Going Under

Sub Ch 4 – Braxton Hicks

"Edward, just take a deep breath for me," Carlisle's voice said in my ear, his arm wrapped firmly around my upper arm.

My vision swam slightly, but I did as I was told and took a deep breath. I was staring up at a ceiling of some sort, with bright lighting. I could smell rubbing alcohol and latex gloves, and Carlisle's head was floating above me, concern and amusement in his eyes. All at once, ten heads formed a small ring above me, and twenty-two topaz eyes stared at me, familiar faces masked with shock and anxiety.

Emmett was fighting the urge to laugh, and Jasper's brow was knitted in worry. Alice seemed to be jumping up and down as she clutched Olivia's hand, who looked equally, if not more, excited. Esme was holding Michelle's hands. Aaron was standing next to Charlie, conversing in a hushed tone.

"What happened?" I asked, my voice sounding perfectly fine, though my head did not feel quite so right.

"Well, it seems you passed out, son," Carlisle said, the faint hint of a smile pulling up the corners of his lips.

"Passed out?" I repeated in confusion.

"Well, yes. Bella had a contra--," Aaron started, but at the beautiful word 'Bella', I flung myself off of the ground and stood up, ignoring the swimming of my vision, and followed Bella's scent into her room, forcing myself to run at a human pace the entire ten steps there. It was absolutely agonizing, but I finally made it, and nearly had a heart attack as I saw Bella hooked up to a million monitors, biting her lip as she fought the pain of the contraction she was having.

"Oh Bella, my sweet, sweet Bella. I'm so sorry!" I exclaimed, grabbing her hand as gently as I could, my brow knitting together in sympathy, confusion, and a million apologies.

"Don't apologize Edward…it's not your fault," she said softly, brushing a strand of hair out of her face.

Another contraction came, and she squinted her eyes shut, whimpering softly.

"Okay, maybe it is your fault," she gasped, opening her eyes again.

I smiled at her apologetically, and she managed to smile back.

Carlisle, Esme, Alice, Jasper, Emmett, Rosalie, Michelle, Aaron, Olivia, Andrew, and Charlie all filed in one after the other, Carlisle wearing green scrubs and his lab coat and carrying a clipboard.

"Well Bella, it seems that despite all this pain you're having, you're doing incredibly well!" Carlisle said with a 1000 watt smile.

Bella simply nodded, and I helped her sit up more in bed, arranging the pillow for her and fanning her with a manila folder I had picked up off of the stand of monitors.

"But, despite what you may think," Carlisle began, and my head snapped up at his thoughts.

Not in labor? I thought, frowning.

"You're not actually in labor. What you are having are called Braxton Hicks contractions…basically they're fake contractions. We're not quite sure why they happen, but it seems that you've got quite the case of them," Carlisle explained.

"What are you talking about? It hurts so bad. How can I not be in labor?" Bella said, her brow creased with worry.

"Braxton Hicks contractions are not even half the strength of real contractions," Carlisle said, causing Bella to nearly faint, and me to glare at him.

"Now I'm not saying that they'll get worse, Bells, because chances are they won't. But we'd like to keep you here under observation for a few hours. If these Braxton Hicks start to go away, we'll send you home, since you aren't due for another…," he trailed off, checking the chart in his hands briefly. "Five weeks," he finished, looking back up at my wife.

"I can't go home now?" my sweet Bella asked.

"No dear…we'd like to monitor Riley to see if anything different happens," Charlie spoke up, his eyes trying to hide the distress of seeing his daughter in so much pain.

Bella nodded, trying to remain brave. It killed me inside to see her acting so perfectly, and the occasional whimper or flinch made me want to writhe in pain.

I set my hand on her expanse of baby belly, and she set hers over mine, our fingers interlacing and our wedding bands catching the faint glow coming from one of the fetal monitors next to her bed.

"We'll get through this baby," I said softly, stroking the top of her head gently with my free hand.

"I just have one request," Bella said weakly, eyes closed as another fake contraction came and went.

"Anything, baby, anything," I told her sincerely.

Her eyes opened, filled with pain, giving her a slightly crazed look. She opened her mouth to speak, and a simple order escaped her lips.

"Find Braxton Hicks," she began, "and kill him."