Tuesday, March 20, 2001 | By: Drotuno

An Angel's Promise Chapter 6

The sun was starting to set as I stepped out of the shower. I toweled off quickly, pulling on a pair of underwear – not something I normally wore, but Bella made me. Thankfully, only for work. My weekend was over; it was time for my night shifts.
I walked into our bedroom, smiling at the scene in front of me. Bella was lying across our bed, her hair twisted up and held with a pencil. Her laptop was open, and the poor thing was surrounded by books and class notes. Her mind was filled with facts about Roman history, ancient civilizations, and global wars. She was so deeply involved, she didn't even hear the doorbell.
"Sweet girl, the door," I smiled, running my towel over my wet head.
"Oh, it's probably just Kevin," she mumbled, turning a page in the book in front of her.
"It is, in fact, Kevin, but you will have to let him in."
She reluctantly looked up from her notes, and the most beautiful combination of a low growl and a giggle escaped her as she licked her lips. She raised an eyebrow at me. "Yeah, he'd pass the hell out at the sight of you in your Calvins."
I couldn't help but chuckle at her. "We could test that theory," I teased, walking towards the bedroom door. I knew exactly what her reaction would be.
"Leave this room in anything less than fully clothed, Dr. Masen, and you'll go to work limping," she growled, beating me to the door and rushing down the stairs.
I chuckled, shaking my head as I heard her let her friend in. She ushered him to the music room, telling him she would be right back, that she had to get her things.
"No one," she huffed, walking back in the door and pointing up and down my body, "and I mean no one, sees you looking like that but me. Got it, Hot Doc?" She raised a dangerous eyebrow at me in warning, as she gathered up her things to take back downstairs.
"Yes, ma'am," I said, laughing, and kissed her forehead before she walked back out of the room with her arms full.
As I got dressed, I heard Alice and Jasper arrive, joining Bella and Kevin. After Kevin's initial exuberant greetings, Alice's teasing, and Bella's laugh, they discussed their work. They were pretty quiet, their minds focused on their project. Alice was quietly sketching, her thoughts on colors and styles. I smiled, tucking my shirt in and draping my tie around my neck. I paused just before I went downstairs, Kevin's thoughts changing quickly.
I could see him look around our house, then to Bella, Alice and Jasper. I wasn't lying the night before when I told Bella that he loved our family. He did. He had been terribly lonely until he started working with Alice. He'd instantly loved everything Bella threw at him. His thoughts were filled with a thankfulness that he could barely express. He loved their company. He liked fitting in. He truly felt like he could talk to them about anything, especially the girls. Even though he found my brothers, Carlisle, and me attractive, he loved that we never took offense to it. How could we? Whether he meant the things he said or not, he knew we were all taken. He longed for his own relationship.
I nodded to myself, continuing down the stairs. I couldn't fault Kevin for wanting these things or loving my family. They radiated fun and happiness. Bella's shield pulled him in, simply because she found him endearing.
I leaned in the doorway of the music room. They were all busy, but Bella sensed my presence immediately.
"Leaving?" she asked, smiling as she got up and walked to me.
"Yes, ma'am," I answered, nodding. "You'll be okay overnight?"
"Never." She winked, tugging on my tie. "Did you want me to tie this?" she asked, starting to tie it anyway. I nodded, kissing her head while she straightened my collar.
"Hey, Dr. Dirty Dancing," Kevin smirked from his seat at the table. Bella snorted and rolled her eyes up to mine. "Aren't there any hot, gay, young interns at that hospital you spend so much time at?"
"You know, Kevin," I sighed, looking over at him. "I've never really looked."
Jasper chuckled, looking up at me from his laptop. "Gee, why not?"
"Because he has a hard enough time fighting off the nurses," Bella teased, kissing my cheek once my tie was finished. "There's Brooke, Eden, and..."
"I bet," Kevin laughed.
"Hush, beautiful." I chuckled, rolling my eyes. "Just thank God for Helen."
"No kidding." Bella nodded with a smirk. "Love her!" she sang, placing her hands on each side of my neck. "Tell Toby I'll come by tomorrow night. I've got something for him. Emmett found him some rare Superman or something."
"Batman," Jasper corrected. "Cost him a pretty penny, too."
He looked up at me and thought, And that was twenty years ago. He's giving him one of his own, dude. Something he can hold onto for the future. Who knew Em had it in him?
My eyebrows shot up. If it was the one Jasper was showing me in his mind, Toby could sell it years from now, and comfortably go to college without paying a cent.
"Okay, I'll let him know." I huffed a laugh, shaking my head in awe.
I know, right? Jasper smirked, shrugging.
"Call me later if you have down time," Bella smiled, looking up at me, and not for the first time, did I hear the anxiety in her voice.
"I promise," I told her, nodding. "What's your plans?"
"Homework," she smirked, pointing back to the room. "I have reading to do for Comparative Lit."
"We may go out," Alice shrugged, winking at me from her sketch.
"Maybe," Bella chuckled.
"No maybe," Kevin huffed, pouting shamelessly. "I thought you wanted to show your...fuck hawt relatives a good time."
"He's seriously crushing on Demitri," Alice laughed.
"Only because Bella stole Dr. Heavy Equipment from me."
"Kevin...paper...shut up," Bella commanded, pointing at him.
He laughed, nodded, and went back to his book.
I snorted at their exchange. Jasper was in silent hysterics, busting when I flipped him off. He shut up when I asked him, "How's Myra, Jazz?"
"Not funny, Ed," he growled, rolling his eyes. The girls giggled, though.
Bella shook her head, pulling me into the kitchen. Kiss me, and make it good. She smiled, her tongue dragging along her bottom lip in anticipation.
I lifted her up onto the counter, smiling as she swung her legs back and forth on either side of mine.
"I love you, my Bella," I sighed, my brow wrinkling at the thought of being away from her.
"I know," she smirked, leaning in to press her lips to mine.
She kissed me with a touch of desperation, her want for me just under the surface. Slowly, languidly our lips and tongues brushed together. Bella turned her head, and we were losing it. She shuddered when Jasper sent us a calming wave. It felt like being hosed down with cold water. I smiled at his chuckle when I finally pulled back.
"That's probably for the best," Bella snickered, straightening my tie again. "Let me know how Danielle is, too, okay?"
"I will," I nodded. "I'll see you in the morning, but I'll call you later."
She hopped down from the counter as I walked out the front door.
The night was quiet. They always were. Occasionally, I would get called downstairs for an emergency, but otherwise, I worked on charts in my office. I looked up when Eden knocked and cracked my door open.
"Dr. Masen, Toby's having a hard time sleeping," she said, frowning a touch.
"I'll go look in on him in a moment. He slept most of the day away," I explained, closing the file on my desk and standing.
I tried to ignore her mind, her stares. Eden's attraction to me rivaled that of Jessica Stanley's back when we first moved to Forks. I followed her down the hall, and she stopped off at the nurse's station. I continued on to Toby's room.
He was flipping through a comic book, but I could tell he was a little agitated. "It's late, Toby. You should try and rest."
"I can't sleep," he sighed, frowning up at me. "I'm bored, my stomach aches, and my head hurts." He had just finished another round of chemo. Those symptoms were common.
"Hmm," I mused, looking over his chart. He hadn't eaten much at dinner. "Do you think you're hungry?" He shrugged, and then nodded. "If Eden brought you some milk and cookies, would you eat them?"
"Biscuits," he corrected with a smile. "Cookies in the States...biscuits here."
"Fine, oh wise one," I chuckled. "You didn't answer my question."
"Yeah," he nodded, smiling a little wider.
I nodded, turning to leave, but remembered Bella's message. "Oh, Miss Bella wanted me to let you know that she would come by tomorrow night. She has something for you."
His face beamed with his love for her. "Brilliant," he said, almost looking like Alice as he bounced in the bed. I chuckled at his excitement. "What is it?"
"No way." I shook my head. "Do you have any idea how much trouble I would be in if I told you?"
"How much?" he asked, his eyes now gleaming.
"Huge! Enormous amounts of trouble."
He giggled, "Does she put you on restrictions?"
"Something like that," I laughed. "Now, I want you to rest. Eat your snack and then... Go. To. Sleep." I growled dramatically at him.
He smiled and nodded.
I walked back out to the nurse's station and found Eden frowning in the direction of Danielle's room. "What?"
"She has a visitor," she whispered, looking up at me. "He's not... kind."
"I'll take care of it," I assured her. "Would you get Toby a small snack?"
"Yes, sir," she answered, giving Danielle's room a side glance before heading off to the pantry.
As soon as I neared Danielle's room, her mind hit me like a ton of bricks. There was fear, hatred, and nausea. Her mind showed me the large man sitting in the chair beside her bed. He was her mother's boyfriend.
I leaned in the doorway. Danielle saw me first, her whole being relaxing at the sight of me. Bella's words circled in her mind. "I never felt more protected..." I could see her sigh in relief, her whole body almost shivering with how tense she had been.
Danielle was smart, too. She knew to ignore me. Bella's talk with her and her continuing with therapy had taught her that he was only as powerful as she would allow him to be.
"Come on, Dani," the man said. He tried touching her hand, but she pulled it away. "What's this I hear you're not coming home? Your mother won't allow it."
"Mummy doesn't have a choice, Gerald," she frowned, trying to get as far away from him as possible. "I won't come back. You won't touch me anymore."
"I own you, Dani," he growled, his mind flickering to the most foul acts a man could ever think about a child.
It was all I could do not to snap his neck. I swallowed back venom, remembering a time when I hunted human minds such as the one in front of me. He was the lowest of the human species.
"Visiting hours are... over," I said, my voice more menacing that I had originally intended it to be. Mentally calming myself down, I entered the room. "Danielle should be getting rest."
"She's my daughter. I can see her when I want," he snapped standing. He thought his mere size could intimidate me. I smiled at the thought. He had no idea what I was capable of.
"I'm not your daughter," Danielle said, her voice quiet as she took a look up at me. Her mind, her eyes, they screamed at me to make him go away.
"You might as well be," he snapped, but he caught himself before he could lose his temper in front of me.
She flinched at his demeanor, her memory filled with what happened when Gerald lost control.
"Might as well be and actually being... those are two completely different things," I said calmly, smirking at him. "At any rate, you still shouldn't be here. It's late, and Danielle needs her rest."
Stupid fucking Yank, he thought, eying me with contempt. How fucking old is this guy, anyway?
I tried not to laugh, so I turned to Danielle. "You've got tests tomorrow. It would go easier if you were rested."
"I know," she said, nodding. "I was asleep." She sighed, rolling her eyes and gesturing to the man we were determined to ignore.
I smiled at her bravery and her sarcasm. "How did your talk with Dr. Byrne go yesterday?"
Her eyes widened and flickered to Gerald, but she let her trust in me take over. "All right," she shrugged. "Mrs. Atherton came by with a woman that will help me find my real father." The last three words came out through her teeth as she looked over at Gerald, who was seething.
"That wanker is dead," he growled.
"No, he isn't." Danielle rolled her eyes. "But I wouldn't believe you anyway."
"I guess you'll find out then, won't you?" I smiled at her. I was proud of the way she was handling him, though I knew my presence helped her. "Let me know. Keep me posted on that, okay?"
"Sure, Dr. Masen."
"Come on, Gerald..."
"Brennan," he answered without thinking.
"Mr. Brennan, I think you can understand that Danielle needs her rest," I said, ushering him towards the door. "You can't show up at one in the morning. Stick to visiting hours, please."
Despite how young he thought I was, his human instincts kicked in. My close proximity was making him nervous. As it truly should. I could make him disappear before he even reached his car in the garage downstairs.
His heart rate picked up, his brow began to sweat. He smelled of whiskey and car grease. "She spews lies, the little bitch," he blurted out, panicking at the thought of whatever she may or may not be telling us.
"That's quite enough, Mr. Brennan," I snapped, my anger hanging on by a mere thread. "I can...and will have you banned from seeing her. Security is a mere phone call away. You won't be allowed anywhere near this floor."
While he was a very large man, I stood eye to eye with him. I'm sure my eyes were pitch black as I swallowed another mouth full of venom. He took a step back, only to find his back pressed into the door frame. He eyed me for a moment, his mind debating on whether to test me or not. There was a small part of me that wished he would.
"Edward," I heard behind me. I didn't even need to look. Carlisle. "I need your consult on something."
"I was just... escorting Mr. Brennan out. Give me a moment, and I'll be right with you," I sneered, my gaze never leaving the slimy bastard in front of me.
"Well, we can walk him out together," Carlisle smiled, holding his arm out to allow Gerald to walk passed us, which he did with speed. I looked over at him. Alice, he thought to me with a smirk. She saw you follow him to his car. I snorted, rolling my eyes.
I turned back to Danielle, who was watching the whole exchange with a touch of amusement and thankfulness. "Rest, Danielle," I smirked at her.
"Yes, Dr. Masen," she smiled, pulling her covers back up. "When will Bella be back?" she asked before I could follow Carlisle.
"I believe tomorrow night," I smiled. "Why?"
"I wouldn't mind talking to her again," she said softly, shrugging one shoulder.
"I'll be sure she stops by then," I smiled, pointing to her. "Rest." She chuckled and nodded, sinking into her bed.
The ride in the elevator was quiet, except for the pounding of Gerald's nervous heart. Carlisle chuckled, shaking his head.
You're scaring him to death, he thought, looking up at me. I smirked, shrugged, and eyed the man again. Would you have taken him? I shook my head no, but I wasn't sure that wasn't a complete lie.
We walked Mr. Brennan to the door and made sure he was actually gone before I spoke. "He's a slug."
Carlisle chuckled, slapping my back. "Yes, indeed. I'm not sure I would be sad if he disappeared."
"I would hate myself," I sighed, unable not to smile with him as we made our way back through the hallways. "But it was tempting."
"I bet," Carlisle nodded, but his pride in me filled his mind. "Don't make me call Bella," he pointed at me with a smirk. "I'll make her babysit you."
I laughed, nodding. "Truly there are worse punishments."
"Kevin?" he teased, laughing when I sighed. "He's something else."
"He adores Bella and Alice," I nodded, leaning against the door of his office. "He's...not had it easy."
"Oh," he said, looking up at me. "I didn't even think of it that way. I just thought he was... well, I didn't know what to think."
"He was rejected by his own family. He's not stupid, by any means. His intellect got him a full scholarship to school. He's just... colorful."
"He is that," Carlisle laughed, handing me a file. "I wasn't lying. I want you to look at a patient with me. I think there's... a spot on her intestines, and I'd like you to examine her. She's not a child, but the tests can't seem to find anything."
"Sure," I nodded, sitting down in the chair in front of his desk.
"You sound frustrated," I said softly, setting my book aside as I talked to Edward on the phone. "Talk to me, handsome."
"I met Danielle's..." Edward growled low.
"Oh," I mused. "He's a pig, isn't he?"
"Worse," he rumbled. "There was moment when I wasn't sure if..."
"Old habits coming through?"
"You would hate yourself," I pointed out. "That's not you. Justice, Edward, not revenge."
"Yes, ma'am," he conceded with a chuckle. "Carlisle threatened to call you."
I giggled. "I just bet he did. That's not punishment."
"That's what I said," he laughed. We were quiet for a moment. I knew he just needed to tell me about Danielle's father, or whatever he was. "She wants to see you."
"Yeah," he said, but I could hear the smile in his voice. "She kept your conversation in her head the entire time that—" He paused, like he was trying to think of what to call the animal that was Danielle's mother's boyfriend. "—man was in the room."
"Good," I said, nodding even though he couldn't see me. "I'll see her tomorrow night. Did you tell her that?"
"Yeah. God, love... I miss you. Tell me, what did you do after I left?"
"Well, we finished our papers, and then Kevin and Alice wanted to go out. Jasper and I really didn't want to, but we went... begrudgingly." He chuckled, and it was deep and sexy. "Anyway, Rose and Emmett met us up there with Demitri and Carina. You know," I huffed, "I'm not sure who Kevin is crushing on the most...you or Demitri."
"Me," he sighed, and I couldn't help but laugh. "Actually, it's only attraction. He's not teasing you when he tells you he wants someone. He's aching for someone to care for him."
"Oh, now see," I whined, "you take the fun and make it all sad and serious."
"Sorry, baby," he said, his amusement coming through, "but it's true. He thinks we're all beautiful, but he really wants someone for himself."
"I know. I would love that for him, but I find myself hating the guys he picks."
"You're protective of him, Bella. It's understandable." I heard someone talking to him in the background. "Love, I have an emergency coming in. I'll see you after class this afternoon."
"Okay." I frowned, knowing that we would only have mere hours before he had to go back in. The only thing that kept me from breaking down was knowing that I would be visiting him at work. "I love you. Don't drain any bad guys, my love," I teased, getting the deep chuckle I was hoping for.
"You never let me have any fun," he pouted, but even he couldn't say that without laughing. "I love you, too, my Bella. So damn much."
"Go... save the world."
School that next day was slow, boring, but getting to know Myra was the only thing that kept me going. She was learning to live with Jasper's presence. I would be willing to bet that knowing he was taken took the pressure off. She couldn't have him, so she accepted it.
"Jasper." She snapped her fingers between his face and his cell phone. "We have to get this done."
He laughed, looking at her and then to my laughing face.
I shrugged, "She's right. Focus."
"Sorry," he smirked, pocketing his phone. "I'm just reading headlines," he smirked, shooting me a wink. "That writer you liked died."
"Oh!" I gasped. "Marie Anthony is dead?"
"Yep, heart attack," he said, nodding.
We had planned it to happen, and Jasper had contacted Jenks to make sure it was done. We couldn't have the publicity. We couldn't be a part of whatever my book, Forever, had started. It was unfortunate, but I wasn't sad about it. In fact, the thought of mine and Edward's story being on a big screen made me uneasy.
"Oh..." Myra sighed longingly. "She wrote Forever. That is such a good story," she said wistfully. I smiled, but fought it. "Something about the eternal love a vampire can have..."
I couldn't even look at Jasper, who was just about to explode into hysterics. If poor Myra only knew the half of it.
"My favorite part is when William stays over at Rebecca's house for the first time and her father doesn't know..."
"Mine, too," I sighed, suddenly missing Edward with all that I had.
"Easy, Bells," Jasper said so low only I could hear him. He smiled sweetly, sending me a wave of calm.
"That's sad she died," Myra frowned, closing her books. "I would have liked to have read more about those two. I wonder if she wrote any sequels before she passed."
I began to snort, but caught myself. "Sometimes you don't need sequels."
"True," she shrugged, "but wouldn't you have liked to know what happened to Mr. Darcy?"
"Hmm," I mused. "I never thought of it that way. I just always accepted it for what it was."
We left the classroom together, Jasper intently feeling my emotions. We separated from Myra when she headed to her next class, and we headed towards the parking lot.
"You're totally thinking about writing more," he noted, a smile playing on his face.
"I don't know," I frowned, biting my bottom lip. "I'll think about it. Now, take me home. I don't have long before Edward leaves for work."
He chuckled, but shot me a glare. "Settle down," he growled. "I'll drive as fast as I can."
He barely had to slow down before I was out of the car and inside the house.
Edward caught me before I could touch the kitchen floor. "Slow down, baby," he growled. "Neighbors."
"Oh, sorry," I breathed, wrapping everything I had around him and diving for his mouth.
We were a frenzy of hands and grunts and ripping clothes. We didn't even make it to our bedroom, but collapsed onto the stairs in a pile of arms and legs.
The London night was damp and dark as I made my way up the street. It was just after nine as I opened the doors to the hospital. It was still early enough that the corridors weren't exactly deserted, but late enough that most of the activity had mellowed out.
The elevator ride was slow, and I stepped out into the hallway, almost sensing Edward nearby. I walked down the hall, finally finding him in the nursery. I leaned in the doorway as I watched my husband hold an infant. It was an amazingly sexy and endearing sight.
He was in his scrubs again, swaying the baby back and forth as tiny hands grasped at his shirt, stethoscope, and name badge. The little one had a tiny cast on her arm, holding IVs in place. He was feeding her a bottle. For a split second, I wondered what the mind of an infant sounded like to him.
"Flashes of colors," he chuckled, turning to face me.
I smiled, but my brow wrinkled at the sight of a tiny hand reaching up to grasp at his wrist.
"No words, just sights, sounds...some faces," he smiled. "It's really quite...cool." He smiled crookedly like the seventeen year old that he was. The word "cool" wasn't something he used all the time.
"What happened to her?"
"Just the stomach flu, but she's a little dehydrated. Eden is on her break, and Lady Elizabeth here wouldn't wait." He smiled, holding out his pinky so that the tiny hand could grip it.
"A queen's name," I nodded, smirking. "Somehow that's fitting, considering that she got your attention."
"You're my queen, love," he chuckled, but he looked like he would be blushing if he were able.
"Yes, I'm aware." I smiled, standing on my toes to kiss his cheek. "I have a young man I need to see. Find me when you're done."
"Yes, ma'am," he promised, nodding. "He's been in quite the state waiting up for you. I believe he's still in the playroom."
"I'm going, I'm going." I sighed dramatically, but gave him a longing look before I left the room. My heart just about exploded with more love for him as he hummed my old lullaby to baby Elizabeth. I had to shake my head to clear it once I was in the hallway again.
"Miss Bella," Toby beamed, hopping up from in front of the TV to rush to me. "Dr. Masen said you were coming. He said you had something for me, but he wouldn't tell me. He said he would be in trouble if he said anything."
I laughed as the words tumbled out of him at mach speed. His parents snickered from the sofa.
"And he would have been. Deep trouble," I growled, raising my eyebrow at him.
"Tobias," his mother chuckled. "Let her at least get in the door. Mrs. Masen, it's good to see you again." She walked over with a smile, holding her hand out for me to shake it.
"You, too," I chuckled. "And please, call me Bella." Toby huffed, an impatient sound, but he didn't want to get into trouble with his parents. "Okay, okay," I smirked. "Sit." I pulled out a chair at the small table and waved his parents over.
Sharon and Jim Butler were really good parents with Toby. They struggled everyday. They both worked but still came to the hospital every night to tuck him in. They couldn't be kinder or more patient people.
I reached into my bag, turning to Toby. "All right, Mr. Toby. I was given specific details and instructions for you before you could have this." I raised my eyebrow at him, and he smiled widely, nodding like a maniac. "Mr. Emmett says this is an old comic. That if you read it, you have to be very careful with it. He said that it should stay in the sleeve at all times otherwise. Got me?"
"Yes." He nodded again, his eyes wide when I pulled out the plastic covered book.
I slid it across the table, but it was Mr. Butler's reaction that made me smile.
"Bloody hell!" he gasped, looking up at me. "That's rare, that one. You can't part with it. You shouldn't." Apparently, Toby's love for comics came from his father.
"Look," I chuckled, holding my hands up. "My brother is a big guy, and you can fight him over it. I'm just the messenger. He was determined to give that to Toby."
"It's worth a fortune, it is." He frowned, picking it up as Toby gazed at it over his shoulder. "Really, Bella..."
"It's yours," I said, smiling. "Emmett said something like Toby's health was a miracle, and he should have something for the future."
It was a lie. Emmett had specifically told me that the kid would be set in a few years, but I didn't need to explain that. It seemed Mr. Butler was well aware.
Mrs. Butler eyed us both, but tears welled up in her eyes. "Jim..." she whispered, stopping his hand as he tried to push it back across the table. "Thank you," she whispered again, fighting her tears. "I see by your face you won't take it back."
"I won't."
"Then thank you," she nodded, tearing up just a little. "Tobias, thank Miss Bella."
He bolted up from his perch at his dad's shoulder and crushed a kiss to my cheek. "Thanks," he beamed, grinning so adorably. If he noticed the hardness of my skin or its temperature, he never showed it.
"Toby, it's late. Let's get you into bed," Jim said, his voice full of emotion. "We waited for Miss Bella, but you need your rest."
Toby nodded, his attention solely on the comic book in his hands. He allowed his parents to guide him from the room. I followed them out in search of Danielle.
I walked into Danielle's room to see her surrounded by books. A girl after my own heart; and a fan of mine, it seemed. She was currently in the middle of Forever.
"She died, you know." I smiled, gesturing towards the book.
"Yeah," she nodded, frowning. "A shame, really. This has to be the third time I've read it." She smiled, her cheeks blushing. "William sounds...beautiful."
"I imagine he is," I chuckled.
"You've read it?"
"Oh yeah." I nodded, still fighting my smile. "It's my favorite story."
"I would have loved to have known if he ever turns her into a vampire," Danielle giggled. "I guess we will never know. I imagine that he did. That he decided that he just couldn't live without her."
"Happily ever after?" I teased, giving her a wink when she snapped out of her girly daydream.
"Yeah," she smiled wistfully. "I imagine a big wedding and a honeymoon someplace expensive...you know, because he's loaded."
I laughed, shaking my head. "Well, when you're alive for a hundred years...interest rates add up."
"Exactly," she laughed, and for the first time, I saw she was healing. Her wrists were still wrapped, but her color was better, as well as her demeanor. She wasn't putting up the fierce wall of defense anymore. "I get released tomorrow," she said, catching my silent evaluation of her. "Dr. Masen said all my tests came back with good results."
"Good," I said happily. "Where will you go?"
"My mother signed me over for temporary custody to my friend's mom, Mrs. Atherton." She was quiet, marking the place in her book and setting it down beside her on the bed. "I wanted to thank you."
"No need." I shook my head.
"Yeah, there is, because you didn't need to tell me your story, but I'm glad you did. You were right about one thing."
"What was that?"
"Well, two things, really. The first is... yeah, he's a total coward; and second, Dr. Masen could have truly kicked his ass. You should have seen him. I never felt stronger in front of Gerald than I was when he found him in my room."
"He's... protective," I said, nodding once. "Though I imagine he was holding back." I chuckled.
"He was pissed," she said, laughing, "but fantastic." She was quiet again, but a smile broke over her face. She picked up her book. "You know, he reminded me of William when he saves Rebecca from that bad vampire. All fierce and mean, but gentle and sweet."
I smiled. Honestly, I just couldn't help it. She had come so close that it was impossible not to. It was a little scary too, because she was so damn close to the truth, and Danielle wasn't stupid, by any means.
"I told you," I said, giggling, "he's my hero."
"Romantics," Edward scoffed behind us with a dramatic eye roll. We both laughed, looking up at him.
"Don't make fun, Edward." I smirked at him, but he shot me a sweet wink with his crooked smile plastered on his face.
"Sorry, love," he chuckled, walking over to pick up Danielle's chart. He turned to her. "Are you ready to leave tomorrow?"
"I guess, though I'm supposed to come back to see Dr. Byrne. She's supposed to refer me to someone." She stopped, setting the book aside again and looked up at me. "Does it help?"
"Talking to someone?" I asked, and she nodded. "Yes." I smiled, standing up. "It's nice to know all that stuff rolling around in your head doesn't mean you're crazy – just holding back."
Danielle snorted, but her eyebrows rose up. "Right," she agreed, nodding. She looked back up at me. "Thanks," she whispered.
"Sure, sure," I smiled, realizing I'd just used my old comeback. Even Edward chuckled softly behind me, though I wasn't sure Danielle heard him. "Good luck. You'll be fine."
"Bella, I'll be right out. I have a break coming up." He smiled sweetly, but his eyes were warm, a liquid honey.
"Okay." I nodded, giving Danielle one last wave and smile before heading out the door.
"You're quiet today, little one," Esme whispered as Rose and Alice bounded into the shoe store.
"Those two are hyper enough for all of us," I smirked, laughing when Rose flipped me off through the window, holding up a pair of beautiful heels.
"That's not what I meant," Esme answered, chuckling.
I sighed, sitting down on a bench. "I miss Edward – with a sickness." I frowned, looking down at my hands. "I feel guilty for saying it, but I haven't seen him since I went to the hospital the other night. I had classes. He's had to work doubles, barely able to come home. There was some emergency, and apparently, he and Carlisle are working on a patient together..."
"When is his next day off?"
"When he gets out tomorrow morning," I said, looking over at her. If anyone understood, it was Esme.
She didn't say anything, but smiled knowingly. "Then I shouldn't expect you over..." She giggled, giving me a wink.
I snorted, shaking my head at her, but her laugh was contagious. "Maybe not... Just don't file kidnapping charges on me."
"Never." She laughed, her head falling back. We were quiet for a few minutes, and she looked over at me. "He's suffering, too, you know. I hear Carlisle on the phone with him. He feels...guilty for wanting this."
"He shouldn't," I growled. "I don't know how many times I've told him that."
"It's Edward." She smiled sweetly. "Bella, he was alone for so long, and now he'd do anything for you. It's all about you. He's done the selfish thing, so he hates that he's doing it again, and it's affecting you."
"Oh," I said, nodding in understanding, "but I love the selfish side of him." I smiled, laying my head on her shoulder. "It's okay that he wants something. If I were to ask him for the smallest of things, he'd find a way to get it. I want to give him something back."
"You are all he truly wants," Esme sighed, wrapping her arm around my shoulders. "It's hard being away all day. For everyone involved."
"Yeah." I nodded, closing my eyes at the feel of her kiss to the top of my head. She had become my sounding board for all things husband and hospital related.
"Tell us about the selfish side of Edward," Rose smirked, plopping down on the other side of me.
I grinned, shaking my head. "Not a chance in hell," I laughed.
"Selfish can be hawt," Alice giggled, squeezing us all together on the bench.
"Yeah, it can," Esme mumbled, causing us all to explode into laughter.
"Selfish Edward is definitely hawt," I chuckled, leaning into a laughing Rose. "Something about taking what you just...want."
"Like they can't stop," Esme smiled, her eyes gleaming.
"Right," Alice nodded, "like they'll explode if they can't get to you."
"Like it's taking all they have not to snap you in half," Rose chuckled.
Alice eyed a human couple walking by, their arms around each other. "Yeah, the humans are totally missing out on the mating for life thing..."
"True," Rose and I sighed.
My phone went off with an alert to a text message.
E: I love you, my beautiful girl. What are you up to?
I smiled, standing up and following the girls as we continued down the sidewalk.
B: Shopping with the girls. And I love you more than I can explain.
E: Shopping for what? Dare I ask... ;)
B: It's Alice...so anything and everything. Is there something in particular you want?
E: You. In any way I can get you. In jeans, in lingerie, in NOTHING...
B: Please don't...I can't handle that right this second.
He didn't text back – he called.
"I'm sorry, love," he said, his voice soft and sweet. "I didn't know..."
"It's fine, Edward." I sighed, leaning against the wall and waving them all inside. "I just can't go there right now. I miss you."
"I promise to give you my undivided attention when I get home in the morning, baby. I swear."
"You'd better," I growled. "Even Esme knows I'm not letting you see the light of day until you go back to the hospital."
He chuckled, deep and sexy. "Is there a ransom for my captivity?"
"No. You'll be released on good behavior...or bad...I don't care which."
"Damn." He sighed, but I could hear the smile in his voice. "Hmm...and you're out shopping with the girls?"
"Yeah," I smirked, wondering where he was going with this.
"Good, you know there's this story I've been meaning to tell you..."
"So," I snickered. "I have a present I need to pick up. Well, at least I'm not just tagging along now. I have a purpose for shopping." He chuckled again. "Oh, Alice..." I called, and the little pixie was at my side in a flash.
"There's this purple set...you just have to see it," she smirked, covering her mouth to stop her laugh at Edward's low, deep growl through the phone.
"Gotta go, Edward," I sang.
"God, I love you," he huffed through the phone. "I'll see you in the morning, sweet girl."
"Bye, baby."
"Thank you so much, Isabella," Mrs. Baxter beamed as I picked up the four lemons that had fallen out of her car.
It was early in the morning, and I had been picking flowers from our front garden for the top of Edward's piano when my elderly neighbor pulled into her driveway across the street. When she opened the back door of her car, it was filled with bags of groceries.
"Here," I smiled, taking what was in her hands, "let me get them inside for you. You're out awfully early this morning."
The sweet old woman giggled, an endearing sound all on its own. "Today was the first day in a week I could get Mr. Baxter out of this house. He's been nothing but underfoot. Retirement is not as relaxing as it would seem." She huffed, opening her door. She took the bags from me and set them on the table. "Harmon is a sweet man, but he needs more attention than I have time for. He wants to help."
I laughed, shaking my head at her. She must have been used to being a housewife her whole life, and now that her husband was home everyday, he was driving her crazy.
We both exited her house, and she walked me to the end of her driveway at the same time Edward pulled in across the street.
"There's that husband of yours," Mrs. Baxter smirked.
Edward stepped out of his car with a grace that no one could copy. He was wearing his black suit pants from the night before, but gone was his button down, leaving him in a plain white t-shirt he'd worn underneath. His poor hair was a disheveled mess, and he was a delicious sight for sore eyes.
"Yes, he's coming off the night shift." I smiled as he joined us, kissing my forehead sweetly. "Hey, baby. Rough day?" I chuckled, gesturing to his clothes.
"Someone had...an accident." He chuckled, shaking his head. "The shirt was a total loss. Hello, Mrs. Baxter. How are you?"
"Oh, fine, Edward," she smiled, turning a sweet pink. No matter the age, women couldn't resist his sweet face and voice. Turning to me, she said, "Thank you again, Isabella. I'll let you carry on with your day."
"Anytime." I smiled, leaning into Edward's side. "Enjoy your empty house."
"Crazy old fool," she grumbled. "Maybe now I can get some things done."
Edward and I both chuckled as we crossed back over to our own home. I picked up my flowers before we walked in.
"So...tell me why you've come home with half the clothes I sent you out in," I teased, filling a vase with water in the kitchen. "Do I have to have a nurse's meeting?"
Edward laughed, leaning on the kitchen bar. "Bella, don't threaten my staff. Just before I left, Toby was having a rough day after his chemo."
"Aww!" I winced, shaking my head. "Poor thing. When can he stop those?"
"Soon," he said firmly. "Two more weeks."
"Weeks... That's three days each week, right?"
"Yes, ma'am," he answered, following me into the music room. "Beautiful, baby." He smiled when I set the vase and all the flowers on his piano.
"They smell nice." I smiled, turning in front of him.
He tilted his head at me, looking up at me through his long eyelashes. His eyes were dark, but the purple patches under them told me he would need to hunt soon.
"You're all mine this weekend, except," I smiled, tracing the soft skin under his eyes, "you'll need to hunt, I see." He nodded but stayed quiet, pulling me close to him by my waist. "I've missed you," I whispered, finally feeling content for the first time in days. Just his presence brought me comfort.
"What about school?"
"No school." I shook my head. "I need you. I need time with you."
"Then I'm yours." He smiled, his soft laugh warming every inch of me. "I promised you undivided attention. I'm not even on call."
I sighed with relief, wrapping my arms around his neck, my brow furrowing as both of our need practically hummed in the room. With a smirk, I met his heated gaze. "I added to the playlist."
I squealed into a laugh as he snatched me up and flew us upstairs. I was breathless as he tossed me on the bed with a deep chuckle.
"Hmm," he smirked, diving for the remote control, "let's see what we have."
"Wait!" I laughed, but he was ever so much more quicker than me. He spun away from my grasping hands and pressed play. His smile, his amusement couldn't be contained when Be My Baby by the Ronettes drifted through the room. "It was a joke," I laughed, my head falling back. "Blame Kevin for the Dr. Dirty Dancing comment."
"Interesting," he chuckled, pulling me up from the bed. "Did you want to learn?"
"To dance like that?" I gasped, my mouth falling open. "Did you? Back then?"
"Yes," he boasted, grinning. "Emmett and Rose were really good at it, though. Come here," he said, starting the song over with the remote and tossing it onto the bed. "It was considered sinful then. Vile," he said, his voice low as he pulled my hips to his. "Really, it's all about feeling the music through each other's bodies – about moving together that makes both dancers feel...connected."
Edward placed my hands where he wanted them – one on his bicep and the other around his neck. I groaned, my brow furrowing as he slipped his thigh between mine. He slid his open hand down my side and over my bottom to my thigh, hitching my leg up around his hip.
With a hand splayed on my back, he dipped me, but his own body bent with me, his forehead pressing to mine. Occasionally, he would peel me away from him, spin me, and then wrap me up again.
Dancing with Edward would always be one of my favorite pastimes, but this...this was different. I'd danced with him at proms and to slow songs. I'd danced at clubs to current music, but for him to almost travel me back in time with him was so special. To have him teach me what I'd only witnessed in the movie we were originally joking about made me fall in love with him all over again. It was just another layer of the many that Edward had.
"They said it was like making love on the dance floor," he crooned in my ear, his body molded to mine. I closed my eyes, trying not to moan at the need, the lust in his voice. "Personally," he smirked, "it was just as...sensual...as the tango to me."
I smiled, gripping his shirt at the waist as he pulled our hips together again. He was enjoying this more than I'd ever expected. "Who? Who did you dance with like this?"
"Rose, once or twice," he chuckled. "She taught me once it became popular."
"And?" I said, rubbing my leg up and down his as he dipped me again.
"One human," he smirked, standing up straight once the song was over, but keeping me wrapped around his body like a snake. "Do you want to hear this?"
"Oh yeah," I snickered, nodding slowly and twirling his hair at the back of his head. "Tell me, and you'll get your reward..."
"I had another story for that, sweet girl," he growled, his eyes darkening slightly.
"You have a three day weekend," I reminded him, with a raised eyebrow. "And I may not be wearing purple right now..."
"Fuck, I just love you," he shuddered, his huffing, sexy laugh escaping him. He scooped me up, laying me down on the bed. For a split second, I registered trepidation on his handsome features.
"This may be...inappropriate, Bella," he sighed, studying my face and tucking my hair behind my ear.
"Women from every time and place find you attractive, Edward," I said patiently, smiling. "It's not a new bit of information to me, my love."
"Yes, but..."
"Did it turn you on?" I teased, knowing how old fashioned my husband once was. It was when he didn't answer me that I sat up straight and looked him in the eye. "It did."
"It did." He nodded, swallowing thickly. He picked up the remote and paused the music. "Maybe we should do this right." He shifted us so that we were sitting Indian style face to face. He took a deep breath, looking around the room. "Let me tell you about the first time a human turned me on... and I lost control..."


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