He has a malignant brain tumor.
I sit in that small, chilly room, stale with recycled air and the smell of Lysol, staring blankly at the computer screen showing black and white images of Edward's brain. It was an overhead view, two perfect symmetrical lobes, like a Rorschach ink blot. Well, almost perfectly symmetrical. The tumor was a glowing white mass, about the size and shape of a small plum with swirling tendrils emanating from it.
The doctor, the oncologist is an older Asian man, in his late-fifties I would guess. He explains everything in an even, steady tone. I think to myself he has a wonderful bedside manner. He takes time to clarify what some of the scarier terms mean, not that knowing makes it any easier. The tumor, in addition to causing headaches, nausea, vomiting, and memory loss, also can suppress the immune system, which explains why Edward doesn't seem to be healing as quickly as he normally would. The doctor, of course, has no idea that Edward is a werewolf.
Dr. Kim excuses himself and steps out for a minute to give us some privacy. Edward and I are silent for so long, unable to speak or even move, that even the motion sensitive lights flicker off and we are left sitting in the dark.
They need to act quickly. He has surgery scheduled for next Monday to try to remove it. Three days from today.
Don't cry Bella. Not now. Not here. Edward hasn't said a word since we left the doctor's office and I don't trust my own voice right now. I take his hand, dry and limp in my own and lead him down the hall. We ride the elevator five floors up to Carlisle's office.
Carlisle looks like he hasn't slept in days. His starched white coat is nearly the same color as his skin. I'm surprised when he hugs me. I think he needs it as much as I do right now. Edward isn't a hugger. Carlisle places a hand on his son's shoulder. His eyes are soft and glassy. Edward stares at his feet, unwilling, or unable, to meet Carlisle's gaze.
Carlisle gives his shoulder a little squeeze. He lets his hand fall away, and clears his throat. Walking over to his desk he picks up a manila folder and begins to flip through the contents of the file.
"I've already spoken with Eugene. He thinks the...he thinks the prognosis is good. Your chances of..."
"I don't want to talk about this. Not with you."
"Bella, I'll be downstairs." He disengages his hand from my grasp and stalks out the room. We both watch his retreating form. Carlisle drops the file back on his desk and gestures at an empty seat for me, and then slumps into his own desk chair, looking like all the false positivity that had been propping him up has been drained from him. For a long time we say nothing.
"I didn't expect you to be here."
I look up sharply. Outrage finally penetrating my numbness. How dare he?
"Where else would I be?" I ask, not bothering to disguise the iciness in my tone.
"I didn't mean it like that Bella. Edward didn't want to worry you. I'm surprised he told you, that's all."
"What kind of fucked up...Jesus Carlisle! He's got a fucking brain tumor. Enough with the secrets already." I'm livid. These men. These fucked up, stubborn men with their secrets. They would cling with them to the grave. Edward at least is trying to change...but it may be too late.
"I'm sorry Bella. It was just the two of us for so long..." He lets out a long breath. "My son...I'm glad he told you. I'm glad he has someone that cares about him."
Edward has a brain tumor. I just can't fathom how this is real, how this is happening. It can't. It just can't. Not Edward. We just found each other again. The thought of losing him...no it's impossible. Unbearable.
"How has he been acting?"
"What do you think?" I snap. Edward has never been a talker. But since last night he's sunk into complete silence. His hands linger longer, and I cling to him, afraid to let go, to let him out of my sight, my touch. I need to feel him, warmth radiating from his skin, the steady pulse of his heartbeat. Even now, It hurts to be separated from him.
He forgives my outburst. He knows. And if I'm honest, I can tell he's feeling the exact same emotions that I'm dealing with too. His son. His child. They may have a strained relationship but there is no doubt in my mind that Carlisle loves Edward dearly.
"Sometimes you see unusual patterns of behavior from patients with brain tumors. Changes in personality, temperament. Have you noticed anything different about Edward's behavior in the past week?"
Have I noticed anything different about Edward's behavior. Yes. Everything. He told me he loved me. No, he didn't say it out loud. But I know it. He's not running away from me. That's the biggest thing. I thought we had moved on, we were progressing in our relationship. We got through the worst of it and we were making plans. The promise of awkward dinner parties with his parents. He was going to get a job. I gave him my keys.
He was staying. Because he loved me. Was it not real? A cruel joke played on us by the universe.
When I finally do speak, it sounds too loud. "Carlisle...Is he going to die?"
"Dr. Cope is a very gifted surgeon."
"Is he going to die?"
Carlisle doesn't need to answer me. The look on his face says all. Worry, fear, despair. It's all written there in the lines of his face, the red-rimmed eyes.
"I don't know."
His words hang heavy in the air. Edward showed me the scar, the place where Banner, or someone working in tandem with Banner had performed surgery on him. Banner is a neurologist, not a neurosurgeon, which is all the more alarming. Somehow he found a way to introduce cancer cells into Edward's brain. The question is, why would he do this? What logical motive could Banner have to give Edward cancer? If he wanted to kill him, surely there are easier ways to do so. And why would he lure him all the way back to Chicago just to kill him? It doesn't make sense.
Edward is leaning against the building, blatantly ignoring all the non-smoking signs. I can't find it in my heart to chastise him. I take the cigarette from his hand and let it drop to the ground, grinding it out with the toe of my boot. I hold his head, pulling him to me until our foreheads are touching. I close my eyes.
"Let's go home."
We spend the train ride with our fingers entwined, my head on his shoulder, his arm around me. We could be any other couple in love. Nobody pays us any mind. Don't they realize that our world is quietly falling to pieces. Cell by cell. It falls. The early spring light is cold, the naked trees and brown brick and concrete of the city pass us by. Will he still be here when they bloom again?
Rosalie and Emmett have been spending a lot of time at his place lately, to give us some privacy. But it's too quiet. I lock the door behind me and he follows me to the bedroom. I shed my parka, because even though it is early April, this is Chicago and it feels like spring will never come. I peel off my sweater and my jeans and boots. The socks go next. And then I unhook my bra, letting it fall to the ground. I step out of my panties.
Edward never takes his eyes off of me. Always watching. Breathing heavy, his eyes dark with lust, and sadness...and fear. I come to him, and unzip his jacket. Layer by layer I unpeel him, until he is bare before me. I pull him down to sit on my bed. I bend down to kiss him, cradling his face in my hands. This beautiful boy. This beautiful man. He kills me. I kiss the jawline that haunts my dreams. Rough, just enough friction to drive me crazy. I inhale the scent of his skin, that pure animal scent that that stirs primordial feelings in me that I cannot begin to process. I could never shake him, even if I wanted to. Those lips. That mouth so sweet. His tongue, his taste.
This beautiful man that knew me better than I knew myself. He saw through all the bullshit, the lies I hid behind and saw me. And loved me anyway. He fought for me. He might die for me.
I sink to my knees and try to take him in my mouth, but he gently cups my chin in his big hands. He tries to pull me back up but up but I refuse.
"Stop. No more guilt Edward." I look into those green eyes. "Let me love you."
He holds my gaze, and then swallows. He brings my hand to his lips and presses a kiss there. He nods.
I take him, all of him inside me, and I give him everything I have to give. He grows harder still in my mouth, and strokes my hair, until his breath is ragged and his hands clutch my head. He pulls onto his lap, lips searching desperately for my own, hands roaming my flushed body, fingers sliding deep inside me, finding me wet and ready for him. I break away for a moment to retrieve a gold foil wrapped packet from my nightstand. I tear it open and slide the condom over his erection.
"Make love to me Edward."
He grabs my waist and kisses me deeply. I climb on to his lap, finding his cock and positioning it at my entrance. I watch as his eyes flutter lightly, his mouth drops open as I sink on to him. We are still, just looking at each other, connected. I begin to rise and fall, finally feeling complete with Edward inside me. Watching him grow increasingly desperate, panting, sweat on his brow. Suddenly, he flips me onto the bed, and he is over me, the full weight of his body on me, and he is filling me, fucking me, and I am giving back as hard as he gives. Every stroke, every thrust, the rough hands on my tits, the fingers in my mouth, my teeth on his skin, biting, tasting. I want all of him, I want him everywhere. He pulls out before coming, collapsing on me. I stroke his damp hair, enjoying the feel of him resting on my breast. This moment right here. I will hold this in my heart forever.
"I'm sorry. I couldn't wait any longer."
"It's okay," I say, but he is already sliding down my body and before I know it's happening, his tongue is inside me. Flickering, tasting how wet he has made me, fucking me with those fingers and that mouth, those lips. I cry out, shuddering trembling, and he never stops. I have to push him away when it becomes too much.
Afterward, he holds me in his arms. The curve of my spine fits against his as if I were made to. I can feel him on the backs of my knees. This beautiful, rational geometry of our bodies. We are perfect together.