Author's Note: Continues from Bella's point of view.

8. Doubts And Insecurities

Sunlight filtered through the cracks between the curtains, one of its rays falling across of my face. I had been pretending to sleep, knowing that Edward was sure to pick up on my restless mood had I not done so. I heard him slide out of bed, going about his morning routine without trying to grab my attention. I was grateful for his doing so, as I was not yet ready to face the world.

I had spent the better part of the night pondering everything that Nessie had shown us. The fact that she had absorbed a bit of all our powers was truly astounding. The fact that she had kept the strength of her powers at bay while she showed us what she was capable of made me realize that she was far stronger than we had originally thought her to be.

She'll be able to go up against the Volturi with ease, I mused inwardly. No one actually knows just how strong she is. Or what she is truly capable of.

Rolling onto my back, I stared up at the ceiling with exasperation. The mother inside of me could not help but reject the thought of allowing her to fight beside us once the Volturi came. Yet I knew that I could not prevent her from doing so. As Edward had said, Nessie was our salvation. With her help we would be able to defeat the Volturi.

I could not help but wonder what their defeat would mean to the rest of our kind. Would they rejoice at the fact that the 'monarchy' is no more? I wondered. Would we be able to co-exist with one another without having to draw further blood shed? If not, who could we elect to lead the others peacefully? Would they accept being ruled by someone other than the Volturi?

As I contemplated that thought, and more, an unexpected thought came to me. One that seemed so foreign, yet it also felt so right. Carlisle could rule our kind as he saw fit, I thought. He was perfect for the role. He had once been a part of the Volturi. He knows their secrets as surely as he knows our own. With his tutelage, he could ease our people's fear as easily as he was able to treat other people's maladies.

Yes, I surmised. Carlisle could definitely reestablish order. He's been able to keep each and every one of us in line whenever something has gone wrong. He could definitely pick up where the Volturi left off; sans the drinking of human blood, of course. Our lifestyle is fine just the way it is!

I was so wrapped up within my thoughts that I did not notice Edward as he contemplated me from afar. He was leaning casually against the doorjamb, his eyes roving up and down the length of my body. His soft chuckle broke through the haze that had been enveloping me. Flipping over onto my side, I stared at him with wide eyes.

"How long have you been there?" I wondered aloud.

"Long enough," he replied. "Is something bothering you?"

"Perhaps," I replied nonchalantly, oblivious to the fact that I was lying quite naked underneath the sheets.

"Would you like to talk about it?"

"No."

"Why not?"

Rolling onto my back once more, I sighed heavily with dismay. "Not now, Edward," I replied brusquely. "It's too early for this."

I could feel his eyes trained upon me as he pushed himself inside of the room. Kicking the door shut, he strode towards the bed and sat down beside me. Taking my right hand within his own, he rubbed the pad of his thumb along the length of my hand. Try as I might, I could not ignore him whenever he touched me with such tenderness.

"Edward . . ." I said breathlessly, refusing to turn my head in his direction.

"Talk to me, Bella," he urged. "Whatever is wrong, I can help you through it. Trust in me."

Everything inside of me shouted in denial of his words. I knew that he could not really help me with what I was thinking about. Not when it was in regards to our daughter. For although he did not say so, he, too, was distraught about Nessie's predicament.

Taking a deep breath, I turned to face him. "The fact that the Volturi are en route bothers me, Edward. What if we fail? What if we lose Nessie?"

Searching my eyes, he said, "We won't, Bella. We've come too far to accept defeat."

"What if?" I continued. "What then?"

He leaned down to press his lips softly against my own. "Don't think like that, Bella. There is hope. You know there is."

I reached up and curled my hand around his cheek. I wanted to believe him, yet my heart refused to see reason. Part of me was full of doubt. It had been there ever since Nessie had told us about the conversation that she had overheard between Rose and Emmett. Rose's words had continued to tumble around inside of my head and refused to stop doing so.

Do the others feel that way? I wondered. Are they just as afraid to stand up against the Volturi?

Sighing once more, I did my best to quell the indecision that was rolling around inside of me. I had to think positive. It was the only way for me to find peace. Yet it was so hard to do. I wanted strongly to believe that we would be able to make the Volturi see reason. That we would be able to win a battle that seemed so impossible. Yet could we win? I questioned. Could we make the difference possible?

"Bella . . . ?" Edward prodded.

Glancing at him once more, I gave him a waning smile. "Forgive me," I said. "I'm taking this all so very hard."

"She's my daughter, too, Bella," he stated softly.

"Yes, I know."

"I'm just as worried as you are. I've had those very same thoughts that you have. But I'm trying to keep a level head. I can't afford to think of what it would be like if we were to lose her. I just can't. It . . . It would be as if I were losing you all over again and I can't bear the thought of that," he admitted, leaning down to press his face against the curve of my neck.

Sliding my fingers into the thickness of his hair, I held him that way for awhile. I felt the corners of my eyes tighten as my body fervently remembered what it was like to cry. Edward was going through the same thing that I was. I saw it now. Yet it was mind boggling to see just how much it affected him, too. He had always been so careful to keep his feelings at bay. He had rarely shown me what he had been feeling when I had been a human. To see him do so now was a tad unsettling.

Turning my head, I brushed my lips against his own. He responded to my kiss with such intensity that it startled me. Pulling away, I shook my head at him in denial.

"We can't," I replied. "Nessie will wake up soon."

Running a finger around the outline of my lips, he chuckled softly. "She won't know, Bella," he said.

"Edward . . ."

"Bella . . ."

Without another thought, I pressed my lips against his own once more. I pushed aside all of my doubts and insecurities and allowed him to love me with such fierce abandonment that I lost sense of where I stopped and he began. For that one moment, I was his and he was mine. The world was ours for the taking and we were taking advantage of that fact.