Carlisle seemed somewhat troubled and evasive on the ride to their house and I wondered what that was all about. It was so annoying, I used to know more than I wanted to as a vampire, I could scan any brain and know exactly what the person was thinking and Carlisle's mind had always been intriguing.
He was welcoming and polite but reserved and he happily handed my wife over to Esme to chat while he took me to his study. In every house, his study is always set out the same. I sat and he was obviously finding it hard to begin what he needed to say.
He started with short bursts of news, what had happened since I left, what a tragic end Tanya's first mate had met, how her second one was so much more suitable.
"Edward, what I did I thought was the best for everyone. Bella could have died, had Esme not sucked out the venom when the baby bit her..."
"What are you talking about? What baby bit Bella? When?"
"The fetus I supposedly removed in her last pregnancy...although she was barely three months pregnant, the baby was full term or close enough and he came out fighting. He bit his mother and she was badly affected by the venom. Esme saved her from changing, as we knew you didn't want Bella to be one of us. That left us with a problem. The baby was viable. Esme and Rose took it away so I wouldn't euthanize it. I knew nothing about babies born to a human and one of us, and he was very strong and quite vicious almost, I assumed we would have to take care of it quickly. I intended doing just that but the women decided they knew better and they took him.
He's calmed down a lot, he is now quite placid and we were having a family meeting last night, to discuss how to tell you about him and what the consequences would be.
I don't know how he will react to you both seeing you are human. When I say he is now placid, he still goes into a sort of rage if a human strays too close. I don't know what to do for the best, to be honest. Esme and I are willing to continue raising him for you but it will mean a complete isolation from humans for the foreseeable future."
I was stunned.
"Bella surely doesn't know about this child?" I asked.
"No, no, she has no memory of the birth, I did make sure of that small thing for her."
"And the child is here, now?"
"He's with Rose, in the guesthouse at the far back of the property."
"And he is...full vampire?"
"I have examined his DNA, he is mostly vampire but has a small amount of human genes. I can't say that's how it will remain, he changes constantly. He communicates silently, inside our heads. We can hear him and we answer him out loud, with the spoken word, but so far he hasn't made any attempt to speak back this way."
"So, do you think this pregnancy is going to be the same? But that means the child is almost ready to be born. How can that be?"
"How can two different species have a child in the first place? I will examine Bella and see how far along the pregnancy really is. Forget about human gestation, Edward, this seems to be quite unrelated. How has she been?"
"Fine. We expected to be almost three months along but I saw the images on the scan, she is almost full term. You have to deliver her and protect Bella."
"So, are you saying you want us to raise this child as well? Rose would be so happy to take this baby for you, she is always helping with Deacon."
I stilled. Deacon. It had a name.
"Is he normal, I guess is the question?"
"I can't answer that, I have never seen a vampire baby. Vampires are created not born. He's growing, he's learning, he walks and runs and eats, mainly blood, we recently weaned him to animal blood alone and he has adjusted. He sleeps, though, that's the one human trait he has taken from his mother."
"I want to see him," I insisted. Bella was going to freak. The baby within was scaring the pants off her, how would she react to the one already here? I had to see him and assess him for myself.
"Edward, it could be dangerous," Carlisle warned.
"I think I will take my chances. Now first, come see Bella and tell us what will happen."
The scan images in 3D were sort of comforting, the baby was clearly close to full term and she was moving more gently now her size reduced the area she had to play in.
I watched and couldn't help but smile, she looked so like her mother.
A buzzing started around the room and Esme held her hands to her head.
"Is that her?" she asked.
I felt so left out as Rose and Carlisle grinned and my erstwhile father agreed, it was her. My daughter was communicating with them before birth.
"What's she saying?" I asked eagerly.
"She is telling us it's time," Alice said, clapping her hands.
"Is it urgent or can we have a little time to ourselves, I have something to discuss with Bella," I said, looking at Carlisle.
"Of course, no hurry, take your time."
They disappeared and I laughed. To me it had always been normal to move that fast, now I felt like my eyes were playing tricks on me as they were there then gone.
"Freaky, hey," Bella said.
"Disconcerting, certainly, from our point of view it was completely natural. Now I see what it was like for you."
"So, what do we need to discuss? Not baby names I am guessing."
"Bella, last time you were pregnant.."
She frowned and looked pained, and upset.
"I was pregnant before? What happened?"
"Carlisle saved your life by terminating the pregnancy at three months.."
"He wants to do that again?" she asked, her lip trembling.
"No, Bella, the baby survived. He was full term and Rose and Esme have been raising him. He was quite untamed at birth and he bit you and began the change. Esme sucked the venom out because I told my father I didn't want that future for you. Now I think we need to decide. I presume our daughter will be like our son and we can only be with them if we change ourselves. The other alternative is that we let the children be raised here by my parents and we leave and never see either of them again. Maybe when they are mature adults, they will have some control but it could take decades. Tanya's first partner never managed to resist the bloodlust and Carlisle had to...end him. She has a new partner now and he has taken the change much better. There's no rule how any vampire will be. Some are mature from the get go, some are wild and animalistic for a year or more but settle down. Some never do. It's all a matter of chance."
"The baby, babies, will need us, I don't think there is a decision. Maybe I won't make a good vampire, maybe your father will have to end me, but we have to try. Can he do it soon? I don't want someone else raising our children."
"Are you sure? This is normally a once only deal, there's never been a vamp to human conversion before and I can't say I could see any vampire wanting to do it, to be honest. Humans are so slow and sluggish and eating food... I just know now even being a blood drinking vampire that drank from humans was better than this. I want us to undergo the change but I have nothing to lose. If vampire's lose their souls then mine is long gone. Yours is still intact and that concerns me."
"Edward, what are you suggesting?"
"I could become a vampire again and you could stay human. I would raise our children and find you when they are ready and able to interact around humans, and then we could all live close, if not actually together."
"But that could take decades and I could be eighty before you come to me."
"Bella, your age would never bother me. I love you, not your appearance. I don't think you realise, vampires love what is on the inside, not the physical appearances. We are not shallow like humans."
"You are already grouping yourself back with them," she sighed. "If you get changed then so do I, promise me? It's what I want, all I could bear. I could never be happy knowing you and my own children were out there, probably all wanting to drain me dry. I have to try this and become their proper mother."
I nodded, secretly delighted because that's what I wanted too, but she had to have the choice.
Funnily enough, there was never any choices to be made.
Carlisle took Bella into a makeshift operating theatre and I held her hand. All was well, calm, my father was explaining how things would go, to us as well as our daughter and Bella suddenly screamed in a terrifying way and curled into a ball.
"Carlisle, what's happening?" I yelled.
"The baby accidentally bit her cord and I think the venom has raced through it into Bella. We have to do this now."
My wife writhed and screamed and it took us all, including Emmett and Jasper, to hold her flat and still enough for Carlisle to do what was basically a c section, though the cut was vastly longer, and he pulled our daughter into the world, and handed her to my mother.
I was about to protest when she opened her tiny pink rosebud lips and tried to bite me as she flayed about in Esme's grip.
"Another wild one, come on, little girl, that's your Daddy," I heard my mother say soothingly to the wildcat in her arms.
She took the infant from the room and Bella clearly had not seen our daughter at all, all she saw was what she felt, hellfire as her bloodstream filled with burning venom.
Some changes are easy and calm, some are horrendous and painful. Watching Bella scream and hearing her beg for death was more than I could stand.
Carlisle told me to go, and promised he would not leave her side for a second. He had sealed her wound and she had a faint pink scar already, and it was fading rapidly, far quicker than last time.
The venom was clearly fully in her system.
Jasper stayed, as did Alice.
Rose hurried back to be with my son and I walked slowly, so slowly, behind her as she flew by in a flash of light. Emmett was with me, playing body guard. It was weird, needing a body gurad to protect me from an infant, but this was no ordinary child.
Rose stood across the far side of the room and held a toddler sized infant in her arms, feeding him a bottle of red blood.
"Maybe if he's feeding, you can get close enough to touch him," she said, but she looked worried. The baby watched my every move and Emmett laughed.
"What?" I asked.
"He's surprised, he saw you as different, like you were before, in his mind. He is having trouble recognising you as his father. He's seen your image in all of our heads and we all remember you as you were, not this. Except Alice. hey, that's why he struggles whenever Alice shows him images of the two of you. He probably thinks she is mixing up things and showing him the wrong father."
They laughed, I cringed. How strange to let my son down by being too ordinary, too human.
I walked closer, Emmett keeping up a constant commentary.
"He's excited, he wants to feel your skin. He's calm though, in control. Just touch him. He likes that though he says your skin is hot, too hot."
I lifted my hand back off him. He felt freezing cold and I immediately thought of Bella and the first time we made love . She had liked the feel of my coldness inside her body. I shook my head, that seemed strange now. Surely that could not have felt good?
Human women did not put ice cubes or Popsicles up in that area, surely? Wouldn't the coldness numb everything? Bella had certainly felt and enjoyed my coldness in the meadow so maybe it was erotic in some strange way.
Deacon held his hands out to me and bit on the silicon teat of the bottle, holding it in his mouth with no hands.
"It's safe, it's okay," Emmett said, walking to stand close to me, ready to instantly whisk the baby from me if he needed to.
I took my son and held him at arm's length and examined his body. He was naked and just draped in a thin wrap, and it fell to the ground. He appeared to be about the size of a two year old.
"Hello there, son," I said and he frowned and looked at me with frustration.
"He's upset you can't hear him," Emmett translated.
The boy reached out as I sat him in my arms more comfortably, and he traced a finger down my nose and across my cheeks and he smiled. He had many of my features and he seemed to find the fact he was like me, or I was like him, pleasing.
"Dada," he said and Rose and Emmett both stood there in shock.
"He spoke, Edward! That's the first word he has ever said."
Emmett hugged his wife and kissed her and my son kissed me.
It was strangely different to last time when Carlisle changed me. This time it was if my blood stream was full of semi frozen blood and it slid around my system and made me shiver.
Rose gasped and grabbed Deacon from me, Emmett took me in his arms and lay me upstairs on a bed.
"You want me to let this happen, right?" he said. My teeth chattered but I nodded. It may as well happen now, I was no use to Bella.
My body slowly lost all feeling as the extreme coldness took over every inch of me and I fell into a state of semi consciousness. It was almost pleasant even, no burning, no pain, just the feeling you get if you lay in the snow and your mind tricks you that you feel quite comfortable and you end up with hypothermia. That happened to me once as a human child and my mind started flicking images through my brain, like a slide show. I was just a lad, playing in the sun, human, happy, watched over lovingly by my human parents. I looked at my mother. She was extremely beautiful and her hair was the exact shade mine was. Her eyes were green and shining and proud. My father was smoking a pipe and watching me play, sort of half grinning in a way I now remembered. He had never been a very demonstrative father but I could see he did love me.
I aged slowly and the teenage me made me cringe. So girlish, so pretty. My hands were so slim and smooth, like some hand models. My face was still childishly chubby but so pretty. My hair was longish and my eyes were glittering with laughter. Oh, it was Christmas, we were around a tree, and I was opening my gift. My mother was hugging me next thing, and I saw the wooden tray I had made her at school. She loved it and was thanking me. I didn't get to see my gift, I was suddenly standing at a window, watching a group of soldiers signing up new recruits and my heart was beating faster. I wanted to run out and join them. It seemed like the best kind of future and I envied the boys who were a year older than me, as they left the arms of their crying mothers and sweethearts and followed behind the soldiers, leaving our village and my sight.
Then I was drifting and could look down and see myself going through the first change. Carlisle was tearing at his hair, unsure if he had done the right thing. His face looked haunted and his eyes were almost filled with tears, they looked so distressed.
I wanted to hurry through this part but all the same, I was shocked when I realised I was in control. I went to the day in the meadow and replayed it over and over. Bella and I would experience that esquisite pleasure again, of that I was sure.
I had no idea how much time passed, but finally the images stopped and instead I was watching the tiny particles of dust floating in the air around me and my hands moved.
I touched my face, it felt normal, not cold nor hot. Just normal.
Emmett stood beside me, expectantly and I was suddenly standing beside him.
"Hey Edward, welcome back."
I swayed and he grabbed at me but I was steady before his hand even reached me.
"Bella, how is Bella?" I asked.
"She's fine, did you see her before when she came to see you?"
"She's not...wild?" I checked.
He laughed. "She's a little feisty, she has taken over both of the children and is making up for lost time with Deacon and keeping that baby girl all to herself. Rose says she is going to take her down if she doesn't share and let them hold her too."
I laughed. Bella the mother tiger.
"Edward," I heard and looked up.
My Lord, she had always been beautiful but she was amazing. Her hair was black and luminous, her eyes were shiny and green.
"She chose green eyes, to match yours. She didn't like the red," Rose added.
I was confused.
"Contact lenses already?"
"No, I decided if I was a vampire I wanted green eyes. Yours are green too," she said, drifting to my side like a fairy almost. Her dress was long and wispy and looked amazing. It had little shape or structure, just sort of hung about her body like a cloud almost.
Her skin was paler than before but somehow it just suited her.
I was suddenly in her embrace.
"Edward, we need to ...hunt," she said and I knew immediately that this hunting trip had nothing to do with animals, unless you counted me as her prey.
"Be back soon," I smirked.
We sort of ran, drifted, arm in arm into the forest behind the guest house and small pieces of fabric fluttered by me in the breeze.
I was a little confused until I turned to see if Bella had noticed, but once I saw her standing before me, completely naked, all thoughts left my mind.
"Bella," I said, in a voice I had to get used to again.
I was inside her, she was around me, and the sensation was amazing. There were no human words to describe the difference between human sex and vampire sex.
Maybe think of eating a plate of dust then a plate of ambrosia, the food of the Gods. That was how different it was.
There was no need to seek any area to stimulate because our entire bodies felt the same, just totally sensitive and aware of our touch and when we climaxed, it was with every single cell, from our hair to our toenails.
"Holy Mother of God," Bella screamed.
I jerked repeatedly, not wanting this to stop, my body buzzed and tingled and shook with intense pleasure.
Suddenly the day in the meadow was nothing, not worth a single thought. It had been so pale compared to this coupling. And the human sex was laughable. Why had we even bothered?
Bella was upon me again and I lay back and watched as she hovered above me. I could not tell what parts were me and which her, we were truly one, and all of us was shrieking with delight.
It could have been hours, I had no way to measure, but only intense thirst stopped us and suddenly Bella was gone, chasing after an animal I heard crashing through the woods so uselessly.
Bella felled it with a single blow and attached her lips to it's neck.
"Go feed," Emmett said, instantly at my side.
I grinned and chased after Bella and brought down my own meal.
When I was done, I wiped my mouth with my hand and rubbed my belly.
"You have no idea how amazing that tastes. Human food is just...too horrible for words," I sighed. Never again would I have to chew and swallow down lumps of hideous animal flesh that had been cooked and destroyed and left tasteless and unappetising.
Bella was walking towards me, slowly, at human pace, not a drop of blood in sight. Her eyes were fixed on mine and Emmett coughed.
"Okay, two more hours then you two get to mind those kids while the rest of us work off the lust you have filled the air with. Two hours. I mean it. Don't make me come down here. If you do I will watch."
Bella smirked and I took her down and lowered my face between her thighs.
Now this tasted even better than animal blood.
Life sorted itself out. We trained with Deacon, teaching him how to fight to use up his vast supplies of energy and he could have taken on any warrior within the first year. Jasper taught him everything he knew, and my son soon surpassed his teacher.
Renesmee, our little girl, was equally determined to learn and Bella gave up with the frilly dresses and hair ribbons after more were destroyed than Alice could replace fast enough.
She was her mother's child, except for the long auburn ringlets that were often muddy and tangled. She loved the bubble baths that inevitably followed and Alice took the opportunity to dress her prettily and take a million photos for her baby albums before our little wildcat started rough housing with anyone who would take her on. She loved this type of play with Emmett, and Deacon soon decided he needed to team with her, not fight against her.
Emmett played along at first, letting Renesmee win, but once Deacon worked with her, he had to fight them both for real.
It seemed our children were stronger and more resilient than their elders.
Renesmee speaks and is coaxing her brother to be more vocal, he has a much smaller vocabulary than she does, but she is an excellent teacher and she encourages him verbally.
Now and then she lets things slip, like the day Deacon declared he wished he had a brother as well and Renesmee answered that she had bitten her cord in utero to force her mother's change and to ensure there would be no more baby Cullens. She didn't want to share the limelight with any more siblings.
The bloodlust for humans fades slowly, although Bella and I have missed out on the handicap, both our offspring will need to learn a lot of self control before we can consider returning to the places in the world with human population, but for now, this is enough. We have my family, and we have our own family and that is more than we ever expected.
I can't help thinking there is a reason these two little vamps were born, and I do wonder what their future holds.