Summary: Post New Moon, Pre Eclipse. Bella is sick and Edward tries to reason with her. A bit angst, a bit fluff. :)

Disclaimer : I own nothing but the plot because if I did … some certain baby would have

never existed …

A/N: I somehow had the urge to write this story. In BD and even in the end of Eclipse Bella seemed to have overcome her insecurities. And I was wondering, how this would happen …


"You want me to go away?", he asked in disbelief.

"Yes", came my muffled reply. I was currently lying in my bed, facing the wall and fully covered by my blanket.

"I was worried because you weren't at Newton's today. As I left this morning you seemed perfectly fine", he explained, his voice softer than silk.

"I am perfectly fine", I tried to reassure him, successfully making my voice even. But my body betrayed me, making me double over with a coughing fit just as I had finished.

"Yeah, I can hear that, Bella", he said wryly. I really would have liked to see his face, but my pride didn't allow me to.

"Just go, Edward", I said tiredly. My chest ached and my breathing got harder every second. I badly wanted to sleep. But not with him in my room.

In a flash he was by my side, kneeling in front of the bed. "You really want me to go without seeing your beautiful face?", he asked pleadingly.

"Yes", I nearly growled through gritted teeth.

Sighing he got up. "I'll try not to take this personally, so don't worry about it". His voice was colder than before and I could tell he was irritated. I felt guilty immediately.

"Edward, I don't -", I stopped. Talking hurt too much and I didn't even know what to say.

"It's okay", he assured me. "I'll call Carlisle over to have him look at you. Though you should probably take your blanket off your head; the heat will raise your fever".

I could feel him hesitate. When he spoke next, he sounded further away. "Call me … when you want to". And with that he was out the window.

After counting to 100 – just to be sure – I groaned and turned on my back. I already felt horrible. Why was I so stubborn? Why so proud? I was just sick, for heaven's sake!

Pushing the blanket off of my hot head, I wondered why I always hurt him so much. I didn't want him to see me. I knew he had seen me much worse, lying on a bloody floor with a bleeding head and broken limbs. He had seen me feeling sick, pale as himself, after he had run with. And still I was stubborn.

Slowly I stood up, fighting back the feeling of dizziness. My head felt wrong, as if it didn't belong to my body any more. I really didn't want to get up, but the burning sensation in my throat made me crave for water badly. Too bad I just kicked my helpful boyfriend out of the house.

Originally I had planned to go downstairs and pour me some water in the kitchen, but after my first painful encounter with the threshold, I just stumbled to the bathroom and drank right out of the tube.

Charlie had excused himself hurriedly this morning, after he had heard my first coughing. He was torn between concern and fear of having to take care of me. Obviously the fear had won.

As I looked into the mirror, I suddenly remembered again, why I didn't want Edward to see me. My eyes were only half-opened, due to the heavy, purple bags underneath them and my skin was pale with red dots. The only word that came to my mind at the sight of my hair was : messy. I looked uglier than the ugly duckling.

I sank to the ground, leaning against the bathtub. That was the point. The reason for my whole childish demeanour. I was afraid; no, absolutely horrified to show him my face.

I knew that I was nothing compared to him. That I was painfully average, even for a human. But Edward seemed oblivious to that fact. He treasured me like his most beautiful painted, treated me like his princess.

So if he saw me like this … I didn't want to risk losing him. He would surely realize that I wasn't good enough for him; that I had never been.

Completely wallowing in my self-misery a sharp knock at the front door startled me. I knew it was Carlisle, so I just called downstairs, "Come in; the door's open!".

I heaved myself to my feet and stumbled back to my room and collapsed exhausted on my bed. Carlisle mad himself heard and came upstairs extra loud.

"You can quit the show", I yelled. "Charlie isn't here". The fraction of a second later he was in my room.

He smiled sheepishly. "Hey, Bella. I didn't want to surprise you".

I laughed, but it sounded strangely hollow and I stopped quickly. "Don't worry, Carlisle. You seem to be the only member of your family, who uses the door".

He laughed, too. Then his face grew serious again. "Well, I just heard what's the problem. You caught a pretty bad cold; should take you out at least a week".

I grimaced. I had guessed as much, but had hoped to be all right in a few days. One week without Edward; I didn't even have to try – I would never succeed.

Carlisle interrupted my train of thoughts. "Edward seemed kind of down, when he came home. It may be none of my business, but did you two get into a fight?".

His voice was concerned not curious. I knew he wouldn't push me, if I didn't tell him. I could trust him.

But although I knew all this, I felt myself shaking my head. "I was just being moody and stupid – nothing serious, really". I spoke fast, not allowing me to meet his gaze.

"All right", Carlisle said and when I looked up, he smiled kindly at me. I silently asked myself, if the shame and guilt shone in my eyes as guilty as in my soul.

"So because Edward already suspected something like this, I brought you some medicine. Take it three times a day before every meal". I nodded as he handed me a small bottle. "Stay in bed and pay attention that you fever doesn't rise!".

I nodded again, this time defeated. "I'll come the day after tomorrow again, to see how you're doing", he said with a small smile.

As I kept silent, he asked with a strange undertone – I first misplaced it as worry, "Can I do something else for you, Bella?".

Oh. I get it. He wasn't worried, no, he was teasing me! I sighed. "Could you tell Edward that he can come over, please?".

"No problem", Carlisle responded smoothly, but his eyes sparkled with hidden amusement. "See you later, Bella. Take care". Carlisle waved and was out of my window.

"Yeah", I muttered tiredly. I wanted nothing more than to sleep or at least lay down a bit. But there was no – absolutely no – way to let Edward see me like this.

So I wandered back to the bathroom – and said hello to Mr. Threshold on my way – and looked into the mirror. Yup, combing was definitely needed. As my brush fought its way through my tresses, pulling painfully against my skin, I felt dizzy again. The edges of my vision began to blur and my breath came short and ragged. I should stop, I knew this, but Edward would be here soon.

My legs were wobbly and the thoughts in my head were spinning. "Edward", I murmured just before I fell.

I didn't even lose consciousness just my balance. I also didn't hit the ground, due to Edward rushing in and catching my falling frame. His cool breathe hit my cheek, as he leaned over me and asked desperately, "Bella! Bella, what's wrong?".

My brain seemed to be drowned in a thick, black fog, but I somehow found the strength to answer him. "It's all right, don't look at me, Edward".

His jaw tightened and his eyes were full of hidden rage and worry. "Don't lie to me, Bella. You couldn't stand on your own any longer!".

I stubbornly looked away as he scooped me up in his arms and lay me down in my bed. Then he walked to the window.

"I'm so sorry, Bella!", he said, sounding strangled. "I know you're sick, because I lay next to you last night and you got cold. I forgot to give you an extra blanket".

I was confused. He blamed himself for my illness? I remembered last night clearly. Since we were engaged and I had rejected Edward's suggestion of, err, getting more physically involved, he had pointed out that I was now the one, who set the boundaries. And I wasn't really good at resisting Edward's tempting.

Yesterday evening had been one of those moments. After a very long day I had just wanted to give Edward a good-night-kiss. He had taken advantage of my vulnerability and soon we were in a heated making-out-session. He had just pulled my shirt over my head – joining his on the floor – as I had yawned like a giant bear. Edward had tried to stifle his laughter in the blanket and as he had hummed the first notes of my lullaby I had already fallen asleep.

Oh, yeah. That's why I had dreamt of being in the Arctic.

"Please, Bella. Forgive me", he was kneeling in front of my bed. "Talk to me, love".

"I'm not mad, Edward", I told him in all honesty. "I was being kind of stupid this morning, getting all worked up about something ridiculous".

He sat next to me and took my face in his hands to look properly in my eyes. "Nothing that's bothering you is ridiculous", he said seriously.

I suddenly got angry. He made me say the probably most embarrassing thing in my whole life. Ugh.

"Well, there is this little problem that I can't compare to you. I know what everyone thinks, even without you little mind-reading thing. I'm nothing against you. You're the only one who doesn't seem to think so!". I had to stop because my vision blurred again, but it seemed as if Edward finally understood.

"Ah, I get it", he said knowingly. "Listen, Bella, love. I'm here for you. I'll watch out for you. Because I love you. To me, you are the most beautiful being in this and every other world; and neither you red nose, nor your messy hair changes anything about that."

I was moved. "Thank you", was the only thing I could whisper.

"Any time", was his only reply – until a chuckle broke through the silence.

"You and your insecurities", he laughed out loud. "I swear, it's time for you to become my wife. Otherwise I don't think you'll ever believe me!".

"Shut up", I muttered and cuddled against him. Inwardly I agreed with him. It was time for me to become his wife, his lover and his equal.

Reviews are greatly appreciated :)