Text Size Large SizeMedium SizeSmall Size    Color Scheme Black SchemeWhite SchemeGrey SchemePaper Scheme        

Moving Forward

Summary:
A few weeks before the wedding Bella has a startling memory that could change everything. I dreamed of hall lights and unfamiliar faces, darkness and feeling small and helpless. I woke with a start. May contain triggers


Notes:


6. What Edward Realized

Rating 0/5   Word Count 4110   Review this Chapter

What Edward Realized

EPOV


The steady beat of the heart monitor reassured me that Bella was still alive. An IV kept her hydrated and nourished. An oxygen tube under her nose helped her to breathe comfortably. I knew it was all necessary but at the same time I hated it. I couldn’t convince myself that she was going to get better until she opened her eyes.

I knew why I felt this way. It was like Phoenix all over again. Again I felt overwhelmingly guilty. But for a different reason this time. Then I had felt terrible about introducing danger into her life, for putting her in a situation where she felt she had to choose between her mother and her own life.

A car accident on a rainy road was a surprisingly normal and human way for Bella to be hurt. She’d been through so much, and I couldn‘t shake the belief that some of it was my fault. I couldn’t shake the feeling of guilt that if I had listened to Bella, that if I done as she asked, we wouldn’t be here now. And suddenly, left alone in the hospital with my unconscious fiancée, I let myself imagine it for the first time. Bella, my Bella, but paler than she was, even now, and with blood red eyes. But these changes went deeper than what I could see in my imagination. I pictured a Bella able to walk away from a car crash, who would never wake in a hospital again, who would never have to fear needles, and casts and the other indignities of being human and injured.

And I came to the realization that all my fears of Bella leaving me once she became a vampire were groundless. They were my fears, not hers. And just like that, I felt very comfortable with the idea of Bella becoming a vampire.

I still thought she didn’t know what she was getting into. I still thought that one day she might regret not having children. I still thought that it would be hard for her to say goodbye to her parents and friends and her life as a human. But I also knew that we would work through those problems together, as a team. I had promised her that we would face the consequences of her past together, but knew we would face every challenge that way. The promise I had made to Bella became a promise to myself as well. We would never need to be apart again.


As this feeling of contentment with the future spread through me like a warm blanket, I saw the thing I had been waiting for; one of Bella’s fingers twitched. And then her eyelids fluttered. I held my breath, waiting to see if she would wake up. She’d come to momentarily in the ER when they had brought her in, but had been unconscious since then.

The fingers on her right hand twitched again, but as that hand was encased in a heavy plaster cast, the fingers on her left hand began to move. And as her eyes opened, her fingers went straight for the oxygen tube on her face.

“Why do you do that?” I asked her.

She stared at me, confused. I hadn’t meant to start off by scolding her. She licked her lips, and said “It itches. I didn’t know what it was. Umm, what happened?”

“You hydroplaned in the truck, ran through the ditch and into a tree. The seatbelt came apart at your shoulder and you hit the steering wheel and dash.”

“Am I … okay?” She looked vaguely worried. I thanked whatever deity was listening for the pain medication she was on.

“Yes love, you will be. You broke your right wrist, and a few ribs. You have a concussion, and a few stitches, but that’s the most serious problem. You should be able to go home soon.”

“How long was I out for?” She looked incredibly disoriented, and I felt terrible for her. How upsetting it must be to wake up in a strange place, in pain.

“About 10 hours… it’s 11pm.”

“Oh. Right. I was going to cook dinner for Charlie… where is he?” Her brows drew together.

“Charlie got called over to Sappho today to help with a missing persons case. He’s been out of contact all day. They finally got a hold of him about an hour ago, and he’s on his way.”

“Oh. That’s good. Where is everyone else?”

“Alice and Rosalie are planning to come tomorrow morning. Alice said something about washing your hair? They would have stayed, but the hospital has very strict policies about overnight visitors. It’s late,” I added apologetically.

“Washing my hair sounds like heaven.” Bella gave a small smile. “I hate hospitals.”

“I know.” I held the fingers of her right hand gently, avoiding the cast. “Carlisle and Esme stayed with me for a while this afternoon. I didn’t want you to be alone. Emmett and Jasper send their love. They aren’t really comfortable in hospitals.”

She smiled a bit, and then drew her brows together again. “Wait, Carlisle was here this afternoon? Who’s my doctor then?”

“Carlisle isn’t allowed to treat family members, love. Conflict of interest, and against hospital policy. Your doctor is a colleague of his, she‘s very nice. Her name is Dr. Connor.”

“Oh, right,” She shook her head as though trying to clear the cobwebs, and winced.

I ran a finger gently across her cheek, as though it would soothe the pain. I didn’t want to stop touching her. I needed to reassure myself that she really was here; that I hadn’t lost her.

“I scared you, huh?” she said softly.

I realized that I’d been staring at her. And she knew me better than anyone.

“Yeah,” I answered in an equally quiet voice.

It was moments like these that I hated having crystal clear memories. Memories of Alice’s vision, seconds before the crash, memories of calling emergency services, trying to explain without telling them, “my sister saw it in a vision”, and worst of all, memories of Bella being pulled from her truck, broken and unconscious.

“But, I’m going to be all right. You said so yourself.”

“I know. I think your father will be here in a minute.” I felt a moment of sympathy for Charlie as he came down the hall. His always vague thoughts were screaming terror and guilt for Bella. They were feelings I knew only too well.

His head came around the corner almost before his body, but it took a moment to find the strength to look up at Bella. He heaved a huge sigh to see her awake and aware and quickly crossed the room to sit beside her.

“Bella! Thank God you’re all right. I got two different stories at the station in Sappho, and one said that they weren’t sure… well, I’m just glad that you’re okay. You are, right?” He looked at me for confirmation.

I nodded. I could hear what he had left unsaid - that a very heartless person had told Charlie Swan that they weren’t sure his daughter had survived her car crash.

“I’m just banged up Dad, honest.”

Reassured that Bella was all right, Charlie’s fear moved to the back of his mind, and the guilt took over. “Bella, I need to apologize to you.”

“Dad, I crashed my truck,” she interrupted. “You can’t take responsibility for that.”

“Maybe not,” he answered. “But I sure as hell can take responsibility for not getting it checked out by a real mechanic first.”

Bella looked confused. I rubbed her hand gently.

“Bells,” Charlie began, “When I bought the truck from Billy, I knew that Jake had done some work to it, but I assumed that he would have gotten professional help with anything big. But he didn’t. He was the one who welded in the seatbelts - the truck didn’t have any before that. And Jake knew that I wouldn’t buy you a truck without seatbelts. I don’t think he meant any harm - I’m sure he thought he’d done a great job - but it doesn’t change the fact that I should have had someone look at the truck.”

Bella looked horrified and betrayed, and I silently cursed my inability to know what she was thinking.

“But Dad, Jacob said he was glad he’d sold the truck, because Billy wouldn’t let him buy the Rabbit till they did.” My face darkened as I realized that once again, Jacob Black had endangered Bella. Not intentionally, but through carelessness, inattention and a plain lack of caring.

I must have made a noise, because both Bella and Charlie’s heads swivelled around to stare at me.

“I know exactly how you feel,” said Charlie, speaking to me directly for the first time since he’d arrived. “But a hospital’s not the place for it. I can sit with Bella while you go and take a breather. The nurse said you’ve been here all day.”

Unspoken was his gratitude and a grudging acceptance of my place in Bella’s life. It seemed that being there for Bella when he wasn’t able to earned me some respect.

I also knew that I would have to answer this question carefully despite how angry I was, because a human would be exhausted after everything I’d done today.

“My parents were here earlier,” I said, “They made sure I looked after myself.” Charlie’s thoughts were sceptical, probably at the idea that I had been looking after myself, while Bella was unconscious. I looked terrible through his eyes. I was going to have to leave for a bit.

“Maybe I will take a little walk, clean myself up, and get something to eat.”

Charlie’s thoughts became impatient. I was fairly certain he wanted to speak to Bella alone. “The cafeteria is closed this time of night, but there’s a little sandwich shop that’s still open.”

I nodded in thanks, and kissed Bella’s forehead. She whispered, “Come back soon.”

“I will”.

I passed the nurses’ station on my way out, ignoring their leering smiles and inappropriate thoughts.

“Bella’s awake,” I told the first nurse who looked up.

“Oh good,” one of the senior nurses said. “I’ll head on in and check on her.”

One of the nurses who had been looking after Bella asked, “Going home?” Of course he wouldn’t stay after her father arrived.

“No,” I said, struggling to answer her spoken question and not her thoughts. “I’m just going to get a sandwich or something. Chief Swan says there’s a sandwich shop downstairs?”

Wow, I wish my boyfriend was dedicated enough to sleep on a hospital cot for me… but then, these two are supposedly engaged, and Joe won’t even talk about that… Oh! He’s waiting for directions to the sandwich place!

“Uh, yeah. It’s just next to the Emergency Room entrance, past the parking garage.”

“Thanks,” I said, walking away. The nurses’ thoughts expressed relief that I was going to eat something while deciding that it was very “sweet” how attached I was to Bella. Of course, in a hospital this small, with my father working here, and hers on the police force, they all knew who we were. They were also all amazed that “a teenage boy” had gone so long without eating. While I knew that there had been no way I could have left Bella while she regained consciousness, I was frustrated that my human façade had slipped. I knew better than that.

I wandered around the area of the sandwich shop for approximately 30 minutes. I hated to be away from Bella for so long, but rationally knew that she’d be fine with Charlie. I wasn’t sure what Charlie wanted to say to her. I was also worried that she would try to talk to Charlie about what she’d remembered. I wanted to be there for her when she had that conversation. And I wasn’t sure she was going to be able to deal with whatever answers Charlie might be able to give her. It wasn’t smart to start this now, but Bella never did what I expected.

As I walked back down the corridor towards Bella’s room, one of the nurses sighed, wondering to herself what Bella had done to deserve “such a dreamboat”. I almost snorted. I wanted to tell her that Bella had risked her life for me, loved me when I couldn’t love myself and was planning to give up everything else to marry me - but I was impatient to see Bella again.

Approaching Bella’s room, I could hear that her heartbeat and breathing had slowed into familiar patterns. She was asleep. The nurse had removed the heart monitor, which I knew would make her happy.

Charlie was still sitting next to her bed, holding the hand with the IV. His thoughts were vaguely regretful and lonely, but not angry, so I assumed Bella had not brought up her time in foster care. I was curious to know how his conversation with Bella had brought on such a low mood.. I deliberately shuffled my feet as I neared the bed. Charlie’s head came up and he stared at me for a moment.

“Edward, I need to be honest with you,” he said in a low voice.

I nodded. His thoughts were bleak, but determined and I was afraid he was going to ask me to leave Bella - and that was not something I was able to do.

“I’ve never liked the idea of you dating Bella, but I kept my mouth shut after what happened in Phoenix. Until you left.” I opened my mouth, but he quickly shushed me. “I don’t really want to talk about that. You must know by now how badly you hurt her. I’ve never seen anything like it - and I was furious at you for a long time. I was even madder when you came back, because to her it was like you’d never left. But I don’t forgive so easily. I’m her father and it’s my job to keep her from getting hurt.”

His words were like turning a knife of guilt. Clearer when he was speaking directly to me, I couldn’t escape from the images his words conjured. Bella, laying in bed for days, sitting listlessly at the table pushing food around her plate, and screaming in her sleep.

“Admitting this just kills me, but you’ve been nothing but respectful and caring since you came back. She’s never been so happy in all her life. She’s always been a little too apart from the other kids, a little bit too lonely. She’s kept herself separate from everyone and part of it is just who she is, I understand that. Another part of it comes from raising Renée.” His distaste for this aspect of Bella and Renée’s relationship surprised me. I knew, and Bella had said as much, that Charlie was still in love with Renée to some degree. I also knew, from what he had said before Bella and I went to Florida, that he didn’t consider Renée to be a responsible parent - and I can’t blame him.

“But since she’s been with you, she’s opened up more. She spends so much time with your family - it’s good for her to have people to rely on. She smiles more. Honestly, I’m glad of it. It’s scary to raise an only child that way… she hasn’t had anyone else to rely on.”

He stared at me intensely, and it seemed as if he must be able to see right through me. “Look after her.”

I nodded, too full of emotion to speak.

“You’re staying here?”

I nodded again, beginning to feel a bit like my head was on a spring.

“Then I’ll head home. It’s been a very long day. I’ll be back when she wakes up.”

His thoughts were full of longing and a desire for rest. He was tired I knew, but they were also peaceful. I was glad that he had told me what he had, although I still felt guilty about the future. If things worked out as planned, he didn’t have much time left with Bella.

***********

Bella slept well through the night, waking only slightly when the nurses came in for routine checks. While I had to stay most of the night on the uncomfortable cot that had been set up, pretending to sleep, I always got up when the nurses came in. I wanted to know whatever they could tell me. They mostly said reassuring things, like “She’s doing well” “Sleep will help her heal”. Their thoughts were more reassuring, with most of them realizing that Bella would not need the oxygen tomorrow, and would likely not need the IV either. The thought made me smile. Needles terrified Bella - she would be glad to get rid of it.

Bella woke up just before morning rounds. “You’re back!” She smiled, her voice much stronger than it had been the night before.

“I wasn’t gone very long. Did you have a good talk with Charlie?”

“Yeah. He felt really guilty about the truck, and about how he’s treated you. He told me that he’s really happy that I have you, and that we’re happy. It was kind of weird - almost like he knew that something was coming.”

“He said almost the same thing to me when I got back.” She looked shocked. “I wouldn’t be surprised if he knows more then he lets on. You had to have inherited your perceptiveness from somewhere.”

She was still giggling about that when her doctor came in, followed by Charlie.

“Dad!” Bella exclaimed happily.

“How are you feeling Bells?” he asked, bending over to gently hug her.

“I fine,” she answered automatically.

I frowned. Usually when she said “I’m fine” it meant she wasn’t.

We were interrupted by the doctor. “Good Morning Bella. I’m Dr. Connor. How are you feeling, without using the word fine?”

It was Bella’s turn to frown. Dr. Connor had noticed my reaction to that word.

“I’m…” Bella paused, “better than yesterday. More awake feeling.”

Dr. Connor nodded, nothing this on Bella’s chart. She wasn’t surprised. “We’ve lowered the dosage on your pain medication overnight. Any other complaints?”

Bella shook her head. “No, just a bit sore and achy. But I’d rather feel like this, then be sleepy again.”

“A lot of people feel that way,” agreed Dr. Connor. “Let’s have a look at that hand.”

The doctor began to examine Bella’s injuries, beginning with manipulating the fingers of her right hand. She then removed the bandage to inspect the stitches on the bump on Bella‘s forehead. When her head was re-bandaged, the doctor looked up.

“I’m going to ask you gentlemen to leave for a minute, while I have a look at those cracked ribs.”

Charlie and I stood quietly in the hallway while Dr. Connor helped Bella loosen her gown and examine her ribs, asking about her breathing, and how sore they were. Her thoughts were very quiet, and I was a little worried.

I must have looked worried, because Charlie fidgeted and said, “She’ll be fine. She’s a tough cookie.”

I smiled at him and nodded. “I know. I just worry.” I wanted to be honest with him, he’d been so honest with me.

“Good. Bella needs someone else to worry about her.”

By the time Dr. Connor had Bella redressed and settled, she had her thoughts and recommendations in order.

“I’m going to ask your fiancé and your father back in, if that’s all right with you, while I talk about what will likely happen in the next few days, but I wanted a quiet word to you first.”

This isn’t easy to say…
“I know that you and Edward are supposed to be getting married in two weeks, but I’d like to tell you that you may want to reschedule.”

I could see Bella’s face pale through Dr. Connor’s eyes.

“I know that that is the last thing you want to hear, but I want to be honest with you about a few things. First of all, your arm will be in a cast for the 6 weeks at best. Not so great for pictures.”

Bella groaned. “They’ll match the pictures of me in a walking cast from Junior Prom!”

Dr. Connor laughed gently. “Really? Oh, that would be when you fell down two flights of stairs and through a window in Phoenix last year?”

Bella blushed, and I noticed her eyes tense. She wasn’t a good enough liar to fend off many questions about those injuries.

I’d blush too, thought the doctor, that’s embarrassing. Poor girl!

“It says here that you had cracked ribs then too?”

Bella nodded again.

“Then you know that it will take about 6 weeks until you are feeling like yourself, and you’ll have to take it easy. Any stress will restart your healing time over again. Therefore, while it’s just us girls, I’m going to point out that you shouldn’t be intimate while they are healing.”

Bella blushed beet red, but said nothing.

“So, all in all, you’d have more fun on your honeymoon if you wait a bit. Where are you two planning to go, anyway?”

“I don’t know,” Bella practically growled, “It’s supposed to be a surprise.”

“Really?” That’s unusual “So, shall we ask the gentlemen to join us?”

“Sure.”

I waited impatiently for Dr. Connor to come and find Charlie and I.

When we were seated on either side of Bella’s bed, Dr. Connor began.

“All right. Bella is healing up very nicely. We’ll be discontinuing the oxygen and IV this morning. This afternoon you’ll head back down to x-ray. Provided that your wrist is looking good, we’ll swap the plaster cast for a fibreglass one - they’re lighter and more waterproof. The CT scan of your head we did yesterday didn’t show any significant damage, and you seem fairly lucid today,” she winked at Bella, “ so as long and everything continues to look good, you should be ready to go home by tomorrow morning.”

“That’s great Bells!” Charlie was relieved.

“That’s the good news,” Dr. Connor continued, “The bad news is that her wrist will be in a cast for at least 6 weeks - you’ve broken that wrist before, correct?”

Bella nodded, but her whole face dropped. I knew she must be thinking about the broken wrist that had landed her in foster care, and looped my pinkie through her casted one in silent support.

The doctor was oblivious. “It was hard to set, so take it easy. Same goes for the ribs - no strain at all. Try not to cough, sneeze, laugh too hard - nothing. They’ll re-break quite easily for the next little while. Give them a couple of months.”

He’d better not push her before she’s ready, Dr. Connor thought fiercely, glaring at me.

I looked at Bella, “I guess this means we’ll have to push the wedding back? We want you to be completely healed first.”

Bella nodded glumly. God - he looks that good and he’s not a jerk? Well, he’s Carlisle’s son, if not by blood - I can’t imagine Carlisle and Esme raising anyone to be unkind.

“Well, that’s all I’ve got to say, so I’ll leave you two to sort out the wedding details, unless you have any questions?”

Bella shook her head.

“Well, I’ll be back later today to go over your x-rays.” she said, as she headed out the door.

Bella took the oxygen tube off before the doctor could even get out of the door.

“What?” she asked as Charlie and I looked at her. “Dr. Connor said I could and it’s itchy.”

Charlie chuckled at her as my phone signalled that I’d received a text message. It was from Alice.

You should come home and change. Rose and I will go back with you.

“Who is it?” Bella asked.

“Alice. She wants me to come home for bit, and drive Rose and her back to see you a little later. I hate to leave you though.”

Charlie looked at his watch. “Edward, you’ve been here for a very long time. You should head home and eat something and clean up. I‘ll keep Bells company.” His thoughts were concerned and I was touched that he was being so considerate of me.

The nurse came in then and chatted cheerily to all of us. She did a great job keeping Bella distracted while she removed the IV from her left hand. When it was out and the nurse had gone, promising to bring a breakfast tray, I leaned over and kissed Bella.

“I’ll be back soon. I’m sure Alice is eager to get in to see you.”

“I know,” she answered, lifting her now free hand to caress the back of my neck. “I’ll miss you, but you need to go and change clothes. I can’t believe you’ve been here since yesterday.”

“I love you,” I said, gently kissing her lips.

“I love you too.” She smiled. “I’ll see you soon.”

I couldn’t help but smile back as I walked out of her hospital room, knowing that she was fine, and I would be back to see her soon.