"Bella!" he whispered urgently. "I'm losing my mind over here."

I tried to swallow. It didn't work. So I reached into the suitcase and fumbled around until I found the little blue box of tampons again. I held them up silently.

He stared at me in confusion. "What? Are you trying to pass this illness off as PMS?"

"No," I managed to choke out. "No, Edward. I'm trying to tell you that my period is five days late."

His facial expression didn't change. It was like I hadn't spoken.

"I don't think I have food poisoning," I added.

He didn't respond. He had turned into a sculpture.

"The dreams," I mumbled to myself in a flat voice. "Sleeping so much. The crying. All that food. Oh. Oh. Oh"

Edward's stare seemed glassy, as if he couldn't see me anymore.

Reflexively, almost involuntarily, my hand dropped to my stomach.

"Oh!" I squeaked again.

I lurched to my feet, slipping out of Edward's unmoving hands. I'd never changed out of the little silk shorts and camisole I'd worn to bed. I yanked the blue fabric out of the way and stared at my stomach.

"Impossible," I whispered.

I had absolutely no experience with pregnancy or babies or any part of that world, but I wasn't an idiot. I'd seen enough movies and TV shows to know that this wasn't how it worked. I was only five days late. If I was pregnant, my body wouldn't even have registered that fact. I would not have morning sickness. I

would not have changed my eating or sleeping habits.

And I most definitely would not have a small but defined bump sticking out between my hips.

I twisted my torso back and forth, examining it from every angle, as if it would disappear in exactly the right light. I ran my fingers over the subtle bulge, surprised by how rock hard it felt under my skin.

"Impossible," I said again, because, bulge or no bulge, period or no period (and there was definitely no period, though I'd never been late a day in my life), there was no way I could be pregnant The only person I'd ever had sex with was a vampire, for crying out loud.

A vampire who was still frozen on the floor with no sign of ever moving again.

So there had to be some other explanation, then. Something wrong with me. A strange South American disease with all the signs of pregnancy, only accelerated...

And then I remembered something - a morning of internet research that seemed a lifetime ago now. Sitting at the old desk in my room at Charlie's house with gray light glowing dully through the window, staring at my ancient, wheezing computer, reading avidly through a web-site called "Vampires A-Z." It had been less than twenty-four hours since Jacob Black, trying to entertain me with the Quileute legends he didn't believe in yet, had told me that Edward was a vampire. I'd scanned anxiously through the first entries on the site, which was dedicated to vampire

myths around the world. The Filipino Danag, the Hebrew Estrie, the Romanian Varacolaci, the Italian Stregoni benefici (a legend actually based on my new father-in-law's early exploits with the Volturi, not that I'd known anything about that at the time)... I'd paid less and less attention as the stories had grown more and more implausible. I only remembered vague bits of the later entries. They mostly seemed like excuses dreamed up to explain things like infant mortality rates - and infidelity. No, honey, I'm not having an affair! That sexy woman you saw sneaking out of the house was an evil succubus. I'm lucky I escaped with my life! (Of course, with what I knew now about Tanya and her sisters, I suspected that some of those excuses had been nothing but fact.) There had been one for the ladies, too. How can you accuse me of cheating on you - just because you've come home from a two-year sea voyage and I'm pregnant? It was the incubus. He hypnotized me with his mystical vampire powers....

That had been part of the definition of the incubus - the ability to father children with his hapless prey.

I shook my head, dazed. But...

I thought of Esme and especially Rosalie. Vampires couldn't have children. If it were possible, Rosalie would have found a way by now. The incubus myth was nothing but a fable.

Except that... well, there was a difference. Of course Rosalie could not conceive a child, because she was frozen in the state in which she passed from human to inhuman. Totally unchanging. And human women's bodies had to change to bear children. The constant change of a monthly cycle for one thing, and then the bigger changes needed to accommodate a growing child. Rosalie's body couldn't change.

But mine could. Mine did. I touched the bump on my stomach that had not been there yesterday.

And human men - well, they pretty much stayed the same from puberty to death. I remembered a random bit of trivia, gleaned from who knows where: Charlie Chaplin was in his seventies when he

fathered his youngest child. Men had no such thing as child-bearing years or cycles of fertility.

Of course, how would anyone know if vampire men could father children, when their partners were not able? What vampire on earth would have the restraint necessary to test the theory with a human woman? Or the inclination?

I could think of only one.

Part of my head was sorting through fact and memory and speculation, while the other half - the part that controlled the ability to move even the smallest muscles - was stunned beyond the capacity for normal operations. I couldn't move my lips to speak, though I wanted to ask Edward to please explain to me what was going on. I needed to go back to where he sat, to touch him, but my body wouldn't follow instructions. I could only stare at my shocked eyes in the mirror, my fingers gingerly pressed against the swelling on my torso.

And then, like in my vivid nightmare last night, the scene abruptly transformed. Everything I saw in the mirror looked completely different, though nothing actually was different.