|When I See You Smile
Author: Iwant2sparkle PM
Bella meets Edward at the annual Cullen Family Independence Day Picnic. Both are suffering from broken hearts, so what will happen when they feel an instant attraction? How will Edward deal with Bella's past coming back to haunt her? AU/AH, Some OOC.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Drama - Bella & Edward - Chapters: 21 - Words: 118,016 - Reviews: 660 - Favs: 504 - Follows: 585 - Updated: 09-21-10 - Published: 05-04-09 - id: 5039032
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
See? Miracles do happen! You don't want to hear my excuses, I'm sure, so let's just get on with it, shall we?
As usual, thanks to maganbagan for sticking this out with me and my constant battle with the comma. And much love and thanks to emilydmamaof3 aka EmDempster and jadsmama for being my prereaders.
Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight or anything Twilight related. Surely we've established this by now.
"Oh my gosh, Bella. He's so dreamy." Jessica's eyes practically had cartoon stars blinking in them. She had been sighing and giggling and gushing about Alec since we left the table.
"He's just so perfect, Bella. And, I mean, he's a doctor!" She continued chatting in her tipsy, high voice as we washed our hands.
"You and Edward seem to be getting closer. Things must be going well with you guys, huh?" She grinned widely at me.
"Yes, we are. He's…sort of perfect." I couldn't contain my own grin as I thought of our blossoming relationship.
"I'm so happy for you guys. You are perfect for each other. Now let me get back out there to my new man!" She tossed her paper towel in the trash can and skipped out the door as I finished rinsing my hands. I moved to toss my own paper towel in the garbage and follow her out, but was stopped by a body blocking the exit. When I looked up to say excuse me, I stopped dead in my tracks.
In front of me, Jessica stood with wide eyes and a terrified expression. Behind her, with one arm latched around her body, stood Mike.
"Hello, Bella." A sneer crossed his face as the greeting spewed from his mouth. Confusion laced through my hazy mind until my gaze landed on the area where Mike's hand was gripping Jessica's arm. Wrapped in his other hand and pressed into Jessica's arm was a knife, its silver blade reflecting the dim light in the hall.
"What the hell do you think you're doing?" My own voice was foreign and screechy to my ears, but my panic level was rising. The alcohol running through my blood did not help hinder it but instead made it rise much, much quicker.
"You two are going to come with me," he replied calmly, as if he was going to take us to a friendly dinner. Yeah right.
"Like hell we are." My mouth opened to scream but was cut off by a small squeak from Jessica.
"Bella, don't," she whispered. Turning my attention to the knife, I could see Mike pressing it into Jessica's skin. My anger tripled in that moment. I just knew, or rather prayed, that someone would come around the corner soon and see this going on.
"Come on." Mike backed up so I could step out. He pointed to the side door at the other end of the hall that led to what I presumed was the outside lot. I walked backwards to the door as Mike kept his eyes trained on me. As much as I wanted to bolt, I couldn't do it to Jessica. In his fragile state of mind, there was no telling what he was capable of doing. It was best for both of us for me to cooperate and hopefully find someone in the lot outside to help us.
I pushed the cracked door fully open and stumbled on the brick that had propped it open. As I regained my balance, I felt a sharp prick in my lower back as Mike urged me on into the open lot. We had emerged in a dimly lit area, and the parking lot seemed deserted. So much for that plan.
Jessica was whimpering behind me as Mike dragged her along. I reached out to grab her hand but was instead grabbed by the elbow and led to an old, blue van parked in a corner. Once we reached it, Mike released my arm and flung open the side door. There was nothing in the back except a few blankets and a stuffed plastic bag.
My eyes continuously darted back and forth across the empty lot, praying that someone would find some reason to come to their car. I heard a muffled screech and turned to see Mike had clamped a cloth over Jessica's face. Her eyes rolled in the back of her head and she fainted before I could speak up.
"Mike! What did you do," I screamed.
"Relax, Bella. It's just a little chloroform. Not even enough to hurt her. Now, are you going to go willingly or do I have to make you take a little nap, also?" He snickered at his little joke, but I was furious. My temper was kicking in and my rational thinking was slowly coming to a halt.
"Fuck you, Mike. I'm not going anywhere with you." I turned to run for help but was caught once again by the elbow. He jerked me back, and I felt his arm tighten around my waist and saw the drenched cloth come into my line of vision.
"No!" I screamed loudly hoping someone, anyone, would hear. Even though I elbowed him as hard as I could in the ribcage, he continued to overpower me. He kept trying to cover my face with the blue fabric, but I somehow kept managing to swat him away. I hadn't realized that the knife was still in his hand until it became exposed and sliced down my cheek during an attempt to once again cover my face. I froze when I felt the searing pain on my skin. Mike won his battle against me during the shock, and I breathed in the strong scent shortly before my world became dizzy and darkness overcame me as I heard yelling in the distance.
~ O ~ O ~ O ~ O ~ O ~ O ~ O ~ O ~ O ~ O ~
Lots of voices. I could hear lots of voices. My head was pounding and someone was poking at me. I tried to smack away the offending hand when I heard a voice I could pinpoint.
"Bella? Wake up, Bella. Please wake up."
I slowly opened my eyes but quickly closed them again. There were flashing lights everywhere.
"There you go. Come on, Bella. Open your eyes."
I squinted them open once more and focused on Edward.
"How are you feeling, Bella?" Another voice. This time from my right. Without turning my head much, I shifted my eyes over to see Alec kneeling beside me. I turned my gaze back to Edward, trying to figure out what happened and why they were hovering over me.
"What's going on? What happened?"
He exhaled a breath of relief and cupped the side of my face.
"You don't remember?"
I slowly shook my head and realized suddenly that I was lying on the ground. In a flash, it all came back to me. Mike. The knife. Jessica. Oh God. Jessica.
"Jessica?" I questioned Edward.
"Where is she, Bella?"
"She's not here? Oh no! Mike has her! You have to send someone after her, Edward!" I sat up quickly as the hysteria started to boil up in me once again only to be overwhelmed with so much dizziness that I collapsed into Edward's body. Mike had Jessica and he had a weapon. And why wasn't I with them? How did I escape from being thrown in that van?
"Calm down, Bella. We'll find her."
"I can't calm down! He has a knife! And he has already hurt her!" Edward's arms stayed wrapped around my torso as I struggled to sit up once more.
"Emmett," Edward called, his eyes never leaving me. I looked past his shoulder to see Emmett conversing with a group of officers. He held up a finger silently asking them to give him a moment and jogged over to where I sat.
"Bella? You ok? You scared the hell out of us!" The seriousness etched in his normally jovial face was confirmation as to just how severe this situation was.
"I-I think so. My head hurts."
A small smile broke his face. "I imagine it does. Bella, I'm sorry to ask you, but I need to get any details that you may have. Do you know where Jessica is?"
"She must be with Mike. He was driving a van. A blue one."
"Right. The guy that caught him assaulting you got a license plate number but he didn't see anyone else in the van. Do you have any idea where they were going?"
"No, none at all. He knocked her out, though. Not physically. He held some kind of cloth to her face. She passed out and he threw her in the back. He used the same cloth on me. It smelled terrible."
"Some kind of chemical, I bet," Emmett replied. Alec spoke up.
"Most likely chloroform or ether. Does he have access to that kind of stuff?" His question was directed at me, but how was I to know?
"Um, I really don't know, but I wouldn't think so. I have no idea where he got it." I looked over to Edward for some reassurance. "Will she be ok?"
"She'll be fine as long as she wasn't exposed to heavy amounts of it. I imagine that's what made you faint. We're going to get you in an ambulance to take you in for observation so we can test to see what it is."
I nodded and looked back at Emmett.
"I'm sorry I don't have anymore information to help, Emmett."
"Bella, none of this is your fault, you hear me? Do not think for a second that you are to blame for that sick asshole getting his hands on her."
The medics appeared beside me with a stretcher, and Edward helped me onto it. An officer crossed the lot quickly and spoke quietly to Emmett. I hazily watched their exchange but was suddenly very alert and interested when Emmett pulled Edward back to urgently whisper something to him. Edward clapped him on the back and he was gone.
"What's going on?"
"Nothing to worry about. Let's just get you to the hospital."
"Edward, tell me." He paused for a moment before I could see the resignation in his stance.
"They just got a call in. There's been a single car accident on interstate ninety. The description of the van matches. They think it's Mike and Jessica. They haven't had a chance to run the plate yet."
He was leaving something out, I could tell.
"How bad is it?" He hesitated a moment and looked down at the ground before meeting my eyes. His were glossy.
My hand flew to my mouth and tears instantly ran down my cheek.
"Let's not assume the worst just yet, Bella. It could just be a coincidence, may not even be them. Or if it is, she could be fine. Let's just get you to the hospital and wait to hear from Emmett, ok?"
I composed myself as best as I could and nodded in agreement.
"Ok, let's go."
~ O ~ O ~ O ~ O ~ O ~ O ~ O ~ O ~ O ~ O ~
I had never been so scared in my life as I had when I realized the body on the ground was Bella. She had been out for a solid ten minutes before waking up. The guy who had witnessed the assault didn't see anyone except another man race out of the parking lot in a van, so we had no idea where Jessica was. Emmett went back inside to look around the bathrooms and the bar, but there was no sign of her. He came back to interview the witness, and as I overheard the conversation of the description of the assailant, I knew it was Mike. The guy had given me the creeps the first time I had met him at my parents' house, so it turned out I was a pretty good judge of character there.
After Bella had awoken and recounted the incident to Emmett, I found myself seriously contemplating murder. If I could've wrapped my hands around Mike's grimy neck at that moment, I would've snapped it in half. It was almost worth becoming someone's prison bitch to give Bella some kind of redemption.
When Emmett received the call about the wreck, my gut clenched and I instantly knew it was them. My first priority was to get Bella to the hospital for observation. I had no idea what Mike had put on that cloth to drug the girls, so we needed to run some tests as soon as possible to make sure everything was clear. She seemed fine, but there was no such thing as being too cautious in situations like these.
During the ambulance ride to the hospital, the stress of the events finally hit Bella. One moment she was calmly riding on the gurney and the next she completely lost her composure and broke down crying. The paramedic riding in the back with us tried to reassure her that everything was fine, but she was past reasoning. So I perched on the edge of the small bed and let her cry into my chest and cling to me until we reached the emergency room entrance. She was exhausted by the time we unloaded her and wheeled into a room.
While the nurses bustled in and out taking vital signs and endless blood samples, she was calm and introverted. She finally spoke when we had a moment alone.
"It's all my fault," she whispered while I was looking over her chart.
"What? How can you say that, Bella?" Tears started pooling in her eyes again. I braced myself for another round of tears.
"If I had just cooperated a little bit, maybe I could've stopped him from taking either one of us. Now Jessica could be hurt…or possibly worse…and I couldn't stop Mike."
"Bella, stop." It wasn't my intention to be stern with her, but no way was I going to let her sit there and blame herself for the crazy shit Mike pulled. "It was not your fault. You know that. There's nothing you could've done." She nodded silently, but the tears continued to fall. I slid her chart back in the slot and nudged her to scoot over in the bed. As soon as I was settled beside her, she wrapped around me as best as she could considering she was hooked up to every kind of monitor I could convince the staff to round up. I held her close and rubbed her back until she started to drift off to sleep.
Of course, Emmett picked that moment to show up.
"Hi," he said quietly. Any attempts to have a quiet conversation around Bella sleeping were quickly squashed as she jerked awake and sat up straight at the sound of his voice.
"What happened? Where's Jessica? Is she ok? Was it them?"
"Calm down, Bella, and I'll tell you everything. Just…take a breath." She settled back in the bed a bit, ever the obedient one, but she didn't relax. I could feel the anxiety rolling off of her in waves. Emmett took his time as he crossed the room and settled in the hard blue chair. He let out a deep breath and I felt Bella tense up even more.
"Emmett, you're scaring Bella…and me, quite frankly. Get on with it."
"Jessica is here. She's pretty cut up and suffered a broken leg, a broken arm, a ruptured spleen, and a severe concussion. When I left, they were looking for an open operating room because from what I understand between all the "doctor talk", one of her bones was shattered."
"But she's ok?" Bella asked meekly.
"All in all, yes, she's ok. She'll just need quite a long time to heal."
"What about Mike?"
Emmett looked apprehensive to answer Bella and I knew right away that the news was bad. Really bad.
"Maybe I should tell you what happened first?" Bella and I nodded. "From what we can gather from witnesses and the evidence, it looks like Jessica woke up and was fighting him. A lady that was in a car traveling in front of the van said she saw them in her side mirror swerving back and forth. She looked back and saw a girl clawing at the driver. They fought for control for a few seconds before Mike apparently lost control of the van. They must have been traveling at a pretty high rate of speed because witnesses traveling behind the van said they saw him slam on the breaks and then fishtail a few times before the van rolled twice. How the other traffic avoided colliding with them, I'll never know."
We were silent as all the information Emmett had provided us sunk in.
"She fought back," Bella whispered. "Good for her." She suddenly remembered her original question. "What about Mike?"
Emmett winced at the name and it suddenly clicked in my head that he may have not just gotten severely hurt.
"Bella, Mike's window blew out and he wasn't wearing his seat belt. He was thrown from the vehicle." I looked over to see her eyes widen. When she didn't respond, Emmett continued.
"Bella, he didn't make it. He was barely breathing by the time the ambulance arrived on the scene. He was gone by the time they arrived here."
Her hands had flown over her mouth as Emmett spoke and she started chanting, "Oh my god," over and over again. The tears started to flow once more. Emmett nodded at me and quietly slipped out the door as Bella wailed into my shoulder.
"I can't believe he's dead," she cried. On one hand I was baffled that she could be so upset about the death of someone that hurt her in so many ways. On the other hand, she spent two years of her life with him. Deep down inside, she still had good memories of the man she initially fell in love with. I resumed my position of holding her and stroking her back while telling her how much I loved her until she eventually gave into exhaustion and fell asleep.
~ O ~ O ~ O ~ O ~ O ~ O ~ O ~ O ~ O ~ O ~
When I could safely extract myself from Bella's bedside, I walked into the waiting room to see Alice, Jasper and Rosalie huddled together in the corner. Alice's eyes were bloodshot and I could tell they all had learned of the outcome of the night's activities.
"Is she ok?" Alice asked timidly.
I confirmed that Bella was as ok as she was going to be considering the situation and advised them to go home and get some rest. While I had been able to round up a pair of scrubs to change into, Alice kindly took my key and agreed to be back first thing in the morning with a fresh set of clothes. She had called Charlie not long before my appearance in the waiting room. It should've taken him approximately four hours to get to Seattle. He came rushing through the sliding doors in two.
After once again recounting the events to him and reassuring him that Bella seemed fine, he sought out the officer in charge of the case and said he'd be back to check on her which he did every hour on the hour.
During the night, Alec came in and gave me an update on Jessica's condition. After a three hour surgery and a couple of plates and screws, her leg was on the mend. Her arm had been set and she would have to spend a few days in the hospital to let her ruptured spleen heal and to monitor the concussion. However, considering Mike's fate, she was lucky. I asked Alec if she had been told yet, but they had chosen to wait until she was fully awake and coherent.
Bella's blood tests had come back from the lab also and were thankfully clear. She must been exposed to a very small amount before Mike had been caught. I made a mental note to remember to get the Good Samaritan's name from Emmett. He at least deserved a thank you card.
The next morning, I awoke to see Bella already sitting up and eating her breakfast. She looked absorbed in her thoughts and didn't notice that I was awake until I sat up. Her head jerked to me and she gave me a sad smile.
"Hi," she said quietly.
"Hi." I pushed back the scratchy, white blanket and scooted to the edge of the chair. "How are you feeling?"
"Tired," she replied with a shrug. "Exhausted, actually. Emotional."
"I called the principal at the school and told him the situation. He was very nice and told me to take as much time as I needed." I nodded, not exactly sure what to say. Good? One would think this would probably be as close to a sick day as you could get.
She picked through her scrambled eggs silently. The tension in the room was thick. I knew she was wallowing in her own misery.
"Would you like to know how Jessica is?"
She perked up at the mention of her name and nodded adamantly. I proceeded to explain Jessica's current state and also let her know that her own blood tests had come back clear. She listened attentively and smiled softly when I told her everything was going to be ok.
"Bella, I need to talk to you about something." She silently turned to me in question as I moved to the edge of her bed. "I don't want to offend you in any way or assume that I know best, I think it would be wise for you to see a professional and talk about all of this." She started to speak but I cut her off. "It doesn't have to be today or tomorrow or even next week. Just sometime in the near future. I think you are placing too much blame on yourself for all of this when it was all out of your control. Please just think about it, will you?" I ended my little tirade with a tight grip on her hand and a pleading gaze. She was silent a moment before she spoke.
"It still amazes me how caring and attentive you are." Her lips formed a soft smile that made me return one of my own.
"I love you, Bella. I want you to be happy and well, and I want you to get whatever help you need. But I don't want to push you, ok?"
"You're not pushing, Edward. I had actually already planned on calling someone. I don't want to be someone that dwells on this all the time and is afraid of my own shadow. I want to get past it quickly and move on with my life." I breathed a sigh of relief.
"That's great, Bella. I'll get some names if you'd like. I'll even go with you if you need me to, ok?"
"Thank you. I might just take you up on that offer. I don't want to do this alone." She grabbed my hand and gripped it tightly. "Thank you for everything."
"Anytime, sweetheart. I'll always be there for you. You'll never be alone."
The heavy brown door to Bella's room flew open and in trudged Charlie with Alice hot on his heels. He looked relieved to see Bella awake. Her reaction was surprise. I had failed to mention in our quiet time that he was here. Needless to say, she was overwhelmed and once again, those tears made their appearance. After a small greeting from Alice, I pulled her into the hall with me to give the father/daughter duo a moment. Thankfully, Alice had remembered to stop by my place and get me a bag and even brought some of Bella's stuff. I excused myself to the doctor's lounge and quickly freshened up. As I was leaving, Alec came flying through the door.
"You're still here, too?" The man actually blushed and stammered a little bit before finally confessing that he had pretty much been holding vigil over Jessica's bed.
"Dude, you just met her."
"I know, man. But…I just can't leave. I feel very drawn to her. Besides, her parents aren't here yet because I don't think anyone could get in touch with them until very recently. She has no one. Alice and Emmett have been in and out and you're busy with Bella. She doesn't need to be alone." His rambling finally halted. I clapped him on the shoulder in the manly way that we men do and nodded my head at him.
"You're a good man, Alec. Take care of her."
He nodded and quietly replied, "I plan to." I heard more behind his words than just agreement to take care of her at the present moment, but I let it go and smiled to myself as I walked back toward my own future.
~ O ~ O ~ O ~ O ~ O ~ O ~ O ~ O ~ O ~ O ~
Later that afternoon, Bella's spirits had lifted significantly. Her dad and my entire family, including my parents, had descended upon her room, fussing over her while she was waiting to be discharged. The only break she got from them all was when the officer in charge of the case had come in to take her official statement. She insisted that I stay with her and I couldn't say no. I hated having to hear the story again but seriously doubted as much as Bella hated retelling it.
Jessica's parents and Alec were with her. She was finally awake and coherent enough to remember what had happened, so she was asking questions. Emmett excused himself to join them while the news was delivered. When he returned later, he was quiet and subdued, a first for him. We all quizzed him about her reaction, and he said it was what could be expected. She was very upset, but instead of blaming herself, she plainly stated that Mike got what he deserved. Apparently her anger was taking place of any remorse she might feel.
"I need to go talk to her," Bella said quietly. I nodded silently and went to check on her discharge papers. Returning a few minutes later with the nurse, the papers and the hospital required wheelchair, we were able to have Bella released and wheeled to the lobby. She very quickly ditched the wheelchair and went to wait on an elevator to carry her up to Jessica's room.
"Do you want me to go with you?" I asked, not necessarily because I wanted to accompany her, but more so in case she wanted me by her side.
"No." She shook her head solemnly. "I believe I need to speak with her alone."
"Ok. I'm going to go check in with my boss to make some arrangements, but I'll probably be in the cafeteria by the time you finish. Just call me or text me, ok?" She nodded. Even though I understood the reasons behind it, the broken look in her eyes was killing me. I wanted to make her smile that breathtaking smile that had first drawn me to her. I gently grabbed her chin and made her focus on me for a split second so she could see my complete honesty and devotion when I spoke next.
"I love you." She teared up again and sniffled slightly.
"I love you, too," she responded with a slight tremble in her voice. With a squeeze of my hand, she turned and stepped onto the waiting elevator.
I preoccupied myself for the next hour with making arrangements to take a couple of days off from work in case Bella needed me. After everything was arranged with my very understanding co-workers, I wandered down to the cafeteria for a cup of coffee. I had just finished drinking it when Bella appeared in the doorway with tear stained cheeks and bloodshot eyes. But she was wearing a smile.
I quickly made my way over to her and gathered her up in my arms. She clung to me tightly as we stood in the doorway, most likely making a barrier for those trying to enter or leave, but I didn't care. When she released me, I led her outside.
"We can leave whenever you are ready. Alice dropped your car off at my building and brought mine back."
"I'm ready whenever you are. Let's go home."
Shortly thereafter, while we were caught up in traffic, I took the opportunity to ask how it went with Jessica, which judging by the look on Bella's face, I assumed it went well.
"Actually, it went great. We began by fighting over which one of us wanted to blame ourselves the most, but we ended in accepting the fact that neither of us were to blame. It was all Mikes' fault. And he suffered the ultimate punishment for his decisions. We both know that and are accepting it. I still think we'll need to discuss the events and background of our relationships with him with a professional, though, because one conversation won't keep all of those feelings of guilt at bay. So, we're going to try to arrange it so that we are going to the same doctor. That way, he/she will know both of our stories and maybe it will help us deal with this quickly and effectively. I just want it to all be over with and move on with my life."
She never ceased to amaze me. Whereas most people refused help with things of this nature, she welcomed it and acknowledged that it would help her move on.
"That sounds like a great plan. I can still get some names for you if you want me to do so." She reached over and grasped my right hand with her left.
"That would be great. Thank you."
"So does this mean that you're going to be moving out now?" I asked as we pulled up to my apartment building.
"Are you kicking me out?" She sounded playful but her voice held a bit of an anxious edge to it.
"Of course not. I just didn't know if you wanted to stay with me now or not considering you don't have to any longer. I didn't know if you wanted to go home." I'm sure I sounded like a lost little child but I couldn't help it. Now that she had been living with me, I didn't want her to leave.
She reached over and used the same move I pulled on her earlier at the hospital by pulling my chin down so that I focused on her and her only.
As that gorgeous smile made its reappearance, she quietly said, "I believe I'm already home."
This is the last regular chapter. I'd love to hear what you think of it. : ) There will be an epilogue but I make no promises of when it will be delivered. I'm hoping soon.
I've posted a few one-shots since the last update of this story if any of you would like to check them out.
Thanks to all of you who have stuck this out with me. I never expected anyone to read this little story, so I'm grateful to each and every person that read, alerted, recommended or reviewed it. Lots of love to you all. : )