Many thanks as always to my dear friends for pre-reading and betaing this one.
I don't own the characters, but I like to play with them.
The airport was just as busy as I knew it. The fatigue was having its say and I was out of it while Alice paid for our tickets and we boarded the plane. She let me sit at the window then took my hand patting the top of it. I gave her a weak smile before closing my eyes.
Next time I opened them, we were flying and the sky was so dark… There was a crunching sound from my left and I turned to see what was going on.
Alice was watching a movie on her new piece of technology…I had no idea how it was called but I knew it was really expensive. But the crunching sounds came from the peanuts she was eating. She grinned at me before refocusing on her movie.
It was incredibly strange to see her eating. I was fascinated.
"Can you stop staring, Bella?" she whispered.
She laughed, offering me the small packet of peanuts. I shook my head and leaned back in my seat.
We landed on Dartmouth Airport after changing the plane once. I was restless as I followed Alice and Jasper to their car. I shouldn't have been surprised to see the huge BMW, but I was surprised to see Alice climbing behind the wheel.
"Is it safe?" I whispered to Jasper.
He chuckled and leaned to me. "Don't comment on her driving. Just put your seatbelt on and pray for your life."
I gulped giving him a shocked look. He had to be joking. But he was dead serious from the look on his face.
Alice's driving didn't compare to how Edward used to drive—it was ten thousand times worst. And we were all humans now. I really feared for my life. She dismissed my worries when I pointed out that she passed a red light, telling me that nothing happened in this small town. I kept my mouth closed, not wanting to bring up Edward—she'd only say that was Victoria's fault.
It was still fuzzy in my head. All of it. They were humans. Victoria was after us. Edward was hurt. My head hurt if I thought too much about all this.
"You have to shower and eat something then we'll go to the hospital," she told me as she parked in front of a stylish house. It reminded me of the house in Forks, but this was made of wood and was more long than tall. It was still beautiful.
The house was quiet as we stepped inside. Everyone was still at the hospital probably.
"What do you want to eat?" Jasper asked, closing the front door.
I shrugged. "Nothing too heavy," I mumbled. My stomach was doing weird flip flops.
Alice appeared to look for something or someone as her eyes rounded around the living room and hallway. She frowned and went down the hallway. I went after Jasper to what I presumed was the kitchen.
"I found some lasagna. I hope it's still good. You like it, right?" he asked, glancing at me.
"I love it." I smiled and climbed on a chair, hugging my knees to my chest.
It was strange to be here. As I looked around the kitchen, I could see that it was used. A dishtowel was thrown on the back of a chair, three plates were in the dishwasher along with a tall glass and silverware. There were magnets on the fridge's door along with a few post-it notes.
"Alice, we're eating!" Jasper yelled out.
She appeared it the doorway with her hair sticking in every direction. "I can't find Smoky."
"Did you try Edward's room?" Jasper cocked his head.
"Yes, and everywhere else. Do you think he left again?" she asked worried.
"He always comes back, Alice. Let him be and come eat."
"Who's Smoky?" I found myself asking confused.
Alice grabbed something from the fridge's door and gave it to me. A picture. My breath caught in my throat. It was Edward—a very human Edward—with a big cat. I spared a look at the cat being too focused to drink in this human Edward. His bronze hair was flattened to an end, his green eyes were full of joy as he smiled at the camera sporting the biggest smile I had ever seen on his face while clutching the grey cat to his chest.
"He has a cat?" I blurted out.
"Yeah. He came to them when they moved here. Of course, Esme, like a responsible parent told Edward no, and Edward, like any teenager took him in behind her back demanding that he always wanted a cat telling her that he used to have one. Carlisle was on his side, remembering Edward had a cat." Alice shrugged. "Anyway, they went behind Esme's back for about a month, feeding the cat and having it sleep in Edward's room until Esme questioned the hair on Edward's clothes." She laughed, shaking her head.
I giggled despite myself. I could really see him with a cat.
We started eating and I found myself wolfing down the food not having eaten in almost a day. Just as I leaned back in my chair, waiting for them to finish, something furry passed near my leg. I screamed jumping up, making the chair topple over.
Jasper choked up on his food as he started laughing. Looking down, I saw a huge grey cat looking at me annoyed.
"Smoky!" Alice screeched snatching him off the floor. "Where have you been?"
The cat's tail twitched as he looked at me still upset. Okay, so we started on the wrong foot.
Alice put him some food in a bowl while Jasper showed me to the bathroom so I could freshen up.
"This is the guest room, so feel like home." He smiled and closed the door.
Half an hour later, after a much needed shower, I started to feel human. The bad sleep was catching up with me and as I went back to the kitchen set to ask Alice if we could make some coffee, I bumped into someone. Literally. Typical me.
"Whoa there!" That voice… I looked up and found myself staring in another set of blue eyes. Did all of them have blue eyes? Why was the world so unfair?
"E-Em-mmett," I stuttered.
"Bella!" he shouted as if just realizing who I was. Then I was in his arms being squeezed and twirled around. "You have no idea how much I missed you!"
I wrapped my arms around his neck and squeezed him back feeling a few tears tickling down my cheeks. "Me too."
"How did you get here?" he questioned, moving me at arm length.
"Alice and Jasper, of course." I laughed, stepping away from his embrace.
"Figures. Alice said she'd contact you." He nodded, acknowledging the information.
I jumped again when the cat rubbed against my legs.
"You have to stop sneaking up on me," I hissed. He didn't pay attention to me continuing down the hallway with his tail high in the air.
"Oh, you met Smoky," Emmett said amused.
"Yeah. Uh, I guess…um…I should say congratulations." I smiled timidly to him. He looked confused at me. "The baby?"
"Oh, right. Dave's an angel." He smiled. "Actually that's why I'm here, and Esme shooed us too."
"Oh, what happened?" I wondered.
"Dave was tired and Esme insisted we needed sleep too. Rose's in the kitchen with him. Come on," he said softly wrapping an arm around my shoulders.
We walked quietly to the kitchen and I could feel my heart in my throat. Rosalie and I never became friends when they were in Forks. Had that changed?
"Rose, look who I found!" Emmett exclaimed, stepping in the kitchen in front of me.
"I saw Smoky for myself," she told him annoyed. Nothing had changed there.
"Not Smoky. Look!" He stepped aside and I was in plain view. Her eyes widened and the teaspoon full of baby food fell to the floor with a loud clank. She was just as beautiful as I remembered. Her golden hair was caught in a bun at the back of her head, her eyes were an ocean blue—of course, blue again—and her lips were painted a deep red. She was wearing a green summer dress that showed off all her forms. My eyes moved to the little guy in the high chair. He was frowning at her, probably wondering why she wasn't feeding him. He was the splinting image of Emmett, except his blond curls.
"Bella? Is it you?" Rosalie whispered. Had I changed that much?
"Yes," I breathed, a knot forming in my throat. "Rosalie."
I don't know how it happened, but we were hugging and crying. She stroked my head, shushing me. As I started to calm down I realized she smelled like hospital which made me cry again.
"He'd be happy to see you," she whispered in my ear. "He's woken up three times so far and every time asked for you then we could see he realized you weren't there for obvious reasons and he closed his eyes, blocking us."
I gulped, sniffing loudly. "I want to go, to see him."
We turned to her son to see Emmett trying to feed him.
"I'll find him," Rosalie offered and after a pat on my cheek she left.
I was confused. Find who? What was Moky?
"He wants Smoky," Emmett explained. "The poor cat endures a lot when he's in Dave's or Edward's hands."
I grinned. "How old is he?" I asked, going closer.
"Two," Dave answered for Emmett. "Who you?"
"She, friend," Emmett explained, winking at me. "Edward's friend," he added making me blush.
"No!" Dave yelled. "Eddie, my fwend!"
"Eddie?" I asked amused. I knew he hated that nickname.
"Dave's the only one allowed to use that name," Rosalie said from behind me. She was carrying Smoky in her arms. "Once you're done eating, you can play," she told her son.
"Where are Alice and Jasper?" I wondered looking around.
"Grabbing some clothes for Edward. You can go and visit now," Rosalie told me.
An hour later, I was walking inside the hospital flanked by Jasper and Alice. If it wasn't for Jasper's arm around my shoulders I would have probably been on the floor. I felt queasy.
We arrived in front of a door and before Alice could open it, someone stepped out. Carlisle. He looked aged, more than he should have been. His eyes grew wide as he saw us. His arms wrapped around me quickly.
"Bella, I'm so glad Alice found you," he whispered. He sounded tired.
"He's awake. Wait, I'll tell Esme to step out."
I leaned against the wall. This was the moment I'd been waiting for over three years. I was going to see Edward—not like I wished or dreamed to, but he was right on the other side of this hospital door. Human. Alive. Hurt.
"Shh." Alice rubbed my arm and I realized I was crying again. "He'll be happy to see you. I'm sure."
The door opened again and I saw Esme. If Carlisle looked tired, she looked worse. The dark shadows under her eyes were huge. She sobbed as she caught me in a hug.
"Bella, my dear!"
"Esme," I whispered. "Oh, God! I missed you all so much!"
"We missed you too. You have no idea." She kissed my cheeks before stepping back and hugging Alice. "I'm so happy you went after Bella."
"I told you that I will find her," Alice told her seriously. "Here she is."
"Now, go inside. He's awake and ignoring everyone. Like always," Esme told me softly.
I gulped, feeling unsure suddenly. How would Edward react?
"And you're going home to sleep. No arguments, Esme," Carlisle told her sternly. "Jasper, I trust you to take her home."
Esme made to argue, but then nodded yawning. I started giggling, finding that extremely odd. They looked at me surprised before smiling.
"You should have seen us when we started feeling different human things. If it's weird for you, it was even weirder for us," Alice explained. "Go." She opened the door.
I slipped inside and closed the door softly. Edward was the only occupant of the room. His back was to the door and I could see his back muscles straining as he heard someone stepping inside. The stripped pajama he was wearing was something I had never seen on him. He never needed it before. The hair at the back of his head was flattened from when he had slept probably. After I drank in his presence, I saw the IV tube coming from his arm that was in front of him, away from my view. It was surreal to see him hurt.
"Esme, stop staring! I'm hurt not dead," he muttered. His voice was just as beautiful as I knew it, even though it was strained.
Gulping air, I approached the bed and as a last minute decision, I rounded it to be in plain view. His eyes were closed and his eyebrows were puckered in the middle of his forehead. There was a purple bruise on his right cheek and a stitched cut over his eyebrow, but his face still looked beautiful. He looked like a bruised angel. My eyes fell to his hands that were clutching a black iPod. I had missed the wires going to his ears. Did he still have super hearing? How could he have heard me while listening to music?
A white bandage peeked from his unbuttoned pajama top and I was reminded that I could have lost him before I had a chance to see him again.
A sob escaped my throat, taking me by surprise.
His eyes flew open. Penetrating green eyes bored into my brown ones for minutes on end then he blinked. I had never seen Edward confused, but the sight was a funny one. He kept blinking and seizing me up and down before he sprang up groaning loudly and grabbing his left side.
"Bella!" he gasped. He shook his head. "Am I dreaming?"
I walked closer to the bed and cupped his cheeks. "I'm right here, Edward," I whispered. "Lay back."
"How? When? Who? What?"
I tried not to laugh as I sat next to him taking his bruised hand in mine. "Alice, of course."
"Of course," he said softly, squeezing my hand. "But why?"
"Why not?" I insisted.
Edward smiled, closing his eyes before opening them again. He still didn't believe I was there. Not like I was grasping it, either.
"You're really here, Bella," he murmured reaching to touch my cheek. "I've wished you were here for so many days now that it's surreal." His lips pursed and he shook his head. "Alice shouldn't have meddled. Maybe you didn't want to be here?"
He left that hanging in the air, searching my eyes. How could he think that? Of course I wanted to be there. I wanted to be with him since he left. There were so many things to be said. I wanted a sound explanation of why he had left and cut off all contact, why he denied even Alice to talk with me…
"There's no other place I'd rather be," I promised him, rubbing his hand.
His gaze dropped and slowly, he pulled his hand away. "I've been such an ass to you."
"It's all in the past," I told him wanting to feel his hand in mine again. He must have seen my twitchy fingers and with a smile I missed so much, his hand squeezed mine.
"I wish you'd stay. Would you?" he asked quietly.
"Of course. I'm so happy you are okay."
"It's strange, isn't it?" He chuckled. "I'm here, in a hospital bed—this used to be you."
I laughed, bringing his hand to my lips and kissing his fingers. "I like to think I've outgrown that klutzy stage."
Edward smirked cupping my cheek. "Stay."
"Always," I promised. I could see his eyes were dropping and the medicine was probably taking the effect. "What are you listening to?" I asked as he lowered on the bed.
He offered me an ear bud and a small smile. As he arranged on the bed, I brought the bud close to my ear and returned his smile. Clair de Lune. So many memories.
"It's relaxing and I listen to it on repeat."
"Do you want me to bring Carlisle?" I asked worried when he winced.
"Just press that button." Edward pointed to the button above the bed. "I hope it's Martha, or I won't get any morphine," he added with a wishful sigh.
"Who's Martha?" I teased him, pressing he button.
"My favorite nurse." He grinned. I drank in his features. He had grown up and the boyish look was gone, replaced by manly features. His face had sharpened, his jaw was more angular than I remembered and the most fascinating part was the light dust of hair covering it. Not thinking, I reached to touch his stubbly cheek. Edward closed his eyes, keeping my palm to his face. "I've missed you so much, Bella."
Before I could ask 'Why' and starting a serious conversation I was sure neither of us was ready to have, the door opened and a middle aged woman stepped inside.
"What can I do for you, Edward?" she asked after sparing me a glance and a warm smile.
"Martha!" he said cheerfully. "You know what I want."
"You're addicted to it." She shook her head. "This is not good, you know. You need to tell your doctor that it hurts. I'll give you just a little," she conceded.
As she worked, Edward winked at me over her hunched body. I felt a warm feeling flooding though me. I hadn't felt anything like that since he had been with me in Forks. Only Edward could make my heart beat like that.
He was asleep when Martha left his side. "You must be Bella. He's talked about you a lot."
"He has?" I asked surprised, looking over to Edward.
"Oh, you have no idea. I assumed it's you because he never talked with anyone, let alone smile or laugh."
I gave her my best smile and once she was gone, I slumped on the plastic chair. I had no idea what to say or think or do.
Why hasn't he contacted me once he was human?
Why didn't he want to talk to his family?
Why did he want me now?
Why did he leave in the first place?
I realized I was clutching to his iPod and decided to see what music he had in there. Remembering how organized his music used to be in his room, I wasn't surprised to find there categories like Rock, Pop-Rock, Classical, Soul, 70s, 60s, Rap, Concert, Me.
Me? I blinked and read again. That meant only one thing, but I'd be violating his intimacy by seeing what was there.
Curious of what I'd find at Rap, I clicked on it and found only two songs that weren't really rap. Then I went to the 70s section and pressed play. I hadn't listened to The Beatles in a long time. Closing my eyes, I lowered on the seat and let the songs take me away.
This is going to be a slow burn. I promise she's not just taking him back, forgiving him immediately. ;)
PS: Jake is just her best friend. The same goes with Penelope for Edward-just friends.
PPS: You'll find a teaser for this story on Fictionators and Twilight Fic Zone.