Connect the Dots
Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight, or its characters. I don't own, or want to own, any illness. Read on!
I was having the best dream I'd ever had. Alice and I were driving to the mall, and I told her I really didn't want to go. She pouted but told me that it was okay, that she understood. She was about to suggest that we go to a book store instead, when I felt a cold hand nudge me, trying to waking me.
"Bella? Bella, are you awake?"
I grumbled, rolling more towards the bed, tucking my face into the pillow. "Ugh. More sleep."
The voice chuckled. "Bella, wake up."
I groaned. "Don't want to."
"I bet I can make you want to get up," the voice said against my ear.
I smiled. I loved Edward Cullen, more than anyone would ever know. He always knew the right things to say, and he smelled so good. I loved spending time with him, and he loved me, too. But right now, I was tired. And a tired Bella is a force not to be reckoned with.
Edward took my chin in his hand, trying to pull my face towards him. I cracked one eye open and saw him frown. He placed his hand on my forehead, a concerned look spreading across his furrowed eyebrows. "Bella, are you feeling alright?"
"Aside from the fact that you are trying to wake me up when all I want to do is sleep? Yes, I feel fine. Why?"
"You're very warm. More so than usual. Your cheeks are very red, and you tossed and turned a lot last night. I think…you might be getting sick."
No. I couldn't be. I didn't have time to be sick. I hated feeling sick. I felt fine, Edward was just overreacting. As he placed his hand on my forehead again and on my neck, it just felt so good, like my skin was on fire and he was pouring ice all over my body. Yes, it felt so good.
He pulled the covers down from my shoulders and I saw his eyes get wide.
I panicked. "What? What's wrong?"
He shook his head. "Don't panic, Bella. But...you have spots on you."
"Spots?! What do you mean, spots?!" I sat straight up, my heartbeat picking up, trying to inspect my skin for the spots.
"Well, little red spots are on your shoulder. Did you get bit by something?" He was very concerned.
"No, Edward. I never get bit…no one around here wants to bite me." Yeah, I threw that in there just to make him stew a little bit. Talking about the transformation from a human to a vampire was still a touchy subject for him.
He rolled his eyes. "Bella, be serious, please."
I stood up, walking towards the door to head to the bathroom. "Oh, I am being very serious. If you'll excuse me, I need a human moment." I grabbed my overnight bag and headed into the bathroom. When I turned on the light, I screamed.
Edward was right. There were spots all over my shoulder and across my collarbone. I heard a knock on the bathroom door followed by Charlie's gruff voice.
"Bells, is everything okay?"
I swallowed hard and opened the door. "Hey Dad."
Charlie's eyes grew wide as he saw the spots on me. "Is that what I think it is?"
"It's a classic case of the chicken pox," Carlisle said as he removed the stethoscope from my chest after checking my heartbeat. I chuckled inside because I knew Carlisle didn't really need the stethoscope to check my heart, but it was more for show and Charlie's benefit.
Charlie was pacing the patient room. "Chicken pox? I thought only kids got that."
Carlisle wrote some notes down on my file, which was bulging. "It's most common in children because once a child is infected, other children are exposed and contract the disease. But Bella must have missed out on that exposure when she was a child. You only get chicken pox once."
Charlie ran his hand through his hair, staring up at the ceiling. "So, what do we do now?"
"Well, I can give Bella a prescription for an itch cream. But there's not much I can do. Bella, you are going to have to rest and stay home; don't eat anything that's highly acidic or salty, and please do not itch the pox."
"I….I can't do this, Carlisle. I'm a horrible father. I can't take time off work, and I can't take care of her like she needs. What am I supposed to do?"
I sighed. "Dad, I'll be fine. I can just hang out in the living room. Really, it's not a big deal."
He shook his head. "No way. You aren't going to stay by yourself and feel miserable while I have to work."
"There are no other options, Dad. You can't just take time off right now."
Carlisle looked pensive. "Bella could stay with us. It's not a problem. My whole family has had the chicken pox already, so there's no risk of exposure. And I could make sure she's following the doctor's orders." I knew he was lying about his family being exposed, but right now the idea sounded too delightful to speak up.
Relief washed over Charlie's face. "Oh, thank you so much, Carlisle!"
He smiled. "It's no problem. I'm sure Esme would love to help nurse Bella back to health."
"Well, if you're sure it's not too much trouble. I just would feel better knowing she's not home alone."
Carlisle nodded. "She'll get plenty of rest since the kids will be in school."
Ugh, I groaned. That would mean I wouldn't get to spend time with Edward. He'd be off at school while countless girls threw themselves at him while I slept, itchy and spotty, all over his beautiful house.
"Thanks again, Carlisle. I really owe you and Esme. You've been so great to Bella."
Carlisle put up his hand. "No need. We think of Bella as one of our own."
I smiled at the exchange between the two men. I'd been so quiet neither of them had remembered I was in the room. "C'mon, Dad, let's go home and get some of my stuff."
By the time I had gotten to the Cullen house my pox were itching and burning. Charlie grabbed a bag that had a few days worth of clothes and left it with Esme, who promised to put it away for me. She gave me some medicine and a glass of water and instantly shooed me away to the guest room, assuring Charlie I would be separate from Edward. I smiled, thinking of how I was the only guest to visit in a while, and how I would end up in Edward's room anyway, since it was the only other room with a bed. When the itching finally went away, I fell into a deep sleep. I woke hours later to find it very dark outside. I looked at the glowing alarm clock on the nightstand: 10:15. How had I slept that long?
I stretched and looked down, pulling my shirt up to reveal more pox than before. I let out a small cry. Instantly I heard a knock on the door. "Bella?"
It was Edward, of course. His voice sounded frantic.
I groaned, knowing that as soon as he came in he would go into doctor/protective mode. "Come in, Edward."
He opened the door slowly, peeking his head in. "Are you alright?"
I nodded. "Yes, I just didn't realize that I had so many 'bites' all over me."
I saw him stiffen at my use of the word 'bites' but he pushed it aside, coming in and sitting next to me on the bed. As expected, he put his hand on my forehead, checking my temperature. But it felt too good to argue.
"Do you need more medicine? Something to eat?"
I laughed and shook my head. "No, I'm fine. Please don't fuss over me."
"As if I could do that," he mumbled softly, not wanting me to hear.
I heard a loud knock on the door. "Bells?" Emmett said as he came in. When he saw me, his eyes got wide and then a small grin broke out on his face. "Bella, you're polka-dotted!"
Edward sneered at Emmett. "Emmett, get out of here and let Bella rest."
Esme appeared with a small tray that had juice and food on it. "How about you both let Bella rest and eat something." She winked at me.
"Its okay, Esme. Really."
She shook her head. "No. Boys, go clean the kitchen. It seems Rosalie made quite a mess trying to learn how to make omelets."
I giggled at the thought of Rosalie cooking for me, and shuddered. "She didn't spit in them did she?"
Esme smiled. "No, dear; as much as she pretends to hate you, she loves you."
I smiled as I took a forkful of omelet. It wasn't that bad.
It was then that Esme noticed my new pox all over my body. "Oh, heavens, I think Carlisle should come in here and have a look at this."
"Is there anything else for the itching? It hurts really bad."
Carlisle knocked softly on the door before entering, having heard Esme's earlier remark to me. "Bella, how are you feeling?"
"Well, I could lie and say fine, but I know you'd see right through that. It itches so badly and it hurts to lie down but I don't want to sit up."
He nodded, thinking through my options in his head. "Well, I can give you some cream to put on the pox, but really, you'll have to ride this out."
I sighed. "Thank you, for taking me in and taking care of me. I don't want to be a burden…"
He smiled. "Oh, Bella, you would never be a burden. Now Emmett, on the other hand…"
Esme swatted his arm playfully. "What Carlisle meant to say was, you're not a burden. I'm just glad I can help you, and Charlie."
Carlisle handed me some pills and I took them with my juice. "Rest up, Bella. You'll begin to feel better soon."
I nodded, laying back, trying to fight sleep. "Edward?" I asked softly.
Carlisle smiled, his cool hand running across my forehead gently. "He'll be home soon. Just sleep, Bella."
I'm pretty sure it was the next day when I woke up. The sun was out, although hidden behind gray clouds which threatened rain. Esme had opened the window, letting the oncoming rain scent fill my room. I inhaled deeply, enjoying the scent as in traveled through my lungs.
I chanced a look down at my skin. Some of the pox had faded, and bigger ones had appeared in their place. As I tried to move, my skin burned painfully. I let out a small cry, wincing at the burning sensation that overtook my body.
The door slowly opened, and Edward poked his head in. When he saw I was awake, a wash of relief flooded over his face. "Bella," he breathed.
I smiled as best I could through the pain. "It's not as bad as it looks," I tried to convince him, and even myself.
He came in, sitting at the edge of the bed, frowning. "Carlisle wouldn't let me stay with you, and he even made me go to school. Oh, it was so unbearable to think about you here by yourself, in pain…" his hand stroked the top of my tenderly.
"Well, I slept all day, so you didn't miss anything too exciting." I winced as I shifted in bed.
Edward's eyes widened. "Is there anything I can do?"
"Lay with me? The poxes are so warm."
He nodded, removing his shoes and climbing into the bed next to me. He placed his hand against a section of my forearm that had the least amount of pox on it. The coolness of his body radiated against mine, and a wave of calm fell over me. I smiled and let out a low 'mmm' of appreciation.
"Anything else, love?"
"I definitely could use a distraction."
He thought for a moment before a small smile crept up on his lips. "I think that can be arranged."
He left the room, but was back quicker than I could even notice he was gone. I stared at him as he held up a pen.
"Are we going to play hangman?"
He chuckled. "Silly Bella, no. I am going to distract you."
"Okay…" I said warily.
He twirled the pen through his fingers. "This isn't an ordinary pen; it's a felt-tip pen. It's soft and smooth."
"You're planning on distracting me with an educational lesson about felt-tip pens?" I asked, not following where this was going.
Again, he chuckled. "No love." He removed the cap, placing it on the opposite end of the pen. He looked at my body and lowered the pen to my skin. He drew a circle around one of the pox. "We'll start here."
"You'll see." He drew a line from the pox he had circled to one that was near it. He leaned over and placed a gentle kiss on my skin. It felt so good I could hardly complain.
He did this again and again, traveling up my arm and across my collarbone. I felt myself relaxing as I closed my eyes and enjoyed his treatment.
"When I was little, my friends would get the chicken pox. My mother was scared that I was too fragile to withstand the disease, so she never exposed me. They would always tell me how they would connect the pox. I thought it sounded silly, but now, I don't think it was such a lame idea."
I nodded. "No, not lame at all." I swallowed hard as he made his way down my side.
He placed a soft kiss at a pock that was near my belly button. "Oh, love, how I wish you weren't feeling so ill…"
His soft breath against my skin made me want to combust. "Edward, please…"
He looked up at me, confused. "Please what?"
"Don't tease me."
He frowned. "I'm so sorry, love. I didn't mean to---"
I cut him off with a kiss. "No more talking," I breathed against his lips, crashing them into his again.
He kissed me again, but I felt him pulling away. "Bella," he warned.
I sighed, lying back in the bed. I looked down across my body, lines of marker now covering me. "Now I look even worse!" I cried.
"Oh, no," I heard Edward groan before the bedroom door busted open and Emmett rushed in, a huge smile on his face.
"How come no one told me we were playing connect Bella's dots?!"
A/N: So…*waits with breath held* was that okay? I thought it would be funny to see how everyone would react to Bella getting sick, and what could be more fun/painful than chicken pox? *shrugs* And just so you know, Microsoft word said that 'poxes' is the plural of pox, no matter how much I refuse to believe it. So I left it there to get rid of the green squiggly line. OH, and this had to be T, because even though it would be hot for Edward to distract Bella in 'other' ways, it would be quite painful for her, and I couldn't bring myself to do that to her.