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Chapter 26

Standard Disclaimer: Twilight belongs to Stephenie Meyer. I own the rest of this story, a husband, three teenagers and a “tween,” and a disabled dachshund. And a mortgage.

With Carlisle's help, I settled myself in the passenger seat of his very comfortable black Mercedes in front of Forks Community Hospital. While he loaded my wheelchair into the trunk, I sighed. It had been a long two weeks in the hospital after awakening from the coma, so I had been in the hospital for just under a month all together. I would have been released earlier if I hadn't developed an infection that required a course of IV antibiotics and made me feel like crap for an entire week.

Marcy and Cathie, my nurses, waved goodbye to me from the sidewalk as Carlisle slid behind the steering wheel and restarted the engine. I waved back at the cheerful nurses who had taken such wonderful care of me as the sedan pulled away from the curb and we started the trip to the Cullen home.

“So, Isabella. How do you feel about coming home? Nervous?” Carlisle smiled at me as he turned onto the highway.

I shrugged, grateful that this movement no longer caused excruciating pain as it had when I had first woke from the coma. “A little,” I admitted softly.

“Everyone is looking forward to your homecoming. Alice has been warned to tone down the enthusiasm, and Esme has your room all ready for you.” I noticed that he had neglected to mention the other members of the Cullen family, Edward and the ones I didn't know well: Emmett, Rosalie, and Jasper.

All of the Cullens except for Edward and Rosalie had visited me in the hospital during the past week. Once the painful and debilitating infection had cleared, Alice and Esme were daily visitors, and Alice had once brought Jasper, her boyfriend. Jasper was quiet and distantly polite, yet somehow I felt at ease in his presence. Esme had brought along Emmett twice, and I liked him already. He was loud and funny, and his snarky sense of humor was right up my alley. I could tell that we were going to be good friends.

When Alice had asked me about favorite movies, she was surprised by my noncommittal reply. I had seen a few movies with Jacob before his personality transplant a year ago, but none since then, so I didn't really have any favorites. Emmett had declared that he would “educate my taste” in films, at which comment Alice had snorted indelicately and Esme had cleared her throat meaningfully at them both before assuring me that they possessed quite the Blu-Ray library for my movie-watching pleasure.

So I was looking forward to expanding my extremely limited movie repertoire while I obeyed Carlisle's orders to rest. I was to rest most of the time for the first couple of weeks, he said, either on the sofa in the living room or in bed. I had wrinkled my nose at the idea of more rest after so much time in the hospital, but Carlisle was right: just getting dressed with Marcy's help and being wheeled down to the car had already exhausted me for the day, and it wasn't even ten in the morning yet.

Carlisle was talking quietly as he drove, but I was already feeling sleepy enough that I found myself nodding off, my head nestled into the comfortable headrest, the seat adjusted by Carlisle to lean back for optimal resting.

As I dozed a bit, my mind flitted back to Jacob. I had been having increasingly frightening nightmares of that night in La Push this past week, and as a result, Jacob was more and more on my mind, no matter how hard I tried to forget him.

The events of that night a month ago were very unclear, definitely fuzzy. I remembered my emotions that night better than what I had seen and heard. The sense of paralyzing fear was most prominent. And, unfortunately, my nightmares were far clearer than my memories.

I wished that I could forget it all, wished that I could have my Jacob back—the sweet boy who had sneaked me food and books behind Billy's back—but my nightmares refused to allow it.

I had heard nothing from Billy or Jacob personally although Mrs. Jane had gone to their house to collect my clothes and few possessions from my room before taking my things to the Cullens' house day before yesterday. She had come to see me afterward, her lips folded into a thin, angry line when she mentioned the plywood-covered window and the deadbolted door. Then she looked worried when I had merely shrugged in response to her questions.

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Chapter 26

Cast

Kristen Stewartas Bella Swan
Gil Birminghamas Billy Black
Taylor Lautneras Jacob Black
Peter Facinellias Carlisle Cullen
Billy Burkeas Charlie Swan
Sarah Clarkeas Renee Swan
Robert Pattinsonas Edward Cullen
Ashley Greeneas Alice Cullen
Jackson Rathboneas Jasper Hale
Kellan Lutzas Emmett Cullen
Nikki Reedas Rosalie Hale
Elizabeth Reaseras Esme Cullen
Michael Welchas Mike Newton
Anna Kendrickas Jessica Stanley
Christian Serratosas Angela Webber
Justin Chonas Eric Yorkie
Gregory Tyree Boyceas Tyler Crowley
Jennifer Anistonas Mrs. Jane Fairfield

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