12. DROWNING LESSONS
I gasped. And when I breathed, it felt like the air going into my lungs was chlorine gas. It stung. It burned. My body shook barbarically. Everywhere I looked was hell. A dangerous vertigo. A cremation of my live body. A strong burning that I had only felt once before was scorching through my veins. It was fine at first. Numbing. Cold. And then the fire started. And it wouldn't go away. The pain was so much, I couldn't speak. I breathed quickly. Raspily. Like a person dying of hypothermia. But I felt like I was being torched.
"Edward..." I cried. I couldn't hear my own voice. My back arched and my nails dug into cold bed sheets. Where was I?
"Shh...I'm here, love. I'm here.." He stroked my hair back from my pasty face.
"Edward? I can't see you...I can't- I can't see..." I whispered. His voice sounded so far away. Everything was so far away. I screamed loudly. The pain. It was unbelievable.
"Oh god, Bella...I'm so sorry..this was a mistake. This was a mistake...This was a mistake...what have I done?"
"No.." I shook my head. I wanted to explain to him. I wanted to tell him that it's all I wanted. But I couldn't. "Don't leave me..." I whispered. I couldn't see him. Everything was spinning. But I felt the gentle brushing of his hand on my face stop.
"Leave you?" He chuckled lightly. His voice sounded pained. "How could I leave you? I turned you just so you could be mine again. To have you back from Carlisle...I could never leave you now..."
"No.." I said and it hurt to say it. I was never Carlisle's. I was just a fool. Unworthy of his love. So much that I still needed to explain to him, and no strength or composure to do it with. I screamed again. Was it possible for the agony of the venom and my betrayal of Edward to combine? My head began to throb. I tossed my head to the side and screamed into the pillow.
"Bella?...Bella!" He yelled. My body began to shake viciously. And though my pain nearly impaired me to do anything but cry out in agony, I heard another voice.
"Edward? Edward, you here?"
"Emmet! Emmet, Help me!" Edward yelled. I felt his strong arms pin me down to the bed. I felt so...outside myself. But I could still hear the sound of my voice.
"Stop! Make it stop, please!"
Emmet came running up the stairs and to the guest room of the house. The house that would never be a home again, because of me.
"Help!" He shouted. Emmet ran to the bedside and looked down at me. He gently turned my face to the side and beheld the gash on my neck.
"She's going into shock...Edward...I think you took too much blood..."
"I know!" He roared. I could hear the fear in his voice. "Hold her down!"
At once I felt strong arms press me into the silky mattress. I couldn't fight against them. And though I knew that if I tried, I'd probably end up bruising myself against him, I couldn't stop flailing. I felt cold hands on my face that made me gasp.
"God, she doesn't look good..." Emmet said. He sounded panicked as well.
"Bella? Bella! Bella, sweetheart, look at me! Look!"
"E-Edward?.." I mumbled. I almost forgot he was here. I was lost in my own torment. How could such pain exist when he was here? Edward made everything wonderful.
"That's right...I'm here."
"Don't speak..I'm not leaving. I need for you to keep your eyes open...good girl. Look at me..." He spoke. "Take deep breaths.." He instructed. It reminded me of a time when I was 5 and my mom took me to the pool for the first time to get me swimming lessons. I almost drowned that day. I went under and didn't come up for almost a minute. When I did surface, I coughed, choked and sputtered on water. A minute felt like an eternity when you couldn't breathe. And then it occurred to me. This would be one of the last few days that I would actually breathe. The thought scared me so much now, I could barely do it.
"There...there...shh...there you go angel...you're okay..you're okay..." He whispered. Emmet released my quivering body. My only method of concentration was staring my beautiful Edward in the eyes. Wondering if his eyes would be this warm and lovely to me when I was reborn a vampire..Or would he then grant me the scorn I deserved?
"Mmm...why don't you just let the harlot suffer? God knows she deserves it." A feminine voice rang from the door, causing Edward to turn his head. No..I needed his eyes. The flood of agony came back.
"Shut up Rosalie!" Edward rang. The fighting..I couldn't take it. I closed my eyes and concentrated on the thunder rolling outside. The wind trying to blow in the glass windows. I imagined that glass imploding into the room. And that every shard flew in my direction. Cutting into me. Cutting me to pieces. That's what it felt like...that's what I deserved.
"You know it's true!" she barked. Leaning against the doorframe. "Don't you see the destruction she's done to this family tonight? She had sex with Carlisle! In his and Esme's bed for all we know.."
"We couldn't find her anywhere..." Emmet said in a weak effort to change the subject and make peace.
"Is this the girl you fell in love with, Edward? Is she still the wonderful 'angel' you met in biology class a year ago? A homewrecker, a liar, a cheat?"
"No..." Edward muttered. Rosalie looked shocked at how quickly Edward gave up on the argument.
"Then why, Edward? I'm not too peachy on being a vampire myself...but she! She doesn't deserve to live...let alone, live forever..."
"Because I love her..."
"Have you no self respect?! No shame?!" Rosalie shouted. Edward shook his head.
"No...I don't...not anymore...she's wronged me...but I can't stop Rosalie..." He whispered. He stared at me again. He brushed the hair from my face.
"I'm hers...I can't stop loving her. I promised I'd never leave..And I can't."
"Oh, you promised huh? Well, I don't know about you, but I believe there are circumstances in which binding promises can be broken."
"That's enough Rose.." Emmet spoke. He looked down at me with pity. Hate. He should have been looking at me with hate. Rosalie glared at her husband before exiting the room. There was a long silence with nothing but the sound of me trying not to cry out.
"Edward?..." Emmet whispered lightly. He looked to me and then back at him. His lips moved quickly but I heard no sound.
"He can burn in hell...You should hope he doesn't come back...for his sake..." Edward's jaw went rigid before he turned his attention back on me . His eyes weren't helping anymore. I started yelling again. Every movement I made induced a flame all through me. My eyes began to tear. I felt like a hot hand of iron was taking tight hold of my neck and squeezing hard. Like lava was being poured onto my chest. I began to tear at my shirt. It felt like my air supply was gone entirely. I choked. I'm sure I was turning blue. Air. Gone. I reached for Edward. He took tight hold of my hand.
"Bella, shh...you're just scared. You're just scared. Look at me. You're okay."
I coughed more. It made my head throb. I tried sitting up, but Edward pushed me back down.
"You need to save your strength, love. Stay quie-"
"No!" I yelled hoarsely. I took deep breaths. I felt like I was on my death bed. Technically I was. So I had to tell him everything.
"I love you so much...and I'm sorry...I'm sorry...please...forgive me Edward...please. I don't know what happ-" The auburn haired prince closed his eyes and shook his head.
"Just close your eyes...and try to relax"
I closed my eyes. I tried to relax. But I spent the whole night awake. Screaming. Crying. Hoping for this whole ordeal to be over. And wondering what was really binding Edward to me? His love, his promise, or the fact that he knew I needed him now more than ever?
My eyes were burning. Not a wink slept. I found a way to sit up in bed as soon as Edward's back was turned to get a cold, wet cloth for my head. Nothing helped. All that comforted me in the slightest was looking at him. Holding him. And thinking that perhaps he would forgive me for the things I had done. The little bit of light that shone through the grey clouds found my eyes. Making me squint. Making my head hurt even more. Edward lay on the bed beside me. Unsleeping, but eyes closed. I left him be. This was the longest I had stayed quiet since my transformation. He didn't need sleep, but he must have missed the tranquility of calmness. And before my sight could fathom what was happening, he reached his hand up and stroked my face. He stared at me shaking. Bleeding from my arms from trying to scratch the venom out of my veins. Last night was agony in it's purest form.
"This was a mistake..." He said softly. He looked as if he may cry. "How could I do this?..I've killed you...I've killed you...How could I have messed up this badly? I should have never done this to you.." He was a wreck as well. It was a somber thing to see. I stared at him. Until I felt a pain. Like a dagger being shoved into my stomach and then twisted. I screamed loudly before I slipped from the bed. I couldn't walk. My legs crashed from under me. Edward rushed to me and quickly dragged me to the bathroom of the guestroom where I held my head over the toilet and spilled the contents of my stomach. Disgusting. Blood. Bits of skin from my stomach. It scorched my throat. Then the knife pulled out. I lifted my head and took more deep, rapid breaths. Edward stepped a little closer.
"Oh no..." he whimpered. He pulled my hair back from my face. I pushed him on the leg weakly. I didn't want him to see me like this. The knife shoved back in. This time it was heated. I threw up again ferociously. Shaking my body. I puked until my chestbones felt like they were going to break into my body.
"Water..." I whispered from my chapped lips. Edward heard me clearly. He picked up a glass that sat on the counter, rinsed it out and filled it with cold water before placing it to my lips and helping me pour the cold liquid down my throat. It felt nice. I gulped back as many mouthfulls as I could before giving the glass back.
"Are you okay?" He whispered. He touched my face. I closed my eyes and let my head go limp in his hands. I nodded weakly. I spoke too soon. I pulled myself from Edward unwillingly once more and threw up again. Water and stomach acid. It was awful. I groaned.
"Mm..it's working.." He said with a tinge of fear. When my stomach decided to give me a break I looked up at him.
"The venom. Your body is trying to reject all the things it doesn't need anymore...he whispered. He got another cold rag and drenched it with cold water before wiping my face clean. He kneeled before me and placed cold kisses on my cheeks and forehead.
"There's no turning back now.." He said.
"I wasn't about to..." I croaked. I leaned into him. Rejoicing in how wonderful he felt.
"No..." He said in a strangely scornful tone. It made me pull from his chest and look up at him."You've worked too hard to become what you're becoming..." He muttered. He lifted me gracefully from the floor and carried me to the bedroom where he lay me on the soft sheets. I curled myself into the fetal position and clenched my nails against the pillows when I felt pain. Grinded my teeth. I meditated on what Edward said before laying me down and sitting in a chair across from me. Looking worried to death. Regretful. Ashamed. Hurt
Will you never forgive me?