The clock on the ivory wall ticked in sync with the thumping of my heart and increased my lack of patience. I crossed my right khaki clad leg over the other and bobbed my leg up and down for the umpteenth time. I sighed lightly, uncrossed my leg and nervously tapped my foot against the off white linoleum. I sighed again as I looked around the nearly bare room. It was a typical doctor's office with a small table with cotton balls and Popsicle sticks in separate jars sitting on top. Near the corner of the room was a gray examination chair, covered in that thin paper that you sit on. I leaned forward yet again and gripped the edge of my seat; I felt the sweat on the palm of my hands.
I pushed my hair out of my face, both of my legs bounced up and down in a fast pace rhythm as the minutes slowly passed by. "Come on," I groaned as I cut my eyes toward the closed door. "Come on."
As if reading my mind the door suddenly opened and in walked my doctor, Dr. Sandra Sawyer. She was a short woman, maybe about my height with thick, wavy black hair. She smiled at me as she closed the door with her foot. The door closed with a soft click. Dr. Sawyer's white lab coat swayed around as she moved across the room and her eyes are locked on the clipboard in her hand. She pushed the backless, rolling stool across the room and sat down in front of me with a soft sigh.
"How are you today, Isabella?" she asked in that cheerful doctor's voice.
"Nervous," I replied.
"Hmm." She kept her eyes down while still studied my chart. She looked up and smiled yet again. I hated it when doctors smiled, especially when it was a fake smile. That was exactly what she had plastered across her impish face, a fake smile. Fake smiles always meant that the news was bad and they were only trying to keep you happy.
"Bad news, huh?"
Dr. Sawyer looked up with a shocked expression on her face. "Why do you say that?" she asked.
"I am smiling because I have high hopes for you Isabella. You seem to be a very strong woman and I'm sure you can handle this."
I said, "Spit it out." I couldn't take the suspense any longer.
"Your test results are positive," she said softly, her voice dropped tremendously.
"A-Are you sure? Let me see." I snatched the clipboard out of her hand and quickly read my fate.
I guess our happiness wasn't meant to last.
Three Months Later
"Bells, are you ready to go?" asks Jake as he leans against the doorframe of our two bedroom home nestled in La Push, actually right next door to Billy's place.
Jake said that he wanted to live closer to Billy because Rebecca is getting married soon and Rachel is heading back to college to receive her Master's degree in Psychology. At the time when Jake came up with the idea to have a house built for us, I thought it was an insane idea; mostly because he could barely do anything for himself. He was shot in the back during our time in Italy by one of Esme's FBI henchmen hiding in the air ducts of the restaurant in December. He was lucky Sam and Embry were there to back him up. After refusing medical treatment and insisting he was alright, he rushed to rescue me, where he collapsed because the bullet had moved while he pulled me from under that disgusting corpse.
Jake had surgery the same night by a very skillful doctor. The doctor said Jake was lucky because the bullet was only inches away from his spine. Any closer and he would have been paralyzed from the waist down, just like his father. We were able to transport him back to Forks where he stayed at the local hospital for recovery, until my father's funeral, but I quickly escorted him back to the hospital once the repast was over with. He still says that sometimes his toes feel tingly and numb. I sometimes wonder maybe he rushed his recovery. But that's my Jake for you; he isn't known to lie around the house all day doing nothing.
Suddenly I feel his warm arms wrap around me from behind and he clasps his hands together. He kisses my neck before resting his chin on my shoulder. "What's on your mind?" he asks softly.
"Nothing, Jake. I'm fine."
"No you're not." He sighs. "You're lying."
I keep my head down as I stare at his big hands forming a ball against my stomach.
"Are you worried about me?"
I turn around in his arms, press my hand against his warm cheek and force a smile on my face. I try to keep it as real and as genuine as possible. "Listen to me. I'm fine. I just have a lot on my mind."
He pushes his cheek against my hand, nuzzling it like a warm blanket. "We can talk about it."
My eyes falter toward his wide chest and I notice the lack of muscle mass through his shirt. I return my gaze to his, lean up on my tip toes and I hesitate for a moment as I think of the right place to kiss him. That's right; he can't catch it through kissing. I am still learning about my sickness, of course Jake doesn't know about it. I'm afraid to tell him because he just might leave me.
He lightly presses his lips against mine and closes his eyes. His lips linger against my own, but I am afraid to open my mouth. His tongue playfully darts across my bottom lip, begging for entrance, but I refuse. Once he sees that I am not budging, he pulls away with a light sigh.
"I wish you would talk to me," he says softly with a hint of disappointment in his eyes.
"I'm sorry." I glance at my watch. "Visiting hours is going to be over soon. We should go."
"Yeah," he says in a monotonous voice as he releases me. He turns around, stuffs his hands into the pocket of his black jeans and walks out of the living room with an obvious limp. I smile to myself as he changes his way of walking. He is doing his best to not make his new disability known. "Let's go Bells!"
Things have been going great for us in Forks and in La Push. The people here have welcomed me with open arms to say the least. Occasionally I get a few funny stares from the older women when I am out shopping and the teenage boys are always gawking at me for some reason. Their stares remind me of the young boy Monica tried to catch while she was teaching me the ropes. The old me would have taken them around the corner and probably sucked them off for some quick change, but the new me is making my money the legit way.
I am in charge of a battered women's group in Port Angeles where I work four times a week. My therapist, Dr. Sandra Phillips, is the one who hooked me up with the job. She said sharing my story is the first part of the healing process. I can't say that it is helping any at the moment. I have too much shit to handle and I really don't want the whole world to know my problems. Most of the women in my group either were being abused by their boyfriends or husbands, recovering drug addicts or former prostitutes like myself. I envy them a little because I have never heard a tale similar to my own.
I have been a tad bit reluctant about opening up to Dr. Phillips. I've given her tiny glimpses into my life, but not enough for her to heal me. My past is something I don't want existing in my new life, but I do realize in order for me to move forward I need to come to terms with the past. It is so hard to do though.
Renee is still living in Charlie's house. I couldn't get her to move out for nothing in the world. She's grown so attached to the place. She says she still feels Charlie's presence lingering and she wants to be closer to him. I didn't have the strength to stay there, for the first month after his death, I had a bad case of anxiety attacks every time I stepped foot inside. There are too many painful memories in that house. I can't stand it. So, I ended up asking Monica and Trixie if they would like to move out here because I didn't want Renee living alone. They happily agreed, went back to L.A. to settle business and they've been living here ever since. Renee likes them, especially Monica; she calls her "my sister". It's weird, I know, but Monica and I have been together since I was sixteen years old, we might as well be blood related. Trixie is currently in the process of trying to get her children back. I hope she succeeds. She and Renee have a lot in common when it comes down to losing their children.
I thrum my thumb against the top of the leather steering wheel as Jake stares out the window. As I flip on my right signal and turn on the street beside the hospital, Jake looks in my direction only for a moment. The warm light in his eyes quickly fades away. He hates this place. We've been coming back and forth to the local hospital for about four months now, just hoping maybe the situation is going to be different this time, but it never changes.
I reach over to grab his hand as I whip our Lexus into the parking lot with my other. He squeezes my hand gently and I do the same to show him that everything is going to be fine. I glance around the parking lot, for a small town the hospital is always full. A small grin pulls at my lip because I know this will make him smile. I fumble around the dashboard and grab the blue and white handicap tag and hang it on the mirror before parking between the faded blue lines. I turn off the car, take my keys out and look at Jake. He has a serious what-the-fuck look on his face.
"What?" I ask as I unbuckle my seatbelt and the strap slips from across my chest.
"You do know that you parked in a handicap spot, right?" he asks, cocking his eyebrow.
"Yeah." I turn around to grab my purse from off the backseat, a bouquet of yellow roses and a small brown teddy bear with a balloon tied to it. "What's the problem?"
"You think you're funny, Isabella."
I can barely hold back my grin because I know I am getting under his skin. He rarely calls me Isabella, so I know he's a little pissed. "I am just following the law."
"The law? Damn it, Bells, you know I am not handicap!"
Soft giggles escape my mouth and I quickly try to conceal them. I lean over to kiss him on the cheek, but he quickly opens the door to dodge me. As I climb out as well with a huge grin on my face, he glares at me from the other side. "I'm sorry baby, but you needed to smile. It's Quil's birthday. Cheer up, please?"
He sighs and a small amount of warmth returns to his eyes. He rubs his fingers through his black hair and flashes me that killer smile of his. "You're lucky I love you."
I slam the door shut and turn on the car alarm before meeting him on the sidewalk. "I know and I am lucky to have such a perfect handicap boyfriend who loves me," I say as I walk ahead of him.
He suddenly pushes me gently and of course I stumble. I turn around to look at him in shock. "Hey!"
He laughs. "Keep playing and you're going to be handicap too." He wraps his arm around my shoulder and we slowly walk toward the entrance of the hospital.
As we enter the one story building I feel Jake's hand rubbing the skin of my shoulder. I look up to see the worried expression on his face. His cheerful demeanor has faded completely. I turn away in shame because I've walked this same exact hallway some months ago when I discovered what is wrong with me. Sadly, I've been hiding this secret from Jake for three months. I stayed here so long that I feel like every doctor or nurse we pass in the hallway knows me.
I exhale deeply. I'm being paranoid.
"Bella, Jake!" yells Leah from outside of Quil's room. She waves her hand as we approaches her and the rest of the gang, Sam, Embry and Paul all greet us as well. She tucks a lock of thick hair behind her ear before removing Jake's arm from around me. "How are you, Bella?" she asks as she hugs me tightly.
Jake scowls at Leah and she sticks her tongue out.
"Fuck off." She's just as feisty as ever, but there is something different about her. Her russet skin has a faint glow to it. She is practically glowing. It must be the joy of having Sam back in her life. Her long, baby blue sundress flows around her thin body as she moves away from me and her matching beaded earrings dangles at her earlobes. "You're looking good," she says softly. "We need to start hanging out more."
"Yeah, well I've been busy. With work, Renee and taking care of Jake. Things have been a little hectic."
"How is therapy going?"
"So, so, I guess."
"You're wasting money. If you don't want to talk to her then I will. I have tons to talk about it."
"Like what?" I ask.
"Like how I screwed my boyfriend best friend's girl." She winks and then laughs out loud. "Seriously, I need to talk about these bisexual tendencies."
I join in on her laughter because I remember that night perfectly. "But it was worth it, right? I bet Sam isn't complaining now."
"No, he's not complaining at all. He finally sees the joy of two females together and is constantly asking me to invite a friend." She leans in closer to me and whispers, "Do you want to join us?"
"Fuck no she doesn't want to join you and Sam in your wild sexcapades!" yells Jake from across the hall.
Leah turns around toward him as fast as lightening. "She doesn't have too!" she yells back. "Just remember that she did the ice trick on me first! I bet she hasn't done that for you!"
My voice comes out as a whisper because people are starting to stick their heads from outside the neighboring rooms. "Guys, stop. You're making a scene." But they completely ignore me.
"What ice trick?" Jake looks in my direction and asks the same question again with his eyes. "Bells, what ice trick?" He looks disappointed.
"Excuse me, but you all need to be quiet," says a nurse who comes walking around the corner from where the nurse's station is located. "Patients are resting." She holds her finger against her lips, shushing us before she disappears around the corner again.
I say, "I'll show you later, Jake."
Jake shrugs his shoulders and then looks toward Paul. "Have you all been in yet?"
"No," says Paul. "We were waiting on you two. Old Quil and Mr. and Mrs. Ateara are already inside."
Embry pushes away from the pale blue wall. "We should give them some time."
The door to Quil's hospital room opens and Quil's parents are the first to exit. Quil looks exactly like his mother; she is short with a round face and graying black hair which is pulled back into a doughnut. She wraps her arms around her husband who is tall and lanky. I can hear her subtle cries and see her reddened eyes as she glances in my direction while her husband leads her away without another word. Next leaving the room is Old Quil; he is a very old man with snow white hair. He looks exhausted as he slowly passes us with his cane. I can see it in his eyes that he is tired and I imagine the situation he and his family are in, it can be a very tiring thing.
Jake grabs my hand and leads me into Quil's room. As long as I have been coming here with Jake, the sound of the medical equipment constantly beeping is something I will never get used to. There is a chair beside his bed and another in the corner. The room is tiny and bare; the only thing that would make this room look homey is the flowers and "Get Well" balloons on the desk.
Sam, Paul, Embry, Jake and Leah gather around Quil's bed as I place the fresh roses into the vase and throw out the old ones, after putting the balloon and teddy bear down. I stand beside Leah at the foot of his bed, follow the imprint of his legs underneath the thin white sheets up to his chest and stop at his motionless face.
Quil has been in a coma since December on the night Esme shot him. When the ambulance arrived at the restaurant, he was unresponsive. On the way to the hospital he flat lined, they were able to revive him, but soon after he quickly slipped into a coma. He's been this way ever since. The doctor's says that his brain is very active and that is a good thing. The problem is just bringing him out of his deep sleep. The doctors recently removed his breathing tube to see if he is able to breathe on his own. Thank goodness he is able to do that. I hated seeing Quil on life support; it was a constant reminder of what if. What if his parent's decided to turn the machine off and he never regained the ability to breathe on his own? He would die. My circle of friends has witnessed enough deaths as it is.
They say he has brain damage as well and if he was to wake up he would be a vegetable. I truly hope that is not the case. Mrs. Ateara and especially Old Quil appear to be on their last string of hope. I believe they would want him dead instead suffering. If it were me…I don't want to suffer either.
"Okay, let's sing Happy Birthday to him. I read on the internet that music tends to help wake up coma patients," says Leah softly, her voice is just as soft as mine.
Embry does a count off by snapping his fingers, but before we can get the first word out, the door opens. I lean back to see who it is and the short, slender figure approaches us. The young woman stands near the bathroom door as she gazes back at us with her big brown eyes. She appears to be about eighteen or nineteen years old, just fresh out of high school. She does look awfully familiar.
"Claire," says Leah in shock as she stares at the young girl. "What are you doing here?" she asks.
"Is Quil okay?" she asks as she slowly approaches the foot of the bed. Her curly brownish-black hair bounces around her shoulders. She looks around the room in each of our faces as she waits for an answer. She covers her mouth as her eyes lands on a bandaged Quil and she gasps instantly. "Quil? Wake up." She reaches out for him with a shaky hand, but quickly pulls it back.
Leah looks around the room at the guys and orders that we leave the room. I left as well.
As we stand outside the room, I fold my arms across my chest and stare at the speckled white tiles below my feet. I am completely at a loss for words. It's the first time that I've seen her or heard anything about her. Why does she look just like Emily?
"Are you serious?" asks Jake as he tilts his head against the wall. "I feel sorry for the kid."
"Her parents were against her and Quil dating," says Sam as he looks at Jake. "Because he is three years older than her. She broke up with him after she started her freshman year at some fashion school in New York. Leah said they were seeing each other on and off during the first couple of months and things happened."
"But it doesn't add up, we were in L.A. during that time."
"On the days we weren't doing anything, he would fly her out or go visit her." Sam shrugs his shoulder. "He was being slick about it."
I walk toward Jake and Sam with a curious look on my face. "She's pregnant, isn't she?"
"I guess," says Sam. "I haven't seen her until now."
The sound of Claire's hysterical cries resonates from inside the hospital room. "No! No! Leah! He can't! He has to see her! She's so beautiful!"
I hold my head down as I listen to Claire's tearful pleads. I picture her standing by his bedside, beckoning for him to wake up.
"Quil, baby! I'm sorry! Please wake up!"
"Bella," says Dr. Phillips as she stares at me from across the room. She crosses her shapely leg over the other and peers over her glasses. "Are you going to talk today?"
I cross my legs at the ankles and press the back of my head against the headrest of the leather couch. I really feel like a nutcase when laying here while staring at the beige ceiling. I play with my fingers and clasp my hands on my stomach. "I don't know where to start," I say.
"Start at the beginning."
"I told you the beginning already. My step-father started to abuse me at a very young age."
Dr. Phillips starts writing something in her notebook. "Mmmhmm. Do you know why?"
I shrug my shoulders. What kind of question is that? "I was a bad girl."
"So, that makes you a bad girl because you vomited all over his car?"
"In his eyes, yes."
"I'm sure you know that being sick does not give him the right to abuse you or label you as a bad girl."
I whisper, "I know."
"Then what could be his reason?"
I quietly think about the past. All the things Phil had said to me or done to me, every image is like a full motion picture. I can never forget how he treated me, it's been beaten into my system like a virus that won't go away…Like the virus I have. I inhale deeply and close my eyes before reopening them.
"I don't know."
Dr. Phillips peers over her glasses and gives me a questioning look. "Are you sure about that?"
"I told you I don't know."
"Okay, fine," she says after sensing how agitated I am becoming. "Let's change the subject. How is your relationship with Jake going? The last time we spoke, you said you had a secret, but you're afraid to tell him. Have you mentioned anything to him as of yet?"
Talking about my relationship with Jake always seems to brighten up my day, but adding my secret to the mix only makes me feel guilty. I sigh lightly and press the palm of my hand against my forehead. "Our relationship is going well. His ability to walk as if nothing is wrong is amazing to me. He's doing so well. His physical therapist says his rapid recovery is far better than his other patients." I tilt my head to the side to look at Dr. Phillips from across the room and smile. "Life couldn't get any better."
She says, "I know you're avoiding the subject, Bella."
I sit up straight and swing my legs over the side of the sofa. I rub my fingers through my bangs and slump my shoulders. "I really don't want to talk about the other problem right now. I'm not ready."
"You do know that you have to tell him at some point."
"I know. I will, just not now."
Dr. Phillips leans forward in her chair and stares at me with a serious expression on her face. "I don't know what your problem is, but I have a feeling that it is something you don't want to keep away from him for too long."
I close my eyes as I listen to the rough waves pounding against the shoreline at First Beach. I inhale deeply as Jake traces a line down my spine and stops where my jeans begin. He bends down and I feel his wet lips leave light kisses on my bare back and I sigh contently. As his lips touch my skin in a pattern, I soon realize what he is doing.
In between kisses he asks, "Do you think the scar will fade?" His voice reminds me of a gentle giant.
"Maybe. Cocoa butter is supposed to help." I roll onto my back and look up at my loving boyfriend. He stares down at me, but he looks thoughtful. "Why do you ask? You don't like it?"
"No," he says before kissing the scar which is lassoed around my waist. The scar left behind a pale pink mark, which stands out against my skin. "It's a constant reminder of what you went through. I hate seeing bruises on you. I guess…I'm a little upset because I wasn't there to protect you."
"But you did protect me."
"After the aftermath and then I passed out on you." He laughs. "I can't believe I passed out."
"Babe, you were wounded. Maybe if you would have stopped acting like Superman all the damn time, you probably could have done more damage."
"You say that as if you could have taken care of yourself."
I have a smug look on my face and cross my arms over my bare chest. "I could have."
Jake tilts his head back and his shoulder rises up and down as he laughs at me some more. "Yeah right."
"If Cherie and Renata had kept me tied up, I was going to run to pick up momentum, jump into the air and perform some weird aerial stunt."
Jake coughs loudly as he pounds his fist against the blanket. He is nearly gasping for air as he continues to laugh out loud. I don't think it's funny. I am being serious here.
"It's not funny, Jake." I pout.
His russet skin is red around the cheeks while his body shivers as he tries to control his laughter. He finally regains control over his body and holds his hands out. I notice the sly smirk forming with his lips. "Do you want the red pill or the blue pill?"
I roll my eyes at him and slap his hands away with my own. "I really hate you Jacob Black!"
He falls back and balances his weight on his elbows while laughing louder than before. "Hey, I'm not the one thinking I can be Neo from The Matrix!"
He sees that I am mad and wipes the amused look from off of his face. "I'm sorry," he whispers as he sits up, moving between my legs and snakes his tongue along my stomach. "I'm sorry." His tongue flickers at my belly button and I inhale sharply. As he makes his way up he engulfs my nipple in between his teeth and pulls gently before suckling like a baby. I tilt my head back and try to push my chest closer to his face. I suddenly feel his hot breath tickling my sensitive skin. He plants a light kiss just at my collar bone. "Do you accept my apology?"
"Mmmhmm," I mutter softly. "Just this once."
He chuckles before nibbling my neck. His firm hands are on my hip and slowly move them to unbutton my pants. I don't stop him when he quickly releases the button and unzips my pants. He hooks his fingers in the waistband, pulls it over my hips and I wiggle to help him. As he pulls the jeans down, his fingers drag across my already burning skin. I stretch my legs out and he pulls the thick material over my feet and tosses it onto the ground. He pushes me onto my back with my legs wrapped around his waist. Jake tilts his forehead against my own, presses his hands against my cheeks, looks deep into my eyes and kisses me deeply. I wrap my arms around his neck and enjoy the taste of his tongue in mouth.
I push my body into his and he rolls onto his back while his fingers comb through my hair. I moan against his mouth and hungrily tug on his bottom lip as I somehow find myself on my back again. Our breathing is heavy and rapid and it's obvious that we haven't had a moment like this in a while.
Jake hands fumble around my black bikini and release the strings on the side. The thin fabric falls onto the large red blanket and the strings fall over my thighs. He kisses me again and whispers against my mouth in a sexy, husky tone, "It's been a while." He quickly works his way down kissing and sampling my skin with his tongue. My body instantly reacts to his touch. I feel his tongue dancing between the joint of my thighs and I instantly arch my back because it gives me a tingling sensation.
"Jake," I whisper in a breathy tone.
"Hmm?" His large fingers massage at my opening, fondling and tickling my wet lips.
"We can't…" My words are cut off short as I roll my hips into his hand and he pumps his finger into my warmth. "Mmm…"
"You were saying?" He asks in a pleasing voice. That's the thing with Jake, he knows how to turn my body against me and make me melt into a puddle.
My eyes roll into the back of my head as I bite down on my bottom lip. "I was saying…Mmm…That definitely feels good." I reach down to comb my fingers through his black hair and push his head into my pussy. My hips buck against his hot, wet mouth and I suddenly realize what I am doing. "Stop!"
He jerks his head up as if we have been caught in the act and carefully looks around the perimeters. We are completely alone, nestled off in a cove far away from the normal hangout spot for the locals and tourists. He turns to look at me and asks, "What's wrong?"
"I-I can't do this," I stutter. My words come out frantically. "I just can't. We can't get this close ever again."
He looks confuse as he pushes away from me, confusion evident. "Why?"
I drop my eyes to my trembling hands and try to muster up the strength to tell him, but it is so hard.
"Are you pregnant?"
I shake my head. "No."
"Are you sick?"
I shrug my shoulders and clench my fists. My tears are already threatening to escape. "I don't know."
Jake moves closer to me and forces me look at him. His dark eyes are serious and sincere at the same time. "Tell me what's wrong."
A month after I found out about my diagnosis, I received a call from the Federal penitentiary where Cherie, Renata, Heidi and Rosalie are all being held because of their involvement with Aro and Caius. Since Aro was killed, Caius is the only leader left; he is taking all the blame for it and is serving out his life sentence. One weekend Monica and I took a road trip to California, we told everyone that she had some more business to handle and that she didn't want to go alone. They all fell for it.
"Bella, are you sure you're going to be okay?" asked Monica as we sat together in the parking lot of the prison. "I can go in with you if you like."
"No, I'll be fine. Just wait out here, I won't be too long."
After being searched and patted down, I checked myself in and a guard led me to the medical wing of the prison. As I walked down the long corridor the guard's keys dangled against his pants, clinking and clanking. I was so lucky to get out of that world ahead of time. If I had kept on the same path, I would probably be here as well.
"This way," said the guard as he opened the large metal door for me and I stepped inside.
The room was large with three, horizontal rows of beds crossing the room. Each bed had a patient in it; some looked extremely sick and nearly dead. The sound of machines beeped around me as nurses attended to the ill patients. I stopped a nurse who was carrying a tray of needles in her hands.
"Excuse me is there a Cherie Barber here?" I asked softly.
She nodded her head and pointed across the room near a window to my left. I turned in the direction she was pointing and I could see Cherie's brunette hair from where I stood. I said, "Thank you," before I walked toward Cherie's bedside. I rubbed my fingers through my hair and sighed deeply as I crossed the room.
When I reached her bedside, I noticed the IV with some kind of clear medicine snaking through a tube into her hand. Cherie turned on her side and I nearly gasped when I saw how thin she had gotten. Her skin was deathly pale, her once round, chubby cheeks had sunken in to the point where I can see the indenture of her cheeks. She looked miserable.
Cherie whispered my name in a raspy tone, "Bella?"
"Cherie." I stepped a little closer and placed her hand in mine. Her tiny fingers felt as if they would break if I squeezed her hand too hard. "Are you okay?"
She coughed to clear the mucus rattling in her throat. "Do I look okay?" she asked with a hint of attitude.
I bit my bottom lip to hold back the good tongue lashing I wanted to give her. "What happened to you? Why did you ask for me to come here?"
She pulled her hand away from mine and I felt the need to catch it before her bones shattered against the bed. She tried to adjust her position and propped her hand underneath her chin. "I take it she didn't tell you," she said. She turned her head toward me. "I asked you to come here because I don't have any family. I needed to tell you something before I die."
I was literally floored. My mouth dropped open wide. "You're dying? Can't be!"
Cherie rolled her eyes. "Don't try to cheer me up. I've accepted it." She sighed deeply. "I rather die instead of rotting in this shit hole for the rest of my life."
"I-I don't understand."
"Did you sleep with Aro?" she asked out of the blue.
"No." I shook my head. "I wouldn't let him. Did you not see his penis?"
She chuckled softly and her grin soon disappeared. "Plenty of times. What about Edward?"
"Of course. I mean, I had no other choice. I had too. He was my…pimp. What are you getting at?"
"Did you know that Edward was HIV positive?"
End of Flashback
I can't control my tears as I gasp for air and try to rein in my emotions. My body shivers uncontrollably and I wrap my arms around my body. I can't bring myself to let those deadly words seep through my lips. How can I tell him, the one person that I love that I have a disease that has no cure? How can I tell him that he may have it as well?
"Bells, sweetie." Jake reaches out to pry my arms away from my body, but I quickly push him away and scoot away from him. "Bells." He looks hurt as he stares at me with those gentle, endearing eyes of his. "Is there anything I can do to help you?" he asks while moving closer to me.
"There's nothing you can do for me, Jake! Nothing! I'm going to die!" I yell at the top of my lungs and he sits back on his legs. "I'm not good for you! What kind of person infects the one they love, huh? What kind of person gives the one they love the world and then betray them?" I soon realize that I am no longer talking about Jake, but Edward. This is the guy who said that he loved me! This is the guy who wanted to give me the world and this is what he leaves me with! A fucking sickness that I have no control over! Even after death he is still eating at my body and soul.
Suddenly Jake wraps his arms around me and pulls me into his chest as I try to pull away from his grasp. I ball my hands into fists and pound them against his chest, but his grasp grows tighter and comforting. "Stop, Jake!" I cry out loud. "Let me go!"
"No!" he yells. He buries his nose into my hair and kisses the top of my head. "I'm not letting you go! Never!"
"You don't deserve me, Jake. I can't give you anything. I can't give you children or my body. None of that."
"Sshh," he whispers and rocks me from side to side. "Stop."
"No, Jake, we can't-"
Jake presses his finger against my lips to silence me and I can see the understanding in his eyes. He shakes his head from side to side. "I don't want to ever hear you talk like that again. Do you hear me? Never. I want you to understand that I love you. I will always love you regardless of what you have." He cups my chin and pulls my face closer to his and places a tender kiss on my lips. "I'm not going anywhere and you can say whatever the hell you want to say, but I am not going to leave you like so many others. I am here for the long run. We're going to get through this together."
I start to speak again, but he cuts me off yet again.
"Together." He grabs my hand and kisses my promise ring. "It's a promise, remember?"
I nod my head and stare at him through watery eyes. "I understand. We'll get through this together."
I find myself lying to him and myself. We can't get through this together. I know he loves me, but is he really strong enough to handle a relationship with an HIV positive woman? Can he handle the death sentence hanging over my head?
Can I handle it?
Thank you all for reading the epilogue to Street Walkers: The Isabella 'Icee' Swan Story. I hope you all enjoyed it just as much as I did writing it. It's not the huge happy ending as I was planning in the beginning, but we're still getting there. I got a sequel to start writing at some point. I would like to thank my betas for being so awesome and coming with an open mind with this story. Thanks ladies! Most importantly I have to thank the readers. Without you guys support and enthusiasm the story probably would have never made it this far. So I thank you! Hopefully by me taking a chance, maybe there will be more risky stories popping up in the J/B fandom. I'll be looking out for them!
Once again, I thank you and I appreciate it so much! Much love! :D