When we were children, Edward would play me songs from his favorite artists. His walls had been papered with their pictures. I had thought he played them so often because he had hoped I would love them, too. I would never forget this one song he had played for me. The girl's voice was haunting. Her words; disturbing. Almost as if she was giving us a warning.
God save us everyone
Will we burn
Inside the fires
Of a thousand suns
For the sins of hand
The sins of our tongue
The sins of our father
The sins of our young
God save us everyone
Will we burn
inside the fire
Of a thousand suns.
For the sins of hand
The sins of our tongue
The sins of our father
The sins of our young
I guessed we should have listened more closely…
The sweat on my brow was great, but I didn't stop until that damn stubborn weed was out of my garden. For the month of May, I was not happy the sun's heat was so prevalent. Where were my easy breezy days I had come to depend on? So much had changed. Even the weather had taken note of our situation and decided to turn on us, too.
My back ached, and it didn't help matters that I was the size of a house, situated on my hands and knees, elbows deep in the dirt. I looked up at the roses that surrounded me and took a short minute to marvel at their beauty. I heard the back door open, and I returned to digging. I wanted to have this patch finished by sundown.
"Bella, that's enough. You need to stop. Tending the gardens is a lesser's job."
I laughed and looked up to Esme, who had her hands on her hips, as she pretended to have authority over me.
"Look around, Esme. There are no more lessers. No more hierarchy. You're a prisoner in your own home. We're all prisoners. Just because we're allowed to stay here doesn't mean we aren't. And I'm not going to sit in that house, wondering what happened to Edward. I'd go out of my mind. Leave me be. I need to focus on my roses."
My trowel stabbed the ground once more, and I finally freed up the weed that had taken too much of my time. I threw it towards the pile and carried on to the next patch.
These were the roses that had captured mine and Edward's first kiss. It would be a sin to see them taken over by the weeds. I felt helpless in our situation, but this was something I could do. Focus on the weeds. I had hoped being outside with the simple nature would keep me from thinking about him. I was wrong. My mind would playback the events that had happened over and over, hoping to find the opportunity to change the past.
Emily had rescued me from the fire. I had watched helplessly, as Edward's grandfather's house had gone up in flames. No more gaudy vases. No more painted portraits. No more Edward, as Emily told me the Resistance had captured him.
She had begged me to move. To keep running. To get away, but I couldn't move. My whole life had felt as if it was coming to an end, and no amount of running would save me. The fire had heated up my face, even though I had been far enough from the flames. I had wondered if the house would eventually succumb to the flames and completely cave in, or if it would blow up, as I had seen happen in the movies before.
Emily was gone. Choosing to run and save herself, she was no longer by my side. Good, I had thought, she shouldn't wait for the flames to come for her, too. But the fire never touched me. Never even came close. A tall man had walked towards me with his long rifle pointed in my direction. He had been dressed in all black, complete with a helmet on top of his head. He had reached for his radio and told someone he had found a girl.
"Are you Isabella Swan?"
I didn't reply. I simply turned my head back to the fire and waited.
That had been the first time I could have escaped.
After the guard from the Resistance had brought me around to the front of the house, I could see nearly a whole army situated outside, watching the fire as I had done. The guard had poked me in the back with his gun, pressing me to keep walking, until I reached his commanding officer.
"Is this her?"
"I dunno. She hasn't said a word. She was just standing behind the house, staring at the fire."
The officer in charge had flipped through the papers on the clipboard he was holding and then looked back at me.
"It says here she's pregnant. So, take it easy with her and get her ready for transport. She's going to the Cullen Estate."
Once again, the gun had tapped me on the back, but the officer with the clipboard waved my aggressor off.
"She's pregnant. Be nice, Felix."
"She's still one of them, ain't she?" Felix replied.
"Our orders were to apprehend the male and take the girl to the Cullen Estate. I don't think our leader will be happy if he finds out your trigger finger accidentally took out a pregnant girl."
Instead of being tapped in the back with a gun, my arm had been grabbed roughly, as Felix pulled me along towards the Humvee. I had been taken to the Cullen Estate. Completely silent the whole ride, as I waited for answers from Carlisle and Esme, but I had only found more questions…
That had been six weeks ago. Six long weeks, with no word on where Edward was. Was he safe? Alive? Dead? My hand began to shake with my trowel, as I contemplated whether he was still alive.
"Bella, please, come in."
This time, it was Alice. It must have taken a lot for Esme to send Alice out after me. Alice, in some ways, was far worse than I was. Jasper happened to have been down south at the time of the siege. Now, Alice was stuck here with us, while her fiancé was safe. Apparently, the Resistance hadn't been able to breach the southern states. Mainly because the south held all the military power. Alice believed Jasper would find a way to rescue us. She spent her days sitting and staring at the floor, while she waited to be rescued.
"This isn't safe for the baby. Please, come inside. I'm losing it, Bella. I'm starting to wonder if Jasper will ever come for me."
I stopped what I was doing and looked up to her.
"Of course, he's coming for you. Don't ever give up that hope. Jasper loves you. He'll rescue you."
Sometimes, Alice annoyed me with her constant sadness over Jasper, but I think I was more annoyed because I knew no one would be coming to rescue me. I loved Alice. She needed me now more than ever. If I was to be honest, the reason I spent my time outdoors was because I couldn't stand hearing all the moaning and complaining coming from all the inhabitants of the house.
When the Resistance came into power in the North, it seemed as if all the men had been taken. To where? God only knew. The women, however, were condensed, so they would be easier to guard. Since I had arrived at the house, it seemed as if, every few days, another girl would show up on our doorstep, being escorted in by an armed guard.
Felix stayed inside the house and switched off with another guard they called Demetri. There were also more guards around the perimeter, in case we found the opportunity to run. So far, there hadn't been an opportunity to run.
Our lessers no longer worked in the house, which meant all the chores went to us. Could you imagine the pain, when you had a whole household of woman who didn't know how to cook a decent meal or run a laundry machine? Thankfully, I had been taught such things, thanks to our Mrs. Cope. However, since I was so very pregnant, the other people in the house could only depend upon me so much.
When we would need supplies, basic food and necessities, Felix was in charge of ordering for us. No longer did we have access to order as we pleased. Also, we were rationed, so there was no occasion for wastefulness.
Alice helped me up from off the ground, and I tossed my trowel back down and sighed. I guessed I wouldn't finish this patch today after all. The baby began to kick quite feverishly, probably just waking up once again. I felt a sharp pain to my stomach, and I nearly doubled over.
"Are you okay, Bella?"
I squeezed Alice's hand, but the pain passed, and once again, I was able to stand up straight.
"You most certainly are not fine. You need to rest, Bella. This baby is coming any day now. Do you want to give birth in the garden?"
I shrugged. It might have been preferable than most places. We still hadn't learned if they were going to allow me to go to the hospital. The rose garden might just be a lovely alternative.
Alice pulled me along towards the house, threatening to tie me down to the bed if I insisted on coming back out. I would admit, the air-conditioning from the house was a welcome relief. However, the minute I saw Rosalie standing in our kitchen, I nearly wanted to retreat for self-preservation reasons. Rosalie was a Hale, in a time when that had meant something. She had married Emmett, who was a McCarty. The love of her life had disappeared into the night, too, so I tried to be understanding, but like Esme, she was still living under this belief that the system was intact, and therefore, she still had status.
Rosalie didn't know how to do a thing, so she would often try and trick me into doing things for her. She had been the first to arrive after Alice and I had been placed here. She had attempted to take Edward's room, but I had nearly scratched her eyes out at her audacity. If anyone would be staying in Edward's room, I would think his child had a higher claim.
"God, Bella. You look like something a lesser dragged in."
"Rosalie. Don't start," Alice warned.
Rosalie rolled her eyes and gracefully flopped herself down on a stool.
"Felix said our weekly shipment should be here any minute. I hope he finally took me seriously with my requests. I mean, it's bad enough they're holding us captive. Prisoners of war or whatever, but what does a lady have to do to get a decent night cream around here? You'd think, when this unpleasantness is over, they'd want the ladies to look decent."
I sighed and gave her a discerning eye. "Yes, night cream would be far more important than enough food rations to actually feed us all or a more generous water supply."
Between limited rations and all the hard labor I had been doing for the past six weeks, I had shrunk substantially inside my clothing, except for my breasts and stomach, which had only continued to increase in size. I just hoped my baby would be born healthy.
Rosalie narrowed her eyes at my tone and huffed, getting up from her seat. She walked out of the kitchen, demanding someone come get her when our supplies were in. Alice left, too, stating she was going to write another letter to Jasper. She hoped if she wrote enough letters, maybe someday, she could get one to him.
I sat down on the stool, my back thanking me. I should have washed my hands before I sat, but now, the sink looked a mile away. I saw Rosalie's shawl lying where she had left it, and I reached out and wiped my brow with it, the light pink color damaged from my dirty, sweaty face and hands.
Nearly too quickly, my whole body whipped around to the voice I remembered from once upon a time. I almost fell off my stool, but Emily's hands were quick to steady me.
"Oh my. Look at you. You must be ready to pop at any moment." Emily's hands caressed my round stomach, but I began to cry at the sight of her. I threw my arms around her and gave her a hug. Remembering how I must have smelled and how dirty I was from gardening, I immediately let go and apologized.
"Are you okay? Did they find you that night?"
I noticed she wasn't wearing her usual uniform, and yet, she was here to drop off our supplies. Near the door was a cart of bags.
"I'm fine, Bella. You have no idea what I had to do to be allowed to drop this off to you. I wanted to know you were okay. Of course, I heard reports that you were, but I needed to see for myself. You're probably due any day now, right?"
I nodded. "I still don't know if they'll allow me to go to the hospital or bring a doctor in here. Our situation is precarious, as you can imagine. Have you had any access to the outside world? Do you know what's been going on? We can only get a line or two out of Felix, and usually, it's only when the Resistance is doing well, and he's celebrating."
"Yes, actually, the lessers have been free to go and come as they please. They have access to all areas, except ones like these. We have more freedom than we've ever had before. From what I know, the Resistance is moving southward, but they've still not been very successful with taking the south." She placed her hand on mine and stepped closer, "When you go into labor, tell them your family has a history of complications. They'll get you to the hospital. They won't want to risk something happening to you. They're under strict orders to not hurt you."
"Why me?" I asked.
Emily shook her head slightly, "I can't tell you. I shouldn't have said as much as I have."
She wouldn't tell me, but she knew. What did she know? She knew a lot more than she let on, but I had more things I needed to try and press her for before she left.
"Have you heard anything? Heard where they've taken Edward? Carlisle? Do you know where they're keeping them?"
Emily looked behind her. Her eyes were full of worry. She knew.
"Bella," she said, fearful. "Please."
"No! Please, Emily! I must know. Did they kill him? Is he hurt? I know it doesn't make any sense, but this is the father of my child. Please. If you know something, you have to tell me."
Emily's hands squeezed mine, and she looked down and contemplated whether she would give me the information I sought.
"Carlisle is at the hospital. He was too valuable. They knew his knowledge and skills would be useful. They're keeping him there."
I breathed a small sigh of relief, but I could tell from the look Emily was giving me that she didn't have better news of Edward's whereabouts.
Once again, she shook her head.
"I can't. You don't understand. They don't want anyone knowing…"
"I was kind to you, Emily. I never mistreated you. I need this one thing from you. Please, tell me where they took Edward. Please!" I begged. My hands were practically grabbing her clothing, hoping she would give me this one thing.
"You couldn't do anything about it, even if I told you. It's better this way."
"How is it better? Do you think it'd be better if you were in my place and Sam was in Edward's? Wouldn't you want to know? Do anything you could? I know it doesn't make any sense. You, above all people, saw the problems in our relationship, but I love Edward. I have to know."
My hold on her tightened, my lips trembling with silent, pathetic prayers for her help.
"Back off her, right now!"
Felix had his gun pointed directly at me, and I instantly let go of Emily's clothing and took a step back.
Emily held out her hand to Felix. "She's fine. It's okay, Felix. Miss Swan won't hurt me."
"I think it's time for you to leave, Mrs. Uley. Your requests have been granted, and now, it's best if you go," Felix said, lowering his weapon.
Emily looked over to me one more time, and my eyes swam with pleas I hoped she would give in to. She stepped forward and placed her arms around my neck and brought me in for a hug.
"Please, take care of yourself, Bella."
I didn't want to wrap my arms around her for fear Felix would think my gesture was threatening. But at the last second, Emily's mouth reached up to kiss my cheek near my ear, and she whispered, "The white ward."
She let go of me and walked out with Felix, leaving my body in shock at her parting words. I began to cry, but then I shook it off immediately. This was something I must carry on myself. I couldn't let Esme or Alice know, or it might send them into a frenzy. I choked back the tears and squeezed my eyes shut until the wave of emotion passed.
He was alive. At least he was alive.
Every time I wanted to breakdown, I reminded myself of this simple truth. Edward was alive.
I didn't know too much about the white ward. Mostly, what I knew was from stories my parents had told to keep us in line. Some said it was an inch deeper than the pits of hell. It wasn't like the old-fashioned prisons, where people sat around in tiny boxes and ate substandard food. When the new government came into power, they found there was a much better way of dealing with the criminal element. Once a person was sent to the white ward, you'd never hear from them again. This kind of fear was enough to keep a person honest.
I put my mind to better use, emptying out all the bags Emily had carted in. Rosalie's night cream wasn't amongst the necessities. Surprise. Surprise.
When I was about done with putting away the items, Esme walked back in to find me staring into the refrigerator.
"Bella? You haven't gone to wash up yet? Shouldn't you go? All these germs aren't good for the baby."
I sighed and closed the refrigerator.
"I will. I'm just…having a moment."
Esme nodded, but I could see how broken she was. She needed to hear some positive news. I walked over towards the island and leaned against the cool granite top.
"Esme. Emily came here today to do our drop-off. She was the one who worked at mine and Edward's house. She helped get me out…that night." I paused and placed my hands on hers. "She said Carlisle is being kept at the hospital. He's still alive, Esme. He's alive. He was too valuable, so they're keeping him there."
I saw her breathe out a sigh of relief, and a smile I hadn't witnessed for many months shined brightly upon her face. She looked down for a moment, and when she looked back up, her cheeks were stained with tears.
"Thank you, Bella," she replied, trembling. "He's alive. Oh, god. He's alive."
She sniffled and composed herself before asking about Edward. I didn't want to tell her, because I knew the news about Edward would not be comforting.
"She said she'll try and find out. Hopefully, we can both have positive news the next time she comes."
Even though I was dirty, Esme walked around and brought me in for a hug.
"Let's get you upstairs and into a bath. Edward will want to know his child is born healthy once he comes back, yes?"
I agreed and went with her. My bath, however, was not relaxing, even if it did cleanse me. I'd never needed a warm bath more in my life. Something to help soothe me and calm me. My mind ran wild with the tortures that possibly took place in the white ward. I felt like a hypocrite. I begged Emily to tell me where Edward was. She had told me I didn't want to know, but I had managed to get her to tell me. Surely Rosalie, Esme, and Alice would want to know where Edward was. Well, Rosalie might not care, but I had to wonder…if they had taken Edward to the white ward, they most certainly had taken the other high-class men there, too. It wasn't fair that I held this knowledge and decided my housemates were better off not knowing.
After my bath, I retired to bed without going down for supper. I needed a night with this news before I could face the rest of the household. My baby boy seemed to be kicking up a storm, guaranteeing I didn't get any rest that night. I used the time to think about moments with Edward. Everything from childhood memories to the very last time I had seen him. All our problems in the past seemed so trivial now. Words he had said to James, I nearly wanted to laugh at how upset I had gotten over something so silly, when I was now facing the chance I might never see Edward again.
The next day, I went down to breakfast and found Alice sitting at the table by the window, probably writing another letter to Jasper. It had been six weeks, and I could see how her light had started to fade. When we all had first arrived at the house, she had been adamant Jasper would come. She had figured he would be here in days. Days turned into weeks, and now, I could tell she wondered if Jasper ever really loved her.
"He's coming, Alice. Please, don't give up," I said, squeezing her hand. She looked up at me with watery eyes, and a tear escaped and fell down to drop on her paper.
"I wrote this letter today. I wrote it for you, Bella. Will you keep it on you and promise me, when they take you to the hospital, you'll try and find someone who'll deliver it?" She pulled out a ring from her pocket and handed it to me. "Use this to bribe them."
"Alice, that's your engagement ring. You can't."
She shook her head and held back her cries.
"I don't have anything else. All my jewelry was left at the house, and they burned it down. This is all I have left, and if it'll get this letter to Jasper, then I don't care. They can take it. This is my only chance."
Desperation was beginning to set in. This wasn't good. I worried about what would happen if I was unsuccessful in finding someone who would do as she asked. I took the ring, but I worried it wouldn't be enough.
I sat down and looked across the table at my friend. My once vivacious, kind friend, who would wear an obscenely large bow on her head. She was so innocent. So much more than I. It had been a few weeks since we had been put in this position, and yet, Alice seemed to have aged overnight. I looked to my left and saw Esme sipping her coffee while playing with her wedding ring. She now had hope, but even the little my words had bought wouldn't last long. Rosalie nibbled at her fruit cup in silence, Emmett no doubt on her mind as well. All these women had once been strong because of their position in this society, yet now, a good gust of wind would send them over, since their men were no longer there to catch them.
In some ways, I was annoyed by their frailty, and yet, look at me. I knew where Edward was, yet still, I waited. Waited for what? Waited for this baby to come? Like that would change my situation. Waited for this war to end and for things to hopefully go back to normal?
Alice was waiting for her fiancé to come for her. Esme and Rosalie waited for their men to return home to them. I wasn't good at waiting. I didn't have the patience for it. I was not going to wait around in hopes that Edward would come for me. Screw that!
Edward was in the white ward. I wasn't sure how, exactly, I would find him, but one thing was for sure.
I was done waiting.
LYRICS BY LINKIN PARK
AN: Let me know what you think...
Thank you to all those who have chosen to continue on with this story. I hope to not disappoint.
Thank you to Fran and Dollybigmomma for editing this!
Story is mine. Characters belong to Stephenie Meyer.