May 29, 2013
No matter what you think, or how much you think otherwise, there’s only so much time that one can buy before the first glitch hits you.
I still think we should have been more prepared, but Carlisle had assured me time and again that we could not have been more meticulous.
I could not have been happier for Katherine and Mark when I found out the real reason that they were here for. Edward and I had fought for the better part of my pregnancy, but I couldn’t entirely attribute that to him, or even to me. We were unprepared, and scared of losing the other one. My stubbornness hadn’t helped much, not that I regret my decision. I couldn’t ever regret the pain I had felt then, because it has brought me to my now.
Edward had admitted to me, the day before yesterday, that he wished he had been more like Mark when we’d first found out.
“Edward, what—?” I start to interrupt, but he brushed me off, asking me to let him finish.
“I just . . . I look at Mark everyday, Bella, and I . . . I just wish I’d been more supportive. I mean . . . when I first found out . . . about you . . . Renesmee, I freaked out. Mark, on the other hand, he got on a plane and came here. He made the effort for Katherine.
“What did I do, Bella? I told you to abort our child! I told everyone to tell you to abort our child. Even Jacob . . . I . . . I told him that if you wanted a baby so badly, then I had no problem even if they were his, as long as you were safe.”
I gasp. This is the first time that he is admitting that to me. Truly, I feel a little insulted that my own husband was willing to loan me out to another man just so I could have a baby. It is both enraging and sacrificial at the same time, and I don’t know how to bring balance to those two forces.
“And I see Mark . . . he sits with Katherine, he brings her sustenance, he rubs her belly, he makes her favorite pizzas in the middle of the night, he goes through those god awful mood swings with her . . . they’re even discussing baby names! I never discussed baby names with you. You had to come up with them on your own.
“I look at him and I see how much less of an input I had in your pregnancy. I was scared, but so is he. But he handles it better. Why didn’t I do that?”
I had thus spent the better part of the night explaining to Edward a very logical thing: every mind works differently. Edward hadn’t been alone; we’d had an entire family behind us with split opinions. In a way, it had not only been his decision, or mine. Our lives were mingled with the other members of our family as well. We had been in a very different situation than Mark. It had been only natural for him to be scared, as is Mark, which brought me to the main point.
The babies kicked yesterday, and hard.
I had tried to prepare Katherine for whatever came, but it was still painful to watch her keel over and catch her breath.
Up until yesterday, her babies had been moving and bouncing, nothing major. Then, yesterday morning at the breakfast table, Katherine had been having her usual meal of pepperoni pizza when she’d suddenly keeled over in the same moment we had heard something crack.
The force was such that she was momentarily taken by surprise, and gasped. About twenty seconds later, when the adrenaline rush in her body subsided, she groaned, or screamed, was more like it. The stool slipped from under her and her body went half limp as she fell to the floor.
Mark was there almost instantly to catch her, but when she didn’t respond for a minute, Carlisle rushed her to the library to have her checked out.
There was a large bruise on her stomach where the baby had kicked, and in the process had broken two of her ribs and cracked the pelvic bone.
And that was only the first blow. We all knew there were many more to come. Carlisle feared that if the pelvic bone broke, he would have to operate, but he thought it wouldn’t hold, because the babies wouldn’t stop kicking anyway.
Mark went ballistic when he found out. I thought he was about one step from pulling his graying hair out and ask Carlisle to abort the babies without Katherine’s consent. Gone was the composed man I had seen: this man was rattled and shaken and possessive.
After an hour and sixteen broken trees later, when Katherine finally came to, she and Mark had their first major argument, and since the house was full of vampires, listening in was sort of a compulsory clause in the contract.
“It’s just not safe! Look what happened to you, Katherine! Your ribs are broken, your pelvis is crushed, you can’t even fucking speak properly! Why the hell do you want to do this?!”
“Don’t curse in front of the babies!”
“What the—Katherine! Are you out of your mind?! You are lying on a bed with IV’s in your arm, and you’re thinking about me cursing?!”
“We made the decision, Mark. We did it together. You told me you wouldn’t give up on this!”
“I didn’t know it was going to be this dangerous!”
“Bullshit! You knew exactly how dangerous this was going to be. Edward and Carlisle—”
“Can we leave them out of this, please? They are not the ones who had to watch their wives keel over in pain, I am! They are not the ones losing the persons they love, I am! It’s not about them, Katherine! It’s about us!”
“I know it’s about us! That’s why I am doing this! These are our babies, Mark. How can you even think of doing what you’re saying?!”
“No, Katherine! You’re doing this because you want this. Don’t you care about me anymore? Don’t you love me? If you did, you would see how perilous this is.”
“Mark! How can—just, nothing’s gonna happen to me! It’s gonna be fine! Why are you so scared?”
“I’m scared of losing you. Don’t you see that? Don’t you remember? You almost died on your bedroom floor, Katherine! I reached there in just enough time, and you still want to do this to me?! After all the sessions and Physical therapy . . . it took you months to even speak or move. Do you know how I felt? Do you have any idea?! Do you think I’m ever going to let you go back to that?! Do you think I’m going to survive if you die? You’d not be doing our kids any good. They’d be orphans anyway! I refuse to live without you, Katherine! I took a vow!”
“Don’t . . . don’t say that. You think I can? You think I can live without you?”
“Then why are you doing this? Just . . . please, Katherine, please. . .”
“Trust me. That’s all I am asking. Please, these are your children. Please . . .”
“I can’t . . . I can’t live without you, love.”
“You won’t have to, I promise.”
Truly, the conversation had raised more questions than it had answered. But we knew when to be polite, and this was one of those times.
Leah had opted to stay the night to help Katherine be comfortable, which was surprising to me, since this was the first time Leah had ever willingly tried to help us out. Sure, we had been on better terms lately, but not enough, I thought. Every time I tried to reach inside Leah, she pulled back. The treasure of her heart always stayed within reach, but I could never get to it. Nevertheless, I valued what I had, and I liked spending time with Leah.
Mark and Katherine had made up after a few hours, rather . . . loudly, should we say. I thought Mark had done that on purpose, and I think I know who gave him the idea. Edward had used sex to persuade me to do formidable things more times than I could count.
By evening, we had shifted Katherine back into the living room, though with the necessary precautions, and Alice had suggested we make s’mores in the fire for Katherine and the wolves. Of course, everyone agreed almost instantly. Alice knew just how to relieve people: that’s one of the things I liked about her. So, everybody curled up near the fire place, even Poseidon flopped himself down in Nessie’s lap, facing the fire and snoring lightly.
The real fun started when Katherine gobbled down her fourth s’more and reached for a fifth.
“Uh . . . darling, don’t you think you’ve had enough?” Mark chuckled, and Katherine stopped mid bite.
Bad thing to say, Mark. Really bad thing to say.
“Why?” Katherine asked in a calm-before-the-storm kind of tone, and conversations died out instantly. “Do you think I’m fat? You do, don’t you?!”
“Kathie, I didn’t—”
“Kathie? Really? I guess now my name is just as big as I am, right?!”
“Darling, I—” Mark stared again but Katherine wouldn’t let him finish, and he looked to us for help.
“What? Say it! Say I am fat! But let me tell you something, I didn’t hear you complaining this afternoon!”
“Okay!” Esme finally interrupted in a fit of giggles not different from all of ours, “Let’s quit while we’re ahead, dearies! We don’t want anybody to know what you don’t want anybody to know.”
“He started it!” Katherine pointed at Mark, and I could see he was about to protest but Rosalie nudged him, telling him to shut up.
“Don’t worry, Katherine. You can have as many s’mores as you want. It’s all right, it’s just a mood swing; comes with the hormones.” I smiled. “Boy, I’m glad I didn’t do anything like that.”
There was an awkward dead beat after that as ten pairs of eyes stared back at me blankly.
“What? I didn’t, did I? I mean, I don’t remember much of it.” I smiled awkwardly, but it did nothing to deter the expression from their faces.
“Well . . . not really—” Edward started to say, but Jacob cut him off, “’Not really’?! Really? She was like Momzilla and Motherannosaurus rolled into one . . . on PMS!”
“Well, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, I think,” I protested.
“I’m sorry, Bella, but he’s actually right. Alice, do you remember that time when she threw a tray at Edward?” Rosalie said.
“I DID WHAT?!”
Alice clearly looked unhappy with the delicate position she’d been put in, but she began anyway. “Uh . . . You were picking out fruits from the tray one day, and Edward was staring at you in a really weird way—”
“I swear, Bella, I was just thinking whether it would be compatible with your body!” Edward’s eyes were wide with fear, and I didn’t know why.
“Anyway, you saw him looking at you, and you thought he was thinking you eat too much, so you threw the fruits at him . . . and the tray.”
That was why.
I was sure I looked like Harry Potter did when Hagrid first told him that he was a wizard. “Why don’t I remember that?!”
“You don’t remember a lot of things: like the time you hit me and Jasper with a basketball.” Emmett shrugged sympathetically, and before I could ask, Rosalie began explaining.
“You were trying to sleep, Bella, and these morons had just come back from playing basketball. Emmett flopped down next to you and started dribbling the ball, and you were so irritated that you snatched it and threw it at him. He ducked, though, so you only broke the window. I don’t think you even spared Carlisle.”
“Okay, you know what? Don’t tell me anymore. I can’t take it.” I put my hands up.
“Wow. Your Darth Vader makes mine look like Jabba the Hut,” Mark chuckled.
Once again: a bad allusion to use, Mark.
Two hours later, when the party had broken up, and everybody had scattered off, I saw Mark talking and smiling with Katherine on the couch, and I knew immediately why they were doing this.
Edward and I had never, ever regretted any moment, any experience shared together, and our bond had only strengthened after Nessie was born. No matter how dangerous it had been, no matter what fights we’d had, we’d always went back to each other. We got our joy from the simple things we shared, which made it even more special: the way Edward used to rub my belly as Mark was rubbing Katherine’s now, the way he sometimes blew raspberries on my very round belly to talk to our baby, the way he sat up with me for hours listening to my droning about my weight, the way he kept me warm and safe.
That was what made us, the same way it made them.
It was quite simple, really.
Each day was a new one, and it brought with a new opportunity to discover and fall in love again, which we did.
“Do you think she’ll ever forgive him after what he said? The Star Wars allusion?” I chuckled as I remembered the big fight that had ensued between Mark and Katherine after he’d called her Darth Vader and Jabba the Hut.
“She will, I think. She probably won’t let him name the babies though. Do you know she wants to name her boy Spock Kenobi? If she has one, that is.” Bella laughed.
“I know one thing: He’ll hate her for the rest of his life,” I laughed with her.
I had admitted to Bella almost two nights ago my fears, insecurities, and guilt. I think that no matter how much I try to evade them, I will never completely be able to get over them. I wasn’t proud of many things I had done, and many things I’d said, or the way I had handled things. Bella had been a saint in patience and understanding when it came to me. There wasn’t a woman in the world who had sacrificed and compromised more than Bella had for me, and I knew I would always be grateful for that.
“What are you thinking?” I felt her run her fingers through my hair as we walked.
“Just thinking how lucky I am to have found you.” I smiled, and kissed her palm, and her responding smile could have blinded the sun.
We kept walking for some time after that, in companionable silence, listening to the sounds of the night.
“Edward?” Bella suddenly asked, and I looked at her to see her smiling shyly.
“I . . . I just . . . I had an epiphany of sorts tonight . . . and . . . uh, I wanted to ask you something.” She smiled again, but didn’t look at me.
I stopped in my tracks and coaxed her to look into my eyes, “Bella, what is it?”
Our eyes stayed locked for a few seconds before she broke contact again, and gave me an expression that she only brought on when she was blushing.
“Bella . . . what is it, love? Is something troubling you?”
“No! No, I just . . . nothing, just, I don’t know how to say this. I mean, we’ve never talked about this, and you’ve never talked about it and I’ve never said anything. I mean, I don’t even know if it’s because of all that is happening, but I’ve been thinking about this for quite some time. I just didn’t know how you would react. It’s just so new and amazing and I want—” She started talking so fast that even my vampire ears could barely hear her.
“Bella, Bella, Bella, slow down. What is it? You know you can tell me, ask me anything, right? Why are you shying now? It’s me.”
She calmed down when she looked at me and finally understood what I was saying. After a few seconds, she closed her eyes and took a deep breath like she always did when she was nervous, and my confusion grew.
When her eyes opened, I saw in them a determination that I knew could only stem from her, and I coaxed her to say her piece.
“Bella, now, tell me what you want you tell me.”
It was quiet for a few moments, but the determination never faded from her eyes, and then she let the words out of her mouth.
“Edward, how do you feel about us having another baby?”
So, what do you think? Tell me!
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