Bella was in purgatory, floating in a light grey mist. She could hear whispers, hushed conversations but couldn’t understand anything that was being said. Her head was throbbing, pulsing with each heartbeat. Her wrist hurt, as well, but not as badly as her head. She tried to open her eyes, but they wouldn’t respond.
“Sweetness, just rest,” came the honeyed voice of Edward. “You’re okay.” He pressed a kiss to her temple, sniffling quietly. She didn’t respond, but she allowed herself to fall back further into purgatory, allowing the grey mist to swirl around her comfortingly. She didn’t stay there long. She heard more voices and medical jargon.
Traumatic brain injury.
Weaning her off the medications.
Bella whimpered and she felt a warm hand twine with hers. “Bella, you’re okay. Can you open your eyes?” She whimpered again, trying to will her eyes to open. They did and she gasped, the light causing the pain in her head to intensify. There was rustling and angry whispers before Edward spoke again. “It’s dark now, sweetness. I need to see your beautiful eyes. I have to know if you’re okay,” he said, his voice sounding so lost and broken. Bella opened her eyes, trying hard to focus on Edward’s face. He was fuzzy, but he was there. “There you are, my gorgeous love.”
“Thirsty,” she croaked, shifting uncomfortably and her voice raspy.
“Here,” Edward said, placing a straw between her lips. She sipped tentatively and leaned back against the pillows, moaning quietly. “Easy, sweetness. You’ve got some staples back there.”
“What happened?” she asked. “I mean, I know what happened, but why am I in the hospital? Are Lucy and Liam okay? Did she …?” Her eyes flew open and she tried to get up out of the bed. She needed to see her babies.
Edward gently stopped her and caressed her cheeks. “They’re okay. Worried about you and anxious to see you. They miss you so much,” he said soothingly. “They want to see their mom.” Bella smiled, tears falling onto her cheeks. He kissed her forehead and sat back, turning to Dr. Wells.
An older, African American doctor stepped forward, standing behind Edward. “I’m Dr. Felix Wells and I was the neurosurgeon assigned to your case. You hit your head so hard on that counter that you got a severe concussion. In fact, you actually fractured your skull and you’ve got seven staples just below the crown of your head.”
“Is that why my head is throbbing and everyone’s blurry?” Bella questioned, blinking her eyes to try to get her vision to clear. It didn’t work.
Edward’s eyes widened and he took out a penlight. “I’m sorry, Bella, but we need to check your eyes,” he whispered. The light seared Bella’s brain and she whimpered, clamping her eyelids shut. “Still sluggish.”
“Bella, your brain slammed against your skull and rattled it,” Dr. Wells said. He took out an egg and put it into a glass jar. He shook it, scrambling the egg. Inside the jar, there was the scrambled egg and cracked shell. “That’s what happened to your brain. Obviously, not to this extent, but you get the idea.” He put the egg/jar combo on a shelf behind him. “It’s going to take time for your brain to heal. Your concussion is pretty damned severe. Any more severe, you would have needed surgery.”
“Shit,” Bella whispered. “I hope Tanya …”
“Is going to jail for a long, long time,” Edward said, his voice cold and his eyes dark with hatred. He took her left hand and kissed her knuckles, pressing her hand to his cheek. “She confessed. No trial. The kids will not have to testify, thankfully. Nor do you need to testify. Nothing. She’s in heaps of trouble and will pay for her crimes.”