The plane journey back to Forks was unbearable, Edward sat in his seat, as still as the statue his features resembled. He'd barely spoken since my revelation back on Isle Esme other than to phone Carlisle, I'd tried to coax words out of him, but to no avail. His butterscotch eyes were glazed over with pain, his features tense, he'd already broken the armrest between us from gripping it. He was angry at himself, that much I knew without words. I'd tried to reassure him but gained no response so I gave up. Instead I rested my hands on my already protruding bump. This was all wrong, I knew that. By the biology of human nature I shouldn't even know that I was pregnant, let alone have a bump as proof, yet I did. I was defying the odds that much I knew, the pure chance of this happening was enough to take my breath away. Me and Edward were having a baby, our baby. I could already see the baby in my eyes, from those haunting dreams from the island I already had a suspicion it would be a boy. A little Edward! My heart leaped at the idea, a minature Edward to cradle in my arms, yet another piece of pure perfection. It was more than I had ever dare hoped for, yet the way Edward was reacting you would think the Volturi were coming after us. He was more excited about the idea of me becoming a vampire I thought to myself.
The Cullens were all there to meet us at the airport, all with worried expressions on their faces, all but with one exception. Rosalie made her way out of the group and glided with enviable elegance to my side and wrapped her arms around me.
"It's going to be ok" she said, her grip vice like around my body. "I promise you Bella, I'll look after you".
I'd phoned Rose straight after I realised what was happening, knew that whatever had happened between us in the past would be forgotten with my news, and by the looks on the rest of the Cullens faces, I knew in Rose I might have found my onlShey saviour.
Carlisle and Edward walked off, their expressions mirrored one another, concern, anxiety, deep in conversation. Their voices so low my human ears couldn't detect the words, Emmett and Jasper flanked them, listening and contributing when neccessary. Esme and Alice both glanced at me, sympathy tattoed across their face before turning and catching up with the men. For as long as I'd known Edward I'd felt a part of the Cullen family, now I felt completely alone as I watched my family walk off without me, until I heard Rose growl by my side.
"Rose" I begged. "What's going on?"
She looked at me for a moment, gazing straight into my eyes with such an intensity it scared me, she placed one of her ice cold hands around mine.
"They're planning what to do now" she said, her voice tinted with disgust. "To them there's only one solution".
She nearly spat out the final word.
"Solution?" I repeated, puzzled by what she meant. "Rose I'm having a baby, thats the only solution".
"Not according to Carlisle and Edward" said Rose.
I broke away from her grip, nausea washed over me and it wasn't morning sickness. How could they even entertain the idea? The thought of it alone made me feel dizzy and sick.
"No" I whispered, unable to command any more strength in my voice. "They can't do this, they can't."
The mothering instinct within myself kicked up a notch, no one was going to go near my child, not without a fight at least I thought.
"I know Bella" continued Rose. "But their main concern is you, a human carrying a half vampire child is something we've only heard of in myths. The rate you're pregnancy is developing is alarming Carlisle, they have no idea what to expect and that terrifies them. They're worried about the effect it will have on you, whether you have the strength to carry the child".
"It's my baby though, they can't make me do anything I don't want to do" I protested.
"You're going to fight against the vampires?" asked Rose, half teasingly.
She had a point I conceded, I was no match for their strength, if they wanted to they could literally pick me up and force me... The thought was too much to even bear.
"What about Alice?" I asked, desperately trying to think of some advantage I might have over the Cullens. "Surely she can see how this is going to turn out".
"It's hazy" said Rose. "She can't see the child, probably because it's a breed that she's never encountered before, she can't see its future, she has no better idea than the rest of us how this might turn out".
"What about Esme?" I was clutching at straws here. "Esme's lost a child, and look at the effect it had on her Rose, she threw herself off a cliff, surely she wouldn't do that to me".
"She wouldn't" muttered Rose, her voice was low, but not as low as to avoid me hearing.
I glanced at her quizzingly.
She sighed and gave into defeat.
"Carlisle sat us down after Edward's phonecall and told us what was happening, of course I already knew from you." She put her hand back onto mine and pulled me alongside her, the rest of the family far in front. "An argument broke out."
My heart jumped, angry at myself for being the cause of yet another confrontation in the Cullen family.
"Alice was shocked, she hadn't seen it coming and that frightened her, she's had no forewarning in her visions. Carlisle told us all that the best thing would be to get the child out of you as soon as possible, that we had no idea what would happen if the pregnancy continued".
My hand flew automatically down to my bump and I stroked it protectively.
"That was when the argument broke out. It started out with just me and Carlisle. I told him I'd spoken to you and that you wanted this baby, he told me the risk was too big".
" I want to take the risk" I said angrily.
"I know Bella, but Carlisle wouldn't listen, he just went on and on about the medical side of it, and that him and Edward were in agreement that this was the best path to take. Alice agreed, she's scared because she can't see the child in our future, I argued that maybe that would come when it was born, but as soon as Alice voiced her opinion, Jasper agreed".
I totted up the numbers in my head, that was Carlisle, Edward, Alice and Jasper wanting me to get rid of my child, if Esme and Emmett agree with me and Rose it would be an even fight, all my hopes lied on them.
"Go on" I urged Rose.
"Carlisle said that as everyone else around the table had had their opinions aired, it was only fair Emmett and Esme did too. Emmett sided with me" Rose smiled at the thought of her husband, and I felt a huge surge of gratitude towards my surrogate big brother. "He said at the least it should be your decision. And then it was Esme's turn".
My heart was doing cartwheels against my ribcage at this point, the only way I would be able to fight against Carlisle and Edward would be to have Esme on side.
"She was furious" Rose started. "Her eyes were pure black, like she needed to hunt. I've never seen her like that, even at her most thirsty. And then she completely lost it, in all the years I've spent with her I've never seen her that angry Bella. She was furious with Carlisle and Edward for what they wanted to do with you, she reminded Carlisle of what she had lost, of how she had been brought into this life, asked if he could live with doing the same to you."
I couldn't imagine Esme angry, she was the epitome of calm and collected, but I knew underneath that surface ran deep pools of grief and loss that even the years of mothering the Cullen children would never heal.
"What now?" I asked desperately, there was a tiny pit of hope alive in me now the fight was even, although it meant me pitted against Edward, it was a battle I was prepared to fight.
"After Esme's outburst, Carlisle took off allowing her to calm down. When he came back he said he still stood by what he had said, but he would wait, until you came back. He said it wasn't fair to make assumptions until he'd examined you" explained Rose. " He hates siding against Esme so that was his compromise to make her calmer".
I nodded, glad that I had been brought just a little more time by Esme.
"But what if the examination reveals something?" I asked nervously.
"We'll cross that bridge if and when we get to it" said Rose,a smile on her achingly beautiful face. "Just stay calm Bella, you've got people on your side who are prepared to fight against the odds for you and your baby".
The smile on her face as she said that last word took over all her features and made her look even more stunning than normal. She looked down at my bump, still smiling.
"May I?" she asked.
She nodded and she released her hand from mine, and placed her hand gently across my bump, all the time her smile growing and growing. Maybe, just maybe, despite the fact we had a huge fight on our hands, with Rose on my side, there would be a chance for this child. I had to hope, right now it was all I had and I was holding on to with as much as intensity as I could possibly muster.