Paved With Good Intentions
If you loved someone, how much would you be willing to sacrifice? Bella makes the most difficult decision of her life; now she has to live with the consequences. A Bella/Edward story.
Rating 4.5/5 Word Count 1558 Review this Chapter
An hour later I was in my truck, driving frantically toward the fairgrounds. The remainder of my savings burned a hole in my pocket. Fontaine caused this; it was her responsibility to fix it. I’d pay whatever I had to, but she had to change things back. This wasn’t what I’d agreed to, this unending hell of memories.
I screeched to a halt, staring in disbelief at the empty field where just yesterday the carnival had been. Stray leaflets and food wrappers were all that remained of the event that had shattered my life. “No,” I murmured. Getting out of the truck, I walked through the gate at an ever increasing pace. “No, no, no!” Tears fell from my eyes as I hurried across the field. “You can’t leave me like this! I can’t live with it!” I reached the place where Madame Fontaine’s tent had been and looked around for a clue, anything at all to tell me where she had gone.
“Can I help you, miss?”
Startled, I whirled around to see an old man in shabby clothes and a baseball hat looking at me curiously. He was carrying a large plastic bag and one of those sticks used for picking up trash. “Are you with the carnival?” I asked.
He nodded. “Sure thing, miss. I stay behind to make sure things are taken care of while the crew goes on to the next site.”
Hope flooded through me. “Then you can tell me how to get in touch with them! It’s very important.”
He chuckled sympathetically. “Leave something on a ride, did you? It happens all the time.”
It was as good an excuse as any. “Yes,” I replied quickly. “My jacket. Only not on one of the rides. In a tent…Madame Fontaine’s tent.”
His brow scrunched up. “Madame who?”
“Fontaine,” I said desperately. “You know, the fortune teller.”
He shook his head, puzzled. “Don’t know about Fontaine, miss. Our seer’s name is Beatrice.”
I stared at him, unable to comprehend what he was saying. “No. No…her name was Fontaine. I was in her tent. It was right here!” My voice rose in pitch until I was almost screaming.
He stepped back, obviously startled in the face of my near-hysteria. “I’m telling you, our fortune teller’s name is Beatrice.”
He wasn’t lying. Frantically, I searched for a plausible answer. “Could Fontaine have filled in for her, this one time? Maybe Beatrice got sick or something, and nobody told you?”
He shook his head. “No, it was Bea all right. Saw her myself this morning when they pulled out. Old woman’s so fat, it would be hard to miss her. Look, are you okay? Is there anyone you need me to call?”
The last shred of hope abandoned me in that instant, living only the burnt shell of the person I had been. “No, thank you,” I whispered. Turning from him, I made my way across the field in a daze. I wasn’t looking where I was going, but it didn’t matter. Nothing mattered anymore. Tears flowed down my cheeks as despair filled my heart. Not again. I can’t do this again; I’ll never survive it. I don’t want to survive it.
Too late, I saw the patch of muddy ground outside the fence. I tried to stop, but my foot slipped out from under me. I fell, striking my head against the edge of the rusted gate. My only thought before everything went black was that at least I wouldn’t have to be in pain anymore.
“Isabella? Can you hear me?” Why wouldn’t the annoying voice leave me alone? I was blissfully resting in Edward’s arms, and I knew that waking would only mean heartache. I sank into the darkness, trying to return to my dream. The voice just became more insistent. “Open your eyes for me, Isabella.” A hand rubbed firmly against my chest. Ouch. That hurt. Reluctantly I opened my eyes and glared at the woman who was leaning over me.
“There you are! You had us worried, but it’s all right now.” As the woman continued speaking, I noticed that she was wearing scrubs.
I groaned. “I’m in the hospital?” Oh course. Where else would I be, on the day that I…on the day that I lost Edward. The pain hit me again, as fresh as it had been the first time. It was all I could do to keep from screaming.
The nurse patted my hand sympathetically. “It’s okay, Isabella. You’re in the emergency department, Sweetheart. You fell and hit your head, do you remember?”
Yes, I remember. I remember everything, and I wish to God that I didn’t. The nurse seemed to be waiting for my response, but I didn’t trust myself to speak. I looked away from her, nodding slightly.
The next voice I heard almost broke me. “How she’s doing?” How could something that melodic cause me so much pain?
“She’s awake, Dr. Cullen, and her vitals are stabilizing.” The nurse replied.
He came to stand beside me. “That’s good to hear. Are you feeling better, Bella?”
I looked at him, startled by the way he said my name. “You know me?” Was there even a chance? God, please…
His cool amber eyes searched mine, concerned. “Of course,” he said smoothly. “I’ve treated you several times since you moved to Forks, remember? The first was after the near accident in the school parking lot. There was also that incident with the stairs in Phoenix. You were lucky I was attending a conference at that hotel.”
There it was, memories being rewritten in front of me. What little hope I’d had left. “I remember,” I said quietly. Then I burst into tears.
He patted my hand, but the familiar cool pressure only made me cry harder. He was the same as he had always been: exquisitely handsome and unfailingly kind. I could remember every moment of our friendship. He was a second father to me and one of the best men I had ever met, but he only knew me as a patient in his hospital. I hadn’t just lost Edward; I had lost them all. I was terrified that the next thing I would lose would be my mind.
I heard him ask the nurse if Charlie had been called. “He’s on his way; he was fishing up north of town.” She wrapped a warm blanket around me. “She’s been very upset since she woke up.”
“The CT showed no sign of a concussion.” He pulled away to look at the chart. “She’ll need stitches, of course. Bella, please don’t worry. You’re safe here; we’ll take good care of you.” He and the nurse continued to talk quietly, but I didn’t pay any attention. I focused on a crack in the floor tiles and let my mind drift. Eventually my tears subsided.
The stitches were almost finished when Charlie arrived. “Bella, are you okay?” Poor Charlie. How much had I put him through over the past two years?
“I’m fine, Dad.” I didn’t open my eyes to look at him. I didn’t want to take the chance that I might see Carlisle’s hand holding a needle, or sutures, or any of the other torture devices that had been on the tray the nurse had prepared. A blue sterile drape covered most of my field of vision, anyway.
“She’ll be fine, Chief Swan,” Carlisle said soothingly. “There’s no evidence of concussion, and I’m almost finished with these stitches.”
“What happened?” Charlie asked. “They said she was found at the fairgrounds?”
I winced. How was I supposed to explain this? I decided to use the same excuse I had given the carnival worker. “I left my jacket at the carnival, so I drove out this morning to see if anyone had found it. I spoke with one of the workers who was cleaning up, and then I fell walking back to my truck.”
“Bells,” he chuckled. I’m sure he was shaking his head ruefully. “I can get the number for the carnival off of their permit application; we’ll find your jacket.”
I knew exactly where my jacket was: hanging in my closet at home. “It doesn’t matter,” I mumbled.
“All done,” Carlisle said a moment later, and the drape was lifted away. “The laceration is right at your hairline, Bella. Once it’s healed, it will barely be noticeable. I’d really like you to spend the night here, just in case. You were disoriented when you first regained consciousness.”
That was so not going to happen. I protested and eventually earned the right to go home. The nurse cleaned my face and gave me a packet full of strict instructions to follow before finally letting me leave with my dad. He drove home slowly and helped me upstairs, asking if I wanted anything to eat. I shook my head, immediately regretting it as pain pierced through my skull.
“Okay,” he said gruffly. “I’ll get one of the guys at the station to bring your truck home.”
“Thanks,” I whispered. He was looking at me with so much concern, and I just couldn’t reach out to him. I didn’t want to frighten him, but I didn’t have anything left to give. “I think I’d like to sleep for awhile.”
“You know I have to wake you up every so often to check on you, right?” he asked.
Head injuries were routine for me. “I know.”
He leaned down to kiss my hair. “Rest, Bella. Everything’s going to be okay.”
I didn’t have the heart to tell him how wrong he was.