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A Prescription for Love

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New Story: This is different from the norm. In all of the stories that I’ve read or that I’ve seen, all of the characters are disgustingly perfect unless they are written with very clear flaws. This story is about love (um, duh! Look who’s writing it. I’m the queen of romance), and finding it in the least likely place with the least likely person.

Now, this story is based in a hospital. My medical training comes from…WebMD. I’m not a doctor, nor do I claim to be. I’m a music teacher who has a wild imagination and a penchant for all things Twilight. Which brings me to my disclaimer: None of this is mine. I’m not, nor ever will be, Stephenie Meyer. If was, I’d be rolling in the dough from her insane imagination that gave us Bella and Edward. No copyright infringement is intended.

Chapter One:

BPOV

“Here’s your extra pillow, Mr. Tomlinson,” I said as I fluffed it behind his head. “Is that comfortable?”

“You’re a lard ass,” he snapped. “Go on a diet.”

“I’ll take that into consideration, Mr. Tomlinson,” I said, ignoring the biting comment from our resident crazy man. He was found on the streets, mumbling that the rats were eating his eyeballs and that his shoes ran away. The police brought him in and he was staying in the ER until a bed opened up in the psych ward. I got the dubious honor of getting Mr. Tomlinson as my patient. That meant I had to wash his crusty old body and listen to his demeaning commentary about everybody in the ER. The main person receiving his barbs was me. Yes, I was, um, plump, but I wasn’t unhealthy. I was just fat. “Do you want anything to eat?”

“Always thinking with your stomach, tubbo?”

“Mr. Tomlinson, please be respectful,” I sighed. “I didn’t make any comments about your hemorrhoids when I was cleaning your ass.”

“Bitch,” he barked. I rolled my eyes and shut his curtain, walking to the circulation desk.

“Tomlinson is being extra crotchety today,” my friend, Angela noted. “Really rude to you.”

“He’s a lonely old man with schizophrenia. I try not to take his words to heart,” I shrugged. “However, I will be happy when his scabby ass is upstairs in the psych ward.”

“How bad was it?” Angela asked, wrinkling her nose.

“I need a shower. Or twelve,” I shuddered. “These were not the scrubs I arrived in, Ang.”

“Yeah, they’re not your usual happy duckie scrubs,” Angela teased. “It’s standard hospital blue.”

“He shit on me,” I groaned. “Anyhow, I’m going to finish charting and then I’m heading home.”

“Bella, why don’t you come out with me and the girls,” Angela begged. “We’re going to this new club. It’ll be fun!”

“No, thanks. I have to get home to my dad. He’s still laid up from his injury,” I sighed. Honestly, I’d rather go out with the girls. My father makes Mr. Tomlinson look like a kitten. The hatred my father has for me is shocking but I couldn’t leave him. Not now. He lost his leg after a bullet wound got infected and he wasn’t coping. And he was taking it out on me.

“Fine. But next time, I’m not taking no for an answer. You hear me?” Angela asked, arching a brow.

“Yes, Ang. I’ll see you tomorrow,” I smiled. She waved and skipped to the lounge at the end of the hall. I finished making my notes, speaking to the nurse who was taking over my patients and walked to my locker. Opening it up, I slipped on my coat and checked my phone.

No messages.

But then again, why would there be. All of my friends are here at work. Well, scratch that, Angela is my friend. The rest are acquaintances. With a heavy sigh, I bundled up and headed out into the chilled Chicago air. I worked at Cook County Hospital as a nurse. I earned my nursing degree while working full time since my dad wouldn’t pay for my college education. I worked as a nurse’s aide in a nursing home, caring for elderly patients in the dementia wing while I completed my course work. I hated working there; seeing those poor people who were just shells of who they once were. I made the decision that I would not work in geriatrics once I got my degree, finding the time in the ER to be the most exciting and challenging.

You never know what’s going to come in next and sometimes, the puzzle of what was wrong was the most interesting part of working there. For the most part, the doctors were okay. There were a few that I hated, Dr. Mike Newton and Dr. Tyler Crowley, in particular. No matter who the nurse was, if they were female, they made crass and rude comments. Numerous complaints were made about them to HR but they still did it since it was a ‘good old boys’ club at the hospital.

I heaved a sigh and thought about my last run-in with Newton. God, he was such a snake.

“Bella, can you be a dear and get me a few samples of Cialis for Mr. Lautner? He wants to extend his prowess in the bedroom,” Mike purred. “Right, Mr. Lautner?”

“Yes, sir,” he smiled.

“I bet it’s been a long time since you’ve been with a man, Bella. Perhaps you can help Mr. Lautner in trying out his new medication,” Mike snickered. “But, probably not. With your broken arm, you don’t want to do any heavy lifting and Nurse Swan would be classified as that.”

“Anything else, Dr. Newton?” I spat, narrowing my eyes at him.

“Nope. Just the samples, sweet cheeks,” he bellowed. I huffed and stomped away, going to the drug locker. I swiped a handful of Cialis samples, stuffed them into a bag and thrust them into Mr. Lautner’s hands.

When Dr. Newton was on the job, I steered clear of him after that incident. He was a tool and he made me feel small. Thankfully, he was at a medical conference for a few days and I wouldn’t have to see his smug face while I worked.

With a resigned sigh, I walked up to the el platform and waited for the next train to take me home. I pulled out my book as I sat down on the uncomfortable plastic chairs. The train traveled to my home in the Ravenswood neighborhood. Our tiny two bedroom apartment that I shared with my dad. I stomped up the stairs and unlocked the door to our home and was blasted with the sounds of Sports Center.

“Where the hell have you been, Isabella?” Charlie demanded. “I’ve been waiting here for an hour to eat.”

“Sorry, Dad. I had to work. You knew this,” I sighed. “Give me a half hour and I’ll have dinner ready for you, okay?”

“Isabella, I’m hungry now,” he snarled.

“You know, you could cook your own meal, Dad,” I said as I leaned forward against the wall, pressing my face against the plaster. “Just because you’re on crutches doesn’t mean that you’re completely incapable of cooking.”

“Watch your tone, missy!” Charlie glowered. “My leg fucking hurts. If it wasn’t for your incompetence, I’d still fucking have it.”

There was no fighting him when he was like this. He would not see reason. I stripped off my coat and hung it up. I walked into the pathetic kitchen and searched for something that I could feed Charlie within three minutes or less. Thankfully, there was a frozen mini pizza that I could pop in the microwave. I grabbed a beer for him and swiped his medication from the cabinet. As he bellowed in the living room, I readied his dinner and put it all on a tray. I carried the tray and put it on the small table next to my dad’s recliner. Pushing it to him, I glared at my father as he continued to rant and rave about how I was a lazy ass.

“Enough,” I snapped. “I get it. I’m fat, lazy and incapable of taking care of you. If you hate me so much, why don’t you let me leave?”

“Because, you insolent brat, despite your crappy job of taking care of me, you’re all I’ve got,” he snarled. “Go do some jazzercise or something. Lose some of those disgusting rolls.”

“Thanks, Charlie,” I spat. “You’re one to talk.” He had put on a ton of weight because of his injury. Prior to his getting shot, he was in pretty decent shape, for a middle-aged cop. Now he was fatter than me because he refused to do his physical therapy. His non-existent leg hurt too much.

Charlie picked up his pizza and threw it at me, splattering it on my scrubs. I narrowed my eyes and walked out of the room. I ignored Charlie’s screams for fresh food. I stripped out of my scrubs and showered in our tiny, dingy bathroom. As I washed my body, I was disgusted at what I saw. My pale skin was lumpy and dumpy. I was fat. No denying it, but hearing it come from the one person who is supposed to  love me hurts more. My mom can’t tell me that she loves me or that I’m beautiful since she’s dead. She passed when I was in high school from a car accident. Her car hit a patch of black ice and she flipped into oncoming traffic. She was decapitated and killed instantly. Once she died, my dad turned into a douche and I found solace in Twinkies and Ho-Hos.

I finished my shower and dried my body, wrapping the bath sheet around me. I put on my favorite pajamas and walked into my bedroom, closing and locking the door. I didn’t want to deal with Charlie anymore tonight. He acted like a brat and he has to deal with his actions. I pulled out my journal and began writing in it.

December 15th, 2012

Have you ever woke up and looked around and asked yourself, how in the hell did I get here? Today was one of those days for me. I woke up in my bedroom, still decorated in pink roses from when I was a kid and I shook my head at how pathetic my life is. I’m thirty years old (just turned in September) and I still live with asshole father. I’m thirty years old and I’m still single with no prospects.

Not that anyone would want me anyway.

I’m a fucking fat ass.

Who would want to see this body without clothes?

I mean, it happened one time and that guy NEVER came back.

Then, at work today, I get stuck with one of our frequent flyers and he shits on me. A huge heaping pile of crap onto my thigh. It was foul and all I wanted to do was shower for days. He continues to rag on me all day, calling me fat and stupid and I couldn’t do anything but smile. He’s my patient and well, it would look bad if I gave him a black eye. I mean, he’s a cantankerous son of a bitch but he’s sick: schizophrenia and dementia.

Finally, I get home from a crap-tastic day at work and my dad is in rare form. He’s such a douche and he makes me feel like I’m less than nothing. I hate him. But, I can’t leave him. I should, but I can’t. I want to go out with my friends and drink and have a good time. But no. I have to come home and deal with Charlie and his childish tantrums when I don’t cook him what he likes or take his insults without fighting back.

I desperately want to change. I desperately want love but have resigned myself that it’ll never happen.

Not at this rate.

xx APFL xx

“Have you seen the new attending?” Jessica Stanley gushed. “Holy sex on a stick, he’s hot.”

“Who is that?” I asked as I stared my co-worker. Jessica was one of the slut sisters. Her partner in crime was Lauren Mallory. There was no man in the hospital that they hadn’t fucked.

“His name is Dr. Edward Cullen and my GOD!” Jessica panted out, fanning her blond curls. “He’s going to be working the ER and he’s mine.”

“What makes him so hot?” I asked, arching a brow.

“He’s 6’2”, muscled with bronze-y, coppery, brownish hair and eyes that are the color of emeralds. AND he’s single.”

“Who’s single?” asked Lauren as she dropped of her chart, leaning against the counter. “Swan? Of course she’s single. Look at her.”

“I’m standing right here, Lauren,” I seethed.

“Sorry,” she said as she rolled her eyes. “Seriously, who’s single?”

“Dr. Cullen,” Jessica giggled.

“He is?” Lauren purred.

“Back off, bitch. He’s mine,” Jessica scoffed. “Once I’m done with him then you can pounce all over the deliciousness that is Dr. Cullen. Dr. Feelgood.”

“You know, relationships between nurses and doctors is highly frowned upon,” I said as I glared at them.

“So?” Jessica snorted. “I want to nab me a rich doctor and this is where I’m going to find it.”

“Excuse me,” came a velvety smooth voice. “Who is assigned to the patient in curtain three? Bed number two?”

“That’s me,” I said as I turned around and holy GOD. There was an angel in a white lab coat standing in front of me. He wore a pair of adorable glasses but his eyes were glittering behind them in a bright green. This is Dr. Cullen? He’s not a doctor! He’s a damn super model.

“And you are?” he asked, smiling softly.

“Isabella Swan, but everyone calls me Bella,” I replied, holding out my hand.

“More like Belly,” Lauren snickered.

I flinched and felt traitorous tears prick the back of my eyes. Dr. Cullen’s hand wrapped around mine and he smiled warmly. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, Bella. I’m Dr. Edward Cullen.”

“Sure, sure,” I said. “What’s wrong with Ms. Dutch?”

“Can we chat as we walk to her?” he said as he pulled on my hand. I grabbed her chart and followed him down the hallway to curtain area three.

“Did I do something wrong, Dr. Cullen?” I asked, frowning slightly.

“No, Bella. I just wanted to get you away from Nurse Stanley and Nurse Mallory. I heard they said and I’m appalled,” he said as he looked at me with kind eyes.

“I’m fine, Dr. Cullen,” I said as I waved my hand dismissively.

“Please, call me Edward,” he replied with a crooked grin.

“Edward,” I whispered, trying it out. “Okay. So, Ms. Dutch?”

“Can you add some antibiotics to her IV drip? She’s running a fever and her white cell count is elevated. I heard rattles when I listened to her lungs and I don’t want the infection to turn into pneumonia,” he said as he reached for the chart. He scribbled down his orders and handed the chart back to me. “Now, seeing as I’m new, can  you direct me to a local coffee house that doesn’t serve sludge and is within walking distance?”

“Oh, um, there’s Perkalator down the street. It’s a five minute walk from here. Just go out through the ambulance bay doors, hang a right and it’ll be on the corner,” I answered. “It’s good coffee.”

“Thank you, Bella,” he said as he smiled widely. “The coffee in the cafeteria is toxic waste. When I was hired, I was warned but didn’t heed said warnings. As a token of my appreciation, what kind of coffee do you want?”

“That’s not necessary,” I blushed.

“I insist. You’re the first friendly face I’ve met and I want keep you close,” he winked. “If not, I’ll buy one of each blend.”

“Okay, okay,” I giggled. “A grande eggnog latte with no whipped cream.”

“Done,” he said. “Do I need to sign out?”

“Just tell the clerk that you’re stepping out and your estimated time for arrival,” I explained.

“Thanks!” he said as he turned on his heel. “I truly appreciate it, Bella.” He jogged down the hall, his white coat trailing behind him. I let myself smile softly as I turned into curtain area three. I checked on Ms. Dutch and wrote down her vitals. She was sleeping, a quiet wheeze filling the room. I’d have to ask Dr. Cullen, Edward, if a nebulizer treatment would benefit her. I left the room and grabbed the antibiotics that Edward had prescribed. I added them to her IV and noted the time her treatment started.

As I was finishing up with her, Ms. Dutch woke up. “Oh, Nurse Swan,” she said in a raspy voice. “Can I get some water?”

“Of course, Ms. Dutch,” I said as poured her some water and held the straw to her chapped lips.

“Please, call  me Heather,” she said. “Ms. Dutch reminds that I never found my prince charming.”

“Oh, Heather,” I giggled. “You can still meet him.” She was an older woman, probably in her mid to late seventies. She lived in an assisted living facility but couldn’t kick this respiratory infection. They sent her here since it was all her insurance would cover.

“Nurse Swan, I’m eighty-two. I never met my prince charming and it sure as hell ain’t going to happen now,” she chuckled. “I lived my life and I’m ready to be with my family.”

“Heather, you have family. Your niece is coming down from Milwaukee today,” I said. I spoke with her this morning when the ambulance dropped her off.

“No. My parents. My younger brother who died in Vietnam,” she sighed, looking into my eyes. “My family is waiting for me.”

“Okay, Heather,” I said as I tucked her into the bed. “Would you like another blanket?”

“Please, dearie,” she smiled.

I nodded and grabbed her a warm blanket from the heater just outside her room. I tucked it around her and smiled as I left her.  I walked back to the circulation desk and added the notes to her chart on the board. I turned to a computer and checked on several labs that were ordered to see if they were up.

Edward came back with pink cheeks and two steaming cups of coffee. “For my favorite nurse,” he said as he put the cup in front of me.

“Thank you, Dr. Cullen,” I blushed. “Where’s your coat?”

“Um, in the locker room. I didn’t realize how epically cold it was until I was halfway to Perkalator,” he chuckled, wrapping his hands around his cup of coffee. He smelled and sighed. “I’m from Seattle and it’s much warmer there than it is here.”

“Welcome to Windy City,” I said as I held up my cup. Edward chuckled and tapped his cup with mine. “Um, I’m concerned about Ms. Dutch’s breathing.”

“The wheezing?” he asked as he slipped behind me, staring at the chart that I pulled up.

“Yeah. I’m also concerned that she’s depressed,” I said.  “She said that she’s ready and her family is waiting for her.”

“I’ll have a psych consult come down but she’s old. She is probably ready to be reunited with her family,” Edward said. “Any children?”

“No. She was, um, never married,” I whispered. Fuck, I’m going to end up like her. Alone in a county hospital, praying for death.

God, quit being morbid, Bella.

I felt Edward stare at me and I hid my left hand, desperately wanting to crawl into a hole. I cannot let this beautiful creature behind me see that I’m a single, FAT, loser who lives with their emotionally abusive dad. “Um, do you think a nebulizer would help the wheezing?” I asked, barely raising my voice.

“Let’s get a chest x-ray first and then we’ll go from there,” Edward said as he put his hand on my shoulder, massaging my neck slightly. I bit my lip at his slightly cold hands on my neck and tried NOT to moan. He squeezed my shoulder one more time and he left. He winked as he walked down the opposite hallway. I blushed.

I ordered the chest x-ray for Ms. Dutch and went to do my rounds to check on my patients. I was nearly done when Lauren cornered me in the drug locker. “You think that that GOD would ever notice you?” she sneered. “You’re a lazy, fat, fuck with shit-colored hair and pasty skin. When  you walk, your ass jiggles and your boobs are uneven. Don’t try to flirt with him, Swan. He’s never going to want you.” She shoved me and stomped out of the drug locker.

Tears fell down my cheeks as I realized that it was true. He wouldn’t want me. Why would he?

Keep it professional, Swan. Be courteous and do your job.

I took a deep breath and left the drug locker, going to check on Ms. Dutch. When I walked into the room, Edward was in the middle of a code, pounding on her chest. I darted to the edge of the bed and looked at him. His eyes said it all, she was gone. “Time of death, 19:18,” he said as he stepped off the table. I bit my lip and walked to her side. I gently closed her eyes, covering her face with a sheet.

This is your future, Bella. Dying alone.

A/N:  And there you have it. Chapter one of A Prescription for Love. Up next will be a glimpse into Edward’s brain. How does he see our Bella? Anyhow, not a big author’s note on this one. However, if you want to see what Bella and Charlie’s apartment looks like, check out my blog. Link is in my profile. Also, check out my facebook group: Tufano79 Twilight Fanfiction Appreciation. We’re fun! Leave me some!

 

Chapter Text

New Story: This is different from the norm. In all of the stories that I’ve read or that I’ve seen, all of the characters are disgustingly perfect unless they are written with very clear flaws. This story is about love (um, duh! Look who’s writing it. I’m the queen of romance), and finding it in the least likely place with the least likely person.

Now, this story is based in a hospital. My medical training comes from…WebMD. I’m not a doctor, nor do I claim to be. I’m a music teacher who has a wild imagination and a penchant for all things Twilight. Which brings me to my disclaimer: None of this is mine. I’m not, nor ever will be, Stephenie Meyer. If was, I’d be rolling in the dough from her insane imagination that gave us Bella and Edward. No copyright infringement is intended.

Chapter Two

EPOV

“So this is it,” I said as I heaved my bag over my shoulder.

“Yep,” Tanya replied. “Good luck, Edward. Despite the past few years, it’s been good.”

“Yeah,” I chuckled. “Be happy, Tan.”

“You, too. After dealing with my crazy, you deserve it,” she laughed. “Look, I know that we’re divorced and all, but can I at least get a hug?”

“Definitely,” I said as I pulled her into my arms. She patted my back and unlike before, I felt nothing when she touched me. There would have been a point in time where her touch would have lit a fire in my belly and I had to HAVE her. Now, it’s like hugging my sister. Except, not. You know? “I’ll send you a text when I get into Chicago, Tan. Even though we’re no longer a couple, I know you’ll worry.”

“This is true,” she snorted. With one more squeeze, she let me go and wiped her tears. My ex-wife was undeniably gorgeous, but we fell out of love. No drama. No huge fights. One day, we woke up and we were different people. We wanted different things and now, after two years of separation, we were finally divorced and I was moving on with my life in Chicago. Tanya was staying in Seattle where her plastic surgery practice was located. “I still love you, Edward. I always will.”

“Me, too, Tan. We just want different things,” I sighed. “Anyhow, I’ve got to go. My flight is leaving in an hour.” She nodded and we hugged one more time before I left our condo in downtown Seattle. I hopped into a waiting cab and was driven SeaTac. I barely got through security before I had to sprint to my gate to catch my flight to Chicago. I just made it to the flight, crashing into my seat in first class. Before the doors closed, I sent a text to my brother, Jasper.

On the plane. Please say that you remembered that you’re picking me up! –E

Yes, big brother! God, take a chill pill. You worry too much – J

What time do you come in again? – J

I knew you’d forget, Jasper Whitlock Cullen! My flight gets in at 4:10 at O’Hare, moron – E

Got it. That’s the airport off of I-55, right? – J

Forget it. I’m calling dad – E

I dialed my father’s number and waited for him to pick up. He was the chief of surgery at Cook County Hospital. I knew he didn’t have any cases today unless they were emergency situations. He picked up right away. “Dr. Carlisle Cullen,” he said professionally.

“Dad, it’s me,” I sighed.

“Did Jasper forget?” he chuckled.

“Yes. Can you pick me up?”

“If I’m not in surgery, yes, I will,” he snorted. “Oh, your brother. I love him, but he’s a few cards short of a deck.”

“This is why he’s a history major. He lives in the past. Not the present,” I joked. One of the flight attendants glared at me, pointing at my phone. “Look Dad, I’ve got to go. My flight arrives at 4:10 at O’Hare.”

“What airline?”

“United,” I replied.

“If I’m not there, your mother will be. Are you joining us for dinner?”

“Yep. See you soon, Pop! Love you,” I said.

“You, too, Edward. It’ll be good to have you home.” I hung up my phone and turned it off. I smiled sweetly at the flight attendant and took out my latest edition of the New England Journal of Medicine for some light reading. I’m a doctor. What do you expect?

As I read my magazine, my mind drifted. How much my life had changed in the past two years. Some of it was for the better while the rest, not so much. By now, I had hoped that I would be living in the suburbs of Seattle with 2.5 kids and a dog, with Tanya. But, she didn’t want that. Oh, no. She didn’t even want me. She wanted Irina. That was another reason we fell out of love. My ex-wife, yeah, she’s a lesbian. Irina was a wonderful woman and she made Tanya happy. Who am I to begrudge either one of them happiness? Yes, I could be a bitter, jealous man but what’s the point?

Our marriage ended amicably. Tanya kept our condo and had me removed from the mortgage. I made the decision to move to Chicago and Irina moved into the condo. Problem solved. I had my few furnishings that I wanted to keep shipped to my new brownstone in Chicago and I let my mother have a field day with decorating my new place. I trusted her to make it feel like home without it being a ‘show place.’

I was grateful that I had such a close family. Both of my parents were still alive and very much in love. Almost to the point of nausea. I caught them too many times in various stages of undress. I had two siblings, my knuckleheaded brother, Jasper, who was six years younger than me at the age of twenty-seven and my baby sister, Rosalie, who was going through a tough time right now. Rose is ten years younger than me, twenty-three, and needs some serious help. She was one of the main reasons for me coming home.

Rose was involved with a douchebag named Royce. God, his name is even douchetastic. They were dating for awhile and my sister, though  very attractive but was  a bit of a prude. She was adamant on saving herself for marriage. I commended her on that. I couldn’t do it, but I admired her wishes. Supported her and even made Royce cry when he tried to put his hand up her skirt at family dinners. I’m the scary older brother like that.

However, he wouldn’t take no for an answer and on the eve of her college graduation, Royce took. He took the one gift my Rosalie wanted to give to her husband. He took violently. He ravaged my baby sister and it took all of my power to not hunt him down like a dog and kill him dead. Jasper and I saw Rose in the hospital and we both wanted Royce’s head on a stick. Rose was covered in bruises and he was brutal with her when he penetrated her. It’s questionable if she would be able to have children due to the damage to her cervix and uterus. Oh, and he gave her a sexually transmitted disease, too. At least it was treatable, but still. Royce was caught and he was currently awaiting trial.

As a result of her rape, Rose stopped eating. My baby sister wouldn’t eat because of that monster. It killed my parents to see Rose waste away. They admitted her to inpatient facilities, outpatient clinics, but nothing sways her. My once vivacious, tenacious and fun-loving sister is just a shadow of herself.

It broke my fucking heart.

I just prayed that she realized what she was doing to herself before it was too late.

“…now on our final approach to Chicago O’Hare International Airport…”

I was home.

xx APFL xx

“Edward, it’s so good to have you back,” gushed my mother, Esme Cullen. She kissed my face, squeezing my cheeks. “You look good, my sweet boy.”

“Fansch Mum,” I mumbled.

“What was that?” she laughed.

“Thanks Mom,” I said once my cheeks were released. “How’s Jas? Rose?”

“Jasper is well, Jasper,” she sighed. “That boy…and Rose, Rose is the same. She’s up in her room if you want to see her.”

I nodded and jogged up the stairs to Rosalie’s room. I gently knocked on her door. “Come in,” she said weakly. I poked my head into her room and saw that she was in her bed, bundled up like nanook of the north. “Eddie!” she smiled. But not a true smile. However, whenever she saw me, it was the rare times that Rose smiled.

“Hey squirt,” I said as I walked into her room, holding my arms open. She got up shakily and fell into my arms, pressing her cheek against my chest. She’s freezing! Her long blonde hair was stringy and I could tell that it had gotten thinner. Just like her. “How are you, baby sister?”

“I have good days and bad days,” she mumbled against my chest. “Today’s a bad day.”

“Why?” I asked as I held her closer, trying to warm her up.

“It was two years ago that I met him,” she snarled.

“Have you eaten anything today?” I asked.

“It hurts, Eddie,” she said as she pulled away, crawling into her bed. “It hurts to eat food.”

“Rosalie,” I sighed as I sat facing her, “You’ve got to stop. Why won’t you eat?”

“It’s the one thing I can control,” she said, her green eyes shimmering with tears. “I couldn’t control him and he took my innocence. I can’t control the fact that I can’t leave the house without having a panic attack. I can’t control the fact that I may not be able to have children, not that any man would want me now. I’m ruined.”

“Rose!” I breathed. “You’re not ruined.”

“I am, Eddie,” she sniffled, wiping her gaunt cheeks with her bony fingers. “What man would want me?”

“Plenty of men would want you, Rosalie. But that’s not the point right now. You need to get healthier,” I said as laid down next to her. “I miss my baby sister. I miss Rosie.”

“She died, Edward,” she murmured as she curled up against my chest. “She died when he raped me. And now, this is all that’s left.”

“Rose,” I cried as I held her to my body. God, she weighed nothing. My sister was roughly 5’10” and weighed around a hundred pounds.

“Don’t cry for me, Eddie,” she said as she played with the buttons on my shirt.

“I’ll stop crying when you eat something,” I said as I kissed her forehead. “A piece of toast. A cup of broth. SOMETHING, Rosalie. God, I’m a fucking doctor and I took an oath. First do no harm and yet my baby sister is killing herself slowly by starving herself.”

“Maybe I want to die,” she whispered.

“No, Rose. No!” I barked as I sat up, taking her tiny face in my hands. “You cannot die. If you die, that fucktard wins. I need you to fight, Rosie. We all need you to fight. We all love you, Rosie. Mom’s eyes deaden when I talk to her about you. Jasper gets all pissy in his Jasper way and Dad, Dad is broken because he can’t fix his baby girl.”

“What about you, Eddie?” she muttered.

“I want my best friend back,” I said as tears splashed onto my cheeks. “You’re my best friend, Rosie. You have more smarts than all of us put together. I need you back.”

“Is that why you moved back home?” she asked.

“Yes. I needed a fresh start and I want to be here for you, Rosie,” I said. “I know that my coming back isn’t the panacea for your problems but you need all of your family. I’m here for you, Rosie.”

“Do you promise, Eddie?” she breathed. “Are you here for me?”

“Always, Rosie.”

She wrapped her arm around my neck and she crawled into my lap. She sobbed against my neck. “I h-h-h-hate f-f-f-feeling l-l-l-l-like this, E-E-E-Ed-d-d-die.”

“I know, Rosie. Please, let us help you,” I replied.

“I’ll t-t-t-try,” she blubbered.

“Will you eat something today?” She nodded and crawled closer to me. “Good, Rosie. I’ll make some beef broth for you. It’s not a lot but we need to slowly reintroduce foods back into your diet.”

“I’m tired, Eddie,” she croaked.

“Just sleep, Rosie. I’ll be here when you wake up,” I said as I lay back down on her bed. I wrapped her quilt around her frail body. She conked out as soon as soon as I lay down. “I’m going to help you, squirt. I promise you.”

We lay there until my mom came into Rose’s room. She was obviously crying. “I knew she’d listen to you,” she murmured. “Rose loves you so much, Edward.”

“We need to find a facility that caters to her needs, Mom. It’s going to be a long process and she’s going to fight us,” I said as I held my sister to me. She sighed quietly, cuddling closer to my body, trying to get warmer. “But, we need to love her and instill in her mind that regardless of what Royce did to her, that she’s still capable of love. To be loved.”

“Oh, Edward,” Esme cried as she kissed my forehead. “You are such a good man. A big heart. I love you, sweetheart.”

“I love you, too, Mom,” I smiled. “I’ll stay here tonight and perhaps tomorrow ALL of us can go to my new home.”

“Rose included?”

“Rose included,” I said.

I stayed with Rose until I had to get up and make her broth. It wasn’t anything fancy. Just some beef broth with a side of carrots and string cheese. I also made myself a small snack so Rose wouldn’t feel like I was monitoring her food intake. Honestly, I’d be happy if she ate half of the broth, two carrots and half of the string cheese. Carrying the tray up to Rose’s room, I put it on the desk and gently roused my sister. She blinked at me and sat up, groaning at her stiff muscles. I placed the tray over her lap, beckoning her with my eyes to eat something.

“I can’t eat all of this,” she said.

“Oh, the small plate is mine,” I said as I swiped the plate that held some crackers, cheese and sausage. However, I placed two slices of sausage on her tray. “I want you to eat the meat. All of the meat. You’ve lost a lot of muscle and the protein will help you. Then, eat what you can, Rose.”

She eyed me dubiously but reached for the sausage. Tentatively, she put it to her lips and nibbled on it. She wrinkled her nose. “It’s too fatty.”

“Rosalie,” I sighed. “How much do you weigh?”

“I don’t know. Not a lot,” she said.

“You need the fat. You need the protein,” I said sternly. “I’m hoping that by my birthday you’re up twenty to twenty-five pounds.”

“In six months?”

“Rose, it’s not going to happen overnight. When you were admitted after your attack from him, you were around one hundred thirty pounds. I want  you to get back to that, squirt.”

“Okay,” she said as she bit down on the sausage, chewing on half of it. We sat in her room as she nibbled on her meal. She ate more than I anticipated but complained that her stomach was cramping. Rose was eyeing the bathroom door and I shook my head no. She would not throw up all that she ate. As she digested her food, I talked her about my new position as an attending physician at Cook County Hospital in the ER. I was starting there on Monday after some meetings with HR the day after tomorrow.

“Are you staying here tonight, Eddie?” she asked.

“I am and tomorrow I’m moving into my house. I’d like you to come. You always know how to organize my closet,” I smirked.

“Eddie, no,” she frowned. “I’m afraid. What if…what if he’s out there?”

“He’s behind bars, Rosie. Besides, you’ve got your big bad older brother to protect you,” I said as I puffed out my chest. Rose giggled. “It’ll be good for you to get out of this room, Rosie. Please?”

“Fine,” she huffed out. “God, you’ve been home for how long and I’ve eaten a meal and you convinced me to leave the house.”

“That’s because I’m the shit,” I snorted. “Okay, I’m going to go to bed, squirt. Make sure you dress warmly tomorrow and don’t exert yourself too much.”

“You’re sleeping in your room?” she frowned.

“Yeah. I love you, Rosie but your full-sized bed is too small for my 6’2” body,” I snickered.

“If I get scared, can I sleep with you, Eddie? You always make me feel safe,” she asked, biting her lip. I smiled and nodded. I kissed her forehead and turned off her light as I carried the tray down to the kitchen. The lights were off and I knew my mom was asleep. My dad had been called into surgery while he was driving me to the house and Jasper, of course, forgot. I washed the dishes and loaded them into the dishwasher. With a heavy sigh, I carried my body up to my bedroom in my parents’ home and stripped down to my boxer briefs. I crawled into bed and as soon as my head hit the pillow, I was down for the count.

xx APFL xx

The next day was unseasonably cold, but sunny. Rose was apprehensive about leaving the house with the weather as cold as it was. However, I dressed her in my heaviest winter coat when we left the house and she insisted on riding with me in my Volvo that I had shipped to my parents’ home. The drive was quiet and when we got to my brownstone, Rose was very hesitant to get out. I helped her out of the car and we inspected what my mom did with the décor. Rose approved and smiled softly.

Before we got to work, I had her eat an egg-white omelet. Thank goodness my mom had stocked my fridge. Rose ate very little but hell, she was eating. After our breakfast, we tackled my closet and spent the day talking about the end of my marriage. To say that Rose was shocked that Tanya was a lesbian was an understatement. I then showed her a picture of Irina and she fell over in a fit of giggles. Irina is the butchest woman I’d ever seen and oddly enough, looked a lot like me except she had tits and lacked a penis.

My parents came over in the afternoon and we worked on unpacking my ‘trinkets’ and other things that I had shipped. The last thing I uncovered was my piano in the music room outside of my office. I loved my baby grand. Whenever I had a rough day at work, I could come home, pound away on this baby and all of my problems dissipated. I sat down at the piano and ran my fingers over the keys. However, I cringed at the sound. It had gotten horribly out of tune when it was shipped from Seattle. I’d have to get it tuned. With a frown, I closed the lid and made mental note to get it tuned soon.

“We’re going to go, Edward,” my dad said as he pushed up his glasses up his nose. “Will I see you tomorrow after you meeting with the chief of staff and HR?”

“I’ll swing by your office,” I said as I hugged my dad. “Make sure Rose eats something when she gets home.”

“I will. I’m amazed at how quickly she agreed to it with you,” he said, pride beaming from his face. “She adores you, Edward. Her love for you is the impetus to hopefully get her better.”

“I know, Dad,” I said. He smiled and he left the house. He was going to warm up the car for Rose. My mom and my baby sister were putting on their coats in the foyer. “Thank you for decorating the house, Mom. It’s beautiful. It’s welcoming but still shouts ‘bachelor!’”

“Rose helped,” my mom said as she tucked Rose’s hair behind her ear. “She picked out your bedroom set and the décor for the office. She knows you so well.”

“Thank you, Miss Rosie,” I said as I dipped low, kissing her hand.

“You’re welcome, Eddie,” she said, smiling tentatively. Her face fell and she looked out the window. “When am I going to see you again?”

“I’ll come over for dinner tomorrow night,” I promised. She fell into my arms and mumbled she loved me. I ran my arms over her tiny body and kissed her forehead. “See you tomorrow, squirt.”

“I’m not a squirt,” Rose giggled.

“Do I have to remind you about when you peed in my mouth, squirt? Mom asked me to change your diaper and I got a golden shower from you, squirt. Hence, your nickname,” I teased her.

“Ass,” she snorted. “Love you, Eddie.”

“I let you call me Eddie. You’re the only person I allow to do that, squirt.”

“Okay, okay,” she said. “I’ll see you tomorrow, Edward. Big brother.” My mom wrapped her arm around Rose’s waist and they walked out of the house and into the chilly Chicago air. Rose climbed into the backseat and waved as they drove away. I spent the rest of the evening preparing for my meeting with the chief of staff and HR. In my case, I had a copy of my medical license that I maintained in Seattle, Chicago and New York. I also had my most recent copy of a journal article that I had published. Once I felt ready for my meeting, I ate a sandwich and went to check my email. Nothing new, really. I also set up my online bill pay for electric, gas, water, garbage and cable. Finishing up my business, I walked up to my massive bathroom and showered, washing the grime of moving from  my body.

I couldn’t sleep in my new bed. It was far too big for just me and every sound attracted my attention. Deciding to not fight it, I just turned on some television and watched infomercials until three in the morning before I crashed. I woke up to the sound tinkling on my window pane. I looked outside and saw that it was sleeting. I groaned as I dragged my body to the bathroom. I leaned against the countertop and stared at my reflection. I was in damn good shape for someone who was thirty-three. However, the past few months had taken its toll on me. Working many hours at Virginia Mason, moving out to Chicago, trying to fix my broken baby sister, getting divorced…it all added up. My eyes were a dull green and my reddish hair hung in my eyes.

I shook off my dark cloud and hopped into the shower to wake myself up. In more ways than two, if you catch my drift.  I jacked off. I’m a single, HORNY guy. Shoot me. Finishing my shower, I headed down to drink some coffee before heading to the hospital. I smoothed my tie and pulled on my suit coat, deciding to take the el to work. The hospital was right off the el tracks and I do not feel comfortable driving in the sleet. It’s been nearly fifteen years since I’d done that and it would be bad if I get in a car accident on my first day on the job. Major suckage.

I threw on my overcoat and slid my bag over my shoulders. I swiped an umbrella and walked to the nearest el station. Twenty-five minutes later, I was at the hospital and I headed up to meet with the chief of staff, Dr. Marcus Volturi. Our meeting was brief. He just wanted to meet me face-to-face. He had heard nothing but positive things about me from the head of the ER and from my dad. He just wanted to see if my praise was warranted. Based off our conversation, it was. Dr. Volturi asked if I would be willing to be associate head of the emergency room. I was shocked but I agreed to the position. Pretty much when the head of the ER was off, I was in charge. I thanked him and Dr. Volturi sent me to HR to fill out my paperwork, pick up my ID badge and get me set up with a log in for the computer.

Three hours later, I was done with my meeting with HR and I had my schedule for the rest of the month and first half of the next month. After that, I’d be working with the head of the ER to create my schedule. I took my keys, ID badge and walked to my office on the main floor of the hospital. It was small but it had all the necessities: a desk, two empty bookcases, a laptop with a synced up tablet, a leather couch and the most important essential, a bathroom with a shower.

I looked around the room, smiling at the space before locking it up. I’d come in over the weekend to set it up. As I left, I bumped into a tall doctor with dark hair, coffee colored skin and gray eyes. “I’m sorry,” I chuckled.

“No big deal,” he said. “Are you the new attending starting on Monday?”

“I am. Dr. Edward Cullen,” I said as I held out my hand.

“Nice to meet you. I’m Dr. Tyler Crowley,” he said smiling. “Welcome to hell.”

“It can’t be that bad,” I snickered. Dr. Crowley gave me a look of shock. “Where do you work?”

“I’m also in the ER. I’ve been here all through my medical training and now I’m an attending. I just seems like yesterday that I was a med student. So, a few warnings before you start. Number one: avoid the cafeteria at all costs. The coffee is nasty and you’ll get the runs. Number two: some of the nurses are a bit vapid. There are two that quite slutty but if you like that sort of thing, it’s your choice. Hell, I’ve spent some time with them and it’s fun. Number three: avoid working Nurse Swan. She’s a Debbie downer and as big as a house. She can’t do her job.”

“Thank you for the warnings. However, I’ll make my own opinions about the staff. It would probably behoove you to be respectful to your co-workers, regardless of your history and your personal beliefs about their life style. I’d also be careful who you bitch to,” I said cryptically. “Have a good day, Dr. Crowley.”

As I turned on my heel, I made mental note to look up the files for Dr. Crowley and Nurse Swan. Did they have a run-in and he’s retaliating? Dr. Volturi gave me administrative access to see employee profiles and I’d do that tomorrow after I set up my office.

The rest of the afternoon, I tried to check in with my dad but he was called into a heart surgery that needed his vascular expertise. I headed to my parents’ home and finally ran into my crazy brother. He was shoveling food into his mouth, sitting at the breakfast bar. “Douche,” I snorted. “Nice of you to remember that I was coming home.”

“Sorry, Eddo,” he said as he smiled sheepishly. “I was at the library working on my thesis. I am nearly done with the section on the Battle of Antietam during the Civil War. Oh, it’s so cool, Eddo. You should read it.”

“Maybe later, Jas.”

“Are you looking for Mom?”

“I am. But yet, I find you stuffing your face,” I said, rolling my eyes. “Where is she at?”

“Christmas shopping. She’s excited that her oldest boy is home for the holidays,” Jasper said.

“Crap.”

“What?”

“I’m working both Christmas and Christmas Eve,” I sighed.

“Dude, that sucks,” Jasper said as he frowned slightly. “When are you working? What shift?”

“Thankfully it’s the daytime shift so I can be here for the evening, but I’m still working on Christmas.”

“It’ll be fine. We’ll just have a late dinner. It’s good you’re back, Edward. I missed you a lot. And I know that missed you, too. She ate something, Edward,” Jasper gushed. “It was a few crackers and a carrot, but she ate something.”

I smiled crookedly and clapped Jasper on the shoulder. It was a small victory. The next step is to get my baby sister into therapy to get over this.

xx APFL xx

My weekend was busy with setting up my office and acclimating myself with the charting system at Cook County Hospital. I also read up on all of the staff member that I’d be working with plus meeting with the head of the ER, Dr. Eleazar Sanchez. He wanted to discuss our responsibilities in the ER. It was finalized that we’d both be in charge of patient care. Obviously. I’d work with the nurses and with the nursing manager to coordinate their schedules. I’d also be working the first and second year residents which I preferred, molding the younger generation of doctors. Dr. Sanchez would work with the third and fourth year residents and medical students. Cook County Hospital was a teaching hospital.

While Dr. Sanchez was on duty, he’d be making administrative decisions, asking for my opinion if needed. When he was not on duty, I was in charge and had full autonomy to make administrative decisions without contacting him. Dr. Sanchez let me in on a little tidbit of information regarding the need for an associate head of the ER; he was retiring soon and wanted to mold someone to take over for him. Based off my interview, I was that person.

On Monday morning, I dressed in a pair of black slacks, a white button-down shirt and my favorite tie. I ran my fingers through my newly shorn hair and popped on my glasses. I needed to get some new contact lenses and had an appointment with my parents’ optometrist on my day off later this week. I got into my car, driving to the hospital today, and parked in the parking garage. I walked into my office, dropped off my bag and slipped on my white lab coat, ID badge and a handful of pens.

The morning flew by and now I know what Dr. Crowley meant about vapid nurses. Two of them, Nurse Stanley and Nurse Mallory, were horrific. Their scrubs were too tight for their bodies and they acted unprofessionally toward me all morning long.

It was nearly lunch when I went to check on my latest patient, Ms. Dutch. She was an older woman with a nasty upper respiratory infection. She was running a fever and I wanted to get her started on antibiotics. I was walking to the circulation desk . I caught the tail end of a conversation that honestly troubled me.

“Who’s single?” asked Lauren as she dropped of her chart, leaning against the counter. “Swan? Of course she’s single. Look at her.”

“I’m standing right here, Lauren,”  Nurse Swan seethed.

“Sorry,” she said as she rolled her eyes. “Seriously, who’s single?”

“Dr. Cullen,” Jessica giggled.

“He is?” Lauren purred.

“Back off, bitch. He’s mine,” Jessica scoffed. “Once I’m done with him then you can pounce all over the deliciousness that is Dr. Cullen. Dr. Feelgood.”

“You know, relationships between nurses and doctors is highly frowned upon,” Nurse Swan said as she glared at them.

“So?” Jessica snorted. “I want to nab me a rich doctor and this is where I’m going to find it.”

“Excuse me. Who is assigned to the patient in curtain three? Bed number two?” I asked, knowing full well that Nurse Swan was the nurse assigned to her.  She turned to me and her molten chocolate eyes widened. A bright pink blush covered her pale cheeks and she bit her lip. Now, Nurse Swan was heavy, but she was beautiful with clear skin, pink lips, and long, thick brown hair. I introduced myself to her and I heard Nurse Mallory make some rude comment about Nurse Swan, or rather, Bella. I gently pulled on her hand and led her away from the slut sisters where I could talk to her in private.

As we walked, she thought that she had done something wrong but I assured her that there wasn’t anything wrong. I also told her that I heard what Nurse Stanley and Nurse Mallory had said and that I was appalled. Bella said that she was fine but her eyes told a different story. She apparently was teased by those two and it clearly bothered her. We finished our discussion about Ms. Dutch and I asked her where I could get a good cup of coffee. She suggested a coffee shop down the street called the Perkalator. As a token of thanks, I offered to get her a cup but she declined. I pressed her and she agreed to a grande eggnog latte.

I left shortly after that and jogged down the street to get my coffee. However, dummy me forgot my coat in my office and I was an icicle when I returned. Thankfully, I was holding two steaming cups of coffee to keep my hands somewhat warm. The rest of the afternoon was pretty quiet until Ms. Dutch started coding in her room. I ran down the hall and started barking out orders to the nearby staff, trying to desperately save this woman. I intubated her and began doing CPR. Her heart was working too hard and I ordered an amp of epi. No change. I looked at the male nurse who was nearby and asked for him to bring the crash cart. He darted away and came back with the crash cart. I opened up her hospital gown and placed the paddles on her chest, shocking her heart. Her old body jumped but no change. I increased the charge. Asystole. No heart beat.

I growled and began pounding on her chest. As I was working on her, Bella had come into the room, her face as white as a sheet. Her eyes caught mine and we both knew that she was gone. “Time of death, 19:18,” I croaked out as I stepped off the bed. Bella bit her lip and closed her eyes and covered her face with her sheet.  Tears were running down Bella’s cheeks as she stared at the woman underneath the sheet.

“Come on, Bella,” I said as I gently tugged on her arm.

“I need to do a death kit,” she said brokenly. She pulled away and skirted around me to grab the kit. I waited for her, closing the curtain around Ms. Dutch. Bella came back and began working on the death kit.

“Let me help you,” I whispered.

“No, I’m fine, Dr. Cullen,” she muttered, staring intently on the paperwork that needed to filled out.

“You’re upset, Bella,” I said as I crouched in front of her. “Let me help you and we can get something to drink. Some dinner. Decompress. It sucks losing a patient.”

“That’s very kind, Dr. Cullen,” she began.

“Edward. Please, call me Edward,” I urged.

“Edward, but I have to get home. My dad is sick and he needs my help,” she said bitterly. “Rather he needs to yell at me for…whatever.”

“Not even one drink?” I asked.

“I’m sorry, no,” she sighed. “Perhaps some other time.”

“Are you working on Christmas?”

“Both days,” she said, arching a brow. “Everyone else wants to be with their families. I’d rather not. So I volunteered.”

“Well, how about we celebrate Christmas Eve and get schnockered?” I asked, giving her a smile. “It’ll be fun.”

“My dad…”

“Will have to understand that your friend is taking you out for a drink,” I said, arching a brow over my frames.

“Okay,” she replied, admitting defeat. “Can I finish this?”

“I’m still helping  you,” I said as I put on a pair fresh gloves. We worked efficiently and soon Ms. Dutch’s death kit and paperwork was completed. Her body was brought down to the morgue and I was getting ready to leave. I noticed that Bella was also putting on her coat, bundling up underneath scarves and the cutest hat with a poofball on the end.

“Have a good night, Dr. Cullen,” Lauren purred from her spot at the circulation desk. Bella huffed and stomped off into the ambulance bay. I gave Lauren a tight smile and followed Bella into the ambulance bay.

Bella was nearly sprinting down the alleyway to the street. I took off after her and caught up with her easily. She was climbing the stairs to the el platform, stumbling as she went. Still following her and took the stairs two at a time and watched in slow motion as Bella tripped on the last step, face planting onto the concrete. “Shit!” I hissed.  People just walked over her, not caring that this poor woman had fell on her face. I reached her and rolled her over. She has a nasty goose egg on her forehead. Some assholes were griping that we were blocking the stairs. With a growl, I picked up Bella and moved us to a bench. “Bella, wake up,” I encouraged, shaking her gently. I reached into my pocket and pulled out some smelling salts. I waved it under her nose and she moaned. “Come on, sweetie. Open your eyes for me. I want to see those beautiful brown eyes, Bella.”

Her eyes cracked open and she saw me. Tears fell onto her cheeks before her eyes rolled back into her head. I sighed and picked her up. She wasn’t as heavy as I had thought. Solid was more like it. I carried her to the waiting train and got on. I held her in my lap as I rode to my stop, gently rocking her. I got off at my stop and gingerly carried her down the steps. I hailed a cab and told him my home address. He sped to my brownstone and I thrust money into his greedy hands once he pulled up to my house.

I normally wouldn’t do this, but Bella seemed like she needed some tender, loving care. I’d give it to her. The hospital probably seemed like the best place for her, but I can carry out an examination in my home. If she seems worse, I’ll bring to get a CT scan. But for now, she needed someone to care for her. That was me.

A/N: Yeah, again, reminder…not a doctor. Yes, the best place for someone who has lost consciousness is a hospital. If that happens to you, do not pass go. Do not collect two hundred dollars. Go to the hospital! However, this works for the story. Also, Rose is dealing with some pretty serious issues and yes, it seems like she’s turning over new leaf pretty quickly. Big Brother Eddie is NOT the cure all. She will regress. Bella and Rose will become friends and it’s their friendship that ultimately will be the cure. Finally, pictures of Carlisle and Esme’s home, plus Edward’s brownstone are on my blog. In addition, come hang out in my facebook group: Tufano79 Twilight Fanfiction Appreciation. We love a good fic, Rob Porn and teasers. Leave me some!

 

Chapter Text

New Story: This is different from the norm. In all of the stories that I’ve read or that I’ve seen, all of the characters are disgustingly perfect unless they are written with very clear flaws. This story is about love (um, duh! Look who’s writing it. I’m the queen of romance), and finding it in the least likely place with the least likely person.

Secondly, I am truly, truly humbled at the reaction this story has received. A lot of you really relate to this Bella and her insecurities. I’m going to be perfectly blunt with you…This Bella, her insecurities and self-hatred, I can PERSONALLY relate to. I’m dealing with a lot of issues that she’s working on. Luckily, I do not have a douchebag dad or co-workers like Bella. My friends are amazing and my family loves me immensely. I just don’t love myself. I’m praying for my doctor to swoop in to love me like our sexy Doctorward.

Thirdly, thank you to Jennmc75 and Stephenie Masen for their AWESOME banners. You’ve truly captured the feeling of my story and I appreciate your creativity! I bow down to you for your computer prowess! I’ve been meaning to thank you but I keep forgetting. I remembered! WOO HOO!!                        

Now, this story is based in a hospital. My medical training comes from…WebMD. I’m not a doctor, nor do I claim to be. I’m a music teacher who has a wild imagination and a penchant for all things Twilight (and with this story, added in a mix of ER! I loved Luca Kovac…) Which brings me to my disclaimer: None of this is mine. I’m not, nor ever will be, Stephenie Meyer. If was, I’d be rolling in the dough from her insane imagination that gave us Bella and Edward. No copyright infringement is intended.

Chapter Three

BPOV

I rolled over and groaned quietly. Shit, my head hurts! But I was also confused. I fell on the concrete. I should be feeling the nasty ass cold ground on my body. I’m warm and toasty? I cracked open my eyes and noticed I was in an elegantly decorated room that was dimly lit. I sat up but promptly fell back onto the pillows.

“Easy there, Bella,” came a quiet velvety voice.

“Where am I?” I asked as I rolled toward the voice. My eyes blinked and Dr. Cullen came into perspective. He was sitting next to me, looking very worried.

“You’re in my guest room. You took a header on the el platform and fell unconscious,” he said as he gently placed an icepack onto my forehead. I hissed. “Sorry.”

“I’ve got to go,” I said as I struggled up. “My dad…”

“Bella, you were unconscious for three hours. You’ve a nasty bump on your forehead and unfortunately, I had to suture you as well,” he pouted.

“But, my dad…he needs help. He lost his leg and has difficulties moving around,” I whimpered as I sat up finally, fighting a wave of nausea and dizziness. “He’s probably bitching up to high heaven thinking that I abandoned him.” I stumbled out of the bed and nearly face planted, again on the carpeting. But, I never met the ground.

“Will you stop squirming?” Edward snickered as he pulled me to his chest. “I should have brought you back to the hospital but I’m certain you didn’t want Nurse Mallory caring for you.”

“I’d rather become reacquainted with the concrete,” I snarled.

“That’s what I thought,” he laughed. “Besides, you have a board certified ER physician caring for you.”

“Dr. Cullen…”

“Edward. Are you suffering from memory loss?” he teased.

“No. It’s just…crap…I appreciate you helping me…wait, how did I get back to your home?” I asked as he guided me to the couch and held the icepack to my head.

“Easy. I carried you,” he shrugged.

“Are you fucking superman?” I asked, arching a brow. “I’m no skinny Minnie…”

“Bella, please. You’re perfect,” he said as he checked my bump.

“Edward, I’m a fucking heifer,” I spat as I stood up again. “At least that’s what my dad says. And those bitches at work…” Tears fell down my cheeks and I wanted to grab my coat and leave. “I appreciate your help, Dr. Cullen. Edward…but I have to go.”

He sighed and stared at me, clearly not happy with my outburst. “I don’t like it. Someone needs to make sure that you get woken up every couple of hours and do you think your dad can handle that?”

“No. I’ll set my alarm on my phone,” I offered lamely.

“Not good enough, Bella,” he said sternly. “And you are not a ‘fucking heifer.’ You’re perfect. Healthy. Ignore those to slut sisters and your dad is obviously blind to not see what a beautiful woman you are.”

My jaw dropped as I stared at this supermodel that called me beautiful. Was he smoking something? Did he take some hallucinogens?  “You don’t believe me.”

“I have no reason to,” I pouted. I stepped away from him and wavered slightly. He gently grabbed my wrist and pushed me toward the bed. I sat down and looked at the carpeting. Tears were falling down my face. I hated what I was. I hated my family. I hated my co-workers, except Angela. I hated being lonely but I did NOT want this man’s pity.

I just want someone to fucking LOVE ME!

“Bella, I’m normally not this pushy but you are not going home tonight. Call your dad if you need to, but as your doctor and as your friend, it’s not safe. A cell phone alarm will not wake you up if you slip into a coma,” he said as he crouched in front of me. “Please? I promise to be a complete gentleman. I only took off your coat, shoes and ID badge. No funny business.”

I giggled, looking down at him. He had a crooked smile on his face. “You can smile. Laugh too? It’s a miracle and the prettiest sound I’ve heard in a while,” he said as he brushed my hair from my face. When his fingertips glided along my cheek, I felt my skin blush. “Now, you’re staying here tonight and you are not working tomorrow. You’ve got a mild concussion. I’ll check you out tomorrow after I’m done with my shift and you can come back the day after tomorrow if you’re not dizzy or nauseous.”

“Do you do this for all the nurses?” I whispered, frowning slightly.

“No. Just the ones that I know are special,” he replied, bringing my face up to meet his. “I’d rather work with you than Nurse Mallory and Nurse Stanley any day. You’re compassionate and you truly care for your patients.”

“Thank you, Dr. Cullen,” I grimaced, “Crap! I’m sorry, Edward. It’s just that I’m used to referring to all of the docs by their last name. It’s a sign of respect. Now some docs I can’t stand but I still do it.”

“Like Crowley?” Edward asked, his eyes flashing with anger.

“Yeah. He doesn’t like me much. Thinks I’m a lazy bum,” I sighed. “He belittles me on a daily basis when we work together. I’ve tried to prove to him that I’m a good nurse, but he sees this and assumes that I’m lazy.”

“Hmmm, I may have to talk to Crowley and all of the other doctors about appropriate and professional behavior to all the nurses,” he said. “Now, you must be hungry. I know it’s late but you should eat something. I’ll fix you a sandwich and let you call your dad.”

“Please don’t make a big deal about Dr. Crowley or the others. I’m okay,” I shrugged.

“I’ll be back,” he said, brushing off my request. “Your phone is on the nightstand, Bella.”

I sighed and nodded. He got up and left the room, jogging down the stairs. He carried me up stairs? Holy crap! I mean, really, holy CRAP!  Reaching for my phone, I turned it on and noticed I had twenty new messages. All from dear old dad. I listened to the first message and it was my father ranting and raving about how I was lazy ass fuck who didn’t care for him. I was a spoiled brat that would rather spend the night gallivanting then helping him. I cried as I listened to him scream at me on the phone, through his messages.

I deleted the rest of the messages, not wanting to listen to the vitriol my dad was spewing. However, I steeled myself against his actual rants as I dialed his number. It barely rang when Charlie screamed into the phone. “You ungrateful bitch! Where are you?” he bellowed.

“Nice, Dad,” I spat. “You are always worried about your bullshit. Never thinking that I could possibly be hurt.”

“Let me guess. You had a clumsy moment and you broke a nail?” he asked tauntingly.

“No, Dad. I did fall but I did more than break a nail. I have a concussion and I’m at the hospital,” I lied. “I’m being held for observation since I lost consciousness. If you need help, talk to Sam Uley who lives below us.”

“You’re being observed at the fucking hospital? God, Isabella. You are such a fucking klutz. How long did you lose consciousness? A minute? Fuck that shit. Come home. Right now,” he growled.

Edward came back upstairs and was holding a plate with a sandwich and a glass of water. He saw my tears and beckoned for the phone. “Hold on, Dad,” I said. “My doctor wants to speak with you.” I stared at Edward. “I told him that I was admitted to the hospital for observation.”

Edward nodded and held the phone to his ear. “Mr. Swan? This is Dr. Cullen. I was the physician on duty when your daughter was brought in, unconscious and unresponsive. It’s hospital policy for a patient to be kept for observation since the probability of said patient falling into a coma due to an intracranial bleed  or cerebral hematoma. Yes, she can leave but it would be against medical advice and since she’s a staff member of this hospital, she would not be allowed to return to work until she was cleared by her regular physician,” Edward said, pinching his nose. “LOOK, Mr. Swan. She’s admitted and is not leaving. Obviously, you are too selfish to realize the real danger that your daughter is in. If you cannot care for yourself, I can give you a few names of in-home health care nurses that are covered by Medicaid. Fine, call my superiors. Good luck with that, sir.” He clicked off the phone and tossed it on the bed. “Your dad’s an asshole.”

“I know,” I grumbled. “I get to look forward to going home to that.”

Edward pursed his lips and put the sandwich in front of me. He also handed me two ibuprofen. He gently pushed the plate toward me and I eyed it warily. I was hungry but afraid that I was going to puke all over his lovely beige carpet. “Just eat half, Bella. I’ll share it with you.”

“I don’t want to puke,” I grumbled.

Edward picked up half of the sandwich and bit down on it. He got up and came back from the bathroom with a garbage can, placing it next to the bed. “Eat.”

“And you say you’re not normally this pushy,” I teased as I picked up the sandwich, nibbling on it.

“What are you going to do about your dad?”

 “I don’t know,” I breathed. “He’s horrible to me but he needs my help.”

“What happened to him?” Edward asked as he sipped some water.

“My dad was a cop. A couple of years ago, he was on patrol when he caught some drug deal going down. His partner, who was much younger than him, took off after them and my dad, gimped behind them. One of the thugs saw him and shot him in his leg, shattering his tibia. They tried to save it but after a year of surgery after surgery, the amputated the leg right above the knee. He never cared for his wounds and relied on me to do it for him. However, whenever he noticed something was wrong, it was pussy and infected. Parts of foot was gangrenous. They had no choice but to remove it. That was done, like I said, a year ago and he’s still…”

“He’s still what?”

“Treating me like I’m his personal slave,” I sniffled. “God! I don’t even know you and I’m spilling my deepest, darkest secrets to you.”

“Why don’t you leave? Obviously he doesn’t care,” Edward shrugged.

“Despite the fact he’s an asshole, he’s still my dad,” I sighed, rubbing my temples. “God, my head hurts.”

“I’m serious about the home health-care,” Edward said as he took the empty plate from the bed. “If he needs as much help as you say, it’ll be covered by Medicaid or by his disability insurance.”

“Oh, he has no disability insurance. They revoked it when he became addicted to vicodin, going to free clinic to free clinic to get more pills,” I spat. “I want to leave. I really do but my paycheck pays for our apartment, electric, phone…”

“Okay, relax, Bella,” Edward soothed as he pushed me onto the bed. “You’ve got a nasty bump and I’m a moron to push into to talking about this. Now, tomorrow, you’re going to stay here. I’ll have my mom come visit you during the day. I’ve already called in for you with the nursing manager. IF you are feeling up to it, I’ll drive you home tomorrow night.”

“I don’t have anything to wear. My scrubs are…well, they smell like death,” I said, wrinkling my nose, remembering Ms. Dutch.”

“I’ve got a few extra pairs from my old hospital. You’re covered,” he said as he smiled softly. “I’ll leave them in the bathroom which is right outside your door, to the left. I’ll check on you in a couple of hours. Alright?”

“Thank you, Edward,” I said.

“Sleep well, Bella,” Edward said as he turned off the light. He left the door open and I saw him smile softly in the dim light of the hallway. My eyes fluttered shut and sleep consumed me immediately.

Every couple of hours, Edward did wake me up. He was very gentle about it, whereas Charlie would have pushed me with his crutch. Each time he woke me up, he gave me a brief neurologic exam  and assured me that I would be okay. The final time he woke me up, it was seven in the morning and he was dressed for the day. “Bella, you keep sleeping,” he cooed. “My mom said she’d be here around nine to make some breakfast for you and spend some time with you.”

“I feel weird staying in your home without you here,” I frowned.

“Bella, don’t worry about it. I trust you,” he chuckled lightly. “Hell, I’m still trying to figure out all of the nooks and crannies in this place seeing as I just moved in on Thursday.” My eyes widened and I bristled to get out of bed. I shouldn’t be here! “Please, relax, Bella.” His eyes were kind but stern. I stopped my struggling. “Now, I’ve left a pair of scrubs in the bathroom along with a fresh toothbrush and some other necessities. I’m sorry, but you can’t wash your hair due to the stitches near the hairline. At least not yet. I’ll cover them when I get back from County.”

“Do you think I’ll be able to go to work tomorrow?” I asked

“I’ll let you know when I get home and I give you a full exam,” he said, smiling crookedly. “Enjoy your day off. Watch some bad day-time television. Consider this a mini-vacation.”

“Okay,” I sighed. “Thank you, Edward. You truly have gone above and beyond the call of duty.”

“Anytime, Bella,” he said. “Go back to sleep and I’ll see you tonight.” He gently ran his fingers down my cheek, smiling softly before he left my room. I sat up, unable to sleep anymore. I padded to the bathroom and on the counter there were a pair of green scrubs, a toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant and small note.

Dear Bella,

I apologize but I only have ‘manly’ deodorant but it’s better than nothing. If you want to shower, make sure you cover your stitches. There’s a shower cap in the bathroom but again, only manly smelling shower gel. (I’m a recently divorced guy…it’s all I got. My ex has all of the frou-frou shit.)Anyhow, here’s my cell phone number. I’ve already programmed it into your phone while you were sleeping. (Did you know that your phone is from the prehistoric era? Took me forever to figure it out!) But in case I didn’t do it correctly, here it is: 206-555-1979.

Prescription for Isabella Swan:

REST! Sleep! Enjoy your day off! Take all of your medication until cleared by your doctor.

I’ll see you tonight, Bella.

Yours,

Edward

I chuckled at his note but scowled at his comment on my phone. Yes, my phone was older than dirt but money is tight due to dear old dad. His medical bills are killing us. I’m still paying off his amputation surgery and it’s been a year. Medicaid helps but…

My life is fucking pathetic.

I stripped off my scrubs from yesterday and twisted my long brown hair up into the shower cap. I turned on the shower and peed while I waited for it to warm up. However, I doubted it was like my shower at home that took nearly twenty minutes before tepid water leaked through. Once I finished peeing, I stuck my hand inside the shower and sure enough, it was already scalding. I stepped inside and washed my body. I avoided looking down at my pudgy rolls as I scoured my skin. The water felt wonderful, though. It massaged the knots that I had been carrying in my shoulders and back. If I could, I’d take this damn shower with me. I love it.

After I finished wasting Edward’s water, I got out of the shower. I wrinkled my nose at the prospect of putting on dirty panties. So, I decided to forego underwear, until I noticed a package underneath the scrubs. I picked it up and it was a new package of men’s briefs with a sticky note. They’re clean! I swear! Brand new! Never been opened! My ex-bought me these and I hate briefs! ;-) –E

I was grateful for the thought but I was afraid they wouldn’t fit. Edward was obviously muscled if he could carry my fat ass up the stairs but his hips are so narrow. They were a men’s large, Calvin Klein briefs. With a heavy sigh, I opened the package and shook out a pair of black underwear. I held them up to my hips and it would be a tight fit, but it would be doable. I pulled them up my legs and grimaced at how I looked like a stuffed sausage. However, they were comfortable and most importantly, clean.

I finished getting dressed and walked into the guest room. I found my messenger bag on the opposite side of the couch. I put my dirty clothes into the bag and searched for my journal that I kept in there. Then I realized that I left it at home because I was running late. Crap. I wonder if Edward would mind if I swiped a few sheets of paper. I need to work through what happened yesterday with Ms. Dutch, my fall and my dad. Oh, I can’t forget about Edward. Dr. Cullen.

I wandered around until I found a very neat looking office. The walls were painted a soft cream. The furnishings were a combination of black wood and silver nickel. Sitting on the desk was a pad of paper and mechanical pencil. I swiped both of them and walked back to the guest room. I made the bed before I decided to journal, curling up on the couch.

December 21st, 2012

I know I’m not writing in my usual journal, but I have to get these ideas down. Process them while they’re still fresh. First off, I took a nasty spill yesterday, giving myself a lovely goose egg on my forehead and a few stitches along my hairline. I also lost consciousness and had to be CARRIED home by our new attending. It wasn’t even my home. It was his. I’m currently sitting in the guest room in Dr. Cullen’s home writing this journal. But I’ll come back to that.

Yesterday was a horrible day. Well, not completely horrible. I did make a friend. Unfortunately, I lost a patient. The patient was an older woman who had never gotten married and was battling an upper respiratory infection. However, she was so lonely. No one was there with her. I contacted her niece in Milwaukee who said she’d try to get to Chicago, but failed to do so prior to her passing. Shit! Someone needs to tell her! It should have been me. Oh, well…what’s done is done, but I still feel horribly.

Selfishly, though, I saw a lot of me in the patient. She was alone, never found her ‘prince charming’ as she said. The light in her eyes was dim when I was talking with her and she was ‘ready to be with her family.’ She knew she was going to die. She knew her life was over and that she would die alone. Do you want to know what I was doing while she was coding? I was berated and teased by Lauren Mallory about our new attending. I was being pushed around as she staked her claim to him, saying he’d never want me.

It’s probably true. Why would he want me? He’s a fucking GOD! And he’s nice. Why couldn’t he be a douche like Newton or Crowley? It would make working with him so much easier…I can just ignore like the rest of the docs.

After my patient died, I came to the realization that her future was mine. I will be dying, alone. No one really cares about me. My own father chastised me when I didn’t come home last night despite the fact that I was being ‘held for observation at the hospital.’ Okay, Dr. Cullen’s guest bedroom. But still…

Then, there’s Dr. Cullen…let me tell you about him. Like I said, he’s our new attending. He’s gorgeous, smart, compassionate, funny and so nice. There’s something else about him but I can’t put my finger on it. When I’m around him, I get this sense of calm, safety and protection. I don’t know. And don’t get me started about when we touch. When we were introduced, I shook his hand and something traveled up my arm, filling my heart with SOMETHING but what I’m unsure. I shouldn’t get attached to him, though. He’s a good man and I do consider him a friend, but I just know that he’s too good to be true. I’ll keep him at arm’s length, be his friend but I cannot let myself open up my heart to get burned.

Remember what happened the last time? You lost your virginity to an asshole and he stomped all over you, never to return and running into the arms of a super model.

I hate my life. I hate what my life has become. I need to do something about it but I don’t know how! I need to get away from my dad but I hate to put in a position where he will be evicted. I feel so trapped.

I ripped off the few pieces of paper and held them to my chest, tears falling down my cheeks. I wiped my face and went to put the pad of paper on the desk. As I was walking back to the guest bedroom, I heard the door open. I blushed and decided to head downstairs to see if it was Edward’s mom. When I reached the main floor, I noticed an older woman standing in the foyer removing her coat. Her hair was the same shade as Edward’s. She wore a pair of gray dress pants and a purple sweater set. Her left finger twinkled with her wedding set.  “Hello?”

She turned around, giving me a warm grin. “Hello, sweetheart. Are you Bella?”

I nodded, fumbling with my loose scrubs. “Nice to meet you,” I whispered, holding out my hand. She stepped forward and took my hand in hers, cupping it warmly.

“I’m Esme Cullen,” she said. “Now, Edward said that you barely ate your sandwich last night. You must be hungry,” Esme said with a crooked smile, just like Edward’s.

“A little bit. My stomach is still unsettled from this,” I said as I held up my bangs displaying my goose egg.

“Oh, dear!” Esme said as she gingerly touched my forehead. “You got this from your fall? That’s terrible. You poor thing!”

“I’m fine, Mrs. Cullen,” I said, blushing a deeper shade of red.

“None of this Mrs. Cullen crap.  She’s my crotchety mother-in-law. So, call me Esme,” she said as she pulled me into the kitchen. “What would you like for breakfast?”

“Not much. I don’t want to get sick,” I said quietly.

“How about some toast and eggs?” Esme suggested. “I’ll keep them bland.”

“That sounds good,” I smiled. Esme turned and went to busy herself in the kitchen. “So you work with my oldest son?”

 “Um, yeah,” I replied. “I’m a nurse at County. Been there since I graduated from college.”

“Where did you go, Bella?” Esme asked.

“I took my prerequisites through one of the community colleges but got my nursing degree from University of Illinois at Chicago. I worked full time while taking classes so I could afford to get my degree,” I said.

“That must have been tough,” Esme frowned. “How did you have enough energy to work full time and complete your degree?”

“Lots of coffee,” I laughed. “What about you? What do you do, Esme?”

“I am an interior designer,” she replied, giving me a cup of coffee. “I got my undergrad degree in art history but got my masters in architecture. I opened up my own interior design firm and the rest is history.”

“Do you still run it?”

“I do. However, I only work with VIP clients. My staff handles the rest of the requests,” she responded. She finished cooking breakfast and put it in front of me, sitting next to me with her own plate.

“I hope I’m not keeping you from work, Esme,” I said as I tucked into my eggs.

“No. This week is a vacation week for my staff since it’s so close to Christmas. No one wants to renovate their home a few days prior to the holidays,” she giggled. “What are you doing for Christmas?”

“Working,” I sighed. “I don’t really have much of a family and I’d figure I’d let the people who do spend it with their loved ones. Besides, I need the money. I’m kind of strapped for cash due to some medical bills my father accrued over the past few years.”

“Doesn’t his insurance cover it?”

“He doesn’t have insurance because he abused his disability clause in becoming addicted to vicodin. His coverage was canceled,” I said, bitterness lacing my tone. “I could add him to my coverage but it’s a big hassle with the hospital. Probably due to his addiction, he’d be denied coverage since I work there.”

“What happened?”

I gave her the abbreviated version of what happened to my father and she was shocked. She felt for him but more importantly, she was sympathetic to me. Esme insisted that I was a good daughter despite my father’s evil ways. I told her that I was not looking forward to going back home tonight since he was so vicious to me on the phone.

We finished our breakfast and Esme urged me to settle down on the couch to watch some television, possibly take a nap. I furrowed my brow but she shoved me onto the couch and tucked a blanket around me, patting my cheek lovingly. I snuggled into the couch and soon my eyelids were drooping. Despite my best efforts to stay awake, my brain was telling me otherwise and I fell into a deep, dreamless sleep.

xx APFL xx

“Thanks for keeping her company, Mom,” I heard.

“She’s a lovely young woman, Edward. Very sad, though,” Esme responded. “Her eyes don’t have that sparkle and her father, he’s a piece of work.”

“I spoke with him on the phone and he tried to convince me to allow to leave the ‘hospital’ AMA,” he sighed. “He seems very spoiled and ungrateful for what she’s doing for him. I’m going to check his condition when I drop her off.”

Their voices dropped even lower and it sounded like they were arguing. I hated that they could be arguing over me. I’m not worth it. “…I love you, too, Edward. I’ll see you on Christmas night,” Esme sighed.

“Good bye, Mother,” Edward said. “I’ll be sure to tell Bella that you said good bye.”

“Good boy,” she giggled. The door opened and closed.

 Edward walked over to my couch and knelt on the floor. He smiled when he saw that I was awake. “How are you feeling?”

“Good. Tired despite the fact that I slept most of the day,” I said as I sat up.

“You rattled your brain. You’re going to be tired for a few days,” Edward said. “Can I examine you?”

I nodded and he quickly worked through a basic neurologic exam. However, his one concern was when I stumbled while balancing on my feet. I told him that even without rattling my brain, I struggle walking on a straight, flat surface. I’m a habitual klutz.

“Okay, you can go to work tomorrow, but if you’re dizzy or nauseous, you need to take a break,” Edward said sternly.

“Are you going to be there tomorrow?” I asked, smacking myself internally for asking it. Why do you care?

“Unfortunately, no. I have an appointment to get new contact lenses. These are not really conducive when they’re three prescriptions ago,” he chuckled, wiggling his glasses. “I’ve had the worst headache ever because my eyes are straining.”

“Oh, okay,” I said, smiling sadly. “I hope your appointment goes well.”

“Thank you, Bella,” he said. “Let me cook you some dinner and then I’ll drive you back to your apartment, alright?”

“You don’t have to cook for me, Edward,” I said. “I can eat something at home.”

“Bella, when was the last time someone took care of you?” he asked, furrowing his brows.

“I don’t remember,” I sniffled. “Probably my mom. About seventeen years ago? Prior to your help last night, though.”

“Well, let me take care of you tonight. I want to,” he said. I smiled softly and nodded minutely. His responding grin was radiant and he left to go make our dinner. I told him that I was going to freshen up, brush my teeth and get my stuff for when I had to leave. I carried it downstairs and left it by the entrance. We ate a quiet meal of grilled chicken, rice and a salad. Edward was surprisingly a great cook. Better than anything that I had cooked but then again, his kitchen was a dream. Nothing like the hole in the wall I had in my apartment. Once Edward and I finished the dishes, he sighed. “I guess you’ve got to go home.”

“I’m afraid,” I whispered, hoping that he wouldn’t hear me.

“Why are you afraid? Will your dad hurt you? If that’s the case, you’re staying,” Edward said, anger flashing in his eyes.

“No. I’m not afraid of him. He won’t hurt me. At least I don’t think he’ll hurt me,” I rushed out. “I’m just afraid of his wrath. I’ll probably hear a shitload of taunting, teasing and bitching that I abandoned him.” Edward narrowed his eyes and growled lowly. “And I did, kind of.”

“You did not abandon him. You were injured, Bella. If he can’t realize that, then he’s obviously delusional,” he spat. He took off his glasses and pinched his nose. “I’m sorry, Bella. I know he’s your dad but I really don’t care for him much.”

“Join the club,” I teased, trying to lighten the mood. Edward huffed out a breath and he went to grab his coat. He carried mine along with it and helped me into it.

“Bella, promise me that if you’re dad becomes too much that you’ll leave?” he asked, taking my face into his hands. I was shocked at his actions. His hands were on my face! He wasn’t pulling away and he seemed to genuinely care. I think? I don’t even know anymore. I nodded and tried to smile. Then, Edward wrapped his arms around me, crushing me to his chest. Holy crap, he smells good. His embrace was tight and protective. His cheek rested on my head. “Okay. Let’s get you home, Bella.” He squeezed me tightly before he let me go. He threw my bag over his shoulder and offered his arm to me. Together we walked out to his driveway and sitting there was a sleek silver Volvo. He opened the door and I clambered into the passenger side. He backed out and I gave him directions to my apartment building.

As we drove further away from his brownstone, the quality of the housing went down until we reached my neighborhood. It wasn’t very safe but it was all we could afford. If it was me, I could get a studio in a nicer neighborhood closer to the hospital, but I needed to care for Charlie.

Didn’t I?

“This is me,” I said as I pointed to the dingy apartment building. I was so embarrassed of my house. It was a dump compared to Edward’s home. Hell, our apartment could fit in the kitchen of his house. Edward parked the car and he helped me out of the car. I grabbed my keys and unlocked the building. The stale smell of curry, cigarette smoke and kitty litter assaulted our noses. I closed my eyes, trying to keep the tears from falling. I turned and walked down the stairs to our first floor apartment and unlocked the door.

I held open the door for Edward and I could tell that he was shocked at where I lived. The sound of Sports Center filled the tiny apartment and Charlie was sitting in his recliner, glaring at me like I was the scum of the earth. Maybe I was. Who the hell knows?

“Is this your sugar daddy, Isabella?” Charlie sneered.

“Dad!” I barked out.

“What? He brought you home and probably you expects you to open your legs,” Charlie snickered evilly.

Edward growled and moved me behind him. “Mr. Swan, I cannot believe you would say that about your own daughter,” he whispered menacingly.

“She’s too fat for you, huh? You don’t like seeing the rolls bounce?” Charlie laughed maniacally. “You’re fucking worthless, Isabella!”

Edward took my hand and led me to the kitchen where it was somewhat secluded. “Is this how he treats you? All the time?”

“It’ll probably be worse after you leave,” I murmured, staring at his Christmas-y tie.

“I’m not letting you stay here. This is emotional abuse, Bella. You don’t deserve this,” Edward said as he cupped my chin, forcing me to look up at him.

“Edward, I can’t stay with you. It’s…it’s not right,” I said as tears streamed down my cheeks. “I’ll be fine. I promise.” I pulled away and went to put my bag into my room. Edward was on my heels. Apparently, my room is where my father had imparted his wrath. My bedding was torn to shreds and my mattress was flipped against the wall. He had one of his tantrums.

“Bella, this is not fine,” Edward said tersely. “He needs help. Anger management. Something!”

“I can’t leave him. Not right now. However, I’ve had it up to here with his bullshit,” I sighed. “After the first of the year, I’ll move out. It’s two weeks away. I’ve got to find a place, but I don’t have a lot of money. I’ll just work doubles…I’ll talk to Sam and get my name removed from the lease so my dad can keep this place. But I’m not sure how he can afford it. He gets some money from his ‘retirement fund’ since he was injured while on duty, but it’s not enough to afford this.”

“I don’t mean to sound like a dick, but your gravy train is done,” Edward said. “You do not need to support that asshole. Let him crash and burn. You deserve better than this.”

“Do I? Edward, I’ve heard what he’s been saying all my life. Maybe this is all I’m destined for,” I snarled. “I’m thirty years old and this is my life!”

“You’re not, Bella,” Edward whispered, staring into my eyes. “You deserve the world. To be loved and cherished.”

“I’ve given up all hope on finding that,” I spat bitterly. “Look, I appreciate all of your help the past few days but I need to get this settled and go to bed. I’ve got to be at the hospital by seven.” I turned and began cleaning my room, trying to salvage my bedding and my room. Edward was obviously not happy with my dismissal of him as he angrily sighed. I was struggling with my bed, trying to get it back on the box spring. Edward helped me move it and he sat me down. His green eyes were boring into mine and he looked so sad.

“Bella, you are an amazing woman. I’m lucky to have you as my friend,” he murmured. “I’m here if you ever want to talk. Please, use my cell phone number.” I nodded. Edward pulled me into his arms again and he hugged me tightly. “I won’t see you tomorrow, but I’m on for the next three days. And I do believe you promised me to go out to dinner on Christmas Eve.”

I had hoped that he forgot. “Okay,” I said. “Thank you again, Edward.”

“Any time, Bella,” he said as he pulled away, kissing my cheek. “Do you want me to slip him a sleeping pill in his beer before I leave?”

“No. But thanks for the offer,” I giggled. Again, Edward cupped my cheek, gliding his fingers down my skin. My heart fluttered in my chest and I couldn’t understand why he did that. Edward left after that and I went into my room, locking my door to keep Charlie at bay. Unfortunately, due to the amount of sleep I had all day, I had a hard time falling asleep. Also, my bed sheets were in tatters and I needed to laundry for my spare set. I wasn’t about to go to the Laundromat at midnight, so I just sat on the floor, reading my book for most of the night.

Around five in the morning, I poked my head out of my room and saw that my dad’s door was closed. I scampered to the shower and hosed of my body. I washed my hair carefully, mindful of my sutures that were put in by Edward. I put on some light makeup to hide the bruising on my forehead and styled my bangs to cover it. I dressed in my holiday scrubs, trying to give the patients a little pick me up despite being in the hospital this close to Christmas.

I bundled up since it was snowing and I made sure I had my hiking boots for the commute to the hospital. I walked into the ER just in time for my shift. I clocked in and walked to the locker room to drop off my coat, messenger bag and to change my shoes. I placed my boots in my locker and slipped on my crocs. I grabbed my stethoscope, several pens and my ID badge, clipping it to my scrub top. I headed out to the circulation desk where Angela was standing, looking bright-eyed and bushy tailed. “Morning, Ang,” I said.

“Hi, Bella,” she said with a genuine smile. “We missed you yesterday. How’s your head?”

I lifted my bangs to show my bump. She grimaced and apologized. “I just had a clumsy moment. Became personally acquainted with the concrete of the el platform.”

“Is it true that Dr. Cullen helped you?”

“Yeah. He brought me back to his place and took care of the stitches. He’s really nice, Ang,” I blushed. “Too nice.”

“There is no such thing as too nice,” Angela snorted. “Do you think he has an ulterior motive?”

“I dunno,” I shrugged. “Who’s on today with us?”

“The slut sisters,” Angela grumbled. “Oh, and Ben Cheney.”

“Your crush,” I giggled.

“Shut up, Swan!” she hissed, tossing a pen at me.

“Ang, do you know if there is any apartments open in your building?” I asked casually.

“Why? Are you looking to move?”

“Yeah. I have to get away from my dad,” I said, looking at her sadly. “He was horrible last night. And the night before, I spent it at…well, I wasn’t home and my dad had a shit fit.”

“Where were you?” Angela asked, her eyes twinkling mischievously.

“Not home. Please don’t push it, Ang,” I sighed. “I don’t feel comfortable talking about it since, yeah. Long story short, I want my own place and I was hoping to find something after the first of the year. I’d rather go somewhere reputable.”

“Well, I know that you are probably wanting your own place, but my roommate is getting married and is moving in with her fiancée. I’m going to have a room open up if you interested.”

“How much per month?”

“$500 a month, plus half of the electric and cable,” she said.

“When is she moving out?”

“It coincides with your timeline,” Angela smiled. “She’s moving out between Christmas and New Year’s. It’ll be fun, Bells.”

“Can I think about it? It sounds great! But I don’t want to make a rash decision right now, okay?”

“Works for me. Let me know whenever. However, if I don’t hear anything by New Year’s, I’m going to post it in the lounge,” Angela said. I nodded and picked up a chart. She squealed and hugged me before heading to check on her patients for the day.

The morning dragged as the ER was practically empty. Dr. Sanchez, Dr. Crowley and Dr. Denali were the attendings on duty. The residents were running around doing the grunt work with us nurses and well, it was a fruitless venture since the residents were dumber than a box of rocks.

Around noon, I was sitting at the circulation desk, checking on some labs when I overheard the slut sisters talking. “Can you believe Swan? She practically threw herself at Dr. Cullen. What a slut!” Lauren snickered.

“He’ll never go for a fat ass like her,” Jessica replied. “He needs a real woman…Me!”

“Shut up, bitch! He’s mine,” Lauren said.

“How about we both go for him? Maybe he’d be into a threesome?” Jessica cooed. “I wonder how big he is?”

“Probably massive. God, and his hands! They are so sexy!”

“I bet he can make a woman come with just his long-ass fingers,” Jessica swooned. “I’m so wet right now just thinking about it!”

“Hey Swan,” Lauren sneered when she saw me. “Nice of you to show up to work today. Taking a vacation day?”

“No, I was hurt. I have a concussion,” I said, jotting down some notes on the chart for my patient.

“Perhaps you should go to the doctor? One of those gastric bypass docs would be right up your alley, lard ass,” Jessica giggled.

“Nurse Mallory, Nurse Stanley, you are aware of the memo you received in your mailbox, correct?” came the accented voice of Dr. Eleazar Sanchez, the head of the ER.

“What’s that Dr. Sanchez?” Lauren asked innocently.

“Dr. Cullen put a memorandum in each of your mailboxes, all of our mailboxes, about the appropriate and professional behavior for all staff members,” he warned. “The way you’re speaking to Nurse Swan goes against those new guidelines.”

“We were just teasing. Right, Bella?” Jessica asked, putting her arm around my shoulders. I shrugged it off and glared at her.

“Apparently, Nurse Swan doesn’t think so,” Dr. Sanchez said, the warning in his voice clear. “If I hear you abusing another staff member, you will get reprimanded with a letter in  your file, as per the new policy.”

“I’m sorry, Dr. Sanchez, but aren’t you the head of the ER? You can amend the policy,” Lauren asked.

“I am the head of the ER but Dr. Cullen is the associate head of this department. His voice is as strong as mine and this new policy is needed based off the behavior I’ve just seen. Nurse Swan, is this behavior par for the course? Have they treated you like this before?”

“Yes, Dr. Sanchez,” I answered. “I’ve been ribbed about my weight and about my expertise as a nurse by these two before.”

“When?”

“On Dr. Cullen’s first day,” I replied. You know what? Edward is right. I deserved respect and gone is the woman who gets walked on. “He heard them call me ‘Belly.’”

“It’s your nick name, Bella,” Lauren giggled nervously.

“Nurse Mallory, please go to my office,” Dr. Sanchez growled. “Nurse Stanley, I’ll deal with you later. Nurse Swan, can you please provide documentation for this harassment and any witnesses that were around for it. I want that on my desk before you leave today. I’m truly sorry for the behavior of these two.”

“Thank you, Dr. Sanchez,” I said as I opened a new document on my computer terminal. Dr. Sanchez left and Jessica glared at me. “Yes?”

“Did you go down on Cullen? You’re the reason for this new harassment policy? God, you’re worthless, Swan. Dr. Sanchez will never believe you. Not after the lies that Lauren and I will spin about you. And Dr. Cullen will see you as a weak, pitiful, fat fuck that you are,” Jessica threatened.

“Did you really just threaten her?” Angela asked.

“Nope,” Jessica replied sweetly. She smiled at me but her smile hid her ire. Leaning forward, Jessica hissed in my ear. “You’re going down, Swan. Mark my words. This. Isn’t. Over.”

“No. It’s just begun,” I smirked. I would not let them walk all over me. I would become a better person. I will move on with my life and be happy. And it’s time I took the bull by the horns. Jessica stomped away, taking her chart with her. I turned to Angela and smiled. “I’ll move in with you!”

She squealed and hugged me tightly. As we embraced, I made the decision that this coming year will be MY year. A new Bella Swan. The first step will be to get out of my father’s apartment and moved in with my new roommate. But the question remained, what would be the next step?

A/N: Well? *Bites lip nervously* Did you like it? How many of you want to shove one of Charlie’s crutches up his ass? *Oh! ME! ME!* How many of you want Edward to gently glide his fingers down your cheek? *Again! ME! ME! Waves HAND WILDLY!* Anyhow, the relationship with Edward and Bella will begin as friends. Eventually, their romance will bloom. But, it will be a tenuous relationship. Bella still doesn’t trust. Up next will be Christmas Eve at the ER and further development of Edward and Bella’s friendship.

Before I leave you, I put up on my blog what I picture Bella’s body type would be. She’s roughly 190 pounds, full figured with boobs and a butt. Essentially she’s me. I’m her. We’re interchangeable except I’m not a nurse nor do I have a sexy Doctorward to caress my cheek. *Le sigh* Check out my blog for those pics. In addition, extra teasers are in my facebook group: Tufano79 Twilight Fanfiction Appreciation. Leave me some! More review = faster updates! ;-)

 

Chapter Text

New Story: This is different from the norm. In all of the stories that I’ve read or that I’ve seen, all of the characters are disgustingly perfect unless they are written with very clear flaws. This story is about love (um, duh! Look who’s writing it. I’m the queen of romance), and finding it in the least likely place with the least likely person.

Now, this story is based in a hospital. My medical training comes from…WebMD. I’m not a doctor, nor do I claim to be. I’m a music teacher who has a wild imagination and a penchant for all things Twilight (and with this story, added in a mix of ER! I loved Luca Kovac…) Which brings me to my disclaimer: None of this is mine. I’m not, nor ever will be, Stephenie Meyer. If was, I’d be rolling in the dough from her insane imagination that gave us Bella and Edward. No copyright infringement is intended.

Chapter Four

EPOV

I shouldn’t have left her in that apartment. Her father was freaking certifiable. And a drunk. I noticed way too many beer bottles littered around his dingy recliner and when he spoke, he had a subtle slur to his words. I nearly turned around twice as I drove back to my brownstone. For some strange reason, I wanted to protect and care for Bella. She’d been dealt a shit hand of cards and I wanted to be her freaking knight in shining armor.

Plus hearing what the slut sisters had to say about her didn’t really help either.

When Angela, one of the few friends that I had learned that Bella had on the floor, was called in to take over Bella’s shift, Lauren and Jessica let loose.

Bella’s such a lazy, fat fuck.

She can’t even come into work?

God! How did she get hired at this hospital?

Isn’t there a weight limit to be a nurse?

I bet she’s stuffing her disgusting face with bon bons.

As I listened to their hateful words, I was shocked. Surely this hospital had a harassment policy. When I looked it up, it was minimal at best. No real ramifications for the harassment of another employee. A proverbial slap on the wrist. It was a slow day in the ER and I drafted a new policy to show Dr. Sanchez. Before my shift was done, I handed it to him and he was impressed with the new policy. With his go ahead, I printed off copies and stuck it in everyone’s mailbox, all over the staff lounge and sent out a PDF to everyone’s email.

Once I got home, I walked into my house and it felt strangely empty. Prior to my first day at the hospital, I never really cared about the size of my house. It was a place to sleep and eat. My house was very nice but it still didn’t feel like ‘home.’ But with Bella here, it felt warmer.  Wonder what that means? I sighed and walked upstairs to check if I needed to make Bella’s bed or see if she left anything in the guest room. Shockingly enough, the bed was neatly made. When I walked into the room, I could smell the subtle scent of Bella’s shampoo or something because I was assaulted with the smell of strawberries and linen. Very refreshing from my usual body wash and the cloying stuff that Tanya used. As I was walking around the room, I noticed a piece of paper stuck in between the cushions of the couch.

December 21st, 2012

I know I’m not writing in my usual journal, but I have to get these ideas down. Process them while they’re still fresh. First off, I took a nasty spill yesterday, giving myself a lovely goose egg on my forehead and a few stitches along my hairline. I also lost consciousness and had to be CARRIED home by our new attending. It wasn’t even my home. It was his. I’m currently sitting in the guest room in Dr. Cullen’s home writing this journal. But I’ll come back to that.

Yesterday was a horrible day. Well, not completely horrible. I did make a friend. Unfortunately, I lost a patient…

Holy shit! Bella left a journal entry here. I shouldn’t be reading this. Should I?

No. I shouldn’t. It’s invading her privacy. She obviously wrote this to process what happened yesterday. It’s not my place. I took the paper and walked into my office. I folded the journal entry neatly and placed it inside an envelope, marking it with Bella’s name. I’ll put it in her mailbox after my day off.

The next morning, I went and signed up for a nearby gym membership. I’d been slacking off. Carrying Bella shouldn’t have been so taxing but my arms were barking the day after. Yes, Bella was a curvy girl. Heavier than Tanya. A toothpick is heavier than Tanya. However, Bella carried herself gracefully and lithely for someone who was not supermodel thin. She was slightly clumsy, but dainty in her movements. And it felt good to feel her against my chest as I held her.

After I signed up at the gym, I spent an hour and half working out; forty-five minutes on the treadmill and a half hour doing strength training and a fifteen minute cool down. As I was stretching, a big beefy guy came up and plopped down next to me. He was wearing a uniform and it looked like he was going to try and sell me on personal training. No. Thank. You.

“Hey man, you’ve got some solid moves,” he said. “Nice form on the rack.”

Or maybe he was flirting?

“Thanks,” I replied as I bent over to stretch my hamstrings.

“I’m Emmett McCarty,” he said, holding out his hand. “I obviously work here as shown by my smashing shirt.”

“Dr. Edward Cullen,” I replied, shaking his hand.

“A doctor? What’s your specialty?”

“I’m an ER physician at Cook County Hospital,” I answered. “I just moved here from Seattle.”

“Seattle. Never been there. I hear it rains a lot there,” Emmett snorted.

“I’d rather deal with the rain than the snow,” I grumbled. “Or ice. So, what can I do for you, Emmett?”

“Well, I was going to offer a complimentary training session,” Emmett chuckled, “but seeing as you are a doctor, you probably know what to do and shit.”

“Yeah, I kind of do,” I laughed. “God, that sounded highly arrogant.”

“Nah. I’ve heard more douche-bagged responses than that. Hey, if you ever want a workout buddy, give me a call,” Emmett said as he handed me his card. “You seem like an okay dude.”

“Are you picking me up?” I asked, arching a brow over my glasses

“No, man. I’m very much straight,” Emmett bellowed. “But you can never have too many friends. My schedule is also on that card as well. Oh, here.” He scribbled something on the back. “That’s my cell phone number. If you ever want to go out for a beer, I’m game.”

“Thanks, Emmett,” I said as I hopped up from the mats. We shook hands again and I headed into the locker room to shower before I had to go to my eye doctor appointment. After I hosed down in the gym, I changed into a pair of jeans, a warm sweater and my boots. I carried out my bag and waved at Emmett as I leave. He gave me a smile as I headed out into the winter wonderland that was the parking lot of my gym.

Slowly, I drove to my eye appointment and went through the hassle of getting my new contact lenses. A few hours later, I’m done and finally rid of my god-forsaken glasses. However, I did order a pair in my correct prescription so I wouldn’t have to deal with the damned stress headaches. After my appointment, I wandered around the mall to get some Christmas presents for my family. I had most of it done but since I was out and it was still snowing like a son of a bitch, I wanted to get some more.

As I was wandering around the mall, I picked up a few more things for Rose and my dad when I stumbled across a bookstore. In the window was a display of leather bound journals. I darted inside and found a package of three journals. In addition, I saw some fancy pens. On whim, I purchased them for Bella. It was probably highly inappropriate but she needed someone to think about her. God knows her father won’t remember that it’s Christmas. And maybe I will invite her to my parents’ home for Christmas dinner. My mom suggested it, but I was hesitant since she was a co-worker.

We’ll see.

xx APFL xx

“Good morning,” I said as I swept into the circulation desk in the ER.

“Morning, Dr. Cullen,” Angela said as she gave me a bright smile. “You lost the specs. Looking good there, Dr. C.”

“Thanks, Ang,” I snickered. “Who’s on today?”

“Me, Bella, Alice Brandon, you haven’t met her yet. She’s newer and has been working nights,” Angela responded. “Jessica, Ben and Austin.”

“Have you done the shift change?”

“Yep. Bella and Alice are with their patients while the rest are checking on labs and such,” Angela explained. “I’m just finishing up some notes from Dr. Denali before I go to the drug locker.”

“Thanks, Ang,” I smiled.

“Oh, and thanks for the new harassment policy,” Angela said as she walked away. “Lauren got written up and suspended yesterday for giving Bella shit. Jessica is on her last ‘limb.’”

“What happened?” I asked. God, I sound like a gossipy old woman.

“Lauren was talking smack about Bella taking the day before yesterday off because of her fall. She was spreading rumors that Bella gave you head to get the time off and that Bella was a slut. Dr. Sanchez overheard her and reminded both her and Lauren about the new policy. Lauren tried to play it off that she was teasing but get this, Bella stood up for herself. I was so proud. My baby girl is growing up! She typed out this dissertation on how Jessica and Lauren tease and harass her, provide specific instances, witnesses and dates. Lauren was written up and suspended for shoving Bella in the drug locker the day her patient died.”

“What patient?” I asked.

“It was on your first day. Um, the older woman? Respiratory infection?” Angela replied.

“Oh, Ms. Dutch,” I said. I had been wondering where Bella was when the code began and now that explains so much. I’m curious how long Lauren has been suspended? Doesn’t matter. I just pray that she learned her lesson. “Thanks, Ang,” I said, smiling crookedly. Bella stood up for herself? Fuck yeah! Angela must have seen my triumphant smile and she held up her hand. I gave her a high five and she skipped to the drug locker. I checked the board. Swiping the next chart up in the rotation, I walked to curtain area two. Standing next to the patient, a little boy with an injured wrist, was Bella. She was trying to take his blood pressure but he was squirming.

“Evan! Stop wiggling,” his mom chided. “This nice nurse needs to take your blood pressure.”

“No! She’s ugly and fat!” Evan spat.

He’s just a kid. He’s hurting and trying finagle his way out of being in the hospital.

“EVAN! APOLOGIZE! RIGHT NOW!” the mom yelled.

“It’s okay, Mrs. Cameron,” Bella said softly.

“No. It’s not. Evan knows better,” Mrs. Cameron said, obviously embarrassed at her son’s behavior.

“Hello,” I said. “I’m Dr. Cullen. What’s seems to be the problem?”

“Evan fell on a patch of ice and landed awkwardly on his hand,” Bella explained. She rattled off his vitals, as much as she could since she hadn’t completed her assessment by the time I intervened.

“Is Evan allergic to any medication?” I asked.

“Nope,” Mrs. Cameron said. “And I do apologize for Evan’s outburst…um, what’s your name?”

“Bella,” she responded. “It’s no big deal. He’s in a hospital and in pain.”

“But, he knows better. Right, Evan?” He grunts, rolling his eyes at his mom. I can tell that she’s getting mad at Evan’s stubbornness. Mrs. Cameron is turning a lovely shade of puce.

“Hey Evan,” I said as I crouched down to his level. “What happened to your hand?”

“I fell,” he grumbled.

“Can I take a look at it? I want to see if you need an x-ray,” I said in a quiet voice.

“Will it hurt?” Evan asked, the surly boy exterior fading away to a more subdued and obviously in pain child.

“Possibly,” I answered as I took his right hand, gently feeling and moving his fingers. I started to bend his wrist and he hissed, tears running down his cheeks. As I felt his wrist, I heard and felt a ‘click.’ “Bella, can you order a set of wrist films for Evan?”

“Sure, Dr. Cullen,” she said as she jotted down my orders. “Anything for the pain?”

“Give him a half dose of Tylenol-3,” I answered. “If he’s still in pain after the x-ray, we’ll discuss changing the pain meds.”

“Does she still have to be my nurse?” Evan growled.

“Now, Evan, I’ve been very patient with you,” I said quietly. “But, Bella is my friend and I can’t speak for her but your words impact how she feels. I don’t want my friend to feel bad because you’re being rude.”

“You’re friends with her? You’re, like, cool!” Evan said, his eyes growing wide.

“So is Bella,” I said sternly, standing up. “Please apologize to her so I don’t have to see her sad face all day.” I shot her a look and pleaded with her to play along. Thankfully she did and jut out her lower lip, quivering it slightly. Once Evan saw how ‘sad’ Bella really was, he begrudgingly apologized and promised to not be a jerk. We left the curtain area and walked to a computer terminal. I logged in and put in my orders for Evan. “How’s your head?”

“I’m still tired,” she sighed, “and it’s ugly as sin. I don’t have enough makeup to hide the bruise.” She turned and lifted her bangs to display the angry purple, blue and green welt on her forehead. I moved her hand and checked her sutures, checking to see if I needed to fix any of them. Satisfied with the stitches, I felt around her goose egg. She groaned and pulled her head away. “It’s fine, Dr. Cullen.” I arched a brow. “Sorry, Edward.”

“A little bird told me that you stood up for yourself,” I said as I leaned casually against the counter. “Got a certain blond skank suspended?”

“Oh, it was awesome,” Bella giggled. She told me all about Lauren was giving her shit and how Dr. Sanchez overheard her lies. She then wrote up a formal complaint with names of witnesses who would back her up and a timeline for the harassment. I smiled as I watched Bella excitedly tell me about how Lauren was on unpaid leave until after the first of the year.

“That’s great news, Bella,” I said, giving her a warm smile.

“Apparently that concussion knocked some sense into me,” she said as she finished on the computer. “I’m moving in with Angela the week between Christmas and New Year’s. Her roommate is getting married as going to live in sin with her fiancé.”

“What about  your sperm donor?” I asked. Mr. Swan was not a father. No dad should treat his child like he treats Bella.

“Sperm donor. I like it,” she said, giving me a sly grin. “Um, I haven’t told him yet. I’ve spoken with our landlord and made arrangements to have my name removed from the lease. Sam Uley, the landlord, understands and is willing to do it. His own father is similar to Charlie, only at least Sam Uley Sr. is somewhat respectful to his son AND he doesn’t live with him. Sam Uley Sr. lives on the top floor of the craptastic apartment building.”

“If you need help moving, I’m more than willing,” I said. “It’s what friends do.”

“Well, I’m just going to get everything ‘new.’ Okay, secondhand,” she sighed. “I’m going to leave my bedroom set at Charlie’s and just get a new bed, a small desk and a bookshelf for my room. Angela has the rest. I’m going today after work to see the room and take measurements for my new furniture.”

“I’m still willing to help. It’s good have friends that are men. We move things. Carry heavy shit,” I snorted.

“I’d like that, Edward. Thank you,” she blushed. “Anyhow, I’m going to get Evan x-rayed and then I have to check on Betsy.”

“Betsy?”

“She’s one of our homeless ladies. She comes in every few months to get a shower, get the lice removed, some clothes from the goodwill box and warm meal,” she said. “You might want to steer clear. She likes to pinch the ass of all of the doctors. Especially young and good looking.”

“Are you calling me hot?” I teased.

“No, you’re young,” she said as she walked into the curtain area two. “She wouldn’t try that shit with Dr. Sanchez or Dr. Denali. Plus, you’re new. You’d have a lovely welt on your butt.”

“Great,” I snorted. “Thanks for the warning, Bella.” She winked at me and slipped inside the small room that held Evan and his mom. I turned and checked the computer for the next patient. Armed with the name, I walked to the circulation desk and picked up the chart. The patient, Riley Biers, was located in one of the trauma rooms. I strode inside and was greeted by a short, waifish nurse with short, raven hair and violet eyes. “Hello, I’m Dr. Cullen,” I greeted the nurse and the patient.

“I’m Alice Brandon,” the nurse chirped. “Welcome to County, Dr. Cullen. Any relation to the other Dr. Cullen?”

“Yeah. He’s my dad,” I chuckled. “You’re the first one to notice.”

“I used to work on the surgical floor but I wanted a change of pace. I put in for a transfer to either here or in Labor and Delivery. A spot opened up here first, so here I am!”

I nodded to Alice and turned to the patient. “So, Mr. Biers, what’s wrong?”

“My stomach hurts,” he moaned.

“Your whole stomach or does one side hurt more than the other?” I asked as I put on a pair of gloves. I lifted his gown and gently pressed on his belly. It was soft, not rigid. When I reached to the lower right side of his abdomen, he groaned. “I’m sorry, Mr. Biers,” I frowned as I pressed further into his right side. Against my fingers, I felt a hardened appendix. His groaning was louder. “Does he have a fever?”

“102.7,” Alice rattled off. “Do you want a blood work up?”

“Yes,” I said. I listed the blood tests I wanted done in addition to an ultrasound of his stomach and if that was inconclusive, a CT of his belly. Alice turned and went to order the necessary tests. I turned to Mr. Biers. “I think you may have appendicitis, Mr. Biers. Alice is ordering a few tests to verify my diagnosis, but I felt your appendix when I was examining your belly.”

“What does that mean?” he asked.

“Well, the only treatment is to have the appendix removed,” I answered. “Once I get verification of the diagnosis, I’ll call up for a surgical consult.”

“It can’t be treated with antibiotics?” he frowned. “I have to have surgery?”

“Yes, you do,” I explained. “If you don’t have the appendix removed, it could rupture and you’d get much, much sicker. You can get something called peritonitis, which is a serious inflammation of the abdominal cavity’s wall called the peritoneum and can be fatal if not treated.”

“Tomorrow’s Christmas Eve,” Mr. Biers whined.

“If we’re able to remove the appendix laproscopically, you should be home by tomorrow,” I said. “You’ll have to take it easy but your surgeon can go over the specifics for the surgery and the recovery.”

Alice came back in with the necessities to draw his blood. Clearly, Mr. Biers was unhappy with his diagnosis. However, his stomach was bothering him enough for him to come to the hospital. “I’ll be back, Mr. Biers. Alice, page me when you’re ready for the ultrasound.”

“Sure thing, Dr. Cullen,” she said.

As I walked out of the trauma room, I felt a sharp pain on my left ass cheek. “Ow!” I groaned as I rubbed my butt. I turned and I saw in a gurney in the hallway, an older woman with long stringy white hair and no teeth, wearing a loose hospital gown and no blanket. “Let me guess? Betsy?”

“You got a nice firm ass, sugar,” she lisped out. “Let me feel the other cheek.”

“Maybe later, Betsy. Give my ass cheeks an opportunity heal. You’ve got vicious fingers,” I snorted. “Did you get something to eat?”

“Not yet. The shebeast dumped me in the hallway after she showered me,” Betsy grumbled.

“Shebeast?”

“Curly hair. Voice like a Chihuahua. Fake tits?”

“Jessica,” I sighed. “Weren’t you in a room before?”

“Yeah but it’s otherwise occupied,” Betsy grumbled. “I heard moaning in my room.”

“Hmmm…I’ll get to the bottom of this, Betsy. But keep your talons away from my hiney,” I said, arching a brow. She barked out a laugh. Clearly not as effective without the glasses. “What room?”

“That one,” she said as she pointed to a small examination room. I walked and put my ear to door. I could hear quiet whispers and giggles. I knocked on the door. Then, a male voice cried ‘Oh, shit! Get dressed!’ I counted to five before I opened the door. Inside of the room were a couple of teenagers with their clothes strewn all over the floor. The girl had a cast on her foot and was a shade of red.

“You realize that this is a hospital, right?” I said dryly.

“We found an empty room,” the kid said. “Our parents won’t leave us alone and we jumped at the chance to be with each other.”

“Based off the state of your clothes,” I said as I picked up the girl’s bra that was by my feet, “you jumped each other. Please tell me you were at least safe?”

“I’ve got a used condom under my jeans,” the boy blushed.

“Yeah, you take care of that and finish getting dressed. I’ll give you ten minutes before I roll the patient that was assigned to this room back in here,” I said flatly.

“You’re not going to tell our parents, are you?” the girl whimpered.

“How old are you?” I asked.

“Eighteen,” they both answered.

“You’re both adults. I can’t. Who’s your doctor?”

“Dr. Crowley,” the girl answered. “I was just released when we found the room.”

“Go home. Have sex in the back seat of a car like normal teenagers. Not a hospital room,” I sighed.

“No, man. Too fucking cold!”

I crossed my arms, raising my brows to my hairline. The boy blanched and the girl blushed. With a parting glare, I left the room, going to check on Evan. His x-rays weren’t back yet but I did run into Bella at the circulation desk. “I’ve been attacked.”

“What happened?” she asked.

“My left ass cheek was assaulted by Betsy’s talons,” I said.

“I tried to warn you.”

“It was a sneak attack. I was walking from the trauma room to here and she pinched me. Are her nails made out of steel or something? My poor delicate butt will be bruised,” I pouted.

“Sorry, Edward,” she giggled. “Sitting might be a challenge.”

“It wasn’t that hard,” I retorted.

Bella got up from her stool and shoved it toward me. With a smirk, I sat down only to feel exactly where Betsy attacked me. I hissed and jumped up, rubbing my ass cheek. “Damn it.”

“Do you want a donut, Dr. Cullen?” Bella teased.

“Jelly filled,” I quipped back.

“Not that kind,” she snickered. “But, why was Betsy in the hallway?”

“Jessica dumped her there after her shower,” I sighed. “Her room was occupied by a pair of randy teenagers. Those two.” I pointed the pair as they scrambled out of the ER as fast as they could with the girl on crutches. “I gave them ten minutes to clean up the room before I moved Betsy back in. She’d love squeezing the boy’s tushy.”

“You’re nice. Too nice,” Bella said. “I’d just push Betsy in there while they were going at it. Talk about a mood killer.” A ping rang from the computer. “About time. Evan’s x-rays are up. I’ll get them from radiology while you push Fingers McGee into her room. Don’t turn your back on her.”

“I’m afraid she may try and pinch something else then,” I said, cupping my junk. “Should I wear a cup?”

“She’s not into that. Only asses,” she smirked. I rolled my eyes as I walked back to Betsy’s parking spot in the hallway. She had zonked out and was snoring loudly. I gently moved her into the now vacated room, tucking her underneath a warming blanket. I turned and as I was walking away, her hand reached out and pinched my right ass cheek.

God damn it!

I turned and she winked at me. I shook my head and left her to finish her nap. I swiped an icepack on my way to check on Evan and held it to my butt. My poor abused ass. Bella was putting the films into the light box when I stepped behind her. I could smell her soft strawberry fragrance from her hair and the warmth of her body. She turned and smiled shyly when I slipped behind her. “What do you think?” she asked.

I looked at the films, scrutinizing the bones for any signs of a break or a fracture. I stared at the films for a few moments, not seeing anything but then I noticed something near the base of his hand. “There,” I said as I pointed with my pen. “It’s small, but it’s a break.”

“A cast or a brace?” Bella asked.

“Hmmm, since it’s so close to the growth plate, I’m saying cast. We don’t him to have constant pain for the rest of his life. When we set the bone, I want him sedated. Nothing is worse than hearing a child cry. Not completely out, just very loopy.”

Bella nodded and put into his chart the sedative that would be best for Evan. While she went to ready the necessities for Evan’s cast, I checked on Mr. Biers. Alice showed me the test results and his white blood cell count was through the roof. I asked if she could call for a surgical consult. Alice nodded and bounced away. I told Alice to find me when the surgeon comes down. Alice turned and gave me a thumbs up.

I walked back to Evan’s room and Bella had set up everything for the cast. Evan was eyeing the needle on the tray warily. Bella quietly explained to Evan’s mom what we were going to do along with get permission to treat her son. She signed the consent form and looked at Evan. As Bella was talking, I gave Evan the choices for the colors for his cast. He picked the camo tape. Typical boy.

Working quickly, Bella administered the sedative and Evan crashed. I set the bone and began plastering him for his cast. Once the cast it put on, I explained to Mrs. Cameron that she needs to bring Evan to an orthopedic doctor for a follow up. I gave her a list of a few local reputable doctors. Bella handed Mrs. Cameron some after instructions and tips on keeping the cast dry while showering. Before we leave, I gave Evan’s mom her discharge papers and explained that once Evan was able to walk on his own, they were free to leave.

As I was leaving curtain area two, I got paged to the trauma room. I thanked Bella for help and she smiled. I walked quickly to the trauma room and my dad was down running the ultrasound on Mr. Biers’ belly. “Hi, Dad,” I said.

“Hey, Edward. I was just speaking to Mr. Biers about his appendicitis,” Carlisle explained.

“Can you extract it laproscopically?” I asked.

“Yep. It was caught early enough,” Carlisle said. “You’ve got the best doc in the ER, Mr. Biers. Comes from a brilliant stock.” Mr. Biers rolled his eyes but smiled at my dad’s lame joke. “Let’s get you admitted, Mr. Biers. Your appendix will be removed by this evening and you should, barring any complications, be home for Christmas. Is there anyone you need to call?”

“I need to call my ex-wife, Bree. I was supposed to pick up our son to spend Christmas with him and my parents, but obviously that’s not going to happen.”

“Once you get up to your room, you can make that phone call, Mr. Biers. Perhaps your parents can pick up your son and you can still spend Christmas with him?” I suggested.

Mr. Biers bit his lip thoughtfully and nodded. My dad  clapped me on the shoulder and we left the trauma room. I turned to him, raising my brow. “It’s going to be a standard procedure. It’s inflamed and should be an easy removal. It’ll be the last surgery I have before a few days off, unless there’s an emergency or something.”

“That’s good. I’m hopeful that he can be home with his family,” I smiled.

“Unlike you,” Carlisle chastised.

“Dad…”

“I know, I know. Usually they plug one attending with a bunch of residents on Christmas Eve and Christmas,” Carlisle snickered. “You got that straw seeing as you are the newest attending. Oh, I also hear that congratulations are in order, too. Associate head of emergency medicine? That’s wonderful, Edward!”

“Thanks, Dad,” I blushed.

“Dr. Cullen?” called Bella.

“Yes,” we both answered.

“Sorry, Edward,” she chuckled. “Mrs. Cameron has a few questions about Evan’s cast and the aftercare. I tried to explain but she’s insistent on speaking with you.”

“I’ll see you tomorrow evening, Edward,” Carlisle said.

“Dad, I’m only coming on Christmas Day. For dinner,” I explained. “I thought Mom told you.”

“Rose will be very upset,” Carlisle sighed. “She’s been doing so well. Okay, I’ll see you soon, son. Nice to speak with you, Nurse Swan.”

Together, Bella and I walk back to the Evan’s room. Mrs. Cameron was just worried about minor things. I just reiterated what Bella told her about the aftercare for the cast and for rehab. After Evan and his mom leave, it slowed down big time. Bella spent a lot of time working on charting while I familiarizing myself with the emergency protocols of the hospital. I also read up the policies of the hospital.

The afternoon dragged, even with a brief field trip with Bella and Angela to the Perkalator. By the time comes around when the new shift comes in, Bella is vibrating with excitement. She and Angela were talking the rest of the afternoon about her new place. As they left, Bella gave me a wide smile, indicating that she was trying to make her life better. Her eyes were still sad but she was slowly working on her happiness.

“You like her,” Alice chimed from behind me as she wrapped her scarf around her neck as she walked past my office.

“She’s my friend. And from what I’ve seen, she needs a few,” I said as I reached for my coat, putting on my lab coat on the coat hook I have in my office.

“Bella’s nice. A very capable nurse but the staff down here are awful to her. This is the first time I’ve worked with her and I just don’t see it. But Dr. Crowley, Dr. Newton and the skank hoes are constantly spreading nasty rumors about her. Apparently she was sucking you off in the locker room today,” Alice giggled.

“Who said that?”

“One of the orderlies who heard it from Jessica,” Alice said, rolling her eyes.

“I’d so write her up but it’s hearsay,” I grumbled. “Why do they tease her, Alice? She’s such a sweet woman. Yes, she’s got curves, but it doesn’t mean that she’s lazy or incompetent.”

“I don’t know but I’m with you. I think she’s nice. Possibly it’s because she keeps to herself except for Angela and now, well, you. We’ve tried to get her to go out but she always leaves at the end of her shift to go home to her dad,” Alice explained.

“I met him. He’s an ass,” I growled.

“He is. He had to be brought in once a year ago after he had his leg amputated. I was his nurse for one night and well, let’s just say, I was never again. I can get along with pretty much anyone. Unless you’re Charles Swan,” Alice said in a pinched tone. “Are you working tomorrow?”

“Seven to seven,” I answered. “You?”

“Off tomorrow. Spending the day with my sister and her two kids. Her husband is in the military and it’s tough for them during the holidays. I’m on Christmas Day, though. Three to midnight shift.”

“I’ll see you then. I’m on again, seven to seven,” I said, giving a pitiful fist pump.

“Sorry, Dr. Cullen,” Alice frowned. “Merry Christmas to you.”

“Yep. And call me Edward,” I said. She smiled and waved as she walked toward the el station as I walked to the parking garage. I got to my car and I drove home. Making myself a quick dinner, I watched some television and wrapped Bella’s present. I also put the envelope with her journal entry into the present.  Well, put it in a gift bag. I can suture the human body, diagnose illnesses and make a screaming child stop crying. But, wrap a damn present? God, I’m a mess.

Gift bags. Best invention. Ever.

xx APFL xx

So, I’ve decided that Christmas Eve at the ER is the most pointless day on the planet in the history of time. We had one patient all day and that was a man who got a mild case of electrocution from plugging in the Christmas lights into a ungrounded plug. He was fine but his wife dragged to him the ER to make sure he hadn’t had a heart attack.

Shortly before the end of the shift, Alice came in with her sister, Cynthia and her two little ones, Olivia and Brody to bring some holiday cheer for those of us working on Christmas Eve. They set up a buffet on the circulation desk. Once they were done, Alice snagged Bella and dragged her back to the locker room. I checked the time and saw that it was nearly the end of my shift. I snuck away into my office and changed into something more casual and comfortable. I slipped on a pair of jeans, gray sweater and my black boots. Without thinking, I put on some fresh cologne. Then, I admonished myself. I don’t want Bella thinking that this is a date.

Is it?

No. It’s dinner between friends on Christmas Eve.

The end of the shift happened without any real issues. No cases were passed off since there were no patients, thankfully. I waited for Bella by the circulation desk. As I was standing there, Cynthia, Alice’s sister, strolled out with Brody on her hip. “Dr. Cullen? My meddling sister said that it’ll be a few minutes.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean that Alice found out that Bella was going to wear her Christmas scrubs for your dinner and she’s trying to piece together something for that girl to wear,” Cynthia giggled. “Bella’s fighting her tooth and nail.”

“Should I save her?” I snorted.

“Nah. My sister can be very convincing,” Cynthia winked. “She planned my wedding to my husband in a week’s time prior to his shipping out to Iraq. Best wedding in Brandon family history.”

“COME ON, BELLA!” Alice pleaded. “You look great!”

“Alice!” Bella whined as she was physically dragged out onto the floor. Her long brown hair was taken down from her ponytail and it hung in soft curls around her face. Alice apparently added some makeup to her face and she had this ethereal glow about her. Bella wore a pair of jeans, a black sweater and folded over her arm was a green jacket. “If I wear this, I’ll look like an Oompa Loompa!”

“They’re orange. Not green, Bella. You look beautiful. Put the damn coat on. My mom hates the color and goes perfectly with your skin tone,” Alice chided. Alice brought clothes?

“Alice has a slight spending addiction. She loves to shop,” Cynthia let me know. “Right, Brody?” He nodded and put his head on his mom’s shoulder as he sucked his thumb. “Aunt Alice just buys and buys without even thinking.”

“Come on, Cyn,” Alice said as she hoisted Olivia up onto her hip. “My work here is done. See you tomorrow, Dr. C.”

“Bye, Alice. Nice to meet you, Cynthia. Merry Christmas,” I said as I smiled crookedly at them. They left and I turned to Bella. She was scowling at the retreating form of Alice. “You look nice. It’s a treat to see you out of scrubs.”

“I left the sweater and the jeans in my locker if I ever have to go out after work but I had no use for them until tonight,” Bella sighed. “Let’s go before more rumors are spread and we’re fucking on the circulation desk.”

“Come on, it’s got to be a trauma room,” I teased as I slid my coat on. Once my coat is on, I help Bella into hers and the shade of green contrasts with her skin and her eyes pop out. I offer her my arm and we left the ER once she clocked out. Not much is open on Christmas Eve so we caught a cab to Butch McGuire’s Pub. I paid for the taxi and we headed into the pub. Bella obviously is not comfortable so I lead her to a booth near the back of the pub.

“I feel bad,” Bella murmurs as she darts her eyes around the pub. “You should be with your family. They probably miss you.”

“And what would you do?” I asked.

“Go home and sit in my room, read a book,” she shrugged. “Journal. Pack up a few of my meager belongings.”

“Have you told Charlie?”

“No. I’m just going to wait until I move out December twenty-eighth,” she shrugged as she played with a coaster. “He’s been horrible since that night you dropped me off. Extra abusive and rude. He’s even threatened to change the locks on me, kicking me out of the apartment. I could stay at the hospital and sleep in the on-call room.”

“So, you’re moving on December twenty-eighth,” I smirked. “Nice of you to tell me, since I’m helping you and all.”

“Shit. I’m sorry. I mean…I suck,” she moaned, burying her face in her hands.

“Bella,” I said as I gently pulled on her wrist, “you do  not suck. I’m teasing you. I’m sorry if I hurt your feelings.” She shook her head and I could see tears falling down her cheeks. God, her self-esteem is gone. I got up and moved to her side of the booth, wrapping my arms around her body. “Bella, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have…”

“No, I’m just a blubbering mess. I’m not used to this,” she sniffled.

“What?”

“Having friends. I’m so used to doing everything on my own,” she replied. “I’ve been doing it for so long.”

“How long, Bella?” I asked as I stared into her eyes.

“Since my mom died,” she shrugged. “It was a car accident when I was in high school. Junior year.”

“You were what? Sixteen, seventeen years old?” I asked.

“Sixteen. I was one of the  youngest in my class,” she said. She started to open her mouth when a waitress came up and asked for our orders.

“Can we get a few minutes?” I asked.

“Sure,” the waitress purred at me. She then shot a look of disgust at Bella, mumbling under breath that she needed to go on a diet. Bella heard it and she bristled. I caressed Bella’s cheek as I looked for the manager. I saw a guy with a tie and a name tag, flagging him down.

“Yes, sir?” he asked with a friendly smile.

“I’m not normally one to raise a ruckus but your waitress, the redhead, she made a comment about my friend and honestly, it was very inappropriate,” I said coldly.

“Edward, it’s no big deal,” Bella hissed.

“No. She isn’t right,” I said, arching a brow.

“What did she say?” the manager, Tim, asked.

“Under her breath, she said that my friend needed to go on a diet,” I said. “It’s not her place to pass judgment on the patrons of your establishment. It’s highly unprofessional and not to mention rude.”

“I’m so sorry, sir. And you, too, miss,” the manager said. “I’ll speak with Victoria and your meals tonight are on the house. Can I get you anything to drink?”

“I’ll have a pint of 312,”I answered.

“For you?” he asked.

“Just some water,” she whispered. Tears were brimming in her eyes. The manager left and Bella gently nudged me. “I need to use the restroom.”

“You’re not going to ditch me, are you?” I asked.

“No.”

“Promise?”

“I promise, Edward,” she sighed as she wiped her cheeks. I slid out of the booth and let Bella out. She walked to the restroom and I took my spot back on my side of the booth. I looked over the menu and found what I wanted to eat. The manager came over with my beer and Bella’s water. He explained that he’d be taking over our table since Victoria refused to apologize for her remark. He also said that our meals, drinks and desserts will be coming out of Victoria’s paycheck. I’m almost tempted to order one of each item to drain her dry, but I’m not that much of an ass. But she made Bella cry because of her insensitive comment and she will end up paying for god damned feast.

Bella came back and she slumped in the booth across from me. Her eyes are red-rimmed and her cheeks are splotchy. “What happened?”

“The waitress cornered me in the bathroom and blamed me for ruining her paycheck,” Bella mumbled. “I don’t understand, Edward. Am I really that hideous?”

“No, Bella. You’re not. Look, most people see being thin as the norm and it’s not. The average size for a woman is about a fourteen,” I said.

“Do you think she’s pretty?”

“Who?”

“The waitress,” Bella sighed.

“No. She’s got a sour attitude and her left boob is bigger than her right. And the only reason why I was looking at her boobs is because it’s a really bad plastic surgery job,” I said. “Someone had little too much fun filling up the saline.”

“Ever since my mom died, I took comfort in eating,” Bella said as she toyed with her water. “My best friends were Little Debbies and Twinkies. Now, that I’m older, my metabolism is shot despite the fact that I don’t eat a lot. Most people think that if you’re fat you can lose weight by not eating. Sadly, that’s not the case. Believe me, I’ve tried.”

“You’ve starved yourself?”

“Not starved. Deprived myself. My one and only boyfriend said that I was too chunky and I went on a diet. I ate like a fucking bird and lost a shit-ton of weight. Well, I was down to about a size ten,” she said “Then, we have sex. My first and ONLY time mind you and he tells me that I’m still too fat. He takes my virginity and never calls me back. I saw him a few months later dating this blonde glamazon that was seriously a size zero with tits out to here. Suffice it to say, all of the weight I lost, I gained back, and then some.”

“Hey guys, what do you want to eat?” asked Tim.

“I’d like to start with the deluxe quesadilla, then Bobby’s Big Ass Bacon Burger with fries,” I answered. “Growing boy and all.”

“Right,” he chuckled. “For you, miss?”

“I’ll just have a cup of the chicken tortilla soup,” Bella murmured. “I don’t want too much to impact that waitress’s paycheck.”

“No, miss. She was horribly out of line,” Tim said, furrowing his brown. “How did you know that she was paying for your meal?”

“She yelled at me in the bathroom,” Bella said as she shrunk back into the booth, trying to hide.

“Hmmmm, don’t worry about her. Order what you want,” Tim said sternly.

“Okay. Can I get a few more minutes?”

“Sure, sweetie,” he smiled. “I’ll put your orders in and then I’ll be back.” He left and stomped off to find Victoria.

Bella scoured the menu but finally decided on the chicken parmesan sandwich. Victoria walked out of the pub, glaring at us as she pulled on her coat. Apparently she was just fired. Serves you right, bitch.

“So, Edward,” Bella said as she sipped her water. She had calmed down since Victoria left. However she was still wary. “Are you available on the 28th?”

“I am,” I smiled. “Why?”

“Because I need help moving and you offered,” Bella said with a shy smile. “Well, I’ll need help with looking for furniture. Besides, I’ll need your manly muscles to move said furniture into my new place.”

“How is it? You went to check it out yesterday after work,” I asked.

“It’s perfect. It’s bigger than my room at my dad’s place. Plus, I have my own bathroom,” Bella said excitedly. “I took down the measurements and I can fit a queen sized bed, a night stand, a desk and a small bookshelf in the room. I’m planning on using my time and half money from tonight and tomorrow to get my furniture.”

“Bella, my mom is an interior designer,” I said. “She may have some samples that you could purchase at cost. It’s new, not second hand.”

“I did some research on your mom, Edward. She’s an award winning interior designer. Even her at cost pieces would be far above my budget,” Bella chided. “I’ll go to Good Will or Salvation Army.”

No, you won’t. My mom will give you a new bedroom.

“I want to get to know you, Bella,” I said. “As stupid as it sounds, let’s play twenty questions. We’ll take turns.”

“Are we twelve?” she giggled.

“No, I’m thirty-three. I’ll be thirty-four in June,” I said. “And yes, that counts as a question.”

“Ass,” she snickered.

“A bruised ass,” I smirked. “Two Betsy-shaped talons on my cheeks.”

“I’m surprised you’re able to sit. Her finger attacks are brutal,” Bella blushed. “Let’s play. So far, this has kind of sucked and well, hopefully learning more about each other will be a lot more entertaining than dealing with whorish waitresses with bad boob jobs.”

“Great! I’ll go first?” She nodded. “Where were you born?”

“I was born in Phoenix, Arizona but  we moved here shortly after my birth when my dad got a job as a cop with the Chicago PD. You?”

“I was born at Cook County Hospital,” I chuckled. “My mom was visiting my dad while he was a resident and well, her water broke and I was born in the ER. Not the one we have now.”

“You were born in the old ER. Nice,” Bella smiled. “Favorite color?”

“Hmmmm, it varies,” I answered. “Right now, I’m partial to brown.”

“Brown? That’s the color of shit,” Bella laughed.

“Or chocolate,” I said. “What about you? Your favorite color.”

“It used to be sapphire blue but now, I’ve grown attached to emerald green,” she blushed. Now, there’s my favorite color. Bella’s blush. Do they make a crayon that color?

“Favorite subject when you were in school?” I asked.

“I loved English, literature in particular. I’m avid reader,” she said. “I could get lost in a library or a bookstore. However, my best subject was science, biology.” She leaned forward and raised her brows, asking her silent question.

“My favorite subject was, surprisingly enough, music. In college, I was actually a music minor. One of my pieces that I wrote was played by the symphony orchestra at my school for one of their concerts. It was cool to see my name in the program as the composer,” I chuckled.

“What made you want to be a doctor? Especially if you’re so talented with music?”

“I love helping people. When I was a kid, I’d used to stitch up my stuffed animals and keep an ‘animal hospital.’ My friends would bring their worn out toys and I’d fix ‘em for a small fee. Then, when I was in high school, I took a first aid course my sophomore year and I was hooked. My junior year of high school, I took AP biology and for senior year, I took a college level human anatomy class. Plus, having my dad as a doctor also helped. Why did you want to be a nurse?”

“Honestly, I wanted to be a doctor, but I couldn’t afford it. Hell, I’m still drowning in student loan debts,” she sighed sadly. “It was after my mom that I decided I wanted to be in the healthcare field. I wanted to make people better. For the most part, I like it but when you lose a patient, it sucks.  Any brothers or sisters?”

“Two. One of each. Both younger,” I smiled. “Jasper, who is brilliant in his own way but so fucking ditzy. I swear, he was dropped on the head as a child. He’s six years younger than me. And then there’s Rose. She’s…she’s part of the reason why I’m back in Chicago. She’s a decade younger than me and well, I want to fix her. But, I’m not sure that I can.”

“Is she sick?” Bella asked, her brow furrowing.

“Not in the traditional sense,” I frowned. “It’s not my story to tell, but she’s been hurt badly by an ex-boyfriend. He’s currently in jail awaiting trial for what he did to Rose.”

“Oh,” Bella said quietly as Tim brought our appetizers. “You should be with her right now. She probably misses you.”

“Bella, I’m right where I want to be,” I whispered, staring at her, patiently waiting for her to raise her head and look me in the eyes. She doesn’t. Her eyes stay trained on her soup bowl. I reached across the table and tipped her chin up so I could see her eyes. “I love my family but tonight I wanted to be with you. You’re my first friend I’ve made in Chicago and I want to nurture that friendship.”

“Surely, you’ve made other friends,” she said, arching a brow as I pulled my hand back.

“I have. A big beefy guy at my gym who I thought, mind you, was trying to pick me up,” I snorted. “He’s a trainer and he threw me for a loop.”

“Was he flirting?” Bella giggled.

“Nope. Just being friendly,” I shrugged. “Back to our game…Oh! Important question. Probably the most important question of all. It’ll make or break our friendship. Cubs or Sox?”

“Cubs!” Bella grinned. “You? If you say Sox, I’m leaving.”

“No, Cubs,” I replied with a wide smile. “Favorite childhood memory?”

“It kind of goes with the previous question,” Bella said as she ate her soup. I nibbled on my quesadilla as I watched her. “When I was twelve, I was a bit of a nerd. Okay, a lot of a nerd. That hasn’t changed. Anyhow, before my mom died, my dad was actually a pretty cool guy. For Father’s Day, we got tickets for Dad and me to see the Cubs play. Tickets in the bleachers. It was a total surprise. I woke up early and with my mom we made my dad pancakes and put the Cubs logo on the pancakes using raspberries, blueberries and whipped cream. We served him breakfast in bed and he was so excited when he saw the pancakes. I handed him the tickets and he was absolutely beside himself. Anyway, he declared my breakfast the best in the city and we head to Wrigley Field. It was the best day. Sunny, happy, the Cubs won, my dad said he loved me and I wished I could have frozen that moment because it’ll never, ever happen again.” The bitterness of her last few words broke my heart. This brilliant woman with a beautiful soul was all alone in the world. Not if I have anything to do about it! “Where did you go to college?” Bella asked, her voice harsh and the pain evident.

“Um, I went to Dartmouth for undergrad and then Johns Hopkins for medical school,” I answered.

“Wow, Ivy League,” she murmured. “I went to community college for my prerequisite courses and then University of Illinois at Chicago for my nursing degree. Plus, I worked full time.” My eyes bugged out. I remembered how tough college was. I was very studious, didn’t party much, but it took everything to graduate in four years. Working full time and attending school? Unfathomable. “My college education I paid for myself. I worked to get scholarships but they didn’t cover everything so I applied for loans and worked in a nursing home.”

“Your dad didn’t help?” I frowned.

“Nope. My ‘college fund’ soon became Charlie’s drinking fund,” Bella snarled. “I had to set up an account in a separate bank across the city so he wouldn’t access it while I was in school. He’s such a selfish bastard.”

We finished our appetizers and Tim brought out our meals. Bella just picked at her sandwich while I nearly inhaled mine. I was starving and the burger was fucking good. After a few moments of silence on our part, listening to the holiday music that was being piped in the pub, Bella cleared her throat. “You said you were divorced in one of your little sticky notes when I was incapacitated in your house. What happened?” she asked, obviously uncomfortable with the question.

“No drama,” I chuckled. “My ex-wife is a lesbian.”

Bella was drinking some water but she spit it out, her brown eyes wide with disbelief. “A lesbian? How? Damn!”

“That’s quite the reaction as I wiped off my sweater.”

“Sorry,” she blushed. “I didn’t mean to give you an extra shower. A lesbian. I mean, look at you! You’re like sex personified,” Bella said a she blushed a deeper crimson.

“Yeah, but I got the wrong parts. The sight of my wang just made her sick,” I chuckled. “At least at the end. She’s with a woman now who loves her very much and they’re very happy. Oh, and Irina, my ex-wife’s girlfriend, partner person looks strangely like me but with boobs.”

“Big boobs?”

“Dolly Parton sized boobs,” I smirked.

“Hey guys, I hate to be a jerk, but we’re getting ready to close up,” Tim said as he handed us the bill. “It’s only your drinks. Your meals were comped. Merry Christmas.”

“Thanks, Tim,” I said as I handed him some cash that would more than cover the tab for my one beer and Bella’s free water. “Keep the change. Merry Christmas to you, too.”

Tim left when Bella asked for a box for her meal and we put on our coats. It was snowing outside and bitterly cold. My car was back at the hospital and I wanted to drive Bella back to her apartment. Besides, Bella’s present was sitting in my Volvo.

Bella stuffed a hat on her head as she huddled in her coat. “Thank you for dinner,” she said. “Well, my water…”

“Come on, Bella. I’ll drive you home. We need to go back to the hospital to pick up my car but you’re not taking the el tonight,” I said, looping her arm with mine.

“Edward, I live nearby,” she pouted.

“Tough. I’m driving you home,” I said, arching a brow. I hailed a cab and we clambered inside. A short drive to the hospital, we walked to the parking garage where I helped her into my car. We sit in the car as it heats up. Bella’s teeth are chattering and I’m rubbing my hands, in vain, in front of the still cold air blowing out of the vents. Dummy me forgot my gloves. Once the car is no longer an icicle, I backed out of my spot and slow maneuvered the sleepy streets of Chicago. Everyone was with their families, celebrating the holiday. Bella is quiet as we drove back to her apartment.

I pulled up to the apartment building. “Bella?”

“Hmmm,” she replied, looking at me.

“I know that we’ve just met but I got you something for Christmas. It’s not a lot,” I whispered. “You left something at my brownstone when you stayed.”

“My journal? You read my journal?” she spat, fire in her eyes.

“NO! I didn’t read it. I recognized your handwriting. So, I folded it up and put in your gift. So, Merry Christmas, Bella,” I said as I reached behind my seat, giving her the bag with the three leather-bound journals and pens. She hesitantly reached for it, caressing the obnoxiously colored Christmas bag lovingly. I looked at her and fat tears were rolling down her cheeks and her face was pronounced in a deep frown. “Bella, please don’t cry. I didn’t get this for you to make you cry.”

“I didn’t get you anything,” she whispered, still caressing the bag.

“You don’t have to. Being my friend is all that I want, Bella,” I said as I tucked a piece of hair behind her ear.

“I haven’t received a Christmas gift since I was sixteen years old,” she sniffled. “Thank you, for making tonight special, Edward. Yes, we haven’t known each other long but you are my best friend and I forgot what was like to have that.”

“Aren’t you going to open it?” I asked.

“Here?”

I nodded and pushed the bag toward her. “I want to see your reaction when  you open it. Please?” She bit her lip and looked at me. I gave her one of my crooked smiles and she blushed. With a resigned sigh, Bella peered inside the bag and removed the shit-ton of tissue paper. Reaching into the bag, she pulled out the envelope with her journal first.

“You really didn’t read it?”

“Bella, I’d never betray your confidence like that. It was stuffed between the couch cushions in the guest room. Like I said, I recognized your handwriting. I saw the date and that’s it,” I promised.

She heaved a shaky sigh and murmured her thanks. She then reached again into the bag and pulled out the three pens I had bought. They were all very sleek and guaranteed a long life of writing. She smiled softly. Finally, she pulled out the three leather bound journals and she gasped. “Edward…”

“I took a page from your journal and got you something that you can process your thoughts,” I whispered. “Had I the time, I would have had your initials embossed on the covers but I got them on my day off when I had my eye doctor appointment.”

“They’re beautiful,” she said, tears again falling down her cheeks. “Too much, really.”

“Nope. They weren’t expensive and you deserve them, Bella,” I said. “You deserve a Christmas. Someone needs to show you how special you are. I’ll gladly step up to that plate. You’re my best friend too and I want to be here for you.”

“Thank you, Edward,” she smiled. She leaned across the console and kissed my cheek. Where her lips caressed my skin, my body ignited. I bit my lip to prevent the small gasp from escaping but her mouth on me felt so perfect. She pulled away and smiled shyly. “I better go. My dad is probably throwing a tantrum since I’m late. Only four more days and then I’m out!”

“And I’ll be there to help you move. Do you want a ride to the hospital tomorrow?”

“Nah. I’m fine. I like taking the el and walking. Wakes me up in the morning,” she said. “If I work nights, then I may take you up on it, if you’re on.”

“Deal,” I smiled crookedly. “I’ll see you tomorrow, Bella. Merry Christmas.”

“You too, Edward. Thank you for the journals and for being such a nice guy, giving me a Christmas. The first Christmas in a long time,” she said wistfully. She took my hand in hers and squeezed before she got out of the car. I waited until she was inside of her apartment building before I drove away. However, I didn’t want to leave her. A sense of foreboding filled my belly and it took all of my strength not to turn back and bring her home with me.

I just prayed that it was nothing except my imagination. Isn’t it?

A/N: There you have it…another installment of As The Bella Turns…just kidding. Anyhow, up next will be Christmas day, moving and more friendship building. Pictures of the journals that Edward got Bella are on my blog along with a few pics from Butch McGuire’s. The link for my blog is on my profile along with the link addy for my facebook group: Tufano79’s Twilight Fanfiction Appreciation. Leave me some lovin! It’s my own personal brand of heroin…(I couldn’t resist, LOL). Ciao!

 

Chapter Text

This is different from the norm. In all of the stories that I’ve read or that I’ve seen, all of the characters are disgustingly perfect unless they are written with very clear flaws. This story is about love (um, duh! Look who’s writing it. I’m the queen of romance), and finding it in the least likely place with the least likely person.

I’ve got a ton of reviews for this story, but some of it hasn’t been all that positive (though a majority of it has been. THANK YOU!!!!). Specifically, one reviewer ripped me apart saying that this was not ‘realistic’ and dissed my writing. I’m a firm believer that if you don’t have anything positive to say, then don’t say it at all. No one LIKES to be publically humiliated. And that’s the way I felt when this reviewer left that nasty review. If you have an issue with the story you have two options: the PM function and send me a message or you see that little red ‘x’ on the upper left hand corner of the window? Click that. It makes the window go away. Like Bella, I have been ridiculed my entire life for my weight, my shyness and my lack of self confidence. NOT to the extent of her abuse, but the teasing has been a part of me for my entire existence. I don’t trust and a lot of what she’s feeling is what I feel. Please be respectful of what I write. It’s not a lot to ask. Soapbox moment over…back to your regularly scheduled angst.

Now, this story is based in a hospital. My medical training comes from…WebMD. I’m not a doctor, nor do I claim to be. I’m a music teacher who has a wild imagination and a penchant for all things Twilight (and with this story, added in a mix of ER! I loved Luca Kovac…) Which brings me to my disclaimer: None of this is mine. I’m not, nor ever will be, Stephenie Meyer. If was, I’d be rolling in the dough from her insane imagination that gave us Bella and Edward. No copyright infringement is intended.

Chapter Five

BPOV

When I got home from my dinner with Edward, I snuck into my apartment. The snores from my dad’s room indicated he was asleep and I was secretly grateful. I didn’t want to deal with his bullshit. I slipped into room and gathered my shower essentials. I quickly hosed off in the decrepit shower. I took the time to blow dry my hair straight and I went back into my room. Locking my door, I put on some warm flannel pajamas. Since money was so tight, we kept the heat as cool as it could be and tonight was supposed to dip below zero. I added a fleece hoodie to my body and I picked up one of Edward’s journals from his present.

I ran my fingers along the soft leather, smiling tenderly at his generous gift. I couldn’t get him anything tomorrow, but I would thank him for his present. I picked up one of the pens and turned to the front page.

December 24th, 2012

Merry Christmas to me! For the first time since my mom died, I received a Christmas present. A Christmas present from my good friend, Edward. You like it? It’s these dashing journals and the fuck-awesome pen that I’m writing with. It’s surprising that a man that I’ve just met can get me the most perfect present. This is the only way for me to cope with my life. Writing and journaling. I’m so blessed.

But, I’m done with feeling sorry for myself. I want to finally live my life. And here’s how I’m going to do it.

1.       Move out from my dad’s apartment. Yes, he’s sick and needs my help, but he’s abused me long enough. I shouldn’t have to hear from him that I’m worthless, fat and ugly. I’ll still help with his medical bills, but I cannot stay here. Thankfully, I have a new place lined up. I’m moving in with Angela. YAY! So, legitimately, I can check this step off. Go me!

2.       Move in with Angela. There’s a few steps with this one. I’ve already made arrangements to move in with her, but I don’t have any furniture.

3.       Buy furniture for my new place with Ang. Things I need to get: queen sized bed. (I’m upgrading, baby!), nightstand, bookshelf, small desk and a new shower curtain for my very own bathroom. IF there’s money left over, perhaps get a laptop.

4.       Distance myself from my dad. Yes, he’s my only living relative, but he’s not worth the trouble. Edward is right. The Bella ‘gravy train’ is pulling out of the station.

5.       Don’t put up with any bullshit from my co-workers. There is a new harassment policy for a reason. Inform Dr. Sanchez and Edward if anyone is treating me unfairly because of my weight or my so-called inadequacies.

6.       Wake up and every day tell myself that I’m special and I’m worth it.

7.       Work on improving myself, mentally, emotionally and physically. Mentally, perhaps research on getting my masters to be a nurse practitioner. It’s not a doctor, but I’d have autonomy over myself. Emotionally, begin seeing a counselor to improve my self-esteem and self-worth. Physically, get in better shape. I know I’m not a thin girl, but I can be healthier. I’ll never be a size two, but I can make better choices in what I eat and what I do physically.

8.       Join a gym? (Heh, maybe not. We’ll see. Money is a factor on this one).

9.       Nurture and love my friends: Angela, Alice and Edward.

So, these are my steps to a happier, healthier me. I think I can do this. I hope I can do this. With my friends, I’m certain I can. Anyhow, I’ve got a long day at the hospital tomorrow.

Merry Christmas!

I smiled and closed my journal, placing it into my messenger bag. I put the other three journals into my bag as well. I also added a pair of jeans and another sweater. I had to wash the clothes I had worn to Butch McGuire’s. Once I set my alarm, I crawled into bed. It was still in tatters, but at least I had a warm blanket and my pillows were unaffected. For the first time in a long time, I went to sleep with a smile on my face.

Unfortunately, I didn’t wake up with a smile. The alarm was going off and it was fucking freezing. I groaned as I rolled out of bed. I put on a pair of navy scrubs with a Christmas themed top. Since it was so wicked cold, I put on a long sleeved shirt on underneath my scrub top. I moved across the hallway to brush my teeth and put on some makeup. Finishing up my routine, I put on my new coat and my hiking boots. I made sure my stethoscope and ID badge were in my bag before I slipped it over my shoulders.

I glowered at my dad’s closed door as I left, heading out into the cold. It had snowed overnight and the sidewalks were slick. I didn’t want to slip and fall so I walked slowly to the el platform. Once I got up to the platform, I took out a book and read until I reached my stop near Cook County Hospital. Carefully, I stepped onto the platform and walked down the steps. Surprisingly, I got into the hospital without falling on my ass despite the slickness of the roads.

After I took off my coat, changed my shoes and clocked in, I checked in with the nursing manager, Carmen. She handed me a handful of charts. Apparently the ER picked up after I had clocked out last night. Two of the patients that I received were food poisoning victims, plus one older gentleman who slipped and fell while shoveling his driveway. I scuttled away, checking on my patients and making sure they were comfortable. My food poisoning victims were asleep and the gentleman was so looped up on pain killers that he kept saying that there was a puce orangutan in the corner of his room. I checked their IV bags and went to the circulation desk to pick up some more charts. We were running on a skeleton crew today, so everyone took a ton of patients.

“Mornin, roomie,” Angela smirked from her spot at the circulation desk. “How was Christmas Eve?”

“Dead,” I answered. “Completely dead. We had one patient all day.”

“Shut the fuck up,” Angela snorted. “Really? Hopefully, we’ll have the same divine providence today. My parents are desperate to see me and with this snow, it’ll take me FOREVER to get out to Wheaton.”

“When are you off?” I asked.

“Seven to four,” Angela answered. “Why don’t you come with me for Christmas? I know that Charlie won’t do shit for you. My mom wouldn’t mind an extra person at her table. She makes enough for a small country.”

“I don’t get off until seven,” I frowned. “Thanks, Ang. Perhaps some other time.”

“Fine,” she said as she hugged me. “Oh, I got you a Christmas present. Don’t try and say that it’s too much because I wanted to”

“Angela,” I frowned. “I didn’t get you anything.”

“You’re moving in with me and that’s all I can ask for,” she said as she handed me a small bag. “Open it up!”

I smiled and tore into the bag. Inside was a green iPod nano. “Angela…”

“Consider it a Christmas present and a welcome to my apartment present,” she said as she hugged me, kissing my cheek. “I’ve already loaded it up with some of my favorite songs, which I know you love.”

“Thank you,” I said as I hugged her back. “Once I get settled in our place, I’ll cook you the best meal ever and yeah!”

“Can I get the best meal, too?” Edward quipped as he snuck up to the circulation desk.

“You get cookies,” I teased. “Angela gets a full meal. She’s opening up her home and she got me an iPod.”

“An iPod? Sweet gift, Ang,” Edward said as he swiped the iPod from my hands. “Pretty decent music, too. You like this music, Bella?”

“Let me see,” I said as I flipped through the songs. Evanescence, Flyleaf, Linkin Park, Ella Fitzgerald and a bunch of movie soundtracks were on the iPod and I nodded. “Angela and I have similar tastes in music. However, she’s more of a jazzer. I’m partial to more classical music, particularly Debussy, Tchaikovsky, Dvorak and Brahms.”

“I’ll have to give you some CDs so you can load this up,” Edward smirked. “How many gigabytes does this puppy have?”

“Eight gig,” Angela answered. “You can bring your music when you help this one move! It’ll be so much fun! Ben’s off too and he’s willing to offer his muscles.”

“Ang, Ben has no muscles,” I deadpanned. “And since when are you pimping out your crush?”

“Um, since when he asked if I would be his girlfriend?” Angela squealed. “We went out the night before last and he asked if I would be his girlfriend.”

“That’s wonderful, Angela,” Edward smiled crookedly. “Ben’s a good guy. He’s lucky to have you.”

The radio crackled. I darted over to it and listened intently. One of the local fire stations was calling in with car accident victims: a family on their way to church in this snow. I asked the status of the family. The children were banged up but okay, for the most part. The parents were a hot mess. Edward flew into full-on doctor mode and began barking out orders. I confirmed the receipt of the victims, directing them to County.

“Bella, you’re with me,” Edward said as he handed me a pair of gloves. “Based off what you heard, who is the most critical?”

“Mom,” I answered. “She was driving and they were hit head on. Dad is bad off, but over the radio, I could hear them run a code on her.”

“God damn it,” Edward spat. “We need a miracle, Bella. Say your prayers.” The ambulance pulled up and the EMT and paramedic hopped out of the back of the rig. “What have you got?”

“Two children, a boy and a girl,” answered the EMT.

“Roll them into curtain area two. Angela, you go with them and work with Carter,” Edward directed.

“Sure, Dr. Cullen,” Angela smiled as she walked them to curtain area two. Dr. Carter, a third year resident followed Angela. That ambulance pulled away and another pulled up. Inside was Dad and he was begging to see his children. From the looks of it, he had a nasty gash on his forehead and possibly a broken leg. Considering he was conscious, Edward told the EMTs to bring him to curtain area two and would be there to check on him once we stabilized his wife.

“What’s taking them so long?” I asked, wringing my hands as we stood just inside the ambulance bay doors.

“I don’t know. The longer she’s in that rig, the less likely we get our miracle,” Edward frowned. We waited for five minutes. The ambulance finally pulled up and the faces of the paramedic told us what we feared. Edward snarled but he still ran out to greet the ambulance. “Talk to me.”

“She coded on the way to the ER. But, she’s a vegetable. Gray matter was all over the seat of her van,” answered the paramedic.

“Bring her in,” Edward said. The EMT was pounding on her chest while the paramedic breathed for her. The woman, a thirty-seven year old mother of two, was barely recognizable. Her face was cut to pieces and her legs were strewn akimbo on the stretcher. The pair rattled off her meager vitals and Edward was assessing her. I took over the bag and that’s when I saw it. The entire top of her head was gone. Her brain was oozing out of the gauze that was wrapped around her forehead.

I turned off my emotions and we went through the motions of trying to save this poor woman, but it was fruitless. After working over her ravaged body for over an hour, Edward called her death. Growling, he left the trauma room. I stayed with another nurse, Rachel, to clean up the woman. We washed her face and sutured her wounds. Anything to make her look more human.

“Bella, I have her latest blood work,” Angela said, with tears in her eyes. She was standing by the doorway, holding the paper with the patient’s results.

I sighed and walked over to her, taking the paper and reading the results. “Oh, God,” I sobbed. “No…”

“Yes,” Angela frowned. “She was pregnant.”

“Get Dr. Cullen,” I murmured. “He should know.”

“You should get him. He’s in his office,” Angela said as she hugged me. “I’ll finish cleaning her up.” I nodded and walked down the hallway to Edward’s office. The door was closed and I could hear him hissing inside. I gently knocked on the door and waited for him to either beckon me inside or open it.

“Come in,” Edward said brokenly.

I opened the door and closed it. This was obviously causing him distress and the added issue of the baby would probably cause him to fly off the handle. Maybe? “I’m sorry, but have you spoken to Mr. Bueller yet?”

“No. He’s in radiology with his children,” Edward replied his green eyes dead and detached. “Their daughter has a broken wrist and their son has broken hip.”

“Will either one need surgery?” I asked.

“The son,” Edward answered. “What’s up, Bella?”

“I got the blood test results for Mrs. Bueller,” I murmured. “She was pregnant.”

“Fuck!” Edward yelled as he fell onto his couch, cradling his head in his hands. I tentatively sat down next to him and put my hand on his shoulder. “How far along?”

“Not very. Six weeks?” I replied, looking at the results. “Are you okay, Edward?”

“I hate losing a patient,” he said as he sat back, looking at me. “Especially a young one like Mrs. Bueller. She wasn’t done living. She had forty, fifty years left. What makes it worse was the baby and the fact that it’s Christmas. They should be excited at the prospect of what Santa left them, cooking a Christmas ham…not planning a funeral.”

“I’m sorry,” I whispered as I leaned my head against his shoulder. He raised his arm and hugged me to his chest, pressing his lips to my hair.

“Why are you apologizing?” he asked as he gently scratched my back.

“Seemed like the right thing to say,” I answered, looking up at him. “You didn’t cause the accident, Edward. It was the weather. You did everything that you could to try and save her. Most doctors would have seen her injuries and immediately called it. You tried for over an hour.”

“I wanted that miracle,” he whispered, staring at me. He leaned down and kissed my forehead, just shy of my goose egg. It still hurt and I groaned. “Shit, I’m sorry, Bella.”

“It’s okay. The discoloration is gone but it still hurts,” I blushed. “I did remove the sutures, though.”

“I would have done it,” he frowned.

“I’m perfectly capable of removing my own sutures,” I chided. “Will you be okay?”

“Yeah,” he said. “Normally when I lose a patient, it doesn’t hit me this hard but then again, it’s been awhile since I’ve worked on a holiday.”

“High up on the seniority list at Virginia Mason?”

“Yeah. They actually offered me the head of ER position when I went in for my exit interview but I obviously turned it down to come here,” he chuckled. “But, the nice thing is that I’m off New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day. What about you?”

“I’m on New Year’s Eve, early. I think I have the seven to four shift. Off New Year’s Day,” I answered.

Edward’s cell phone rang and he picked it up. “Dr. Cullen,” he said curtly. “Thanks, Ang. I’ll be right out. Can you call a social worker? Great.”

“Mr. Bueller is back from radiology?” I asked. Edward nodded and got up. He held out his hand, pulling me up from his couch. When our fingers touched, an energy traveled up my arm and my stomach was assaulted with a billion butterflies. I looked at our hands and they had naturally twined together as we walked to his doorway. Edward sighed and squeezed my fingers before releasing them.

“Thank you for being here for me, Bella,” he murmured, smiling softly at me. His green eyes had come back to life and they were twirling with something. What, I wasn’t sure. He opened the door and we walked to private room that the family had been moved to. A female social worker who I didn’t recognize was waiting outside of the room, clutching her clipboard. “Are you the social worker?”

“Yes,” she answered. “I’m Payton Harrington.”

“Dr. Edward Cullen and this is Isabella Swan. We cared for Mrs. Bueller when she was brought in,” Edward explained. Payton nodded and gave us both a sad smile. “Ready?”

“As I’ll ever be,” I frowned. He took a breath and pushed into the room. Angela was talking with the little girl, who couldn’t be any older than four. The boy was a little older at six or so. He was sleeping in his bed. The dad, who had his head sutured, was holding the boy’s hand, crying softly.

“Mr. Bueller?” Edward called as he walked over to the haggard man.

“Yes,” he said quietly, his voice barely above a whisper.

“I’m Dr. Edward Cullen and I worked on your wife,” he said soothingly. Mr. Bueller stared at Edward, tears falling down his cheeks. “We did everything we possibly could, but her injuries were too grave. She died shortly after nine this morning.”

“No! My Judith,” he cried. Edward pulled Mr. Bueller into his arms and he fell apart against Edward. “It’s not fair!”

“No, it’s not, Mr. Bueller,” Edward said quietly. “I’m sorry, sir, but there is more that you should know.” Mr. Bueller pulled back and eyed Edward warily. “When Nurse Swan took your wife’s blood, we ran the standard tests.”

“What are you saying?” Mr. Bueller asked, darting his eyes to me.

“Mr. Bueller, we got the results back just now and your wife, Judith, was roughly six weeks pregnant,” I said, trying to keep my emotions in check. “I’m so sorry, Mr. Bueller.”

He blinked and rubbed his face. “Can I see her? I need to see her. Say goodbye,” he said brokenly.

“Of course,” Edward said. He stood up and rolled him to the trauma room. Mrs. Bueller had been cleaned up and was laying on the hospital gurney, still as a stone. “Take as much time as you need, Mr. Bueller. Is there anyone that we can call?”

“Our parents,” he whispered as he picked up her hand.

“Bella, can you call them?” Edward asked. I nodded and wrote down the phone numbers that Mr. Bueller offered. I left him in the trauma room to make the phone calls. After a brief conversation with both sets of parents, they were on their way to the hospital.

A heavy feeling filled the hospital. It was a rough morning and everyone was feeling it. We had some more patients roll in and out of the ER, but nothing as serious as the Bueller’s accident. Mrs. Bueller was taken down to the morgue shortly after Alice arrived at three. The rest of the family left, heading back to their home.

I took my lunch break around four and headed down to the cafeteria. Perkalator was closed since it was Christmas. I got a salad, some water and since today just sucked, a brownie. I nibbled on my meal and pulled out my journal. I felt compelled to put in a short entry.

December 25th, 2012

I learned something today. Never take anything for granted. It can be taken away in the blink of an eye. Today, a family of four was driving to church when they were hit head on by another driver due to the horrid weather. Three out of the four people survived. The fourth person, the mother, died on the table. Her injuries were too great. Even if she had survived, she would have been a vegetable. Her brain was ruined.

If I learned one thing from this, it’s that your life can change in a heartbeat. Relish in the goodness around you. Your friends. Your family. Your life. It can be gone quicker than you can imagine.

“Can I join you?” Edward asked as he put down his tray.

“Sure,” I smiled, closing my journal.

“What were you writing? Grocery list?” he quipped.

“No. Just processing,” I said. “I do appreciate the journals, Edward. Much better than what I usually use which is a ten cent notebook from CVS.”

“Now you’re stylish while you process,” he chuckled. “Does it help?”

“It does. Since I never really had anyone to talk to, my journal became my confidante,” I explained.

“Don’t take this the wrong way, Bella, why don’t you have other friends?” he asked, his brows furrowing.

“I don’t trust easily, Edward. All throughout my life, I was teased and taunted, even before the abuse from my dad. However, I had my mom as my defender until she died. Once she passed, no one rescued me and I really didn’t do much to stop it, either,” I shrugged. “It just happened. The one time I allowed myself to trust, I got my heart broken.”

“Your boyfriend?” Edward questioned.

“Yeah,” I sighed. “But, it started before that. The worst was when I was in middle school. I got a phone call from one of my ‘friends,’ inviting me to come over for a sleepover. I was so excited. I’d never been to a sleepover. I packed up my duffle bag and grabbed my sleeping bag and pillow. My mom drove me over to my friend’s house. I rang the doorbell and my friend opened the door, looking at me like I was crazy. As it turned out, another girl in my class tricked me in believing that she was my friend, Sarah. Sarah laughed at me and slammed the door in my face. I sobbed into my mom’s shoulder, hating my classmates. She called Sarah’s mother and explained what happened, screaming at the rude behavior of her daughter.

“Apparently, Sarah had known and was in cahoots with the other girl, Jodie. Sarah’s mom told my mom that Sarah knew and who the mystery caller was. Anyhow, long story short, the two girls were grounded for the rest of the school year and made my life a living hell until we reached high school,” I shrugged. “After that, I kept to myself, not wanting to open up and avoid getting hurt.”

“And the next time you did, it was your boyfriend?” Edward hissed. “What’s his name?”

“Jacob. Jacob Black,” I answered. “But, he’s another story for another time. My lunch is almost over. Do you want this?” I held up my brownie which I never got to eating.

“We’ll split it?” he offered. I nodded and opened the chocolate treat, splitting it in two. He shoved the entire brownie into his mouth like a typical guy which caused me to giggle. He picked up our trays and tossed our garbage before heading back to the ER. When we got there, Jessica was at the circulation desk, hissing quietly to the desk clerk, Maggie. Jessica smiled and left the circulation desk, winking at Edward. “She’s treading a fine line,” Edward growled.

“I know,” I said, looking up at him. “I’m going to check on my patients then spend some time stocking the trauma rooms. If I don’t see you before you leave, Merry Christmas, Edward.”

“You too, Bella,” he said with a crooked grin. “And I will see you before I leave.” He turned to check on his own patients, sauntering down the hallway to the older woman with a nasty burn on her hand. I scurried to my own patients and found them all pretty comfortable or asleep. The only patient that was causing me some issues was my older gentleman from when I first came in. His back pain had increased and we couldn’t give him anymore pain meds. Dr. Carter was fighting with the patient about releasing him. After talking with Dr. Carter and Edward, they decided to give the patient an MRI. X-rays found nothing. If the damage was significant enough, Edward would consent to admitting him for pain management. If nothing was found, the patient would be discharged with a script for toradol.

I spent the rest of my shift, documenting and checking supplies in the trauma rooms. As he promised, Edward found me in trauma room two. He looked very handsome in his black suit and red tie. “Looking sharp, Dr. Cullen,” I smirked.

“Thanks. I would prefer jeans but my mom wants us to go to mass and well, we have to dress up,” he chuckled. “Look, I know it’s last minute, but if you want to come with me?”

“No, that’s okay,” I said. “I don’t have anything to wear nor do I want to encroach on your time with your family. Thank you, though.”

“I’ll see you later, Bella. Merry Christmas,” he said as he hugged me. Holy crow, he smells good. He caressed my cheek before he left me in the trauma room. I finished my inventory and then clocked out. I waved at Alice as I headed out into the snow. Will it ever stop?

I reached the apartment after a half hour commute and unlocked the door. I headed down to the apartment and tried to push my key into the lock. It wouldn’t go. What the hell? I knocked on the door and was ignored. I crossed my arms and fell against the wall. That’s when I saw a piece of paper on the ground. It was addressed to Ungrateful Bitch. I guess that’s me.

I picked up the paper and unfolded it.

Worthless Offspring,

I found out that you were going to move out and well, let’s just say I’ve started the process for you. Your clothes are in the dumpster in the back, covered in bleach and trash. Don’t bother coming back, you bitch. You’re not welcome here.

I sighed and took out my pen. I quickly scrawled a note on the paper to my sperm donor.

Fine, Charles. Consider yourself cut off. Good luck paying your rent, your doctor bills and the utilities. Fuck you! –Worthless Offspring

I folded the note and slid back under the door and stomped up the stairs. I pulled out my cell phone and dialed Angela. She didn’t pick up. She was with her family. She didn’t need to deal with my problems. But, I had nowhere to go. I wouldn’t get a key to Angela’s place until I moved in. Her roommate was still there. Could I go to Edward’s? No, it’s not right. He should have to deal with me, either. Our friendship is too new.

But he did have a guest room.

With a heavy sigh, I put my messenger bag over my shoulder. I checked the dumpster and I couldn’t see my clothes. All I saw was trash and pizza boxes. All of my clothes were buried under that I wasn’t about to go searching for it. It’s not like I had a lot of clothes to begin with. I turned around and hailed down a cab. I rattled off Edward’s address and drove to his place. Paying the cab driver, I got out of the taxi and frowned. He was with his family, too. I couldn’t call him. I wrapped my scarf around neck and put on my hat, walking up the steps and sitting on his front stoop. I leaned against the wrought iron, huddled in my coat. Tears fell down my cheeks as I sat there. While I wasn’t sad about what had happened with my dad, I was more upset at how he did it. A note? He kicks me out of the apartment that I grew up in with a fucking note.

What a douche.

I wasn’t sure how long I was sitting on Edward’s porch when I saw his Volvo pull up. I just know that I was a fucking icicle, my lips were numb and I couldn’t stop shivering. I also think my tears were frozen to my cheeks. Edward didn’t park his car in the garage. He hopped out and he ran up to me. “Bella? What the hell are you doing sitting on my porch at midnight? You’re blue!”

“M-m-m-my d-d-d-d-dad k-k-k-kicked m-m-m-me out-t-t-t,” I stammered.

“I swear to God, I’ll fucking kill him. Come on, sweetie,” he said as he unlocked his door. “How long have you been there?” Not trusting my voice, I held up nine fingers. “Fuck, you’ve probably got hypothermia.” He took my face in his hands and he growled. “Let’s get you warmed up. Then, we’ll talk.” He helped me up the stairs but I was so numb, that I was stumbling more often than usual. Edward swept me up in his arms and finished carrying me up the stairs, putting me on the bed in the guest room. “Don’t move.”

He darted out of the bedroom and I heard him cursing. A few minutes later, he held a thermometer and stuck it in my ear. “Ninety-five point five. Jesus, Bella,” he said as he tossed the thermometer onto the bed. “Why didn’t you call me? I would have come home.”

“Y-y-y-y-you n-n-n-needed t-t-t-time with y-y-y-your f-f-f-family,” I shivered.

“You need to get warmer, Bella,” he frowned. “I’m going to run you a tepid shower. It’ll hurt like a son of a bitch. Then, we’re wrapping you in a gajillion blankets and heating pads. You could have died, Bella.” He hugged me close and I buried my nose against his neck. He yelped and pulled away. “You are a human icicle.”

“S-s-s-sorry.”  He kissed my forehead and got up. I removed my green coat. When I saw what I was wearing, my tears came anew. Edward came back in and he saw me crying.

“What’s wrong, sweet girl?” Edward asked kindly.

“All I-I-I-I h-h-h-have is wh-wh-wh-what’s on m-m-m-my b-b-b-back,” I sniffled.

“What do you mean?”

“H-h-h-he th-th-threw out m-m-m-my cl-cl-clothes,” I said.

“Bella, can I kick your dad’s ass? What person does this to their only fucking child?” he snarled. “I have some flannel pajamas and a warm fleece. We’ll hold off on your shower until you can talk without stammering. I’ll be right back, sweet girl.”

I nodded and crawled into the bed, wanting to burrow myself into the warm down comforter. Edward came back a few moments later wearing a pair of flannel pajama bottoms. He was shirtless. Even in my hypothermic fog, I couldn’t deny the beauty of Dr. Edward Cullen. And Dr. Straight-Lace Cullen had a tattoo along his ribs. He held a pair of flannel pajama bottoms for me along with a massive hoodie. “I’ll let you change and I’m going to make you some tea.”

I pointed to his chest, arching a brow. “Why am I shirtless?” he asked, blushing slightly. I nodded. “Because body heat is the best way to combat hypothermia. In a perfect world, we’d both be naked but since we just met and all, it probably wouldn’t be prudent. So you get a free show.” He shimmied his shoulders, causing me to giggle. “I’ll be back, Bella. Orange spice or apple cinnamon?”

“Orange sp-sp-spice,” I answered. He winked and darted out of the room. I stripped out of my scrubs, leaving on my long sleeved shirt. I pulled on the soft flannel and hoodie. It smelled like him. I inhaled deeply, reveling in Edward’s fresh clean scent. He came back up the stairs holding to mugs of tea. I took it and sipped the warm drink, sighing softly.

“Better?”

I held up my fingers, centimeters apart. “Thank you for the cl-cl-clothes,” I said sheepishly. “I’m s…”

“If you apologize, I’m taking the tea away,” he said as he crossed his arms across his bare chest. I bit my lip, looking down at the mug. “Why would you apologize?”

“I wasn’t thinking rationally. I should have just checked into a hotel or something,” I mumbled, finally pleased with my lack of ‘shivering’ in my voice. “I didn’t want to be alone, though.” I sipped my tea, inhaling the warm humid air.

“Bella, I’m glad you came,” he said as he took one of my hands in his. “Jesus, you’re still freezing. Can I check you out? Please?”

“I’m fine. Feeling better,” I said. “My teeth aren’t chattering anymore.”

“Can I at least check to see if your body is still chilled?” he asked. “Nothing will come off; I just want to check your belly to see if your torso is cold.” I bit my lip and nodded. I sat up slightly and Edward slipped his hands under my hoodie and t-shirt. “Hmmm, slightly chilled. Into bed.”  He stood up and walked to the bed and got in it. My eyes were wide in shock. “I don’t kick. My ex said I don’t snore. I am, however, a notorious cuddler, which you need right now.”

“I can’t sleep with you,” I squeaked.

“Why not?” he pouted.

“Um, we’re friends,” I said, blushing something fierce.

“Would you rather I be your enemy?” he snorted. “Bella, I promise to not take advantage of you. However, you need to warm up and the best way is to cuddle. Do you have to work tomorrow?”

“I’m working the three to midnight shift,” I whispered.

“I’m working the overnight shift but I can go in early to work on my charts. However, in the morning, we need to address the clothing issue,” he said as he reached for my hand. I put up little resistance as he pulled me into the bed. Once I was in his arms, he covered me with the blankets. I was unsure where to put my hands. He was shirtless! “Bella, my skin is not made out of acid. You can touch me.”

“I’ve never slept with a man before,” I whispered. “I’ve had sex but, um, the sleeping part didn’t happen. He left immediately afterward and I don’t want to make you uncomfortable.”

Edward took my arms and wrapped them around his waist. He slipped his one arm under my neck and he draped his other around my waist. “Relax, Bella,” he soothed as he pressed my cheek against his bare shoulder. “I promise I won’t hurt you. I just want to make sure that you’re warm, sweet girl.” His skin was soft and warm. Plus, he smelled so good. He curled around me and held me close to his chest. “Sleep well, sweet girl,” he whispered as he kissed my forehead.

“Goodnight, Edward,” I replied, burying my face against his neck, listening to his steady heartbeat. Against my will, my eyes drooped and soon, I was dead to the world, in the arms of my friend.

xx APFL xx

The next morning, I woke up disoriented. And wearing much less clothing. I noticed that I taken off the fleece. Partially because I was sweltering and I realized the reason why. I was draped in an Edward Cullen blanket. His face was nuzzling my neck and his leg was holding my lower body captive. His arms were crushing me to his chest. It would have been very cute if a. we were dating and b. I didn’t have to pee like a goddamned race horse.

“Edward,” I whispered. “Let me go.”

“Hmmmmm, no,” he grumbled, squeezing me tighter to his body. “Best night’s sleep. Ever.”

This was true. I slept like the dead.

“Seriously, Edward. I got to pee,” I hissed.

“Are your back teeth floating?” he asked, cracking open one eye.

“No.”

“Then, ten more minutes,” he said as he kissed my neck.

“Edward!” I whined. “We’re going to have a problem here. You don’t seem like a guy who’s into golden showers.”

“Yuck, no. Go pee but come back,” he said as he extricated his long limbs from around my body.

“Jesus, Cullen, you’re like a damn octopus,” I snickered as I got out of bed.

“I warned you,” he smirked as he buried his nose in my pillow. I danced to the bathroom and quickly peed. I brushed my teeth and went back to check on Edward. It didn’t seem right to get back into bed with him. I’m warm now. Actually sweating since I had a human body draped over me all night long. I snuck back into the bedroom and walked to my messenger bag. I wanted to some journaling.

However, Dr. Tattward had other ideas. I felt his arms around my waist and I squealed as he pulled me back into bed. “Edward!”

“It’s too early. Back to bed,” he said as he spooned around me.

“Are you like this with all of your female friends?” I teased him as I poked his belly.

“Nah. Just the ones I really like,” he snorted. “When was the last time you got be a bum and laze around in bed?”

“Um, never?” I replied as I turned to face him.

“Then enjoy this,” he said as he looked at me. He stared at me and his eyes softened. He gently removed some of my hair that had fallen across my cheek when he dragged me back into bed. “Are you uncomfortable with me, Bella?”

“At first,” I answered. “Especially sans clothing. You’re kind of, well, ripped, Edward. And you have a tattoo.”

“You noticed that, huh?” he chuckled. “Hurt like a son of a bitch, but it means a lot to me. My love of music. While I don’t actively pursue it, I still have this reminder along my ribs of that love. Why does that make you uncomfortable?”

“Well, I’m not entirely sure on how to answer this,” I frowned. “You’re like perfect, physically and I’m kind of intimidated by you.”

“Bella, I’m far from perfect,” he chuckled. “Have I done anything to you that should freak you out?”

“No. You’ve been nothing but kind and caring and sweet,” I answered honestly. “I just find it odd that someone as beautiful as you wants to be friends with me.”

“Now, I’m confused. You’re just as beautiful, Bella,” he said, staring at me. “Inside and out. Stubborn as hell, but beautiful. Why don’t you think that?”

“You heard the acid my father filled my head with,” I said sadly, staring at a birthmark on Edward’s left collarbone. “Edward, I’m not exactly thin. I have rolls and cellulite.”

“My nose is too big for my face and I have to buy two different sized shoes,” he said, arching a brow. “Oh, and I’m blind as a bat, I have no ass, I’ve got knobby knees and I’ve got a random hairy patch between my shoulder blades that I get waxed off every few weeks. Vain, I know, but we all have our faults. Bella, your weight is nothing to be ashamed about. You’re healthy and that’s all that matters. And you’re so beautiful, Bella.”

“Why don’t I believe you?” I asked, looking up into his eyes.

“Because for the past however many years, you’ve been told otherwise. Come with me,” he said as he got up out of the bed. He threw on the hoodie that I left next to bed and dragged me to the bathroom.

“No,” I whimpered as I stopped.

“Come on, beautiful,” he said, giving me his sweet grin. He twined his fingers with me and led me into the bathroom, standing me in front of him. He was a full head taller than me and I fit right underneath his chin. “Tell me. What do you see? Positive things only.”

“Nice skin,” I answered. The one thing I was blessed with was clear, porcelain skin from my mom.

“Anything else?” he asked as he put his hands on my shoulders. I shook my head, dropping my gaze to the sink. Edward gently tipped my chin up and stared at me in the mirror. “Do you want to know what I see? I see a woman who is amazing. She has gorgeous brown eyes that are the color of milk chocolate framed with the darkest, longest eyelashes. Her hair is the color of the richest mahogany that can be curly or straight. Either way, it feels like the richest silk. Her skin is like alabaster that warms up like rose petals when she blushes, which is quite often…and there it is.” I felt my cheeks heat up and I ducked my chin. “In addition to the physical beauty, her brain is intelligent and her heart is compassionate. Despite what your sperm donor did, you were still loyal to him. However, it’s his loss for losing you.”

“You’re not describing me,” I whispered.

“I am, Bella,” he said, giving me a smile. “I’m speaking as a friend. And as a man who would like something more…”

“What?” I asked, my eyes growing wide.

He turned me around and gently lifted me on the counter. “Bella, I know that you’re nowhere near ready for a relationship. Hell, neither am I, but I’m not going to lie and say that I’m not attracted to you. I am attracted to you. All of you. Perhaps part of it is that I feel so protective of you and the other part is that I desperately want you to believe in what I’m saying. If friendship is all you can give me, then I’ll take it. But, the horny guy in the back of my head, my perv, wants you. I want to be with you.”

“You don’t even know me,” I frowned.

“I know enough that I want to know MORE of you,” he answered. “In a way, you want it too. Why did you come here? You said yourself you could have gone to a hotel, but instead you came here.”

“I didn’t want to be alone. I’m tired of being alone,” I said.

“So you risked hypothermia and loss of your fingers to be with someone,” he teased. I chuckled and nodded. “Why didn’t you go to Angela’s?”

“She was with her parents in Wheaton. I called her but she didn’t pick up,” I said. “Besides, her roommate is moving out tomorrow.”

“Then, it looks like I’m having a house guest until you move in with Ang,” Edward smirked.

“You don’t mind?”

“Hell, no! This place is too big for just me. My brownstone is your brownstone,” he chuckled. “Anyhow, I wanted to be a bum but since a certain person wouldn’t cuddle with me, I’m awake now. What time do you go one to the hospital today?”

“I told you last night,” I chided.

“Remind me. I was half asleep and I’m old,” he snorted.

“Shut it. You’re not old. Anyhow, I have to be in my three,” I answered. “But, I only have my scrubs that I wore last night and a sweater and a pair of jeans.”

“Well, we’ll fix that problem,” he said. “It’s the day after Christmas. Huge sales. I mean massive. We can get you some necessities and perhaps check out some furniture for your new place, sweet girl. We don’t have to buy anything, but it doesn’t hurt to look.”

“Okay,” I said. “I don’t have a lot of extra money. I mean, I have a credit card. But, my sperm donor’s hospital bills are draining me dry.”

“After you shower, you are going to stop paying those. Call the hospital and remove your name from the bill,” Edward said coldly. “You work hard for you paycheck. That leech should not see one red cent of it.” He closed his eyes and leaned slightly over me. “I’m sorry. It’s just that I’m appalled at how he could treat you like that. He’s your dad. He should fucking love you. Jesus! My mom spent one day with you and you were sleeping the whole time and she loves you.”

“He doesn’t have a heart, Edward,” I laughed humorlessly.

“You got that right,” he said. “I’ll let you shower. Do you need some of my briefs?” He waggled his brows. I blushed and hid behind my hands. Ashamed, I nodded yes. “Don’t be ashamed, sweet girl. At least someone is using ‘em. I hate them. Too tight around the goodies.”

“Like to let the boys move freely,” I teased. I clapped my hands over my mouth, turning as red as a tomato. “Shit, I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be! It was funny,” he bellowed. “I’ll be back, Bella. We’re going to have fun today. I know you’re upset about your dad and stressed about the money, but god damn it, you will have a fun day. Got it?”

“Yes sir,” I said as I gave him a salute. He kissed my cheek and darted out of the bathroom. With grace that I didn’t know I possessed, I hopped of the counter and grabbed my sweater and jeans. I also picked up my hairbrush and small makeup case from my messenger bag. I tossed my hair up into a ponytail and got into the shower. I noticed a change from the last time I was here. Instead of the male smelling body gel, there was Bath and Body Works body wash that smelled like what I used. I looked at the shower curtain, narrowing my eyes. I quickly washed my body and dried off using the massive towels. Inside of the bathroom was the same opened package of briefs from when I was there last. Keep ‘em, beautiful! – E

I rolled my eyes and pulled on my underwear. Or rather, Edward’s underwear. I finished getting ready and headed out of the bathroom. I grabbed my purse from my messenger bag and slipped my journal inside. I padded down the stairs, holding my boots in my hands. Edward was moving in the kitchen like a whirling dervish. I just sat back and watched him. Normally when one moves that quickly, they leave chaos. Edward left order, dropping off plates, cups and bowls of food. As I watched him, I let his words sink into my brain. He found me attractive. Why? I have no fucking clue. He thought I was compassionate and intelligent. I was both of those, but attractive? Beautiful? I don’t see it.

“I’m not sure what you like,” he said as he beckoned me into the kitchen. “I’ve got bagels, cream cheese, fresh fruit, eggs in the fridge if you want an omelet…”

“Just a bagel and fruit would be fine,” I said as I sat down at the breakfast bar. He handed me a plate and I dug into breakfast.

“Coffee?”

“Yes, please,” I smiled. He placed a cup in front of me along with some milk and sugar. I carefully made my coffee and we ate in quiet. Not an awkward quiet but companionable. It was…nice.

“Bella, here’s a spare key to my place,” Edward said as he handed me a large silver key. “Since you’re staying here until you move in with Angela. I’d rather you not hang out on my porch, risking life and limb. In the summer, great! Dead of winter, not so great.”

“Thanks, Edward. I’ll give this back to you when I’m officially out of your hair,” I said as I added it to my keychain.

“Keep it, Bella,” he said. I looked up at him and there was something sizzling behind his green eyes. “You never responded to what I said in the bathroom.”

“That’s because I don’t know how to respond. I want to believe every word you say but the voice in the back of my brain is saying run away,” I mumbled sadly.

“Why?”

“My ex, Jacob,” I said, wrinkling my nose. “He said the same things you did for the month and half we were together. Then, we have sex and then I’m a tub of lard and he can’t be seen with me. I’m afraid it’ll be the same with you.”

“How old were you?” Edward asked. “How old was Jacob?”

“I was twenty and Jacob was a little older, twenty-two,” I answered. “He was pre-med.”

“What was his name again?” Edward asked. “Last name?”

“Black. Jacob Black,” I answered. “He doesn’t work at county. As far as I know. I think he’s working at some private hospital as a surgeon or something.”

“Bella, what Jacob did to you was horrible. Another person who’s ass I want to kick,” he said dryly. “You’ll learn quickly that I’m very sincere and genuine. I also can’t lie for shit. My ears turn red and I start stuttering like a damn fool. If I didn’t believe what I said, I wouldn’t have said it. And I’ll keep saying it until you believe it. And as for the attraction, relationship thing, I’ll wait. I’m a patient man and a firm believer in good things come to those who wait. Once you realize your full potential, you’ll be unstoppable, Isabella Swan.”

I sighed and looked up at him. “You’re right. About all of it,” I said, a confidence in my voice that I never heard before. “I’ve been so afraid since my life went to hell that I’ve been living in the shadows. I want to show you something. After you’ve read it, I’ll tell you want I want to do, okay?”

“Okay,” he smiled. I reached into my purse and pulled out my journal. I turned to the first page and handed it to him. He read over my list. Once he was done, his smile was even wider. I took the journal from him and added one more item to my list.

  1. Be willing to try to explore a relationship with Edward. At my pace, though. Slow.

I handed him back the journal, blushing deeply. I was wringing my hands as I watched him read my response. His face broke into a beautiful smile and he looked up at me. “Really?”

“Slow, Edward,” I whispered. “I don’t think I can handle getting burned right now. You are, right now, my dearest and best friend. I’m afraid if we cross that threshold into dating, our friendship will fall to the wayside and I’ll be left with nothing.”

“I can live with that, beautiful,” he breathed. “For now, it’s all innocent and you set the pace. Okay?”

I nodded and hopped off the stool. I hugged him, wrapping my arms around his waist. He kissed the crown of my head and squeezed me tightly.

“Right, now, let’s get you some clothes and necessities for your new digs,” he said gleefully.

“I also have to get some new scrubs,” I said against his chest. “The scrubs at the hospital are not cut for a woman with boobs and an ass.”

“Got it,” he chuckled. “Let’s start with that and then we’ll have some fun.” He pulled away and helped me into my coat. We walked out to the car and thankfully, it hadn’t snowed last night. We already had nearly a foot. I gave Edward directions to the shop where I got my scrubs. As he drove, I contacted the hospital and informed them the change in the billing information for Charlie’s hospital stays and surgeries. All further inquiries will be handled by the patient and Medicaid. I’m no longer a part of the process. It took nearly twenty minutes, but it was done.

I bought my scrubs, enough for at least two weeks. I didn’t get my usual ‘happy’ prints. I got the plain navy blue and dark green in my size. They were the cheapest, honestly. I took out my credit card and paid for my scrubs. The bored attendant handed me my bag and Edward took my hand. His fingers twined between mine and we walked out to the car.

Next stop was Water Tower Place. I did some mental math and figured I could spend roughly five hundred dollars on clothes. With the furniture and the clothes, I was definitely going to deplete my savings. “What’s wrong?” Edward asked.

“Just stressed about the money,” I frowned. “I don’t know how I’m going to be able to pay for the clothes, furniture and other necessities that I need.”

“Can I tell you something without getting mad?” he asked, biting his lip.

“What did you do?” I asked, arching a brow.

“I spoke to my mom about you. As I said before, she was quite taken with you and was very pissed off at me that you weren’t with me for Christmas,” he chuckled. “Anyhow, she has a bedroom set that would be perfect for your new place. It’s got a few dings in the wood so she said that she won’t accept any money for it. In addition to that, we have an old queen set at the house. It’s unused since my parents wanted a king sized bed. Finally, my brother just moved into his own place and wants to get rid of his desk. I pounced and asked if I could take it for you. All you have to worry about is  your clothes, Bella.”

“I’m not a charity case, Edward,” I said.

“I know you’re not. But, my family wants to do this. They are pieces that would otherwise be thrown out if you don’t take them. It’s what friends and families do for each other,” Edward said quietly. “My first apartment was a mishmash of furniture from my childhood bedroom, my parents hand me downs and going dumpster diving.”

“I bet your mother loved that,” I teased.

“She hated it but understood when I said I was a twenty-one year old man on his own for the first time. I needed to have my very own shithole apartment,” he snickered. “Please?” He jutted out his lower lip and whimpered quietly.

“Oh, that’s just pitiful,” I laughed. “Stop that.”

“Will you take the furniture?”

“If you stop with that face,” I snorted.

He smiled and kissed my cheek. “That was easier than I thought,” he chuckled. He got out of the car once he parked it and helped me out of the Volvo. Normally, I’d go to Kohl’s or Target for my clothes. I don’t have the money for mall. However, Edward insisted we go inside to check out the sales. I was in between sizes. I could wear an extra large but if I washed them too much, they were too small. The smallest plus size clothes usually were too big for me. Well, the plus sized clothes at Target or Kohl’s. In the mall, I saw a Lane Bryant. I bit my lip and looked into the store. There were some cute things.

“Come on, Bella,” Edward said as he pulled me toward the store. I followed him like a fucking lemming. Inside the store, I was assaulted with loud music and bright clothes. I’m wearing men’s briefs. You need clothes, moron. Underwear. Perhaps something a little sexy for the hot doc holding your hand right now?  “Are you okay, Bella? You’re awfully pink.”

“Um, just mentally making a list of what I need to get and I’m certain you don’t want to watch me try on clothes. Isn’t there some manly store like Brookstone where you can get laser beam reader thing?” I quipped. I furtively looked around the store and I felt tears prick my eyes.

“Bella, I want to stay with you. Besides, I want a fashion show,” he said as he hugged me to his side. “This is a lovely shade of blue. It would look gorgeous against your skin.” He held up a blue dress with thick straps and scalloped layers of royal blue chiffon. It had a matching bolero jacket.

“Where would I wear that?” I asked. “I’m either at work or at home.”

“New Year’s Eve,” he winked. He searched through the rack and pulled out a dress in presumably my size, handing it to me. I glowered at him as he wandered around the store, touching the clothes. Soon, I had an entire fitting room filled with clothes. Edward got his fashion show. And I got a new wardrobe, complete with some fun and sexy underwear. The only thing I was waffling on was the dress. It was $200. For one night? Edward noticed me obsessing and strode up to the register.

“Edward!” I hissed.

“Hush,” he said, giving me a smile. The woman gave him the total and he handed over a shiny black credit card, much to my chagrin. She willingly gave him the dress after he signed the credit slip. Folding the dress over his arm, I scowled at him as I paid for the rest of my clothes. The salesgirl handed me four large bags of clothes, totaling around $1000. Since, I didn’t have to really buy furniture now, I had some extra money to spend on clothes. Also, I don’t have to worry about my dad’s medical bills anymore.

The rest of the afternoon was spent acting silly at the mall before getting some lunch. The final stop was to Bed, Bath and Beyond to pick up some goodies for my bathroom with Ang. I found some cute purple items and we headed back to Edward’s brownstone. I changed into my new scrubs and he drove us to work even though his shift didn’t start until nine.

At the end of my shift, it felt weird walking into Edward’s brownstone without him. I said I was willing to wait until he was off to leave the hospital, but he all but shoved me out of the hospital at midnight. I had a hard time falling asleep, only managing to do so a little after three in the morning. When I woke up the next morning, Edward was curled around me with his nose buried in my neck. I turned around and looked at him. He was the beautiful one. Not me. His riotous hair stuck up every which way. His eyelashes were insanely long; any woman would kill for them. Hell, I’d kill for them. Shit!

However, despite his outward beauty, it was his heart that made him the most beautiful. His patience. His kindness. His warmth. Both literally and figuratively. Jeebus, he’s hot! And doesn’t he own a shirt?

I wiggled out of his arms and went downstairs. I made some coffee and rooted around in his kitchen to make breakfast. I decided on French toast and went to work on making breakfast. I was nearly done with breakfast when Edward came down, wearing his adorable glasses and scratching his bare stomach. “Food,” he bellowed.

“Such a guy. Always thinking with your stomach,” I teased as I put a plate in front of him. “How was work?”

“Boring as fuck,” he said as he rubbed his eyes. “I hate working overnights, but it’s a necessary evil.”

“Did you sleep at work?” I asked, arching a brow.

“My couch is quite comfortable,” he smirked as he tucked into the French toast. “Yeah, you’re not moving in Angela. I’m keeping you. This is the best French toast I’d ever tasted.”

“Sorry, Dr. C.,” I quipped. “I made a commitment to Ang and I’m going to stick to it.”

“Fine,” he pouted. “When are you on today?”

“Another three to midnight,” I answered. “Then, I’m off tomorrow to move. What about you?”

“Same as you,” Edward replied as he finished his breakfast. “I was going to head to the gym. I need to work off my Christmas dinner. If you want to come with, I can sign you in as a guest.”

“No sneakers or workout clothes,” I blushed. “Besides, I’m going to get a workout tomorrow with the move.”

“True. Well, I’m going to shove off. Make yourself comfortable, watch some television, use my computer, whatever your little heart desires, you can do. Well, not murder. That would be bad,” he chortled.

“You have an odd sense of humor, Edward.”

“I’m random,” he shrugged. “Thank you for breakfast. You didn’t have to do that, but I truly appreciate it, sweet girl.”

“It’s the least I can do since you’ve been generous enough to open up your home for the past few days,” I said.

“Bella, you’re welcome any time. No need to ask,” he smiled softly. He licked his lips and his gaze dropped to mine. I blushed and picked up his plate, rushing to do something. I wasn’t ready for that. Slow. I needed slow. “I’m going to change and I’ll be back in a couple of hours.” I nodded and smiled over my shoulder. A few moments later, Edward came back down and he kissed my forehead before he left for the gym. Once he was gone, I finished the dishes and darted to my purse, grabbing my journal.

December 27th, 2012

Holy crap. Holy crap. Holy crap.

I’m in over my head.

WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY over my head.

Anyhow, I’ll backtrack. My dad, douchetard of the year, kicked me out of my apartment on Christmas. Not knowing where to go, I called Angela. No answer. Then, in a moment of panic, I hopped in a cab and ended up on Edward’s stoop. In the snow. For three hours. I got hypothermia and ended up in bed with aforementioned Edward. He was shirtless.

And fucking GORGEOUS!

But, yeah, he’s gorgeous inside and out and get this, he’s attracted to me and wants to be WITH ME!!!!!! Was he dropped on the head as a child?

Then the next morning, he stands me in front of the mirror and points out all of the positive attributes he sees in me. I can kind of see them, but for as long as I can remember, I’d been ridiculed and teased. It’s hard for me to believe it when I hear it.

Edward said, though, that he’d wait for me. Whenever he looks at me, his eyes seem to glow and I’m assaulted by butterflies. My stomach is twisting in anticipation but I’m so afraid that he’ll pull a Jacob. He assured me that he wouldn’t, but the nagging voice in my head is still telling me that this ‘whatever it is’ is too good to be true.

I said I’d try. I want to try. God knows I want to try. I’ve had some steamy dreams of being examined by Dr. Cullen. But, what if I’m setting myself up to fail?

Don’t think that way, Swan.

You’re worthy of him. He’s worthy of you. You’re worthy of each other.

A/N: Well??? *Bites lip* She’s making headway and Edward made his intentions known. Oh, and raise your hand if you want to pummel Charlie? What an asstard! Anyhow, I wanted to get through to Bella’s move but, obviously that didn’t happen. As it stands, this chapter is nearly 11,000 words. I don’t want to write the great American novel in this ONE chapter so, I’m stopping here. BUT as a treat, I’m posting pictures of Angela and Bella’s place on my blog along with a pic of Edward’s tat. Dr. Tattward can examine me ANY DAY! Check out my facebook group, Tufano79 Twilight Fanfiction Appreciation, for extra teasers and such. We’re a fun bunch. Lots of Rob Porn and fanfic pimpage. And speaking of pimpage, I’m whoring myself out for some reviews! Leave me some! Laters!

 

Chapter Text

This is different from the norm. In all of the stories that I’ve read or that I’ve seen, all of the characters are disgustingly perfect unless they are written with very clear flaws. This story is about love (um, duh! Look who’s writing it. I’m the queen of romance), and finding it in the least likely place with the least likely person.

Now, this story is based in a hospital. My medical training comes from…WebMD. I’m not a doctor, nor do I claim to be. I’m a music teacher who has a wild imagination and a penchant for all things Twilight (and with this story, added in a mix of ER! I loved Luca Kovac…) Which brings me to my disclaimer: None of this is mine. I’m not, nor ever will be, Stephenie Meyer. If was, I’d be rolling in the dough from her insane imagination that gave us Bella and Edward. No copyright infringement is intended.

Chapter Six

EPOV

I almost kissed Bella. I so wanted to. I desperately wanted to feel her lips move with mine. To see if her mouth was as soft as it looked.  Holy shit. God, she freaked out. Or rather, cleaned. It reminded me of my mother. Whenever she was upset or nervous, she cleaned. After Rose’s attack, the fucking house was spotless. Anyhow, Bella said that she would be interested in pursuing a relationship with me but it has go slowly.

I can handle slow.

That doesn’t mean I should kiss her when she makes AWESOME French toast.

Though, I want to.

Really, REALLY, REALLY bad.

Slow. Yes, must go slow.

I’ve been a fucking monk since the end of my marriage. The whole hatred of penises kind of put a damper on my masculinity. Slow is doable. I would handle slow to be with Bella. She deserves it.

“Eddie!”

Ugh, not in the mood for him…“Hello, Emmett,” I said as I turned to face my new friend. “And it’s Edward. I outgrew Eddie when I was out of diapers. Well, only one person can call me Eddie and it isn’t you.”

“Who? A girlfriend?” he crooned.

“No. My baby sister,” I said, arching a brow. “As for the girlfriend, I’m working on that. Kind of.”

“Come on, I’ll spot you. We’ll chat about your kind of girlfriend,” Emmett replied as I lay back down on the bench. I did ten reps on the bench press with Emmett hovering to ensure I didn’t kill myself. “Spill.”

“Do want to go over to my place and we’ll do our hair while we talk about girls?” I asked, batting my eyelashes.

“I can braid your mop, Dr. C. Seriously, what’s up?” Emmett asked as he sat down on the bench next to me. “Kind of, sort of girlfriend.”

“Well, right now we’re just friends…”

“Oooh, the friendzone. Not cool,” Emmett chimed.

“Can I finish before you put in  your two cents, McCarty?” I asked. He nodded and I continued. “She’s a nurse at the hospital I work at. However, she’s been dealt a shit hand of cards. Her dad, who lost his leg on the job as a cop, is a first class asshole and kicked her out of the house on Christmas.”

“Let me at ‘em. I’ll kick his ass. Who would do that?!” Emmett growled.

“Her dad. Douche number one,” I snarled in return. “Anyhow, he pretty much called her worthless all of her life but she’s not. She’s an amazing woman with a good heart and brilliant mind.”

“Why did he call her worthless?” Emmett asked.

“Bella’s on the heavier side. He’s playing into the whole thing that if you’re fat, you’re lazy,” I answered.

“You’re a chubby chaser?” Emmett bellowed. I shot up and shoved him against the wall, pressing my forearm against his throat. Emmett’s blue eyes widened and he gulped.

“If you value our newly formed friendship, you will refrain from EVER saying that again,” I hissed. “Her weight means absolutely nothing to me. She’s a gorgeous woman. She deserves to be treated right and I want to do it…I want to show her that she’s worth so much. That she deserves to be loved.”

“Shit, I’m sorry,” Emmett said sheepishly. “I never meant to offend you, Edward. You just look like you’d date a tall, skinny blonde with big boobs.”

“I was married to it for seven years,” I answered as I released him. “But now she’s happy with Irina.”

“Your ex-wife is gay?”

“Yep.”

“So, now you’re attracted to POLAR opposite of your ex-wife? She is the opposite, right?” Emmett asked.

“Yeah. Bella is short, around 5’4”, around 190 pounds with long brown hair that just reaches over her shoulders and gorgeous brown eyes. I’ve never seen such beautiful eyes,” I whispered. “They’re like molten chocolate. And they’re so sad, Emmett. You should have heard what her sperm donor said to her after she fell.”

“She fell?”

“Yeah. Face planted on the el platform. Gave herself a nasty concussion. I brought her home with me,” I chuckled. “Anyhow, she called her dad saying that she was admitted to the hospital and he demanded that she leave AMA to take care of his sorry ass.”

Emmett raised his hand. “Hi, dummy non-doctor type. AMA?”

“Against medical advice,” I explained. “Anyhow, I kept her at my place so I could wake her up to prevent her from falling into a coma. She then spent the day with my mom at my place while I was at work. After I got back, I drove her back to her apartment. This place was a dump, Em. The only reason they live there is because daddy dearest is a vicodin user and had his disability insurance revoked. Bella was using HER paycheck to pay for his medical bills. However, the guy pretty much calls her worthless and stupid in front of me. Oh, and calls me her sugar daddy.”

“What a fucktard,” Emmett grumbled. “Now, I’m going to ask you something and I’d really like NOT to have a broken nose but it’s a legit question. Do you feel the way you do about Bella because you have a knight in shining armor complex or you GENUINELY like her?”

“It’s a valid question and it’s a little bit of both,” I answered honestly. “I want to make her feel special. And I do genuinely like her. She’s funny and so compassionate. She empathizes with her patients so well. Stubborn as hell and very proud, too.”

“I’d like to meet her,” Emmett said quietly. “She sounds like a  special woman.”

“Are you working tomorrow?”

“Nope.”

“Then, you can help us move her into her new apartment with her roommate,” I answered.

“Cool, man. I’m in. I’ve got a truck, too. If you need help moving furniture and shit,” Emmett said.

“Awesome. How about you meet me at this warehouse near Wrigleyville? I’ll text you with the time, okay?” I said.

“Warehouse?”

“Bella doesn’t have any furniture due to her dad kicking her out. My mom, who’s an interior designer, is giving her a bedroom set. Then, we’ll need to go to my parents’ home to pick up a queen mattress and a desk,” I said.

“Call me with the details, Edward,” Emmett said. “And I’m sorry about before. I never meant anything about my comment. Sometimes the brain to mouth filter is nonexistent.”

“Just be respectful of her,” I said. “She’s been taunted and teased enough. She doesn’t need any more. She needs friends, people who show her that they care about her and love her.”

“Got it. Look, I’ve got to go. My boss is giving me the hairy eyeball. You’ve got my cell phone number, right?”

“Programmed into my phone and everything,” I smirked.

“Cool. Later, Edward,” Emmett smiled as he darted to the front desk. I finished my workout and went to shower in the gym locker room. Once I was done, I headed out to my car and called my mom. She needed to give me the access code for the warehouse. I also asked if she was going to be home so I could pick up the mattress and desk. Unfortunately, she had a meeting with a new client. Shit. Emmett coming to the house with Rose there all by herself. Any man besides, me, Jasper and Dad, freaked out my baby sister. Understandably so, but well…crap!

I was near my house when I dialed up my brother. Jasper is just working on his dissertation. He could work on it at the house. Right?

“Bro! Long time no talk,” Jasper snickered.

“I saw you Christmas, moron,” I deadpanned. “I have a favor to ask of you.”

“I’m not shaving your back again, Edward. That was disgusting and you ruined my razor,” Jasper replied.

“Fuck you, Jas. Besides, I get the hairy patch waxed,” I said as I rolled my eyes. “Anyhow, can you be at the house tomorrow? I’m helping a friend move and I’m taking the old queen bed from the attic. Another friend is helping me with the mattress and well, he’s a guy.”

“Oh,” Jasper said intelligently. “What time?”

“Morning? I’m not sure how long it’s going to take,” I said. “I’ll be you a beer. That one Civil War book. Anything!”

“Fine,” Jasper sighed. “I’m actually going over there now. Rose is having a bad day and Dad’s working and Mom’s got an appointment. Something at mass tripped her off and she hasn’t eaten since Christmas dinner.”

“God damn it,” I snarled. “Let me just make some arrangements and I’ll be over prior to my shift.”

“See you, Edward,” Jasper replied and he ended the call. I headed into the brownstone and looked around for Bella. I eventually found her upstairs in the guest room, curled up on the couch, napping with an open book in her hands.

“Sweet girl,” I whispered as I crouched in front of her. Gently, I moved some of her damp curls from her face and stared at her. She really was beautiful. Even though she was heavier, her face was one of an angel. Alabaster skin, long eyelashes, high cheek bones, pink, plump lips that demanded to be kissed, alluring blush, silken hair, loving heart…that’s the most important feature. “Beautiful Bella, wake up.”

“Hmmm,” she moaned, her eyes fluttering. She rubbed her eyes and smiled at me softly. “Sorry…”

“Why are you apologizing?”

“I crashed,” she pouted.

“So? You’ve got a long shift tonight and me crawling into your bed at five in the morning probably didn’t help matters,” I snorted.

“It was only after you came into bed that I felt comfortable enough to sleep,” she blushed. She curled up and buried her face in her hands like she was ashamed for admitting it.

“Bella, you’ve ruined me. I won’t be able to sleep without you ever again,” I teased. “You’re just as cuddly as me if not more.”

She peeked from behind her hands and held her fists in front of her mouth. Her face was still bright red but it was so adorable. “I was shocked to wake up next to you. It’s not like I was the human icicle last night. You didn’t need to sleep with me.”

“I know it was presumptuous that I slept in here but it just felt right, you know? I’ll sleep in my own room tonight if it makes you uncomfortable. You did say you wanted to move slowly and well, ‘sleeping’ together isn’t all that slow.”

“It’s not like we’re having sex, Edward,” she said, her blush deepening in color.

Yet, I added mentally.

“You can sleep in here, if you want,” she added shyly. “I liked it. I liked sleeping with you.”

“Or here’s a novel concept,” I said as I sat down next to her, pulling her feet into my lap, “you could sleep with me in my bed. I have the plushest, softest king sized bed ever. That way if you want to uncuddle me, you can. There’s more room than any two people could ever want or need.”

“Okay,” she whispered, hugging her book to her chest.

“Anyhow, there is a reason why I came looking for you,” I said. “I need to head to my parents’ house. My sister is having a ‘moment’ and needs her big brothers. I’m probably going to stay there until the start of my shift.”

“Of course,” Bella said. “Go! Help your sister. I’m just enjoying the quiet and reading my book.”

I plucked it from her lap and held a very loved copy of Wuthering Heights. “How many times have you read this story?”

“About a million,” she laughed. “It’s a tossup between that and Pride and Prejudice as my favorite book.”

“If you want something new, I’ve some novels in my personal library. Help yourself,” I said. “Will you be okay getting to the hospital using the el? I can pick you up…”

“No, it’s okay. I survived thirty years taking the el and I can survive thirty more,” she said as she ruffled my hair. “I’ll see you at work, Dr. Cullen.”

“Kay,” I said as I leaned over, kissing her cheek. “Thank you, Bella.”

“Why are you thanking me?”

“Because most people wouldn’t understand about my sister,” I frowned.

“I may not have a family but I know how important it is to be close with the family you do have,” she murmured. “Have fun with your siblings and I’ll see you later.” She moved her legs and I got up. Gently, I caressed her cheek and said goodbye before heading back into the nasty winter cold of Chicago. As weird as it sounded, I missed the rain of Seattle. I’d rather be wet than cold.

I pulled up to my parents’ place and parked behind my brother’s beat up old Subaru. I let myself into the house and found Jasper sitting in the kitchen, holding his head in his hands. “What?” I asked.

“I don’t know. She flew off the handle, screaming for Eddie,” Jasper said, his sea green eyes filling with tears.

I heaved a sigh and squeezed my brother’s shoulder. With a heavy heart, I walked up to my sister’s bedroom. I could hear her trashing the place and her screams were heartbreaking. But the reason why, I had no clue. I didn’t knock, I just strode into my sisters room, catching an unidentified flying object that was being hurdled at my head. “Shit! Rose!” I spat.

“Eddie,” she sobbed as she fell to her knees. “I saw him. I saw him at church. He was out. I saw him.”

“Royce?” I asked.

She looked up at me and nodded, tears running down her cheeks. “He was sitting three pews ahead of us in a blue suit. He turned and sneered at me.”

“Rose, he was denied bail. He can’t be out,” I said as I scooped my baby sister up and held her in my lap. “Is this why you’re tearing apart your bedroom? Why you haven’t eaten in three days?”

“Yes,” she sniffled, burying her head against my chest. “He was there, Edward. I swear!”

“Rosie,” I sighed.

“I knew I should have just stayed home,” she wailed.

“Do you want me to call Jenks? Do some investigating?” I asked. She sobbed but nodded her head yes. “You want Jasper to stay with you while I make the calls?” Again, she nodded. Easily, I picked her up. She had lost the weight that she had gained in the week and a half that I had been back in Chicago. I carried her down the stairs and put her on the couch in the living room. Jasper hopped up and sat next to her. However, Rose refused to let go of me. “Rosie, Jasper’s here, okay?”

She reluctantly released her hold on me and latched herself onto Jasper. I kissed her forehead and took out my cell phone. I dialed up Jenks, the family attorney. His secretary said he was on vacation until after the first of the year. I grumbled and demanded for his cell phone number. The secretary was griping saying that Jenks deserved a vacation just as much as everyone else. We kept this guy on retainer. Hell, our retainer is probably paying for his damned vacation. I ended the call and went into my dad’s office. I pulled out his rolodex and found Jenks’ card. Sure enough, my anal-retentive father had his cell phone number. I dialed it and waited impatiently as it rang.

“Jenks,” he barked.

“Jenks, this is Dr. Edward Cullen,” I said.

“I’m on vacation, Edward,” he replied. “On a beach, away from Chicago.”

“I know. Look, I wouldn’t have called if I didn’t think it was important,” I said quietly. “Is Royce out of prison? Did he get granted bond?”

Silence. Shit, that’s NEVER good.

“Jenks?”

“Fuck,” Jenks grumbled. “His attorney put in an appeal for leniency and for good behavior while he was waiting trial. He was released a few weeks ago. He’s on house arrest with an ankle monitor. He can only leave the house to go do meetings with his attorneys, to court and to church.”

“You’re right, fuck,” I snarled. “Didn’t you think that was a bit of important information? JENKS! Really?! My sister saw him at mass and she’s been a mess.”

“Edward, he’s not allowed to be within five hundred feet of your sister,” Jenks replied.

“Well, apparently he was three pews up from us on Christmas, Jenks. That is definitely less than five hundred feet,” I yelled. “Fix this, Jenks. NOW!” I didn’t wait for him to respond. I hung up on him. I slumped onto the desk chair, pinching my nose. This couldn’t be happening. Why? Why is this happening?

Unthinking, I dialed up my mom. “Hello? Edward, is everything alright?”

He’s out,” I said flatly. “Apparently he was at church on Christmas. He saw Rose.”

“Shit,” she spat. “She was finally getting better. Then this happens!”

“What can we do?” I asked.

“I’m going to call the detectives assigned to her case. Get some information,” Esme said, her voice wavering. “How long can you stay?”

“2:30. I’ve got a shift at three,” I answered. “I’ll try to get her to eat, but she’s inconsolable. She was trashing her room when I came in.”

“Do your best, Edward,” Esme said brokenly. “Is Jasper there?”

“Yeah. He’s watching over Rose while I screamed at Jenks. Look, I’m going to make something for Rose to eat and try to calm her down. Send me a text if you hear anything, okay? Love you, Mom,” I said, running my fingers through my hair.

“Love you, too, Edward.”

I ended the call and walked to the kitchen. I grabbed the blender and decided to make Rose a protein shake. It was cool and I could make it taste like chocolate. What girl doesn’t like chocolate?

I finished making Rose’s shake and I carried it out to her. She was sniffling quietly in Jasper’s lap, clutching at his shirt. He was gently swaying our baby sister. However, his gaze was pure fire. He probably had the same idea that I did. Kill Royce King. He has NO RIGHT being out and free after what he did to Rosalie. Our eyes met and we did a mutual nod.

I crouched down in front of Rose and brushed her hair from her face. “Rose, please drink this,” I whispered.

“No. I want to die,” she muttered. “Royce should have killed me. I’m ruined and broken.”

“Rose, you can’t die,” Jasper murmured. “You’re not broken.”

“Really? Jasper, I don’t eat because I don’t want men to look at me. I want to die because Royce took the ONE thing I wanted to give to my husband,” she snapped. “No man will ever want me. Nor do I want anyone. What’s the point?”

“The point is that you’re giving up, Rosalie. Yes, Royce is out,” I said as I sat on the couch. “But, you’re stronger than him. Rose, do you want Royce to go to jail? To pay for what he’s done?”

“I want him there now,” Rose snarled.

“We’re trying to get that done,” I said calmly. “But seriously, do you want him to get his just desserts?”

“Yes,” she said, barely above a whisper.

“Then, you need to show him that he didn’t break you. You need to get healthy for when you have your trial, Rosie,” I said fervently.

“You need to stand tall, Rose. Royce is a leech and he’s sucked the life out of you,” Jasper added. “We hate seeing our baby sister fall apart like this. We both know that you will never be the same, but we wish that we can get a fraction of what you were back. If you walk into the courtroom today, you’d be torn apart. You need to get stronger. For yourself. For us. For your survival.”

“Rosie, we can’t tell you what to do. Nor can I speak for Jasper, but if you continue this way, it will kill us. Kill Mom and Dad. You HAVE to fight. Royce is the lowest of the low and deserves a slow and painful death. However, you’re imparting his punishment on yourself,” I explained. I sat there and let her digest what I said. Jasper wanted to say something, but I shook my head. He kept quiet.

Rose bit her lip and tentatively reached for the shake I held in my hand. She took a tiny sip, smiling shyly. She drank about half of the shake before she handed it back, clutching her stomach. “You’re right, Eddie,” she whispered.

“This is why I’m your brilliant older brother,” I smirked.

“Hey, I’m smart too,” Jasper snorted.

“About history, Jazzy,” Rose giggled. “Anything else, not so much.”

“There she is,” I smiled. “My snarky younger sister.”

“You both suck. Excuse me for not being nerds like the two of you,” Jasper grumbled.

“Jasper, out of the three of us, you’re the biggest nerd of them all,” Rose giggled. “You’re getting your doctorate in history with an emphasis on the Civil War. What the hell are you going to do with that?”

“Um, ah, well?” Jasper floundered. “Edward wears glasses!”

“Brilliant comeback, Jasper,” I said dryly. “Seriously, though, what are you going to do with your doctorate?”

“I’ve been offered a teaching position at the University of Chicago,” he answered. “I’ll be teaching four courses on the Civil War plus one more on the Revolutionary War. I’ll start next fall.”

“That’s great, Jazzy,” Rose smiled.

“Rose, when are you going to start using your degree?” Jasper asked. “You were pre-med and accepted to Johns Hopkins, just like Edward.”

“I don’t know,” she said bitterly. “I have to get better first, right?”

“Jasper know this,” I said, shooting a sharp look at my brother. He ducked his head and ran his fingers through his blonde hair. “Ignore him. He’s an idiot.”

“Am not!”

“Are so,” I retorted. It’s like we reverted back to our childhood selves. Jeebus! “Look, Rosie, tomorrow, I’m helping a friend move. Another friend of mine is going to assist me in getting the mattresses from the attic. Jasper will be here so you won’t be here alone, okay?”

“You're getting the mattresses for your friend, Bella, right?” Rose asked

“Yeah. Did I tell you both what happened?” I asked. They both shook their heads and I quickly explained to them about what Bella’s father did to her. Jasper was pissed and Rose wanted to kick his ass. I then told them how Bella had been staying with me for the past few days. Jasper scratched his head and Rose quirked a brow knowingly. “Anyhow, my friend, Emmett, has a truck and we’re going to be getting the mattress and your desk, Jas.”

“Okay,” Jasper nodded. “Do you have a time yet?”

“No. I’ll let you know as soon as I find out. Relax, little brother,” I snorted. I checked my phone and saw the time. “Shit. I have to go. I’ll send you a text with the time for tomorrow.”

“Cool, cool,” Jasper said. “I’ll just plan on staying here tonight. Want to have a movie night, sister mine?”

“Only if I choose the movie,” Rose responded. “I am not watching Glory or Gone with the Wind or any other of your Civil War films.”

“Crap.”

“I’ll let you two duke it out. I’m off to the hospital. Love you, Rosie,” I said as I kissed her forehead. “Love you, Jazzy.” I leaned forward only to get a face full of Jasper’s hand.

“Do not kiss me, Edward Anthony,” Jasper snarled. I did one better. I licked his hand. “EWWW! God damn it, Edward. You’re like an overgrown child.”

“Takes one to know one,” I snickered. “Rose, try and finish that shake before you go to bed.”

“Yes, Dad,” she sighed, rolling her eyes. I smiled and put on my coat. With a wave, I left my parents’ house and drove to County. I parked in the parking garage and headed inside. I saw Jessica at the circulation desk and cringed. She had made it abundantly clear that she was interested in me. However, the only nurse I was interested in was brunette, sweet and shared my guest bedroom for the past two nights. Perhaps tonight, I could get her in my bedroom. She seemed amenable when I spoke to her earlier.

“Hi, Dr. Cullen,” Jessica purred. Ignore the ho.

“Jessica,” I said curtly.

“Did you have a nice Christmas?” she asked, putting her hand on my forearm.

“I worked. But, it was fine,” I answered. “I need to grab my lab coat. Excuse me.” I slipped away from her and nearly sprinted to my office. Unlocking the door, I slipped inside and pressed my back against the doorway. I breathed for a few minutes before stripping off my winter coat and putting on my lab coat. I was dressed more casually than I would like, but Rose needed me. They’d have to deal with my corduroys and sweater.

Once I got out of my office, I walked to the desk. Thankfully, Jessica was gone. Alice was there talking to a tall guy with thick glasses and brownish hair. What was his name? I’d worked with him before. He helped with the code with Ms. Dutch. Ben, Angela’s boyfriend. “Hi, Dr. C.,” Alice chirped. “How’s kicks?”

“Good. How are you, Alice?” I asked, smiling crookedly. “Ben?”

“Fine,” they both answered. Then, Ben  winced.

“You okay, Ben?” I asked, furrowing my brow.

“Yeah. I was helping Angela and her old roommate move some furniture around since Bella’s moving in and I tweaked my back,” he grumbled.

 “Bella’s moving in with Ang?” Alice asked.

“Yeah. Her old roommate is moving out now and in with her fiancé,” Ben explained. “I say good riddance to bad rubbish. Her old roommate is a first class bitch. I met her once and let’s just say, she makes Jessica and Lauren look like kittens.”

“How did Ang get her old roommate?” I questioned.

“Placed an ad on Craig’s List,” Ben answered. “Anyhow, I’m going to check on my patients. Later.”

Alice left shortly after that and I grabbed a chart. I went through the motions robotically. I checked on their vitals, gave diagnoses, avoided Jessica, and chatted with Bella. She asked how my sister was and I told her about Royce being released and about her regression with her eating disorder. Bella frowned but was sympathetic towards Rose, offering her time to talk to her. I hugged her, appreciating her generosity with her time even though I know that Rose wouldn’t want to talk right now.

The shift flew by and soon, I was leaving with Bella, Alice and Ben. Jessica tried to leave with us but none of wanted to wait for her whiny ass. As we walked, it was decided that Bella would head over to Angela’s roughly nine in the morning to unpack her new clothes that she had purchased. Ben also informed Bella that Angela was having a New Year’s Eve party/welcome Bella to the apartment party. We all were invited. Surprisingly enough, we all were off on New Year’s Eve, too. Ben and Alice had to work New Year’s Day, but it was the later shift so they could get hammered.

Once Bella and I got back to my house, she was literally brimming with excitement about moving in with Angela. We spent nearly two hours in the guest room as we packed her new clothes into a suitcase I lent her, talking about her move and some recent revelations she had about herself. I just listened as she prattled on about how she was going to take control of her life. She was so happy and I loved seeing this new Bella. It made me look at her with new eyes. My feelings grew for her exponentially. Her confidence was growing and it made me happy that in some small way, I had a part in it.

Around two in the morning, Bella was dead on her feet. The excitement of her impending move had worn off and she was dozing off. I gently guided her to my bedroom. She mumbled something about not wanting to mess up my bed or something but she was barely coherent. I tucked her into my bed and I went to change into some sleep pants. I removed my contact lenses and walked back to my bedroom. Bella was curled around one of my pillows, mumbling quietly. “Edward, sweet Edward…”

“My sweet girl,” I murmured as I crawled into the bed, spooning my body around hers, wrapping my arms around her soft waist. I pressed a tender kiss behind her ear before I shut off the light and setting my alarm on my phone.

xx APFL xx

The next morning was a bit frazzled. We slept through the alarm that I had set. When I eventually woke up, it was nearly nine in the morning. I was supposed to meet Emmett at the warehouse at ten. We scrambled around the house and I dropped off Bella at Angela’s apartment building after making a few calls to Emmett, Jasper and my mom. Angela was waiting for Bella outside of the apartment building. They hugged and I waved as I pulled away to get the bedroom set for Bella.

Right before ten, I pulled up to the warehouse and Emmett was glowering at me. “Dude! I’ve been waiting here for like fifteen minutes.”

“Sorry, Em. Slept through my alarm,” I apologized. Emmett arched a brow, smiling evilly. “Get your mind out of the gutter,  you perv. We’re  taking it slow.”

“Is that what you kids are calling it now?”

“Come on, muscles. Where’s your truck?”  Emmett pointed to massive Ford F-250. “Follow me to the back entrance. That’s where we’re going to load up the bedroom set.”

“Cool,” he said as he clambered into the huge vehicle. I led him to the back and we headed inside of the warehouse. My mom had told her workers to put the bedroom set near the exit so it was easy to find. Sure enough, the set was right by the garage. Together, we worked on loading it up into Emmett’s truck. It fit with some room to spare, after I put the nightstand in my trunk along with the mirror for the dresser. Once we were done loading up the back of his truck, he followed me to my parents’ place and headed inside. Jasper was there, typing away on his laptop. We shared a mental conversation, asking where Rose was. Jas just pointed up and I knew she was in her room.

Emmett and I got the mattress from the attic and put it inside of his truck bed after we wrapped a plastic tarp around it. The desk barely fit inside the truck bed but we made it work. However, as Emmett and I were passing Rose’s room, she poked her head out. Her green eyes widened when she saw Emmett  and gasped quietly. Emmett turned and he smiled warmly at my baby sister. Rose squeaked and slammed her door shut.

“Who was that?” Emmett asked in an awed voice.

“That’s my sister, Rosalie,” I answered.

“She’s beautiful,” Emmett murmured. “Is she single?”

“Yeah, but she’s going through a tough time, Emmett,” I sighed.

“Edward Cullen!” Rose yelled from her room. “You hush up!”

“Sorry, Rosie,” I said as I nudged Emmett. We picked up the desk and walked it down the stairs. I was about to go upstairs to get the chair that went with it and saw that Rose was holding it, blushing a brilliant crimson. I arched a brow as she handed me the chair, looking over my shoulder at Emmett. With another squeak, she turned on her heel and ran up the stairs. Was Rose interested in Emmett?

I couldn’t really think about it as Emmett started honking his horn after Rose had left us in the foyer. I waved at Jasper and left the house, heading out to my car and tossing the chair in the back seat of my Volvo. I led us back to Angela’s apartment complex. I called up to Bella, explaining that we were here. She directed us to the service entrance in the back so we could use the service elevator.

Angela, Bella and Be were waiting for us and we loaded up the service elevator with most of the furniture. Angela and Bella took the mirror to the main elevator and said they’d wait for us on her floor. The ride up to the tenth floor was quiet. Well, relatively quiet. Ben was humming some tune I didn’t recognize.

“So, Dr. Cullen, are you coming to Angela’s party?” Ben asked.

“I was planning on it,” I answered. “And Ben, you can call me Edward.”

“Sorry, man,” Ben chuckled.

The elevator opened and waiting outside was both Bella and Angela. As a group, we moved to get Bella’s stuff moved into her room and hopefully, relax for the rest of the day. Unfortunately, we neglected to get Bella some sheets and a comforter set. Everything was done except for the bed. I took Bella’s hand and said that I’d help her buy some sheets. Angela reminded Bella to bring her keys and then we were off. Emmett left when we did. He said that he’d try to stop by at the party on New Year’s Eve, but he had to work so it was up in the air.

“Are you happy that you’re settled in with Angela?” I asked, shooting a look at Bella while we were at a stoplight.

“Yeah. I am. As much as I appreciated your hospitality, Edward, it’ll be nice to have a place to call my own,” she smiled softly. “And Angela’s great. She’s such a sweet girl.”

“I’m certain she is. I’m glad you have her as a friend,” I replied, taking her tiny hand into mine. She wrapped her fingers around mine and she gave me a soft grin. I pulled into an upscale boutique where I know my mom had gotten some of my bedding. Bella shot me a look. “Consider it a housewarming present.”

“Edward,” she pouted. “I can buy my own sheets and things.”

“Bella, I want to do this,” I wheedled. “Your bedroom should be your sanctuary.  Come on. This place as a shit ton of bedroom sets and they’re really nice. Did you like the sheets you slept on at my place?”

“Softest damn sheets I’d ever felt,” she whispered.

“Well, I got ‘em here,” I said as I hopped out of my car. I jogged and helped Bella out on the other side. We headed into the store and her eyes zoned in on a purple bed sheet set near the front of the store. It was a deep purple that had a satiny feel to it. However, when she saw the price, she freaked out. She shook her head and continued looking for something more affordable. However, nothing got her as excited as the bed sheets at the front of the store. She had decided on a set of blue bed sheets but she was resigned to them. “Bella, you obviously don’t like these.”

“Edward, I cannot justify you buying me such expensive sheets,” she chided, putting her hands on her hips. “These are perfectly fine. Just as soft.”

“Too bad, so sad,” I chirped as I took her hand, dragging her back to the front display and grabbing a queen sized comforter, bed sheets, four pillows and some decorative shit that matched the sheets as well. Bella scowled at me as I carried her bedding up to the register. Happily, I handed over my credit card when the total was read off. Bella squeaked and her jaw dropped.

“Ed..Ed-ward…”she panted.

“Relax, sweet girl,” I said as I pulled her to my side. “She’s yet to master the art of being spoiled.”

“You’re a lucky lady,” the sales girl smiled. “Keep him around for awhile. Don’t ever let him go.”

Bella blushed and tucked her face against my side. I kissed her forehead and took the bags of her bedding before we left the store. She was quiet in the car ride back to her apartment. “Are you mad at me, Bella?”

“No. I’m not used to this,” she whispered. “Thank you for the sheets, though. They are beautiful, but the blue ones were just as nice.”

“You didn’t have a sparkle in your eyes when you looked at them,” I snickered. “Bella, you deserved to be pampered. Spoiled, if you will.”

“You’ve been so generous to me and I’ve given nothing in return,” she whispered.

“Surely, you jest. Remember that French toast? Best damn breakfast I ever ate,” I smirked. “You were there for me after we lost Mrs. Bueller. You’ve shown me so much compassion. My heart could burst with the level of care you’ve shown to me, to your patients, to my family, to your friends…I don’t need for you to give me things as a thank you. Just keep doing what you’re doing. That’s all I want, sweet girl. Beautiful girl…”

“I’m hardly a girl,” she said dryly. “I’m an old maid.”

“No, you’re not. You’re perfect,” I said as I picked up her hands and kissed her knuckles.

“Thank you, Edward,” she said as she put her head on my shoulder until we reached her apartment. Ben and Angela were watching television in the living room, munching on some pizza. I carried Bella’s bed sheets to her room and Bella made us a plate with the pizza. After we ate our dinner, Angela and Ben headed into Angela’s room. Bella blushed and quickly cleaned up the plates and put away the food. “Edward, what time do you work tomorrow?”

“Three to midnight shift,” I answered. “You?”

“Seven to seven,” she pouted. “I probably need to put together the bed and get ready to sleep.”

“Are you kicking me out, Miss Swan?”

“I don’t want you to go, but I’m certain you probably want to sleep in your own bed,” she murmured.

“I can stay, Bella. I don’t mind,” I said as I caressed her cheek. Her eyes closed and she pressed her face into my hand. God, I want to kiss her.

“Can you help me make the bed and if you want to stay, you can but you don’t have to,” she said, looking up at me with her beautiful brown eyes.

“I’ll stay, my sweet girl,” I smiled. She blushed and moved her face from my hand. We walked to her room and together, we put on her new sheets. Her nose was wrinkled because they hadn’t been washed first, but she would wash them on her next day off. Once the bed was made, Bella grabbed her pajamas and darted across the hall to change. I stripped down to my boxer briefs and crawled into the newly made bed. It was nice and comfortable. I put my glasses onto the nightstand and waited for Bella to come back. When she did, she put her clothes into the hamper outside of her closet. She turned off the overhead light and slipped between the sheets, lying on her side, facing me. “What are you thinking about, Bella?”

“How lucky I am,” she replied. “I should be miserable with all of the shit I’ve had to deal with.  But, I’m not. I’ve finally made good friends and I’m happy.”

“I’m glad you’re happy, sweet Bella,” I murmured, tucking a hair behind her ear. She yawned and moved slightly closer to me, but not close enough. I slid my arm under her neck and gently dragged her closer to me.

“Aren’t you forward?” she teased.

“I want some cuddles,” I smirked. Bella smiled and wrapped her arms around my neck, putting her head on my shoulder. “You give the best cuddles, Bella. I don’t know how I’m going to sleep without you tomorrow night.”

“Easy. Snuggle with a pillow,” she giggled.

“Hysterical, Swan. You’re regular comedian,” I deadpanned. Her responding laughter was music to my ears as she burrowed closer to my body. I sighed happily as I held her tightly to my body, reveling in her warmth and feeling of her pressed against me. It was different from Tanya. With Tanya, she was always insistent on laying with her back to me and there was always room between us. With Bella, there was no room and she seemed happy with her nose buried against my neck. Bella was soon down for the count, snoring adorably against my chest. I looked down at her, happy that she was comfortable with me. Her lips were pursed in a perfect pucker and I wanted to press a soft kiss to them. However, I wanted our first kiss to be special. Not while she was sleeping.

New Year’s Eve. That’s when I’ll kiss her.

I just hope she doesn’t smack me.

xx APFL xx

The next few days were craziness. Since Bella moved in with Angela, we hadn’t had much time to talk and the ER was hopping. Before we knew it, it was New Year’s Eve. My shift was over and I was getting ready at my place for Angela’s party. I was nearly ready when my cell phone beeped.

I’m bored. Come drink with me? – Jasper

Can’t. Got a party – Edward

Party? Can I come? – Jasper

Hold on, let me check – Edward

I dialed up Bella’s cell phone and waited for her to pick up. Unfortunately she didn’t. Angela did. “Bella’s phone, her awesome roommate speaking,” she giggled

“Hi, Angela. It’s Edward,” I responded. “My brother is bored. I told him that I had a party and he was wondering…”

“Bring him. The more the merrier. Alice is coming and so is your friend, Emmett.  Alice’s sister, Cynthia is coming too. She got a babysitter.”

“Okay, cool,” I replied. “I’ll be there soon. Do you need me to pick up anything?”

“Hmmm, nah. We’re good,” she replied. “See you soon, Edward.”

“Bye, Ang,” I said as I ended the call. You’re in douche – Edward

Sweet! What should I wear? – Jasper

Clothes, moron – Edward

No shit, Sherlock. What kind of clothes – Jasper

I’m wearing a pair of black dress pants and a blue dress shirt. No tie, though – Edward

Gotcha. You picking me up? – Jasper

I suppose. I may be staying, be ready to use the el to get home – Edward

Eddie’s getting some tonight? – Jasper

Don’t make me hurt you – Edward

Nah! You love me too much – Jasper

No, I don’t. I secretly wished I was an only child when you were born, asshat – Edward

He didn’t respond so I finished getting ready. I popped in my contacts but slipped my glasses into my pocket along with a contact lens case. Once I was finished getting dressed, I slipped on my coat and went out to my car. I drove to my brother’s tiny loft apartment near where Bella and Angela lived and picked up his skinny ass. He got  into the car and smirked at me.

“Dude, you look like a freaking vampire,” I teased. My brother was wearing all black and his blond hair was slicked back like Dracula’s.

“I’m trying a new look,” he said as he plucked at his black shirt.

“You look like ass. The black is okay but the hair. First class douche,” I said as ruffled his hair. It was still damp, thankfully and was easily ruffled. However,  he did have a TON of gel in it. My hand was sticky. Jasper scowled at me as I wiped my hand on his leather jacket. He fumed in silence until I pulled up to Angela and Bella’s building. I parked the car and buzzed up to their place.

“Hello?” came Bella’s sweet voice.

“It’s Edward and my brother, Jasper. Can you let us in?” I asked.

“Sure thing,” Bella giggled. The door opened and we walked to the elevator.

“She sounds cute,” Jasper said.

“Back off, Cullen. She’s mine,” I said as I pinched his nipple.

“Is she hot?”

“She’s beautiful,” I said dreamily as we rode up the elevator.

“Dude, you’ve got it bad. You weren’t this girly with Tanya. She’s got you by the balls,” Jasper snickered. “What’s so special about her?”

“She’s so compassionate, Jas. And beautiful and so many other things…but she’s had a rough life,” I frowned.

“Super Cullen to the rescue,” Jasper laughed.

“Shut up. You’ve got the ‘Rescue-Me’ gene too. Remember Maria?” I chided. Maria was Jasper’s first girlfriend. They met when they were sophomores in high school. Maria was getting the shit beat out of her by her then-boyfriend, Carlos. Jasper jumped in and sent Carlos flying ass over heels. After that moment, they were inseparable until they went to college. Jasper stayed local and attended Northwestern University while Maria wanted to go to Rice University in Houston. They tried to maintain a long distance relationship but Maria cheated on Jasper, getting pregnant with another man’s baby. Jasper was pretty broken up about it since he thought that he and Maria were forever. Apparently not.

“Ugh, don’t remind me. She friended me on Facebook,” Jasper grumbled. “She looks awful. Having babies did not agree with her body. She’s easily 250 pounds and ugly, now.”

“Perhaps to her husband, she’s beautiful,” I shrugged. “You thought she was beautiful when you were together. Besides, you’re not as trim as you used to be.” I poked his growing belly, arching a brow. “Someone needs to do some sit ups.”

“Fuck you, Cullen,” Jasper snarled.

I laughed and walked down the hallway to Bella and Angela’s apartment. Music was booming through the hallways and it sounded like a lot of fun.  Knocking on the door, we waited in the hallway. Jasper was straightening his leather jacket and doing the ‘check your breath’ thing. I smacked his arm, glaring at him. He stopped, looking sheepish. The door was wrenched open and Angela was there with a drunken grin. “EDWARD!” she squealed. “Happy New year!” She took a head band that was black with the words ‘Happy New Year’ on it and placed it on my head.

“Happy New Year, Angela,” I laughed. “This is my brother, Jasper.”

“Nice to meet you, Jasper,” Angela smiled. “Drinks are in the kitchen. Food is spread around the apartment. And yeah!” She moved to the side and let us in. “Oh, you can put your coats in my room. Edward, you know where it’s at.”

“Thanks, Ang,” I said as I slid off my black pea coat. Jasper removed his coat and handed it to me, looking around the apartment. I walked down the hallway to Angela’s bedroom and tossed our coats onto her bed. I walked back out into the living room, looking for Bella. She wasn’t in there, so I walked into the kitchen. Bella was in there, fussing over some vegetable tray. She was wearing the blue dress I had bought her with her hair curled down her back. So gorgeous! “Hi, sweet girl,” I smiled as I saw her.

“Edward!” she beamed when she saw me. “You look very handsome. Did you plan this?” she asked motioning to my shirt.

“I was secretly hoping you’d wear your dress,” I replied. I slid my arm around her waist, kissing her forehead. “I’m glad you did. You are a vision. So incredibly beautiful, Bella.”

“Thank you,” she blushed. “Since you’re here, can you carry this out into the living room. I need to grab the meatballs.”

“Sure,” I said as I scooped up the veggie tray. She carefully balanced to trays of meatballs on her arm and one bowl of chips in her other arm. There was a table of food set up near the television which we deposited the trays of goodies. “Do you want anything to drink, Bella?”

“I’ve got a glass of wine here somewhere,” she giggled. “I think I left it in the kitchen.”  She moved past me, looking up at me through her lashes as her breasts brushed against my chest. Instant boner. And who knew that Bella could be a vixen? I followed her into the kitchen where she did find her glass of white wine. In the kitchen, I also picked up a bottle of beer.

We walked back into the living room and sat down on one of the couches. Jasper was chatting with Ben and Angela, but I could tell that he was staring at Alice who was prattling on with her sister, Cynthia and some other guy that I did not recognize. “Who’s that with Alice and Cynthia?”

“One of our neighbors,” Bella replied. “His name is James. He seems infatuated with Alice.” I watched James with Alice and he was overly touchy-feely. Alice tried to shove him off but he wasn’t deterred. “He doesn’t like me much.”

“Who? James?” I asked.

“Yeah. When Angela introduced us, he was very indifferent towards me, wrinkling his nose like I smelled or something. Do I smell? I showered once I got home from the hospital,” she pouted.

I leaned forward and pressed my nose to her hair, inhaling deeply. “You smell wonderful, like strawberries, vanilla and freesia,” I cooed. “He’s obviously a douche with a small mind.”

“Probably a small dick, too,” Bella cackled. “Shit! I’m sorry. I’m a little drunk. I haven’t had all that much to drink and I’m already feeling a buzz. I think after this glass, I’m switching to water.”

“Why? You’re off tomorrow. You can cut loose,” I said as I put my arm around her shoulders. She snuggled to my side.

“I don’t like to be out of control. Besides, I tend to get mouthy when I’m drunk,” she said. “I want to remember my first New Year’s Eve party.”

“Well, then, you need this more than me,” I said as I took off the head band, putting it in her hair. “Now you’re the bell of the ball.”

“You just didn’t want ruin your ‘do,” she teased.

“That’s it,” I snorted.

“Bella! Save me,” Alice begged as she ran up to her. “James is being so gross. I finally got away while he was in the bathroom. He looks at me like he knows what I look like without my dress on.”

“What do you want me to do?” Bella asked, arching a brow. “Pretend I’m your lesbian lover?”

“That’ll work,” Alice pleaded, her violet eyes beseeching Bella.

“Alice, my brother, Jasper, is unattached is currently giving you googly eyes,” I  said, nodding to my brother her was literally drooling.

“The blonde hottie?” Alice purred, running her hands along her purple strapless dress.

“If you say so,” I snorted. “I think he looks ridiculous.”

“Why?” Bella and Alice asked.

“He looks like a damned vampire,” I grumbled. “Or a member of the mafia or something.”

Alice rolled her eyes and adjusted her dress, cupping her breasts. “I’m going in. Oh, how old is he?”

“He’ll be twenty-seven in January,” I replied.

“Oh, a younger man,” she smirked. “Come to mama, studmuffin.” She danced over to Angela, Ben and Jasper, latching her arm on my brother’s waist. He smirked crookedly and put his hand on her hip. They looked like they were made for each other and soon, they went to a corner of the apartment, making out like horny teenagers. Perhaps, Jasper will be spending the night with Alice? Hmmmm…?

“Wow,” Bella said as she watched my brother and Alice become very familiar. “She works fast.”

“So does he,” I smirked. “But it solved the James problem. Look.” I gestured to James who was fuming in the corner. Cynthia had joined a conversation with Emmett and Ben, avoiding James. “Or made it worse.”

“Guys! It’s almost midnight!” Angela squealed. “Bella, can you help with the champagne?”

“Sure, Ang,” Bella replied. She hopped up and followed Angela into the kitchen. Emmett smiled at me, doing a thrust move with his hips. I discreetly flipped him off and finished my second beer for the night. Bella and Angela handed out glasses of champagne while Ben turned on the television. It was about five minutes until the strike of twelve. Bella finished passing out the glasses of champagne, ending with me. “Are you having fun, Edward?”

“Very much so. I get to spend New Year’s with you,” I said as I gently clinked my glass with hers. Bella blushed and sipped her champagne. “Are you having fun?”

“This is the most fun I’ve had. Like ever,” she said, looking up at me. “I never knew it could be like this.”

“Well, hopefully, this is just beginning of a beautiful life for you, Bella,” I said as gently dragged the back of my knuckles along her porcelain skin. “It’s apropos that you moved in with Ang now, right before the New Year. Start fresh,  you know?” I moved closer to her, slowly removing any extra space between us.

“Just like you,” she smiled. “You came back to Chicago for a new start, too.”

“I did,” I replied, gently cupping her cheek.

10…

9…

8…

“Edward,” Bella whispered. “What are you doing?”

7…

6…

“I want to kiss you at midnight, Bella. Please?” I begged.

5…

4…

3…

“I’m afraid, Edward,” she replied, staring into my eyes.

2…

1…

“I promise I won’t hurt you, Bella,” I responded, moving my mouth closer to hers. “You mean too much to me.”

“HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!” everyone yelled.

“Happy New Year,” Bella cooed as she stood on her tiptoes, touching her lips to mine. She pulled away, blushing furiously, dropping her gaze to my shirt. I took her champagne glass from her hand and put both of them on a nearby table. I took her face into my hands and leaned forward, brushing my mouth against hers. It was everything I had dreamt about. Her lips were soft and supple, begging to be kissed. However, she was hesitant in moving her mouth with mine.

“I mean it, Bella,” I said, leaning my forehead against hers. “I promise to never hurt you. Please, give me a chance?” I kissed her again, angling my head to deepen our embrace. She moaned against my mouth, tangling her fingers into my hair. One of my hands moved to her neck while the other slid around her waist, pressing her luscious body against me. Her body was so warm and her curves fit against me perfectly. My tongue glided against her lower lip, begging for entrance. She pulled away, questioning me with her eyes. Had she not been kissed like this before? “What is it, sweet girl?”

“Nothing,” she replied. She tried to pull away, but I held onto her, taking her chin in my hand, forcing her to look at me. I arched a brow, moving my thumb along the apple of her cheek. She blushed and closed her eyes. “No one has ever kissed me like that. It surprised me, that’s all.”

“BELLA!” Angela slurred, causing Bella to jump. “HAPPY NEW YEAR, ROOMIE!” She stumbled and Bella extricated herself from me to catch her drunk roommate. “I’m so glad you’re here with me! So much better than my other roommate.”

“You’re so cut off, Ang,” Bella snorted.

“Sorry, Bella,” Ben chuckled. “She’s drunker than a skunk. I’m going to put her to bed, okay?”

“Sure, Ben,” Bella said as she handed Angela to Ben, who effortlessly swept her into his arms. “I’ll clean up, too.” Most everyone was getting their coats and heading out of the apartment. Bella began moving around the apartment, picking up glasses and plates before heading into the kitchen. I was going to follow her when Jasper came up, grabbing my arm.

“Edward, I’m going back to Alice’s,” he said, smiling lasciviously. “She’s amazing.”

“Do you have condoms?” I asked.

“No. Shit. Do you?” Jasper asked, running his hand through his disheveled locks.

“No, Jas. I don’t. Be safe, okay?” I said.

“I will. Later, man!” he said as he bounced off with Alice. He scooped her up, wrapping her legs around his waist as he kissed her. They left, much to the chagrin of James who was following them. The only people left in the apartment were me and Bella along with Ben and Angela, who sounded like they were not going to sleep any time soon. It’s always the quiet ones.

SHIT! My coat’s in there.

“No, it’s not,” Bella giggled. “Ben handed me the coats and I put yours along with the rest on my bed.”

“Did I say that out loud?” I blushed.

“Yep,” she laughed as she continued going around the apartment, picking up food, trash and glasses. I noticed that she had removed her silver heels and was walking around barefoot. Her hair was pulled into a low ponytail. I figured I’d make myself useful and I grabbed a garbage can to load up the rubbish littered around the room. Fifteen minutes later, Bella and I had the place pretty well picked up, save for some left over veggies and other treats which we put into the fridge. Bella tripped on some spilled champagne when she turned after putting the food away. I darted and prevented her from falling. She let out a quiet squeak, gripping my biceps. “Thanks, Edward.”

Her beautiful eyes caught mine and it seemed like the world fell away.

It was just Bella and me in each other’s arms.

Nothing else mattered.

I righted her and swept my thumb across her bottom lip. I wanted to kiss her again.

 And NOT be interrupted by drunken roommates.

 Or sophomoric brothers.

Or douchebag neighbors.

 Or elfin co-workers.

I wanted to take her into her room and show her what it felt like to be loved.

“Bella,” I whispered, inching closer to her pink, pert mouth. She whimpered as gently pressed my lips to hers. It was soft and chaste, but full of promise of what I wanted to do to her. Each kiss to her mouth was tender and loving. Each kiss brought Bella closer to me, pressing her curvaceous body against mine. The overwhelming need to breathe broke us apart, but I didn’t want to move my lips from her body, so I kissed and nibbled along her jaw, inhaling her essence. “You never answered my question.”

“What question?” she asked breathily.

“Giving me a chance. Giving us a chance,” I murmured, looking into her heavy lidded eyes. “I’ll back off if you want me to, but I want you, beautiful girl. I want to give you the world.”

“I don’t want to get hurt, Edward,” she replied, staring into my eyes. “I can see this one of two ways: one, it works out and we get our happily ever after or two, you break my heart and I’m lost.”

“Bella, I would NEVER hurt you. Please believe me when I say that,” I said as I nuzzled her neck, kissing her earlobe. She sighed and melted into my arms.

“I want to take a chance on you, Edward. You’ve been so kind to me,” she said, placing her head on my chest. “I’m afraid it’s going to change, though.”

“It already has, sweet girl,” I replied, hugging her to my body. “We’ve kissed. There’s no turning back.”

“This is true,” she said, the smile in her voice evident. “And it was a great kiss. Best kiss I’ve ever had.”

“It’ll only get better from now on, Bella,” I said, kissing the crown of her head. “But, you’re in charge. You dictate how far we go in this relationship.”

“Relationship? Like you want to go out in public with me? Won’t I embarrass you?” she squeaked.

“Why would you do that? You don’t fart in public, do you?” I quipped.

“Ew, no,” she laughed.

“You don’t have a beard or have a peg leg? Nope, you’re clear on both of those counts,” I chuckled.

“Edward, you’re gorgeous and I’m not,” she frowned.

“Bella, you are just as beautiful, if not even more so,” I replied, caressing her cheeks.

“I’m fat, Edward. You’re the epitome of trim and fit,” she said flatly.

“Bella, you are perfect the way you are. There’s more of you to cuddle with and honestly, I’m loving it. I’ve finally met my match in snuggles,” I snickered. “But, Bella, your weight means nothing to me. You’ve some extra pounds, but it’s okay. I love your body from what I felt. It’s like your body was made for me, beautiful.”

“You like my body now, but what happens when clothes start coming off? And you see the cellulite and fat rolls?” she challenged.

“Let me  gather my own opinion of what I think, okay?” I said. “For now, with all of your clothing on, you’re gorgeous and perfect for me. I’d be so proud to have you on my arm. As a matter of fact, I’d like to invite you to the winter formal that the hospital is giving in February to raise money for the children’s pediatric wing.”

“What day?”

“February 16th,” I answered. “I’ve already cleared my weekend and I’ve looked ahead to your schedule and you’re on an overnight from the 15th to the 16th, but free the rest of the weekend.”

“How do you know that?”

“Part of my position as associate head of the ER is to be the liaison between the nursing manager and the doctors which includes approving the nursing schedule,” I answered as we walked out of the kitchen and toward Bella’s bedroom.

“So, if I’m always working with you, I’ll know who to blame,” Bella quipped.

“I would never abuse my power that way,” I said, feigning hurt. Bella rolled her eyes, swatting at my arm. “Would be willing to go with me? As my date?”

“Won’t people talk? Isn’t there a non-fraternization policy at the hospital?” Bella asked.

“I checked. There isn’t. As long as the relationship doesn’t hinder with the ability to do our jobs, we should be fine,” I answered as I sat down on her bed. I pulled her into my lap and wrapped my arms around her waist. “Will you? Please?” I pouted and batted my eyelashes.

“Do I have to get a fancy dress?”

“Yeah. I’m wearing a tuxedo,” I answered. “It’ll be like prom. Only there will be drinking and a silent auction.”

“I never went to prom,” she said dejectedly. “No one asked me.”

“Well, I’m asking you to the adult version of prom. It’ll be so much fun, Bella. Please?” I really put on the face, causing my lower lip to quiver.

“God, that is pitiful, Edward,” she laughed. “I’ll go.”

“Good,” I said as I smiled at her. “Can I kiss you again?”

“You’ve already kissed me twice,” she responded, her voice dropping to a husky whisper.

“I don’t want to push my luck,” I answered honestly. “I don’t want to make you uncomfortable or feel like I’m rushing you into something.”

“I like kissing you, Edward,” she said, staring into my eyes. “It’s like nothing I’d ever felt before. It’s like your lips light me on fire and my belly is assaulted with a million butterflies.”

“Then I’ll do it as often as you let me,” I said as I brushed my lips against hers. “Forever sounds good,” I murmured against her mouth as I deepened the kiss. I again, ran my tongue along her bottom lip but this time she didn’t pull away. Instead, she opened her mouth and I slipped my tongue inside. Bella moaned and her fingers twined in my hair. I held her closer to my body, but angling her away from my burgeoning arousal. However, her sounds, her lips, her fingers were all causing me to become very turned on and all I wanted to do was make love to her.

Slow, Cullen. Slow down. Do not scare the beautiful woman in your arms.

We broke apart after a few moments of some heavy making out, breathing quite heavily. “Wow,” she breathed.

“You’re telling me,” I chuckled. I looked into her deep brown eyes that were burning with desire.

“Are you staying tonight?” she asked in a tiny voice.

“Do you want me to?” I replied.

“Yes, please,” she said as she caressed my cheek.

“Then, I’ll stay,” I smiled, kissing her lips. “I do need to take out the contact lenses. I hate sleeping with them.”

“Bathroom’s across the hall,” she said, smiling shyly. “Do you have anything to sleep in?”

“I’ll just take off my dress clothes and sleep in my boxers,” I said.

“Kay. Thank you for coming, Edward and for everything you’ve done for me,” she said, blushing slightly.

“My pleasure, Bella. And I’ll keep doing anything for you, short of a felony,” I teased. “A misdemeanor? Possibly.”

“So, you can’t help me kill my dad and make it look like an accident?” Bella snorted.

“Nah. He’ll get his just desserts when it’s time.” I kissed Bella’s cheek and guided her off my leg. I walked to the bathroom, winking at her before I closed the door. I peed, washed my hands and took out my contact lenses, putting them into the case and leaving it on Bella’s counter. I unbuttoned my shirt and let it hand loose as I walked back to Bella’s bedroom. The lights were turned off, save for one light next to her bed. Bella was already curled up under the sheets. I stripped out of my dress clothes and crawled in with her. Bella was smiling softly. “What are you thinking about, sweet girl?”

“About my new life. Taking control of everything around me and finally being happy,” she said wistfully.

“I’m glad that you’re working on being happy. But, you’re the one in charge. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. That includes me, too. Us being together, while a positive thing, shouldn’t be the only thing that makes you happy,” I said, furrowing my brow.

“You’re right. I can’t place all of my ‘happiness’ on  your shoulders,” Bella replied. “However, it was your kindness that forced me to look at my life and finally realize that I didn’t want that. I need to become comfortable in my own skin. I need to let the cruel commentary roll off my back. I need to figure out who ‘Bella’ is. Anyhow, I’ve contacted our counseling center through the hospital. I’ve got an appointment before my next shift on January second.”

“I’m glad, Bella,” I said. Bella yawned and she tried to hide it. “You must be tired. You worked a twelve hour shift and then came home to a party.”

“I’m fine,” she said, covering her mouth, stifling another wide yawn.

“Uh huh and I’m the Queen of Sheeba,” I said dryly.

“You look good, your majesty,” she snickered.

“Oh hush and come here, beautiful,” I said as I held open my arms. She smiled and nestled herself into my arms. I turned off the light and held Bella to my chest. “Sleep well, Bella.”

“I always sleep well when I’m with you. I never thought I could sleep with another person, but I don’t think I could ever not do it again…does that make sense?” she chuckled.

“Not really. I but I understand,” I replied. I cupped her chin and kissed her pouty lips tenderly. She hummed in appreciation before burying her nose against my neck. Soon, she was snoring quietly and I gently scratched her back as she draped herself over my body. As my mind drifted, I grinned at the direction my life was taking and I couldn’t be happier. My job was fulfilling. My family, for the most part, was thriving. I needed to work with Rose, but I think she’s finally turned a corner. I had a beautiful girlfriend.

Was she my girlfriend?

Is that too fast?

I don’t want to push her too far and push her away. But, God, I want her. I want her to be happy. I want her to feel loved. I want to be the one to love her.

That’s definitely too fast. Back off, Cullen. Be her friend. Be her confidante. Be her boyfriend and show her how special she is and how beautiful she can be.

“My Edward,” she sighed against my neck. With a gentle kiss to my throat, she cuddled closer.

I loved the sound of that and I held her to my body. “My Bella. My beautiful Bella,” I cooed, kissing her forehead. She sighed and slumped against me, falling into a deeper sleep. I soon followed, a grin gracing my features as I held my Bella in my arms.

A/N: And they kissed. WOOT WOOT! Anyhow, up next will be Bella’s reaction to the kiss and then I’m going to fast forward the story a little bit. Move closer to the formal ball. (Totally making that up…don’t hate me since I’m adding a dance into the story). Anyhow, pictures of the exterior of Bella and Angela’s apartment building, along with Emmett’s and Edward’s cars are on my blog. Also, one of my awesome ladies from my Facebook group shared a video of a song about curvy girls. Check it out! My blog addy is in my profile and my Facebook group is Tufano79’s Twilight Fanfiction Appreciation. Anyhow, leave me some love! It’s much appreciated. I know I don’t respond to reviews (I fail at that…but I do appreciate them! Very much. If I could, I’d clone Dr. Tattward and give you each one for the reviews you leave me, but alas, he’s a fictional character.) Love ya’ll!

 

Chapter Text

This is different from the norm. In all of the stories that I’ve read or that I’ve seen, all of the characters are disgustingly perfect unless they are written with very clear flaws. This story is about love (um, duh! Look who’s writing it. I’m the queen of romance), and finding it in the least likely place with the least likely person.

Now, this story is based in a hospital. My medical training comes from…WebMD. I’m not a doctor, nor do I claim to be. I’m a music teacher who has a wild imagination and a penchant for all things Twilight (and with this story, added in a mix of ER! I loved Luca Kovac…) Which brings me to my disclaimer: None of this is mine. I’m not, nor ever will be, Stephenie Meyer. If was, I’d be rolling in the dough from her insane imagination that gave us Bella and Edward. No copyright infringement is intended.

Chapter Seven

BPOV

Was it a dream? Did last night really happen? Was I kissed by Edward? I slowly opened my eyes and saw that I was in my new room in Angela’s apartment. Behind me, I felt warmth. Then, a tightening around my waist. I looked over my shoulder and saw a delightfully rumpled Edward lying behind me. Traces of my lipstick on his mouth confirmed my sleepy questions. We had kissed. The swelling on his lips indicated that we had kissed a lot.

I turned in his arms and ran my fingers through his soft hair. He hummed groggily and pulled me closer to his hard body. Jesus, he’s built like a fucking god. Those abs…those pecs…and god damn it, that tattoo… “It’s too early, Bella,” he rumbled.

“Sorry,” I giggled. “Someone was pressing on my bladder.”

“You could have just asked,” he said, opening one bleary eye. “You look guilty.”

“I’m not guilty of anything,” I said, biting my lip. Okay, I’m guilty of blatantly ogling you while you were sleeping. Is that a bad thing?

“Uh huh. You’re biting you lip. You do that when you’re unsure or when you’re lying,” he said as his hand moved to my hip. “You seem to be pretty sure about right now so it has to indicate that you’re lying.”

“Nope,” I squeaked as I tried to wiggle out of his arms, trying not to laugh. He was very close to my ticklish spot on my side. He moved his hand up to the dip in my waist. “Please don’t.”

“Don’t what?” he asked, his green eyes dancing. He squeezed my side and I squirmed, doing a little squeak giggle combo. “Is someone ticklish?”

“Never,” I said, pressing my lips together to stop the giggles that threatened to erupt from my mouth.

“You’re a liar, Swan,” he smirked as his hand slid underneath my t-shirt and his fingers gently ran over my side, just below my ribs. I laughed, throwing my head back gleefully.

“Stop! I’ve got to pee,” I giggled. “Unless you want to deal with the clean up…”

“Okay,” he said as his hands left my body. However, he stared at me as I calmed myself. “Do you know how beautiful you are when you laugh? It’s so fucking gorgeous, Bella.”

A blushed and ducked my head. I truly couldn’t believe it. It was first thing in the morning. Gorgeous is the last thing I probably was. I wriggled and managed to get out of Edward’s embrace. I smiled as I left my bedroom and into my bathroom. I went to the bathroom and brushed my teeth. I checked my reflection in the bathroom and I honestly didn’t see the ‘beauty’ that Edward mentioned. I hadn’t taken off my makeup the night before and my mascara was smudged underneath my eyes, my hair was smashed and I had pillow lines marring my cheeks. Attractive. I washed my face and pulled my hair into a ponytail. I finished inside of the bathroom and walked back into my bedroom. Edward was leaning against the headboard of my bed, looking fucking sexy in his glasses and yeah, he was shirtless. Still.

“Do you want something for breakfast?” I asked. “I can whip up something if you like.”

“In a minute,” he said. “Can you come and sit by me?”

“Did I do something wrong?” I asked, my heart stammering.

“What? No! Bella, you did nothing wrong,” he said. “I just want to talk about us. And where we stand on our relationship.”

“Oh, okay,” I said as I climbed into the bed, sitting facing him with my legs curled underneath me. Ideally I would have liked to have been out of my pajamas and in a bra, but he seemed adamant on talking now.

“Bella, you know I like you, right?”

“I do. However, I’m still trying to figure out why,” I quipped, trying to be funny. However, based off Edward’s frown, my joke fell flat. “Sorry.”

“Don’t apologize, Bella. It just bothers me when you put yourself down,” he said. “You’re an incredibly gorgeous woman with a big heart and loving soul. I understand why you put yourself down since you never really had anyone on your side. Anyone to tell you that you’re beautiful…but you are. So beautiful.”

“I’m trying, Edward. Fourteen years of ridicule and torment is not going to change overnight,” I said quietly. “I’m working on it, though.”

“I’m glad, but I have to ask…why?” he questioned, arching a brow over his glasses.

“Why am I working on getting better?” I clarified. Edward nodded. “Because, I’m ready to stop living in the shadows. Now, your friendship and attention has done a lot for my attitude, but it’s also showed me what I should be able to get. I shouldn’t be Charlie’s conduit of abuse. I shouldn’t be the nurse that everyone tortures at work. I am worth of so many things. However, I’m just not used such positive attention. I’m unaccustomed to receive compliments or praise. I was always Nurse Swine or Worthless Offspring.”

“Who called you Nurse Swine?” Edward asked, his green eyes icing over.

“Dr. Crowley and Dr. Newton. Never in front of patients or anything, but in their conversations, I heard them refer to me as that,” I blushed. “I included it in my complaint to Dr. Sanchez. Should I have included you on it?”

“I can talk to Eleazar on my next shift. Their behavior is highly unprofessional. We are all in the same business of making sure that our patients are cared for. Not to tease your co-workers,” Edward snarled. “I have yet to work with Dr. Newton but I met Dr. Crowley on my first day after I filled out the paperwork at HR. He was the one who warned me about the coffee. He also warned me about you and your ‘incompetence.’ I’m thinking I’ll be having a conversation with Dr. Crowley.”

“If you feel it’s best,” I frowned.

“It is, Bella. He was acting like a total tool and his assessment of your work is highly unwarranted. You’re one of the best nurses on the floor. And I’m not talking as your boyfriend. I’m talking as the associate head of the ER,” he said.

“Boyfriend?”

“Well, shit. I was hoping to ask you if you wanted to be, I don’t know, well…” he fumbled, “um, if you wanted to be exclusive? God, I sound like a complete idiot. I should just write you damn note. ‘Will you be my girlfriend? Yes or no?’”

“Can you hand me my journal? It’s on the nightstand,” I whispered. He furrowed his brow when he handed me the journal. “Actually, it’s for you. Write me a note.”

“Seriously?”

“Yep,” I giggled.

Edward smiled crookedly and turned to the next blank page in my journal. “Why don’t you fix us some breakfast and I’ll write you your note, okay?”

“Kay,” I said as I got up out of the bed. “Any preferences?”

“Food,” he said with a shrug. “I’m a guy. I’m like a human garbage disposal. I’ll eat anything. Except calamari. That shit tastes like deep fried rubber bands. Blech.”

“Duly noted,” I said as I headed into the kitchen. I made some coffee and decided to make some hangover food for everyone. I was fine since I stopped drinking early but I just knew that Angela was going to be feeling it today and Ben, he was probably sore from all of the sexing he got last night. I made eggs, sausage, bacon and hash browns. As I cooked, Ben came out of Angela’s room, walking like a zombie.

“BACON! Processed Pork Products!” he bellowed.

“You’re such a guy, Ben,” I snorted as I dished him a plate. “Does your other half want something?”

“No. She’s too busy worshiping the porcelain god right now,” Ben said as he plopped down at the kitchen table. “Are you alone?” Ben waggled his brows.

“No. Edward’s in my room,” I blushed.

“So, are you two ‘official’ or something?” Ben asked, digging into his breakfast.

“I think so. We were kind of talking about it when he asked for some breakfast,” I chuckled.

“Bella? Do you have any scrubs here?” Edward called from my bedroom. “I really don’t want to wear my dress clothes.”

“Hold on,” I said. “Can you mind the eggs while I get some scrubs for him?”

“Sure, Bella,” Ben smiled as he hopped up to man my spot at the stove. I headed back into my bedroom and went into the dresser that was still pretty empty. However, I did have a pair of scrubs from the hospital in there that I swiped a few weeks back that were in my messenger bag. I handed Edward the scrubs and he smiled gratefully.

“I have an extra toothbrush in the medicine cabinet in the bathroom, too,” I said as I smiled shyly at him.

“Thanks, sweet girl,” he said as he kissed my cheek. “I left you a note. Read it after I go, okay?”

 I blinked and nodded at him. He darted across the hall and did his morning routine while I went back to the kitchen to finish breakfast. Angela was sitting at the table, groaning quietly as she had her head on the formica table. “You okay, Ang?”

“Shhhhh!” she hissed. “Talk quieter. Too loud.”

“Here, Ang,” I said as a poured a glass of orange juice and handing her two ibuprofen. I also found some vitamin B in her cabinets and included that with her ibuprofen. “Drink this up, then a bottle of water. Slowly, though. You don’t want to throw it up.”

“Okay. But seriously, quiet down. You’re like yelling,” she said, glowering at me.

“Sure, Ang,” I snickered. She stuck her tongue out at me and downed her pills. Edward padded out into the kitchen and took one look at Angela and bit his lip to not laugh. I shrugged and dished him a plate of food. He sat down and I put a cup of coffee along with his plate in front of him. He rubbed his hands together happily and dug into his meal as I finished making a plate for myself. Angela just stared off into space, looking very green.

“I’m never drinking again,” she groaned.

“You say that now,” I said.

“Seriously. I hate having hangovers. Did I even make it to midnight?”

“Yeah, Angela,” Ben laughed nervously. “Don’t you remember? I mean, we…well, you know?”

“Great! I had amazing sex and I don’t even remember it? Fuck,” Angela growled, putting her head into her arms.

“Well, I guess that means I’ll have to make up for it,” Ben said with a slow grin. “You know the best cure for a hangover is orgasms. I don’t have to be at the hospital until three. We’ve got at least three hours before I have to go.”

 Angela looked up at him and smiled slowly. Then she realized she had an audience. “Um, do you mind?” she asked, blushing.

“Go ahead, Ang,” I giggled. “Don’t have too much fun and keep the screaming to the minimum.”

“I don’t scream,” Angela said flatly.

“Sorry, baby, but you do,” Ben chortled. Angela glared at him as he sprinted back to Angela’s room. She was quick to follow him. The dull thud and Ben’s shriek indicated that she had pounced on him, causing him some mild amounts of pain.

“They’re cute,” Edward laughed.

“They are. Ang has been crushing on Ben for awhile now and it’s exciting that they are finally together,” I answered. “So, what are you going to do for the rest of the day?”

“Hang out here until you kick my pasty white ass out of your place,” he smirked, leaning over his now empty plate of breakfast food. “If that’s alright.”

“That sounds nice. Do you want to watch some of the College Bowl games?”

“As long as I get to cuddle with you, sure,” he replied. I blushed. Again. “Now, you cooked breakfast, I’ll do the dishes.”

“It’s really no big…” I started.

“Go and shower and make yourself more beautiful. I’ll do the dishes,” he said as he helped me out of my chair and pushed me toward my bathroom. I turned and began to protest. Edward pointed to the bathroom. I chuckled and headed into my room, picking up some clothes to wear. I decided to be comfy and wear a pair of yoga pants and a matching hoodie. I went into the shower and scrubbed my body clean, relishing the awesome shower that I now had in my new apartment. Finishing up, I blow dried my hair, tossing it into a messy bun. I swiped some mascara on along with some lip gloss before walking out into the family room of the apartment. Edward was on the couch, flipping through some channels. When he saw me, his face broke into a radiant grin and he patted on the couch next to him. I walked towards him and sat down, curling my legs underneath me.

“I got a phone call from my brother,” Edward said as he waved his Blackberry at me. “He’s totally infatuated with Alice.”

“Really? They seemed to get pretty cozy last night,” I added.

“They did. They were a step away from public sex,” Edward snorted. “Anyhow, he said that Alice is his soul mate. Love at first sight.”

“Love at first sight?” I asked, quirking a brow.

“Do you not believe in love at first sight?”

“I believe in love but it takes time to build that rapport. Besides, love at first sight happens in fairy tales and fantasy fiction. Not reality,” I said bitterly.

“I’m sorry if I upset you, Bella,” Edward said as he moved me closer to him.

“You didn’t. I’m just jaded,” I said quietly. “I thought I was in love at first sight with Jacob.”

“What happened?” Edward asked as he laced his fingers with mine. It felt perfect to have my hand surrounded by his. I smiled and I squeezed his fingers. Edward responded by picking up our joint hands, kissing each of my knuckles.

“Well, it was my first day on campus at UIC. I had just transferred there and was in a biochemistry class. Jacob was the TA. I thought he was the most handsome man I’d ever seen. Tall, taller than you, russet colored skin, black hair, dark brown eyes, muscular, blindingly white smile, kind and very attentive. Anyhow, we had labs and after the second lab, Jacob asked if I wanted coffee. I’d never been asked out on a date so I immediately said yes. I was shocked that this guy would want to spend time with me.

“We went to a tiny coffee shop just outside of Little Italy and closed down the joint. Jacob said that he was in his last year as a pre-med major. He had already taken his MCATs and was admitted to University of Chicago.”

“You said that Jacob was twenty-two, right?” Edward asked.

“Yeah. He had to take a year off of school to help his dad who had diabetes,” I explained. Edward nodded and kissed my hand again. “Anyhow, from there, our relationship progressed to friendship on his part, but for me it was blossoming into something more. I had fallen in LOVE with Jacob and desperately wanted him. After about a month or so, Jacob finally took me out on a proper date. He picked me up at my old apartment that I shared with my dad and we went bowling and then dinner. He went on and on about how beautiful I was. I loved the attention and as we continued to date, I started to believe it.

“He gave me all of my firsts. My first kiss. My first hug from a guy that wasn’t my dad. My first ‘grope.’ However, it was all very chaste. He never really kissed me like you did last night. He just gave me innocent little pecks or nibbled on my lip.

“About six weeks later, Jacob started to get a bit more aggressive. He wanted more. I was apprehensive but since I thought he loved me and that I knew that I loved him, I was willing.”

“Did he ever say that he loved you?” Edward asked as he rubbed his thumb over my knuckles.

“No. I told him, though. But, I was so naïve. He would give me underhanded compliments and hint that I needed to lose weight during our time together. He also always ordered for me when we went out, getting me a salad or soup as opposed to the massive hamburger or steak that he’d order. I also stopped eating normally as well, to get thinner for him. To make him want me. I was down to about a size ten. I was very proud of my body at that point. I had curves but I wasn’t a twig. I felt comfortable enough to show Jacob everything.

“Anyhow, he makes reservations at this hotel and we have this romantic date at the Hancock Signature Room. I’m wearing this beautiful dress and sexy lingerie underneath, anxiously waiting for the climax of the evening. After dinner, Jacob takes me on a horse-drawn carriage ride before we go into the hotel room. It’s all very romantic. Or at least, started that way. We kissed, still very chastely and slowly our clothes are removed. We fall into bed and Jacob doesn’t say anything. He just stares at me. His distaste is hidden but I could see the disgust in his eyes. I was still too fat for him. But, we continue. There’s very little foreplay. Jacob just kissed me briefly and fondled my breasts before grabbing a condom. He put it on and shoved inside of me, no care for what I was feeling.

“It hurt so badly because I really wasn’t ready for him and there was a lot of blood since he tore through my hymen. Before I knew it, my virginity was gone and Jacob had rolled over on his side, ignoring me for the rest of the night.

“The next day, he drove me back to my apartment and said he’d call. He never did,” I sniffled. “I still saw him in class but he ignored me. A few weeks later, I saw him at a party with some blonde bimbo with fake boobs and tiny waist, named Nessie, who was also in our class. He sneered at me when I saw him with her, upset that he never even ‘broke up’ with me. He just fucked me and left. After that, I gave up. I stuffed myself with all of the fattening foods and buried myself in my studying. I graduated top of my class and was offered numerous positions at many hospitals. I was this close to going to Minnesota to work at the Mayo Clinic, but decided to stay here because of my dad. He was healthy at the time, but I thought he’d get lonely.”

“Have you seen Jacob since?” Edward asked tersely, his showing his anger.

“No. Not recently,” I answered. “I ran into him one day on the el but he didn’t even acknowledge me. He just looked right through me, ignoring me. I honestly hope I never see him again. From what I’ve heard, he’s a first-class douche.”

“You said he’s a surgeon?”

“Yeah, up at Northwestern,” I said. “He’s like the head of cardiothoracic surgery or something. He totally has a major ‘God-complex.’”

“Most surgeons do,” Edward chuckled. Then his smile faded. “You didn’t date anyone else after Jacob?”

“No. He hurt me too much,” I frowned. “Besides, after what he put me through, I figured, who would want this?” I gestured to my body, still disgusted at the rolls and lumps underneath my clothing.

“I do,” Edward said simply. “Bella nobody is perfect. If we were, we’d be gods. And we’re not. We all have our faults. I told you mine. And yes, I know that I’m in shape, but that doesn’t mean that I’m perfect. Everyone has their quirks and nuances that make them special and beautiful. A person can be completely ravishing on the outside, but their heart can be as black as night and that’s what makes them ugly. Jacob sounds like that. He may have physical beauty but what he did to you was deplorable. You deserve someone better than that. Someone who knows how to love and apparently, he didn’t. Or rather, he doesn’t.”

“I know that now, but at the time, all I wanted was to be his and I figured that if I gave my virginity to him, I would be,” I sniffled. “I guess not. Not that I want to be his, anyway. He probably is so narcissistic that he can’t see past his miniscule cock.”

“Small?” Edward chortled. I held up my ring finger, wrinkling my nose. “Damn. That’s pretty sad. And I’m going to be completely honest with you, I’m bigger than that. MUCH bigger.”

“You sound like I’m going to be bedded by you, Dr. Cullen,” I giggled.

“I hope so. But, it’s at the pace that you want,” he said sincerely.

“I told you about my pathetic love life, it’s your turn,” I said, giving him an encouraging smile.

“Seems fair,” Edward said as he moved his arm to reach behind me. He idly played with my hair as he began telling me about his romantic history. “I was a geek when I was younger. Braces, glasses, acne, scrawny physique. I didn’t really become comfortable with myself until I was in college. My braces were off. I found the wonders of contact lenses. Proactive changed my life and I became good friends with the football players on my floor at Dartmouth who showed me the wonders of the gym. Oh, and I also helped them with their homework. I was still a geek at heart. Anyhow, freshman year of college, I didn’t really date. I just went through my metamorphosis as it were. Sophomore year, I dated around. I’m not going to lie, I became a manwhore. Another flaw…I told you I wasn’t perfect. I lost my virginity in the bathroom of a dingy frat house with some random sorority girl. I don’t remember her name, but we both wanted sex and we got it.”

“Please tell me you were safe,” I frowned.

“God, yes. I’d always used a condom. The only I didn’t was with my ex-wife and that’s because she was on birth control at first and then after that, we wanted to try for a family,” Edward explained. “I may have been a manwhore, but I’m quite fastidious about my junk. I can also assure you that I’m clean and I can give the most recent blood test results for verification, if you want.”

I nodded and blushed. “I trust you, Edward. It’s not like we’re going to have sex right away,” I whispered. “I want to make sure before I do anything more physically with you. I don’t think I could handle another situation like what I had with Jacob.”

“Nor do I expect you to,” Edward said as he gently cupped my face. “You are a gorgeous woman and you deserve to be respected, cared for and loved. I just hope that you feel that I’m worthy of that.”

“Only time will tell,” I said, breaking his intense gaze into my eyes. Edward’s fingers glided to my jaw and he brought my face back up to his. Softly, his lips caressed mine and he leaned his forehead against me. Jesus…this man can kiss. Nothing that Jacob ever did to me compares to what Edward’s mouth can do to me. “Wow…”

“I know,” he whispered back. “I’ve never felt like this, Bella. I get lost when I’m with you and I never want to find my way, as long as you’re near me.” He closed his eyes and kissed me tenderly again before pulling back. “Do you want me to continue?”

“I don’t want to hear about all of your exploits,” I teased.

“God, I would never…I’m not that much of a douche. That’s my brother. He’d break out his little black book and point out all of the positives and negatives for each of his conquests,” Edward said, his green eyes widening in shock. “Anyhow, I never really had a girlfriend in college. Just a string of women who I regularly called when I was horny. It wasn’t until I was in med school that I wanted to settle down. That’s when I met Tanya, my ex-wife.”

“Was she a doctor, too?”

“Yeah. However, she is a plastic surgeon,” Edward explained. “She has a pretty lucrative practice in Seattle. She’s highly sought after by many patients because she revolutionized a new technique for rhinoplasty and is working on a new concoction to permanently erase wrinkles and age spots. Tanya’s brilliant and an amazing doctor.”

“And you said that your marriage ended because…she was gay?” I asked.

“Yep. About two years ago, our sex life stopped. She wouldn’t let me touch her. Our kisses were very innocent and we barely talked. Prior to that, Tanya was very sexual and I’m not going to lie, we had a very healthy sex life,” he laughed nervously, his ears turning a bright red. “When I asked her about it, she said that she loved me but that she was in love with another. I was livid. My wife was cheating on me? Tanya apologized and said that it wasn’t supposed to happen this way, but she met someone while she was at some medical conference in Hawaii named Irina. I about shit my pants when she said that. My wife was in love with a woman. A very butch woman, too. Irina is tall and looks kind of like me minus a dick and plus some very large breasts. Anyhow, long story short, Tanya asked for a divorce which I granted since I am not going to deny her true love. Besides, the love that she and Irina have nothing short of magical. Irina adores her and Tanya is incredibly happy. Once the divorce was final, I packed up my stuff and moved out here to be with my family,” Edward explained.

“Did you like Seattle?”

“Very much. I miss the city a lot. Especially the weather. I hate the cold. But, I wouldn’t leave for anything. There is something here that I don’t think I could ever give up,” he said, grinning at me crookedly.

“What? Your family? Your job?” I questioned, looking into his deep, evergreen eyes.

“Those are important, but that’s not what I’m talking about,” Edward said quietly, almost reverently.

“Well, then, what?”

“You,” he answered.

Be still my frantically beating heart.

Shortly after Edward’s confession, Angela and Ben came out of her room, looking quite happy and very sexed up. They joined us in watching some football before Ben had to go to work. Edward left when Ben did, saying that he needed to get some laundry done and check on his sister. However, I could tell that he didn’t want to leave but chores were calling his name.  Before he left, Edward kissed me senseless and reminded me to read my journal for his note that he wrote to me.

After Ben and Edward left, Angela zonked out of the couch while I went into my room to read the journal that Edward wrote. I was anxious to see what he had to say. I grabbed my new iPod and put it on shuffle. I found my journal on the nightstand. Eagerly, I crawled into my bed, which smelled like Edward’s cologne. I flipped through the pages and found the entry from Edward.

January 1st, 2013

Dearest Isabella,

This was your idea so I’m going with it, beautiful. However, it seems appropriate since this is your way to work through your feelings that I leave you a note, journal entry, love letter, evidence of my cheesetastic nature. (I’m a dork. I know.)

I know that you haven’t had it easy. I know that you are hesitant to trust. However, I’m so lucky that you’ve opened up to me and that you’re willing to put your trust in me. Bella, you are an amazing, loving, brilliant, gorgeous woman. Someone that I am hopeful will make an impact on my life. You already have, sweet girl. You’ve been a friend to me and someone that I can rely on at work and now, at play.

You are in charge of how fast or how slow we progress with this relationship. I’m a patient man and I will NEVER pressure you into something that you are not comfortable doing. We need to build a trust between each other before we move forward physically, emotionally and mentally. I will also never expect you to change who you are to suit my needs. You’re perfect and beautiful just the way you are.

I know, right now, you’re probably rolling your eyes, doubting what I’m saying but you are. And I’ll keep saying it until I’m blue in the face or until you finally believe it.

I know that we have just met and that we are making that awkward transition from the ‘friendzone’ (blame Emmett for that one…his term) into a more romantic relationship, but the depth of feelings that I have for you are astounding. I have never, EVER felt this way about anyone, including my ex-wife. Yes, I loved her, very much, but it was more of a slow burn whereas with you, it kind of hit me out of nowhere. And that’s a good thing.

Now, onto my cheesetastic part of my note, journal entry, love letter thing…

Will you be my girlfriend? Text me with your response. (I’d say circle one, but I want you to keep this note to re-read at your leisure if you ever forget how much I care for you). Yes or no…

Love,

Edward

My heart is pounding against my chest as I closed my journal. Edward, gorgeous, kind-hearted, intelligent, wonderful Edward wants me to be his girlfriend. Do I trust him? Am I ready to put myself out there?  Would I survive it if we break up? Would he still want me after he sees my body?

I padded to my desk and picked up my cell phone. I scrolled down my contact list and found Edward’s name. I opened up a new text message and put the only thing that I had an answer for and that was his question. Will you be my girlfriend?  Tapping out my response, I sent it off to him.

Yes.

xx APFL xx

To say Edward was ecstatic when I responded to his request was understatement. He called back and said that he was on his way back to my apartment so he could spend some time with me, making out, cuddling and being a couple. Unfortunately, traffic and a very persistent sister prevented that from happening. Edward acted like a petulant child as he drove back to his brownstone, pissing and moaning that he should be with girlfriend.

Holy fuck.

I was Edward’s girlfriend.

Anyhow, moving on. I still have girly squee moments when I think about it. I’ve spaced out more often than not at work. I got yelled out by Dr. Crowley a couple of times because I was not ‘on top of his needs’ while he was suturing several patients. He ripped me apart but instead of crying about it, I just took it. I was wrong. I should have the syringe of lidocaine ready to go. Not daydreaming about my fuckhot boyfriend.

Now, despite the fact that Edward and I are together, I’m still not putting all of my eggs in one basket. I’m still focusing on trying to get myself ‘better.’ I met with a counselor prior to my shift on January 2nd. We spent an hour talking about my history and what I hoped to get out of the therapy. My counselor, Michele, also asked me if I had any coping mechanisms for when things got tough. I said that I journal since I never really had anyone to talk to. She was pleased but she wanted me to find someone that I could talk to, not Edward, though. I agreed with her on that and I said that I’d try to do that. Michele also asked me to make list of ten things that I find to be positive attributes about myself. Journal about it and bring it for discussion for our next session.

So, here I am, sitting on my bed, trying to figure out ten positive characteristics about myself. I’m falling up short. Big. Time.

January 10th, 2013

Ten POSITIVE things about Isabella Marie Swan

Before I begin writing these down, let me just say that this is definitely going to be a challenge. I can barely come up with two things, let alone ten. Then again, I’ve been shot down for so long that I’m not sure what to believe anymore. Edward can find so many positive things about me, but me? Hell no! Anyhow, here goes…

One…I’m a good nurse. Despite what anything says, I care about my patients no matter how they act or behave. Nurses are the eyes and ears for the doctors and I feel like I do an adequate job at relaying vitals, problems and symptoms.

Two…I’m patient. Not many people would have the disposition to be a nurse. You have to deal with so much shit, like lancing puss-filled wounds, bedsores; getting peed on, shit on, and puked on and you have to do all of that with a smile. Sometimes it’s tougher than most (if I ever have to deal with my dad, there will be no smile there. He can sit in his own pee and get bedsores up the ying yang).

Three…I’m compassionate. I kind of have to be. No one would like a nurse that’s bitchy and rude. That’s Lauren. HA!

“Sweet girl?” Edward called out. “Angela let me in as she was leaving. I have Chinese.”

I closed my book and carried it out to the kitchen. Edward just got off from work and was looking pretty  damn sexy in his green scrubs. However, he was wearing a pair of dress slacks earlier… “Everything okay, Edward?” I asked, gesturing to his change in attire.

“Gastrointestinal bleed,” he said, wrinkling his nose. “All over my clothes. Nothing was salvageable. Even my favorite shoes were victim to the mess. I’d had those since I was in med school. So, I had to shower like seven times to get the smell out of my nose and raid the Goodwill bin for a pair of shoes. Everything else was tossed.”

“Did the patient make it?” I asked.

“She’s in very critical condition. My dad needs to perform some extensive surgery but wants her to be a touch more stable,” Edward said as he grabbed some plates from the cabinet. “She’s coded twice in the ICU. It doesn’t look good.”

“I’m sorry,” I frowned as I sat down. “I wasn’t expecting you.” When I got home, I had showered and put on some comfy clothes. I looked like a total schlub.

“I can leave,” Edward smirked. “But, I’m taking my Chinese with me.”

“NO! It’s not that,” I mumbled. “Shit, I’m sorry…”

“Bella, it’s okay. After dealing with that patient, I didn’t really want to be alone and I needed to see you. Since we’ve become ‘official,’ we haven’t had any time to go out and do couple-y things.”

“We’re both really busy,” I said somberly. We hadn’t really had any time to hang out since New Year’s Eve.  

“Tell me about it. Tomorrow, I have to sit in on the finance committee meeting since Eleazar is on vacation. Not looking forward to that. I’m excited about my new position but it’s less about doctoring and more about the politics of the damn hospital,” he grumbled.

“But, you’re amazing at what you do, Edward. You handle the politics gracefully. Just like Eleazar,” I said as he sat down. “Eleazar said that they’re looking in adopting the harassment policy that you drafted for the entire hospital. You should be proud of that.”

“I am. He told me,” Edward said as we both divvied out our food. “What you working on in your journal?”

“My homework from Michele,” I answered, shoving the journal away.

“What’s this homework?” Edward chuckled as he dug into his dinner.

“Ten positive characteristics about myself,” I replied, frowning deeply.

“I can come up with at least twenty,” Edward quipped.

“I’ve got three. And they’re all related to my job.”

“Bella,” Edward said, looking at me. “Can I see?” I nodded and turned to the page in the journal, pushing it toward him. He read what I had written while I nibbled on my dinner. He hummed and closed my book.

“So, are you going to help me cheat?” I asked, batting my eyelashes at him.

“That kind of defeats the purpose, Bella,” he said dryly. “These need to be qualities that you see in yourself that are positive. You already know how I think about you, but that’s not what Michele is asking you for. You need to build your self-esteem. I can tell you what I see but it’s my perception of you. Not yours. Plus, those perceptions mean nothing until you start believe them.”

“Jesus, you should have gone into psychiatry,” I laughed nervously.

“That was my backup,” he winked. “I loved my psych rotation when I was in med school. However, with the ER, you  get your fair share of loony patients. It keeps my psych chops whet. Now, why are you having such a hard time with this?”

“I can’t see anything positive in myself other than what I have written,” I frowned. “My dad filled me with his poison and I had no friends until recently…” A few tears fell down my cheeks and I shoved my dish away, not hungry anymore. Edward took my hand and he tugged on it gently. I got up and he pulled me into his lap. I was uncomfortable. I didn’t want to hurt him with my fat ass.

“Bella, I’m stronger than I look,” he said. “I can see you stressing about sitting on my lap.”

“I’m worried about the chair,” I said, trying to joke.

“Isabella,” Edward growled. “Stop.” He buried his nose into my hair, kissing my neck. “I hate those people who hurt you, Bella. I hate them so much because they are stopping you from seeing your potential.” He sighed and moved his soft lips to my earlobe, flicking it with his tongue. Oh, sweet baby Jesus. “I’m not going to help you cheat. But, I will tell you one thing that I find to be a positive attribute. Only one,” he said into my hair. “Grab your journal, sweet girl.”

I picked it up and grabbed a pen. I looked at Edward expectantly. “Number four,” I said as I jotted that down.

Four…Loving soul…Despite the cruelties you’ve experienced in this world, you are still capable of loving others and being loved by your friends, co-workers and significant others.

“Why don’t you continue working on that? I’ll put the food away, sweet girl,” Edward said as he kissed me softly.

“Kay,” I murmured as I got up from his lap. “Thank you, Edward.”

“You’re welcome, Bella,” he said as he lightly smacked my ass as I passed him. I ruffled his soft hair and plopped down on the couch in the family room. I nibbled on the pen as I thought of some more positive attributes.

Five…Loyal to those I care about, no matter what. Even though my dad was an asshole, I still took care of him. I do the same for my new-found friends, as well.

Six...Generous. I may not have a lot of money but I give what I can to my friends in the form of attention, caring and conversation.

Seven…Stubborn. Now, before you freak out about this, I feel that it’s a positive attribute. My stubborn nature is what prevented me from walking away from my job, my home and my life. I had to PROVE to myself that I could do it. You know?

Eight…Innocent. Even though my life has sucked I still see the good in people, try to find their innocence. However, I hate when people see me and exploit my innocence just because I’m kind.

“How’s it going?” Edward asked as he sat down next to me.

“I got eight,” I said, looking into his eyes.

“Good job, sweet girl,” he said as he moved my journal onto the cocktail table. He lay down putting his head in my lap. I chuckled and twined my fingers into his thick hair, something that he loved when I scratched his scalp.

“Are you going to start purring?” I teased.

“It feels so good,” he laughed as he nuzzled his cheek against my thigh. “So, I was thinking that we go out on a date. A REAL date. I’m a douche and haven’t taken you out, yet.”

“Like you wear something nice and I get all gussied up?”

“Yep. I checked our schedules and the only day that we’re both free in the evening is this coming Wednesday. I kind of pulled in a few favors, if you’re interested,” he said. “I want to take my beautiful girlfriend out for a wonderful evening out.”

“I’m still in shock about that,” I said as gently tugged on Edward’s hair.

“What? That you’re beautiful or that you’re my girlfriend?” Edward teased as he sat up. His green eyes darkened and his lips gently brushed against mine. He rearranged himself on the couch and guided me to straddle his legs, all while kissing me senseless.

We finally break apart, breathing heavily. “No fair,” I pouted.

“What?” he snickered.

“You charmer, you. Totally dazzling me,” I said as I tried to get off his lap. However, Edward’s arms tightened around my waist.

“I do not dazzle you,” he snorted. His lips found the sensitive spot behind my ear and I literally melted into his arms.

“Uh huh and I’m a natural blonde, Cullen,” I said breathily. “I’m a puddle of Bella goo right now.”

“Okay, I dazzle a little,” he said as he continued kissing my neck. He moved his mouth up my jaw and finally reached my lips, barely touching them with his. “You are an amazing kisser, Bella.” He cupped the back of my neck and our mouths clashed together feverishly. “The best. Ever,” he murmured against my mouth. “You should put that down on your list. Best fucking kisser.”

“I think Michele is looking for personality attributes, not physical ones,” I giggled, gently scratching my fingers into his hair.

“Minor technicalities. Besides Bella, you better get used to being called beautiful because you are. Plus all of those personality attributes, too. It’s the combination of the physical and the personality that makes you so fucking special, Bella. And I’m so happy you’re my girlfriend,” Edward said as he took my face into his hands. “Seriously, when you texted yes, I was ready to cross across six lanes of traffic on Lake Shore Drive to come back here, sweet girl. But, I didn’t want to get into a car accident or anything, plus my sister was demanding to see me. She had an epiphany of sorts.”

“Really?”

“Yeah. I don’t want to tell you much since Rose is still coming to grips with what happened to her, but she was attacked on the day before her college graduation by her then boyfriend. That attack tore her to shreds and she stopped eating. She was getting better but on Christmas night, she saw her ex-boyfriend at church which caused her to regress. Our attorney dropped the ball and neglected to tell us that he was released for ‘good behavior.’ However, since he was so close to my sister, his bail was revoked and he’s back in jail. Anyhow, Rose saw Emmett when we were moving your desk out of Jasper’s room. She was intrigued by him and said that she was going to go to outpatient therapy for her anorexia and PTSD counseling for her attack.”

“That’s good that she wants to get help but aren’t you concerned about her reasoning behind it?”I asked.

“Hmmm, slightly. But you have to understand that my sister never wanted to have a man look at her again after her attack. The fact that she was so excited by Emmett is a good thing,” Edward explained. “It proves to us that she’s not completely broken, like she says. My sister, right now, trusts three men. Our dad, Jasper and me. However, she trusts me the most since I protected after her attack. Also, I don’t look like Royce King. My brother and dad both have blonde hair and she freaks out when she sees men with blonde hair, for obvious reasons.”

“Holy shit! I remember that story from the newspapers! I read what was done to the victim and I was sickened,” I blanched. “What a monster!”

“Yeah,” Edward said as he held me closer to his body. “I hated what he did to my baby sister. I hate him. I wish he were dead, Bella.”

“I don’t blame you,” I murmured as I comforted him.

He sighed and buried his face into the crook of my neck. I felt dampness against my shirt and I knew that he was crying. Obviously, this weighed heavily on his heart that he couldn’t protect his sister. We didn’t talk. I just massaged his scalp as he silently fell apart. It wasn’t until my feet started falling asleep that we broke apart. Edward wiped his cheeks, giving me an embarrassed grin and mumbling an apology. “So, back to our date,” he said. “Rose would kick my ass if she knew that I was beating myself up. Besides, she’s living vicariously through me and Jasper.”

“Where are we going?” I asked.

“Well, that’s for me to know and for you to find out,” Edward snickered as he kissed my nose.

“I’d like to know so I know what to wear. I don’t want you to take me to the opera and I’m wearing jeans,” I quipped.

“Let me finalize our plans and then I’ll let you know,” Edward smirked. “When do you have to work tomorrow?”

“Three to midnight,” I answered.

“Me too. Want to watch a movie, sweet girl? Then we can cuddle in bed afterward.”

“That sounds perfect,” I smiled. “Why don’t you pick a movie while I make some popcorn?”

“I love the way you think, Bella,” he said as he kissed my lips swiftly before hopping up to the entertainment center. I made some microwave popcorn and put it into a plastic bowl. Edward chose one of my favorite films, Shawshank Redemption and was waiting for me when I was done with the popcorn. We nibbled on the snack as we watched the movie. However, I was tired since I worked the earlier shift. I honestly don’t remember falling asleep but the next thing I did remember was being lifted from the couch.

“No,” I moaned.

“Shhh, sweet girl. I’ve got you,” he cooed as he cradled me against his chest. I was too tired to protest too much. Edward removed my socks and tucked me into bed. “I’ll be back, Bella. Going to take out my contacts.”

“Mmmm,” I mumbled as curled up against my pillows. I faintly recall Edward climbing into bed with me, cuddling around me as he kissed my neck. “Feels good.”

“I’m glad, sweet girl,” he purred. “Sleep, baby. I’ll be here in the morning.”

“Promise?”

“I promise, Bella,” he chuckled.

xx APFL xx

“Damn it, Bella, when was the last time you had your brows waxed?” Alice asked as she attacked my face with strange implements.

“Um, never?” I squeaked. “What the hell is that?”

“Eye lash curler,” she said. “Angela, do you have any wax?”

“I do. I’ll go heat it up,” Angela laughed as she skipped into the kitchen. “Bells, I love you but the brows are a bit much.”

“You suck,” I grumbled. “Both of you. Edward never mentioned anything about my brows.”

“That’s because he needs a wax, too. It’s like two caterpillars above his eyes,” Alice muttered. “Trust me, Bella.”

It was the day of my first ‘date’ with Edward. Though, technically it was the second date we’d been on. I pointed out that we went out to eat on Christmas Eve. Edward put the kibosh on that, saying that we were just friends at that point. This was our first romantic date. And he intended to wine and dine me, he said.

With the help of Angela and Alice, I chose my outfit for the date. They both knew where I was going. I was still clueless, though. But, based off what I had picked out, it was going to be somewhat dressy since I was opting for a pair of dark gray slacks, a pink blouse and one of Alice’s mom’s coats that she ‘didn’t care for.’ I straightened my hair and was now getting my makeup done by Alice and impatiently waiting in getting my brows waxed.  Won’t that hurt?

Angela came back in with a small tub of wax and some strips of fabric. “Let’s do this together, Alice. The look on Bella’s face indicates that she’s scared shitless about this,” Angela giggled.

“You’re putting hot wax on my face to remove hair!” I shrieked. “This is normal?”

“Yes, Bella,” Alice said sagely. “Most women get their brows waxed. Be grateful we’re not waxing your cooter.”

“WHAT?!”

“Too early for that, Alice,” Angela said seriously. “In time, Bells, you will enjoy the benefits of getting your pussy waxed.”

“Why?” I whimpered.

“When Edward goes down on you,” Alice answered, arching a perfectly shaped brow.

“Ew. Won’t he find that to be nasty?” I asked. “Won’t I smell? I mean…really?”

“Bella, surely you’re not that innocent,” Alice replied. I frowned and felt my cheeks heat up. “Shit. Are you a virgin?”

“No,” I mumbled. “But my one experience wasn’t very satisfying.”

“Did he do anything? Any foreplay?” Angela asked as she crouched in front of me.

“Nope. We kissed a bit and he felt up my boobs but then it was put on the condom, push in and then done,” I frowned.

“Does Edward know this?” Alice asked, her violet eyes filled with fury.

“Yeah, we talked about our pasts on New Year’s,” I answered. “After I gave up my virginity to this guy, he said he’d call but he never did.”

“Where are my stilettos? Let’s kick his ass,” Angela growled. “What a douche!”

“Bella, have you ever had an orgasm?” Alice asked calmly, smacking at Angela. I bit my lip and shook my head no. The walls were always too thin. I didn’t want my dad hearing that. “Not even by masturbating?”

“No,” I whispered. “God, you don’t think…?”

 “Oh, Bella, we are so going to have a girl’s night out after your date with Dr. Sexward,” Alice giggled. “Who else should we invite, Ang?”

“Definitely not the slut sisters,” Angela snorted. “Lauren is behaving herself but Jessica is about ready to spit nails at Bella. She suspects something is going on between the two of them.”

“We haven’t announced our relationship and we doubt we will,” I said. “I mean, I’m going to the ball thing with Edward in February.”

“Shut the front door and say it ain’t so!” Alice squealed. “We so need to go shopping for your gown, Bella!”

“Let me get through my first date,” I said.

“Fine,” she pouted. “Angela, reheat the wax.”

“Kay,” Ang said as she skipped out of the room again. She comes back a few moments later and they attack my brows. I was right. It hurt like a son of a bitch. Once they were done with my brows, Alice said that my skin needed to calm down before she finished with my makeup. I yielded to her expertise in the makeup department since I was not very adept in applying it without making myself look like a clown. Mascara and some lip gloss was my standard face but I wanted to look pretty for Edward. I used the time that they gave me to write in my journal.

January 16th, 2013

Today is my first date with Edward. According to him, that is. I mean, we’ve been a couple for nearly two weeks now and have gone out to dinner on Christmas Eve, but this is our FIRST DATE.

Is it wrong that I’m a little nervous?

I mean, we’ve kissed, cuddled, shared a bed and we’ve seen each other cry. Why in the hell am I fucking nervous?

Right, because my boyfriend is sexy as fuck and I have NO idea what he sees me, Nurse Swine.

Shit, if Edward knew that I was thinking that, he’d be pissed. I just have such a hard time wrapping my head around the fact that this kind, loving, handsome and brilliant man wants to be with me. I’m trying to see it, but I just can’t. What do I have to offer the relationship?

Beauty? Not really. I’ve got nice skin and okay hair.

Brains? Edward’s a fucking doctor. I’m just a nurse.

Compassion? We’re pretty equal in that…well, he’s more compassionate than me but this is only quality that we share.

I don’t know. I’m trying to get better for me. I’m trying to see the positive. I really am. But, I’m so afraid that I’m a lost cause. Why can’t I accept the fact that Edward likes me for me?

“Bells? Why are you crying?” Angela asked as she sat down next to me.

“Just having a pitiful moment,” I frowned. “I still can’t believe that Edward wants to be with me. I mean, look at him, Ang. He’s fucking gorgeous and I’m so not.”

“Bella, you are beautiful, too,” Angela said as she hugged me. “Dr. Cullen is completely enamored with you. Besides, his beauty is deeper than his looks. The fact that he’s a good man also makes him more attractive. However, I don’t expect you to change how you feel or that I have some cure-all for your feelings. However, you can’t let your self-doubt push him away, Bella. He may be enamored with you but will he still feel the same way if you constantly put yourself down or question the authenticity of his feelings?”

“You’re right, Ang,” I sighed. “I’m trying. I really am, but it’s not going to happen overnight.”

“I know. But, Bella, I’ll be here as a friend no matter what happens. I’m happy that you’re here with me and that you’re finally taking control of your life. I’m ecstatic that Edward is showing you that you are worthy of being cared for and loved. He may not know it, but I think he already loves you, Bella. The only other time I see the way Edward looks at you is my parents. My dad adores my mom and he stares at her the way Edward stares at you. But, don’t quote me on that. He’ll say it when he’s ready. So, will you. Now, let me put on your makeup so you can knock some socks off a handsome, sexy doctor.”

Angela quietly and expertly put on my makeup as I calmed myself, trying to forget about my pity party in my journal that I had. Alice came back in and she worked on my hair. A half-hour later, I was done and was waiting for Edward with my two girlfriends, drinking some wine. Ten minutes after I was ‘beautified,’ the buzzer in the apartment rang. Angela hopped up and hissed quietly to presumably Edward.

A quiet knock filled the apartment and the girls made themselves scarce in Angela’s bedroom, giggling as they danced away. I rolled my eyes and teetered to the door. Alice let me choose my own outfit but she insisted that she got to pick my shoes. I was wearing a pair of gray heeled booties that seriously threatened my safety. I can already feel the broken bones.

I opened the door and on the other side was Edward. He was holding a large bouquet of red roses, pink tea roses, some white flowers that I didn’t recognize. On his face, he wore his signature crooked smirk as he held out the bouquet of flowers. “For you, sweet girl. They are the ‘crazy for you’ arrangement. It seemed fitting since I’m definitely crazy for you,” he chuckled as I took the flowers into my hands.

“They’re beautiful,” I smiled as I inhaled the fragrant blooms. “Come in. I need to put these into some water.” I stepped aside and let Edward into the apartment. I searched the cabinets for a vase but the only one I found was too tall for me to get. Edward chuckled as he watched me stand on my tiptoes to try and reach it. With his long arms, he easily plucked the silver vase from its home above the fridge and handed it to me. I thanked him with a kiss on his lips and put the flowers into the vase, carrying it to my bedroom. I placed it on my desk, smiling softly at them.

Edward slipped behind me and wrapped his arms around my waist, his chin resting on my shoulder. “Why are you smiling, beautiful?”

“No one has ever gotten me flowers,” I answered honestly.

“Really? I’m the first?” he asked as he kissed my neck. I nodded, settling into his embrace. “I’m glad that I was able to give you something special, Bella You deserve so much, sweet girl.”

“Thank you,” I smiled as I turned in his arms. His responding grin was so genuine and beautiful; it nearly brought tears to my eyes. He pressed his lips against mine and he laced his fingers in my hand. All too soon, he pulled away and he gently guided me to the family room. Edward picked up my coat and helped into it. Twining our hands together, we left the apartment and down to his car. “Wait a minute. Where’s your Volvo?”

“At home,” he smirked. “This is a special occasion, sweet girl. So, the special occasion car gets to come out and play.”

“What the hell is this?” I asked as I gaped openly at the red vehicle in front of me.

“An Aston Martin DB9,” he answered casually. “She purrs like a kitten and I can’t wait to see you inside of her.” Edward opened the door and I sank into the luxurious vehicle. Jesus, the inside of this car is fucking perfect. “You like her, huh?”

“I’ve never been inside anything like this,” I breathed. “Now, don’t get me wrong, how can you afford this?”

“Well, being a doctor does allow me to have a lifestyle that I enjoy. I get paid good money but there are a few things that you should know, Bella,” Edward said as he started the car. “Number one, this car is a gift from my ex-wife. After she made her first million as a plastic surgeon, she asked me what type of car I’d cream myself over. This little gem was my response. Number two, my grandparents were very well off and I am honestly a trust fund baby. Rose, Jasper and I each have multi millions in the bank from Grandpa Cullen when he passed.”

“Fuck me,” I groaned as I slipped further into the seat.

“Not on the first date, sweet girl,” Edward snorted.

“Did Tanya know about…?” I asked.

“She did but since our marriage ended amicably, she was adamant that my trust not be touched. She makes an amazing amount of money. It’s shocking how much money people are willing to spend on Botox injections, breast implants and nose jobs,” Edward chuckled. “I’ve honestly never really dipped into my trust. The first time was when I bought my brownstone.”

“Why are you telling me this? I mean, aren’t you pretty much flagging yourself for some gold-digging ho?” I questioned, furrowing my brow.

“I’m telling you this, Bella, because I trust you. Besides, I know that you are not, and I quote, ‘a gold-digging ho,’” he said dryly. “That would be Lauren or Jessica. They would see my car and want to have unprotected sex with me so I’d get ensnared in some baby drama and be forced to care for them.”

“And then your dick would fall off from all of the venereal diseases it would be exposed to,” I said, scrunching my face distastefully.

“No, thank you,” Edward cringed. He pulled up to a restaurant off of Rush Street called MK. Quietly, Edward shook the valet’s hand, palming him some money before he jogged around to help me out of the passenger seat. Inside of the restaurant, we were led to a quiet corner of the lounge. The table was covered with a crisp white table cloth and a tea light candle flickered. It was very romantic.

Edward and I ordered our food and chatted about our childhoods. I shared my litany of clumsy moments while Edward told me about his dorky pastimes of playing Dungeons and Dragons with his neighbors. Over dessert, we talked about our plans for the ball. Edward said the ball was going to be hosted at the Peninsula Hotel in downtown. He had already reserved a room for us, but was willing to cancel it if I wasn’t comfortable. However, I’d slept with him before and was more than willing to sleep with him again. I was ready to offer to pay for half of the room, but Edward wouldn’t hear of it. He said that it was his intention to spoil me at the ball and that included us staying in the Grand Deluxe Suite. Edward silenced my objections with a panty melting kiss and paid our bill.

I was honestly thinking that our date was over but I was in for a surprise when Edward pulled up the Shedd Aquarium. I had mentioned it in passing that I had never been there but I loved beluga whales and the different sea creatures. But it was nearly nine at night. Surely the aquarium was closed.

Almost as Edward read my mind, he parked the car in front of the aquarium and helped me out of the car. We walked up the stairs and were greeted by an older gentleman with an impish grin. “Little Eddie Cullen is all grown up,” he snickered.

“Hello, Mr. Banner,” Edward said as he held out his hand. “Thank you for arranging this and for being here.”

“Not a problem. It’s the least I can do for my favorite student,” Mr. Banner said, winking at him. “Who’s this beautiful young lady? Your wife?”

“Not yet, Mr. B.,” Edward chuckled. “This is my girlfriend, Bella Swan. Bella, this is my former biology teacher, Ralph Banner. After he retired, Mr. Banner volunteered his time at the Shedd Aquarium, fulfilling his childhood dream of being a marine biologist, right?” 

“Right,” Mr. Banner chuckled. “I get to feed the penguins. It’s so fun!”

“Nice to meet you, Mr. Banner,” I said politely.

“You as well, Bella. Now, Eddie, you can stay until midnight. I’ll be in my office. Just call me when you’re ready to go,” Mr. Banner smirked as he let us inside of the massive museum. Edward took my coat and we hung it in the coat check near the entrance of the aquarium. We walked to the rear of the building, heading toward the Abbott Oceanarium. Inside, there was marine biologist standing, waiting for them. He introduced himself as Peter and he explained that we were going to get a private showing of the dolphins and beluga whales. We watched the show and even got to touch the animals. Their skin was rubbery but insanely soft.

After our private showing, Peter thanked us and we left the oceanarium. We headed to the lower level and watched the dolphins and whales swim idly in their tanks. Edward hummed quietly as we swayed together. “Hmmm, dance with me, Bella,” he whispered.

“There’s no music,” I replied.

Edward let me go and behind him was an iPod dock. He pressed play and some slow, sultry jazz filled the cavernous room. He pulled me into his arms, holding my right hand above his heart and my left on his shoulder. Gently, he put my head on his other shoulder and we moved fluidly to the sounds of Michael Bublé and Harry Connick Jr. As we danced, Edward gently cupped my chin and his lips met mine in a sweet kiss. His mouth was soft but demanding against mine and I just melted into his embrace. Tenderly, Edward nibbled on my top lip. I moaned quietly, opening my mouth. He slipped his tongue between my lips and together, our tongues danced languidly with each other.

Edward’s hand moved from my face to my hips, resting above the swell of my ass. His other hand twisted in my hair as he held me flush to his hard body. “Bella,” he breathed as he moved his mouth from mine but his lips never left my skin. He softly kissed down my jaw until he reached my earlobe, sucking it between his teeth. “So beautiful…” he murmured against my ear.

Feeling bold, I took Edward’s face in my hands and stared into his deep, evergreen eyes. I ran my fingers down his cheeks and traced his jaw, eliciting a low growl from him that quite honestly, turned me on. I stood on my tiptoes and gently pressed a kiss to his lips. I didn’t stay there long. I kissed along his cheeks and down his jaw until I reached the crook where his neck met his shoulder. I swirled my tongue, inhaling his clean, masculine scent before kissing back to his mouth. Once there, Edward’s lips crashed against mine and he held me so tightly. I could feel his excitement press against my hip and I bit back my own growl. Edward’s tongue slid between my teeth. His hands tightened in my hair and on my hip, moving further down to cup my ass. I moaned louder and it echoed in the eerie blue room. We broke apart and the only sound we heard was the music and our heavy panting.

“Dr. Cullen?” called Peter.

“Yes,” Edward responded, his voice deep and husky.

“I’m sorry, but it’s almost time,” he said.

“Thank you, Peter. Do you have what I asked for?” Edward asked.

“Yes, sir. It’s with your coats,” Peter smiled. “You have a lovely evening. It was nice meeting you, Miss Swan.”

“Thank you for everything, Peter. This was amazing,” I blushed. Peter nodded and he turned to leave. Edward flipped off the sound dock and picked up the iPod, slipping it into his pocket. With one more sweet, soft kiss, he tangled his fingers into mine and we headed up to the foyer. Mr. Banner was waiting with a sheepish grin.

“I’m sorry, kiddo. If I could, I’d let you stay all night but the boss man only said ‘til midnight,” he chuckled.

“Tell him thank you,” Edward said as he shook Mr. Banner’s hand. “I wanted to make our evening perfect and you helped tremendously.”

“Invite me to your wedding,” Mr. Banner snorted. “Drive safely, kids.”

We put on our coats and Mr. Banner locked the front door as we left the aquarium. Edward held a small bag and kept it close to his chest as we walked to his car. The drive back to my apartment was quiet but it wasn’t tense. The silence was soothing and calm. With a contented sigh, I put my head on Edward’s shoulder as he sped down Lake Shore Drive to my home.

All too soon, he pulled up to my apartment and we were riding up the elevator. I didn’t want the night to end. I wanted it to last forever.

We walked up to my door and Edward took my face in his large, warm hands. “I had a wonderful evening, Bella,” he whispered before he kissed me gently, as if I was the most cherished woman in the world.

“Are you staying?” I asked.

“Not tonight, sweet girl. I’m not that easy. At least not anymore,” he quipped. My face fell. “It’s not that I don’t want to stay. I do. Very much. But, you’ve beguiled me with your soft voice, beautiful eyes and luscious lips. I want to make love to you and tonight is not that night.”

“Oh,” I said, pulling my brows together.

“I promise I will spend the night soon, Bella. But for now, this needs to be dealt with,” he said as he pressed his hips against mine and again, I felt his arousal. It was still rock hard.

“I have a shower,” I giggled.

“I want you,” he growled as he nipped at my ear. “Now, I may not be staying with you but I do have something that might make things a little easier.” He held up the bag and placed it in my hands. “Open it up, beautiful.”

I arched a brow and looked inside the plastic bag. There was a medium sized stuffed beluga whale with bright blue eyes and wide smile. I squealed like a fucking moron but hugged my whale to my chest. “It’s so adorable! Thank you, Edward. I love him.”

“Good,” he chuckled. “He’ll keep you company tonight while you dream of me.”

“He will,” I smirked. “Thank you for the most wonderful date, Edward. This has been nothing short of a dream come true.”

“I aim to please, my Bella,” he said as he kissed my lips softly. “I’ll send you a text when I get home. See you tomorrow?”

“See you tomorrow,” I breathed as I kissed his mouth again. Once I clicked the door shut, I took off my coat, slid off my shoes and grabbed my journal while holding my stuffed beluga whale.

January 17th, 2013

First date with Dr. Edward Cullen = complete and total romance! Holy crap! It was perfect. Amazing. Best. First. Date. Ever! He was a gentleman, kind and wow…I need some more adjectives. My fears from earlier were unfounded and I really need to pull my head out of my ass.

But there are three things of which I’m certain…

One…With the help of my friends and Edward, I think I can get over this self-esteem issue. They all are amazing to me and I am finally beginning to feel comfortable in my own skin.

Two…Edward has a right to be jealous of the beluga whale he gave me tonight because he gets to cuddle with me and my hot doc doesn’t. BWAHAHA!

Three…I think I’m in love with Edward. Scratch that. I know I’m in love with Edward.

I just pray it doesn’t bite me in the ass.

A/N: There’s your first date and some sweet Dr. Sexward Tattward loving. Well, not full loving. Not yet. We need to build up the anticipation. I hope that you all enjoyed the date and Edward’s little quirks that he has. As for Bella, she’s going to have her insecure moments. We all do. Anyhow, a big insecure moment is going to be coming in the next chapter. I’ll give you a hint…two characters meet and there is a misunderstanding. Check out my blog with pictures of the date, Edward’s car and what they wore. The link is in my profile. Also, come hang out in my Facebook group…Tufano79 Twilight Fanfiction Appreciation. We have oodles of teasers, conversations and Rob porn love. *Raise your hand if you are as excited that the Sex hair is back at Comic Con!  He is one sexy ass man. Nummy!*

 

 

Chapter Text

This is different from the norm. In all of the stories that I’ve read or that I’ve seen, all of the characters are disgustingly perfect unless they are written with very clear flaws. This story is about love (um, duh! Look who’s writing it. I’m the queen of romance), and finding it in the least likely place with the least likely person.

Now, this story is based in a hospital. My medical training comes from…WebMD. I’m not a doctor, nor do I claim to be. I’m a music teacher who has a wild imagination and a penchant for all things Twilight (and with this story, added in a mix of ER! I loved Luca Kovac…) Which brings me to my disclaimer: None of this is mine. I’m not, nor ever will be, Stephenie Meyer. If was, I’d be rolling in the dough from her insane imagination that gave us Bella and Edward. No copyright infringement is intended.

Chapter Eight

EPOV

I hated leaving Bella after our date. But, if I had stayed, I just know that things would have gotten heated and we would have had sex. First off, I don’t want to revert back to my manwhorish ways. I had been with more women than I care to admit. That all changed when I met Tanya. I wanted to stay that way for Bella. Secondly, I want to make love to her. I want to LOVE her. While, I may be feeling some pretty strong emotions toward Bella, it’s not love. Not yet. Though, I could definitely find myself falling deeply in love with her. 

So, I drove away from her apartment and back to my house. I parked my baby into the garage and headed into my very lonely and cold brownstone. Why couldn’t Bella move in with me? Yeah, we just met, asswipe. What woman would move in with a man that she hardly knew? Not many. I hung up my coat and grabbed a bottle of beer from my fridge. As I was sipping my Stella, my cell phone rang. It was Rosalie.

“Yes, Baby Sister?” I snickered into the phone.

“You’re picking up. That means either your date sucked ass, you respected her and left her at the door or you’re in a post coital glow in the bathroom,” she giggled.

“Rosie, you are the devil,” I snapped. “My date was perfect and so was the girl. I left her at the door after I kissed her senseless. Though, I wish I had stayed. I like my house but it’s so empty and lonely. Bella makes it homey.”

“You’ve got it bad, Eddie,” Rose laughed. “Tell me about her. I haven’t heard much about Bella since I’ve been an emotional wreck.”

“Shouldn’t you be sleeping?” I quipped.

“Can’t sleep. Besides, I’m living through you and Jazzy. Did you hear? He’s in love with some sprite-like girl named Alice,” Rose squealed. “Come on, Eddie. Please?”

“I can’t stay on the phone for too long, Rosie. I’ve got to work,” I chided.

“That’s why God invented coffee, Edward,” Rose snickered.

“You suck, Rose,” I laughed. Then, I spent the next hour talking to her about the wonders of Bella. I could tell that Rose was happy for me and she seemed excited to meet Bella. I wanted them to meet as well. Both of them were dealing with some very real self-esteem issues and perhaps they could work through them together. However, Rose needed to eat a lot more and Bella may think that I wanted her to eat less. That’s definitely not the case. I loved Bella’s curves, how they molded to my body when we embraced and kissed. I couldn’t wait to feel her breasts in my hands and her luscious skin against my fingers.

Fuck, I’m rock hard.

“Rose, I really have to go. I’m working a later shift but I need to shower and…”

“And jerk off,” she giggled. “I get it. Look, next week, I’m going to see a therapist at the hospital. Mom’s going to drive me. Perhaps when I’m done, we can get something to eat? Maybe I can meet your Bella?”

“What day, Rose?” I asked as I checked my calendar.

“January 22nd,” she answered. I penciled in a date for my sister and we hung up the phone. I jogged upstairs and stripped out of my clothes, tossing them into the hamper. Before I plugged in my phone to charge, I sent a brief text to Bella.

I miss you, sweet girl. I should have stayed. I hope your beluga whale is keeping you company – E

He is. He’s a better bed fellow than you, Dr. C. – B

Explain that, Nurse Swan – E

He doesn’t kick or hog the bed. But, I would still rather sleep with you. I miss your cuddles. I miss you, too. I had a wonderful night tonight – B

Me too, Bella. I’ll be dreaming of you tonight, sweet girl – E

I hope they’re good dreams – B

They will be. I’ll see you tomorrow. Sleep well and kiss the beluga for me. At least someone’s getting some action  :-( - E

You COULD have stayed, Edward – B

I’m kicking myself in the ass for leaving but at least I’ll get to see you tomorrow. G’night – E

Sweet dreams, Edward – B

I hung up the phone and darted to my master bathroom. I turned on the water and popped out my contact lenses. My cock was still hard and it was aching for some sort of release. Slipping into the hot stream water, I soaked my body. Waiting as long as I could, I wrapped my hand around my cock. He twitched at the feeling but it wasn’t the same as the feeling of a woman surrounding me. I wanted that woman to be Bella. I wanted to feel her warmth. Her wetness. Her pussy. I wanted all of her.

Slowly, I ran my hand up and down the length of my dick. Unfortunately, just this was NOT cutting it. I closed my eyes and my imagination ran wild. In my mind, Bella was on her knees before me, pressing soft kisses along my shaft. Her wide doe eyes were staring up at me as she swirled her tongue around the head of my cock. Fuck, yes.  With a wink, my dream Bella slowly lowered her mouth over me and began bobbing her head. I moaned loudly as my hand moved along with my dream girl. “Bella, my beautiful Bella. More, baby,” I groaned as my hips thrust against my hand. I twisted my wrist and increased my pumping. Dream Bella was sucking on my balls while she wrapped her tiny hands around my shaft, twisting around the head of erection.

“I need you, Bella. I need you so much,” I moaned as I leaned against the slate in my shower. My hand was moving erratically over my cock and my other hand was tugging on my balls. Dream Bella sank her mouth over me and sucked her cheeks in, creating the most wonderful feeling around me. Dream Bella scraped her teeth along the underside of my shaft and my balls tightened. I sped up my pumps and soon I came violently all over my shower floor. “Fuck!”

I sagged against the wall and opened my eyes. I released my now deflating cock. If that’s what my dream girl is like, I wonder how she’s going to be when we actually start fooling around. When we make love. As I finished my shower, I vowed to make our first time to be the special moment that Bella deserved. I want to be the first one to say that I love her and I want to make her feel adored, cherished and loved.

Finishing up my shower, I toweled off my body and hair. I slid on my glasses, walking to my bedroom. I crawled between the sheets naked and fell asleep quickly, spent from my self-loving in the shower. However, the last thing I remembered before drifting to sleep was Bella’s beautiful eyes and her breath-taking smile. Yes, I am definitely falling for this girl.

xx APFL xx

The next few days were hectic. I ended up working nearly three days straight due to illness in the ER. Illness with the doctors and illness with the patients. The flu was running rampant and everyone was coming to get rehydrated.  I didn’t even get home on Friday. I ended up crashing in my office during my shift, only to get woken up by Angela, who was on during that shift,  if I was needed. By Saturday evening, I was completely drained and all I wanted was a hot shower and some cuddle time with my girl. I left with Ang on Saturday and she said that Bella was feeling under the weather, but would enjoy seeing me. I tiredly smiled as we rode the el back to their apartment.

Angela told me to shower once I got inside. I scowled at her and asked if I smelled. Angela plugged her nose and nodded. I knew I was pretty ripe. The tiny shower in my office was good for a  hose off but not for a thorough cleaning. I chuckled and inside of the apartment, I snuck into the shower and scoured my exhausted, tired body. Thankfully, I had some extra scrubs in my messenger bag along with some extra boxer briefs. Since I last was at their apartment, I noticed that Bella had bought some of my body wash and some of my shampoo. I used the body wash but decided to wash my hair with Bella’s strawberry shampoo. Once I was clean and in fresh scrubs, I walked into Bella’s bedroom. The lights were dimmed and I could hear Bella breathing. It sounded ragged.

Crouching in front of her, I brushed her hair from her face and saw that her skin was very flushed. I felt her forehead and she felt like she had a pretty high fever. “Sweet girl,” I whispered as I kissed her forehead. I sat up and went into the living room, searching for Angela. I eventually found her in the kitchen, stuffing her face with some leftovers. “Do you have a thermometer?”

“Sure,” she said with a mouthful of lasagna. She splattered it all over her counter. Wiping her face, she darted past me and into her room. A few moments later she came out with a thermometer and a new shirt. “Sorry. Today was crazy in the ER. I needed some food or else I was going to gnaw off my own arm or something.”

“I’m with you, Ang,” I snorted.

“I’ll fix you a plate. How’s Bella?”

“Asleep. And running a fever,” I answered. “I think she fell victim to the flu.” Angela frowned and handed me the thermometer. I walked back to Bella’s room. I was grateful that the thermometer that Angela gave me was an ear one. They aren’t as reliable as other types, but it can register a fever. I tucked some of Bella’s hair behind her ear and stuck it inside. A few seconds later, it beeped. Her fever was pretty high: 102.3. “Shit.”

Bella’s eyes fluttered. Blearily, she looked up at me. “I’m sick, Edward. I don’t want to infect you,” she croaked.

“What’s wrong, sweet girl?” I asked as I kneeled next to her spot in the bed. “And I’m not leaving. Well, I may leave to get you a prescription, but I’m not leaving you like this. So, tell me your symptoms.”

“Achy. Nauseous. Tired. Dizzy,” she rattled off.

“Have you eaten anything?” I asked. She shook her head and burrowed deeper into her bed. “You need to keep your strength up. Are you working tomorrow?”

“Midnight shift,” she croaked. “If I can keep something down.”

“Do you want some anti-nausea medicine? I can prescribe something for you,” I whispered as I caressed her warm cheeks.

“No,” she whimpered. “I’ve gotten through the worst of it.”

“When?” I asked. Bella worked yesterday. She wasn’t her usual chipper self and was always running off.

“Towards the end of my shift yesterday until this morning,” she answered. “I haven’t thrown up in nearly four hours.”

“But when was the last time you had anything to eat? To drink?” I chided. “Bella, your electrolytes are probably low. You need those nutrients. I’m going to pick up some bland food for you and Gatorade. I’m also going to get a prescription for Reglan for you, sweet girl.”

“You just got off a marathon of three days,” she pouted. “Stay with me.”

“I’ll be an hour at most. You sleep and I’ll be back,” I soothed as I kissed her forehead.

“Take my keys. They’re on the desk,” Bella said weakly. I picked up a purple lanyard and slipped it in my jacket pocket. Bella was snoring quietly and shivering in her bed. In her closet, I knew she had an extra blanket because my mom had insisted that I get it for her. Or rather, my mom got for my girlfriend but I brought over since my mom was pushy like that. I threw it over Bella’s shivering form and darted out of the apartment. Not wanting to deal with public transit, I hailed a cab and had him drive me to the grocery store that I knew that Bella frequented and had her prescriptions located. What? My girlfriend told me she was on the pill and this was her pharmacy. I called in her prescription as we drove. They assured me that the Reglan would be ready by the time I arrived. I know it’s slightly unethical to call in a prescription for one’s girlfriend but it’s not like we’re married. When that happens, just ask Dad.

What the hell was that? Marriage?

I just ended one and now I’m thinking about another one?

I shook my head and paid the driver. I picked up some stomach flu necessities: Gatorade, crackers, plain white toast, chicken stock and rice. As I was walking to the pharmacy, I noticed some obnoxiously adorable pink bunny slippers. I wanted to see my girl smile. I found her shoe size and plucked a pair from the rack. At the pharmacy, I paid for Bella’s prescription. I picked up some ibuprofen and her own thermometer before heading to the checkout. With my bags of goodies, I hailed another cab and rode back to the apartment. Using the key that Bella had offered me, I let myself into the building and into her apartment. In the kitchen, Angela left me a note on the fridge.

Your lasagna is in the microwave. Cook it for two minutes. Thank you for taking care of Bella. She’s too stubborn to even think about asking for help but I know why…I’ll see you later, Dr. C.!

Yeah, she was stubborn about being sick because of her douchetastic dad. No one ever took care of her. Damn it. I was going to.

I cooked the lasagna and readied Bella’s meds and food. Once I was done, I washed the plate and carried a bottle of Gatorade, some warmed broth and crackers into Bella’s room. I couldn’t even find her under the mounds of pillows and blankets. I hated to wake her but she needed something to eat. I put her dinner onto the nightstand and uncovered the lump that was my girlfriend. “Sweet girl,” I cooed. “I have meds for you. But, you need to eat.”

“I don’t want to puke. No food,” she grumbled.

“Don’t make me go back to the hospital and get an IV bag and a feeding tube,” I teased. “You’re probably very dehydrated and you need to eat. Please, sweet girl?”

“Get the garbage can,” she said flatly as she sat up. She was deathly pale and her eyes were sunken into her head. Her normally vibrant and curly brown hair was flat and thrown into a very sloppy, greasy ponytail.

“You’re so not going into work tomorrow,” I said firmly. “Bella, I care for you a great deal and I mean this in the nicest way possible but you look like death warmed over.”

“You know, you can just leave!” she spat. “I don’t need this shit.” She heaved herself out of her bed and walked to the doorway. However, she was unsteady on her feet and stumbled. I darted over to her and caught her before she became personally acquainted to the floor. I lowered us both and gathered her into my arms. She struggled weakly before collapsing against my chest. She was sweating and shivering at the same time. “I’m sorry,” she sniffled. “I’m a bitch when I’m sick. It’s because I so rarely get ill, that when I do, it’s BAD.”

“It’s okay, Bella,” I said as I kissed her temple. “I wasn’t very nice and I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings but you don’t look good. You’re so pale and clammy, baby.”

“I feel like ass,” she whimpered. “I’m so afraid to eat because I hate puking. I could never be bulimic.” I stiffened at that comment since I knew my sister had a bout where she puked every meal up. “Shit, I’m just shooting myself in the foot. That was insensitive.”

“It’s okay,” I said as I held her close. I could even feel that Bella lost some weight. Her waist was normally pretty ‘squishy’ but it wasn’t as such. “How about this? Why don’t you try to eat some broth and crackers? If you can’t keep it down, then I’ll give you the Reglan.”

“Pill or shot?”

“I got both,” I answered. “But, I’d have to shoot it in your ass.” I smirked, slightly excited that I could see Bella’s butt. “But, you wouldn’t risk throwing up the pill. It’ll make you pretty sleepy, though.”

“I know,” she sighed. “I’m sorry, Edward.”

“Why are you apologizing? You didn’t do anything wrong,” I said as I helped her up. I could have picked her up but not today. I was dragging and I didn’t want to drop her. I tucked her back into her bed and sat down next to her. She picked at her broth and nibbled on her crackers. However, she got maybe two bites in before she tossed the bowl onto the nightstand and running to the bathroom. Shit. She fell to her knees and proceeded to hurl what she had eaten into the toilet, just barely making it. I sat behind her as gently rubbed her back as she violently threw up. “I’m sorry that you’re feeling horrible, Bella.”

“Make it stop,” she wailed.

“Do you think you can shower? Getting the feeling of puke off your body might help. Then put on some warm, comfy pajamas,” I said. “I’ll take care of you, sweet girl.”

“What about the meds?” she asked as she flushed the toilet, sitting on the closed lid.

“After you shower,” I said. She sighed and nodded. I turned on the shower and left her to take care of herself. I would have liked to help her in there, but we were not ready for that. Not yet. Well, I was but Bella was not. I grabbed some warm pajamas and a hoodie from her closet. I also swiped a pair of panties from her dresser before placing it on the counter of the bathroom. While she showered. I put the food into the kitchen and stripped her bed. I put on a set of fresh sheets, knowing that clean sheets would make me feel better. I also readied the Reglan shot. Now, I would have preferred her being in the hospital with an IV bag so I could rehydrate her but this will have to do. Thank goodness, I’m off until the day my sister is coming into the hospital. And so will Bella. She’s not going in tomorrow night. Not until she’s able to keep REAL food down.

Bella came back into the bedroom and promptly burst into tears. Crap! What did I do?  “What’s wrong, Bella?” I asked, nervously wringing my hands. Unable to talk, she pointed to the bed and more tears fell onto her cheeks. I got up and wrapped her in my arms. She felt much, much warmer. I felt her face as I brushed her wet hair back. Definitely warmer. “Sweet girl, shhhh…it’s okay, baby.” Her arms hugged my waist but she was so weak that I barely registered the pressure. “Come on, let me give you your medicine. We’ll try getting you to eat in a few hours, okay?” She nodded and pulled away. She lowered her waist of her pajama bottoms and the very top of her ass was displayed for me. Using an alcohol wipe, I sterilized the injection site. I removed the lid of the syringe and plunged it into the creamy skin of her butt. Bella hissed and shot me a look. “Sorry,” I mumbled.

“Where are your gloves?” she teased.

“Oh, please. Our tongues have tangled. Besides, I’m confident in my injection giving skills to not clip myself,” I said as I put the lid back on the syringe.“In bed, Miss Swan.” I took her hand and led her to the bed. She was already feeling the effects of the anti-nausea medication that I gave her. Her eyes were at half-mast.

“I’m sorry that you had to come home from work to take care of me,” she mumbled sleepily. “You were on for three days…you should be sleeping.”

“Bella, I’m right where I want to be. Let me take care of you,” I said as I crawled in bed next to her, slipping off my sneakers. However, she was already snoozing. Her quiet snores filled the room and I chuckled. I pulled her to my body and laid her head on my chest, right above my heart. “I’ll always take care of you, Bella.” She sighed and snuggled closer to me. My own eyes drooped and I fell asleep rather quickly, holding my sick girl.

The rest of the night was spent sleeping and trying to get Bella to eat. However, she was so fearful of throwing up that she wouldn’t eat more than a few bites of a cracker or a sip or two of broth. The next morning, Bella was as weak as a kitten but determined to be able to work the midnight shift. I knew it wasn’t going to happen. This strain of the flu was brutal and kicked many people on their asses. As much as I hated doing it, I already spoke with Angela and she agreed to cover Bella’s shift. That’s if I can convince my girl that it’s in her best interest to stay home.

It was nearly seven in the evening and Bella was trying to shower. However, she had not really eaten and was still very dizzy, running a low-grade fever and was exhausted. “I don’t know how I’m going to make it through my shift,” she grumbled as she dragged her feet.

“Simple. Don’t go in,” I said as I leaned against her headboard. Bella shot me a look. “Bella, you haven’t eaten anything in how many days?”

“I don’t know. Two?” she answered.

“You’re running a fever and you are seriously too weak,” I rationalized. “Could you run a code without passing out?”

“Um, I could run the code but would collapse afterward,” she said as she ran her hand through her long brown hair.

“Bella, you need to rest. Just one more night. You’ll be fine tomorrow,” I said.

“Edward, I need my paycheck. My savings is dwindling,” she frowned. “I’m not paying for my dad’s bills, now. But I’ve got my own. I’d like to get a laptop or something and I can’t do that if I don’t have money. That clothing spree really killed my bank account.”

“Bella, I’m going to tell it to you straight. If you go in, you’d be a danger to your patients. What if you’re so tired and you give the wrong medication to the wrong patient,” I said. “For certain you’d get time off…you’d be suspended. Without pay. Please, sweet girl. Angela already offered to take your shift.”

Bella pursed her lips and glowered at me. “When did you ask her?”

“At lunch,” I smiled crookedly. Panty dropper smile, don’t fail me now. Bella huffed and crossed her arms over her very voluptuous breasts. She sat down at her desk and continued to scowl at me. “Bella, please? Do you want to know why I worked for three days straight? Because of this very reason. Sick doctors. This flu is awful and it lingers. Ang would probably be fine with switching a few shifts with you if you need the money. But you cannot go in tonight.”

“Let me talk to Ang,” Bella said tersely. She got up and shakily left her room. I listened and Angela reiterated what I just told Bella, saying that she was in no state to work. If her fever broke, she could go in on Tuesday, her next scheduled day for work. Begrudgingly, Bella acquiesced and came back into bedroom. She sat down at the her desk and leaned on her arms.

“You’re mad at me,” I frowned.

“Sort of,” she answered. “I get why you talked to her. I’m exhausted and I still feel like total ass, but I’d rather be the one to make the decision. Not you. Not Angela.”

“Bella, I’m sorry if I overstepped my bounds, but I don’t want you to get even sicker or throw up on a patient or something,” I chuckled. Bella looked up at me and scowled. “What? Newton did it and the patient then threw up on him. Waaaaay too much vomit in a tiny room.”

Bella turned slightly green and she darted out of the bedroom. Based off the sounds I heard, she was puking up her meager dinner. Shortly after the puking stopped, I heard some water going and teeth brushing. Bella came back into the bedroom, still looking a little worse for wear. “Don’t mention vomit for the foreseeable future, Edward,” she whimpered. “How come you’re not sick? I mean, you slept with me last night and were surrounded by the funk for the past three days!”

“I’ve got the constitution of an ox,” I said as I pounded my chest. Bella rolled her eyes and picked up the newspaper sitting on her desk. “What are you looking at?”

“Laptops,” she said. “I would like to get one but I don’t know if I could feasibly afford it. If there’s a good deal at one of the stores, I’ll get it, but it’s highly unlikely that they’ll have a laptop for free.”

“Probably not,” I snorted. “Come here, sweet girl. You need to rest and probably should get another dose of Reglan.”

“So, I can sleep and drool on your chest again?” she deadpanned.

“No. So I can see your left ass cheek,” I winked.

“Jerk,” she laughed as she tossed the papers into the garbage. “I don’t want another shot. And if you want to see my ass, you can just ask.”

“Okay. Can I see your ass?” I quipped.

“No, Edward,” she giggled as she curled up against my chest.

“Come on!” I whined like a five year old brat. “I asked.”

“I said you can ask but I never said that I’d let you see my ass,” she bellowed. Then she grabbed her stomach. “Ouch, don’t laugh to hard. Doesn’t feel pleasant on my poor abdominal muscles.”

“Go drool on your own pillow,” I pouted. “You teased me about seeing your ass and then no follow-through.”

“Edward, I just spent the better part of three days puking. I do not feel desirable at the moment,” she explained. “I’ve been a clammy, sweaty mess. Plus, you can land helicopters on it, my ass is so big.”

“Bella, stop,” I growled. “Don’t put yourself down. I like that you have an ass. Not a non-existent, flat as a pancake ass. It gives me more to grab.” Bella got very quiet, rolling to face away from me. “Sweet girl, what is it?” She shook her head and clutched her beluga whale to her chest. “Did I fuck up? I’m sorry…I didn’t mean to offend you, Bella. You’re so beautiful to me. Even though you’re sick.” She sniffled and curled up into a tight ball. “Baby?”

“I’m fine,” she cried. “Just emotional. Turning into pathetic, sobbing girl.”

“You’re not pathetic. But, I don’t understand why you’re crying,” I said as I rolled her to look at me.

“A combination of a couple things. Number one, just feeling like crap because of the flu,” she answered. “Number two, I’m emotional because I’m PMSing. Number three, major insecure moment. Why you would want to see my jiggly butt is beyond me?” I growled and narrowed my eyes. “Did you just growl?”

“I did because you’re really not learning. Do. Not. Put. Yourself. Down,” I said as I kissed her forehead and moved down to her lips. “You are gorgeous and perfect for me. What do I have to do to make you see that?”

“I’m trying. I really am. But this illness kicked my ass,” she sighed. “When I feel like crap because I’m sick, it transfers to my self-esteem.”

“I understand. I feel the same way, sweet girl. It’s rare when I get sick but when I do, steer clear. I’m wimpy, whiny and just downright unpleasant to be around,” I snickered. “You just slept.”

“And puked.”

“And puked,” I said sympathetically.  “And based off your eyes, you need more sleep.”

“Don’t you have to go home?” she mumbled tiredly. I knew she was giving me shit due to the half smirk on her face.

“I’d rather be with you. Especially since you’re still feeling like crap,” I explained, wrapping my arms around her. “I’ll have to get up early since I have to work tomorrow morning, but as long as you’re okay with me staying…” Bella was snoring quietly, clutching my waist as tightly as she could. “I’ll take that as okay.” I kissed her forehead and turned off the lights. I set my alarm for my cell phone and quickly joined her in slumber.

xx APFL xx

I hated to leave Bella in the morning but I had to go back to my brownstone. I needed to get some fresh clothes and at least start a load of laundry. I left Bella a note on her bed and tucked her whale into her arms. She pouted when I kissed her forehead, almost like she was asking for a kiss on the lips. I gladly gave it to her and left her apartment. I drove back to my place, showered and changed. Not wanting to deal with the contacts, I put on my glasses and headed to the hospital.

At work, it appeared that the worst of the flu had gone past us. Most everyone was back from their illnesses. Including Newton. That asshole was getting on my last nerve. Since it was slow, I was doing some inventory in the trauma rooms and stocking necessities. Newton came in and was giving me shit.

“You know, you don’t have to do that, Edward,” he snorted.

“In case you haven’t noticed, Dr. Newton,” I began, using his title, reminding him to do the same with me, “We’re down a handful of nurses. They normally do this but since we are short so many people, I’d figure I’d help. You’ll get more respect from the nursing staff that way.”

“That fat ass, Swine, does this job just fine,” he said as he picked up what he was looking for. “She can’t do anything right on the floor because she’s too fat.”

“Dr. Newton! Do you want to be written up for harassment?” I snarled. “Bella is an amazing nurse and has more bedside manner in her pinky finger than you do in your whole body.”

“Whatever, Edward,” Newton growled. “She’s a fucking lard ass, lazy bitch that couldn’t even come in for her shift last night. She was probably too busy eating bon bons to come to work.”

“That’s it! You’re getting a letter in your file. One more outburst and you will be escorted off the campus until I can meet with Dr. Sanchez regarding your unprofessional behavior,” I snapped. “Meet me at my office in an hour to sign your letter. If you’re not there without notification, then you will be suspended. Do I make myself clear?”

“You’re fucking her. You’re fucking Nurse Swine,” he seethed.

“You’re done, Dr. Newton. Go to your locker and pack up your belongings. Dr. Sanchez or myself will contact you regarding your behavior after we’ve discussed this,” I said coldly, narrowing my eyes. “Hand me the chart and I’ll take over your patient’s care.” Newton flung the chart on the ground and stomped out of the trauma room like a petulant child. He nearly ran over Lauren who had a complete 180 turn around as he left the trauma room. She came inside and her eyes were wide.

“Dr. Cullen, your father needs to speak with you. He’s on line two,” she said.

“Thank you, Lauren. Can you pick up that chart and see to the patient’s needs? I’ll be there in a few moments,” I explained. She nodded and left after she picked up the chart. I walked to the phone and picked it up. “Yes, dad?”

“Edward,” he croaked.

“Not you, too,” I groaned. “Jesus, this flu is killing everyone.”

“It is. Listen, I know that you are swamped down there…”

“Not swamped, Dad. It’s slow for some strange reason,” I replied.

“Anyhow, I’ve got several emergent cases that I know you can handle. You’re a board certified trauma surgeon,” Carlisle chuckled, then coughed violently. “I need to go home.”

“I have to pass off my cases to other doctors and then write up Newton for being a colossal ass. I’ll be up in an hour or so?” I said. “What am I getting?” My dad rattled off three surgeries. Two of which I’d be the head surgeon. The third, I was assisting. I asked him why his staff couldn’t do it and he mentioned that they were also dealing with illness. The only staff that was available were residents and two interns. They couldn’t perform surgery without an attending. All elective surgery was cancelled and I apparently was handling the emergent cases until my dad got better. It also meant that I got to spend the night in my office. Again.

Damn. It.

I hung up the phone with my dad and checked on Newton’s patient. It was a pretty simple suturing situation in the forearm. I gave the patient after-care instructions and discharged them. The rest of my patients were distributed to Dr. Crowley, Dr. Denali and Dr. Marcus, a female pediatrician looking to get into pediatric emergency medicine. Once my patients were divvied up, I went to my office and wrote up Dr. Newton for his unprofessional comments about Bella and myself. I sent it off to Dr. Sanchez who was on tomorrow. I was not going to mention it to Bella until it was necessary.

I rode up to the surgical floor and sent Bella a text. As much as I hated it, I needed her to mind my house. I hadn’t really been there in nearly five days except my shower this morning. I sent her a text since I didn’t want to wake her if she was sleeping. Apparently she wasn’t. She called me back.

“What do you need me to do?” she asked, sounding much more alert than yesterday.

“Before I ask favors, how are you feeling?”

“I’m better. I was able to eat some toast and an entire bottle of Gatorade. That is some nasty-ass shit,” she grumbled. “Now, what do you want, Edward?”

“Can you go to my house?” I asked, biting my lip. “I started a load of laundry and I probably won’t be able to come home tonight. I’m covering my dad’s shift up on the surgical floor.”

“You’re a surgeon?”

“Trauma surgeon. I can perform emergency cases, like appendectomies, exploratory laporatomies, and a few others. Up on the surgical floor, they have a skeleton crew of a few residents. They need an attending to perform surgeries. That would be me,” I chuckled.

“Okay, I’ll go to your place. What do you need to me to do? And how am I going to get in?”

“To get in, just use the garage. The code to open the door is 1979, the year of my birth,” I cringed. “I leave the entrance from the garage open. But, in the bowl on my kitchen counter, there’s a spare set of keys to my house. It’s on a red Space Needle keychain. Take those with you. I’ve been meaning to give you a set of my house keys for awhile.” My face flamed when I said that. I would have rather presented them to her in some lavish set up but that obviously is out the window.

“You want me to have keys to your place? Are you sure?”

“I’m positive, sweet girl,” I said as I slipped into the surgeons lounge. It was empty, thankfully. “I want to share everything with you, Bella. My home, my family, and most importantly, my heart.” I heard quiet tears on the line. “Don’t cry, Bella. I didn’t mean…”

“Happy tears. And I’m still an emotional wreck from Aunt Flo,” she laughed. “Okay, I’ll go to your place and take care of the laundry. If I’m feeling up to it, perhaps I’ll make you some dinner and bring it to the hospital. But don’t count on it. I’m still pretty blech.”

“Thank you, Bella. I appreciate it so much,” I said. My heart swelled at her generosity and kindness. Not to mention that she was insanely beautiful and mine. We spoke for a few more minutes before she hung up and I checked in with my dad. He looked like total shit. As soon as he briefed me on the patients, I shoved him out the door after I called Dr. Denali to give him a prescription for some anti-nausea medication.

After the three surgeries, it was nearly ten at night. I showered quickly and headed down to my office, checking on the ER. Ben was at the circulation desk. I told him that I was ‘unofficially’ on duty on the surgical floor. All surgical consults were to go through me. I told him the resident that was assigned to the ER and I told Ben to page me as well. He smiled and made the note on the board. I headed back to my office and crashed on my couch. But I didn’t get much. Around one, a car accident rolled in and there three passengers. Two of which were surgical patients. I sent up the more stable of the patients to the ICU and grabbed the surgical resident to perform the needed abdominal surgery for the first patient. He would be performing it and I’d assist.

After those two surgeries, I dragged my exhausted body back to my office around four in the morning when the assistant chief of surgery, Dr. Benton,  came in from his vacation. He saw my drawn, tired eyes and said that I was done. I thanked him and left the floor. My lumpy leather sofa in my office never felt more comfortable.

“Edward!” I heard. “Wake up!”

“Go away, Mom,” I mumbled before rolling to face the back of my couch.

“Eddie, it’s not Mom.”

I cracked open an eye and standing above me was a very smug Rosalie. “What are you doing here?”

“Remember? I had my appointment with the therapist here today. We’re going out to lunch,” she said, biting her lip.

“What time is it?”

“One in the afternoon,” she replied.

“Fuck! I slept through the morning of my shift,” I growled as I shot up from the couch.

“Dr. Sanchez is covering your shift,” Rose said. “He heard about your night on the surgical floor and he came in. Daddy called in a favor.” She was wringing her hands and shuffling her feet. Obviously, nervous about my outburst.

“Rosie, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to yell,” I said as I pulled her into my arms. “Last night was fucking hell and I crashed on the couch. I must have slept through my alarm.” Rose melted against me and she buried her nose against my scrub top.

I heard a quiet knock at my door and I looked up. Bella poked her head inside and her eyes widened at me holding Rose. “Um, I’m sorry. I was…um…never mind,” she said as her voice cracked. She spun around, slamming the door shut.

 Rose pulled away and she stared at the door. “Who was that?”

“My very insecure and skittish girlfriend,” I said as I looked at Rose. “Stay here, okay?” Rose nodded and I darted out of the office and down to the circulation desk, frantically searching for Bella. Angela was chatting with Alice. “Have you seen Bella?” I asked.

“She left in a hurry, saying that she felt like shit. Not fully a hundred percent,” Alice answered. “She threw up in the bathroom and then left.”

“She wanted me to give you this,” Angela said as she handed me my keys. “Is everything okay?”

“Fuck, no. Bella came into my office and I was hugging my sister,” I growled. “She must have gotten the wrong idea and obviously left.”

“Dr. Cullen,” Eleazar said with a wide grin. “Back from the dead, I see?”

“Yes,” I said curtly. “Thank you for coming in for me. I’m sorry…”

“Don’t apologize. I heard about the drama upstairs on the surgical floor. However, since you’re here, can we meet about your suspension of Dr. Newton?”

Ugh, now? I’ve got my sister in my office and my girlfriend who thinks I’m boinking said sister. “Sure. Let me just talk to Rose, my younger sister, and tell her that I need reschedule lunch.”

“Of course, Edward,” he said as he nodded. “I’ll be in my office.” He turned and left.

“Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!” I spat. “Why now?”

“Deep breaths, Edward,” Alice soothed. “Bella will understand.”

“No, she won’t. She doesn’t trust many and I’ve finally made headway and now, this!” I whipped out my cell phone and sent her a text. Bella, it’s not what you think! The blonde is my sister! – Edward

*This number is no longer in service*

I growled and pinched my nose. She blocked me. Or she got a new phone…In ten minutes? Fifteen minutes? “I don’t know what to do.”

“Come home with me, Edward,” Angela offered. “She’ll have to listen to you if you corner her in the apartment.”

“That’s my best bet,” I said wearily. “When do you get off?”

“Four,” she replied. “She’ll understand. She has to.”

“I hope so,” I said dejectedly. I jogged back to my office and found Rose looking at the medical books in my bookcase. “I’ve got to reschedule, Rosie.”

“I’m sorry about what happened with Bella,” she frowned. “Is everything alright with her?”

“No. She left, claiming she was still ‘sick’ and when I tried to text her, she blocked my calls,” I pouted. “I was getting ready to go after her when Dr. Sanchez stopped me to discuss a disciplinary issue that arose yesterday. I had to suspend a doctor per the new harassment policy.”

“Okay,” she said. “Can I borrow this book, Edward?” She plucked one of the texts on mental illness from the book shelf. I nodded. “Thanks. I’m thinking that I’m going to change my focus on what I want to do. Once I get better, I want to become a shrink. You know?”

“I think that’s great, Rosie,” I said. “I’ll help you in any way I can.” She smiled crookedly and turned to leave. “How are you getting home?”

“Cab. I need to get over my fears,” she said. “Royce is back behind bars and I’ve got my pepper spray.”

“Text me as soon as you get home, Rose,” I said sternly. She nodded and kissed my cheek, leaving my office. I went in and brushed my teeth. Dousing my hands with water, I ran my fingers through my hair and I left my office, picking up the file on I had on Newton before heading to Eleazar’s office. His door was open and Eleazar was seated behind his desk. “You ready to talk about Dr. Newton?”

“Yes,” Eleazar said with a tight smile. “I read your suspension papers and what he said was brutally harsh toward Nurse Swan and toward you. But, I have to ask, not that it matters to me, but are you and Nurse Swan in a relationship?”

“We are. Or at least, I hope we are,” I frowned. “We had a disagreement earlier and I was getting ready to go when you stopped me to discuss Newton.”

“Will this relationship cause any issues in your ability to do your job?” Eleazar asked, arching a brow.

“No, sir. Bella and I make a great team,” I answered confidently. That is if she listens to me. “However, our relationship is not at stake here. It’s the biting words that Newton said about Bella and the insinuations he made regarding our relationship. I would never use my power to further her career or to protect her.”

“I know that but Newton may perceive it as favoritism,” Eleazar sighed. “Now, this is not the first time that I’ve heard about Newton’s dislike for Bella. His rude comments are unprofessional and unfounded. Bella performs her job admirably and I agree with your decision to suspend him. How long?”

“A week?” I suggested.

“Seems fair. In addition to that, he’ll have to attend an ethics class on how to treat his coworkers professionally. Lauren took the class and her turn around is profound,” Eleazar said.

“We may want to encourage all of the staff in the ER to take the class,” I said. “Lauren, Jessica and Dr. Newton are not the only ones who act unprofessionally toward their coworkers.”

“That’s wise. Nurse Swan’s list of tormentors is quite extensive,” Eleazar said sadly. “I only wished that she would have come to me sooner.”

“She was afraid, Eleazar. She still is. Bella hasn’t had the easiest life and she has no self-esteem,” I said, rubbing the keys in my pocket. “Please don’t let on that I told you. I don’t want to betray her confidence but she’s so sad, lonely and unloved. The teasing here is the easiest part of her life.”

“I never knew,” Eleazar whispered. He looked at me and his brown eyes stared at me. “You love her, don’t you?”

The empty pit in my stomach that I ‘betrayed her’ dropped. My eyes filled with tears and I nodded. “Very much, Eleazar. My brother teased me that it’s my ‘superhero’ complex kicking in but it’s not. I love her and I want to show her what it’s like to receive that love.”

“Well, I won’t keep you from your girl,” Eleazar chuckled. “I just need your signature on this form and I’ll have this delivered to Dr. Newton’s place of residence. He’ll be off until next Tuesday and he’ll have to complete the ethics class by June 1st or be suspended until he completes the class.” I nodded and signed the paperwork. Eleazar winked at me and I darted out of his office. I threw on my coat and ran past the circulation desk.

“Edward! Here!” Angela called as she tossed me her keys. I caught them easily. “Good luck!”

“Thanks, Ang,” I said as smiled on my way out and to the parking garage. I hopped into my car and drove to Bella and Angela’s apartment. I parked my car in the visitor spot and headed inside. I rode up to Bella’s floor in the elevator and as I was exiting the elevator, that creeper, James was getting on. He scowled at me, bumping my shoulder as he moved past me. Wow, rude much? I walked down the hallway and let myself into the apartment. It was quiet inside. A clear indication that Bella wasn’t home yet. I checked in her room just to make sure and it was empty. Her journal was on her nightstand. If she wouldn’t listen to me, then I’d at least get a chance to write to her. I grabbed it and a pen, sitting at her desk.

January 22nd, 2013

Dearest Bella,

I know what you saw was probably very incriminating, but I assure you. Nothing was happening. That woman that I was hugging was my sister. My baby sister, Rosalie. I was supposed to go out for lunch with her today and introduce the two of you to each other. But, after my hellish night up on the surgical floor, I crashed on my couch. I slept until my sister woke up me at one. I snapped at her and she freaked out. I was hugging her to comfort her since I lost my temper. It was completely innocent. I promise you. Please, believe me, Bella!

When I saw your face, my heart broke and I wanted nothing more than to follow you and tell you everything. My heart broke even more when Angela handed me my house keys. Bella, I would never say something I don’t mean and I want to share everything with you. I want to give everything to you. My heart. My soul. My love…

Bella, I know it’s quick, but today, I realized that I’m unequivocally in love with you. I love you, Isabella Swan. There it is. Black and white. In writing. I’ll even add some hearts around it.

<3, <3, <3…

See? (Yeah, that’s lame. But, I tried. An artist, I’m not. I’ll stick with doctoring and music.)

I love you, Bella. I want to scream it from the rooftops.  

I understand if you are not ready to say it back to me, but I can’t deny how I feel for you anymore. You mean TOO much for me, sweet girl. I also understand why you freaked out when you saw me with Rosalie. But, she’s my sister. That would be fucked up if I was thinking about my sister that way. Ew…

Besides, the only woman I want think about making love to is you, Bella. I hope that you give me the chance to say this to you but if not, at least I said my piece here. I’m sorry if I inadvertently hurt you. It wasn’t my intention, sweet girl. I don’t ever want to see you hurt. I want to see you happy.

Please forgive me, Bella.

I love you,

 Edward

I closed the book and put it on the nightstand. With a sigh, I walked into the living room and flipped through some channels before settling on some inane show on the History Channel about a pawn shop. A few hours later, Angela rang up to the apartment and I let her in. Ang frowned when she saw that Bella was still not home. Angela tried Bella’s cell phone but it went straight to voicemail. Where was she?

An hour or so later, Bella came into the apartment. Her eyes were red and puffy. Her cheeks were flushed pink from being out in the cold  and she looked so broken. Very much like she first looked when I saw her. Angela gave me a hard look before walking over to Bella, hugging her tightly. “What happened, honey?”

“I trusted him and he broke my heart,” she sobbed against Ang.

“Did you talk to him?” Angela asked, looking at me. I hid behind the wall to listen.

“No, but he looked so guilty when I went into his office, Angela,” she said.

“Bella, listen to him. Talk to him,” Angela cooed as she brushed Bella’s hair from her face. “Where were you?”

“My mom’s grave,” she sniffled. “I needed to talk to someone and well, the person that I usually turn to is the one that hurt me.”

“Bella?” I whispered as I moved from my spot. Bella looked at me and her brown eyes looked dead. Then, they flashed with anger.

“Get out,” she snarled. “You’re no better than Jacob, you asshole!”

“Bella, listen to him,” Angela snapped.

“Ang, it’s okay,” I said, my shoulders slumping. “Just make sure you read your journal, Bella. Please?” Bella looked at me coldly and stomped into Angela’s bathroom, slamming the door shut.

“What did you write in her journal?” Angela asked.

“She’ll have to read it to find out,” I muttered. “Thanks for trying.” I reached into my pants pocket and placed my house keys on the side table. “Just in case, you know?” Angela nodded and looked at me sympathetically. I left and walked to my car. I was defeated but hopefully Bella would read what I had to say in the journal entry and realize that she misconstrued the embrace as something else. I’d wait for her. However, right now, I felt empty and hurt that she didn’t trust me or even want to talk to me.

I don’t remember the drive home but I got there. I went inside and dragged my ass up to the bedroom. My stomach was snarling at me since I had eaten really since the day before. But, I couldn’t even fathom stomaching any food. I was too upset. However, on my bed, I noticed all of my clothes were folded and a note from Bella sitting on the nightstand.

Dear Edward,

I would have put things away but I didn’t want to snoop around in your dresser. I did hang up the clothes that required hanging and I ironed your khakis. I can’t wait to see you tomorrow!

Yours,

Bella

I crumpled the note and tears fell onto my cheeks. Why wouldn’t she talk to me? Fuck! I mean, I was hugging my sister. Not my ex-wife or a co-worker. I was hugging Rosalie. The girl that needs my love more than Bella. With a roar, I flung the clothes all along the ground and fell onto the carpet, sobbing like a fucking baby. I know I was overtired. I know I was overreacting, too, but I was so god damned frustrated. My cell phone rang and I checked the number. It was Rose.

“Yeah?” I asked, trying to hide the fact that I was crying.

“Have you kissed and made up?” she asked, laughing nervously.

“No. She threw me out of her apartment,” I said as I leaned against my bed.

“Ouch,” Rose hissed. “Did you get a chance to talk?”

“Nope. But I did get there before she did. Angela gave me her keys,” I explained.

“Who’s Angela?”

“Bella’s roommate,” I said. “Anyhow, I got there and I wrote in her journal. I told her I loved her, Rosie.”

“Do you really love her, Edward?” Rose asked somberly. “You can’t play with her emotions like that if you’re not in love with her.”

“I am, Rose,” I said as more tears fell down my cheeks. “I’m more upset about this disagreement than I was at the end of my marriage. I’m crying like a fucking baby and I want her. I want her so badly, Rose.”

“Eddie,” Rose said quietly. “I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to ruin…”

“It wasn’t you, Rosie. It’s her. Bella is so downtrodden that she doesn’t trust anybody. Besides, what she perceived in my office happened to her when she was in college. Her ex-boyfriend took her virginity and never called her. The next time they saw each other, he had a busty, skinny blonde on his arm,” I sighed. “She probably saw your frame and hair and immediately thought the worst.”

“And you said that you loved her in her journal?”

“I did. Rose, despite her weight and her lack of self-esteem, I fucking need her,” I said as I curled on the ground, resting my head on knees. I clamped my eyes shut and bit my lip to stop the sobs that threatened to erupt from my mouth.

“Eddie,” Rose sniffled. “She’s a fool if she doesn’t give you a chance to explain yourself. But, I’m guessing she’s reading that journal entry as we speak and she’s going to realize what happened and everything will work out.”

“I hope so, Rosie,” I sighed. “Look, I better clean up my temper tantrum. I’ll talk to you later, okay?”

“Okay,” she said. “I love you, Eddie.”

“Love you, too, Rosie. Sorry about bailing on lunch. I’ll make it up to you, okay?”

“You better,” she laughed. Her tinkling laughter was the last I heard before she hung up the phone. While my relationship with my girlfriend was falling to pieces, Rosalie was starting to improve and I could see my baby sister again. Woodenly, I put my clothes away and stripped off my scrubs. I put on a pair of sweatpants and t-shirt before heading down to my piano room. I kept my cell phone next to me in case Bella called. I sat down and began playing through some pretty melancholy music. I don’t know how long I sat there, playing my depressing music, but I could have sworn that I heard my door open. I shook my head and began playing a softer, sweeter melody that reminded me of Bella. It had a jazzy undertone, like the music we danced to at the Shedd Aquarium. Please, be here and listen to me, Bella. Please!

“That’s beautiful,” I heard behind me.

“Thank you,” I replied  not turning but continuing to play. I finished the phrase and turned around, seeing a very upset Bella behind me. I wanted to comfort her but I was still pretty upset myself since she wouldn’t listen to me. “I take it you read my journal entry.”

Tears spilled over cheeks. “I was a bitch, Edward,” she whimpered. Her eyes closed and she let out a shuddering breath. “I should have talked with  you but I was blinded by what I saw. It was Jacob all over again…”

“I’ve told you that I’m not Jacob,” I whispered.

“Angela really laid into me after you left. She told me that the blonde was your sister and that I was overreacting and not being fair. I should have listened to you. And she’s right,” Bella murmured. “Look, I know that you probably hate me but I wanted to apologize for being so horrible to you.”

“Bella, I don’t hate you,” I sighed. “Did you read the journal?”

“No. I saw the journal and started sobbing because it was the journal you gave me. I just knew that I fucked up and I couldn’t pick it up,” she sniffled. “I fucked up, Edward. I’m a horrible, wretched person and…”

I shot up from the piano bench and walked over to her. I gathered her in my arms. She stiffly fell against my chest, crying quietly. “You’re not horrible or wretched. Bella, I understand why you reacted the way you did but it hurt me when you wouldn’t even listen to what I had to say. I know a lot of it has to do with the fact that you are still hesitant to trust but have I done anything prior to today that indicated that I’m not trustworthy?”

“No. You’ve been amazing. An amazing friend, a wonderful and caring boyfriend…God! You’re going to break up with me. Is that what you put in the journal?  A Dear John letter?” she wailed. “I’m such a fool!”

“Bella, I would not do that to you. I would not break up with via journal entry. That’s horrible,” I said. I pulled away and led her to the couch in my piano room. She was still crying and looked so fucking broken. I sighed and forced her to look at me. Her eyes were sad and dejected. “I explained who I was holding. It was my sister, Rose. We were supposed to go out for lunch but since I had the night from hell up on the surgical floor, I crashed on my couch. Rose woke me up and I freaked out which caused her to freak out. You came in just as I was hugging her because she started having a slight panic attack. This was the first time she was out without anyone with her since her attack.”

“So, the blonde was your sister?” Bella asked, skeptically, quirking her brow.

“Yes,” I breathed. “Bella, do you want to know what else I wrote in your journal?”

“Is it good or bad?” she asked.

“Good, sweet girl,” I said as I took her face in my hands. “In your journal I said what I wanted to give you. I want to give you my heart, my soul and my love, Bella. I’m so in love with you that it hurts.”

“What?”

“Bella, I love you,” I whispered reverently. “I’m upset at how you acted but it doesn’t change that I love you so much. But, you’ve got to trust me, baby. I will never, EVER intentionally hurt you. I love you too much to do that.”

“You love me? Why?” she asked.

“You’re impossible not to love, Bella. You’re so smart, giving, compassionate, and beautiful. However, you are stubborn as a mule and you’ve got a temper. Damn. Remind me to never get on your bad side. Now, I don’t expect you to say it back. I had to tell you. I had get you to understand how much I care for you. That I’m in this for the long haul. But, please don’t push me away, beautiful.”

“You’re right that I’m not ready to say it back to you, Edward,” she murmured. “I need to get to the point where I do trust you implicitly. Obviously based off my reaction of what happened today, I still have residual trust issues and I’ll be bringing that up with Michele. However, I can say that I strongly like you a lot, Edward.”

“I can handle that,” I smirked. “Now, we survived our first fight and do you know that means?”

“What?”

“Make up cuddling,” I smirked.

“Isn’t it usually make up sex?”

“Are you ready to have sex with me?” I asked, arching a brow over my glasses.

“No, not yet. And I’m kind of out of commission due to…” she blushed. “I’ll shut up now.”

“Bella, I’m a doctor. A little blood won’t faze me,” I smirked. “But, I want our first time to be magical. I want to give you the night that you should have had when you lost your virginity. And it sure as hell won’t be make up sex. I want to make love to you. All. Night. Long.”

She whimpered and bit her lip.

“So, for now, you’ll have deal with some make up cuddles and perhaps some make up making out,” I snorted. “And we’re going to do it in my bedroom because fuck, I’m exhausted.” I stood up and dragged Bella up with me. I bent down and picked her up in a fireman’s carry. She squealed and kicked her legs. I carried her to my bedroom and plopped her in my bed. I bent down and kissed her deeply, sweeping my tongue inside of her hot, wet mouth. “Bella?”

“Yes,” she said breathily.

“I do love you and don’t ever doubt that,” I said solemnly. “That will never ever change.” She smiled shyly and pulled me down to cover her body with mine. Her lips tentatively brushed along my mouth and she tangled her hands into my hair. We made out until we both were riled up beyond all help. I could have used a cold shower and I know that Bella was turned on as she ground her hips against my arousal. However, I ended our make up make out session. It was still pretty PG, bordering on PG-13. I didn’t want to push her too quickly. I did cup her ass and grazed my hands along the sides of her breasts while we made out. But, nothing more than that. Bella went to the bathroom and I stripped out of my sweatpants and t-shirt. I crawled onto the mussed up bed and waited for her to come out of the bathroom. Soon, she was in my arms and we were cuddling with each other. I was exhausted and it wasn’t long before my eyes began drooping. Just as my mind began to slip into unconsciousness, I heard it.

“I love you, too, Edward.”

A/N: I told you there would be some goofy perceptions…Anyhow, it’s been resolved though I wanted to smack Bella silly in this chapter. I understand why she reacted the way she did but dayum, listen to Dr. Sexward Tattward. He’s beautiful and WISE. And beautiful. Did I mention beautiful? I’ll shut up now. Anyhow, I apologize for the long wait for this update. I was out of town the past weekend and I had to work on several other updates, one of which is an OUTTAKE/FUTURETAKE for this story for the Fandom for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. If you donate some $$, you’ll get the compilation. Visit this site to make a donation… (just change the ‘dots’ to periods  and remove the spaces and you’re good…) http:// fandom4lls (dot) blogspot (dot) com/. Also, information regarding this foundation will be on my blog as well. That link is in my profile. Check it out. Finally, we have a lot of fun in my facebook group: Tufano79 Twilight Fanfiction Appreciation. Come join the fun. The next update will get inside of Bella’s head during the misunderstanding and move us to the ball. I’ll have a couple of dress options for Bella’s gown on my blog…please let me know which dress you like for her. As always, leave me some lovin!

 

Chapter Text

This is different from the norm. In all of the stories that I’ve read or that I’ve seen, all of the characters are disgustingly perfect unless they are written with very clear flaws. This story is about love (um, duh! Look who’s writing it. I’m the queen of romance), and finding it in the least likely place with the least likely person.

Now, this story is based in a hospital. My medical training comes from…WebMD. I’m not a doctor, nor do I claim to be. I’m a music teacher who has a wild imagination and a penchant for all things Twilight (and with this story, added in a mix of ER! I loved Luca Kovac…) Which brings me to my disclaimer: None of this is mine. I’m not, nor ever will be, Stephenie Meyer. If was, I’d be rolling in the dough from her insane imagination that gave us Bella and Edward. No copyright infringement is intended.

Chapter Nine

BPOV

I’m an idiot. A total idiot. Why would someone as perfect and gorgeous as Edward want me? Why? WHY? I ran to the bathroom and heaved up my breakfast as I sobbed. I pulled it together slightly and grabbed my coat. I couldn’t stay here. Carmen, the nurse manager, said that if I was still feeling off, I could go. We were well covered in the ER. I decided to take her up on that. I put on my coat and slipped my messenger bag over my shoulders. As I was grabbing my gloves, I felt something hard and metal.

Edward’s keys.

I closed my hands around them and walked to the circulation desk. “Ang, I’m not feeling well. Carmen said I could go if I felt shitty and well, I’m going to take her up on it,” I said shakily. “Can you give this to Dr. Cullen for me?”

“Sure, Bella,” Angela said, arching a brow. She held out her hand and I dropped the keys into her palm. “Are you going home?”

“Yeah. I need some more sleep,” I said as I tugged on my gloves and left the ER. But, I wasn’t going to go home. I needed to talk to someone. But who? Who could I talk to? The one person I wanted to talk to, hurt me in a way that I never imagined. Tears streamed down my cheeks as I blindly walked up to the el platform. I clambered onto the next train, unaware of its location. I just needed to get out of there.

I sat down and pulled out my cell phone. As I did so, I used a trick that a patient taught me to block a phone number without having to pay for it. I found Edward’s number, blocking it from my phone. I then turned off my phone, throwing it into my bag.

I rode on the train for an hour before deciding to go to Graceland Cemetery where my mother was buried. A half an hour later, I was walking through the cold air, trying to find my mom’s grave. It had been far too long since I last visited her gravesite. Probably more than three years. Definitely before Charlie’s injury. I can only imagine how bad it looked.

I stumbled and fell for another hour before I found my mom’s grave. It was nestled in the back behind a tree. I fell to my knees and cleaned off the granite to see her headstone. Renee Higginbotham Swan: Beloved wife and mother. 1956 – 1999. Next to her date of death was a picture of her, smiling at the camera. I removed my gloves and ran my finger across her face. “Momma,” I sniffled. “I miss you so much! My life is miserable. Charlie is a first class asshole who leeches off me and constant belittles me. It was bad before you died but it exploded after you passed. Then, it went nuclear after Charlie got injured, Momma.

“But, I moved out. I’m on my own. Well, with a roommate, but I’m not living with Charlie anymore. My roommate, Angela, is awesome. She’s my first real friend, Momma. She’s so sweet and kind. Then, there’s Edward,” I cried. My sobs heaved as I curled up on the ground, rocking back and forth. “I thought he was different. I thought he actually cared about me, but that was a lie. Today I found him hugging a cute little blonde, just like Jacob. Remember, Jacob? Yeah, he broke my heart too.

“Momma, I wish I could just go away. Go to sleep and never wake up. No one would miss me. I’m just a waste of space. If I died, I could at least be with you,” I sobbed. “You were the only one who truly loved me. Now, I have no one. No one loves me. No one cares about me.” My sobs filled the quiet cemetery until one of the groundskeepers informed me that the gate was closing in fifteen minutes. I nodded and stood up on shaky limbs. I left the cemetery, hailing a cab just outside of the gates. I gave the driver my address and collapsed in the backseat.

Soon, the cabbie pulled up to my apartment complex. I paid him and heaved my exhausted body up to my apartment. However, as the door was closing to the elevator, an arm stopped it. Slimy James slid inside and gave me a leering grin. I smiled tightly and moved closer to the exit, wanting to hightail it out of there once we were on our floor.

“So, Bella,” James hissed. “You enjoy living here with Angela?”

“It’s great,” I answered curtly.

“How well do you know that cute little brunette with the violet eyes?” James asked as he moved closer to me. I could smell the pungent scent of cigarettes and alcohol on his breath. “She’s a spunky one.”

“That she is but she’s unavailable,” I replied acidly. James tsked quietly and he tucked some errant hair behind my ear. “Don’t touch me, James.”

“Why not? You’re cute, too,” he said, smiling wickedly. “A little rounder than I like, but I bet you’re great in the sack.”

The door opened and I rushed out of there quickly, fumbling with my keys. I managed to open the door, ignoring the glare of James. Angela was standing just inside the door. She wrapped me in a hug, “What happened, honey?”

 I just got propositioned by the perv next door and had my heart trampled on by my boyfriend. “I trusted him and he broke my heart,” I sobbed, letting the dam break. I clung to my roommate as she rubbed my back.

“Did you talk to him?”

“No, but he looked so guilty when I went into his office, Angela,” I sniffled, wiping my face of my tears and snot.

“Bella, listen to him. Talk to him,” Angela cooed as she brushed my hair from my face. “Where were you?”

“My mom’s grave,” I sniffled. “I needed to talk to someone and well; the person that I usually turn to is the one that hurt me.”

“Bella?”

I looked up and saw a very disheveled Edward standing in our living room. My heart dropped to my feet. Then, my anger took over. “Get out,” I snarled. “You’re no better than Jacob, you asshole!”

“Bella, listen to him,” Angela snapped.

“Ang, it’s okay,” Edward said, his shoulders slumping. “Just make sure you read your journal, Bella. Please?” I looked at him coldly and stomped into Angela’s bathroom, slamming the door shut. Inside, I fell to the ground and bit back sobs. I could hear Angela and Edward speaking in the living room. It wasn’t until I heard the door close that Angela wrenched her bathroom door open.

“Isabella Marie Swan! I love you like a sister but you’re a fucking idiot,” Angela snapped. “Get up.” I heaved my tired body off the ground and Angela grabbed my arm, leading me into the living room. “Sit down and listen to what I have to say. That man spent the afternoon waiting for you here in this apartment. He was so worried, Bella. All he wanted to do was talk to you but you fucking shut him out. What the hell?! You can see it, as plain as day that man loves you more than his own life.”

“He doesn’t love me. Why would he?” I growled in return. “He’s got that gorgeous blonde to cuddle with at night.”

“If you actually gave Edward a chance to talk, you would have known that the blonde was his sister,” Angela said, crossing her arms over her chest. “She was having a panic attack when you walked in and Edward was trying to calm her down.” I blinked and looked at my fingers. “Bella, I know that you are not the most confident woman, but you have to get over this. If you don’t, you’re going to spend your entire life alone.”

“I wished for death today, Ang,” I whispered. “It’s not the first time.”

“You’re not going to hurt yourself are you? Do I need call a shrink and get you admitted to the hospital on a psych hold?” Angela asked, arching a brow. I shook my head and continued to stare at my hands. “Bella, what can we do to make you believe in yourself?”

“There’s nothing you can do,” I whimpered. “It’s something that I have to do on my own.”

“Bella, I know that you were teased and ridiculed by your dad and by the slut sisters, but you are so much more than them,” Angela whispered. “You’re an amazing nurse with a giving heart and loving soul. Why do the words of those people mean so much to you when the words that I say or that Edward says mean nothing?”

“Because for a majority of my life, all I heard was that I was worthless, stupid, fat and nothing,” I said, glaring at my friend. “When that’s all you hear, it’s what you believe. Fifteen years of ridicule and teasing will not change overnight with the words of a few friends and…and…Edward.”

“Your boyfriend,” Angela said. I looked away and frowned. Angela sighed and put something into my lap. “Edward asked me to have you read in your journal.” I looked down and saw one of the journals that he gave me for Christmas on my lap with his keys laying on top. “I’m going to shower and call Ben. Read the fucking journal, Bella. It’ll only reiterate what I told you, I’m certain.” Angela got up and left me in the living room.

Running my fingers over the soft leather of the journal, I opened it up to the page where Edward wrote inside. But I couldn’t read it. My eyes were filled with tears. My heart stammered against my chest and I hated the emptiness I felt. I slammed the journal shut and threw into my bag. I flew into my bedroom and clutched my whale, sobbing. I was sobbing for my own life. I was sobbing because I was a fucking moron. I was sobbing because I just knew that Edward hated me now. I truly was going to be alone.

James is interested…

Ew, no. He just wants a warm body to bone.

I picked up the keys from my nightstand, rubbing my thumb over the raised metal Space Needle. I went into the bathroom and washed my face. Once my face was cleaned of my tears, I put on my coat and slipped my messenger bag over my shoulders. I left Angela a note on the fridge before leaving the apartment. I skirted past James apartment, wrinkling my nose with distaste as I moved past it. The smell of pot and cigarettes filling the hallway.

I took the el to Edward’s brownstone and walked the short distance to his home. As I walked up the stairs to his house, I could hear some melancholy piano music being played. I furrowed my brows and wondered if it was a recording or Edward wallowing at the piano. Regardless, I hurt him and the choice of music indicated that.

I shoved the key he had given Angela into the lock and opened the door. It felt weird coming into the house without calling or even having an invitation. Well, I guess my invitation is the damn key, but still. We’re fighting. Edward probably hates me. I’ll just give him back his key and leave. I shouldn’t be here. A few traitorous tears slipped from my eyes and I closed the door. The music faltered and shifted to something jazzier, but still had a melancholy tone to it. I’m sorry, Edward. I suck. I took a few deep breaths and walked toward the music.

In the piano room, Edward was seated at the sleek baby grand piano. His shoulders were rounded and hunched. The music was hauntingly beautiful but I could feel his pain. I listened for a few more minutes before I decided to speak. “That’s beautiful,” I whispered.

“Thank you,” he responded woodenly, not turning around. He kept playing until he reached a good stopping point. He then turned around and stared at me. Tears were falling down my cheeks in rivers as I nervously twisted my hands by my waist. “I take it you read my journal entry?”

Shit. No. “I was a bitch, Edward.” I clamped my eyes shut, trying to stop my tears from falling. I took a breath, feeling my body quake. “I should have talked with you but I was blinded by what I saw. It was Jacob all over again…” Only much worse. What I feel for you is nothing compared to what I feel for Jacob.

“I’ve told you that I’m not Jacob,” Edward said, the hurt in his voice evident.

“Angela really laid into me after you left. She told me that the blonde was your sister and that I was overreacting and not being fair. I should have listened to you. And she’s right,” I murmured. “Look, I know that you probably hate me but I wanted to apologize for being so horrible to you.” Give him the keys and leave. Move on with your life and become the crazy cat lady.

Before I could respond, Edward spoke. “Bella, I don’t hate you. Did you read the journal?”

“No. I saw the journal and started sobbing because it was the journal you gave me. I just knew that I fucked up and I couldn’t pick it up,” I sniffled. “I fucked up, Edward. I’m a horrible, wretched person and…”

He got up from the piano bench. He wrapped his arms around me, holding me to his muscular chest. Don’t hold me. I don’t deserve it. I’m not worthy. I tried to wriggle away but he kept his arms around me. “You’re not horrible or wretched. Bella, I understand why you reacted the way you did but it hurt me when you wouldn’t even listen to what I had to say. I know a lot of it has to do with the fact that you are still hesitant to trust but have I done anything prior to today that indicated that I’m not trustworthy?”

“No. You’ve been amazing. An amazing friend, a wonderful and caring boyfriend…God! You’re going to break up with me. Is that what you put in the journal?  A Dear John letter?” I wailed. “I’m such a fool!”

“Bella, I would not do that to you. I would not break up with via journal entry. That’s horrible,” Edward said sternly. He guided me to a couch in his piano room. I sat down stiffly next to him, avoiding looking into his eyes. I couldn’t bear seeing him mad at me. “I explained who I was holding. It was my sister, Rose. We were supposed to go out for lunch but since I had the night from hell up on the surgical floor, I crashed on my couch. Rose woke me up and I freaked out which caused her to freak out. You came in just as I was hugging her because she started having a slight panic attack. This was the first time she was out without anyone with her since her attack.”

“So, the blonde was your sister?” I asked, skeptically, quirking my brow. Even though he’d been honest with me before, I did still not fully believe him. I should give him the benefit of the doubt, but my past has not been all that stellar with trusting people.

“Yes,” he breathed. “Bella, do you want to know what else I wrote in your journal?”

“Is it good or bad?” I asked, nibbling on my lip. His eyes darkened slightly as he stared at my mouth.

“Good, sweet girl,” he said as he took my face in his hands. “In your journal I said what I wanted to give you. I want to give you my heart, my soul and my love, Bella. I’m so in love with you that it hurts.”

“What?”

“Bella, I love you,” Edward whispered reverently. “I’m upset at how you acted but it doesn’t change that I love you so much. But, you’ve got to trust me, baby. I will never, EVER intentionally hurt you. I love you too much to do that.”

“You love me? Why?” I asked, the tears starting to fill in my eyes again. Jesus, enough with the fucking crying!

“You’re impossible not to love, Bella. You’re so smart, giving, compassionate, and beautiful. However, you are stubborn as a mule and you’ve got a temper. Damn. Remind me to never get on your bad side. Now, I don’t expect you to say it back. I had to tell you. I had to get you to understand how much I care for you. That I’m in this for the long haul. But, please don’t push me away, beautiful.”

“You’re right that I’m not ready to say it back to you, Edward,” I murmured. I’m terrified that when I do, you’re going to throw it back at me and laugh in my face. Or screw me over, like Jacob did.

FUCK! He’s not fucking JACOB!!!!

“I need to get to the point where I do trust you implicitly. Obviously based off my reaction of what happened today, I still have residual trust issues and I’ll be bringing that up with Michele. However, I can say that I strongly like you a lot, Edward.”

“I can handle that,” he smirked. “Now, we survived our first fight and do you know that means?”

“What?”

“Make up cuddling,” he smiled, cupping my face with his warm hands.

“Isn’t it usually make up sex?”

“Are you ready to have sex with me?” Edward asked, arching a brow over his sexy glasses.

“No, not yet. And I’m kind of out of commission due to…” I blushed. “I’ll shut up now.” Fucking period. Fucking stomach flu that forced me to get my fucking period. God damn it!

“Bella, I’m a doctor. A little blood won’t faze me,” he chuckled.  Wait a minute…hold up a second. What? “But, I want our first time to be magical. I want to give you the night that you should have had when you lost your virginity. And it sure as hell won’t be make up sex. I want to make love to you. All. Night. Long.”

Yep. My ovaries exploded.

Wait, that’s cramps. Shit.

“So, for now, you’ll have deal with some make up cuddles and perhaps some make up making out,” he snorted. “And we’re going to do it in my bedroom because fuck, I’m exhausted.” Edward stood up and dragged me up with him. With a maniacal laugh, he heaved me over his shoulder. I squealed as I wigged on his shoulder. He gently put me down on the center of his king-sized slice of heaven. Also known as his bed.  “Bella?”

“Yes,” I said breathily.

“I do love you and don’t ever doubt that,” Edward said solemnly. “That will never ever change.” I searched his eyes for any impropriety and dishonesty but saw none. I cupped his neck and pulled him down to reach my lips to his. We made out for who knows how long but it was amazing. It was, by far, the hottest make out session in my meager history of make out sessions.

When Edward’s eyes began to stay closed longer, I got up and went to the bathroom to change. I washed my face and brushed my teeth after I put on my pajamas. Finishing up in the bathroom, I walked back to the bedroom to find Edward underneath the blankets. He was shirtless and I had pinch myself at seeing his naked torso. I always had to do that. And that tattoo…damn. But, Edward was more than a pretty face and hot body. They were cherries on the sundae that was Dr. Edward Cullen. He was patient, kind, gentle, smart, funny and loving.

Holy fuck! He loves me!

I crawled into the bed and nestled next to him. Edward’s arm was getting heavier on my waist. I turned to look at him. He looked so peaceful and content. How could I not love him? He’s everything I’d ever dreamed of. He’s my knight in a white lab coat. “I love you, too, Edward,” I whispered as I ran my fingers through his bronze hair. He smiled crookedly and held me closer to his body. His nose buried against my neck, kissing just behind my ear before he totally crashed.

xx APFL xx

The next week or so, Edward and I spent it talking. When we weren’t at work, we were constantly talking about what happened with his sister and how to get me to trust him. We were at an impasse, really. Even though I said that I trusted Edward, I still had this nagging feeling in the back of my head that Edward was going to hurt me. Even though he had poured his heart into his journal entry, I was so hesitant to trust him. To trust anyone for that matter. I didn’t know how to get over it.

So, I brought it up with Michele, my therapist. I hadn’t seen her since ‘Sister-gate’ and I needed her guidance. I needed her professional opinion on how to learn to trust.

I was seated on the couch in her office, toying with my scrubs. “Michele, I don’t know how to trust people,” I muttered when she sat down.

“Do you trust me?” she asked.

“Not really. I mean, I respect you as a professional, but I don’t really trust you.”

“Why?” she pressed.

“In the back of my head, I’m thinking that you’re secretly laughing at how pitiful I am. And that you’re talking to your colleagues about this loser who can’t find her self esteem,” I said bitterly.

“Bella, I’m bound by my ethical code to not discuss your case with anyone. What happens behind that door is between you and me,” she said. “In regards to your self esteem comment, you’ve been kicked down for so long that it’s going to take time for you to recognize your self-worth. I’m here as your therapist but I’m also your friend, cheerleader and confidante. I would never, EVER abuse your trust or share what is discussed here in the strictest of confidence. Now, what happened that you mentioned the trust issue?”

I bit my lip before I told her what happened between Edward and me. She listened quietly and jotted down a few notes on her notepad. Once I was done, I sat back and scowled at my hands. I was a fool with the whole situation with Edward and his sister.

“Okay, first off, you weren’t wrong in having a reaction to seeing Edward hugging another girl. With your history, I understand why you were upset,” Michele began. “Did you overreact? Yes. You should have listened to him in the first place and all of the aggravation would have been avoided. Why didn’t you listen to him? Why did you run?”

“I didn’t want to be hurt anymore,” I answered. “I felt so betrayed by him that if I just left, it would be easier. You know?”

“Where did you go?”

“The cemetery where my mom was buried,” I answered. “I talked to her since she was the only person that loved me unconditionally. I hadn’t felt that type of love since she died and I so desperately wanted it. Even if it was to talk her in the ground.”

“Did you talk about Edward to your mom?” I nodded. “Do you think she’d like him?”

“She would love him. He’s everything that she would have wanted for me,” I gushed. “But, I’m still so afraid. He’s an amazing man, incredible doctor and so patient with me. But, I’m fearful that he’ll grow tired of my bullshit and dump my fat ass to trade up to a newer, skinnier model.”

“First off, Bella, you are a beautiful woman. And I mean that in a strictly platonic, professional way. You are heavier but you are at least healthy,” she explained. “Secondly, from what I’ve heard about Dr. Cullen, he is one of the few good guys out there. He would not hurt you intentionally and he proved that in trying to fix the confusion between you and his sister. Finally, to try and trample this trust issue, you need to begin trusting in yourself. Believe in your decisions. That trust will eventually carry over to the rest of your life.”

“Why can’t I get rid of this nagging feeling in the back of my head that Edward’s going to screw me over?” I whimpered.

“Because, right now, that’s what you expect. But, you have to change your way of thinking, Bella. If you believe that Edward is going to screw you over, then he will. It’s called a self-fulfilling prophecy. Now, after your misunderstanding, Edward said he loved you, right? How did that make you feel, Bella?”

“I didn’t believe it at first,” I whispered. “After hearing that I was worthless for so long, I couldn’t fathom anyone loving me.”

“Has he said it since? And did you say it back?”

“I think Edward is aware of my trepidation about saying to him. I mean, I did say that I loved him but I think he was asleep,” I muttered. “I’m such a coward. And yes, he has said it since the initial ‘I love you.’ But, I think he gets upset when I don’t respond in kind. I do love him but…but…the last time I said it was to my ex-boyfriend. Prior to that it was my mom.”

“Your father never said he loved you?”

I shook my head and tears started falling. “I was never good enough for him. I still feel like a failure in my dad’s eyes. I mean, fuck! He kicked me out of the house on Christmas!”

“Bella, your dad is an asshole,” Michele said flatly. “Okay, there are two factors that are causing you to have trust issues. The first factor is your dad. His lack of affection and love toward you is causing you to second guess your every move. Do you want your dad to accept you?”

“I could care less,” I said dryly. “He’s an asshole. Like you said.”

“But, he obviously cut you down and caused these lingering trust problems,” Michele said firmly. “The second factor is what Jacob did to you. He’s another one that I’d like to smack upside the head. What a fucktard!”

“Michele!” I laughed.

She winked and smiled at me. “Here’s your homework, Bella. I want you to write a letter to your dad and to Jacob.”

“I’m not going to send them, am I?”I squeaked

“No. This is your opportunity to air out your frustrations, fears and bad blood. Tell them how you feel,” Michele said. “Rip them a new asshole. Tell them to fuck off. Tell them to go kill themselves. What you put down in your letter is your way of giving them the proverbial finger.”

“Okay,” I sighed.

“In regards to your feelings toward Edward, you have be able to let him in. It’s obvious that he loves you. Very much,”  Michele said, arching a brow. “Talk to him. Explain your fears and trust issues.”

“I’ve tried that, but Edward insistent that I’m amazing but I don’t believe him,” I scowled.

“Go into the discussion with an open mind,” Michele said. “I think you’re going into it with this notion that Edward will eventually hate you. That his love is just a means to an end.”

“What if it is? What if he uses me like Jacob did?”

“In my opinion, I don’t think Edward would do that,” she said calmly. “But, if he did, you have every right to be pissed off at him. My suggestion is that you write your letters before you speak with Edward. Get some of that aggression out of your system as you literally bitch smack your dad and Jacob.” I nodded and stood up. Michele took me in her arms and hugged me. “And Bella, for what it’s worth, Edward is a very lucky man. When you do realize how wonderful you are, nothing can stop you, sweetie!”

“Thank you, Michele,” I sniffled. “I’m going to go home, soak in the tub and perhaps tackle one of my letters.”

“Wait until tomorrow, Bella. This was a tough session,” she said. “Soak in the tub and perhaps have some phone sex with your hot doc.”

“Michele!”

She smiled sweetly and guided me out of the office. Wiggling her fingers in a goodbye, I turned and left. Before I left the hospital, I wanted to say goodbye to Edward. He was working the overnight shift. I checked on him and saw that he was in the trauma room, working on a patient from a car crash. He caught my eye and nodded. I smiled, waving at him before I headed out into the ambulance bay.

“Bella! Wait up!” Alice called as she ran toward me. “You busy tonight?”

“No. I was going to head home and relax. I had a long shift and an appointment with my therapist afterward.”

“My sister got a babysitter and wants to go out. We can go to a bar and have some girl time. Get lit on margaritas,” Alice snickered. “Is Ang on?”

“No, she’s off until tomorrow night. Me too.”

“We are so going out,” Alice squealed. “My sister and I will meet you at your apartment in an hour and half. Wear that sparkly gray top with a pair of dark wash jeans.”

“I don’t have a sparkly gray top,” I said, arching a brow.

“Yes, you do,” Alice smirked. “See you in a bit!” She skipped off toward the parking garage as I scratched my head about the mention of the sparkly gray top. Walking up the steps to the el platform, I sent Edward a text.

Going out with Angela, Alice and Cynthia. Say a prayer. I’ve never had a girl’s night out – B

Take a picture of your sexy self – E

Sexy? *scoffs* Sure, Cullen – B

Isabella! You are the sexiest woman I know and you don’t even have to try. I’m so calling Angela to send me a pic – E

Have fun, though, baby. Call me when you get home, okay? – E

I will. I hope the ER is slow for you – B

And I wish you were coming with us – B

That would kind of negate the idea of a girl’s night out, Bella. It’ll be fun. Love you! – E

Love you, too – B

Okay, I’m jumping around my office like a flipping moron. My girl loves me! – E

You’re acting like a fifteen year old girl, Edward. But, your quirky sense of humor is one of the MANY things I love about you. I’ll see you tomorrow – B

I rolled my eyes and got onto the train, heading to my apartment. There, I rode the elevator up to my floor and was greeted by creeper James. He was blocking the entire exit of the elevator, leering at me. “Hello, Isabella.”

“James,” I said coolly. I slipped past him and nearly sprinted to my door. He seriously squicks me out. Plus, he’s still infatuated with Alice despite the fact that she’s dating Edward’s brother, Jasper. Inside of the apartment, I poked my head in Angela’s bedroom. “Hey, Ang. Alice and Cynthia want a girl’s night out. So, we’re going. They’ll be here in an hour.”

“Sweet! I have this new cute blue ruffly tank top that I want to wear,” she squealed.

“Um, Ang. Has James had been acting weird toward you?”

“Yeah. He’s been looking at me like he knows what I look like under my scrubs. Only my Benny gets to see my naked goodness. Not James. He’s turned into a total creeper,” Angela shuddered. “I think all of the pot is going to his brain and shrinking it.”

“Among other things too,” I snorted. “I may want to get an extra lock for our door. Just in case, you know?”

“Definitely. We can go shopping tomorrow. Is grocery day, remember? This week is your week to cook din din and I LOVE when you cook,” Angela smirked.

“That’s because I can, Ang. I love you, girl, but you can burn water,” I laughed as I left her room to get ready. I took a quick shower to wash the grime of the hospital off my body and out of my hair. I had a pukey kid today and I think he got me. I had that vomit smell in my nose for the rest of my shift. I left my hair down and added some gel to it, making it curly and fun. Angela knocked on my bathroom door, poking her head inside. “Yes, Ang?”

“You got any tampons?” she asked. “Pads? Aunt Flo decided to make an early appearance.”

“I thought you were on the pill?” I asked as I reached under my sink to grab a box of tampons.

“I’m switching to the shot,” she said. “My appointment is next week to get my first one. Yay!” She rolled her eyes and left the bathroom. I chuckled as I took my own birth control pill. Not like I was getting any sex, but it regulated my periods. After I applied my makeup, I went out into the living room and sat down to watch some television. Angela walked into the living room, scowling and holding her lower abdomen. “Cramps suck donkey balls.”

“Take some ibuprofen,” I said.

“I did. I’m waiting for them to kick in,” she said as she flopped down. “Did Alice say where she wanted to go?”

“No. She just mentioned margaritas,” I shrugged.

“There’s this awesome place nearby that would be awesome! Patron’s Hacienda,” she squealed. “It’s a restaurant, sports bar and club rolled into one. It’s so much fun!!”

“A club?” I squeaked.

“Only on Thursday, Friday and Saturday,” Angela explained. “There will be music but no clubbing tonight.” The buzzer from our lobby rang in the apartment. Angela hopped up and spoke briefly to Alice downstairs. Angela swiped her leather coat and told me to do the same. Grabbing our keys and purses, we headed down to the lobby to meet up with Alice and her sister, Cynthia.

We bundled up and decided to walk to the bar, giggling and laughing the whole time. For the first time in my thirty years, I felt legitimately so happy! I had girlfriends, a boyfriend who loved me and freedom.

Once we got to the bar, we were led to a booth and ordered some chips and salsa and a round of frozen margaritas. Our drinks were delivered and that’s when the girls pounced. “So, how are things with Dr. Cullen?” Alice chimed.

“Good,” I replied, slurping down some of my drink. Hmmmm, tequila. “After the drama with his sister, things are good.”

“You have to give us more than that,” Cynthia snickered. “That man is sex on a stick. Is he good in bed?”

“Um, I don’t know,” I blushed. “We haven’t had sex yet.”

“Why the hell not?” Cynthia asked.

“Cyn, relax,” Alice chided. “Edward and Bella are taking it slow, right?”

“You’re not a virgin are you?” Cynthia asked, shocked at the prospect.

“CYNTHIA!” Alice and Angela yelled. Cynthia cowered back and bit her lip.

“Guys, it’s okay,” I mumbled. “Cynthia, no, I’m not a virgin. However, my one experience with sex was sorely lacking and I may as well be one. I don’t really know how to please a man. I also really don’t know what pleases me either.”

“Who is the ass that took your v-card and didn’t get you off?” Cynthia snorted. “Asshole.”

“He was my first boyfriend,” I answered. I told them all about Jacob and our six week long relationship, culminating in the disastrous night at the hotel where I lost my virginity. I also told them about how he ignored me and the next time I saw him, socially, he was with a skinny blonde.

“I seriously want to cause some serious bodily harm to this Jacob douche,” Alice spat. “I’ll bean him with my stilettos. What an ass!”

“And Edward has been your only other relationship?” Cynthia asked. I nodded. “Now, let’s attack this logically. You don’t know how to please a man. Nor do you know how to please yourself. You have to know what you like, Bella.”

“I like kissing him,” I blushed. “Edward has such soft lips.”

“What about kissing other places?” Angela suggested, waggling her brows. I blushed a deeper crimson. “What? I’m talking about the neck or ear. Jesus, Bella, get your mind out of the gutter.”

“I was thinking more like her boobs and her pussy,” Cynthia snorted. And my face was the color of a tomato. “Bella, we’re all friends here. This is what we do at the bar. We talk about our men, trade secrets and get drunk and stupid. For me, since my husband is across the planet, I live vicariously through you guys. And right now, you’re my pet, Bella.”

“Do I get a leash and a flea collar?” I deadpanned.

“No, I’m getting you a vibrator and some porn,” she said, winking at me.

“Cynthia, that’s really not necessary,” I blanched.

“Yeah, porn is definitely unnecessary,” Alice said flatly. “Those girls are so fake. I mean the tits on them are nasty and foul. They don’t move. And honestly, who is bare like that? I know I’m not. Jasper loves a natural woman.”

“So he likes to get his teeth flossed while he’s licking your pussy,” Cynthia snickered.

“I said I’m natural. Not hairy,” Alice explained. “I keep my girlie bits trimmed and neat.”

“You wax, you bitch,” Cynthia laughed. “Only reason why I know is because I use the same aesthetician. She always asks if I want the same treatment as you. You’re bare, you liar.”

“Bite me, Cyn,” Alice snapped. “And I was bare. Jasper likes a woman that looks like a woman. So, I’m letting my poon grow out. Itches like a son of a bitch, but it’s growing.”

I whimpered and shifted in my seat. Waxing the girlie bits? Fuck me. I’m not a bushman down there, but I shave. Sometimes. Once a month…okay, six months. Cynthia whipped her head back at me. “Based off your reaction, it looks like you’re getting your pussy waxed.”

“Oh GOD,” I wailed as I buried my head in my arms.

“It only hurts for a few seconds, Bella,” Angela consoled as she rubbed my back. “But let’s move on to something else.”

“Please! Let’s!” I groaned.

“Blow jobs!” Angela smirked.

“Ugh, kill me now,” I whimpered. “So not ready for that.”

“This is true,” Cynthia offered. “Bella needs to be comfortable what makes her feel good before she can make her man feel good. Now, I know that you’re a nurse and that you understand the mechanics of sex. You need to have some time to experiment. Touch yourself and feel what makes you quiver with pleasure. This is why we need to get you a vibrator. Are there any sex shops around here?”

“The Pleasure Chest,” Angela replied. “It’s a short cab ride from here.”

“We’re so going,” Cynthia smiled. “After we finish our margaritas and have some fajitas!”

“Fuck fajitas! I want a chimichanga!” Alice said. “Deep fried goodness. Nummy!”

“I’ll probably just have a salad,” I shrugged.

“Hell no, Bella. You need to eat some of this fattening Mexican food,” Angela said as she elbowed me. “I’m having enchiladas.”

“Taco salad?” I squeaked.

“Better,” Angela said, winking at me. The waitress came and took our orders, refilling our margaritas before she left. “Now, Bella, as much as you probably want to crawl under the table, we’re all fairly experienced women and we want to help you achieve your goal.”

“Orgasming,” Alice smirked.

“Getting off,” Cynthia giggled. “And getting your man off.”

“As much as I want to, I want to make sure that the emotions are there, too,” I said. “I’m working through so many things right now. I mean, I never really had friends. I was teased and picked on. My best friend was my journal after my mom died. I still teased and ridiculed.”

“Newton was suspended for a week for talking shit about Bella to Edward, who’s the associate head of the ER,” Angela explained. “He has to take this ethics class about appropriate professional behavior.”

“Lauren had to take it, too,” Alice chirped. “Rumors are milling that we may all have to be subjected to the class, which is not a bad thing. There are still unprofessional people that work in the ER.”

“Jessica,” I muttered.

“Dr. Crowley,” Angela suggested. “And don’t get me wrong, Lauren has been great the past few weeks, but I don’t think it’s permanent. She’s floating back to Jessica and she’s reeling Lauren back into her tangled web of bullshit.”

“Great,” I grumbled. “I’ll just avoid them. Slut sisters.”

“Yes, they are,” Alice cringed. “Anyhow, back to Bella. You’ve got five people who will fight for you at work; one of them is the associate head of the ER. You’ve moved out of your dad’s apartment and you’re happy living with Angela, right?”

“Ang is the best roommate,” I smiled as I hugged.

“Damn right, I am! Bella is better though. She can cook!” Angela bellowed. “My best recipe is calling Bun Foo Kitchen for takeout.”

“Nah, it’s Giordano’s,” I joked. “Bun Foo’s fried rice is too greasy.”

“Okay, Giordano’s. Shit, now I want stuffed pizza,” Angela pouted.

“We’ll order some tomorrow,” I soothed.

“No, you’re cooking tomorrow before we go to work. Please?” Angela begged, fluttering her eyelashes. I rolled my eyes and shoved her away. “Chili sounds AWFULLY good.”

“Fine. But I hope I’m not working with you tomorrow night. You get the worst gas with the beans,” I laughed. Angela scoffed and slugged down her drink.

“I love you, Bella, but you suck,” Angela laughed.

The rest of the time at the bar was spent in discussions on giving the perfect blow job. There was a great deal of debate over what was easier: spitting or swallowing. Cynthia preferred to spit, not wanting to taste her husband’s flavor for too long. Angela voted for swallowing. Alice was on the fence, understanding both arguments. I was blissfully ignorant. I’d never given a blow job.

Cynthia demanded to know what I preferred once I did go down on Edward.

Excuse me, what?

I wrinkled my nose at that. Guys like that? I mean, sex, I get. But the mouth?

I’d need some more prodding to do that. Or more tequila.

We settled up our bill and decided to take a ride over to The Pleasure Chest. My heart was stammering as we rode in the cab to the store off of North Lincoln Avenue. I was in full-on panic mode by the time we pulled up to the store. What have I gotten myself into? The girls and I walked into the store and we were blinded by the bright red walls. But, it wasn’t what I expected. I, honestly, anticipated the store to be a hole in the wall dive with viewing rooms for porn and a crusty old guy behind the register, with jizz spattered on the laminate.

A perky red head bounced up to us and smiled. “Welcome to The Pleasure Chest! Is there anything specific that you’re looking for or are you just browsing?”

Cynthia walked over to me, slinging her arm over my shoulders. I arched a brow at Alice’s sister in her bright green jeans and black jacket. “This one needs a vibrator. Nothing too scary since she’s relatively innocent.”

“Hmmm, what type of vibrator? Clitoral, vaginal, anal?” she asked.

“Anal!” I squeaked. “My ass? Fuck no. NO way! Are you crazy?!”

“Relax, Bella,” Angela said soothingly, trying not to laugh. “Not anal.”

“I kind of gathered that,” she said dryly. “I’m Sophie, by the way. You guys are?”

“I’m Cynthia. This is my sister, Alice, her friend, Angela and Miss Innocent is Bella,” Cynthia said with a wry smile.

“Nice to meet you all. Now, your best bet for a vibrator is to…”

Alice, Angela and Cynthia followed Sophie while I was rooted in my spot. I slipped out my cell phone and texted Edward.

I’m freaking out, Edward – B

No freaking out, sweet girl. Why? – E

I’m at the Pleasure Chest – B

Damn it! Bella, I just spit coffee all over Ben. You can’t say shit like that. Why are you at a sex shop? – E

Apparently, I need a vibrator – B

Why do you need a vibrator when you have me? – E

EDWARD ANTHONY! You are a perv! – B

I’m kidding, beautiful. I know you’re not ready for that. But, seriously, why are you there? – E

I’ve never had an orgasm and before I can please you, I need to please me? – B

Bella, just holding you pleases me – E

Edward, I know how many showers you take. You are not that dirty – B

“Bella! Stop texting your boyfriend and check out the Sqweel!” Angela smiled. “Don’t make me take away your phone.”

Bella, yes, I take a lot of showers. Spooge is thick and an epic pain in the ass to clean off of clothes and sheets. Showering and masturbating go hand in hand for a guy. I will continue taking a lot of showers until you feel comfortable to be with me. To let me make love to you. Show you HOW much I love you, Bella. For now, my water bill is going through the roof. I love you and have fun picking out your vibrator – E

Can I play with it when you’re comfortable? I’ll make you scream – E

Are you horny, Edward? – B

Always for you, baby. I love you. Don’t have too much fun – E

I love you, too – B

Alice came up to me and swiped my phone. Angela looped her arm through mine and dragged me to see the wonders of the Sqweel. I was so not buying that. Mini silicone tongues? I shook my head. Cynthia must have noticed my trepidation with that and she thrust a Rabbit into my hands. Sophie gave her thumbs up and smiled. I turned it over and read about it. Alice handed me a clitoral vibrator, too, after she saw me leave the Sqweel demonstration. Angela swiped a few books, Sex for Dummies, Sex is Fun, The Ultimate Guide to the Female Orgasm, and compilation of women’s erotica.

Cynthia took all of the goodies in my hands and walked to the register. Sophie skipped and rang everything up. I cringed at the total as I reached for my wallet. Cynthia swatted my hand away and handed over her credit card. “Thank me when you have your first orgasm and make one of my kids a ring bearer or flower girl for your wedding,” she winked.

“Thank you, Cynthia,” I said as I took the proffered bag from her. She pulled me into a tight hug, rubbing my back.

“Now, as much fun as this has been, I have two kids I need to get home to,” Cynthia said. “Next month, we’re going out closer to where I live.”

“Where’s that?” Angela asked.

“Oak Park,” she answered. “There are some fun bars there. No Pleasure Chest, though. A Lover’s Lane, but no Pleasure Chest. Come on, squirt. You’re coming with me to the el station.”

“Fine,” Alice grumbled. “But you’re paying for my cab fare to Jasper’s apartment.”

“Whatever, Alice,” Cynthia bellowed as they left. They walked toward the el platform while Angela hailed a cab. It was a short ride to the apartment and thankfully, quiet. Angela was a little looped from her five margaritas. I had two and was slightly buzzed. We rode up the elevator and stumbled down the hallway. Angela’s giggles must have alerted James of our presence and he stuck his head out of his apartment. The pungent odor of pot and cigarettes filled the hallway.

“Ah, my two favorite girls,” he sneered evilly. “Having a good time? Did you go out with your little friend, Alice?”

“Yep,” Angela said, smiling at him sweetly. “Now, we’re going home to have phone sex with our boyfriends.”

“Why have phone sex when you could have the real thing?” he asked as he cupped his junk. “A threesome would be so much fun.”

“Ew, no. You’re gross,” Angela said, wrinkling her nose. “You used to be somewhat normal and now, you’re not. Come on, Bella.” She grabbed my arm and practically shoved me into the apartment, slamming the door a little too hard. “Jesus, James has definitely flipped out. I mean, really! I want to go and stay at Ben’s house tonight after that little display.”

“I’d rather stay at Edward’s, thank you very much,” I whimpered.

“Bella, we have to keep track of his craziness. If he keeps this up, he can get booted out of the apartment complex. I’m going to write down what he did tonight. And we are so changing our locks and adding a deadbolt to the door.”

“We’ll pick it up tomorrow at the store.”

xx APFL xx

A week passed and no further indication of James and his ickyness. Edward and Ben installed the deadbolt on our door. Though, I think anything short of moving out would not have appeased them. Edward was super concerned about James erratic behavior and his infatuation with anyone who was female. While James seemed to be ‘flirting’ with Angela and I, he was mostly infatuated with Alice.

Now, I was sitting in my bedroom. Angela and Edward were both working. I was using the quiet and the alone time to do accomplish a few things.  I had two things on my bed. One was the clitoral vibrator that Cynthia had bought me. The other was my journal. I had yet to write my hate letters to Jacob and Charlie. I also hadn’t played with my new toys. I did read some of the books, but nothing in too much detail.

With a deep breath, I picked up my journal. I’d write a letter to one of the douches in my life and then perhaps, have some fun.

February 4th , 2013

Dear Jacob,

Scratch that…he’s not dear…

Jacob,

Okay, I’ve been putting this off now for a couple of weeks. But it’s time for me to move past what you did to me. Though, I don’t understand why. I think that’s the biggest issue. Anyhow, you are a hateful, manipulative, deceitful and cruel man who hurt me more than I ever thought possible. Ten years later and I’m still upset.

You made me feel so special prior to that night. You seemed interested. At least, I thought you were interested. But, after you fucked me over, literally and figuratively, I felt so lost. In a way, I still do. What should have been the most precious gift to give a man, was taken by you. Not in a sense of rape. I wanted you. I wanted to have you make love to me. But, you pushed in and that was it. Nothing was about me. It was all about you.

Was I just a conquest?

Someone for you to fuck as a dare?

I have feelings, Jacob. I’m not just a ‘conquest.’ I’m a living, breathing, hurting human being. I thought you loved me, Jacob. I loved you. Or at least, I thought so. But now, I know that I didn’t. I was infatuated with the idea of you. Of the idea of a boyfriend.

I finally have someone who loves me and who wants to be with me. He’s ten times, no a thousand times the man you are. And you know what? He said he loved me first. Right here. In this journal. It was the single most romantic thing anyone has ever done for me. Granted, I was an idiot before he told me but that was due in part because of you. I don’t trust people because of how I was treated. In a way, I still don’t trust Edward. I should, but there’s something holding me back and that is getting over what you did to me.

Now, I’ll never know your motivations for fucking me but I am moving past what you did. I’m doing it with the help of my friends and my boyfriend. Well, now, I guess, they’re my new family. But, it’s a family that I chose and that chose me. That’s more important than any moronic and stupid thing you ever will do.

So, I leave you with two parting words, Jacob Eugene Black.

Fuck. You.

I wiped my tears and put my journal into my bag. I quickly changed into a pair of jeans and blue top. Despite my idea of having some fun ‘alone’ time, I needed to tell something to Edward. And I couldn’t do it over the phone or via text. I had to show him. After locking up the apartment, I headed downstairs and nearly sprinted to the el station. I caught the next train going toward the hospital. I was vibrating with anxiety and nerves. I barely made it down the steps without falling because I was so anxious. I entered the ER and slipped past the triage nurse. She waved at me as I headed toward the circulation desk. Ben was there.

“Hey, Ben. Have you seen Edward?” I asked.

“He’s in his office,” Ben replied. Then, he smirked, wiggling his brows.

“Get your mind out of the gutter, perv,” I snorted as I walked past him to Edward’s office. His door was open and I could hear him on the phone.

“…I promise, Rosie. You’ll meet her. You’re coming to the ball, right? Then you can meet her then. I know you’ll love her as much as I do,” he said. “Good luck at group tonight. I’ll talk to you later. Bye.”

I knocked on his door and stepped inside. “Hi,” I blushed.

“Bella!” he said, giving me his crooked grin. “What are you doing here? Aren’t you off for a few days?”

“I am, but I needed to do something,” I said as I closed the door. I flipped the lock and looked at him. “Um, can you sit on your couch?”

“Oooookay,” he chuckled as he got up from his desk and walked toward his leather sofa. He sat down and looked at me like I was crazy. Perhaps I was, but I wanted to do this. I slipped off my coat and put my bag next to the sofa. I then straddled his legs. His expression turned from thinking I was a crazy lady to shock to lust. “Why couldn’t you do this on my desk chair?”

“Knowing my luck, I’d try it and we’d both end up on the floor, needing stitches,” I quipped. “Flat, unmovable surface. Less likely for either one of us to get hurt.”

“Smart girl,” he smiled. He leaned up, wanting to kiss me.

“No. Not yet. I have to tell you something before we make out like horny teenagers,” I said. His brow furrowed and he looked upset. “Nothing bad! I promise you.” I closed my eyes and moved my hands up his muscular arms to his face. I ran my finger along his stubbled jaw and opened my eyes. “I love you, Edward.”

“I know this, Bella,” he whispered, kissing my palm of my hand.

“No. Don’t get mad, but before, I was just saying the words. Now…now, I know. Edward, you are the most wonderful man I’ve ever met. You are so smart and funny and kind and generous and loving and I was a fool for acting the way that I did with your sister. I was a fool in saying that I loved you when I wasn’t ready. But, I do. I am. I love you, Edward. You’ve made me feel special and wanted. For the first time since my mom died, I feel loved,” I cried, tears falling down my cheeks. “I was so afraid of saying back to you; it would all fall away and I’d be alone. I don’t want to be alone. I want you. All of you.” With that, I kissed his lips, crushing my mouth against his. Edward was shocked at first but soon his arms were wrapped around my waist and his mouth was moving ardently with mine.

I don’t know how long we kissed, but when we pulled apart, we were both breathing heavily. Edward took my face in his hands, holding me like I was fragile glass. “Bella, you’re all I want. All I’ll ever want,” he whispered, rubbing my cheeks with his thumbs. “I will spend every moment of my life ensuring that you will feel loved. And I knew that you weren’t ready but I also knew that when you were, it would be magical. And it is. Bella, I’m so happy right now that I could burst with excitement.” He brushed his lips against mine causing me to shudder with pleasure. “Are you cold?”

“No. I got chills because I could feel it,” I smiled.

“The butterflies. The energy around us?” he asked. I nodded. “I felt it from the first day I saw you, Bella. It will never go away. That feeling will only get stronger.” However, our little love bubble was burst when his cell phone began vibrating. “Fuck! Don’t they know that I’ve got the woman of my dreams on my lap?” He growled and picked up his phone. “Cullen…I’ll be right there. Get Newton, too.” He hung up the phone and held me close. “I’ve got to go, baby.”

“When are you off?”

“Midnight,” he answered. “Go over to my place and that way, I can cuddle with you. Please?”

“I don’t have any clothes there,” I frowned.

“Who said you need clothes?” he smirked. I blushed. “I’m kidding. But, I hope that soon, we’ll be able to move our relationship to the next level. I’m willing to wait. I don’t want to force you…”

“Soon, Edward. Let me get comfortable with my own skin and then we’ll cross that bridge. But, when you get home, you can have some fun with this,” I put his hand on my ass, “and this,” his other was on my boob. He groaned. With a squeeze to both, he helped me up and turned to leave his office. “Edward?”

“Yes, love?” he asked.

“I love you,” I smiled.

“Fuck, I love you so much, Bella. So much and I will always tell you,” he said reverently. His face perked up into a crooked grin. He looked like he wanted to kiss me again but his cell phone rang. “I’m coming!” With sigh, he left and I fell onto his couch.

So this is what love should feel like! Yes and please!

A/N: And so there you have it. Now, I know that Bella has run the gambit of emotions in this chapter, but you have to realize, she’s having a rough time understanding what she’s feeling. She’s also having difficulties in trusting people. (Then again, would you blame her?) Anyhow, she’s making headway. First in kind of letting Edward in when she said she loved him the first time and then definitely opening her heart at the end. Giving Jacob the proverbial bitch slap in her journal definitely helped her a lot.

Pictures from this chapter are going to be posted on my blog. Link is in my profile. Also, check out my group: Tufano79 Twilight Fanfiction Appreciation on Facebook. Extra teasers and discussions on there. Finally, up next will be the ball and some light citrus. Do you think that they’re ready for sex? Prolly not.

I also was one of the contributing authors for the Fandom for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. An  OUTTAKE/FUTURETAKE for this story was my contribution. If you donate some $$, you’ll get the compilation. Visit this site to make a donation… (just change the ‘dots’ to periods  and remove the spaces and you’re good…) http:// fandom4lls (dot) blogspot (dot) com/. Also, information regarding this foundation will be on my blog as well.

One more thing before I bid you adieu. I’m disabling anon reviews. I’ve gotten some not so nice reviews about this story and it was very embarrassing to hear that my writing has not grown over twelve stories and that I write Edward like a fifteen year old girl. To that anonymous reviewer, I’m a firm believer in if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all. If you don’t like my writing. Don’t read it. Simple as that. You don’t need to ridicule me publicly. I would have rather said this to you via a PM but since you were a coward and didn’t sign in, I have to do it in this public forum. I’m not a published writer. I do this FOR FUN. It’s people like you that make it not so fun. Soapbox moment over. Back to your regularly scheduled Dr. Sexward Tattward…

 

 

Chapter Text

This is different from the norm. In all of the stories that I’ve read or that I’ve seen, all of the characters are disgustingly perfect unless they are written with very clear flaws. This story is about love (um, duh! Look who’s writing it. I’m the queen of romance), and finding it in the least likely place with the least likely person.

Now, this story is based in a hospital. My medical training comes from…WebMD. I’m not a doctor, nor do I claim to be. I’m a music teacher who has a wild imagination and a penchant for all things Twilight (and with this story, added in a mix of ER! I loved Luca Kovac…) Which brings me to my disclaimer: None of this is mine. I’m not, nor ever will be, Stephenie Meyer. If was, I’d be rolling in the dough from her insane imagination that gave us Bella and Edward. No copyright infringement is intended.

Chapter Ten

EPOV

“Eddie, what are you getting Bella for Valentine’s day?” Rose asked from her spot in my living room.  I was cooking in the kitchen while Jasper was noodling on my guitar.

“I have no clue, Rosie,” I sighed. “Is it too soon for jewelry? We’ve only been together for a month. I don’t want to scare her off.”

“Edward, she seems pretty skittish as it is,” Jasper said bluntly. I threw a roll at his head. “Thanks, I was hungry.”

“Don’t be an ass, Jasper. I’ve told you about her and do you blame her for being skittish?” I asked angrily.

“I don’t. She has every right to be hesitant about being in a relationship. This girl has been shit on for a majority of her life, Jazzy. Not everyone is as perfect as you, asstard,” Rose said, arching a brow.

“Thank you, Rose,” I said. “You get it.”

“That’s because I’m dealing with it,” Rose said quietly. “I had  great upbringing but Royce took all of my self-esteem away. You know? I mean, I’m working on getting that back and proving to Royce that I’m not the victim anymore.”

“You’re doing great, Rosie,” Jasper said, smiling sheepishly. “And Edward, I’m sorry about making light of what Bella’s feeling. She seems like a wonderful woman.”

“You’re just saying that, Jasper,” I said, trying to reign in my anger. I knew my brother didn’t understand what I saw in Bella. Then again, Jasper didn’t really think with his big head. He was merely guided by his little head. Otherwise known as his cock.

“Jasper, it isn’t all about looks, you know?” Rose spat. “From what Edward’s told me about Bella, she’s a gorgeous person. So what if she’s heavier, you ass. If Edward loves her, which he does, then we need to support him. If you can’t handle that, then you are a small-minded idiot that only sees the outside picture. Not the beauty within.” She hopped up and ran up the stairs to the guest bedroom, slamming the door.

“I…I wasn’t…shit,” Jasper whimpered.

“She’s right, isn’t she?” I asked, narrowing my eyes at my brother. “You don’t see Bella. You see her weight.”

Jasper blushed and nodded. “I don’t get it, Edward. You go from Tanya, who is the epitome of fucking hot, to Bella who is, um, fat.”

“You’re not perfect, either, Jasper,” I snarled. “Who are you to decide who I should or should not date? I’m not giving you shit for dating Alice.”

“That’s because she’s thin!” Jasper yelled.

In a rage, I ran over to Jasper and tossed my guitar onto the ground. I picked him up by his collar and slammed in against the wall. “You better change your fucking attitude about my girlfriend or we’re going to have some serious issues, Jasper,” I growled in his face.

“You’re going to choose Bella over me?” Jasper asked, his eyes widening.

“Right now, yes. She’s got a heart of gold who cares for everyone. You just see the outward appearance and make snap judgments,” I seethed. “So what if Bella’s fat. I love her, Jasper. Get it through your thick skull that I’m going to be with her until a. we break up or b. one of us dies. I’d rather you be a part of our lives, but if you can’t see past her weight, then you may have lost a brother.”

“And a sister,” Rose said from the doorway of the music room. “Jasper, you were never this into looks before. Why does it matter now?”

Jasper sagged against me. I let him go and he fell to the ground. I was so mad at him. Bella was not fat. She was curvy. In all of the right places. “I don’t know. I really don’t,” Jasper murmured. “I’m sorry that I dissed your girl, Edward.”

“You did more than dissed  her, Jasper. You pretty much said that she wasn’t good enough for me,” I said angrily. “I’m sorry that I’m not dating a super model but after Tanya, I’m over that materialistic, snobby, vain mindset. I want a girl who is real and loves me for me. Not someone who sees my title as a doctor and immediately thinks dollar signs. Not someone who sees my face and thinks that I’m gorgeous but dumb. Bella loves me. She loves that I can make her laugh. She loves that I love her, regardless of what she fucking weighs. She can fucking balloon to four hundred pounds and I’ll still love her. I’d be worried for her health, but I’ll love her.”

“I’m going to go,” Jasper said quietly. “I know I’m not welcome right now. I’ll, um, see you both at the ball.”

“You better be  on your best behavior, Jasper. So help me, I’ll throttle you with my stiletto heels,” Rose growled. Jasper nodded and put on his coat, leaving my house. As he was leaving, the smoke detector went off.

“Fuck!” I groaned as I ran to the kitchen. “Rose, open some windows!”

“Got it, Eddie,” she called.

I turned on the overhead vent and opened the oven. The pizza I had cooking was charred and ruined. “Damn it,” I grumbled. “Want to go out to eat, Rose?”

“What was that?” Rose laughed.

“It was supposed to be a veggie pizza,” I frowned. “Now, it’s a charcoal briquette.”

“You can always call Bella to join us,” Rose smiled.

“She’s at work,” I frowned. “We’re not on together at all this week. I won’t get a chance to see her prior to the ball this weekend. I miss her.”

“I know you do, Eddie. How about this, you take your little sister on a date and I’ll help you figure out what to get Bella for Valentine’s day. Do you know what color her dress is for the ball?”

“Purple, she told me,” I replied.

“And you are so getting her a corsage,” Rose squealed. “Where are you taking me to dinner, Eddie?”

“I had a hankering for pizza. So, let’s go to Giordanos,” I smiled. “None of this thin crust shit.”

“Stuffed, baby,” Rose smiled. “Oh, and you can tell me all about your trainer friend.”

“Emmett?” I asked.

“Yeah,” Rose said dreamily.

My brows shot up to my hairline. Rose had already left to put on her coat but I was shocked that she was expressing some interest in a guy. I shook my head and tossed the pizza into the garbage, pan and all. I made sure that the oven was turned off before I went to put on my coat. Rose waited for me and walked out to my car, driving to Giordano’s for some good stuffed, Chicago-style pizza and some brother and sister bonding, minus one brother.

xx APFL xx

The week dragged on and on. Bella and I didn’t a chance to really talk at all. We had short conversations on the phone and texted during our shifts, but nothing all that meaningful.

Also, during the week, Alice asked if we could go out to eat. She wanted to talk about Jasper and his jerky behavior. After he left my house, he went over to Alice’s, ranting and raving like a madman. Alice was confused at first. Then, when she asked for clarification, Jas said that he and I had a fight about Bella. So, I agreed to go out with her. I made sure I told Bella just in case she had another freak out, but she was fine. She knew that Alice wanted to talk to me. About what, she wasn’t sure of.

I met Alice at a diner close to the hospital. I was off and was picking up Bella’s Valentine’s day present. I was also picking up my tuxedo from the tailor. I needed a new one since my older tuxedo had gotten a little tight in the waist. Looks like I’ll be spending some time with Emmett. At the diner, I saw Alice near the back, by a window. She was sipping some coffee and reading the menu.

“Hey, Alice,” I smiled.

“Hi, Hot Doc,” she smirked. She got up and hugged me. I sat down across from her in the booth. “What you up today?”

“Well, I just picked up my tuxedo for the ball this weekend. Then, after I eat with you, I’m going to my jeweler to pick up Bella’s Valentine’s day present.”

“What are you getting her?” Alice asked, leaning forward.

“That’s for me to know and for you to find out,” I chuckled as I sipped my water. “So, my asshole brother came to you after he decided to pull his bullshit move.”

“Yep. He told me what he said and I really laid into him. Bella is an amazing woman and I can see her as one of my closest friends. You know the kind you have forever?” Alice said wistfully.

“I do,” I smiled. “What did Jasper have to say for himself?”

“He tried to explain why he gave you shit about Bella. He couldn’t understand why after the years with your ex-wife, you’d go to a girl like Bella. From what Jasper described, your ex-wife was gorgeous,” Alice said, a slight frown on her face.

“She was. She was tall, slender but with the right amount of curves, strawberry blonde, curly hair and bright blue eyes. Tanya was every man’s dream. Plus, she was a plastic surgeon so she had access to all of the good drugs and free surgery for life,” I chuckled humorlessly. “But, we obviously got a divorce because Tanya was a lesbian.”

“Wow,” Alice breathed. A haggard waitress showed up and took our orders as Alice processed what I said about my ex-wife. She was still dazed when the server left.

“Yeah, wow,” I sighed. “I used to be a lot like Jasper. Only seeing what was on the outside. Prior to my marriage, all of my hookups were skinny, empty, trashy girls. Tanya kind of changed that but she’s still skinny and empty. Tanya had class. She still does. Even though our marriage ended, Tanya and I are still on relatively friendly terms. Anyhow, Jasper probably assumed that I would go back to another woman similar to Tanya but when I met Bella, there was something that drew me in. I saw her for her. I didn’t see the weight or anything physical, I just saw the woman. And I liked what I saw.”

“Bella is amazingly compassionate about her work. She’s got such a warm demeanor and a loving soul,” Alice smiled. “But she can be a pushover. Prior to becoming friends with her, the other nurses on the floor would always bully her and Bella wouldn’t say boo about it. It’s like she didn’t want conflict.”

“She had enough of that at home,” I snarled, remembering how her dad treated her.

“Ah yes, Charlie Swan. He’s a piece of work, right?” Alice chuckled darkly.

“Yep. I’m almost tempted to get a vial of some sort of bacteria and inject it into his ass,” I said with a grim smile on my face. “But, back to Bella and what I see in her.”

“You see the potential in her,” Alice said. Her violet eyes twinkled with knowledge and her smile was wide. “So do I. Angela, too. And my sister? Cyn LOVES Bella. She finds her innocence to be endearing and loves her wit.”

“I love everything about her,” I murmured. “So, what did you say to my asshole brother? You said you laid into him.”

“I asked him why he cared who you dated,” Alice said as she sipped her diet coke. “If you’re happy and in love, why does it matter to him? His response was that you traded down for Bella and that you’re settling for something less than you deserve. I smacked him so hard, giving him a bruise.”

“Now, Alice, I don’t condone domestic violence,” I chided.

“Me neither, but Bella’s my friend. Sisters before the misters,” she giggled, doing a fist pump. “If Jas and I break up, Bella and Angela and my sister are going to be the ones that I turn to. And if he doesn’t pull his head out of his ass, I’ll be turning to them sooner rather than later.” The waitress delivered out food and Alice began stuffing her face. I chuckled her enthusiasm at which she attacked her food. But, I sobered up quickly.

“Jasper loves you, Alice,” I said seriously.

“I love him too, but if he cannot love my friends, then we can’t be together,” Alice said firmly. “And Bella is my friend. I told him as such and he was shocked that I spoke so fervently about her. He left shortly after that, saying he needed to process what I said. I told him that if he can accept my friends; if he can accept Bella, he should pick me up at my apartment by six for the ball. If he can’t, then, it’s his loss.”

“I wonder if Jasper is going to pull his head out of his rear end?” I chuckled.

“I’ll be epically pissed if he doesn’t. I have this cute dress, Edward. I want to show it off and I’m not about to go to this ball by myself,” Alice pouted.

“If he loves as much as he’s said he does, Jasper will be there,” I said. I hope. If not, I’m going to throttle is history loving ass into the next century. “Thank you for talking to him, Alice.”

“I can only imagine what you’re feeling, Edward,” Alice said as she reached across the table to grab my hand. “Do you stick with your blood or your girlfriend?”

“Well, right now, I’m sticking with my girlfriend and my blood. My sister, Rosalie, was on my side throughout the entire thing,” I smirked.

“I think I’m going to like her,” Alice said with a beaming grin. “Shit, I have to go.” She searched her purse for some money.

“Alice, I’ll get this,” I said. “Say hi to everyone for me and I’ll see you at the ball,” I winked.

“Thanks, Edward,” she replied, giving me a relieved smile. She threw on her coat and dashed out of the diner. I finished eating and paid the bill, leaving a tip for the server. Afterward, I got in my car and drove to the jewelers to pick up Bella’s Valentine’s day present. With Rose’s help, I decided on a tanzanite necklace and a pair of matching earrings. It supposedly matched the dress that Bella was going to be wearing for the ball. I sent a frantic text to Angela, verifying Bella’s dress color and she adamantly said that it was purple. She went shopping with Bella and Alice to pick out their dresses. I had to wait to pick up my present, though. The earrings that were in the jewelers were not exactly what I wanted. The salesperson asked what I liked about the pair that were there and I said I like the shape, but the color wasn’t as vibrant as the stone in the necklace. A few days passed and he assured me that the earrings he had brought in would be the perfect match to the necklace.

When I got to the jewelers, I was not disappointed. The earrings were a perfect match to the necklace. I eagerly paid for them and had them boxed up and wrapped. As I was leaving, a case of charms caught my eye. “Excuse me. What are these?”

“Have you heard of Pandora bracelets? Or Pandora necklaces?” the jeweler asked. I shook my head. “It’s a grown up version of a charm bracelet. You create your own jewelry with these charms based on your wife’s likes and dislikes.”

Wife, I like that. No, I LOVE THAT.

“Do you have a catalogue of all the different charms?” I asked.

“Sure.” The salesman handed me a thick catalogue and a nodded in appreciation. Once I left the jewelers, I had two more stops to make. I had to make sure that the florist had the corsage I had ordered ready and plus, I wanted to get two dozen red roses for my girl. The final stop was my brownstone to pick up my baby to get her washed. I toyed with getting a limo, but since we’re spending the night at the hotel, I’d use my Aston Martin.

My car was washed, detailed and beautified. I drove her back home, parking it in the garage. Unfortunately, I had to work the overnight shift. It was my last shift before my weekend off with my Bella. Thankfully, the shift was pretty quiet. We had a small house fire, but it was caught early and the worst patient was an elderly man that was on oxygen. We had to admit him for treatment, but he should make a full recovery.

At the end of my shift, I dragged my exhausted body to my house and crashed for the entire day. When I woke up, at like midnight, I wondered around my house aimlessly. I wanted to make this Valentine’s Day special for Bella. I mean, yes, I have some beautiful jewelry and gorgeous flowers for her. But, what could make it every more heartfelt. Then, I smacked my head. Bella loves her journal. Granted, I couldn’t write in her journal, but I could write her a love letter. I could be romantic and cheesy if I wanted to and damn it, this girl deserved it. So, I walked to my office and took out some of my stationary that I received from my parents when I graduated from medical school. On the top of the cream paper was my full title, Dr. Edward Anthony Cullen, M.D., embossed in glossy black lettering. It was pretty professional looking but it was better than a piece of paper from a legal pad. I didn’t want to type it either. The love letter lost its romantic quality when it’s not hand-written. Picking up a pen, I began writing my letter to Bella.

My Dear Bella,

Two months ago, I moved to this city to be closer to my family and start fresh. I didn’t have any expectations when I moved here. It was a fresh slate at a new hospital, new home, and new life. Little did I know that I was going to meet this beautiful, smart, witty, endearingly adorable and loving nurse that would change my life forever.

And no. I’m not talking about Angela or Alice.

I’m talking about you, sweet girl.

Even though we’ve been together for less than two months, I feel like I’ve known you my whole life. Bella, you are my best friend and the most wonderful girlfriend. The love I feel for you grows by leaps and bounds every day. But, the day you came to the hospital and locked us in my office, declaring yourself, it made my heart burst. I mean I felt like the Grinch with his heart exploding through his chest once he understood the meaning Christmas. God, that was horribly cheesy and a really bad metaphor, but it’s all I could come up with at nearly one in the morning. (Yes, I’m writing this at night. My sleep schedule is all wonky because I worked an overnight shift yesterday).

Bella, I want to share everything with you. I want to give you the world. I want to be the man that shows you how to be loved. I want to make love to you. I want to make you scream my name, baby. And not in an argument, Bella. I want you scream my name when you come all over me. (Sorry, I’m bit horny…I’m totally moving off track, here. I’m supposed to be writing you a LOVE letter. Not a lust letter.)

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. I’m in this for the long haul. You make me want to be a better man. I love you, so much, Bella. I pray that, every day, our love grows and we can be together. Forever. I do see forever with you, Bella. I hope you feel the same way.

I promise to never hurt you.

I promise to always tell you the truth.

I promise to love with all of my heart, mind, body and soul.

I promise to take care of you when you’re sick, upset or hurt.

I promise to be me and never change who I am.

I promise you forever, Bella. Forever and always, sweet girl.

All my love,

Edward

I just hope that when I re-read this tomorrow, it’ll still sound as romantic.

xx APFL xx

The next day, I dragged my ass out of bed to go get my hair cut and my hairy patch waxed. Maybe I need to look into electrolysis. I’ll add it to my to-do list. Before I got my hair cut, the aesthetician took care of the nastiness between my shoulder blades. She also cleaned up my brows, saying that they looked like two hairy caterpillars above my eyes. I’m turning into a fucking woman with all of this grooming. I did put my foot down when she offered to wax my balls. I’ll manscape down there on my own. No hot wax is going anywhere near my junk.

After I was tortured with the hot wax, I went and got my hair cut and styled. The stylist was gushing at the fullness of my hair, asking me what my grooming routine was. To say he was shocked when I said I just washed and ran my fingers through it was an understatement. I stayed quiet for the rest of the time in the stylist’s chair as he cut and ran goop through my strands. When he was done, I tossed him a tip and paid for my grooming.

I drove back and sent a text to Bella, asking what time she would be ready. Her response was seven. That gave me a few hours before I had to get dressed. So, I decided to drive over to my parents’ house. It’s been awhile since I’d seen them. Plus, I wanted to check on Rose.

I parked in the driveway and jogged up the steps to my parents’ door. Using my key, I slipped inside and the smell of home assaulted my nostrils. Mom was baking. Mom was baking her famous apple pie. I love my mother. My nose led me to the kitchen where my mom was pulling the pie out of the oven. “Please say that’s for me,” I smirked.

“If you bid on it at the silent auction tonight, it is,” my mom laughed.

“Oh, hell,” I grumbled. “That means I’ll have to fork over five grand for my mother’s pie. Can’t you make another one for your favorite, first born son?” I batted my eyelashes adorably.

“Not today. But, I will,” she said as she kissed my cheek. “You smell good.”

“Do I normally smell bad?” I chortled.

“No. You smell like a salon,” my mom deadpanned. “And you usually smell pretty damn good, Edward. I raised you well. You shower almost daily. Unlike your brother.” My face fell when she mentioned Jasper. “I know what he said about your Bella. I’m happy to see her again. And actually talk with her. Poor thing slept the entire time I was over when she had her concussion.”

“That was for the best, Mom,” I frowned.

“I know. I’m just excited to learn more about her. To see how she captured your heart,” she smiled, pinching my cheeks. “And to let you know, I was very disappointed with Jasper’s reaction to Bella. He was a mess when he came over a couple of days ago. First you kick his ass at your house, Rose practically disowns him, his girlfriend rips him a new one and he comes here expecting sympathy?”

“Was he pitiful?” I snorted.

“And smelly,” Esme said, wrinkling her nose. “But, I reiterated what you, Rose and Alice said. Your father backed me up, too. Bella is a wonderful girl and so what, if she’s heavy?”

“She’s not heavy. She’s curvy,” I clarified. “And it doesn’t matter what she weighs. She’s beautiful, no matter what.”

“You are such a loving man, Edward. Bella is lucky to have you,” she smiled.

“I’m the lucky one,” I said wistfully. “Is Jasper going to the ball?”

“He is. He owes you, Rose, Alice and Bella an apology,” my mom said sternly. “And I vowed to him that if he didn’t apologize, that I wouldn’t do his laundry anymore.”

“Mom, do you realize the caliber of torment that is?” I wailed. “I mean, really.”

“Exactly. He took my threat seriously and is preparing some sort of diatribe,” Esme said dryly. “I’m going to start getting ready. Do. Not. Touch. The. Pie. Edward. Anthony. I will pummel you with the wooden spoon if you do.”

“Yes ma’am,” I grumbled, staring forlornly at said pie.

“If you are tempted, go bother your sister. She’s currently fighting with a curling iron and losing,” Esme laughed. “Or bug your dad.”

“Dad or Rose. Dad or Rose…I’ll go with dad. But I really want pie,” I whimpered as I walked out of the kitchen. I walked through the house and knocked on my dad’s office door. “Old man!”

“I helped bring you into this world. I can take you out, Edward,” Carlisle snorted. “You excited about the ball?”

“I am. I more excited to be with Bella,” I smiled.

“She’s good for you. I’ve never seen you this giddy before,” he said, arching a brow. “Not even with Tanya.”

“I think the biggest part of the issue with Tanya was that we fell into a very sexual relationship early on and completely bypassed the ‘getting to know you’ phase. It was all about sex and getting that release. Then, when Tanya’s tastes changed, our relationship subsequently followed,” I explained. “But, if we had taken the time to get to know each other, I probably would have noticed that she was flirting with the waitresses as opposed to flirting with me.”

“When did Tanya indicate she started to prefer the company of women to men, Edward?” Carlisle asked in a strained voice.

“When she told me, she said that she always preferred women. But, because of her parents’ social standing, she had to hide her sexual preference. Tanya bounced from man to man until she found me. Do you want to know why she stuck with me?” I laughed. It’s funny now but when Tanya told me, I was slightly offended.

“Why?”

“Because my face is slightly more feminine and my hands are soft,” I said dryly.

“Your face is not feminine. You have my nose. I’m so sorry about that, Edward,” Carlisle frowned. “But I have to agree with the hands. How you keep them so soft when you’re washing them so much, amazes me.”

“That is disturbing, Dad.”

“I try,” he laughed. Then, he sighed. “You know, there may be some ‘backlash’ against you and Bella.”

“What? Why?” I asked, fuming.

“Edward, I’m just telling you what to expect. There is no policy about a nurse dating a doctor. As long as the two of your can perform your job, there’s no issue. But, there’s rumblings amongst the nurses that you’re using your power to protect her. That Bella is a lackluster nurse and you’re abusing your position as associate head of the ER to keep her employed.”

“That’s bullshit! Dad, Bella’s an amazing nurse. Better than most of the nurses on that floor who are more interested in the latest gossip and not about taking care of their patients. On the very first day, after I met with Dr. Volturi, one of the doctors warned me about the coffee, some skanky nurses and about Bella, saying she was a lazy fuck. But, I did some research. Bella has had glowing reviews the entire time she’s been here at the hospital. She doesn’t have any letters in her file and…”

“Edward, I know,” Carlisle said as he put his arms around me. “Breathe, son. You’re working yourself into a fit.”

“Why do they hate her, Dad?” I asked as I returned his embrace.

“Because she’s so good. However, it’s her lack of self-esteem that makes her an easy target. Edward, I can see Bella going far in this hospital. She would have been a phenomenal doctor.”

“She wanted to be a pediatrician,” I said against my dad’s shoulder. “But, she paid for college on her own and she’s drowning in student loans. Plus, her father was making her pay for his medical expenses.”

Carlisle released me and grimaced. “Charlie Swan?” I nodded. “He’s fallen behind on his payments. The hospital has been trying to get a hold of him but his phone has been disconnected.”

“That’s because Bella was in charge of everything in that house. Though, I use the term ‘house’ loosely. It was a dump, Dad. But, her father booted her out on Christmas. He threw out all of her clothes and changed the locks. She had nowhere to go and so she sat on my doorstep for three hours in the frigid cold.”

“Why didn’t she call you?” Carlisle frowned.

“She didn’t want to impose on my time with my family,” I snarled. “I was mad at her for putting herself at risk but I couldn’t keep up with it when I saw how lost she was. Who would do that to their child? On Christmas? I was ready to go over to her dad’s apartment and pummel him into the next century.”

“Join the club. I performed Charlie’s surgery. He was rude to me and my staff. I had to remind him to keep his snide remarks in check. I was almost tempted to refrain from giving his pain meds if he kept up the rudeness, but that’s not really ethical,” my dad smirked.

“Nah, not so much, Dad,” I snickered.

“But, Edward, be prepared for anything regarding you and Bella. You may want to warn her, too,” Carlisle chided. “Use that new harassment policy if it becomes a bigger issue. I know that Eleazar supports your relationship. So does Marcus.  They cannot, though, control what people say or what people do.”

“Right,” I sighed. “I’ll deal with it but tonight, I’m planning on having fun with the love of my life. Have a few drinks. Dance to some bad 80s music. Bid on mom’s pie.”

“Oh, no, you don’t. That pie is mine,” Carlisle said seriously.

“May the best Cullen win,” I said, holding out my hand. My dad shook it but the fierce look in his eyes indicated he wasn’t going to give up easily. But, I knew for certain, that pie was mine. “I’m going to check on Rose and then I have to head home to get ready.”

“Good luck with Rose. She’s having a hair melt down or something,” Carlisle cringed. “And the pie is going to be in my belly. Not yours.”

“Keep telling yourself that, old man,” I snorted as I darted out of the office, almost getting beaned by Kleenex box. I laughed as I ran up the stairs to check on Rose. Her door was open and she was scowling at her reflection as she tried to curl her hair. “What’s with the puss, squirt?”

“My hair is all fucked up. I mean, it’s all brittle and I can’t do shit with it,” she said as she put her curling iron down. “I know it’s because I didn’t eat for a year. But, I’ve been good for the past six weeks. Shouldn’t my hair have bounced back?”

“I don’t know, Rosie. I’m not a nutritionist,” I replied as I ran my fingers through her thin hair. “Can’t you see if you could get an appointment to get it done? A stylist can probably whip it up and attach a bow, make it look nice?”

“A bow, Edward? I’m not five,” she said flatly.

“Come on,” I smirked as I piled her hair on top of her head. “Imagine a bow, right here.”

“You’re an ass, Eddie,” she giggled, smacking my hands away. “Maybe you do have a point though. I should put it up. Hide the nastiness.”

“See? I’m good for something,” I said as I sat down on her bed. Rose was twisting her hair and pulling out some tendrils. “Are you excited about going tonight?”

“Yes and no,” she answered as she began putting in bobby pins, twisting them into her hair. “I’m excited because I’m not afraid that Royce will find me and that I finally get to get out of the house. In a fancy dress, mind you.”

“Do I get to see?”

“No. You’ll see it at the ball, Eddie,” she said with a wink. “But, I’m also freaking out because I’m still very thin. I had to get my dressed taken in several inches. I’m also wary of men.”

“Rose, that’s understandable. You know that dad, Jasper and I along with Bella’s roommate’s boyfriend, Ben, will prevent anything from happening to you,” I said fervently.

“Promise?” Rose asked, her green eyes filling with tears.

“I promise. And I hope you save at least ONE dance with me,” I said, arching a brow.

“Definitely, big brother,” she said as she hugged me tightly. “Anyhow, I have to finish this and you need to get ready. I’ll see you at the Peninsula Hotel.”  I pulled away and kissed her cheek before leaving her room. “Love you, Eddie!”

“Love you, too, squirt,” I chortled. Rose rolled her eyes and I darted down the stairs. I could hear yelling.

“Jasper! That pie was for the auction! You can’t just cut yourself a piece without asking,” Esme screamed.

“It was just sitting there,” Jasper argued. “There was no sign saying ‘Don’t touch.’”

“Jasper Carlisle Cullen, you are in so much trouble. I don’t have time to make a new pie. I was committed to this by your father and now, I have to walk up empty handed,” Esme snarled.

“Mom, if we work together, can we help you make the pie?” I asked.

“I don’t have all of the ingredients. Plus, I make the dough from scratch,” she frowned.

“Why don’t you buy the pie?” Jasper suggested.

I smacked him upside the head. “You’re an idiot, Jasper,” I said exasperatedly. “Look at the description that mom typed up. ‘A homemade apple pie, from the kitchen of Esme Cullen. A long-standing secret recipe of the Cullen Clan. Good luck trying to figure out what the secret ingredient is.’”

“Oh,” Jasper frowned as he pushed the plate with his half-eaten slice of pie away. “I just keep fucking up this week.”

“Yes, you do,” I said. My mom nodded.

“Edward, you can go. Jasper and I are going to attempt to make a new pie. You may want to let Alice know that her date is going to be a little late,” Esme said sternly. Jasper’s shoulders slumped and he grabbed his coat. “You know what to get, Jasper Carlisle Cullen. And none of the generic brands, either. Get enough for two pies.”

“Am I going to get one?” Jasper asked, his eyes brightening.

“No. It’s for your brother. He offered to help when he didn’t do anything wrong. Now, scoot!” Jasper growled and left the house. “You need to go too. Your dad said that we’re all sitting together. Even, Bella’s roommate and her date.”

“Great,” I smiled. “I’ll see you at the hotel. Are you and Dad spending the night?”

“As much as we need to, we’re not. Rose is not ready to be away from the house overnight. This is a big deal for her and I don’t want to cause any unwanted stress on her. So, we’ll be heading home after the ball. Are you staying at the hotel?”

“Yep. In one of the suites,” I said. “So, I need to pack a bag before I get dressed. I’ll see you in a few hours, Mom.”

“Love you, Edward,” she said as she kissed me.

“Love you, too, Mom,” I smiled. I swiped my keys and coat, heading out to my car. I drove home and took a quick shower to wash the hair clippings from my body. I also washed my hair because my hair was too poufy. I did put some gel in it but nowhere near as much as the stylist did.

I packed an overnight bag and made sure I had Bella’s Valentine’s day present. Once that was done, I put on my tuxedo. I had about an hour before I had to leave and pick up Bella. So I spent that hour playing on the piano. I was too eager, though. After a half-hour, I grabbed my bags and loaded them up into my Aston Martin. I drove to the florist and picked up the corsage and bouquet of flowers. It was just shy of seven when I pulled up to Bella’s apartment. Picking up Bella’s present, her corsage and the bouquet, I locked up my car and used my key (yes, she gave me a key) to enter the building.

Once I got to her floor, I wrinkled my nose at the nasty ass smell in the hallway. I recognized it immediately as pot, alcohol and some other drug. It was coming from James’ apartment. I covered my nose as I crossed past his apartment. In front of Bella’s place, I knocked quietly. I didn’t want to enter unannounced and see Angela or Bella in various states of undress.

A few moments later, Angela opened the door and she smiled at me. “Looking good, Dr. C!” she bellowed. “You should wear the tux to work.”

“Ah, no,” I chuckled. “It looks good but it’s uncomfortable as a fuck and I feel like damned penguin.”

“You look a bit like a damned penguin,” Angela teased. “Let me go check on Bella. She was nearly ready when I last talked to her a few minutes ago. She was searching for some kind of jewelry to wear. Nothing was going with her dress.”

“I may have the solution to that problem,” I smirked.

“I kind of gathered that. Were you a boy scout when you were a kid?”

“For about a month. Then we went camping and I got poison ivy. Fuck that shit,” I cringed.

“Let me guess, you needed toilet paper and you wiped with a leaf?” Angela guffawed.

I blushed and shot her a look. “Laugh it up, chuckles. Talk about embarrassing. My mom had to put cream on and up my ass. It was hell. I couldn’t sit for days.”

“I’m sorry, Edward,” she said as she sobered up. “Let me get Bella.” She swept her navy blue dress and scampered to Bella’s room. She knocked on my girl’s door and I could hear them hissing. A few moments later, Angela came back out. “She’ll be right out. I’m going to finish gussying myself up. You like the dress?” She was wearing a navy blue satin halter dress.

“It’s very nice, Ang. The color is perfect for your skin,” I said. I plucked a rose from the bouquet. “Happy Valentine’s Day.”

“Aw, shucks. A rose from another girls’ bouquet. How sweet!” Angela teased. “Thanks, Edward. If Ben gets here, can you let him in?”

“Sure.”

I sat down on the couch and flipped through a random magazine on the cocktail table as I waited for Bella. I didn’t have to wait long. Bella was standing at the entrance to the living room. Her hair was curled and pinned half up and half down. Her makeup was soft and smoky. Her dress…her dress was perfection. It was a deep indigo color with thick straps. Around her middle, there was a matching belt that cinched in her natural waist. The dress looked like thick chiffon ribbons that had been sewn together to make a dress. She looked like an angel.

“I have no words,” I whispered, staring at her.

“That bad?” she asked as she ran her hands down her skirt.

“No. That good,” I murmured as I crossed to her. I took her face in my hands. “So very, very good. Can I kiss you or will that mess up your makeup?”

“Of course you can kiss me,” she breathed. “Fuck the makeup.”

“I love you,” I growled as my lips descended onto hers. We kissed each other hungrily until Angela cleared her throat. We broke apart and Bella was blushing. I was smiling like a fool, but when you have a girlfriend as hot as Bella, you’d be smiling too.

“If I had let you both continue, clothes would have been shed and you both would have been naked in two seconds,” she quipped.

“What?” Bella squeaked.

“That kiss was fucking hot, Bells,” Angela smirked. “Ben is on his way up then we’ll be out of your hair. Though, it looked like you two needed a chaperone.”

“Hush,” I laughed. “We don’t need a chaperone, Little Miss Screams-A-Lot.” Angela shut her mouth and glowered at me.

“Don’t fight, you two,” Bella admonished. “Ang, can you take our picture? I’d like a memory of tonight. Just in case this was just a dream.”

“Bella, this is not a dream,” I said as I pulled her to my side, kissing her neck. “I’m right next to you, sweet girl and I’m not going anywhere.”

“That was so wonderfully cheesy, Dr. C.,” Angela snorted. “Now, act like you’re in love.”

I smiled and wrapped my arms around Bella, kissing her forehead. Bella leaned against me, snuggling against my side. I gently cupped her face and pressed my lips to hers. “I love you,” I mumbled against her mouth.

“I love you, too,” she said, smiling widely.

“Look at the camera,” Angela whined. We both chuckled and smiled at the camera as she snapped away. The final picture was of the two of us acting like idiots and making funny faces at the camera. As we finished our photo session, Ben had come up. Angela handed Bella the camera and the two of them were in their own pictures. Finally, using the timer function, we got a handful with the four of us before Ben and Angela left the apartment.

“Aren’t we going to go?” Bella asked as she watched the door close behind Ben.

“We are. I have a few things for you,” I said as I led her to the living room. “First off, this is for you.” I took out the red and purple corsage. “You said you didn’t go to prom and I’m trying to recreate that magic of that night. Granted, this prom is where we can get drunk and there’s no prom king or queen. But, if it’s any consolation, you’d win as prom queen.”

“Edward,” she breathed. She smiled and a few tears fell out of her eyes. I wiped them away and put the corsage on her wrist. “You are so the prom king.”

“Thanks, sweet girl,” I chuckled. “I also have flowers for you. Two dozen roses.” I handed her the large bouquet of roses. “Okay, almost two dozen roses. I gave one to Angela.”

“I bet she gave you shit about it.”

“She did, but she still accepted it,” I smirked.

“Let me put these into some water,” Bella said.

“Just a second, sweet girl,” I said as I held her hand. “I have a Valentine’s Day present for you.”

“Edward…shit,” she frowned. “I’m a horrible girlfriend. I didn’t get you anything…”

“Bella, you don’t have to. Wearing this dress and being my date for this ball is present enough,” I chided.

“You said something similar to that at Christmas. Edward, I owe you at least two presents. One for Christmas and now, Valentine’s day,” she frowned. Her brown eyes were brimmed with tears.

“No tears, baby,” I said as I took her face in my hands. “I didn’t have to get you a Valentine’s Day present. But, I wanted to. Besides, I think it solves a problem that Angela said you were having.” I handed the gift bag to Bella and smiled expectantly.

Bella bit her lip and pulled out the envelope with my love letter first. She tore into it and as she read my letter, fat tears fell down her cheeks. I wiped the away and waited until she was done with the letter.  She crushed it to her chest and looked at me. “You really believe everything you wrote, Edward?”

“And more, Bella. I want it all with you,” I said, giving her a crooked smile. “I want to give you everything you could ever dream of. What’s mine is yours, love. And I mean that, whole-heartedly. I love you so fucking much, Bella. I’m so blessed to have you in my life.”

“As am I to have you, Edward,” she said as she leaned forward, kissing my lips. “I love you, too.”

“I’ll never get tired of hearing you say that, Bella,” I breathed. “Now, there’s more in that bag.”

Bella pulled away and took out the two boxes from the bag. “Which one should I open first?”

“Hmmm, that one,” I said, pointing to the necklace. She nodded and popped open the box. She gasped loudly. Her eyes widened and she looked up at me. “Do you like it?”

“I love it. But, I’ve never seen a stone like this,” she whispered.

“It’s a tanzanite,” I explained. “And it matches your dress perfectly.”

“You want me to wear this tonight?”

“Of course, love,” I said as I took the platinum, diamond and tear drop shaped tanzanite pendant from the box. “Lift up your hair.” Bella twisted it up away from her neck and I fastened the necklace. It lay on her creamy skin, just above her voluptuous breasts. Her hair fell around her neck and she lightly touched the pendant. “Do you like it?”

“I love it, Edward. But this looks expensive,” she frowned.

“It doesn’t matter how much it costs, Bella. I wanted to get it for you,” I replied. “Open the other one, baby.” I sat back down opposite of her and she shook off the lid of the box, revealing the smaller velvet box inside. She opened it and she smiled, then frowned. “Why the long face?”

“I’ve never seen such beautiful things, Edward. I can’t accept them,” she said quietly.

“Why not? I bought them. For you,” I said as I forced her to look at me. “I bought them because I love you. If I had my way, you’d be dripping in diamonds and precious gems. Well,  you’d be naked and dripping in diamonds and precious gems.”

“Stop it,” she giggled. “You don’t want to see this body naked.”

“Yes. I do,” I said as I ran my finger down her arm. It was smooth and pale. “I want to see and feel all of you, Bella.” I picked up the earrings and removed them from the box. Tucking her hair behind her ear, I put one earring in and then the other. “I want to see all of you, wearing just this jewelry. I have no doubt that I won’t be disappointed.” Bella blushed and ducked her head. “Come on, CinderBella. We have a ball to go.”

“CinderBella?” she asked, arching a brow.

“Work with me, sweet girl,” I quipped as I picked up Bella’s silver wrap. I carefully covered her and picked up her overnight bag.

“The roses! I need to put them in water,” she said.

“Ask and ye shall receive,” I smirked as I found the vase from the flowers I gave her on our first date. I quickly put the roses into the vase, setting it on the table. “Problem solved. Let’s go!”

We rode down the elevator and I could tell Bella was deep in thought. She had a deep furrow between her brows. Her fingers were twined with mine but she was worried about something. “None of this,” I said as smoothed her brow. “We’re going to have fun. Dance. Eat some expensive rubber chicken. Dance some more. Spend the night in a five star hotel and just be us, Bella.”

She breathed deeply and smiled. “We are,” she said quietly. “What did I do to deserve you, Edward?”

“The same thing I did to deserve you, my beautiful Bella,” I said, kissing her lips. We walked out into the cold February air and scurried to my Aston Martin. I helped her into the passenger seat. I put her bag in my trunk and jogged to the driver’s side.

When I started the car and pulled away from the curb, Bella hummed quietly. “Do you think that someday you’ll let me drive her?” she asked.

“You know how to drive?” I chuckled.

“Of course I do. I just can’t afford a car, and I prefer to take public transportation. It’s much more convenient in the city.  But I have my license,” she said, poking my shoulder.

“You can drive my Aston Martin, after you’ve driven my Volvo,” I conceded. “Fair?”

“Fair,” she smirked. She looked out the window and she gripped my arm. “Is this the hotel?”

“It is,” I said. “Nice, isn’t it?”

“It’s fit for royalty,” she breathed.

“I think Prince Charles stayed here once,” I replied. “Not sure, though. Let me use the valet to park the car and then we can check in.” I pulled up to the circle and was greeted by an older gentleman. I handed him the keys. With an smile, he handed me a ticket. I grabbed our bags and we walked into the lavish lobby. Bella stayed close to me, unsure how to act in such a place. “Bella, relax. You look so guilty.”

“Not guilty. Wary. I don’t want bump into anything and break it,” she hissed.

“You won’t break anything,” I chuckled as I kissed her temple. We walked to the front desk and I handed over my credit card. “Hi, we’re checking in. It’s under Cullen.”

“Ah, yes,” the concierge smiled. “The honeymoon suite. Congratulations, Mr. and Mrs. Cullen.” Bella opened her mouth but I shot her a look. She bit her lip but blushed a deep red before snuggling to my side. “Here you go. Now, I know that you are both here for the event for Cook County Hospital. Would you like a bellhop to bring up your luggage?”

“That would be awesome.”

The concierge handed me the keys and promised to have our luggage delivered to our room. She then directed us to the ballroom where the fundraiser was taking place. Bella gripped my hand tightly but this time it wasn’t about breaking something. I think it was fear about making our relationship public.

“What will people say, Edward?” she asked.

“It doesn’t matter what they say, love,” I replied. “You’re with me. I’m with you. We love each other. That’s all that matters.”

“I’m afraid that people are going to see our relationship as…one of convenience. That I’m with you to move ahead in the nursing pool,” she whimpered.

“People are going to talk. People are going to assume what they want. But, you and I both know that those rumors are not true. Plus, you know that I love you,” I murmured as I took her face in my hands. “Nothing anyone can say will ever change that, Bella.”

“I love you, too, Edward,” she said, closing her eyes briefly. She leaned forward and pressed her mouth to mine, kissing me fiercely. When she pulled back, her eyes were sparkling and the confidence brimming from her was palpable. “Let’s give them something to talk about.” She twined her fingers with mine and stood taller before dragging me to the purple, red and black room located in the back of the hotel.

Okay, who is this and what happened to my meek, shy girlfriend?

Together, we walked into the sleek bar set up just outside of the ballroom. I looked around the bar for people that I recognized. I was still pretty new in the hospital and I only really knew the staff in the ER and a few of the surgical residents from my stint as a surgical attending.

“Bella! Edward!” we heard across the bar. We both turned and saw a very excited Alice running to us with a very bedraggled Jasper being pulled behind her. “You made it!”

“Of course we made it,” Bella smiled as she hugged Alice. “I love your dress. Didn’t you have a green one picked out?”

“I did, but I liked this one better,” Alice smirked.

“Jas, you have some flour on your cheeks,” I teased.

“Fuck off, Edward,” he growled as he wiped his face. “Your pie is in your house.”

“Good boy,” I said as I patted him on the head. He smacked my hand away and scowled at me. “Bella, you remember my brother, Jasper, right?”

“Of course,” Bella said as she held out her hand. Jasper shook it and gave her a smile. “Why did you have flour on your cheek?”

“Because I was a moron and ate a slice of my mom’s apple pie,” he frowned.

“There’s more to the story than that, Jasper,” I chided.

Jasper rolled his eyes. “It was the pie that my mom was donating for the silent auction. So, I had to stay and help my mom to bake another pie. Plus an additional pie for Eddie since he offered to stay and help and make one.”

“You offered to help your mom?” Bella and Alice cooed.

“Yeah,” I blushed. “This idiot was thinking with his stomach and not his head. But, the pie is made and the crisis was averted.”

“Yep. Mom and Dad are inside. Rose is looking for you,” Jasper said. “Alice and I were sent out to find you. We’re at the same table, but I’m certain Mom told you that. Table number fifteen.”

“Angela is in there, too,” Alice said. “She and Ben are so adorable. Come on! Let’s go inside and have some fun, kids!” Alice and Bella linked arms, heading into the ballroom with Jasper and me following them. As I passed the entry table, I swiped the card for Bella and me, indicating that we were at table fifteen.

Inside the ballroom, it was decorated with the same shades of purple, red and black. It was very elegant and classy. It also had a touch of fun. It was appropriate to have the sense of fun since this fundraiser was for the children’s ward in the hospital. We had a second fundraiser in June for the entire hospital. That was held at Millennium Park. I would have to make sure that Bella would come with me to that one.

“Alice, I’m going to get us some drinks,” Jasper said. “Would you guys like something?”

“I’ll have a glass of white wine,” Bella answered.

“I’ll have the same,” I said. Jasper nodded and headed to the bar. Alice, Bella and I reached the table. Rose was seated at the table, twisting her napkin into a tight ball. She was looking around nervously. She looked beautiful though. Her hair was twisted up away from her face. Bella must have noticed her before me. She sat down next to Rose. She introduced herself and Rose smiled gratefully, hugging Bella tightly.

“Eddie, I approve of your girlfriend,” Rose said with a smile. I sat down next to Bella who was holding Rose’s hand.

“I’m glad,” I chuckled.

“I apologized to Rose about my outburst,” Bella said. “And that if she wanted to talk, that I’d be more than willing to listen.”

“Oh, and get this, Eddie. Bella’s therapist is my therapist. Michele is the shit!” Rose beamed.

“She is,” Bella said.

“Wait, you got that from one hug?” I chuckled.

“I recognized her from the waiting room,” Rose said. “I saw Bella waiting when I was leaving from my second session with Michele. I wasn’t sure if it was Bella, but now, I know.”

Jasper came back with the drinks and we all sat down. Rose and Bella were chatting about their therapy sessions while I was talking with Ben about basketball. I didn’t really care about the Bulls but apparently Ben was a big fan. My parents were taken with Bella and her soft demeanor. They also loved how she reached Rose.

Shortly after the meals began being served, Bella, Alice, Angela and Rose went to the bathroom. As they left, my dad turned to me. “She’s amazing, Edward. I can’t believe that is the same woman from the ER.”

“I know, Dr. Cullen,” Ben smirked. “She’s cool and confident. I’ve never seen Bella like this.”

“I’m so proud of her,” I said with a beaming grin.

“What do you think, Jasper?” Carlisle asked, prodding my brother.

“She’s…she’s nothing like I imagined,” Jasper said honestly. I frowned at him. “It’s nothing bad, Edward. When I met her at New Year’s Eve, she was so reserved and shy. Tonight, it’s like I’m looking at a different girl. I’m sorry for being an epic asshole earlier this week. Do you forgive me?”

“Do you respect my girlfriend? Despite her looks and her weight?”

“I more than respect her, man. She made Rosie smile,” Jasper said, his voice filled with awe. “She made Rosie smile like Edward does.”

“Good. I’m glad you finally pulled your head out of your ass, Jasper,” Carlisle said sternly. “Your opinion about that sweet girl was unwarranted and your behavior toward your brother was deplorable.”

“Yes, sir.”

“I’m going to go to the bathroom,” I said. “Want to come, Jas?”

“Nah. I’m going to wallow for a bit,” he grumbled. “I am sorry, Edward.”

I nod and walked to the bathroom. As I was near to the bathroom, the girls were giggling as they were heading back. Bella wrapped her arms around my neck, kissing me sweetly. My heart was stammering as I watched her walk back with my sister and her two best friends. I smiled as went into the bathroom, taking care of business quickly. However, I was washing my hands when I heard Newton and Crowley on the other side of the door. I scrambled into the stall and listened to their conversation.

What? I’m curious.

“Have you seen them?” Newton bellowed. “Swine is all over Cullen like a cheap suit. God, I bet he can’t even get it up for her. She’s got so many fucking rolls.”

“I’m shocked she came. Shouldn’t she be home, playing with her fucking cats?” Crowley howled as he peed.

I growled lowly as I listened their vitriol. They belittled everything about Bella, from her dress, to her hair, to her jewelry, to our relationship. When they started spewing about how she gave me head in my office, I decided to make my presence known. Their faces blanched when they saw my furious face. “You both should be ashamed of yourselves,” I growled. “How old are you? Spreading rumors and gossiping like middle school girls. Yes, I’m with Bella. Why does it bother you? It sure as hell doesn’t bother me. Because this a hospital function, you need to remember that your represent the hospital. And you’re not representing it very well. Leave my relationship with Bella alone. Grow up.”

“Why are you with her, Edward?” Newton spat.

“It’s Dr. Cullen,” I snarled. “And I’m with her because I fucking love her. I guess that notion is too foreign for two frat boys like you.” I spun on my heel and left the bathroom. I was so fucking pissed off. I knew I couldn’t go back to the ball right away. I had to calm down. So, I went out onto the balcony in the back of the hotel.

I managed to calm myself. I headed inside and sat down next to Bella. She gave me a look of concern. I shook my head, kissing her temple. The smell of her perfume and her soft body pressed against me calmed me down even further. I leaned to whisper in her ear. “I love you, Bella. So much, baby. I’ll always love you.”

“Are you okay?” she responded back, looking at me with concern in her brown eyes.

“I’m fine. I’ll tell you tomorrow,” I said as I cupped her chin. I pressed my lips to hers in a soft, loving kiss. I brushed her hair back and kissed down her neck, ending just behind her ear. She moaned and blushed a brilliant crimson. “I love your blush, beautiful.”

“When you kiss me like that, you’ll see a lot of it,” she giggled.

The rest of the dinner was pretty non-descript. After dessert, we checked out the silent auction items. There were a few things that I bid on. The one I hoped I got was a two week vacation to Oahu in July in a luxury villa for two. My guess is my bid is not going to be outbid. It was high. Very high. Probably easily four times what the vacation was worth.

Once we finished looking at the silent auction items, the dance floor had opened up. I led Bella out onto the dance floor and we swayed to some iconic slow song. She felt so amazing in my arms. On the floor, it felt like it was the two of us. The world just fell away and the only person that mattered was my Bella.

The next song was the Cha Cha Slide and we all fumbled on the dance floor like fools trying to figure it out. My sister was the only one who knew how to do it so we all followed her. The next slow dance, I danced with Rosalie while Dad danced with Bella. She was shocked when Carlisle asked her to dance. However, I could see him speaking quietly to her. Her eyes were filled with tears as she nodded and smiled. At the end of the dance, Bella hugged my dad before he handed her to me. “Why were you crying, beautiful girl?”

“I was crying because your dad was telling me that he was happy that I made you happy,” she sniffled. She put her head on my shoulder. “Do I really make you happy?”

“Bella, for the first time in all of my life, I’m content, happy, ecstatic and in love,” I said as I pressed a kiss to her soft lips. “I don’t want anything to change, love. I’m so blessed to be with you, Bella.”

“I’m the blessed one,” she murmured, playing with my hair. “Never in my life did I ever expect to find someone like you. I’m still working on my trust issues, but for the first time since my mom’s death, I’m genuinely happy. I feel like I have someone on my side. Thank you, Edward. Thank you for loving me and bringing me such joy.”

“I promise to give you that joy forever, Bella,” I whispered, kissing her again. Quickly, our kiss grew more heated and my tongue slid inside of her mouth.

“Hey, porn stars,” Alice chided. “Knock it off. They’re getting ready to announce the silent auction winners.”

“Oops,” we both laughed as we listened to the winners. My dad won my mom’s pie, much to Jasper’s chagrin. Alice won some spa weekend for her and the girls. Rose won an autographed book by one of our psychiatrists. Now, the trip was one of the big ticket items. There was the trip to Oahu, a trip to Italy, another to London and then a cruise on the Mediterranean.

Just as I predicted, I won the trip to Oahu. Bella was shocked when they called my name. I handed over my check and took the basket with the Oahu trip goodies. Back at the table, I plopped down to next to Bella. “You better be available for this trip, love. You’re coming with me.”

“Me?”

“Am I going to bring my other girlfriend?” I teased.

“Um, no. What if we break up?” she asked, furrowing her brow.

“Never going to happen, love,” I said as I kissed her neck. “You’re stuck with me forever, baby. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’m tired. Shall we head up to our room and have some fun up there?”

“I could be persuaded,” she said with a cheeky grin.

I leaned over to her ear. “Now, I know that you’re not ready for me to make love to you, but I do want to make you scream my name, Bella. I want to feel you come,” I growled as I nipped at her ear.

Her responding whimper was all of the encouragement. It was going to be a fun evening up in our hotel room. I get love up my girlfriend. I couldn’t fucking wait!

A/N: I know I promised citrus. But, in retrospect, I want have their first real physical experience to be in Bella’s eyes. So, we can hear what she thinks as Edward loves her, physically. Now, it will not be a full lemon but it will be juicy. We’re also going to get the fallout of Newton’s and Crowley’s words, plus the commentary of her less than nice co-workers. Also, Charlie, our favorite sperm donor, will be making an appearance as well. Now, pictures of this chapter are on my blog: the ball, what they wore,  and Edward’s presents to Bella. Check out my Facebook group: Tufano79’s Twilight Fanfiction Appreciation. Extra teasers, conversations and RobPorn. Anyhow, leave me some lovin!

I also was one of the contributing authors for the Fandom for Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. An  OUTTAKE/FUTURETAKE for this story was my contribution. If you donate some $$, you’ll get the compilation. Visit this site to make a donation… (just change the ‘dots’ to periods  and remove the spaces and you’re good…) http:// fandom4lls (dot) blogspot (dot) com/. Also, information regarding this foundation will be on my blog as well.

Chapter Text

This is different from the norm. In all of the stories that I’ve read or that I’ve seen, all of the characters are disgustingly perfect unless they are written with very clear flaws. This story is about love (um, duh! Look who’s writing it. I’m the queen of romance), and finding it in the least likely place with the least likely person.

Now, this story is based in a hospital. My medical training comes from…WebMD. I’m not a doctor, nor do I claim to be. I’m a music teacher who has a wild imagination and a penchant for all things Twilight (and with this story, added in a mix of ER! I loved Luca Kovac…) Which brings me to my disclaimer: None of this is mine. I’m not, nor ever will be, Stephenie Meyer. If was, I’d be rolling in the dough from her insane imagination that gave us Bella and Edward. No copyright infringement is intended.

Chapter Eleven

BPOV

I totally felt like ‘CinderBella’ as Edward had called me earlier. The ball had been a dream come true. We spent the night eating, drinking, dancing in each other’s arms, kissing and just being a couple in love. However, I knew something was up with Edward after he came back from the bathroom. His green eyes weren’t as bright as they had been earlier. I asked him about it, but Edward promised he’d tell me tomorrow.

He was so hiding something.

Something that obviously had to do with me.

However, I let it go. I didn’t want to have my night ruined because of something that happened to Edward in the bathroom, especially if it was pertaining to me. I’ll just ask Edward about it tomorrow.

After they had announced the winners of the silent auction, Edward seemed anxious to leave. His eyes had a predatory gleam to it and he looked like he was ready to pounce. Honestly, so was I. He looked so fucking sexy in his tuxedo and his haircut. I wanted to run my fingers through his hair and remove the tux with my teeth.

Once Edward had made his declaration that he wanted to go, we said good bye to our friends and Edward’s family. I made tentative plans with Rosalie to go out for coffee the next day I have off so we could chat without the prying eyes of my co-workers and her family. Rose had mentioned that the only person that she truly trusted in her family was Edward. Her parents were too worried about her eating habits and Jasper was an immature brat who just didn’t get it. Edward, her protector from the moment she was born, was the most affected by her attack and the one that Rose turned to the most. She wanted someone else besides her oldest brother and her therapist. That was going to be me.

The ride up in the elevator to our suite was tense. It wasn’t a bad thing though. It was more sexual. Edward’s fingers glided along my back and I could feel my body react to his soft, gentle caress. “Do you know how beautiful you looked tonight?” he murmured in the quiet elevator.

I blushed and ducked my head. I had felt pretty, but honestly, compared to the other women in the room, I was not beautiful. I was still heavy. I was still not the woman that belonged on Edward’s arm.

“I can see what you’re thinking, Bella,” he chided as the elevator opened. “That you are not ‘beautiful.’ That you don’t deserve my compliments.” He laced his fingers with mine and we walked down the hallway to the room. “You do, sweet girl.”

“I’m still having a hard time accepting the fact that you want me,” I answered. Edward sighed and opened the door we had stopped in front of. Obviously, he was frustrated with me. Perhaps, I should just take my bag and go. Inside of the room, I walked to the bag and bent down. I picked it up and steeled myself to leave. “I’m sorry, Edward.”

“Why are you holding your bag?” Edward asked, arching a brow.

“I’m pissing you off. I’ll just go,” I mumbled.

“Oh, no,” Edward said sternly. He took the bag from my hands and guided me to the bed. The very large and inviting bed. “Bella, why do you think you’re pissing me off?”

“You sighed when you opened the door,” I muttered.

“Bella, baby, I sighed because I want you to see what I see. I want you to know that I love you, regardless of what you look like,” he said quietly as he took my face in his hands. “I was just merely pointing out the fact that you looked gorgeous tonight earlier. And you did. So beautiful, Bella.” He stared at me, rubbing his thumbs along my cheeks.

“I’m afraid, Edward,” I whispered.

“Why, sweet girl?”

“That your opinion of me will change when you see me with my clothes off,” I frowned. “Clothing hides a multitude of sins, Edward.”

“Nothing will change, Bella,” he said. “And if you’re not ready, we don’t have to do anything. We can just curl up and cuddle.”

No, I don’t want that. I want to be with him. But, I’m so afraid. Maybe just cuddling would be a better option.

“You won’t be mad if we don’t…fool around?” I whimpered.

“Of course not,” Edward said. He kissed my forehead chastely and I could tell in his stance that he was slightly dejected at my lack of self-confidence. I had been so strong at the ball and now my insecurities bite me in the ass. “I’m going to take out my contacts if you want to change into something more comfortable. Okay?” I nodded and watched as Edward moved toward the bathroom. He turned just before he went inside. “I love you, sweet girl.” He gave me his sweet crooked grin before ducking into the bathroom and shutting the door.

I fell back on the bed, feeling the tears fill in my eyes. Why? Why can I not do this? Edward loves me. He’s said so. He shows me every day. Why can’t I let him in all the way? My tears fell down my cheek unabated as I tried to calm myself. It was fruitless. Obviously, I was too much of a mess to calm down by just laying there. I forced myself up and unzipped my dress. I let out a deep breath as I felt the tightness around my ribs go away. The dress was absolutely gorgeous but it cinched in my waist. Gave me a great shape but was incredibly uncomfortable for long periods of time. Five hours in the dress was definitely my limit.

I picked up my bag and looked inside. Nothing that I packed was in there. I had packed a pair of sleep shorts and a long-sleeved t-shirt along with a pair of dark wash jeans and red sweater for tomorrow. However, inside there was a purple negligee with matching panties along with my jeans and shirt that definitely accentuated my girls.

Edward came back out of the bathroom and he was wearing a pair of flannel pajama bottoms. On his face were his glasses and he was shirtless. “You okay? I heard you squeak in the bathroom.”

“Um, I think the luggage fairies attacked,” I grumbled. “What I packed is not in here.”

“Really?” Edward smirked.

“Yep. My sleep shorts and t-shirt aren’t in here. It was replaced with this,” I said, holding up my nightie. Edward pushed off the door frame and held out his hand. I gave him the nightie, blushing a deep crimson. He held it up, appraising the sheer material.

“I think you should wear it,” he said quietly. “In regards to lingerie, it’s pretty tame.”

“The panties are butt floss, Edward,” I said dryly.

“You could always keep the panties off,” he chortled, waggling his brows like a perv. I rolled my eyes and grabbed the negligee from Edward’s hand. The panties I wore under my dress were the same color as the nightie. I’ll just wear those. I kissed Edward’s bare shoulder before slipping into the bathroom to change. My tears had dried and I was somewhat calm. Carefully, I removed my dress and hung it up. I also took off my jewelry, placing it into the boxes that Edward had left on the counter for me. Once my dress was off and my jewelry in its box, I put on the nightie. It was sexy but still innocent at the same time. The fabric hung loosely around my torso but hugged my breasts. It was see-through and my nipples were visible under the purple fabric.

I brushed my teeth, avoiding looking in the mirror. I finished in the bathroom and walked out into the bedroom. The lights were off. The only light was coming from the bathroom and a few candles that Edward had lit. I flipped off the lights and walked to the bed. Edward was leaning against the headboard with his eyes closed. I crawled onto the bed and slipped between the sheets. He opened his eyes when he felt the bed dip under my weight. When he saw what I was wearing, his green eyes darkened and his mouth dropped a bit in shock.

Or was it disappointment?

When his fingers glided up my arm and taking purchase in my hair, his other hand moved to my hip, guiding me over his lap, I knew it wasn’t disappointment. The hardness between my legs was not an indication of disappointment. He was fucking turned on! I was perched astride his legs with his arousal pressing between my thighs. His eyes had darkened even more and there was very little green in his irises. Even in the dim room, I could see the faint blush on his skin. I was a fucking nuclear tomato. His stare was intense, fiery and lustful.

Edward’s hands moved up my arms slowly. His warm palms were gently massaging my skin. Once he reached my shoulders, one hand continued to my back, gently tickling the exposed skin there while the other hand moved to my face. His finger traced my jaw as he reached my lips. His eyes never left mine. With his thumb, he swiped it across my lower lip, earning a guttural moan from me.

This was, by far, the most erotic thing that has ever happened to me and we haven’t even kissed yet. My panties were drenched just from his piercing gaze and sensual touches.

Edward moved his hand from my face and lightly ran his finger tips down my neck. My head fell back and I arched my back toward him. I wanted him to touch me. I wanted to feel his hands on my breasts. I wanted to feel his fingers between my legs; to feel how wet he made me. “Bella, look at me,” Edward said in a tone that left little to be argued with. I looked at him and he was smiling. Not a friendly smile but a smile that was sexy and wild. It was his crooked smirk with a sensual twist. “I can stop but seeing you wearing this…I need you, baby.” He leaned forward. His lips barely grazing my ear, “I need to feel you. I need to make you come.” His mouth descended on my ear and he bit down hard on my earlobe. My hands moved to his shoulders as I unconsciously rotated my hips over his erection. He moaned as his mouth sucked on my neck.

“I want you,” I whispered. Edward’s head snapped up and he looked into my eyes. “Not all the way, but I want to explore with you. Please?” I picked up his right hand and placed it on my left breast. He let out a strangled noise once his hand wrapped around me. Edward’s lips finally met mine and they were insistently moving against my mouth. My hands were buried in his hair, tugging on his thick strands as we fought for dominance with our mouths. Somehow, Edward had flipped us so I was on my back and he was resting between my legs. His hardness was pressing against the fabric of his sleep pants and rubbing the lace of my panties. He pulled back slightly and he looked down at me. “What?” I asked.

“Can I take this off?” he questioned, gesturing to the negligee. “I want to feel your skin against me.” His smirk softened and his eyes lost their predatory gleam. “Please?” His now green eyes pled with me. My heart stammered against my chest. The only other person who has seen me like this has been Jake. I didn’t want a repeat. Could I trust him to not break my heart?

Trust him, Bella. He’s been nothing but loving and honest since you’ve met him.

I bit my lip and sat up. Edward sat back onto his knees as I reached for the hem of the negligee. Here goes nothing. Be prepared for Edward to run away screaming. I pulled the purple material off my body and tossed it next to me. I kept my eyes down, focusing on the duvet cover. I crossed my arms across my body, trying to hide the rolls and lumps.  Edward’s hand reached up and gently touched my face. “Don’t, Bella,” he murmured. “You’re beautiful.” He moved my hands away from my body. He pressed me back against the pillows. His bare chest was molded against mine and I moaned at the feeling of his warm skin against me. His mouth covered my lips and he balanced on one hand. Tenderly, he ran his hand along my arm, down my chest to palm my breast.

His fingers expertly kneaded my flesh. He rolled my nipple with his thumb as he fondled my breast. I groaned into his mouth as he continued to play with my bare breast. Edward’s mouth moved away from mine as he kissed down my neck. “God, baby, you are so exquisite,” he mumbled against my collarbone. “So soft and perfect.” He nipped at my skin at my neck before moving down further to my breast. He looked up at me and his eyes had returned to their feral gaze. With a seductive smirk, he licked my nipple. His other hand gripped my breast and he tugged and toyed with my nipple while he licked and bit at my other one. “Your breasts are beyond words, Isabella,” he cooed, looking up at me. He sucked it into his mouth, earning another moan from me. “From now on, I’d love for you to be topless whenever you’re around me.”

“Keep dreaming, Cullen,” I giggled. “These girls need a bra.”

“No, they don’t,” Edward smirked as he kissed across my chest. He licked, sucked, nipped and bit my other nipple while he toyed with my bare breast. “They’re here for me to kiss and play with.”

“Are you a boob man, Edward?” I asked, ruffling his hair.

“I’m a woman man, Bella,” he replied. “I love everything about women. Their soft skin.” He ran his hands up and down my torso, reveling in the feeling. “Their smell. You smell like strawberries, freesia, vanilla and cinnamon,” he smiled as he kissed up my body, inhaling at my neck. “So good, baby.” He smelled my hair and he growled, lowly. “Back to what I love about women, specifically you. I do love your breasts, Bella. They fill my hands. Your nipples are the perfect shade of pink and I love licking them,” he said in a husky voice. He bent his head and licked my nipple to prove my point. “But, I love licking other things, too.”

“Like what?” I breathed.

“I love making a woman come with my tongue,” he purred in my ear. “Not tonight, sweet girl but I will. I will make you come with my tongue. I want to see if you are truly a sweet girl.”

Oh, hell. My panties are officially ruined.

“Bella, I want to feel you,” he said quietly. “I promised you that I’d get you to scream my name. Can I touch you?”

“You are touching me,” I teased, knowing full well what he wanted to do.

“I want to feel how wet you are,” he growled lowly. “I can definitely feel how hot you are between your legs. I can only imagine how wet you are, Bella.” He rolled his hips and his cock grazed my clit, earning a whimper from me. “I’ll keep your panties on but I need to feel you, baby.”

I nodded, wanting him to feel me. I wanted him to feel what he did to me with his sensual touches, hot tongue and loving kisses. Edward smiled and he moved off to the side of me. His body was pressed against me as he traced light circles on my belly. My hand snaked up to his hair, gently pulling on his bronze locks. He stared at me and the emotion simmering behind his eyes was plain. He did love me. He desired me. His hardness pressed against my hip was a clear indication of that.

Soon, the circles he was drawing on my belly moved closer to my waistband of my panties. “Are you sure, Bella?” he whispered.

“Please, Edward,” I begged. “I love you.”

“Bella…sweet girl, I love you too. So fucking much,” he said as he devoured my mouth. Edward’s arms wrapped around my waist and we were entangled in a mass of arms, legs and frantic kisses. With a moan, Edward moved back to my previous spot and the very tip of his middle finger slipped into my panties. Our kiss broke apart and he moved his hand further into my panties. He reached my curls between my legs. They were damp with my arousal. “Do you trust me, Bella?”

“Yes, “I breathed.

“I trust you with my life, Bella,” he answered, staring into my eyes. His hand moved closer to my core. Closer to where I was aching with need. “I love you and I’m yours.” His fingertip grazed my clit and I bucked my hips. “Forever, if you’ll have me, Bella.” He circled his long finger along my swollen nub. “Jesus, baby, you’re so wet.”

“For you,” I said with a smile. “You did that.”

His hand made tight circles around my clit, spreading the dampness along my folds. “God, you feel amazing, Bella,” Edward grunted. “So wet and hot, baby.” His lips brushed against mine as his finger toyed with my entrance. “Can I?” Not able to form words, I nodded. His finger slipped inside easily due to my arousal. It felt amazing compared to what I had experienced with Jacob. Then again, the one time with him and I wasn’t nearly as worked up as this. He slowly moved his finger in and out of my body. He stared at me, watching me as I shifted against his body, trying to pull his finger deeper inside. “You’re so tight, Bella,” he said, his voice filled with awe.

How do you respond to that? I wasn’t sure. So, I kissed him. I spread my legs to allow him more access as I kissed his soft lips. His thumb found my clit and he circled it around my swollen nub. He also added a second finger, curling them inside of my body. I could feel something build inside of me. I wasn’t sure what it was but, it felt amazing. I had no control over the lower part of my body. I could feel my body buck against his hand, desperately wanting to feel more of him. I wanted to feel all of him. I wanted him to make love to me.

Not tonight, Bella…it’s the impending orgasm talking right now.

So that’s the feeling I’m experiencing in my belly.

“Bella,” Edward choked out. “Come for me, sweet girl.” I moaned and gripped his neck tighter. My hips were moving with his fingers. Our eyes were locked in on each other as I started to unravel and shatter around him. I could feel my muscles around his fingers begin to tighten. “That’s it, Bella. Let it go.” His hand moved faster inside of me as much as my panties would allow. “I want to see you come, Bella.” He kissed my lips and continued moving his hand.

“Edward,” I whimpered. I was panting and clinging to him. “More!”

“You’re so fucking tight, Bella. I can’t wait until it’s my cock inside of you,” he growled in my ear. “I desperately want to make love to you, Bella. I want to feel you around me and make you come. Can you come for me? Scream my name! No one will hear you, love. It’s just me. I love you and I want to feel your pussy clench around my fingers, baby.”

I fell back and let out a guttural scream, streaming profanities mixed in with his name as my body reacted to his dirty talk. And just like that, Edward gave me my very first orgasm. I slowly returned to earth as Edward languidly removed his hand from my body. His lips were gently gliding along my temple. He still circled around my clit and eventually as my twitching stopped, he removed his hand from my panties. He looked at me as he put his fingers that were just inside of me into his mouth. “Just as suspected, very sweet girl,” he said with a wink. I blushed and hid my face. “Oh, no. I just saw the most beautiful in the world with you coming around my fingers. You do not get to get shy now.”

“You liked tasting that?” I asked.

“Very much,” he answered. I grabbed his hand and sucked his middle finger that was inside of me into my mouth. “Holy fuck,” he groaned. I tasted myself on his finger, obviously diluted since he had already sucked most of it off. But, it wasn’t nasty like I had thought, but it wasn’t all that pleasant, either. I removed his finger and his eyes were glazed over.

“What?” I asked.

“Nothing. Just my mind is going into hyperdrive with seeing you suck my finger. My pervy brain was imagining it was my dick,” he chuckled nervously.

“I’m probably not ready to do that but I can feel how hard you are, Edward,” I said as turned to face him. I traced my fingers along the waistband of his sleep pants. I gently cupped his arousal over the pants and was shocked at how big he felt. He hissed and tightened his hold on me.

“Bella, you don’t have to,” he said, his voice straining.

“I know I don’t have to,” I said as I nibbled on his ear. “You didn’t have to do what you did to me. But you did. I want to do this to you, baby. I want to see you come.” My hand slid into his sleep pants, only to be greeted with his arousal.

“Can I take off my pants? I don’t want to, um…” he blushed. “Jesus, I’ve seen people in various states of undress and can diagnose various medical conditions…”

“You don’t want to come in your pants?” I giggled.

“Right,” he said as he lifted his butt up, removing his pants, shoving them down to his knees. His cock was in my hands and what I felt was nothing compared to actually seeing it. Dear God…how is that going to fit inside of me?  

“I don’t know what to do,” I said.

“Well, we’re going to need some lotion,” Edward said quietly. I nodded and grabbed some of my lotion from my bag. “Put the lotion on your hand.” I squirted some lotion onto my palm and wrapped my hand around his cock. He hissed again.

“Sorry,” I mumbled.

“You’re fine. It’s just cold,” he chuckled nervously. “Now, do what feels natural. I’ll let you know if it’s not comfortable.”

“I don’t want to hurt you,” I said, my eyes wide as I began moving my hand up and down his shaft.

“You won’t,” he assured me as his hand wrapped around mine, guiding my movements. Together, he showed me what he liked. He also told me that I could play with his balls and the skin behind them. The only thing that made Edward uncomfortable was if anyone got too close to his ass.

Hell, I’d be uncomfortable, too.

It’s one way only.

Out.

Edward eventually removed his hand and I gripped his cock, twisting and moving my hand along his arousal. His breathing was erratic as he watched my hand. Feeling bold, I moved my other hand to his balls and gently cupped them. I rolled them in my hand as I toyed with the head of erection. “Fuck, Bella,” Edward moaned. “Faster, please.”

“Like this?” I asked as I moved my hand up and down his cock. He licked his lips and nodded. He was watching me intently as I gave him the hand job. His hips were moving with my hands, creating more friction. I removed my hand from his balls and I circled it around his head of his cock. He moaned loudly, his head falling back onto the pillows. “Good?”

“Amazing. Don’t stop,” he panted out. “Bella, I’m so close. Don’t fucking stop.” I bit my lip and continued my movements on his body. Edward sat up and gently cupped my head. His lips descended on mine, kissing me hungrily. His other hand cupped my breast as he grunted against my mouth. His dick twitched in my hand and I could feel some extra lubrication in addition to my lotion. “Holy hell,” Edward groaned as he looked down at my hands. “I’m…Bella…I’m…FUCK!” he roared as he fell back on the pillows. His white, creamy come squirted from his body, covering his belly and my hands. I continued stroking his now deflating penis until it slid out of my hands. Edward was breathing heavily and didn’t really notice that I got up from the bed to grab a warm washcloth to wipe down his stomach. Once I was done, Edward gathered me into his arms. He smothered my face with loving kisses, earning a giggle from me. “That was…no words…I love you,” he said as he continued to kiss me.

“I love you, too,” I said as I brushed his hair back from his face. “I’m sorry about earlier. I’m trying…I really am.”

“I know, sweet girl,” he chuckled. “I understand what you’re dealing with, somewhat. I want you to earn my trust and I hope that I have.”

“You’re getting there,” I said as I lay down next to him, wrapping my arms around his waist. Edward had pulled up his pants and held me to his chest. “Just keep doing what you’re doing. And promise me you’ll tell me what happened while you were in the bathroom.”

“Tomorrow morning, sweet girl,” he mumbled sleepily. “You plum tuckered me out, love. Shall we sleep?”

“Let me put my nightgown on,” I said as I reached for it.

“Nuh huh,” he said as he held me to his chest. “I love feeling your bare chest against me.” His eyes were at half mast and his words were getting more and more slurred. I nodded and curled up next to him. “Sleep well, my Bella. I love you.”

“I love you, too,” I answered, pressing a kiss above his heart. He smiled and held me tightly.

xx APFL xx

The next morning, Edward was up before me and he had arranged for breakfast. Specifically, breakfast in bed. When I woke up, I sat up and saw a smiling Edward standing with a tray. During the night, I had to put something on since it was freezing in the room. Edward’s body heat helped a little, but I was still shivering. I pulled on Edward’s dress shirt during the night and was definitely more comfortable after that.

“Nice shirt,” he teased as he put the tray over my legs.

“I got cold,” I quipped as I looked at what he ordered. Pancakes, French toast, eggs, sausage, bacon, fresh fruit, coffee, yogurt… “Jesus, I hope you don’t expect me to eat all of this.”

“Heavens no. Half of it is for me,” he said as he climbed into the bed. We shared our meal and chatted about Edward’s trip that he won to Oahu. He was adamant that I go with him. He even pulled up his calendar on his phone, pointing out time where it would be best for us to go. But, I could tell that he was trying to distract me. It wasn’t going to work.

“Edward, I’m going to shower and then we need to talk about what happened last night,” I said sternly.

He sighed and ran his hand through his hair. “I know. You go shower and we’ll talk once you’re done,” he said quietly. I kissed his lips chastely before getting up. I grabbed my jeans, shirt and underwear before heading into the bathroom. My shower was long. It felt wonderful with the water falling over my body. I washed my skin, blushing at where Edward had touched me last night. I could still feel the aftershocks this morning. My body was still reeling from the orgasm that Edward had given me. I shook it off and finished my shower. I dried my hair and put on some light makeup before heading back out into the suite.

Edward was wearing a pair of jeans and a sweater. He was playing a game on his phone, his tongue sticking out adorably as he tried to beat the level on Angry Birds or some shit like that. “Did you win?”

He fumbled the phone and sent it flying. “Damn it! No,” he grumbled as he picked up his cell. “Seriously, you’re like so quiet. I need to get you a bell or something.”

“Sorry,” I giggled. He scowled at me playfully before turning off the game and putting his phone in his pocket. “When do you work next?”

“Tuesday,” he answered. “You?”

“The same, Tuesday,” I replied. “Seven to seven. So…last night…”

He sighed and ran his hands over his face. “I’m struggling, Bella. Honestly, I don’t know what to do. I’m going to tell you but there needs to be some sort of ramifications…”

“Ramifications?” I asked. “Start from the beginning, Edward.”

“Okay,” he said. “Last night, when I went to the bathroom, I overheard Newton and Crowley talking shit about you. They were making snide commentary about you being here with me and my family. They were talking about how you looked and about our relationship. It was at that time that I let them know that I was in the bathroom with them and reminded them about representing the hospital. In addition, I called them middle school girls for gossiping in the bathroom.”

“Oh,” I replied intelligently. “Edward, you can’t really do anything about them talking in the bathroom. We’re not at the hospital. Besides, everyone is entitled to their opinion. If Newton and Crowley think that way, then, it’s their prerogative. If they can’t look past their prejudice and the patients suffer, then there can be ramifications. I tend to avoid them when I’m working but when I do, they’re professional and detached.”

“Bella, they said things that were hurtful about you,” Edward frowned.

“They’ve been saying them for years and will probably continue saying them until they leave or they’re fired,” I shrugged. “I’ve accepted it and you have to as well. But, you may soon become a target, too.”

“Possibly,” he sighed. “But, I can always write them up.”

“Edward, don’t abuse your power like that,” I said harshly. “I get what you’re trying to do, but I don’t want you to get in trouble for trying to defend me. If they are acting like assholes, then I’ll let you or Dr. Sanchez know. You have to trust me to handle my own issues. I’ll come to you if and when it becomes a problem. Okay?”

“Okay,” he answered as he kissed my forehead. “Let’s check out and do some couple-y things.”

“Couple-y things?” I teased.

“Hold hands, go to a movie, go out to dinner, fool around,” he shrugged, giving me his signature crooked grin. “I’m partial to the last one. Especially since last night.”

I narrowed my eyes at him as he put his head on my shoulder. His hand moved to my thigh, inching closer to my core. I wanted him. I wanted him to touch me but, I still wanted to have a relationship with him. “How about a movie?”

“You’re killing me, Smalls,” he grumbled. “But if you want a movie, we’ll go to a movie. As long as I get to hold you tonight when we go to bed.”

“Your bed or mine?” I quipped.

“Now we’re talking,” he smirked as he kissed me silly.

We went to a movie and then for some pizza afterward. Then, we went back to Edward’s place. He lit a fire and we listened some quiet jazz music curled up under a chenille throw blanket. We spoke quietly about the ball, what had happened in the hotel room, his fight with Jasper about me and the subsequent making up, my relationship with Rose and Carlisle’s information about my dad’s issues with his medical bills. However, I didn’t want to talk about my dad so I distracted Edward by kissing him silly. We ended up fooling around on his couch in front of the fire. The orgasm I had in front of that fire was more intense than the one in the hotel room, but I think a lot of it has to do with my comfort level with him. Each kiss and caress brings me closer to him. I am trusting him more and more.

He finds me to be desirable despite my weight.

He loves me without asking for anything in return.

He listens when I’m upset.

He fights for me when I’m wronged.

I had to do something for him. I wanted to do something for him. He made me feel special and now I want to do the same for him. But how?

xx APFL xx

Monday I headed back to my apartment. I had to do laundry and I wanted to get Edward something. Using Angela’s laptop, I looked for a few ideas but nothing was sticking out in my opinion. I was nowhere closer to finding a solution to my present problem when Angela burst through the door.

“LUCY, I’M HOME!” she laughed.

“In the living room, Ricky,” I joked back.

Angela came into the living room and plopped down next to me. “You better not be downloading porn, Swan,” she snickered. “If you do, at least get the shit with a plot.”

“No, no porn,” I said as I leaned my head against hers. “How was work?”

“Busy as shit,” she grumbled. “Jessica and Newton were worthless today. They apparently got together at the ball and were all over each other at work. Jessica said that if you could flaunt your relationship with a doctor, she’s going to do the same. What-the-fuck-ever.”

“If that’s the sole reason for them getting together, then their relationship is doomed for failure,” I said.

“I agree,” she murmured. “So, what are you looking at?”

“I want to get Edward something for just being him,” I answered. “Any suggestions?”

“Well, I did get the pictures from the ball,” she said. “Maybe you can use one of them in your present.” She hopped up and grabbed the mail. She tossed a shutterfly envelope onto my lap. I tore into it and pulled the photos out. Angela and I spent nearly an hour pouring over the photos. There were some really sweet pictures of each of the couples at the table. We pulled those aside along with an awesome picture of Edward with Jasper and Rose. I was now holding two pictures of Edward and me. They were both in black and white since Angela was an artistic girl. “I think you should go with that one,” Angela suggested pointing to the picture where Edward and I standing, staring into each other’s eyes.

“But I like this one better,” I said as I held up the other photo. Edward had his arms around me and I was laughing at something while Edward had his nose buried in my neck.

“Honest opinion?” Angela asked.

“Of course.”

“The one I picked really shows the love between the two of you. Nothing can penetrate this bubble you two are in,” Angela explained. “Edward’s hands on your face, buried in your hair show how much he cherishes you. His eyes are burning with desire and his crooked smirk gives him a playful look. You are looking at him like he can do no wrong. There’s a softness to you that I’ve never seen and I love it, Bells.”

“When you put it that way,” I whispered. “I’ll use this one.”

“Good. I’m glad I made extra copies of it,” she said, handing me a second copy of the same print. “Put it on your nightstand, Bella. You’ll have your man next to you regardless of where you are. Let me change and then we’ll go to HomeGoods to get an awesome frame for your pictures. One for you and one for Edward.”

“Kay,” I smiled. She clapped her hands and bounced away. I went to grab my purse from my room and then waited for Angela in the living room. She came back out in a pair of jeans and a hoodie. She grabbed her keys and said that we were going to drive to the store, taking her Civic. A short drive later, we parked in the lot. Inside, we found several frames that would work but I ultimately decided on a black frame with different ways of saying ‘I love you.’ I also picked up a plain silver frame for my photo, nothing too fancy.

As we were leaving the store, I noticed something in the jewelry counter. It was a brown leather cuff bracelet with stainless steel accents. It looked masculine and something that Edward would wear. It actually looked a lot like his watch that he wore every day. I asked the attendant if I could see the bracelet. She eagerly took it out and seemed excited to sell it to me. I liked it for Edward. So, on a whim, I paid for that along with my frames before we left the store.

Angela suggested we go out to eat and we headed to some burger joint. Over some greasy burgers and fries, she told me more about her day at work and some of the crazy patients she had. Then, she asked me about my time with Edward after we left the ball. I blushed, not wanting to divulge too much. I didn’t want to disrespect my relationship with Edward by gossiping with Angela. However, I did tell her some brief details about how we fooled around and that I had my first orgasm. Angela let out a loud squeal, earning a disdainful glare from the manager. Angela flipped him off and turned her attention back to me. However, after her fangirly scream, the moment was lost and we turned our conversation about her and Ben. Her eyes got all dreamy and she gushed about all of Ben’s great points.

Not to mention the epic size of his cock.

Didn’t need to know that.

We paid our bill and walked back to Angela’s car. She parked the car and we noticed that James was throwing away his garbage in the basement. He was definitely getting more and more odd. He was always home. He didn’t appear to have a job and his appearance was getting more unkempt. Angela pushed me toward the stairs and we hoofed it up to our apartment. I was breathing heavily and I made a mental note to start working out. In our building, there’s a workout facility. I may as well use it. It’s free for all residents. I should be able to go up and down several sets of stairs without feeling like I’m going to die.

Upstairs, Angela and I went to our rooms. I sent Edward a text, telling him that I had a surprise for him tomorrow. Like a big kid, he began pestering me for hints but I wouldn’t budge. He’d just have to wait until I see him tomorrow. We said our goodbyes over the phone since Edward was now in the car. He was working out with his friend, Emmett. Before we hung up, Edward tried to wheedle out what I got him but I just sang that I loved him, hanging up the phone.

I picked up my journal and flipped to the next page. I had already put Edward’s love letter inside. I gently ran my fingers along his elegant script as I began writing inside of the leather bound book.

February 18th, 2013

So this past weekend was the ball for the hospital. Edward called me ‘CinderBella’ and I did feel like that. A total princess… I wore a beautiful dress, was adorned with precious gems (something called tanzanite. I’d never seen it before but it was so beautiful), danced with Prince Charming, and got my groove on.

Yes, you heard right. I got my groove on.

Not sex, though.

I went to make a 100% sure that I’m ready for sex before we dive headlong into that aspect of our relationship. It doesn’t mean we can’t fool around, though. And fool around we did.

Two amazing orgasms from my amazing boyfriend. Yep, two of ‘em. Prior to this weekend, I’ve had zero orgasms. I was always so leery about masturbating in my dad’s apartment. And Jacob, well, he was all about him. Nothing was about me. Heaven forbid he actually be selfless for a change as opposed to selfish. But this isn’t about Jacob. It’s about me and Edward.

You want to talk about selfless – Edward would be the epitome, picture in the dictionary, shining example and definition of selfless. That man deserves sainthood for dealing with me and my epic neuroses. He is also the most generous man I’ve ever met. He opened up his house for me when I fell and again when I was booted out of my apartment. Then, he smothers me love, affection, attention and physical, tangible gifts. As a token of my appreciation, I’ve gotten him a few presents. I just hope he likes them. I got a framed photo of the two of us from the ball along with a cool looking man’s leather bracelet. I’d like to get him more, but honestly, that’s all I could afford right now.

My concern is that with all of this ‘lovin,’ why can’t I wrap my head around Edward wanting to be with me? I’m still keeping Edward at arm’s length. Though, this weekend was a breakthrough for us. Well, for me. I trusted him enough to bring me to orgasm and to see me with a majority of my clothes off. AND HE STILL WANTS ME!

I’m still in shock.

I so need to stop this. Edward loves me. I love him. If I had my way, I’d be with him forever. The way he’s talking, he wants the same thing. Be more confident, Bella. Confidence is key. How do I get it? :-(

Anyhow, that’s my goal to get more confidence.

I AM worth Edward, but he’s not the only key to my happiness, self-worth and self-love.
I AM worthy of my job despite what some of co-workers see.
I AM smart, beautiful and funny.
I AM WORTHY OF LOVE.
I DESERVE ALL OF THE POSITIVES IN MY LIFE!

If only, I could believe what I’m writing…

xx APFL xx

“Mrs. Packer, here are the aftercare instructions for your burn,” I explained. “It’s important that you keep the dressing clean and dry. If it gets wet, you could run the risk of infection.”

“How am I supposed to change the dressing?” she asked, frowning slightly.  “I live alone with my cats and it’s because of the damn cat that I got burned in the first place.”

“You can either go to your regular physician or an urgent care clinic if you need assistance,” I explained.

“Aw, hell, the ER is my regular physician and the closest urgent care clinic is an hour ride on public transit,” she scowled.

“Look, I’ll make you a deal, Mrs. Packer,” I began as I sat down in front of her. “You can either ask for me or Dr. Cullen. We’re scheduled on for the next six days during the day. We’ll take care of your dressing changes. You should be in the clear after that and can handle your own dressing changes since it should be no more than a band aid and some antibiotic gel. It may be a wait, but we’ll get to you.”

“What do I have to do with my time?” she shrugged. “I’m retired, living in a shithole apartment since my ex-husband decided to spend all of his money on his new wife, Twixie, Trixie, or Bimbo. Besides, my cats are better company, even if they are a liability. Thank you, Nurse Swan. I appreciate your willingness to help out a decrepit, crotchety old woman.”

“You’re not decrepit or crotchety,” I smiled. “You’re seasoned, like a fine wine.” She rolled her eyes and waved her burnt hand. “And since you’re going to be in here a bunch, call me Bella.”

“Thank you, Bella,” she said with a wink. “And I’m not Mrs. Packer anymore. I’m Cecelia, but you can call me Cece.”

“Awesome,” I replied. “Here’s your prescription for an antibiotic and a mild pain killer. We have a pharmacy here in the hospital. It’s up a floor, just to the right of the main lobby. See you tomorrow?”

“Will do, Bella. Say goodbye to Dr. Cullen for me,” she smirked. “He’s quite the looker.”

“That he is. Nurses and patients swoon on sight,” I giggled. “Any other questions, Cece?”

“No. I’m good, Bella. Thank you for taking care of me, sweetie,” Cece said with a sad smile. I nodded and helped her into her jacket. Together, we walked to the exit of the ER and she left, giving me a wave. Turning on my heel, I moved back to the circulation desk and checked if there were any available patients. Thankfully, there weren’t and I decided to use that time to run to Perkalator to get something to eat. Carmen, the nurse manager, was doing some charting when I walked up to the desk.

“Carmen, I’m going to run to get something to eat, okay?”

“Sure,  Bella,” she said as she looked up at me, giving me a warm smile. “Can you pick me up a coffee? I have my nephew visiting this week since his parents are on their decamoon, celebrating ten years of marriage, and he’s keeping me up at nights.”

“Sure. Anything in particular?”

“Big. Heavy on the caffeine,” she quipped.

“Got it,” I said. “I’ll be back in a half hour with your coffee.” Carmen nodded and I turned to get my coat from my locker. Edward was in a meeting with the other department heads. Eleazar had invited to join the meeting and much to Edward’s chagrin, he went. I was hoping we’d have time to spend some time eating lunch in his office, but he was upstairs and had been since nearly nine this morning.

After I put on my coat, I darted out of the ER, waving at Carmen as I left. She smiled pleasantly. I enjoyed the balmy February weather. It was warmer today than it had been in a few weeks. The sun was shining and it was just above forty degrees. It was nice to feel the warmth of the sun on my face and not have to button my jacket all the way up.

I reached the Perkalator and ordered myself a cup of coffee, along with Carmen’s venti coffee. I also chose a salad and some yogurt. I paid for my order and decided to eat in the restaurant. I had my pager if they needed me. The ER was pretty dead today and most of us nurses were restocking shelves and checking inventory.

I finished my meal and grabbed some creamer, sugar and sweetener for Carmen before I left Perkalator. I was humming quietly as I walked back to work. I was almost back to the ER when I heard my name being called. Or rather, ‘Worthless Offspring.’

What the hell does he want?

I turned and saw Charlie crutching his way toward me with Sam Uley following him. “What, Charlie?” I spat.

“You bitch. You stopped paying my medical bills,” Charlie growled as he towered over me.

“You honestly think that you kick me out and that I’m going to continue paying your bills, Charlie? It doesn’t work like that, you ass,” I seethed. “The night you dumped my shit into the dumpster and changed the locks on me, you lost a daughter. I’m no longer responsible for your crap and if you expect it, then you have some major issues.”

“How in the fucking hell am I supposed to pay for the apartment, my bills and my medical shit, Isabella?” Charlie demanded. “You left me high and dry.”

“NO! You threw me out of the apartment on CHRISTMAS, you ASSHOLE!” I screamed. “What sort of fucking MONSTER does that? YOU!”

Edward must have seen me shouting with my dad and he was immediately by my side. “Mr. Swan, you are harassing a member of my staff. I suggest you leave,” he said in a serious tone, not one for any argument.

“Fuck off, pretty boy. I’m talking to my daughter,” Charlie fumed.

I growled and moved toward Charlie, wanting to hurt him. “I’M NOT YOUR FUCKING DAUGHTER!” I screamed. Edward’s arms reached around my waist and he pulled me behind him. “YOU’RE DEAD TO ME!”

“Bella, please, go inside,” Edward said quietly.

“We’re not done talking,” Charlie insisted. “I’m not leaving until she pays my medical bills.”

“Mr. Swan, I know for a fact that the hospital has created a very reasonable payment plan for you,” Edward said calmly. “You just need to make the payments on time. Now, if you have further questions, you can contact our billing department. In regards to Bella, please refrain from discussing with her at her place of employment.”

“Please refrain from talking to me period,” I sneered. “Fuck off, Charlie. Burn in hell.” I turned and walked toward the entrance to the ER. I felt a sharp pull on my hair and I fell onto my back.

“MR. SWAN! Do I need to call the police?” Edward growled. He crouched next to me and helped me up. Charlie was holding a handful of my hair. “Being a former police officer, you know that you just assaulted your daughter, right? She can press charges and you’d be tossed into jail.”

“She’s so fucking weak; she wouldn’t do it,” Charlie scoffed. He turned and crutched away, Sam following like a lost puppy dog.

“I want to press charges,” I said loudly so my sperm donor could hear. “You’re done abusing me, Charlie. Assault, battery and harassment…I’m getting a restraining order.” Edward checked my head and I could feel the blood seep onto my scrubs from the now obvious bald spot on my head from where Charlie pulled my hair.

“I’m glad I called security,” Edward said with a crooked grin. The two security guards showed up and blocked Charlie’s escape. “Bring him into the conference room on the second floor. We have a few phone calls to make.”

“Yes, Dr. Cullen,” the younger guard said as he gestured to the door. Charlie’s mouth dropped and he tried to leave, only to be forced toward the door. Edward helped me up and gathered me in his arms.

“I’m so proud of you, sweet girl,” he said in my ear. I nodded woodenly, shocked at how I spoke to Charlie. “I love you, Bella.” I stiffly wrapped my arms around his waist and let Edward guide me into the ER.

What does this mean, now?

A/N: So, what does it mean?  What should happen with Charlie and Bella? He’s obviously wrong and is a douche. What should the repercussions be? Share your opinions, please! Also, how about that lime I gave you in the first part of the chapter? Good, huh? LOL. Our favorite doctor and nurse will eventually get their swerve on. We just need to have a slow build.

Up next will be the aftermath of what happened between Charlie and Bella…

Pictures of the presents that Bella got Edward are on my blog (link in my profile). Also, come hang out in my Facebook group: Tufano79’s Twilight Fanfiction Appreciation. We discuss this, along with my other stories and Rob Porn. (Who doesn’t love a little Rob Porn…he’s so pretty…)

Leave me some!

 

 

Chapter Text

This is different from the norm. In all of the stories that I’ve read or that I’ve seen, all of the characters are disgustingly perfect unless they are written with very clear flaws. This story is about love (um, duh! Look who’s writing it. I’m the queen of romance), and finding it in the least likely place with the least likely person.

Now, this story is based in a hospital. My medical training comes from…WebMD. I’m not a doctor, nor do I claim to be. I’m a music teacher who has a wild imagination and a penchant for all things Twilight (and with this story, added in a mix of ER! I loved Luca Kovac…) Which brings me to my disclaimer: None of this is mine. I’m not, nor ever will be, Stephenie Meyer. If was, I’d be rolling in the dough from her insane imagination that gave us Bella and Edward. No copyright infringement is intended.

Chapter Twelve

EPOV

I guided Bella into my office. She was shaking like a leaf. Tears were falling down her cheeks and blood was trickling down her neck from the quarter sized bald spot in the back of her head. I swiped a chart and Carmen on the way to my office. I could faintly hear Charlie bitching and moaning about having his civil liberties taken away. The security guards were ignoring him as they frog marched him to the elevators.

Well frog marched him as best they could with Charlie using crutches.

I sat Bella down on the couch once I removed her coat and looked at her injury. I pulled on a pair of gloves and gently dabbed at the base of her neck. She hissed quietly. “Sorry,” I murmured as I cleaned the wound. “Are you okay?”

With a brusque shake of her head, she indicated ‘no.’

“Do you want to talk about it?”

“Not right now,” she said wearily. “How much did he get?”

“About the size of a quarter. If you wear your hair down, it should be fine,” I said as I finished cleaning and sterilizing the section of her head that was now bald. She sighed. “After you speak with the police, do you want to see if Michele is available?” With a broken sob, Bella nodded emphatically. “Okay. I’ll make a call up to her office. Carmen, can you clean and dress Bella’s wound?”

“Sure, Dr. Cullen,” Carmen said softly. I kissed Bella’s forehead. She flinched as if I was going to hurt her. I frowned. My girl was terrified because of what her douchebag father did to her. I left my office and rode up to the fifth floor where Michele’s office was located. I strode in, speaking briefly with the receptionist before walking into Michele’s office. She was seated behind her desk, reading some emails.

“Dr. Palmer?” I asked.

“Hello, Dr. Cullen,” she said with a warm smile. She stood up and I shook her hand. “What can I do for you?”

“Do you have any availability this afternoon? Any free time for a client?”

“For you?” she asked, arching a brow.

“No. For Bella,” I replied. “I know that you see her. We’ve talked briefly about your sessions on a personal level and well, something happened today that she’s going to need you. She’s going to need all of us, really.”

“Of course, Dr. Cullen,” she said. “Can I ask what happened?”

“Her father attacked her in the ambulance bay,” I grimaced. “She’s getting treated downstairs for getting her hair pulled out before speaking with the police.”

“Oh my,” Michele gasped. “When she’s done, send her up to my office. I’m just catching up on some dictation and such. No patients today. I’ll let Shelly, my receptionist, know to send her back.”

“Thanks,” I said with a sad smile.

“Dr. Cullen, do you want come up with her?” Michele asked kindly.

“If she wants me here, then yes. If not, then I’ll abide by her wishes. I appreciate your flexibility,” I replied. She nodded, giving me a little wave. I left her office and rode down to the second floor, reaching the conference room where the security guards were holding Charlie. The head security guard was standing outside of the conference room. Inside, Charlie was ranting and raving. “Did he put up much of a fight?”

“Yes, Dr. Cullen,” the guard said. “He’s blaming Nurse Swan for this whole mess, despite the fact that he attacked her. We’ve already pulled the security tapes and have them for the police.”

“Thank you. Can I speak with him?”

“Make it brief, Dr. Cullen. The police are on their way,” he replied. “We don’t want you to get arrested for anything.”

“I will,” I said, my eyes turning to the doorway. The guard let me inside and Charlie was seated at the table, mumbling angrily. His hands were in fists, causing the skin to tighten around his knuckles. “Mr. Swan?”

He looked up at me and his eyes hardened. “Are you here to tell me that my bitch of a daughter decided to not press charges?”

“No. The police are on the way,” I answered. “We’ve got video surveillance of the attack and you’re in a great deal of trouble. She wants a restraining order and based off the nature of your attack, it will be granted.”

“She’s such an ungrateful wench,” Charlie muttered.

“No, she’s the opposite, Mr. Swan. She’s an amazing woman who is beautiful and so loving. She’s also very loyal. Despite your cruel ways, she was still determined to pay your medical bills and care for you. But, you fucked yourself when you kicked her out. Now, you’re on your own. Heed my words, Mr. Swan. Stay away from her. As she said outside, she is no longer your daughter.”

“Are you fighting her battles for her?” Charlie sneered. “Is she too afraid of me?”

“No. I’m not fighting her battles,” I replied calmly. “It hurts me to see someone who I love more than my own life to be hurt and belittled by the one person who should give their love and affection without question. But your display in the ambulance bay indicates that you have a black heart and are not worthy of Bella. You call her worthless offspring? Well, you’re a worthless parent. A bum on the street would be a better choice as a parent than you.” With that, I turned on my heel and left the room, listening to Charlie’s angry rants.

Back in my office, Carmen was almost done dressing Bella’s injury. With a sympathetic smile, Carmen left. I sat down next to Bella and looked at her. Her eyes were vacant and so sad. “Sweet girl?” I murmured, taking her hands in mine. She turned toward me, but not really looking at me. “How’s your head?”

“Hurts,” she mumbled. “Carmen took pictures with the camera for the police.”

“Good,” I said as I tried to move her closer. She wouldn’t budge, though. “Bella, please, baby. I want to hold you.” She woodenly moved closer, putting her head gingerly on my shoulder. I felt her face screw up and a fresh set of tears soak through my lab coat. My arms were wrapped around her broken form, trying to soothe my love. Carmen came back into my office and handed me the photos. I took them appreciatively.  She also informed us that the police where here for our statements. Bella untangled her arms from my torso and looked at Carmen. They left and I followed at a safe distance.

I was led into once conference room while Bella moved to another. I gave my statement to a young cop, telling him what had happened between Bella and her father. He asked me a few questions and then he thanked me for my time. Handing me a business card, he said that this case was open and shut and that Bella would get her restraining order along with the possibility of jail time for the assault. There would be a trial, but the timeline wasn’t solid.

I finished up in the conference room. Bella was still talking to the officer taking her statement. From what I could gather, she was going to be in there for awhile. I stepped away and walked toward the circulation desk. I went about my day, treating the few patients in the ER. Towards the end of my shift, I got a text from Bella saying that she was done with the cops. I darted to the conference room and checked on her. The two cops were standing outside of the room, talking quietly. “Is she still inside?”

“Yeah, doc,” the cop that interviewed said. “She’s a bit of a mess, though. I was called into the interview because she was inconsolable.”

“Thanks,” I said curtly. I pushed into the room and found Bella in a ball on the floor. She was crying. Her whole body was shaking. “Bella,” I whispered. “Talk to me, baby.”

“I feel so worthless,” she sniffled.

“You’re not, Bella,” I said fervently. “Your dad is an asstard.”

“I know that,” she snarled. “But, he’s supposed to love me, Edward. He doesn’t! Why doesn’t he love me?” Her body collapsed and she let out a guttural scream, breaking my heart. I gathered her in my arms, sending a text to Michele. I held her against my body as she crumbled.

Ten minutes later, Michele came into the room. She saw Bella in my lap and her face fell. I picked up my girlfriend, following Michele toward the elevator. Eventually, we got to her office and I put Bella onto the couch. I went to leave but she grasped at my shirt. “Don’t go,” she pleaded.

“I’m not going to go, sweet girl,” I answered, sitting next to her. “I’ll stay.”

“Bella, tell me what happened downstairs,” Michele said quietly. “What did your dad do?”

“Edward, you tell her,” Bella whimpered.

“No, Bella. I want to hear it from you,” Michele said firmly.

“Why? So I can relive the bullshit that my dad spewed? So I can feel the emptiness when my dad kicked me out of the house? So I can feel like the worthless offspring I am?” Bella screamed. “HE’S THE FUCKING REASON WHY I HATE MYSELF! HE’S THE REASON WHY I DON’T FEEL WORTHY OF ANY LOVE. HIM!”

“Bella, you’re not worthless,” Michele said.

“Bullshit,” Bella spat. “I am. Why can’t my dad love me? Why can’t he…? Why can’t he respect me? For once, I want him to say that he loves me. He did, years ago but after my mom died, he hated me.”

“Do you want your dad to love you?” Michele asked.

“A parent is supposed to love their child. My mom loved me,” Bella sniffled. “Edward’s parents adore him. But, my dad? I’m nothing more than a fucking meal ticket. Am I so hard to love?”

“No, Bella,” I answered, looking at her. “You’re easy to love. I love you more than my own life.”

“Why?” Bella countered, looking into my eyes. “Why do you love me?”

“I love you because you’re amazing, beautiful, funny, smart, compassionate, generous and perfect.” She scoffed. “Why are you scoffing? You are! For me, you are everything that I ever wanted in a woman. In a girlfriend. In someone that I want to spend the rest of my life with. What I feel for you is NOTHING compared to what I had with my ex-wife. I want everything with you, sweet girl. I want to give you everything. I would do anything for you.”

“How do you feel about Edward’s declaration?” Michele asked, taking Bella’s hand.

“I can see that he’s sincere but since everything’s that happened, I’m hesitant to believe him,” she whispered.

That hurt. A lot. I felt like I had part of my soul stolen from me. I know that she was in pain but to hear that she didn’t believe me made me so upset. Empty.

“Dr. Cullen, do you mind if I speak with Bella?” Michele asked.

“Sure,” I said, my voice cracking slightly. I got up from the couch and walked toward the door. Michele followed me out into her reception area.

“Edward, I know that you’re hurt,” she said. “Bella is coming to grips with the fact that her dad doesn’t care about her and she feels unworthy.”

“She’s not,” I said.

“You know that. I know that. But that woman in my office, she doesn’t believe it,” she said ardently. “Let me work with her.”

“I want to help her, Dr. Palmer,” I frowned.

“So do I,” she answered. “Bella loves you, Dr. Cullen. But right now, she’s very confused, hurt and upset about what happened today. She’ll probably pull away from you, but you have to know that it’s you that’s pulling away from. It’s all of this.”

“I know,” I sighed.

“Go home, Dr. Cullen. Your shift is over and it’s been a trying day,” Michele replied. “I’ll work with Bella.”

 I closed my eyes, pinching my nose with my fingers. I had a killer migraine and this was only exacerbating the pain. “Thanks, Dr. Palmer,” I choked out. “Can tell Bella that I love her?”

“Sure, Dr. Cullen,” she replied with a sad smile. I left Michele’s office and to mine. I took off my lab coat, putting on my winter jacket. Slinging my satchel over my shoulder, I walked out of the ER through the ambulance bay. Charlie was being placed in a police cruiser, handcuffed and scowling. I smiled briefly before I turned on my heel to walk to my car to drive home.

 Alone.

xx APFL xx

Bella was a ghost for the next two weeks. I’d see her briefly at work but she wouldn’t really talk to me. The only time we’d exchange words was if we shared a patient. Her eyes were empty, vacant and incredibly sad, like when I first met her. Her behaviors freaked me out and I was afraid that we were over. Despite her actions, I didn’t want to be. I still loved her. I wanted nothing more than to hug and comfort Bella.

Angela was also pissed off at Bella. They were fighting in the lounge one day when I went to get a cup of coffee. Bella left in a huff, exiting the other door of the lounge. “Everything okay?” I asked.

“No,” Angela grumbled. “I love that girl but she’s been a mess. I understand why, but snap out of it already! Has she said anything to you?”

“We haven’t spoken since that day,” I frowned.

“Shut the fuck up! Really?” Angela squeaked. “I’m so staging an intervention.”

“Ang, Bella is trying to come to grips that her father doesn’t really care for her. I get why she’s falling apart. I hate the fact that I haven’t spoken to her in two weeks, but she needs this,” I muttered.

“Edward, I can see it in your eyes that you’re just as bereft as she is,” Angela said quietly, putting her hand on my forearm. “You hide it better than her, but your eyes are just as empty as hers.”

“Her reason is legit. Mine? Not so much,” I snarled. “I just miss her. I’m afraid that she’s going to tell me to fuck off. I laid myself bare in front of her and Michele and she didn’t fucking believe me, Angela. Why? Because of the acidic thoughts of her fucking sperm donor who made her feel like she was fucking nothing.”

“Fuck this shit,” Angela said. “You, be at our apartment by no later than seven tonight. We’re all going to talk some sense into this girl. Call your sister, too. She’s been ringing the house phone on a daily basis but Bella’s been ignoring her.”

“I’ll be there,” I said with a brief smile. “Do I need to bring anything?”

“Just your sexy ass,” Angela giggled.

 I rolled my eyes as she left. I pulled out my cell phone, dialing up Rose’s number.

“Eddie!” she sang into the phone.

“Hey, Rosie,” I chuckled, falling on the leather sofa inside of the lounge. “Are you available tonight?”

“Is the sky blue?” she snorted. “My social calendar is pretty empty. Bella’s been blowing me off.”

“That’s why I need you,” I sighed.

“What’s wrong, Eddie?” she asked. I briefly told Rose what had happened and what we were planning. Rose was definitely willing to help out. I gave her the address to Angela and Bella’s apartment, along with the time to be there. We hung up and I went back on the floor. The day went by very, very slowly. A snail’s pace would have been too fast. After what felt like an eternity, my shift was over and I was at home, changing into a pair of jeans and a hoodie.

I drove to their apartment, parking on the street. I sent a text to Angela after I parked my car, saying I was here. Ang responded that Bella was in the shower. Everyone, except Rosalie and me, were in the apartment. I happened to see Rose parking behind me and we headed upstairs together. James was watching from his partially opened door while Rose and I walked to their apartment. His one eye was dilated and the smell of body odor and nastiness filled the hallway. It’s called a shower, buddy. Rose moved closer to me as we walked past James’ place. I glowered at him which caused James to slam his door shut.

Knocking lightly on the apartment door for Ang and Bella, we were ushered in and pushed into the living room. “She’s almost done with her shower,” Angela hissed. “Sit down and don’t make a sound.”

“Are you trying to scare the poor girl?” Rose asked, arching a brow. She sat down next to Alice and her sister, Cynthia, who both hugged my sister. Ben was on the couch, chatting with Jasper. On the floor, Emmett was munching on some pizza. Why was Emmett here? I sat down on the huge chair in the corner, nervously fiddling with the strings of my hoodie.

“Bella, you have to eat,” Angela grumbled. “Come on. Let’s have pizza or something.”

“I’m not hungry, Angela. Just let me be,” she snapped.

“Fuck, Bell. You haven’t had a real meal in two weeks,” Angela growled. I heard them scuffle and Angela was physically pulling Bella into the living room.

“What the fuck, Angela?” Bella yelled.

“Put your ass onto the couch and listen, Bella,” Angela said as she pushed her to the seat next to Ben. “All of these people here fucking LOVE YOU! They’re worried about you and are over your brooding.”

“I know that I’m battling some significant demons, Angela…”

“So do all of us, Bella,” Alice chirped. “But, battling the demons on your own is obviously not working. You’ve shut out every one in your life. You’ve become a shadow of yourself, barely eating, snapping at patients and ignoring us.”

“You’re also not sleeping, Bella. I hear you roaming around the apartment at all hours of the night,” Angela sighed.

“What do you want me to do?” Bella spat.

“Talk to us,” I said. I looked at her and saw her sad brown eyes. Her face fell when she saw me, undoubtedly upset that she had alienated everyone who cared about her. Just like her father had alienated her. “Let us in.”

“Why did you turn your friends away, Bella?” Rose asked quietly. “Your boyfriend?”

“I don’t know. I didn’t feel worthy of anything. I still don’t,” she whispered. “Why should I receive anything good? I’m not worthy of anything.”

“Bella, I’ve learned one thing from my issue…you need everyone’s support. Now, you weren’t raped or attacked like me, but you were hurt, irrevocably, by your father. I pushed everyone away once I was released from the hospital. The only person I trusted was Eddie. He was the only man I felt comfortable touching me. He still is. But, it was Eddie who helped me when I first was attacked and again when he moved back to Chicago. It’s also because of my big brother, that I was able to open my mind to my family and now, some new friends.”

“Do you all hate me?” Bella asked, the fight left from her voice.

“No, we don’t hate you,” Angela sighed. “We’re frustrated and pissed off. But no hate. Quite the opposite, Bell. If we didn’t love you, we would have left you to wallow in your sea of self-hatred and worthlessness.”

“Bella, I may not know you, but from the few times that I’ve spoken to you, I’ve seen a funny, endearing, spunky girl,” Emmett said quietly. “Your dad is a fucktard of the highest order and honestly, it’s HIS loss. Why do you need his approval when you have all of these people sitting around you who love you? Who approve of you? Who see this wonderful girl who is worthy of everything under the sun?”

“My padawan,” Cynthia said as she walked toward Bella. “I love you. You need to pull the head out your ass, but I love you. Daddy dearest is moron who lost his brain when he lost his leg. On top of that, he’s a hateful, spiteful human being who is acting like a spoiled brat as opposed to the nearly sixty-year old man that he is. And you know what? He’s sitting in a jail cell because you pressed charges against his sorry ass. How do I know that? My neighbor is a deputy for the Cook County Correctional Facility and well, your dad’s attorney couldn’t get him out. Arraignment is coming up soon, according to my neighbor. He’s been tortured by his fellow inmates because he’s a former police officer.”

“He hasn’t been hurt, has he?” Bella asked.

“He’s been roughed up but his ass is still unclaimed,” Cynthia snorted.

“Cyn!” Alice laughed. “TMI!”

“What?” Cynthia asked, arching a brow. “Bella, you don’t have to worry about sperm donor. He’s no longer your concern. The only person you need to worry about is you. And well, that sullen doctor in the corner.” Bella looked at me and her eyes filled with tears. “On that note, we should let the lovebirds hash out their issues.”

“I agree,” Rose said. “There’s a pizzeria around the corner that looks good. Who wants some?”

All of the guys raised their hands and everyone left the apartment, talking excitedly about the pizza. Emmett was chatting with Rosalie, obviously excited about talking to my baby sister. The door clicked shut and the silence left behind was tense and uncomfortable. I stayed seated on the chair, leaning forward on my knees. My jaw was clenched and I didn’t know what I wanted to do.

“I don’t know what to say,” Bella whispered.

“Me neither.”

“I’m sorry seems appropriate but empty,” she sighed. “I’ve been horrible to you, Edward. I’ll understand if you want to end this.”

“Is that what you want, Bella?” I asked, staring at her. “Do you want our relationship to be over?”

“No, but…”

“I don’t want it to be over, either, but what you said in Michele’s office…after I laid my heart on the ground to you…hurt. A lot,” I said angrily. “I understand that you were upset by your dad’s actions, but it doesn’t change how I feel for you.”

“I’m sorry, Edward,” she murmured. “So sorry. I never meant to hurt you. I just needed time to wrap my head around it all. Please, don’t hate me.”

“I don’t hate you, Bella. I never could,” I said. “I wish you would have spoken to me before you ignored me. Michele told me that you’d pull away but I’d never thought it would be this bad. Two weeks with no contact except work discussions. Talking about patients or treatments. Getting lab results.”

“There’s no excused for that,” Bella sniffled. “I’m a horrible person, Edward.”

“You’re not, Bella,” I soothed.

“I am! The one person who was on my side, and I pushed you away,” she sobbed. “What can I do to make it right?”

“I don’t know,” I answered honestly. “Bella, I love you. The depth of my feelings is to my very soul, but your actions indicate that perhaps you don’t care as much about me as I do about you.”

“Edward, I do love you,” she cried. “I know that how I’ve behaved the past few weeks hasn’t been a clear indicator, but I do. So much. What can I do? Tell me!” Bella’s face was flushed and tears were spilling over her cheeks. Her body was shaking in anxiety. “I can’t lose you. Everything I’ve done has pushed you away. I’m such a fucking failure.”

I hopped up from the chair and crossed to the couch where Bella was obviously beating herself up. I sat down, pulling her against my body. She stiffly leaned against me before she collapsed. Her body was wracked with screaming sobs as I held her tightly. I don’t know how long we sat on the couch while she cried, but she eventually calmed down. When she was quiet, I kissed her temple. “You’re not a failure, Bella. You were hurt. I get that.”

“So were you,” she mumbled against my now soaked hoodie. “And I was the cause. Will you ever be able to forgive me, Edward?”

“I already did, Bella,” I said as I gently forced her to look at me. “I’m going to be honest, though. In order for our relationship to work, we have to be able to talk. You can’t just shut me out. If you need space, I’m willing to give it to you. You have to talk to me prior to that. Tell me that you’re backing away. These past few weeks, I was unsure of our status since you just stopped talking to me.”

“I’m sorry, Edward,” she sniffled. “I was so inside of my head that I wasn’t even thinking how it was for you.”

“I kind of gathered that. Angela approached me after your tiff in the lounge about this ‘intervention,’” I chuckled nervously. “Now that you’re out of your head, what are you going to do?”

“I have a lot of apologies to make,” she said, looking at me. “And a lot of thinking to do.”

“Have you spoken with Michele?”

“Either in person or on the phone,” Bella answered. “I’ve spent a lot of time writing in my journal, too. Tomorrow is my dad’s arraignment, though. I’m so afraid that they’re going to grant him bail and deny my request for a restraining order.”

“Do you want me to come with you?” I asked.

“You’d do that for me even though I was an epic bitch towards you?” she answered.

“Of course, Bella,” I said. “You need support in that courtroom and I’ll be there.”

“Can you stay the night?” she begged.

“What time is the arraignment?”

“Nine, I believe,” Bella replied. Her brown eyes were filled with uncertainty as she pleaded with me.

“I’ll need to go back to my house to grab a suit, but I can stay with you,” I murmured, pulling her closer to my chest.

“Can you kiss me?” she whimpered. “I’ll understand if you don’t want to…” I broke her off by placing my lips on hers. We collapsed on the couch while I hungrily kissed the shit out of her. We made out on the couch until we heard the lock disengage. We scrambled off the couch and into Bella’s room.

As we undressed for bed, I knew that we were better but still had a long way to go to heal in our relationship.

xx APFL xx

“Bella, you have got to stop shaking,” I said as I took her hand in mine. She was a nervous wreck. Her hair was curled and was lying over her shoulders. She was wearing a deep purple blouse and a pair of black dress pants. She also wore my jewelry that I had gotten her for Valentine’s day.

“I’m so afraid, Edward,” she squeaked.

“No fear. Bella, he can’t hurt you,” I whispered, kissing her temple. “Even if he gets bail and is you’re denied a restraining order, I’ll still protect you. Your dad has to know that I won’t stand for the same actions from two weeks ago. He can be banned from the hospital…”

“Edward, county is the only hospital he can go to,” Bella explained. “With his medical issues and lack of insurance, county is the lone hospital that would accept him. He can’t be banned.”

I sighed and twined our fingers together. We waited until the courtroom opened up for all of the arraignment cases. Based off the computer screens with the schedule of the cases up for arraignment, Charlie would be up relatively early. Bella and I took seat in the rear of the room, hiding behind the crowds of people.

Three cases were up prior to Charlie’s time in front of the judge. Bella was pressed against me while we waited for Charlie’s case. Two of the cases were drunk driving and one was child abuse case. The two drunk drivers were granted bail. The child abuse case was remanded to the Cook County Jail.

“Next case on the docket is the people of the state of Illinois versus Charles Thomas Swan. Charges include assault, battery, being under the influence of drugs and alcohol, public drunkenness, and harassment.”

“My name is Emanuel Schwartz, representing the state of Illinois,” said the prosecutor.

“Richard Potts, public defender for Mr. Swan,” said the defense attorney wearily. Charlie was leaning heavily on his crutches, looking a little worse for wear.

“What does the state want?” the judge asked.

“$500,000 with a restraining order for his daughter if he’s released,” Mr. Schwartz said succinctly.

“Your honor, Mr. Swan is an injured ex-police officer,” Mr. Potts countered.

“Who attacked his daughter in the ambulance bay of Cook County Hospital,” Mr. Schwartz argued. “There’s been a long-time history of abuse and neglect from Mr. Swan. His daughter feared for her safety when she spoke with the police.”

“This is for trial, gentlemen,” the judge grumbled. “$250,000 bond with a restraining order. Trial date will be determined at a later time. Next case!”

The bailiff poked Charlie and he growled at the man in the uniform. However, when he saw Bella and I in the gallery, his eyes grew colder. Bella cowered against me. “He can’t hurt you, sweet girl,” I cooed against her hair.

“Look at him, Edward,” Bella squeaked. “Even while he’s crutching away, he’s giving me the evil eye.”

“Bella, what’s the probability of Charlie getting $250,000 in cash or bond? Slim to none,” I said. “If he’s released, you have the restraining order. If he comes close to you, you call the cops and he’s back in jail.” I shot a look at Charlie’s retreating form and helped Bella to stand. We left the courtroom and met up with Mr. Schwartz. He handed Bella a copy of the restraining order and gave her a card if there were any more problems with her dad.

I took Bella out for an early lunch after our time in court. I took her Frontera Grill and we settled into a corner table in the bustling restaurant. Bella was very quiet, biting down on her lip. We ordered our meals and an uncomfortable silence covered our table.

“I hate this,” Bella said.

“Talk about awkward,” I said at the same time.

We both laughed nervously but I gestured to her. “I hate that there is this distance between us. I mean, last night was nice but even though we fooled around, it wasn’t the same as before.”

“I know,” I sighed. “You’re protecting yourself, Bella. Subconsciously, so am I.”

“I’m a fool,” Bella mumbled sadly.

“No, you’re not. I understand, perfectly, why you backed away. Michele warned me before I left the session with the two of you,” I said as I leaned forward, putting my elbows on the table. “It’s obvious that we can’t go back to what we had…”

“WHAT?” Her brown eyes filled with tears and her face shattered.

“Let me finish,” I said, taking Bella’s hand. Tears fell down Bella’s cheeks as I stroked her hand. She was mumbling that she hated herself that she deserved to be alone. I got up from my chair and wrapped my arms around her. She gripped my lapels of my suit and sobbed silently against me. The waitress was not happy when she delivered our meals, hissing that my companion was causing a disturbance. I glared at her. I’ll deal with you later, wench. “Bella, calm down. Please, sweet girl.” Her sobs were bordering on hysteria and her breathing was shallow. I could feel her pulse race under my fingers. I pressed my lips to her temple. “I don’t want to have to sedate you, Bella. Your heart rate is moving too fast.”

She took a shaky breath and wiped her tears. “Sorry,” she rasped out. Her eyes were trained on the table, not meeting my gaze at all.

Gently cupping her chin, I raised her face to look at me. The sadness in her eyes from when I first met her had washed from her eyes to her entire being. She had given up. Fuck. I motioned for the waitress and asked to get our meals wrapped up. Bella’s defeated posture troubled me. I paid the bill and helped Bella into her coat. Keeping her vertical with one hand and carrying the bag of food with the other, I walked us back to my car, driving to my brownstone. A steady stream of tears fell down Bella’s cheeks.

When I pulled up to my house, Bella looked at me in surprise. “Why didn’t you take me home?” she asked.

“Because we’re not done talking, Bella,” I said, cupping her cheek with my hand.

“Why prolong the inevitable?” she asked. Her voice was dead. No emotion. “Charlie’s right. I am worthless. I’m a fuck up.”

“Bella, stop it,” I snapped. I loved her so much and it fucking killed me to see her so broken. How can I get through to her? How can I show her how much I love her?

Getting out of the car, I jogged to Bella’s side. I opened it up and Bella just sat there. I was cold and honestly, getting cranky. This shit needed to be stopped now. So, I bent down and threw Bella over my shoulder. “EDWARD! PUT ME DOWN!” she screamed.

She wiggled on my shoulder until I dropped on her my couch in the living room. I walked to the medicine cabinet and picked up a bottle of xanax. I cut a pill in half and grabbed a water bottle. I wanted to be prepared if Bella started having a meltdown. I removed my suit coat and loosened my tie. Bella was curled up against the arm of the couch. “Bella?” I asked, touching her knee.

She glanced at me but didn’t say anything.

I rubbed my face and sat back. “This isn’t going to work if we don’t talk, Bella,” I murmured. “Do you want our relationship to work?”

“I do. But do you?” she asked, her brown eyes looking at me, still filled with sadness, dejection and loneliness.

“More than anything. Back to what I was saying in the restaurant,” I began. “This distance put a kink in our connection and we have rebuild it. I understand that you are hesitant to trust me. Again. But, I get it. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I’m in this for the long-haul.”

“This is my first real relationship, Edward. I don’t know what to do. I feel like I’m failing left and right at this,” she grumbled.

“No two relationships are the same, Bella. Ours has had some bumps and bruises, but if we can get past this, I’m certain we’ll be unbreakable,” I said. “I hope, at least. Do you think that I question my decisions?”

“You’re so confident, Edward. If I had an ounce of your self-esteem, I’d be a changed woman,” Bella sniffled. “All of the confidence that I had built up prior to all of this has disintegrated. I feel like I’m nothing.”

“Then, it’s my job as your boyfriend to make you feel like you’re worth a million, no, a billion dollars,” I said as I reached for her. “You’re not nothing, Bella. You’re my whole world, sweet girl. There are three things that I value above all else: my job, my family and most importantly, those that I love. I told you in Michele’s office how I felt and that hasn’t changed.” Her body sagged against the couch as new tears fell down her cheeks. “Don’t cry, Bella. It kills me to see you cry. I want to see a smile on your beautiful face. Laughter. Orgasms.”

Bella blushed and shot me a look.

“What? You’re the most beautiful when you come, sweet girl,” I purred.

“All of this has set me back, Edward,” she sniffled.

“I know. We’ll get there. Even now, it wouldn’t be appropriate to try anything physical. I think that’s why it was so awkward last night,” I answered. “I also think that we may have to seek out a couple’s counselor.”

“Money’s tight for me, Edward. I can’t afford that and Michele…” she frowned.

“I’ll cover that couple’s counselor. It’s an investment in our future, sweet girl. I want a long one with you,” I said, smiling at my girl. She opened her mouth, obviously trying to argue with me. “No arguments, Bella. I love you and I want to do this.” She nodded, slumping against my couch. I reached for her hand and laced my fingers with hers. I gently tugged on her arm. She looked at me. “Rebuilding the intimacy, Bella. We need to cuddle.” I gave her my crooked grin. “It’s where this all started…cuddling.”

“If we’re going to cuddle, can we at least do it on your bed and not on this tiny couch?” Bella asked, cracking a half grin.

“Your wish is my command, Miss Swan,” I said, kissing her lips briefly. I got up and held out my hands to her. She stood up on shaky limbs and we climbed the stairs to my bedroom. We changed into something more comfortable and snuggled under the covers in my bedroom. Bella’s head was right above my heart and I was holding her to my body. “I do love you, sweet girl. Even if we don’t work out, I’ll always love you.”

“Edward, I love you, too. I’m sorry for hurting you and I don’t want to lose what had. I want to move forward,” she whispered.

“And we will,” I said, tightening my hold on her. “Together.”

A/N: Yeah, that was a rough chapter to write. Bella is a hot mess. (Can  you really blame her? Charlie is a douche and a half.) Edward is confused by Bella’s actions, but not. Now, before those haters who LOVE to rip me apart get their word in, if a guy is willing to make a relationship work, it will. Yes, Bella is not the most confident; she’s chubby; and well, she is in need of some major counseling (I love Michele…). But, a kind-hearted, good-looking man, like Edward, will be patient enough to want to be with her, if he sees something worth waiting for. That was stated while Edward was in the appointment with Michele. So, NO HATING! If you don’t like the chapter, don’t flame me. Just don’t continue reading.

Anyhow, since the past chapter was kind of angst-filled, the next chapter will be more fluffy. I may be using a date idea from a friend that includes a kitchen (and you’ll get your shout-out in the next chappie, my dear). We’re also going to get some possible resolutions with James? I’m still trying to figure out the storyline with him. We will be moving forward a few months in the story. So, an FYI there, too.

Check out my blog for pictures (link in my profile). You can also check out my Facebook group: Tufano79’s Twilight Fanfiction Appreciation. Lots of discussion of stories there, Rob Porn, and fun times. Finally, I’ve opened up a twitter account. My name is the same as on here: tufano79. Follow me if you want some extra teasers and links. Leave me some lovin!

 

 

Chapter Text

This is different from the norm. In all of the stories that I’ve read or that I’ve seen, all of the characters are disgustingly perfect unless they are written with very clear flaws. This story is about love (um, duh! Look who’s writing it. I’m the queen of romance), and finding it in the least likely place with the least likely person.

Now, this story is based in a hospital. My medical training comes from…WebMD. I’m not a doctor, nor do I claim to be. I’m a music teacher who has a wild imagination and a penchant for all things Twilight (and with this story, added in a mix of ER! I loved Luca Kovac…) Which brings me to my disclaimer: None of this is mine. I’m not, nor ever will be, Stephenie Meyer. If was, I’d be rolling in the dough from her insane imagination that gave us Bella and Edward. No copyright infringement is intended.

In regards to Bella’s behavior last chapter, you have to understand that she was emotionally abused for fourteen years. She is lacking in some maturity and obviously has self-confidence issues. I’ve had many people say that they couldn’t stand hearing that Bella was ‘worthless.’ When all you hear for fourteen years is that your worthless, you believe it and it’s NOT going to change overnight. Period. As I said in my last author’s note, we’re moving forward a few months in the story (roughly to late April/early May.) I didn’t want to belabor a point with Bella’s appointments with Michele and the couple’s counseling. This story is about the growth of love between these two, not a clinical analysis of their neuroses. On with it!

Finally, I’d like to thank Sondra for the awesome idea for the date in this story…I hope I do it justice, darling!

Chapter Thirteen

BPOV

“God, one more hour and then I finally have three days off,” I groaned.

“Lucky bitch,” Alice snorted. “But, you deserve it. You’ve gotten the short end of the stick in the scheduling department, Bells. However, it’s all due to your tropical vacay that you’re taking with hot doc.”

“Hush, Midget,” I chided. “I’ve never taken a vacation and I’m looking forward to it. Granted, it’s two and half weeks in Oahu at the end of August, and it’s totally fucking with my schedule now. I’ll love it while I’m there. Soaking up the rays. Drinking a tropical drink.”

“Getting your brains fucked out,” Angela snickered.

I tossed a piece of paper at my roommate, glowering at her. She smiled sweetly, dodging my horrendous throw. Granted, it was paper but still the throw was pretty bad. I blushed and sighed. “Ang, stop. You know that we’re not at that point.”

“Yet,” she giggled.

Since the incident with my dad, Edward and I went through that rough patch. Things slowed down tremendously. We had moved pretty quickly in our relationship and we’ve slowly rebuilt our connection. He took me out on romantic dates. I cooked him dinner and did little things that I could. We attended couples therapy and I still met with Michele. We’d also slowed down our physical relationship as well. It wasn’t much, but we both felt that we needed to get the trust between each other back.

Let me just say, Edward is a fucking saint. He dealt with my moodiness and bitchiness easily. He also assured me when Michele suggested that I see a psychiatrist and get placed on anti-depressants. I’d been on them for nearly a month now and I could definitely feel a difference. My mood had stabilized and the feelings of ‘worthlessness’ had all but subsided. The combination of my dad’s rejection of me, his hatred towards me and my constant belittling at work all combined to make me a very depressed person. I was diagnosed with depression and general anxiety. In addition to the anti-depressants, I had xanax with me if I felt out of control.

“So, Bella, where is Dr. Sexward taking you on your date tonight?” Angela asked from her perch by the computer.

“We’re going to the Chopping Block for some cooking class,” I answered. “It’s a class that incorporates organic foods and is aligned with my new diet. My Weight Watcher’s instructor suggested it.” Yes, I started a diet. It wasn’t for Edward or my roommate. It was for myself. However, I know I’ll never be a twig like Alice or Ang. I just want to be in regular clothes. No more plus sized clothes. I was down nearly ten pounds and I definitely felt healthier. “She’s going to be at the class tonight.”

“What are you going to be cooking?” Alice asked.

“Haricot Vert, Pear and Goat Cheese Salad,  Seasoned Pork Tenderloin, Roasted Fingerling Potatoes with Herbs and Garlic, and Apple Crumble Pie,” I answered. “I’ve been saving my points for this evening with Edward.”

“Do you need help getting ready?” Alice squeaked. “Curling your hair? Putting on your makeup?”

“Nah, I’m good. I’m probably wearing my hair back since we’re cooking and my makeup is going to be pretty low-key,” I shrugged. “Thanks for offering, though, Ali.”

“No problemo,” she smirked. “I just want to live vicariously through you. Jasper is so busy with finishing up his dissertation that he hasn’t had much time for me. He said that once it’s turned in, he’ll spoil me rotten but until then, I’m lonely.”

I hid my distaste for Alice’s boyfriend and Edward’s brother. I know that Jasper didn’t care for me. He was nice enough but he always  kept me at arm’s length. I personally think that he doesn’t approve of me. Edward’s spoken to him on numerous occasions, but with no real change. “I’m sorry, Alice. He’ll be done soon. It’s due the second week in May. I think he’s just doing final editing and such.”

“I know. It doesn’t mean that I don’t miss my Jazzy,” she frowned. With a deep breath, Alice pushed away from the circulation desk and padded to check on her patients. My last patient had just been discharged and I was just marking my time at the desk, answering phones, organizing charts and other various ‘secretarial’ duties.

“I can see your nose wrinkle, Bella. You don’t like Jasper, do you?” Angela asked as she leaned against the desk.

“Not really. I mean, I’m cordial with him since he’s Edward’s brother, but there’s something about Jasper that is off-putting. It’s almost like he thinks that I’m not good enough for his brother,” I said. “He sees the psychological and physical mess and not the underlying problem.”

“So, he thinks you’re a fucking lunatic and too fat?” Angela asked, point blank.

“Pretty much,” I answered.

“Have you spoken to Edward about this?”

“Not really. I think he knows it’s going on because he told me about a fight that he and Jasper had prior to the ball in February,” I said as I tossed a chart into circulation. “Maybe I’ll mention it to him tonight, after our class. Anyhow, I’m probably not going to be home tonight. The class is closer to Edward’s house.”

“Are you finally going to fuck your boyfriend?” Angela snorted.

“Jesus, Ang. You’re like a horny, teenage boy,” I said dryly. “All you think about is sex, sex, sex.”

“So?”

“Go treat your patients, Angela. I’ll see you tomorrow,” I smirked.

“Love you, Bellsy,” she crooned as she danced away.

“Love you, too, Angie.”

A short el ride and a brisk walk later, I was back at the apartment. I noticed on James’ door that there was an eviction notice. I was almost grateful for that. He had gotten more and more bizarre, aggressive and smelly. With the rest of our floor, we wrote a letter to the management about his behaviors. That, in addition to not paying his rent for nearly four months, resulted in his imminent eviction. Unfortunately, James is not moving from his apartment. The sheriff’s office had already been notified and his eviction was scheduled for the day after tomorrow.

I showered and got ready for my date with Edward. I also packed an overnight bag with some pajamas, a change of clothes and my journal. Edward had given me space in his dresser and closet for clothes and necessities. I kept a few things there like a spare toothbrush, a handful of panties and some t-shirts, but most of my clothing was in my closet at home.

Around six, Edward’s key rattled in the door. He still kept the key that I had given him and I still had his, but our adult sleepovers were less frequent. Again, rebuilding the trust and starting new. “Hello, sweet girl,” he called into my apartment.

“In the bedroom,” I shouted back. I was finishing getting ready, putting my hair into a low ponytail and adjusting it so it would make my ‘bald’ spot too noticeable. Nearly two months later, my hair has grown back but it’s finer and a few shades lighter than my regular shade of ‘shit brown.’ It’s not too bad when my hair is down. However, going to a cooking class, I don’t want my hair in my food. Edward’s arms wrapped around my waist and he gently kissed the sensitive spot behind my ear. I melted into his embrace.

“Hmmm, you smell good,” he said as he nuzzled my neck. “Then again, you always smell good.”

“So do you,” I replied, inhaling deeply and enjoying that clean, fresh Edwardy smell. I turned in his arms and smiled. He looked so fucking sexy. He wore a pair of dark wash jeans, a white shirt and a plaid button down on top. His hair was tousled sexily and he wore his adorkable glasses. “Contacts bothering you?”

“Yeah. I slept with them in and my eyes are really dry,” he said, wrinkling his nose. “I should be fine by tomorrow. You ready to cook some delicious French cuisine?”

“I am. I’m starving and I’ve been saving points,” I smirked. I popped my hip and struck a saucy pose. I was wearing an orange top (courtesy of Alice’s mom) and a pair of khaki pants with some cute wedgie heels and turquoise jewelry. I was definitely feeling more confident in my body, but still not quite there yet.

“You know I’m not going to pay attention to the damn instructor,” he snorted.

“Um, why?”

“Because you look good enough to eat and well, your boobs are just begging for some attention,” he growled, staring directly at my cleavage.

“They do look good, don’t they,” I giggled, cupping my breasts and bouncing them a few times. Edward groaned and scowled at me. “Come on, cop a feel. I know you want to.”

“Bella, if I cop a feel, we won’t be leaving,” he said. He pulled me into his arms and stared at me with his evergreen eyes. “Tonight after we eat our delicious meal, you, me, bed, orgasms…got it?”

“Do I get a say on how the orgasms happen?” I asked, kissing his nose.

“You’re killing me, Bells,” he choked out. His lips brushed mine, then became more insistent. “You can get your orgasms any way  you want, baby…”

“I’m talking about you, baby,” I purred against his mouth. “Perhaps I need some extra protein.” Where the hell did that come from? “Shit, I’m sorry. I don’t know what’s wrong with me…”

“Bella, relax,” Edward said as he took my face in his hands. “I like it. I love hearing you be sexy and confident. I’m so more and more of it and I love it. Just like I love you, sweet girl.”

“I love you, too,” I said, smiling shyly. Edward gathered me in his arms and we swayed slightly for a few moments.

“Bella, you don’t have to apologize for what you just said or anything like that in the future. Hell, half of the stuff in my head is consistently in the gutter,” he quipped. “I’m a pervy old man who has an equally pervy girlfriend. Let her out sometimes. Besides, the possibility of hearing you say naughty words just makes me giddy.”

“Edward, don’t say ‘naughty.’ It’s wrong on so many levels,” I teased him. “Coupled with the word ‘giddy…’ takes the wrong to a whole other level.”

“Okay, I won’t say ‘naughty,’ anymore,” he vowed. “We have to go, though. Did you pack a bag?” I nodded and pointed to the small duffel next to my door. “You know, you can keep some clothes at my house. Or here’s a novel concept, you can always stay there. Permanently…”

“Edward,” I chided.

“I know, I know. Rebuilding trust. It’s too soon,” he said, smiling sadly. “I will break you down, though. Before next year, you will move in with me. I have seen it.”

“Are you omniscient?” I asked as he slipped my bag over his shoulder. “All-knowing?”

“Yes,” he smirked. “Come, love. Let’s go cook.”

I grabbed my purse and a jacket before leaving the apartment. Edward held my hand tightly as we passed James’ door. The smells coming from the apartment were nasty and nauseating. “When is he leaving?”

“When the cops kick him out,” I cringed. “The eviction is scheduled for the day after tomorrow.”

“How long are you staying with me?” Edward asked, his eyes serious and his posture stiff.

“I have to come home tomorrow to do laundry,” I replied. Edward turned on his heel and dragged me back to my apartment. “What are you doing?”

“You’re bringing your laundry to my place. You are not coming back here until douchetard is gone,” Edward said sternly. “Please don’t fight me, Bella. I know that Angela purposefully asked to work the day he was getting evicted. It’s not going to pretty and well, I want you away from this mess.”

“Fine,” I said. We grabbed my laundry basket and walked down to Edward’s Volvo. After we placed it into the trunk, we drove to The Chopping Block cooking school off of Lincoln Avenue. Edward parked the car and we walked into the store front. Once we dealt with registration, we were led to a large room the back of the store. It was the fanciest ‘home ec’ room I’d ever seen. Each kitchen was decked out with Viking stoves and ovens, granite counter tops, top of the line cutlery, and the little ramekins for the spices and other various ingredients.

“God, this kitchen is a dream,” I moaned.

“I’ve got the same kitchen at my house,” he quipped, poking me in the side. “Only difference is my cabinetry is cherry whereas this is more an oak.”

“Your kitchen is fabulous, too,” I smiled. “I definitely know my way around your kitchen since I’m the only one who uses it to cook, Dr. Cullen.”

“Hush,” he snorted. “I can cook. I can cook very well. I’m just a fucking slacker. When I get off of a twelve hour shift, the last thing I want to do is cook dinner or breakfast or whatever. A sandwich just works fine. Or a bowl of cereal.”

“Really healthy, stud.”

Edward wrinkled his nose and glowered at me playfully. A few more couples arrived and we were sitting next to a pair that was about our age. The woman was heavy like me and the man was slender, not as muscular as Edward. Pam, the woman, had just started Weight Watchers and wanted to do this cooking class with her husband, Maxwell. Pam was a teacher and Maxwell was an insurance adjuster. We decided to split a bottle of wine between the four of us and settled into learn how to make some low-fat but tasty French cuisine.

The instructor gave us our recipes and described what we were doing. After that initial teaching, we were left to our own devices to prepare the meal as the instructor wandered around the kitchen. Edward volunteered to make the salad while I tackled the pork and potatoes. Maxwell saw the wisdom in Edward’s ways and decided to do the same.

While Pam and I worked on preparing the meat, she elbowed me. “Damn, girl. He’s hot,” she laughed. “Where did you find that fine specimen?”

“We work together,” I replied, cutting up the vegetables for the potato dish. “I’m a nurse at County and he’s one of the doctors.”

“If my doctor looked like him, I’d be sick a lot more often,” Pam said.

“Maxwell is cute,” I replied, staring at Pam’s husband. He was shorter than Edward with a receding hairline. However, what he lacked in hair, Maxwell had in personality and an adorable face. He reminded me of that cute Labrador puppy you see at the pound with big brown eyes and long eyelashes.

“Right. Cute,” Pam said flatly. “I love him but what I wouldn’t give for an hour with Dr. Sexy.”

“Back off, woman. He’s mine,” I smirked. “What grade do you  teach?”

“I teach 8th grade special education,” she said. “However, I’d love to be a stay-at-home mom. I just had a baby girl last fall and I loved being with her all the time during my maternity leave. Or rather family leave. I had some complications with my Mackenzie and I took the whole year off. I’m back teaching now and I miss my baby time. It’s been nearly a whole school year and I still miss it.”

“You can’t stay home?”

“Can’t afford it,” Pam replied, wrinkling her nose. “Max makes good money but to keep the house we live in and the lifestyle we lead, I need to keep working. The nice thing is that my mom is my babysitter since she lives with us. How about you? Kids?”

“Oh, Edward and I aren’t married,” I blushed.

“Shut the fuck up. Really? You two seem so in tune with each other that I just assumed. I’m sorry,” she rambled.

“No, it’s not a big deal. We’re still in the early stages of our relationship. We only got together on New Year’s,” I answered. And had several major disagreements since then…Fuck! No negativity.

“Do you want to get married?” Pam asked, giving me a wicked grin. “Because if you’re not going to marry him, I’ll divorce Max and go after hot doc.”

“I do want to get married, but not yet,” I chuckled.

Edward and Maxwell had finished the salad, placing it inside of the cooler. Pam and I put them to work on the dessert while we finished the pork and potatoes. Despite her ribbing, Pam really did love her husband. Maxwell totally doted on her and the love he had for his wife filled the room.

We finished up the meal and sat down at the table, with another bottle of wine. We chattered on about our jobs and possibly getting together on a regular basis. Pam’s and my Weight Watcher’s counselor were the same, but we met on different days and at different locations. We also both purchased a cook book for healthy eating filled with goodies that we both wanted to try. Tentatively, we set a date at Pam and Maxwell’s place in Glenview for two weeks from today to make stuffed peppers, calabrese salad and low-fat tiramisu. As we left, phone numbers were exchanged and hugs were distributed. As we hugged, Pam whispered in my ear, “You may not be getting married right now, but that boy looks at you like you’re his treasure. You are so lucky, Bella. Don’t let him go.”

“I won’t,” I whispered back. I turned to my slightly drunk boyfriend who was giving Maxwell a ‘guy hug.’ “Give me a call, Pam, if you ever want to get together prior to our next dinner date.”

“Hell yeah! I’ve got roughly a month left of school. We’ll so get together, chica,” Pam smiled. “Maxwell Cummings! We’ve got a babysitter to relieve.”

“Our babysitter lives at our house, Pam,” Maxwell said dryly. “She’s your mother. Nice to meet you, Edward.”

“Minor technicalities,” Pam snorted. “See you both later.”

“You too, Max and Pam,” Edward slurred slightly. We watched our new friends leave and we started walking toward Edward’s Volvo.

 “Baby?” I asked.

“Yes, gorgeous girl,” he smiled drunkenly.

“Can I see your car keys?” I smirked.

“Sure,” he said, handing them over. “Why?”

“Because you are sooooooooooooooo not driving,” I replied sternly. His jaw dropped and he looked at me like I was crazy. “Don’t look at me in that tone of voice, Edward Anthony Cullen. You are blitzed and are in no shape to drive.”

“You drank alcohol, too,” he pouted.

“But, not an entire bottle of Pinot Grigio,” I said, arching a brow. “Don’t you trust me to drive your precious Volvo?”

“Bella, I trust you with my life,” he said as he pulled me to his side. “Thank you for taking care of my drunk ass.”

“You’re not completely drunk but enough so that you could get pulled over,” I said. He nodded and kissed me sweetly, tasting of wine, apple crumble and Edward. Who knew that Edward had a distinct flavor? I sure didn’t. It’s a combination of sweet, spice and something inherently him…I can’t pinpoint it but I love it. We broke apart and walked briskly to Edward’s car. It was chilly and my light jean jacket wasn’t cutting it. Inside the car, I blasted the heat to warm up my frozen fingers and toes. I pulled away from the curb and once I was on the road, Edward’s fingers twined with mine. He was leaning against the headrest of the car, staring at me. “Edward, I love you, but the staring thing is kind of creepy.”

“Sorry, but you’re so fucking gorgeous, Bella,” he said, brushing some of my ponytail over my shoulder. “And tonight, you were so amazing in the kitchen, talking with Pam, controlling my drunk ass…you’ve made so many improvements. It’s like night and day, sweet girl.”

“Yes, I’ve gotten better but I’m still not perfect,” I said, looking at him briefly.

“Nonsense, the changes since February have been remarkable,” he said as he leaned over the console, nuzzling my ear. His lips gently grazed my earlobe. “The confidence you’ve built up is amazing and I can only see you going further from here. Oh, and you look fucking beautiful, too.”

“I’m not just beautiful, I’m fucking beautiful,” I teased, kissing on the lips at a stoplight. “You are such a distraction, Cullen. I’m driving here and you’re being all cute and swoony.”

“So?” he smiled wickedly. His mouth moved back to my ear and his hot breath made my hair curl. “I want you, baby.”

I stiffened and pulled away from the stoplight with a little too much acceleration. Edward fell back in his seat, his green eyes wide with shock. “Um, that is so the wine talking, Edward,” I laughed nervously. I mean, really. We hadn’t done more than kiss, make out or do some over the clothes fondling. He wants sex? Tonight?

“Bella, relax,” he said, quickly backtracking. “Let me rephrase…I want to move forward. Physically. Not sex. More than what we’ve been doing. And correct me if I’m wrong, you wanted some extra protein in your diet earlier.”

“Shoot me now,” I groaned. “I still can’t believe I said that. I was sober, too!”

“That means you want it,” Edward said as he laced his fingers with mine. Picking up our joined hands, he kissed my knuckles. “And buzzed or  not, I want some of the delectable flavor of you.” I whimpered. He raised one of my fingers and wrapped his lips around it, swirling his tongue around my fingertip. “I want bury my tongue between your thighs and make you come with my mouth…”

“Fuck me,” I squeaked.

“Only if you want me to,” he winked. “Bella, I love you very much and I want to make you feel good. Besides, seeing you in the kitchen, working gracefully in there, talking with Pam and look fucking hot as hell; tonight has been one long drawn-out version of visual foreplay. I’ve been hard as a rock once you uttered that you wanted some extra protein.”

“Just stop saying that, Edward,” I giggled.

“I’ve had this visual in my head of you with your mouth wrapped around my cock, getting said protein,” he said, placing my hand on his erection. Dear God, he has been hard all night. “Now, I’ll respect you if you don’t want to…”

“Oh, I want to. Believe me, I want to,” I said as I turned on Edward’s street. “Even though we were only intimate a handful of times, I’ve forgotten how it’s felt to feel that good. You know?”

“Well, we’ll have to remedy that, sweet girl,” Edward purred. I melted against the leather seat as I pulled into Edward’s garage. Faster than a blink of an eye, Edward was at my door and helping me out of the Volvo. I was pressed against the cool metal as Edward cupped my face, kissing me deeply. His tongue was massaging mine, dancing languidly inside of my mouth. My arms wrapped around his waist as he kissed the shit out of me. His mouth was insistent, possessive and downright sexy. He body was pressed against me and I could feel his excitement trapped between our bodies. “Bella, we need to get inside or I’ll do something here in the fucking garage.”

“I’d move but you’re squishing me,” I said as I snaked my hands down to his ass, squeezing his tight, firm cheeks. He growled, rotating his hips and pushing his arousal against my aching core. Then he pulled me away from the car and swung me over his shoulder. “Jesus!”

“Bella, I’m not Jesus. I’m Edward,” he quipped as he carried me up the stairs to the house. Pushing the door open, he easily strode through the kitchen and up the stairs. How he can do this with me on his shoulder is beyond me...but, I do get an awesome view of his luscious ass while he walks. Upstairs, he tossed me on the bed, earning a giggle from me. “You won’t be laughing, little girl,” he growled. “I plan on making you fucking scream. MY name!”

“Okay, Caveward,” I smiled, sitting up and tracing my fingers along the hard planes of his chest.

“Caveward?” he snorted. I began unbuttoning his plaid shirt as I got to my knees. “Are you calling me a caveman?”

“You did throw me over your shoulder, Caveward,” I said as I pushed his now unbuttoned shirt from his shoulders. I traced my fingers along the waistband of his jeans, removing his undershirt from the dark wash denim.

“It’s because I needed you inside, in my house, on my bed,” he replied, gliding his hands up my arms. “Besides, these have been taunting me all fucking night.” His hands moved to my breasts, massaging them over my orange shirt. “Do I feel lace?”

“Yep,” I blushed. “Alice and Cynthia dragged me to get some updated lingerie with my overtime check. Some of it will be worn while we’re on vacation in Oahu, but I decided to break some of it out early. What’s underneath my clothes is that: some sales items that were cute and sexy. Alice personally thinks I’m crazy for buying them but I liked it.”

“Hmmm,” Edward said with a slow, seductive grin. “Can I see?”

Biting my lip, I reached for the hem of my shirt, taking it off my body. I was kneeling on the bed in front of Edward in an orange and slightly pink lacy bra that cupped my breasts perfectly, giving me the best cleavage. The fabric was see-through and you could blatantly see my pink and aroused nipples through the lace. Edward’s eyes darkened as he looked at me, moving his one finger down my collarbones to just between my breasts. My skin was flushed and I grew self-conscious under Edward’s heated gaze. I shifted under his scrutiny. However, Edward’s gently fingers reached up to my face and guided my eyes to his. “You’re so beautiful. I’m just admiring the view. Trust me when I say that I love it,” he said calmly. “I have to ask, though. Is this part of a set?”

“Yep. I’ve got a matching pair of cheeky, lacy orange boy shorts underneath my khakis,” I smirked.

“The ones where your little ass cheeks hang out?” Edward asked, his green eyes dancing with mirth.  I nodded and he pounced. We were a tangle of arms, legs and my squeals as he kissed my lips and touched my skin. My khakis were unbuttoned, removed and flung onto the floor along with my shirt. Edward rolled me so I was on my belly , kissing down my spine with warm, wet, open-mouthed kisses. He reached the waistband of my panties and pulled back. His hands cupped my ass and he groaned. “That is a thing of beauty.”

Looking over my shoulder, I shot him a look of disbelief. However, he was too enthralled with playing with the globes of my ass over the lacy fabric. Edward leaned over and bit my right ass cheek with his teeth. “Edward!” I squeaked.

“Your ass was begging to be bitten,” he said, grinning shamelessly. “I got the right cheek…now the left.” He bent over and repeated the action with my left cheek, causing a stinging feeling to radiate through my ass. However, it was not unwelcome. In fact, my pussy clenched at the feeling of his mouth so close to wet, warm juncture between my thighs. I wonder what would feel like with his lips there? “Ecstasy, my Bella.”

“Did I say that out loud?” I whispered.

“Oh, yes. You did and that’s what I plan to do tonight,” he replied, turning me over onto my back, pinning my body with his. His arousal was straining in his jeans. He kissed my lips hard, forcing his tongue into my mouth. I’d never seen Edward this aggressive and honestly, I liked it. A lot. Apparently, drunk Edward equals horny Edward. “As tasty as that apple crumble was, I have a sneaking suspicion that your pussy will taste even better.”

“Fuck,” I groaned against his mouth. The idea of it was highly erotic but in the back of mind, Negative Bella was chiding me saying that he was going to screw me over.

Edward felt my trepidation. My kisses were not as forceful and well, my hands fell limply to his sides. “Bella?”

“Sorry, insecure moment,” I chuckled nervously. “Trying to work past it…”

“If you don’t want me to go down on you, I won’t,” he said, the light dimming in his eyes.

“The thing is that I want it, but subconscious and conscious are fighting,” I quipped, trying to make light of it.

“Trust me,” he soothed, kissing my lips. “Just feel. Your subconscious and conscious will both be screaming by the time my tongue is done with you, sweet girl.” He pressed his mouth against mine, pushing said tongue between my lips. His warm body was crushed against me as he held me tightly. His calloused hands ran up and down my arms as continued to massage my mouth with his. While we kissed, Edward flipped us so I was straddling his waist. My hands were tangled in his wild hair. With deft fingers, Edward unclasped my bra and it fell away from my body. His hands cupped my still voluptuous breasts. Despite my losing weight, I’ll always still have the girls. They aren’t going away anytime soon.  “You feel so good, Bella.”  Edward looked up at me and his eyes were black fire. “I’ve missed your skin. Feeling the warmth of your body. The softness of your breasts. Fuck, I’ve missed you!”

“I’ve been right here,” I blushed.

“Technically true, but I’ve missed you. I’ve missed touching you,” he whispered, his eyes softening and his own cheeks turning a soft pink. “I know we had to take a step back, Bella. But that doesn’t mean I didn’t yearn to be with you every night. My dreams are filled with my deepest fantasies involving you.” A devilish grin spread over his handsome features. “You’re quite bendy in my dreams. And vocal. And…” he leaned forward, brushing his lips against my ear, “wet.”

I let out a strangled whimper, leaning against Edward who was still massaging my bare breasts. “Trust me when I say I’m wet now,” I squeaked. Edward’s grin widened and his hand dipped between my legs, brushing my core through my panties. He growled lowly when he felt my arousal, through my panties.

“Yes, you are, sweet girl,” he smirked. Despite his smirk on his face, his eyes were gentle and loving. “Do you trust me?” I nodded. He kissed me sweetly. “Can I taste you? Have a proper dessert?” A million thoughts of panic filled my head. Would he find me unattractive? Did I shave? Why do guys like doing this? “Trust me, Bella. I want to do this, baby. I want taste your sweet pussy, love.” His voice was hypnotic and soothing, coaxing me to believe what he was saying. His lips gently brushed against mine and I was cushioned on the soft pillows on Edward’s bed. His loving kisses moved down my neck and to my breasts. With a wink, he wrapped his lips around my nipple, swirling his tongue around it. I bit my lip to quell my moans. “I want to hear you, Isabella.”

Fuck. He used my full name. Normally I hate that, but when Edward’s smooth caramelly voice says it, it sounds like heaven. I moaned and gripped the sheets next to me. Edward smiled against my skin as he kissed to my other breast, nipping at my aroused nub. His other hand cupped my breast that was unattended, pinching my nipple. I squirmed and wiggled under his sensual assault of his mouth and hands.

“You’re holding back, Bella,” Edward said, looking up at me. His gaze was heavy-lidded. The love he had for me was plain, though. “Just enjoy it. I want to make you feel so good. I love kissing you, holding you, feeling you and loving you.”

Don’t cry. Don’t cry. Don’t cry.

“I love you, too, Edward,” I said, just barely able to get it out without having traitorous tears escape. He crawled up my body and kissed me deeply, his lips molding against mine. When he pulled back, his eyes pierced through mine. I smiled nervously, brushing his riotous hair from his forehead. He returned my smile crookedly, making him so happy and young. He kissed me again before slithering down my body. His lips glided along my belly until he reached the waistband of my cheeky panties. Edward looked up at me and his eyes asked me the question. Could he do this? Could he go down on me?

I caressed his cheek and nodded, giving him a shy smile. He kissed my belly, licking along the waistband of my underwear. His fingers moved to the edge of my panties, pulling them down slowly, revealing my body. My panties were off me and for the first time since the whole Jacob debacle, I was naked with a man. Unlike Jacob, Edward didn’t look at me with disdain. His eyes were loving. His touch was reverent. His kisses were smoldering. “Bella, when the time is right, I intend on worshiping your beautiful body and giving you all of the love you deserve. For tonight, though, my mouth is going give you so much pleasure.”

“Dear God,” I moaned, anxious with anticipation of what he was going to do.

“Not God or Jesus,” he quipped as he spread my legs. “I’m Edward.” He winked as he began kissing up my legs, starting at my ankle, swirling his tongue up my skin until he just reached my inner thigh. I watched him with rapt attention as he teased me expertly. He switched legs and repeated the same actions, nipping, licking and kissing my legs, knees and stopping just short of the juncture between my thighs. The one place I wanted him to kiss, lick or nip and he wouldn’t go there. The dull aching throb was almost too much.

“Edward,” I whimpered. “Please…”

“What, baby?” he asked, his eyes dancing mischievously.

“You know what,” I laughed nervously. Wriggling my hips, I indicated what I wanted. When did I become so brazen?  

“Tell me, Bella. Tell me what you want,” he cooed.

“You,” I answered vaguely.

“What about me,” he pushed as he languidly suckled on my inner thigh, no doubt leaving a mark. “What do you want me to do your beautiful body, sweet girl?”

He’s so egging me on. He wants me to talk dirty to him. His face was right there. His warm breath was tickling my already heightened core with his voice, his silky words. My entire body flamed in excitement and embarrassment. I wanted to feel his tongue there but I was so afraid I’d sound foolish asking for it.

“Bella,” he urged. His eyes were boring into me, flickering with desire, want and need. “I want to hear you say it.”

I gulped and breathed deeply. I was so outside of my comfort zone. “Lick me,” I whispered. “L-lick m-my p-pussy.” His mouth descended on me and he used his tongue to lick the entire length of my slit. Oh my GOD! His fingers were golden but his tongue is fucking PLATINUM. My legs were pushed apart and I was bared for him. Edward had his mouth on my intimate place that only my doctor had seen before him. The things he was doing with his mouth, tongue and teeth should be illegal, they felt so good.

“You taste divine, Ms. Swan,” Edward growled against my folds. “I’ve never tasted a woman who was so sweet and perfect.” His eyes met mine and he sucked on my clit, flicking it with his tongue. He kissed my sex like he would kiss my mouth, fully and deeply on my lower lips. Using his fingers, he spread my folds to reveal my clit. He smiled when he looked down at it, taking it into his mouth. His other hand moved to my entrance and he eased two fingers inside of my body, curling them upwards.

“Fuck,” I groaned. Such a stellar vocabulary, Swan. Like a sailor…or a truck driver.

“Bella, you’re so wet, love,” Edward purred. “Are you close?”

“Yes,” I breathed. “More, Edward.” My muscles were clenching in my belly and I could feel my body react to his fingers inside. I tangled my fingers into Edward’s messy hair. I held him between my legs as he fucked me with his fingers and licked my swollen folds. His low, rumbling growl vibrated through my body and I threw my head back.

“Holy hell,” Edward breathed, momentarily removing his lips from my body. He dove back in and increased the pumping of his hand. I was quickly losing control of my entire body. My hips were bucking uncontrollably and I was grunting like an animal. I should have cared what I was doing but what Edward was doing with his mouth, hands and tongue were my undoing. When he added his tongue to his fingers between my folds and pressed his thumb to my clit, I screamed out in pure ecstasy. My muscles clenched around his fingers and I arched my back off the bed. Edward’s mouth and fingers moved with me and he held up my hips with his arm while I lost control. Pleasure washed over me in waves until I slumped back onto the bed, exhausted and completely sated.

Edward crawled up my body and was languidly rubbing circles on my belly, breasts and upper thighs. I opened my eyes and looked at him. His face was flushed and slightly damp, as was his hair. “Why are you wet?” I asked, my voice croaking.

He smiled widely. “Let’s just say that you were very excited when you came, sweet girl,” he replied. He licked his lips eagerly. “Delicious.” My eyes bugged out of my head. I had come so hard that I had…

“WHAT?”

“Bella, relax,” Edward soothed, gathering me in his arms. “It was hot as hell and I can’t wait until we do this again so I can get a repeat performance.” His eyes were soft and loving as he gently caressed my cheeks. I was so embarrassed. However, Edward gently kissed every inch of my face, whispering his love for me. I eventually calmed down and curled up against him, only to see the tented fabric of his jeans.

“Baby,” I frowned. I gently cupped his arousal, earning a hiss from Edward. “Let me make you feel good. Just like you did for me.” I looked up at him and he was breathing heavily. I reached down and unbuckled his belt. His jeans and boxer briefs were on the ground and he was gloriously naked. His cock bobbed as he shifted on the bed. I wrapped my hand around his arousal and smirked at the velvety texture of his skin. I looked back at him and kissed his lips before moving to sit between his legs. I was gently pumping his erection, swirling the pre-cum that had gathered on the tip. Leaning forward, I placed a soft kiss on the head of his dick. Edward’s head shot up and he groaned. Hearing his groan spurred me on to open my mouth and take his cock inside of my mouth. The flavor of his skin was salty, musky and perfectly Edward. I slowly moved my mouth up and down his arousal, using my saliva to lubricate his cock. What I couldn’t reach with my mouth, which was a lot, I pumped with my hand.

“So…good…” Edward whimpered. He brushed my hair from my face and looked down at me reverently. I released him and ran my tongue along the large vein on the underside of his shaft. My hands begin to toy with his balls and he was moaning loudly. His hips were moving, begging for more friction. I wrapped my lips around  him again and began bobbing my head with a little more ‘gusto.’ With my right hand, I’m extending my bobbing and my left was massaging his balls. “Holy fuck monkeys…”

Excuse me?

I bit back a laugh as I continued to suck him off. His cock hardened in my mouth and was twitching with his imminent release. Relaxing my jaw, I moved my mouth further down his shaft until he bumped the back of my throat. I sucked on his cock, hollowing out my cheeks and dragged my mouth back up his length. Edward’s mumblings were incoherent but his hand on the back of my head and his moving indicated he apparently liked it. I repeated my actions, increasing in speed.

“Bella, if you keep that up…I’m going to…”

I scraped my teeth lightly on his shaft, earning a guttural grunt from Edward. His head fell back and his breathing was shallow pants. His hands were clenched in tight fists, grasping at the bed spread. “Bella, I’m…baby…”

I know. I want to,  I thought. He tasted me now I want to taste him. I wrapped my hand around the base of erection and increased the speed of my mouth. Edward was becoming unraveled quickly. With a roar, Edward’s hips bucked up and my mouth was filled with his release: salty, tangy and all him. I swallowed up his release and cleaned his cock with my tongue. Once he was clean and soft, I sat up and smiled. Edward was collapsed on the bed, breathing heavily. His limbs were strewn akimbo and his skin was flushed pink and sweaty. “Feel good, Dr. Tattward?”

“Say what?” he snorted.

“You have a tattoo, Cullen. And ‘holy fuck monkeys?’” I bellowed, falling over in a fit of hysterics.

“You sucked out all of my brain cells, Swan,” he replied, wrapping me in his arms. He kissed my forehead. “That was the best blowjob I’d ever had, sweet girl.”

“I really didn’t know what I was doing, Edward,” I blushed. “But, I’m glad you liked it.”

“I loved it, baby,” he said as he tightened his arms around me. We stayed entangled in our embrace until I started shivering from not being under the covers. Edward stripped the bedspread to be brought to the drycleaners, thanks to my enthusiastic and wet orgasm, and put on another, older bedspread. Curling up underneath the covers, we both fell asleep quickly.

xx APFL xx

I stayed with Edward for my entire three days off. He had to work one of those days but for the most part it was spent in domestic bliss. However, I knew Edward wanted me far away from my apartment while James was getting his scrawny ass evicted from his place. Normally, I would have fought him on it but something about James was off and I was glad for him to be kicked out.

I was currently sitting in the piano room, scribbling in journal while Edward was working out with Emmett. We were going out with Alice, Jasper and Rosalie to go bowling this evening. Emmett said he’d join us once he got off at the gym. In my journal, I was trying to psych myself out for dealing with Jasper, who still doesn’t really care for me…

April 28th, 2013

I don’t want to go back to work tomorrow. Nor do I want to go back to my apartment. But, I will. Despite my better judgment. That past few days have been nothing short of wonderful. Things have grown between Edward and me and the trust that was lost with the whole situation with Charlie in February has long since dissipated. I’m so thrilled about that. The love I feel for Edward grows daily and I can’t imagine my life without him.

If only I could get the approval of all his family. Carlisle, Esme and Rose all like me but Edward’s brother, Jasper, looks at me like I’ve got the plague or something. Almost, like I’m not good enough for his brother. I’ve spoken to Edward about Jasper’s indifferent behavior and he promised to speak with Jasper but I think the only person who will get through to him is me.

I hate conflict. So much, but this needs to stop. I may not be perfect but I’m a good person I don’t deserve this shit. (Michele and Edward would be proud of me to hear me say that.) So, tonight, I’m going to call Jasper out on his bullshit behavior. I need to get the bottom of his disdain of me. Is it because of my weight? My less-than-perfect home life prior to meeting Edward? My mental illness? None of those things are in my control. Well, my weight is in my control, but the rest aren’t. I’m trying to address the issue with my weight but losing it is fucking hard.

“Bella? Where are you?” Edward yelled.

“Piano room,” I replied. I closed my journal and watched as Edward jogged into the music room. His hair was damp and he was wearing a pair of jeans with a black t-shirt and black plaid shirt with the sleeves rolled up. On his face, he wore his tortoise frames. “How was your workout?”

“Good. Emmett kicked my ass,” he snickered. “He also wanted me to give you this.” He handed me an ID card along with a clip for my keys. “Emmett heard about our trip to the cooking school and he’s excited that you are trying to lose weight. Emmett used his employee discount and got you a membership and ten training sessions with him. If you want them, of course.”

“Should I?” I asked.

“Bella, I’ll love you no matter what,” he said as he put the ID card and key fob on the floor. “But, as a doctor, you have a better chance of losing the weight that you want if you add working out. Emmett said he’d work with you and it would be a lot of fun. He suggested kick boxing and you’re looking at your kick boxing dummy.”

“I’m kick boxing you, Edward,” I said dryly. “Emmett, yes. You? No.”

Edward laughed and kissed my forehead, smelling clean and fresh. “I’m glad you want to kick Emmett’s ass and not mine.”

“I love you. Emmett, I’m fond of,” I clarified.

“I’m glad that’s all cleared up,” he chuckled. “Anyhow, Emmett left his cell phone number on the key fob and you call him when you’re ready to start your training sessions.”

“I’ll look at my schedule and give him a call this week,” I replied, kissing his lips. “What time are we heading to the bowling alley?”

“An hour. We need to pick up Rose on the way to Streeterville,” Edward explained. “Unless you want to wear my medical school hoodie and fleece pajamas, you may want change, sweet girl.” I got up and padded up to Edward’s bedroom. I changed into a pair of jeans and a red zigzag shirt with some red ballet flats. I put on some makeup and sweeping my hair into a half up-do. I finished my look with a pair of silver hoop earrings and some red lip gloss. I walked down the stairs and found Edward in the kitchen, reading something on his laptop. His brows were furrowed and he looked pissed.

“What’s wrong, Edward?”

“Just checked my work email. I’ve got a meeting first thing in the morning with the other department heads. Eleazar is unable to attend it,” he grumbled. “Something about a new surgeon being hired or something.”

“Oh,” I answered. “Weren’t you scheduled for the afternoon?”

“I was but now I have to go in at eight,” he said, wrinkling his nose. “But there is one positive, I get to go in with you.” He leaned down and kissed my lips sweetly. “You look beautiful, love. Do we have to go out?”

“It’s going to be fun, Edward,” I chided. “I want to go.”

“Fine,” he said, giving me his lopsided grin. Scooping up his keys, we walked out to Edward’s car and drove to pick up Rose. Hugs and kisses were distributed and we drove to Lucky Strike Lanes in Streeterville. We parked next to Jasper’s Subaru and headed inside. Alice had insisted that Jasper take a brief break from his dissertation and bowling was the suggestion. Begrudgingly he agreed and here we are, at the swanky bowling alley. Inside, we were tackled by an excited Alice. She hugged each of us and dragged us to our two lanes. Jasper was tying his shoes. “Nice bowling shoes, Jasper.”

“Shut it, douche,” Jasper snorted. “Not all of us are germophobes like you.”

“Eddie hates bowling shoes,” Rose explained. “He has heart palpitations at the thought of wearing them so he bought his own.”

“So that’s what’s in the bag,” I teased, poking his side and nudging his backpack off his shoulder.

“Do you know how many germs are in there? How many people’s different feet?” he cringed. “Then there’s Jasper. He wears the damn shoes with no socks.”

Jasper shrugged and pulled up his jeans, displaying his naked ankles. Now that’s gross.

I put on my socks and tied my shoes on my feet. Everyone else was following suit while Edward, my wonderfully germophobic boyfriend, was spraying the bowling ball with antibacterial spray. Once he was done disinfecting the bowling balls, he sat down and put on his black bowling shoes. I leaned over to him, “You are such a contradiction, Edward.”

“What does that mean?” he asked as he shoved his bag under the seat.

“You had your face buried between my thighs,” I whispered in his ear, “covered in my release and you’re spraying down bowling balls?”

He smiled, blushing slightly. He buried his nose in my hair. “I’d rather have my tongue in your sweet pussy any day, sweet girl,” he purred. “And the only balls I want to play with are mine, or rather, I’d rather you play with them…”

“Fuck,” I groaned.

“Are you two talking dirty over there?” Rose quipped, putting her hands on her hips.

“No,” I answered.

“Yes,” Edward laughed. I smacked him. Jasper scowled and downed half of his pint of beer. My smile falters and I go to pick a ball to use for the game. While I’m getting my ball, Edward is laying into Jasper who is staring sheepishly at his feet.

Alice appears next to me and threads her fingers through mine. “I’m trying, Bella,” she said sadly.

“You don’t need to,” I said. “I’m going to call him out on his bullshit tonight. This needs to stop. I love Edward and we’re together. Jasper needs to understand this.”

“I told Jasper that if he doesn’t change his attitude toward you and at least be respectful to you, we’re not going to stay together,” Alice said, her eyes impossibly sad.

“Don’t give him an ultimatum, Ali,” I said. “If you want to be with him, then be with him.”

“I can’t be with someone who cannot respect my best friend,” Alice said. “You and Angela are my best and dearest friends. Well, besides my sister, Cynthia.” We walked back to the lanes and hugged. Edward pulled me into his lap, kissing my temple. Jasper looked very much like a child who had been reprimanded by their parents. His head was down and his fingers were being twisted nervously.

“What did you say to him?” I asked.

“I told him to grow up,” Edward grumbled. “I thought he was over this but apparently not.”

“Edward! You’re up first,” Rose called.

He sighed. I got up and watched him pick up his bowling ball and fling it down the alley, earning a strike. He sat down and I was up next. The first ball was a gutter ball but the second one I managed to get a few pins down. The first game was tense as Edward and Jasper were barely talking. Rose and Alice were trying to break the ice but it fell on deaf ears. After the first game, Jasper said that he was going to get another pitcher of beer. I hopped up and said I join him. Edward’s eyes widened behind their glasses as I followed Jasper to the bar.

Here goes nothing…

“One pitcher of Miller Lite,” Jasper said as he slammed down some money. “Do you want anything other than beer, Bella?”

“I’d like to talk to you,” I said calmly, though my heart was stammering against my ribs.

“About what?” Jasper asked, shooting me a look.

“Why don’t you like me?” I asked, narrowing my eyes at him. “What did I ever do to you?”

“You haven’t done anything to me, Bella,” he sighed.

“Then, why are you rude to me and disrespectful of my relationship with your brother?”

“Can I get a shot of Petron?” Jasper asked. The bartender put the shot in front of him and he quickly downed it. “Bella, you’re a nice girl. I just have a hard time understanding what Edward sees in you, though.”

“Why?” I pressed. “Is it because of my weight?”

“That’s part of it,” Jasper replied, looking at me. “Have you seen pictures of Edward’s ex-wife?”

“Tanya? No,” I answered.

“She was tall, blonde and gorgeous,” Jasper said, looking at me, barely able to hide his disgust. His expression resembled what I saw when Jacob first had sex with me.

“So you think that I’m not pretty enough for Edward? Well, let me tell you something, Jasper. I may not be the thinnest girl or the smartest, but I’m at least true to who I am. Edward could be balding, have a hairy back and a mole coming out of his ass, I’d still love him. It’s his heart that makes him beautiful to me. The fact that sees past all of my issues and sees me. Edward’s right, though. You do need to grow up. It’s your immaturity that’s causing this rift between you and your older brother. Not to mention the strain with you and Alice.”

“Fuck, she told you about that?” Jasper asked, his eyes blazing with anger.

“Yes, she did. She’s my friend. She tells me things just like I turn to her for help,” I said. “Jasper, you have the potential to be a good man but this prejudice you have towards me is hurting you. I know you’re opinion won’t change about me over night but you can at least respect me. I am able to do that for you. If you care about Edward and Alice, you’ll do that for them.” I turned on my heel and walked back to the lane where Alice, Rose, Emmett and Edward chatting. Edward saw me and wrapped his arms around me. I melted into his embrace. I was shaking like a leaf but for the first time, I’d stood up for myself.

A/N: What do you think about Bella’s reaction to Jasper? What do you think will happen with Jasper (or Assper as some people are calling him on my blog)?  I hope you liked the fluffy chapter. Just some minor drama with Jasper but it wasn’t that bad. I also said that I was going to resolve the James situation, but I left it intentionally vague for a reason. Anyhow, next chapter, you’ll find out about the meeting that Edward is having with the department heads and we’ll meet the new surgeon. And raise your hand if you think that Edward is holding something else back when he was checking his email?

Pictures for this chapter are on my blog (link in my profile). In addition, check out my Facebook group: Tufano79’s Twilight Fanfiction Appreciation. We discuss stories, share fanfic recommendations, ogle the pretty (AKA Robert Pattinson) and have a ton of fun. Finally, I’m on twitter. I’ve gone to the dark side. My handle is tufano79. Follow me for extra pic teasers and such. Leave me some!

 

Chapter Text

This is different from the norm. In all of the stories that I’ve read or that I’ve seen, all of the characters are disgustingly perfect unless they are written with very clear flaws. This story is about love (um, duh! Look who’s writing it. I’m the queen of romance), and finding it in the least likely place with the least likely person.

Now, this story is based in a hospital. My medical training comes from…WebMD. I’m not a doctor, nor do I claim to be. I’m a music teacher who has a wild imagination and a penchant for all things Twilight (and with this story, added in a mix of ER! I loved Luca Kovac…) Which brings me to my disclaimer: None of this is mine. I’m not, nor ever will be, Stephenie Meyer. If was, I’d be rolling in the dough from her insane imagination that gave us Bella and Edward. No copyright infringement is intended.

Chapter Fourteen

EPOV

Bella came back to sit next to me after she went to talk to Jasper. She was shivering slightly and I could tell that her heart was stammering against her chest. I kissed her forehead while I glared at my idiot brother. His eyes were wide with shock. Alice also was glaring at him.

“Jasper, outside. Now,” she spat. Jasper followed Alice like a lost puppy dog. He had apparently pissed off Alice one last time. Why he couldn’t see all of the goodness in Bella was beyond me. My brother had always been slightly vain but this was ridiculous.

“They might take awhile,” Rose said. “Why don’t the four of us have a game? The losers buy dinner?”

“Deal,” Bella said, smiling at my sister. She hopped up and quickly changed the names on the screen. We bowled through our entire game, with Emmett and Rose kicking our asses, when Alice came back into the bowling alley with tears streaming down her face. “Alice?”

Her face screwed up into a tighter grimace and she flung herself at Bella, sobbing hysterically. Okay, first Bella. Now Alice? My brother is so getting an ass-kicking.

“Alice, what’s wrong?” Bella asked, rubbing her shoulders.

“We got into a huge fight in the parking lot. I told him that I couldn’t handle his close-mindedness,” she sniffled against Bella’s shoulder. “I asked him why he was so standoffish with you and he said because you were a fat ass and not good enough for Edward. So, I slapped him and ended it. I thought he was different. I thought he was the one but he’s not.”

“Oh, Ali,” Bella frowned, shooting me a look.

“You deserve someone so much better than my other brother, Alice,” Rose said sternly. She also shot me a look. Her eyes were narrowed. Are you going to kick his ass or am I? She seemed to say. I smirked. I pointed to my shoulder and nodded. Rose’s face softened and she wrapped her arms around both Bella and Alice.

“How about this,” Bella suggested. “We pay our bill and we’ll have a girl’s night at your apartment, Alice. We’ll watch some cheesy 80s movies, gorge ourselves on ice cream and plan your revenge on Jasper.”

“Kay,” she said, nuzzling against Bella’s shoulder. “Can I get a ride?”

“Sure, sweetie. Edward will drive you,” Rose answered. Emmett and I divided up the bill between the two of us. The girls collected the shoes and we headed out to my Volvo. Rose was talking quietly with Emmett and it appeared that he was going to follow me to Alice’s apartment. Bella asked me after she put Alice in the backseat if I could bring her scrubs and such to the hospital tomorrow. I nodded and kissed her forehead, so proud of her.

Alice gave me watery directions to her apartment. It was pretty close to Bella and Angela’s place. Once there, Rose and Bella grabbed Alice and they dragged her inside, trying to get her to smile. Emmett was leaning against my door frame. His normally friendly face in a grimace, ready to kick some ass. “Edward, I like you. But your brother, he’s a fucktard.”

“Yes, he is. Normally, he’s pretty ditzy but never mean. I don’t know what his deal is,” I said, looking up at my friend.

“Can we kick his butt?” Emmett asked, cracking his knuckles.

“Um, yeah. He made my girl and her best friend cry. My brother is going down,” I snorted. “You want to ride with me or follow?”

“Follow. I’ve got an early shift at the gym tomorrow,” Emmett replied. I nodded and gave him directions to Jasper’s apartment, in case we got lost. After a fifteen minute drive, Emmett and I were parked on the street. Jasper had given me his key and we used it to gain entry into his building. Emmett looked fucking scary as he rolled his head, readying himself for a fight. “Are going to go in there with fists flying or are we going to yell?”

“Yell, then fists,” I answered as I put my glasses into my pocket. It was a tense elevator ride up to Jasper’s floor. Once there, I found his apartment easily and let myself in. God, my brother is such a fucking bachelor. This is disgusting.  His one bedroom, studio apartment looked like a fucking dorm room.

“God, he’s a slob,” Emmett hissed.

“Yeah, he is,” I shuddered. “I don’t even want to know what he has growing in the fridge.”

“It smells like a moldy sweat sock in here,” Emmett grumbled. “Let’s find him, kick his ass and then go home to shower.” I arched a brow at my friend. “Not together, moron.”

“I know that,” I chuckled. It wasn’t until we both shut up that we heard quiet sniffling in the bedroom. “Good, he’s crying. He knows he fucked up.”

“Does that mean we don’t get to pummel his ass?”

“We’ll see, Emmett,” I replied. I walked to his bedroom door and shoved it open. Jasper was on his bed, his head buried on his pillow. “You know you brought this on yourself, asshole.”

“Go away, Edward,” he said sadly. “I know I fucked up. I get it.”

“Apparently you don’t,” Emmett growled. Jasper’s head shot up at Emmett’s voice. “First you fuck with Bella, who is the nicest girl on the planet. Then, you hurt Alice? You are really dumb, man.”

“Jasper, I just don’t get it. Why do you feel it necessary to belittle my girlfriend? She’s been dealt a shit hand of cards and you are just adding to it,” I seethed. My voice was calm but my temper was slowly bubbling to the surface.

“What do you see in her, Edward? A girl you can control? A girl you can fix?” Jasper snapped, hopping up from the bed. He got in my face and glared at me. I reared back my hand and punched him squarely in the jaw. His head whipped back and he stumbled, his eyes wide with shock. “WHAT THE FUCK?!”

“Jasper, listen carefully,” I snarled. “Your attitude is fucked up. It ruined your relationship with Alice. I will not allow your prejudice for MY GIRL ruin my relationship with her. Bella is smart, beautiful, funny and loving. She’s everything I will ever want in a woman. If you can’t respect that, then, you may have lost a brother.”

“And a sister, too,” Emmett chimed in. “Rose is disgusted with your behavior.”

“Thanks, Emmett,” I said. “You never used to be this closed minded, Jasper. Now, you have to deal with the consequences of your actions.” I turned on my heel and left his bedroom. “With the attitude you have, you’re going to live a very lonely life. I hope you’re happy.”

“Edward?” Jasper whimpered.

“Unless you are going to apologize and mean it, I’ll listen. If not, I’m going and I will not talk to you until you’ve finally grown up. I’m not going to choose between my brother and my girlfriend. I’m going to choose her since she’s the epitome of goodness of the world.”

“What about my graduation from school?”

“Give my ticket to a bum on the street.” I left Jasper’s apartment. Emmett must have gotten a cheap shot on him as I heard Jasper groan loudly. Emmett and I nodded before we went our separate ways to our cars.

xx APFL xx

The next morning, I met up with Bella in the locker room. She looked tired. Alice was very upset and spent most of the night crying over the end of her relationship with Jasper. I told her briefly that Emmett and I chatted with Jasper after we separated. Bella arched a brow. I just kissed her sweetly as I handed her scrubs. I had only a few minutes to spare before my meeting with Dr. Volturi and the other department heads. We were getting a new trauma surgeon. Someone that I know will upset Bella.

Dr. Jacob Black is joining the staff at County.

When I got the email, I wanted to scream. The man who had taken my girl’s innocence without a second thought was joining the team and he was going to be working in the ER. When he wasn’t performing trauma surgeries, he would be one of the ER attendings. It was a major step-down from his previous position at Northwestern Memorial. However, there was an issue with a patient’s wife and a lawsuit. Jacob was given a choice of losing his license or being transferred to a different hospital with a major paycut/demotion. Luckily for us, he chose the latter. As a part of his demotion, Jacob was on two year’s probation before he could apply for a tenure track position. He’d be under the constant scrutiny of me and Dr. Sanchez, along with my father as well.

After I gave Bella her scrubs, I swung by my office and grabbed a pad of paper. I jogged up the stairs to the large conference room where our meeting would be taking place with Dr. Volturi, my dad and me. We also had the head of the legal department invited as well since Jacob was coming to us with some legal stipulations. In the conference room, Dr. Volturi asked me to sit to his right. My dad was seated at his left. The only people missing were Dr. Black and Frank, our guy from legal.

Ten minutes past and Frank showed up. Still no Jacob Black.

 Twenty minutes.

Thirty.

Forty-five minutes later, Jacob came into the room, wearing a smug grin and a $3000 suit.

“You’re late, Dr. Black,” Dr. Volturi said with a snarl. “This is not boding well for your performance.”

“I apologize, Dr. Volturi. I was stuck in traffic,” he said. He sounded like a snake oil salesman. There was something I didn’t trust about him and it wasn’t because of what he did to my girl. He was just not a nice guy.

“Here’s a suggestion. Leave your home earlier, Dr. Black,” Dr. Volturi snapped. “Now, we know what happened at your previous employer. You should have taken the first option, sir. Your probation here at County will not be a cakewalk, I assure you. Your tardiness doesn’t bode well for you either. Now, let me introduce you to two of the doctors who will be evaluating you. There is a third, but he’s away at a conference and couldn’t make this meeting. To my left is our head of surgery, Dr. Carlisle Cullen. He will be appraising your surgical techniques, rapport with the patients and interactions with the surgical staff. To my right is the associate head of emergency medicine, Dr. Edward Cullen. You will have to see him prior to dispensing any drugs to your patients…”

“What? How am I supposed to care for my patients if I can’t give out prescribed medications?” Jacob growled.

“Because you nearly caused the wife of your patient to die from giving her medication that gave her an extreme allergic reaction,” Dr. Volturi said sternly. “Your judgment was obviously clouded since you gave it to her after you had sex with her. Now, if you can’t abide by these rules, you can turn around and leave.”

“Fine,” Dr. Black grumbled.

“Back to your responsibilities in the ER. Dr. Cullen and the other head of emergency medicine, Dr. Eleazar Sanchez, will monitor your technique in the ER. You will need to find Dr. Cullen or Dr. Sanchez to distribute controlled substance medications. Ibuprofen and standard meds, they’re okay but vicodin or medications of the like, you’ll need to get one of the department heads. In addition to that, you will be evaluated on your rapport with the staff and patients. After six months, if there are no infractions on your record, the stipulation on the drugs will be lifted. Any questions?”

“Does the drug stipulation occur while I’m running a code or in the surgical bay?” Jacob asked.

“If you’re running a code in the ER, you will have another attending with you,” Dr. Volturi explained. “In surgery, your medication prescriptions will be closely monitored by Dr. Cullen.”

“So, I’m being babysat?”

“Yes, Dr. Black. You chose this option and we will not make it easy for you. You fucked up and now you have to pay for that mistake. Do I make myself clear?” Dr. Volturi snarled.

“Crystal, Dr. Volturi,” Jacob said sullenly.

“Good. Now, you have paperwork to fill out, a drug test to take and a few reminder courses on ethics to take prior to your leaving today, Dr. Black. You will start tomorrow in the ER at seven in the morning. Do not be late. Each minute you’re late is fifty dollars out of your paycheck. Dr. Cullen will be keeping track.” Dr. Volturi stood up and left the room.

“You better pray to God, Dr. Black,” my father said coldly. “This will not be easy. You’ve betrayed the trust of your former employer and now you’ve got some major ground to rebuild. Trust me when I say that you will not be seeing the inside of a surgical bay for a long time. It’s a privilege. I’d rather have my son who’s getting his doctorate in history come into surgery than you. You’ll be lancing boils, washing bums and doing grunt work in my other son’s ER.” Jacob’s head snapped up. “That’s right. Edward is my son and will be watching you closely.” Maniacally, my dad smiled and stood up. “Have a good day, Dr. Black.”

I stood up as well, staring at the man who hurt my Bella. “Human resources is the next floor up. Good luck filling out your paperwork and I’ll see you bright and early tomorrow, Dr. Black,” I said, my voice devoid of all emotion.

“Am I going to be doing what your dad said?” he asked, grabbing my arm.

“Dr. Black, the nurses will love you. You will be on bed pan duty. In fact, the nurses will have more power over you. You may be an ‘attending’ but you’re starting from scratch. You will have to ask for everything. INCLUDING ibuprofen. Every order will need to be checked over by me or Dr. Sanchez. If we’re unavailable, then you will find another attending, such as Dr. Denali. The hoops you have to jump through will be similar to when you were an intern. If not more stringent. I’ll see you tomorrow, sir.” I stood up and left the room, shutting the door on a cursing Dr. Jacob Black.

I spent the morning in my office, addressing some ordering issues and working on the schedule for the next two months. Shortly before my time on the floor was supposed to begin, I texted Bella to meet me in my office. She knocked on the door and slipped inside. “Hey, Dr. Tattward.”

“Stop it,” I chuckled. “Come sit with me on the couch, sweet girl.”

“What’s up?” she asked as she sat down next to me. “How was your meeting?”

“Um, interesting, Bella,” I sighed. “We’re getting a new trauma surgeon who is going to be working in the ER.”

“Okay,” she said, arching a brow. “And this is a bad thing because?”

I breathed heavily and stared at her. Bella’s eyes were questioning and her lip was getting abused by her teeth. I reached up and released it, swiping my thumb over it. “The new doctor is someone you know.”

“Who?”

Please don’t freak out. “Jacob Black,” I whispered, staring at her. Her brown eyes widened and she pulled away. She hopped up from the couch and began pacing. “Bella?”

“Give me a minute,” she said. Her movements were jerky and nervous. After ten minutes of her pacing, she sat back down and looked at me. “I’m fine. When does he start?”

“Tomorrow,” I answered.

“Is this what you read on your email last night?” she asked.

“Yeah. Originally, I wasn’t supposed to be at the meeting. Eleazar was supposed to be. However, he’s out and I was asked to step in at the last minute,” I replied. “Are you mad at me?”

“No. I knew something was up and that you’d tell me when you were ready,” she answered, snuggling to my side. “I’m freaking out that Jacob is going to be working here. But, I’ll be fine.”

“If he gives you any shit, you need to tell me, Bella. He’s here because he fucked up at his last hospital and well, you’ve got more power than him,” I chuckled. “He’s going to be the ER bitch for awhile.”

“Nice. I get to put him in his place?” Bella laughed.

“Sure, sweet girl,” I smiled, kissing her neck. “Just don’t abuse the new harassment policy.”

“I promise,” she replied, giving me a sweet giggle.

xx APFL xx

The next morning, I was at the hospital bright and early. It sucked since I worked from twelve to nine in the ER. I was at the hospital for over twelve hours yesterday and the last thing I wanted to do was be here early. But, I had to be there for the start of Jacob’s shift. Bella would be in later this morning. I watched the clock like a hawk. It was getting dangerously close to seven and no Jacob.

Alice walked through the doors and she looked a little worse for wear. Her normally bright violet eyes were dim and her cheeks were sunken in. “Alice,” I frowned.

“I’m okay, Edward,” she said.

“Sure you are. And I’m a girl,” I teased, opening my arms to her. She fell into them and sniffled quietly against my chest. “It’s his loss, Ali.”

“I know. But, I can’t be with a person who doesn’t love and respect my friends,” she replied, wiping her cheeks of her tears. “I still can’t believe you’re related. You’re so nice and sweet and Jasper, I don’t know what happened to him. He started off all loving and such but once you and Bella got more ‘hot and heavy,’ he turned into a douche.”

“I don’t know what happened to him either, Alice. Until he grows up, he’s getting the silent treatment from me and from Rose. I’ve already told my parents that I wouldn’t be in attendance at this graduation. They weren’t happy but when I explained why, they understood. We were not raised to act like that.” As I was speaking, Jacob snuck in, hiding behind his briefcase. “That’s three hundred bucks, Black. You’re late.”

“Fuck!” he hissed. He dropped his briefcase and glared at me. “It’s only six minutes, Edward!”

“Dr. Cullen,” I said as stood taller. Alice laughed and darted toward the locker room. “It’s Dr. Cullen. Dr. Volturi told you that if you were late, it would be fifty bucks for each minute.”

“Fine,” he grumbled. “Where do I stow this?”

“Locker room, Dr. Black,” I replied.

“I don’t get an office?”

“Please. You’re a grunt right now,” I snorted. “Locker number forty-two is available. Be careful, though. The lock sticks.” Jacob stomped away and slammed the door open to the locker room. I snickered and began gathering cases that Jacob would take. Betsy, the talon lady, was back and she needed a shower. We also had some elderly patients that needed some grooming issues addressed: cutting of toenails, removal of warts, cleansing of bedsores, and yeast infections that needed to be addressed. Nothing is as gross as looking at yeast-ridden ninety-year old snatch.

Ten minutes later, Jacob came out to the circulation desk. He had a scowl on his face. “Okay, sunshine,” I quipped. “Here are your cases for today.” I handed him a stack of charts, ten deep. “Most of them shouldn’t require medication. Just some tender loving care. If you do need meds, come find me and I’ll sign off on it.”

“Really?” Jacob snarled as he flipped through the stack of charts. “This is bullshit.”

“No. It’s humbling,” I said. “Oh, and be careful around this one. She pinches.” I turned on my heel and picked up a chart from the desk. It was a young woman who suspected she was pregnant. I quickly read through the history and saw that she hadn’t had a period in a couple of months. She was also experiencing some swelling in her lower belly. On my way to the patient, I swiped Lauren, the nurse assigned to her and we entered the examination room. “Miss Decatur?”

“Yes?” she asked. She was young, barely twenty-five. Her hair was long and blonde with inquisitive hazel eyes.

“Hello. My name is Dr. Cullen,” I said as I held out my hand. “You already know Nurse Mallory. Anyhow, it says here that you think that you might be pregnant.”

“Yeah,” she blushed. “I mean, I’m not sure.”

“Have you had unprotected sex recently?” I asked.

“Once. I got drunk at a party and ended up in bed with my ex-boyfriend,” she shuddered. “But it was nearly six months ago. My symptoms started a couple of weeks ago.”

“Lauren, can you run a pregnancy test?” I asked.

“Sure,” she replied. “Blood test?”

I nodded. Lauren left the room and I began my examination. I chatted with her and learned that she was a teacher in the Chicago Public School district. However, she was looking to move out to the suburbs to be closer to her family. Her dad was suffering from dementia and was fading rapidly. Lauren returned a few minutes later and she drew the blood for the pregnancy test. I signed off on the order and asked some more probing questions. The more she talked, the more it didn’t sound like a pregnancy. She wasn’t displaying symptoms of morning sickness. She just felt full. I felt around her belly and what I felt was not what a pregnancy should feel like.

“Dr. Cullen, I have the test results,” Lauren said.

“Excuse me, Miss Decatur,” I said with a warm smile.

“Please, call me Stephanie,” she replied.

 I nodded and left the examination room. Lauren and I went into an adjacent examination room that was empty. “What’s the result?”

“Not pregnant,” Lauren explained. “Her blood doesn’t have the pregnancy hormone in it.”

“Do we have enough blood to check to see if she has ovarian cancer?” I asked. Lauren nodded. “Run it. Also, get an ultrasound machine. I’m feeling something in her abdomen. I’m guessing it’s a tumor. I want to see how big it is.” Lauren left and I asked Stephanie to remove her clothing after I gave her a gown. She asked about the test results and I said they were inconclusive. We were running further tests. It would take a few hours to run the tests for the cancer antigen, so I had her sit tight, covering her with a warm blanket.

Before I grabbed a new chart, I checked on Jacob. He was currently in curtain area one trimming some fungus-infected toes of an older man. The man was bitching about Jacob’s technique, saying that he would get an in-grown toenail with the way he was cutting.

Bella arrived around nine and she was chatting with Alice at the circulation desk. I snuck up behind her, bumping her with my hip. She stumbled and glowered at me playfully. “Not nice, Cullen.”

“Sorry,” I said, giving her a crooked grin. “So, how was it being at home?”

“Lonely,” she replied, jutting out her lip. “Angela had to work an overnight. I should have just stayed with you.” I tweaked her lip and hugged her to my side.

“You know my offer stands for you to stay with me permanently,” I replied. She wrinkled her nose and opened her mouth. “I know…too soon.”

“Bingo,” she responded.

“Is James gone?”

“Yeah. His apartment is empty and I could hear the management scouring it from stem to stern. I don’t even want to know what was growing in there,” Bella shuddered. “So, how’s our new doc doing?”

“Oh, he’s pissed,” Alice giggled. “He thinks that Edward is the devil incarnate. He calls him ‘Lucifer.’”

“He’s a prick who needs to be shot down a few pegs,” I said, quirking a brow. “And I’ll live up to my nickname. If think this is bad. Wait until I have catalogue and alphabetize all of the old charts that have yet to be entered into the computer.”

“Edward, that’s what the clerk’s for,” Bella snorted.

“The Dog doesn’t need to know that,” I replied, grinning deviously. “That’ll be tomorrow if there are no grunt cases.”

“Dr. Cullen, I have the results for Miss Decatur,” Lauren said.

“Excuse me, ladies,” I said. I followed Lauren and she handed me the paperwork. Damn it.  “Do you have the ultrasound machine?”

“It’s right outside of her room,” Lauren said with a sad smile. “I’ve also taken the liberty to call oncology and the OB floor. They have consults on the way down.”

“Thanks, Lauren,” I replied. “Did she come here on her own?”

“She wasn’t with anyone,” Lauren answered. “But, her family is dealing with her dad.”

“Right. Get a social worker down here,” I suggested. Lauren made the call and fifteen minutes later, a social worker was on standby. With a heavy heart, we walked into Lauren’s room. She was playing on her cell phone when we walked in. “Stephanie, we have the test results.”

“Seeing as you aren’t smiling, it’s pretty safe to assume that I’m not pregnant,” Stephanie said quietly.

“No. You’re not,” I sighed, taking her hand in mine. “Stephanie, we ran further tests when your pregnancy test came back with inconclusive results.”

“If I’m not pregnant, then why haven’t I had a period in three months and what’s this bump?” she asked, her eyes filling with tears.

“The bump is most like a tumor. I have an ultrasound machine to verify my findings. And the reason why you haven’t had a period in three months is probably due to that tumor,” I replied. “Stephanie, I wish I had better news but it appears that you have ovarian cancer.”

“What?” she cried, fat tears fell down her cheeks. “I’m only twenty-five.”

“I’m so sorry,” I said as my heart broke for this young woman. “The woman with me, Dr. Sullivan, is one of the oncologists here at the hospital and she can answer your questions. But first we need to do the ultrasound.” Stephanie sniffled and nodded. Dr. Sullivan and I readied the ultrasound machine and Lauren lowered the blinds. Ten minutes later, Dr. Sullivan catalogued a tumor on Stephanie’s left ovary that was roughly the size of a three month old fetus. Stephanie was admitted to the hospital to have the tumor removed and biopsied. I handed her my card before I left and assured her that if she wanted to talk or ask questions, that she could contact me. Stephanie woodenly nodded and gave me a thankful smile for my kindness.

The orderlies rolled Stephanie out of the ER and upstairs to the surgical floor. Desperately, I wanted my girl. I turned on my heel and went in search for her. I found her working with Dr. Denali with a child. She was patient and smiling with the scared little girl who was getting a spinal tap. I was watching her lovingly when I felt a presence behind me.

“You know her?” Jacob asked.

“Yeah,” I answered, quickly putting my guard up. “We work in the same ER, Black. Of course I know her. Do you?”

“In college,” he smirked. “I was bet a thousand bucks that I could get her into bed. Let’s just say I won that bet easily.”

My hands fisted up and I turned to him. “So, she was just a bet to you? You had no feelings for her?”

“Nah. A little too much padding for my taste,” he snickered. “Apparently, she’s gotten some more padding, too. Fuck, I pity her husband or boyfriend. That’s some heavy lifting.”

“Careful, Black. We have a strict harassment policy and you’re bordering on the edge,” I seethed. “You don’t want a letter in your file on the first day, do you?”

“No, I don’t but damn. Who would want her?” Jacob snickered.

“Me,” I snapped. I turned on my heel and walked to my office. I sent Bella a text, asking her to come to my office when she was done with her spinal tap.

While I waited for Bella, I pulled up the personnel file for Jacob Black on my computer. He had graduated top of his class at University of Chicago and was offered positions all over the country but decided to stay local since his father was ill with diabetes. He rose through the ranks at Northwestern Memorial becoming the youngest cardiothoracic surgeon on staff. He revolutionized several new techniques and was published in several medical journals. In his file, there was also a detailed description of what happened at Northwestern and the reason for his termination. In addition to being a fantastic surgeon, he was a class-A prick. The issue with the wife of his patient was the straw that broke the camel’s back. He’d been too loose with patients, their families and his zipper.

He had nearly four write-ups in his file for lewd and lascivious behavior while on the clock with patients and/or staff members. Now, while it’s my dream to have Bella on every single surface in this ER, it’s another to actually do it. It’s unprofessional to act so inappropriately on the job. Off the job, well that’s another thing. I mean, remember Bella and the couch when she said she loved you?  

“Knock, knock,” came Bella’s sweet voice. She poked her head in my office. “You wanted to see me?”

I nodded and got up, walking to the couch. Before I sat down, I pulled Bella into my arms and crushed her to my chest. “I love you, sweet girl,” I murmured against her hair.

“I love you, too, Edward,” she said, wrapping her arms around my chest. “What’s wrong? You’re awfully clingy. Not that I care. I love your cuddles and your hugs, but you seem on edge.”

“Rough morning with The Dog, then a sad case and finally more drama with The Dog,” I replied, inhaling her hair. Her sweet vanilla, lavender and strawberry scent calmed me instantly. And made me hard.

“The Dog is Jacob, right?” Bella asked as she dragged me to my couch, sitting us on it. She was curled up, staring at me but she was too far away. I dragged her closer and moved her to my lap. “Jesus, Edward. You are so clingy.”

“I need to feel you,” I said, frowning slightly. “And yes, The Dog is Jacob.”

“Okay, save the gossip on the pooch for later. Tell me about the case,” she said, playing with the hair at the nape of my neck. I told her about Stephanie and her pregnancy scare that ended up being ovarian cancer. Bella, being as empathetic as she is, started to tear up for the poor girl and she gasped at the size of the tumor in her abdomen. “What’s her prognosis?”

“I don’t know. She’s going upstairs to get the tumor excised and biopsied,” I said sadly. “However, more than likely, she’ll have to have a hysterectomy and she will have to go through rounds of chemo and radiation.”

“Poor thing,” Bella sniffled. “Too young to lose her womanhood.”

“I know,” I sighed. “I bet when she woke up this morning, she was thinking she was going to be a mom and now, she’s never going to have that opportunity, biologically, that is.”

“Do you want children, Edward?” Bella asked, her eyes staring into mine.

“When I got married to Tanya, I was hoping to have three by now,” I chuckled. “Obviously, that didn’t happen. But, yes, I’d love to have kids. You?”

“Me, too,” she answered, tucking her head under my chin. “How many?”

“As many as God deems us to have,” I answered, holding her to my chest.

“You want to have kids with me?” she asked, totally shocked at the prospect.

“I want it all with you, Bella,” I said, cupping her chin and staring into her deep brown eyes. “What I felt with my ex-wife is NOTHING compared to what I feel with you. Yes, we had a rough patch, but with the help of Michele and our couple’s counselor, we’ve gotten stronger as a couple and as individuals. However, you’ve grown the most, Bella. If I had told you that Jacob was coming to County a few months ago…”

“I would have shut down,” she sighed. “Now, I have the strength to face him.”

“Bella, I want to tell you something that Jacob muttered to me while you were working with Dr. Denali with the spinal tap kid,” I said, my cheeks flushing a furious red. “I don’t want to hold anything back and I want you to be aware that Jacob recognized you.”

“I gathered as much,” she said, kissing my cheek. “What else?”

“Please don’t be mad at me,” I whispered. “I’m just repeating what he said but you should know the truth.”

“Tell me, Edward. Rip it off. Like a band-aid,” she said, her face grim.

“Back in college, your experience was just a bet,” I murmured. “A friend bet him a thousand bucks to get you into bed and obviously, Jacob got it.” Bella stared at me and her eyes filled with tears. “I’m so sorry, sweet girl.”

“No, I’m fine. I knew it was too good to be true with him. I mean, really,” she scoffed. “While I’m hurt at what he did to me, it was ten years ago. I’ve moved on and let’s just say that I’ve traded up.”

“Damn right, you did,” I snorted. “Bella, I would never, EVER hurt you like Jacob did. It took all of my restraint to not pummel him for what he did ten years ago.”

“I’m glad you didn’t hurt him,” Bella said, kissing my lips. “I don’t want to bail you out of jail. Did he say anything else?”

“He said he pitied the man that you were with,” I growled. “Asking who would want you and I said that I would. Bella, I love you so much and that will never change. I promise you that.”

“I know,” she said, giving me a deep kiss. “Edward, you’ve been nothing but wonderful to me and I know that you would never intentionally hurt me. I love you so much and I’m so lucky to have you.”

“Okay, who are you and what have you done with my girlfriend?” I quipped, looking around her, picking up her hair and searching for my meek girl. She rolled her eyes and smacked my chest. “I’m kidding. I’ve loved the changes you’ve made and what’s more important is that you made them for yourself.”

“With a little impetus from you,” Bella smirked. “But for the most part, I’ve been making these changes for myself.” She leaned in and brushed her lips against mine. It started off soft but grew in intensity and feeling. “I love you, Edward.” Her mouth moved down my jaw and she gently suckled my ear. “So much.”

“Forever,” I whispered, holding her tightly.

However, her pocket was ringing. “Crap,” she hissed, picking up the phone. “I don’t recognize the number.”

“Do you want me to answer it?” I asked. She nodded and handed me the phone. “Hello?”

“I’m sorry…I was looking for an Isabella Swan?” came a male voice.

“Who is this?” I asked.

“Assistant State’s Attorney Roger Phelps,” he replied. “We have some news about her father.”

“Hold on,” I said. “It’s an attorney, Roger Phelps. He’s got news about Charlie.”

“Put him on speaker,” Bella said. I pressed the speaker button. “Yes, Mr. Phelps?”

“Ms. Swan? I’m calling to inform you that your father was released on bail earlier this morning,” he said. “You do have a restraining order against him and that’s in effect until your trial. If he comes within five hundred feet of you, call the police and he’ll be thrown back in jail.”

“How did he get out, Mr. Phelps? How did he get the money?” Bella asked, her voice tight with anger.

“The money was paid via money order through Mr. Swan’s bank,” Roger explained. “How he got it was not disseminated to me. I’m sorry. However, you needed to be notified that your father has been released. He’s been placed on house arrest, only to go out for employment and physical therapy.”

“My dad is unemployed, Mr. Phelps,” Bella explained.

“Apparently, he was hired as a super in his apartment building by Sam Uley. Do you have any more questions, Ms. Swan?”

“No, thank you,” she whispered.

“Have a good day, Ms. Swan.” Mr. Phelps hung up the phone. Bella held the phone in her hand, staring at it blankly.

“Bella? Talk to me, love,” I said as I held her close.

“I need one of my pills,” she said, her voice sounding strangled.

“I’ve got some in my medicine cabinet in my office,” I said calmly, moving her off my lap. I swiped a xanax for her and handed it to her. She took the pill dry and grimaced as it went down. “Do you want to go home?”

“No, I’m fine,” she choked out.

“Do you want to talk to Michele?” I pressed.

“Can I get some time to myself?” she asked, looking at me. “Take my lunch break now.”

“Sure, sweet girl. Do you want anything?”

“Can I use some paper? I need to journal and it’s sitting at home,” she sighed. I nodded and handed her a pad of paper. “I’ll be out in a half hour.”

“Okay, Bella,” I said as I brushed her hair back. “If you need anything…”

“I’ll call you. I just need to process this, Edward,” she said, looking up at me. Her eyes were glazed over with tears but she wasn’t hysterical. “I love you, baby. I promise…I’m not pulling away.”

“Can I kiss you before I go back on the floor?” I asked.  She smiled and a few tears slipped from her eyes, but she nodded. I kissed her lips softly before kissing her forehead. “I’m proud of you, Bella.”

“Thank you,” she whispered. “Go. I’m fine. I promise.” I pulled away and walked to the door. She began writing on the pad of paper. I stared at her for a few moments, watching her as she intently scribbled down her thoughts. Her brown eyes looked up at me and she arched a brow. “I’m not going to break down. Go!”

“I’m going,” I snorted. “I love you…”

“I love you more, Edward. Thank you for giving me the time and space to process,” she said gratefully. I left my office but something didn’t sit right. The fact that Charlie got out on bail was a far stretch. He couldn’t pay his medical bills but a $250,000 bond?

Jenkies, something fishy is going on here…

A/N: Raise your hand if you think someone paid Charlie’s bond for him? If you think someone paid his bond, who did it? What do you think Charlie’s going to do? So many unanswered questions…Also, what do you think about Jasper (Assper…tee hee!)? I was so ready to reach through the screen and kick his ass for making Alice cry. And his behavior toward Bella is LOW! He’s on his own now and let’s see if this wakes his immature ass up.

Anyhow, up next will be Bella’s reaction to Charlie’s release. She is too calm but she’s bubbling underneath that calm exterior. It’ll come out in the oddest of places (Emmett, be wary of our girl…she’s coming to you at your gym!) Also, Bella and Jacob will have words. She’s going to confront him about his bullshit move ten years ago.

Pictures of Jasper’s apartment are on my blog (Link in my profile). Check out my Facebook page: Tufano79’s Fanfiction Appreciation. Finally, find me on Twitter: tufano79. Leave me some loving! It’s better than Edward coming to your rescue and standing up for you! Okay, not so much but work with me here! LOL!

 

Chapter Text

This is different from the norm. In all of the stories that I’ve read or that I’ve seen, all of the characters are disgustingly perfect unless they are written with very clear flaws. This story is about love (um, duh! Look who’s writing it. I’m the queen of romance), and finding it in the least likely place with the least likely person.

Now, this story is based in a hospital. My medical training comes from…WebMD. I’m not a doctor, nor do I claim to be. I’m a music teacher who has a wild imagination and a penchant for all things Twilight (and with this story, added in a mix of ER! I loved Luca Kovac…) Which brings me to my disclaimer: None of this is mine. I’m not, nor ever will be, Stephenie Meyer. If was, I’d be rolling in the dough from her insane imagination that gave us Bella and Edward. No copyright infringement is intended.

Chapter Fifteen

EPOV

However, her pocket was ringing. “Crap,” she hissed, picking up the phone. “I don’t recognize the number.”

“Do you want me to answer it?” I asked. She nodded and handed me the phone. “Hello?”

“I’m sorry…I was looking for an Isabella Swan?” came a male voice.

“Who is this?” I asked.

“Assistant State’s Attorney Roger Phelps,” he replied. “We have some news about her father.”

“Hold on,” I said. “It’s an attorney, Roger Phelps. He’s got news about Charlie.”

“Put him on speaker,” Bella said. I pressed the speaker button. “Yes, Mr. Phelps?”

“Ms. Swan? I’m calling to inform you that your father was released on bail earlier this morning,” he said. “You do have a restraining order against him and that’s in effect until your trial. If he comes within five hundred feet of you, call the police and he’ll be thrown back in jail.”

“How did he get out, Mr. Phelps? How did he get the money?” Bella asked, her voice tight with anger.

“The money was paid via money order through Mr. Swan’s bank,” Roger explained. “How he got it was not disseminated to me. I’m sorry. However, you needed to be notified that your father has been released. He’s been placed on house arrest, only to go out for employment and physical therapy.”

“My dad is unemployed, Mr. Phelps,” Bella explained.

“Apparently, he was hired as a super in his apartment building by Sam Uley. Do you have any more questions, Ms. Swan?”

“No, thank you,” she whispered.

“Have a good day, Ms. Swan.” Mr. Phelps hung up the phone. Bella held the phone in her hand, staring at it blankly.

“Bella? Talk to me, love,” I said as I held her close.

“I need one of my pills,” she said, her voice sounding strangled.

“I’ve got some in my medicine cabinet in my office,” I said calmly, moving her off my lap. I swiped a xanax for her and handed it to her. She took the pill dry and grimaced as it went down. “Do you want to go home?”

“No, I’m fine,” she choked out.

“Do you want to talk to Michele?” I pressed.

“Can I get some time to myself?” she asked, looking at me. “Take my lunch break now.”

“Sure, sweet girl. Do you want anything?”

“Can I use some paper? I need to journal and it’s sitting at home,” she sighed. I nodded and handed her a pad of paper. “I’ll be out in a half hour.”

“Okay, Bella,” I said as I brushed her hair back. “If you need anything…”

“I’ll call you. I just need to process this, Edward,” she said, looking up at me. Her eyes were glazed over with tears but she wasn’t hysterical. “I love you, baby. I promise…I’m not pulling away.”

“Can I kiss you before I go back on the floor?” I asked.  She smiled and a few tears slipped from her eyes, but she nodded. I kissed her lips softly before kissing her forehead. “I’m proud of you, Bella.”

“Thank you,” she whispered. “Go. I’m fine. I promise.” I pulled away and walked to the door. She began writing on the pad of paper. I stared at her for a few moments, watching her as she intently scribbled down her thoughts. Her brown eyes looked up at me and she arched a brow. “I’m not going to break down. Go!”

“I’m going,” I snorted. “I love you…”

“I love you more, Edward. Thank you for giving me the time and space to process,” she said gratefully. I left my office but something didn’t sit right. The fact that Charlie got out on bail was a far stretch. He couldn’t pay his medical bills but a $250,000 bond?

Jenkies, something fishy is going on here…

BPOV

Who would have paid my dad’s bond? I know that he had to come up with ten percent of the bond. Charlie did NOT have $25,000 lying around. He probably has less than a thousand dollars in his savings account. If that…

I started pacing in Edward’s office. I had to get my emotions under control. I could feel my anger bubbling underneath my skin. If I didn’t get under control, I’d be an extreme mess; sobbing, crying and hysterics. Breathe, Bella. So, I breathed. Deep and slow.

“He can’t hurt me,” I whispered. “He’s got an ankle monitor and I’ve got a restraining order. Process…process…write and process.” I sat down and picked up the pad of paper that Edward gave me. I tapped my pen against my lips before I started writing.

April 30th, 2013

My dad got released from prison. He paid or someone paid his bond. I don’t know how to handle this, honestly. I’m trying to keep a lid on my emotions but the thing I most want to do is scream at the top of lungs. I want to sob, hit something and completely lose my shit.

But, I can’t do that.

I’m an adult and I need to act as such.

I still want to do it.

So, what do I do now? How can I handle this without completely losing my mind?

I have no fucking clue. I don’t want to hide behind Edward. While he’s strong and wonderful, I can’t use him as a shield forever. For now, I just need to accept that my dad’s out and will remain out unless he breaks the restraining order.

Not make things any more interesting, my ex-whatever-he-is is the new trauma surgeon at County. He’s apparently talking smack about me to Edward, explaining that what he did to me ten years ago was all a bet. A thousand dollars to take my innocence. How fucked up is that?

He better pray that he doesn’t work with me. If he does, we’re going to have words. And I’m not talking polite words. I want to rip him a new asshole.

I heard a quiet knock on the door. Carmen poked her head inside. “Bella, Edward told me you were in here. I’m sorry, sweetie, but we have a car accident rolling in. We need you. Are you alright?”

“I’m fine, Carmen,” I said as I put the pad paper on Edward’s desk. “Let me wash my hands and I’ll be right with you.”

“You’re working with Edward,” she said with a soft smile. “Dr. Denali is working with Dr. Black.”

I wrinkled my nose when she mentioned Jacob. Together, we walked to the ambulance bay after I washed my hands in Edward’s bathroom. Edward was standing with his arms crossed over his chest. “What do we have?” I asked him.

“Head on collision. Three victims,” he said. “Two adults and one child. Based off what the paramedics said, the child appears to be fine except for some minor scratching. It’s the adults we’re worried about.”

“Do you know the extent of the injuries?” I asked.

“No,” Edward sighed. “However, over the radio, it sounded like they were running a code.”

“We should take the more critical case,” Jacob barked. “You might be at a disadvantage, Dr. Cullen. You only have a nurse with you. Dr. Denali and I can handle the case easily since we’re both board certified.”

“Dr. Black, be respectful of my staff,” Edward snapped. Jacob rolled his eyes and pumped his hand as if Edward was getting a hand job. “That’s it. You’ve got a letter for sexual harassment in your file. The gesture you just made was lewd and uncalled for. Keep it up and you’ll be removed from the premises.” Jacob glowered at Edward until the ambulance drove up to the ambulance bay.

The patient was a woman who was in the car that was hit. Her son was crying in the arms of a paramedic. Dr. Denali tugged on Jacob’s lab coat and they walked with the woman into one of the trauma rooms. Her white shirt was covered with blood and her face was unrecognizable. The ambulance pulled away for the other ambulance to pull up. Inside of the second ambulance was an elderly gentleman. He was intubated and not breathing on his own. His chest was crushed by the steering column and his legs were broken.

“Talk to me,” Edward said sternly to the paramedics who were pulling the patient out of the rig.

“Driver of the car that hit the woman and child. Jonas Rathgab, 87. He flatlined twice en route to the hospital. He also had what appeared to be a seizure that was stabilized with anti-seizure medication. Unresponsive at the scene,” explained the paramedic. Then, he rattled off his vitals, which were grim at best. We rolled Jonas into the trauma room. Working swiftly, we removed his clothes. His chest was bruised significantly and Edward was concerned about a punctured lung or bruising around his heart.

We worked together seamlessly. However, Jonas was not looking like he was going to survive this accident. It appeared that he had had a stroke while driving his car and he veered into the other lanes of traffic, slamming into the woman and her son. His brain scan indicated very little brain activity. His heart was bruised and there was concern that his aorta was torn. Upon scanning his chest, it was slightly lacerated and he needed open heart surgery to repair it.

We were waiting for Jonas’ family to make the decision on that. He was lying in the trauma room, being closely monitored, as his family drove in from the suburbs. The woman, Trina Smythe, and her son, Brandon, were going to make a full recovery. Brandon had superficial scratches to his face and arms from the broken glass, but was fine. Trina had a broken nose, jaw and cheek. She also had some broken ribs. She was being held overnight for observation before getting released tomorrow to her family.

Near the end of our shift, Jonas’ family arrived at the hospital. His daughter, Mary, and son, Brett, took one look at him and knew that he wouldn’t survive the surgery. His brain was only functioning at a basic level. He’d never have a meaningful recovery. With heavy hearts, Mary and Brett signed a DNR order. Jonas was brought up to the ICU.

He  didn’t even survive the night.

Edward and I were in his office as he typed up Jacob’s letter for sexual harassment when we got the call from the charge nurse upstairs in the ICU. He died peacefully, surrounded by his children.

That night, I went home with Edward and we clung to each other. Or rather, he clung to me. I know he was afraid that I was going to pull away with the recent addition of Jacob to the staff of County and my dad’s release. I was quiet for following few days. Edward respected my need to think and process it all. He was patient and loving and for that, I would be eternally grateful.

xx APFL xx

A week after my dad’s release, I was folding some laundry in my bedroom. Edward was currently tinkering with my new laptop that I had purchased. A local electronics store was having an awesome sale and I jumped on purchasing the computer since I was living in the 20th Century. Having an ancient flip phone and no computer, not so good for those who want to be tech savvy. Bella Swan is now firmly in the 21st Century with a Sony Vaio laptop with all of the bells and whistles that I could ever want or need. The next item on my technical wish list was a smart phone. Pinching my pennies for that when my phone contract needs to be renewed in June.

“Bella, this is one sweet machine,” Edward squealed. “So much better than my laptop.”

“Would you like a moment alone with my computer?” I teased. “You’re sounding like a fangirl who’s met Robert Pattinson or something.”

“Oh hush,” Edward snorted. Then, he blushed. “I did sound like a teenage girl.”

“It’s a computer, Edward. It won’t cure cancer or create world peace,” I said as I wrapped my arms around his neck, kissing his ear. “It will, however, allow me to email you, listen to music, and write my journals.”

“What about the journals I got you for Christmas?” he asked, frowning slightly.

“I’m still using them. I’ve filled up one of the journals and now started on a second one. However, I’m going to transfer the entries in my prior journals onto the computer,” I smiled, kissing his soft lips. “Hmmmm, so good, Dr. Tattward.”

“Dr. Cullen, Nurse Swan. None of this Dr. Tattward Sexward stuff,” he purred against my mouth. “Are you done with your laundry because I’d like to have some with my sexy as fuck girlfriend? Maybe live up to my nickname?”

“Almost, baby,” I said as I nipped at his bottom lip. “I just need to put in one more load then we can have some smexy times.”

“I love smexy times with you, sweet girl. Am I going to get a taste of your sweet pussy?” he growled. I whimpered. I really loved it when he talked dirty. It was so gritty and sexy. I pulled away and swiped my laundry basket. I swapped out the loads and hung up my clothes. Edward eventually got impatient and he tossed my neatly folded scrubs into the basket. The next thing I knew, I was on the bed with Edward kissing me with abandon. Our clothes were tossed onto the ground and he did taste my ‘sweet pussy’ until I was screaming his name. Thank goodness Angela is staying over at Ben’s. I returned the favor to my sexy boyfriend and we lay on my bed in a post coital glow. I was curled up against his slightly chest, running my fingers through his downy chest hair. He was gently rubbing up and down my back.

“I think I’m going to call Emmett tomorrow,” I said as I looked up at him. “With my dad being out of jail and Jacob working at County, I want to take him up on those training sessions. The kick boxing, in particular.”

“That’s awesome, sweet girl,” he cooed, kissing my forehead. “Do you want me to come with you?”

“Only if you’re going to work out yourself. If you’re going to stand and hover over me, then no,” I said as I kissed his chest.

“Can’t I do both?” he pouted.

“Edward,” I chided.

“Fine,” he sighed. “I’ll go, but just to work out.”

“Thank you,” I smiled, snuggling up to his bare chest. “Love you, Dr. Sexward.”

“Oh, Bella,” he sighed then chuckled. “I actually don’t mind that one. I can’t wait to show you what I really can do, sweet girl.”

“Dear God,” I moaned.

“Not God. Edward. Or, in our case, Dr. Sexward,” he cooed. “I love you, too.”

xx APFL xx

The next morning, I called Emmett to see if he had any availability for a training session. He gleefully said that he had an opening at noon. I scheduled my appointment and just before noon, I was standing outside of a large gym. I was shifting nervously, trying to get myself ready to go in. “Bella, the gym won’t bite you,” Edward said as he wrapped his arms around me from behind. He was wearing a pair of shorts and a tight black t-shirt, displaying his muscles. On his head, he wore a backwards baseball cap. He looked cute and sexy.

“The gym might not but the people inside might,” I whispered. “What if the gym is filled with epic bitches like Lauren or Jessica?”

“Then you kick their asses using your new-found knowledge of kickboxing,” he quipped. “Come on, Pippi.”

“Shut it. I like the braids,” I said as I flipped them over my shoulder. I decided to braid my hair into two French braids. My hair had a tendency to come apart when I was doing anything physical unless I braided it. “Besides, you can use them as handlebars when I’m done.”

“Aw, hell. Bella! How am I supposed to work out now?” he whined. “I’m now sporting a woody.”

“You could always jerk off in the locker room,” I teased as we walked in. Emmett was waiting for us as we entered.

“Bella, that’s just gross,” he snickered.

“What’s gross?” Emmett asked.

“Nothing, Emmett,” Edward said as he held out his hand. “Be kind to her, dude. Not one hair out of place, got me?”

“She’ll be perfectly fine,” Emmett smiled as he wrapped his arm around me. “Come, my young padawan. It’s time for the master to teach the ways of the Jedi.”

“Oh, God,” I laughed. Emmett winked at me and led me to a small room off the main gym. The floor was covered with mats and located by the door were some padded gloves.

“Take off your shoes and socks,” Emmett said. “We’re going to stretch out first and then I’ll show you some basic attack strategies. Perhaps, after you’re done, you can use some of them on your doctor.”

“I don’t want to hurt him,” I frowned.

“He’ll be fine. Edward has taken several kick boxing classes with me and he knows how to block and parry attacks. He’s actually really good. When I can’t work with you, Edward can definitely step in.”

“Kay,” I said.

“Have a seat on the ground and stretch out your legs to the sides,” Emmett instructed. I did as he asked and he talked me through some pretty simple stretches. Once I was sufficiently warmed up, Emmett told me to put on the gloves. He slipped on some protective gloves and our lesson began. “First off, you need to adjust your stance. Slightly bend your knees and put one foot in front of the other.”

“Which foot?” I asked.

“Are you right handed or left handed?”

“Right handed.”

“Then, stand with your left foot in front of your right. It’ll provide more stability when you attack,” Emmett explained, demonstrating the proper pose.

“Like this?”

“Perfect,” he smiled. “Now, I’m going to warn you. You will feel this workout in your thighs, forearms and shoulders. Get your hot doc to give you a massage when you get home.”

“Kay,” I giggled. “Show me, Obi Wan.”

“Ah, my young Jedi, you have much to learn,” he crowed, waggling his brows. For an hour and half, Emmett worked me through the paces. I learned how to properly hit to garner the most power for my frame. He also gave me pointers on how to kick my attacker along with other basic self defense techniques. Emmett eventually called Edward into the room and together, they finished my first kick boxing lesson. I had managed to flip Edward onto his back but couldn’t get Emmett since he was so big.

I was covered in sweat by the time Edward and I left the gym. I was squicked out about showering in the gym so we drove to his house where we took a shower together. Edward was quite insatiable inside his shower, making me come with his fingers and again with his mouth. I went to return the favor, but Edward said that I had enough of a workout. The rest of the evening was spent being pampered and massaged until we went to bed.

xx APFL xx

“I think I’m going to die,” I grumbled to Angela the next day. “It wasn’t hurting while it was happening, but my body is about collapse from the workout I got yesterday from Emmett.”

“Just think of the amount of calories you burned, Bell,” Angela snickered.

“Fuck the calories,” I groaned. “I want the pain all over my body to stop.”

“Did you stretch out after you’re workout?” she asked.

“Yeah and Edward massaged my body, but I’m still so sore,” I pouted, limping around the circulation desk.

“If you think it hurts today, wait until tomorrow,” Angela snorted.

“Damn it,” I hissed. “Today is going to suck.”

“Why?” she asked.

“Because none of the good docs are on and I’m in pain. I’m going to be an epic bitch,” I laughed humorlessly.”

“No good docs meaning, no Edward,” Angela teased.

“Yes, Edward is off today, but so is Eleazar. We’re stuck with Dr. Denali, who’s okay and Dr. Crowley, Dr. Black and Dr. Newton. Not to mention the residents and interns.”

“Okay, what is the deal with you and Dr. Black?” Angela asked. “He said that he knew you and then he looked like he smelled rotten eggs. Did you used to know him?”

“We went to college together. He was two years ahead of me and the TA from my biochem class. At the time, he was my first relationship but in reality everything was a farce. I was just a bet,” I muttered. Angela’s eyes bugged out and she dragged me into the locker room. “Ow! Ow! OW! Ang! Slow down! Injured person here!”

“Shut it, you’re not injured. You’re just sore,” she said as she shoved me onto the couch. “Spill and explain, Swan. A bet?”

“Okay, prior to Edward, my love life has been lackluster at best. The reason behind it being so sucky was because of Jacob, Dr. Black. He was my first EVERYTHING, Ang. First kiss, first cuddle, first ‘fuck.’ Anyhow, he never seemed too into it. Our kisses were chaste and the first and ONLY time we had sex, it was some mild boob gropage and then, done. After we had sex, he never talked to me again and was dating some other chick from my class. Edward spoke to him recently and said that what he did to me was just a bet with another student. My virginity was worth a thousand bucks to him.”

“Fucking asshole!” Angela spat. “Can I hurt him? Please?”

“Nah. He’s already hurting,” I snorted. “He’s been too busy stocking shelves, cleaning bathrooms and other menial jobs in the ER since his write-up for sexual harassment toward Edward.”

“What did he do with that?”

“He cupped his hand like he was giving himself a hand job while we waited for a set of ambulances, pissed off that he was getting the least traumatic patient with Dr. Denali. He wanted the more injured patient because he and Dr. Denali were both board certified and Edward just a had a nurse, me,” I sighed.

“What a douchenozzle!” Angela snarled. “Can I put Visine in his coffee?”

“Give him the runs?” I giggled. “What I won’t see won’t kill me…” Angela smiled wickedly and went to her locker. I left and walked back to the circulation desk. I picked up a chart and walked to the room it was assigned to. “Mr. Pecker?” I called. Inside of the examination room was an older gentleman with a young woman sitting next to him. “My name is Bella and I’ll be your nurse today. How are you doing, Mr. Pecker?”

“Not so good,” he mumbled. “That’s why I’m here.”

“I gathered that,” I said as I smiled at him softly. “What’s wrong?”

“It won’t go down,” he said, obviously embarrassed.

“It?” I asked, unsure of what he meant.

“My…” he paused and looked around guiltily, “…penis.”

“Oh,” I replied. “Have you taken anything that might have caused an extended erection?” He blushed a brilliant red and bit his lip. “Mr. Pecker?”

“Fuck this,” his companion snarled. “I got some Viagra from the doctor’s office and wanted to try it with him. Woody has a hard time keep his dick up while we’re fucking and so, getting Viagra seemed like a logical solution. But, Mr. Prude, wouldn’t ask his physician because he didn’t want to seem like a sexual deviant.”

“Missy!” Mr. Pecker hissed. “I think I’m going to die.”

“Mr. Pecker, you will not die from an extended erection,” I comforted. “It’s uncomfortable, but not deadly. How long have you had it?”

“I’m going to die of embarrassment and I’ve had the erection for nearly eight hours,” he said, shifting on the table.

“I’m assuming you had an orgasm, correct?”

“Several but it just won’t deflate,” he said as he plucked at the hospital gown on his body. “This sucks.”

“We’ll get this fixed, Mr. Pecker,” I said. “Let me get some vitals and then I’ll get the doctor in here.” He nodded and let me take his temperature, blood pressure and pulse. His girlfriend or wife mumbled something about going to the cafeteria and stomped out of the room. I looked at my patient and he seemed so embarrassed. Not because of his issue below the belt either. “Is there someone else you want me to call? She doesn’t seem very, um, supportive.”

“No, I’m fine,” he muttered. “I’m guessing our relationship is going to last much longer after this debacle. She’s the first woman I’ve been with since I got divorced. I was surprised that a younger woman wanted me but all she sees in me is a meal ticket. Missy is unemployed and I own my own company.”

“Are you sure I can’t call anyone?” I pressed.

“Um, my son, Ralph,” Mr. Pecker replied. He gave me his son’s number. I jotted it down so I could call him after I put his vitals into the computer. “Thank you for your discretion, Bella.”

“No problem, Mr. Pecker,” I said. “I’ll be back in a little bit. Do you want some ice or anything for your erection?”

“I’d like to pee and peeing with this problem is not exactly easy,” he sighed.

“I suppose not,” I replied. “I’ll be here with a doctor, soon.” I turned and left Mr. Pecker in the exam room. I input his information into the computer and called his son, Ralph. He said he’d be at the hospital in an hour and seemed genuinely concerned for his dad. His girlfriend, however, was obviously a point of contention with his son but I assured him that Missy was on her way out of the family.

The next doctor that was available was Dr. Newton. I bit my tongue and went in search of him to care Mr. Pecker’s  pecker. After twenty minutes of looking and bitching to Angela, she decided to page him over the intercom. Twenty-five minutes later, Dr. Newton arrived at the room looking disheveled and ‘sexed up.’ “What do we have, Nurse Swine, erm, Swan?” he asked tersely.

“Please call me by my correct name, Dr. Newton,” I snarled. “Grow up and zip up your fly.”

“Oooh, you’re getting spunky!” Dr. Newton sneered. “Getting regular sex from Sanchez’s lackey must have given you a backbone.”

I shot a harsh look at him. “My sex life is none of your concern, Newton. Pull yourself together and let’s assess the patient. It’s a delicate situation and it would behoove you to act your age, not your shoe size.”

“Bitch,” he grumbled under his breath as he pushed past me into the examination room. Inside, a younger man was sitting with Mr. Pecker. “Good afternoon. My name is Dr. Michael Newton and I’ll be treating you, Mr. Pecker.” He barely held back his laughter. “Sorry. What seems to be the problem?”

“My ex-girlfriend gave me a Viagra and well, it hasn’t gone down in nearly nine hours despite several orgasms,” Mr. Pecker mumbled.

“I’ll need to take a look, Mr. Pecker,” Dr. Newton said snidely. I shot Mr. Pecker an apologetic look. His son looked livid, glaring at Newton. “Lay back, please?” Mr. Pecker obliged and Newton lifted the hospital gown. Mr. Pecker’s, um, problem wasn’t very big and Newton bit his lip to stop his laughter. “Okay, Mr. Pecker, if we don’t alleviate some of the pressure building, it can cause permanent damage. We’ll have to drain the blood.”

“How will you do that?” asked Mr. Pecker’s son, Ralph.

“We’ll numb you up and insert a needle,” Newton explained. “Fifteen minutes, tops.”

“Sounds simple enough, but I want another doctor doing it,” Ralph growled. “You are acting like this humorous when my dad is in obvious discomfort and pain.”

“I’ll go get another doctor,” I said quietly. “Dr. Denali, one of our attending physicians, is available.” I turned and scurried out of the room, wanting to get Dr. Denali. I was three steps out of the room when Newton stepped in front of me. “Excuse me, Newton. I need…”

“Why the fuck didn’t you back me up, Swine?” Newton snarled.

“Because his son was right,” I answered, skirting past him and walking toward the circulation desk. Dr. Denali was standing there, talking with Jessica about another case. “Dr. Denali?”

“This isn’t over, Swan,” Newton spat as he turned on his heel, stomping to the ambulance bay.

“What was that about?” Dr. Denali asked. Jessica glowered at me, running to the ambulance bay to check, presumably, on Newton.

“Newton was assigned to a patient and he made the patient uncomfortable with his behavior,” I answered. “He is refusing treatment from Newton and asked for another doctor to administer the treatment.” Dr. Denali pursed his lips and nodded to his office off the circulation desk. I gave him the abridged version of what happened and to say that Dr. Denali was disappointed was an understatement. Then, we went into the examination room to take care of Mr. Pecker and his erection that was currently in its tenth hour. Dr. Denali took care of the issue, quickly and respectfully. Mr. Pecker and his son were discharged with explicit instructions to avoid using Viagra in the future.

“Dr. Newton is getting himself into more and more trouble,” Dr. Denali said wearily. “I’m going to send an email to Dr. Cullen and Dr. Sanchez regarding this latest infraction.”

“He also was AWOL for nearly an hour. I think he was fooling around sexually, but there isn’t solid proof,” I murmured. Dr. Denali sighed and rubbed his hands on his face. “This place is turning into a middle school drama fest.”

“It is, Nurse Swan. First the new harassment policy, which I fully support and understand it. Then, this new attending, Dr. Black and finally, doctors acting like high school boys and nurses acting like cats in heat. Present company excluded.”

“Thanks, Dr. Denali,” I chortled. “Good luck with that email.”

“I need your corroboration. When you get a chance, please send both of them a message,” he said. “If he keeps this up, Newton will be out a job come summertime.”

Good, I thought. “I’ll work on that email, Dr. Denali,” I said quietly. “Afterward, I’m going to check on the supplies in the trauma rooms. We were running low on sterile gauze and IV bags.”

“Great. Thanks, Nurse Swan,” Dr. Denali smiled.

“Please, call me Bella, Dr. Denali,” I offered.

“Only if you call me Felix,” he winked. I nodded and he turned to go into his office. I went to one of the computer terminals at the circulation desk, logging onto my email at work. I began typing out a message to Dr. Sanchez, Edward and carbon copying Dr. Denali.

To: Dr. E. Cullen, Dr. E. Sanchez

CC: Dr. F. Denali, Dr. M. Volturi

From: I. Swan

Re: Patient Situation on May 10th, 2013

Dear Dr. Sanchez and Dr. Cullen,

I am contacting regarding a patient situation involving Dr. Michael Newton. On the aforementioned date (May 10th, 2013), I was assigned to treat a patient (Patient ID#: 33741, Woodland Pecker, Jr.) who presented with an erection lasting over eight hours after taking a dose of Viagra. I got Dr. Newton for treatment and his behavior toward Mr. Pecker was highly unprofessional.

First off, he was missing in action for nearly an hour. He had to be paged several times before he made himself available and he was disheveled and unkempt, appearing to have just come from a sexual encounter (this is a supposition, not fact. I’m just stating what I saw of Dr. Newton.) Secondly, upon the examination of the patient, Dr. Newton was snickering about the size of patient’s penis size and situation. The son of the patient, Ralph Pecker, asked that Dr. Newton NOT administer the treatment and demanded a new physician. I got Dr. Denali after that request was made. Dr. Newton was not happy about being replaced and made comments about my not backing him up (in addition to calling me ‘Nurse Swine’ as well.)

Dr. Denali did finish treatment for Mr. Pecker and he was released with orders of never taking Viagra again. Dr. Newton (at this time) has yet to return to the floor.

Thank you,

Nurse Isabella M. Swan

I sent the email to each of the doctors listed. I also made my final notes for Mr. Pecker’s case before closing it out in the computer. Logging off of the station, I slipped my stethoscope around my neck and walked into one of the trauma rooms to check on the supplies. I made note of what the room needed before going to the other one. Jacob was in there and he was taking inventory. I turned on my heel to leave the room quickly. If I stayed in there, he would notice me and I was NOT in the mood for Jacob Black.

“You don’t have to go, Isabella,” he said coldly. “I was just finishing up in here.”

“I’ll just go, Dr. Black,” I said, trying to keep the waver out of my voice. I was nervous as hell. I stumbled out of the room and walked to the store room to get the needed supplies for the other trauma room. However, the door was darkened by the hulking form of Jacob Black. “Can you please leave me alone?”

He leaned against the doorway, staring at me. “I’d say you look good but I’d be lying.”

“Did you know that steroids causing infertility issues in men? Makes your balls smaller, not to mention your dick,” I snapped. “You may want to lay off the ‘roids, Jacob.”

“All natural, Isabella,” he said with an evil grin. “I’m surprised you stayed in Chicago.”

“Look, I don’t really don’t want to talk to you, Jacob,” I hissed. “You hurt me all those years ago and you’re doing it again, now.”

“How so?” he asked with fake concern.

“That comment about my looks,” I snarled as I picked up a crate, filling it with gauze pads, IV bags, saline solution and needles.

“You’ve gained weight, Isabella,” he said as he pinched my belly.

“Don’t fucking touch me,” I growled, dropping the crate. I took his finger and bent it backwards until he was on knees. He was hissing in pain. “I can break your goddamned fingers, Black. You touch me again and I will. No one is allowed to touch me without my permission.”

“I touched you once,” he choked out.

“For a fucking bet, you asshole,” I seethed, bending his fingers further back.

“How did you know that?” he squeaked. I released his fingers and scooped up the crate, leaving him in the store room. “Isabella? How did you know?”

“Because my boyfriend told me,” I snapped. “Dr. Cullen? Your boss?”

“I thought he was kidding that he wanted you,” Jacob said, his eyes filled with disbelief.

“Nope. Not kidding,” I said as I put the supplies onto the shelves with a lot of banging. “But, who I’m dating is not your concern, Jacob. You didn’t care about me ten years ago. I was just a pawn in some stupid bet. Did you ever think about it would affect me? I gave you my innocence, Jacob and you just took it like it was nothing. Were you that broke?” He didn’t say anything. He just stared at me. “No answer? It’s because you’re a fucking asshole who prayed on innocent girls for money. Well, now, you’re screwed because you couldn’t keep it in your pants at your old job and now you’re scrubbing floors and the nurses have more power than you. So, you know what? You can finish stocking these shelves and then after that, I’ll find you some boils to lance or puking kid to care for. That’ll be fun.” I turned on my heel, leaving my crate. “I’ll be back in an hour to check on you, Dr. Black. Be sure to have your job done. If not, I’ll be telling Dr. Sanchez and Dr. Cullen that you were slacking on the job. You’ve already got two letters in your file. I’m certain you don’t want a third.”

“You’re a bitch, Isabella,” Jacob fumed.

“I’m not a bitch. I’m just done being walked all over and it all started with you. The great thing is that it’s fucking ending with you, Jacob,” I said, smirking. “You’re nothing. A has-been. A wash-up. You’ve made your bed, Jacob. Now, lie in it.” I turned and left the trauma room. Standing outside of the room was a smiling Edward. I blinked and stared at him. “What are you doing here?”

“Felix called me when Dr. Newton disappeared. I was scheduled to come in later but I figured I’d come in earlier to help out since Newton was being a douche,” Edward said as he took my hand. He tugged on it, leading me to his office. Once the door was closed, he wrapped me up in a hug. His nose was buried in my hair. “I’m so proud of you, sweet girl.”

“I’m no better than the others who pick on me,” I mumbled into his shoulder.

“Bella,” he said as he took my face in his hands, “the difference between what they say and what you said is that you speak the truth. The things that Newton, Crowley and Jessica say are not true. At all, sweet girl.”

“You should write me up,” I whispered.

“I’m not going to,” he said, his green eyes staring into mine. “You stood up for yourself, Bella. Take pride in that.”

“I did stand up for myself,” I said, smiling slightly. “But it wasn’t the first time, though.”

“I know you told off my brother,” Edward smirked, kissing my forehead. “But, he didn’t mean as much as Jacob did from your past. What you did today shows how much you’ve grown. Your confidence was unwavering and you stood your ground. And you know what else?”

“What?” I asked, looking up at him.

“It was fucking hot, baby,” he purred, his green eyes darkening. His lips crashed against mine and he dragged me to his couch, straddling his lap. Our mouths fought for dominance as we kissed passionately on his couch. “I love you, so much, Bella.”

“I love you, too,” I said breathlessly. “Thank you for believing in me and for encouraging me.”

“I’ll always be your biggest cheerleader, Bella,” he smiled, kissing my nose. “Minus the skirt and pompoms.”

“Come on, you’d look sexy in one of those skirts, Dr. Tattward,” I teased. “You’ve got great legs.”

“I’ve got great legs but the spankies are what freak me out,” he shuddered. “Having my cock squished like that does not do a body good.” He pressed me down onto his lap and I felt his cock nestled between my thighs. Hmmm, now that I’ve faced my past, I’m ready to embrace my future…

“Edward?”

“Yes, gorgeous?” he answered, nuzzling my neck.

“I’m ready,” I murmured.

“Now?!”

“Not, now but when it’s feasible,” I replied, staring into his eyes. “I’ve faced Jacob and now I’m ready for us. For you and me. Sharing EVERYTHING with you. Giving you all of me.”

“My Bella,” he smiled, covering my face with soft kisses. “I promise, PROMISE, to make our first time magical. I love you. I’m going to make love to you. Let me make some arrangements…”

“No, at your place,” I whispered. “I don’t want a big lavish hotel room.”

“I still want to make it perfect for you, Bella. Trust me, okay?”

“Okay,” I said, hugging his neck. “And I do trust you, Edward. With my life.”

A/N: I’m ending it there. Bella got to say her piece to Jacob. (Yes, she didn’t really lay into him but there will be more of a blow up with them later. You’ll see!) You can also see how much Bella has grown since chapter one. She’s got a ways to go but she’s definitely taking a step in the right direction. Anyhow, up next will be their first time and dinner with the Cullen’s (Assper included) for Jasper’s graduation from graduate school. No real picture teasers (I found a few pics of kick boxing but nothing really substantial.) If you want to see them, check out my blog. Also, I’m on Facebook: Tufano79’s Twilight Fanfiction Appreciation. Lastly, I’m on twitter: tufano79. Teasers are posted on all three places. Leave me some love! It’s better than getting relief from a ten-hour long erection. Poor Mr. Pecker.

 

 

Chapter Text

This is different from the norm. In all of the stories that I’ve read or that I’ve seen, all of the characters are disgustingly perfect unless they are written with very clear flaws. This story is about love (um, duh! Look who’s writing it. I’m the queen of romance), and finding it in the least likely place with the least likely person.

Now, this story is based in a hospital. My medical training comes from…WebMD. I’m not a doctor, nor do I claim to be. I’m a music teacher who has a wild imagination and a penchant for all things Twilight (and with this story, added in a mix of ER! I loved Luca Kovac…) Which brings me to my disclaimer: None of this is mine. I’m not, nor ever will be, Stephenie Meyer. If was, I’d be rolling in the dough from her insane imagination that gave us Bella and Edward. No copyright infringement is intended.

Chapter Sixteen

EPOV

“So, Edward, tonight’s the night,” Rose said, waggling her brows. “My big brother is finally going to get some!”

“Shut it, Rosie,” I growled. “I didn’t want to rush Bella.”

“I’m glad you didn’t. Bella deserves all of the romance and foofy girly shit that you do so well,” Rose quipped. “So what are you doing? Taking her to a fancy restaurant? Renting a romantic room at a hotel?”

“Actually, no,” I said, blushing slightly. “I’m cooking her dinner here and spending the evening together at my place.”

“WHAT?! Are you kidding me? Bella needs more, Eddie,” Rose pouted on her perch on my bed while I finished putting my laundry away. “Maybe Mom can pull some strings and get you into the W Hotel…”

“Rose, she doesn’t want all of that,” I said as I took her cell phone from her hands. “When she lost her virginity, her ex took her a fancy restaurant and a romantic hotel. Afterward, he ignored her and broke her heart. All of those things have a negative connotation in Bella’s mind. If I do that, she’ll start thinking that I’m going to dump her, when in reality, I want to be with her forever.”

“Okay, I get that but you can at least make it romantic in here. I mean, geez, Edward. It’s bachelor central in your bedroom,” Rose teased. “Get some candles and flowers.”

“I hate to burst your bubble, Rosie. I’m a bachelor,” I snickered, ruffling her hair.

“Yes, you’re a bachelor but you’re in a committed relationship. Some of your girl should be reflected in your home by now. Does she have a drawer? Space in your closet?”

“I cleared out the space, but she doesn’t want to leave anything,” I frowned. “Bella has grown so much but in so many ways, she’s still skittish about us.

“Do you blame her? The one other relationship she had, he skipped out after they were intimate,” Rose shrugged. “I’m thinking that she will start to move some of her stuff after you make love and she sees that you aren’t going anywhere.”

“I hope so,” I said as I sat down on the bed. “Now, enough about my life. How are things going with a certain trainer?”

“Emmett? He’s great,” Rose blushed.

“And…?” I prodded.

“And we’re friends,” Rose said as she played with a string on my bedspread.

“There’s more, Rosie,” I said as I tipped her chin up to look at me.

She closed her eyes and sighed heavily. She was shaking slightly. “I like him, Eddie,” she breathed. “But, what if he won’t want me after what Royce did to me…”

“Then he’s not worth your time,” I said quietly.

“Plus, I’m also applying for medical schools to get my degree in psychiatry. Only two are here in Illinois,” she said. “University of Chicago and Northwestern. The rest are out of state: Johns Hopkins, Harvard, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. What if he doesn’t want a long distance relationship? Plus, the age difference…he’s a year younger than you, Eddie.”

“Have you been admitted to any of the medical schools?” I asked.

“Johns Hopkins accepted me since I technically ‘deferred’ my enrollment. I also received a letter from University of Chicago saying I was admitted via a legacy. Dad teaches a class there. I haven’t heard from the rest,” Rose said dejectedly.

“Where do you really want to go?” I pressed.

“Johns Hopkins or Northwestern,” she answered. “I’d prefer staying close to home in case, you know, something happens?”

“Rosie, you are gaining strength every day. Plus, you’re almost back to the weight you were at prior to Royce’s attack on you,” I said as took her hand in mine.

“But, Royce’s trial is scheduled in six weeks, Eddie. What if he gets off? What if…he finds me again?” Rose asked, her green eyes hysterical and her breathing erratic.

“He won’t get off. Trust me,” I said as I hugged my sister. “Breathe deeply, Rosie.” She clutched my shirt and breathed with me. “Again, Rosie.” She sighed and relaxed in my embrace. “Better?”

“Yeah,” she said meekly. “I’m sorry, Edward.”

“Don’t apologize. Your fears are very real and if I was dealing with them, I’d probably react the same way,” I said as I pulled back. “However, the police had a ton of evidence against Royce, plus your rape kit, our statements and the two witnesses. He’ll be going away for a long, long time.”

“I hope so. I don’t want to live my life in fear. When I’m with you or Emmett or even Bella, I feel normal. But, when I get home, it all comes apart. I’m afraid of my own shadow and of what might happen. Part of it is mom’s insistence on doing stuff for me and dad’s constant hovering.”

“Have you considered moving out?” I asked.

“I have but I want to wait until I get accepted to medical school,” Rose explained. “I don’t want to sign a lease until I know where I’m going: Baltimore, Evanston, Cambridge or Chapel Hill.”

“Makes sense. Rose, you can always come here if you feel overwhelmed by Mom and Dad,” I offered.

“Thanks, Edward. I may take you up on that,” she smiled, kissing my cheek. “Oh, by the way, Mom wanted me to invite you and Bella to Jasper’s graduation dinner.” She grimaced when she told me. “Sorry…they’re really pushing this since you’re not going to the graduation.”

I rolled my eyes and stood up, pacing in my bedroom. “Do I have to go? I’m still so pissed at him.”

“Me too, Eddie. But he is our brother,” Rose said. “He’s acted like a first-class douche to Bella and to Alice, but he is our family.”

“Yes, we’re family but he was disrespectful to Bella. He made her feel like she was less than nothing and not worthy my time,” I growled.

“Well, Mom and Dad laid into him about his behavior. They said that if Jasper makes any comments to Bella that are inappropriate, we’d leave. Come on, I don’t want it to be Mom, Dad, Jasper, me and Emmett. The more the merrier? Please? Pretty please?” she pouted and put her head on my shoulder.

“Where are we going out for dinner?” I asked flatly.

“Some new place called Alinea,” Rose answered. “Eat before you come. The portions are über tiny and VERY expensive. But, Jasper wants to go there. I have no idea why. He’s more of a meat and potatoes guy. I’d figure he’d choose Lawson’s Prime Rib Steakhouse. Whatever.”

“When is this dinner?” I sighed.

“Next Saturday.”

“I can’t next Saturday. I’m on, twelve hour shift,” I explained. “So is Bella.”

“The reservations are late. Nine in the evening,” Rose said. “You can still come.”

“We’re working seven to seven, Rosie. It’ll be pushing it. Plus, if there’s an issue, we can’t leave until our patients are cared for…” I said. “I’d rather go on a day where I’m not working.”

“The reservations were extremely difficult to come by, Edward. Mom jumped at the chance and she prayed that you and Bella would be available,” Rose frowned. “You can tell her that you can’t come.”

“We’ll try. No promises, though,” I said. “Now, I’ve got to apparently get some candles, flowers and girly shit. And you’re going to help me, Squirt.” Rose squealed and jumped into my arms. Together we headed out and got all of the necessary items to make my bedroom a romantic haven. Essentially a shit ton of candles, twinkle lights and pillows. Working together, Rose and I transformed my bedroom into the Mecca of all romantic bedrooms. I personally thought it was cheesy but Rose said that Bella would appreciate it.

My girl is going to laugh at this.

“No, she won’t. She’ll like it because you took that extra effort for her,” Rose said. “I’m going to go. Have fun tonight and be safe. Do you need condoms?”

“I’m good, Rose,” I said. Rose smirked and left my townhouse so I could begin cooking dinner for Bella and me.

 Bella and I had talked about precautions and we decided to forego the condoms for now. She was on birth control and had had only one partner (Jacob). I’ve been living the life of a monk since my separation and divorce and had a clean bill of health. We wanted to be with each other in every way. I still had condoms in case Bella panicked, but I’m praying I wouldn’t need them.

After Rose left and I got the preparations for dinner ready, I went up to my bathroom and showered, taking the extra time to shave. I also coiffed my hair as best as I could. Unfortunately, I had a tear in my contact lenses and I needed to go the eye doctor to get some more so I had to wear my glasses. I sprayed on some cologne, Tuscany, and swiped my keys, cell phone and wallet. Normally, Bella would just come over to my place whenever we had a date like this but I wanted to make her feel special. I  backed out my Aston Martin, dropping the top since it was absolutely gorgeous out and drove to her apartment. On the way to the apartment, I picked up a bouquet of flowers. I set it in the back, behind my seat so I could give it to her when she got in my car. It was a gorgeous seasonal bouquet with all different types of flowers, each one more beautiful than the next.

I parked the car and locked it up before heading up to Bella’s apartment. Using my key, I let myself into the building but knocked on the door, waiting for Bella to open it up. She did and she was gorgeous. Dear God. I blinked a few times, smiling crookedly at her.

“What? Do I have something on my face?” she asked, wiping her cheeks.

“No. You’re perfect,” I said as I slipped inside of the door. Her hair was down and curled softly. Her makeup was natural, enhancing her beautiful features. She wore a purple shirtdress with a belt around her waist along with the jewelry that I gave her for Valentine’s day. In her hand, she was holding a pair of beige wedge heels. “Is there a reason why you’re holding your shoes as opposed to wearing them?”

“I think Alice is trying to kill me. I measured the heel. It’s four and half inches,” she grumbled, holding the shoe to my face. “I can barely walk in flat fucking Crocs and she wants me to wear these? I’m going to break my damn ankle.”

I took her hand, guiding her to the couch. “Sit, sweet girl,” I said. She sat down on the couch while I sat down on the table. “Foot, please.” She put her foot in my lap. “I like the pedicure. Sexy red on your sexy feet.”

“Only you would find feet sexy,” Bella quipped. “Angela was bored last night and she decided to play beautician and gave me a pedicure. It’s different for me. I’m normally a pink or beige girl. Red’s not my normal style.”

I ran my finger down her leg, staring in her deep brown eyes. “It’s sexy. I love it,” I purred. “And you have to wear these to show off your sexy little toes.” I kissed the top of her foot before slipping on the wedge heel. I repeated the action to the other foot. “You ready, gorgeous?”

“Huh?” she asked.

“You ready to go?” I chuckled.

“Sorry, you completely dazzled me, Edward,” she said dreamily. “Damn sexy doctor, trying to sweep me off my feet.”

“Is it working?” I asked.

“Oh, yes,” she laughed nervously. “But, yes, I’m ready to go. My bag is by the door.”  I smiled and helped Bella to her feet. She stumbled a bit when she stood up, ending up in my arms. “Death traps, I tell you.”

“If it means I get to hold you all night, then I’m all for them,” I chuckled, cupping her cheek. I bent down and brushed my lips against hers. “Hi…I’ve missed you.”

“Me too,” she whispered, twining her fingers into my hair. I dipped my head again and pressed my lips against hers. Her mouth opened and I slid my tongue between her lips, earning a low moan from my girl. My hands moved from her waist down to her ass, cupping it firmly. “We should go, lover boy. I don’t want to jump you in my foyer.”

“Damn,” I grumbled. “Will you in the future?” I swiveled my hips against hers, pressing my now prominent arousal against her belly.

“Perhaps,” she giggled. “Come on, Dr. Sexward.” I snickered and bent down to pick up her bag, slinging it over my shoulder. She picked up her purse and we left her apartment. As we walked past James’ old apartment, Bella wrinkled her nose.

“What’s that look for?”

“They are completely gutting his apartment because of the damage he did to it,” Bella explained. “Banging on the walls, hammering, rotator saws…not pleasant when you worked overnight and all you want to do is sleep.”

“If that happens again, just go over to my place. It’s quiet,” I said as I kissed her temple.

“Are you sure?”

“Definitely, sweet girl,” I smiled. We headed out to my car and I helped inside. I tossed her bag in the trunk before getting into the driver’s seat. Reaching behind me, I pulled out the bouquet of flowers for her. “For you, Miss Swan.”

“Oh, Edward! They’re lovely,” she breathed as she put her nose into the fragrant blooms. “You didn’t have to get me flowers…”

“I didn’t but I wanted to,” I said as I kissed her cheek. “Now, I’ve got a treat for you for dinner.”

“What?”

“Baked salmon with pesto, asparagus and rice Verdi,” I replied. “And for dessert, some vanilla frozen yogurt with fresh fruit.”

“Sounds delicious,” she beamed. “And perfectly aligned with my diet.”

“I want to support you, sweet girl,” I said as I kissed her hand. “I mean, I love you regardless of how you look but if you’re committed to this diet, I want to make sure that you are successful with it. You know?”

“I love you, so much, Edward,” she said as she leaned across the console, kissing my lips while we were at a stoplight. “Thank you for doing that for me. It means so much to me. AND I’m down fifteen pounds.”

“That’s great, Bella,” I smiled. “Another reason to celebrate.”

“What are we celebrating?”

“The fact that we’ve been together for five months. The fact that I have the most beautiful girlfriend in the city of Chicago. The fact that you’re down fifteen pounds. The fact that we love each other so much that we’re going to finally be together,” I blushed. “In every way.”

“I will not cry but shit, Edward. That was so sweet,” she said as she fanned her face. “Why do you have to be so flipping perfect?”

“I’m far from perfect, Bella,” I said dryly. “I just say what I feel, sweet girl.”

“Well, you’re pretty damn close to perfect, Edward,” she said as she wiped her cheeks. “No more making cry, Cullen.”

“Okay, I’ll try,” I snickered. I pulled into driveway and parked my Aston Martin. I got out of the car and picked up Bella’s bag before opening her door. Lacing my fingers with her, we walked into house. “I’m going to bring this upstairs to my room.”

“I can do it,” Bella said.

“No, I insist. Why don’t you find a bottle of wine and some music, okay?” I asked, distracting her from following me up the stairs. She nodded and walked to my butler’s pantry which housed my wine fridge. I darted up the stairs and deposited her bag on the chair in the bedroom. I also lit the candles around the room to give it a warm glow and an appealing, sandalwood and vanilla smell. “God, she’s going to think that I’m trying too hard.”

“Edward? Are you okay?” Bella called from downstairs.

“I’m fine,” I said. “Stick with it, Cullen. Woo her. Love her. Make love to her. Go team!” I’m such a fucking moron. I headed back down to the main level. Bella had chosen some music and it was being played through my sound dock. On the kitchen counter, she had a bottle of white wine opened and she was poking around in my fridge. “Looking for something?”

“I know you had some brie and crackers in here,” she said. “A ha! Found it!” Bella turned around and put a small circle of brie onto a plate. “Pam said that this cheese goes perfectly with this wine. I wanted to see if it was true.”

“Well, while you do that, I’m going to put everything into the oven,” I said as I kissed her neck. “Can you pour me a glass?”

“Sure, handsome,” she said as she grabbed a wine glass, pouring me a healthy serving. “Do you want some cheese?”

“In a bit. I want to get the food in the oven,” I replied. I took out the salmon from the refrigerator and preheated the oven. As the oven was warming up, I made the asparagus and began boiling the water for the rice. Bella was seated on one of the stools in my breakfast bar. She was nibbling on some crackers and sipping her wine. “So, my sister was over today.”

“How is Rose?” Bella asked, smiling widely. She and Rose had formed a close friendship. They met once a week to go out for lunch, dinner or some girly pampering.

“She’s good. However, she’s struggling with her relationship with Emmett,” I sighed.

“Why? All she does is yammer on about him when we’re out,” Bella said, arching a brow.

“She’s afraid of Emmett not wanting her because of her attack. Plus, she’s looking into medical schools and her top choices are Johns Hopkins and Northwestern. Obviously, Northwestern is local but if she chooses Johns Hopkins, she’ll be moving to Baltimore,” I said.

“I have no doubt that Emmett will follow her. I spoke with him during one of my training sessions and he’s over the moon over Rose,” Bella smiled. “In regards to her attack, Emmett knows she was hurt.”

“Out of the three of us, Rose is the most conservative,” I said as I turned, sipping from the glass of wine that Bella poured for me. “She wanted to wait until marriage to have sex for the first time…”

“Edward, what she experienced was not sex. She was brutally attacked and hurt by Royce,” Bella snarled. “In God eyes, she is a virgin. Well, in my eyes, she is. I’ve told her so during our outings but she doesn’t believe me.”

“We’ve all told her that,” I sighed. “Forever, she’ll feel like she’s ‘tainted.’ She’s not, though. My sister is the epitome of all that’s good in the world. She’s smart, beautiful, driven and any guy would be lucky to have her.”

“Emmett wants her,” Bella said. “More than just a friend. Rose wants Emmett, too. But, she’s hesitant. Understandably, so. I’d be hesitant too. Rose and I are pretty similar in our beliefs about sex and intimacy. I’m not as conservative as her, but I was hesitant with us because I was afraid of being hurt.”

“Do you still think that I’m going to hurt you?” I asked.

“The possibility is still there but I don’t want to be in fear for the rest of my life and live a sheltered existence,” she said, popping a cracker into her mouth. “But, I know that you would never intentionally hurt me. Your heart is too good, Edward. You say that Rose is epitome of all that’s good in the world. You’re wrong. You are.”

I blushed and ducked my head. Thankfully, I was saved by the bell and put the salmon into the oven. I also put the rice into the water, setting the timer. I sat down next to Bella and poured myself some more wine. “Thank you, sweet girl,” I said quietly as I nuzzled her neck. “I love you.”

“Hmmm, I love you, too,” she said as she cuddled into my chest. “There’s something else you’re not telling me, though. Being all cute, lovey-dovey and adorable is one of your known distraction tactics. Spill, Dr. Sexward.”

“You’re good,” I chuckled. I kissed her head and turned her so I could look her in the eyes. “In addition to talking to my sister about Emmett and medical school, she also relayed an invitation for us.” Bella’s brows furrowed and she bit her lip. “We’ve been asked to go to dinner with my family for Jasper’s graduation.”

“Um, when?” Bella asked, her voice sounding much quieter than before. Her insecurities were coming back. I leaned forward and held her tightly.

“Next Saturday,” I answered. “We’re both working seven to seven but the reservations are at nine in the evening.”

“Why don’t you just go?” Bella suggested. “Jasper hates my guts. He won’t miss me.”

“No, we’re a pair. You’re the yin to my yang. Either we both go or we both don’t,” I said sternly.

“The yin to my yang,” Bella said dryly. “Really?”

“What? It was the best I could come up with. You’re the peanut butter to my jelly; the chips to my dip; the gooey icing to my Oreo,” I quipped.

“Just stop, Edward. You are too much,” she laughed. “The gooey icing to my Oreo?” I shrugged and flashed her my signature grin. “You are too adorable.”

“I try,” I said, putting my head on her shoulder. “So, are we going, Yin?”

“Were is this shindig?”

“Alinea,” I replied. “Some high-falutin’ restaurant where you get a meal the size of this cracker and it costs $200.”

“Not really endearing me to go with you, Yang,” she deadpanned.

“I’ll promise you orgasms for afterward,” I said, batting my eyes.

“How many orgasms?”

“Hmmm, three?”

“Add a massage and we’ve got ourselves a deal,” she said, holding out her hand. We shook on it and then broke into laughter. “Who knew bartering with sexual favors could be so fun?”

“It is. And to up the ante…don’t wear any panties to dinner, sweet girl,” I purred, nipping at her earlobe.

“Say what?”

“I promised you three orgasms but we didn’t delineate when and where. You will be getting one at the dinner table,” I smirked.

“You are evil, Dr. Sexward,” she scoffed. “But, the terms weren’t clear so you get by on a technicality.” My smirk grew and she rolled her eyes. “I’m assuming you want me to wear a skirt or dress, right?”

“You assume correctly,” I chuckled. “Bella Swan, exhibitionist.”

“You’re a dork, Edward. You’re the exhibitionist,” she snorted.

“Eh, not so much but I’m willing to try anything with you, sweet girl,” I purred, pressing my lips to hers. Her mouth is fucking heaven. Must kiss those perfect lips.

She pulled back and massaged my head. Bring those lips back, woman! “Do you want me to do anything? Other than sit here and get drunk on wine,” she quipped. “And make out?”

“If you want, can you set the table in the dining room? I have the plates and silverware out, but I haven’t had a chance to set it.”

“Okay,” she smiled. “Give me my flowers. I can put them in a vase as a centerpiece.” I nodded and gave Bella a vase, her bouquet and one more soft kiss before sending her into the dining room. Fifteen minutes later, the meal I had prepared was complete and set up on the table, along with the salad and remaining brie and crackers. We tucked into the meal and Bella moaned appreciatively. That moan went directly to my dick. Do not take her on the damn dining room table, Cullen. You’re civilized, NOT a caveman. “This is so good, Edward. You have to give me this recipe. And this sauce on the salmon? Pure heaven, I tell you.”

“I’m glad you like it, sweet girl,” I said as I nibbled on some asparagus. “It’s really simple.” I told her the recipe which I got from my mom and she was so excited that it was easy. We finished our dinner and Bella was adamant on doing the dishes since I did all of the cooking. I was ready to fight her but she all but shoved me out of the kitchen, telling me to relax as she cleaned up my mess. My Bella was a spitfire when she had her mind set on something. So, I went into my piano room, which was right off the dining room and began playing some favorites as she cleaned up.

“Edward, do you want some coffee?” Bella called.

“Nah, I’m good,” I responded. “I just want my sexy girlfriend to come join me in the music room.”

“I’m almost done,” she laughed. “Jeez, Dr. Impatient.” I heard her bare feet padding on the hard wood as she came into the music room. “I wanted to put the food away so you would have leftovers, Edward.”

“Sorry,” I smirked. “I just missed you.”

“I was, what, twenty feet away?” she giggled, sitting next to me on the piano bench.

“Too far,” I said as I continued playing the piano. My fingers began playing something on their own. The chords were soft, sweet and delicate. I poured all of my love for Bella into this improvised song. The melody haunted me for several weeks but this was the first time I’d had to actually play it. Now, with all of my heart, I played my love for my love. Cheesy, Cullen. You are so epically cheesy. I finished the song and wrapped my arms around Bella’s waist. I felt her tears on my shoulder. “Did I make you cry again?”

“You really need to stop doing that,” she laughed. “That was beautiful. Who wrote it?”

“Me. The melody was floating around in my head for awhile now and yeah…it just came out,” I said as I kissed her ear, nibbling on her soft skin behind her earlobe. “I love you, so much, Bella. I never imagined of finding the depth of love that I have with you. I’m so lucky and I never, EVER want to lose you.” I turned and looked at her. Tears were running down her cheeks as she stared at the piano. She breathed deeply before looking at me. Carefully, she removed my glasses and stared into my eyes.

“You’re my dream come true, Edward. Prior to your arrival in Chicago, my life was empty and I was in so much pain. Physical, emotional and mental. But, you became my friend. You showed me kindness and love for the first time since my mother’s death.” Her hands gently cupped my cheeks. “I love you with every fiber of my being, Edward. You’re my best friend, my boyfriend, my confidante, my lover and my rock. I never realized how much I was missing until I met you. I want you. I need you. Please, make love to me.”

It was my turn to cry, tears falling down my cheeks. But, they were not tears of sadness but of joy. I crushed her to my chest, holding her tightly. Pulling away slightly, I peppered her face with soft kisses. I then stood up, picking her up in my arms. “Edward! You’ll hurt yourself,” she chided.

“Nonsense,” I said. I carried her up the stairs and toward my bedroom. She was obviously not comfortable with me holding her and once I got to my bedroom, bedecked with candles, twinkle lights and soft pillows, I placed her on her feet.

“Oh, Edward,” she breathed as she walked into my room. “You did all of this for me?”

“It’s not too cheesy, is it?” I asked, biting my lip.

“It’s a bit over the top but knowing you, it’s perfect,” Bella said, giving me a smile. “Who helped you?”

“Rose,” I laughed as I turned off the hallway light, removing the harsh glow. Now, the room was perfectly romantic and soft. “Do you really like it? I don’t want you to think that this is just some elaborate scheme…like with Jacob.”

“I know it’s not. You can’t fake what you feel. Deep down, I knew what Jacob and I had wasn’t a real relationship. But, at the time, I was in denial. What we have is real,” she said as she wrapped her arms around my neck.

“It is, sweet girl. I know that you probably think that it’s too soon but I know that you’re it for me,” I said quietly, holding her closely to my body. “I love you, body, mind, heart and soul. I’m so blessed to have you in my life and I will NEVER let you go.”

“You really mean that?”

“I do. I see the entire future with you in it, Bella. You’re my best friend, too. My dream girl. Everything that I could wish and hope for in a girlfriend, lover, wife, mother…” I whispered as I captured her mouth in mine. “I want it all. With you.” Our lips crashed together and what started as a slow, sensual kiss quickly grew to be frantic. Bella’s fingers were from my hair to the buttons of my shirt, unbuttoning them as she went, revealing my bare torso. Her fingernails dragged up and down my chest, eliciting a low growl from me.

Slowly, I walked us toward the bed. Bella’s legs hit the edge of the bed and I gently guided her onto the mattress. Her legs were open to allow for my body to rest in between them. She had pushed off my shirt and it was thrown haphazardly onto the ground. Her fingers were massaging my back and shoulders as I gently thrust against her heat that was covered by her dress and panties. I need her. I need to make love to my girl. My future.

I pulled back and reached for the belt of her dress, quickly releasing it from her waist. I rolled us so she was perched on my lap. Our kisses were slow, languid and passion-filled. My fingers were moving up and down her legs until I reached her panties. She stopped kissing me and smiled softly. “Can I?” I asked. I lifted her dress to indicate my intentions. She blushed and nodded. Carefully, I lifted the dress and reverently put it on the bed next to me. Bella wore some pretty risqué lingerie and it was fucking hot. The bra was black, white, red, green and purple. It hoisted her breasts perfectly, revealing the most alluring cleavage. Her panties matched her bra and were the incredibly sexy cheeky panties. “Perfection,” I whispered as my fingers glided over her pale skin.

“I’m not,” she said quietly.

I put my finger underneath her chin. “You are. You’re absolutely perfect for me,” I said as I kissed her lips tenderly. My mouth moved from hers and I kissed down her neck. At the point where her neck met her shoulder, I inhaled deeply, reveling in her scent: the fragrance of strawberries, vanilla and fresh air. My hands were moving freely over her skin, earning low whimpers from my girl. “Bella, I’m going to show you what it’s like to have someone make love to you. I will cherish and love every inch of your body; show you how much you mean to me. You are my absolute everything. The only thing that will take me from you will be death and if I had my way, I’d never die so I could be with you for all eternity. I love you so much, my Bella.”

“You really need to stop making me cry,” she sniffled.

“Bad tears, yes. Happy tears, keep ‘em coming, sweet girl,” I said as I brushed my mouth against hers, dragging my tongue along her lips. She tangled her fingers into my hair and something inside of both of us ignited. Our sweet, loving kiss turned into something more. Maneuvering us so Bella was on her back, I licked, nibbled and sucked down her body. I kept her bra and panties on as I teased her with my kisses.

“Edward,” she moaned. “I need you, baby.”

Baby…

“All in due time, sweet girl,” I cooed. I kissed up her belly and reached her breasts. Wrapping my lips around her nipple through the lace and satin, she growled. “Do you want my mouth here?”

“Yes, baby. I want your mouth everywhere,” she pleaded.

“Your wish is my command,” I purred as I reached behind her, unclasping the sexy bra. “I love this, by the way. Sweet and innocent but so hot at the same time, love.” Tossing the bra onto the ground, I wrapped my lips around her dusty pink nipple. Her back arched off the bed, pushing her breast further into my mouth. My hand moved to her other breast, gently tweaking and twisting the erect nub with my thumb and forefinger.

“More, Edward,” she begged. I smiled against her skin, kissing across her chest to switch breasts. Her core was pressed against my chest and I could feel how hot she was, not to mention how wet. Bella’s hands were pulling on my hair and I moved up, kissing her feverishly. As I kissed my love, I eased her panties down. Bella kicked them off so she was now naked in my arms, save for the jewelry I gave her for Valentine’s day.

My fingers inched along her thighs until I reached her sex. “Dear God, you waxed?” I moaned.

“For the outing with your sister, she insisted we go to the spa,” Bella laughed. “This was the result…”

“I love my sister,” I growled as I sat back, spreading Bella’s legs to see her waxed pussy. “Fuck, I need a taste, sweet girl.” I bent down, running my tongue along the length of her slit, tasting her succulent flavor. It was enhanced by her bare skin and her arousal. Sliding my tongue in and out of her entrance, I lapped up her juices like it was the last drops of water and I was dying of thirst.

“Edward, I want to feel you,” she begged. “Please…”

“Don’t beg, sweet girl,” I said as I pressed one more kiss to her sex. “I want to feel you, too.” Sitting up, I unbuckled my belt. Bella’s fingers worked on my buttons of my jeans. She looked up at me when she saw that I had neglected to put on boxers. “What? I’m eager to be inside of you. One less layer.”

“Good,” she said, her eyes taking on a predatory gleam. “Off. Take the pants off.”

“Yes, ma’am,” I said as I kicked off my pants, naked with my girl. I crawled up her body and held her tightly as we kissed each other. There was no hurry, just love, soft kisses and tender caresses.

“Edward, I’m ready,” she whispered. “I want you.”

“I want you, too, my Bella. Please let me know if I hurt you,” I said as I took her beautiful face in my hands. She smiled and nodded. I kissed her mouth and rolled us so she was on her back. My hands were gliding along her skin until I reached the apex of her thighs. I wanted to make sure she was wet enough. If I was the second sexual experience she’s ever had, it’ll probably be somewhat painful for her. Not as painful as losing her virginity, but some discomfort. I looked up at her and her eyes were radiating love. Hopefully, just like mine. “I love you, Bella. I may not have been your first but hopefully, I’ll be your last.”

She smiled and a tear fell down her cheek. I kissed the tear away and positioned the head of my cock at her entrance. This is it. Guiding my erection inside of her, I pushed gently. Bella gasped. “Are you okay?”

“Fine,” she whispered. “You’re big.”  I smirked. I was bigger than the average male. I didn’t want to hurt her, though. “Keep going, Edward. Please?” Leaning forward, I kissed her lips as I pulled back slightly. Then, I pushed forward again and I was able to fully sheath myself in Bella’s body. Holy Moses…she’s so tight.  “So, good,” she moaned. “I love you, Edward.”

“My Bella,” I breathed as I began thrusting slowly in and out of her. “Love doesn’t even begin to describe what I feel for you.” She let out a strangled sob as I kissed her, cupping her face with my right hand. My left hand was holding my body above hers as I moved languidly inside of my girl. Never in all of my experiences had I felt such depth of emotion and love in the act of sex as I did with Bella. I now understood what it meant to make love as opposed to having sex or fucking. I wanted to make love to her forever. I never wanted to leave the warmth of her pussy. Honestly, I never wanted to be without her. Period.

“Edward,” her soft voice called, breaking me from my reverie. “More. I need to feel more of you. Please?”

 God, the ‘please?’  Her soft pleading woke something up in me and I pulled back. I grabbed her legs and put them over my shoulders as I sat back, thrusting my hips against hers. My balls were smacking the warm skin of her ass as I pistoned my erection inside of her. I could feel her muscles flutter around me. She moved with me. However, her legs dropped off my shoulders and she let out a guttural scream, pushing me out of her body. Her arousal gushed all around us, coating our legs. I blinked a few times before I realized what happened. Bella was still twitching, breathing heavily. She looked up at me, smiling seductively. She noticed I was still hard and she reached for my cock, guiding it back to her soaked folds. I eased in and within a few moments, we both reached our climax. I spilled inside of my girl as she clamped down around my cock, screaming my name. I kept thrusting until my cock softened and slipped out of her body.

We were covered in sweat and our respective releases. “Don’t move,” I said as I kissed her lips. She nodded. I hopped off the bed and started a bath for both of us. I lit a few candles in the bathroom and gathered some fresh towels from the linen closet. I walked back to the bedroom and saw that Bella hadn’t moved. She was still breathing heavily, her pale skin glistening from our combined sweat and her arousal. “Arms around my neck, sweet girl,” I said as I leaned down.

“No, I can walk,” she said.

“I want to carry you,” I said as I put her arms around my neck. Carefully, I swept her in my arms, carrying her bridal style to the bathroom. I placed into the tub and climbed in after her. The water was filling up and it was very relaxing to sit with my girl. She was cuddled with her back against my chest. Her fingers were idly tracing circles on my thighs which were on either side of her body. “So…”

“So…” she giggled.

“Improvement from  your first time?” I asked as I moved her hair over her shoulder, kissing her neck. She didn’t answer. I faintly heard sniffles over the water. “Bella? Shit, I didn’t mean to make you cry.”

“No, I’m fine,” she said as she turned to look at me. “It was everything that I had ever dreamed of, Edward. You were tender, gentle, loving and fucking hot at the same time.”

“Then, why are you crying?” I asked as I wiped her tears away.

“I wish you were my first,” she said, staring at me. “I regret what happened between Jacob and me and I wish it could have been you.”

“I wish my first time was with you, too, Bella. Tonight, I finally realized what it felt like to make love. You are the ONLY woman I’ve ever made love to. You will be the only woman I’ll make love to. I said it before and I’ll say it again. I may not have been your first, but I’m hopefully your last,” I said as I gathered in my arms.

“Like you want to marry me?” she whispered against my shoulder.

“In a heartbeat, Bella,” I said. “Would you marry me?”

“Is that a proposal?” she asked.

“No. It’s a hypothetical. When I do propose, you’ll know. It will not be in a bathtub while we’re naked,” I chuckled. “Seriously, though.”

“If and when you do propose, for real, I will say yes,” she said as she tightened her hold around my neck.

“Good. Because you are my future, Bella. Mrs. Cullen,” I quipped. I felt her smile against my shoulder. “You like that?” She nodded. “I like it, too.”

We stayed in the water until it turned tepid and we were quite pruney. We dried off and went back into the bedroom. Bella frowned when she saw the aftermath of our coupling. I kissed her forehead and stripped the comforter, putting on a fresh one. She glowered at me and said that she’d pay for the cleaning. I waved it off and we got into bed. Not bothering to put on pajamas, we fell asleep quickly.

xx APFL xx

The week following our first time together, Bella and I became insatiable for each other. Whenever we had a spare moment away from the hospital, we were making love. It made for some very light nights (or early mornings) and two very sexually satisfied people who were exhausted. Unfortunately, tonight was the dinner for my brother’s graduation. Bella and I had to go directly from the hospital and neither one of us was happy about it. We wanted to sleep. Not make love. Not fool around. Sleep.

Instead of sleeping, we were going to this restaurant to eat expensive supermodel food. I had just finished showering in my office and was changing into my charcoal gray suit. Bella was getting some help from Alice in the staff lounge. I was shocked that Alice offered to help since it was her ex-boyfriend that we were going out to dinner with. However, Alice being Alice said that she was fine and that she wanted to show Jasper that Bella is worthy of being on my arm. I was tying my tie when I heard a quiet knock on my door. “It’s open,” I called out.

“You ready to see your amazing girlfriend, Dr. Cullen?” Alice asked.

“She’s amazing in scrubs as she is in the fanciest gown,” I said, flashing her my signature grin.

“You are so whipped, Cullen,” Bella laughed from the hallway. “Alice, let me in.” Alice rolled her eyes and opened the door all the way. Standing on the other side of the door was a vision. Bella was wearing a wrap dress with a white, red and burgundy pattern on it. Her jewelry was simple and it matched the burgundy in her dress. Her hair was pinned back and curled over her shoulders. The best part though were the shoes. On her sexy feet were a pair of black peep toe heels that displayed her red toenails. “Is this appropriate for the restaurant?”

“Oh yeah,” I said as I wiped the drool from my face. “Did you follow my rule?”

“What rule?” Alice asked.

“It’s nothing, Ali,” Bella said, shooting me a look. I smiled wickedly and snuck behind my girl, copping a feel of her ass. I felt no panty lines and I was pleased. Bella smacked my hand, pointing her finger at me. “Behave.”

“Yes, love,” I said as I kissed her fingertip.

“You guys are hiding something,” Alice admonished.

“No, we’re not,” we both responded.

“Whatever. Have fun and I’ll see you both tomorrow. Who’s on first?”

“I’m on at noon,” Bella replied. “Edward comes in at four.”

“Good, I get to dish with one of you before I leave,” she smirked. “See you tomorrow, Bella. Bye, Edward.” She hugged my girl and ran off to the circulation desk.

“Ready, sweet girl?” I asked as I twined my fingers with hers.

“No. I’m tired and cranky,” she frowned. “I just want to sleep. Can’t we just say that we had an emergency and go home, to sleep?”

“I would love to, but since my dad works in this very same hospital, he’ll know we’re lying,” I chuckled. “However, as soon as we’re done, we’ll go back to your place and crash. Well, cuddle and then crash.”

“Just cuddling. I’m surprised I’m able to walk, Cullen,” she snorted. “You’ve got a log between your legs, stud.”

“I’ve heard it being referenced as wood but a log? Jesus, Bella,” I laughed. I kissed her neck. “I love you, baby. You always keep me on my toes and it makes me happy. You make me so incredibly happy.”

“You make me happy, too, Edward,” she said. I kissed her sweetly and walked her to my car. As I closed the car door, I heard something in the garage. I looked around but didn’t see anything. I made sure I had the sharp end of my key poking between my fingers as I walked to the driver’s side. Sliding into the seat, I started the car, keeping my eyes peeled for anything out of the ordinary. “Everything okay, Edward?”

“I heard something in the garage. It’s probably nothing but I got a little spooked,” I said. “I’m thinking tomorrow I’m going to pick up a can of pepper spray for you. Just in case, you know?”

“Edward, I’ve lived in this city all of my life. Apart from the run-in with my dad, I haven’t had anything happen to me,” she said.

“Humor me, Bella. You are the most important person in my life and if anything happened to you, baby, I don’t know what I’d do,” I said as I cupped her cheek. She nodded and kissed the palm of my hand. I drove quickly to the restaurant, using the valet to park the car. Standing outside was Rose and Emmett. Rose was wearing a black dress with some paisley print on it. Emmett was in a suit. A SUIT! “You clean up good, McCarty.”

“I’ve been known to put on a suit, Cullen,” he quipped. “Besides, this was important to Rose. I wanted to look nice for her.”

“And you do,” she said, looking up at Emmett shyly. “Thank you, Emmett.” She wrapped her hands around his beefy arm. “And thank you for being here.”

“Anything for you, Rose,” he replied, kissing her cheek. “You both look nice, too. Bella, you’re body is definitely changing.”

“I’m down eighteen pounds,” she said proudly. “This dress is a missy size. Not plus size. I’m excited.”

“As well you should be,” I smiled. “You looked amazing before but now you’re even sexier.” Rose rolled her eyes and grabbed Bella’s hand. They headed inside while Emmett smirked at me. “What?”

“You had sex,” he said.

“So?” I chuckled.

“Good. I’m glad. You and Bella are perfect for each other,” Emmett smiled. “She’s an amazing girl.”

“She is. She’s my everything, Emmett,” I breathed as we walked up the stairs. “And I’m glad we waited to make love. It made it special…” He nodded and smiled at me. Though, there was a sadness in his eyes. “What is it, Emmett?”

“I think I love your sister,” he murmured. “Wait, I know I love her. But, she’s keeping me at arm’s length, man. I get it. I do. My older sister was sexually assaulted when she was in college and it took forever her to feel ‘clean’ again. I think it’s more than that with Rose. Like she’s not telling me something, you know?”

“That’s a conversation you need to have with Rose, Emmett,” I said. “She’s still healing. In addition to healing, she’s also trying to overcome her fears of men, of Royce getting out, of her future. Talk to her. And don’t be afraid to raise these topics. I love my sister but she’s tired of being handled with kid gloves. She feels stifled by my parents and you, me, and Bella are really the only ones who make her feel ‘normal.’”

“So keep doing what I’m doing and be patient?” Emmett asked.

“Pretty much, Em,” I said. “But, talk to her. We chatted briefly last weekend about you.”

“What did she say?”

“Talk to her,” I reiterated.

“Edward! Emmett!” called my mom. “Come join us.”

“Sure, Mrs. Cullen,” Emmett smiled. We joined my parents, Jasper, Bella and Rosalie in a private dining room. Rose stood next to Emmett, twining her fingers with his. My parents smiled at the show of affection toward Emmett. So did I.

I walked to Bella’s side, kissing her temple. “Everything okay, love?” She smiled tightly and nodded. “Bella?”

“I’m fine,” she said as she kissed my lips softly.

“Did he say something to you? If he did, we’ll leave,” I said as looked at her. “We came as a courtesy but if he can’t…”

“Edward, Bella, what are you two hissing about?” Carlisle asked.

“Nothing, Carlisle,” Bella said, giving him a smile. “Just talking about work and a trying case from earlier today.”

“Yeah. A man came in with a headache and it turns out that it’s a massive tumor on his brainstem,” I said. “Prognosis doesn’t look good.”

“I can imagine,” Carlisle said as he led us to the table. “You both missed a wonderful ceremony.”

“Yeah, I wished my older brother could have been at my graduation ceremony. I was at his,” Jasper said bitterly.

“Jasper, Edward had to work,” Esme chided. “And you said you’d behave.”

“Sorry,” he mumbled petulantly.

“We can just end this right now,” Carlisle said sternly. “You knew that Edward had to work, but you wanted to include him in your day. So, we arranged for dinner to accommodate his and Bella’s schedule.” Jasper rolled his eyes at Bella’s name.

“Jasper, a word?” I asked, my temper barely in check.

“Why don’t we order,” Rose suggested. “Bella, what are you having?”

Jasper got up and we walked toward the men’s room. He was shuffling his feet, lollygagging behind me. “Do you not get it? Jasper, really, are you that dumb?” I snarled.

“No, I’m not that dumb,” he retorted. “I just received my doctorate in history. However, my big brother was too busy banging his girlfriend to even fucking care. His fat girlfriend.”

“Who are you?” I asked, shocked at his behavior. “The Jasper I knew actually had a heart and cared about people. The ass in front of me is nothing but a coward and bigot. Bella is nothing but a wonderful woman with a big heart, loving soul and she’s beautiful everywhere.”

“She’s got a big ass,” Jasper chuckled.

“Nothing changed, Jasper. I’m ashamed to be your brother right now,” I hissed. “What did you say to her?”

“I complimented her on her dress. I said that if it were any brighter, she’d be traffic signal,” he laughed. “However, she’s a big girl. She can pull off a big pattern like that. Makes her hard to miss.”

“Fuck you, Jasper. I’m done. I’m so done,” I snapped. I turned on my heel and walked to the dining room. Bella was sitting in her chair, staring off into space like a robot. “Bella, come on, love. We’re going home.”

“But, Edward,” Esme frowned.

“No, Jasper hasn’t changed. He’s not appreciative of the fact that we came and he’s still treating my girl like she’s a second class citizen,” I spat.

“If she was a second class citizen, she’d be thinner,” Jasper slurred.

“Jasper!” Esme and Carlisle yelled.

Bella was crying silently. “I love you, Bella. After tonight, you won’t have to see him, baby,” I said against her hair. “You’re so much better than him.”

“I don’t see it, Mom. What does she have that makes her so special?” asked Jasper.

“A heart,” Rose answered.

“Compassion,” Emmett replied.

“She’s brilliant and thinks on her feet,” Carlisle offered.

“She’s made your brother happy,” Esme said, glowering at my brother.

“I love her and she’s my world, Jas. But, you’re so self-centered that you can’t see that,” I said as I guided her out of the dining room.

“Jasper, I feel sorry for you,” Bella whispered. “You have a family who loves you and because of your prejudice of me, you’re throwing it away. I hope you can finally realize what you’re missing before it’s too late. You’ve already lost Alice. Are you ready to lose your family, too?” She turned and hugged my mom and sister. “I’m sorry about all of this.”

“It’s not your fault, Bella,” Esme cooed. “The next time you get together with Rose, I want to join you. Have some mother/daughter bonding, okay?”

“Mother/daughter?” Bella asked.

“From the way my son looks at you, you’ll be my daughter soon enough,” Esme chuckled, brushing Bella’s hair back. “Rose can share.”

“Definitely. I’ve always wanted a sister,” Rose replied, kissing Bella’s cheek. “Love you, sis.”

“Love you, too,” Bella said, hugging Rosalie.

I kissed and hugged my mom and sister before leaving the restaurant. Jasper was completely flummoxed as my parents decided to leave as well. What did we have to do in order to get him to understand that Bella was around to stay. On the drive back to Bella’s apartment, we stopped by a local pizza joint, picking up a pie to go. We devoured half of it, putting the rest away in the fridge.

As we were getting ready for bed, I noticed that Bella was abnormally quiet. I slipped behind her, wrapping my arms around her waist. “Talk to me, sweet girl.”

“I’m fine, Edward,” she said, looking at me in the mirror. “Just processing, you know?”

“I do,” I said.

“But, one thing confuses me,” she said. “He seemed okay with me at the ball in February but he just couldn’t see past this. Past my weight. I don’t understand why…”

“I don’t either, Bella. I thought he was okay with us after the ball, as well. Clearly, he’s not and it’s now alienating him from his family,” I said as I nuzzled her hair.

“Am I worth it?” she asked, dropping her gaze to the counter.

I turned her around, picked her up and sat her on the granite. “Bella, you are more than worth it. My family believes it. I believe it and I thought you believed it too,” I said firmly.

“I do. But, he’s your brother, Edward,” she replied.

“And you’re my life,” I countered. “Bella, you’re my other half. I can’t imagine being with you, sweet girl. Every step, I want to share it with you. Yes, he’s my brother. Hopefully, he’ll pull his head out of his ass or he’ll be one lonely mother fucker.”

“If he fucks your mom, that’s kind of gross,” Bella laughed.

“It is and that’s a visual I didn’t need at this moment, Bella. Thanks,” I said dryly. “Do you want to know how I can get rid of it?”

“How?”

“Hmmm, I do believe I owe you three orgasms and a massage, right?” I replied, tapping my finger to my lips.

“Right,” she said, drawing out the vowel.

“I also said that one of those orgasms would be at dinner and I didn’t get a chance to do that, so…”

“Oh,” she said. “OH!”

“How do you want it? Fingers, tongue or cock?” I asked, putting my hands on my hips.

“Even though I’m exhausted and emotionally drained, I can’t seem to get enough of this,” she purred, cupping my dick with her hand.

“Say it and it’s yours,” I replied.

“I want your…cock,” she said, blushing furiously.

“Game on, Swan.”

A/N: This was a beast…it took on a life of its own, grew horns, wings and fluffy tail. It had it all: citrus, humor, drama, angst, all wrapped up in 9500 words. Anyhow, lots of stuff going on. I’d love to hear your theories on Jasper, Jacob, James and Charlie…(yep, we’ve got four antagonists, but one will end up being a good guy. Which one, though?) Up next will be the ‘mother/daughter bonding’ with Rose, Bella and Esme. Plus, some building drama involving Jacob and possibly a clue on who bailed out Charlie. As always, teasers are on my blog. I’ve got the pictures from the disastrous dinner, to the bouquet Edward gave Bella on their date and such. Link for that is on my profile. Extra teasers are posted on my Facebook page: Tufano79’s Twilight Fanfiction Appreciation and on my twitter: tufano79. Leave me some!

 

 

Chapter Text

This is different from the norm. In all of the stories that I’ve read or that I’ve seen, all of the characters are disgustingly perfect unless they are written with very clear flaws. This story is about love (um, duh! Look who’s writing it. I’m the queen of romance), and finding it in the least likely place with the least likely person.

Now, this story is based in a hospital. My medical training comes from…WebMD. I’m not a doctor, nor do I claim to be. I’m a music teacher who has a wild imagination and a penchant for all things Twilight (and with this story, added in a mix of ER! I loved Luca Kovac…) Which brings me to my disclaimer: None of this is mine. I’m not, nor ever will be, Stephenie Meyer. If was, I’d be rolling in the dough from her insane imagination that gave us Bella and Edward. No copyright infringement is intended.

Chapter Seventeen

BPOV

“So you just left,” Alice squeaked. “You left Alinea. The restaurant that has a year-long waitlist for reservations.”

“Yes, Alice,” I said. “Your ex boyfriend was being an ass. We ALL left.”

“Damn,” she said. “I don’t get why he’s so hell-bent on hating you, Bella.”

“I don’t either. But, I’m not going to fixate on it. If Jasper hates me, then fine. As long as his hatred doesn’t affect my relationship with Edward or his family, then I’m not going to worry about it,” I said strongly. “Based off the reaction of all of the Cullen’s, I don’t think it’ll be an issue. They were all pretty embarrassed with Jasper’s behavior. I’m also guessing he got a stern talking-to when he got home. He just received his doctorate in history but he’s really stupid.”

“He is,” Alice spat. “He let me go.”

“Yes, he did. What moron would want to lose a wonderful woman like you?” I asked, hugging her. As I hugged her, our cell phones rang. We were getting some coffee from Perkalator. I desperately needed since Edward, despite his promise of just one romp between the sheets, was quite amorous. We eventually fell asleep around three in the morning. I had to get up around eleven to get to work at noon. Bella needed lots and lots and LOTS of coffee. And a sex ban from Dr. Sexward Tattward. Unfortunately, no coffee for us. Checking the phone number, it was a text from the ER. “Crap. Apartment fire.”

“Ugh, I hate burn victims,” she grumbled.

“Me, too. The smell of burnt flesh and hair takes so long to get out of your nose and clothing,” I cringed. My phone dinged again and it was Edward. He was called in since it was a mass casualty situation. “Edward’s coming in early. It’s all hands on deck, Ali.”

“Shit,” she spat as we walked quickly back to the hospital, minus our cups of coffee. When we got back to the ER, it was already hopping with several ambulances bringing in smoke inhalation victims. They were divided up into the examination rooms with nebulizers and oxygen. The residents and interns took care of those victims while Eleazar, Felix and, ugh, Jacob, worked on the more serious patients.

Alice and I were called in with Felix, Dr. Denali, to work on a young teenage girl who was caught in her apartment. She had burns on her legs, arms and face. Nothing too severe, but enough to char the skin and perhaps garner some skin grafts. Unfortunately, it was her lungs and swelling in her airway that were causing our concern. She was not getting enough oxygen to her body and her pulse ox was dangerously low. To make matters worse, her airway was swollen. We couldn’t intubate her due to the swelling and Felix was talking of performing a tracheotomy.

“Dr. Denali,” Alice said as she read the girl’s lab report. “She’s pregnant.” Her eyes were wide and nervous.

“How far along, Alice?” he asked.

“Not far. Two months,” she replied. “Will this affect the baby?”

“The distress could cause her to miscarry,” Dr. Denali said. “We’ve got two lives to save now. Get OB down here to come down and do a consult.” Alice nodded and made the call. I was standing, pumping air into her lungs through her mask. “Bella, we may have to trach. Get the tray ready.”

“Yes, sir,” I said as I passed of the breathing to one of the nurse techs. I quickly prepped the neck and waited for Dr. Denali’s instructions. He looked at her monitors and she was clearly not getting enough oxygen.

“We need to trach her,” he sighed. “Are the meds on board?”

“Here,” I said as I handed him the syringes with the necessary medications to sedate the patient. Injecting the medications into her IV, she was rendered unconscious and paralyzed.

“Scalpel.” I handed him the scalpel and we worked quickly to open up her airway, placing the trach. Once it was in, we attached to a breathing machine. As soon as she was hooked up, her oxygen levels picked up immediately. “Good. Very good.”

Edward strode into the trauma room where I was working with Dr. Denali. He was wearing a pair of scrubs and his lab coat. “What do we have?”

“Fifteen year old girl. She was brought in, unresponsive and wheezing. Patient is approximately two months pregnant with smoke inhalation and burns on twenty percent of her body,” I began. “Upon further examination, her airway was blocked from swelling. Dr. Denali performed a tracheotomy and her oxygen level is rising.”

“Do you need me here?” Edward asked.

“Check with Dr. Sanchez and Dr. Black,” Dr. Denali said. “Bella and I have this, right?”

“Yes, Dr. Denali,” I smiled.

“You’ve got one of the best nurses with you, Felix,” Edward winked. “Do you know if any more victims are coming in?”

“We may have some of the firefighters, but the victims were brought in here and Lakeshore,” Dr. Denali explained. Edward nodded and left, walking to the second trauma room. I saw Jacob’s stance tense when Edward entered the room. To say that Jacob hated Edward was a vast understatement. His abhorrence of my boyfriend was made abundantly clear with his scowls, glares and underhanded comments. It didn’t faze Edward. He just documented each instance, adding it to an ever-growing file on Jacob’s performance in the ER.

Dr. Denali and I monitored the patient. We wanted to see if she or her baby inside of her were in distress. Thankfully, the trach helped tremendously with her oxygen levels. Now, we were focusing on her burns. One of the doctors from the burn unit came down and checked her injuries while we waited for an OB consult. However, since the girl’s injuries were no longer life-threatening, we moved her to one of the curtain areas to be monitored. As we worked on her, we got another call that one of the firemen had fallen through a ceiling, nearly thirty feet to the basement. Dr. Denali and I were going to work on that incoming case. We passed the teenage girl to a third-year resident. Alice was going to stay with her until she was admitted.

The gurney rolled in with the fireman and he had already been divested of his heavy clothing. He lay on the stretcher in his shirt and pants, that were cut open. His legs were broken horribly, bones protruding from his skin. In addition to the broken bones, a majority of his body was covered in second and third degree burns, specifically on his arms, legs and feet. “Bella, call ortho,” Dr. Denali said. “And get Dr. Cullen in here.”

“Yes, sir,” I said as I darted into the next trauma room. Edward was pounding on an older woman’s chest, trying in vain to get her heart beat back. “Dr. Cullen?”

“Time?!” Edward hissed. “How long without a pulse?”

“Twenty-seven minutes,” Ben replied, pumping the oxygen bag for the patient. His voice was weary and incredibly sad.  

“Son of a bitch,” Edward growled. “Time of death…thirteen-eighteen. Black, you get the honor of notifying the family of her death since it was your mistake that she’s dead in the first place.” He turned on his heel, looking at me. “Yes?”

“We need you next door,” I said quietly.

“Okay,” he sighed. With one last glare at Jacob, Edward walked to the trauma room. Dr. Denali and Edward worked quickly on the fireman, stabilizing his legs, intubating him and cleaning his burns. The orthopedic surgeon came down and he took the fireman up to surgery to fix his broken limbs, then passing him off to plastics to further clean his burns and wounds.

By eight in the evening, the storm had settled down and it was quiet in the ER, save for a few random homeless people that were brought in by the police and a few minor cases. The girl had been admitted to the burn unit and was being monitored. She had regained consciousness and was very confused when she couldn’t talk. Her family was the woman who had died under Jacob’s care and her baby brother. Her brother was brought to Lakeshore but he was suffering from smoke inhalation. He would be released in a few days after several nebulizer treatments. We were looking for more family for the girl and her brother. She had indicated on a whiteboard some other family members. The nurses up in the burn unit were making the calls.

I was getting ready to go and I wanted to say good night to Edward who was still on until midnight. As I walked to Edward’s office, I heard the distinct sound of my normally calm boyfriend screaming.

“Jacob, this is ludicrous! You saw on her wrist that she had a medic alert bracelet. Did you take the fucking TIME to even read it before administering the medications?” Edward yelled. “That woman, who died unnecessarily, had an allergy to the antibiotic that you administered. As soon as you injected the penicillin into her bloodstream, you signed her death certificate. Her injuries were not that serious but due to your negligence, she’s in the morgue.”

“Like you haven’t done it before!” Jacob snapped. “No one’s perfect, Edward.”

“I know that, Jacob, but I’ve never lost a patient because of an allergic reaction to a medication that was CLEARLY indicated on her bracelet,” came the snarling response of my boyfriend. “Until we can have your review of the case, you’re suspended. Prepare your defense, Jacob. Contact your union rep because you’re in deep. Go home and we’ll contact you.”

“Am I going to get paid?” Jacob hissed.

“What do you think, Jacob?” Edward said coldly. With a growl, Jacob threw the door open and he nearly sprinted out of the office. He ran right into me, causing me to fall on my ass. He glared at me icily, stomping down the hallway, not bothering to help me up.

Asshole!

“Bella!” Edward called as he jogged toward me. Carefully, he helped me to my feet. “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine,” I said as I watched as Jacob slammed out of the locker room. “I landed on my rear. Extra padding and all.”

“Isabella Marie Swan,” Edward said sternly. He was running his hands over me, checking for injuries.

“I’m perfectly fine. I’m actually going to go,” I said as I ruffled his already disheveled hair. He sighed and leaned against my hand. I could tell that he just rolled out of bed and into work. “Slacker, wearing scrubs and not showering.”

“What? I was woken up out of a dead sleep to come in for the fire,” he snickered. “The hospital should be grateful I didn’t show up nekkid! I was sans clothing in your bed, Miss Swan. I swiped a pair of spare scrubs and booked it out of there.”

“No one sees  your nekkid ass but me,” I said, waggling my finger at him.

“Damn right, woman,” he smirked, taking my finger between his lips and flicking it with his tongue. His green eyes darkened and his breathing increased. “God, I want you.”

“But you can’t have me,” I said, pulling my finger away. “I’m tired. I’m cranky. I’m sore.”

“Shit! I didn’t hurt you, did I?” he asked, his eyes wide with panic.

“No. My muscles in my legs and back. I’m also a little sore, down there, but not as much as the muscle pain,” I said.

“How about I give you a massage when I get home?” he asked, smiling sweetly.

“I’m going back to my place. I’m off tomorrow and I have to do laundry,” I sighed. “Then, I’m on for five days straight on overnights. Ugh!”

“I won’t be able to see you,” he frowned. “Can I come over tonight? I promise, we’ll just cuddle and I’ll let you sleep. I have to work tomorrow at nine so, I’ll be down for the count anyway.”

“Okay. Use your key,” I acquiesced. Looking around, I stood on my tiptoes, kissing his lips softly. “Love you.”

“Love you more,” he replied, pecking my lips one more time. “I’ll be at your place in a few hours, sweet girl. Oh, and Bella?”

“Yes?”

“Don’t put on any pajamas,” he smirked, waggling his brows. I glowered at him before turning on my heel to leave. I took the el back to the apartment. Once home, I showered and spent some time paying bills, transferring my older journals onto my computer and listening to some music online. My eyelids were drooping and I decided to get ready for bed. Following Edward’s request, I stripped off my clothes, sliding between the sheets.

An hour or so later, I heard my door click open. I was slightly aware of the movement in my room as Edward moved around, removing his own clothes and getting ready for bed. A few minutes after his arrival, Edward slipped into bed with me, wrapping his strong arms around my body. I could feel his warm chest pressed against my back. “I love you, my Bella,” he whispered, kissing my ear.

“My Edward,” I sighed, cuddling in his embrace. Safely ensconced in his arms, I fell into a deep sleep.

xx APFL xx

The next week dragged. I mean, dragged! Working overnights sucks. It sucks even more when you’re stuck working with people you don’t necessarily care for. Alice was working days and Angela was out of town for some family thing with her cousin who was graduating from college or something in the Pacific Northwest. I was paired up with Jessica, Lauren and another one of their cronies, a new nurse named Britney. Now, Lauren ignored me for the most part. Jessica and Britney were being bitchy and mean to me.

Couple that with working overnight when you should be sleeping and you’ve got a miserable situation.

Suffice it to say, I journaled a lot while I worked my stint of overnights.

I dragged my body home after my fifth consecutive overnight shift and I was half-asleep, wanting nothing more than to go to bed for an entire day. I prayed that they were not doing any work on James’ apartment because I fucking needed sleep.

As I walked toward my apartment, I noticed Jasper standing outside of my apartment building. He was smoking and pacing in front of the main entrance. What does he want?  I wanted to turn around and head to Edward’s home, to avoid the confrontation with Jasper. Much to my dismay, he saw me and stomped out his cigarette, jogging over to me.

“Hey Bella,” he said somberly.

“Hi,” I said curtly. “What do you want, Jasper?”

“Can we talk?” he asked, nervously twisting his hands.

“Jasper, I just got off an overnight shift. The fifth consecutive overnight shift in a row. I’m tired. Can’t we do it some other time?” I begged.

“Please? I won’t take long. I promise,” he said.

“Fine. But, one foul word to me and you will be kicked out of my apartment faster than a blink of an eye. I’m not in the mood for any of your shit,” I snapped. “Come on.” We rode up in the elevator. It was tense inside of the tiny box. Jasper followed me a few feet behind, shuffling in his flip flops. Unlocking my door, we walked inside and I dumped my bag in my room. “Do you want anything to drink?”

“I’m good,” he said quietly, sitting down on the couch. He looked incredibly disheveled. His blond hair in disarray and unwashed. His shorts were wrinkled and covered with several stains. He blew out a breath and looked at me, his green eyes filled with repentance. “I bet you’re wondering why I’m here?”

“Kind of,” I shrugged, sitting down opposite him. “Though, I wished you had decided to talk to me tomorrow. Or at least called first.”

“Sorry,” he chuckled. “It’s not like I had your phone number programmed in my cell phone. Plus, Edward and I aren’t really talking right now. None of my family is talking to me.”

“I wonder why?” I spat. “Jasper, I don’t know what I did to you to make you hate me so much.”

“You didn’t do anything, Bella. It’s all me,” he sighed remorsefully. “You are a sweet girl and you’ve made my brother so happy.”

“Then, why can’t you accept me for what I am? I know I’ll never be stick thin and based off our interactions, you have an issue with my weight,” I growled. “Or is your hatred of me stemming from something deeper?”

“I don’t hate you, Bella. I guess part of it is your weight. I used that as the impetus to torment you, but another part of it is me. I’m jealous, Bella,” he sighed. “I’m jealous of what you and Edward have…”

“Our relationship?” I asked, arching a brow. Oh, this is rich…

“Yeah. It’s like you two are two halves of a whole. I’ve never seen him like this. Even when he was with Tanya, he was never, EVER this attentive or caring. I mean, he’s compassionate since it’s in his nature. But, with you, his entire demeanor changes. He’d do anything for you, Bella,” he murmured. “I so desperately want it.”

“What about Alice? Didn’t you care about her?” I asked.

“I love her. I still do, but she said that it would be a cold day in hell if she ever takes me back,” he muttered. “I was too horrible to you for her to ever forgive me. It was one of the many relationships that I fucked up because of my jealousy of what you and Edward have.”

“Let me get this straight,” I said as I shot up, pacing in the living room. “You’re acting like a complete douchebag asshole because you’re jealous of the relationship that Edward and I have?”

“Yeah. It’s lame, stupid and…and…”

“And extremely childish,” I laughed hysterically.  I’m too tired to be dealing with this bullshit. Really, Jasper? Really?! “So, you begrudge your brother of his happiness, alienate yourself from your family and make me feel miserable because you’re jealous? I can’t believe you, Jasper. I mean, really?”

“I’m a fucktard,” he said miserably.

“To put it mildly,” I replied flatly.

“Bella, I want to try and make amends with you,” he said. “I want another chance.”

“Jasper, it’ll take time, if it happens at all,” I said coldly. “You’ve hurt me terribly and I don’t want to be hurt anymore. My dad is an asshole. I’ve had a shit life prior to this and your behavior is not something I want to contend with in the future.  I can be cordial toward you if you can’t see past what’s in front of you and be respectful to me; if you can’t get over your jealousy of my relationship with your brother. But, do not expect me to your best friend. What you did to me was incredibly hurtful and I don’t think I could ever trust you, Jasper.”

“I don’t expect that. I know I was an asshole, Bella,” he sighed. “I ruined my graduation dinner. I ruined my relationship with Alice. I ruined so many things because of my jealously of your relationship with Edward.”

“And that’s your problem, Jasper. You have to deal with the consequences of your actions,” I said, sitting down exhaustedly on the chair in our living room. We sat in silence as I processed what Jasper had said. He was nervously fidgeting with his t-shirt while I was thinking. With a heavy sigh, I turned to him. “I’m willing to give you another chance, Jasper. But, you have to treat me civilly and not knock me down with your words. Additionally, you have a lot of apologies to make to your family, specifically your brother. He may not have told me in so many words, but he is incredibly troubled about your behavior. He mumbles in his sleep and your name has been mentioned several times. Also, one harsh word and we’re done. Do not consider this as an acceptance of an apology. You’ve got a lot of groveling, ass-kissing and sniveling to do before I can even consider it.”

“Okay,” he said, giving me a smile. When he did that, I could see Edward’s smirk in his expression. “Thank you for giving me another chance, Bella. I promise I’ll treat you respectfully, what I should have done in the first place.”

“Damn right,” I snickered. “Now, as nice as our little ‘chat’ has been, I need to sleep.”

“Right,” he laughed. “I’ll see you later, Bella.”

“You too, Jasper,” I said as I led him out of the apartment. I was shocked when he hugged me briefly before he left. He must have noticed when I stiffened.

“Too soon?” He asked with a sheepish grin.

“Way too soon,” I said tersely. His grin fell and he knew that he had a LONG way to go to get in my good graces, if it was even possible. With his shoulders drooping, he turned to leave my apartment. I watched him walk down the hallway, mentally scratching my head about the whole interaction. Why did he have this sudden change of heart? Shaking my head, I decided to push this whole thing onto the back burner so I could get the sleep I so desired and desperately needed.

I went inside and stripped out of my scrubs. I made myself a bowl of cereal, fresh fruit and yogurt, nibbling on my ‘dinner’ before going to sleep. Washing my dishes, I padded back to my room and crawled into bed. I dug around in my nightstand, searching for my eye mask. It was already very sunny and my meager blinds would do nothing to block out the sun.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t fall asleep. My mind just kept racing about the conversation with Jasper. Additionally, they were working on James’ apartment. After tossing and turning for nearly two hours, I gave up and decided to go to Edward’s. He was on today but would be off the following day, along with me. I packed my bag and grabbed a load of laundry to do in his home. I hated going over there with a bag of dirty clothes, but I was running low on scrubs. Not wanting to deal with the el, I hopped into a cab. Ten minutes, I was inside of Edward’s house with a load of laundry in the washing machine. I wanted to wait until the clothes were done and switch them over before going to bed. I curled up on the couch to watch some television.

The next thing I knew, Edward was sitting with my head in his lap. He was idly running his fingers through my hair as he watched the television. “Edward,” I said sleepily. “What time is it?”

“A little before seven,” he answered, smiling at me softly. “I came home to find you curled up on the couch with Maury Povich blaring.”

“I was watching the news,” I snickered, stretching out the kinks. “Ugh, your couch is not as comfortable as your bed.”

“Why were you on the couch as opposed to the bed?” he asked, pulling me close to his body, kissing my forehead.

“I wanted to flip over the clothes from the washer to the dryer before going to sleep,” I yawned, cuddling against his chest. “That didn’t happen, obviously.”

“Well, you didn’t do it. I did,” he said as he leaned his cheek against my head. “Though, I was pleasantly surprised to see a sleeping angel on my couch.”

“I couldn’t get comfortable in my apartment,” I sighed. “Too many outside stimuli and a lot on my mind…”

“Such as?”

“I had a visitor,” I replied, looking at Edward. His brow furrowed and his eyes grew dark. “Your brother.”

“Did he say something? I’ll kick his reefer-smoking ass if he disrespects you in any way,” he said. His temper was rising and his face was getting flushed.

“Edward, relax,” I said. “He wanted to apologize.”

“Did he sound sincere?” Edward asked derisively. “Because, after his behavior at the restaurant and whatnot, he didn’t seem very sincere or genuine about being respectful to you. Asshole!”

“Did he sound sincere? Kind of,” I said, pulling my hair into a messy bun. “I think he’s more upset that you and the rest of your family are ignoring him. He thinks that apologizing to me will be the cure-all for all his problems.”

“Did you accept the apology?” Edward asked, narrowing his eyes behind his glasses.

“Begrudgingly,” I answered. Edward’s lips pursed and his pale face was growing red with anger. “I don’t want to be the cause for the rift in your family, Edward. There is one between you and your brother. Our relationship is the cause.”

“I don’t trust him, Bella,” Edward said quietly.

“I don’t trust him, either,” I said as I looked at my boyfriend. “But, if this apology will heal the relations between Jasper and your family, then I’m all for it. Despite their anger, I could see the sadness in your parents’ eyes stemming for his actions. You know?”

He sighed, scrubbing his face with his hand. He pressed his lips to my forehead and breathed deeply. “Did he say why he was acting like an asshole?”

“Jealousy,” I replied. “But, I told him that he needed to talk to you. Get the story from, Edward. Not me.”

“I still need time to process what he’s done and how he’s done it. I’m not ready to forgive him yet,” Edward said curtly. “I’m surprised you accepted his apology so quickly.”

“I was ambushed. Besides, I just wanted him out of my apartment because I wanted sleep. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen so I came here,” I snickered. I pulled back and looked at him. He was still pissed off. “Edward, please? Don’t be mad at me.”

“I’m not mad at you, sweet girl,” he said, softening his expression. “I just think that my brother is up to something. He’s always been manipulative. Dumber than a box of rocks, but manipulative. He’s probably apologizing because he needs  something.”

“Well, if that’s the case, then he’ll have to deal with his consequences,” I replied. “Have you eaten?”

“I picked up some vegetarian pizza on the way home. I ate a few slices and there’s some for you,” he answered. “I also got a salad, too.”

“I’m going to eat dinner,” I said as I got up, heading to the kitchen. Turning around, I smirked at him. “Afterward, I’m going to take shower and I’d love some company. Maybe you’ll get a blowjob out of the deal.” He perked up, looking at me with a wicked grin. “Such a guy, Edward. Promise of sexual favors and you think with the little head.”

“You did offer, Bella,” he said.

“Are you thinking about your brother?”

“No.”

“Then, I have accomplished my goal,” I said.

xx APFL xx

“Edward, I have to get up. Your mom and sister will be here in an hour,” I said as I tried, in vain, to get out of Edward’s vice-like grip around my body.

“NO! I want to spend our day off together,” he whined, burying his nose in my hair. “I haven’t seen you in forever, sweet girl.” It had been a week and half since Jasper’s apology to me and my time with my boyfriend was insanely lacking. I missed him. But, Esme had made an appointment at this local spa called Allyu and wanted to treat Rose and me. Edward had tentatively made plans with Emmett to go golfing but was obviously not wanting to go. Instead, he wanted to crush my bladder with his imitation of octopus.

“Dude, if you don’t let go, I’m going to pee in the bed,” I said as I tried to wriggled out of his arms.

“Don’t care,” he pouted. “I don’t want you to go.”

“Jesus, Edward. You’re awfully clingy today. What’s up?” I laughed, running my fingers through his thick hair.

“I just haven’t seen you very much,” he said. “We haven’t had a date since we made love for the first time and I’m missing you.”

“Are you horny?” I teased.

“Bella, I’m a guy. I’m in a perpetual state of horniness,” he quipped. “But, no. I want to have a date with you, baby. I know that my mom and sister are taking you out for some girly-pampering, but I want to be selfish and tell them to fuck off so I can spend time with you. Have some fun in the city, you know?”

“I know that our time together has been sorely lacking,” I frowned.

“Bella, this is the first time we’ve shared a bed in nearly a week and half,” he pouted. “I miss you. I want to love you. Make love to you…”

“No dice, Dr. Cullen. I’ve got a monthly visitor and the last thing I want is your manly bits touching my vajayjay,” I said, wrinkling my nose.

“Bella, it’s just a little blood,” he cooed, nuzzling my neck.

“No, Edward,” I said flatly. “I can give you a blow job if you are really wanting some action.”

“Not the same,” he said.

“Edward, I love you. Very, very, very much, but your mom went through a lot of hoops to get these appointments. I promise you that the next day we have off, we’ll do all of the couply things you want to do,” I said as I ruffled his hair. “Go golfing with Emmett. Perhaps, you could invite Ben, your dad or your brother.”

Edward’s nose wrinkled when I mentioned Jasper. They still hadn’t spoken since he came to visit me. “Maybe next time,” he said flatly. Reluctantly, he released me and fell onto his back. I slipped out of the bed and kissed his pouting lips.

“I’ll be back this afternoon, Edward,” I said.

“Okay. I’m going to call Emmett and see if he can pull together a tee-time,” he sighed. I kissed his forehead and went into the bathroom. I took a quick shower and put on a light summer dress along with a pair of ballet flats. I braided my hair and let hang over my shoulder. After I finished getting dressed, I went down to the kitchen, where Edward was still on the phone with Emmett. He was wearing a pair of khaki shorts and no shirt, displaying his delicious manness. I gently ran my fingers along his tattoo and earned a shudder from him. He shot me a look, capturing my hand in his and admonishing me with his eyes. I wriggled my fingers out of his grip and continued my assault on his tattoo. “I’ll call you back, Emmett.” He hung up the phone and spun me, pressing me against the fridge. “You are a cruel woman, Swan.”

“Why?” I asked sweetly.

“Touching me and getting me all riled up,” he growled lowly, swiveling his hips against me. His cock was hard and ready for action.

“I wanted to touch you,” I said coyly.

“You know how you touching my tattoo makes me turned on,” he purred, ghosting his lips over mine. “Especially with your soft, gentle hands.” His mouth descended fully onto mine and moaned as his tongue darted in and out of my mouth. Pulling back, he kissed my neck. “I may need a cold shower, sweet girl.” I giggled and sank to my knees, unbuttoning his shorts. “Bella, you don’t…”

“Hush and enjoy,” I chided as I lowered his shorts and boxer briefs. His stiff cock slapped against his belly as I lowered his clothes. Using my thumb, I spread the small amount of pre-cum that had leaked out. He groaned and leaned against the counter. Slowly, I licked the length of his arousal, tracing the vein on the underside of his straining dick. Looking up at him, his eyes were black with desire and they watched me like a hawk. With a wink, I swirled my tongue around the head of erection, earning another guttural moan. My right hand was wrapped around the base of his body and my left was toying with his balls.

“Bella, God! You look so amazing with your mouth around my cock,” he growled.

“Feel good, Dr. Tattward?” I asked as pressed soft, butterfly kisses along his length while my hand began pumping up and down.

“Fucking amazing, sweet girl,” he replied.

“What do you want me to do, Edward?” I smiled as I sucked on him like a lollipop. “Soft, slow and sweet. Or hard and rough.” He let out a choked groan. I wrapped my mouth around his dick and sucked on it hard, hollowing out my cheeks.

“Oh my, Bella!” he yelled. His hips were moving and it looked like he wanted to fuck my mouth. Looks like hard and rough.

 I released him and began pumping him in earnest. “Fuck my mouth, baby,” I said seductively.

“Bella, I don’t want hurt you or make you feel…”

“I’m telling you to do it, Cullen,” I said sternly. “Fuck.” Twist of the hand. “My.” Tug of his balls. “Mouth.” Suck his dick into my mouth. Edward’s hand’s shot to my hair and he began thrusting his hips. I steadied myself with one hand on his hip while the other was holding the base of his cock, twisting it to optimize what I couldn’t fit in my mouth, which honestly was a lot. My man was hung like a fucking horse.

I relaxed my throat muscles to allow him to move easily in and out of my mouth. I suppressed my overwhelming need to gag and bobbed my head in concert with his thrusts. I rolled his balls with my hands, my fingertips grazing the skin behind them. Edward grunted as he felt me. I looked up at him. He was flushed and obviously very turned on as his dick twitched inside my mouth. “Bella, so good…” he choked out. “I’m so close, baby.” I hummed and increased the frequency of my bobbing. “Oh, shit! Bel-la…I’m, fuck! I’m coming,” he hissed. I wrapped my lips around him as his release shot down my throat. I kept my mouth on his cock, swallowing all he had to offer. It wasn’t my favorite thing to do, but Edward liked it and I loved seeing him lose all control.

I released him with a pop and pulled up his boxers and shorts. He slumped against the counter, breathing heavily. I got up and giggled before I went to wash out my mouth with some water. I finished my gurgle and spit routine by the sink when Edward snuck behind me and nuzzled my hair. “You still got your blow job, Dr. Tattward.”

“Hmmm, and what a blow job it was,” he cooed against my neck. “I want to repay the favor.”

“You can. In three days,” I laughed. I felt him pout. Turning in his arms, I looked up at him. “You’re insatiable, Edward.”

“For you,” he said as he kissed my nose. “I don’t think I could ever get enough of you, my Bella.” He bent down and placed a soft kiss on my lips, caressing my mouth with his. His hands were moving along my body before settling on my ass, pulling my hips flush with his. Just as his tongue dipped inside my mouth, the doorbell rang. “God damn it!”

“Sorry, baby,” I said as I pecked his mouth. Dancing out of his embrace, I went to the door and opened it up. Rose and Esme were standing on the other side. “Come on in.”

“Hi, Bella,” Rose said as she hugged me. With a wink, she released me and Esme crushed me into a warm embrace. There was something about Esme’s hugs that reminded me of my own mom. I think it’s something in a mother’s genes that makes them feel warm and loving. I reveled in Esme’s embrace until she pulled back.

“You look lovely, Bella,” she said as she tucked a hair behind my ear. “Has Edward been treating you well?”

“Yes, Mom,” Edward groaned as he walked into the foyer.  He hugged both Esme and Rose, getting grief for not wearing a shirt. “My house, my rules. Plus, I could be naked…”

“Ugh! NO! I do not want to see Eddie Jr.!” Rose squealed. “Keep your trouser snake in your pants, Eddie.”

Edward and I shared a look, knowing full well that not ten minutes ago he was, for all intents and purposes, naked. “So, what’s on tap for today?” Edward asked.

“Massages, pedicures, facials and waxes,” Rose replied.

“Oh, goody,” I said dryly. “I love getting waxed.”

Edward grabbed me and kissed my ear. “You know, I love you getting waxed, too,” he murmured against my earlobe, nibbling it slightly. “For me, sweet girl?”

“Edward, quit acting like a caveman,” Esme admonished. “Bella can get whatever she wants for our afternoon. If she wants to get waxed, she can. If not, then deal with it. Besides, it’s my treat. I want to spoil my two daughters. It’s a mother’s prerogative to show her love to her children.” I stiffened and looked at Esme. Her eyes were twinkling and she was smiling at me. “Come on, Bella. Let’s get ready to go.”

“I’ll be right out,” I whispered. “I have to get my purse.”

Rose and Esme nodded, leaving the house. Tears were falling down my cheeks. “Hey, sweet girl, don’t cry,” Edward soothed, wiping my tears away.

“She called me her daughter,” I sniffled. “She said she loved me.”

“Oh, baby,” Edward said as he pulled me into a hug. “My mom adores you. She knows that eventually you will officially become one her children. She’s just waiting for me to get off my ass. You know I want to marry you, Bella.”

“I want to marry you, too, Edward but it’s so soon,” I mumbled against his chest.

“When the time is right, we’ll know, sweet girl,” he said, leaning his head against mine. He pulled back, taking my face in his hands. “You okay?” I nodded. He wiped more tears from my cheeks, kissing me softly. “I love you, Bella. Have fun today with my sister and mom. Emmett and I have a tee-time at one at a par-three course in Itasca. We don’t want to make fools out of ourselves. So we’re going to warm up there. I should be home by four or five.”

“Kay. I love you, too,” I said, brushing my lips against his. “Wear sunscreen.”

“Yes, dear,” he laughed. I rolled my eyes, picking up my purse and heading outside. In the driveway was a massive Range Rover. Esme was pointing to the passenger seat and I clambered into the seat. Rose was sitting in the back.

“Thank you for driving, Esme,” I said quietly, shooting her an appreciative smile. “I would have been fine meeting you there.”

“Nonsense,” she said with a wave of her hand. “More time to talk.”

“You mean gossip, right?” Rose snickered from the backseat. “You want the deets from Bella about her and Edward. I just know it.”

“Okay, that too,” Esme said with a wry grin. “Edward’s been pretty tight lipped about his relationship with you but I know that he’s over-the-moon happy and completely head over heels in love.” Esme looked at me with a look of happiness. However, the light dimmed in her eyes and a frown replaced the smile. “I also owe you an apology on behalf of my middle child. The way Jasper acted at dinner a few weeks back was embarrassing and I want you to know that we didn’t raise him to be like that, Bella.”

“Esme, I know that it’s not your fault,” I said.

“No, Bella. I’ve never been ashamed of any of my children but when Jasper acted that way, I was ready to crawl into a hole after I slapped some sense into him,” Esme said sternly. “The day after the dinner, we called Jasper over to our home and explained that if he didn’t clean up his act and start treating you respectfully, his trust would be closed to him. He wouldn’t get his monthly allowance.”

Wait, what? I knew his apology was too good to be true. He wants his fucking money.

“Bella, you’re flushed,” Rose noted. “And you look pissed off.”

“Oh, I’m pissed,” I said curtly. “A couple of weeks ago, Jasper bombarded me at my apartment. He begged for forgiveness. I thought he was sincere, but in light of this new information, he wasn’t. He wanted his damn money.”

Esme’s lips clamped together in a grim line. She reached for her cell phone and dialed a number. “Walter?” she barked. “You know what I mentioned to you earlier this month? Do it. Please inform Jasper of our decision and that if he wants to receive his trust, he needs to change his attitude and behavior. Thank you.” She hung up the phone and took my hand. “We’ll talk to Jasper.”

“I don’t him to get in trouble,” I said, feeling slightly ashamed at what I just admitted.

“Bella, he brought this on himself,” Esme said sternly. “His prejudicial behavior toward you and his cruel words sealed his fate.”

The rest of the drive was spent in an uncomfortable silence, save for the quiet music being pumped through the car. Esme pulled up to a fancy spa, Allyu, and used the valet to park the car. We walked inside and were greeted by some friendly staff. After checking in, we were ushered to a locker room and given fluffy robes and fuzzy slippers. I was quiet as I changed, putting my dress and flats into the locker. Esme left and Rose walked up to me. “You look upset, Bella.”

“I am,” I said quietly, sitting down on the bench.

“Why? My asshole brother was being a jerk and this is how he’s going to get his punishment. He’s cut off,” Rose shrugged as if it was nothing.

“Rose, he apologized. His reasoning behind it was unclear. He could have been sincere,” I said as I nervously fidgeted with my braid.

“Knowing Jasper, he wasn’t. When his gravy train was threatened to be taken away, he got scared and put on a good show, to make you believe that he was ready to accept you,” Rose said angrily. “Such an ass.”

“He’s going to blame me for the money,” I said as I hopped up, pacing around the room.

“He better not. His behavior toward you is the reasoning behind it, Bella,” Rose said as she hugged me. “You need to relax and enjoy the day with me and Mom. Put Jasper out of your mind. We’ll cross that bridge of his apology and the seriousness of that apology later. By the time you’re done here, you’ll be a bowl of mush.”

“Okay, I’ll join you in a few minutes. I need to go to the bathroom and calm myself,” I said as I squeezed her.

“Journal?” she asked.

I nodded. “I promise. I won’t take long, Rose.” She kissed my cheek and left me to quickly write my thoughts in my journal. I pulled out the third in the set from Edward, having filled up the other two. Turning to the next available page, I began scribbling my thoughts and fears of what had transpired in the car.

May 30th, 2013

Have you felt like you were stuck between a rock and a hard place? That’s where I’m at right now. Early last week, Jasper had come to my apartment, begging for forgiveness. I was unsure at the time if he was genuine and was hesitant to give it to him. However, he was persistent and I caved. Despite his behavior, I want him to be a ‘good guy’ since he is Edward’s brother. He’s also Rose’s brother and Carlisle and Esme’s son. It’s not like I’m NOT going to see him. He’s a part of the family of the man that I love. I figured I could be a bigger person and give him a second chance.

I think I was mistaken.

Fast forward to today. I’m sitting in a locker room of some fancy spa with calming music, incense and massage therapists. I’m anything but calm. I’m actually a hot mess. I’m upset and nervous because today, Esme said that if Jasper wouldn’t change his tune, he was going to be cut off from his trust fund. I put two and two together and I assume that is why he apologized to me. There was no sincerity. He just wanted his damn money.

I feel like a fool at bowing to his will so easily. I should have went with my gut and told him to fuck off when he was standing outside of my apartment.

Today, Esme called her banker or something, effectively cutting Jasper off after I told her about the apology and the timing of it. She assumed the same thing as me and she put her plan into action. She still cut him off.  What if Jasper seeks retribution, blaming me? What if comes and spews more hate about me? Will Edward finally realize the mess he’s gotten himself into? A girl who has singlehandedly broke up his family? ‘

I don’t know what to do.

My thoughts were broken by my cell phone beeping. I picked it up and saw a text from Edward. Heading onto the links. The phone will be off, sweet girl, but I wanted to say that I loved you very, very much. I’ll see you tonight after you get beautified with my mom and sister. Xoxoxo – Edward

I tapped out a response, saying that I loved him too. Silencing my phone, I put my journal into my purse and walked out to the reception area of the spa. Esme, Rose and I were getting massages first. I’d never had a professional massage before. Edward had rubbed my shoulders or massaged my feet but he’s not a professional masseuse.

An hour and half later, my limbs were the consistency of jelly and I felt amazing. My mind was still churning from the events in the car, but my body was incredibly relaxed. Plus, the masseuse used a special technique to aide with cramps and bloating. I loved her. I wanted to come to her whenever I had my little friend. My cramps were gone and I didn’t feel like a damn whale.

Next on the agenda were our facials, followed by waxing. I was hesitant to get my poon waxed since I had my period. The aesthetician said that it was paid for but I could come back once I felt comfortable. I made arrangements to come over the weekend.

The last treat was pedicures and manicure. I declined the manicure since I washed my hands so much at the hospital. The color wouldn’t stay on for more than a day, maybe two at most. Besides, my nails were short and manicures didn’t work on short nails, in my opinion.

As we sat in the chairs, getting our pedicures, Esme turned to me. “Are you okay, Bella? I feel that what I did to Jasper upset you and that was not my intention.”

“I’m fine. I’m fearful that Jasper will blame me for what happened to him,” I said quietly as I rolled the bottle of nail polish I had chosen in my hands. I picked red. Just for Edward. “Do you really think that he apologized to me as an ulterior motive?”

“I do,” Rose said as she flipped through a gossip magazine.

“Bella, I love my son,” Esme began. “However, he knows ways to manipulate the system to make it work for him. You know?” I bit my lip and continued to look at her. “He’s not as bright as Edward or Rose, so he learned quickly to use his other strengths to get ahead in life.”

“He did receive a doctorate in history,” I said.

“Yes, he did. However, it took him nearly six years to complete the program when it should have taken about three to four,” Esme explained. “Bella, do not feel any guilt for I did to Jasper. If he was smart enough, he would have saved part of his monthly allowance leading up to now. He’ll be starting to teach in the fall and he should have enough to last until he gets his paycheck or until he apologizes, seriously.”

“What we get as a monthly allowance from our trust is the equivalent of some people’s salaries,” Rose snorted. “We get roughly ten grand a month from our trusts. Edward and I invest our allowances. Jasper was the only one who spent it.”

I gulped and stared at Rose, shocked at her admission. Edward got an additional ten thousand dollars a month, in addition to his salary from the hospital? Damn.

“You look surprised, Bella,” Esme said as she reached over to me.

“I knew Edward was well-off, but not that well-off,” I squeaked.

“Edward doesn’t like to flaunt his money,” Rose said. “He’s the most reserved with his inheritance. Nearly all of it is invested in stocks and money markets. About half of mine is invested and the rest is in an account for when I start medical school.”

“Have you heard from the other schools, Rosalie?” Esme asked.

“Everyone except Chapel Hill,” she replied. “I’ve been accepted everywhere so I’m excited.” She smiled tentatively. “I can’t wait to finally start. I’m actually going to take a few classes over the summer to get back into the swing of things.”

“Where are you going?” I questioned. “I know you were up in the air with your decision.”

“I’ve decided to go to Johns Hopkins,” she answered, blushing slightly. “I was this close to going to Northwestern, but Johns Hopkins has an amazing psychiatric program and that’s what I want to focus on in medical school.”

“Have you told Emmett?” Esme asked.

“I have and he said that he’d support me in any decision that I make,” she said quietly. “I really like him and I know that he’d do anything for me, but I don’t want him to move his whole life because of me.”

“Rose, that boy loves you tremendously,” Esme said, looking at her daughter.

“We’re not even dating. I don’t know what we are,” Rose sighed. “I’m so afraid that I’m going to clam up when he tries to do anything besides hold my hand or hug me.”

“You take control, Rose,” I said. “If you want to be kissed, you kiss him. Not the other way around. I’m certain that Emmett will understand that you need to be in control of your physical relationship. Edward was amazing and let me call the shots about our relationship and even though we’ve crossed that bridge, he’s still letting me call the shots.”

“Any grandbabies anytime soon?” Esme asked, waggling her brows.

“Mom!” Rose snickered.

“No, Esme,” I stammered out. “I’m on birth control and I’d like to be married before I have children, if it’s even feasible.”

“Do you have girly issues?” Rose asked.

“No, not really. I’m on birth control to regulate my cycle. If I don’t, it’s pretty erratic,” I shrugged. “We’ve got a long way before we start thinking about kids.”

“Don’t keep us waiting too long,” Esme said with a knowing smirk. I blushed and hid behind my hand. We finished our manis/pedis and left the spa. Esme treated Rose and I to a late lunch before driving me back to Edward’s home. He wasn’t home and his cell phone was still off, indicating that he was on the golf course. I checked in his bedroom to see if I had scrubs for work tomorrow. Thankfully, I did and I decided to stay the night.

Even though I had eaten a late lunch, I decided to cook some dinner for Edward. It was something light: chicken stir fry and some vegetables. As I was working on completing the rice, I heard yelling outside of the kitchen door.

“Jasper, you need to stop! “ Edward yelled. “This is not Bella’s fault. You can’t keep blaming her for everything that goes with you!”

The door flew open and a very angry Jasper stomped inside, followed by a sun burnt Edward. “You! What did you say to my mother?” he growled.

“Jasper, you need to come the fuck down,” Edward hissed, pulling him away from me.

“I fucking apologized to you, Bella. You accepted it,” he snarled. “What did you say to make my mom cut me off, you bitch?!”

“I guess this answers my question,” I spat. “I doubted your sincerity in your apology. I figured I’d give you the benefit of the doubt and accept it. However, the motives behind your apology were strictly selfish. You didn’t mean it. You just wanted your money. Why else would you be pissed off at me? Jesus, Jasper! You are an asshole and you are a selfish prick who thinks only of himself.”

“That’s why you apologized to her?” Edward asked, his voice deadly calm. “Did you mean any of it, fucker?” Jasper didn’t respond. He just glared at me. With a growl, Edward reared back and punched Jasper’s face, causing him to stumble onto the kitchen table, smashing into a million pieces under his weight. “Get the fuck out of my house, you selfish douchebag.”

“This isn’t over,” Jasper grunted as he got up. He dusted off his clothes and left Edward’s home, slamming the door as he did.

Edward turned to face me and he was in obvious pain, both mental and physical. He was cradling his hand. “Come here, Edward,” I said, my voice leaving little to argue with.

“I’m fine, Bella,” he said as he walked toward me. “Jasper just has a hard head.” He held out his hand and his to knuckles attached to his ring and pinky fingers were getting swollen.

“Edward, this doesn’t look good,” I said, grabbing some ice and a towel. “It could be broken.”

“It’s not. I didn’t feel a crunch,” he said as I put the ice on his hand, earning a low hiss. “Damn.”

“Edward, you’re going to the ER and getting his x-rayed,” I said, my tone harsh and leaving little room for any discussion. I turned off the food and tossed it all into the fridge. “Keys?”

“Right pocket,” he said. I reached inside and grabbed his car keys. I swiped his ID, my ID and purse, shoving him out the door.  I drove us to the ER and was greeted by Angela.

“Hey, Bella. Hi, Edward,” she said. “You guys are off today.”

“We’re not here for work,” I said flatly. “Edward punched his brother’s face and I think he broke his knuckles.”

“It’s just a bruise,” he said, arching a brow at me. He took off the ice and grimaced. The swelling had doubled in size. “Or not. Shit.”

“Come on, Bruiser,” Angela snickered. She took Edward’s arm and a new chart. She walked us to one of the private examination rooms. She took his vitals and made note of them on the chart. I wanted to help but Edward wouldn’t let go of me. His left arm was wrapped around my waist. “Dr. Denali, Dr. Crowley and Dr. Newton are on. Which one do you want?”

“Felix,” Edward replied.

“Okay. We’ll be back in a bit,” she said as she left the room.

I wrapped my arms around Edward’s neck. He smelled of sunscreen, sweat and the outdoors. It wasn’t his usual scent but it still was appealing. His hair was covered by a Cubs hat and his polo shirt was the same color blue as the hat. “You didn’t have to punch him, Edward,” I whispered in his ear.

“Yes, I did. He’s a fucking idiot to think that his ruse wouldn’t have been found out,” Edward sighed, kissing my neck. “He’s an even bigger idiot by yelling at you in our home.”

“Knock, knock,” came Felix’s voice. Edward pulled his mouth away from my skin and looked up. His arm was still firmly planted around my waist. “Hi, Edward, Bella.”

“Hi, Dr. Denali,” I said politely. He shot me a look, arching his brow over his glasses. “Sorry, Felix. It’s a force of habit.”

“It’s okay,” he chuckled as he sat down, taking Edward’s hand. “Can you wiggle your fingers?”  Edward did but he grimaced. “Make a fist, if you can. Don’t push it if it hurts.” He was able to make a loose fist. “Okay, let’s get an x-ray. You may have chipped the bones in your knuckle or have fissures in the bone.”

“Do I need a cast?” Edward grumbled.

“Probably a brace,” Felix said. “And you can’t perform any procedures until the brace is off. But, we’ll get a better idea of what’s going on in there after the x-ray.” We walked to radiology and had several films taken of his hand. Felix gave Edward a mild pain-killer. It honestly made him a little looped since Edward didn’t usually take medications. He was very touchy-feely in his drug-induced stupor. It was cute. Kind of. When he goosed me as Felix walked in, I wanted to hide in the corner of embarrassment. “I take it that Edward’s reacting to the medications,” he laughed.

“Yeah,” I said as I laced my fingers with Edward’s. “Behave, Dr. Cullen.”

“Kay,” he slurred drunkenly. “You’re pretty, Bella. So pretty.” He smiled at me as Felix chuckled. The x-rays were put on the light box and he pondered the results.

“Well?” I asked. “Is it broken?”

“No and there are no fissures,” Felix said. “I’m still going to put him in a brace for two weeks because he may have some muscle damage.”

“Can he work?” I questioned.

“He can supervise but he can’t perform procedures until the brace is off,” Felix said as he grabbed a black brace from the storage closet in the room.

“I can always take off the brace,” Edward snickered. Felix rolled his eyes and put the brace on Edward’s hand.

“You’re off tomorrow, Edward,” Felix said sternly. “If you come in, I’ll be forced to send you home.”

“Technically, I’m your boss. You can’t send me home,” Edward said as he pointed to Felix.

“If you can’t do your job, I can,” he said as he patted Edward’s shoulder. “Your hand will hurt and you need to take some more of the medication I gave you. Do you think you treat patients right now?”

“Probably not,” he said, scratching his head. “Who’ll cover for me?”

“I’ll do it,” Felix said. “Go home, ice and take one of the pain killers before bed and another when you wake up. If you need another one, take it prior to bed but use over the counter medications after that, okay?”

Edward nodded. Felix handed me the medications and we left after we got the discharge instructions from him. I drove us back to Edward’s home and we headed inside. I reheated the dinner and we ate quietly. Edward was a bit sloppy since it was his right hand in the brace. Half of his meal ended up on the floor. As he ate, I began cleaning up the broken table in the kitchen.

“Bella, stop,” he said as he put down his plate.

“It’s not going to clean up itself,” I said as I put down the random leg I was holding. “You think the cleaning fairies are going to make this magically disappear?”

“I’ll clean it tomorrow,” he said as he tossed the leg onto the ground. “Come.” He took my hand and led me into the music room. He sat down and pulled me against his chest. I wrapped my arms around his neck and nuzzled against his shoulder. He idly rubbed his hand up and down my back. “I’m sorry about Jasper.”

“I’m sorry about your hand.”

“This will heal. My relationship with my brother? That’s on shaky ground,” he said as he tightened his hold around my waist.

“You’re not as loopy as before,” I said as I pulled back.

“I think my  body adjusted to the pain meds,” he said. “The food helped, too.” He brushed my hair away from my face. “Bella, I can see you thinking. I know that you think that Jasper is going to ruin our relationship.”

“Isn’t he? I mean, he’s your brother,” I said.

“And you’re my life,” Edward replied fervently. “Do not doubt my love for you because my brother is a moron.”

“I don’t. I know you love me, but I hate that it’s because of our relationship that there’s this rift between Jasper and your family,” I said quietly.

“He created the rift. But you need to know that there are three constants in this situation. Number one: my parents and my sister love you like you are a part of the family. Number two: I love you more than I could ever possibly express. I want everything with you, Bella. My brother’s small-mindedness will not deter me from getting that. And number three: I guarantee that before the new year, you will be my fiancée, if not my wife.”

“Is that a proposal?” I quipped.

“No. You’ll definitely know when I propose. I will not be half-looped on pain medication and in sweaty clothes I wore on a golf course. I will have the engagement ring of your dreams and I will be able to make love to my reason for existing,” he said as he pressed his lips to mine. “Now, I’m injured. Can Naughty Nurse Swan give her favorite patient a sponge bath?”

A/N: Bites lip…well? What did you think? I hope you liked it. This chapter was a bit tough to write. Not that it had touchy subject matter, but I just couldn’t get into a groove, ya know? Anyhow, picture teasers (from Allyu) are on my blog. Additionally, extra teasers are posted on my Facebook page: Tufano79’s Twilight Fanfiction Appreciation and on my twitter: tufano79.

Up next will be some clues as to who posted Charlie’s bail. I know I promised it in this chapter but it ran away from me. Also, we’ll get some resolution with the Jasper situation, possibly? Finally, out of our antagonists: Jasper, James, Jacob and Charlie, which one do you think can be redeemed and be the good guy? Leave your suggestions in my reviews. Hugs!

 

Chapter Text

This is different from the norm. In all of the stories that I’ve read or that I’ve seen, all of the characters are disgustingly perfect unless they are written with very clear flaws. This story is about love (um, duh! Look who’s writing it. I’m the queen of romance), and finding it in the least likely place with the least likely person.

Now, this story is based in a hospital. My medical training comes from…WebMD. I’m not a doctor, nor do I claim to be. I’m a music teacher who has a wild imagination and a penchant for all things Twilight (and with this story, added in a mix of ER! I loved Luca Kovac…) Which brings me to my disclaimer: None of this is mine. I’m not, nor ever will be, Stephenie Meyer. If was, I’d be rolling in the dough from her insane imagination that gave us Bella and Edward. No copyright infringement is intended.

Chapter Eighteen

EPOV

You know what they say about teachers and doctors? Teachers make the worst students and doctors make the worst patients? Well, it’s the damn truth. The week following my run-in with my brother’s jaw, I was a first-class jerk. I was in pain and bitchy because I couldn’t do my job. Bella, after a week, dragged me into my office and ripped me a new asshole for screaming at one of the new nurses that we’d hired. The poor girl was sobbing in the locker room because of my cranky, unprofessional behavior. I had shouted at her for not inserting an IV appropriately.

Shockingly, Bella put me in a timeout while she went to deal with the new nurse, Bree. She even went so far as giving me an assignment to center myself. Begrudgingly, I began typing on my computer, since writing was an issue with the damned black brace. It looked like a kindergartner wrote on prescription pad. I prided myself in having nice handwriting for a doctor. As of late, not so much.

When was this stupid black brace coming off?

Back to Bella’s assignment; she asked me to write down ways I cannot bite someone’s head off if I’m frustrated. I stared at the computer screen blankly, trying to come up with strategies to avoid a repeat of the situation with Bree.

Anger Management 101 – strategies by Edward Cullen, M.D., as assigned by his brilliant girlfriend, Isabella Swan, R.N.

When at work or in life, people tend to get frustrated, pissed off, upset, etc…It’s how you handle these moments that you need to pay attention and not ruffle the feathers of your co-workers, friends and significant others (girlfriend/fiancée-types). Here are some tips and tricks to address said issues.

Step One: Walk away when you’re getting upset. When you’re flustered, your emotions run higher and you will be quicker to fly off the handle than if you were calm, cool collected. If this is not an option, continue on to step two.

Step Two: Sometimes you’re in a situation where you can’t walk away (emergency situations where a patient is coding or bleeding out…if a doc leaves during this, it’s a malpractice suit just waiting to happen). Take a few calming breaths and work through the procedure/situation. Once the patient has stabilized (or the situation), take your timeout. Only after you’ve collected your thoughts that you speak to the other person involved.

Step Three: Get a blowjob from your girl. (Just kidding! I love you, Bella! Xoxox!)

Step Four: Go down on your girl…(Do you see where this is going? I need you, sweet girl. Bury my lips between your thighs and get drunk on your succulent nectar.) UGH! I need to stop this! Anger management…

Step Five: I’m serious, I swear. If feasible, get another person to mediate between you and the person you’re upset with: someone NOT actively involved in the situation at hand. You need to have that outside perspective to work through the issues and grow as a person.

Step Six: If the above strategies don’t work, drink heavily and make love to your girl. Being encased in her warmth is a balm to the soul. The endorphins released from coming make everything feel better, not to mention the physical pleasure of seeing your girl come. Who’s with me?

Now, I know why you journal, sweet girl. It’s a very productive way to release my word vomit. Plus, it’s showing me how fucking horny I am. (Please?! I need you, my girl!) I also do feel better. Bree will be getting an apology from my cranky ass before she leaves.

I was saving and printing my journal entry as Bella walked in the door. Her eyes were dark with anger and based off her posture, still very much pissed at me. I stuck out my lower lip. “I love you, Bella.”

“Not going to fly, Cullen,” she said hotly. “Sit.” Holding my anger management paper, I slumped on my couch. I was slightly afraid of Bella. She was pacing in my office. “I got Bree calmed down. Your rude behavior was the straw that broke the camels back for her.”

“What happened?”

“Lauren, Jessica, and Britney have taken it upon themselves to tease and taunt Bree like they teased me,” Bella snarled. “Then, couple that with your jerk-like behavior, she’s at her breaking point. Bree struggled with placing IV’s and asked for assistance from you.”

“I told her that I couldn’t due to my gimpiness,” I said sullenly.

“Edward, I heard what you said. I was in the next curtain area,” Bella said angrily. “You said, and I quote, ‘If you can’t do put in an IV, what are you doing in my ER?’” I hung my head in shame. I was an ass. I hated myself for making that girl cry because I was in pain. “It was a miracle that she was able to place the IV after you embarrassed and berated her, Edward. You’re one of the good guys! What the fuck?!”

“I’m sorry,” I murmured.

“Don’t apologize to me. You have a twenty-three year old nurse who is petrified of you that you need to apologize to,” Bella said sternly. With a sigh, she sat down next to me. “I know that you’re in pain, baby. It’s frustrating when you know you can do something but due to an injury, you can’t. However, you cannot take it out on other people.”

“I know,” I mumbled. “I’m an ass.”

“Not normally, Edward,” she said as she twined her fingers with my good hand. “Anyhow, Felix said that he’d check out your hand later today and Bree is off in about an hour. You have that long before you must apologize to her. And don’t make her cry, Cullen. She’s completely overwhelmed. This is first job out of college and she’s nervous. When one of the bosses question your abilities, you would cry, too.” She picked up my journal and folded it, putting it into her pocket. “I’ll read this later. When I’m at home.”

“Awwww, Bella,” I whined. “You said you would come over.”

“Angela is sick and she needs me,” she said, ruffling my hair. I pouted, crossing my arms over my chest. “Oh, Edward. I know I said that I was going to spend the night but Ang sent me a text begging me to come home since she was feeling so crummy. I’ll spend the night when we have our date this weekend. Where are we going?”

“You’ll find out when we go out,” I answered cryptically. “Can I, at least, get a kiss before you leave?”

“Yes, baby,” she snickered, leaning down to kiss my lips softly. “I love you, Edward. Very much and despite your curmudgeony ways the past week or so. Apologize to Bree.”

“Yes, sweet girl,” I breathed against her mouth, sweeping my tongue inside of her lips. She moaned before she pulled away. “Hey…?”

“I’m off, Edward,” she laughed. “I’ll call you later, okay?”

“Fine,” I grumbled.

“Oh, don’t pout, baby,” she giggled.

“I’m frustrated, horny and well, horny!” I hissed. “I can’t exactly rub one out since I’m broken.”I waggled my fingers in my brace. Fucking Jasper…  Bella snickered as she walked to the door. “Bella!” God, can I be more of a whiny-assed baby?

“I’m going, Edward. I’m sorry about your problem but I’ve got a sick roommate. You’re ambidextrous. Use the other hand,” she winked before ducking out of my office. I scowled at the closed door but hadn’t really considered what Bella suggested. Perhaps I’d try it tonight.

xx APFL xx

I apologized to Bree and explained to her my frustrations with my brace. She was still extremely fearful of me and the possibility of losing her job. It took me nearly an hour to convince her that I was just in pain and pissed off that I couldn’t do shit with the damned brace on my hand. She was not going to lose her job.

However, one good thing happened from that whole debacle. Felix removed my brace and said that I was fit to go back to work fully. I damn near kissed the man when he dubbed me ‘healed.’ I celebrated when I got home with masturbating in the shower, day dreaming about Bella.

After eating a brief dinner of a bowl of cereal and a beer. It’s gross. I know. I need to go grocery shopping. At least the milk wasn’t sour… I decided to call my girl. I wanted to check on her and see how Angela was doing. I dialed her number and waited for her to pick up. When she did, I heard wailing in the background. “Hello?” she asked.

“Hey, sweet girl,” I said. “Is everything okay?”

“Angela cannot keep anything down and she’s sobbing uncontrollably,” Bella said. “Or she’s puking. Poor thing is miserable.”

“Does she want some Reglan? I can come over and give her a shot,” I said. I so desperately wanted to be with my girl.

“Hold on,” she said. I heard the muffled voice of Bella and an enthusiastic ‘YES!’ from Angela. “Would you mind coming over?”

“Not a problem. I’ll swing by the hospital, pick up the meds and an IV bag since Angela maybe dehydrated, too,” I said as I hopped up. “I’ll be there in a half hour or so.”

“Thanks,” Bella breathed. “Love you, Edward.”

“Love you more, sweet girl,” I murmured. I pulled on a pair of shorts, Cubs t-shirt (don’t be hatin’) and a pair of sneakers. I finished my dashing ensemble with my glasses and drove to the hospital. I quickly logged in, ordered some Reglan and an IV bag for Angela. Alice was working and handed it off to me. I thanked her and walked toward the exit. However, the locker room door was open. Jacob was hissing on his phone.

I was not pleased when the board of directors allowed Jacob to come back to work. They believed that we could rehabilitate him. I, personally, think that he’s a lost cause because he acts like he’s God. Most surgeons do. I decided to be a nosy bastard and listen in on his conversation.

“Shit! Man, I’ve got no more money! My new job is fucking screwing me over…my asshole boss has this pole stuck far up his ass and he’s ready to ding me for every fucking thing…Talk to Sam. He can help you out, if you know what I mean. Self medicate and all that jazz…No, I can’t bring you meds. I’m still on lockdown with my asshole boss and his cronies. I can’t prescribe anything…Talk. To. Sam. He can help you out in the mean time. I’ll be over after my shift to look at your…Fine. See you in a few.” Jacob hung up his phone and slipped out the other door of the locker room.

I followed him at a distance, grabbing Alice along the way. “Edward! What are you…?”

I covered her mouth with my hand. “I’m following Black. Something’s up and I want a witness,” I said. Nodding in his general direction, we followed Jacob to the drug locker. Alice watched as we saw Jacob swipe several vials of pain killers, replacing them with similar bottles. He also took several Demerol patches, rearranging the remaining ones to look like they were not touched. I furrowed my brow. This was locked up. Black didn’t have  a key. Who gave him one?

Jacob walked out of the drug locker and down the opposite direction from where we were standing. “Holy shit!” Alice squeaked. “What’s going to happen?”

“I don’t know. Alice, I need you to type up what you saw and send it to Eleazar and Marcus. I’m going to do the same. Black is stealing controlled substances without our consent with the intent to use them, possibly sell them,” I said. “That’s a felony and he can lose his medical license.”

“I’ll blind copy you on my report,” she said.

“Thanks,” I replied grimly. With a sigh, I sent a quick text to Bella saying I’d be longer than a half hour and began typing my report. I wrote down everything that I heard leading up to what Alice and I saw in the locker. I proofread it and was satisfied that I got my point across about Jacob. When I went to send it to Eleazar and Marcus, I noticed Alice’s copy was already in my inbox. I logged off my computer, grabbing my meds for Angela and drove to their apartment.

Using my key, I let myself in to the building but knocked on the door. Bella opened it up and I could Angela retching in the bathroom. “Oh my,” I said.

“She thinks she ate some bad sushi,” Bella replied.

“I’d be puking too if I ate raw fish. That shit is nasty,” I snickered walking toward the barfing sounds in Angela’s bathroom. She was huddled around the toilet, clinging to it for dear life. “Hey Ang.”

“Ugh,” she grumbled.

“I know, sweetie,” I said as I sat down next to her. “Do you have a fever?”

“Low grade,” she croaked out. “I think it’s because of all of the puking I’m doing.”

“Do you think I can examine you?” I asked as brushed her sweaty hair from her neck.

“I apologize if I blow chunks on you. Though it’ll be due to your choice in attire. The Cubs? Cullen, really?” she quipped as she closed the toilet seat to sit on it.

“You’re not that sick. You’re giving me shit about the Loveable Losers,” I joked. “Bella, can you take her temp?”

“Sure,” Bella replied, putting the thermometer into her ear. I felt around her neck to see if her lymph nodes were swollen. “99.2.”

“Thanks, sweet girl,” I smiled. “Could you do me a favor and set up the IV in the bedroom, administering the Reglan inside?” She nodded and left the bathroom, closing the door to give Angela and me some privacy. “Are you sure this is food poisoning?”

Angela bit her lip and despite her pallor, blushed slightly.

“Ang, I can’t treat you if I don’t know,” I said, arching a brow. “Could you be pregnant?”

“I just found out,” she whispered. “Ben and I were always careful but one night he didn’t have any condoms and I thought I was in my safe zone for my cycle. Apparently not…Will the Reglan hurt the baby?”

“No. It’ll be fine but taken in moderation. Has your ‘morning sickness’ been this violent the entire time?” I asked.

“Pretty much,” she groaned, leaning forward. “However, this is the longest it’s gone for. I’ve been off for two days and have been puking for two days.” She covered her mouth and scrambled to heave the meager contents into the toilet. I gently rubbed her back as I held her hair away from her face. “This sucks! I don’t have a baby in my belly. I have the spawn of Satan.”

“I bet Ben would love to hear that,” I snickered.

“He doesn’t know. Not yet,” she muttered. “Neither does Bella. I don’t know what to do. Edward, help me!”

“First off, you need to tell Ben. He’s the father and he has a right to know,” I said quietly, sitting back on my butt. “Secondly, you need to make an appointment with OB. They can pinpoint when conception happened and give you better advice for the morning sickness than I can. I’m an ER doc, not an obstetrician.”

“Can the prescribe something for the vomiting? I can’t walk around with a Reglan IV,” she frowned.

“Probably Zofran but they may try the over the counter route first,” I shrugged.

“What about Bella?” she asked.

“What about her?”

“Once I tell Ben, I know he’s going to want me to move in with him. I don’t want to leave her in a lurch,” Angela frowned.

“When’s your lease up?”

“End of July,” she replied. “I’ll let Bella know as soon as I tell Ben.”

“Hopefully, I can convince her to move in with me,” I said, smiling widely. Angela rolled her eyes, then promptly puked. After Angela brushed her teeth, I helped her to bed where Bella had set up the IV. Expertly, Bella inserted it and set it up on the headboard of the bed. I placed a garbage can next to the mattress since she was tethered to the bed. She scowled at me. “The Reglan will make you sleepy.”

“I know, I know,” she grumbled. “Only one bag?”

“After this, I want you try and sip some warm broth and saltine crackers,” I said.

“I’ll make you some, Ang,” Bella said as she kissed her roommate’s forehead. “You just rest, okay?” Angela nodded and her eyelids began to droop. Once her breathing evened out, Bella and I walked to the kitchen and she began working on making her broth. Based on the volume of how loud she was banging the pots and pans, she knew something was up. However, she didn’t vocalize it.

Angela finished the IV and was able to keep her broth and crackers down. She was exhausted, crashing promptly after she ate. Bella washed the dishes and put them into the dishwasher. Her face, though, was incredibly sad. I wrapped my arms around her waist, nuzzling my nose into her hair. “Talk to me, sweet girl.”

“Nothing. Just thinking about a million different scenarios,” she shrugged. “I’m worried about Ang.”

“Me, too, Bella. She’s going to be fine,” I said. She’s growing a human in her stomach. Even though I’m a doctor, I’m still amazed at the miracle of life.

“It’s not food poisoning,” Bella said matter-of-factly. “There’s more but she’s not telling me.”

“If there is more, she’ll tell you in her own way, Bella,” I said. “Now, did you read my journal?” Must. Break. Ice. If she asked me if Angela was pregnant , I could not deny her. I’d have to tell her.

“I did and you are a perv,” she snorted, smacking my leg. “I’m sorry that our schedules haven’t aligned and that your poor wang was neglected due to your injury. If it’s any consolation, I’ve been on the same ‘ban’ as you.”

“You didn’t play with any of your toys?” I purred, nipping at her ear.

“No. Honestly, they scare the living crap out of me,” she blushed. “They’re so loud and well, what if Angela hears me?”

“She’s down for the count. I can show you how much those toys can help you,” I snickered, pulling Bella away from the kitchen and toward her bedroom. Let’s just say that the toys were not as loud as my girl…

xx APFL xx

The rest of the week flew by. Angela spoke with Ben and he was over the moon about their happy news. However, Bella was quite upset by it since Angela and Ben explained to her that same evening that they were moving in together. Bella showed up on my doorstep in tears. I didn’t say much. I just let her cry as I held her. Little did she know that on our date, I was going to formally ask her to move in along with another surprise.

The day before our date, I had just gotten off my shift and drove to visit my parents. The last time I saw them was at Jasper’s failed graduation dinner. When I walked into the house, I could hear sobbing and a quiet shushing sound. My dad was pacing in the living room on the phone. “Never mind. My son is here and he can help out more than you can,” he snapped. “Fucking good for nothing psychiatrist! Hi, Edward.”

“What’s wrong?” I asked, furrowing my brow.

“We got the paperwork from the courthouse for Royce’s trial,” he said. “It’s tentatively set up for the first week in July. Additionally, Jenks informed us that Royce is on house arrest until the trial because he was threatened in jail. He ‘feared’ for his life and some liberal judge granted him release. He can’t leave his home at all. But it’s freaking out Rose. As soon as she got the phone call, she ran to the bathroom and threw up everything she’s eaten and refuses to eat anything else.”

“Shit,” I growled. “I’ll go talk to her.”

“Good because she needs to calm down. Her heart rate is racing and I’m worried,” Carlisle said, his brow creased with worry.

I nodded and walked up the stairs to my sister’s room. She was curled up in a ball by the window with my mom sitting near her but not touching her. “Rosie?”

“Eddie,” she sobbed as she sprang up, running into my arms. I caught her and fell to the ground, holding my baby sister tightly. “He’s going to get off. I just know it! What am I going to do?”

“It’s okay, Rosie. Eddie’s got you,” I crooned, gently swaying my sister in my arms. My mom left, ruffling my hair as she passed. Rose was sobbing uncontrollably. I just let her cry against me. After an hour or so, she calmed down enough and I was able to speak. “What happened?”

“We got the trial date,” Rose sniffled.

“That’s a good thing, Rosie,” I said as I brushed her matted hair away from her face. “The faster the trial date, the quicker you can move on with your life.”

“They also released him to his home, Eddie,” she said, in a strangled voice. “He was ‘threatened’ and some asshole judge granted him house arrest. He’s going to get out and get me. I just know it!”

“Rose, he won’t get you. I promise you that he’ll have to get through me, Dad, Mom, Emmett, Bella and possibly Assper to get to you,” I said as I tightened my hold on her. “I know you’re terrified, but you can’t let him control you. You’re stronger than this. You’re stronger than any of us put together.”

“I’m so scared, Eddie. What if this happens again while I’m at school? I won’t have anyone there with me,” she mumbled dejectedly.

“Johns Hopkins is an amazing school but so are any of the local med schools,” I countered. “You got into Northwestern and University of Chicago. You can always attend there.”

“But, I want to move out,” she whined. “If I go to school here, I’ll be stuck here with the parentals.”

“I may have something that would benefit us both. Let me talk to Bella and we’ll see where the chips fall,” I said as I picked my sister up. She squeaked, smacking at my chest. I dumped her unceremoniously onto the bed.

“Ass,” she giggled, then wiping her snotty nose. “What do you mean? Edward, come on! Tell me! Give me the goods! I need something positive right now. Please?”

“Fine,” I chuckled, sitting down across from her. “I’m here for a couple of reasons. The first is to pick up Grandma Masen’s wedding band to give to Bella.”

“Are you freaking proposing?” she squealed.

“No. Not yet. I want to give Bella that ring as a promise that I will propose to her,” I said.

“YAY! I get a new sister!” Rose yelled, pinning me to the bed, causing us to fall onto the ground. My head crashed against the carpet as we tumbled onto the floor.

“Get off me, you brat!” I snorted as I rolled out from underneath her. I massaged my neck, scowling at my baby sister. “Be kind to your decrepit older brother.”

“Sorry,” she smirked, giving me her version of a crooked grin.

“Yeah, whatever, Squirt,” I chuckled. “I’m your personal punching bag.”

She rolled her eyes. “So, what was the second thing you came here for?” Rose asked, leaning against her mattress.

“To meet with mom to work with Bella on redecorating my house. However, I was thinking that if you are going to attend school here in Chicago, you could purchase my brownstone and Bella and I could get something together,” I shrugged. Rose let out another girlish squeal. “She has to say yes first!”

“She will! I just know it!” Rose said as she clapped her hands. “Oh, I just know what wonderful things I can do with your place, Edward. I’m totally going to gut the closet to make it a walk-in.” She hopped up and ran to her computer, typing furiously.

“I’m so glad that I made you feel better,” I deadpanned.

She stopped typing and turned in her seat. “Edward, you know I love you. I wouldn’t have gotten through this without you.”

“Don’t forget Mom and Dad,” I said.

“They were great but it was you coming home that kicked my ass in gear,” she said. “Plus the friendship I have with Bella, Alice, Angela and Alice’s sister, Cynthia has definitely made me stronger.”

“Don’t forget about Emmett,” I smirked. She blushed. “Have you two gone out on a date officially yet? Have you kissed?”

“Date? Yes. Kissed? Not yet, but I think soon,” she said, smiling wistfully. “Emmett is such a saint.”

“He is. He’s a great guy, Rosie. You deserve someone like him,” I said as I stood up. I kissed her head and ruffled her hair. She smacked at my hands. “I’m going to check on Mom and Dad. Talk to them. Don’t rely on your big brother to pull you out of your funk.”

“I know,” she sighed. “I love you, Eddie.”

“Love you, too, Rosie,” I said as I kissed her cheek, blowing a raspberry into her skin. She squealed. I jogged away, dodging pencils that were being thrown in my general direction. My sister threw like a girl. I closed the door and headed to my mom’s studio which was on the same level as my sister’s room. “Mom?”

“Is Rosalie better?” she asked. Her voice sounded so broken.

“She is, Mom,” I said as I sat down on the edge of her desk. A few stray tears fell down my mom’s cheeks. “Don’t cry, Mom.”

“I feel so helpless, Edward. The only person she responds to when she’s like this is you,” she sighed. “My baby girl is broken and I can’t fix her.”

“She doesn’t need you to fix her, Mom. She needs you to understand. I understand and that’s why she responds to me,” I sighed, running my hand through my hair. “Rose is very fragile but she’s not completely broken. I treat her as normally as I can. Take off the kid gloves, Mom.”

“She’s just my baby and it hurts me to see her in pain,” she said. “Out of my three children, you’re the most normal.”

“No, I’m not,” I snorted. “I just hide my fucked-uppedness really, really well. I mean, my ex-wife was a closeted lesbian for how long?”

“Oh, Edward,” she breathed. “Now, I know that you didn’t come here to fix Rose. You have that determined ‘I’m-coming-to-Momma-to-get-what-I-want’ look.”

“You’re so smart, Momma,” I quipped.

“You so take after me, my oldest child,” she smirked. “What do you want?”

“Grandma Masen’s wedding band,” I said.

“You’re surely not proposing to Bella with that?” Esme said flatly.

“Heavens no! I’m going to give her a rock that will cause a blind man to cover his eyes,” I replied. “I want the ring to give to her as a promise that I will propose to her.” Esme squealed, bouncing in her seat. I covered my ears. “Jesus! What is it with all of the women in this house squealing? Have pity on my poor ears!”

“I’m so happy for you, Edward,” she said as she hugged me. “You two should have a summer wedding!”

“It’s a promise ring, Ma! We’re not getting engaged yet,” I said. “Can you get it for me?”

“Right,” she said as she stood up, walking to a large painting in the room. She swung it open and nestled behind it was the safe with all of the family ‘jewels’: Grandma Masen’s wedding band, Grandma Cullen’s engagement ring (which is uglier than sin. Who uses a fire opal for an engagement ring?), various necklaces and earrings and lastly, my mom’s great-grandmother’s wedding ring that has a massively huge diamond. She grabbed a velvet bag. With a soft smile, she clutched it to her chest. “Here you go, Edward.”

“Thanks, Mom,” I said as I shook it out of the bag. Laying on my palm was a platinum ring that was surrounded by three rows of pave diamonds. It sparkled brilliantly and I could just see it on her finger. “I’m going to get this cleaned and such.”

“When are you going to give it to her?” she asked.

“Tomorrow while we’re on our date,” I said. “I’m also going to ask her to move in with me. Her roommate is pregnant and when the lease is up, she’s moving in with her boyfriend.” My mom smiled, obviously very pleased with this development. “I’ll see you later, okay?”

“Okay,” she said. “I love you, Edward.”

“Love you, too,” I said as I kissed her cheek. I left the studio and headed down to the main level so I could drive to our jewelers to get the ring cleaned, buffed and polished. However, my dad stopped me before I could leave.

“Edward? A word?” he asked.

“Yeah?”

“I just got an email from Marcus and Eleazar regarding our favorite trauma surgeon,” he said, his nose wrinkled in distaste. “There’s been a formal investigation opened on him stealing drugs from the locker.”

“Good,” I said coldly. “Did you know how much he took?”

“There six vials of saline solution masked as morphine and Percocet plus ten demoral patches taken from the drug locker that were not prescribed,” Carlisle said. “You and Alice are going to be meeting with Marcus and Eleazar first thing Monday morning. As far as I’m concerned, Dr. Black is no longer a member of our staff at Cook County. I do not trust him.”

“Me neither,” I said. “However, he got the locker key from someone. He was denied access, Dad.”

“We’ll have to get him to point out his accomplice,” Carlisle said, pursing his lips. “How is the question? Who would be stupid enough to give him a drug locker key when he was not given the privilege to prescribed controlled substances?”

“And you ponder that while I go run some errands,” I said as I hopped up.

“Edward, you brought this accusation against Jacob,” Carlisle said sternly.

“I know, Dad. But, I don’t have time to talk about it NOW. I’m not working. Neither are you,” I said, pinching my nose between my fingers. “I’ve got a big date to plan and a girl that I want to spend my life with.”

“You’re proposing?” he asked, giving me a crooked grin.

“Not yet, but soon, Dad. I am ‘promising’ her that I will propose with a promise ring. I have to get it cleaned before our date on the Odyssey tomorrow,” I explained.

“Okay,” he chuckled. “I’m glad that you and Bella have found each other. She’s an amazing nurse and such a beautiful girl.”

“She is, Dad. But back off. That’s my girlfriend you’re drooling over,” I quipped. He held up his hands defensively, laughing loudly. “Are you going to be at the meeting?”

“I will be,” he said. “Good luck tomorrow and let us know what she says.”

“Will do, Dad,” I replied as I darted out of the house before I got stopped by another person. It would be just my luck that Julio, the gardener, would stop me ask me if I wanted purple or red begonias for my mother’s garden. I drove to the jewelers and got the ring cleaned. It looked like a million bucks as it sparkled in the box that they gave me for the ring. Afterward, I went back to my place to change my sheets since we were going to spend the night at my place after our date.

I went to bed early and dreamt of my girl. The dreams that assaulted my subconscious were of our wedding day. Bella walking to me in a white dress. Bella in my arms as we swayed to the music at our reception. Bella wiping frosting on my nose from our wedding cake. Bella and I making love on our wedding night, creating our life. Our son or daughter being born.

When I woke up, I had tears streaming down my cheeks. I wanted that dream so badly. I wanted my girl permanently. Tonight was the first step in making that dream a reality.

xx APFL xx

“Okay, Cullen. You can do this,” I said as I sat outside of Bella’s apartment in my Aston Martin. “You’re going on a romantic dinner cruise with your dream girl about to ask her if she wants to move in with me and promising the rest of my life with her. Then, possibly, make love until your dick falls off.” With a deep breath, I walked up to Bella’s apartment. Angela opened the door, looking much more like a human and not like a zombie.

“Hey, Dr. Tattward,” she quipped.

“Pregosaurus Rex,” I teased. “How’s your bean?”

“Cooking,” she snorted. “I had my first OB appointment and I’m about eight weeks along. Plus, my doctor gave me a prescription for Zofran and I’m not puking anymore. Score!”

“Congratulations,” I said as I hugged her. “You seen my girl?”

“She’s stressing about her outfit. She thinks it’s too tight but I think she looks amazing. She’s down nearly twenty-five pounds and if I was a lesbian, I’d do her.”

“I heard that, Angela!” Bella yelled from her room.

“Ben tells me that I have a magic tongue, Bella! Perhaps I could have some fun with you if Dr. Tattward is feeling generous,” Angela said. My brows shot to my hairline. Angela rolled her eyes and mouthed that she was just kidding. However, it got Bella out of her room in a sexy peacock blue wrap dress. Her hair was curled and hung around her face like a mahogany halo of beauty. Really, Cullen? “On second thought, maybe not. I love you, Bells, but I don’t swing that direction.”

“Angela, I swear, your filter has gone out the window since you announced you were pregnant,” Bella said.

“What? I’m horny,” she said as she rubbed her flat belly. “I need me some man meat. I’m going to see if Ben can take an extended lunch break to make his baby mama come with his own tongue. Toodles!” She grabbed her purse and danced out of the apartment, leaving Bella and me in shock.

“Zero filter,” Bella sighed.

“I don’t care about Angela or her filter. The only person I care about right now is you,” I said as I crossed over to her, kissing her pillow soft lips. “Hi, sweet girl. You look amazing.”

“Thanks,” she blushed. “Alice and I went shopping a few weeks ago and we bought this. It was tight but she insisted I get it, stating that ‘I’d fit in it and make you drool.’”

“Well, you look fucking hot and I’m definitely drooling,” I said as I wiped my chin. “I can’t believe how sexy you look, Bella.”

“I’m down to a size ten,” she said, her face beaming with pride. “I may try for another ten pounds so I can get into an eight but I’m happy with what I’ve done.”

“You should be, sweet girl. However, I’d love you even if you were a size thirty,” I said, kissing her sweetly.

“You might, but I wouldn’t,” she sighed. “Now, you said to get dressed up. Are you doing to tell me where we’re going?”

“You’ll see when we get there,” I said as I offered her my arm. She eagerly latched in since she was wearing insanely high heels. We headed down to my car and I gallantly assisted her into the Aston Martin. I may or may not have squeezed her succulent ass as she passed me. That earned me a smack. After I got into the car, I drove us to Navy Pier, parking in the exorbitantly expensive parking lot.

“Navy Pier? We’re a little overdressed, Edward,” she said, tugging at her dress.

“First stop, sweet girl,” I said as I laced my fingers with hers. We walked to the dock where the Odyssey was docked. When we got in line, she was flummoxed. “Are you surprised?”

“I’ve never been on a boat,” she whispered. “This is all so glamorous.”

“Well, I have something special planned for you once we’re aboard,” I murmured against her softly curled hair. We snaked through the line and got our picture taken as we boarded. I handed the porter my ticket and she led us up to the very top deck, just below the observation lounge. I had reserved the entire room for just the two of us along with a jazz band that Bella loved.

“Edward, where are the rest of the tables?” she asked when she noticed that there was one table sitting in the center of the room, just off the dance floor.

“I rented out the room for a private party,” I crooned. “Life’s been crazy lately and I wanted to spoil my girl.”

“You spoil me so much, Edward,” she said quietly.

“I’ll do it forever, baby,” I murmured. I guided her to the table and helped her into her seat. The waitress poured us a glass of champagne before leaving us to talk quietly.

“I can’t believe this,” Bella mused. “Never in my life did I expect all of this.”

“You deserve the best, sweet girl,” I said as I picked up her hand, kissing her palm. “Now, how are you doing? Despite your absolute beauty, I can see in your eyes that you’re troubled.”

“I’m stressed,” she sighed. “I don’t know about the whole living situation. I can’t afford to stay at the apartment where Ang and I lived on my own.”

“Hmmmm,” I said thoughtfully.

“I’m trying to figure out my best options for the least cost,” she said, nervously playing with her hair.

“I have a suggestion,” I said as I ran my fingers along the silky smooth skin of her hand.

“Okay,” she said, arching a brow.

“Move in with me,” I said simply.

“It’s too fast, Edward. I mean, we’ve only been together for six months…” she rambled.

“Bella, I’ve told you time and time again that you’re it for me,” I said. “I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Why don’t you move in with me?”

“I cannot afford to live with you. I mean, I probably couldn’t make the electric payment on your house,” she said, breathing heavily. She was on the verge of a nervous breakdown.

“Bella, relax,” I said as I sat down next to her, gently rubbing her back. “If I had my way, you wouldn’t pay anything.” She shot me a look. “Obviously, you don’t want that, so we can work it out that you keep paying what you paid with Angela and we’d be golden.”

“It’s not fair,” she argued feebly. “I should chip in, fifty/fifty.”

“Bella, this isn’t about the money. It’s about sharing our lives together,” I said as I took her face in my hands. As I did so, the boat pulled away from the dock and began its journey along the shores of Lake Michigan. “If you don’t like my place, we can pick something out. Just the two of us.”

“Oh no! I do not want you spending any more money unnecessarily,” she said.

“Well, Rose is thinking of staying in Chicago and she’ll need a place to stay. She can buy my place and we can get something together. It’s a win-win!” I said. She bit her lip and her brow furrowed. “Bella, love, I want this. When I’m away from you, I don’t sleep. I want to know that you’re home and safe in my place so I can hold you in my arms. I love you so much, Bella. Please move in with me?”

“What if we don’t make it?” she asked, her brown eyes filled with fear and trepidation.

“Bella, a love like ours doesn’t just fade away. I love you with everything that I am,” I said. I wanted to wait to do this but I knew I had to lay down my ace. I reached into my pocket and ran my thumb over her right ring finger. “Bella, what will it take for you to know that I’m not going anywhere?”

“Nothing, Edward. I know that you love me but…I’m still afraid,” she said.

“Bella, I know that everyone in your life prior to me has screwed you over. It sucks. I want to murder them for making my girl hurt but I will do everything in my power to make you happy. I want to spend my whole life doing that, Bella.” I pulled out the box that held my grandmother’s ring. I flipped it open and placed it on her plate.

“That’s not a…” she squeaked.

“No, baby. It’s not an engagement ring,” I said. “It’s a promise. My promise to you that I’m not going anywhere. My promise to you that I will love forever and always. My promise to you that I want a future with you, including a house, a litter of kids, a dog, PTA, perhaps a few guinea pigs and maybe a sugar glider.”

“A what?” she laughed, tears falling down her cheeks.

“It’s like a monkey. I always wanted one as a kid,” I snorted. “Bella, you’re my present and definitely my future. I’d promise you the world, if you’ll have me. So, I’ll ask you again. Will you move in with me?” I took the ring and slid onto her right ring finger.

Her brown eyes stared at me. She lifted her hands and caressed my cheeks, gently pushing my hair from my face. With one lone tear, she nodded. “Yes, I’ll move in with you,” she whispered.

“Really?”

“Really,” she choked out.

“I love you, Isabella Swan,” I smiled, crashing my lips against hers. I pulled her from the chair and picked her up, spinning on the dance floor, earning a giggle of happiness from my girl. My almost-fiancée. My past. My present. And most importantly, my future. My love.

A/N: I wanted to get to the meeting about Jacob in this chapter but this seemed like a good stopping point. Besides, I wanted to also add a lemon, too. However, due to the fact that meeting is going to be with Edward, the next chapter will be in Edward’s POV. It’s going against the grain, but it’s what will work. As a consolation, we will have two back-to-back Bella chapters, as well. Pictures of the Odyssey boat trip are on my blog, along with the promise ring and their outfits. Also, I do apologize for the wait in between chapters. RL got absolutely crazy and I haven’t had enough time to write. So, I was not able to update as quickly as I hoped. It was a combination of madness at work, sickness for me and my family and a serious case of writer’s block.

Extra teasers and what not are posted on my blog (link in my profile), my Facebook group: Tufano79’s Twilight Fanfiction Appreciation, and my twitter: tufano79. Leave me some lovin!

 

Chapter Text

This is different from the norm. In all of the stories that I’ve read or that I’ve seen, all of the characters are disgustingly perfect unless they are written with very clear flaws. This story is about love (um, duh! Look who’s writing it. I’m the queen of romance), and finding it in the least likely place with the least likely person.

Now, this story is based in a hospital. My medical training comes from…WebMD. I’m not a doctor, nor do I claim to be. I’m a music teacher who has a wild imagination and a penchant for all things Twilight (and with this story, added in a mix of ER! I loved Luca Kovac…) Which brings me to my disclaimer: None of this is mine. I’m not, nor ever will be, Stephenie Meyer. If was, I’d be rolling in the dough from her insane imagination that gave us Bella and Edward. No copyright infringement is intended.

Chapter Nineteen

EPOV

“So, we’re really moving in together?” I asked for the hundredth time over dinner. Actually, it was dessert but who is keeping track.

“Yes, Edward,” she laughed. “I’m not backing out. I’m not going to change my mind. I don’t want to be homeless and I kind of like your home.”

“You make it a home,” I said wistfully. “Are we going to get a new place together or just stay in the brownstone? I’m fine with anything.”

“I don’t want you to spend money unnecessarily, Edward. I can’t really contribute much since I really dipped into my savings this year,” she pouted. “Being kicked out of my house by my dad really hurt me, financially. I’ve made some financial  gains, but not a lot.”

“Sweet girl, I already told you what I think. You just keep paying what you’ve been paying with Ang,” I said. “Let me handle the rest. Besides, I’m hoping to have a real rock on your finger before year’s end. Then, what’s mine is yours, baby.” She smashed her lips together, arching a brow. “Oh, don’t be like that. I want to share everything that I have with you, Bella.”

“Edward, you are so much more than me. I can’t…um…I don’t know…” she rambled.

“Bella, I’m the same as you. A human. I’m not more or less than you,” I said as I stood up, holding out my hand. “Dance with me?” She slipped her hand into mine and we walked to the dance floor. I held her hand over my heart and pulled her flush to my body. “Why do you think that you’re less than me? Is it because of my money?” She bit her lip. “Would you love me even if I was dirt poor?”

“Without a doubt, Edward. It’s just that you’re used to all of the extravagance. I’m not. You saw my apartment prior to moving in with Angela,” she said. “I just don’t want to feel like I’m mooching off of you.”

“It’s not mooching when I want to share everything that I have with you,” I said as I pulled her closer. She sighed, putting her head on my shoulder.

“I still feel like I’m mooching, Edward,” she grumbled.

“You’re not. If you want, I can propose. We can get married and then this conversation will be moot,” I chuckled.

“Edward,” she growled. She pulled back and glowered at me. I smiled at her crookedly, caressing my thumb along her soft cheek. “Fine…I’m doing this under duress, but fine.”

“You love me. I love you. There’s no duress,” I said as I kissed her lips. “Let me spoil you, sweet girl. Let someone provide for you as opposed to you providing for them. All I ask for in return is your happiness. Are you happy?”

“Immensely so, Edward,” she said. “It’s just weird for me to have someone care for me. You know? I’ve been the care provider for so long, I don’t know how to be the recipient.”

“Well, get used to it because I’m going to give, give, give, for the rest of our long and happy lives. Okay?” I smirked.

“Okay,” she said, giving me a genuine smile. She nestled closer to my body. We lazily swayed for the next few songs, regardless of the tempo of the music. The band announced that this was the final song as the boat was pulling in to dock. I held Bella tighter, kissing her soft, fragrant hair. She gripped onto me, lightly running her thumb over the lapel of my suit, right above my heart. “Bella, I love you and I will do anything to make you happy. Don’t ever doubt my love or my intentions. Don’t ever think that I’m better than you because of my money, status as a doctor, or my family. If anything, you’re better than me. You are beautiful, loving, kind and generous. You have so much love in your heart and you give it freely to your patients, your friends and your family.”

“Edward, I don’t have a family,” she sniffled.

“Yes, you do,” I murmured. I gently cupped her face and looked into her watery eyes. “Me. My mom and dad. Rose. Alice. Angela. We’re your family. We love you so much, sweet girl and we’ll always be here for you. In every way.” Bella threw her arms around my neck, clutching me tightly. I could feel her tears on my shoulder through my suit. “Shhhh, it’s okay, sweet girl. I didn’t mean to make you cry.”

“I’m sorry,” she sniffled. “They’re not tears of sadness but of happiness. I never thought I’d have a family again. I’ve always been on my own.”

“Now you’re not,” I whispered into her hair. “Hopefully, we’ll create our own family.” I moved away and placed my hand on her belly.

“Babies?”

“Babies, if you want them,” I smiled. Her face lit up and she nodded, cuddling to my chest. I kissed her head and we sat down as the boat was docked. I left a tip for our server before we got off the luxurious yacht. I paid for several copies of the photograph that they had taken as we boarded. Afterward, we walked idly back to the parking garage. I helped Bella into the passenger seat and slid into the driver’s seat. The drive back to my house was quiet, save for the music playing in the car. Bella’s hand was on my thigh, tracing idle circles on the fabric of my suit pants. It made me hard as a fucking rock. 

When I pulled into my driveway, Bella frowned. “I didn’t bring a change of clothes,” she said.

“I have a pair of scrubs, plus I think you have some clothes here from your last overnight stay,” I said. “Besides, we’re both off tomorrow and we can have a lazy, naked day.”

“Horny much?” she chuckled.

“You were the one who was pawing at my thigh, giving me the boner to end all boners,” I quipped. I put her hand on my throbbing arousal, earning a giggle from my girl. “Laugh it up, chuckles.”

“You know I love you, Edward. You also know that I’ll make the pain go away.” She winked at me, getting out of the car and sashaying to the door. I blinked at her and her boldness. I loved it. I loved her and I wanted to celebrate our news…moving in together, promising each other a future and the prospect of having perfectly gorgeous babies with this sexy, intelligent and loving woman. I flew out of the car and caught up with my girl. I swept her in my arms, jogging up the stairs. She laughed as she clutched my neck. “Don’t drop me!”

“Never, Ms. Swan,” I chuckled. I gently placed her on her feet once I got up to ourroom. Well, not yet. I took her face in my hands. Her chocolate brown eyes were glittering brightly as she smiled softly at me. Her face warmed under my hands. “Do you know how much I love you? I’d do anything for you, Bella.”

“I know you would,” she said reverently. “I’d do the same. I love you, so much, baby.” She tenderly kissed my hand before looking back up at me. My thumb moved over the soft skin of her cheek. A lone tear fell out of her eye and was captured by my thumb. “I never expected to find you, Edward. Thank you for loving me. Thank you for believing in me. Thank you for everything.”

“I’ll keep doing it. Forever, sweet girl,” I cooed as I leaned down to kiss her lips. The kiss started off as being sweet and loving. Our mouths were moving together languidly. Bella’s hands moved up to my hair. Her fingertips were massaging my scalp as I deepened our kiss, sliding my tongue between her pillow soft lips. My hands moved down her body, cupping her ass. She moaned as her fingers tangled tighter in my hair.

“God, I want you, Edward,” she mumbled against my lips.

“You have me,” I said quietly. She smiled against my mouth and moved her hands to my suit coat, pushing it over my shoulders. It fell to the ground. Her fingers moved to my tie and it joined my jacket on the ground. I ran my hands over Bella’s body, searching for a zipper for her dress.

“It doesn’t have one,” she chuckled. “Just lift it off, Edward.”

I smiled and lifted her dress over her head, revealing a sinful bra and panty set. It was the same shade of blue as her dress and hugged all of her sexy curves. Her breasts were pushed up perfectly, just begging for me to jump in to kiss, snuggle, nip and bite. Little did I know that Bella had unbuttoned my shirt and was pushing it off my body, only to get caught with the sleeves on my wrists. I tore the shirt from my arms and bent down to pick up my girl. My hands grasped her thighs and lifted her. She took in a sharp intake of air as her legs were locked around my waist. I carried her to the bed.

 Once she was on my bed, I pulled back and looked at her beauty. The changes in her body were subtle. She always had curves, even while she was heavier. She had luscious breasts, a defined waist and swell of her hips. Now, her waist was smaller with some more muscle definition underneath her skin. Her breasts were perkier. Her hips, they stayed the same. I loved that. “You’re so beautiful, Bella,” I murmured as I stared at her flawless, alabaster skin. Gliding my fingers along her skin, she moaned. “So perfect.”

“You’re teasing me,” she pouted. “Besides, I’m nearly naked here and well, you’re still somewhat clothed.” I laughed and unbuckled my belt. My pants fell to floor and I quickly removed my shoes and socks before climbing into bed with my girl. “Much better.” Her fingers glided up and down my body, toying with my smattering of chest hair. She pushed on my shoulder and straddled my waist. “Now it’s my turn to ogle.”

“Ogle away, sweet girl,” I said as I smiled up at her. She ran her fingers over my face, starting at my forehead and moving down cheekbones. She glided her fingertips along my lips. I nipped at her fingers, earning a sweet giggle from my girl. She bent down and pressed her lips to mine. I moved my hands to her bra, finding the clasp in the back. With a flick of my wrists, the bra loosened and her breasts tumbled out of it. They were crushed against my chest, earning a strangled groan from me. I loved her boobies. My hands quickly cupped her breasts, tweaking her nipples.

“I thought I was supposed to be ogling. Not you copping a feel,” she laughed.

“I couldn’t resist,” I said as I continued massaging her perfect breasts. Her nipples were erect from my playing. I dipped my head and took one of her breasts into my mouth.

“Holy fuck nuggets,” she moaned.

“Say again?” I laughed.

“Shut it and keep doing what you’re doing, Romeo,” she said as she arched her back, pushing her tit back into my mouth. I eagerly latched on, flicking her nipple with my tongue. Her hips were moving over my throbbing, aching arousal. I kissed across her chest to the other breast, repeating my actions with that one. Bella’s whimpers were my undoing. I rolled us so I was hovering over her body, kissing down her belly. I reached her core; that was still covered by her panties. The fabric between her legs was drenched and glistening with her arousal. I nuzzled my face between her thighs. Nipping at her body through her panties, I teased her with my tongue and teeth. “Fuck, Edward. That feels so good but I want your cock. I have to taste you.”

“Feeling’s mutual, sweet girl,” I purred as I pulled her panties aside, licking up her slick folds. “Do you trust me?”

“Of course I do,” she said, frowning slightly. I tugged on her panties and slid them down her legs. “Edward?”

“Straddle your legs on either side of my head, baby,” I said as I lay down on my back. I shimmied my boxer briefs off my body, causing my cock to slap against my belly.

“I’ll suffocate you,” she squeaked.

“No, you won’t. Sit on my face, Bella. I want to lick you delicious pussy and you said that you want to suck my cock. Best of both worlds.”

She bit her lip and moved so her drenched pussy was right above my mouth. I spread her legs slightly with my hands before I sucked her swollen folds between my lips. “Holy mother of GOD!” she moaned as she fell forward, bracing herself on either side of my body. I growled against her, bucking my hips. She chuckled as her mouth wrapped around my cock, sucking on me like she was a damned Hoover. The smell of her arousal, the feeling of her wetness of dripping down my face, the sensation of her hot mouth on me…it was such sensory overload. I fucking loved it. I loved her.

It was getting hot and heavy. Bella’s legs were quivering and her arousal was dripping out of her body. She was getting close to exploding. I wanted feel every ounce of her orgasm. My tongue darted along her swollen nub as my fingers easily slid inside of her silken walls. I curled my fingers, pressing them against her g-spot. She was chanting ‘oh god’ as she pumped my cock. I was getting close to my own release but I wanted to be inside of her when I came. She sat up abruptly. “Edward! I’m…FUCK!” Her body tensed up and her arousal spilled onto my face. I moved out from underneath her, keeping up with my ministrations of my hand. Once she calmed down, she sat back on her ass, breathing heavily. “Wow,” she sighed.

“I know,” I said as I crawled up to her. “Bella, you are so exquisite when you come.”

“Thank you,” she blushed. “However, I hate that I, um, squirt everywhere. You’re drenched, Edward.” Her fingers ran through my slightly wet hair.

“I love that I’m able to get you to do that. Besides, I squirt, too,” I quipped as I grabbed her legs. I spread them slightly, displaying her still wet folds. “I need to be inside of you, Bella. Please?”

“On your back, Cullen,” she said. Her eyes were twinkling with mischief. “I want to fuck you for a change.”

“Hell yeah,” I said as I lay down on my back. Bella gracefully straddled my waist, rubbing her arousal along my throbbing cock. “Bella…”

“Good things come to those who wait,” she purred as she grasped my cock. Rising up slightly, she positioned me at her entrance.  With a smile, she sunk down around my body. I was surrounded by her tight, wet warmth. She grabbed my hands, twining her fingers with mine. Her ring was glittering in the dim light of my bedroom. Her body was undulating over me, taking me deeply inside of her tight pussy. “Dear God in heaven…feels so fucking good.”

“You’re telling me, beautiful,” I whispered as I gripped her hips. My body was moving with hers, sliding easily in and out of her slick pussy. She moved forward, kissing me feverishly. She pulled on my hair as she hungrily attacked my lips.  “I love you, Bella. So much.  I can’t wait until we’re together. Forever.”

“Oh, Edward,” she moaned as she plunged her tongue into my mouth. My arms wrapped around her waist, guiding her up and down, over my cock. I sat up, kissing her neck as I palmed her breasts with my hands. Her arousal was coating our legs. The sound of our skin slapping against each other filled the room. Coupled with the sound of our whimpers and kissing, it was insanely erotic. “I’m so close, Edward. Please, please come with me, baby.”

Her pleas caused my balls to tighten. “Baby, my sweet girl,” I moaned. “I love you.”

“I love you more, Edward,” she moaned. “OH GOD!” Her muscles clenched around me as her arms tightened around my neck. She screamed as she came all around my cock. Her release triggered mine and I spilled inside of her body. I kept thrusting in and out of her until my cock softened, slipping out of her body. “Is it always going to be like this?” she asked breathily.

“I certainly hope so,” I said as I kissed her softly. “Bella, you’re my best friend and I hope you know that I’m never, EVER letting you go. I’d be a fool for doing so.”

“You’re my best friend, too,” she whispered. “Thank you for loving me.”

“I’ll do it forever, sweet girl,” I smiled. “Now, let’s take a shower because I’m a sweaty mess.”

“Ugh, me too,” she giggled. “A little sticky, too.” She got up, pulling on my arm and dragging me to the bathroom. We showered together, washing off the evidence of our lovemaking down the drain. Afterward, we went back into my bedroom, stripping my bed and changing the sheets together. I gave Bella one of button down shirts. She went to grab a pair of panties from the drawer in my dresser.

“No panties, Bella,” I smirked as I slid between the sheets, naked as the day I was born.

“Why?”

“Because, I’m not done with you,” I said, licking my lips. “I want you again but I need some time to recuperate.”

“Horny much?” she laughed, crawling up the bed, curling up against my chest.

“For you, always,” I said as I kissed her forehead. “I’m so happy, though. We’re going to be living together and soon, I won’t have to wait for these adult sleepovers to make love to my girl.” The mere thought of that caused my dick to twitch under the covers.

“Do we have lift off?” Bella asked, arching a brow.

“Oh, yeah,” I purred as I flipped her, sliding inside of her.

xx APFL xx

“Edward, what do you think is going to happen with this meeting?” asked Alice. She was sitting next to me outside of the large conference room on the seventh floor of the hospital. She was wearing a very sedate black suit for our meeting with Dr. Volturi, my dad, Eleazar and Jacob.

It was a few days before my birthday and we were waiting to meet with the board of directors to discuss the allegations against Jacob. Bella was off and was working with Angela on packing up the apartment since Angela was pregnant and was milking it for all it was worth.

“I don’t know, but my guess is that Jacob is going to be out of a job,” I said. I straightened my tie and pushed up my glasses. “However, we need to know how Jacob got the drug locker key. He was not authorized to have access to those medications. He has an accomplice and we need to know who’s helping him. Plus, who was he giving the drugs to? I heard him on the phone with someone. Talking about self-medication.”

“Dr. Cullen, Nurse Brandon, we’re ready for you,” said the assistant from Dr. Volturi’s office, Renata.

“Thank you,” I said as I stood up, buttoning my suit coat. Alice and I walked into the conference room. Inside, the entire board of directors was inside along with my dad, Eleazar, Felix and Lauren. “Where’s Jacob?”

“He’s on his way up with an attorney,” Dr. Volturi said. “They’re conferring on the floor below. Renata called down to the room and reminded them about the meeting.”

A few moments later, Jacob and his attorney were ushered into the room, seated across the table from the board of directors. Jacob looked a little haggard and a lot freaked out. His attorney looked like he was fresh out of law school.

“Dr. Black,” Dr. Volturi said coldly. “The purpose of this hearing is to discuss allegations brought against you regarding missing drugs from the drug locker. Additionally, we’re also discussing the future of your time here at the hospital, pending the findings of this hearing. Dr. Sanchez, can you please read the charges against Dr. Black.”

“A week and a half ago, we received a tip that you were taking drugs from the drug lock up; a drug lock up of which you didn’t have access to since you were denied a key due to the situation when you were hired. After this tip, we checked the drug locker, discovering that six vials morphine had been swapped with saline solution. Additionally, ten demoral patches were removed from the locker,” Dr. Sanchez explained. “We have two witness statements indicating that you were in the drug locker, using a key that you were not issued since you did not have access to the drug locker. You needed approval from an attending physician to have access to the medications that were taken from the locker. Dr. Cullen, Edward Cullen, also placed you on administrative leave after a situation that happened with another patient. Based off his behavior and his patient interactions, Dr. Black has made several poor choices and his future with the hospital is at risk.”

“Now, we are going to hear testimony from your co-workers regarding your behavior before you can state your defense,” Dr. Volturi said, narrowing his eyes. “The first witness is Dr. Felix Denali.”

Felix sat down and he spoke about Dr. Black’s performance as a doctor. Very simply, Felix explained that Jacob was curt and harsh with patients. His bedside manner was sketchy at best. He had several patients request a different doctor based off his behavior. Once Dr. Denali was done with his testimony, Dr. Volturi asked if Jacob’s lawyer wanted to ask questions. He said no.

Each witness stated something similar regarding Jacob’s behavior and patient interactions. The only witnesses left over were Alice, Lauren and me. “Nurse Brandon, you’re next,” said Dr. Volturi. “Please state your name for the record.”

“Mary Alice Brandon, Registered Nurse in the emergency room,” Alice said.

“Can you tell us your interaction with Dr. Black?” Dr. Volturi asked, tenting his hands.

“I can only reiterate what my co-workers said,” Alice explained. “He’s rude, curt and almost disrespectful to his patients. It almost seems like he doesn’t care about their health. His time here is just a means to an end. I personally do not care working for him because of his patient interactions and his treatment of the staff. He doesn’t speak to the nurses unless he has to. When he does, there is an arrogant air to him. He perceives himself to be better than the nursing staff. It’s condescending and uncalled for.” Alice crossed her arms over her chest, glowering at Jacob. He gave her a smug grin.

“Now, can you describe what happened the afternoon of June 3rd?” Dr. Volturi asked. Jacob’s grin fell as he gave Alice an icy scowl.

“I was on my shift and helping out Dr. Cullen. He was getting ready to go when he grabbed me, asking me to follow him. He explained that he heard something about Dr. Black. So, I watched as Dr. Black took the vials of morphine, demoral patches and putting the vials of saline on the shelves. He pocketed the meds and left the drug locker, exiting through the other side of the drug locker. Dr. Cullen asked me to write down what I saw to corroborate what he saw. I did and sent a copy of that email Dr. Sanchez, Dr. Volturi and carbon-copied Dr. Edward Cullen.”

“A copy of that email is included the findings about Dr. Black,” Dr. Volturi explained to the board. “Did you do an inventory of the drug locker?”

“Yes. Shortly after Dr. Cullen left, Ben Cheney and I both took an inventory of the drug locker. A new nurse, Bree Tanner, verified our findings,” Alice said. “It’s good that we found the discrepancies prior to administering the medications to patients. Not that the saline would have hurt them but it certainly wouldn’t have helped them either. What’s more troubling is that the drugs are gone and we don’t know where they went.”

“That is very troubling, Miss Brandon,” Dr. Volturi frowned. “That a doctor allegedly stole medications for his own personal benefit. Thank you for your candor. Dr. Cullen?” I passed Alice, squeezing her hand as I sat down. “For the record, please state your name.”

“Dr. Edward Cullen, Associate Head of Emergency Medicine,” I replied. I put the file folder I compiled on Jacob in front of me. It was nearly an inch thick from documentation of his poor choices in the ER. The majority of the documentation was about the older woman who died from the penicillin reaction.

“Can you please describe Dr. Black’s performance as a physician?”

“He’s rude. He’s disrespectful. He’s cavalier. He doesn’t think before acts. Dr. Black is not the type of doctor I want to have in my ER,” I said coldly. “I’ve got several patient complaints due to his curt and unprofessional behavior.” I pulled out the five complaints, sliding them to Dr. Volturi. He already had copies of these but the board did not. The board members read the complaints, obviously pissed off at the paperwork in front of them.

“What about the day of June 3rd?”

“I went to the ER to pick up some medication for a friend. I ordered it and Alice got for me from the drug locker. After I had my medication, which I got legally, I was getting ready to go and I heard Jacob on his phone. He was having a very heated conversation. I can’t say with certainty but from the tone of the conversation, it sounded like Dr. Black was provided medical care to someone and distributing medication that he shouldn’t have access to. I heard him mention something to his friend about ‘talking to Sam’ about self-medication. He hung up and walked to the drug locker, accessing the narcotics with the key. Alice and I watched as Dr. Black take six vials of morphine, demoral patches and switching the saline bottles for the morphine.”

“Now, prior to this incidence, how would you rate Dr. Black?” asked one of the board members. “Would you want to work with him? Would you hire him?”

“His resume, prior to this past year, has been stellar. However, his actions that caused him to lose his job from his previous employer and his patient care here in the ER is lackluster at best. It almost seems like the work he’s been assigned is beneath him,” I explained. “Yes, Dr. Black has been demoted, but no matter what, the primary goal for a doctor is to first do no harm. We all took it with the Hippocratic Oath. For Dr. Black, his primary goal is get through the day. His patients mean nothing to him. Absolutely nothing. They’re just a nuisance.

“Now, do I want to work with him? No. His cavalier attitude and risky behavior is not appropriate for the ER. His motto is ‘treat ‘em and street ‘em.’ I’ve heard him say it several times. Would I hire him? Definitely not. Not with the stipulations as indicated by his previous employer. In my opinion, Dr. Black should not be allowed to treat patients. His medical license should be revoked. He’s made too many mistakes. I do not want him in my department. Period,” I said strongly.

“Thank you, Dr. Cullen,” Dr. Volturi said. “Any other questions?” The board members shook their heads along with Jacob’s attorney. “Last witness before you can defend yourself, Dr. Black. Nurse Mallory?” It appeared that she had just gotten off shift. She was still in her nursing scrubs and her hair was pulled back in a low ponytail. “Please state your name for the record.”

“Lauren Mallory, Registered Nurse for the Emergency Room,” she said.

“Now, I received an email from you, Nurse Mallory, stating that you know who gave Dr. Black the key for the drug locker,” Dr. Volturi said.

“I do know who gave him the key,” she said quietly. “It’s Dr. Michael Newton. He’s dating Jessica Stanley and I’m very close with her. I was out to eat with the two of them with Dr. Crowley and Dr. Newton was boasting how he gave Dr. Black the drug locker key. Dr. Newton said that Dr. Black wanted in ‘on the action.’ Dr. Crowley was shocked that he would say that. He hissed for Dr. Newton to shut up.”

“What do you mean in ‘on the action’?” Dr. Volturi asked, his face flushing.

“Dr. Newton and Dr. Crowley have taken drugs from the drug locker before,” Lauren muttered. “They sell them on the streets for extra cash. All they do is grumble that they get paid shit and that the real money comes from the side business of illegal drug selling. I realize that this is all supposition, but it’s what I heard. I also did see Newton give Dr. Black the key.”

“When was this?”

“About three weeks ago,” she said. “I was afraid to say anything since Dr. Crowley and Dr. Newton essentially threatened me. I’m still terrified. I’m afraid that by not coming forward sooner, I’ll lose my job.”

“Now, Nurse Mallory, you withheld information about an illegal drug selling scheme and there will be consequences.  I can assure you that you will not lose your job since you did come forward. A suspension? Yes. Unemployment? No,” Dr. Volturi said. “Thank you for your information, Nurse Mallory. You’re free to go.”

“What about my next shift?” she asked.

“Show up to work as scheduled. Once the board has reached an agreement regarding your punishment, you’ll be notified,” Dr. Volturi said, giving her a reassuring smile. “You’re still employed, so don’t worry about that.”

“Okay. Thank you, Dr. Volturi,” she said as she stood up. “What about Dr. Newton and Dr. Crowley?”

“Most likely, they’ll have criminal charges pressed against them,” Dr. Volturi answered. Lauren blushed and left the room. “Dr. Black, do you have anything to say for yourself?”

“Very simply, I’ve been set up,” Jacob said smugly. “Dr. Cullen has had it out for me since I started working in the ER. You want to talk about condescending? It’s him. I’m not worth the shit beneath his shoes.”

“Please refrain from using profanities, Dr. Black,” Dr. Volturi spat. “Do you have proof about this ‘set-up’?”

Jacob passed out a folder to Dr. Volturi and each of the board members. With an arrogant smirk, he tossed one toward me. In this report, it detailed how I made him do grunt work like inventory, bed pan duty, hovered when he was performing a procedure and neglected to write up Bella for when she ‘harassed him.’

“Dr. Black, this is quite extensive,” Dr. Volturi said as he removed his reading glasses. “However, nowhere in your report does it indicate that Dr. Cullen set you up. In fact, his treatment of you was more than fair. Your restrictions made it quite difficult for you to treat patients with anything stronger than ibuprofen. Now, the harassment charges that you allege against Nurse Swan are troublesome.”

“I think that due to Dr. Cullen’s personal relationship with Nurse Swan, he was showing favoritism and neglected to write her up because he’s fu---having sex with her,” Dr. Black said as he smiled at me.

“Dr. Cullen, do you have anything to say regarding this statement?”

“In regards to the write-up, I should have written up Nurse Swan,” I said, my face heating up. “However, the comments made to Dr. Black were regarding a situation that occurred prior to his employment at Cook County. He and Nurse Swan were in a relationship ten years prior and the way he ended things with her were not amicable. She was merely making her feelings known about his treatment of her during that time.”

“Well, I think that in all fairness, Nurse Swan should get a reprimand in her file for the harassment of Dr. Black, regardless of the situation. The harassment policy was your brainchild and you cannot bend it at will. You will make sure that gets done, Dr. Cullen, regardless of your relationship with Nurse Swan,” Dr. Volturi said sternly.

“Yes, sir,” I said. Shit. Crap. I hate you, Jacob Black. Fucking making me write up my girl. Asshole. I wish you’d just disappear. Fucktard.

“Back to you, Dr. Black,” Dr. Volturi said. “You are hereby terminated from this hospital for the following reasons: number one – you stole medications from the drug locker that you were not allowed access to. Number two – the location of those medications are unknown and we are not sure if you sold them on the black market. Number three – the files from Drs. Sanchez, Cullen and Denali documenting your poor behavior and cavalier way of performing medicine; the most troubling is the woman who died under your care from a penicillin reaction. Number four – the treatment of your patients. Number five – the treatment of your co-workers. In addition to losing your employment, we’ve contacted the medical board of the state of Illinois, suspending your medical license, pending a criminal investigation regarding the allegations of the stolen drugs. Renata, please show in the detectives from the Chicago Police Department?”

“I’m being arrested?” Jacob bellowed.

“Yes, Dr. Black,” Dr. Volturi said. Three police officers and a detective came into the room. The detective put his hand on Jacob’s shoulder. “It would be in your best interest to cooperate with the police investigation. You may be able to walk away with a plea agreement. You may take him away.” The detective took Jacob by the elbow, standing him up. He slapped the handcuffs onto Jacob’s wrists, reading him his Miranda rights. As he was being escorted out of the room, his black eyes met mine and they were cold. I shivered involuntarily as he glared at me, walking out of the conference room.

“Rest assured, this is not the last time we’ll see him,” Alice said in my ear. “I have a bad feeling that he is going to make a return to the ER and he won’t be alone. His buyer will make an appearance, too. I don’t know.”

“Well, this meeting is adjourned. Thank you everyone for your input on this matter. Dr. Cullen, if I can have a word with you before you go?” Dr. Volturi asked.

“Which one?” my dad asked.

“Oh, Edward,” Dr. Volturi chuckled. “I keep forgetting that there are two of you, now.” Everyone left and Dr. Volturi sighed. He scrutinized me.  “I just want to talk to you about why you didn’t write up Nurse Swan. Why? Was it due to your relationship?”

“What she said to him was a long time coming,” I said. “Dr. Black hurt Nurse Swan, Bella, in a way that most people should never have to be hurt. He humiliated her in college and broke her heart. When she told him off in the trauma room, she got the closure that she needed to move ahead. Was it unprofessional? Yes. However, as her boyfriend, I was proud of her for standing up to him and telling him to shove it where the sun don’t shine.”

He pursed his lips, staring at me. “If it had been Nurse Stanley, Nurse Brandon or anyone else, would you have written them up?”

“Probably,” I said. Please don’t make me write up my girl. Please?!?

“I’m sorry, Dr. Cullen. You have to stick with the policy,” he said, frowning slightly. “However, instead of going to the ethics training, Nurse Swan can just get a letter of reprimand in her file. If there are no other instances of harassment, the letter will be removed. Does that seem fair?”

No. “Yes, sir,” I said. “Should Dr. Sanchez write her up since he’s not involved with her?”

“No. It has to be you since you saw the incident,” Dr. Volturi said. “I’m sorry for putting you in the position but…”

“I know, sir. I’ll get that done and give it to her when she comes in next,” I said, cringing slightly.

“I feel for you, son,” Dr. Volturi said, giving me a sympathetic look. He pushed away and left the conference room.

 I crossed my arms in front of me, banging my head against the table. “Fuck, fuck, fuckity, fuck,” I grumbled. “She’s going to be so pissed.” I stood up, scrubbing my face. “May as well get this over with. Fuck my life.” I headed down to my office and logged onto my computer. I opened up a template for a letter of reprimand, cursing myself for doing this. “I’m sorry, Bella.”

To: Isabella Swan, RN

From: Dr. E. Cullen

Re: Letter of Reprimand

Dear Ms. Swan,

As per the harassment policy, you are receiving this letter of reprimand because you were harassing a member of the hospital staff at Cook County Hospital. The parties involved were you, Isabella Swan, and Dr. Jacob Black. Dr. Edward Cullen had witnessed the harassment that took place in late March. You spoke to Dr. Black in a manner that was unprofessional and argumentative. As a result of your behavior, you are receiving this letter. Typically, a member of the staff who receives this also needs to attend an ethics training seminar. However, Dr. Marcus Volturi said that the seminar is not required since this was your first offense. Additionally, if you have no further instances of harassment, this letter will be removed from your file a year from today, June 17th, 2014.

If you have any questions regarding the allegations in this letter, you can contact me directly. If you would like to challenge this letter of reprimand, you can speak with your union representative, Carmen Saul, RN.

Yours,

Dr. Edward Cullen
Associate Head of Emergency Medicine
Cook County Hospital

I saved it, filing it in the computer. Then, I sent a copy to Dr. Volturi and Carmen. The last step was printing out two copies, one for Bella and one for her file. I was biting my lip as I was signing my name at the bottom of the letter, trying to hold back tears of frustration.

“Knock, knock,” came the sweet voice of my girl.

Mother fucker!

“Come in,” I said roughly.

She poked her head inside and gave me a smile. “How did the meeting go?”

“It’s done. He’s gone,” I replied. “He got fired and arrested. Plus he fingered Newton and Crowley for possibly selling controlled substances. We’ll probably be looking for three new attending at some point. We’ll see.”

“Why are you avoiding looking at me, Edward?” she asked.

“Um…”

“Am I in trouble?” she pressed, sitting down across from me at my desk.

Please don’t hate me. “Remember that day when you ripped Jacob a new asshole?” I asked. She nodded. “Well, Jacob challenged the allegations against him. He brought that up and how I didn’t write you up because we’re together.”

“Oh.”

“Bella, I’m sorry,” I said as I picked up one of the letters on my desk. “Dr. Volturi said that I had to; I needed to stay consistent with the policy.”

“It’s okay, Edward,” she said as she took the letter from me. She read it carefully, tears filling in her eyes. “I should have been written up. I also should take the ethics class.”

“You don’t have to,” I frowned. “I hated writing this, Bella. Jacob was fired but you get written up because he…”

“Edward, stop,” she said as she stared at me. “I know that filling this out was probably very, very difficult. But, it should have been done when it initially happened. I told you that when I told Jacob to go fuck himself.”

“I hate this. You have to know that I didn’t want to write you up, Bella,” I said.

“It’s not fair. Just because we’re a couple doesn’t mean that you get to show favorites. Dr. Volturi is right. I’m not mad at you. Don’t beat yourself up about this, okay?” she said as she folded the letter, putting it into her scrub pocket.

“I’ll try,” I sighed. “I thought you were off today?”

“Jessica was a no-show. Carmen called me in,” Bella said. “I was okay with that since Angela is going bat-shit crazy with the packing. She’s so particular on how she wants things done and yeah, I was doing it wrong. Besides, as a trade, I got your birthday off, which works perfectly for the present I got you.”

“Are you going to tell me what that is?” I asked.

“Nope. You’ll have to wait until June 20th to find out, Dr. Cullen. Consider it payback for this,” she smirked as she waved her letter in my face. “Now, I’m off to work. I love you, Edward.”

“I love you, too,” I said. “Even though you are a tease. I’m also still very sorry for the letter.”

“No more apologies. I’m fine,” she smiled as she got up. She walked behind my desk, kissing my lips softly. Bella left my office. I called Dr. Volturi, informing him that I gave Bella her letter. He thanked me. He also asked me to cover for Newton, who was missing in action, though his future at the hospital was in serious jeopardy. Lauren’s claim about Newton and Crowley having a side business of selling drugs was pretty serious. We needed to investigate.

As I worked through the day, I was worried about what Alice said and Jacob’s cold, menacing stare. Something was just over the horizon and it was not anything positive. Whatever it was, it was festering, bubbling and ready to explode. I just prayed that no one got caught in the crossfire in this elusive it. Especially Bella.

A/N: What do you think this elusive it is going to be? I’m curious to hear your theories. Also, heed Alice’s warning. This is not the last time we’ve seen Jacob. He will be back. Next chapter will be in BPOV and we’ll be celebrating Edward’s birthday. Plus, we’ll find out if they’re going to stay in the brownstone or move into someplace together. In upcoming chapters, we have the Hawaiian vacation, Rose’s trial and the elusive it. We’re about a little more than halfway through the story at this point. Just saying…

Anyhow, pictures for the lemon are on my blog (link in my profile). We also discuss this (and other stories) on my Facebook page: Tufano79’s Twilight Fanfiction Appreciation. You can also find me on Twitter: tufano79. I’d love some reviews. They make me exorbitantly happy. Though, a naked Rob Pattinson, saying that he loved me immensely and that I could do what I want to him would make me happier…but that ain’t happening anytime soon. Laters!

 

Chapter Text

This is different from the norm. In all of the stories that I’ve read or that I’ve seen, all of the characters are disgustingly perfect unless they are written with very clear flaws. This story is about love (um, duh! Look who’s writing it. I’m the queen of romance), and finding it in the least likely place with the least likely person.

Now, this story is based in a hospital. My medical training comes from…WebMD. I’m not a doctor, nor do I claim to be. I’m a music teacher who has a wild imagination and a penchant for all things Twilight (and with this story, added in a mix of ER! I loved Luca Kovac…) Which brings me to my disclaimer: None of this is mine. I’m not, nor ever will be, Stephenie Meyer. If was, I’d be rolling in the dough from her insane imagination that gave us Bella and Edward. No copyright infringement is intended.

Chapter Twenty

BPOV

“Rose, are you certain that Edward will like this?” I asked. I was folding his present, placing it into the brightly decorated bag. I knew he was a fan of the Cubs, but I was nervous that he would freak out at my present, or rather, presents.  

“Bella, you could shit on his chest and he’d like it,” Rose snickered.

“That’s gross, Rose,” Alice said, wrinkling her nose. “I mean, really. Next, you’ll suggest that Bella give him a golden shower and he’d be praising her pee. He’ll want to bottle it and drink it like water.”

“Okay, that was gross,” Rose laughed.

“There was a line, Alice and you sooooooooooo crossed it,” I deadpanned. She shrugged, looking over the packet of information on my desk.

“Speaking of peeing,” Angela grumbled, darting to the bathroom. Not even closing the door, she sighed heavily. “This kid is already doing a number on my bladder. Damn Ben and his super-atomic sperm.”

“You love him,” I crooned.

“I do, but I do not like what his child is doing to my body. I have to eat saltine crackers as soon as I wake up. I live off of zofran. I pee ever thirty seconds. Plus, I’m horny as fuck and all I want to do is molest, rape and pillage my boyfriend. Okay, not molest, rape and pillage, but get down and dirty with him.” Angela finished in the bathroom, wiping her hands as she sat down back on my bed. “Though it was his peen that got us into this mess in the first place.”

“You bitch and moan, but we all know you’re excited,” Alice said as she shoved Angela. “I see you when you’re on shift, lovingly rubbing your belly.”

“I am excited. Scared shitless, but excited,” Angela said wistfully, placing her hand on her small bump on her stomach. “Now, back to Bella and her birthday surprise for Dr. Sexward. We have a mission, ladies. Let’s go over what she’s got planned for his royal hotness for tomorrow.”

“His royal hotness?” Rose snorted.

“Shut it. Edward’s a stud,” Angela said, waving her hand.

“First, I’m going over to his place and cooking him breakfast in bed,” I said, rolling my eyes affectionately at my roommate and my friend. I had all of the ingredients in his fridge to make him his favorite: Greek omelets with spinach and feta cheese, with a side of sausage and some silver dollar pancakes.

“Then, his birthday blowjob,” Alice snickered.

“Alice!” I hissed, knowing full well that I was going to give him some oral satisfaction after breakfast, but it didn’t need to be announced to the entire planet.

“Ali, that is my brother. I do not need to know that he’s going to get a morning hummer from my sister,” she giggled.

“I’m not married to him,” I teased, staring at Rose and arching a brow.

“Yet. Soon, though,” she smirked. “Back to Bella’s plans and Edward’s birthday, after the morning sexy times, what’s next?”

“Lincoln Park Zoo,” I replied.

“You noticed she didn’t deny the sexy times,” Angela snickered.

I smacked her, glowering at my roommate. “We’re going to wander around there until we need to head to Wrigley Field. Edward’s throwing out the first pitch and singing the seventh inning stretch against the Diamondbacks.”

“How in the hell did you swing that?” Alice asked.

“A couple of weeks ago during my span of overnight shifts, one of the bigwigs from the Cubs organization came into the ER with stomach pains. He had acute appendicitis. Dr. Denali and I treated him and he was impressed with our professionalism and caring demeanor. The next day, he asked to see both of us in his room and asked if he could do anything for us. We couldn’t accept anything as per the hospital policy, but I did mention in passing that my boyfriend was a huge fan of the Cubs. It was a few days later that I got a package in the mail, stating to contact his office for anything that I needed. I called up the office and made arrangements for the first pitch and seventh inning stretch for his birthday. Plus, we’re sitting in the owner’s box with all of the trimmings inside. I’m getting it at cost thanks to the connection in the Cubs organization.”

“Edward will be over the moon excited, Bella. He’s such a big fan, almost to point of sickness. My big brother bleeds Cubbie blue,” Rose said, hugging me. “What about after the game?” She waggled her brows suggestively.

“Go back to his place and make love?” I squeaked. “I don’t know!”

“You need to do something extra special for your man on his special day,” Angela said, giving me a stern look. “Wear some risqué lingerie and give him a lap dance or something.”

“I can barely walk on a straight, flat surface and you want me to dance for him?” I asked dryly. “That’s an ER trip waiting to happen. I don’t think so. I’m not even remotely sexy. He’d probably just laugh at me.”

“Unlikely,” Alice snickered. “Edward looks at you like you’ve hung the moon, babe. Do. It.” I blushed and shook my head in the negative.

“Come on, Bella. We need to get you something special for when you get back from the game. PLUS, a hot outfit to wear to the baseball game. It’s going to be warm but you can still look cute,” Rose said. “I’ll also see if my aesthetician has some availability for a bikini wax. You’re due.” I could barely form a thought as my friends grabbed me, dragging me out of the apartment to buy some hot outfit for the baseball game, sexy lingerie for afterward and to get my vajayjay waxed.

Being a woman sucks.

Three hours later, I was laden with bags filled with my new outfit, which was in the missy size range and very skimpy underwear to wear underneath the sexy outfit. Well, sexy for me. The shirt was still ‘large’ but I felt so proud of myself that I was able to walk into a store and grab a ‘regular’ shirt and not a plus sized one. It was a v-neck Cubs shirt in royal blue with white and red accents. It hugged my curves, accenting my assets. Cleavage.  I also picked up a pair of navy blue Bermuda-length jean shorts, size twelve. I was a bit bummed about that, but Alice said that the brand I bought tended to run small. Alice wanted me to buy these red heels to wear with the outfit, but I said I was going to a baseball game, not a dance. I had a pair of red Chuck Taylors that would match the red in my shirt. As a reward for my graduation to missy sizes, Rose bought me a red bra and panty set from La Perla.

I found it to be very odd that my boyfriend’s sister was buying me lingerie to seduce said boyfriend. As she swiped her credit card, Rose smiled smugly. She handed me the bag with a wink, linking arms with me as we walked to our next stop: the salon for my dreaded bikini waxing.

Angela and Alice were yammering ahead of us while Rose and I were lollygagging behind them. “I have to ask, Rose,” I said. “Emmett? What’s going on with you two?”

“Well, when I told him that I was going to stay in Chicago for medical school, he was so thrilled. He did say that he would be willing to move out there for me, but his family and friends are here, you know?” she said. Her green were twinkling with happiness but there was an underlying sadness behind them, too.

“That’s great that he’s happy about you staying. However, you know that’s not what I’m asking, Rosalie,” I chided.

“I know,” she frowned, the twinkle dying in her green eyes. “Every time I try to get close to him, I clam up. Royce is always in my head, taunting me. Laughing at me because he…” Two fat tears fell out of her eyes.  Hastily, she rubbed her face.

I pulled on Rose’s arm, stopping her. Her face was scrunched up in a worried, sad grimace. Her hands were moving nervously in front of her as tears fell freely onto her cheeks. I pulled her into my arms, hugging her tightly. “Rosalie, Emmett loves you. He may not have said the words but you can see it in the way he acts around you, how he cherishes you and how he cares about you. He’s not Royce.”

“I know he’s not,” she sniffled. “But whether I like it or not, Royce is the asshole in my head, ridiculing me and teasing me for everything that I’ve done and will do with Emmett. I don’t know how to get over that.”

“You have to muscle through it, Rose,” I said as I wiped her tears away. “For ten years, Jacob was the voice in my head. Seeing him stare at me coldly after we had had sex was the memory that was played on repeat in my brain until I met your brother. I still remembered it when I was with Edward. That’s why it took so long for us to make love. It was me. All me.”

“I can’t even fucking kiss him,” she spat. “I tried to be the instigator. No dice. I asked him to try but something happened where I was thrown into a massive flashback. Emmett had to call my dad to come get me because I was in such a panic. I had to be sedated.”

I was about to respond when Angela shouted to us. “Hey guys, we’re going to go into Pea in a Pod,” Angela called out. “My clothes are too tight and it’s time for me to break out the credit card to get into maternity clothes. Yay!”

“Let’s not forget the maternity lingerie,” Alice giggled, dragging her to nearby store. Angela grumbled.

 Rose and I walked into the salon, sitting in the reception area. She sat, idly playing with a ring on her right hand. “I’m so scared, Bella. My body says yes to Emmett but my mind…it’s all sorts of messed up.”

“Rose, you can’t push it,” I said softly.

“I know,” she murmured.

“Have you talked to Michele about this?” I asked. Rose shook her head. “That should be your first step, sweetie. She can help you.”

“I feel like Michele is frustrated with me,” Rose said, shooting me a look. She blushed slightly.

“Nonsense,” I admonished. “Michele would never get frustrated with you. She cares about you and wants you to be happy. All of us do, Rose!”

“Maybe I’m internalizing it. I don’t know,” she sighed. “I’m just so afraid that Emmett is going to give up on me.”

“Bella Swan?” called the receptionist.

“We’re not done with this conversation, Rosalie,” I said sternly. She nodded and sat back, picking up a magazine. I walked to the torture chamber, stripping out of my capris and panties. Fifteen minutes later, my girlie bits were scowling at me and I’m walking back out front to meet up with Rose. Seated with Rose were Angela and Alice, surrounded with a shit-ton of bags. “Dear God! Did you buy the entire store?”

“Only the necessities,” Alice chirped. “Jeans, dresses, shirts, shorts, underwear, accessories.” I walked to the counter, only to be waved away by the receptionist. I glared at Rose who smirked at me. “We’ve got to get you some saucy lingerie for birthday boy.”

“What about the underwear that Rose bought me?” I asked. “Isn’t that saucy enough?”

“That’s saucy to wear underneath the clothes for the game,” Angela said as she rubbed her belly. “You need something saucier to give Edward the orgasm of his life!” Angela linked her arms with me and physically pulled me to Victoria’s Secret. Alice and Rose were right behind us. Inside of the pink store, I was thrust into a dressing room and ordered to trip out of my clothes. I decided not to fight it, complying with their bossy requests. Mounds of lace, satin and pieces of string disguised as panties were hung in my dressing room. I tried things on, tossing what I didn’t like out and keeping what I found to be alluring and sexy.

Okay, it was one negligee. It was a deep fuchsia with black lacy accents and a black lace thong. It had enough coverage to hold in my girls a