is a one-shot set in 1918 in Chicago where Edward is laid in a hospital bed with his sister by his side.
I've always toyed with the idea of Edward having a sister in a fanfiction and of them being really close to each other.
i enjoyed writing this, i hope you enjoy reading this!
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‘Promise me something.’ I jumped, I had been sitting by Edward’s bed for the best part of two hours and he had not spoken once. I looked up from my book and into his sallow face, his eyes that were once a bright and clear green had faded into a dull and murky emerald. I rested the book on the small table beside his bed and took his hand into mine, sandwiching it between my own. He was so cold.
‘I was losing hope then, I thought you were asleep with your eyes open.’ I smiled, taking one of my hands and brushing it across his head, moving the stray curls off of his fever-ridden forehead. He reached up and stopped me from messing with his hair, his breathing escalated.
‘Promise me something.’ He repeated, looking me in the eyes and trying to sit up in the bed, I propped the pillows up behind him and helped him to steady himself against the brittle bed frame.
‘You know I can not refuse you anything, all you need to do is ask.’ fluffing the pillows again, my eyes caught his. ‘Are you comfortable now?’ He nodded then motioned for me to sit back down, I obeyed his silent request.
‘Promise me that you will look after mother when I am gone, I cannot bear the thought of her in here on her own. I know I am of no help right now, but at least I am here.’ He eyed me reproachfully, then looked over to where our mother was speaking in short whispers to the doctor on duty… his hair glistened in the dim light, white blonde in a sea of grey and disease and decay. A shining beacon of hope.
‘You know we do not get on, Edward, she may not want to be taken care of by me, have you thought of that?’ Guilty with regret from all of the wasted years of trying to sew up the seam again, my tone was quiet and mournful.
‘Yes. Which is why you do not have to take care of her… just sit with her once in a while. Take your book if you must, you do not even have to say anything. I just don’t want her to be alone.’ His eyes misted over, I frowned slightly.
‘But what about my family, Edward? Peter is already disagreeing with me for coming to see you so often. What will he do when I say I am going to visit my mother who has not said a kind word to me since I was a child?’
‘Peter should not be disagreeing with you; blood is thicker than water, Caroline. And besides, if I remember rightly, you did not want to be married to this man in the first place. Why are you so worried about him now?’ He was genuinely curious, I could tell from the way he was looking at me and how his tall frame shifted slightly so he was leaning a little towards where I was sat. I smiled and took a hold of the hand nearest to me, the skin was clammy and cold.
‘Because I have children, Edward. Your nephew and nieces. I have to think of what is best for them, and what else is better than seeing your parents having a loving and caring relationship?’
‘But he hardly speaks to you!’ His voice raised above our quiet, soft murmurs and caught the attention of the nurse on duty. She was a small woman, her wiry grey hair gave away the fact that she was old, with a piercing look that had me averting my gaze within seconds. I hushed my brother and went to fluff the pillows again, trying to avoid the eyes which he looked at me with.
‘Edward, let me deal with my own problems, please. I am not a little girl anymore. I do not need looking after.’ Edward had always been a caring brother, putting myself before him and keeping me away from danger. But I am a grown woman now. I’m sixteen. I’m married, I have three children, I think I can manage on my own.
‘What else am I supposed to worry about whilst I am cooped up in here?’ I smiled, a small tug at each side of my mouth.
‘Your health. I will not lose you, bother. You have to survive, I know you can do it.’ My voice acquired a fierceness I did not know I was capable of, however I did manage to escape the haughty gaze of the elderly nurse again.
‘Caroline, my dear sweet sister.’ I hadn’t notice my eyes welling up, my brother had, though. And he wiped away the tears that rolled down my cheeks with a fragile, shaking hand. ‘I’m sorry.’ He whispered as his hand was dropped back to his side as if all matters of energy had escaped through his skin, leaving him weak and unable to carry out simple, everyday movements. I looked back over at mother who was now sleeping peacefully, the doctor looked over to where my brother lay on his bed with an emotion etched in his features which I could only describe as pained… maybe scared? But what would he have to be scared of? He looked perfectly healthy, so why was he looking at my brother like that?
‘Little Caroline.’ It was a whispered adoration that brought my gaze back to Edward’s pale white face. ‘I am so sorry.’
‘Why are you sorry, brother? I don’t understand! Please..’ I frantically got to my feet and fluffed his pillows yet again. To be honest, it made me feel as if I was doing something to help. I was not a clever doctor who could find cures for these things, I was not a nurse who dedicated their lives to helping the ill; I was just… me. And in this moment, I was rendered useless. I heard a bed being wheeled out behind me, I did not look. My eyes should not have to look death in the face.
‘Sister…’ He pulled in a great rasping breath that somehow sealed his fate. ‘It’s time.’
‘No! I won’t let you! You cannot leave me! Not you, please, not you.’ I brought both of my hands up to his face, his beautiful face that broke a thousand hearts in one afternoon, my palms pressed against his sunken cheeks.
I looked up, my hands still on my brother’s face, and said in a loud clear voice:
‘Please, someone help me!’ My eyes sought out the doctor with the heavenly looks of an angel. Hopefully my brother’s guardian angel. ‘Help him.’ I pleaded. ‘Save him, please! Save him, I can’t live without him, he’s all I’ve got left of my family!’
The doctor stood frozen for what felt like a lifetime. ’Please!’ It was my sobbed pleadings that brought him out of his stupor and he made his way towards us with fast, deliberate steps. He pushed my arms our of the way and I stood and watched as he tried to keep my brother from falling into the void. A void where I could not follow.
The doctor did numerous things that I did not understand, he worked with jerky movements and a look of pure concentration on his face. He had blocked out the rest of the world and gone into a now familiar routine he had developed in these times of the influenza.
Edward’s mesmerising green eyes met mine and I saw the unspoken words.
‘You can’t.’ I whispered to deaf ears. I whispered my grief, I whispered my pain and above all I whispered my love for my only brother.
I am ashamed to say that I could not bring myself to look into his eyes any longer, I could not look death in the face. I could not accept how Edward had greeted his mortality with open arms. He was so calm; he did not cry out once.
I heard the fateful sigh come from the doctor I had believed was my brother’s guardian angel. I could not believe he was dead, but I had watched with wide eyes as he had wheeled the bed containing Edward out of the door and into the corridor. In the direction of the morgue.
My brother was gone.
Little over ninety five years later, Edward Masen’s gaze hungrily took in the image of his sister’s face captured in an old, musty photograph. He missed his sister with all of his heart. His sweet, little Caroline.
Caroline Elizabeth Masen had died in child birth four years later, leaving her husband with three children and a new baby boy. Caroline had thought that she would finally get to see her brother again in heaven.
Caroline was disappointed.