I am sorry to say that I am NOT the absolutely amazing Stephenie Meyer and, therefore, do not own Twilight or any of it's characters. I know, it's so sad isn't it? If I could only own Edwa…. I mean, I'm a completely normal person and do not obsess over fictional characters. Yeah, that's it. Anyways, the point: I sadly can NOT take credit for any characters within the pages… or, you know, none that were in the original books… okay, this is stretching on and on and on…..
A/N- Okay, so I woke up with this amazing idea in my head and have decided that I will indeed write it. HOWEVER, I if I get no reviews I will NOT be writing more on it. I really like this idea, but I want to know what YOU guys think. So PLEASE read. (oh, and as a side note, this one DOES have EPOV!! YAY!!) Oh, and, just as another little note, I do know that the language is off. On any normal occasion I would have made it at least a little more authentic, but just deal with it okay? I'm to stressed to go back and rewrite it now.
I could scarcely hold my eyes open; I hardly move at all unless it was caused by my chest giving another round of heaving coughs. I fought off the blackness, turning my eyes to my mother. Her head was lolling moments before she coughed, her entire body shaking and trembling. She was so pale, so dead-looking. As my eyes rolled back, and I was forced back into one of my own fits of coughing, I heard whispers as the door opened. It took me a few minutes to get over the coughs and look up at who had entered. The drawn, handsome face looked paler than normal as he met my eyes. I couldn't speak as the constant pound in my head grew suddenly worse. Moments later, another round of coughs carried more acid from my stomach. My mind turned black before the last of them had even escaped my throat.
The soft touch was cool on my cheek, a reminder of something other than this hell. My lungs ached as I tried to breathe, causing a fit of coughs that pulled the metallic taste of blood into my mouth again.
"Dr. Carlisle!" called a sweet, beautiful voice, sounding horrified and worried. "Please!"
"Get a rag." That voice was more familiar. My eyes parted as much as they could, allowing me a peek at my doctor who was looking up, following something with his eyes. When he spoke again, his lips seemed to move separated from his voice. "I need you to try to stay calm and clean him as best you can. Give him some water and just try to comfort him. Can you do that?"
"Yes, doctor," replied the voice I had woken to. "But how much longer does he have?"
"The pneumonia has set in" was all Carlisle said as he walked away. I heard a door close moments before the same cool feeling touched my skin again. I turned my eyes, hardly able to focus enough to let my head turn into the hand on my cheek. An angel stood above me. A pair of beautiful brown eyes that matched the honey brown framing her head shown from her saintly face. She was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen, and yet this stunning angel had tears in her eyes. I wanted to smile, at the very least, to try to comfort her, but I could do little more than stare. She gave me a watery smile and leaned down, the bun on her head shifting a little.
"Hello, Edward. I'm Clara," she said, and I felt the hand leave my face. She lifted a rag from beside her and put it to my mouth, gently wiping. When she pulled it away, it was more red than white. Her smile faltered a little, but was back in place after she put the rag down, assumedly in the same place that she had picked it up from. She touched my cheek again. "Would you like some water?"
I managed to nod a little, trying not to look away from her - even as my eyes attempted to close themselves. Coughs shattered my throat, and my body jumped up. I felt an arm around my back that helped sit me up. The all too familiar tang was in my mouth again and made me shiver. The sound of my coughs still echoed around the room as my chest heaved again and again. My chest shook in strain and I felt the arms tighten around me and pull me against her. "Just get it out."
The fit lasted forever, my throat and lungs begging for it to stop. When it finally did, my heart was pounding in my head, mixing with the fluttering sound in Clara's chest just below my ear. My breathing was too deep, and my lungs continued to scream for freedom. I felt the low whimpering vibrate in my throat, and I hated it; it made me sound weak. But her hand came back to my face as she shushed me quietly. "It's okay. It will all stop hurting eventually. You'll be able to breathe again."
I relaxed a little, focusing on the voice that filled my head. I knew she was wrong - I knew that it wasn't - but it didn't matter. Maybe, if she believed it… "Thank -" the word choked in my throat. I tried again, succeeding this time. "Thank you."
She released me and helped me lie back down on the bed. Once I relaxed into the mattress, I looked into her face and saw stray tears on her cheeks. She wiped at them quickly before picking up the bloody cloth and running it around my mouth again. I watched her intently, wondering about her. I had always been rather perceptive, and this helped me determine most things about many people, but there was little else that I could figure out.
A few minutes passed while she used a damp cloth to clean my face. Then she set the cloth down. "Okay, Edward, want to drink some water for me?"
For you? Anything. I almost wanted to laugh at that random thought. It had been too long since there had been a beautiful woman in my presence. After a second I gave her a nod and managed to choke out a 'yes'. She sat beside me on the bed, sliding her arms around me and pulling. I helped as much as possible as she struggled, lifting my arm around her neck for leverage, but it still took some time to have me sitting, propped against her side. She lifted a cup to my lips, tilting it enough for a fair flow to enter my mouth. I struggled to swallow and managed to choke it down. It was amazingly soothing. She lifted the cup to me again, letting me take a little more. Then, as if knowing it was enough, she set the cup down completely and picked the wet cloth back up. I flinched when it touched my forehead but didn't pull away. She began to hum as she mopped at my face, a quiet lullaby that helped me relax against her even more, listening to the sound in her chest. She held me like that for a while, her voice lulling me into a calm state somewhere between sleep and life.
It was a nearby cough that pulled me out of my stupor and woke me up. The humming stopped as did all other movement as Clara looked at the bed not far from my own. I turned and watched my mother choke back on her coughs, trying to keep pain the away. I wanted to go and hold her but still didn't have the strength. I struggled to speak again. It took me a minute. "Can you help her?"
Without a word she lay me back down and walked to the bed. My head fell to the side, and I watched her feel my mother's face. Apparently, she didn't like what she felt because she hurried out of the room without a backwards glance. A few moments later she was back, my doctor in tow. They walked to my mother's bed, and Carlisle looked down at her, worry all over his face. "I want you to wheel Edwards bed out of here. Take him for a walk in the corridor for a while."
She nodded, turning to me and stepping forward. I tried to focus on her as she pulled my bed away form the wall and past other beds. I had seen the way everyone looked before, a vision that would haunt me for the rest of my life. I would see, even without looking, the hollow, empty eyes and blood stained chins. My eyes drifted shut as I tried to forget the image and did not open them again until I heard the doors close. I saw nothing but sterile white as Clara pulled me through the hall slowly. I could hear faraway screams echoing and stretching just to meet my ears. After a bit of time, she stopped and looked down at me. "Edward, I'm afraid that I can't take you outside tonight, but would you like to come with me tomorrow?"
My eyes turned to her face, picking up on her worry that made her beauty become even stronger. How long had it been since I had been outside? I could hardly remember anything before being placed in the hospital. "Yes."
She smiled, but I could tell it wasn't real. There was a lack of shine in her eyes that should have been there. Though I had never seen it, even I could tell. "Oh, good."
We started moving again, and I could hear that there was the same lullaby in the air. Clara didn't seem to realize that she was humming as she walked. Eventually my eyes closed, and I drifted off to her quite voice, a sweeter sound than any other.
The room was completely dark when I opened my eyes again. I looked over to my mother's bed and saw that she was struggling with herself in her sleep. I instinctively tried to get up, only managing to strain myself enough to bring on a fit of coughs. Moments later there was a hand on my back, rubbing gently as my lungs attempted to jump form my throat.
When it finally passed, I fell back, moaning, the taste of blood again in my mouth. Clara was by my side, staring down at me. I stared back, being sucked into her deep brown eyes, lost in the mysteries held behind them. "Edward, you need more sleep."
I just shook my head. I couldn't sleep anymore if I tried. She just sighed and sat down on the edge of my bed, her face pale and sad as she looked down at me and laid her hand on my cheek. I closed my eyes then, wanting nothing but the sensation of such soft, cool hands to stay on my cheek forever. I leaned my face in and she didn't pull away, just rubbing her thumb along my jaw and began to hum again. I loved this lullaby she kept singing and relaxed even more, just listening to it - to her.
After a while she moved her hand, probably assuming I was asleep, making my eyes pop open instantly. She was still staring down into my eyes when I began to cough. She again lifted me a little, helping me stay still by holding me against her. "It's okay, Edward. Just let it out. Don't try to hold it in. I know it hurts, but just try to relax and let it out. It can do nothing but help you now."
I did as she said, trying not to stop myself and just let the coughs come out. One of her hands began to run through my hair while the other rubbed my back again, trying to sooth me. It did a surprisingly amazing job, causing me to keep my eyes closed as I just tried to follow her instructions. When they stopped, she let me stay sitting up, still running her fingers through my hair.
I'm pretty sure I saw the door open out of the corner of my eye a little less than ten or so minutes later, not that my timing skills were as sharp as they had been. I turned a little to look and saw Carlisle walking toward us. "I could hear him coughing halfway across the hospital. Is he alright?'
"Better now. He was really fighting them before, but he's letting them come now." She said quietly, again running her fingers across my scalp, playing with my hair gently.
"He seems comfortable enough with you Clara," I opened my eyes again and saw he was looking at me now, his cheeks lifted a little as if he was trying to smile but couldn't quite get it out. "Why don't you take him on that walk now?"
"Are you sure? It's early."
"Of course I am. Just take the bed. Make sure he has an extra blanket though, its very important to keep him warm," his voice was strong, but his eyes were concerned as Clara lay me back in my bed, lifting the covers over me and tucking me in gently. "I wouldn't take him for any more than half an hour though."
He smiled down at me, a little wider this time. "You're a lucky one, Edward. Enjoy yourself, and take in some fresh air. If you need anything, be sure to let her know."
I nodded slowly, my eyes flicking to her as she grabbed onto the sidebar on the bed and began to pull me back out the double doors. She stopped at one point, opening a closet in the hall and grabbing two extra blankets, only one of which she placed over my body and tucked in. "Warm enough?"
I nodded again, mustering enough to let my lips twitch into something that I'm sure only vaguely resembled a smile. She smiled in return, and we continued down the hall, the only noise being a little click from her shoes and the squeak of the wheels on my bed. It only took another two or three minutes to finally make it to two wide doors which she backed us out of. "Oh, it's going to be a beautiful day. Look how blue the sky is. And not a cloud in sight - always a good sign."
I stared up at the very sky she was talking about. Yes, she was right, it was going to be an amazing day, even if the air was nippy. I nodded when she glanced at me, my eyes turning in my head to look at the trees we passed, and I felt my smile lighten as I heard the sweet song of a bird in one of them. "Yes."
She walked silently for about five minutes or so, the wheels turning over the sidewalk with no bumps. When she stopped, she sat down on a bench and looked up again, smiling as the sun touched her face. Her eyes flicked back to me. "Do you like being outside Edward?"
"Yes." My voice was getting stronger - that was for sure - but still held the terrible roughness.
She smiled before lying her head down on my bed, still looking up. "I do, too. Just sitting out in the sun, listening to the birds. Nature is one beauty that so few people notice now. All of the new factories just take from the rest."
I nodded, agreeing. I wanted to know what else she was thinking. What other thoughts went on in her mind? She didn't say anything though, just looked into the sky. I took a little breath, trying to find the strength. "Tell… me… more."
Her eyes flicked to mine, surprise on her face. "More about what?"
She smiled sweetly and reached up, touching my cheek gently. "I'm sure there is something more interesting you would like to hear about."
She didn't like talking about herself. "No."
"Okay… if that's what you want. I'm 18 and working under Carlisle instruction for the next few weeks, so I can get used to working in a hospital. He wants me to go to St. Matthew's Hospital, which isn't too far away. My mother died last year, but my father lives here - though I hardly see him. I'm living with my sister at the moment, but I spend most of my days here. I work at night, though most people think day is a time better suited for women. I disagree. There should be no specific times like that." Her eyes were still on mine, her warm gaze making me almost forget to listen to her.
"More." I said, tilting my head and looking directly at her. "Please."
"Umm… well, I have two brothers and one sister. I haven't seen my brothers for a while. They went to fight in the war, but my sister is amazing. She has a husband who also went to war and while he's gone, she's watching the house and working at a store with his father until he returns. She's 22 now and my best friend. If you could meet her, you'd see how great she is," she seemed to have been far away but pulled back in then, looking at me. "My favorite color is green. I love to cook. There really isn't much else to tell you."
I stared down into her eyes, lost in them and already missing the sound of her voice. What was it about this woman that was so absolutely amazing? Then I figured out what I really wanted to ask. "What… are you… thinking… right now?"
She rubbed her cheek against the bed. "Honestly, I'm wondering about you. What you are like, but that will have to wait until you can talk a little more."
I smiled and nodded, knowing that I wanted to tell her anything she wanted to know, not to mention ask her even more questions. I looked back up at the sky, still managing to hold the smile on my face. A few minutes later, when I looked back at Clara, I saw that she had her eyes closed, her head rested on her arm as she relaxed with the sun on her. I hadn't noticed until then that she was humming again, the sweet melody whispered softly from her throat.
I just watched her as she lay there, not sleeping but nearly. She didn't move for another fifteen minutes or so.
"Clara?" I heard somebody say from beside me. I looked up, finding Carlisle standing there. "Are you okay?"
She sat up quickly, looking at him. "Fine."
"I think its time for you to go home, dear. It's been a long night, and you need some sleep." His fatherly tone made me smile. He was much too young to be able to do that. "I'll bring Edward back to his room for you. Okay?"
"Yes, doctor," she said, looking at me. "Edward, you need more sleep, too. I'll be back tonight."
I nodded, smiling as best I could. I didn't want her to leave, didn't want her to have to wait to see her again. But she did. She laid a single hand on my cheek before turning and walking away. I then looked back at Carlisle who was looking down at me. "Hello."
"Hello, Edward. How are you?" he asked, smiling.
"Fine," I lied quietly, not exactly sure how to put how I really was.
"She's something, isn't she? A heart of gold."
I nodded, feeling my lips twitch again. She certainly was something. And beautiful on top of it. I glanced back in the direction she had been walking but found she was already back in the building. I closed my eyes, relaxing into my pillow before looking back at the sky. It had turned from its light blue that had been when we had come out, to a deeper blue, reminding me more of water than the sky.
"She is taking such good care of you, too. I'm afraid that most of the nurses have been busy and neglectful of some patients, you and your mother included, but with Clara here things are beginning to change."
I nodded again and felt the bed begin to wheel back down the path. I watched the sky as we moved, not really sure what else to do. It wasn't that I felt uncomfortable around Dr. Carlisle. It was simply that I didn't feel nearly as good around him as I have found that I do around Clara. A concept that - though I didn't mind it - was rather odd. I had just laid eyes on the girl yesterday. Not to mention the fact that I knew, as did she, that I was dying. No matter what she said, there was no real end.
"Edward. I need you to drink some water for me. You're getting dehydrated," said the voice in my head, a dream that woke me. It was little more than a whisper on the edge of my mind, but it pulled me there all the same, wanting to again look on the beauty whose voice I could so clearly hear.
"Clara." I whispered, trying to find her in the dark but unable to see.
"What is it Edward? Are you okay? Does something hurt?" Panic riddled her voice.
That shocked me, and I opened my eyes, realizing that I had been asleep. She was standing over me, looking down with concern. "No."
She tilted her head to the side, a question written across her face, but she let it go. "Okay. Do you think you can drink some water?"
"Yes." I was actually extremely thirsty.
She walked and sat down next me, lifting me up with only a bit of a struggle. When I was again by her side, tucked against her tiny frame, she grabbed a cup off of a side table and put it to my lips. The water tasted and felt amazing, and I gulped rather greedily, not sure of the last time anything had felt so good. She pulled away before I had taken in half the contents, letting me to breath a little and let the water settle down. Then she offered again, and I sipped, more slowly. When I was done with it, she set it back down and had me lie back down.
"I'm glad to see that you slept," she said, leaning forward and feeling my face. Her face twitched a little, but I couldn't tell if it was in a good or bad way. "How are you feeling?"
"Better." And it wasn't a complete lie. Now that she was here again, I really was feeling considerably better. That made me stop again. I really need to stop thinking like that. It wouldn't end well for either of us. But there was no ignoring the fact that I felt a very special connection with Clara, something that I neither recognized nor regretted. Did she feel it too? "How are you?"
She smiled. "Well your voice just keeps getting better and better. I'm fine. Got some sleep, as well."
"I'm glad." She had a freshened look to her, not the tired, drawn look that had been there earlier. Her hair was sleeked back into a tight bun under her cap and the bruises under her eyes were not nearly as dark.
"You said you're feeling better. Are you hungry?"
"No." I said, shrugging. I really wasn't and hadn't been.
She nodded. "Okay." Then she looked over at my mother and stood. I saw her sit next to her, touching her face gently. The woman stirred, looking up with blank eyes at Clara. "Hello, ma'am. Would you like some water?"
My mother coughed a little and shook her head, letting her head fall to the side and looking at me. "Edward."
"Mom," I said, quietly, not sure how to respond. Even in this sick, pale state she was a beautiful woman.
"You have to fight, Edward. You have to fight." Her voice was barely a whisper, but I heard it.
"I will, Mom."
She erupted with coughs again, her eyes closing tightly while her chest bounced up. I watched Clara lift her, much like she did me, and hold her, grimacing with every cough as she rubbed my mother's back. When she laid her back down, I saw there was blood pouring out of the corners of my mom's mouth. Clara grabbed a towel tucked in her apron and wiped it gently, her eyes sad. My mother didn't open her eyes again, just fell back into a fitful sleep.
I could feel the tears in my eyes as I watched her, the blood turning the rag a deep red. My mother was worse than even I was, and she was suffering. She was… dying. A single tear fell as I stared at her, wanting to walk over and hold her, wanting to comfort her. Clara stood, placing the towel back in her apron. She looked at me before walking over and taking my hand. I squeezed it, not looking at her, only mother.
"Dr. Carlisle has assigned me to attend only to you and your mother tonight. Is there anything I can get you or her?"
I looked at her then. Her eyes were glassy as she looked down at me. "Just stay."
She nodded, lifting my hand into her lap and tracing my veins. I watched her fingers and relaxed as she began to hum again. We didn't move for what felt like hours as she continuously sang her beautiful lullaby under her breath and closed her eyes, holding my hand tightly. I watched her for a while, wanting nothing but to live forever looking at her, but I eventually closed my eyes and relaxed into my pillow, strangely tired again.
Waking from my sleep this time was not as pleasant as the last. I didn't wake to Clara's touch or her sweet voice but instead to the tearing of my chest as blood and mucus choked me, making me cough like I never had before. I forced myself to sit up, hardly having the strength but managing nonetheless. I felt as her arms went around me, but barely. It was like my entire body was numb to everything except the pain.
"Doctor!" Clara yelled out, hardly heard over my coughs and gags as the liquid came up from my lungs and stuck in my throat. Her arms tightened around me and I felt her knees as she crawled into the bed, trying to keep my shaking down. "Carlisle!"
"I can't!" She sounded like she was crying. "He's shaking too much. Hurry!"
Then I felt the needle in my side, just under my rib and my lungs relaxed, letting me fall back against Clara who was behind me, her arms still wrapped tight. I was trembling, my entire body screaming in pain. Every muscle taught and pulsing. I could hear my heart in my ears.
"Stay with him, Clara. Watch him closely. Just keep him comfortable and secure. If he starts coughing again, I want you take this and do exactly what I just did. Okay?" She didn't answer. "Clara, I know it's hard. But you need to do what I ask. It's very important."
"Okay," she said, her voice trembling. "Okay."
I opened my eyes and looked at Carlisle. He was staring at Clara over my shoulder, a sad look on his face. His voice gentled. "I know how hard it is to watch, but you're strong. You can handle this. Just keep him held tight, and if he starts to have trouble breathing, sit him up completely."
"Okay," she said again, sounding far away in her teary voice. I felt as her legs stretched beside mine, her knees unfolding. Then she leaned back against her chest, running her fingers through my hair. I could feel her shaking still and the way her heart was fluttering like it was trying to beat twice as fast as it was.
Eventually that calmed, and she just held me tight and close, stroking my hair and face. She had the lightest touch, the softest hands. I know that hours passed this time as I listened to her heartbeat. Finally I spoke, unable to hold it in. "I need you."
"What do you need me to do?" she asked, leaning her head down and laying it on top of mine.
"Nothing. I just need you." I said again, not sure how else to put it. It was completely true. I needed nothing but her, to hold her and listen to her. I don't know why I felt so amazingly connected to her, so completely in love with her, but I knew it was true. And I had to tell her now. I was dying, and I didn't know how long it would be.
She was quiet for a long time and just held me to her a little tighter. When she spoke, I could tell that she was crying. "I know what you mean, Edward. I need you, too. I knew it when I first saw you."
I nodded against her before relaxing again and falling asleep, unable to keep myself awake anymore.
I woke with a soft heartbeat in my ear and a pair of arms wrapped around my body. Clara. I looked up a little, moving as well as I could. She was fast asleep, her head leaning against the wall, sleeping peacefully. I watched her for a long time, then I heard the door open and looked to see Carlisle walking toward us.
He smiled at me before touching Clara's arm, shaking it gently. "Clara. You're shift is over. You need to go home."
She stirred under me, her arm tightening again. "No. I'm staying here for now. I'm fine. I don't expect to be paid, of course. Just… let me stay."
He leaned forward and looked down at me, looking down into my eyes. My vision blurred the closer he got, as if my eyes were slowly being covered by a fog covered glass. "Edward, are you okay?"
I tried to speak and found my voice wouldn't work. Then I felt it, a lump in my throat that was slowly rising and making breathing difficult. A cold hand touched my forehead.
"Clara. Go home. Now." Carlisle said forcefully. I blinked a few times, trying to clear my vision as I looked up at her.
"Carlisle, I really would rather-"
"Now, Clara. This is important. I need you to leave." There was such strain in Carlisle's voice that she unwrapped her arms almost instantly, and I felt the hand, her soft fingers on my forehead, before she began to shake under me. Carlisle lifted me off of her. "Go."
I could here her sharp intake when she got up. I followed the blurred vision of her as she stood up next to me. "Just… one minute. Please. Give me one minute with him."
"I'll be back."
"Thank you Carlisle," she said moments before I heard a door close. I watched her lean in closer, her face only an inch from mine. "Edward, you know what's happening. I don't want you to be afraid; you'll be fine. I… I love you Edward. I know that I have hardly met you, but I feel it like nothing before. I really do. Just know that, and hold on as long as you can. Carlisle is going to help you as much as he can." She was sobbing now, and I felt my eyes water as well, blurring my vision further. "I love you."
I tired to say it back. I tried to tell her that I loved her, too. But only my jaw worked. I could really hardly breath now, the lump carrying further up and seeming to get larger. Then I knew how to tell her. In a broken sound I managed to piece together the beginning of the lullaby she had been singing to me.
"I know, Edward. I know," she whispered, her lips touching my forehead. I heard another sob.
"Okay, Clara. It will be easier if you just leave now. I… I don't want you to come back for a few days. I'll send word of… how it turns out."
She didn't speak as she backed away from the bed, and I heard the door close just as another sob escaped her throat.
"Edward, can you see?"
I shook my head, turning towards him and looking at a blurry outline of a man.
"Do you feel this?"
Feel what? Was he doing something? I just shook my head again.
He leaned in. "Do you want me to save you?"
I nodded slowly. What other answer could I give? To have him save me so I could see Clara again. So I could tell her. There was nothing I wanted more than to be able to hold her while she cried rather than being the reason for it. Nothing more I wanted than to talk to her in more than broken speech.
He must have read my mind. "No Edward. If I save you, you will not be able to see Clara again. You will not be able to see anyone. But it's what your mother wants. Do you want me to save you?"
My mind went black before I had a chance to answer.