The ship ride over the Atlantic was exceptionally dull. Aside from the occasional spat between soldiers, excitement on board was practically nonexistent. I had expected a letter from Bella before we left the country, but one never arrived. I had virtually nothing to do.
The long hours doing absolutely nothing at all while the ship chugged towards our destination gave my mind plenty of time to wander. I had to wonder... had she fallen for Jacob so soon after my departure? Did her father put his foot down about her marriage to me? Had she gotten in some sort of accident? A hundred other scenarios, each worse than the next, flew through my head as the ship drifted onwards.
"Edward!" exclaimed one of my fellow soldiers, William Baker, during one of my brooding sessions.
I snapped out of my terrible vision of my Bella holding a baby that looked an awful lot like Jacob.
"Yes?" I asked, sitting up. With my duties for the day done, I had retired to my bunk just a few minutes before.
William itched his neck. He was one in a handful of people that I actually spoke to. He was from a poor family, lived in New York, and was drafted the day after his wife had their first child. The best day of his life was followed by the worst...
"Yes?" I repeated.
"Well... I forgot to let you know back on the first day on the ship. I was so tired, and I told myself, 'Will, you will give this to him in the mornin'.' And then I forgot. And I got a bit distracted. And I mean, who can blame me? Have you seen that chick roaming around here? I don't know who she is or what she does, but what a dish!"
"What is it you forgot to give me?" I asked, interrupting him. He tended to talk all too much.
"I was sitting here, and I saw you all upset and all that, and then remembered that I had this to cheer you up!" He turned and picked an envelope off of his bed. It was in perfect condition, to my relief. "Sorry I forgot about it and all," he said, smiling sheepishly.
I nodded and took it from his hand. I had waited so long, and the whole time it had been right in front of me.
I sat on my bunk and opened the letter carefully. My hands shook, and I took a deep breath to calm myself down. The paper smelled like cinnamon, and there was flour on one of the corners. I grinned, picturing her scribbling away at the counter in the bakery. With the smell of my Bella in the air, I began to read.
I miss you immensely and you have only been away for a few hours. I feels like much, much more than that, though. It seems you have been gone forever already, and I want you back.
After your train left, Jacob got to me before I could even leave the platform. He said he just wanted to warn you, and that the whole thing with his uncle had gotten very out of hand. I don't know if I should believe him or not. I have known him for my entire life. I just do not know if he is capable of sending someone to kill you like that. I honestly think that Mancini thought he knew what was best for Jacob... he obviously did not.
I was rescued from that conversation when your mother told me that I was going to go to your house to talk about wedding plans. Edward, I knew that you were well off, but I had no idea you were that wealthy. Are you sure you want to settle for me? You deserve so much better.
My heart skipped a beat. Did she honestly believe that there were better girls out there?
Your mother took me to the sitting room and talked to me for hours about the wedding, the plans for our future. She was talking children. My mind was elsewhere, however. I was thinking about you, of course.
When your father dropped me off in front of my house, I was not exactly shocked to see Jacob sitting on my front steps.
"What do you want?" I asked, trying to push past him. He took my arm and turned me to face him.
"Bella, please... let me take you to dinner. I'll take you to my uncle's restaurant and you will see that it was all just a big misunderstanding. Please," he begged.
And I went. I know you may be angry, but it was something I had to do. I've known him for my whole life, Edward. I know you might be angry... but please don't be.
I just got home, and I'm doing some baking for tomorrow morning. Charlie is coming in soon, for the night clean up, so I need to stop writing.
I love you, Edward.
I closed my eyes and pinched the bridge of my nose. She went out to his uncle's restaurant and didn't even tell me what happened while she was there. She was obviously okay, which was more than enough, but I was dreadfully curious.
I tossed the letter on my pillow and stood up. Reading it had given me a headache. I couldn't make sure she was safe if she was off with Jacob and his mob family.
"Was it good news?" asked Baker, who had spent the last few minutes cleaning his fingernails with a knife.
I sighed. "I'm going to see the doctor. I have a dreadful headache."
"That bad?" asked Baker as I left our quarters.
The doctor got his own room. I headed there quickly. The halls were clear, a sure sign that somewhere on board there was a poker game happening, so I got there in just a minute.
I knocked on his door, and when he said okay, I entered.
"What's the matter?" asked the doctor.
"Just a headache. Do you have anything I could take?"
He smiled. "Of course!" He turned and started going through one of the cabinets behind him.
I was just glad that Bella wasn't here with me. When she was how handsome that doctor was, she'd have dropped me in a second. Good-looking and a doctor? I don't know a single girl that could resist.
Aside from his good looks, he seemed like a nice man. But there was something about him... something off putting.
He turned around, and I tried to keep from glaring at him. "Take two of these." He dropped the pills into my hand. "They'll make you tired, so only take them if you are ready to sleep."
"Thanks, Doctor..." I trailed off, waiting for his name. They should have given him a name tag.
"Cullen. Doctor Cullen."
I nodded and left the room, my pills in hand. There was something odd about that Doctor Cullen, and I didn't really feel like finding out what it was.