Author's Note: Welcome to the final chapter of Vampire Daddy! This fic has been both exhilarating and fun to write and I'm very proud of it! I'm also a little sad to see its completion, but it is finally complete. I would like to apologize for taking so long to update. As I had suspected, school completely annihilated all the free flowing creativity I had. But I never forgot about this fic! And a few nights ago, my writer's block finally ended! This is the longest fic I've written and I'm going to miss it, especially since I'm not sure what I'm going to write about next. I'd like to keep this Author's note short, so there is one final thing to address, in this final note, in the final chapter. I would like to thank my devoted readers for your support through reviewing and adding this story and me to your favorites list. Thank you! It has truly been my pleasure!
Disclaimer: I don't own anything Twilight...And I owe ColdPlay for having such perfect album titles! Also, at the end of each chapter I include the lyrics of one of the songs on the selected album!
Part Four: Parachutes
The sound of Renesmee's fluttering heart pulsed loudly in my ears. I tried to imagine hot, fluid blood coursing through my veins. My hands were clenched so tightly into fists I pretended to feel the steady adrenaline rush receding from my muscles. But all I really felt was…numb.
There was nothing left in me to feel…
I stared at Bella's lifeless form, hearing Renesmee's heart. Was Alice right? Was Bella still really here? Were we truly together? Or was this the end I had thought was inevitable the moment I had caught her scent? Was I too late? Had I failed? What have I done?
Gazing at Bella's naked, disheveled, broken form not really seeing her, I took a deep, heady breath and the smell of Bella's blood, still strong, engulfed me. My mind swam with the images of the last several hours. But I no longer felt uplifted…
I was scared…I unclenched my bloody fists and leaned closer to Bella, gently placing my hand on top of hers, I caressed her fingers. Her hand felt soft and frozen…Not quite my temperature yet. But there was very little heat left in the extremity. That didn't mean I had succeeded!
I focused on the low, steady thud that was Bella's beating heart. I was momentarily comforted enough to listen to the vibrant, twittering of Renesmee's heart. There was so much music to her heartbeat. Another rhythm reached my ears then.
This heartbeat was sturdy; the tempo was similar to the steady beating of a drum. Jacob?!
The compulsion to leave the room and protect my daughter overtook me so fast; I actually stepped away from Bella. I stared at my foot, completely conflicted.
Bella would never know if I left the room for a moment. But I always would and I couldn't live with that. I had left once and once was enough for the both of us! Renesmee was plenty protected and if Jacob felt like staying in a house full of vampires for whatever illogical reason…well that was his predilection. I didn't have time for Jacob. He had left Bella to die!
"I'm here, you are still my life," I whispered. There was no movement. She wasn't even grimacing in pain! Bella looked…Peaceful…More so than she ever did in sleep.
This was so typical of Bella! I wanted her to scream! She should scream! She should be convulsing with the burning pain! Her body should be making guttural noises no one knows they have the capability of making! But there was nothing...Was she empty? Just like the way I felt?
No…That wasn't right…I wasn't empty…The only time I had felt such a way was when I had left in the hopes of giving Bella back the life I had thought she was losing by being with me…This was no where near the same feeling…I was just…numb…I was lost…
Only moments ago it had seemed so easy to be happy…But staring at Bella…so dead looking on the table…so frozen…
It seemed like it would be forever before we would look into each other's eyes again, I didn't care that they would be blood red the next time I saw them. If only she would open her eyes!
It had been easy to look at the near future and hope…
Suddenly the house exploded with the sound of raised voices. Rosalie and Jacob sounded like they were sparing off as usual. But the intensity of their fight had me slightly intrigued…This was not the usual bickering…
I stared at Bella, blocking out all the thoughts I would hear if I listened. Bella really was a wreck…The fighting would stop eventually.
Taking a wash cloth from the pile Carlisle had stocked the room with; I dipped it into the basin of antiseptic set aside for sterilizing our hands…Not that that was truly necessary…
The voices grew louder and I started washing Bella's face, gently wiping away the blood…And the yelling continued to escalate…The two of them were unbelievably immature! But I would not leave Bella while she endured this!
"I'm staying! I'm not going any—"
"Edward, get out!" Alice pranced into the room.
I stared at Alice beleaguered, "You're joking!"
"Get out, Edward! Or do I need to start saying it in another language?"
"No! You should already know I'm not leaving!"
Alice rolled her eyes and snatched the wash cloth from me and pointed to the door.
I folded my arms. "Why exactly are you kicking me out?"
"Because I picked out the perfect outfit for when she wakes up and—"
I groaned, "Alice, you can do that later!"
"But it's better if I do it now!" Alice began gently scrubbing Bella's arms with the wash cloth.
"This isn't open for discussion!" I tried to snatch the wash cloth from her, but Alice was already lunging away.
"You're the one who's discussing it!" she argued.
"Alice, I will carry you out," I said, the defense in my tone starting to break.
"Ha! I'd like to see you try!"
There was the distinctive sound of something being smashed and then several feet marching up the stairs.
Alice stared, "Oh! I'll be right back!"
I stood there listening as Alice darted from the room and returned carrying a warm blanket, something blue that smelled like silk and a pair of stilettos. I turned to stare at the approaching footsteps. The soft breeze of fabric brushed passed my face and when I looked towards its source, Alice was already tucking the edges of the blanket beneath Bella.
I smiled, approvingly at Alice who looked very satisfied with her work. I was pleased, though Bella still didn't look like herself, but she did look a little less alarming.
Even the room felt less like the scene from a horror movie…Of course I never expected that's what was stalking in…
Rosalie stomped into the office—Emmett earnestly, shadowing her every move—her vixen features contorted with rage. But my horror came from the sight of Rosalie's empty arms. There was no time to ask questions as Jacob stepped into the room, a little calmer than Rosalie, my daughter sleeping comfortably in his embrace. Jasper hovered in the doorway, ready to act at the slightest sign of emotional distress.
My instinct was to take Renesmee from Jacob. How dare him! Only some short hours ago he'd suggested throwing her out the window! He wouldn't even look at her!
I controlled my sneer because I could tell it pleased Rosalie. And I was in no mood for either of their antics!
What had brought this on? What had changed?! I resisted the urge to growl. "What's this?" I asked, with as much calm as I could muster.
Jacob winced at the slight edge to my voice.
He was afraid of me? What had he done to my daughter?!
I glanced from Jacob to Rosalie. No one was moving. No one was thinking.
I composed myself, taking into account even the thirst exposed by the blackness of my irises. There was no need to look menacing. There was time for explanations…hopefully…Nevertheless Jacob was not the enemy. And despite everything, I was in his debt.
This whole scene just didn't make sense. Rosalie grinned and pointed at Jacob with an accusing finger. "Explain," she thought.
Jacob stared at me, his eyes pleading. I blinked as his thoughts reached me like a tidal wave…
First it was simply the memory of walking down the stairs with every intention of fleeing from this house and as far away from Forks as was possible. But then came the thoughts of killing Renesmee, Rosalie…Of destroying my family…How easily he could have done it in that moment, even calculating how long he might survive.
I tried to control the rage that began to boil. My lips remained a hard unreadable line. A hiss was barred by the firm set of my teeth. Not my daughter! But I would allow Jacob to tell his story…I owed him that much, for now…
Jacob remembered seeing her eyes. And I saw how he was just as enchanted as I had been when I delivered her. Her eyes were just as bright and full of emotion as when she'd blinked at me, all pink and wet and shocked as she was then. And then I realized what Jacob was showing me…
I knew what it felt like to have your whole world revolve around one solid entity. To be so completely attached that your own existence becomes completely insignificant without them. I knew what it was like to look into their eyes...Those eyes…And see the person you wanted to be…To know you could be better, yet also be so completely undeserving of the person…Bella…Who made you feel that way.
And I realized what Jacob was feeling. Who he was feeling this for. What he meant by those feelings! No, not her!
For a moment I relished in the memory of the last time I had thought those words…I would much rather be saving Bella from a truck right now!
Unpredictably, it all made sense. Jacob had never really loved Bella. But…my daughter?! She was barely only a few hours old…It made sense, but this was not something I was prepared to deal with…yet…
Jacob continued to stare at me, pleadingly.
I shook my head, "No…"
Jacob opened his mouth to speak but I shook my head again, "No I don't want to hear it! I've heard enough!"
"I'm not sorry," Jacob's mouth was set in a firm line. He looked like he was resisting the urge to smile.
"Give Renesmee to me, please," I extended my arms in anticipation.
Jacob glanced at her serenity and then at the glare in my hungry eyes. After a moment of silent deliberation and his conclusion that I was capable of controlling myself around her, he handed me, my daughter.
Cradling Renesmee against my chest, I glanced at her serene features to help rid me of my irritation. I momentarily approved of how well she seemed to fit in my arms. Just like when I held Bella close, it felt right. My world could not be at such odds and ends if three pieces among the jigsaw fit so perfectly…But there was no room for a fourth piece…
"We can discuss this when Bella is awake, she should have an opportunity to form her own opinions about this." I did my best to keep the growling infuriation from my tone.
Jacob nodded and then stared at Renesmee, still sound asleep, now in my arms. I glared at him. "It would be in your best interest to leave now, Jacob."
He walked out of the room, but I knew he would not leave the house, shouting in his thoughts, "You can't keep her away from me!"
"She's still my daughter," I answered.
Rosalie, looking particularly smug came to stand beside me, expectantly.
"Rose, you can leave too," I closed my eyes and took a deep breath listening to her exit. Emmett and Jasper on her tail.
I heard her reach the door and stop. I could sense the smirk that lingered on her lips, "Sweetest dreams Renesmee. Enjoy changing her diaper, Daddy."
Letting Rosalie's parting sentiment sink in, for a brief moment I was concerned…Who expected Renesmee to so…Alive?!
I opened my eyes. "Do we even have diapers?"
Alice started giggling, "Wow! You really do have your priorities straight."
"And you're really short, Alice. Is there a reason we're stating the obvious?"
Alice shrugged, "I'm just impressed with your control, but that's really no surprise since you were able to resist Bella's blood, and we all know how hard that was for you."
I stared at Alice blankly, not following.
"I can never see when Jacob's around, I half expected you to hand Renesmee to Rosalie and attack him! He seemed prepared for the same thing," Alice edged toward the door, "it's why Rosalie and Jacob started shouting in the first place. Rose would have liked you to kill him for impri—"
I closed my eyes and tried to contain my rage. "Alice, tha—"
She held her hands up in surrender, "I'm leaving, relax! I'll go ask Jasper or Emmett to get diapers."
I smiled as Alice flitted down the stairs. I stood there a long time with my eyes closed, savoring in Renesmee's deep, tranquil breaths. I vaguely noticed it was twilight. Today I had become a father! My first day was nearly completely…But it wasn't just for today…I was Renesmee's daddy forever.
I opened my eyes to stare at my daughter as a distressing thought occurred to me. Already the warm baby in my arms looked older than a few hours. And suddenly, I didn't want to miss a minute of seeing her…
We needed to learn more about her! How fast would she grow?! How long would she live?! Each thought became more agonizing and the urgent need for answers became more and more imperative. Has there ever been anything like her before?
I decided I would talk to Carlisle as soon as he returned home. Nothing would be done until Bella awoke. We had that much time, I was sure.
Time. There was never enough. My life had been one endless night before Bella, and since her entrance into my life, time was always running out. Even now, as eternity dawned on Bella, time was still short. Yet it felt like lots of time would pass before the change was complete. How much would Bella miss of our daughter's growth?
Renesmee twisted in her sleep and her dimpled hand rested against my chest. She was dreaming, naturally. I saw my face surface, amid all the effervescent colors and shapes. Her dream lingered there a moment, she knew who I was and she loved me. Suddenly I was staring at Bella's face, the image—which was more memory than dream—was from a very strange angle. I was easily taken in by the adoration and curiosity that emanated from Renesmee's thoughts about her mother. I was still enjoying the sight of Bella from this perspective, though she looked rather gruesome, when Jacob's dark eyes and wide grin obscured her...
I gently shifted Renesmee and her tiny palm slumped to her side. Unexpectedly I was removed from Renesmee's mind…That was strange...However, I had no current inclination to return to her dreams, and the sight of Jacob had rocked me from my own serenity.
Standing beside Bella, with Renesmee sleeping in my arms, I was determined to remain calm. I began to hum Bella's Lullaby. Slowly that transitioned to a number of other compositions I'd written. Outside the sky grew progressively lighter. Dawn was breaking as I finished off the notes of the last piece. I was sad I had nothing left to hum…I had hoped my humming to Renesmee while she slept had soothed Bella some too. I had hoped it had woken her up. But she was as still and comatose as ever…My heart ached…
Abruptly, inspiration struck and I felt a new melody begin to form.
Renesmee opened her eyes blearily and stared at me. And again, I was moved by the sight of her brown eyes, Bella's brown eyes. She just stared contently, almost intrigued, waiting for me to continue.
The tune was soft like Bella's Lullaby, but the rhythm was a steady, strong beat, slightly faster than usual. There was whimsicalness to the fluid transition of notes. And when the melody finally reached its end, the last note rang in the air with such exhilarating joy and hope that I was sure I saw Renesmee smile. But it happened so fast, I could only have imagined it…
"Oh Edward, that was magnificent!"
I turned at the sound of Esme's voice, too distracted to have heard her come in.
One hand was covering her mouth in awe and she looked like if she could, she would be crying. But Esme didn't need the visual of moisture in her eyes; it was easy to see she'd been touched.
"Thank you," I smiled.
Esme came to stand beside me, her eyes only for my daughter. The hand over her mouth moved to rest over her still heart. "She's stunning!" Esme put her other hand on my arm, "Thank you," she said, her voice breaking over the common expression of gratitude.
I shook my head, "Esme, what could you possibly by thanking me for?"
She looked up at me then her eyes bright with emotion. "Well, not technically speaking, but I think I'm a—" Esme took a deep breath, unable to gain control of her voice she chocked out, "grandma!"
It was then I fully understood why she was so grateful. She never needed to say the word aloud, but I knew she had wanted to hear herself say it. More than anything, when her son died, any future, especially one containing grandchildren, perished. But the ache for a child never completely ebbed from Esme's conscious.
Esme gazed at me hopefully. "May I hold her?" she squeaked.
Without hesitation, I placed my daughter in Esme's waiting arms. Esme stood there cooing and whispering. Renesmee reached out her hand to touch Esme's face.
"OH!" Esme staggered slightly, her eyes alight with wonder. "You're thirsty?" she asked Renesmee.
In the hopes of helping Esme get an answer I read Renesmee's mind. My throat itched as she thought of the blood she was craving. I ignored the ache and turned to look at Esme. "You really do have an excellent motherly instinct," I complimented her.
Esme chuckled and shook her head, "While I appreciate the compliment that's not what it was, Edward."
I was confused, "Then how could you possibly know she was thir—"
Esme's face lit up with that same look of wonder she had when Renesmee had touched her. "She told me!"
"She told you?"
I gaped at Esme unable to grasp what she meant. Renesmee stared complacently at the both of us.
"How did she tell you, exactly?" The question came out with a mixture of doubt and strangled fear. Was she talking already?!
Renesmee reached out to touch my face. Esme glanced down and nodded, "I believe she's answering your question."
I placed my cheek against Renesmee's palm and immediately I was immersed in her thoughts again. Except now she was replaying the shock on my face back to me. She thought I looked amusing. I chuckled. I felt her warm hand leave my cheek.
And I knew what the wonder in my eyes must look like as I gazed into Esme's. I stood frozen in place. Renesmee placed her hand on my cheek again and showed me Esme's face and the mirror image of my own. She was wondering why we were so stunned and then, abruptly, why no one was feeding her.
Reverently I said, "You better go feed her then!"
"Carlisle!" Esme called as she left. I heard Esme calculatingly descend the stairs and I realized with amazement, how Renesmee had completed my entire family. Begrudgingly I recognized that Jacob was now included in that family…
"Amazing!" Carlisle thought as he entered his office.
I beamed with pride, completely at a loss for words. Although I was pleased to see Carlisle, all the questions and apprehensions I had momentarily forgotten began to descend on me again, weighing me down…There was just so much!
"I took her measurements. Rosalie says she's grown since her birth, that's interesting. I'll be carefully monitoring the rate of Renesmee's growth, there's so much we don't know! Do you think she'll like formula as much as blood?"
The eargerness for new information in Carlisle's thoughts was something I was very used to. But he misunderstood the deep seeded anguish in my eyes. I did not share the same delight in his curiosities. To me, each question without a definitive answer meant I would lose one of the things I cherished most, if not both…Very soon…
Carlisle shook his head a moment apologetically, "But primarily, there's Bella…"
Carlisle moved to stand beside Bella, lightly pressing his fingers to her pulse. He looked up at me, "Still no change?"
"None." It felt like so much time had past and there was no change in Bella, yet there were subtle signs of growth in Renesmee, again.
Lifting her wrist slightly, Carlisle took a deep breath. "There's no scent of the morphine left."
"I know," I deadpanned.
As impossible as it was, Bella's silence was physically killing me! So much was happening while she lay completely motionless. "Bella? Can you hear me? Bella? Bella, love? Can you open your eyes? Can you squeeze my hand?"
I placed my hand in hers, hoping she would grab it…It pained me so much not knowing what was going on! Not knowing how I could help…Or at least not being able to know if she knew I was here! How I would not leave if she wanted to thrash about until it was over. And her heartbeat still was not loud enough to prove to me she wasn't dying…Well in a way she was…
I looked at Carlisle unable to keep the pain out of my voice, "Maybe…Carlisle, maybe I was too late." My eyes pricked. Bella had to be alive! If not for me then for our daughter! She had to see Renesmee again! She needed to meet the absolutely amazing creature our daughter was! I needed her…After everything...I couldn't lose her like this!
Carlisle could see I was getting myself into a thorough panic. He put his arm around my shoulders to calm me. "Listen to her heart, Edward. It's stronger than even Emmett's was. I've never heard anything so vital. She'll be perfect."
"And her—her spine?" I felt like a child asking Carlisle such trivial questions. But I needed his reassurance. I was suffering because I couldn't be sure Bella was.
"Her injuries weren't so much worse than Esme's. The venom will heal her as it did Esme."
I was inconsolable. "But she's so still. I must have done something wrong." I always did something wrong. I was always hurting her!
Carlisle smiled then, "Or something right, Edward. Son, you did everything I could have and more. I'm not sure I would have had the persistence, the faith it took to save her. Stop berating yourself. Bella is going to be fine."
I grimaced. "She must be in agony," I whispered, unable to control the breaking in my voice.
"We don't know that. She had so much morphine in her system. We don't know the effect that will have on her experience." Carlisle seemed confident with his assessment.
He believed in the morphine so much…And Bella wasn't moving…Maybe I have been looking at this the wrong way…Maybe Bella really wasn't being brave for me, wasn't concerning herself with my feelings. It was possible I was causing enough agony for the both of us…Perhaps she was really the numb one...Her brachial pulse did seem a little more prevailing...But it wasn't possible she wasn't feeling anything...She was burning...My venom was flowing through her veins, poisoning her, killing her! This was all my fault! "Bella, I love you. Bella, I'm sorry," I murmured. I so much wished she would open her eyes and tell me how much I had her hurt...Even now, I wanted to know what she was thinking! Would I know when she was a vampire?! For a moment my anguish disappated...I might be able to hear Bella's thoughts when this was all over! Of course I didn't need to hear thoughts to know what Rosalie and Jacob were shouting as they started up again, their voices hushed threats because of Renesmee's presence in the room.
Carlisle stared toward the door, and then glanced at me, "Do you want to handle this? I will stay with Bella and let you know if there's a change."
"No, I'm staying right here. They'll sort it out."
"An interesting situation," Carlisle responded. "And I'd thought I'd seen just about everything."
"I'll deal with it later. We'll deal with it." I placed my hand into Bella's palm.
A crease formed on Carlisle's forehead as he listened to a particularly nasty epithet-expletive combination uttered from Rosalie. Carlisle took a deep breath and shook his head disapprovingly, "I'm sure between the five of us, we can keep it from turning into bloodshed."
I sighed. "I don't know which side to take. I'd love to flog them both. Well, later."
Vaguely wondering why Rosalie and Jacob were so relentless, a small debate started up in my head. I knew exactly how Jacob and Rosalie felt.
I could understand the powerful pull Jacob felt toward Renesmee, not just because I had experienced it through his thoughts, but because in its own way, that was what the smell of Bella's blood had done for me. I still owed Jacob for allowing me to save Bella, despite how he'd given up; he had still granted me permission. And it was because of that we were not being hunted by werewolves…Actually now we would probably never have to fear the pack again…
But it was easier to side with Rosalie. To be angry about the twisted and uncontrollable feelings Jacob had for my daughter…my infant daughter! Plus, Rosalie was family—technically Jacob was now too—and that was where my allegiance should lie.
But which family was my obligation? The one bound by…venom? Or the one bound by blood? Was there a difference, really? Were we a blended family now? Was a coven joining a pack? Or was a pack joining a coven? Was there a name for such absurdity? Did it matter?
I realized, with sadness, that although I probably could accept Jacob as an official member of my family some day, I may actually never have to, depending on how quickly Renesmee develops and her allotted lifespan…
"I wonder what Bella will think—whose side she'll take," Carlisle mused.
A low chuckle escaped me. "I'm sure she'll surprise me. She always does."
The shouting went up in volume and it sounded like Emmett was trying to restrain Rosalie. Carlisle gave me one quick parting glance before darting out of the office.
I tried to reassure myself that everything would be fine…And in most regards it was true…The change would be complete soon and Bella would finally be immortal. That was one less thing to worry about. Having Jacob as a son-in-law was…bizarre…but thanks to the truth in werewolf mythology and the strange magic in Quileute blood, the werewolves would no longer be a problem to my family…And I had a family...A real, live, flesh and blood family...
I had not been prepared to be Renesmee's father…I had not been prepared to be a daddy…Ever…But I was…Everything truly was landing smoothly into place…And I wasn't a monster, anymore…Maybe Bella was right, maybe I never was…
Perhaps, I was a rare breed of my own…A Vampire Daddy!
In a haze, a stormy haze
I'll be round, I'll be loving you, always