This is the first time I've ever written anything besides a research article. I just had an idea and I thought I'd run with it and see what happens. Please leave a comment if you have time and let me know what you like, what you dislike. Don't be shy, please. I'm a fan of constructive criticism.
Of course, I do not have any rights to Twilight or any other book for that matter.
I was dreaming.
I could hear the voice of a child at my side speaking to me. She was telling me about her teacher. She called her teacher Miss Angela and talked about painting a flower. Then she said the flower was for me.
She called me mommy.
That's how I knew I was dreaming.
"Mommy," the tiny child continued, "I want you to wake up now. I want you to see the flower I made you. Daddy says you're going to wake up someday but I want it to be now." The girl let out a resigned sigh and the dream must have been over, because I didn't hear the voice again.
I thought about my child, the tiny baby I had been carrying for eight months now. I didn't technically know if it would be a boy or girl, as we had decided to wait to find out, but deep down I somehow had a feeling it would be a little girl. Maybe that's what I was dreaming about. I was as big as a house and barely able to move these days. No wonder Edward had wanted me to stay home today. The roads were a bit icy and I had wanted to make the drive down to the reservation to visit my best friend Jacob and his girlfriend Leah. I remembered getting in the car… I had visions of the curvy road that lead through the Olympic Peninsula… I was dreaming again. None of that stuff could have happened yet. I was, after all, still asleep.
The dreaming continued. I could hear a man's voice now saying, "Come on Carlie, baby. It's time to go home. We can see mommy again tomorrow." I knew this voice: deep, creamy velvet. If a voice had a color this one would be a dark luxurious purple. I heard footsteps and then I could feel a man's presence by my ear. I could smell him.
I knew this voice and this smell because they belonged to Edward, my husband, my soul mate, and the father of my little baby. I knew I must have been waking up because I could feel Edward now at my ear, whispering. "I want you to wake up, too, Bella. I miss you so much. Please come back to us. We need you."
He wanted me to wake up, too? But he couldn't have heard the little girl's voice. That was all in my dream. I needed to wake up so I could ask him what the hell was going on. I told my brain to tell my eyelids to move, but no luck. I tried with all my strength to move my arm, but all I got was a finger twitch. What the hell! Why couldn't I wake up! I tried to call out to Edward but the only noise that escaped was a tiny squeak.
I heard Edward suddenly gasp, then quick heavy footsteps away from me. No, I wanted to shout, why are you running away from me? Then Edward's voice yelled, "Dad! Dad, I need you!" The tiny girl from my dream earlier spoke again. "Daddy, what's wrong? Why do you need to see Papa? Are you sick? Is mommy sick?" More calmly I could hear Edward speak again. "Oh, sweetheart, everything is fine. No one is sick. I just want to show your Papa something and ask him a question. Could you please go wait in the family room with your Gram? Thank you."
More footsteps and I could feel Edward next to me again. Maybe I was still dreaming. The Edward I thought I knew was talking to a dream child right here in our bedroom. Why couldn't I wake up? Only a quick second passed before I heard more footsteps and another voice I knew. "Edward? Is everything ok? What's going on?" Oh, now this was getting out of hand. What the hell was Carlisle doing in my bedroom? I tried again to wake up with all my might but all I got was another squeak and another finger twitch.
This time both men gasped. "That is why I yelled for you. That's the second time I've seen her finger move and heard that noise in the past two minutes. Is she ok? What does it mean?"
"Edward," Carlisle responded, "I don't want to get your hopes up. Something's changing, but it could be for better or for worse. I can see Bella's heart rate has slightly increased and she's breathing much more heavily than she has in the past five years." Five years? How would Carlisle know how heavily I was breathing in the past five years? I started to panic. Something was wrong.
"Edward, her heart rate is increasing rapidly. She's having some sort of response. Maybe she can hear us. I need you to talk to her. Try and calm her down, anything!"
Then I felt it. Edward's hand came to my face and I could feel a shock of electricity. His voice came back to me and I felt instantly calmer. "Oh God, Bella, baby, please relax. I need you to breath with me. I need you to calm down. I just need you. Don't panic: everything is ok."
Edward's face on my hand did something to the skin there and all of a sudden the muscles in my face felt alive. Maybe now I could do it. Maybe now I could wake up. I mustered all my strength and pushed with all my might. Finally, I felt my eyelids start to flutter.
The first thing that registered was too much light. I felt blinded by it and it actually hurt my brain.
"Oh my God, Dad, she's waking up," Edward said, "Turn out the lights, they're too bright."
The light was flicked off and I tried to open my eyes again. This time I got them all the way open. There was Edward, his bright emerald eyes leaking with tears. He immediately let out a loud sob and, placing his free hand on the other side of my face, lowered his forehead down to touch mine.
It took me a moment to gather myself from the shock of Edward crying. But as soon as I did, I wanted answers. I told my brain to tell my mouth to speak. It was much more difficult than it should have been. "Wh... wh… wha…" Frustrated, I growled, which made Edward smile.
"Shh, my love, just relax. Just stay here with me. Just let me love you for a moment and then I'll explain everything." Edward put his lips on mine and gave me all the love and desire and adoration I knew could only come from him. My lips were less than cooperative, but I did my best to return the feelings. I had no idea what was going on, but as long as I was here with Edward and he was kissing me, then I didn't care so much.
I had almost forgotten about the disembodied voice of Carlisle in my dream, until his face came into view behind Edward. I froze. I so did not want my father-in-law to catch me making out with my husband, but Carlisle just smiled. I was surprised to see a tear in his eye as well. "Edward, would you like some time alone with Bella?"
Edward moved his lips from mine, but kept his hands and eyes on my face. "That's probably the thousandth time you've asked me that question, but this time it means so much more. Yes, I would, but first let me talk to Carlie. Would you care to keep Bella company for a few moments."
I still had no idea where I was or who this Carlie person was and now Edward was going to talk to her and leave me here alone with his dad? What the hell? I tried the talking thing again, this time with a bit more success. "Nu… don… leaf." Ok, so not much more success, but Edward seemed to get the gist.
"Oh, Bella, you are the love of my life, and I promise I will never ever leave you. But there's someone else that I love just as much as you and I need to go take care of her for just a moment." Someone he loves just as much? I couldn't understand. Just last night we had gone to sleep a perfectly happy couple with a baby on the way and now there was someone else he loved?
Edward must have seen the panic in my eyes because he smiled, leaned down to my ear, and whispered, "our daughter."
I was so confused! "My dad will stay here with you and start to explain. I'll be back as soon as I talk to Carlie and my mom." He smiled, leaned down to kiss me one more time, and left the room.
I was beginning to get feeling in my neck, so I looked around just a bit. I was in a bright blue room with a pretty beach theme. The wall to my left had two large windows with flowing curtains and the sun was out, but it looked like it was either setting or rising. I wasn't in my bed after all. I was in the guest room at the Cullens' house. And Edward had said this Carlie person was our daughter? Looking down I realized I wasn't as big as a house anymore. In fact, I seemed fairly thin. So many questions were running through my head that I had no idea where to start. I looked over to Carlisle and he smiled.
"Well Bella, it looks like we have some explaining to do." He sat in a rocking chair by the bed where I was laying, breathed in deeply and let out a long sigh. "I can see the confused look on your face and it means you probably don't have any idea where you are or why you're here. I'll start from the beginning.
"Bella, do you remember January 12, 2005? You were planning on visiting Jacob and Leah at the reservation that day. You were going to bring them some of your lasagna, since it would be the last time you would have the chance to cook before the baby was born." I slowly nodded my head once, not quite understanding why it was so difficult to do. Jacob had always loved my lasagna.
"Well," Carlisle continued, "You were on your way to their place when a log truck traveling in the opposite direction hit a patch of ice and swerved into the driver's side of your car. As far as we know, you blacked out immediately. Bella, sweetheart, you just woke up. Today is April 3, 2010. You've been in a coma for the past five years."
My eyes must have popped out of my head with shock. "Breathe deeply, Bella," Carlisle instructed, "It's perfectly understandable that you would have this reaction. But I need you to take deep breaths and try to stay calm. I think if you passed out now Edward would never recover." He smiled softly at me.
I thought about Edward. Oh my goodness, what this must have put him through. I thought about the fact that I had missed five long years with my Edward while he waited patiently for me to come back to him. I could feel my eyes start to well with moisture.
Just then the door opened Edward peeked his head in. "Do you feel up to having a visitor?" I momentarily panicked. If I had been in a coma for five years, and Edward said that this Carlie was our daughter, then she had never met me! I was not ready for this. I was not ready to meet this tiny stranger on a day when I was already so overwhelmed. Hell, I wouldn't even be able to speak to her!
Edward read the panic in my eyes. "I mean my mom. She really wants to see you awake for her own eyes." Edward's forehead creased and I let out a deep breath I hadn't realized I'd been holding. He opened the door a little wider and Esme came into the room, already gushing with silent tears.
"Oh, Bella!" She closed the distance between the door and the bed in seconds and threw her arm on top of me for a very awkward hug. I wished I could move my body to hug her back, or at least lift myself from bed so she could hug me properly, but my muscles wouldn't respond to my brain.
"We missed you so much, Bella. Oh I'm so glad you're ok. You know you're like a daughter to me. I can't believe I finally have my daughter back!" Carlisle stood up from the chair and patted Esme's back. "Ok dear, perhaps we should give Bella some room to breathe."
"Oh, goodness, you're right." Esme popped up and grabbed my hand instead. She stood there under Carlisle's loving arm and both smiled down at me. "She's right, you know." Carlisle said, "we all missed you so much." My eyes started to tear up yet again. This was all so overwhelming.
Carlisle had always been the leader of this family and he took action then, shifting into doctor mode. "Esme, Edward, what have you told Carlie?"
"Nothing," Edward replied. "I wanted to tell her right away but mom convinced me to wait until we talked to Bella about it. She's downstairs now watching her movie." He gave me another concerned look before meeting his father's gaze.
"Good. I think that's a good idea. Esme, why don't you take Carlie and go back to Edward's house for the night. I'm sorry," he added, looking apologetically at me, "Edward and Bella's house. I'll stay here with Edward and Bella in case they need any medical assistance. That way, Edward can explain everything to Bella and she can get some rest. We'll talk to Carlie tomorrow and when Bella's ready the two of them can be introduced."
I nodded my head again and smiled, relieved that someone would be answering all my questions and that Edward was going to stay. "Thank you… Carlisle," I said, happy that my words seemed to be coming back, slowly but surely.
"Anytime, dear," he answered. "Now try not to stay up all night chatting. I'll just be in my office if you need anything."
"Good night, sweetheart," Esme said as she leaned down to place a kiss on my forehead. "I'll make all the calls to our family. They'll be so happy to know you're awake. Tomorrow we'll talk and if you're feeling ready, we'll have some visitors." My in-laws left me alone with my husband.
Edward and I looked at each other with concern for a few minutes. Did he still love me? How could a man love a vegetable for five years? I thought about the kiss he had given me right after I woke up. It had seemed like a real, passionate kiss, but he had also been surprised and shocked. And the looks he had been giving me for the past couple of minutes worried me. Eventually, he let out a sigh and smiled warmly at me. He leaned in to place a gentle caress on my lips with his. "I'll just go say goodnight to Carlie, and then I'll be right back. Please, Bella, please don't go back to sleep."
I relaxed and smiled. "Ok," I reassured him the best I could.
Edward left me alone for the first time since I had woken. I still had a million questions, but at least now I understood why I was unable to move. I took the opportunity alone to assess the situation with my body.
I was relieved that I was getting better at forming simple words, so I tried out a few of those. "Bella, Edward, love, bed, who, how, why, where," I said aloud. No problem with those. I would need them all in the up-coming conversation. How about a harder word? "Superca…" Ok, so, wasn't going to happen any time soon, but I could live with that.
Next I tested my head. Nodding was getting easier and I didn't have trouble looking around. All systems go in that department. I wiggled my fingers and toes, clenched my fists a couple of times, and shrugged my shoulders. Baby steps, Bella, I thought to myself. Next I tried moving my arms. I could just barely lift from my elbows, but not all the way from my shoulders. I moved my forearms around to the rest of my body. I could feel a feeding tube in my stomach, which explained why my mouth was so dry – I hadn't actually swallowed anything in five years besides my own spit. I could also feel that I had a catheter in. Well, I wasn't about to win Edward back with that puppy. I'd have to ask Carlisle what to do about it in private. For now, I would just try my best not to make it obvious that I was using it.
I heard a slight knock and Edward re-entered the room. He smiled when he saw me and moved to the rocking chair, shutting the door on his way. I, however, had other plans. I used my new-found arm-moving ability to pat the bed by my side. His face lit up like a Christmas tree. He gently placed his arms under my legs and around my back and lifted me, moving my body to the side so he could climb in next to me.
"It seems like… you've had pra… practice at moving… me." He smiled while he answered, "I had to always move you back to the middle before I left, so Carlisle wouldn't know I had lain here with you."
Edward ran his fingers through my hair before cupping my face in his warm hand. "You must have so many questions. How much did Carlisle tell you?"
I frowned. "He told me about… the car wreck… said I was in a… coma for five years."
Edward sighed while he studied my face. "It is so wonderful to hear your voice again." He grabbed my hand and squeezed, preparing himself to relive what must have been a very difficult experience for him. I squeezed back, knowing that whatever had happened to me would pale in comparison to what he must have gone through.
"When the log truck hit you both your vehicles ran into the guard rails. He was shaken but physically totally fine. He immediately called 911 and that probably saved both your life and Carlie's. I tried to be mad at him after, but his quick thinking saved you. His name's Garrett … nice guy. He still sends Carlie a birthday card every year." Edward was looking far away into the distance. Finally he shook his head and came back to the present.
"Anyway, when the paramedics got there you were blacked out and just barely breathing on your own. They took you to the hospital in Port Angeles via helicopter while someone performed CPR on you the entire way. They did an emergency C-Section the minute they got you there. Carlie was a month premature and had suffered trauma during the accident and the birth. She was in intensive care and was touch and go for about three weeks. By the time I got to the hospital the baby was in an incubator and you were on a ventilator, not breathing on your own. The doctors told me there was a chance I would lose you both.
Bella, I almost lost it that day. I've never been so close to taking my own life. Thank goodness Alice was there with me or I never would have made it through that first night."
At this point, Edward broke down. The tears started running down his face. I could only lift my arm to his chin, but I wiped the tears away from there and kissed his cheek. Thank God for Alice, my lovable sister-in-law. I made a mental note to ask about her later, after I was done comforting my love. The whole thing had been my fault. "I'm so sorry Edward. I should have lis… listened to you. I never should have driven on those icy roads."
"Bella, baby, please. This isn't your fault. It's no one's fault. It was an accident." She stroked my cheek while continuing to squeeze my hand with his.
"No, it is my fault. You trusted me to take care of our child and I completely disregarded your request to stay home where it was safe." Edward smiled and chuckled. I failed to find the humor in the situation.
"Love," he explained, "I'm smiling because you just spoke a very long sentence quite eloquently without needing to stop once." At that I had to smile.
My smile faded, however, when Edward swung himself around so that he was on his knees straddling my legs and grabbed my face with both hands. He looked me right in the eyes as he spoke. "Isabella Marie Cullen, you will listen to what I'm about to tell you. I have had countless therapy sessions to persuade me that this accident was not my fault or yours. It was just that: an accident. And I swear to you, even though I've been through hell and back in the last five years, I would do it all over again if I knew I would end up here with you, in this bed, right now. I love you, Bella. I love you and I love the life you've helped me build. And I love even more that now you'll be able to share that life with me."
I couldn't take it anymore. I broke down in tears. This had been the most overwhelming experience of my life. I was five years older and I didn't remember any of it. I hadn't been there to help Edward take care of our baby but he still loved me. He still wanted me. I sobbed for what must have been an hour. Edward just held me the entire time, rubbing my back and whispering love into my ear.
Finally, when my sobs had subsided into tiny whimpers, Edward lay back down next to me and placed my head on his chest while he continued to stroke my hair. "Shh, Bella, we're both here now and that's all that matters. I know you probably need to get some rest – you're body's been through a lot of strain today – but I'll be honest. I am scared shitless that once you're asleep you won't wake up again."
I thought about the possibility that I could relapse and crush my Edward all over again. I didn't want that to happen either. Then, like a lightning bolt, I had a revelation.
I was a mother.
Even though my baby didn't know I had woken up yet, she was still my baby. She had called me mommy. She had painted me a picture of a flower in school today. I thought about the tiny voice of the child I had never met and at that moment, I fell in love. I might slip back into a sleep, but my daughter would wake me. I would not leave my daughter without her mother for a second more.
"If I sleep for too long," I told Edward, "let our daughter wake me. I want her to have a mother. I love her with every cell in my useless body, Edward. I can't wait to meet her."
At this, Edward's eyes began to water for the third time that day. "Oh, baby, I'm so happy to hear you say that. When you thought she was coming in the room earlier you panicked and I didn't know what to think. Carlie is the world to me and I don't want her to miss you for a second longer than she has to."
"Can I ask you… why Carlie?"
Edward let out a little chuckle. "It took me two weeks to name her. I wanted you to wake up so you could help me think of a name. I chose Carlie because it's like Carlisle and Charlie combined, our dads."
Slowly, I let the name sink in. "Carlie," I tried it out loud for the first time. It felt like a prayer as it left my mouth. My daughter, my baby, was named Carlie. "I love it," I told Edward, smiling up at him.
He adjusted himself so that we were both laying on the pillow, facing each other. He held both my hands in his and we just lay there, staring at each other. I don't remember how long we laid there and I don't remember falling asleep again, but I do remember dreaming about Edward, my baby girl, our family, and the life we would soon be living together.