Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight
Getting out of the car at the zoo proved to be the most difficult task that we'd been confronted with. The kids were practically attacking each other to get out of Esme's mini van (which I again borrowed); they were so excited to be at the zoo.
Emmett and Rosalie pulled up not two minutes later and Rosalie began helping me with the children while Emmett lifted Bella gently into the wheel chair. I pulled out the wagon, setting the cooler down on one side, leaving the other open in case Carson got tired of walking, after all he was only three.
"Good idea." Rosalie was looking at the wagon, while Cecilia latched herself onto Bella. It was amazing the way she had with kids. Drew and Carson listen to her ten times more often than they listened to me.
"I'll push Bella to start." Emmett volunteered. Somehow he must have noticed the tension between Bella and I. Sure we had worked what had happened out but it was still a little weird for her, now that I knew her secret. As this thought passed through my head I felt a small hand slip through mine and looked down to find Hilary calmly holding my hand, as if it were the most natural thing in the world for her. This made me smile, and glance back at Bella who seemed just as surprised as I was.
Twenty excited shouts and lots of sunscreen later we approached the gates. Bella pulled out her wallet, and began to count out one-dollar bills. I was about to stop her, but Emmett beat me to it pulling out the six dollar fee for Hilary and the eight dollar fee for Bella and handing them to the cashier along with the money for his family. Bella smiled and thanked Emmett.
We began to walk around the zoo. My boys went positively crazy over the lions, and I was afraid they would want to camp outside their enclosure forever. The gorillas proved to be interesting, for Cecilia was so scared nothing could coax her out of Bella's lap—no matter how hard Emmett and I both tried. We spent nearly half an hour at the Elephants. As we were standing there a zookeeper walked up and kneeled down at the kids level explaining about what elephants did in the wild. Out of habit I began to count the kids heads; one, two, three...where was four? Turning frantically I searched for Drew. This panic was short lived when I spotted Bella, closer to the enclosure, with Drew next to her. Drew was silent, as I watched Bella's lips move releasing words I couldn't hear. I had never seen him be so quiet.
"Edward, Cecilia would like to see the wolves before we leave today." Rosalie touched my shoulder, hinting that we should move on.
I took charge. "Alright everyone lets go see some wolves!" Politely, I thanked the zookeeper for her time grabbing the wagon while gently lifting Carson to sit on my shoulders at the same time. Cecilia was walking with Emmett right next to me, pushing Bella's wheel chair with one hand. Rosalie had Hilary's small hand in hers, and when she tried to take Drew's, he backed off and started helping Emmett push Bella.
Within moments we were at the wolf enclosure, and the zookeeper made a beeline for Bella. I was about to step forward to defend her from the unwanted male attention, when Emmett reached his arm out, shaking his head. I didn't understand but I took Emmett's word for it and instead walked toward the wolf enclosure to keep an eye on the kids.
When I turned back around a few moments later, my eyes found the zookeeper walking away and Bella waving. This led to the conclusion that they knew each other. Without a word I grabbed the kids as our little group moved forward. The next section consisted of many small enclosures. Carson, Cecilia, and Drew ran off with Emmett to see the Sea Otters, which they'd always had a slight obsession with, meanwhile Hilary stood and looked at the Flamingos. I kneeled down next to her; something Esme said helped kids feel more important.
"I wonder if they ever tire of wearing pink. Mommy says they don't know any other colors. All day, it's just pink. It's what makes them pretty she said. Is this true Mr. Edward?" Hilary asked me, pointing at the Flamingo's that stood calmly in the ankle deep pond.
"I don't know Hilary." I answered not knowing what else to say.
"Mom says it's like my hair. It's brown, but I never get tired of it, so I suppose Flamingos might be like my hair. Do they like their pink Mr. Edward?"
"I've never spoken to them Hilary, but they don't look sad to me." I placed my hand on her shoulder, thinking our conversation was over.
"But they are Mr. Edward. They're not moving, and they're looking at the water. Mommy does the same thing when she's sad only she looks into a mirror instead of dirty pond water." The wisdom coming out of this six year olds mouth was a great surprise to me. It was rare to hear an adult even talk with this much wisdom.
Without a word we walked on to the Seals, where we stopped and had lunch. Emmett and Rosalie had brought some vegetables and ranch for the kids to eat. Esme had made a sandwich for everyone, and I had brought some Capri suns with a bag of Lays Potato chips. Bella refused to eat, and instead chose to roll herself closer to the gate of the enclosure and stare at the seals that were swimming around and playing.
At that moment I felt a small tug on my sleeve. I expected to look down and discover Hilary, but instead it was my son, Drew, being unusually quiet. "Daddy. Bella says that Elephants are hopeful animals. Because they always walk the same path every year to the same place, hoping that everything will be the same as last year. Is this true Daddy?" This was a surprise. Bella must have some pretty long list of what emotion each zoo animal is. I resolved to ask her later.
"I'm not sure Drew, but if Bella said it, it's probably true." Ruffling his hair I walked to Bella only to be intercepted by Emmett, saying it was time to move on.
We spent hours walking the zoo, some exhibits taking more than others. But at each one Drew would always go talk to Bella. Or listen, rather, to what she had to say. I didn't know if he's retain any of what she told him but I can always wish.
Finally, we came to the last enclosure, which was the Zebras. Here we stopped longer than anywhere else, not because of the kids, but because of Bella. Carson was already half asleep laying in the wagon on our picnic blanket. Cecilia was being carried on Emmett's shoulders, and Drew was half asleep on Bella's lap. Rosalie was holding Hilary's hand, the only child that seemed to still have energy.
Time seemed to slow. Bella just sat there, and watched the Zebra's not saying anything. After a bit, she turned. "We can leave now." She smiled, but it was half-hearted.
I wasn't left time to question though because Rosalie was eager to get off her feet. I was surprised at how non-hormonal she had been this pregnancy compared to her last, but either way I was sure her feet hurt.
Once in the car, the kids were all immediately asleep. Bella thanked Emmett and Rosalie, who helped her back in the car as I took the things out of our wagon.
The ride home was silent, almost too silent. And I knew, without a doubt, that I needed to confront Bella, and soon. I could sense that something wasn't right. I also resolved to ask her about her opinions I'd heard from the kids on the animals. Glancing at her out of the corner of my eye, I observed that she was leaning her head against the glass of the window, her entire body in somewhat of a depressed looking slump. I couldn't see her eyes from where I was, but there was sure to be some thought in them. This thought that had to involve something with the Zebra's, and why she spent so much time looking at them.
One thing was for sure; I'd never met a girl like Bella. And it seemed like the more I learned about her, the more mysterious she became. And I knew, now that I'd met her, I'd never be able to forget her.
AN: Sorry it took so long. I did this without a beta, sorry. Anyways Please REVIEW!