"Sir, you can't sit in the hallway."
I ignored them.
"Sir? Can you hear me?"
Ignored them even more.
"Really, I must insist that you move to the waiting room."
I didn't move from my spot on the floor outside of Bella's room until a pair of familiar feet stood in front of me. Reluctantly, I looked up at my sister and shook my head. "I'm not leaving."
Rosalie just sighed before reaching down and taking my arm. "Come with me."
I didn't have a choice but to follow her, unless I wanted my arm ripped off. She led me to a desk that sat a few feet away from Bella's door and then deposited me in a chair that rolled a few inches from the force of me flopping down into it.
"I just got a page from the supervising nurse that you've been sitting out here all night. What the hell is going on with you?"
"She doesn't want me in there so... what choice do I have? I'm not leaving. Not without her."
Rosalie leaned a hip against the desk and frowned. "She doesn't want you in there? What happened?"
My sister just shook her head. "Excuse me?" She watched, through narrowed eyes, as I explained what had happened. When I'd finished, Rosalie grabbed one of the extra chairs and sat down next to me. "Number one, why didn't you just tell her you'd slept with Kate?"
She cut me off. "And secondly, Bella doesn't know what the hell she is doing. She's drugged. She's probably suffering from post-traumatic stress... not to mention the fact that her body is still recovering from nearly drowning."
"I don't know Rosalie..." I stared down at my lap. "She seemed pretty damn lucid."
"Listen, Edward. I'm not going to get in the middle of this thing with you guys, but believe me when I tell you that Bella is not all there right now. Emotionally, she is going to be all over the place. And you have got to be able to stand through this with her."
"How? I mean, I'm willing to do whatever but if she doesn't even want me in there... What the hell am I supposed to do?"
"Give it time. The last thing Bella wants, or needs, is to be alone right now. And even if she hates you, you're the only one she has. Just... remember that what she says, what she does, that isn't really her, Edward. She's grasping at anything to take her mind off of what happened, and unfortunately, you're little lie about Kate is it."
"And what about when she gets out of the hospital, Rosalie? Do I just let her go and hope that eventually she shakes off the trauma and remembers that she loved me? That I'm still in Seattle hoping she'll come back?"
My sister smiled before standing up. "Bella isn't going back to Arizona. Not for a while."
She walked away, leaving me at the desk, but stopped before going into Bella's room. Looking over her shoulder, she said, "I love you because you're my brother, but don't ever lie to her again. Okay?"
I nodded and watched as she pushed open the heavy door leading into Bella's room.
When I walked out of the hospital, planning to drive back home and grab a few of Bella's things, I realized that I didn't have a car. In fact, I was pretty sure that my vehicle was still parked at the marina, the keys for it, at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean by now. That led to me calling Emmett, asking him to find the spare keys to my apartment and then pick me up at the hospital. I also had to call Alice and find out what marina Jasper used for his boat. They offered to drive me anywhere I needed to go, but I declined their offer. I might have slightly forgiven Alice, but Jasper was still on my shit list. Instead, I waited for Emmett's Jeep, watching as snow fell over the hospital's parking lot.
"So?" He asked, while pulling out into traffic, not waiting for me to put my seatbelt on. "How is Bella today? I was going to come by and see her but Rosalie said that I should wait a couple of days to let her adjust."
I wearily looked at the cars we passed while answering him. "She's better; I mean she's awake, so that is a huge improvement."
For a second, I wanted to complain about the fact that Bella refused to believe that my sexual activities with Kate had been anything but just sex. Then I remembered what Rosalie had told me, about Bella's moods being affected by her medication and trauma her body has sustained, and I decided to keep my mouth shut. If my sister was right, and Bella just need this as a something to fixate on, then I had to just endure it. I knew lying to her hadn't been the right choice, and looking back I realized how completely stupid it had been of me, but I couldn't change that. All I could do was suck it up and try to do everything I could to make sure Bella knew I was there for her. No matter what.
So, looking at my brother-in-law, I shook my head. "But nothing. She's alive, awake, and surprisingly healthy considering what happened. That's all that matters."
Emmett waited in the car while I ran into my apartment and found my extra car keys. When we pulled into the marina's parking lot, I sighed in relief to find out my car hadn't been towed.
"You need anything else?"
I shook my head at Emmett's question, but before I shut the door to his car, told him that Bella would appreciate him coming by to see her.
"You think? I don't want to make her uncomfortable."
"It would probably make her feel better to know that there are people in Seattle that care about her other than just me. Make her feel less alone."
He muttered something about us being her family but I didn't ask him to repeat himself. I was willing to put up with Bella's aggravation and anger towards me, but I couldn't handle discussing the idea of my family being hers as well. All it would do is get my hopes up and that wouldn't help any of us. Especially if Rosalie ended up being wrong and Bella did leave to go back to Arizona.
I was about to shut the door, but was stopped by Emmett saying my name.
"Take my advice and sleep a little before you go back up to the hospital. You'd be surprised by what a few hours of sleep can do. Alright?" When I nodded, He straightened up in seat and then smiled. "Now shut the damn door, you're letting all the heat out."
At home, I was surprised to find everything as it had been when I'd left for work on Friday morning. My coffee mug was still in the sink, Bella's water bottle that I'd given her at the field house was sitting on the bar, and even the bed was made. For some reason I'd expected it to be a complete mess, just like everything else.
I wandered around my room, taking off my watch and dropping it onto the dresser, and then slipped out of the shirt I'd been wearing since leaving for school Friday morning. As I walked around the corner and into my bathroom, I was shocked to see my reflection in the mirror.
"Holy shit." Watching my movements in the mirror, I reached up and touched the growth of hair that covered the majority of my face. Along with the bloodshot eyes, I looked like a cross between a hobo and a serial killer. "No wonder everyone kept telling me to go home."
I turned away from the mirror, dropped my shirt in the hamper and then turned the shower on. As steam filled the room, I finished undressing, and nearly fell asleep standing up when the warmth from the water pressed in on my exhausted body. But I made myself shower, and shave, and then fell into the bed with my mind completely distracted by Bella's scent that lingered in my sheets. Pressing my face into the pillow, I closed my eyes and finally slept.
"I just want to go home and..."
My heart froze as I looked down at Bella's tear stained face. Surely she didn't mean home, home. She had to mean just leaving the hospital, right?
"Home?" I asked, hoping she wasn't meaning leaving Seattle.
My stomach plummeted to the soles of my feet and I tried desperately hard not to argue the point that me having sex with someone else, when Bella and I weren't even in a relationship, was a completely bullshit excuse for her to leave. But my sister's voice rang through my mind, reminding me that this wasn't Bella. Not really. And arguing with her was not going to help either of us. So I took a deep breath and went back to the suitcase I'd left sitting by the door.
I felt her eyes watching me as I started unpacking a few of her things, but didn't say anything. I concentrated on putting all of her toiletries by the sink and then carefully sat her laptop on her lap, ignoring her gaze.
Nodding, I situated the flowers I'd gotten for her on the table beside her bed, and then started unpacking her clothes. "I wasn't sure if you could get your arm into the t-shirts you had for sleeping so I brought a few of my button-downs, thinking we could just cut the sleeve off if they weren't big enough."
Again, I felt her watching me, but I continued putting her clothes up. Piling a few pairs of socks and underwear into one drawer, I opened the other one and carefully put her folded pajama pants and my shirts inside. With my back still to the bed, I shut the drawer, zipped up the suitcase and carefully put it in the tiny closet. "Do you want me to get a nurse come help you change clot-"
When I turned to look at Bella, I stopped my question mid-sentence and slowly walked to the side of her bed. Her face was covered by her hand and her shoulders shook as quiet sobs shook her body.
Seeing her crying was hard enough, but knowing how her crying made her entire body hurt, made it even worse. So with careful movements, I gently moved her hand away from her face. "Bella, stop okay? Everything is going to be fine and you don't need to worry about any-"
"Why can't you just be an asshole, Edward? It would make being mad you so much easier!"
I smiled before sitting on the side of her bed. "Me being an asshole wouldn't help anything right now. Just let me take care of you, okay?"
Hastily she wiped the tears off of her cheeks. "Why do you want to? After Kate and-"
"Because I love you, Bella." I didn't hesitate to answer her question. "Regardless of how you feel about me, or about us, I still love you. I'm not going to leave you up here by yourself, no matter how angry you are with me. So I can either sit outside and annoy the shit out of my sister, or I can sit in that chair next to your bed and keep you company. Either way, I'm not leaving, but you can take your pick."
She seemed a little startled by how brash my words were, but after a second she slowly nodded her head. "Stay…please."
"I can't wait to get the hell out of this hospital."
Smiling at Bella's grumbling, I sat the small, white, pastry box in front of her. "Maybe this will help."
She eyed the box, and then me, before asking, "What is it?"
"Open it and see," I answered. "But hurry before Emmett gets here."
I sat in the chair and watched as she slowly pulled the tape away from the lid and lifted it to see the maple bar donuts that were nestled inside. When a small, but genuine, smile curved her lips, I couldn't help but feel a little giddy. The last two weeks hadn't been easy, at all, but moments like this made it completely worth it.
Just as my sister has predicted, Bella was completely erratic emotionally. One minute she was fine, the next she would start bawling her eyes out. But, just like I'd promised, I hadn't left her side unless it was to go home and shower or get more clothes. I'd ended up taking a leave of absence from the school, using all of my time off and emergency paid days off, but I knew it was worth it.
Every day I saw Bella getting better, getting back to normal, and I just prayed that eventually she would remember that before all of this had happened, she'd loved me. Holding on to that, made it all easier.
"Are these from-"
I nodded at her unfinished question. "They should still be warm too."
Bella's smile widened as she carefully pulled one of the donuts out of the box and bit into it. I watched, thoroughly pleased with the fact that she was eating, and that she seemed to be in a better mood than she had been this morning.
Covering her mouth, Bella muttered "Your sister came by when you were gone."
"What'd she say?"
Swallowing, and then taking a drink of water, she shrugged her uninjured shoulder. "She said she wanted to talk to you and Alice about something." Bella turned her head to look at me. "Do you know what she wants?"
"Would you tell me if you did?"
I nodded even though it wasn't true. Rosalie often gave me news that she thought Bella couldn't handle and I tried to decide which she really needed to hear and which ones were better left unsaid.
Bella knew I was lying, and I was pretty sure she was about to call me on it, but I was saved by Emmett pushing the door to her room open. His loud voice and obnoxious laughter turned Bella's attention away from me, thankfully.
"Who the hell got donuts? Edward?" Emmett lifted the lid of the box and frowned when he saw that there was only two left. "Well thanks for getting enough for everyone, asshole."
Bella laughed before looking at me and I was very grateful for my brother-in-law's presence, even offering him my maple bar in appreciation. He didn't have to be offered twice and that thing was devoured in less than a minute.
He served as an even better distraction when I got a text message from my sister, asking me to meet her out in the hallway. Emmett had her giggling at some story he was telling, so much so that she hardly even noticed me inching towards the door.
"I'm going to go get some coffee," I muttered, pulling the door open.
Bella just nodded, keeping her attention focused on Emmett's exaggerated expressions, and I slipped out into the hallway. My sister was already there, talking to Alice and Jasper, but stopped when she saw me walking towards them.
"What's going on?"
"Bella is probably going to get discharged within the next couple of days." Rosalie answered. She must have noticed the look of panic on my face because she immediately started explaining. "I'm not giving her clearance to leave Seattle; in fact if she does travel against medical advice then her insurance won't pay for any of the charges she's incurred since they brought her in. But, I can't keep her admitted here; she'll have to go to a hotel or… to someone's house."
Alice started to open her mouth and I immediately spoke over her. "Don't even think about it, Alice. If Bella is leaving this hospital with anyone, it's me. She will come back to my apartment and I'll take care of her myself. End of story."
She held her hands up, defensively. "I was just going to offer to help when you were at work, Edward. Of course Bella will go with you."
"And if she doesn't want to?" We all looked at Jasper but he merely shrugged before continuing. "I'm just wondering what we will do if Bella refuses to go with you? Shouldn't we have a backup plan?"
Rosalie's hand grabbed my arm before I could follow through with finishing the beating I'd given him in the ER. "We just won't give Bella an option. She can't go to a hotel on her own and Edward's apartment is the best option we have. If she asks either one of you for something different, then you'll just have to tell her that you can't take her in. Edward's been helping the nurses with Bella's dressing changes and it really does make sense for him to continue caring of her."
No one argued with her.
"So when will you tell her?" Alice asked.
Rosalie looked down at the chart in her hands before answering. "We've got to do another MRI and run some blood work before I can conclusively say she can leave, but I should know for sure by tomorrow afternoon."
We talked for a few minutes more, about the home therapy and nursing assistance she'd get once she left the hospital, but after Jasper and Alice had walked away, Rosalie stopped me from going back to Bella's room.
"I agreed with you about Bella going home with you, Edward, but you've got to make sure that you'll be able to do this before we talk to her about it." She held her hands up to stop me from interrupting her. "I know you've been up here helping her and I know you love her, but caring for someone in your home, without twenty-four hour nursing assistance… that's totally different."
"You don't think I can do it?" I asked her.
"No," she shook her head. "I know you can do it. I just want you to be sure that this is what you want. Edward, there is a serious chance that doing this could make the situation between the two of you worse."
"Or it could make it better."
Rosalie nodded but still has seriousness to her voice. "Just think about it tonight, Edward, alright?"
I agreed but I knew there wasn't anything to think about. Bella needed someone to help her and I wasn't willing to let anyone else do it. Sure, it might make it worse, but hadn't we already dealt with worse? I'd been through the thought of losing Bella, forever. I'd sat beside her bed and watched as she lie there lifeless, wondering if she was ever going to come back. I'd listened to her crying, watched her face contort with pain, and seen the changes her body had gone through. I'd heard her tell me she was leaving, that she didn't need me, but she'd also asked me to stay. And I was going to.
AN: Well, some of you hate me… sorry.