A/N: Okay y'all, I entered this contest because I love, love, love the Beatles and their music. It's my first attempt at angst...so please play nice!!!! Thanks to lexiecullen17 for being my beta bad ass, that I love.
Song Inspiration: Hey Jude
Title of One-Shot: A Healing Love
Pairing: Edward & Bella
Summary or Description: While Edward takes a summer vacation with his two best friends he meets Bella, a beautiful, tactless, tattoo artist. When a family emergency calls him home what will he do? AH
This one-shot is being posted in participation with the All You Need is Love contest hosted by Camoozle, Emerald_Rosalie, Lightstardusting & Miztrezboo.
Please see the contest profile for full details.
Lyrics: Hey Jude don't make it bad
Take a sad song and make it better
Remember to let her into your heart
Then you can start to make it better
Hey Jude don't be afraid
You were made to go out and get her
The minute you let her under your skin
Then you begin to make it better
And any time you feel the pain, Hey Jude, refrain
Don't carry the world upon your shoulders
For well you know that it's a fool who plays it cool
By making his world a little colder
Da da da da da
da da da da
Hey Jude don't let me down
You have found her now go and get her
Remember to let her into your heart
Then you can start to make it better
So let it out and let it in
Hey Jude begin
You're waiting for someone to perform with
And don't you know that it's just you
Hey Jude you'll do
The movement you need is on your shoulder
Da da da da da
da da da da Yeah
Hey Jude don't make it bad
Take a sad song and make it better
Remember to let her under your skin
Then you'll begin to make it better
Better, better, better, better, better, Yeah,Yeah,Yeah
If only I had stayed. If only I hadn't begged her to let me go. How many 'if-onlys' there were running through my subconscious, nipping and gnawing at my heart and brain. The should-haves and could-haves had come and gone, but I was still idling on the if-onlys. I looked down at my intertwined hands as they broke their hold on each other and began rubbing over one another. The red and white creases of my knuckles shone brightly under the fluorescent hospital lights.
To not blame myself would have only added to my guilt. Two months, lost--gone forever, never to be found again. I couldn't have hated myself more than I did in this moment than in the past eighteen years of my life.
~*~ Two Months Ago ~*~
"Mom, please." I drew out the please so that it sounded like pleeeeeees. "Jasper and Emmett are going to be with me the whole time."
"I don't know, Edward...it's Europe. EUROPE! Have you ever watched the news about when people go missing overseas?" Her face was taut with concern and worry.
"No, but we have all seen Hostel," I joked, but once I saw her face twist with fear, I got serious. "Mom, we're not going anywhere but London. Nowhere crazy. I promise."
She stepped closer to me and pulled me into one of those tight 'mom hugs.' I knew that she was going to give in. "Fine, you can go, but you have to call me everyday. Edward, you're my baby...my only child, so cut me a little overbearing slack."
I had rushed out of the house the next morning with only a quick hug and kiss on her cheek. I was so excited that I hadn't even fathomed the thought that I might not see her again. Emmett, Jasper, and I had boarded our flight and bounced excitedly throughout the whole plane ride. Jasper was going to be attending school in London and had wanted to spend the summer getting acclimated to the area. Emmett and I were just along for the ride--a last party trip for the three of us, who had been best friends since second grade.
Emmett was going into his family's business to start working his way to a middle management position, and I was staying local and heading to the University of Washington. I didn't have a particular course of study that I wanted to jump into, but I figured I would figure it out eventually. I was taking all the required prerequisites freshman year, anyway.
We went to see the dorms that Jasper would be staying and even met his student liaison officer, Alice Brandon. She was small and fierce and looked like some preppy, goth-girl mix. She had black nails, lips, and hair paired with pretty girly dresses and skin covered in tattoos. She was semi-polite but always seemed like she wanted to be anywhere else but showing Jas around the university.
But on the second Tuesday that we were there, the well known rainy days of London set in. I mean, it poured, and we all went running into the nearest cafe that we could find. The first thing that my dearest friend checked was the same thing he had checked on in any inclimate Washington weather since middle school--his sketch book. The paper was some expensive shit that he parents supplied his talent with. I figured the thing might as well have been made out of spun sugar the way he feared that a tiny droplet of water would ruin it all.
I looked out on the gray stone walkway and to the skies that had opened and had made everything appear slick and glistening. Alice's usually terse tone softened as she asked if she could see some of his sketches. It was a moment of brilliance, like finding the one Hallmark card that isn't laughable, and for the following two weeks, they became inseparable. Emmett had met someone, too. Rosalie was a French woman that was in London on vacation. She was tall and blonde--Emmett's two favorite qualities in a potential mate.
The thing was, I had yet to see the woman smile. She always had a set jaw and mouth and appeared statuesque, in more ways than just her tall shapely figure. Alice was her contradiction--short and dark and talking all the fucking time...but at least she was endearing.
One month in, the halfway point, the three of us decided to get tattoos to commemorate our final summer together. It was the only time in the past few weeks that either of my friends had not been interlocked with the females they had met.
My male testosterone trip had a large injection of estrogen as soon as the doors to the tattoo parlor opened.
Alice was leaning over the front counter, her frilly pink tutu peeking out from under her black skirt. Alternating strips of pink and black laced up into a medieval looking corset. My mouth was open to say something when she took a step back and revealed the most exotic, wonderful, beautiful....
"What that fuck are you staring at?" ...and evidently foul-mouthed woman I had ever set eyes on.
"Um, yeah." Perfectly uttered response, asshole. I couldn't even form vulgar words. And to add insult to injury, Alice, Jasper, and Emmett started laughing at me.
Alice's roommate was the piece of perfection as she was introduced to us. "Everyone, this is Isabella."
"Bella." She interrupted Alice. "Just Bella."
Two enthralling hours later, I knew that Bella was a student that had come to London from Italy. She had studied classical art history but found her passion in tattooing. She had started in an apprenticeship for extra cash and had met Alice during her first session as an artist. Alice proceeded to lift the cuff sleeve off her wrist and showed a tiny purple star on the corner of her right wrist. So, it was only right that she would be the first to ink my skin.
After that first meeting, the six of us became inseparable. The girls had all been in London for forever, it seemed, and ended up being our tour guides and vacation experts. I kept my promise and called my mother everyday, which Bella had found amusing at first, then sweet later. There were only two weeks left on our trip when it all fell to pieces.
Rose and Bella always seemed upset when we mentioned that our flights back to the U.S. were quickly approaching. I had wanted to spend an evening alone with her and had made plans for us to tour a few museums. I just wanted to watch her as she took in and explained things she loved to me.
She was overjoyed at the notion of the solo date. The first museum was closed, and I had already turned off my cell before finding out. Bella assured me the second one was close by, so I just kept it turned off. Hell, the power up screen would have taken long enough to show up that I would have had to turn it off before it was fully back up.
The night was romantic and fun. I had never enjoyed learning so much. When Bella spoke about particular pieces of art, her face lit up and her smile widened like she had just woken up on Christmas morning and seen a whole living room filled with brightly wrapped presents. After the museum, we walked outside and just talked. I spilled to her how my dad left when my mom was pregnant with me and how I had never known him. I told her how my mother then raised me on her own and sacrificed her college and dreams to work hard and be a good provider.
I told her how we moved into the neighborhood when I started second grade and how Emmett and I had defended Jasper on the first day of school. And I told her how we were joined at the hip from then on and how we thought it was going to be awful with the three of us going to separate places for the first time since we were seven.
Somehow, she led me to a tiny, twenty-four hour cafe that served crepes at all hours. Bella said it was the closest to her mother's that she had ever found. She told me the story of her mother and father and how they didn't care for her new career. She told me how her father had left her mother and had an affair with a woman he soon made his wife. I learned that she had a half-brother, Jacob, who she never talked to because her step mother didn't like Bella; she was too much of a reminder of Renee, Bella's mother.
The talking continued on until our food arrived. My crepe was traditional strawberry and creme while Bella's looked more daring. I tried to pick it up like a burrito and heard the curious chuckles from a table nearby. Bella handed me my fork and smiled when I used it. She was more than any girl I had ever met. She was hard and soft at the same time, sweet and cool in temperament, and I wanted her all the more for it.
As I reached into my pocket to pay the bill, my hand stumbled around my cell. I remembered that it hadn't been turned back on and quickly hit the power button. I didn't expect for anyone to have called, especially since Bella had her phone on and it hadn't rung. The money I had retrieved from the folds of the weathered leather wallet sat idly in my palm while we waited on the server to return.
My phone beeped, vibrated, and flashed with missed calls and text messages. Emmett, Jasper, and an unknown number had all been missed. First was a text from Emmett saying to call him ASAP, and then the little envelope lit up my screen, telling me I had voice mail as well. I clicked the check message button and put the phone to my ear. What I heard made my breath seize up and my eyes sting with pain. The money that was in my palm fell to the floor, and I couldn't even begin to try to care.
"Edward, this is Mrs. Newton, your next door neighbor. I know that you're away on vacation, but your mother has been taken to the hospital. Please call St. Mary's as soon as you can." It didn't stop there, either. The next message was the uppercut to Mrs. Newton's left hook.
"Yes, I'm calling for Edward Masen. This is Dr. Cullen. Your mom, Elizabeth, has been admitted into the ICU under my care. I think that you should try and get here as quickly as possible. Please call me, so I can go into further detail."
My mom was in the hospital, and I had no idea why. And I was halfway around the world. Tears started free falling down my cheeks, splattering onto the formica of the table.
"Edward? Edward, what's the matter?" Bella's strangled, worried voice shook me as her hand inched toward mine. "Edward, are you okay?" When I didn't answer, she added, "I'm calling Alice and the guys."
I had no idea how long it took, but soon, I heard the bell chiming at the front door and Emmett and Jasper's voice co-mingling with Alice's and Bella's. My eyes were blurry, but I couldn't pull them away from the screen of my phone. It held the number to St. Mary's in a looming bold black print. I knew I had to hit the call button, but I just couldn't. I couldn't hear that something was wrong. My mom was everything to me, and until Bella, the only woman in my life.
The phone slid from my grasp by the force of another's hands. I peered up and saw a sad Emmett staring down at me. He looked broken, and he was always the strong one of our trio. "Edward, let me call for you...okay? Then, if you want to talk, you can." My head nodded from the weight of my throbbing head on my weak neck alone.
Emmett stood to my right at the table, his face hard, daring anyone to come close to stare at his crying friend. He was in his usual mode--protective. "I'm calling for Dr. Cullen, please. I understand, but tell him this is Edward Masen." A frown etched further at his mouth, and his jaw set in a hard line. "Dr Cullen? Please, tell me what's going on...yes, I understand...no, I had no idea...I'll be there as soon as I can...I'm in London right now. Okay, thank you."
He looked down at me and inclined his head to see if I wanted the phone. I couldn't, though. I couldn't hear what he had to say. She was my mom and no one ever wanted to hear that the one person they thought was indestructible and a superhero had something wrong with them. I. Just. Couldn't.
"Edward, I'm going to have Alice call the airlines and see what the first flight you and I can get back home is." Emmett handed my phone over his shoulder to Jasper after clicking at the keyboard. Jasper's eyes widened like Freddy Krueger had just popped off the screen. It was bad; Jasper didn't hide emotion well...at all. "E, man, did your mom tell you she's been sick?" Now it was my turn to go wide-eyed.
"No! If I knew she was sick I would have stayed home with her. I wouldn't have come on this trip."
"Then that's probably why she didn't say anything. She got diagnosed with stage four uterine cancer a few weeks before graduation. They started aggressive chemo the week we left for London. She's in ICU, and we have to get you back to Seattle, now."
Emmett's eyes were brimming with tears, and I heard Alice sniffle and saw out of my peripheral vision that she buried her face in Jasper's chest. His face was lost in her black hair. Bella stayed across the table from me, her hand still clutching at mine in a frozen pose of grief. They all knew what I didn't want to hear. My mom was dying.
I started sobbing uncontrollably as my mind flashed with every memory I could grasp ahold of and replay. I needed to see her, feel her around me, and I just couldn't. I heard the clearing of a throat and Jasper's voice deep in the background saying we could fly out at four am. But I couldn't see them--any of them; I could barely hear them.
All I could see was my eighth birthday, which was right after we had moved into the house my mom had spent her saving to get us in. Mike Newton had made fun of me for not having a party, and my mom had overheard, marched into the backyard, and announced that we were having one the next day. Emmett and Jasper came along with a few other neighborhood kids, while my mom served hot dogs and homemade cupcakes and let us run wild with silly string and cap guns in the yard.
There had been no party planned, and I had told her I was okay with that, but as soon as she'd heard that asshole Mike, she took an extra shift the following week and an advance on her pay to get it together. All the while she'd said, "A boy should never have to skip a celebration of the best day of his mother's life. The day I had you, Edward, will always be something to have a party for."
She was dying now, and all I could see was her smiling face, telling me I was her everything. Bella stayed silent the whole time. She went back to our summer flat rental and watched as I packed. She rode in the van with us, her hand still clutching mine desperately. As we entered the airport, she caressed my cheek with her fingertips and stood on tip-toes to kiss my cheek--a silent death-tainted goodbye.
Jasper flew back with us, even after I objected. My mom was their's as well. Every weekend, everyday after school...it had always been my house we hung out at. Emmett's parents were pushy and overbearing, Jas's went out on social functions, and my mom was just that....a mom. She made us snacks after school and indulged horror fest after horror fest of movies every weekend for ten years. The crushes and the heartbreaks had all been reported back to her. Her arms had been our solice through elementary and middle school. During high school she had backed off and tried not to pry, only giving advice when needed or asked for.
She had always joked that when I gained my friends, she had gained two more sons. That couldn't have been more true than when all of us sat on a long, empty plane ride, our eyes red-rimmed and breaths ragged and uneven. I thought about Bella and the last few weeks. Fuck, even the last few hours. I had been debating kissing her and professing how I had never really allowed a girl to hold my attention like she had. She hadn't objected to my leaving hastily; she hadn't voiced anything that would have made it harder for me to leave.
She had even been kind enough not to ask about it, and I had to think--knowing her--that it had been to spare me of any more hurt than I was already feeling.
We filed into the lobby of the ICU at St. Mary's, weary and sleep deprived. I was the only one allowed in her room when we got there, and Emmett and Jasper didn't say anything; they just took a seat and waited. I was led through a white sterile-looking corridor and into her windowless room, which was a shame because she so loved the sunshine. She'd always said, 'look what a sparkle it puts on everything in the world'.
Her body looked tiny and frail laid in the center of the hospital bed. Her hair was gone in places and thin in others. The affects of the chemo, the nurse had whispered in my ear and then informed me that the doctor would be in momentarily. I stood catercorner to her bed, afraid to approach. I didn't want it to be real or to make it a reality. But there she lay, broken, sick and pumped full of drugs.
The normally peachy tone to her skin had faded into a dull gray, similar to the skies in London. Her cheeks were hollowed out, and her lips were almost an identical color to her skin. She must have known I was there because her eyes fluttered open, showing me that the once vibrant green that used to reside there had paled as well.
"Baby, is that you?" I rushed over and collapsed next to the bed and rested my face on her curled hand, careful of the tubes protruding from her skin. "What are you doing here? You're supposed to be enjoying London and that girl you met and calling me about her later today." I couldn't believe what I was hearing. She had knowingly withheld that she was sick and kept hiding it from me to keep me from seeing her in pain.
"Mom, why didn't you tell me? I would have stayed, I should have been here with you."
"NO!" Her weak resolve fractured a bit with the strength of that single word. The fragility seeped back into her words when she spoke again. "I thought I could beat it. I never wanted you to endure this, but it refuses to be defeated."
I couldn't speak. The sobs I was battling blocked my throat and any sound that might have come out of it. Thankfully, or horrifically, the doctor showed at that moment to deliver the final right hook that would leave me knocked out cold on the mats.
"How much have you told him, Elizabeth?" He asked, and when she stayed silent, he nodded. "Edward, your mom got diagnosed with uterine cancer, and it was pretty bad...stage four. We advised that she try and get the best QOL (quality of life) with the time she had left. But,Liz is stubborn and wanted to fight it, so she sent you off, so you couldn't watch. I argued the point with her, but she wouldn't allow you to see her sick."
I was about to object to him talking about her like she wasn't in the room, but when my eyes drifted to her, I saw that she was fast asleep.
"She will go in and out of it today. We performed an aggressive treatment because the cancer had spread to her breasts and then her brain. We did a double mastectomy, a hysterectomy, and implanted chemo tablets close to the tumors that have cauliflowered into her brain tissue. That means that instead of sitting in there, it has rooted in and twisted and grown around the tissue, making it nearly impossible to remove it surgically."
"Is she going to get better?" I asked and received a vacant stare. "Of course not...or else you wouldn't have called me back. What else can we do? Anything?" Again silence. "I can't lose her, Dr. Cullen, we're all each other has."
"She said almost the same thing when she came in to get treated. She loves you, Edward, and she fought as hard as she could to beat this. It's just too aggressive a type of cancer."
"A few days at most."
"My brothers. She needs to see my brothers." His face looked confused. "My two best friends are here. They flew back with me, and she's always said they were like her two other sons...please." He nodded and walked to the door. Once there, he paused. "Edward, I know this is hard. I've been there, just where you are now, and I'm so sorry. I did all I could. I'm so sorry." His face was full of pain and regret, even though his tone was professional and serious. "I'll let the nurse know to add your brothers to the list of visitors, although their visits will have to be short."
I nodded and pulled the seat as close to my mother's side as I could get without actually crawling up next to her. Emmett and Jasper walked in shortly after, their unison gasp announcing their presence. I never left her side. They left and got me a change of clothes and food, offered to sit with her while I showered or ate...but I refused. If she only had days left, I would be with her every second that my body would allow.
The nurse shooed them away before dinner, telling them they could come back in the morning. She woke up shortly after.
"Angel, why are you still sitting here? Go home and get some rest." I quietly told her no, and she smiled at me. "So, he told you everything, did he? Edward, it's always been you and me. Ever since you were born, you have always been my angel."
She was rambling, and I thought maybe it was the morphine the nurse had administered earlier. "It's going to be rough for awhile, baby, but I want you to try and be happy. Take this sad time and make it better."
"Mom, I have no idea what you're talking about. There's nothing good about losing you. I just can't."
"Tell me about the girl, Bella." I had whiplash from my mom's conversation but ate it up just the same. I would never be able to tell my mom of my wedding day, the birth of her first grandchild--nothing. If I could have one non-sick moment of conversation with her, and it would make her happy--because this was obviously what she wants to talk about--then I would gladly do it.
"She's wild and beautiful. She is covered in tattoos and does them as well. She doesn't let me get away with anything...calls me on it all. I told her all about you, mom." I had started to cry again, and this time I couldn't stop the tears from flowing. "I'm sorry, mom. I'm so sorry...I just can't lose you."
"Don't be sad, baby. I don't want to leave you either, but I'll let you in on a secret. Love is a great healer. When your father left, the love you gave me lifted me up and made me whole again. I lived for you--for my love for you. You just have to find someone to let into your heart, my love. That's why I didn't let them call you back earlier. I have never heard you talk about a girl like you do this Bella. I was hoping that you'd have her to help you through this. To, in time, make you whole again...to love."
I hugged my mom in the softest/hardest way that her illness, tubes, and my fear of hurting her would allow. She patted my back with one hand and stroked my hair with the other. I had her same copper-colored wild locks, well, that she used to have. I slept with my head nestled in the bend of her waist. Through the night, I could feel her toying with my hair and whispering to me. She used to do the same after I'd had a nightmare when I was younger.
The next morning, I woke up to my mother staring at me. "Edward, I love you, and I need you to go get something to eat. Don't argue with me, my love. While you walk to the vending machine, call your Bella and let her know that you got here safe. Emmett and Jasper already came by early this morning and are out there waiting for you."
"Mom, I want to stay here with you. I can eat later."
"Edward Anthony Masen, you always were a stubborn one, and I love you all the more for it. But please go get something to eat, and think of what I said. You've already found the girl. You just have to go get her and let her heal you."
"I'll just grab a coffee from the machine. I'll be right outside your door."
"It's okay, baby, Dr. Cullen is going to come examine me."
I walked just outside her door and saw that the nurse's station had coffee. I asked for a cup and was handed one from an older woman with a sad smile. The ten feet to my mother's room felt like ten miles. As I neared the entryway, I heard her monitors beeping. I dropped my coffee and rushed in calling simultaneously to the nurse for help. My mom's eyes focused on me and fear shot through them.
"I didn't want you to see this, baby."
"Mom, please stay...please don't leave me."
"I love you, and just remember what I said. You just have to let her into your heart." She grabbed blindly at my hand and smiled as she whispered once more how much she loved me. Her eyes closed, and I wept. Loud sobs erupted from my chest and throat, strangling me under their weight.
I felt like time stood still as people moved around me. They cut off the monitors and pulled her blanket up to her chest, as if she were sleeping peacefully. I felt a hand on my shoulder and realized that sometime ago, I had collapsed to my knees and was still crying with my face pressed into my mom and my joined hands.
"Edward." It was Emmett. "Dr. Cullen said he tried to talk to you, but you wouldn't respond. You have to let mom go. You have to let them take care of her now. Please, let me and Jas take you home." I felt them flank me and help me to my feet. My eyes never left her face as they led me from my mother's deathbed. The nurses and Dr. Cullen were all congregated outside her door, watching me sadly as I left.
We stepped into the family waiting room, and my eyes tried to transition to the harsh fluorescent lighting. I blinked, feeling sure that my lack of sleep and my emotions had gotten the best of me. Standing a few feet in front of me was...Bella.
She ran to me and wrapped me in her arms. "Edward, I'm so sorry. I got here as fast as I could."
"Bella, Bella she's gone. My mom is gone." I sobbed into her long hair. "How'd you get here?"
"I sat and listened when everything happened. All I could think about was what your face looked like when you talked about her...how much she meant to you. And after that phone call, I knew it would be hard for you. I had to come. Then, when Jasper called, I was already on my way."
I looked over at Jasper and then started sobbing again. "She's gone. What am I going to do now?"
"You're going to let me help you." Bella stated, and I stopped breathing. "I will help you, and not just because it's what your mom wanted--when she had Jas call--it's because I want it. Let me help you, Edward."
I hugged her with all the force I had, the breath wooshing out of her in a gush. My mom had known, even at the end. All she had wanted was for me to be taken care of. "Take this sad time and make it better." I whispered my mother's words aloud.
A/N: So what did you think? Maybe I could try my hand at angsty again or should I leave it alone? Hahahaha, please R&R and let me know