I hope you've enjoyed my little story as much as I've enjoyed writing it. I want to thank you Kriszta and Sherry for your support during this one. I'll never forget.
Now, for you more sensitive souls, get your tissues out.
Charlie knelt by a silent Jasper, touching Alice's wrist and not feeling a pulse.
"Jasper, son, you're going to have to let the paramedics take her now. There's nothing you can do for her. She's gone."
"I know. I just need to be with her for a minute longer," he says, looking up into Charlie's eyes. "Can you take care of that for me? I need to be here with her for just a minute."
"Sure," Charlie replies, squeezing Jasper's shoulder, his heart breaking at the scene.
Everyone stands back, watching as Jasper rocks Alice in his arms like a child, his head bent, crying over her still body.
"I love you, baby. I will always love you. You were always so beautiful, and now you are a beautiful angel."
Just as he bursts into loud sobs, a dragonfly lands on his hand, looking straight into his eyes. As he lifts his arm, looking at it in wonder through tear-filled eyes as the little midge flies up to touch his nose then takes off in a soft breeze.
"Alice?" he asks, watching it gracefully drift away.
"Come on, son, we need to let the medics take her now," Charlie says. Jasper nods, still in awe of the little dragonfly that kissed his nose. Just like his Alice used to do.
Edward sat vigilant at Bella's bedside for the weeks following her accident. Although the doctors removed the breathing tubes long ago, she still remains comatose.
For two weeks, Edward has bathed her, brushed her hair, helped with her physical therapy by working her ankles, knees and hips. He even polished her nails. Each day the doctors come to check on their patient, and it's the same each day. Until today. Today there was movement of her right hand and Edward saw it.
"Emmett! Em … she moved her hand!" he shouted down the hall. "Hurry!"
Prompting everyone on the floor into action, the nurses rush into the room, hoping to witness Bella wake up from her long, deep sleep.
"She moved her hand, Emmett. I think she's trying to come around."
Edward takes that hand in his own and wills it to move again by watching it closely while Emmett checks her vitals.
"Come on baby," he whispers into the palm of her hand. "Please wake up. Please come back to me."
As he gently strokes her fingers, he watches them for a sign of movement, but none comes. He lays it back down at her side while everyone dejectedly leaves the room to resume their work.
"She'll come around, Edward. Don't worry," Emmett says, resting his hand on his friend's shoulder.
Sitting down in the recliner he had moved into her room the day she was admitted, he looks out the window at the rain that's beginning to fall. Closing his eyes, he lays his head back and recalls the day he found her in the ravine and the moment she slipped into the coma, thanking God she didn't die.
Falling into twilight sleep, his eyes fly open when he hears movement next to him and he springs forward to find the hand he laid next to her was now resting on her chest. Looking into her face, her eyes are looking into his and he feels the burning of new tears. He bends over her and holds her the best way he can.
"Oh, thank God," he sighs into the crook of her neck.
"Ed-ward," she squeaks out.
"I'm here. I'm here," he tells her, stroking her face. "I was so worried about you. Thank God you woke up. I'm going to go get the doctor."
He turns to leave and hears her call his name.
"He's been here every day, but he had to go back to the station. I'll call him."
As soon as Edward leaves the room, he runs down the hall to the nurse's station to tell Bella's nurse she was awake. The nurses scramble from their chairs, calling out for Emmett.
"Hey, Em, she's awake, man!" Edward says happily, turning back into the room.
"That's great!" Emmett shouts happily. "Let's see how she's doing."
"Well, look who's back," Emmett says, smiling as he enters the room. "It's been boring around here without you." After he performs a cursory examination he asks, "How's does your head feel?"
"It feels fine, why?"
"Well, Dr. Swan, you've been in a coma for two weeks because of a blow to your head," he says sarcastically. "Are you sure it doesn't hurt anywhere?"
"Yeah, I feel fine. What happened?"
Between Edward and Emmett, they relay the events of the accident as she reviews her own medical chart. As she's reading, she pauses and snaps her head up to Edward.
"What about Alice? Is she all right? Where is she?"
Emmett and Edward dart a glance at one another and then back to Bella. They were saved from breaking the news when Rosalie barrels into the room, rushing to her best friend.
"It's about fucking time!" she barks, laying her cheek against Bella's. "I'm so glad you finally woke up."
"Yeah, me too," Bella says glancing at the two men then back at Rosalie. "Where's Alice?"
"Um …" Rosalie begins, looking back at Emmett. "I better tell her."
"Yeah. We'll go down for coffee. Come on, Edward. Let's give them a few minutes alone."
Edward bends to give Bella a kiss on her forehead and then places his own to hers. "I'll be right back, okay?" Bella only nods, keeping her eyes on Rose.
"Where is she, Rosalie?"
Rosalie sits down on the edge of the bed, taking Bella's hand in hers, stroking the back of it, then lifting it to her lips.
"Alice didn't make it, Bella."
Bella lays there in shocked silence, staring into Rosalie's eyes, waiting for her to say something else, like, 'just kidding!'
"What? What do you mean she didn't make it?" Bella asks as raw, primitive grief overwhelms her as Rosalie tells the story of what happened to Alice.
Numbing pain overwhelms Bella and a sob of despair escapes her, sending the sound of emotional pain down the hall for everyone to hear. They all knew that Bella was being told the horrific story and are placed on alert.
"Was she … did she have any pain?" Bella asks in a low, tormented voice.
"No. She died instantly," Rosalie says quietly. "She—she was shot through the heart."
"Oh, God!" Bella cries, "The one thing that made Alice unique."
Bella yielded to the compulsive sobs that shook her entire body, and the sense of loss overwhelmed her. All Rosalie could do is stand by and allow Bella to absorb the enormity of it all and to allow her to grieve.
"The funeral?" Bella asks.
"Alice's parents didn't want to wait any longer. We tried to push for a cremation, just like Alice always said she wanted, but they said no. They buried her five days after. We filmed it if you want to see it."
"Yes, but not right now," Bella says, draping her arm over her eyes. "Oh, Alice."
Edward and Emmett return to a weeping Bella. Edward goes to her side, wiping her tears away.
"She was my friend."
"I know, baby," Edward says softly.
"How's Jasper doing?" she asks.
"Not good," Rosalie replied.
"She-she was pregnant," Bella volunteered.
"Yeah. Royce is being charged with murder of both Alice and the baby," Edward says.
Emmett and Rosalie glance at each other in remembrance of the conversation they had where Em mistook the positive baby test he found in the trash as Rosalie's when it was really Alice who was pregnant.
Another gut-wrenching sob escapes Bella and she covers her face with her hands until she hears the familiar sound of her father's voice.
"Dad!" Bella cries out. Charlie hurries to her bedside, wrapping her in his arms and holding her tight against him.
"It's so good to see you, hon. I've been so worried."
"I'm sorry, Dad. I should have called you to tell you he had Alice. It's just that he threatened to kill her if I didn't show. He – he killed her anyway," she cries, renewed tears forming in her eyes.
"I know, baby. He's in a lot of trouble for that. So is Sue."
"What happened? Tell me what happened that day."
"Not now, honey. I'm just glad you weren't there. Edward made sure you were well taken care of and he didn't leave your side for long."
"Was anyone else hurt?" Charlie shook his head and pulled her back against his chest.
"It could have been you, Bella. I don't know what I would have done if anything happened to you. I'm so glad Edward found you that day. It was a lucky thing he did too. You had a concussion and the swelling of your brain had already started. He carried you from the car, up a deep ravine.
"I miss her, dad."
"I know, baby."
"Poor Jasper?" Bella whispers.
"He took off after the funeral. The loss of both Alice and their baby was too much for him. He went home to be with his family for a while. Edward isn't sure when he's going to be back, so the charter business is on hiatus right now."
"How's Edward holding up?" she asks, looking up at her father.
"A lot better now that you're awake. He called to tell me that you woke up. The excitement in his voice when he said my name, I knew your eyes were open."
"Where did he go? I haven't had a chance to talk to him yet."
"He's in the hall with Emmett and Rosalie. I'll tell him you're ready to see him, okay?"
"Okay. I love you, daddy."
"Oh, honey, I love you too. So much. You haven't called me daddy in a very long time. I missed it."
"Well, things are going to change, I think," Bella replies, thoughts running through her head.
"Let me get Edward for you."
They hug one more time before he releases her and telling her he'll be back later to have dinner with her.
"Hey, beautiful," Edward says, sitting on her bed, next to her.
"Are you feeling okay? Do you need me to get Emmett for you?" he asks, running a fingertip down her cheek.
"No, I feel fine. My heart aches for Alice, though."
"Mine too. It's a tragedy and I can't say out loud what I want to happen to both Royce and Sue."
"I hope they rot in prison," Bella spews. "I hope they don't survive a single night."
"Let's not think about them right now. Do you need anything?" he asks, ready to get her a glass of water.
"No, I'm fine. I had some crazy dreams while I was asleep."
"Yeah? You can dream while comatose?"
"What did you dream?" They both lay back while Bella tells him.
Two Years Later
"Hey, honey, I've booked the Esme for ten days to sail down to San Diego," Bella calls out to Edward who is tinkering with another outboard motor.
"Sounds good. Call Jasper to see if he's able to sail it for us."
"Already did. He said he'll be here the day before sailing, but you are going to have to prepare the yacht for it. He's tired of being the one to do everything."
"When's that baby coming?" Edward asks, looking at his wife. "Can you have it the day before so you can stock it for us?" Edward glances at Bella who is rubbing her round belly, using it as an excuse not to do the shopping.
"Hey, I'm always the one that gets stuck with that chore. It's your turn," she calls back at him. "Besides, this little girl here will come when she wants to."
"You're the only woman I know who doesn't like to shop. That's just plain abnormal. Isn't it in your DNA or something? Aren't women born to shop?" Edward stands and takes the rag from his back pocket and wipes his hands.
"I told you, Mrs. Cope has been asking to help us with that. I think it's time. This little girl here will arrive any day now, and besides, you promised me on our wedding night that she could help me, but you keep putting it off." Bella stands with her hand supporting her lower back and the other rubbing the huge baby bump. "Today, I'm putting my foot down. I'm hiring someone to do that for us. I think Mrs. Cope would be perfect for it. I'll give her the list of everything we need and she can take care of it for us. End of discussion." Stomping her foot to emphasize her statement.
At that very moment, Bella jumps back as water gushes from under her skirt and Edward stares in disbelief.
"What is that? Was that …? Is that …?"
"Yep. Call Rosalie and tell her it's time. No, wait, I'll do it. You look like you're about to throw up."
"I think I am," Edward admitted, staring at the puddle on his shop floor.
"Edward! Snap out of it!" Bella yells from the doorway. "I may need your help up to the house."
Edward rushes to his wife, scooping her into his arms and hurries toward the walkway to the house. Having made arrangements in advance, he made sure there was a birthing room on the first floor as well as the second, just in case.
Placing Bella onto her feet, he picks up the to-do list on the nightstand and proceeds to check off items, one by one. Pulling his cell phone from his back pocket, Edward calls everyone on the list to let them know that the baby is on the way … Rosalie being on the top of the list.
"Charlie," Edward says into the phone. "Bella's water broke and we're at the house. Get here as soon as you can." After leaving the voicemail message, Edward hangs up and then calls Jasper.
Approximately thirteen hours later, Alice Rose Cullen was born.
It was on little Alice's third birthday, that everyone who knew her namesake attended the party. There are balloons, clowns, rides and bouncy houses. There's food, cake, and ice cream. But most of all, there are happy children chasing Jasper around the large yard, trying to get their hands on the monkey he brought to the party.
"Unkie Jester, Unkie Jester, lemme hold it!" Alice yells, chasing after her uncle. Jasper hurries away with the critter, saving it from the greedy paws of the children. Needless to say, it took everything in Edward's power to convince little Alice that she couldn't keep it.
"Come on, sweetheart, let's show everyone the dress you picked out to wear to Uncle Em and Aunt Rosie's wedding, shall we?" Edward cajoles. Little Alice abruptly turns and runs toward her daddy to get her new dress.
"Good Lord, Edward, you sure know your way around that little girl's mind," Bella says through a giggle. "You are the master manipulator."
Jasper hands off the small monkey to Charlie when the same blue and green dragonfly that landed on his hand the day Alice died, appeared. Fluttering around him, he watches it fly closer and, like it has done on each of little Alice's birthdays, lands on his nose.
"I love you, Alice," Jasper whispers just before it flies away into a soft breeze.
Bella and Edward stand arm-in-arm, watching the children and adults alike, enjoy the day, celebrating a birthday and remembering the loss of a friend.
"Thank you for this incredible life," Bella sighs, laying her head on her husband's shoulder. "Maybe we can try for that little boy now?"
"Don't you know, Bella? I'll do anything for you … anything."