“What’s the sex?” Alice squealed as Carlisle moved the probe over my belly. She was gazing adoringly at the image of my baby on the screen. Knowing we were looking, the baby gave a little nudge. It was harder than I was used to but not painful.
“Did you see the baby kick?” Alice asked me, her eyes not leaving the screen.
“I felt it, Alice,” I said, smiling at her.
Edward’s eyes were flitting between me and the screen. He had been watching me carefully the past few days and it had been quite annoying. I made sure he heard that in my thoughts.
“I will only say if Kayla and Edward would like to know,” Carlisle said, still moving the probe over my stomach.
I saw the corners of Edward’s mouth twitch up and guessed he’d just heard Carlisle’s thoughts and knew the sex.
“Well, Edward already knows now,” I said, rolling my eyes. “I might as well find out.”
Alice dragged her eyes off the screen and glared at Edward.
“That’s not fair,” she said, pouting. “I’ve been nice and not tried to see the sex of the baby in a vision.”
“I can’t control my ability like you two can,” Edward said in his defence.
“You should at least have tried for today.” Alice folded her arms across her chest.
“Shut up,” I said to Edward before he could retaliate. “I want to know what I’m having.”
Carlisle looked at me and grinned.
“It’s a girl.”
Alice squealed and hugged me tight.
“A niece!” she jumped up and down. “Yes!”
I looked at the screen, at my little girl, feeling a tear slide down cheek.
“My two girls,” Edward whispered, kissing my forehead.
“How far am I now?” I asked Carlisle.
He turned back to the screen.
“Judging by the length of the baby, which I think is about 10 to 11 inches, you are 21 to 23 weeks pregnant.”
“Is that the second trimester?” I asked, beginning to worry. It was all too fast. Way too fast.
Edward began to rub soothing circles with his thumb on the back of my hand.
“Yes,” Carlisle said. “From now on, we must watch you. You could be in the third trimester by next week. Usually, the third trimester is when women gain the most weight as their babies are getting a lot bigger. We need to be careful, Kayla. As I told you before, you may not be able to carry to full term. You will not be able to grow as fast as your baby.”
“I understand,” I said, my voice coming out steadier than I felt. Edward squeezed my hand.
“I’m here,” Alice said, her enthusiasm replaced by seriousness. “I’ll keep watch.”
Carlisle nodded and turned back to the screen, pressing a few buttons to print us a picture.
It’s going to be okay, Edward thought to me. We’re all here. Nothing bad will happen.
I nodded, watching Alice gaze at the scan photo. She would look out for my daughter. She wouldn’t let anything bad happen. I had nothing to worry about.
I was lost, helpless, I couldn’t control the beast, the monster inside of me. The monster that wanted blood, that wanted to kill, that gloried in the death of humans. I was gone. Now, someone else full of bloodlust was here. Another part of me, that hadn’t been out in months.
Before I knew it I was following the scent, a familiar scent. I didn’t care if I knew the victim, didn’t care if it would hurt her if I was responsible for another death.
I could only run so far. I would have to stop and hide for if my victim saw me, he would run and I would have to chase him. I chose a tree to hide behind that was not ten feet from my victim. I could see him clearly even though there was no light. He was standing and looking around. He even turned in a circle on the spot. It was evident he was lost. A perfect excuse. When people go missing in the forest they rarely turn up alive. I stepped out from behind the tree, standing directly behind him. I watched him carefully, and for a second I willed him to continue walking. For a second, I knew that if he walked away from me, I wouldn’t kill him. But he didn’t continue walking. Sensing my presence he turned and saw me. His chocolate brown eyes, so like hers, lit up when he recognised me. Her face flitted through my mind and I almost turned and ran but I couldn’t. I could hear the pulse of his veins, smell his blood, hear it sloshing around his body. I wanted it.
“I’m so glad you’re here,” he said, sighing in relief. “I’m totally lost, can you believe that? I don’t know where I am. Do you remember how you got here? We can go back the way you came. I’m so silly me.”
I tilted my head to the side, scrutinising him. Old instinct took over, assessing everything about him. What would be the best way to kill him without making a noise? I didn’t want to have to eat and run.
His eyes showed fear first. He didn’t understand. Why wasn’t I answering him? Going over to him and telling him how stupid he was for getting lost? Leading him back out of the forest to the safety of home?
Again, I wanted to turn and run but I was so close to tasting it. To feeling it. Human blood. The experience of it was unlike anything I’ve ever tasted. Nothing compared to it.
I didn’t move. I continued to stare at him and he got frightened.
He realised the change in me too late. He tried to run but I was too fast for him. My teeth sunk into his neck and warm blood flowed into my waiting mouth. He collapsed to the ground, crying out, as his blood poured profusely from his neck and soothed my burning thirst. His blood was too fast for me. Most of it I could drink but some of it overflowed and spilled down my chin. He was silent now. Not a sound escaped from him. That was good; I preferred to eat in silence.
“Try to go back to sleep,” Edward whispered softly in my ear. I felt his hands begin to caress my hair but I couldn’t go back to sleep.
I awkwardly rolled over onto my other side so I faced Edward. He quickly tried to mask the worry in his eyes but I saw it.
“I can’t,” I whispered back. “This is getting too frustrating. Who the hell is this vampire?”
I watched as Edward searched his mind, for what seemed the thousandth time, for the answer to my question. The problem was, none of us knew of any vampire who would want to hurt Charlie.
“You don’t think it could be Tess,” Edward said, averting his eyes for fear I might hurt him for suggesting it.
“Tess?” I repeated.
I considered this. Could Tess hurt Charlie? No. She loved Charlie. You could see it in the way she looked at him, the way she would just randomly touch his hand or face as if to reassure herself he was still okay. I just couldn’t imagine her hurting him. She loved him, she wouldn’t kill him.
“Maybe I’m just being stupid,” Edward quickly said. “Maybe Tess isn’t who you’re seeing in your vision. If only you knew who you were when you have these visions.”
“But life isn’t that easy.”
Edward sighed. I tried to snuggle up to him but my protruding bump stopped me from getting as close to Edward as I wanted to. Edward smiled and moved behind me so he could wrap his arms around me from behind.
“Not long now,” he whispered in my ear. Distraction. His hand caressed my bump.
“Yeah,” I said, feeling nervous. “Not long.”
“Don’t worry, Kayla,” he tried to assure me. “Everything will be fine.”
“You’re not the one carrying the half vampire child,” I muttered, my imagination producing images of a baby Nosferatu ripping it’s way out of my body. Would it be like that? Would my baby girl need to tear her way out or could I give birth to her naturally?
“Do you regret keeping the baby?” Edward asked quietly.
“Regret keeping our baby?” I repeated.
“Yes,” he replied. “The way you are thinking. You’ve had constant doubts during your pregnancy. I’m wondering if I should have been more forceful when I tried to get you to abort the baby.”
“Edward, I do not want this baby to be aborted.” I touched his hand that was on my bump. “Of course I’m having doubts, I’m eighteen and married to a vampire, living with said vampire’s vampire family and having his half-vampire baby. It isn’t normal.”
“You are not normal,” he said, nuzzling my neck. “And I wouldn’t want you any other way.”
I smiled and my baby girl gave a little kick. She was well past nudging now. She was getting bigger and stronger. I was overjoyed that she was growing healthily but I didn’t know if I would be able to handle her strength.