|Through Their Eyes
Author: TwiliteAddict PM
Carlisle & Esme are the foundation of the Cullen Family. This continuing series of one-shots looks at specific events from the Twilght saga through their unique perspective & thoughts. Read one or read them all! Summary at the beginning of each chapter.Rated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Drama - Carlisle & Esme - Chapters: 7 - Words: 32,958 - Reviews: 116 - Favs: 79 - Follows: 56 - Updated: 04-08-11 - Published: 07-23-09 - id: 5243179
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Welcome to my series that highlights pivitol moments from the Twilight Saga, only seen through Carlilse and Esme's eyes. I will add more to the series as suggestions are made or as the fancy strikes me! I hope you enjoy! The other chapters in this series are detailed at the end of this chapter.
Summary: Carlisle speaks to a panicked Bella and Edward still on their honeymoon at Isle Esme. He believes Bella is pregnant, but it's definately not a normal pregnancy. View the drama of Bella's pregnancy through Carlisle's eyes and mind. Contains medical terminology and graphic descriptions.
Stephenie Meyer owns all of Twilight.
"Carlisle...What is it?"
Esme's voice was distant. It sounded as if it had traveled light-years to reach me though she stood right behind me.
I couldn't respond to her. Not yet. I didn't have the answers to the questions that would surely come.
Instead I continued to stand unmoving, the cell phone still clutched in my hand. Why hadn't I considered the possibility? How could this have happened?
Esme tried again to span the unseen distance between us. "Carlisle, dear, you're frightening me. Please tell me what's going on?"
Slowly I filled my lungs with air to answer her, but didn't turn to face her. "I just spoke to Bella and Edward," I pushed out, hoping the right words would come if I took my time composing a response.
"Is everything alright?" Her voice indicated that she already knew something was terribly wrong. It had less to do with her being a vampire and more to do with her eighty plus year's experience being married to a doctor. When I failed to answer her quickly, Esme's patience ran out. She darted in front of me to gain my full attention, her eyes communicating her frustration.
"Bella's pregnant." So much for my eloquence.
"Oh! – Oh?" Esme's response was first of joy, then uncertainty. From my body language is was clear that there was no cause for celebration. I waited for her questions.
"Is that possible? With Edward? I thought they had waited until they were married…"
"But Carlisle, it's only been seventeen days since the wedding. I had no idea I was preg –"
Esme didn't finish her sentence.
It had been a long time since Esme lost her infant son, but the wound his death carved into her heart remained easily opened. My first instinct was to comfort her, but she held up her hands as if to deflect my sympathy. "Bella. Edward. What's going on?" she asked emphatically this time.
I spilled out the rest of what I knew. "Bella has conceived since the wedding. She can already feel the baby move. And she's showing."
Esme's hand flew to her mouth, "But…how can that be?"
Indeed. To my knowledge, Bella and Edward's union was unique. It appeared their child was also. "I don't know anything more." My tone warned Esme not to pursue any more answers.
After several hundred years in medicine, I felt I had faced every conceivable medical situation – the critical, the mundane, and the absurd. But now I felt like I had been dropped in a foreign land. Lost. Bella and Edward would be looking to me for answers, for solutions. I had none. Nor was I sure I could find them.
Plagued by my lack of knowledge, I had forgotten Esme was standing before me. I had been looking right through her. She grounded me to reality by running a comforting hand down my arm until she entwined her fingers with mine. "You'll find your answers," she spoke barely above a whisper.
My gaze refocused on her expressionless face. Though I could not read her emotions, I knew they were parallel to mine. We were afraid.
Whatever had taken root inside Bella was growing at an exponential rate. An unnatural rate.
I had urged Edward to return with Bella as soon as possible. In the mean time, I needed to formulate a plan for getting through this. My task would be to solve the physiological implications for Bella and the child while Esme would attend to the emotional needs. We worked well as a team when it came to family crises, but this time I sensed that we were caught in a shaky house of cards. And if that house collapsed, would we be able to pick up the pieces?
But now was not the time to have the fears of a father. I needed to be the physician. I had preparations to make – stat. "Esme, I need to go to Seattle for medical equipment. Edward and Bella are coming home. I'll keep in touch with them over the cell."
Esme nodded as I gave her hand a quick squeeze before I turned to leave. But then she stopped me dead in my tracks with one more question…
"What about the baby?"
"It's just not meant to be."
* * * *
These were the words I was left to ponder over as I drove to Seattle in full doctor mode.
Practicing medicine was about establishing priorities and assessing the risks and benefits for the patient. Medicine needs to be black and white to make the course of action clear for the practitioner. Bella was my patient. The unborn…child…inside her threatened her life. To grow at such a rapid rate, the fetus would take from Bella everything it needed, leaving her with little to sustain her own body.
As her physician, the action I needed to take was clear. I knew with Edward's medical background, he had come to this same conclusion.
Again, I repeated the obvious, convincing myself of what needed to be done.
Medicine is a science. It is based on fact, observation, and research. Medicine by its nature cannot and should not feel. Feelings cloud judgment and cause rash, illogical decisions to be made. Feelings complicate matters and are biased.
Feelings are gray. Medicine is black and white. Feelings have no place in medicine.
But I do have feelings.
My family has feelings.
And I wasn't just Bella's physician. I was family.
I could not deny that in a family without life, one had been created. Nothing short of a miracle. Wouldn't our instinct be to preserve and protect this creation of Bella and Edward's love?
As soon as I took off the scientific blinders, the war within me began. The feelings were there and the dilemma would have to be addressed: who had the authority to decide the fate of this unborn child?
As a physician, shouldn't I always act in the best interest of my patient's well-being? Does Edward, as husband and father, have the right overrule me should he disagree with my plan of care? Or should this be Bella's choice alone – her body, her life, her child? Does the child belong to her? Does the child have rights, and if yes, who speaks for it? What of the dictates of my faith – a faith that Bella and Edward may not embrace as their own?
I knew I wasn't the first to ask these weighty questions. But now I must have the answers to serve them best.
Which raised another question: What exactly was my role?
I felt I had been sucked into a tragedy play in which I was merely a minor character. I had little control over the events carried out on stage by the main characters: Bella and Edward. This scenario could not be planned out – it must play out.
My role would be to prepare for all possible outcomes, including life and death.
* * * *
By the time I returned to the house, the immediate sequence of events was set: Bella and Edward were en route home. Esme and I planned to pick them up at the airport while the rest of the family made the preparations at home. Surprisingly, Rose insisted on accompanying Esme and me.
Once at the airport, we waited for them in the baggage claim area. I had already retrieved their bags having identified them by scent. Esme gasped audibly when she saw them. It appeared Bella had truly become a Cullen – her skin was chalky pale and the shadows under her slightly sunken eyes were dark. My gaze moved from Bella's to her husband's. Edward's eyes were already fiercely locked on mine. I didn't need his gift to hear his pleas of urgency.
Bella trailed behind Edward as he held her hand. She offered us a tentative smile as they approached.
Although Esme reached out to Bella, in a burst of energy, Bella charged into Rosalie's open arms.
"Let's go home, Bella. Don't worry, I'll take care of you," Rose crooned as she placed an arm around Bella's shoulders and escorted her toward the exit.
Esme and I were dumbfounded by this unlikely scene and staggered for a moment deciding whether to catch up with Rose and Bella or retrieve Edward who seemed to be rooted to the spot where Bella had just left him.
"Edward?" Esme called to him, but he appeared to be in a state of shock. Her words jolted him back to reality. His wide eyes met ours, but his voice was emotionless. "She's protecting it."
Several passer-bys began to eye Edward's unnaturally immobile form. I closed the space between us and murmured, "Son, start walking."
He stumbled forward as I grabbed their bags. Esme and I flanked Edward as he continued to mumble. "She won't let us touch her. She thinks it is her duty to protect it."
"Edward, whatare you talking about?" I was not used to him making no sense.
He froze and looked at me incredulously. "Rose's mind is set. She won't let anyone near Bella or…the baby…as she thinks of it."
"Well, that's not up to Rose now is it?" I stated quickly not having pictured Rose as a key actor in our tragedy play.
"She's doing it at Bella's request." His voice conveyed a feeling of deep pain.
"Bella plans to keep the pregnancy." The realization paralyzed him again. This time I grabbed him by the upper arm to keep him moving. We needed privacy – and quickly – Edward was falling apart.
When our stunned little group caught up with Rose and Bella, they were already in the back of the Mercedes. I loaded the suitcases in the trunk and hurried to the driver's side of the car, pausing only to snag the parking ticket that fluttered on the windshield. What was the point of a loading zone anyway?
Edward leaned in through the still open back door and glared at Rose, who maintained an arm around Bella. Esme came up behind Edward and spoke into his ear, "Sit up front with Carlisle. There's more room. I'll check on Bella."
Still reeling from the sudden turn of events, Edward slowly moved up front as Esme slid in next to Bella and shut the door. I sped away concerned that World War III was about to break out – vampire style. Edward's hands trembled on his knees as he sat stoically next to me. I glanced in the rearview mirror to see Rose stroking Bella's hair as Bella rested her head on Rose's shoulder.
Then the momentary silence was shattered.
"You have no right, Rose," Edward hissed through clenched teeth.
"Neither do you, Edward," she replied with venom in her voice.
"Need I remind you that I am her husband?"
"You don't own her! She wants this baby. End of story. Or are you going to rip the baby out of her against her will, dear loving husband?"
"Rose, stop," Bella whimpered. I was unsure what troubled her more, the arguing or the visual Rosalie had just created.
Edward plowed on, "Bella will see reason. She'll do what's best. But she doesn't need you speaking poison in her ear."
"Afraid I'll tell her the truth, Edward? That she doesn't have to do everything you say? That she can make her own decisions? This may be her only chance to have a baby – before her humanity is taken from her." Rose's voice was escalating.
"We don't know what it is. I won't let it consume Bella for its needs." Edward was again speaking through his teeth but his voice somehow boomed louder than Rosalie's.
They both were drowning out Bella's pleas for the fighting to stop.
"No you won't, Rose!" Edward responded vehemently to Rosalie's unspoken thoughts.
"Really?" she mocked. "You try to stop me." She seemed to be taunting him, enjoying his barely restrained anger.
"I'll destroy you before I let it harm Bella." Edward's tone left no doubt he would follow through with his threat.
"Emmett may have something to say about that," Rose smirked.
"Enough!" Esme shouted over the bickering as Bella gestured she was about to vomit.
I pulled over and Bella leaned over Rose's lap to heave out the car door.
"See, you're upsetting her!" Rose's accusation flew at Edward while she held Bella's hair.
Edward's fingers began to curl into fists, but his anger was now secondary to Bella's suffering.
Bella leaned back into the car, wiping her mouth. "Please, Carlisle, can we go home?" she begged hoarsely.
"Of course, dear. Buckle up." I switched off the headlights and slammed the gas pedal to the floor.
* * * *
The scene at home was even more chaotic. Bella clung to Rose who was then protected by a hovering Emmett. It had become clear that Bella had contacted Rose from the island to plan the body guard arrangement.
Frustrated, Edward chose to interrogate Alice about the future. It only added fuel to Edward's fire when she pressed her fingers into her temples explaining that she could not see anything. She appeared to be in pain and as aggravated as Edward. Distracted by his wife's distress, Jasper's attempts at calming the explosion of emotions had little effect.
Focusing again on my role, I rushed past them to the ultrasound machine waiting in my study, which now resembled a level-I trauma room. I cringed knowing I had left Esme to deal with the ugly mob. But the ultrasound was of paramount importance. The sooner I knew what we were dealing with the better for everyone. Once the equipment was ready, I bolted downstairs to retrieve Bella.
I didn't think it was possible, but the situation had deteriorated even further. My close-knit family had quickly become totally dysfunctional. They were polarized by what they individually saw as the correct action for Bella and Edward to take.
I searched for Bella, finally finding her laying in a fetal position on the couch. Thankfully she had been allowed to withdraw from the arguing.
I reached out to her, but was quickly confronted by her guard. "I need to examine her – doctor and patient only. Privately." I explained allowing my tone to reflect my seriousness. In reality, the last thing I needed was six pairs of eyes attempting their own medical diagnoses.
"Bella was clear. I am to accompany her for all medical procedures." Rose stated haughtily.
At this statement, Edward's head spun around to look at Bella. The pain in his eyes ran deep. "You distrust me? You want Rose by your side, not me?" He slowly approached Bella, but was cut off by Rosalie, who crouched and hissed between them.
"Stop! Both of you," Bella said pushing herself to a seated position. "Edward, please understand, I love you and I love our baby. Don't make me choose."
Seeing a way to diffuse the situation, I spoke quickly, "Bella, honey, I want to do an ultrasound – it will let us see the baby. Rose and Edward will accompany you, okay?"
Once Bella was lying on the special bed I procured, I slid her sagging waistband down and applied gel to her lower abdomen. Pressing the transducer probe into her belly, I coated it with gel and looked expectantly at the monitor. I was anxious to view the image of the heartbeat that I knew would exist in a fetus that was all too obviously growing within her.
But as I moved the transducer over her bulging abdomen, I was puzzled by the lack of image. I checked the equipment. It was working correctly. Then I was horrified -- it was not the equipment that was the problem. It was the contents of her uterus. The membrane surrounding the fetus was opaque obscuring any view of the fetus.
Edward squinted at the screen and quickly came to the same conclusion. "The amnion cannot be penetrated. It's somehow deflecting the sound waves."
"What does that mean?" Bella asked, alarmed by our response.
"Is the baby all right?" Rose swiftly questioned.
"You selfish bitch!" Edward cussed, obviously taken aback by something he heard in Rosalie's head.
Rose crouched in defense, but before either could make another move, Emmett appeared in the doorway. "Problem little brother?" he said dryly.
"Yeah, your wife is the problem. She doesn't care about Bella – just that thing inside her!"
"Bella asked Rose to help her protect the baby. Rose agreed. And I support her."
"She agreed because she hopes to benefit, not for Bella. For herself!" Edward began to shake.
"Take it out of here!" I bellowed drawing everyone's gaze.
Edward swallowed and turned his back on Rose and Emmett. "What now?"
"No image, no further understanding about the fetus. I could attempt an amniocentesis. The fluid would contain DNA that I could examine."
"Carlisle, explain. What's going on with my baby?" Bella's voice was strained.
"Bella, the fetus must be surrounded by a membrane more characteristic of something vampiric than human. The ultrasound is ineffective. But I could try to insert a needle –"
"A needle?" Bella squirmed.
"Can that harm the baby?" Rose questioned rapidly.
"There are some risks. But the information gained could be very useful," I reasoned.
"How?" the bodyguard asked. She was now annoying me.
"It can tell me if the fetus is more vampire or more human."
"And what difference would that make for the pregnancy?" Rose was intentionally pushing me in a direction I was not ready to take. I had wanted to prepare Bella first…
"A vampire fetus would not be compatible with Bella's human body. The pregnancy would need to be terminated."
"No! No!" Bella cried and clutched at her abdomen protectively. "I will not kill my child!" She looked at Edward with panicked eyes. "Please Edward! I'm strong enough! I can do this!"
"No needles!" Rose pronounced as she inched closer to Bella.
Edward attempted to move past Rosalie. The look on his face so pathetic that even Rosalie didn't have the cold-heartedness not to be touched by them. "Please, love, we'll find another way to have children. Not this way. I can't lose you. Let Carlisle help you."
Tears welled in Bella's eyes. "It's our baby, Edward. The embodiment of our love. Don't you see -- there's no way he can be evil. I have to do this. I love him and he needs me. Please understand."
Edward desperately dropped to his knees at Bella's side. "I love you. I need you. I can't stand by and let anything hurt you. Especially when it's my fault."
It felt uncomfortable to be present for such an intimate moment between Bella and Edward. I forced my attention to the now worthless equipment while Emmett stared at his feet. Rosalie however remained intensely watchful.
Bella patted Edward's hand and offered him her best smile. "Don't worry. I will keep my heart beating." She then looked at me, "No needles, Carlisle. Please, can I sleep now?"
"Just let me get a few measurements, okay?" Grudgingly, I glanced at Rose, who nodded her head. Within seconds I was done but Bella had already started drifting off. "Just try to sleep on your left side, Bella."
She complied wordlessly and we left – Rose being the last one out of the room.
I had relocated my study to Esme's office and headed there immediately. I began to document what I had learned through my limited assessment. Already hearing my thoughts, Edward entered and slumped into the chair across from Esme's desk. I spoke out loud as I calculated.
"So if she conceived after your first act of intercourse that would put her at day 18 of her pregnancy. But from all the signs, she's between 16 and 20 weeks pregnant."
Groaning, Edward lowered his head into his hands.
"A term pregnancy is 38 weeks. It appears that one day equals one week in the progress of her pregnancy. If my assessment is accurate, her estimated delivery date would be between September 19th and the 23rd – or as early as 18 days from now."
In the silence that followed, the reality of my words became heavier and heavier until Edward couldn't bear it any longer.
"Carlisle, this is obviously not a human baby. Can Bella survive the rapid growth rate? I need to know."
I wished I had better news to tell him, but I knew my thoughts would betray any lies I would tell him. The truth was the only way – even if it did cause him pain. But I had to convey the details carefully – Rose would be listening. I wordlessly conducted my end of the conversation…
"I don't see how her body will be able to maintain itself as the fetus takes the sustenance it needs from her. She won't be able to replenish her stores quickly enough. In addition the rapid growth of the child will outpace her body's ability to accommodate its increasing size."
I watched him burn. The pain in his eyes so real that I felt the sting of it.
In a blur of movement, Edward snatched a notebook from the desk and furiously wrote on it. He held it up for me to read, his determination visible in every line of his of his face: How do we end this?
"What do you mean?"
How do we remove the fetus? He scribbled rapidly on the notebook.
"Edward, Bella has rejected that option."
The pen nearly cracked from the pressure of his writing. It's not an option, its necessary or your patient will die! My wife will die! Help me!
I dragged my fingers through my hair. I didn't like my choices: risk the death of my patient -- my daughter-in-law, my son's reason for living -- or terminate a pregnancy against Bella's wishes. I couldn't predict the fallout from that action.
"I'll deal with that," Edward replied. "It's all my fault, I accept full blame."
Hesitantly, I nodded my head. "Yes. I'll help you." But then added, "Edward, she may never forgive you for this."
"I know," was his simple reply. Then he wrote on the notepad again and tossed it on the desk in a gesture of defeat.
She's all I've got. She may hate me and leave me, but at least she'll be alive. Why is it that no matter what I do, it seems I am destined to take her life? Her number was truly up when she met me."
The agony on his face, the self-loathing, was more than I could take. I knew I possessed no words to override how he felt about himself, but I had to try. As I took in a deep breath to voice some words of comfort, he silenced me with one word, "Esme."
"Bella's still sleeping quietly. She's physically exhausted." Esme reported as she entered the room. She walked up behind me and placed her hands on my shoulders attempting to knead away the tension rapidly building in them.
Her eyes fell on the notebook still lying in front of me. Once she comprehended the words on the paper she snatched up the notebook and stabbed a finger at Edward's written words. Anger colored her voice. "You can't. It's wrong!"
I held my finger up to my lips in a shushing gesture, but Esme was not about to be silenced.
"As men you cannot understand how Bella feels. She has bonded with this child. It's part of her. You have to let her decide. Besides, Carlisle, you know patients have the right to refuse treatment."
"Not if the patient is mentally compromised," Edward refuted.
Esme's head whipped around to look at Edward. "Prove she's compromised," she shot back.
"Look at her choice! Why would she forsake her life for an unknown? For some genetic defect that will slowly devour her? Why would she choose it over life with me? Choose it over living at all! It doesn't make rational sense!" Edward's voice cracked.
Esme's face softened and she walked over to Edward, crouching down so she could look him in the eye. "No, dear, it may not make sense. Love often doesn't. She loves you and loves what the two of you have created. As a result, Bella's nature is to protect her child – your child – even from you. Just as I protected my child from his father." She stood and touched Edward's cheek reassuringly. "I think you should refocus your efforts. You need to figure out how you're going to support this pregnancy, not terminate it."
Without another word, she left -- leaving in her wake the gray area. Through our practicality, Edward and I had made everything black and white. That had been an easier reality to deal with than the one Esme left us with.
Just that quickly, the power in the house had shifted. The decision had been made.
"I'm sorry, Edward," was all I could say.
* * * *
From that point, options were few and far between.
Even when Jacob got pulled into the drama of our tragedy play, the outcome appeared unchanged, despite their best efforts to change Bella's mind.
And so the cast was complete and the actors were becoming masters in their roles: the star crossed lovers agonized, the villain continued to taunt, and the supporting players hovered and fretted.
Then our drama developed a subplot: a wolf pack hell-bent on destroying what we now protected with our lives, Bella and the unborn child.
Over the next several days, Bella mostly slept affording Edward and I time to scour medical journals and the web for ways to keep her and the fetus alive. We called in reinforcements, Emmett and Jasper, to search for any incubus myth, legend, or citation that could give us a clue as to what we might face at the end of this perilous pregnancy.
My main focus was always sustaining Bella's body. The demands being made upon it were incomprehensible. She was a well that the fetus was sucking dry. As she ballooned, I was forced to recalculate her estimated due date several times – always moving it up. It was almost as if the child was gaining momentum.
When IV fluids failed to meet her needs, I convinced her and her guard to try TPN, a fluid I could formulate to meet her specific nutritional needs. I was convinced the thought of inserting a needle directly into her chest would shake her determination, but I was wrong.
Due to the nature of the insertion of a central line into her subclavian vein, I had to enforce a no- vampire-present edict. While Rose was reluctant she did see the necessity realizing her own limits around human blood. Edward was harder to convince as he wanted to spend every waking moment Bella had by her side. But Rose made it clear that she would be present if Edward was and in turn Edward feared Rose's loss of control around Bella. So in the end, the two agree to glare at each other in the main room while I conducted the minor procedure behind closed doors in the make-shift hospital room upstairs.
It was the first time I was physically alone with her since her and Edward arrived home from their honeymoon a week ago. "Bella, honey, I need you to be very still. I cannot sedate you, but I will numb the area."
She laughed weakly, "You need to tell EJ to hold still. He moves all of me when he moves."
Indeed her belly was like a mountain under the white sheet covering her. The more it protruded the thinner Bella became. Her facial features displayed the gaunt look of death I had witnessed all too many times.
I watched her abdomen roll and shift, causing her to grimace.
"I know you think I'm making a poor choice," she whispered.
I set down my instruments and met her eyes. I could see how much she wanted my approval, that she felt she had somehow disappointed me. But in that moment I saw her in a new light. I saw a young girl who had come of age. Though the decision she had made was not what I would have chosen for her, I had to admire her conviction, her willingness to fight for what she believed and for what she loved. It might just be enough to get her through this.
Still, I knew if there was anything I needed to say to her, this might be my only chance. I took the opportunity. "Bella, I would be lying to you if I didn't tell you I'm afraid. I see you wasting away and I don't know how to make it stop. If TPN doesn't work, I don't know of anything that will. But I want you to know I am proud to have you as a daughter. You are strong and I love you."
Her tears flowed silently but her smile showed such gratitude and love in return that I simply took in the moment without further words.
She swiped at the wet trails on her cheeks and resolutely said, "Let's do this."
The insertion was challenging due to her dehydrated status, but with the milky fluid flowing into her, I silently prayed for its effectiveness.
"Let's summon your entourage to get you comfortable downstairs," I spoke cheerfully for her benefit.
"Wait, Carlisle, can I ask one more favor from you?"
"Of course, what do you need?"
"I want to talk to my dad."
Her eyes communicated what she could not speak aloud. That she knew the seriousness of her situation. I realized she had been hiding her doubts skillfully under her conviction.
"I'll call him. I'll think of something we can tell him."
"Thank you, Carlisle, for…everything." Then she smiled, "You guys can come in now."
The door opened to reveal Edward and Rosalie's anxious faces.
"She's all yours."
The scene in my living room resembled a death watch. As Bella weakened so did the movements of the fetus. They withered away right before my eyes. I also watched Edward lose grip of his sanity. I imagined this was the worst kind of torture for him. To helplessly watch Bella fade away when he could take action. To stand by while he knew without her, he would not continue to exist. To know that in his expression of love for her, he created something that ultimately caused her death. To have to accept that his child would destroy his wife.
I had set up a hospital-type bed to hold Bella and the assortment of monitors I now had hooked to her. I watched her heart and oxygen levels while monitoring any signs of contractions on a fetal monitor. With technology keeping watch over her, I met with Emmett and Jasper.
"Any luck on your research?" I asked feeling all my 300 plus years.
"Edward started us in the right place. We found some myths embedded in the Ticuna Indian tribe culture," Emmett reported.
"But the news is not good," Jasper said gravely. "To the best of our understanding, the unborn creatures either grow too quickly to be birthed naturally or they begin to starve. Either way, the creatures forcibly exit the mother's womb, feasting on the spilled blood."
"Just like in that movie Alien," Emmett added a little too enthusiastically.
Creature. Alien. They painted a completely different picture than the one Bella envisioned.
Once I finished with Jasper and Emmett, I checked in with Esme, whom it seemed I had barely seen over the past several days. Her report was just as distressing.
"He's just waiting. Waiting to see what Bella's fate is. Edward is bound to it. We lose her and he is lost to us forever," she lamented. "He doesn't even have enough faith to keep up appearances for Bella. He's inconsolable and beyond listening to any reason."
I knew what she meant. He had become so hopeless and helpless that I wondered what was keeping him from completely falling apart. He had already concluded how the last act in the play would end, but felt obligated to stay for the final curtain.
Overwhelmed and needing some air, which in of itself was a ridiculous thought, I headed outside -- only to be faced with Jacob's haunted eyes. He had sacrificed so much for Bella and my family with so little to ever gain from it. He was forced into our drama by his desire to have what he knew would never be his. It tethered him to us. The least I could offer him was a sincere thank you. Unfortunately I instead found myself venting my anxieties to this young man who already carried to much weight on his broad shoulders.
To our surprise, Edward soon appeared on the porch with Rosalie in tow. "Perhaps we've been going about this the wrong way. I was listening to you and Jacob just now, and when you were speaking of what the…fetus wants, Jacob had an interesting thought," he said.
Edward had a spark of purpose in his eyes that I had not seen for some time. It looked like…hope?
"We've been trying to get Bella what she needs. And her body is accepting it about as well as one of ours would. Perhaps we should address the needs of the…fetus first. Maybe if we can satisfy it, we'll be able to help her more effectively."
"I'm not following you, Edward," I responded.
"Think about it, Carlisle. If that creature is more vampire than human, can't you guess what it craves – what it's not getting?"
I was shocked by what simple sense it made! Blood. The elixir of existence for my kind. Brilliant.
But how to administer it? A blood transfusion would overload Bella's circulatory system and a direct transfusion to the fetus was impossible – no needle would penetrate the protective barrier.
So, with Bella's approval we decided to tried the simplest way. She drank it.
With that I witnessed another miracle. Almost immediately Bella showed improvement. Over the next 24 hours I continued to monitor her and the fetus. While it was obvious to any witness she improved by just observing her color and demeanor, I was also encouraged by the improvements I saw in her blood pressure, strength, and ability to keep food in her stomach. No one was happier than Bella though and she pleaded to have all the tubes and monitoring discontinued.
However, there was an unexpected complication: the fetus gained strength also and its erratic movements resulted in Bella suffering broken ribs and contusions.
It was time to plan a delivery – and soon.
Even though Bella showed no signs of impending labor, I knew we could not risk waiting to attempt a vaginal delivery. I would need to perform a c-section. Which also meant another consideration – just as this pregnancy was nearing an end, so were Bella's days as a human. I just hoped we could remove the child from her body before we need to effect the change. Timing would be crucial.
I sought out Edward finding him sitting at his piano staring at the keys blankly. He turned to face me.
"Edward, I did not want to leave Bella in her weakened state, but…"
He drew back slightly viewing the image of Bella's near-death appearance along with my practical thoughts of what we face if she died.
How would we hide her death from her chief of police father? Any examination of her body would reveal the signs of a pregnancy that could not be explained. And no one would believe a gravely ill girl would just up and disappear. Someone in this family would have to take the fall.
"I always said I'd take full blame," Edward addressed my fleeting thoughts.
"I'm sorry. I had tried to keep these thoughts from you as I knew you needed to focus on Bella, but I had to be prepared for…any outcome."
After an awkward pause, I pressed forward with my original purpose for our conversation. "With Bella's drastic improvement, we need to plan for a birth. I'll need your assistance. We'll need to do a c-section."
I tried to suppress the picture of the violent birth Emmett and Jasper described. Edward's eyes flashed and I feared I had failed. I was just too fatigued to master my thoughts.
"But I need to know, with no uncertainty, can you control yourself around her blood?" Then I let the images of what the birth would entail flow through my mind freely. He needed to know the exact challenge he would face. Edward, you will need to use your teeth to free the baby from her womb.
I knew he had already deduced this fact, but had he assumed I would perform the action? I would if necessary, but much preferred if he would – it just seemed too intimate an act.
But more importantly, the biting of an internal organ would very quickly begin transforming Bella, something she had expressed she wanted from her husband. However, he would need to show incredible restraint. Bite and stop. Bite and free his child from Bella's fragile human body.
"The venom will make her whole again, Edward, just as it did for Esme," I assured him as I saw my thoughts weighing him down.
"Carlisle, could God love the child we've created? A demon child? Has He abandoned Bella?"
His question blew me away.
I knew I could quote several lines of scripture to assure him of God's unwavering love, but instead I decided on something from my heart, not my head. "God would never abandon someone in her or his time of need. Sometimes His reasons for suffering are not clear to us at the time. But I have to agree with Bella – what is conceived in love must have a good purpose. Where there is love, you'll find God, son. Of this I am sure."
He thought for a moment and then said, "You wanted to tell me you are leaving?"
His sudden change in topic threw me for a loop, but knowing Edward, it was just his way to deflect a subject he wasn't really able to pursue further – for the moment at least.
"Yes, Esme and I are going to hunt and go to Seattle for more supplies. I need blood for Bella and some neonatal supplies since our original plan hadn't included a birth. I should be back by noon tomorrow if all goes as planned."
"Hurry," he said.
* * * *
Esme and I hunted with Alice and Jasper before climbing in the Mercedes for the drive to Seattle. With any luck, I could pick up everything I needed first thing in the morning and return quickly.
We rode in silence for many miles. The stress in the house was almost unbearable. I felt guilty benefiting from the time away. I reached out for Esme's hand and found it all too willing to hold mine.
Several hours into our hasty trip, the sudden ring of my cell phone caused Esme and I to jump. Though the scene would have been comical in other circumstances, on this occasion, it struck us with alarm.
The caller ID flashed "Alice".
A frantic Alice was pleading for my return. "What's going on, Alice! Calm down – talk to me!"
"It's Bella! She's bleeding from everywhere! I think the baby is coming, Carlisle! Edward took her upstairs! I can hear her heart, Carlisle. It's so erratic. Rose – oh, my God! Carlisle come home!" The line went dead.
I dropped the phone and hit the brake with my left foot followed by a stomp on the accelerator with the right. The tires of the Mercedes squealed in protested of my actions as it fishtailed and spun around. The sleek car cut through the night at its top speed of 155 mph.
Esme urgently tried to reach someone at home, but the rings went unanswered. At least I had driving to occupy my mind. Esme looked like she would jump out of the car at any moment. "Edward knows what he's doing. We'll be there soon. Soon enough," I tried to assure her – and myself.
The car slid to a halt in front of the house spitting gravel in all directions. Esme and I raced to the front door, but Esme beat me there. She entered the house first but came to such a sudden stop that I nearly crashed into her.
"Oh, my…" she whispered.
To my horror I quickly realized the reason for her abrupt halt. The smell of blood was everywhere, hitting us like a wall. A large pool of blood lay at the bottom of the stairs. It had already begun to congeal.
"No! No! No!" I cried out, flying up the stairs so fast I barely touched the steps. How could this happen? There was enough blood in the entryway to fill two humans! What could Bella have left to keep her heart beating?
I strained my ears to hear her heartbeat – I had to hear it! It had to be there!
I heard Jacob's, knowing its familiar sound. There was another beating sound – like a humming bird – thrumming quickly, almost fluttering. But both distinct sounds came from below. I heard no beating ahead of me.
The scene in my transformed study froze me in my tracks. It resembled what I typically only saw on a battlefield. Blood covered the floor. Bella lay open on the bed, red colored every inch of her and her eyes stared blankly up at the ceiling. My mind refused to believe this was the same vibrant girl I had come to love as a daughter. This could not be how the story ends!
Edward was straddling her lifeless form, furiously performing chest compressions.
He didn't notice my arrival over his hysterical pleas to Bella.
"Don't leave me! Bella! Don't leave me!"
I could see the bite marks on her wrists and neck. On the floor next to the bed lie the used silver syringe Edward had filled with his venom. I could see her womb no longer held the child she was willing to die for.
There was nothing left for me to do. Nothing...but…wait.
"No, Bella…I love you. Come back to me…" Edward sobbed as he collapsed onto her chest.
I wanted to move toward him, to help or comfort, but I was still in a state of disbelief. It just couldn't end like this.
And then it caught.
A frantic beating filled the room with the most glorious drumming sound.
Edward sat up and looked at her unbelieving.
Her eyes slowly closed and her transformation began.
I finally bridged the space between me and my children and silently touched them both.
"Listen! Listen to it, Carlisle." Edward breathed in a rush of relief.
I laughed as all the stress pushed its way out of me. As I listened to Bella's heart preparing for its eternal demise, I again was distracted by the delicate thrumming I heard earlier.
He stepped down from the bed and looked at me with such joy, I actually laughed again.
"I'm a…father…" his voice a mixture of apprehension and jubilance – just as it should be. "She's perfect, Carlisle. She has Bella's eyes," he gushed. "I…I have a family."
"Yes, yes you do," I clapped him on the back and shook his hand, "Congratulations, son. You did it. You saved Bella and your child."
He looked at Bella with such awe I felt humbled. "She was right, Carlisle. She knew. She's incredible, isn't she?"
"Indeed, when everyone doubted, Bella was strong. You are truly blessed," I agreed.
His eyes seemed to sober and the smile faded as he continued to look at Bella. The reality of what she would now endure becoming clear to him. "Carlisle, I…I think I need some time alone with Bella. I want to prepare her for her return."
"Of course. Do you want my help?"
"No. I think this is something I need to do…alone," he said.
"I understand. We did everything we could, Edward. She knew she would not survive this human, but it was what she wanted. What she chose."
I left, closing the door behind me and looking forward to meeting my new granddaughter. But I lingered for just a moment outside the door. I listened to Edward prepare a basin of water and begin to bathe his wife who would begin a new life in just a few days. He spoke loving words of reassurance to her. He described their daughter, expressed his adoration for her and promised an eternity of togetherness.
When I began to feel ashamed for eavesdropping on such a personal moment, I moved toward the stairs with barely contained excitement to greet the newest Cullen.
In the end, it wasn't a tragedy. It turned out to be a fairy tale ending to a very, very frightening story.
End Notes: This chapter was exhausting to write and probably shouldn't have been attempted in a one-shot! The moral issues, the emotional issues, and the drama were overwhelming. Hope I gave you a few things to ponder in the process. As always, your comments sought and appreciated, please consider leaving some.
Following chapters include:
Chapter 2 - Too Soon for Goodbye -- the night before the Volturi arrive thru Carlisle's eyes
Chapter 3 - My Decision-- details what happened in the hours before Edward's change
Chapter 4 - Prodigal Son -- Edward's rebelious years thru Esme's eyes
Chapter 5 - Christmas Angel -- some holiday fluff for Carlilse and Esme fans
Be sure to check out the parent story to this series, Carlisle and Esme: How the Love Story Began (through my profile).
Comments on this story and suggestions for other C&E moments you would like to see are accepted!
Go on, read the next chapter....