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Breaking Dawn till Dusk

Summary:
Edward and Bella have been married for 3 months. Edward is well into his first semester of law school at Washington State and it is time for some major changes to take place in their lives. Things, however, do not go exactly as planned.


Notes:
1. Edward’s POV: Phone Call Three months into my marriage and fourteen weeks into my first semester of law school, I was blissfully happy with one and rapidly beginning to regret the other. Medical school had stimulated my brain, challenged me time and time again. A true interest in the field, and of course a real longing to follow in the courageous and hardworking footsteps of Carlisle, had got me through, not once but twice. I had come to the bitter realisation many years ago that I was not capable of practising medicine – studying it would have to be enough. But times change, and life constantly brings with it new experiences and challenges. I was beginning to wonder if the dream of actually practising as a doctor was within reach. In the past two years, my tolerance of blood and my self control had improved beyond belief. Bella becoming a part of my life – the most important and loving part – was the reason. Dr Edward Cullen …… it certainly had a ring to it! Carlisle could easily mentor me through the practical aspects, just as I had mentored him through the theoretical side of things for many years now. Washington State offered a medical degree …. third time around I was guaranteed high distinctions in every subject ……… why was I hesitating? What was stopping me, for heaven’s sake! I had all the time in the world, didn’t I? Besides, the law was so damned boring! I glanced at my watch as the professor’s voice droned on and on. Would this never end? Were there really people out there that dreamed of a career in litigation? I pitied them. At last it was two o’clock, and as soon as the lecturer had left the room I snatched the cell phone out of my jacket pocket and flipped it open. I hit “7” on speed dial and listened as the phone rang 190 kilometres away in Newton’s Outdoors Sporting Goods. After several rings the phone was answered by Karen Newton’s youthful and polite voice, bringing forth a distasteful and unwelcoming image of her heavily made up face and her bottle-blonde immaculate hairdo. “Newton’s Sporting Goods, may I help you?” “Hello Mrs Newton, it’s Edward here”, I fought to keep the grimace out of my voice. “Could I have a quick word with Bella, if she’s not serving?” “Well! Edward …. hello!” she exclaimed. “Didn’t she call you? Honestly, she’s so vague at times …. such a darling, really. I would have thought she’d got in touch with you”. “About what?” I was confused and somewhat impatient. Karen Newton often tested the limits of my patience. “About going home”, she replied. “She was dreadfully pale this morning, and just before lunch she nearly passed out! If it hadn’t been for my Mike …….well I don’t know what would have happened. He caught her just before she hit the floor! I told him to drop her home and make sure she got to bed all right”. Her voice dropped to a hesitant whisper. “Not that it’s any of my business, of course, but there isn’t a chance that she could be ……. well …… expecting, is there?” I gripped the cell phone tightly in my hand and fought down the sudden panic that always accompanied any news about Bella being hurt or suffering in any way. It was a wonder, sometimes, that she managed to make it through an entire day without some type of injury. “Danger magnet” was an immense understatement to anyone familiar with Bella and her endearing clumsiness. “No, no chance of that, Mrs Newton”, I responded briskly. “I’ll catch up with her at home – please thank Mike for me”. “Well, of course I will! Its just that I’ve seen so many expectant mothers …….”. I ended the phone call, too impatient to indulge in her latest theory. I had little time for people so engrossed in gossip that they allowed it to rule their existence, and I couldn’t help wondering exactly how long it would take before the entire population of Forks was informed of the Cullens’ “impending parenthood”. I immediately pressed “1” on my speed dial and waited, growing more concerned by the second, as Bella’s cell phone rang out. I walked quickly to where I had parked the volvo, jumping into the driver’s seat and gunning the engine. I fought back the anxiety crawling its way up from my stomach to my throat, turning the car for home and pressing the accelerator to the floor. * * * “Bella?”, I called loudly as I closed the front door behind me. I raced up the staircase, straining to hear her reply but only encountering an ominous silence. The door to our bedroom was closed, and without hesitating I pushed it open, fearing the worst as I always seemed to do when it came to my beautiful and somewhat delightfully accident-prone Bella. She was in bed, and I breathed a sigh of relief as I moved towards her. Curled on her side, she lay on top of the covers, her knees pressed up towards her chest and her arms wrapped tightly around her abdomen. Her pallor was as pale as I had ever seen it, dark circles visible beneath her eyes, and the way she clutched at her stomach immediately led me to believe that she was in some kind of pain. I knew from experience that her monthly period always left her low on iron levels, and sometimes wracked her body with debilitating cramps, and this was the conclusion I came to as I sat beside her on the bed and gently cupped her pale face in my large hand, managing a smile as she opened her eyes and looked up at me, a mixture of confusion and relief in her expression. “Edward? I thought you had lectures all afternoon”, she spoke softly and I shrugged as my fingers curled protectively around hers. “I think I can keep up”, I told her and pressed my lips gently against her clenched hand. What’s wrong, sweetheart? What can I do to help?” “Nothing”, she shook her head slightly. “I’m just ….. tired, I guess”. Bella’s delicious scent was always stronger during those four to five days each month when she was having her period, but I was surprised to discover, as I bent over her, that this particular scent I had been expecting was absent. I kissed her lips softly, and was taken back when I saw what looked to be fear in her eyes as I met her gaze. “Tell me”, I encouraged her gently. “Is it cramps?” She nodded slowly, and I took both of her hands in mine and pulled them away from her stomach. “Straighten out your legs”, I told her and she did so obediently, uncurling her body and moving onto her back. Silently I unbuttoned her hipster jeans and pulled down the short zipper. I placed my cool hand onto her flat abdomen and began to rub in a firm but gentle circular motion, willing her body to relax under my touch. As I caressed her I watched her pale face, wondering if it was just my imagination or did it look thinner to me than usual. Had she lost weight or was I merely reacting because she all of a sudden appeared even more vulnerable to me than she normally did? “Bella”. I spoke softly. “Did you eat today? You missed breakfast, remember? What did you have for lunch?” There was a full minute’s silence before she replied. “I wasn’t hungry”. “So you last ate when?” I tried to keep the frustration out of my voice, but by the look of guilt on Bella’s face I assumed I had failed dismally. “Edward …. don’t ….” “When did you eat?” My left hand continued its gentle caresses whilst my voice unintentionally hardened. “Dammit Bella, no wonder you’re passing out! Why aren’t you looking after yourself?” “I am. I just ……” she took a deep breath. “I still feel a little queasy from that flu last week. I’ll eat when I’m hungry, Edward, I promise”. I sighed as I pressed my lips against her warm forehead. “I’ll heat up some of that chicken soup in the fridge. Esme made up a gallon of it for you and there’s still plenty left. Give me ten minutes and I’ll bring some up with a slice of toast, and if you don’t eat every damned spoonful I’ll call Esme and tell her you can’t stand her cooking. Oh, and I think you should know, you’ve got Karen Newton knitting baby bootees in between serving customers”. I expected a smile, and instead was shocked when she squeezed her eyes shut tightly and pulled away from my hands. She was breathing in and out quickly, and what little colour had been in her face drained away completely. “Bella? What …….. ?” Without a word she jumped off the bed and rushed towards the bathroom, her hand clamped tightly across her mouth. Seconds later I heard the unmistakable sound of retching. I followed her, pushing the bathroom door open slowly and stepping inside. Bella was on her knees beside the toilet, her hands clutched tightly around the seat, her dark hair covering her ashen face, looking as if she was steadily losing an ongoing battle to hold onto her consciousness. I noticed that the only thing she was bringing up was bile; there was obviously nothing in her stomach. I knelt down behind her and pulled her gently up against me, supporting her weight. She offered no resistance, as weak as she was, and leaned back against me. There was a fresh sheen of perspiration on her forehead and her eyes were tightly closed. The handtowel was within easy reach and I grabbed it, rinsing it briefly under the cold tap with one hand whilst I kept a firm hold on Bella with the other. I wiped her hot, flushed face, folding the towel and then pressing it against the back of her neck. “I’m sorry”, she whispered as I pushed the damp hair away from her brow. “For what?” I spoke soothingly. “I didn’t vomit on you, did I?” “No”, I managed a smile. “You missed me entirely. Just relax, okay? I’m going to take you back to bed. You need to sleep”. I picked her up easily in my arms and carried her through to our bedroom. I tucked her in and then sat beside her, my fingers brushing gently against her cheek. Bella’s eyes were closed, her breathing even although her face was still pale and drawn. Her fingers clutched my other hand and I swallowed, my throat tight with emotion. “I’ll stay home tomorrow”, I whispered as her eyes closed. “I’m not leaving you alone”. Her eyes struggled to open. “No, Edward, I’m okay! Please, please go on your trip. Promise me, okay?” “Let’s see how you are in the morning”, I sighed, and bent down to touch my lips against hers. “I love you, baby. Sleep well now”.


3. Alone

Rating 4.5/5   Word Count 1707   Review this Chapter

3. Bella’s POV: Alone

The morning brought with it heavy storm clouds, an overwhelming feeling of exhaustion, and a stomach-turning nausea that threatened to keep me chained to the toilet for hours, if not days. The clouds were expected – when you lived in Forks it was part of the territory. The exhaustion I could deal with – a few more hours in bed would do me no harm whatsoever, considering the restless night I had just endured. The nausea, however, was a problem that needed to be dealt with until Edward had safely left the house for his overnight trip. Somehow I would have to suppress the almost overpowering urge to vomit or else Edward would cancel his plans, without a doubt. He would insist on staying with me, and although I longed for his presence, his comforting arms and soothing words, I knew deep down in my heart that I needed these two days to think, to really think through the situation I had somehow got myself into. Without outside influences, without Edward’s views and opinions, I had to make a decision about the future. Our future. Selfishly I wanted him to stay with me – it hurt so much when he went away. It never failed to throw up memories in my face, devastating memories of when he had left the year before, leaving me alone in the forest and vowing never to return. Common sense told me that I was now a married woman – Edward and I had exchanged vows to never leave each other. And yet ….

I did not intend to be selfish. Edward had been looking forward to this overnight trip for weeks, and I could certainly benefit from time alone to sort through this crisis that had unexpectedly taken over my life. In order for him to leave, I had to somehow convince him beyond a doubt that I felt one hundred percent better.

I could hear him moving about downstairs, and I decided to practice a bright, easy going smile. That would be sure to reassure him that I had miraculously recovered from my week long bout of nausea and dizziness. There were definitely times, such as these, that I thanked God that the thoughts inside my head continued to be a mystery to Edward.

As long as I stayed in bed, the nausea was tolerable. I knew that once I was on my feet it would be a matter of seconds before I’d have to head for the bathroom. I planned to stay where I was until the front door had closed behind Edward.

“Bella?” His voice startled me; I had not heard him come up the stairs. I turned my head and he was walking towards me, his onix-colored eyes scrutinising my face for any sign of illness. He needed to hunt. I took a deep breath and smiled brightly.

“Good morning! All ready to go?”

He frowned suspiciously as he sat on the edge of the bed. Somehow, I maintained the smile.

“Are you trying to get rid of me?” I held my breath, frantically searching for a reply, but then his face broke out into a beautiful smile and he reached out to take my hand in his, squeezing gently. “You’re feeling better?”

“One hundred percent!” I gushed enthusiastically, hoping suddenly that I wasn’t overplaying the performance. “I think I’ve finally beaten that stupid bug”.

Edward hesitated, and I could read the uncertainty in his expression as he watched me closely. “Bella …” he began. “There really isn’t any need for me to stay away overnight. I’d feel better if I came home this afternoon. Carlisle and Esme can stay till tomorrow if they like”. His mouth twitched. “I don’t need two days to get my fill of mountain lion”. His fingers tightened over mine. “Besides, I’d miss you too much. We haven’t spent a night apart since we were married; I don’t want to start now”.

Neither do I! What a fantastic idea, Edward! Hurry home, darling!

I took a deep breath. “Edward, you’ve had this trip planned for weeks”, I spoke quietly. “I like it when you spend time with Carlisle and Esme. Please go – and have a fun time. I’ll be fine, I promise. I can’t believe how much better I feel already”. I could see the indecision on his face, and I grasped the opportunity to lie even more enthusiastically. “Besides, I’ve got heaps planned for today and tomorrow – I can’t cancel now.”

Edward was silent for a moment. I knew he was wavering and I widened my smile. “Just think …….. mountain lion ……..yum!!!!”

He laughed, and his tense expression relaxed. “What am I going to do with you?” He stroked my cheek affectionately and I pressed my lips against his palm.

“Nothing at the moment. You’re going to get into that shiny silver volvo of yours and you’re going to spend a nice weekend with your parents”. My eyes tightened. “And you’re not going to worry about me, Edward, not for a second. I’ll call you if there’s a problem, I promise”.

“So, you’re going to the movies with Angela this afternoon, you’re having dinner with Charlie tonight and you’re working tomorrow?” He wanted it clarified.

“That’s right. I won’t have time to be lonely”.

“So ….. you won’t miss me then?” Edward lowered his face and his lips brushed against mine. “Are you sure about that?”

I kissed him back, my lips responding to his gentle touch, and tears unexpectedly rose in my eyes. I didn’t want him to leave, I didn’t want to be alone. I didn’t want to deal with this problem on my own. I just wanted it to go away!

“Not really”, my voice trembled slightly. “But I’ll survive, and I’ll look forward to seeing you tomorrow night”. I wrapped my arms around his neck and pressed myself against him, fighting the urge to cry. What if he couldn’t handle this problem? What if I lost him?

“Me too” he whispered. “Keep your cell phone on you, because I’m going to be checking on you regularly. I mean it, Bella, if you don’t answer that damn phone, I’ll be in the car on my way back here before you know it.”

“I promise”, I managed a weak smile. “Now go! The mountain lions are calling”.

* * *

I waited until the sound of the volvo’s engine had faded away completely. My movements were deliberately slow as I sat up, swinging my legs over the side of the bed and pausing as I concentrated on breathing deeply. I fought to push away the familiar nausea, focusing on Charlie’s newest recruit at the police station, Renee’s most recent obsession – tai chi – and Angela and Ben’s impending engagement party; anything that would distract me from my churning stomach. None of it worked, of course, and within minutes I was stumbling towards the bathroom, my throat burning with the taste of acidic bile as I desperately tried to hold it back. The bathroom tiles were cold beneath my knees as I sank down beside the toilet and I shuddered involuntarily, waiting for my empty stomach to purge itself.

* * *

Several times during that painfully long day I tried to make my way back to the comfort of my bed. If only I could lay my head on my favorite pillow and wrap myself up in my warm, thick quilt, I would feel better. Each attempt was unsuccessful; the furthest I ventured before I was overwhelmed with dizziness and nausea was the bathroom door. I lost count of the number of times I vomited into the toilet bowl, but as the daylight faded and darkness crept in I was still aware of the need to stay close to the toilet. By this stage I was dry retching; my stomach had lost its meagre contents hours before, but the spasms continued and I was unable to get to my feet, unable to move for fear of losing consciousness.

I must have fallen asleep for a period of time because when I awoke I was aware of the morning sunlight streaming through the bathroom window. I was curled up on the bathroom floor, my body trembling with cold and my stomach cramping painfully. My head felt hot, almost feverish, and when I lifted a hand weakly to push the hair back from my forehead, it came away wet. I tried to push myself up, using the bath tub for leverage, but I had no strength whatsoever. I could only slump back onto the bathroom floor, shivering uncontrollably.

Suddenly, I was frightened. There was something very wrong – nothing about this was normal. Morning sickness, yes, the occasional dizzy spell, okay, but vomiting continuously for over a week, unable to keep even a sip of water down, feeling dizzy to the point of losing consciousness for even a brief period of time – beginning to think that death might just be preferable over this never ending nausea – seemed somehow to indicate that something was not quite right.

I had no idea what time it was; the bright light flooding the bathroom had me guessing that it was close to midday. I remembered I had left the cell phone on the bedside table and hoped to God that Edward had not tried to call me. If so, he was about to find me too weak to move and barely conscious.

Pull yourself together Bella and stop feeling sorry for yourself! I told myself harshly before pushing myself up into a sitting position. Mind over matter, that’s all that was required. I could do this, I could get myself back into bed. Once there I would close my eyes and have a proper sleep, and by the time I awoke it would be time for Edward to come home. When he was beside me, no problem would seem too huge to handle. We would talk, and I would no longer be carrying this burden alone. Everything would be all right, somehow.

My last thought was reaching up to grasp the edge of the bath tub, intending to pull myself up. Dizziness overwhelmed me, and then I knew no more.