hello, all. i am truly sorry i haven't been able to update sooner. duty called, and i answered. my apologies. at any rate, here is the next chapter of RM! enjoy and let me know what you think.
shout out to jemster23--you are fantastic. everyone, if you love me, you will go read her newest story, dreaming of you. it's wonderful.
How long had we been standing this way, my trembling body locked tightly in his strong arms? I couldn't guess, but I did know that I didn't want it to end.
I buried my face deep into his collarbone, inhaling the sweet scent of sandalwood and rain that is uniquely Edward. Slowly, my shaking began to ease, and I sighed deeply.
Carefully he unlocked his arms from behind me and began to step back.
"No," I croaked, my voice thick from crying. I caught his arms before they could slip away from my waist. I looked up into his eyes.
They were so blatantly vulnerable and pained; it hurt me to see his flawless features twisted this way. I reached up without thinking to smooth the crease from his brow.
His forehead smoothed and his eyes closed under my touch. "Oh, Bella. You're killing me."
"Killing?" I asked, my eyebrows knitting together in concern.
His eyes opened with a sheepish smile. "Not literally." He took the hand still poised above his brow and placed it on his cheek, trapping it under his. "I'm just having trouble with my emotions right now." No matter how he tried to hide it, I could still see the pain deep in his eyes.
"Now, would you like to lie down?" he asked quietly, his gaze locked with mine.
I shook my head vehemently and freed my hand from his so I could wrap my arms around his neck, standing on tiptoe so I could be as close to my angel as possible. "I want to stay here. With you. Just like this." I sighed happily.
I felt him stiffen hesitantly, then relax and pull me closer, burying his face in my neck. He inhaled deeply, then spoke, his voice muffled by my skin. "How about I lie down with you? Do you think you could sleep then?"
I contemplated. I was exhausted, but I didn't want to risk his disappearance while I was asleep. He might go back to heaven while I was unconscious. I didn't get a chance to answer before a giant yawn overtook me and he chuckled. "Yep, that's what I thought."
He picked me up gently and set me on the bed. I watched silently as he slid out of his white lab coat and draped it casually over the now unoccupied chair.
He hesitated, standing awkwardly next to the stiff white cot. I reached for him, grabbing his arm and tugging until he relented and climbed slowly onto the bed, careful not to frighten me. I slid to one side, and he carefully laid all the way down beside me. His body was much bigger and longer than mine.
I sighed and snuggled under his arm and into his chest. He remained unnaturally still, almost as if he was afraid any movement might break me.
All it took was for me to shiver slightly, though, to break his stoic trance. He tightened his arm around my shoulders and wrapped the other around my waist, pulling me into his warm body. I tucked my knees up and buried my face further into his collarbone. My head was throbbing, but my thoughts were centered only on relishing what time I may have with my angel; with him in mind, I fell quickly asleep.
I lay frozen, afraid the slightest movement would wake her from much needed sleep. I still couldn't believe that this was real, that this beautiful stranger was here, frightened and naïve, in my arms.
I couldn't help but notice how perfectly her undernourished body molded to mine like a puzzle piece. Her face was still swollen and bruised along the cheekbone, and I could only imagine how painful that must be.
Slowly, I allowed myself to relax, lifting my hand from her waist to stroke her disheveled but blood-free curls. She sighed softly in her sleep and mumbled something unintelligible into my shirt.
I fought to keep my eyes open, to relish the feeling of having Bella in my arms, but exhaustion proved to powerful a foe, and my eyelids drooped slowly shut.
I woke to the sound of the door creaking quietly open. My eyes snapped open and straight to the door, where I saw Alice, looking surprised and a little hurt. She had bags under her eyes and her clothes were wrinkled; only someone who knew her as well as I could know that those details betrayed her intense suffering.
I looked down in time to see Bella's eyes flutter and open. She looked up at me and smiled. "Your still here," she breathed.
I ached at the implication. She thought I was going to leave her again. I was the only person she trusted and I wasn't doing a very good job of it. I cupped her cheek in my hand. "Always," I whispered.
I smiled and leaned into his hand. His eyes searched mine until he seemed to remember something and he sat up a little and turned to the door. I followed his gaze to see a petite little black haired woman standing, jaw dropped, in the doorway. Her hair was spiky and short, and though she was small, she held an air of superiority.
My brow furrowed and I grabbed a fistful of my angel's shirt, snuggling into his chest. He wrapped his arms around me and held me close but said nothing as I watched the newcomer.
Her jaw snapped shut, and she watched me suspiciously as I clung to Edward.
She turned to him. "Edward?" she asked flatly, her eyes devoid of apparent emotion.
"She doesn't remember anything, Alice. I swear. I don't know why...," he trailed off and looked away.
The woman at the door exhaled sharply and started to walk briskly to the cot. "How can she not remember me? I-"
I whimpered and tried to melt into Edward and disappear, pulling myself even closer to him.
"Alice, don't," he warned, his voice low and menacing. He stroked my back comfortingly.
She ignored him. "-am the single most important person in her life, except Charlie maybe. Or Renee." She sat heavily on the end of the bed, luckily on Edward's side.
I pulled my feet up to my chest and scooted away from the terrifying pixie and into the iron bed frame. Edward sat up with me and wrapped his arm around my knees protectively, whispering soft reassurances in my ear.
The one named Alice turned to meet my gaze. "How can you not remember NYU? We were roommates. I had to beg for weeks to get you to let me buy you a comforter to replace that nasty old quilt Charlie gave you. It was white with fraying lavender stitching and it had a coffee stain on the end." She searched my face frantically, begging me to remember. Tears had begun to well up in her eyes.
"And remember the summer after junior year? We went to Miami with Angela and Jasper. We had just started dating and I was so excited. You had to constantly check up on me to make sure I didn't do anything I would regret." The tears were flowing freely now. "I'm so sorry I never told you how much I appreciated you."
She paused to sniff, then continued, "And remember that guy—the sexy latino that followed you around like a puppy and begged you to dance with him the whole night?" I felt Edward stiffen beside me. "Finally you did, and you had the best time until he tried to grab your ass." She laughed between tears. I heard Edward growl quietly. "You slapped him so hard, I almost felt bad for the guy. Almost," she attempted a smile that turned out as more of a grimace. "Don't you remember?"
I stared at her blankly. I wanted to remember; I didn't want to cause the pain she was feeling, however unintentional it may be. But I didn't remember. I had no memory of the blubbering black haired girl in front of me, no matter how much she wished I did.
Her sobs erupted full force, and she fell forward onto the starchy sheets, hiding her face.
Edward reached out to her. "Oh, Alice." He touched her head softly and she flinched, turning away from his hand.
A tall, thin, blond man appeared in the doorway, his thick hair falling messily into his eyes. "Alice," he breathed, rushing to the bed.
I hid my face in Edward's shirt, bracing myself for the attack that never came. I opened one eye and saw the man scoop Alice into his arms and carry her trembling body across the room. He stopped suddenly at the door. I flinched. He turned to look at me, then Edward, sorrow touching his eyes, before sighing and continuing out into the brightly lit hallway.
Edward and I were left in silence. I was happy to simply listen to his breathing and feel the rise and fall of his chest, but after a moment I leaned back so I could look into his face. He was looking away from me, his eyes pained.
I reached up to touch his face. "What's the matter?"
I watched as the muscles in his jaw danced as he clenched his teeth. "Bella, love, Alice is your best friend. You have known each other for years." He looked down at me. "Much longer than you've known me."
My brow furrowed. "What are you saying?"
He hesitated, searching my eyes. "Why do you trust me? Why do you...?" he trailed off, looking away and running his fingers through his disheveled hair. "Why do you think of me as your guardian angel? I haven't done anything to make you think this way, and then Alice—your tiny, loving, best friend of 6 years, Alice—comes in with countless memories and you're still afraid of her, but not me. Why?"
I bit back tears threatening to emerge after the verbal slap. "I don't know."
I sat up slowly, putting distance between myself and his now unwelcome embrace. He didn't care for me; he was just staying with me because he felt bad for me, because I would go insane if he left my side for just a moment. How pathetic must I seem to him?
He sat up as well, moving to wrap his arms around me again. "Oh, Bella, I didn't mean it like that." I shrugged out of his grip and looked toward the single window, whose angular plastic shutters looked scarily like prison bars.
The door swung open then, and without thinking, I dove back into the safety of his arms. I snuggled into his chest and squeezed my eyes shut
It must have been my imagination that crafted his sigh of contentment as he pulled me closer, burying his face in my hair.
I heard someone clear his throat near the door, and I was reminded of the reason I was in his arms in the first place. Edward lifted his face from my hair and looked towards the door.
"Carlisle," he stated, a tinge of sheepish embarrassment in his voice. Why would he be embarrassed?
I could hear the doctor's smile as he spoke, "Edward. I talked to Angela. She thinks that Bella isn't in danger of any sort of physical breakdown; her head is fine save a slight concussion, so with constant supervision I believe Bella will be fine to leave."
"Leave?" I heard Edward ask.
"Leave the hospital, yes."
Edward hesitated before answering. "She'll go back with Alice? To your house?"
Carlisle sighed. "Yes."
My breathing quickened slightly and my head began to ache. Edward's answering questions sparked a icy fear in the pit of my stomach. With Alice. Your house. I was going to leave, and Edward was not going with me. At this point I didn't care whether his concern for me was genuine or not; all I knew was that I could not leave the safety of this prison without him.
"Shh, Bella, it's alright. Calm down, love," my angel soothed, bending low to whisper in my ear.
"Oh, and Edward," Carlisle called. The man in question looked up. "I think it would be for the best for you to stay with us for a while as well."
Edward coughed awkwardly, "Well... I..."
I felt that same sharp stab of sadness at the reminder of his reluctant pity.
Carlisle laughed for some reason I could not fathom. "Just in case she needs emergency care, of course. Having a real doctor's supervision would be ideal. And a few days off work would do you good."
"Oh, no, that's not necessary," Edward replied shakily.
I pulled away from him slightly and rolled over to face the window to hide the hurt on my face.
"Of course, I insist. It's been too long since you've had a vacation, and it's what's best for Bella," the doctor said, stifling laughter.
Edward rubbed my back subconsciously. "Alright, I suppose I could do that."
"Very good," Carlisle said as I heard him walk across the room. "We'll leave in an hour."
I heard the door click softly as it shut behind him. I sat up slowly, turning to look at my angel. He was watching me, his emerald eyes bright and alert.
"I'm sorry you have to do this," I muttered, looking away from the intensity of his gaze.
He sat up quickly, lifting my chin with his fingers so I would look at him. "Do what?" he asked.
I gestured vaguely. "This. Stay with me. I'm sorry," I repeated.
My breathing hitched at the emotion that filled his eyes; green darkened to depthless black as he spoke, "No. No, Bella, no, don't you ever say that." He cupped my face in his hand and I leaned into his palm. "I'm here because I care about you. I never want anything to hurt you, and I will do everything in my power to protect you, alright? Do you understand that?"
I nodded, unable to speak.
We stayed like that for ages, lost in each other's eyes. I feared losing him no matter what reassurances he gave; after all, he was likely to get called back to heaven at any moment, so I attempted to drink in every second of precious time I was given.
Eventually, I spoke, "I'm afraid."
His eyes softened and darkened even farther. He pulled me back to his chest, twining his fingers in my hair.
"I know," he sighed. "So am I."
good. i know, i know--'bout time. well i hope it was worth the wait to those of you who read this, and i hope the newcomers enjoyed it as well. any observations are welcome; have at it. thanks for reading.
oh, and sorry about the little bpov/epov switchback moment back there, i just wanted to give a glimpse of what edward was thinking at the time. sorry if it kind of threw you off.