Chapter 48: Concentrating On Babies
Peter tried to grab the book, but Alice snatched it first. He huffed, whining, "But I wanted to see it. Ya can't let me get a glimpse like that, then just take it away. That's not right."
I laughed before scolding, "Peter Whitlock! How old are you?"
He ducked his head as he mumbled, "A hundred and sixty-four."
I jumped back in, "Then why are you acting like four-year-old who isn't getting his way? You know you'll get to see it soon. You know Alice won't take a break until she has at least one of all her designs made."
He nuzzled in next to me as he apologized, "I'm sorry, Kitten. I'll behave. Sorry, Alice."
I nodded my head, then Alice said, "Don't worry, Peter. The red for that outfit isn't one on backorder, so it'll be delivered tomorrow. A couple of the fabrics are, but not that one. That'll be one of the first things I make, okay?"
Peter's face brightened considerably, "Thanks, Alice. You're a doll.”
She smiled, then told Sue, "I'll go work on the elders' pictures. I have canvases set up if you would rather have paintings. Either way is no trouble."
Sue smiled, "Paintings please. I know just where they'll want them hung.”
Jake rumbled just before Edward said reverently, "The elders' island prayer hall...the island that elders and honored ones like the wolves are buried on."
Sue said, "That's right, Edward. Only the elders and wolves are allowed there... as well as you, Bella, of course. Every elder since the prophecy was written had hoped the goddess would show herself in their lifetime. Every Chief of our tribe had hoped to be your guide, Bella. Your paintings hanging in the elders' prayer hall would be an honor to them."
Alice asked softly, "Sue? Would you like them life sized?"
Sue gasped. "Really Alice? You would do that for us?"
Alice nodded enthusiastically. "I can do the one's for the hall just like I was going to do the ones for Peter, Charlotte, and Jasper. One pose in partial profile in each gown, then one full back with a partial face view in her earth gown."
Sue smiled excitedly as she replied, "That sounds incredible. How soon do you think you can have them done? Will they be done before the battle?"
Alice hugged Sue to her, practically singing, "They'll be done before the elders arrive in the morning. They just won't be able to be moved for about a day. They'll need to finish drying. Once they are completely dry, I'll wrap them in a protective wrapping, then a waterproof one. That way the wolves can help the elders take them from the shore to the island in the boats. I know the elders will want to be in prayer throughout Bella's turning and the battle."
Sue nodded as she said gratefully, "Thank you Alice. Thank you so much."
Alice nodded, then went to leave the room, "Ali, wait. Can you paint in here so I can watch? The paints won't harm me or the twins, plus I think it'll be relaxing to watch you."
She looked at Esme, who said seriously, "Carpets, Alice. Other than that, yes, you can paint in here. Make sure you put several drop cloths on the floor to cover a good area... I don't want paint on my floor. You and the others move the furniture to another room, so no paint gets spilled on my furniture... and open the windows so the solvent won't stink up the room."
Alice waited another minute to make sure Esme was finished, then she kissed her cheek before flying up the stairs with Edward.
Emmett and Rose came in a second later to move the two large couches. Rose carrying a couch larger than her, in one hand, was a sight to see. Charlie looked at me wide-eyed. I giggled, "Wait until you see Emmett lift the Jeep with one hand for Rose to get under it and tweak something. Oh, shit. That reminds me. Peter, Jazz... we need a garage for Jake and Rose. They'll be miserable in Texas without a good work garage."
Peter said, "No problem, Kitten. Will ya be helpin'? I know ya liked to work on the bikes with Jake... and ya had one in Phoenix, right?"
I smiled, "Yeah, a Ducati... but I don't think Rose will want me tinkering in her garage, Babe."
Rose popped back in with a smirk, a hand on her propped hip, "Not while you're pregnant, Missy. You can visit and hand me tools until after the babies are born... then I'll expect you to hold the cars for me when Emmett's in his moods."
I smiled. "Thanks Rose. I miss my bikes. We'll have to go shopping for new ones... and ATVs we can tweak out for the property."
She laughed, then went to take the coffee tables. One in each hand. Vampire strength... gotta love it.
I took another few long gulps of my water before remembering there was food. I asked Emmett to have one of the girls reheat my hot cocoa in the microwave, so he grabbed it on his way out the door with the overstuffed chair in his other hand. I giggled, "Never say you can't be a teddy bear, Em. Remind me to find you a grizzly bear after I'm turned. One that's just coming out of hibernation."
I looked to Charlie, "That's Em's favorite. Irritable grizzly. They put up a fight, plus he was mauled by one and almost killed. That's when Rose found him and brought him to Carlisle. She begged Carlisle to turn him."
Charlie whispered, "Wow, I'd want payback too, I guess."
Rose came back in to sit down with my cocoa, handing it to Jasper with a different straw as she said, "No, the first couple of dozen were payback. Now it's just the fun of having something he can play with. The adrenaline in the bear's blood makes it taste better, too."
Carlisle then caught Charlie's attention. "Well, Charlie? Sue? Would you like to come with me while Alice gets set up? We can do Sue's donation, then I can get started on the blood tests."
They both nodded, kissed my cheek, then left the room. Jake whined, so Edward said, "He wants to know if you'll allow the pack to donate, too. They all really want to."
I looked at Jake. "Jake, Honey. Look at me for a minute."
He gave my tummy a burst of heat then lifted it enough to turn to me.
I placed my hands on his wolf cheeks, saying softly, "I would love for the pack to donate, but they can't. I love that they want to help, and I'm grateful. The babies and I wouldn't be able to tolerate the pack's blood, though. I can only take Sue's because the wolf gene was Harry's, not hers. There's something in the wolf gene to do with phasing that won't be good for me or the babies. It would be dangerous."
Jake whined twice, then Edward said, "That's something to ask about. He wants to know if he could donate... only once in awhile and in emergencies. He thinks that since he was born to give you anything you needed... to be your protector... that his would be safe for you."
I hadn't thought about Jake donating, but it felt right. "I'll want to talk to Carlisle and the elders, but I think you're right, Jake. I don't know why, but I think as long as you're not donating more than once a month and in an extreme emergency, we'll be okay."
He licked my hand, then whined again. "He says he loves you and would do anything for you. He also says the pack understands. Most of the pack is alert right now, and have been keeping tabs on you through the mind link. They all want to be here, but know that they have their jobs to do."
I nodded. “I love you too, Jake. I'm sorry the pack can't donate. I know they want to help. Just let them know that we'll need a bunch of guards for the babies once they’re born. I don't know where we will be with all of this battle stuff when I give birth. We may not even have gone through the second one yet. They'll need to be well protected against our enemies."
Jake growled long and low... a menacing growl, which Edward agreed with, "No, we won't allow anyone to hurt them, Jake... I agree."
Alice came in, putting drop cloths all over the floor, overlapping them so they wouldn't split open at the edges. I took a few sips of my cocoa, then my water, before Jasper fed me the salmon tartare and crackers. By the time I was done with that, Alice had finished the drop cloths, set her easel up with a cleaning station right next to it, gotten several different paints out to line up, and prepared her canvas.
Jasper fed me the chocolate covered cherries next, as Alice started mixing paints to get the right colors. Jake's temperature went up more than several degrees when Emmett and Rose opened the windows, so I smiled at him. Emmett and Rose both took spots near me on the floor just as Alice walked to the canvas with her loaded palette and several brushes stuck in her pulled up hair. I looked at what she was wearing. "Ali, I like the painter look on you. Laid back and... just not fussy. It suit you. Seems more natural, I guess."
Edward chuckled, "I've told her the same thing. She looks so beautiful like this." I agreed.
I finished the cocoa, then took the last sips of my second water at the hour mark again. He opened the third, put the straw in, then placed the straw to my lips. I took a long draw and smiled at him. "Thanks, Cowboy. Ali, you can't start yet. Char, can you take me to the powder room, please? Drinking all these fluids and having Jake's wolf head on my tummy doesn't help the bladder. Jake, give me a temp boost please."
Jake got extremely hot for a minute. I swore I was going to sweat, but then the heat dissipated before he scooted back enough for Char to pick me up bridal-style. She rushed me to the downstairs bathroom, then helped me get settled. I did my business, then Char helped me redress, wash my hands, and get me back to the living room.
"Jazz will you switch with Char?"
He smiled and took position, so Char laid my head on Jasper's legs. She laid next to me with the food, so I rubbed my tummy, signalling Jake to come back over. He settled in immediately, then Peter laid with his lips to my ear. As Char fed me, Peter whispered his love for me. Jasper ran the fingers of one hand through my hair, while the fingers of the other ghosted up and down my side.
Alice looked to me, so I nodded. "Sorry, I don't want to miss anything. You can start whenever you're ready."
She smiled before turning back to the canvas. She looked at the canvas a couple different ways, turning her head this way and that. She looked at me for a minute, then back at the canvas again.
"That's brilliant, Ali. Sheer brilliance. They'll love it," Edward praised.
I looked at her questioningly, so she explained, "When I pictured doing these paintings, something always seemed to be missing from the final product. I knew the pose, I knew the angle, but I didn't know what was missing. I just though of how you looked with your element displayed in your hands in your vision. I want to ask Sue something. I'll be right back."
She rushed out of the room. I finished my fruit and drank a few small sips of the water, then closed my eyes to take a deep breath. I focused on the twins, then it felt like they both caressed me. I smiled widely. They're doing so well.
I opened my eyes. "The twins are growing well and getting much stronger. They are at about the 5 week mark now for a normal pregnancy. The placentas are strong and healthy, and their tiny hearts should start beating within the hour. I won't be able to hear it yet... even with a monitor... but you guys might. I don't know how far your hearing extends."
They all got excited, so my mates caressed me wherever they could. Jake rumbled, then Edward smiled, "Yes, it's very good news. The progression is rapid, but everything is progressing well."
I nodded. "Yes, everything is progressing very well. I'll need to draw energy soon. The little ones are growing so fast and using my energy."
Char fed me my fruit and coconut while I watched Alice. She had come back into the room, but was waiting to say something. "I spoke to Sue, and she agreed. I will do three paintings. The ones on either side of the middle one will be the Earth Goddess. One front view, one back view. The one in the center will be larger, the Elemental Goddess with her hands in front of her, her elements floating above her hands. I never drew her in the sketchbook, but I remember her perfectly. This will also give everyone else a chance to see her."
I grinned. "I agree with Edward. Brilliant idea."
She smiled and turned to Edward. "Can you stretch the two smaller canvases for me and bring them down? I need the frames one size down from this one."
Edward nodded, kissed her cheek, then left the room. Alice turned to the canvas, worked the paint on the palette, then got a brush out of her hair. It wasn't the right one, so she stuck it in a different part of her hair, then felt the tips of the brushes. She found the one she wanted, pulling it from its spot before working some paint into it. She stood back from the canvas for a second, took a breath, and spoke in a bare whisper, "Please let me do her justice."
I didn't think I was supposed to hear it, so I let it go. She stepped up to the canvas, her motions both fluid and graceful. Her brush glided against the canvas like it was caressing it. It looked like the brush was an extension of her hand... like it had always been there. I took a few more sips of water, finished my fruit, then started on the raspberry chocolates as I watched Alice paint.
Charlie and Sue came back in then. They found spots on the floor near me. Jake's temp rose several more degrees. "Jake, make me as warm as you safely can. I need to go outside as soon as I finish eating to draw energy. I don't want to get below half energy."
He licked my hand, then slowly but steadily, Jake's temperature rose to an unbelievable height. He was hotter than a damn jacuzzi. I looked at Charlie and Sue. "Doc says good call on the potassium and electrolytes. He fixed us right up, plus Sue got her first donation in. Doc also gave both of us the flu and pneumonia shots, and Sue her booster. He was working on the breast milk tests when we left. He told us about the progression of the twins. That's great news, Princess."
I smiled. "Their little hearts should start beating soon."
He nodded, squeezing my hand. I looked back up to Alice, seeing the progression of the painting. It was very relaxing watching her paint. I finished the rest of my food, took a few more sips of water, then said, "I need to go draw energy, plus we also need to make more water bottles. I'm getting low, but another hour mark is coming up.
Just then, everything in the room stopped. All vampire eyes turned to my tummy, gasps coming from every mouth. Jake yowled and yowled, as my mates rushed to all kiss some part of me. Jasper couldn't reach anything else, so he grabbed my hand and repeatedly kissed it. Peter whispered in awe, "So beautiful... so fast. Like hummingbird wings."
Char nodded as Edward said, "You should hear Jake, Bella. He can't stop to breathe, even in his thoughts."
I giggled. "Jake, slow down a second so Edward can understand what you're saying."
Jake took a deep breath before blow it out in a huff. Then he started again, but Edward still had to talk quickly to keep up. "He says it's incredible. A miracle. He's grateful to be a part of this, and can't wait for the pack to hear it in person. The babies' heartbeats are so fast. I think it has to do with growing so fast."
I nodded. "It does. Their heartbeats will normalize once the 24 hour mark is up."
Jake backed off of me slowly, then yipped, so Edward translated, "He says try not to take too long. He doesn't know how long the heat will last with the chill in the air. I'll grab the water bottles and necessities while they take care of you and get you to the grass."
I nodded, then Peter picked me up ever so gently. He got me out to the grass, so immediately I said, "I'm not sitting in my usual position. I can lay flat on my back, but you shouldn't be touching me when I draw."
He nodded as he placed me gently on the grass. I laid my hands on the grass. Somehow, I knew I needed to draw everything I could, because I would have to go into meditation when I got back inside.
"Guys, I just got a flash. I need to draw everything that will fit inside me for energy. It's way over my full mark, but I'll need to go into meditation as soon as we get back inside. The babies will need me to meditate while they go through the next steps."
I started drawing, though the rush was a lot stronger than normal. The babies and being pregnant boosted my full level to triple of what it was before. I was maxed out in just a few minutes, so Peter picked me back up. "Jazz, you guys will need to make sure you give me the water. I'll instinctively drink it when you put the straw to my lips. I have to drink a full bottle every hour."
I was inside quickly, with Peter putting my head on Jasper's legs. Char was filling bottles with her venom while Jasper added the extracts. Peter laid down next to me as Jake came back over. "Jake, I have to meditate, so you'll need to keep an eye on the temp for the babies. You've done an excellent job so far, and I know you can do this. Jasper, Char, and Peter will make sure I drink. Everyone else can talk, but please keep your voices low. I'll need to concentrate on the babies. I'm ready, Jazz."
He nodded, then instantly the blanket of lethargy and peace worked it's magic.
Christ, today's been so long for her. She was right out.
"That usually takes a lot longer," Peter noticed.
I nodded my head, saying quietly, "All the energy is going to the babies. You felt it when she was gathering energy, didn't you? The babies and pregnancy have tripled her max energy. I can feel them drawing from her constantly. Be prepared, if her meditation takes too long, to send. Edward please find Carlisle. Make sure he has emergency blood on hand. We're quite full from feedings, but we can't be too careful."
He nodded, then dashed out the door. Peter put the straw to her lips and she drank deeply. She stopped on her own, so Peter took the bottle away. Jake whined as Edward came back into the room, "Jake says he's going to have to boost her temp to the max safe zone then back off. He's following instinct, but he wanted to let us know."
I nodded, "Thank you, Jake. I haven't said that, yet, but we owe you so much. Thank you."
He backed off just as I finished, so I sent him a small wave of gratitude. He sat up, nodding his wolf head in acknowledgment. Charlie asked softly, "She's meditating? She looks almost like she's sleeping. She looks so peaceful. Is she really aware of all of us and what's going on?"
Char, Peter, and I all nodded, then I said softly, "Yes. I doubt she'll answer any of us this time. She's concentrating so hard on helping the babies right now, but most of the time, she will add small things to the conversations we have when she is in this state."
Alice interjected from her easel, "You're right, Jazz. She won't this time. I can't tell how long it will take, but it's almost like she sends me flashes to let me know how she and the babies are doing. I think she's doing it so you won't worry when she doesn't speak. It's like a flash of words. I don't think she'll come out of it until the 24 hour mark. She's helping them with the development of their organs and bones, helping them grow. She's also preparing her body to accept their growth, and begin to expand. She'll be showing a bit when she's done. She'll need you, Peter, and Charlotte to all take from her before this is over. You and Peter will feed next, so if she needs to have energy before then, you two should do it. You won't need the blood if you do it that way. Charlotte can send her some of her energy while you feed if she needs to. She fed from both sides, so her energy store is greater than yours."
Charlotte nodded as I said to Alice, "Will you keep us updated while you paint, please? If she's sending you flashes, it's for a reason more than just keeping us calm."
Alice agreed, then we all relaxed a small bit. Jake whined, so Edward translated, "He feels like he needs to boost her heat again. He's calling the wolves closer. He wants everyone inside the house. The wolves will guard the outside, but everyone else needs to come in. Jake, I'll tell everyone else while you tell the pack through the link. That way you don't have to leave Bella."
Jake nodded as Edward dashed off to have everyone come inside. Jake got back on his belly, then slowly placed his head on her tummy again. He was being so gentle with her. "Thank you for loving her so much. I know you really would rather her not have vampire mates, but you still love her just as strongly, and you're being so gentle with her. That means a lot to us."
Jake whined just as Edward came back in, "He says that he doesn't mind you being vampires, now that he sees how you treat her... now that he knows you won't hurt her. He's gotten to know you three being around you so much lately. He knows that in private times, vampires can have the urge to bite their mates... but he also knows that the only two times that blood has been drawn, it was her doing. He knows about the lip biting incident, and how Major made her stop by offering a compromise. He tries not to see, but sometimes he feels the need to be close. The times that he's close, he doesn't look, but he hears."
I nodded, having already known this. "I knew there were times that you were close. I don't mind, as long as you don't interrupt. Yes we bite, but when we do, we don't break through the skin. She would break ours when she bites, but her teeth aren't sharp enough. That makes it harder, but we know it's not time. The thought of hurting her in any way detests the three of us completely."
Jake whined again, so Edward spoke softly, "He knows, and he feels like he trusts you as much as her. He knows he can count on you. He won't interrupt, but he asks that you not push him away if he's closer more now that she's pregnant. It's instinctive for him."
I nodded, then Edward added, "He says thank you."
Alice stopped painting out of the blue, turning to us, eyes out of focus, "Carlisle should have the 3D ultrasound ready for her workup. He'll be able to see if he does it right away. They are in week 8 of gestation. Perfect and so healthy. Their brains' neural pathways are growing closer to each other and starting to connect, bones and cartilage are forming."
She giggled, "She thinks they look like tiny little aliens right now, and says they're about the size of kidney beans. Everything is progressing smoothly."
Alice turned back around to paint again, so I said softly, "Thank you, Alice."
I could feel the heat radiating off of Jake. I smiled at him. Then I suddenly felt the need to send her energy. "Jake, it's time. We need to send her energy, so you'll have to back away a little."
He nodded, then Edward shooed everyone else out of the room except Alice. As he was closing the door, he whispered, "Alice will let me know when everyone can come back."
I nodded, then Peter and I concentrated on her. We concentrated on sending her our energy, letting her draw as much as she needed. We both felt her brush against our energies, then start drawing from them.
Alice informed Jake that he could go back to his position until she was done drawing, then he would have to go take a break so Peter and I could feed. Jake nodded as he scooted up again, gently placing his head on her stomach.
"Shit, so much power. So much energy." Peter whispered. I felt the ache in her chest and knew she needed to nurse. I had Char switch places with me as Jake automatically heated to the maximum safe level. As soon as he was done, he back away, nodded, then turned for the door.
Alice let him out, closed the door, and said, "I'll be staying to keep you updated, but I'll paint so you have some privacy."
She returned to her painting just as I felt Bella let go of our energies. Char released her top, then Peter and I both licked and latched onto the nearest breast. We both moaned at the taste of her, then Alice whispered for Char to start the energy transfer. I felt Char concentrating her energy on Bella as we fed, but it didn't seem like Bella was taking a lot. Char had so much energy from feeding earlier.
By the time Peter and I felt the change, released our holds, then licked her nipples, Char was at around three quarters of what she started with, and Bella released the hold on her energy. I replaced Bella's top, told Alice she could let them back in, then she whispered that it was almost sunrise. She needed to take a few people to the road with her in the SUVs, because the seafood dealer would be here soon. I nodded, so she quietly opened the door.
Jake was instantly crawling up next to us, so we repositioned slightly for him to have more room. Once his head was safely on Bella's stomach, I scratched between his ears. He rumbled in response. Edward quietly came in to sit near Bella's feet, "He says she's doing well. Her temp didn't go down that much, and he can feel a slight difference in the size of her tummy. He'll adjust his head as her belly grows, to keep her comfortable. He's trying to keep his weight from laying on her, so his chin is barely touching. He'll need to keep the temp up."
I nodded and scratched his head again. Carlisle came in then, whispering, "Should I get the machine set up now or wait a while?"
Peter shook his head, "The less things goin' on in the room right now the better. Very critical time. She burstin' through the last part of the first trimester. She's concentratin' so hard on the babies. Wait until about an hour before the day mark is up. Then ya can set everythin' ya need up in the room. As soon as she wakes, we can quickly explain what's happenin', and ya can perform the ultrasound."
Carlisle nodded, "I found out several interesting things with her breast milk. All of it good, but I'll explain when she wakes."
All of a sudden Bella's shield enveloped everyone in the room. Edward gasped, "She's letting me read her. She can tell that the seafood dealer means no harm, and he can pass through the protection, but she feels the need for the shield around the room as added safety since she can't protect them any other way right now."
I quietly responded as I stroked her arm, "She's doing what she has to, to feel safe. Let's just all sit quietly and let her concentrate on what she feels she needs. The shield will drop when she no longer feels a need for it. Just don't try to go through the barrier right now."
Carlisle sat on the other side of her feet from Edward as Alice worked on the second painting. Jake gave a burst of heat and shifted a bit, then closed his eyes. We had kept up the water throughout her time in meditation, then Peter went to gather more bottles again as soon as Bella's shield went down. He rushed back in with the bottles. I already had my venom ready to start adding into the water. Peter and Char added theirs, we added the extracts, then each grabbed a bottle to close and shake, "Edward you need to hurry and give her the last of the water. Her shield cut it too close."
He rushed to grab the bottle, immediately putting the straw to her lips. She drank the last, then he switched the straw to the now open bottle I held. I nodded as he closed the empty bottle.
Alice stopped, turning to face us again, "They’re doing extremely well. All three of them. The twins are the size of kumquats now. The kidneys, intestines, brain, and liver are functioning now. Nails are starting to form on their little fingers and toes, plus they can now bend their arms and legs. Their spines and brains are what's critical now... the nerves are starting to stretch out to form the spinal cord, and the brains are developing rapidly. They are extremely healthy."
She turned back to her painting as Carlisle whispered, "That coincides with a ten week human pregnancy. She's progressing very nicely. She needs to complete thirteen weeks. The fourteenth week is the start of the second trimester. She's doing so well, Jasper. We'll see the progress on the monitor once it's safe, just to make sure, but I don't think there's anything to worry about."
I heard the girls busying themselves in the kitchen, worrying about the progress. "Will you go inform Esme and the girls in the kitchen? Let them know all is well? They are worrying about Bella and the babies. The emotions are hard to deal with right now when I'm concentrating on her."
He nodded, patted my hand, brushed his finger across Bella's cheek, then quickly left the room.
The emotional climate of the house calmed soon after. About forty-five minutes later, the elders showed up. They all sat close to Bella with a hand on her, doing an energy transfer, then listened to everything that had gone on since they went home to their families last night. The elders were ecstatic that Bella was going to allow Sue and Jake to donate blood to her, and agreed that Jake's donation should be limited to no more than once per month and emergencies.
They were so grateful that Alice was painting the portraits of the goddesses for the island prayer hall, but agreed to wait until they were finished to see the final paintings together, since Bella hadn't seen them yet. I think everyone agreed that she should see them with us. Alice was working on the final painting now, so she quietly said to the elders, "They should be ready to move the day of her turning. They will be hung and in place before it's time, so you will have them there while you gather during her transformation."
The elders all let out a sigh of relief. I felt Jake shift a quarter inch higher above Bella, then give a large burst of heat. A few minutes later, he dialed back the heat, scooted back off the blanket slowly, grabbed the end that he was laying on between his teeth, then carefully covered her stomach with it. Edward said, "The heat of the blanket where he was laying will keep her warm longer. He needs to stretch and call shift change. He asks that you not move the blanket from her. The disturbance of the air will cool her more quickly."
I nodded, "Thanks, Jake. Go stretch for a minute."
He nodded and quietly left the room, being careful of his tail when he neared Alice. He was outside in no time, howling out shift change. The first round would be on their way, while the third was now eating and readying to leave.
Jake came back in a few minutes later, gave her a large burst of heat for several minutes, then whined. Edward responded, "He wants you to know that the heat will last while he shifts to eat. You should go ahead and get a feeding in while he eats."
Alice said softly, "Charlotte should feed to just over the halfway point on each side, then Peter and Jasper should do as they did earlier, but switch sides. That will put all three of you at the same energy level and fullness. It's better that you don't wait for the ache feeling to start feeding... she won't produce as much. Make a schedule for one of you to feed every few hours, probably 4 hours is best. Each of you will feed on rotation twice a day. Carlisle, does that sound right?"
Carlisle nodded, "Yes, that sounds much better. The ache she feels is when her breasts are over full. Her milk production needs to be constant, so feeding on a schedule will help that tremendously."
The three of us nodded, then Jake gave her one more quick burst of heat. Everyone left the room except Alice again, then we all situated for Char to feed. She released Bella's top, licked the nipple, then latched on. I felt the tingle Bella gets after the first draw. Char nodded as she moaned. She fed from both breasts, then switched so that Peter and I could feed from opposite sides than we did earlier.
Christ, she tasted so good. I moaned and Peter followed, then he laced his fingers with mine across her collarbone as we fed. As we continued to feed, we both caressed her. Just as we felt full, we both felt the change. We unlatched carefully, licked her nipples, then gently replaced her top.
Alice opened the door to find Jake was right there waiting. He got down on his belly and crawled right to her, gently grabbing the blanket to put it in its original position on the floor. He whined as he neared her tummy, sniffing for several seconds. "He can smell the pregnancy hormone strongly now. So can I. He says to draw the bottom of her top to just under her breasts, and the top of her capris to her hips. The clothing is hindering the heat from getting in."
I did as he said, then saw the thickening happening between her hips. Her tummy was starting to grow. "She's starting to show a bit," I whispered to Peter and Char. They both looked where I was pointing, then smiled widely.
Jake whined, so Edward rushed, "He needs to hurry, but he wanted you to see the progress. He needs to heat her again."
I nodded hurriedly, then Jake took his position with his head at her stomach. His temperature skyrocketed as I felt him relax. They were okay. The elders asked as they walked in, "How has her energy been?"
I responded quietly, "She needed to draw from all three of us at one point. It was timed at a feeding, so Peter and I sent her our energy first. When we felt the need to feed, Char took over sending energy while Peter and I fed. The pregnancy and babies have tripled her max energy. She drew everything she could before she went into meditation. The babies are drawing so much from her right now to complete the first trimester. Thank you for transferring some of your energy stores to her when you arrived. This has been a very long night for her. We'll be doing a 3D ultrasound once she wakes to make sure of the progress of the twins. I know Bella would like you all to be here for that. Alice doesn't think she will wake until the 24 hour mark, so if you wish, I can have Esme make sure you're here when she wakes."
They all agreed, then Charlie asked, "Has she been drinking the venom this whole time like she said?"
I nodded, "We had a slight scare that she wouldn't finish one bottle in time when her shield was up. She let Edward read her when it happened. She knew the seafood dealer meant no harm and could pass through the protection, but she felt the need to have her shield protect this room while he was near the property. We were getting and filling the next round of bottles when her shield dropped. Edward rushed to make sure she drank the last of the bottle she was on, right as the hour mark hit. No one left the shield area while it was up for fear of it distracting her or triggering a response."
He nodded, "Thank you all for taking such good care of her. I can see how much she loves you just by looking at her when someone says your names. Her whole face lights up with the love she has for you. I know I can be grouchy and protective sometimes, but she's my only child. She's my Little Princess."
I nodded, smiling, "I know. We couldn't leave her as she slept the morning of our leave to Texas. We were in her closet every time you checked on her, as well as when you said your goodbye. I don't tell you this to make you upset or embarrassed, but to let you know that we really do understand what she means to you. Peter and I both wanted to cry when you said goodbye to her. I felt every one of your emotions that morning as if they were mine. I promise you that we will do anything we can, every day of forever, to make sure she is the happiest and most cared for mate on the planet."
Charlie rushed to hug me. "Thank you so much," he choked out.
I sent him a soft wave of familial love, causing him to smile as he broke the hug. Peter whispered, "Charlie, the three of us are very happy that the two of ya are comin' to Texas with us. We'll do anythin' we can to make sure ya both feel at home with us. Please let us know, and we'll make it happen. Bella told me ya enjoy fishin'?"
He nodded with a small smile, so Peter continued. "There are several small stocked ponds and and two lakes on the property for ya to enjoy... daily if ya wish. There is more fishin' gear than any fisherman could hope for at the house. Please make use of it as often as ya want. With as much of the pack on the property as there will be, I'm sure we'll be havin' many fish fry opportunities."
Sue laughed softly, "I'm sure there will be more than a few, and you'll see Charlie sitting at the lake hours before sunrise almost every morning. He can never pass up an opportunity for fishing."
Charlie blushed, then the conversation changed to how much we could do with Bella's training, now that she was pregnant with twins. The elders said that two rounds of training a day would be best. Morning and evening, leaving her to rest in the middle of the day and at night. This would continue for the next few days until she was turned, then we could reevaluate after Carlisle checked her over. He would be doing another physical after she woke up from the change, to make sure mother and babies were all still healthy and doing well after the transformation.
A few hours passed with us talking and giving Bella more water, then soon the four hour mark from the last feeding was coming up. Everyone left the room quietly to give us privacy after Jake boosted her temperature. Alice told us to keep our energies at the same level, so we each fed for a third of the total time. Her milk was a slight bit thicker this time, and when I mentioned it to Carlisle, he said it was a very good sign. Her body was adapting well to nursing more than one person.
I heard Esme ask from the doorway, "Do any of you know how she wanted the sushi prepared? Rice is not in her diet, so I don't know quite what she had in mind."
Alice turned to us, looking at Bella with her eyes furrowed, then to Esme while saying, "She would like the caviar in the middle wrapped in the tuna and salmon alternately, then the seaweed wrap on the outside. Use a little of each caviar, and do a sample platter. One of each in tuna, the same for the salmon. She'll be hungry enough for all of it, and would like to find her favorites. Also, tiny dishes with a caviar in each and crackers. She'll want to taste each caviar without the sushi part. Lots of smoothies, and add some of the plain and mint dark chocolate bars to the smoothie mix. A sixteenth of a teaspoon of the flavor extracts in each of the batches of smoothie. You'll need the apple, cinnamon oil, peach, alcohol free vanilla, mango, coconut, raspberry, and chocolate extracts... a half of a teaspoon total in each batch. She won't need much, but she'll still need the boost it'll give her. Make two or three full batches to start, then put them in the freezer 15 minutes before the 24 hour mark hits."
Esme smiled, "Thank you, Alice."
She quickly returned to the kitchen to help the girls prepare everything. Alice turned to us and spoke again, "Twelve week mark. The twins are beginning to move and flex their tiny muscles. The nerve cells are multiplying, brain synapses are forming rapidly. She thinks they look way more human now, and shows me a picture of two limes. Each baby is the size of a small lime. The intestines are moving into the abdominal cavity, and the kidneys are functioning properly."
Carlisle smiled, "So much progress. Very good... very good indeed. She needs to get through another full week of gestation, then she will be at the start of the second trimester. Not much longer before she should wake. I should get the ultrasound set up and ready to go."
Alice was finishing the final touches on the paintings as Jake whined. Edward said, "Jake would like the pack to be here when the paintings are revealed, and asks that you wait until after the ultrasound to reveal them. He doesn't want a ton of people crowding when she first wakes. She'll need time when she first wakes to reorient herself to her surroundings."
Alice nodded, "I can go get the changing screens, to set them in front of the paintings. No one will see them that way, and I can have them set in order."
He smiled as he walked over to her. He kissed her softly, wiping a smudge of paint from her cheek, "I love you like this, Ali. Watching you paint... being so consumed in your paintings and not caring how you look... makes you all the more beautiful. I like this color blue on you, too. Maybe just a hint darker."
He kissed her softly again, then nuzzled his face into her neck. Carlisle came back in with the machines, then quietly began setting up as Edward and Alice dashed off to get the screens.
Jake adjusted a slight bit as I felt what seemed like butterflies from Bella, then his tail twitched. He gave me a wolfy grin, then as soon as Edward came back into the room, Jake yowled softly.
"Slow down, Jake. I know you're excited, but slow down so I can understand!" Edward laughed.
Jake must have started over, because Edward smiled widely, "Less than an hour to go. Jake felt the babies move. That's why he's so excited."
I looked in awe at Jake. Char whispered, "Was that the butterfly feeling, Jasper?"
Jake smiled wider with a wink. I responded, "I think Jake's agreeing that yes, it was. That's incredible."
Edward smiled at us, then helped Alice set the paintings in order before putting the screens up. He gasped when he saw them, but didn't say anything aloud. I felt his emotions, which were exuding awe, serenity, protectiveness and love.
I smiled slightly as I concentrated back on Bella. She was happy, but still concentrating very hard. Alice said, "The twins' lungs are practicing movement now, the fingerprints are formed, they are both about the size of a medium live shrimp from crown to butt, and weigh around an ounce each. They are extremely healthy... and very happy. Mommy is taking good care of them, and they're already bonding."
Carlisle thanked her, then soon we were giving her the last of the venom water as Jake gave a huge final burst of heat. As the heat dissipated, Bella rubbed her eyes, then slowly opened them.