The Twilight Twenty-Five
A/N: Um. So, you might need Kleenex for this chapter. That’s about all I can say. Thanks for reading.
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I was packing up a box of Garrett’s history books when his co-worker Gianna rushed into our apartment. She was his partner, the Italian native he translated for when they gave tours to Americans. She and her boyfriend Demetri had become two of our closest friends.
“Where is your phone?” she asked in her heavy accent. Before I could tell her it was on the counter charging, she grabbed my hand and pulled me toward the door. “Never mind, come with me.”
“You’re scaring me. What’s going on?” I pulled out of her grasp and picked up my phone, as well as my keys.
“We’ve been trying to call you! It’s Garrett. There’s been an accident. You must come with me. Right now, Isabella. Si prega di fretta! Please hurry!”
“What? Oh my god!” I couldn’t breathe and my stomach twisted in fear. I wasn’t moving fast enough for her, so she grabbed my hand and started dragging me out of the apartment. “Where is he? How bad is it?”
“Non lo so. I don’t know. Come, I’ll take you to the ospedale.”
She slipped between English and Italian and I tried to keep up. I caught bits and pieces as she charged forward, frequently turning to speak over her shoulder. A city bus. A small Fiat. Garrett pushing someone out of the way. Insanguinato. Bloody. I stopped listening then, my mind imagining horrible injuries and my husband covered in his own blood.
The hospital was usually about ten minutes from our apartment, but Gianna made it there in five.
I ran into the emergency room, panting. “Mi scusi,” I said to the first nurse I saw. “I’m looking for my husband, mio marito, Garrett Denali.”
I sounded like Gianna, speaking confusing Ita-glish, but she was actually much better at it. I looked to her for help because I couldn’t think beyond finding Garrett. She began speaking in Italian, explaining that my husband was brought in after being hit by a car.
I gasped, finally understanding what happened and I had an overwhelming urge to throw up. Gianna started talking again, louder this time, and her hands were gesticulating wildly. My mind was so scattered I didn’t comprehend a word she said, but the nurse looked scared and motioned us to follow her.
When we entered the room I immediately realized that no one was standing near the bed. My eyes darted from Garrett’s still body to a nurse who seemed to be cleaning up, then to the lab coated doctor as he pulled his gloves off and turned to face us.
I didn’t have the time or the energy to explain why I hadn’t changed my name. It was one of the first things we’d planned on taking care of when Garrett and I got into the states. I tried to focus on the doctor but my eyes kept going to the gurney in the middle of the room.
He shook his head. “Mi spiace, I’m sorry…”
“Noooo!” It couldn’t be right. This couldn’t be happening.
No one was working on my husband. The doctor was sorry.
I moved quickly to the bed. The heart monitor was turned off and Garrett’s eyes were closed. I reached for his hand—it was still warm, but lifeless. Teardrops landed on our joined hands and my sobs broke through the ringing in my ears. My breath came in heaving gasps as I begged Garrett not to leave me.
I don’t know how long I stood there trying to wish him back to life before I felt Gianna’s hand on my shoulder. She pulled me into an embrace but I wouldn’t let go of Garrett. I couldn’t focus my thoughts, but I knew I needed to be touching him. I didn’t have much time left before I’d never touch him again.
“Mi spiace, Bella,” she whispered, holding me and repeating apologies for my loss as I sobbed into her shirt.
At some point I was given a chair and I sat next to the bed with his cooling hand in mine. Time passed, but I couldn’t have told you how much. I was vaguely aware of Gianna coming and going, occasionally sitting next to me crying quietly.
We were eventually asked to leave and just the idea of it made me hyperventilate. Gianna and an English speaking nurse who’d found her way into our room at some point talked me through it and helped me calm down. When my breathing was normal again Gianna told me that we needed to leave, that I didn’t need to watch them take Garrett away. I knew she was right, but I didn’t know if I could physically walk away from him for the last time.
With the nurse on one side and Gianna on the other, they led me to the car. I knew there was paperwork and other things that I needed to do, but they waved it off, telling me to keep going and not to worry.
Gianna took me back to the apartment and I went straight to the couch. I called Garrett’s step-father, Eleazar, and asked him to break the news to Garrett’s mother, Carmen, and his sister, Kate. I couldn’t say much without breaking down so Gianna ended up giving him most of the details. Carmen called me back right away, asking if I needed her to come to Italy. It seemed silly, we were already packed to leave. The trip would just be a few days sooner, and I would be alone.
Finally I called my dad, but I had to hang up when I heard him start to cry. It was bizarre to me how moving across the ocean had brought us together, but I’d spoken to him more in the two years I’d been with Garrett than I had in the ten years since I’d last been to Forks. I didn’t even try to call my mother, I had no interest in her somehow making what I was going through all about her.
Gianna had been trying to convince me to take a sleeping pill since we left the hospital. Breaking down on the phone with Charlie had taken everything out of me and I finally gave in. She assured me that she would take care of everything but I didn’t really care at that point.
I covered myself up with Garrett’s favorite blanket and curled into a ball on the couch where I cried myself to sleep. I woke up several times thinking I heard Garrett coming home, but each time I realized that it was just Gianna checking on me and Garrett was gone.
Eventually I moved to the bedroom, though I couldn’t bring myself to get into our bed. I hid in the corner, still huddled under Garrett’s blanket.
The sound of voices in the living room caught my attention. I wasn’t sure who it was but knew I should get up. There were things I needed to do, I just couldn’t bring myself to move. The voices grew closer until three people stood in the doorway, sadly looking at me.
I don’t know why I called her that, but that’s how it came out. She’d always been Kate to me; Garrett was the only one who called her Katie. She looked awful, like she hadn’t slept in days. Her eyes and nose were red and there wasn’t a trace of make-up on her face.
“Oh, Bella.” Her voice broke as she sobbed, making her way over to me in the corner to pull me into her arms. “I’m so sorry. It’s going to be okay.”
She held me and stroked my hair and I simply let her. I wrapped my arms around her too, but I didn’t have the energy for anything more. I looked behind her to see Gianna with a man that I knew I should recognize, but I couldn’t place him.
“Did you bring a boyfriend?”
“That’s not a boyfriend,” she said, shaking her head as she settled against the wall with an arm around me. “That’s Edward.”
He and Gianna continued to smile sadly at us from the doorway, and I concentrated a little harder on him. He was striking, with a strong jaw and shaggy copper hair. His green eyes swam with emotion and something clicked in my mind.
Edward. Garrett’s best friend from high school. Our would-be best man if we’d had a traditional wedding and the closest thing to a brother Garrett had ever had.
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