I could hear the commotion in the kitchen from upstairs. There were too many voices egging my wife on as I descending the steps with my bag and coat. I had to leave for work on the night shift in a few minutes, but first I had to diffuse the situation in the kitchen.
"Just try it, Esme!"
"You're not going to know if you can eat it unless your try, Mrs. C."
"I don't know, Grandma."
"If you are going to eat something, Esme, make sure it's something that will be easy to bring back up if you don't digest it."
"What is going on in here?" I asked as I entered the chaos that was our kitchen. "Seth, when did you get in?"
"It's spring break and I just stopped home for a few days. I came over because I didn't get two steps in my front door before hearing about the latest Cullen development. Congratulations, Carlisle."
"Thank you," I said surveying the room. Emmett and Edward were leaning casually against the far counter looking purposefully nonchalant. Renesmee, Jacob and Seth were up against the island where it looked and smelled like Esme had just placed their dinner.
For not being able to eat human food, Esme excelled at preparing it. Her secret was to pick the best chefs' recipes and then follow them exactly. There was rarely a complaint in this kitchen when she made something for those who could digest it.
Although she had joked about trying human food the day before, she hadn't gone through with it. I figured if I got her to go to bed two nights in a row that was a small victory. I wasn't going to push food upon her so I was surprised that she was staring at plate containing gourmet pizza.
She looked up at me and guiltily looked back down. Five pairs of eyes followed me to my wife's side. I placed my hand on her back. "Do you feel hungry? Does it smell appealing?"
"I…I don't know," she said, her frustration and hesitation very obvious. "It doesn't smell as bad as usual," she added meekly.
"You could try a little and see what happens overnight. If you digest it in your sleep, we'll know."
"And if not, then you'll get to experience morning sickness tomorrow," Emmett teased, which earned him a punch in the arm from Edward.
Esme mouthed "thank you," toward Edward and I wrapped a protective arm around her waist.
"Have a bite. Literally. And get some sleep tonight. No skipping because I'm not here."
She nodded, but I could see slight defiance in her eyes as she said, "Yes, Dr. Cullen."
"Khalida said to treat you like a human patient," I said gently.
"I don't want to be a patient. I want to be your wife," she said with a pointed chin.
I didn't like the direction this conversation was taking in front of so many onlookers. "You are my wife, and I want to make sure you take care of yourself."
"Doctor's orders?" she said with a frown.
"Husband's concerns," I responded cautiously.
"It's the pregnancy hormones, Carlisle," Emmett said with a chuckle. He dodged Edward's fist this time.
I saw the clock on the microwave. "I have to go," I said placing a kiss on Esme's cheek. "We'll talk about 'doctor's orders' tomorrow. Please rest."
"Have a good night," she said quietly as she picked up a piece of pizza and took a bite.
Cheers went up from the men in the kitchen and I made my exit. Renesmee caught my sleeve as I opened the front door.
She hugged me and whispered, "Good night, Grandpa. I'll take care of her."
Before I could say anything she had bounded back toward the kitchen.
I was curled up on the sofa in our bedroom wearing a modest nightgown and robe that Alice had brought home that day.
"Next week I am taking you shopping. I don't care if I have to drag you out. Here are a few things to help you make it until then," I remembered her saying as she handed me the shopping bag containing sleepwear.
I had my iPad on my lap and was feeling frustrated as I read WebMD. Treating me like a human seemed ridiculous; I wasn't one. No matter what signs or symptoms manifested as baby Cullen grew inside me, my heart did not beat and my skin was still impenetrable. I still needed to feast on blood. I wasn't human. I was a peculiarly pregnant vampire with a half a piece of pizza sitting in my stomach.
I clicked on "Week 5" in the Pregnancy Center to see what a human would be going through this week.
Baby: Your baby is still tiny, but its heart, brain, spinal cord, muscle, and bones are beginning to develop. The placenta, which nourishes your baby, and the amniotic sac, which provides a warm and safe environment where your baby can move easily, are still forming, too. The umbilical cord forms and connects your baby to your blood supply.
Mom-to-be: You might suspect by now that you're pregnant. You may also notice some early symptoms of pregnancy:
Feeling nauseous (called morning sickness, although it can happen at any time of day or night)
Tingling or soreness in your breasts and darkening of your nipples
Needing to pee more often
Feeling more tired than usual
Tip of the Week: You'll want to schedule a visit to your ob-gyn as soon as you suspect you're pregnant. Starting prenatal care early and keeping up with your appointments is a large step toward having a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby.
I rubbed a hand gently over my belly. I didn't have a blood supply to connect to other than the blood that I supplied myself in the way of sustenance. Would that blood work? Would that be the connection? I had no urge to urinate or feeling of nausea. Tired seemed to be the only symptom. I chuckled at the idea of going to an OB-GYN. There would be no appointments because I wasn't human, and even if I changed and grew nothing would be normal about this pregnancy.
I glanced toward the bed. I knew I should go to sleep, but it wasn't as appealing without Carlisle as a pillow. I felt bad for giving him a hard time. I knew he was hardwired to snap into doctor mode. He was a doctor long before he was a husband, but I rarely had need for the medical doctor. I knew he wanted to take care of me and make sure I was healthy and safe, but I needed him to do that as Carlisle and "daddy," not Dr. Cullen. We had to find a happy medium. We had two other vampires who had gone to medical school including one who delivered a vampire hybrid baby. There was no reason that everything that I needed a doctor for had to fall on him.
There was a knock at the door. I pulled my robe tighter and looked toward the door. "Come in," I called.
Renesmee's head popped around the edge. "I didn't wake you, did I?"
"No, I'm not ready to sleep yet," I said waving her over. She smiled and came around to take a seat next to me on the sofa.
"I heard that you were having trouble sleeping, Grandma," she spoke with such seriousness for her youth. "You're afraid of missing things?"
"You've always had to sleep, princess."
"It doesn't mean I don't fear missing things with everyone else awake all the time, but I know I have to sleep just like you have to now." She shrugged. "It's not that bad. You get to dream."
"And dreams can be wonderful." Renesmee giggled in agreement. "What does that giggle mean, young lady?"
"I just agree with you, Grandma," she said as she leaned over and gave me a hug. "I came to see you because I though with Grandpa at work that you might need some company."
"That's very sweet of you."
"You could come to my room and we could watch a movie. Chill out and relax?"
She was a smart young one.
"It depends. What movie are you screening this evening?"
"Rear Window. I'm making my way through the Hitchcock movies."
"Are you a little young for some of them?"
Her response was an incredulously look that I recognized as my own. It was the one I gave Carlisle when he said something that hinted at him being a man not of this time. I pursed my lips to keep from laughing.
I placed the iPad on the table and stood up. "I wouldn't mind some Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly."
Renesmee took my hand as we exited the room and headed down the hall to her room. What had once been Edward's room became our granddaughter's room when she was little. Edward didn't have use for it, and we certainly didn't mind keeping Renesmee overnight to give the newlyweds some alone time. Now Edward was staying close to watch over me so Renesmee was here as well.
The room had changed often in very few years. As Renesmee grew, her room adapted. It now looked like the room of a young teenager. She went over to the TV and touched it on while placing a Blu-ray disc in the player. She grabbed the remotes and jumped up onto the bed and placed the pillows up against the headboard. She patted the spot next to her.
"Come on, Grandma!"
I climbed up next to her and settled against the pillow. She pressed play and turned down the lights then placed her head against my shoulder. I wrapped my arm around her as we took in the view from Jeff's apartment on a hot day in New York City…
I walked in to the house to silence. No one was in the living room. My first thought went to Esme. I ran up the stairs and the scent of my family became stronger as I went higher.
The door to our room was open, but that wasn't where the scents were emanating from. I rushed toward Renesmee's room and was met by Alice in the doorway with a demanding look and a finger to silence me at her lips. I went to open my mouth and she tapped her lip to silence me. She stepped forward and reached a hand out to mine. I took it and she lead me into the quiet room. The morning light slipped in around the edges of the curtains. Emmett and Rosalie were against the far wall, while Bella, Edward and Jasper were hovering just inside the door. All eyes were on the bed and I followed their gaze.
The miracles kept coming.
My granddaughter and my wife were laying there asleep. Renesmee was curled into Esme who had an arm wrapped around her and her face resting on her "princess's" curls. Nessie's palm was pressed against Esme's cheek.
"Are they sharing a dream?" I asked with wonder to Edward, who stood to my left.
"It's so strange. There's a part of Esme's mind that sees what Renesmee is seeing, but she's also having her own dream. At times they seem to intersect, but then separate again."
"What are they dreaming about?"
Edward chuckled. "I told you before, Carlisle, that's up to Esme to tell you."
I was in awe. "How long have they been like this?"
Bella spoke up, "Renesmee invited Esme to watch a movie with her around 9:30. They were asleep before it ended."
"They will probably be awake soon," I said looking at my watch. It was a little after 7:30 a.m.
"Yes, they will, so be quiet and just watch. Take it in, Carlisle," Alice said as she slipped over into Jasper's arms.
I could hear Renesmee's heart and light breathing – so even, so gentle. My beautiful wife looked so peaceful. It was a different demeanor than the one she wore the last few nights as she slept beside me. I couldn't explain it, but I wanted to capture it. It would be in my mind forever, but with a quick movement it was on my iPhone as well. Then I just stood back and watched the beautiful scene before me until Esme's eyelids started to move.
She only had eyes for the girl next to her as she grinned at her sleeping form. She placed her hand over Renesmee's and gently removed it from her cheek then placed a kiss on it. It was only then did she look up and realize that they weren't alone.
"What's wrong?" she mouthed at me as to not wake Ness.
I shook my head and whispered, "Nothing. Absolutely nothing."
She gestured with confusion to the audience in the room, not convinced that everything was right as rain.
"Imagine what we were watching," I said.
She was thoughtful for a moment and then I saw the realization in her eyes. "Oh!" she whispered with a knowing shake of her head.
She leaned over and kissed her granddaughter's forehead again and then shooed us all out of the room.
I let everyone go ahead of me and as I exited I heard a sleepy voice ask, "Grandma?"
"Good morning, sleepyhead."
I headed down the hall into our room and sat down on the sofa. I picked up Esme's iPad, which was sitting on the table in front of me. With a few flicks I was where she had left it – WebMD's fifth week of pregnancy. I scrolled through it.
The door to our room closed. A moment later she sat down beside me and leaned against me.
"I can help you with this," I said still looking at the screen.
"Of course you can, but obstetrics isn't your area of expertise," she said lightly, but I defended my work teasingly.
"I'm the world's foremost authority on vampire involved obstetrics cases."
She grimaced slightly and her tone turned serious as she said, "I don't know that will help in this case. I'm not like your past patient."
"Khalida said treat you like a human," I pointed out.
"Which is inaccurate as well. I'm not behaving like a human," she said with a hint of frustration.
"You're not behaving like a human?" I asked, not understanding the implication.
"That pizza is still sitting in my stomach," she mumbled.
"So we can check that off the list," I teased stroking my hand through her hair.
She bolted straight up, her eyes narrowing as she asked, "What list?"
"Human behaviors. Watching to see which ones your body adapts to. I want to know what your needs are so I can take care of you," I rattled off.
She paused and looked down, entwining her fingers into mine. She took a deep breath before she spoke. "Carlisle, I don't want to be your patient. I want to be your wife and the mother of your child, but I don't want you constantly looking at me like I'm your patient and your waiting to see what symptoms will arise."
"Esme, there's no reason that I can't be all three."
"And there's no reason that you have to be all three," she disputed. "There are two other doctors in this house, one of which has experience that you lack and that's delivering a vampire's baby."
"Carlisle, this miracle is a one-time occurrence. If you want to worry about me or take care of me that's fine as my husband, but I don't want to be a medical wonder. I don't want to be analyzed and poked and prodded as a patient…at least not by you."
"The last thing I want to do is upset you. I want what's best for you and our child."
"Then I need you to love me. Less looking at me through the microscope and more taking in the full view like you were just doing in Renesmee's room. Accepting what is. If there're complications or problems then I will want the foremost authority on vampire involved obstetrics cases. I love "Dr. Cullen" and the greatest honor ever bestowed upon me has been the title Mrs. Cullen. I had the great honor of being let into the inner circle – to know the man beyond the title of "doctor." I know there is so much more to you and what I need is those other parts. If it is going to greatly disturb you to give up control to Edward and or Rosalie to my medical care then I won't fight you, but if I were human, you wouldn't be my physician. I would be seeing an OB-GYN. So if you want to treat me like a human put my medical care in another doctor's hands and be the support I need."
"But Khalida pointed out that I am a doctor. She entrusted your care to me," I maintained.
"And of course you will care for me. That will never change," she said softly as she brushed her hand over my cheek. "At least consider it as an option. Please?"
I nodded. I needed time. It wasn't that I didn't understand her rational, but I wanted what was best for my wife and our child…and our children. Would it be too painful for Rosalie to play the role of obstetrician? I knew she was genuinely happy and excited for Esme, but I also had lived with her for enough decades to know that she wasn't perfectly content below the surface. I worried that once this child was born that it would be too much for her. I was fearful that she and Emmett would leave us. As for Edward, it was one thing for him deliver his daughter during an emergency, it was another for him to oversee the woman that he often considered as a mother to him. How much was too much to ask?
"What about a compromise?" I could see her stiffening up to argue, so I quickly interceded. "Please listen to what I propose first before offering your rebuttal."
She backed down and looked me in the eyes; her lips were drawn into a straight line as she listened.
"Asking me to not ask how you are doing or feeling or watching over you or monitoring your condition is asking too much of me. I can't turn that part of me off especially not with you. I don't know how either Rosalie or Edward would feel about giving their mother, for all intents and purposes, regular gynecological exams. We haven't done an ultrasound yet. If you want them to administer it I'm willing to relinquish that. We haven't talked about how you want to deliver, but if you want me to hold your hand and be by your side, and if Edward and or Rosalie are willing to assist, then I'll give up being doctor that day, unless there are complications and then I am stepping in."
"Renesmee's birth was riddled with complications and Edward did fine," she rationalized.
"It's fine, Carlisle. We'll talk with them. You're right. I don't want to force either of them to do anything they don't feel comfortable doing. Should we talk to them now?" she asked eagerly.
"I just got home. Renesmee is just waking up. You just woke up," I said and pressed my lips to her forehead. "Let's have a little down time. " I gently poked her stomach. "Do you need me to hold your hair?"
She groaned and buried her face against my shoulder. I couldn't help but chuckle at her. "Yes, you can have that privilege, but then I probably should hunt. It's been a few days."
I glanced toward the window. The sky was grey. "It looks like the weather should be agreeable for us to venture out."
I stood up and took her hand to help her up and led her to the bathroom. She chuckled to herself.
"What is it?"
"I just had a vision of a very pregnant me trying to take down my dinner. You'll witness the humor in it soon enough."
"You'll be beautiful as always."
Her laugh was fuller this time. I loved that sound.
"Don't you believe me?" I asked.
"I believe you, but that doesn't mean it won't be funny," she said as she lifted the toilet seat and got down on her knees.
I ran my fingers over her scalp then gathered her caramel locks in my fist as she expelled the bits of undigested pizza. With my free hand I rubbed her back. This was the act of a husband – not her doctor, her husband.
Thank you for your patience. I have a lot on my plate right now. I changed jobs in August and have a much heavier work load. I'm working on my graduate school thesis. I'm looking to move so I can rid myself of my awful commute in the next month or so. I'm also very busy with Page to Premiere, the fansite I write for that HisGoldenEyes is now part of, as we countdown to the final Twilight movie. With so many things going on, my fan fiction writing ends up on the back burner. It's not because I don't love it; it is because to me the details matter. I want to present you with a well researched, well though out chapter every time. That takes a lot of my attention that I just haven't had enough free time to devote to it. With all this in mind, I want to give my readers a heads up that you may not see anything new from me on this story or The Esme Chronicles until after Breaking Dawn, Part 2 opens. It's been a busy summer and it's going to be an even busier fall.
I wish I had more time to devote to my writing, but there are only so many hours in the day. I beg for your forgiveness and your patience. Thank you for sticking with me and my stories written for the love of Esme and Carlisle.
Thank you to Ali and Arianna for their beta work.
Since I last published a chapter of M&M, I posted a one-shot called "Pride and Love." It's Edward and Bella's wedding day from Carlisle's perspective.
EsmeMomCullen, a.k.a. Amy