Bella finally tells Carlisle the truth about her transformation, confirming a few of his suspicions and correcting a few of his assumptions. But her greatest worry is, how will Edward react? Post-Breaking Dawn
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I hovered outside the door to Carlisle’s office, ghosting across the carpet – my feet padding almost silently back and forth as I paced, debating. Several times, my fist hovered over the mahogany, ready to knock. Then I second-guessed myself, pulled my hand away and paced again.
Very few things made me so anxious these days. I’d gotten my happily-ever-after, after all. I’d married Edward; been successfully changed into a vampire. We had a beautiful daughter who was endlessly loved (even if she was growing up a bit too fast for my liking). Jacob was no longer an issue, unless, of course, you counted the constant bickering between him and me and Edward, (and mostly about curfew and what his intentions were with our daughter). We’d survived the wrath of the Volturi with really no harm done, at least to our little clan. Charlie was blissfully in love with Sue Clearwater and happily a part of my life, even if he was still somewhat disturbed by everything he witnessed (or didn’t witness) in my life. I wasn’t sure how long I’d be able to keep the whole truth from him. He was too smart; he was figuring things out, even if all he wanted was the need to know information. He’d been piecing the puzzle together without even realizing it. It was only a matter of time.
But even these worries were trivial at this moment to me, compared to my present task. My hand hovered once again over the door to Carlisle’s office and I breathed, counting the seconds.
“Just come in, Bella,” Carlisle finally called softly.
I sighed and rolled my eyes. Of course he’d heard me. Hadn’t I been listening to him from the other side of the door this entire time? Listening to the soft turn of the pages in the books he was studying, the shuffling of his paperwork, the way he tugged at his pant leg every few minutes – not out of discomfort, but out of habit.
Steeling myself – screwing my courage – I twisted the knob and entered the office, shutting the door gently behind me.
Carlisle smiled up at me warmly and motioned me to sit in one of the plush leather chairs opposite his desk. He shuffled his papers back into their proper folders and set them aside as I sank into the cushions gratefully. Standing for any length of time was never a discomfort, but sitting seemed appropriate. It might keep me from running away at any moment and abandoning the task at hand. I’d spent far too much time working up the nerve to do this to run away now. The urge, however, persisted.
“What’s troubling you?” he asked, smiling still.
I grimaced. “Is it that obvious?”
“You’ve been hovering outside my door for over an hour now,” he commented, the hint of a laugh in his voice.
“Oh,” I said. “Right.”
I sighed, the heavy breath a comfort to my nerves. I chewed on my lip out of habit. I’d been learning, over the years, ticks like this to keep up our human appearances in public. Once I’d picked them up, I sort of got used to them. Much like Carlisle tugging at his pant leg, or Edward running his fingers through his always messy hair. I’d become a lip-chewer.
“Really, I just … Carlisle … I have a confession to make.”
His eyebrows furrowed, surprised by my words. Clearly not what he was expecting.
“I’ve kept this to myself for a long time now, mostly to protect Edward. I’m hoping now that enough time has passed that when he learns the truth – either from your thoughts, or from mine – he will not be too angry with me for the deception. I hope he’ll understand why I’ve been so quiet about this for so long. You see, I don’t want him blaming himself. He’s always been so quick to turn on the self-loathing and it’s really unnecessary, especially now that everything has turned out so well. I mean, really, relatively speaking, what I’m talking about is so small in comparison to everything else …”
“Bella, Bella,” Carlisle interrupted. “What on earth are you talking about?”
I sighed again. “Right. Well. The thing is … when Edward turned me into a vampire, and when I first woke up, you asked me what it had been like? If the morphine had worked?”
“Right,” Carlisle said, remembering. “You said you remembered nothing – that you woke up, as if from a dream.”
“Right, well … that wasn’t exactly … true.”
“You felt things?”
I nodded solemnly. “I felt … everything.”
I leaned across the desk to Carlisle, my voice desperately low – afraid of eavesdroppers. “Carlisle, I was in utter agony. I don’t know how long it really lasted, but at first the pain was so complete – so utterly overwhelming – I just wanted to die. I wondered why you all didn’t let me die. Why you didn’t just kill me and put me out of my misery. I wanted to ask to die, to beg.”
“But you didn’t?” His face was clouded with new concern. Only a shadow, I knew, of what I would face when my confession turned to Edward. “Or were you unable to?”
He’d made the leap quickly. “I was paralyzed. I couldn’t even scream.”
His eyes grew wide, as his memories clicked into place with my confession. “So that’s why …”
“That’s why I never moved. That’s why I never cried out. I couldn’t.”
“The entire time?” His brow furrowed. “You were always so still, yet you awoke so beautifully.” He spoke as if almost to himself.
I shook my head. “I don’t know how long it lasted … I really didn’t have any gauge of time then. I didn’t realize it had only been two days; it felt like so much longer. Or less, maybe. I don’t know. It was like time stopped, really. But eventually, I could feel the paralysis ease up. But at that point, I remembered why I was enduring such agony – such fire! I remembered what the outcome would be. I remembered Edward – I felt his hand on mine. And I remembered Renesmee. And I knew it would be easier – for me and for Edward – if I just kept still and quiet. I remembered that screaming would be pointless.” I shuddered, as memories of the pain flashed white hot through my mind. It was – as I’d always been told it would be – the most vivid of my human memories. “So I stayed still. I remembered hearing you come in to check on me; hearing Edward talk to me. I so wanted to respond – to tell him that I heard him, that the sound of his voice was the only respite I clung to at that moment – but I knew that if I unclenched my teeth for even a fraction of a second to respond, that I would lose all control over myself. That the screaming would start. That I might say something to regret. That I might still ask to die.”
Carlisle was quiet for a long moment when my rambling declaration finally ended. His lips pursed. “Did you want to?” he finally asked. “To die?”
I shook my head. “No. Even as I felt the urge to plead for death, I knew it was not what I wanted. I wanted exactly what I’d been given. Eternity, with Edward. That’s all I’ve ever really wanted.”
Carlisle remained silent for another short minute, his mind whirring through all of this new information – processing. Eventually, he spoke. “So the morphine … was a bad idea?”
“Not the best. But Carlisle,” I interjected, before he could comment further. “It was good for me. I am so grateful for it. I already told you – if it weren’t for the morphine, I might have said and done many things during that awful time that I would regret for eternity. If Edward had heard me beg for death … if he’d even thought that I might truly mean it – have truly understood what I was asking … well, I’m not sure he would have ignored me. He might have done it. You know how he indulges me. It’s just that … well, even as I said those words, I was not myself. It was the fire. You must understand! I never – never – wanted to die. This is what I’ve wanted for as long as I’ve known it was an option for me.”
“No regrets, then?” Carlisle asked, still concerned. He’d felt much guilt over the years, I knew, for what he’d done to his family. Though grateful for them – and though they were all grateful for each other – Carlisle still felt bad for taking the choice away from them.
But I had chosen – and Carlisle’d had no hand in my transformation. “Of course not. I made this decision before I knew how much more I would have in this new life. Carlisle, I was prepared to give up so much that I didn’t have to – to give up Jacob, my father … the possibility of children. I got everything I ever dreamed of and even more that I dared not wish for. I got my happily ever after.”
Carlisle nodded, his face lighter – as if a sudden weight had been lifted from it. “That’s what you need to tell Edward.”
“I’m pretty sure he knows …”
“Tell him anyway,” Carlisle said, now smiling. “You know how he jumps to conclusions – and overreacts.”
I nodded; I knew. “Maybe I’ll show him, instead.”
I stood and darted quickly to the door, eager to intercept Edward before he learned of my confession from Carlisle’s thoughts. I felt firm, now, in my belief that I must be the one to tell him the truth. I would confess. And then I’d show him that I was grateful, regardless of what had transpired during those two horrible days. That I was grateful and thankful for every step of the process – paralytic morphine included. Because that, too, lead to this outcome.
And I would never be ungrateful for anything that brought me to this utter and complete happiness.
* The End *