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Bella's Recuperation

Summary:
After being discharged from the hospital, Bella spends some quality time with Edward at the Cullen mansion. The two talk openly about James' attack, how it has affected both of them and what it means for their relationship. This is a scenario that could have taken place in the summer between Twilight and New Moon. I love reading/writing about Edward and Bella just enjoying each other and their love.


Notes:


1. Chapter 1

Rating 4.5/5   Word Count 2173   Review this Chapter

Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.

“This is completely unnecessary,” I sighed as Edward carried me from his Volvo and into his family’s mansion.

“Let me at least get the door,” I insisted as I kicked it shut with my good leg, still in his arms. “I got it.”

“With a little help from me,” he added lightly.

“I know,” I agreed. “So, what am I supposed to do when you’re not around?”

“I’m not going anywhere,”he said more seriously.

He walked into the family room and placed me gently on the large, white sofa. He sat on the other end, carefully propping my broken leg on his lap.

“In case you haven’t noticed, my girlfriend became the target of a tracking vampire. She narrowly survived with her life, so it’s going to take more than the combined efforts of Carlisle, Jasper and even Emmett, to tear me away from you.”

I smiled at the mental image. “I think Charlie may have an issue with that.”

“That’s why I thought we could use a change of scenery. You know, Carlisle and Esme would be more than happy to let you stay here.”

“Well, I figure after everything I’ve put Charlie through these last couple of weeks, the least I can do is not put up a fight when he asks me to stay close to home. I couldn’t say no to him.”

“Really, you couldn’t say no?” Edward was amused. “I’ll have to find out what his secret is.”

I laughed at his joke and my ribs throbbed in response. I tried to hide my expression, but he could see my distress. His good humor faded and was replaced with quiet solemnity.

“Oh, come on!” I said, trying to lighten the mood. “Edward, don’t look so sulky.”

“Are we ever going to talk about it? Or are you going to continue avoiding the real reason you’re in this state?” he gestured towards me.

“The only thing I’m avoiding is the fact that you nearly gave me a heart attack with your Speed Racer impression on the way over here.”

I knew this wasn’t what he meant, but I really did want to avoid this conversation.

“How many times have I told you?” he rolled his eyes impatiently. “You have nothing to worry about as long as I’m in the driver’s seat. That much I can promise you.”

“Okay, thanks for clearing that up.”

The look in his eyes told me he wasn’t going to be distracted.

“You almost died.”

I looked away from his face and sighed. So much for the light mood…

Just then, Alice came floating out of the kitchen with a cup of tea in her hands. She flitted over to where I sat and handed it carefully to me.

“Hi, Bella,” her wind chime voice tinkled, “it’s good to see you making your rounds.” She smiled sweetly and quickly kissed my cheek with the lightest of effort.

“Thanks, Alice. It’s good to see you, too. You know, you should stop by later. Charlie hasn’t seen you in a while, and I know he’d be thrilled.”

“Okay, sure,” she agreed easily. She gave me a quick wink to remind me that I also needed her to help me undress and bathe at the end of the day.

As soon as Alice had disappeared from the room, Edward turned back to face me.

“How do you feel?”

I didn’t like how serious he looked, so again, I tried to dodge the real question.

“Fine, although the stitches are pulling a little bit,”I said, touching my scalp where the broken mirror had sliced.

“That’s not what I was referring to.”

“I’m okay,” I replied nonchalantly.

“Bella, you almost died.”

“Yeah, you already said that.”

“Yeah, because I don’t believe everything’s okay. I think we should talk about this.”

“What are you, a shrink now?” I could see where this was going, and I didn’t like it. I attempted to get up from the sofa.

“Where are you going?” Edward gently pushed me back into my seat.

“I just need to move around for a few minutes; I’m feeling stiff.”

“What you need is to take it easy. You’re barely out of the hospital.”

“I’m fine,” I repeated, feeling slightly annoyed.

“No, you’re not,” Edward insisted. “It’s not like you tripped and skinned your knee; you’ve been through a major trauma.”

“Would you please stop treating me like an invalid?Like I’m some weak, little kitten? I can’t stand it.”

“It’s not weak to feel vulnerable after the ordeal you’ve had.”

“Are you expecting me to cry or something?” I meant it as a joke, but I could see that I was on the right track.

“If it makes you feel better. Would it help if I did?”

I pulled my eyebrows together in confusion. “I thought you couldn’t cry.”

“Just because I’m not capable of producing tears, doesn’t mean I can’t cry. I got really good at it while you were bleeding in the ballet studio.”

His eyes suddenly became very contemplative and soft.

“You know, I haven’t told you this yet, but when I met Alice and Jasper at the airport and we couldn’t find you, Alice continued having visions. She could see what was happening inside the ballet studio before we got there, and I could see it through her.”

He paused for a moment and closed his eyes, a combination of agony and fury playing on his features.

“I kept seeing that…animal…flinging your body around in Alice’s mind, and it was killing me. Almost as bad as standing outside of the suture room watching Carlisle stitch up the mess I’d made of you.”

This is why I didn’t want to have this conversation. Edward spoke about this experience as if he had been the one on the hunt intending to kill me. He held himself entirely responsible, and that was wrong. He was the reason I was alive. Of course, if I brought this up, he would insist that I wouldn’t have needed saving in the first place if I’d never met him.

Instead of making my case, I smiled thoughtfully at him.

“What?” he asked, as if wondering what could possibly be amusing.

“You really cried over me?”

He laughed once without humor and shook his head. “I was a wreck. But if you tell anyone, I won’t admit to it.”

We smiled sheepishly at each other for a moment. Then he took my hands in his and spoke again.

“I wanted to talk about this because we both need to face reality. The bottom line is I couldn’t prevent this from happening. I did everything I could to protect you, and yet it happened anyway. That scares me more than I can possibly tell you. This…sadist…was hell-bent on torturing you to death for his own amusement, and I…I can’t even…I can’t even imagine what you must have felt, and I just…”

I could see that he was struggling to find the right words, so I just nodded slowly until he met my gaze.

It seems we would be having this conversation after all. As much as I’d rather not, I could see that he wasn’t going to let this go anytime soon.

I would have to phrase my response very carefully. The last thing I wanted was to make him feel worse than he already did. But then I considered that he would probably appreciate it more if were honest. I could do that and still be careful.

“I remember seeing his lips pull over his teeth…and his posture sliding down into a crouch.” I spoke the words calmly.

Edward looked pained, but not enough to make me stop.

“You must have been so scared,” he whispered.

“I was,” I admitted. “But even through the fear, I held on to the hope that you would come in time. And you did.”

Edward waited cautiously for me to continue.

I deliberated for a moment. “All of a sudden, I found myself surrounded by broken glass. I don’t even remember falling into it. I was too stunned to feel anything; I guess I was going into shock.”

The pained expression never left Edward’s face, but he continued to listen without interruption.

I kept my face composed. “I haven’t told you yet either what I remember from that night. I wasn’t completely aware of what was happening, but I remember hearing your voice as I slipped in and out of consciousness. I knew it was your voice because it was the most beautiful, familiar sound I could have imagined. I was sure that you really must be an angel, calling me to the only heaven I wanted.

But then I realized that it couldn’t be heaven. There was too much agony and fear in your voice for that. It sounded like I was slipping away from you, but you wanted so desperately for me to stay. In that moment, I knew that I was still alive, and that you were pleading with me to hold on.

I wouldn’t be happy anywhere you weren’t, so I fought against the darkness that was pushing me down. My body was fighting its own battle against me. It wanted to take the easy way out, but I knew you wouldn’t be able to bear that. So, I just focused on your voice, and let it hold me there instead.”

I paused for a moment, foolishly giving Edward the chance to berate himself yet again.

“Thank-you,” was all he said.

“For what?”

“For not dying. And you’re right about that last part. I don’t even want to think about the alternative.”

“When I heard your voice,” I continued, “I’ve never felt so happy to hear anything in my life. I can’t even really describe how relieved I felt at that moment. As soon as I knew that you were there with me, I knew everything was going to be all right.

I remember hearing Alice when she must have seen me, lying in a heap. She sounded really panicked, probably because of the blood. But I was completely calm. Because I knew that you were there, and I tried so hard to find my voice…I tried to tell you…I just wanted to tell you so badly…”

I was surprised that my voice was beginning to falter and tears, which had been welling up apparently, spilled over my eyes.

Edward would have tears in his eyes, too, if such a thing were possible. He gently stroked my cheek, brushing the tears away with his fingers.

“What?” he urged quietly.

I took a shaky breath. “That if…if this was my last chance…I wanted to tell you how much I loved you.”

I couldn’t help the sobs that escaped my voice now. It wasn’t remembering the pain of that night that made me cry; it was the thought of being separated from Edward forever.

“I knew that.” He stroked my arm now and looked like he was trying to stifle back a sob of his own.

Now, more than anything, I wanted to wrap my arms around him and take that pained expression off his face. He must have been thinking the same thing because his arms were already opened for me.

We held each other for a long time, just taking comfort in each other’s presence. I never wanted to leave the safe haven of his arms. I felt more at home there than anywhere else in the world.

-----

Our eyes met eventually. It could have been minutes or hours, I wouldn’t know.

“How do you feel now, Bella?” Edward asked.

“Better,” I smiled. “I think you were right. It feels good to clear the air.”

“Now, when are you going to outgrow that danger magnet of yours?” he wanted to know, thankfully returning to a slightly more teasing tone.

“I don’t know. I guess I’ll need my brilliant, heroic vampire boyfriend to steer me out of harm’s way from time to time.”

“I’ll always be there to save you,” he said softly. “As long as you promise to save me in return.”

I laughed softly and snuggled closer into his stone-cold embrace.

“You can count on it,” I promised.