The Underside of Earth - Chapter 4
DISCLAIMER: I don't own Twilight or any of the characters.


Bella POV

I feel the cold of the water around me again, but I can't seem to find it in me to care. For once, I don't feel tired or sluggish; I feel like I've gotten a ton of sleep. It's nice and quiet except for a small beeping in the background.

Looking around, I realize I'm back in the water, but it's not the same water. This water is bluer, like that of Caribbean seas. I see Jake and call out to him, but my voice is all wrong and too quiet. He hears me anyway, but shakes his head, telling me no.

no Jake?

He doesn't understand; I want to hug him, tell him that I'm coming home to him, that we can finally be together again. I have been seeing him in my dreams so often, the dreams that always leave me scared and crying, but for once, I'm not jolted awake. Why is he telling me no, though?

And that shush, shush, shushing sound? Oh God. I can barely take it.

I feel a jolt. Have I been electrocuted or shocked or something? What was that? I felt a warmth and tingle in my hand, and then it just went through me.

I start to see a swirl of trees around me. I'm moving fast, really fast. Looking down, I see pavement and thin tires below me. I'm on my motorcycle.

I immediately look up at the expanse of road in front of me, searching for Jake. He isn't there, so I glance over my shoulder and see that he's a ways behind me. He doesn't usually get that far away from me when we are riding.

I slow down the bike so he can catch up, but he keeps getting farther and farther behind me. How can that be when he is still moving and I am barely crawling along?

Then he speaks to me and it is like he is right beside my ear.

"Go on without me, Bells. You have to go."

I look around, but I don't see him. He is no longer behind me or anywhere else. Where could he have gone so quickly?

"Go live, Bella. I'm
dead. I love you."

"No, Jake. I don't want to live without you. I can't live without you."

"You can, Bella. You have to, for me. Goodbye, Bella. I will always love you!"


I jolt upright from the bed, now fully awake. I look around, taking in my surroundings and wipe the sweat - or tears - from my face. I'm in a hospital bed.

What the hell? What happened?

My heart thunders away in my chest and the door opens up. Before anyone has time to enter, I quickly lie back down and watch the door. I don't understand why I'm in a hospital.

Two men walk into the room; the first is young, maybe my age. He is dressed in blue scrubs and looks as though he took a shower recently. His longish, coppery hair is damp and slightly flattened to his head. He stares at me intently, like he can see right through me. His eyes, the color of blue-green tropical waters are piercing, and I have to look away. The second man is older, maybe in his late forties. He wears a lab coat and crisp, gray slacks; he addresses me first.

"Hello, Isabella," he says in a deep, gentle voice.

"Bella." It is the younger man who corrects him and I wonder how he would know to call me that. A bit of redness colors his neck, and he quickly glances away from me and back to the other man. The older man smiles and offers a small nod.

"Yes, her brother said that, didn't he? Hello, Bella. I'm Dr. Oliver Marcus," he says and smiles at me.

"Hi." I stop abruptly and lift my hand up to my burning throat. Why is my voice so raspy? The younger man goes to the sink and fetches a cup of water, returns to my bedside, and hands me the cup.

"Um, thank you," I whisper; I notice it doesn't hurt as badly if I speak softly. "Emmett is here? What's going on?"

The two men look at each other for a moment and the younger one looks back at me.

"Hello, Bella. My name is Dr. Edward Cullen. Is it safe to say that you don't recall anything that happened today?" he asks me.

Cullen? The name rings a bell, but I can't place it. My brain feels so muddled right now. Dr. Cullen looks at me intensely with searching eyes and gives the slightest shake of his head. No? No what?

"No, I don't remember what happened aside from going to the library. I have no idea why I am in a hospital. Could someone please tell me?" I have no recollection as to what happened. I was at the library reading and then woke up here. I obviously lost some time.

"That's fine for now, but I will want to run some tests a little later to make sure that you didn't hit your head when you fell. For now, I will let you be so you can get some rest. I will send the nurse in to do your hourly check, but I think we need to observe you for the night. To answer your question, I believe Dr. Cullen would like to speak to you about that." Dr. Marcus says as he takes out my chart and marks something down on it.

I'm so confused, and ready to protest, when I feel my toe being pinched. I look to the end of the bed, where both men stand and see that Dr. Cullen's hand is closest to my foot. This is all so confusing; I really hate hospitals and why the fuck did he just pinch me? I swallow around the burn in my throat and nod. "Okay, but I want to see my brother."

"That's fine, but Dr. Cullen has some questions for you. When he is finished up he can send your brother in. Oh, and don't forget to ask her what she was chasing, Dr. Cullen," Dr. Marcus says as he walks toward the door.

I suddenly remember running in sand. Before I'm aware of it, I blurt out the answer.

"Memories." It comes out in a choked sob and Dr. Marcus turns back to me with a raised eyebrow.

"She means a photograph. She was chasing after a photograph," Dr. Cullen quickly responds, and it makes me wonder how he would have any idea, and why he seems to be hiding something.

I nod my head at Dr. Marcus, and he walks out, closing the door to my room behind him. I turn my gaze on Dr. Cullen.

"Who are you?" The question comes out short and a little bitchy, but I want some answers, damnit.

He reaches his hand up, running it through the mop of hair that now looks more bronze than copper in color. It is no longer flattened against his head, but sticks up in mild disarray. "Do you really not remember?" His voice sounds a little raspy as well.

"The only thing I remember is running, since the doctor mentioned it. But there was no photo involved. I do remember that," I tell him, searching his face for answers.

He nods. "I'm not sure you want to remember this. Actually, I'm pretty sure you don't."

And just like that, I remember. Well, I remember the dream and running from the library. I don't remember anything past the feeling of heartbreaking despair. I want to cry, but I don't; I won't. I may be scared, but I'm also pissed off and confused. I just want to go home; I should have never gone out in the first place on such a day. I let myself fall asleep in the library of all places, my sanctuary, but now I know I can't ever go back there.

I look down at my hands, but I don't recognize them. They twist the sheet on the bed as if trying to wring it out; the creases on my hands look angry, red. That explains me right now, angry and red. I'm startled out of my thoughts by another jolt going through me and I jump a little. I feel the pressure on my left shoulder and look over. It's Dr. Cullen's hand, and I glance up into his eyes, seeing concern. A shiver passes over my skin and he quickly removes his heavy hand. I refuse to admit that it actually felt kind of nice, comforting.

"I'm sorry, but you were hyperventilating, and I thought you were going to pass out for a second there." His voice is still raspy, but lower this time, a little more soothing.

I take a deep breath and roll my shoulders a couple of times. This is my calming method.

"Hyperventilating? I didn't notice." I pause and reach for the cup of water, sipping at it. "Okay, so I remember now, but what is this business about a photograph?"

He looks at the door, over to the window, and finally back at me. "Ah, well. If I told them you went into the ocean willingly and just went under water…well, they would have wanted to do a psych evaluation on you. So, I changed the story just a tad, making you fall off the pier."

"Wait, what? What pier? And why would I go swimming in the ocean in January?" Ouch, I need to keep my voice down because my throat is killing me.

"I thought you said you remember?" He says, sounding as confused as I am.

I look over at him, studying his expression. There is confusion written all over his face. "Well, I guess I need to hear your version. There are obviously holes in mine."

Before he has a chance to speak, a nurse walks in and over to my bed. He walks over to the door and stops, turning back to look at me.

"We'll talk more about this later. I'm going to send Emmett in," he says and walks out.

I'm a little annoyed that he didn't just stay and tell me everything. And why is he throwing my brother's name around like they are best buddies or some shit? I'm obviously missing some key information. Why can't I remember anything else?

The nurse asks me some questions: how do I feel, do I need to use the restroom? I'm not sure if I am even answering her with intelligible answers, but she seems satisfied and walks me into the restroom, telling me to holler when I'm finished.

I don't really have to go to the bathroom, so I just stand in front of the sink, with that God awful mirror reflecting a so-called image of me. It's frightening how much it resembles the inside of me at this moment. Utterly lost and empty; if it were possible to pull my head back and look down inside my body, it would be found empty, black. The irony in that doesn't go unnoticed.

My legs begin to wobble a bit so I flush the toilet and wash my hands and face so the nurse thinks I went, and call for her. The cool water is a little refreshing and wakes me up just a bit.

When the door opens up, Emmett is sitting at the end of my bed. He looks like hell and my heart breaks knowing that I am probably the reason he looks this way. He stands up and takes the two short steps to me and pulls me to his chest, slightly crushing me. He sobs, so I sob, because it is me that he sobs for and because I have done this to him. He has been such a great brother and he has been through a lot, too. I am causing him more grief that he doesn't deserve. After the looks that Dr. Cullen had been giving me, I know that this is something of my doing. Emmett's hold on me gets even tighter and I can't breath.

"Em." It comes out breathy, and he immediately lessens his grip, but still holds me close to him.

"Damnit, Bella. Damnit." Emmett says in a voice making him sound like he's close to tears.

His heartbreak sets me off and I begin to cry again, quickly becoming a blubbering mess. I can't stop the heaving, body-wracking wails that come out of me. They hurt my raw throat, but I don't care, and I can't stop. Emmett cries right along with me while rubbing soothing circles on my back.

He walks us over to the bed and pulls himself up onto it and then me up into his lap. I feel like a child, but right now it is the only place I want to be. We don't say anything for a long time while we try to calm our emotions and stifle our cries; the silence is therapeutic. After a while Emmett lets out a little huff and sits up straight, stretching. I do the same as he continues his soothing back circles; I think he is drawing shapes or something.

"When Mom died, I was so mad. Mad at Charlie. It should have been him driving the car that day, but he needed the truck to pick up lumber for your tree house, so Mom took that stupid little car she loved. Part of me was mad at you too, since it was your damn tree house he was buying the wood for. I never told anyone that. I'm not even sure why I'm telling you now. It isn't really relevant. But you should know, the anger goes away," Emmett says as he continues his circles on my back.

"It's a bit different Em...I - " I don't finish as he cuts me off.

"I know that, Bells, but I was older than you. I had a totally different perspective than you did," he says in a pleading tone.

"Yes, as I have a totally different perspective than you do now!" I feel myself getting angry but I don't want to be angry right now. I just want to sit like this with my big brother.

"Ugh. I'm sorry, Em. I know. I'm so glad you're here. But, I need to know what happened. I barely remember anything," I tell him, begging forgiveness.

"Why don't you tell me what you remember first, and then I can fill in the rest. But, for the best details, you should talk to Edward," Emmett replies.

"Edward? Edward who?" I ask in confusion.

"Dr. Edward Cullen, and because he saved your life." Emmett says and pulls my chin toward him. He looks down his nose at me.


"What? Saved my life how, and why was he even there?" None of this makes sense.

"Look, all I'm gonna tell you, Bells, is that he was in the library and ran out after you in the torrential downpour. Please, just let him tell you the rest. I don't know if I can handle the telling of this story. It isn't mine to tell anyway. Just let him tell you and be nice. He is a really nice guy, even if I did just meet him," Emmett says as he gives me a big brother look.

I huff and Emmett squeezes me a little bit tighter. I shrug my shoulders, conceding, but I still don't understand it. Any of it. I guess that I will be finding out from Dr. Edward Cullen.

"Em, why does the name Cullen sound so familiar to me? I know the name, but I can't place it." I ask and try to push my mind to remember.

"You don't remember? I guess it was a bit of an emotional and trying time." Emmett begins to massage my shoulders.

I just wait for him to go on. He seems to need a bit of time to form the words.

"Edward's father is Dr. Carlisle Cullen…of Forks. He worked on Charlie when he had the bypass," Emmett says, almost in a whisper.

Recognition hits me and I glance over my shoulder. Emmett nods at me and manages a weak half-smile. I look down and once again find my hands fidgeting, not of my own accord. Emmett starts to play with my hair, already bored of the shoulder massage.

"Wow. This…" my voice drops off.

I don't really know what more to say. Dr. Carlisle Cullen had really worked on my dad. I know he did everything he could to try to save Charlie because when he came out of surgery to tell us how everything had gone, he was crying. And we both knew doctors didn't cry. At least, not in front of their patient's families, and not like that. He actually hiccupped, and before we knew it, Emmett and I were bawling and had Dr. Cullen in our circle hug. After a few minutes he had calmed, and apologized for breaking down and being so unprofessional. But Em and I were both glad that he did; it helped us to really see that he had done everything he could.

My dad and the older Dr. Cullen had known each other quite well. Since Dr. Cullen was the chief of surgery at the hospital in Forks and my dad was the Chief of Police there, they had had quite a few conversations over the years. My dad often found himself at the hospital trying to finish reports and just check on the many people he sent there, whether from accidents or injured law breakers.

"This is totally weird. Why haven't we ever met - or seen - Edward Cullen? He looks to be around my age. Shouldn't we have at least run into him in school or something?" I'm pretty sure I have never seen him until this day.

"Well, oddly enough, no. I think he was some kind of a child prodigy or something close to it. He was in a private school and then actually got his high school diploma in the eighth or ninth grade, then went to college right away. The guy is super smart. Now he is a pediatric cardiologist, I think," Emmett tells me.

"Really? I didn't even know Dr. Cullen had children. I had heard Charlie mention him a few times at home before, but nothing much," I say, thinking back to those conversations with Charlie.

"There are actually two children. He has a younger sister, Alice. Apparently she went to a private school in Seattle, and then went to some design school after that. But get this….Alice is engaged to Jasper, Rose's second cousin," Emmett says and moves around on the bed a little, jostling us around.

"What? Jeez this is confusing. I've never met Jasper or heard much of him, so no more family tree for now, okay?" I ask him, mentally trying to string it together.

Emmett chuckles and ruffles my hair, but then gets really close and up in my face. Here it comes.

"Bella. Sweetie. Don't do this again. Ever! Don't do it to me, or to Rose. I've already lost way too much, and besides my Rosey, you are the most important person in the world to me. I promise, things will get better. I know it takes time and I know that you miss Jake and…" He shakes his head a little. "Give it a little more time, Bell. Please," he pleads with me, not looking away until I give him an answer.

I begin to sob again and Emmett crushes me to him once again. My shoulders heave into his chest. I don't even know what I have done, but I know it must have been really bad.

Emmett gives me one last good squeeze and gets up from the bed. He leans over and kisses the top of my head and walks to the door.

"Do you want to talk to Rose? I know she would love to see you. She's so worried," Emmett says, making it sound more like a demand than an option.

I swallow the bile I feel rising in my throat. Rose is going to be mad at me. Seeing Emmett's reaction to whatever it is I did, I know Rose's is going to be worse. Not only because she loves me, but because Emmett had to go through this. If she is one thing, it is protective.

I nod at Emmett and he leaves, closing the door behind him. I hadn't noticed until now, but the nurse had left at some point. While I wait for Rose, I use the restroom; maybe my nervousness to talk to her is scaring the pee out of me. It's likely. I cross the room to sit in the robin's egg blue recliner that faces the window. It is now dark out and the rain has stopped. The sky has actually cleared up a little bit, but I see dark clouds on the horizon. The sky is too lit up from the lights of Port Angeles to get a good look at the stars, but I can see a few, along with a planet or satellite.

I lose myself in thought for a while as I stare at the sky. Maybe if I can push my brain just a little harder, I can remember what happened, or the thoughts and feelings that pushed me to do whatever I had done will resurface. I remember the dream, and as painful as it is for me to recall it, I have to. I would really like to remember before Dr. Cullen has to tell me. I imagine that couldn't possibly go well, and he said something about a psyche evaluation. That notion really frightens me.

I try some meditative relaxation breathing and attempt counting to no avail. I can't remember anything else that happened. The last thing I remember is running out of the library, and then just feeling cold. That's it.

A throat clears behind me and I quickly turn to look to the door to see Rose. The door is closed, and her back is pushed up against it, leaning, but she isn't looking at me. She stares down at her shoes a few moments and my skin prickles in worry. This is going to be really bad.

We stay like this for several minutes until she finally looks up at me. Her eyes are filled to the brim with tears and they slowly overflow and cascade down her cheeks. I want to go to her and tell her that I'm sorry, but she is in her warrior pose. Her stance is rigid and her shoulders are tight. The only thing I can do is wait, so I do. I look back to the heavens.

Behind me, I hear her pulling something and I turn back around. She sets a folding chair close to the chair I am sitting in, just a few feet away. She leans down to prop her elbows on her knees, and her chin in her hands. Her tears are fewer now, as are mine, and I'm glad. I never meant to hurt her, or anyone for that matter. I watch her, waiting for her to speak.

"I know you think I am going to totally go off on you, Bella. And God knows I want to. But, I also know that you are going through some really horrible shit right now. And it's awful. I know that I can't feel what you feel right now, but I do understand, honey. You can't do this, though; you can't keep going on like this. What you are doing and have been doing for the last year is not life. Not at all," Rose says, her eyes staring into my black soul.

She looks away from me and to the sky that I was lost in moments before. She sighs and looks back to me.

"Emmett said that you don't remember what happened. I don't want to believe that, but I do. You should remember - you need to remember - but I also know that it won't be much longer before you do know. I don't know what it's going to do to you, to hear what happened. It's ugly, but we love you and that won't ever change. Just...quit being stupid. What you did today…that's not you, Bella. Whether or not you know it, you are a fighter. Don't ever stop!" Rose says animatedly.

My tears come back in full force, and I wonder if it is possible for the ducts to dry out. Obviously not. Rose isn't just talking about what happened today. She's talking about the entire last year. She has gone that long without ever truly saying what she wanted, and obviously today was the last straw for her, because she's laying it all out on me. I don't blame her, but it makes the hole in me a little rawer around the edges.

"Ouch!" I look down to see Rose's fingers pinching my forearm. I look up to her face and see that she is smirking at me.

"You deserve that and you know it. Well, maybe you don't know it yet, but you will soon." She stands up and puts her hands on her hips, getting defensive again.

"Damnit. I love you Bella. But quit being so fucking stupid about everything! You need to wake up already," Rose says to me, pointing her index finger in my direction.

I jump out of my chair at her and wrap her in my arms. She gives a little umpf, but catches me and somehow, I'm sitting in Rose's lap now. She laughs a little, and a sad giggle bubbles out of me. She hugs me tight, almost as tight as Emmett, and I just sit there for a second or two before finally getting up.

She stands and kisses me on the cheek, then walks over to the door and pulls it open.

"I love you, sweetie, but you need to start living again. Jake would want it," Rose says quietly.

With that, she turns and walks out the door, pulling it closed behind her.

I collapse back into her little folding chair; my head feels too heavy, so I let it hang and my hair becomes a curtain around my head.

I go back into the bathroom after a minute and splash more cold water on my face. My eyes are really beginning to burn from all this crying. I go back to the ugly blue recliner, falling into it, and close my eyes.

I see myself sleeping at home in our bed. But I hear a loud noise and it awakens me. Jake is no longer beside me, and his spot is cold, so he must have been up for a while.

I climb out of bed and grab my robe from the bathroom door hook before I go down stairs to look for him. I notice the clock on the wall of our bedroom says 9:30 a.m., which means I have slept much later than usual. If he was going to visit Billy, why didn't he wake me? He usually does since that is the typical way he spends his Saturdays. He visits Billy in the morning, and is back home by lunch time, and then we do whatever we feel or have planned.

I make my way to the kitchen first, and there is no coffee brewed, which makes this morning even more odd. Jake cannot function without at least two cups of black tar coffee. Hmm. Maybe he is in the garage. I get the coffee brewing and slip my slippers on my feet to go out to the garage. I open up the door to the attached garage, but it is dark, and the radio is not on. Jake always has the radio on when working on the car or one of the bikes. I flip the light on to see if his car is even in the garage. It isn't, but the garage looks off, like there is something missing. It takes me a bit to figure it out, but then I realize it's the motorcycle. His motorcycle is gone.

I go back in the house and look out of the kitchen window. It's raining out and the outdoor weather thermometer says it is only 51 degrees. He wouldn't take the bike out in this weather.

I walk into the living room and the television is off, as well as the lights, so I head back to the office. He's not there. I head back up stairs and use the restroom, and then walk to the end of the hall to check the guest room.

I open the door to darkness. It doesn't make sense as this is usually the brightest room in the house in the morning. I feel a tickling on my abdomen, and reach to flick the light on. The room is filled with black beetles, scurrying around. My breathing hitches, and then accelerates, and I feel the tickle in my stomach again. I look down.

I see all the beetles are coming out of a gash on my stomach and let out a blood curdling scream.

I feel myself being shaken awake.

It takes a long time for me to actually open my eyes but when I do, I am staring into the worried, green eyes of Dr. Edward Cullen.
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