A/N: Holy cow… you guys really hate Jacob huh? The last chapter actually brought me my most reviews for one individual chapter ever, so thank you guys so much! If we happen to beat the last chapter with reviews, I promise to post the new chapter ASAP. It's with the beta as we speak, so think about it.
Bear in mind that I am in no way a medical professional. I work in finance and was lucky enough to have computer malfunctions this week at work while helped me write the next two chapters. All my medical information is from thorough research, so if it's wrong, don't shoot me. I'm trying here people!
I don't own Twilight, I do however, have three tickets to see 'Playhouse Disney Live in Stage' and am taking the daughter to it today. So enjoy the chapter!
The days began to blur together in the most unwelcome way as I remained stuck in my hospital bed at Port Angeles General Hospital. Sometimes I couldn't even tell if it was night or day, or which day of the week it was because I spent so much time sleeping during the first few weeks after I began my chemotherapy. It was not exactly a shining moment in my life. I also found myself wondering if the treatment was worse than the disease, because things just didn't seem like they were getting better.
My appetite fluctuated almost as much as Alice's moods when she came to visit, and on a good day I found it difficult to eat and keep anything down. Every time the nurses threatened to feed me via IV, I managed to eat a little bit more that day, but the nausea always hit and the food didn't last long in my body. I knew my weight had fallen below a hundred pounds, but I was trying. I really felt like I was getting stronger, especially on the days that I was resting from my chemo treatments. Okay, that was a blatant lie, I felt like shit ninety nine percent of the time these days.
There was still no sign of Edward, but a week after Valentine's Day, I found myself relieved that he wasn't coming around. I really didn't want him to see me like this… like a frail, pathetic, shell of my former self. I wanted him to remember me as the girl who was alive, full of energy, the girl who he fell in love with. Not the girl who was going bald from chemo, as Alice discovered when she decided she wanted to brush my hair.
"Bella, you look like shit. Just give me five minutes, a little makeup and you might even crack a smile. We haven't seen you smile in days," Alice said to me sweetly as she tried to convince me on Sunday to brush my hair. I glanced over at the bouquet of flowers which Alice had tied up with a ribbon and hung from my curtain rod. She claimed she was drying them out so I would have them forever, a reminder of my friendship with Jacob, she insisted. I found it weird, but I had faith in her because she was really the most comforting of all of my friends and family. Besides Charlie, she visited me the most and brought the oddest things to keep me busy, today's gift being a ping pong paddle with a ball on it. It was stupid, but I had to fight back a smile because she was genuine in her affection and I loved her all the more for it.
Of course Charlie couldn't come as often as I wanted him too, but we had found a great routine that worked for us. He did his usual work schedule, but got off an hour earlier on weekdays to come and see me. He fed Scrappy, my poor little dog, in the mornings and Alice and Rosalie took turns feeding him at lunch at and dinner. I felt pretty pathetic for the fact that I had a dog and could barely see him, but Charlie assured me that he was doing well. I was surprised when he told me that Jacob would often come over and play with him, keep him company when Scrappy was getting sad about me being away. Even my Dad relied on help from Jacob and I found myself relieved that he was such a close friend and practically a member of our family. Jake had even encouraged me a few times to get cleaned up or brush my hair, but it was Alice who finally convinced me.
"Fine, but please be gentle. I get headaches easily these days, which is why I have my hair in a braid most days. Hell, showering is a bitch in these tiny little showers they have here," I declared as Alice let out a small laugh. She was lucky though because she didn't need help getting into the shower or doing any of the other mundane things that I used to take for granted.
The moment Alice led the small brush through my hair, I knew something was wrong. The gasp that fell from her mouth just made everything make sense to me. "It's happening again isn't it?" I asked as I looked over my shoulder and Alice nodded, her lips drawn into a tight line. "Don't look so upset. It's not your fault Alice. We knew this was going to happen." I reached up and ran my hand through my hair, pulling out a small clump of my brown locks. The sight of the hair within my hands made me feel sick to my stomach and I made Alice grab the bucket so that I could throw up what was left of my lunch from earlier in the day and I held back the urge to cry.
"Do you still have your wig from the first time?" Alice questioned, as I broke out into a mixture of tears and laughter, my hands immediately weaving through my hair to pull out what I could, which thankfully wasn't too much yet.
"No, of course not. It was child sized and did you really think I would keep a reminder like that around?" I asked as I threw my hair onto the floor in a fit of anger and wiped the tears from my eyes. That wig was the last thing that Renee had given me before she left. I used it after she left simply out of necessity and not out of want. The moment my hair started growing back in and it looked somewhat decent, I threw the fucking thing away with a satisfied grin. My emotions regarding everything were getting bloody ridiculous, because one moment I was fine with the fact that this was happening, resigned even. However, now I was unsure of what to do. "Do you think I should just shave it all off?"
"Then what the hell should I do?" I pleaded as Alice grabbed my laptop from my nightstand and turned it on. She quickly sat down beside me and directed us to a website about wigs, hats and scarves for people undergoing cancer treatments. "I'm going to look like Raquel Welch?" I asked with a laugh as we scanned through the site and that was the first thing I noticed.
"Well no... you're not in your sixties Bella. I'm sure they have something more your style," Alice declared as we scrolled through the site together, giggling at some of them because we knew they would be hideous on me. "Do you want to go blonde?"
"Yeah, no. Next," I laughed, my voice sounding relieved since Alice was doing a great job of taking my mind off of everything. "You think I would look good in that one?" I asked through clenched teeth as I pointed to a red head with a huge perm and Alice just hit the button directing us to the next page as she silently shook her head in the negative. "I didn't think so either."
"Ooh, look at this one… the Dominique. You could turn into a sex kitten with that hair. Doesn't it look like she just rolled out of bed after being fucked senseless?" questioned Alice with a grin as she pointed to the hair on the screen that looked to be a bit too much like Sue Ellen Ewing from Dallas, which I had caught on repeats on TV recently. "I bet Edward would…" Alice cut herself off before she said anything further, but I rested my hand on her shoulder to reassure her. It wasn't her fault at all that she felt like she couldn't talk about him. "I'm sorry."
"Don't apologize Alice. If I wasn't sick, you would be able to joke about things like this with me. I refuse to let Edward's stupidity cloud my recovery. If he can't be man enough to come here and see me, then he's probably not man enough to help me through this shit," I admitted as I squeezed her hand tightly as I tried to encourage her. "What about this one… the Ashley?"
"It's cute… but umm… Edward came to see you last Monday," said Alice under her breath, catching me completely off guard. I did the math in my head and came to the realization that this was over ten days ago, so why was I only now hearing about this? I narrowed my eyes and shot Alice a look of complete disbelief as she began to speak again, no doubt understanding my need for more information. "You were asleep when he came in, so according to Jasper, he sat with you for a little bit and talked to you."
My heart literally jumped out of my chest in excitement, but I let out a long breath and came to my senses. Just because he came to see me while I was asleep, that was no reason to get my hopes up. After all, it's not like he had been back since and I hadn't heard anything else from him, so why should I care? "So… the Ashley? Do you like it?" I asked of Alice, steering us from the topic of Edward's visit as I pointed to the screen and the picture of the girl with the long straight layers of hair, in a decent shade of brown. It wasn't perfect, but it would do.
"Yeah, I guess it's the closest to your natural hair," she said quietly as I looked back at her and found her eyes silently pleading with me. "I think you should call him and invite him over."
"I think you should take your nose out of my business. The ball is in Edward's court and if he refuses to come and see me while I am conscious, what am I supposed to do?" I stated furiously as Charlie walked into the room a moment later, looking a little disappointed in me for fighting with Alice.
"What am I missing?"
"Where's your credit card Charlie?" asked Alice, which made both of us open our eyes wide in surprise.
"If there is one person on the face of this earth that is not touching my credit card, it would be you Alice Brandon," laughed my father as Alice and I giggled along with him, glad for the distraction from our argument about Edward. It was frustrating and I knew I was angering her, but whatever she had to say about him, I just didn't want to hear it. Edward needed to come and see me if he wanted to talk.
"Sorry there Chief, I'm ordering a wig for Bella. It seems the hair loss is starting sooner than it did last time and she doesn't have that fancy Tinkerbell looking wig that she had before," Alice stated firmly as she kept eye contact with my dad. It didn't surprise me in the least that he simply reached into his back pocket and pulled out his American Express card, handing it to her with ease as she ordered the wig and several head scarves with various modern patterns for me online.
The rest of our afternoon passed casually with Alice sticking around for another hour before finally heading home, my father having to remind her to return his credit card before she left. Charlie went down to the cafeteria and brought us back a few slices of pizza to have for dinner, thinking I would probably prefer it to the Salisbury steak I was supposed to have from the nurses, which tasted like moldy boot to me. When he left just before eight at night, I found it easy to fall to sleep, but I didn't stay that way. Dreams of Edward haunted me like most nights, but I tried to remain calm and managed a few hours of consecutive sleep before I was awoken the next morning.
Mondays were my least favorite day, because I usually started another cycle of chemo after being off for a few days. Family and friends tended to always come on Sundays, as informed by Charlie, because I felt the best on that day. Of course, Alice, Rosalie, Charlie, Jacob and even Esme, came more often, but when Esme came we never talked about Edward. We could casually discuss anything and everything, but not him.
My oncologist came in every day to meet with me and explain what was going on, the results of my latest blood tests and whether the chemo was working. On this particular Monday, the 23rd of February and almost a month after being admitted, when my oncologist came in to see me, he wasn't alone. Charlie was with him and dressed in his uniform. This wasn't a usual occurrence because it was one in the afternoon and Charlie was supposed to be back in Forks at the police station. Something was definitely up.
"Afternoon Isabella," Dr. Winston, my oncologist, said casually as he strolled in and stood beside my bed as Charlie sat beside me, his hand immediately going to mine to comfort me, but I pulled it away. I wasn't in the mood to be coddled because I was tired of being treated like a child. I wasn't nine years old anymore.
"What's the bad news? It's bad news right? I don't see anyone in the room smiling with the exception of J.R. Ewing on my TV, so just tell me," I stammered nervously. I darted my eyes between my doctor and my father, hoping to see some signs of hope, but I was greeted with nothing from both of them. This was not a good sign. "Just tell me. It's like pulling off a band-aid."
"Well, we're only getting a partial response from your chemotherapy treatment. We were hoping to have seen a bigger reaction from your blood tests after you have finished your first two cycles of therapy. Because you have gone through this before, we were hopeful that things would have gone better than they have," Dr. Winston explained as I reached over and grabbed Charlie's hands, his eyes filling up with sadness. "On a good note though, the leukemia is not getting worse, a partial response is much better than progression or stability."
I nodded my head slowly as I brushed the tears from my eyes and Charlie hugged me sweetly, his unmistakable scent filling my senses and giving me a feeling of calm I hadn't felt since they had walked into the room.
"How many more cycles of therapy?" I asked quietly, as I assessed my surroundings and felt anxious that I would have to stay in the hospital longer than I originally thought.
"We're not one hundred percent sure yet," he stated as I rested my head on Charlie's shoulder and he lightly brushed his hand over my head. Only a few small clumps of hair had come out, so my balding wasn't completely noticeable, but it definitely sucked. I was looking forward to my wig arriving in the next week or so, giving me to chance to shave my head. "I'm thinking there will be six cycles at the most, if the chemotherapy continues to deplete the cancer cells the way it has been. So think positive, you're a third of the way there."
"Does that mean I have only like two months left in here?" I asked, the hopeful inflection in my voice not lost on Charlie or Dr. Winston.
"I don't want to give you false hope Isabella. I'm not sure about the short or long term effects of your treatment or what side effects you will have during the cycles. Everything is going along smoothly right now, but that could change. We needed two cycles of chemo to be completed before we could measure any sort of response because this is a reoccurrence of the cancer." With those simple words, I lost almost all hope in the situation. I wasn't going anywhere for a little while, there was no way I was graduating with my friends and my life was basically at a standstill while I tried to combat this. I was fighting for my life and losing.
Things turned from bad to worse when I heard a noise at the door and I looked up tentatively, my hands still locked with Charlie's and saw Edward standing at the door. "What the hell are you doing here?" I shouted angrily as I squeezed Charlie's hand and he began rubbing my back supportively.
"I came to apologize."
Monday morning was bound to suck. It was raining outside, washing away the small traces of snow that had fallen on the weekend. I had seen very little of my parents or friends, opting instead to stay in my room and wallow because I hadn't heard anything from Bella after leaving my note and sending the flowers to her. I had practically worn down the area of carpet in my bedroom where I had paced, waiting for her to call and wondering what the hell I had done wrong. I didn't want to call her because this wasn't the kind of thing we should have been discussing over the phone. I wanted her to pick up the phone and simply tell me she read my note and that she loved me too. Hell, at this point I would take 'I read the note. We need to talk.'
Hell, I had practically poured my heart out to her in that note and begged her to call me, to give me a second chance and I heard nothing in response. Perhaps my letter was just too late and I was pathetic for even trying. I called Jasper on Saturday night to get his take on things, but he was heading out to dinner with Alice, who he informed me was spending Sunday with Bella at the hospital since Rosalie had been dragged out of town with her parents. I begged him to find out for me how Bella had reacted regarding the note, but he refused, not wanting to be put in the middle of the situation. I relented because he was my best friend I would hate to be put in between my girlfriend and my best friend if the situation was reversed. Jasper even suggested I come with them on Sunday to the hospital, but I didn't want to overstep my bounds. What if Bella had read the note and simply wasn't ready to talk to me yet?
I ended up talking to Jasper again on Sunday night, hoping to get some sort of reassurance from him that Bella was doing better because he was supposed to have visited her, but he admitted to me that he hadn't made it to PAGH after all. His mother desperately needed his help at home, so Alice went by herself and he would be going on Wednesday after class with the girls to see her again. Once again he hinted at me going with them to visit, but I was still anxiously waiting for her phone call.
So on Monday morning when I pulled into the parking lot of Forks High and heard the loud screeches of Miranda Lambert coming from Rosalie's massive pickup truck, I should have known something was going down.
Hey I'm goin' home, gonna load my shotgun
Wait by the door and light a cigarette
If he wants a fight well now he's got one
And he ain't seen me crazy yet
He slapped my face and he shook me like a rag doll
Don't that sound like a real man?
I'm gonna show him what little girls are made of
Gunpowder and lead
"Nice music choice Rose," I said sarcastically as I moved closer towards her and she whipped her head around, her long blonde hair sweeping over her shoulder as she turned off her truck and hopped down, looking furious. "Did you break a nail? Someone cut you off on your way here?"
"You," she shouted as she poked me hard in the middle of the chest and her dark eyes narrowed on me as she moved forward, effectively moving me back until I was against the Ford Focus parked two spots over from her truck. "You are a complete fucking asshole."
"Duly noted," I replied as her bright red lips tensed into a narrow line and she looked like she was about to rip my head off and feed it to her young. "What's your problem?"
"Why the hell haven't you gone to see her yet?" she shrieked and I wanted to back away, hell I wanted to run like the wind, but before I had a chance, she had her fingers wrapped around my forearm, her perfectly manicured nails digging into my coat as a light rain fell around us.
"I went to see her."
"While she was conscious?"
"Fuck you Rosalie. You don't know what I have been going through. Do you think it's easy to sit back and watch the person you love fade away? How would you feel if it was Emmett in that bed?" I yelled in response, not overly keen at the way she was treating me. Some of our other classmates were filtering in to go to class, but they were all moving slowly, stopping to watch the scene that was unfolding before their eyes.
"If it was Emmett in that bed, I would be at his side supporting him and comforting him. Doing whatever the hell he needed me to do," she replied, the anger rolling off of her as Emmett came over to wrap his arm around her shoulder, which she shrugged off, much to his surprise.
"Rose baby, let's go inside hon. No one needs to see this," exclaimed Emmett as he reached out for her hand again, but she refused him and continued to stare at me. It was pointless to try to get away since there was now basically a circle around us as we argued.
"No Emmett, Edward needs to go to the hospital and be a fucking man. He claims he loves Bella, but if he really did, he would be spending all of his free time with her. She needs him, and we all know this but apparently he doesn't," she said snidely as she poked me in the chest again and I swatted her hand away, further inciting her fury. However at this point, with her embarrassing me in front of the rest of the school, I didn't really care if I made her angrier with me. "You didn't spend an hour on the phone with her last night Edward. I did. I listened to her cry about how she was doing, how lonely she felt and how she was starting to lose her hair. I listened Edward. Where were you?"
I opened my mouth to say something in retaliation, aiming to hurt her feelings like she had been doing to me since I walked towards her truck, but nothing came out. Instead, I tossed my backpack over my shoulder and headed to my car, unable to actually go into the school. There was no way I would be able to focus on anything school related after the fight between Rosalie and me, especially after what she had just told me. I pulled out of the parking lot at breakneck speed, ignoring the fact that my cell phone was ringing in my pocket and drove out of town, with no particular destination in mind.
At almost eleven o'clock that morning, I found myself driving around Port Angeles, unsure of where to go. I stopped at a local coffee shop and grabbed a coffee and a blueberry muffin, while sitting at a table near the window and began picking aimlessly at the muffin as I thought about everything that had happened earlier in the day.
My heart ached as I thought of her calling Rosalie last night and crying into the phone, no doubt confessing to her all her fears and concerns, which was something I should have been there for. I should have been the one who held her tight as she told me how worried she was, or how bad she felt. I should have been the one helping her deal with the aches and pains of chemo, holding her hair back if she needed to be sick and reassuring her when her hair began to fall out. However, I was too scared to deal with any of it.
I hurried out of the coffee shop and practically sprinted to my car, where I huddled inside from the cold and buried my face in my hands, against the steering wheel. I looked down at the clock and saw that it was lunch time. I brushed the small tears that had fallen from my eyes and made up my mind. Today was the day I was going to see Bella.
Of course, when I walked into her room after struggling with myself, while sitting in my Volvo, for almost an hour regarding what I was going to say to her. When I finally headed towards her room and waited for her to see me by the door, I got the response I was expecting the moment she laid eyes on me.
"What the hell are you doing here?"
"I came to apologize," I stated with shaky confidence, trying not to let my fears get to me as I looked at her in the eyes and saw only sadness. "Is this a bad time?" I asked as I looked between Charlie, who was perched at her side and who I assumed was her doctor. Of course, had I been the diligent and caring boyfriend I should have been, I would have known this.
"Edward," Charlie said as he let go of his grip on Bella's hand and stood up, walking towards me. "You should be in school son." I could tell by the tone in his voice, the way it shook as he spoke to me that something else was going on in this room and I had interrupted them. When I looked back over to Bella, her eyes were red and I could easily discern that she had been crying. This was definitely not good.
"No dad, it's fine. No time like the present right? What else could possibly fucking go wrong today," Bella forced out as more tears fell from her face and she looked between the three of us men, all standing at the end of her bed. It took all of my willpower not to go over to her and wipe the tears from her eyes as I pulled her into my arms and console her. Based on the look of pure hatred that currently covered her face as she looked at me, her eyes practically burning through me, she would probably kick my ass if I even tried to comfort her.
Charlie cleared his throat beside me as he looked at Bella with disappointment. "Watch your language please. I know you are frustrated and disappointed, but it doesn't mean you should speak like that in front of me and Dr. Winston. I know I raised you better," he said as he walked towards her and wrapped his arms around her shoulders kissing the top of her head. "You and Edward need to talk, so I am going to head back to the station but I will be back around six for dinner alright?" Bella nodded her head in response and she whispered a quiet 'sorry' as Charlie walked out of the room with Dr. Winston at his side, who reminded me once again to avoid stress and take it easy if I wanted my recovery to progress. Charlie then patted me on the shoulder and gave me a quick apologetic look, reinforcing the fact that I was in for a rough time this afternoon.
Once they were gone, I moved towards the door and closed it firmly, before turning back towards Bella who looked even angrier than Rosalie did this morning when I encountered her outside of school. "You have twenty minutes. Talk."
"What's happening in twenty minutes?" I questioned, as Bella groaned and pushed her tray table away from in front of her.
"My next chemo treatment. Of course, you would know this if you had been around at all in the past month," she stated decisively and without emotion. In fact, I was surprised at how cold she was being. I was expecting more crying, perhaps her to throw a few things. Then again, it was early in my visit.
"I'm sorry. Really and truly sorry about it Bella, I wrote it all in my note," I said quietly as I sat in the seat beside her bed, but she looked at me in confusion. "You read my note right?"
"No, I didn't read any fucking note," she yelled out, her voice sounding a bit hoarse. "And nothing you write on a piece of paper is going to make up for the fact that you haven't been around for the past month. A month Edward… what the fuck makes you think I would simply forgive you after it took you a month to come and see me."
"I came a few days ago…" I began to say before Bella interrupted me.
"So I heard. You came, I was sleeping and you left," she retorted, the anger in her voice not wavering at all. I looked down at her hands, which were clenched tightly around her bedspread and her knuckles looked even whiter than usual. As my eyes moved slowly up her body, I couldn't help the fact that I felt like I had been kicked in the gut as I got a good look at her. Her eyes were red from crying, but they were also slightly sunken in. Her hair was thinning, just like Rosalie had claimed and she was so tiny now. Hell, if Emmett was to hug her, he would probably break a rib or something.
"I came in and you were with Jacob, hugging," I explained, my entire body tensing up at the memory of finding him with her. "I didn't want to interrupt figuring you would probably prefer to see Jacob over me, and not wanting to cause you any undue stress, but when I came back you were asleep. I sat with you for a few minutes, held your hand and talked to you." I reached over tentatively to take her hand into mine, wanting some sort contact between us so she could see how genuine I was being, but Bella pulled away and scowled at me.
"You're right, Edward, I do prefer hanging out with Jacob over you. He has been here for me during the entire process. He's entertained me, distracted me and even spoke positively of you, if you can believe it. He told me to have faith in you, that this was hard for you too because you loved me so much, but after a month of you not showing up, I don't believe it. I can't believe that you ever loved me as much as I loved you," she shouted loudly as the door to her room opened and the nurse I spoke to on the day I came in and sat with Bella when she was sleeping, walked in looking at both of us with a frown.
"You," she said as she looked me over, recognition crossing her face as Bella glanced between the two of us. "It's about time you came back."
"Yeah," I said casually as I ran my fingers through my hair in anxiousness. "There was a communication breakdown between the two of us and I'm late… but I'm here."
"Better late than never right?" she commented as Bella scoffed under her breath.
"Not so much Chandra," Bella added as my eyes grew wide. Fuck, this was not going anyway like I had hoped it would. Then again, I guess I wouldn't be lucky enough to find out that she was cancer free, no chance of remission and we would run off into the sunset together, both of us going to college together in the fall. Pipe dreams, I know. "Edward here has a lot to make up for and I'm honestly not sure it will happen. Ever."
"I'll give you guys some privacy, but please keep your voices down. There are other patients on this floor," said Chandra politely as we both nodded our heads in acknowledgement. "And don't forget you have chemo in ten minutes. Keep your stress level to a minimum Bella."
"Sure thing boss," she replied with a casual air about her that disappeared the moment her nurse walked out of the room closing the door behind her. "I'd like you to leave now."
"How the hell am I supposed to make this up to you if you don't let me talk to you?" I pleaded as Bella's eyes grew sad again and I felt like I had been slapped. My entire body ached at the thought that she wouldn't even consider anything I had to say. So before she had a chance to physically kick me from the room, I spoke from the heart.
"The moment your dad told me you were sick, my life literally ended Bella. I felt like I had been teetering on the edge of a bridge, ready to plunge into the icy water below, but someone pushed me instead, giving me no choice in the matter. Imagine being in love with someone since your childhood, feeling like you were meant to be with this person forever, and then finding out they could die. A part of me died when your dad said you had leukemia, the rational part. Did anyone tell you what I have been doing since you told me?" Bella shook her head quietly from side to side in the negative and I took a deep breath and opened myself up to her. "First I went to Lake Olympia and sat on my car in the freezing cold trying to come to grips with everything. Then I fucking puked in the woods… it made me so physically sick to know you were ill… that you could possibly die so fucking young, before we could do anything I wanted us too and I couldn't handle it. Fuck, I still can't handle it."
"I didn't lose faith in you or us… I lost faith in myself. How the hell was I supposed to support and comfort you, when I could barely find the strength to get up in the morning? I drank. Fuck, I drank a lot for the first few days, finding comfort in several bottles of booze and everyone yelled at me. They all told me to pull my head out of my ass but I couldn't do it. I couldn't sit there and watch you die, feeling helpless to it all. I wanted to fix you; I wanted to be with you always. Hell, I was going to submit my acceptance to UW so I could stay here to be near you because I loved you more than I wanted to fulfill my dreams of going out east to go to college."
"Then I realized something, as everyone yelled at me and told me to go to you, I realized that you didn't trust me," I stammered, as I fought back the tears that always seemed to come forth when I thought about this. Perhaps this was truly the reason why I didn't call or come sooner. We had spent so long trying to trust each other, but Bella never truly trusted me the entire time we were together.
"I trusted you with my life Edward," Bella claimed as I let out a small scoff under my breath.
"If you trusted me so much Bella, why did everyone in our lives know that you were sick when you were younger? How come everyone else knew that you were going through a relapse now? I understand that my parents are legally bound from telling me anything because my dad is your doctor and my mother his nurse, but Jesus Bella… It's like a swift kick to the gut with a steel toed boot to find out everyone knew but me. Oh… wait, Emmett didn't know. Was I really on the same level as Emmett? Had everything we said and been to each other really been as inconsequential as your relationship with your friends boyfriend?" I ran my fingers through my hair, tugging on the ends as I tried to transfer the pain I felt in my heart to my body. My heart was breaking with each word I said to her and I couldn't stop it. I felt like I was being held under water and I was struggling to breathe.
"Of course not Edward," Bella said sadly, her voice cracking as she hung her head, her chin resting against her chest. "You were everything."
"And now?" I asked stoically as I looked down at the bed, but not at her because I didn't want to see the pain in her eyes. Even though I had told her how I was feeling, almost everything I had said in the letter came from my lips; I didn't think I had made a difference. I looked up at her window and saw a bunch of flowers hanging upside down, drying, like Esme tended to do with some of her favorite flowers in the spring. "Nice flowers."
"Excuse me?" I said loudly, my voice ringing with shock. Where the hell had she gotten the impression that Jacob had sent those flowers? I looked around again, but didn't see any other flowers and I had called the florist to confirm my delivery was received. What the hell was going on? "Did you say Jacob sent you those?"
"No. He was here on Valentine's Day. He brought them with him, because unlike you Jacob came to see me. I was even awake when he stopped in," she said icily as Chandra walked in the room again and Bella nodded, knowing full well that she would have to go to her appointment now. I went to say something to contradict her story of the flowers, because I had an idea that asshole had paid off the delivery guy and claimed they were from him, but the moment I went to speak, Bella raised her hand to silence me. "If you had come here a few days after I was admitted, maybe three or five days even, I might have been able to overlook everything."
"But…" I began to say but Bella silenced me and continued talking.
"You had your turn. It's mine now," she stated forcefully as I sat back in the chair, feeling like the wind was being knocked out of me. My hands shook against my knees and I knew I would be going home today either the luckiest fucker alive, or feeling completely empty. "A month Edward… a fucking month. Did you think I would just forgive you because I am remorseful for not telling you sooner? I can understand your need to be angry, to keep your distance for a little while, but this was ridiculous. I can't…"
"You can't what?" I said, my eyes pleading with her to finish because I had to know one way or another what future, if any, I had with her.
"I can't go back in time and tell you I was sick… that I am sick. You can't go back in time and realize that love is more important than anything else and that you should have been with me on that first night. You should have been here with Charlie, Alice and Rosalie. It should have been you stroking my hair, watching Dallas or Jeopardy and doing crossword puzzles with me. All I wanted was you," Bella said as her small tears came out a bigger sobs and I moved to hold her, but she pushed me away. "You have no idea how many nights I cried over you. How many times I had to listen as people gave excuses about why you didn't show up? Your mother and I can't even talk about you because I cry too much and she hates to see me cry."
"I'm a fucking idiot, I know this," I announced loudly as I took her hand in mine for a moment, her softness was gone and she felt dry and brittle, much like my soul. She pulled away and when I looked at her, she wasn't the same girl I had fallen in love with. This Bella was broken. "All I want is one more chance."
"I can't do it Edward. I need to focus on me, to get better for me," she said quietly and my heart broke into a thousand pieces. "If you ever loved me, just let me go. Let me make it through the day, go to my therapy and get healthy. After all, I'm untouchable right? Not the kind of girl you should be with?"
"Where did you hear that?"
"You told Jasper that on the beach at Lake Olympia during that party over Labor Day weekend. I guess you were right huh?" she stated as I opened my eyes wide in surprise. I had no idea that she had heard us talking all those months ago. Why the hell did she even bother dating me in the first place?
"Was I on your list?" I questioned as Chandra came in with a small tray on a cart and began looked anxiously between Bella and I as Bella stared at me incredulously. Chandra sensed that things were still tense, so she stepped away for a moment and gave us a few more moments of privacy as my mind began running a mile a minute. I was starting to get furious because she dated me even though she knew I thought I was too good for her. Why would she date me? "I know you had a fucking bucket list Bella. The bungee jumping, the skinny dipping… all that shit made sense when I found out you're sick. So, was I on the list?"
"Would it make this easier if I said yes?" she asked, trying to sound casual about everything but I could see her face was giving away her feelings. Bella appeared strong and resolute, but I knew this was hurting her just as much as it was hurting me. Unfortunately, we didn't seem to be able to get past it all. I looked at her, my heart trying to jump out of my chest since it was beating so fast and I suddenly felt the urge to drive to her house and find that fucking list to prove my point.
"All it would do is make me hate you for having me fall in love with you. It's pretty heartless, like it was a fucking game to you. 'Let's see how fast we can break Edward's heart?" I stated firmly as I backed away from her, unable to hold back my anger at the entire fucked up situation. "If this was a game to you Bella… congratulations, you win! I fell in love with you and you broke my fucking heart. Perhaps I should have listened to myself with all that 'untouchable' shit I used to spout. I'm a fucking idiot for following my heart."
"Edward," Bella began to say as I cut my hand through the air, trying to silence her. I had to get my question answered before we went any further in this argument.
"Was I on your fucking list Bella?"
The awkward seconds grew into minutes as we stared at each other and she didn't speak, so I began heading towards the door. "I guess I have my answer huh? People have been giving me grief for the past month about not coming to see you, but I wonder how everyone would feel if they knew you had been so callous with my feelings since September." With one hand on the knob, I turned back to look at her, tears pouring down her face as her nurse prepared her for her treatment. This is how I would always remember her; broken.
I slammed the door behind me in fury, the shitty painting on the wall outside her door shaking slightly from the impact. As I walked towards the bank of elevators, my heart and soul completely crushed from everything that had happened, I could hear screaming in the background. Then there was a loud crash and as Bella's nurse ran into her room, I could hear her massive sobs and tears surrounding me. I wrapped my arms around myself and struggled to step onto the elevator and away from her forever.
I sprinted off of the elevator and ran to my car in the parking lot, desperate to get away from the hospital. If I ever came here again, it would certainly be way too soon. The moment I got into the car, I turned on the radio as loud as I could, hoping to drown out my screams of frustration as I grabbed onto my steering wheel and began rocking my body back and forth in fury. I couldn't help the fact that I felt like my relationship with Bella… my love for Bella… had been nothing but a coldhearted fucking game for her. I was on that damned list and she just wanted to know if she could scratch me off. Well fuck her. I spent weeks fretting over losing her, and now I felt oddly relieved that everything was out in the open and I knew how she really felt.
I slammed my foot down on the gas and made my way out of the parking lot like a bat out of hell as I maneuvered around the streets of Port Angeles before getting on the highway back to Forks. The more I thought about the entire situation, the more my eyes filled with tears. It got so hard to drive at certain points that I had to pull off the side of the road and compose myself before I could continue.
As I pulled into the Forks town limits, I resigned myself to three things. One; Bella and I were simply not meant to be and I was right to have kept her at arm's length for so long. Two; I was an idiot for not going to her sooner, but at least I was able to determine her true intentions with me. Three, I had to get the fuck out of Forks as soon as possible.
The moment I got home, frantically driving through the streets in a mad rush to get there, I ran up to my room and searched through my papers desperately. The moment I found the thing I was looking for I filled it out as requested and ran back outside, passing my mother as I ran out the front door.
"Edward, why aren't you in school?" she called out as I ignored her and hopped back into my car. I was a man on a mission and no one, not even my loving mother was keeping me from my destination. I glanced down at my clock and realized I didn't have too long until they closed, so I went as fast I could out of the driveway.
I felt an odd calm wash over me as I reached my destination with my envelope clutched firmly in my hand. When I walked into the post office, the woman behind the counter gave me a curious look, probably because I felt like shit, which meant I no doubt looked like shit.
"Aren't you Dr. Cullen's son?" she asked gently as I nodded my head and passed her the envelope, waiting for her to tell me how much it cost to ship. "Oh good for you… you are applying to Dartmouth huh? That's pretty far away though," she added as I looked at her name tag and noticed it read 'Doris'.
"Actually Doris, I already got in. This is me sending back my acceptance letter," I said with an empty grin as she smiled back at me and accepted my five dollar bill in exchange for the postage I needed. "I'm looking forward to getting out of this sleepy little town," I said as she handed me my change and placed the envelope with the rest of the outgoing mail.
When I walked out of the building, I stood on the front step which looked out over the main street of our small town, and I felt vacant. I watched cars drive by and classmates head into the diner and I realized that Dartmouth wasn't far enough away to run from my past, but it was a good start.