Chapter 11: Easter Plans
Following an interesting day of meetings at Team Penske discussing how their weekend had gone at Martinsville – it was a great discussion with a runner-up finish, Brad had returned home, set to relax for the rest of the night.
As he was getting comfy on the couch, set to watch a couple of TV shows before Juliette returned from her day out doing some shopping, he heard his phone ring. He glanced at the caller ID, smiling as he answered the call.
“Hey Dawn!” He answers his sister’s phone call.
“Hey Brad,” she replies. “Nice job at Martinsville. I thought you were going to get by him.” Brad smiles as he certainly came close to getting by Denny.
“It was close. I could’ve wrecked, but that wouldn’t been nice.”
“Race everyone like you want to be raced.” Brad shakes her head at the comment, remembering that was a rule that his dad had instilled early.
“That’s right. So why the phone call?” Each time she phoned, she had a reason. It was just finding that reason.
“Are you coming for Easter dinner?” Each Easter Sunday, the entire Keselowski family got together for dinner at their parents. There was no getting out of that, no matter the reason. His mother didn’t accept excuses.
“I wouldn’t miss it, right?”
“Is Juliette coming?” Brad knew Dawn’s reason for asking. Dawn wasn’t fond of her and obviously that was something that bugged her. It would make his sister happy, and probably his dad too, if Juliette didn’t show.
“Yes, she is. I’m going to see her family on Good Friday and then she’s joining me on Monday. I already told mom and dad.” Brad rolled his eyes as he remembered that discussion. It was met with immediate displeasure by his father and a good long debate. On the flip side, his mom was happy and looked forward to getting to know Juliette more.
“Oh.” He bit his tongue as there were a lot of things that he could say, but he would rather save those for when he saw her in person. It was time that she stopped this whole Juliette game with him.
“Anything else, Dawn?” He hears her take a deep breath, knowing what’s coming.
“Brad, are you sure that you’re doing the right thing dating her?” Brad lets out a sigh, having had this debate too many times before.
“I’m not having this discussion over the phone, Dawn.”
“She doesn’t belong at the family din-”
“Mom has always told us that our significant others can join us as they will be part of the family anyway. Mom told me its fine so she’s coming and there’s nothing more that you can say. If you want to have this discussion, then come see me on Monday.”
“I’d rather not do it during the family dinner, Brad. I’d rather get this out of the way now.” Brad shakes his head in disbelief.
“The only way that we’re getting this out of the way is you accepting my decision and moving forward.”
While the pair continued to discuss, Juliette entered the house, undetected, not wanting to disturb his phone call. She heard the conversation and just rolled her eyes. She made her way up the stairs, putting the bags of new clothes away.
She then sat at the top of the stairs, waiting for him to finish the phone call.
“Oh Brad, Brad, where is my Brad?” She questions out loud once she hears him say goodbye. He immediately jumps up off of the couch and walks out to the bottom of the stairs.
“Juliette…” He lets out. “I didn’t even realize that you were home?” She then thought things over as she kept her eyes locked on his.
“I hate to come between you and your family, but I love you so much and…” Brad then goes up the stairs a little.
“I love you too, and it’s fine. My dad and Dawn will grow to understand with time. Don’t let this bug you and affect you, Juliette. Its’ not your fault and it’s nothing for you to worry about. I’ll handle it.” She then lets out a sigh, thinking of her own perspective.
“Why the big deal? You’re a werewolf – I’m a vampire. Why the big fuss? We’ve gotten over it and deal with it, and shown that we can be together. Why do they continue to worry? Is it because of old legends and stories? Is it because of old feuds and instances? Why is it that the world can’t let that go and simply love?” Brad takes a deep breath, sitting beside her on the stairs.
“Because, they don’t understand things like we do. They don’t understand how much we love each other and how we’re able to deal with it. They don’t’ understand things have changed from what the old legends and tales say. It’s all about changing one perspective at a time, as Edward said he has done with Bella. Friendship changes some, love changes others. Over time, it’ll begin to spread and this will be a foreign thought. But, change takes time and people don’t like change. That’s why it’s hard for them to adjust.” She then lies her head on his shoulder.
“Do you think they’ll ever really like me?” Brad wraps an arm around her.
“My brother likes you and he originally didn’t. That proves that it’s possible, right?” She shakes her head yes with a sigh.
She wished that it came without the arguments and debates in between, though.
Chapter 12: Easter Discussion
“I can tell something is on your mind…” Edward lets out as he looks up at Juliette from the porch. She then glances over, letting no expression show on her face.
“If you gave me the answers that I wanted Edward, there would be nothing to think about,” she tells him as he lets out a sigh.
“I told you those answers will come with due time. I’m being careful with this, as I should with the risks involved. We need to find as much as we can and go from there.” She glances away from him, thinking about what Brad said. At least speaking of a possible pregnancy was better than thinking about the dinner tomorrow.
“We also have to think about what I’ll tell the world. I’m only going to be pregnant for a month – so how do you explain a kid to the world?” Edward shakes his head as he had no experience with that, however saw the importance especially if they wanted to keep their lives going as normal as possible.
“You have to get the child used to hiding their wolf side so that could take up the eight month period.” She then rolls her eyes, she hadn’t even thought about that side of it. For her, being a vampire was something that easily hid. However, hearing Edward say that, she knew that she would probably be stuck teaching – or more so, Brad – about how to keep that side hidden.
“Why can’t there be a ‘werewolf-vampire babies for dummy’ book?” Edward chuckles.
“Because you’re writing that book, dear.” She then rolls her eyes as he flashes over to her, sitting on the tree branch beside her. “Now, there’s more on your mind besides the pregnancy. There’s a reason you came up here.”
“I came up here to see my family, obviously. Isn’t that what everybody does at Easter?” Edward wasn’t sure about how Easter worked as it wasn’t a tradition normally celebrated by vampires. However, he heard about such details from Bella and had joined her for dinners with her family.
“You have other reasons, Juliette. You should talk about them.” She then lets out a sigh, wishing that she wasn’t so easily readable.
“How do you make someone like you that doesn’t like you?” Edward then looks at her, slightly confused.
“Who?” She then looks over, debating whether to address the subject with Edward. He was just a friend – someone who she had only gotten over the past months due to interest in her own life. Was this information valid for him to know?
“Brad’s dad and his sister Dawn.” Edward lets out a sigh, knowing where this was going.
“Are they still stuck on old beliefs?” Juliette knew that was the reason for Bob. However, for Dawn, that wasn’t quite the case.
“His dad – yes. His sister, though, is overprotective and doesn’t think that I am the right fit for her precious brother.” Edward chuckles, remembering his own experience with such types of comments.
“They’ll come around, just as my family and Bella’s family did with us. It took some time, including some interesting discussions with her father, but we managed to all work it out. It takes time to adjust and get used to. You have to allow that to happen, Juliette. You can’t force it.” Juliette lets out a sigh, wishing that it was easier than that. She wished that she could walk into the dinner, do or say something for them to like her and move forward.
“I just wish it’d just happen.” Edward gives her a pat on the shoulder.
“It will happen when the time is right. Keep spending time with them when they allow, keep opening up more about why you love Brad, why you’re good together and why it should work. For his dad, explain that those old beliefs are based on legends and myths that have been disproved. For Dawn, find out why she doesn’t believe you’re worthy and find a way to prove her otherwise.” She shook her head, understanding. Perhaps if she gave them more of a chance just like she did with her open-hearted discussion with his brother, perhaps it’d result in a better relationship all around.
“I’ll keep that in mind. Thanks.”
“No problem. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a child that wants her dad.” He then flashes off into the forest without a trace as she turns her eyes back towards her house.
Dealing with Brad’s family was like dealing with her own. While his family didn’t agree with her at all, her family didn’t agree with all of her decisions, especially the pregnancy. However, as she had learned, if something is meant to be and worth it, you have to fight for it.
On all fronts, she wasn’t ready to throw the white flag up – ever.
Chapter 13: Vampire Education
“Please tell me that you have good news….” Juliette says as she goes into the backyard.
She had come home from spending the afternoon at Team Penske, and could sense immediately that Edward was on the property. For that reason, she hit up the backyard immediately, smiling when she saw him sitting on a tree branch.
“Let me guess – Easter with the Keselowski’s failed?” He questions as he flashes over to her, standing beside her on the back porch.
“Let’s just say that I am nowhere near being in the good books of Dawn or his dad,” Juliette comments as Edward lets out a sigh.
“Did you follow the advice?” Juliette rolls her eyes, remembering that discussion with Edward.
“I did…but enough about that. You’re here for a reason. Speak!” He then laughs as he sits on the porch railing, eyes focused on Juliette.
“I spoke to my mother about vampire pregnancies, and I have some information for you. She gave me some pointers that you should recognize.” Juliette looks up at Edward, hopefulness spread across her face.
“Please tell me good news…” Edward chuckles at the thought.
“Well, she told me that you wouldn’t have to worry about said baby inside of you having issues with its werewolf counterpart and self-destructing either you or itself.” Juliette smiled at the thought. It seemed the worries were disappearing one after another. That just meant they only had to worry about the werewolf side, but only a little based on Jacob’s reasoning.
“That’s a good thing…”
“Now, when becoming pregnant, you have to balance all your energy levels. Everything has to be kept even keen to keep things right.” Juliette shook her head, understanding. That seemed to be a pointless deal. “You should have a good health regime with healthy diet and exercise, along with vitamins. That way your body is prepared to handle having a being inside of you.”
“This seems like general know-how, Edward. Get to the juicy information.” Edward chuckles at her anticipation. He could tell the excitement was growing.
“Three months before you get pregnant, you should have everything in order and on a schedule. That way your body is prepared and ready. Do not get pregnant without that.” Juliette rolls her eyes. That meant that she would have to wait till July to get pregnant, at least.
“Okay, so I’ll start that now so I can get pregnant when I convince everybody that it’s fine in July. That sound good?” Edward smiles and shakes his head yes.
“You may do that if you feel inclined, but I haven’t said that it’s a good move yet. Besides, you don’t have the father’s permission, either.” Juliette shakes her head, knowing that there would be some careful conversations with Brad to come.
“Give me something good.”
“You don’t eat blood so forget the fourth point. Pointer #5 – try to keep yourself as healthy as possible, and your surroundings. Avoid anything that could cause a probl-”
“I know how to handle things. Move along…” Edward rolls his eyes.
“You told me to get you the information. #6 – regular check-ups must be done and make sure that you have enough of the Rhesus factor in your blood.” Juliette rolls her eyes, knowing that. “Your cycle of birth will last approximately nine months, the same as a human.”
“So since the baby is half werewolf, you’re saying that I could have a puppy in the range of two months to nine months?” Edward shakes his head yes.
“That’s an unknown. A big unknown. Something that you’ll have to consider.” She shakes her head, understanding. It was a big unknown because it would result in what could be said in front of the world, since everybody would have eyes on her and Brad. “# 7 – feed a little extra before you give birth, since you’re going to need the energy. #8 – make sure that your surroundings are as cal, and stable as possible, so that way you can focus on the baby.”
“So in other words, avoid Brad’s sister?” Edward chuckles and shakes his head yes.
“That’s a start – but also don’t get yourself too excited when he’s at the track.” She then looks on in surprise.
“I do not get overexci-”
“Who starts jumping and cheering and all that?” She then lets out a sigh as she glances around.
“I can’t help it. Racing makes me excited and I worry a little more because I love him.” Edward glances at her with concerning eyes.
“As I said, calm and stable environment so watch your behavior during your pregnancy. Also, you should breastfeed as that’s a big thing in making for a healthy baby. It will also help keep the baby from wanting blood as nourishment, since I know you’ll want to stick to your normal source of food.” Juliette shakes her head in agreement, not wanting to have to feed her baby pure blood. The idea felt gross to her, as always in her life.
“That goes along with a werewolf baby, as you’re supposed to breast feed them for their first week.” Edward shakes his head, remembering that.
“So two to nine months pregnant, with a week to two months of breast feeding. Also, as the werewolf status goes, keep baby hidden for a month to let the child come into their own human element.” Juliette knew that would make things interestingly, epically if people noticed she was pregnant. She knew her and Brad had a lot to discuss.
“I got this. Anything else?”
“You know there’s more…” Edward takes a deep breath as Juliette focuses her eyes on him. “We talked about the dangers. On the werewolf side, it seems that they’re calm and won’t do any harm from the inside. However, on the vampire side, there is a risk. When Bella became pregnant, because she wasn’t a vampire, her energy went down quickly and she risked losing her life and more. If I didn’t bite her when I did and stepped in, I could’ve lost her. I spoke to my mom, along with some others, in combining a werewolf in a vampire body. They told me that placing a werewolf in your body could bring the same type of scenario – about a 33% chance. Now, with that said, if it does happen, there is no guarantee that we can help you be fine.”
“So in other words, we’re back at square one despite all this information.” Edward slowly shakes his head yes.
“It’s a risk whatever you do. it’s up to you and Brad to decide whether you’re willing to take that risk. If you accept the risk, you know that you need the three mon-”
“Three months of regularly food eating, two to nine months of pregnancy and a week of breastfeeding while not showing the child till the end of the first month of their life. I got it, Edward.” While she understood the bounds, she knew that there was still a lot to think about.
She was determined to have the child and was set to begin the regular food eating process immediately. She knew that she could handle whatever length of pregnancy, the breastfeeding and keeping the child hidden. She would just have to carry her actions carefully around non-vampire and non-werewolves in their lives, friends and outsiders alike.
It was just convincing herself that the reward outweighed the risk, and convincing those around her of the same.
Chapter 14: Locked in Thoughts
With last night’s race in the books, the pair had decided to make a relaxation day out of their Sunday. As a result, the pair found themselves with their feet kicked up on the couches and tuned in for a movie marathon – with the IndyCar race slammed in the middle.
Though rather than focusing on the movie, Brad let his eyes drift over to Juliette and watched her closely. He could tell that she was lost in her thoughts, thinking about something. He knew that Edward had come over last week after she got back from their Easter trip with some news. She hadn’t shared that news, leaving it at the fact that there was nothing warranted that he needed to hear. But yet, hear she sat lost in her thoughts.
“What’s on your mind?” He questions as she snaps out of her thoughts, glancing over his way.
“What’d you say?” She asks as he pauses the movie, focusing his eyes on her.
“I asked what was on your mind. It’s obvious that you’re not paying attention to the movie.” She then lets out a sigh. It was obvious what was on her mind without the question even being asked.
“I’m just thinking about babies.” Ever since Edward told her the details, it was something that was on her mind. She wanted to share things with Brad, but nothing Edward had told her stood out. There was no certainty that the danger was erased, as all they knew now was a timeline. She had already started the three months of regularly food eating, so that way as soon as the mind was made up, she could get pregnant in June. She figured three months was enough time to make everything work. From that point, it’d be two to nine months pregnant, a week of breastfeeding and a month of keeping the child hidden. That seemed easy, right?
“So what did Edward tell you to make you go through this thought process?” She knew that she couldn’t withhold the information any longer. Brad was bound to get curious of her cut-clean eating habits, and he would just continually bug for the information anyway.
“There’s nothing that really stood out, okay? We can’t totally erase the possible dangers, but he says that there’s a really good chance that things could work out in our fav-”
“But?” Brad heard the words ‘really good chance’, meaning there could be an issue, or two.
“We don’t know for certainty so it’s still a risk. Though while that risk was 50/50, it’s not down to a 20-25% chance risk. That’s better, right?” He shakes his head yes, but still not totally comfortable. He knew he’d only be comfortable is there was no risk at all. However, dwelling on that wouldn’t get them anywhere so he decided to proceed.
“What else did he say?” She debated what to say first, figuring out the easiest possible route. She could tell that he wasn’t too pleased on the previous statement. She would defiantly need the full three month window.
“Once I am pregnant, it could last two to nine months. It just depends on how much of you and how much of me combines together.” He shakes his head, understanding. A full nine month pregnancy would be easy to explain to the world, versus the two month pregnancy.
“Can I vote longer rather than shorter?” She rolls her eyes. She wasn’t sure whether that was a good idea, as she didn’t know what to expect with the pregnancy.
“Once the baby is born, it requires a week of breastfeeding and a month of hiding.” The month of hiding brought forth the most trickiest piece to the puzzle. How do you explain a child randomly showing up? He knew that, along with pregnancy length, would present the biggest challenges, beyond the risk of life or death.
“Okay. That’ll take some explaining with friends, but okay.” She then glances over with a slight smile.
“We can handle it, Brad. We handled everything so far so why can’t we handle that? Oh, and I have to have three months of good healthy eating habits before I can get pregnant.” Brad freezes, remembering the healthy snacks that had surfaced in the kitchen, versus her normal chocolate and chips.
“So that’s why you went shopping?” She shakes her head yes as she comes over to the couch that he is lying on and cuddles up with him. “Juliette, we haven’t even deci-”
“Brad, I know. I’m not pushing you to decide right this second, nor am I deciding right this second. However, if I go forward with the eating habits, that means if we decide between now and June, I can get pregnant in June, versus having to wait from when we decide. Just because I’m starting this eating regime doesn’t mean that I have decided or am forcing you.” He looks over into her eyes and shakes his head, understanding. However, in the depths of those eyes, he could tell that she had already decided and that’s why she had started.
“Okay, that’s fair. So where do we go from here?” While he didn’t want to go talk about, he wanted to make her feel better – and at least entertaining the idea gave her some comfort.
“There’s nothing more that Edward can share to make it easier or harder. We have to decide. It’s up to us whether we have our own puppy, or whether we adopt, or whether we forgo children all together.” He then glance over at her with a smile.
“You called it a puppy.” She smiles a little.
“Because when it comes out, it’s going to look like a puppy if it takes after your side of the family, right? Hence the whole hide the child for a month.” He shakes his head, understanding. That was true.
“It still seems odd, Juliette.”
“To me, it’s a puppy. You’re my doggy, and I would be having your puppy.” He then looks at her surprised.
“Woah woah, I’m not a dog. I’m a werewolf.” She then rolls her eyes.
“That’s why comparing how people say the word toma-”
“Totally different. Dogs and werewolves are different.” She shakes her head no.
“They’re both part of the dog spiec-”
“Because of humans! Werewolves are more dominant creatures with characteristics that fit a mixture of a human and a lion. A dog, meanwhile, is a pet. Are you calling me your pet?” She then laughs a little as she pets him on the head.
“Awww, you’re my little pet that I get to take care of.” He then swats her hand away as she laughs harder.
“Next you’ll be giving me commands like sit and stay. Oh wait, you already do in the bedsroom.” She then pets his head again.
“But admit it – you love every minute of it, right?” He then smiles a little.
“Of course, but I’m not your pet.” He then wraps an arm around her, holding her close. “I’m your dear lover and protector, set to make sure all evil stays away from the sweet little vampire.” He then kisses her lips.
Chapter 15: Pregnancy Discussion
“So that’s everything that she had to tell me about a possible baby and what happens,” Brad finishes off explaining to Joey.
Since their conversation earlier in the week, Brad had been thinking all week about the pregnancy. He was debating whether it would be a good idea for them to go forth with, or not. He debated whether the risk was one that he wanted to chance. He debated in his mind how they would go through handling everything with their family and friends around them.
Unable to keep things in his own mind solely and not wanting to discuss with Juliette quite yet, he decided that he needed to console in someone.
It’d be perfect to discuss this with this family, but he wasn’t quite comfortable with that. His dad and Dawn hadn’t approved yet, Brian was just starting to relax about the idea and his mom would likely freak out about possibly becoming a grandma.
He thought about talking it over with Juliette’s brother Danny and Yolanda, since they’d understand the idea. However, he heard they were both in disagreement about the risk at hand. Then there was Edward, but that would seem awkward since Juliette was consoling in him for advice already.
That left Brad to speak to one of his ‘human’ friends, and those options quickly minimized. Joey and Dale were the only people that knew about the uniqueness of their situation, and he wasn’t about to go forth explaining things to a third person.
It was how he ended up in Joey’s office and explaining everything that he knew so far, figuring that it was the closest place to end up.
“So when the puppy is born, does it bark or talk?” Joey questions as Brad immediately rolls his eyes.
“Focus!” Brad yells, trying to get his teammate back on track. “I knew I should’ve gone to Dale.”
“Just answer my one question and then I’ll focus. You can’t blame me for being curious, can you?” Brad rolls his eyes, as that seemed to be the norm with telling people details.
“The puppy will keep a pure dog appearance and bark for the first month of its life – hence why you have to keep it hidden. When it comes a month old, it goes forth into werewolf state and goes into human form, taking the course of a normal baby. It will only transform under a pure full moon and when it gets to be about five or six, and then you can teach the child to not transform – like I know. You can then teach to transform at will and attack when they get to age 10.” Joey shakes his head, understanding, as he kicks back in his chair. It was still odd to think that his best friend was a werewolf at times.
“So what do you do for the first six years of its life? It’s a full moon once a month!” Brad sits back in the chair, thinking. That was obviously going to be a new challenge that he hadn’t considered yet.
“While when I was little, I stayed home with my mom while dad raced so I could transform with no issues. I guess we will have to check the moon schedule and make sure to be careful if a race falls on a night of a full moon, and make sure that we keep other friends away those nights.” He shrugs his shoulders, thinking that’d be a suitable solution. It really fit the matter of thought for the time being. He had other thoughts to combat first. “I don’t know, Joey. I haven’t even considered the child’s birth or how we’re gong to handle that first month. I’ve been more focused on the risks that are involved in Juliette being pregnant.”
“You could always find a way to stop the moonlight from hitting the kid – whether with clothes or a hat.” Brad’s eyes then dart over to Joey as Joey throws his arms up in defense. “I’m just suggesting!” Joey then takes a deep breath as he sits up in the chair. “I’m thinking about those risks and what you said so I can give you a good answer. I’m just wasting time till the answer comes to my mind.”
“If you don’t have a good answer, it’s fine. Welcome to my world! It’s why I keep thinking about it.” Joey then thinks things over. There were always tough decisions in life. He learned one thing about those tough decisions, remembering the advice from his crew chief Todd Gordon a long time ago.
“While at least you’re not avoiding the issue at hand – that’s a start. You’re thinking about it and considering it. Have you been discussing it with Juliette?” Brad shakes his head, remembering their discussions.
“I’ve been open to her, and told her how I felt. She still has said that I should keep thinking about it and consider the idea of her getting pregnant.” Joey then sits back in his seat, going through the discussion. There was a 25% chance of things going wrong. That was a considerable risk as he thought it over. He also realized everything that the pair had overcome already to just get to this point.
“Juliette and you have fought for everything that you have – whether fighting Jason, the critics of your relationship and are still arguing with your family. You’ve both overcome everything to get to where you are at this point, and know that you both can’t stand to be apart at all. A child of your own would be special, but is it worth the chance of losing what you have? I think if I was in your shoes, I would suggest to Brittany that perhaps that we should adopt if we want to raise a child of our own. That way you have the child, or children, that you dreamed of together – but without the risk.” Brad shakes his head, understanding. It seemed his teammate was on board with what he had thought originally when the idea of children came up for discussion. He just wondered if he could get Juliette to agree to the idea.
“I though about that, but can I get Juliette to agree? She told me that it’s always been a dream of hers to have her own child.” Joey shrugged his shoulders, knowing that Brad would have it tough convincing Juliette. It seemed that she was very stubborn at times.
“You know the other option, right? You’ve overcome every other obstacle that stood in your way so far. What’s stopping you this time?” Brad knew the answer without having to put much thought into it.
“The thought of losing her and what we have together.” Joey knew that was the answer.
“There was always a chance of that, Brad. There was a chance of that when you went forth with things against Jason. There was a chance of that when her family found out. There was a chance of that with the secret vampire society, or whatever Edward referred to. What pushed you forward there?” Brad glances across the table at Joey.
“I could fight those things. I can’t fight something that’ll perhaps destroy her from the inside.” Joey was frozen at the comment, but knew it was a possibility based on the risk. It also made sense as to why they were stuck at this point.
“Like I said, adoption is a good option here.” Brad knew by Joey’s comment that he didn’t want to picture the possibility of that happening with Juliette.
It was a picture that he wished he could make disappear from his mind, as well.