My New Best Friend
God, I just want today over and everything to be okay. I just need Bella to be alive. That's all I ask. After weeks of progress and optimistic predictions, things blew up this morning big time. Bella's heart started to go into an arrhythmia and Carlisle has decided enough is enough and she is currently being prepped for surgery.
The baby will be delivered by C section and I swear, I will never risk Bella's life like this again. Even if the unthinkable happens and Aurora doesn't survive, no more.
I want to get a vasectomy.
Bella is adamant I may need to impregnate some mythical future wife, that I never want to meet. If I can't have Bella, I don't want any other woman.
Alice arrives and sits beside me, rubbing my hand in hers.
"I know they will both survive so relax."
"What's this heart thing, then?"
"Carlisle explained it's from the drugs. It is temporary, Edward. Once the baby is delivered, she will start to improve again."
I don't know why we all trust every word out of Alice's mouth but we do.
"Bella will survive? She will be okay?"
I have to hear it from her lips.
"Bella will survive and be okay. You will both be fine and so will Aurora. In fact, I see your wedding soon."
"No, Alice" I shake my head sadly.
"I can't marry her. I was being ridiculous even agreeing to in the first place. I love her too much to tie her to me."
"Edward, it took one hell of a crisis to show her how much she loves you, why would you reject her now?"
"What do you mean? Nothings changed for her."
"Oh right. So, she risked her life to give you a child because she is your friend. Yeah, like I would do that for you or Emmett, I would only ever do it for Jasper. Bella loves you. Bella was willing to die to make sure you got the child she thinks is the most important person in the world to you."
I looked at things from that angle.
"I told her repeatedly I loved her more than I love the baby and I wouldn't want her to choose to die to save it."
"But what she thinks she is hearing, is you not wanting to live with the guilt of knocking her up if she dies. She thinks Aurora is your life and she is just the incubator by comparison. She asked me to make sure you met a woman who will love you as much as she does if she doesn't make it. She doesn't want you to be alone the rest of your life."
"She wants Aurora to have a Mom. That's understandable but I could never love anyone else."
"I know, sweetie. I know."
Rose walks up and sits beside me.
"So, the moment of truth. Are you allowed in for the birth?"
"Carlisle thinks so at this stage but it will literally be just for the birth then he will kick me out and I guess I will go to the nursery with the baby but I want to be with Bella."
I started pacing and Rose laughed.
"God, Edward, fathers only pace the floor in tv shows, sit down."
"I can't. They are doing tests on Bella's heart. They should be done by now."
I have no sooner spoken than Bella gets pushed off the elevator and into the OR.
Carslisle approaches me and I scan his face intently, looking for clues.
"Nothing irreversible but I have a bad feeling. She is very volatile and unstable, I wish we could wait a few more days and see if things will settle down. Her heart is okay at the moment. She wants the baby delivered in a non-emergency situation and we are really on the borderline already if we want to do that."
"Wait if it's better for Bella."
"I would but she is panicking already that we are leaving it too long. Go scrub up and get dressed and meet me at the door in ten."
"What time are Charlie and Renee and the others coming?" asks Rose.
"Too late for us to delay. I told them about two hours from now so somebody should go call them and say we couldn't wait and have to start now. Make sure you explain nothing more has happened."
"I will do it" offers Rose and I nod in thanks.
Rose and Alice kiss me for luck and I go prepare to see Aurora, the second most important female in my world, join us here.
The nurse helps me and is way too friendly, even offering to be 'of any kind of help" I may desire and I want to vomit. My love is in danger, my child is about to be born after months of growing in an unstable uterus, her bloodstream full of the drugs they pumped into Bella, and this woman is offering me sex? I hate humans sometimes.
Carlisle lets me in so I stand beside Bella and wink at her as she gazes at me, clearly terrified.
"If I die.."
"No, you are not going to die. Stop it."
"Edward, if I do, I want you to promise to find the right woman and marry her." Her voice catches on the m word.
"I fully intend marrying the right woman, just as soon as she recovers from my baby's birth." I inform her.
"Me?' she squeaks.
"Bella, tell me the truth. Do you love me?"
She smiles and holds my hand tightly.
"More than anything."
"Right, then, Isabella Swan, will you do me the honor of agreeing to be my wife?"
"Okay, then that's settled. The wedding is back on and this time, nothing stops it from happening."
I feel warm and so happy to know Alice is right, Bella loves me.
"Edward, we need to get going. Sit here out of the way please. You can be back beside Bella in a minute."
Bella's arms are stretched out and tied down and her drip's changed, her uterus no longer sedated to keep it from contracting.
It takes only a few minutes until the yell of an angry red baby is filling the room.
Bella smiles and I hold her hand as it is released.
The nurse hurries Aurora away and she is back a few minutes later.
"Six pounds but she is early so that's not bad at all. Plenty of full term babies weigh six pounds" she reassures us.
The pink blanketed baby is placed in my hands and I gaze at the face of the child we made. Instant love, and happiness is all I feel, thank God. None of this crisis was her doing, she didn't ask to be conceived. That was our folly.
Bella starts to cry when I lay the baby on her chest and pull the blanket back so she can see the pretty little face.
She smiles to assure me it's good crying and I lift the baby back up and hand her back to the waiting nurse.
Bella's eyelids droop and I smile at first, thinking she is tired, but alarms sound and I am pushed outside, when Carlisle orders Emmett to keep me out.
"Cardiac arrest" someone yells and all hell breaks loose and people are running everywhere and I am pushed down into a chair. Alice and Rose are grabbing at each other in fright and searching for someone to say it is going to be okay. Emmett and Jas hold me down as I try to shake them off to go back to Bella. The crash team are there and the doors fly open as some nurse runs out with a blood sample.
They are all working on her, and I shake my head because it can't end like this.
Emmett senses my collapse and let's me go, and Jas keeps just one hand on me.
I stand and pace and as more alarms sound, I know I have to get out of here because I cannot hear the words they will say.
"I can't be wrong I am never wrong " screams Alice
Someone in that room asks the time, a sure sign they are about to call it and I don't want to hear any more, so I run out of there, Jasper at my heels but I am faster than him. Charlie and Renee are rushing in and Charlie's face drops when he sees me rush past him. Seth and Jake are with them, hand in hand, and Jake sinks to the floor.
"No!" screams Renee. Charlie is staring at me, his face anguished and desperate to hear I am running for some other reason but I can't speak, I can't tell him. I turn and run again, it's what I do, when I can't cope, I run.
Emmett is shouting my name and I run even faster, because it cannot be his job to tell me she is gone. The Volvo is unlocked and I pull the keys free from my pockets under the scrub suit and I pull away before Jas comes close enough to be risk me hitting him with the car.
I swerve to avoid my mother as she drives into the carpark, and the open road beckons and offers me a way out, so I take it, careless of other traffic but coming to my senses somewhat and drive more carefully because somehow deep down, my brain knows I still need to be there for my daughter, even if I don't even want to consider her at the moment.
The wind rushes in the window and makes me shiver and I feel deathly cold but maybe it is just me.
I don't know where to go. I don't want to speak and I definitely don't want to hear anyone's words of sympathy and grief, I have too much of my own to cope with theirs. Drive aimlessly, in a daze, I have no idea where I am, if I am headed anywhere.
My car seems to know where to take me and I find myself at twilight, sitting in front of the house where Bella grew up and it feels lost and empty. I walk around the back and gaze up at her window and pull myself up the tree outside her window. It's unlocked, so I slip inside and lay on her old bed, searching for her here. Is this where she would come and live? Would she want to watch over her father? Would she choose him over our child? She knew I would be there for Aurora, and I will be, I just need time. Charlie has nobody else, I think she will choose to stay here and maybe visit us now and again to see her daughter grow up. Her baby photos are on the walls, and I gaze at her chubby face and toothless grin and messy hair and she grows into a toddler, in her mother's arms, Renee kissing her face, loving her. How did Renee manage to walk away from this beautiful child? How could she have decided what she wanted was more important than what Bella needed from her?
She is the reason Bella took so long to discover she loved me, Bella never knew what to look for, what signs meant she was in love. She made assumptions when she was with Jake and never saw the signs that he didn't love her and it left her confused to the point she couldn't recognise true feelings when they shone like a beacon. Alice saw the truth, Alice knew Bella loved me.
I wonder if I will go insane with grief because if so, I hope it happens soon so maybe I will think I can see her and talk to her and she can finally tell me the words she never managed, not really. Not like they meant when I said them to her. I want to hear them so desperately.
I touch her books, dog eared where she has read them and reread them, they got to spend years in her company. Longer than I did so I envy them. I bet she used to squeal in delight when Charlie bought her these books, I bet she even maybe kissed the covers. I can't feel her here and it bothers me.
I walk slowly down the stairs and she ages in the photos. First birthday, second birthday, third, fourth, cakes made by her Mom, a cake with a doll inside, made to be the doll's skirt, pink icing, little candies stuck over the hemline. Then she is five and it's shop bought and Charlie looks lost and bewildered, like I will look by the time Aurora turns five. He looks like a man who lost his soul. I know that, because I have lost mine.
I'm not worried, it's with my heart and I trust her to look after both for me until I get to join her, wherever she is. For a minute, I long to go now and find her, and not have to let the pain start to fester, but I can't leave the baby because she is Bella's misguided but loving gift to me and she always will be. I will never let that little girl down. If it is true, if she needs some other woman to be her Mom, then I will marry some woman that I don't love, I guess, just to do the last thing Bella asked me to do. I can pretend. I can try honesty, I guess, first. Tell her why I want to marry her. Tell her I have to do it for Bella. But I won't be a real husband to her.
Six years old, off to school, her face creased with worry, and somehow I know it's not going to school she fears, it's leaving Charlie alone at home. Even though he has his work, she knows he lived for her alone and like a role reversal, she is suffering for him.
Maybe that was early learning experience for her, learning to suffer for others. Learning to give, not take. Her emotions damaged before even reaches school age. The feelings she doesn't deserve love, and can't give love.
Now she is ten, and wearing a pair of shorts and she is holding a fish that she must have caught but she is holding the rod well away from her body. Jake is with her, a young, lanky Jake with a pretty face and black hair too long for a boy his age. He is looking at her and it confuses me so it must have confused him, maybe he did love her as much as he could. Maybe he was emotionally damaged and it brought them together.
Now she is a teen and standing awkwardly with her friends. The others are paired off, boys bravely holding their girls hands, Bella looking like the spare wheel. I know how that felt, that was me, too.
Unlike the photos my Mom has of me at that age, she is smiling. I always looked angry or maybe I was just lost. Maybe I thought I would never have what other people had, even back then.
Then she is working in the bar, her arms around Jacob, he is holding her tightly and laughing. I didn't even know her yet but she looks much the same as when we first met. Maybe she is a year younger, her face is rounder than the day we met. I remember that.
The next photo is Bella and Charlie, and she is sitting on his knee. He looks uncomfortable, like her being that close is not what he would have chosen, I bet he will look at this photo and wish he could turn back time, put his arms around her, kiss her cheek and just love her like she clearly wanted him to.
The sitting room walls are covered in more photos but they are of a young Renee, and engagement and wedding photos. Charlie never let go of her, never tried.
I walk back upstairs and watch Bella get younger again each step upward.
I need to find something here in her bedroom but what? Some thing that still smells like her? That is not likely. I open drawer after drawer and find the things she left behind when she moved out for the last time.
More books, books with her name in the covers, books full of drawings from when she was a teenager. Photos trapped in an album. She and Alice, laughing. She and Rosalie. Rose looks like she has spent sometime planning her pose and she faces the camera like a professional model. Bella looks so natural beside her. Take me or leave me, this is the real me. You like me or you don't.
I touch the cold print and find nothing more of her there.
More books. A small, newish book that has her hand writing in it. A diary, maybe? I should feel like I am trespassing but I don't. I feel like I am knowing things about her. Jake, Jake and Bella, Bella loves Jake. I flip through the pages.
Oh, my name. I start reading and she is writing about the day we met.
"Today the most impossibly gorgeous man walked into my life and guess what... he is gay. I have all the luck. I think his boyfriend is adorable but what a waste. Life is unfair."
"Last night Edward walked me home and slept in my bed. My dreams were weird. Don 't even go there, Bella, he is both gay and taken."
My name pops up frequently and she reveals more than she knows she does. Like the little hearts in the margins on every page that she has written about me. I flip back, no, no hearts oh the pages about Jake.
There is a tree on one page and I gasp at her scribblings. IS loves EC. Then she has scribbled it out. No doubt she wrote those initials without conscious thought and when she realized what she had written, she tried to remove it.
Then there are lists of things she needs to do for college, books she has to buy, places she has to go and in the midst of her scribblings, there it is.
Isabella Cullen. Isabella Marie Cullen. Isabella Swan- Cullen. Oops, I mean Isabella Marie Black. I am so retarded sometimes!"
I try to date when she wrote this, she seems to write haphazardly, her Christmas lists and plans are written in February, her easter plans in September. No order, no rhythm.
"Just ring him, friends are allowed to do that. Jake may have robbed you of your future but Edward was always there for you."
"I will never trust another male. Jasper and Edward were never an item, never in love. EDWARD LIED".
Her words are scratched into the page, angry and violent.
"Goddammit, if only I knew he wasn't gay, I would have least jumped his bones."
"Yay, a virgin no more but things are complicated now. At least I gave it up to the nicest man I ever met. And he was so gentle, God, I bet not many girls get treated like a Princess during their deflowering. It was nice, it was wonderful. Goddammit, it was perfect. Was perfect. He said he loves me and the likes of him are not meant for the likes of me. He would only let me down, too, when he realised how much better he could do. I managed to turn Jake gay, in a funny and ironic way, I balanced out the universe by making Edward straight. I am sooo funny."
My heart contracts.
No, there is one more entry and it's on the inside of the back cover, and it's tragically prophetic.
"I am so fucked, I am dead."
I suppose it was the day she took the pregnancy test.
There is no way of knowing now.
My visit here is done and I toss the book back into her drawer. A single photo slips out. It is Bella and I, sitting in her bedroom, taken by Alice the day she got her new camera. The look on my face is old news, adoration, love, longing, but I am stunned to see the look on Bella's face as she looks at me because I can see the love she said she didn't feel.
I turn it over and the entire back is covered in question marks, written with a red pen.
I put it in my pocket and close her drawer and say my Goodbyes to the room that housed her since she was born.
"You had her a lot longer than I did, you saw her grow, protected her from the weather, kept her safe. That's a lot more than I did. I'm sorry."
Yes, insanity has crept in, I apologized to a room.
I need to sleep and the breaking dawn changes that not at all so I take the phone off the hook, lock the doors and climb into bed. The phone flashes with dozens of messages that I don't ever want to listen to, they are already obvious. I hit 'delete all'.
When I awaken, for a split second my first thought is getting to the hospital to spend the day with Bella, before real memory takes over and leaves me dry heaving in the toilet. When did I last eat? Drink?
I make coffee and pretend I am awake and functioning.I shower because I am pretty sure I stink a bit. I know I have to go and see our daughter. It's going to be a hard and terrible day but holding the child that grew inside Bella will be good.
I can do this.
I look at the clock and it says two o'clock so it's afternoon.
I am not sure what the day or date is, was it only yesterday my world was robbed of meaning?
The hospital looms like a specter and I park far from where I used to because I don't really belong here any more. The nursery is deserted, the babies must be with their...Moms. The lucky ones.
I ring the bell and wait for a nurse. She smiles and asks how she can help me.
For the first time I say her name out loud.
"Aurora Cullen. My daughter. Where is she?"
She looks on the computer.
"With her mother."
"You mean, her grandmother?"
"It says she is in High Care room 103, with her mother Isabella Swan."
I walk to room 103, knowing I cannot allow hope to grow, it's an error on the computer.
Bella is sitting propped up in bed, complaining about the blood that is being transfused into her, but she stops talking and holds her hand out to me.
"Edward. Where have you been?"
Insane, I remind myself and walk towards her. She feels real.
"Edward, why did you run away? Bella needed you, do you never answer your phone? I left you a hundred messages."
"Hello, Rose. Nice to see you too."I can speak, that is surprising.
Bella is pale but alive and I left her, after all my promises. I like this alternative universe I have somehow slipped into, one where Bella didn't die. I cannot stop smiling and touching her.
"I went to Forks. Your old house. I looked at your photos". I have put the same jeans on again so I pull the photo out and show her.
"That is a strange photo, I clearly love you. How come I didn't know?"
"I didn't know either" I confess.
"I do love you" she says and I know she believes it and means it.
Alice walks into the room, baby in her arms.
"All clean and fresh Rory, I told you he would be back."
"Rory?" I question.
"Well Aurora is a bit of a mouthful, what were you two thinking?"
"We wanted her to have an 'A' name like you" says Bella.
"Oh, it is perfect. I just think she looks like a Rory."
"Mom calls her Aura so be ready for that" warns Bella.
I really hope I am awake and not dreaming all this.
"Bite me"I whisper in Bella's ear.
"I just spent a whole day thinking you were dead.I need to know this is real and I am awake" I tell her.
She starts to cry and I grab her and my lips are on hers and I know I am here and it's real.
Alice offers the baby to me and I take her and we share our daughter, laying her on Bella's lap. Her eyes are open and she is very aware. I am not going to have to raise her alone. My life is just beginning, not ending.
Carlisle calls me to his office and I reluctantly leave my girls as they sleep, watched over by Alice and Jasper.
"Edward. Where did you go? What happened?"
"I heard them ask the time. I thought you were going to call it."
"I just needed to know how long since we hit her heart with adrenalin. We never came close to calling it. She lost her heartbeat for a little minute but we had it in hand. She was fine. She was awake an hour later, asking for you. And chocolate."
"I gave her the chocolate but nobody could find you."
"I thought she was gone so I went looking for her."
"She was here, waiting, all along."
I grinned back at him. Talk about avoidance. I was as bad as Bella. Running before I even knew if there was anything to run from.
"How long will she be in here?"
"I am guessing she should stay two weeks, so I will say a week. You know she writes her own rules and never listens to the experts."
"Thank God for that."
"Yes, she was right this time. I hope the next pregnancy is a hell of a lot easier than this one."
"No way, I will never have sex with her again if that's the only way to avoid it."
"Sure. You can resist Bella." he smirks.
"Okay, maybe I can't, but I could never go through that again."
"Wait and see. Time will dim the memories, the horror. We would know what to expect, next time."
I shake my head. One child is enough.
Carlisle congratulates me and suddenly, I feel like there is something to celebrate so I rush back to my girls and gaze at my sleeping Bella with my sleeping Rory in my arms.
"Rory. We give you a beautiful feminine name and you end up with the same name as a cowboy."
She squirms and opens her eyes and they are as green as mine, already. They seem older than mine are, those eyes. Like they know.
"You will enjoy being an only child. You get to be the best looking as well as the smartest and most loved. The favorite. You never have to share or have anyone daring you to do dumb stuff."
"Rose is pregnant" says Bella. Not as deeply asleep as I thought.
"Oh no. She better have a girl."
"Alice says its a boy."
"Yes, Rory will have some oversized, bossy cousin making the dares."
"Is Emmett okay?"
"He painted the spare bedroom blue last night...did I tell you, he bought a house yesterday? Once the pregnancy test proved he was going to be a Dad, he bought a house and he asked the owners if it was okay if he started painting. They already moved out so they let him. He has all the furniture and is making up the crib today. He is very keen, after all."
"Where is it?" I asked and she laughed.
"Next door to us. The grey brick place with the green fence."
Next door. Hell.
"Isn't there a gate to their yard in our yard?"
"Yeah, you were going to get it fenced over, remember? You needn't bother, now. "
"Excuse me? I will be getting a triple thickness brick fence erected."
"Rory's smart. She won't go along with Emmett Junior's stupid idea's. Anyway, he can play with Alice and Jasper's son and Rory can play with their daughter."
"Alice is having twins."
"See, you run away for one day and the whole world changes."
"It sure did."
"I'm glad you came back."
"I had to. I have a daughter."
"Are we really getting married?"
"Well, aren't you still worried about the imbalance?"
"Yeah, I fear you love me more than I love you. You were willing to give up your life to give me my child. I never had to choose to die for you."
"I don't want either of us to die. I want to sit on one of those swinging porch swings with you and run my fingers through your gray hair and hear you play your guitar and piano to our grandkids."
"I can't go through another pregnancy, Bella."
"Shouldn't it be me saying that?"
"You had the easy part, believe me. I just died more inside each day."
"You saved me."
"Chocolate saved you, you addict."
"Nom nom nom."
"I love you so much."
"Ah, but I love you more. I win."
"Do you love me as much as you love chocolate?"
"You will never know."
"I think I already do."
The nurse entered and smiled at Bella.
"Ready to have another try at breastfeeding?"
"Sure, my breasts are all yours."
"Hey, I own those." I reminded her.
"They are out on loan, you get them back when Rory is weaned."
"When will that be?" I asked.
"When she is seven"
"What?" I freaked.
"Hah, got ya,when she is one, I guess."
"Should I go, give you some privacy?"
"Really, Edward? You have seen me naked remember, these are just boobs."
"Bella! These are glorious orbs of delight."
"Always making everything complicated, hey Cullen."
"Yes, Mrs Cullen. Let's get married here today."
"Because you once said you wanted the same name on her wrist tag as on your wrist tag. You didn't want her to be a Cullen if you were a Swan."
"We could just name her Swan-Cullen."
"We could just tie the knot."
"I lived to hear that word from you when I asked you to marry me. What man doesn't want to hear his woman reply with a heartfelt 'whatever'."
"Just go make the arrangements' Dont't you have to give three days notice or something?"
"Confident, were you?"
"Yes, Bella. Confident of your love."
"Good boy. It was always there, I jusy didn't label it correctly.I mixed it up with what I felt for Jake."
"What did you feel for Jake?"
"True friendship. It was you I felt true love for, and that's different. While I was assuming I felt love for Jake, I had no hope of realizing how I got the labels switched around."
"Isabella Marie Cullen. Or Isabella Marie Swan-Cullen?"
"Hey, I wrote that down once."
"You read my notebook?"
"I did. I saw the hearts."
"I read your book of quotes."
"Mmm. Some of them rang true to how I felt about you, they made me question my time in denial."
"Thanks for waiting for me to wake up to myself."
"Thanks for waking up."
"Can I wear my pajamas for the wedding?"
"Nope. I am sending Alice a text."
"I thought you loved me."
"Oh I do."
"But you won't marry me in pj's?"
"I would marry you naked in our yard full of flowers if I could."
"Maybe we should wait cos that sounds like my kind of wedding."
"No more waiting" I growled.
"Down boy. And no honeymoon for eight weeks."
"Have a nice rest because it's the last one you will ever get."
"I am counting on that."
"There, she seems to be attached properly" said the nurse, whose existence I had entirely forgotten about.
"Listen to this, Edward."
I walked closer and sat on the chair beside the bed.
"Nom nom nom" said our daughter.
Thanks for reading.
The whole nom nom nom is a family joke of ours. Our daughter used to make that noise when she was being breastfed. Then she did it when she was a child and ate chocolate. We had almost forgotten, then we were sitting in the cinema on Saturday watching Eclipse and Major Jasper Whitlock appeared on screen and the whole audience was silent, and Kristy, now 15, goes "nom nom nom."
After all this angst, I am now writing a new story called The Rage..no angst at all (Did you hear that, Edward!)., just angry Edward and Bitchy Bella, I hope you will give it a try. Cheers, I started writing at fanfic thinking nobody would ever read my stories so I value every reader, sincerely. Thank You for indulging me.