Sunday, June 22, 2014 | By: Drotuno

Masen Manor Chapter 27 & Pics

Chapter 27
June 2002
My eyes drank in Edward as he paced back and forth in the living room of his house. He was tense, I could see that much. It sat on his shoulders heavily, and it was in every grip of his hair, every hissed word into the phone, and every sharp gaze he shot my way. Even the occasional glint off his skin from the sun shining into the room made him look dangerous – beautiful, but deadly all the same.
The month of May was over, but more importantly, my weekend was almost up. It was Saturday, and come Monday morning, I was needed at the downtown police station for questioning. Without Edward sneaking into my room at night, I knew my nightmares would’ve been at an all-time high. As it was, my daydreams were now a problem. More than once had he forced me to look at him, to see him, because I was letting my imagination run away with me.
“You can do this, you know,” Jacob murmured from the other side of the kitchen table. “Tell the detectives what you saw, I mean.”
I nodded, taking a deep breath and letting it out. “I know. I’m just… Something feels off.”

Leah set a plate in front of me and then her son. She’d insisted on making us lunch instead of ordering pizza. For as old as she was, she was still incredibly active…and feisty.
She sat down at the head of the table to my right after getting her own plate, eying Edward with a sharp, but loving gaze. “He’s worried. It’s understandable, but still…” She smiled my way. “Not that I expected anything less. He’s your other half, so if the tables were turned, you would be the pacing one.”
Snickering a little, I nodded. “True,” I agreed, though I was already worried for him.
To see the pure hate on Edward’s face – all of it aimed at Phil – when he picked me up two nights ago had been scary. I couldn’t imagine what my stepfather had been thinking, and Edward wouldn’t tell me. He said it wasn’t something he felt comfortable saying out loud to me. The only thing he would tell me was that Phil was scared of what I’d say to the detectives. I couldn’t imagine why, simply because I didn’t know much more than they already knew.
Phil had worked later than usual the next day, so I hadn’t really seen him. When the sun came up bright and warm this morning, I awoke to a note on my pillow for me to come to Edward’s house and then gone downstairs to find my stepfather already gone. Jacob had walked with me once I’d turned the first corner.
“Well, he’s on the phone with Carlisle now,” Jacob said softly, “which means you’ll both have support come Monday. Carlisle’s driving in from Masen, and Jasper’s on a plane now. I’ll be picking him up in a couple of hours.”
Nodding that I’d heard him, I focused on my food. Leah was an amazing cook. Not only did she cook some gypsy dishes, but she could make just about anything: pasta, sauces, pot roast… It was the latter that was in front of me, with gravy, potatoes, and carrots.
“And Esme?” I asked Jacob.
“She’ll be going to Alaska to be with Alice,” he answered with a full mouth, which earned him a glare from his mother. I giggled when he merely smiled at her, shrugging a large shoulder. “You’ll talk to them tomorrow, I think,” he continued after swallowing. “You know, your normal Sunday phone call.”
That made me smile. I couldn’t wait to talk to Alice. I wanted to catch up with her, but I also wanted to know what she’d seen lately.
“You miss her,” Leah noted, and when I nodded, she patted my hand. “Time will fly, sweet one. You’ll see her soon, I imagine.”
I wrinkled my nose, not so sure I believed her, simply because Edward had told me it would take time for Alice to be able to come around me.
I continued to eat while Edward made a few more calls. I could hear one was Carlisle, the other sounded like a lawyer or something, but he was quick and to the point when he spoke. He was almost commanding and abrupt, but when he was finished, he slipped into the chair beside mine, dropping a heavy kiss to the top of my head and a hand on my neck.
“We have to talk about tomorrow, sweetheart,” he said gently, but he was looking around at all of us. When I glanced up at him, he looked nervous, almost angry, but he took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “It’ll be another sunny day like this one, and I’d say you could come here for the day, but Carlisle wants Jasper and me to hunt before Monday. He wants us sharp and in control in order to help you at the police station.”
“Okay,” I whispered with a frown.
“Jake will stay with you, watch over you while I’m gone, but I’ll be back in your room by nightfall.”
As he said this, Jacob’s face sobered, and he nodded at Edward. “Yeah, sure, man,” he said aloud, but they seemed to be communicating silently.
Edward studied his face. “I’d prefer it if you stayed hidden, unless something happens. At that point, I don’t give a damn what you do in order to get to her.”
Jacob grinned like he’d been given a million dollars, and Leah and I chuckled.
“It’s not funny,” Edward growled, shaking his head. He stood up too quickly, sending his chair back several inches. It wobbled a little, but didn’t fall over.
“Edward, no one is saying it’s funny,” Leah soothed, but it wasn’t working. She looked to me and then her son, saying, “I’ll ride with you to the airport. We can stop for a few things on our way back.”
Jacob nodded, gave Edward a quick glance, but stood up to help his mother up. I cleared the table of dishes; I’d do them before Edward took me home later. Without even looking, Edward tossed his keys to Jacob, who caught them deftly. When the door closed behind them, I walked into the living room.
My eyes raked over Edward as he stood almost motionless in the window, except for the slow opening and closing of his fists. I took in the room, which was beautiful – something straight out of a magazine. I could tell that some of the furniture was antique, but some stuff was new. There wasn’t much in the way of personal items, though. The house wasn’t like the east wing at Masen Manor; that room had decades of Edward’s belongings, memorabilia, and long life all over it. However, this house still fit his personality – organized, with a touch of age to it.
My eyes then fell to the piano in the room. Trailing a finger along its black, shiny surface, I ached to play it. I hadn’t had the chance yet. On top of the closed lid was the leather notebook I’d given him for Christmas. I flipped it open, tilting my head at the sheet music inside. He’d written something, and it looked new.
“It’s not finished yet,” he said softly from the window. When I looked up at him, I saw that he’d turned his back on the window and was facing my way. “I’m sorry…” He pointed toward the kitchen. “I’m just—”
“Worried,” I answered for him with a nod as I flipped through the music. I wanted to hear it, but didn’t ask. “We didn’t mean anything by it, Edward.”
“I know,” he sighed, waving a hand in the air dismissively. “You’re just trying to get through it best you can. I get it.”
Nodding, I sat down at the piano and lifted the lid. The instrument was pristine, perfect. Smiling a little, I let my fingers lightly brush the ivory keys and then the black ones.
When I spoke, my eyes stayed on the piano. “I’m not worried, Edward…not about Monday, anyway. You’ll be there, and I’ve told the story before, so this’ll be easier. I…I wanted to try to speak it, not write it. That makes me nervous, but…” I shrugged a shoulder, thinking that if I failed, I’d just write it down for them, but I really wanted to try. “I honestly don’t think anything I have to say will help.”
He sat down next to me on the bench, straddling it so that he could wrap his arms around me. “It’ll help more than you think, love. To have your testimony of what took place that night will be truly helpful for them, even if they already know the gist of it. You may give them a detail that they didn’t know, something that could tie things together for them.”
Turning to look at him, I nodded, because when he said those things, I believed them. He made me want to believe them.
“So…what makes you nervous, Bella?” he asked softly, brushing my hair from my face.
“That it’ll be all for nothing,” I stated softly. “That they’ll never tie it to Phil, and that leaves him free to continue thinking that he’s snowed everyone…especially my mother.” I opened my mouth and closed it, but then met his warm, honey gaze. “All the times I thought my mom was ignoring me or…or…was too busy for me, it was him.” Frowning angrily, I shook my head. “He knows how easily she’s distracted, so he uses it. If I tell the detectives everything I know, and he’s implicated, then where does that leave my mom?”
I turned to face him completely, toying with the buttons of his shirt. “My dad may have been mad at my mom for cheating, but he wouldn’t have wanted anything to happen to her. He would’ve wanted her to take care of me. But then I think about how he set things up, and basically he put a target on us when he put everything in my name.”
Edward cupped my face, pulling my gaze up to his. “I think he wanted to make sure that no one took from you, Bella…either of you. Charlie knew whom your mother cheated with and that Phil was already plotting against him. Putting the money in your name ensured that your mother wouldn’t have the ability to get taken for a fool, which quite possibly could’ve left both of you with nothing. From what we could tell, he changed everything very quickly, but with every detail covered. My personal opinion is that making your mother the beneficiary of your trust fund was the biggest mistake. It still put her in the middle, still made you a target, but Phil probably didn’t think you’d live through the robbery.”
He leaned in to kiss my forehead softly, whispering against my skin. “Oh, but you did survive, and that scares him a great deal… He’s also underestimating who’s in your corner. He thinks that your boyfriend is just another spoiled rich kid, but he also doesn’t understand why I make him nervous. He’s not sure what you’ll say to the police on Monday, because he’s never heard your side. Your lack of speech comforted him, Bella, gave him the chance to encourage your behavior instead of helping you heal.”
He pulled back to look me in the eye, and his face was fierce, his eyes dark. “What he truly doesn’t understand is that there are more people wanting justice for what he’s done than there are people helping him. Your list of allies grows daily, my love, and they’re all ready to step in on your behalf, whether it’s to protect you or to remove the threat completely.”
Tilting my head so that he could kiss my lips, he whispered, “All that being said, my only concern is you, and in turn, your mother and Chelsea, because I know it would hurt you greatly should something happen to them. I know that you want to speak to the detectives, but if you think for one second that you’re gonna panic, then I want you to write the events down. They’re expecting it, and you have nothing to prove to anyone.”
Nodding, I kissed him again. “And tomorrow?” I asked, getting back to the reason he’d gotten upset.
He smiled a little. “Tomorrow… Jasper and I will have to travel a bit to go hunt, but we’ll be within calling distance. Should anything suspicious happen, if you feel uncomfortable or threatened by anything or anyone, you’re to call Jacob. He’ll be watching out for you from the minute I leave, which will be before the sun comes up. If your mother and Chelsea leave, then you’re to go with them. I do not want you alone in that house…for any reason. Okay?”
I wrinkled my nose, but nodded. “Can’t I just come here with Jake and Leah?”
He chuckled. “Yes, absolutely. I’d actually prefer it, but I can’t steal you away every day, love.”
“Yeah, I know…pretenses,” I teased, squealing and squirming when he tickled me.
My head fell back with my laugh, and Edward scooped me onto his lap, leaving a chuckling kiss to my neck. I could feel his breath on my skin, his lips brush across my scar, which just about lit me on fire. When I pulled back, his eyes were studying it, the warmth back in his eyes.
“Does it bother you?” I asked softly.
He shook his head. “No.”
“Would it go away if I became like you?” I asked, not sure where the question came from, but his eyes shot to mine.
“I don’t know,” he answered honestly, shrugging a shoulder and running a finger along the bridge of his nose. “My nose didn’t straighten. It got broken when I was about…fifteen, I think. I fell off a horse. It stayed crooked after my change.”
Grinning, I bit my bottom lip and reached up to trail a finger lightly down his nose, which he wrinkled adorably. “I like it…just the way it is. It’s distinguished and adds character. Otherwise, you’d just be…too perfect.”
Edward glanced down and then away from me, only to chuckle. “I’m far from perfect, Bella.”
“Aren’t we all?” I asked, smiling when he looked back my way. “You’re perfect to me.”
“That’s a mutual feeling, love,” he sighed, kissing me roughly and then setting me back on the bench. “Now…I know you’ve been dying to play…”
“Oh, no, Mr. Cullen,” I chided, squirming away from him. I got up from the bench, laughing at his curious, yet so-very-cute expression. “You’re not my tutor anymore. You play for me.
His laugh was loud, but he swung his long leg over the bench to face the keys. The amusement on his face was a beautiful thing to see, especially after the morning he’d spent on the phone.
“Yes, ma’am,” he said, still laughing lightly as he started to play.
He continued to lose himself in classics – some I could play, some were new to me – as I cleaned up the lunch dishes in the kitchen. By the time I’d finished, he’d switched to some contemporary songs. It seemed Edward liked to challenge himself with the difficult artists. What I noticed was that he avoided the song he’d helped me finish and he didn’t play his mother’s song, either.
When I stepped beside him, he pulled me between his legs and the piano, setting me astride his lap with my back to his chest. Steel-strong arms wrapped around me, and Edward nuzzled his face into my neck, inhaling deeply before speaking.
“I never thought I’d enjoy playing again,” he said softly, his breath pushing out against my skin. “I’d forgotten how…relaxing it is.”
I smiled, looking over my shoulder at him. “How long had it been before you decided to teach me?”
He huffed a light laugh, shaking his head. “Besides a song here and there? Um…twenty years?”
My eyebrows shot up. “I can’t imagine going that long.”
He grinned, kissing my cheek and setting his fingers on the keys. “A perk is that I didn’t forget anything,” he said with a chuckle, his fingers rolling over the keys with a flourish to play the scales. “A drawback is that not much is challenging anymore. With perfect pitch and memory, there’s no real learning process.”
“You miss it?” I asked, but his eyes darkened as he shook his head in silence.
“No,” he whispered softly. “You gave all of that back to me.”
My brow furrowed, but I kissed his cheek.
“Stepping onto the stage in the auditorium that first lesson…” He grinned, shaking his head again. “I was scared out of my mind. I knew what you were to me – I’d felt it before I’d even uttered a word to you – but I also knew your limitations at that point. I never wanted to hurt you, but I just wanted to…help.”
“You did, Edward,” I murmured, looking down at his hands still on the keys. The sleeves on his shirt were rolled up to his elbows, and the muscles in his forearms rolled erotically with every move he made. “I didn’t understand it, but you did.”
“You gave me back my original calling, love,” he explained further against my shoulder, hugging me again. “I’d forgotten how much I’d wanted to teach music as a human. My father hated it. My mother encouraged it. I’d tried once or twice throughout my long life, but it just… It wasn’t as rewarding.” When I glanced back at him again, he smiled softly. “You made me remember what it was like to really push myself, and watching you succeed was an incredible feeling. So much so that I started composing again,” he said, pointing to the sheet music on the piano. “Here…” He set his fingers on the keys. “You inspired this one.”
My heart sputtered at the sound he’d created. I could hear us in every note played. It was our beginning – tentative and light. It was our early friendship – solid and unwavering. And it was his love for me – fluid and beautiful. It was our dance around each other, our laughter and playfulness, and it was so very hopeful.
It ended abruptly, but he chuckled. “It isn’t quite finished, but neither are we.”
Giggling, I stood up and faced him, standing between his legs. His hands gripped my hips as he gazed up at me with an almost innocent expression, something akin to nerves.
“It’s beautiful. I love it.” I raked my fingers through his hair that he’d practically wrecked on all his phone calls. “Maybe this time, I’ll help you finish it.”
His eyes widened, but he nodded slowly. “You can have it. It’s yours. You can use it next year for your recital.”
“Maybe…if we finish it.”
He raised an eyebrow at me, his eyes flickering to the sheet music and back to me, and I laughed at his silent way of asking me to start now.
“Why not?”
I shrugged a shoulder, reaching over to pull the pages to me, but I smirked, remembering how he’d started with me. “I’ll need to know what it means, what inspired it, where you think you see it going, Edward,” I stated haughtily, but squealed into laughter when I was suddenly scooped up and deposited on the sofa as the papers fluttered to the floor.
Edward tried to force a fierce expression on his face as he gently held me down, but failed miserably and adorably. Pressing his forehead to mine, he replied, “You, Bella. It’s all you. Beginning, middle, and always. It’s just you.”
Grinning, I shrugged. “I can work with that. I’ll need to know the song just as well as you, though. And remember, it’s the emotions you are feeling…” I poked his chest, loving that the tables had turned on us a bit.
He chuckled deeply. “I love you, and thank you, my sweet girl.”
“For what?”
“For distracting me,” he answered somberly. “Sometimes, I—”
“I know. And it’s okay,” I interrupted him, kissing his lips, “but nothing’s changing right now, so let’s not let it ruin the day. I just want to play with you, ignore everything outside…just for now. Please?”
His smile fell, but his eyes were the warm, sweet honey I loved so much. With a nod, a kiss to my lips, and a tug up off the sofa, he said, “Sounds perfect, Bella.”
I awoke the next morning to a really bright day and the blue journal left on my pillow. I smiled as I opened it with bleary eyes.
My sweet girl,
I want to thank you for yesterday, for pulling me out of my own head. Sometimes, I get so wrapped up in things that I forget what’s right in front of me. You are the best of distractions, though it should be me distracting you from what’s ahead, but I suppose that’s how we’ll always work, my love. Together…as a team.
Please remember to call Jacob if you need anything. He’s already guarding you, keeping you safe. He’s in my car parked across the street in the park. My home is always open if you just want to wait for me there. I certainly understand it.
I’ll be back to you tonight. And tomorrow, we’ll face together, along with Carlisle and Jasper. You’re not alone in this; I swear it on my life, Bella.
I love you, more than anything.
I smiled, pushing my covers back and walking to the window. I could see Edward’s shiny black car from where I was. The windows were darkly tinted, so I couldn’t see Jake, but I trusted that he was there. A glance at the clock told me I’d slept in almost to lunchtime, and my stomach reminded me of that a few seconds later. Though, I took my time with a shower and getting dressed. Edward’s last note convinced me that waiting for him at his house was better than hanging around at mine all day.
When I stepped back into my room, my phone alerted. My eyes widened at several text messages and bunch of missed calls. The most recent was from Alice.
A: Get out of the house! Now!
A: You have to go!
The missed calls were from Jacob, and just as I was about to call him back, the phone rang again.
“You gotta go, Bella,” he stated in a rush. “Now. Please just trust me on this. Your mother and Chelsea just left in a hurry, Phil’s still home, and…”
“And what, Jake?”
“And…” He sighed in frustration. “Bella, Alec Brown just walked into your house…he parked down the damn street. Please, please…just come downstairs and outside to me.”
My heart stopped, only to start back with a pounding in my chest. “Okay…gimme a sec. I can’t just run out of my house.”
He groaned. “I know, but I’d really feel more comfortable if you weren’t there. Edward would kill me dead if he knew I let you stay while that bastard was inside your house. Never mind that you’re home alone with Phil.”
I took a calming breath, grabbing up my keys and wallet. “Should we call him?”
“Edward?” Jacob screeched. “I will, but not until I have you away. Oh, he’s gonna kick my ass…” The last sentence trailed off as if he were shuddering at the thought of it.
“No, he won’t,” I assured him. “It’s not your fault. Just…” I took a deep breath and let it out. “Jake, I’ve got to do this casually. I can’t just…run. They’ll know I know something.”
“No, no, no…you’re right.”
I walked to the window, and I could see him pacing in the park across the street. He looked pissed and worried, a far cry different than his usual happy demeanor. He met my gaze, letting out a breath.
“Keep your phone on. I wanna hear everything until you step out the fucking front door. Okay?”
“Okay,” I said with a nod his way, turning toward my door.
Our journal caught my eye, and I stashed it underneath the mattress. By now, the thing was practically full, and it was not only filled with way too much personal stuff between Edward and me, but it held secrets no human should see.
I tucked my phone into the front pocket of my jeans, making sure it didn’t disconnect with Jacob. I took the stairs slowly, carefully avoiding the sixth step. Focusing on my usual routine, I tried to calm myself. Seeing Alec Brown was always nerve-racking. His voice had always haunted me, caused me to panic, simply because he’d sounded so much like the man who had tried to kill me, but knowing that he truly was the one now made me shake. I stopped at the bottom of the steps, leaning into the wall. Stepping quietly down the hall to the door of the kitchen, I heard male voices, but they were low and hushed.
Alec laughed, and it sent chills up my spine, causing me to breathe heavily. My eyes drifted from the kitchen door to the foyer. It was a moment of fight or flight, and I suddenly just wanted out of my house.
Moving as slowly and quietly as I could, I stepped past the kitchen door, only to freeze at the sound of my name.
“Bells! Get in here,” Phil called.
Swallowing nervously, I glanced longingly at the front door. If I ran, Phil would know I knew something, maybe even do something drastic. Jacob’s presence nearby and the thought of Edward gave me the courage to shut all that panic down. I had to trust them, and I had to trust myself to get through the next few minutes before leaving the house like I normally would.
With one last check of my nerves, I steeled myself to get this done, to see what he wanted. I’d just grab something to eat, let Phil know I was leaving, and get the hell out of the house.
Opening the door caused their conversation to come to a halt, and I could feel their eyes on me as I walked straight to the fridge. My hand shook a little when I reached for the milk.
“Mornin’ Bells,” Phil said behind me, grinning when I shook my head. “Oh, excuse me…Bella. The girl’s all grown now, Alec.”
“Mhm, I can certainly see that,” Alec muttered as he leaned against the counter, and it was all I could do to calmly reach up and take a glass from the cabinet instead of bolting from the room.
My skin crawled at the fact that I was in the same room with the two of them – even more at how Alec was looking at me, like an animal on the hunt. He shoved his hand into his front pocket, but simply smirked my way. When I turned back to the fridge to put the milk back after pouring myself a glass, I felt a burning sensation against my wrist.
Frowning down at it, I rubbed at it, but the coin charm that Leah had given me was practically on fire. I walked to another cabinet to grab a Pop-Tart, something quick to scarf down before heading out.
“Bella, your mother and Chelsea had to head out this morning. Apparently, Tim’s been in some sort of accident, so Renee took her…”
I spun to look at him, wondering what happened to Chelsea’s son, but my eyes skimmed past a smirking Alec. The skin on my wrist burned like fire, and I rubbed it before picking up my glass of milk. Leaning against the opposite counter, I nodded.
“So… I’m gonna need you to stay here,” he stated firmly.
I was shaking my head no before he was even finished, holding up my hand to my ear to indicate that they could call me.
“No, not today. You can see your little trust-fund boyfriend later. I think you’ve seen enough of him. Surely you can last one day,” Phil countered, leaning back in the kitchen chair.
His expression dared me to argue, and I knew he was baiting me. He wanted to hear me speak, but I wouldn’t give him the satisfaction, especially with Alec there. I’d never spoken in front of the man, and I wasn’t about to start now. I took a few big gulps of milk to shut myself up.
Phil glanced over at Alec. “You gotta see this kid she’s seein’. Prettier than most women, I tell ya. But something about the guy is off, despite the fact that he’s rollin’ in it.”
I narrowed my eyes at him, hatred practically oozing out of my pores. I bit my tongue in order not to snap. I knew if I opened my mouth, the panic would surface. Everything was surfacing with Alec still staring at me, with the sound of his voice.
In order to tamp down the need to defend Edward, which was almost instinctual, I chugged more of my milk and ripped into the Pop-Tarts. I grimaced when my skin burned again, but merely shook my hand to get it to stop, which didn’t work.
Pointing to my phone and toward the front door, I set my glass down onto the counter and popped the last of my breakfast into my mouth.
“I’m tellin’ you, Bella. You’re staying here,” Phil said calmly, almost with laughter in his tone. “Besides, we need to talk about tomorrow…”
Leaving my empty glass where it was and throwing away my garbage, I got as far as the kitchen door before my vision blurred. I glanced over at my empty glass, then to Alec, and finally, to Phil. Both men were watching me intently. My heartbeat fluttered, and everything felt off and wrong and slanted. Dizziness swirled, and I tried to catch myself before my knees hit the tile floor with a dull thud. It was painful, but not as sharp as the pain on the skin of my wrist. For a moment, I thought I could smell burning flesh.
“So much for leaving…” Alec’s voice echoed from behind me.
That one statement, along with his laugh, was so familiar that everything in me jolted, I fought my swirling vision, reaching for the knives in the rack on top of the counter, but several things tumbled down to the kitchen floor, causing a loud clatter.
“Guess she got ahold of her mother’s prescription. What a shame…a threat to herself…and others,” Phil whispered near me, but not too close.
I fell to my knees, heaving. I lost everything I’d just eaten, but sounds and sights were still blurry, still just out of my mind’s reach. The only things I could focus on were the feel of the cold tiles beneath my hands and the searing sensation from Leah’s charm.
Phil’s sneakers appeared next to me, and he knelt down. “It’s a shame you tried to kill yourself, Bells. Bells. Hear that? I’ll call you what I fucking want to.”
“N-No!” I gasped, pushing at him, but it only made him laugh harder.
“Give that shit a few more seconds…” Alec instructed.
I heaved again, but barely anything came up. They were going to let me die or, at the least, pass out. I was just about to collapse when I heard the sounds of sirens.
“Who the fuck?” Alec growled, rushing to the window, only to run back to the kitchen. “Someone called the cops!”
“Get the hell outta here! Go!” Phil stated, lifting my face harshly by my chin. “She ain’t gonna say a word. She never has. Go…I got this. She’ll be dead by the time they get her anywhere. Suicide.” He glanced over his shoulder until the back door slammed closed.
I was shaking my head. “No! You did it!” I blubbered, shaking from head to toe. I locked gazes with my stepfather. “He’s going to kill you,” I whispered, smiling when Edward’s beautiful face came to mind.
For a brief second, fear crossed his face, but it turned into anger when there were pounding knocks on the front door. He dropped me heavily back down to the tile floor, and I just barely caught myself before my head met the cold, hard surface. Phil stalked out of the kitchen, and I squeezed my eyes closed to try to clear my vision, but it only blurred more.
Voices were loud, but unclear, muffled. Radios squawked, feet trampled around me, and finally, someone put their hands on me to turn me over. I fought, thinking it was Phil, but a calm soothing voice met my ears.
“Easy, kiddo,” he whispered. “You might not remember me… My name’s Harry. I was a friend of your dad’s. Just…hang in there for us, okay?”
I tried to see his face, but it was blurry. I could see he had darker skin, like Jacob. His eyes seemed kind, his hair gray, but stars flooded my eyes.
“Edward,” I breathed, gripping the man’s shirt sleeve.
“He’s been called, Bella. Your buddy outside called him,” he whispered in my ear. “Your mom, too.”
Swallowing thickly, I nodded, turning my head when voices raised again, but everything felt like a dream.
“She’s sick!” Phil argued. “She came downstairs dazed. She needs help. We’ve tried everything, but she hasn’t spoken in years, she’s depressed and sullen, and this is the final straw.”
Harry sighed. “Nobody’s buyin’ that bullshit,” he mumbled under his breath, shaking his head and looking back at me. “Edward’s right. This guy’s a piece of work.” He glanced around the kitchen, calling over his shoulder. “Officer! Bag that glass on the counter, and print the table and counters. I don’t think Mr. Dwyer was alone this morning…”
I heard the rolling of wheels on the floor and then a commotion at the kitchen door, but nausea and dizziness overtook me, and I started to heave.
“Let’s go!” someone called out.
I gagged again, my world swirling into blackness. I had the feeling of being jostled around, of being touched and moved, but I couldn’t see anything for a few minutes, and my arms wouldn’t work right. When my head cleared a little, I opened my eyes to see that I wasn’t on the kitchen floor anymore. I was on a bed, strapped down, and surrounded by medical equipment and metal.
“Relax, you’re in an ambulance,” a female voice said calmly. She smiled when I looked her way. “Can you tell me your name?”
I shook my head, fumbling for my pocket and fighting her when I couldn’t reach what I wanted.
“Hey, hey, hey…let me help you,” she chided gently. Her fingers pulled out Carlisle’s card, turning it over, and she met my gaze, nodding. “Okay, I’ll hand this to the ER nurses when we pull in.”
She pointed with a jerk of her thumb behind her. I felt the ambulance come to a stop, and the back door flew open. The first face I set eyes on was Jacob, who looked ashen, pissed, and like he was doing everything he could to keep himself in check. His large frame was shaking. The EMTs set my gurney down onto the sidewalk, and he was by my side in an instant.
“Look at me,” he whispered, cupping my face gently. “Edward’s on his way, Bella. I promise. And so is Carlisle. In fact, he should already be here. You got me?” he asked, and I tried to nod, but tears filled my eyes. “Your mom…she’s here, too. I called 9-1-1 as soon as I could, and I was lucky Harry was tailing Phil. He’s going to tell them…” He shook his head. “I should’ve just grabbed you from your fucking window. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have… I didn’t think…”
“Let’s get her inside. We’ll have to pump her stomach,” someone commanded.
The gurney was pushed into the hospital, and several people were talking to me at once.
“You have to tell us what you took.”
“Are you allergic to anything?”
“We’re gonna need blood work.”
They pushed me into a room and started to bustle around me. I was poked and prodded, and I was starting to panic because everything was off and tilted, skewed. I felt sick again, but had no control over my limbs.
A cool, familiar hand pressed to my forehead, but it was the voice that caused me to settle down.
“Bella, it’s Carlisle,” he whispered in my ear, which made me burst into tears.
Steel-strong arms wrapped around me, and even though they were the wrong ones, my emotions completely let go.
“Shh, Bella, we’re going to help you,” he soothed against my brow. “Did he give you something?”
I tried to nod, but I wasn’t sure it worked. Maybe it did, because his next words were to the people in the room.
“We need to draw her blood, pump her stomach, and start her on fluids,” he ordered in a manner that wasn’t to be ignored. “I want the results on her tox screen like yesterday. Put a rush on it.” He bent to my ear. “I’ve got you, sweetheart, and Edward’s on his way.”
For the first time since I’d woken up that morning, I felt like I could relax. I closed my eyes, letting darkness take me.


aelita48 said...

Phil poisoned him or maybe gave drugs, which nasty character.
Thank you for this chapter.

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