A/N: Thank you to everyone who reads and reviews! Without your wonderful support, I would have given up long ago.
Another big thank you goes to my pre-reader and beta, Ella and Dee, for their amazing help with this story!
Any mistakes you see are my own.
I'm very nervous about this chapter...
**Chapter warnings: Language and violence.**
SM owns everything Twilight.
My breath catches in my throat as my eyes lock on the gun pointed directly in my face. I know that if it were to go off, I would have no chance of surviving. I drift my gaze slightly upward, seeing Tanya standing there, her clothes and hair rumpled and messy. Her face is gaunt and I can see the faint tracks of her mascara down her cheeks.
Her cold eyes are looking at me with no emotion as I continue to stand frozen, holding my breath.
"Bella? Is everything all right?" Edward asks from below, probably wondering what could be taking so long.
I open my mouth to yell out for help, but Tanya raises a single eyebrow, jamming the gun painfully against my throat. I quickly shut my mouth, shaking in fear.
"Downstairs. Now," she instructs, motioning toward the stairs with the gun in her hand.
I follow her command and feel the gun digging in my back as I walk down the steps. My footsteps seem to echo throughout the house, making it seem like I'm stomping like a petulant teenager, but I know all of that is just in my head.
Edward is standing at the bottom of the stairs, smiling but that soon fades as he sees who is behind me. Instantly, his face grows darker, angrier and his fists ball up at his sides.
"Tanya, what the hell do you think you're doing? How did you get in here? There is a policeman right outside, watching this house."
Tanya grips my shoulder with a firm squeeze, making me pause on the last step. Edward's eyes cut to mine, looking worried and angry at the same time. I try to tell him with my gaze not to antagonize her, but he doesn't catch it because he looks right back at her.
"Oh please. All I had to do was wait until he fell asleep; I walked right in through the front door and the imbecile never woke. Now, I think you need to mind your manners, Edward. That's no way to talk to me," she tells him, her voice calm. From the corner of my eye, I see her raise the gun toward my head and his breath catches. "That's right. Now, let's move this conversation into the living room, shall we? We wouldn't want to wake the little one."
Edward backs into the living room without taking his eyes from us, stopping in front of the coffee table. I follow him slowly, the cold metal of the gun embedded in my back once more. Just as we reach the entryway of the living room, I trip over one of Adam's toys, dropping the baby monitor, and Edward immediately reaches forward, pulling me into his arms and shoving me behind him. His arm is pressing me into his back at an angle that must be uncomfortable, but he makes no move to change his position.
Seeing this, Tanya smirks and points her weapon toward us.
"How chivalrous of you, Edward. But Bella doesn't need to hide behind you, so come out Bella." Edward tightens his hold on me, telling me to stay put and I do, which causes Tanya to click her tongue against the roof of her mouth. "Hiding doesn't make friends; come out Bella. Or else I'll have to see if that precious boy of yours is awake."
I shove away from Edward and come to stand beside him, while he grits his teeth and looking gravely angry.
Tanya smiles and chuckles, which just pisses Edward off more.
"Nothing about this is funny Tanya." I grab his forearm, silently telling him to mind his temper because I have no doubt that she'll shoot us without batting an eye.
She sobers and looks at him with a blank expression. How she can turn her emotions off so easily is unsettling and disturbing.
"No, this isn't funny. Not one damn thing about this entire situation is fucking funny."
"Why are you doing this? Because I wouldn't go out with you?" He questions.
Tanya breaks out into loud guffaws, bending at the waist and resting her hands on her knees. "You…really….thought?" She says through her laughter. "Oh, oh. That is too hilarious! I'm better actress than I thought." She takes a moment to clear the tears induced from her laughter from her cheeks before looking back at us. "No, my dear Edward. This is not about you rejecting my advances; this is not a woman scorned situation."
"Then what is it? What is this all about?" He asks confusion evident in his tone. Honestly, I'm a little confused as well. I had thought that Tanya wanted to be with him; she sure made it seem like she did.
"This is about one year and eleven months worth of planning shot down and destroyed! Do you know how much energy and effort I put into planning every last detail? I thought of everything, planned everything out to the last detail and just like that," she says, snapping her fingers. "It was gone."
Her eyes glare daggers at Edward, sending a wave of heated hatred at him. I'm surprised he hasn't melted under her hateful stare.
"You couldn't have just given in? You couldn't have just thought with your dick like every other man? Your devotion to Bella ruined everything!"
"What in the hell are you talking about, Tanya?"
"I was supposed to seduce you, entrap you and then once I had you in my clutches, I would take what I wanted and toss you aside. But no, you had to remain faithful to your girlfriend…who left you by the way. Not that I blame you," she remarks, turning her attention to me. "The things he said and did to you? Yeah, I would have high tailed it out of there too. Your leaving gave me the perfect chance to get my plan into action and it would have worked if some people weren't so stubborn," she sneers at Edward.
"How did you know what happened between Bella and I?"
"I've been watching you for a long time, Edward. A very long time. From your first meeting with Riley, actually."
Out of the corner of my eye I see Edward's face pale, which Tanya responds with a knowing smirk.
"Yes, I know all of your dirty little secrets. The pills you took to help you keep up with classes. The booze you took with them afterward. It wasn't a very smart decision and I was worried that you would kill yourself mixing them together. Thankfully the pills that Riley gave you after you had the fight with your girlfriend over there weren't as strong as the ones he gave you in the beginning."
"So you and Riley were working together for what? What was your purpose with trying to get Edward if you weren't interested in a relationship with him?" I question. She jerks her gaze to me, causing the gun to swing on me. Edward takes my hand in his, squeezing tightly, his posture rigid.
"What makes the world go 'round, Bella? Money. You see, I had money. My family is very rich, but my father didn't like Riley. He said he didn't come from the same class as my family and therefore he wasn't worthy enough to date me. But I didn't care about class and social standing; I love Riley. He's everything to me. When he got sick, I thought my world came crashing down around me." Her glaze over with tears, but her hold on the gun doesn't falter. "His medication and treatments would be expensive and when he learned this, he wanted to give up! Can you believe that? There we are, sitting in the doctor's office and his doctor gives him the news that he'll have a good chance of survival if takes the medication and treatments together. But Riley knew that neither he nor his family had enough money for both, so he turns to me and says 'Vicky, I want to spend every moment I can with you before it's my last.' He was ready to give up!" She fumes, her jaw clenching in anger as her eyes narrow into slits. Her grip on the gun tightens and Edward shifts, scooting me behind him a little bit at a time.
"Vicky?" I repeat softly, feeling very confused. The name rings a bell, but I can't think of where I've heard it.
"Yeah," she says slowly with a smile creeping on her lips. Her head tilts to side slightly as she waves the gun back and forth between Edward and I. "That's my name. Victoria Tanya-Leigh. Riley always loved calling me Vicky, but I hated it. That's what my parents call me. After Riley and I starting dating I begged him to call me Tanya but he refused. He said my name was beautiful and he wouldn't call me anything else."
She gets a faraway look in her eye, looking somewhat happy for the moment. Edward tugs his arm slightly so I'll move closer to him and when I do, Tanya snaps her focus back to us, making us freeze. Her eyes narrow and she glares for a long moment before speaking again.
"I begged my father to help Riley. I told him if he loved me at all he would give me my inheritance so I could help him, but he refused. He said that Riley didn't deserve our help or our money and if I had any sense, I would abandon a sinking ship before it's too late. I took money from my father's bank account anyway; I had known all of his passwords since I was thirteen so it was easy for me. But my father quickly found out about it and he cut me off, taking back what I took. He canceled my credit cards, my bank account, everything. He left me with nothing." Anger becomes her primary emotion again and I huddle a little closer to Edward as her grip on the gun tightens, her skin stretching across her knuckles.
In response, he laces his fingers with mine, squeezing me even more tightly. My hand throbs, but I don't care. Right now, I need to feel something other than this burning fear coursing through my veins and distract myself from my rapid heartbeat, which could possibly burst from my chest at any moment.
"After that, Riley lost more hope and I couldn't stand it. So I suggested he start selling drugs. He had a cousin that worked in a pharmacy in Port Angeles and got him his medication for a discount, so he used him to get the drugs he needed. This worked for a while, but we still didn't have enough money for his treatments. Then here comes Edward Cullen, sent by a friend of a friend looking for something to help him through school." Tanya looks at Edward with a wicked smile, chuckling lightly.
"At first we couldn't believe it. One the rich, goody Cullen's looking for drugs? We thought in the beginning something was fishy, because we all know your father is a doctor and you could have easily swiped the pills from him. But there you were, afraid that your father would notice his samples missing. Riley charged you triple the amount and you didn't even think twice about it. Then I suggested that we milk the situation for all that it was worth. Riley would give you lower dosages each time you came so you would have to come back for more.
"When you were put in rehab, we had to come up with a new plan. At this point, Riley was too sick and was getting tired of trying to make the money appear out of nowhere, but I wasn't about to give up. I had already put a new plan in motion when I learned that Bella had skipped town. I thought with your girlfriend gone, you would need a shoulder to cry on and someone to give you comfort. Enter me," she says with a flourish, waving her arms like a game show host revealing a grand prize.
"But the closer I got, the further you pulled away," she chuckled humorlessly, shaking her head incredulously. "You still acted like you were with her. I didn't understand it at all. Most guys go off chasing whatever girl they can get and don't think twice about it, but oh no, not you. That was the flaw in my plan. I had planned on you thinking with Eddie junior and I thought it would be easy. We would be in a relationship and I would slowly take the money from your account and give it to Riley. But you never chased after me. You never showed any interest in me at all. And then you came back, Bella." Her cold eyes swing over to me and I freeze, not daring to even swallow.
Her finger is pressed against the trigger, twitching ever so slightly. I freeze, trying to remain calm, but all I can focus on, all I can think about is her finger against that trigger. I watch her movements closely, as if I can catch the precise moment when she'll press her finger down completely, but I know that's impossible. A bullet is faster than I am. Beside me, Edward squeezes my hand painfully, cutting off circulation to my fingers. I gather that his thoughts are running on the same wavelength as mine.
I'm terrified that this will be the moment she shoots me and I hope is that Edward can get Adam away from here, before she can harm either one of them.
Slightly, her finger relaxes, but I don't relax out of my frigid stance and neither does Edward.
"You gave me a new idea, especially after you wouldn't give Edward the time of day. I thought of a new tactic; I would be the best friend, the supportive ear and shoulder to lean on when Edward needed someone to talk to. But even then, Edward, you wouldn't give me the time of day. You tried to get Bella back, so I came up with yet another idea; I would scare Bella away and once you were gone, I would swoop in and pick up the pieces. So Riley and I followed you, Bella; Riley wasn't strong enough to do most of the work, but that was fine with me. I don't mind doing dirty work.
"I thought for sure you would leave with your son when I broke into your home, took your things and left you little messages. When that didn't work, I was sure you would leave once you saw how close I was to your baby with that photo, but you didn't. You stayed." She pauses for a moment, before suddenly shouting, startling both of us. "Why are you so stubborn?!"
"You couldn't have just let me get close enough to take your money, could you Edward? And now, because your stubbornness, too much time was wasted, too much time had passed for Riley to get the proper treatments and now..." she breaks off, sobs erupting from her mouth. "Now, he's gone because of your stubbornness! Because of you,he wanted to stop this scheme and spend time with me before he died. He wanted me to give up and watch him die! But I refused; I wanted to live with him for the rest of my life and I told him so. I told him that I would make you give me the money but he refused and we fought when I showed him my new plan," she tells us, waving the gun between us. "He tried to take the gun away from me and it accidentally went off..." she trails off, her eyes clouding with tears. "I didn't mean to shoot him! I didn't!"
She repeats this over and over between sobs, shaking her head and encasing it between her arms as she cries. Edward turns his head toward me and speaks softly, but keeps his eyes on Tanya.
"Bella, I'm going to distract her and you run upstairs, get Adam and get out of the house."
"Edward," I reply, fearful of what will happen once I'm gone. Honestly, I don't want to leave him here with her, but I know that I have to get Adam as far away from here as quickly as possible.
"I'll be fine, I promise. Just get out of here with Adam and don't look back. Do you hear me? You get away with Adam and do not look back."
I nod fearfully just as Edward releases my hand and takes a half step forward. Quickly, I close my eyes, swallowing back my fear, hoping that Edward's plan will work like he thinks it will.
"Tanya, I'm sorry." Edward begins but he's interrupted as Tanya's head snaps up, looking up at him with a wild gaze, the gun pointing toward Edward's legs.
"You should be. Do you know what's it like to lose the one person in the world who means everything to you? To have them die, knowing that they'll never come back to you? If you had just gone along with my plan, Riley would still be here. He would still be alive."
"I'm..." Edward begins but is interrupted again.
"No! No more talking! No one gets to talk anymore. You're going to feel what it's like to lose everything, Edward. You're going to feel the pain I feel, but unlike me, your pain will be short lived; but not by much. You see, first, I'm going to shoot you in the back, so you can't move; then, I'm going to shoot Bella and then you'll have to lay there and watch as she slowly bleeds out, dying in front of you. Can you imagine that? Lying there, watching as she takes in breath after breath, knowing that she's so much closer to death than before. Then, once she's gone, I'll kill you.
"If only you both hadn't have been so stubborn; if only you would have let me carry out my plan, then the two of you wouldn't have to die right now." Tanya's eyes drift up to the ceiling, where my room is. "I'm not sure what I'll do with your boy. Maybe I'll take him with me. He'll need a mother, I imagine. Or maybe I'll just leave him somewhere...But that's a different problem and I need to take care of you first."
Edward and I both move toward her when she mentions Adam. I know we're both thinking the same thing; we can't let her win. We can't let her get to Adam. We're going to have to fight with all our strength to beat her and get out of this alive.
With a steady gaze, she aims the gun at us. I take a quick intake of air, feeling my muscles freeze as I see her hand tighten on the gun. I know that very soon, she's going to fire that gun. Suddenly, Edward pushes me to the side, toward the stairs and charges at Tanya. "Go Bella! Now!"
When he tackles her, she releases a squeak and a loud pop echoes throughout the house as the gun goes off. Pain radiates through my arm and I look down, seeing my upper left arm bleeding. Edward's eyes swing over to me and widen when he sees the blood.
Tanya takes this chance to push him off of her, punching his chin in an upward motion, making his eyes roll back into his head. His body collapses heavily the floor, his head, banging loudly against the wood. Tanya stands over him, pointing her gun directly at his head and I run forward, landing on her so we're a few feet away from Edward.
My arm throbs with the movement, but I ignore it as I land on her stomach with my knees, making the breath whoosh from her lungs. I take the arm holding the gun and twist it until she grunts in pain, letting the gun fall to the floor. When it does, another shot goes off and I hear the sound of splintering wood, but I don't let that distract me.
Once the weapon is out of her hand, I toss it away, hopefully toward Edward, and punch her in the nose. My punch is not as strong as I would like it be however, because it only pauses her for a moment. She lifts her legs up from behind me, wrapping her feet around my head and kicking me off of her. She comes at me again, but Edward is there, throwing her across the room, making her hit the wall.
He's trying to capture her wrists so she can't hit him, but is failing miserably. She very slickly escapes his grasp every time. I notice that she pulls a small knife out of her pocket and is trying to stab him, but he evades her attempts narrowly by moving at the last minute. Tanya swings her arms rapidly and I'm afraid that she'll get her target.
I move forward to help him, but he catches my gaze. "No, Bella! Get Adam and get out!" Faintly, I can hear Adam wailing from my room and I know that I have to get him out of here. Edward takes the hand with the small knife and twists it, wrenching the knife from her grip and dropping it to the ground.
Nodding, I turn and start to run up the stairs just as I hear him grunt in pain. I look back and see Tanya raise her leg high and place a firm kick to his abs, causing him to propel backward and hit the wall behind him. The wall cracks where his head hits it and his eyes cloud over as he sinks to the floor. I'm surprised that she kicked him that hard, since she's about my size, but I have no plans on asking her how she accomplished such a feat.
Tanya then turns to me, coming at me with rage. I turn, holding onto the banister and kick her chest, knocking her down to the floor. I then try to race up the steps but somehow Tanya is up again, grabbing a fist full of my hair and pulling me backward, throwing me onto the floor.
When my back hits the floor, my breath leaves my body all at once and I struggle to regain control of it. Tanya then pounces on me, pinning my hands to my hips with her knees. Her hands wrap around my throat, squeezing tightly.
My head begins to ache thanks to my fall and the lack of oxygen. I have to work quickly to get free, otherwise I'll fade fast. Turning my hands so my fingers are touching her legs, I grab a hold of the flesh there and pinch with my fingernails, twisting and tugging the skin as hard as I can. She jumps up and I take that opportunity to raise my hands, digging my fingernails into her wrists and wrenching her hands away from my throat.
I take in a huge lungful of air and ball my fists, hitting Tanya in the stomach with all of my strength. She bows forward and one of her hands lands on my injured arm. Immediately, her fingers are digging into the sensitive flesh and pulling with all of her strength at my wound. Burning erupts down my arm and I cry out, losing the strength immediately.
Something warm flows down my arm and onto the floor, pooling rapidly underneath me as she continues to dig and pull. I try to fight her off, but the blinding pain from my arm is rendering me useless.
From my periphery, I see Edward lunging forward. He knocks her off of me and wrestles her to the ground, avoiding her hits and kicks.
The burning in my shoulder intensifies and look down, seeing a medium sized wound bleeding heavily. My eyes turn back to Edward, who is still wrestling with Tanya on the floor. He manages to get a hand on her throat and takes the chance to slam her head on the ground, making her grunt softly. It doesn't deter her in the slightest, though.
She punches his jaw in another upward motion and blood spills from his mouth, down his chin and onto her face. She then knees his him the stomach and he groans, but still remains in place.
I look around for the gun that I got away from her and spot it under the coffee table. I dive for it, ignoring my throbbing shoulder and spin around, seeing that Tanya is still struggling with Edward. I raise and try to aim for Tanya, but I don't shoot because I know that there's a very good chance I'll shoot Edward by accident.
"Come on, come on." I mutter, waiting for the perfect opportunity to take my shot and after what seems like a lifetime – which is really no longer than a few seconds – I have it. Tanya flips her body around him, elbowing him in the stomach. As she tries to strangle him, he rips her hands away, and strikes the center of her chest with an open palm.
Tanya lands a foot away from him, her eyes trained on the small knife she had before and lunges toward it, grabbing it quickly and throwing herself onto to Edward. She raises the knife high in the air and just before she can bring it down, the front door bursts open and police officers file in, their weapons aimed at her.
"Drop your weapon and place your hands on your head!"
Tanya screams and starts to bring the knife down toward him, but the officers and I both shoot. I can't tell which bullet hits her, theirs or mine, all I know is that I see blood blossoming across her the front of her shirt.
Her eyes shoot up to mine, looking shocked. Her eyes dart back down to the growing red stain on her shirt and she touches it gently, looking back up at me.
"Will I see Riley now?" She asks, before slumping down onto the floor.
Immediately, the officers surround her, taking the weapon from her hand, checking her pulse and muttering between them. After a moment, they back away, talking into radios and stating that the threat is gone.
"Bella?" A voice says to the right of me and I jerk to the side, seeing Mark, my dad's old friend standing there.
He backs up a little, raising his hands, looking from the gun to my face. After a short pause, he reaches forward, gently prying the gun from my hand.
"Let me take this, okay?"
I release the gun and he turns the safety on, tucking it away.
"Are you all right? Is Adam okay?"
"Adam is upstairs," I tell him, my voice monotone.
Mark nods and tells one of the female officers to go upstairs and retrieve Adam. He then places a hand on my shoulder, trying to get me to move forward, but I'm rooted to the spot, my mind replaying the moment that she fell to the ground.
"Let's get you looked at, Bella. Your arm is bleeding heavily."
"Did I shoot her?"
"If you did, it was self-defense."
I nod, but my head feels heavy, like stone. Suddenly, it feels like I have no energy left and I collapse, my legs not having the strength to keep me upright.
"We need a medic in here!" Someone shouts just as I hear Edward call out my name.
Edward's frightened face enters my line of sight, along with the feeling of intense pain in my arm. I hiss at the feeling and the pain lessens, but isn't gone.
"Hey," I breathe, smiling up at him. He tries to smile, but it comes out as a grimace, which for some strange reason seems really funny.
"It's going to be okay, Bella." He tells me, one of his hands coated in blood.
"You're bleeding." My voice is small, barely a whisper as darkness creeps up on the edges of my vision.
"It's not mine." My eyes close for a split second, and I hear his panicked voice. "Bella, open your eyes! Bella! You're going to be okay. You have to be okay, Bella! Adam and I, we need you. Please," he cries, something warm and wet falling onto my face.
I want to answer him, but my eyes have fallen shut and I drift away.
Murmuring voices and steady beeping slowly brings me out of the blackness. The more I wake, the more I'm aware of how much I hurt. My back is sore and throbbing softly, but my left arm is definitely the worst out of everything. The pain that emits from it matches in time with the annoying beeping coming from somewhere in the room. I try to lift my hand to swat at it, hoping that the noise will dissipate, but as I try to move it, fire inflames me and I gasp out.
"Bella? Honey, don't move your arm," a gentle voice whispers in my ear. "You need to keep still, all right? You might cause more damage to yourself if you don't."
I struggle to open my eyes and the annoying beeping gets louder and closer together as I fail to see my surroundings.
"Bella, calm down, it's okay. You've been on some strong pain killers and you've been asleep for quite a while. Everything is okay," the same gentle feminine voice says. I realize belatedly, that it's Esme and she sounds a little worried and relieved all at once.
"Whe...re?" I want to ask her where I am, but my throat is dry, making speaking difficult. I wish I had some water to soothe the grittiness.
Somehow, she knows what I'm thinking as a straw is placed between my dry and cracked lips. I take greedy sips, the cool water feeling wonderfully refreshing against my throat.
The cup is empty before long and is soon refilled and placed before me again. Like before, that cup is drained within moments.
My throat is no longer dry and I feel somewhat better than when I first woke up. Now, I have to see what is going on because something doesn't feel right. I open my eyes and blink rapidly, seeing pristine white walls, generic paintings of flowers and uncomfortable pink reclining chairs in the corner of the room; it reminds me of the hospital room I was in after I had given birth to Adam.
Just like that, everything clicks into place.
Tanya was in my home and tried to kill Edward and me.
My heartbeat skyrockets as I try to remember if Edward and Adam are okay. When I can't remember anything about Adam or Edward being safe, my heart rate picks up, pounding through the thin, uncomfortable hospital gown.
"Bella, you must calm down," Esme tells me with a stern expression. She looks frazzled and worried, with a touch of relief shining in her eyes.
I look up at her, reaching out toward her, ignoring my burning left arm. "Is Adam okay? Is Edward okay? Please tell me they're all right!"
"Shh," Esme says, gently taking my arms and lowering them so I'm not flailing around as much. She runs her fingers through my hair, smiling softly as she keeps one of my hands encased within her own. "Adam is fine. He's with Charlie, Emmett and Rosalie. Edward is also fine, I promise."
"I need to see them, please."
She smiles gently and without releasing my hand, pushes back the curtain separating the beds in the room. Esme releases my hand with a gentle pat, going to her phone and typing something out at rapid speed. I've never seen her text before, but now isn't the time to mention it, especially after I see who my roommate is. On the other bed is Edward, looking worse for wear. He has gauze around his head and multiple purple and black bruises on his face and neck.
"Bella," he breathes, a smile on his lips. "I'm so glad you're awake. I was so worried."
Seeing that he's okay brings the worry off of my shoulders a little bit, but I won't be completely fine until I see Adam.
"How are you doing?" I ask, my voice still slightly gritty.
"I'm all right. I have a concussion that hurts like a bitch and multiple bruises, as well as a small stab wound that required a few stitches. I'll be all right in no time. Honestly, it could have been a lot worse."
"I'm thankful that it wasn't," Esme interjects, just as the door opens and Carlisle walks in, beaming.
"Nice to see you awake! How are you feeling?"
"Sore. My arm hurts really bad."
Carlisle nods, like he expected my answer. "You have a lot of bruising on your back and a small knot on your head. As far as your arm, you were shot in the upper arm and in your struggle with Tanya, she tore quite a bit of veins and punctured the brachial artery when she was tearing at your wound. Since that artery is the major artery in your arm, you bled out a little bit before you were rushed to the hospital. You got here just in time though; and you were rushed to surgery, given blood and a lot of painkillers, which put you to sleep for a day and a half."
"Is Adam all right?" My poor baby must be scared after everything that happened and then with me and Edward being in the hospital.
"He's a little shaken and uh...demanding to see you. We've been trying to keep him occupied but he's very persistent."
"May I...we," I say as an afterthought, glancing at Edward out of the corner of my eye. "See him? Please?"
"Of course, but Bella, I must make a couple of points. One, he's really not supposed to be on the bed with you, but seeing as I'm the boss, I'll let it slide," he winks. "Second, you must be careful with your arm. You have some stitches and you had surgery to repair the damage done to the artery. You must be careful and try not to move too much."
"I promise, Carlisle."
He nods. "I'll be back in a little bit. I believe that Charlie, Emmett and Rosalie took Adam to the park."
With that, he exits the room, leaving Edward, Esme and I alone. Esme shuffles around the room, straightening various things before turning to us, smiling.
"I'll get you two some food, I know you must be hungry."
She blows him a kiss and leaves, shutting the door behind her with a click. I turn my attention to Edward, who is staring over at me.
"Have you seen Adam?"
"I saw him after I woke up," Edward tells me, smiling softly. "He was scared but once he saw me, he was okay. Of course when you were brought in here, he cried and screamed for you to the point where your dad had to take him home. But my parents tell me that he's doing really well, he just misses you. Both he and Charlie are staying with my parents while the Chief's house is being swept for evidence and cleaned."
My heart breaks at hearing that he was crying and screaming for me and I couldn't comfort him, but I'm just glad that I'm here now, that I'm alive, to comfort him. Considering what Tanya had planned and what could have happened had Edward not attacked her, things could have been a lot worse.
I flinch thinking of Tanya and Edward sees, questioning me about it.
"Have you heard anything? Regarding what happened?"
"Not much. I heard that we don't have to worry about her. She was shot in the back by one of the police officers that came to our rescue."
"So I didn't shoot her?" I feel a little better about that part of the situation, but not about her being dead. Yes, she was crazy and tried to kill Edward and myself, but I wouldn't wish death on anybody.
"No. I imagine that Mark will be in sometime soon to talk to us about exactly what happened. I already gave him my statement, but I'm sure he'll want to talk to you."
"Yeah, most likely," I murmur just as the door opens and my father comes in, Emmett and Rosalie trailing behind him. Manners would have told me to say hello to them, but my eyes are only for the little man in my father's arms, who has his attention on Edward with joy.
I watch with teary eyes as Adam reaches for his father and Charlie places him on the bed, making sure that Adam doesn't hurt his wounds. Edward settles Adam on his chest, his forehead close to his son's, speaking quietly and laughing at something that is said.
"Hey Bells," my dad croaks, coming to stand beside me. I tear my eyes away from the picture perfect scene a feet away from me, looking into my father's red eyes. "I was so scared. Never in my life have I been so scared when I came home and saw all those officers there and you and Edward so banged up; I swear my heart stopped."
"I'm fine, Dad. I'm here, I'm fine."
He nods, releasing a small sob and kissing my forehead. "I love you, Bells."
"I love you too."
"Hey, Bella. We're glad you're awake and doing good," Emmett whispers brokenly as he comes to stand next to my bed. Beside him, Rosalie is giving me a watery smile.
"God, Bella. We were so worried," she cries. "When we heard...I just couldn't..."
Emmett takes her in his arms, tears trailing down his cheeks without shame. "The police wouldn't tell us anything and we feared the worst. I thought that the both of you," he stops, choking on the last word.
"Emm and I love you and Edward so much, Bella," Rose croaks. "We're so glad you're okay."
Rose sobs loudly and Emmett takes her in his arm, his own tears flowing freely and my dad takes this moment to speak.
"Mark will probably come by this afternoon and get your statement. If you feel up to it, that is. You should talk to him soon, though. You know, while everything is fresh in your mind."
"Yeah, might as well get it out of the way," I tell him just as I hear Edward mention my name. My eyes dart over and I see Adam's face light up as he sees me awake.
Adam makes a move to jump off of the bed, but Emmett catches him in time, settling him down on my right side, to avoid hurting my left arm. I squeeze my baby tightly to my side, smothering his face in kisses and tears. In return, his little arms wrap around my neck, hugging me.
"How are you, baby?"
"Miss you, Mama!"
"I missed you too! Were you good for everyone?"
"Yes," he nods firmly, resting his head against my chest.
Because I can, I place another kiss on his head, looking toward the doorway when it opens and Esme enters, carrying two trays of food.
"Oh boy, food!" Emmett exclaims, trying to erase the sad air that formed in the room as he reaches for the tray that Esme sets down on the table in the front of the room. Before he can reach it, Esme slaps his hand away and he pulls them back, scowling playfully.
"This is for Edward and Bella, not you!"
"But I'm a growing boy!" He exclaims, winking at me.
His eyes are bloodshot and there are still dried tears on his cheeks, and I feel a strong pull of emotion at his display of sadness, but I can't help but giggle at him as Esme rolls her eyes, but looks at him with love.
Esme gives Edward and I each a plate of food and I try to sit up without moving Adam that much, but it's difficult since my left arm is out of commission. I hiss in pain and Charlie swoops in, taking Adam in his arms, ignoring his crying.
I sit up in a more comfortable position with Esme's help and reach for my son again. Charlie places him back on my right side and Adam curls into me, glaring at his grandfather.
"My Mama," he mumbles.
"I'm sorry sweetie," I whisper against his head. "But Mama is hurt and I can't do much without hurting myself further, so sometimes someone is going to need to hold you so I can do things."
"Mama gots owie?"
"Yes, I do."
Adam's eyebrows furrow before he leans forward, placing a sloppy kiss on my cheek. "All betta!"
"Thank you," I chuckle with the others. "I feel much better."
Adam beams and I realize that with him sitting against my good arm, I won't be able to feed myself. I don't want anyone to hold Adam but myself, but I have no choice; I'm hungry and I need to eat and in order to do that, I need my good hand.
"Dad could you take Adam for a bit? I can't eat with him sitting here."
Charlie nods and moves to take him, but Adam starts screaming and holding on to me tightly, causing the skin on my arm to stretch and pull. I gasp in pain and Charlie rushes to pull him away, but Adam holds on, shaking his head and crying pitifully.
Esme and the others try to soothe him with comforting words, but he's not listening and they look at a loss on what to do. Charlie releases his hold on him when he sees that he's causing more harm than good and Adam settles into my side, clinging to me. Tears are streaming down my face and I try not to sob outright and scare him, but it's a difficult task.
Carlisle rushes into the room, looking worried. When he sees my face and Adam burrowed into my side, he breathes out a sigh and walks over.
"Bella, I told you to take it easy. Your blood pressure was off the chart," he admonishes.
"I'm sorry," I choke out, still trying to control my sobs. "Adam panicked when I asked Dad to take him."
"That's understandable. He's been very upset since you've been asleep." Carlisle then checks my arm, pulling back the gauze and bandages. I'm tempted to look at it, but right now the thought of looking at my stitched and marred skin turns my stomach, so I turn the other way and hope there is no damage done. "Well, you didn't tear any stitches. But you were pretty close. Be really careful, all right? We don't want you back in surgery and I know you don't want any more stitches."
"No, I'll be good, I promise."
"Okay. Try to eat something; you'll be getting some painkillers soon."
Carlisle smiles, kissing the crown of my head and walks over, kissing Esme sweetly before turning to talk to Edward quietly. Whatever he says has Edward nodding and smiling up at his father.
"I have to get back to work, but I'll be back to check on my two favorite patients later. Call me if anything happens," he announces, saying goodbye to Emmett and Rosalie and waving to my father.
My stomach growls and I look helplessly down at my baby, who doesn't seem to want to move from his position next to me. In fact, he's glaring at everyone that comes by bed, almost daring them to try and take him. I don't want to be separated from him any more than he does, but I also that I have to eat and I can't do that with no hands.
"Adam, Mama has to eat, so can you go sit with Grandpa for a little bit? I promise that you can come right back here as soon as I'm done eating."
"Hey Adam, why don't you come over here and sit with me for a little bit buddy?" Edward asks, reaching for him with a wide smile. I think he knows what answer he'll get because he doesn't look too hopeful for him coming over there.
Everyone is silent, trying to figure out how to get him to sit somewhere else so I can eat and a second later, Edward has the magic solution.
"Adam, why don't you help Mama eat, like you did with me this morning. Remember?"
Adam peers up at me, smiling widely. "I help!"
Everyone chuckles as Adam sits up and starts diligently placing some vegetables on a spoon with his fingers. Very slowly, he brings it to my mouth and feeds me, three pieces at a time. I glance over at Edward and mouth 'thank you'. In response he smiles crookedly and winks digging into his food.
Halfway into the meal, someone knocks on the door and Mark sticks his head in, giving a small grin when he sees me awake.
"Hey there, Bella. How are you doing?"
The food in my stomach turns to lead and I stop Adam from feeding me anymore. I don't think my stomach can take it now.
"I know this isn't the best time, Bella but we need your statement."
"Yeah," I sigh, not really looking forward to reliving the experience.
"Why don't we go for a walk?" Esme asks everyone. "We can get Adam some ice cream and I can check my messages to see if Alice and Jasper called back."
"You called Alice and Jasper?" I ask, feeling terrible that they were disturbed on their honeymoon.
"They would want to know. When I called them the day before, they were trying to get a flight back so I have to see how they're doing with that." She must see the sadness on my face because she pats my uninjured arm, squeezing it. "They love you and Edward so much and there will be plenty of chances for them to travel. Besides, family is more important." I slowly nod at her statement and she claps her hands. "All right. Let's leave them to their business and get some ice cream!"
Esme reaches for Adam, but he whines, curling up in a ball at my side.
"Adam, don't you want ice cream?"
"Mama, I not leave," he whines.
"I know. But I'll be right here when you get back, I promise. So go with Gamma and everyone else and get some ice cream, okay?"
He stares at me for a long moment before sighing and reaching for Esme. Quickly, before he can change his mind, she grabs him up and leaves the room with Emmett and Rosalie following. When my father remains in his spot on the wall, I look at him questioningly.
"I'm not leaving," he says gruffly.
Without arguing, I turn to Mark and follow him with my eyes as he pulls up a chair and takes out a notepad and pen.
"Okay Bella, I'll try to get this done as soon as quickly as I can. Please start at the very beginning when Victoria Tanya-Leigh Denali was in your house."
I catch Edward looking at me out of the corner of my eye, he stares at me for a moment before lifting himself from the bed, making Charlie rush over to help him.
"Get back in that bed, boy."
"I'm going to sit by her."
Charlie mutters under his breath and moves a chair over to my side, settling Edward down in the chair next to Mark. Even though he's frustrated with him, I can't help but notice the small light of happiness in his eyes.
Edward places a hand on my thigh while Charlie stands on my other side, both of them offering silent comfort. With a deep breath, I look at Mark and begin to tell him what happened.
Thirty minutes later, my statement is given, Mark is gone and Edward is back in his bed. Charlie excused himself shortly after we were both settled, claiming he needed fresh air. I know that he just needed a few moments to collect himself after he heard what happened in his house. I don't blame him, really. I know if I was in his shoes, I would need a moment too.
"How are you doing?" Edward asks, breaking the silence.
"Fine, I suppose. I just...I'm glad it's over. Even though she's dead and feeling anything positive toward that isn't right, I'm glad that she can't hurt us anymore."
"I know what you mean. I'm so happy that you're safe," he pausing and I look over at him, seeing anguish etched on his face. "When I saw that gun in her hand, I was so terrified. I wanted nothing more than to get you and Adam out of that house; I didn't even care what happened to me. And when I saw her attacking you, I thought my heart had stopped and the world was taken out from under my feet. All I wanted was her gone so you two would be safe. Now that she is, I feel an overwhelming relief that she'll never lay a finger on you again. When I found out you were going to be okay, I finally felt like I could breathe again."
I blush and lean back into the uncomfortable pillow, not knowing what to say after something like that, but I know how he feels. While Tanya stood there, pointing that gun at us, all I wanted was for Adam, Edward and myself to be safe.
Edward and I are scuffed up from the horrible confrontation, but we're alive, we're here and we're breathing. It's an overwhelming relief that's hard to put into words.
"Did Rose and Emmett tell you they loved you?" Edward asks suddenly, breaking the silence.
"Yeah. I don't ever remember them telling me that before," I say, thinking back to all of my interactions with them. No, they have never told me they loved me. They've said they have enjoyed my company, but never that they loved me.
"Emmett used to, when we were young, but that stopped once he got interested in girls. And Rose definitely never said it," he chuckles. "They're going to therapy," he blurts out, shocking me.
"Yeah. They told me yesterday. They're both in therapy, working out their issues. They're trying to get rid of their bad habits and start new, healthy ones."
"It is," he murmurs. "They want to make up for the past. They're trying to find a way to forgive themselves and find our forgiveness."
"It'll take time."
I hate to be this way, but I know that it will take time for me to forgive them and start trusting what they say.
"That's what I told them. You know, I've never seen them cry, and I never thought I would see them cry over you and me. But when they came into the room the other day, there they were, crying. Sobbing, really." He pauses, looking thoughtful. "They've always been so tough and strong and never showed any type of vulnerability. To see them crying like that is something else; something I never thought I'd see."
"What we've been through, sometimes it changes the people involved and the people around us. Sometimes, it can change everything."
"Yes, it can. For us, it'll change for the better," Edward tells me, a hidden promise in his words.
A/N: I hope you enjoyed the chapter!
Please forgive everything medical in this chapter.
Next update: a couple of weeks! :o)