June 2, 2013
“Edward, how do you feel about us having another baby?”
An important rule of Survival in the Marital World is to always come up with responses, and the right ones at that. Questions can be sprung at you at any instance, and you have to be prepared for them.
“Does this dress make me look fat?”
“Am I right?”
“I just don’t think we should do this, do you?”
“Are you lying to me?”
For five years—okay, four—I had trained myself to master the art of answering questions. Hell, I should have graduated from the University of Good Husbandry summa cum laude by now.
Well, there goes my degree.
“Edward, say something.” I heard Bella’s voice bring me out of my thoughts, and realized that I was rambling.
Yeah, not a great thing to do when your wife asks you questions that might potentially change your future.
“Bella . . . I . . . I don’t know what to say . . . ,” I choked out.
Truthfully, she had caught me by surprise. Bella and I had never even discussed the possibility of another child after Nessie.
Renesmee had been as unplanned as she could have been, but she’d fit right in. Bella and I had both molded ourselves into the role of parents almost overnight, incredulous though that might be. There had been birthdays, anniversaries, sicknesses, first dates: we’d lived through all of that, but never had the thought of another child crossed my mind.
“Well, you could start by telling me what you think?” Bella looked sheepish, and—I thought I might have dreamed it, but I wasn’t sure—a little scared.
“I . . . think that . . . I am thinking about where all this came from?” I chuckled nervously.
Bella frowned for a moment, and then sighed, breaking away from me and perching on the nearest boulder. “Truth be told, Edward, I’ve been been thinking about this for quite some time.”
Her statement raised more questions than answers, but before I could ask them, Bella started explaining on her own. “I know I told you, before we got married, that I didn’t ever see myself as having kids. I know I told you that we could adopt, that I could live without a child and whatnot. But then . . . I got Renesmee.” Her eyes closed and she sighed again, only this time she sounded torn and exhausted. “And it was the greatest feeling ever, Edward. It felt surreal knowing that there was a life being nourished in me, that I was creating a child: your child.
“I mean, the first time she moved, it felt . . . otherworldly. There was this . . . this small flutter inside me, like something churning over . . . again and again. I know I’ve told you time and again that I don’t think of myself as someone exceptionally beautiful, and that you disagree. But that was one of the times when I felt beautiful, Edward. I hadn’t needed any coaxing or prodding. Just the feel of her inside me felt . . . hauntingly beautiful and unreal.
“And . . . and it only got better as Renesmee grew: she is such a beautiful girl. It feels good to be a mother, even if it wasn’t in my plans earlier. I just . . . I wanted to feel that again: that flutter, that feeling of life in my arms, the joy of being a new mother. I want to feel it again.”
Her words should have calmed me, and filled me with immense joy. Yet, hearing Bella asking to be a mother again sunk my heart into the deep depths of a raging inferno, because we both knew that she could not ever again carry another child. Also, Bella’s words, when looked at from a new angle, meant something else entirely.
“Bella, you . . . you know that I would give you anything you ask . . . but, love . . . it sounds like . . . like you miss the feeling of being pregnant more than anything else.”
The expression in her eyes told me that she had been hoping I would not catch it, and that made my heart burn even more. How ironic was it that she would ask for the one thing that she could not have?
“I do.” She said quietly after some time. “I do miss being pregnant. I had never felt anything like it before that. Even if I was hurt beyond remembrance most of the time, I loved to share that bond with Renesmee inside me. I felt like she knew me, that she knew you, and every one else. I felt like she was excited to come out and meet us. I loved talking to her. I felt . . . fragile and strong at the same time. I wish . . .”
Bella trailed off, but I knew what she had meant to say. It was the one thing that I had hoped she wouldn’t ever wish for.
“You wish that you could be human again,” I stated in a flat voice.
“Not entirely, no. I don’t miss being human as I miss being pregnant. I wish I could be pregnant again.”
If her words should have relieved me, they didn’t. This was one day that I had never anticipated coming in our lives. Bella had never given me a hint regarding her wish, and now, it was too late for her to go back. It was too late for both of us.
“Bella . . . you know we can’t have that. We can’t go back,” I murmured, feeling defeated and low. “This is why I didn’t want to change you. You want to live again, and I can’t give it to you. This was the reason why.”
“Edward,” Bella’s voice rose an octave, “Did I say that I want to go back to being human?”
She hopped off from where she was sitting and walked up to me—I secretly noticed that we’d been apart all this time—and put her hands on my cheeks.
“I never once said that I regret being changed. I’ve never wished to go back. I am happier than I ever thought I would be, here, with you, Edward. Why would I want to change that?”
“Then why do you say such things, Bella? You know you cannot be pregnant again. Why do you—”
“I think this conversation went off into a very wrong direction, Edward.” Bella closed her eyes, sighed and opened them again, and this time, her eyes were smiling.
“Edward Cullen, I love you. You: not what you are, but who you are. And I never regret a day that we spend together. So, with all my heart, and my soul, I am asking you to consider the possibility of another child in our lives. There, happy?”
“I get that, Bella, but how?” I asked her.
“Simple, Edward! We adopt.” Bella smiled at me, and pulled towards where she had been sitting earlier.
My eyes widened at the idea. Adopt? Truthfully, I had never even considered the idea. I thought back to the night before our marriage, when Bella and I had been talking in her room, and she had said that she wasn’t averse to the idea of adopting a child. I hadn’t realized that would come up again in our married life.
“You want to adopt?” I asked from next to her.
“Why not, Edward? I know that I cannot get pregnant again, and I really want a child. I know you feel weird because I’m saying it like that, but, I do.”
To say that I was stunned would have been an understatement: it was hard for me to believe what Bella was saying, and for a moment, I wished that I could read her mind again.
“I bet you want to read my mind,” Bella chuckled.
“How did you know?” I frowned, but a smile graced my lips as I spoke.
“I know you, Edward Cullen. I can tell when you want something. I’ve seen that look many a times.” Did I get a hint of pride from her words?
“Do I know you?” I asked. “I mean, I do, but, this took me by surprise.”
“I was surprised too, I mean—when I realized it. I didn’t think I would ever want more kids. But what can you say? It just . . . happened.” She shrugged, and I realized, by the way she was talking about it, that she had given so much thought it was second nature to her. I felt a little . . . put off to be honest, partly because I wished I would have been kept in the know, but I also knew that Bella’s mind worked differently.
“So . . . you want this?” I looked at her from the corner of my eye to see her smiling. “You want a kid?”
“A baby. Yes.” She nodded.
“Are you sure? I mean, it’s a big responsibility, Bella. And it’s not just us; we have to think about the family, Nessie . . . the Volturi.”
“You sound like Charlie,” Bella laughed. “I know it’s a big responsibility, but it’s not like we haven’t done this before, is it?”
She was right. We had done this before, and spectacularly, if I might say so.
“So what? A human baby?” I asked, still a little bewildered at the idea, but adjusting to it.
“I thought about that for a while, yes. It’s just that Renesmee grew up so fast I didn’t even realize where the time went. I wanted to . . . like, slow down a bit this time.
“But then, there were a thousand factors to consider: I didn’t want the Volturi involved with us in any way again. And I thought about how the child would notice eventually that we don’t age. Plus, moving with a human kid every four years would be tedious, Edward, and we’re not exactly alone. I didn’t want to take any chances. What if somebody saw the baby with us, and went running to the Volturi. They would waste no time in coming here, and we wouldn’t even have any excuse.”
Did I mention how proud I am of my wife?
“So, no human baby?” I asked her, still a little bit doubtful.
There was no response from her for a while, and I thought she was thinking it over when she finally spoke. “You sound . . . apprehensive? I mean . . . do you think this is a bad idea?”
I was taken aback at her powers of perception, but then again, hiding secrets from Bella had never been easy. I had been hoping, though, that she wouldn’t notice this time.
“Not . . . apprehensive, no. You just . . . I’m just . . . surprised, I guess. I mean, you’ve had time to think about this. I haven’t. I can’t just sit here and decide from the throw of a die if we’re going to adopt a baby or not, you see.” I shrugged.
There wasn’t just one thing to consider here: there were thousands. We weren’t even a normal family to begin with. Adopting a human baby meant legal paperwork, visits from social workers, family backgrounds and whatnot, and I was sure that people didn’t go around getting pregnant with vampire babies. Right now, any angle from which I looked at it made us a liability for exposure, and we couldn’t afford that if we didn’t want the Volturi to rain down on us.
I didn’t want to hurt Bella in any way, and I really wasn’t averse to the idea of being a father again, but I wanted to look at the practical side of things before we made a decision. A baby would most certainly be a great step forward in our lives, but we had to make sure we were ready to take it up. Renesmee’s birth had been a surprise to us—a dangerous one indeed—and we wanted no repeats of that.
“I don’t want to hurt you, Bella. I mean, I’m neither saying that we never do this, nor forbidding you to think so. I am just . . . asking for more time. I want you to give me some time to think . . . about all this,” I said to Bella, all the while holding her close and stroking her hair.
She didn’t respond for some time, only looked at the tree in front of us and frowned, deep in thought.
“So . . . you’re saying you’re not totally against it?”
“Yes. I will think about it,” I said firmly.
“And maybe . . . when you’re ready . . . if you’re ready, we can have a baby.” She nodded.
“Yes. If we are ready, we can have a baby.”
She nodded again, and comprehension finally flickered on her face. “Okay. You’ll think about it. I can live with that.”
I should have known Bella would say something like that, but I couldn’t help but ask. “Really? You can? I mean, you’re not angry?”
She chuckled. “No. I understand that I sprung it on you so suddenly that you were taken aback. It’s okay if you need some time, Edward.”
I couldn’t control my smile at that. My Bella had always been prudent, there was no doubt about that.
“Okay then, shall we go home?” I smiled, and held out my hand for her to take, only to be glad when she did.
We walked in silence for some time after that, until we could see our cottage in the distance. Bella leaned against my shoulder and sighed, and I was happy to know that it was a sigh of content.
“Edward?” she asked softly after some time, “This time, can we get a boy? If we do get a baby, that is.”
I raised my eyebrow. “A boy? Any specific reason for that?”
“Nothing, just . . . I thought you might need some testosterone after all this time, someone you don’t have to play dress up with.” I could feel her smile.
“Oh, I remember that.” I laughed with her, remembering the many times when Renesmee had eventually got bored of her aunts and mother and had forced me to wear a yellow dress (with hideous red bows, I might add) and have a tea party with her.
“So . . . a boy?” Bella asked as we reached our front porch, and opened the door.
“A boy.” I smiled, stepped inside, and closed the door.
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