Mattie

©Molly Looby No way. I knew I was dying. I knew I was dying fast, but this hit me like a speeding bullet. How long did I have left, years, months, weeks? Days...?
Hours...?


For Ali-Rose life is just a fading moment. Fighting from her inevitable death is the only thing she can do to save her family from the grief that is sure to engulf them. But something on the horizon is about to change her life...
Forever...


(This is a Twilight fanfic set twelve years after the end of 'Breaking Dawn', but not from Bella's POV, from the POV of Ali-Rose - all will be revealed if you care to read on.)


(Author's Note: Before you read Mattie, please can I just point out that it was written when I was fourteen-fifteen years old, and it was also the first thing I ever wrote and finished, for my own benefit and that of a close friend. I know it has its flaws and I'm okay with that because this story made me grow as an author more than I could've imagined. I truly hope you enjoy it.)

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26. HOURGLASS

I RECLAIMED MY EARS FIRST. I WAS DEEP WITHIN THE blackness, the nothing. It felt like a thousand weights were pressing against my chest. I heard screaming. A scream of terror, grief, pain – I felt for this person, whoever it was. I had felt pain, but physical pain. Emotional pain was one hundred times worse.  It was a woman . . . it almost sounded like . . . Rosalie. Rose. Emmett, Edward, Carlisle, Jasper, Alice, Esme, Bella. Jake, Nessie. Tyler. Family. Love. Both concepts so different, yet the same, came screaming back to me in a rush that almost caused my eyelids to flutter. The pounding weight on my chest had rhythm, determination, a meaning. I heard a soft humming - a heartbeat. My heartbeat. I was alive. The memory of my final moments swam in my mind. I tried to recapture my lungs from the nothing, but I couldn’t find them. Death was cruel. I was alive and yet not breathing. Dizziness returned to my brain making the hunt for my lungs almost impossible. I heard other voices now. Jacob. Renesmee. Even though I couldn’t see them, I could feel their presence beside me. Jacob was desperately trying to help Emmett. Renesmee chanted a single soft word over and over again - No. A little more consciousness came back, a little more of my awareness. I was lying on something wet. It was seeping into my clothes. Mud, I reminded myself. I remembered slipping on it before falling into the water. My scream must have called them. My awareness began slipping away again - like sand in an hourglass. How long did I have until I was engulfed by complete nothing? The blackness that haunted me, searched me out. My only sense, my hearing, suddenly sharpened.

“Carlisle!” Renesmee screamed at the top of her voice, shaking the whole forest. Her heart rending scream had caused my heart to beat faster, with more definition. I found my lungs, but I couldn’t breathe in.  I thought strongly of Tyler, who must have been somewhere close by. My heart continued to beat at this thought, but still my lungs were inactive. I felt a different pair of cool hands on my chest, professional and skilled – Carlisle. Tyler must be here. My heartbeat continued a little bit stronger than before. How could I gain control over my lungs? Someone whispered something. I strained my ears, concentrating only on my hearing.

“No.” The word had been whispered by the voice that I had needed to hear. Air rushed into my lungs. I choked and gagged on the water, my throat burning. I was pulled up into a sitting position. I coughed, spluttered and gagged all at once trying to rid my lungs of all the water. I couldn’t take in my surroundings. Someone was hitting me on the back, helping me to cough up all of the water. The rain was still hammering down. I raked in huge gasps of air at any possibility. I had my eyes open, but I couldn’t see anything. It was as though I had a blindfold on. I fell back into someone’s arms as I collapsed, exhausted. Their arms were warm.

“Mattie?” he asked, the anxiety in his voice brought tears to my eyes.

“Jake?” I whispered, barely audible.

His sigh was nothing but relief. He hugged me close, not daring to let go. Black dots were shrinking in front of my eyes. I strained to see. The only thing I could see was Carlisle, who was sitting on the ground in front of me.

“Mattie? Are you alright? Tell me what hurts.” Carlisle’s words were fast, it took me a minute to decipher them. I suddenly became aware of a sharp stinging at my cheek. I remembered frantically scrapping my hair from my eyes. With a shaking hand, I touched my left cheek. I gasped and choked a little. There was a deep gash on my left cheek, oozing with blood. I hadn’t realised how strong I could be. I looked up at Carlisle. I must have had a frightened look on my face. Jacob cradled me in his arms and stood up.

“Come on,” he called to the others. “Let’s get her home.”

I couldn’t keep my eyes open as we made the journey home. I faintly heard Carlisle congratulating Emmett and Jacob for keeping me alive. I heard Rosalie apologising for leaving me alone and Esme comforting her. Everyone else walked silently.

 

I must have fallen asleep, because the next thing I knew I was lying on the sofa. Every muscle ached. My throat and lungs still tingled painfully. My cheek didn’t hurt anymore, it felt numb. I felt someone put a quilt on top of me. I kept my eyes closed and my breathing even, I stayed silent as everyone took seats around the room. I hoped that they would be too distracted to notice that I was awake.

“Is she alright Carlisle?” Renesmee asked quietly, almost whispering.

“She seems okay, when she wakes up I’ll know more, but it’s best to let her sleep for now.”

“What on earth was she doing by the river anyway?” Edward asked. His voice was acidic. I wondered whether he knew that I was awake.

“I’m sorry,” Rosalie began. “Emmett and I were fighting. She was watching us at first. She said she was going for a walk, I didn’t know that she was going to the river. We were waiting for her in the garden when it started to rain. I was about to go and look for her when we heard her scream.”

“Why didn’t you look for her sooner?” Edward demanded.

“I don’t know.” Rosalie didn’t bother to argue back.

“You’re just lucky that you were close enough. Can you imagine if we lived further away? Seconds would have counted.”

“I know.” Rosalie whispered.

“Edward.” Bella spoke softly I imagined her standing up to look him in the eyes. Silence filled the room.

“You’re right.” Edward sighed. It was infuriating to have to guess what Bella had thought, what she had said to him. At least she could choose what she wanted to tell him. I was about to open my eyes when I felt a cool hand stroking my hair. I tried to picture where everyone was in the room. I hoped that it was Tyler. Tyler hadn’t said one word since we were at the river. I wanted to comfort him and tell him I was fine, but I continued to lie there silently, enjoying the ease of not having to move. I was surprised to find that even though time was passing, no one moved. No one spoke. It was as if they were waiting for me to awake. Occasionally a small conversation would begin, but it would only last a few minutes. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to wake up yet. I didn’t like the atmosphere in the room. 

“We have to stop this.” Alice announced after a very long silence. She and Jasper had hurried home after receiving a phone call from Carlisle. “Mattie won’t want to wake up to this, to silence, and awkwardness. She’s probably still terrified. We have to think of her.”

“You’re right.” Renesmee said. I hoped that she would be smiling, but I knew that she probably wasn’t. “We should make everything normal. You know how she hates to make a fuss.” 

They all agreed. Someone turned the T.V on. Conversation began - normal conversation. I sighed and had to wrap my arms around my chest. The stabbing pain was back. I opened my eyes. Everyone had stopped what they were doing to look at me. I was in Renesmee’s lap in less than a second.

“Oh Mattie.” She sobbed, emotion overpowering her words. She kissed my hair and put her hand on my face. She stared into my eyes before hugging me tightly. We sat quietly for a minute. The silence was different now, natural.

“How do you feel Mattie?” Carlisle asked.

“I’m okay. I just ache. I’m fine.”

Every face smiled at me. I started chatting normally. I asked about their hunting trip and laughed with them. As the conversation came to a close I whispered, “I’m really sorry. I shouldn’t have been so reckless.”

“It’s not your fault honey.” Renesmee said, her trademark smile returning. “It’s not like you jumped in is it?”

“I suppose.”

“What exactly did happen?” Jacob asked.

I told them exactly what happened. I told them how I slipped in and how my cheek got scratched. I kept the details to a minimum. I didn’t want to worry them. Edward’s face was concerned. I couldn’t keep the details from him. After what was probably a couple of hours, things really did return to normal. We all chatted happily as though it was a normal day. I couldn’t tell what the time was. It had been dark all day from the rain, the clouds making everything look dull. It must have been early evening when Emmett, Rosalie, Edward, and Bella made their way home. Alice and Jasper went hunting shortly afterwards. With a quick kiss from Alice they disappeared. I was worried about Tyler. He hadn’t said a word. I wanted to ask what was wrong, but I decided to wait until we were alone. I only had to wait half an hour. Renesmee, Jacob, and I, all went to bed. Tyler carried me upstairs, promising Carlisle that he’d watch me very closely tonight. He gently placed me on the bed and tucked my quilt around me. He took his usual position next to me, taking up as little space as possible. I fidgeted until he had his arms around me. We laid in silence, Tyler deep in thought. I let him think for a minute. His expression was difficult to read. His face was set in stone, but his eyes were soft. He looked deep within my eyes. He looked at me with a tenderness that I wouldn’t have thought possible.

“Mattie.” He whispered gently. I ran my hand through his hair softly and he sighed. I didn’t know what to say to him. “How close I came to losing you today.” He sighed again, it was one of sadness.

“But you didn’t.” I said, my voice sounding powerful next to his whispers. I sat up so that I could see his face better.

“Do you realise how close it was?”

“Yes.” I said a little too harshly. “But I’m here and I’m perfect.” I said softy, letting him see the emotion in my eyes.

He touched my cheek lightly, as if he was proving a point.

“Almost perfect.” I whispered, closing my eyes at his touch.

He kissed my cheek very gently. “I’m sorry.” He whispered.

“For what?” I whispered back, just as quiet.

“Not helping you today. I was too busy thinking.”

“It’s fine.”

“No it isn’t. I should have been comforting you.”

“Tyler,” I opened my eyes to find his only centimetres away. “It doesn’t matter. Promise me you won’t punish yourself for it.” We gazed at each other. I knew he could read the pleading expression in my eyes. “Promise me.”

“I promise.”

“Thank you.” I kissed him lightly, cautiously. He smiled, taking my breath away. I remembered how lucky I was. I had everything. But how long would that last?

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