A/N: I don't own this, we all know who does. What I do own is a little dog whose birthday is July 4th. We shoulda named her Liberty or Star or Betsy Ross, but we didn't. We gave her a corn dog as her birthday treat. She's a happy little dog tonight. :D
Thanks to my superbeta MaggieMay14. She gots herself a new job AND a date this week! I can't wait to hear all the details! :D
Thanks to Twilight44 & Unchanged Affections for prereading this. I love that they catch all my failures and mistakes. I couldn't do this without them...or at least you really wouldn't want me to. :D Also, thanks to Burntcore. I sent her the chapter so she could preread it, but I haven't heard back yet, though I'm sure when I do, she'll have lots of good suggestions for me. She's just awesome like that. :D Though in all honesty, she could have sent it back and I just can't find it. Oh man, my emal inbox is a scary place!
This chapter has another one of Maggie's Firsts in it, and it's a sweet one. You'll be glad to know I have the rest of this story outlined and planned, each chapter containing a "first" of it's own. I'm excited for it. :D I think we'll wind up with about 10 more chapters, so that should be fun. :D
My wifey Mrs. Robward and I wrote something for the Fandom Against Sexual Assault Awareness thingie that my uberbeta coldplaywhore was co-running. (there's a link on my profile) The compilation is out now, so if you have it, make sure you read the prologue for our new story that will hopefully start next month. That's the plan, anyhow. Look under the author name Mrs. beeward13 for a story called Unintended. It's hot, I'm warning you now, so if you're under 18...just stick with this story's chapter. :D
Here we go... Oh, and just so you know, there are two Angela's in this story. You'll see. :)
WIRMTS Chapter 12 – She Tries
I felt groggy, like I was under water. Voices were mumbling something nearby, but I couldn't understand the words they said. My arms felt heavy, like they weighed a thousand pounds, and as I tried to lift them, my muscles screamed out in agony. I was surrounded by darkness, my eyes refusing to open. Memories were swirling through my mind and I couldn't make sense of them. There was something trying to push through, and I didn't know if it was real or not. I saw myself thrashing, hitting, yelling—my body out of control. I tried to turn away from the vision, but it grew clearer and clearer until finally I couldn't deny it. My breathing began to speed up and my ribs burned from the movement.
"Bella?" I heard from somewhere close to me.
I tried to speak, tried to answer the voice, but the words wouldn't form. My tongue moved in my mouth, trying to bend so that the sounds could float out into the room. My mouth was so dry, my tongue feeling like sandpaper as it rubbed against the sides of my teeth. With a great deal of effort, I managed to swallow once my mouth began to water a little. I felt my fingers twitch at the same time my lips pressed together and my brow furrowed a bit.
"Hmmmmm," I said, my voice soft and weak.
"Bella? Honey, can you hear me?" the voice said. It seemed a little familiar, and I tried to figure out who it was and how I knew it. I soon felt a warm hand stroking up and down my forearm, comforting me as the person continued to speak. "It's Angela, sweetie. You can wake up now, it's okay."
"Ang-" I said before my voice cracked and gave out. I swallowed again, my throat still dry and sore. "Water," I whispered, hoping the word was clear enough for her to understand.
"You want a drink? Hang on," she said, her hand leaving my skin. I missed the warmth immediately and wished that she would come back. After a few moments, I felt something hard touch my lips. "It's a straw, sweetie, open your mouth a little."
I parted my lips, feeling the straw slip between them and then I sucked, welcoming the cool liquid on my tongue. It took a few tries before I finally started to feel a little better, and when I was done, I rolled my head to the side a bit, letting the straw fall from my lips. I tried to open my eyes, the light from the room burning them and blinding me a bit. As I blinked, things started to come into focus and I saw Angela sitting by my side.
"Welcome back, Bella. You had us worried there for a while. How you feeling?" she asked, concern clear on her face.
"That's normal. Do you remember what happened?" she asked.
I tried to recall the last thing I remembered, but nothing concrete came to me. It seemed as though there was something there—something dream like—that was just out of my grasp, but I couldn't see it. I shook my head, letting her know that I didn't remember anything.
"Well, you had a little episode during group last week. Your body was fighting the withdrawal and you kinda freaked out. Dr. Gerandy had to sedate you and we've had you here since then. That was Thursday and it's now Tuesday evening. Your vitals are much better, so we decided to start weaning you from the medications. After you get your wits about you, we'll have you sit up and drink a little more. If you're hungry, we can get you something to eat, too."
"Tuesday?" I said, wondering how so many days could have passed without me even realizing it. Over the past month I'd lost so much time, it scared me. This must be how people that are in coma's for months at a time feel, I thought to myself.
"You had some phone calls and a letter over the past few days. I'm sure you'll be anxious to see the letter that came for you," she said, smiling brightly at me.
"A letter?" I asked quietly, wondering who might have sent me an actual letter through the mail. My heart wanted it to be from Edward, but my head wouldn't let it entertain that idea just yet. I remembered the lack of emails from him over the previous week, and tried to protect myself from the pain of him not writing me—of him not wanting me.
"Yeah, and there were a few phone calls for you, too. And some emails that I'm sure you'll be anxious to read."
Angela was still smiling at me, cluing me into the fact that whatever she knew was something big. She and I had talked about my struggle with Edward and what he and I had been through. She also knew how desperately I'd been waiting for an email from him. Would she have been this excited over a piece of mail from anyone else?
I looked at her, pleading with my eyes. "Who? Please tell me."
She let out a sigh. "Edward. You've been waiting for something from him, right?"
My heart started to beat faster. I wanted so much for the letter to be something good, something saying that he loved me and wanted me, but I was afraid to let myself hope for that.
"Edward?" I said, my voice laced with disbelief.
"Yeah, he called, too. And most of those emails I mentioned are from him as well. He's been worried, he said it was all he could do to stay in New York and not hop on a plane to get here and see you." Angela smiled and instantly I was comforted. Maybe he did still want me. At least it sounded that way from the things she was saying.
"Can I see it?" I asked, not sure if I would actually be able to focus my eyes on the paper long enough to make out any words that might be written there.
"Sure, I'll get it."
Angela left the room, leaving me alone for a few moments. I tried to remember what had happened to get me where I was, but I couldn't. The only things I could remember were that I was nervous about not hearing back from Edward, and that I was convinced he didn't want me anymore. I still wasn't completely sure, but I hoped that his letter and emails would prove me wrong. I needed him to love me, and even though I was ultimately getting better for myself, I couldn't help but picture him as the reward at the end of my long challenge.
"Here we go," Angela said as she walked into the room, handing me an envelope. It was still sealed, and I struggled to sit up so that I could open it. "Let me help you," Angela mumbled, moving toward the bed and pushing the controls that would lift the mattress and move me into a sitting position.
I looked down, noticing for the first time that I was dressed in a hospital gown. As I started to move, I instantly felt the desire to shower and clean myself up. Part of me was glad that no one I knew was able to come and see me in this condition. While I didn't have a mirror and couldn't see myself, I had a feeling that I most likely looked similar to how I looked a month or so after Edward and I had broken up. I'd stopped taking care of myself, instead only making an effort to get high and stay that way as long as I could each day. It wasn't until I stared at myself in the mirror one morning after a particularly bad night—which I couldn't even remember any part of—that I decided I had to stop. I knew then that I had to clean myself up, even if it was only on the outside. I needed to give the appearance that things were okay, and not just for those around me. I needed to try and convince myself of that illusion, too.
"You want me to open that for you?" Angela asked, holding up a small plastic letter opener that she'd brought with her when she returned to my room with my letter. I nodded, and she held the envelope in her hands, sliding the opener along the edge before handing the paper back to me. I sat holding it in my finger tips, frozen and afraid to see what it contained. If I never read it, I could continue living in my fantasy land, the one where Edward wanted me and would always come back for me. If I didn't read it then I didn't have to find out that maybe he'd changed his mind, or that maybe Tori had convinced him to take her back. I sat staring at the unassuming white envelope, my hand starting to shake a little.
"I don't know if I can read it."
Angela smiled at me, reaching her hand over to smooth a lock of hair off of my forehead. In that moment I realized one of the reasons I had liked her so much from the first day I met her. She shared a name with my favorite college roommate in Edward's house. The other girls that had lived there or stayed over with their boyfriends who lived there were nice enough, and sometimes really fun, but it was Angela that I bonded with. I hadn't done a good job of keeping in touch with her after college, and I had always regretted it. I felt like in some ways this was my chance to make up for my behavior, and I felt my body relax just a bit at her gentle touch.
"You can do this, Bella. I don't think it's bad news, I think you'll be happy. Do you remember I mentioned the emails Edward sent to you? He had me print one and read it to you while you were unconscious. Do you remember any of that?"
I looked at her, puzzled by what she'd said. "What? You read to me?"
"Yes. Would you like me to read it again, before you read your letter?" she asked. I nodded, waiting while she went to the other side of the room and picked up a piece of paper.
She read Edward's words of love and encouragement to me. They made my heart swell with hope, especially when he said that he believed in me. When Angela read the poem, I felt a tear slip down my cheek. He knew me so well—he knew that I'd be worried about not being good enough for him. I had so many faults and had committed so many sins, many of which were against him, and yet he still loved me, in spite of them. When he said he loved me, and always would, I knew the letter I held in my hands would make things okay. I knew I had nothing to fear—my Edward would never be as careless with my heart as I had foolishly been with his. He was begging me to fix things, and I didn't want to let him down.
"Do you want some time to read alone? I can step outside if you'd like." Angela stood from her chair, waiting on my answer.
"Okay, just call when you're done, and I'll be back." She smiled then placed her hand on mine, reassuring me with her touch. I could do this, and things would be alright.
I pulled the paper out of the envelope, listening to it crinkle as I opened it. Edward's elegant handwriting graced the white page, his black letters looping and swirling together. It took a moment for the tears that were filling my eyes to disperse, but once they had, I began to read.
I'm writing this as I sit on the plane bound for New York. I didn't think I could really do it, that I could really leave you. I just found you, and the thought of walking away seemed so wrong. Every instinct I had told me to run back into the hospital and hold you, but I kept thinking about the things we'd said to each other. I hope you know I meant them, every word. I want a life with you, Iz. I know we have a lot of things to work through, and that's okay. I'll do whatever it takes to have you with me again. The difference between my life a week ago and my life today is astounding. I was happy last week, I was able to function and do the things that needed to be done, but there was no joy and no hope. I laughed, but not with all of my body. I smiled, but not with my whole face. I imagined a future, but not a life. I wasn't whole when I was without you, and I can see that now.
I'm so proud of you, Iz. I know this whole rehab thing won't be easy and I wish more than anything that I could be there and hold your hand while you go through it, but I can't. I talked to my dad about it a lot, and he promised he'd take care of you for me, until I can get back and take care of you myself. That's all I've ever really wanted, since the first day I met you—to take care of you. I know I played it cool for a while, or at least I thought I did. Maybe I didn't, I don't know. Maybe my infatuation with you was clear to everyone else, even though I tried my best to hide it. Either way, there was something about you that just made me want to protect you, to keep you safe. I don't think I ever told you after you left that first day, just how happy I was that you agreed to move into my house. It was a little embarrassing, but I didn't care. I was anxious to get you under my roof and close to me. I didn't even know you yet, but I just felt better with you nearby. I still do.
I've been thinking about something you said. I know you keep saying that you're not worth it, that you have done too many wrong things and that you're not good enough for me. I just want you to know that I think you're crazy for thinking that. You obviously don't see yourself clearly. Who knows, maybe it's just the rose colored glasses I have when it comes to you, but you're everything I've ever wanted in a woman, faults and all. I was looking through this Shakespeare book I picked up in the airport. I needed something to read and it looked interesting. I know, I'm a dork, you can say it. It wouldn't be the first time I've heard you call me that, and it's true so I can't even be mad. Anyway, there was a sonnet in there and I thought of you as I read it. Maybe the old Bard can do a better job explaining things than I can.
My mistress' eyes are nothing like the sun;
Coral is far more red than her lips' red;
If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;
If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.
I have seen roses damasked, red and white,
But no such roses see I in her cheeks,
And in some perfumes is there more delight
Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know,
That music hath a far more pleasing sound.
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress when she walks treads on the ground.
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
As any she belied with false compare.
You might think when you read that sonnet that Shakespeare's speaking badly about the woman he loves, but he's not. He's saying that she's real, she's true and flawed, and yet perfect in his eyes. You're the same way to me, Izzy. I know you've done things that aren't right, so have I. I know you've made choices you aren't proud of, but so have I. I know there are things about yourself that you hate, but believe me, there are many things I hate about myself. Izzy, please don't ever think you aren't enough for me, or that you aren't worthy of me. I'm not perfect, sweetheart. I make mistakes and I do things wrong, but I think sometimes you don't see that. You have me on this pedestal, and it's not right, that's not me. I'm not this perfect person, I make mistakes. I know you might not want to believe that, but it's true. I didn't always do things right when we were together. There were plenty of times you were mad at me, it's normal. Please, when you're remembering how we used to be, don't just remember the good. Be wary and acknowledge the wrongs we have committed against each other, because those things happened—they were real—and I don't think we should just forget or ignore them. I think we should both try to do that, because Iz, I want this to work. This is it for me, and I know I won't be able to handle it if things fall apart again.
I love you, Iz. I hope you know that. I want you to work hard and get better. I want us to be together, and we can't do that unless you're well. We need this, baby. Please. If you need anything, don't forget I'm here. I'm always here for you, any time of the day or night. You have people who love you, so please...let us help you if we can.
Looks like they're bringing some food around so I guess I should end this for now. I'll email as soon as I can, though by the time you get this, you'll probably have already gotten my emails and maybe we'll have even talked on the phone already. Oh well, I hope you'll keep this letter anyhow, so you can read it each time you need me with you. I'm always here, Izzy, always.
I love you, baby.
His words rang through my head and my heart, and I wiped at the tears that were flowing down my cheeks. He did love me still, and no matter how crazy a concept I thought it might be, it seemed like he was as invested in a future with me as I was with him. I read through the letter a few more times before Angela finally poked her head into the room and smiled.
"If you're done, I've got something else you might like." She came toward my bed with a laptop in her hands, setting it down on my lap. "I told you that you had some emails, so I thought maybe you'd like to read them now, if you're feeling up to it.
"Yeah," I said, nodding and smiling. I laid the letter on the bed next to me and lifted the computer, opening my email account. The screen wasn't the one I was used to, but I could tell that it was an administrators account, which had access to my account, as well as the accounts for all of the other patients in the center.
I spent the next hour reading through emails from Edward, Alice, Rosalie, Esme, and even Emmett. He mentioned in his email from Saturday evening that he planned to call on Sunday. I asked Angela and she said that he had, in fact, called and that he was worried about me. I wasn't sure what to say to him, but I knew that I needed to talk to him soon. As the evening soon became night, I was overwhelmed with the need to call Edward. I had to hear his voice, and I hesitantly asked Angela if there was any way that I could call him. She left the room and when she returned, she handed me a pink cell phone.
"You can call him on my cell, since it's long distance. I'm sure Ben won't be upset about us breaking the rules just this once, but he's not here so I can't ask him. Just to be safe, we won't tell him about this yet, okay?" she said with a smirk on her face.
"Alight," I agreed, happy to have the chance to talk to Edward.
Angela gave me a paper that had Edward's number written on it, as well as Emmett's. She smiled knowingly at me, then quietly left the room again. I cautiously pushed the buttons for Edward's phone number, and hit send. I waited for a few moments, and after four rings, there was a click in the silence.
"Hello?" said the voice, panting and strained. It sounded like Edward, but it wasn't the calm, comforting tone that I was so used to.
"Edward?" I asked.
There was quiet on the other end. "Izzy?" he whispered.
"Yeah, it's me. Hi."
"Baby, hang on," he said, then I heard sounds of movement from his end, followed by the thud of footsteps on a floor. "Hey, sorry, I just wanted to get into my bedroom so we won't be disturbed. How are you? I've been worried."
I smiled. "I'm okay, I woke up this afternoon, and I just wanted to call you. I got your letter and your emails. I wanted to tell you thank you for them, for everything." I sniffled, wiping at my right eye.
"Oh sweetheart, I'm so glad you're alright. I've been so worried. I've been calling my dad about a hundred times a day, I think he's sick of me." Edward laughed a little bit, the sound like music to my ears.
"Are you busy? I know it's late for you, I can let you go if you need to go to bed or something."
"Baby, no. I'm not busy, and I'd miss a week's worth of sleep if it meant talking to you for a few minutes." Edward's voice was full of love and concern; I could hear it in each word.
"What are you doing?" I asked, curious about why he was up so late. I knew that since it was eight thirty at night for me, it was eleven thirty for him, and most likely he had to be up early for work the next day.
"Oh, uh...I was watching TV, nothing major. The news was on, I was just watching that. What are you doing? How do you feel?" he said.
"I'm okay, I'm tired, but I wanted to talk to you."
"I'm glad. I was really worried last week, and then I was really anxious to talk to you Sunday. I called Saturday since I hadn't heard from you. Angela told me what was going on. I'm still rather upset that my dad didn't tell me, but I know he was just trying to keep me from hopping a plane back to you. I wanted to, really badly."
I sighed as I listened to his voice. "I know, but I'm okay now."
He was quiet for a moment before finally speaking again, in a rather soft voice. "What happened, Iz? Angela said you kinda freaked out. Why?"
"Um, well they said my body wasn't handling the withdrawals too well, but I know I was stressed out, too. I think it was mostly that. I hadn't heard from you and I started convincing myself that you didn't want me. I was so sure that you'd gotten to New York and seen Tori and that you'd changed your mind. You didn't, did you?" I asked, nervous about what his answer would be.
He let out a deep breath. "Bella, no. Listen to me, no, I haven't changed my mind." I knew he was serious when I heard him call me Bella, and the part of me that was still questioning him calmed down.
"Okay, I believe you. I'm sorry I doubted you. I shouldn't have. It's just hard here, Edward. I'm so scared." I sniffled again, trying to be quiet so that he wouldn't hear me.
"Baby, you can talk to me, it's okay. You know the people there love you, right? They want to help you."
"I know," I said, my voice cracking with emotion. "But I miss you, and I miss Rose and Alice. I feel so alone here, I don't know anyone but Angela. No one talks to me, Edward. I just feel lonely."
"Baby, it's okay. It takes time to get to know people. I'm sure they've got their guard up just like you do. Have you tried talking to any of them?" I could hear the love and caring in his voice and I didn't want to disappoint him.
"Not really, I've just been keeping to myself."
"Well, I'm sure they're nervous about getting to know you, too. Why not talk to someone? Just pick out one person a day and talk to them. Do you have television you watch?" he asked.
"Well, talk to someone about a show that's on. Nothing big, just simple conversation. You can do that, Iz. Just ease into it, you'll be fine. I've seen you win people over, Izzy. You'll have more friends there than you'll know what to do with." His voice sounded lighter, happier, and I could hear a bit of teasing in it. He was starting to sound like the old Edward that I'd known so long ago, before I broke him.
"Okay, I can do that." I felt better about things already, and it was all due to Edward's encouragement. He knew just what I needed. How I could have ever thought I could survive without this man at my side was beyond me. It was pretty obvious how much he meant to me, and I wanted nothing more than to please him.
We talked for about twenty minutes, him telling me all about his work and a few of the cases he was helping with. He couldn't give me a lot of details, but he told me what he could. It was all so interesting to me, and I hung on every word he spoke. He asked me about the food, about the surrounding area, and about my room. He asked about some of my group sessions, too, and how I felt about them.
Overall, it was a wonderful few minutes that we spent together. I couldn't really hear much of what was going on with him, except when I heard what sounded like glass breaking and some yelling. He assured me that it was most likely just his neighbors, who seemed to be somewhat hot headed, but then when I heard stomping sounds and a door slamming, I wondered to myself if he wasn't trying to protect me. Those sounds were much louder and obviously not in another apartment. I knew he was still living with Tori, and I hoped that things were okay and at least civil between them. I trusted him when he said that he didn't want a relationship with her, and that he'd asked for the engagement ring back. He spent a few minutes telling me about their break up discussion, and that Tori had taken things better than he thought she would. I was still surprised that he'd given his grandmother's ring to her in the first place. Part of me had hoped that no matter what, that ring would always be mine in his eyes, but I knew eventually he would tell me, and his reasoning wasn't anything we had to get into right away.
Angela came back into the room sooner than I'd hoped for, and after telling me that my time was up, she left to give me a minute to say goodbye to Edward.
"I'm sorry, I guess there are some things I need to do," I said apologetically.
"No, it's okay. I should get to sleep anyhow, it's been a long day. I'm gonna call you on Sunday, alright? We can talk more then."
"Okay, I can't wait. I love you, Edward. So much." I tried to keep my voice as steady and calm as I could, but I was sure that Edward could hear a little bit of shaking in it.
"I love you, too, Izzy. Try for me, okay? Talk to some people this week. I want to hear all about it on Sunday."
"Alright, I will. I promise."
There was a long pause on his end. "I love you, Iz. Don't forget that, okay?"
I nodded. "Okay," I whispered.
"Bye baby," he said, his voice cracking a bit, and making me feel not as bad about the emotions that were quickly overtaking me.
"Bye," I said, not sure that it was loud enough for him to even hear. I quickly pulled the phone from my ear and pressed the end button, knowing that if I didn't, I'd sit on the phone all night listening to silence.
Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday were a blur, filled with group meetings and individual counseling sessions. I tried each day to talk to one person, then filled my daily emails to Edward with details. He was so supportive and encouraging in his replies, and it made me excited for my computer time each evening. Dr. Gerandy adjusted my medications and spent a great deal of time talking to me about what each one was doing to my body. It was amazing how each different substance worked, and how they were able to help each other. It reminded me of my group meetings, and how the idea was for us all to contribute and help each other heal. I decided at that point that I wouldn't judge anyone else or try to make light of their issues. Each one of them from the Thursday grief meeting had welcomed me back, letting me know that they cared about me and were worried. Even Peter, who had lost his whole family, came to speak to me. I knew the pain he was dealing with—feeling completely alone in the world—and I took comfort in the knowledge that I had someone close by that understood what I was going through.
Saturday morning brought a surprise for me with a visit from Carlisle and Esme. Carlisle had come to see me, as my physician, and Esme accompanied him. When she lightly knocked on my door and poked her head in, a smile on her face, I dropped the book I'd been reading and flung myself at her. I didn't leave her side through their entire stay, and I shed more tears than I wanted to admit. The feeling I had when I was with her was one that I'd missed, and I proudly introduced her to my new friends around the center. Carlisle spent a good deal of time with Dr. Gerandy and with Ben, most likely going over my well being, as well as both my physical and mental health. I wondered how much he would tell Edward, and I hoped that for my sake he would at least only pass along the good things. I didn't want Edward to worry any more than he already was.
Esme and I spent a few hours outside in the garden area of the facility. The weather was beautiful and it felt good to have the sun shining on my skin again. She filled me in on Alice and Rosalie, and even spoke a little bit about Emmett. I was surprised that she'd talked to him, but she said that Rosalie had stopped by one afternoon, after having a fight with Jacob, and that she mentioned talking to Emmett. It seemed that Rose and Emmett were becoming friends, which made me happy. Esme continued to tell me about a few jobs she'd done recently, and some of the orders that hadn't gone quite right.
As the afternoon began to come to an end, I asked about Edward. I needed to know from someone else that what he was saying to me was really true, and that he really did want me. There was a small part of me that still thought it was all too good to be true, and I needed the reassurance her words could provide. She laughed and patted my arm, telling me to stop worrying so much. We sat together in silence for several minutes before Carlisle finally came looking for us and it was time for them to go.
I hugged them both hard, squeezing tightly with all the strength I had in me. They both promised me that they would be back to see me soon, and reassured me that they had faith in my abilities. I told them that I loved them and how grateful I was to have them in my life. It was hard to watch them leave, but it was a little easier than the first day when Esme had left me at the center. I was getting better, and stronger, and I knew that soon I'd be okay again. I just had to keep fighting.
When Sunday afternoon approached, I waited anxiously by the phones, hoping that Edward would call. When Angela finally yelled for me, I hurried to the phone, excited to hear his voice.
"Hello?" I said, a little out of breath.
"Bella? Hey, it's me, Emmett."
My smile quickly faded. It wasn't that I didn't want to talk to Emmett, it's just that I was looking so forward to talking to Edward. I tried to recover from my surprise quickly so that he wouldn't know I was a bit disappointed.
"Hey, Emmett, hi. How are you?"
"I'm okay. How are you? Better than last week, I hear." His voice sounded a bit shy and he wasn't being his bright and bubbly self that he usually was.
"Yeah, I'm okay. It was a bad few days, but I'm better now. I'm trying hard to get healthy, you know? I really want to be better." Better...I did want to be better.
"That's great, Bella. Thanks for the emails this week, they sounded good."
"Sure, I just wanted to make sure you knew I was okay."
There were a few moments of awkward silence between us. I could hear him breathing, and I was sure that he could hear me. It felt so wrong, being uncomfortable around Emmett, and I didn't want things to be uneasy between us.
"So, Esme said that you've been talking to Rose. She's really nice, huh?" I said, hoping to spark some conversation.
I noticed the excitement in his voice almost immediately. "Oh yeah, Rose is really great. I like talking to her, she's so smart and funny. I don't know what she's doing with that Jake guy, he seems like a jerk to me."
I laughed. "Yeah, I don't know what his problem is, he's just weird. He's been like that for the past year or so, or at least getting worse about it. I wish she'd leave him and find someone nice, you know? She deserves that."
"Yeah, that'd be good."
Our conversation flowed a bit more easily after that. We talked about Alice and Jasper, and the crazy wedding preparations Alice was making him endure. Emmett said he was actually a little grateful when Jasper insisted he tag along for their wedding cake sampling day. Emmett swooned over the several kinds of cake he got to eat, and it was fun to hear him speak so animatedly about something. I wasn't sure if we would ever get back to this type of talk, at least not after he found out about what I was, and especially not after the things I'd said to him.
"Well, I guess I should go. I've gotta go meet Jasper, we're going to work out, plus I'm sure there are other people trying to call you today." Emmett's voice sounded a bit down as he wrapped up our conversation.
"Okay. Well...I'm really glad you called today. I've missed talking to you."
"Yeah?" he asked.
"Yeah, of course." I smiled remembering the fun times we'd spent together over the past several months. Emmett was a good man and I really did care about him. That's why I dreaded hurting him, but I knew that it would likely come down to that.
"So, I was thinking that in a couple of weeks, when you are allowed visitors, I'd like to come see you. If that's okay?"
My stomach dropped. He wanted to come see me...and I could only imagine why.
"Oh yeah?" I asked, not agreeing but trying not to disappoint him.
"Yeah, I think we should talk about things, you know? I want to see you, make sure for myself that you're alright. It'll be fun, I promise."
I sighed, trying not to show any worry in my tone. "Okay, that sounds good."
"Okay then, Bells, I'm gonna go. I'll talk to you soon."
"Thanks Em, thanks for calling. Be good, I'll see you soon."
He laughed. "Love you, Bells. Bye."
I noticed as I hung up the phone just how easy it was to end my connection with him. It was nothing like a few nights before with Edward. I was making the right choice, no matter how much it might have hurt. Emmett would find someone wonderful that would love him the way he deserved to be loved, and she would be amazing. I just knew it.
About half an hour later, Angela yelled for me again, and once more I hurried to the phone, hoping it was Edward.
"Hello?" I asked, trying to not let too much excitement fill my tone.
"Iz?" he said, and I instantly relaxed.
"Edward! Hi, how are you?" I asked, bouncing on my feet a bit. I saw Angela laughing from the corner of my eye and shook my head, trying to calm down a little.
"Hey baby, how's your day? You been on the phone all afternoon?" he asked.
"No, just once. Emmett called a while ago." After the words left my mouth, I felt like smacking myself in the head. Edward was quiet for a moment.
"So, how's Emmett?" he said, his voice sounding flatter than it had before.
"He's fine. Um, he said he's been hanging out with Rose lately, so that's good. Um, how are things with you?"
"Good, everything's fine. So how did TV watching go today?" With that question, we began discussing how things had been going with me trying to make friends. He was very interested in my achievements and seemed to be happy that I was trying so hard. As we talked more and time passed, I mentioned the movie that had been on TV that morning when I'd spent a few minutes talking to Emily. As I told Edward about some of her scars, he was very quiet.
"What's wrong?" I asked, hoping it was nothing important.
"Nothing, just that movie you were watching. I remember that movie."
I paused for a moment, trying to figure out what he was talking about, and then it hit me. "That was the movie we watched that first night, wasn't it?" I asked.
"You remembered," he said with a soft chuckle.
"Of course I do. I remember dancing with you to the song at the end. I thought you were so romantic."
"Yeah, well I'd had to sit through that whole thing staring at your red toe nails. I swear you painted those things red just because you knew it would drive me completely insane."
I laughed. "Actually I did."
"What?" he said, laughing even more.
"Well, I noticed you and your friend commenting on Rose's toe nails one day, so I painted mine, and then the next time I walked through the kitchen barefoot, you about fell off your chair. I knew then that maybe you liked me a little bit." My heart started beating faster at the memory of that day, and how I wanted so much for Edward to be interested in me romantically.
"Iz, I wanted you from the moment you walked in my door that very first day. But man, seeing you with that red polish on your toe nails about did me in. You were so hot, it was all I could do to stop myself from following you back upstairs that day."
I smiled at his words, remembering the way he used to look at me...
"I can't believe you want to watch this old movie. What is this, like from the 80's or something?" I asked Edward as he popped in the DVD.
"No, this is a good movie. Haven't you seen this before? It's exciting, plus they filmed it all over the Valley here so you'll recognize some places."
Edward was obviously excited about watching the movie that had come out when we were just children. I'd never seen it, but I couldn't deny that Alec Baldwin was looking really good during that point in his career. I figured Edward just had a thing for blondes since I'd only ever heard Jessica and Lauren talk about the blonde girls that he had dated in the past. I knew none of them had been too serious, my roommate Angela assured me of that, but she also confirmed the blonde thing. Being that I was brunette and nothing close to a blonde, I figured I didn't stand a chance with Edward. As I looked at the DVD cover, I traced my fingers over Kim Basinger's blonde hair and wished for just a moment that I had blonde hair and blue eyes. It was a wish I'd made many times as a child, but never had I wanted it more than during that moment.
Edward sat down next to me, pushing a container of chicken low mien into my hands before picking up the sweet and sour pork that he loved so much. "What?" he asked me with a goofy grin, his mouth full of pork. I shook my head and smiled at him.
"Nothing. This is perfect, thank you."
"Well, if no idiot was smart enough to ask you to the dance, the least I could do was keep you company tonight. I'm kinda excited about it, honestly." He turned to look at the TV, his jaw muscles flexing and stretching as he chewed his bite. I passed over the wooden chop sticks he'd brought into the living room for us and grabbed a fork instead, then dug into my food.
As the evening wore on, he pointed out all the locations that I should have been able to recognize. He figured that since I'd been born and raised in Arizona, I should know them off hand. Apparently I didn't get out enough, since there were only one or two that I even kind of recognized. I also noticed that every so often he would say Izzy or Iz instead of Bella. I never corrected him about it, but I found it odd that he didn't even seem to notice when he did it. It appeared that whether he called me one of those names or he called me Bella, it all meant the same thing to him. No one had ever called me Izzy or Iz before, but I liked the sound of his voice saying it, and I decided then and there that I would never discourage him if that was what he wanted to call me. He could call me Bob or Fred and I'd still answer.
When the movie ended, the credits began and a Richard Marx song started to play. Edward sat his cup on the table near us and stood up. I figured maybe he was going to change the movie or that he was tired of boring old me, and he was going to bed. Instead he held out his hand, offering to pull me up. When I hesitated, he spoke.
"Iz, would you dance with me, please?"
I thought he was kidding, and I laughed at him, but he continued to stand in front of me, his hand in front of my face. Eventually I agreed, and we danced to the love song. The way things progressed in those moments caught me completely off guard. Before I'd realized what was happening, Edward was carrying me up the stairs, his lips glued to mine.
I'd never kissed anyone before, but being with him was like breathing, kissing him felt natural and right. I was sure he could tell I had no idea what I was doing, but he never said a word. He took me into his bedroom, which I'd had a glimpse of a few times, and once his door was shut and locked behind us, he lay me gently down on his bed.
His hovered over me, his lips softly brushing kisses on my neck, my cheeks, and my forehead. I felt as though I was on fire from his touches, and I wrapped my arms around him, pulling him down onto me. Our bodies formed to one another, and soon his hands began to wander along my curves. I jumped when his thumb grazed my nipple, even though it was covered in several layers of fabric. He could most obviously feel the goose bumps on my skin and the way I started to shake. I'd never done anything like this with anyone before, and I was nervous.
"Baby, you okay?" he asked as his lips softly sucked my earlobe into his mouth.
"Uh huh," was all I could manage to mumble.
"Iz, what? Tell me," he whispered, his right hand wandering along the edge of my jeans.
"Edward, I've never...um...oh man," I moaned as his teeth grazed the skin on my neck.
"You've never what?" he asked while his fingers pushed under the waistband of my pants.
"I've never done this. Ever," I said, and waited for him to get off of me. It didn't take long for his hands to freeze and for him to pull back from me.
"What?" he asked, his eyes meeting mine and clearly puzzled.
I looked at him, trying to hold back the embarrassment that was threatening to consume me at any moment. "I've never done this. I've never kissed anyone or made out with anyone. And I've never...had sex," I whispered.
He leaned back, even farther away from me. "What?" he asked, running his hands though his hair.
"I'm sorry, I should have told you. I just really like you and I really wanted to do all of those things with you. You think I'm a freak now, right?" I asked, cringing and turning to look at the pillow next to the one my head was currently laying on.
He let out a long breath. "No, Iz, no I don't think that. I would never think that of you. You know I'm not all that experienced either, right?" he said, lying down next to me.
"What? I've heard the girls talk, you're always dating someone."
His fingers moved to trace my collarbone and around the neckline of my shirt. It felt like heaven.
"I date, but that doesn't mean I fool around. I've had a few girlfriends, but none of them were very serious. To be honest, I only slept with two of them." He smiled a little bashfully at me, while my mouth hung open in shock.
"Only two?" I asked, then slapped my hand over my mouth, shocked that I'd asked him his number of partners.
He laughed. "Yeah, only two. I think sex is important, you know? I don't want to do that with just anyone. I mean, I've kissed more women than that. That number's a bit higher, around 15 or so, but as far as sex and making love, that's only two." His eyes great darker and burned into mine. "But I think I'm ready to add to my list."
I swallowed, knowing that he was talking about me. "Does it hurt?" I asked, remembering Rose telling me about her first time. The only difference was that I was a 21 year old woman, and she had been a 16 year old girl.
"It might a little, but I'll be careful. I never want to hurt you, Iz. I'll always be careful with you."
I nodded, staring intensely at him as he leaned toward me, his lips finding mine again.
"We'll go slow," he said as he kissed me. "I'll be gentle. I want it to feel as good for you as it will for me. You're special, Izzy, this will be perfect."
I lost myself in his kisses, his hands wandering my body and touching places that only I had ever touched. We didn't have intercourse that night, but it was only a few days later that it finally happened. I swooned when he called it making love rather than just having sex, like most guys said. I felt special to Edward, and I hoped that he was able to see how much he meant to me. The closer we got, the faster I fell, until finally I couldn't deny it anymore. I was in love with Edward Cullen.
"That was fun, that's a good movie. I think when you're outta there, we need to watch that movie again, remind you of the places you haven't paid enough attention too," Edward said.
"I think you just want to see that love scene with Baldwin and Basinger again," I teased.
"Well, they were pretty hot. I mean man that was some serious chemistry, though they were married, so you know they were doing all that for real." Edward laughed, causing me to giggle.
"Yeah, I guess so," I said.
"Hey Iz, I love you. You know that?" Edward asked.
I nodded. "Yeah, I know. And I love you, too."
"Hmmmmm, those are the most amazing words I've ever heard," he said quietly.
A/N: She's trying, right? :D
And the poem is from Shakespeare, obviously. The movie, in case you're wondering, is called The Getaway and it stars Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger, and is from 1994. I'll try to link the love scene and the song on my profile, so if you wanna see the awesome love scene, you'll want to check it out. Oh, and about the song...Edward and Bella dancing to it comes from my real life, and is in fact proof that my hubs was a romantic little devil at one point. :D I'd been wanting to see the movie (I'm old, we'd been married like 6 months when it came out) and I made him go along with me. When the movie got over, I wouldn't let him leave because I loved the song and wanted to hear it. We were sitting down front in the theater and most of the people were gone. Hubs stands up, takes my hand, and asks me to dance...in the middle of the frickin' theater! Ugh...swoon. Now you see why I have 4 kids? Yeah, he's good when he wants to be. :D
Author Rec Time…
ineedyoursway – Have you heard of this girl? Oh my, she's the cutest thing! :D And she writes some of the best stories. I love the way she writes, and I'm so jealous that I can't write like she does. She says SO much in so few words...it's beautiful. She wrote a story called Young Pilgrims that I fell in LOVE with. She had another called Fault that really sucked my in, it was wonderful and so smart. And her new story Gull to the Wind is great so far. The emotion this girl gets out of me...it's wonderful. If you haven't read her stuff yet, do yourself a favor and check her out. She's linked in my favorite authors, too, if that's easier for you. Trust me, you'll be glad you did. Start with Young Pilgrims, you'll see... :)
I'm on Twitter, and it's fun. Plus you get stuff, like teasers. :D
And this has a thread on Twilighted, though I don't hang out there as often as I should.
Links to both of those are on my profile, as well as for the PIC blog, which I love.
I'll send a teaser with review replies, so if you want a peek at next chapter, let me know what you thought of this. It may take a while, but it'll happen...hang in there…it will get to you eventually. Also, ff dot net is being stinky about review replies, as you probably already know. If your PM's are turned off, I can't send you anything. Sorry, but it won't let me… :(