Bella didn’t think she had any more fight left inside. She could barely hear her parents or Carlisle anymore; they all seemed to be in the far off distance. As the bright light beckoned her closer, she slowly felt herself drifting towards its warm, inviting glow. Drawing nearer, she began to feel like she did before her heart decided to fail. This must be heaven, she thought. As her body floated into the warmth, she felt an overwhelming calm. In the distance, she saw a figure of a woman coming towards her. Bella had never seen anyone as beautiful as this woman; she had long red hair, striking green eyes, and flawless smooth skin.
“Take care of them, love them with all your soul and with all the heart that I am giving you,” she pleaded.
“Who?” Bella questioned.
“You will know,” the woman answered, then disappeared.
Bella looked all around; however, she did not see the woman anywhere.
“Bella, baby, open your eyes,” Renee implored. She had been sitting in the ICU beside Bella’s bed ever since Carlisle had finished replacing her damaged heart with the donor. The surgery seemed to take forever and, with each passing minute, both she and Charlie prayed that the donor’s heart hadn’t come too late to save their pride and joy. Carlisle looked exhausted when he walked in with her and stayed with the nursing team as they made sure every monitor was hooked up and operating correctly. Sitting down with Charlie and Renee, he told them that, just as they were preparing to put Bella on the bypass machine, her old heart stopped.
“I am sure that this is nothing short of a miracle because, without the donor’s heart, she would not be alive,” Carlisle said.
“Thank you, Carlisle, for bringing our daughter back to us.”
Carlisle was relieved that Bella had a chance at a healthy, long life, and he hoped that it would be filled with joy and love. Even though he was happy for Bella and her family, his own heart was breaking over the loss of his daughter-in-law. He wished he could have gone when Emmett and Jasper left for New York, but he couldn’t leave Bella at this critical time.
The hours ticked by with Charlie and Renee keeping watch over Bella. The heart monitor was a source of comfort, sounding the strong heartbeat that had once been faint and weak.
Bella loved the comfort and warmth, but she felt herself being pulled from the light. She fought to stay, but, with each struggle, she moved further and further away. She reached out to try to grab onto something, anything. Then, she felt the warm, secure grip on her hand. Looking down, Bella saw a familiar hand. A hand that held her as she took her first steps, the hand that helped her up when she fell down and skinned her knee, the hand that held her as she began her ballet moves, the hand that held onto hers over the last few years of waiting for a heart, the hand of her mother.
“Bella, please open your eyes,” Renee pleaded after she felt Bella grasp her hand.
Bella heard her mother’s voice and tried to open her eyes, but they were so heavy.
“You can do it, Bella,” Charlie said. “Come back to us.”
Pulling with all the strength she had, Bella slow opened her eyes. As her eyes began to focus, she noticed that she was no longer in the hospital room that she had been in for weeks. Drifting her eyes to the right, she saw her mother with tears running down her face.
“Don’t cry,” Bella said hoarsely. Damn, why was her throat so sore and dry?
“Oh, baby, you are awake.”
“Where am I?”
“In the ICU,” Renee explained. “Don’t you remember Carlisle telling you that a donor had been found?”
“No,” Bella said and then brought up her finger to her chest to feel the bandage. “It’s in there already?”
“Yes, it is,” Carlisle said as he walked in the door. He was happy to see that Bella was awake and talking. He had been keeping an on her stats from the monitors in his office, and he had been happy with the numbers. Coming over to the side of Bella’s bed, he began his checks. “Well, everything is looking great. How are you feeling?”
“My throat is sore.”
“That is understandable, because of the breathing tube you had in during the surgery.”
“Am I going to okay now?” Bella questioned.
“You are going to be great. There are going to be some guidelines you will need to follow and some medicine that will be part of your daily life, however, you will be back to where you were before your heart decided to fail.”
“I could dance again?”
“Yes, but before you get back on the dance floor, you have to take easy and heal first,” Carlisle said.
“I can do that,” Bella smiled.
Charlie walked over to Carlisle. “How is Edward doing?”
Bella had heard about Edward; actually, Carlisle confided in her about how he felt he would never mend the relationship with his oldest son. “What is wrong with Edward?”
Carlisle breathed in deeply, trying to control his emotions. “He’s not doing well. Esme said that he is only holding on by a thread. Maggie’s parents have arrived and it has been really hard on them.”
“When are you leaving?” Renee asked.
“I don’t know,” Carlisle answered.
“Carlisle, Bella is out of the woods and there are plenty of doctors here that can take care of her. Go, be with your family during this time,” Charlie urged.
“Why won’t someone tell me what happened?” Bella said.
“Bella, Edward’s wife, died after having their child,” Renee explained. She really didn’t want Bella to get worked up so soon after surgery.
Bella took Carlisle’s hand. “I am fine, because of you. Now you need to go and be with your family. I promise to be good and listen to all the recommendations.”
Carlisle couldn’t help but chuckle at that. “When have you ever done everything you were told?”
“I know I have been bad in the past, but, for you, I promise,” Bella swore. “Cross my new heart.”
Carlisle leaned down and placed a kiss on her head. “Thank you.”
Carlisle was on the next plane and on his way to New York. He had called Esme and told her the great news that Bella was doing great and that he was on his way. Jasper met him at the airport and told him everything that had been happening. When the arrived at Edward’s home, Carlisle was nervous to walk in, not wanting to cause any more stress or pain for Edward.
“Dad, it is going to be okay. Edward needs you here.”
Carlisle nodded his head, hoping that Jasper was right. Jasper grabbed his dad’s suitcase and suit bag from the back of the rental and walked up the steps. When they reached the top, Esme was already at the door and Carlisle collected her up into a tight hug.
“How are you doing, my love?” She asked.
“I am tired. The surgery took longer than I expected and Bella was a little longer to wake, but she is doing great.”
“After you talk to Edward, you need to take a nap,” Esme instructed.
“I will, dear.”
Esme took him into the den, where Edward was sitting and feeding Elizabeth. Carlisle looked at his son’s face and saw the conflict looks of unconditional love and indescribable pain.
Edward looked up and frowned. Fuck, he was here. “Well, well, well look who finally showed up.”
“Edward, please,” Esme begged.
“Mom, will you take Elizabeth back upstairs,” Edward urged. He was so full of emotions…seeing his father, just multiplied the effects. Elizabeth didn’t need to be around him at this moment.
Esme came over and took Elizabeth from Edward’s arms. Cooing to Elizabeth, she walked over towards Carlisle, so he could at least get a look at his granddaughter.
Carlisle choked up as he looked down on the angelic face of his granddaughter. She had to be the most beautiful baby he had ever seen in his entire life. Taking his finger, he rubbed it lightly over Elizabeth smooth pink cheek.
“Carlisle, outside,” Edward growled.
“Edward,” Esme snapped.
“No, dear, it is okay,” Carlisle said.
Esme’s heart was breaking as she took Elizabeth up the stairs. She was worried about both Edward and Carlisle.
Carlisle followed Edward through the kitchen and out to the backyard. He watched as Edward paced back and forth, clenching his fists.
Edward couldn’t believe Carlisle had finally come to his house. His mother had told that his dad was doing a surgery for one of his patients and couldn’t leave until she was stable. Once again he put his job before his family. “Why the fuck are you here?”
“Edward, I came for you and Elizabeth,” Carlisle said.
“Well, I don’t want you here. You were never around when I was growing up and I don’t want Elizabeth to think that her grandfather is going to be around for her.”
“I know I was a horrible father. I left your mother to raise you and your brothers, while I studied and trained to be a doctor. But, by the time I could spend time with you, it was too late. The walls were already up and I tried to break them down, but the hurt that built them was too great,” Carlisle explained. “But don’t ever think that I don’t love you, because I love you with all my heart.”
“The fuck you do. You care more about your patients then you did us. Hell, look at today. You would rather be at the hospital with a patient, then be here with me. I LOST MY WIFE! The one who made my heart open up and allowed it to love another person.” Edward cried, then fell to the ground, sobbing.
Carlisle got down on the ground and pulled Edward into a hug. At first, Edward was stiff, but finally he gave into the warmth of his father’s hug. The gentle whispers: he loved him, had always loved him, would be here for him, all resounded into Edward’s broken heart.
Esme had changed and rocked Elizabeth to sleep and laid her in her crib. Looking out the window to the backyard, she saw Edward and Carlisle sitting on the ground, with Edward wrapped in Carlisle’s embrace. Tears ran down her face and she prayed that this was the beginning of a new relationship between them