WARNING: This is an alternate point of view for a story I wrote many months ago called "Take Care Of My Heart". Even though I feel like this story could most likely stand on its own, it would probably be best to read TCOMH first. This is an EXTREMELY SAD STORY, so have tissues handy.
I wrote this story as part of Fandom Gives Back for bzeemomof4.
Bzeemomof4, thank you for purchasing this story and encouraging me to write it, even though I wasn't sure I would make it through the tears. It was hard but I did it and I'm glad I was able to write this for you. Thank you for always being my biggest supporter and driving force in writing all my stories. I wouldn't be able to do any of this without you.
Mama23keiki, thank you for being my fill in beta so bzeemomof4 could have this story as a finished product. You did an awesome job.
Christag_Banners, thank you so much for making me the wonderful banner for this story and helping me surprise bzeemomof4 with it.
Check out the banner she made for this story and all my other stories on my profile.
Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight or the characters involved.
Remember have tissues, because you will cry.
I Felt Hope
Alternate Point of View of Take Care Of My Heart
When I think back to what brought me to this day, I still can't believe how it all happened. It all started the day I found out my parents had died. I was only thirteen when it happened. It was the most devastating day of my life. I thought my life was over. There was nothing left to live for.
I became sort of self destructive in the months following their death. I was forced to live with my older brother, Edward. Growing up, we typically got along just fine. However, once we had to live together, things changed. He tried to control me and make me follow rules. Mom and Dad never had rules — at least not like he did.
I wasn't allowed to be out after nine. I was supposed to call him hourly when I was out. I had to leave addresses of where I was. He made me do my homework every night. If I was caught skipping school, I was grounded for two weeks. I wasn't allowed to have friends over. I wasn't allowed to even be friends with boys. Of course I broke just about every one of these rules – weekly.
It irritated me so much the way he treated me. He acted like I was his prisoner, and I had to do what he said. We got in numerous screaming matches. The neighbors would constantly come by and ask if everything was okay.
I never understood why he treated me like a little kid all the time. He was always the life of the party growing up. There were people who still talked about him in high school. I'd heard the stories of the parties he attended and what he did at those parties. I'd heard about the trouble he'd gotten into with not only the school, but the law as well. It was even worse when he got to college. I'm surprised he even made it through college. But once our parents died he changed. It was as if he grew up over night. He was no longer the fun loving, party animal I had known growing up. He was suddenly the responsible, rule making, parental figure. I hated him for it.
Things didn't change between us until about a year later. We had both gotten sick with the flu. Edward had it and within a week he was better. But I didn't get better. I had it for over two weeks before Edward insisted I go to a doctor. I didn't want to. I didn't think there was anything wrong with me. I just had the illness stronger than Edward did. I fought him all the way to the doctor's office. Even when we pulled into the parking lot and he opened my door for me to get out, I refused to go. So like Edward always did, he took matters into his own hands and scooped me up in his arms and carried me in like a baby. I screamed and kicked all the way in. Looking back, I realize how childish I was being. But at the time, I wanted him to let me do my own thing. I didn't want him controlling my life anymore.
"Are you ready to act like an adult or are you going to continue to act like a baby?" he asked, once we reached the doors of the doctor's office. I was already so weak from being sick. I didn't have much fight left in me. So when I agreed to behave, he put me down on my feet. We walked into the office and checked in.
It was only a short wait before we went back to see the doctor. Edward did most of the talking. I laid there, attempting to rest. As soon as Edward was done explaining my condition to the doctor, he began examining me with his cold hands. He felt around my throat and ears, as well as along my ribs. He listened to my heart and my lungs. He did the typical doctor examination. He said to him it looked like I had the flu, and eventually, I'd get over it and be back to normal. I rolled my eyes at Edward. I knew he was overreacting.
"Are you sure?" he questioned. "I had it too, and I got over it within a week. She doesn't seem to be getting any better. Is it something more than the flu, like mono?"
The doctor laughed. "I don't think its mono. I'm sure it's just the flu. If you would like, I can run some blood work just to ease your mind. But I can almost guarantee by the time you get the test results back Alice will be one hundred percent again."
"I'd like the tests done," he insisted.
"Do I get a say in this at all?" I protested. "I don't want any tests done. He said I'd be fine in a couple days. Now let's go home." I hopped off the table and suddenly got very dizzy. The whole room was spinning, and I felt like I was going to throw up. Instead, I passed out.
Minutes or maybe hours later, I woke up in a hospital bed.
"What happened?" I asked groggily. Edward sat up in the chair next to me.
"You passed out. The doctor couldn't get you to wake up. You were rushed here. Your body is so weak. You can't even stand up," Edward explained.
"I'm fine, really," I insisted.
"No you're not, Alice. Something is not right and we're not leaving this hospital until they tell me what's going on. The new doctor you have is taking this much more seriously than the other doctor. You're having some blood work done, and I don't know what else, but you'll do whatever test she suggests."
I rolled my eyes again. "What lies did you tell this doctor to make her want to run a bunch of tests on me?" I asked angrily. "I refuse to be a guinea pig. Let her take your blood."
"Well your brother did say you were a feisty one?" A doctor interrupted. She walked over to the side of the bed, smiling down at me. "I know you don't want the testing done, but we need to make sure you're okay. I'd hate to have you go home only to find you back here in a few days worse off than you are now. It's only a precaution."
"Do I have to be poked with a needle?" I asked.
"Yes," she answered. I huffed, crossing my arm. I hated needles. Why couldn't they do tests without needles?
"You owe me big time," I warned Edward. He nodded his head in agreement.
A few minutes later, the nurse walked in carrying a small cart with her. She sat it down on the table next to me and prepared the needle and vials for my blood. She practically had to pry my arm away from my chest. I glared at Edward across the room the entire time the nurse took my blood.
As soon as she was done and left the room, I turned my head away from Edward to go back to sleep. He tried to explain it was for the best and only a precaution. He wanted me to know how worried he was, and he was only doing this because he loved me. I didn't want to hear any of it. I didn't believe him. He left the room with a heavy sigh, leaving me all alone.
He came by everyday to check in on me. I gave him the silent treatment every time. Instead of talking to me, he began talking to the doctor instead. For a while I thought he may have a thing for my doctor. He always seemed to be seeking her out to talk to her. But it all changed when she walked into my room with a grim look on her face.
"Edward, I'd like to talk to you for moment if you don't mind," she said.
"What's going on?" I wondered.
"I just need to talk to your brother." They walked out into the hallway. I could hear muffled voices talking, but I couldn't make out anything they were saying. All I remembered hearing was Edward's gasp. I knew something was wrong when I heard it. After only a few minutes, they both walked back in. Edward's face was as white as a ghost. I'll never forget the look on his face. He was trying so hard to hold back from crying which only made me want to cry. It had to be bad. I kept trying to think if we had any other family members who we were close to, who may have died. It was the same look he had when he told me about our parents' death. He sat down on the edge of the bed and took my hand in his, waiting for the doctor to speak.
"Alice, I got some of your test results back. I wanted to share them with your brother first since he's your legal guardian, but he feels like you're old enough to understand what's going on. He doesn't want to keep anything from you." She smiled over at him. "You are one lucky girl to have a brother who cares so much about you."
"Will you just spit it out?" I blurted. "What's wrong with me?"
She sighed, setting her eyes back on me. "From the test results, I'm afraid you may have leukemia. I won't know for sure until we do some more extensive testing, but I've been doing this line of work long enough to know the signs."
"So what does this mean?" I asked.
"It means you have cancer."
She said the word so easily and matter-of-factly. Cancer! It was the one word you never want to hear when you go to the doctor. It was like a death sentence. I squeezed Edward's hand so tightly. He didn't seem to notice though. By the time the doctor had explained everything to us, his fingers were blue.
She left the room, giving us a moment to comprehend everything she told us. I looked over at Edward with glossy eyes and a wide mouth. I could see the tears streaming down his face. He wrapped me in his arms, holding me tight.
"We'll get through this, I promise," he cried.
"Am I going to die?" I cried.
"No," he assured. "We'll fight this, Alice. I'm not going to lose you too."
We cried in each other's arms for well over an hour. Even days after the diagnosis, anytime I started thinking about what this meant, I would cry. I wished so badly I had my mom. She would know how to make this all better. She would know how to take the fear go away. I would cry for my mom almost every night.
Dr. Weber ordered for numerous tests to be done over the next few days. I hated it more than I could have imagined. But as time went on, I got used to being poked.
The whole school band together to make me a get well soon card. A group of my friends brought it in to me one day. It was so nice to see a familiar face. They all wished me well and couldn't wait for me to get better. In my mind I thought within a few weeks, maybe a couple months, I would be all better and everything would go back to normal. Unfortunately, it didn't go as I thought. I had been in and out of the hospital over the next year and nothing seemed to be getting better. I was taken out of school due to the possibility of infection. I had to remain as healthy as possible, so as not to put myself at even more risk of dying. No one ever said the word 'death' but I knew it was a huge possibility.
My friends came to visit me for a while, but eventually they all began to go different ways in life, and I was forgotten. That was probably the hardest part about being sick. The people I counted on most weren't really there for me like I thought they would. The only one who truly cared about me was my brother. When I was in the hospital, he was always by my side. On the rare occasion I got to go home, he did everything in his power to make me comfortable. Our relationship only grew stronger from this ordeal.
At times I felt like God hated me and my brother. We had just lost both of our parents and now we were dealing with my illness. What could possibly happen next? It didn't seem fair at all.
As time went on, I spent more and more time secluded from everyone. I barely talked to the nurses or Edward. I had to see a psychiatrist for possible depression. Edward and my nurses became really worried about me during this time. Honestly, it was the darkest point in my life. I felt like giving up on a daily basis. I didn't want to go through the invasive treatments anymore. On some days, I truly wished the cancer would envelop me and take me away forever.
I was put on antidepressants during this time. Edward did everything he could think of to bring me joy. He brought some of my favorite things from home to surround my room. He made subscriptions to every fashion and teen magazine he could find. Since I wasn't allowed many sweets, he made a deal with my doctor so I could have my favorite dessert in the world – carrot cake – on the first of every month. I always looked forward to the first of the month. It was about the only thing I had to look forward to. I had little hope of ever being well enough to go back to my normal life.
On one of my more depressing days, my new nurse, Rose, came in to sit with me for a while even after her shift was over. It was nice to have someone to talk to for a change. She began coming in to spend time with me almost daily. She became my one and only friend, other than my brother. We would talk fashion and movie stars. She was so easy to talk to. I had hopes my brother would hook up with her until I realized she had a thing for Dr. McCarty. He wasn't my doctor since he specialized in cardio, but somehow he always found his way around the cancer wing.
Rose totally surprised me one day when she came in and asked if I wanted a pen pal. I thought she was kidding at first. A pen pal was something little kids or old ladies did, not teenagers. Of course my brother was all for the idea. I told them no at first, but Rose kept insisting I try it out. It was this new program hospitals all over the country were trying. They wanted kids who were in the hospital a lot, like I was, to have other kids to talk to. Eventually I gave into Rose's persistence and submitted my name in the database. She thought it would be good for me to choose someone to write to as well, but I put my foot down at that point. I wasn't going to choose some stranger to write to. If someone wrote to me, I might write back, but I wasn't going to guarantee anything.
On the day I got my first letter, I had just finished a very large chemo treatment. I was exhausted and sick to my stomach from it. I seriously considered suicide at that point. I was just done – physically and emotionally. I couldn't do it anymore.
I was lying on my bed holding a puke dish close to my face, just in case, when Rose walked in carrying my first letter. I was too tired to read it, so Rose took it upon herself to read it for me.
I feel stupid for writing you this letter. My parents and nurses are insisting I write to someone. I chose you because we're suffering from the same thing and close to the same age. I wasn't about to send a pen pal letter to a ten-year-old. I hope you don't mind that I chose you.
I guess I should tell you a little about myself. My name is Jasper Whitlock, and I'm seventeen. I live in Texas on a large horse ranch. I love horses. I can't wait to have my own ranch someday.
I was diagnosed with leukemia when I was fifteen and have been fighting it ever since. When were you diagnosed?
I'm an only child, so this is devastating to my parents. My mom cries a lot. Do your parents do the same thing? I hope I'm not the only one.
Well, I guess that's all there is about me. There isn't a lot to say since I'm stuck in a hospital bed, but I'd love to hear back from you. Please tell me about yourself and your family so my parents will stop bugging me about a pen pal. I really don't want to write to a little kid.
Hope to hear from you soon.
"He seems like a nice, young man," Rose declared. "You should write back."
"I can't right now. Please, can I have some time alone?" I begged.
"Sure," she agreed. "I'll be back in later to check on you."
As soon as she was gone, I did my best to sleep. I didn't wake up again until late the next day. I sat up, trying to get over the dizziness I was experiencing. I took some deep breaths and closed my eyes for a moment before trying to open my eyes again. I sipped on the water in front of me, hoping I could keep it down. I felt extremely dehydrated, but I knew there was a good chance I wouldn't keep the water down. There was an IV in my arm which I had no idea when I got it. I never remembered getting an IV.
I looked around my room and saw the letter on my nightstand. I picked it up and read it over and over. For some strange reason, I felt a strong connection to this Jasper, and I had a sudden impulse to write back to him. I picked up a pen and pulled my tray closer to me for a hard surface to write on.
I too was pushed into this pen pal thing by my nurse and my older brother. I thought it was sort of childish, but they insisted I do it. If you want to write to me, I'd really like that. I just had a rough night after having chemo. I was considering suicide last night. Have you ever gotten to the point you feel like there's no fight left? I'm so drained of everything. Waking up to your letter though made me happy for the first time in a long time. If a simple letter makes me have some sense of joy, I'll take it.
You wanted to know about me — I'm fifteen and was diagnosed with cancer when I was fourteen. My parents died in a plane accident when I was thirteen. I heard my doctor talking to my brother recently about her concern for my kidneys. I worry about what my sixteenth birthday will bring.
I live at the hospital in New York, but if I wasn't sick, I'd be living with my brother, Edward. After our parents died, he became my legal guardian. He's overprotective and a little controlling, but he's all I have. I wouldn't trade him for anything. If I didn't have him, I would have given up a long time ago. But I can't leave him all alone in this world, so I keep fighting.
I love fashion and anything to do with movie stars. Since watching movies is about all I can do here at the hospital, I've become a little obsessed with critiquing movies with my brother. It's become a little bit of a game for us.
I've never seen a real horse up close. They always seem so intimidating in movies. Are they hard to ride? What's your favorite type of horse? I saw a picture of one in a magazine which was pure white with a black tail and mane. It was such a beautiful horse. I'd love to hear all about your home and your horses. It sounds very fascinating.
Write back soon and take care of yourself.
"What are you doing?" Edward asked, walking into my room.
"Writing a letter," I replied, shoving it in an envelope quickly before he asked to read it.
"Did you choose someone to write to finally?"
"No, he chose me," I answered.
I laughed. "Yes, he. His name is Jasper and he lives in Texas. He has leukemia like me."
"How old is he?"
"I don't think so," he blurted.
"You are not writing to a boy who is nearly two years older than you. You can choose a girl from the list to write to."
"Edward, you're being ridiculous. I'm not a little girl, I can write to a boy. You can't force me not to write to him. You were the one who talked me into doing this pen pal thing in the first place."
"I figured you would write to a young girl closer to your age, and not a boy who's almost an adult."
I rolled my eyes. "You're such a jerk sometimes. Just leave me alone. I don't want you here," I shouted.
"What is going on?" Rose asked, running into the room with a concerned look on her face.
"Don't you screen the pen pals at all? I don't want her writing to a boy two years older than her," my brother argued.
She smirked, walking into the room further. "Edward, the pen pal service is open to all who want to use it. We don't discriminate against race, age, or gender. He chose Alice to write to and it's up to her whether or not she wants to respond. I don't have any control over who she chooses to writes to. Besides, why does it matter? I read the letter and he seemed like a nice, young man. He was very polite, and I think Alice and Jasper have a lot in common. There's nothing wrong with Alice writing to a boy who is suffering from the same disease she is."
"I won't have it," he insisted. I rolled my eyes again and gave Rose a pleading look.
"I understand. I'll take Alice's name off the database right away. Alice, if you'll give me the letter, I'll take care of it," Rose suggested.
My shoulders dropped in defeat at her comment. I picked up the letter Jasper wrote to me and the letter I wrote in response and handed them over to Rose.
"Thank you," Edward accepted.
I watched as Rose walked to the door with my letters in hand. I was on the verge of tears. Rose turned around just at the door and winked with a small smirk on her face. I had hope.
I turned back to my brother, glaring at him with my arms crossed against my chest.
"Now since that's taken care of, would you like to watch a movie? I brought…"
"Did you not hear me when I said I didn't want you here?" I interrupted.
He raised an eyebrow at me, sighing in frustration.
"I'm tired anyway. I should sleep."
I turned over and laid my head against my pillow. I could hear him saying stuff under his breath as he shuffled his feet and left my room.
Later in the night, Rose came back and helped me find a hiding place for my letter and told me she sent off my reply. I couldn't be happier to have her on my side.
A few days later I got a new roommate named Jane. I didn't like her from the very beginning. She was cold and downright rude to me. I tried to be friendly to her, but she just continued to be rude. Eventually, I gave up talking to her; there was no point in even trying. Thankfully she only stayed for a few months.
My only comfort was my letters I received from Jasper. Rose began having them sent directly to her at the hospital so she could make sure I got them when my brother wasn't around. I was truly grateful for Rose. She seemed to understand me so much more than my brother ever did.
My brother did notice the sudden change in my personality and outlook on life. For so long I had been depressed, but reading Jasper's stories about Texas and his horses made me happy. He made me happy.
Rose even snuck me out one evening to a deserted hallway and let me call him from her cell phone. I was so nervous to actually talk to him and hear his voice. It was a short conversation, but talking to him made my connection to him even stronger.
In one of his letters, he sent me a picture of him. He was the most handsome boy I'd ever seen. He had blonde, wavy hair, deep blue eyes, and cute little dimples when he smiled. He was a little thin, but I knew it probably had a lot to do with the chemo.
I asked Rose to help me with a picture to send him. I thought she would just bring in a camera and take a quick shot of me; but instead, she brought in an armful of outfits for me to wear. She fixed my hair, and even helped me put on a little makeup. I actually looked like a real girl instead of a sick kid. She took an entire role of pictures of me. We even went out to the courtyard to take some cute pictures out there.
I had to rush back to my room to remove all the makeup and clothes before my brother came to the hospital for his daily visit. We got it all cleaned up in the nick of time. Rose took the role of film with her and got it developed for me. The next day she brought in the pictures for me to look over. I couldn't choose just one to send him, so I sent all of them. I was sure he was going to think I was crazy for sending an entire role of pictures of myself. However, the response back was not what I expected. He told me I was beautiful and how he loved to look at me so he pasted all the pictures all over his room. He was sure I was going to think he was weird for doing so, but I thought it was sweet. I'd never had a boy tell me I was beautiful before.
I treasured the one picture I had of him with all my heart. I took it with me wherever I went. For some strange reason, having his picture with me during chemo always seemed to make me stronger.
However, when Edward discovered the picture, he was furious. We argued about it for well over an hour. He was being ridiculous and extremely stubborn about the whole thing. Thankfully, Rose stepped in and insisted he leave me alone. She pointed out all the good things that came from my correspondence with him. I wasn't depressed anymore or feeling sick all the time. I was lively and happy again. I was stronger than I had been for a long time. She made him realize how this was a really good thing and if he took it away, it would only hurt me more. As much as he detested the idea, he allowed it. He made it a point to tell me how much he didn't like it as often as he could.
Weeks before my sixteenth birthday, my doctor informed me my kidneys were failing. It was the final nail in the coffin in my mind. I was sure it was only a matter of time before I died.
The day I found out about my kidneys I received a letter from Jasper which brought my spirits back up in an instant. He informed me he was in remission and was able to go home. The first thing he did when he got home was ride his horse. He said it the most exhilarating experience of his life. He didn't realize how much he missed it until he was able to get back on a horse again.
The biggest thing he said, which was a complete shock to me, was how he wanted to come visit me and that he loved me. I was blown away by those words. He loved me? He actually loved me? Just reading those words brought tears of joy to my eyes. I couldn't believe he loved me.
I sent a letter back in return instantly. I told him how much I love him too and how I'd been afraid to tell him. I told him how happy I was for him about the remission and being able to go home to his horses. I knew how much he missed them. I explained my situation with my brother and how it wouldn't be a good idea to come visit right now. As much as I wanted him to, I knew my brother wouldn't be happy, and I couldn't risk losing Jasper forever if Edward didn't approve. It was best if he waited. I promised him as soon as I was in remission, I'd come to him, even if it meant running away from home.
This goal gave me something to look forward to and fight for. Knowing Jasper made it through chemo and the cancer was gone, made me think there was actually a chance for me. I felt hope, for the first time, since finding out about my condition. I had a feeling if I could pull through and fight this cancer and kidney failure, Edward would grant me my one and only wish in life. I just had to fight.
On my sixteenth birthday, Edward got permission to bring in carrot cake even though it wasn't the first of the month. He also carried in a large bouquet of balloons. He gave me a new iPod full of my favorite songs and even a few of my favorite movies so I could take it with me everywhere and still watch them. Rose was the only other person there for my birthday. She gave me a really nice stationary set. It wasn't girly or prissy, just some paper and matching envelopes with a horse print on them, and a large roll of stamps. My brother rolled his eyes and sighed dramatically when he saw what it was, but he kept his mouth shut with Rose around. I began to wonder if he was intimidated by Rose. He definitely acted differently around her than he did when we were alone.
Later in the evening, after both my brother and Rose left for the night, I pulled out the stationary set Rose had given me to examine it more. I had a feeling Jasper would love it, so I thought I would write him a quick letter before I went to bed. I hadn't heard back from him since the letter I sent, spilling my guts about my love for him. I was beginning to worry I may have said too much. Maybe he didn't mean he loved me in the way I thought he did. I worried I may have scared him away, but there was really only one way to find out. I had to send him a letter.
As I pulled out the paper, I noticed a small box underneath. I reached under the stack of paper and pulled out a small, white, rectangular box. On top of the box was a small note.
Happy birthday! I love you.
I laughed and cried all at the same time. I opened up the box and through my glistening tears I looked down at a small pendant with three charms on it. They each had a different word – faith, hope, and love. It was a personal thing to us. Having cancer, you had to have hope. We talked all the time about how we had faith in each other to fight the cancer. And now we had both declared our love for each other. It was the most perfect gift I had ever received. I never wanted to take it off. Unfortunately, Edward would probably be upset by it, so I only wore it at night when he wasn't around. The days following my birthday, everyone, including my doctors, remarked how I seemed to have an extra little bounce in my step. I was the only one who knew why. I hadn't even told Rose yet about Jasper telling me he loved me. I didn't think she would be upset by it since she was the only one who supported me all this time, but I couldn't take any chances.
Things changed when Edward found the necklace in my drawer. I was down getting dialysis when he came for his daily visit. He thought while he waited, he would clean up my room a little. Unfortunately for me, he opened my drawer and found the stack of letters, as well as the necklace. He never told me which letters he read, but I was sure he read what the charms on the necklace said and probably the card sent with it.
He was furious when I came back to my room. We argued about it for well over an hour and insisted on talking to Rosalie's supervisor.
"You aren't going to blame her for any of this," I shouted. "If she hadn't helped me, I would have found some way to write to him. Why are you so upset about this? I'm sixteen, Edward. If I was in school, like all the regular kids my age, I probably would have had over a dozen boyfriends by now. It's not like I'm doing anything wrong with him. He lives hundreds of miles away."
"I thought you were only writing to him. You're too young to be telling any boy you love him. I don't care how far away he lives."
"Edward, don't you think you might be overreacting just a little?" Rose cut in. "She's sixteen. Think about how you were when you were sixteen."
"Exactly why I don't want her involved with him," he argued. "You convinced me this was a good thing for her and now they're telling each other they love each other. What happens when she gets her heart broken? How do I help her deal with that? I'm going to be asking for a different nurse immediately."
"You will do no such thing," I shrieked. "You can't tell me what I can and can't do. You aren't my father, you're my brother. I don't care what you tell me not to do. I'll find a way to write to him regardless. And as soon as I'm better, I'm going to Texas to be with him." I blurted out my future plans before I realized what it was I was saying. I nervously glanced up at my brother who was clenching his jaw in irritation.
"The letters stop today. I'll be informing every nurse and doctor today not to give you any letters," he informed.
"You can't do this to me," I cried.
"I'm sorry. But right now you need to focus on getting better, not on some boy."
"Get out!" I squealed, throwing a pillow at him with all my might. It barely even hit him since I didn't have a lot of force to use. It was the point more than anything. I rolled over on my bed and cried inconsolably.
They both retreated to the hallway, leaving me alone to cry myself to sleep. The only thing I kept thinking about was how I needed to find a way to write to him still. In no way was I going to give up so easily. When I got better, no one was going to stop me from going to see him. I would get there somehow.
The following days were extremely depressing for me. Rose was no longer my nurse. I had an older lady who wasn't personal and caring like Rosalie was. I was just another job in her eyes. She was rough and cold towards me. Having her around only made me more upset. I refused to talk to my brother when he came to the hospital. He tried everything to get me to talk to him. He put in my favorite movies. He snuck in carrot cake even though it wasn't the first. I refused to give in to him. I wanted him to know how unfair he was being. Jasper and Rose were the only friends I had, and he took both of them away from me. It wasn't right.
It had been about two weeks since Edward forbid me from having any contact with Jasper, and I still had not said a word to him. He sat down on the chair next to me, sighing in frustration.
"I talked to your doctor today," he began. "You aren't doing so well. She says your self-induced depression is unhealthy and not going to help you get any better. Alice, I need you to get better."
I remained quiet.
"I had a long conversation with Rose. She said taking Jasper away from you is what's causing you to be depressed. She says you need that connection to the outside world. She explained how he was what you were fighting for. You were ready to give up on everything before he came into your life. Maybe I was a little hard on you. I just don't understand why you want to fight for him, someone you've never met, but you won't fight for me. I can't lose you too. I have nothing left if I don't my little sister."
I turned over, looking up at him with tear streaked cheeks. "I am fighting for you. I don't want to die. I know I probably will eventually, but I hold on as much as I possibly can for you. I go through every day feeling like my body is going to give up at any moment. I don't have any fight left sometimes. But when I get a letter from Jasper, it makes me happy. He makes me feel normal. I don't want to be the sick girl to everyone, and he doesn't make me feel that way. His letters take away the pain even if it's just for a moment. I need him as much as I need you."
He nodded his head, sucking in a long breath. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a familiar white envelope. He placed it in my hand, squeezing my arm for reassurance.
"I'm sorry," he whispered.
I looked down at the letter, longing to open it. I let out a shaky breath before reaching out to give him a huge hug.
"Thank you," I cried.
"Just promise me you won't run away to go find this guy."
I nodded my head, silently telling myself if it came down to it I would.
As soon as he left, I ripped open the letter. As I expected, he was worried about why I hadn't written back yet. He thought maybe I didn't like the gift or maybe my condition had gotten worse. He said he was about ready to come to New York, despite my request not to. He said he was going to give it a week and if he hadn't heard anything from me, he was coming to New York until he found me. I quickly scribbled a reply down and asked Rosalie, who had been reinstated as my nurse, to send it off as soon as possible. It was only a short letter to let him know I was fine and he didn't need to come rescue me. As much as I wanted to see him, face to face, I knew right now was not a good time. I was just grateful my brother was agreeing to let me still write to him. I didn't want to rock the boat any further. Plus, when I first meet him, I want to be pretty, not sick.
Things were easier for me and Edward after our talk. He still huffed or rolled his eyes every time I mentioned Jasper, but at least he tried to keep it to himself as much as possible. However, for the first time he was seeing how having Jasper in my life, be it letters or phone calls, was what I needed to keep fighting.
On the day I got a new roommate, I was concerned. She was quite a bit older than me which meant she might be stuck up like my last roommate was.
As Rose left the room, after explaining the ropes to the new girl, she looked over to me and winked. That was my clue the new girl was probably going to be okay.
I pulled the curtain back and greeted her. She seemed nervous at first, but just like I always do when I meet new people I told her my entire life story. She seemed interested more than irritated like my last roommate was. I liked her almost immediately. I could see a kind spirit about her. I showed her the picture of Jasper I had and told her the story of our romance. I explained how eventually I planned to go to Texas to see him. She told me I had to tell her all about him when I meet him. It wasn't an "if" you meet him or "maybe someday", it was "when". It was the one thing very few people ever said to me. In that one little word, I knew we were going to get along great.
Moments later, my brother walked in making some comment about me having a new friend. I rolled my eyes thinking about what was probably running through his mind. If I made a friend here at the hospital, who was a girl, maybe I'd give up on Jasper. It wasn't ever going to happen. As much as his comments and obvious inner thoughts irritated me, I was still so happy to see him every day. Days spent at the hospital were boring. I jumped off the bed and rushed across the room to give him a hug. He picked me up in his arms, hugging me tightly.
Of course he made a few unnecessary comments about Jasper, but I quickly diverted him to introduce him to my new roommate. The look on my brother's face was priceless. He looked as if he just had the wind knocked out of him. I smirked, knowing exactly what was going on inside his mind. He liked my new roommate. He hadn't dated anyone that I know of since I'd been in the hospital. It may have even been since our parents died, but I don't know for sure. The little I knew about Bella I thought she would be perfect for him.
I remained silent as I observed their interaction. I couldn't be happier for my brother. I wanted him to have some sort of distraction from my illness for a change. He needed to take care of himself.
Shortly after, a nurse came in and took Bella down for some testing. I went back to my own side of the room and Edward joined me. I picked up the remote and flipped through channels on the TV.
"What's wrong with your roommate?" he asked nonchalantly.
I smiled. "You mean Bella?"
"Yeah, whatever," he agreed, shaking his head to pretend it wasn't a big deal. He was so transparent though. He had never asked about any of my roommates before. Actually, he pushed for me to have a private room most of the time.
"She has something called cardiomyopathy. It has to do with her heart."
"Is it serious?" he wondered.
I shrugged my shoulders. "I don't know a whole lot, but I think so. I imagine if it wasn't, she wouldn't be in the hospital."
"Does she live here in the city?"
"I think so," I replied. "I haven't had a lot of time to talk to her yet."
His brow furrowed as he thought over the little information I had given him.
"I'll know more in a few days," I offered. "Is there anything you would like to know specifically? Where she grew up? Where she lives? What she's going to school for? If she has a boyfriend?"
"What?" he defended.
I raised an eyebrow at him with a smile on my face. "You know you can't hide anything from me. You're an open book. You have got to be the easiest person to read."
He rolled his eyes. "Whatever. I am not, and you have no idea what you're talking about," he insisted defensively.
"If you say so," I said.
"Let's just listen to this latest audio book I got and drop the whole conversation about Bella," he suggested. I smiled and grabbed my headphones out of my drawer. He was always trying to push these audio books on me. I guess it comes with the territory when you deal with editing every day.
I popped in one headphone and handed the other to my brother. I turned on the iPod and listened to the lady's voice tell the story. It was a funny story, and I found myself laughing quite a bit. However, every time I looked over at Edward, he had this concerned look on his face. I wondered if he was even paying attention to the story at all.
The minute Bella was wheeled back into the room he eased up and laughed at the story for the first time. We waited for Bella to open the curtain, but she never did. I tried to eat a little of the food on my plate, but my stomach hurt and I didn't want to eat anything. The only reason I did was for Edward's sake. If I didn't eat, he would get worried.
I put the iPod away and lied down while Edward pretended not to think about the girl behind the curtain. I saw him glance at the curtain so many times with longing eyes. I almost thought he was trying to telepathically open the curtain with the expression on his face. I rolled my eyes at him and tried to convince him to go talk to her, but he refused. When we heard mumbling noises coming from behind the curtain, I got worried and told him to go check on her. At first he refused, but I kept insisting he do it. Finally, he got up and walked around to the other side of the curtain. He was only over there for about a minute, but when he came back, he had the goofiest grin on his face.
I raised an eyebrow at him. "Is she okay?" I asked.
He nodded his head to reply. "She's only sleeping. She's talking in her sleep."
"She's talking?" I repeated. "What is she saying?"
"It's none of our business. She's fine though," he assured. "I should get going. I have quite a bit to get done tonight."
"Alright," I accepted. "I'll see what I can find out about Bella for you." I gave him a knowing smile. He smiled bashfully and shook his head.
"I'll see you tomorrow," he promised before heading out the door.
I listened for Bella to stir. I wanted her to wake up so I could have someone to talk to. Plus, I wanted to tell her all about my brother. Maybe if he had a girlfriend, he wouldn't be so controlling over my love life.
She slept for a long time. I kept thinking she was going to wake up, but she continued to sleep. It was irritating. I wanted someone to talk to. I crawled up on the end of her bed so I knew the minute she woke up. Eventually her eyes started to flutter open and I got excited. I smiled, waiting for her to sit up.
"My brother likes you," I blurted without even thinking about what I said. There was no going back now though. She needed to know anyway. My brother would probably never make the first move if I waited on him. Maybe Bella would make the first move if she was into my brother. She would be crazy not to be. He was a catch to anyone who was paying attention. I still didn't understand why he never had any girls around. I've caught many of the nurses checking him out, yet he seemed oblivious to it. But the minute he laid eyes on Bella, I could see the spark. He wanted her, and I was determined to make it happen.
Of course Bella refused to believe my brother liked her and tried to play it off as no big deal. However, the blush on her face made me think she was far more pleased by the news than she let on.
The next day Bella was gone most of the morning for more tests. I was beginning to think her condition was a lot more serious than she was letting on.
I was watching a morning talk show when two frantic people came rushing into the room. They frightened me at first. I had no idea who they were or what they were doing in my room.
"Where's Bella?" the woman asked frantically.
"She's downstairs getting more tests," I answered. "Are you her parents?"
The woman sighed. "Yes we are. I'm Renee and this is my husband, Charlie."
I hopped off my bed and walked over to them. "I'm Alice, Bella's roommate." I extended my hand and shook both of theirs in greeting. "I imagine Bella should be back soon. They took her down before she could even eat breakfast, so she's been gone for quite a while."
Moments later, the door opened and Bella was wheeled in. She jumped out of the wheel chair and ran to her mom with teary eyes. I covertly walked back to my side of the room to give them some privacy. I remember the day I was diagnosed with leukemia and how much I wanted my mom. I knew Bella was probably feeling the same way.
As the day progressed, Bella kept looking over to me with expressions of help, but I didn't know what she wanted me to do. It's not like I could tell her parents to leave. I just tried to give her reassuring looks of hope. Eventually they would have to leave.
When my brother walked in the room, I noticed both of Bella's parents glance in his direction with questioning eyes, especially when he smiled at her.
He quickly introduced himself and made sure they both knew he was only here for me, even though I knew differently. He was here to see her just as much as he was for me.
I could tell Bella was trying really hard to get rid of her parents, but they wouldn't budge. They wanted to talk to her doctor before they did anything else. Thankfully, her doctor came in shortly after and Edward excused us from the room so they could have some privacy.
He brought me down to the courtyard to get some fresh air. It was one of my favorite places in this hospital.
"Will you get that worried look off your face," I demanded.
"What?" He asked, oblivious to how he truly looked.
"She'll be fine."
"I don't know what you're talking about," he defended.
I rolled my eyes. "Edward you aren't fooling me. I know you far too well. I know you have a little crush on my new roommate. I'm glad too. I like her and I think she'd be good for you. She'll be okay, I promise."
"How do you know?" he asked, accepting I knew the truth and there was no need to hide it from me anymore.
"I just have a feeling. Maybe it's a sixth sense or something. I know she'll be okay. You have nothing to worry about."
He sat quietly for a while, thinking over what I said.
"I think she likes you too. You should try to talk to her."
"Yeah, maybe," he agreed unconvincingly. I huffed at his unwillingness to be happy.
"What is wrong with you? You don't ever date. You don't ever have any fun. Don't you want to be happy?" I wondered angrily.
"It's not fair for me to be happy, Alice. Not when you're in here fighting for your life. My only priority is you," he argued.
"You're an idiot!" I exclaimed.
"Excuse me?" he gasped.
"I am happy. As much as you hate to hear it, Jasper makes me happy. He gives me a reason to keep fighting. If you were happy, maybe it would give me more of a reason to fight harder. It's really hard to be strong when my brother is such a downer all the time."
"I'm not a downer," he defended. "I just can't think about being happy while you're in here."
"Edward," I began sternly, grabbing his face in between my hands. "I want you to be happy. I want you to have someone to make you smile again. If I ever die, I don't want you to be alone."
"Don't say that," he said through a clenched jaw, pulling away from my grasp. "You're going to be okay. We just have to keep fighting. Eventually you're going to walk out of here and never look back. Every dream you've ever had will come true, and you'll live a very long and happy life."
I smiled at him with hopeful eyes. As much as I wanted to believe him, I knew there was little hope he was right. But it's all we had to hold on to.
"When I walk out of here, will you grant me my one and only wish?" I asked cunningly.
"You know I'd give you anything you ever dreamed of. What is it you want?"
"I want to go to Texas to see Jasper," I informed quietly.
He huffed. "How did I not know this would have something to do with him?"
"Edward, it's all I want. I know you don't think I'm old enough to be in love, and I'm not in the right mindset to love him, but I do. Nothing you ever say or do is ever going to change that."
"We'll discuss this when the time comes. Right now, my answer is definitely no."
My shoulders dropped in disappointment. I knew his answer would be 'no', but I was holding out hope he might agree to it since he was distracted by other things – namely the brown-eyed beauty up in my room whose had him enamored ever since I introduced him to her.
After a little longer of sitting in the courtyard, he took me back to my room. Bella's parents were still there, so we tried to remain quiet on the other side of the curtain. When they finally left, Bella pulled the curtain back hastily. I was a little shocked by it.
"Why is it I'm the one sick, but I feel like I have to console my parents instead of the other way around?" she blurted through her tears.
I gave her a sympathetic look and rushed to her bedside. I wrapped my arms around her shoulders, allowing her to cry freely. "Oh Bella, I'm so sorry." I felt my brother come up behind me and try to offer his support too. I was glad he did. She needed the support right now from people who understood what she was going through.
"I'm sorry," she cried, pulling away from me and wiping her eyes.
"Bella, whatever you need we'll both be here for you," I offered. "We're friends, right? That's what friends do for each other."
"Yeah Bella, if you need someone to talk to, you can count on us," Edward agreed.
"Thanks," she accepted.
Edward left a few minutes later giving me a chance to talk to Bella freely. I found out she needed a heart transplant to survive. My chest tightened at the reveal. I knew her condition was more serious than she let on. I tried to give her a sense of hope. I even told her how someday we were both going to get out of here, and she would marry my brother while I married Jasper. She quickly shot me down, saying she didn't even know my brother and there was no way she was going to marry him. I knew differently though. She would if I had anything to do with it.
The following weeks, my brother came for visits like he normally did, but for some strange reason he would never talk to Bella or give her any indication he was interested in her. He drove me nuts. Couldn't he at least give her something to go on so she could make the first move? I did everything I could to make them see they were perfect for each other. Unfortunately, they were both far too stubborn to make a move.
I even pretended to be asleep in hopes they would be forced to talk and spend time together, but Edward would just say he should go and leave early for the night. It was the most frustrating thing I've ever done to get these two together. I didn't know what to do anymore. I was giving up hope either of them would ever come to their senses.
I wrote to Jasper and told him all about Bella. I told him about my brother and his idiotic behavior. I hoped maybe he'd be able to give me some advice on how to get through to him. He told me to be patient. If it was meant to happen it would, no matter the amount of meddling I did. It wasn't exactly the answer I was looking for, but he was probably right.
The day I had to get dialysis for some strange reason I felt really weak. It wasn't this bad normally. I felt so worn down. All I wanted to do was sleep. Even when I was wheeled back to my room and Edward was there with my carrot cake, I couldn't even get excited about it. Normally I was. I rolled over on the bed and went straight to sleep. I slept so hard throughout the night and didn't wake again until late the next morning.
I sat up, feeling much better than I did the day previous. I noticed the brown paper bag sitting on the table and quickly snatched it up. I wanted my carrot cake. As I sat there, I noticed the flowers sitting on the stand as well. It was odd to me. No one ever gave me flowers. There were two identical bouquets with no card. I smiled, realizing they had to be from my brother. It was his little covert way of giving Bella something without it being obvious. All I could think was it was about time. Finally, he was trying to make a move. I wondered what exactly happened between the two of them after I had gone to sleep. I hoped he didn't take off like he normally does. I couldn't wait to ask Bella what happened.
She began to stir in her bed as I watched her. She looked over at me with a slight smile on her face.
"See, I told you he loves you," I said.
"What are you talking about?" she asked.
"He brought you flowers and cake. Plus, he stayed and talked to you for a long time last night after I went to sleep." I didn't really know if he had, but I was hopeful. When she didn't deny it, I knew I had to be right. She tried to excuse it as no big deal and he was only trying to be nice, but I knew differently.
"Since I've been here at the hospital Edward has never once brought me flowers. Until yesterday, that is. I think he only did it as an excuse to bring you flowers. He couldn't very well bring you flowers out of the blue just because. He needed a reason, so he used me as his cover. My brother is really shy sometimes. He used to not be. He was always the fun, go-getter when he was in high school. He was always really popular and was invited to every party or event. But once our parents died, he changed. He was quiet and hardly ever did anything fun. It got worse when I was diagnosed with cancer. But now all of a sudden he seems happy and full of life again. I think that's all because of you," I informed.
"Alice, I know you think we would be this perfect couple or something, but what kind of life would this be for him? He already has you to worry about. I don't think he needs me adding to his worries," she argued.
"It's too late," my brother said from the doorway.
I smiled hugely. My work was done. I excused myself from the room to give them some privacy. I don't think either of them was even aware I was in the room anymore though. I slipped out into the hallway and went to the nurses' station.
"Hi, Rose," I greeted.
"What are you doing wandering the halls?" she wondered.
"My brother is hopefully declaring his love for my roommate. So I gave them some privacy and thought I'd come down here to see if there was any mail for me."
"Your brother is declaring his love to your roommate?" she questioned with a raised eyebrow.
I smiled and nodded my head.
"When did this happen?" she asked. "I didn't even know your brother had a thing for her. Honestly, I thought he was gay."
"He's just been waiting for the right girl to come along," I informed happily. "Bella is perfect for him."
"Hmm." she seemed unconvinced by the news, but it was only a matter of time before everyone would see it.
Edward spent more and more time at the hospital which was great. I liked having him around and seeing him so happy. It had been a long time since I'd seen actual joy and happiness in his face. I wanted my brother to be happy more than anything else. He deserved to be happy with everything he's been through over the years.
Bella and I became even closer over the following weeks. She was much like the sister I always wanted. I told her everything and even let her hear what Jasper wrote to me.
I wish I could come see you. I want to be able to actually feel you and know you're real. Is it strange to say I miss you? I wish your brother would let me come visit you. It kills me not knowing how you're doing. I feel so helpless being so far away. Isn't there any way you can convince him to let me come visit you? I know I keep asking, but I want to see you so badly.
I'm glad to hear about your brother and your roommate. I told you it would all work out, if it was meant to happen. I'm holding out hope they can find a donor for both you and her. I want you both better. I know how important Bella is to you and I want to meet her too. I want to know who it is, who makes my girl smile everyday when I can't be there to do it.
Please tell me you're doing better, and I spend my days worrying for no reason. I need you to get better. I can't lose the girl I love. I have everyone I know praying for you to get better, just like I did. I know it's only a matter of time before you get a miracle.
I love you more than anything, Alice. Try to convince your brother to let me come see you. I'll hop on a plane now if you give me the word.
I read the letter to Bella who doted over how sweet he was and how happy I seemed while I read it. She said he reminded her of my brother. Maybe if my brother heard that, he would be more willing to let Jasper come visit me.
I stared down at the letter with longing in my eyes. I wanted to meet him. I wanted him to come visit me.
Suddenly the letters on the paper began to blur and the next thing I knew, I was blacking out. I don't remember anything else after that.
When I woke up in intensive care, Edward was sitting next me with fear in his eyes.
"What happened?" I asked weakly.
Edward took my hand, squeezing it tightly. "You had a seizure. Your body is beginning to deteriorate, and they say you need a kidney transplant as soon as possible. I'm insisting they test me so I can be a donor. You've had my bone marrow the first time they tried that, so it should be a match.
"Edward you can't," I cried. "I can't let you give me your kidney. You need to stay healthy. I can wait for a donor."
"You can't, Alice. They won't give you a donor kidney with the severity of the cancer. They say there is no reason to give you a kidney when there's a good chance you won't even make it through the cancer," he informed.
I cried even more. I didn't want him to give me his kidney when there was no hope for me. If I was going to die anyway, there was no reason for him to give up an important body part. I tried to convince him not to do it, but I was so weak, I couldn't.
I had to stay in the intensive unit for a few more days. I slept a lot. I could feel my body failing on me. It was only a matter of time before I died. I knew it was coming. I was preparing myself for it. I just hoped with all my heart, Bella would survive somehow to help my brother.
I was too weak to write to Jasper. I think I may have been a little afraid to tell him the truth also. I didn't want to hurt him. I knew it would be devastating to him when he found out.
Once I went back to my room and saw how bad Bella was, I got concerned she was worse off than I was. My brother took time off from work and barely left either of our sides. I could see how much this was tearing him up inside. He always looked so helpless.
On one particular day, it was mid-morning before my brother showed up. It was odd since he was usually there before Bella and I were even awake. I was lying on my bed trying to be quiet while Bella slept, when he walked in.
"Alice, I have a surprise for you," he informed. I glanced over the top of the magazine to see what he was talking about. He stepped aside and the familiar face of the boy I loved stepped around him. I gasped the minute I saw him. I could barely breathe knowing he was here. He rushed across the room and wrapped his arms around me.
It was the most amazing feeling to be in his arms. He was exactly how I imagined he would be – the strong arms, the cute dimples on his cheeks, the smell of sunshine – they were all a welcome surprise. He sat with me for a long time while my brother tended to Bella. I could see the fear in Jasper's eyes, and I wished so badly I could tell him there was nothing to fear. Unfortunately, he had everything to fear right now.
I still couldn't believe he was actually here. I kept touching his face and staring into his eyes. I wondered if I was going to wake up from some cruel dream and he'd be gone. If I was asleep, I didn't want to wake up.
Jasper, being the perfect gentleman, asked my brother for permission to take me down to the courtyard. It had been days since I'd been down there.
He parked my wheelchair next to a bench which he sat down on.
"Why didn't you tell me?" he questioned. "I would have come sooner if I had known you were this bad."
I placed my hand on his cheek. "I didn't want to worry you. I didn't want you to see me like this."
"Alice, I don't care what you look like. I should have been here to take care of you."
"You're here now. I'm so glad you are too. I can't believe my brother did this for me. He's giving me my last wish," I explained.
"No," he said shaking his head in disbelief. "This isn't the end, Alice. You'll get better. I'll stay as long as I need to, to see you through this. If I can beat it, so can you. We'll get through this together."
I looked down at my feet, holding back the tears. "Jasper, I know you want me to hold on, but it's getting close. I know it is and so does my brother. You need to accept it and be thankful we got to meet each other at least once before I'm gone."
"I won't accept it. You are going to get through this. I'll see to it. I'll do whatever I have to," he insisted.
"I'll fight for as long as I can," I promised.
He pulled me into his arms, holding me tightly against his warm body.
"Jasper," I whispered. He pulled away to look me in the face. "Am I too repulsive for you to kiss?" I waited for some sort of reaction, but he only stared at me with questioning eyes. "I've never had a first kiss. I don't want to die without ever experiencing my first kiss."
The tears stung my eyes. I knew I probably wasn't as pretty as I was in all those pictures I sent him, but I hoped I wasn't so bad, he wouldn't want to kiss me.
He gently took my chin between his thumb and forefinger. "Alice…" he breathed. "You are the most beautiful person I have ever seen. I love you more than you can ever imagine is possible."
I looked up at him with tears running down my cheeks. He leaned forward and kissed my mouth with gentle, warm lips. His lips lingered against mine. My heart soared at the feel of having my first kiss and it being with the man I loved. In that kiss, I knew if I could make it through this cancer, I was going to spend the rest of my life with him. He was my reason for fighting. He was my future.
"I love you, Jasper," I whispered.
"I love you too. I always will," he promised. He leaned his forehead against mine. We were both in our own little world, where no cancer or hospitals existed. It was just us being together.
I didn't want to leave the courtyard, but he insisted I needed to go back because I looked tired. He didn't want me overdoing anything.
Safely back in my bed, he tucked me in and kissed me gently on the forehead, promising me he'd be back.
I didn't want him to leave and begged him to stay, but my brother insisted I get some rest. He promised he would bring Jasper back first thing in the morning.
I saw my brother reluctantly pull away from Bella and leave our room with Jasper. I hoped Edward would be nice to him.
"Are you happy?" Bella asked from across the room.
"Very happy," I responded.
"Good," she said quietly. "It's what I wanted for you."
"Did you do this?" I asked. "Did you get my brother to agree to let him come here?"
She nodded her head in response. I cried once again. "Thank you, Bella. Thank you for being the most amazing person I've ever met. I'll never forget you, no matter what happens."
"We'll make it through. We have to have faith. You told me from day one to be optimistic. I'm still holding on to that. Edward proposed to me earlier. I'm going to marry him, Alice. You were right all along, and I know you're right when you said we're both going to be okay."
I nodded my head, too emotional to respond.
We both fell asleep shortly after. It was a peaceful sleep which I hadn't experienced for quite some time. It felt good to actually be able to sleep soundly.
In the morning though, I was woken abruptly by the sounds of Bella crying hysterically next to me.
I looked all over the room, trying to make sense of her hysteria. I saw Jasper sitting in a chair across the room with dirt and dried blood all over him. He looked broken. His eyes were distant and scared. The minute I saw him, I knew. The air left my lungs in an instant. I felt like there was a heavy brick sitting on my chest and suffocating me.
"Where's Edward?" I screamed. "Where's my brother?"
In an instant, Jasper wrapped me up in his arms, whispering how sorry he was. I couldn't even comprehend what was happening. I couldn't believe it. I didn't want to believe it. I didn't want to face the reality that I was all alone. I was the one who should be gone, not him. I was supposed to die. Why did he leave me here all alone?
"What happened?" I asked, not sure I even wanted to know. Jasper explained the car accident and what Edward's last words were. He explained about the organ donor request he made. In his last breaths, he was taking care of me and Bella. All I could think about was Bella. Without him, she had no one to fight for. I knew how much she loved him and how he had proposed to her the night before. Now he was gone and she would never get what we both wanted. I wasn't right like she said I was. I was wrong.
Moments later, nurses decked out in scrubs came in to take both Bella and I down to surgery. I hated how they didn't even give us a chance to mourn my brother before we were taken to surgery.
Bella and I hugged before we were taken down to surgery. Japer gave me a quick kiss, wishing me luck.
I woke up from surgery groggy and sore. I wasn't too sure what had happened until a flood of memories crashed into me. I began crying hysterically. The nurses didn't know what was wrong with me or what to do. They had to call in doctors for help. One doctor gave me a shot and within minutes, I was asleep again.
I didn't wake up until many hours later. Jasper and Rosalie sat next to me in my room. Tears filled my eyes again at the realization I would never see my brother sitting in my room waiting for me to get back from treatments. I turned away from both of them, unwilling to let either of them see me cry. Jasper crawled on the bed with me and wrapped his arms around me protectively.
"I'll leave you two be," Rose said. "I just wanted to let you know Bella's surgery was a success. She'll be in a separate room for a while with no visitors allowed."
I heard her quietly slip out of the room, leaving us alone. Jasper didn't say a word, he only held me in his arms which is what I needed.
I felt like the days following the surgery, all I did was cry. I had a feeling Jasper would get tired of it and decide to go home eventually, but he never left my side. He very rarely left the hospital.
I wanted to see Bella. I wanted to know she was okay. I feared when she got out of intensive care, she would hate me for what happened to my brother. If it hadn't been for me, Jasper wouldn't have been here and Edward probably would have stayed longer the night it happened. Maybe he'd still be here. I continually asked Rose if I could see her yet, but she kept telling me it was too soon.
About two weeks after I had the kidney surgery, I went in for the bone marrow transplant. It was the second time I'd had this done, so I knew the drill. I spent another couple days in intensive care after the bone marrow transplant. I knew from over hearing doctors talking, Bella was only a couple doors down from me.
Late one night, I snuck out of my room and went down to hers. I quietly walked into her room and sat down next to her. She had tubes connected to her all over the place. I looked down at her, crying once again. I wanted my brother to be here with us.
She opened her eyes, looking up at me with sympathy. She placed her hand on mine to comfort me.
"I've missed you," she whispered.
"You have?" I asked in disbelief.
"You're my sister, Alice. Edward and I may not have been officially married, but in our own way, we are married. There's no reason to be upset," she breathed.
"I thought…" I began. "I'm sorry, Bella. If I could take it back, I would."
"Take what back?"
"It's my fault. I wanted to see Jasper. If he hadn't come, maybe Edward would still be here."
"Alice, don't you blame yourself. Edward wouldn't want you to. He loved you and would do anything for your happiness. None of this is your fault."
"What do I do now?" I cried. "I don't have anyone left."
"Yes you do," she insisted. "You have me and Jasper. We aren't ever going to leave your side. I'll take care of you. Edward will always be with both of us too. He's right here, Alice." She placed her hand against her chest, motioning to his heart. I stared at her chest, longing to hear him.
She nodded her head, scooting to one side of the bed. I crawled up on the bed with her and laid my head against her chest, listening to my brother's heart beat inside of Bella's chest. It was a welcome comfort I needed. I sighed heavily, listening to the rhythmic sound.
I fell asleep lying next to Bella and my brother's heart. She was my sister and best friend in every way.
In the morning, I was reprimanded by all the nurses for what I did. They kept saying I put both of us at risk for infection. I didn't mean to do anything wrong, I just wanted to see Bella.
I stayed away from her for the next few weeks. I didn't want to put her in danger. Eventually she was wheeled back into our familiar room for recovery.
It was good to have her back. It was like old times once again. The only thing missing was my brother's daily visits.
The first of the month was the hardest. It was the day my brother would bring me my little treat. Something inside of me still expected to see him walk through the door, carrying the familiar brown paper bag. He never came though.
When Jasper walked in with the brown bag instead, I stared at him with disbelief. How did he know?
"I had to make sure it was still okay with your doctor. He said it was fine as long as you only had a small piece. I thought we could share it," he suggested.
"How did you know?" I asked, holding back tears.
"Bella," he answered.
I glanced over in her direction. She smiled. "I told you I'd take care of you."
I sobbed once again and ran across the room to hug her tightly. "Thank you," I cried.
The months following, Bella recovered tremendously. Her parents were overjoyed with happiness. Even when she was told she could go home, she stayed close by me. She supported me through the rest of the chemo and treatments I had to have. By some miracle, I went into remission and told I was free to go. I never thought I would ever hear those words. I wanted to share this joy with my brother. It was the one and only thing we ever wished for. Now it was finally here and he wasn't here to share it with.
Jasper took it upon himself to pack up my brother's apartment. He had asked his parents if I could come live with them and they accepted, given the circumstances. My only request was Bella come with me. Bella accepted and asked her parents to help her pack up her own apartment for the move.
On the last day, before I left the hospital, I glanced around the familiar room one last time. I remember hating it here when I was first diagnosed, but now I didn't want to leave.
Jasper stood against the wall, waiting for me. "I don't know if I can do this," I said.
"What?" he asked in a worried tone.
"I'm not sure if you want me to come with you. I think I'm cursed, Jasper. Every year since I was thirteen, something bad has happened to me. At thirteen my parents died. At fourteen I found out I had leukemia. At fifteen, my kidneys failed. And at sixteen my brother died. What's next? What if something happens to you?"
He ran across the room, pulling me into his arms. "Nothing is going to happen to us. We'll be okay, Alice."
"You want to know what's going to happen?" Bella asked from the doorway, surprising both of us.
She walked across the room, placing her arms on my shoulders and looking deep in my eyes. "You are going to start fresh in a new school and town and do everything in your power to catch up academically, so you can graduate and make both me and your brother proud. Then after you graduate, you're going to apply for college and become something great.
"But—," I began to argue.
"No buts," she stopped me. "You have had enough bad luck the last few years and now you're going to have some good luck. At seventeen, you will shock everyone by remaining in remission and making a full recovery. At eighteen, you will marry Jasper. Nothing bad is going to happen anymore. I promise you. I will do everything in my power to make sure of it."
We hugged for a long time, crying in each other's arms once again. It was something we did a lot now.
I glanced around the room one last time before shutting the door and taking Jasper's hand. We walked down the hall and were greeted by all the nurses and doctors who had cared for me over the years. Even some doctors, who had never actually cared for me, like Doctor McCarty, had come to wish me well.
I hugged each and every person who came to see me off. The last person I said goodbye to was Rose.
"You keep in touch okay? I want to hear all about Texas," she demanded. I nodded my head to promise her I would. "I'm so proud of you. Thank you for being such a great friend." She hugged me tightly, holding back her tears.
"Make sure you keep Doctor McCarty in line," I joked.
She laughed, pulling away from me. She tucked a small piece of hair behind my ear and looked at me with soft eyes. "I will. I promise." She winked, giving me our little secret gesture.
I walked out of the hospital, only looking back once to wave goodbye.
I held Jasper's hand so tightly, I was sure I was cutting off his blood circulation. Bella wrapped her arm around my shoulders to support me to the car.
"Are you ready?" Bella asked.
I looked up at her, feeling tears forming in my eyes once again and nodded my head. We climbed into the moving truck which was packed full of all our stuff and headed out on the road.
We stopped only once at Edward's gravesite. Neither Bella nor I were allowed to go to the funeral since we were in the hospital. This was the first time either of us had been here. But I couldn't leave without telling him goodbye. Jasper stayed in the truck while Bella and I walked over to his grave. We remained silent at first, reading his name over and over.
"Do you think he knew I loved him?" I asked. "We used to argue all the time. I don't know if I ever told him."
"He knew," Bella assured. "He loved you more than anything. Your happiness was always so much more important than his."
"Do you miss him?"
"Yeah," she breathed. "It hurts to think about how I barely found him and then he was gone. I'll never love anyone as much as I love him. He's still, and always will be, my one and only true love."
"I don't know how I would get through this without you," I informed. "I miss him so much. It hurts every time I think of all the things missing with him gone."
She placed her arm around my shoulders, hugging me tightly. "I know. I don't think missing him will ever go away, but I hope in time the pain will subside."
"If you could take his place, would you?" I asked. "If I could, I would."
"Yeah," was all she said.
She rubbed my shoulder and gestured for us to go back to the truck. "We should get going before it gets too much later."
I nodded my head. "Goodbye Edward. I love you."
I leaned down, kissing the tips of my fingers and pressing them to his tombstone.
Bella leaned down next to me, doing the same. "I love you too, Edward. I always will. I promise you, I will take care of her and you." She placed her hand on her heart. I looked up at her face, seeing the tears streaming down her face. We stood up and walked back to the truck. My eyes remained on his grave as we drove away. The tears started to fall once again. Bella held me tightly in her arms, crying with me.
I had survived losing my parents. I had survived cancer and kidney failure. I had survived losing my brother. Maybe I wasn't cursed after all. Maybe I was just a survivor. There wasn't much else I could have happen to me. Whatever came, I would survive.
Bella was right though. I did start fresh in a new place. It took a lot of work, but I was able to get my GED and I was looking into going to community college. Jasper was attending community college in hopes of becoming an electrician. Every day I spent with Jasper only made me love him more. My favorite thing to do with him was take long rides on the horses. The warm wind against my face always made me feel so free.
Bella had found a small apartment nearby and got a job working at the local hospital. She loved her job. She worked far more than she should have, considering her condition. When I asked her to slow down, she broke down crying and told me if she stopped for too long, it made her think of Edward and it was hard. If she stayed busy, she remained distracted. I understood what she meant but begged her to pace herself. I didn't want her to end up back in the hospital for any reason.
She never did date, even when there were numbers of guys at the hospital who had their eyes on her. She would always politely turn them down, and go on with her business. I didn't like seeing her alone all the time. I spent a lot of time with her, finding more comfort living with her than I did with Jasper's family. Jasper's parents were wonderful and so caring towards me and Bella. But Bella was home. Bella had Edward.
About a year after I had gone into remission, Jasper proposed. I was blown away. I wasn't expecting it at all. He called me one day and asked me to meet him at this little hidden cave we had found on one of our rides. I rode out there, expecting he was going to show me some new thing he discovered in the cave. However, when I arrived at the cave, he had lit candles all around it. I stared at him in disbelief. What was he doing?
I walked over to him and stood in front of him. He smiled nervously at me, taking my hands in his. He dropped to one knee staring up at me. I gasped as soon as the realization of what he was doing came to me.
"Before your brother died, I asked him permission to ask you to marry me," he began. He laughed a little, remembering the memory. "Of course he refused at first. But some of his last words were about you. He told me to take care of you and to love you every day for the rest of my life as much as he has. I promised him I would. I want to make my promise official. Alice, will you make me the happiest man alive by marrying me?"
All I could do was nod through my tears. He slipped a simple solitaire diamond ring on my finger. He rose to his feet and picked me us in his arms, twirling me around. I giggled in his arms. The excitement of what was to come rushed though me. I couldn't wait to tell Bella.
He placed me back on my feet, pressing his lips to mine. We kissed for a long time, reveling in the newness of our union. We were going to get married. We were going to be joined together for life, no matter how long that may be.
Everything seemed to be going so much better living here in Texas. I was happy once again. I was still in remission, as was Jasper. Bella, even though she still hurt on a daily basis, was still fighting. If either of us were fighters, it was her. She was determined to keep Edward alive inside of her. She gave me the strength to keep going every day.
On the day of our small wedding a few months later, Bella stood next to me as my maid of honor. Jasper didn't have a best man. When I asked him why, he said the only person who deserved that honor was my brother. If he couldn't have it in life, then he would have it in spirit. I loved Jasper so much. He was always so caring and protective of me. But most of all, he was sensitive to my loss and always tried to make me know how much my brother was always here with me whether I could see him or not.
I walked down the small aisle towards my future. Believing for the first time I actually had one. I looked at the faces of the people I cared about. Rose and Doctor McCarty had flown in to be here. They were expecting their first child. Jasper's parents and a few other relatives watched attentively. Bella stood at the end of the aisle with a proud smile on her face. Jasper was practically in tears at the site of me walking towards him.
As I reached the end of the aisle, I glanced over at Bella. Through my watery eyes I believed I could almost make out Edward's figure standing next to her. He smiled and gave me a reassuring nod before he was gone. I knew he was never truly gone though. He was always here watching over both me and Bella.
I turned towards Jasper, taking his hands and looking up at the man I was about to spend the rest of my life with. I couldn't wait to become Mrs. Alice Cullen-Whitlock.
Are tears flowing? Just so everyone knows, I cried so hard writing this story. I really wasn't sure I was going to make it though. My shirt was soaked with tears, literally. I almost think this version was sadder than Take Care Of My Heart was. Anyway, thank you for reading. I'm sorry for killing Edward again and making everyone cry. I hope I didn't cause anyone any serious pain from this.