June 15, 2013
The human heart is a wonderful, beautiful thing. To think that something roughly the size of your fist can power you, your body, your mind, that a simple pumping movement—back and forth and back and forth—is what makes you do what you do, makes your blood course through your body. To think that this heart is sometimes, most of the times, not your own, but intertwined with another, like the roots of a climber just refusing to let go.
I think the heart is at its most vulnerable and most beautiful just before it stops beating. It has a special significance, even for creatures like us.
The last beats of a heart—the very last bits of it—define who you are. It governs everything you did and didn’t do. Those last beats make up the threshold of a new life, a greater one, with a greater power. Whether that life would be peaceful, or restless, you will know in those last bits. There is nothing you can do to stop them. It’s inevitable.
They’re especially significant to us.
Ask vampires what they remember most about their previous life: it won’t be their family, or friends—simply because there’s nothing left in moping over people gone and forgotten—or even their favorite things. It would be that acute pain, that inferno inside their body while they were “crossing over”, so to speak. And they would remember the sound of their heart—the erratic, fluttering sound it makes just before it goes out, for better or for worse.
There’s nothing that can be done now: no mistakes can be corrected, no debts can be paid, none can be taken, no taxes can be levied, no punishments to suffer, no forgiveness to seek. There’s just you and the afterlife, which you hope to fill with another, some day or the other. It’s well and good if you find them. Otherwise, you wait, and when you do, your heart becomes foreign again.
Yes, hearts are beautiful.
Even when they stop beating.
The low, baritone flutter of Katherine’s heart sounded through the house. Once, twice, thrice . . . and then, silence.
Bella clutched my hand, and waited with a deep breath.
Only Carlisle, Mark, Bella and I were in the library right now, where Katherine lay in front of us, sewn up and undead, as of now.
We were all prepared now: this was our territory. Katherine was not to be let near the babies until she had hunted, which Carlisle and Mark were going to take care of.
Slowly, in a movement that would surely have been missed by human eyes, Katherine’s finger moved, and then she opened her crimson eyes.
She blinked rapidly to adjust to the detail, and then groaned, “God, my throat.”
“It’s thirst, Katherine. We’re going to take care of that soon.” Carlisle touched her hand. “Can you sit up?”
She narrowed her eyes at Carlisle, and then shook her head, sitting up way too fast.
“Right here.” Mark stepped toward her, attempting to hug her, but she stopped him.
“You stay away from me. You and I never having sex again.”
Bella stifled a laugh, and even Carlisle turned away to hide his smirk. I remembered Bella’s reaction to me when she’d first changed. Now that had been something.
Mark, on the other hand, looked dumbfounded. “I didn’t—what—never mind.”
“How are you feeling, Katherine?” Carlisle asked her earnestly, and she frowned.
“Um . . . a . . . overwhelmed. I mean . . . you all look very clear, and . . . white. And what is that sound?! It’s pissing me off!”
Katherine was talking about the sound of the microwave that Jacob was using to warm up his pizza.
“Katherine, it’s okay,” I spoke up. “It’s just the microwave.”
“Okay, I think that we should take her hunting before we go any further with this. Just to be safe.” Mark suggested with a little apprehension.
“Wait, what . . . what about my babies? Where are they? Are they okay? Are they safe? Who’s looking after them? Did they cry? Are they hungry?” Katherine suddenly remembered her children and started rattling off a string of questions.
“They’re okay, Katherine. They’re good.” Bella smiled at her. “They’re in the basement right now. Everyone’s with them.”
“Well, I want to see them. I want to see my babies.” Katherine moved toward the door but we stopped her.
“No, wait, Katherine,” Bella stopped her. “You can’t see them right now. You’re a newborn, and you’re thirsty. You should feed first.”
“What are you talking about? I am not going to hurt my kids!”
“I know, but just to be safe. They’re half-human, Katherine. We need to be cautions, please, understand.” Bella tried to placate Katherine, and it seemed to work when she backed away from the door.
“They have blood in their veins, Katherine. You don’t want to hurt them.” Mark came up to her, coaxing her towards the window of the library, and she complied and nodded.
It took Katherine all of a few seconds to jump out of the window and race through the forest with Carlisle and Mark, all the while complaining about the heels she had been put in (Alice). In a few moments, she had disappeared from our sight.
“That went well, right?” Bella sighed as took my hand in hers.
“Yeah, I think so.” I nodded, and we walked out of the library.
“So . . . ,” Bella grinned as we hit the stairs, “You said yes . . . what changed your mind?”
I beamed at her, now almost bursting with joy at the prospect of being a father again, though we’d not told the family yet. “You. I might not have faith in me, but I believe in you. And I didn’t change my mind; I just made it up.”
“True,” Bella nodded, “but you didn’t need to doubt yourself, Edward. I knew—know—you can do it. I never had any less faith in you than I do.”
I felt elated at her words. “Thank you, but . . . the fear is there, Bella. I am allowed to be a little bit scared.”
She grinned wide, not letting her euphoria get spoiled by my the seeds of my uncertainty. “True. But we’ll do it. You just wait and see.”
“I guess.” I wrapped my arms around her, and kissed her hair. We had some work to do now. If we had to adopt, it would have to be a hybrid like Nessie. I didn’t know how we were going to go about it, but I had confidence.
My phone rang in the next instant, and I picked it out of my pocket to see a number I did not recognize.
“Uh… is this Edward Cullen?” A voice spoke from the other end.
“Yeah, who’s this?”
“Edward, hello. It’s Alistair.”
My eyebrows shot to my hairline.
“Alistair?” I looked at Bella, who shrugged and looked equally surprised.
“Yeah, uh . . . how are you? And Carlisle?”
“We’re good, great. How are you?” It seemed like a good thing to say.
“I’m good, yes. I . . . I tried calling Mark, but he isn’t answering his phone. Is he nearby?” Alistair sounded more than flustered, and a bit awkward.
So that was the reason he had called. I vaguely remembered Mark telling me that Alistair had been the one to tell him about us.
“I’m sorry, Alistair. He and Katherine went out to hunt about ten minutes ago.”
“Oh, that’s okay. So . . . it’s happened? She’s been changed?”
“Yes. She woke up about half an hour ago.”
“Good, good, that’s splendid. Um . . . can you tell them to call me when they get back?”
Was it just me, or did Alistair seem out of his element today?
“Yes, I will. I’ll tell them.” I nodded, and Bella nudged me, raising her eyebrows. I shrugged at her.
“Okay, thank you. Uh, well, how are . . . how are the babies? Katherine’s babies? How are they?”
Really, couldn’t he bring himself to care when it was my daughter? I suddenly heard Bella’s voice inside my head, and my head whipped towards her in alarm and surprise. It must mean that Katherine and Mark must have gone beyond two miles.
What are you . . . I mouthed, and Bella looked amusingly alarmed.
You can hear me? She asked.
I nodded, and suddenly, Alistair’s voice filled my ears again. “Edward? Are you still there? How are the babies?”
“Oh, Alistair sorry, I got distracted. The babies? Yes, they’re good. Very cute, actually. They . . . they have two boys and a girl. The elder one looks like Mark.” I smiled into the phone.
“That’s good, that’s good. And the other two?”
“They’re good as well, yes. The girl looks like Katherine. The middle one is a little rowdy, though.” I laughed.
“Oh, I know who he gets that from,” he laughed. “Well, I should get going. Can you do me a favor? Can you please tell Mark to call me when he gets back?”
“Yeah, sure. Why not?” I nodded.
“Okay, then. Thank you. So, goodbye,” he said, and hung up almost immediately.
I stared at the phone for a little while, wondering whether what had just happened had really happened.
“Was that as weird for you as it was for me?” Bella raised a befuddled eyebrow.
“Uh . . . I think so.” I shrugged.
Even though Carlisle and Esme had never held Alistair’s untimely departure from four years ago against him, I still had trouble not judging him. I know that we couldn’t have won every heart out there, but I did think he could have stood behind Carlisle for the sake of his friendship. Carlisle had assured me time and again that he had acted out of desperation and self preservation, but Carlisle always been a saint. He never held anything against anyone.
To say that Alistair’s present actions were somewhat hypocritical was an understatement. I wondered what Carlisle would have to say about this.
“Well,” I sighed, shaking my head, “let’s see what happens. Come on, you want to go see the babies?”
Bella smiled at me, and we both proceeded to the basement.
Her shield was down, and I could see she was reminiscing her time with Renesmee.
“Do you remember when Nessie got the pox?” She chuckled quietly.
“Who doesn’t? I never want to go through that again.” I shuddered internally. Hopefully, I wouldn’t have a repeat of that episode with our son.
My steps faltered as I realized what I had just thought of. I could almost see it in front of my eyes. I could see myself holding a small, warm body in my arms, laughing at it as it whimpered, fidgeted and squirmed; or bathing it at night and tucking it into bed; playing ball with him and my brothers. I couldn’t exactly see his face, but the scene itself was so tangible, so real—dancing in front of my eyes—that I could almost feel itself come to life. I could see it come to fruitfulness.
I could see myself as a father, a dad, a coach, a dude, all over again.
I can too. Alice smiled softly at my thoughts. Damn, nothing ever escaped the pixie.
I wanted to plead with her not to let the secret out, but she beat me to it.
I wouldn’t, Edward. You two should do it together. And congratulations, by the way. I’m going to be an aunt again!
Oh, boy. I could almost see her dancing.
“Edward? You’re not paying attention.” Bella frowned.
“Sorry, love. Just got distracted by Alice.” I smiled.
The entire family was enjoying the show when we reached the basement. Ed and Edd (I really prayed Katherine would name them soon: it was getting very tedious to address the kids with their given names) had been put together in a crib, and they seem hell bent on kicking each other out. More than once we had thought the crib would collapse from their antics. But when we had tried to separate them, they had screamed so loud we had thought the house would come down.
Eddy was still being kept in the incubator, but she was getting stronger and stronger each day. Her eyes had fully opened a few hours ago, and although she looked just over a month and a half old, she was strong and sustaining. Carlisle planned on taking her out of it any moment now.
Alice and Rosalie were practically bouncing as Edd rolled over in his crib, and Jasper now had Ed in his arms as he sang a fifties war anthem.
I watched him carefully, tracing every move of his hands and every crinkle on his face. And I watched Ed, staring at Jasper as if he were Santa Claus.
In my mind, the picture was a little modified. The man with the baby was a little taller, leaner, and had bronze hair and high cheekbones. I couldn’t see the baby, but I could hear his gurgles nonetheless. My heart soared high.
I heard the back door slide open, and a moment later Carlisle stepped in, followed by Mark and Katherine. I guessed they’d had their talk outside. Katherine’s dress looked fairly clean, so I knew she’d done well for a first timer. Her eyes had already started to look a little orange. I noticed the din inside my head had died out, and I wondered if her power had changed in any way.
The room fell quiet as everyone waited with baited breath for her to meet her kids. I stole a cursory glance towards Ed and Edd, who had sensed the change in the atmosphere and were now staring at the newcomer with wide, cerulean, fascinated eyes. They had been put back in the crib.
Whatever uneasiness Katherine had felt under our gaze melted away as her eyes fell on her toddlers, who looked pretty amusing as they stared at her with their heads poking out from between the bars of the crib.
The gasp that left her lips was audible to every one of us. Her face broke out in a smile as bright as the sun as she looked at Mark, as if for confirmation.
There were unwashed, glassy tears in her eyes as she walked up to the crib slowly, measuring each and every step, testing herself to see if it was safe. Her boys were now staring at her blatantly, with their little baby mouths hanging open.
“Oh, dear,” she whispered, as she held out her hands to pick them up, and they were both all too willing to comply.
Ed and Edd both laughed out loud, and busied themselves in her hair, while Katherine just choked from emotions and unbridled happiness. She cooed and ‘ah’-ed to them, and soon, we all had matching grins. Then she realized that the party was not yet complete.
“Where’s my—” she started to say, and the smile faded from her lips as she took in the incubator, where Eddy lay, staring at her mother with blank eyes.
“Mark, why . . . why is she in that thing? Is something wrong? Did something happen to her?”
I stepped in before she could panic anymore. “Katherine, it’s okay. She was a little weak when she was born, but she’s all right now. In fact”—I looked at Carlisle, who was all but ready to open the plastic box— “Carlisle can take her out right now.”
She seemed placated at my explanation, and handed her boys to Mark. “Can you take her out?”
“Of course,” Carlisle said with a nod. “I told you one of the children could be weak, didn’t I? Well, I was right. It was her. She had a little trouble breathing, but it was nothing I couldn’t handle. Here.”
Carlisle handed Eddy to Katherine in a manner as gentle as possible, and the latter looked a little shocked at the difference between her boys and this one.
“Why does she . . . I mean, they look so big. She . . . she looks tiny,” she whispered.
“Same reason, Katherine. She’s a little more human than her brothers. So, you can expect her to grow a little slower. That’s why,” Carlisle answered.
“Will they grow just as fast?” Mark voiced from beside her. In his arms, Ed and Eddy were raising havoc, squirming and pulling his hair.
“No. It will slow down as time goes. They would mature in about seven years, just like Nessie. I’m guessing the time frame would be longer for your daughter, though.”
“I can’t exactly say. It can be a year or two more than theirs. But they’ll stop aging once they mature.”
Katherine nodded once her queries had been satisfied, and returned to doting on her children.
“They’re so cute, right?” Alice fanned herself.
Katherine laughed and then melted into a puddle of mush. “Aw, they look like little baby bears.”
My eyes met Jasper’s in that moment, and we had the same question.
“What are you naming them?” Rosalie grinned at Katherine’s analogy.
“Oh yay! Okay, let me see . . .” Katherine handed Eddy to Alice and looked at Ed (the eldest). “Mark? It’s your turn.”
“I like Abraham.” Mark grinned at her, and she rolled her eyes. “Middle name?”
“I like Severus Ian.” She smiled wickedly.
“Really? Harry potter?” He grumbled, and we all laughed. I knew she was going to do something like that.
“Okay, now the next—” Katherine started to say but Emmett stopped her.
He rushed out of the door, and we heard some shuffling upstairs. In the next moment, ‘Circle of Life’ began to blare through the speakers that had been fitted inside the house.
“Oh, for Christ’s sake!” Jacob rolled his eyes.
Emmett came in then, and I kid you not, he actually had a little flower crown on his head, and in his hand was a tray that held three little ones.
“Does he actually have a crown on his head?” Seth’s eyes bugged out, while everyone laughed.
“Have you been rehearsing this?” Carlisle asked through his giggles.
Emmett didn’t say anything. He placed the tray on a side table, picked up a crown and placed it on Ed’s head. Then taking him from Mark’s arms, he walked towards the center of the room, and suddenly every thing went dark.
And a spotlight came on, trained directly on Ed, now Abraham, I guess.
All that was needed now was a cliff.
Emmett held the boy up like the monkey from Lion King, and announced loudly, “Vampires and Werewolves, I present to thee, Abraham Severus Ian Wellington!”
And even though we thought it was stupid as hell, we all cheered and clapped. Jasper and Seth actually took a bow!
Katherine was grinning from ear to ear as she picked up her second child. “My turn. I want to call him Ewan. Middle name?”
Oh, now I understood. They were taking turns naming their babies. One would pick the first whereas the other one would pick the last name.
These two had to be the weirdest parents in the world.
“I like Zeus Ethan.” Mark shrugged, and Katherine glared at him. Ah, I remember the fight that had ensued over this. Apparently, Mark had planned on taking an undue advantage from early on.
“I would have killed you if that had been his first name,” she mumbled.
Emmett proceeded to take Ewan from her hands, and held him up. “Vampires and Werewolves, I give thee, Ewan Zeus Ethan Wellington!”
We cheered once again, and this time, I felt Bella wrap her arms around me. I felt like kissing her, but we had one more to go.
Mark and Katherine looked at their daughter and looked at each other.
“Beatrice,” they said together, and Esme squealed.
“Middle name?” Mark asked her.
“Can we keep two?” She smiled at her husband, and as always he complied, “Cordelia Lucienne.”
Yep, Eddy was going to hate her name.
Before Emmett could do anything, Mark had Beatrice out of Katherine’s hands and up in the spotlight. “Friends and Family, I give thee, Beatrice Cordelia Lucienne Wellington!”
“Hey! That was my part!” Emmett protested, but his voice was lost in the cheer that followed. Even Leah was smiling and clapping as the lights came back on and the babies were passed around.
Confetti and crepe was brought out immediately, and Emmett went all out in decorating himself as King Julienne from Madagascar. Even Jasper was wearing one of those Hula Hoops made of leaves and flowers.
While the family celebrated, I felt Bella lean into me. Her eyes radiated anticipation and joy, and love: so much unadulterated immense love. She looked positively glowing, and I imagined, for an instant that she was pregnant: that the smile on her face was was the radiance of expectation and wait of the arrival of a new member.
That’s when I knew that we could do this. All my doubts, fears, worries, insecurities were dispelled. The abstract scenes in my mind took a concrete form, and happiness shot through my very core.
Suddenly, I couldn’t wait to be a father.
So, what do you think? Tell me!
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Okay, Before I go, a mention to all those people who suggested names: Thank you Reahlyn Kaong Baay (Ethan), Madelaine Ballard (Ian), Olga Pinsky (Zeus, I decided to keep it after all! :D), Dana Sheridan (Abraham and Cordelia), Lucy Treharne (She suggested Lucy, and I asked her I could modify it to make it regal), Brenda Glenn (Beatrice and Ewan) and Sophie (Severus)! To all those who suggested, sorry I couldn’t select your names! They were all too good, and I had a really hard time! But don’t worry, there is still Edward and Bella’s boy! I love you all so much!
And I think that maybe now is the time to tell you what Mark and Katherine look like.. :
Okay, so that’s Mark. You knew he looked like Tom Hanks so that’s that. I went with this one because this one makes him look closest to a vampire.
This is Katherine. Those who have watched Angels and Demons will recognized. She is an actress and her name is Ayelet Zurer. She’s beautiful by the way!
And HOW CUTE ARE BABY BEARS?!!