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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”.


6. Chapter 6 - Home

Rating 5/5   Word Count 1400   Review this Chapter

6. Edward’s POV: Home

I made the two hour trip home in one hour and ten. I had called Carlisle on the way, apologising for my abrupt departure and explaining to him about Emmett’s phone call. I could hear the concern in Carlisle’s voice.

“Any idea what’s going on, Edward? She was unwell two weeks ago, when Esme and I dropped around. If it’s a stomach bug it’s certainly persistent”.

“I don’t know”, I sighed heavily. My hand tightened on the steering wheel. “Dammit Carlisle, I shouldn’t have left her yesterday morning. I had a feeling something wasn’t right”.

“You can’t do anything about that now, Edward. Just get home to her, and let me know if you need me to stop in on my way back to take a look at her”.

I snapped my cell phone shut and concentrated on the road ahead. The turn off to Forks was coming up and my foot barely touched the brake pedal as I veered off to the right, heading for home.

* * *

Emmett greeted me at the front door, his large frame blocking the entrance. “What’s happening?” I asked urgently as I bounded up the steps. The expression of relief at my early return was evident on his face. “Is she all right, Emmett? Does she need a doctor?”

“I think maybe, yeah. She said she just started feeling sick”, Emmett explained to me as we walked into the house. “She can’t keep anything down – just throws everything up. I got kind of worried, man, because she can’t even get up off the bathroom floor”.

“What?” I stared at Emmett in horror. “Why is she on the bathroom floor, for God’s sake?”

“That’s where I found her”, he spoke defensively. “She wouldn’t let me move her – said she had to stay next to the toilet ….”. I muttered an obscenity and dashed up the stairs. Emmett followed close behind.

I pushed the bathroom door open with a hand that was not quite steady and somehow managed to choke back a second and more serious obscenity when I saw her.

Bella was curled on her side on the white tiles, visibly trembling beneath a thin summer blanket. Emmett had thoughtfully placed a pillow under her head but she still looked incredibly uncomfortable. Her eyes were closed, her face devoid of all color and drenched with perspiration. I was reminded of the year before, seeing her broken and damaged body lying on the wooden floor of the ballet studio in Phoenix. Of course I knew that she was not injured this time, only very ill, but she appeared just as vulnerable and as helpless as she had on that unforgettable day.

I hurried across the room and knelt down beside her. “Bella? Open your eyes, sweetheart, and talk to me. Tell me what’s wrong”. I spoke to her softly as I cradled her warm cheek in my hand. “I’m home now, Bella. I’m right here beside you”.

She stirred slightly and I could see her struggling to force her eyes open. “E… Edward?”

“I’m here”. I enclosed her stiff fingers within mine and squeezed gently. “It’s all right, Bella. I’m going to take care of you. I’m here now”. Bella squeezed her eyes tightly closed as I caressed her cheek tenderly. “Does anything hurt, sweetheart? Are you in any pain?”

“Just …. my throat”, she whispered. “It’s burning”.

I glanced around at Emmett standing in the doorway. “Could you get me a glass of water?” I asked him softly. “And … call Carlisle for me on his cell phone. Ask him to get here as soon as he can”.

“Will do”. Emmett disappeared and I turned back to Bella.

“I’m going to put you into bed, love. You can’t stay here”.

“No!” Her hand clutched mine weakly and she managed this time to open her eyes to look up at me. “I can’t … go far from here. I keep being sick”. Tears suddenly filled her eyes and despite her protests I locked one arm underneath her knees and the other behind her shoulders, lifting her easily.

“It doesn’t matter”. I told her gently. “I’ll get you something to keep beside you on the bed. You need to get off this floor, Bella”. I held her close against my chest as I carried her through to the bedroom. Her t-shirt was wet in places, probably from perspiration, and I lowered her carefully onto the covers, just as Emmett returned with a glass of iced water.

“Here”, he held it out to me. “Carlisle’s on his way. He left not long after you did”.

“Okay, thanks”. I brought the glass up to Bella’s dry lips but she lifted her hand and weakly pushed it away.

“No” she protested, her voice barely audible. “I won’t keep it down”.

“Bella, it will help soothe your throat a little. Just try a sip, for me, please” I begged her. She hesitated for what seemed like a long time, and then she allowed me to press the glass against her lips once more. She swallowed once, then twice before shaking her head, waving the glass away. I barely had time to place it on the bedside table before she began to cough, bringing up the small amount of water she’d managed to swallow. Her expression twisted into one of pain as she heaved, and I quickly placed my arm behind her back, supporting her as her stomach revolted against this new intrusion. This time I did not have to ask. Emmett was there with a towel and a wet face cloth. I thanked him with my eyes as he handed them to me.

Bella was breathing heavily, and I gently wiped her hot face with the wet cloth. “You’re all right”, I whispered to her. “I’ve got you, sweetheart. Just lie back against me and take some nice deep breaths, in and out. It’s going to pass”.

She shook her head and a sob escaped from her throat. “I told you!” she spoke wearily. “It won’t stay down!” The tears overflowed and I pulled her up close against me, holding her tight as she cried brokenly.

“I’m sorry”, I tried to soothe her. “Don’t cry, please Bella. We’re going to get you well again, I promise you. Trust me, all right?”

She was shaking her head against my chest and all I could do was tighten my arms around her. I didn’t know how to comfort her, how to make it better for her. I hoped to God that Carlisle had the accelerator pressed to the floor, just as I had.

When the crying had eased off, I pulled away and managed a smile for her. Once again I wiped her face with the face cloth, pushing her damp hair back from her brow with my fingers. “Let me find you a dry t-shirt”, I told her as I stood up. My chest of drawers was closer and I grabbed the first long-sleeved item I could find – a warm flannalette shirt that I often wore over jeans. “Emmett, could you turn your back for a minute?”

“Oh! Er … sure. Sorry, I’ll … er …. go downstairs and wait for Carlisle”. Once he had left the room I took hold of the bottom of the damp t-shirt and lifted it carefully over Bella’s head. I had to guide her limp arms through the long sleeves of my shirt, rolling up the cuffs four times before her hands were revealed. I quickly did up the buttons and drew the blankets up over her as she lay down, her eyes closing with exhaustion.

“Try to sleep, Bella”, I whispered to her. “Carlisle will be here soon, and he’s going to give you something to stop the vomiting and help you to feel better. I won’t leave you, I promise. I’ll be here the whole time”.

“He can’t make it better”, she mumbled as once again tears began to roll down her cheeks.

“Shhhhh, yes he can”, I spoke soothingly as I brushed the tears away with my fingertips. “Come on now, Bella. No more tears, my love. Everything will be all right, I’ll make sure of it”.

There was no reply, and as she succumbed to sleep I continued to watch over her, tenderly caressing her cheek, and gripped by an unexplainable, numbing fear.