Chapter Title: Spilt Screen Sadness
Disclaimer: Twilight belongs to Ms. Stephanie Meyer, just as my stories belong to me.
N/B: Here ya go
The remainder of the Cullen family arrives a few hours before Charlie, meeting me outside of Bella's room, as the hospital only permits a certain number of people to be in a patient's room at any one time. I would have preferred to sit with Bella while speaking with them, but they deserve to know what's going on.
What the hell is this Edward? Rosalie is angry- Jasper and Emmett are too. Carlisle and Esme should be angry with me as well, it would only be understandable and right, but they are just happy to see me, Esme happier than anyone else. Carlisle's mind seems slightly confused by my actions.
So I explain. "I'm sorry I had to keep you all in the dark. I am also sorry that I asked Alice to not speak of it, but I had to ensure Bella's safety, as well as your own."
"So you don't think I can take on Victoria" Emmett challenges, flexing his muscles.
I shrug. "I wasn't willing to take that chance."
Jasper shakes his head. Do you understand how worried I felt Edward; not knowing what Alice was doing or going? How could you? And then you put her in harm's way… Jasper's anger is visible now- his body shakes and his hands are clenched.
"Jasper, I am truly sorry. I told Alice to leave, after we had figured out where Bella was, but she refused. She is selfless in this way, this you know. I promise you, I did my best to protect her. She is my sister." His rage decreases, but I can tell he is still hurt by my actions.
He wraps his arm around Alice's waist tightly as she rolls her eyes at him.
"I didn't see any danger coming to me Jasper; I knew what I was getting myself into. No need to worry." She smiles sweetly and gives him a peek on the cheek. He grins shakily, trying to relax.
Esme turns face me. "How is Bella doing?"
"Better." It has only been a few hours, but the medicine and warmth have already started to take effect. Color has returned to her face and her heart beats steadily now. She hasn't quite gained consciousness, but neither the doctor nor I am worried, she'll wake up soon enough.
And as excited, as eager, as I am to see her beautiful brown eyes open again, I can not help but feel a slight sense of dread.
It is very likely that Bella will not want me to stay with her. She may have moved on, found someone else to love. Found someone who isn't a monster. Someone who simply isn't me.
Maybe she has simply stopped loving me. I wouldn't blame her, I could understand that. I would leave her alone, forever, if she wanted that. I am not sure how I would make it through the rest of my existence without her, but I love her more than I love myself, and will do what she wants.
Regardless, my curiosity is rooted even deeper within myself than my despair. Why did she run away from home, why did she come here, to Chicago, instead of going to live with her mother and Phil? What could have been possibly been going through her mind?
"Well, we're glad she is doing well." I smile at Esme and give her the hug her mind is yearning for. We talk a little more, and then I return to Bella's room.
A few hours later, as I'm sitting with Bella, singing her lullaby, stroking her hair, Charlie comes in. His thoughts overwhelm me; he is full of pure relief and happiness. His eyes fill with unbridled joy as he stares at his only child, still alive, still safe.
"Oh thank God," he mumbles as he moves over to her bedside. I move out of the way and leave the room, giving him some time with her. As I leave her doctor goes in, nodding politely at me.
Carlisle sits outside, waiting for me. I sit next to him, rubbing my hands together anxiously. I can hear the doctor talking to Charlie, saying Bella should wake within the next few hours. Carlisle stares at me, trying to figure out what is bothering me, why I keep fidgeting in my chair.
Edward, calm down, I'm sure everything will end up fine. Humans are forgiving creatures; Bella will understand why you did what you did.
"She shouldn't. She should be angry and hurt, and she has every right to be. As much as I would like to hope that she will disregard my horrendous behavior, I don't think she will. I hurt her Carlisle; somehow I managed to hurt the one person who I love so much. She deserves better, she always has." I stand up and stare out the large window, watching people rush around. Why couldn't our life be like normal like that? Why did feel like misfortune was always trying to pull Bella and I apart?
Well, I know why. It is me, I'm the reason all of this has happened to her, and the monster inside of me, the same monster that has transformed from hunger into selfishness, comes alive. I should leave her alone. I should have never been with her in the first place.
It's not that simple Edward, you and Bella's love has never been that simple.
"But it is." My voice is quiet, empty, filled with despair. As much I as I often look to Carlisle for advice, as wise as he is, I do not believe he has the expertise in this subject.
Carlisle begins to say something, but stops. A dark haired woman hurries down the hallway towards us, a slightly overweight man following behind her. Renee.
Carlisle and I stand to greet Bella's mother.
"Oh hello Edward, I didn't know you were going to be here, last I heard you had…"She trails off, unsure of how to continue. Then she glances back at Phil, suddenly remembering he is there.
"Phil, this is Edward. You remember, I told you about Edward. And this is Edward's father, Dr. Cullen."
"Please, call me Carlisle." Carlisle shakes his hand warmly, smiling in his best, non threatening way. I used to remind myself to smile at Bella that way, so afraid I would frighten her off. Of course, that's what really should have happened, she really should have run. Alas, she did not, and the selfish monster in me rejoices at the thought.
Phil is a bit taken aback at our appearance, but is pleasant nonetheless.
Charlie comes out and greets Renee with a wide smile, still drunk with joy at Bella's return. He takes them back into Bella's room, and I sit back down and wait and think and wait some more. Carlisle continues to think thoughts intended for me to hear, to make me feel self gratified, but I ignore him.
And then I hear it, above the beeping of machines and muffled voices and coughs and sneezes, I hear her heart pick up speed, her breath quicken.
She's waking up.
I stand up so abruptly even Carlisle slightly alarmed at the suddenness of my movement. I slip into her room quietly; the four humans in the room are too engrossed in their conversation to notice me, and begin to study her face.
Her eyes are closed tightly and her hands clench the bed sheet. My eyes gaze over her, trying to figure out what's wrong. She looks so tense, in so much pain. I move to call the doctor over (more morphine should do the trick) when her eyes flutter open.
And instantly there is peace in my body. I feel every broken piece of me repair itself, feel my body healing in places where I didn't know I was injured. My heart is filled again, my soul is full. Love may be the strangest, most difficult sensation I have ever struggled with, but it has made me whole again.
I take in a deep breath, inhaling her floral scent once more, and smile ever so gently.
"Hello Bella." I say it quietly, hoping I have not startled her.
Her face is instantly filled with confusion and fear, her hands grasping the sheets even harder than before. She looks around frantically, and I yearn to calm her.
"Bella, it's alright, you are safe here. You are safe now."
She stares back at me, still confused, her brow furrowed in that spot I love, but quickly her look changes. Her face becomes cautious, yet somehow yearning. She closes her eyes briefly, soothingly rocking her head back and forth before opening them again, her look now surprised and overjoyed to find me still there.
I grasp her hand and smile. "Welcome back love." She looks at me, her expression first intense, then blank, completely devoid of emotion. I wish I could hear her, figure out what is going through her mind. Her parents and doctor come over from the corner, all smiles, happy to see her awake. Renee begins asking her questions, but Bella just gets more confused.
"Bella, it's alright. You're in the hospital, you're safe now," I whisper into her ear, pushing her hand back tenderly. I want so badly to kiss her hair, her cheek, the nape of neck right below her earlobe, but I don't want to push it. I don't want to upset or confuse her further.
She gingerly lifts one arm and points at the tube in her mouth, motioning that she wants it out.
As the doctor looks over her stats, she stares at me, her brow furrowed, her eyes clouded. Maybe she doesn't remember. Maybe between the weeks of surviving the streets of Chicago and fighting away illness, she's forgotten the terrible pain and injustice I've caused her.
Maybe there is a chance for us.
I turn to look back at the faces of my family, staring in through the window. My beloved mother and father, smiling happily to see Bella awake, Rosalie disgusted, Emmett torn, Jasper still bothered and Alice…
I don't read Alice's face. I read Alice's mind instead, and it crushes me. She shakes her head at me, letting me know that nothing is set in stone, that the future changes all the time, because situations, circumstance and people change. And I can only hope that this foreseen future will never come to be.
But as I turn back to look at this beautiful girl who once dared to love me, this beautiful creature who has always deserved better than I could give her, I can tell that my hopes are no good. I can see it in her eyes; I can feel it in soul.