"Exam room three, Doctor Cullen," the nurse told him brightly, too brightly, as she handed him a file. He glanced at the name quickly as he headed toward the room. 'Stanley, Jessica Alia' it read. He remembered her from Bella's wedding and smiled. From his limited experience with her, she seemed like a happy, peppy girl. Another glance showed that she had just passed her twentieth birthday, and it made him shake his head slightly. It seemed like only yesterday the Volturi were retreating, but it had been more than a year now since the threat had passed. Bella's twentieth birthday had been a quiet affair for once; she had told Alice to put double the effort into Renesmee's birthday instead. Thankfully, Renesmee hadn't inherited any of her mother's aversion to attention, she was ecstatic about the whole affair. He smiled to himself as he knocked briefly before opening the exam room door.
"Good morning Miss Stanley," he said brightly, "how are you today?"
"I think I'm pregnant," she blurted. He smiled slightly, it didn't surprise him much, especially considering how common it had become the last twenty years or so. He opened his mouth to respond, but she continued on before he could. "But, it's not right," she said, sounding confused.
"What do you mean?" He asked, sitting on the stool across from her. He could tell she was nervous and tried to put her at ease, adopting a relaxed posture and smiling reassuringly.
"I only missed my period a week ago, but I've been throwing up every day for two and a half," she said anxiously. "I've been sleeping all the time and I can't eat things I used to love. I can't really eat much at all, actually. Most food repulses me."
If Carlisle had blood, it would have run ice cold by this point. "Hop up here and lay down," he said smoothly, trying to keep his calm pretense up. He must have slipped some, though, because she gave him a worried look as she complied. Gently he pushed her shirt up to her ribs.
"Could you push your waistband down a bit?" He asked her.
She gave him a look of surprise as she complied, shoving her sweatpants down a couple inches on her hips. The first thing he noticed was a small but defined bump nestled directly between her hips, and the sight made his heart seem to constrict. He let his fingers brush slightly over it, catching her attention.
"And there's that" She said. "I mean I know I'm not the smartest girl in the world, too stupid to use a condom even, but I'm not dumb enough to think that's normal, and I know there isn't a chance of me being that far along."
"May ask why?" He intoned gently as he prodded the bump. It was most definitely her womb, and it was as hard as his own skin. An ultrasound would confirm his worst fears, he was sure of it. He held up a finger to pause her response as he poked his head out the door.
"I need an ultrasound in here please," he told the nurses, before shutting the door once more. He looked back at Jessica and motioned for her to continue.
She sighed sadly. "Because this guy was the first one since Mike, and that ended, again, ten months ago."
He sighed thankfully, that meant that she would remember the person she had been with this time far more clearly. There was a light knock at the door, and he opened it quickly, pulling the machine inside the room and closing it once more.
"This may sound odd, but why don't you tell me about the young man you were with when you think you got pregnant," he encouraged lightly.
"What about him?"
"What did he look like?"
Her eyebrows went up and he could see she was thinking hard. She shuddered slightly, and he had a suspicion he knew what she would say first. He wasn't disappointed.
"His eyes," she said softly. "His eyes were like, this burgundy color. It was creepy." He nodded and motioned to her to continue. "And he was gorgeous. Well a lot of guys are gorgeous, but I mean, like, not normal. Like..." She paused, and blushed when she glanced at him. "Like, well... Like Emmett or Edward," she amended. "And he was so pale! Like you kind of," she said definitively.
Carlisle dropped his pretense slightly. "Cold skin, even his genitals? Unyielding skin?"
"Yeah, he was cold... Uhm, everywhere. What do you mean by unyielding?"
Carlisle held out his hand to her, palm up. "Pinch my hand right here at the heel, just below the base of the thumb." She did so, and her brow furrowed when his flesh didn't give beneath her thumb. She released his hand and pinched her own in the same place, noticing the way it gave under the slight pressure. She reached out and pinched his hand again, and then nodded.
"Yeah. I never really noticed before now but yeah, exactly like that."
Carlisle nodded wearily, dropping his calm, happy demeanor entirely. "Lay back again, I'm going to do a quick ultrasound. Normally I would have you do a pregnancy test but I'm sure enough I don't feel it's necessary."
Carlisle turned the machine on, smeared the gel on her belly and gently pressed the wand to the bump. As he expected, there was nothing. He moved it around to be sure, noting the position of her ovaries and fallopian tubes. As he suspected, her uterus was a swollen, entirely black mass. He sighed heavily as he put the equipment away.
"Would you object to spending the day with my family?" He asked Jessica wearily. Clearly the question caught her off guard, but she answered immediately.
"Of course not, that would be wonderful. I haven't seen Bella since she got married."
He smiled briefly, "I'll have her pick you up," Carlisle told her. "Did you drive here?"
She shook her head. "No, I walked. It's the first nice day we've had this year."
Disregarding hospital policy, he pulled out his phone and called Bella, who answered halfway through the first ring.
"Carlisle?" She asked, sounding confused.
"Bella, I was wondering if you could drop by and pick up Jessica from the clinic?"
"Sure," she replied. "Why?"
"It sounds like she met Nahuel's father, or someone like him," Carlisle told her. The reference would, of course, make zero sense to Jessica, but Bella understood immediately.
"Oh no," she said worriedly. "And you're sure?"
"One hundred percent," he said sadly. "The similarities between the two of you are astounding."
He heard her sigh worriedly. "I'll be there in two minutes," she told him before hanging up.
He turned to Jessica again. "If you want to wait out front for Bella, she'll be here in just a minute. I'll be home this afternoon and we can talk then, alright?"
"Um, yeah okay." Clearly she was confused, but he had to hand it to her, she handed it well. He caught her arm gently as she headed for the door.
He sighed regretfully before speaking. "You should know, Jessica... This is going to change your entire life."
"More than it would have if it was a normal pregnancy?"
"Without a doubt," he told her soberly. She nodded, looking worried. "But you should know that you're in the best hands possible. We're going to take good care of you, I promise."
"Thank you, Doctor Cullen. I appreciate it."
He smiled slightly. "Call me Carlisle."
Jessica was waiting by the door when Bella pulled up. She was expecting to have to get out, but Jess headed toward the car immediately. Belatedly, she realized that there was only family who would own a Ferrari.
When she pulled open the door and got in, Jessica glanced at Bella and then did a double take.
"Ohmygod Bella!" She squealed, reaching over to hug her. "You look fantastic!"
"Thanks Jess, so do you. How are you?"
Jessica sighed heavily. "Nervous," she said honestly. "Talking to Doctor- Uhm, Carlisle, I guess, scared me."
"What did he say?" Bella asked carefully.
"That my entire life was going to change, even more than it would have in a normal pregnancy. It sounded like whatever is happening to me happened to you too?" She said, sentence turning up into a question at the end.
"Yeah, I got pregnant on my honeymoon," she said honestly. "Renesmee's birthday is two days before mine."
Jessica gave her a look of pure shock. "Wait, your birthday is in September!"
Bella nodded as she wound up the driveway. "Yeah. Carlisle will do a cesarean for you in a few weeks," she told her. "But that's not the end of the weird part."
Bella parked her car in the garage, and led Jessica up to the house.
"Then what is?" She asked as they walked through the door.
"This," Bella said. "Ness, come here," Bella said, hearing her daughter and Jacob's heartbeats upstairs. She heard Renesmee dart to the stairs and run down, coming to a stop right in front of Bella and Jessica.
"Hi mom!" She squealed happily.
"Ness, this is momma's friend Jessica," she told her daughter. Renesmee turned her dazzling smile on a stricken Jessica.
"Hello," she said brightly. "I'm Renesmee, but you can call me Nessie."
Jessica recovered after a few moments, and knelt down to Renesmee's level. "Well hi there sweetie," Jessica cooed. Bella couldn't help but giggle quietly, knowing how much it annoyed Renesmee to be talked to like a child. "How old are you?"
Renesmee looked up at Bella, clearly wondering what to say. "Chronologically, she turned one September 11th. But she's actually an adult in a five year old's body."
Jessica stood back up and looked at Bella in shock. "And the baby I'm pregnant with is going to be like her?" she asked in a hushed voice.
"Yes," Bella said frankly. "And it's going to be hard."
Renesmee turned and looked at Bella. "Can I show her something?"
Bella thought for a second. "In a little bit sweetie," she told her. "Jess, when was the last time you were able to eat something?"
"Almost a week ago," she said honestly. "The smell of food makes me nauseous, and when I try to eat anyway, it comes back up."
"Ness, get her something from the fridge upstairs," Bella said meaningfully. There was only one fridge upstairs, and it held only donated blood. "And make sure it's not clear." Renesmee reached up and touched her face, showing her a plastic cup and straw, the same one Bella had used in her own pregnancy. "Yep, that one," she answered.
Jessica gave them a strange look, but obviously dismissed the odd exchange. There was just too much weird happening for her to focus on specifics anymore. Renesmee darted up the stairs, and Bella could hear her pouring a bag of blood into the cup.
"What are you doing Ness?" She heard Jacob ask. Clearly, Jacob hadn't been paying any attention to the conversation downstairs.
"Mom's friend is pregnant with a baby like me," Renesmee said matter of factly. Bella giggled as she heard Jacob's breath stop momentarily.
"Yes. Her name is Jessica, she's really nice," Ness told him casually.
A moment later, Renesmee ran back down, and Bella could smell the sweet scent of the blood, though it didn't tempt her the way it once would have. Bella took it and handed it to Jessica. "Drink this," she told her. "Just don't look or it'll come right back up, trust me." Bella gave a shudder for effect, though now the idea was the opposite of repulsive.
Jess looked at her oddly, before shrugging and taking a tentative sip. Jacob appeared on the stairs then, watching Jessica closely as she took another sip. With an obvious sigh of relief, she took a long drag, draining half the cup in one go.
Jacob shuddered visibly as he walked over to them. "Still gross," he said amiably.
The rest of the family, Carlisle among them, ran through the front door six hours later. Clearly Carlisle hadn't said - or thought - anything, as everyone but Carlisle looked at Jessica in shock.
"Carlisle?" Edward asked immediately, eyes locked on the cup in her hands. There was a pause where Carlisle went over the morning's appointment in his mind and Edward listened.
"Seriously?" Emmett put in grumpily. "Isn't anyone else allowed to know?"
Edward rolled his eyes at Emmett. "Use your nose Emmett, what is Jessica drinking? Who does she remind you of right now?"
Emmett sniffed once, and a wide grin split across his face. "Hells yes! Ness gets a new sister and so do I," he nearly shouted.
"Nice to know some things never change," Rosalie sighed. It was clear that while she was acting annoyed, Emmett's reaction amused her.
"May as well introduce you officially," Bella said, motioning to Jess to get up. She did so, looking nervous, and Emmett walked up to her first.
"As you know, I'm Emmett," he said with a grin. "And yes, we all know who you are,"
She laughed, clearly put at ease by Emmett's relaxed demeanor. Nothing rattled Emmett, and it was extremely handy at times.
Alice darted up next and hugged her, dragging Jasper along with her. "It's so nice to actually meet you!" Alice squealed. I have a feeling," she said with a conspiratorial wink, "we're going to be great friends."
Jessica smiled, glad to have found a kindred spirit. She turned to Jasper next. "And you're Jasper, right?" She asked.
"Yes ma'am," he replied in his usual Texas drawl, falling back on his southern upbringing.
Jessica turned to Rose next. "And you're Rosalie and Esme," she finished.
Esme walked forward and hugged Jessica next. "It's so wonderful to have you dear. It's going to be hard but we're going to take wonderful care of you, okay?" Esme exuded love and comfort, and Jessica felt her eyes burn slightly at the corners as she nodded.
"Can you think of the man who got you pregnant?" Edward asked suddenly.
Jessica gave him a confused look. "What do you mean?"
"It's a long story," he told her. "Just picture him in your mind." She did, and Edward's lip curled slightly. "Nahuel's father," he stated angrily.
Jessica gave him a truly bewildered, and slightly suspicious look that Emmett answered. "Welcome to life with a mind reader," he told her casually. "It annoys a lot of people, but you get used to it."
"Wait, did you just say..."
Edward glared at Emmett, reaching over and smacking him upside the head with a loud cracking sound. "Way to freak her out Emmett," he muttered. Edward turned to Jessica and gave her an apologetic look.
"Yes, I read minds," he stated bluntly.
"How, is a conversation for another day," he answered as she thought it.
"Okay that's kind of creepy," Jessica said warily. "You're the only one right?"
Carlisle chuckled. "Yes, he's the only mind reader. Alice, Jasper, Bella and Renesmee all have their own... talents, but they're all quite different."
Jessica turned to Bella. "Okay how do you stand being married to someone who knows exactly what you're thinking all the time?" Edward laughed as Bella replied.
"My talent is being immune to his," she said with a grin.
"Okay that makes more sense," Jessica giggled. Bella felt the slight wave of relaxation in the room that was directed at Jessica, and shot Jasper a grateful look. Jessica moved back toward the couch and sat next to Renesmee. "And what about you Nessie?"
Renesmee smiled brightly and placed her hand on Jessica's cheek. Jessica's expression transformed to one of shock, but Renesmee left her hand there for only a moment.
"Jessica, do you live with your parents?" Carlisle asked suddenly.
She shook her head. "No, I moved into an apartment," she said.
Carlisle nodded. "Good, that makes things less complicated. Of course we'll keep up the bills for you, but you'll need to stay with us for the foreseeable future."
Jessica nodded, "Alright. If it's no trouble to you guys I'm okay with it," she told them.
Alice squealed happily. "We should go shopping tomorrow!"
Jessica laughed happily. "You've got it Alice, that sounds great. Hey Rose, are you in?"
Rosalie smiled. "Sure, why not?"
"Bella?" Jessica inquired next.
"I suppose," she said, sounding a tad resigned.
Jessica's bright smile cheered her, however. Bella hoped desperately that Jessica's pregnancy was easier than her own, and she would do whatever she could to help realize that wish.