AN: See, not too bad. I'm working on chapter 10 right now.

Thank you, as always, to my wonderful pre-readers Melee03 and 6dlb5. And thank you for continuing to read and review. You all keep me going.

I hope you enjoy a different point of view.

~xoxoxoxo~

Chapter 9:

BPOV

I watched him go – walk out the front door with a gun attached to his back and another at his hip. There was a feeling in the pit of my stomach I knew wouldn't go away anytime soon.

I can influence other people's emotions, but I can't control my own. Doesn't seem fair. But I've become used to that – life not being fair.

Esme checked them out as they went, offering each one a smile that said 'hope you don't get slaughtered, but if you do. . . it's been real."

As Edward approached her, I saw her expression change – soften. She put her hand on his arm like he meant something to her even though she'd only met him once.

He never looked back.

I guess I appreciated that. It didn't allow me the opportunity to see his eyes as he returned to the world he'd been trying to escape in the first place. The world we'd all been trying to escape.

I didn't know what it was like out there. I wasn't allowed outside. All I knew was that it wasn't safe.

I'd heard stories though – from the returning raiders and others who hadn't been at the Hive very long. Cities were destroyed. Buildings crumbling – burning. People were desperate and violence was rampant. The military and the rebels were in a fight to the death and anyone who got in their way was just collateral damage. Families. . . didn't exist anymore. Brother turned against brother. Father against son.

I watched the raider Zara's husband lift their child into his arms. What an odd couple they made – him meek and mild, her fierce and strong. The child didn't cry. This wasn't the first time his mother had left him and assuming she returned, it wouldn't be the last.

Zara was a fighter, always had been. It was that strength that brought her back from the brink of death after losing her uterus in childbirth. She nearly bled to death. I remember seeing her as Carlisle nursed her. Her brown skin paled, her lips blue. I was sure she was dying.

Her husband brought their child to see her every day – let her hear his cries and feel his soft skin against hers. When she woke, she never reacted to the loss of her womb. She was only thankful for the life she was able to create before the ability was stripped from her. And determined to do whatever she could to protect that life. Even if that meant putting hers at risk.

I sighed and turned to leave the foyer, only to be stopped by Esme.

"Why don't you join us for supper tomorrow night," she offered. "Alice and Jasper will be there."

Esme and Carlisle had their own quarters in the medical wing. A perk of Carlisle's position. Esme was able cook small meals and it afforded them more privacy.

"I will, thank you," I told her. "My father's given her the night off?"

Esme laughed lightly. "Not exactly. But he knows who he would be relying on should he ever be . . . injured. I encouraged him to take his family into consideration."

The sparkle in Esme's eye was more than just amusement. As frail as she appeared, I had no doubt that she could take on the entire Hive when it came to battle of wits and intelligence. Anyone who didn't take her seriously was a fool.

Charlie was no fool.

"I'll see you tomorrow evening," she said, bowing her head slightly before disappearing through a door.

I retreated to Edward's quarters for the rest of the night. They would never look for me there. I knew it was selfish. The few nights after the raiders leave are nights for celebration. People gather at the club. They dance, they drink, they fuck. I didn't want to do any of that.

"He's going to be angry with you," Rose warned me.

"Would you go if it had been Emmett sent away?"

She shook her head, not even needing a moment to consider the question. "Not the first time, no," she admitted. She shrugged. "No. There'd be no reason to celebrate for me. Okay. Do you need Emmett?"

I shook my head. "No. Take him."

When she left, I laid back on Edward's bed. . . and fell asleep.

~xoxoxoxo~

I was summoned to my father first thing in the morning while I was eating breakfast with Jasper and Emmett.

"Where were you last night?" he demanded the moment I entered his quarters.

"I was sleeping."

"You were required to be at the club. You've never missed a send off."

"I wasn't in the mood," I said calmly. "I shouldn't have to explain why."

He scowled at me. "You, Isabella, are pushing it. He is nothing. There were dozens of men waiting for you last night. You could have had any of them."

"I didn't want any of them last night," I protested. "You think they are so easily replaceable. They're not. Any of them."

I wasn't exactly being honest. Some of them were very easily replaceable, but to single out Edward, was to put his life in greater danger. Charlie was already threatened by him – already suspected that my attachment to him was far more complicated than it appeared.

"I can't just move on from one to the next. I'm not a whore." I flickered my eyes to the woman standing behind him. One of the many who'd succumbed to Charlie's power and lust.

"Watch yourself, Isabella," he growled lowly. "There's no need for that. I expect you at the club after your. . . engagement with my cousin."

"I'll be there," I acquiesced. "But don't expect me to give freely. I'm still not in the mood."

I turned away from my father, leaving him to his dalliance.

"Are you trying to antagonize him?" Jasper asked quietly as he escorted me out.

"I'm not trying to do anything," I answered. "My father wants to play control games? Then I'll let him. But I'm done letting him dictate how I live."

I didn't look at Jasper as I said this, but out of the corner of my eye, I could have sworn I saw him smile.

~xoxoxoxo~

I arrived at Carlisle and Esme's quarters the next evening with a heaviness in my chest I couldn't shake. Nevertheless, I plastered on a smile when Alice opened the door for me.

Their home was modest and small, but more refined than most. It had a bathroom, a small kitchen, and their living space and bedroom were separated by an entire wall and a door. Alice had grown up there, her bed blocked off by blankets and curtains. The space was now open, but several of her pictures still hung on the wall. They made me smile every time I visited.

The smell of bread was strong, mingling with other delicious aromas. Esme had a small fire burning in a hearth. A stew pot sat on a griddle above it. A freshly baked loaf of bread was on a cooling rack to the side.

It wasn't so different from what we'd eat in the dining hall, but for some reason, it felt different. There was also a bottle of wine sitting on the table. Wine wasn't something most of the Hive had access to. We had brew and hard liquor, but wine was a delicacy. Grapes are not as easy to grow as one would think.

Carlisle and Jasper sat at a table playing a game of chess. Jasper was a strategic genius and very rarely, if ever, lost a game. But Carlisle kept trying.

"Supper should be ready in about twenty minutes," Esme said, stirring the stew one last time before replacing the lid and standing up to greet me.

She slipped her arm around her daughter's waist and kissed her on the side of the head. "Take that thing off," she scolded. "I don't want it in my home."

Alice rolled her eyes, but slipped her gun from her belt and set it on a side table. I watched Esme join her husband, leaning against him with her hand on his back; smiling and laughing when Jasper beat him yet again. It felt so odd, being in such a family setting. It was something I'd never get used to.

When supper was served, we sat on cushions on the floor around a circular table. Everyone bowed their heads. Religion was not something I understood, but Carlisle and Esme had both grown up with it – had raised Alice with it. I respected their traditions.

"We pray for the new life growing within our daughter, for the safe return of our raiders and for the bounty they may bring us. That it may keep our people safe and healthy. Amen."

I could feel their eyes on me when it was finished, but I didn't look up. I focused on the meal in front of me until I felt Alice's hand squeeze mine beneath the table, reassuring me that my affections were safe within those walls.

The wine was served and it was much easier to relax. We talked and laughed, but inside I felt like a huge piece of me was missing. And he was.

"I should go get ready," I said apologetically about two hours later. "I'm expected to perform this evening." I couldn't keep the bitterness from my tone no matter how much I tried.

Esme looked at me sadly. "Don't stay away so long next time," she said softly. "There is always a place for you here."

"I'll go with you," Alice said, stuffing her Beretta into the holster at her waist. She hugged her parents and kissed Jasper.

I said my goodbyes and the two of us left.

Alice was small, but she was an amazing bodyguard. Her reputation as someone who wouldn't hesitate to pull the trigger proceeded her, and no one ever dared challenge her. We walked silently and undisturbed to my quarters.

I collapsed onto my bed, throwing my hands above my head. Alice set her gun down on a shelf and flopped down next to me, her shirt rising and exposing her pale skin.

Turning over, I put my hand on her bare stomach.

"Can you feel him?" she asked, putting her hand over mine. I laughed.

"No. I'm not magic. He's still too small."

"Oh. So it is a boy?" she asked excitedly.

"I don't know, Alice. You said he, I said he."

She stuck her lower lip out in a pout.

"I love you, Bella. You did this."

"No, I didn't," I said, shaking my head. "You and Jasper did that."

"Yes you did. There's a part of you in this baby whether you want to believe it or not. Everyone feels that way."

"I wish they wouldn't," I murmured.

Alice sniffed. "I know it's a burden. I know what you have to give up for us. I know it's not the same, but these are your babies, too. And. . . if anything ever happened to me, you'd take care of him for me, right?" she added quietly.

"Nothing's going to happen to you."

"But if it does?"

I leaned down, kissing her hand that rested on top of mine. "I'll love him more than anything, Alice. No matter what."

~xoxoxoxo~

I showered and dressed slowly, wearing a short black skirt, a ragged brown top, and my boots. I painted my face as I typically did, heavy on the eye and lips, light everywhere else. My hair I pulled back, but only because I knew it would get hot with all the bodies. I wasn't that concerned about how I looked.

The club was already thumping when Alice and I arrived. Eyes flickered our way as partners writhed against each other. I could see Laurent in his leather pants and bare chest up against the wall, his mouth against the neck and his hand down the pants of another man, groping, feeling.

Normally, I would have given them a boost. I liked Laurent. He knew I'd like Edward and although I was positive I would have found him regardless, Laurent served him up for me that very first night.

Unfortunately, I had nothing to give. I felt nothing.

"Here," Rose said, appearing at my side with a shot. She handed Alice another. Alice shook her head.

"Relax, it's just water. But unless you want prying eyes to question you, I suggest you pretend."

Alice and I looked up only to see Charlie on the overlook watching us.

"Bottoms up," Alice cheered, toasting me and downing her shot.

"Thatta girl," Rose laughed.

For most of the night, I stayed close to my friends, but eventually I could feel Charlie's irritation. I wouldn't give him what he really wanted, but until Edward returned home, I needed to play nice. My father had a far-reaching grasp and if I couldn't be with my lover, I'd protect him however I could.

When Jared, a young guy who worked as a mechanic approached me, I smiled.

"Dance with me?" he said, his words confident, but his voice not quite as sure. I took his hand, sliding off my chair and adjusting my skirt.

The music playing was slow and rhythmic with a pulsing beat that I could feel in my veins. For a while Jared kept his distance, but when the beat changed, so did he. He drew in close, his arms encompassing me against his body. I tried to summon the urge, the desire, but nothing came. I turned, so that my back was against his chest. Closing my eyes, I could almost imagine it was Edward holding me from behind. His warm breath on my neck, his heart beating rapidly through both our bodies.

His hands slid across my chest, covering my breasts. And that was it. It wasn't Edward. It was Jared. And I didn't want to be there.

I pushed his hands away, but he persisted, the second time squeezing my flesh roughly, almost painfully. Even if I had been available, no one was allowed to touch me without my permission – not like that. I elbowed him in the gut and turned to face him. But Emmett already had him by the neck. I could see him struggling to breathe, his face turning red and then purple.

Emmett's attention was drawn upwards, as was mine. Charlie shook his head, looking bored. Emmett let the guy go, tossing him to the ground like a rag doll. He dragged himself backwards a few paces before getting up and running in the opposite direction.

People around us were staring. I could feel their curiosity, their irritation, and . . . their fear. Who was this girl that stood before them? Who had she become in two short weeks that had her eliciting fear rather than lust?

I felt the pressure of their conflicted emotions. It was too much. I needed to get out. I needed to hide.

"Jasper?" I begged. "Get me out of here."

Without hesitation, he swooped me up into his arms and carried me from the room. The crowd parted. I knew Charlie would be pissed, but I didn't care. Jasper carried me up three flights of stairs like it was nothing before I insisted he put me down.

"I'm sorry," I rasped. "I didn't mean. . ."

"You had every right," he answered firmly. "Don't apologize. Ever."

When we made it to my quarters, he pushed a strand of hair from my face. "I'll stand guard."

"You need to go to Alice."

"I will. When I'm sure you're safe. She'd kick my ass if she knew I'd left you," he added with a smile.

"Thank you," I whispered.

After I'd climbed the ladder to my quarters, I stripped myself of everything, and stepped into the shower. I scrubbed my skin roughly. I felt the need to be clean, to be pure. When I was done, I dried myself off and slipped, naked, beneath the sheets, burying myself into my bedding. I inhaled deeply. It smelled of him – of us.

As the bass beneath me vibrated, I thought about the night I'd first seen him – as he stood with Laurent, looking so. . . astounded. I felt him from across the room. The attraction was unbelievable – intense. I knew I needed him.

The memory was so clear. How he took control of my body, but lost control of his.

I drifted my hands over my stomach. His hands. I could feel them. Across my breasts – his fingers on my flesh. I arched my back and moaned before reaching down between my legs. I wanted it to be him, his mouth on me, his tongue.

I felt my skin flush. He'd been so raw in his need – his desire. I ached to have him inside of me. I didn't allow myself to consider that this was the only way I'd ever have him again – in my dreams, my fantasies. He'd come back to me. He'd come back and claim me. I was his and always would be.

My fingers worked in tandem with the images in my head. His cock pulsing in and out of me. His muscles straining. As I hit my peak, words of passion and love and eternity streamed from his lips which were pressed against my ear.

I didn't want to open my eyes. I didn't want the reality of his absence to come crashing down on me. I breathed deeply, my chest heaving as I came down from the high of my self-induced orgasm.

The grief came out of nowhere, bubbling up and tipping over. I couldn't control it. Tears streamed down my face like I'd just poked a giant hole in the emotional dam I'd carefully constructed to protect myself.

Rolling over onto my stomach, I buried my face in the pillow, hiding my sobs.

~xoxoxoxo~

I spent the next ten days in relative seclusion. I did my duties – helped out in the hospital and tended the gardens, but otherwise, I hid out in the library, reading books on history and science and the occasional novel.

I tried to return to the club, but found little pleasure in watching others mate while I waited for word of the raiders. Edward was always in my thoughts.

Charlie was getting frustrated. I knew he was, but I couldn't bring myself to emit anything for anyone. I once read a book about basic psychological conditions. I guess what I suffered from would be considered depression by those who once studied the subject.

I was sitting on the floor of library one evening, exactly two weeks after the raiders had left, when Rose appeared above me.

"They're back!" she breathed heavily.

My head snapped upwards. "What?"

"They're back. Come on." I dropped my book as she pulled me up.

We ran to the foyer as fast as we could. Word was quickly spreading that the raiders had returned. Others were also making their way there.

Emmett was waiting for us, a smile on his face.

"It's about fucking time. I'm tired of your moping, girl," he teased. I wanted to laugh, but until I saw Edward's face, until I kissed his mouth, I wouldn't be satisfied.

They filed in too slowly. I examined each one as they came through. Some were fine – not a scratch. Others looked rougher. Blood and dirt streaked faces, bruises marring pale skin. I winced as I saw Zara limping with blood soaked cloth wrapped around her knee. But they had bags. Full bags. I couldn't help but be happy for my people. The last two raiding trips hadn't brought very much.

The door slammed shut. It was loud and chaotic. People were whooping, smiling, laughing. Everyone was talking. Those injured were being attended to by Carlisle and the other medical team members. I should have been helping him, but my attention was on Esme, who was walking around, checking them in. I couldn't see him, but he had to be there. I scanned the room. I scanned again. . . and again.

I looked up at Emmett who was standing about ten feet away. He didn't make eye contact with me.

My heart dropped. He wasn't there. Edward hadn't come home.

~xoxoxoxo~

"Where is he?" I demanded, storming into the hospital wing.

"Who?"

Zara was laying on a bed. Her leg, just above her knee was wrapped in a fresh bandage.

"You know who, Zara. Where is he?"

"I don't know," she said flatly.

"What do you mean you don't know?" I questioned angrily. "He's part of your crew!"

She took a deep breath. "We were under attack. About thirty miles east."

"From who?"

"I don't know. Another raider crew? Military? I never saw them. We were loaded down – headed back. They started shooting at us and. . ."

"What?"

"He took a hit. That's all I know. I was already down. I didn't see what happened."

I stared at the wound in her leg. "But they got to you. They got you out."

"I asked about him," she said quietly. "They said he was too heavily covered and they couldn't get him out."

"You left him?"

"We don't know who he is, Isabella."

"You. Left. Him."

She looked away, almost as if she actually regretted what they had done.

"Like I said, he was down. Probably already gone. We couldn't risk any of our own for him. Not for a body."

"Any of our own?" I lowered my head. "Sacrifice one for the many."

"Exactly," she said, nodding. "It's a good death."

"Good death," I repeated emotionlessly, turning away from her.

I'd never thought of it that way, but she was right. It was a death. A slow, painful death.

~xoxoxoxo~

I had to make the decision quickly. If I waited and deliberated too long, I'd be found out. I returned to my quarters. I wouldn't be able to carry much. I threw a pair of long pants made out of a thick, hearty material and a long-sleeved shirt into a knapsack. In a small pocket, I shoved a few valuables, hopefully for trade.

When I was done, I made my way down to Edward's quarters. Looking around, there wasn't much. I picked up a shirt from a side table and held it to my nose, breathing in. It was faint, but I could still smell him.

"You're planning to leave, aren't you?" Alice's voice startled me. I was usually so much more perceptive than that, but she'd caught me off guard.

I didn't respond. I didn't have to.

"Just tell me why," she begged. "At least give me that."

"I need to find him. Dead or alive, I can't do what I'm supposed to do anymore without knowing," I said, breathing out a long breath. "I can't. . . be what I need to be. I'm no good to anyone."

"Did he mean that much to you? That you'd leave your people? He wasn't even here that long."

"How long did it take you to fall in love with Jasper?" I questioned, already knowing the answer. Four days. She knew from the moment she met him that she wanted him, but it took four days for them to realize that Jasper was never going to be able to return to the outside world.

"It's different."

"Why? Because I'm not allowed? You've been spending too much time around my father," I snapped.

"And you've forgotten who I am. You know my loyalty is to you."

"Would you have let me kill him?" I asked, bringing up the moment in Charlie's chambers for the first time. "Because I could have. I wanted to."

"No." Alice shook her head. My heart stumbled. I'd hoped she would have said 'yes'.

I'd never been so angry at my father as I had in that moment. He'd played plenty of games over the years. He was manipulative and cruel when he wanted to be, but he'd never challenged me like that. There had never been anything I wanted as much as I wanted to keep Edward. Despite my attempts to hide it, Charlie knew.

He wanted to play games? I'd show him the kind of games I could play – overloading his mind and his body with emotions he couldn't handle. If he'd been anyone else, he probably would have collapsed within seconds, but years of mastering control of himself and me had strengthened him.

"Not for his sake, but for yours," Alice explained quickly. "I'm one person, Bella. There were several guns in that room whose loyalties aren't as secure as mine. He gives them whatever they need, whatever they want, to ensure that."

I nodded. She was right. "And that's exactly why I have to go. I need. . . time."

We stared at each other silently for a few minutes.

"I don't want you to go," she finally spoke, her voice wavering. I moved forward putting my hands on either side of her hanging head.

"I love you," I whispered. "My sister."

I'd never seen Alice cry. She was the toughest woman I'd ever known. But at that moment, I felt her sadness, her pain. It was almost enough to change my mind. Almost.

When she lifted her head again, her expression was only one of determination.

"Here," she said, shoving her Beretta into my hand. "Take it."

"Alice, I. . ."

"Just take it. Here." She undid her holster and wrapped it around my waist.

I knew how to shoot as well as any, but I'd never had to. I slipped the gun into the holster and pulled my shirt back down.

Alice walked me to the stairwell where Emmett was waiting for me. He tilted his head and narrowed his eyes. He knew something was up, but I wasn't about to tell him. I didn't want him to be punished for my decision. The less he knew, the better.

"What's that for?" He asked, pointing at my knapsack.

"I borrowed some books from the library. I'm taking them back."

"You want me to carry it?"

I shook my head and smirked. "I'm entirely capable of carrying my own things."

He lifted his hands in surrender. "Okay, okay. Just askin'."

We started down the stairs and when we reached the main floor just outside of the door to the foyer, I stopped him.

"What are you doing?"

"Wait here. I need to ask a question."

"Ask who? Alec? Ask him what?"

"Emmett." I frowned. "Mind your own business. I'll be back in a minute."

He stared at me in confusion, but waved me away. "Fine. Whatever. Hurry though, I gotta take a piss."

He cupped himself like a little boy, making me laugh. I'd miss his antics. I wanted to kiss him, tell him how much I cared for him, but doing that would raise his suspicion. He'd never let me go.

I walked away, through the door and away from my friend.

~xoxoxoxo~

"Bella? What are you doing out here?" Alec, one of the security guards called through the open door to the monitoring room.

I walked in and bit my lip. "I need to get out," I said, making my voice as seductive as I could.

Alec's mouth dropped open. He looked a little dazed before he shook his head.

"What do you mean out?"

"Out. The door opened. I need to leave the Hive."

"Nnnnnn. . . o," he stuttered. "No way. I can't let you go, Bella. Are you trying to get me killed?" Alec frowned at me. I frowned right back.

"I'm getting out that door whether you like it or not. You can do as I ask, or I can make you."

Alec stared at me. The look on his face told me that he was contemplating just how serious I was.

Suddenly, the alarm behind him sounded. We both looked up, startled.

"What the hell?"

On the security screen above our heads was a form – a person, slumped against the door. I couldn't see well enough to determine if it was male or female, but something inside me began to ache.

Edward.

"Let him in," I snapped.

"What?"

"Let him in."

"Are you kidding? Who is it?"

I shoved Alec backwards angrily and hit the release button to unlock the doors.

"Shit!" he swore as I ran out into the foyer.

The heavy doors opened and the form stumbled in. His knees buckled, but he barely managed to stay on his feet.

"Edward!" It came out as a whisper, a breath. As if saying it any louder would make him disappear. I rubbed my eyes and looked again, prepared for disappointment.

His eyes lifted, meeting mine in one of those moments I'd only ever read about in the fiction books we had in the library.

My breath got caught in my throat. It was him.

I ran forward, throwing myself at him and causing him to stumble backwards with a grunt.

"I'm sorry," I whimpered, letting him go.

"It's okay, doll," he slurred. "It's just a little scratch."

"A scratch?" I stepped back to look at him. He was covered in blood and dirt. His arm was held tightly against his body. I glanced back up at his face, which was covered by a thick scraggly beard. His lips were cracked and bleeding, his face pale with the remnants of bruising, and his beautiful green eyes were dull and hazy."

"Let me see," I demanded, gently pulling his arm away.

"You really don't want to do that."

I didn't listen. I'd seen plenty of wounds in my life. I carefully lifted his jacket away from his body and lifted his shirt.

"Oh, my God. What happened to you?" His whole abdomen was bruised and distended. There was a gaping, festering wound in his gut, much larger than a bullet hole.

"I told you," he said weakly. "Just a scratch." Then suddenly he collapsed.

"Aleeeeec," I screeched. "Go get Emmett." As Alec disappeared, I bent down, cradling Edward's head in my lap. "You're gonna be okay," I chanted. "I promise."

A few seconds later, Emmett came barreling into the foyer.

"Jesus Christ. Is that Edward?"

"Take him," I begged. "Take him to Carlisle, please."

Emmett nodded and lifted Edward into his massive arms. Edward grunted and groaned, but didn't wake. His head lulled to the side, exposing his neck and another wound in his shoulder.

I ran after Emmett while people stared. It seemed to take forever to get to the hospital wing, but eventually, we burst through the door and into the bright lights.

"Bella?" Carlisle rushed over. "What is this?"

"It's Edward," I rasped. My heart was pounding in my chest, making it hard to breathe. "Fix him."

"Set him down," Carlisle ordered. "Over here. Katie." A nurse rushed over. I watched helplessly as they stripped Edward down, cutting his clothes off with a pair of scissors. His body was in much worse shape than I ever could have imagined. He looked thin and . . . broken.

"Where did you find him?" Carlisle asked, reaching over for a pile of sterile gauze and some cleansing solution.

"He came to the door," I answered. "Is he going to be okay?"

"I don't know."

Katie prepared a needle and slipped it into Edward's arm, attaching an IV while Carlisle cleaned the caked up dirt and blood from Edward's skin. Part of me wanted him to lie to me – to tell me that he knew for sure that everything was going to be fine.

But that wasn't Carlisle. He didn't sugarcoat anything. If you were going to die, he would tell you. That's the way he worked. I took comfort in knowing that he hadn't yet told me there was nothing he could do.

I sat down on a chair in the corner of the room and watched as Carlisle examined Edward's body and wounds. He nodded at Katie and she handed him a pair of long skinny tweezers.

Bullets. He was removing bullets. I heard them clink as they hit the metal tray. When he was done, he set the tweezers down. Katie sprayed saline over the holes and Carlisle stitched them up.

"He's going to need antibiotics," Carlisle said solemnly when he got to the wound in his abdomen. "This is putrid. He'll die without them."

"Do you have any?" I begged.

Carlisle took a deep breath and nodded. "I can spare a few days worth of intravenous. After that, he'll have to rely on his own body to heal him. He's in bad shape, though, Bella."

Emmett helped Carlisle move Edward to a far corner of the room where he could have some privacy and then kissed my head before leaving. Carlisle brought over a heavy blanket and laid it on top of him.

"Talk to him, Bella. He'll hear you," he soothed.

I sat next to the bed and lifted Edward's cold hand, threading our fingers together.

"Come back to me," I whispered against his ear. "I love you."