I'm happy to announce that this story placed 2nd place in the contest. I can't believe it, I was so excited when I found out. Thank you to everyone who read and voted for my story. I appreciate the love and support from everyone.
Title: Take Care of My Heart
Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight or the characters involved. Stephenie Meyer does.
Summary: Bella and Alice are roommates at the hospital. Both are waiting for a transplant of different kinds. Edward is Alice's brother and only family. He comes to visit her daily and gets close to Bella in the process.
Submitted for the 'To Kill a Cullen' Contest
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"I'm really sorry," Dr. Patterson said. I sat in the chair in his office, unmoving as he gave me the diagnosis. "If you need a minute to think this over, please feel free to stay here as long as you like. I finally met his eyes and nodded my head in acknowledgement. He stood from his chair and left the room, closing the door behind him. I felt like my whole world had just ended in that moment.
It all started about two months ago, when I thought I was coming down with the flu. I was really weak and tired all the time. I couldn't focus on my school work for college. I was getting dizzy all the time. I was short of breath constantly. Walking up just a small flight of stairs wiped me out. Miserable would be an understatement, for how I was feeling.
After the insistence of my parents to see a doctor, during one of our weekly conversations on the phone, I finally scheduled an appointment. I figured he would tell me I had some sort of flu and tell me to get rest and lots of fluids, which would then make me feel silly for seeing a doctor in the first place. When I told the doctor my symptoms and explained to him that it's lasted for well over a month, he decided to run some tests to make sure it wasn't something serious. It scared me at first when I thought about it being something serious, but the doctor calmed my fears when he said he didn't expect to find anything. He was only doing all the tests as a precaution.
However, today when I thought he was going to tell me it was just some silly little virus that I could take antibiotics for, he hit me with the worst news possible. I had cardiomyopathy, and it didn't look good.
Doctor Patterson was referring me to a heart specialist named Dr. McCarty. He advised me to check into the hospital as soon as possible, so they could run some more tests and start a treatment regimen.
I hated hospitals. I didn't like being in them as a visitor or a patient and now here I was, checking myself in for an indefinite stay.
Once the secretary filled out all the forms and entered everything into the computer, a nurse came down to take me to my room. I was told I could bring my own comfortable clothing for my stay, so I didn't have to wear a hospital gown all the time, which I was highly grateful for. At least I'd have some part of normalcy left.
I went shopping the day before I was scheduled to check myself in and bought six new pairs of sweatpants and about a dozen tank tops. Since it was all I would probably wear for the next few months, I wanted to have plenty.
The nurse pushed me in a wheelchair down the hall and into the elevator. We went up to the eighth floor and yet another long hallway, until we came to the end. She pushed me into a rather large room with two hospital beds. There was a curtain separating the two sides. I noticed a figure lying in the bed on one side of the room.
"Alright, this will be your room for the next few months, or until they tell you to go home. My name is Rosalie and I'll be your main nurse for the duration of your stay. If you need anything just push the buzzer and I'll be right here." She continued to explain everything about the room and what it would be like to stay here. When she was finished she left the room and I began to unpack my bag. I didn't bring much, just my clothes and a couple books to read. I also brought my laptop so I could attempt to at least take a few online classes. I didn't want to get too far behind in school. Lastly, I brought a picture of my parents.
I had called my mom as soon as I was diagnosed and even though I tried to make it sound like it was not a big deal, my mom was hysterical with worry. Honestly, I didn't know much about the disease. I didn't want to know really. Dr. McCarty explained it was a disease in my heart which made it hard for my heart to pump blood and oxygen, which ended up making my heart grow in size to compensate for the strain. A normal heart is the size of your fist; mine was twice that size.
Once I was done unpacking my stuff, I went and sat on the bed with my laptop. I knew my parents were planning to fly into New York to be with me as soon as they could and they were planning to email me their flight itinerary. I was anxious to know when they would be here. As much as I was trying to be brave and strong for them and myself, I still had that little girl inside of me that just wanted my mommy to hold me in her arms and make it all go away.
"Hi," the girl next to me greeted, as she pulled the curtain back. I glanced over at her and smiled.
"Hello," I greeted. She looked young. Maybe fifteen or sixteen, although I could be wrong, I was never good at guessing peoples age. She was small and slender. Her hair was short and jet black. It was a little messy, probably from laying in the bed all the time. Her eyes had dark circles around them and her face was sunken. She looked about as bad as I felt.
"I'm Alice," she said. "What's your name? What are you here for?"
"Uh… my name's Bella. I have a heart condition," I responded, hesitantly. I didn't give her much information considering she was basically a stranger.
"I have leukemia. I've had it for almost three years. They've done just about everything you can imagine to try and fight it. Chemo, radiation, experimental treatments, bone marrow transplants… I've had it all, but it never goes away. Now my kidneys are failing from all the medications and treatments I've had. I have to go to dialysis three times a week now. My doctor says my next step is to try the bone marrow transplant, once again and see if it works this time. Then I may need a kidney transplant. I have about a five percent chance of living to see my twentieth birthday." She explained her entire condition to me like I was someone she had known her whole life. She liked to talk, too. She continued to tell me more. She was sixteen, like I had guessed. Her parents died a few years back in a plane accident. She's lived with her older brother ever since. He was all she had, and he was her rock.
I liked her. She was easy to talk to and very funny. She liked to joke about the nurses and doctors on the floor. I hadn't realized we had been talking for well over two hours when Dr. McCarty walked in and wanted to talk to me about what the next step would be for me. He wanted me to have an MRI, an EKG, my blood drawn, and numerous other tests done.
Once he left, Alice pulled the curtain back and looked over at me strangely. "What exactly is wrong with you?" She asked.
I sighed before I answered. "I have something called cardiomyopathy. It has to do with my heart. Basically my heart isn't working like it's supposed to, so I have to start some sort of treatment I guess. They haven't told me much yet."
"Wow," she said, with a shocked look. "Is your family nearby to support you?"
"My parents live in Washington. They should be flying in here within the next few days," I explained.
"Well, I'll be your support until they get here," she offered.
"Thanks Alice," I accepted with a smile.
"Do you want to see a picture of my boyfriend?" she asked.
"Sure." She reached into her drawer and hopped off her bed, jumping up onto the end of my bed. She held out the picture to me, and I took it, bringing it to my eyes.
"He's cute," I said. She beamed with pride.
"His name is Jasper. He lives in Texas and he suffered from Leukemia also. That's one great thing about having cancer. The nurses and volunteers are always trying to help the kids have some sense of normalcy, so they set up this pen pal program when I was first diagnosed. Anyone interested could write to other kids who were suffering from the same things. I put my name in at the insistence of Rosalie, the nurse, but I didn't pick a name out to write too. Jasper picked my name from the list, since we were both suffering from the same thing and around the same age. He's a couple years older than me though. We've been writing back and forth ever since and a few months ago he told me he loved me. He's doing much better now. He's in remission and living on his parents horse ranch. He loves horses. He rides them constantly. As soon as I'm in remission, I'm going to Texas to visit him. I don't care what anyone says, I'm going." She took the picture back from me and looked at it longingly and full of hope and determination. I got the impression she had been told she couldn't go quite a few times.
"Well, when you get there you'll have to tell me all about it," I suggested. She smiled hugely.
"You can count on it," she guaranteed. "I'm glad you're here Bella. The last roommate I had was grouchy and never wanted to talk to me. I can only talk to the walls for so long." We both began laughing just as a tall man with bronze colored hair and bright green eyes walked in.
"Well, it looks like my little sis has made a new friend," he joked.
"Edward," Alice shrieked. She jumped off the bed and ran across the room. He picked her up in his arms and hugged her tightly.
"How are you feeling today?" he asked, as he placed her back on the ground.
"I'm feeling excellent. I got another letter from Jasper today," she stated. I watched as his expression changed to one of disgust or irritation and I distinctly heard him groan.
"Edward, please don't. Why can't I have Jasper as my boyfriend?" Alice whined.
"You're too young to have a boyfriend and especially one that lives so far away," he voiced his opinion.
"Well, I don't care what you think. You can't stop me once I turn eighteen." I heard him huff as to let it go for now, but I had a feeling this was an everyday occurrence with them.
"Come on, I want you to meet my new roommate." She grabbed his hand and pulled him closer to my side of the room. I suddenly felt very self-conscious about my appearance. He was stunningly handsome and I was a plain-Jane type of girl. There was nothing special about me, other than the fact that my heart was too big.
"This is Bella," Alice introduced. "Bella, this is my brother Edward."
"It's nice to meet you, Bella," he greeted with a crooked smile. It made me breathless, just hearing him say my name. My heart started pounding harder and I knew that wasn't good on it.
I extended my hand to his and shook it. "It's nice to meet you too." Our eyes connected and our hands stayed clasped together for a long time. I don't know how long it was, but everything seemed to be in slow motion when we touched. The next thing I knew, a nurse came in and Edward let go of my hand quickly.
"Alright Bella, I'm here to take you down to your EKG, then when we get back it should be about dinner time," Rosalie informed. I nodded my head and swung my legs off the side of the bed, so I could climb into the wheelchair. Alice and Edward stood off to the side, while Rosalie pushed me out into the hallway.
"Good luck," Alice shouted after me.
The EKG was pretty easy, I just laid there while the tech did whatever it was he was doing. It lasted about an hour. Then I was ushered back to my room. When I got back Alice was on her side of the room with Edward. Both of them smiled as I came in.
"It looks like the dinner trays just arrived," Rosalie said. I was glad too. I was starving. The curtain was pulled shut when Rosalie left and I could hear Alice and Edward giggling on the other side of the curtain. I wanted to be a part of their conversation to get to know Edward better. He seemed like a really nice guy. But I didn't want to intrude. I barely knew these people. For all I knew he could be married or have a girlfriend already. Plus, he wouldn't want to get involved with someone with a serious medical condition like me. I started eating my dinner alone, which didn't look too appealing, but I had to start getting used to it.
After I was done eating, I was feeling very tired so I lay down and went to sleep. When I awoke a few hours later I looked around the darkened room and my eyes fell on Alice who was sitting at the foot of my bed. She smiled when she saw I was awake. I sat up wondering if maybe she needed something.
"My brother likes you," she stated, matter-of-factly. My eyebrows furrowed at her.
"What makes you think he likes me?" I asked. We barely said three words to each other. How did she come to this conclusion?
"I know my brother. The entire time you were gone he kept asking me questions about your condition and where you were from. I didn't know much, but I told him what I knew. I hope it was okay?" She asked. I shrugged my shoulders in surrender. Actually, I didn't like the fact she had told him what she knew about me, but what could I do about it now?
"Anyway, he seemed slightly on edge today, but as soon as you got back and he saw you were okay he eased up. I kept waiting for you to join us or at least open the curtain, but you never did. I thought maybe you liked to eat alone. But then we heard you start mumbling things, so I asked Edward to check on you. When he came back he had the goofiest grin on his face. He said you were talking in your sleep. Do you do that a lot? I'm wondering if I should invest in some ear plugs."
I felt my face heat up when she said Edward came to check on me. That meant he was watching me sleep and heard me talking. What was I talking about? I hope it wasn't something embarrassing.
"Well, I just wanted to let you know. And next time he's here you should join us. I think he wants to get to know you better," she suggested. "I'm going to bed now. Goodnight Bella." She hopped off my bed and went to her side of the room. She was asleep within seconds of hitting the pillow. I decided to go back to sleep as well, but my thoughts drifted to Edward throughout most of the night. Was Alice right? Did he really have an interest in me? Was it fair to him if he did? He already had his sister to worry about he didn't need me complicating his life further.
The next day, I was awoken by another nurse who was taking me down for more tests. I didn't even get to eat breakfast before I was wheeled away. When I got back, my parents were waiting for me. They had already met Alice I noticed. I practically jumped out of the wheel chair to hug them both. My mom, I could tell was tired and most likely had been crying. I felt such a sense of guilt come over me for causing them such grief.
My mom walked me over to the bed and sat me down. They both asked me question, after question and hovered over me. I kept giving Alice looks pleading for her to help in some way. But all she could do was smile at me with sympathy.
When Edward came in later that day my chest tightened. I didn't want my parents here when he was. If Alice was right, I wanted the chance to get to know him, but I couldn't do that with them here. He smiled at me when our eyes met and I gave him a weak smile in return. My mom, being the nosey person she is, turned around to see who it was I was smiling at. Edward noticed her glance at him and took it upon himself to introduce himself to them.
"Mom, you and dad are welcome to stay at my apartment. It isn't too far away from the hospital and it will be a lot better than staying in a hotel," I offered. "I'm sure you are both exhausted from your trip. Why don't you go back there and get settled in. We can visit more tomorrow."
"Not until I get a chance to talk to this doctor and find out what's really going on. I have a feeling you are being very vague in your description of what's happening," she stated.
"Ah, the dreaded parents are here," Dr. McCarty said from the doorway.
"Excuse me," my father said, in irritation.
"It was just a joke sir," he assured. "I'm Emmett McCarty, Bella's doctor. I'm actually glad you're both here. I'd like to discuss a few things with all of you if you don't mind." I watched as the blood ran from my mother's face.
"I'll take Alice for a walk," Edward informed from across the room. I glanced over at his face, as they walked out and saw a look of worry cross his face. I didn't know whether he was worried about me or maybe Alice or it could be something else entirely. Maybe I was even reading him wrong.
"So, we have some bad news and some good news," Dr. McCarty started. "Which would you like first?"
"Just give it to us straight doc," my dad demanded.
"Alright then," he agreed looking down at his chart. "I'm afraid Bella has something called cardiomyopathy. I believe you're all aware of this fact. Her heart is in bad condition. I'm surprised she's still as active as she is. That happens to be the good news. Bella, you're young and very healthy, which means you can get through this. The bad news is you're going to need a heart transplant eventually to be able to survive. The best I can do is put you on the donor list and do my best to keep you alive with what I am able to offer you until a donor heart comes along." My mom was already crying and I think I even saw my dad's eyes filling with tears. I stayed completely numb to everything. I knew this was a possibility, but it still didn't seem real yet.
"So, where do we get a heart?" my dad, Charlie asked.
"We don't "get" a heart. We wait," Dr. McCarty explained. "There isn't much else I can do. I'm really sorry." He turned his attention back on me. "But I promise you, I'm going to do everything I can to get you a heart, Bella." I nodded my head in understanding just as my mom threw herself across me and began bawling dramatically. I tried to comfort her and reassure her I'd be okay. Either way, I'd figure it out.
Later in the night when my parents finally left, I noticed Edward and Alice were on the other side of the room chatting quietly. I reached over and pulled the curtain back. They both looked over at me when I did.
"Why is it that I'm the one who's sick, but I feel like I have to console my parents instead of the other way around?" I blurted, the tears beginning to sting my eyes.
"Oh Bella, I'm so sorry," Alice cried, before she jumped off her bed to sit with me. I cried on her shoulder and after a few minutes I felt a strong, warm hand rubbing my back. Suddenly, I realized it was Edward and I felt silly for making a fool of myself in front of him. I sat up and wiped my eyes, looking between the two of them. Alice left her arm wrapped around my shoulders, but Edward removed his hand from my back and sat at the side of my bed.
"I'm sorry," I said. "I shouldn't have broken down in front of both of you. It's not your responsibility to take care of me."
"Bella, whatever you need we'll both be here for you," Alice explained. "We're friends right? That's what friends do for each other."
"Yeah Bella, if you need someone to talk to you can count on us," Edward agreed.
"Thanks," I said simply.
"Well, I guess I should probably let you girls get some sleep. I'll see you both tomorrow." Edward stood and kissed Alice on the head before heading out.
"So, what happened?" Alice asked as soon as he was gone.
"I need a heart transplant," I explained. "I won't survive for very long if I don't have one."
"I'm so sorry, Bella. I wish there was something I could do," she said, sympathetically.
"It's okay. I've got to be optimistic, right?"
"Right," she agreed, excitedly. "We both have to be optimistic. And when we get out of here, I'll marry Jasper and you can marry my brother."
I rolled my eyes and laughed at her statement. ,"Alice, I'm not going to marry your brother. I don't even know your brother."
"But you will. He's already in love with you."
"I think you are just a hopeless romantic, Alice," I implied.
"We'll see," she countered.
The following weeks were much the same. Tests, treatments, sleep, eat, and listening to my mom cry just about every day. I was getting worse and I knew that, but I tried not to let on to my parents or to Alice and Edward.
Edward and I still didn't talk much, but when he was here, Alice would do everything in her power to push us together. She would make little comments, which would always make me blush. Edward would just shake his head or laugh at her.
Most days all three of us would do something fun. Sometimes we would watch a movie Edward would bring in, or play a board game together. Some days Alice would be so tired or weak after chemo, Edward only stayed for a short amount of time. Some days it was the opposite and I would be the one too weak or tired.
I ended up dropping out of school, since I couldn't even focus enough to take online courses. My parents tried to talk me into going home and checking into the hospital in Seattle, but I refused. I wanted to stay here where I felt comfortable even in this situation.
Alice and I spent most of our days talking and started comparing notes about our medical background. It turned out we had a lot in common.
"Guess what Edward?" Alice shrieked, one day when he came walking in the room.
"What's that, sis?"
"Bella and I have the same blood type," she explained.
"What does that mean?"
"It means if they find a donor with our same tissue type we can both get our transplants at the same time and be better. Isn't that great?" she asked, excitedly.
"That is great," he agreed.
On the first of the month, Alice was down on a different floor getting dialysis done when Edward walked in. I was lying on my bed reading a book.
"Where's Alice?" he asked.
"She's getting dialysis," I informed
"Oh," he said. "Well, I brought you flowers and carrot cake."
I sat up and looked at his hands which contained two bouquets of mixed flowers and a brown paper bag. "You did?" I questioned.
"Alice likes carrot cake, but she can't have it very often, so we made a deal with her doctor. She gets her cake on the first of the month and that's the only time she can have it," he explained. "I didn't think it would be fair to not bring you some too. I hope it's okay. You can have cake can't you?"
"I think it's okay," I said. "No one has ever said anything about me not having sweets. It's very nice of you to do this for Alice and for me." He shrugged it off like it was no big deal. He placed the bag on the bed next to me then placed the bouquets of flowers on each of our nightstands. He roamed around the room, nervously checking things and looking at Alice's stuff.
"Are you feeling okay today?" He asked, suddenly.
"As good as can be expected," I responded.
"What are you reading?"
"It's Romeo and Juliet."
"Are you a fan of the classics?"
"I guess you could say that. I just like to read," I answered.
"Me too," he confessed. "I've always been an avid reader." There was silence between us again. I went back to reading my book, while Edward flipped through a magazine.
"So, are you going to eat your cake or not?" He asked, unexpectedly.
"Oh, um I thought I would wait for Alice."
"Wait for me for what?" Alice asked, as she was wheeled back into the room.
"Your cake silly," Edward stated. "Did you forget it's the first already?"
"I guess I did," she replied, weakly. She climbed back on her bed and under the covers. She was asleep within a few minutes.
"I should probably go since Alice is sleeping," Edward decided.
"You don't have to," I suggested. Our eyes connected and I saw his lips twitch slightly like he was trying to hold back a smile. He walked over and sat next to my bed in a chair. He pulled out one of the containers of cake from the bag and opened it up then handed it to me. I started taking a few bites. It was extremely sweet. I was getting a sugar rush rather quickly from it.
We talked about stupid stuff for quite a while. Mostly we just asked each other questions about our childhood or what our hopes and dreams were for the future. The only thing he hoped for was that his sister would get better.
I found out he had a really good job working as an editor for a magazine. He enjoyed his job too. He had raised Alice since she was twelve and those first couple years were really tough on both of them. Alice snuck out quite a bit. She was rebellious and did everything she was told not to do. On numerous occasions he was ready to give up on her and send her to a boarding school or to a foster home. But when they found out she had leukemia everything changed. They still bickered, which I was well aware of, most of the time it was about her relationship with Jasper. But things were much better between them now.
We talked about our favorite movies and favorite foods. After a while we became very comfortable around each other.
"I can't eat anymore of this. I'm going to be sick." I pushed the cake away. "You eat the rest." He smirked at me.
"You could just save it for tomorrow," he suggested.
"Nope, I think you need some sugar," I stated. I picked up the fork and filled it with a large bite of the cake. I brought it to his mouth watching his eyes the entire time as he took the bite. He smiled down at me after he took the bite.
"Come on, let's go for a walk," he stood up and grabbed the wheel chair. He helped me out of bed and into the chair and began pushing me down the hallway. We didn't say much. After circling the floor he took me down a dark hallway. As we got towards the end we heard something like moaning or crying coming from one of the other hallways.
"Do you hear that?" he asked.
"I do. Where do you think it's coming from?"
"I don't know, let's try to find out." We went a little further and finally found out where the sounds were coming from. We spotted Dr. McCarty and my nurse Rosalie in a compromising position. We both gasped at the sight and Edward instantly started pulling me back down the hallway as fast as he could. We rushed back to the room and were trying very hard not to laugh or at least not be so loud that we woke up Alice.
"I am so sorry," he apologized.
"You don't need to be sorry. You didn't know that's what was happening. I thought it was someone crying. Like maybe a child who got lost in the halls."
"It's going to be hard to keep a straight face around those two now," he pointed out.
"I agree. At least you don't have to face them and talk to them every day." He reached down putting the locks on the wheelchair then slid his hands underneath my legs and back picking me up. I wrapped my arms around his neck as he did. We stared into each other's eyes for brief second before he cleared his throat and laid me down on the pillow.
"I should go, Bella. You need to get some sleep," he reminded.
"Okay, I'll see you tomorrow then?" I asked.
He nodded his head. "I'll be here." He left for the night and I went to sleep. I dreamt about him during the night. I dreamt about what it would be like to build a life with him. What it would be like if some day we could be happy and have a family. But somehow I knew it would never happen.
The next morning, Alice was sitting up on her bed smiling over at me, while she ate her carrot cake. "See, I told you he loves you," she said.
"What are you talking about?" I asked.
"He brought you flowers and cake. Plus, he stayed and talked to you for a long time last night after I went to sleep."
"Alice, he brought you flowers and cake. He only gave those things to me because he didn't want me to feel left out. It was very sweet of him to do that for me."
"Can I tell you something?" she wondered. I nodded my head.
"Since I've been here at the hospital, Edward has never once brought me flowers. Until yesterday that is. I think he only did it as an excuse to bring you flowers. He couldn't very well bring you flowers out of the blue just because. He needed a reason, so he used me as his cover. My brother is really shy sometimes. He used to not be. He was always the fun, go-getter when he was in high school. He was always really popular and was invited to every party or event. But once our parents died, he changed. He was quiet and hardly ever did anything fun. It got worse when I was diagnosed with cancer. But now all of a sudden he seems happy and full of life again. I think that's all because of you."
"Alice, I know you think we would be this perfect couple or something, but what kind of life would that be for him? He already has you to worry about. I don't think he needs me adding to his worries," I said.
"It's too late," I heard him say from the doorway. My eyes widened with shock when I saw him standing in the doorway. He smiled bashfully, glancing at the floor.
"I'm going to go ask Rosalie if I've gotten any new mail," Alice said. She got up from the bed and began walking out of the room. I still stared at Edward with wide eyes as he started closing the distance between us.
"Bella, I know things aren't perfect and I know it's probably crazy, but I like you a lot. I've never felt this way about anyone. If you aren't ready or you aren't interested in me then I'd completely understand. But I just want you to know that I'll wait for you if I have to." He finished his declaration and I could feel tears swelling in my eyes.
"Edward, I like you too. But what kind of life would that be? There's a good chance I won't survive."
"I don't care. I'd rather have one day with you then a lifetime without you." He leaned in hesitantly, watching my expression the entire time. He place one hand on my cheek and lifted my face slightly so my lips would meet his. The kiss was soft and sweet. There was nothing special about it to someone who may have seen us. But for me, and I hoped for him too, it was everything. It was pure and full of love. Nothing could ever beat that feeling of his lips touching mine.
"We can make this work," he whispered. I nodded my head.
"I want to. But it's not fair to you. You deserve better," I insisted.
"You don't always get to choose who you fall in love with, Bella. I fell in love with you and I don't care if it's fair or not," he further convinced. "I only want you." He leaned down and kissed me once again.
From that day on, Edward and I were practically inseparable. He came by everyday like he normally did, but he stayed a lot longer than he had before. Usually after Alice would fall asleep we'd spend a good hour or two just being together and talking. He would lay on the bed with me at night, while I read a book. He played with my hair and watched me intently, while I read.
"You want to know the first moment I knew there might be a chance you felt the same way about me?" he asked. I turned to him with a smile. "That first day I came, when you got back from tests and you had fallen asleep, Alice and I could hear you mumbling something and it worried us. So, she insisted I go check on you to make sure you were okay. I leaned over you to make sure you were breathing and that nothing seemed out of the ordinary and I heard you say my name in your sleep. It was the greatest feeling I'd ever had." I leaned in closer and kissed him deeply.
"My eyes are hurting. Will you read to me?" I begged, when I pulled away.
"Anytime, Bella," he whispered. He took the book from me and started reading from where I left off.
He read everything with such passion that I was in awe of every word he spoke. I lay against his chest listening to his heart and to him reading, until the last words I heard him speak before I fell asleep were, "Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow, that I shall say good night till it be morrow."
The next morning I woke up and realized Edward was still underneath me. He had stayed all night with me. I looked up slightly and saw Alice staring over at us with a huge grin. Edward started to stir and opened his eyes looking between me and Alice.
"Good morning you two," Alice said, sweetly. Edward rubbed his face before glancing at his watch.
"Oh shit. I need to get to work." He crawled out from underneath me and grabbed his coat off the chair. He walked over to Alice and kissed her sweetly on the head. "Bye sis," he said, quickly. He then came back over to me and kissed me briefly on the mouth. "I'll be back later." I nodded my head and smiled up at him, before he dashed out of the room.
"I love seeing my brother so happy," Alice said. "I'm glad it's you who makes him happy too."
My mom walked in a few seconds after Edward left. "I just saw Edward rush out of here. Is everything okay?" She asked, staring over at Alice. I still hadn't told my mom about my relationship with Edward. She wouldn't understand and would probably tell me it was a bad idea. She'd say being in a serious relationship when my heart was so weak was a stupid idea and not worth it. But if there was a chance I was going to die, I wanted to die happy, and Edward made me happy.
"Edward just stayed here last night and he didn't realize it was so late. He needs to get to work," Alice explained.
"Well, are you alright, Dear," she asked her.
"I'm fine. Well, as fine as I can possibly be anyway," she replied. I glanced at her pleading with my eyes not to say anything. Thankfully she understood the message and covered for me.
My mom stayed most of the day and talked with Dr. McCarty about any new developments. There were none of course. But my mom still held out hope that I would start to get better.
Months later, things were still much the same. Edward and I were stronger than ever in our relationship and Alice beamed with pride every time she saw us together.
She continued to receive letters from Jasper and a couple times she actually let me hear some of what he wrote. He seemed like a very sweet young man. Much like Edward was, I believed.
One mid-afternoon while Alice and I were sitting across from each other talking and giggling all of a sudden she fell backwards. I saw her eyes roll in the back of her head and her body started convulsing. I rushed to her side as fast as I could, screaming out her name, begging her to wake up. The nurses came rushing in and started doing CPR and hooking her up to all sorts of machines.
"Alice," I continued to scream. One of the nurses came over and ushered me out of the room. I was crying and could barely stand up. I didn't know what was going on or what to do. Within seconds, I felt my entire body go limp and I hit the floor.
The next thing I knew, I was waking up in my bed. My body felt sore and I had oxygen wires in my nose. I saw Edward sitting at the edge of my bed with his face in his hands. I reached my hand out to him, and when he realized I was awake he reached for my hand bringing it to his lips, kissing it gently. He sniffled as he turned to brush the hair from my face and look into my eyes. I could tell he had been crying.
I turned my head slightly to look for Alice in her bed. She wasn't there. "Where's Alice?" I asked. His face fell once again.
"She's in the intensive care unit. She isn't doing well at all. She needs a kidney as soon as possible. She can't wait any longer," he explained. "They're testing me now to see if I'm a match. I've already given her bone marrow, so I don't see why it would be a problem to give her one of my kidneys too. The problem is she's so weak from the cancer she might not even make it through the transplant. I don't know what to do, Bella. I walked in today and both of you were gone. I didn't know where either of you were or what had happened. My whole world came crashing down. I can't bear to lose either of the girls I love. I can't do it." He was sobbing uncontrollably. I pulled him to me and laid his head against my chest brushing my fingers through his hair, trying to console him.
"It's okay, Edward. She needs you to be strong. Give her your kidney and make her better," I demanded.
After a few days, Alice was returned to our room but she was hooked to IV's and had an oxygen mask on most of the time. I think seeing her that way made it harder for me to keep going. It was getting harder and harder to even sit up. I slept a lot more now, as did Alice. On many occasions I would wake up to see Edward sitting in a chair between the both of us with his head in his hands. He looked so helpless all the time. It broke my heart.
My mom was no longer in the dark of Edwards' and my relationship since he did nothing to hide his affection for me, when she was around. She wasn't happy about it at first, like I knew she wouldn't be, but he was beginning to grow on her. He had a certain charisma about him, that everyone he came in contact with, were charmed by his personality, including my father.
He would always whisper sweet little things in my ear, like how beautiful I was, even when I knew I probably looked haggard, with dark circles around my eyes and pale thin skin. Sometimes he would talk about how someday we were going to grow old together. It brought tears to my eyes every time he talked like that. I wanted that life with him so desperately, but I wasn't sure if I was going to be that lucky.
After two weeks of waiting for Alice to get a little stronger, her doctors agreed to do the surgery where Edward would give Alice one of his kidneys. They scheduled the surgery and as long as Alice stayed strong until then, the surgery would go through.
I needed one favor of him first. "Edward," I began, breathlessly. "You need to get Jasper here."
"No," he insisted. "She needs to focus on getting better right now. Not on some long distance infatuation with a boy she shouldn't even be talking to anymore."
"Edward, she loves him. Please just give her this last wish. She might not make it and you know that. Don't let her die not ever getting the chance to find love," I pleaded with him.
"Bella don't ask this of me. She's only sixteen. She could die in a few days. How do you think that would make both her and this Jasper guy feel?"
"I might die very soon too Edward. But thankfully I found love in you. Let Alice have that too," I further argued. "Please, do this for me." He sighed and nodded his head in agreement.
I let out a shaky breath. "Thank you," I whispered.
When Bella asked me to find Jasper and bring him here for Alice, I was completely against it. She didn't need to complicate her life or his for some long distance relationship. But when Bella started pleading with me to do this for Alice, I couldn't refuse her. I'd do anything for her.
So that night when I got home, I called the boy and asked him if he'd be willing to come see her. I explained what had happened and the prognosis was not looking good. He instantly wanted to know where he was going and when. I told him I would book him a plane ticket and call him again with the details as soon as I had it all worked out.
I was thankful he seemed to be sincere with his feelings for her. He never once hesitated, when I asked him to come see her before she quite possibly died. Some people would not want to face that. I didn't even want to face it. I didn't want to think of Alice or Bella dying, but deep down I knew it was very possible I would lose one of them or even both. I'd be lost if I didn't have them in my life. I didn't know if I'd be able to go on without them.
The following days were spent prepping me and Alice for surgery. I had to see a psychologist and numerous other specialists to be sure I was rational enough to go through with this. I really didn't think I was rational enough for anything at the time, but I was good at faking it. It wasn't a matter of whether or not I wanted to do this, it was a matter of whether I could emotionally handle losing her if it didn't work.
I went to the airport and picked up Jasper later in the week. I had planned on taking him back to my apartment first and let him settle in, but he insisted we go straight to the hospital. The drive there was done in complete silence.
As I entered the room, like I always had before, there was something different in the air. I didn't like it and it sent chills up my spine. I glanced over at Bella who was sleeping. Alice was lying on her bed looking at a magazine.
"Alice, I have a surprise for you," I informed. I stepped aside so Jasper could walk in. When her eyes laid on him, she gasped with excitement. Jasper rushed to her side, grabbing her hand and kissing it repeatedly. It was such a sweet, tender thing to watch my sister so happy. I finally realized why Bella wanted me to do this. She needed something to be strong and fight for. Just like I knew Bella was doing for me.
After a little while, Jasper asked if he could take Alice down to the courtyard, so I shoved them off giving them some time to be alone.
I sat next to Bella's bed holding her hand, thinking about what I was about to do. I was so focused on Alice, I hadn't even thought about what giving my kidney to Alice would do to Bella. She would still be here fighting. I know they both had high hopes of finding a donor for both of them. And even though I had given Bella my heart in every sense of the word, that alone wouldn't save her. But I had to continue to be optimistic for her. I had to make sure she knew I wasn't going to give up on her. Not ever.
She started to stir and opened her eyes smiling up at me.
"Hi," I said.
"Hi," she responded with no more than a whisper. "Is he here?"
"Yeah, he took Alice down to the courtyard."
She let out a shaky breath. "Good."
"Bella, I need to tell you something," I started. She looked up at me with questioning eyes. "I love you, so much. When you get out of here I want us to be together. I want to spend the rest of my life with you." Tears were streaming down her face. "I'll wait as long as I have to for you. But I can't live without you. Bella, I'm asking you to marry me. All you have to do is say yes."
"Yes," she whispered through her tears. I smiled a goofy grin before leaning in to press my lips to hers. "I love you Edward. I always will. Just always remember that, no matter what."
"And I you," I agreed.
I untied one of my shoe laces and pulled it out of my shoe. I found a pair of scissors in one of the drawers and cut the shoe string in half. I went back to sit next to her, holding the strings in my hand. "Since you aren't allowed to have jewelry in this place, this is the best I can do for now." I tied the string around her wrist tightly. She was still crying and I knew it wasn't good on her heart. I reached up to her face and wiped the tears away. "Someday when you're all better and you're not in this hospital anymore, I'm going to replace this string with a diamond ring. I promise you that." She nodded her head, unable to speak. I kissed her once more and leaned my forehead against hers. We stayed like that for a long time, reveling in the fact that we were engaged.
When Alice and Jasper came back I could see how tired Alice was. I insisted she get some sleep and promised her I would bring Jasper back in the morning. Bella was almost asleep again, when I got ready to leave, so I kissed her one last time on the forehead and whispered in her ear that I loved her. She reached up and brushed my cheek with her fingers. I leaned into her hand, closing my eyes at the sensation her touch brought me. I didn't want to leave her. I wanted to stay right here with her for the rest of my life.
Jasper and I started the drive home silently at first.
"I need to ask you something," he blurted. I glanced over at him, waiting for him to continue. "I want your permission to ask Alice to marry me."
"Alice is only sixteen. She can't get married."
"But someday she can. Please, I'm begging you."
"You just met her. I can't let you ask her to marry you when you don't even know her. You'll end up breaking her heart and I can't let that happen," I argued.
"No, I won't. I know her better than probably even you do. I love her, Edward. I know you've had some grudge against me since Alice and I started writing back and forth, but I don't understand it. I'd never hurt her. She's all I think about. I always wanted to come here to see her, but she would never let me, because she was afraid of what you would do, if I showed up. It killed me not knowing what was happening or what I could do to help. I know the chance of her surviving is grim, but it doesn't change how I feel about her. It never will. Haven't you ever met someone unexpectedly and just knew in that moment she was the one? That your whole world existed because of her?"
His words hit me like a ton of bricks. I stared at him in disbelief. It was exactly what I felt for Bella. Every little thing he just said was the same. I finally got it. He loved Alice just as much as I loved Bella and my little sister deserved that kind of love from someone who was as gentle and loving as this man was.
I didn't see the car coming for us until it was too late. The impact of the other car slamming into the side of mine was so fast I never registered what happened. I was knocked unconscious. I started hearing sirens coming in the distance, just as I was coming to. I opened my eyes slightly. Jasper was leaning over me with a scared expression on his face.
The pain I felt all through my body was unbearable. My entire body felt broken. I could not only smell the blood, but I could taste it too. I knew it was only a matter of time.
"Edward, just hang on. The paramedics are on their way," Jasper shouted.
"Jasper," I said no more than a whisper. "I'm not going to make it."
"No, you will. They're on their way, just hold on. Please, just hold on. Alice and Bella need you. Don't give up yet," he cried.
"That's right they do need me. Jasper will you do me a favor?"
"Anything," he agreed.
"Make sure they keep my body alive long enough for Alice to get my kidneys or anything else she needs. Make sure of that."
"No, Edward no, she needs you to live," he pleaded.
"And make sure Bella gets my heart. They have the same blood type. I should be a match for her too," I continued, my voice shaky and throaty.
"Edward, don't give up yet. Don't do this to me, to them. They need you."
"And I'm giving them me. Take care of my little sister. Make sure you love her every day for the rest of her life, as much as I have." He nodded his head, telling me he would and also accepting my last requests. It was getting harder and harder to breathe. My entire body became numb. "Tell them both I love them. Tell Bella to take good care of my heart, I'm leaving it with her now." He nodded once again through his tears. I barely knew this boy, but in that moment I knew I could trust him. He was my brother in all senses of the word.
My body went limp just as the paramedics showed up. And that was the end. I died knowing the two people I loved most in this world would go on living because of me. That feeling alone gave me great joy as I left this world for the next.
It had been two years since Edward died. I glanced down at the shoe string I still had tied around my wrist. I think back to that day almost every day.
When he asked me to marry him I had never been so happy in my entire life. Everything I had been through those last few months didn't even register in my head. All that mattered was that moment. I went to sleep dreaming of our future together and actually believing it was possible.
When I woke up early the next morning and saw Jasper sitting in our room covered with blood and dirt, his face streaked with tears, I was scared. I was sure it was Alice. I sat up and saw her still lying in the bed next to me. I looked back at him waiting for some sort of explanation. He stared straight ahead with a dead, blank look on his face.
When our eyes finally met, I knew. I started sobbing uncontrollably.
"No, no, NO!" I cried. My sobbing woke Alice up. She started looking all around the room with a panicked look.
"Where's Edward?" She shouted. "Where's my brother?" Jasper ran across the room to hold her. She was crying and screaming much like I was doing.
"I'm so sorry. I tried everything I could to get him to hold on," Jasper informed us, through even more tears.
"What happened?" Alice asked with an unsteady voice. I remember rolling over and covering my head not wanting to know, but I heard it all anyway. He explained the car accident. The other car had side swiped them on the driver's side, crushing Edward and knocking him unconscious. Jasper said he was able to pull him out on the passenger side but he was so bad off there wasn't much he could do. Jasper said when he came to, he knew he wasn't going to make it and his only thought was of us. His last dying wishes were for Alice to be given his kidneys and I was to be given his heart. The doctors were willing to grant him this wish.
At first I didn't want it. I couldn't live in a world where he didn't exist. I wanted to plead with the doctors to go save him, to go wake him up and tell him he didn't have to do this. We could find another way to get through this.
But when the doctors and nurses came in to take us down to surgery and Jasper told me his last words were to tell me to take care of his heart, I had to grant him his wish as well. I gave Alice a big hug wishing her luck in surgery before they wheeled us off to separate operating rooms. I was put under anesthesia still crying for the man I loved and lost.
Now Alice and I live in Texas with Jasper and his family. Alice has been in remission for a little over a year and is doing amazingly well. They are planning their wedding for the summer and Alice has asked me to be her maid of honor, since I'm the only family she has. It was such a great honor and one I was thankful for. Alice was my sister in every sense of the word. We were connected in a way no other person ever could be. We carried a piece of the most giving and loving man who ever lived.
His last words to me were not only meant to take care of the heart he had given me to survive, but to take care of the only things he held in his heart. Which were Alice and I.
Edward's heart still beats inside of my chest and that alone gives me comfort that no matter where I go or what I do in my life, he still lives inside of me and will never leave me. I will always take care of his heart, until I'm able to give it back to him.
I'm sure everyone is crying now. I cry every time I re-read it and I'm the one that wrote it. Don't hate me for killing Edward. I just wanted to give a quick thank you to both bzeemomof4 and redlulu for being such awesome beta's. You both are so wonderful with helping me out and taking time out of your busy schedules to read and edit my stories. I couldn't do any of this without either of you.