I was so happy with myself earlier today for finally editing a chapter, and then I realized I did Chapter 15 instead of 14. I don't even know how I managed to get 14 done too considering how busy things are lately. As usual, a huge thanks to beachcomberlc for her top-notch beta-work. She's a sweetheart. I'd like to say I can get these chapters done quicker, but March is a brutal month for me thanks to all my family birthdays and no free time. I'm working on it though.
I don't own Twilight. I do own Breaking Dawn Part 2 on Blu-Ray though. I haven't watched it yet. I'm lazy like that.
"What are you doing here?" Edward asks as he approaches Bella, who is sitting patiently on a chair on the deck of the main house.
"Just watching," Bella replies simply as her eyes dart back to the scene in the house. Rosalie and Esme are feeding Elizabeth her bottle as Jasper and Emmett make plans to go hunting. Carlisle is at the hospital and Alice is nowhere to be found, which usually means she's out shopping. "I'm grateful that they are being so wonderful to my daughter, but on the other hand, I'm hurt because it should be me in there. Does that make any sense?"
"It's natural to want to bond with your daughter, Bella," Edward explains as Bella turns her attention back to her sire. "You've improved by leaps and bounds over the past few weeks, and when I can get Carlisle to see how immune you appear to be to the scent of human blood, then we can see about increasing your visitation."
"This sounds like some sort of shitty custody agreement and I'm clearly getting the shaft."
"Well, it is sort of like that," Edward smiles. "It's not the most ideal situation, but we can't be lax with Elizabeth's safety, don't you agree?" Snow begins to fall softly around them as Edward watches Bella nod her head softly. He knows she dislikes the situation they are currently in, and wishes she could be with Beth all of the time, but Edward can't take any chances until his beliefs regarding Bella's immunity are proven correct.
Over the past few weeks, Bella has begun to come to terms with her new 'life'. All of the Cullens have been surprised by her progress since she first woke up, especially Carlisle. He's done some testing on Bella and there have been no anomalies in her system, but he's still extra cautious in regards to her quick adaption. However, no one is as cautious as Rosalie is.
Edward has tried to convince Rosalie to let Bella spend some time with her daughter, but Rosalie doesn't believe that Bella's immunity to blood has occurred so quickly. She refuses to even consider the possibility that even though Bella's change took longer than usual, her adjustment to vampire life has been short and sweet. Edward has given up arguing with Rosalie on Bella's behalf and he plans to show Carlisle just how well Bella is doing as soon as he can, hoping that Carlisle can sway Rosalie.
"So, what's the plan for today?" Bella asks, pulling Edward from his thoughts.
"There's no plan, actually." Bella looks surprised at Edward's comment, because he has been very busy teaching her all about vampire history, discussing all of their abilities and hunting. To Bella it seems like they have been busy constantly since she changed, but she knows that's not right. They have had some downtime to discuss personal things between them, and Bella has shared some memories from her past, but she knows they are disappearing rapidly, so she has recorded as many as she can in the book that Edward gave her.
"No plan? Where's my Edward and what have you done with him?" Bella replies with a laugh as Edward pauses at the mention of 'my Edward'. Bella seems unaware of the slip, but Edward lets the words linger in his mind, wondering briefly if he and Bella could have something romantic in their future.
"You've done great, really. It's about time you relaxed a bit. We can go for a run if you want to," he suggests easily, trying to think of anything else other than his burgeoning feelings.
"Did you run out of things to cram into my brain?" Bella laughs as she stands from the chair and approaches Edward ever so slowly.
"Um… no. I just thought we could use a break, that's all." Edward swallows thickly as Bella runs her finger down his chest and then turns to his left, walking behind him, before effortlessly jumping off the deck and landing lithely on her feet.
"Alright, let's go for a run then." In the blink of an eye, Bella disappears into the forest, and Edward is fast on her heels.
Edward isn't surprised when they end up at Swan Bay, on the shore of Ozette Lake. It's been a favourite spot of theirs during their runs, and it keeps them safe by heading north of Quileute territory. Bella sits down on the log where they like to chat and pats the spot beside her, as though she thinks Edward won't sit with her. Truth be told, Edward has been trying to keep his distance now that he's begun to think of Bella in a romantic sense.
"I won't bite," she laughs as Edward grins back at her. He's glad that she can finally joke about being a vampire. "What's wrong with you?"
"Nothing, I'm fine."
"I've solved the mystery – you're a girl – because only a girl would say 'nothing, I'm fine', which implies that you are not fine. So spill it," Bella states firmly as Edward rests beside her and rather than tell her the truth, that he is struggling with her newfound feelings for her, Edward decides to skirt the true issue.
"I'm frustrated with Rosalie. She knows how important it is for you to bond with Beth, but she's the biggest roadblock of them all. Carlisle knows that you are adjusting rapidly to your new life, but he has yet to see you first hand. I think if he saw your ability, he'd be able to convince Rosalie to give you actual hands-on time with Beth," Edward laments, disappointed in himself that he couldn't be honest with her.
"What do we need to do? Lead me into a mall in Seattle or take me to a crowded movie theatre or something, so he can see I'm not the least bit interested in snacking on the general public?" Bella suggests as Edward offers her a small smile in return. Though her suggestions are absurd, Edward wonders if he should take Bella to the Forks Hospital to see Carlisle. She'll be safe with him, but also around the public. They can easily prove to him that Bella isn't a threat to anyone, least of all Beth.
"I have an idea, but it might anger Carlisle."
"We can blame it all on me then. What's the idea?"
"How do you feel about hospitals?"
"Horrible. I used to visit one all the time when I was a child because I was so clumsy," Bella explains, before she pauses and realizes that though she knows this fact, she cannot give Edward an exact recount of a past hospital visit. "Anyways, I don't like them, but if it means I can be close to Beth, I'm willing to try anything."
Five minutes, and 28 miles, later Edward and Bella find themselves walking into the Emergency Ward of Forks General Hospital. They approach the front desk and Edward has Carlisle paged as Bella reaches out and grips his hand tightly.
She's anxious that she won't be able to prove Edward right, and keep herself in check. Her mouth fills with venom as the scent of blood surrounds her, but Bella swallows it down and stands a little straighter. She can do this. Edward entwines his fingers with hers and gives her a huge smile, in an attempt to be supportive.
When Carlisle walks into the waiting area a few minutes later, his eyes go wide as he sees Edward and Bella standing there. The waiting area is full, as it usually is when there is snow on the roads, but Carlisle offers Bella a small smile anyways. "Carlisle, you never told us your son had such a lovely girlfriend," Casey, one of the nurses says sweetly as she eyes Bella and Edward with a grin plastered on her face.
"Oh well… it's a new development," Carlisle replies coolly as his eyes drift down to Edward and Bella's joined hands. "Can you guys go to exam room 3, please? I'll be with you in a moment." To Edward, it's obvious that Carlisle is furious because of the thoughts currently in his mind, but to anyone else he appears normal. Edward listens as Carlisle discusses treatment instructions with one of the nurses, as they slip into the room Carlisle told them to go to.
"Do you think he's pissed?" Bella asks as she jumps up effortlessly onto the exam table. "You'd think he'd be happy that I'm behaving."
"I can read minds, remember," Edward replies as he taps his forehead and Bella goes to punch his shoulder, but she hits him much harder than she expected.
"I'm not forgetting everything, Edward," Bella answers with a roll of her eyes as Carlisle strolls into the room, his voice normal but he's clearly angry.
"So, what's going on here? I'd hope one of you is hurt so that you can explain your visit here today."
"Well, Bella did just punch me, so my ego is a little bruised," Edward answers playfully as Carlisle looks at his son in frustration. "Okay, fine, this was our attempt to show you that Bella could be trusted around Elizabeth. She's in public, there's dozens of people around and you know she hasn't harmed anyone."
"This was reckless Edward, and you know it," Carlisle chastises. "Not only because Bella could have harmed someone, but because she could have been recognized. You are lucky Casey is a fairly new nurse and she didn't know Chief Swan or Bella. This isn't something to be taken lightly, Edward."
"Fine, we screwed up," Edward begins as Carlisle scowls at his son. "But I firmly believe that Bella is not a threat to Elizabeth and we need you to see that. Once you are on our side, maybe Rosalie can relent a little bit and Bella can be in the same room with her daughter."
"This was not the best way to go about this. You could have hurt people."
"But I didn't," Bella chimes in defensively. "I had one moment of weakness and it passed. I'm fine."
"It was one moment though, Bella. What about the next time or the time after that? Are you ready to take that chance with Elizabeth?" Carlisle asks as Bella stands her ground. Though it has only been a few weeks, Bella knows she's not a typical vampire and she's confident in her ability to show restraint around her daughter.
"I won't hurt her, Carlisle. I am 100% certain of that." Carlisle nods softly and agrees to discuss everything with the family again when he gets home. "Thank you, Carlisle. You won't regret it."
"Let's hope not," he replies simply. "Now, I have actual patients to treat. Please go home, alright?" Edward and Bella agree and Carlisle leaves them in the exam room. Just as they are about to leave Edward hears the thoughts of a patient in another exam room.
There was no way that was her. No way. She wasn't pregnant and she didn't have a kid with her, so she must have gotten rid of it, right? Shit…if Kim finds any of this shit out, I'm fucked. I need to find her and get this shit figured out. I need to know my ass is covered; otherwise…I don't want to even think about the shit that will hit the fan.
"You okay?" Bella asks as she notices the look of concern on Edward's face.
"Yeah… I'm fine. Let's get out of here, alright?"
"Yes, please. I hate hospitals." Edward ushers Bella out a back door and into the now dark night. They race through the forest toward his cottage and all Edward can focus on is protecting Bella and keeping her away from Jared.