TwiFic Doctorward Contest

Title: His Failing Heart

Prompt #: 12

Pairing: Edward/Bella

Genre: Romance, Drama

Summary: The perfect wife. A leading doctor. She has the weight of her marriage on her shoulders. He has the weight of their hearts in his hands.

Word count: 4281

Disclaimer: The author does not own any publicly recognizable entities herein. No copyright infringement is intended.


I hear you before I see you. The way your heels click against the linoleum floor. Tap…tap…tap. I try not to look, not wanting to be reminded of those long legs and how they tense so beautifully when you come.

"Dr. Cullen." It has to be a dream. You haven't spoken to me since you ran from my car that night, your hair trailing after you as you scurried through your front door, your scent still on my fingers. "Can I speak to you for a moment?"

I shake my head, continuing down the hall. Almost like I'm running away. It's for the better. You were right. I'm married to my job. You're married to him. There's no future for us. It doesn't matter that I ache for you every second of the day or that I dream about your sweet lips at night or that I find any excuse to go to your floor. Even just a small glimpse of your darkness lifts my spirits.

Remember when I lost that patient? When I let him die beneath my scalpel? You'd said it was Fate. That she works in mysterious ways. That everything happens for a reason. With you holding my hand beneath the glittering stars, I'd cried my sorrows into your shoulder, and for one brief moment, as you wiped the tears from my cheeks, searching my eyes with your own, I thought you were going to kiss me.

Tap…tap. Tap. "Wait! Please!"

Of course you didn't. Not that time at least. You were the good wife. The perfect wife. Dark hair and dark eyes with the pinkest of lips. Dressed in brands. Flawless everything. Spending your nights in the bedside chair but waking the next morning without even a wrinkle.

But I knew you felt it. This connection between us. The fire every time our eyes met. The spark every time we accidentally touched. You would lick your lips, watching as I worked, your eyes so heated that I just knew your thoughts were anything but innocent.

Tap. Tap. Tap. "I need to speak with you!"

We tried to fight, didn't we? Tried to be good people. We only slipped up once. That night in the car. When your exhaustion and tears drove you into my arms until my lips were against yours, my fingers against your desire, my will to fight crushed with you so close.

You'd clutched at me so desperately, whispering over and over, "It wasn't supposed to be like this. I'm not supposed to be with him." Until you weren't whispering anymore. Until you were moaning, screaming, yelling my name into the night.

"Dr. Cullen!"

It's almost surprising when your fingers grab my coat and then my arm, spinning me around to face your angry dark eyes. I try to remain calm, but your chest heaving with exertion turns me on like nothing else.

"Mrs. Whitlock, how can I help you?" My voice betrays my heated insides. Can you feel how I grow hotter and hotter with each passing glance you give me?

"Please," you beg so desperately that I'm not even sure if you realize how you lean in closer, your fingers tangling with the buttons on my coat. "Tell me what Dr. Newton said isn't true."

"Mrs. Whitlock…" It hurts to call you by his name. Why won't you give in to me like I want to give in to you? "You should really discuss this with Dr. Newton."

"Please…" You pause, and it's like the entire ward's heartbeat is between us. "Edward...I want to hear it from you."

How sweet my name sounds on your lips. It crushes my resolve. "Bella…"

"Please, Edward. Tell me my husband is going to live."

I look behind you. The hallway is deserted at this time of night, and yet I can still feel the eyes of the snooping nurses. I take your hand gently into mine, pulling you toward the nearest door. Darkness engulfs us as we step into the supply closet, your eyes almost lost amongst all the black.

You wait, shuffling on your feet as your hands grab at the hem of your shirt, your fingers so nervous with the way they twist and turn. "Bella, your husband's condition took a turn for the worse last night. He needs a new heart now."

"Then get him one. If anyone can, it's you, Edward! You're the best."

I move to erase the sorrow from your eyes, but you step away from my touch. My hands fall to the side in defeat. How you break my heart with each brush off. "You know that's not how it works. I just put the heart in. I can't get a new one."

There's a moment everyone must experience, when reality crashes down into the fantasy we've created. You didn't let yourself believe your husband would die. Not a man like him. Wealthy, successful, well-liked and respected by everyone. Anyone would be lucky to be married to him. I thought he was lucky to be married to you. But even with all the support, with all the love, with all the money in the world at his beck and call, nothing can save him from death. Nothing but a new heart.

You break down. Your shoulders hunch, your back curving in, as if you hold the weight of your marriage's responsibility. It's not until the tears fall, when the sob escapes from your lips, when your body begins to tremble with your emotions, that I bring you into my embrace.

You don't fight. You can't. Not when you're about to fall. Not when I'm the only one holding you up.

"I don't know what to do," you sob into my shoulder.

"Hope for the best." I do. Every day. Every hour. Every minute I dream about the day I can hold you in my arms forever and call you mine.

You must feel it—the way I'm so desperate for you—because you tilt your head until your gaze meets mine, and even now with the worry lining your face, the misery twisting through your eyes, your lips chapped and abused from neglect, you're still beautiful.

I thumb the wet trails down your cheeks, holding my breath as you look deeper, harder, as if you're searching for some sort of answer, some sort of sign. When the silence becomes too much, I say, "What are you thinking, Bella? Tell me."

"I can't," you whisper, your lips barely moving as you shake your head, stepping just that much more away from me.

I beg you with my eyes. "Please, Bella."

"You and me? We're the bad guys. Nothing good can come out of this."

"No." I shake my head. I can't agree. "We're not bad, and there's so much good to be had."

"It's wrong." You look down at your shuffling feet before taking another step back. "It's always been wrong."

"What? What's wrong?" I know what you're going to say, and it hurts, but it's like some part of me needs you to break me that much more, to end me, to end this.

"You and me, but…" This time when you look up, when you continue your search, you have that same glitter in your eyes as the night we spent under the stars. Kind of like you want to kiss me.

"But?"

Your whisper is so quiet, I can't be sure if I actually heard you correctly. "Why does it feel so right?"

It's the tiny perk of your lips, the small rise at the corners of your mouth, that tell me you've found whatever you're looking for. I don't dare move as you act on your decision, as you take back those two steps, rising onto your tiptoes, your hands clutching my shoulders tight.

The breath trapped in my lungs releases when your lips touch my own. I breathe into your mouth, sharing your air as we wait and ponder. I've no idea what swirls through your mind, what you're thinking, what you want, but I know this must be what heaven feels like, to be so close to kissing you again.

It's slow but it happens. Your eyes slide shut. Your arms wrap themselves around my neck. Your lips move sensuously across mine. And when you moan, the tiniest of breathiest sounds, I fall right into your waiting embrace.

"Bella…please. Tell me what you want."

"Kiss me, Edward."

I can't resist you. Not when you beckon me with your eyes, your fingers tugging on my white coat. I sink into you as you sigh your happiness through parted lips. It's too much, feeling you like this, having your flesh against my wandering hands.

The fight in me dies. The good man follows soon after. My desperation for you bubbles over, scalding hot in the way I clench you so tight, kiss you so deep, push you so hard until you're left breathless when your back hits the concrete wall.

I can't control my harsh breaths painting your cheek. "Tell me to stop, Bella."

"I don't want you to." Your whisper calms my rapidly beating heart.

"I don't want to either." It's like we've both signed away our innocence. Like we've stepped into a world of sin. Like we can't take back what has been done and what has been said. We're in this too deep.

You hitch your skirt up, lifting your leg, clutching at the back of my thigh, pulling my aching need against your lush heat. I can't stay away from you like this. Not with your breasts moving so fast underneath your cotton shirt. Not with your hands fumbling with my belt and pants. And most definitely not with your desire growing so wet against my fingers.

"Please. God, please. I need you," you say.

My belt clanks loudly against the linoleum floor, but I can't find it in me to care as I grasp your backside, lifting your body against the concrete until your legs are wrapped around my waist.

"Make me feel better. Take all this pain away."

I push, but you pull me back. You're too close. Your hands too greedy. When you grab my lust, rubbing my engorged head against your slickness, I want to explode before I've even experienced what it's like to conquer your body with the one part of me that truly wants it.

"Bella…wait!" Your neck is damp against my lips as I try to hold myself together.

You'll have none of it though. "Dr. Cullen. Please. Fuck me."

I sink into you with a groan, shuddering as I hold myself back, raising my face to the black ceiling, opening my mouth in a silent scream, as I pull out and then push back in. My thrusts match the beating of our hearts. Slower. Thrust…thrust…thrust. And then faster. Thrust. Thrust. Thrust. You muffle your moans in my shoulder, your fingers pulling my hair, as you fall so sweetly into the abyss. I follow soon after.

I can't help the apprehension that comes. Not after our act of love. Not after we've set our clothes right and I've kissed your lips in thanks. Not after we say goodbye and you disappear into your husband's room.

No, it's later. Much later. When I'm settled at home, washing your scent from my flesh, it hits me. The fear. The panic. Will you reject me when I see you next? Will you push aside our connection in favor of your dying husband? Are you sleeping next to him now? Your hand in his? With my lust still on your body?

I seek you out the next day. Needing to see you but too afraid to approach. You're sleeping on the reclining chair in your husband's room, your hands delicately acting as a pillow for your cheek. Like this, with everything about you relaxed against the cushions, you seem so innocent, without obligations, without responsibility.

I brush my finger across your closed eyes, kissing your forehead so gently I don't know how you would feel it, but you do, because you stir, and then your dark eyes are looking up at me.

"Edward?"

"Good morning…" Bella? Sweetie? Mrs. Whitlock? What do I call you now?

"What time is it?"

"Early. Go back to sleep."

You shake your head and then stretch. With your arms above your head, your shirt lifts so high that I can see the expanse of your stomach, so creamy and white against the black leather.

You giggle, and I know I've been caught. "I don't want to sleep anymore."

You sound so carefree, and I can't help but hope, my smile overtaking my face. "Bella?"

"Hmm?"

I take a chance. "Can I kiss you?"

You search my eyes like you did last night, so hesitant as you answer. "Please do."

I cherish you. Your lips. Your body. Your wetness. Drowning in the depth of this need I have to feel you lush and ready against my fingers, against my tongue. Even though your husband slumbers with all the medication running through his system, when your moans become too loud, you drag me to the adjoining bathroom. I push you against the sink, my desire against your back and then your heat, bending you over until you're clenching around me, screaming into my hand.

"Yes! Edward! Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!"

Those moans, the way you yell my name, accompany me throughout my day. I do my job in a flurry of memories so good, so tempting, so distracting, that everyone around me notices.

"Why are you smiling like that, Dr. Cullen?" Her name is Alice. She's so young, just barely a teenager, but she will die. She's been waiting for a heart for months, and with each day that passes, her condition deteriorates more and more.

"I'm just very happy right now."

She smiles like she knows. "You know what my biggest regret is?"

"What?"

"That I won't get to wear a pretty white dress on my wedding day."

"You still could."

"No. I want it to mean something. To fall in love. Not with the dress but with the reason I'm wearing the dress."

I nod my head. In ways, she understands this sorrow more than I.

"Are you in love, Dr. Cullen?"

Am I? Do I love you? I lean against her bed, staring down into her bleak eyes. "Maybe. I don't know."

"You should figure it out. If there's anything I've learned, it's that life is short. You shouldn't spend it wondering. You should spend it living."

I don't have to pretend to think over her words. So close to death, this child knows more about things I'll never truly understand. "Tell me. What's it like? Love?"

She smiles and it's beautiful. "Life. It's like life. It brings you back from the darkness, holds your hand, and lets you live."

When Alice succumbs to death, the official story was from complications with her medication and frail condition, but in a way, I think it's because her sad heart just gave out.

You find me in my office around noon, so I pull you to my desk, setting you on top with your legs spread wide, my mouth feasting where you drip with passion. I show you how much I love you with my tongue and my hardness pressing so deep into you.

We come in a flurry of flying papers, dropping pens, and missed phone calls. Breathing so hard, our hearts beating so rapidly in our chests. I feel yours against my cheek, when I bend over in exhaustion, twitching at the way you still pulse around me.

Your fingers are soft in my hair. "Don't think the worst of me, okay?

I laugh, but you don't find it funny. "I never could."

"Jasper and I were over, but then he got sick. I couldn't just leave him."

"Because you're a good person."

You're silent for just a moment. "I try to be."

"If his heart hadn't given out on him…?"

"We'd be divorced by now."

I shouldn't say it, but I can't help the words that come tumbling out of my mouth, and the guilt I feel has nothing on these unexpected feeling that soar through my body. Why does this make a difference? Knowing you don't love him? "In a way, I'm grateful for all that's happened because if it didn't, I wouldn't have met you."

I don't need to see your smile to know it's there. I hear it in your voice. "I know what you mean."

I leave the comfort of your arms, standing straight, staring down as you stare up. "Stay with me tonight."

You pause. "What?"

"When my shift is done, come with me to my home. Spend the night in my arms."

For a second, I think you'll say no. Your eyes juggle back and forth between the wall and me. Your lips tremble as you twist my white coat between your fingers. Have I gone too far? Have I moved too fast? Are you not ready for what a night together would mean? Because we both know it would mean more.

Your silence lasts forever in my mind when really, I've barely just asked you, but then your eyes are glittering like the stars. "Yes. I'll come with you."

That night, in the blinking lights of the hospital garage, hidden in the shadows, I meet you at my car. "Were you waiting long?"

"No." And I swear I hear you whisper, "I'd wait forever for you." But it is as soft as the wind, and I can't be sure.

I hold your hand while I drive, rubbing my thumb so slowly across your skin as you sigh your happiness. A sort of lazy comfort fills the small space inside the car. It's so different from the last drive we took. When things were so tense. When I wasn't sure what I wanted from you and what you wanted from me. When I gave you pleasure blindly, and you accepted it with remorse.

This time you slide my hand up your thigh, your legs parting rather than closing. Your moans have no boundaries here, and it's so hard holding back as I give in while the outside passes by in a blur. You find your release with your eyes squeezed shut, your head thrown back, your fingers clutching my wrist so painfully that it's good.

It's a rush up to my apartment filled with laughter as you trip over your own feet too many times to count. I catch you, finally just lifting into my arms, carrying you the rest of the way. When your tongue paints pictures across my skin, I find myself sprinting to my door, fumbling with the key, needing you inside, needing inside of you.

I throw your clothes away, scattered around the small space. Your shirt on my living room floor. Your pants in my kitchen. Your bra hanging from the hallway light fixture. Your panties…I don't even know where those are. All that matters is your flesh exposed to me in its entirety for the first time. And I've never seen a more exquisite sight.

You lay on my sheets, the duvet thrown aside, beckoning me with your finger cocked so seductively as you call my name. "Won't you join me, Dr. Cullen?"

I discard the rest of my clothes that you hadn't managed to take off, slowly unbuttoning my pants, letting them fall to the ground, slipping one foot through and then the other. You whine your impatience as I crawl onto the bed, kissing your feet, your legs, your hips, your breasts, all the way up until, finally, your lips.

You kiss me like it's the last time. And who knows? The earth could swallow us tomorrow. The sun could explode. A fire could erupt. Life is short, and it is better spent living than wondering.

So I fall into you, hooking your legs under my arms and then wrapping them around my hips when I can't get close enough. You tighten so deliciously against me, your arms thrown back, clenching onto the bed posts as I thrust into you hard and then harder.

There's a sort of sweetness in the way our skin slaps together, in the way the bed frame thumps against the wall, in the way our moans and groans and sighs of pleasure crescendo. This feels right. You and me. Together in my bed. Against my white sheets. We share a look amongst the rustle, the stars between us, your smile shining as if the same unexpected feelings I felt before are now flying through you. When we fall into bliss, it's stunning.

I hold you tight, breathing so hard, afraid that I'm crushing you beneath me, but when I try to pull away, you grip me harder, not letting me go. "Are you okay?" I ask.

You nod, your cheeks flushed, your eyes happy. "Yes. I'm living, and it feels wonderful."

That right there. That's how I know. Alice's lesson come true. That this desperate need for you goes beyond a physical attraction, beyond lustful desires. From that moment I first saw you, my hands covered in the metaphorical blood of the patient I couldn't save, you smiled at me, so open and warm, that it pulled me from the darkness, saved me from the downward spiral.

"Bella?"

"Hmm?"

"I love you."

You don't react as I thought you would. Your body doesn't tense. You don't pull away. You cry these big tears sliding down your face, collecting on my pillow. I panic, wanting to ease your pain but not knowing what to do.

But then you're smiling. "Oh, Edward, I love you too."

You sleep in my arms that night, our legs tangle, our hearts beating as one, and I've never been happier.

In the morning, it's hard to let you go, to watch you walk away through the hospital parking garage, farther and farther away from me. You peek over your shoulder just before you get into the elevator, waving a tiny goodbye, blowing a sweet kiss. A few moments later, I follow, skipping into the hospital, high with the memories of our act and declarations of love. I don't think anything can bring me down.

Nurse Webber runs up to me, a smile lighting up her face. "Dr. Cullen! I was just about to page you!"

"What's going on?" I ask. That's when I see everyone is rushing, running, doing something.

"Good news! A heart came in for Mr. Whitlock. We need to prep you for surgery!"

When I meet your dark eyes from across the busy floor ward, everything—the doctors, the nurses, the team prepping your husband—disappears. It's just you and me locked in this gaze as you search my eyes so intently for the answer. Before I can call your name, you're called back into your husband's room.

I do my job. I get ready for surgery. I hear the words of Dr. Newton and Nurse Webber, mentally noting the complications and concerns, listening attentively. But I need you, and that need nags at the back of mind, makes my fingers tremble, so much so that Nurse Webber sees.

"Take a few minutes to calm yourself, Dr. Cullen."

I look for you. They've already wheeled your husband away, so you're alone in his room, your hands nervously tidying up. "Bella?"

My heart freezes right along with you. I try again. "Bella, please."

"I'm sorry, Edward."

I don't want to ask, but I do. "For what? Tell me."

Your whisper is barely loud enough to hear. "He'll need me. When this is all over, he'll need my help."

I know what you're saying, but I can't accept it. My heart can't take it. I rush forward, pulling you into my arms, and for a moment, you sink into me. "I love you, Bella. So much. I love you."

"I love you too…"

"Then please tell me we're not over."

"Jasper's going to live."

"Please tell me this changes nothing."

"I can't leave him now. Not when he needs me the most."

When you step away from my arms, you leave behind a dagger in my heart. "Bella…"

"You and me? We're the bad guys."

"No we're not," I say it even though I know there's no changing your mind this time.

"What we did was wrong. So horribly wrong. It was never right."

"I love you." My whisper feels almost like a goodbye. It is a goodbye.

"I'm sorry, Edward." You walk away as the good wife, the perfect wife, once again.

I'm not scared. I'm not happy. I'm not sad. I'm numb. You've thrown me back into the darkness from which you'd pulled me out of. Crushed my heart. Left me to die in my pain. Alone.

When Nurse Webber hands me my scalpel, I'm not trembling anymore. Underneath the harsh light, she says, "Good luck, Dr. Cullen. This is his only chance."

My reality has crashed, destroying the fantasy of you and I. This man, whose life I hold in my hands, who did nothing but act as your husband and call you to his side when he needed your love and care so desperate—it's all his fault. Why did Fate bring us together and then separate us after too short of a time? Why did she save him? Why couldn't she let him die?

With the blade against his skin, the blood seeping from the incision I've made over his failing heart, the one that holds my love, the one that takes it away, I think, "This is my only chance, too."


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