The breeze was whipping through the window as we drove north towards Forks. The moon shone brightly in the sky, like a huge spot light lighting the sandy abyss. The warm air was refreshing after several days in the dreadful hospital. Needles, I shuddered.
"Are you cold?" Edward's look of worry only made me smile.
It was only a matter of time before my good luck ran out and Edward would bore of his fascination with me, the human.
"No. It's very warm outside."
He squeezed my hand, which was securely fastened with his. He smiled my favorite crooked smile before looking back at the road.
If it wasn't for Phil, Renée would probably be driving me back to Forks herself. But she missed him and it was only too easy to persuade her to let Doctor Cullen drive me home. Of course, Carlisle let us drive by ourselves while the rest of them flew back.
Because of Edward's speed my hair was lashing around so I rolled my window up. Edward turned to stare at me with is penetrating eyes. He threw me another smile before turning back to the road. I continued to look out the window, me and the statue of a god sitting in silence. As we journeyed north, the landscape began to change until it morphed into the spiny green vegetation I had now grown accustomed too.
At first, I was greatly saddened when I exiled myself to this place, but now, my hand resolutely in Edwards, I was grateful for my previous self-sacrificing. He promised to stay with me, and that was enough…for now. We may have argued over the finer points, like about him keeping me human, but he was still here. I thought about how he encouraged me to move to Florida while he planned to stay in Forks. I frowned.
"Bella, what's wrong? Will you please tell me what you are thinking," he pleaded.
I shrugged. The car slowed slightly as he continued to stare at me.
"It's so frustrating," he sighed, "not knowing what you are thinking."
I decided that another argument was not what I needed. So I changed the subject without him ever noticing.
"Charlie…" I whispered.
"I don't know what to say to him. The things I said that night. What if I had died?" Edward flinched at my words. "He would forever think I hated him, that I didn't want to live with him." I didn't notice the tear that had escaped my eye until Edward caught it with his finger.
"Bella," he exhaled heavily. "Please don't beat yourself up over this. This is my fault. Not yours."
"Is it? Were you the idiot that went to meet a murderous vampire?"
His jaw tightened.
"No! It was me." I shouted.
"Bella, I understand why you went to the studio. You are very brave," he hesitated, "and you seem to be completely unaware of how fragile you really are." His brow creased, like he was thinking of something very difficult.
"Regardless," I muttered, "I still don't know how to fix it."
He sighed. "You don't know what it's like hearing Charlie's thoughts. Ninety-nine percent of the time he is thinking about you. Whether it is concern, worry, or just how much he loves you." He looked out the window, thoughtful now. "When the van nearly crushed you," I saw his eyes darken when a street light lit up his face. "I couldn't hear any thoughts around me except his. The panic he was feeling was so…extreme that he drowned everybody else out."
Hearing this made me feel worse. Before I realized it, I was sobbing uncontrollably. I didn't even notice the car had stopped when suddenly my door was being opened. Edward looked down on me and I automatically reached up for him.
"Bella. Bella, it's going to be okay. He'll forgive you."
I continued to sob into his shirt, soaking it with salt water. "I know," I said between sniffles. "It just makes me feel horrible that someone who loves me so much…" my words became incoherent with chocking cries.
With the panic of our journey south, the tracker searching desperately for me, and my stint in the hospital, I hadn't let any emotions weigh down on me. But here, alone with Edward, safe, it all came crashing down like a Jinga tower. The wrong piece pulled out from under me and then it all hit at once.
When I finally was able to control myself, I wiped the tears away and apologized to Edward.
"Why are you apologizing to me?" He shook his head. "It was only a matter of time before your adventure took its toll. But don't worry; you'll be safe in your bed tonight."
I didn't say anything, just sitting in the car, my bum leg hanging out the side. It was time to pull myself together. We were almost to Forks now and it would hurt my cause if I came home with puffy red eyes and tear tracks down my face.
"I'm okay, Edward."
He looked at me skeptically.
"Really, I'm fine. Let's go." I sounded more confident then I felt.
In one fluid movement he was back in the car, putting it in drive. We were silent the whole way back. He continually glanced down at me every chance he got, which was most of the time.
Our trip ended much quicker then I anticipated as Edward pulled into Charlie's driveway. He helped me out of the car and Charlie met us halfway.
"Bella!" Charlie ran towards us, relief in his voice.
"Hi, dad," I hugged him and he hugged me back fiercely.
"Chief Swan," Edward acknowledged.
Charlie didn't say anything; he just glared at him and helped me into the house. Edward followed behind, to Charlie's dismay. He didn't stay long, though. He bent down to kiss my forehead before saying goodnight to the both of us.
As soon as the door shut, I knew that I was in trouble. Charlie was looking out the window, probably watching Edward drive away, before he turned around. But his expression surprised me.
"Don't you ever do that to me again," he scolded, but his voice was soft, not hard. "I was scared to death that you were going to be dead when I received that phone call from Alice."
"I'm sorry, Dad." I looked down at my casted leg. He looked at it, too.
"I'm just glad your okay." He kneeled on the ground in front of me. "I promise to do whatever I can to keep you here. We'll go do something together or…"
"Dad, it's okay. Sitting in the kitchen making dinner for you is just fine with me," I stated firmly. An emotional smile spread across my face before I reached out and hugged Charlie again. "I'm so sorry, Dad. I'll never do it again. This is my home."
Charlie smiled at me. "That's good to hear."
I looked at the clock, it was getting late. I yawned once.
"Can I help you get up to bed?" he asked uncertainly.
"Please. I'm really tired."
After several minutes of him helping me up to my bedroom, I was finally alone in my room. I could hear Charlie walking towards his room, too. I just laid on my bed, staring up at the ceiling, pondering. I felt so relieved at how easily our conversation went. Edward was right, he did forgive me and he did love me. With all the things I seem to do to the people around me, I feel extremely lucky to have so many people who love me and put up with me.
The curtains to my window flared up with the breeze from outside and instantly Edward and Alice were standing in my room.
"Hi, Bella." Alice sat on the bed next to me.
I smiled, still staring up at the ceiling.
"I'm here to help you get into your pajamas," she explained.
Her bright smile glowed brightly, even in the dark.
"I'll be outside your window. Just call down to me when you are done," Edward kissed me lightly on the lips before bounding out of the window.
Alice stared down through the window like she was talking to Edward. She probably was. They had silent conversations all the time. I could see how it would get annoying, but I loved them both so much in this moment that I couldn't think one bitter thought.
"My pajamas are in that drawer," I pointed to the middle drawer in my dresser.
She looked at me in mock horror. "No, Bella. I brought you some pajamas!"
"Alice," I chided. "I'm going to bed, who cares what my attire is."
She giggled and threw me silky bottoms and a top. "I could see that you were going to be difficult with my first choice. It wasn't until I came across this at the mall when my vision changed," she beamed at me.
They looked and felt nice and comfortable…not at all what I expected her to give me. "Thanks, Alice," I conceded.
For her tiny frame, she was extremely strong. She was able to help me get my silk bottoms on, holding all my weight, and even picking me up once. To an outsider, it would have been extremely entertaining. To me, it was just who she was.
Edward scaled the wall and was through my window as soon as I was clothed. Alice must have called out to him. Then I realized he could read her mind and probably saw me undressing. I blushed brilliantly.
"Goodnight, Bella, Edward," Alice blew a kiss towards us in one moment and was out the window the next.
Edward smirked at me. He could tell my spirits were lifted even behind the red mask of my blush. I wondered if he had stayed close to hear Charlie's conversation with me.
His lips were at me ear. "Why are you blushing?" he breathed. I involuntarily trembled under his breath.
I could feel my face heating up again as I remembered he could read Alice's mind while she was helping me change. He kissed my neck. "Please tell me." His nose trailed the length of my jaw. He stopped and pulled away to see my expression.
"Well," the blood was boiling under my face now. "You can read Alice's thoughts…" I trailed off suggestively.
"Oh!" his eyes showed his comprehension. "I wasn't paying attention. I was a complete and utter gentleman," he promised, his eyes showing the sincerity of his words.
"I figured. I was just wondering."
He smiled at me. "How did things go with Charlie?"
"We're okay, I think." I paused. "Did you stay to listen?"
"No. I thought I would give you your space."
Edward pulled the covers over me, swaddling me like a newborn before holding me close to his chest. He kissed me several times at my jaw, neck and at my ear. He was driving me absolutely crazy but I was nearing exhaustion. He could see my eyes fluttering to stay open.
"Close your eyes, Bella," he commanded.
I obeyed. His lips lightly brushed over my eye lids before I succumbed to sleep.