PREFACE

"Edward?" I rolled over in bed, onto my stomach, staring up at him. He looked down at me and smiled. In an instant I knew it was silly of me to think I would be waking him up, he had told me time and time again he couldn't sleep.

"Yes?" his eyes were as awake and wide as ever, they were covering up something, trying to hide me from something Edward was thinking. And I knew at once he had been listening to my sleep-talk. But then I remembered - I was a vampire as well, I didn't sleep either. Why did I always forget stuff? And why had I thought I was asleep? Maybe I was daydreaming . . .and maybe I talked in my daydreams as well. Maybe I needed some duct tape.

"No, nevermind, it's a stupid thought."

"Bella, you know you can tell me anything."

"It's more of a question, really." I bit my lip anxiously. "Well, can vampires, uh, you know. If they can . . ."

"I get the drift, go on." he mussed my hair and kissed his chest affectionately.

"Can we have babies?" I threw the question out of my mouth quickly, finally capturing a month's worth of feelings in four words. The moment after he bit me it had entered my mind.

He studied my expression, as if to see what answer I wanted. He saw I wanted to hear the truth, and started. "No. We're dead, Bella, everything in us is dead."

I lowered my head into the pillow and sighed sadly. More than anything, I wanted a baby. It would make us the ultimate family. I had never really desired a child in my mortal years, but now that the world was laid out in front of me, and yet I would never get to have that maternal instinct. I raised my head, laid it on Edward's freezing chest, and closed my eyes.

Needless to say, I didn't sleep.


As I stared out at the fall leaves, I couldn't help but feel remorse for letting Edward bite me. But the depression was short-lived, he walked out onto the porch and my love for him came rushing back, my happiness that I would be with him forever. I didn't smile at him or say a word, I remained stagnant, my eyes studying the reds, yellows, and browns furiously. If looks could kill . . .

"Bella." he pleaded softly, running his hand across my face. "Bella, it's just a baby."

"It's not, Edward. It's not just a baby." A soft tear ran down my face. It wasn't exactly a relief that I could still cry.

"Look, Bella, I'll make a deal." With any other person, my mood would have brightened considerably. But I knew Edward's deals were usually leaning more to his opinion.

I didn't say a word, but I turned and looked up at him.

"Bella, I'll. . .we could. . .make a baby."

"I thought you said we couldn't ha-"

"That's the point." he said nothing more, and the sudden realization hit me with a strong blow.

"You mean?"

He nodded. "It would have to be a baby that. . .well one that is obviously going to die."

I jumped out of the chair and into his arms, smothering him with kisses. "Oh, thankyouthankyouthankyou!" I screamed happily.

"But, Bella. Please think about this first. If we do this, the baby will always be the age it is. We'll never have it out of the house, never have a moments' worth of peace and calm. We'd always be buying diapers, and feeding the baby, and what would people say when we moved to a new town?"

I concocted a plan immediately. I hadn't even paid mind to the whole 'never a moment of quiet' speech he had just given. "Well, we could pretend that I'm a teenage mother, and you're the daddy, of course. I really don't care what people think or say or. . ." I trailed off, still leaving him little pecks all over his face.

So it was agreed: I was going to be a mommy!


Edward and his family planned ball games whenever it was exceedingly stormy, so it didn't amaze me that Alice rushed over to our house the next morning, with a weather report fit for baseball. I put on a pair of blue jeans and a t-shirt, loving the almost-human feel it gave me.

During the drive to the game, Edward kept glancing over at me, probably trying to see if I had changed my mind about the baby.

I hadn't.

I stepped out of the car, happy that if vampirism had gotten rid of anything, it was my clumsiness. Naturally, I wasn't as graceful as the others, but I was cheerful just to know the one thing I'd brought with me to 'Undead-Town' wasn't my ability to make simple, everyday activities excruciatingly difficult to perform. Edward raced around the car and put his arms on either side of me, pinning me against the silver door. He planted a quick kiss on me, but I knew now that since he couldn't kill me now, I didn't have to stay still. So I took up the kiss, deepening it and wrapping my arms around his neck.

After about three minutes of being glued to each other, our lips connected, our arms around each other, Edward severed the closeness. "We'd better get going. They've probably started without us." We trekked to the field, and Carlisle was marking the bases, as usual, and I could see Alice warming up. Esme stood on the sidelines, where I knew in a few seconds I would join her.

"What took you so long?" Emmet asked, winking at Edward quickly.

"I. . .fell." Stupid lie. I cursed myself inwardly for that one. It might have worked during my lifetime, but not now.

Jasper walked up, laughing. "Sure, sure. Now, let's get this game started." Edward raced out onto the field, and I caught up with Esme.

"Hey, Esme."

"Hi."

"We're having a baby, Edward and I."

"That's nice to - WHAT?!"


Before I knew it, the game was over and Alice was rushing over to Edward and me. She hugged me goodbye and smiled sincerely.

"Bye, Alice." I smiled at her.

"Bye, Bella, Edward. You be good."

"Not if I can help it." I winked at her and we laughed. Edward and I raced to the car, and of course, he won.

I buckled, purely out of habit.

"You fell?" Edward said incredulously.

"I'm not a good liar. You know that."

"Still, I'm having trouble here. Fell?"

"Shut up."


Over the next few weeks, we researched, lingering around the hospital, seeing when it opened and when it closed, where the survelliance cameras were and what time nurses made their rounds. We tracked the development of the children, searched for the sickest child, and after having one die on us before we reached it, almost gave up.

For a week, I laid in bed, mourning for the child I had lost before I even had it. Esme would offer her sympathies, even her empathies, and bring my meals to me. I wouldn't eat, couldn't sleep, felt like I was dying all over. Until one day Rosalie, who had always hated me, and always would, trotted into my room, flaunting around like she was everything and I was. . .nothing.

"Why do you even want a kid? It'll just bug you. . .like you bug me. And it'll probably just be all like you. . .annoying and ugly, and. . ." she aimed her angry words, letting them flow freely to my heart, knowing I wouldn't do a thing and since neither Emmet nor Edward was there, no one could stop her. So I stood up, shoved her out of my room, and called Edward's cell.

"We're trying again."

"You just don't give up, do you?"

"Rosalie offered some good advice."

"Rosalie?"

"Yeah, said something about how much she adores babies."

"Are we talking about the same girl?"

"It's true. She even said she'd babysit and change diapers for us." Of course, there was no need for diapers, but I insisted on making my child seem as human as possible. So, yeah, Rosalie would change the unsoiled diapers.


Within a few days, we had found the perfect infant. She was an orphan, her mother had died giving birth to her, and the poor dear was suffering from pneumonia.

So we plotted. And Rosalie sulked.

We brought Carlisle on board. He seemed to be able to resist killing, and he would only gently scrape her.


The hospital smelled awful. Various lights blinked, and little beeps and boops echoed off the walls. I shuffled my feet nervously, and Edward glanced at me.

"I can do this." he stated nonchalantly, though I could smell his uncertainty. We rounded a corner and before us stood a large wall of plexi-glass, guarding the babies. I put my hand up to the window and stared in amazement. An incubator a few feet from the window housed the most adorable infant I had ever seen.

"I want her." I put as much meaning behind those words as possible, and Edward nodded at me. He slipped in the door and scooped the baby up into his arms, made sure it was properly swaddled, then walked out. "That's it?"

"The night staff is pretty sucky at checking in on the newborns. They won't know until morning. Still," he swiftly moved his head from side to side, making sure the corridors were empty on either side. "We'd better get a move on." And, trying to look as guiltless as possible, we slipped through the hospital, and straight to Carlisle's home as quick as we could.

Carlisle greeted us at the door and quickly snatched the baby from our hands. He softly changed her, and when he was done, he tickled her feet lovingly, trying to get the baby's mind off the pain that was coursing through her veins.

"What will we name her, Bella?" Edward whispered, because the baby was falling asleep, writhing in pain. I remembered that the incubator had a card on it, and that the baby had already been named.

I smiled softly. "She already has a name. It's Renee." And Edward gave me that knowing half-smile that made my knees week.


EPILOGUE

Oh, the diapers. The endless stack of bottles in our kitchen cupboard, the sleepless nights. And I couldn't be happier. After Edward and I staged our little kidnapping, or rescuing, use them as you see fit, we packed our bags and moved. During the years, little Renee's parents changed.

In one city, the little girl was the byproduct of unprotected teenage sex committed by Edward and I.

In the next, it was the child Esme had always wanted.

It depended on how the city felt, what seemed more comfortable for us as a family.

Because, in the end, Renee wasn't exactly my baby, and it wasn't exactly Esme's either. She just seemed to fit in, like the rest of us, we were all just one big, happy family.