A/N: I don't own this. We all know who does. What I do have is a copy of a Rob picture from the set of his film Remember Me. He's sitting on some stairs that lead to a building. I can't remember what that's called... :D He's wearing black shoes, black pants, a t-shirt, a plaid button-down shirt, and a blacke hoodie. His hair is a little longer and messy. His elbows are resting on his knees and his hands are folded together in front of his face. He looks a little sad, disheartened, upset, confused, worried... All the things I imagine Edward to be in this chapter. :)
Thanks to goldentemptress, BellaEdwardlover1991, and bugsmama07 for pre-reading this. They're sweet. :) And they write awesome stuff. Check it out.
Thanks to MariahajilE for being brave and smart. :) She's keeping me in line and fixing my brain spewings. She's kinda wonderful. :)
*** My awesome beta has put together The TwiFic Fandom Awards and I'm helping with it. There is a link to the Award site on my Facebook Page, as well as on my Facebook Profile and in the Facebook Group. Please check it out and see all of the categories we'll be giving out awards for. Nominations continue for one more week, so look at the categories and get to nominating! It's gonna be amazing! ***
Oh, and my beta may want me to also issue a **tissue warning** for this chapter. I believe her exact words to me were, "Get away from me with all of these feels. Good lord, Brandi. WARN A FRIEND. Jeez." So yeah, here's your warning. :D
It was January 11th, 11 days after the accident that changed my life. I'd practically moved into Alec's hospital room and had managed to learn far more about medical care that I ever thought I would. On day ten, Alec woke up feeling better, more normal. He was still heartbroken over Jane's death, so I knew his emotional state wasn't the best. Physically, though, he was getting better. It gave me hope that he would pull through and recover from his injuries, that our lives would eventually get back to normal; we could put all of the sadness and hurt behind us. Unfortunately, that didn't happen.
The afternoon of day ten brought on a fever. Alec was in pain again, and it was so severe that even the IV painkillers they had him on weren't able to stop it. During his first nine days in the hospital, he'd had a few setbacks; an infection here or a small bleed there. But each occurrence was quickly caught and fixed, and he continued to get better. The fever on day ten was different. He was tired, and he couldn't seem to stay awake for more than just a few minutes at a time. The doctors were worried – I could tell – even though they weren't saying anything negative to me about his condition or prognosis. Edward's father stopped by that evening, and after looking at Alec's chart, I saw the worry in his eyes.
"What?" I asked, hoping he would tell me the truth since nobody else seemed to want to.
"It's not good, Bella. We knew it was going to be iffy, but this latest fever isn't good. What have they told you?"
"Nothing. No one will tell me anything. Please, Dr. Cullen, say something. What's going on with him?"
He watched me for a few moments, then looked back at Alec before turning his gaze to me once more. "Honey, he's very sick. According to his chart, there's no recognizable origin for the infection that's causing his fever. His organs all seem to be functioning properly, so we just don't know. Aside from exploratory surgery – which to be honest, he's not strong enough to handle – we really don't know."
I fought back the fresh tears that were building in my eyes. I'd cried so much over the past ten days that, sometimes, I was shocked I even had anymore tears to cry.
"So what do I do?" I asked with a whisper.
"Have the kids been to see him?"
"No. They said no one under 12 can come in."
Edward's father let out a long sigh. "Bella, bring the kids in tomorrow. If anyone gives you trouble, send them to me. Honey, the kids need to see their dad, and if things continue this way, there might not be a lot of time left for that to happen."
His words shook my soul, and I realized what he was saying: Alec was in very real danger and may never recover from his injuries. Tears slid down my cheeks as Dr. Cullen wrapped his arm around my shoulders and pulled against him. He held me as I cried, watching my husband lay silently in his hospital bed with tubes and wires and monitors attached to him. How I would explain all of it to Collin and Mckenna I didn't know, but somehow, I had to find a way.
I slept in Alec's room that night, and first thing the next morning, my cell phone rang.
"Bella, it's Edward. I talked to my dad last night, and I'm gonna bring the kids to the hospital this morning."
I let out a sigh, thankful – yet aging – for Edward and how wonderful he'd been to me through everything.
"Okay. Um, just call my mom and-"
"I already talked to her. I told her I'd check with you, and if you're ready, then we'll bring the kids over in about an hour or so. That sound alright?"
"Yeah. That's great."
"Anything else you need?" he asked.
"No, I think I'm okay. He's still asleep right now, so I'll get cleaned up and change my clothes. I should be ready when you get here."
After hanging up with him, I let Alec's nurse know that our children were coming to visit their father. She didn't even put up a fight. She just looked at me with sadness in her eyes and said she would try to make the room a little less frightening for them while I was gone getting changed.
A little after 10:30, I heard the door open and saw Edward walk into the room.
"You ready?" he whispered, and I nodded, standing from my chair and walking toward him.
My mother walked into the room pulling a very scared-looking Collin behind her. Next came my father, who was carrying Mckenna in his arms; she didn't look much better than Collin did. Once Collin saw me, he rushed into my waiting arms.
"Hi, baby," I said as I picked him up and hugged him to me. "I'm so happy to see you."
He didn't say anything. He just buried his face in my neck and clung to me.
"Mommy?" Kenna said, squirming in my father's arms as she tried to get down, so she could make her way to me, too.
I sat back down in my chair and settled Collin on one leg while pulling my now freed daughter up and onto my other. I held them both as close to my body as I could. It took every ounce of strength I had to not cry. I didn't want to scare them any more than they already were, and after a few minutes, I quietly asked them some simple questions about their morning.
"What's that sound?" Kenna asked, referring to the heart rate monitor that was beeping softly on the other side of the room.
"That's the machine that tells us how much Daddy's heart is beating," I said.
"What are all those things on Daddy?" Collin asked once he'd had a chance to look at his father.
"Well, those are tubes that are helping Daddy to get better. They're giving him medicine and some air so that his body doesn't have to work too hard."
"I don't like it," he said, then pushed his face under my chin again.
We sat in the room for several minutes before Alec began to stir. Edward stood in front of him, blocking our view of his face just in case he woke up in pain. I could tell that Edward was worried Alec's expression would scare the kids, and I listened as he talked softly to Alec, letting him know Collin and Mckenna were there to see him. We heard the bed begin to rise ever so slightly as Edward helped Alec sit up a bit.
"Hey, guys," he said in a groggy voice.
"Daddy?" Mckenna whispered as she looked at him with worried eyes.
"Hi, honey. I missed you. You bein' a good girl?" he softly asked.
"Yes. I be good."
Alec did his best to smile at our daughter, though I could tell he was in a great deal of pain.
"Hey, son. You're so big. Did you grow while I've been in here?"
"No," Collin quietly answered.
"Maybe I just missed you too much," Alec said. "I'm glad you came to see me. I was hopin' you would."
"Daddy, when you gonna come home?" Mckenna asked. She got a little braver and slid off my lap, taking a few steps toward her father. Her hand reached out to touch his, and it made my heart hurt as I watched him wrap his hand around her tiny one.
"I don't know, baby. I'm tryin' to get better," he said in a weary voice. "I don't know."
"But I's missing you. I want you come home with me right now."
Her innocence was heartbreaking, and I saw my mother wipe away the tears that were falling down her cheeks.
"Me, too," he said, trying to pull her closer to him. "I want that, too, but I'm still hurt pretty bad. I don't know if I'm gonna get to go home with you."
"You gots a owie?" she asked.
"Yeah. I gots a few of 'em. Kenna, I want you to be a good girl, okay? You be good for your mom, and listen to her. And you play nice with Collin, alright?"
"I love you, honey. You be Daddy's sweet girl, okay?"
She nodded her head to him, and then I saw Alec look at Edward. "Please?" he whispered, and instantly, Edward bent down and picked up Kenna, letting her lean over Alec as he lifted his arms to hug her. I had to close my eyes as I watched him hold our daughter against him, knowing how much it was hurting him to have her laying on top of his chest the way she was. She was so small and weighed close to nothing, but he was in so much pain that he was still in agony.
"I love you, too, Daddy," Mckenna said before shifting enough so that she could place a kiss on Alec's cheek and then kiss him lightly on the lips. Edward lifted her off the bed and held her in his arms as Alec looked over toward me and Collin.
"Collin, you be good for your mom, okay? You listen to her, and be a good boy. And you look out for your sister, alright? She's smaller than you, so you help take care of her."
"Okay," Collin softly mumbled.
"If I don't get better and I don't come home, you're gonna be the man of the house, okay? That means you gotta help your mom the best you can, and you gotta help Kenna. I'm counting on you."
I heard my son sniffle, and I could feel his small body shake ever so slightly.
"Come here, big guy. Come give Daddy a hug," Alec said, holding his arm out.
Collin looked up at me with worry in his eyes. "It's okay. You can go," I told him as I let him down to stand between my knees. With hesitant steps, he walked toward the bed and then practically flung himself on the mattress next to his father, hugging him tightly and pressing his face into Alec's chest.
"I miss you, Daddy," he said, and I finally let my own tears flow as I watched him shake and cry in his father's arms.
"I miss you, Col," Alec said. I watched as he gritted his teeth from the pain he was in. Tears began to fall from his eyes, and I knew as I sat there that it would be the last moment he would have with his son. Alec looked at me, and as our eyes met, I realized. He knew it, too. "I love you, buddy. Don't ever forget that, okay?"
"Okay. I love you, too, Daddy."
After several seconds, my father moved toward Collin, picking up my sobbing son and cradling him in his arms.
"Edward, can you put my bed back down?" Alec asked as he shifted uncomfortably. Edward handed Mckenna to my mother and then moved to help my husband.
"We're gonna go," my dad said as he nodded his head toward the door.
"Okay," I quietly replied.
"I'll walk them out," Edward said as he walked past me toward the door. He paused next to me and reached down to take hold of my hand. "I'll be right back, okay?" I nodded in response and then squeezed his hand when I felt him squeezing mine. Once they were all gone, I turned back to Alec and found him watching me very closely.
"What?" I asked him, stepping toward his bed and wrapping my fingers around his hand.
"I love you. You know that, right?" he softly said.
"Yeah. I know."
"I'm not comin' home, Bella. I know I'm not."
"Don't say that. You're gonna be fine. You're gonna get stronger and better, and then you-"
"No, Bella. I'm not. I wish I was, but I'm not. Janey was here today."
"What?" I whispered in shock.
"Jane. She was here. I saw her, standing by the window. She was here for me."
"Bella, there's something more for you. There's something greater than this, greater than you've known. There's something else meant for you. I want you to have it, to be happy. I love you, and I always will, but there's more for you, baby."
"I don't understand. Besides, I don't want anything else. I just want you. I want you to get better, okay? So stop talking like this. I want you better and home with me and our babies."
He took a shallow, shaky breath as he closed his eyes and was silent for several moments. When he finally looked at me again, there was so much love in his eyes that it nearly brought me to my knees. I heard the door open behind me, but I didn't turn to see who was there. I could feel that it was Edward, anyhow. I didn't need to see him to know.
"More, Bella," Alec whispered as he looked past me and then back into my eyes. "There's more for you. I love you enough to want more for you."
"Alec," I pled with him as his eyes slipped closed again. "Please, Alec. I love you. Please."
That was the last time I ever saw the pretty blue sparkle of his eyes looking back at me. Those were the last words he spoke to me. That was his last few moments of consciousness. Early the next morning, just a little after one o'clock, he took his last breaths. He left me, broke me. It was Edward who called Aro and Heidi only an hour before Alec was gone, telling them to hurry back to the hospital. It was Edward who held me as I sobbed when the doctor pronounced the time of death. It was Edward who notified the mortuary. And it was Edward who drove me home early that morning after Alec's body had finally been picked up and taken to the funeral home.
When we pulled up to the curb, Collin was sitting on the steps that led to my porch. When he saw me in the car with Edward, his eyes grew wide and then closed. His head dropped forward, hanging low as he put his face in his hands, and his shoulders began to shake. He knew just by seeing me. He knew.
"Come on, I'll help you inside," Edward quietly said to me. I nodded in agreement and then let him support me as I made my way toward my son and daughter, who waited inside the house. Their lives would never be the same, and it was Edward who made me brave and strong enough to tell them their father was never coming home.
Sunlight lit up the tent as I slowly opened my eyes, blinking a few times before turning to bury my face back into the pillow. My body moved, shifted on the soft flannel of the sleeping bag underneath me. My muscles ached in all the good places, an instant reminder of what had happened the night before. Being with Edward was still fresh in my mind, and I smiled as I stretched my legs, pointing my toes and enjoying the feel of the foam pads I was laying on. I couldn't stop the smile that spread across my face as I thought about how beautiful it had been, of how sweet, loving, tender, perfect he was with me. Most of all, I couldn't stop thinking about how much I wanted to be with him again, always.
Giggles sounded from outside the tent, and I rolled onto my side as I listened to my children laughing.
"Collin, you gonna eat all the pancakes. What's Mommy s'posta have for breakfast?" Mckenna said.
"I'm not eatin' 'em all," Collin told her.
"You eated a lot," Kenna replied, and I heard Edward's low, rich laugh in the background.
"Don't worry. I saved some for your mom," he told her. Hearing his voice made me want to see him, to touch him. It was then that I remembered how things had been between us when I'd fallen asleep. I was certain that Edward was worried and most likely hurt by the things I didn't say to him. I figured the sobbing probably didn't put his mind at ease, either. I needed to make things right between us, and I needed to tell him that he wasn't the only one falling in love. I was, too. I loved him, and I needed him to know it.
Pushing the blanket off of me, I got up and pulled clothes out of my suitcase, hurrying to get dressed so that I could join my family.
"Mommy!" Mckenna called to me as I emerged from the tent. "We got pancakes and eggs, Mommy. You wanna come eat by me?"
"Yeah, I'll be there in just a minute, okay?" I told her before making my way to the bathroom tent. A few minutes later, after I was a little more presentable, I returned to the awning that covered the table and sat down next to my children. All three of the kids were happily eating their breakfast while Edward stood at the stove cooking. His back was to me, but I watched him and hoped that he would turn around and greet me.
Knowing I had a lot to make up for, I stood and walked around the table, wrapping my arm around his waist as I approached him.
"Good morning," I whispered.
He was silent for just a little too long. "Hey. Um, I saved some food for you on a plate over there," he said as he pointed to a plate covered in tin foil. "As soon as the kids are done, I'm gonna take them to the lake to fish for a little while."
"Oh, okay. I could go with you."
"Nah, it's okay. Um, why don't you stay here and start packing up a few things. I think that'll help for later."
"Are you sure? I was gonna make Emily's cake today. I guess I could do tha-"
"You know, don't worry about that. We'll just see how things go," he said quickly before turning off the stove and stepping away from me.
"Edward, look, about last night-"
"Kids you ready to go?" he said, walking over to the table and keeping his eyes firmly fixed on our children. The way he was acting made my stomach drop.
"Yeah!" they all yelled in response, then jumped up from their chairs and circled around him.
"We'll be back," he told me. He didn't even turn to look at me.
"Bye, Mommy!" Mckenna yelled as she waved back at me and bounded after her uncle, who was already making his way across the camp site and toward the lake.
As Edward and the three children walked away from me, I wondered for the first time that morning if maybe the way I'd behaved had broken things too badly. Maybe it was unfixable. What if Edward didn't want to hear what I needed to say? What if he'd changed his mind about me? What would I do if he wouldn't listen to me? If now, after being together, he thought I wasn't enough for him, that I wasn't right for him?
What would I do if he didn't want me anymore?
A/N: Hope this look into Bella's past was worth the wait. :) Real life is sucking me in, big time. I'm doing my best, I promise. :)
That being said, I'm contributing something small to the Fandom for Friends charity collab. It's gonna be a BPOV/Futuretake of my little one-shot "You Don't Know Her Like I Do", so if you wanna read it, make sure to check out the charity thing. There's a link on my FB page/profile. It'll be posted on my account here January 1st, if you wanna wait. :)
With all the fic-pulling happening around here, I've set up an account at fictionpad dot com. You can look me up – beegurl13. All of my stories are there and I'll try to keep them updated, though the only one I'm really updating right now is this one, so... :D
Thanks again! I'll see you soon! :)