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Breaking Dawn till Dusk

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.

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”.

5. Darkness

Rating 5/5   Word Count 1073   Review this Chapter

5. Bella’s POV: Darkness

I lost all track of time as I lay on the bathroom floor, waiting to feel better. Sometimes I was aware of sunlight flooding the room, at other times I was convinced it was the dead of night. I began to imagine voices calling out to me, yet I knew there was nobody there.

I was trembling uncontrollably, wearing only a favorite t-shirt and panties. The tiles beneath me were hard and cold and my head ached relentlessly as I pressed my cheek to the floor. It had to get better – it had to! This nausea and weakness could not last forever. Soon I would be able to pull myself up off the floor and make it to my warm, comfortable bed. I longed to have something in my stomach again, to feel normal, the way I had felt before this nightmarish week had begun. I vowed to never again take good health for granted.

I slept – for how long I had no idea. When I awoke I was determined to get myself off this bathroom floor, even if it killed me. I prepared myself by taking in some slow deep breaths, in through the nose and out through the mouth. I pressed the palms of my hands against the floor and gradually began to raise my head. So far so good. I began to lift my upper body until I was finally sitting up, my legs curled underneath me. There was no time to pat myself on the back for my efforts because almost immediately the bathroom began to spin crazily around me. My barren stomach heaved and I bent over the toilet, my eyes watering as the acidic bile scalded my raw and aching throat on its way up.

Minutes passed – or was it hours? I had no idea. Eventually I was spent, and this time the cool bathroom tiles were a relief as I rested my hot, flushed forehead against them. I didn’t want to waste what meagre amount of energy I still possessed on tears, but I couldn’t help it. I was frightened, truly terrified of what was happening to me. I couldn’t move, for God’s sake, without passing out or throwing up. I hated the thought of Edward coming home and finding me this way but I didn’t know what to do. If only my cell phone had been beside me I would’ve called Angela and asked for her help. I closed my eyes against the flood of tears, and sensed the encroaching darkness taking me over once again. This time I welcomed it.

* * *

In my dream I was stumbling through thick forest, my hands up in front of my face to guard against the persistent branches and twigs scratching at my face, as if determined to take my eye out. Somebody was following close behind. I didn’t know who it was, but I quickened my steps, my heart thumping inside my chest. From my instinctive and immediate reaction I could only conclude that the pursuer behind me was a threat to my safety. He was constantly calling out my name, yet his voice was not familiar or friendly. I kept running.

“Bella? Come on Bella, I know you’re in there! I’m counting to ten and then I’m opening the door, so if you’re not decent you’d better say so now!”

I struggled to open my eyes, I was so disorientated. I had expected to see green forest surrounding me but instead it was the familiar tiled walls of the bathroom. I groaned, wanting nothing more at that moment than to go back to sleep. I would choose the threatening nightmare any day over this hell that was now my reality.

Suddenly somebody was beside me. I was instantly aware of their presence, even before I felt the cool hand on my shoulder. I gasped and this time managed to open my eyes.

“Jesus Christ, Bella, what happened? Did you fall down again?” The expression on Emmett’s face was one of real concern, his tone gentle and my eyes automatically filled with tears.

“No, I …..” I struggled to get the words past my painful throat. “I just ….. got sick”.

“You look like you got sick quite a while ago. Edward’s going nuts because you haven’t answered your phone”. Emmett’s hand tightened on my shoulder. “Why are you lying in here on the floor Bella? Wouldn’t the bed be a little more comfortable?”

I shook my head weakly. “I have to …. stay here, Emmett. It ….. I can’t stop being sick”,

“Was it something you ate? Like food poisoning or something?”

“I’m not sure”. I closed my eyes wearily. “I have to go back to sleep now”.

“Bella, hang on!” His voice was close to my ear this time. “Let me put you into bed, okay? You can’t stay here on the damned floor – you’ll freeze to death”. I felt his arm behind my shoulders and I pulled away from him.

“No! No Emmett, please! Leave me here”. Raising my voice even slightly was agonising for my throat but I did not want Emmett to pick me up. I knew that I was not yet done being sick – the next wave of nausea was just around the corner, and I wanted to be beside the toilet when it hit.

He hesitated and I could see the indecision on his face. “Bella …..”

“No”, I mumbled, turning away from him. “I need to stay here”. Emmett sighed and then left me. He was back within seconds, a pillow and a thin blanket from the linen press in his arms.

“Let me make you a little more comfortable at least”, he spoke resignedly. The pillow felt wonderful beneath my head and I clutched at the blanket gratefully, my body still trembling from the cold tiles beneath me. Emmett crouched beside me; I could tell he was still unhappy about leaving me where I was.

“Bella”, he began uncertainly. “Should I call a doctor? You look ….. honestly Bella, you look terrible”.

“No”, I squeezed my eyes shut as a tide of nausea rolled towards me. “No ….. just ….. just leave me, Emmett …… please”. I broke off, unable to continue. My last thought was one of panic, of vomiting all over poor Emmett, but then my head began to spin, and the world went away.