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A/N Thank you again to my great friend, and Beta (Jeanne) SparklingWand! And to (Jackie)TwiMoments, (Eve) Mamaeve and (Melissa) Melarimo for pre-reading for me. I luv u all dearly!
To the readers, sorry for the delay in updating this chapter, Real Life has a funny way of getting in the way sometimes. Thanks again for reading and sticking with me on this journey!
Please, Please leave me some love or hate whichever, just review. I can't learn and grow as a writer without your feedback! Much luv to u all!
If I can Endure for this moment,
whatever is happening to me.
No matter how heavy my heart,
or how dark the moment may be.
If I can but keep on believing,
What I know in my heart to be true.
Then darkness will fade into morning,
and with this dawn, a new day too.
I hung up with Bella, closed my phone, and threw it on the seat of my car. I reached up and rubbed my eyes as a few angry tears fell from my face. Hearing Bella's voice again after all these years was almost more than I could handle. I wanted answers to questions that I'd had since she left Forks without even a goodbye, but what right did I have to question her actions now? I leaned my head back on the seat rest and closed my eyes as I sat there in the parking lot of my doctor's office.
I had been planning this trip to see her since I was diagnosed three months ago. Now that it was actually time to face her, to tell her the truth about Edward and I and put my plan into motion, I really wasn't sure I was strong enough to go through with it.
Therein lies the problem though, I really had no choice now. I didn't have much time to set right all the wrong courses our lives had been on since high school. For each and every one of us in our high school clique, I guess that's what you would call it, our lives had been altered by unseen forces. It was up to me to finally redirect them back to the destinies they were bound for. Everyone, except me, that is. I wouldn't get that chance. It seemed God had different plans for me in the end.
I knew the moment that Edward and I said "I do", that we had made a huge mistake. Yes, we loved each other. How could we not? We had been best friends since the day Bella left Forks for good. We were pushed together in a sense, at least that's how I see it. When Bella left, neither Edward nor I had anyone to turn to but each other to deal with the pain of her loss from our lives.
We leaned on each other, comforted each other when times got unbearable, but that true spark was never there between us. Not the way it was between Bella and Edward anyway. What they had was something so special, that once in a lifetime kind of love. But Edward, he had issues that even I wasn't aware of at the time. He and Jasper had been through so much as young boys. It was no wonder that they both had serious difficulties when it came to emotional relationships.
Edward withdrew, using drugs more often than not, to numb his pain. Jasper however, was different. He didn't need drugs to drown out the pain, he used sports. He loved all sports, but baseball was his thing. He loved it, and damn, he was good at it. Good enough to earn himself a full scholarship through college for it.
To say that I was crazy about Jasper in high school was an understatement. I followed his every move. I never missed one of his games. I used them and anything else that I could as an excuse just to be around him. The four of us even tried the double dating thing a few times, but Jasper never appeared to feel anything for me other than friendship. I gave up on him after a while, because he just never seemed emotionally vested in anything besides baseball. But that spark I always felt when he was near never really went away. I would often fool myself into believing he felt the same way, just from a look or brush of the hand. In reality though, I'm not sure Jasper was capable of feeling any emotions for anyone besides his little brother.
He was then, and still is now, the most gorgeous, blond haired, blue eyed guy I have ever seen in my entire life. He and Edward couldn't have looked more different. Apparently, Edward took after their mother, Elizabeth, who also had reddish brown hair and those deep green eyes just like him. Jasper, I'm told, however, took after his father, Edward Sr., which sometimes made things even more difficult for Edward. Looking into his brother's face and seeing his father's must have been hard on him, considering what he had been through.
Jasper probably could have had any girl he wanted at Forks High, but instead he chose to keep to himself most of the time. The only person I really ever saw him confide in was Edward. They were always close, even closer than most brothers I knew. I guess that also stemmed from them having to lean on each other for most of their young lives. Not that they didn't argue, Lord knows they do, but it's different with them. There is a bond between them that goes beyond brotherhood, beyond friendship. I wish I knew how to explain it, but theirs is a bond that no man could shatter, or woman for that matter.
After a long while of trying to guess what had happened to these beautiful boys, I gathered up the courage to question them both about what had happened but neither of them were forthcoming on the subject, so in the end I decided it was best to go straight to the source.
I knew that if anyone could give me answers it was their adoptive father, Carlisle.
I was right, of course, and the story that he told me caused a depth of pain in my heart for the both of them, especially Edward. Poor Edward, no little boy should ever have to make a choice like that.
After I got the full story from Carlisle, I never looked at either one of them the same again. If any child, or adult for that matter, had to endure the tragedy that had fallen on these two boys, they would be just as fucked up, if not more so than Jasper and Edward.
I, at least, could understand Edward better after that conversation with Carlisle. I found it easier to accept the constant battle with his drug addiction, and be there for him in a way that I'm pretty sure not even Bella was capable of before she left. I knew that Edward had never had the courage to share with her what he had gone through with his real parents. If he had, things might be different now.
Still sitting in my car, I reached up and wiped the tears from my cheeks, reminiscing about all of the crazy moments in our fucked up past, and I had a moment of clarity. It really wasn't so hard to decipher how things had gone so far off course, but now the difficult part was trying to figure out how to correct the errors that caused all this mess. I could no longer rely on fate to fix things, no, time had run out for that. I needed to know that Edward would have his happy ending before my time here came to an end, and Bella was my only way to ensure that would happen.
I grabbed the keys, started the car, and headed home. I would have to think of an excuse to give Edward for my sudden departure to San Diego to see Bella. I couldn't tell him where I was going, that was the point of all of this. When you are intervening with fate, you have to make it look natural.
I arrived home from the doctor's office to find Edward sitting in his makeshift library of sorts, staring at the countless books on the shelves, but not touching one of them. It was then that I almost lost my nerve, but it appeared fate was not completely lost. It would definitely be giving me a helping hand in my quest today.
As soon as Edward realized I was standing there in the doorway, he quickly stood, walked toward me and pulled me into a warm embrace. With a sad smile he pulled away, and explained that he would have to go out of town for a few days for a medical conference.
"When do you have to leave?" I questioned him, relieved that I wouldn't have to lie to his face about what I was up to.
"Tonight," he grumbled. "My flight leaves at seven."
He apologized for it being such short notice, quickly kissed me on the forehead, and retreated into the bedroom to pack his things. This is what he was deduced to, my poor Edward, my poor best friend. Running away and hiding. I knew he felt trapped now, I could not blame him. He felt that he had to be near me at all times in case something terrible happened. He inverted more and more with every passing day. I am pretty sure being near me was the last thing he wanted. Not that he didn't love me, I was his best friend after all, but Edward only saw me now as another love lost, even though I wasn't gone yet.
He had suffered so much loss in the past, that since my diagnosis of this wretched cancer, and the fact that the cancer was too far advanced for the treatment to make a difference, he completely isolated himself again. After all the hard work we had put into him getting past this self-hatred and inner loathing, he once again blamed himself for forces that were out of his control.
I felt so guilty for this part alone, which is what gave me the courage to try and give him back some of his happiness. I knew that this time Bella would have to take her rightful place in his life and be the one to save him from himself. I simply didn't have the strength for that anymore, and even if I did, I knew it had to be her.
So with that, I dropped Edward off at the airport, and we said our goodbyes. Along with his constant reassurances that he was only a phone call away, I quickly made my own flight arrangements to leave for San Diego at five the next morning. This would get me there at a decent time to see Bella for the day.
I had no plans on staying longer than the day, so I made sure my flight home was set for tomorrow evening, as well. This way Edward would never suspect a thing. Now after having showered, laid out my clothes, and taken the endless amounts of medication scheduled at bedtime, I lay here in bed alone, contemplating what my conversation with Bella would be like. Will she hate me for marrying Edward? I could certainly tell from our short conversation on the phone that she definitely still had feelings for Edward. It's quite possible that I may get only as far as telling her that we are together before she abruptly throws me out on my ass.
It's a chance I have to take though, for her and for Edward. I haven't been the greatest friend to Bella in the past. I didn't even try to locate her after she left Forks. I was angry and hurt that she left without even saying goodbye to me, I didn't know then what Edward had done to her so it was impossible for me to understand.
It broke my heart since she was the only real friend I had growing up. Although we were two very different people, I honestly believed that we would be friends forever. Again, it's funny how life throws all these curves at you. One minute you're standing next to your best friend, with your whole life in front of you, and the next she's gone and nothing but a memory lingers.
It wasn't until much later that Edward gained the strength to even say her name, let alone confess to me what he had done to her, and by then too much time had passed. I asked Charlie about her from time to time in passing but never had the courage to track her down. She had made her choices and I tried to respect them.
How was I ever going to make her see that she belonged back in Edward's life? Especially since I knew she was married and had been for quite some time. The only answer I kept coming up with was to somehow get Bella back to Forks, even for just a visit. If she and Edward could just see each other again, I knew that's all it would take for sparks to fly between them.
I had another surgery coming up next week. Maybe I would just have to pull my trump card. I know it's sneaky and underhanded, but after all, she couldn't turn down a dying woman's wish to have her best friend by her side for such a scary operation, right?
Why on earth I was going through with yet another operation was beyond me. Edward had talked me into it once again. This was his way of trying to fight against the powers that 'might' be. It was the doctor in him telling him to fight, to use whatever we had left in our arsenal to get me better.
As for me, I didn't believe much in medical miracles. The only miracles I hoped existed were the emotional and spiritual ones. I had come to realize that this was it for me, but I would never say that to Edward. If he knew that I had already grown so tired of fighting, I think it would kill him, too. So that is the only reason I agreed to do this one last experimental surgery. I had to do it for him.
It doesn't help when you're sick like this that your husband is a doctor. In fact, it makes things worse because as a doctor, Edward does not want to accept anyone else's opinion regarding the outcome of this disease. He will continue to deny, until the very end, that the cancer is going to kill me. I'm sure of that.
The phone rang, pulling me from my stupor, and I reached over to the bedside table to answer it, sure it was Edward telling me he had arrived safely.
"Alice?" the voice on the other end said.
"Yes, Jasper?" I responded smiling. I hadn't expected to hear his voice tonight and after the day I'd had it was a pleasant surprise.
"How are you feeling today?" he strained to ask.
"Okay, just tired really."
"Oh," was all he said, and then nothing but silence.
Finally, as I realized he wasn't going to say anything else, I broke the silence, "If you're looking for Edward, he's away in Seattle, but you can reach him on his cell."
"I know," he finally replied.
It was my turn now, "Oh," was all I could say.
"Sorry," he conceded. "I'm at the hospital, on duty. Edward asked me to check in on you while he was gone. I had planned to stop by after my shift this evening, but it's been a busy night here, and it looks like I might be here for a while."
I could hear the agony in his voice. I hated to admit it, but I longed for quiet time alone with Jasper. He always had a way of making me feel special, and he somehow made me forget about being sick. With Edward, my cancer was a huge elephant in the room, with Jasper the elephant became a mouse.
"It's okay, Jasper. Everything is fine. I was just heading to bed myself. It's been a long day here, too."
"How did your doctor's appointment go today?" he asked.
"Same old, same old," I replied sadly. "More poking and prodding, nothing new to tell."
"I'm sorry," he whispered.
"Thank you, but I'll be alright. I just need some rest." I assured him.
"Well, I'll come by in the morning then." he trailed off. "We'll go to breakfast, is that alright?"
"Oh…uh...uhh...ummmm..." I stuttered.
I hadn't planned on this, and as much as I wanted to go to breakfast with him right now, there were more important things to worry about.
"Sorry, Jasper, but I'm leaving first thing in the morning. My girlfriend Sarah has planned a day at the spa for us. You know, just a little girl time to get my mind off things. So I'll be gone until late tomorrow night."
Wow, where did that come from? I thought to myself. I don't even know anyone named Sarah. I really hope he doesn't mention this to Edward.
"Oh...that sounds nice," he whispered. "Okay then...I'll stop by after my shift tomorrow night, maybe bring you a late supper."
"That's not necessary, really. I'll be fine. Please don't go to any trouble for me." I pleaded.
"Alice, it's no trouble at all. I'll see you tomorrow night, probably around ten, okay?" he asked.
"Fine," I relented. "See you then. Good night, Jasper."
"Good night, Alice." he said with a sigh. I could hear him breathing for a moment, and then he hung up the phone.
It's a good thing I opted for the earlier flight back home tomorrow, I thought to myself as I placed my phone back on the bedside table, and once again settled into bed for the night. I had to try and get some sleep, or I would never get up in time for my flight in the morning. I had already arranged for a cab to pick me up and take me to the airport early.
But as I laid there tossing and turning, still worrying about what tomorrow's outcome with Bella would be, I realized that sleep would not come easily for me tonight even though I was drained from the day.
After about an hour of constant thoughts of Bella, Edward, and yes, I won't lie, Jasper, racing through my head, I was able to finally doze off, only to be awakened in what felt like minutes later to the sound of the doorbell. I looked over at the alarm clock, which I had apparently slept right through, and saw that I had just a few minutes to make it to the airport to catch my flight. The doorbell became more frantic, and I screamed from the bedroom that I would be there in just a few minutes.
I jumped up, threw on the outfit I had picked out the night before, grabbed my bag with my meds, and ran for the front door. I flung it open only to see the cabbie standing there with an angry expression on his face.
"Sorry," I said. "I overslept."
"You'll have to pay me for my time here," he growled.
"No problem," I said as I headed for the car.
He opened the door for me so that I could climb in, and I looked at him and said, "If you can make sure I get to the airport in time for my flight in thirty minutes, I'll pay you double."
With that he slammed the car door shut, ran around to the driver's side and hopped in. Without a single word he drove like a maniac, scaring the shit out of me I might add, but still getting me there ten minutes early. I paid him the double fare I promised him and exited the cab.
As I stepped up onto the curb and walked through the doors of the airport, I suddenly felt a knot in the pit of my stomach. What if I go through all of this only to find out that Bella really has moved on and wants nothing to do with Edward or me? I have to try, I thought resolutely. I just have to, because this will be my last chance. No matter what the outcome is after today, at least I'll know I did my absolute best to make things right with Bella and Edward… before God decides it's time for me to come home.