Chapter 1: Prologue
Dedication: I dedicate this chapter to my lovely Twitter wife Makkitotosimew (Say that three times fast).
Disclaimer: I donut own them. Stephenie does, and I'm so glad she shared them with us.
Jasper Whitlock's lips pursed in a whistle as Bella Swan pulled up with her new car. "Wow," he said, looking it over once before climbing into the passenger seat. "Sensible and sexy," he flashed her his signature, dazzling grin, "Just like you, sugar."
Bella rolled her eyes but smiled at her best friend as they pulled out of the lot. "It's good then?"
"Well, yeah Bella. It's real nice. Drives smooth. Lotsa dohickeys," he gestured at the various features on the dash. Then he looked closer. "Is that a GPS? And what do you need a DVD player for? Those things are to keep kids occupied."
A little uncomfortable, Bella shrugged. "It came with the car," she mumbled. Luckily for her, Jasper was too busy fiddling with buttons to notice that she was blushing.
He chuckled as he looked over at her again. "You're always a surprise."
"Why do you say that?"
"Well, you finally get rid of that monstrosity -"
"Hey!" Bella protested. "Old rule still stands. Just because the truck is dead doesn't mean that you can make fun of it. I love that thing. I miss that thing."
"That thing should have been outlawed in California - I mean, how did you not get murdered on the freeway? Being unable to drive over 50 miles an hour is a crime here, you know." Jasper fixed her with a disparaging look before continuing, "Anyway, you get rid of that fine piece of rusted metal with personality, and anyone else would be looking for two seats convertible top - you know, a big cock on wheels."
"It's got a moon roof," Bella said, pointing upward with one hand.
They pulled into the restaurant parking lot and miraculously found a space. Bella heard Jasper's deep chuckle again as he stared at the car, hands on his hips. "Well, at least you know what to name it."
Bella looked at the car and back at Jasper questioningly. Her best friend mimed as if he was breaking a champagne bottle over the car, "I christen thee, Elton."
"Elton?" Bella raised one thin eyebrow.
Jasper nodded solemnly. "Because you can never park straight," he explained, indicating her admittedly crooked parking job.
Bella scowled. "Why Elton? Why not Ellen then?"
As they started walking toward the restaurant Jasper leaned in close so he could tease her. "Because you need a man in your life."
"Ha," Bella snarked. Jasper knew very well her opinions on the matter of significant others, male or otherwise. They'd had this argument over and over again, Jasper sighing that she was such a great gal and Bella replying that if she was so great, it would be shame to choose just one guy. It would break too many hearts, she said, and so she wouldn't do it.
Jasper always ended up mildly exasperated.
Before they could get into it the hostess arrived and showed them to their seats.
"So," Jasper began, the picture of nonchalance as he glanced at his menu. Unfortunately for him, Bella knew that Jasper liked exactly one dish at every restaurant they frequented. He didn't need to look at the menu, and that meant he was nervous about something. "Have you had a chance to look at the script I sent you?"
Bella sighed, knowing this was coming. She reached into her bag and pulled out the few pages he'd e-mailed to her that morning. "I can't do it. This, this right here? It's unworkable, Jasper. It reads like a five year old wrote it."
"Bella," Jasper began, but Bella cut him off.
"I don't want to hear the story of who needs this done. I don't care if Aro's kid wrote it-"
This time it was Jasper who cut her off. "Aro's kid did write it."
Bella instantly slumped in her seat, a hand over her eyes. "Jane?" she asked weakly, peeking through her eyes. Jasper nodded. "Ah, dammit."
"Exactly," he agreed. "Look. You do this and you'll have a very powerful man in your pocket, Ace."
The truth of the matter was that Bella was at the top of her game and she knew it. She was young with plenty of talent and nothing but open doors. She didn't need Aro Scarpinato as an ace up her sleeve.
However, what she did need was for Jasper to be in a good mood. She had a request. A favor. It was a big one. A doozie, as he might say. She sighed again. "This isn't why I asked you to come here" she reminded, deflecting from their current conversation.
"Are you gonna get this done for me?" Jasper countered.
"Yeah, Jasper. Of course. Work the impossible. I will turn disjointed writing into genius comedy, For you" she emphasized, exasperated. "Not because it's the big boss' kid."
"Then by all means, tell me what you brought me here for, Hells Bells," Jasper said, and she could hear the grin in his voice.
The waiter, demonstrating perfect timing, arrived then, getting their drink and meal orders. When he left Jasper looked back at Bella, pursing his lips when he noticed she wasn't looking at him. She was looking anywhere but him as she bit her lip and twisted her napkin in her hands. "This is serious," he stated, a sick kind of dread pooling in the pit of his stomach. "Are you alright?"
"Yeah. Yes," Bella said quickly. "Yes, I'm fine. It's not that kind of serious."
"Alright, well you're kind of scaring me now. Spit it out," Jasper said softly.
Bella sighed and straightened up, taking a deep breath. "Alright," she said, mostly to herself. "Look, here's the thing. You know how I feel about relationships?"
Looking a little surprised at the direction their conversation was going, Jasper nodded. "No interest," he summarized, waving his hand to indicate she should continue.
"Right. Well, I've been thinking about this, and while I don't have any interest in a relationship with a guy, or a girl," she said quickly, knowing that Jasper had suggested she try the fairer sex in the past, "I do want to be a mother."
She was looking away from him again and so couldn't see him as silence stretched on between them. "What are you saying, Bella?" Jasper asked finally, quietly.
"I'm saying that I want to do it on my own. But, obviously, I need... the other half. I'm asking you to contribute...the other half," she said awkwardly, finally looking up at him.
Jasper blinked, completely shell shocked. "You're asking me to be your baby daddy?" he squeaked, his mouth working about five times faster than his brain could.
Bella had to laugh then and she covered her face with her hands as she tittered nervously. "No. I mean, of course I want you to be involved in my kid's life, but more as an honorary uncle than a dad," she explained.
Their drinks came then, giving Jasper the minute he needed to process Bella's request. "This isn't because of your dad, is it Bells?" he asked softly.
Bella chuffed. "No."
"Are you sure, baby girl? Because this is one thing you have to be sure of. It's a lifetime commitment," he said sincerely, ducking his head to try and see the look in her eyes. "I mean, you're 26 years old. That's really young to make a decision to have a baby by yourself."
"I know that, Jasper. It's not a decision I'm making lightly," she said, raising her eyes to meet his finally. He could see nothing but determination in them.
Of course, with Bella, once she'd made up her mind she was hard to shake. "I just want to make sure you're doing what's best for you."
"You sound like my mom," Bella sighed.
"Have you spoken to your mom or dad about this?" Jasper asked.
"No. I don't want anyone to know but you," Bella replied almost instantly.
"Well," Jasper said slowly, "I'm going to have to tell Peter. You know, he's the only one that has a right to know what I do with my spunk."
Bella's head shot up. "Are you saying yes?"
"Of course, sugar," Jasper drawled, grinning at her. "You know there isn't a lot I wouldn't do for you. If this is what you want, then of course I'm going to help you any way I can."
Bella's grin was almost as wide as his then. "Jasper...thank you," she said, jumping up and wrapping her arms around him.
He laughed full out as he pulled her close. "We're going to make a beautiful baby, doll. It won't be fair at all."
One of the benefits about being a big brother as opposed to a parent was that you were allowed to call favorites. Emmett Cullen most definitely had a favorite sibling.
When he was five and his parents had learned they were expecting twins - a boy and a girl - everyone had expected Emmett to want a little brother more. He did - until the moment he laid eyes on his baby sister for the first time.
Their first family photo was taken hours after the twins' birth. Esme, tired but glowing, sat up in bed cradling newborn Edward in one arm with her other protectively around Emmett's shoulders. Carlisle was on Emmett's other side, his hand coming across Emmett's lap, holding Emmett as the little boy held Rosalie.
Emmett had a huge, dimpled grin as he stared at his sister.
As soon as Rosalie could support her neck, Emmett was always holding her. Even after the twins learned to walk, Emmett preferred to carry Rosalie, or let her ride ponyback.
At first, Carlisle and Esme worried that Edward would feel slighted. But Edward was fiercely independent, even as a small child. As soon as he could crawl, he actually preferred it to being held. And it wasn't as if Emmett was completely inattentive to Edward. They had a good relationship - roughhousing, as boys tended to. Emmett loved to tease his little brother, which lead to Edward perfecting his eye roll very early in life.
Besides that, Edward and Rosalie had the close relationship that most twins were prone to. They were as different as night and day in most respects, which lead to some truly spectacular fights when they were teenagers. Still, it was obvious that they were cut from the same cloth. Their sense of humor was darker and more sarcastic than their brother's loud, grinning nature. They preferred their piano to Emmett's experiments (their parents had made the mistake of buying Emmett a chemistry set - he'd singed his eyebrows off), and pouring over auto magazines the way Emmett collected baseball cards. On their own, they were prone to fits of temper and moodiness. When they coordinated their bad moods, well... let it be said that the Cullen household got a little noisy with the heated arguments that arose during their teen years.
Though they had all moved on to their own things, the family still got together nearly every weekend. Of course, as could be expected with time, they had added to their number.
If Rosalie was Emmett's favorite, Edward was certainly his children's favorite.
Emmett and his wife, Tanya, had gorgeous twin girls: Irina and Katrina. The three year olds utterly adored their uncle. As soon as their parents had unleashed them from their car seats they were out of the car, pounding up the steps and straight into Edward's waiting arms.
"We don't have little girls, we have monkeys," Tanya said wryly, watching the girls climb on their uncle as if he were a jungle gym.
"Who knows where they get it from," Emmett replied innocently, kissing his wife on the nose a split second before an adult sized streak of blond hair threw itself into his arms. "Rosie!"
Tanya rolled her eyes, watching Emmett swapped Rosalie around to his back as he gave his little sister a piggy back ride into the house. "I'm sure it doesn't run in the family at all."
A few minutes later Rosalie and Emmett were on the couch, watching TV in the living room and Tanya had wandered to the kitchen to see if she could help with dinner. Edward wandered in, walking awkwardly with one of the twins wrapped around each of his legs, sitting on his feet. His siblings laughed as he pretended to try to shake the girls loose.
Finally, they extricated themselves and ran off to play in the playroom their grandparents had set up for them. Edward flopped down on the couch on the other side of Rosalie.
"You're going to make a good dad someday," Rosalie said, her voice quieter than usual because she was nervous.
Edward raised an eyebrow, appraising her mood. "Why, because I know how to play with kids? That's the easy part," he said, stretching his arms above his head as he got comfortable. "I'll stick to uncle-ing, thanks. But you already knew that."
It was true. Edward had been saying the same thing since he was in his teens. He had no interest in being a father himself. He adored his nieces and would welcome as many nieces and nephews as his siblings wanted to give him, but for himself - he had no desire for kids.
"You really are sure about that, aren't you?" Rosalie asked. On most things, she could at least understand where her twin was coming from. This, though, they had never agreed on and she didn't understand at all. Ever since she was small, she'd known she wanted to be someone's mother.
"I haven't changed my mind in a decade," he pointed out. He tilted his head, studying his sister intently. "What's up?" he asked, because he could see there was something on her mind.
Rosalie took a steadying breath and snatched the TV remote out of Emmett's hand, turning the TV off. "Hey!" Emmett protested, but he quickly quieted when he saw the serious expression on Rosalie's face.
"There isn't really an easy way to say this, so I'm just going to say it. My relationship is stable and good, and we'd like to start a family. We want to get pregnant. Soon. As soon as possible, really. And," she sucked in a quick breath, looking up at Edward before continuing in a rush, "We want you to be the donor."
For about two seconds, Edward and Emmett just stared at her, then both brothers started talking at once.
Well, Edward stuttered and Emmett said, "You want Edward to knock you up... that's... gross."
Rosalie and Edward rolled their eyes simultaneously. "Not me, idiot," Rosalie said. "Alice."
Emmett blinked. "But..she'd tip over. Her belly would be bigger than she is!"
Ignoring their brother completely, Edward sat up and faced his twin. "You seriously want me to do this?"
Rosalie nodded, a small smile on her face as her eyes grew wistful. "We want a child that's part both of us and we do have the same genetic make-up."
"Hey, I have the same genetic make-up too," Emmett pointed out, looking a little hurt.
"Right, but think about it Emmett. You have kids," she said, rapping her knuckles gently against Emmett's furrowed forehead. "This is going to make a few headlines as it is, I don't want my kids to have to put up with people finding out their cousins are also their sisters."
Emmett considered this. "That makes sense."
"What would it entail?" Edward asked softly.
"You know. You go to a clinic-" Rosalie began but Emmett interrupted.
"They milk your man-juice, dude. By hand," Emmett quipped.
"Emmett!" Rosalie growled. "Shut. Up!" she hit him on the shoulder. She turned back to her twin with a sigh. "Just a cup, Edward, alright? Your...stuff in a little plastic cup gets mixed with Alice's egg and they stick it into Alice - with a needle, Emmett!" she said quickly before Emmett could make a distasteful joke.
It wasn't often either of them saw their sister blush.
Edward stared at his hands, his eyebrows furrowed as he thought about it. A minute ticked by like a day. Then he took a deep breath and nodded. "Yeah. Let's do it."
A/N: Oh, my. So, I'm going on a cruise (the Twilight cruise! Fun!) for a week, so I guesstimate that this will start updating regularly (and by that I mean every 1-2 weeks) in two weeks time.
Thank you to my lovely Josieswan. I know I'm a needy wench and thank you for your beta work, etc.
So. Thoughts? Speculation? Monkeys? Hit the button. If nothing else, it's my birthday on Friday and your opening opinions would be the best present ever!
Unless you want to give me Rob or Jackson…that would probably be the best present ever.
I'm just saying.