Frowning, I scrunched up the medical form into a ball and threw it at the wall in a violent movement. It was impossible to concentrate on the incredibly tedious information when I had much bigger worries to be dealt with.
That worry was of Bella. Less than a week ago we had returned to this place, Forks, to our home and our very much beloved human. Although nobody had outright stated it, that Bella was already part of our family was something accepted by everyone. Even Rosalie. Her grudging respect and admiration for her bravery, guilt over the recent fiasco of her cliffdiving and knowledge that this family would be forever incomplete without Bella had her approval.
The accident. The most horrid time my family and I had ever gone through; it would forever remain a traumatic experience. To sit there in our house believing that my son and daughter had died. The atmosphere had been unbearable; Jasper had to leave, overcome with grief and guilt tripled by everyone in the house.
It was a blissful moment when they had returned. However, that bliss was tinged and stained with something darker; the bruises, unhealed lacerations and cuts were visible on all particles of her skin. Her eyes bloodshot, lips pale, rosy cheeks so prone to blushing holding an abnormal colour of pale white and swaying dangerously due to her lack of sleep. My daughter.
Esme was unable to contain her joy and sorrow, running to them at once and hugging them as a mother would. Bella, even in her faint state, had embraced her back with tears in her eyes.
Amongst all else, the weight loss was one that captivated my anxiety. She had lost at least ten pounds; her previously willowy form now held so thin it was dangerous.
Esme entered the room with cautious, questioning eyes. No doubt that she had heard my little tantrum and searched to comfort me. Smiling, I made a conscious effort to quell her worries as she drifted into my arms.
The quiet voices talking outside the door cut her short. I recognised the deep voice and the high, melodic voice as Edward and Bella's. Our eyes widened. It was still pitch black; darkness chocking the air. What on earth was she doing so early? Was there a problem? Had she been hurt?
Rushing downstairs, apprehensive, I measured her weak form in Edward's arms. My eyes ran over her; no visual harm. There was always the chance of inner injury though, and that could be lethal.
"Hello dear. Is there something wrong? What are you doing up so early?" Esme cradled our child's tired face, kissing her head. She smiled drowsily.
"Nothing's wrong, Esme. Bella simply couldn't sleep so I brought her here," Edward answered smoothly.
"Why can't you sleep? Would you like me to provide you with some pills to help?" I asked, concerned. She only shook her head.
"It's alright. There isn't a problem; I just couldn't sleep tonight. Is it okay if I stay here?" Although she tried to keep her voice neutral and detached, I could detect wavering in both her voice and eyes. Insecurity and fear. It tore at my heart to know that I was one of the people who had caused it.
"Of course it isn't a problem, silly. Would you like a drink? Tea or hot chocolate?" Esme asked with a smile.
"If it's not too much trouble, could I have hot chocolate?" she replied shyly, seeming to sink into Edward even more. Edward smirked.
My beloved farewelled Bella with another kiss on the forehead and left to provide her with the specified beverage. Eyes lightened up, my love bustled about in the large kitchen. I knew that it pleased her to be able to cook for her child. Esme grasped at any chance to feed her, especially now that she was underweight.
I went into the living room and they followed.
"Where's everyone else?" Bella asked.
"Alice and Jasper are out hunting," he replied, purposely excluding Rosalie and Emmett.
That won't work, Edward. Avoiding the subject will only flare her curiousity.
I thought to Edward. He flashed a quick frown at me, but quickly hid it away behind a mask.
"What about Emmett and Rosalie?" smirking, I sat down on the couch.
"Tell me, Edward. Why aren't you telling me?" She worried needlessly. My son sighed, resigned.
"They're in the forest as well…for some alone time." he put it delicately for her. She blushed scarlett and hid her face in his chest. I chuckled. She would have to get used to our lack of privacy if she insisted on joining us.
"Hey, Edward!" Emmett entered the room. Bella blushed redder at his presence.
"Hey, Bella. What did I miss?" he asked, chortling at her blush.
Esme saved Bella by returning with her drink. We all wrinkled our nose at the smell, even I who was used to the scent of human food.
"God, what is that?" Emmett asked in horror, bending over to look at the black liquid.
"It's called hot chocolate, Emmett," Bella answered, trying to maintain her dignity as he poked the cup.
"It looks like a piece of dog shit," he replied. Bella slapped his hand when he tried to sink his index finger in the hot chocolate, only to have a very sore hand.
"Here, let me take care of that for you," Edward offered, punching Emmett much to his displeasure.
Another brawl ensured. They were ushered outside by Esme.
Bella sipped her drink daintily. Her eyes were drooping and her figure swaying, all symptoms of drowsiness. I worried that she would faint.
"Bella, are you sure that you aren't sleepy? You need proper sleep to recover, what with all the trouble you had in the past week." I chided gently.
"I'm not sleepy," she answered with forced confidence, and turned her head away. She had always been a bad liar. I hid a smile.
"Why not?" I asked quietly, sensing there was something brewing under. I had noticed that Bella looked tightly strung, tension visible in her body language.
"I-" she stopped short, letting out a shaky breath. Curling into a small ball on the couch, she lay her head on her knees.
"Yes?" I encouraged. Bella still hesitated, quickly flashing a look at the door.
"Edward wouldn't be able to hear us, dear. He's still busy fighting Emmett," I informed her with a laugh. She giggled quietly at that as well. Now that Jasper had joined the wrestling, it wouldn't end anytime soon.
"It's nothing, just that I've been having nightmares. Nothing bad," she gave up with a quiet sigh. I frowned at that. She was having nightmares?
"What kind of nightmares are they?" I asked, moving to sit beside her.
She balked at that question, and I put my arms around her shoulders, seeking to comfort her and ease what insecurities or fear she might possess. It did seem to help as she relaxed slightly.
"They…they're mostly ones where I search for something all night. And then at the end-" she shivered, holding back tears now. I stroked her hair and pulled her into my embrace.
"In the end?" I murmured.
"In the end…I realise that there was nothing that I had been searching for. That there would never be anything for me, ever…" her inaudible answer made the ancient ache come to life. Heartache, so intense that it threatened to break me. My sweet, sweet child; so broken by her own family. Her dreams told me everything, of her terrible despair over our leaving and fear that we might still do it again. I hugged her tighter.
"We'll never leave again, Bella," I told her firmly, rubbing circles into her back. I could feel warm tears seeping into the shoulder of my shirt, and gentle tremors wracked her body as she cried. I let her cry it all out, her sorrow, anguish, fear; and swore to fill it back with happiness and hope.
It took quite a while for her to finish. Esme entered the room with grief in her eyes, and I returned it with my own. She sat down on the other side of our child and gently locked her in her arms. The day taking a great toll on her, she fell asleep almost instantly with her head in her lap. Esme brushed Bella's curls away from her face and placed a light kiss on the tip of her nose.
A light sob broke over her composure, my love's beautiful face contorting in her sorrow. I comforted her the best I could.
"What have we done to our child?" she asked, her voice trembling.
"All we can do is to fix her again," I told her. She nodded.
The dawn broke with a beautiful shade of red, signalling a new start.