Disclaimer: All characters belong to Stephenie Meyer. I own the plot.
A very special thanks to Verucasin, beta – extraordinaire.
This chapter is a bit long… I shortened it, TRUST ME. There is a lot going on and once more Bella's life will be uprooted in a harsh manner.
To those of you who have followed my story, sorry you had to wait so long for the update, but I had some work to do. I have been over the first chapters again and weeded through the excruciating amount of mistakes and I hoped to make my story better. I have merged a lot of chapters that is why we are now back to chapter thirteen so don't be confused ladies.
I just want to state for the record I know nothing about press conferences. As for the legal matters included in this chapter I have no background knowledge to speak of, so bear with me if I make mistakes.
For those of you who love Alice, I have a treat for you when I post the next chapter. So stay alert!
I had stayed at Alice's for almost a week. The apartment was mine for as long as I wanted it she had said, but at some point I was going to have to let my family know that I was back, and eventually also return to work.
I flipped on the TV and started going through the channels. I wasn't really sure why Alice insisted on having all these channels as she was never really home. When she was, TV was not her primary occupation. She would mainly sketch designs for her collection or read. In my opinion, it was a waste of money to have all these channels.
I stopped at a news channel. At least I could watch something with intellectual value. The headlines were speeding across the bottom of the screen and my heart lurched to a halt when I noticed Edward's name was among the titles. It appeared there was a press conference at 1 p.m. that had something to do with him. I checked the time, it was already 12.30 p.m.
Since I had stormed off the island, I had purposefully and successfully avoided the internet, newspapers and any other kind of media that might contain information regarding Edward and the rape charges. Ignorance was bliss for the moment.
Since I had returned home a little more than a week ago, several things had come into place. On the positive side, I realized I was glad to be home and to be with Alice again. I also found out I was in far better state than when I had left. I was really doing okay and I was over Jacob.
On the down side, I figured out I had very strong feelings for Edward. I knew I had acted too rash. I should have spoken to him, confronted him with the facts that I had found. My gut was still telling me something was wrong, but I hadn't listened and now I had to pay the price. I missed Edward horribly and it was constantly gnawing at my heart that I had abandoned him when he needed support. I had failed him horribly, but I had no way of getting in touch with him. He was the most sought out person in Hollywood and I could hardly walk up to his front door and knock. I didn't even know where to start. Would he even see me after what I did?
I waited for the press conference to start by bouncing around on the couch. I was nervous and impatient and I took it out on my nails. They suffered as I chewed them to the skin. I never bit my nails, but since Thailand I had picked up that habit.
The news anchor finally broke into the story I was waiting for. The pretty face on the screen was announcing the live broadcast. I had to concentrate to follow her words.
And now we are going live to LA to the unexpected press conference regarding the charges Edward Anthony Cullen is facing.
The image flickered to what looked like a room full of reporters and cameras. There was a long table with five chairs at the far end of the room. From where these images were shot it looked like an execution square; chairs were the targets and the cameras the guns. I shuddered.
All of a sudden the screen turned bright white and it was impossible to see what was going on. It looked like the TV had broken, until I figured out it was all the flashes from the cameras. The flicking of lights slowed a fraction and it was possible to see that people were taking their places behind the table. First, it was two men in suits, they looked grave and with personalities as dry as deserts. The third person entering made the screen turn white again. My heart started beating like it was outside of my chest and my pulse kept thumping away in my ears. From what I could tell it was Edward who had entered.
The fourth person entering didn't cause much of a stir from the cameras, but she looked nervous... extremely tense. Like she was a minute away from puking her guts out from the sizzling of her nerves. I stared at the girl, I had seen her before. Edward had several sketches of her in his journal. Edward took her hand and let her to the table, holding a chair out for her. I smiled, remembering his manners.
A fifth person entered without alarm as well. He was in a less decadent suit than the other men.
One of the well groomed guys started talking. "My name is J. Jenks and I represent Mr. Cullen as his attorney." I forgot to breathe when I heard the name. That was the man Edward had spoken too several times when I was with him. Mr. Jenks gestured to the skinny man beside him. "This is Mr. Cullen's agent and we represent Mr. Cullen in the pending rape charges against him. This press conference has been called to officially clear several points regarding the charges. Mr. Cullen wishes to address the matters himself. Mr. Cullen will make a statement and if everything will remain orderly, he will answer a few questions afterwards. Officially, Mr. Cullen has the full support of my staff and me." He hesitated for a moment. "Edward." He spoke with authority as he handed to word to the person in the middle of this bees nest. Edward.
His dark hair color was completely gone and it was a charming reddish brown. I guessed it was back to its natural hues. Edward swallowed back hard, composing himself and the professional closed façade grazed his face.
"As you might know my name is Edward Anthony Cullen. I have recently been charged with statutory rape of Miss Tanya Denali and a sexual assault of a sixteen year old girl. As for the rape of the unnamed victim I would like to state I have been cleared of the charges by DNA. I met the victim briefly at a private function, but I was never alone with her nor had I any other type of contact with her. However, fact remains she was sexually violated and the police has another man in custody for the assault.
"As to the statutory rape charge of Tanya Denali, those have also been dropped." Edward glanced to his left and gave a small smile to the girl beside him. "This is Tanya Denali." That was all he said before the flashes started to burn a furious white on the TV screen again. It lasted for about a minute before he could get another word in. "I turned eighteen just before she turned seventeen. We were high school sweethearts and we were in love." He paused. "I had sex with Miss Denali when I was eighteen and she was sixteen years old. Those are the correct facts. The charge has been dismissed by what is called 'the Romeo and Juliet clause' as our age difference is less than three years. There was also sufficient evidence we both made a conscious choice to engage in sexual conduct and the fact we were dating at the time also weighed in on the ruling." The girl next to him, Tanya, heaved in a deep nervous breath.
"My name is Tanya Denali." Her voice was shaky and she looked really upset. "My parents charged Edward with statutory rape and this charge has now been dismissed." She smiled at Edward. "I had sex with Edward when I was sixteen and he was eighteen years old. It was consensual and he under no circumstances forced me to do anything I did not want." Her words were a little steadier now. "Edward is a wonderful man and he would never ever do anything like that to anyone. These charges have caused him a great deal of emotional pain as well as his career has suffered from it, and I'm truly sorry for that." She spoke the words into the microphone, but they were meant for him personally. Edward stared at the table; he smiled a little when Tanya apologized. "I'm here today to show him my support and show the world we are friends today."
I stared at the TV with my mouth hanging open. My instincts were right. Edward never did any of those things. I was unsure how much you could actually regret something, but right now I found myself being educated. I felt awful for my actions and appalling that I hadn't trusted him. He had tried to warn me several times, but I hadn't heard him, I hadn't paid attention to what he was really telling me. I had acted exactly how he expected.
I just sat frozen back on the sofa and I turned my attention to the press conference again. They were just beginning to answer questions from all the reporters that were screaming at the top of their lungs. The agent was trying to maintain some sense of order within the agitated mob.
He pointed to somewhere in the crowd. "Yes."
A husky voice sounded. "Why did your parents decide to revoke the charges?"
The question was asked for Tanya, but Edward answered. "That is private, so no comment." He answered evenly, sounding like a pro.
"Mr. Cullen, do you feel any resentment toward Miss Denali's parents?" It was the husky voice again.
Edward answered business like again. "No comment." He stated into the microphone. His face was friendly, but completely unreadable.
The agent pointed in another direction. "Yes."
"Are you and Miss Denali currently having a relationship?"
"No we are not. Miss Denali is engaged to be married, but we remain good friends." He smiled and winked at her. The crowd cheered.
The reporter snug in another question before that agent could pass the words to someone else. "Are you going to the wedding?"
"I am. She is marrying another good friend of mine." Edward added in a light tone.
A new question came from another direction. "Where have you been for the past weeks?"
"I took an extended holiday." He answered evenly and his face was completely unreadable again.
"Alone? Are you single at the moment?" The reporter asked. I held my breath for his answer.
"To the first question; No, I was with a dear friend. To answer your second question; no comment." I watched his face closely as he spoke. For just a brief second his eyes showed pain, excruciating pain. I knew I had caused him pain when I left, I wasn't a moron and he hadn't exactly hidden the way he felt. But it shocked me to see how deep the pain went in his glorious eyes. I felt like the crummiest person on the planet.
The answer made the mob of reporters stir again and the agent fought to keep the crowd calm. He started to round things up, but I just sat and stared at Edward's face. He looked relieved and pained at the same time. I guessed relief was the charges being dropped and the pain was me. I felt stupid admitting that. Why would someone like Edward want someone like me? That was unthinkable. Also I had made an utter mess of the situation and I couldn't fix it.
I had been living on Alice's couch for far too long. Two weeks had passed in a daze. Since I had watched the press conference about Edward, my mind had gone blank and all I felt was pain. I cried at night when Alice had gone to bed and once again my sleep was filled with nightmares. I realized I had probably made the biggest mistake of my life leaving him the way I did.
I had picked the stitches out of my knee sitting on the kitchen counter. The skin on my behind that had been attacked by mosquitos was smooth and calm again. Alice had made no sign that she was sick of having me as a permanent fixture around here. She only joked that I had worn a Bella shaped mold into the couch.
One afternoon I had aired the idea that I would start looking for my own place to stay. Alice had looked distressed and unhappy, mainly like someone who had sucked a lemon. After that she did something very un-Alice and suggested that we move in together. At first she had blamed it on the high prices on accommodations and it would be more practical as she put it. But later she admitted she didn't want me to leave. When I left she would be alone again. I never realized she was lonely, but on the other hand I had spent the past year of my life mourning my loss and licking my own wounds. My mind was too busy on myself to notice if anything was going on with Alice. So to me, moving in with her was like killing two birds with one stone. Rent would be cheaper and I wouldn't be lonely either. I feared the latter more than my own death.
Crunching the numbers we figured out we could afford a much bigger place together. So I guess that actually three birds and one stone.
Alice pulled a few strings with Aro, her boss, and he came to our rescue. He had arranged for us to meet an old lady, who was renting out her apartment cheap. That was the rumor, though everyone knew nothing was ever cheap in New York. We were first in line up to grab the apartment. I suspected Aro was thrilled to help as he seemed to be unhealthily fond of Alice. He made my skin crawl for some reason that I couldn't put my finger on.
I took a moment to take in the place that would become my new home. All the walls were raw brick and with high ceilings. The entry was fairly spacious and had the essential - a closet. The hall led straight into the living room and on the left there was a door/opening into the kitchen. I ran my fingers over the counter top. This was a real kitchen, with everything like a fridge , a stove and an oven. There were two bedrooms, both a decent size and with a huge living room placed in between them. Suddenly, I could hardly wait till the day we could move in. I could see myself really having a base here. I had been more or less rootless since Jacob died. We'd had a home together and when he was gone, so was my home.
Alice took care of all the details and the only aspect I needed to take care of was money for rent. Sure, I had some stacked away, but I still needed a paycheck every month to make ends meet. It was time I paid Eric, my boss, a visit and work out the details to return to work from my leave of absence.
The next day at the old dusty bookstore, Eric, was only happy to see me back again. As soon as I pushed the doors open I smiled at the scent of paper and print. Talking to Eric, I didn't have the courage to tell him that I had been back for a few weeks. He asked a few questions and I answered in short replies. We quickly worked out a schedule for me, which meant that he out of the goodness of his heart gave me my old one back.
I walked home to Alice's place feeling like life was finally giving me a break. It was refreshing to have a few pieces fall my way, instead of constantly having to struggle against the stream.
I helped Alice pack up her old place. I had less than things, so my packing would be done in less than an hour. I was glad the Alice chosen to live in a minimalistic fashion as it seriously limited the amount of knickknacks that needed to be packed up. I worked most of the day, helped Alice at night and I went to bed exhausted. Having stuff to do every day didn't leave me much time to think about Edward and the loss I felt every time I remembered his beautiful face or kind soul.
Alice asked about my stuff a few times. I knew she was referring to what I had left in storage before I left for Thailand. The first couple of times I ignored her, but I finally decided I wasn't taking anything from there to our new home. I would leave them where they were. I was doing pretty good and digging up old stuff when I had just healed; was like asking for trouble. The scar was still pink, a little swollen and freshly healed. I had enough self-preservation to know that would be a bad idea to rip through all that pain again.
We moved into our new place two weeks later. I suspected Alice had flirted her way to get a few strong men from the small company adjoining her office to help with the heavy lifting. My furniture was delivered on our door step, all wrapped in plastic with a price tack on them. I had bought a new bed, a dresser and a night stand. I wanted new stuff for a new life.
The first night in our new place was strange and at the same time settling. We shared a plastic cup of wine and celebrated our move in. I went to bed early and I slept before my head even hit the pillow. It had been a hard day's work and I wasn't one for tough manual labor.
I finished setting up my room. Moving was really easy when you had nothing to relocate. Alice on the other hand was in up to her neck, even though her style was minimalistic, she had an entire apartment to unpack.
Through all of this I constantly had one thing in the back of my mind. Edward. I missed him and that was in a gut wrenching paralyzing way. Sure, I had things to do every day now and I was able to do them, but he was missing. I knew Edward didn't die like Jacob, but it was highly unlikely that I was ever even going to see him again. He might as well live in a different solar system for all I knew. I knew deeply in my heart that I had made a horrific mistake. I acted in a rush without thinking and now I had to pay the price, and the price was torture and loneliness.
The following nights were disturbed by dreams, wonderful dreams. They were so vivid and clear and all of them about Edward. When I woke in the morning, my heart was full of sorrow as I was pulled from Edward and the imaginary world where we existed together. In my dreams he touched my skin and an electric current moved throughout my veins so intensely I could feel my heartbeat in my fingertips. My entire body was pulsating with need for him. Every morning I woke, I closed my eyes again hoping to salvage his face from my dream, but it was always gone and replaced with an unwelcome loneliness. Weeks passed like this.
All morning I moved like in a trance. I couldn't even remember the trip to work or people I might have seen. I stumbled absentmindedly through my day at the bookstore. Around lunch time a thought occurred to me and I couldn't shake it. I made a hopeless attempt to put my energy towards the new publications that had arrived, but it was fruitless. Nothing worked and I really needed a trip to the drug store on my way home.
When I got home, I pulled out a chair and slumped down on it. I stared into the air as it slowly started getting dark. Hours later, I heard Alice turn the key in the lock. Finally she was home. She turned on the lights and I just stared at her saying nothing.
"Dammit Bella! What the hell are you doing?" Her hand clutched her throat, stunned. She exhaled heavily, almost panted from the shock. "If I didn't know any better, I would think you lost your damn mind." She muttered and shrugged out of her jacket.
"Maybe I have." I murmured.
"What are you talking about?" She frowned.
I hesitated for a long moment. "I have this feeling." I said, unsure how to phrase my thoughts. "I think I might be... pregnant." I glanced up at her and Alice gawked at me. She narrowed her eyes at me, like she thought that I actually had lost my mind.
"Bella, I'm pretty sure it's required for you have sex to get pregnant. I'm also pretty sure that is about as likely as the second coming." She pulled out a chair and sat down next to me. She kept staring at me with some level of amusement.
I pursed my lips and swallowed hard. "I did."
Her mouth popped open. "You had sex? With who?" Alice countered overbearingly, not sounding convinced at all.
"I think I'm pregnant." I repeated. I didn't want to get into who I had sex with. That was a completely different story. Alice fell silent for a long moment and took a deep breath. Her face changed to serious.
"Did you take a test?"
"No... not yet."
"Well, how about we go get one then?" She said supportively and stood up. I simply reached into the brown paper bag located to my right and took out the test. I placed it silently on the table. Alice plopped down on the chair again.
"You want to take it?" She asked. The room was dead silent.
"Yes, I think I have to. I was waiting for you." I met her eyes, silently screaming for help. I needed her unbreakable spirit for this one. I was completely out of my element and I couldn't muster the courage to find out if my suspicions were right or not.
"Why? Never mind... let's just go do this." She grabbed my hand and reached for the pregnancy test placed on the table. She dragged me to the bathroom and started unpacking the box. I wasn't sure what to do next, so I just stood there, paralyzed. Alice ducked down, searching through the vanity and handed me a plastic cup. "Do your thing." She said and bobbed her head towards the toilet.
"Privacy." I cocked a brow at her.
"Stop being such a priss." She scolded and pulled out the paper from inside the test box. She started going over the information needed to perform the test correctly, I assumed.
Obediently I urinated into the cup. I placed the half full container on the bathroom counter and pulled my pants up when I heard her scrambling with plastic. From the corner of my eye I saw Alice sticking the tip of the test into the cup.
"Don't touch my pee." I complained.
"There's something you don't hear every day." She mumbled. I ignored her and sat down on the lip of the bathtub with my head in my hands and braced myself for the wait.
"Oh my God." Alice whispered amazed. "You were right, Bella. You're pregnant." Her voice was soft like a coo and her face lit up like a Christmas tree.
The blood drained from my face and I started hyperventilating. "The test is wrong. It's not working right." I said feebly, attempting at rationalizing why the test was positive, though I knew exactly why.
"There's no doubt, Bella." She held up the test. "It's positive." Her voice was like a ringing in my ears like tinnitus.
"Are you sure?" I grimaced.
"Pretty much, yeah."
"Oh god, I'm pregnant?" I murmured and stopped breathing. I stood up and went to the counter. The two lines on the test were screaming a furious red. There was no way of denying it. The test was positive. My heart was like a jack hammer in my chest.
"Yes, you are." Alice stared at me for a long silent moment. "When was your last period?"
"I don't know. It was a long time ago. I think since before Jacob died." I answered automatically.
"Seriously?" Alice frowned.
"Yeah." I whispered and swallowed convulsively.
"So, you would have no idea how far along you are?"
"Not really..." I trailed off as a different thought entered my mind. I knew exactly how far along I would be if the test was correct. "On another note, it would be about seven weeks." Alice gaped at me. "Sex." I shrugged.
"Oh right." She went quiet for a while, studying my face. "Bella, I think you need to sit down. You look like you're going to pass out." When she said that I realized my head was whirling and the ringing in my ears was getting louder. My vision started to blur. Alice pushed me to the bathtub and forced me sit down. I put my head between my knees to stop the ringing. Suddenly, I felt like I was so low on oxygen I was suffocating. I started heaving in air like a maniac. Alice left the room for a brief moment only to return with a brown paper bag. I started to inhale and exhale deeply into it. My vision returned and the ringing subsided. It was helping.
A few minutes later I was calmer again and removed the bag from my face. "So what should we do now?" I stared at her with tears in my eyes.
"How about I go get some dinner?" She offered kindly and stroked my back.
"I'm not hungry." I muttered. I dried my eyes that were brimming with tears. My appetite was far gone as my life once more was flipped upside down. It was so typical when I had just found some semblance to the life I had, it had to be torn up by its roots again.
"I think we should eat something. I'm hungry and it might make you feel better. You don't look so good." Alice sat down next to me. She examined my face for a long time. "When was the last time you had something to eat, Bella?"
"This morning... I think." I wasn't sure if a granola bar and an apple constituted as an actual meal.
"Listen, take a shower and I'll go at get a burger or something." She stroked my arm. I was grateful that Alice was here and on top of that calm. I might look calm or even catatonic on the outside, but my insides were a chaos of emotions roaring infuriatingly loud. I burned on the inside and my outsides were frozen.
I stared at her; I couldn't seem to locate my mouth to speak. I just turned the water on and complied with her request.
I got in the shower and pushed the knob far towards hot. The water was burning my zombie-like skin, but I felt nothing. Here, alone, I let my tears run free. They blended in with the water from the shower vanishing as quickly as they left my eyes. I slumped to the floor and I cried my heart out. I was aching for Edward, and especially aching for the baby. Strangely, there was nothing I wanted more than what was supposedly growing inside of me, but there was no way I could salvage the situation between Edward and I now. I had assured Edward we were safe. Facts just proved that we weren't. Not by a long shot. Edward probably didn't want me anyway, and now I had broken yet a promise to him and gotten myself knocked up. It would destroy him and his life. I couldn't take that chance.
"Oh God! Bella, what the fuck are you doing to yourself!" Alice's voice broke through the wall of running water. She yanked the shower curtain out of the way and turned the water off. "You're burning yourself." She cried horrified. My body trembled and I felt cold. She tore of her jacket while grasping a towel from the vanity. She folded it over me and pulled me out of the shower. "You can't do this to yourself." She scolded upset. I didn't really comprehend. She wasn't the one who was knocked up and desperately in love with a man she could never have. "You're shaking." She pulled another towel from under the sink and wrapped it around my waist.
"I'm cold." I said with chattering teeth.
"I know." She said and started ringing the water from my hair and pushing it of my face. She looked at me with petrified eyes. "You have to do better than this, Bella. I'm not trying to be mean, but you cannot do this to yourself." She implored. I realized what she was telling me and I stared down my arms and my chest. My skin was red, prickly and slightly swollen. In my zombie-like state I realized what Alice saw. I looked like I had been boiled alive.
"I'm sorry." I said while my teeth slammed against each other.
"Promise you'll stop this! What's going on with you? For weeks you have been moving around this place like you're not even here. I know you're hurt, Bella, but you can't keep doing this. I really want to be patient with you, but ever since you returned home you have been like a sleepwalker. Please talk to me, we can figure this out. I'm here for you." Her voice was solemn and firm.
"I p...p...promise." Guilt washed over me thickly, but I just stared at her. I thought I had been doing a pretty good job at hiding my despair, but I just realized I hadn't fooled Alice by a long shot. Besides, I was a grown and intelligent woman. There was no need for overly dramatic gestures like this.
We sat in silence and ate our food. I chewed every bite slowly and swallowed. The food felt like gravel going through my throat. I was far from hungry, but it felt good to have food in my system. I downed about a half-gallon water with the burger, and the new energy made me escape further from comatose state.
"I'm sorry about before." I said quietly, gently running my fingers across my slightly scorched arms. It felt like I had been pricked with a million needles repeatedly.
"It's okay. Just don't do that again." Alice sighed. I was glad I hadn't taken the test alone and that she was here. There was no telling how things had panned out if I had been alone. Alice made sure there were loads of sugary and very unhealthy snacks for the evening. We sat on the couch, watching television, though, I didn't think any of us really watched it. I had my arms folded around my legs with my chin resting on my knees. My pointer finger repeatedly traced the pink scar on my kneecap. It had healed in a bulgy and uneven line, but somehow it reminded me of Edward.
"Bella, I have to ask. Who's the guy?" Alice's eyes twinkled and her curiosity was hardly contained. I loved Alice, but she was awfully nosy.
I shrugged my shoulders. "Just some guy." I keep running the edges of the uneven line, while my heart palpitations were running amuck.
"Just some guy?" She retorted suspiciously. "You had casual sex with 'just some guy'?" She narrowed her eyes at me. "What's his name?"
"Edward." My mouth said without permission from my brain.
"Edward what?" She prodded. Just like picking at a scab of a wound, if you keep scratching eventually you would bleed. And if Alice kept poking right now I would start to bleed. I was already a chaotic mess on the inside and I couldn't handle her nosy interference anymore.
"I don't know." I lied. "Can we watch something else?" I diverged. For now I needed Alice off the subject. She had too many question and I had less answers.
"Sure." She replied and left the subject alone and I was grateful.
We watched an action packed thriller with a big muscular guy and a damsel in distress in need of saving. Alice watched it, but I had absolutely no memory of storyline. "You want to sleep in my bed tonight?" Alice turned off the TV and faced me.
"I don't want be alone." I said quietly. I felt like a five year old with monsters under my bed, but there was no way I could face an entire night alone and risk it being filled with nightmares. I laid my head on her shoulder and she stroked my hair for a while.
"I'll get your pillow." She gave me a peck on the forehead and glided off to my room. She returned caring my cover as well.
"Thanks." I mouthed exhausted.
I went to the bathroom and brushed my teeth. It was good cleaning my teeth was a twice a day event, otherwise it would have been impossible to do. I lay down on Alice's bed and she pulled the covers over me and I rolled to the side, creeping into fetal position. Alice got in behind me. I lay in the silent darkness waiting for sleep to find me. Sadly I'd been right; sleep was nowhere to be found.
I listened to Alice breathing. It was slow, deep and calm; she was sleeping. I concentrated on her breath, counting them as they came and went. It kept my mind off the very serious matter at hand. My pregnancy and the fact that I had now lost Edward in a way I never expected.
"It's gonna be okay." Alice said suddenly.
"I thought you were sleeping?" I murmured surprised.
"No... I don't think I will sleep until you do."
I sighed. "I'm so tired, but I don't know how to sleep." I felt the tears burn in my eyes.
"What are you going to do?" Her voice was tiny and frail. I knew she had been dying to ask that very question all night. I didn't answer. "Are you going to... have it taken care off?" She whispered. She moved closer to me and stroked my hair. Her words made me cringe as revulsion flooded my body. There was no way I could kill something that belonged to Edward. A creature that was as beautiful as him, something that was a part of him.
"No." I said determined. "I can't do that."
Alice moved closer again and put an arm around my waist, hugging me to her tiny body. "You're not going to have an abortion?" She asked carefully, but slightly surprised. I flinched at the murderous word.
"There's no way I can do that." I tried not to visualize what having an abortion would be like, but it made me want to puke my guts out. I had always been pro-choice and it was a woman's right to choice, but I just knew in my gut that it was not the right choice for me now.
"Okay." She sighed. "We can do this together." The promising words rang loud and clear.
"What about your clothing line? What about your life? I can't ask you to do that, Alice!" I answered stunned she would even consider that.
"You're not asking, I'm offering. There's a difference. I'll be here for you." Her voice was a soft brush against the surrounding darkness
"Alice, you need to have a life. A baby will be a dead weight for you. I don't want to do that to you." I refused.
"Just think about it. You're not alone." She hugged me closer.
She didn't say anything else and neither did I. I stared out into the night going over what Alice had offered. She had to be the most self-sacrificing and loving person that ever existed. Who else would give up their life to help a friend in such a crucial way?
Sleep finally found me in the early hours of the morning. Just before I dozed off, I noticed Alice still wasn't sleeping either.
Whew this was a tough one to write… now tell me what you think.
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