Disclaimer: Twilight and the characters within belong to Stephenie Meyer. No infringement intended.
Summary: This story is the follow-up to my first story on this series called After the Honeymoon. A year and a half has gone by since the last story and things have changed for Edward and his family. Bella is still human but they are closer than ever to making the change. How will it effect them and the rest of their family?
Chapter 1: Challenges
Long before I arrived at the house I shared with Bella and our two children, I was aware of the conflict my wife was having with our two year old daughter. It was a daily battle, but one neither of us were willing to let up on. Listening further, I heard our son's steady breathing which meant Anthony was asleep for the moment. There was the turn of a knob before I heard my wife's exasperated sigh. "You have until three to get in that bed," Bella grumbled at our two year old. I quickened my pace.
"Not sleepy," came our daughter's reply.
I came out of the woods as I heard Renesmee struggling and grunting along with the whoosh her legs as they kicked. Once inside I made it to her room as Bella was laying our daughter back in her bed. I stood outside the door waiting to see if my wife would need me.
"The next time you get up, you will get a time out."
"I mad at you momma."
"I'm sorry that you are, but I mean it. You stay in that bed and go to sleep."
I listened as Renesmee turned over kicking her legs against the mattress which was fine. She could be as angry as she wanted so long as she listened to what her mother asked of her. After Bella shut the door she put her arms around me. "How do you get her to listen?"
I kissed the top of my wife's head and led her down the hall to our room. We walked over to the cradled and looked down at our son. Anthony Masen Cullen was exactly a month old today and completed our family in ways I was still trying to grasp a-hold of. Like his sister his body temperature ran warmer than normal though he required more blood than Renesmee had at that age. At night there were long periods of time where he would cry without us being able to sooth him. Carlisle said it was colic and I knew it could last a few weeks or even months.
"I wish he would do this at night," Bella whispered.
"He will soon enough," I assured, stiffening as I heard a small thump.
Bella sighed and held on to me, "I'll go rest with her."
"No, you told her she had to stay in bed, love. She won't learn to listen if you don't enforce what you say." As we talked I heard the creak her rocking horse made when she was on him. I held Bella's hand as we went back down the hall to Renesmee's room. "I'll be right here," I assured.
Bella nodded before taking a breath to go in and do battle.
I remember thinking that my baby would never use words and always show us what she wanted. When she was little it was easy and there wasn't anything that could have prepared me for this. I opened the door to Renesmee's room finding her on the rocking horse she had received the Christmas before she was born.
The moment she looked at me, seeing my exasperated expression she stopped rocking. "I not tired," she whispered staying where she was. My baby was a good girl, just not when it came to taking naps.
I constantly struggled with why I had to fight Renesmee, when all Edward had to do was look at her to make her listen. I lifted Renesmee off of the horse and she snuggled against my chest making me feel guilty for what I was about to do. At the other end of her room was a small wooden rocking chair that faced the corner wall. I knelt down and tried to put her in it but she clung to me. "Do you remember what I said about you getting out of bed again?"
Renesmee shook her head and I shut my eyes before easing her away from me and turning her toward the small chair. As I did, she kicked her legs knocking it over. "Stay there," I grumbled knowing my husband was ready to come try and take over. I loved him but he had a point. If I wanted her to listen I had to do this on my own.
I righted the chair and held Renesmee immobile in my arms, something that wasn't easy to do because she was pretty strong. "That's enough. You are sitting in that chair until I come back, do you understand me?"
Her eyes looked into mine before her lips puckered. Renesmee was angry but I was getting somewhere. I put her down in the chair and she growled. When I glanced at the door my husband had his eyes shut pinching the bride of his nose, something he did when he was frustrated.
After two minutes I picked my baby up and carried her back to her bed feeling her arms falling limp at my sides. Renesmee was still mad, but not struggling. "Now, you need to take your nap so that we can go see everyone at the other house. You are not getting out of bed again."
"Mean momma," she whispered as I kissed the top of her head.
I put her down against her pillow and put a blanket over her as she rolled on her side. "I love you."
"Love you momma," she mumbled sleepily.
Once again I met my husband in the hall, hugging him until I felt the tension leaving his body. "Thank you for letting me handle her on my own."
His arms went around me, "I had a hard time staying here especially when she was kicking. She could hurt you Bella, not deliberately."
"But I know how to avoid that, and we need to figure out when I'm getting turned for that very reason." We ended up in our den sitting on the sofa.
"I thought you wanted to wait for Anthony to wean," he said, confused.
"I do, but if his diet needs to be just that of the blood we give him then I don't need to wait. I think part of the reason Renesmee isn't afraid to test her limits with me is that she knows I'm not as strong." He nodded but didn't say anything and I wrapped my arms around him, "We've waited long enough for this. You know this is what I want, and I think deep down inside maybe it's what you want as well."
"Do you realize how selfish it would be of me to admit to that," he asked softly.
"Is it any less selfish for me to stay human and put you through all of the worry I know you go through when you have to hunt?"
"Momma?" we heard Renesmee calling out from the entry of the room.
"Anthony is awake," Edward said softly taking my hand and helping me up.
While Edward went ahead of us to take care of him, I picked up our baby and followed him up the stairs, hearing our son's very loud very angry cries. In her room, I settled Renesmee back in her bed.
"Why he get so loud?" She yawned. Renesmee was still getting used to having a baby brother who cried for reasons she wasn't ready to understand. I brushed a few strands of bronze curls away from her face as she blinked up at me.
"He probably has a wet diaper, which he doesn't like, so he cries to let us know we need to help him."
"I don't cry," Renesmee said through another yawn.
"No, but you did when you were small like Anthony. Now close your eyes." She did and I wound up her Teddy Bear putting him in her arms before leaving to take care of my other baby.
Seated in the recliner in our den I rubbed my hand over my son's back as he nursed, and at the same time squirmed in my arms. It had taken us a half hour to settle him down enough to get to this point and Anthony was still agitated.
Edward arrived with the bottle of donated blood about the same time Anthony pulled away crying loudly as my husband gave me the bottle. The moment our son tasted the blood he settled down and began to drink as though we hadn't fed him for days, settling in my mind what I already knew. He needed this more than he needed my milk. Oddly enough I didn't feel the hurt I thought I would when I considered that he might not need me the way Renesmee had. "Well that's it for nursing," I said lightly as Edward knelt in front of us.
"Are you sure?"
"Carlisle said he's more like you than like me genetically. I think his colic is probably due to the fact that we aren't giving him what he needs, and I'm not going to feel bad about this." I said resolutely. Thinking back on it, Anthony never tried to suckle when he was hungry the way Renesmee had when I held her. Maybe it was because he was a boy and she was a girl.
"Maybe Carlisle should run more tests," Edward tried.
I reached out and cupped my small hand against his cheek, "Or maybe we just need to give this a go for a day and see what it's like for him tonight." Edward turned his head and kissed my hand. "I love you." I whispered
"I love you," he replied.
Once Renesmee was awake from her nap and had on a dry diaper, I took her downstairs and got her settled in her highchair.
"Where Momma go?"
"Momma needed a nap," I told her as I got an apple out of the refrigerator, making quick work out of pealing and cutting it up in pieces small enough for her to handle. I also sliced some cheese and got out some ham before snapping her bib in to place.
"Daddy, we going see Nanna and Pop?"
I sat down in front of her with a cup of yogurt in my hand. Renesmee was capable of feeding herself, but sometimes we helped her out. I readied a bite and guided it to her mouth when she opened it. "We are going to wait for Momma to wake up first."
She nodded before eating more apple and taking a drink of blood from her sippy. Her diet had not wavered since she had started on solid foods and she ate what ever she liked. Mostly though it was fruits that my daughter preferred and some meat. Vegetables were a little more difficult to try and fit in but we managed. When Renesmee finished eating her snack I put her down, but she grasped my hand and led me to my piano.
I put her on my lap and played a few of her favorite songs. Lately Renesmee's favorite was There Was an Old Lady who Swallowed a fly. When she requested that one, I kissed her head. "You have to try and not laugh real loud."
"I not laugh loud Daddy," she answered while shaking her small head.
I began to play and sang the first verse of the song as softly as I could. Already my little girl was giggling, putting her small hands over her mouth. I got to the third verse before she couldn't hold it in, and we were both laughing trying not to be so loud. When Renesmee laughed it was infectious and no one could resist joining her.
"What's going on?" Bella said firmly as Renesmee laughed more. My wife sat with us and we all shared in the laughter before Renesmee wanted more of the song.
Anthony woke up not long after that and Renesmee got down and went ahead of us. When we got to our room she had her small arm through the bars of the cradled and was gently patting his bottom as he continued to cry. "He not happy see me," Renesmee said sadly.
As Bella tended to him I picked up our little girl, "He's not happy because he wants to be held."
Anthony was already quiet as Bella gently bounced him. I walked behind her so Renesmee could see him.
"Antony I see you," she said softly as he lifted his head looking right at her. "You make lots noise," she whispered, reaching her hand toward him.
I gently held it in my own. "He isn't ready for you to share with him," I reminded.
My daughter sighed, "I show him do that, and he not make lots noises."
Idly I wondered if she would be able to teach him some day or if he would do that on his own.
"Should we get these two ready for Nanna and Pop's house?" Bella asked.
"We should," Renesmee agreed and we both laughed.
The second my parents house was in view, Rosalie and Emmett were waiting for us. When I stopped the car Emmett opened the door to get Renesmee out of her seat, and Rosalie already had Anthony in her arms. "No, Daddy do it," Renesmee said pushing Emmett's big hands out of the way or trying as I opened the door for my wife. I kissed her before going to the back easily undoing the straps of Renesmee's seat before helping her out. Once she was on the ground she attached herself to Emmett's leg sitting on his big foot as he began to walk with her there, calling her name.
Knowing she was in good hands I went inside eager to speak to Carlisle about what Bella had discovered with our son. The rest of the family was in the den, and I found my wife sitting next to Rosalie as my sister laid Anthony on her lap. They were talking about what I wanted to share with Carlisle, and my father quickly joined us.
"I don't think we can use what we did with Renesmee as a guide. He has never once rooted for me when he's hungry and she always did that. I know that isn't the only thing we have to think of but I also think we need to see if having him on an all blood diet is what will work best," Bella explained
My father was thinking about what he had seen with Anthony's blood results when he was born, and found truth to what Bella was saying. "You may have a point, but we will need to monitor him more closely until we are sure," Carlisle answered.
As he gave my son a look over I heard Emmett's thoughts and met him in the kitchen. Renesmee was under the table, and I knelt down so I could see her. Bella and I had been working on potty training her since before she turned two, and it was a more difficult battle than trying to get her to take her naps. Carlisle agreed she was capable at this stage to hold in enough to use the potty, but my daughter was as stubborn as Bella and refused to go. We had more messes to clean up when we were trying and it was Esme who suggested to put her back in diapers and not push her, that she would figure it out on her own.
My brother handed me the diaper bag and left me to do the dirty work. "Everyone is away now," I assured her knowing she was self conscious.
Renesmee crawled out and let me take her upstairs to the nursery that was her room and Anthony's. I laid her down on her bed and got out what I needed to get her cleaned up.
"Daddy, I flush down in hole?"
I looked at her not understanding what she meant. "Will you show me?"
My baby held out her small hand and once it was on my cheek I saw the toilet flushing and the water going down the hole. She showed me one more time before I understood. "You are too big to fit down the hole in the toilet," I said kissing her forehead.
"Not big. It loud," she told me as I began to get her changed.
Her thoughts were always a part of me, but somehow I had missed the fact that the toilet flushing scared her. "You can go in the special potty and go away when we flush the big toilet."
Renesmee shook her head and once she was changed left me to clean up.
"Don't put that away yet," Esme said as she walked in holding Anthony cradled in her arms. She kissed him before laying him down where Renesmee had just been.
My son's eyes were still blue, and Bella told me the other dreams she had on the Island, hoping his eyes would be my color. Anthony watched me intently as I got him into a dry pair of pants and continued to gaze at me as I settled him in the crook of my left arm. I kissed his little nose and he took in a breath before sneezing. That startled him and before he could fuss I had him resting against my shoulder, gently rubbing his back.
Downstairs Carlisle was ready for his time with Anthony, and once my father had him I went to Bella holding out my hand for her. Renesmee saw her stand up and ran over to me hugging my leg. "I go too."
I knelt down and hugged her. "Why don't you help Nanna fix those cookies you two were talking about earlier?"
At the mention of those Renesmee's eyes lit up and she smiled, "Have chips and yummy, Daddy."
Once she was occupied Bella and I headed outside for our walk. "That was a good move reminding her of the cookies," Bella said.
I chuckled, "Renesmee was thinking about those before we pulled up at the house. I think if she had a way she would try cooking on her own."
"Don't you dare say that around her," Bella said firmly before leaning against me as we made our way slowly down the lane. This was our nightly routine unless it rained. Those nights we took a drive to our favorite spot occupying ourselves with what we had trouble doing at home with two babies.
"Do you still want to try and head out to the Island?"
"Yes. I'm working on Charlie joining us for a week maybe longer. I want to prepare him," Bella whispered.
Charlie Swan knew who his daughter had married and wasn't looking forward to her joining my way of life. I thought on those words realizing how right my wife was. Deep down inside I did want her to turn. I had worked my way through the guilt a while back realizing that she was safer being a vampire than remaining human for many a reason. The biggest was Renesmee, and Anthony, once he grew older. My wife would need the advantages of being a vampire to be able to face the challenges of raising our children and I could see that now.
"I thought I was the quiet one," Bella teased.
"You were right when you said I wanted you to be turned," I whispered, glancing at her as her heart began to beat a little faster. I smiled at her, "Does that make your nervous?"
"Maybe a little, but I want this more than anything else," Bella answered as she moved in front of me.
Just as I was preparing to kiss her, an ear splitting scream got my attention. I lifted my wife up cradling her against me as I ran us back toward the house. Both of our babies were crying, but it was Renesmee's cries that were frantic. Esme was holding her at the sink and had her hand under a stream of cold water. I heard her thoughts, cursing myself for saying Renesmee would want to cook by herself so close to the house.
"What happened?" Bella asked as Rosalie and Alice tried to sooth Anthony in the other room.
"She got burned," I answered putting her down and moving beside my mother as Renesmee screamed louder.
What would have been a third degree burn on any other child was a mild second degree burn for Renesmee. She fought to pull her hand out of the water as Esme let me take her. "Shh, I've got you baby," I crooned.
Her mind played back the moment no one was watching what she was doing, and how she snuck into the kitchen to see her cookies. Renesmee got the oven open and had her hand on the hot pan before Esme or anyone else could get to her.
I felt a wave of calm wash over me and looked as Jasper came into the kitchen from hunting. Renesmee was still crying, but she was no longer struggling to get away from me. "Shh, I have you," I kept repeating, kissing her head.
Carlisle arrived next looking at her hand as I kept it held under the stream of water. It was extremely red, and I knew it would hurt her once we took it away from the stream coming from the faucet. He had everything he needed on the kitchen table and Bella put a bowl under the water guiding me to place Renesmee's hand there before turning the faucet off.
Our baby was out of breath but didn't fight us when I carried her to where her Pop was sitting, and as I eased her hand from the water she cried hard. Carlisle went to work dabbing it dry before he applied a special cream to it wrapping her hand in gauze and taping it all in under a minute.
"Mo...mo..momma," Renesmee sobbed.
My wife held her, gently swaying with her as our daughter continued to cry. Anthony was quiet and I knew Esme was beating herself up over what had happened. I found my mother in the nursery putting away clean clothes. "I'm the one who put that idea in her head," I said softly.
"I shouldn't have let my eyes off of her. She's such a curious little girl and by the time I heard the oven open it was too late." I wrapped my arms around her, holding her as she shook with the tears she couldn't shed. After a few moment she pulled away from me. "We have such speed and she seems to be able to out maneuver us."
"Yes she does. I'm almost afraid of what it will be like when she's a teenager."
We were both able to smile a little before we went back downstairs. Bella was rocking our baby girl, who had fallen asleep in her arms.
"Bella, I'm so sorry."
As Esme talked to Bella I went into the back of the house finding Carlisle at his computer with Anthony resting against his shoulder. "I spoke to Esme," I began knowing that he had been concerned about her reaction to Renesmee being burned.
"Thank you. I know she will be berating herself for a long time to come," Carlisle answered softly as he spun the chair to face me while gently patting Anthony's back.
"How was she able to receive a burn?"
"Renesmee hasn't matured enough to be able to withstand all that we do. Edward there may be a chance that she never will be fully protected from the elements like we are."
Anthony chose that moment to cry, so for now our discussion was at an end. Given what had happened with Renesmee and that Anthony's nightly cry session was at its beginning, Bella and I decided it was time to head home.
Resting in my daughter's bed with her back pressed against my chest I tried not to think about how guilty I felt over what happened. When Edward said she got burned I froze not able to remember what I needed in order to help her, so I turned my focus on our son. Nursing Anthony settled him down but he cried again until Rosalie brought a bottle.
"It hurt, Momma," Renesmee whispered. We had given her Tylenol, and aside from that it was all we could do for the pain. Carlisle said we would need to change the bandages daily and I tried to push away the thoughts of how hard that would be for her.
"Shh," I whispered kissing the back of her head as she snuggled closer to me.
"Sing Lady and fly."
"In the morning. What other song would you like to hear?"
"You are my sunshine my only sunshine," I began.
"Make happy sky blues," Renesmee continued sleepily.
"You'll never know dear how much I love you."
"Please not take sunshine way," she finished before drifting to sleep. Knowing that Edward would get me if he and Anthony needed anything I shut my own eyes not willing to let Renesmee sleep alone.
AN: I hope you liked this first edition with an older sassier Renesmee. Keep in mind that she is two and while she is very smart, she is still a baby in many ways. As for her getting burned, I'll try to explain that more as the story goes on. She's not like the Cannon Renesmee, but I feel this makes it a little more interesting and hope you will enjoy what comes out of this story. Bella will be turned, they and I are preparing for that now. As for the rest wait and see, at least I hope you will. Thank you all for putting me on your Author Alert lists. More soon.