Over the next two weeks, the girls and I tried to regain some sense of normalcy, as normal as we could be without Bella. Kaylen had gone home to keep an eye on Joey, but I made sure she called to check in every night. I also gave her a key to the house so she'd have a place to go if she needed to. She promised she'd call me right away if her father gave her any trouble. There was a counselor at school assigned to talk with all the girls on a regular basis. It seemed to be helping Kenzie and Kaylen, who had been having a difficult time. Molly didn't seem as phased. She and Masen fought a lot, but were surprisingly close. She has a good head on her shoulders, and although she misses him, she understands what happened, as one of her classmates was also killed in a car accident last year.
. . .
My late night phone conversations with Charlie were becoming more and more worrisome.
"How was she today?" I asked.
"Bad. Real bad. I don't know what to do, Edward. Something's wrong. It's not just Masen. She won't eat. She gets sick all the time. She's thin as a rail. She's just wasting away. She never comes out of her room. She won't talk to me. She cries all the time. I really think she needs to be hospitalized."
I felt my stomach sink and my lungs deflate. "Well, take her to the doctor. Maybe she needs to be medicated."
"She won't let me. She just yells at me to leave her alone."
I sighed. "You still won't let me come up there?"
"I don't think its a good idea. She's too fragile."
"Alright. Well, let her know I called. Again."
"I will. I'll talk to you tomorrow."
I tried to get some sleep, but even without worrying about Bella, it was difficult. Every time I closed my eyes, I saw Masen's angry face as he yelled at me for hurting his mother. Everything inside me ached for how he left this Earth not understanding how important he and Bella were to me. I vowed to myself, that every day, I would do whatever I could to make sure I showed all the girls in my life how much I loved them and I would bend over backwards to care for Kaylen and Masen's child.
It was 2:00 a.m. when Kenzie crawled into bed with me. "Daddy?"
"I had a bad dream."
I pulled back the covers where Bella usually was. "Come on, crawl in."
It was becoming routine. Kenzie often made her way into my bed in the middle of the night. She curled up next to me and gripped my shirt in her little fist. She'd often wake me from talking in her sleep and flailing around during a nightmare.
One morning I caught her watching me get ready for work in the bathroom.
"Daddy?" she asked from the bed.
"Is mommy ever going to come home?"
I stopped shaving and looked over at her. "She will, I'm just not sure when. She loves you, you know? She's just having a hard time dealing with everything."
Kenzie nodded and looked down, picking at the blanket on the bed.
. . .
It had been two days without a word from Charlie and he wasn't answering my phone calls. On the third day, while I was at work, I finally picked up the phone and called the station. Charlie was semi-retired but he still worked part-time during the week as a dispatcher.
"Forks Police Department, can I help you?"
"Uh, yes ma'am. I was looking for Charles Swan."
"Who is this?"
"This is Edward Cullen, his son-in-law, I haven't been able to reach him at home."
"Oh, well, I'm sorry, honey. He hasn't been in the past two days. Some kind of family emergency, but I don't know the details. If he calls in, I'll let him know you're looking for him."
My heart raced. Family emergency? I hung up the phone without even saying goodbye.
I called Charlie's house phone but there was no answer. I called his cell phone and it went straight to voicemail.
Chief Swan. Leave a message.
"Charlie, I swear to God, if you let something happen to her. Call me back, damn it!" I hung up and rested my head in my hands on my desk and broke down. I had lost my son and I felt like I had lost my wife. I had no idea where she was and whether or not she was okay. I was suddenly angry with myself, that I hadn't gone to Forks despite Charlie's demands, but I couldn't leave the girls.
My office door swung open after a quick knock. "Mr. Cullen?" my assistant asked.
I looked up and she could clearly see I wasn't in the mood.
"Oh, I'm sorry, sir, but the Judge is on line three, about the Hughes case."
I sighed and rubbed my hands over my face as I tried to regain my composure. "Put him through."
. . .
It was was shortly after 9:00 p.m. when my cell phone rang. I was helping Molly with her algebra homework. "I'll be right back," I told her. She eyed me curiously as I left her room.
"Charlie?" I answered.
"What the fuck is going on? Tell me she's okay." The long sigh on the other end of the phone nearly made me lose my mind.
He hesitated for a moment before answering. "Uh, I, I don't really know. She's stable. I called an ambulance a few nights ago. She passed out in the shower. I heard a loud thud and she wasn't answering when I knocked on the door and I went in and she was just there on the shower floor, not moving. She's at Forks General. She's awake now. They said she's dehydrated and malnourished. They're still doing some tests to see what's going on, but they think she'll be able to go home tomorrow. That's all I know."
"Why the hell didn't you call me sooner?"
"I was with her. I couldn't have my phone on in the hospital."
I couldn't help but raise my voice. "She's my fucking wife, Charlie! I was worried sick about her. I called the station, they said there was a family emergency. You can't do this shit to me! I couldn't handle it if I lost her, too."
Charlie was quiet and he let me vent.
"I'll be up there tomorrow," I said.
"No, no Edward. Don't. She's keeping some food down now. They're going to release her in the morning. Don't come. She's just now getting better, if you come up here, you might just upset her and start this mess all over again."
I pulled at my hair, so confused as to what to do. I eventually agreed not to go up there, if he agreed to tell her we had spoken and that I wanted her home and I wasn't mad. He said he'd been telling her that, but he would tell her again. I told him to keep me updated on Bella's condition.
. . .
Nearly a week passed. I got nightly calls from Charlie that Bella was doing better, a lot better. While I was relieved to hear it, I was anxious to see it for myself.
I was busy at work. It was about 10:00 a.m. when my assistant buzzed in on the phone. "Um, Mr. Cullen?"
"Yeah?" I was preoccupied with the motion I was drafting.
"You have a visitor here to see you."
"I don't have any appointments today. Who is it?"
"Uh," her voice lowered. "It's your wife."
. . .
Author's Note: Thanks for the reviews. :) Sorry to leave you hanging, I'll try to get the next one posted soon.