Warning: This story takes place in a time when women had no control over anything including their own bodies. They could not own property, vote, or serve in office. Most importantly to this story, legally there was no such thing as marital rape. Being married implied consent. This story touches on this dubious consent. Although today it is, rightly, considered rape, in that time it was not. The law was not changed in Canada until just after the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (1982) was enacted, in 1983. Please do not read this story if it will in any way make you uncomfortable or trigger a reaction.
beachcomberlc edited this for me. Any mistakes are a result of me fiddling with it after.
Standard Disclaimer: The author does not own any publicly recognizable entities herein. No copyright infringement is intended.
My disclaimer: I don't own Twilight. I do own a vivid memory of how cold the prairies can really get. The coldest temperature ever recorded in Winnipeg was −47.8 °C (−54 °F), on 24 December 1879 and the coldest since then was −45 °C (−49 °F) on 18 February 1966.* (wikipedia) I wasn't alive for either of those dates but I froze my ass off just the same.
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada 1879
The very portly midwife gently passed the well-wrapped infant to his waiting father. The tall man glowed with pride.
"Hello, son," he whispered as he stroked one downy cheek.
"And a fine boy he is, sir." The midwife laughed at the man.
"My wife?" he asked with a look of concern on his face.
"Isabella is just fine, sir, a little tired. So, what is the little man's name?" The tall man relaxed, relieved to find his beloved wife well.
"Well, we named our first son after my cousin, who helped us a great deal. And the second after my father, of course. The girls both have their own names, not family names. But this one gets my name, isn't that right, Junior?" he said as he swayed, holding tightly to his son.
"Your wife asked for a bit of time to bathe and that you bring the babe back to her within the hour, sir." The midwife spoke from across the room as she draped her cloak around her shoulders and reached for her bonnet.
She was always happy to come help with birthings at the Cullen household. Mrs. Cullen was very level-headed and that Miss Angela cared for her as well as the finest doctor could. Dr. Cullen, while being a learned man and quite handsome to boot, was an easy father. He was not prone to panic or fainting. He had retired from doctoring himself at an extraordinarily young age, save for helping the local tribes if asked, but still kept up with all the latest revelations in medicine. She watched as Edward swayed about the room whispering to his new son. His father, the elder Dr. Cullen, watched with amusement from his seat by the fire. Carlisle had come to live with his only child after the passing of his darling wife. Esme lived long enough to meet her first three grandchildren, but died on the journey back to Nova Scotia. She died a happy and fulfilled woman. Carlisle did not complete the journey. He turned back at Kingston, Ontario, stopping only long enough to secure a coffin for his wife and return passage. He had her interred in Winnipeg and sent for his belongings to be shipped. A lavish addition was built onto the Cullen's home with a main floor suite for Carlisle and two more children's rooms upstairs. He took over his son's medical practice and hospital duties to fill his hours and keep his mind supple.
The untimely death of his mother left Edward a very wealthy man, wealthy enough to become a gentleman farmer and occasional doctor. He was able to purchase an additional eight acres of land next to his own plot and employ a young farmer to work it for him. He now spent his days with his wife, his children and his extended family in utter bliss. His family was hale and hearty and he would do just about anything for them. He was well-regarded in the communities, enough to be forgiven for his doctoring the natives and harbouring a mixed-breed child in his home. Many eccentricities can be forgiven if one is wealthy enough.
Glancing at the clock, Edward could see he was in danger of being late in returning the babe to his mother. With one last grandfatherly kiss, Carlisle suggested Edward make haste up the stairs. A wink and a smile sent Edward walking quickly out of the room.
At the base of the stairs, he met up with Angela and Jacob. Jacob, at age thirteen, was mere inches shy of Edward's height. He kept his curly brown hair cropped short and his expression serious. Life outside the Cullen home was tense, and the realities of it made Jacob quite somber.
He remembers distinctly the day most of his illusions were shattered, showing him the cruelty of the world he lived in. That day, at six years of age, was also the day he fell in love with Isabella Cullen. When a man with tall boots struck him and called him names for sitting outside the store while his mother shopped, Bella had come to his aid. She'd said not one word to the man but slayed the ignorant ass with a withering look. She took Jacob in her arms and whispered kindnesses in his ear. She held his hand as his mother bandaged his small wound. He heard her crying as she recounted the story to Edward. Edward had taken the boy to his office and attempted to explain the reasons why the world disliked children such as Jacob.
While he loved, admired and venerated his 'Uncle Edward', Jacob also recently learned how children were conceived and was having a difficult time respecting Edward, knowing what he'd done to Auntie Bella under the cover of night. He relished his cousins and thoroughly enjoyed being the eldest. However, at the moment he was struggling to like Uncle Edward.
Angela recovered well from her injuries and worked hard to compensate for the loss of her fingers. Alas, they were so severely damaged she could not return to seamstressing or commercial laundry. The scars hampered her movement and speed. Couple that with her unapologetic pride in her child, his skin tone and the events that led to his birth, and she was unemployable in town anywhere but the Inn at the Forks. Emmett and Rosalie offered her a well-paying, steady job but had nowhere for her to reside with a young child. Emmett's aged parents had come to live with them at the carriage house and the dormitories at the inn for the staff simply could not house a child. Edward and Bella offered her their own carriage house, after some renovations, and an income for as long as she wanted. She became Bella's helper, confidant, and sister. Together they made the house and the garden run smoothly.
There is a great deal of work needed to run a household as large and boisterous as the Cullen home. Especially with so many young children running about. Bella relied on Angela's experience for her first pregnancy and Angela helped her as much as she could. As more and more children came, the bond between the two deepened.
It seemed to take but a twinkle in Edward's eye and Bella was with child again and again. Five in eight years of marriage, all healthy and well born. Bella struggled with her decision to name her first boy after Jasper. As the gesture was a gift for him, she did not allow Edward to know of her struggles. It wasn't until he was three years old and she had young Carlisle still at her breast that she realized that her son was not the embodiment of his name. His name had nothing to do with the other Jasper save for a memorial to the cousin Edward lost. The name does not make the man. Bella threw off the yoke of her former marriage and life, deciding to live in peace with the past. Two months later she was with child again, and it was her first girl child. Bella held her newly birthed daughter and whispered promises in her ear. Promises Bella herself had never been given, but came to live by. She will be strong, she will know her mind and she will be loved. No one who dares harm her will go unpunished. She will be proud, she will be smart and she will expect the world to treat her as a lady. She will be kind and generous to everyone who crosses her path.
The same words were whispered with the same vehemence to another soft baby girl a year-and-a-half later. Now both Margaret and Katharine played rough-and-tumble with their brothers and Jacob, as well as hosting fairy parties with Angela. There was time enough to mould their deportment to suit society's restrictions; for now, they straddle both worlds, masculine and feminine, in their play. The boys, now busy working with a tutor, did not have as much time to play as they once had. Although, Carlisle was allowed every-other-afternoon off and would often be seen reluctantly attending a fairy tea party with his sisters.
Bella reclined on her pillows and waited for her husband and child to return. The pressure in her breasts made her anxious to have her babe in her arms but she did not want to rush the bonding of father and child too much. Edward had some sort of ritual with each baby and Bella knew he would have this little one back to her soon.
She nestled down a little further into the bed when she heard his light tread on the stairs and strained to hear his whispers to his namesake.
"So, now that we've met Grandfather, Auntie Angela and Cousin Jacob, let me introduce you to your siblings. You must be quiet though, Edward, they're sleeping right now. Usually I wouldn't bother with admonishing you but your mother needs them to sleep a few more hours. If they're quiet, you and Mummy can get a nice long nap after you've eaten. So, eldest first."
Edward quietly opened the first door off the stairs and hovered in the doorway. There was just enough moonlight to make out the boy-shaped lump in the middle of the bed.
"This is Jasper. He is very smart but hates doing his sums. He likes beetroot but cannot stand turnips. When he thinks he's alone, he makes up songs and sings them out loud. Whatever you do, do not touch his feet. He is extremely ticklish and he pouts after being tickled."
The door was shut just as quietly as it was opened. The next door was opened, but the draperies did not allow any light to see the occupant.
"Somewhere in this room is your brother Carlisle. He is named after Grandfather but takes after Grandmother in so many ways. You'll hear all about her soon. This brother will get you in trouble without even meaning to, but he's such a charmer, you won't mind. In fact, he may just make you think it was all your idea in the first place. He, for reasons unknown, adores spinach."
Edward crossed the hall with his precious bundle.
"Now, these two beauties are your sisters. If your brothers harass you in any way and your mother and I are not there to help, go to them. They'll sort them out. Maggie can out-argue the world's best barrister and Katie bites. Good people to have in your corner. Maggie knows everything about everyone. But Katie, she knows where every candy is in the house. They are magical creatures, your sisters. Although they turn into banshees when offered vegetables; any vegetables."
Edward walked to the doorway of his own bedroom and smiled at his wife.
"Now Edward, I am well aware that you have already met your mother, having just exited her body. but allow me tell you about her from a different perspective. She can do sixteen million things all before breakfast. She has the biggest heart, the strongest shoulder and the best smile. She'd always right and will wait patiently for you to figure that out. She'll keep you healthy, tend your wounds and fill your tummy and love you to death whether you want her to or not. She'll be the centre of your universe for the next few years but she'll be the centre of mine for the rest of my life."
"Edward, what nonsense are you filling his head with?"
"It's not nonsense, darling," he said as he carefully slid onto the bed beside her, trying not to jostle the sleeping infant. "As the middle child, he'll need to be well informed. I thought I'd start teaching him properly before the rest got in the way. This is all very important information for him to absorb."
"Middle child? Good Lord, Edward, let me recover from this one before you press another five on me."
"I like pressing things on you, Bella. That's how we came to have these five children to start with," He answered her with a wink and a smirk.
"There'll be no pressing of anything for some time, Edward, except for your luck." Bella huffed, but was secretly amused by her handsome husband.
Little Edward yawned and opened his eyes to stare at his father. Edward took it as a sign to continue with the baby's introduction of his family and home.
"For the next two months or so, this will be your room, my boy. You'll sleep on Mummy's side of the room because she has to take care of you at night and not because Papa is too dense to get up, as your mother may try to convince you. See, boy, Papa doesn't have the necessary equipment to calm you or feed you. Papa only gets to play with Mummy's when she allows. Then you'll go into your very own nursery just next door. After that, when you're old enough, you'll move into Carlisle's room with him. Welcome to the world, little one." Edward leaned over and placed gentle kisses on his son's forehead.
"I'd never tell him you're dense, just a conveniently heavy sleeper." Bella whispered as she reached for the child. She would not delay his first feeding any longer.
"I'm a very smart man, son, don't let her fool you."
"If you were so smart Edward, you wouldn't mention having five more children hours after I've given birth."
"We both know you can't keep your hands off me, Bella. I'm not the one to blame. You get this predatory look in your eye just six weeks after having a baby. I know I'm in trouble then. You only see me as means to an end, a baby-making machine. Don't try to deny it, woman."
"I do love you, you fool." Bella tilted her head up for a kiss.
The bed shook with their laughter and baby Edward fixed his father with a frown from behind the breast at which he suckled. Edward laid his head on Bella's shoulder and watched as his boy fed, happy and content with the world.
AN: That is it, for now. I have a few ideas for the future but for now I'm closing the curtain on Cold. This story would be nothing without beachcomberlc, through the contest, the expansion, my cancer and other struggles, she has been a steadfast companion and the best teacher ever. I wish I could do more to thank her for all of her help and patience. There are many other people who have helped along the way, and I thank them, but mostly I want to thank those of you who read and waited for me to finish. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.