Happy Late Thanksgiving! :D
Sorry I couldn't update sooner, but I hadn't been in the mood to write since my dog, Rocco, died. So, hopefully you can understand. Also, I'm pretty sure this story is possessed. Seriously, every time I get so close to the end, something bad happens, usually deleting all of my progress. I'm telling you guys, the universe is against me finishing this story. Perhaps it will signal the end of the world...?
Anyway, don't get your hopes up: this chapter isn't really the shit. Well, actually it is. Oh well. Better to update than not, right?
Lastly, read the Author's Note at the end. It's a Jessica-Must. So if you'll excuse me, I'll be hiding in my Apocalypse-proof bunker. [Oh yeah: you won't know the gender of the baby until the END of this chapter. NO SKIPPING!]
Disclaimer: I DO NOT own Twilight. Never have and, sadly, never will.
I scrunched in beside Paul, leaning into his chest. Beside me, Quil twitched in annoyance as Jared accidentally bumped into him.
"Watch it," he snarled.
"Shut up Quil, and put your arm around Claire," Emily barked, fiddling with the camera. Quil scoffed, but quickly did as he was told when Emily shot him a dark glare.
"Why do we have to do this?" I whispered in Paul's ear. He chuckled quietly, splaying his fingers over my swollen belly.
"Because Emily's feeling a bit sentimental, seeing as how all of us are 'so grown up now'." I rolled my eyes, smiling. For the past two weeks, Emily had been lamenting and pouring over old family photos. A seven year old Quil biting into a large sandwich — he's always had such a big appetite, Emily had informed me — a scrawny Jacob fishing with his dad, and there had been a couple of Paul, which I had secretly stolen and was currently hording in my underwear drawer.
"Gather in close!" Emily ordered. The group crowded in closer, nearly crushing each other. I could feel the heat radiating off of the guys, making me feel a little flushed. I inched away, albeit reluctantly, from Paul's chest, only to brush into Embry's equally scorching shoulder.
"Are you okay, Angel?" Paul asked. I smiled weakly, nodding my head. I leaned back into his chest, the heat seeping into my skin. I had to resist the urge to fan myself, thinking to myself how I could've ever enjoyed this searing temperature. When I thought that I would die from a heat stroke, I felt Paul's fingers glide over my sides, the tips of his fingers reaching to touch a sliver of exposed skin. He pressed his lips against my temple, and I felt the familiar giddiness take over. Maybe the heat wasn't so bad.
"Enjoying yourself?" Al teased beside me, waggling her eyebrows suggestively at me. I rolled my eyes at her, smirking. What an understatement, I thought, but didn't voice it out loud. God knows Paul doesn't need another ego boost.
"Hardly," I teased back. "What is it? A hundred degrees out here?"
"Cassie! Allison!" Emily snapped. "No complaining!" Al and I grimaced in unison, shrinking into our respective others. Paul kissed my head comfortingly as I cowered from Emily's demonic glare. Satisfied that the talking had ceased, she smiled happily and stepped into her spot by Sam.
"Smile, everyone!" Sam said, already showing his pearly whites. Everyone followed suit as the camera let out a blinding light.
"Dude, that light was so bright," Seth said. "I think I saw God."
"Shut up, Seth," Al laughed, punching his arm.
"I'm serious, Al. I totally saw God." Seth blinked his eyes rapidly, trying to disperse the tiny white dots that were invading everyone's sight. I rubbed my eyes, grumbling my complaint. I felt Paul's lips press against my hair, not at all helping the white dots.
"Did you know that people used to think pictures stole souls?" Janine asked, her hand firmly clasped in Seth's.
"Huh," Quil said, rubbing his stomach thoughtfully. "I thought I was feeling a bit empty."
"Quil, your soul is still intact — you're just hungry," Claire pointed out, raising an eyebrow when Quil's stomach growled loudly, emphasizing her point.
"Good call," Quil said, pulling her up from the couch. "Come make me some food." Claire snorted, but didn't object as he dragged her to the kitchen, already telling her what he wanted on his sandwich.
"I think I should be a Holy Man," Seth mused aloud after they left. Everyone laughed in unison, ignoring his glare.
"Dude, you wouldn't last a day being a Holy Man," Jake said. "Quil didn't even last ten minutes last time."
"Plus, don't they abstain from sex and alcohol or something?" Al asked. Seth turned pale under his russet skin, eyes darting for a split second to Janine. Embry laughed loudly, as did Paul.
"Well, he already has the abstaining from sex down," Paul said, smirking at Seth as his color returned, flaring up in his cheeks. Janine mumbled a weak 'shut up', hiding her crimson flush. I smacked Paul's arm half-heartedly. He smiled innocently at me, flashing white teeth.
"How about you go make yourself useful and get me a sandwich, hm?" I asked. The smile was replaced with a reluctant pout, but Paul heaved himself off the couch and trudged out of the room. Jake smirked at me when he left, raising an eyebrow playfully.
"You have him pussy-whipped, huh?" he asked. I laughed loudly, smothering most of it with a hand. But before I could speak, Paul came back in, eyes wide and a haunted expression on his face.
"I'm not going back in there, Cassie," Paul said vehemently, ducking his head into my shoulder. "No matter what you say, I am not getting you a sandwich from that kitchen." I looked back at Jake, pursing my lips.
"I guess not."
"Damn, girl," Quil said, lips swollen. "You look like you're gonna pop." I scowled at him, shoving the ham slices back into the refrigerator.
"Oh, gee Quil. Thank you ever so freaking much," I said, picking my plate off the counter. "Don't break the chair, you two."
"What? Like how you and Paul broke the table?" Quil guffawed, thoroughly enjoying my embarrassment. In his lap, Claire tittered, winking at me devilishly. I huffed defensively, willing the color from my face.
"That table was old, anyway," I said. "Emily's lucky we gave her a reason to go table shopping."
"And what about Sam? I guess he got to take out his frustrations on Paul, hm?" Claire said, grinning evilly. I huffed again, turning away from their laughing faces and walked — or waddled, however you want to look at it — out of the room, spluttering incoherently to myself. It was just one time, one time, and nobody would drop it! Like none of them ever had sex at someone else's house on their furniture! God!
"Cassie, are the voices talking to you again?" Embry asked, grinning like the idiot he was.
"Yes, Call," I spat. "They're telling me to bash you upside the head with a baseball bat, and I just might do it."
"It's the Hormone Voices," Seth stage whispered, yelping when I pinched his arm. Janine rubbed the sore spot, babying him as per usual. I rolled my eyes at his dramatics, easing myself down beside Paul. He inspected my food, wrinkling his nose when he saw the cream-covered pickles on there with the ham slices covered in chocolate sprinkles.
"It's surprisingly good," I said, taking a bite out of it. Embry gagged, and Seth looked downright horrified at my concoction.
"How can you do that?" Seth said, flinching as I took yet another bite.
"Very easily," I said after I swallowed my food.
"But you're desecrating the Holy sanctity of the food!" Seth cried.
"Dude, do you even know what sanctity means?" Jake joked, laughing at Seth's incredulous expression.
"I don't see how that is relevant to this conversation, Jacob!" Seth stood from the couch, gently pulling Janine up with him. "Come on, Janie. Lets go some place that actually respects food." Janine followed him out, sending me an apologetic smile over her shoulder.
"Is my food that repulsive?" I asked Paul.
"Yeah, Cass," he said, still eyeing my sandwich warily. "It pretty much is."
I shrugged my shoulders, taking another bite out of the sandwich.
"What is that?!" I shrieked, snatching the picture from Paul's hand, tears welling up in my eyes as I took in the image.
"It's the picture from earlier," Paul said, rubbing my shoulders. "What's wrong, Angel?"
"I'm fat!" I wailed, burying my face into my hands as the tears spilled over. I was absolutely hideous! I felt Paul's warm arms wrap around my waist, gently cradling me into his chest.
"No you're not, Cassie. You're pregnant — big difference," he said, kissing the side of my neck. I shook my head, crying even harder now.
"Y-Yes I a-am!" I cried. "I'm f-freaking ginormous! They're g-gonna ship me off to Sea World and c-call me Shamoo t-the Second!" A sound erupted from Paul's chest, a mix between a growl and a laugh.
"Cassie," he said, his fingers slipping down to my stomach, almost cradling it. "You. Are. Pregnant." He emphasized each word with a soft kiss on my lips. Paul traced the roundness of my belly with one hand, the other reaching up to gently wipe away the tears from my emotional outburst. I sniffled quietly, not quite able to keep the pout away from my lips. Paul kissed my lower lip before sighing quietly.
"What am I ever going to do with you?" He didn't say it like I was a burden, but said it with such affectionate ease. He ran his hand over my belly once more, initiating a hum of contentment from me.
"You're not going to keep it, are you?" I asked, almost sleepily, leaning into him. Paul brushed aside my hair to kiss the nape of my neck, his lips turning up at the corners against my skin.
"Of course — everyone gets a copy."
And that's when I burst into tears again.
I turned away from Paul's hand and pressed my cheek against the cool window. I heard his heavy sigh, the window reflecting his hand pulling away from me and placing itself back on the steering wheel. I scowled at his reflection, completely infuriated with him.
"Come on, Cassie," Paul whined. "You can't be that mad at me!"
Think again, bud.
After another silent moment, Paul groaned quietly, pinching the bridge of his nose with a free hand. "Cassie, it's not like I could take those pictures back. I mean, that would be kind of selfish—" I snorted at this part, crossing my arms over my belly. The baby kicked against my stomach in testament, obviouslyagreeing with me whole-heartedly.
There was another heavy sigh as he pushed his hand through his hair roughly. "I'm sorry, Cass," he said after a minute. "What can I do to make you feel better?"
"I dunno," I mumbled, looking down at my cupped hands that rested in my lap.
"You don't know," Paul repeated, placing a hand on top of mine. I encased his hand with both hands, slightly frustrated that I could barely cover it. The ring glittered on my left hand, winking at me in the dark. "How about when we get home, I'll make you a sandwich with anything you want on it."
"Anything?" I asked skeptically. "And no complaining this time?"
"Anything, and no complaints whatsoever," Paul affirmed, tracing the edges of my engagement ring. "How does that sound?" I thought about it for a moment before I felt the baby kick against my stomach again, this time much harder.
"The baby says yes," I giggled. Paul chuckled beside me, gripping my hands tightly.
"What?" Paul asked, brushing back my hair. "What's wrong?" I grimaced, placing my hand over my stomach. The baby kicked as another sharp pain came, leaving me out of breath.
"Cramps," I gasped. Good Lord Almighty above, what did Paul do with that damned sandwich? Paul pushed aside the blankets to move aside my hand and gently prodded my stomach. I hissed in pain, grinding my teeth together. "Ow, ow, ow, fucking ow, Paul! Quit touching me, dammit!"
"Sorry, sorry," Paul mumbled. "Can you sit up for me?" I bit my lip, raising myself up slowly. Another sharp pain came, making me whimper. When I was sitting up, sweat dewing my forehead, Paul moved off the bed, rummaging through the pockets of his jeans that were discarded on the floor. He took his cellphone out of the back pocket, pounded on some numbers before placing it to his ear.
"Sam? Yeah, could you get the guys and tell them to meet us at the hospital? Yeah. Yeah, I think so. She's..." Paul trailed off to look at me, his eyebrows crumpling slightly. "She's not doing too well right now. Yeah, call them, too. Alright. See you in twenty minutes." He snapped the phone shut and pulled on his jeans, his eyebrows still furrowed.
"We're going to the hospital?" I squeaked, something that wasn't completely due to nervousness. Paul nodded his head, disappearing into the closet momentarily before coming back out, our overnight bag over his shoulder.
"Come here," he said, gently lifting me out of the blankets and cradled me against his chest.
"You're shirtless," I said, gasping quietly as another pain struck. Paul simply rolled his eyes, muttering how he didn't give a damn about the hospital's stupid policies. He walked out of the house, deftly shutting the door behind him as he carried me towards the truck. As he buckled me in, he made sure that the lower strap didn't press down too hard against my stomach. Satisfied, he shut the door with a soft click.
"What if something's wrong with the baby?" I asked once he got in, watching as he cranked the ignition and quickly pulled out of the driveway.
"The baby's okay," Paul said, the skin around his mouth tightening just a bit. I chewed on my bottom lip as I watched the speedometer climb up as we sped down the abandoned roads. His knuckles whitened as he gripped the wheel tightly, the leather material creaking in protest. His back barely touched the seat, it was so stiff. Hesitantly, I ran a hand over the tensed muscles of his arm, trying to calm him while simultaneously trying not to grope him during his distressed state.
"Everything'll be alright," I said soothingly. I felt his muscles slacken slightly as he released his death grip on the steering wheel, his back curving back into the chair. I reached up to stroke his cheek, running my hand over the slight stubble that started to grow. Paul leaned into my hand, exhaling quietly.
"We're here," he said, parking in an empty spot close to the main entrance. Everyone was already there, a wheelchair placed conspiciously by them. I scowled at it as Jake opened my door and started to unbuckle me.
"I don't need a wheelchair," I grumbled as he sat me down in it. Jake snorted, ignoring me.
"Here, dude," Seth said, tossing something to Paul. "Had a feeling you'd leave without a shirt." Paul rolled his eyes but slipped the shirt over his head, and I couldn't help ogle as the material tightened over his perfect muscles, giving my quite a view.
"C-Doc already has you guys a room ready," Al said, winking at me. I scoffed at the obvious special treatment, but didn't say anything as I was wheeled into the hospital. I scrunched my eyes closed when I felt another pang in my belly. I felt Paul's fingers massage through my hair comfortingly, and I didn't have to look at him to know that he was rigid from head to toe.
"You okay, Cassie?" Nessie asked from beside Jake, her sweet voice pitched high in concern. I nodded, pinching the bridge of my nose.
"Here's the room! Hey, Doc! How are you?" Jake's tone was overly cheery, and I felt like hitting him upside the head with a brick.
"Hello, Jacob," Carlisle said, and I could tell he was smiling. "Cassie? Are you in much pain?"
"Uh huh," I said, my voice shrill from the pain. I heard Carlisle make a tutting sound before he handed out orders to everyone. Paul, stay here with Cassie while the staff runs some tests. Seth, no eating in the patient's room. Everyone, go wait in the waiting room — we'll update you regularly on Cassie's condition. And Quil, for goodness sakes! Take that nurse's uniform off!
"So, that's going to break my water?" I asked, eyeing the syringe warily as Carlisle stuck it in my IV bag. He nodded his head, smiling gently down at me. Beside me, Paul gripped my hand tightly in his. I watched as he jiggled his knee nervously, breathing deeply and levelly.
"Sheesh, Paul. You act as if you're the one who's about to give birth," I teased weakly. He smiled at me, even his lips having that nervous twitch.
"Water broke," Carlisle told us cheerfully. "It'll be a matter of time now." Paul groaned quietly, pressing his forehead against our joined hands.
"How long is this going to last?" I asked, flinching as a contraction hit.
"Seeing how this is your first time, it could last over thirty hours," he said, holding up a hand at our protests. "But if it comes to that, we can always opt for a c-section." I swallowed loudly at the thought of so many hours. I looked over to Paul, scowling when I took in his ashen face.
"You better not faint," I warned him, recieving a glare in return.
"How much longer, Carlisle?" Paul asked over my moans.
"Any time now," Carlisle repeated for the hundredth time this hour. "Come on Cassie! Push! You're so close now!" I huffed, my indignation somewhat marred by the tears that were streaming down my face. Paul kissed the top of my sweat-drenched hair, whispering encouraging words in my ear. I pushed harder, a half strangled scream ripping from my throat.
"Fuck shit damn!" I gasped, recieving a reprimanding look from one of the nurses. "Fuck shit shit hell!"
"I see the head!" A younger nurse cried. "Come on! Push! Push! Push!" I scowled at her cheerleader-esque chanting, but did as I was told and pushed harder, the pain tripling now.
"There's the shoulders...the chest...the stomach...the baby's out!" The nurse clapped her hands giddily, like she had hit the jackpot, and I had to restrain myself from ripping the stethoscope off of Carlisle's neck and strangling her with it.
There was a sharp smacking sound — prompting tired growls from Paul and I — and the sound of our child's cries.
"It's a boy," Carlisle said, handing the newly bundled Hunter in our arms, wincing slightly. "Wow, he's got a pair of lungs on him, huh?"
"Well, if you hadn't violated him," Paul snarled, "we wouldn't be having these problems." Carlisle ignored the barbed comment and set about ordering his nurses to clean up the excess blood before ordering them out.
"Would you like me to send your guests in?" Carlisle asked, quirking his eyebrow almost playfully. Paul and I nodded absentmindedly, marveling at the little bundle that was nestled in my arms. Hunter had quieted down, staring up at us with large, almost bewildered eyes.
"He has your eyes," Paul said quietly, kissing the side of my neck.
"And he has your...everything else," I noted, frowning slightly. I could hardly see myself in him! "Will he also, you know, join the pack when he's older?" Paul sighed quietly, shrugging his shoulders.
"I... it's a distinct possibility," Paul said. "It runs stronger in the boys than the girls." I nodded my head, barely listening as I watched little Hunter in his sleep. His eyelashes were spiked with tears dewed on the tips, fading tear tracks staining his russet skin.
"Did you want to hold him?" I asked softly. Paul nodded, gently and skillfully taking Hunter from my arms and cradled him in his own arms. Paul's face softened at our son, and I couldn't help the warmth that pooled in my chest and belly at the sight of our son in his arms.
"Knock knock," Al whispered, stepping into the room. Everyone filed in behind her, grinning idiotically at the baby in Paul's arms. "It's a boy, huh?" I nodded, ignoring the fist pounds and the quiet whoops from the guys.
"I'm a grandma!" Quil blubbered. Claire handed him a tissue, patting his back comfortingly. Beside him, Tommy winked at me impishly and Leah smirked at me. Janine smiled softly at me, following the other girls to my bedside to brush away my damp hair and fuss over me, each one asking me a series of questions that left me even more tired and exhausted.
And like that, time passed. The room was buzzing with happiness as everyone took their turns holding little Hunter, the smiles never leaving their faces. Within the hour, plans were made, not just for me, but for everyone else as well. Al planned to have a baby girl — Hunter would be her soul mate, of course. Seth had another date planned for him and Janine, smiling conspiratorially at me. Emily and Kim already planned play dates for our babies, gushing over details. Tommy and Leah just wanted to go with the flow and see where life took them. A brief discussion of whether Leah could get pregnant took place, ending in the 'your guess is as good as mine' reply.
A few hours later, when the room was cleared and Paul rested his head on top of my stomach, soundly asleep. I ran my fingers through his hair, briefly glancing at the hospital cradle where Hunter slept to make sure that he was okay. His soft snuffles confirmed my thoughts, and I relaxed back into the hospital pillows. My eyes fluttered, and I felt happy that I finally got a chance to rest without the poking and prodding of nurses.
Paul and I had a lot planned for our future, most of which had to do with Hunter. I had once worried that Paul and I wouldn't make it, especially with such an early pregnany in our fragile relationship. But, as I thought about it, I didn't feel the familiar onslaught of unease or anxiety. I felt calm, relaxed, and reassured. What I had worried would be the downfall of us was what had made our relationship stronger. The small, tiny bundle that wasn't but a few feet away from me was truly a miracle, in more ways than I could describe.
Yes, there would still be kinks in our relationship and a few pitfalls, but every good, worthwhile relationship did. We had years ahead of us, years that I was very much looking forward to. Slowly, as my eyes closed, and I could see my ring winking in the hospital lights, a silent testimony that Paul and I had forever. And with that, sleep took me over with sweet dreams accompanying it.
D'aw. I wish I could have that kind of ending/beginning of sorts. Well, I don't know if you guys like it since it's (a. too happy (b. too cheesy or (c. all of the above. Well, I say get over it. I'm a sucker for Happily Ever Afters, seeing as how I get attached to the story's characters very easily. Plus, I've been up into the early morning finishing this 'cause I felt so damned guilty for not giving you guys a new chapter for over a month. Also, I know you guys might be a tad disappointed that I left out a couple of people for the birth, but I felt like the chapter was too loaded and stuffed, so some got the boot. OK, down to what I want to tell you guys:
The Sequel to Brownie Points is most likely NOT going to be my next project. It is very likely a Marcus x OC story, seeing as how I already have the first chapter and half of the second chapter all typed up. Yup. Sorry to disappoint, guys. But, I'm gonna try to multi-task my stories and do several stories at a time. Hm. It's always nice to have options. But, don't be surprised if I don't post a new story up any time soon. Also, everyone, please leave a review. It can be, like, one word, and I'd be so damned freaking happy. 'Good', 'bad', or even 'SHABOODLE!!1!!1!' would satisfy me. So, until next time!
PS: Big thanks to everyone who read and/or reviewed this story! BIG LOVE!