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Dreaming I'm Alive

Summary:
After a speedy wedding, Edward & Bella return to find the Volturi on their way. Edward insists on running but when a man claiming to have a cure for vampirism shows up with an assassin on his tail, the lives of the Cullens are thrown into chaos. Meanwhile, Charlie struggles with the existence of vampires and having to let his daughter go. Bella learns about her real past and the question of why Edward can't hear her thoughts is answered once and for all.


Notes:
All smut has now been removed. Rated PG-13 for violence and minorly confusing plots. Every chapter is dedicated to a different Muse song.


6. The Other Side

Rating 5/5   Word Count 5186   Review this Chapter

The world was spiraling around me. The darkness made my other senses jump at the smallest change. First, the room was warm and cozy. Then we were running and the air conditioning was blasting on my face, humming lightly in the distance. Edward kept saying something over and over again but I could barely make out his sweet voice. I couldn’t move.

Then, the stars were above me and we were running again, towards a blinding white light. My eyes were closed, tightly as possible, but the light seeped through. I was cold and getting colder and soon, my hands and toes started to lose feeling.

“BELLA!” I heard Edward call, shaking me awake as the darkness took me again. The bright light didn’t let me go back to sleep. Very gentle hands were on my chest and suddenly, Edward’s cries were too far away. I reached out for the voice but I didn’t even know if I was moving or not.

Despite the light, I lost all consciousness.

--

When I awoke, I couldn’t open my eyes. They were too heavy. So, I waited quietly for it to pass and listened to the voices outside, trying to ignore the deafening beep of the machines around me. I started to regain feeling in my extremities, especially my fingers.

I lifted my arm slowly towards my face and found my cheek and lips. I was freezing. I gasped out and someone’s hand touched mine.

“It’s okay, Bella. You’re fine,” a familiar voice whispered in my ear.

“Carlisle?” I said hoarsely, slowly opening my eyes. His hand tightening on mine and it made me feel safer not to be alone in the dark. “Where’s Edward?”

“I’m here,” he said in the distance. I opened my eyes and was blinded again by the room lights. He must have seen me wince and shut them off. I saw Carlisle clearly but Edward was too far away, shrouded in darkness. I could only make out his silhouette against the hallway lights.

“Where am I?” I asked, though I had some idea. “Why are you all the way over there?”

Edward didn’t answer. I tried to sit up and the pain over my heart nearly killed me. I screamed and Carlisle pushed me back down. “You’re in the hospital,” he said. “You’re in a private room in the ICU. You are completely safe. Can you hear me?”

I nodded but I still felt too weak to move. The bed whirred and lifted me up so I could see into the hall better. I didn’t answer Carlisle. I just looked off at Edward who looked so pained by the door. “Edward, why are you over there? Come here, sweetie,” I begged, my throat on fire. “Edward?”

He didn’t move. Carlisle looked from him to me and excused himself. “I have to go to the house for a little while but I’ll be back before you know it. Edward’s going to take care of you, okay? You’re going to be fine.”

I nodded slowly. He whispered something to Edward on the way out that I didn’t hear but Edward seemed to relax and came towards me.

“Hey, you,” I whispered. His fingers intertwined with mine. I smiled as much as I was able. “Hmm… You’re warm.”

He ignored me. “Are you in any pain? I can up the morphine,” he said quickly.

I scoffed softly. “What? Edward, what happened to me?”

“You don’t remember?”

I shook my head as little as I was able then tried to focus on my last memory. “We were in bed, waiting for a call. I was reading Othello.” A smile pierced through the pain and his brow relaxed. He drew in closer to me. I didn’t know how low I was speaking but I knew he’d hear me anyway.

“What else? Do you remember the knife?” It and the nights before seemed to blend into one another. “Do you remember hearing Jacob had disappeared?”

I gasped at the memory, the pain coming back. My heart felt heavy again and I could feel the wounds tearing open so I relaxed and focused on Edward’s sweet face, his… green eyes?

“It wasn’t your fault,” I whispered to him, tightening my grip on his hand. “It was my mistake.”

He went to say something when a smell caught his attention and he looked to the door. He let go of my hand and ran outside. I was scared but tried not to move and aggravate my wounds. The morphine was making me sluggish and the darkness was easing me asleep but I tried to stay awake.

I heard strange sounds outside but I had no way of knowing what was real. I heard another familiar voice arguing with Edward then I heard something crash and all was still.

The darkness won over me again.

--

Before I even opened my eyes, I felt his hand in mine. Edward sat by my bed, his head rested on the bed by our hands.

“Edward?” I whispered, knowing he could hear me.

But he didn’t. His eyes were closed and his breathing was slow and steady. I realized then what was happening. I called his name again and he groggily lifted his head. His eyes slowly opened and I thought my aching heart had stopped. I stared at him until he realized where he was.

He smiled up at me and kissed the back of my hand. I thought I was going to cry but it was because I hadn’t blinked in a while. I didn’t want to miss a second. The way he moved was different. He slouched forward a bit like Charlie after a long day at work.

And his eyes.

The usual gold was slowly being replaced by a brilliant green that jumped out against his auburn hair. His skin was also a bit redder though still incredibly pale. I must have laughed slightly because he smiled brighter.

I thought it was just surprise at seeing the next step of his transformation but it wasn’t. My heart really was hurting. My hand went up to my chest. The three wounds had been closed with a sort of liquid bandage. The cuts were clean and smooth and they seemed to be healing up nicely, or so Carlisle would tell me later.

The noise from the hallway was starting to get in the way so got up to close the door. When he came back, I asked, “Did you dream?”

He tilted his head. “I don’t remember. Just little bits.”

“Yea, that’s usually all you’ll remember.”

“I have to go tell Carlisle. He wants me to document everything.”

I scoffed. “Great, I’m a science fair project.”

“Technically I am. You’re just arm candy,” he said with a wide smile, coming down to kiss me. I reached for his arm lightly and he winced from pain. I pulled up the sleeve of his t-shirt quickly.

“What happened?” I asked, running my hand gently up the white gauze wrapped around his bicep.

“I hit it against the car door when we got here.” He looked down so I couldn’t see his eyes. I knew he was lying but I didn’t say anything. It wasn’t important.

“My god, you look…”

“What?” he asked quickly, startled.

“Amazing. Human.” He seemed to relax but he was back in the world. He wasn’t going to smile like he did when he first woke up. “Wow. First sleep in 80 years.”

“More but technically, I fell asleep in the waiting room. This was sleep number two. When I woke up the first time, Alice and Jasper were looking at me like I was an animal at the zoo.”

I laughed and tried to see through the window on the door. “They’re here?”

“They were but Carlisle sent them home. Your blood was everywhere so it was safer if they weren’t here.”

I nodded. “Gotcha.”

He walked around my bed to a bag on the waiting chair next to the door. They didn’t seem too comfortable but he didn’t seem to mind. I figured he’d grow used to them. With my luck with gravity, I wouldn’t be surprised if I ended up in that same room again before the end of the year.

He pulled out his phone and dialed. “Hey,” he said. “She’s awake… Yea, she’s fine… No, I’m sorry. She hasn’t… Yea, please tell Charlie.”

And he hung up. I furrowed my brow as he avoided my eyes on the way back by my side, staring at the blank screen on his phone. “Who was it?” I asked.

“Uh, Esme,” he lied. I could tell right away. I placed my hand on his cheek and made him face me.

“Who was it really?”

He cleared his throat and turned from me. He sighed and answered, “Jacob.”

I gasped but ended up coughing uncontrollably. He hurried to grab my free hand, to steady me. I brought both up to my chest to keep pressure over the wound. The coughing made the stitches want to rip apart.

“Why didn’t you tell me sooner?” I yelled, regretting it quickly when I remembered his arm. “He came to see me, didn’t he?”

“The werewolves were watching our house. They saw me get you to the car covered in blood and ambushed us in the emergency room.”

I closed my eyes and leaned my head back. “Why did he leave?”

“Uh…”

“Edward, tell me the truth. I don’t care. I just don’t want to be kept in the dark anymore,” I begged.

He fixed my pillow and pulled up my blankets before answering. “He didn’t want to see you but he wanted to know you were okay. I told him I’d call the moment you woke up.”

“Did he hurt you?”

It gladdened him that I cared. “I’ll be fine. At least no one saw.”

“I don’t care about that. You shouldn’t have been hurt.”

“I told him it was just a stupid mistake. He… He promised to stay in town and I told him I’d let you see him before he left again.”

I calmed down. Edward was being strangely civil. I had to remember that he didn’t really have a choice. He couldn’t just pull me out of danger when I needed him anymore. He had to give in to Jacob’s demands. He had to be diplomatic like the rest of us. Soon, his words would be his only weapons and he’d have to put up with a lot more now that he couldn’t easily control me.

Well, it was never easy.

“Thank you,” I whispered, pulling his collar towards me. He lifted up the blanket and climbed into bed beside me, his arm around my waist as he turned on his side towards me. “God, this reminds me of nights in my room.”

“About that…. Since I’m almost human and all, let’s not tell Charlie all our past indiscretions, should he see to castrate me.”

I laughed so hard that my stitches hurt again. “What? Where’d that come from?”

“That was pretty much his response when I told him you were in the hospital.”

I didn’t find it funny after that. “Charlie was here? How long have I been asleep?”

“Two days.”

I sighed and stroked his hair, closing my eyes and picturing the nights in my room and the way his voice made my heart sputter and fade. “Were you alone this whole time?” I asked softly. “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you. I didn’t—I would never leave you alone like that, okay?”

He couldn’t see my eyes but I’m sure he knew I wanted to cry. He could smell my tears the way I smelled his wonderful skin. I wondered if he had stayed a vampire, if we would have continued to grow closer. Would I be able to smell him when I walked into the room? Would he feel my heart beat faster from miles away? I knew it was probably impossible but the thought made my tears stop and my heart calm.

“I know,” he answered, his eyes closed as he slowly drifted back to sleep.

I couldn’t sleep again even if I tried, even if I’d wanted to. “Do you know I love you? I mean honestly. I couldn’t go back to sleep if I didn’t hear you say it.”

He took his time before answering and I wondered if he wondered that himself. “I know you love me, Bella,” he whispered.

“Would you grow terribly annoyed if I told you every day?”

His eyes were still closed and I started to wonder if he talked in his sleep like I did, if it was a sign of a vampire-turned-human. I needed to come up with a name for them. The Luke Warm Ones? I smiled in my head. The Saved? The Rescued?

My family. That was all the name they’d ever need.

And Edward? My love.

The hollow nature of names hit me as I took in the scent of his hair again. It was slowly starting to change. Soon, he’d only smell of soap and laundry detergent. I prayed a little bit of his scent stayed behind so I’d always remember the times we had before the dawn of the Saved. I prayed I never let the little human things that seemed to tear everyone else apart tear at us.

“I know,” he mumbled, half asleep. “I love you too, Bell.”

My eyes started to sting and I went to wipe away the tears. He was perfect, I told myself. He was a perfect man. And I made him human. I made him flawed and angry and fragile. I wondered if it was too late to go back, to keep my Edward forever. That’s when the tears drove me to gasps and I covered my mouth with my shaking hand. But he still woke up.

“Bella?” he asked, startled, sitting up to look down at me. “Bella, what is it?”

He pulled my hand away but I still wouldn’t speak. My throat felt like it’d closed up.

“Bella! Talk to me! What’s wrong?” he pleaded, desperately wiping at my tears like they were evidence of a crime.

I wrapped my arms around his neck and drew him to me. “I’m so sorry, Edward! I’m so sorry!” I mumbled into his shoulder. He started to shake too.

But he didn’t pull away. “Baby, what’s wrong?”

I chuckled at the word. Baby. I must have sounded demented but I couldn’t stop the tears. I never told him why I’d apologized. I never told him that I blamed myself for killing him. He stroked my hair and he kissed my lips. But no matter what he said, I’d always blame myself for all the years I took away from him.

The night passed and I eventually cried myself to sleep with Edward in my arms.

--

I woke up alone. The machines were gone and my eyes were still puffy from the night before. Carlisle came in soon after wearing his white doctor’s coat and brightest smile.

“Hey you,” he said. He saw in my eyes what I was going to ask. “Edward’s talking with Charlie. He’ll be right back.”

I nodded but I didn’t speak. It still hurt to talk. I must have messed up my throat last night.

“Do you mind?” he asked, coming to check my wounds. I gulped and he went ahead and pulled down my gown a bit. I stared blankly to the door, hoping to catch a glimpse of Edward and Charlie outside. From my bed, it looked like the hospital was empty but I could still hear the sounds, the business. “You’ll be fine. Don’t worry.”

I nodded again and he made a strange face like he saw something was wrong with me.

Edward came in looking like any man after having to deal with his father-in-law. I smiled, remembering once again that he was my husband. I sighed with relief. It hadn’t all been a dream. He bent down to kiss me as Carlisle closed the door behind him.

“The family’s here,” he announced. “They all want to see you.”

I smiled and opened the door a bit to call everyone in. Alice was the first inside, coming to hug me. Jasper stayed by the door with Emmett beside him in case he lost control. He seemed perfectly calm to me but the morphine did make everything a bit different. Charlie was the last to come in, as he was talking on the phone with his deputy. I felt guilty pulling him away from work, for making him worry.

Edward’s voice still sounded in the distance, calling my name as the blood flowed. I looked at him as sweetly as I could, an apology for making him worry.

“Hi Bell,” Charlie finally said, hanging up and coming to kiss my forehead. “How’re you feeling?”

“I’m fine. I’ve been hurt worse. You know me and gravity.”

“Gravity didn’t push in that knife,” he replied coldly. Edward shot him an evil look and I wondered if he’d warned him not to be rash outside. Charlie looked uneasy among so many vampires.

“Guys, can you give me and Dad a minute?” They all looked at Edward, who nodded, then they were speeding off back to the waiting room. Edward just walked off slowly. Charlie watched him go, confused.

“He doesn’t like leaving you alone, does he?” he asked.

“Neither do you.”

He nodded and ran his hand through his hair. “They told me what really happened. Can I trust them?”

I didn’t like his tone. “If they told you I did it myself, by accident, then yes. It’s the truth. But you can always trust them.”

He did something caught between a scoff and a chuckle. “Jacob was here, you know.”

“I know. Edward told me.”

He didn’t expect that. He expected Edward to lie to me, to keep me to himself. After all, it’s what he would have done. “He left again. We don’t know to where.”

He must have expected me to have some clue but I just shrugged. I honestly didn’t know. “He’ll be fine too,” I said, trying to keep him calm. “He promised not to leave town again until I talk to him.”

Silence took us over again. He gulped and reached up to touch my face. “Are you still there?” he asked. “Are you still my Bella?”

I didn’t want to cry again after all the damage it’d done to me last night. So I was strong. “I’m here, Dad. Actually, I’ll always be here. Did Edward show you our house?”

“No.”

I smiled. “It’s beautiful. Two floors, a porch. I was thinking about getting a dog. I like dogs.” He probably didn’t know about Jacob’s true nature so I stopped there then continued with the smallest laugh, “It’s even got a little room for kids. The walls are blue with teddy bear wallpaper. I was hoping you wouldn’t mind bringing over the rocking chair from my room.”

He started to smile and looked to the door. He knew the others were waiting and he had to get back to work. He bent down to kiss my cheek and whispered in my ear, “Don’t tell your mother and don’t pull a stunt like this again. I want those grandchildren, dammit.”

I laughed as he quickly left.

The others hurried back with a wheelchair, which I scoffed at. “There’s no way I’m riding one of those things,” I warned. “I’m not handicapped. Just give me a hand.”

I leaned into Edward and slid off the bed, onto my feet. I wasn’t dizzy at all, which they were visibly thankful for. They all looked at me differently though. I wasn’t just Bella. I was their messiah. I chuckled nervously asked Alice to bring me over the bag of clothes Edward had gotten for me.

“I’ll get it,” Rosalie offered. She seemed different, lighter. Her beautiful face was wide-eyed and calm like she’d just woken up to the full force of the sun. I knew it wasn’t just the news of the cure but I liked knowing I could have made her a little bit happier.

They left me to dress and then, we were on the road to our house. Alice and Jasper rode with us, asking Edward all sorts of question about the transformation, frustrated that she couldn’t see our future. Did he eat yet? Did he dream? Did his skin still shine? He shrugged at most of the questions.

“It’s too soon to tell,” he’d say.

“His eyes are different,” I told her, smiling at him from the front passenger’s seat. Edward was driving, much slower than usual so I wouldn’t get car sick from the medicines.

I realized the green had started to fade when he smiled back. The dark was taking over. He hadn’t fed on anyone but me in weeks. He must be starving, but he didn’t show it.

“Edward, are you at all hungry?” I asked after we let out Alice and Jasper at the Cullens’. We’d been silent since then.

“Stop trying to get me to eat. Don’t worry. I’ll soon be craving junk food with the best of them,” he joked, giving me an arm to lean on as I got out of the car.

“No, I mean… your eyes are going back to dark.”

He unlocked and pulled open the door with his free hand and went to set me down on the sofa. My legs were still weak and I really hadn’t eaten. He seemed to head for the kitchen but I told him I’d make myself something later. I didn’t want him to avoid the question.

I stared him down until he answered, “I’m not going to feed again, Bella. Not on animals.”

I stared down at my hands on my lap. “Maybe you should.”

He stopped in mid-step on his way back from the kitchen. “What? Are you still weak?”

“No, I mean… why do you have to drink from me at all? Why not Carlisle or Emmett?”

He laughed in disbelief. “Where’s this coming from, Bell?” He reached for me but stopped himself again. “Is this about what happened last time? Last night? We can always try again later.”

I shook my head, still not daring to lift my eyes. “I mean, yes it is but not in the way you think. I—”

He summed up his courage to confront me and sat beside me on the sofa, taking my hands so I’d look at him. He had the saddest eyes I’d seen since our honeymoon.

“Edward, I don’t want you to die. Ever.” He laughed at how ludicrous it must have sounded to him. “If you turn human, it’ll be because of me. And I’m just the worst companion you could have ever found. I mean, I fall all the time, things and people keep trying to kill me, I pull things like I did the other night with the knife…”

He put his hand over my mouth. “You silly, silly girl,” he said, almost in a growl. “When you die, I’ll follow. I don’t care if it’s in a week from now or a year or fifty years! I. Love. You. I want to grow old with you! I want to have clumsy babies and eat junk food!”

I didn’t know whether to laugh or cry. “Edward…”

“I understand not wanting me to drink from you because you’re afraid, because you’re still weak, because you want to wait… but NOT because you don’t want me to die alone. I promise you. I’ll follow you.”

I nodded, unable to speak. I pulled away from his hands and wobbled towards the kitchen, almost knocking over a lamp. I found a new knife, smaller but still sharp. I didn’t know where the old one had gone. I sat back down in front of him and slashed shallowly across my wrist, my eyes fixed on his.

“Now, usually, I cut yours too and we make some kind of blood pact but since your skin’s still hard as a rock and it’d be a waste of blood…” I offered him my hand and gulped. He jumped back against the arm of the couch. “This is my pact to you. Something happens to you, I follow too.”

He stared at the cut for a moment, debating whether or not to drink if I was still weak from blood loss. “Deal,” he said and licked over it. It wasn’t exactly a meal. I did it for me more than him. I had to test myself. I had to be willing to use that knife again when it came to it.

“Good,” I whispered. “Now carry me to the shower, Superman. I smell like a hospital.”

He didn’t laugh but he did as I asked. I undressed while the tub filled with water. He set me gently inside and kissed my forehead then headed back into the bedroom. He’d showered before coming back to the hospital so he didn’t join me but he told me, “Talk to me, sing, so I know you’re still alive.”

“What should I talk about?” I called back. He mumbled something but I didn’t quite catch it. “You know what I was thinking just now? The time in Port Angeles when you rescued me from those men? You asked me to talk to you to calm you down so you wouldn’t hurt them. I think I said something about the dance and my plans to hurt one of the boys in school… God, those were simpler times, before James, Victoria, and Laurent, and all I had to worry about was being bored in Biology.”

He mumbled something back so I’d know he was listening but I still couldn’t make it out. After twenty minutes of silence from his end, I got out of the bath, dried off, and dressed. I slowly entered the bedroom and found him asleep on his side of the bed, facing the bathroom. His hand was up by his face, palm face up.

“Edward?” I whispered to make sure he was asleep. He didn’t answer but he didn’t seem to be breathing, which didn’t surprise me at all. I slowly crawled in beside him. He didn’t wake. I spent five minutes waiting before he took a breath. He must have smelled me and smiled, his hand reaching out to caress my face.

I quickly fell asleep.

--

I woke up alone again. I heard someone yell Bam! downstairs and went to see. Edward was sitting on the floor, his back against the couch, hugging his knees and staring at the television. It had arrived while I was in the hospital.

“Hey you,” I greeted him, going down to sit beside him.

“Feeling okay?” he asked, kissing me lightly. His face seemed different, not less beautiful but definitely more tired. His eyes were darker. I had to remind myself he hadn’t had my blood in a few days. The effect of the cure must have started to fade. I wondered how long it would be before it was permanent.

“I should be asking you that. Sleep well?”

He turned somber. “I had a dream… I remembered it this time.”

I rested my head on his shoulder. “Tell me.”

I reached for the remote on the couch and muted the TV. He was apparently on the Food Network, which surprised me considering they didn’t have a rare meat segment that I knew of.

“We were dancing on a frozen lake. I was in a tux and you were wearing pink—” I grimaced. He didn’t laugh but he smiled lightly. “And then, you fell through the ice and I couldn’t… I couldn’t reach you. You were trapped on the other side.”

I stroked his hair. “Baby, I’m right here. It was just a dream.”

He nodded. “Yea… Just a dream. But it felt more like a memory.”

I tried to change the subject. “So what are you watching?” I asked, sounding as cheery as I could. “Food Network?”

At that, he blushed which made me smile fiercely. “Yea. No junk for us, not anymore. No donuts, bear claws or danishes or whatever Charlie insists is healthy.”

“Healthy?”

“Considering I want to spend the next eighty years with you, yea. Plus, I’m terrified of your cooking.”

I scoffed and slapped his arm playfully. “I am not that bad of a cook!” He laughed and grabbed a hold of my hands, pushing me back onto the carpet. I looked up into his dark eyes and my laughter faded. “Edward?” I whispered.

He shivered and in a blink, the face was gone, but not from my memory. “What?” he asked.

I looked to where his hand pinned my wrist to the ground. “Do you feel yourself still changing?” He got off and looked at me gravely. I knew that face well, the face of guilt. He wore it for weeks after he first saved me from James, after he first drank my blood. “Does it hurt?”

He knew I was just looking for excuses but he answered honestly. “Yea, it hurts. Constantly. There’s something burning inside me, all through me. I thought it went away but when you were in the hospital, it came back. I’m turning back But—” he stopped to smile. “I don’t care because… because all I can think about is kissing you. It was never just that. Before, all I could think about was drinking you dry and fighting with myself to keep you. Now, I just want to take you up to that room and—”

I laughed and covered his mouth with my hand. “We can definitely try again.”

“Yea, we could. I still can’t believe I dreamt a real dream not just little fantasies I’d come up with alone in my room.”

I raised an eyebrow and slowly went to straddle him against the sofa. “Really? What sort of fantasies?”

He looked off to the kitchen, the dining room. “Of this. Of being with you and not having to apologize for it.”

“Apologize? To whom?”

“The world?” I bent down to kiss him, his neck, when his phone ran upstairs. “I swear, if that’s Alice, I’m throwing her off a cliff,” he mumbled and ran upstairs.

I stayed back and turned the sound back on the TV just as Emeril threw some chopped peppers into a frying pan. I laughed as Edward hurried back down, handing me the phone. He muted the TV again. It was Charlie.

“Yea, Dad? How are you?”

He didn’t bother with pleasantries. I could hear the sounds of his office in the background. “Bella, we got a hit on Oliver.”

I sat up onto the couch as Edward turned off the TV completely so he could hear everything. “In Forks?”

“No, I had to expand the search like Edward told me. We found it in Canada. It’s a little Danish bakery owned by an Oliver Fredericks. He used to live above it back in the 50s with his daughter.”

Charlie kept talking but my wide eyes shot up to Edward who seemed to read them clearly. He ran upstairs and gathered a bag for us. I hung up with Charlie and ran up the stairs. My legs gave out on me once or twice but I made it in one piece. Edward was coming down towards me with the bags over his shoulder. He went past me to the car and hurried back. I was slipping into some jeans.

“Are you sure you want to go now?” I asked, but it was pointless. I could see the determination in his eyes. He was just as worried as I. Who knows what we would find, what remnant of my past lives Oliver had saved for me?

“I think we need to go now. Knowing you, it’ll only eat at you till we leave.” I nodded and headed for the car. I took one final look back before Edward closed the door. In my head, I couldn’t help but say goodbye. Not even Alice could have known how right I was.

--