Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight, and therefore these characters are not mine, but boy, do I wish they were!!
Dear Diary, I scribbled furiously through my tears. No, scratch that. 'Dear Diary' was not at all how I was feeling today. I sighed as I stared down at the empty page ahead of me, waiting to be filled with great stories and triumphs. But what if you didn't have those? What if you only had heartaches and suffering?
Whoever is reading this, I began, today life completely sucked. If everyday is supposed to get a little better, why do I feel like each day is getting worse? How can I continue to wake up each morning, knowing that today will probably hurt just as much as the one before? Things aren't changing.
I threw down my pencil, pushing back the fresh round of tears that threatened to spill out. No, today was going to be different. I wasn't going to sit and wallow anymore.
I pushed my chair back from my desk, letting it screech across the wood floor. I stood up, and running my hands through my hair, looked over at the clock. 10:45 p.m., still early, but almost over. I quickly headed downstairs, threw another load of laundry in, letting the door slam behind me with a loud bang. I'm not being quiet any longer.
I started a load of dishes in the dishwasher, trying to busy myself, but having no luck. Usually I could keep this routine up until 11:30 pm, when I could convince myself that it was alright to go to sleep. Sometimes it would come; other times I would lay there for hours thinking back on all the happy memories I held so long before.
I headed into the living room, picking up some dirty plates and cups, folding a blanket or two and throwing them over the back of the couch. I sighed again. When did my life become so…empty?
I looked around the living room, inspecting the now cleaner coffee table and couch. I glanced over to the pictures on top of the mantle and smiled inwardly to myself. Family photos from holidays past stood there, smiling back at me, encouraging me. I let my eyes finally focus on the framed photograph in the middle. It was us on our wedding day. I remembered that day as if it was only days before, not years. Edward stood beside me proudly in his tuxedo, wearing a grin that no one could have wiped off him even if they had tried. His arm was wrapped around me protectively, as if he was scared I was going to change my mind and run away.
My white strapless gown flowed out and down the steps of the gazebo, making me look much taller than I was. We were so young then…and so in love. I shook the memory off me and turned out the light, pushing the happy days far behind me.
I tiptoed down the hall in my socks so as not to wake anyone as I went towards the guest room. The door was slightly ajar and a small fan motor was working overtime to keep the room cool on such a warm summers' night. I peeked in and saw him, my angel, lying still in the bed. It seemed like he hardly rested much anymore unless he had taken his medication. His face looked so innocent and peaceful, not that of an angry man. His hair was disheveled as always, and his mouth hung open slightly, a small snore escaping from his lips once in a while.
I'm not sure how long I stood there, watching him breathlessly, when I inhaled deeply and slipped into the room. The light beside his bed on the nightstand was still glowing softly. I pulled his reading glasses off his face, picked up the book that had fallen to the floor, and placed them both on the nightstand. I leaned over him and softly, as not to wake him, kissed his forehead and whispered "I love you."
He stirred for a moment and I thought that I had woken him; but he settled down as quickly as he had moved; his face relaxing again against the pillow and he mumbled something I couldn't understand. I turned off the light and snuck out of the room, shutting the door quietly and completely before heading back upstairs to the master bedroom.
I shivered as I walked into the room—not because of the cold, because it was anything but that tonight; but I shivered as memories of our past—mine and Edwards—came flooding back to me. I pushed them away as quickly as they came on, willing myself not to cry tonight. No, tonight was the night that the tears would all stop. I changed into my pajamas—an old pair of basketball shorts and a tank top—before crawling under the sheets of the huge bed, leaving the comforter at the foot. The right side felt so empty now, as it had been for awhile. I let out another sigh and stared up at the ceiling, pushing the hair out of my face that had fallen over my eyes.
"God, or anyone, whoever is up there listening. Could you help me please? I've been talking to you for quite some time now and haven't gotten an answer. What's it going to take to get a miracle down here to fix things? Some days I don't even want to get up; I just want to die. Why won't you help me? Why won't you help him? We need you here, working in our lives." I waited, and after no response, sighed again. "Of course, if you don't want to help us, I guess there is nothing I can do."
I closed my eyes for a second, thinking to myself. "I love him, I really do. But I can't keep going on like this—it's killing us slowly. So if you're there, I'm not asking for much, just give us something to show us that there's still hope."
I laid on my side, taking deep, even breaths in order to keep the tears away. No, not tonight. Please not tonight, I begged myself as I turned out the light on the nightstand next to me. Not tonight.
When I woke, I heard birds outside chirping loudly. I groaned and pulled the sheet over my head. Five more minutes, I told myself. But somehow I knew that I didn't have those minutes. I peeked out from under the sheet and looked over at my alarm clock. 6:45 am. Well at least I had made it through the night without crying.
I sat up suddenly, looking around, when the realization hit me. I didn't have a nightmare last night. I slept through the night and with no nightmare. Maybe the last three years had all been a dream. I smiled to myself, giddy at the idea that I had been imagining the horrible events of the last three years. I climbed out of bed eagerly, heading to the bathroom to wash my face and brush my teeth. As I splashed the cold water over my face, I couldn't help but feel a spring of hope in me. Was today the day that things changed?
But as I looked up at my reflection in the mirror, the realization hit me: this was not a dream. The small scar was still there, slightly above my left eyebrow, a small but permanent reminder of what life had been like. I inhaled, pushing back the tears that threatened to form. I picked up my toothbrush and began brushing harshly, chiding myself for being so stupid. As if you'd be that lucky, Bella, and the last three years didn't happen. You're so naïve to think that things will get better today.
I pulled my hair back into a ponytail after being unable to tame it, and threw on a pair of faded blue jeans and a simple blue tank top. I knew I had a long day ahead of me. It was Wednesday, after all.
As I was continuing in my thoughts, I heard the phone ring. I rushed to grab it from the desk before it could wake Edward. "Hello?" I asked in a hushed whisper.
"Bella? Why are you whispering? What's happening?"
I laughed to myself when I realized I was upstairs and didn't need to whisper. "Sorry about that, Alice. I forgot I was upstairs. What's going on?" I asked casually.
"Oh, nothing really. I just wanted to see how you were doing…" she trailed off, which could only mean she wanted something.
"Well, nothing new has happened since the last time you called me yesterday. Still the same old. How about you?" I asked slyly, hoping she would just get to the point.
"Um…well…Jasper was wondering…if…"
"What does he want, Alice?" I prodded, knowing full well the favor wasn't for Jasper at all.
"Jasper wanted to come visit Edward" she said quickly.
I sighed. "Alice, I don't know if today is a good day…"
"Aw, come on, Bella, " she whined, trying to convince me otherwise, "it's been six months since anyone's been able to come visit him…Jasper really misses his best friend…and I kinda sorta miss my brother…"
"I told you, he doesn't want anyone coming in the house," I sighed, "Alice, please don't do this to me right now, I have to get his breakfast ready…" I tried to hold out against Alice's begging, but it was almost impossible. I was lucky I had lasted six months.
She sighed impatiently. "Well, can you and I at least meet for lunch or shopping or anything?"
"I don't know; you know I don't like to leave him alone if I don't have to…" I heard shuffling downstairs followed by a stream of curse words. "Listen, Alice, I gotta go. I'll call you."
Defeated once again, Alice huffed. "I'm going to kidnap you if I don't at least get to see you soon. Tell Edward we love him, please? Everyone's not the same without him…"
I nodded. "Okay, bye Alice," I said quickly as I hung up the phone and threw it on the bed. I quickly rushed down the stairs, trying not to stumble and fall. "Edward?" I called "Are you alright?"
I could hear him down the hall, still cursing up a storm. As I came to the door, I knew he heard me coming.
"Don't come in here," he growled.
I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, swinging the door open anyway. When I opened my eyes, I gasped at what I saw. "Oh, Edward!"
His body was lying on the floor in a fetal position, his arms hugging tightly to his chest. I quickly scanned the room to see his wheelchair just out of reach for him. I was stupid not to have put it near his bed last night before I went to sleep. But if Alice hadn't called, I would have been here…
"I told you not to come in here—what part didn't you understand?" he cried out as his arms grabbed at the bed, attempting to pull himself up.
I tried not to cry, knowing he didn't mean to be so angry with me. "Edward, let me help you," I said, bending down next to him to help him up.
"No," he growled, looking down at the floor, anywhere but at my face, "I don't want you to see me like this."
"Edward, you have got to let me help you." I stood up and brought the wheelchair next to him. He grabbed the chair with his arms and hoisted himself into it easily. Three years had given him plenty of time to practice. Well, that was once he finally started using the chair.
I watched silently as he wheeled himself over to his closet and opened the door. Running his hand through his bronze hair, he stared at the closet intently. "The gray shirt," he said quietly, knowing he couldn't reach it from where he was.
I walked over slowly, pulling the shirt off the hanger and handing it to him. Out of the corner of my eye, I watched him pull his nightshirt over his head and set it in the laundry basket. I stared at his chest, mesmerized by his abs; his upper body strength had increased over the years. He slipped the shirt over his head, pulling it down as far as he could. "Thanks," he muttered.
I forced a smile. "You're very welcome, my handsome husband. What would you like for breakfast?" I asked casually as I leaned over and kissed his forehead, heading out into the kitchen, knowing he would follow me when he was ready.
I began pulling out materials from the refrigerator: eggs, milk, juice, bacon. I had my head stuck in the fridge still when I heard him come in.
He sighed heavily. "Bella, I'm sorry I yelled at you this morning…I had no right…"
I shook my head, letting him know that I wasn't mad at him. "Don't apologize, Edward. I shouldn't have come in after you told me not to; I was just worried you had hurt yourself." I put a pan onto the stove and let it began to heat while I mixed some eggs in a bowl with salt and pepper, stirring it all together.
"I just…it was…" he was searching for words and his fist hit the kitchen table, causing me to jump slightly. "Damn it, Bella, I hate being this way…being who I am now."
I stopped stirring the eggs and walked over and sat in a chair next to him. I took his hand in mine. "Edward, you've got to stop beating yourself up over this. I took a vow—in sickness and in health. Well, now's just a time of sickness; you'll get better. You're getting better everyday. Even Erica down at the rehab center says you're improving. These things just take time," I tried reassuring him, rubbing circles in his palm. But you have to at least try, I thought selfishly to myself.
Edward had given up about a year into his rehabilitation. After…the accident…the doctors were positive he could regain use of his legs after extensive therapy sessions. Edward worked hard for the first 8 months, but after seeing minimal results, his hope began to fail. By the time a year had come around, he had quit completely. He refused to see any of his family and friends, and even for a few weeks had stopped talking to me. He was angry with himself for not being able to get better. No matter how many times I would encourage him, it was never enough. For a year after that, Edward laid in bed, a lot, and would only get up to shower or eat. He had lost all hope, and at that moment I thought he had even lost his hope in me. Our marriage was falling apart because he was giving up on everything.
Finally, after an argument between us exploded out of control and I left the house for the night, he seemed to have stumbled upon his senses. When I returned, Edward promised to begin rehabilitation again. But that didn't solve everything—he still didn't let his friends and family visit except for on Christmas. His pride often got the best of him.
He looked up at me with eyes full of guilt and shame. "I don't know why you stay with me," he said softly, "I don't deserve anyone nearly as caring as you are to me."
I shook my head. "That is nonsense, Edward Cullen, and you know it. The simple fact is that I love you, and you made a vow to love me forever, so you're stuck with me." I smiled and stuck my tongue out at him, which seemed to amuse him. I stood up. "Now, how about I make us some breakfast? Erica will be here soon for your at-home session—it is Wednesday."
He nodded and wheeled himself closer to me to watch as I prepared breakfast. "How did you sleep last night?" he asked, judging my reactions to see if I was lying or not.
"You know? I actually slept all through the night and didn't have one nightmare. I'd say that's a cause for celebration." I smiled over at him sweetly. "And you were pretty tuckered out when I came in to check on you last night, mister. You still had your glasses on," I smiled at the memory of Edward looking so angelic.
I finished up breakfast, and served us both a plate. Edward ate silently, but his mood seemed to be a bit happier since this morning's incident. I hoped today would be the day that made a difference.
The doorbell rang, and I stood to get it. I opened it to reveal a smiling Erica, carrying a bag of supplies she would use for Edward's rehabilitation session today. "Hey, Bella!" she said cheerfully.
I smiled at her warmness. "Hello, Erica, come on in." I opened the door and let her pass through.
She stopped in the doorway and whispered to me. "How is he today?"
I was about to answer when I heard a loud cough and looked up to see Edward in the doorframe. "I might be paralyzed, but I am certainly not deaf, ladies. I'm alright, Erica, good to see you, too."
I blushed, feeling embarrassed that Edward had caught us talking about him. He wheeled himself into the living room without another word. I looked over at Erica and shrugged. "Your guess is as good as mine."
She chuckled and followed Edward into the living room. Usually I didn't hang around for Edward's in-home sessions; I used it as a time to run to the grocery store or other errands. I hated leaving Edward alone, and he refused to come with me. I grabbed my cell phone and purse and peeked into the living room. "Edward, I'm going out to run a few errands, is there anything you need while I'm out?"
He looked up at me as Erica was writing notes in her folder. "Would you please refill my pain pills while you're out?"
I nodded. "Of course. Alright, I'll be back in a little while." I walked quickly over to him, kissing him on the cheek. Edward and I hardly kissed on the lips anymore because he was so disgusted with his lack of ability to care for me 'like a real man' as he always put it. Intimacy had become non-existent since the accident. I never pushed Edward, hoping he would come around on his own time.
He smiled lightly. "I love you," he called as I headed towards the door.
I stopped and turned, a grin spreading across my face. "I love you, too, Edward."
He hadn't said that to me in days. Maybe things are looking up, I thought as I headed out the door, already dialing Alice as I stepped out into the scorching hot sun.
Although I felt bad for not mentioning it to him, I went to meet Alice for coffee on my trip to run errands. She had agreed to ride with me and accompany me to the grocery store. I met her at a local Starbucks.
"Bella!" she squealed, bouncing up and down when she saw me get out of Edward's silver Volvo. Since my truck had died two years earlier, and Edward couldn't currently drive, I let him talk me out of getting a new car.
Alice ran over to me, pulling me into a tight hug. "Oh, hey to you, too, Alice."
She smiled, but her smile faded as she assessed my outfit. "Bella, I know you don't get out much, but could you at least wear the clothes that I got you from last Christmas?"
I shook my head. "And make Edward wonder where I'm going? Don't think so."
She looked away sadly. "Do you think he'll ever speak to us again?"
"I hope so. He looked good this morning. He even told me he loved me," I grinned stupidly, thinking back to the memory in the living room.
She giggled. "Oh Bella! That is SO great! C'mon, there is a frozen hot chocolate waiting inside with your name on it!" She exclaimed as she dragged me into the Starbucks to order our drinks.
"Make sure hers is a decaf," I laughed and told the cashier, to which Alice glared at me.
"I'll have a double shot of espresso in my venti chocolate chip frappacino," she told the cashier, and nudged me when I rolled my eyes at her, smiling the whole time.
After getting our coffees, I drove us to the grocery store. Alice chatted on, filling me in on the rest of the Cullens and our friends. "Dad and Mom are planning a small cruise for the family fall get together, and I think even Emmett and Rosalie are planning on going this year; you know how hard it is for him to get time off." Emmett had become a medical lawyer, following as close to his father's medical footsteps as he could, although everyone was surprised he'd picked such a serious career.
I smiled sadly, knowing it would be another trip that Edward and I would miss out on. I tried not to be bitter, but couldn't help but feel sad that Edward had pushed his family away since the accident.
Alice looked over at me cautiously, putting her hand softly on top of mine. "It could happen, Bella," she answered softly, already knowing what I was thinking. "You said yourself that he was improving. It's still 3 months away."
"Thanks, Alice, but I think it would take a medical miracle for Edward to come around to where he'd even consider leaving the house, let alone go on a cruise with the family."
As we walked around the grocery store, I started putting items into the cart. More bread, butter, lunch meats, chicken breasts, steaks, ground beef, some fresh vegetables, and ingredients to make Edward's favorite dessert: chocolate mousse pie. I wanted to do something special for him since he was in such a good mood.
"Well, anything is possible. I have faith that he's going to come around. I can't not have faith in him, Bella. I'm scared of what will happen if I don't" she said quietly, fighting back tears.
I squeezed her hand as I went to the pharmacy section to pick up Edward's pain pills.
The rest of the trip went about the same—Alice kept hinting that she wanted to come back with me and "surprise" Edward, especially since he was in a good mood. I told her it wasn't a good idea as I dropped her back off at her car which was still parked at the Starbucks.
"Oh, Bella! I just miss you so much! Family dinners aren't the same—you should see the way Emmett mopes around. It's not right, what Edward's doing. He's being selfish," she huffed in her seat, refusing to move.
I put my arm around her shoulder loosely. "Alice," I coaxed as she looked up at me, her infamous pout on her face. I had two seconds to get strong or I was going to lose and she knew it.
"Bella, just for five minutes, please? Don't you want your sister to be happy?"
I sighed—I had waited too long. "FIVE minutes, Mary Alice Hale. I mean it. No more than five minutes. And if Edward kills me, you're the one who's taking care of him for eternity."
She bounced happily and giggled. "Oh thank you thank you, Bella! Can Jasper come? PLEASE?"
"Absolutely not!" Her smile faded. "It's just that I don't want to overwhelm him, Alice. Please, this is already going to throw him off course."
She nodded. "Well, what are we waiting for? I wanna see my brother!"
Alice pulled up behind me in the driveway as I parked in the garage. I came in through the front door, noting that Erica had already left. I looked down at my watch—she was done early. This couldn't be a good sign. I inhaled deeply and opened the door, calling loudly. "Edward, I'm back!"
I was met with silence. I placed the grocery bags down on the kitchen counter and headed into the living room. I saw him sitting in his chair, looking out into the backyard, his back to me.
"Edward, how was your session?" I asked cautiously, silently hoping for good news.
He sighed. "I'm still in this chair, aren't I?" His words stung me.
I walked closed to him, placing my hand on his shoulder. I felt his body tense as I did so. "Did Erica say something to upset you?"
"I'm so tired of fighting for something that might never come."
"It will. You just have to keep having faith…"
"I can't have faith in—" He was starting to get worked up as the front door shut. Shoot, I thought.
He turned just as Alice was bouncing in the room. "Edward! Oh, Edward it's so good to see you!" She smiled widely as she ran over to hug him.
Edward looked up at me with a cold stare, knowing it was my fault. "Alice," he said blankly.
She stood back and took him in. "Well, I can see you've been working out. But you haven't been shaving. Tsk, tsk. Jasper says to say hello, and of course Emmett and Rosalie; Mom and Dad miss you so much, Edward! You really shouldn't—" She was rambling on and on.
"No, YOU really shouldn't be here. I thought I told you all I didn't want visitors," he growled, and then turned to look at me. "I thought I told YOU that as well."
I shuddered. "Come on, Edward! Alice is your sister! Your family just worries about you—they must think I'm keeping you locked up in here with my silly excuses," I pleaded, feeling the familiar arguments coming back a thousand times.
"Well, Alice, now you can run home and tell everyone how precious Edward is still stuck in this damn chair. If you don't mind, I'd appreciate it if you'd leave," he said coldly.
Alice's eyes filled up with tears as she slowly nodded her head. After a second, she shook her head left and right, stomping her foot, hand on her hip. Oh, here it comes, I thought.
"You know what, Edward? I don't give a crap what you want anymore—you've been in this house for over two years and haven't left unless absolutely necessary. This is absurd! Don't you see what you're doing? You're hiding! You aren't helping anyone—your family misses you and you sit here and wallow in self-pity everyday. Not to mention you are bringing Bella down with you."
"Alice, you don't understand—" He started.
"No, Edward, it's YOU that doesn't understand. You think you are doing everyone a favor by staying away from us. You know Bella won't ever leave you, and you're taking that for granted. For God's sake, I have to wait for the in-home nurse to come so I can even see Bella for what, fifteen minutes? And you can't even know about it? What is that?! If you love Bella as much as you say you do, you'd see how much this is hurting her, too! You can't keep her from her family, too! How can you treat her like this? How can you treat all of us like this? We only want to help you." Tears were streaming down her angry face now.
"Alice, I think you should go," I said softly, not moving from Edward's side. If this was the life he wanted, I was willing to give it to him.
She shook her head in disbelief. "You see what I'm talking about? Look at what you're doing to her, to me, and you can't even imagine how Mom and Dad are handling this…"
"Alice, that is ENOUGH!" Edward roared, looking up at her with wild eyes. He pointed to the door. "Are you going to leave or do I have to drag you out myself?"
She turned to go, talking so low I almost didn't hear her. "I wish you would drag me out. At least then, maybe you'd let yourself feel human again." She started walking out the door.
My heart stopped. I looked down at Edward, and then back to Alice. I was losing her—we were losing her. "Alice!" I called as I ran out the door and down the driveway to her. "Alice, I'm so sorry."
She turned to me. "Don't you dare start that crap with me, Isabella Cullen. I understand you have your loyalties to Edward, and I can't fault you for that—he is your husband. But if things don't change soon, it's going to get worse. He shouldn't keep you from us, Bella. If he doesn't want to see us, he should at least let you come by."
I took a deep breath, pushing tears back. "He doesn't keep me here."
She looked up at me, rage in her eyes. "Excuse me, what did you say?!"
"Alice, he doesn't keep me here. But I can't leave him alone by himself! What if something were to happen? I'd never forgive myself!"
She shook her head again. "See? You still don't get it. By him refusing to leave, he IS keeping you here." She sighed. "I have to go. Call me sometime." She kissed my cheek and gave me a sympathetic squeeze then got into her car.
I stood there watching her drive off. After I had collected myself, I headed back inside, hoping this argument wouldn't send me over the edge tonight.
I shut the door softly, heading directly for the kitchen in hopes of escaping Edward for just a few minutes until I could calm down. But he knew me too well. There he was, sitting in the middle of the kitchen, arms crossed, and waiting for me.
"Edward," I started.
He shook his head. "No, I need to say something."
I slowly nodded.
He stared at me coldly. "And you might not like it."
A/N: Ok, welcome to my first fic ever I hope you like it and if you don't, well, that's okay, too. In case you haven't guessed, the story is told from Bella's point of view. The entire story is going to be told from her perspective. I'm not going to beg for reviews or hold out for a certain number before I publish the next chapter. But, keep in mind if you don't tell me what you like or don't like, the next chapter might not turn out the way you think it should. Happy readings! If you want to see what other fics I absolutely adore, check out my favorites on my profile!