightly distasteful. there was the tightening again. Then her lips parted slightly. I smiled with relief.." .wait for the breeze again and. red fire. caressing her skin with my thumbs.." Bella's forehead wrinkled as she glared at me." She continued forward for another second.. "Where?" she said anxiously. I inhaled along with her.. "Or were you planning to continue on to Canada this afternoon?" "This is fine. Fire ripped suddenly down my own throat. "Now." I said softly. "Did you want to stay in the country?" I asked. Thirst was finally getting the better of her. Just as I was about to break forward to catch up with her. the steady thrumming of their hearts." I said. "Five. and suddenly there was the sleeping face that had been with me the last couple of days. What do you hear?" I stilled my hands and waited. "Now close your eyes.

desperately trying to keep sight and sound of him among the trees. pleased she'd been able to give herself completely over to her senses. where I should have been. We came upon the clearing.Oh. she would miss the buck completely. it was a fraction of a second too late. we would spook the herd first. and then her body stiffened." Bella turned from me. when I should have been circling. I shook my head. I followed behind her as she flowed in and out of the trees. Her eyes shot open. Her body was ready to take over. Some idiotic. watching Bella position herself by the male. and I saw the glaze of thirst in them. love. But when I caught her. instead of upwind. There were never humans this far off the path. I kept a good distance between us. removing my hands and stepping away carefully. The kill was all the better with the chase. and where I was sure Jasper would have had the good sense to wait. Listening to Carlisle and Rosalie. She inhaled briefly again. Then she took off. The human had been closer. she had thought anxiously. that time."What do I do now?" she asked. I paused at the edge. Her body was a vision of stealth and power as she tensed. testing the wind. "Just follow your instincts. But I had been too late. crouching automatically for the strike.. and was standing downwind of her. not wanting to interfere in the moment. Hearing Rose's pleas in my head. She looked at me almost without seeing me. I cursed myself for having just been standing stupidly. the lean muscles of her legs drawing my eyes. But now was not the time for games. I had a sudden memory of running after a newborn Emmett. but immediately I could tell her path was off. shit. Please hurry." I said. running full out but trailing behind.thoughts catapulted through my head. Follow your instincts.. catching the bull still at the stream as four does moved gracefully back into the forest. And because I was a god damned fool. as her eyes became completely unfocused. Normally. "What do you feel like doing?" I breathed. I smiled. "Don't think about it. damned humans had wandered into this area of the forest. As I increased my speed. I took off after her. not wanting to spook a defensive response. admiring her. on guard for danger or temptation. Emmett had had a much bigger jump on me. and pushed harder. Edward.. Please catch him in time. pulled toward the increasing scent as a moth to the flame. her expression slightly bewildered. The scent hit me. with my brothers. Bella's form weaved in and out of the trees several hundred yards in front of me. as I watched her lithe form and swinging brown hair . That time had been different. Bella was only about 100 yards away – I could easily catch her.

and realized she'd sensed my presence. If she came straight at me. and hate herself for it later. cautious. she would probably just throw me off and attack me. And she would defend what was hers. I'd have to dodge. I froze with shock. try to get behind her as quickly as possible. she was holding her breath. her hands falling at her sides. snarl tore from deep within her. somehow. She stood up quickly. I might be able to. I waited... Suddenly I saw her head cock slightly to the side and her shoulders tense. Bella remained still. I stopped immediately. For Bella it would be staggeringly worse. I might be able to distract her enough for her to let me carry her away. venom scalding my parched throat. amazingly. She would be all instinct now – stopping her would border on impossible. My arms fell slightly."I have to get away from here. delay her until a clean breeze blew. and a loud. Abruptly she pivoted on the spot. redirect her. distracted momentarily by something. I'd had some experience avoiding the assaults of my newborn siblings. The thought of tackling Bella was abhorrent. I was gaining steadily. . If I could. but I would try. I realized. And then. I had talked down both Rose and Emmett in the past.. She had clearly been. As it was. the smell of the blood was beginning to bring on my own natural reactions. She'd hurt me in a fight. and I took a cautious step towards her." she gasped out. And if I couldn't stop her. inexplicably.grow closer. pinning her with my arms and body. damn! How could I have let this happen? My best option would be to take her down from behind onto the ground. and horror filled her expression. I slowed and lowered my arms slightly into a more defensive pose. Maybe it would be better to try to arc out and get in front of her? Stopping her from the hunt now. only about 10 feet away. convince her to let me bring her away from the scent. still waiting to see where this going. Her face was wild. with the scent of human blood carrying on the wind. so I'd have to try to keep her hands off me. and I could leap and grab her. no matter what I did. would be nothing short of impossible. and be dangerous. and try to talk to her. furious. watching for what she would do. and as I studied her in confusion. Damn. but if I could just stop her. I would have let her down in the worst possible way. damn. her eyes brilliant. however. impossibly. the fire drained from her eyes. She wanted to leave? "Can you leave?" I asked incredulously. even Esme. her eyes threatening. my arms still out. and I began to wonder if I just backed up slowly she might turn and move towards the prey again. although they had been older than she was now. spinning into an attack crouch. But even if I did catch her.

so I did not slow but moved directly up to her. I blasted past her. "I held my breath." I wanted to concentrate on one incredible feat at a time. and then propelled forward into the wake of her scent. staring at me with an annoyed expression on her face. confusion sweeping quickly across her face." "But I growled at you. instinct overpowering whatever the amazing reserve of self-restraint she had used earlier. Damn it! She would be heading back to the scent. relieved to finally have my hands on her. I hurtled around to take off after her and discovered her standing where she had stopped. and I realized she had been holding her breath this whole time. Confusion and amazement were cascading over me. You have nothing to apologize for. shrugging off her question. That I would have expected. "But how did you stop hunting?" "When you came up behind me. relieved she . And then. loving her. but I should have checked first. Such a stupid mistake..I'm so sorry about that. "Bella. even faster than when she had been hunting the humans. not even having fed once yet. even though it appeared she was in no need of restraint. she ran – away from the scent of the humans. My god..She looked at me silently for a fraction of a moment.. I shook my head in amazement." It was a miracle she hadn't attacked me. She was flying through the trees. My family would be beyond shocked. And I will have lost her again. I assumed no one would be so far from the trails. and she had caught the scent of a human and been able to run away.Bella stopped." "Why are you apologizing to me?" I asked incredulously. "I'm the one who was horribly careless. didn't you?" she demanded. "Of course you did. how did you do it? "Run away?" she asked. But I can't understand how you ran away?" "What else could I do?" She was looking at me like I was crazy. was she talking about the run in the forest earlier? How could she even be thinking of that? She pulled in a sudden breath. "How did you do that?" I asked. and I burst into laughter." she said in horror. I stared stupidly after her for a moment. putting my hands on her shoulders. "You let me beat you before. I tried to assimilate this impossible reality to what was actually happening. I was momentarily taken aback. She showed no sigh of a defensive stance. "That's only natural. not paying quick enough attention. She was less than an hour old. with no warning. I was beyond understanding. "It might have been someone I know?" The utter absurd logic of her words rolled over and through me.

without a doubt. her eyes narrowing in a sudden flash. Even mature vampires have difficulty with that-we're always very careful of where we hunt so as not to put ourselves in the path of temptation. The burn in my throat was becoming a nagging disturbance in the back of all my own thoughts." "Why?" I fought a smile. "Bella. you're behaving like you're decades rather than days old." "Oh. and hers must be a million times worse. her thirst surely crushing any desire." I couldn't hide my astonishment.. I was sure I would not get the reaction I hoped for – she would be beyond parched now. her fingers sweeping gently against my lips. "How can you even concentrate on that?" I was distracted by my own thirst. And Jasper had been worried about Emmett irritating her. I killed my laughter immediately. intensified. I realized. Her expression suddenly shifted.so rational. you should not have been able to break off mid-hunt with the scent of human blood on the air. I'd hate myself if I drove her to lash out at me by my obnoxious behavior. I'm an idiot. Did she have even the slightest inkling of how incredible she was. How I wished video cameras had been available when Emmett was a newborn – she would only need to watch a few moments of him to understand where my amazement at her control came from. All the worrying. watching her expression intensely. that her thoughts. and here she was showing more restraint than certain members of my family. and crush her lips to mine. "What I wouldn't give to be able to see into your mind for just this one moment. her expression contemplative. "Aren't you unbearably thirsty?" .hadn't killed anyone. Plus. Her eyes gentled immediately." And yet your idiot husband sets you free near the scent of humans the very first time you hunt. And I am in shock because I am completely amazed. I wondered? I put my hands against her warm cheeks."Why are you laughing at me?" she growled. "But I still want you. "I thought I wouldn't feel this way for a long time?" she breathed. I wondered again what she could possibly be thinking. Impossible. You shouldn't be so. much more than any of that.. that she had worked to stay in control. I was beginning to pick up the scent of a big cat a little over a mile out. You shouldn't be able to stand here discussing this with me calmly and coolly." Bella reached up with her hands. And. I resisted the urge to grab her body. thrilled she was so magnificent and unexpected. had been travelling the same path as mine. caressing my cheeks." I said in a quiet voice. Christ. "I'm not laughing at you. "You shouldn't be able to do any of this.." she said. her body. Bella. "I'm laughing because I am in shock. Wait till I told.

and I swallowed hard. on alert for any more human scent. and within a moment her eyes flew open and she turned and moved quickly towards the east. darting between the trees. fairly certain no humans would be found this deep into the forest. Stop. His claws were raking at her. my throat and chest suddenly tight with anticipation. I reached over and put a hand on the tree next to me to steady myself. her arms wrapped around a three hundred pound lion. She might fall!The lion she'll be killed! I grabbed a branch. I took two desperate steps towards her. and then stopped. I relaxed somewhat. drifting side to side. Protective instinct pounded through me. As we climbed higher and higher. And she would most certainly attack me now if I approached. She's on the cat. tear her to bits. unexpected panic barreled through me. Unable to hold back. listening intently as her quiet movements grew closer and closer to the thudding of the lion's heart and paws. planning to swing up after her.. Her eyes closed. Still feeling nervous. I heard Bella's movements cease for a moment. And then the rustle of something whipping through the air. I leapt down after them in horror. She bent into a hunting crouch. tearing at skin and hair and mangling her dress. a slight impact. nimbly swinging up bough by bough until I lost her in the growth of the trees. only to see Bella flying towards the forest floor. I began to whip myself up the tree. I watched as Bella opened her mouth wide. As I soon as I was deprived of the sight of her body. .Stop! I froze as the small portion of my brain that was still cognizant finally caught up with me. I trailed her on the ground below. You have to trust her to go on her own. He roared furiously. not wanting to divert her attention again. his teeth trying to rip into her neck and shoulders and arms. remaining completely still and silent. my hand gripping the thick limb. I wondered if she would sense the prey as I had. as she breathed out in a sigh and then slowly inhaled.. and then an ear splitting shriek. She was fine. approaching a nearby elk feeding from a small stream. She would be fine. her body tense. He would kill her. The cat slowed up suddenly. I carefully released her face.Hunger swept through her expression at my words. a large one – traveling in the trees above. And fear. It was rare luck to find one so close to the house – we usually had a travel a greater distance. all thoughts obsolete except for the need to protect my precious love. moving swiftly through the trees. Within seconds we were approaching the cat – from the scent it was a male. her fragile skin and delicate bones crushed and ruined. while I ran quietly behind her. His own prey. Bella suddenly grabbed a limb.

her dress had suffered in the process of the hunt. Long claw marks raked down the front of her dress.. I slowly relaxed. and sank them deep into the cat's neck." "You did perfectly fine. There was dirt and blood on her arms. I had so looked forward to hunting with Bella. Bella was lying on the dirt floor of the forest. and beyond.it was much more difficult for me to watch than it should have been. She had one leg slung over the cat's now dying body. "Why am I still thirsty?" "Because you're young. "It's just that. "Hmm. exposing long. of course. I had not anticipated my reaction. thinking about how it would feel to run my hand along her smooth body. she pulled back abruptly. and crossed my arms to resist the urge. My eyes watched as her hands tried to pull the pieces of her dress back together. She glanced up." Her eyes lit slightly. Also. That cat could not hurt her. I suppressed my smile at her mostly fruitless attempts. but embarrassment passed over her expression. though." I said. Her hair was wild. The lace of the panties I had seen in Alice's mind was quite visible. Bella looked down at her body in dismay and began to brush anxiously at the dirt. "Silly." I murmured." She raised her eyebrows in question. Bella's anxious pulls continuing past when I was sure the blood had run out. and I felt wry amusement at my earlier fears. and the dress slit all the way up to her hip." . Alice. Bella was no different. hands and knees covered in dirt. drinking in short pulls from his neck." She rolled her eyes. She was. as Bella's skin was impenetrable. Esme hunt.her exposed teeth glinting in the muted light of dusk. "I like the improvements to your dress." "I know." I smiled. her face. I watched as the cat's struggles weakened and then ceased. I breathed in deeply. This was no different. Her taking down of the cat from the tree had actually been quite graceful and effortless. letting you wrestle with lions. and stood up quickly. completely unharmed. leaning against the tree. I sighed quietly. The cat was howling in protest. "I guess I could have done that better. lean white skin. not anymore. My palm tingled. her body twisted around the cat. and was able to truly appreciate the scene in front of me. aside from being a mess. As I struggled to believe that impossible statement.. Then she frowned. legs and chest. remembering the countless times I'd watched Rosalie. Suddenly. its claws and mouth working furiously. shoving the cat's torso off her upper body. I was having an anxiety attack the whole time. Nothing could. but completely in vain. "It goes against the grain. Old habits die hard. exposing even more skin.

But as we drew closer to a large herd of mule deer. though." I said. It was a large group. her fingers wrenched abruptly out of mine. Bella's expression intensified. and looked back over her shoulder at me. despite being slightly off. I still couldn't believe we were together like this. I was rather pleased Bella shared my affinity for the big cat. I didn't know how she would take my casual reference to "humans" as the different species they now were." I watched her carefully after this comment." I smiled. . I followed slowly after her. She looked unhappy. all instinct now." Bella rolled her eyes. "Plenty of deer. Usually the change in mindset in a newborn was automatic – what you once were. This was wonderful." I wished. her hand in mind as we darted through the trees together. And the distinction was even more intense during the newborn stage. Their gathered hearts seemed to beat almost in unison. descended from above. pausing with her hands on a tree." "Herbivores. barely covered by the remains of the dress. hearing her laugh and feeling her glances. her hair a chestnut hallow around her face and shoulders. She darted to the edge of the clearing. became something other. pulling her with me back towards the house. and I saw her eyes caught by the largest male. "Ready?" I mouthed. I tried to keep my senses. and I began to lose myself to the hunt as well. She seemed unphased. human. "Not that much like humans." I looked at her perfect form. Her eyes were a little wild. ensconced in the center. something less. where I knew we would meet some elk or deer along the way."And I don't suppose there are any other mountain lions nearby. Something to hunt. watching as she sailed through the air and slammed into the buck. "In fact. "They don't smell as good." I relaxed. if they were men. Then her expression darkened. "Let's go hunt some stinking herbivores. Of course. "Whoever it was out there. "We could go back. they would think they were already dead and gone to heaven the moment they saw you. Maybe in the next day or two we could travel out a little further. and the scent was intoxicating. "The meateaters smell more like humans. and her gaze travelled back towards the herd. I never wanted it to end. waiting for a moment as Bella flew out of the trees. they probably wouldn't even mind death if you were the one delivering it." I took her hand and turned. An avenging angel. She looked back once more. She glanced out. her eyes on fire but her smile dancing. If it would upset her." I agreed with her. I gestured towards the herd with my head. and nodded. and she pulled away. I was entranced.

grabbing his antlers as they went to the ground. I couldn't hold back anymore. I swung and grabbed the nearest doe before the herd had even had time to ascertain what was happening. I picked up the animal, one hand clenched onto its chest, the other grabbing just under the jaw. I bent the body back, away from me, hearing the snap of the spine, incapacitating as well as hopefully eliminating all pain. I sank my teeth into the neck that was bent towards me, thirst and instinct screaming into me as I hit blood, fading my vision to red, a roaring in my ears. The liquid poured down my throat, hot and smooth, cooling the raging fire despite its heat. I emptied the body with a few long pulls within a couple of seconds, and it was only as I was tossing the carcass that Bella careened back into my thoughts. I swung around looking for her in panic, but she was still feeding from the buck, lying astride his body, her hair now tangled with leave and grass. I smiled, watching her somewhat desperate consumption. She was so anxious to swallow that her pulls were rather ineffective. She would learn. I ran three long strides and grabbed a young buck this time from the panicked, circling group, and drained him as well in several seconds. When I tossed this one aside and glanced up, Bella was springing back up off the ground. She ran a hand distractedly through her tangled hair, glancing around at the herd that had now finally regrouped and was heading swiftly into the forest. "Want to catch them?" I asked playfully. Her eyes lit up, and she grabbed my hand this time, pulling me swiftly with her. We broke apart as we approached the herd and I went for another young buck. He screamed at my approach, careening wilding away from the group in an attempt to avoid me. I leapt straight over him, landing about 10 feet into his path. His hooves tangled wildly as he attempted to stop. I sprang at him, turning slightly, one arm arcing over my head and grabbing him by the antlers. I swung his body towards me, catching his chest with my other hand, ribs cracking beneath my fingers, and bent until I heard the snap. I drank quickly, and as I finished, I glanced up to find Bella standing stock still, staring at me, her eyes glowing with some sort of triumph. "No longer thirsty?" I was surprised she hadn't made another kill. "You distracted me. You're much better at it than I am." Her eyes glanced down at my clean clothes. "Centuries of practice," I said, smiling. "Just one," she shot back. I laughed. It could have been a million centuries, it didn't matter. Nothing that happened before mattered. For me, time started when I met Bella. "Are you done for today?" I asked. "Or did you want to continue?"

"Done, I think." She paused, as if assessing how she felt. Then her expression changed, determined, anxious. "I want to see Renesmee." My body tensed at her request. I watched as the anxiety grew in her face, one of her hands moving unconsciously to touch her flat stomach. She'd been robbed already of so much time with her daughter. She deserved every possible opportunity to get to know her. We just had to be very, very careful. A desperate look came into her eyes, and I held out a hand, pulling her close, planning to tell her we would find a way for her to see Renesmee, safely. She reached out and brushed my cheek with her fingers. Then her expression shifted slightly, her eyes burning bright crimson, undimmed by the animal blood. She caressed my cheek again, harder this time, her fingers dragging over my skin as she pulled in her lower lip, biting it slightly. Emotion gripped me, seeing that familiar, tantalizing gesture, so reminiscent of more innocent days, and yet still present in this strong, incredible creature in front of me. She moved her body, turning to face me full on, lifting up onto her toes and carefully wrapping her arms around me. I could tell she was trying to be gentle. Her gaze latched onto me, her eyes ravenous, and not for blood. Desire swept through every molecule in my body, and I took her waist in my hands, carefully for a moment and then gripping hard, pulling her closer. The feel of her under my hands, with her skin exposed by the tears in her dress, and her body so tangible and strong beneath my fingers, was exhilarating. I released her waist and slid my hands along her back, wrapping my arms firmly around her body, and then crushed her recklessly against me, pressing my lips down hard onto hers. Her mouth melted into mine, and I explored and savored the feel of her soft lips and mouth, warm and moist and alluring. One of her hands moved up to grip my hair, the other slid down my chest, her fingers caressing across my shirt. She made a soft noise in the back of her throat that reverberated instantly through my whole body, and I splayed a hand across her back, stepping into her, trying to get even closer. She responded, crushing her lips into mine, her hand grabbing at the shirt against my chest. I felt suddenly, curiously, off balance, losing the constant sense of equilibrium I relied on, and then realized I was falling backwards. Bella was pushing me backwards. I held her against me, keeping our mouths together until I felt the ground at my back, and she was on top of me. For a moment, rationality left me. I wanted to flip us over, so that I was above her. I wanted her body under mine.

Get a grip, I thought. I broke the kiss, loosening my hold on her and peering into her expression to make sure she wasn't hurt. Of course she wasn't. "Oops," she said, and I laughed, relieved. "I didn't mean to tackle you like that. Are you okay?" Was I okay? The girl was insane. "Slightly better than okay," I said firmly. I stroked her cheek, watching as my touch heated her eyes again. I remembered the feel of her lips against mine, and wanted to pull her towards me once more. I could see in her eyes, if I wanted her to stay here with me here, for a while, she would. But it would be supremely selfish of me to take advantage of her distractibility. She had wanted to see her daughter. "Renesmee?" I asked, trying to push my own want out my voice. Her eyes mirrored my own confusion for a moment, and then cleared into an anxious determination. "Renesmee," she agreed, jumping up and pulling me along with her. She turned and started running towards the house, following our earlier scent. I caught up quickly and took her hand in mine. "Tell me about her," she said as we ran. "She's like nothing else in the world." I hardly had the words to describe our daughter. Bella frowned slightly. "How much is she like you? How much like me? Or like I was, anyway." "It seems a fairly even divide." "She was warm-blooded," Bella said, clearly recalling her brief memories of the birth. I felt sad those were the only few, precious moments she'd spent with Nessie so far. "Yes, she has a heartbeat, though it runs a little bit faster than a human's. Her temperature is a little bit hotter than usual, too. She sleeps." "Really?" She seemed shocked. "Quite well for a newborn." At least from what I had seen in Rose's thoughts. "The only parents in the world who don't sleep, and our child already sleeps through the night." I laughed at the irony. "She has exactly your color eyes-so that didn't get lost, after all. They're so beautiful." "And the vampire parts?" I considered. "Her skin seems about as impenetrable as ours. Not that anyone would dream of testing that." Shock crossed Bella's face at the suggestion. "Of course no one would. Her diet...well, she prefers to drink blood. Carlisle continues to try to persuade her to drink some baby formula, too, but she doesn't have much patience with it." I smiled, remembering his last attempt the evening before, when she'd thrown the bottle across room. "Can't say that I blame her, nasty-smelling stuff, even for human food." Perhaps, though, not as bad as that vile banana smoothie concoction we had made for Bella.

Bella gaped in confusion. "Persuade her?" she asked. I hesitated, trying to think of the right words to describe Renesmee's remarkable development. I wondered if it would be more upsetting for me to try to describe to Bella the immense changes that had occurred to Renesmee in the last couple of days, or let her see for herself. The baby Bella remembered was gone, forever, and I was again struck with sorrow for the moments Bella and Renesmee had lost together. Perhaps she would feel that loss less acutely if she could see, and experience, the miraculous, captivating child that baby had grown into, rather than just hear my words. "She's intelligent, shockingly so, and progressing at an immense pace," I said carefully, leaving out her physical growth. "Though she doesn't speak - yet - she communicates quite effectively." "Doesn't. Speak. Yet." Bella's voice was incredulous. I slowed slightly, wary. "What do you mean, she communicates effectively?" I paused, considering if I should explain. We had all so quickly grown accustomed to Nessie's gift, but Bella's initial shock would be as large as ours had been, and probably even more intense. "I think it will be easier for you to...see for yourself. It's rather difficult to describe." It seemed better to hold back, to see what happened between Bella and Renesmee. I was actually worried that Renesmee's gift might not work with Bella, since, in some ways, her gift was like mine. A mirror of mine, really – I took thoughts out, she put them in. Since I could not hear Bella, perhaps, she would not be able to hear Renesmee. I did not want to set her up for disappointment. "Why is Jacob still here?" Bella asked suddenly, switching topics. "How can he stand it? Why should he?" Her voice was pained. "Why should he have to suffer more?" "Jacob isn't suffering." I snapped. "Though I might be willing to change his condition." I thought about the gall of his over-protective posturing earlier. "Edward," she hissed, surprising me by dragging us to a stop. "How can you say that? Jacob has given up everything to protect us! What I've put him through-" "You'll see exactly how I can say that," I murmured. He's already claimed our daughter as his! "I promised him that I would let him explain, but I doubt you'll see it much differently than I do. Of course, I'm often wrong about your thoughts, aren't I?" "Explain what?" she persisted. I shook head. "I promised. Though I don't know if I really owe him anything at all anymore." "Edward, I don't understand." Tension and frustration filled her face, her body stiffening. I felt a wave of sympathy

for her. Her whole world had changed – her body, her mind. She was separated from her child, confused by the patterns of life that had played out while she slept. She was working so hard to stay in control, but I knew that frustration and disorientation must plague her. I didn't want her to suffer alone, to feel she had to be strong. To think I didn't understand. I stroked her cheek, smiling gently as I saw the desire that lit her face with my simple touch, even without the once familiar burn of her blush. "It's harder than you make it look, I know," I said softly. "I remember." All too clearly I recalled the tangled web of emotions and impulses of my early newborn days. "I don't like feeling confused." "I know." Bella had always been curious, even to her own detriment. We couldn't go on with this discussion much longer before she insisted on the information. "And so let's get you home, so that you can see it all for yourself." Thinking of seeing my family, I looked down at her tattered, ruined dress. She wasn't exactly decent anymore, although I didn't mind. Still.."Hmm," I muttered. I was sorry to cover her up, but it seemed necessary. I unbuttoned my shirt, sliding it off my shoulders and holding it out for her. "That bad?" she asked, smiling, as she slid her arms into the sleeves. Then her eyes slid down to my bare chest, lingering briefly, and I smiled at her appreciative glance. I was glad she still enjoyed how I looked, given her vastly improved eyesight. She caught my grin, and smiled back, buttoning the shirt up swiftly. "I'll race you, no throwing the game this time!" She took off before I could answer, and I watched her run for a second before following. Might as well give her a fighting chance. But I caught her quickly, and since she requested a fair fight, I let my competitive edge take over, easily keeping ahead of her, giving into the natural flow of the run as my mind played a kaleidoscope of all the images of the day, each one consuming me anew with love and devotion. Against the agony of Renesmee's birth, and despite my terrible fears, Bella was awake. She'd been blessed with incredible control and restraint, an unforeseen gift. She didn't hate me – she wanted me, and still craved my touch. The only sounds Bella made behind me were the whisper of her feet against the leaves, and the occasional hush of a steady breath, but yet I could sense her, feel her, as deeply as I always had. I realized, miraculously, that her silent heart still called to me as strongly as it had when it pulsed with human life its steady beats living on in her warmth, her smile, in the very love forged between us. A heart that existed everlasting within Bella, forever

entwined in everything about her that did not, and would not ever, change. We ran, separate, and yet connected, and her presence bathed me like the glow of a dazzling sun that would now never set. As we reached the river, I heard her body shift unexpectedly behind me, and as I whirled she vaulted over my head, taking the river in an early jump in an attempt to beat me. I turned back, preparing my own jump, when a sudden sound, scent and mind all hit me at the same time, and I froze in shock. Jacob was standing on the other side of the river. Chapter 25—Justified Goddamned obnoxious vile smelling interfering flea infested mongrel..Curses peppered my thoughts as I hurled myself over the river, catching up to Bella easily driven by my anger. I landed a tenth of a second after she did, clenching my hands onto her upper arms. Her body was already tight – she'd sensed him. "Don't breathe," I whispered. Sorry, Edward! A chorus of minds called to me from inside the house. He insisted, thought Emmett. He's one tricky bastard. I gathered the story in bits and pieces from my family's racing minds. Jacob had told my family that he was going out to fill in Leah and Seth, who had been relegated earlier to the edge of the property line near the road, far from the river, since we had planned to take Bella out hunting that way. They had heard him phase, during which time, unbeknownst to them he had shared his plan with his pack. It had only been as my family was gathering, hearing our distant return, that Jacob had burst into the house, telling them to stay inside and protect Renesmee, he was going to "test" Bella's control on himself before she came near Renesmee. A short, but heated argument followed. Carlisle and Esme vehemently disagreed with the plan, thinking Jacob should not be putting himself in harm's way. Alice was upset because he was completely scrambling the future, Emmett thought they didn't need his help but had no problem it, and Jasper and Rosalie had actually thought it was a good idea. I've got no problem with it, Rosalie thought. Either Bella proves him wrong, or we get rid of the dog permanently. Win-win. Emmett and I can be there in a second, Edward, Jasper thought. He and Emmett were standing right at the back door. Nessie is safe in the house. Just give the word. Leah and Seth were prowling behind him, Leah's thoughts venomous as she trained her eyes on Bella, watching every move. I was beyond furious that Jacob had put Bella into this situation. Tempting Bella to kill him, prompting

Leah to attack Bella, and my brothers to tear her to shreds. In front of her little brother. Brilliant plan. Don't try to stop me, Edward. I already went through this with the good doctor. This is the best way to see if she can be trusted – let her go. I bristled. He didn't know how much Bella had already proven her control in the forest earlier. He'd just taken it on himself that he should be the one to make the decisions regarding Bella's safety to see her daughter. I worked to keep my hands and voice steady, not revealing the fury I was feeling. "Carefully, Jacob," I said quietly, my voice not betraying the fact that I wanted to tear his head from his shoulders. Leah snarled in agreement. "Maybe this isn't the best way..." "You think it would be better to let her near the baby first?" Jacob snapped. "It's safer to see how Bella does with me. I heal fast." Bella's face was twisted with horror and anxiety. Jacob continued to stare at me, pleading but defiant. I want to do this, Edward. This is to protect Bella as much as Renesmee. Right, I thought. His insinuation that his plans had been made at all with Bella's interests in mind angered me even further. If he wants to play the martyr, fine. I won't stop him. I shrugged. "It's your neck, I guess," I growled. Bella was watching me, her eyes growing wide with surprise. Leah snarled furiously from the forest. God damned bloodsucker, you know she could kill him easily. I won't let her. I stiffened, concerned about Leah. I stepped just slightly to angle myself better between her and Bella. While Bella's eyes were still on me, I realized Jacob's eyes were frozen on her now, involuntarily captivated, seeing her truly for the first time since she awoke. Oh god, Bells, he thought despairingly, searching and not finding the girl he had so long loved in the still, silent creature before him. His nostrils filled with her scent, sickly sweet to him, and he groaned internally. She's gone. She's really gone. And then Bella turned her eyes to him, her gaze inquisitive, her brows slightly furrowed, an expression he had seen so many times before, and in that expression, he found her again. Hovering behind the unfamiliar features he saw the light and life, the friend, that he knew so well, and he exhaled, relaxing. Still here, he thought, surprised, smiling. He looked her over more carefully, taking in the torn, blood stained clothes under the white shirt, the dirt matted onto her limbs, and finally, the flaming red eyes. He shuddered, thinking of Victoria's newborns.

" "You will?" Bella asked.thanks for the amazing compliment!" Jacob rolled his eyes. but with Bella's control. "Maybe I'm hoping she'll get irritated and rip your head off. his scent growing stronger as the wind grew still." she said. "I didn't know if you'd be able to keep it from her. This is ridiculous. You still look like you . if I'm being honest. mongrel. anyways. Edward. He looked back to Bella. "Thanks. I truly didn't think. I couldn't believe he was pulling out the attitude now." Jacob said. For a newborn that would usually not be enough to deter a kill anyways.. Stop him. he's right. you just give her everything she wants. not disagreeing. I guess I'll get used to the eyes soon enough. "You know what I mean. wouldn't you? I raised my eyebrows. rendered him mostly unappealing. Same old Bella. steps closer ." Jacob continued to move forward slowly. his heart pounding fast. "Are you two keeping secrets from me?" "I'll explain later. But it's not as bad as I thought it would be. though. Leah thought desperately. She weaved out of the forest. He glanced nervously from Bella to Jacob. "What's going on?" Bella demanded. I told them to keep back. chuckling. stopping inches from Bella's body. guys. Hope you've got a good grip on her. The smile dropped from his face and he glanced at me." I growled. whining in protest. he fumed.sort of. Jake. "First. in the forest. "Cool it. One thing at a time. you damn bloodsucker. Clean air gusted past us. Coward. I didn't think it would feel like you were still here. Usually. "You're a freak show. her face shocked. not breathing."I gotta say it Bella. "Watch yourself." Jacob said quickly. She was tense beneath my hands. but Bella just smiled. Maybe it's not the look so much as." Straight out of a b-grade horror movie . "No. Not yet. let's get this show on the road. Jacob laughed once. grinning widely.Night of the Filthy Vampire. unfortunately." he said. that she would strike. You'd like that. no. 'kay? I rolled my eyes. Oops. sounding confused. promise or not. glancing at me. "Anyway." "Gee . The scent of his blood. My eyes narrowed slightly. starting to take slow." He smiled. She doesn't know yet. The air around him almost shimmered with his heat. and I felt Bella take a breath." He grinned." I said calmly. "Stay out of this.. nodding. aren't they?" "Super-creepy. stock still.you are Bella. . Not really looking to die today. even. Jacob thought as he made one final step. "The eyes are really something. Seth at her heals." he said. mingled with the reek of dog.

bloodsucker." she pleaded. "Huh. She seemed to know we were out here. thought Emmett. interspersed with images of Bella. I was certain. How horrible she would feel if she hurt her friend. I hugged her close. There were assorted pictures of my face. Seth thought. and I felt the tension pour out of her. right?" She looked speculatively from me to Jacob. Not her. In the house." . Do your worst." she said. his eyes flickering back to Bella has he realized that term now applied to her as well. at least. Lighten up. and then the slight movement of breath into her mouth." I turned my glare from Leah to him. I could hold her back long enough for Jacob to make an escape before she threw me off. "Okay. He searched again for the familiar remnants in her new face. I tightened my hands reassuringly around her arms. "Okay. Nessie was flashing images into Rose's mind. I won't let her hurt him. My family laughed. He really had no idea how hard this was for Bella. her voice relaxed."C'mon Bells.. "Look who's talking" said Jacob. Jacob. No. a head start. looking like an idiot. Please don't say it. Well. throw us to the ground if necessary. "So I passed. he thought. and endless relief. Then he cringed slightly. take a whiff. "Now are you going to tell me what this big secret is?" Damn. shielding Renesmee from the scene below. if she lunged. her muscles tight. controlled." Jacob taunted. I prepared to wrap my body around her. most of my family was watching with keen interest. painful flashes of her ravaged face. You stink. assumedly to come down and wait to play out his little plan. "I'm getting older here." Leah hissed. even if it wasn't enough for her to kill him. Edward." Only Bella. Bella was never going to cease amazing me. "It's nothing you need to worry about this second. together. her emotions getting desperate. I smiled and laughed with unexpected amusement. she thought again. Go on. Classic. "Hold onto me. as well as memories Jacob leaving. I felt Bella's body stiffen. Bella. kissing her on the cheek and bounding out the door. whispering "I love you" into her ear. holding his nose. Rosalie was further back in the house. and I watched her with a hard expression. huffing with amusement." said Bella. "I can see what everyone's been going on about. Not yet. Jacob's face became very tight. He caught my expression. But then Bella took another. but you get the idea. not technically. how even his filthy scent would scorch her throat. Bella pressed backwards into my chest. deeper breath..

rubbing his hands together. This is going to be excellent. "But nothing. holding it tight. "You'll help me?" she whispered. "Of course I will. her skin barely giving at all under . I realized Renesmee was now only showing her images of Bella's face after her birth. My family would understand when I explained about what had happened in the forest. above everything else. I grabbed her hand. I rolled my eyes. I won't let Nessie get hurt. blocking her path. The time had definitely come. None of us would risk Renesmee. "Are you sure. He turned and bolted towards the house. trying to keep my voice steady. Edward? Jasper thought in the house. her eye's yearning." she choked out. No way. Bella. anxiety in her eyes. like always? "I don't like this.. no matter what." Jacob sputtered. Maybe she should wait-" I ground my teeth. and fear. we'll be ready." I spat." I said quietly. beyond sick of his continued interference. made my decision for me. not yours. "Come and see. bloodsucker?" Is this just you. an insistent quality to the thoughts now. This. and then glanced at Bella. looking anxious. he thought." Ours. She looked confused and worried. Maybe he's right. I tried to smooth my features. his faced strained. I think you'll be surprised at how entirely she's already wrapped us all around her little fingers. Did he think I had no consideration for Renesmee's safety as well as Bella's happiness? That he was the only one capable of protecting her? "You had your test." I said. as if Renesmee was already in front of her. and then she took a tentative step towards the house. I had seen Bella demonstrate her control beyond anything that could have been imagined – it was time for her to meet her daughter. She seemed almost afraid to breathe.I heard Emmett laugh inside the house." "And Emmett and Jasper – just in case?" "We'll take care of you. She was asking to see Bella.I growled after him. This is crazy. a mirror of want." Bella looked up towards the house for a moment. "Shall we?" I asked gently. "Bella needs to see our daughter. Don't worry. "But-." Jacob shot a look at Bella. at her blood stained clothes. "Renesmee. "Get out of her way. at her bright crimson eyes. giving her what she wants. I didn't want to let Jacob's antics interfere with this moment for Bella. Damn him. emotion clouding her voice. Jacob was in front of her. Bella nodded. turning to smile at Bella only to find her face completely still. She'll be perfectly safe. glancing with worried eyes at Nessie in Rosalie's arms. Jacob. and stress. This is crazy.

as if he knew what she was thinking. She was nearly choking in horror at the sight of Bella's dress.. Renesmee started at the sound of Bella's voice. as I drew her carefully forward. I searched her mind. She glared distastefully at him. and Jasper shifted. in the moments of her birth. Bella? Her mind still held the picture of Bella after her birth. I had assumed Alice would have told them. holding Nessie. Several feet in front of her.beautiful. but as soon as we neared he darted to the back of the room next to Rosalie. Rosalie stood by the front door. with the humans. Renesmee lifted a small hand to Rose's throat. The light. That won't happen. with Carlisle on one side and Esme and Alice on the other. Jasper and Emmett waited. Daddy! Then her luminous eyes focused on Bella. I was hoping you'd be dead next time I saw you. Jasper. Edward. As we approached the house. my family was moving swiftly. but their thoughts and the emotions seeping into Jasper betrayed their anxiety. obviously taking in Renesmee's enormous growth over the last few days. the rest of my family to protect. "I was out just two days?" she gasped. replaying it in her head several times while her eyes scoured Bella's face. She grasped onto the sound.mine. Bella froze as Renesmee came into her view. mutt. resisting the urge to glance back. She brought up an image of Bella. Jacob eyed her. gathering in a formation that had been discussed while we were in the forest. Jasper and Emmett were there to restrain. Jacob paused for a moment at the door. This was for safety as well as the hope that Renesmee would not have to see Bella violently restrained. Offense and defense. it's even worse in reality! Renesmee was straining to see around the line of my family. It's too much to ask. Dear god.Too much. As always. airy quality of Bella's human voice was in stark comparison to the singing phrase we had all just heard leave her lips.. Renesmee. and then stood in front of them. but it was fully occupied with the image of Bella. in something of an unusual panic for him. Inside. ready to leave the room at the slightest hint of aggression from Bella. her eyes widening slightly. So. none of them seemed to know what had occurred during the hunt. My family was smiling calmly. but . Jasper's muscles tensed as he read her obvious shock. She caught sight of me first. and pulled her towards the house. worried about her. Surprisingly. of a human Bella. Renesmee grew slightly anxious with confusion. she grumbled to herself. Jasper was thorough. if it came to that. was pointing silent instructions. My stomach sickened at the thought.

Stop her. Mommy.there was a new. she chided me. I shook my head slightly at Jasper. She glanced at my grip on Bella disapprovingly. Jasper's eyes were cool. keeping his body between Nessie and Bella. give her some credit. Her emotions are strong. "Keep close. . he growled. brushing her fingers over Nessie's hand. Hold her. Concentrating on Bella. I came slightly back to my senses. questioning tone to the image. Bella's new face filled her mind. caressing and adoring. I knew first-hand Bella's immaculate control. Emmet and Jasper moved swiftly to form a solid wall between Bella and Renesmee. Bella. and a brilliant smile broke out across her face. was struggling now in Rose's arms. I realized she had seen what had happened in the forest. And at that moment. for Bella to see her child rolling off her." Everyone glanced around skeptically. Her eyes never left Bella's." Rose said softly. And he could also sense her anxiety.Bella's movement had been a tentative step. Looking at Alice's mind now. trying to disentangle myself from Jasper's worry. dazzling form. the other's dropping back to create a second barrier. But you better. Renesmee's mind turned the dueling images and sounds around for a moment. her whole world. Bella was breathing steadily now." she said quietly. You know she's fine. Edward! Jasper thought. if you want them to relax. "Yes. blocked by Jacob from her view of Bella. Should I go." Bella! Mommy! Nessie. that's her. of the voice. You'd want a closer look. Bella moved towards her. Jasper could feel the intense want. that had then been her world. Alice hadn't moved. No. still clamped on her upper arm. I knew it. too. not an aggressive move. and his face tightened with anxiety. That's your mother. "I'm okay. though. "She wasn't going to do anything." she said. I gripped the top of her arms. the emphasis demanding. Bella. just in case. surrounded by the tumbling memories of before her birth. touching one of my hands. Then it all melded together into a distinct. and the incredible feat Bella had accomplished. I looked at Jasper. and he frowned. a singular love. She was right . alert. Edward. She looked back at the tense lines of my family. I caught the slightly bittersweet inflection of Rosalie's thoughts in this moment. and I sensed it was still tightly in place. I didn't tell them. "Oh. should I go? Jacob stepped with her. and suddenly her small heart sang with unparalleled joy. the need. hard. Rose moved several feet back so that she was pressed to the wall next to the door. I can calm her as much as possible so we can get her out of here. propelled by his panic. she thought.

I needed to explain to him exactly why we could trust Bella.Edward. In a newborn." Emmett relaxed. It doesn't matter if they are good. He carried a very heavy burden. She was not the typical newborn Jasper imagined. the nearly impossible temptation such a scene would entail. appropriate or inappropriate. Oh. Although. Oh. . But Jasper didn't move." Carlisle gasped. so he could relax. with a little too much satisfaction. searching my eyes. motorcycle. feeling responsible for the safety of everyone involved. I should have taken the time to make sure we were in a safe zone before I set her loose. the risk-" "Minimal. no. my actions had been reprehensible given my promise to Bella. Okay. thought Jasper. All mine.. eyeing the blood on Bella's dress in horror. "Listen. He was unhappy with the volatility of the situation. Jasper – on the hunt she caught the scent of some hikers who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. Edward. "How could you be so irresponsible?" "I know. for a whole year. We don't know how badly Bella could hurt her! "Edward." said Bella. His eyes flared with shock. That explains the lack of thirst. This is sweet – I am so going to win this bet! He shut his eyes briefly." He was right. She was still much more concerned about the state of Bella's dress. dear. man? Emmett thought excitedly. her voice pained with embarrassment. everything had been fine. I know. strong emotions of any kind equals trouble. yea of little faith. Edward. "Jazz." How many did she get. thinking of his wager with Jasper. even for us. and I realized he was also extremely concerned about Alice being hurt trying to intercede on Bella's part in some sort of scuffle. your call." I said. "Edward!" Carlisle admonished. You know this! She won't be able to keep herself in hand. Carlisle. But I knew Bella could do this. Jasper's thoughts became laced with panic. Esme eyed me with alarm. Disgusting! Jacob thought. Oh.. "Edward. Bella's got this. The baby is so small. miraculously. let us through. No way she's coming near Nessie now! Alice rolled her eyes internally. "I was just plain stupid. he thought in horror. Em. I glanced over in surprise and then immediately realized he had misunderstood what I was going to say. rightfully so. formerly my. or bad. Tell them. I'm disappointed in you. Rose's long arms and legs wrapped around him. You should not have insisted on going alone! Ahh. imagining himself riding on the back of Jasper's. He couldn't stand the idea of Nessie being hurt. I hope Edward didn't as well! She realized.

smiling. I hope she doesn't feel she let us down. still looking suspicious. For god's sake. She realized at once what was happening and then. and Jasper glanced at her. The fact that you are stronger than anyone I've ever known doesn't change that. realization starting to fill his eyes. Bella. "She started to. who was struggling in the back to contain Renesmee. Edward. Now can we get on with this! Jacob just stared silently. you're upsetting my sister! You are being very flippant about this. thought Esme." I said slowly. shocked. utterly stunned. except for Rosalie." "What happened?" Carlisle asked suddenly. It's not my fault everyone jumped to conclusions. She's one of a kind. was buying into it. who was beaming at Bella." "Wait. Eddie? "Seriously?" Carlisle clapped his hands together. This was actually kind of fun. Emmett thought with glee. Edward. Even Carlisle. the eternal optimist. "He's not telling it right. she snapped right out of it. speaking each word slowly and carefully. Okay. Wonderful. "Of course not. spit it out. Edward." Tell them. "I made a huge mistake. No dead human." I paused dramatically." I said. thought Rose. Carlisle thought disapprovingly. she thought irritably. she didn't want us to know. "She held her breath and ran away. "I wasn't making a joke. I felt a flush of pride and excitement suddenly. "She heard me behind her and reacted defensively." said Jasper suddenly. Amazing. sensing frustration." I smiled. "Tasteful joke." she grumbled. He smiled down at relief at Esme." . I've never seen anything to equal her. I don't believe it." said Emmett. "No!" Bella said. I heard Bella's teeth grind together. She rolled her eyes." Alice was the only one who caught my play on the word stronger. great. Always has been. Bella huffed in irritation. trying to draw out the suspense a little longer. Are you screwing with us. most of my family stock still with anticipation. "Did ya get in a couple of good swipes?" he asked.. This is no time for joking." "Whoa. Jasper thought. What did you mean by stronger? "She didn't hunt the humans?" Impossible. "He's absolutely right to rebuke me.. She knew I didn't mean physically stronger." Ooh. I grinned and continued. "I was explaining to Jasper why I know Bella can handle this. Is that what happened to the dress? You guys have something of a tussle? His grin widened. As soon as my pursuit broke into her concentration. "She was entirely focused on the hunt. "He left out the part where I growled at him. glancing at me and looking for signs of a struggle. now we're talking.Poor thing.

" said Carlisle. too. Always. Abnormal. I glanced up at Jasper. smiling down at Bella. We should have come. It's not right. "I've been dying to see how he'd do without that advantage. my grip loose now. You're such a wuss." I said." She broke off the hunt. Regardless of whatever you think is going on here." "That it did. Edward! "She could have turned on you – she's only hours old!" Better to have let her go after the humans than risk injury to either one of you. "And here you're probably the one person who could take him – since he can't get into your head to cheat – and you had a perfect excuse." And that one word cut right through me.Emmett's eyes shot back to her. holding an inextricable power over me." I said reassuringly. Edward. "Edward. nodding for him to move aside. I sighed." "I was careful. he thought. Esme was realizing with horror exactly how close Bella must have been to attacking me. the confidence she had gained watching how Bella had reacted in the forest. Looking back. Jasper's thought was not a question but rather an unbelieving restatement of the facts. holding it as a restraint as well as a conduit for emotion. unsmiling. didn't attack you. "Oh. Jasper nodded. as it always did. "I would never. "Jazz. piercing with its emotion. reminding him she would never lead him wrong. and her love." he muttered." Alice spoke quietly. this isn't anything you've seen before. Edward. didn't take the humans but actually left of her own volition. His expression was clouded. And that means unpredictable. "You see what I mean?" "It's not natural. It doesn't feel right. You know you should never have gotten that close to someone on the hunt. My hands were still on her shoulders. I nodded at him reassuringly. Jasper's teeth clenched. I trust you. putting a hand on Bella's shoulder. "Aw. Esme." he said." Bella looked affronted. keeping my hands on Bella's upper arms. "Please. "No. though. always be ready. I mocked punched his shoulder in an attempt to get him out of his continued bad spirits. is she? "Emmett!" Bella said desperately. sighing. "Still it all worked out. "She's right. and she leaned suddenly to the side. Be ready. he moved aside slightly. She channeled her confidence. Alice. not really? You really didn't attack him?" She's not just saying that to protect your wounded pride." she whispered. Trust me. drawing in his gaze. He glared at me and I grinned with delight. what a waste. we should have gone with you." Emmett groaned. . trying to see around Jasper's form. her eyes saying much more than the words.

Carlisle. his shoulder pressed against mine as he pushed in to see her. as if drawn to Nessie. Renesmee let out a high. but to bring her forward. piercing wail. Is she hurt? I whirled in alarm. "See?" Rose said. lilting scent began to fill the space around us. I looked carefully into her eyes. although he had taken a step forward in concern. placing his hands under Renesmee's arms. walking a couple steps in front of us. Carlisle was trying to get by Jacob so he could look more closely. "Is she okay?" I asked Rose. her sweet. I saw . afraid she was going to move forward. As we moved closer. Rosalie just behind at his shoulder. All right. "What's the matter?" asked Esme. thought Jasper in alarm. Only Jasper had remained at Bella's side. their bodies angled so they could watch Bella carefully. the tone of the thought insistent. but let him take her. but not to restrain her as Jazz wanted. and I brought my attention back to Bella. Alice had her hands on my arm while Emmett peered over both of us. Esme and Alice had remained at their places next to Jacob. "She just wants Bella. I moved swiftly back to Bella's side. not the tremors that precipitated phasing. checking Renesmee over anxiously. They had been lost to each other for too long . Jasper thought sharply. searching Renesmee for signs of injury. Her heart hammered with her efforts to get out of Rose's grasp. "Is she hurt?" Jacob reached out. Edward.now it was time for them to be together. "She's been waiting for you for almost three days. keeping her eyes on Bella. panic spiraling instantly inside me. As we neared. Rosalie sighed. pressing her forward. touching her cheek.Alice stood next to Jasper. my hands running quickly over her arms and legs and head. She seemed perfect. but it was out of sheer anxiety. and as Bella took her first step forward. you try containing her! "She's fine. Emmett came to stand at Bella's side again. I got behind her again and put my hands on her arms. I sense some thirst. my only thought making sure she was all right. Jacob glanced up at me with worried eyes. "What's happened?" Jacob demanded. Bella! Mommy! Renesmee was increasingly frustrated by our slow progress towards her. like nothing I had never heard from her before. Still. Jacob's head filled with Bella's face. We glanced quickly back – her body was leaning forward slightly. Carlisle and Esme turned. Suddenly. my feet propelling me to her side. firming up my grip slightly. to meet her daughter." I whispered in her ear. It shot quickly to the forefront of everything else." "She wants me?" Bella whispered. Jasper never taking his hand from her shoulder. and then looked down." she said to Jacob. Jacob's hands were shaking. Renesmee lifted up her hand and placed her palm against his cheek.

Jasper blinked in surprise. god.. Bella suddenly froze." "What was it?" Jacob demanded." . and the familiar vision of Bella. For it had been only seconds later that Bella's heart had stopped. "What did you see?" Rosalie asked.. For how long? He stared into her eyes. that she knows who you are." I said. "It was the only memory she had of you. human Bella. her hands reaching and grasping for Bella. "Um. instead keeping his hands on her even as she settled into Bella's arms. and took Renesmee from Jacob's arms as naturally as if she had been holding her since the moment she was born. And then. She smiled and began to very slowly reach towards her face with her hand. I shuddered at the memory of those dark moments. As we came within a step of them. as Nessie's pink fingers came to rest on Bella's cheek. Nessie sighed contentedly.. all eyes on her face except for Jacob. "But effective as a means of communications go. "What. We waited. no sounds but the interlocking melody of their hearts." "But how does she do it?" "How do I hear thoughts? How does Alice see the future?" I shrugged. I think. We all stilled with her. trying to gauge her mood. the anxiety drained from Bella's face. and her expression changed to one of confident expectation. Before the world had begun to spiral into blackness." I said softly. arose again. In one smooth movement she stepped forward. no one breathing except Jacob and Nessie. But I looked terrible.. "She's letting you know that she's made the connection. her voice rough with confusion.that?" Bella said finally. I can't tell anything from those damn red eyes! Renesmee was straining in his arms. but he didn't look away from Nessie. who looked only at Renesmee. Renesmee's gift might be extremely unsetting for Bella. Her shoulders relaxed. Oh. still. How shocking that image must be for her. thought Jasper in alarm. "She's gifted. Yes. forever etched into my mind. as if clearing her thoughts. suddenly. I tightened my hold slightly." Terrible. "I told you it was hard to explain." Bella shook her head slightly. I glared meaningfully at him. and reaching out with her hand.was. "Me. Watch it. now.Bella glance nervously at his hands. Panic ratcheted up exponentially in Jacob's mind as he refused to let the baby go. drinking in Bella's face. Bella." she said. "Jake – I'm fine. "What did she show you?" "She showed me that?" Bella gasped.

Jasper tensed. Her teeth. He was practically bouncing with stress. as she gazed down at Renesmee. Got to say I agree with the dog on this one. This is getting ugly. Don't ruin the moment for her. "Still. creating a mixture of mahogany streaked with bronze rays of sunshine. dog. Emmett posing his hands over Bella while Carlisle and Esme readied themselves to snatch Renesmee. "She's fine. "I wonder if there could possibly be some sort of genetic connection?" "That's entirely possible. Although. "Interesting. thought Emmett. The love of a mother. Edward. The way Bella's arms curved around Renesmee's small body. "What is your problem." .. but Jacob refused to give her up." she said softly." Bella stiffened. Look at her expression. I think the gifts come from our own innate possibilities." As Carlisle spoke. My family crowded closer. pressing her lips to Renesmee's forehead.. sensing his stiff muscles. Alice. "Okay. some of her genetic predisposition. She pulled on Renesmee. A new light seemed to enter Bella's eyes. "I owe you a good kick in the gut. Bella's dark tresses intermingling in Renesmee's copper curls. closing her eyes. Her anger shot through Jasper. Jacob. The gift of giving thoughts. watching Bella's face so close to Renesmee. I found myself impossibly distracted from his words by the vision of Renesmee in Bella's arms. Jacob?" Bella snarled. I was furious. I don't like this. doesn't mean I won't throw you out. and he tensed. I glared at him and he looked up." Exactly as I had thought. "Like she's doing the exact opposite of what you can. undermining how incredible she was doing. Bella's time with her daughter shouldn't be cut short because Jacob was agitating her. but let's not push it. Edward! You're too biased to think this through! Biased against my own daughter! I hissed. Bella leaned down gently. since she is your daughter. "Just because I understand. She's burning. "I'll help him toss you. feeling my wrath."It's an interesting twist. "Haven't we experimented enough for one day?" Jacob said uncomfortably. "Bella's doing extraordinarily well. Bella's doing great." I growled. he thought anxiously." she snarled." Finally." Carlisle said. How their heads inclined naturally towards each other as their eyes latched. and inhaled deeply. thought Rosalie. a fierce and protective tenderness. It's not safe." I mused. looking at me. came around and rubbed his arm reassuringly. her eyes swinging up towards him." Carlisle mused.

I can't. torn. She's everything to me. . she had definitely figured it out. Jacob thought. crap. Jacob's not going to get off easy. For once. Just let them have it out. Jacob held up his hands and started to move backwards. I wrapped my arms firmly around Bella's body. handing Nessie to Rose. But I didn't know if she would go for Jacob. Edward. As soon as the baby was in her arms." Bella snapped. Emmett glanced at me. Let her go. his eyes trained on Renesmee now. stumbling back several feet. her face hard and angry. She can't get hurt. Okay. "Rose. Not as long as her wrath was pointed only at Jacob. "Take Renesmee. "You know it's not something I can control. but steady. Fine. I hesitated for another moment. but did not interfere. She's everything. so please let go of me." she growled." "You stupid mutt! How could you? My baby!" Bella yelled as she tracked Jacob." said Bella." Oh. and was glad that Emmett pressed up close as well. Jesus! Get the baby! He tried to send a wave of calm into Bella as he threw his other arm back protectively in front of Alice. grasping my wrists tightly on either side. "I don't want to hurt you. I'll take the consequences.. I released my hands from her shoulders. it turned out. Jasper and Emmett circled on either side. I had spent many. her voice seething. bro. Jacob thought. moving forward slowly while I trailed carefully behind. And. Jacob backed off in the opposite direction. I won't let her be in danger. drawing Bella's gaze with him. Rose backed away from both Bella and Jacob. It's bound to happen. Carlisle and Esme on his sides. This is between me and her. Had she truly figured it out? I don't know if that's a good idea. Edward. taking two deliberate steps toward Jacob. I felt oddly gratified by the obvious fury of her reaction." I wasn't worried about her hurting me. Jacob had grabbed Nessie immediately. Oh. "Edward. "Go stand in front of Renesmee. while I hated to see her angry. I knew I wouldn't be able to maintain this hold against her strength. "You didn't. Jasper was hit with a blast of uncontrolled shock and horror. Damn Jacob and this imprinting business to hell! I fumed. let's remain calm. we were on the same page about it. Clearly. thought Carlisle. his thoughts snarled and panicked his face a flashing mosaic of fear and adoration."No!" Bella cried. everything. and she immediately crouched.Jacob ignored her. many minutes during the last couple days imagining what Bella's response might be when she found out about the imprint." Bella said quietly.

. love. and had had no qualms about using that info to her advantage." he pleaded. still crouched low to the ground. Bella followed Jacob as he backed out the door. unable to get any other takers. and moved to intercede between them. stalking. "How dare you imprint on my baby?" Bella was yelling. you tell him. and I paused. Leah and Seth appeared on either side of him. who had backed all the way up to the far wall with Renesmee clutched to her. and carrying her bags. Jacob. However. "I can share." Jacob said desperately. "She's mine. bitch." I smiled. He held out his hand now for her keys. Emmett lingering at the bottom of the stairs. They'd bet one month's use of her Porsche. edging toward the forest. letting out a formidable snarl. since motor vehicles was Em's preferred wager. Jasper and I trailed at a careful distance. "Pay up. Carlisle. at least not that one. I gritted my teeth. He stepped backwards carefully. I think the girl can handle herself. worried. moving until they were in front of Rose. down the stairs and started jogging backwards across the front lawn. "Leah. Esme and Alice came out onto the porch. pulling Esme with him. Rosalie had now come out of the house and was standing on the porch with the others. she growled. Alice had already seen Bella's feat of self-control in the forest. Leah snapped her teeth towards Bella. and Renesmee. for once. Alice went with them. That's right. "Bella. finding her choice of words ironic. Leah. He had been very pleased with himself. "Have you lost your mind?" "It was involuntary.Don't let this get out of hand. thought Carlisle warningly. drawing her further from the house." he snapped." I heard Emmett mutter to Alice. Bite me. figuring that Alice couldn't see the future. She continued to follow. "Why should I listen?" she growled. while Alice glared. would you try to listen for just a second? Please?" Jacob pleaded. and already you think you have some moronic wolfy claim to her?" Bella's voice seethed. Seth thought. "It wasn't my idea. she mused in disbelief. Bella hissed. but then Bella bared her teeth at Leah. I can't believe Bella's letting that dog get to her. Apparently during our earlier absence. he had managed to convince Alice to bet him that Bella would take down Jacob when she found out about the imprinting. against a month of Emmett accompanying Alice shopping on demand. Back off. back off. Emmett thought. Leah bared her teeth. impressed. Renesmee watching with curious confusion from her arms. Come on. Bella!" "I've held her all of one time.

Nice one. No. But I was taking a rather sadistic pleasure in watching Jacob incur a justifiable wrath. If she hadn't snapped at this point. Jasper thought.. "Stop her. But Bella's face quickly hardened with fury. I had told . "Amazing. her voice echoing through the forest." I heard Carlisle say from the porch. emitting a growl that spiraled up several octaves into a furious shriek. I need you to. She didn't attack. poised. "She'll be unhappy if she hurts him. please understand this. "You're going to stay away from her. Edward." Emmett muttered. her hair a dark cascade around her shoulder. I didn't think she would. There was no way I was stepping in on this one – understand or not. God."Because you're the one who told me this." Actually. I've never witnessed such selfcontrol in a newborn. "How can you even look at it that way? She's just a baby. "You think you'll be a part of my family as my son-in-law!" she shrieked." Esme said. Bells! "I can't do that!" Don't do this to me! Edward. I raised my eyebrows in disbelief. Ugh. I stayed back a comfortable distance." he whispered." yelled Bella. shopping. you win this one. Emmett laughed. Please. but.. Bella remained still. She threw her head back slightly. I relaxed and glanced over at Jasper. it was so good to see her get really angry with him! "No. "It's what you wanted." Bella hissed at Jacob. hoping to get through. She was looking at Emmett with her eyebrow raised. Jasper and I tensed." He noticed Bella's stare turn slightly speculative.now we are. incredibly. say something! I know you understand. holding her gaze. "She hasn't gone for his throat even once." Jacob was yelling in protest. The long lines of her body were tensed. "You know I don't think of her that way! Do you think Edward would have let me live this long if I did? All I want is for her to be safe and happy – is that so bad? So different from what you want?" Jacob was riled up now. Come on Bella. I heard Alice clear her throat. I thought with satisfaction. Those sad puppy-dog eyes aren't going to get you out of it this time. I want you to. Bella. although he was eyeing Leah suspiciously. his eyes intense. "You said we belonged in each other's lives. our hands coming up. Do you remember?" Jacob asked as his voice lowered. although she's angry. isn't she?" He shook his head at me. speechless. she's still in control. Bella's face glowed brilliant with fury. right? That we were family. "Fine. You said that was how you and I were supposed to be. I need us to be okay. for crying out loud!" "That's my point. So. He was far less concerned now that Renesmee wasn't in danger.

considering. Oh. "Do you remember how much you wanted me around three days ago? How hard it was to be apart from each other? That's gone for you now. "Nessie likes me. at least for me." Thank you. Time to move in? Jasper wondered. I think that was a mistake." Bella said. and was being launched at the cowering half human in front of her. Jasper whipped his head back to her. her body moving just imperceptibly further down into a crouch. sensing an in. Her expression was searching. I hoped it meant that her feelings towards him had now tempered." Jacob said. In gruesome slow motion I watched Bella's body launch off the ground. that name you came up with is kind of a mouthful and –" Bella's voice pierced through the entire surrounding forest. instead of the intense.it was fun to watch. but a little calmer. well. even then. A fraction of a second before I felt the blistering tempest of fury that circled and then consumed Bella. Bells. arcing like an arrow towards Jacob. "It's not possible. back to the more comfortable realm of friendship. If she hadn't attacked about the imprint. I didn't think this would do it.. "What did you call her. thought Emmett. "From the very beginning. dog-boy. as she seemed to contemplate his words." he said. "Starting now. the burn in her eyes dimming slightly. Bella's teeth snapped together." Bella hissed. and made its way into mine. I was so used to hearing it I didn't even give it any thought. silent. "C'mon. and we discussed things. Jacob took a step back. too. his voice growing softer. who ." pleaded Jacob. her voice still angry. "You nicknamed my daughter after the Loch Ness Monster?" Later. "That was her. because Jasper felt the snap a moment before it registered in his mind." Bella was quiet. Jasper cocked an eye at me. "Try. he reacted a fraction of a second before I did.. She's buying it. I would realize." she snarled. isn't it?" Bella stared at him. Bella's whole body stiffened as the word "Nessie" left his lips. needfulness that had been very hard to bear. It was only a nickname. concern flashing across his face. probably reaching the highway. Bella! Rosalie was crowing with pleasure on the porch. We had to be together. "Run away while you still can." Instantly. I actually took some relief in her apparent acceptance that his thoughts might be true. She's calming down. but. Not that I would call this a discussion. I cocked my head to the side. just a moment before I saw her press her weight onto her back foot and realized that all control had been swept into that storm. "Well.him from the start the situation was temporary until Bella woke.

stumbled backwards. hitting his shoulder. he thought as he jumped up. Seth! Leah screamed. automatically throwing out an arm in defense and knocking Jasper away. Seth! Seth! Leah was shrieking desperately in her head. and I turned my head slightly to see her leaping towards Bella. her feet hitting the ground. As she pulled. I realized she was going to kill Jacob. and laughed. Jasper was still crouched in front of her. And with horrible dread. She hit the grass snarling several feet away. staring at Bella with wide eyes. I bent close to her ear and said quietly. Keeping a careful watch on Bella. I thought. Almost there. . but she bent her knees as if she might launch forward again. And in that awful moment. and threatened such a thing. Bella's leap was halted by the collision with Seth. The trajectory and speed of Bella's body towards Jacob would guarantee she would reach her target before we reached ours. I heard the audible snap of a bone breaking. "Bella. who was lying prone on the ground. Seth's body was just coming between Jacob and Bella when she slammed into him from the force of her jump. I struck her from behind." She froze at the sound of my voice. arms wide to catch and wrap around her. ramming into Bella's side and grabbing her with one arm while swinging to kick Leah off course. She glared at the two of them. I realized that no matter how many times I had dreamed. Christ. Jacob pulled in a long. he moved swiftly over and knelt next to Seth. and then moved in a wide circle around them to her brother's side. Emmett next to him having arrived a half second after me. "Seth. quickly wrapping my arms around her body and grabbing my wrists with each hand. And with sickening certainty I realized we were not going to make it in time. I didn't actually want it to happen. that hurts. shaking her head. Edward. There was a long moment of silence. No! Leah shrieked. No! Seth cried as he flung his body in front of Jacob. and Seth whined and rolled over slightly. ragged breath. Seth was flung several feet next Jacob by the impact. about to wrench away from me. She's all yours. Bella twisted. He touched him gently. and the pounding of their hearts. there was a flash of sandy-colored fur. Jasper reached Bella as Leah did. moving into a crouch in front of Leah. hands up. As I hurled myself towards her I could see Jasper's body out of the corner of my eye. just ahead of mine. remind me not to get her mad again. Geez. stop!" Jacob cried. slamming him down hard onto the ground behind to her. broken only by the panting of the wolves. Suddenly.

wincing slightly. I'm going to bring Seth into the house – looks like a broken collarbone. He bent down slightly. He looked slightly taken aback for a second. everything turned out all right. Don't bring her near Nessie! Rose thought in alarm." she suddenly groaned. Alice appeared at his side. Emmett jogged up next to us. was now staring in horror at Seth on the ground. I rolled my eyes. but changed the direction of our course so that we were heading around the back of the house. "Oh. but I could tell she agreed with Rosalie. "Carlisle. He stared intently at Bella. wrapping just one arm firmly around her shoulders. still frozen in my arms. Carlisle sprang off the porch. "It's okay." she muttered. I glanced up quickly and saw Rosalie. Bella. Renesmee's face turned towards her. Bella looked up at him in horror. Emmett shrugged. giving him a slight smile. and twice already my lapses in judgment had let her down. He knelt down next to Jacob. pressed against the house. "He's going to be fine. love. leaving the protective position he had taken in front of Rose and Nessie. I hugged her tight against me. Esme's face was sad. and I glared over her head. Just a bruise. sensing only remorse. Bella." Inside I was seething with fury and disappointment in myself." he bellowed approvingly. Leah. and headed over to us. her body sagging slightly with distress. We had all heard the bone break. She bent her knees. glancing at Jasper first. I nodded. a hand on her shoulder. Emmett. Edward. no. Edward? Let her calm down. Why don't you take Bella away from here." Bella nodded a little. Not in that state. giving Bella another pat on the shoulder and then moving swiftly up onto the porch with Rose." he said in a low voice. He turned his head to look at me. Bella had only been awake a couple of hours. bringing his eyes level with Bella's and keeping his hand on her shoulder. Seth thought. who was pacing back and forth next to Seth. "Now that's what we like to see. eyes wide. I sighed." I whispered in her ear. Leah. huffing. you idiot? Carlisle glanced up at us. "It's okay. I turned us around and she followed numbly. stopped abruptly and looked up at me. Exactly what part of this is all right. And now Seth had gotten hurt in the process. . As we started towards the house I heard a quiet hiss. "We've all been there. I released my grip from around Bella's body. Esme stood next to her.I'm okay. I'm fine." I called. clapping a hand on Bella's shoulder. and then his face furrowed with concern. and began carefully prodding Seth through his fur with his fingers. pushing him with both hands. "Go away.

Okay. Finally." I said quickly. but not the dark." Bella said. sweetie. Bella stared out at the forest for a while. "Edward. Only that night." she said. looking back out over the forest. Bella glanced down. "I promised you that I wouldn't let you hurt anyone. knowing already that this would be an apology. I knew that sometimes Bella just needed time. She kissed Bella's cheek before skipping up onto the porch after Emmett. because I thought I was done with breaking promises. I thought bitterly. We walked in silence around the house. Tonight was cloudy. "What are we going to do?" she asked." I murmured. That was another thing about Bella that did not. a hallmark of our kind.. concern in her voice. I mean – she's half-vampire. even when they didn't deserve it. "Because I should have been closer. And before that. My baby. If only that were true. she'd been given very little opportunity to process everything that had happened. And I'm mad at myself. Bella. I'm the one who should be apologizing to you. her shoulders slightly stiff. I could tell she wanted to be alone – she was embarrassed. she blew a long breath out and shook her head. The sun had set. pausing about halfway down the lawn towards the river. and impulsive nature of her responses. at our wedding. encompassing. Bella sighed." "What do you have to apologize for?" she muttered." "You've never let me down. gray cover. seemingly never-ending. She had always been that way. and would never. "You get how twisted this is. her eyes their own burning red orbs of sun. and actions. holding her hand. How overwhelming this all must be." I sighed in frustration. Edward. but nodded. Please. . consistent. distinct black clouds of a storm. so. I'm so. and space. I guess I understand." "No. change. immense power of her senses. and I didn't push her. Bella has always been so careful and methodical in her decision making.Alice put an arm around Bella. Her capacity for seeing the best in people. there had been stars. Bella turned to me. Is that even possible?" "Apparently. And so far. but a cool. while I watched her. Our daughter. dense spread of the forest. to work through her own thoughts. Alice looked slightly pouty. I shook my head.. I remembered the night we danced out here. right? Jacob imprinting on Renesmee." She turned to look at me. "It's not your fault. "I can't believe this. "I'll take her. Finally. We didn't speak for a while. In her life in general. her voice slightly desperate. the sudden. Alice. and letting you down. and whatever remnants of glow that might be visible on the horizon were obscured by the dark. because I should have made sure the forest was safe before we hunted." I grumbled. "Let's take a walk.

when Renesmee's older. "We.but he can't be here all the time." she said. I shook myself." Bella said.. her eyes growing hotter. Edward.and Renesmee. "What he says is true. "I've been waiting for you to wake up. and then laughed harshly. don't feel bad. as much as I didn't like it." Her expression faltered slightly. ." I said softly.. and fear. as I'd always wanted.." said Bella in a small voice. "Anyway. An eternity. her voice rough. "But." I whispered.I.... I reached down and took her hand. when I found out. God knew I understood how she felt." I reached up quickly and pressed a hand to her cheek. "Bella." she whispered." "Oh. understood quite a bit more about the imprinting than they did. uh. hoping you would know!" She shook her head.." Bella was watching me with wide eyes. you endured terrible pain. of course." I admitted.." I said. my throat felt too tight to speak.performed CPR. "He loves Renesmee. "Well. "Ah. I'm sorry to tell you I have no idea... At the time. I stared at her.well. It must have been terrible for you. "I mean. from her familiarity with the pack. "A few minutes." I murmured.. But this was entirely different." "You know. of course. "I'm sorry you had to go through that. and he just wants her to be safe and happy. "A few minutes after your. "you're in an awfully good place about all this.. "I'm so sorry. we don't have to figure this all out right now. "What I went through? Bella. I sighed. Together. she. practically living with us. and then grabbed her with both arms.. cocking her head and eyeing me.. I almost killed him too. What I went through was. and her expression relaxed. and even death."I don't know.. "Why did you let him stay?" she asked quietly. Bella. thinking back over my conversation with Jacob. And he wanted to stay. "And so he's been here every since?" "Basically. I didn't think it would be of any harm for her to have him around.?" Her voice trailed off." For a moment. again relishing the freedom to hug her to me as tightly as I wanted. and then my family. "We'll work it out as we go. drawing her close. since it was our baby." she said quietly. "After your heart started beating again.how can he. smiling." I slid my fingers down her cheek." I laughed with disbelief.." He really wanted to stay. laughing. When did you find out?" "Find out?" "About Jacob.. "How long was I. I looked down at her." Her face grew increasingly anxious. "For what?" "I almost died." Bella shook her head..

He had phased out front." I said quietly. Why don't we head inside?" She cringed as we started up towards the house. "I agree. Hello." she muttered. "All the same. I am so. I realized I still very much enjoyed the memory of Bella shrieking at him and stalking him across the yard. "All that doesn't matter now. "Well. Edward. forever." "No." I smiled. too. I rolled my eyes. Might as well get an x-ray. fortunately. no matter what I did." Bella started. you know. "She's on the porch with Rose. before coming inside. if it meant I would end up with you beside me." Bella protested from across the room. Edward. lifting her face up to mine with my finger. it truly didn't. Now that Jacob wasn't dead. "They're bringing Seth into the house. Heavy feet pounded up the stairs and Jacob appeared at my side." he said. Jake's just the kind of guy you sometimes want to take a good swipe at. ." "Don't worry about it. stepping towards them.." "Where's the baby?" I asked. and our daughter. I just think it's best until she's calmed down. Seth was sitting on the couch. "You have nothing to apologize. Could be the shoulder. "I should be the one." I couldn't help smiling. considering. Rose quickly took a step back." I muttered. laying a hand on Seth's good shoulder. Carlisle glanced at me. now. moving past me without looking. Edward. still in Rose's arms. looking remarkably relaxed. I do. Opening it.." I said in a warning voice.. curving a hand around my face. "I'll take her. Bella. her face guarded.. I saw movement out of the corner of my eye." Bella whispered. "Beside me. thrown on some pants. too. Guilt swept across Rose's face. Renesmee. "I love you. "All that matters is that you. and." she whispered." "Bella. I furrowed my brow and headed over to the front door. We came in through the back door." I pulled away and brought one hand under her chin. but came over to stand next to Bella when she entered the room. Carlisle looked suddenly uncomfortable. I walked over." Seth laughed. are together. Jasper was standing behind the couch. "I don't think it's a good idea. "No.. You've handled yourself extremely well." And. Bella." Carlisle said kindly. "I still feel terrible about. so sorry.I would happily to go into the darkest pits of hell and back a million times.. Bella. "Seth. and me. somehow." I said. I had a feeling she was going to try to take this all onto herself. smiled widely and held out her arms. I'm sorry. she's a vampire." I think they thought that was best. "It's not your fault." "I love you. "Bella can hear you. Clearly Bella's in no condition to be handling the baby. I looked out to find Rosalie staring at me.

I followed her into the kitchen. Alice was beckoning me through the dining room door. I looked over at Carlisle. Alice bounced excitedly on the balls of her feet. It will be midnight in a few hours. Emmett will get a fire going. I gritted my teeth. since I had been far more concerned at the time with finding the safest car in the world for my human Bella. silly. and slipped it into my smiled and kissed me on the cheek.. Do you want me to stock the bedroom for you? Rose and I have a nice set of. We are going to do the finishing touches on your cottage. then headed into the other room to say goodbye to Carlisle. Bella sat on the couch. She clapped her hands with delight. "She's Bella's child and if she wants to see her. elegant blue ribbon on it." I narrowed my eyes at him." Edward. Bella's birthday! I smiled suddenly. "Let it go. Rosalie pleaded. I glanced up. be reasonable. Edward. looking unhappy. "And that is your decision exactly how?" I growled. I looked at her in confusion. purchased in what seemed like another lifetime altogether.. Jacob gave me a weak smile. and she rolled her eyes.. I want them to be together. and my chest clenched. mostly under the watchful eye of Alice. "I think maybe I should wait a while. where Emmett and Esme waited. "I just think everyone needs to calm down a little. "Let's get you upstairs for an x-ray. finally. Her eyes were wide." he said after a moment. too. it's okay. I took it from her fingers. Esme's going to give everything a once-over. the phone rang. She had tied a small." Bella said softly from inside the house. I thought you might also like to give her this. Please." I sighed. It was the key to the Ferrari. thinking of my ruminations of the night before.and taking Nessie from Rose with a confidence and possessiveness I didn't quite care for. but. Nessie lifted a hand to his throat." "Edward. See. Alice appeared in the doorway to the dining room. "Yes." she said softly. We all glanced sharply towards the sound." Jacob nodded vigorously. Emmett punched me in the shoulder. who was kneeling next to Seth. filling his mind with a vision of Bella's face looking down at her. Suddenly. Esme came up to me and brought out something from behind her back. I thought it could be a birthday present." . standing up and glancing with a troubled expression at Bella.. definitely. He turned back to Seth and offered a hand. "Charlie.. nodding. I growled softly at him before turning and stepping back into the house. and I'm going to make a final check on the closet. It is time to create fresh memories.. we all agree.

I listened as her heartbeat and breathing finally began to slow. and drawn back to the times I had put my hands on her body. I watched Bella for a moment.. The last thing I needed to see was another memory of his and Rose's varied and creative sexual escapades. my lips meeting hers tenderly. savoring the tantalizing. I tried not to let my eyes reflect my need. "Yes. Because I couldn't wait to get Bella alone. even in this moment when she was still languid and sleepy. embarrassment flashing briefly across her face before she grinned. but she knew. searching for the future. I think. A fire. towards the cottage. flaming quickly. the salty moisture combining with her sweet.. my hand then falling and flowing into the curve of her waist.I clamped my teeth together. "Again. The sun filtered through the blue curtains. I'm so excited! I know she'll love it. and then trailed my fingers down her arm. the moments she had given all of herself to me. trying not to betray the wanton. provoking sensation through every nerve in my body. Alice quickly stamped it out. I stroked her shoulder with my thumb. reflecting the hue of morning sky over her body. lilting taste. Her eyes faded away for a moment. grinning even more widely. Alice smiled. He shrugged. I remained standing where she had left me. unceasing passion I felt. began to burn. Breaking Dawn Edward Point Of View (Part—6) I pressed my lips to the silken skin of her collarbone. At least. willing myself not to move.." I murmured. She shifted slightly beneath me. deep inside. her hands stroking my head through my hair. sighing. pausing at the doorway. searing through everything until in encompassed every part of my body. I stilled my touch against her hip. as the waves embraced the shore outside. weightless fingers encouraging my chin to lift so our gazes met. Feeling weak. that's a good sign! She winked and then darted out of the room. and headed out after Esme. I heard her announce to Bella that they were going hunting as they all flew out the back door and over the river. "Again?" she asked. and suddenly I caught a glimpse in her mind of a rather shocking image of Bella and me on the floor of the cottage. But. I rose up slightly. her bare skin exquisite. her hand trailed fire down my cheek. addicting thrill of her response. the image of Bella and me frozen in my vision. I hoped they didn't take too long getting that cottage ready. Oops! Well." "Poisonous!" . and yet extraordinarily happy. her airy touch a breathtaking catalyst. I turned slowly and went back into the living room. damp with sweat. creating a slight tang against my tongue. thinking of the image of the future I had just seen. glaring as I quickly shut him out. as if sensing my thoughts. her face tired. And suddenly. but pleased. shrugging. gently covering her body with mine..

"Wait . Edward. man." Damned straight. who had his hand on Bella's shoulder and was trying to calm her. Let it go again. Carlisle glanced up at me as he settled Seth down. sweetheart." Suddenly. irritation flashing in her crimson eyes.. purposefully or not. Well. Edward. giving Jasper a look. "Well.. where Jacob was listening intently.I was jolted out of my memory by Bella's distressed shriek. "Charlie. He shrugged. Carlisle carrying a brace. I realized I was still standing in the doorway of the dining room. I thought she knew. it's not your fault. can you still not go home? Because of the pack?" Then panic flared in her face." Seth said. Seems like something she should know. "that's a heck of a lot better than the venom turning them into one of us. apparently still thinking I shouldn't be apologizing. even if we had been able to get her off him. Edward. I didn't know the bloodsuckers knew that. I nodded. walking slowly back to Bella. I refocused myself quickly to see her staring in horror at Jasper. He and Seth were just coming down the stairs." I murmured. He tilted his head slightly towards the front porch. . I'm so sorry. You know this can't go on.should we call Sue?" Bella asked in small voice. Carlisle thought. Collarbone and shoulder. "Can you give me a hand. Jasper was keeping a steady flow of calm into her. Sam is going to flip! "So you mean that if I had bitten Seth or Jacob. with who knew what kind of expression on my face. Carlisle and Seth neared the sofa. bitten Seth. the phone rang loudly. C. She looked at me with sad eyes. Edward. "Oh." he said aloud. "See who it is." laughed Jasper. "They are just fine. he thought." I said softly. Don't worry – it was actually kinda cool! "Should we.. "Don't worry. What are we going to do?" I sat next to her. Edward. I got up and moved over next to Seth. where Renesmee waited with Jacob and Rose. I glanced momentarily at Jasper." She looked at me. it would have killed him. Bella sucked in a swift breath. "I mean. With Alice around we rarely used it. As if Bella wasn't already upset enough. gazing at her. I shot over to the phone and glanced at the display. Seth was keeping his face passive. He looked up at me." she gasped. as if a sudden thought had struck her. We all looked towards it silently. I realized he'd just informed Bella that our venom was poisonous to the wolves. I would have killed them?" Bella's voice was still several octaves too high. he thought. Oh. Jacob grumbled. I sighed. again thanking him for bringing this up at such a perfect time. holding his arm in the position Carlisle needed while he started to fit the brace to Seth's mammoth shoulder. thought Leah from outside. It's too risky without Alice here to see what he will do. "Seth. again. "If just. slightly indignant at my expression. and she stood up swiftly. We have to leave soon. "Really. "My dad. he thought. I'm going to brace it. love. Swan. That had she. but I could sense the pain in his mind." Carlisle said. rubbing her back gently.the treaty." she said softly. Caller Id. I walked swiftly across the room to her side.. "How could you never have told me that?" she growled. Jasper thought. if we are going to have dogs hanging out here all the time. exposed. worried.never came up before. "Do they know about me? That I've been changed? Will they attack when they find out?" Her eyes flew to the front porch. I heard Bella grind her teeth behind me." I knelt down next to her.Bella stared at Jasper with wide eyed dismay. Sorry.

Yes. "God knows he deserved it. tender look in her eyes. her hand moving unconsciously to her flat stomach. will you be going back to La Push now." "Seth. her hand on his face.." she said breezily. I mused." Bella gave me a questioning look. "So. "It was in the minutes before Renesmee was born. "Well. "That's all straightened out. I." said Bella. Jacob thought. I felt a stab of guilt again. "Why didn't you tell me?" "I didn't get a chance. She stared towards the front wall. "I should have been closer." "Oh. thanks Jacob." Carlisle said. "But I still feel terrible about what happened." I responded. still adjusting Seth's brace. I saw Bella glance at me. still aggravated to have been left behind. and Rose carried a bag of blood over to the counter. "What do you mean?" she breathed. Alone." she said softly. "Feeling better?" she asked Bella kindly." "He did? When was this?" Bella said quickly. and I knew." Seth said." I said quickly. Seth should never have had to put himself in the path of danger. and I smiled. "She's just hungry. Why couldn't it have been Leah. I heard the refrigerator door swing open.. Seth. gave me permission to change you. "Really?" Bella said. had she been human. and then later Sam and Carlisle. Bella stiffened. Ice-Queen." She disappeared back into the kitchen." I said. I certainly hope you aren't feeling bad about almost killing that reeking throw rug out on the front porch. Ow. the smile dropping from my face. no. "I'm so sorry. but. insistent pictures of him feeding her filling his head. I guess. "Well. her face hardening slightly. "Then what happened?" I let Seth do most of the explaining of what had passed between Jacob and Sam. Bella owed her one for that rant the other day. Renesmee was squirming in Jacob's arms." she said. tilting her head to the side. Whatever my feelings towards Jacob and the imprint. "to explain everything. The refrigerator slammed shut." I said slowly. "And then Jacob went to see Sam. sitting back down slowly." Rose smiled and swept into the kitchen." she muttered. Seth?" "No. her fragile skin would have been a deep shade of red. a conflicted. Bella looked at me with surprised eyes. I tried to bite back a smile. Bella shrugged. reaching out and taking her hand to pull her onto the couch next to me. Bring it on. a miserable expression on her face. relief and gratitude passing briefly across her face before being replaced by a grimace. She still didn't . I wanted to do it myself when I found out. when Seth finally stopped for a breath. "Firstly. I could hear the interest piqued in her voice. Jacob laughed softly out on the front porch." Bella tried to jump in with an apology. "I'm calmer. There was a small noise from the front porch." As much as it ever can be. "Edward wouldn't let me. grimacing. "Uh. and Rosalie stepped inside. a light cry of protest from Renesmee. She glanced with despair at Carlisle and then Jasper. clearly not up to being too nice to him yet. when Seth explained that I had refused to leave her side to translate between Sam and Carlisle. thinking where to begin." I whispered reassuringly. Rosalie. love.. "Honestly. Seth thought. of course."Oh.." Her head suddenly popped into the room through the doorway and she glared at me. The door clicked open softly. her face immediately filled with fear and yearning. as Alpha." said Seth. technically we didn't break the treaty. "Wow. "Jacob. thought Jacob and Leah in unison." He frowned.

I'm totally fine. lost in sleep.. Carlisle thought. gesturing to one of the final pieces of the brace on the table. Seth winced again. . oh.. I debated a moment and then followed. "Of course you aren't." he said. sorry. I think that's as much as I can do." Bella mumbled into her hands. nodding. I caressed her arm reassuringly. Leah growled down by the river. 'Cause she bites Jake all the time. very young. He tried to think of something positive to say." "Don't worry about it Bella. and I shook my head at him in exasperation. a few hours. Whenever he and Rose don't get dinner in her mouth fast enough. I should have. "I'll be back to normal in half an hour. not wanting her to feel alone. love. "I can probably manage sitting still for a while. Several emotions passed through Bella's expression. had thought she needed to stay out and calm down. Hand me that piece. she got up and moved towards the back window. and then he headed upstairs. not upset. "Sorry. He was anxious to take notes in his journal of everything he had observed of Bella today. seeing Bella through the glass. including Jacob. she fumed. he thought. grateful his injuries had not been as extensive as Jacob's had been. These couches are so damn soft. let's see. Leah glanced up." he said affectionately. anticipating the smell of blood. he thought." Bella moaned slightly." Seth interjected." He was healing even as I worked on him." Bella snapped." "Stop that. hiding her head in her hands. I took her hand and watched as her eyes followed Leah's movements along the river bed." he mumbled. She had wanted to come inside. He was caught by a sudden memory of treating Jacob after the newborn attack. "Bella. no one is judging you. Bella was watching Seth with troubled eyes." Bella's head popped up. Bella. "Lucky thing Ness" – dammit – "Renesmee's not venomous. what with Jake and Nessie-." Bella whispered.. If you ever touch my little brother again. I wish treating humans were this instantaneously gratifying. Seth watched him go. You should be. Sorry! I was trying to cheer her up. You're doing so well. I suspected she was trying to suppress a smile at this revelation. I'll just rest my head for a minute. I handed it to him and he slid it into place. and though Jasper and I both tensed. closing his eyes. looking very. but everyone. "I mean. as his mind faded and blurred until he was breathing deeply. "Don't freak. "She does?" Seth grinned. Rose had gone back outside with a prepared bottle for Renesmee. "I'm a bad person. "Try not to move for. There was soft click behind us. and he placed his hand on Seth's head. shoot. She had had the good sense to wrap the bottle tightly in a dishcloth. "Stay still. thankfully none came. Anyone would have done the same. Yah. "Sure. at least you didn't bite me or anything. Seth shifted awkwardly. Seth.. Without looking at me. please." Seth patted her knee.seem to appreciate that we were all impressed by how well she had been holding things together. That would've sucked. Rose thinks it's pretty hilarious. He grimaced. Carlisle stood up. I guess. "Well. yawning." He caught my eye and I smiled back at him. He carefully laid his head back. Edward. All set. Seth realized his error with the nickname. Um. eyes on Bella." Oh.

For a moment." I sighed. I can't be away from her. She's getting tense. bloodsucker. that no matter where we went. And our greatest fear – controlling Bella – seemed to have been for naught." Consider yourself lucky. her expression strained."Give her to me. really. Jacob would follow. "We really have to leave. "It's the only way to protect your father." "Just give me the bottle. whereas I was shut out completely." I stared at her intently. There must be some way for the Cullens to stay in Forks. Jacob thought. his stress level high. he thought with despair. I looked at her questioningly. Bella looked sad. let you. She had finished the bottle. Edward. Why is that? I wondered despondently." Rose snapped. I wished they would keep it down – Bella didn't need to hear this. "Yes. . Cool calm swept up in his mind.. his eyes attached to my daughter. Great. I'll miss everyone here. "I'll feed her." "Ah. as Jacob took note of the conversation. he mused. or even surprised. "Yes." "Listen. The rule of the wider world of our kind could not be upheld as long as Charlie remained such an immediate threat. worried. you damn vagrant. wishing for the millionth time I could see what was going on in her head. and checked on Nessie through Rose's eyes. She shouldn't feel bad. trying to shut out their voices. Bella snorted suddenly. "I'm going to miss him so much. and she is my niece. Surprised that you were able to snap out of it so quickly. To be expected. and Rose was looking at Jacob. I let you hold her all this time. "No. I watched her carefully. Better than anyone expects of you. "No one is angry with you." Rose said outside. "Well. Leah snarled.. "You did well. at the very least. Her eyes stared straight out. as he did. "I suppose we are surprised. actually. her mind obviously far away." Jasper said. Still upset about the wolves? His gaze was questioning." Jasper continued. Bella?" he said softly. I heard movement outside. My pack. Jasper met my eyes." He smiled at her reassuringly. if you've forgotten. Pretend we're in Atlanta. I felt a flash of jealously towards Jasper. "Let me?" Jacob spat. Her control was incredible. don't we?" Bella asked. The treaty was still intact. I realized then. They'll have to go back to Sam. He glanced back at me momentarily. that he could at least feel her emotions. His eyes moved back to Bella." Speak for yourself. relaxing his own body before radiating out into the room. I'll feed her. This is my house. and I nodded at him. I." said Jasper. "I was thinking of Charlie. as her anxiety increased his own tension. But secrecy remained our greatest foe. blondie" Jacob quietly growled. Many of the obstacles to our staying in Forks had been removed. damn you. just great. "What's the matter. or something. drinking peacefully in Rose's arms." Jacob's mind was working outside. "For a while." And our family. He was pleased that Bella seemed to understand the necessity of removing ourselves from the area. "I got it ready. but she just shook her head. concerned. But he knew in his heart that Leah would never agree to that. Jasper thought. Bella's tight muscles eased slightly." Bella took a deep breath and then looked at him. Outside there was sudden silence. bringing me back to her. I thought irritably.

"I don't know. I can't make any promises. He's pissing her off again. glancing at me. concerned. sighing." Rose said. but wanting to give Nessie what she wanted. Jasper thought. It has to." I explained." – oh." "Yesterday she grew two inches. The god damned nerve. I glanced at him and he inclined his head towards Bella. "By a thirty-second of an inch. I'd love to throw Jacob out for the time being. hearing their approach. But I suspected Bella would protest . Bella was watching Carlisle come down the stairs with the scale and measuring equipment in confusion." Jacob muttered. Edward. worried. She was done with waiting. I pressed her to me with my arm. As much as I hated to burden her with these concerns. Has she got this. glaring at him. oops – "er. grateful once again for her presence." Carlisle said. "How are you?" she asked Bella. There was no doubting the demanding tone of Renesmee's thoughts. anxious. stepping in front of her to enter the house first. Jasper. It has to slow down. She seemed to be put out." I said quietly. Mommy. "Bella. What can we do? My thoughts mirrored her horror." "It's slowing. pausing her moved." Jacob snapped. Carlisle picked up the smaller tape measure to use on Renesmee's head. her brow furrowed." Bella said. following him inside. "Four times?" Bella said in confusion. I wrapped an arm around her. and relieve us of his interference." Jacob suddenly growled. "Must be six. her mouth set in a firm line. Do you think it is too soon to try this again? Maybe we should ask the wolf the leave – he was the one who agitated her in the first place. "You do this every day?" "Four times a day. thought Rosalie. "Guess that's all I can ask. and questioning. "So?" "Time to measure Ness. it was a relief to know that now it was something we could cope with together. We were nothing short of helpless to control her growth. I knew she felt guilty about the attack. and what she had just witnessed of her growth. of course. the view from her arms when she had held Nessie earlier." "Be perfect. He hadn't realized Jacob had been paying such close attention to the measurement." Carlisle sighed. Rose started towards the door but Jacob put an arm out in front. I considered. "You know I'll do my best. "Oh. her terrified eyes sealed onto Renesmee. if my measurements are perfect. Rose tightened her grip on Renesmee. "Worried. Doc.tapping her watch. he realized. . Edward? Rose thought.aggravated as she was with him. Six o'clock. But of course he would. He looked at me. Renesmee. "What does she want?" Jacob asked. "What do we do?" Bella whispered. I looked at Bella – her eyes were narrowed at Jacob. she thought. Both of their eyes moved directly to Bella. perhaps by his hovering. Jacob. And stench." Carlisle blinked slightly in surprise. "We'll need several more days of measurements to track the trend. gesturing Rose towards the couch." Bella said. "Every day? Why?" "She's still growing quickly. moved directly to Bella's side. Rose's mind filled with the image of Bella. Mommy! She reached out a small hand and Rose bent forward to meet it. Today it's less. her eyes fixed on Bella. but she had had enough. and I realized she meant about Renesmee. She approached apprehensively." Carlisle answered. Is it okay? She looked with anxious eyes at Bella.

But he stopped. ready. Carlisle stepped closer. "I told you she likes me. Her thirst seems firmly under wraps. unhurt. Renesmee melted into Bella." "It's just because he tastes better than the rest of us. We worked so hard for this – she worked so hard. affection flavored with a sort of possession." Bella moaned. all of our anxious fears. from which he managed to comprehend. her face a dazzling blaze of fury." Jacob said. seeing my expression. . too. He was working to keep his mind calm. Bella winced next to me. But her anxious emotions. to keep the tension that filled the room from bleeding his focus on the situation. and Carlisle measuring." I muttered. stop! Seth's body entered the picture. questioning. Bella reached her arms out for the baby. that interference now would lead to his expulsion from this house. fine. she reminded herself. "We all are. and she smiled. although Jasper remained tense. and a reminder what this was all for. Renesmee stretched out anxiously. her body and mind tense. Jacob. a beautiful smile lighting her face. shaking her head and closing her eyes as my arms wrapped around her in Renesmee's mind and she struggled to pull free. gently allowing Bella to take Nessie from her arms. just brimming with things she wanted to share with her mother. Rose took a small step towards Bella. nodding reassuringly at Rose and Jacob. She would never hurt Nessie." she said. followed by a loud thump as she knocked him into the dirt behind her. luckily for him. There was a growl and a flash of Leah's fur. and I cringed. as the snap of his bones rang through the air. and on Bella. Jasper and I opened our hands. the smile falling from my face. there was no sense of increased thirst from Bella. providing some relief. he thought." I whispered in Bella's ear. of course. Mommy. wonderful. Bella gasped as her mind filled with the memory of Jacob being stalked by her across the lawn. stress in every line of his body. slip in a little. She'll be okay. I don't like it. Although her scent must have been intoxicatingly strong. her lovely body so lithe and powerful as she launched herself at him. "It looks like she's going to give you a rundown of everything you missed. But that's not what I meant. and adoration. He let Nessie's radiating joy. I watched with pleasure . and Rose took a step closer. a bored tone to the thought. "Oh. Then we all fell out of the picture as Renesmee's thoughts focused solely on Jacob. her face growing more serious. biting his lip to keep from saying anything. Jacob's mouth hung open in shock. safe. Jacob went to open his mouth to protest as his eyes swept up to mine. Seth. "Perfect. Ugh. Jasper could clearly sense her solid control. Mine. betrayed us to Jasper. a resounding crack as he slammed into Bella. "I'm in control. and I couldn't help laughing at his rather dumbfounded expression at her flight towards him. I smiled – I could tell Renesmee was excited. smiling but still tense. Jasper affirmed. thought Rose. Renesmee placed her fingers to Bella's cheek. she thought. his eyes fixed on the situation. of Rosalie brushing her hair. as he realized we were talking about him. Bella moaned. and relief. Renesmee's vision took on an edge of satisfaction. as Bella's flight was clearly halted.Bella was amazing. This is Bella. but while Bella was nervous. Then Jasper appeared. catching the tone of Renesmee's thoughts. I watched more memories. I relaxed." Bella sighed.Yes.

Then his eyes met mine. and such." Bella said. He thought of his constant struggle against the scent of human blood. that it wasn't. "What did I do?" Bella asked. "And?" I watched her carefully for another second. I don't understand." Jasper released her quickly. Still in control? How is that possible? I thought. The overreaction was mine this time. the foil gift in her hands. he thought. before settling his gaze on me again. Jasper moved immediately. Carlisle pressed forward. banishing the rest. and he swallowed it down with disgust. "Yes. and reading her emotions in Jasper's mind. faceless humans. Her finger slips.. Edward. and the memory cut through both of us.. questions and doubt suddenly spiraling through his mind. and then the flash of thirst he felt from Bella. the taste of human blood. Her eyes were calm. looking at Bella. her voice slightly puzzled. who was quickly succumbing to shock at her lack of thirst. There had been no instinctive reaction other than the slight burn Jasper had sensed. most with success. Unbelievable. her voice shocked but surprisingly calm. I almost killed her. releasing a tempest of scent from a single drop. He didn't sense it anymore – she was in control. How is she able to do it? How can a newborn be so controlled? Is it always possible? Are we all just weak to give into it? Am I weak? His own mouth still stung with venom that had seeped in when he had sensed the quick burn of her thirst. the power that the barely controllable thirst held over him. sliced by the thick paper.such youth. Jesus. unexpectedly. What set her off? he wondered.Renesmee's next memory grew – she was lying in Rose's arms. his eyes wide. Innocence that will no longer be there when I see her again. I looked back at Bella. But as I looked at Bella. many months later. no blaze of thirst in them. miraculously. which sweeps with blinding speed through the minds and bodies in the room. and love. grabbing her arms and bending them behind her back. thousands of temptations he had fought over the years. Jasper closed his eyes. I glanced at Jasper. thinking of the flicker of thirst he had felt. He shuddered. and not have her instincts driven mad with thirst? How could she have maintained control? "But she was remembering being thirsty. her body loose. How could she so acutely be reminded of the smell of human blood. I almost killed her. engulfing his mind in black thirst. . Jazz. Bella. Jasper gripped Bella's arms harder. let her go. "And nothing at all. His mind flashed through the hundreds. and she forgave me. What the hell? he grumbled. muscles uncoiled. and I gave her back the baby. and Nessie began to remember the scent. I laughed. Jacob and Rosalie watching in confused horror. instinctive. That's a damn close call. She watches me. "She was remembering the taste of human blood." I said desperately. responding to my movement and fear. swirling into a burning. standing by my side. it seems. dark wind around Jasper until it finally rips through him. her gaze full of adoration. a silver cup appeared in the image. my gaze locked onto Jasper's increasingly distraught face. alarmed.. Bella immediately reached out for Renesmee. In her eyes is an innocence that I myself will strip away mere days later. for what was supposed to be natural. I realized. Then." My god! Rose's eyes were wide. he thought despairingly.. his hands ready. You all forgave me. some not. No! I snatched the baby from Bella's grasp. scouring her expression.

But was it really just simple weakness on my part? Was I always capable of more? I sighed." I said. He shouldn't put that on himself. so to speak. I glanced towards the back windows." "Is he mad at me?" Bella whispered. It would be a rather intangible gift. smiling at Bella." I said quietly. I suppose you could say.. and hope. her amber eyes always full of trust. "No. then?" I sighed. As painful as that memory was. trying to think of something to say to relieve him. "He's wondering if the newborn madness is really as difficult as we've always thought. Bella. Jasper? She wondered. and turned away." I need to get the hell out of here. everyone has their own challenges. wondering when Alice was going to return. or if.control when I'd known her? She was definitely a very careful person. but he saw only the pity in my eyes. I tried to frame the tumult in Jasper's mind.. he realized. she wanted. without betraying his more personal thoughts. with her warm hands and soft lips. watching the replay of Jasper's rather dramatic departure in her memory. unable to suppress a feeling of pride. I need Alice. trying to suppress a smile. anyone could do as well as Bella. "You're making him question a lot of deep-rooted assumptions. "I can't stand this. glancing back at her. or who. And then Alice's face filled his mind.." Self-control as a gift? "That's an interesting theory. And our gifts often came from strengths present during our human lives – or at least that had been Carlisle's theory. hard to quantify. running down the lawn and jumping the river. "Why would he be?" "What's the matter with him.. heading north." "But that's unfair. I knew Jasper was taking was taking this too hard. Bella.control. Maybe if he expected more of himself. with the right focus and attitude. but when she knew what. Had Bella shown a penchant for self." I said. I thought. I looked at Bella with interest. I suppressed a smile." I paused. surprised. "He'll be back. "He's upset with himself. I kept watching out the window. I felt a flash of concern. "He's worrying about. Even now . . He moved swiftly across the room and out the door. and she was showing Bella her memory of Jasper leaving. and quite plausible. abruptly changing course. he would rise to those expectations. I shook my head slightly." he snapped. Maybe this is her gift. And he always accuses me of being the drama king. What the hell is that all about? Rosalie wondered. Renesmee's mind was filled with concern.perhaps he only has such difficulty because he believes it's natural and unavoidable. thinking of the many times in her small bed that she'd shown little self .self-fulfilling prophecy." "How so?" asked Carlisle." Carlisle murmured.thinking of all the times he had disappointed Alice. I relaxed – he was heading towards the cottage. What Bella was proving capable of was beyond anything that could be expected – truly beyond what was normal. "He just needs a moment alone to readjust his perspective on life." I murmured. not you. thinking. Perhaps what Bella is doing goes beyond the natural. and worked hard to thwart my own. "I can't bear this. "Everyone is different. hoping Alice was paying attention and would see where he was heading – I wasn't sure it was a good idea for him to be alone filled with such self-doubt.

"Have you ever seen an equivalent to self-control as a talent?" I asked, looking back at Carlisle. "Do you really think that's a gift, or just a product of all her preparation?" "It's slightly similar to what Siobhan has always been able to do, though she wouldn't call it a gift," Carlisle answered. I frowned – Carlisle was aware I didn't fully agree with his theories about Siobhan's possible talents. Keep an open mind, Edward, he thought. "Siobhan, your friend in that Irish coven?" Rosalie spoke up. "I wasn't aware that she did anything special. I thought it was Maggie who was talented in that bunch." "Yes, Siobhan thinks the same. But she has this way of deciding her goals and then almost...willing them into reality. She considers it good planning, but I've always wondered if it was something more." Rose looked skeptical. "When she included Maggie, for instance. Liam was very territorial, but Siobhan want it to work out, and so it did." "Well..." I started. Carlisle cocked a head towards the furniture. Let's sit, if we are going to have a discussion. He glanced at Bella. And give Bella a little time alone with Nessie. I nodded, hating to leave her side but wanting to give her space. He and I moved over to the chairs, and Rose took a seat on the couch. "Our gifts are an intensification of traits we held as humans," I said. "Or at least that is what you have always said, Carlisle. What would Siobhan's human characteristic have been?" I paused, thinking. "What you theorize about Siobhan suggests she has the power to affect the decisions or actions of others. Do any of us have that innate possibility, human or vampire?" "What about what Jasper does, though," Rosalie said. "He affects how we feel and act." "Jasper affects our physical body, not our mind," I countered. "In saying Siobhan can will things to be, do you feel she can extend her desires to guide future events?" Carlisle shook his head. "I don't mean to say that she uses a mental power to control others, or a gift to manipulate the future. More that she is gifted with a six sense of what others will do, of what motivates or influences them, and she uses that information to help sway the outcome." He put a finger to his chin. "You could say the same about Chelsea's gift. She can affect our emotions, our attachment, to another person." "What exactly is Chelsea's gift?" Rosalie asked. Carlisle launched into a discussion of the Volturi's known gifts, while I added some insight I had gained in the minds of those I had met. My mind wandered back to Bella and Renesmee, catching Renesmee's memory of me singing my mother's lullaby, Bella's still form next to us. As I watched the varying images Nessie shared, it felt, fleetingly, that sharing the thoughts she put into Bella's mind was almost as if I was seeing into Bella's mind myself. My eyes were drawn towards them. Bella was standing, her back to the window, gazing down at Renesmee's face. Renesmee's small hand caressed Bella's cheek as she shared the many moments Bella had missed while she slept. They were truly a vision. My wife holding my daughter, I thought, feeling suddenly inordinately happy, and somewhat unworthy. How had this miracle come to be? Watching them together, finally, I realized that although I had always been captivated by Bella's brown eyes set in Renesmee's face, the resemblance went

much further than that. Renesmee reflected Bella in the heart shape curve of her cheeks, pale skin tinted with a familiar blush. In the delicate shape of her rose colored lips. And the shape of her eyes... With a catch of my breath, I realized, while their color had bloomed from her mother, the curve of her eyes were mine. And I was present in the straight lines of her nose. And the color of the curls that framed her face. And I grasped, suddenly, in a breathtaking, fundamental way, that she was truly mine. From the moment I had laid eyes on my daughter, or, actually, from the moment I had been blessed to hear her beautiful mind, I had known, irrevocably, that she was the child of my heart. But, perhaps, it was only now, as I acknowledged my face echoed in her own, that I finally comprehended that she was also the child of my flesh. That my body had been involved in her creation. There had been a time when I had thought this vessel that I lived in was only capable of destroying life, through death, or the eternal loss of a soul. To know that I had contributed to the organic process of life, that the essence of my body had been mixed with that of the one I loved to produce skin, and bones, and mind, was a staggering, new awareness. I was compelled to stand up and embrace them both when Bella's face creased suddenly with worry, her eyes roving over Renesmee's face. I realized Renesmee was drifting off, her thoughts beginning to float in uneven patterns, until finally her eyes closed and she was asleep. Her hand fell, but Bella carefully picked it up, placing it gently against her cheek again. I smiled at the wonder in Bella's face as she watched the dreams of her daughter, the moving kaleidoscope of faces against a sea of soft colors. "Hello, Edward." Rose's irritated voice broke into my thoughts. "Are you listening at all?" "Hmm?" I turned back to her and Carlisle, my eyes catching the clock. Almost midnight. Where are they? "I asked you if you thought Kate's gift was physical, or mental." Rosalie said. I looked at her slightly confused. "That is," Carlisle said, "does her body actually produce an electric current, or is the sensation a mental one?" I paused, thinking for a moment. "I've seen in her mind as she visualizes the current. She has control over it mentally. Much like Jane, to be truthful." "Fascinating," murmured Carlisle. We spent some more time analyzing the respective gifts of our vampire friends and family. Eventually, I caught Alice's mental call. We're back, Edward. She was flying towards the house, brimming with excitement. "Finally," I muttered. I turned my head, watching as Alice and Esme leapt from the far river bank, Emmett instead obnoxiously plowing straight through the river, dousing the back windows with water. Esme shot him a look over her shoulder. He's going to wash those windows himself! Jasper followed, his thoughts slightly embarrassed. I'm fine, okay! They came through the door quickly and we stood up to meet them, forming a loose group around Bella. She glanced around cautiously, seeming to notice all the eyes on her. Emmett was looking back and forth between Bella and me. Someone's going to get lucky tonight, he thought gleefully.

Oh, I so hope she loves it. Esme was smiling widely. She caught my eye. We thought it would be nice for the two of you to enjoy it just yourselves tonight, alone. After everything you've both been through, you need a chance to just concentrate on each other. Her eyes flickered to Alice, and she shook her head imperceptibly, her expression slightly exasperated. Alice insists on being there when Bella first sees the cottage, but she has promised to come right back. The rest of us will stay here. She looked back, meeting my eyes, and I smiled my gratitude at her. Look at her, Rose thought, taking in Bella's blank face. She had absolutely no idea what's going on. She really believed they went hunting! Alice danced up to Bella, her grin wide. Twelve o'clock on the dot, as predicted – by me! She held out her hand, presenting Bella with a key to the cottage, decorated with an enormous, over the top, pink bow. Bella opened her hand and Alice dropped the key into it. "Happy Birthday," Alice squealed in delight. Bella immediately rolled her eyes. "No one starts counting on the actual day of birth," she said. "Your first birthday is at the year mark, Alice." Oh, not this time! "We're not celebrating your vampire birthday. Yet. It's September thirteenth, Bella." Bella's slightly annoyed look quickly melted into one of horror. "Happy nineteenth birthday!" Bella shook her head desperately. "No. No way!" she cried, pushing the key back into Alice's hand. I smiled. Some things never change. Bella glanced at me and her eyes narrowed. "No, this doesn't count. I stopped aging three days ago. I am eighteen forever." Alice shrugged. "Whatever. We're celebrating anyway, so suck it up." Bella sighed, her expression turning somewhat resigned, making Alice smile even wider. There we go! "Are you ready to open your present?" she asked excitedly. "Presents," I said, pulling out the key Esme had given me earlier. Bella looked at it, and I saw comprehension in her eyes that it was for her "after" car. She smiled weakly. Back off, Edward, this is my show! "Mine first," Alice insisted. She checked the future quickly. Mine is closer, I said in her mind, grinning. She stuck her tongue out at me. "Mine is closer." I parroted my own words. Jerk, Alice fumed. "But look at how she's dressed," she wailed. "It's been killing me all day. That is clearly the priority." I think she'll be getting undressed, not dressed, Emmett thought, chuckling. "I know – I'll play you for it. Rock, paper, scissors." Alice smiled sweetly. See, I can be reasonable, brother. Yeah, good luck with that, man. Jasper laughed. "Why don't you just tell me who wins?" I muttered. Alice looked to the side, seeing me choose rock. She looked back, grinning. Gee – I think I'll choose paper! "I do," she sang. "Excellent." "It's probably better that I wait for morning, anyway." I was just needling Alice as it was - I was far more excited to get Bella out to the cottage. Plus, I was kidding myself thinking Bella would be excited about the Ferrari. She was still mourning that damn red truck. "I think it might be more fun if Jacob was awake for the big reveal, don't you agree? So that someone there is able to express the right level of enthusiasm?"

"Yay!" Alice crowed. "Bella, give Ness" – oh - "Renesmee to Rosalie." "Where does she usually sleep?" Bella asked. "In Rose's arms," Alice answered. "Or Jacob's. Or Esme's. You get the picture. She has never been set down in her entire life. She's going to be the most spoiled halfvampire in existence." I laughed. With Esme leading the helm in this family, there was never any doubt my daughter would be spoiled. Rosalie had moved forward quickly, her arms aching to hold Nessie again. Spoiled just like her father, she thought, grinning at me. "She is also the most unspoiled half-vampire in existence," she said, turning to Bella and taking Nessie in her arms. "The beauty of being one of a kind." Alice grabbed Bella's hand, pressing the key back into it, and then taking her arm and pulling her towards the back of the house. Get a move on, Edward, she thought. "Let's go, let's go!" she called. "Is it outside?" Bella asked, her face confused. "Sort of," Alice said. Don't give her any hints! "Enjoy your gift," Rosalie said. "It's from all of us. Esme especially." Bella turned and frowned. "Aren't you coming, too?" "We'll give you a chance to enjoy it alone," Rose said. I'm not so much into voyeurism. "You can tell us about it...later ." That's right, I expect details! Emmett laughed loudly. Bella glanced at him, slightly chagrined, as if she had an idea what he was thinking. Then she smiled widely, as something seemed to occur to her. I wondered at the smile – she couldn't possibly have guessed the gift – but was happy to see it. Alice pulled her out the door, and I followed. "There's the enthusiasm I'm looking for," Alice said, catching Bella's pleased expression. She let go of her arm and sprinted down towards the river. Bella jogged down after her. I turned and raised my arm to my family, watching from the window. Renesmee's sleeping form was visible in Rose's arms. Don't worry, Edward, Rose thought. I'll take good care of her. Congratulations, son, Carlisle thought. Esme waved, standing next to him. She reached out and put an arm around Jasper . Don't do anything I wouldn't do! Emmett grinned. Not that there is much. "C'mon, Bella!" Alice called from the other side of the river. I turned and ran down the lawn, taking my jump across the river just as Bella leaped. I ran behind Bella, feeling no need to lead – I knew she would be able to follow Alice's quiet footsteps and lingering steps. The path to the cottage was still well worn with the scent of my family, even though the visits had decreased dramatically since we arrived home. I was reminded of running this same path with Esme in late June, hearing the anxiety and excitement in her mind of her plans. I know I'm being selfish, she had said,but I can't bear to have you far from us. She had always hated when Rosalie and Emmett had lived too far away. This will be perfect! Esme had always been intrigued by the small, crumbling structure that lay on our lands. In fact, all of the family had checked it out at one time or another. Emmett had been threatening for the last couple of years to fix it up and fill it with a huge, custom made pool table. He said that men needed a place to get away from the

women – a sentiment that usually gained him a lot of glares and a smack from Rose. I was glad, now, that Carlisle and Esme hadn't agreed to his request. Esme had drawn up the initial plans, and Jasper and Emmett had done most of the carpentry. I hadn't been allowed much of a hand in the renovations, since it was technically a gift, but I had been consulted on most of the major decisions. We had all imagined at the time the idea for refurbishment had been agreed upon that Bella would be living here with me as a human, at least for a little while. Now, although circumstances might force us to leave soon, I hoped we could spend some days enjoying the cottage, on our own. Privacy would be at a minimum in the house in New Hampshire, if we did end up there. Don't let her see it! Alice thought suddenly, alarmed. It will ruin the surprise. I slowed slightly, not sure what she wanted me to do, when suddenly she turned and raced back towards us. I realized she planned to grab Bella and cover her eyes, and a vision flashed in her mind of Bella throwing her off. I shook my head quickly at her. Hmm, Alice thought, slowing as she came up to where Bella had paused. "Don't attack me," she said to Bella. The vision shifted to Alice hanging off of Bella's back. Alice grinned and then leapt, putting a hand on Bella's shoulder and swinging herself around to cling on her back, pressing her hands quickly over Bella's eyes. "What are you doing?" Bella said anxiously, squirming slightly. Regardless of what Alice saw, I thought she might still throw her off – any other newborn would. And I also thought Alice might just deserve it. "Making sure you can't see," Alice said. "I could take care of that without the theatrics," I said. Ha, ha. "You might let her cheat," Alice said, turning to glare. "Take her hand and lead her forward." "Alice," Bella protested. "I..." "Don't bother, Bella. We're doing this my way." You both know this is a losing battle! I sighed, reaching out and taking Bella's hand, interlocking our fingers. "Just a few seconds more, Bella," I said loudly. "Then she'll go annoy someone else." I began to pull her gently forward, making careful adjustments as we went so she didn't run into any trees or branches. So that's the thanks I get! "You might be a little more appreciative," Alice said, her voice miffed. "This is as much for you as it is for her." Do I need to show you my vision of tonight again? Because I've seen a few more! I didn't think I could take anymore of Alice's visions, without grabbing Bella and taking off with her into the cottage right now. "True," I ascented. "Thank you again, Alice." "Yeah, yeah. Okay," Alice muttered. We came around a curve in the path and entered the clearing, the cottage rising up in front of us. I sighed, amazed and thankful for the beautiful work my family had done. The flowers had been lovingly tended, the honeysuckle curving higher up onto the house than the last time I had been here. The roses had opened as well – specifically chosen by Esme so that they would hopefully still be blooming when we returned from the island. I could see that Emmett and Jasper had laid the stone path we had discussed before the wedding, and that Carlisle had installed the front door he had carefully refurbished. I caught Alice's eye, trying to rely my gratitude for such a gift. She smiled. Because we love you both. Then we turned our eyes to Bella, who was standing, her expression frozen. Alice's face wrinkled slightly, as she tried to discern Bella's reaction.

"What do you think?" she asked. Bella's mouth moved slightly, looking as if she meant to speak, but she said nothing. I could see that she was shocked, this gift completely unexpected. "Esme thought we might like a place of our own for a while, but she didn't want us too far away," I said softly. "And she loves any excuse to renovate. This little place has been crumbling away out here for at least a hundred years." Bella continued to stare silently at the house. Oh no, Alice thought. It's not what she wanted. It's too small, too old. "Don't you like it?" she asked anxiously. "I mean, I'm sure we could fix it up differently, if you want. Emmett was all for adding a few thousand square feet, a second story, columns and a tower, but Esme thought you would like it best the way it was meant to look." I saw a vision of you smiling! Maybe I misinterpreted. "If she was wrong, we can get back to work. It won't take long..." "Shh!" Bella said quickly. Alice shut her mouth, containing a flood of words. The silence stretched as Alice panicked, but I was certain that the light in Bella's eyes was one of wonder, and admiration. "You're giving me a house for my birthday?" Bella said, her voice just a whisper. "Us," I said. "And it's no more than a cottage. I think the word house implies more legroom." "No knocking my house," Bella said softly. Yes! Alice sagged with relief, a smile forming quickly on her face. "You like it." Bella shook her head, and I smiled. "Love it?" Alice ventured. Bella nodded, and Alice clapped her hands, bouncing up on her toes. "I can't wait to tell Esme." "Why didn't she come?" Bella asked. Uhh... "Oh, you know...they all remember how you are about presents. They didn't want to put you under too much pressure to like it." Bella looked surprised. "But of course I love it! How could I not?" "They'll like that," Alice said, touching Bella's arm. Well, time for me to make my exit. I was ordered to return and leave you two alone – they're probably sending out a search party now. "Anyhoo, your closet is stocked. Use it wisely. And...I guess that's everything." "Aren't you going to come inside?" Bella asked, looking confused. Feel free to help me out here, Edward! But I rather liked watching her squirm. Alice backed up slowly towards the woods. "Edward knows his way around. I'll stop by...later. Call me if you can't match your clothes right." She glanced at me. Closet first! Before you get distracted. It's top priority. She looked at Bella for a moment, taking in the too big white shirt over the tattered, dirty dress, and then back at me, her expression doubtful. Are you sure you don't want me to stay and help, just for a little while? I narrowed my eyes and she shrugged. Fine, your loss. "Jazz wants to hunt," Alice said to Bella, avoiding her eyes, her voice unconvincing. Ah, awkward. "See you." She turned and took off into the trees. Real smooth, Alice, I thought. Bella watched her go, frowning. "That was weird," she said. "Am I really that bad? They didn't have to stay away. Now I feel guilty. I didn't even thank her right. We should go back, tell Esme – " "Bella," I laughed. "Don't be silly. No one thinks you're that unreasonable." Her forehead wrinkled. "Then what..." "Alone time is their other gift. Alice was trying to be subtle about it." Trying being the key word.

Surprise flickered across her face. "Oh," she murmured, her stare seeming to become hotter, more intense. I wasn't sure what she was thinking, but the look in her eyes made me want to clutch her to me, now. Don't be selfish. She hadn't even seen the inside of the house yet. And I wanted to do this properly, if she would let me. I reached out and gently took her hand. "Let me show you what they've done," I said, tugging her gently towards the house. This was surreal – all the planning, and work, and we were actually here, as if in a far off dream. Bella suddenly let out a single, unsteady laugh. I glanced back. "Do I get to hear the joke?" "It's not very good," she replied. "I was just thinking – today is the first and last day of forever. It's kind of hard to wrap my head around it. Even with all this extra room for wrapping." I laughed, understanding both the exhilaration, and frustration, of a mind capable of many separate thoughts at once. Like the concept of immortality, this was an aspect that took a while to embrace, most newborns initially too consumed by bloodlust to appreciate. And as the lust waned, there was still a lengthy adjustment period. I had forgotten the overwhelming sensation of the patterns of my thoughts during my early existence, coupled with my forcible senses and strength, and joined by the bewildering concept of eternal life. And, specific only to me, the onslaught of the thoughts from other minds. And yet Bella was not only casually acknowledging these massive changes, she was doing it with laughter. Loving her always, I gestured towards the door. She placed the key in the lock, turning it easily. I could smell the fresh oil in the locking mechanism – my family had thought of everything. "You're such a natural at this, Bella; I forget how very strange this all must be for you." What must be going through her thoughts? "I wish I could hear it." Then, afraid suddenly she would refuse if I asked, I swept down and lifted her quickly into my arms, hoping I wouldn't spook her. "Hey," she protested, but didn't push me away. "Thresholds are part of my job description," I said, smiling, still wishing I could peer into her mind. "But I'm curious. Tell me what you're thinking about right now." Cradling her to my chest, I pushed open the door with my shoulder and stepped inside the living room. I watched Bella's eyes roam the room, full of astonishment. "Everything," she said. "All at the same time, you know. Good things and things to worry about and things that are new. How I keep using too many superlatives in my head." She smiled. "Right now, I'm thinking that Esme is an artist. It's so perfect!" I glanced around, not having seen the inside since it was furnished, noticing the furniture Esme and Carlisle had purchased during endless hours searching antique stores. A selection of Bella's favorite paintings from the house, which Esme and I had decided on together. Rosalie had even donated one of her own, knowing Bella enjoyed it. There were books Carlisle had gathered from his own shelves, Bella's favorites plus others he thought we would enjoy. In the purple darkness, Emmett's fire flickered softly. It had all once seemed so untouchable, and now we would be living here. My family would be living here. "We're lucky Esme thought to add an extra room," I said. "No one was planning for Ness-" uh "-Renesmee." Bella's eyes narrowed. "Not you,

I watched Bella's face as we moved out of Renesmee's room. taking it all in. but now she was all fire and heat. "Sorry. I never allowed myself to forget the marks I had left on her body the first time we had been together. learned signs of mounting passion. sweet honey. I felt slightly lost now.the small. and the expectation of the unknown. "We're going to tell her I spent hours in there playing dress-up. We're going to lie. "Oh. her glowing eyes. we entered the sanctuary Esme had created. finally. "I'm sure you're dying to see the closet. for me. The flush of her skin. as I grazed. scorching my tongue. crushing her to me. her feet touching the floor so that she was standing in front of me. gripping as she turned my face towards her and pulled close. It's rubbing off on me. almost too hard. I thought wryly. "Or. Even caged by restraints. for the first time. a cool. by her scent." I whispered. she had tasted of melted. and needs. Then she pulled back. love. and in the lines of her heated expression. or just diverted by the cottage? I realized suddenly how much I had relied on her human reactions to gauge her moods. I recalled similar emotions when we had arrived at Isle Esme." I joked. Her eyes seared into mine. When we had kissed earlier. at least I'll tell Alice that you were. I could feel something twining within me – anticipation. the exquisite border of pleasure and pain. her pounding heart . I grimaced. much more powerful in reality to what I had seen in her thoughts. the buttons melting away as she wrenched it off. but also nervousness. trying to decipher where her thoughts were. Did she feel the tension between us? Did she want what I so desperately did? Was she nervous. to give her the response she needed." she moaned. need." Bella suddenly twisted her fingers in my hair. I clutched her head with one hand. and sensation exploded within me." she said softly. her hair that gently touched my face." Bella sighed. my body had still proved more than capable of experiencing the intense pleasure she brought me. wrapped up in the fear of hurting her. and could do. Hoping to distract her. and I felt a rush of excitement. Her passion was laid bare to me now.too. or excited. I could no longer hurt her. her voice. She twisted out of my grasp. seeing the entrance to Alice's shrine on the far wall." As I walked through the small house with her in my arms. but I still. I glanced around. Most of our love-making. I hear it in their thoughts all the time. her hands gripping my shirt that she still wore. in her breathless voice. moaning slightly as her mouth urgently met mine. and pulled." Bella breathed. "The closet is through those double doors. It was breathtakingly perfect. You didn't have any trouble when you kissed her earlier. you know. . felt vastly inexperienced. soothing shrine to the moments we had spent on the Island. her body silent as I tried to determine the intensity of her eyes. I was utterly distracted by the feel of her. "I know. hot and challenging. her hand moving into my hair. I took another step into the house. I should warn you – it's bigger than this room. I worried if I would know how to let go of that control now. determined to never forget what my hands had done. the intensification of her scent. the atmosphere thick with memory. her face a mixture of exasperation and resignation. Still." "We're going to tell Alice that I ran right to the clothes. to make her feel good. Finally. the first night of our honeymoon. in some ways. had been ruled by precision and control.

Then. joy and danger. Her movements were slower. and knew only her. and I acquiesced until I was just hovering over her. We belong together.I'm not losing anything at all. her lips meeting mine once more. She gasped softly. Bella's hands had been the gentle caress of soft feathers. and want. Chapter 27—Paternity We moved together. The faintest light was moving into the sky. At a million points between us there was the intangible electric spark that had always been there. but all the more potent in their aching depth and power. dragging against her body. "Do you miss it?" she asked quietly. the sensation unparalleled. savoring. My arms were wrapped around her back. had transcended even humanity itself. barely touching. consuming intensity that had been bound for too long within me. hard. Forever. and I kissed her again. an angel hovering in the heavens over the fallen. Now. relieved of the frenzy after many hours. When she had been human. lilting tune of a songbird outside. With the swift movements of her insistent hands on my clothes. they gripped at my skin. I cradled her for a second before falling to my knees and lowering her to the floor. that tasty smell. I lifted my hands to her shoulders. only small glimpses. So much of this we'd never been able to experience before.. overpowering abandon. soon there was nothing between us. the connection that had once seemed against nature. And I knew now there was no doubt I could let go. her eyes reflecting our shared fervor. sending my body spiraling into a new. until Bella was above me. both torturous and tantalizing. Bella pulled back and raised her head. the soft skin. and I slid one hand slowly down. pausing. soft eyes gradually opening to reveal brilliant pyres of love. "Edward. Our bodies were stretched against each others. but bound securely by brilliant. To be able to touch and feel her without fear – it was extraordinary. warm and strong. She tried to pull me frantically onto her body. her skin molten under mine as her head fell back slightly. like slicing through dark waters. pushing the dress back. Her grip tightened and tightened until a consuming release came. stone melting into stone. I reached out and touched one luminescent cheek.Smiling. that had survived heartache and loss. and pulled her forward abruptly. and need. just dancing on the edges of the real thing. her strength overwhelming. I pulled my finger slowly down the front of the tattered remains of her dress. "Miss what?" I spoke with my lips pressed to her neck. shifting slowly. familiar and yet racing with a new. I lowered myself down. Her fingers roamed against my bare back feverishly. filtering through the glass doors to reflect off the white-blue sky of the walls. Then." Bella whispered." . The material split easily. With a flick of my wrist I removed what remained on her body. and devotion. and. unrelenting. Her body relaxed to lie against mine in a perfect silence broken only by the gentle.. and I just wondered if it was a little bit sad for you that you were. Then I pulled back against her clutching hands. and heard it flutter to the floor. and she placed her hand over mine. burning love. "All of it – the warmth. twisting my finger into the top of her dress. ethereal. I reached out. flowing over the landscape of her body before swiftly bending and gathering her back into my arms. giving her skin the slightest diamond sheen. in the end. keeping it against her skin.

When I closed my eyes I could see the face that changed my existence." "Imagine kissing that. I knew we were approaching the time Renesmee would wake. about balance. face to face. I moved so that we lay on our sides. for eternity. "It would be hard to find someone less sad than I am now. and I would have became so in an instance. and her hand slid up to her throat. Not many people get every single thing they want. Impossible. because I am missing nothing. I was intoxicated by the exhilarating freedom of being physical equals. were forever enshrined in my mind. could possibly make me sad. her eyes unfocusing slightly. that anything in this moment. I am purely full of joy. Bella's memories of her mortal image would fade quickly for her. with each shared moment of abandon. . to help remind Bella of her priorities. even if they matched mine. and with every exquisite movement. well. in the same day. taking solace that it would be preserved in the face of our daughter. fisting her hair and crushing her mouth to mine. what I also now understood was that I did not miss her human frailties. looking down on the innocent below. in every way.I laughed gently. And yet. I slid my fingers along her jaw. her scent. prevented it. if she hadn't already. for Bella. the features of the girl I fell in love with – her human presence was indelibly imprinted on my consciousness." I whispered. Holding her close with my hands around her back. rising so that now I was above her." "Precisely. lustrous canvas. plus all the things they didn't think to ask for. I had once wished I could be human. no longer heated. "And as for the scent. "Oh. trailing down her neck and savoring each part of the skin along her chest and waist. if it had been in the range of possibility. when her own mind." Bella's eyes tensed slightly. feel and voice." I wrapped both arms around her again and pressed her tightly to me. I thought about one of the conversations we had during the night." I dragged a hand up her back. but it wasn't fair of me to take advantage of her overwhelming desires. But now she was like me. No one has more than I do now. for her human face and body. "You aresoft. still changing. but not for me – I would carry them always. I'd venture. "You are warm. She was everything." "Are you avoiding the question?" she murmured." I inhaled her aroma of sweet flowers. She let out a throaty breath. and she seemed equally consumed with me. wondering how she could think that anything about her lovely. or even killing her. My senses screamed in protest at the thought of letting Bella go. and body. She would be looking for us. I needed to be the responsible one. and sighed. so I could be with her without fear of hurting. but a temperate. "So the answer is no. although I cherished her humanity. no burn coating my throat. I couldn't say I missed that. Right now. fragile silk. But what I realized now was that her humanity was not lost at all. the dark angel this time. I could hear the doubt in her voice. I moved my hand around so it pressed against her cheek. I had felt a simple melancholy at the loss of the unique human in the girl I loved. while Bella had lain sleeping. Do you remember the scent of those hikers on our hunt?" Bella grimaced. splendid body. and the boundaries they created between us. I remembered my thoughts on this. "I've been trying very hard not to. As we stilled later in the increasing morning light.

and exposing a light pink evening gown. which I knew contained several Brioni suits and tuxedos. My Bella would want jeans and a t-shirt. before looking back at me. Then her expression darkened. grinning. resigned." I said. and I was fairly certain Alice had bought a few. She nodded seriously. right?" she asked. "Let me help. And as she had already shown the ability to balance her newborn thirst.Alice given free rein. "You're so good at all of this." I said. throwing open the doors and exposing row upon row of clothing. slowly come to accept what I would and wouldn't wear. I sighed. When I didn't offer any other explanation. I smothered laughter. She sighed. shifting her body away slightly. and then rose swiftly.And I knew what Bella's top priority would be this morning. I guessed it would be a while before she gave up on Bella. "Alice. a flash of want in her expression. I just don't want to know! Bella let out a fairly menacing hiss at the sight. I shrugged. Do what you want." I said soothingly. touching her arm. her loss an immediate blow to my system. "To the best of my knowledge. This was Alice we were talking about. I realized she was betraying her newborn status. handpicked by Alice. Then her expression darkened again. "Get dressed. heading towards the closet before pausing and swinging her head back to look at me. and even worse . "Fine. "It's all right. I remembered having to endure two months of constant wheedling by Alice about the size of the original closet before Esme. unzipping it. "All of this?" Bella snapped. I was sure she would learn to control these other desires. I looked at her questioningly as she glanced away towards the wall. I smiled. she had muttered. in the direction of the house and Renesmee. worry creasing her face and she whipped over to the closet." she muttered. love." Bella nodded." Bella spit out at the same time. Alice had. my eyes roving her naked form. Distracted from me now. "Which ones are mine?" she growled. her brow furrowed with worry. she rolled her eyes. bringing a mixture of ." I said gently. remembering Alice's plans. the lost hours with Renesmee were clearly totaling in her mind. had relented on the expanded closet. I touched a bar of clothing to the left of the door. Judging from the assortment of cocktail dresses and evening gowns hanging on the racks. "Alice. even if it felt her body was telling me something different." I reminded her. a gentle reminder. I inhaled deeply. grabbing the nearest garment bag." "And we have all night. with rare exasperation. beyond pleased that being with me presented such a tantalizing option for her. as well as my standard khakis. everything but this rack here is yours. I worried how long it would take for her to get to that point with Bella. "It's all about balance. thinking it would just infuriate her further. I don't imagine it will take too long to put everything in perspective. Bella growled in horror. white shirts and sweaters. over the years. stroking her neck with my thumb. love. "Renesmee. As she repeated this movement several times. and I felt her muscles stiffen. her eyes moving restlessly around. and we'll be back to the house in two seconds. her competing desires wreaking havoc in her newborn brain. Great minds think alike. "Do you think I could bear to let you get dressed now if that weren't the case?" I said." I said quietly to her.

in desperation and knowing Nessie liked shiny objects." I said. finding a plain white shirt buried in the racks. I moved away from the rows of garment bags and towards a cedar lined bureau at the back. I took the river in a leap. Several various toys and household items had been destroyed. sniffing at the clothes." Right. and a kaleidoscope of different materials. I easily discarded anything synthetic. wailing when Bella was not produced immediately. and separating them in my mind. laden with the smell of wood rather than plastic. searching for the clean. As we came into view up the lawn. and Jasper and Emmett's improv attempts at comedy had been soundly rejected. She's demanding to see Bella. turning to find Bella distracted again. "Race?" she questioned. It was hard to admit that rather than feeling insulted by being spoon-fed my outfits by Alice. "Denim has its own scent just like anything else. and I let her pull me out the back door. Mommy's... kissing her cheek. Bella's floral nectar mixed with the sharp tang of cedar. Mommy! Mommy! . organic smell of cotton. She was also thirsty. After several seconds. her eyes wide. I gave her a moment and then took her hand. "How did you do that?" she asked. I could see that Renesmee was awake already. which seemed to be located in the back. I moved further inside the room. As Bella got dressed. I moved over to my small section. Nessie latched onto the sight of Bella. stretch cotton?" I walked back into the closet. I grinned. keeping in front but close enough to retreat back to her quickly if needed. smothered in plastic. sooner rather than later. She twisted a silver knife into a ball before reaching up to touch Emmett's throat. clearly memorizing the scents. hearing our approach. I pulled open a drawer and smiled. She might as well learn. unzipping a bag to uncover a matched outfit of pants and sweater. discerning each individual scent. Alice had already told them we were coming back. We jumped the stone wall and were running full out immediately. during which time I pulled ahead of Bella. thoughts clearly swinging swiftly back to Renesmee. Nessie's mind was a jumble of images of Bella and me. loverboy? Sighing. Almost as if Alice was trying to hide it. She and Emmett were sitting on the floor next to the baby.. "I told you. what the rest of my family already knew – I was not to be beaten for speed. Emmett snorted. Rose thought. tossing aside a mangled piece of silverware and pointing demandingly towards her with a small finger. before Esme. flying forward as she glanced back at me with a glint in her eyes. She pulled away.. inhaling again. and then weeded out the light. Bella was instantly at my side. I concentrated on the inky.scents down my throat. had garnered her attention with an antique silverware set. heavy fragrance of denim. kid. refined scents of silk and satin.been kind of busy.. taking on her challenge. slowing as I approached the house so Bella and I could enter together.. I hope she's dressed properly – I'm counting on you.well. it seemed there had been several moments of panic when Renesmee awoke. showing him a picture of Bella. "Now. About time! Alice thought. pulling out a pair of jeans. my family's thoughts filtered into my mind. I pulled the outfit on. Gathering from what I saw in my family's minds. as I judged distance and direction. She glanced up. I had grown rather used to the ease of it.

"What was he so upset about?" I asked casually. Esme sacrificed her second-best silver service to keep the little monster entertained. "We would have called you soon. Smoothing my expression to hide my concern. Bella handed Nessie quickly to Rose. "You'll like the cottage. She stopped breathing." Rose said. leaving an uncertain weight in my stomach. not yet. Jacob had left? I searched the surrounding area as far out as I could go. "How long has she been up?" I heard Bella ask. how did it go? Glad to see she left you in one piece – I was a little worried. my throat stinging slightly from the scent." My little angel. I frowned. could go at it all night inside that little wooden box and leave it in one piece! "So it's still standing?" he choked out." said Rose. Emmett winked at me. whose excitement clearly mirrored her daughter's. Bella hugged her tightly. seeing a vision of her memory . Only you. her eyes on the cup. It's magic. I thought. I headed into the kitchen to prepare a bottle before she grew too insistent. She's okay. Renesmee touched Bella's face. bother you. clearly trying to ignore him. It felt off. and hopefully we would have been interrupting something! "We'll get your room set up right away. What were you doing last night? Discussing the national debt?" I could hear Bella grinding her teeth as I twisted the top securely on Renesmee's cup. Yeah. "Where are the wolves today?" she asked instead. After refusing to leave Renesmee's side for a moment. but saw her shoulders stiffen. "We didn't want to. It's absolutely perfect. Alice said she loved the cottage. Jeans and a t-shirt! She wasn't supposed to find those! That was the best you could do? Esme was glowing up at me. but could not sense him. "Jacob took off this morning pretty early. I scanned Rose's mind.er. except for the necessity of confronting Sam. Rose thought. to watch as Bella. "Seth followed him out. her mind filled with the image and scent of a bottle of blood.Jacob's strained and worried eyes as he left silently. touching her growing curls and smoothing her hands over Renesmee's lengthening limbs. flickering in with pictures of Bella. and Jasper took a step towards her. she thought. his face serious but calm. I could not believe he had voluntarily left. I stayed back from Bella. flew into the room and scooped her up. So. . smiling and laughing. So much.." The cottage made it through the night? Emmett burst out laughing. I was rather hoping Bella would snap and give Emmett what he deserved. and then looked her over." She turned to my mother. Alice whipped her head towards me. looking around but not seeing him. I nodded. in direct competition with her words. She's been asking for you – demanding might be a better description. Esme. her eyes narrowed. "I would've thought you two had knocked it to rubble by now. Then she looked up at Bella. She wanted her mother to feed her. slightly shocked. phasing at the edge of the yard and moving away." I froze. I could tell her growth was continuing to slow. "Thank you. smiling back.. "Just a few minutes. Jacob will be pleased. At a glance. smirking." Emmett laughed. Edward." Bella said to Renesmee. I went back into the room. a pleased smile on her face.Everyone turned. certain that was probably not a good idea.

Has Jacob done something? "He talked to Charlie. Edward? Carlisle thought in alarm. And then we'll be rid of him permanently. Coming here. She had been perusing visions of the afternoon . searching for the image of her dressing up Bella in the closet." And good riddance."I don't know – or care. He needed to know. "I suppose it doesn't matter. Billy is going to be furious. putting his life. Jacob continued. I frowned at her – that didn't seem likely.. and then he just jumped to his feet without any kind of trigger – that I noticed. and lured him here. just coming into my range. what had upset him. motionless with shock. I think maybe you deserve it this time. it will all be out in the open and they won't have to leave. You're such a freakin' idiot sometimes. Edward's going to kill you. Jacob had been to see Charlie? What the hell? I'm glad I told him. Perhaps he was making arrangements to follow us if we left. betrayed us all by telling him God knows what. anyway – and stormed out. An image flickered in his mind of Charlie's stricken face." Rose said." said Emmett. We won't be here much longer. "No!" she cried. his mouth hanging open like the moron he is. Leah thought with disgust. The more time he spends here. but it was completely gone. It was the right thing to do. "He thinks Charlie is following after him. Today. Rose and Em should have been more discreet with the conversation. as I suspected he would. who wrapped her hands around it and started taking long pulls. followed by a view through the trees of Charlie getting into his car and driving away from town." said Esme disapprovingly. Jacob thought. Could he have heard something dangerous approaching? I glanced out the front window. in jeopardy! "What is he doing?" Alice suddenly shrieked. when Jacob left. He was running full out towards the house in wolf form. "Shit!" Alice squealed. although I was surprised he would respond by leaving the house. I imagined. his mind tense and wired. I stiffened. A furious growl burst out of me. "He was watching Nessie sleep. He'll come now. I had to do something. "I was glad to be rid of him.. "What is that dog doing that has erased my schedule for the entire day? I can't see anything!" She struggled again. the less chance there is that we'll ever get the smell out." What's going on. and once he understands. Was Sam's pack rethinking our agreement? But then why wouldn't Jacob tell my family if he was concerned? Rose adjusted Nessie in her arms. Everything had just disappeared. tipping the cup back further as it quickly emptied. That little rat had gone to Charlie.her and Jasper hunting as well as a great deal of time with Bella in the new closet. grabbing the cup from me and angling it towards Nessie. "Look at you! You need me to show you how to use your closet. "I still say we should go straight to New Hampshire and get things set up. Contacts! Jasper watched her go with worried eyes." Rose muttered. flanking Jacob along with Leah. There had to be something that precipitated his leaving. Her eyes! She turned. I glanced at him. and . flying out the door. turning to Bella. I sighed – didn't they have any idea what our leaving would mean for Jacob? This had been." There was a collective gasp. I caught Seth's thought. all of our lives. I had to explain to Charlie. She won't have to leave." I growled." "Rose. and realized this was the discussion he and Rose had been having earlier. Coming here.

Jacob would be here in a moment. right? Well. I didn't move.then whipped towards me. you'll see. problem solved. Except from you. They'll be waiting. The wolves were pausing at the edge of the woods to phase and dress. "Just a heads-up. She reached out for the baby. Edward. "Do you even realize what you've done?" Bella snarled. Edward? "He told Charlie?" Bella cried. Seth thought. Frankly. Now can we finally kill him? Jacob regarded my dark eyes. His eyes were alert. How dare he treat this so lightly? What the hell did he know about newborns. Charlie was the biggest issue there. Rose flicked her eyes towards me. Should we prepare to leave? I considered. clutching Nessie. but shook my head slightly. Have. I was surprised Bella wanted to hold her in such a charged environment. Edward's gonna know what you did. God dammit! What the hell. His eyes went immediately to Renesmee." I growled. Leah snarled." Jacob said. I'd like the pleasure of killing him first before we made any other arrangements. "Rose. I hissed softly. Jacob came through the door. I assume Alice is getting you sunglasses or something?" Bella sucked in a furious breath. grinning cheerfully." he said. "The danger you've put him in?" Jacob laughed. But you've got some kind of supernatural self-control. He had a smile of mock confidence on his face that didn't match demeanor. There were sounds of phasing and then three sets of footsteps across the lawn. looking pleased. "Charlie'll be here soon. "Blondie and Emmett woke me up this morning going on and on about you all moving cross-country. didn't acknowledge him. "I didn't put him in danger. and I moved across the room swiftly until I was standing right in his face. Right. he is a piece of work." Bella said suddenly. "But . He would risk her killing her own father just to keep what he wanted close? . his scent thick and dank in my nose. furious. "Much less exciting. My family was silent. right? Not as good as mind reading. his casual cheerfulness infuriating me even further. "You assume way too much. You. wet and reeking more than usual. staying still as I struggled to control my reaction. moving his gaze to Bella. Emmett thought.doesn't he understand? How could he do that? No!" Carlisle took a step towards me. if you ask me. and Rose gave her over. and I fought the natural urge to lunge at him. his anxiety betrayed in tense movements. bloodsucker? He looked back at Bella. relief and love flooding through him at the sight of her. before glancing around to meet our eyes. guys. Edward will see that I'm right. or self control? He had no God damned idea what the temptation of human blood would be like for Bella. adrenaline coursing through him. If they let you explain." My control broke then. Where is that future pile of ground chuck? Rosalie thought. It's better this way. and we might as well wait until he arrived to assess. regarding him." He grinned. but she must have had a reason. "What. Man. Chill out. "Hi. and Jacob cocked his head towards the house." she spit out between gritted teeth. Done?" Jacob faltered slightly at the intensity of her wrath. "Jacob's on his way in now. Like I could let you leave. her voice low and determined. once I explain. At his words the room spun red for an instant." His eyes flicked towards mine momentarily.

slightly confused. turning. Well. sensing her control battling with despair." His voice trailed off for a second." He looked at me. Jacob." They walked in silence for several more paces when Charlie stopped abruptly. furious Jacob had done this to her.." Jake said. "I have to be at the house. selfish and shortsighted. a relationship. "This is about Charlie. "You would have stopped me. "I didn't know that.. "She was. and I don't know what to tell her. Incredibly. How could you put him in danger this way? Do you realize its death or vampire life for him now. Just spit out whatever it is you have to say. I thought we had formed some sort of trust. Physical pain? "Bella will be in pain?" asked the thankless mutt in obvious disbelief. "Like you've shoved a white-hot branding iron down her throat!" I yelled. even if she can resist? Or the emotional pain if she doesn't?" For months he did everything in his power to take her. "Okay. "You think we should test it out on Charlie? Did you consider the physical pain you're putting Bella through. I stared at him. My wife had been through more pain in the last couple of weeks than she deserved in her entire existence."That's just a theory. Damn. Bella. just tell me now!" "Don't worry. Charlie." Of course I would have – he was being impetuous." I snarled. show is a better verb. Carlisle told me she was in Atlanta – was he lying? What about the disease?" "Look. Bella. Bella's body flinched with annoyance. And now – did he give a damn about her at all? "I supposed what happens to Bella no longer concerns you!" You worthless piece of garbage! Jacob's expression tightened. If you'd just let me explain. "I don't appreciate you being so secretive. mongrel. if I do say so myself. Jacob relaxed next to me. this is far enough." "But he's coming here!" Bella gasped. before you rip my head off. I watched the memory unfurl in his mind. You tell me Bella is in town – I don't understand. I don't have the patience for this. "Relax. And Renee is getting suspicious she hasn't heard from Bella. He and Jacob were walking down the path in the woods behind the Swan home. that's the idea. I stepped slightly away from Jacob. That he would put her in this position made my head reel with fury. but her body was still.." Bella interjected.sick." . Her eyes were wild. he thought desperately." I growled. Jasper was close behind her." Genius. Except. really. "But she's better now. too?" Bella's voice was unsteady.. "Then perhaps you should have asked me." he said softly. Jake. I told him about me. ready to intercede emotionally. Really sick." Charlie said. in case Carlisle calls. Jacob." "I didn't tell him anything about you. "Yeah. she's a little different." Jacob said. I didn't tell him anything you weren't planning to tell him. "Say it straight. "You should have been stopped-" "This isn't about me. If you have news about Bells that I don't. Wasn't the whole 'let him make the wrong assumptions' thing your plan? I think I provided a very nice red herring. Dying. "It will all make sense soon enough. catching in her throat. It was the only way to save her. I reached out and stroked her arm. He couldn't be man enough to come to me first before making decisions that affected my family? I couldn't. and we both turned to look at her. Not really. trying to decipher his thoughts.

" Charlie threw up his hands in exasperation. "Then show me. "The reason I showed you this.. "No!" Charlie stumbled backward. Charlie. Charlie. He turned and walked towards the tree.. Jake? Different? Tell me what's going on!" Anger and confusion flooded Charlie's face. "What the hell just happened. Jake. I'm afraid what you just saw was very. Charlie. "Well. his changing eyes never leaving Charlie. unblinking. "This better not be some sort of stupid teenage prank. Then the world phased again. "I don't know what you're talking about. Charlie's whole figure seemed to grow smaller.what was that." "Then what. you don't live in the world you thought you lived in." Charlie grumbled.that thing?" Jacob took a deep breath." And in a slow." Jacob nodded. "Stay away from me!" Charlie shouted. a nervous edge to his voice.what is going on. "Jesus Christ! Oh god." He took another step closer." Jacob said. "It's okay. his wild eyes calming slightly as Jacob silently put on his clothes. Remember what I said – deep breaths. space altering in a rush of wind as Jacob's form phased into something new. And then the world shifted. I want to see her. I may not be able to tell you about this. and one hand went up to grip his chest. Jake? How did I just see. steeling himself." he snapped."What are you talking about. She's my daughter. agonizing moment. "Bella.why. "I'll just need you to back up a little." Charlie rolled his eyes. You can go right back to pretending that you don't believe any of this. Life'll go on the same way it always has." "Okay. his voice laced with fear. "What are you doing?" he gasped. "Everything's fine. Jake paused next to him. Why did you show me?" Jacob took a deep breath. no!" His expression was a mask of white-faced horror. I think you're as ready as you'll ever be. The good news is. his hands out in front. Charlie stood frozen. fine. actually has nothing to do with me. The wolf took a tentative step towards him. "I'm heading back. "The problem. His chest rose and fell heavily for several seconds.. Jake? What did you do to me? Did you give me some sort of Quiluete hallucinogen or something?" Jacob laughed sharply.." "Then I have no idea why you dragged me out here. turning away from him. and no one is going to keep me from her." Charlie said irritably." He reached the tree and turned. meeting his eyes." "Wait." came Jacob's voice. hitting the tree behind him." Charlie's brow furrowed in confusion. let's see it. "Deep breaths?" His eyes widened as Jacob began to swiftly undress. very real." Jacob grabbed his arm. as he drew in a sharp breath. arms crossed. Charlie. but you'd never believe me. I could. Over by that tree. "No. I don't want to know. Charlie. "But just remember. Jake. If she's in town. . pain and horror lashing across his face. "Charlie. is this really isn't something I can just tell you about. first." Charlie stared at him silently for a few moments.. nothing has changed – except now you know." "Fine.. I can assure you. give me some space. folding in on itself until vision came from human eyes once again.." he breathed.. "The thing is. but I can show you. "What?" "Just back up for me. deep breaths. I mean. "Well..

He was way too distracted by me. and then he wanted to know what was really going on with you. he doesn't suspect. and I told him that you looked a lot more like Esme now than you looked like Renee. Bells." Jacob whispered. twisted way. "I started to tell him more about the werewolves. Seth caught my eye. "And I said. Didn't pass out or throw up or anything. I told him that you had been sick. and I said. He's tough. I gotta say. That's my girl." Jacob chuckled. he followed me out into the woods. you'll see that I did you a favor here. but you were fine now – it was just that you'd had to change a little in the process of getting better. "You absolute moron!" Bella shrieked. You should've seen his face when I started taking my clothes off. Jacob thought. She's practically as bad as you now." Rose smiled sweetly at Jacob behind her. kid's got balls. Why the hell would he bring Esme into this? Pointing out the similarities among my kind was sure to lead to questions. since she first came to Forks. you wish. "It took him a minute to get his head together." I caught a glimpse in his mind of Charlie yelling in the forest. Leah and Seth staying protectively close behind him. This is about what Jacob wants." Leah bared her teeth slightly. Emmett shook his head. Brave as you are. "Bella. My family relaxed somewhat." Bella growled. In his own. though." Bella snarled. Blondie. she's known all about this for years. he thought." Jacob muttered. Edward. 'sure. real quietly." I hissed." I was stunned by shock and anger. "After a few minutes. at least yet. She's been hiding this from me all this time? I always knew that guy was no good for her! I should have never let her out . with the whole rare-disease thing. As if! Yeah. "You didn't used to be so melodramatic. "You have thirty seconds to tell me every single word before I give Renesmee to Rosalie and rip your miserable head off. Jacob had changed to wolf form in front of Charlie? His impulsivity seemed to have no bounds." "You have half of that. "Charlie's fine. "Jeez. but I didn't even get the whole word out – Charlie cut me off and said he'd 'rather not know specifics. "He phased in front of Charlie. He's just trying to do what's right." Jacob laughed. relieved he had not betrayed us.' He didn't like that very much. "You what?" Bella gasped. Is that a vampire thing?" He glanced at me. he asked." Esme gasped while Carlisle stared at Jacob with a hard face. I was impressed. bitch. "Twenty-six seconds. This has nothing to do with what's right. Calm down. Jacob rolled his eyes and sat down. "He's brave."Seth won't be able to stop me this time. and trouble. to a human."Yes." He explained how he had phased in front of Charlie. He wanted to know what I meant by 'change".' Then he asked if you'd known what you were getting yourself into when you married Edward. but when I told him it was about you and that you were back in town. He was confused. "So I knocked on Charlie's door this morning and asked him to come for a walk with me. and told him he lived in a different world than he had always thought. Jacob looked at her. If you'd give this just a minute. Just try something. not liking the air of menace in the room. "You could have given him a heart attack! Jacob grinned. Priceless. 'She wishes she was that cool!'" Rose snorted in disgust. Gotta say. if you turned into an animal too. I thought furiously.

were what had once held us to the mortal world. Renesmee thought." said Jacob. I should have sent her to Florida! "I let him rant till he got it out of his system. watching for Alice. This severing of human ties was considered part of the price of immortality for our kind. waving back Leah and Seth. "You'll like this. or careful inquiry. But that if it was too much for him. and Bella . however few or even distant. right?" God knows you're good at it. glancing briefly at me. "I didn't think you'd mind me lying. He even smiled a little. maybe. "What did you tell him about Renesmee?" Bella's voice was still harsh. But other concerns troubled my family. "So I told him that you and Edward had inherited a new little mouth to feed." Jacob smiled hopefully at Bella." Bella took a deep breath. Batman – perfect for you." I watched the unexpected wonder spread across Bella's face. These ties. that. Need to know. I don't know if we can let this happen. I told him yes. 'Congrats." My family was watching the confrontation silently now. rising and walking towards Bella and Nessie. But if you can ignore all the strange parts." He looked at me.of the house. reaching out her arms. Some of us had had relatives still alive when we had been changed.' and all of that. then keep it to yourself. you don't want to know about this. even from a distance. "What was the other thing he wanted?" Jacob smiled. I ignored the jab. He wanted to see you. If it's not absolutely essential for him to know something." Bella blinked with surprise. but Bella gripped her tightly. through casual investigation. Jasper shifted uncomfortably. you're going to be amazed. and curious. he wanted just two things. Jacob. It could be difficult to watch our human relations grow old and pass on. "I can handle that part. Edward. "I told him she was more special than all of us put together. he'd deal. and I said it would be better if he gave me a head start to explain. their eyes slightly conflicted. 'Like a daughter? Like I'm sort of a grandfather?' were his exact words. you all would stick around for a while and he would have a chance to get to know her. "She's your orphaned ward – like Bruce Wayne and Dick Grayson. His main request is that he be told as little as possible about all of this. "Charlie was way past being shocked at this point." she said softly. instead concentrating on Bella. She's the most wonderful person in the whole world." Jacob laughed. but the Volturi won't care about the finer details. He technically may not know. there was another path. hopeful yet uneasy. But they faded away in the blink of an eye. "I told him." Jacob said quietly. our blood relatives in the family of men. That's all part of the game. her eyes hesitant. 'Trust me. It's too dangerous for everyone. yeah. Here's the best part.' And then I told him that if he could deal with that. for the few that cared. Gramps. She was showing us. only. His eyes moved towards the back windows. For her to keep someone so important to her in her life was an enticing possibility. And yet." Jacob looked pleased with himself. Time meant something else to an immortal. After he got calmed down. "He said as long as no one forced too much information on him." she said. "But she's changing so fast. and then back to me. "Other than that. feeling a stirring inside at the look of yearning in her expression that accompanied the idea of Charlie knowing about Renesmee. but the edge was relenting a little. but he did ask if you were adopting her. he'd just like to pretend things are normal. and had been showing us since she came into our lives. "Oh. you would leave. just because we had been forced to follow what we thought was the only possible way. didn't mean we wanted the same thing for Bella.

I would support her. There was a moment of silence. or any humans. Emmett laughed softly." His eyes lowered for a moment to Renesmee's face." She looked . aware creature with incredible control. and I had to resist the urge to groan and roll my eyes. "Can I?" "I'm actually holding her so that my hands aren't free to kill you. promised. "I'll consider forgiving you for this. regardless of what you may think." she snapped at Jacob. Jacob held out his hand. and would swiftly be gone. How does he do that? Emmett wondered. especially with a newborn. resting for a moment on Esme. days." she told Jacob. We both have people we can't live without. "I'm not going to say thank you. Edward. "If you must stay. I need to see. all other issues aside. I would keep her from hurting her family." "I am sorry about it hurting you. and it will need to be handled carefully. His eyes moved momentarily around to everyone in the room. I was torn. Bella." Jacob held out his hands for Renesmee. There was a determined light in her face. Jacob looked back up at Bella. her free hand reaching out to grasp Jacob's. Allowing Charlie in such close proximity to her. I looked at Bella's expression and I could see the hope invading her eyes. But Bella had proven beyond a doubt that she was not a mindless newborn.had yet to experience this expedited passage of the hours. things are different with us now. But I love you the right way now. Edward. I had promised. this was something she was willing to try. and I knew – if it was at all possible. you and you. and I felt a surge of sudden confidence that this was something she could handle. If she wanted to go down this path. Charlie was already more than halfway through his mortal life." she said. and share Renesmee with him." Bella replied seriously. I know I'm already forgiven. and years. but an amazing. it is up to you and Bella. give me a break." Bella rolled her eyes. Carlisle caught my eye." The back door flew open as Alice scurried inside. Jacob. I still can't see anything. Then he glanced at Nessie. her face set. We feared the closer she remained to Charlie. Oh please. "When you don't kill Charlie tonight. But the circumstances are certainly extraordinary. but you'll always be my best friend. and I'll always love you." Eh. He'd better not expect forgiveness so easy from me – his brash actions would still put Bella in terrible pain. I want these wolves out of my vision! "You. "Still friends?" A small smile flickered on Bella's face." I truly still care about her. The safety of the entire family is at stake. the more heartbreaking would be his inevitable loss would be. seemed like an incredibly foolish risk. Rose thought. you'll owe me huge. Leah and Seth. darting through the woods. thought Alice. and then Bella exhaled and shifted. "You're still putting Charlie at a huge risk. Ultimately. pulling out the big brown eyes and giving her a sheepish grin. But Charlie Swan is a man I would trust. Edward. thinking about robbing Charlie of the joy he had experienced in knowing her. That crap would never work with Rose. Jacob smiled. "If I don't kill Charlie tonight. This is not something I would normally condone. the desire to see Charlie. get over in the corner and commit to being there for a while. so I'm assuming you didn't kill him. There's finally a balance. And then there was the one rule of my kind – secrecy. his expression tight. I'm almost back. and your daughter. as is Bella. "I didn't know it was like that. "Maybe later.

looking around. This very minute. looking down. and he released a wave of calm confidence. Jasper gently admonished. feeding mainly off of my emotions. Alice turned to Jasper. "They also won't match your old color. "If I didn't believe you could handle it. ashamed. and certain I was nothing more than a black cloud on Bella's life. But I knew that she would be able to control herself around him. red terror in Bella's eyes. The wolves headed over to the far wall. inhaling. "You can do this. If she was afraid. or uncertain." We'd all had to wear them during assorted times when our changing eye color might be scrutinized – sometimes during overseas travel to better match a passport photo. Now is not the time. we all will. you'd better give him the baby." Alice murmured." Her expression remained frozen with anxiety. her brow furrowing. while I got Bella a safe distance away. But you can. I watched Bella open the box. pressing it into her eye. but her breathing slowed slightly. "These will irritate your eyes – they won't hurt. I wanted this to happen. He smiled a little. She picked up a contact. not wanting to relive Alice's visions of my having to change Bella on the island. I nodded slightly. panicked. while Jacob had been motivated by his desire to keep Renesmee close. I realized. raising her eyebrows. She blinked and then frowned. The ones Alice had purchased for Bella were darker. but it's still better than bright red. Whatever you are doing to yourself. too." Alice glanced at Jasper. Bella looked confused. Someone could intercept Charlie. I glanced over and saw him watching me with calm. few and fleeting." I tensed. "When did you—" "Before you left on the honeymoon. but Leah remained standing. Bella. Bella's expression remained tight. Alice handed her the contacts she had retrieved from the dresser table at the cottage. Jasper suddenly thought urgently. Edward. And then there had been the truly terrible visions.. Do you think I'm stupid? Leah banged out the back door." she mouthed at him. I don't need this. "It will be fine." As Bella handed the baby to a thrilled Jacob. Those were a specially made topaz color. I turned swiftly. She's upset. And. "I know you can. but leaving me shaken. where Jacob and Seth sat down. aware eyes. I moved close. what he had done was as much for my wife as for my daughter. And you'll be happier if you can have Charlie in your life. I'm outta here. I'll help you. It would mean the world to Bella to not have to be separated from Charlie. but they'll cloud your vision. "Oh course. we could leave right now. She was clearly second guessing herself.. catching a look of desperate. "Am I allowed to leave?" she asked. "Bella. stop. jumping up to kiss his cheek. trying to refocus on the present and not the past. You'll need your arms free. As much as I hated to admit it. we'd disappear today. I was prepared for several possible futures. either because of uncontrolled wantonness.at Renesmee. . touching her hair before she flitted back to Bella." said Jake. slow him down. who was clearly unhappy." I said softly. still tense. "Stay east so you don't cross Charlie's path. chosen to cover red eyes – we'd used similar ones in the past for Jasper on a few unfortunate occasions. anyway. right?" She tossed Bella the box. touching her face gently. It's annoying. or my own weakness.

" As my family threw suggestions at her. "How long do I have?" Alice envisioned Charlie. You've been sick." Emmett nodded. passing down the road a few minutes from our drive." Esme took Bella's hand. her hand on his neck as she replayed various scenes from the day – her distress at discovering Jacob had left. She was seated in Jacob's lap on the floor." Rosalie added. Bella moved with exaggerated slowness. Emmett and Jasper looking like idiots doing headstands to try to amuse her. letting her sift through the images as he gently caressed one of her soft curls between his fingers. Humans don't like to just stand there. That way he won't have to see you move right at first. thinking about his struggles at school." . She blinked up at me." Bella took an unsteady breath. that doesn't help me see. Alice was shaking her head as Bella suddenly blurred out of her vision." I said softly." Alice explained how the venom would disintegrate the contacts after a few hours. What the heck was that supposed to be? Rosalie thought. Which is a good idea anyway. I glared at him before he could share his ideas. "Two minutes. I glanced over to check on Renesmee. glancing briefly at me. We said human. Emmett had his own ways of acting human. Keep it simple." Emmett grinned. dull brown. hugging Bella. Even she wasn't that clumsy! "Jacob. yes. "Charlie will be here in five minutes. That seems like a bad idea. "Right. fidget. Bella's angry reaction when Jacob had returned. "You can do this. no! "Bella. her fair skin flushed still by the hunt yesterday. and then shook her head." said Esme. even with the contacts. A born actress. after all. I wrapped an arm around her. "You'll be holding your breath as much as possible. "Humans don't stare at one thing for too long. She doesn't look human. Pick your nose. Jacob looked unhappy. "She always looks gorgeous. "Sit down if he does." She grabbed Bella's hand and pulled her to the couch." she grumbled as she put in the other contact. blink." Alice interrupted me." I heard Bella say." "Let your eyes wander every thirty seconds or so. Alice rolled her eyes. not drunk. grinning."I see you what you mean. "So if Charlie stays longer than that. generally to Rose's dismay. looking nervous." Esme raised her eyebrows. Jasper frowned. but you need to move your shoulders a little to make it look like you're breathing. give her a few pointers on acting human while I stock the powder room with contacts. "Then switch to crossing your ankles for the next five. Of course-" "Yes. Alice saw a vision of Charlie knocking on the door. drawing me back. I think I got it all. because humans need bathroom breaks." "Cross your legs for about five minutes. startlingly different with her crimson orbs covered by a dark. Jacob remained silent." Jasper said. swinging her arms and legs in a strange..." Bella said urgently. I need Renesmee. Maybe you should start out already on the couch. scratch your butt. clutching Nessie. "Sit. No. awkward manner. "The main thing is to not sit too still or move too fast. you'll have to excuse yourself to replace them. and noted the time as she glanced at the clock on the mantle. "No." She looked Bella up and down. "Esme. "How do I look?" "Gorgeous. look around. He stayed on the floor.

won't you. sensing the tension around her. fading tooth marks on Jacob's skin. that Jacob and Seth were different from herself. He sighed. I sat down next to Bella and Renesmee. wrapping my arm around them. "Can she understand you?" Bella asked." "Fine. There was a questioning air to the vision. She was quiet and still. sighing. Daddy. Although she controlled herself fairly well around Jacob. He won't heal like Jacob." Her mind filled with the memory of Jacob's scent. pleased she so clearly understood my words. I hope you appreciate what I go through for you! "Hold her as still as you can and I'll try to see around her. remembering all the times Renesmee had bitten him. and she gazed back. Renesmee? You'll help us?" Renesmee reached up and touched my face. I don't care if you bite Jacob. "You'll be careful." I smiled." Jacob remained still. I nodded. Let's hope the mother has better self control than the daughter. you could still throw me out." Alice muttered. and then we turned our eyes to Renesmee." I said." I snapped. as well as her family. remembering the sight of small. I knew she was still very aware of the scent of his blood. yeah. Although she had bitten Jacob. for Charlie's sake! I glared at him. You shouldn't tell him things the way you tell us. "She understands. Please do. "Maybe you should leave. I wished he could feel the burn Bella was going to face thanks to his actions. "That's fine. and share her thoughts." Jacob laughed. . "But he's not like us. suddenly pleading. As Jacob got up and approached. someone special is coming to see you and your mother. and I raised an eyebrow at him. only her head and shoulders unobscured by Renesmee's presence. I felt a soft thrill at the word. understanding that the parameters were different with him than Jacob. she grumbled. mongrel. finding her slightly blurred. she concentrated on Bella. the sweet. Is Nessie ready for such close proximity to a human? Esme looked at me with a worried expression. "Renesmee. Yeah. This is going to give me a headache. Jacob. "And he's going to make you thirsty."But I need her. she could grasp new parameters for her grandfather. and Charlie's would be far more appealing. even when tempted. I leaned over to catch Nessie's dark chocolate eyes. her mind filled with the image of sinking her teeth satisfyingly into Jacob's chest." I said. We have to be very careful with him. "But you mustn't bite him. or even like Jacob. And I was afraid she would be tempted to communicate with him by her gift – something that I suspected would overwhelm Charlie beyond what he could handle. but clear enough to watch her movements." Bella said. looking shocked. and understood. she controlled herself around Seth. Glad you find this so funny. I thought that. enticing aroma hidden in deep musk. "No. showing a memory of her reaching up to touch Jacob's face. "She keeps me calm." I said quietly. I know. I know that she instinctively sensed. She watched him with impatient eyes as he handed Nessie to Bella and backed away." She frowned. When he sat back against the wall. if explained. "Exactly. Alice's vision faded completely." Renesmee put her hand on my cheek.

Carlisle looked at Bella and then caught my eye. "Later.. smothering lust washed through him. I squeezed Bella proudly... At all costs.Jacob balked. I blinked with surprise and pulled away. but not beyond – too many variables at this point to how Charlie.. Jasper's face. "Er. thought Jasper. you're the most repulsive monster of us all." he said.. We would betray our inhuman abilities if there was any indication Charlie was in danger from Bella. knowing her appearance would be an excruciating shock. Says the creature that sucks the blood out of people.. but her thoughts must have lingered on me because Jasper sighed. An angry haze flushed through Charlie's thoughts as he approached. Geez. "You can do anything. would respond. and then looked back. Edward. and surprisingly. "you might not want to distract her like that right now.see her for myself.not Bella. They better answer the door. "Oops. Bella. Surprise filtered through his thoughts as he sensed Bella's anxiety slowly easing. He was so focused on Bella that her emotions were coursing right through him. kissing her soundly.my daughter. revealing the fact that Charlie had always been intuitive enough to be slightly intimidated by my brother. "Positive.should bring her home.." she said. and she leaned into me. although his thoughts were slightly shaded with fear." I laughed." I answered. I watched Charlie's approach in Alice's head while I listened to his tires turn off the highway. God knew the façade was already mostly dropped as it was – we would use all our resources to protect him. I thought. Bella laughed. I'd seen the look of horror on Charlie's face when Jacob phased. I caught some jumbled images of Jacob's human and wolf facades. "Sorry. She's amazing.. eyes burning bright. Edward.." he said warningly. Not my Bells." Jasper said. "You sure?" she asked me. Alice could see as far as Charlie knocking on the door. who winked. glancing at Renesmee. I smiled slightly. Give me a break. his message clear. Please. her lips separating slightly. Get your mind out of the gutter." I leaned close." "Repulsive?" Jacob said.. but impressively steady. anxiety pulsing out of her. If I unleash this on everyone the situation is going to get ugly in here! "Bella.." "Moral support. Priceless. I watched her face.. Who are these people. Smart man.... and her gaze locked on my face. As Charlie's car took the turn into our driveway. Jasper. he thought. I glanced at Bella. woman! Don't believe it." "Right. I felt Bella turn to frozen stone beneath my arm." Bella looked away. even after what Jacob has shown him. "Well done Bella.done with lies." I hadn't realized I was having that affect on her. "Moral support." Emmett laughed. "I told Charlie I'd be here. Protect him." he said softly. I could sense heavy disbelief in his mind. "As far as Charlie knows. Jasper shifted uncomfortably. her sweet scent filling my mouth." She's about to drag you to the bedroom.. If she doesn't relax this isn't going to. Denial – a dangerous but useful thing. He flicked a longing gaze at Alice. She needs to be able to focus. I nodded. As he approached the door. Oh. The car stopped in front. concerned."Focus. Tense. His heartbeat was a little fast. He laughed lightly. and Bella. I hoped if things did get tenuous we could physically . he thought desperately as another wave of hot. My chest tightened as Charlie's characteristically indistinct thoughts began to break through to me as he drew closer. very tense.

Impossible... "Hey. "Hello.failed. anger temporarily eclipsing his thoughts. I think it is going to be okay. I needed to remain confident in that. Oh..how.how did this happen..leave my daughter alone..? Charlie's eyes scanned the room looking for the source of the unfamiliar voice.. Failed her. Dad..no.. firm presence quickly reminding me that. "Is that you. I love you forever.to think I wanted Bella with him. a sullen pre-teen with a fishing rod.. He knocked firmly on the door. always one step ahead.. watching for any interference. tense and ready. when Esme had assured Charlie that Carlisle was in Atlanta with Bella and myself.can't be. He stared. Jasper was radiating a subtle calm into the room. especially if it was directed towards him. unreadable for a few seconds as his mind painfully comprehended that the unfamiliar. her voice too loud again. a toddler seated next to a Christmas tree.. altered face and body in front of him belonged to the daughter he loved... and I pushed it away with horror . My family shifted. Charlie... Charlie thought.." she said softly.. I hugged Bella against me.. Alice caught a new vision of Charlie walking across the room towards Bella. Carlisle's eyes moved to Jasper...not human. His mind started shifting through a kaleidoscope of images of Bella. his eyes soon resting on Bella's face.. always will.hiding my daughter. Bella.. her warm." Bella cringed. . far too loud for around humans. graduation day across the crowd. Here goes.haven't seen before. she thought..no good. Don't forget that. For Bella... Always have. Bella remained frozen on the couch. "Hi. not breathing.. "Where's Bella?" "Right here. An image of a wild Bella lunging at Charlie appeared in my mind. Emmett watched and then shifted his position so that he would be in the path of Bella and the door. god. fortunately for Charlie. Charlie looked back at Bella and began to slowly approach her. a young woman with a nervous face in her wedding dress. . Bells. Alice's vision traced his movement. Some nerve.. Charlie's thoughts contorted. Dad. The last time he had seen her. who nodded slightly and stepped closer to Bella.a wailing newborn in Renee's arms.. Dad." Annoyance shot through Charlie's mind. You. "Yep. "How're things?" Charlie started and then looked over at Jacob. Charlie's eyes moved to mine for a moment. Carlisle smoothed his features and then moved over to open the door.. Forgot to tell her to tone down her voice! What was that. I felt a flash of grim satisfaction at this thought...oh.my Bells." Jacob said from the corner. "Carlisle.should have protected her. as he came within a few feet of Bella. his eyes tightening as he remembered the last phone conversation.. Did this to her. unblinking. Bella?" he whispered. Who is that one.." he said. Perfect how she was." We all cringed as Bella's voice rang out.. My daughter. Oops. her arms wrapped around him.. . Bella.. thought Alice.. chocolate smeared across her young mouth. a flash of his wolf form running through his mind. Charlie.. too.really her? Charlie took a deep breath...remove him from the situation before his human eyes could comprehend – it would devastate him to see the uglier side of his daughter's new nature. his daughter was in miraculous control of her nature. Then Bella's tear streaked face as we left for the honeymoon.

I realized suddenly it would be easier to stay as close to the truth as possible. and despising that she had to experience pain. Truth. . . Better to start with the story Jacob had given him.we were both fathers. pulling in Charlie's scent. In control. more similar to the scent that came from her metal cup." His eyes flickered momentarily back to my face.." He noted the similarity