Again, I can not apologize enough for the delay in posting. The short answer to this delay is that my personal life went down the shitter big time for a little while. It seems to be on the up swing now, though. Thanks to everyone who is still reading. Things are about to get bumpy in a hurry.

Thanks to HockeyChick for the name suggestion! If you ever need a tranny name, she's your girl! LOL

***NOTE: The way Bella feels, the things she says about "Phil" do not reflect on my own personal feelings about the transgendered community. I'm a huge LGBT supporter, and wouldn't want you to think otherwise. Consider her situation before you flame me.

Last, but not least, thanks to Marly and SqueakyZorro for being my amazing betas. Sorry it wasn't even close to error free this time, Marly! Next time...I "promise"! LOL

I don't own anything related to Twilight or the characters.

On with the show...


I followed Bella up the steps in hopes I could convince her to sneak into my room after her phone call. She looked so amazing in that purple dress, it was nearly impossible for me to keep my hands to myself all night. But those hopes were quickly dashed when she collapsed into my arms.

"Dad! Dad, get over here! Carlisle!" I screamed, hoping someone would help me. I didn't know what was going on; all I knew was that I was holding an unconscious Bella in my arms.

"Bella, baby, please wake up," I said softly in her ear, trying to figure out what to do. Thankfully, one of the caterers walked by. "Hey!" I yelled to him, "get Doctor Cullen. Now!" The guy looked panicked but nodded and rushed off to find Carlisle.

Moments later, he showed up at the bottom of the steps.

"What happened, son?" he asked, helping lift Bella into an upright position.

"I, I don't know. One minute she was talking on the phone, and the next she just collapsed. Is she okay?" I asked, trying not to show the fear I felt.

Dad slapped Bella's face lightly. "Bella. Bella, can you hear me?" he asked.

He pressed his fingers to the pulse point on her neck. "Her pulse seems okay, if maybe a bit fast," he told me.

I leaned down near Bella's ear. "Baby, please wake up. You're scaring the shit out of me," I told her softly before placing a kiss on her cheek.

"We need to move her upstairs," Dad told me while picking her up by her arms. "Did she hit her head when she collapsed?"

"No," I assured him while wrapping my arms around her feet. "I caught her before she could actually fall."

We had just gotten to the top of the stairs when she started to wake up. Dad and I laid her down gently on the floor.

"What's going on? Why am I up here?" she asked groggily.

"You collapsed," Dad told her. "What happened?"

"Emmett called, and...shit! Edward, where's my phone?" she asked, sounding panicked.

"I don't know. On the stairs, I guess," I answered.

"I'll get it," Dad offered.

"What does Emmett have to do with you collapsing?" I asked, trying to figure out what the hell was going on.

Bella's eyes filled with tears. "I have to get home. He said my mom was in a car wreck. We need to leave now," she said in a rush, rising up off the floor, but getting lightheaded when she stood up and quickly sat back down. She began crying, and I couldn't understand what she was saying. I pulled her into my lap and let her cry into my shoulder.

I was completely confused. Everything was happening so fast, I just needed a moment to get my head around it all.

"Yes, I'll have her on the soonest flight I can. Thank you. Please let me know if anything changes," I heard my dad say into Bella's phone.

"Who was that?" I asked him.

"It was Bella's friend, Emmett. Her phone was still on and I could hear him asking for her, so I answered. Apparently, Bella's mother has been in a car accident. From what he explained, it was pretty bad. I'm going to call around and get you and Bella on the next flight out," he told me, a grim look on his face. Carlisle wasn't one to jump the gun – his years as a doctor had taught him to be cool under pressure. But the look in his eye, and his haste to get Bella and I back to Indiana, made me nervous.

"Did he say what else happened? He started to tell me, but I freaked out and fainted," Bella said worriedly.

Dad sighed and sat on the floor next to us. I'd seen this look before: this was his doctor face. "From what Emmett explained, your mom was on her way home in a cab, and he's not sure who, but either the cab driver or the other car ran the red light, and her car was struck. The cab driver died on impact, but your mom and her friend were injured. Her friend had minor injuries, but it doesn't look good for your mom. I'm so sorry, Bella," he said, laying a hand on shoulder softly.

Bella dissolved in my arms. Her sobs broke my heart. Just a few minutes ago we were laughing and dancing. Now she was completely grief-stricken.

"I'm going to get your mother," Carlisle said quietly.

I nodded and turned my attention to Bella. "Hey, let's get off this floor and into my room," I offered.

Bella didn't answer but rose slowly from my lap. I stood and wrapped my arm around her shoulders and guided her into my bedroom.

"What if she doesn't make it?" she asked when her sobs had slowed a bit.

"Don't think like that. Try to stay positive. You haven't talked to a doctor yet; maybe it's not as bad as it seems right now," I said, praying to God I was right.

"You heard Carlisle, Edward. If he thinks I should go now, it must not be good. I can't imagine her not being here. We were just starting to get along, and now..." she trailed off, sobs shaking her slight frame all over again.

"Shh, baby, don't think like that yet," I said, holding her tightly.

"May we come in?" I heard Dad ask through the door after he knocked softly.

"Yeah," I said, running my fingers through Bella's hair.

"How's she doing?" he asked.

"Not good," I answered, placing a kiss on her head.

"Bella, let's let Edward and Carlisle get you a flight," Mom offered, sitting down next to us.

"Oh, Esme! What am I going to do if she doesn't make it?" she asked, sobbing into my mother's shoulder.

"Shh, it's okay, sweetie," Mom said, motioning for Dad and I to leave the room.

"Dad, is it really that bad?" I asked when we were back out in the hallway.

He sighed and ran his hand through his hair – reaction to stress that he passed down to me. Seeing this wasn't good.

"Yeah, son, it is," he answered. "From the sound of it, Bella's mother was seated on the driver's side and took the brunt of the accident. I want to get you kids out there as soon as possible. I just hope she holds on long enough for Bella to get to her."

My blood ran cold. If Renee died, I didn't know how Bella would cope. Even though they didn't always get along, I knew for a fact Bella cared deeply about her mom. Recently they had been working on their relationship, and Bella was ecstatic about it. But now...

"So, what do I do now?" I asked, completely panicked and confused.

"Just go be with Bella. I'll arrange everything," Dad told me. "I'm sorry, son."

At a complete loss about what to say, I nodded and turned to go back into my room. I didn't know what to do, but I did know I'd do anything - be anything - Bella needed me to.

When I entered my room, the scene before me broke my heart even more than it already was. Bella was lying with her head in my mother's lap, sobbing, as Mom ran her hand through Bella's hair, trying to soothe her.

"Bella, baby, Dad's working on getting us a flight. We should head back to Charlie's and get your things so we can go," I told her softly.

She nodded and hugged my mom again. A silent moment passed between them, and Bella rose quietly from the bed and walked like a zombie into the hallway.

"Take care of her, Edward. If there's anything else we can do, let us know," Mom said, hugging me.

"I have no clue how to help her," I admitted.

"Just be there for her, son. There's really nothing else you can do. And if you need me, I'm only a phone call or plane ride away, okay?"

"Thanks, Mom."

The ride to Charlie's was quiet, save for Bella's quiet sobs. When we got back to the house, Charlie was already there and waiting.

"Oh, Daddy," Bella said, running into her father's arms.

"Shh, Bells, it's okay," he said, rubbing her back to soothe her. I looked away when I saw a silent tear slide down his cheek to give him some privacy.

"Doctor Cullen called me and explained everything. I'm going to make a few calls to the local law enforcement out there to see if I can get more details. In the meantime, go get your stuff and meet me back at my car. You'll get to the airport a lot quicker with a police escort," he told her.

Bella nodded and went into the house to get her things.

"Do me a favor and keep me posted, please," Charlie requested after Bella was gone.

"Of course, sir," I answered.

"We might be divorced, but I wouldn't wish anything against Renee. She's a decent woman," he said with a sniff.

I nodded, not knowing what else to say at such a moment. My mind was a flurry of activity. I couldn't even imagine how Bella felt right now.

When Bella came back out of the house, she had changed her clothes, wearing a pair of jeans and one of my sweatshirts. When I gave her a questioning look, she shrugged and said it soothed her. Why wearing my clothes would soothe her, I'd never know, but I wasn't about to argue with her.

Charlie loaded her bag into his cruiser, and we tore off through the cold Washington night, sirens blazing.

We got to the airport more quickly than I even thought possible. On the way, Dad had texted me our flight information. The only seating available on such short notice was first-class, and I was more than thankful that at least Bella could be comfortable on the flight. We only had to wait about thirty minutes after we went through security – it seemed the travel gods were smiling on us. I didn't think Bella could handle much more waiting. As it was, she hadn't stopped pacing since we checked in and had just gotten off the phone with Emmett, so she was crying again.

"What did he say?" I asked, pulling her down into my lap.

"They just took her into surgery. She had some pretty bad internal bleeding. They're hoping to be able to find the cause and get it stopped. They had to wait until she was stable first. God, I wish Carlisle could be here. All this medical stuff kind of goes over my head," she said, sniffing and laying her head down on my shoulder.

"I'm sure if I called him, he and Mom would be on the next flight out behind us," I offered.

"No, they've got party guests to attend to. I disrupted their night enough as it is," she said.

"Well, the offer stands. They really like you, and both of them want to do whatever they can to help. If you have questions, you can always call, you know?"

"Maybe I will."

Soon enough, our flight was called and we were on our way back to Indiana.

When the plane touched down, Bella was anxious to find our rental car and be on our way. Being a safety-conscious man, Dad had rented us a Volvo SUV. I snickered when I heard that. He had tried to talk me into buying a Volvo because of the high safety rating, but I bought the Shelby instead. He called my baby "death on wheels." Guess he won the battle. This time.

Bella was in no shape to drive, so she gave directions from the passenger seat, and in no time at all, we were on I-65 and headed north. A little over an hour later, we were pulling into the parking lot of the hospital.

"You ready?" I asked, shutting off the car.

"I'm terrified," she answered, staring straight ahead at the glowing red sign above the emergency room doors.

I took her hand. "I can't imagine what you're going through, but I'm here for you. Whatever you need, you let me know. Okay?"

Bella gave me a small smile, squeezed my hand, and then got out of the car. It surprised me a little how hard she held my hand as we rejoined in front of the car. My girl really was terrified. And strong. We quickly made our way to the reception desk in the E.R.

"May I help you?" the woman behind the desk asked.

"Ren..." Bella started, then broke down sobbing.

"Renee Dwyer," I answered for her, pulling her into a hug so she could cry into my chest.

The woman typed a bit on her computer. "Mrs. Dwyer is currently in surgery in the I.C.U., but only family members are allowed up there," she told us.

"Bella's her daughter."

More typing.

"Ahh, yes, I do see an Isabella Swan as an emergency contact. She may go up. You, sir, will have to wait," she told us.

"No, Edward has to come with me," Bella said, panic laced in her voice.

"I'm sorry, Miss Swan, family members only are permitted in the I.C.U.," she told us apologetically.

"Edward's my husband. We eloped tonight," Bella told her, squaring her shoulders a bit as if to challenge the woman to call her bluff.

I tried hard to hide my reaction. That was not what I was expecting Bella to say.

"Oh, well, congratulations, then," the woman said. She looked like she wasn't sure that she believed us but also seemed like she wasn't going to push it, either. "Intensive Care is on the fourth floor. You can take the elevators to the left. You'll have to sit in the waiting room up there until the doctor comes out for you. Your brother and his wife are already there."

"Her brother?" I asked, completely confused as to why Bella never mentioned having a brother.

"Yeah, Emmett's already here," Bella told me, squeezing my hand. Okay, I got it. Emmett lied. Good thinking.

"Oh, sorry, I didn't know," I said, trying to cover my flub.

"Is my sister, Brianna, here yet?" Bella asked the woman before we walked away.

"Not that I know of, ma'am."

"Okay. Thank you."

Bella pulled me over to the elevator and it wasn't until the doors closed that I let out a small laugh.

"Eloped, Bella?" I asked with a smile on my face.

She just smirked and shrugged her shoulders. "What else was I supposed to say? I wanted to make sure you got in, too. Emmett must have had the same idea. I bet Rose died laughing when he introduced her as his wife."

Bella's momentary lift in mood went away quickly when the doors opened to the Intensive Care Unit. She took a deep breath and exited the elevator, scanning the space for Emmett and Rose.

"Bells, over here," I heard Rose say from somewhere off to the right. I looked to find her sitting near a television.

"Oh, Rose," Bella said, dissolving in tears again when they hugged.

"Shh, sweetie. It's okay," Rose said, rubbing her back.

"No, it's not. I can feel it in my gut, Rose," she said, her voice muffled by Rose's shoulder.

"Oh, God, Bella. You're finally here," Emmett said, emerging from the restroom area.

"Em!" she squeaked, jumping into his arms.

They embraced for a long moment, both sobbing quietly.

"How bad is it, Em? And don't sugarcoat it."

"It's bad. Here, come sit down," he said, leading her to the row of chairs.

"How are you holding up?" Rose asked quietly, giving Emmett and Bella a moment alone.

"Honestly? I don't know. Bella's such a mess, and I have no clue what I can do to help her," I admitted.

"She's going to need a rock right now. Just hold her and be there for her. From what the doctor told us, it doesn't look good for Renee," she said sadly.

She raised her left hand to push it through her hair and I saw something glint in the night. I grabbed her hand.

"Holy shit, Rose. Did you guys actually get married?" I asked in an astonished whisper.

Color flooded her cheeks. "Yeah, we did. He asked me at Christmas, and we were going to wait after New Year's to tell everyone. But then we said to hell with it and eloped. We literally flew to Vegas the day after Christmas and got married."

"Wow, that's...that's awesome, Rose," I told her, shocked but happy for them.

"Thanks. Don't tell Bella yet. She has enough on her plate right now," she pleaded.

"No problem," I assured her.

One shock after another tonight – but at least Rose's news was positive. Time to focus on being there for Bella.


"What happened? How did she get hit? How did you find out? Has anyone called Bree yet?" I asked Emmett rapidly.

"Slow down, Bells. Take a breath. Okay, first, I've tried calling Bree about twenty times. Her cell's off, so nobody knows where she is. I found out that Renee was hurt because we were at the same bar she was at. The accident happened right near there. We heard the cars hit," he told me, taking a shuddering breath.

I grabbed his hand and held it. "How did you get the doctors to talk to you?"

"I told them I was her adopted son," he said with a smirk. "How are they going to prove me wrong?"

"Nice. So, what did the doctors say?"

"The car t-boned them on the driver's side. The cab driver died instantly. Your mom's friend has a broken shoulder and a nasty bump on her head, but she'll be fine. But Renee..." he trailed off. "...she had pretty bad head trauma and internal bleeding. It took them a long time to get her stable enough to operate on, and they've been working on her for awhile now."

I closed my eyes and tried to breathe deeply. My heart was racing and my hands were shaking. I felt Edward sit down next to me and wrap his arms around me. Just then, I heard a voice I hadn't expected to hear ever again.


I looked up and saw none other than Phil in all his drag queen glory. He was decked out in a brown wig that went to his shoulders but had on jeans and a sweatshirt. It was weird seeing him dressed as a woman.

"Phil?" I asked, making absolutely sure it was...him.

He cleared his throat. "Well, actually, it's Felicia now. Please."


"Sorry, Felicia, but what are you doing here?" I asked, confused as to why he was here.

"The divorce isn't final. Since I'm legally still her husband, they contacted me. I had to give them permission to operate," he said, sitting down in a chair across from me.

A silent, awkward moment passed between us all. Emmett couldn't stop staring, Rose was trying not to be obvious in her gawking, and Edward just looked confused. Poor guy.

"Um, thanks for that. As far as I knew, I was her new emergency contact," I told him, bitterness crawling through my veins. I was grateful he was able to do something small to help my mom, but then again, he was the one who crushed our world. I guess he owed us one.

"You are, but they couldn't get ahold of you. So, since Bree is too young to give consent, they contacted me next. Renee was smart enough to have things like this in order during the divorce proceedings."

"You still didn't answer my question. Why are you even here?" I asked again, sitting tall and squaring my shoulders. All the things I wanted to say to him right now were racing through my mind so fast, I couldn't get one to hold still long enough to come out of my mouth.

"I still love her, Bella. I never meant to hurt her, or you girls, for that matter," he said sadly, looking at the floor. "This is just who I am."

I felt my eyes bulge. This was just how he was? It wasn't the fact that he felt like he needed to be a woman; it was the way he went about divulging that information. All I wanted to do was tear him limb from limb and burn the pieces.

"This really isn't a conversation we need to have while my mom is lying on a bed, potentially dying. I think you need to go now. If Bree sees you, she'll freak. Leave. Now," I instructed maliciously. Oh, the horrible things I wanted to do to him.

He took a deep breath and sighed. He looked to me, then to the rest of the group. He opened his mouth like he wanted to say something but just shook his head and rose to his feet.

"Will you at least keep me informed?" he asked sadly.

"I'll try, but I won't make any promises," I told him.

He just nodded and trudged out of the room.

"Oh my fucking God, the nerve!" I yelled as soon as he was gone. The few other people waiting around gave me dirty looks for my outburst. Fuck them.

"Can you believe he just came up here like that? And then he asked me to keep him informed? I mean, seriously? Does he think I'm going to have his stupid ass on speed dial or something? Just...fuck!" I shouted, pacing the floor quickly.

"Bella, baby, you need to calm down before someone calls security," Edward said, trying to get me to calm down.

"Fuck them! Call fucking security! My mom is on her death bed, and that tranny fuck wants to come in here like he's some knight in shining armor just because he said they could operate? Why would he do that? Does he honestly think anyone here wants to see his sorry ass? Nope! No one does! Just...fuck!" I yelled, collapsing onto the floor in a fit of anger and sadness. I sobbed so hard, I couldn't even sit up.

Edward joined me on the floor and let me cry into his lap. I was pissed, scared, and couldn't get a grip on my emotions. Thank God Bree hadn't been here when he came in. Security would have been called, for sure. Speaking of...

"Has anyone tried to get a hold of Bree again?" I asked, sniffing and wiping snot on my sweatshirt. Yeah, not sexy at all.

"Tell you what, how about we go outside and let you have a cigarette and some time to cool off. Emmett can try Bree again," Rose said, taking my hand and leading me to the elevators.

I felt drained. I looked at Edward.

"Go, I'll be here when you get back," he said, placing a kiss on my forehead.

"That was some fit," Rose commented when we got outside.

I let out a small laugh. "I wanted to claw his fucking eyes out," I told her, lighting my cigarette.

"You know those things will kill you, right?" Rose snarked.

I flipped her off and blew smoke in her face.

"There's the Bella I know and love," she said with a smile.

We stood there in silence while I smoked. I was glad Rose was giving me time to collect myself and just be quiet. My head was throbbing as it was, and more talking about my mom would just make it worse right now.

I finished my cigarette and followed Rose back upstairs. When we arrived in the waiting room, I found Edward with snacks and Diet Coke. So perfect.

"Thanks," I said, placing a kiss on his forehead and taking the can from him.

"No problem. Are you hungry?" he asked, holding up a bag of Doritos.

"Actually, a little," I said, taking the bag and hunkering down in my seat. "Em, were you able to get through to Bree yet?"

"No," he answered, sighing. "Sorry."

"I'm going to strangle her when I find her," I said, taking a bite of a chip.

Another hour passed, and Bree still wasn't there. Even worse, no doctors had been out to see me, either. I was anxious to hear what was going on.

A little while later, a doctor finally emerged from the large set of double doors across the room.

"Renee Dwyer's family," he said simply.

My breath caught in my throat. This was it.

"Here," I managed to squeak out. Thankfully, he came to us. I wasn't sure my shaking legs could hold me up just then.

He crossed the room and sat in the same chair Felicia had been in.

"Are you...Isabella Swan?" he asked, checking his paperwork for my name.

"I am," I answered quietly.

"I'm Doctor Krause, the surgeon working on your mother. She was in pretty bad shape when she came in here. She had massive internal bleeding, along with some severe head trauma. From what we've been able to gather, she was in the backseat on the driver's side and took the majority of the impact. Her right shoulder was shattered, which cut open some important veins in her neck and chest. Splinters of bone were also lodged in her lungs. Her pelvis is broken, as are several ribs on her left side. In addition, there's bleeding and swelling in her brain.

"We've done all we can for her, but she's lost a lot of blood. We were able to stop the worst of the bleeding, but with the head injury, we couldn't proceed any further than we already have. I won't sugar-coat this – it's pretty grim, Miss Swan. There's a high possibility your mother won't make it. The next seventy-two hours are critical. If the swelling goes down in her head, we can try to operate again. Right now, the head trauma is the most lethal of her wounds. We're keeping her in a medically-induced coma and will be monitoring her constantly for any changes. I know this is a lot to take you have any questions?"

My head was swimming with all the information the doctor had just given me. The one word that kept swirling through my mind was lethal. My mom's injuries were lethal.

"Can I go see her?" I asked, afraid of the answer.

"Two of you can go back for ten minutes, that's all. She needs time to rest," he answered.

I grabbed Edward's hand. "Come with me, please?"

"Of course," he answered.

Dr. Krause led us back through the doors he entered. The unit was quiet, save for the beeping of heart monitors and the swish of machines breathing for people who couldn't do it on their own.

The doctor stopped outside a door with my mom's name on it.

"I'm going to warn you – she doesn't look good. There are cuts on her face, as well as extensive bruising. We have a blanket covering her, but you'll still see tubes and wires. Don't be alarmed; they're there to help her. Also, we had to shave part of her hair to drill a hole to allow her swelling brain to expand. Do you understand?"

"Yes, I think so," I answered.

"Okay, good. Please be as quiet as possible and mind the ten minutes," he reminded me.

"I will. Thank you, doctor," I told him, shaking his hand.

"You ready?" Edward asked after a moment.

"As ready as I'll ever be," I answered.

I wasn't ready at all.

The person I saw laying on that bed looked nothing like my mother. This person was battered, bruised, and pale. She had a wire coming from her head, and it was, in fact, shaved on top. She had a tube down her throat helping her breathe. She looked so fragile, I was afraid to breathe loudly for fear of breaking her.

"Oh, Edward," I gasped, sobbing into his chest. "She looks awful. She doesn't even look like my mom."

"I know, baby. Do you need to leave?" he asked softly.

"No, just give me a minute."

I stood there and tried to gather enough strength to turn around again. The second time seeing her was still as shocking as the first. I crossed the room and sat in the chair next to her bed.

"Oh, Mom, you have to be okay. Please, come back to us," I sobbed. I wanted to rub her head, hug her, touch her...just to know she was really there. This all felt like a bad dream.

"Do you think it would be okay if I touched her?" I asked Edward.

"I guess holding her hand would be alright. I wouldn't do anything to move her, though," he answered.

Tentatively, I took her hand. It was cold. If it wasn't for the beeping of her heart monitor, I wouldn't have believed she was alive.

"She's so cold," I told him.

"She lost a lot of blood. Dad told me that when you lose a lot of blood, or when you're exposed to the cold for too long, the blood rushes to your vital organs to keep them safe," he informed me.

I just nodded.

"Please, please come through this, Mom. I need you. Bree needs you. I love you," I said, placing a kiss on her hand. I laid it back where it was and left the room, wrapped in Edward's strong arms.

So, what do you think? Just a side note, Dr. Krause was my dentist when I was a kid. His brother is also a heart doctor, and has saved my grandpa's life - twice.

I won't make promises about the next update, but I WILL try to get it out a.s.a.p!

Until next time...