Authors Note: This is just a little idea that popped into my head during the Christmas holidays. I tried to delay writing it, hoping to spend the holidays with family, but it was hard with Edward and Renee talking to me the whole time. Finally, I gave in, and here it is.
It's set after New Moon.
Of course, I do not own Twilight.
Edward's Point of View:
I knew Bella wasn't feeling very well – she had asked to go home, and Bella never asked to go home. It was usually me that had to remind her of her curfew and the angry father that would await her if she was late. But today, Carlisle had noticed the paling of her skin, and I noticed that she was concentrated on keeping me out of whatever she felt was bothering her.
Charlie was away for the night, at a police conference in the city. He'd been thinking about it for months and the time had finally come round. Bella had tried to convince him that she'd be okay on her own, but Renée had been flown out just to make sure. Charlie had thought this would keep me away and that Renée wouldn't allow any 'funny business' whilst he was gone.
However, we arrived back at Bella's house two and a half hours before her curfew was up.
"Edward, don't come in, okay?" Bella whispered, her eyes meeting mine. I pulled her hand towards me, and kissed it gently. She was so cold – not her usual warm self. I nodded once, however hard it felt to leave her, I would obey her wishes.
I walked her to the door, which was answered by a flustered Renée. She was holding a half empty grocery bag.
"What are you guys doing home so early? I didn't expect you for another hour or two. It's a Friday!" She looked at her watch, making sure she'd got the correct time. Renée was young at heart; I knew that from what Bella had told me about her mother. I had only met Renée once, during that horrific time in the hospital after the incident with James. It had been brief but even then she'd proved what Bella had told me of her.
Gosh, isn't he a nice looking one –I thought I'd imagined it whenever I remembered him. If I were a few years younger, I'd swipe in and take him myself. I smiled at her thoughts. I knew Phil was a few years younger than Renée and she preferred younger to older. Her mind was younger than her body, so it was right to be with someone that age.
"Come in. Honeslty, Bella, it's your home!" she said, pulling back the door. Her hair was pulled back into a scruffy ponytail and her clothes looked a bit scruffy too – like they didn't fit perfectly. Her face looked liked Bella, except older, obviously.
"Oh, thank you. But I've got to be getting off. Carlisle – my adopted father – is expecting me back." I smiled politely, keeping in mind Bella's wish. I groaned, but neither of them heard.
"Bye, Edward," Bella said, rushing inside.
Renée turned quickly to see where her daughter had run to. She rushed quickly up the stairs and I heard her enter the bathroom, and start to hurl. Renée sighed, Oh lovely, I've never been very good with sick. Uhmmm, a towel and a drink – isn't that what you're supposed to take people? She visibly cringed as we listened to Bella vomiting. I knew that was why Bella didn't want me to go in, but I knew that Renée wasn't going to be much help. It had definitely been true what Bella said – the roles were reversed in their relationship.
I walked into the house, past a queasy looking Renée and into the kitchen. I reached for a glass and ran the cold tap into it. Slowly, I walked up the stairs. I knocked on the door twice before entering without waiting for a reply.
Bella sat on the floor, her body hunched over itself and the toilet lid up, waiting for its next delivery.
"Go away," she muttered, knowing it was me. I ignored her, fully aware that Renée was still downstairs. I didn't think she was a bad mother, I just thought she was out of practice – not very good at some things.
"Come here," I said, handing her the glass of water, and wiping her mouth with the towel.
"Seriously, Edward go-" Her words were interrupted as she lunged forward into the toilet. I reached over and rubbed her back for her gently with one hand. With the other, I took her hair and pinned it back so it was not in her way. She cowered down when she'd finished and I handed her the towel again.
"Are you alright, sweetheart?" Renée asked from the door. Her thoughts had not changed and her hand covered her own mouth.
Bella nodded once and took a big drink of water. I watched anxiously waiting for her to be sick again.
"Have you finished, Bella?" I asked carefully, touching her forehead with my cold hand. She was suddenly warm, no longer cold and pale. I kept my hand there, hoping to soothe her burning skin.
"Yes," Bella croaked.
I helped stand her up and carried her to the sink. I ran the warm tap and washed the bits of sick out of her hair and washed her burning face too. Then, I carried her to her bed. I was unsure what to do – change her into her pyjamas? Leave her in her clothes? I wanted to respect her but I also wanted her to be well.
"Bella? Can you change into your pyjamas?" I asked quietly.
She nodded so I handed them to her; blue shorts and a white vest top that she always wore to bed. I stepped out of the room, listening for any sign that I needed to go back to her and help her. Renée was hovering outside, unsure what to do.
"Is she okay?" Her mind was full of questions about Bella and wondering how she could help.
"She's changing into her pyjamas. Maybe you could help her?" I suggested.
She looked taken aback, but soon recovered and edged her way into Bella's room. I would have thought Edward would have done it – he seems to do everything else for her. Most boys would do anything to strip a girl of their clothes... most boys wouldn't take care of a sick girl, especially at their age. Renée's thoughts were quite amusing, but instead of listening to them, I focused on Bella as I ran downstairs to get the bucket that was still under the kitchen sink out of habit from a leak two months previously.
As I returned upstairs, Renée was still in Bella's room. She didn't seem to realise I had come back upstairs.
"You picked a good one, there, Bella. He's great." I could hear the smile in her voice. Bella muttered a "yes," probably fully aware that I would be able to hear this conversation no matter where I was in the house.
I knocked on the door as lightly as Renée had. I waited for an answer, just in case Bella was still getting changed.
"Come in," Renée called, and I entered.
"I've got a bucket. The one from under the sink – the leak's completely stopped, but I put a smaller bowl there, just in case." I smiled, placing the bucket at the side of the bed. Renée was lying beside Bella stroking her wet hair. "Anything else I can get you? I can cook you something?" I suggested, but instantly regretted it when she threw herself forward and sprayed the contents of her stomach into the bucket. I leaned forward pulling her hair from her face and stroking her back.
Renée fetched a tissue and handed it to Bella. I kissed her forehead with my cold lips but she shuddered so I pulled away.
"I'll just be downstairs," Renée muttered awkwardly, but I knew she didn't like the vomit... out of all the things she didn't like, vomit was high on the list. I nodded to show I'd heard.
"Bella, my beautiful Bella," I crooned, sitting on the very edge of the bed so I didn't disturb her.
"Beautiful?" She laughed weakly. "Sure."
"Yes. Beautiful. Very beautiful," I said forcefully. "Is there anything I can do?" I just wanted to help her feel better. It had been so long since I knew what it was like to be ill, almost one hundred years! I didn't have much experience in helping either.
She shook her head gently, before lying flat, her head propped just a little on her pillow. "Wait, yes there is." She smiled a little.
"What? What is it?" I asked quickly, ready to help her in anyway.
"Lie with me," she whispered, her voice quiet and weak. How could I refuse? It was what she wanted, after all. So I lay next to her, my hand against her forehead to cool her, my other hand stroking her hair soothingly.
"I'm sorry you had to see that." Her voice wavered, and then she yawned. It was only around nine o'clock, but I guessed she was tired.
"Don't worry Bella. Just get better." I placed a kiss on her forehead in replacement of my hand.
"Thank you, for helping."
"Go to sleep, Bella."
I lay beside her for another five minutes, making sure she was completely out of it before I moved. I didn't want to disturb her if she was just settling.
Just before I was about to stand, Renée appeared at the door with a cup of, what smelt like, tea. Her eyes were tired, but her smile was genuine happiness as she eyed me lying next to Bella. Her thoughts were full of how kind and caring I was towards her daughter but curious when she recalled the months in which I'd not been around. She was analysing every move I made.
Carefully, I stood and placed a final kiss on Bella's warm forehead. She smelt of coconut – the shampoo that I had washed her hair with.
"I brought this for you." Renée handed me the cup of tea. I mumbled my thanks and took a swig of it, ignoring the fact that its taste was repulsive. I preferred coffee to tea – I mean, all of them weren't necessary and none of them particularly nice, but I still had preferences.
"She's asleep," I stated obviously, just to fill the silence that was absorbing us all.
"You really care for her, don't you Edward?" I was unsure whether it was a question or a statement.
"I love her with all my heart," I said truthfully, looking at the beautiful girl that was lying peacefully in bed.
He's so young though! I don't think Charlie ever said anything like that to me before our wedding, and Phil only says it occasionally! What a special boy. Oh, how jealous I am. He does seem to truly care about her. I can tell by the way he kissed her goodnight, the way he rubbed her back whilst she was sick, and the way he looks at her now.
Renee's thoughts were so different to Charlie's – Charlie worried for his daughter's well being, Charlie's very hostile towards me. Renée, however, was more perceptive and worried about Bella's happiness. They were very different things to worry about.
"Oh, Edward, weren't you supposed to be getting back to Carlisle?" Renée asked, suddenly remembering my excuse from earlier.
"He won't mind. He'll understand about Bella." I smiled. Carlisle doesn't worry. Besides, I spend most of my nights with Bella while she sleeps – he knows where I'll be, and if in doubt, ask Alice.
"Are you hungry?" she asked. She wanted me to stay, to talk about Bella with me. It saddened me to see that she missed Bella, always thinking and hoping that staying with Forks had been a temporary arrangement until she and Phil had found a permanent place to stay. I could tell she regretted the decision, and would never had allowed it if she knew things would have panned out this way.
"Sure, okay," I said, against my instincts. Renée was an important part of Bella's life, so I would try to be as normal and welcoming towards her as I could. I wanted her approval as Bella's boyfriend.
"I can do you whatever you like. I went shopping earlier today whilst Bella was at school. I only just finished packing it away, 'cause I got distracted when I got back here. I found these things, and it's nosey of me I know, but I couldn't help it!" She smiled guiltily as we walked downstairs. Her mind was filled with the familiarity yet distance of this house. She noticed that the house had hardly changed since she left Charlie all those years ago. She couldn't quite decide whether it was sweet and flattering or kind of creepy.
I followed her into the kitchen.
"I should probably cook you something healthy, with your father being a doctor and all." She smiled, very similar to that of Bella's. "But, I could do you something different? I got some chips? A burger? They're quick and easy to do?" Nothing was really appetising to me, so I merely nodded at the last suggestion and watched as she took two burgers out of the fridge and placed them on the pan. They sizzled as they hit.
Renée took the seat opposite me at the kitchen table, but it wasn't as awkward as with Charlie. Renée had a lot more of an understanding than Charlie, a wider viewing point. Protective, she was, but she was very observant too. It amazed me how her mind was childlike. She was curious as to what level mine and Bella's relationship was one, curious about sex where Charlie never thought about it. Renée wanted to know things, similar to the way a best friend did, different to that of a mother.
"So tell me about yourself, Edward," she encouraged, deeply curious about her daughter's boyfriend. It just so happened that our conversation was under such circumstances.
"What would you like to know?" I asked, waiting for a reply, but Renée believed it to be a rhetorical question so I continued to avoid embarrassment. "I'm Edward Cullen and I'm seventeen years old, born Edward Masen to my biological parents Elizabeth and Edward. I was adopted by Carlisle and Esme at the age of four after my parents passed away, and was joined by my other siblings at some other time. We moved to Forks High where I met a girl named Bella Swan, who I am in love with." I said, knowing that I had satisfied Renée's question. She smiled at my little speech.
I felt guilty, at first. I wanted Renée's approval but I was lying to her. I was deceiving her, but there really was no other option.
"Do you miss your parents?" she asked carefully so as not to hurt my feelings.
"I don't remember them much," I replied honestly. "So, I would say no, I do not really miss my real parents." I paused for a moment. "Carlisle and Esme are my parents and they provide for me in every way they can."
"What about your siblings? There is a lot of you, isn't there?"
"I get on with Alice and Emmett best, I'd say. Alice is small and can be annoying, but her heart is in the right place. She makes the most effort. Emmett is huge, and is just... more like a brother to me. We joke, we fight... brother things. Rosalie and Jasper, they are my in-laws, even though I grew up with them. There's a difference. I love them too, don't get me wrong, but Rosalie is harder to talk to. She's a lot more difficult to please and Jasper is so wrapped up in Alice, you can't have a sensible conversation with him." I laughed.
"And Bella? You really love her?" I was taken aback by her forwardness but she reminded me a little of Bella. I was pleased she was asking these questions so I had a chance to explain myself – Charlie never gave me that chance.
I paused, trying to think of words that would describe how much. "Yes," I said finally. "Very much."
Renée stood and tended to the bits of meat that were cooking in the pan. The smell of it was strong but not at all attracting. I was used to it after learning to cook for Bella's sake. She placed both of them between buns, and placed them on two plates.
"Thank you," I said as she handed it to me.
"Not many boys are like you. They wouldn't want to help look after a girl when she's sick." I took a bite of my burger and chewed happily, despite the taste. "I like you, Edward. I liked you when I saw you in the hospital that day. Don't get me wrong, I didn't like you at one point but I do now. I'd like to see you again. You're a very sensible young man." She was pretty much stating all of her thoughts aloud. "Can I ask you something?" she said, after taking a bite of her own burger.
"Sure," I replied, nodding and drinking some more of my tea – it really was disgusting.
"Does Bella enjoy it here? Does she miss me?" The thoughts had only just arrived in her mind that I had been given no head start – Renée really was saying them as she thought them.
What could I say? Bella's mind was so closed to me, and it pained me sometimes that I had no insight to her. I wanted to see what she was thinking, but I just couldn't, no matter how desperate I was. It was very frustrating.
"Please be honest with me." Renée added her expression a little desperate.
"I won't lie, Renée," I assured. "Bella didn't like it here at first. She was never very good for change, and especially the weather." I smiled as Renée chuckled, her thoughts filled with memories of Bella in the rare moments of rain in Arizona. "But she grew to like it here, and of course she misses you." Renée's thoughts suddenly got a little worried, thinking of ways to help her daughter. If she misses me and I miss her, maybe she will come back with me? Renée thought.
"It's not as desperate anymore. She does enjoy it here, Renée." I wondered whether I was being selfish. If Renée offered Bella a home in Florida, would she go? I could not accompany her, because of the sun. I would be way too conspicuous. I didn't want her to go... how very selfish.
"I know, I know. I can see that. I can tell by her messages. She loves you too, Edward." She smiled. And then, before I could stop her, she reached over and touched my hand. She flinched at it's coldness, but no signal registered in her mind.
"I like you, Edward," she repeated, unaware that she'd told me the very same thing moments earlier. I nodded and mirrored her smile. I withdrew my hand and finished my burger and my tea in near silence.
"I really must be going now, Renée. I was supposed to be home a while ago."
"I hope Carlisle won't be too mad. I can ring him, and let him know you were helping me and Bella if you like. Maybe he'll be nice."
"He'll be fine. I've got another fifteen minutes before lock down, and it's a Friday so he'll be fine." That made her laugh.
"Nice to see you, Edward. I'll probably see you again tomorrow, before I go. Charlie's coming back tomorrow, but late. If Bella's well, maybe we could do something?" she suggested hopefully.
"I'll come again the morning," I promised, before walking out of the house. I drove my car down the road and parked it. Turning off the ignition, I ran back to the house. I climbed the tree outside Bella's window and sneaked inside. Renée was downstairs, clearing the pots away. I listened carefully, but she was singing to herself.
Bella was still asleep, oblivious to my presence. I crouched beside her, and stroked her stray hair that had fallen over her face. Her cheeks were flushed, so I pushed her bedcovers off of her and replaced it with a thin blanket. I kissed her forehead once more and whispered my love for her.
Renée was different to Charlie, and as much as I wanted to stay and watch Bella as she slept, making sure she was okay, I knew it was riskier with Renée than Charlie.
I walked slowly to the window – trying to delay my departure. I stole another glance at my beautiful Bella, before climbing out of the window and making my way to my Volvo which would take me home.
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