A.N. – Okay, okay, I know I said I'd post at 60 reviews, and you guys did great! The only problem was that when I got the 60th one (which I never thought would have come that fast), the new chapter wasn't quite up to my standards yet. So I apologize...but here it is!
Next chapter comes at 90 reviews! I know I have close to 60 people that have set this story to alert...so another 30 reviews should be doable. Please, just spend 30 seconds telling me your thoughts and it will totally make my day! I get so happy when I see those review alerts in my email!
Thanks to everyone that reviewed the last chapter and/or just started reading! Simaril, Mrs Whitlock Hale xxx, The Writer Child, Cullenism, reading is my addiction, Swangirl66, Eliza Russell, x-twiilight-x, SpenceSince1993, and whoever sent the anonymous one! I still want to thank everyone that has reviewed past chapters as well! Come back and let me know what you think of where this has gone!
Beep. Beep. Beep. I heard a faded, hazy noise from far away. Wh—? My mind was equally as foggy as the sound. I couldn't piece together a coherent thought.
Beep. Beep. Beep. With each passing tone, my brain got diminutively closer and closer to sober. What is that? I thought. I groaned internally at the pain that I was suddenly realizing. My entire body ached, yet at the same time it was hardly there. My body throbbed; it felt as if every part of me had fallen asleep, and was attempting to regain circulation to no avail. What's—? And then the burn set in. The pain emanating from my throat hit me like a freight train. The walls of my trachea were being forced open by... what? What's wrong with me? I unsuccessfully tried to piece things together. Where am I? I opened my eyes.
Beep. Beep. Beep.
Why can't I open them? It was like my eyes were glued shut. I tried to reach out and feel around my surroundings, but my arm was weighted down, fused to my side. What the hell?
My mind suddenly kicked into overdrive. Where am I? What's wrong with me? What's happening?— What the hell is that goddamn beeping noise?
Beep. Beep. Beep. I can hear. I shut down my internal thoughts and listened for any indicating sounds.
The first thing I noticed, apart from the incessant beeping, was a hazy, rhythmic fffwhp... pfffft... fffwhp... pfffft... fffwhp— What is that? fffwhp... pfffft... fffwhp. And then I realized that each noise was coming in perfect sync with the rise and fall of my chest. Pfffft— inhale... fffwhp— exhale. That's my— breathing?— a machine?
I listened closer— though I couldn't hear much else, everything was still so obscure. It was as though I was listening from under a thick blanket or something.
Beep. Beep. Beep.
That must be a— a monitor? Ventilator... monitor...
It dawned on me.
Why am I in a hospital?
No, I left after that; I remember. Or did I?
Maybe it was all— a dream?
But I got out... I got better... I had a cast— and I got it off. But then— why would I be here? It must've been a dream.
A very vivid, eerily realistic— dream.
No. I got out. I know I did. It was real. Too real. Something else must have happened. Does my dad know? What about mom?
Why am I like this?
Why would he just let this happen? The excruciating burn in my throat was unbearable. I can't move. Why wouldn't he just change me? He knows that's what I want. How could he let me just lie here?
God, I really can't move. Am I paralyzed? Hell, I'd rather be dead. Even the forever kind of dead. Where the hell is a vampire when you need them?
I laid there and racked my brain, trying to figure out what had landed me in this situation.
Maybe Victoria found me... Maybe she sent somebody after me.
Maybe they tried to kill me... Or maybe not.
Maybe she got some psycho to drug me.
Maybe I'm rigged up in a basement dungeon like some weird messed up Frankenstein experiment.
Maybe they're holding me hostage.
Maybe they're trying to kill Edward.
Maybe I was just shrapnel in this never ending warfare.
Relax, Bella; that's probably not what happened. I tried to reason with myself.
Or maybe I really never woke up. Some dream.
I was pulled from my thoughts by— are those footsteps? They were getting closer.
"Do you need anything, son?" It came in a familiar kind voice. Carlisle. I was beyond relieved at the confirmation that I was not in bad company.
Whoever he was talking to didn't respond.
"I need to make a quick trip up to the hospital. I left a ton of unfinished paperwork and I need to pick up a few things for Bella. Can you keep an eye on these drips and change them if they get low?"
Wait, he's going to the hospital? Then where am I? Of course. It was obvious at that point.
The response was delayed, but it finally came. "I can handle it." I'd know that voice anywhere, even through this haze. Edward.
I definitely had mixed emotions on his presence.
"I'll be back in a few hours." Carlisle told him before I heard his footsteps fade away.
Edward's here. He's here.
How did I get here? How long have I been here?
Why is he just sitting there? Do something, Edward. Help me. Change me.
I silently willed him to, but I knew it was no use. Not only was he completely against me becoming like him, but he couldn't hear my pleas either.
Of course, this is just my luck. I find myself in a situation like this and of course I have to be who I am. The irony was cruel.
I'm a prisoner to my own body and the only person that can help me doesn't even know it. He would be my only chance, if I were normal. The one person who could hear my voice is in this very room, but because it comes from my mind he can't hear a single word...
He said nothing, made no movements. If I hadn't discovered his presence in the first place I wouldn't have even known he was there. What I am going to do? What can I do?
There is absolutely nothing I can do. But I felt better knowing that my Edward was with me.
It felt like days before Carlisle returned and I heard him shuffling around next to me, though I had no idea what he was doing.
"I've raised her morphine drip; it was falling a bit behind— probably messed up in the move." I heard him mutter more to himself than to Edward.
Edward had clearly not been talking to anyone; he didn't even acknowledge direct questions. I had felt badly for Emmett and Esme earlier when they had come in trying to be nice. If I hadn't been stuck here I wouldn't have thought twice about smacking him for them.
Carlisle tinkered around for a bit longer. And I felt various pressures in different spots as he adjusted what sounded like tubes. I didn't realize how much I had been connected to until he started moving stuff around. My mind flinched when I felt a needle enter my forearm. I'm kind of glad I didn't see that coming. I thought to myself.
I felt my body begin to relax. The sensation in my limbs faded to nothing and the burn in my throat was completely subdued. Compliments of the morphine, I reasoned.
He didn't leave until he was satisfied that everything was situated. Edward and I were alone again. The absence of the burn helped to clear my mind, but I almost wanted it back. I didn't want a clear mind; I didn't want to be alone with my thoughts; because my thoughts brought with them the reality of my grim situation. They brought nothing but despair and hopelessness. My thoughts hurt more than the burn.
I thought of Edward. I longed to speak to him. I wanted nothing more than for him to just know that I was here; and that I wanted to be with him. Maybe then I wouldn't be stuck here. Maybe then I wouldn't be paralyzed. Maybe then he would change me.
If he had just let it happen back in Phoenix, I wouldn't be here. I would be strong, capable, invincible even. This never would have happened.
Why did this have to happen?
I thought of the meadow. If I could be anywhere right now, that's where it'd be. So that's where I took myself. I'm lying in the grass, my head rested on Edwards lap. The sun is shining, and so is he. There's a cool breeze in the air. I can see glimpses of the cerulean sky through the branches of the trees. Edward brushes my hair away from my face, and I look into his eyes. Everything is perfect.
I'm not sure how long I stayed there, but the sound of approaching footsteps dragged me back to reality and away from the beautiful meadow. Two sets of footsteps, or maybe three?
"Emmett and Jasper are going hunting." The pixie voice declared. Alice. I was glad she was there.
"Well, aren't you going with?" She asked when she got no response.
"No." Edward responded.
"You have to go." Another female voice; Rose, maybe?
"No, I don't." He told her.
"Yes you do." Alice piped in. "We need to— take care of Bella. And you can't be here."
"We have to do something about her scent." Yea, that's Rosalie, I thought. "It's too strong." Her voice was that of disgust. "Besides, that waterless shampoo they were using at the hospital is just awful. It's all built up in her hair. We need to get rid of it."
"I'm not leaving."
"Well you're not staying, so you're definitely going with them. You know just as well as I do that you'll be able to see her through our thoughts, Edward. And you shouldn't be here, she deserves privacy. Don't make us force you, because Jazz and Emmett are already on call." Alice told him quite factually.
"Come on; you could stand to blow off some steam." A male voice told him. Jasper, my thoughts confirmed.
It was several long moments before I heard Edward stand from near my bed and exit the room, as he passed through what I could only assume to be the door a second set of footsteps joined him. Jasper, I guessed. When they were gone Alice and Rose approached my bed, and I started to feel nervous about why they had come.
Seriously, they need to take care of my smell? This is great. How humiliating. I wondered how long it had been since I had been like this— how long it had been since I had showered. Ugh.
They moved around a few of the tubes and I felt the bed start to shake; they were moving me. Great. Could this get any worse?
I felt myself being turned to the right, to the left and to the left again. I was startled by start of running water. One of them carefully lifted my limp body while the other situated the IVs and other tubes and I felt myself being placed into the shallow water. It was absolutely humiliating, I was only glad that Alice had insisted upon Edward's absence. If I had any control over my body, I'm sure I would have been beet red at that moment.
One of the girls wet my hair and lathered it with shampoo, real shampoo— as they had insisted, careful to keep it out of my eyes. I could only imagine how gross my hair had gotten up until that point. It must have been bad if Rose had been so insistent upon removing the smell. I'm sure it was hard for them, to be in my presence with my scent being so unusually strong. I knew Jasper would have had the hardest time, and I was thankful that even though he would have had difficulty standing there, that he had been nice enough to help Alice get rid of Edward. Well, it probably wasn't out of kindness, more like out of wanting to please his wife. Either way, I was glad Edward was gone.
The only good thing that came from this embarrassing situation is that I was now fairly certain where my makeshift hospital room was located in the Cullen home. I knew from what side of the tub the faucet was on that I was in the downstairs bathroom, and from the order of turns that we had taken to get here I deduced that I had been in Edward's piano room. Even in my uncomfortably awkward position, I felt better that I now knew where I was, exactly. It made me feel more secure, for whatever reason. I knew that I was safe here to begin with, but being able to envision where I was made it less scary, less dark. Instead of worrying of my surroundings I could 'see' where I was. I could 'see' the warm light filtering in through the large window, glimmering on the smooth finish of the piano. It made my empty world seem less blind.
They finished cleaning me up and I felt them drying my body and wrapping my hair in a towel. They dressed me in a hospital gown and I felt myself being wheeled back to the piano room, all the while glad that it was over.
"Alice, what are you doing?" Rosalie asked.
I heard the tiny pixie skip over to me; she had left momentarily and was obviously excited upon her return. "Nothing," she answered sweetly. I heard her sit at my feet.
"Bella's going to kill you." Rose warned her in a serious tone.
Alice giggled, "Good thing she can't!" Oh god, Alice, what are you doing? I heard her shuffling around before I felt her prop my foot up. "Which one?" she asked Rosalie.
"They're both pink."
"Bella hates pink."
"And she's already going to be mad that you're playing with her like a life-sized Barbie; if you paint her toes pink I think she might actually muster up enough anger to tear off a limb." Thank you, Rose. I was surprised, to say the least. Rosalie had never stood up for me before, but she was right.
"Sparkly purple, then?"
"Here, use this one; if any of these god-awful colors will save you I think this one is the least atrocious."
"I don't even like that one; it's boring."
"Well it's a good thing they're not your toes then."
I heard Alice let out a small huff before giving in, "Fine." she proceeded to start my pedicure while Rosalie removed the towel from my hair and did her best to comb through it without being able to move my head. I'm sure the giant tube down my throat had something to do with that.
It wasn't long before Rosalie sighed, "Thank god, I don't think I could have lasted another night here with her. Every time Carlisle pokes a needle through her skin it's enough temptation in itself." she confided, "I still don't know how he does it."
"I know; I think Jasper and I might have to get out of here for a few days. It's been really hard on him."
"I don't need to leave." Jasper hurried into the room, "It's better now anyway."
"You guys are back already?"
"No, I left Edward out there with Emmett. I don't think he knows I left, at least not yet."
"What's wrong, Jazz?" Alice asked him.
"Umm, well I'm not sure, exactly."
"What do you mean?"
"Well, earlier, when we were leaving..." he paused, clearly unable to piece together his thoughts, "I felt— something— coming from Bella."
His voice was unsure, "I don't know. Relief... humiliation... it was all very—I'm not sure. It was weak."
"Well, are you sure it was from Bella?" Rose asked.
"Yes. I-I mean— I'm pretty sure? It was quite vague."
"Maybe it was from Edward. He was probably just trying to hide it."
"I— don't think so... even when he tries to hide his emotions they're still pretty obvious. It was Bella."
"But how? She's in a coma."
"I don't know. I just wanted to tell you about it when Edward wasn't here. I don't think we should tell him."
"I agree." Alice told him, "He'll never leave if he thinks it could make her upset. And we have no idea how long she'll be like this."
"So we don't tell him." Rosalie stated, "What do we do?"
"I'm going to speak with Carlisle— ask him what he thinks. It might not even mean anything, I know that people in comas often dream, she may have been only dreaming those emotions." I'm not dreaming! I yelled at him in my head.
"Ok; you'd better get back hunting though, before he notices that you're gone. I'll call Carlisle and tell him to meet you at the hospital tonight; you can talk to him then."
Jasper didn't say anything, and before I knew it he was gone.
Alice and Rose didn't say anything for a moment.
"Do you think she's dreaming?" Alice asked meekly as she went back to my nails.
"I don't know."
"I hope she is." Alice said as I heard her dip the cap back into the nail polish, "At least that would mean she's still here."
A.N. – I know that this is a highly unlikely thing to happen in the world of medicine...but I'm simply asking that you guys suspend your disbelief for this one, please?
Also, I'm super excited because this chapter is the start of my original idea for this story, hence the summary that hasn't really matched up until now. It just took a while to get there. Thanks for sticking along! I still have lots more to go! Review?