"I thought I was going to have to hospitalize her. She wouldn't eat or drink, she wouldn't move." – Charlie to Alice, Twilight: New Moon, Chapter 17
Summary: What if Charlie and Renee had hospitalized Bella after Edward left her? What if that experience had only damaged her further? What if Edward came back to find her and beg her forgiveness and ask her to take him back only to find she had been institutionalized? Could his love repair the damage?
Disclaimer: Not that it will come as a surprise to anyone reading this, but Twilight and it's characters do not belong to me, Stephanie Meyer is the only one that can make that claim. I just like to play in the wonderful universe she created.
Thanks to my betas Im2xshy and Kzintikiller for their invaluable support and input. They also both write awesome fan fiction stories of their own in the Twilight universe so please look them up here on this site and check them out. You won't be disappointed.
I pulled the red blouse off the hanger and held it up. It was sexy and I knew Emmett would like it. I couldn't manage to suppress a grin. Actually, he liked me better when I was wearing nothing at all.
It was a cloudy morning in late January and we were shopping at a small boutique in downtown Ithaca. The family had moved here after the debacle in Washington State months before. Emmett and I had gone to Europe for a while after we'd left Washington, but we'd rejoined them a few weeks ago. I found it very strange that there were times when I missed our house in Forks and our life there. Even more baffling, there were times when I missed some of the people we left behind. Okay, it was only one person and no one was more shocked than me that I felt that way. I never got attached to the humans we met. Given the nature of our existence, it was just better that way.
And yet there were moments when I found myself wondering how she was. Had she moved on, already forgotten us, just as my idiot, pig-headed brother had predicted? Or was she feeling our absence, his absence, as deeply as my usually freakishly accurate sister suspected?
Not that it mattered, of course. We'd closed that chapter, so it was probably better for all concerned that we didn't reopen it.
At least that's what I kept telling myself.
Shaking myself free of the annoyingly contemplative mood I'd found myself in, I turned the blouse around so Alice could see it. "What about this one?"
She cocked her head and studied it for a moment. "I like it. Very flattering. Em will love it."
I nodded and looked at it again. "I think so too."
"So I had an idea," Alice began as she studied a dark blue sweater. "We haven't visited the Denalis in a while. Maybe I'll talk to Carlisle about us taking a trip to Alaska when Jasper's spring break starts."
"That's a good idea; it will be nice to see Kate, Tanya, Irina, and Eleazar."
"Yes, that's what I thou..." her voice trailed off.
I glanced up at her and saw her face go blank. I wasn't overly concerned. She did this all the time. Alice had visions like most people had random thoughts. I went back to looking at a pair of pants that would go nicely with the red blouse.
"What?" Alice's voice was a strangled whisper as the sweater slipped from her grasp. "No!"
My head snapped up. Even the tiny amount of color in her face had drained away and her expression was the picture of silent horror. Whatever she was seeing, it was beyond the normal vision and it was bad. One word slid from her lips.
The way she said it sent a shiver up my spine.
And that made me angry because it showed that I cared about the fragile little human who had turned our lives upside down much more than I wanted to admit.
"Alice!" I said more sharply than I probably should have.
"No, no, it can't be," she pleaded.
"Stop it, Alice!" I shook her angrily, making her head flop back and forth like a rag doll's. "Edward told you not look for her!"
Alice's lips trembled and her eyes finally focused on me. "Just because I don't look, doesn't mean I don't see," she said shakily.
The horror of what she'd seen was there in her eyes as she stared back at me. In fact, the pain of it screamed out of her. Just looking at her had a weird feeling settling in the pit of my stomach.
I didn't want to know... didn't want to care, but I couldn't help it. "What did you see?" I demanded.
"I have to go," she said suddenly as she made a break for the door.
"Alice, wait!" I called tearing after her.
We both moved so fast the only thing the clerk or the other two patrons in the store saw was the red blouse fluttering to the floor and the door swinging closed behind us.
"Alice, stop!" I said catching up to her when she got to the car.
"You'll have to call someone to come pick you up," she said whipping open the car door. "I have to go."
I grabbed her arm and refused to let go. "You're not going anywhere until you tell me what you saw!" I snarled.
"Why do you care?" she asked. "You never even liked her!"
I couldn't argue with her there. I'd never let anyone see that I felt anything but distain for Bella. "What did you see?" I demanded again.
"I saw Bella being attacked, now let go of me."
Something in my head was warning me to let it go, but I couldn't. "What do you mean 'attacked'?"
"I mean attacked as beaten, raped and strangled!" Alice screamed at me. "Are you happy now? Are you glad I told you?"
I dropped her arm as if her skin had burned me and stumbled back two steps. The weird feeling in the pit of my stomach became a full blown sickness. If I actually ate things and would have had something in my stomach, I probably would have hard a hard time keeping it down right about then. The pain and humiliation of what had been done to me rolled through my head. No one should ever have to experience that, least of all someone as fragile as Isabella Swan.
"Are you sure?" I heard myself say.
"Look at my face," Alice yelled. "Do I look like I'm sure?"
"Can we stop it?" I asked softly.
"I don't know," she said with an almost deathly quiet. "It was at night so it hasn't happened yet, but I'm not sure exactly when it does, tonight maybe. I think I'm seeing it now because her attacker has decided what he's going to do and Bella suspects and has given up on being able to get away from him. In any case, there isn't much time and I won't spend it standing here arguing with you."
"We should tell Carlisle."
"There isn't time," she insisted. "He'll probably just try and stop me anyway. He'll say Edward doesn't want us to interfere."
"He wouldn't say that if he knew what was going to happen to her." Despite his feelings for Edward and his respect for his wishes, I didn't see how Carlisle with his compassionate nature would try and stop her from saving Bella. Especially in light of what he'd done to try and save me.
"If so, then he won't blame me afterwards for going after her," she pointed out.
I couldn't exactly argue with her logic. Then again, maybe I didn't want to. "What are you going to do?"
"I'm going to try and save her."
In the end, the decision was easy. There really was no other option. "Then I'm coming with you."
"You are?" she asked in surprise.
"Yes, now get in the goddamn car." I yanked her out of the way and dropped into the driver's seat. "I'm driving."
Alice was no sooner in the passenger seat than I had the car in gear and streaking out of the parking lot. Her eyes went glassy again and I knew she was having another vision. But rather than making her horror struck, this time there was an odd look of satisfaction on her face.
"If we both go, this might just work," she murmured, although I suspected it was more to herself than to me. Then her whole body jolted as if she'd been stuck with a pin. "Head for the airport," she told me quickly as she yanked out her Blackberry.
Her fingers a blur, she worked quickly, presumably searching for flight information and waited while the results came up.
"Are you getting us tickets to Seattle?" I asked her.
"No, now be quiet," she snapped as she entered a phone number and put the phone to her ear. "Yes, I need two one way first class tickets on Delta flight 3824 from Ithaca to Detroit leaving at 12:12 pm and then Delta flight 1768 from Detroit to Jacksonville leaving at 3:20 pm."
Jacksonville? We were going to Florida?
"The flight into Jacksonville arrives at 5:40 pm, right?" She listened for a moment. "Good, we'll pick up the tickets at the airport." She rattled off our names and her credit card info then ended the call.
"Alice, why are we going to Jacksonville?" I asked her.
Her answer was simple. "Because that's where Bella is."
"Why is she in Jacksonville and not Forks or Phoenix?"
"Because her mother and stepfather live in Jacksonville now," she answered.
I wanted to ask her what she'd seen in her vision to make her so sure Bella was in Jacksonville, but filed that away for later. "Why did you only get one way tickets? Aren't we flying back?"
"No, we'll have to drive back," Alice replied. "Bella won't be in any condition to fly."
I frowned. "So we're bringing her back with us?"
"Oh, yes. She'll have nowhere else to go."
"Edward won't like..."
"I don't give a damn what Edward will or won't like!" she snapped. "I'm doing this. You can help me or you drop me at the damn airport and go home, but I AM doing this."
"Okay, okay," I said trying to placate her. I was little surprised by her vehemence. "But why do we need to bring her back with us? If we can stop it the attack, she can go back to her mother or Charlie and..."
"No, that won't work, they won't take her," Alice said quietly as she stared out the window. "Even before the attack, she wasn't in very good shape."
Well, that was cryptic. I opened my mouth to question her further but her next statement cut me off.
"Stop up here at the Wal-Mart."
"Wal-Mart? But you hate Wal-Mart."
"I know but I need some things and it's handy."
"You want to go shopping NOW?" I asked incredulously as I pulled into the parking lot.
"We have exactly 30 minutes before we need to be at the airport and we need some supplies," she explained. "Airport security is going to be suspicious if we have one way tickets AND don't even have some kind of carry-on luggage. We can't afford for them to pull us aside for twenty questions." She paused for a moment. "And I need some clothes and toiletries for Bella."
I frowned as I parked the car near the entrance. "Won't she have any clothes with her?"
"No, they wouldn't let her have any." Alice said quickly as she opened the car door. "Stay here, I'll be right back."
"But wait!" I called, but she was already gone.
Nothing she said was making any sense. It just didn't add up.
Who in the hell wouldn't let Bella have clothes and why?
"Alice, where are you?" Jasper's worried voice came back over the phone.
We had just landed in Detroit and were waiting for the next flight that would take us on to Jacksonville. I'd waited to call him so there would be no way he could stop us. He would never approve of what we were doing. He was firmly on Edward's side when it came to the idea of not interfering with Bella's life. I knew it came from the guilt he still felt about how he had reacted at her birthday party and the fact that he never wanted to put her in danger again.
Well, he wasn't the only one who could feel guilty. And my guilt had nothing to do with Bella's birthday party.
"That's not important," I hedged. "Rose and I have something to take care of. We'll be home sometime late tomorrow." Well, at least it wasn't a lie. I hated lying to him.
"Alice..." Jasper chided. He wasn't stupid. He knew there were things I wasn't telling him.
"Jasper, please don't ask me to explain right now," I begged. "I promise to tell you everything when I see you."
There was a very long pause and I knew he was not happy. "You're not putting yourself in danger, are you?"
"No, I'll be just fine, I promise."
He audibly sighed and I could picture the unhappy and resigned look on his face. We hated to be apart from each other and when I was involved in something, he wanted to be right there with me.
"Promise me you'll take care," he said quietly.
"I will, I swear," I told him. "And you'll tell Emmett and the others that we're all right and we'll be back soon?"
"Yes, I'll tell them as soon as they get back," he promised.
I didn't know what else to say, so I simply said what was in my heart. "I love you, Jasper."
"I love you, too," he said quietly. "Come back to me."
"I will. Bye."
I hung up the phone. "Carlisle's at the hospital, Esme's doing some work on the house she's restoring, and Emmett's out hunting," I told Rose as I shoved the Blackberry back in my purse. "But Jasper will tell them when they come in."
She nodded. "And just when are you planning on telling me?"
I looked at her. I was a little surprised it had taken so long for us to get to this point. I had been sure she was going to start the interrogation when I came out of Wal-Mart, but she'd been oddly silent until now.
"What do you mean, Rose?"
"Cut the crap, Alice," she snapped at me. "This is me you're talking to. Since I've come with you on this little excursion, I think the least you can do is fill me in."
I had no intention of volunteering anything I didn't have to. "What exactly do you think I'm keeping from you?"
"Well, it strikes me as odd that you know an awful lot of detail from just one vision."
I shrugged. "I get what I get."
"Oh, okay, I see, you're going to make me play twenty questions to get it out of you," she said. "Fine. Why don't we start with how you knew Bella was in Jacksonville and not somewhere else?"
I searched for a good answer but one did not really present itself so I wound up going with the truth. She was going to figure it out eventually anyway. "I've been seeing Bella in other visions over the last few months," I began softly.
"I KNEW it!" Rose accused. "I thought you said you weren't looking for..."
"Don't start with me, Rose!" I snapped. "Like it or not, Bella's in my head, okay? She was my friend too."
"I know, but..."
"I wasn't looking for her and I did my best to ignore the other visions, Rose, I really did. I stayed quiet because I promised Edward and because I kept telling myself that she would get better, but she didn't. Instead, in every vision I had of her, she was just a little bit worse."
Rose frowned. "What do you mean you thought she would get better?" she asked quietly. "What happened to her?"
I was surprised to see genuine concern in her eyes, but I still couldn't hold back a bitter little laugh. "Is it really such a mystery? Our brother happened to her. WE happened to her. When we left her, Bella didn't handle it well. I told Edward that was going to happen, but he didn't believe me. Stupid, stubborn, asinine vampire," I muttered.
"Well, on that point we are in complete agreement."
We both laughed at that and for a moment the tension was broken. Unfortunately, under the circumstances it couldn't last. Our laughter eventually faded and Rose stared at me for a long moment.
"So Charlie sent her to live with her mother in Jacksonville?" Rose guessed.
I nodded. "I'm not sure exactly why."
"But it didn't help?"
"No," I said, my voice flat. "Where she lives doesn't matter. Edward still broke her heart... we all did."
Rose nodded. "So what happened to her in Jacksonville?"
"I don't have all the details. I only saw flashes from when Bella made some kind of decision or let Renee talk her into some kind of decision, but something happened to make Renee decide that she couldn't take care of Bella and obviously Charlie couldn't deal with her either, so they..."
My voice trailed off, I hated thinking about this part. It was so personal in many ways for me. I still couldn't believe that I had just stood by and let it happen.
"So they what?" Rose demanded.
I sighed. "They had her committed to a psychiatric hospital."
That hung between us for a long moment. "That's who wouldn't let her have clothes?" Rose murmured.
I nodded. "Yes. If she was in the regular wing, she'd have some, but she's in the medical wing so they only let her have a hospital gown."
"Why is she in the medical wing?"
I considered my answer before I spoke. I wasn't ready to talk about some of the things I'd seen. "I don't know," I half lied. "I think it might have something to do with the treatments and medication they've been giving her and the fact that she won't eat anything."
Rose was quiet for a long moment and I could see her thinking over what I'd told her. "How long has she been there?"
"Almost three months," I told her.
"But wait," Rose said. "Wouldn't she be safe at the hospital?"
The vision of Bella's attack rolled through my head like a horrific, unwanted movie that I couldn't turn off. "You would think so," I said. "But the man... her attacker, is an employee... a male nurse or maybe an orderly. I don't see him that clearly except through Bella's eyes, but I think... I think he's done this before to other women. Maybe not at this same hospital, but there's definitely something more that I'm not seeing. The looks he gives her are not... normal. She's scared of him."
Any more discussion was cut short by the airline calling our flight to Jacksonville. We got on board the plane and took our seats in first class. We were quiet until our plane was taxing down the runway, at which point Rose asked me a question.
"Did they take your clothes away too?" Rose asked gently keeping her voice low enough that only I could hear her.
It was a question I'd asked myself more than once since I'd seen I'd been seeing the visions of Bella in the hospital. After our encounter with James last year, I'd done some research into my human life and my own time in the asylum, but even the small amount of information I'd uncovered couldn't answer Rose's question for me.
"I don't know, I can't remember," I said honestly as the plane lifted off. "When I woke up after my change I was dressed, but..."
"I didn't think about it at the time, but looking back, I'm pretty sure the clothes were brand new and they weren't on exactly straight. You know, as if someone had dressed me rather than me dressing myself."
As our plane soared into the sky, I was mildly surprised when Rose said nothing and instead reached out and taking my hand, gave it a squeeze.
Thankful that the question and answer time was over for now, I focused my attention on what we had to do once we got to the hospital.
I just hoped we'd be in time.
Author's Note: Well, there it is, the first chapter of my new story, the first Twilight story I've written. I have about the first 20 chapters of this story already done, but I write a bit slowly and don't want to catch up to myself too fast so I plan on posting one chapter a week, probably on Saturdays.
See you next week and have a happy New Year!