Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. Any original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
I could feel Bella's lips on my cheek as she whispered my name; the warmth of her naked skin on mine. I didn't want to be awake; it felt like I'd only just gotten to sleep.
"You need to wake up," she whispered.
I tried to open my eyes, but it was next to impossible.
"Emmett's called my mobile twice. He said if you don't meet him downstairs in ten minutes, he's going to come and throw cold water all over you." she kissed my earlobe and breathed-out a sexy laugh. The sound sent a shockwave of desire straight to my dick.
"Bella," I said and rolled myself on top of her, pressing her back into the mattress.
I recalled how it felt to make love to her and I was instantly ready to do it again. I couldn't even open my eyes. Instead, I just felt and kissed her whilst sleepily inhaling the smell of sex and fresh sheets, and the faint scent of her floral perfume that seemed to be impregnated in her skin.
'...I'm going to get my period tomorrow, please Edward.'
I slowly opened my eyes when I recalled her words from last night.
"Did you...get your period?" I asked softly as I resumed kissing her neck.
"Not...yet," she moaned when my thumb gently glided over her breast.
I pulled away to look at her face. She was beautiful. Touching her skin was electrifying me; energizing me with desire. Her deep-brown eyes looked vibrant in the very dim light from the floor lamp.
The drapes were drawn, but I could tell it was still dark outside. Bella's hands were caressing my back.
I kissed her collarbone as I recalled everything that had happened yesterday.
I wanted her again. I was selfishly thinking that if it was soon to be that time of the month for her, she'd not want to be intimate until it was over. I was greedy and insatiable as I remembered how blissful it was to connect with Bella, without a condom that dulls the sensation.
"I need you." she said, like she could read my mind.
Bella spread her legs, raised her knees either side of my hips and glided her warm hands up and down my spine.
All thoughts of work and Emmett were forgotten as I slid inside Bella. I lazily rocked in and out, savoring the feel of her body underneath me, the taste of her breath and her wet tongue in my mouth.
I opened my eyes to see her face becoming pink, and her eyelashes fluttering. I was quickly losing control as the feel of her and her sweet sounds of pleasure overloaded my senses. I started thrusting with carnal intent as I roughly palmed her breast.
Time didn't exist in the throes of sexual euphoria.
Then I heard an incessant ringing.
It wasn't my ringtone. I looked to see Bella's phone moving as it vibrated across the nightstand.
"It's Emmett," Bella panted as her hands moved up to lock into my hair.
"Your phone is off. There's a do-not-disturb on your hotel phone, so he's been calling me...ahhhh...Edward...I'm...I..."
I lifted Bella's thigh and pushed up and over her, grinding down as I rocked my hips, trying to push against the place I knew would bring her immense pleasure.
"Edward, Edward!" she called out.
I felt Bella's body shudder and quake, contracting around me. I could barely hold on a few more seconds before I came; grunting her name as the thrill of ejaculating into her body rushed through me.
The release seemed to be even more intense than the two I had with her last night!
I'm fucking blessed! It will always be like this!
Bella's cell stopped ringing for a few short seconds and then started again.
I tried to regain my composure, but exhaustion paralyzed me. I pushed my face against her neck and took in long deep breaths, aware of how heated both our bodies were, and just how exhausted I was from lack of sleep. My lips brushed over the pulse point in her neck, her chest rising and falling rapidly. I was addicted to the feeling.
When the ringing broke through the haze of my euphoria, I tried to mentally shake my body out of the desire to sleep. I reached across Bella to take the phone that threatened to vibrate itself off the nightstand.
"You need to get down here. We're already late and I need to get to the airport to collect Alice in an hour."
"An hour?" I questioned, exhaustion still affecting my ability to think.
I slowly pulled my sweaty body away from Bella's and I rolled onto my back.
" Alice called me late last night and asked me for Bella's number. I didn't think that was a good idea, so I offered to pick her up from the airport instead."
I took in a deep breath. I was equally excited and annoyed. I couldn't wait to see Alice and introduce her to Bella, but all I wanted right now was to sleep. My limbs were heavy, the pleasure of connecting with Bella pulsated a warm and sleepy bliss all over my body. She was snuggled to my side, her lips just barely grazing my bicep.
Bella's cell nearly slipped out of my hand, I didn't have the strength to even hold it to my ear.
"You've got five minutes before I'm bashing your door down. Don't think I won't," he said assertively.
"OK," I conceded, before disconnecting.
Even though I knew I had to get off the bed and drag myself into the shower, I couldn't move.
"I don't want you to go..." I heard Bella sigh as she pressed her lips to my bicep, her tongue licking, her teeth lightly scraping my skin.
I groaned with equal amounts of desire and frustration. I wanted nothing more than to immerse myself in loving Bella all day. I didn't want to go to work.
Yet my responsibilities were more sobering than I wanted them to be. My obligation to my contract, and the fact that more than two hundred crew were all doing their jobs, so that I could turn up and do mine.
I opened my eyes and touched Bella's cheek.
"We have tonight. We have every night, together. I'm sorry. I should go before Emmett really does bust through the door."
I needed to snap out of it. I'd survived before on less sleep than this, and the last thing I wanted was for Emmett to actually appear in my room.
Bella will meet Alice tonight. Everything is coming together. This is going to be a momentous day.
I slowly pulled away from the heat and comfort of Bella's naked body.
"I love you," I said softly and then forced my feet to drag me into the bathroom.
The distinct aroma of freshly brewed coffee and toast, wafted to my nose when I entered the hotel restaurant at 7:29am. I spotted Elaine, sitting by the window.
It felt like a fog of bliss from Edward's touch still surrounded my body, even though I'd just spent fifteen minutes in the shower.
I'd thrown on my cotton sundress; it was slightly crumpled from being in my backpack. My hair was pulled back into a loose ponytail. For some reason, I didn't want to wash the memory of Edward fingers combing through it as he held me in his arms last night.
I could feel my cheeks heat up as I recalled everything.
Yeah, I'm still in the fog of love.
But in contrast to the remembrance of the overwhelming pleasure, I could also feel the telltale lower back pain that signaled I was indeed about to get a visit from Aunty Mary.
It was stupendously risky having unprotected sex, but when I get my period today, I can start on the pill and we can always...
"Good morning!" said Elaine.
I'd been in a bliss-haze as I'd walked to her table. She looked well rested and immaculate.
"Morning," I said. "Is Dad still asleep?"
She laughed. "Yep. I just couldn't seem to rouse him. Not even the lure of a free breakfast would entice him out of that heavenly, cloud-like bed!"
"I know," I yawned and then apologized with my eyes for being so rude. "Sorry. I'm a little sleepy myself."
"Hmmmmm, I bet Edward is also?" she raised her eyebrow, and then touched my hand with an excited grin as I sat down. "He's...just...I'm very happy for you Bella. You look radiant, and he's such a gentleman, and the way he looks at you..."
I smiled back. I didn't think I could verbalize how exultant I was. But I tried anyway.
"I'm so happy, Elaine. I can't wait to meet his family. I just want to be with him. He's going to be in my life. It's surreal and crazy and kind of... too good to be true!" I rambled excitedly.
"It's completely obvious that he's head over heels in love with you. Even Charlie noticed and commented."
"What did he say?" I asked nervously. I hadn't sensed anything negative from Dad last night. I desperately wanted him to come to love and accept Edward.
"He said that he knows Edward is a genuinely truthful person and that...he thinks he'll be the perfect man to love and care for you. He said he always knew you would find a person to inspire you. Those words, the song, Bella, it was absolutely amazing."
I absorbed Elaine's words and I registered my heart pounding.
"I want everything with Edward. Everything. He's my soul mate."
No truer words had ever been spoken.
The safety harness was cutting into the same place it had yesterday and it felt like my skin would be permanently branded.
I was anxious. I expected that Emmett would have already collected Alice from the airport and assumed they would have been here by now.
I tried to focus on the job at hand. It was the seventh take. Rosalie was not performing to the standard Marcus expected. Even I could sense his frustration with her.
"Rose, your tone is too assertive. You think you're going to lose the love of your life, you need to let the emotion come through in your voice." said Marc. His voice sounded tinny through the earpiece I was wearing. "Again, from the top."
"Right, sure." Rosalie responded grumpily.
"Mark it! Action!"
"You've changed your mind, haven't you?"
Rosalie became the character.
Her soft, compassionate articulation was worlds away from her usual Valley-girl dialect. The 'mask' of her character was in place, the emotion visible, as her eyes became glassy.
"No, I haven't changed my mind. We have to be realistic. We can't ignore it." I responded, channeling the emotions I needed to seem convincing; nailing the scene so we could move on.
The rest of the scene played out flawlessly.
"Cut! Let's move to scene 1-0-2 set up, guys." I heard Marc's approval through the earpiece.
I relaxed my stance, wincing slightly as the movement exacerbated the pressure from the harness. The platform we were standing on didn't allow for us to sit while the cameras were re-positioned. The harness was secured to one of the tree branches, tight and stable. We were a good sixty yards off the ground.
Unlike yesterday, there was a slight cool breeze. The briskness and the pain from the harness was keeping me more alert. I was surprised how well the makeup had transformed my sleep-deprived pallor.
When I looked down, I saw Emmett and Alice walking towards the barrier.
"Finally," I said to myself.
"You're such a prick!"
I looked at Rose. Her face was pink; her pissed-off scowl had returned.
"I wasn't referring to—"
"I'm so sick of this!" she cut me off, not allowing me the opportunity to correct her assumption that I was commenting on her performance.
I closed my eyes and inhaled.
I'm really not in any condition to put up with any of her attention-seeking antics right now. I'm tired. I'm sore. I just want to finish up for the day and take Alice to meet Bella.
I ignored Rosalie, looked to where Emmett and Alice were standing and waved.
Alice was grinning.
She's gonna go nuts waiting for me to finish up so she can meet Bella. I'm surprised she didn't demand that Emmett take her directly to Bella at the hotel!
Emmett walked Alice over to audio guy. I watched as he passed some headphones to Alice and she put them on.
"Edward!" she said excitedly and waved.
I laughed, and ignored Rosalie as she audibly huffed and crossed her arms over her chest. I knew she could hear Alice to.
"I can't believe I'm here!"
"Hey, it's great to see you," I said.
"Emmett said you met Charlie Swan last night?"
I knew what was going through Alice's head.
She knows that I would have asked Chief Swan officially for his blessing to marry Bella.
I wanted to confirm it. But I hesitated. There were too many people listening in; Rosalie, Marc, the sound guy.
"We'll talk later, Alice. I'll fill you in then."
"Just say 'yes' or 'no', Edward! I'm dying here!"
"Mom gave me something to give to you," her voice was high pitched and her excitement was infectious.
"It used to belong to Grandma Platt."
I knew instantly that Alice had the diamond ring that I planned to propose to Bella with.
I don't have to wait until the weekend. I can propose to Bella tonight!
I laughed. Happiness seeped out of every pore in my skin; tingled through every hair on my body.
"Thank you, Alice. Thank you."
"You deserve to be happy!" she said.
I watched as she took off the headphones and handed them back to the sound guy.
I closed my eyes and thought of Bella.
Never in my life had I ever felt so completely sure about something. I wanted nothing more than to declare myself to Bella forever.
Rosalie huffed and sniffed. I almost forgot that she was standing right next to me.
"How lovely," she said, her voice dripping with sarcasm. "A visit from your sister. What's the occasion, Edward? She's come to meet the little fangirl you're dating?"
I opened my eyes but I refused to look at her.
"Or maybe she's here to help you clean up the mess you made of Bree Tanner? It's all over Twitter how you're into underage girls. How wonderful for your career advancement! If only you'd taken my advice and dated Zafrina!"
Ignore her! There's no way I'm taking the bait. Not today.
"I suppose it doesn't hurt to pretend to date the Executive Producers' seventeen-year-old niece, to deflect the media from the fact you're simply dating 'a nobody'. Very well played!"
Anger flashed through me. I was seething inside, but I forced myself to not give her the reaction I knew she was trying to elicit from me.
I looked her directly in the eyes.
"Nothing you do or say is important to me. I used to feel sorry for you. But now, there's no feeling at all. You're a sad and toxic person, Rosalie Hale. You can't infect me with your bitterness." I said calmly.
I turned away from her and tried to rein in my anger.
I closed my eyes and thought of Bella's individualism the way she is, her sweet disposition, her excitement and compassion. Bella is the complete antithesis of Rosalie Hale.
How dare she call Bella 'a nobody?'
But try as I might to dismiss Rosalie's vindictive words, anxiety seeped into my bones.
This is what Bella will have to deal with; people discounting her relationship with me. People hating her for no reason, other than their jealousy or because they blindly believe anything that the media writes.
Will Bella become a stronger person? Or will exposure to the Hollywood life I'm living deflate and poison her? Just like it has Rosalie? Will the media shrink or amplify Bella's self-image?
My gut ached, because I didn't have an answer to those questions and I fucking loathed Rosalie for making me even think about it.
I opened my eyes to see her trying to unlatch her harness from the safety wire.
"What are you doing? We have another scene."
She didn't answer.
The stunt supervisor was calling out for her to stop.
"Is there a problem up there?" Marc asked us.
I heard someone shouting from below.
"Rose!" I reached for her. "Stop! Put that back on before you—"
She started crying.
Adrenaline rushed through me then, as I realized this was more than attention-seeking, and if she managed to pull loose the other carabiner, and slipped, there would be nothing but a free-fall drop of more than 50 yards.
I managed to grab her hand. I maneuvered my leg to get closer and pulled her waist harness towards me.
"Let go of me!" she shouted in my ear.
"Rosalie!" Marc yelled through the earpiece.
"What are you doing?" I asked.
"You're so fucking smug! I hate you Edward Cullen! I want to get down, right now!"
She was hysterical.
Her fingers started to unlatch the other side of the harness.
"Marc, get someone up here, please." I tried to sound calm, but I was far from it. Rose's harness was attached to mine.
"Rose, let's just wait for the professionals to get us down, take a break and talk about it."
"Now you wanna talk? After you've blown me off so many times? You don't know what it's like for me. You can't possibly know how hard it is to see him every day and know he'll never want me!"
Emmett? This is about Emmett?
I briefly looked down to spot Emmett, who was still standing with Alice, oblivious that this dramatic scene Rosalie was performing had anything to do with him.
She was bawling now, hyperventilating.
"I'll tell him!" I said automatically.
My hand still had a hold of her harness. I was only marginally appeased when I realized she couldn't reach for the last carabiner at the back.
"No! You can't!" she sobbed.
"Rosalie, reconnect your harness now…" Marcus sounded stern. I instantly knew that was the wrong tone to take with Rosalie when she was upset.
I watched as her eyes went wide and she ripped the earpiece from inside her ear and let it drop to the ground.
"You can't tell him!" she yelled at me.
Then Rosalie pushed my hand away and the force of her movement sent her backwards and off the narrow platform that we were standing on.
I felt the straps of the harness cut deeply with the force of her weight as she fell. Her scream echoed off the trees as she dropped. I tried to keep my footing, but it was no use. I could feel myself slipping as well.
There was shouting and chaos. I leaned back, the pain was excruciating.
Then the familiar voice of the stunt guy who'd conducted the safety training.
"Edward, can you hold her weight until we can get to you?"
I couldn't see her, but I felt her harness swinging her in a wide arc, as I tried to hold the wire and support her weight. The harness straps cut under my legs and across my back.
"Fuck! No, I'm slipping! You have to get her!"
I hugged Dad and Elaine before they went in the lift and up to their room. We'd had a wonderful day, just wandering around the city.
I'd never seen my dad so relaxed before.
I was so excited to get back to the B&B. I needed some time with Kate. I wanted to tell her everything, and get ready to see Edward. I just needed to be alone with him.
I pushed the 'down' lift button so I could get Kate's car, when I felt and heard my phone ringing from inside my bag.
"Hi Emmett!" I answered.
"Bella, thank goodness you answered."
"Did Edward get in trouble for being late?" I asked him.
"Umm no. Where are you?" He sounded upset.
"I'm still at the hotel. Is everything OK? Is Edward with you?"
"Listen to me carefully. Edward's friend, Angela Weber, is on her way to the hotel. Can you meet her at the front entrance in ten minutes?"
"Sure, why? Is there something wrong?"
"Angela will explain when she gets you," he said curtly, but with a level of distraction. I could hear some background noise. It sounded like he was inside.
"Gets me?" I questioned. "Where is she taking me?" I asked, starting to feel rather anxious.
"Um, Bella, I don't wanna tell you on the phone. Angela will explain everything. Just meet her out front." his voice inflected a tone that completely unnerved me.
Dread, anxiety, panic.
Something's not right.
"What's happened? Emmett? Please tell me; you're scaring me."
He didn't answer straight away.
"It's Edward," he finally spoke. "There was an accident, on-set. Rosalie…The safety harness...he fell, and landed at an odd angle. He hit his head. We're at the hospital."
All I saw in my vision was red. My temples pounded, the pain was excruciating.
So stabbing was my anguish that couldn't move. I couldn't speak. I knew Emmett was talking to me but it was like I'd been sucked into a glass bubble; his words were muffled and distorted.
The red haze in my vision turned to black, the blackest black; an infinite black dread.
My heart was no longer in my body, and my brain felt like it was shutting down because it couldn't deal with processing the information.
Edward can't be hurt! NO! He can't be hurt! I can't take it!
Then the black swirled, and it was like I was falling, and I felt strong arms grab me and I heard a familiar voice, and then a muted smashing sound.
"Miss Swan, please have some water. Bella?"
I didn't want to open my eyes. I recognized Mike the concierge's voice.
I wanted to be back in my apartment in Sydney. I wanted my cat Jake to be purring in my ear. I wanted the last six months to be erased.
It had been a dream, a sick and perverted dream; a dream in which I won a writing prize, traveled to a distant country to write, then in my first weeks there, I met a gorgeous man, one that would change my life forever.
The dream was a nightmare, a twist of the knife that had already pierced my abused heart.
What was the point of meeting my soul mate, if I was destined to lose him as soon as I found him!
Edward is hurt. He's in a hospital! I can't survive this, I just can't.
Flashing remembrances of nurses and tubes and wires—and Riley, his face cold and pale—the sickening scent of antiseptic, and watery, instant coffee in paper cups. I recalled the sound of the nurses' shoes squeaking over the highly polished linoleum, the whisperings of loss and death and sickness and hope, and miracles.
But what if there was no miracle for me? I knew I couldn't wake from this particular nightmare.
How could I bear it, how could I acknowledge it, without completely falling apart?
I forced my eyes open. It was Mike and I was in an unfamiliar room on a low sofa.
I was suddenly cold; so freezing cold. I could feel it to my bones, the shivering iciness that covered every inch of my body. It was the kind of cold that made your skin feel like it was actually burning.
"Drink this," Mike smiled at me, and held a ceramic teacup to my lips. I could see the worry in his eyes.
Then the door burst open and Garrett rushed into the room. He was in his chefs' uniform.
"I think she'll need something stronger, Mike."
Garrett held a crystal glass to my lips. I inhaled the scent—brandy.
I took a tentative sip. I could feel the warm liquid burning down my throat. It tasted like poison—I wished it was a poison—that would seep into my bloodstream and spread excruciatingly slowly to start shutting down my internal organs, petrifying them, turn me into cold, hard stone, unfeeling and unable to shatter. I needed something to protect my heart, to shield me from the pain of even thinking I could lose Edward.
The cold seemed to persistently encompass me. My hands were shaking. I couldn't keep my eyes open.
Edward. I love you.
"She's in shock. I'll get a blanket."
"Miss Swan, Bella," crooned Mike.
I tried to open my eyes.
"A girl called Angela Weber is on her way here to the hotel, to take you to the hospital."
NO, I can't go to the hospital. I can't.
"No, I can't go there!" I croaked. I felt instantly nauseous and dizzy.
I can't do this again! I can't see someone I love in pain! What if he...doesn't make it!
Suddenly Angela was kneeling on the floor in front of me, her hands on my knees her kind eyes and soft voice, a warming familiarity.
Mike took the glass of brandy from my shaking hands, and then I felt Angela's fingers capture mine in a firm grasp. Garrett draped a blanket around my shoulders.
"Bella, please, you have to come with me. Edward will want you there, he...wants you..."
"Angela, I can't..."
Images of RPA hospital flickered in my mind like I was watching some old movie on a glitchy VHS.
She sighed. "Bella, I know, and I understand what you went through when Riley was in the hospital, but this is Edward, and you need to help him now, just like you helped Riley recover. Please Bella, you're his...friend. He needs you! You need to come with me."
Recover? Friend? Angela doesn't know that Edward and I are more than friends? She doesn't know that he is my world, he is everything! I can't lose him!
"I can't lose him now!" I could feel the tears streaming down my face, but the rest of my body felt numb.
"Bella, we don't know the details, yet," she sounded so tentative. "Emmett said I should bring you to the hospital. Edward needs you. Alice will meet us there."
Alice? Oh God, it must be bad if his sister is already there from L.A!
I pulled away from Angela's grip and held my face in my hands. The room was spinning. I felt like I was going to be sick.
"Remember you told me that Victoria saw Riley every day, didn't she? But it was you that got him through it. You Bella, his friend. Edward needs you."
Angela's calming voice flashed me back to the room. I slowly opened my eyes.
I can do this. I can help him recover. He will recover, for me. He loves me. I can't lose him now, I just can't!
My body seemed to want to stand.
Then, we were in a car. Angela was driving. She had white ear buds on and was speaking on a call. I still felt nauseous. Panic had infected me. The motion as Angela took corners at high speed, threatened to make me puke.
"Yes, OK, Brett Warner. Got it. No, she's...that's right. Nothing at all? What time? It's OK, I won't leave her."
We eventually pulled into a parking lot and I saw people, lots of people: girls, teenagers, camera crews, and lots of women.
They had laid down flowers and had lit so many candles, even though it was still daylight. I couldn't help but sob as my tears blurred the scene. It looked like they were preparing for a midnight vigil; they were all crying and hugging each other.
"Oh God, please tell me he's going to be OK, I won't be—"
"Bella. Edward's dad has been on the phone to the hospital. He's a doctor and he knows some of the staff here. I assure you, Edward will be...in the best care, no matter what has happened. There really isn't any information yet. Well, not that they've released publicly."
"They won't let us in Angela!" I croaked. "Look at all the fans. We're not family. I know how hospitals work."
"We're getting in. Just, try to stay calm, or look calm and come with me."
I followed Angela as she started walking through the lot, instead of walking towards the crowd of fans, she veered left and to a green door, that was to the right of the 'No Access Emergency Vehicles Only' entry.
She called someone from her cell phone.
"Brett Warner, please."
We stood at the door. My legs felt like jelly and I was sweating.
This is all a fucked-up nightmare; I'm going to wake up.
"Hi Brett, this is Angela Weber. We're at the door...OK."
Angela looked relieved and put her phone in her pocket. She was so calm and yet switched-on and I felt even more depressed, because here I was going to pieces. Edward was my boyfriend and I'd only known him four weeks. Angela had known him for years, and she wasn't falling apart like me.
She's a real friend; I'm just a girl who can't deal with any of this. I can't lose him. I can't. I can't be in another hospital; I just can't see him hurt. I'm just not strong enough to go through it a second time! Am I cursed? Why do the men I love end up broken and in hospital!
The door clicked open and startled me.
"Angela?" said a tall, fair-haired orderly.
"Yes, Brett Warner?" she asked and grabbed my hand to pull me through the doorway.
Brett Warner instantly led us through a maze of service corridors and up two flights of stairs.
The ambiance was eerie. The off-white walls, scuffed and marked, the smell of heavy bleach burned my nostrils.
Then we went through another door and we were in the ward.
Nurses shuffled with purpose down the hallways. People talked in whispers over the faint, hypnotic pulse of beeping heart-monitors.
I stopped walking; my mind begged me to get the hell out of there.
I can't see Edward hurt and lying in a hospital bed!
"Bella, it's OK, I'll be with you the whole time, as soon as we find out how Edward is we can leave if you want. I promise." Angela wrapped her arm around my waist and started guiding me forward towards Brett Warner, the orderly that was holding a door open for us.
I proceeded as if I was in some trance state. Images of the night in the bar flashed back to me: Edward playing the hypnotic piano music, my hand scribbling words as they flew around in my mind, a swirl of letters and shapes forming sensual, emotive lyrics to our song, Episode.
Tears dripped from my eyes. I was a complete mess.
"Angela, thank goodness." Alice Cullen greeted Angela with a hug and a kiss to her cheek.
"Bella," said Angela softly, "this is Edward's sister, Alice."
I looked into Alice's hazel eyes. She was searching my face, scrutinizing me, and she looked astounded. She stepped towards me and hugged me tightly. I couldn't help but take the gesture in a bad way, like she needed to console herself and me. Like she knew I was about to break down.
Edward's not going to make it!
"It's wonderful to finally meet you, Bella. I wish it could be under more casual circumstances," she whispered, before she pulled back and stared into my eyes.
Her faint smile was tinged with relief and a kind of familiarity. She didn't look anything like Edward, but I felt a strange connection to her.
We both love him. We'll both need each other to get through this.
"Is he...?" I asked, even though I wasn't sure I could cope with her answer.
Please say 'He's going to be OK'.
"He has a closed transverse fracture, his tibia. The cast is set. They're waiting on some test results to come back. They're keeping him under until they know what they're dealing with." Alice's facial features were blank and she seemed collected.
"Under? He's not conscious?" I asked, panicking more than ever. I couldn't help but remember how they'd kept Riley in a medically induced coma, because they knew his injuries were very bad.
Would she tell me if it was really bad? I wasn't family. I knew Edward told her about me, but she didn't know the level of our commitment Edward and I shared!
I gripped Angela's arm tightly.
"He's had a head trauma. My dad told me its standard procedure to keep him out. His body needs to recover. My Dad's going to be on the next plane. We'll know more when the test results come back."
I wiped the tears from my face.
"You know, I believe he's going to be OK. I think I'd feel differently if something... He feels, at peace."
A sob broke from my chest.
"No, 'at peace' is the wrong way to say it. He hasn't told you, has he?" she asked, and she seemed shocked.
"Told me what?" I sobbed.
This was fast becoming insanely surreal. Alice's cryptic words were aggravating my panic.
Edward could die! His sister is telling me he will be at peace!
I just can't...
Alice pulled on my arm and took me to sit on a faded, grey vinyl covered chair in the corridor. She sat next to me, her hand still holding my arm reassuringly.
"Edward and I have an emotional connection. It's a 'twin' thing. I can tell he feels…calm. He's not in pain," she said. "I'm sure he's going to be fine. We just need to believe."
There was an ache in my chest. I'd instantly categorized Alice as a positive person, so her assessment didn't leave me with any confidence.
She's an optimist, not a realist!
I wanted to feel positive, I did, but I knew any trauma to the head was a serious injury.
"Let's go see him!" said Alice and I stared at her with incredulity.
I was not a family member.
"Come on!" Alice stood and tugged on my arm to drag me forward. Angela held my hand as we walked to a door.
A nurse had just exited the room. She smiled warmly, but her shoulders were straight and no-nonsense.
"This is Bella and Angela." Alice stated.
The nurse looked at us, and then she looked back at Alice.
"I want complete silence from that room. You have ten minutes and ten minutes only, capiche?"
"Thank you Nurse VanDale. We'll be super quiet!"
In a blur, Alice pulled me into the room.
Edward was lying on a raised bed, his leg was in a cast but it wasn't elevated. He had a bandage around his head. His skin looked really pale, but his lips were red. He didn't look in pain; he looked like he was sleeping.
I stood, frozen as I watched Alice walk up to him. She took his hand and spoke calmly.
"Bella's here, Edward. I can't believe you haven't told her yet! Lucky for you you're not conscious! I'm going to kick your butt when you wake up!" she laughed and then smoothed her delicate hand over his brow.
Salvia pooled in my mouth. I felt like I was in some bizarre alternate universe. Alice's positive attitude seemed really fake and annoying to me.
How can she speak that way? What if his injuries are permanent? What if...
Alice turned to look at me.
"Come on Bella. He needs to know you're here."
I couldn't speak. I couldn't move.
"Alice, maybe Bella can be alone with Edward for a minute, you know..." said Angela.
A vibrant smile spread across Alice's face. She was annoyingly jubilant considering her brother was pale, broken and unconscious.
"Of course," she agreed and they left the room.
As soon as I heard the door click closed, I took in a deep breath.
I made my feet walk to his side. My throat ached with a dry throbbing pain, and my tears just kept flowing silently.
When I picked up his hand, I was so disturbed by how limp it was. How his body was so still, apart from the soft rise and fall of his chest as he breathed through the tubes of oxygen in his nose.
It was devastating to compare the man lying here in this depressing hospital room, to the warm, sleepy Edward that was instantly responsive and reactive to my touch when he'd made love to me this morning.
Was that the last time I'd ever get to feel him loving me?
"Edward," I croaked and tried to swallow. I touched my lips to his cool cheek, as if I could transfer the heat from my skin into him.
This isn't happening.
"Please, Edward...don't..." I whispered as I cried.
I couldn't bear to think of any outcome that didn't have him with me. I kissed his cool forehead, and inhaled the soft masculine scent of his hair; my fingers gripped his cold hand possessively.
"Come back to me. I love you."
A/N: Sorry for the delay. I'm glad you came back…thank you for your encouragement and support, especially mpg, who helps me whip my words into shape, TwiCrazreader, Mountainlion718 and Cared for being such great motivators! Until next time… xxx