Title: Hold on Hope
Disclaimer: Still don't own it.
A/N: This was written for a birthday gift for beeeeej and famouslyso. A very special thanks to my pre-reader araeo who told me when to put in/take out commas and when to capitalize. Without her, this whole document would be a huge run-on sentence. All other mistakes are mine.
The title of the fic comes from "The Cave" by Mumford & Sons. This song was on repeat pretty much throughout the whole writing process.
Bella pulled on the collar of her itchy dress, in hopes of making herself more comfortable. It was an unusually hot day, especially for early November, and the wool clung to her like an extremely itchy second skin. It didn't help that the house was full of so many people, making it almost impossible to get from one corner of a room to the next without making contact with another person.
Trying her best to ignore the way the dress irritated her underarms when she made any kind of movement, Bella made her way from the living room where Mrs. Stanley was giving her condolences. Bella nodded her head, an automatic response, and walked away.
She didn't want to think about Charlie, or why she was back in Forks so soon when she had just been visiting less than two weeks before. She didn't want to think about that numbing phone call she'd received from Carlisle that turned her life upside down.
It was a weird feeling...the numbness she felt. Bella hadn't cried since that call, less than three days ago. Tears had fallen, but that was it. Edward had rushed home to their off campus apartment when Carlisle had called and told him the news, worried about how Bella would be taking it.
He walked into their bedroom, seeing the carry on and two handbags that had just been unpacked from their trip, lying on the bed. Moving towards the bed, he saw Bella walking out of the adjoining bathroom, zipping up her toiletries in a pouch and dumping it in the handbag.
Not even acknowledging his presence, she walked straight to her dresser, pulling out shirts and jeans and tossing them in a pile on the bed.
He stepped away from the mess and walked slowly towards Bella, gently grabbing her wrist, halting her frantic movements. She looked up, as if just noticing him and whispered "We have to go back home." He gave a small nod. It was all he could do. He didn't trust himself to speak. Charlie may have been Bella's father, but he'd always treated Edward like a son as well.
Letting go of Bella's hand so she could finish packing, Edward took his cell phone out of his pocket and sent a quick e-mail to his professors explaining his absence from his classes. Before putting his phone back, he sent a text to Alice, asking her to do the same for Bella's classes.
After grabbing enough clothes to last him a week, Edward set to folding Bella's clothes and put them in the bags, as well as his own.
An hour later, they were driving to Forks.
The dress was becoming increasingly uncomfortable as the time passed by, and Bella, not able to take it any longer, made her way to the hallway, climbing the stairs as quickly as she could. Entering her childhood room, she wasted no time, closing the door behind her and grabbing her pajamas. She kicked off her flats, pulling her stockings along with them, and reached back for the zipper on the dress and let out an irritated groan when she couldn't pull it down.
Walking across the room, she opened the window so she'd get some fresh air. After taking a few deep breaths, calming herself, she grabbed the zipper once more, failing again to pull it down. Frustrated and annoyed, Bella was just about to cut the damn thing off when Edward opened the door and walked in, to a red faced Bella.
Bella sighed out in relief when Edward shut the door behind him and came over to her, pulling the zipper down in one fluid motion. Taking the dress off as fast as she could, Bella grabbed the shirt and pants from the bed and put them on.
Finally feeling like she could breathe again, she sat on the edge of her bed, grabbing Edward's hand and pulling him close to her. He knelt down on the floor so they were face to face. Closing her eyes, Bella leaned into Edward's touch as he ran his thumb over her cheeks and pulled her forward, gently kissing her forehead.
Standing up, Edward lightly nudged Bella to lie back on the bed, and she complied. After draping the quilt that lay by her feet over her, he picked up the dress and stockings from the floor and hung them neatly on the desk chair.
Wanting her to rest, Edward was opening the door to her room when he heard her speak, "Don't go. Please...don't leave me." she begged, desperate.
Shutting the door again, he pulled off his tie, throwing it and his jacket in the general direction of the chair. Taking his shoes off, he lay down next to Bella, drawing her against him so her back was flush against his chest. He rested his hand on her waist, leaning forward to leave a small kiss on her neck. She covered his hand with her own, and closed her eyes.
"Really, dad?" Bella asked, putting away the Tupperware containers she'd gotten him as a gift last Christmas in the fridge, and turning on the faucet to wash the dishes.
Edward and Bella had driven down to Forks for the weekend, wanting to deliver the exciting news of their engagement in person. Both Charlie and the Cullens were pleasantly surprised, and after dinner with the family, Edward had excused himself to his parents' house, giving Charlie and Bella some time to spend together.
"I just can't believe that you're getting married," Charlie admitted, clearing his throat in an attempt to get rid of the lump that was forming. "I still remember the day you came home crying because Edward had called you his girlfriend."
"Dad," Bella sighed, "I was seven. And besides, it's not like we're getting married tomorrow. Neither of us is graduating until May, and there's no way Edward or I have time to plan a wedding while still in school, so you can relax, okay?"
"Fine," he gave in, "but if he does anything to hurt you..." Charlie warned, not bothering to finish his threat. Walking to Bella, he grabbed a dishtowel and helped her dry the clean dishes.
"I know," she said, looking up at him with a smile. "I know."
Bella woke up a while later. Disoriented at first, she didn't understand what she was doing back in Forks when it hit her. Not giving into her emotions, she threw the quilt off herself and sat up in bed. Looking towards the door, she watched as Edward hovered in front of it, holding onto the doorknob and whispering to someone on the other side.
Before she could get up to see who it was, he shut the door and turned around to face her. "Who was that?" she asked, wiping the last remains of sleep from her eyes, and getting out of bed.
"Mom," he replied. "She and Alice were heading home and wanted to make sure I'd feed you."
She gave a tiny smile, "Have they met you before?"
"It's like they don't know me at all." Edward smirked. "Now, let's not prove them right." His fingers clasped around her wrist, gently pulling her towards him.
"I can't," the smile gone from her face instantly.
"Bella, you haven't eaten anything these past few days," he sighed. "It's not healthy for you to be skipping meals. Please love, for me."
"Please," he asked again.
Knowing Edward was right, she gave in with a slight nod, entwining her fingers with his and allowing him to lead her downstairs to the kitchen.
Bella opened the door to Charlie's room with one hand, while she carried a few cardboard boxes in the other. She couldn't postpone this any longer. She and Edward would be going back to school at the end of the week, and she didn't want to waste any more time putting it off.
Edward had volunteered to help her pack up her dad's things, but she had waved him off, telling him to stay downstairs and work on his paper which was due the day they got back to school. She promised him that if at any time she felt she couldn't handle it, she'd call him for help. Edward wasn't happy about not being upstairs with her, but reluctantly agreed, knowing this was something she had to do alone.
She hadn't been in his room since they arrived. Edward had shut the door the first day, when he went upstairs to deposit their bags. It was hard enough for Bella to be staying in the same house where there were constant reminders of Charlie. And as much as she appreciated Esme and Carlisle's offer, she couldn't bear the thought of staying anywhere else but her own home, no matter how painful it was.
After packing up all of Charlie's clothes in boxes, which were to be sent to Goodwill, with an exception of a few plaid shirts Bella decided to keep for herself, she was finally done with the closet.
Taking a quick lunch break, during which Edward didn't even pretend to hide his satisfaction, Bella went back upstairs to tackle the rest of the things in Charlie's room; a bookshelf and desk.
Finally finished with his paper, Edward saved it on his desktop, e-mailing himself a copy just in case, and shut down his laptop. Now that his paper was done, he wanted nothing more to go upstairs and help Bella, but had promised he wouldn't unless she called for him. Stretching his arms above his head, he let out a yawn. Sleep hadn't been coming easy these days, and the week was finally catching up to him. Lying down on the couch, he let out another yawn, rubbing the sleep from his eyes.
"Your dad is going to kill me," he whispered as Bella got under the covers in the pull-out sofa bed in the living room.
"We're just going to sleep. Stop worrying so much," she replied.
"It's not going to make a difference to him!"
"We live together, Edward. He knows we share a bed. If he can accept that, then I'm sure he won't care that we're sleeping, fully clothed, in the living room."
"But this is his house," he insisted.
"Do you want me to go back upstairs, then?" she asked, pretending to get out of bed.
"No," he admitted.
"Then shut up and go to sleep before Dad does come downstairs," she said, grabbing his arm and wrapping it around her middle.
"Too late," Charlie answered, coming down the stairs.
Startled, Edward quickly removed his arm from around Bella and looked towards the stairs, where Charlie stood, staring at the two of them with a smile.
"You didn't fool me then, when you," he said, pointing to Edward, "would sneak into Bella's room at night, and you're not going to fool me now."
Edward turned red, and covered his face with his hand, while Bella pulled the covers above her head.
"Daaaaaad," she whined.
"I'm going, I'm going. But the hallway light's staying on," he said, climbing back up the stairs and going to his own room.
"I told you," Edward whispered as soon as he heard Charlie's door shut with a soft click.
Bella uncovered her face and let out a little laugh. "Yeah, well you were wrong. He didn't kill you," she said, snuggling into Edward and closing her eyes.
He must have fallen asleep because the next thing he knew, Bella was sitting on the couch by his feet. From the look in her eyes, it was obvious that she'd been crying. He was both relieved and panicked at the same time. She hadn't had a proper cry since she learned of Charlie's death.
"Hey, what's wrong?" Sitting up quickly, he put his arm around her.
"How do you know we'll last?"
"What?" Edward asked, confused.
"How do you know that we won't end up hating each other? she repeated, sniffling.
"Bella, love, what are you talking about? Where is this coming from?"
She leaned into him, resting her head on his shoulder. "I was cleaning out Dad's desk and I came across all these letters Mom and Dad wrote to each other. They were so in love, Edward.
They got married so young, and then look what happened; divorced a few years later, mom working through her third marriage, and dad never moved on. How can you say that won't be us in a few years?"
"Hey, look at me." He put his hand under her chin, and lifted her head up to meet his eyes. "What makes you think that we won't end up like my parents? They married pretty young as well, and look how happy they still are today.
"Not everyone ends up unhappy and alone, Bella. And if for some absolutely crazy, unfathomable reason, we do end up not together; I won't regret a single moment you and I spent together."
"How do you manage to do that?" she asked with a small smile.
"Do what?" Edward returned the smile, tucking a piece of hair behind Bella's ear.
She gave a small shrug, "Make everything seem so easy."
"It's a gift," he joked. "You can give up on me ever learning to separate the lights from the darks, but promise me that you won't ever give up on us."
"Promise," she nodded.
"Good," he replied, giving her a quick kiss.
Laying her head on his shoulder again, she let out a sigh, "When will it get easier, Edward?"
He tightened his arm around her, and rested his cheek against the top of her hair. "It's going to take time, Bella. You know I'd do anything to make this pain go away, and the fact that there's nothing I can do but just wait...it kills me."
She pulled back and looked up at him, "You and I both know that's not true. I wouldn't have been able to do anything without you here, Edward. The funeral, making all the arrangements...I wouldn't have been able to do anything without you and your family there."
"They're you're family too, Bella. Not just mine."
"Dad always thought of you as a son, rather than my boyfriend," she admitted.
"Mhmmm," he mumbled, pulling Bella back with him so they lay side by side on the couch. Burying his face in her hair, he took a deep breath and exhaled slowly, tightening his hold on her.
"Remember when we broke up for a week during junior year?" he asked, tickling her neck with his breath.
"Yeah," she answered.
"He called me one day, from work. Asking if I was okay. He told me if I wanted to talk, I could always come to him."
"Really?" She turned her head in his direction, and he nodded in confirmation. "That's so like him."
"We're all going to miss him, Bella."
"And it will get easier," he whispered.
"I know," she whispered back, bringing her hand to rest on Edward's chest. "Thank you. For being here with me."
"I wouldn't want to be anywhere else." He brought her hand to his lips and left a kiss on her wrist.
"I love you."
"I know," Edward replied, entwining his fingers with her and resting it on his chest once again.
Thanks for reading! Reviews are always very much appreciated :)