"Do you have to go tonight?" I asked, tightening my hold on the collar of Edward's jacket.
Edward's arms tightened around my waist in response to my question.
"Love, I really wish I didn't have to go tonight, but it's been three weeks since I last hunted. I'm hanging on by fingernails. I promise I'll be back before you even notice I'm gone," he said, moving my hair behind my ear.
"I always notice when you're gone," I said, trying to lighten the mood.
He chuckled, his breath hitting my forehead in a cold gush.
"I'll be back in the morning," he promised.
"You know, if Emmett wasn't so strong, I would win against him in a tug-of-war game, with you being the rope, of course," I said, smiling up at him.
Edward chuckled and kissed my forehead.
"You're silly," he said.
Before I could say anything else, there was a loud scraping noise against my window. We both looked over to see Emmett through the window with a grin on his face. He mouthed out, "Get your ass out here," before dropping to the ground.
"That's my cue to leave," Edward said.
I clutched him tighter, burying my face in his chest.
"Hurry back to me," I whispered.
"I'll be back before you miss me," he said into my hair.
He leaned down to kiss me, letting his lips linger on mine for a moment. I pulled him closer, knowing I wasn't strong enough to hold him there forever. Yet.
He pulled away with a tiny smirk on his face. I released him, knowing the sooner I did, the sooner he would get back to me. He turned to the window, opening it before crouching and leaping outside. I leaned out of the window, just in time to see Emmett and Jasper become a blur that disappeared into the woods. Edward turned and looked up at me, waving with a smile. I waved back, before he turned his head as if someone had called his name. He chuckled, then became a blur, headed in the direction of the woods.
I closed the window, then sighed. I had a Saturday night all to myself. Wonderful.
It had been a few months since Edward came back from being away so long. The need to be around each other had become much stronger since his return. It physically pained both of us to be away from each other for a little amount of time. Edward had gotten to where he would make less hunting trips, allowing his eyes to become a coal black. I all but had to push him out of the door to go hunting.
What he didn't know, was how much pain I was in every time he was on one of those hunting trips. Most of the time, I spent the time he was away at the Cullen's with Alice and Esme. But today, I decided to stay home with Charlie.
I shoved the painful beating of my heart back and walked downstairs, telling myself Edward would return. Charlie was watching a baseball game, no surprise there. I smiled.
"I'm making spaghetti tonight, Dad," I said, knowing he wasn't really paying attention to me.
"That's great, Bells," he said, keeping his eyes on the television.
I chuckled and headed for the kitchen. I took my time preparing the food, trying to keep myself preoccupied until it was a decent enough time to go to bed. The sooner I went to sleep, the sooner I got to see Edward. Every five minutes I would glance up at the clock.
When dinner was ready, I called Charlie into the kitchen. He walked in, taking in a deep breath.
"Smells good," he said.
We sat down and ate in silence, a normal routine for us. We would talk about a few things, mostly about the weather, but nothing too serious. It wasn't until I was done eating and fixing to head up the stairs, when Charlie cleared his throat. I stopped and turned to him with a curious look.
"I wanted to talk to you about something, Bells," he said, avoiding my eyes.
I knew what was coming. This conversation was going to involve Edward. Charlie always got that uncomfortable look when he wanted to talk about mine and Edward's relationship.
"Sure, Dad," I said.
"It's about you and the boy," he said. I rolled my eyes. Charlie had yet to call Edward by his name.
"What about us?" I asked.
"Well, I know you probably know about things like this, but I just want to make sure you're being careful," he said, his voice breaking in some places.
I could feel the dread overtake my body, the blush burning my cheeks. Charlie was trying to give me the sex talk.
"Please, just stop right there. For the sake of my sanity, just stop," I moaned.
"I just want to make sure you two are taking precautions. I know times aren't the same anymore," Charlie said, his cheeks just as red as mine.
"Dad, please don't give me the sex talk. Mom beat you to it ten years ago," I said, trying at all costs, to get him to stop talking.
"You didn't have a boyfriend ten years ago," he said with a matter of fact tone.
"Things work the same way," I said.
"Still, I think you should know…." he trailed off.
"Oh, my God, Dad. You're going to make me say it. I'm a virgin. Edward's a virgin. We plan to stay that way for a while," I said, my cheeks burning even more.
Truthfully, it was Edward who wanted to stay that way. I wouldn't mind exploring that part of our relationship, but Edward was too scared that he would hurt me. I guess I would just have to convince him otherwise.
"Oh, good to….um….know," Charlie stuttered.
"Are we done with this conversation?" I asked, wanting to get up to my room and just go to sleep.
"I just want to make sure you don't get hurt again, Bells. I see how you two have gotten closer. I just don't want you to get in a position that would put you in pain again. He could leave you anytime, Bella, and I'm just trying to look out for you," Charlie said with a serious tone, all embarrassment gone.
"Dad, I know you're trying to look out for me. But trust me, Edward isn't going to leave again. It pained him just as much as it pained me to be away from each other. We depend on each other," I said.
"That's what scares me, Bella. You shouldn't depend on him so much. What if Carlisle gets another job offer somewhere far off. What if they move away again like last time?"
"Edward is eighteen, so he won't have to go," I lied smoothly.
"But what if he wants to go with his family?" Charlie challenged.
"Dad, I love you, but Edward isn't going anywhere. We love each other. It would hurt him to leave me," I said.
"I just worry for you, Bells," Charlie said.
"You shouldn't. I'm a big girl," I said.
"Maybe," Charlie chuckled. I laughed with him, glad this conversation seemed to be over.
"I'm going to head on to bed," I said, faking a yawn.
"Okay. Just remember what I said, Bella. Please be careful," Charlie said.
"I will, Dad," I said, just to make him relax.
I headed up the stairs, quickly getting ready for bed. I sped through my routine, jumping into bed in a record time. I started relaxing my mind, eager for sleep to invade me. Eager to see Edward in the morning. What seemed like years, sleep finally overcame me.
I saw the love in her eyes. I saw the love she held for that boy. It scared me to the bone. I was loosing my little girl to him. I knew it was only a matter of time they would get engaged, if they weren't already. I knew he loved her just as much. I knew their love for each other was equal. And that scared me.
I saw the pain she was in last fall. I saw the pain in her eyes every time I mentioned his name or any of the others. I saw the pain in her eyes every night she woke up screaming from a nightmare. The tears in her eyes would overflow, causing the real pain she was feeling to shine through. She hid it well from the outside world, putting a mask on her face that held one emotion. But at night, when she was alone, she would wake up screaming. It always reminded me of when she was little, when she had a broken bone, the pain was fresh in her wet eyes.
At first, I was terrified for my little girl. This boy had hurt her so much, it gave her nightmares. As the weeks turned into months, the screaming continued every night. Eventually, it got to where I was expecting her to scream every night. My little girl didn't disappoint. There were times I would walk into the station tired from the night before. Neither of us ever got a good nights sleep. Not until he returned at least.
That first night she was back from being with him, was the first night she hadn't screamed since I could remember. It wasn't until the next morning I woke up, that I noticed I had slept through the night. It was an odd feeling at first, being so use to always being woken up by her screaming.
I knew the reasoning right away, why the screaming had stopped all of a sudden. It came in the form of Edward Cullen. I knew his reappearance in her life had cured her pain, cured her nightmares, cured everything that had gone wrong in her life. I had done everything I could think of to cure her, when all that needed to be done was his reappearance.
Deep down, I was grateful the boy. I was thankful for him, even. He made my little girl happy again. Something I tried to do while he was away, but never succeeded.
I had gotten use to the silence the night brought now. I had gotten use to him always being around Bella when I got home from work. I had gotten use to seeing them being affectionate to each other. I had gotten use to the look of pure joy and love that shone in his eyes every time he looked at my little girl. I had gotten use to the same look she gave him each time. I was thankful for it, because it meant she was happy.
So you can imagine my shock, on that cold night, that the normal silence of the house was broken by an agonized and piercing scream. I froze at first, not knowing what to make of it. Had I dreamed up the last few months? Had the boy not come back, and I had dreamed it all up? The picture on the coffee table told me that I had not. It was one of them at graduation. He had returned, I hadn't dreamed it all up. So why was she screaming?
I acted quickly, heading up the stairs. When I reached her room, my heart broke into a million pieces. There she was, my baby girl, holding her head like it was going to explode. This strange ripping sound was coming from her, and it wasn't until then that I realized she was sobbing. Her screaming didn't stop, just multiplied.
I ran over to her, laying a hand on her shoulder.
"Bella, calm down," I said, but I knew she couldn't hear me. She was too far gone in her mind.
"Ed-Ed-Ed-w-wa-ard…."she sobbed over and over again. The only time she didn't say his name was when a piercing scream fell from her lips. It went back and forth between his name and her screaming.
I tried many times to calm her down, but nothing seemed to work. It seemed it only made it worse. I was scared she was going to end up ripping her hair out, the way she was tugging on it.
"Bella, sweetie, tell me what you need," I said, trying to help her in any way I could.
"Ed-Edward," she cried again.
In that moment, I knew what I had to do. I didn't want to rely on him to fix this, but I knew he was the only one who could calm her down.
I had finished hunting early, anxious to get back to my Bella. I knew I had to stop at the house first, so I made my way there.
"You aren't leaving already are you?" Emmett asked.
"Yeah. I should be good for a few weeks," I said.
"Aw, someone misses Bella!" Jasper teased.
I rolled my eyes at my brothers as we came up on the house. I playfully shoved them into the house as they made kissy faces at me.
Carlisle and Esme were waiting in the living room, smiling at our antics. I was fixing to run up the stairs when Carlisle's phone rang.
Chief Swan? Carlisle thought as he looked down at the caller id.
I paused, intent on listening to the conversation. I could involve Bella.
"Chief Swan, what can I do for you this evening?" Carlisle answered politely.
"Carlisle, I know it's late, but is Edward there?" Charlie said in a rush on the other end.
"Sure. One moment," Carlisle said, passing me the phone.
"Chief Swan," I answered.
"Edward, I need you to do me a favor. It's about Bella," Charlie said.
I felt my skin crawl.
"What about Bella?" I asked in a rush.
"I don't know what happened. All I know is she woke up screaming and now-" he was cut off by a piercing scream in the background. I knew immediately who it was. My Bella.
I was already in the car, pulling out before anyone could blink.
"I'll be there in a few minutes," I said, before hanging up.
I peeled down the roads, ignoring the thoughts around me. I didn't care if a cop tried to pull me over, I would outrun him. The only thing I could think of was getting to my Bella.
It wasn't five minutes later since I got off the phone with Edward that I heard a car pull up. I didn't even make it to the door before he came barging in, flying around the corner.
The look in his eyes would haunt me forever. He had a crazed look in his eye. His eyes were wide and scanning the room, looking for Bella most likely.
"Where's Bella?" he asked, his voice just as crazed as his eyes, breaking at the end.
"She's upst-" I was cut off by another of Bella's screams.
Edward was gone and up the stairs before I could get any other words out of my mouth. I was too worried about my daughter to think about how fast he got up the stairs. Almost inhuman like.
I hadn't even reached the top stair when I heard the screaming abruptly cut off. I rounded the corner to Bella's room, taking in the scene before my eyes.
He had his arms around her shoulders, rocking her back and forth in a soothing motion. She was in a fetal position between his legs, laying her head on his chest and clenching his shirt tightly in both her fists. His chin laid on top of her head delicately, a beautiful melody I never heard before, falling out of his lips. She had her eyes closed, most likely already asleep.
Our eyes met, and we that's when we came to an understanding. I knew she couldn't live without him now, and I knew he wasn't going to leave her again like I was scared he was going to do.
"Thank you," I whispered, as not to wake Bella.
"No, thank you," he said back just as softly.
I stared at them for a minute longer, before turning and shutting the door behind me. I knew my daughter was in good hands tonight.
The next morning, I woke up, feeling the cold arms around me. The night's events came rushing back to me. I grimaced, remembering the horrible nightmare I had before I woke up screaming.
I was running in the forest, searching for something. I didn't know what it was. But I had a sense of dêja vu fall over me, making nothing make sense.
It wasn't until I came upon a memory I never wanted to be reminded of. I was watching the scene play out, but not from the perspective I had originally watched it from. I was on the outside now, watching the two people talk. I wanted to look away, but I couldn't force myself to.
It was when Edward was leaving me last fall. I watched his face, then mine. Everything was exactly how I remembered. I tried screaming at myself to fight back, but she didn't hear me. Soon, Edward in my dream turned and vanished. The point of view came back to how I remembered it, which had me running in the woods, searching for something I knew wasn't there. And that's when I woke up.
I don't remember much, except wanting Edward. Somehow, he finally got here, rocking me back to sleep.
"Bella," he whispered. He knew I was awake.
"Morning," I said, trying to stall the conversation I knew was coming.
"Bella," his voice broke. I flinched. I hated seeing him in pain.
I looked into his gold eyes.
"What happened last night?" he asked.
I looked down, finding a button on his shirt interesting.
"I had a nightmare," I whispered.
"Yeah, I figured that much. Is it like that every time I leave to go hunting?" he asked.
"No. I don't know what brought on the nightmare. I haven't had it since-" I cut myself off, not wanting to cause him pain.
"Since I left," he finished.
My silence gave him the answer he was looking for.
"I'll truly hate myself forever for leaving you," he said in an agonized whisper.
"Don't, please. You were trying to protect me," I said.
"But I hurt you. I'll have to live with that forever. Knowing I caused you so much pain, knowing I was the reason you woke up every night screaming, knowing I was the reason you were a zombie for months," he said, clearly angry at himself.
"You thought you were doing the right thing at the time. It's in the past. We can't change it. We just have to look forward to the future. Please don't hate yourself. You were being selfless and trying to make me happy. You can't blame yourself for everything," I said.
"The reason your always in pain is because of me," he argued.
"Please, Edward, can we just drop it. I don't want to relive the past. I just want to look forward to the future. Will you do that for me?" I asked, looking up at him, wanting this conversation to be over with and never brought up again.
He gazed into my eyes softly before sighing.
"For you, I will," he said, dropping the subject for now.
"I love you," I said, snuggling into his chest.
"After everything I've put you through, I love you, too," he said.
And that's all we would ever need. Our love and a bright future to look ahead to.