Entry #24 - AH
Truly Anonymous Twilight O/S PP Contest
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Title: My Girl
Picture Prompt Number: 15
Word Count (minus A/N and Header): 4,115
Summary (250 characters or less, including spaces and punctuation): "I laid my head against the stone, letting the tears fall from my eyes. Suddenly, I felt a breeze on my back. I closed my eyes, wishing it was her touch. Maybe it was. Maybe she was here with me."
Warnings and Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight or any characters from it. This story contains sensitive subjects matter, including character death.
Bella Swan was the light of my life. She could smile and make my worst day better. We had known each other since we were five years old. I can remember it clearly, actually. She was on the swing set during recess, and I took the swing beside her. She told me her dreams of swinging so high she could touch the clouds. I told her that was dumb. She got off her swing, went behind me, and pushed me off of mine, telling me I was mean and she could do anything she wanted. That might have been the day I fell in love with her. Either that, or the day she punched Emmett McCarty in the balls for calling me a runt and taking my lunch.
Bella was special. She saw beauty in things I didn't — couldn't. She had dreams of writing novels. Her notebooks were filled with stories . . . beautiful stories. She always had a notebook with her, and trust me, she had tons. They littered her room, along with actual books. She lived in a world where anything was possible with the stroke of a pen. Some would say she was a dreamer, but I'd say she was Bella, and all of her dreams could become possible, if only she had the time.
She was fifteen when she was diagnosed, but she had always had it. Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy was what the doctors called it. The walls of her heart were thick, restricting blood flow. It all came to light one day at school. We were in gym class, running around the track. She had been right beside me for a while, but felt out of breath and slowed down. I turned around to find her hunched over, so I ran back for her.
"I don't feel well," she said, putting her hand over her heart. "It's going a mile a minute."
I placed my hand against hers, feeling her heart beating fast. I put my arm around her, supporting her. "Let's go to the nurse," I said.
We took a few steps, and then her knees buckled. I kept her from hitting the ground as she fainted. I laid her down gently and yelled for our teacher, who was racing over to us. An ambulance was called, and they tried to keep me from going with her. She was my girl. I was going. I said my last name, knowing it'd get the paramedics to let me into the ambulance. My father was the chief of staff at the hospital. I used his name to get what I wanted, and it worked.
I held her hand in the ambulance as her eyes opened. She groaned softly, and I told her I was there.
"Hey, it's okay," I said. "You'll be fine."
"It's still . . . going so fast," she mumbled with the oxygen mask over her mouth.
She lifted her hand to pull it off, but the paramedic stopped her. She gave him her stink eye, making me laugh a little. It was just too fucking adorable. I quickly stopped, though, when I remembered where we were. I shouldn't have been laughing at that moment.
"I love you," I said, brushing the hair off of her forehead.
Her hand tightened in mine. "I love you, too. Are we almost there?"
I looked up at the paramedic, and he nodded. "Yeah, and I'll get my dad. You'll be fine."
She nodded. "Don't leave me?"
I didn't get to keep my word, though. I wasn't allowed to. She was sent to a hospital in Seattle because the disease was so far advanced. She needed treatment immediately. My mom became my chauffeur, taking me to Seattle every few days to see her. Bella was the one who comforted me when I cried with what she told me the doctors said.
"I guess I was born with it," she said, laying her head against my shoulder as I laid next to her on the hospital bed. "Since no one realized it, and it wasn't treated, it's gotten a lot worse. They're giving me a lot of medications, but I might need surgery."
"What kind of surgery?" I asked. "What are they going to do to you?"
"They haven't really told me a lot about it because they don't want me to worry. They think the medications will help."
"But you should know what they might do to you."
"My parents don't want them to scare me."
"You're not a child! You can decide, can't you?"
She shrugged. "Yeah, but I know they'll do what's best for me. These doctors are really good, Edward."
"Maybe . . . maybe you should talk to my dad. He knows this stuff, too. He'd tell you everything, not just what won't upset you."
"I know what I need to know."
"Then tell me everything. I need to know, too."
She went on to tell me everything the doctors had said. When she told me they said she could die, I began to cry. I was supposed to be a fucking man. I was supposed to be strong for her, but I couldn't live without her. I loved her.
"Don't leave me," I whispered, kissing her temple.
She squeezed my hand. "I'm not going to."
That night when I got home, I went straight to my dad's study and tried to find any book he had on heart conditions. When he found me pulling books out, he stopped me and told me to sit down. He went to one of the shelves and pulled out three thick books, setting them on the coffee table in front of me.
"If you have any questions, I'll try to answer them," he said, putting his hand on my shoulder.
"Is she going to die?" I asked.
He frowned, sitting down in front of me. "She has a serious heart condition, but she can be treated. She has options."
"She said the doctors said she was close to being in heart failure. They're trying to prevent that with medications."
"They'll do all they can, son. She's under the best care possible."
"Why couldn't you take care of her?"
"I'm not a cardiologist. Forks doesn't have the resources to care for her. She needs the doctors in Seattle."
"She's so far away, though."
"She'll be home once they have everything sorted out. Let me see the book you're holding," he said, holding his hands out.
I passed it to him. "What are you doing?"
"Marking the pages that you'll want to read." He flipped through the book and stuck a piece of paper in a few places before handing it back to me. "Do your homework before reading this, all right? Bella is doing hers, so I expect you do to yours."
"Yeah, sure," I said, standing up. As I walked away, I turned back around. "Thanks, Dad."
"You're welcome." He smiled. "If you have any questions, let me know."
I spent a lot of my time reading those books, trying to understand everything I could. It terrified me. Everything seemed so grim. I read over and over the part where it said she could die suddenly from cardiac arrest.
Eventually, Bella did come back home to Forks, but she wasn't able to return to school yet. I'd go over to her house after school and do my homework with her. She had a tutor coming over to help her stay caught up, so we did it together. That was our routine for a while. By the time our freshman year ended, Bella was doing a lot better. The medications had prevented heart failure, but she wasn't out of the woods.
That summer, Bella and I mostly stayed at her house or mine. Her parents didn't want her going far from home, so that limited our options. I watched more chick flicks through those months than I'd ever watch again in my life. I also read books with her, making her happy. She liked talking about them, but I couldn't say I really enjoyed it. It did it for her, though. How could I not?
"You love me, right?" she asked as we sat on my bed.
I held her tighter. "Of course I do."
She looked up at me and bit her bottom lip. "Um . . . I kinda have a question then."
I kissed her forehead. "Anything."
"Make love to me."
I was ashamed to admit it after all that had happened, but I had wanted to hear those words for a long time. I loved Bella. I loved her so much that I wanted to show her, but I didn't want to hurt her. She had a heart condition. Sex sped your heart rate up, right? What if that hurt her?
"I . . . want to, but is it safe?" I asked. "I can't hurt you. If we have to, we can wait until you're doing better. You're still weak."
"I'll be fine," she said. "Please? I don't want to die without having . . . loved you."
"You're not going to die. Do you understand me? I can't live without you."
She raised her hand, caressing my cheek. "You won't."
I pressed my forehead to hers. "Good, because I'm serious. I won't live without you."
She pulled back and furrowed her brow. "Yes, you will. If I do die, Edward, you'll live . . . because I'm asking you to."
"But I need you," I said as tears filled my eyes. "One day, I'm going to marry you."
She smiled and wiped under my eyes. "I can't wait until that day," she said. "So . . . can we? Will you make love to me?"
I nodded. "Yes, as long as it's safe."
"It's safe. Trust me."
A few weeks after she asked, I brought Bella over to my house one night. My parents had a thing in Port Angeles, so I knew we'd be alone. She told her dad she was having a sleepover with my sister, who was home from college. Alice was home, but that night she was with her boyfriend Jasper. The lie seemed to work perfectly, giving us an evening completely alone.
I wanted to make things perfect for her, so I took a few of my mom's candles and put them around my room. I also made a playlist of Bella's favorite songs. They were slow and romantic, so I figured they'd be good for the mood. I just wanted things to be beautiful. She deserved it.
Little did I know then that it would be the only time we'd ever make love.
I took Bella's hand and led her up to my room. My door was closed, so I stopped us and told her to cover her eyes.
She smiled and said, "What are you doing?"
"I want to do this right. Close your eyes, or I'll cover them myself." I smirked.
She huffed, still keeping that smile on her lips, and covered her eyes with her own hand. I opened the door and took her other hand, leading her into the room. I had all my lights turned off except for the one on my desk. The candles illuminated my bed area just enough. I thought it seemed romantic. I mean, after all the chick flicks and books she had made me see and read, I had to have learned something from them, right?
Once we were in the room and I shut the door, I lowered her hand and told her to open her eyes. When she did, she smiled, and I noticed tears well up in her eyes.
"This is perfect," she said.
"You deserve perfect," I said. "I want this to be everything you've ever dreamed of. Are you sure, though?"
She nodded. "Yes, I am. I've never been so sure of anything in my life. You, Edward Cullen, are the only person I'd ever want to be with. You're the person I've dreamed about this with."
I lowered my head, pressing my lips to hers. "I love you," I whispered.
"I love you, too," she said.
I went over to turn on my iPod as she sat down on the bed. She laughed softly at the first song, saying it was perfect. I walked back over to her and kissed her again as my hands went to the bottom of her shirt. I lifted it slowly, and we parted so I could pull it over her head. She did mine next and then unbuttoned my pants, tugging them down. She scooted back on the bed and laid down. I laid down next to her, kissing her softly again as I unbuttoned her shorts. I pulled them down some, and she kicked them off the rest of the way.
I didn't know what I was doing. Well, I knew the mechanics of it, but this was an entirely new experience for both of us. We had talked about it before she got sick, but decided to wait. She wasn't ready. I knew this could hurt her, and that was the last thing I wanted, so I decided to take my time. I wouldn't push her.
Once all our clothes were off, I looked at her. She was my beautiful Bella. I couldn't take my eyes off of her. I started slowly, lowering my head to her chest, kissing her softly there. Her hand went to my hair, tugging it softly as a moan escaped her lips. I kept doing that for a while because I could tell she liked it. Eventually, I went lower, kissing her all the way down to her belly button. She giggled then, telling me it tickled. I smirked and kissed her again.
"I'm ready," she said as I raised my eyes back to hers.
"Okay, but if I hurt you, tell me to stop," I said. "I don't want to cause you any pain."
She nodded, reaching her hand to my face. "Just go slow."
And I did. I didn't push her. When I started, she said it hurt a little, so I said I'd pull back. She didn't want me to, though. She told me to keep going. It felt . . . amazing. But I wanted her to feel amazing, too. I brushed my fingertips over her clit, and she said she liked that. I finished before she did, but kept moving my finger over the bud. She panted, moaning my name softly as she came. She looked so beautiful. Her eyes fluttered closed as I pulled my hand away. I caressed her belly softly as she smiled.
"That was . . ." she whispered.
"Did you like it?" I asked, kind of worried.
She nodded and laughed softly. "Oh, yes, I did. Thank you for loving me."
I kissed her lips again before looking into her eyes. "Thank you for letting me. I love you, Bella."
"I love you too, Edward."
In August, just before school was about to start back up, I had managed to convince Bella's father to let me take her to our meadow in the woods. She had been doing so well, and her doctor even said so, so he let us go. I had just gotten my driver's license, so I drove us up as close as I could get to the area. She made us a picnic basket with sandwiches, and we planned to just spend the day in the meadow. We hadn't had sex again, but I was hoping maybe we would.
If I had known that was the last day I'd see her alive, I would have done so much more with her. I would have taken her to Paris or somewhere else she always dreamed of going.
"It's been so long since we've been here that I've almost forgotten where it is," Bella laughed, handing me the picnic basket from the trunk. I set the blanket on top and took her hand.
"I remember." I smiled. "And from here, it should only be about a ten minute walk. Are you sure you're up for it?"
She nodded. "Yes, Dad," she laughed.
"That was mean."
She stood on her toes and kissed my cheek. "I'm sorry. Now, which way is it?"
We walked slowly because I didn't want to tire her. I even stopped us at one point so she could sit down, but she rolled her eyes and kept going. When we finally made it to the meadow, I looked over to see her grinning with her eyes closed. She took a deep breath and exhaled slowly.
"I missed it here," she said, opening her eyes and looking at me. "It's so beautiful."
I laid the basket and blanket down, going over and wrapping my arms around her. "We'll come back again now that you're doing better," I said, pressing my lips to hers.
After I spread out the blanket, Bella sat down and pulled everything from the picnic basket. She handed me one of the bottles of fruit punch and a sandwich. We just talked as we ate. We talked about our future together — what plans we had.
"I think I know what I want to be now," I said.
She smiled wide. "Well?"
"A cardiologist. I want to fix you. I want to fix others like you and make their lives better. You've . . . inspired me, I guess."
"You're going to be a doctor?" she asked, wiping a tear off of her cheek. I nodded. "I think you'll make a great doctor."
"You're everything to me, Bella. One day, I'm going to make you better, so you don't have to worry about your heart."
"I'll always have it, Edward, but I can live with it."
"You shouldn't have to, though. Who knows, maybe I can fix it, and then fix others with it."
"If anyone can, it's you. Thank you."
I reached over and wiped another tear from her cheek. "You should marry me."
She laughed. "We're teenagers. We can't get married."
"Well, I can ask now, right? We'll get married after we graduate, and then we'll go to college together. Say you'll marry me."
She nodded, smiling. "Okay, I'll marry you."
I pulled the ring I had gotten a few days ago from my pocket. "The woman at the jewelry shop said this is a promise ring. We'll just call it a placeholder, all right?"
Her eyes widened. "You got me a ring?"
"I can't ask you to marry me without a ring. Give me your hand."
She held up her left hand, and I took it in mine. I slipped the ring onto her fourth finger and it fit perfectly. She scooted closer to me, pressing her lips to mine.
"It's beautiful," she said. "Thank you."
When we finished eating, we laid down together on the blanket and looked up at the clouds. She loved looking at the clouds.
"Do you think we'll have kids someday?" she asked, turning her head to the side.
"Do you want kids?" I asked, brushing my thumb over her cheek.
"Yeah, with you. Maybe after you finish medical school, and I publish my first novel, we'll have a few."
"I want a little girl like you and a little boy like me."
She smiled. "That sounds perfect." Suddenly, her brow pinched in pain. "Ow," she whimpered, putting her hand over her chest.
I quickly sat up. "Bella, what's wrong?"
"It . . . hurts. Fast," she mumbled.
I reached into my pocket for my phone. No fucking signal. Damn it.
I put my hand under her back and sat her up. "Can you walk?" I asked.
She shook her head silently.
"Shit, okay. I'm going to carry you."
I got her to her feet and picked her up, going as fast as I could out of the meadow. I left everything there, not giving a shit about anything except for her. She had to be okay. She just had to be. By the time I made it back to my car, I was exhausted and out of breath, but I looked down at her and noticed her eyes were closed.
"Bella?" I asked, getting no response. "Bella!"
I laid her down on the ground and pressed my fingers to her neck. I couldn't feel anything. I put my hand next to her mouth and realized she wasn't breathing.
"No," I whispered, pulling my phone out of my pocket again.
I finally had a signal, so I dialed 911, telling them where we were and what was going on. The woman asked if I knew CPR, and thanks to my dad, I did. I put the phone on speaker and set it beside me as I started compressions. The woman told me what to do, pump her chest thirty times, give her a breath, and then do thirty more. I did that a few times, and then the woman asked me to check her pulse. I felt something. With tears streaming down my face, I pressed my lips back to Bella's, kissing her.
"Just stay with me," I whispered. "You're not allowed to leave me."
She did leave me, though. When we got to the hospital, she went into cardiac arrest again. She died on August twenty-first, less than a month before she turned sixteen. All of our plans . . . everything we dreamed of . . . died with her. My Bella, my light, my love . . . was gone, taken from this world before she was ever able to live.
"I miss you," I said, putting the rose on top of her headstone and sitting down in front of it. "It's been two years, and I still miss you so much," I cried.
I ran my fingers over her engraved name. Isabella. She hated being called that. She was always Bella. My beautiful Bella.
"So, I got accepted to Dartmouth," I said. "It should be me and you going. I don't want to leave you here."
I pulled the letter from my pocket that I had brought with me. It was silly, really. It was a letter she had written me when she was in the hospital, but her parents kept it from me. She told them to. When her mom gave me the letter yesterday, I was angry. They kept it from me for two years. They kept a piece of her from me for two fucking years. But when I read it, I realized why.
"I can't believe you wrote this," I said, wiping my tears. "You said goodbye, and you were never supposed to leave me, so I don't get it."
I opened the letter for the millionth time in the last twenty-four hours and began reading aloud.
If you're reading this, I'm gone. I know you're hurting, and I'm so sorry I left you. I didn't want to. I wanted to do all the things we said. I wanted to go to college with you, even though you have no clue what you want to do. It was always my dream that we'd get married and have kids. To be honest, I wanted a little boy that looked just like you. I had so many dreams, and as I'm writing this, I realize they never came true. I'm crying, so I probably should wrap this up before a nurse comes in because of my heart rate. Just know, Edward, you were the love of my life. You made every day amazing. Your smile, your laugh, you made my life everything I hoped it could be. I don't know when I died. Maybe it's tomorrow, maybe it's years after I write this, but I hope I was able to spend my last day with you.
I love you more than words can express,
Bella, your girl.
"You were always my girl," I said, folding the letter and kissing it. "You'll always be my girl. I hope you're okay up there, and I hope you can see me. I promise you that I'm going to be a doctor. I'm going to fix people because I wish I had fixed you," I cried. "God, I miss you."
I laid my head against the stone, letting the tears fall from my eyes. Suddenly, I felt a breeze on my back. I closed my eyes, wishing it was her touch. Maybe it was. Maybe she was here with me.
"I love you so much, Bella Swan," I whispered, pressing my lips to her name. "I will never forget you. I'll live for you because I know that's what you wanted."