From Here To Eternity
Author: Mrs Ronald Weasley
Rating: PG-13 or T
Spoilers: Twilight, New Moon, and Eclipse
Summary: Bella becomes seriously ill and Edward is forced to make a choice. Post-Eclipse.
A/N: This idea has been floating around inside my head for awhile now. I know the timeline is a little messed up but I didn't realize that until it was already halfway down, sorry about that but it would take a lot of revising which I'm not really willing to do. It's also my first attempt at writing Edward's POV, so I'm sorry if it's OOC. Please read and review.
"In the twilight, the day turns to night, and I'm alone." – Bedouin Soundclash, 'When the Night Feels My Song'
"Are you feeling better?" I heard him ask, through the haze of sleepiness that had been hanging around me ever since catching the flu a few days ago.
I nodded, "not completely though. I'm still tired." I felt his cold hand reach out and softly press against my forehead. I didn't shiver like I had the last few days.
"I think your fever is gone, which is good," he said, running his hand down my cheek.
I snuggled closer to him. "What do you want to do today?" I asked into his chest.
He sighed, "I thought you said you were still tired?"
"I am," I told him, "but I've been stuck in this bed for three days straight and I don't think I can take it anymore."
"You were sick," Edward reminded me.
"Were, I feel almost perfectly fine now, and I'm not about to waste this lovely day by sleeping," I said, attempting to push the blanket off myself.
Edward suddenly rolled on top of me, and I gasped. "I'll let you out on one condition," his voice was low in my ear, my breath hitched. He trailed kisses along my neck while he waited for my answer.
"What?" I asked my heart racing in my chest.
"You have to promise me that you'll eat something first." I groaned, I knew what he was getting at. I've always been wary of eating after getting over an illness. I would wait until all my symptoms disappeared before even attempting to eat anything at all. I hated throwing up.
"Why?" I asked, nearly wining.
"If you eat, it'll make us both feel better. I hate to see you sick," he said, capturing my lips in a soft kiss before rolling back onto his side.
"Fine," I said, once again tugging at the blanket on top of me.
Edward's cold hand caught mine. "What do you want?" he asked, "I'll get it for you."
I shrugged, "just some fruit or something." He kissed me on the cheek quickly before hurrying from the room.
I sighed and rolled over to face the long window. The sunlight was streaming in, so much for spending the day outside.
"Bella?" I looked up, Edward was back. He stood off to the side, in the shadow cast from the bed. I sat up and he stepped towards me, careful not to move into the light.
He set a tray down in front of me. I picked up a piece of perfectly symmetrically cut kiwi and took a small bite, glad that it didn't immediately sicken me. I reached for the cup that sat beside the tiny plate and picked it up. I crinkled my nose at the disgusting pale liquid that sat in it. "Ew," I made a face, "I hate ginger ale." I set it back down.
Edward sighed, "Carlisle said that it would help to keep your stomach settled."
I ignored him and took another bite of kiwi. I heard him sigh a second time and he reached out and picked up the cup himself. His cold hand held it out to me. "Drink it, please," he begged.
Reluctantly, I took it and tried a sip. It burned on the way down but otherwise didn't bother me much.
"See?" he said, smugly.
I glared at him and quickly forced down the rest of the fruit. "So, what are we doing today?" I asked as I shoved the tray away.
He picked it up and set it on his couch before answering, "There's a place I've wanted to show you for some time now." He smiled and sat down beside me on the bed.
"Are you sure you want to go there today?" I enquired, waving my hand towards the window.
"Don't worry," he said, lying back on the bed. "It's in a secluded area. No one ever goes up there."
I raised my eyebrows, "where is it?" I asked, curious.
"Get dressed, Bella," he said, sitting up. He picked up the food tray on his way out the door.
I dressed quietly but quickly, my curiosity almost making me jittery. I opened his bedroom door and hurried toward the stairs. "Oh!" I gasped as I tripped over my foot.
I closed my eyes, ready for the impact. Stone arms reached out and caught me just an inch from the floor. "I see you're feeling better," Alice chuckled and then set me on my feet.
"Thanks," I mumbled and started again for the stairs.
"Bella, wait!" I heard her call after me.
Sighing I stopped halfway down, I started to turn, but she was already in front of me. "What?" I asked, somewhat impatiently.
"I wanted to ask you about the catering for the wedding," she said, and then paused pursing her lips. "I'm not exactly sure who to contact...or if you had some preference?"
I frowned at her for a second before what she actually said registered in my mind, "oh, um...I suppose it doesn't really matter. Whatever you think is fine."
Alice sighed and then smiled, "are you sure?"
"Yeah, of course," I smiled back and then continued down the stairs.
"By the way," I heard her grin, "you'll love the place Edward is taking you."
He was waiting for me at the bottom of the stairs. "Ready to go?" he asked, leaning against the railing, his arms crossed against his chest and that lopsided smile on his beautiful face that made my heart flutter.
"Yes," I said. "I'm feeling much better."
"Good," he said, and then he bent to pick up the two little bags that sat beside him on the floor.
I groaned. "You're taking me hiking?"
He smirked as he took my hand, "it's not that far," he promised.
I leaned into his cold side as he led the way to his car. "Did you talk to Alice?" he asked as he climbed into the driver's side of the Volvo.
"Yeah," I replied while he pulled out of the garage.
"What did you tell her?"
I was sure that he already knew the answer, but I told him anyway. "I told her that she could hire whomever she wanted. It really doesn't bother me who makes the food."
He laughed. "What?" I asked, genuinely confused.
He shook his head, "when you said that you were going to give Alice free reign, I didn't think you were so serious."
"I'm doing this for her sake, not mine," I said, and then more quietly added, "If I had my way, we'd already be married."
He sighed, "I know Bella, but let Alice have her fun."
I changed the subject as we pulled onto the main highway and headed north. "Where are you taking me anyway?"
Edward grinned, "You'll see."
I scowled, "Edward Cullen, I swear sometimes you frustrate me more than I must frustrate you."
His grinned widened, "with you it's so much more fun." I huffed and he frowned, "I really am annoying you, aren't I?" I nodded and he sighed. "Alright then, I don't suppose you've ever heard of hot springs?" he asked.
I shook my head, "I've heard of them, but I don't actually know what they are."
He chuckled, "I presume then, that you've never swam in the ocean?" I shivered, was he truly insane?! It was way too cold out to go swimming! "Are you cold?" he asked, concern flickering across his beautiful face.
"No," I said, "it's just...you're taking me swimming?! It's like fifty outside!"
"Bella," he looked amused, "hot springs are like heated outdoor pools. They're heated from the steam from the earth. Trust me; you won't be cold at all." He then pulled off the road and into a small patch of trees on the side of a mountain. "We have to walk from here," he said as he opened my door for me. "It's really not that far, I promise."
I stepped out in the cold air and choked on my breath. I turned away from him as a coughing fit overcame me. "Bella?" he asked, fear in his soft voice. "Are you alright?"
"Yes," I managed to choke out. "Give me a second." It took me a minute to get control of my breathing and to not gasp for air.
"Maybe I should carry you," he said and before I could protest, scooped me up into his arms. "You know it does you no good to fight me," he added as I let out a groan.
"I'm fine," I insisted, coughing a little on the word 'fine'.
"You're just lucky that I'm not going to turn around and take you right back to Carlisle," Edward replied. I said nothing. "Do you mind if I run?" he asked. "I don't want to make you sick, but it'll be a lot faster."
"No," I said as I turned my head into his chest. I felt the wind rustle my hair and I knew he was running, but I didn't dare a look; in case it did make me dizzy.
He was right, it didn't take long. It felt like only a few seconds before he set me down.
We were in a large clearing on the mountain side. Directly in front of me were what looked like small round pools in the ground. Steam was rising from the crystal clear water that filled them. "Edward?" I asked, turning, he was no longer behind me.
"Hmm?" his voice came from somewhere to my left.
I scanned the trees and saw him standing in the shade of a large tree. "It's beautiful," I said, as I started walking towards him.
He smiled, "I'm glad you like it."
He tossed my bag at me, which I, surprisingly, caught. "Get changed," he ordered and promptly stripped down his boxers. "I'll be waiting for you." With that he took off into the dazzling sunlight and jumped into the nearest hot spring.
I giggled, a small cough escaping my throat and then began to change into my bathing suit, which he had packed into the bag.
I shivered, it was really cold out here, and then a sudden overwhelming sense of vertigo hit me. I froze, scared that if I moved I would pass out.
"Bella, what are you waiting for?" I heard him call after a couple of seconds.
I moved then, slowly, the dizziness was only slightly gone. I stumbled out from the shade into the bright sunlight. "Edward, I don't think..." I stopped, my head spinning uncontrollably and I knew I was about to lose consciousness.
I surfaced from under the warm water and turned, wondering what was taking Bella so long. I honestly didn't believe that she would be embarrassed to be seen in a bathing suit. I would have to remind her just how beautiful she really was. "Bella, what are you waiting for?" I called.
What I saw then made fear flood my senses. She stumbled from behind the trees, the first thing I noticed was her skin tone; she was white, so pale that she might've been dead.
I jumped from the water onto the cool grass. "Edward, I don't think..." I ran to her side as she started to sway and I knew that she was going to pass out. Her eyes rolled back into her head and she fell. I immediately reached out, catching her limp body in my arms.
"Bella?" I asked, my fear now replaced with desperation. I gently set her on the ground, "Bella?" I shook her, and I could feel a devastating sense of panic rising in me. "Bella! Oh god, please wake up!"
She didn't move, and I reached for her forehead. I immediately knew something was seriously wrong; her skin was extremely heated. Her fever was back and much higher than before.
I got up and ran over to the trees, quickly gathering our things. I flipped open my phone and dialled Carlisle's cell. He picked up at once, "Carlisle! Bella fainted and I can't bring her back to consciousness." The panic was clear in my voice, I had to stop and take a deep breath to keep the sobs that wanted to escape inside.
"What happened, Edward?" Carlisle's voice was sharp on the other end though there was a hint of desperation in his usually calm voice.
I racked my frozen mind, remembering quite clearly what I had just witnessed. "She turned extremely pale, nearly white, and then passed out in my arms," I replied hastily. I ran my hand across her forehead again; her skin had never felt this warm before. She was still as white as a sheet, but her temperature had to be in the hundreds; it didn't make any sense. Her skin should be flushed if she was this hot.
"Her vitals?" he asked.
I spoke quickly, nearly stumbling over the words in my anxiety. "Her temperature is high, higher than I've ever felt before. Her pulse is..." I grabbed her wrist counting the beats for thirty seconds. "Sixty-five."
"BP?" I heard the sound of an engine starting in the background.
Confusion flickered through my numb mind for a moment before I knew what he'd meant. He'd shown me how to do this once before. "One minute," I said. I wrapped my hand around her small left arm and squeezed, careful not to grip too hard. It wasn't a very accurate way to measure blood pressure, but at least it would tell me if she was in immediate danger. Thankfully it felt okay, "I can't tell for sure, Carlisle, but it feels fine; maybe a little on the low side."
"How fast can you get her to the hospital?"
I calculated the time quickly, "I can be there in fifteen minutes." I paused, holding back another sob. I was trying desperately to keep my emotions at bay but my self control was starting to rip at its very seams. "Carlisle, what's wrong with her?" I couldn't stop the sob this time and it escaped my throat in a low gasp.
I could tell from his brief silence that he was debating whether or not to tell me the truth. I wished I could hear what he was thinking; he was too far away, however. His voice was low and soft when he did reply, "I think she might be in a coma, but from what, I can not be sure." He paused, and I tried greatly to find my voice, I couldn't. "Edward?"
I'd forgotten to breathe, and I realized that he must've thought I'd crushed the phone. "Yeah?" My voice was hoarse and very quiet.
"She'll be alright, I'll find out what's wrong with her," his reassuring voice was soft but I still couldn't reply. I was about to flip the phone shut when he added, "Keep her as close to your body as possible, it'll help bring the fever down, and hopefully she'll wake up." He paused, "I'll see you in the underground parking at the hospital in fifteen minutes then." I heard the line go dead.
It took me a minute before I could move. I shoved the phone into my bag and picked her up. Her body was as warm as ever but her color was still gone. "Come on, love, wake up, please," I begged as I brushed her hair off her beautiful face.
Once I made it to the car, I leaned her gently against the seat and climbed in. I pulled her towards me as I backed out of the trees and placed my cold hand on her forehead, it burned my skin but I held it there, cooling her temperature as best as I could.
I was glad the road was deserted, I glanced at the clock on the dash; apparently I had miscalculated the time. It had already been ten minutes and I was only halfway back to Forks. I pushed my right foot down harder, the Volvo's engine wining in protest as I pushed it to a hundred over the limit.
Five minutes later, I skidded to a halt in front of the elevators in the underground parking garage at the hospital. Carlisle was at my door in an instant; he opened it and said, "Here, let me take her." I reluctantly picked her up and passed her to my father. He set her on a gurney and a couple nurses went to work, checking her vital signs.
I was about to climb out of the car when Carlisle reached out and put a restraining hand on my shoulder, "go park the car, Edward, she'll be fine. Bella will be in the ER when you're ready to see her." He paused and lowered his voice, "and please do try to calm yourself before you come in."
He pulled away and closed the door. I sat there, my hand frozen on the gearshift. I stared as he jogged off to join the nurses in the elevator.
How I managed to moved then, I didn't know; I slammed the car into drive and pulled into a spot directly ahead of me. I wasn't supposed to park here, but I really didn't give a damn. I shut off the ignition and reached into my bag, pulling out my dry clothes. I dressed quickly and then hurried to the stairs leading up to the ER.
I burst through the doors two seconds later. "Excuse me," I said as politely as I could to the woman at the admitting desk.
She scowled up at me, "waiting room is around the corner."
"If you don't like your job, why don't you just quit?" I muttered sourly; her thoughts making my mood even worse.
"What?" she asked.
"I said," my politeness nearly gone, "can you tell me what room Isabella Swan is in?"
"And who are you?" she didn't emphasize the word 'who', though she wanted too.
It was my turn to scowl, "I'm her fiancé, Edward Cullen."
Her mind went blank and she stared at me for a few seconds before quickly turning away from me and bringing up a page on her computer. "Acute Room Three," she said, though she didn't need to. I could see it clearly in her head.
"Thank you," I said before turning and walking through the double doors into the ER. I scanned the long hallway, looking and listening for Carlisle. He wasn't here, I slid the door to room three open.
She was lying on the bed, still unconscious. The heart monitor beeping quietly, a blood pressure cuff wrapped around her arm, and an IV attached to her hand.
I walked over to her, my eyes locked on her face, she looked like she was sleeping; some of her color had returned. "Bella," I whispered as I sank into the chair beside the bed. I took her warm hand in mine and pressed my head against her side. I closed my eyes.
"Edward?" I looked up; I hadn't heard him enter the room. He'd been careful to keep his thoughts blank.
"Is she-?" I started.
Carlisle interrupted me, "her fever is coming down, it was a hundred and eight when you brought her in. I really have no idea why she isn't dead. With a fever that high..." he trailed off, shaking his head. "But she should wake up soon; last time we checked, it was one-oh-four." He paused and a million questions ran through his mind.
I frowned and then felt a sudden jerking on my hand. "Bella?" I turned my attention to her. She made a soft groaning sound.
"Edward?" she whispered.
I smiled, relief filling my senses. "Oh yes love, it's me. I'm right here, open your eyes."
Her eyes fluttered open. "Bella?" Carlisle asked, moving opposite me. He reached out and placed his hand against her forehead. "How are you feeling?"
She pushed herself into a half sitting position as Carlisle took her temperature. "Okay," she said, brushing her hair off her face. "A little hot."
He frowned at the thermometer; it read a hundred and two. Then the questions popped into his head again. "No," I frowned at the most prominent one. "You would know."
Bella looked at me, confusion on her face. I sighed, "He wants to know if we've been out of the country recently."
"Why?" she asked.
"You have a blood disease rarely seen in America," Carlisle explained, professionalism ringing in his voice. "It's called Arroyo Fever."
"How'd she get it?" I asked confusion in my own voice.
"It's transmitted through the bite of a sand fly, which dies right after the bite..." he addressed her, "but if Edward's right then, I have no idea how you got it." He paused, "do you have a bite?"
I looked at her; she sighed and threw the blankets back. I watched curiously as she lifted her hospital gown and pulled the elastic band on her underwear down slightly, revealing a small purple bite on her hip. She flushed as Carlisle leaned over to examine it, "I have no idea how I got it there," she muttered, quickly covering herself back up when he stepped away.
"When did you get it?" he asked.
She glanced at me and then shook her head, "I noticed it a few days ago, but I didn't think it was anything serious."
Carlisle nodded and then picked up her chart, "I'm going to put you on some high dose antibiotics."
"Can we go then?" she asked, "I hate hospitals."
He smiled and I squeezed her hand, he wasn't going to let her go that easily. "Bella, your immune system is compromised from the flu that you just got over. We have to administer the antibiotics intravenously."
"How long before they work?" she asked.
Carlisle shrugged, "I can't tell you for sure. It depends on how well your system responds to them." He sighed, "Probably at least a couple days."
I squeezed her hand again, "I'll stay, Bella. I'm not going anywhere."
Carlisle smiled, "I'll be back to check in on you later, Bella." He turned and walked out the door.
"What happened?" she turned to me.
"You don't remember?" I asked.
She shook her head; "I remember changing into my bathing suit and..." she trailed off, a frown on her face.
"You collapsed and I brought you here," I stopped, I wasn't sure how much I should tell her.
"That's it?" she inquired. I nodded. "How long was I out for?"
I looked at the clock outside in the hallway, "about an hour."
She sighed and flopped back down on the bed. A nurse walked in then with a bag of clear liquid. "Your antibiotics dear," she said as she attached them to the IV pole.
"Do you want me to call Charlie for you?" I asked.
"No," she replied, "he knows I've been sick, another couple days won't kill him. We'll go and see him when I get out."
I nodded as the nurse left. Bella yawned. "Tired?" I said.
"Yes," she answered.
I stood up and climbed into the bed with her. I pulled her to me, "sleep love," I told her. "You'll feel better when you wake up."
She yawned again and buried her head in my chest.
It was around one in the morning when I started to notice the changes in her breathing. It wasn't much of a difference but she would take shallow, short breaths, something that she'd never done before, even in her sleep. "Bella?" I touched her cheek, she was warm again. "Damn it," I muttered. And then I felt the strangest sensation, something that I'd never experienced before. An odd silence stood in the air for a moment before I realized what was happening, then the alarm on the heart monitor went off and I stared in horror as I watched it flat-line.
I jumped off the bed, "Carlisle!"
He was there in an instant. Thousands of emotions ran through his mind, panic the most prominent, before he managed to compose himself and call for help. "I need a crash cart in here!"
Three nurses rushed into the room, shoving me aside. I stood frozen, in the corner of the room. One nurse started CPR. "Push one milligram epinephrine," Carlisle ordered. He grabbed the paddles off the cart, "charge to two hundred." He squeezed the gel onto them and held them over her. "Clear!" He shocked her once and stared at the monitor, "come on Bella," he muttered, pain on his face.
I tore my eyes away from her face and looked at the monitor; her heart spluttered once and then paused before regaining normal sinus rhythm. "BP one-oh-five over sixty; pulse is strong," the nurse nearest me said.
A few minutes passed where everyone in the room stood still, eyes locked on the monitor. "Why isn't she waking up?" I asked, my voice going flat.
Carlisle's voice was soft, "I don't know if she will."
That was it; it was all I'd needed. I broke then, my self control gone. I didn't care that I was in a hospital full of humans. The one human who I gave a damn about, the only one that ever meant anything to me, was going to die. Carlisle didn't say it, he didn't need to and I knew he didn't want to think it either.
I grabbed the table in front of me, but Carlisle was too fast for me, he caught my hands. "Edward," he warned. I glared at him, anger flickering in my eyes. "Edward, listen to me."
"What's left to hear?" I snapped. "She's going to die, isn't she?" He sighed. "You're forgetting Carlisle; you don't have to say anything to me," my voice was low but sharp.
He turned away from me then, but kept the firm restraining grip on my hands. "There should still be some blood in the lab," he told the nurses who were staring at us with horrified looks on their faces, "I want you to run comparatives." They filed wordlessly from the room. He reached out and slid the door shut behind them. "Are you going to listen to me?" he asked, "because if you just feel like destroying hospital property then I'm afraid I'm going to have to stop you."
I growled and closed my eyes, taking deep calming breaths. The tension in my hands lessoned and he let go of me. "Good," he said.
"Her immune system isn't as strong as I'd hoped. I doubt the antibiotics even had an effect on the disease." He paused and was careful to keep the words out of his thoughts, "there's nothing more I can do for her...as a doctor."
I shook my head as an idea ran through his head. "No," I whispered. How could he even think about that?
"Edward, she told me that you'd agreed to turn her once you were married."
I turned away from him, attempting to hide the pain on my face. I stared at her; she was pale, the same color she had been in the woods. I could hear her heart beating in her chest. "I won't do it without her permission."
"She already gave you permission," Carlisle said, now looking at her too.
I took a deep breath; I was struggling with the concept of having to chose between an eternity without the only person I'd ever loved and condemning her to an infinity of darkness, something that I was not willing to do without her certain agreement. "What are her chances, really, if we wait?" He didn't say anything, didn't need to. "You honestly believe that, don't you?" I asked.
He sighed, "Edward, I've seen a lot of things in my life and believe me, this scares me more than anything I've ever encountered before. And it's not just because I care for her." His gaze became more intense as he looked at her, pain appeared on his face. "If you won't do it, I will." His concern was for me. I knew it had pained him to see me alone for so long. When I'd finally found Bella, he'd been so happy for me. And he was struggling with the fact that I might spend the rest of my existence alone after all.
"No," I whispered, and I realized that I had already made my decision. I'd made it when I promised to spend eternity with her. "I'll do it. I just...I wish it didn't have to be this way."
Carlisle gripped my shoulder. "I know," he said softly. "But it'll be less painful for her. I can keep her in a medically induced coma."
"And then what?" I asked, "What happens when her heart stops beating? How are we going to get her out of here without anyone noticing?"
"We'll pretend that she's dead, and then take her down to the parking lot instead of the morgue."
It sounded so simple, so why wasn't my mind grasping it? "What about the paperwork Carlisle? Surely someone will notice a missing body."
"I'll take care of all the paperwork; trust me, everything will go smoothly."
I didn't say anything for a moment. "If you keep her out will she feel anything?"
He shook his head lightly, "I can't be sure. The venom will probably still burn, but I have to do something; she'd draw way too much attention if she was constantly screaming in pain."
"How long do I have?" I asked quietly.
"Not long," he replied, "Chances are the disease has already infected her heart, that's why it stopped the first time. It could stop again at anytime."
I sighed and moved over to the bed; lying down beside her. "I'll get the meds," Carlisle said as he stepped from the room.
"Bella," I said, smoothing her hair, "I'm so sorry. I'm sorry that I have to do this so soon, but I can't let you die. I won't break my promise again love." I laid my head against her chest, revelling in the sound of her heart beating in her chest. How short-lived that beating was.
I looked up as Carlisle closed the door behind him. "How long will this take?" I asked; my voice low. I tried my best to hide the pain, but I knew it came through.
"If you bite right side of her neck, the transformation will be complete in a few hours," he replied quietly. Then he moved towards me. "Edward, I need you to sign these two forms."
"What are they?" I asked, taking them from him.
"One is a DNR; the other is a release form. It gives you permission to remove her body from the hospital for a private burial." I scribbled my name across the bottom and handed them back to him and then lay my head back on her chest. "Are you ready?" he asked.
"Yes," I said. Carlisle picked up her IV line and injected the meds that would keep her asleep through the transformation. I looked up at him, he nodded.
I took a deep, relaxing breath and leaned my head back downwards. "I love you, Bella. I'm so sorry," I whispered into her ear. I kissed her neck and then bit down.