I gasped as I lost the connection, squeezing my eyes closed tightly, seeing if there was any trace at all left. I heard footsteps entering the room, and heavy breathing, but that was all.
“Bella!” Someone exclaimed, putting their hand on my shoulder. I opened my eyes and lost everything. I grunted, throwing my head back and covering my eyes with my hands.
“Bella, are you okay?” Alice asked, concern mixed with suspicion in her soprano tone. I nodded up and down, too frustrated to speak.
“Bella, please let go of your hair.” I then realized that I was actually pulling on my hair, and Alice’s nimble fingers were trying to free mine. I obeyed and turned to look at her and Carlisle, who was standing next to her. He looked professional in his white lab coat and black tie.
“Carlisle,” I asked, “why are you home?” I hoped it wasn’t because of me that he came home from work. His expression stayed hard, as it had been for days.
“I’m on my lunch break,” he said, and I knew the double meaning behind the statement. His eyes were a brilliant shade of gold, and they popped out from his pale pearl skin.
“Bella, why were you so mad?” Alice asked softly, her darker gold eyes probing mine. I smiled to show her I wasn’t lying, even though I was.
“I’m not mad, Alice. Just, frustrated, I guess.” She didn’t take this.
“Bella, I know you. So tell me now or I will see it,” she insisted, closing her eyes beneath a full set of long lashes. Should I tell her? I wondered. What harm could it do? It would really only be doing everyone a favor, since they would figure it out eventually. I looked from her peaceful, concentrated face to Carlisle’s remorseful yet angered expression and sighed.
“Look, I know this is going to sound crazy, but-but I can hear my Dad. Okay? That’s all.”
Alice’s eyes were still closed, but her lips were pursed and I knew she had heard me. Carlisle’s eyes were now full of suspicion, but his face was still the hard mask. I looked directly into his eyes.
“You probably want to lock me up in a mental institution, but it’s true. And I can talk to him. And he can talk back. And he told me,” I took a breath settling myself, and continued. “He told me that Edward was still alive.” In that moment, the hard mask holding back his usual friendly face fell, and a wide grin replaced it. For the first time, I noticed the distant lines of crows feet growing from his eyes because of his smile.
“Really, Bella? Is it true? Are you sure?” In all truth, I wasn’t sure. But, one, I highly doubted my own father would lie to me , would hurt me so much as to tell me the love of my life wasn’t living anymore. And two, I could feel it. In my bones I knew that Edward couldn’t possibly be dead. I would feel it. I would know. I pushed the miniscule hint of doubt to the farthest corner of my mind and answered him as truthfully as I could.
“I’m positive, Carlisle.” I didn’t think his smile could grow, but nonetheless it did and he threw his arms around me. Before I could hug him back, Alice was hugging both of us, her tiny arms amazingly wrapped all the way around. I laughed out of pure joy, for the first time in a long time feeling love, and hope.