To Disperse the Joys We Had Tasted


When Rose opened her eyes in the recovery room, her first thought was that she was dead. Not only was her pain gone, but she had a strange sensation that she was floating. As her vision came into focus, she recognized that the man holding her hand wasn’t Jesus but Edward, a realization that left Rose with far more questions than answers. Then it slowly came back to her—the party, their argument, Edward’s packed suitcase and the revelation that a baby she didn’t know she was carrying (and likely the only one that she ever would) was causing her to hemorrhage, placing her life and her ability to bear children at risk. Though hospitals were some people’s idea of hell, Edward’s presence assured her that she was, indeed, alive. That being established, there was one more thing she needed to know.

“Am I…” Rose swallowed, causing a sharp pain in her throat that surprised her and made her wonder how she could feel anything at all with all the morphine that was being pumped into her veins. “I mean, can I?”

Edward’s eyes brimmed with tears, and Rose had her answer.

“I’m so sorry,” he said.

“For what? There’s nothing you need to apologize for, is there?” she asked, silently willing him to inform her of what his plans had been the previous evening.

He said nothing, and Rose decided not to press him until she had time to process everything.

“Have you called my mother?”

Edward shook his head, and Rose slowly exhaled.

“Good. I’d prefer that you didn’t.”

“I figured as much.”

Rose nodded. “Thank you.” She closed her eyes and sighed. “Who else knows I’m here?”

“Carlisle and Esme.”

Rose didn’t begrudge Edward emotional support. In times of crisis, everyone wanted to surround themselves with people whom they knew would do everything they could to lighten their loved ones burdens. Even with a morphine drip, Rose could not escape the irony that Edward doubted Carlisle’s love for him almost as much as Rose doubted Edward’s love for her. In this way, she and Edward were very similar. In times of crisis, both would choose reliable comfort over possibly dubious affection. It suddenly occurred to Rose that perhaps for the first time in her life, there was someone who would offer her both.

“I want you to call Emmett.”

Edward felt as though he’d been punched in the gut. “You can’t be thinking about work right now…”

“I’m not,” Rose snapped, her tone making it clear that she wanted no further discourse on the issue. She also wanted Edward to leave her alone, but wasn’t sure how to go about achieving this. Thankfully, her doctor arrived to discuss her prognosis, and that was a conversation she preferred to have without an audience.

Despite the fact it was frigid, Edward went outside to call Emmett. Though he knew Rose asked him to make the phone call, he had no idea which details Rose expected him to reveal. Thankfully, Emmett did not answer and Edward was able to leave a voice message during which he simply explained that Rose was recovering from emergency surgery and was expected to remain the in hospital for the next four or five days. He provided Emmett with Rose’s contact information and left it at that.

Edward briefly toyed with the idea of calling Bella. Their row of the previous evening notwithstanding, it was her company he craved most of all. Bella’s moral compass had proven to be about as precise as NASA’s GPS. She would know what to do; she always did. Still, Edward wouldn’t be the first to initiate contact. Bella was probably still livid with him—and rightfully so. He went inside to the elevator and wondered how in the past twenty-four hours his entire life had turned to shit. The doors closed halfway before opening again, and a brunette he’d know anywhere came whizzing past him, typing away on her iPhone.

“Thank you for holding the elevator,” Bella said without looking up. “Four, please.”

Edward pushed the button and turned to face her. “What are doing you here?”

The familiarity of his voice startled her; Edward was the last person she’d expected to see.

“I work here.”

Well, that would explain her white lab coat and the stethoscope around her neck even if it was contradictory to what she’d previously told him.

Shocked she hadn’t immediately started beating him with her laptop bag, he decided to operate on the assumption that Bella no longer wanted to rip his testicles off and shove them down his throat. Besides, inane chatter was a welcome diversion.

“I thought you were in private practice.”

“I am.”

“I don’t understand.”

The doors opened, and Bella stepped out of the elevator. “It’s my favorite part of my job. Want to come see?”

It was the best suggestion anyone had made to Edward all day. Grateful for a distraction, he followed Bella down a corridor to two large locked doors, which swung open after she raised her ID badge in front of the sensor. She stopped at the nurses’ station and picked up some files before quickly heading down the hall. When she realized Edward was lingering behind, she stopped and gestured to him.

“Come on,” she said. “Meanwhile, what are you doing here?”

“Visiting someone,” he said simply.

Bella nodded, and by the time Edward realized their destination, he’d followed her into a room filled with newborn babies.

“When you register in labor and delivery,” she explained, “you indicate on the paperwork the name of the pediatrician you’re planning on using. After the baby is born, the pediatrician you selected comes to the hospital to check on the infant, discuss any special care that is needed and address any concerns of the parents.” After rubbing some sanitizer into her hands, she walked over to a bassinet, comparing the identification number on the baby’s anklet to the one in her file. “Have you ever held a life that was only hours old?”

Edward shook his head.

“It’s amazing. They are so soft and trusting, and newborns have a specific scent to them…”

Edward no longer heard the words that were coming out of Bella’s mouth. Finally, it hit him. He had lost a baby—his baby, a baby he’d wanted even before he knew it existed. The tears came hard and fast, his grief too intense to even attempt to mask it.

Bella still had no idea what was going on, but knew something awful must have happened for Edward to have this kind of outburst. She dropped her files on a desk and took him by the hand.

“Let’s get out of here,” she said, silently leading him out of the nursery and down the hall, stopping when she noticed an empty room. Bella pulled Edward inside and shut the door. Their solitude was his undoing, and he sank into an armchair, his quiet tears grew into full blown sobs.

Figuring he would tell her what was wrong when he was ready, Bella comforted in the only way she knew. Standing before him, she offered her embrace. He held her tightly, his tears dampening her sweater where he pressed his face below her breasts. She stroked his hair and rocked from side to side, and continued to do so long after his crying ceased.

He spoke quietly, without loosening his grip on her. “I’ve wanted children for as long as I could remember. I wasn’t in a hurry, but it was something I looked forward to, that I could do all the things with my kids that my parents never got to do with me. I never thought…”

Edward stopped talking and closed his eyes, hating himself for his initial reaction to Rose’s pregnancy. He then remembered he’d yet to relate to Bella the events of the past twelve hours.

“Last night, Rose had severe abdominal pain and heavy bleeding. We came to the emergency room, and they determined she had an ectopic pregnancy and that the embryo implanted itself in her cervix. They took her into surgery immediately, fearing she would bleed to death if they waited. They did manage to save her, but she had to have a hysterectomy. And obviously, the baby…”

“Shh,” Bella whispered. “It’s going to be okay.”

“Is it? Do I even I deserve for everything to work itself out?”

“Of course you do.”

“You may change your mind when you find out what my initial reaction was to hearing Rose’s pregnancy wasn’t viable.”

“I doubt that.”

“It was relief. I was relieved because a baby would tie me to Rose forever, and that was the last thing I wanted. I was actually grateful for the demise of my own child. Then you showed me those newborns and now I can’t believe I felt that way. I hate myself and I want to mourn, though I don’t feel I have a right to. It was all so abstract until about fifteen minutes ago.”

“Oh Edward, I’m so sorry. I never would have brought you to the nursery if I had known.”

“I’m not upset with you. I’m the one who keeps fucking up. Bella, I’m so sorry about last night at the party. Despite what my actions implied, I wasn’t trying to cheat on Rose with you.”

“You don’t have to do this. Besides, I refuse to allow you to take the blame for something for which I am equally culpable. If you behaved inappropriately, it was with my encouragement. None of that matters now. The important thing is that you and Rose heal.”

“There is no Rose and me. I was about to end it when all this happened…”

“What?”

“Last night. I had my bag packed and…”

Bella shook her head. “No. You can’t be serious.”

“You told me to leave her!”

Bella stepped away from him and covered her eyes with her hand. “I said to leave her or leave me alone.”

“Exactly,” he yelled, running his hands through his hair in frustration.

“Well, I thought you would go with Option B.”

Edward looked at Bella as if she’d just slapped him. “How can you say that?”

Feeling her own tears well in her eyes, she looked away.

“I’m not Rose,” she said, shrugging.

“No, you’re not and thank god for that.” He grabbed her hands and pulled her toward him. “Bella, look at me.” He continued speaking only after she made eye contact. “I wasn’t leaving her because you told me to, or because of what I feel for you. I was leaving her because of what I don’t feel for her. And now…”

Bella was ecstatic to hear feelings for Edward were mutual, but she was careful not to let those feelings show. He still belonged to another woman who happened to be lying upstairs, broken and bleeding. And if Edward went ahead with the break-up before Rose was physically healed, Bella was quite sure she wouldn’t want anything to do with him. No decent person would walk away from someone he claimed to love—even if the love was more familial than romantic—at her hour of need. Bella felt this way for moral reasons that were obvious and practical reasons that were not. Specifically, if a man commits a questionable act for you, you have no reason whatsoever to believe that down the road, he won’t do it to you. Ultimately, she had no interest in Edward if his actions called into question his character.

When Bella spoke, her voice was calm and detached. “I want you to concentrate on Rose right now, and yourself. You suffered a huge loss this weekend. Whether you realize it or not, and you do need time to mourn. When everything is back to normal, we’ll figure it all out.”

Bella’s words came out of her mouth sounding convincing enough that she almost believed them.


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  1. on 17 Mar 2010 at 3:40 pmTippyL

    Love that quote of "if a man commits a questionable act for you…" So true. I have always heard "Never marry a man you wouldn't want to be divorced from." Women should follow these quotes!

    Boy, this story gets more complicated with every chapter.

    [Reply]