My Original by wizardtho
I should have known that talking about my Edward, even in the smallest way, would make the nightmares more vivid and painful. Charlie came in to try and calm me four times through the night, when I woke gasping and screaming for Edward. It didn't work, though, and I just ended up crying myself back to sleep in his arms. Then the process would repeat.
Finally, at about 4:30, I knew neither of us would be going back to sleep, and I slowly forced myself to start the process of burying my emotions for the day. I silently got up and went to the bathroom, and Charlie cautiously went to his room to get dressed with a look of worry on his face. I went through my morning routine in a daze, then went down to start breakfast. I knew there was no getting out of him saying something, so I tried to prepare myself.
Whatever I thought he was going to say, it surely wasn't what came out of his mouth halfway through breakfast. “Bells... I don't like this. Your nightmares are getting worse again. I don't like the thought of you being alone down there without someone to be there when you have another one. Who's going to hold you when you wake up like that?” I looked up at him with tears in my eyes and whispered, “Dad, I love you. You don't know how much it means to me that you try to make them go away, even though I know they won't. They won't, because I'm here, surrounded by him. You know that. Yes, it'll probably be really hard at first, but I need to do this. I have to at least try. Please, Dad... tell me you understand why I need to go.”
Charlie nodded sadly, then cleared his throat and said, “I love you too, Bells. Always have, always will. Just promise you'll call, alright? And tell me if you need something. I'll have Henry take over here and fly down in a heartbeat, if you need me.” I nodded and patted his hand on the table, then said, “Comedy movie marathon and pizza tonight?” Charlie chuckled at my change of topic, then agreed, “Yeah, that sounds about right. You want me to stop and pick up a few on the way home?” I grinned, “You know me so well. Just don't get anything we've already seen, please.”
As I was cleaning up from breakfast, Charlie started walking up the stairs to finish getting ready, when his cell rang. I didn't look, but my heart ached when he said softly, “Hey, Carlisle. Hold on a second.” He finished walking up the stairs, and I couldn't help but follow after he shut his bedroom door.
I knew the Cullens were all worried about me, and I knew Charlie talked to them often, but I needed to know just how much they talked about. I stood silently by Charlie's door as I heard him say, “The nightmares were worse last night. Four times, and she never calmed. She just cried herself into an exhausted sleep and it started all over.” It was silent for a second, then he said, “She agreed a few days ago to the account, since she found out going back and forth to work on the mainland would be too much of a hassle. It wasn't a pretty conversation, since you know how independent she's always been, but Renee, Phil and I finally got her to agree. Are you sure I'm doing the right thing in letting her go, Carlisle?”
I frowned remembering that conversation, but in the end, I knew they were right. The only other option was finding work on the island, which could turn out really bad, since Coop was the only one I could ask for work. So, I reluctantly agreed for them to put money into an account for me each month to live on.
I was broken from my thoughts when I heard Charlie say, “Yeah, she's leaving first thing tomorrow morning for Renee's, then she'll spend the next few days with her until they all fly down to the island. They'll stay with her for a few days to help her unpack and settle, then fly back home. She said she'd let me know how it went, so I'll call you as soon as I know.” There was silence for a second, then he said, “I'll fax you the information as soon as I get to work. I haven't looked through it, yet. It's locked up in my office safe right now, but I'm headed in, so it won't be more than a half an hour. Should I send it to the machine in your office or at home?”
I chose to go down and finish cleaning up the kitchen, then, and turned as I heard Charlie say softly, “I don't know, Carlisle. She's not ready, and I don't know if she'll ever be. I try to get her to at least call one of you all the time, but she just shuts me down before I can even fully get it out. I know all of your numbers are in her phone, so maybe after a bit of time on the island, she'll feel ready to call. Just promise me you won't push to see her too quickly. I know you miss her, but...”
I finished up doing the dishes, knowing that they all missed me, and hating that I couldn't work up the nerve to talk to any of them. I just... I couldn't... it was too hard to think about seeing them, and know that my Edward wouldn't be there with them. Every time I tried to even dial one of their numbers, I had a panic attack. Hell, I couldn't even see Jake, and he saved my life that night.
That day went by in a blur, and so did the few after it while I was in Jacksonville. I ended up buying both of Coop's books, and texting him that I was holding his copy of 'Inheritance' for after our swap, because I was ransoming it until I was done reading 'Unmasqued'. We texted a few times after that, but kept the topics light, and I was extremely thankful for that. He didn't ask how my nights were going, and I didn't tell him, although most of our texting was done after dark.
The night of our flight to the island had come, and after a 1 hour and 20 minute flight to Miami, we had a 2 hour and 40 minute layover before we boarded the next plane. That one would take us to Rio, and 8 hours and 35 minutes after take-off, we would arrive at the Rio airport. I was concerned about the flight being at night, since I was afraid of falling asleep and ending up waking the other passengers with my screaming, but thankfully my nerves kept me wired enough to not fall asleep.
I think Renee and Phil both understood, because though they both woke several times to check on me, they didn't say anything when they found I was still awake. They just kissed my forehead or patted my hand, then relaxed enough to fall back to sleep. I was truly thankful when the flight was over, and relaxed a bit once we were out of the airport. It wasn't enough to let me fall asleep, but it was enough to let me be able to take in my new surroundings.
I texted Coop to let him know we arrived and were on our way to the marina, as he requested, and he replied that he would go open up the house for us, so it wasn't stuffy when we reached the house. I took note of how to get to my boat slip, what number it was, and the map that Phil showed me for how to get to the house. Once our baggage was loaded and stowed onto a sleek speed boat, Phil had me take the wheel, so he could make sure I knew how to operate the boat. I smiled, knowing this was the reason for all the boating lessons he had given me lately.
I made it to the island with no problem, and had zero trouble docking the boat all on my own. Phil and Renee both beamed at me proudly, and I knew that they would have one less thing to worry about now. Their looks reinforced my decision to show them that I would do well here once they returned home.
I didn't think they noticed the contented sigh of 'home' that left me as we walked up the beach path and caught sight of the house, but they hugged me to them. Phil said, “Yeah, Baby Girl. This is home now. You'll always have places with your dad and us, but this is your fresh start.” I smiled up at him and said softly, “It's perfect... so beautiful, and just what I need. I'm actually anxious to look around, but I seriously need to change into something cooler.”
They both chuckled at me, agreeing, and Renee immediately pointed out, “Honey, once you get to the dining room, turn and go down the hall. The master is the door just after the coat closet for the foyer. We'll all get changed, then we can bring up the rest of the things from the boat. Oh, it looks like Mr. Jackson opened the house up. It feels good in here with the breeze coming off the water and the ceiling fans on.” I chuckled, “Yeah, that's who I was texting when we were in the cab. He didn't want the house to be stuffy when we arrived, and he asked me to let him know when we touched down, so he could open it up for us.”
The next few days were filled with settling in, finding the perfect few knicknacks in the mainland shops, lounging, and listening to the waves and forest animals at different times of the day. Surprisingly, island life suited me well, and the nights weren't nearly as hard on me. The sound of the waves and cool island breeze helped soothe me, and my nightmares became less frequent after the first night. The first night... well, I think that was my final plea, of sorts. The nightmares were endless, even when Renee tearfully climbed into bed with me and wrapped herself tightly around me.
The nightmares did calm some after that night, and the morning of Renee and Phil's flight, I heard them whispering to each other in the kitchen before breakfast. I had just gotten up, and was making my way out to fix coffee, when I heard Phil say, “I don't want to leave her either, Honey, but you can tell that the island is already serving it's intended purpose. The dreams aren't as strong as the first night here. She only woke 3 times last night, and was fairly easy to calm once she woke. We can come back soon and check up on her, but I really think we need to give her this time. She needs to be away from all of us, if she's going to let go of the pain and heal. Think if this were happening to either of us, Ren. If something ever took you away from me horrifically, I wouldn't want people hovering 24/7, making me feel guilty for taking my time to grieve. She really hasn't even let herself grieve... not fully. Her subconscious lets it out at night, but during the day... well, you see how she deflects.”
Renee sighed sadly. “I know Phil, I do, but I just hate to think about her not having anyone to lean on out here. I know this was a good idea, but I hate to see her hurting so much. Just promise me that we'll check up on her a lot. I can't bear the thought of her thinking we don't care or are going to forget about her.” I smiled and made my way sleepily into the kitchen, kissed them both on the top of the head, and walked over to the coffee pot as I said, “Forget about me? Well, I'd never let you, so you can relax, Mom. I'll be calling and bugging you three senseless. You won't have time to breathe, let alone forget me. Besides, a parent can never forget their child, no matter how far apart they are physically.”
Renee and Phil got safely to the airport, and I walked through several cute shops before loading my purchases onto the boat, then heading back to the island. As I saw the house again by myself, the breeze blew, and instantly the same sense of peace enveloped me. I was home. When I reached the back porch steps, I noticed the note tacked to the door in Coop's now- familiar writing:
Just wanted to check in and return 'Inheritance'. It was amazing. I'm sorry we keep missing each other, but maybe we can catch up soon. Let me know how you're doing with 'Unmasqued,' as I would like to hear your opinion on it. We'll talk soon, and remember you can text me day or night.
I smiled and the island breeze blew the scent of spiced apples and cinnamon, worn leather, night-blooming jasmine, a warm campfire, and sex from the paper straight to me. I gasped slightly at the response that the combined scent elicited deep inside me, and found myself lifting the paper to my nose to take a deep breath. I moaned slightly as the heady scent made my heartbeat pick up, my head fuzzy with desire, and my body flood to the bursting point with arousal. I savored the feeling for a long moment as I inhaled the scent, then groaned and shook my head as I tried to compose myself.
Unbeknownst to Bella, Coop had witnessed the whole thing from the safety of the forest. He had a hard time fighting his urge to lay the petite brunette goddess out beneath him, worship her for days, and beg her to be his. He chided himself for thinking such things, when she was obviously still in mourning for her dead fiance, since he had heard her pleas and screams in the night for her Edward. Even considering that, he couldn't help but notice -by the flush of her skin and the slight trembling of her body- that she definitely had an aroused reaction to his scent. He placated himself that he would be making his presence known to her soon, and hoped she wouldn't become nervous around him, as most people were.