A/N: This story is most definitely not over! :) I hope it will be over soon...in like another four or five chapters...and hopefully THEN I'll be able to concentrate on my other stories. Yeah, let's hope for that. Anyway, I'm sorry, this one is awfully short, but I thought it was a good spot to stop.
Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight or any of its characters.
Chapter Five: Family
Edward was right when he thought he'd have a lot of explaining to do. When he returned home, the entire Cullen family was waiting for him in the front room, Alice had obviously told them. Each family member looked ready to burst with questions or accusations but he silenced them with a sharp look towards the sleeping Bella in his arms.
"I'll just lay her down and be right back." He said quickly.
Edward went to the room that was supposed to be his. The house was a rental so it had all the accommodations for normal humans, most importantly: beds. He laid Bella on the bed, carefully tucking her in. Edward planted one swift kiss on her forehead before returning to his family.
"Before you start, I had to. I'm sorry." Edward held up his hands – the classic and international "I come in peace" symbol. "They had her locked in a padded cell by herself and anytime I would come in she would either cry or laugh. I don't know why. I almost think she didn't believe it was me, that she was hallucinating, it would explain her reactions.
"I just knew that sitting in the dark and trying to explain my mistakes in the confines of that place wouldn't work. I needed to get her out. I wasn't seen and no one will even know she's missing for hours. We had talked about kidnapping her out of there anyway, I just did it sooner." Edward chuckled nervously.
The rest of his family sighed. They understood his decision but were slightly wary about the abruptness of it. It looked as though Carlisle was about to say something when a thump from behind interrupted them.
Edward whipped around to see Bella sitting on the stairs, having obviously just sat down – hard – before she started once again to giggle. He turned back to his family, raising his eyebrows slightly in a "see what I've been dealing with" gesture, before running at vampire speed to Bella. He scooped her up, quickly checking her now stiff body for any obvious injury, before carrying her back up the stairs.
He set her back on his bed, looking down at her large brown eyes. All trace of humor was gone, leaving a look of exhaustion, curiosity, and, if he trusted his eyes, Edward thought he also saw a small bit of hope. He would have to ask Jasper to be sure, but at that moment, he was with his Bella.
Edward cupped Bella's cheek in his hand. She seemed even smaller and more fragile than ever, but he would do anything to protect her.
"Please sleep Bella." She blinked once at him, glancing at the bed, and then, to his surprise, she smiled slightly before lying down. Bella closed her eyes as he hummed her lullaby and was quickly back asleep.
As soon as he was sure she was once again fully asleep, Edward made his way, as silently as possible, back downstairs. His family was waiting patiently, but they seemed to have even more questions than before.
Jasper spoke first. "That was an interesting and intense array of emotions." After raising an eyebrow at him, Jasper elaborated in his mind. Disbelief, amusement, self-hate, pain, lots of pain, sadness, loneliness, anger, unworthiness, and a very, very small amount of hope. I think you're right about her believing we're a hallucination. It's going to take a lot to convince her.
Edward nodded once, feeling a little helpless, before turning to the rest of his family. "I think we should wait until she wakes up in the morning and then just see how things go. Bella is very odd, we all know that, so we don't know what she believes or thinks she knows about her current situation. The fact that she actually came down the stairs partway is a huge improvement from what she's apparently been like for the past six months." He could hear almost everyone wince internally.
"What do you mean what she's been like?" Of course Esme would ask the question everyone would like to know and yet not know at the same time. Edward grimaced slightly.
"She's been almost catatonic. She refused to eat, drink, talk, or move at all. She would respond to stimulus, but other than that she just stayed curled up in her room." Edward stopped, knowing that his entire family, even Rosalie, was slightly horrified at the circumstances they had left Bella in.
"You're going to have to go to work tomorrow." Alice stated simply, earning a confused glare from Edward. "What? You don't think that they would put a missing patient and then missing staff member together? At least if you go you could find out what theories they have on how she went missing and you can alleviate any suspicion that you kidnapped her."
Edward knew she was right, but that didn't change the fact that he never wanted to leave Bella's side again. He sighed deeply, running his hands through his hair before he mumbled his agreement.
"Great! I'll be sure to take good care of her tomorrow evening while you're at work. We could have so much fun!"
"Alice! No!" Edward was immediately wary of anything she could be planning. "You know exactly how much she enjoyed your makeovers before we left, she doesn't need you torturing her anymore in the condition she's in." Alice began to pout. "No. And that's final. Besides, while I'm at work she should be asleep. She's a human, she needs sleep."
Alice seemed to see reason, thankfully, and backed off but not before Edward gave Jasper a meaningful look, saying "keep her away from Bella."
The last thing I remembered was falling asleep in the cold embrace of my hallucination. It was very disorienting to wake up in a bed and room that I've never been in. I heard the soft murmur of voices coming from outside the open door and decided to investigate, ignoring the fact that I should be in a padded cell.
The voices appeared to be coming from down the stairs, so that's where I headed, only to stop halfway down the staircase, which was where I could see the owner's of said voices. I sat down on the stair I was at, beginning to giggle again.
How amusing. I hadn't just imagined him, this time I had managed to hallucinate his entire family and a house. My giggles became louder. He appeared before me and scooped me up into his arms. I stiffened automatically, knowing this sort of contact would pain me later, when my hallucinations winked out.
After about half a second, I found myself sitting back on the bed I had awoken in. He asked me to sleep, and I realized that I was actually tired. After looking down to make sure nothing about the bed had changed, I smiled slightly at my imaginary love and laid down to sleep.