Chapter One

Bella

Our honeymoon had been everything a girl could ever wish for until today. Now it had turned into a nightmare. How had it happened so quickly?

Edward looked at me in horror as I explained my theory as to why I was feeling sick. We had thought it might be food poisoning at first and he had been very solicitous but when I felt fine for the rest of the day I just put it down to all the excitement of the past few weeks finally catching up with me.

When the same thing happened the following morning while Edward was out swimming I became concerned. This was weird! As I sat hugging the toilet bowl it came to me. Sick two mornings in a row. Was it even possible? I studied my reflection in the bedroom mirror after pulling myself together and brushing my teeth. Was it my imagination or had I put on weight? That was odd too. I mean I may be a new bride but I knew enough to be sure that even if I had become pregnant I wouldn't be showing yet.

Of course, the fact that the father was a vampire might alter all the norms. It seemed fantastic but now the idea had planted itself in my brain it wouldn't go away. I decided to leave it one more day before I said anything to Edward. I would look pretty stupid if I was wrong.

Sitting at the table I tried to work things out and realized that I was way overdue. Another clue to the mystery of my morning sickness. The more I thought about it the more sure I became so I decided to broach the subject with Edward. It would certainly complicate things. I would have to remain human for a while and there was Charlie to think about. What would we tell him?

As I said, Edward looked stunned at my pronouncement.

"You must be wrong, Bella. It's just not possible."

I laughed, "Is that a scientific fact or just your thoughts on the matter?"

He stared at me, "This is serious, Bella. I think you're just overwrought. It's been a very overwhelming few weeks for you and you're being fanciful."

"Excuse me? I don't think I'm overwrought Edward. I've been sick the last three mornings in a row and I know I've put weight on. Just think. I mean, it's fantastic but what an end to our honeymoon. A baby."

Edward jumped to his feet and paced the room shaking his head and looking very agitated.

"We have to go home."

Taken aback I questioned his comment, "Why?"

"Why? Why do you think?"

"Well, I don't suppose it would hurt if we kept the news to ourselves for a couple more weeks and it's so beautiful here. I'd hate to cut our visit short."

"I'm being serious, Bella. This is nothing to make light of. It's...It's a catastrophe. We need to act swiftly."

"Act? What do you mean? I'm not stupid. I know it won't be a normal pregnancy but I'm sure I can manage without Carlisle for a little while."

"No, you can't. You're talking as if you could go through with this and you can't."

I stared at him uncomprehendingly, "What? Why? Edward, I don't understand."

He smiled and put an arm around my shoulders smiling tolerantly at me as he spoke in a condescending voice as if to a child.

"Of course, you don't, Bella. This isn't a baby and you can't carry on with the pregnancy if that's what it is. The sooner we get back the sooner Carlisle can sort it out."

I swallowed but my mouth was so dry I almost choked.

Pulling away from him I stared up into Edwards's face, "Explain yourself."

My voice sounded cold but I controlled my emotions.

"Bella. I'm a vampire and you're human. Whatever is growing inside you it isn't a baby. It's something else, something monstrous that will kill you. Hybrids don't survive and they kill the mother too. I won't allow that to happen. I should have been more careful. I did try if you remember."

I stared at him, was he saying that I had seduced him? For God's sake!

"Edward, I love you and if we've created another life together then we owe it to that child to do everything we can to protect it."

He took my shoulders and stared into my eyes, his now blazing with anger and frustration.

"No, Bella. I'm not prepared to risk your life for something that shouldn't even exist. You have no idea what you are talking about so please just go pack your stuff. We're going back now, today."

I shook my head and broke free of his painful grip, "Are you telling me that you don't want our child?"

"It's not a child. Get that out of your head. It's an obscene entity whose only action will be to kill you and I refuse to allow that to happen. You're my wife Bella, my mate and I will not allow you to put your life in danger. I need you. I do not need or want whatever parasite is in your belly. Do you understand?"

I couldn't reply, the anger and contempt in Edward's voice had taken my own away. A parasite? Our baby was a parasite? How could he say such a thing?

"I want to talk to Carlisle."

"And you will as soon as we get back. He can talk some sense into you, Bella. For now, get packed. Don't worry about ending this holiday early, once it's over you can choose anywhere in the world you want to go. We'll get you changed and then you'll be safe. I was a fool, I should have turned you when you asked me to. Then none of this would have happened. I'm so sorry, Bella. I take full responsibility for this mess but I promise you I will get it sorted out very soon."

He pulled me into his arms and kissed me but where I had always felt warmth and love, even desire before I now felt nothing. I was consumed by his hurtful words and the actions they presaged. It was as if my thoughts, my emotions, didn't matter. I was no longer master of my own destiny. Well, we'd see about that. But first I had to be sure that I was right, that I really was pregnant.

I sat on the plane feeling numb. Before we left I had overheard Edward on the phone to Carlisle. He had assumed that I was in the bathroom when in fact I had gone outside for some air. I had felt sick when I heard Edward's words. Without any discussion, without a single word to me, he had discussed ending my pregnancy, about killing our unborn child. What manner of man could even contemplate such a thing?

A month ago we had been the happiest couple on the planet with a lifetime together stretching out before us. We had made plans and talked of things we wanted to do and now when I looked into the future I saw nothing. There was an awful blackness where the beautiful light of possibilities had shone.

Edward refused to talk about it as we took the boat back to the mainland from magical Isle Esme. He had taken my hand as we walked to the car, and was solicitous as we waited for the flight but the terrible gulf that had opened up between us continued to grow.

I couldn't bear the silence any longer and fled to the restroom in the airport, locking myself in a cubicle and sobbed silently, one hand resting on the gentle swell of my belly where our baby grew. Maybe I was overreacting. Maybe Edward was just in shock and would be OK once he had spoken to Carlisle.

A small voice spoke in my head, but what if he's not? What if he continues to act as if our baby was something malignant growing within me? I had to pull myself together, to summon my reserves of strength because I would fight for our child with every ounce of life in my body. It was not his sole decision to make, I had a voice in this too and I intended to make sure it was heard.

The flight was a long one, especially so as Edward closed his eyes as soon as we took off and refused to open them or speak to me until we came in to land. It was as if he was cutting himself off. Did he know how I felt? Was he determined not to discuss the matter until we were home? As if that would somehow make a difference? What did he expect me to say? Did he think that I would suddenly change my attitude?

At SeaTac, we were greeted by Esme and Carlisle, both looking uncharacteristically solemn, although Esme smiled when she saw me looking at her and squeezed my hand reassuringly as we sat together in the back of the car.

In the front, I knew Edward and Carlisle were talking but as they had the radio on I was unable to hear the conversation.

"What are they talking about, Esme?"

She shook her head slightly and changed the subject.

"Did you enjoy your stay on Isle Esme? It's very beautiful although I haven't been there for years. I really should visit again soon."

Taking her lead I tried to smile and sound grateful.

"It was very beautiful and so peaceful, thank you."

I examined her face unsure why she should want to talk about the island at a time like this. Lowering my voice I whispered hoping that the guys were too busy with their conversation to listen in.

"Carlisle has told you why we came home early, hasn't he?"

"The others are looking forward to hearing all about your trip. Still, I'm sure you must be exhausted. It's a long flight."

"Esmeā€¦" She shot me a warning look and shook her head imperceptibly once more. So, she wasn't prepared to discuss our news either? Was I the only person excited by it? I'd expected a little support from her at the very least.

I think I dozed off, I was very tired because we were back at the house before I realized and Edward ushered me straight upstairs to the guest room which had been readied for us as Edward's room was too small for a couple.

"You rest here, Bella. We'll talk later."

I grabbed his arm to stop him from leaving.

"I want to talk now, Edward. You've hardly said a word since we left the island. It's as if you think if we don't talk about it then it can't be true. I want to know how you feel about the baby, our baby."

I wondered whether to admit I had overheard his conversation with Carlisle but hesitated.

"Don't, Bella. Just don't. I can't talk about it yet. I need some time."

"But Edward, we have to talk about this. It affects both of us. Aren't you at all excited? Why won't you say something positive? Anything? You do understand that this affects both of us, don't you? You can't just make decisions on your own."

He gritted his teeth, kissed me on the cheek and left me alone in the bedroom. I wanted to scream, to run away, but I collapsed onto the bed and closed my eyes sobbing into the pillow. I had never felt so wretched in my life.

Pulling myself together after a few minutes I decided I was not going to be hidden away while my future was discussed. I opened the door and heard male voices below, it was Carlisle and he was talking to my husband although I couldn't hear the words.

I tiptoed to the top of the stairs to hear better and almost screamed as a hand descended lightly on my arm. If not for the other hand pressed lightly against my mouth I would have given myself away.

Instead, I turned to see Esme standing there. She smiled reassuringly and motioned for me to follow her along the hallway and into Carlisle's study.

I glanced around confused as she shut the door very gently and saw that we were not alone. Rosalie was there too. She and I had never been close friends and her presence made me uneasy.

Esme gestured for me to take a seat, "Sit down, Bella. We don't have much time."

"Time for what? Esme, what's going on? Why wouldn't you speak to me in the car?"

Esme smiled reassuringly at me, "I'm sorry, Bella. I was listening to Carlisle and Edward. Carlisle asked me to accompany him to pick you up and listen to what was said but not to engage you in conversation. He said I would learn why later."

I frowned, "I don't understand."

"I know, Bella but it had to be this way. I'll explain now it's safe to do so."

Rosalie's voice was unusually soft and compassionate and brought me close to tears again.

"Carlisle told me your news and that there was going to be trouble. He wanted you to have someone for support at the airport but someone who didn't know what he was planning."

"I don't understand. Edward won't talk to me. I don't know what's going on, Rose. I want to be happy, to be celebrating but everyone seems so horrified. Why?"

She sat beside me and glanced at Esme who took my hand and squeezed it.

"Bella, there are some things you need to know and Rose and I want to explain without putting any pressure on you. We need to do it quickly because there isn't much time and we know that Edward is trying to persuade you to have the baby terminated."

I nodded, "I know but I hoped Carlisle might make him stop and think. It can't be as bad as Edward makes out I refuse to believe that."

Rose nodded and continued speaking fast and low, "If you are pregnant, Bella and Carlisle think it's likely that you are from what you've said, then your life could be in danger. Carrying a hybrid child isn't something to be entered into lightly. The pregnancy itself could kill you and there is no guarantee that the baby would live if you did carry it to full term."

I opened my mouth to speak but she merely hushed me and went on, "Please, Bella. Hear me out. Having said all that the choice is yours to make. No one should coerce you into doing anything that you don't want to do."

Rose sat forward and continued, "Edward wants Carlisle to terminate the pregnancy. He's frightened for your safety."

I shook my head hunching protectively over my belly, "No. How could he? The baby is his too. Would he kill his own child?"

"Edward loves you. If he has to choose between you or the baby he will choose you. The baby isn't important as far as he is concerned, not when weighed against your life.

Carlisle is afraid that Edward will try to sway him. They both know that you can't go to a human doctor under the circumstances."

I shook my head, "I won't do it and I'm sure you're wrong about Edward. Once we talk I can show him how important this baby is and what it means."

Esme sighed, "Well, I hope you're right but Carlisle has organized a contingency plan, just in case."

So, Carlisle wasn't as pessimistic as Edward. Well, that was a relief. I wasn't sure what Rose meant by a contingency plan but I was willing to listen.

"OK, I'm listening."

"We don't know all the details because it wouldn't be safe. You know how easily Edward can read minds. The only person who can really keep Edward out is Carlisle and it's his plan. That's why Esme couldn't know anything until you got back. If he can't talk Edward out of his determination to force you into a termination he will agree to examine you alone. Firstly he needs to know if you are pregnant. If so then he will go back to talk to Edward and keep him occupied as long as possible.

While you are alone in here we need you to climb out of the window and make for the woods. I will be waiting for you there. She'll take you to Port Angeles where Alice is waiting with another car."

"Alice? Where will she take me?"

Esme shook her head sadly, "We don't know where because if we did Edward could find out and he would go looking for you. I wish I believed that you could persuade Edward to consider your feelings but I know my son, he's very single-minded and he's heard stories about hybrid births."

"But why are you all willing to help me? I don't understand."

Esme smiled sadly, "I had a son once, Bella. He was the most precious thing to me and I would have killed to keep him safe. Unfortunately, I couldn't save my child but you have that choice and if that's what you choose to do I won't let anyone stand in your way."

She was close to tears and I turned to Rose, "You don't even like me, why are you willing to help? Not that I'm not grateful, just confused."

Rose sighed heavily, "I would give anything to have a child, Bella. The choice was snatched from me and I had to come to terms with that. I refuse to allow anyone to take away your choice. Just remember that because you want this doesn't mean you'll get it. What you are considering is very dangerous."

She stood up and kissed me on the cheek, "I'll be in the woods until you decide. Far enough away that Edward can't hear my thoughts and Emmett is standing by to keep him distracted for longer if necessary. You go to your room until Carlisle invites you to come for an examination. Carlisle's study is the one place in the house Edward can't hear what we say or our thoughts hence we're holding this conversation here. Good luck, Bella."

Rosalie slipped out of the window and Esme opened the door and peered out cautiously.

"They're still talking but I think Edward will be coming to see you soon. I'm so sorry, Bella. Stay strong and remember we are with you, whichever way you decide. I'll stay here until Carlisle comes up, that way I'm safe from Edward."

Esme hugged me then nodded and I slipped back to the bedroom and sank down on the bed. All kinds of thoughts were whirling around in my head and I was thankful that Edward couldn't read my thoughts.