QUESTIONS & ANSWERS

Carlisle's POV

I had volunteered to watch over Bella tonight, while Edward and the rest of the family went for a midnight hunt; I had been earlier today, before I had to leave for work this morning.

Sitting behind my desk in the plush leather chair, my wife had picked out for me; I could hear Edward telling Bella he was leaving for the night. It broke my heart to hear the pain in her voice—it broke all of our hearts.

"Bella, love; I am going hunting tonight with the family, Carlisle will stay behind to watch over you. If you need anything Carlisle will tend to your needs." Edward made he voice light and promising, while trying to hide his own pain; it caused him so much pain to leave his Bella, so see the cloud of fear in her eyes, every time he left—even if for the smallest bit of time.

Too soon after the sun went down, I could hear the unmistakable sound of Edward tucking Bella into the bed, Alice had purchased for her to sleep in. Of course Bella had been a little perturbed about the size of the very expensive bed…but that was Bella. She soon got over it, when she realized it meant that both she and Edward could lie comfortably in the same bed.

FLASHBACK

"Bella my love, I swear to you, I am only going hunting." Of course only a vampire's hearing could detect the subtle ache in Edward's voice, knowing the fear and panic he was causing his Bella; not to mention the pain it caused him to see her this upset over something so small, as walking out the front door. "I swear to return to you; I will be back in a few hours. Alice will stay with you, as well as the rest of the family. Rosalie is coming with me of course so please...please Bella."

She knew what he was asking her and as hard as she tried to trust him to come back; we all knew that the thoughts of Edward ( and all of us leaving her behind again) still lingered in the back of her mind—to not leave her again. To shatter her heart into little pieces.

"O...Kay, Alice will stay with me, she won't leave me alone today?" Bella asked fighting the hysteria that threatened to break from her chest—to beg him not to go; to be brave and let Edward hunt.

"Yes, Alice will never leave your sight if that is what you wish, love." And right on cue Alice appeared by Bella's side gently taking Bella's hand in hers. "I love you Bella, never ever doubt your hold on me. I am forever yours." Edward reminded her kissing her forehead to hide his own pain from his still broken Bella.

END OF FLASH BACK

"Oh, alright; bag a couple of mountain lions for me!" Bella teased walking hand in hand with Edward to the back door; the rest of the family had already left, giving Bella and Edward their little private moment.

"If I can find any," Edward sighed. He had been unable to find any mountain lions so close to home—Edward refused to hunt beyond Goats Rocks Park, in case Bella needed him for any reason.

"Maybe you should take a big fat juicy T-bone steak with you...I am sure that will get their attention." Bella teased him again giggling.

"Very funny love, now get into bed and try and sleep my angel." Edward chuckled. "I love you Bella, more than you will ever know. Look after my heart; I have left it with you." He added before kissing her goodnight and closing the bedroom door behind him.

I heard Edward head towards my study and told him to enter silently; he was just as terrified as leaving Bella behind as Bella was to watch him walk out the door. Bella was still very fragile since we have returned just over a month ago.

"Bella will be fine Edward." I reminded him, I could see the look pained and tortured look on his face. "You know I would never let anyone harm her, I would give my life to protect any and all of my children; Bella is no different." I tried reassuring him again.

"Thank you Carlisle, Bella is in bed, she should sleep through the night…but I am going out so she may have a nightmare." Bella's nightmares were becoming less and less frequent, ever since we returned, but when Edward left her alone for the night, they always came back to haunt her. "If she wants to she will seek you out she will, if not she will just fall back asleep." Edward instructed me. I nodded in understanding. "Thank you again Carlisle."

"It is no trouble at all Edward." I reassured him for the third time "I think of Bella as one of my own children…you know this; now go and hunt, you need to feed." I said using my parental authority tone—a tone I never had to use, very often with any of my children, Edward least of all.

I was caught in another flash back; as I listened Edward bolt out the back door until he was out of hearing range, just over the river bank.

FLASHBACK

Rosalie and Edward had some issues to patch up; it was the only reason they were hunting alone together. Ever since that fateful day; Edward and Rosalie have had a very strained relationship—more so than ever before. Esme had pleaded with Edward to go on this hunting trip…not only to feed, but to work things out with Rosalie.

"I swear to you my love; I will come home to you. I swear on my soul I will return to you." Edward sounded like he was pleading with her to understand or maybe it was his way of begging her forgiveness once again.

Rosalie was saying her goodbyes to Emmett, waiting patiently for Edward to reassure his Bella, one last time before leaving her for a few hours.

"I know you will come home to me; otherwise I will send Emmett to drag you back to me." Bella breathed trying not to cry; it killed her inside to watch him walk out the door, completely and helplessly powerless to stop him for going.

This was the first time Edward was going to hunt since we had been home, he refused to leave Bella's side for any reason...even hunting. Edward had been even more careful with Bella these last few weeks—we all had to be—Bella was dangerously underweight and severely sleep deprived; though the purple rings underneath her eyes had somewhat, Bella still had a lot of sleep to gain, in order to erase the purple rings.

Bella's ribs were visible on her sides and in the front of her ribcage at the bottom, and when she would bend over you could see each vertebra in her spine stick out. Bella's tiny hands looked like a skeletons with nothing but her delicate pale grey skin covering them, her face was very shallow and skinny, her cheekbones showed more than they should have and her jaw line was just bone and skin; Bella looked no better than a skeleton with nothing but skin. Bella looked like a walking taking corpse and it ripped every one of my family's hearts out; we had done this too her, we left her to waste away to nothing.

It was a few days later that the thought jumped into my mind, catching me totally off guard; Bella was sleeping on the couch when I gasped dropping the book I was reading. I heard Edward catch his breath sharply before a strangled cry of pain left his lips; he dropped to his knees in front of Bella sleeping body and began to sob.

Esme was at my side in the same second I had dropped my book, "What Carlisle!" My wife asked anxiously stroking my face. The rest of my children burst into the room; all of their eyes locked on Bella and Edward. "Carlisle, tell us…please!"

"Bella...she knew...she knew...she was dying; it was inevitable." I choked out horrified at my sudden conclusion." There was nothing anyone could do to stop it!" I whispered; I was terrified of speaking the words—let alone coming up with idea on my own.

"What! Bella is dying!" Esme cried flying to her sleeping daughters side, hovering over her sobbing son to get a better look at Bella; Esme had to make sure Bella was alright—Esme feared losing another human child, as she did her son…so many moons ago.

"Was, there is no need to worry Esme." I said as calmly as I possibly could. "It just clicked for me; Bella would have died in a few months even if she hadn't jumped off the cliff." I summarized starring at the poor child we had sentenced to death, without even realizing it. "Heart break syndrome—when a mate leaves a mate behind in death, the left mate dies of heart break. We can't die so we are left over with the excruciating pain and grief; until we seek death out. If we had not come back when we did Bella would have been died—only by my estimation of course. May. Bella not only clings to Edward, she clings to life." I explained.

Edward sobbed into Bella's hair all night, he asked to be left alone; but the sobs never let up. The only thing we heard come from the living room was Bella's steady breathing, her heart beat, Edward's sobs; and every once few sobs we heard Edward whisper "I'm so sorry, my Bella.

END OF FLASHBACK

I was brought out of my past by a very different sob than the one in my memories. It was Bella sobbing, walking towards my study door dragging a blanket behind her; she was only a few steps away from my study door.

"Come in Bella." I called before she could even knock; the door flew open and she ran towards me leaping into my open arms. I pulled the blanket around her to keep her warm and just let her cry; Bella cried for a good half hour before I decided to ask her what was bothering her.

"Bella, sweetheart; what has you so upset?" I asked gently rubbing little circles on her back, to try and soothe her worries—I noticed that was what Edward did to try and help soothe Bella when she was upset—and comfort her.

Bella lifted her head from my shoulder to look at one of the paintings on the far wall. "I had a nightmare about...them" Bella whispered pointing to the painting. It was the painting of Aro, Caius and Marcus. No one in this house dared say that name around Bella, she would go ghost white and nearly break into hysterics; not to mention Edward would throw a fit of rage. The poor child had been scared half to death by the most merciless and sadistic fiends in our world and still remained strong in this family. We had thought for sure, Bella would have washed her hands of us after Italy, but low and behold, true to form, Bella bounced back within a few weeks.

"Oh...you wanna know a secret?" I whispered back to her; she nodded cautiously. "They frighten me too Bella. You were very brave to do what you did. I will forever be thankful to you and forever in your debt for savings my sons life."

"They...frighten you to?" Bella sniffed her tear filled eyes full of confusion. "But why...you can defend yourself against them."

"True, but that does not mean that I cannot fear them, right."

"I guess so" Bella said pursing her lips in concentration. "Can I ask you something Carlisle?" Bella asked in a small timid voice.

Author's Note: I am sure you have noticed that I have edited this story a little bit, it was long overdue. My writing skills have improved, so I thought I would revamp this story. Please let me know what you think! Thanks LouLouCullen