The Underside of Earth - Chapter 6
DISCLAIMER: I don't own Twilight, or any of the characters. I'm just having some fun.


Bella POV

I wake up with a start; drenched in sweat, the result of yet another nightmare. Rolling over in the darkness, I take a look at the clock: four forty-two in the morning.

Surprisingly it's the sound of someone clearing their throat, rather than the bad dream that wakes me up. Realizing this, I quickly scan the room to look for the contributor. A form sits in the rocking chair I had occupied earlier in the evening, looking back at me.

"Hello, Mrs. Black. I'm sorry I woke you, but I'm in the hospital here briefly and wanted to stop by and say hello. How are you feeling this morning?"

The voice is soothing and has a calming lilt to it.

"Who are you? Do you work here at the hospital?" I ask, as I squint my eyes in an attempt to better see the mysterious visitor.

"I'm a doctor, but I don't work here in the hospital, although, I do make hospital visits. I have my own practice."

The dark form stands up and walks closer to the bed. A breeze of mint and chocolate wafts over me.

"I'm leaving my card for you and one with your brother as well. Don't avoid me, and don't fight the need you feel deep down inside to talk about that has happened. I know the real truth about what took place today. Call me soon, Bella."

And then, he just walks out. What was that all about, and who was he?

I lie back for a while just thinking. It doesn't take me long to drift off again. I dream about water once more, but this time it's soothing.

The nurse comes in at two o'clock in the afternoon to let me know that I will be getting discharged soon, and that I can change back into my own clothes. Do I have clean clothes here? She seems to read the question on my face and points to the small table in the corner. A duffel bag sits on top of it.

I walk over and retrieve the bag, toss it onto the bed, and open it up. Inside are all my favorite, much loved clothes and a few bathing essentials. Whoever put the bag together did a fantastic job, even including my shampoo and conditioner, but I want my own shower, so that can wait.

I put everything back in the bag and go into the restroom to change since the nurse is still in my room, working on the in-room computer. I assume she is working on my discharge information. After a few minutes, I emerge from the restroom fully clothed and feeling much more like myself. The nurse is standing by the bed, holding a folder.

"Ready to sign some papers and go home, dear?" she asks me in a soft tone.

"You have no idea. No offense, but I loathe hospitals."

She gives me a wry smile. "Most do. Okay, come on over and we'll get this done."

She sifts through a bunch of papers and has me sign four or five of them. Taking a few of the copies, she puts them in a folder. I see her pick up a small card. The card from my early morning visitor that I had completely forgotten about up until now.

"Make the call. This one is a good one," she says to me. She looks sad for a moment, but then gives me a big smile. "Dr. Marcus will be in in a few minutes to clear you and after that you are free to go. Shall I send your family in?"

"Yes, that would be great. Thank you!"

"You're welcome, dear! Take care."

Wow, I'm used to always getting the bitchy nurses. She was really nice.

While I wait for Emmett to come in, I unzip the bag and place the folder inside, and zip it back up.

"Hey, squirt!"

I practically jump out of my shoes. "Jeez Em, give a woman a heart attack why don't ya? A little warning next time please?"

He just smiles. "I did knock, Bell. But sorry, I didn't mean to scare the shit out of you."

Rose steps out from behind Emmett and elbows him in the side. She looks at me and rolls her eyes.

"Jeez Rose, I said I was sorry. That's gonna leave a bruise," Emmett whines.

"Better that than my four inch heel up your ass, isn't it?" Rose deadpans.

"Yeah, yeah."

Dr. Marcus walks in and I see Rose glare at Emmett one more time before she focuses her attention on my doctor, plastering a smile on her face.

"Hello, everyone. Mrs. Black." He nods at us and looks down at my file. "Ok, it looks like you are ready to go. Your temperature has been fine so we see no reason to keep you holed up here any longer. Do you have any questions or concerns?"

"Nope. I feel much better. My neck is just a tad stiff, but other than that, I'm fine."

"That is probably from the fall; ice it and you should be fine in a few days or so."

I look down and nod my head. I can feel my brother and sister-in-law's eyes on me.

"You are free to go then. But please, try and stay off slippery piers when it's raining and dark out from now on, Mrs. Black."

Emmett lets out a raspy cough and I hear Rose whisper something in his ear.

"I promise, Dr. Marcus. And thank you."

"It's no problem, just be careful," he requests, and then walks out of the room.

I'm left standing with my two favorite people in the world, who seem quite wary of me at the moment. After a few moments, Emmett clears his throat.

"Ready to go, Bella?"

I nod my head. "Yeah. Let's go."

The ride home is quiet. It's just Emmett and I in his Jeep since Rose is driving my car home. Emmett and I got into a bit of a disagreement over that back in the library parking lot, but I finally just dropped it. I can tell he wants to say something to me, but he won't. I've never seen my obnoxious brother quite so tongue tied.

It seems like barely any time at all has passed before we are pulling up in front of the house, with Rose pulling in right behind us. I reach for my bag as I get out, but Emmett already has it. I walk up the driveway and let myself in the house, leaving the door open for them. I know they want to come in, but I really hope they won't try to baby me too much before leaving.

I turn the television on in the living room and head into the kitchen.

"Drinks?" I call out to them.

"Tea," they reply simultaneously.

"Actually, make mine a Coke." That sounds right to me. Emmett rarely drinks tea, unless he can add four or five tablespoons of sugar to it.

I head back into the living room with two glasses of iced tea and a can of coke and place them on the coffee table. The tension is in the room is heavy, but I'm waiting for them to start. No way in heck am I going to be the opener for my own slaying.

I look at Emmett, and he is looking at Rose with a question in his eyes. Rose looks back to Emmett; she looks annoyed and anxious. Their silent conversation bothers me.

"Oh, for heaven's sake. Just say what you've got to say already, Emmett." God, I was going to keep my mouth shut and then it just opens and words spew out.

Emmett looks at me, and now he seems slightly angry. At me? Yeah, probably at me. I'm an asshole.

"Look, Bella. I'm not telling you this story. If you think that I'm going to make it easier on you by telling you so you don't have to talk to Edward, you can forget it. You need to see what kind of impact your self-loathing and isolation is having on other people. You are not the only one affected, damn it!" He is breathing more heavily now, and I'm a little shocked at his unexpected outburst. He's been holding it all in for me, seemingly waiting for me to figure everything out.

He stands up. "I need to go home. I'm tired; we're tired." He walks over to the door, with Rose at his side, and they both turn back to me. Emmett points his finger at me. "You better call him. It's time you see, Isabella!"


I can't remember the last time he called me that; it's been years and years. He really is pissed.

Rose walks out with Emmett following, but he stops and turns back around to look at me. He looks sad and a little bit older. "We love you. But you aren't the only one hurting, Bell."

With that, he turns back around and walks out.

After that, the days go by quickly, and before I know it, it has been over five weeks since "the incident." Emmett and Rose are barely speaking to me and I have yet to learn what exactly happened the day I ran from the library.

For some reason, I can't quite make myself call Edward Cullen. I have dialed his number several times, only to hang up before the call has a chance to connect. I'm curious to hear what happened that day, but I'm reluctant because I know whatever he has to say won't be good. He was nothing but nice to me in the hospital. He saved my life for crying out loud. Still, I have to know. I resolve to call him...soon. Real soon.

A couple of days after I make the decision to call Edward, I find myself sitting at the outdoor bistro a block from my house, and sipping on coffee when my phone rings. The caller comes up unknown and, normally I don't answer unknown callers, but for some reason I do this time.


"Ah, Bella?" The caller sounds hesitant.

"Yes. And who's this?"

…there's a pause… "This is Edward, Edward Cullen."

Well, here it is, and I'm tongue tied. I was banking on at least another day.

"Are you there, Bella?"

"Achgut," I choke on my own spit. "Oh, sorry. I kind of choked there a bit. Hi."

"Hello. Um, how are you?" he asks.

"I'm doing alright. Been busy. How about you?" Small talk. Ugh.

"I'm okay, but you never called, Mrs. Black," he reminds me. I feel guilty.

There seems to be a hint of something in his voice. Annoyance?

"I'm sorry. I don't really know what to say, except, I tried." Shit, why did I just say that?

"You tried? But you couldn't? Why is that?" He sounds interested now.

"I don't know. The uncertainty of where it would lead me?" I wait for him to understand. I hope he does. Now that I think of it, it was quite rude to not call him, especially after he helped me out, at least from what I've been told.

"Well. I think it's time you heard it. Don't you?"

His tone seems pushy, which is a bit annoying, but he's right. I want to know, and have been wondering these past five weeks. May as well get it over with.

"Alright. Lay it on me."

"Oh no. I'm not doing this over the phone. How about I come there, or you can come out to my parent's house? I'm going to be there over the weekend, visiting."

Hmm. I'm actually going to have to see this guy again. I would rather hear it over the phone and just be done, but he's obviously not going to allow that. Damn it. Fine.

"Alright. Um, I guess we could do it here. Saturday?"

"Saturday works, but not until after two o'clock. Is that alright?"

"That's fine. I'll see you then, Edward Cullen." I begin to pull the phone from my ear to hang up, but I hear him yell.

"Wait! I need your address."

I quickly give him my address. "Alright, bye then."

"Goodbye, Bella Black."

There he was, throwing my formal phone etiquette back in my face. I throw my phone in my purse, disgusted, and not caring to talk on it again for a while. I finish the last gulp of my coffee and walk home.

I don't sleep well the next few nights. The anxiety of the upcoming meeting with Edward has me all sorts of edgy. As I'm relaxing in front of the fire in the living room and sitting in Jake's recliner, it hits me all of a sudden. It's here. Friday night. I have to meet with Edward Cullen tomorrow afternoon. What am I going to say to him? What is he going to say to me? Of course, he is going to tell me what happened, but will that be it? Am I supposed to cook something, or will it be an in and out kind of thing? Ugh, that sounds dirty.

Maybe I should call and ask Rose what I should do. Yeah. Rose will know.

I dial Em and Rose's house number and Emmett picks it up on the third ring sounding winded. They already know of my "appointment" with Edward Cullen as I called and told as soon as I got home that night. They were glad that I would finally hear it, but wished I had taken the initiative to call him myself.


"Hey, Em. Everything alright over there? You sound winded."

"Oh yeah, Rose just had me up in the attic searching for something, and then yelled at me to get the phone. The phone in our bedroom is broken, so I had to run all the way down to the first floor. Sorry it took me so long." He pants into the phone.

"No worries. Besides, it was only the third ring. What's Rose doing anyway?"

I hear him harrumph a little bit. "Painting her nails."

I burst out laughing. Leave it to Rose to be painting her nails and make Emmett run down three flights of stairs to get the phone because her nails are wet. "Well, at least you're getting your exercise! Can I talk to her?"

"Sure, hold on." He must've put the phone to his chest as I hear a muffled murmur and then Rosalie cussing him out.

"Stupid idiot. Hey, Bella, what's up?"

I can't hide the amusement in my voice. "Hey, Rose. Keeping him in line?"

"Ugh, he's such a baby. Anyway, my nails are wet, and my toes. You know how much it pisses me off when I smudge even one nail!"

"Yes. I do." I pause for a second, trying to figure out how to ask her this. "Um, Rose? So, Edward Cullen is coming over tomorrow so we can have this….talk. And, well, am I supposed to cook or have appetizers or emo beer or something?"

Rose lets out a snicker over the phone before she answers me. "Exactly what the hell is emo beer, Bella?"

"You know - the fancy imports that taste like shit that rich kids drink trying to appear poor and forlorn. Emo beer." Makes perfect sense to me.

She lets out a full belly laugh now. "Um. I think the beer you usually have will be sufficient, maybe some wine, but only for the sake of variety. And yes, it would be good to offer some type of be polite. The man may be hungry, Bella. You never know. Besides, he did save your life, and is now making the trek to your place to tell you about it."

I don't reply right away, but fidget with my shoelace. I'm not sure of the words I want to say, and anyway, they'll get caught in my throat.

Rose sighs, and I feel bad that I even called her about this. The whole situation is just awkward as shit.

"Listen, Bella. I met Edward. He's a nice guy and he genuinely seems to want to help you out." I'm about to interrupt, but Rose beats me, "and don't say you don't need any help. I'm not insinuating that you do, even if you do. Just, let him do this. He may need to get it off his chest just as much as you simply need to know what happened. You need to allow another person to offer their insight. A different perspective might shed some light for you."

I can't really disagree, although I really want to. It's hard not to get lost in all of my thoughts. Time to end this convo.

"Okay, so would it be smart go with little tarts and quiches? Fun-size it?"

Noticing my change in subject and urgency to end the phone call, Rose gives in. "Yeah, I think that would be good. And you know that you had better call me the second he leaves your house! Got it?"

"Got it sissy-in-law. Love you."

"Shut it. Love you, too."

I end the call and set the phone down. The nervousness immediately seeps back in and the frantic energy of the situation takes up residence in my sternum, feeling much like heartburn and anxiety.

It's just now getting on past seven in the evening and the sun has long since set. If I have to start cooking early in the morning, I certainly better make sure that I have all the necessary ingredients, which isn't possible.

First, I need to figure out exactly what I want to make. Something light, but satisfying. Nothing fancy of course, no need. Rose said to get wine just for the sake of variety, and I would like a white this time around. I have a bottle of Zeitgeist that an old childhood friend brought with her from Minnesota just before Christmas time. That will do well, and it's a bit sweet, so I need something to match that flavor.

Ugh, I am totally over thinking this. But the Zeitgeist will do.

I head into the living room and pick up my laptop and settle onto the couch. I type in mini quiches and have a few options; I resort to all too often, so I decide on Betty Crocker this time. She's never let me down. Clicking through a couple of pages, I finally find a recipe that sounds both quick and delicious: Spinach Quiche Bites. I think I'll add mushrooms, and maybe a little bit of brie, bacon and shrimp. Wipe drool from chin. I think I'll make my own dough though, so I'll also need to purchase those little tart tins.

For the sweet side, I think a mixture of black and red raspberries with cream cheese sounds good. That should be sufficient. I grab a pen and piece of paper off of the end table and set to making my list. I eventually set my computer aside and head to the kitchen to check my beer stock. As I figured, Emmett has left one bottle in there without telling me I need to buy more. I add that to my list.

I make the uneventful trip to the grocery store and I'm back home within an hour. For once, the sky is quite clear, so after all the groceries are put away and organized for quick and easy baking in the morning, I head upstairs to my bedroom. My big quilt is on the bed and I grab it, carrying it out to the balcony.

I flop down into one of the Adirondack chairs and pull the quilt over my legs and upper body. The air is slightly cool, but it's a nice night and the sky is clear. It won't last long; there is rain in the forecast and I can see the dew beginning to gather on the wrought iron end table that rests between the chairs.

I used to love the night sky. The vast open blackness of it with diamond-stud stars blinking and smiling at me, begging me to wish upon them. Such a sad and juvenile thing, but I would give anything to feel that way again. A wave of sadness washes through me as I fight off the memories of happy nights long past.

I no longer recognize happiness in the sky, and the sky I see tonight is much different then the sky from last year. I wait for my eyes to see the beauty in it, but my desire to see the beauty is sorely outweighed by my desire for the dark-speckled blanket to simply swallow me.

It doesn't, of course. It only keeps twinkling back at me…like it knows something I do not.

The air turns frigid as the night grows later and my blanket is no longer able to fully shelter me from the bitterness in the air. I head back inside and glance at the clock to see that it is after eleven already.

I have the tiredness that comes from overuse of muscles even though I haven't done anything to warrant it. My inability to sleep in stretches longer than four hours is beginning to take its toll. I feel the tension in my neck and decide that a shower is in order. Maybe it will also help me relax enough to fall asleep. Besides, I won't have time to shower in the morning.

"Hold still, I have to get these out of you."

I don't immediately recognize the voice. The face is just a blur, but even so, it looks oddly familiar. Still, my vision can't quite focus on the person in front of me. What I am able to see is that he is quite frantic.

"Bella, please, I have to get these out of you. For God's sake, hold still."

He almost seems angry with me now, but I can't figure out why. My tummy feels funny, like someone is pulling my skin inward, from the inside. It's a tugging sensation that leaves me feeling incredibly nauseous.

Looking around, I notice there are a lot of children's pictures on the walls and several stuffed animals. Where am I?

I look back to the man standing above me, but now, his face is perfectly clear. It's Edward, the man I barely know and who holds my secret.


But suddenly Edward is not Edward anymore, Edward has turned into Jake, and Jake looks furious.

"Already, Bella? ALREADY?" He yells at me, his voice is agonized and I wonder at what I've done wrong.

The tugging gets stronger in my abdomen and I finally look down.

I immediately start breathing heavily and try to speak, but I can't. There are so many of them, coming out of me.

I need the doctor back.


I sit straight up in my bed, drenched, as is my bed. I think that I may have called out to Edward...maybe screamed it. I glance at the clock. Four-sixteen in the morning.

I need another shower.

Why in the hell did Edward show up in my dream?
0 Responses

Post a Comment