The beach was loud, crowded for a Wednesday morning on the north shore of Prince Edward Island, Canada. Several families were present, playing volleyball, chasing a small dog, and splashing in the water. There was no sunbathing though, the dense clouds overhead blocking any rays they might have caught. One family sits apart from the others, completely isolated from the world. The two eldest of the group sit on lounge chairs, the man reading a medical text while the woman sketched absentmindedly on a pad. The older sister lay back in her chair, her skimpy bikini showing nearly all of her marble-white skin. A few yards away, the two older teenage boys and the younger sister horsed around in the sand, throwing it at one another and laughing as if there were nothing to worry about in the world.
Further away still, the youngest male sat apart from his family, up on the numerous rocks and boulders that lined the beach. He looked out into the ocean, unseeing. His golden eyes flicked momentarily as his sister cried out as sand was thrown in her face as she lounged. Rosalie Hale brushed the sand off her stomach, her piercing eyes burning a hole in her husband's skull. Saying nothing, she stalked off down the beach to cool off. The beach was small but long, and stretched for miles; soon, Rosalie saw and heard no one on the beach and reveled in the aloneness. It wasn't long though before she heard more heartbeats and splashing in the water. She growled under her breath, momentarily happy with the rare feeling of solidarity, but continued on, not wanting to get back to her family yet. After summiting a small hill, Rosalie came upon the source of the sounds.
A toddler played in the low waves, the mother sitting in a beach chair a few feet away, typing swiftly on a keyboard. The child was female, her dark hair of medium length, pulled up into a high ponytail that bounced when she jumped over the waves enthusiastically. She wore a green one piece and small white sunglasses with little crystals on the edge. The mother wore a soft white cover up, with dark sunglasses that matched her hair. Her back was to Rosalie but the child looked up at Rosalie curiously. Rosalie was confused about how the child could have known she was there; her approach was silent to all humans. Rosalie studiously ignored her gaze, taking to the water about 200 yards from the mother and child. The cool ocean submerged her feet and ankles, making the sand dip and bury her feet in the soggy substance.
Suddenly, she felt a tug on her hand. Startled, she looked down into the little girl's face. She had taken her sunglasses off and was staring up at Rosalie with bright emerald green eyes. Her face too was very familiar and Rosalie racked her brain to find where the familiarity had come from. She was distracted though as she became lost in the toddler's wide, innocent gaze. The girl didn't say anything, just continued to watch her curiously, her little head tipped slightly to one side, her small teeth biting into her bottom lip as she did.
"Elizabeth, come here now!"
Both Rosalie and the girl looked toward the order and suddenly everything fell into place. Rosalie stared, shocked, as the mother hurried toward them and the little girl—Elizabeth—rushed to her. The young woman swept her daughter into her arms, holding her up on her hip securely.
"I'm sorry, ma'am, I hope she didn't dist—" the woman fell silent too as Rosalie and she appraised each other while Rosalie fought for words.
Bella looked as surprised as Rosalie, both their eyes wide. Bella's eyes though were cautious, unbelieving, while Rosalie was just shocked. It had been three years since they had left Forks, Washington, three years since Rosalie's adoptive brother Edward had ordered the Cullen family to leave the small town and his human mate behind, insisting her life would be better without their interference. They complied and have not returned nor tried to reach out to Bella since then. However, it seems Bella's life was not as ideal as they might have thought.
Though Bella wore a cover up over her bathing suit, it was not tied and Rosalie could see the jagged scars that covered Bella's torso from her right hip across her mid-drift and up to just under her left breast. The wounds were large, horrifying, and only just recently healed. Bella was thin too, dangerously thin, and Rosalie could easily see slashes on her arms and wrists. Rosalie stared at her would-have-been sister, not knowing what to say. Bella said nothing either, but her face was not as shocked as before. Gently, she put down her daughter.
"Lissie, baby, go play in the sand by the chair, okay?" She asked; Elizabeth nodded and, with one last glance toward Rosalie, hurried to the beach chair and plopped down in the warm sand. Bella watched her for a moment before turning to Rosalie. They stood there for a moment, just watching each other, before Bella spoke.
"Are you really here? Or am I just hallucinating?" she said softly. Rosalie stared, confused by the question.
"I am here, really," she answered. Bella nodded curtly, her eyes still cautious.
"If you don't mind me asking…what happened to you?" Rosalie asked, her eyes raking over Bella's stomach. Bella sighed, wrapping the cover up over her more securely, tying it closed.
"After you all left," she says her voice weak, "I don't remember what happened. For months, I don't recall anything. Looking back on it, I believed I was catatonic. And I didn't wake up until one morning when I was throwing up. I took a pregnancy test, three actually, and they were all positive. I…I didn't know what to do. Charlie was furious, telling me to have an abortion. But I couldn't. It was…that night…after the party, he…he let his boundaries fall for that one night…of everything else, it was the one thing for sure I thought was a dream…but it wasn't. My pregnancy proved it and, even if it didn't, I wouldn't abort the baby. I couldn't. Charlie was so mad, I left…I drove to your old house…I stayed there. I stayed there…" Bella was on the verge of tears, her voice cracking. Rosalie was shocked, angry, and aching for her. Bella walked slowly to a small outcropping of rocks nearby, sitting down on one while keeping her eye on Elizabeth, who was building a sandcastle. Rosalie followed, sitting beside her, her gold eyes waiting for more.
"I stayed there my entire pregnancy. No one turned the water or heating or any of the appliances off. I was able to use what was my college fund for food and some spare supplies, like diapers and a few pairs of clothes and such. Whatever I could afford…" she trailed off. Rosalie, though hurting for her, encouraged her to continue.
"The birth?" she asked softly. Bella laughed humorlessly.
"Hell," she said, "She came early. I was only about 34 weeks. My labor was 16 hours long. I was pushing for 4. There were still some medical supplies left and I used them. I gave birth in the bathtub. It was very painful. She was so small. She had the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck; she couldn't breathe and she almost died. I was expecting her to, expecting her to die in my arms. She couldn't breathe and she was trying to breathe so hard her little body was trembling. I knew I should have gotten prenatal vitamins or something but I couldn't…..and it would've been my fault if she died….I would have deserved it…."
Bella could speak no longer, losing her voice as tears slid down her cheeks. Unthinkingly, naturally, Rosalie pulled her into her arms, hugging her firmly to herself. Bella hugged her back, surprised but needing the support.
"Carlisle should have been there. We all should have been there. I'm so sorry," Rosalie whispered, tightening her hold. Bella said nothing, just taking in the moment. Rosalie broke apart though as Elizabeth waddled over to them quickly, her eyes scared and on the brink of tears.
"Mommy?" she asked, her little voice terrified. Bella reacted instinctively, letting go of Rosalie and turning toward her daughter, lifting her gently into her lap, tucking her head under her chin.
"I'm ok, baby girl, I'm ok," she crooned, rocking her daughter back and forth and she clung to her mother desperately. Bella kissed Elizabeth's hair gently, closing her eyes as Rosalie watched on silently. When both mother and daughter were calmed down, Elizabeth turned her head toward Rosalie curiously once more. Bella loosened her hold on her, allowing Elizabeth to sit comfortably in her lap.
"Lissie, this is Rosalie," Bella introduced Rosalie softly. Elizabeth looked up at Rosalie curiously, a new light coming to her eyes and she reached back to touch her mother's neck gently. Bella smiled gently, taking the hand and kissing it gently.
"Yes, baby, the one I've told you about," Bella answered, a wry smile on her face. Elizabeth made a small giggle, reaching toward Rosalie, who looked up at Bella, panicked. Bella nodded and Rosalie took Elizabeth from her. The little girl settled into her freezing embrace easily and deliberately placed her hand against Rosalie's cheek. Rosalie gasped as her vision left her, though she felt Bella holding onto her arm as memories that were not her own flashed through her mind. She saw Bella as Elizabeth did, holding her in her arms and telling her stories about Rosalie, about how even though she was distant, Bella loved her, and how her middle name was tribute to Rosalie, her aunt. The memories disappeared as Elizabeth's hand dropped from Rosalie's skin and the toddler began to play with her bathing suit. A moment later though, she reached toward Bella, who took her and kissed her forehead gently before placing her own the ground, encouraging her to go back and play. Rosalie was sitting still as a statue, the shock apparent across her face, and Bella waited for her to say something. Finally, she did.
"She's gifted," Rosalie murmured. Bella nodded, a small smile on her lips. Rosalie's eyes casted down as she processed the information. Her eyes landed on Bella's stomach, covered by the white fabric of her cover up. Without thinking, Rosalie reached out and took Bella's hand. Bella let her, her own eyes avoiding Rosalie's as the vampire flipped her wrist over, her pale, unhealthy skin brandishing fresh scabs of cuts, lining her arm from her wrist to her elbow.
"I wasn't trying to kill myself if that's what you were thinking," Bella defended herself. Rosalie looked up at her, disbelief in her eyes. Bella sighed, pulling her hand away gently and placing it in her lap. She looked toward Elizabeth as she spoke.
"I had to feed her somehow. In the beginning, she took my milk. But after that, she began to cry for more and she didn't want just my milk. She was hungry and I did the only thing I could think of to feed her." Bella looked down at her hand, her fingers grazing the faded pink lines across her skin. Bella met Rosalie's eyes.
"I don't have access to blood on a regular basis. It's not like a blood bank will just donate some. So I had to make do," she said. Rosalie was flabbergasted.
"So you gave her yours," she whispered.
"What else could I do? What else can I do?" Bella responded, looking back toward her daughter, who was enjoying playing in the sand.
"Come with us," Rosalie said. Bella looked back to her, her eyebrows raised.
"Us?" She asked uncertainly. Rosalie nodded.
"The family is here, a few miles down the shore. I can get them….." Rosalie trailed off as tears began to run down Bella's face. Bella looked away, again toward Elizabeth.
"Is…is he with you?" She asked and Rosalie knew exactly who she meant.
"Yes. Bella, believe me, if he had known, he never would have left. He loves you!" Rosalie insisted but Bella shook her head, the tears coming nonstop.
"He doesn't. He told me so. When he left. That he never did, that you all never did," she whispered. Rosalie was floored and she actually had to sit back down on the rocks for support. Anger bubbled through her, anger at her brother for screwing up. She turned to Bella though, her voice genuine.
"He lied, Bella. He lied to protect you. He wanted to give you a chance at a normal human life. That's why we left. I swear you: he loves you, we all do. And we never would have left if we had known."
"I wouldn't have gotten a normal human life even if I hadn't been pregnant," Bella admitted.
"What do you mean?" Rosalie asked. Bella met her gaze evenly.
"Victoria," she said simply. Rosalie stiffened, a low hiss squeezing past her clenched teeth. Bella was undisturbed.
"She came for me, but I had already left," Bella told her, eyes staring at the ocean water that lapped against the rocks with the tide. "She killed Renee and Phil, trying to get information out of them. She went for Charlie next and killed him. She came to the house; Elia was only a few weeks old. I hid her as best as I could before I confronted her. She was planning on killing me, I knew that for a fact. But, just as she was about to, she heard Elia crying upstairs and went to investigate. I couldn't stop her and I thought for sure, she was going to kill both of us. But the minute she saw Elia, she ran, saying she would be back. I don't understand why; all I knew is I couldn't stay. I left that night and have gradually moved across the country, staying in any unknown town with a cheap hotel."
Rosalie didn't know what to say. She just knew one thing: she needed to tell the family. She told Bella so, who didn't respond at first.
"Rosalie," she finally said, "I'm a mother first and foremost. If what you said is true, there was a great amount of unnecessary pain that happened because of your leaving. I can't go through that again, and I'll be damned if I'll let you and the family do that to my daughter. She's heard the stories, the memories, she knows what you are and what she is. She loves you more than you know. Especially him. Every day, Rosalie, every day, she asks for him. Every time I've had to lie to her. I don't think I could handle letting you into her life for her to be hurt. I don't care much about me but I can't let you do that to her. Especially not with…not with Edward."
"Edward never wanted to leave, Bella. None of us did. He's been in a horrible state, Bella. Never hunting, never doing anything. He's in pain, but he's too stubborn to go back because he thinks you're safer without him. Obviously, you're not, and the minute he realizes that, and what he unknowingly left behind, he couldn't tear him away. Please believe me, Bella." Rosalie's voice was desperate, pleading. Bella met her gaze, contemplating. Slowly, she stood.
"Alright," she said and Rosalie's eyes lit up; Bella held up a hand though.
"Elizabeth has never met her father; I will tell her what is going on, at least the part she needs to know, and she will decide. It will be her decision to accept him and/or you."
"You can give that responsibility to your child? She's so young." Rosalie said, unsure. Bella smiled.
"She's very intelligent for her age," Bella said, "We will be here when you come back."
With that, Rosalie took off.
The family was no longer on their lounge chairs when she met up with them; they were about a mile down the beach from their original spot.
"Where did you go? We've been looking for you everywhere! Alice couldn't see you!" Emmett and Esme both said; Emmett pulled her into a tight embrace and kissed her passionately. Rosalie pulled away quickly though.
"No, we need to go. Edward," she said, her eyes meeting her brother's. Edward looked up halfheartedly before his black eyes going wide as he took in her memories. He doubled over in shock and emotion and Carlisle reached out to steady him. The rest of the family was staring at Rosalie in confusion. Wasting no time, Rosalie relayed the story the others. They were all equally shocked, angered, hopeful, and worried. Carlisle spoke first.
"Bella is very weak. She can't keep using her own blood to feed Elizabeth. I will contact the blood bank right now, make up some excuse," he said, flipping his phone open. Within a minute, he had several gallons waiting for him. Alice and Esme were creating a mental shopping list of things to get for both Elia and Bella. Emmett and Jasper were still getting over their shock. Edward just stood stock still. Rosalie raised a hand.
"This doesn't mean anything yet," she told them. They all stopped and looked at her if she was insane. "Bella told me that she can't just decide to let us back into her and Elia's lives, not after what she went through when we left."
Everyone's faces expressed their deep sadness and shock, their eyes dulling.
"But," Rosalie continued, "she is allowing Elia to make the decision." Everyone exchanged glances at this news.
"How is she going to do that?" Jasper inquired. Rosalie's eyes fell on Edward.
"Every day, she asked for you. And every day, Bella had to deny her. She's not going to deny her anymore. When she sees you, Bella will let her choose. What she chooses will be what happens." Edward's eyes were haunted but a small stream of hope in them. He nodded, followed by the rest of the family. Then they ran.
Elizabeth and Bella were still there when Rosalie returned with the rest of the family. Elia stood knee deep in the ocean water, Bella behind her. All seven vampires watched from the dune as the human girl they left three years ago looked back and spotted them. Edward steeled himself then descended the hill slowly, making toward them. Elia followed her mother's gaze and, startled, held tightly to her mother's leg.
"Mommy, who is that?" she whispered, her tiny voice scared as she appraised Edward's approach. Bella knelt down to her daughter's height, tucking a lock of stray hair behind her ear. Elia looked at her mother curiously.
"That's you daddy, Lissie," Bella told her, her voice cracking. Elia's green eyes widened, her head flicking back and forth between her mother and Edward, who had stopped around five hundred yards from them, watching them closely and listening to every word. The Cullens on the hill did likewise.
"Mommy…" Elia's voice was both a question and a statement of emotion. Bella kissed her temple gently, looking back toward Edward for a moment before answering her daughter.
"You choose, baby. I'll honor your wishes," Bella murmured into her daughter's hair, squeezing her eyes tight from tears she did not want to shed. Though she left the decision to her daughter, Bella knew what she wanted Elia to choose. Bella leaned back slightly, using her body language to show Elia that she could make the decision.
There was only a slight pause before Elia moved slowly away from her mother toward Edward. Edward knelt down slowly as the little girl approached, her gait speeding up from a slow walk to a speed walk then to a flat out run. Elizabeth ran to Edward, and he opened his arms for her instinctively as she ran into his embrace. He stood up with her in his arms, hugging her securely.
"Daddy," she said. Edward's smile was radiant and he would be crying if he could and he held his daughter close. Bella had stood up as Elia had run to Edward and, arms crossed over herself, she made her way to them, tears glistening on her face. She was within earshot when Elia leaned back slightly in Edward's arms, looking into her father's face fully.
"Where'd you go, Daddy?" she asked, her eyes and face sad. Edward's heart broke at her sadness.
"I had to go away for a little while, sweetie. But I'm back," he assured her.
"You promise?" She asked. Edward smiled and held her close again, kissing her forehead.
"I promise, baby girl. I'm not going anywhere ever again," he swore to her. Bella's face was a mess by the time she reached them. Edward reached out to her as she reached out for him, pulling his love to him securely while keeping Elia in his other arm. He leaned down and brushed her lips, and she kissed him in return. Bella laid her head on his shoulder, tears glistening on her cheeks. Elia's tiny hands and arms were wrapped around Edward's neck and she turned to look at her mother.
"Daddy's here, Mommy," she told her. Bella laughed gently, touching her lips to her daughter's cheek.
"Yes, baby, I know," Bella responded, laying her head on Edward's shoulder as Elia buried her face into Edward's neck. Elia turned her head into Edward's collarbone and took one of her hands and laid it on his throat. Edward gasped quietly and Bella made to take Elia if his grip loosened. It didn't though and Edward stared unseeing as Elia shared all the stories her mother had told her about him. It took a long time before she was finished. When she removed her hand from his skin and replace it around his neck, he blinked and looked down at Bella.
"You're too good to me, love," he said. Bella smiled tiredly, leaning up to kiss his lips again delicately. By now, the rest of the family had convened on the trio. Esme hugged Bella gently, placing a hand on her cheek.
"Sweetheart, you've grown too thin. We need to get you back to a healthy weight," she chided halfheartedly. Bella smiled and hugged her back. Carlisle was next, reiterating her poor health. Bella blushed delicately at their concern. As Alice engulfed Bella in a hug, they turned toward Elia, who was watching curiously. She leaned out of Edward's arms toward Esme.
"Grandma," she said purposely and Esme, shocked, took her from Edward. Elia hugged her, playing gently with a lock of her hair while nuzzling into her shirt.
"Hi, sweetie," Esme murmured, kissing Elia's temple delicately, her eyes on the verge of tears. Elia again deliberately placed her hand on Esme's throat and the memories followed suit. Esme held her for a moment afterward before Elia sat up and reached for Carlisle this time.
"Grandpa," she said. He took her easily and Elia repeated the process. However, after she was done, she looked up at her grandfather.
"You make Mommy better?" she asked curiosuly. Carlisle, like Edward, melted under her gaze. Carlisle looked toward Bella, who was wrapped in a soft blanket and in Alice's embrace, watching the exchanges with teary eyes. Carlisle looked back to his baby granddaughter, assuring her the he would. Elia, satisfied with his answer, hugged him again. The process continued, Elia reaching out to every family member: first Alice, then Rosalie, then Emmett, then Jasper. Emmett was terrified to hold her, fearing his strength; Elia was unafraid and, upon him holding her, showed him her memories of Bella calling him a teddy bear. By the time she was done, Emmett was relaxed and smitten with his little niece. Jasper was cautious and would not take her at first. Bella stepped in, taking Elia from Emmett and stepping toward Jasper.
"Jasper, I never blamed you for that night. Please," Bella said, offering Elia to him, "It would make both of us happy." Hesitantly, Jasper complied. Elia's memories had an instantaneous effect on him and he held her securely, tickling her delicately and smiling as she giggled. Eventually though, Jasper transferred Elia back into her father's arms, who took her happily. Elia yawned gently and laid her head on Edward's shoulder, her arms around his neck. Within minutes, she was fast asleep. Everyone took that as their clue to head back and get the cars to go home. Bella made to pack up the beach chair as Edward rocked Elia gently. Taking the beach chair from her, Edward kissed Bella's temple.
"I love you," he whispered.
"As I love you," Bella responded, touching her lips to his sweetly as they made toward the Mercedes as their daughter slept contentedly in her father's arms.
Hey everyone! So I'm working on chapters for Neverland and Secret, it's just taking bit longer than expected! I'm also working on the last Outtake for Miracle of Love, Part 1 of the birth in Edward's perspective!
So I thought I'd give you this oneshot just for because; the idea has been in my head for a while I wanted to share it! :)
Love you all! Stay tuned; chapters are in the near future, I promise!