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Leah left the house after her little tirade on Jacob's behalf. I only relaxed once I could no longer hear her tortured thoughts as she ran beyond the range of my mental hearing to run the perimeter.
Warm…soft…peaceful. I love it in here. I love that soft rhythmic sound...mommy…oops…sorry…
I looked up at Bella's face to see her with a slight grimace. Seeing my concern, she dismissed it with, "Don't worry, just an elbow to the kidneys."
I focused on the baby again; its thoughts apologetic. "The baby knows it hurt you… it's trying not to hurt you…" I was amazed by the depth of feeling the baby showed towards Bella, and by the level of cognitive awareness it showed.
"What are you hearing now?" Bella asked me curiously. I looked up at her face, allowing my eyes to come back into focus.
"The baby loves being inside you. It…he…she loves the warmth and the softness…" I chuckled, "those are some of my favorite aspects of you as well."
"See? Just like his Daddy!" Bella was ecstatic with my sudden reversal in attitude towards our baby. Our baby. The thought stirred feelings within me that I wasn't prepared to feel. I was astounded and amazed that I was suddenly as in love with this budding life as Bella. Never in my many years of existence had I imagined that I would ever have a mate, let alone a child. Yet, Bella had given me both; the amazing love that I felt for her suddenly grew exponentially, until I wasn't sure my silent heart could hold it. I wonder if this is what Carlisle feels for each of us… Suddenly, the anguish that Carlisle and Esme had felt at my rebelliousness felt more real than ever before, as had their forgiveness.
'Daddy…the deeper voice is daddy…I love his voice…'
I was astounded. Not only did our child enjoy hearing my voice, it knew I was its father, its daddy. I suddenly realized how utterly insignificant and unprepared I felt. How could I possibly be a father? I had no experience with children; they usually didn't even like me, a natural response to their more perceptive danger receptors. I started rubbing small gentle circles across Bella's beautifully rounded stomach, grateful that the bruises were covered by her shirt. My eyes unfocused as I took in the gentle thoughts of our child safely cocooned within my wife, my beautiful Bella.
"Play some music, Edward. Maybe the baby will like to hear the piano," Rosalie murmured softly, startling me from my reverie. I was so consumed with the thoughts of the baby; enraptured by the beauty that Bella and I had created together, that I had almost forgotten my sister was there. I focused on her face; I realized that through this whole ordeal, her thoughts had been focused exclusively on the baby, and by extension, Bella. At the moment, she was singing rock a bye baby in her head. I wasn't sure if it was an attempt to keep her thoughts private or if she was trying to keep her perspective.
"Thank you, Rose," I said, in almost a whisper. Bella's eyes grew wide in astonishment, amazed that I was giving Rosalie more than my usual token courtesy.
"You're welcome, though I wasn't doing this for you; not in the beginning. I'm glad to see you've come around," Rosalie said.
Her words might have angered me yesterday, or even this morning; but at the moment I couldn't stay mad at her. "How about a recital?" I asked Bella.
"I would love that. I haven't heard you play in a long time," said Bella softly. I stood from my kneeling position on the floor in front of her, and was at my piano behind the couch in a flash. I sat on the bench after opening the piano, and softly caressed the keys. A melody was beginning to form in my mind; it started flowing from the piano before I was aware that I had started playing it. It was soft and warm, flowing gently and caressing our ears with its soft strains, growing and changing as the baby's soft mental voice cooed with pleasure at the notes I played. There was a hint of Bella's Lullaby hidden in the song, as well as a soft hint of Esme's Favorite. These songs lent a backbone to the sweet melody that issued from the piano as if I had played it a hundred times before. As the song came to a close, I realized that the baby's adoring thoughts had quieted to a gentle lull; perhaps the baby was asleep, if sleep was possible for a such a child of mine. Then, I heard a loud sniff from Bella. I turned from the keys to see Bella leaning into Rosalie's shoulder, with fresh tear tracks marring her beautiful face. I hurried back to her side, kneeling in front of her again.
"What's wrong?" I asked her.
"That was so beautiful. I've never heard you play that before, what is it called?" asked Bella.
"It doesn't have a name, yet. That was the first I've played it." I said truthfully.
"You just made that up? As you were playing?" Bella asked me.
"Yes…When you've been playing an instrument for almost 100 years, it becomes second nature. Though it was you and our baby that inspired me; otherwise I might never have gotten beyond my dirges. I'm sure the whole family has seen fit to inform you of how unbearably lonely I was, though I refused to see it at the time." I leaned over and kissed her, pouring my gratitude for her into my kiss. I only broke away when Rosalie loudly cleared her throat next to Bella and thought, I'm sitting right here, Edward!
"Oh! Sorry!" Bella's unusually pale face flushed red at having a witness to our tender moment. I simply looked over at Rosalie and raised an eyebrow at her. I had witnessed enough over the years from her and Emmett to silence her on the subject. She just huffed and rolled her eyes.
"How about some more to drink?" Rosalie said, hopping up from the couch and taking Bella's cup to refill it.
"I think she's starting to appreciate how I have felt when everyone around me was paired off, and I had only my piano to keep me company," I said, chuckling at Bella's still-pink cheeks. Bella smiled at that, and said, "Well, I'm glad to have helped you feed her a little crow."
I smiled as she pressed her lips to my forehead and smoothed my hair down. I leaned down and pressed a tender kiss to her stomach, then rested my forehead lightly against its round shape. Rosalie rushed back in, Bella's fresh cup in hand, and smirked at me. I could see us in her mind, a completely different picture from where we had been just hours before.
Wait till Esme sees you like that! I smiled in response. Yes, Esme would be pleased.
"I think it would be safe to deliver as soon as Carlisle gets back, the baby seems sufficiently developed," I said.
Maybe it's better I didn't total it, it's such a beautiful car…
"Jacob just pulled onto our road. I hope I didn't send my Vanquish to the body shop, letting him drive it," I said.
"You let him drive your Vanquish!" Rosalie fumed. "You won't even let me drive it, and you let the dog take it for a joy ride? I hope you have some good air freshener, because I'm afraid wet dog overpowers new car smell."
I cringed at the thought of my Aston Martin reeking of wet dog. "Regardless, if it helped Jacob cool down, and keeps him from phasing in here, then it was worth it. I'd better go meet him in the garage." With that, I kissed Bella again and ran out to meet Jacob.