"Paul... I think it's time," Bella gasped through gritted teeth. Her water had just broken. She was leaning on the bathroom sink breathing with another intense contraction; now they were coming five minutes apart.
Paul rushed into the bathroom. He'd been like a shadow these last three weeks since the meeting with the Cullens, and very atypically of her, it had driven Bella mad. It had been a bit strained lately between the two of them, but she could not blame him, the wolf, as much as the man needed to protect their mate and babies. And for that, he needed to see her all the time. It's been a wonder he'd let her go to the toilet without him. She'd drawn the line there. There were limits even to the overprotective shapeshifters.
"Are we leaving for the hospital? Please say yes," Paul said anxiously, rubbing her lower back. He'd been begging them to leave for a few hours, but Bella wanted to stay home as long as possible. But now was the time to go.
Bella nodded as the intense pain just kept radiating through her whole body.
After the contraction had eased, Paul helped her change the pants, and then he called Jared, who had promised to take them to the hospital when the time came.
"Jared is almost here, baby," Paul said as they walked slowly to the door. Every step made vibrations that hurt like hell. Bella had to stop as another powerful contraction rippled through her. She breathed, and Paul rubbed her back.
"Breath, baby ... just like that," Paul cooed and continued rubbing with his big hot hand. His words and touch soothed her even though they didn't take the pain away. She could hardly wait to get the epidural once in the hospital.
Paul could feel the tension her body was under but not the actual pain. They had wondered it beforehand; would he feel the pain. Paul had been disappointed. He had wanted to share the pain, and he'd hoped he would have been able to take some of it away.
"Don't forget the bag," Bella reminded Paul after she could speak and move again.
The drive to the hospital in Forks felt like forever. Every bump on the road hurt, and she had to bite her lip not to scream. Paul wiped her forehead with a damp cloth. Bella didn't know where he had got that, but it felt divine.
Finally, they got to the hospital, and Jared stopped in front of the main entrance.
Paul helped her out of the car, and she was grateful for the wheelchair someone at the entrance brought her.
"Good luck Bella!" Jared shouted after them before driving away.
Paul told who they were, and they were led straight to the labor ward. The midwife who came to meet them asked them to follow her to the delivery suite immediately.
"I can see you are ready to give birth," she said.
Paul helped her out of the wheelchair and helped her to change the nightdress she'd chosen to wear. They helped her to the bed, and the midwife checked the situation.
"You are already fully dilated. You have to start pushing. I know you've planned to give birth with an epidural, but there is no time for that now."
"No shit, I want …. argh!" Bella felt how her body took the lead, and her mind let it happen. While she was in the most intense pain she ever knew was possible, she felt at peace. She could feel Paul relaxing too. Having him there was the only thing that mattered.
The need to push was so strong she squeezed Paul's hand and pushed. Never in her wildest dreams could she have imagined pain this intense.
She screamed as she felt her sensitive skin tear.
"FUCK! It hurts!"
"That's it. I can see the head. Wait for the next contraction."
Bella squeezed her eyes shut. And breathed as she'd been taught.
"Baby, you are doing so well," Paul cooed next to her.
"This … is... the last time …AARGH... FUCK... I'm never doing this again."
"Push," said the midwife.
And Bella pushed, and then she felt how a little human being slid out of her, and an ear-piercing cry filled the room.
"It's a girl," Paul said. "We have a girl." Paul kissed the top of her head.
Bella looked at the wrinkly and red little creature in the midwife's hands, and her eyes filled with tears. But she didn't get any relief as the next contraction started.
She could hear the nurse asking if Paul wanted to cut the cord. But he didn't want to leave Bella's side.
"Push," the midwife said to her, and she did, and it was all it took; the second baby came out fast. And all the pain stopped. Like it hadn't even been there.
"Wonderful job Bella. Your body is made for giving birth," the midwife told her. "It's another girl."
"We have two girls, baby," Paul said with a thick voice and leaned down to kiss her.
Bella leaned back and closed her eyes. She couldn't believe it was over, and they had two daughters.
Paul was in awe of his wife. He had felt some of her body's stress under the labor but not the actual pain. He had wanted to feel what she felt, maybe even take some of it away, but their connection wasn't made for that. He couldn't even phantom how much it must have hurt.
But two girls, bloody hell. Paul's heart was bursting. He would be outnumbered in his own house and wouldn't want it any other way. Two girls! He felt like shouting. His wolf was howling, and he felt the wolf's need to get out to recognize and mark its puppies. But he had to wait until they were at home.
Paul's eyes blurred with tears. He had two baby girls; two daughters. Damn! Damn! Three times damn!
Paul took the scissors the midwife offered him, and with shaking hands, he cut the cords of both his babies. He watched as the nurse wiped their skin and wrapped the babies into white blankets. The midwife gave the other baby to Bella and the other to him. He sat on the edge of the bed, unable to take his eyes off the small, wrinkled creature in his arms, who surely was the most beautiful baby in the world. As for sure was his other daughter. He turned to look at the tiny bundle in Bella's arms. Bella looked up at him with tears in her eyes, and Paul fell deeper in love with her than he could ever think possible. They had two babies; they were a family. Paul leaned down to kiss her.
"I love you, baby, so much it almost feels impossible how much I love you," he said to her.
"I love you too. More than words can say. And these two." Bella said and turned her head to look at the baby in Paul's arms and then the one in hers.
"When will we know if they are identical or not?" Bella asked. "They do look a lot alike." Paul looked at both his daughters. Bella was right.
"To be sure, we need to do DNA testing, but with my experience, I say they are identical."
Bella beamed at him. She had hoped them to be identical. "How are we going to tell them apart?" She looked again at her daughter in Paul's arms and the other in her arms, brushing her forefinger lightly over the forehead of their sleeping baby girl.
Paul took his daughter's hand and marveled at it; how tiny a human being can be. He brushed her wrist with his thumb. They would get tattoos on their wrists when they were six weeks old. It was an ancient custom with shapeshifters in La Push; Alpha's children were marked with the tattoo symbolizing their names.
Paul and Bella would not go through the ceremony, but Kal-Lape had left them a message with the papers he'd left behind, saying it was essential that they marked the babies. He hadn't told them why, but Paul was ready to believe him. Harry and Billy Black had gone through the ceremony with them and promised that the marking wouldn't hurt the babies.
"Bella, the placentas aren't coming without a little help," Paul was dragged out of his thoughts; Bella needed help. "Can you give your other daughter to her daddy for a while?"
Paul felt a pang of panic. "Is that normal?" he asked the midwife.
"Yes, it happens often. No need to worry," she answered.
"How often?" he wasn't assured.
"I'll do it many times a week. Really, there is no need to worry," the midwife smiled reassuringly.
But Paul couldn't not to worry. Paul took his other daughter and walked away from the bed. But he didn't know what to do. His baby girls were in his arms, but his wife needed help. His instincts were all over the place.
"I'm alright, Paul," Bella said and looked at him. "Keep Luna and Lumi warm and happy."
That did it. Bella knew exactly what he needed to hear. Luna and Lumi needed him now. Their mother was in good hands. Paul sat carefully on the big armchair and turned his eyes on his baby girls.
Luna and Lumi. Those were the names they agreed to give their babies if they were girls. A boy would have gotten the name Harry to honor Harry Clearwater. It was his help that had made all this possible. They hadn't agreed on another name; he liked the name Mathew, but Bella insisted on naming a boy Oliver. Paul hated the name Oliver. So, it was a good thing they had girls.
Paul stared at his girls. He was drunk with happiness. They were both sleeping, another hand tightly against their faces, but their other hand had their fingers intertwined with their twin. Paul hadn't noticed when they'd done that reconnected after the birth. How utterly amazing was this.
"Okay, Bella, this might hurt a bit, but I'm certain this will help you deliver the afterbirth."
Paul felt Bella's tension and looked up at her. The midwife was pressing her stomach, quite forcefully by the looks of it. Bella had her eyes closed, and she was biting her lip. She didn't want to make any noise to scare the babies. Paul's eyes filled with tears. Bella was already so protective over their girls. She would be the best mother anyone could ever hope for. She would make him a good father.
A father. Fuck. He was a father. His wolf purred inside him again, informing him that he needed to see his puppies. Tomorrow. You'll meet them tomorrow, Paul promised the beast, and he was content again – well contentish.
The midwife helped Bella deliver the placentas, and after she was cleaned, they were all moved to another room. To Paul's surprise, it was empty, just them. He hoped they wouldn't get any other new families there with them.
Paul wondered should he call Renée and tell her that Bella had had the babies. Bella hadn't wanted her mother in the hospital while she was in labor. He hadn't even taken his phone with him when they left home. Paul had declined for any of the pack to come to the hospital. He and Bella wanted to spend the first moments with their babies alone, just the four of them. Paul had told the pack that they could come to meet the babies at their home when they were ready to receive them.
"They are so beautiful, Paul," Bella said silently. Both girls were now against Bella's chest, skin on skin. She would soon try to breastfeed them.
"Yeah, they really are," Paul said and skimmed his finger over the tiny spine.
"When can we leave home?" Bella asked the nurse.
"We usually want to keep new mothers and babies at least for two nights, especially as you've given birth to twins. The doctor will check them first thing in the morning, and then you can leave. Is that okay? Your nurse from La Push called us and told us that she will help you with the breastfeeding and is there for you if any complications arise."
"Yes, Sue Clearwater will help us with everything," Bella said, glancing up at him. He nodded, tomorrow was okay, but they needed to get back to the reservation as soon as possible because of the wolf's need to connect with his babies and for the peace of Paul's mind. In reservation, he could be sure that Bella and the babies were safe. Jared, Sam, and Jacob were keeping an eye on the hospital. Paul didn't believe that those Italian fuckers would be able to get into Forks, but he didn't leave anything for guesswork. He needed certainty.
"Paul, maybe we should call mom now," Bella said.
"I'll go and make the call. Are you sure you can handle her?" Paul chuckled.
"No, but she'll kill me if she won't see the girls soon."
Paul didn't want to leave his girls... damn... his girls. He was grinning so much his face hurt, but he couldn't help it. Fuck... He was the luckiest bastard in the world.
He quickly left the room and found a payphone. These were still here in the hospital, probably for fathers like him, who had forgotten his mobile home in the rush. Surely no one uses them much these days. He was lucky to remember Renée's number.
Renée picked up after two rings. She'd been waiting; Paul could tell, and she told him that she and Ben would be there soon.
He quickly returned to the room where his whole world was having their first ever feeding. Luna had woken up and was trying to latch onto Bella's breast. The nurse was there to help her, and soon Bella glanced up at him, smiling a breathtaking smile. "She's feeding," she said softly. And again, Paul's heart burst in his chest.
He walked slowly, not wanting to interrupt anything.
"You can go sit next to your wife. You won't disturb the feeding. It has been going so well from the first try. You are a natural, Bella." Bella glanced up at the nurse and smiled.
And he did just that. As carefully as he could manage to move his big body, he placed himself next to Bella, unable to take his eyes off his feeding daughter.
Nothing had ever looked so beautiful, so natural.
They stayed silent for a while and watched.
Paul heard the nurse take a photo of him. Bella hadn't noticed.
He looked at the nurse.
"You'll thank me later," she said silently and left the room. Paul was confident they would.
To Paul's slight dismay, it didn't take long for Renée and Ben to arrive.
Renée gasped at the door, hands covering her mouth while tears rushed down her cheeks. She was speechless, probably for the first time in her life.
But Ben didn't waste any time getting to meet his new cousins as he ran to the bedside.
Paul patted his shoulder.
"Hi buddy, come and meet your cousins."
"Babies," he said with huge eyes. "Bel-Bel has babies now."
"Yes, Ben-Ben," Bella said, looking adoringly at her little brother.
"Their names are Luna Eloise Lahote and Lumi Olivia Lahote," Bella introduced their full names.
Renée had recovered and walked slowly towards the bed.
"They are so beautiful, Bella."
"Yes, mum. They are perfect."
"I know that Luna is the moon in Latin, but what does Lumi stand for? I've never heard that name before," Renée asked.
"It means snow in Finnish. I read one book that had that name and I fell in love with it. Paul liked it too, so we decided to give that name if we got a girl."
"Two girls. You're not disappointed Paul? Not having at least one boy?" Renée asked him but didn't take her eyes off the babies.
Paul didn't know if to get offended or not. He decided not to. He would probably get that a lot; no need to get worked out. He could not have been happier if they had had one or two boys. This is what his family was meant to be like. He had the most beautiful woman, and she'd given him two beautiful daughters. He felt his throat thickening.
Luna whined but continued to suckle. Lumi was still sleeping. Should he be worried? Her sister had been feeding for over half an hour, but she just kept sleeping.
Ben smiled. "Baby is hungry."
"Yes, she is very hungry. It's the first time she eats."
"Can I hold baby?"
"Not now. Paul and I are the only ones to hold them now," Bella said, glancing at her mother, who had sat down on the other side of the bed. "You can hold them when you visit us at our home, okay?"
"Of course," Renée said, brushing her hand lightly over both babies.
"Okay," Ben said. "They are so small."
Bella sat down on the grass, holding both babies in each arm. The wolf trotted closer, and when only a few feet away, he slowed down. Very slowly, he came to them. He sniffed Luna on her chest and then Lumi. And then he sniffed his mark on Bella's shoulder and licked her cheek.
"Eww." Bella could not but giggle. Stupid animal.
He lifted his snout to the air and howled. It was a very loud noise, but it didn't wake up the twins. Her ears started to ring a bit.
Several howls answered back. Were all the wolves phased? Probably. The wolf hunched down to its belly. He sniffed the babies again, and Bella could hear his chest rumbling. Bella itched to scratch him behind his ears, but her hands were full.
"You are very proud of your daughters, aren't you?" Bella asked. She felt overwhelmed. To look at this magnificent animal and to know that he was the father to her daughters. There weren't words to describe the feeling, the reality she was living in, they were all living together... well, some things weren't meant to be explained. That's why she had her music. With that, she could tell what she was feeling, and a new melody started to form in her mind. She was so full of love and awe that she felt like bursting. Tears that had become so very familiar to her lately started to flow again.
The wolf whined.
"I'm happy. You know I am."
He whined again.
He turned to its side. He wanted Bella to lie with him, and she did just that. Holding her babies, she leaned her back to his side, and the wolf curled its body protectively around its mate and puppies.
They all fell asleep.
"Isabella Swan has given birth to her babies," Demetri came to the big hall, telling Aro. Aro turned his head from the vast fireplace, looking at his most distinguished and trusted guard.
"How do you know? Didn't you tell me that you can't find her anywhere? That she has vanished into thin air."
"You know I kidnapped Alicia Cullen and tortured her to tell me where Isabella Cullen lives. I'm unable to get anywhere close; it's like the area she lives in doesn't exist, like it's a black hole. But I've got lucky. I've gained an accomplice. And I've been told exciting things about Isabella Swan and the company she keeps.
I think I've written the cutest chapter ever. Don't know what you feel about Bella and Paul having two girls. But I just can't get the picture of Paul with two little girls out of my mind. I blame the story called What's behind door number three? I don't have anything against boys, have one myself (and two girls), but Paul needs women in his life. :) Don't you agree?
I've had a bad writing block lately with a terrible toothache and busy work. Hoping to get a bit relaxed over the vacay that starts in Friday. Yay!
I love hearing from you. Let me know what you think.