Edward Cullen is a rock star in the biggest band of the decade. He's America's "It Boy," but he's still unhappy. Will Bella be in time to save him? AH AU
Disclaimer: Stephanie Meyer is the genius who created Twilight; I'm just toying around with her characters.
So, she isn't sure why, but she's so fucking lost right now. Seriously, this is something out of that one movie, where the band can't find the stage…. you know, This is Spinal Tap? Yeah, that one. She's walking in circles, and every time she thinks she's close to finding the way to the stage, or the crowd or where ever the fuck, Bella just finds herself opening a door to a storage closet, or walking in circles.
She really doesn't even know how she got down here, she knows she's about two floors under ground now, she knows she went down two flights of stairs, and when she went to look for the right way back up, the way she came, she just found more stairs leading down.
"This is so Alice in Wonderland," she sighs, walking down to the end of a corridor, looking around and hoping she finds a way out. She's about to turn around, head back the way she came when she hears a little sound, almost like a cry, but she isn't sure. She goes to the sound, opening the door and almost slamming it closed just because she can't believe what she's seeing.
She doesn't though, she doesn't close the door. No, Charlie taught her better than that. She hurries into the closet and closes the door behind her, almost like someone might show up out of no where and see them together.
Edward Cullen, the one and only Edward Cullen is on his knees, crying, wrist out, holding a fucking box cutter over his bright blue vein, crying about how he's so alone. Bella's a little wary, not quite sure what she's supposed to do, but she just takes a step closer, hesitantly, and whispers, "Mr. Cullen?"
It's like Edward hadn't seen her before, but now that he has, he just glares and runs the blade hard over his skin. He hisses at the feeling for a second, but moves the blade and runs it over his wrist again, harder, deeper, and Bella is in some kind of shock, at all the blood. She doesn't know what she's supposed to do. She rushes forward, even with Edward's 'leave me, just get the fuck out's' and reaches for the blade, trying to stop him before the rusty, coppery, smell of blood gets to her.
Edward's still quick, turns the blade away from himself, pointing and slashing at Bella's forearm, and Bella cries out as the blood pushes out from the wound, mixing in an almost beautiful swirl with Edward's. She can almost see the color difference, even though there really isn't one, but in her mind, while Edward is bleeding out onto the floor, and Bella is hovering over him, there is, and Bella's transfixed by it.
While Bella's staring at the blood that's pooling around them, Edward's shaky hand is slicing into his opposite wrist, hard, or as hard as he can, he can't use much pressure, he's already bled out enough blood to soak his shirt, and his jeans below him, spots of crimson marking his material possessions brightly.
"Mr. Cullen," Bella tries again, reaching her hand to cover the cut on her arm. It burns, but she's not worrying about herself right now, she's much more worried about Edward. So when she kneels down, the first thing she goes for is the box cutter. She tosses it to the side of the closet, out of reach, and grabs Edward's wrists in her hands, tightens down on them to stop the blood flow. "Mr. Cullen, you need to listen to me, right now, ok? My name is Isabella Swan, and we're going to get you out of here."
"No one will care," Edward sobs, "No one will care whether I'm dead or alive."
Bella shakes her head, but Edward is persistent, "No one, I'm worthless. I'm nothing. No one loves me, I'm alone, and I'm. Now, I'm dying."
Bella shakes her head again, pulling her right hand off of Edward's wrist to hold his chin steady, His eyes are bloodshot, and she thinks that maybe Edward's a little… inebriated? Drunk? High? She's not sure, but she says, "You are not alone, I'm right here, and there is a packed house out there, waiting, and in an hour, they'll be screaming your name, Mr. Cullen, your name, and you're down here, trying to end it? You're not going to die."
Edward blinks a few times, inhales deeply, and now all she can smell is the copper of blood, and Bella can tell Edward's starting to panic, but runs her thumb over Edward's cheek soothingly, "Mr. Cullen, do you have a phone, so I can find a way out?"
Even though Edward doesn't answer, Bella wipes her bloodied hand on his shirt and reaches around in Edward's pockets until she finds it. There's no service, (of course there isn't) but at least it's got numbers she can use. Bella's going to have to call Edward's band mates, but first she's going to have to find the stupid stairs.
"Ok, Mr. Cullen, I need you to do me a big favor alright? You're not dying, I'm not going to let you, but you have to do something for me."
"Doesn't matter. No one will care," he pouts, and Bella's really getting sick of it at this point.
"Snap the fuck out of it," she says loudly, her voice echoing off the walls of the small room. "I will care; do you realize that if I just leave, you will die? Do you? I can't let that be on my conscience. Now wrap your hands over the cuts on opposite arms, and wrap your arms around my neck." Edward does it—slowly-- but he does it. "Good, ok, now we're going to stand up, and you're going to wrap your legs around my waist and hold on. We're going to get you help, ok Mr. Cullen?"
Edward nods, and once they're standing, he follows Bella's instructions and wraps his legs around Bella's waist. He's feeling a little light headed, dropping his head to Bella's shoulder, and whispering, "I'm too heavy."
"I've got you," she whispers back, even though her legs are already shaking from the weight, and she's already squeamish from all the blood. "I've got you, Mr. Cullen, don't worry."
"No, no, Mr. Cullen," Bella panics; she can hear the defeated tone in his voice, like he's giving up. "You can't pass out on me; you have to keep talking, ok, please, just keep talking. Tell me anything, just keep talking."
Bella's walking as fast as her tiny legs can take her, carrying the extra, what? One hundred and seventy pounds? She's searching, and she wishes this was Alice in Wonderland because then the Cheshire Cat would show up, and even if he didn't point Bella in the right direction, he'd point her in some direction, other than the one she was going.
"Mr. Cullen, keep talking to me, I can't hear you," but Bella can feel his lips moving over the skin of her neck, murmuring over and over again, but she can't hear it. Edward probably knows the way back up, but Bella wants him to focus on keeping his wrists held tight. "Hey, keep that grip tight, ok Mr. Cullen? I need you to hold it tight."
She's kind of worried about him, he's getting quieter, and she can feel Edward's blood flowing down her back and she knows that she's bleeding on Edward. She's looking around frantically, telling him over and over again to keep talking, and she hears Edward talking about his sixth birthday, and how they had a Superman cake, and it was his favorite.
Finally Bella finds the stairs, and she rushes up the first set, but after she gets to the landing, she's completely and utterly out of breath, and she doesn't think she can make it up another flight. "I need"-she breathes, panting-"help. We need help."
She reaches for Edward's phone, and thanks whoever for small favors, because she's got service. "Baby, who should I call, I need help, and I can't. We need help."
"Jasper," he whispers, and if Edward's lips weren't on Bella's neck, she wouldn't have been able to comprehend what's being said to her. She flips up the screen, goes for the address book, looking over Edward's shoulder, and typing JA-S-P-E-R before hitting send and putting the phone to her ear.
"Edward, where the fuck are you?" Is the first thing Bella hears, and almost drops the phone when the voice sounds in her ear.
"J- Mr. Whitlock? Uhm. My name is Bella," and she's still breathing hard, "I. We. Edward--I mean--Mr. Cullen, he needs your help."
Jasper's quiet for a second and then he's calling for Emmett, who's listening in. "Who are you?"
"I. I don't, can't breathe, don't," she stumbles, and almost drops Edward as they make their ascent up the next flight up stairs. "He's bleeding, he. Box cutter. Stairs." She can't say anything else and get up the stairs, so she just kind of ends the call and holds on tight to the railing. "Mr. Cullen, please, keep talking."
She hears steps, fast moving steps, getting closer, and closer, and when she sees Edward's band mates, she does everything she can not to collapse right there, just says, "Call 9-1-1."
Bella sees Emmett reach for his phone, at the same time Jasper is grabbing Edward out of her arms and cradling him in his own. Bella falls to her knees instantly at the lack of weight and she can hear Edward crying, apologizing over and over again. He's still gripping at his wrists. Bella isn't sure what to do, so she pulls her shirt over her head, and uses all of the strength she's got left to rip the shirt into two strips, wrapping them tight around Edward's wrists.
"Mr. Cullen, I know it hurts, but you have to keep them tight, ok? You have to keep them from bleeding." He's lost a lot of blood, Edward has, and Bella knows they're going to have a fuck of a time trying to keep him alive now, he's already pale, and he's cold to the touch, and he's shaking. "Here," she pants out, still ridiculously out of breath, "Give him here," and Jasper, he doesn't know what's going on, or what happened, or who she is, but he hands him over to her anyway, and stands up to make sure Emmett's called.
Wrapping her arms around Edward, she lays them down and covers as much of Edward's body with her own, trying to keep her warm, despite the cooling blood on their skin.
"Keep talking to me, Edward," she whispers quietly, "I can't hear you."
She passes out before Edward can start talking again.
When Bella wakes up, she can hear quiet talking, almost like arguing back and forth, and she can feel a warm body next to her, gripping her like she'll fly away. Her eyes blink open, and Edward Cullen is curled around her, and the first thing Bella notices is that Edward's in a hospital gown, and the blood is gone. Bella still feels dirty, can feel the blood seeping down her neck, even though she's clean too. The voices stop, and when Bella looks up, both of Edward's band mates are staring at her, toeing the ground like they've got bad news.
"So, uh, thanks," Jasper starts. "I mean, you saved his life, you know?"
Bella just nods, she's not really sure what to do anyway, so nodding seems like the best idea. "No problem, ya?"
Emmett's next, "You have to leave," and it's a jumbled mix of words thrown together amazingly fast, and Bella almost doesn't catch it. "The doctor said if you stay, and he wakes up, he'll have what's called the Superman Complex. The nurses couldn't even stitch up his wrists because he wouldn't let you go, and if he wakes up, he'll be Lois Lane, and you'll be Superman. You have to leave before he wakes up."
Bella can barely sit up, let alone walk out of the hospital and not… you know, die. But Emmett persists, "We'll pay you, for all of your medical expenses, and your recovery, any therapy you'll need, obviously we'll pay for it, but you need to go before he wakes up."
Jasper, who has stayed quiet through this puts a hand up, "Em," and then looks at Bella. "What he's trying to say is that, if you stay, and he wakes up, you'll be stuck with him for months, years even, and the doctor said that with him, probably longer, because of his abandonment issues. Seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day, non stop, like taking care of a child."
"You won't be able to get rid of him,. He'll cling to you every where, doctor says he won't so much as sleep unless you're sleeping next to him. You'll be the hero, and he'll be the damsel in distress. It will be easier if you leave." Emmett is not so willing to understand that Bella can't leave.
"Emmett, c'mon," Jasper tries, but this time, Bella holds up a hand.
"What happens if I go? What will happen to Mr. Cullen then?"
"He'll be medicated for the next few days as it is, but after that, he'll be monitored by professionals for the following weeks, to make sure he doesn't pull anything."
"Why wouldn't he be monitored by professionals if I stay?"
"The doctor says that if you're around, he won't need the monitoring. He thinks you'll be enough."
"You have to go," Emmett tries again, "Seriously. You don't know him, or what he's about, and even if you want to stay now, you're life will be put on hold for months, years even."
"Either way," Jasper interrupts, "We have a gag order for you, to sign you know, this is scandalous stuff, and if you don't sign it, you can leak it to the press."
"I wouldn't do that, ever."
"Just to clear our worries out then, yeah? But the decision, ultimately is yours. You'll be provided housing and everything if you stay, of course, and will be compensated for it all, and Edward, well, he probably won't remember any of this when he wakes from his medicated coma, but he'll rely on you if you're here, you understand?"
Bella nods, taking in all of what she was just told, and then Jasper adds, "Neither of us want to see him medicated and cooped up for the next few months, but this is a big burden, for you, and it's not fair to you either. The decision though, we leave to you."
Emmett and Jasper leave Bella alone with her thoughts a few minutes later. Leaving the very ominous, 'the decision is yours', which is so fucking Captain Planet of them. Bella wants to slap them. If they weren't part of Bella's favorite band, and she hadn't almost lost the front man to suicide, she's pretty sure she'd hate Emmett McCarty and Jasper Whitlock.
She doesn't though. Couldn't really. She knows that both of them are just trying to look out for Edward's safety, all the while taking into account that they can't help him. Not on their own, and Bella knows. She's been a fan of Twilight since their first record was released six years ago. She knows how close the three of them are. Knows all the stories about them. How Jasper and Edward saved Emmett from himself before Rosalie Hale came into Emmett's life. How Emmett and Edward saved Jasper from the fan girls after they found out about his secret marriage to Alice Brandon. Bella knows they're family, with or without the blood similarities, and knows that they must be feeling completely useless right now… not being able to help Edward through this.
"Why did you do this, Edward Cullen?" she whispers to him softly, stroking the bronze hair settled on her chest. Edward exhales softly into her hospital gown and tightens his grip on her body.
She feels like she's been hit with a truck, her legs feel like jelly, and her arm burns like she held it over an open flame. She can't even try to imagine how Edward's arms are feeling right now.
Bella's almost asleep when she hears the soft sounds of feet padding down the hallway. She doesn't know who it could be, but when the door to their room opens, Bella squints and then gasps, because it's Alice Brandon, all four feet ten inches of her, hurrying over to Edward's side.
"Oh god," she whispers, hand coming up to cover the sobs ripping from her body. "Edward, oh my god."
Bella clears her throat, sorry that she can't get away and give Alice and Edward a few minutes alone. Alice looks up at her, tears in her eyes, and smiles a weak, appreciative smile.
"You saved his life," she whispers. "You saved him. Thank you so much," she continues. "He's. Edward is my best friend, Miss Swan, and you. I. I couldn't be there. I. I didn't know. I didn't see."
Bella shakes her head, and lets Alice cry, motioning to the chair so that Alice can sit down. "Don't thank me," she breathes. "I was at the wrong place at the right time. I'm glad he'll be ok, that's all."
"Miss Swan," Alice smiles. "I don't know how you did it, or how you got up the stairs, or… Or anything, but please, let me thank you. You just saved his life; all of our lives."
The nurse comes in shortly after, putting a syringe filled with pain medication into Bella's IV, checks her vitals, and then walks out with a very portentous, "You won't feel a thing in a little bit."
Bella falls asleep as Alice starts talking again.
When she wakes up again, the room is full of people that Bella doesn't know. She recognizes a most of them; Rosalie Hale, Emmett McCarty, Jasper Whitlock, and Alice Brandon. (She blushes because they're famous, and she's just… Bella) a few of the other faces are not so familiar.
When Alice sees that she's awake, she grins up at Bella, moving to the bed to grab her hand, sitting on the tiny space available on the hospital bed.
"Bella. Just Bella, please."
"Bella," Alice corrects. "Allow me to introduce Esme and Carlisle Cullen, Edward's parents. Carlisle, Esme, this is Bella."
Esme comes up, taking Bella's free hand and squeezes tightly. "It's really a great pleasure to meet you, Bella. We owe you quite a bit of thanks."
"You don't," Bella shakes her head. "I did what anyone else would do."
"But it was you who did it," Carlisle says, coming up to shake her hand. "And for that, we thank you."
Carlisle Cullen, Bella finds out, is a doctor in Edward's home town of Forks, Washington. Esme Cullen was a full time mom for Edward, but when he got older, she started a daycare because she missed the sounds of children.
Carlisle, he comes up to Bella's side, the one Edward is gripping onto with every ounce of strength, and looks over the chart.
"It looks like your legs are pretty bruised, and you torn a ligament in your knee, so that's what the brace is for, but besides that, and the stitches in your wrist, you should be able to leave the hospital in a few days," he smiles sadly, looking up at her with what she thinks is anticipation.
"A few days?"
"Well, with the minor damage to your person, you could probably get out of here tomorrow, if you wished it, but the doctors here in Phoenix would like you to stay to keep Edward comfortable while they wean him off the pain medication.
"Obviously, the choice is yours, Bella. For our sake, we'd wish you to stay."
"Not all of us," Emmett sighs. Rosalie nods, and pulls Emmett's hands into her own.
"It's not safe for him to wake up with her here. Carlisle, you of all people should know the consequences."
"Enough, Rosalie," Carlisle shakes his head. "We can discuss this at the hotel."
Bella can feel the tension that's suddenly washed over the room, but doesn't know how to fix it, so she just exhales deeply and rests her head on Edward's.
"Carlisle, please Bella, its Carlisle."
"Carlisle, when will Edward be taken off the medication? I mean, if I stay?"
"Well," Carlisle says, taking a breath. "That depends completely on how he reacts when he wakes up. It could go in multiple directions. He could be stable alone when he wakes up for all we know. Or he could be ridiculously dependent on you, we're just not sure – and won't be sure—until Edward wakes up.
"I really can't tell you much of anything, but Bella, please realize the consequences of your actions. I take it to mean that you're planning on staying."
"As much as we want you to stay, and as much as we don't want our son hospitalized, monitored, and drugged, I can't let you stay unless you completely understand the reality of your decision.
"Every step you take will have Edward at your side, and best case scenario, he recovers in months; months, Bella. Worst case scenario, he could never recover. Your life," Carlisle sighs. "Will completely change because of him."
"I think I understand the severity of my decision," Bella says. "My life changed the minute I opened that closet door and saw him." Looking up from Carlisle to Esme she adds, "Look, I want to see him get better as fast as possible, just like the rest of you. I can't just leave knowing he'll be hospitalized indefinitely."
Esme starts to cry into her hands, with Carlisle walking over to her to pull her into him.
"I don't want to be a burden to anyone, and I'll sign whatever you need me to sign. You won't have to pay me, or anything. I can take care of myself."
Before she could go on, Jasper interrupts. "Bella, we understand that you want to help, but I'm not sure you fully understand it all. You'd have to move back to Forks with us, hun," he says softly, his 'drool-worthy' accent catching Bella's ears for the first time.
Bella remembers back to when she first started to listen to Twilight, how she walked into the record store and caught a glimpse of their EP. She'd never forget the day they got signed or the day they started their first headlining tour. She's seen them so many times live; she remembers (very clearly) the way Jasper's accent was accentuated by the microphones in Phoenix.
"Oh dear," Esme sighs, collecting herself enough to sit down in the chair next to her. "Forks is our hometown, honey. We couldn't let him stay here, in a big town like this. Too much press. When we're in Forks, the family is able to maintain the anonymity that we prefer. We'd have to take Edward back to Forks."
"Where would I live?" Bella asks. "I mean, I could get an apartment I suppose, but it would take a while for me to get my stuff packed up. That's not to mention enough money to move, and get enough for a down payment on an apartment…"
Esme, again, breaks down into tears, and for a second, Bella thinks that maybe she's said the wrong thing again. Something terrible to make Esme cry that way. She's two seconds from apologizing when Esme looks up and grins at her.
"Oh Isabella, you're an angel," she cries, grabbing Bella's hands in her own. "You'll stay in our house, Bella. We wouldn't have it any other way."
"Oh no, I can't impose like that," Bella tries, shaking her head.
Emmett laughs then, followed by Rosalie and Alice, and then finally Jasper. Although she's surprised, she's happy that Emmett isn't telling her that she needs to leave again, or yelling at her again, that's worse than him thinking she can leave.
"Bella," Alice smiles. "The house is huge. It would be more of an imposition if you lived off the grounds. Don't worry about a thing. Emmett can call the movers, and have your apartment packed up in a matter of hours.
"Wait," Rosalie says, standing. "We really shouldn't force her to make this decision so hastily. We should give her a few hours at the very least."
Instead of fighting, and telling the family that she's already made her decision, Bella sighs and nods, looking down at Edward, who has started gripping onto her tighter, now that the amount of pain reliever has been lessened.
"Bella," Carlisle whispers. "You should sleep. We'll be right outside, if there's a problem, just ring the bell, and we'll be here in just a minute."
"Of course," she nods, keeping her hands at her sides, even though all she really wants to do is run them through Edward's hair, and hold him close to her, to calm him down, and help him loosen his grip on her bruised body.
Never in a million years did she ever think that she'd be here one day. Never. If someone had told her that she'd go to a concert that she'd pay too much for the tickets, and that she'd get lost in the underground labyrinth only to find the front man of her favorite band at her feet, slitting his wrists…. She'd never believe them.
Couple that with the fact that she'd carried him, carried him out of the labyrinth and up a flight of stairs, making sure his wrists stayed covered to stop bleeding… No way!
Later that night, as the family slept out in the waiting room, Edward shifts in her arms, and gasps out as his wrist catches on her hospital gown.
"Shh," she coos. "I've got you, Edward."
If someone told Bella that she'd wake up in a hospital bed lying with Edward Cullen, she'd have told that someone that they were deranged. If that someone then told her that he would be utterly dependent on her indefinitely, she would have kicked that someone's ass and then told them to get the fuck out of her head.
Alas, here she is, sitting up in the hospital bed, lying with Edward Cullen, his arms draped over her body, his head resting against her chest, seemingly listening to her heart beat. She doesn't know what she's going to do, how she's going to explain to her friends, her boss, her mother, but of three things, she's absolutely certain; Edward Cullen, famous rock star, America's "It Boy," needed her, she felt compelled to be with him, to help him, and lastly, that she was most definitely moving to Forks, Washington with the Cullens, and the rest of her favorite band.
The doctors come in the next day, to do some tests on her, make sure she could walk around and function after that stunt she'd pulled at the arena. Doctor Crowley says that it was remarkable that she'd been able to climb those stairs with Edward's dead weight. He' tells her that she'd had what's called an 'adrenaline rush,' because she'd been so hyped up.
"You can Google it," Doctor Crowley laughs, winking at her. "In any case, Miss Swan, Edward will be waking up tomorrow afternoon. As I'm sure Carlisle has told you, we're almost positive that he'll have a severe case of what we call 'Superman Complex.' What you'll need to figure out within the next few hours, is whether you will be staying or not, and if so, you'll need to figure out all the other arrangements with his family as well.
"I'm sure Carlisle has explained to you, in great detail, the consequences of both decisions you can make, but as your treating physician, please let me reiterate.
"With S-C, Edward will have what we call 'damsel in distress' symptoms. The only thing I can compare it to that will even come close, is relating Edward's behavior to that of a child. Of course, until tomorrow, we won't be able to judge the severity. When he's awake, I'll be able to give you a better understanding as to what you're up against.
"Please though, Miss Swan, take into consideration that this will be almost certainly a long term thing. He might never recover, not fully anyway."
"I've thought about it as much as I'm going to think about it. I won't let him be hospitalized indefinitely. I'll be here when he wakes up," she nods determinedly, running her hand down his back soothingly.
Doctor Crowley nods, sighing. "From what we saw when you came in, Edward is almost positively going to rely on you for almost everything. At the very least, you'll have to supervise him at all times for at least the first month. That includes showers and everything else.
"The good part about this, if there is a good part, is the fact that he won't fight you, or be evasive with you in anyway," he tells her. "He will be –or in all the cases I've seen before—completely honest with you in every single aspect of his life."
"Why is that?"
"Well, as far as the doctors can figure, it's because he trusts you unconditionally. You've saved him, and therefore, can do no wrong. In his eyes, you can't break that trust, even if you use the information against him in some way.
"Also, that brings me to my next point," he hedges a little, looking up at the clock before back down at Bella.
"Get to the point, ok doc?"
"Actually, uh, Carlisle wanted to discuss this part with you privately. But I thought you'd like to have my opinion on this as well.
"With S-C, in most cases, the D-I-D doesn't exactly know what's happened. Almost always, they don't realize what happens until their person – you—tell them what happened to them. Also in most cases, where their person is still present, they go back to normal, or fall into a normal routine shortly after being released."
"That's great news, isn't it?"
"Well, that's a double-edged sword, Miss Swan."
"I don't think I understand you…" Bella says, looking down at Edward, and then up at the doctor again.
"Edward will go back to being Edward, in time, but first, he'll go through a healing process. In most cases, the process involves extreme depression (with or without their person) extreme violence, mood swings, irritability, sexual frustration, and physical exhaustion.
"During the process, he will need to be monitored, by professionals. The reason I'm telling you this, is because he will expect a certain life style. He will expect his lifestyle. Edward Cullen is America's 'It Boy,' Miss Swan. With that title, he'll expect certain things from you, things he probably had no trouble getting before all this."
Still Bella doesn't know what he's trying to say.
"English, Doctor Crowley."
"Because of the traumatic experience he's gone through, he'll no longer be willing to look outward for what he's previously looked for. In short, you might be asked to… release sexual tension? You'll be the only one he'll trust for a very long time, Miss Swan. With that kind of trust comes a certain amount of responsibility."
Mouth agape, Bella doesn't even notice that Carlisle is standing with a matching expression on his face, staring acidly at Doctor Crowley.
"I think that's enough, Tyler," Carlisle shakes his head. "I hope you're not implying that my son will force himself on her, or that she'll be forced to be sexual with him. Regardless of his complex, I know my son, his strengths, and his weaknesses. You have no right to announce those implications."
"I do so, Miss Swan is my patient," Tyler argues, crossing his arms over his chest petulantly. "As is your son. I'm just stating the facts, Carlisle, don't take it personally."
"Gentlemen," Bella speaks up, watching as the fury in Carlisle's eyes intensifies. His eyes are the same color that Edward's were last night, right before he sliced the blade over his skin the first time. When she thinks back to that, she clenches her eyes shut and gasps, heart pounding as she remembers the way the blood oozed out of the wound, the way his skin sliced open so easily.
Both doctors stop in their tracks as the racing beeps of the monitor pull them out of their debate. Carlisle rushes to Bella's side, reaching for her hand.
"Bella, what is it? Talk to me Bella."
When she realizes that she isn't alone, and that she isn't down in that labyrinth again, she sighs with relief, opening her eyes and looking right into Carlisle's. The fiery red color is gone, replaced once again with the light topaz they normally are, this time… laced with concern.
"Are you alright, Miss Swan?" Doctor Crowley asks, checking Bella's vitals again, making sure she's stable.
"I'd like to speak with Carlisle," she tells the doctor. "Please, Doctor Crowley. I appreciate the information you've given me, but for now, I'd like to discuss this with Carlisle."
Carlisle's eyes spark a little, Bella doesn't miss it, but then, she doesn't miss the pride in his eyes after Crowley walks out of their room either.
"I don't think for one minute that you're in any danger around my son," he tells her when they're alone. "I've researched S-C since I've gotten here, and there's been a few, very few, cases where physical violence, or sexual violence, has been recorded."
Thinking about it, Bella looks down at Edward, and her mind automatically thinking things like, could be worse right? Edward Cullen has been in your fantasies more than once any way right? Blushing, she pushes those thoughts away, and looks back up at Carlisle.
"Don't you think that Edward will have some sort of expectations? I mean, he's in a very famous band, no offense, and I'm sure, before this, that his… appetite was…satiated frequently?"
"No offense taken, Bella. My son is not that kind of person. Neither were Emmett or Jasper before their girls came along. We raised all three of them to be gentlemen, and as such, none have taken part in the stereotypical rock star behavior. I assure you, Bella, you have nothing to worry about."
Laughing, Carlisle adds, "In fact, I think under different circumstances, he'd fall in love with someone like you."
Bella laughs too, but it's forced, and fake. Great.
"How do I know if he's getting better? What if he…." How does she ask something like, what if he does fall in love with me? She shakes her head.
"What Bella? You have nothing to be ashamed of here. Just ask me."
"What if he does fall in love with me? I mean. How do I know it's not just his D-I-D complex?" Blushing, she looks down at Edward's messy tresses, avoiding Carlisle's eyes.
Sighing, Carlisle runs his hand down Bella's cheek, making her look at him. "We'll cross that bridge when we get to it."
Bella doesn't miss how he says 'when' and not 'if.' She tries not to think about it either.
The next morning is hectic. Alice has gone to Bella's apartment earlier and packed a few things for her, and helped Emmett and Jasper instruct the movers as to how to pack up the rest. Normally, or under different circumstances, Bella would be embarrassed that two thirds of Twilight was at her apartment. Right now though, she's just happy to have her own clothes so she can clean up, and get dressed.
"Doctor Crowley says we have a few hours before Edward wakes up again and also showed me where staff showers are, if you want to clean up, Esme will stay with Edward while you're away," Alice says, holding Bella's bag.
"Really? Just fifteen minutes," Bella looks over to Esme and sits up on the bed, trying to pry Edward off of her.
Since she's woken up at the hospital, Bella's been out of the bed only in less than five minute intervals, for brief cleaning and bathroom use. Most of the time, Edward has such a strong grasp on her that she doesn't want to get up. Something I could get used to, her mind whispers.
"Of course, love," Esme nods. "I'll sit on the bed while you're away. Go, shower, clean up," she waves her hand dismissively.
As Bella gets off the bed, Edward groans, but only until Esme comes and sits down. Alice leads Bella through the hospital, and toward the showers. "Doctor Crowley said you could take the knee brace off for the shower, just try to be careful and don't put a lot of pressure on it, ok? I'll be outside if you need help." Then Alice hands her a make up case filled with mini shampoos and conditioners and soaps. "We're on the road a lot," Alice shrugs. "Use these, and let me know when you're ready to get dressed, I'll be out here, if you need help."
The shower is warm and inviting, and Bella can't remember the last time she'd wanted to shower as bad as she does right now. The water cascades off her back in beads, hot and steamy against her cold, pale skin. Her mind thinks about all the things that are changing in her life, everything she's taking on now. She shampoos her hair, scrubbing at her scalp and the back of her neck, getting rid of the feeling of blood.
She's pretty sure she'll be like Lady Macbeth with this. With the blood on her hands for the rest of her life. That's not something she's looking forward to, but she can't get it off of her mind, doesn't think she ever will.
Conditioning her hair feels like heaven, but that's nothing compared to lathering the soap down her body and scrubbing her skin clean. Relishing in the last few seconds, she's about the turn off the water when she hears, "Bella!"
Flipping off the water and wrapping a towel around her body, Bella runs to Alice, forgetting about her gown and brace, sliding on the tile flooring as she does. "What Alice?"
Alice's face is full of panic, eyes wide with terror. "He's waking up," she whispers worryingly. "We have to get back. Esme just called for us. Hurry, Bella."
Bella realizes now how 'Alice' is synonymous with 'hyperactive.' She grabs Bella's hand in her right and Bella's overnight bag in her left and pulls her toward the hospital room, even though Bella's in nothing but the terry cloth towel limping through a crowded hospital, at an alarmingly fast, and painful, rate.
"Alice," Bella hisses. "I can't go back in this! You're family will be there!"
"You don't have to worry about that," Alice replies back fast, turning down the final hallway. "Just be there for Edward."
They get back to the room, and the first thing Bella sees is Esme in tears, sitting alone on the hospital bed. The second thing she sees is a flash of bronze and pale skin before she's pinned to the ground, a body sprawled on top of her, head buried in the crook of her neck, clinging to her tightly.
"Edward," she whispers, gasping. "You have to let me up, Edward, I can't breathe."
Edward doesn't say anything, but he does help Bella up, watches as Bella tightens the towel around her body self consciously, resting her weight on her good leg as the other already shows signs of new bruising and swelling. He brushes her off, pulling down the bottom hem of her towel, and rubbing at her elbow gently.
"You weren't here," he whispers, wrapping his hands around her waist, practically picking her up off the ground, holding her securely.
As best as she can, she ignores Edward, and looks over Edward's shoulder and asks, "Are you alright, Esme?"
"He just. He. His eyes. He," she stutters, looking at the back of Edward's head.
"As soon as he realized you weren't here, he jumped out and stumbled into the corner," Carlisle says, looking at Edward curiously. "He's woken up a few hours early, and with all that movement, we have to make sure he didn't rip his stitches, Bella. We need to check his vitals."
Esme lets out a cry, and buries her head in her hands. Alice and Rosalie gasp.
"Edward," Bella says. "Apologize to your mother, you hurt her feelings. She's only looking out for you."
Edward looks at her curiously. Bella isn't really sure if Edward will listen, but she keeps a stern look on her face so Edward knows she's serious. "I mean it, Edward."
She looks up to Carlisle, who nods softly, with a weak smile on his face; she's doing the right thing.
Letting her down, Edward reaches for Bella's hand, pulling away from her body, before he laces their fingers, and walks (stumbles) to Esme, reaching out hesitantly, to rest his hand on Esme's shoulder.
"Tell her you're sorry, Edward," Bella pushes, tightening her grasp on his hand reassuringly.
"I'm sorry," he whispers, voice scratchy and groggy from the lack of use.
Esme looks up, blinks, and wipes the tears away from her face. Alice and Rosalie let out a sigh, finally relaxing.
"Oh Edward, it's alright, honey. It's alright. How are you feeling?"
Esme's reaction scares him, and Edward shies back into Bella's shoulder, wrapping his arms around her again. She's still clad only in a towel, but tries not to think about that right now, instead just stands limply in Edward's grasp.
When Esme gets up, fresh tears in her eyes, Carlisle walks over to her, and wraps his arms around her. "Bella, we need to check the bandages."
"I need to get dressed," she says, pointing down at her body.
Emmett laughs, Jasper too, followed shortly by Alice and Rosalie. "Towels suit you, Bella Swan," Emmett winks.
"Thank you, McCarty," Bella scoffs, rolling her eyes. "I'm sure you all got a hell of a show, can I just get dressed now?"
Alice smiles and hands the bag over, looking between her and Edward, a tentative smile on her face.
"Edward," Bella whispers, pulling him away. "I have to put clothes on. I need you to let me go."
"No," he shakes his head, pulling her closer, tighter. "You were gone."
"Edward," she says again, voice crisp. "Let me go. I'm not going away again."
He only shakes his head again.
"Edward, please, I will be right back. I'm going to put some clothes on, in that little room right there, and then I will be right back," she points to the tiny bathroom that the hospital room provides. "I promise I won't leave you again, I just need to get dressed. Can you sit down please?"
Bottom lip trembling, Edward shakes his head, but pulls Bella toward the bathroom, eyes trained on her as he points to the room. He looks pretty adamant about waiting outside the door until she comes out.
"Now," Carlisle says softly, looking at his family. "No one touch him until Bella comes back out."
Edward paces back and forth until Bella opens the bathroom door, fully dressed.
"This was worse than we'd imagined," Doctor Crowley whispers to Carlisle. "It's almost like he's reverted down to the mental state of a child."
"Give him time," Carlisle nods. "He's just woken up, Tyler. Give him time."
As it happens, they don't really have much time, not to themselves anyway. Carlisle checks Bella's knee, checking for more damage since the shower, and does a set of ice and stimulation to reduce the pain and swelling. Doctor Crowley does a thousand and one tests on Edward, slowly, because Edward isn't exactly cooperating.
From the second he's been awake, both Crowley and Carlisle have been trying to talk to him, have him answer questions, do tricks, play fetch, play dead. Finally, poor Bella just says, "Enough," and Edward sighs with relief. "Edward's bandages are fine. Edward's vitals are stable. Edward's brain works. Get out! All of you!" Standing up, Bella crosses her arms across her chest, scowling at everyone. "I mean it, everyone out!"
Carlisle looks up, away from Edward for the first time since he's pulled the electrodes off her patella. He looks surprised, ridiculously so… but Bella stays serious.
"Carlisle, you're overwhelming him. His heart is racing. You need to let him rest." Her eyes are hard and demanding, and it's in that instant that Carlisle knows she's right. Not only that she was right, but that she could – and would – be able to help his son.
As soon as the room empties, Edward sighs in relief and lies back on the bed, holding onto his chest, as if to stop his heart from racing out of his ribcage. He looks utterly uncomfortable, tired, pained, confused, terrified. When Bella walks up to him, she sits next to him, curling one leg underneath her, the other dangling over the bed in the brace as she looks him over. His eyes are closed tight and his chest is heaving.
"Edward," she whispers, reaching over to run her hand through his hair. "Hey, are you ok?" When he doesn't answer, Bella starts to card her fingers through his hair, in a slow, steady, rhythm.
Eventually, his eyes open, and he looks directly in Bella's brown eyes. He doesn't say anything, but his breathing is almost back to normal, his cheeks are as flushed, and he's seemingly more relieved.
"Do you remember what happened?" she asks cautiously, keeping eye contact with him, hands stilling in his hair. He shakes his head 'no,' and she sighs, breaking eye contact. "You took a box cutter to both of your wrists, Edward. You slashed open your skin so many times that you almost died. You could have died."
Edward's eyes are wide, shock, Bella thinks, but she doesn't stop carding her fingers through his hair.
"You're not dead, though, love, you're still here, and look," she reaches for his arms, smiling at the bandages. "Still in one piece, too."
Bella can tell he's got questions, she can see it in his eyes, but knows he's got a lot to process, so she just keeps talking to try to explain it all out.
"I found you in the room, before you made the first cut, and tried to stop you. I couldn't, obviously, but I helped you up, and with Jasper's and Emmett's help, we got you here. Your parents came out right away. They were so worried about you.
"Edward," she says quietly, and this is where she's unsure. Does she tell him? Does she keep it a secret? She isn't sure, but since all of this began, she's followed her head, and her heart, so now, with her heart telling her to tell him, she does. "You have what Doctor Crowley calls 'Superman Complex,'," his eyebrows furrow, like he's trying to understand, and then it comes to her. "Oh! Before Twilight you were in med school, right? Emphasis on psychology?" He doesn't respond, but she continues, "Superman Complex is a result of what you did. You'll uh, rely on me, because I saved you, or something. We don't know how long it will last, or what the severity of your case is yet, that's what your dad and Doctor Crowley were trying to figure out."
"They ask too many questions," Edward whispers.
"I know right?" Bella laughs, taking his hand. "They'll be asking tons of questions all the time. If you want them to go away, just tell me, and I'll make them leave."
"Don't go away please? You were gone," he says softly, pouting his lips and sitting up, reaching to rest his head on her shoulder, his arms around her waist again.
"I'm here now, Edward. I'm here now."
Edward's grasp on her tightens minutely, and for some reason, Bella relishes in it. She knows that she most definitely should not want to feel the way her heart is feeling right now.
a/n: this project is kind of my baby. The term "Superman Complex" is completely my own fabricated diagnosis. I have no medical background, although, I'm asking a psycho psych major if things do make sense. Many, many thanks to the-glory-days, as always, for kicking me in the ass every time I stop writing. Updates will be few and far between, but because they're so much longer than my other chapter updates, I hope that's alright with you guys.
Reviews are appreciated. I'd love to hear your feedback :]