I flitted around the house, constantly looking through the windows to catch a glimpse of Edward's silver Volvo in the driveway. I knew that I would hear it long before I saw it, but I kept glancing anyhow. I was just so anxious to see my granddaughter when she arrived home from her special time with her new husband, Jacob.
I sighed happily thinking about how lucky I was. I had an amazing husband who loved me more than life itself. I had six wonderful children, and a beautiful granddaughter, and a huge extended family. We had more money than we would ever need, and time to enjoy anything we so desired. We were truly blessed. Even if we were vampires.
I paced through the house; giving everything a cursory glance to be sure it was pristine. The flowers were freshly cut, giving off their sweet aroma to the air in the house. The floors gleamed in the light from the windows, and there was nothing left for me to do but wait.
Nessie and Jake had been gone for six weeks now, technically almost seven. Jacob had wanted time away from his tribe and Nessie wanted space from her caring but overbearing family, and as he and Nessie had patiently waited to consummate their relationship until after the wedding, it was understandable that they desired private time to explore the new level of their relationship.
I leaned against the island of the kitchen, pulling out my sketching pad to go over a few ideas that I had to build a place for Nessie and Jacob, with some added rooms for the pack members when they visited or did patrols. As I work halfheartedly I thought back to Edward and Bella's honeymoon. I was so happy for them, and so pleased that I could share the beauty of my island with them. Carlisle had bought me that island many years ago after Alice and Jasper had joined out burgeoning family.
As much as we loved our children we needed a space that was just for us, and over the years we had visited it frequently, finding a soothing harmony and quiet in the wild beauty of the isle. After the constant turmoil Bella and Edward had gone through during their courtship I had offered Edward the Island as a place for them to enjoy their solitude together, away from the constant worry that seemed to shadow them.
Edward had been speechless at the offer, knowing how special it was to me, and he had graciously accepted. After they had returned weeks later, expecting their impossible miracle, I had been in a state of shock. I was happy for them, and for the blessing they had been given. Nothing like it had ever been seen before, the biological child of a vampire…it had shocked us all.
I had been happy for them, and yet saddened because as Bella's pregnancy progressed I frequently had flashbacks of my own pregnancy. And when Renesmee was born and everyone was taken in by her beauty and innocence, I spent many hours reminiscing over the child I had lost, and the fact that I had never gotten such moments with my own child before he passed away.
I kept my thoughts to myself, and forced my emotions to stay in line when I was with my family. Things were hard enough on them as they adjusted to a newborn vampire, and the baby. I however had to escape frequently to grieve for my loss, the loss that had been so much that it had driven me to end my human existence.
The only member of my family who was aware of my true feelings was my husband. He didn't need to hear my thoughts or to see my future to know that I was hurting. He knew my soul, and he spent weeks reliving every moment of my grief with me so that I could heal once more from the loss I had suffered.
I clenched my fingers as I recalled the feelings I had had at the time, hating that I could never hold my own child the way he deserved to be held, to cherish him…to kiss his brow as I inhaled the sweet scent of baby powder. But that was gone… many years ago, and there was nothing I could do to change it.
I turned suddenly as I heard the smooth sound of shifting gears that gave away the return of Edward and Bella, bringing Nessie and Jacob with them. I could hear other steps reverberating around the house as Carlisle exited his office, to come downstairs and Rose and Emmett journeyed into the house from the garage.
I also heard the squeal from upstairs that signaled Alice knowing they were finally home, followed by the deep chuckle from Jasper as he followed his wife and took in her excitement. We all headed out to the porch, eager to have our full family home and safe once more.
The sleek silver car sped up the drive, stopping smoothly as the doors opened up. Renesmee threw herself out of the car, racing to hug everyone as her parents and new husband exited the car. There were smiles all around as every started talking at once, hugs and laughter rang through the air as it often did when we were all together.
Emmett teased Jacob while Rose complained about the smell that she had been happy to miss for the last six weeks. Alice asked about taking Nessie shopping and Bella snuggled against Edward, probably to hide from the idea of shopping.
Jasper seemed to revel in our family, seeming happier than ever. The constant happiness was something he would never get enough of, and he was always smiling as a result of the euphoria. Everyone slowly made their way up the porch stairs and into the house where Jacob and Nessie collapsed onto the couch.
"We have news, everyone!" Nessie exclaimed happily. "Great news!" she added with a grin. Everyone turned to them, the talk stopping to give them our undivided attention. Once she realized that everyone was paying attention Jacob smiled softly at her, she blurted out quickly, "We are having a baby!"
I couldn't believe what I had just heard, and a strange feeling began to overwhelm me as the impact of Renesmee's announcement took hold of me for a moment. It took me all of a split second to regain my composure, and as I did, I felt my lips curve into a smile. I was thankful that I did not express anything other than elation at this unexpected news, as it was of course nothing but a wonderful blessing. I stood back and leant against Carlisle, watching and waiting as the rest of the family converged on the happy couple.
"You're what?" Emmett howled as a huge grin crossed his features as Rosalie's mouth hung open.
Nessie nodded her head wildly as she screamed, "I'm pregnant! You're gonna be a Great Uncle!" she squealed as she leapt to her feet and threw her arms around Emmett, her excitement unable to be contained.
"I'm already a fantastic Uncle, squirt!" Emmett laughed as picked her up and twirled her around as he always did.
"Em!" she shrieked as her laughter echoed through the rooms of our home. Jake's stood to his feet, his face filled with concern for a second as he watched his wife being swung through the air and as he moved to stop him, Emmett stopped, realizing his error.
"Sorry," he said, his goofy grin giving way to embarrassment and concern as he set her down carefully on her feet.
"Now don't start with that overprotective stuff, Unca Em! Dad's been bad enough!" she teased as she punched him in the arm and then scowled at her father.
"Ow, kid! You been taking some vitamins or something?" Emmett joked playfully in return, rubbing his arm as he pretended she had somehow injured him.
"Renesmee my love, you are half human," Edward warned as he watched her with care and glared at Emmett.
"Oh take it easy, bro. She's not made of glass you know!"
"You may not think so Emmett, but she is expecting and even humans need extra care at this time," he added. "And we have no idea what to expect!" he reinforced as he stared knowingly at Alice.
Alice's eyes narrowed at Jake as she said, "You know Jake, and it's so annoying when you're in the picture. I didn't get any visions of this news and now I can't even see if it's going to be a boy or a girl!"
"Well, it's not my fault if your radar is a little faulty when it comes to us superior beings, Alice," Jake said sarcastically. "'Sides, I'm kind of happy that you can't see anything. I don't want everyone to know what we're having before we do," Jake huffed as he wrapped his arms protectively around Nessie, pecking her affectionately on the cheek.
Alice poked her tongue at Jake and then her eyes widened with excitement. "Oh Nessie! I can't wait to take you shopping for some maternity and baby clothes!"
"Um, yes Alice…that will be great," she answered diplomatically.
Bella rolled her eyes in response and said, "It will be great…for me! At least Alice might leave me alone for a while now."
"You're a lost cause Bella Cullen, but your daughter? She's going to be the best dressed expectant mother in town, I guarantee it!" she said as she clapped her hands gleefully.
Rosalie's mouth finally snapped shut and then a sly grin crossed her face as she pushed past Alice and stood next to Nessie, wrinkling her nose at Jacob. "Congratulations, Nessie! Another baby…I can't believe it!" Rose said as she put her arm around her shoulders and gave her an affectionate squeeze. "We're going to have such fun…and I will take care of you," she said excitedly.
Jake grunted in protest as he pulled Nessie away from Rose's grasp and said, "I'll be taking care of my wife thanks Blondie! You just keep Emmett in check and keep your big mitts off, okay?"
"Keep your opinions to yourself mutt! What do you know about pregnancy?" she retorted. Jake grabbed his stomach and belly-laughed mockingly in response.
"Well at least with Rose on your side you know your baby will be safe, Jake," Bella said, chuckling as Rose pursed her lips at them both in annoyance.
Finally, my granddaughter looked at me and smiled, dragging Jake behind her as she approached Carlisle and I. I took a deep breath and smiled, offering them my congratulations. "I am so happy for you both." I brought them both into my arms and gave them a hug, while inside the pain began to make itself known.
"Thanks Grandma," Nessie replied as tears of joy began to make their way down her rose red cheeks. "I know you'll love him," she whispered as she dug her face into my shoulder. The pain began to surge within me, a sudden feeling of grief threatening to taint their happiness as I thought of my own son.
As I released my grasp of my grandchild and wiped her tears away, forcing a smile, Edward shot me an immediate look of concern, his cocked eyebrow silently asking me if I was alright. I nodded once and averted my eyes from Nessie, Edward's face softening to immediate sympathy and a look of understanding. Jasper stared at me, his brows furrowed with concern as he picked up on my emotional tenor. He was by my side immediately, his gift quelling the feelings burning within me. I nodded in thanks as he used his gift, not wanting to spoil this very special moment as Jake took Nessie in his arms and gave her a gentle hug. She stared over his shoulder at me, her eyes filled with concern.
"Renesmee, I know you will make a great mother," Jasper said, smiling at Nessie as she kept her eye on me. "And perhaps I can teach the little tike how to fight one day." Alice flitted over and looped her arm through Jasper's, still elated by the prospect of shopping with Nessie.
Nessie continued to stare at me, and answered, "Sure, and thanks Uncle Jazz."
Suddenly I felt all eyes fix themselves on me, and all faces fill with concern. Carlisle cleared his throat in response and said, "I hope that you will do me the honor and allow me to be your physician." He leant in and gave Nessie a congratulatory hug, breaking her eye contact with me and distracting the rest of the family.
"Well duh, Grandpa! Who else would be able to deliver our baby?" Nessie replied, smiling at him as he released her and wound his arm around my waist. Carlisle knew me so well, his comforting arms doing their job in getting me through this difficult moment.
I took in a sharp breath, trying to cleanse my thoughts, Jasper's gift slowly evening out my emotions. As a feeling of peace began to take hold, pictures began to play their way through my mind. I sighed wistfully as I began to fantasize about a beautiful nursery, the walls decorated in soft hues of blue, with a white rocking chair in the corner of the room. I imagined a billowing, sheer lace canopy atop an ornately decorated cradle dominating the room…a room which oozed old world charm. I saw soft white linens and lace, perfectly pressed and pristine as they covered plump pillows scattered about the room. I imagined plush white carpeting and sheer delicate curtains gracing huge bay windows, which would face the north-east, taking in the best aspects of natural light. And finally, I saw a beautiful rose-cheeked cherub as he lay in the cradle asleep, making the room his own.
Edward smiled, my thoughts running through his mind at the same time. "Esme, it appears that you have new plans to make. I know that you will do a wonderful job," he whispered as he took Bella in his arms, both of them staring at their daughter with pride.
"Thank you, Edward dear. I have so much to do," I said softly as Carlisle kissed my hair.
"Let's go tell the pack, Nessie!" Jake said excitedly as he took her hand and dragged her towards the door.
She stopped for a moment and said, "Okay. We can hunt on the way. Anyone interested?"
"No. You all go ahead. It appears I have some plans to change," I said with logic.
"As do I," Carlisle added as he squeezed me tighter.
I sighed as I watched my family leave, my heart suddenly bursting with love for each and every one of them as Carlisle took me in his arms and gave me a soft, gentle, reassuring kiss. I was indeed, truly blessed.
I turned back to my sketch pad and started drawing, penciling the lines and mentally matching swatches. No one else needed to know that the nursery I had been imagining was the one I wanted for my own…my own for my own child… a child that I wanted to hold and sooth in my own arms, but for now that impossible dream would have to be set aside to focus on something real. The Cullen family was growing once more.