Written for the Fandom For Tsunami cause.
A while back I put up a poll asking for everyone's opinion on what I should write for this cause. This is the story that won the poll by quite a few votes actually. Thanks everyone who voted and of course everyone who donated in the Fandom For Tsunami relief.
Summary: Edward and Bella are in the wrong place at the wrong time. An earthquake hits Forks and traps them under the rubble of a collapsed science wing at Forks High School, which ultimately changes both of their lives forever.
Warning: This story contains tragic content and quite possibly will make you cry. But it does have an HEA.
Thanks sister_liz for being an awesome beta and Christag_banner for making me a wonderful banner.
Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight or the characters. No copyright infringement intended.
"Mr. Banner, please there has to be something I can do," I begged, following my biology teacher around the classroom at the end of the day. I had just got my mid-term grade, which happened to be failing. I knew my parents were going to be furious.
"Bella, I'm sorry. If you would actually take the time to study the material and come to class, you'd be able to get a passing grade," he scolded while cleaning up the lab stations.
"I'll do an extra credit project," I offered. "Please, my parents are going to kill me if I fail this class."
"That's not my fault," he said, stopping by the back shelf and handing Edward Cullen a box of beakers.
"Mr. Banner, please. I'll come to class every day for the rest of the year. There has to be something I can do to pass this class."
He sighed and placed his hands on his hips. "The only way you can possibly get a passing grade is to pass the final with a ninety percent or better. However, with as much skipping of class you do, there's no way you're going to know the material enough without some help."
"What do you suggest I do? I'll read the whole text book if you want me to."
He chuckled and crossed his arms against his chest. "If you made it to my class every once in a while you would know I very rarely teach from the book. I'm more of a hands on teacher and would rather have my students do the experiments themselves instead of reading about them. My only suggestion is getting a tutor to help you. I'm sure Edward here would be willing to help you."
I glanced over at Edward and gave him the once over with a raised eyebrow. Edward glanced in my direction for a split second while he lined beakers up along the shelf. There was nothing wrong with him, but he was kind of a social outcast and a science geek. Mr. Banner loved him and treated him like a teacher's pet. This is why Edward was still here after most of the students had already left for the day. Edward liked to stay after and help Mr. Banner clean up the lab stations and sometimes even do experiments on the side for fun. He was kind of strange in most everyone's eyes.
"You have got to be kidding me," I complained. There was no way I could be seen with Edward Cullen. It would be social suicide, plus I think James would forbid it.
"If you want a passing grade you'll have to work with Edward after school to catch up, and I want you in class every day until the end of the year. I'll move some lab partners around so you can be with Edward for the remainder of the year. He's really your only chance of passing. He's the only one I trust anyway."
I let out a flustered sigh and ran a hand through my hair. This was not going to be easy.
"That is if he's willing," Mr. Banner added. My eyes shot up to Mr. Banner's and he had a small smirk on his face. Great, in other words he was setting me up to have to beg Edward Cullen for help. This couldn't be any worse than it already was.
I glanced back at Edward who was still standing by the shelf and putting beakers away slowly. I could see his jaw line clench and a small shake of his head.
"I've got to go to the office to check my mail and make a few copies for tomorrow's assignment. You two talk it over and see what you can come up with," he suggested.
Mr. Banner walked out of the room with a stack of papers in his hands and whistled down the empty hallway.
I took a deep breath trying to get the nerve to beg for help from the last person I wanted to ask.
I barely opened my mouth before Edward spoke for the first time since being in the classroom.
"What?" I whined.
"I'm not helping someone like you," he replied, walking past me and grabbing the other box of beakers off the desk and beginning to stack them on the shelf.
"What do you mean someone like me?" I asked with an irritated tone.
"Someone who gets special treatment just because your dad's the police chief and you're Miss Popular," he clarified. "Find someone else to help you. Maybe your boyfriend can help you."
I rolled my eyes at the thought. James was doing even worse in school than I was. He's the reason I skipped classes all the time.
"Come on, Edward. It's only for a few more weeks. I'll pay attention and not cause you any trouble."
"Right, until your boyfriend finds out you're staying after school to spend time with me. Thanks, but I'd rather keep my face intact."
"I'll explain to him what I'm doing," I added walking closer to the shelf. "He won't touch you."
He turned his attention towards me. For a moment I thought he was about to agree, but instead he chuckled and rolled his eyes, while shaking his head.
"What do you want?" I asked. "I'll give you anything. Do you want popularity or money? Whatever you want I'll get it. I have to pass this class. If I fail I won't be able to see James anymore and my car will be taken away. I have to find a way to pass this class."
He sighed, grabbing his backpack off the floor and swinging it over his shoulder. "Bella…"
Before he could finish, there was a sudden rumble noise under our feet and the ground began to shake. The beakers Edward had just placed on the shelf began to fall and shatter on the floor. I lost my balance and fell, cutting the palm of my hand on the broken glass.
Within moments I could hear large cracking and crashing noise. In the far distance, I could hear screams. My heart was racing with fear. I didn't know what was happening or what to do.
I felt a hand grab mine and pull me to my feet. I was dragged to the back closet of the classroom and shoved inside. Edward shut the door and yanked my arm, pushing me under a countertop. His entire body wrapped around me and held me close to his chest.
I screamed the entire time the ground shook. For at least ten minutes, we listened to the sound of crashing and breaking noises all around us.
As it began to quiet down, Edward's grasp around me loosened. I looked around and realized there was nothing but darkness. I felt around the confined space and only found broken walls caved in all around us. The only thing holding was this countertop we sat under.
"Edward," I cried.
"I'm right here," he answered with a sure and steady voice.
"I think we had an earthquake," he answered. "I'm pretty sure the school just collapsed. All the crashing and breaking noises were the walls and ceiling falling."
"What do you mean the school collapsed? How do we get out?" I whined, starting to feel a panic rise inside of me.
"We don't," he replied.
Hearing those words scared me. I did the only thing I could think of. I screamed as loud as I could.
"Bella," Edward shouted. I didn't listen. I continued to scream and bang on the countertop above us.
Edward grabbed my wrist and covered my mouth with his other hand.
"Do you want this counter to fall and kill us both?" he shouted. "Shut up and don't touch anything."
I curled my knees into my chest and held my arms around them while I cried.
"Look," Edward began. "I don't know how much damage was done outside. There's no way we can get out without risking getting hurt. The best thing to do is wait for rescuers to find us."
"How long do you think it will take?" I asked with a small voice.
"I don't know. Maybe a few hours, but it all depends on the damage."
"I don't like the dark. I don't like being trapped. I have to get out of here," I whined.
"Do you have your cell phone on you?" he asked. My eyes closed and the sobs coming from my throat were even louder.
"No," I answered. "I was grounded from my phone last night because I was talking to James after curfew and I got caught."
He huffed sounding angry with me.
"What did you need my phone for?" I wondered.
"Well, I was thinking I could call the outside world and let them know where we are so they can get us out," he replied with an irritated tone.
"Where's your cell phone?" I asked with the same irritated tone he was using.
The space got quiet for a moment while I waiting for him to answer.
"I don't have one," he answered quietly.
"Why don't you have a cell phone?"
"I don't have need for one. Who am I going to call?"
"Well you could be calling help right about now. Emergencies are usually what cell phones are for."
I could hear him laughing. "Yeah, parents say they're for emergencies but are they actually ever used for emergencies? Was talking to your boyfriend last night an emergency? Now, when there is an actual emergency, you don't have a cell phone."
"This isn't my fault," I shouted.
He sighed heavily and started shuffling things around.
"What are you doing?" I wondered.
"I'm trying to find my keys."
Just as I asked, I suddenly had a light shined on my face. I blinked away from the blinding light, but internally I was thankful it wasn't so dark anymore.
"Because I have a flashlight on my keychain," he answered sarcastically.
For the first time since we've been trapped I could see. He shined the flashlight all around us to see how much damage there was and we quickly realized the damage was a lot worse than we could have imagined. The rubble and broken pieces of walls were all around us. The entire room had collapsed on top of us and the only thing holding was the countertop we were sitting under. We were trapped.
"You cut your hand," he pointed out shining the light on my hand.
I looked down and saw the blood and the large cut across the palm of my hand. With everything going on I didn't even notice the cut.
Edward shined his light into his backpack and pulled out a small bottle of antibacterial wash. He ripped a piece of his shirt and grabbed my hand. He squeezed the little bottle of antibacterial wash on my cut, and I jerked away and hissed at the sting.
"What are you doing?" I shouted in anger.
"The cut is going to get infected if I don't clean it. It's only going to sting for a minute, now let me see." Hesitantly, I put my hand back out towards him and he used the piece of shirt to wash off the blood and clean the cut. After it was as clean as he could get it, he used another strip of his shirt to wrap it around and tie it off.
"There. It's the best I can do," he said releasing my hand.
He nodded his head absentmindedly and continued to search around the space with the flashlight as if he was looking for something. I stayed in my corner with my knees pulled to my chest and remained quiet. After a while, he turned off the flashlight and moved into the opposite corner.
"Why did you turn off the light?" I asked.
"I need to conserve the battery for when we absolutely need it," he answered.
For hours we were both fairly silent. I listened closely for any sound of rescuers coming for us. I knew it was only a matter of time before someone came for us.
As the hours went by hope diminished. I curled up on the floor and cried myself to sleep.
When I woke up Edward was using the flashlight to search through his backpack. He pulled out a small bag of cheetos and quickly opened it, popping one in his mouth.
"Do you have any food in your backpack?" he asked.
He rolled his eyes and grumbled under his breath. "We have to survive somehow. We need to find food and water anywhere we can. If you have anything we need it."
"Do you think we're going to be in here that long?" I questioned.
"I don't know how long we're going to be in here. We just need to be prepared."
I grabbed my backpack, knowing I had a water bottle and an apple I didn't eat at lunch. I also found a pack of gum, but I didn't think that was important. I laid it all out in front of us and Edward had a small smile on his face.
"This is good. We can survive for a few days with this. We just need to be careful," he instructed.
I rolled my eyes at his happiness and curled up back in my corner. I couldn't understand why he was so happy knowing we may never get out of here.
He held out the bag of cheetos towards me, while he munched on one in his own mouth. I glanced back and forth between him and the bag of chips in front of me.
"Do you want any or not?" he asked.
I sighed and took a couple from the bag eating them slowly. I grabbed the water bottle next and opened it up.
"Only drink a small amount," he ordered. "We have to make it last."
I nodded my head and took a small sip of the water before passing it to him. I grabbed a piece of gum and started chewing it to get my saliva flowing.
An hour or two went by and I started to get antsy. I needed to pee so badly but there was no place to go in this little hole we were in. I nervously tapped my feet and bit the inside of my cheek trying hard not to think about it.
"Bella," Edward began, sounding just as fidgety as I did. "Do you need to pee?"
"Yes," I answered quickly. "What are we going to do?"
"I have an idea, but it might not be pretty."
"What do you mean?" I wondered.
"There is a garbage can over there," he pointed the flashlight over by the wall to show me the small, round, silver garbage can. "We can go in there, but it's going to smell after a while and we're going to need to go in front of each other."
I rolled my eyes thinking of how disgusting hearing him pee as well as peeing in front of him would be.
"We really don't have any other option unless you plan to hold it the entire time," he said.
"Okay," I accepted hesitantly.
"Do you want to go first?" I asked.
"No, you go."
He scooted across the floor and slowly lifted the lid of the garbage can. I quickly turned around, shutting my eyes and covering my ears. A few minutes later I felt him tap my shoulder. I opened my eyes and uncovered my ears to face him.
"Your turn," he said.
I took a deep breath and crawled across the floor to the garbage can.
"Can you turn around and cover your ears?" I requested.
"Yeah," he answered doing as I asked.
I pulled down my pants and lifted the lid of the garbage can doing my best to squat over it. I closed my eyes and tried not to think about what I was doing. When I finished I crawled back over to my corner and curled up.
Edward never said much while we continued to wait for someone to rescue us. I knew someone would find us soon. There was no possibility we would be trapped here for much longer. I held on to that hope and listened for any sound of rescuers.
"Edward," I began quietly.
"Before the earthquake hit you were going to say something. What was it?"
He sighed and shuffled on the ground before answering me. "I was going to tell you I had no interest in helping you and I didn't care whether you failed or not."
I bit the inside of my cheek and nodded my head, not even thinking how he couldn't see me. "Thanks for being honest…I guess." I stretched my legs out in front of me and rested my head back against the wall. "I guess it doesn't really matter now. I'm sure I can get out of it after what's happened."
He snickered making me turn my head in his general direction to glare at him. "Anything to get out of doing schoolwork, right?"
"I don't want to get out of doing schoolwork. I'm just saying we probably won't have to do anything now. For all we know there isn't a school to go to anymore."
"I don't think the entire school collapsed. The earthquake wasn't strong enough to cause that much damage."
"Then why hasn't anyone found us yet?" I wondered. If there wasn't much damage, why were we still trapped?
He didn't respond. He shined the light around our little cave checking out the damage even further.
I grabbed another piece of gum and stuck it in my mouth, chewing it quietly in my corner.
"Are you looking for a way out?" I asked.
"No," he responded. "I'm just checking to make sure we aren't going to be smashed in here anymore than we already are."
"Do you think it's going to collapse even more?" I worried.
"I don't know. I don't know how much is being held by this little counter. We could be crushed at any moment, Bella."
His words terrified me. What if this was where we were going to die? I'd die never being able to tell my family or friends goodbye.
"Bella," he said breaking me from my thoughts. "As long as the counter holds we'll be okay. There doesn't seem to be any signs of it falling right now. Don't worry."
I took a deep breath trying to calm myself from worrying.
The minutes turned into hours and before we knew it we were both fast asleep again. It was another night of being trapped, and really no sign of anyone looking for us.
When we woke up again it was the same routine as the day before. We were running out of water though, and the only food we had left was the apple. He shared his chips with me the day before, so I offered to share with him. In the small amount of time he turned on the flashlight, I held out the apple towards him.
"It's okay, you take it," he refused.
"Are you sure? We don't have any other food besides this. I'd feel bad eating all of it. Why don't you just have a couple bites?" I suggested.
"I'm fine, Bella. I want you to have it."
I didn't like eating the entire apple while he went without. I continually offered him some, but he refused.
"Bella, can I ask you something?" he wondered later in the day.
"What do you see in James?" he questioned. "You don't have to tell me if you don't want to, but it's something I've always kind of wondered."
"I don't know," I answered. "I guess because there's no one else interested. When he first asked me out I was kind shocked to be honest. I never really understood why he asked me out. But, he makes me happy."
"How does he make you happy?" he asked.
"He just looks out for me and takes care of me."
He laughed and shook his head. "You mean controls you and tells you what to do."
"It's not like that," I defended.
"Really? Is that why he very rarely ever lets you out of his sight and tells you what to do all the time?" he questioned harshly. I knew he was right but his words stung. James had pretty much controlled everything I did since we started dating. I didn't talk to any of my old friends anymore. I didn't go anywhere or do anything without him. He was probably the main reason I was failing biology because he wanted me to skip school with him all the time. "The only reason he ever asked you out was because of your dad. I'm sure your dad adores him and James is a perfect gentleman in front of him. This is how James gets around doing all the illegal things he does. He has you and your dad wrapped around his finger. In both of your eyes he can do no wrong."
"That's not true," I further defended even though I saw the truth in what he said. "No one else wants me. He's the only person who's ever shown me any interest, and I'm popular because of him."
"You clearly have no idea how many guys in this school fantasize about you."
I giggled at his idiotic comment. "No one fantasizes about me."
"I assure you they do. It's why James always keeps you close because he knows he could lose you."
"Isn't that a good thing? I want him to want me and not let anyone else come between us."
"Not if it means hurting you."
"He's not hurting me," I countered.
"Then why are you failing biology? Why do you not have any friends unless he approves them? Why do people avoid you?" he chuckled. "Do you think I don't want to help you in biology just because I'm an ass, or do you think it might have more to do with wanting to stay clear from James?"
"He's really not that bad of a guy if you give him a chance," I excused.
He chuckled and rolled his eyes before flipping the light off and crawling over to his own corner.
We were both silent for a while, lost in our own thoughts.
"Edward," I began. "When you said there are guys who fantasize about me, who are you referring to?"
"Name a guy, Bella, and I assure you they've thought about you."
"Why? What's so special about me?"
"Well, first of all you're unobtainable because of James. That makes you appealing. Second…" he began but paused and sighed before finishing. "Because you're beautiful." He barely said the words loud enough for me to hear. In the darkness I gave in to my elation and smiled. Did the boys at this school really think I was beautiful?
"Do you fantasize about me?" I asked quietly. I could hear him shuffling in his seat and clearing his throat.
"I didn't say I do, I just said everyone else does."
"So out of everyone at this school you're the only one who doesn't?" I asked playfully.
He sighed nervously and swallowed hard. "Bella…" he began to talk but stopped short and left his word hanging.
"You do, don't you?" I further pressed in a teasing way.
"Maybe I did when I first moved here, but that changed when I found out who you really are."
"What does that mean?" I asked angrily. My joy suddenly turned to anger.
"It just means you weren't who I thought you were, and the fascination turned to disgust."
"Are you trying to say you find me disgusting?" I asked.
"I'm saying I find your behavior disgusting," he clarified. "I mean, I know you're smart, Bella, yet you dumb yourself down for the sake of some guy who doesn't care about you and for popularity. It's your senior year of high school and you're throwing it all away. You're kind of an idiot."
"You wanted to know."
"Let's just not talk about it anymore."
"Fine with me," he accepted.
Again there was silence. After a while of only the sound being of us adjusting our sitting positions, I broke the silence again.
"Can you turn on the light again? I need a drink of water."
Suddenly there was a light shining in my face, causing me to blink and block the bright light with my hand. After my eyes adjusted to the light I found the bottle of water on the floor and took a small drink. There wasn't much left so I offered the bottle out to Edward.
"No thanks. I don't need any," he refused.
"Edward, you haven't eaten or drank anything all day. You need water to survive."
"I'm fine. I had a piece of gum earlier. You take the water."
I knew what he was he was doing. He was sacrificing the food and water for me. As much as I appreciated his nobility I didn't like him going without. I decided right then I wasn't going to drink any more of the water until he did.
We went to sleep that night, at least what we thought was night, and slept most of the next day as well. We were both getting weak and it was becoming apparent help wasn't coming anytime soon. The longer we stayed trapped, the more hope diminished.
I rocked nervously back and forth as the thoughts of dying consumed my mind.
"Edward," I cried. He hummed in response, barely awake from the weakness overtaking him. "What if no one's looking for us? What if there isn't anyone left? What if the whole town died from the earthquake?"
"That's not possible. Someone will find us," he assured.
"But what if they don't? What if by the time they do it's too late? I don't want to die here," I cried. "What if I never get to see my mom and dad again?"
"Bella, calm down," he ordered. "You can't start freaking out now."
"I can't be down here anymore. I need to get out," I screeched, beginning to move around in the darkness. I was starting to hyperventilate, and I didn't care if everything came crashing down on me. I was going to dig my way out if I had to.
"Bella, no," Edward shouted grabbing my arms to stop me.
"I can't stay here," I shouted and pulled away from him. As I began to try and push my way out a few little pieces of wood fell and there was a shift in the rubble. Edward shouted at me to stop again, but I didn't listen. I screamed at the top of my lungs while he pulled me back. In an instant, my screams were quieted by Edward's lips against mine. He held my face in his hands and kept his lips firmly planted against mine. I was stunned into submission and calmed down from my outburst.
When his lips left mine, and he was sure I wasn't going to scream anymore, his hands slid off of my cheeks and he sat back. I stared over at him in disbelief.
"You kissed me?" I stated the obvious.
In the dim light from the flashlight I saw him shrug and stare down at the floor. "I needed you to calm down before you killed us both."
"You thought kissing me would calm me down?"
"It worked, didn't it?" he pointed out.
As much as I felt like the kiss meant more, I didn't push the matter. Maybe it didn't. And honestly did I really want it to? I had a boyfriend and I was happy with him. I wasn't about to complicate that from an innocent little kiss during a heated moment of panic.
As the hours passed we listened to more shifting and settling of the rubble above us. Every time there was a large shift Edward would sigh heavily. I knew he was worried everything was going to fall on top of us.
"I'm sorry," I whispered regretfully. "I'm just scared, Edward. I don't want to die." Sobs welled up in my throat once again. I heard him move across the floor and wrap his arm around my shoulders allowing me to cry on his shoulder.
"It's okay, Bella," he comforted rubbing my shoulders and soothing my hair. "I won't let you die. I promise I'll do everything I can to keep you alive."
As I continued to cry and lose my composure in his arms he continued to hold me tight. "Do you want to know something I've never told anyone?" he asked.
I sniffled a little and swiped at my tears before looking up at him. Any distraction right now would help. His eyes were downcast and there was a concerned look on his face.
"Before I moved to Forks, I had a brother. He died though, and it was my fault."
His words were so abrupt. I wasn't sure how to respond.
"It happened when I was really young. We were on a camping trip and we begged my parents to let us go on a hike alone. My mom was against it, but my dad told her to let us go. We needed to be boys and explore the forest. We took off running through the trees and played for hours. We came across a creek, and at first we just had our feet in but being the older brother I pushed him in and he got soaking wet. He started to cry, and I told he was being a baby. We started to head back to camp, and I thought I knew where we were and how to get back but I didn't. My brother stayed right next to me and trusted me to get us back to our parents, but I couldn't. I was scared and frustrated, but I didn't realize being so young he was just as scared as I was, if not more. I got mad at him and blamed him for getting us lost even though it was my fault. We were out all night with no clue where we were. He was so tired from walking around all night so we finally stopped and waited for someone to find us. During the night he died of hypothermia. If I hadn't pushed him in the water he might have been able to survive."
"Who found you?" I asked.
He sighed and choked back a sob in his throat. "Some rangers found me the next day, cradling my brother in my arms. I was unresponsive for days. My parents didn't even want to look at me. I know they blame me for his death. I barely talk to my parents now even though it's been nearly seven years."
"Is that why you're so withdrawn from people here?" I asked curiously.
I felt his shoulders shrug from underneath me. "I guess I just don't like being close to people. I don't want people to know I'm a murderer."
"You aren't a murderer, Edward," I argued. "It was an accident. You couldn't have known what was going to happen. You were just a little kid. You can't put that type of responsibility on yourself."
His arms tightened around me as we settled back against the wall to sleep. Having his arms around me while I slept brought a welcomed comfort. For some reason I felt safer and more confident being with him.
When we woke up again, Edward handed me the water bottle which only had a sip left in it. I shook my head to refuse. He hadn't drank or ate anything for a while, and he needed it more than I did.
"Bella, crying yesterday made you lose fluids. You need it more than I do. Now drink," he demanded. "I'll be fine."
"I can't drink the last bit of water knowing you haven't had any in a day and a half."
He sighed frustratingly. "If I take a small drink first will you finish it off?" he compromised.
"Okay," I agreed.
In the dark I heard him remove the cap and the swish of the water when he tilted the bottle towards his mouth. Seconds later the dim flashlight shined in my face and he handed me the bottle. I drank down the last little bit and tossed the bottle to the side. The flashlight went off and again we were surrounded in darkness. I snuggled back up against his chest and his arm wrapped around me protectively.
"You didn't drink any of the water, did you?" I asked quietly.
He hesitated answering me. I looked up into his eyes barely able to make him out. "No."
Realizing how much he was sacrificing for me to survive, I was overcome with gratitude and love for someone I was once supposed to hate. He was planning to give his life for someone he barely knew and didn't exactly care for. Tears streamed down my face coming to terms with the fact that if I'm found alive, he might not be.
His thumb gently brushed against my cheek, wiping the tears away. "Don't cry," he whispered. "It's okay."
The palm of my hand rested against his cheek as I stared into his eyes. I leaned forward and pressed my lips to his. Our kiss was tender and filled with emotions neither of us were ready to face. He cradled my face in his hands as his lips moved against mine. For the better part of an hour we kissed and just held each other. I didn't want to let him go. I vowed to myself I would do everything in my power to keep him alive with me. I wasn't leaving this trap without him.
For two more days we laid on the floor in each other's arms and slept most of the time. We were both so weak and dehydrated. Being trapped in such a confined area made it very humid and hot, and we were both sweating profusely. Sweating only made us weaker and sleepier. During the times we were awake I told Edward stories in hopes it would help him hold on a little longer. Most of the time he'd end up falling asleep half way through my stories, but as long as he was still breathing I knew he was still okay. I rested against his chest listening to his heartbeat and the rise and fall of his chest while he breathed. We held on to each other for dear life. We were all each other had to survive. If it wasn't for him, I probably would have died from fear by now.
On our sixth day of being trapped, we heard a lot of shifting amongst the rubble above us. Edward was concerned enough to make him sit up and pull me to the far corner of our little hole. We curled up as close as we could, waiting for the sounds to quiet down.
"Bella," he said with an anxious voice. "If I don't get out of here tell my parents I'm sorry."
"Don't talk like that," I demanded with tears stinging my eyes. "You are getting out of here, and I'm going to tell everyone you saved my life. You're going to be the hero. You saved me, Edward."
Just as his fingers brushed across my cheeks, there was a loud crash and the countertop we were huddled under broke. Edward wrapped his entire body around me as everything came crashing on top of us. I screamed Edward's name repeatedly but he didn't respond. We were crushed together under the counter. I cried and screamed for help begging God for someone to find us. I was sure Edward was dead, which terrified me even more than being smashed between the floor and everything piled on top of us. When I felt Edward's hand grab mine in a weak embrace, I held onto it so tightly. As long as he still held my hand, he was okay.
"We'll get out, Edward. We're going to be rescued. They're on their way. Just please hold on, for me. Please, I can't make it through this without you. Don't die on me. I need you," I cried.
"I'm not going anywhere," he whispered. I could tell by the struggle in his voice he was barely holding on. I didn't know what kind of injuries he'd suffered while trying to protect me from the collapsed countertop, but I was sure there was something wrong.
For hours I prayed and begged for a miracle while I listened to Edward's labored breaths. I didn't want to die. I didn't want to lose Edward.
Just as Edward's breaths began to slow and become almost non-existent I heard voices. At first I thought it was my imagination, but when I saw a small stream of light shining through I knew we were being rescued.
We're here," I screamed. "We're down here. Please help us."
"Bella?" I heard my dad's voice shout down towards us.
"Daddy," I cried. "I'm here. Please save us."
"We're coming. We'll get you out."
"Edward, they're coming. Edward," I sobbed. I squeezed his hand trying to arouse him. "Edward, answer me."
I heard the slightest groan giving me hope he was still with me.
"Please hurry," I yelled. "Edward needs help."
"We're trying to get to you as fast as we can," someone yelled.
I talked to Edward the entire time they dug us out. I couldn't tell if he could hear me or if he was still alive, but I wasn't giving up hope. As long as I kept talking he had to be okay.
It seemed like forever before they reached us. They finally pulled up Edward's lifeless body. I was pulled out next and rushed to a nearby ambulance. I had paramedics all around me taking my blood pressure, poking me with needles, and covering my mouth with a mask.
"Oh, Bella," my mom cried, throwing herself on top of me. "We thought you were dead. It's been the hardest days of my life not knowing where you were."
"I'm fine, Mom. Edward saved my life," I explained.
"Are you hurt anywhere?" she asked.
"No, I said I'm fine," I said again.
"She seems to be just fine other than being a little dehydrated and possibly needing a couple stitches for the cut on her hand," the paramedic explained to my mom.
"Where's Edward? Is he okay?" I asked.
"They rushed him to the hospital. He wasn't doing very well," my dad informed rubbing my shoulder.
"Dad," I cried. "Is he going to be okay?"
"I don't know, Bella," he answered regretfully. "I don't know much about his condition. All I know is when they pulled him up he didn't look good. They took off in an ambulance as soon as they got him on the stretcher."
"Can we go to the hospital? I have to know if he's okay."
"Bella," my mom began to argue.
"Please," I begged sadly. "He saved my life. I have to know if he's still alive."
My parents gave each other a questioning look before turning to the paramedic attending to me. "We're going to need to take her to the hospital anyway. You can find out about Edward then."
"When am I going to the hospital?" I asked anxiously.
"We're looking for Mr. Banner still. Was he with you?" the paramedic asked.
"No, a few minutes before the earthquake hit he left the classroom to go make some copies in the teacher's lounge," I explained.
"He wasn't in the classroom?" my dad asked.
"No. Who else can't you find?" I asked.
"You and Edward are the first we've found alive," my dad informed knocking the wind out of me.
"Who did you find not alive?" I asked beginning to cry.
"Bella, don't worry about that right now. Let's just get you to the hospital and we'll send the ambulances right back as soon as you get there," my dad suggested.
As I was wheeled into the ambulance I looked back at the destruction of the school. Most of the west wing was collapsed and sections of the front entrance were destroyed. It looked surreal and terrifying. I don't know how anyone could survive. I'm surprised even I survived after seeing what the damage was.
During the drive to the hospital the paramedic did his paperwork ignoring me for the most part. "How much damage was there to the town?" I asked breaking him from his work.
"Quite a bit," he answered. "The earthquake hit the whole northwest pretty hard. There's damage all the way from Northern California stretching up into Canada. It's been a mess for rescuers and doctors in the area."
"How many people have died?" I wondered.
"I can't give you an exact number, but there have been quite a few fatalities. Even going into the wreckage at the high school we didn't think we would find any survivors. You're very lucky to be alive."
"I'm only alive because of Edward. He kept me safe, and he knew exactly what to do. He's my hero."
He smiled and nodded his head. "I'll have to make sure his dad hears that. I'm sure he'd be really proud of his son."
"His dad?" I wondered.
"Yes, his dad is a doctor at the hospital," he explained. "He's been a mess not knowing where Edward was, but he's a doctor and he had to help the wounded people coming in and push aside his own fears."
"I did everything I could to keep him alive," I explained. "He sacrificed everything so I would survive. I owe him so much."
"I'm sure he'll be fine."
Once we were at the hospital I was rushed to a room and transferred to a bed. I had more tests done and at least three nurses fussing over me. My parents came in shortly after I arrived.
"Have you heard anything about Edward?" I asked.
"They won't tell us anything, Bella. At least not yet," my dad informed.
I sighed in frustration and turned towards the wall. All I wanted to know is if he was still alive. I had to know he made it through.
A little while later a doctor came in to check me over. I was informed I had to stay in the hospital for at least a night to recuperate.
My mom stayed by my side through the night, while my dad had to go back out to help with the recovery of other people trapped at the school.
The next day my doctor said I was free to leave after my mom signed some papers. I asked again about Edward but no one would tell me anything. My mom helped me get some clean clothes on and she did her best to tame my mess of hair. I really wanted to go home and take a shower.
I wasn't expecting visitors, but as I sat there I heard the familiar voice of James coming down the hall. There was a pit that grew in my stomach as he got closer. I had the sudden twinge of guilt and the overpowering sense of dread come over me. I didn't want to see him. He walked into my room with three of his friends following behind him.
"Hey, Bella," he greeted casually. My mom stood up and told me she was going to go sign my release papers.
"Can you ask about Edward again?" I begged. She nodded her head and gave me a reassuring smile.
James chuckled and the other guys who were with him did the same. "I heard you were trapped with that nerd in the science wing of the school. I'm sure that had to be fun," he joked. "Did he cry the entire time?"
I glared at him from across the room and my jaw clenched in anger.
"He better not have touched you, otherwise I might need to teach him a lesson for messing with something that doesn't belong to him."
I stood up and walked across the room towards him. He smirked as I got closer. My fists clenched at my side, and once I was close enough I swung my fist and punched him in the nose as hard as I could. He stumbled backwards and grabbed his bleeding nose.
"You are the most vial person I have ever known," I shouted in his face. "I am not your property. I don't want you to ever speak to me again."
"What the fuck, Bella?" he shouted. "What happened to you?"
"I came to my senses and found out who I really am," I informed. "If you ever touch Edward again I'll beat the shit out of you after I tell my dad all the illegal things you do."
"Why the fuck are you defending him?" he asked angrily.
"Because he saved my life and he doesn't deserve crap from an ass like you." I walked past him and into the hallway. I saw my mom at the nurse's station signing papers and decided since no one would tell me about Edward I'd go find him myself. I walked down the hallway unnoticed and searched the files on the outside of the rooms for his.
Finally, at the end of the hall I found the file with his name on it. I slowly opened the door and walked in. I heard the rhythmic sound of the monitors which brought me a sense of relief. At least he was still alive. I walked to the side of his bed and sat down in the empty chair next to him. I took his hand in mine and held it for a moment. His other arm was wrapped in a cast from his shoulder down to his wrist. There was tape wrapped around his chest and quite a few bandages on his face and neck. Seeing him like this brought me to tears.
"What are you doing in here?" a woman asked from the doorway. I quickly dropped his hand and stood to my feet.
"I'm sorry. I just wanted to know if he was okay," I explained. She walked across the room and looked over Edward for a moment before turning back to me.
"Are you Bella?" she asked.
"Yes Ma'am, I am."
"He's been asking about you," she informed.
"He's been awake?" I asked excitedly.
"A few times," she answered with a nod. "He's exhausted and in quite a bit of pain. He has a broken collarbone and a few cracked ribs."
"He saved my life," I said looking over at him. "He sacrificed his own life so I would survive. If it wasn't for him I would have died. He's the most amazing person I've ever known." I turned back towards her realizing a man stood behind her now with his hands resting on her shoulders. "He told me about his brother. He told me to tell you if he didn't make it that he was sorry. He blames himself and I don't think he should. He's a hero in my eyes."
Both of them were fighting back the tears. They nodded their heads in understanding and leaned into each other for comfort.
"Bella," a weak voice called. I quickly turned back towards Edward and rushed to his side. I took his hand in mine and he turned his head as best he could towards me. "Are you okay?"
"I'm fine, thanks to you. You saved my life, Edward."
"We'll give you two a minute to talk," the man I assumed was Edward's father said, guiding his wife out of the room.
"Are you sure you're okay?" he asked again. "Did the doctors look at the cut on your hand? Did they do x-rays to make sure you don't have anything broken?"
"Edward," I interrupted with a giggle. "I'm fine. I wasn't hurt in any way. You took most of the blow and protected me from getting crushed." He sighed in relief and squeezed my hand tightly.
"Thank you," he said.
"For not dying on me," he explained. "I wouldn't be able to bear it if you died."
I smiled and rested my head against our entwined hands. "I wouldn't have survived if it wasn't for you."
"I'm sorry about the kiss," he blurted. "I won't say anything to James. We can pretend it never happened. It was just one of those crazy things we did out of desperation and fear."
I smirked and leaned towards him pressing my lips to his. "Don't be sorry," I whispered against his lips.
"What about James?" he asked.
I brushed a stand of hair off his forehead and ran my fingers through his hair. "I broke up with him. He's not the guy I thought he was. I want someone who actually cares about me and someone I know I can trust."
"Is this just your way of getting me to help you with your biology homework?" he asked playfully.
I giggled and kissed him again. "Don't you remember? Part of the school collapsed. We don't have homework anymore."
With his free hand he reached up and brushed my cheek with his knuckles. "If you associate yourself with me you aren't going to be popular anymore."
I shrugged not caring at all. "There are more important things than being popular."
He smiled and cupped my cheek with his palm. I closed my eyes and leaned into his hand reveling in his touch.
"You could have anyone you want. Why me?" he wondered.
"Edward will you stop asking stupid questions and just accept that I want to be with you?"
"Sorry. I'm not used to this. You're not supposed to want someone like me. I'm just worried this is only because of what happened to us."
I shook my head vigorously. "It's not, Edward. You just made me realize how self-centered and naïve I've been. I want to be with someone who is genuine and not afraid to be who they are. I want someone who will let me be me and not try to change me. I want you."
He smiled crookedly and chuckled lightly at my confession. I nestled my head into his neck and his arm wrapped around me like he did when we were trapped.
"I would like to know something, though," I added. "I want you to tell me the truth about whether or not you've fantasized about me before."
He turned his head away bashfully and grinned. "No," he refused.
"I think you have," I teased.
"Maybe," he answered vaguely.
"You have," I concluded with a grin on my face.
He tucked a strand of hair behind my ear and let his fingers linger at my neck. He pulled me towards him and brushed his lips against mine. "Yeah, and I still am," he confessed before kissing me fully.