From: Emmett McCarty
Subject: Time to drop the gloves
Date: January 4, 2010 8:02 PM EST
To: Edward Cullen

I’m glad we spent some time together while you were home on break; I just wish the circumstances were a little better. You’re not going to like hearing this, but you’ve got to snap out of it. I know you’re thinking that it’s just weed and booze, that everyone except your mom cut loose a bit in college, that it’s not a big deal. Except in your case, it is a big deal. What are you going to do when it stops working for you? Move on to something harder? She isn’t worth it, bro. No one is.

On a completely unrelated note, Rose thinks you should keep the beard. She raved about it so much that I’m considering growing one myself. Anyway, if you need someone to show you how to trim it and keep it looking good, I’ll show you the next time you’re down here.

From: J. Carlisle Cullen IV
Subject: Your appointment this afternoon
Date: January 8, 2010 6:05 PM EST
To: Edward Cullen

Just making sure you went to your counseling appointment.

From: Edward Cullen
Subject: Re:Your appointment this afternoon
Date: January 8, 2010 6:07 PM EST
To: J. Carlisle Cullen IV

I’m not sure which bothers me more—the fact you don’t trust me to go or your euphemism. Call it what it is.

From: J. Carlisle Cullen IV
Subject: Re: Your appointment this afternoon
Date: January 8, 2010 6:10 PM EST
To: Edward Cullen

I trust you, Edward. I just don’t think you realize how serious this has gotten. I came home from the hospital and found you smoking weed out of a pipe you carved from an apple. You’re lucky I’m only sending you to a psychologist. With your recent behavior, I would be justified sending you to rehab.

From: Edward Cullen
Subject: Re:Your appointment this afternoon
Date: January 8, 2010 6:12 PM EST
To: J. Carlisle Cullen IV

Ha. Don’t you think you’re being a bit melodramatic? No one goes to rehab for pot. Besides, it wasn’t that I couldn’t wait to buy rolling papers. I didn’t need to smoke that badly. I just didn’t see the point in waiting when there was perfectly serviceable produce.

From: J. Carlisle Cullen IV
Subject: Re: Your appointment this afternoon
Date: January 8, 2010 6:14 PM EST
To: Edward Cullen

Just so we’re on the same page, if you fail out of Princeton, I have no intention of letting Jack donate a building to get your ass readmitted. I was willing to ignore your behavior for a while because I understand how much you loved Bella, but you have to stop this. Alcoholism runs in your family. The fact your grandmother manages to function doesn’t change the fact she has a chemical dependency. If nothing else, think of your mother. She’s already buried one son. How do you think she feels seeing you behaving so recklessly? In case you’re too stoned right now to figure it out for yourself, let me fill you in.

You’re breaking her heart.

From: Edward Cullen
Subject: Why?
Date: February 26, 2010 6:12 PM EST
To: J. Carlisle Cullen IV

You’re making it sound like I’m blowing everything off. I rarely miss class, and to answer your earlier question, yes. I went to my appointment. I go every week, even though they do nothing for me. They’re not working. It’s a waste of time. I don’t know why I should even bother.

I sent the email and zoned out; at some point later, my father called.

“What now?” I answered.

“I just opened your grades.”

I didn’t realize they sent them home; I’d gotten my copy through campus mail about a week ago.


“Have you seen them?” he asked.

“I’ve seen envelope that contains them; I haven’t felt compelled to open it.”

“You should open it. Your mother and I are very proud of you…”

The “but” was coming. I could sense it…

“…but we all know schoolwork requires very little effort from you.”

Lately in conversations like this, I found it best to play dumb.

“Are you telling me to take harder classes?”

“Academic success is not necessarily indicative of one’s mental health.”

Alas, playing dumb never worked for me.

“Look,” he continued, “I know I told you I’d lay off the counseling sessions if you kept your grades up, but I’ve changed my mind. Your appointment stands.”

“This is bullshit; we had a deal.”

“It’s for your own good, Edward.”

“I’m so sick of hearing that. You gave me more freedom to make my own choices when I was in high school.”

“When you were in high school, you made better decisions. You’ve proven yourself incapable of doing so right now. Therefore, as your father, it’s my responsibility to make them for you.”

I sighed. “What if I don’t go along with it?”

“I’ll freeze your bank account.”

“I’m sorry, I thought I was talking to my dad,” I muttered sarcastically, amazed by how quickly my father could morph into my grandfather. “When did Jack pick up the phone?”

“You think you’re funny. Do you think Jack would even have this conversation with you? He’d send his driver to collect you and the next thing you know, you’d be in some inpatient program in Switzerland. I’m not going to force you to do anything…”

“No, you’re just going to blackmail me.”

“Part of being an adult is taking responsibility for the consequences of your actions. It’s your choice to continue therapy; it’s my choice to fund your lifestyle. Are we clear?”

It was an hour a week. I could deal with it. “I’ll keep going.”

“Counseling isn’t like school; it’s not going to work out for you unless you make an effort.”

That was easier said than done. My father didn’t realize the amount of effort that went into saying her name. I had no doubt actually talking about her to a therapist would kill me. Besides, every time it came up, my counselor asked me what happened. I couldn’t tell him what happened because I didn’t know the answer myself.

“I’ll try.”

“Life in general isn’t going to work unless you make an effort. This means showering and shaving and not treating your body like a toxic-waste dump. There’s a difference between drinking and smoking once a week or so to blow off steam and doing it daily to avoid dealing with reality. I know Bella hurt you, but that doesn’t make it okay for you to hurt yourself.”

I don’t think he understood that I was doing this to stop the pain, not to perpetuate it.

“Your mother and I love you very much.”

I had no doubt that when they said they loved me, they meant it. Why couldn’t Bella?

“I love you, too.”

I hung up the phone and opened my laptop. I had one new email, but it wasn’t from Bella. I would never get another email from Bella. I wanted to see if I could feel like me again if I spent the night doing the things I would have done before I met her. I read a bit in bed then jerked off until I fell asleep. The image in my head was Thomas Eakins’ painting of a topless brunette. In my fantasy (as well as reality), she had Bella’s face.

The following morning, after I showered, I finally shaved. In the absence of facial hair, I looked no different now than I did at Thanksgiving. I wondered how many other people walked around looking perfectly normal when on the inside, they were broken irreparably.

I decided to avoid the scene in my room by hermiting in Firestone. It was mid-afternoon when I noticed I had a text message from Emmett that was already a few hours old.

Rose has been in labor for hours. They’re taking her back for a C-section now.
I’ll keep you posted. I’m so excited, bro.

I packed up my stuff and made the trek across campus to my car. Emmett didn’t ask me to come to the hospital, but I wanted to. I wanted to be there for him, after he’d been there for me. I wanted to be a part of something happy. Most of all, I wanted a distraction that wouldn’t land me in rehab.

After stopping at a toy store to get a gift for the baby, I drove to the hospital. The person at the front told me which room Rose was in, and I went up to see her. The door was shut, so I lingered in the hallway until a nurse assured me the doctor wasn’t in with Rose right now and I should just go inside. In case Rose was sleeping, I opened the door as quietly as possible and walked to the other side of the curtain.

My dad was right; I’d been smoking way too much pot. Or maybe the pot I’d been smoking was tainted with something that would cause hallucinations. It had to have been. What I saw before me simply didn’t happen in real life. C-sections were major surgery. My dad was a surgeon. If he’d ever seen something like this while on the job, he would have told me. There was no way in hell Emmett was really straddling Rose’s shoulders while she sucked him off.

I wondered how many bong hits of formaldehyde-laced weed a person would have to do before he was legally insane. Not even rehab would help me now; I was going to end up at Ancora. I took a deep breath and backed out of Rose’s hospital room. I just needed some coffee and some fresh air. If I were still seeing things after I cleared my head, I’d call my mother.

I walked down the hall and waited for the elevator. Just as the doors opened, I heard Emmett call from behind me, “Hey, Edward, wait up.”

I took a good look at him. Surely I wouldn’t have a hallucination in which he had dark circles under his eyes and stubble. Maybe there was hope for me yet.

“I was just going to get some coffee,” I muttered dumbly.

“I’ll come with you.” His eyes moved to the enormous stuffed bear I was holding as we stepped inside the elevator. “Is that for David?”

I nodded.

“Thank you so much. He’ll love it.”

The doors closed, and Emmett leaned against the wall. “This is embarrassing. Uh…whoa. Apparently, morphine makes a person feel really good. And I wasn’t about to say no to her, because who knows the next time she’ll be in the mood. I keep hearing the first year is rough that way.”


That was real? I was simultaneously relieved that I hadn’t lost my mind and appalled that I’d seen Emmett’s cock. Well, I hadn’t really seen his cock. Almost all of it had been shoved in Rose’s mouth.

“Anyway,” he continued, “Rose is totally mortified.”

She wasn’t the only one.

“I want to pretend it never happened.”

“Great!” he exclaimed. “So does Rose.”

As we walked to the cafeteria, Emmett filled me in on the labor and his son, whom they’d named David. I rode the elevator back up to the maternity ward, but lingered in the waiting area. I was saying good-bye to Emmett when I saw her out of the corner of my eye.


She lived and breathed, and looked no different than she had on Thanksgiving. Without even slowing her stride, she touched Emmett’s hand and went into the elevator. Her eyes met mine, alleviating any doubts I may have had that she did in fact see me. Without saying a word or averting her eyes, she pushed the button inside the elevator.

I didn’t care that I was about to humiliate myself; I didn’t care who heard or who saw or if Bella mocked me the second the elevator doors closed. This was my chance to let her know–my chance to make her hear me. I loved her, I was falling apart without her, and if she needed me to do something else or be someone else in order for her to return my affections, I would do it. I would do anything. I hadn’t begged at Thanksgiving because I was naïve and stupid, but I would beg now.

My chest was tight and I couldn’t breathe. It took what seemed like an eternity for me to produce the words.

“Please, Bella. Wait!”

The elevator doors closed, answering on her behalf.


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  1. on 01 Sep 2010 at 3:11 pmizziey

    something else i had forgotten about – rosalie and emmett getting caught by edward. i had actually wondered how she had managed to get on her knees. wow – i have no imagination.

    edward’s non-interaction with bella is so much worse than her pov.


  2. on 10 Jan 2011 at 1:30 amSea4Me

    Ugh. She didn’t hear him. I s’pose that’s ok. They’re not ready for each other yet, anyway.