When Bella has been turned, when Edward is dying,When disease plagues the world and life is full of nothing but distrust even to your closest friends.
Switching the roles of Bella and Edward was an idea i have been thinking on for a long time and i decided to finally write on it! so ENJOY.
Moving back (BPOV)
Coming back to Carlisle was as much exciting as it was dreadful. When we had grown too 'old' to still reside in our old town, Carlisle had tried to drag me to Chicago, Illinois but I had refused. I wanted to travel the world, I was tired of the monotony of a life in the United States. I had tried to convince him to come with me but it had been worthless. Carlisle had gone to Chicago: now a Centre of Chaos and Heartland of disease. He was, as always, following his calling, like he had when he had saved me. Me… but not my mom or dad. Just me, I when my heart had kept going after theirs had stopped. Now? My heart was as still as theirs, as still as Carlisle’s.
He hadn't known about this strange strain of the flu when we separated but that wouldn’t have mattered to him, he would have headed straight for it if he had. Altruism, if it existed, was deeply ingrained in Carlisle’s being and my lack of it didn't matter to him we reunite. He would be my 'brother' again. I would be his very educated sister who he was stuck with after our parents were killed in a 'robbery'. He knew the only reason I had returned was seeing him so he had taken care of everything else. I would not have to face a monotonous routine of attending classes I already knew inside and out. I would not have to do anything I did not want to do. He gave me that liberty.
I still had doubts about going back. I was certain he would be very short tempered about not being able to be at the hospital 24 hours. I’m not sure I can face that. I know I would have his company during the day but did I really want that when he would be uncharacteristically bad humored? I would have lonesome nights. Thought like these made me want to turn tail and run. But how could I? I had promised to be back, he had made arrangements… maybe I could help at the hospital. That would lighten his load, I was sure.
I had left in 1915 before the States had joined the war, now it was in full swing and winding down just for my return. Everything would be the same soon.
When I arrived, the new house looked just as big as the last one. Carlisle, wanting to spend time with me but not willing to leave his work offered to take me to the hospital with him. He wanted me to meet his assistants and the nurses. He did not say it and would never force me, but he wanted help. I refused him this first night. I wouldn't go to the hospital my first day back. When left for the hospital I left for a walk. I would familiarize myself with the town, maybe pick up some books a store, not that I didn’t have enough.
In the park I saw them. A boy and two adults. They were a beautiful family, a matching pair and a combined set of genes visible in the boy. His mother’s bronze hair, his father’s defined nose. The family was having a picnic, laughing so hard it was contagious. It was impossible for me to take my eyes of them.
In the middle of their laughter the older man started to cough, loud and hard. I didn't need to be Carlisle to know he was sick. I felt an impending sadness, if he didn’t have a doctor look at that cough his family would not be laughing for long. I walked on, they had been the happiest humans I had seen in the longest time, but they were just that, humans. Fragile humans who never know what is best for them, who always make mistakes. I headed home. The sadness that had settled on me when the man coughed not leaving. Happiness never lasted.
I read for the rest of the night, waiting for Carlisle.
"Bella?" Carlisle called softly from the entrance of the house as he came in.
"Over here!" I called from his study.
I closed the book as he came in, glancing at his weary face. "How was the hospital?"
"Bad, there are more people getting sick, and no one knows where they’re getting it." He started to describe the symptoms and its targets. I listened and discussed. But life went on... well time did. My life had stopped forty years ago with the beating of my family’s heart
Time went on, more people became sick, and there were more deaths. The pandemic was now called the Spanish influenza. Everyone now distrusted their neighbors, afraid of infection. Carlisle’s mood was never good anymore; in his free time he paced living room floor anxious for to be at hospital. On cloudy days I preferred to avoid him. His temper was less Carlisle-like and more like that of a snapping turtle, snapping at everything that moves.
Shopping became my favorite pass time, what else could I do? In the months I had been with Carlisle I had filled the rooms he gave me with clothes and new books. I hunted alone every once in a while always the day before or the day after Carlisle. Never on the same day unwilling not to spend time alone with his moods.
I signed on as a nurse at the hospital as the disease became worse and some nights I would go to the hospital. Though I was not placed on the roster every night. The head nurse and others decided I did not need to spend my life fettered to the hospital and thought to give me time to be “young”. Little did they know that I was older than most of them.
Started to I regret coming back. I had seen the strains of this illness in Paris, and again in England in the last part of my time in Europe. Why had I assumed it wouldn’t be here? Why had I presumed to remain in ignorance with a doctor as a housemate?
Twice more I saw the same family together, and three the boy alone. When I saw the family, the father always looked sicker, but every time he coughed and his family worried he would say he was fine. Every time I just shook my head, mistakes. When I saw the boy, twice he was with friends and the last he had been alone, I guessed everyone else had stopped trusting him too.
All day Carlisle raced around the house like a hen with its head cut off until finally had enough. It had been the eighth time he asked if I was helping in the hospital today. I told him I would meet him there and I grabbed a random book from the room before escaping the house. I didn't know where to go but I knew that if I stayed I would lose my mind. I walked towards the park without paying attention to my surroundings. I ambled to the bench I had claimed as mine and opened my book. I had been reading for half an hour when I heard the approaching footsteps. My bench was so far away from any trail that I knew no one would just pass by. Heavy footfalls, unmeasured steps, a human. I kept my sight on the book, no longer reading but focused on the sound announcing the imminent arrival of a human. I was ready leave as soon as I was disturbed. The person stopped, I judge that this was the moment they had a view of the bench and my back. I smiled, at least they knew they were disturbing. The person hesitated in the woods long enough that for a second I thought I would be left alone. I was wrong, after half a minute the steps started again inching to the bench.
So much for peace. From the corner of my eye I saw a boy round the bench. He on the edge, far away from me. I deliberately ‘jumped' when I saw him sadly making my book slip from my lap onto the ground. It was the boy with the bronze hair. He was beautiful, more so than I would have expected from a human. The boy bent to pick up my book while I ogled at his form.
"Oh my! I'm sorry for scaring you..." his voice trailed off as she saw my face. His eyes widened, pupils dilated and I saw that they were beautifully emerald green. For a brief second I felt smug. In my human life I had been plain, now beautiful enough to make this boy tongue tied. The transformation almost forty years ago had smoothed out my skin, toned my body and leached the never present color from my skin. I felt a small smile tug at the corner of my mouth. The boy’s eyes looked dazed, his face lax. His head moved slightly from side to side and it reminded me of someone trying to shake a thought away. I wanted to chortle with delight but last problem Carlisle needed right now was for people to think his sister was insane. I smiled, and the progress he had made in clearing his head went out the window and his heart stuttered. I grew worried when his breathing became ragged; maybe people did have a reason to avoid him because he was getting sick. I let my smile go. What would I do if he fainted or worse? Out in the middle of the park. Relief came only when his heart finally beat normally and his breathing evened out. I really didn't mean to, startle you I was just coming to think for a bit and saw you there. I wondered who else could have found my hiding place..." The boy turned red as he processed what he said.
"Don't worry, I won’t get a heart attack that easily," I told him honestly, “and hey since when is this your place? I haven't seen you here before." I found myself wanting to talk with this boy but the darkening clouds reminded me that it would almost be time to go to the hospital.
"Oh, well that's because you just moved in with your brother just a short time ago, if you had been living with him you would have known and seen me here." I was taken by surprise, he knew who I was? I guess it would have been obvious but it did not think someone could put two together so fast.
"How…?" I asked, not bothering to complete my question.
"Well before the epidemic he always talked about you, like a proud parent of his child, and then... we heard the bad news, and that you would be moving in with him." I looked away from him but not before giving him a pained expression, I had my act down perfectly. "I'm sorry about you parents." His soft condolences made me remember Renee, her loving care, and Charlie, his quiet nature always driving mom up the wall.
I looked at his honest emerald eyes and looked away. "They're in a better place now." A place I could never go to, never follow because my soul is gone and I'm caught here... I added to myself. I looked up and gave him a practiced bitter, but hopeful smile. "I have to go, Carlisle will be wondering where I am." He smiled back and passed me my book.
"Can I walk you to your house then?" he asked with a self-conscious twitch of his shoulders.
"I'm not going home, I have the night shift at the hospital with Carlisle today." I speak softly to gently let him down.
"Then I shall walk with you to the hospital, a lady should not walk the streets of a dark town alone." I smiled at him, he was turning out to be quite the gentleman.
"You can walk me if you wish." I said. A breath taking smile appeared on his face. We walked to the hospital in a companionable silence.
As we go to the door I turned. "Thank you for walking me here"
"It was my pleasure." He said softly making me smile again. I turned and went inside where I noticed how much he had been making me smile. I wished him luck mentally, and hoped against hope that he wouldn't get sick; or if he did that he wasn't one of the causalities.
Chapter 3 prt 1
I had seen her multiple times in the park, just there. Her beautiful face shadowed with sadness and frustration. It wasn't hard to tell who she was, she shared some facial features with her brother after all. She had the same eye and skin color, though that was about it for the familiar resemblance. Then there was the fact that there aren't many people in town. The park wasn't the only place i saw her though. Sometimes I would see her in town when I walked with my mother. She always had the same sad expression, i would see her in the shop looking at clothes, something that had my mom jumping up and down with joy would only merely made her eyebrow rise slightly. When I went to the Book shop she would be there. It was like she was a magnet and she was always pulling me towards her.
The day that I finally got to meet her i had been so worried about father. He looked worse for wear every day but he kept saying that he was fine. We both knew that wasn't true even if mom could be fooled. Dad kept getting aches and pains, he had increasing breathing problems and mom knew none of this. Every time he had trouble breathing he would cough. I finally confronted father. I declined mom’s invitation to get the groceries with her instead using this time talk to dad. "DAD, you're sick." i stated simply. I knew what his answer wad and did not wait for his response. "Don't deny it! You can't even breathe right anymore! You ache all over! And when you cover your mouth with a tissue i see the blood! Dad please go to the hospital." I felt his denial before he spoke it. It was written all over his face, his posture. Couldn’t believe his audacity. I spoke again before he could declare the denial so clear in his body language. "DAD!!! you have to go, you are getting sicker! i can see it!" The statement I had meant to say rationally came out as a jumbled shout. Dad froze, stunned to see me raise my voice at him, but I had to convince him.
"You speak to your father this way? You DARE raise your voice at me?” He reiterated the words. And he said them, he sounded more shocked than angry.
"Yes dad, i do," i said giving him the most pleading look I could muster without dropping to my knees in front of his chair. "Can't you see, people are dying! I don’t want you to be one of them!"
"I am---" he tried to speak, he was going to give denial another go.
"Sick!!!!" i yelled with so much anger, interrupting him. He was so STUBORN!! He got up from his chair. I could feel my tears coming, i could feel the choking sobs that would choke me if I let them out. "DAD--" my voice broke, "Dad, I'm scared. Please, do it, for us. Come to the hospital with me. I know you don't want to hurt us by being sick, but cant you see that you would do much more damage by dying?!" I did not have to look him in the face to see the denial. HE stood stone still. Unmovable. I turned and ran. I ran out of the house, I wanted to run out of the planet. I knew there were tears on my cheeks, but I couldn’t care. I ran without seeing. I just ran. I found myself at the park when I finally focused on my surroundings. The park with so many good memories with my family. I must have been going in circles. I glanced around, there was no one in sight but a mother and her three year-old. I felt relief, I must have appeared as a mess. I wiped the back of my hand over my wet cheeks, i needed a quiet place to sit away from a place when anyone would be able to see me. I needed to get to my bench. I hadn't been there in a few months but that wouldn’t have changed it. I walked deeper in to the trees, looking for reclusion. When I finally saw it, i froze. Someone was already there...
Chapter 3 prt 2
THE BEAUTY (EPOV)
Her back was to me but I would recognize the dreamy brown tresses anywhere. Miss Cullen. I don’t know how long I stood staring at her back until I decided to go meet her. I walked around the bench and sat on the opposite side trying not to disturb her and only managing to startle her. She jumped a foot graceful foot in the air and dropped her book. I felt my shame engulf me as I bent for the book. I scared her. I put the book on my lap when I sat straight. I did not want to admit it to myself but I was using the book as a hostage. I’d heard she was not social and holding on to the book would provide a reason to make her stay and meet me.
"Oh my! I'm sorry for scaring you..." I tried to express my sincere sentiments, but as I looked into her face I lost sight of any chivalrous intention. I ran out of words. She was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. Her wide golden eyes focused on me, her deep brown hair falling delicately out of the bun and framed her face. She was perfect. I couldn't think, my mind was numb. She was beautiful and she was here, in front of me. I felt the need to shake my head to clear my thoughts. Then she smiled, the perfect white teeth almost visible under her slightly parted lips. The little coherency I had managed to muster fled from my mind. I could feel my heart skip a beat. It felt like a long time before I could speak again, all the while she had waited. When I was able to talk I tried to chat as if nothing had happened. "I really didn't mean to, I was just coming to think for a bit and saw you there, I wondered who else could have found my hiding place...”. I felt my face heat, I had just spoken of hiding. Woe on my soul, for I was in the presence of the most graceful woman and I could not have been more awkward if I had tried
"Don't worry, I don't get heart attacks that easily...and hey, since when is this your place? I haven't seen you here before." Her voice was the most wonderful music I had ever heard, I wanted to close my eyes and let it envelop me. As I tried to form a coherent answer I saw her golden brown eyes glance at the darkening clouds. I frantically searched for something to say, to hear her voice again, and to keep her by my side. Something that would entranced her in conversation, but nothing so deep come out of my mouth.
"Oh, well that's because you just moved in with your brother a short time ago, if you had been living here with him, you would have known and seen me here." Surprise flashed on her face, widening the already big eyes.
She did not complete her answer which only made me feel like I had said the wrong thing. Had I sounded like a stalker? Would she run away from me now? But she wasn’t running, she was still talking to me, at least for now. I hurried on to explain how I knew who she was. "Well before the epidemic he always talked about you, like a proud parent of his child," I had always thought that strange, he just seemed so...fond of her. "And then... we heard the bad news, and that you would be moving in with him." The expression on her face was heart breaking. I wanted to put my arms around her and pull her to my chest. I wanted to comfort her, but I knew I shouldn't take those liberties with a strange. "I'm sorry about your parents." her face had a small nostalgic smile on her face. In my heart, in my mind, the impulse to hug her sadness away remained.
She looked away. "They're in a better place now." The way she spoke made the statement feel incomplete, like there was something else she would not say. I thought of my father, of death, and how I would feel if he left. I pushed the impending sadness out of my mind for the moment, into a corner where it immediately began to fester. Miss Cullen turned back to me with a small bitter-sweet smile and spoke again. "I have to go, Carlisle will be wondering where I am." I did not want to separate from her but I could do nothing to prevent it. I smiled returned her book though desperately my mind searched for reasons to stay with her. "Can I walk you to your house then?" I probed though I expected rejection.
"I'm not going home, I have the night shift at the hospital with Carlisle today." She murmured, so gentle and sweet, so sweet.
"Then I shall walk you to the hospital," I said imposing my company instead of offering it. "A lady should not walk the streets of a dark town alone."
She smiled and in that moment I felt that the brilliance of her could illuminate my darkest night. "You can walk me if you wish." Her voice was still soft as she acquiesced to my demand.
I was delighted by her agreement even though I hadn't offered a choice.
"Thank you for walking me here." She spoke when we had arrived at the hospital’s main door and I couldn't contain the joy that burst through me.
"It was my pleasure." I whispered as we came to a stop, completely honest. Miss Cullen gave me a last smile before going inside.
I made my way home feeling happier than I had ever been... until I got to the front door of our quiet home and I remembered dad.
Chapter 4 prt 1
As I walked through the door I noticed I did not know the boy’s name.... but he knew mine, so unfair.
As I started the route around the hospital all thoughts of the boy disappeared. Things were worse off than they had been earlier and it appeared like they would get countless times worse before getting any better. When he saw me, Carlisle immediately ran to me. "Bella do you see?! We have to figure out a way to stay," he was almost sobbing. I hated to see him broken this way. His sadness made me want to curl up and sob with him, but he would hate that, he would hate me for thinking this way when there were so many sick people depending on our care.
"It's okay Carlisle,” I settled for giving him a quick hug before stepping back. He wouldn’t appreciate my pity. “We’ll try to stay, right now we need to check the patients and stop wasting time. Ok? We’ll figure something out it shouldn't be hard." I grabbed his hand and squeezed it lightly. "Now where am I needed?"
Carlisle squeezed back and looked at the papers he had in his hand. "Ok, I need you with sickest. They need the most attention, and an angel to watch over them," A smile tried to force its way onto his face and failed. Not even our private joke could lift his mood. I could not be an angel without a soul. He was so absurd I rolled my eyes at his idiotic statement, we both knew how ridiculous it was.
“I’ll go,” I nodded in assent and walked to my station.
Chapter 4 prt 2
She glided through the other people bustling about. Watching her head towards the people that needed her the most offered me peace. She had more qualitied in common with an angel than she thought. Fondness for Bella engulfed me. Her patients had missed her; they had told me. She was generous and kind but life had left deep scars in the soul she DID have. The pureness of her heart and consequently her soul were the reasons I saved her. They are the reason I wanted to keep her by my side. She is the daughter I never had and it made me feel inept that could not make her see how good she could be. I shook my head, there were people to worry about now. As I tend the sick I can’t help but think about how dear Bella beats herself. I know I shouldn’t leave her alone for so long, but I cannot leave all so many people sick and without help. Bella needs company, even if it was human.
Three hours into the shift I checked on Bella. It felt absolutely unnecessary, but I checked just in case. I found Bella bent over a woman a woman that had just been admitted and the way Bella moved hurriedly around her was indicative of her worsening condition. "Mom, c'mon, I know you are going to make it, stop saying that." Bella’s voice broke on ‘stop’. Mom? Why she was calling the woman mom? I ran to their side to see what I could help with.
"I'm sorry Evelyn, I don’t think I'll make it." The woman took a forced deep breath.
"Yes, mom of course you'll make it. I know you will," Bella chanted between sobs. I pushed Bella’s hands away as I checking the woman's vitals. Bella walked around the cot and took the woman’s clammy hand in hers.
"Sure, sure, Hun, I will. Just promise that you'll try to be happy if I don't," The woman’s voice was strained, her great effort visible as she spoke.
"Mom, please don't be so pessimistic," Bella was sobbing.
"Evelyn please promise." The woman wheezed, barely able to breathe any more.
"Mom, shhh, you need to rest."
"Promise… and I'll rest,… just make the… promise, Evelyn."
"I promise mom," Bella blurted and I knew she no longer saw a stranger on the hospital bed but her mother.
"That's good Hun… that's good,… I’ll rest now." The woman closed her eyes, her breathing slowed and heart stuttered to a stop. Bella was still as she gaped at the woman’s closed eyes. I gave her a moment as I picked up the woman’s chart me.
“Bella,” I whispered when I had made the require annotations on the chart. Bella’s stare bore into me as she lifted her head. Her eyes were empty, dead like the day she woke and found her parents were dead and she was alone. “Bella, May is gone.” I emphasized the woman’s name, afraid of who Bella saw in the bed.
“Just like her, just like sleep…” she whispered back, her eyes looking back to the woman but they were distant. “She’s not…” I almost heard her unspoken words ‘she’s not my mom’.
I shook my head. Bella closed her eyes for a minute before she leaned down to kiss the woman on the forehead.
"Bye, May. Be happy." She whispered.
When she straightened and looked at me her gaze was no longer lifeless. "Will you take her...?" She didn't finish her sentence and neither did she have too, I already knew she didn't like to take the dead to the morgue. I smiled tentively as I said. "Sure, you keep helping them."
When I returned to the ward Bella was still sniffling, I walked to her and whispered in a voice low enough not to be overheard, "maybe you should take a quick break." She did not argue as she turned and walked out.
Two minutes after she walked out They walked in. The man I had been tending to before coming to the sicker room, apparently he had gotten worse.
Chapter 5 prt 1
I stood on the threshold thinking. What would I do about father? If he kept trying to fool us into a false security he was only going to pull our family apart. With a heavy heart I decided that if he would not admit he was sick I was going to get mom make mom see. I took a deep breath and opened the door. Father was there, sitting in the same chair. I could feel the air thick with his determination and all the things he wanted to say. But he wouldn’t get a chance before if he didn’t hear me through. "I know what you are going to say, but don't say it." I decided to make everything easier on both of us by just speaking all I knew he wanted to say. "I know that as long as I live under your roof I will not treat you that way. I know you believe that it is time for me to care for myself. I also know that you're still going to pay for my education now that I'm moving out, when or if I decide to move out, but that you will not pay for my housing. I know that you have long tried to push me out to the world, but you have been scared that I would go to war. I know war no longer troubles you since the end is near... the only thing I don't know is if you have decided to get treated or not." I was resigned, he was surprised that I could read him so well. I wanted to laugh without humor; I could tell what he thought from just being in the same room with him, I knew him that well.
"I've decided that, yes, I will go where you take me," Dad said. I blinked repeatedly, in shock. It was the first time in years that he did something I did not expect. He laughed at me when he noticed my surprise. For a second he looked healthy, until he started to cough uncontrollably. I kneeled besides his chair but he reassured me before I could ask if he was okay. "I'm fine, now let us go to the doctor before I change my mind." He pouted, grumpy old man that he was and I saw his intentions; he was going to make fun of me. I could barely hold back the laughter. "Now, don't ever yell at your old man or he will have to take actions against you. EVEN if he has to drag himself up to a stronger, better looking, younger, version of himself." I chuckled, and grabbed him by the elbow to help him stand up.
"Where?" he asked so confused it would have pushed me into hysterics if the situation weren't grave.
"Dad, you just agreed to go to the hospital." I said determined.
"Oh, yeah, I did, didn't I?"
I just nodded and helped him out of his chair. He coughed when we got to the door which only made me want to get him to Dr. Cullen faster. Outside I remembered that mom home and leaving her a note would upset her more. We waited for her, Dad on his chair where he would go into coughing fits every few minutes. The more dad coughed the more I thought waiting for her wasn't a good idea. Was dad more ill of than I thought? A noise from the kitchen snapped me out of the terrible thought. Mom. I walked quickly to the kitchen where she was rummaging in the cupboards. "Mom, I'm taking dad to the doctor. He hasn't been feeling well and we waited to tell you in person." I hated to downgrade father’s illness but I didn't want her to worry. She was too good to worry. My efforts became redundant when proceeded to worry anyway.
"What's wrong?" Mom asked, her hands twitching in front of her looking for her pockets and coming up empty. Her nervous twitch, fiddling with her apron. She grew still when she didn’t find it.
"He... mom please don't worry, we'll be back. It's just that he's had a cough and I want Dr. Cullen to take a look at him that's it." Again I tried to downplay, and again she didn't fall for it.
"I'm going with you." she said determined. "Go to the living room and get your father ready to leave. I have to put the meats in the freezer." She grabbed the meats out of her bags and walked out the back door. In the living room I helped dad out of his chair.
Chapter 5 prt 2
We got to the hospital where Dr. Cullen examined dad and I didn't need to hear him speak to know what he was going to say: I had been right, dad was seriously ill... I felt my world crumble into pieces but I wouldn’t let it show; mom needed me strong. Instead I focused on the people around me. I felt myself overanalyze facial features and imagine what others thought. I knew my brain was running away with me again, I knew it was on overdrive as it always was when under pressure…
"What's wrong Carlisle?" Mom asked once we were in the silent room Dr. Cullen had ushered us to.
"Sorry Elizabeth but I'm afraid that your husband has the Influenza." As Dr. Cullen said this, I could feel the pain tearing into Mom, the pain the doctor felt to see another person in pain. My overdriven imagination ran away with me and I thought I could feel Dad in the other room, accepting. I had the feeling he had known he was sick, he just didn't want mother to worry. Last I felt my own pain. My own hurt. He was so stubborn! I wanted to throw another fit but I contained it. This wasn't the time or the place. My anger was a coiled black snake ready to strike.
“What are his chances of survival?” I asked the question I knew mom wanted ask the one the doctor did not want to answer.
He shook his head. I had heard about the odds of surviving this disease. I knew that once you were admitted to the hospital with it the only way out was with your feet first.
Mom ran into Carlisle's open arms and sobbed. I wanted to crumble to the ground in a broken huddle but I couldn't with mom here. I was glad mom and Carlisle had grown close when she had been his assistant because I didn't think I could comfort her the way he was now. I felt I would turn into a sniveling child if I felt her arms around me.
We were in the quiet room for five minutes, but mom’s sobs had made it feel like an eternity. Dad spoke happily when we returned his side. "Where's the funeral?" he asked lightly. He knew he was sick, and his chances of living were slim and he was blowing it all off!
Mom and I turned to look at him at the same time, I glared at him, and I could tell mom was doing the same. He slid off the chair he was in and walked up to us. Mom gave in first. She ran to him and sobbed into his shoulder, louder than she had in the other room. A small sad smile appeared at the corners of dad's mouth. A small HOPELESS smile. HE long since had accepted he would die before mom. But why did he have to give up so easily? No fight, just give in.
"Lizzy, you are going to make things worse. It's me that sick. You don't have to worry for my poor soul, we'll meet up in heaven and I'll still be as young as I am now! And you will always be as beautiful as you are now! Even when you'll have wrinkles and grandchildren!" he was trying to lighten the mood. It worked for mom, but it made no change with me. I glared at him unceasingly. HE looked at me but made no move to calm me. Sometimes he an uncanny ability to understand what others thought, those untimely occasions were rare but they happened, this was one of them. And I was glad he knew I was angry with him. "I'm so sorry son, I am, but...." he didn't finish before he started coughing.
He covered his mouth with his hand, but that didn’t help; I saw the blood on the long sleeve of his white shirt. Mom’s hands fluttered, looking for her apron. One of the hospital assistants walked to dad and I felt her confusion when she saw the blood on dad’s sleeve. The confusion didn’t last long as it turned into understanding. She spoke rapidly as she introduced herself as the head nurse and relayed her instructions. She told us how she was to take dad to the ward that held the healthier patients but now that she could see his condition would be taken to the sicker ward. She didn’t state that it was the ward that had the most deaths. How could dad get so sick without us knowing?
Chapter 6 prt 1
I walked out to the fresh night air. Though my body didn't need it, the air felt wonderful on my skin. It calmed me, and drove away the images of May dying. Of her eyes growing dull and her heart stuttering to a stop. Of the image of my mother that overlaid May’s while I stared at her prone body. I breathed in deeply, enjoying the scents that didn't involve sickness. I remained outside a few minutes before going back to the chaos. In the few minutes I had been gone the number of people in the ward had grown. How can the number of sick people grow so fast? In the midst of the crowded room stood Carlisle. Face charitable as he spoke gently to a patient, there was no sign of May.
When he caught sight of me at the door he motioned me closer. "How are you?" he asked, eyes full of concern for me.
I smiled sadly. "I’ve been better."
"Death always takes a toll on you... maybe you should go home early today." I couldn't help but look at him pleadingly, if I left now or even later but still earlier than normal I would see May’s prostrate body. I would never be able to live with it, I needed a distraction. I needed to saved as many lives as I could, more Mays that could be out there. More people like… I shook my head briskly, I don’t know if it was in response to his response or my thoughts.
Carlisle studied me but did no argue. "Then come, we have a new patient and I need you to watch over him. He is Mrs. Masen's husband," Carlisle said 'Mrs. Masen' fondly and I remembered he told me she had helped at the hospital months before I had come back. She was a person with a pure heart, another person he described as a guardian angel, but in her case compared to mine it was a very probable possibility.
Carlisle walked me over to the last bed on the right side of the aisle, in front of me, leading me and covering my view. I used the time to prepare myself to witness death in progress. The more time I got to concentrate, the greater my ability to handle would be. I scanned the person on the bed, assessing his condition, avoiding the immediate view of hi face. I first started to look from the feet up. I was almost to the face when I stopped dead.
On the cot, next to the man's shoulder, rested the head of an adolescent, pillowed by his arms. The bronze hair that stood out starkly against the white sheet made my dead heart leap. I knew without having to look at his face that the adolescent was the boy I had spoken to earlier. Gawked at Carlisle. For the first time in years I lost control of my expression and had no idea what my face gave away. Carlisle’s surprised at my reaction was apparent and he noticed I hadn't even looked at the man. I felt Carlisle’s hand on mine as he started to rub circles to the back of my hand with his thumb. Strength, I need strength. I stole myself to look back at the bed. Sure enough, on the hospital bed lay the boy and his father. The happy family was about to be broken apart. Happiness never lasted. I gaped, feeling tears that would never come prick at my eyes and sobs that wanted to burst from my throat. That's when HE stirred and looked up wearily. His gaze landed first on Carlisle then me. His eyes widened when he saw me and his pupils dilated. If the situation had not been so austere I would have smiled glad that his reaction to me had not changed as it proved to me that he was as healthy as he had been earlier in the evening. The boy’s intense gaze shifted focus and behind me I heard the distant steps moving towards us. The small, quick steps of a small heeled shoe, hurriedly placed with purpose and determination marked a female who knew where she was going. Mrs. Masen was coming back. I pulled myself together as her steps grew closer.
"Carlisle...!" Mrs. Masen voice was relieved. Did she think he would leave? We turned in unison to see who it was though we already knew.
"Eliza," Carlisle murmured as he turned. She smiled uncertainly her hands trembling in at her sides. "This…” Carlisle motion to me gracefully, “is my sister." His voice was proud, as if he were saying 'this is my daughter'. "Bella Cullen." I gave her the only the only smile I could muster this moment. Mrs. Masen didn't do anything. She was ... frozen...? She took a few seconds to return to normal animation and extended her hand towards me. Should I shake her hand? Would the lack of heat from my skin make her uncomfortable? My eyes flickered to Carlisle for a sign. He let go of my hand and closed his eyes in a too long blink that was my confirmation to shake her hand. I did.
"You must be the infamous Mrs. Masen my brother’s guardian angel." I spoke softly. It gave me a dull pang of pain to admit that she was Carlisle’s angel and not me.
My comment was met with a timidly smile, "I think you’re your brother’s angel, dear." Her voice was so warm I wanted to sink into it like I would an embrace. Carlisle had no sense of false security, his boy was tense and he stood on the tip of his toes, ready to jump into action. He was anxious to return to his patients. "Go." I murmured low enough for no one else to hear.
He did not need a greater invitation, abruptly he turned his attention solely on Mrs. Masen and took her hands in his. "I have to check on the other patients, but I feel I leave Mr. Masen in good hands.” He squeezed her fingers in his and smoothed his thumbs over her knuckles as he had done to mine earlier. “Remember his health and soul is in your hands." He gave us a last parting half smile before he dropped Mrs. Masen’s hands and walked away. When he was four patients away I murmured, "His soul? You still stuck on the angel bit?" He just looked over his shoulder at me with the first full smile I had seen in months. When I glanced at Mrs. Masen she almost smiled as she held her hand out to me. "Come meet my husband?" I took her hand and stepped closer to the bedside.
Chapter 6 prt 2
"Edward, say hi to Dr. Cullen's sister! Don’t just stare!" Mrs. Masen said disapprovingly and I almost laughed.
The boy stood up then. Edward. Now we were on equal terms. He extended his hand and I copied the motion intending to shake his hand. Instead his hand took mine to his lips and he placed a kiss on my fingertips. "Nice to see you again, Miss Cullen." His warm breath brushed my skin and sent a shiver down my spine. His voice was choked but still captivating. From the corner of my eye I saw Mrs. Masen’s confused expression as she studied us and from farther away I could hear Carlisle smothering a chuckle. We would have a long talk when we got home but for now I pictured him trying to conceal a smirk. I loved that image. Carlisle was not suited for perpetual scowling and I missed his smile.
I addressed Mrs. Masen feeling I had to explain the scene before her. "I apologize Mrs. Masen for not mentioning that I had already met your son.” Small crease formed between her eyebrows as I continued to speak. “Of course, then I did not know his name or relation to you." Here is where I would have liked to glare at Edward, and I would have, had I known him longer. Instead I observed Mr. Masen. As I studied him I noticed he truly was sick though a human would probably not be able notice it by eye, but I could.
"Please dear, call me Elisa, Beth, Lizzy, Liz, or but Mrs. Masen or Elizabeth. Okay?" I almost laughed but nodded. She continued to gape at me as if my vampire fangs had been exposed. Of course, I don’t have any unnaturally long fangs but the confusion in her eyes would have been the same. Briefly her gaze flickered down and I noticed that Edward was still holding my hand.
I released his hand while I searched for a new focal point. But what could I change it to. I couldn't bring up Mr. Masen, and I couldn't think of anything else where I could naturally lead a discussion. These years with almost no human contact have not aided my ability to have a proper conversation. Well, maybe I never had that ability.
"So how have you liked living with your brother? Carlisle says you have been working here though they don't let you work more night shifts because of your age?" Eliza spurred the dialogue, saving me the trouble. I sighed, grateful, as I began to check Mr. Masen's vitals. I did not like what I saw.
“No, I have been unable to convince people to raise the quota I have been set. Though god knows we need as much help as we can get.” I gave an exasperated sigh. “I have liked living with my brother, though it is dull when he sleeps away the day." I told the story we had built for the public. "I shop and bring home more items than I need. Basically I've just wasted time for the last few months." I admitted but the conversation no longer had my attention. I was more concerned with Mr. Masen.
The last few times I had seen him at the park, I had thought that what had made him sick was the cold that was going around. I was wrong and now I knew better: he couldn’t have had the flu for so long, he would have died from it already. The Spanish Influenza took no prisoners. You either recovered or died quickly. The man on this bed had tuberculosis; he had been ill with it since the first time I saw him. Tuberculosis has been eating him alive. He has wasted away so much that he is too weak now that he is infected with the Influenza. There is no way he will walk away from the hospital now. Not alive. "He's not going to survive Carlisle....” I took a short breath, feeling the smell of sick bodies pressing down on me. “He is too weak. This influenza will be the end his life." I spoke too fast and too low to be heard by Edward or Eliza, knowing Carlisle could hear me from across the room. Mr. Masen’s eyes opened slightly and he tried a small smile. He had heard what I had said and it was no surprise. He knew! I felt impending sadness; “Please don’t let me lose another one tonight.” I murmured involuntarily.
"Yes,” Carlisle replied, his voice as quiet as mine. Was it a reply to my spoken prayer? A confirmation? I did not want to know. “He knows about the tuberculosis, he told me when I examined him. He was diagnosed by another doctor. He thought his symptoms were from the tuberculosis, not a weak immune system that has admitted another disease." Carlisle talked fast. "I... that's why you’re with him and his family. He just needs to be happy and comfortable a little longer."
There is no hope. The thought entered my mind and leached way the color. Like tuberculosis, killing everything else slowly. Tuberculosis… tuberculosis was contagious. "Won't the other patients get sick with him here?" I asked glancing around, looking for Carlisle but stopped trying to get a glimpse of him between the other people standing around.
"HE isn't contagious." Carlisle spoke without hesitation.
"But when the other patients find out there will be an uproar."
He considered my words. They were true, it wouldn't take long for one of the volunteers or one of the nurses to notice that Mr. Masen had something besides the influenza. They would become apprehensive... "We'll have to put him in isolation. With only you and I for attendance." I heard him speak briefly with his current patient before walking back to us. His light, calculated footsteps standing out from the shuffling gait of the rest of the room’s occupants. I looked up and smiled when he was by the bed. "Go get the room ready." he murmured. He started to talk to Edward and Eliza but I ignored with words as I strode through the room, past the six other patients. At the door I didn’t pause for a last look at the bland white walls; I would be back soon enough to fetch the Masen’s.
Chapter 7 prt 1
I don't know when or how long I was asleep just that suddenly an angel stood in the midst of my jumbled dream. She was beautiful and her expression was in anguish. My dream was a sea of voices, turbulent with mismatched images. Weak voices, contemplating the angel’s beauty. I focused on a single voice, one that worried about the angel’s well-being. It worried about her stability, about her youth. I focused on that one voice that provided me with the best image of her. She turned away and all I could see was her profile. AS I kept looking at the side of her face I grew disgruntled. I wanted to see her face. I had to. And like always when waking from a dream, my mind threw my consciousness out of its shelter.
I looked up, dazed and confused and saw Dr. Cullen looking me. I knew then that the sea was a dream. I glanced around. Dad on a hospital bed, Dr. Cullen, the other people milling about. Dr. Cullen’s eyes flickered and there she was. Miss Cullen, not an angel. Why did she look so sad? Her lip was between her teeth, slightly puckered in a withheld sob. The pout disappeared around the same time I noticed mother behind her.
"Carlisle...!" Mom, exclaimed, relieved to have him check on dad so often. Her trust in him overwhelming. Dr. Cullen and Miss Cullen turned in response to mom’s call.
"Eliza," Dr. Cullen whispered. Mom almost smiled. Nervous. She was always nervous around him. I knew she loved dad but Dr. Cullen was handsome, even I could admit that. "This is my sister, Bella Cullen." Dr. Cullen said with a flourish of his hand. Isabella, Bella? A nick name. Dr. Cullen had never used the nickname before. It was nice, it made her less intimidating. The pride in his tone never ceased to surprise me. The doctor loved his sister. Isabella…, Bella smiled her Sweet, bitter smile. Mom froze, taken aback by the sheer beauty one person could hold, but she recuperated faster than I had earlier. I was proud of mom as she quickly put out her hand to… Bella… who took it politely.
“You must be the infamous Mrs. Masen, my brother’s guardian angel.” She said in the same sweet as honey voice from before. Mom's smile was shy. Nervous, always nervous." I think you’re your brother’s angel, dear." Mom spoke, understanding the doctor’s devotion for his little sister. I felt it then. Dr. Cullen's Impatience, growing as the minutes passed. His sister’s reassurance calmed the doctor and he turned and took both of mom’s hands. Miss Cullen had spoken? I didn’t hear, but... I felt it. I decided to ignore the feeling that I was missing something knowing that the pressure was causing my delusions.
Dr. Carlisle talked to mom, rushing through his words. "I have to check on the other patients, but I feel I leave Mr. Masen in good hands. Remember his health and soul is in your hands. “He gave mom a last smile as he dropped her hands and turned on his heel. I stopped paying attention to him as soon as his back was to us, so I saw Miss Cullen’s lips move slightly before she turned to mom. "Come meet my husband?" Mom extended her hand to Miss Cullen as she invited her over. Miss Cullen took mom’s hand and walked the last two steps towards dad and me
Chapter 7 prt2
"Edward, say hi to Dr. Cullen's sister, don't just stare." Mom said embarrassing me. She sounded disapproving and surprised at the same time. And I can’t say I blame her, she had found me gawking at a girl when I hadn't so much as glanced at one before.
I stood quickly trying to hide my embarrassment. Miss Cullen smiled a small smile that encouraged me to extend my hand to take hers. When she mirrored me I decided I would not settle for a handshake. I took her hand and lightly kissed her fingertips. The chill of her skin sent a slight jolt through me. Not unpleasant, but surprising. I controlled my reaction as I greeted her, "Nice to see you again, Miss Cullen." My voice was not mine but that of a strangled stranger. I guess I hadn't controlled my reaction as well as I had thought. I held her gaze as I spoke over her fingers but the connection between us broke when she noticed mom ogling at us. See mom! This is why parents should never be in the same room as a man’s love interest! I had her! And you distracted her! And you always wonder why you don’t get to meet any of my friends. I chastised mom in my mind, aggravation and amusement over mom’s reaction fighting to win as a primary sentiment. Amusement won, Mom’s confusion tipping the scale. My heart lifted and I felt myself looking across to room into Dr. Cullen’s mirth filled eyes.
“I apologize Mrs. Masen for not mentioning that I had already met your son. Of course, then I did not know his name or relation to you." There was an edge in her words and I wondered what she could be thinking. She looked at dad and bit her bottom lip.
"Please dear, call me Eliza, Beth, Lizzy, Liz, or anything that isn't Mrs. Masen or Elizabeth. Okay?" I almost laughed at mom's attempt at staying young. She hated when people made her feel old by calling her Mrs. or her long name. Miss Cullen nodded seriously and I wondered if she wasn’t laughing inside. Mom’s amusingly confused gaze stay focused on Miss Cullen and I remembered that I still held her hand in mine. I smiled lightly feeling the cold of her skin again.
Very gently, slipped her hand from mine, and an awkward silence settled on us. I wouldn't have broken it, Miss Cullen was amusing when she was uncomfortable, but mom, who has never been at ease with awkward situations, did break it.
“So how have you liked living with your brother? Carlisle says you have been working here though they don't let you work more night shifts because of your age." Miss Cullen looked relieved as she checked dad's pulse.
“No, I have been unable to convince people to raise the quota I have been set. Though god knows we need as much help as we can get.” Miss Cullen took to answering mom’s questions one at a time, how she remembered all of them was beyond me. “I have liked living with my brother, though it is dull when he sleeps away the day. I shop and bring home more items than I need. Basically I've just wasted time for the last few months." Though her words were still a string o coherent thought I could tell that Miss Cullen’s concentrating wasn’t the conversation anymore. She was distracted by something else.
I saw the small frown appear on her face, at the same time as a small wrinkle on her forehead between her eyebrows. Her lips moved slightly, like a prayer or like she had when the doctor had left. Dad’s eyes opened and he gave Miss Cullen a weak smiled. Then I knew it; there was something he wasn't telling us, something not even Dr. Cullen was telling us. I looked for the doctor and found him near the last bed on the left, opposite dad's side. His head was bent, but that didn't stop me from reaching out to him, would I get a read for his expressions from this far away? I could feel sadness, but it could have just been the doom that overhung the room.
A few seconds passed by the same way. Then I Dr. Cullen lifted his head, had a brief chat with his patient and started walking towards us. He came to a stop by his sister who left our side without a glance and walked out the plain sandy brown door. Dr. Cullen took over checking dad. Thinking in Miss Cullen’s wake I felt like there was a whole conversation mom and I were missing out on. When I looked back at the doctor he gave me a small knowing smile. I was going to figure out what that meant and what was going on, no matter what.
Chapter 8 prt1
As I walked to the room Mr. Masen would be occupying, I reasoned with my left brain. I was tired of the angelic references. Carlisle had even gotten Mrs. Ma… Eliza to go along with his game. How much did she believe her own statement? Did she know we had no soul, even if Carlisle deserved one? Was I reading too much into petty comments from a stressed out female?
I tidied up the room at lightning speed, I had to get back before any of the nurses noticed Mr. Masen's condition. It looked like nobody had moved since I had stepped out of the room but I knew they had. "Everything’s ready." I said out loud. I hoped he had at least told them something as to the reason they were getting a room assigned away from the main wards.
"Good." he said loud enough for the humans to hear, that meant he had told them something, right? "Can you and Edward get Mr. Masen to the new room? I have something to discuss with Eliza." or maybe he hadn't told them anything. I sighed internally. Why did he have to choose today to take interest on a specific patient? Not that I minded watching THIS patient and his family, but still... his interest caused me anxiety. Something was going on with Carlisle and I would find out what.
Chapter 8 prt2
Carlisle led Elisa away, hand on the small of her back. She was beautiful, Edward had inherited the perfect balance of looks from his parents. I turned to Edward. He was watching me. Weird. I shook that thought from my mind and reminded myself that we had to move his father to the room I had prepared. THAT'S why he was looking at me, the nasty thought floats in my mind. When I open my mouth to address him I find... nothing… I had nothing ready to say... I felt awkward and that irked me. I closed my mouth, smiled and tried again, this time managing to think about what I was going to say. "Come on, we need to move him. We won't have help because everyone is busy so we'd better get helping him." Was it only me or did that sound confused and confusing?
His smile was slight, I guess I must have been confusing. "I think I can handle that." He was confidence was reassuring I could not show my supernatural strength. I quickly checked Mr. Masen’s vitals to make sure we could move him. I suspected I was over checking him but I didn’t want to lose another of my charges tonight. Some people were born to be doctors, like Carlisle, but I wasn't. I knew I would never be able to deal with so much death. For a second, the image of May’s body filled my vision and it warped into mother’s body, her childlike eyes still open and staring.
A shudder ran down my back as I shook away the images and focused on Mr. Masen
who had worsened, not enough for a human to notice but enough for me to see. A very warm hand wrapped around my hand stopping the trembling had not notice. I looked up startled and found the greenest eyes staring at me. His soft features and wide eyes offering comfort I could not accept. I felt my control slipping for the second time in one night. I felt the prick of tears I could never shed and all the loved ones I would never see again. I took a deep breath that came out as sob when I released it. First one, then another sob erupted. Edward took my other hand and gently pulled me into his chest. He hugged me sweetly, his hands carefully rubbing my arms, his warmth seeping through the thin sleeves. I sniveled and sniffed into his shirt but no waterworks would ever be present. I tried to reign in my emotions because this reaction would only prove to people that I did not have the emotional maturity to work more of the night shifts right... I tried to regulate my breathing and calm my face. It’s when I processed the implications of the situation. Edward was holding me close and I had allowed him to. I looked into his face, embarrassed and feeling a blush that would never show up. He was so close, I could hear his heart beating and smell the blood that pooled in his cheeks, right under the soft skin.
He smiled crookedly down at me and I returned it. His relieved exhale brushed my face and I stopped breathing. He was intoxicating, the smell of his blood inebriating. I felt his heart beat strongly under the hand that lay on his chest. Bloodlust burst through my senses and I felt the blood in the veins of his neck calling out to me in a hypnotizing beat.
He leaned down, his beautiful eyes on mine and I felt my smile drop as I absorbed the emotions flowing through me. I didn’t dare breathe, afraid because I did not know how much of his scent I could take before I attacked him; I didn’t dare move. What was he doing? My mind raced, as it tried to process the second set of feelings that rushed me. My thoughts whirred over the slight tingling of my lips and sensations I hadn't felt when I was human. A frustrating beat pummeled me like the relentless wash of waves over the beach, leaving my got and cold and confused. My anticipation was painful and the ach in my throat unbelievable.
But Edward did not stop moving until he his lips were near my ear. "Are you better?" he queried sweetly.
I wanted to laugh hysterically. Relieved that he hadn't done anything rash. Disappointed that he hadn't done anything rash. I could do nothing but nod in response to his question, relishing in the feel of his smooth cheek against mine. Two types of desire pooled in my throat. I nodded again but he didn't move just held me. When I knew he wasn't going to say anything else, I sighed. We needed to take care of his dad.
OVERPOWERED (EPOV) (part 1)
Miss Cullen had been gone for more than five minutes, where had she gone? I didn't have the confidence to ask Dr. Cullen though he was just chatting with mom.
When she walked into the room her face had a resigned. Why?
"Everything's ready." She said softly. Ready for what?
"Good." He said, louder than she had talked. Can you and Edward get Mr. Masen to the new room? I have something to discuss with Eliza.” I felt betrayed, So he was going to tell mom but not me? What is going on? At least I had time with her while he talked with mom. Mom walked out the room, the doctor’s hand on the small of her back, what was with that? I decided it was none of my business and turned to Miss Cullen.
She was still looking after her brother. She turned to me then. I really don't know why I was looking at her but, I was. That must have been a very awkward experience for her. She looked like she was deep in thought and I let her be; I wasn't one to disturb others. When she focused back on me and noticed I was still looking at her she opened her mouth, but didn’t say anything. I must have made her more uncomfortable than I thought. She smiled and tried again. "Come on, we need to move him. We won't have help because everyone is busy so we'd better get helping him" I smiled, she wanted to get rid of me that fast?
"I think I can handle that." I had helped move dad in the past when he fell asleep on the couch. Even lately I'd been helping him and I was absolutely sure I could move him now. She checked dad, why were they checking him so often, was he that sick? The hand she had on thebe started to shake, this couldn't be good. I saw it sit there shaking for a few seconds before I made my decision. I slowly put my hand over hers, for comfort if she needed it or for help if she was trembling from exhaustion. She did looked tired.
Miss Cullen glanced up at me I smiled sadly, was she going to reject me? Slowly her face fell, becoming sadder and sadder. Breaking down completely, like in my dream. Then she sobbed, I couldn't handle it. I grabbed her other hand as the sobs escaped her lips, and pulled her into me. Her body felt frail as it shook with heart wrenching sobs. She was so small and defenseless that I barely noticed she was twenty degrees colder than the room. But I noticed. She buried her face in my shirt and all I could do not to start crying myself was rub her arms. I felt the chill from her seep into my bones but my body did not complain, too overjoyed to be this close to her. She stopped sobbing after a short while and when she looked up I could feel her embarrassment, and smiled. She should not feel embarrassed. She was strong and independent, that she needed a good cry once in a while did not change anything. When she returned my smile I felt like I had been punched in the gut. I forcefully let go of my breath. On her face there was a smile so sweet I felt cavities forming just from looking at it. Her face lost the smile and an intense expression replaced it. I felt the light pressure of her hand on my chest but it wasn’t pushing me away. Bella’s eyes became hypnotizing, exerting a gravitational pull on me and I began to move in answer.
I had the overpowering urge to feel her rose pedal lips on mine, just for a second. Just for a life time. They were so close, and the parted slightly as I watched them. Her fingers on my chest curled slightly, in anticipation I hoped. The closer I got to brushing her lips with mine the more the desire built up. Then her eyes widened and I saw the fear in that single twitch. Realization struck, I couldn’t kiss her when she was unwilling. I shouldn’t kiss her if she barely knew me. She wouldn't be very pleased. But how would I curve my desire, how to curve my direction when I was so close to those perfect lips. I couldn't stop and leave so much space between us. Instead of her lips my mouth headed for her ear. I leaned down to her and whispered, "Are you better?" Relishing the tingle I felt on my lips as they moved to close to her skin. I tried to act like I had had no other intentions than leaning down to talk to her but I wanted to pulled her closer until she was under my own skin. I wanted to pull her up in an unending kiss but I settled for the soft touch of her skin. Her cheek was against mine, softly brushing. I closed my eyes and focused on the spot. Here I could feel her temperature, she must have been freezing. She nodded, stopped for a second and nodded again. Her skin skimmed mine. I couldn't force myself to break the contact, if she wanted me to release her I would let her be the one to step away.
She exhaled forcibly and I found that as my cue to let go.
Chapter 9 prt2
She went focused back on dad after I let go. My lips still tingled with a desire I had never experiences, not on this level. When dad was ready I helped dad to his feet, slinging his arm over my shoulders. Miss Cullen supported dad’s other elbow. Dad’s slow stroll worried me, when had he gotten THIS sick? He was too light, but I didn't notice this until later. Right then my thoughts centered around the two people besides me. Worry and desire side by side. It seemed that in the last few hours they were all I thought of; he was the source of anxiety and fear of change; she numbed my senses and took me away.
I found myself tuning to dad. His breathing, slightly labored breathing, his soft arm over my shoulder, his quick pulse under my fingers. Eyes wide, and fully awake. What was he thinking? I wondered. I could usually read dad without trying, I could tell what he thought and how he felt. But at that moment I was too exhausted and I had to focus on him to be able to distinguish. Slowly the familiar feeling I got when I could perceive his thoughts the clearest enveloped me and the inner workings of dad’s mind became clear. It was as if I could hear his thoughts, or well the sentiment behind them.
Bella led us to a lonely ward with two beds and no other patients. Four comfortable chairs were settled about the room instead of the foldable that were in the other ward. I led dad to one of the beds. I felt the hardest part of our journey to the new quarters was over but as we rounded the corner of the bed Bella let go and all of a sudden dad got a lot heavier. I folded under the added weight I did not expect and we would have tumbled to the ground had Bella not taken hold of dad again. When I found our balance again she let go of dad again this time I expected the added weight. How much weight had she been helping me with? Carefully dad lay back with a secretive smirk on his lips.
Bella became a blur as she moved around him making sure he was comfortable. I sat on one of the chairs that was farther away from dad’s bed, trying to be out of the way as I watched Bella and my father. Bella fiddled with a metallic pole then a bag of liquids, needles, and tubing. She set all of this on the bedside table in neat rows but made no move put it together. She walked out and came back in setting a pile of linens on the foot of the other bed along with a small plastic container.
Bella fluffed dad’s pillow as she nodded in response to his whispers. What was he saying? I tried to tune into him from my chair he was already asleep. For the first time since meeting her I tried to take a guess at what she thought, listening for the odd sensations that came with tuning into someone else... and I got nothing. This had never happened before. It could be that I was too far away from her. Or it could be the exhaustion that was slowly becoming my enemy. I reclined into the back of my seat and closed my eyes.
"You know, you should go home and sleep.” Bella spoke softly from somewhere close. “These chairs are more comfortable, but nothing compares to a bed." I felt my eyes snap open and my vision fill with her image. She sat lightly on the foot of the empty bed on the corner closer to me.
"And you look tired, maybe you should do the same." I said politely, observing the dark shadows under her eyes. How long has she been awake? She smiled without humor. Did she know I meant the dark shadows under her eyes? Was she insulted?
"I'm used to it. Late nights." she winks and gives me what I suppose is a bad girl smile. I laughed. That's when Carlisle walked in with mom in his arms, half asleep, her head resting on his shoulder.
I smiled, that was mom and this was a picture I was accustomed to. This is the way she would arrive when she used work nights with Carlisle. By the time she was home in the morning she would be more asleep than awake and Carlisle would have to carry her to the front door and hand her to dad who would take her the rest of the way to their room. "Maybe mom should be the one going home!" I said bursting into laughter. I loved to tease my mother when I had the chance. I didn't get many so I took advantage of the opportunities she provided.
"You both should go," Carlisle said thoughtfully. “and you Bella." he said as he turned to her. Her eyes widened and mouth opened in an O as her jaw dropped. Unlike her I was not surprised. "Bella why don't you take them to our house? It’s closer to the hospital than theirs, and we have more than enough space.” And for some reason his declaration did not surprise me either. Carlisle was very generous and his offer met the script for what I knew of her character. “This way you can go home and rest too." Bella regarded Carlisle like she believed he had lost his mind and maybe he had to have dealt with mom's sleepovers in his car over the last years. "Bella, you have not slept well the last few days. You have great shadows under your eyes, I don't think shadows are in fashion." he said teasingly, and laughed good naturedly. Mom bobbed her head in agreement, still in Carlisle’s arms as if she weighed nothing. She murmured something unintelligible and it was difficult not to join her and Carlisle in laughter. Through my laughter was uneasy. The way he spoke, the way I felt him. The sincerity in his offer and his dealings with us was not present as he addressed his sister. His words hid a second meaning, a secret agenda? What could that be?
Edward stepped away from me as soon As my sigh gusted out. I could not face him afraid that I the double desire I felt for him a few moments earlier would multiply. I did not want to harm him. I did not want to lose more control that I had already. Instead I busied myself with getting Mr. Masen ready. I was afraid of what just happened, I had been too close to snapping at his neck. And he had not been afraid of me like a normal person should have been instead he leaned closer, leaned down. I was afraid. Why he had let go so fast if he hadn't been the one in pain? Had he figure out that I wanted his blood more than anything right then? Before I could get too carried away with thoughts I couldn’t have Mr. Masen caught my attention. "Hello Angel," he said with a smile. This caught me by surprise; his eyes were lucid enough to know reality from sleep, or they should have been.
"Sir? Are you awake? Can you tell me your name? Can you tell me where you are?” I asked, trying to ascertain if he was hallucinating.
“My name is Edward Anthony Masen, and I am located in the hospital. Although exactly where my exact location in said hospital is I would never be able to say, this building feels like a labyrinth to me.” He spoke with quiet laughter.
“Very good, sir.”
“Thought I was more loony than sane, di‘ya, Darling. Who do I have the honor of taking my care?” His voice was quiet and still amused. HE knew who he was and where, he didn’t seem to be disoriented and he kept his sense of humor.
“I'm Bella Cullen, Dr. Cullen’s sister." I introduced myself, trying to better gage his state of mind. Did I miss something?
"I heard Lizza, is she around?” He asked for his wife but made no attempt to look for her himself. Was it because he knew she wasn’t in the room or because he couldn’t move?
“Dr. Cullen needed to consult with her. WE have to move you to a private room and he needs to explain why.” I spoke, edging around the subject without wanting to outright voice that Carlisle as telling his wife something Mr. Masen himself should have told her.
“Ah! Should have known my dirty little secret would out itself at some point.” The amusement never left his voice. “So Angel, do mind if I call you that?” HE asked looking to anyone’s eyes the part of a kindergartener. I half smiled. He was sweet.
"I'm not an angel. I'm just helpful, like your wife." I corrected him, I didn’t want him to add salt to my wounds.
"But you aren't normal, are you dear?" I felt more surprise than I wanted to display but I sensed that he could somehow feel it. He smiled an almost broken smile. "Dear, you can tell a dying old man. Who would I tell? I'll be lucky to last the night."
He was right, but my instinct was to negate everything. To negate that I was something out of the ordinary in self-preservation and to negate the fact that he would die and I would have failed a second time in a few hours. "You're not old." The first thing I decided to address was the only thing I could truthfully because he really wasn’t old at forty. "And you are going to live past tonight, I’ll make sure of that." I spoke with a conviction I did not feel.
His smile grew. "It's too late dear.” I opened my mouth but he didn’t wait for my response. "You didn’t answer my earlier question."
I swallowed my remark and answered. "No, I'm not normal."
"I see." His voice was so strongly that for a second I thought he may make it out alive, but then he coughed. My eyes were playing tricks on me. “My personal angel.”
"Not being normal does not mean I'm an angel." I said meekly.
"You're close enough, dear Bella." He smiled like a little kid. I decided that this argument wasn't helping him. Grief further tinted my mood, he was stubborn to the core, just like my father.
I focused on our journey to come instead of who he reminded me of and for it I needed to enlist his help. "I need you to do something so I can better help your son carry you." When he nodded in agreement I asked him to put most of his weight on the elbow I would be carrying, and to walk slowly, so I could support him while Edward walked.
"But dear, you'll break, you're so much shorter than us." he said soberly, but I saw the deep down he was teasing. He acted so normal how could he be so sick?
"Don't you trust the abnormal girl?" I asked. He started to laugh but coughed instead.
"Ok, I give in." he acquiesced and I smiled. "My personal, almost guardian angel." he said. I couldn't hide the twinge of hope and goodness this brought me.
I helped Mr. Masen sit up on the bed, then Edward came to the bedside and put his father's arm around his shoulder. As soon as he had done this I took Mr. Masen's elbow and took care to carry most of his weight as he walked slowly.
I led them to the ward I prepared. I had looked for the comfiest chairs but they were still not enough. We walked into the room and as Edward led his dad around the corner of one of the beds I let go, we wouldn't all be able to fit. Mistake. Immediately Edward tipped to the side, his father's weight pulling him to the side. Moving at the fastest human speed I could manage without giving myself away I reached out and took the elbow again. Waited a minute and let go again when I thought Edward was ready. This time they stayed up right and Edward finished leading Mr. Masen to the bed. I went around, to help him lay back. As soon as Edward was free he headed for one of the seats. I could tell he was tired in the way his lids drooped, and how he sat like a sack of badly placed potatoes. He wouldn't last longer much longer without sleep. Then Mr. Masen spoke once again distracting me from his son. "Thank you Angel, I mean Bella, for helping this helpless man."
"My pleasure, but you're not as helpless as you seem." I said trough still lips as I nodded. Edward couldn't have seen or heard me respond, but Mr. Masen had his lips moved a fraction of an inch into a small smile. “Is there anything else you would need?” I inquired but she shook his head and fell asleep. Mr. Masen would need fluids, but asleep he would not be able to consume anything. I set about the room gathering tubing and needles to inset an intravenous drip. I arranged all of this on the table beside the bed. I would never attempt to set the drip myself, and especially not after what had just happened in the other ward. My senses still tingled from the memory scent of Edward’s blood. I would wait for Carlisle to do it, he wouldn’t mind the smell of blood. . I looked about. I needed to get bedding for the second bed as well as extra blankets. I went to the linen closet around the corner from the room. IN there the staff kept some extra toiletries for the patients or themselves if they ever found themselves in extra-long shifts. I set these at the foot of the extra bed. The good thing about the bed was that either Edward or Eliza would be able to stay in the room and watch MR. Masen overnight. Though I didn’t know how wise it was to let the family of the patient visit. I sidles to MR. Masen’s beside. He opened his eyes when he felt me. “O brought some extra things. Bedding for the extra bed, some toiletries, in case you or your family wanted to take care of some grooming.”
“If you want me to top calling you by my special nick name you need to stop acting so good,” he said with a last smile before he went back to sleep.
When I turned back around Edward he was reclined in his chair, eyes closed, a small frown on his lips. He could have been asleep except for his irregular breathing but I knew this wouldn't last. Edward would fall asleep any minute and waking up later with sore muscles. I may not have been doctor material but I had done my fair share of studies the past forty years and I knew I had to get him out before he feel asleep that way.
I walked to the corner of the empty bed and sat on the foot of the bed closest to him. I took care not to spill the linens as I sat I don't think I even made a dent on the blanket. "You know, you should go home and sleep. These chairs are more comfortable, but nothing compares to a bed." I would not offer him the extra bead because it would be Eliza’s call who would stay in it.
His eyes narrowed. "And you look tired,” He looked at me and I didn’t have to read minds to know he was referring to the shadows under my eyes, Darn I! I knew I should have gone hunting Carlisle came back from hunting himself, when was it three days ago? I heard a familiar set of footsteps and Carlisle's quiet chatter, he and Eliza were on their way back and I was sure Carlisle had heard Edward’s observation. “Maybe you should do the same." I smiled I was going to blow off his close inspection, deceive him and lead him away from the secret he could never know.
"I'm used to it." I remarked, searching hurriedly for an excuse that was more human than, "I should have gone hunting a few days ago, but I missed my date.' So I did the first thing that came into my mind. I said "Late nights." With as much confidence as I could bolster and winked at him. His laughter reassured me. I must have done a good job and not blown my cover since he wasn't running and screaming yet. Carlisle entered the room then, cutting short any response Edward would have come up with. The sight of Carlisle and Eliza was one I was unprepared for. Eliza was in Carlisle’s arms, her head relaxed against his shoulder. How could she be so comfortable with a vampire? How could her son, too, be so neutral to our skin temperature? I remembered with embarrassment my lapse in control earlier. I had almost attacked a person in the middle of a crowded ward, would I ever live it down?
"Maybe mom should be the one going home!" Edwards’s remark and laughter brought me out of my reverie. Well, they both needed it, dearly.
"You both should go," Carlisle supported his statement slowly would it have been very immature to stick my tongue out at Edward? Of course, if it’s the first course of action a five year old would take you would think it was but I never got to figure this out as Carlisle turned to me and spoke the words I least wanted to hear. "And you too Bella," She shock that accompanied his words left me frozen, what? I assumed he’d heard Edward’s comment and I knew it would get me a reprimand and a forcefully imposed hunting trip but I never would have suspected he would send me home early. I knew I stared at him in disbelief. "Bella why don't you take them to our house? It’s closer to the hospital than theirs, and we have more than enough space. This way you can go home and rest too.” I should have expected this, especially after May’s passing earlier, but I couldn't go home so early. I gawked at Carlisle trying to communicate how much I needed to stay, trying to convince him with my expression. Didn't he realize he needed my help here? Couldn’t he tell that I needed to feel useful? More than I needed to hunt? “Bella, you have not slept well the last few days.” Yes, in the last thousands of day. “You have great shadows under your eyes, I don't think shadows are in fashion." He laughed at his own joke. Why? Oh, why? Same old excuse! After a second of lament, I became resigned. I did need to hunt so I wouldn’t try to eat the patients or, their families, alive.
Eliza helped lighten my mood when she tried to say, "First time he is wise in fashion, listen to him, he may be clueless but even he knows that." but jumbling it so much that I could barely decipher it. I laughed with Carlisle and Edward. It looked like The Masens would be staying with us for the night and I would be taking Humans to a vampire’s house… No problem there.
Please comment, what do you think?
"The End Before it Begins"