Close to my Heart

I had gained five pounds in six days. To put it mildly the Cullens were thrilled- I think even Aro seemed a little pleased, though his counterparts still showed no emotion at all. It seemed that the little ones were satisfied by my new diet and it enabled me to grow stronger.

"I actually feel better about allowing you to try a natural child birth at this point," Carlisle smiled at me after he moved the ultrasound wand over my now fairly large tummy. "It seems the true nature of the pregnancy is finally revealing itself."

"What do you mean?" I asked confused.

"Would you like to know the gender?" He offered enticingly.

"Ohhh," I replied excitedly, "I do! But if you don't, Edward, we can wait a couple days." I looked over to him.

"I want to know too. I'm not a big fan of surprises." Edward admitted with that familiar smirk. It's hard to describe how wonderful it was to be like this and have his support this time- all their support for that matter.

"This one here on the left is a boy, and to the right is a little girl."

I heard a shriek from down the hall and the room was filled instantly with the rest of the family.

"We just couldn't wait any longer Bella," Alice squealed.

"I'm so happy for you both." Esme walked up beside Carlisle and wrapped an arm around his shoulder as he held the ultrasound wand still.

"Why still brown and green?" Alice demanded.

"Because Edward is everything green," I replied. "When I first moved to Forks, I hated greens; so damp, wet and cold. But then I met Edward and green was everything good in my life. It was home, it was hope and it was love."

Almost as if we had rehearsed it Edward answered the other half, "Bella is everything warm, nurturing and lovely. Brown is everything good in my life," he affirmed looking deep into my eyes.

The room was quiet for only a few moments before Alice spoke again, "Well, I suppose if it means that much to you two I can work with greens and browns."

"Thanks Alice," I said.

"Have you thought of names yet?" Esme asked.

"We haven't talked about names yet, I guess we should soon," I shrugged my shoulders in response.

"Well, honestly everything looks good," Carlisle removed the ultrasound wand and turned off the machine after handing me some towels to wipe the jelly off my tummy. "Based on the samples I've been studying, the babies are more human than vampire, which is why you haven't needed as many feedings as I had originally planned for."

"It wasn't like that before, was it?" I asked the awkward question.

"No," Carlisle answered, "this is different. I think it has to do with the fertility drugs you took- I think they somehow made your human DNA stronger or the vampire DNA weaker. Either way it appears the stronger human DNA is dominant; making them more like you than us. As such your body is more able to support them."

"So when can we deliver?" Edward asked Carlisle seriously.

"The babies are term and we can deliver when you're ready; as early as tomorrow." Carlisle suggested.

"I'm ready," I answered, although I was uncertain if I really was.

XOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOXOX

I thought it was awkward before when Carlisle and Edward had to do my check ups.

This was beyond awkward. I quickly learned there was no shame in child birth.

Not that I really cared about any of that at the moment, I just hadn't realized how much they would be- well- in my personal space.

The epidural helped a lot, but it was still child birth. I had debated doing the epidural early on knowing there were risks, but Edward assured me with vampire precision, it was perfectly safe. Honestly it didn't take much convincing after the first couple hours.

"Push, Bella, push." Carlisle urged, "Harder, harder, harder, five, four three, two, one, and breathe."

I let out all the air in my lungs in a loud woosh and laid back on the pillows for a moment. I was exhausted. Edward wiped a cloth across my face and fussed over my vitals.

"She's fine Edward," Carlisle preempted another bout of Edward's worrying.

"We're almost there," Alice chimed in from beside the medical type bassinets that were on stand-by, already warming up. "I can see them," her eyes seemed to drift off.

Edward got a huge smile as he read back her vision and I was suddenly very jealous that he got to see them before I did.

The jealousy didn't last long because another hard contraction came then. I groaned and grunted as I reached up to hold my legs and bear down as I had been coached. It was Edward this time who urged on my pushing as he and Esme helped support my legs.

It seemed like he wasn't going to let me stop pushing when finally Carlisle spoke, "Head is out, one more push Bella."

This was it, my babies where here. It was all so overwhelming.

Only a few moments later, there was a baby on my stomach resting her little head on my chest. She wasn't crying, but Carlisle and Edward both assured me she was fine. I only got to hold her for a few moments before I felt my next contraction come on. Alice quickly swooped in and I went back to work.

Fifteen minutes later there was a little baby boy lying on one side of my chest who was quickly joined by his sister. I half expected Edward to take one and looked at him expectantly.

"I'll hold them later love, right now it's better for them to be there; close their mom and her heart," He gave me a smile.

Mom? I was a mother. I liked the sound of that.

Epilogue

Gain and loss. Hope and despair. Love and hate. Life and death.

They were all connected, and in a sense one didn't exist without the other.

Grace Madison Cullen was born December 12th 2008 at 4:18 p.m. shortly followed by Brandon Clarence Cullen at 4:33p.m.

Carlisle was right: they were more human than vampire. It was a hidden blessing. Though I realized that being human mean they were mortal, it also meant the Volturi took no interest in them at all. We easily walked out of Volterra only days later and left for home with a promise that I would be turned once I had physically recovered from the pregnancy, once I had lost the extra pounds. I was extremely grateful for Aro's leniency as I really didn't want to spend eternity in this post-baby shape.

Things fell into a crazy schedule once we got home. They say it takes a village to raise children, and it was lucky for me I had a supernatural one at my disposal.

Two months after we got back, Edward drove me into Port Angeles for a quiet date night at the Bella Italia. The words he said to me that night stuck with me forever.

"I love you Bella. I have made mistakes and don't deserve you, but you are all I have ever wanted and all I will ever want. With this ring," Edward pulled out the ring I had left behind so many months ago, "I promised to spend eternity with you and I still wish to do exactly that. You would make me the happiest person in the world if you accepted it once again and I will spend forever earning back your love. Please, will you stay?"

Edward's face was full of emotion and even a little pain. "Edward," I took his face in my hands, "I made my choice a while back when I came home to you. I love you and that has not changed." I took the ring from him and placed it back on my finger where it belonged. "My mom told me something very wise when I was with her in Florida. She said, 'Forgiveness cannot be earned, it has to be given.' I think she was right. And just because I've finally forgiven you doesn't mean that it was ok, it only means that we've moved on and made our peace. I will stay with you forever."

That was my last night human. Three agonizing days later I awoke to a new world. Edward and I had found peace, happiness and family. Though the trials and fire we both endured were harsh to say the least, the rewards we and joy we received in the end were overwhelming.

Matthew 5: 3-10

Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful,
for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

The End.

Author's Note: Well I hope you all enjoyed the story and thank you to everyone who has left reviews, added this story and me to their favorites. HopingForLove has been a great beta and helped me keep this story on track and fix my mistakes- thanks so very very much!

Yes I plan on writing more, I working on a short story now called, "Be the Match." Keep an eye out for it over the next few weeks! Thanks again and please leave your final thoughts- ohh and did you catch the significance in the names? Clarence doesn't hold any significance except to me, but the other three do!