"You're not planning on surviving this human," I stated dully.
"No. I'm not stupid." She met my stare then. "I guess you probably have your own opinion on that point, though."
"Emergency vampirization," I mumbled.
"It worked for Esme. And Emmett, and Rosalie, and even Edward. None of them were in such great shape. Carlisle only changed them because it was that or death. He doesn't end lives, he saves them."
I felt a sudden twinge of guilt about the good vampire doctor, like before. I shoved the thought away and started in on the begging.
"Listen to me, Bells. Don't do it that way." Like before, when the call from Charlie had come, I could see how much difference it really made to me. I realized I needed her to stay alive, in some form. In any form. I took a deep breath. "Don't wait until it's too late, Bella. Not that way. Live. Okay? Just live. Don't do this to me. Don't do it to him." My voice got harder, louder. "You know what he's going to do when you die. You've seen it before. You want him to go back to those Italian killers?" She cringed into the sofa.
I left out the part about how that wouldn't be necessary this time.
Struggling to make my voice softer, I asked, "Remember when I got mangled up by those newborns? What did you tell me?"
I waited, but she wouldn't answer. She pressed her lips together.
"You told me to be good and listen to Carlisle," I reminded her. "And what did I do? I listened to the vampire. For
"You listened because it was the right thing to do."
"Okay - pick either reason."
She took a deep breath. "It's not the right thing now." Her gaze touched her big round stomach and she whispered under her breath, "I won't kill him."
My hands shook again. "Oh, I hadn't heard the great news. A bouncing baby boy, huh? Shoulda brought some blueballoons."
Her face turned pink. The color was so beautiful - it twisted in my stomach like a knife. A serrated knife, rusty and ragged.
I was going to lose this. Again.
"I don't know he's a boy," she admitted, a little sheepish. "The ultrasound wouldn't work. The membrane around the baby is too hard - like their skin. So he's a little mystery. But I always see a boy in my head."
"It's not some pretty baby in there, Bella."
"We'll see," she said. Almost smug.
"You won't," I snarled.
"You're very pessimistic, Jacob. There is definitely a chance that I might walk away from this."
I couldn't answer. I looked down and breathed deep and slow, trying to get a grip on my fury.
"Jake," she said, and she patted my hair, stroked my cheek. "It's going to be okay. Shh. it's okay."
I didn't look up. "No. It will not be okay."
She wiped something wet from my cheek. "Shh."
"What's the deal, Bella?" I stared at the pale carpet. My bare feet were dirty, leaving smudges. Good. "I thought the whole point was that you wanted your vampire more than anything. And now you're just giving him up? That doesn't make any sense. Since when are you desperate to be a mom? If you wanted that so much, why did you marry a vampire?"
I was dangerously close to that offer he wanted me to make. I could see the words taking me that way, but I couldn't change their direction.
She sighed. "It's not like that. I didn't really care about having a baby. I didn't even think about it. It's not just having a baby. It's... well... this baby."
"It's a killer, Bella. Look at yourself."
"He's not. It's me. I'm just weak and human. But I can tough this out, Jake, I can - "
"Aw, come on! Shut up, Bella. You can spout this crap to your bloodsucker, but you're not fooling me. You know you're not going to make it."
She glared at me. "I do not know that. I'm worried about it, sure."
"Worriedabout it," I repeated through my teeth.
She gasped then and clutched at her stomach. My fury vanished like a light switch being turned off.
"I'm fine," she panted. It's nothing."
But I didn't hear; her hands had pulled her sweatshirt to the side, and I stared, horrified, at the skin it exposed. Her stomach looked like it was stained with big splotches of purple-black ink.
She saw my stare, and she yanked the fabric back in place.
"He's strong, that's all," she said defensively.
The ink spots were bruises.
I almost gagged, and I understood what he'd said, about watching it hurt her. Suddenly, I felt a little crazy myself.
"Bella," I said.
She heard the change in my voice. She looked up, still breathing heavy, her eyes confused.
"Bella, don't do this:'
"Jake - "
"Listen to me. Don't get your back up yet. Okay? Just listen. What if... ?"
"What if what?"
"What if this wasn't a one-shot deal? What if it wasn't all or nothing? What if you just listened to Carlisle like a good girl, and kept yourself alive?"
"I won't - "
"I'm not done yet. So you stay alive. Then you can start over. This didn't work out. Try again."
She frowned. She raised one hand and touched the place where my eyebrows were mashing together. Her fingers smoothed my forehead for a moment while she tried to make sense of it.
"I don't understand.... What do you mean, try again? You can't think Edward would let me... ? And what difference would it make? I'm sure any baby - "
"Yes," I snapped. "Any kid of his would be the same."
Her tired face just got more confused. "What?"
But I couldn't say any more. There was no point. I would never be able to save her from herself. I'd never been able to do that.
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