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Survival of the Soul

Summary:
The trauma suffered by Bella for three years has left lasting mental scars. Surrounded by the support and love of the Cullen family, Bella begins to grow and finds out there is more to life than simply surviving. sots banner


Notes:


23. Chapter 23

Rating 5/5   Word Count 2658   Review this Chapter

Survival of the Soul

Chapter 22

By: Lady Saffir

Chapter Rating: PG

DISCLAIMER: I own no rights to the Twilight universe. I’m simply playing with S. Meyer’s creations for a bit.

My sincerest apologies for taking so long in posting, and a short piece at that. The month of July required me to either be working or to be out of town, so my writing time was severely limited. The month of August is going much the same way, but now that fall is almost upon us, I hope to be back on my usual schedule. I hope to finish this story at the latest of March, and more on that later. Again, sorry for such a long delay, and thanks for sticking with me!

Anyone who worked in the psych field, especially if you have any experience with abuse victims, I ask to please PM me so I can pick your brain. I have a few questions that I need to ask before we progress much further in the story, and I would greatly appreciate any help given.

“Sometimes it's the smallest decisions that can change your life forever.” Kerri Russell

“The truth shall make you free, but first it shall make you angry”

Thanks to Megami for betaing!

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Edward wasn’t quite running through the halls of the hospital, but his pace was quick enough that a human would have had trouble keeping up. He was well aware that running in a hospital tended to make the staff tense, thinking there was a code or other emergent problem that needed immediate medical interventions. Luckily most of the people he passed knew who he was and who he was trying to reach.

He was through the doors of the Surgery Department’s suite and almost to Carlisle’s door before Anna was aware the door had opened. He ignored her startled thoughts and words, pulling open the door to Carlisle’s office without knocking.

“Carlisle!”

His father figure was around the desk and gripping his shoulder before Edward had finished uttering his name.

“Edward? What’s wrong?” Your face, Edward. What happened?

“It’s Bella,” Edward spat out, not giving Carlisle a chance to interrupt. “There was an accident at school. She was almost hit by a car. She’s in the ER now.”

Carlisle was striding out of his office, his lab coat swirling about his legs as he informed Anna that he would be in the ER. Edward continued his story as they traversed the halls, his voice a low murmur so humans wouldn’t be able to easily over hear.

“The parking lot was slick and one of the boys wasn’t paying attention. I swear the car headed straight for Bella, like she was a magnet.”

“You said almost hit by a car,” Carlisle spoke. “What saved her?”

“I did.”

“Well, if you were with her then she should be fine,” the words carried such relief that Edward hated to shatter that illusion, but there was more he needed to say.

“I wasn’t with her,” Edward admitted. “I was on the other side of the lot with Jasper.”

They were almost to the Emergency Room, Carlisle giving his son a sharp look. Edward, what did you do?

“I ran.” Edward winced at the look he received. “I barely made it in time, and I, I had to throw myself at her.”

Edward! You could have-

“I know,” Edward said, pulling the various images of what could have gone wrong from the older man’s head. “I tried to land so she was on top of me, but I think she still hit her head pretty hard on the pavement.”

Carlisle shook his head, pushing open the door to the triage area. He quickly saw Bella in the furthest bed space, Alice with her, while a nurse took her vitals. Alice turned and saw the two of them heading across the room, before turning back to inform Bella that Carlisle had arrived.

“Carlisle! Carlisle, I don’t have to stay, do I?” Bella asked in a rush. “I can go home with you, right?”

Carlisle took a moment to flip through the chart, quickly noting the initial exam and that Bella hadn’t yet had an X-Ray.

“Edward said you hit your head?” he questioned, moving up to gently probe his daughter’s scalp. At her wince he stopped, moving her hair aside to view the already good sized knot forming towards the back of her head on the left.

“I’m fine, it doesn’t really hurt,” Bella insisted, trying to hold back another wince.

“Bella, don’t try and be a hero,” Edward instructed. “You need to be checked out.”

“I’m fine! This is nothing!”

Carlisle held up a hand to stop the argument. “You’ll need to get an X-Ray and then we’ll see. If it’s negative, you can probably go home, but we’ll need to check with the doctor that’s in charge of your care.”

“That would be me,” a deep male voice interjected behind the group.

Carlisle turned to see Chris Enders, one of the ER physicians. “Chris, how are you?”

“Good, Carlisle. Yourself?”

“Just fine. Can you tell me what you think?” Carlisle tilted his head in Bella’s direction.

“She should be fine, just need that X-Ray series to confirm. I’d be leery about sending her home immediately, but if she’s going home with you, there shouldn’t be any problems. I’m sure you know what to watch for,” he grinned as he said it, pulling the chart up and scribbling discharge orders. “Just see that she gets the films and you can be out of here.”

“Thanks, Chris. I’ll see that she gets them.”

*****************

Bella flushed when Esme fussed over her when they arrived home, squirming uncomfortably when she was settled onto the couch, Tylenol administered and various questions regarding her head answered. Alice had sat with her long enough to pat her hand and tell her she would be the talk of the school tomorrow before disappearing to find Jasper.

Emmett’s offer to snack on the careless idiot that had almost killed her was met with a distracted, ‘sure’, as Bella tried in vain to catch Edward’s attention as he rushed through the room. She wanted to thank him for saving her and hadn’t had the chance to do so. As soon as he was sure Carlisle was with her he had disappeared, leaving Alice and her to ride home with Carlisle. He was avoiding her, she was sure, but why? Was he mad at her for being in the wrong place at the wrong time?

She shook her head, casting the thought out. She knew he wouldn’t be angry over something like that. She had been trying very hard, the past few months, to change her way of thinking. It was a slow process, and at times Bella wished she could simply reboot her brain. Most of the thoughts only came when she had to watch the rest of the family change their plans in order to accommodate the human.

Esme’s scolding of Emmett for even joking of such a thing pulled Bella back into the conversation as she allowed herself to be distracted.

***********

Edward knew a family meeting would occur just as soon as Bella was asleep. His actions today had come very close to putting the family in danger, and Rosalie, at least, was determined to say something. That he could hear her thoughts didn’t matter; she wanted everyone else to hear what she had to say. Alice had already assured him everything would be fine – via text. Something was up, and he intended to push as many of Alice’s buttons as it took for her to reveal what she was hiding.

Distracted by trying to figure out what his sister could have seen, he was stopped short when Bella’s scent reached him. She was standing just outside her bedroom door, one hand nervously twisting a strand of hair while her teeth worried at her lower lip.

“Bella,” he greeted. “Turning in for the night?”

“It’s late,” she stated, hesitating before pushing on. “I just wanted to thank you.”

“Thank me?” Edward snorted. “Bella, I could have killed you.”

“But you didn’t,” she refuted, taking two steps so that she was standing just before him. She reached out one hand slowly, lightly touching his arm. “I know what you risked, saving me like that. So thank you.”

Bella gave him a quick smile before turning and entering her room. Frowning, Edward raked one hand through his hair before heading downstairs.

********

“How could you have been so irresponsible?” Rosalie hissed. She had barely waited for everyone to gather around the table before starting her diatribe.

“What was I supposed to do, Rosalie, let her be killed?” Edward argued. “Alice saw that she would have life threatening injuries. I couldn’t just stand there.”

“No one is saying you should have, Edward,” Carlisle spoke, raising one hand to stave off Rosalie’s next argument. “I’m not saying that something else couldn’t have been done, but I think we can all agree that Bella needed saving.”

“There’s no point in yelling at Edward now, babe,” Emmett said, patting his wife’s knee. “Alice says everything will be fine, and Edward will be keeping an ear out. It’ll be old news in two days.”

“And speaking of Alice,” Edward turned to his sister. “What are you hiding?”

“I don’t have to share my every thought with you. There are some things I’d rather not,” Alice’s lofty tone did nothing to dissuade Edward.

“You’re hiding something,” he repeated. “I have a feeling it has something to do with me.”

“Drop it, Edward,” Alice gritted her teeth, her thoughts full of translating Carlisle’s medical text into Russian.

Leave her alone, Edward

“Not until she tells me what’s going on,” Edward answered Jasper’s thought, even as he and Alice stared one another down.

“Edward, Alice has a right to her privacy.”

“She’s been keeping something from me for some time now, Esme, and I’d like very much to know what it is.”

“It isn’t time, yet, Edward. Just please, give me some time,” Alice pleaded, her thoughts starting to waver.

Sensing a victory, Edward only pushed all the harder. “You Saw something in the parking lot today, Alice. And you’ve been Seeing something for some time now, I imagine. What did you See when I knocked Bella out of the way?”

Her sister’s name was enough to crumble Alice’s remaining mental blocks, and Edward watched in horrified fascination as Alice’s vision of Bella and him together. The visions flashed quickly, each providing short insights into his future. The two of them holding hands, walking down the hallway at school, sitting together, heads close as they reviewed a text, his arm slung lazily about her shoulders as she snuggled into his side, each felt like a punch. The knock out came with the last vision.

Alice’s vision from so many months ago, of the two of them dancing beneath the stars, their skin lit by fairy lights. Edward sucked in a breath as he watched himself and Bella kiss before he realized he was able to see a wedding band on his hand.

“No! Are you out of your mind?!” Edward yelled, jumping to his feet.

“Christ, I hate when you two pull this shit,” Emmett grumbled. “Is it so hard to have a conversation like normal people?”

“Emmett,” Esme warned before turning back to Edward and Alice.

“It won’t happen,” Edward promised, his eyes narrowing when Alice rolled her own at him.

“It’s been fairly solid for months now, Edward,” his sister scoffed. “All you did today was cement it.”

“No! Absolutely not! I won’t do that to her,” Edward insisted.

“Do what? Love her? Oh, yes, a fate worse than death.”

“Time out,” Carlisle ordered. The two siblings turned to look at the older man, Alice flipping ahead to see what Carlisle would say, smirking at Edward when she saw his decision. Edward growled, not liking where this conversation was heading.

“Alice, please explain what you’ve been seeing,” Carlisle ordered, motioning for each to sit down.

“Bella,” Alice began promptly, sticking her tongue out at Edward when he snorted. “Bella with Edward, to be precise.”

Her statement broke the room in to chaos, everyone speaking at once.

“What? Alice-“

“Ha, good one. Pull the other leg, short stuff.”

“Hurt her and you die.”

“Together? Bella’s the one for Edward?”

The last statement had Edward whipping his head around to stare at Esme. Her thoughts were jumbled, worry overlapping joy, overlaid with a thick blanket of concern.

“She’s wrong, Esme,” Edward refuted. “She’s wrong, I won’t let her be right.”

Carlisle tapped one finger against the table before speaking. “Edward, I’d like to hear exactly what Alice has been Seeing, regarding the two of you.”

“Don’t I have a right to my privacy?” Edward was grasping at straws, hoping to keep this conversation at bay. He groaned at Carlisle’s thoughts before he spoke them.

“Ordinarily, yes, Edward, this would be between you and Alice. However, given the circumstances I’m afraid we all need to hear what is going to happen.”

“It isn’t going to happen,” Edward insisted.

“Shut up and let Alice talk,” Emmett said, grinning. “I for one can’t WAIT to hear about you finally having a love life.”

“Emmett, this isn’t the time for teasing.”

Emmett shrugged, unsuccessfully smothering his grin for Esme.

“I Saw it soon after Bella came to live with us,” Alice began, her audience rapt. “It was pretty hazy, but it’s been growing stronger every time I check. I see Edward and Bella together – and you’re happy,” she added pointedly to her brother. “Today seems to have cemented the vision. It’s rock solid.”

“Do you know when, Alice?”

The petite woman frowned, trying to date her vision. “I think within a year. That’s the best guess I can give you,” she offered apologetically to Carlisle.

“It isn’t-“

“Oh, shut up already, Edward,” Rosalie snapped, exasperated. “Clearly you’ve made up your mind, but it isn’t changing Alice’s visions. Just get over it and accept it.” And understand if you hurt her you’re dead

“I would never do anything to intentionally harm Bella,” Edward insisted. “But I won’t allow this to happen.”

“Why? Is it because she’s a rape victim?” By now Rosalie was standing, leaning over the table as she glared at her brother.

Edward jerked back, his knees bumping into his chair. The force knocked the chair to the ground but the crash was ignored as the family watched the shouting match between the two.

“Absolutely not! That wasn’t her fault, and only a cad would hold something like that against a woman,” Edward insisted, truly insulted Rosalie thought so little of him.

“Then what is it? If it isn’t because she was raped, then why are you so adamant not to form a relationship?”

“I-because-Rosalie, it just isn’t going to happen!”

Unable to take any more, Edward fled the room, leaving the house and leaping over the river before Esme could call him back. It was just as well, as her thoughts had been steadily growing in happiness, and he couldn’t stand to do anything that disappointed her. A relationship with Bella was out of the question. What did he have to offer her, anyway?

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