When Bella awoke she was laying underneath a fluffy white comforter and several sheets. Her hair was dry and braided neatly in back of her. Her head hurt badly and her body was sore, one particular part more than the others, not daring to move from the warm sheets. Her eyes fluttered but she did not open them fully, staring at an unfamiliar room through squinted eyes. It was morning, or afternoon. She couldn't tell which, for when she glanced out the window the sun made her flinch and snap her eyes shut again. Muddled voices murmured from below her, probably downstairs she assumed, as a piece of carved rock lay curled in her hand. She forced her head to look up.
She wanted to leap onto her, tackle her to the ground with joy, but knew she couldn't even if she were well. She simply squeezed her cool hand back and tried to smile.
"Oh, Bella, thank God you're awake," she said, sounding as if she'd been crying, though she knew vampires were incapable of doing so. Hasty footsteps came into the room, at least five people.
"I'll check her later," an unfamiliar but kind voice said. "Let's give them a moment, shall we?" And the feet shuffled out again.
"No, Carlisle, I don't want to take any chances. You can do it now."
Carlisle? The doctor? Bella remembered Rosalie talking about him a few times but was too tired to think of much more than that.
"Bella?" She felt the bed shift as he sat down next to her. She looked up at him, seeing that he had the same golden eyes as Rosalie, Edward, and all the rest. She gave him a small nod to show him she heard him. "I just need to make sure you arm is healing properly. It's just a sprain, and the rest of you seems to be fine, aside from some bruising." He took her arm, pressing down as gently as possible. She winced but soon he was wrapping it in a cast. "Within a week or so you should be good as new." He and Rosalie nodded and he left the room.
Rosalie replaced his spot on the bed, only this time lying down with her. Her cool skin caressed Bella's burning cheeks and forehead, feeling amazing, like she'd been overheated all her life and was finally cooling down.
"How….how long have I been…asleep?" she asked, trying to find her voice.
"Two nights, one day," Rosalie replied in a whisper, linking their hands. "Oh, Bell, I thought I was going to lose you."
"I'm okay," Bella groggily assured her. "Just sore…. What happened? I mean after…."
A complex look crossed Rosalie's face, both thoughtful and pained, trying to control her expression.
"Emmet?" Bella asked in disbelief.
"He was thinking about coming back to talk when he heard you scream. He got there as soon as he could but they were already…you were…" her voice cracked.
"I know," Bella tried to console her. "What did Keegan and them do?"
"They tried to fight him, but he was really angry. He explained to me after he brought you here that anything that was important to me, he would protect." A small but breathtaking smile stretched her lips.
"Really? So he's okay now…with us?"
So Emmet had been the one to save her. Bella hadn't actually seen whom it was when she was on the verge of passing out. She only felt the cold arms and assumed it was Rosalie, having been thinking of little else that day.
"Did he…" Bella didn't want to ask the question. "Kill them?"
"No but he gave them enough of a scare that they won't be bothering us again. Broke a few bones, but nothing serious. We've already reported them to the school principal and they're being expelled. I guess they've been in trouble before."
"No surprise there," Bella mumbled. Then Bella thought of something else, it filling her with anxiety. "Oh no…did you guys call the cops?"
"We figured you should be the one to decide that, seeing as how your dad's the chief."
Bella exhaled in relief.
"You don't need to tell him. No one needs to know unless you want them to. We just called to let him know you sprained your arm, though he wasn't surprised. He said it was okay for you to stay here for a while." Rosalie swept a lock of hair from Bella's face, tucking it behind her ear. They lay there for a while, grateful that Bella was alive and on the mend. It was clear to both of them how much worse it could have been. Maybe a little more for Rosalie though.
"I should probably tell you something, love," Rose said, sounding like she was in more pain than Bella, who waited, listening.
"When I was human…about your age…something similar happened to me."
Bella gasped, wanting it to be some sort of cruel joke. Anything was better than the truth. Rosalie explained her story, Bella beginning to sob when she got to the part where she was gang raped by her fiancé and his friends.
"Oh my God, Rose…" Bella pulled her close with her good arm, tears streaming down her face.
"Carlisle found me and had no choice but to turn me into a vampire. He hoped that I would be a suitable mate for Edward," she laughed.
"Did the police ever catch Royce?" Bella asked, eyes red.
"No," she said and Bella's face dropped only to look astounded a second after. "I did."
Bella smiled sadly, knowing full well that she had killed them.
"Good," was her strong reply.
There was a knock at the open door. It was Alice.
"Come on in," Rose beckoned her and the small vampire danced inside, sitting on the other side of Bella.
"How are you holding up, hon?" Alice asked her, deep concern in her eyes.
"Better. Just sore."
"I bet," Alice cooed, resting her delicate hand on Bella's head, stroking her hair. "But I meant emotionally." Bella thought about it carefully, not really sure how to answer.
"It might not have an effect on you for a while, but you know that we'll be here for you anytime, day or night. Now, I can't speak for the boys but-"
"No, we'll do that ourselves." The three turned to look at Edward, Jasper, and Emmet, peering around the door a little shyly.
"Oh," Alice said. "Didn't see you coming." She grinned and looked at Bella questioningly.
"Please, come in," Bella told them. They entered slowly but with poise, obviously having come to a decision of some sort.
"You're looking much better already," Edward told Bella.
"Feeling better," she assured them.
"Finally," Jasper joked. "I thought Alice was going to be playing nurse forever." Alice smiled and rubbed Bella's back soothingly.
"I would have," she said, mostly to Rosalie, who looked at her gratefully.
"Well," Edward cleared his throat, getting down to business. "We've been thinking and we'd like to, more officially, apologize for our earlier skepticism."
"We didn't exactly welcome you with open arms and we'd like to now." Jasper spoke to both Rose and Bella, though he looked at Bella while he said it.
"We know that if we had, we would have been more observant and might have been able to avoid all of this," Edward continued.
Emmet looked from Rosalie to Bella, nothing but morose in his big gold eyes. "Forgive me," he whispered to them.
"Emmet, what are you talking about?" Bella demanded, sitting up with help from Rose and Alice. "You saved me, remember? You have no idea how thankful I am to you."
"I mean for before," he explained. Bella shook her head, smiling at him. She turned to Edward and Jasper.
"And you two haven't done anything wrong either. Thank you for the apology, but it isn't necessary."
Edward smiled and Jasper nodded.
"You will tell us though the next time anyone starts messing with you two, won't you?" Jasper asked, looking to Rosalie.
"Yes," Rosalie assured them.
"Yeah, seriously, you could have just told us about your car, Rose. We would have put them straight."
Rosalie hissed, though not threateningly. Everyone knew how she was about asking for help. Bella kissed her cheek softly and for the first time they were all okay with it.
Nightfall came quickly, the sky a dusty purple, the smell of damp grass and pine meeting them as Rosalie rocked Bella softly on a porch swing, humming sweetly to her. They could hear crickets chirping, the bright, full moon suspended in the darkening sky. Edward was playing the piano in the house, the lovely sound blending with Rose's tune. Bella was completely at ease, never in her life feeling so peaceful. They had overcome their shadows, and had been accepted for who and what they were. It was a simple tranquility, but one which resonated deep within them both. Bella realized she was wearing her lucky shirt; the one Rose had gotten her at the concert. She smiled, letting her eyes close, feeling Rose's cool hand stroke her hair.
This is it, she thought to herself as sleep began to carry her off. Our happy ending.
Rosalie kissed her forehead tenderly, feeling exactly the same.