Chapter 10: Sticking Together

Bella

"I'm fine," I mumbled, again. Everyone insisted that I get checked out even though they didn't do anything to my but scare the shit out of me.

They should all be more worried about Alice.

When James and Victoria drugged them, they used the same dosage on all of them. That means tiny Alice got the same amount of drugs that huge Emmett got and it was too much for her. She hasn't woken up yet.

Everyone else was awake and in my room at the moment. Watching Edward and me.

"Bella just let the nurse finish. Charlie will be here soon. Don't you think he's going to want to make sure that you're alright?" Edward reasoned.

I just grunted in reply. He was right, of course. But I didn't have to like it. "How's Alice? Why isn't anyone with her right now?" I asked looking pointedly at Jasper.

He got a pained, sad, desperate look. "They told us to stay out for now. She still hasn't come around and they are running a few tests on her. James said that they used sleeping pills on us, which means she had an overdose of them," he choked.

I patted his hand and apologized, again. "I'm so sorry Jasper. I wish there was something that I could have done to get James and Victoria to leave us alone. They didn't have to involve you." He just shook his head.

I took the blame for this on myself. I, of all of us here, knew better than to provoke or ignore assholes like James and Victoria. I thought that they would just leave us alone after a while. I should have known better. I could handle it, but this lot was different. They were too fragile, innocent for the likes of them.

"Alright dear. It looks like everything is fine. The doctor will be in to release you in just a few minutes," smiled the nurse as she put my chart back in its slot by the door and left.

"It's about time," I mumbled.

Edward looked relieved. His OCD was probably bothering him, being in a hospital, with sick people everywhere.

"Edward, how were you able to fight them off?" Emmett asked. "You won't even fight me or Jazz when we're playing around because of the whole cooties thing." He could be such a child sometimes. I snorted.

"Bella needed me. That's all I thought about. I didn't care about anything else at the time. I did what I had to in order to protect my family. I just… I wasn't quick enough." He shook his head and looked at me with agonized sorrow.

"I'm fine, Edward. Alice will be fine. Please don't blame yourself. James and Victoria are the only ones to blame here," I said quietly to him. I blamed myself, but there was no way I was going to tell him that. Not now. It wouldn't do him any good.

"Bella? Bella? Are you ok? What happened? Where's James? Are you ok?" Charlie started calling out questions before I could even see him through the door.

I took one look at him and saw my best friend, my father, my rock, scared and panicky. He was pale, his brown eyes wide and almost black, his voice was a little high pitched, and he was shaking.

"Daddy!" I cried. I never called him Daddy anymore, but I just needed him so much. I didn't realize how much until just now. When he came up to me, I reached up to wrap my arms around his neck and squeezed as hard as I could. "I'm fine, Dad. They didn't hurt me. Alice is the one who's…" I couldn't finish the sentence. I was afraid to say it much like Jasper. If she didn't wake up, it would because of me.

I noticed that everyone quietly got up and was leaving us alone. Including Edward. I threw him a grateful look when he turned at the door and smiled at me. He knew I needed my dad right now. He always knew what I needed, sometimes before I knew myself.

I pulled back from squeezing him so hard but I didn't let go. I started crying. I never cried anymore but it was just too overwhelming for me not to. I cried big hysterical sobs into my father's shoulder while he murmured "it's ok" and "you're safe now" and "everything will be ok" and rubbed my back. I felt safe before, but just having him here made me feel like a little kid again. If I hadn't seen the panic in his eyes, I probably would never have broken down like this.

I quieted my sobs after a few minutes and started take deep breaths to calm down. I was grateful that the others had left so I could freak out without making them uncomfortable.

"Bella, James and Victoria will be going to jail for a while. They won't hurt you guys anymore. Edward was very brave to fight them off, and I'll always be grateful to him for saving you. I know what James is capable of doing and I even know what he was planning on doing. If Edward didn't have the courage to fight them…" He just shook his head.

"Dad, I'm fine. I just needed to have a little freak out time. They didn't hurt me, at all. I was more scared than anything. Edward was able to get help before anything happened. I promise, Dad. I'm fine." I pulled back and wiped my face with the tissues he handed me.

There was a knock on the door before it opened and the doctor walked in.

"How do you feel, Miss Swan?" He asked with a smile and a distant look. He was preoccupied by my chart that he picked up on the way in.

"I'm fine," I said for the hundredth time that hour with a sigh.

"It looks like you are!" He exclaimed happily. "You're free to go. I'll need you to sign her discharge papers, Mr. Swan," he said. Charlie got up to leave with him so I could get out of this horrible hospital gown.

As soon as I was dressed, I walked out and straight to Edward's waiting arms. I hugged him tightly and kissed him lightly. "Let's go see Alice."

All of us walked out of the hallway and into Alice's private room where she was being monitored. She looked so frail and tiny in the huge hospital bed. I held on tightly to Edward's waist as we walked in.

"Alice," I whispered. I went to her side and Jasper went to the other side. We both held a limp hand and prayed that she would wake up. Edward pulled a chair over for me and Emmett brought one to Jasper. We both sat there holding her hands, waiting.

Edward

I knew she was blaming herself for this whole mess but there was nothing I could say that would make her realize that the fault belonged to me. I didn't protect her. I didn't keep her safe. I couldn't keep my family safe. My sister was in a hospital room in a coma because of me.

How could this happen to us? Why did this happen?

We sat for an hour quietly talking about inconsequential topics to pass the time. Jasper and Bella never let Alice's hands go. They would rub them, squeeze them, once in awhile, Jasper would kiss her hand gently, lovingly. Nurses would come in every fifteen minutes to check on her with no change.

Emmett and Rosalie left to get us all some coffee after the first hour. They were gone for almost forty-five minutes. They probably needed time away from the sad scene we presented.

Charlie came in a few times to check on Bella and the rest of us. He tried once to get Bella to leave but the look on her face made it clear that she wasn't going anywhere.

I spoke to Carlisle and Esme quietly alone when they arrived. They had taken advantage of the vacation time to spend the week in Vancouver so it took them longer to get here.

"Are you sure you're ok, Edward?" Esme asked quietly, looking me overhead to toe and staring intently at my nose.

"I'm fine, Mom. They didn't find anything else wrong with me other than my nose," I assured her. Amazingly, I came out of the fight with only a broken nose, which was set in the ER quickly. I refused all other tests so that I could be with Bella.

Carlisle gave me a pointed look that told me that he knew about the refusal. I wasn't about to have Bella away from me any longer than absolutely necessary.

"Alice?" I heard Jasper say louder than he has been talking to her. We all turned around. Her eyes fluttered a bit. I held my breath, waiting. The room was absolutely silent of human noises.

"Alice? Can you hear me? Wake up, Alice. Please!" Jasper begged in an agonized whisper.

Nothing. No more movements, no sounds, just … nothing. Everyone's faces fell and movement started again. Bella put her forehead on Alice's hand. Esme moved to her side and put her hand on Bella's shoulder, watching Alice. Jasper caressed Alice's hair and whispered to her again. Emmett and Rosalie sunk down to the floor in the corner of the room holding each other. Carlisle put his hand on my shoulder before turning around and pulling out Alice's medical chart.

This wasn't about me.

This wasn't about Bella.

This was about the tiny, unmoving, unconscious person in the bed.

Six hours of standing vigil and nothing happened. There was absolutely no change in Alice's condition. The longer she was in the coma the harder it would be for her to wake up. We all ended up in the hospital chapel at one point or another to pray for her, except Jasper. He never left her side.

I admired his devotion to my sister.

I loathed James for doing this to them.

I had to go for a walk. I had to do something. I couldn't sit around anymore waiting. The waiting was killing me.

I walked the halls of the hospital using it as a distraction. I was walking around a hospital. I hated hospitals.

I ended up in the ER again. I walked around silently watching everything. I went into the waiting room and saw the people there. They looked sad, distraught, and miserable. I scanned the room, just using the people in there as a distraction from Alice and Bella and the rest of my anxious family.

That's when I saw him.

James.

He was handcuffed to a wheel chair with his free hand holding his head.

I sped across the room and lunged at him.

He saw me a second before my fist connected to his face. His head snapped back at the force of my blow as I growled at him.

"You son of a BITCH!" I roared. "YOU SON OF A BITCH!" I pulled back to punch him again as he snorted at me. "You're laughing? YOU'RE LAUGHING WHILE MY SISTER IS DYING?" I shouted. I could feel the blood coursing through me like poison. I wanted to kill him. I wanted to see the smile wiped off of his filthy face forever.

My fist connected with his face again. I watched in satisfaction as his nose spurted blood. I punched him again and growled at the blood coming from above his eye.

Suddenly I was being grabbed from behind as I pulled back for another hit. I turned around to see Charlie holding my arm and another officer pulling out handcuffs.

"Edward, don't do this. Your family needs you," Charlie said quietly. "Don't go to jail because of him. Don't let Alice wake up without you here. Don't leave Bella alone because you want revenge." He said all the right words to calm me down. The fire left my blood and I just stared down at James. "Go, Edward. Go now to Bella."

I turned and walked away. The entire waiting room was silent as I walked away except for the officer talking to Charlie.

"You can't let him go! He assaulted this guy right in front of us!"

"I can and I will. I know he won't go anywhere when his family needs him. We can get him later if we need to," I heard Charlie say before I was out of hearing range.

I stopped in a restroom to wash my hands of James blood. I only washed my hands one time though. I realized this somewhere in the back of my mind and I was incapable of any conscious thoughts at the moment. I looked in the mirror and just stared at my reflection.

I was a complete fuck up.

How did I let this happen? How did I let Bella get hurt? How did I let Alice get hurt? Why did I have to ruin everything for everyone?

I decided to leave. Once Alice woke up, I would leave. I couldn't hurt them if I wasn't here. I couldn't get them caught up in my bullshit if I wasn't around to cause any.

I straightened out my clothes and ran my fingers through my hair before I turned around and walked back to Alice's crowded room.

I heard their voices before I saw them. They were talking excitedly in hushed voices as I came around the corner. My heart jumped into my throat as I saw a nurse and a doctor run into Alice's room. My steps faltered but I somehow managed to keep moving.

"Edward!" Bella called as soon as I came into view of the room. "Edward, she's awake!" She walked quickly to my side and hugged me around my waist. I let out a breath I didn't know I was holding and squeezed her back. I dropped my head into her hair and sighed.

"Thank God." It was all I could say.

"The doctors are looking her over to make sure she's ok, but Carlisle already did his own exam and said she'll be fine," she said excited and tired. I pulled back to look at her. She was tired. Her brown eyes were dull and her skin pale.

"You should go get some rest Bella. You look like you're about to fall over," I said quietly. I didn't want her to watch me leave.

"Edward?" came a soft, tired voice from the bed. "I want to talk to Edward for a minute alone please," said Alice softly as the doctor and nurse left.

I gave Bella another squeeze and pulled away. As everyone left, giving me curious glances as they walked past me, I moved closer to the bed so Alice won't have to speak to loud.

"How do you feel, Alice? You should get some rest," I said quietly.

"Cut the shit, Edward. I know what you're planning on doing and you can't do it. I won't let you!" she exclaimed in a quiet but forceful tone.

"I don't know what your talking about Alice."

"I'm not stupid. I know how you are. I know that you are blaming yourself for what happened. I know that you are probably thinking about leaving." She sent me a pointed tell me I'm wrong look. She took my silence as confirmation. "It's James' and Victoria's fault. You are not to blame. You are happy here. Bella loves you and I know you love her. There is no reason for you to do something stupid." Alice pleaded with me.

"Alice, I'm not doing anyone any good being here. I might as well head off to college now and save everyone more trouble. I've caused enough strife for the ones I love just being me. With my OCD and PPD and my way of attracting trouble, it's not worth it. Bella will be better off without me and you will be happier without constantly freaking out." I sighed and looked her straight in the eye. "I won't put the ones I love in danger anymore, Alice. I can't live with myself."

"You aren't putting anyone in danger. James did that. You are who you are. You have made the choices in your life that suite you, and we have accepted you and loved you. There is nothing you can do to change that. Not even Bella will agree with you. She chose to accept you for who you are and the choices you have made. She didn't know you before, but we all see the changes in you. Don't go, Edward."

"Alright. I'll stay. For now. Just get better Alice. That's all that matters now."

Alice was able to go home the next day, under the care of Carlisle. I tried to keep my distance from everyone since I still didn't think I was good to be around. I was bad luck.

Bella came home with us but then went to her house with Charlie that evening. I went over there at my usual time and went straight to Bella's room. I sat on my chair while she climbed into bed. Neither one of us spoke.

Bella

I sighed as I climbed into bed. Edward has been quiet and moody all day and I didn't know why. I also didn't care about our careful sleeping arrangements as I climbed into bed.

"Come here," I whispered.

"Charlie?"

"I don't care. I need to be near you. Please?" I asked. I was afraid of what he was thinking. I had no idea what he was thinking and it scared me. He always told me what was wrong if for no other reason that to talk about it.

He crawled in next to me and I snuggled up to him as he put his arm around me. I ran my hand over his chest and reveled in his perfect-ness.

"Tell me what's wrong?" I asked quietly.

He held me a little tighter and sighed. "I don't know, Bella. I … I can't… I won't let you get hurt like that again. I'm so sorry that happened and you had be scared like that. James and Victoria will pay for what they did. If I had my way, they would not taint perfectly good air by breathing anymore." He was practically growling the words. I felt him shaking under me as he struggled to control his anger.

I wanted to tell him that it was my fault for him getting hurt. I wanted to tell him that this had nothing to do with him, but me. I wanted to tell him that I didn't blame him.

But I knew only the last part was completely true. I had come to realize that this was all about James and Victoria having their own mental issues, not about Edward or me.

I rolled over on top of him and sat up, straddling him. I gripped his t-shirt that he wore to bed and I looked him straight in the eyes. "You. Are. NOT. The one to blame. You saved me! I will not sit here and listen to your bullshit, Edward. I love you. I. Love. You. You are not going anywhere, you are not doing anything stupid, and you are not going to leave me. Understand?"

He chuckled quietly as he pulled my fists free of his shirt. He put his hands on my face and caressed my cheeks with is thumbs.

"I don't think I will ever get tired of hearing that," he smiled. "I'm not going anywhere. I won't do anything stupid, but I do blame myself. I should have seen that they were crazy. Hell, my paranoia alone should have alerted me to them. But you are right that I did what I could at the time. I just wish it was more."

I leaned down and very carefully kissed him. I didn't want to hurt his nose anymore than I knew it was already hurting him.

"By the way, I love you too," he whispered before wrapping his arms around me and pulling me back down next to him. I sighed as I curled into his side, my hand on his perfect chest.


Thank you all for being so patient... The holidays have not been kind with my time! Please send in reviews! I hope everyone has enjoyed my first ff... This is the final chapter. I will have an epilogue hopefully by this weekend.

Thank you!!!