Tuesday, March 20, 2001 | By: Drotuno

An Angel's Promise Chapter 3

CHAPTER 3
BELLA
Tuesday
Edward had a side to him that wasn't anywhere close to being human. It wasn't a side he showed often. He hid it most of the time, but it would escape occasionally. He hid it behind the smooth mask of a calm exterior, behind nice clothes and cars, behind a velvet voice that when he spoke; only those that really knew him could tell he was holding back.
This side of Edward was feral, possessive, primal, dark. He was a vampire that was well over a hundred years old. He had seen wars, fought enemies. He had hunted the most foul of humans, removing their existence off of the earth, all while hearing the pleas for mercy from people that just minutes before were planning murders, rapes, and things he wouldn't even talk to me about.
Edward was also fiercely protective of me. Not just physically, because I could take care of myself that way. He would place himself in front of anything that could possibly cause me stress, strain, or worry. He never wanted to see me upset, if he could prevent it.
Add in that hidden side of Edward, a dash of human fantasies towards his mate, and a request from said mate, and there was the possibility for Edward's smooth mask to completely shatter. I truly hoped that wouldn't happen as he drove me in comfortable silence to school.
When I had asked Edward to take me to school, my original thought was to just prolong our time together and use the brief moment to relive old times. Edward taking me to school, whether it was high school back in Forks or college classes at Dartmouth, were some of my favorite memories.
There was a side of me that hated the stares my family and I received almost on a minute to minute basis. But I missed being able to smile knowingly at the fact that, yes, Edward was mine. He saw no further than my gaze, and he would continue to do so as long as the earth circled the sun. It was prideful, but I couldn't help it.
I didn't need to read the minds of the girls around me as my husband walked to my door to hold it for me. I didn't need to read minds like he did to see what they saw. With the sweetest of smiles, he held a hand out to help me out of the car. He stood there in a black suit, steel blue button down, and a tie that pulled the other two colors together. I saw the most beautiful of creatures, both inside and out.
They saw my fuck hot husband.
With turned heads and gaping mouths, the small campus rumbled around us. Students heading to their first class or the small library milled about at a little before eight in the morning. Girls gasped at the sight of him as I leaned back against the car door, smirking up at an eye-rolling Edward.
"I don't know how many times I have to explain it to you, Edward," I chuckled, shaking my head.
"Don't bother," he sighed dramatically, a smile playing on his face. "Now, am I really here for show and tell..."
I laughed, my head falling back against the car. He chuckled with me, which only caused the heartbeats around us to pick up.
"No...well, yes," I giggled, taking his hand. He picked it up and kissed my ring, laughing against my skin. "But it's more than that. I want to know about this guy, Edward."
"Yes, ma'am," he nodded, taking my bag from me and slinging it over his shoulder. "Lead the way, my love." He linked our fingers together, his thumb making soft circles over my knuckles.
We walked through campus, and that prideful feeling hit me again, especially when one girl ran into the back of her friend when they had both stopped to stare at Edward. They just about collapsed to the ground.
"Not that I mind doing this in the least, but why does he bother you, Bella?" Edward asked, ignoring everything and everyone around us like he usually did.
I stopped and looked up at him. "I don't want another Matthew or Joe situation. If it's a crush, then fine. I can ignore that. But he stares so much," I growled softly, my brow wrinkling. "Past experience makes me nervous."
"Okay," he nodded, reaching up to tuck my hair behind my ear. "You're too beautiful for your own good," he smirked, but it didn't reach his eyes. "And what happens if he's not...right?" he asked, obviously choosing his words carefully.
"Then I've got this," Jasper smiled, walking up with a smirk. "Morning."
"What do you feel around this guy?" Edward frowned, looking over at his brother.
"Lust as always," he snorted, "but not much more. A touch of love, actually."
"He's in love with her?" Edward growled low.
"He might think he is," Jasper shrugged, turning to me. "You're worried?"
"Cautious," I frowned.
"Which. One?" Edward seethed, closing his eyes to a gaggle of girls walking by.
I looked around and saw David walking down the hall. I opened my shield, showing Edward his face. My husband's head snapped around to lock onto the young man walking with his cell phone in his hand.
With a wicked smile, Jasper shook his head. "I'll be inside, Bells. Eddie, I'll drop her off at the hospital after class."
"Fine," Edward nodded absentmindedly. He turned to me, but I could tell by his facial expression that he was intently listening to the boy's thoughts. I waited patiently, watching David with my peripheral vision, but my sight was on Edward's face. The very second David's attention left his phone and found me, Edward's eyes blackened.
I knew from experience that wasn't always a bad thing. It was just his reaction to someone thinking about me period.
As David glanced at me on his way by, I watched Edward's mask slip on. He reached up, taking my bag off of his shoulder and handing it over to me. His next words were chosen carefully, on purpose. "My sweet Mrs. Masen," he smirked, "I'll see you after class, yes?"
"Yeah," I smiled, biting my bottom lip. "I'll be by as soon as it lets out."
"Good," he sighed, smiling as he leaned in with a raised eyebrow. Edward was just about to mark his territory. His lips met mine in a heated, yet controlled kiss. His teeth grazed my bottom lip, suckling on it before letting it go with a slight pop. He pulled back slightly, pressing his forehead to mine. I watched as he carefully pulled himself together in order not to either ravish me against the wall to prove a point, or snap David's neck just for thinking about me. My feral, possessive Edward was deadly sexy, but pure raw power at the same time. I was thankful for his control.
"He thinks you're perfect," he whispered. "Fucking flawless is what he's thinking, verbatim." I frowned, still staring at Edward, but he kept going. "Jasper is picking up a lust vibe, but there is a confusion of love and attraction. I can't see any dangerous thoughts, only jealousy," he smiled widely.
"So it's okay?"
"No," he huffed, "it's not okay that he thinks about what's mine." He straightened up, but cupped my face, smirking. He knew how I felt about his declarations of possession.
"Edward," I growled a warning, feeling my eyes blacken.
"Bella," he warned back with a chuckle. "Ignoring him is best. He's dying to speak to you, but my presence just shattered whatever fantasy he had about you. He could tell you and Jasper weren't together." He was serious and waited for my answer, and I nodded. "Now that you're...taken...he doesn't know what to do."
"Okay," I nodded. "Just keep going like we were."
"Yes, I would prefer it that way."
"Thank you," I smiled, standing on my toes to kiss him again. "I gotta go, baby. Class is starting."
"You're welcome, my love," he smiled, hugging me close and picking me up off the ground for just a second. "I'll see you in a few hours. You can take my lunch with me."
"What's for lunch, Edward?" I teased, dragging my tongue along my bottom lip.
"You," he growled in my ear, chuckling low when I giggled. "Love you," he whispered, kissing the shell of my ear and turning to walk down the hall.
When I joined Jasper in class, his gaze was locked on David. I sank slowly in my seat, glancing between them. "Big brother?" I whispered so low, only he could hear it.
"He's confused," he answered without looking at me, but an evil smile crept up his face. "How is my brother-in-law?" he asked, just loud enough that David's head shot up.
I snorted, but hid it behind my hair. "He's...perfect," I said, biting my bottom lip. "And anxiously awaiting our lunch date," I chuckled, catching a glimpse of a frowning David.
"That isn't warm and fuzzy, Bells," Jasper laughed, his head falling back. "I don't even have a size for the amount of lust you're pushing right now."
"My bad," I chuckled, shielding him from it all, but looking up at the door as Myra walked in. "Oh, look Jazz..."
"Don't," he frowned, wincing as he caught whatever vibe the sweet looking girl was feeling.
Suddenly, I realized what we must have looked like to everyone in the room. We had become what the Cullens used to be. We ignored them all, walking amongst them with a grace that was unearthly. We laughed only with each other. We communicated only with each other.
I grimaced as I remembered how Edward and his family had seemed to me when I first saw them. We had become just that. In my effort to keep myself from being hurt, like with the loss of Wendy's friendship, we had become the one thing I had tried so hard not to be. Standoffish.
"Damn," I sighed, looking at my hands and then back up to a nervous Myra as she realized the only seat left was right behind Jasper. Her heart hammered in her chest, her eyes dilating. I could smell the salt from the perspiration that started on her upper lip and palms. She was intimidated by us, by him, mostly.
"What?" Jasper asked, unable to feel my emotions due to my shield.
"She's so small..." I mused, looking from him to her. "Jazz, get up. Give the lady your seat. You're too tall. Myra, sit here," I said, pointing to the seat that Jasper vacated without a second thought. "You'll never see around his lanky-self."
"Psh, lanky," he huffed, rolling his eyes, but shooting me a wink at her sweet, shy giggle.
"Thanks," she smiled, sitting down. "You're Bella, right?"
"Yeah," I smiled, nodding. "And this former restricted view is Jasper."
"Americans or Canadians?" she asked, smiling.
"Americans," Jasper growled, rolling his eyes again. I couldn't help but laugh. He knew what I was doing. I had lifted my shield, only for him to feel it pull Myra in to us. I couldn't help it. It was what made me...me.
I had never wanted to be the standoffish vampire that the Cullens used to be. I couldn't be that way.
"With an accent like that, could he be anything else?" I snorted, shaking my head as he kicked back in his seat. I could feel his pride in me.
"I suppose not," she chuckled, but her cheeks flushed when she turned to look at him. "Where in the States are you from?"
"Originally...Texas," Jasper snickered.
"Washington," I smiled.
The literature class began, and I knew Myra had more questions. I looked over at her more than once to find her studying me. It had been like that with Wendy, too.
When class finally let out, Jasper got up to turn our papers in. I stood up from my seat, and Myra stopped me.
"Is he...I mean...are you two..." The blush that overtook her face made me wince for her and chuckle at the same time. Blushes could be the worst telltale ever.
"He's not with me," I smiled, "if that's what you're asking. But he's taken, all the same. I'm married to his wife's brother."
"You're both married," she said, her eyebrows rising, and her mouth hanging open.
"Yes," I nodded, holding up my hand to show her my ring. "My husband and his uncle just transferred from the hospital in Seattle to here."
"Oh," she nodded, distracted when Jasper reappeared, but his attention was on his phone.
"Um, Bells," he smiled, "let's get going. Edward wanted me to drop you off right after class. Alice is done for the day."
"Okay," I nodded, picking up my bag. "See you tomorrow, Myra." She smiled and gave a small wave as Jasper and I left the classroom.
OoOoOo
"Bella," I heard behind me as I made my way down the very long hallway of the hospital. I smiled at the sound of Carlisle's voice, and turned to face him.
"Hey," I said, hugging him quickly. "I was just going upstairs to see Edward."
"Good. Let me walk with you," he smiled, offering me his arm. I loved the gentlemen in my family. "How was class?"
"You'll be happy to know..." I smirked, rolling my eyes up to his. "I made a friend today."
"Thatta girl," he beamed, pushing the button to call the elevator. "I knew you wouldn't be able to stop yourself."
"No," I sighed, looking up when the doors of the elevator slid open. We walked in and turned around. I reached over and pressed the floor for Edward's ward. "I saw what I was doing today," I sighed, looking up at him.
"Holding back?"
"Yeah," I nodded. "We never look more out of place than when we don't try to fit in. Holding back makes us stand out more. Does that make sense?"
"Absolutely," he said, holding the door open when the elevator stopped. We turned down a hallway, and he stopped me. "I'm proud of you." He paused, and said, "I turn here." He smiled, gesturing to the right. "Come by the house later this week. I want to know more, okay?"
"Sure," I smiled, kissing his cheek.
We went our separate ways, and I found myself leaving the sterile, drab hallway of one ward, and entering into the brightly painted hallway of the children's ward. Despite the scent of kids, blood, medications, cleansers, and sweat, I instantly knew my husband was just down the corridor. I looked up to see him writing in a chart, a nurse at his side.
I couldn't help the wanton sigh that left me. He was in his scrubs, not the suit he had left the house with. There wasn't anything better than his perfect ass in light blue doctors' scrubs. It sat right there, defying gravity and God and all that was holy. It called to be touched. There was a reason he didn't wear those at home. I would lose my mind.
"Miss Bella," I heard behind me. I turned to see Toby sitting up in bed in his room. He wore the happiest of smiles.
"Why, Mr. Toby, aren't you looking good?" I beamed, sitting in the chair next to his bed. His color was almost a normal pink, except for the copious amounts of freckles. His head was completely bare, but he wore a hat to conceal it. His happy blue eyes gleamed with hope.
"Yeah," he smiled widely. "I'm not sure, but Dr. Masen thinks that I may be able to finish this round of chemotherapy out, and then..." He gestured dramatically by throwing his arms up in the air. "I'll be done!"
"I think that is the best thing I've heard in a very long time, Toby," I sighed, relishing his relief. "Oh! I almost forgot!" I giggled, pulling my bag from school to me. I reached in and retrieved four brand new comic books. "Mr. Emmett picked these out just for you, little man."
"Brilliant," he smiled, looking through them all. "Wow, X-Men! I love Wolverine and Nightcrawler."
"Yeah, he thought you'd like those," I chuckled, standing. "Personally, I like Wolverine, too. He's a good guy under a gruff exterior."
"Yeah," Toby nodded vehemently. "And can he ever fight..." I smiled at his enthusiasm. "I was going to watch the movies later...will you stay?"
I knew from Edward that Toby's parents were not around as much. It wasn't that they didn't want to be, but they couldn't afford to take time off from their jobs, so they worked during the daytime hours. I was sure the little guy got lonely.
"How about I stop back by after I've seen Dr. Masen?"
"Will you teach me more of Texas Hold 'Em?" he asked, his face too cute, too hopeful to say no to.
"She'll take you for everything you've got, Toby," Edward chuckled from the doorway. I smirked, looking up at him as Toby giggled.
"I'm not good yet," he argued with a sweet smile. "But she's teaching me tricks on how to beat Mr. Jasper."
"Ah," he smiled, shaking his head. "The trick with Mr. Jasper is to keep your face blank. Give nothing away."
"I know," he nodded. "But that's hard when you're holding a royal flush."
"Indeed," Edward chuckled.
"So you'll come back?" Toby verified, looking up at me with wide, hopeful eyes.
"Most definitely," I nodded, snickering at Toby's cheer.
"Let me check his vitals, love. I'll be right out, okay?" Edward asked, shooting me a wink.
I stepped out into the hallway, leaning against the wall and listening to their conversation. I could hear Edward move around Toby's bed as the little boy flipped through the pages of his new books.
"What did she bring you?" Edward chuckled.
"New comics," Toby gushed. "X-Men. She said they were from Mr. Emmett."
"Mr. Emmett has quite a collection of his own," Edward stated, shifting the sheets around. "Toby, you need to relax for me. Your heart is pounding."
"I can't help it," he whispered, sounding almost affronted.
"Comic books can't have you this excited," Edward chuckled, but I knew my husband could see what Toby was gushing about.
"Miss Bella is pretty," he mumbled.
"She is that." Edward's amusement could not be missed. "Take deep breaths for me."
"She's nice, too," Toby added between deep breaths. "She tells the most amazing stories."
"Really?" Edward chuckled again. "Which one has she told you?" I smiled, covering my mouth to stop my laugh.
"She's told me a few. One about a lion and a lamb, but Elise was in the playroom, so I think that was more for her." I grinned, shaking my head. Elise had indeed been in the playroom. She was only six, and was in for a broken arm last week. "But she told the best story about knights and sword fights. Someone had stolen the princess, and the prince led his knights into battle to take her back. They made a pact with dragons to help."
"Now that I'd like to hear," Edward laughed. "You'll have to tell me that one later, Toby. Get some rest. You need to eat today. You have a treatment tomorrow."
"Yes, Dr. Masen. Tell Miss Bella that I'll have the movie on and the cards shuffled."
I giggled and walked further down the hallway. There was a reason Edward had taken to Toby at first. He was a medical puzzle, but hearing them interact together would never get old. If he was finished with his treatments, then I would miss visiting the little guy.
I wandered down to the nurse's station. I didn't see Eden, the nurse that had the largest of crushes on my husband, but there was another young nurse. She was blonde, with sharp green eyes. Her face was almost childlike, with a small nose and round cheeks. Her hair was pulled back into a ponytail.
"May I help you?" she asked, and I looked to her name tag. Brooke.
"I'm just waiting for Dr. Masen," I smiled politely.
"He's doing rounds," she said, her eyes cold as she looked me over.
I smiled again and nodded. "Yes, I'm aware. I have an appointment to see him." From the look on her face, she was jealous.
"He has no appointment next," she huffed, looking down at her schedule. "He's taking his break next."
"Exactly," I said, trying to stay kind, but she was getting a little snippy.
"Mrs. Masen," I heard from my right. I smiled up at Edward's head nurse, Helen. She was a little older, with a crinkle around her eyes when she smiled. She had a few gray hairs beginning to show in her dark, almost black hair, and she had shining hazel eyes. She was sweet and kind. She mothered Edward, and I couldn't love her more for it. "Well, won't he be happy to see you here!"
"He knows," I smiled. "How are you?"
"Excellent, as always," she beamed, walking behind the desk. "Brooke, when Dr. Masen's finished with Toby, I need you to check in on Danielle. She's...angry today. I see you've met Mrs. Masen."
"Bella, please," I smiled, trying not to smile too wide at Brooke's dejected nod. "Did you just start?"
"Yes," she nodded, her eyes slipping past me. "Today is only my second day." Her voice trailed off, and her heart pounded in my ears so hard that I almost winced. Her breathing picked up as Edward stepped up to us.
"Edward," Helen huffed dramatically, but I could tell she was about to tease him. "Get away from this desk. You should have already been on your lunch."
"Yes, ma'am," he smiled, shaking his head and handing over a few charts. "High protein for Toby today."
"I know," she scowled. "Now out." She smirked at him, pointing down the hall. "Oh, wait," she sighed. "Danielle...she's having a bad day."
Edward took a deep breath, a dark look crossing over his face as he ran a hand through his hair. "Does she sound like she wants to talk about it?"
"No," Helen shook her head. "I gave her something to calm down, but she's very frustrated today."
"Call up to Psychiatric...see if they can send Dr. Byrne down to see her," he frowned, running another frustrated hand through his hair. "Maybe she can speak with her – get Danielle to open up."
"Yes, sir," she nodded, picking up the phone. She glanced back up. "You're still in my sight, Edward. Get away from me. Spend time with that wife of yours. She wants to see you; I don't." Helen shot me a wink as I snickered at the two of them.
Edward snorted, his head falling back with his laugh as he grabbed my hand. "And that's a miracle in itself, Helen. Come on, beautiful. You don't want to see Helen wield all of her power."
"Actually, I would," I laughed, waving at a chuckling Helen as she spoke on the phone.
We walked by a room that Brooke had disappeared into, and I heard a young girl snap, "I'll eat when I'm good and ready. Just get out."
Edward paused for a moment, looking down at me. "Give me a second, love." He leaned in the doorway. "Danielle, you can be angry all you want, but don't take it out on my staff. I've got someone coming down to talk to you."
"I don't care," she huffed, folding her arms across her chest. She looked to be about thirteen, with bandages around each wrist. I could already smell the salt from the tears welling up in her eyes. "I want to go home."
"You can't," he said calmly. "You have no choice but to stay. That entire bottle of pills you decided to swallow has caused damage to your kidneys and liver. We have to see if their functions pick back up."
She glared at him, but didn't say anything. She radiated anger, hurt, and dark fear. She nodded in acquiescence. He turned to leave, taking my hand again.
"Attempted suicide?" I asked, frowning as we made our way into his office. "She's a baby."
"She's thirteen going on forty," he growled and nodded, shaking his head. "She's...damaged."
"Damaged how?"
He looked up at me, his brow furrowed as he fell into his chair. He opened his arms for me, and I sat in his lap sideways. "She's been in a home that could care less about her. She's very lonely, but wants to be alone. In her mind, she wants to talk, but is scared to actually say what has happened to her."
"And you can't say anything, but you know what happened."
"Yes and no," he winced, wrapping his arms around me, placing a small kiss to my cheek. "She tries damn hard to not think about any of it."
"Saying the words makes it all too real, Edward," I frowned. "If she's been hurt by someone, then she already feels small, weak, and vulnerable. Saying it out loud is like admitting you're nothing, that you can't handle anything. If she stays angry and keeps the wall up, that's the only power she has. It feels good. It means she has control of something. It'll take time, baby. Patience."
He studied my face and reached up to trace a finger along my cheekbone. When he had come back to me, Edward found me a helpless mess and in an abusive relationship with Jake. I shook my head at him. "Don't."
"I was thinking you've come so far." He tilted his head at me and smiled sadly.
"I suppose," I shrugged. "My human memories are a little blurry around that time – on purpose."
He looked at me and nodded. "How was class today?"
"I made friends with Myra," I chuckled.
"The girl that likes Jasper?" he smiled widely.
"Yeah," I giggled. "She's really nice."
"Good," he said, frowning when I stood up from his lap. I wanted to look around his office. I hadn't visited him at work in a week.
"You've added pictures."
"I miss you. They help," he chuckled, leaning back in his chair with his hands behind his head. "Plus, I think every time Esme visits, she brings more."
"Of course she does," I snickered, turning to look at him. "She misses you."
"I know," he smiled. "But she's happy for us. At first, she missed me like when I left for ten years so long ago."
"She told me once," I nodded, leaning against his filing cabinet. His office was small, but Esme had personalized it for him. Her influence was on every surface. "She couldn't love you more if you were her own."
He smiled sweetly, tilting his head and looking up at me in an innocent way. He had no clue how adorable that look was. None. It was a look that stripped him of his many years straight down to the seventeen-year-old boy that he would always be. I smiled at him.
"What did she tell you?"
"That with your help, you made her transition into this life easier, even when you were struggling yourself," I said, picking up a picture of Edward and me at prom in Forks. I was still human in the picture, staring at him like he would disappear. The picture was in black and white, but I didn't need color to see the blush spreading over my face as I looked up at him. The love we shared was breathtaking, even then.
"She gives me too much credit, or she's remembering it wrong," he chuckled, shaking his head. "I would answer her thoughts instead of her voice. I couldn't tell the difference back then. But I knew when she was...hurting." He frowned, his eyes far away with the memory.
"No, baby," I smiled. "She tells it that same way."
"Yeah?"
"Mmmhmm," I nodded. "She's aware that her first years were hard for you and Carlisle."
"Not...hard," he smiled indulgently. "Just...awkward. It was the beginning of being in the way of a new couple." He chuckled, shaking his head.
"Parents, at that," I teased. I stared down at the picture of us again.
"What are you thinking? You're shielded from me," he smiled softly, but he was tilting his head like he used to. "Which picture is that?"
I smiled, turning it to face him. He smiled so beautifully, it stopped my breathing for a moment. "Do you miss her?"
He chuckled, shaking his head. He sat forward in his chair, resting his elbows on his knees. "I don't miss him."
"Don't evade, Edward," I laughed softly, but his brow furrowed. "Do you miss warm and soft and fragrant?"
He reached out, gripping the front of my denim skirt, and pulled me roughly to him, positioning me between his legs. "Are you kidding me, love?" he growled, his face serious but sweetly sympathetic. I didn't answer, but just waited for his reply. "No, baby," he shook his head. "I loved her, lived for her, but she was so fragile. I...please don't ask me that again, Bella. I love you. And you are soft," he whispered, his hands gripping my waist and slipping around to my bottom. He gave my ass a slow squeeze.
"I didn't mean it that way, sweetheart," I frowned, cupping his face. "If you were to ask me the same question, I would have to say I don't miss her, either," I smiled, making sure that he was looking at me.
"And him?" Edward asked, pulling me closer and resting his chin on my stomach. His eyes never wavered from mine as he took the frame from me and set it on the cabinet behind him.
"I love him no matter what." I smiled at his eye roll. "Cranky, old-fashioned, high school student, college student, doctor, sexual tease..." I laughed, fighting his tickling fingers. "I love the boy I met, the boyfriend I fell in love with, the hero that came back to me, and the man I married." I shrugged, not knowing what else to say. "My love for you is unwavering, Edward."
His eyes closed, and I could feel his warm breath through my shirt. It was like he'd been holding it in anticipation. He placed a long, slow kiss to my belly, leaving his lips there for a moment. I ran my fingers through his hair, placing a kiss to the top of his head. Before I could react, I was set roughly on the top of his desk.
He was panting in front of me, his fists clenched. "We have to be quick, but I need you, baby."
I nodded, looking up into his almost stricken face. "First, tell me...what's this all about?" I asked, pulling him between my legs.
"I...love you...too much sometimes," he stated, looking away from me. "I watch you with others. I see you with Toby. I feel like I'm hallucinating, like none of this is real."
"I feel that way everyday, Edward," I said, gripping his neck to make him look at me. "It's okay, baby."
"Then, I feel disconnected," he gushed, gripping my hips and wrapping my legs around his waist. "Like we're losing something. We aren't, are we?"
"No," I shook my head. "We have to find balance."
"Carlisle?" he asked, looking almost pained, but relaxed when I nodded. "Esme didn't bring those on her own. I asked her to..."
I smiled up at him, a small giggle escaping me. Finally, he relaxed into my touch. "Good, every nurse should see these," I laughed, pulling him until he was looming over me and I was lying on the top of his paperwork.
"Bella," he snorted. "Am I overreacting?"
"Yes, but I love you anyway," I smiled, biting my lip. "Kiss me, Edward. Your lunchtime is ticking away."
He leaned closer, smiling in spite of his brief moment of worry. "We can't have that. I planned on ravishing you on my desk."
"This poor desk," I chuckled, my head falling back when his lips met my neck in a biting kiss. "I'm surprised it's still standing, love."
"Me, too," he laughed, causing his hot breath to caress my cheek. I moaned when his mouth finally met mine. His hands braced roughly on each side of my head as he bent over me, licking and nipping at my lips. His hips pressed forward, and I could feel everything behind the thin fabric of his scrubs and underwear.
"Mmm," I smiled against his mouth, my hands grasping for the tie at the front of his pants. "You are just...mmm, in these," I grinned, shaking my head as he let me sit up slightly.
"I knew the minute you were in the hallway," he smirked, caressing my thighs, only to slip his hands under my skirt. "I could smell you, my sweet girl."
"I can't help it," I growled, looking up at him and slowly tugging the tie. "You just don't see yourself like I do." I groaned, working my hands inside his pants. I pushed at them until they were around his ankles. "No foreplay...I want you."
"Good girl," he growled, his fingers wrapping around my thong and giving them a good, swift tug. They snapped instantly. "Say it," he purred, pulling me to the edge of his desk and lining up with my already throbbing, wet entrance.
"Oh, God, Edward...fuck me."
We came together in a shared curse, a breathless gasp leaving the both of us. I wrapped my legs higher around his waist, gripping the hair at the base of his neck. My skirt rode up even more as Edward drove into me.
My head fell back at the feel of him filling me completely. There was a slightly feral grip of his hands, the light grunts he was letting out. He wrapped his arm around me, pulling me off of the desk and slamming me into the wall. Air rushed from my lungs.
"Sorry," he moaned as I pressed my forehead to his.
"I'm not," I smiled, but it faltered as his hand slipped under my shirt. He released my breast from my bra, palming it. "More, baby. Harder."
He squeezed my breast, his thumb brushing roughly over my nipple at the same time his hips swiveled just right. My eyes rolled to the back of my head as he played my body perfectly. My mouth hung open as my entire being started to contract around him.
Somewhere in the back of my mind, there was a cell phone ringing, but I wasn't sure if it was even real.
"Come, baby...please. You have to come first," he begged, assaulting my mouth with his. He broke away with a gasp, saying, "You're so fucking beautiful when you come all over me."
"Edward," I breathed, pulling his face to mine and sucking what seemed to be all of the air from the room when my coil finally snapped. My climax triggered his, but he continued to hold me against the wall.
He buried his face between my neck and shoulder, his breathing unnecessarily heavy. "Balance," he panted, his voice muffled by my skin. I nodded, but knew he could feel it. I was just as shaken as he was.
"Edward?"
"Hmm?" he sighed, allowing me to pull his face up to mine.
"You okay, sweetheart?" I asked, and he nodded, his gaze a liquid, warm honey again. "Good," I smiled, kissing his lips. "I think your phone rang."
"It did," he sighed, setting me on my feet. "I need to get back to work, love." His brow wrinkled slightly as I help him right his clothes.
"And I have a lesson in poker to give," I snickered, looking up at him as I ran my fingers through his sex-crazed hair. "I don't want you to feel disconnected, Edward. I need you to tell me these things. If you wanted pictures, you could have asked me. I wish I had known you were feeling that way. I wouldn't have felt...alone."
"I didn't want you to worry," he sighed, kissing my forehead. "You're not the only one with separation anxiety." He rolled his eyes. "I miss you every minute. Please know that."
"But you're happy here," I verified, and got a reluctant nod. "That's all I want for you. You know that, right? The minute this isn't what you want, I want to know."
"Yes, ma'am," he nodded, kissing my lips again as his phone went off. With a deep sigh, he looked at it. "Shit," he growled. "Shield yourself from the blood when you go to Toby," he commanded. "Danielle just cut herself again."
EDWARD
"No," my sweet girl gasped, straightening her clothes before we exited my office.
"I'm afraid so," I sighed, looking down at her.
"Patience with her, baby," Bella reminded me, her mind now open to me. She showed me the endless patience I had shown with her and the effects of Jake's abuse.
"Okay," I nodded, steeling myself for the scent of blood.
"Edward," Helen rushed to me. "She pulled her stitches out using something from her food tray."
"Bella...love, go see Toby," I frowned, kissing her head. "If I don't see you before you leave, I'll see you at home. I love you."
"Love you, too," she nodded, giving Danielle's room a wary glance before walking down the corridor.
I entered Danielle's room to see a mess. She had savagely ripped out her stitches to allow the blood to flow. I held my breath, walking to her as Helen held her wound closed. Pulling on gloves, I turned my gaze to a weary Danielle.
"This isn't the answer, Danielle," I said, sitting down in the chair by her bed. I shook my head at the barrage of lonely and fearful thoughts that she was thinking.
"What do you know?"
I took a deep breath, trying not to flinch at the scent of her blood. "You would be surprised at what I know." I sighed, giving her a small smile. "I know you feel alone," I said, cleaning her cut and starting the injection to numb the skin. She looked away from me and the needle. "Oh, you don't mind blood, but needles are bad?" I chuckled, shaking my head. Her mouth twitched up in the corners.
Helen smirked, but pretended not to be in the room. She looked over the other wrist, noting mentally that the bandage and stitches were still intact.
"What do you think you'll find if you kill yourself? What do you believe, Danielle?"
"Nothing. Hopefully, there's just fucking blackness and quiet," she muttered, her mind filled with a memory of a loud home where everyone would scream and yell. I closed my eyes as she remembered a slap, a punch, a sweaty man looming over her.
I swallowed the urge to vomit. She was too young to have seen such things, much less experience them firsthand.
"That's one way to see it," I nodded, starting to stitch her back up. "Things don't last, Danielle. Life has a tendency to change quickly. It won't always be so bad."
Her eyes looked up at me, filling with large tears, and my heart broke for her. I'd seen those same tears in the eyes of my Bella once. They were hopeless tears, looking to me for answers.
I looked to Helen, who was already getting the tissue box from the stand by the bed.
Danielle wanted away from this topic, so she changed course quickly. "Was that your girlfriend?"
"Wife," I smiled, glancing up from the next stitch.
"She's pretty," she huffed.
"Thank you," I smiled again. "I'll let her know you think so. She doesn't see it at all, sometimes."
"Bella's adorable," Helen scoffed, looking at me in shock.
"She's my saving grace, but she'll tell you it's the other way around," I chuckled, starting the next stitch. I was doing this slowly. This was the most interaction I had been able to get from the young girl in front of me.
"So which one of you is lying?" Danielle smiled softly, a little glow back in her eyes. Helen had given her a Xanex, so it was hitting her system slowly.
"Both...neither?" I shrugged. "She feels it's me, because she once was hurt by someone that she knew. Repeatedly."
"You took her away from that?" Danielle asked, rubbing her face with her free hand.
"Something like that," I smiled to myself.
"She looks happy," she frowned, her mind unable to comprehend happy after abuse.
"That wasn't always the case. She was hurting for a very long time," I said, looking up at her. Her gazed wavered, and she picked at the blanket over her legs. "It was kind of my fault. I left her behind for a little while. I left her to defend herself from this person." I sighed, frowning. "She said that while I was gone, she was tired, lonely. She didn't think anyone would understand. She told me that even though she knew it was wrong and that she should step away from this person, they kept making their way back to her. They made her feel small and weak, like she needed them or that she owed them.
"When I came back, I found a different girl. She was stronger than she'd thought she was, but exhausted. I found that just listening to her helped ease the pain," I said, starting the last stitch.
"Hers, or yours?" Danielle snapped, frowning at me.
"Both," I nodded. "She found out she wasn't as weak or small as she'd thought. And I found out that she was perfect, no matter what."
Helen chuckled quietly, and I shot her a wink.
"Was she scared? To tell you, I mean," Danielle asked. "Did she blame you?"
"Yes, she was scared, but only because it would hurt me to hear it. And no, she never blamed me." I sighed, setting the needle down and picking up the gauze. "She could have, but she didn't." I wrapped her wrist again, looking back up at her. "Death isn't the answer, Danielle."
"Did she try?"
"Yes," I nodded, swallowing the lump in my throat. "But not as...theatrically as you. She just didn't care what happened to her. She invited it in, if it was dangerous. She would have welcomed it, but it needed to have shown up at her door." She seemed to absorb these words, but her gaze met mine again. Her mind was full of questions, but she fought all of them but one.
"And how did she save you?" she smirked, thinking Bella was right. I was the hero.
"She saved me...from me."
OoOoOo
As I came out of the elevator, I was stopped by Helen. "You have an extraordinary family," she chuckled.
"Yes," I snorted, "but why are you telling me this?"
"Go to the playroom," she ordered. "Just go..."
I shook my head, thinking of every scenario, but I couldn't help but smile as I leaned in doorway of the playroom. All of my siblings and my wife were sitting around a small table playing poker. But it was who was playing with them that made me smile.
"No," Toby growled, smacking his cards down onto the table. "That's cheating, that is." He pointed a finger to a laughing Emmett.
"Don't cheat," Rose huffed, smacking the back of his head. "What's wrong with you?"
"Okay," Bella sighed, rolling her eyes. "I'll deal. I don't cheat," she scowled, giving both Jasper and Emmett a scathing look.
"They're boys," Danielle smirked, rolling her eyes, too. "They can't help themselves."
"Men," my brothers argued together.
"Whatever," she sighed, waving them away.
"Exactly," Alice, Rose, and Bella laughed. Bella added, "And she's thirteen and can recognize your immaturity." She laughed as she looked at Emmett. She stopped his hand before he could flip her off. Jasper snorted, shaking his head.
"What are we playing with?" Emmett asked, looking around the table.
"Crayons," Danielle snorted, spinning a green one under her finger. "You know, I only came down here for a book."
"And now you're playing poker," Jasper smiled, taking his cards and leaning his long body back in the small seat. "Don't knock it."
"Besides," Alice smiled, "that book isn't what it's cracked up to be."
"Hey," Bella and Danielle both scoffed.
"Don't knock the book. Whuthering Heights is great," Bella frowned, pointing to a giggling Alice. She was well aware of what Bella's reaction was going to be.
I smiled, watching as they teased each other. Occasionally, they would all show up like this. They would bring games and movies for the kids. They had all taken a liking to Toby, but I assumed it was because I talked about him. But to see my Bella's shield pull Danielle in, my heart swelled with more love.
I saw Bella about to call me for a ride, so we all decided to come, Alice's mind hit me, answering the question as to why they were all there.
Emmett finally saw me, a smile spreading over his face. "Want in, bro?" he asked, chuckling as they all looked up at me.
"It's about time you showed up," Rose smirked.
"Why?" Bella giggled. "He cheats, too." She shot me a wink, her mind telling me she loved me.
"Really?" Toby gasped, his mouth hanging open.
"Interesting," Danielle smirked, folding her arms across her chest.
"No, not really," I growled dramatically at Bella, pulling up a chair. She laughed, leaning into Rose. My shift was almost over, but I couldn't imagine leaving this scene. I missed them all. I missed the little things. I was glad they had shown up. "Deal me in."


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