Author: EverythingIDo PM
When Bella and Alice swap homes for the holidays, the last thing they expect is to find love waiting for them in a foreign land...but will fate step in to show them what they really need? Loosely based on the movie The Holiday. ALL HUMAN, CANON COUPLES.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Friendship - Bella & Edward - Chapters: 8 - Words: 27,165 - Reviews: 160 - Favs: 129 - Follows: 187 - Updated: 01-09-10 - Published: 12-07-09 - id: 5565476
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
A/N: Same disclaimer as always.
Thanks, as always, to everyone that has added this story to their alerts, favorite lists, and left reviews.
Also, HEY to my twitter girls. Y'all make me happy :) Make sure you check out their amazing stories: Risky Business (by my beta, lovingangels07), Unbitten (maggieloo402), Bedroom Confessions (JandMsMommy), Empty Panes & Pretty Things (AydenMorgen), and Blood Lust (writerinmydreams007).
This chapter should answer some lingering questions I've been asked about.
Chapter Seven: Accidents
'There's been an accident...'
Four solitary words that, when strung together in a sentence, could change the course of someone's life forever. A little over a year ago, they had dramatically altered mine, and ever since, nothing had been the same.
In the days that initially followed, my life fell into a boring, robotic routine: wake up, go for a run, take a shower, go to work, come home, eat, go to bed. I welcomed the monotony to keep my mind from going to that painful place where the wounds were only beginning to heal with shallow scabs and stitches. Eventually, I began to socialize again, mainly with my family and closest friends, but my heart was still in a million little pieces as I mourned the death of my spouse that I had planned on growing old with.
Of course, when I received the urgent call from the hospital with Carlisle on the other end repeating the haunting phrase, I had no choice but to leave the cafe immediately, for my own sanity, ignoring his repeated assurances that everything was fine. I needed to make sure that things were okay and that another piece of my heart wasn't in danger of shattering again because I wasn't sure it could handle another crack.
It didn't matter that I was sitting across from the first woman that had intrigued me since my late wife passed so many years ago. Our friendship was still so new, so fresh that I was hesitant to dump the double whammy of my deceased wife and five-year-old daughter on her. She was here for a vacation, not a pity party. Plus, for the first time since the accident, someone wasn't walking on eggshells around me and I was glad for that. I finally felt normal, like I was slowly becoming myself again.
As I approached the hospital, I forced the thoughts of Bella out of my head and refused to address the feelings that I may or may not have developed for the clumsy brunette who always seemed to need my assistance.
Even though it was a different hospital and a completely different area of the city, I stepped off the elevator into the wing designated for emergencies, when painful memories that I kept suppressed for so long came back with a vengeance. Images and statements from the night I tried so hard to suppress flooded my mind.
'Internal bleeding...brain trauma...possible spinal injury...broken leg...'
Tanya was strapped to a backboard that rested on a gurney, her beautiful blond hair caked in blood and a brace framed the neck that I adored. Her eyes were closed and tubes crossed her body in a tangled web.
'Your daughter is fine...just a few cuts and scrapes...the car seat saved her.'
Lily was only four years old. She sat in my mother's lap as we attempted to shield her from the trauma unfolding before her young eyes. I needed to remove my little girl from the scene of her mother's probable death, but I was in shock.
'First responders found the driver ten feet from the car...no seatbelt...tossed through the windshield...single vehicle accident...probably slid on the ice...'
Carlisle paced outside the double doors that led into the operating room he wasn't allowed in, his hands balled into fists. I knew he wished she wasn't a relative so that he could save her, save me.
'There's nothing more we can do...see how she does through the night...it's out of our hands...'
I sat awake all night in the hard, uncomfortable chair and made promises to God in exchange for my wife's life. Tanya was connected to so many machines that I lost count. I was losing hope.
'Dr. Cullen, all that is keeping her alive now is the machines...no brain activity...you know how it is...'
We got a second opinion, then a third….
And then we said goodbye.
My breath caught in my throat as the reminders of that night flashed through my mind and I forced myself to remember Carlisle's assurances over the phone. Lily was fine. Everything was going to be okay, it was just a small accident at the park. After slowly counting backwards from ten, I released the breath that I had trapped in my lungs and continued on the journey towards my daughter after a brief stop at the nurses' station for a room number.
I quietly opened the heavy wooden door in case Llly was asleep on the other side. Of course, she wasn't. I smiled when I saw her seated atop the examination table, a bright red sucker in one hand. Her hair was pulled up into pigtails with little pink ribbons and there were clumps of dirt smudged into the denim fabric covering her knees. Lily was bouncing, a trait she inherited from Alice, when she heard the door open.
"Daddy!" she squealed when she saw me enter. I savored the tone of her little voice, knowing that it would mature in what seemed like a blink of an eye.
I was at her side within seconds. "Hey, baby girl," I cooed, kissing her on the forehead before backing away to check her for injuries. From what I could gather, it seemed that only her right arm was affected.
"Stupid JB pushed me off the slide at the park when Nan wasn't looking," she explained without being prompted, her voice pouty as I poked and prodded at her arm. It rested awkwardly on a sterile table next to the bed and a metal brace that framed both sides was attached with medical tape.
I leaned down in front of her, my arms framing the tiny girl with dark bronze hair, "Did he do it on purpose?"
Lily shrugged and the look on her small, doll-like face told me she hadn't been completely innocent in the playground encounter.
I heard Esme sigh from behind me. Lily huffed, knowing she had been caught.
"Lily? What did you do to Jacob?" I asked in an authoritative tone that I knew she would respond to.
"I pulled his ponytail," she answered in a proud, matter-of-fact tone.
"Why did you pull his...ponytail?" Ponytail? On a five-year-old boy?
She folded her arms across her chest and pouted some more…always so stubborn.
"He made fun of me." Her eyes were trained on the floor as she mumbled her answer.
I straightened suddenly. Lily was usually so strong willed and sure of herself; I couldn't imagine what could have been said to provoke her. "What did he say?"
Lily was silent for a few tense, awkward moments before she finally spoke.
"That I didn't have a mommy." Her eyes were trained on the ground avoiding my gaze.
I had anticipated this day; I knew it was coming. Lily was going to have questions and she was going to overhear people talk. What I did not expect however, was for that day to come before she even had a chance to step foot in school.
Before I got the opportunity to debunk the snot-nosed boy's taunting, the door opened again and Carlisle stepped through with the X-Ray results from the scans taken prior to my arrival.
"Son," he nodded in greeting as he clipped them to the illuminated board.
I turned to him and smiled warily, "Is it broken?"
He shook his head, examining the image carefully, "Just a sprain. You know the procedure for handling it, I'm sure," he said with a smirk.
"I do," I agreed, shifting my attention back to my daughter.
"Lilybug," Carlisle turned to face her, bending down so that he could look her in the eye. "Do you promise me you won't let JB bother you again?"
She nodded, the hint of a smile playing on her lips. "I'll try," she promised, "but sometimes he smells like wet dog and I can't help myself." I was amazed at the maturity of her statement.
Esme snorted, a rarity for my always-polished mother, Carlisle boomed with laughter, and I chuckled lightly to myself.
"She does have a point," Esme stated. "His father reeked of a terrible odor as he apologized for his son's outburst."
I turned to her and glared; she wasn't supposed to be encouraging Lily's behavior. She held up her hands in innocence, playing the grandmother card.
I looked to Lily, who was shooting me the most innocent face she could muster, and sighed. "Let's get you home, baby girl," I said before picking her up. Within seconds, she was cuddled into my side, her head was on my shoulder and she was on her way to dreamland.
After thanking Carlisle for leaving the surgical floor for a bit to take care of Lily, I turned to Esme. "Thanks for today, Mom."
"Anytime, son. We'll see you two for Christmas Eve?"
"Sure thing," I assured her before placing a quick kiss on her cheek.
"Where's Sugar?" Lily called from her perch in the middle of my king sized bed; I was allowing her to sleep in my room for the night after her difficult afternoon. She had begged and begged and, after a while, I couldn't find it in my heart to say no.
Sugar was Lily's stuffed giraffe, a favorite present from Carlisle and Esme that never left her sight.
"Is he not in here?" I asked.
She shook her head back and forth, her ponytail swaying as she did.
I nodded. "I'll go get him."
In keeping with the general tone of the day, I was waiting on Lily, hand and foot. She had, of course, milked her playground injury to the fullest. All afternoon, it had been a refill of chocolate milk here, an episode of Dora the Explorer there, and her favorite dinner, McDonalds (which I despised), to top it all off.
I had to admit, though, I couldn't resist her charm and puppy dog eyes, especially after my worry this morning.
After retrieving Sugar, I stuck him under the covers next to Lily and climbed in the bed beside her. Ever the snuggle bug, she cuddled into my side instantly. Before I knew it, I was nodding off.
"Daddy?" Lily asked, waking me out of my short doze.
I looked down at her frowning face and sad eyes. "What's wrong, baby girl?"
"Sometimes," she paused, "I can't remember Mommy."
I slowly licked my lips, trying to find the best way to console my daughter; to reassure her that her mother's memory would never fade.
"Well it's a good thing I can tell you whatever you need to know," I finally came up with. My voice cracked as I spoke.
Lily bit her lip. "I think I remember that she was pretty," she mumbled.
"She was beautiful," I tapped Lily's nose with my index finger, "just like you."
She smiled up at me. "Really?"
"Really," I agreed with a nod. "And she was smart and funny and loved to go shopping with your Aunt Alice."
"I like shopping with Aunt Alice, too," Lily grinned happily, sitting up straighter, satisfied that she had some of her mother's traits and habits.
"You're very much like her," I agreed. "You're sweet and very, very smart and I love you."
Lily didn't reply, but she sighed and nestled closer into my side. After a few quiet minutes, I assumed that she had fallen asleep until she unexpectedly spoke again.
"Hm?" I assumed another simple question about Tanya and her favorite things was coming.
"Will I ever get a new Mommy? My friend Kate got a new Mommy…"
The room fell silent as the question hung in the room. I had no clue how to respond to my sweet girl and her innocent inquiry. Of course, I would love to eventually remarry, find another mate, but I didn't want to disrespect Tanya's memory. Was it too soon?
"Um," I began, "do you want a new Mommy?"
Lily seemed to ponder this, her head rocking back and forth as she hummed under her breath.
"I don't think I would mind a new Mommy…"
I couldn't help but grin at her cuteness. "Honey, is this about what JB said today at the park?"
She frowned. "A little bit…"
"And the rest?"
"It's just, no offense Daddy, but you're a boy," she said.
I chuckled. "I'm aware of that."
She continued. "I think I might want to have another girl here for, you know, girl things and to talk about boyfriends and stuff, for when I grow up."
"No boyfriends," I injected.
She rolled her eyes. "Daddy, I have, like, three boyfriends."
"Three?" I screeched.
She nodded. "Well, really only two. JB thinks he's my boyfriend but he smells funny sometimes, remember?"
"Yes, I remember. But three? Lil…" I groaned.
She shrugged, sending me a familiar crooked grin that explained it all.
"Do you kiss them?" I knew she was only five but I felt the need to cover my bases.
"Ew, no! Daddy, they have cooties. We just play together when Nan takes me to the park sometimes." Whew.
I nodded firmly. "Good. No kissing until you're married." I could try, no matter how in vain my efforts might be.
"Okay," she agreed innocently. I made a mental note to hold her to that agreement when she grew up and I caught her kissing her boyfriend.
"Okay," I echoed with a firm nod.
"I think," she stated, changing gears again, "that Mommy would be okay with you finding me a new Mommy."
My eyebrows rose in surprise. Sometimes Lily spoke and I wondered if she was an old soul stuck in the body of a five-year-old.
"Why do you say that, bug?"
"Because," she said with a sigh, "she wants you to be happy." The tone of her voice made me think she wanted to add 'duh' at the end.
"I am happy," I countered.
Lily shook her head back and forth. "You could be happier."
She nodded. "I know," she closed her eyes as she spoke, "goodnight, Daddy."
Within minutes, she was snoring softly against my side and I was wide-awake, contemplating the conversation that had just taken place.
My five year old just told me, in her own unique way, that she thought I was unhappy and that she didn't want me to be.
As I pondered the reasoning behind her decision to tell me that she wanted me to be happier, my mind drifted to the last time I felt truly happy and content. I didn't have to search too hard for such a moment, because I found it in my serendipitous encounter with Bella earlier in the day at the café I frequented.
I recalled my thoughts from earlier, needing to evaluate the importance of the peace I felt around her. I was now almost certain that I felt whole around her because, to her, I was. She didn't know the heartache that left me broken. She wasn't aware that I was solely responsible for a five-year-old that bounced and skipped everywhere and loved a stuffed giraffe named Sugar.
She didn't know, I realized, anything significant about me…and she needed to, for no reason other than that she made me happy.
It was time, I decided, to open up a little more of myself to Bella.
There it is :) Questions answered? Was it what you expected?
My fingers type faster when you REVIEW!! So, do it!
EDIT: I added a new story today titled Texts from Last Night. Check it out if you love Edward and Bella!