A Brother's Love
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the authors. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.
A/N: Another huge thank you to my betas – sillybella and be my escape. You two were much more than just beta readers. You talked me through this process and helped me figure out how to turn a vague idea into a story. I appreciate all your help and encouragement.
Chapter 2: When an Angel Sleeps
I sat in the rocking chair, watching out the window as Bella slept. It had been hard to hear how much pain it had caused her when Edward decided to leave. She wasn't the only one affected by Edward's decision. I knew Edward had tortured himself to do what he thought was right. Our family wasn't the same after we left Forks. So much had been lost – love and happiness, for starters. The only hope any of us had was Alice's belief that Edward wouldn't be able to stay away very long. Then even that was taken away when Alice had her vision. We all thought Bella had killed herself because Edward had left her. It was difficult dealing with my grief for Bella. But even worse was the anxiety I experienced while trying to figure out how I was going to tell Edward. The whole family would need to be there, but I felt I should be the one to break the news. We definitely needed to have the conversation face to face – with Carlisle and Jasper there to keep him from doing something extreme.
I didn't find out what Rose had done until Alice called. How could she have been so stupid? I know she thought she was helping, that it would bring the family back together, but she grossly underestimated Edward's feelings for Bella. I've never been so angry with her. If I hadn't seen the sincere remorse in her eyes I don't think I could have ever forgiven her. Thank God, Bella got to Edward in time. We were all indebted to her for risking her life to save his. It was unbearable to think about what would have happened to our family if she had been too late. We all would have been inconsolably grief-stricken. But Esme would have also been absolutely heartbroken. Edward had always had a special place in her heart.
I easily understood why Edward loved Bella so much. She is such a giving person. It amazed me how she immediately forgave Rosalie. I smiled at the memory of how, even though she had been close to passing out from exhaustion, Bella mumbled, 'Of course I forgive you,' to Rose. I knew Rosalie regretted her actions and the problems she had caused. Her apology to Edward didn't surprise me. She loved Edward. However, her apology to Bella shocked me. I had never heard her use Bella's name before that day. I was proud of her for humbling herself and taking responsibility for her actions. Rose's attitude toward Bella was softening. I didn't expect them to ever be best friends, but I hoped they could at least be friendly to one another.
I looked over at Bella as she stirred. I wanted to be in the house tonight because I was curious. Lord knows, we have given Edward a hard time about staying every night. This was my opportunity to find out what was so fascinating. She moved again and mumbled something. I couldn't make out what she said, but she had definitely spoken. Sleep talking? This could be interesting. I leaned forward to listen closely.
She mumbled again. Then with a sigh she breathed, "Oh, Edward." Of course, I didn't know exactly what she was dreaming, but from what I was hearing and seeing, I had a fairly good guess. I chuckled to myself. Bella was having a very good dream. It was certainly entertaining even though I felt a little like a peeping Tom. I held back another laugh thinking I had finally found the reason Edward enjoyed watching her sleep.
She eventually fell still and quiet and her breathing returned to the steady rhythm of deep sleep. I went back to watching the forest, still amused by what I had just observed. Dreams – I didn't remember what it was like to dream. I didn't remember what it was like to sleep for that matter. Day dreams, on the other hand, I knew about. I smiled lasciviously as I let my thoughts drift to Rose.
A short time later I was startled when Bella cried out, "No! Please don't!"
I whipped my head around to look at her. A weak cry escaped her lips as she begged, "Please!" I could tell by the deep anguish and intense fear showing on her face that this was not a good dream. Even though it wasn't real, I couldn't stand seeing her so afraid. I knelt beside her bed and gently brushed the hair from her face.
"It's okay Bella. I'm here." I felt completely helpless – something I've rarely experienced. Is she dreaming about Victoria? The Volturi? I would gladly fight whomever or whatever was causing her so much pain…but it was only a dream.Only a dream, but probably caused by a very real fear.
She whimpered again. "Please don't go! Don't leave me! Please!"
I froze for a moment as I realized what her dream must be about. Damn it! She's dreaming about Edward leaving her. This hurt my lifeless heart. I shouldn't have asked her about it. What was I thinking?
"Shhh…Bella, everything's fine. It's only a dream. I'm here. Edward will be back tomorrow," I said desperately. I wanted this nightmare to end. I was about to wake her when she let out one last soft whimper and settled down. I sank to the floor, leaning against the bed, and let my head drop into my hands. This wasn't something from which I could protect her. I was afraid Edward's leaving would haunt her forever.
I had too many reasons for wanting to protect her. I had told her earlier that I thought of her as a sister, which in itself was enough. The bigger reason was Edward. I almost lost him once. I wouldn't go through that again. He loved her, she loved him, and they couldn't survive without each other. I loved them both and I would do everything I possibly could to help them.
An hour later I was still sitting by her bed when she started to stir again. Please let this be a good dream. I turned so I could see her. She looked content as she mumbled something. I propped my arm on the edge of the bed to get more comfortable while I waited to see how this would play out. She snuggled closer, resting her head on my shoulder. She intertwined one arm with mine and placed the other around my neck. Okay. She must think I'm Edward. How do I get out of this without waking her? Edward I could handle, but I was afraid of Rose's reaction if she found out about this. I started trying to slip out of her embrace when she tightened her grip, pressing closer.
"Mmmm….Emmett," she whispered.
"What!!" I was so shocked I jerked away from her, almost forgetting to control the volume of my voice. She giggled and I noticed she had one eye slightly open.
"Bella? You awake?" I asked, still not certain.
"Gotcha!" she laughed, opening both eyes now. "The look on your face was priceless."
"That wasn't funny," I scowled. Why did I feel like my heart had just leapt out of my chest? "I thought you were dreaming about Edward."
"It was funny and you know it," she said, propping herself up on her elbow. "And I was dreaming about Edward, but I woke up when you tried to slip away from me. I guess you were too busy trying to get away to notice my embarrassment, so I decided to have some fun with it. You would have done the same thing," she accused.
My shock had faded and I started to laugh. "True," I said. I gave her a slow, calculating grin. "But you really don't want to start with me. Payback can be rough for you, but so much fun for me." She raised an eyebrow and smiled smugly. I knew from her look this wouldn't end here. There were sure to be many more practical jokes in our future.
In one quick movement she never saw, I pulled her elbow out from under her, making her fall back on the bed. "Go back to sleep Bella," I laughed as I walked over to the rocking chair and sat down. She laughed, too, shaking her head. She turned onto her side, giggling again, and eventually drifted back to sleep.
The rest of the night was uneventful. Charlie left just after sunrise. I knew Edward would be here by mid morning and I wondered how long Bella would sleep after staying up so late. I looked over at her sleeping peacefully. Should I wake her before Edward gets here? It was Saturday. I didn't think there was any reason she needed to wake early. She had mentioned work, but that wasn't until early afternoon. No, I'll let her sleep.
Bella was still asleep when I saw Edward step out of the woods just after 10:30. People had been coming and going from neighboring houses all morning. Someone might see Edward if he tried to come in the window as usual. I went down to let him in the front door.
"Where is Bella?" he asked with concern as soon as the door closed.
"Still asleep," I said uncertainly.
"Is she okay?" He sounded slightly panicked.
"She's fine." So I guess she's usually up by now.
"Yes, she is," he said sternly, answering my thought.
"Sorry about that." I lost track of the time last night. "We were talking and she stayed up late."
He shook his head and rolled his eyes. "Were there any problems?" he asked. This felt a little like the changing of the guards.
"No. It was a quiet night." I chuckled, "At least until she started talking in her sleep."
He grinned knowingly. "What did she say?"
"I recall hearing your name more times than I cared to count. And it appeared the dream was a very good one." I let the memory of what I had witnessed play through my thoughts. I saw the look of pleasure cross his face before he glared at me, realizing I had watched it all. I laughed, "You're going to have to do something about that soon, before one of you explodes!"
I wasn't fast enough, and his punch landed squarely on my shoulder. I roared with laughter as I stumbled back against the wall. One of you will have to give in soon. It's only a matter of time. I recovered, but Bella's little joke popped into my mind without warning.
Edward smirked, "Serves you right." He was enjoying my discomfort from Bella's joke a little too much.
"Anything else I need to know about?" he asked.
I cleared my throat to continue the night's report. I told him more seriously, "She worried me a little with the nightmare."
"She had a nightmare?" He sounded anxious and the worry showed on his face. His eyes filled with sadness as he asked, "Was I in that one, too?"
I didn't want to tell him, but he'd find out through my thoughts, anyway. I nodded. "I think so. I'm pretty sure she dreamed about you leaving." A vision of Bella's anguished face flashed through my mind before I could stop it. His whole body tensed. He closed his eyes and let out a deep, shaky sigh.
I laid my hand on his shoulder. I'm sorry. It was one of the things we talked about. I watched him carefully. I knew he hated himself for causing Bella so much pain. "I was able to calm her, and after that she slept soundly," I reassured him. I pictured Bella's serene face as she slept this morning. He opened his eyes and gave a small nod of gratitude. He glanced toward the stairs. He still looked concerned, but he was relaxed again.
"Tell Bella I'll see her later," I said with a soft smile, still watching his face. I knew he was eager to see her. He nodded and disappeared up the stairs.
I walked out the door and smiled as I heard Edward tenderly say, "Bella, my love. It's time to wake up." They truly were good for each other.