Wednesday, June 27, 2012 | By: Drotuno

Coming Home Chapter 45 - Bella

~oOo~

Seattle... Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 4:52 A.M.

"She's so cute," I said, watching the kitten crawling around on Edward's belly as he lay on the floor of the living room. She kept tripping over her own paws and nearly sliding off of him, and every time, Edward would wince.

"Yeah, but her claws are vicious," he said when he once more had to pull her back up.

I was lost, watching the adorable cuteness of my man and our new pet when I realized he was calling my name.

"Bella?"

I tried to focus, but I couldn't seem to respond to him.

"Bella, wake up."

When he reached up and touched my arm, calling my name again, I jerked, realizing I'd been asleep and dreaming, and the voice hadn't been Edward's, but Alice's.

"Fuck, Alice!" I gasped, rubbing my hand over my face before realization set in that she had to be over in the middle of the fucking night for some specific reason – and nothing I could come up with in my head was good. I shot up, reaching over to switch on the light, glancing at the clock. "What is it? What happened?"

Alice looked as tired as I felt, and her eyes were red, like she'd been crying.

"Oh, God... Jasper?"

She shook her head, finally finding her voice again. "First, Bella, stay calm, okay? Just know that he's okay."

Stay calm... He's okay...

I scrambled out of bed, backing away as I shook my head. "No, no, no!" I growled, my back hitting the wall.

I was still shaking my head when she knelt down in front of me, taking my hands in hers.

"He's okay, sweetie. Edward's okay. He got hit in the vest, but he's okay," she repeated, squeezing my hands tightly and keeping my attention on her.

As she told me how they had found the insurgents they'd been searching for, how Edward had been in the vicinity of the explosion that had almost taken out one of his men, tears started pouring down my cheeks. She explained that he'd gotten the wind knocked out of him and some bumps and bruises, but he was fine. He hadn't wanted to call, because he hadn't wanted me to worry, but Jasper had said he needed me, so he was going to Skype.

"Oh, God, I think I'm going to be sick," I said, gagging as I swallowed back the bile that rose in my throat.

Alice moved out of my way and then followed as I jumped up and raced to the toilet, proceeding to throw up what little I had in my stomach. I retched until all I had left to give were dry heaves. Being the good friend that she is, Alice held my hair back out of my face, and when I was done, she handed me a washcloth that she wet in the bathroom sink.

"Here, B, wipe your face, and then brush your teeth. I'm going to go make you some tea, okay?" she offered. "You have about fifteen minutes before Jasper said he was going to have Edward call."

I nodded, letting her know I'd heard, and then began wiping my face with the damp terrycloth.

After a couple of minutes alone, I stood and grabbed one of the disposable cups from beside the sink, using it to rinse my mouth out first. The leftover bile in my mouth nearly made me gag, so before I even picked up my toothbrush, I swigged some mouthwash, and then quickly brushed my teeth, feeling much less gross. By the time I made it out to the living room, I was much more calm and under control, although my shaking, which had started the moment I'd realized it was Alice that had woken me, hadn't abated.

Alice had set up the laptop on the coffee table in front of the couch, alongside a mug that was still steaming. "Come on, Bella. Drink some tea. You need to calm down as much as you can, because you don't want Edward to see you that upset, trust me."

"H-He's really okay?" I asked, my voice a little scratchy from the awful retching.

She nodded. "Jasper swore he was. The medical team cleared him. No broken bones or anything worse than a few scrapes and bruises. He looks and feels worse than it truly is. Remember when Jasper got the concussion when the Humvee rolled? Remember how awful he looked, cause he'd hit his head, so he had a black eye and his face was all scraped up?"

"Yeah," I answered, sipping the tea carefully.

"He was fine, though. He looked scary, like he was hurt really bad, but he wasn't. He was just fine a couple of days later. It's like that with Edward. So just be prepared, and be strong for him, okay? If you need to break down, you can cry on my shoulder after. It's okay to cry – he will worry if you don't show any emotion, right? – but don't freak out simply because he looks bad." At my nod, she said, "I'm going to go see what I can gather together for breakfast. Rose is coming over, too, so I'm going to make enough for all of us."

"Ali, I don't think I can handle eat—"

"You can, and you will," she said sternly, interrupting me. Her tone much softer now, she continued, "Listen, sweetie, if you're in this with Edward, then this is something you have to learn how to handle. You need to eat to keep up your strength. Getting sick won't help you handle the worry and stress. And Bella?"

"Yeah?" I looked up at her to see a sweet frown on her face.

"If you don't think you can handle this, you need to tell him now. It's not fair to either of you to drag it out."

"No!" I gasped, shaking my head. "I love him, Alice. Period. I'm in this for as long as he'll have me."

One corner of her mouth quirked up and she nodded, glancing up at the clock. "Good. Now, drink your tea. Your man should be calling—"

She was cut off by the alert from Skype saying I had an incoming video call.

With shaky fingers, I reached out to click Accept.

~oOo~

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