Chapter VVIII: Deception

The silence dragged on.

He looked at the snow-colored bandage that was taped on the side of her forehead. His gaze trailed to her eyes, which stared so intently into his as if they were reading his thoughts. His mind struggled to process her eyes without any traces of hate in them.

"Yeah. I'm Renee's friend," He lied painfully. "She couldn't make it to see you, so she sent me here."

Bella smiled, and that simple gesture seemed to enchant the dull, bleach-scented ward.

"My Mom's always busy," She said, with a beam that did not make that accusation seem like one at all.

Edward missed her. As selfish as it may seem, he wished that she could remain like this forever - when he had not stepped into her life and created misery.

"Are you feeling better?" He asked.

"Yes, very much. My Dad called me just fifteen minutes ago."

He nodded slowly and went to stand before her. The mesmerizing sea of brown were fixed on the window again, looking steadily at the cobbled path outside. His eyes threatened to give away his emotions.

"I must have been asleep for a very long time," She said softly. "I don't even know what the date is."

"February the tenth," He replied curtly.

She looked at him, and then smiled. "Thanks."

"You're welcome."

And there was silence again. It was not the usual awkward quietness which made one uncomfortable. This silence was golden. Being in the same room with her was probably the happiest moment yet. For the briefest moment in time, it felt as though they were just friends - good friends, for that matter.

"I want to go out for a walk," She said finally.

He blinked. "Sure. Of course."

She pulled the thin blanket aside and placed both feet flat on the ground. Like a runner preparing for a race, she braced herself, watching the ground so intently that it seemed to capture every cell of attention she ever had.

Slowly, she stood up, holding onto the table next to the bed.

Edward rushed to her side and held her arm gently, instinctively, just in time as she lost her balance. She swayed, and fell against him.

"Sorry," He heard her mumble.

He missed the scent of her hair. She smelled like honeydew, odd but very pleasant, with a hint of citrus hidden beneath. He lifted her up and placed her on the wheelchair, where she settled back in comfortably.

"Thanks," She said.

He acknowledged her gratitude with a short laugh and wheeled her out of the ward. He feared, again, that he was going to be recognized again by the public. But none of them really took a second glance at him as they strolled past, and he was grateful.

He watched as she looked around curiously, as though she had never seen the world outside her ward.

It was odd, he thought, how they had to pass through the nursery to get out into the garden. When they did pass the glass-surrounded room, he stopped to look in. Bella, to his surprise, did too.

His heart stopped when he saw his baby in the incubator at the corner. It was hard to describe how he knew that it was his little girl - he just knew.

I love you, he thought. I really do love you. The moment they placed you in my sight, you had already slipped into my heart.

Renesmee was looking better with his blood transferred into her tiny body. She was no longer so skeletal, but slightly healthier-looking now. It warmed his heart to see her getting better.

From the corner of his eye, he watched Bella. Her eyes were expressionless as she looked from one infant to the other.

Look at her, he begged. She's your daughter.

But Bella's gaze just moved around the room, as if she were viewing an exhibition. He turned to look at her, watching carefully. Her eyes flickered to his.

"Are we going out to the garden yet?" She asked.

It took awhile for him to respond. When he did, he nodded, a sense of disappointment and sadness washing through him. "Yeah, of course."

She smiled as he wheeled her down the corridor, and out into the warmth of the sun rays.

.oOo.

The sky was darkening, the sun setting beyond the horizon.

Tanya stared into the mirror, a frown forming as she looked at the clock which hung on the wall. Her white gown bloomed like the petals of a flower around her, captivating several pairs of fascinated eyes.

She saw Alice pacing around the room, holding the phone, while Jasper, who had just arrived, was leaning against the wall, looking down.

"It's lovely," Renee smiled. "Just stunning."

Tanya could not seem to find enough mouth muscles to smile back. So she simply looked at herself in the mirror once again.

"We will alter this part," Renee pointed to the seam around Tanya's small waist. Lucy nodded, and penned the adjustments down on a piece of paper. "And here as well..."

Tanya's eyes trailed to the door, waiting for Edward to appear.

She had been waiting for him since she had left the hospital eight hours ago. Alice was now talking to Jasper, heads bent, almost touching.

"Alice," She called.

Alice looked up, slightly startled. "Yes?"

"Where's Edward?"

"He's...uh, well," She said sheepishly. "I can't seem to contact him."

"He's supposed to take his measurements, isn't he?" Tanya's tone had gone from cool to acidic. "And he's not even here yet. Does he take this seriously at all?"

"Sorry, Tanya," Jasper interjected. "We are trying our best to reach him."

Tanya turned back to face her reflection. Her face was flushed from the anger and she pulled the curtains around her. "Anymore alterations?" She asked angrily.

Renee was slightly taken in by her tone, but shook her head anyway, and stepped out with Lucy.

Tanya changed out of the wedding gown and handed it to Lucy, before slipping into her short dress and walking out to sit on the couch. Alice and Jasper exchanged a brief glance.

The scene from the hospital kept playing through her mind like a broken recorder.

"Edward is here," Jasper announced.

She turned to look at him as he walked in.

"Where were you?" She half-demanded. "You weren't back as scheduled."

"I was out." He replied simply.

She hid a snort and looked at his plastered arm. "What's wrong with your hand?"

He looked at it then back to her. "I, uh, scraped my skin while walking around."

"Edwa - " There was a brief pause. "I mean, the baby must have taken after her father's blood type. I've done a check on Bella, who is an O positive. We can do a few rounds of blood transfusion. He has agreed to it."

There was a silent agreement which hung in the stale air. "This way is the best solution to keep their child alive. She is in need of blood."

Tanya nodded wordlessly and walked out of the parlor.

"So much for honesty," She mumbled to herself.