"Do you want any of your other stuffed animals, Bean?" I asked, folding another t-shirt to put in our overnight bag.

She sat on my bed, quiet as a mouse as she held her Bella bear tightly. Her shoulders shrugged lightly as she whispered, "No."

I nodded, putting in the last of the clothes and zipping the bag. She was so damn terrified and had barely spoken all morning. Part of me wanted nothing more than to postpone the surgery, but the other, much more logical, part knew that wouldn't do any good. In fact, it would cause more harm. I just despised seeing her so afraid and knowing there was nothing I could say to make it better.

As I walked downstairs with the bag, my front door opened and Mom walked in. Dad's morning was booked with surgeries that couldn't be rescheduled, but he'd come visit Sawyer tonight.

"Hey, sweetheart," she said, closing the door behind her as I reached the landing and embraced her. "Are we about ready?"

I nodded. "Almost."

"You look exhausted, Edward." She frowned, running her thumb under my eye. "Did you get any sleep last night?"

"Maybe an hour?" I sighed. "She's . . . scared out of her mind. She had nightmare after nightmare last night, so she didn't fare much better than me. Will you go help her get dressed?"

"Sure." She smiled sadly, passing me and going up the stairs as I headed for the garage.

I did another check of the overnight bag and my laptop case before I put them in Mom's trunk and headed to get Sawyer's pillow and blanket, hoping the little bit of home would make her overnight stay easier.

The good news was that I could be with her all night, and I planned on not leaving her side. Honestly, I was worried, but I tried to remind myself that this wasn't a life-saving surgery — unlike the last time — and she'd make it through just fine.

Saying it and fully believing it were two different things, though.

"Edward," Mom called out as I made my way back upstairs. I picked up my pace, finding Sawyer wrapped tightly in my mother's arms. Mom's face held a heartbroken expression as she rubbed my Bean's back. "She doesn't want to get dressed. I tried, but . . . she flung herself into my arms."

Sighing, I made my way over to the bed and pretty much pried my daughter from her arms. "It's okay, baby," I said as she cried.

"I don't w-wanna go."

"I know, but we have to. I promise that everything will be okay. I'll be with you the whole time."

"No," she whined. "Please, Daddy, no."

My heart about shattered at her words, and it killed me not to give in to her. Kissing her head, I replied, "It'll be over with before you know it. I wish we didn't have to do this, but we don't have a choice. Let Nana get you dressed, okay?"

Her arm squeezed around my neck as she cried, unwilling to let go of me. I checked my watch, knowing we needed to leave soon.

"She can wear her pajamas," I said, looking up at Mom.

"No!" Sawyer screamed, making my eyes fly open widely. She pushed herself away from me, falling face first against the bed. "No!"

Holy shit, I thought, looking at Mom for some type of help. Sawyer hadn't thrown a tantrum in years, and she sure as hell hadn't yelled at me since the accident.

Crying I could deal with, but anger?

"Bean," I coaxed, laying my hand on her back. "We have to go whether you want to or not, and I don't want to have to force you, but I will. You're going to be fine and being scared is normal, but putting this off won't help that fear. You're brave, baby. I just need you to be brave for me again. Please?"

She rolled onto her side, pouting as she sniffled. "I'm sc-scared, Daddy."

I nodded. "I know, but you're going to be all right. I would never put you through this if it weren't necessary. You want your arm to get better, don't you?"

"Yeah," she whispered.

"Then this is how we do that. Will you please get dressed?"

"It'll only take a few minutes, sweetie," Mom hedged, holding the clothes in her lap.

Begrudgingly, Sawyer finally did sit up. As Mom took her into the bathroom, I grabbed the pillow and blanket and headed downstairs. It wasn't long before they joined me, and then we got in Mom's car. I sat in the back with Sawyer, keeping my arm wrapped around her during the short drive to the children's hospital. She wasn't at ease, but . . . she wasn't screaming, either.

She'd gone back to being silent, it seemed.


Getting checked in and situated didn't take very long, thankfully, but it also wasn't very easy considering the fact that I wasn't able to put Sawyer down. She stayed in my lap, head buried in my chest as I signed form after form.

Once we were finally taken back to a pre-op room, Sawyer didn't protest changing into a gown, but she did protest the IV — with more tears.

"It won't hurt, honey," her nurse, Rachel said.

Sawyer was in my lap, shaking her head as she sniffled. "Yes, it will."

Rachel lifted the lidocaine cream with a smile. "Not with this. It's magic cream and makes the needle not hurt. It takes a little while to work, but I promise the IV won't hurt."

"It won't, Bean," I said, kissing her temple. "Give her your hand, okay?"

Sawyer slowly raised her hand as Rachel put a glove on. She rubbed a dab of the cream over my daughter's hand before excusing herself from the room for a few minutes while we waited for it to take effect. Once it did, Rachel came back and easily inserted the IV. Sawyer turned her head into my chest, but didn't even flinch as the needle pierced her skin. Rachel deftly pulled the needle out, leaving the catheter in place and taping it down.

"Now we'll get some fluids in you," she said, smiling as Sawyer inspected her hand. "The magic cream worked, didn't it?"

Sawyer shrugged. "Uh-huh, but it's not magic."

Laughing, Rachel nodded and connected the fluids. "Well, let's keep that our secret, okay? Do you need anything? Anyone?"

I shook my head, pulling the blanket up over Sawyer's small form. The gurney wasn't even almost comfortable and having her in my lap didn't help, but I didn't dare move. As Rachel left the room, my phone dinged in my pocket and I quickly pulled it out, finding a text from Bella.

I'm here, but they won't let me come back.

"Shit," I whispered under my breath before looking over at Mom. "Hey, will you do me a favor?"

She smiled, nodding. "Of course."

"Bella's here. Will you get her for me? I'd go, but . . ." I looked down at Sawyer, finding her eyes wider and a little brighter. My daughter actually looked a little . . . happy. Well, less utterly terrified was a better term, but still.

"Will you, Nana?" she asked hopefully.

"Yes, sweetheart," she said, standing from the chair beside us and kissing Sawyer's cheek. "I'll be right back."

"Thank you," I called out as she left the small room.

Trying to get a little more comfortable, I scooted down on the bed, moving Sawyer to my right side. I kept my arm over her shoulder, fixing the stuffed bear in her lap for her.

"How much longer until I hafta go?" she wondered aloud, playing with the pink bow around the bear's neck.

I lifted my hand, checking my watch. "About an hour, most likely. Dr. Jasper will come in and talk to us in a little bit and so will another doctor — an anesthesiologist. That's the doctor that'll put you to sleep."

She nodded absentmindedly, not looking up at me. "And you're gonna go with me, right?"

"Yes, Sawyer Bean, and I'll be there when you wake up, too. And so will Papa and Auntie, hopefully. Uncle Garrett and Aunt Kate will come by tonight once you're a little more alert."

"And Ms. Bella will be there when I wake up too, right?"

I didn't feel right asking Bella to stay all day, so though I wanted to tell her yes, I just shrugged. "We'll see. She might be."

As I kissed her forehead, Mom walked back into the room with Bella close behind. Unlike the times I'd seen her at her office or on our date, she wasn't dressed up today. Her hair was down and she wore jeans and a t-shirt.

She looked comfortable. She looked . . . gorgeous.

My eyes quickly snapped away from her chest — away from the v-neck — before she could notice, and I tried very hard to push those thoughts down. Thankfully, Sawyer's voice interrupted them.

"You came!" she declared with the slightest of smiles.

"Of course I did," Bella said, walking over to us and leaning down, wrapping an arm around my Bean. "I'm sorry I'm a little late."

Mom pulled another chair over for Bella before sitting down again, and I caught a smile from her out of the corner of my eye. I cocked my head and she shrugged as Bella took her seat, holding Sawyer's little hand.

"S'okay," Sawyer said.

"What do you say, Bean?" I asked, raising my brow with a smile.

"Oh, thank you," she quickly added. "I have my bear."

"I can see that!" Bella laughed softly. "Is he good company? Nice and snuggly?"

"Uh-huh. I like him a lot."

I watched silently as the two of them talked, in awe of how Bella's presence had changed Sawyer's mood so quickly. If I'd had her this morning, our day would have been a hell of a lot easier. As they spoke, I looked up at Mom every once in a while, finding her smiling contentedly at the two of them.

Clearly, I wasn't the only one who noticed the change. It was incredible, really.

Their topics revolved around light things until Bella brought up how Sawyer was feeling. She broached the subject carefully, leading into it so easily that Sawyer barely batted an eyelash.

"I'm still really scared," Sawyer said. "I didn't wanna come this morning."

Bella nodded. "I certainly don't blame you there, but this is a good thing, isn't it? After your arm is fixed properly, it'll heal and then you'll be out of a cast."

"I guess so, but I still don't like it. I'm afraid . . ." She nibbled on her lip, looking down at her lap.

"Afraid of what?" Bella asked gently, caressing her hand.

"I'm gonna die."

"You're not going to die," I said, kissing her temple. "Nothing will happen to you. I promise."

Something could happen to her, though. There were possible complications from the anesthesia or even the surgery itself — terrifying complications. The chances were slim, but they were possible and in the back of my mind. I didn't want her to worry about those, though. It was most likely that the surgery would go smoothly, which was what she needed to believe.

"That's a terrifying thought, Sawyer," Bella remarked. "And it's an understandable fear, isn't it, Edward?"

I cocked my head in confusion, trying to figure out what she was doing. We needed to alleviate this fear, not justify it. "Yes, I suppose."

"It's also unlikely to happen, though, right?"

"Very unlikely." I nodded. "It's not going to. The chances are . . . minuscule. You'll get through this just fine, Bean. I know you will."

"Your dad's a pretty smart guy, isn't he, Sawyer?"

My baby nodded. "He's a really good doctor."

"He believes you'll be okay, so does that help?"

"Kinda, I guess. Are you sure, Daddy?" she asked, looking up at me.

I smiled. "I'm positive. This surgery isn't nearly as dangerous as your last ones, and you came through both of those. I was scared then, but I'm not today," I lied.

I was scared, but I was also logical. Besides, the last thing she needed was for me to show any fear.

"Okay," she said. "I still don't like it, though."

"No one would," Bella confirmed, reaching up and caressing her cheek. "Try to think of this as a little bump on your road to recovery. Once it's over, you'll be one step closer to putting this behind you. We don't like bumps, but they happen."

"Bumps suck."

The three of us laughed softly, nodding in agreement.

"Isn't that the truth," Mom said as someone knocked on the door.

It quickly opened and Jasper came in, smiling brightly. "Hey there, darlin'."

A soft giggle escaped Sawyer as he walked the rest of the way in, pulling the stool over. "I like your voice when you say that."

"It works on all the pretty girls," he chuckled. "Hi, I'm Dr. Whitlock." He held his hand out to Bella first, then Mom as they introduced themselves.

"Well, how are you feeling about today, Sawyer?" he asked, reaching over for her left hand. He checked her nail beds, looking at her capillary refill.

"I'm scared, but not as scared as I was earlier," she informed him, earning a smile from Bella.

"Good." He smiled, pulling away. "So, let me tell you about our game plan. I'll only make one incision, unlike the two last time. I'm going to remove the old hardware — the plate and screws — and then comes the real work."

He explained the entire surgery to Sawyer, even making the gruesome details less frightening for her. She nodded along, asking a few questions as he spoke. Mom and I had a few of our own, which he happily answered. He spent more time with us than I'd imagined, and I was grateful. Sawyer seemed even more at peace, knowing what to expect. I'd thought maybe keeping the details from her would be better, but I'd underestimated her. She wanted to know.

Once he left, it wasn't long before the anesthesiologist came in. Dr. Rebecca — as she'd requested to be called — spent a good amount of time with us too, explaining the details of anesthesia to Sawyer in terms she easily understood. Once the doctor had all of her answers and we had ours, the waiting game continued. Our eleven o'clock time slot was pushed back by a half hour, which wasn't extremely surprising, but did make Sawyer's nerves reappear.

Bella was quick to realize her little ticks, like biting her lip, twitching her feet, and picking at the lining of her splint. She once again pulled Sawyer's thoughts away from the surgery with mundane conversation — mostly about animals.

Finally, just before eleven-thirty, Rachel came back into the room with a transporter, letting us know it was time. Begrudgingly, I finally got off of the gurney and let Sawyer go as Bella stood. She was the first to say goodbye to Sawyer, wrapping her arms around my daughter tightly — Sawyer returning the embrace with her good arm.

"Thank you for coming, Ms. Bella," she said, refusing to let go just yet. "Will you stay?"

"Yes, of course," Bella promised, pulling back with a smile. "You're going to do incredibly and this will be over before you know it."

As Bella backed away, Mom took her spot, wrapping her granddaughter in her arms tightly and peppering her cheek with kisses.

"I love you so, so much, sweetie. I'll see you soon, all right?"

Sawyer nodded. "Okay. I love you too, Nana. Bye."

"Bye, baby girl." Mom's eyes filled with tears, and she quickly left the room before Sawyer could notice.

Bella was right behind her, waving goodbye as my Bean did. I was allowed to accompany Sawyer to the operating room, so her gurney was soon pushed out with me right beside her.

Our journey to the OR wasn't long enough for me, to be honest, and as we stopped outside of the door, panic surged through me. I wanted to pick my daughter up and run from this hospital — run from the possible complications. No matter how low the chances were, they were still there.

"Here's your little cap, sweetheart," Rebecca said, stuffing Sawyer's strawberry blonde hair into the cap.

As she did that, I walked over to the sinks and grabbed a surgical cap and mask. After washing my hands, I donned the sterile gown over my clothes and then we went into the brightly lit operating room.

I'd been in more of these rooms than I could count, and I'd never felt such fear — not even the first time I set foot in one. There was nothing out of the ordinary, of course. It was just like any other OR.

It didn't feel like it, though.

Rebecca was waiting for us when we arrived and started to explain the equipment before Sawyer interrupted her.

"That's for my heart," she said, looking up at me.

I smiled under the mask, nodding as Rebecca held the wires for the heart monitor. "You're right, and you're heart is going to be just fine. This is just a precaution," I said.

"Can you tell me where each electrode goes?" Rebecca asked.

Sawyer shook her head. "I dunno."

"Well, at least you know what it does," she laughed, lifting Sawyer's gown at the top. "I'm just going to unbutton this a little so I can place them."

Keeping her eyes on me, Sawyer tensed, holding stiff as a board while Rebecca got to work. I caressed my daughter's hand, trying to keep smiling under the mask.

"What kind of ice cream do you want tonight?" I asked, keeping her distracted. "I'll get you anything you want and all the sprinkles in the world, too."

"And lots of fudge."

"Like I'd ever deny you fudge, Bean," I chuckled. "How about you think about all the flavors and possibilities while you go to sleep and then tell me when you open your eyes again?"

"Okay," she whispered as her bottom lip began quivering. "I'm gonna wake up, right? Pinky promise?"

"Yes," I said, moving my hand so our pinkies could lock together. "I swear, baby, everything will be all right, and this'll be over before you know it. I'm not letting you go anywhere."

Hearing the door open, I pulled my eyes from Sawyer's for a second, finding Jasper walking in. He stepped up to the other side of the table, his eyes crinkling with a smile and laid his hand on her shoulder.

"Ready, darlin'?" he teased with a light chuckled. "Does it still work?"

Her brow rose as she pursed her lips, finding zero amusement in the nickname.

"Guess not now, huh? Well, I'll keep my clichés to myself then. You're going to be just fine, all right? You'll be out like a light and wake up, asking when we're starting."

"Is it gonna hurt a lot when I wake up?"

He shook his head. "We'll make sure you're well-medicated. You'll have some pain eventually, but we can control it with more medication. It shouldn't be unbearable."

"Okay," she sighed, looking over at me. "Is it time?"

I nodded. "Yeah, come here." Gathering her in my arms, I held her as tightly as I could, fearing the moment I'd have to let go. "I love you, Sawyer Bean — more than the sun loves the moon."

"He loves the moon so much he hides at night so she can shine."

I smiled, feeling tears burn my eyes at the saying we'd once heard — well, our version of it. "That's right. I love you more than anything, and I'd do anything for you."

I pressed my lips to her temple, lingering for a moment as I tried to gather my composure.

"I'm going to give you some medication while your daddy holds you," Rebecca explained, holding the syringe and IV tubing.

Sawyer nodded, burying her head in the crook of my neck. "I'm scared."

"I've got you," I said, watching as Rebecca pushed on the plunger. Her assistant held the mask, waiting until Sawyer was drowsy before holding her head and placing it over her mouth.

Her eyes blinked slowly, staying on mine as the anesthesia took effect. As they closed, I whispered my love for her. Letting her go was easily one of the most difficult things I'd ever done, but I did it. I laid her back against the table, standing up from my stool as Rebecca and her assistant went to work.

"We'll take good care of her, Edward," Jasper said, clasping his hand on my shoulder. "I'll send updates as we go and she'll be fine."

I nodded, clearing my throat as I blinked back the tears. "Okay. Just . . . please don't let anything happen to her. She's my life."

"And I'll treat her as such. I'll walk you out, okay?"

It took such an effort to get my feet to move, but eventually they did. I followed Jasper out through the scrub room, absentmindedly listening to his words of comfort as he began washing his hands. I couldn't stop myself from looking into the window one last time, and that was all it took for my composer to completely fall to pieces.

I honestly couldn't tell you how I got from the operating room to the waiting room, but I did and quickly found myself in my mother's embrace.

I didn't care who saw my tears.

I didn't care what I looked like.

I didn't care that I should've been stronger.

My daughter was in surgery and it tore me to shreds.


A half hour passed, but it felt like three hours. I sat in a chair between Mom and Bella, silent as I watched my wristwatch tick.

"Why don't I go get us lunch?" Mom asked, breaking the silence. "We can eat in here, can't we?"

"I'll go," Bella offered.

Mom stood, shaking her head. "You should stay. I won't be gone long, but it'll do me good to get out of here for a few minutes. I need to update Alice and leave Carlisle a text anyway."

"And Garrett," I mumbled. "Please?"

She smiled. "Of course, sweetheart. You can walk me out, though, Bella."

They both glanced at me and though I was curious, I didn't have it in me to care what their eye movements meant. They left together as I dropped my head in my hands and sighed. Another torturously slow minute passed before Bella returned, taking her seat next to me.

I watched as she reached over, clasping her hand around mine wordlessly. Lifting my head, our eyes met and she smiled softly.

"I'm keeping you from looking at your watch."

"Well, there's a clock, too."

"I swear I'll cover it." She smirked. "Looking isn't going to make the time go by any faster. I mean, there's even a saying about a watched pot and boiling."

I ran my free hand through my hair, sliding down in the seat. "It feels like it's been an eternity, you know?"

"Yes, but it hasn't. What do you think is happening in there right now?"

"Uh . . . he's probably removing the old hardware still."

"Then we have a while to go, don't we?"

"Yeah," I sighed. "Maybe two more hours. Could be three, even."

She squeezed my hand. "I can't imagine what you're going through right now, but you can tell me about it."

"I'm not your patient."

"No, but I'm a good listener — even for people who aren't my patients. Right now I'm your friend. I'm here and I'm waiting with you, and I'm not going anywhere. I've got time to listen. It sure as hell beats staring at a clock."

I sighed and rubbed my hand over my face. "During her first surgery I was a mess, but during her second," I shook my head, "I paced that damn waiting room. I thought of every possible complication and outcome. I thought about burying my child, Bella, and now . . ."

"All those thoughts are coming back?"

I nodded. "This is fucking awful. She shouldn't be in there! She shouldn't . . . none of this should be happening."

"It shouldn't," she said, inching a little closer to me. "But it is, Edward. As awful as this is, it's happening, and I'm so sorry it is."

"Aren't you supposed to be telling me she'll be fine?" I scoffed.

"I'm not a doctor or a psychic. I have no idea what'll happen, but I like to think I know her. I know she's brave, and she's a fighter."

"She is. God, she's been through so much."

"And she's still here, so . . . I think she'll be okay. And I know you think she'll be okay, too. You weren't lying to her earlier. You know what's going on in there, and you know the chances of things going wrong. They're pretty slim, right?"

I nodded. "Yeah, but—"

"Don't." She shook her head. "Remember how good her chances are, please? You're scared and that's okay, but sitting here and counting the seconds won't help that."

"Then what am I supposed to do?" I asked, wrapping my fingers around hers. "Am I supposed to check my email or play a damn game on my phone? Read a magazine?"

"If it'll get your mind off the seconds, then yes. Or we could talk? About anything."

I swiped angrily at the stray tears, trying to think of what the hell to talk about. It seemed wrong to just . . . talk.

"You start," I said. "Get my mind off of this."

She smiled, lifting her eyes up. "Um . . . remember I said I have a nephew?"

"Yeah, how is he?"

"He's fantastic. His name's Seth, which I don't think I told you. He's starting kindergarten this year and my sister-in-law has no idea how to handle that."

"I almost cried," I chuckled humorlessly. "I made the trip to Portland to be there and . . . she was so excited, and I was beside myself."

"I think that's where Rosalie is, though I know she'll actually cry. Emmett, on the other hand, can't wait."

"It'll hit him. I mean, they're not supposed to grow up so quickly."

She nodded. "It does seem like just yesterday I held him for the first time."

"What's he like?"

"He . . . he has more energy than should be humanly possible," she laughed. "He's mischievous, like his father. That boy will get into anything and he'll have fun doing it. Right now he wants to be a magician, so I bought him this little kit thing and it's all he plays with. He'll ask a stranger to pick a card and he won't take no for an answer."

I felt my mouth curl into a smile as I watched her speak. Her voice was filled with love and pride, and for a moment her distraction worked. For a moment, my daughter wasn't in surgery.

"He seems like a great kid," I said. "I dabbled in a little magic when I was a kid, but uh . . . yeah, it didn't last long. My mom refused to buy me a rabbit."

"He wants a dove." She smirked. "I told him he needs to wear pants regularly before his parents will consider it, which was a lie, but he was wearing pants the last time I saw him."

"So lying worked?"

She nodded. "Yep."

"Tell me something else," I said, trying to keep my eyes on her and away from the clock. "Why did you go into psychology?"

Her hand tightened around mine as she sighed. "Because . . . the only reason I'm here today is because of a psychologist."

Her eyes met mine and I noticed a flicker of pain — the little brow crease, a frown tugging on the edge of her lip.

"You don't have to tell me."

"No, I can talk about it. My sister died when I was eleven, and . . ." she shook her head, "the loss almost destroyed my whole family. It would have if it hadn't been for Jane. It's a long story — one that's probably not the best to hear right now. She saved my life and brought my family back together. I wanted to be like her. I wanted to help people."

"I'm sorry, Bella," I said, bringing my other hand over and laying it on top of hers. "But . . . thank you — for telling me."

"I don't bring my personal experiences into my practice. I use what they've taught me, but . . . I've never told a patient or their family."

"Well, you told a friend, then."

She smiled. "Yes, I did. And look at that, another half hour down."

I glanced at the clock with her, surprised to see how much time had passed. "I wonder where my mom is. And my update, too. I'm going to go check, okay?"

She nodded, squeezing my hand for a moment before letting go. "Okay."

As I walked to the nurses' station, my mind wasn't on Sawyer — well, not completely. Bella's revelation was shocking, but it made sense. The way she connected with Sawyer was more understandable now, but I was curious about the full story. It wasn't my place to be and I wouldn't ask, but I wondered how she came out the other side after losing someone.

Would Sawyer be able to?

Would she take this God-awful experience and use it to help others someday?

Would she be like Bella or would it haunt her for the rest of her life?

The only thing I knew for sure was that I'd made the right choice. I couldn't help Sawyer, but Bella could — and she was.


After getting the nurse to call the OR and finding out that Jasper still had a long ways to go, I headed back to the waiting room to find Mom had returned. My spot between the two of them was still open, though a sandwich currently resided in it.

"How is she?" Mom asked as I took my seat, unwrapping the sub. "Did they give a time frame?"

I shrugged. "Another few hours at least, but he couldn't say for sure. He found more damage than he was expecting from the x-ray."

"What does that mean?" Bella asked.

"He might need to do a bone graft, but he's still weighing his options."

"Was that a possibility?"

I nodded. "Yeah, but it wasn't one I prepared Sawyer for. He'll take a piece from her hip, which will leave her a little sore."

"Well, if that's what it takes to fix her, then it's not a bad thing," Mom said. "I'm sure he'll do what's best."

I knew Jasper wouldn't do anything he didn't have to, but this was one of those possibilities that terrified me. I tried to think like Mom, but the anxiety was bubbling up once more. As I opened my sub and started eating, I felt Bella's knee against mine. I looked up to find that sad smile and tried to let the light touch comfort me.

Oddly enough, it seemed to help.

After we ate our lunch, I took a trip to get coffee, needing to stretch my legs. I wasn't gone long because I feared news would come, and as I was walking back, I found Dad ahead of me and quickly caught up.

"I thought you were in surgery all day?" I asked.

"Oh, son." He smiled, turning his head. "My next case spiked a fever, so I'm postponing the surgery until it resolves."

My brow furrowed in concern. "Who's the patient?"

"One of Garrett's. I'm sure his fever will resolve soon, but I just didn't want to take any chances unless I had to. Besides, now I'm with you for the rest of the day. How's our girl doing?"

I sighed, relaying the update as we walked back to the waiting room. Since it had been about forty-five minutes and Jasper would've decided by now, we stopped at the nurses' station. The news was what I'd feared, unfortunately. He'd decided on a graft.

The next few hours passed more slowly, even with Bella's help. Alice arrived, followed by Garrett and Kate, not long after we'd gotten the news. Being surrounded by my family and friends — which including, most specifically, Bella — seemed to help some. Bella kept my hand in hers, covering my watch again anytime I tried to look at it, and kept me distracted with idle conversation.

I learned so many little things about her. She ate Funyuns, but crushed the bag first so they were in little pieces, and she chewed gum when she wasn't eating said disgusting snack. She'd quit smoking six months ago and, apparently, gum kept her distracted. Also, like Sawyer, she chewed her bottom lip when she was bored, and her lips would curl slightly on the left side when she was concentrating — not a smirk, but similar.

I also found out that I liked her head against my shoulder. The warmth seemed to spread through me and almost brought a smile to my face. If it were any other time, it would have. And when she noticed she was doing it, her head shot up and a light blush spread over her cheeks.

I told her it was okay.

And she put it back.

"It's been almost four hours," I sighed, scrubbing my hand over my face. "He should be done. He said he'd be done soon almost forty-five minutes ago!"

I was frustrated and ready to run through the floor to the OR. I wanted my little girl back already. I needed her back.

"I'll go ask for another update," Dad said, watching me with a furrowed brow. He stood up, clasping his hand on my shoulder for a brief moment before leaving the room.

Bella's thumb caressed my hand and I looked up at her, finding that kind smile that had kept me sane today. "I'm sure she'll be done soon."

As the words left her mouth, the door opened again and Dad came through, smiling with Jasper behind him. I was out of my seat in an instant, pulling Bella with me.

"Is she okay?"

He nodded. "Yes, take a seat for me, okay?"

"Can I see her?"

"Soon," he promised, pulling another chair over. "You all know how to fill a room, don't you?"

"Leave us for a few hours and we multiply," Mom laughed softly. "That's Garrett and Kate, you've met Carlisle, and this is my daughter Alice."

I didn't miss my sister's smile as she held her hand out, and I sure as hell didn't miss my kid's surgeon kissing the back of her hand.

"It's nice to meet you all," he said, eyeing Alice once more before turning back to me. "Anyway, Sawyer did great, really. We didn't have a single problem with her vitals and I expect she'll make a full and, hopefully, quick recovery. Of course, there was more damage than I was anticipating. I'm not surprised, but I'd hoped I wouldn't have to do a bone graft. Still, I don't think we'll have any issues from it."

"Do you think there could be a chance for more surgery?" I asked.

He shook his head. "Honestly, no. The bone should have no problems healing correctly now. I took my time and it's probably the best work I've ever done. And I do pretty good work." He smirked.

"I'm sure you do," Alice said and I narrowed my eyes at her.

"Really?" I mouthed, groaning before I turned back to him. "Thank you, Jasper. When can I see her?"

"Once she's moved to recovery. In the meantime, I'm sure you have more questions."

I did, actually, and since I couldn't see my Bean yet, I asked every single one I could think of at the moment. He would put her in a hard cast in about a week once the swelling went down, which she'd be in anywhere from six to eight weeks — possibly longer depending on how she'd heal. Once she was in a splint, he'd have her start physical therapy to regain strength, which would be greatly diminished from how long she'd be in a cast for. But, in the end, she should have no residual issues.

It was a long time off, but someday her arm would be back to normal.


Once Jasper left, it wasn't long before a nurse came out to get me. I followed her back to the recovery unit, holding the stuffed bear against my side and anxious to see my little girl again. She told me they'd just moved her and she'd yet to show any signs of waking up. All I cared about was being there before she did. I'd made a promise that I intended to keep.

"Here she is," the nurse said, smiling and walking me into the little curtain area.

My steps became leaps the closer I got to my daughter's side. She looked . . . peaceful, actually, on the gurney. She had blankets up to her chin and her arm rested on a mound of pillows to her side.

"Hi, Sawyer Bean," I whispered, placing her Bella bear against her so its head was resting near hers.

I quickly sat down in the chair provided, pulling it as close to the bed as I could. My eyes went to the monitor, watching her heart rate.

The beeping was music to my ears.

I brushed my fingertips over her cool cheek, smiling to myself when she let out a soft hum.

"That's my girl," I said, kissing her forehead. "I'm right here, baby. You can wake up now."

Without opening her eyes, she mumbled something incoherently.

"I can't understand you," I explained and she mumbled again. "Just rest, okay? You did great."

"Mom-my," she whispered and my heart fell to my stomach.

I tried to tell myself that it was the medication — that she didn't know what she was saying — but . . . she knew what she wanted. It killed me that I couldn't give that to her.

"I know, baby," I sighed, caressing her cheek.

She didn't mumble again for some time, and part of me was happy for that. As much as I wanted her to talk to me and open her eyes, I couldn't handle her asking for Tanya again. Rest was what she needed right now, and I was glad she was getting it.

When she did mumble again, it was just as incoherent as the first few times, and didn't sound a damn thing like Mommy, thankfully.

"Coo-kie," she whispered.

My brow furrowed as I let out a soft laugh. "Cookie?"

"D-oh."

"Cookie dough? Wait . . . ice cream?" I grinned. "Are you telling me what you -want?"

Ever so slowly, her green eyes fluttered open lazily and searched for mine. "Uh-huh."

I chuckled, kissing her forehead over and over. "You'll get some, Bean. I promise."

"Love you, Dad-dy."

"I love you, too. How do you feel?"

She shrugged softly, closing her eyes again for a few seconds. "Weird," she mumbled.

"Yeah, that's normal. You did amazingly, Sawyer. Dr. Jasper says your arm will heal just fine now."

"S'good. Where . . ." She looked around sleepily before pouting. "Where Nana? Bella?"

"I'll get them soon," I promised. "Papa, Auntie, and Uncle Garrett and Aunt Kate are here, too. Once you're a little more coherent, they'll come see you, all right?"

She nodded, turning her head toward me. I dipped mine, letting her bury her face in my neck for a few minutes as she dozed off once more. I kissed her cheek, relishing the feeling of having her with me again and knowing she was safe.

My baby girl was all right and we were one step in about a million closer to healing from the accident. In my heart, I knew I couldn't have handled today without Bella's help. I was a mess, but I feared how much worse it would have been without her.

It seemed she wasn't only my daughter's lifeline, but mine, too.


Disclaimer: SM owns Twilight, not me.

Thank you all so much for reading and reviewing! It truly means so much to me! I'll be back in two weeks with the next chapter, but in the meantime, I did post a new one-shot a week ago. It's called Life and you can find it on my profile.

I owe a massive thank you to Bookwormbaby25 and MelissaMargaret for taking their time to beta.

Also, thank you to Kelley, Marita, Dee, Marie, and Lynsey for prereading.