The hours that followed passed in a blur. Bella and Charlie were whisked off to the hospital without me. I called my parents and Sue and told them to get there right away and that I would be there as soon as I could. Sue said she would call Jacob to come and get McKenna from the neighbor's house. Thankfully, she was asleep on Mr. Johnson's couch. Once that was done, I was taken the to station to give my statement. I relived every detail I could remember and became even more horrified by my sister's actions. It hit me then that we very well could have died if Charlie hadn't shown up. You know the saying "my life flashed before my eyes?" Well after that unsettling realization, mine did. I saw everything: every happy memory followed by every scary moment in a blink of an eye. It terrified me. I didn't know how long I had been in that tiny room, but all I wanted to do was check on Bella.
By the time I reached the Emergency Room, it was full of people. Most of them were officers. It was odd seeing them all, but I knew they were here for Charlie. They all had the same look of uncertainty upon their faces. I was sure a few of them were wondering what would happen if Charlie didn't make it. After looking around for a few moments, I found Mom and Sue sitting together, both of them visibly worried.
"Edward!" Mom called. I rushed to her side, and she threw her arms around me. "Edward, are you alright?"
"I...I don't know. Have they said anything about Charlie and Bella?" I asked frantically, running my fingers through my hair.
"No," Sue said. I gave her a quick hug before sitting down. "What happened, Edward?"
"It all happened so fast at the end. I know Charlie was shot, but I don't know where or how bad."
"What about Alice? Gabriel?" Mom asked. I didn't have the heart to tell her about Alice.
"Once we got here, he went in to work on Charlie. I just hope everyone's okay," Mom said concerned.
I didn't want to be sitting here. I wanted to be with my wife, holding her hand and telling her everything would be alright even if it wasn't. I needed that reassurance, even if it was a false sense of hope. I just needed her near me. So many emotions were bottled up inside me that I didn't know how to handle them. I knew that if I was near Bella, I would be somewhat calm.
As I sat with Mom and Sue, every mistake I had made kept running through my mind. There were at least a dozen, if not more. I should have done things so differently. This overwhelming sense of guilt consumed me, knowing I could have stopped at least part of the outcome. Maybe if I had calmed Gabriel down a bit, Alice would still be here. A sense of grief washed over me. My sister was gone. I hated the fact that Mom was sitting next to me thinking there was still a chance she made it through all of this. None of what happened was fair. Not for Alice, Bella, my parents or me. It just wasn't fair.
"Mr. Cullen?" a young nurse asked, pulling me out of my thoughts. I didn't see her even walk over to us. "Bella is asking for you."
I followed her back to where Bella was. The doctor outside her room said she didn't have any major injuries, but she did have some internal tearing from what those three horrid excuses for men did to her while I was unconscious. Thankfully, they were able to repair the tears without having to take her into surgery. She said Bella was resting comfortably. She also had some bruising around her neck and some small burns on her body from someone using her as an ashtray. The doctor assured me they were able to collect enough evidence to give to the police.
"She fought them, Edward," her doctor said, as he placed his hand on my shoulder and gave me a reassuring squeeze.
"How do you know?"
"She had quite a bit of skin under her nails, most likely from scratching them. Not to mention cuts on her knuckles and hands; defensive wounds. She's a brave woman. We should look at that bump on your head."
"In a little bit. I need to see my wife first."
When I walked in, she was attached to an IV and monitors. The moment I saw her, I went to her side and took her into my arms as best as I could. I placed my cheek gently on her head and breathed in her scent, which calmed me just a bit. I could feel her frame shake with her cries.
"Are you okay?" I asked.
"No. No, I'm not," she cried. I felt her hands fist my shirt in attempt to get closer to me.
"Me either." I felt my eyes fill with tears, but held them back. I didn't want Bella to see me this way. She needed me to be strong for her.
"Where's McKenna? Is she okay? Did she make it to the Johnson's?" she asked frantically.
"She's fine, she's fine," I assured her. "Jake picked her up and brought her back to the Res. I left a voicemail for Rose and Emmett, but they must be on a plane headed to Tennessee. I'm sure they'll call when they land."
"I'm scared, Edward," she said before breaking down again. An endless trail of tears flowed from her eyes. "I'm scared that your parents will hate me when they find out what happened. How can I face them once they know the truth? I'm to blame for Alice's death."
"Bella, none of that is your fault. None of it. Alice's decisions were her own."
"I know, but maybe if...we had offered to move away earlier...none of this would have happened," she replied as she wiped her tears away. "She would still be alive."
"Maybe. But I do know I should have done more to protect you. You wouldn't be in this hospital bed if I had done a better job."
"No, Edward," she replied firmly as she looked into my eyes. "You can't blame yourself. You were tied to the chair and unconscious. There was nothing you could have done! If anyone should have tried harder, it was me. I did try to fight them. I punched and kicked and hit them, but they were bigger and stronger. I didn't want you to be disappointed that I didn't try to get away from them."
"I could never be disappointed in you," I said softly. "Never." I gently placed a kiss on her forehead.
"Edward, what if they have new girls somewhere? We have to find them! They could be hurt!" she said urgently.
"Calm down," I said, putting my arms around her. "One of the detectives is already working on it. If they have girls hidden somewhere, they'll find them. I promise."
"How's your head?"
"Sore, but I'll manage. Bella, did those men..." I couldn't bring myself to say the words. Just knowing the fact that I didn't do anything to stop them from hurting her tore me up inside.
"Yes," she whispered as her sobs overtook her again. I held her as tightly as I could without hurting her and ran my fingers through her hair, hoping to calm her down a bit. I hated seeing her in pain, but I hated seeing her cry even more. Once she calmed down a bit, she finally spoke. "The doctors here did something and are turning the evidence over to the police. I hope they catch them and put them in prison."
"I'm sure they will. You're so brave. Braver than I will ever be." I absolutely meant it. To have gone through everything she has and still be able to face life...it was something I didn't think I as able to do.
"You make me brave, Edward."
A few hours passed, and Bella was transferred to a private room. The doctors explained they wanted to keep her overnight for observation and pain control. Mom and Sue sat with us until Carlisle appeared, still dressed in scrubs. I felt Bella squeeze my hand and saw that she had grabbed Sue's as well.
"How is he?" Sue asked.
"He made it through surgery. The bullet hit him just under his vest, pierced his abdomen and was lodged in his large intestine. We were able to repair the damage and he's resting comfortably," Carlisle said.
"Will he be alright?" Sue asked.
"Yes. He's going to be sore, and he'll be in the hospital for about a week before he's able to go home. He's three doors down in room 403 if you want to see him."
Sue stood and rushed out of the room, desperate to see Charlie. I knew that feeling all too well. Carlisle sat in Sue's chair and took Bella's hand.
"How are you doing, sweetheart?" he asked.
"I'm just tired," she replied quietly.
"How's your pain? Do you need something a bit stronger?"
"It's fine." I noticed Bella's eyes start to droop and I was thankful that she would get some sleep. I prayed it would be peaceful for her.
"Edward, we should get that bump on your head looked at."
"I'm fine," I replied, not wanting to leave.
"It looks pretty nasty. Let me at least clean it."
"Just go, Edward. I'll be alright," Bella said.
I didn't want to argue or upset her further, so I kissed her softly on the forehead and left with Dad. On the way to his office, we stopped at a supply closet where he grabbed everything he'd need to clean my wound. Once we reached his office, I sank into one of his comfortable couches and let out a long, slow sigh. I suddenly felt incredibly tired. Exhausted, even. The drama from today's events was finally catching up to me.
"So, now that we're alone, how are you? I can't imagine that was easy to go through."
"I'm better now that it's over. I feel... I just..." I couldn't get the words out. Part of me didn't want to say anything in fear of upsetting my father, but at the same time, I felt the overwhelming urge to get it out. Yes, I had told the detectives, but it wasn't the same. They didn't understand the magnitude of it all.
"What? You can tell me."
"I just feel like I should have done more. We should have stayed with Emmett and Rose. I should have left McKenna with them and the twins. It was stupid of me to let her come home. She could have been hurt. I should have fought more against the rope. I should have fought. I just let them take me. I didn't do anything to stop them. I should have done something to try to save Alice. I should have sent Bella with McKenna to the neighbors. I should have called the police right after Bella called Rose. I should –"
"Shhh," Dad said as he placed his hands on my face to calm me. "You did everything you could have. Granted, I don't know all of the details, but I'm sure you did everything you could."
"I begged her, Dad. I begged Alice to stop all of this," I cried. I wasn't embarrassed that I let tears fall. I didn't need to hold my shit together in front of him. I knew it was better to let it out with him rather that Mom, as all she would do is worry more than what was necessary. "I told her we would move away so she could be happy. I think I got to her at one point, because she told Gabriel she didn't want to do it, but he was so angry. He put a gun to her head and told her to kill Bella. When she didn't do it fast enough, he...killed her. It was like she wasn't important; she was just a toy he was getting rid of. It was so loud, the gunshot, and Alice landed on top of Bella. I couldn't do anything. I just sat there, stunned. I should have done more. I should have saved her."
"Alice..." Dad said quietly. "She's gone?"
"Yes. You didn't know?"
"No. No one's talked to us yet."
"I'm sorry, Dad. I didn't mean to tell you like this." I wrapped my arms around him, pulling him into a tight hug. I felt awful for telling him like this. I knew mom would be a mess when she found out. I hoped they would water it down for her and not tell her all of the details.
"It's alright," he replied as he pulled away. I saw his eyes become watery as he started to clean my wound. I could barely keep my eyes open at this point. The last thing I remember was him placing his jacket over me before I succumbed to sleep.
Once Carlisle said Charlie would be fine, I needed to see him. I needed to see for myself that he was alright. I made my way to his room and quietly entered. The lights were dim, except for the monitors. He had wires and tubes going in and out of him all over the place, and for a moment, I was scared. He was always so strong and brave, and yet here he looked so vulnerable. I walked to his bedside and gently placed his hand in mine.
"Charlie, I'm here," I said. I felt silly for talking to him, knowing full well he wasn't going to answer. "Carlisle says you'll be fine, that he fixed everything that was injured. And Bella is okay, too. She's in a room right down the hall. She's okay, but they're keeping her overnight just to be safe. She said she's in some pain from everything that's happened, but she's alright. Edward assures me the kids are fine. Jake has McKenna, and Emmett and Rosalie have taken the twins out of state. So you just rest tonight. But, now that this threat is over, I wanted to tell you something. Charlie, you're going to be a father again."
I felt Charlie's hand twitch in mine, and I hoped he heard me. I figured I'd have to tell him again once he was awake, since Charlie could sleep through virtually anything. Although he could somehow hear his pager and cell phone ring when he forgets them downstairs. I never could figure that out. It was almost like some weird sixth sense.
A nurse came in a little while later and checked his IV bag and wrote a few things in his chart. "You know, that chair pulls out if you would like to stay. I can get you a pillow and some blankets."
"Oh, that would be nice, thank you."
"You're welcome. My dad is a police officer in Nevada and was injured in the line of duty a few years back. My mom wouldn't leave his side until they wheeled him out the door."
"He made it through, then?" I asked.
"Yep. His injuries were a lot worse than your husband's, though." I was a little shocked when she referred to me as his wife. Yet, it sounded right. "Are you planning on saying anything to the folks in the waiting room? I don't think anyone's said anything to them, and they look pretty restless."
"I hadn't thought about that. I suppose I should, shouldn't I?" I looked back at Charlie and gave him a quick kiss on the forehead before going out to the waiting room. It was full of officers, who all stood when they saw me. "He's okay. The doctors said they've repaired everything and that he'll probably be in for a week."
"What about his daughter and son-in-law?" one of them asked.
"They're okay, too. I don't know the full extent of Bella's injuries, but I do know she's okay. None of the kids were involved, either."
I heard a collected sigh of relief throughout the room. I stayed in the waiting room for a few minutes as Charlie's fellow officers left. Brian, Charlie's right hand man, said he would be back first thing to get his statement and said to call if I needed anything. He was a good man. The two of them were always looking out for each other. As I made my way back to Charlie's room, I noticed Carlisle and Esme in the hallway talking to another officer. After a moment, I saw Esme fall into Carlisle's arms crying. He held her tightly in his arms and was fighting tears of his own. I quietly slipped back into Charlie's room and settled into the uncomfortable fold out chair for the night.
When I awoke a few hours later, the sun was peeking through the curtains. I stretched as much as I could and stood. Charlie was just starting to wake up. He slowly moved his head back and forth before running his hand over his face.
"Hey," I quietly said.
"Hey," Charlie replied after a few moments.
"How are you feeling?"
"Heavy. Where is everyone?"
"I'm pretty sure Edward is with Bella in her room."
"Is she okay? Edward?" he asked frantically.
"They're fine, they're fine," I said as I ran my hand through his hair. "How about I go and tell the doctors you're awake? Maybe check on Bella for you?"
"Before I go," I said hesitantly, "I should tell you something I told you last night."
"Sue, you know I sleep like the dead. Why on Earth would you try to talk to me when I was out?"
"I know. I guess part of me needed to hear it out loud to believe it."
"Hear what out loud?"
"You're...I...we're...pregnant," I said hesitantly.
"What? Are you sure?" he asked with wide eyes.
"Yes. The midwife on the Res confirmed it." I couldn't stop the smile that formed on my face.
"Confirmed what?" a familiar voice asked from the doorway.
I watched as Charlie's face, as tired and as sore as he looked, softened. "Bella."
Bella was sitting in a wheelchair with Edward behind her. She was still attached to an IV and had a scarf wrapped around her neck. Edward wheeled her over to the side of Charlie's bed. With a little help from Edward, she managed to stand and sit next to Charlie. I noticed she winced when she stood and again when she sat. I also noticed that she never let go of his hand.
"How are you feeling, Dad?" she asked.
"Okay. A little shocked at Sue's confession. How are you?"
"Alright, I guess. I'm hoping Carlisle discharges me soon, but I know he's busy with making arrangements," Bella said.
"Arrangements?" Charlie asked.
"For Alice," Edward said. "They were told early this morning that she died."
"Was that who was over you?" Charlie asked shocked.
"Yeah. Gabriel told her to kill me, and when she couldn't, he killed her."
"That's when you came in and ended it," Edward said.
"What happened to Gabriel?" Charlie asked. "I don't think the shot came from me, but I know I fired my gun. At least, I think I did."
"You can ask Brian when he comes to take your statement, dear," I said.
"So is it true? Are you guys really expecting?" Bella asked after taking a minute to figure out my announcement. I could see excitement in her eyes as she.
"Yes. I'm right around fourteen weeks."
"I'm so happy for you both," Bella said with a smile.
"Guess that means we'll have to push the wedding forward, eh?" Charlie asked.
"At this point, I don't care if we do it in front of a judge. This whole thing made me realize there's more to life than worrying about wedding plans."
A short while later, Brian arrived to take Charlie's statement. Knowing that I couldn't be in the same room, I left him to get things settled at the house and on the Reservation.
After Brian appeared to take Dad's statement, I returned to my room. Carlisle had come in and said that he would release me later in the day, most likely in the evening. I was happy about that. All I wanted was to hug McKenna and sleep in my own bed. I wasn't sure if our house was still a crime scene, so we would be going to Carlisle and Esme's house. The thought of going there was still comforting.
After returning to my room, I called Jake and spoke to McKenna. She was watching Disney movies with Jake and his girlfriend. I promised her we would come and get her as soon as we left the hospital. I told her to tell Jake if she needed her medicine. Billy then got on the phone and said he was making sure she was comfortable and that she was being spoiled, like usual. We chatted about Charlie a bit, and I assured him he was fine and that all he really was doing was sleeping, so the best day to visit him would be tomorrow when he would be up walking around. I could tell Billy really wanted to come to see him, but I knew he was helping everyone the most by staying home.
As much as Edward tried to tell me it wasn't my fault, it really was. If I hadn't insisted on going with Ian that day, none of this would have happened. Maybe Ian and Alice would still be alive if I had just listened. I still had no idea what I would say to Carlisle and Esme.
Ian was dead.
Keith was dead.
Now Alice was dead.
Add to that, McKenna had road rash and Dad was in a hospital room recovering from surgery.
I felt so ashamed about everything that had happened. I knew that if I hadn't gone with Ian, we wouldn't be here today. But then again, I may not have Edward, McKenna or the twins, either. It was a heavy tradeoff. I wouldn't give up Edward and the girls for anything. Yet, my actions that day has caused so much hurt and pain.
In the back of my mind I heard my mother's voice telling me to calm down; things would work themselves out, and that I needed to stop blaming myself. As confused as I was, maybe she was right. Maybe I needed to see the good in all of this. Because of my actions that day, I now have a wonderful husband and three beautiful girls. Granted my life isn't what I thought it would be when I was younger, but I don't think I would trade it for anything.
Later that evening, Dr. Hartford stopped in to see us. Edward and I were in Charlie's room when she appeared. She looked worried, but relieved at the same time.
"Hello, Dr. Hartford," I said quietly.
"Hello, Bella. I'm glad to see the three of you are safe. Do you and Edward have some time before you leave to talk to me?" she asked.
"Of course," I replied.
"Charlie, I'll come back to see you later, maybe even tomorrow. You look like you're about ready to fall back asleep."
"Yeah. This morphine drip is good, but strong."
"No problem. I'll poke my head in again before I leave."
"Okay," Charlie said before dozing off.
Edward and I walked back to my room with Dr. Hartford. I was in a little pain, but I did my best to push it aside. I just wanted to get this session over so I could go home. I wanted to see my babies. Rose and Emmett had called and said they arrived at the house with the girls. A little while ago, Jake called and said since the investigation and CSI crew were done, and that he would clean as best as he could. Leah and a few others would help out as well. I knew one thing for sure – I would be replacing my furniture in the living room and quite possibly the hardwood floor, as well. Anything that reminded me of that night would have to go. I was pretty sure Edward wouldn't argue, either.
When we reached my room, I sat on the bed, along with Edward. Dr. Hartford pulled a chair across from us and sat down as well.
"So, talk to me. Tell me what's going on," she said.
"Is it wrong that I'm still rather numb? I mean, I should be freaking out, clinging to Edward. But I'm not. It just seems weird to me. But, maybe it's because I've decided I'm done being afraid. I know the threat's over, or at least the majority of it is. I just want to move on. I want to go home, hug and kiss my kids, and get back to my life," I said.
"I think that's a big step for you, Bella. Edward? What about you?"
"I miss my sister," he said quietly as he looked at the floor. "I miss the sister I used to have. Yet, I hate her for what she became. I wish I could have done more for her, fought with her less, and spent more time with her. Maybe then she wouldn't have done this to us. I can't even imagine what Jasper's feeling. I don't know if he knows yet. He loved her."
"I know he did," I said quietly, my voice just louder than a whisper.
"The things she said...about my family...they just got to me, you know? I mean, how can I be sure our kids won't feel like that? My parents were wonderful to all of us, so I don't understand how she could feel that way."
"Edward, what Alice said and did...that can't be a normal thing. The most we can do is just love our girls, right?" I asked. "Alice was just...different. Consumed with want for something she could never have. Looking back, knowing now how it all ended, I don't think it was ever Gabriel's intention of keeping Alice around."
"What happened to Gabriel, anyway?" Dr. Hartford asked.
"From what Charlie has told us, and my parents, one of the other officers shot him, and he died during surgery."
"And what about the three men in the house that night?"
"Two of them are sitting in a cell while they look for the third," Edward said. "One of them, Fat Joe, has been spilling his guts in order for a deal, from what we're told."
Edward and I sat and talked with Dr. Hartford for roughly an hour, before she had to get to another appointment. Shortly thereafter, Carlisle appeared and discharged me, saying he and Esme would be by later to check in on us. There was pain in his eyes, and I wanted to reach out and hug him, to tell him I was sorry for what happened, but he left before I could do it.
When we arrived home, McKenna came running, as best as she could, out the front door and jumped into Edward's arms.
"Daddy, are you okay?" she asked.
"I'm good, baby girl. You should be in a coat. It's cold out here."
"What about Mommy?"
"I'm okay, sweetie."
"Look! Look what Jake's girlfriend gave me!" McKenna said as she held up her hand. Tied to her wrist was a beautiful leather braided bracelet with a charm in the shape of a heart. "Isn't it pretty?"
"So you're friends now?" Edward asked.
"Yes. Anna's very nice. She braided my hair today."
Edward put McKenna down, and we went inside the house. McKenzie was on the floor with Emmett, while Rose sat and fed McKayla. Jasper was sitting next to Rose. Jake was also there on the floor with Emmett, and there was a wonderful smell coming from the kitchen. McKenna let go of Edward's hand and made her way to the kitchen, as Jasper stood and walked over to Edward and I. Without a word, he threw his arms around the both of us. I had never seen him this affectionate with anyone – not even with Alice.
"Jasper, I..." Edward tried to say. I could feel his body shake with his tears.
"I know," Jasper responded.
I wiggled out of Jasper's embrace and sat next to Rose. Jasper and Edward stood in the doorway, still holding on to each other and having a quiet conversation only the two of them could hear.
"Jasper's been anxious this entire time," Rose quietly said. I noticed she had tears in her eyes as well.
"About you and Edward. We know you two saw her die, and Jasper's been having a difficult time with it."
"Edward's been really worried about Jasper, too. How were the girls? Did they give you any trouble?"
"They were little angels. Emmett's family spoiled them for the short amount of time we were there, and McKenzie is turning into an Uncle Emmett-girl. It's cute. She was fussy while we were there, but the minute he held her, she quieted down."
I took the burp rag from Rose's shoulder and placed it on my own before she handed McKayla to me. "Hello, sweet girl. Mommy missed you."
With McKayla still on my shoulder, I stood and walked into the kitchen. There, McKenna and Anna were busy cooking away. McKenna had her apron on and was standing on her step stool rolling out what looked like sugar cookie dough.
"You are so good at this baking thing. You must get that from your mom," Anna said.
"Mommy lets me do this with her all the time. Right, Mom?"
"Yep. Anna, whatever you're making smells wonderful." I was practically drooling from the smells.
"Oh good. I thought you might not feel like cooking, so I'm making something you can easily heat up later, if you'd like. I hope you don't mind."
"Not at all. McKenna wasn't too much trouble, was she?"
"Oh no. I love having her around."
"So, McKenna, are you okay with Anna and Jake being close friends now?" I asked. I knew she still felt some jealousy towards Anna, and I was pretty sure she really didn't understand what the word 'girlfriend' meant.
"Yeah. Anna's cool."
A short time later, Jake and Anna left and Carlisle and Esme arrived. Both of them are clearly in mourning for a daughter they've lost, but yet they looked relieved that they didn't lose more of their children. The twins were upstairs in their cribs, and McKenna was in her playroom.
"We wanted to talk to all of you about what we should do with Alice," Carlisle said.
"We are not sure if Gabriel has family, so we're leaving his remains to the authorities, in case he does. They can do with him as they please, but Alice...is still family," Esme said, her hazel eyes were glossy from crying. I wanted to go to her and hug her and apologize for everything, but I wasn't sure if it was okay.
"I don't want to sound disrespectful, but I don't think we need to make it a big affair," Jasper said. "I'm pretty sure what friends she did have she lost when she got involved with all of this, and I don't think we need to tell our family the true reasons behind her death. I think it should just be us. Something small."
"I don't want to sound disrespectful either, but I don't want to remember her as the girl she became. I'd much rather remember her as my loving, crazy sister. I agree with Jasper. Something small," Rosalie said.
"We thought about perhaps having her cremated and dividing up her ashes," Carlisle said.
"No," Jasper said. "I mean, do what you'd like, but I don't want them. Just put her in the ground." As Jasper spoke, I noticed how much he was struggling. I knew he loved her, and I knew how much he wanted to spend his life with her. I couldn't imagine what he was feeling right now, but I could tell he was desperately trying to keep himself in check. I knew he would most likely lose it again behind closed doors, when he was alone.
"You could do the same thing we did with Ian," I suggested. "We just had a private burial. Pastor Webber was there along with me, Charlie and Edward. It was nice."
"I say we do that," Emmett said. "Maybe after that we can finally put all of this behind us and move on."
"Yes, that's our hope as well," Carlisle said.
Later that night, after everyone had left and the girls were sound asleep, Edward came to bed. I had finished pumping and was waiting for him. After he checked the monitors and turned the light off, he crawled in next to me, pulling me to him so my back was flushed against his chest. His grip on me was strong, like he was afraid to let go. We didn't speak at first, and I was unsure as to how long we had stayed like that before I felt his tears on my skin. I flipped over to my other side and wiped his tears from his cheeks.
"Edward, are you alright?" I asked.
"I just...I just need to hold you...or have you hold me. I don't know...I just need something."
"Talk to me. Tell me what's going through your mind."
"Being back in this house after everything...seeing the looks on my parents' faces...hearing Jasper talk about Alice...it just got to me. Mom and Dad could have been talking to the family about what to do with me, or you, or even McKenna. I just can't lose you."
"Oh, Edward," I said as I pulled him close to me. He placed his head on my chest, and I started running my fingers through his hair. "I'm not going anywhere. I'm here with you. We're both safe and the girls are asleep in their beds. Everything will get better from here on out. The threat is behind us."
"Just promise me we won't let our girls turn out like Alice. I can't go through that again."
"Edward, all we can do is love them and guide them. Alice, like I've said before, wanted what she couldn't have. Somewhere along the way someone told her that kind of life was perfect, that it could bring her anything she wanted. She was lied to. The perfect life is with this family, because we all love each other, faults included. Somewhere someone told her that our family wasn't perfect, that they didn't love her, and rather than realize they were lying, she believed them. Now, I'm not trying to say she's not at fault for what she did because she believed the lie, but she is still your sister. I know you loved her, and I know she loved you."
"Please let me hold you tonight, Bella. I need to. Please," Edward begged.
"You can hold me every night, Edward," I said as I wiped the tears again from his cheek before softly kissing him.