'Love Actually' Contest

Title: Heart of Hale

Characters: Edward/Bella

Disclaimer: I do not own anything Twilight. I just own the plot.

Image that inspired you: Prompt 10

I stared at the girl just a couple of meters away from where I was sitting. She was around 6 years old. Blond hair in pigtails, she looked like a cherub. Her face was flushed from her day's activities in the park. As I observed her carefree demeanor I was struck with a pang of jealousy. She was sucking on a lollipop, looking so happy with that candy inside her mouth. Her dimples were evident as she smiled. Her fingers were intertwined with her mothers, swinging back and forth as they made their way up the cobbled steps towards the park's parking lot.

The sight tugged at my heart and I immediately moved my hand to my stomach. Will I ever have that? The path I chose will lead me in a different direction, and whichever way I see it, it will end up in heartbreak.

I wish I could be a child again. Simple worries during those times were always cured with kisses and hugs that seemed to be the answer to everything. Why was it, when we were that age, we were adamant to grow as fast as we could? When the world was a really fucked up place to be in and you only see it when you were no longer in your youth. Those carefree days were only appreciated when everything in the mature world had gone wrong. Like mine now was.

I didn't mind the time. The sun was setting and it was slowly turning into night. I had been here on the bench for hours now. I was so deep in thought that I hadn't realized the clouds were darkening until I felt the light rain touch my skin. I didn't move because the pain I felt in my chest was paralyzing. The rain was pouring down harder by the minute. My hair was flattened on my head, water was dripping from my wet hair down my face and my clothes were soaked. But I couldn't find it in me to care. I just sat there on the bench in the park, looking at nothing in particular.

Why did everything have to be so complicated?

I had been holding in my tears. Acting as if everything would be okay without him. I allowed the tears to fall from my eyes, as they were quickly lost in the rain sliding down my face. I felt the icy droplets on my skin but I ignored them. My small body was now shivering from the cold but I was unable to move.

I clutched my chest, the perpetrator in all this mess. I beat it with my fist, as if it could solve everything now.

"I gave everything up for you, Bella!" he shouted, his face a mixture of anger and anguish. His words pierced my heart like a lance. "And you're gonna throw it all away because of this goddamn baby!"

"Don't you dare curse my baby," I shouted back. "It's as much as yours as it is mine!"

"Bella, baby, I don't think I can do this," his voice was tortured. He was looking at me with pleading eyes, but I was determined to push through with this. Nothing and no one would stop me, even if that person was him. He put out his hand as an invitation for me to take it. "Please come with me!"

I shook my head as I backed up a couple of steps. He opened both his arms, a sign that he needed to comfort me as much as he needed to be comforted. The tears were now falling in torrents from my eyes and I shook my head again. I saw his pale face scowl in anger towards me.

"How dare you give this all up?" He said between gritted teeth, his voice dangerously low. "I won't let you!"

"You have no choice," I said in the calmest voice I had ever heard come from my lips. He saw the determination in my eyes and took a step forward. I turned around quickly and fled hoping I wouldn't have this memory etched in my brain. I don't want to hate him. I love him so much.

I couldn't blame him if he was angry. I was angry too. Why did all the bad shit have to happen to me? It's as if God, if there is one, hates me.

I knew he gave up everything because he loved me. We had been there for each other since we were 18. We were each other's rock and no one could break us apart. He gave me everything he could. Why not this?

It was also the first time he threw that 'giving up everything' shit in my face. I knew then that this would end badly for us. I could feel it. I hugged my stomach with both my arms and tried to warm myself. How did we end like this when we started great?

I first met Edward during our senior year in high school. Aside from being the new kids, he and his siblings were also extremely good looking and wealthy which made them even more intriguing to the student body of Forks High. We were paired as lab partners in Biology. At the first sight of Edward, I was immediately irritated with the obvious cockiness radiating from him. He was an instant hit amongst the girls. Aside from all the things the Cullen kids were clearly blessed with, Edward had to be a gifted musician. Sometimes I wondered whether we were really equal with the Cullens, as it was apparent they had more in appearance and in material things than the rest of Forks.

I was not amongst the popular crowd in school. I hated receiving attention so I made sure to stay far away from it. Most boys continued to flirt with me, but I just ignored them, eventually earning me the reputation as being the snarky bitch. I relished it because that would prevent them from knowing what it really was for me. I didn't want pity from anyone so I avoided close contact with people I cared nothing about. The only person aside from my family who knew about my heart was Alice Brandon.

However, everything changed for me when Edward decided he wanted to date me. I was determined not to respond to his blatant attempts of flirtation even though it was tough sometimes to do just that. His resolve was unwavering and his charm so irresistible that I eventually fell in love with him. We had been inseparable ever since.

Our path together had never been smooth. His father, Dr. Carlisle Cullen, the renowned plastic surgeon had been opposed to our relationship from the start. He had a major issue on our differing social classes. Maybe because he was around rich people all the time he didn't deem anyone that wasn't in their status to be worthy of his sons. He was based in LA and only visited his family in Forks once a month. His practice was booming. There were plenty of people in the City of Angels who needed his expertise –actors, models, millionaires, along with their wives and mistresses. He wasn't ready to give it up just yet, even if his wife, Esme, hated city life. I had always assumed that bringing his family to Forks had been a compromise. He was so adamant to keep his family away from mingling with the "poor" folks that I wondered what the real reason for this transfer to our little town was considering Forks didn't have that many rich people for his family to mingle with.

He was livid when he discovered I was Edward's girlfriend. He made it clear he refused to accept me and said time and time again he didn't want me for his son. He even reached the point where he made Edward choose.

It was obvious Dr. Cullen didn't expect Edward to pick me. Maybe because he thought his money was something he could use to hold onto his son, that Edward could and would never give it up. It didn't help that their father-son relationship was non-existent in the first place. He was adamant that Edward and his twin brother, Jasper, would follow in his footsteps and become surgeons. He didn't care that the two boys had music in their blood and would make incredible musicians someday. He only cared that they did as they were told. Unfortunately for Dr. Cullen, Edward did the opposite. Dr. Cullen threatened to cut him off, believing that would get Edward's attention. But he was dead wrong. Edward loved his music and he loved me, the two things his father hated the most. Edward threw his father's proposal in his face and stormed out of his house.

That happened the summer right before we started college. Instead of going to an Ivy League School that we were both accepted to, we opted to enroll in the University of Washington. We both received a scholarship so the cost of tuition wasn't an issue.

Despite Edward's vehement protesting, I found two jobs. One was in the bookstore after school hours and the other was a job as a waitress on the weekend at one of the local bars. Edward practiced with his band on certain days of the week so his rehearsals didn't really interrupt on our time together. They had weekend gigs and the pay wasn't much but he was happy. Whatever made him happy was more than okay with me.

Since he was cut-off from Carlisle's money, we were only able to afford a one-bedroom apartment. It was a dump, but at least we didn't have any leaking problems. It was a far cry from what he was used to but he never complained. He even teased me that it was like heaven compared to feeling like a prisoner in his parent's house. He also made sure I never had to worry about anything, because he knew what it would do to me. Choosing to serve than be served. He was the one who came from wealth and material trappings; unfamiliar with the problems less fortunate people faced, but he made the sacrifices because he said he loved me. He professed his love over and over again. I believed him because his actions didn't show me otherwise. Not until now.

Aside from Alice, he was the only person I could call family. I was an only child. My parents died a couple of days after I turned 18. A drunk driver hit them out of nowhere when they were heading home from Port Angeles. I nearly lost my mind when I heard the news. The only thing that provided any relief was knowing they died on impact. What a stupid reason to be relieved, but the truth was, knowing they didn't suffer made me feel better than imagining they had to endure severe pain before death finally took them. The money I received from the small insurance claim and the money they had in the bank was only enough to pay for both their funerals, and a little extra for me. Unfortunately, it was not enough to help me live comfortably for the rest of my life. The house was mortgaged so I let the banks repossess it rather than trying to pay the monthly amount that would be a financial strain on me. My grandparents were dead and I had no aunts or uncles since both my parents were only children. It was a good thing I was of legal age when that shit happened or I would have been another person lost in the system.

When I was a little girl, I was diagnosed with a heart condition called Atrial Fibrillation. I was always dizzy and frequently had shortness of breath. When my mother saw that I was constantly fainting without cause, she knew something was very wrong. She took me to the doctor and confirmed I was sick. The doctors saw no need during that time for me to undergo surgery since I was responding well to the medications they gave me. But as I grew older, the symptoms of my deteriorating heart increased. It was suggested I undergo a procedure to implant a cardiac defibrillator inside my chest. This was a small electronic device that would prevent sudden death from cardiac arrest due to abnormally fast heart rhythms. I was scheduled for an operation just after my 18th birthday, which didn't push through because of the death of my parents. My finances were already fucked with school, living expenses and my medications alone. I couldn't afford the procedure now.

Edward knew about my condition, which occasionally caused him to be overly protective and smothering. But I loved it because it was truly Edward. He even offered to tell Dr. Cullen about it. "Maybe," he said, "my dad could help?" I vehemently protested to this idea. I insisted he not involve his father with my situation. I didn't want to give his father more of a reason to hate me.

Not that I didn't like the idea of having the procedure. I wanted nothing more, so I could be ensured a longer time to be with Edward. But I didn't feel that was enough reason for me to accept help from his cold-hearted father. I knew Dr. Cullen wouldn't even deem me worthy of his time, much less his help. I knew he would rather I'd die soon so his son could go back to the way he was before. Dr. Cullen insisted I was the reason Edward was rebelling against him and refused to go into medicine at his insistence. He blamed me for everything.

My heart could take it. My brain would just have to insist it not give out for another couple of years. Not until I had more time with him. Not until we made unforgettable memories he could savor long after I was gone, though he would never accept the possibility that I could leave this world anytime. He was more stubborn than I was.

My heart was deteriorating. I knew that. He knew that.

We were in our sophomore year when Edward made a decision that shocked me. That was the only other time aside from now that I had been so angry at him. He went back to his father and begged for forgiveness. He even promised to change his major from music to pre-med just so he could get to his father's good graces. Dr. Cullen, happy that he was getting what he wanted all along, with a few 'I told you so' statements allowed Edward to be back in his family. However, Dr. Cullen made sure Edward wouldn't be seeing me again. Edward reluctantly agreed.

What Dr. Cullen didn't know was Edward lied to him and he continued dating me behind his father's back. He visited me in our old apartment whenever his schedule allowed him to. I was sad that he had to give up his band as well as his music now that his father had a say in his future. I was appalled when he told me the only reason he went back was to save the money his father gave him to use for my procedure. He assured me it was a small sacrifice compared to losing me as I sobbed in his arms.

I loved him enough to accept his reasons. In the long run, my acceptance would make us both happier. I could take on anything as long I had Edward beside me. That had always been the case for me. He has been my rock since my parent's death.

Now, we were at odds. That never happened to us before. Damn, this was important to me, but he refused to accept it. We had been arguing for days about this and I begged him to just give this to me. Give this pregnancy to me. I knew this was already a complication in itself. Add in my condition and we would have a catastrophe. I really didn't want to think about my baby in such a way, but what the hell was I supposed to think?

Edward wanted me to have an abortion. He wanted the one thing I couldn't give him. I knew I would die before killing our baby. He said he just needed a little more time so that he had enough saved for my procedure. He wanted me more than anything in this world. Enough to choose me over our child. That was just not acceptable to me. This was our baby! He insisted we could have another one when I recovered from my surgery. I demanded he respect my decision to carry this one. I was determined to deliver this baby with or without his help.

That was the problem. He refused to allow me to make that choice for myself. Goddamn him! We were pleading each other but for two different things. He wouldn't budge. I wouldn't budge. I was starting to resent him, but still loved him too much to hate him. It was becoming complicated so I left. Without saying a word to him, I packed a bag and left everything behind. He knew nothing because I wanted it that way. I didn't want him to find me just so he could try to convince me to kill my baby. Our baby.

I loved this baby more than I could explain. Edward and I made this little miracle together and I could never get rid of it, regardless of what his feelings were. I had lost so many important people in my life and I refused to let this baby go without a fight. I knew this was what I wanted, what I needed. Even if I didn't stay long in this world, at least I could leave something or someone behind to remember me by,

I left Edward three weeks ago. There was a cabin on Baker Lake that Alice's family owns. It was in Okanogan County in Northern Washington, where Alice and I spent our summers when we were smaller. Edward had never been here so I was sure he couldn't think to look for me here. Alice accompanied me, leaving everything behind just to be with me and offer me the support I so desperately needed. I wanted time to myself to think about everything that had been going on so I left her hours ago in the cabin to go for a much needed stroll. I ended up here in this small park, perched on the cold hard bench.

Just then, I saw headlights and it stopped a couple of meters away. Alice stepped out, an umbrella over her head. She ran towards me and shielded me from the rain. It was useless because I was soaking wet.

"Bella, what the hell are you doing?" she asked exasperatingly. "You'll get sick!" She was panicking. She tried to move me but I stayed put. I didn't want to be around anyone just yet. I needed to wallow on the pity that was now engulfing me. When she growled, I looked up to see her angry face.

"Don't be stupid Bells!" she hissed. "Remember the baby," She reminded me, and I gasped. How could I forget? She helped me up with one of her hand.

"Why are you here Alice?" I asked. "I didn't tell you where I was going." I looked at her and her expression was something I couldn't decipher that caused my anxiety to peak. "Is he here?" My heart was hammering in my chest, afraid that he discovered where I was but at the same time excited to see him again.

"No silly," she said softly. She gave me a reassuring smile. "Don't worry, he won't find you."

Disappointment clouded me. I may have been hiding from Edward but that didn't mean I stopped loving him. I sighed.

I stared at Alice for a minute before giving her a smile. I wanted to cry again, but I didn't think I had a single tear left in me. She gave me a much-needed hug. She cooed against my ear, "I'm here. Everything's gonna be okay." I squeezed harder grasping the affection I needed so desperately. Alice had been there for me. She was the best friend I could ask for.

I pulled away from the embrace. She then put her arm around my shoulder as we made our way to the car.

I touched my stomach, comforting it. I was stupid for doing this; staying in the rain like that when I had a baby growing inside me. Now, I had a greater chance of getting sick. Stupid Bella! I hoped I wouldn't be a bad mother to this baby.

As we took our steps towards the car, my soaked sneakers made squishing sounds as I walked, I vowed to myself that no matter what happened, I would be having this child. I would make sure he or she knew how much I loved them. Before my heart gave out, I would make sure this precious baby would be delivered in this world. Whether I would be here to take care of my little one or not.