Title: After Hours

Summary: A late, anxious patient. A compassionate nurse. What happens when comfort becomes something else?

Pairing: Edward/Bella

Rating: M+

Word count: 4976


Jessica stood up, her voice suddenly louder and upset. "What?" She gasped and her hand flew to her mouth. "Oh, my God, I'll be right there!"

Slamming down the phone, she looked at me, tears filling her eyes.

"What is it?" I asked, my hand covering hers in sympathy. Jess was always calm, always collected—it had to be something bad.

"Mike's been in an accident. They're bringing him to the ER."

Mike was her husband of two years; he owned his own delivery company and often pitched in and drove when volumes were high.

"Go!"

"But we have…" Her voice trailed off. As my supervisor, she took her job seriously. I was still fairly new and rather shy, so she regularly handled the patients and I did all the paperwork, but I could do this for her.

"Jess, I can handle checking in one last patient. Besides, he's already late. Probably a no-show. I'll finish tidying up and leave. Go," I urged.

"Thanks, Bella." Grabbing her purse, she hurried out of the office.

"Let me know how he is!" I shouted after her.

"I will!" Her voice floated back down the hall as the door shut behind her.

With a sigh, I looked at the file of the patient we were waiting for: Edward Cullen. I glanced at the clock. He was fifteen minutes late, and we'd already made special provisions for him to come in after hours. I shook my head. Some people were simply rude not showing up for their appointments. I'd give him another fifteen minutes. Then when he phoned and complained, I could honestly say I'd waited over half an hour for him.

Really, was it that difficult to be on time for an appointment that you, yourself, made? It wasn't like it was a big surprise on your calendar. I doubted he looked at the day and was shocked to see Sperm Donation jotted down on today's date.

With a guilty smile, I pulled the clip out of my hair, letting it fall to my shoulders in a dark wave. I hated having to wear it up all the time, but it was office protocol. However, I was alone, and pretty certain to remain so. Nobody would see.

I went through the office, making sure all the rooms were ready for the morning, shutting off lights as I went. A noise out front made me stop, and I walked out to the counter. Standing there in the shadows was, who I assumed to be, the last, very late, patient. I stifled a sigh, knowing my long day wasn't over. I forced a smile to my face.

"Hello, you must be Mr. Cullen." I couldn't stop myself. "I'd about given up on you."

He stepped forward, and I stifled a small gasp.

Young, my age or slightly older, he was extremely good-looking. Tall, broad-shouldered, and lanky, his fingers drummed restlessly on his leg. Thick, dark-rimmed glasses framed soft green eyes that stared at me nervously, and with a hint of surprise in his expression. His hair was crazy and all over the place, the red of his head reflected in the scruff that adorned his chin. Even as I noticed this, his hand shot up, tugging on the tufts that were already sticking everywhere. I had the strangest need to reach over and stop the torture on his innocent follicles, but I resisted. Then he spoke, his voice soft and low—his tone apologetic.

"I'm sorry for the delay. I, ah, got held up with an emergency. I wasn't even sure you'd still be here." He cleared his throat. "Thank you for waiting."

I blinked. Rarely a patient apologized. A small smile played on my lips and I nodded, holding out my hand for his medical card. "You work here? In the hospital?" I asked as I set down the card. I would enter the information in to stay busy while he was…um…getting busy.

"Yes."

I glanced at him once more, taking a better look. He did look familiar, but I wasn't sure why. I must have seen him in the cafeteria or something. He was looking at me with anxiety written all over his handsome face and I smiled, trying to relieve both his and my own nerves.

"Okay. Mr. Cullen, let's get you, ah, settled."

"Edward. Call me Edward, please."

I nodded, extending my hand; he looked nervous as I was. "Bella."

His large palm wrapped around mine—it felt warm and strong. They fit together so well.

What a strange thought.

I stood up, hating the next part. Jess handled this so much better than I did. I indicated he should come with me, and he followed me silently down the hall. Ignoring the fact my cheeks were already burning, I flicked on the lights and walked into the room.

I pointed to the prepared tray. "Everything you need is there. There are, ah, magazines and DVD's for you…if needed. When you're done, leave everything and I'll take care of it. I assume the doctor has answered all your questions?"

God, I hoped he had.

"Yes." His voice was low and he sounded embarrassed.

Dammit, I was supposed to help the patient feel as relaxed as possible.

I tried to make my voice less strained. "You can adjust the lights here." I pointed out the dimmer. "There are scrubs you can borrow if you prefer to use them rather than, ah, your own clothes." He looked at me, his cheeks tinged with pink. "Some men like to be dressed still…or some like to be, um, naked—" I swallowed. "Whatever makes you comfortable. Can I get you anything before you, um…get going?"

Internally, I groaned. Before he gets going? Jess was going to kill herself laughing over this; maybe I wouldn't tell her.

Without thinking, my hand touched his shoulder. "Water? Juice?" I asked, trying to make up for my lack of professionalism.

I was shocked when his hand covered mine, squeezing it. I could feel the dampness of his palm touching mine. "No. Thank you. You're very kind."

"Okay. I'll, ah, leave you to it. I'll be down the hall. Take your time."

I scurried away, closing the door behind me.

Leave him to it? Take your time?

If I didn't die of embarrassment before he left, I was going to be surprised.

I finished straightening the magazines and the desk. I re-pinned my hair, trying to at least look professional, even if I failed to act the part. Since I had already shut off the computer, I jotted his down number, planning on entering it in the morning, and placed his card back on the counter. I made sure all the files were ready for tomorrow. Then I waited.

And waited.

I glanced at my watch. He'd been in there for over thirty minutes. Usually, they were done in about twenty minutes or less.

What was taking so long?

I went down the hall, pausing outside the door. There were no noises coming from the room, the lights were on; no movie was playing. I knocked gently, waiting until I heard his quiet voice telling me to come in.

He was sitting on the edge of the table. He had changed into scrubs, at least pants. His chest was bare, the light gleaming off his skin. A dusting of coppery-colored hair was scattered on his chest and arms; the color lighter than the bright bronzy-red on his head. A magazine was beside him, closed, his glasses sitting on the cover and his posture dejected. One hand was in his hair tugging away.

Two thoughts were in my head.

One—he was tugging on the wrong head. We'd be here all night at this rate.

Two—I needed to comfort him.

I shut the door and moved over to him. "Edward," I began in a soft voice, pulling his hand from his poor hair. "Are you okay? Maybe you want to reschedule?"

His hand grasped mine like a lifeline. His eyes spoke volumes. Worry, sadness and pain-filled green met my gaze.

"Can I call someone for you?" I murmured, holding his hand tight.

He shook his head. "I have a lump," he whispered, looking down at his crotch. "They're going to remove it, and there might be, um, side effects." He drew in a deep breath and suddenly started speaking so fast I could barely keep up. "I want kids. I want a family. I want a wife and house and everything everyone else has. This might be my only chance if something happens, but I can't seem to do it. Nothing is working!" By the end of his little diatribe, he was almost shouting. "I can never do anything right!"

"Hey." I stepped forward, hating his distress. "It'll be fine. You're putting too much pressure on yourself. Reschedule and come back another time, before your operation. You can make the arrangements to do this is the privacy of your own home, as well." I smiled encouragingly at him. "Lots of men do that. This isn't the most, ah, stimulating environment."

His eyes were wide and panicked. I wanted to stop the panic and make him feel better. I buried my hand into his hair, caressing the tortured strands gently. Closing his eyes, he leaned into my touch with a soft sigh, and my heart contracted at his sudden vulnerability. He seemed so…lost.

I shook my head. I was acting even more unprofessionally than before. I began to withdraw my hand and step back when his eyes flew open. "No! Please!"

Suddenly, I was engulfed in his arms. His embrace was firm, and he held me tight. My arms wound around him, holding just as secure. Somehow, I sensed this was what he needed. For a minute, we were quiet as he stayed locked in my embrace, his head resting on my chest. I felt the dampness of tears against my skin and I drew back, lifting his head. His eyes stared at me, guileless and open.

"I'm scared, Bella," he confessed. "I'm sorry to do this. But I'm scared." He shuddered out a deep breath. "And I'm all alone."

My hands tightened on his shoulders, his skin bare and tense under my fingers. Our eyes held as the air around us changed. The clinical room melted away and all that was left was him. Me. His warm skin and my suddenly fast heartbeat.

"Edward," I breathed. "It will be okay. I promise."

With a tug, his arms pulled me closer, then his mouth was on mine.

All common sense left me when his tongue slipped inside my mouth—swirling, touching, licking. He tasted like mint, sweet and sharp. His hands traveled in circuits up and down my back, delving under the loose smock I wore, finding my bare skin, his fingers pressing and stroking. I gasped into his mouth and he pulled back, his eyes wide and searching; asking.

"I can't," I pleaded in response to his silent question.

"Please," he whispered, and I was lost.

Desire for him overrode every other thought in my brain, and I nodded. My smock was lifted over my head and flung away. He reached over, dimming the lights and pulling me to him.

With a groan, his lips found mine again. My arms wound around him, caressing his skin. He lifted us both to the top of the table, his body covering mine.

Heavy.

Pressing.

Warm.

Groans and whimpers filled the room. The sound of the paper on the table, crinkling and tearing as we moved and rocked, seemed so loud to my ears. His large hands were everywhere, touching, teasing. His mouth was wicked, his tongue possessive and strong. Any shyness or sense of nervousness was gone, and Edward was fully in charge.

I had no idea who was the girl pinned under him, or why I was allowing this to happen, but I didn't care. I didn't want him to stop.

Our lips never broke apart as we groped between us, pulling on scrub waist bands, tugging the cords and yanking on material until we were bare against each other. My back arched as his fingers found my slick center. I groaned deep in my throat as he stroked and fondled, his long fingers working me like a musical instrument. And he was a maestro.

His mouth trailed down my throat as he moved, pulling my legs up and around his hips. "Let me… please, Bella…God…" He moaned into my neck. "I want you so fucking badly."

I pulled him closer and we both stilled as he slowly slipped inside—his erection hot and thick, filling me entirely. We fit so perfectly and as he started moving, I felt complete. His noises were erotic as he moved and thrust deeply inside me; he groaned, grunted, hissed, and growled. He hummed and praised; whispered endearments and curses in my ears as his lips licked, sucked, nipped and caressed. His voice was deep and raspy, my name never sounding so sexy coming from the lips of a man.

Fuck...yes, Bella…like that. Just…like…that

You feel so good…

Jesus, baby…so hot…so perfect…yes…

I want to feel you…come for me…

Yes…fuck, yes…I feel you…come, baby… now…now…NOW!

And I did. Hard, fast—screaming my orgasm into his mouth as he tangled his tongue with mine, still thrusting powerfully. His body pushed me deep into the narrow, hard, foam-stuffed, torn paper-covered vinyl table as he moaned my name.

We both stilled, our breaths coming out in deep gasps of much needed oxygen. Edward's body was a welcome weight, restraining me under him. His lips were still against my skin, humming with soft words of praise. Gradually, the haze that seemed to sink into my brain when he pulled me to him cleared, and I realized what I had done.

Fucked a stranger, a patient, on the examination table.

In the office.

Where he was supposed to leave a sperm donation.

Not inject me with it.

Reality set in, and I gasped. Edward pushed himself up off me, and our eyes met. For the first time our emotions matched.

Panic.

He scrambled off the table, bending down to grab his pants as I bolted from the room and into the washroom down the hall. I stood gasping and shaking as the enormity of what had happened between us hit me.

I looked in the mirror, shocked at my reflection.

My hair had come out of its clip and was tousled and messy from Edward's hands. My lips were swollen and red. I had whisker burns all over my chest and neck. There was even a love bite on my breast. I swallowed. I had a hickey. I was twenty-six years old, and I just received my first hickey. From a patient.

I looked like I'd had the wildest, most passionate sex of my life.

I couldn't help the smirk that crossed my face.

I did.

Knowing I couldn't hide forever, I cleaned up quickly and grabbed a fresh pair of scrubs from the shelf—I wasn't walking back in there naked.

Except, when I went back in the room, it was empty.

Edward was gone.

The only evidence he had even been there was the torn crinkled paper on the exam table and the magazine lying on the floor. Automatically, I straightened and cleaned the room, placing the magazine back on the pile, stopping when I saw the name of it.

Fantasies

Had I just fulfilled one for him?

Had he done the same thing for me?

What was I supposed to do now?

I sat down heavily, suddenly tired.

I had no idea.

I arrived at work the next morning already exhausted, having barely slept.

What had I done?

I violated every code of ethics. Broke every rule. Slept with a patient.

All because his sad, green eyes and vulnerable voice did something to me.

I was such an idiot. I knew there was every chance I'd be fired when I walked in today.

Straightening my shoulders, I entered through the staff door, shedding my coat and pulling on my sweater. It was always cold in here in the morning.

Walking around the corner, my steps faltered when I saw Jessica and Dr. Aro standing close, discussing a file Jess had in her hand. From here, I could see the letter C marking the tab.

Edward's file.

I swallowed and moved forward, forcing a smile.

Jess looked up, frowning. "Bella. We were just talking about you."

My heart skipped a beat as my fear grew. "Oh?"

She held up the file. "Obviously, Mr. Cullen did a no-show again? How long did you wait?"

Relief flooded through me. "Um, about half an hour."

Dr. Aro shook his head. "I know the boy is shy, but this is beyond ridiculous. Jessica, call him and tell him that was the last time. We won't accommodate him again."

"No!"

Both of them looked at me strangely.

"He, ah, called—as I was walking out. He had an emergency. I told him to call back today and book another appointment." I waved my hand toward the equipment on my desk. "I had already shut everything off. I couldn't give him a time and he had to rush back to his, ah, emergency." I looked at them anxiously. I was a lousy liar, but at least part of that was the truth. He did tell me he had an emergency.

Jess sighed. "Fine." She pushed his chart my way. "Call him and reschedule today. Tell him it's his last chance."

Nodding, I took the file. Dr. Aro grabbed his coffee and walked down the hall, muttering about special favors. I looked at Jess. She had called last night to say Mike was stable, but badly hurt.

"How's Mike?"

"He's doing better. I'm getting things organized, and then I'm heading back to him. I won't be here much over the next couple days. Angela will put in some extra hours, but you're going to have to help cover."

"Not a problem."

"Okay, good." She turned away, then stopped. "Wait. I found these on the floor when I came in this morning. Any idea who they belong to?" She held out her hand, showing me a pair of dark-rimmed glasses. The last time I'd seen them they were on the table beside Edward.

Before we'd—

I swallowed the lump in my throat. "A couple patients wore glasses yesterday. I'll call around and ask."

She handed them to me, nodding distractedly. "Good. Thanks."

I looked down at the glasses, remembering how they had framed his eyes. Those sad, scared, beautiful green eyes.

Then I remembered how they looked as he pushed me down into the table, groaning my name as he thrust into me. Passionate, dark, still so beautiful, and suddenly very alive.

I dropped my head.

What was I thinking?

I bit my lip, looking up and down the long, empty corridor. Using his file, I found his office location, and I decided to be brave and face him. He worked in the basement, under one of the many wings of the hospital. It was quiet down here—the only sounds muted voices behind closed doors as I walked along, looking for his office. A door opened and an older woman walked toward me. She smiled at me curiously when I stopped and asked her for directions.

She pointed behind her. "Edward is right at the end of the hall and to the left." She chuckled and shook her head. "The farthest away from the rest of us as he can get."

"Oh."

"Are you…a friend of his?"

She seemed so shocked by the idea Edward had a friend and I found myself nodding.

She smiled, her whole face lighting up. "Well, will wonders never cease. Go on then. He's in his office—I saw him earlier."

I continued down the hall, finally finding his door.

Edward Cullen

Manager Clinical Information

I stared at the name plate for a minute, then lifted my hand and knocked.

I heard footsteps, and the door was flung open. Edward met my gaze, his eyes widening when he saw it was me. A panicked expression crossed his face, his hand gripping his hair and yanking on it as he stared at me, speechless.

I held out his glasses. "You dropped these. I only came to return them to you."

He extended his shaky hand, and I dropped the glasses into his large palm. "Are you okay, Edward?" I asked softly.

He wrapped his hand around my wrist and yanked me inside his office, shutting the door. I found myself embraced in his arms, pulled tight to his chest. I could feel his rapid heartbeat, and without another thought, I ran my hands up and down his back in soothing strokes as I murmured little hushing noises. I had the deepest need to comfort him. But after a minute in his arms, the need began to change and I drew back, needing to separate myself from his touch. It felt all too right.

"I wanted to give you back your glasses and tell you that you need to come again."

He looked at me, a small twitch on one side of his lips.

I groaned at my own words.

"I mean you need to come back to the clinic. I told them you never showed up, but you called to cancel because of an emergency."

"There was a lost file," he murmured. "I had to find it for the doctor. It was urgent."

"That's fine. I didn't tell them the glasses were yours. I didn't find them." I exhaled deeply. "I guess I didn't see them—I was rather distracted."

"I'm sorry," he whispered. "Last night…I didn't mean to run. I was so panicked—"

"I'm sorry, too. What happened between us was a huge mistake. Please understand, I've never done anything like that before. Ever."

"Neither have I."

"If anyone finds out, I'll lose my job."

He stood up straighter. "I would never breathe a word." Honesty blazed from his eyes. "Never," he repeated.

"Okay, thank you." I sighed in relief. "Again, I'm sorry. I have no idea what came over me." I rubbed a weary hand across my brow. "Please call and rebook today."

"Do you regret it?" He burst out.

I looked at him, surprised. "Don't you? Unprotected sex with a stranger?"

"No."

I gaped at him.

"It was, without a doubt, something I'll never regret. It wasn't just sex. It was more."

"How can you say that? You don't even know me!"

He moved closer, his voice quiet. "You know I'm clean; I was tested and it's in my file. And I trust you are too, or you would have stopped me." He smiled and touched my cheek. "You reached out and comforted me, Bella. A stranger—yes. You held me and let me tell you how afraid I was. That's more than anyone has done in years."

"I should have left it there."

"Don't, please," he begged. "Don't regret it. I don't." He pushed a stray curl off my forehead. "It was so…amazing. Having you…touching you…meant so much."

"And yet, you left."

"I was shocked at my own behavior and terrified of what you would say when you came back." He sighed. "I returned about half an hour later, but you were gone."

"You came back?"

He nodded. "I wanted to talk to you."

"It was wrong."

"We both wanted it."

"I'm a nurse."

"You're a woman. A beautiful, sexy woman."

"You think I'm beautiful?"

He trailed his fingers down my cheek, resting his hand on my neck over my pulse. "Yes."

I shivered under his touch. He dropped his hand, placing it over my chest. "Your heart is racing."

"You have to stop."

He stepped back, dropping his hand. "I'm sorry. Thank you for bringing my glasses."

I reached for the door handle, his quiet words stopping me.

"No matter what you may think, I'll never regret last night. It will stay with me forever. Your sweet gift meant more than I can express."

I glanced at him and froze. The emotion in his eyes shattered me. No one had ever looked at me like that. "Edward," I breathed.

"One kiss before you leave?" he asked. "Just one?"

All it took was one small step and I was in his arms. His mouth covered mine, a low groan in the back of his throat as his tongue slid in, touching mine. Slow, deep and passionate. He took my top lip between his, licking, then my bottom lip, sucking. Gentle nips of his teeth against them both, had me panting. He explored me thoroughly, as his hands slid down my sides, moving in frantic circles.

My fingers slipped into his hair, tugging. He groaned, his arms wrapping around me, holding me so tight I couldn't move. Everything around me disappeared again. There was no office—no door and no corridor four feet behind me. Only him. I wanted him again, and from the feel of his erection pressed between us, he wanted it as well. I pulled away, gasping. His eyes were wide, the green almost hidden by the black irises—so filled with desire and blazing with passion my heart stuttered in my chest. "We can't."

"We can. Please, Bella. God…please."

"But you—"

He shook his head, his voice low and fierce. "No. Here I'm not the patient, and you're not the nurse. We're Edward and Bella." He tugged me closer. "I want you. So much I'm aching for you. Do you want me, too?"

The soft "yes," had barely left my lips and his mouth was on mine. I heard the flick of the lock behind me, then my sweater was tugged off my shoulders. Slipping under my blouse, he spread his hands over the skin of my back, pressing and caressing. I pulled at his shirt, wanting to feel the warmth of his skin on mine. He groaned as I opened the buttons, dropping kisses on the exposed flesh and stroking his abdomen and chest. "That feels so good, baby," he whispered. "I love it when you touch me."

I grasped his belt, pulling on the leather just as three loud raps echoed in the room from the door behind me.

I froze. Edward's head snapped up, his eyes panicked. Our gazes locked as a woman's voice rang out. "Edward? Are you in there?"

I stepped back as reality crashed around me.

I was about to fuck him again.

In his office.

What was I doing?

Cupping my cheeks, he silently pleaded with me to remain calm. I nodded as he hastily buttoned his shirt and went to the door. He opened it partially, keeping me hidden.

"Sorry, Mrs. Cope. I'm on an important call. Is there a problem?"

"Oh, no—I wanted to give you these requisitions. Did the young lady find you earlier? I gave her directions to your office."

"Um, yes. She, ah, dropped something off, and left right away."

"Oh. She seemed so lovely—I had hoped you wouldn't answer and perhaps you'd taken her for coffee."

"No. She had to go."

"Shame. Edward, are you all right? You're sweating, dear."

Edward's voice was almost frantic. "I'm fine! Just a little hot in here. I have to get back to my call, Mrs. Cope."

"Of course. I'll see you later."

Edward shut the door and turned. With a sad smile, I tugged my blouse back into place. The moment was shattered, leaving reality staring me in the face. And the reality was, I shouldn't be doing this. "I have to go."

He nodded.

"You'll rebook?"

"I'll call today."

"I'm not in on Mondays. It might be best for you to book then."

"If you think it's for the best."

I paused. "I hope everything turns out well for you, Edward."

He looked up, his expression one of complete dejection. "Thank you, Bella." He stepped forward, his arm going around me and pulling me to him. He pressed his lips to my head, their warmth lingering for a minute.

"Thank you for last night…and today."

I walked down the hall, holding onto the concrete wall for support. I slipped into the ladies' room, and looked at myself in the mirror. I looked like me, yet I barely recognized myself. I smoothed my air and used the lip gloss I kept in my pocket. My lips were slightly swollen from Edward's mouth.

His soft, sweet mouth. Somehow when he held me, kissed me I felt…adored.

I shook my head, shutting my eyes. I needed to stop thinking of him like that. I needed to stop remembering how his eyes looked at me. The emotions they conveyed. How it felt as if I belonged in his arms.

He wasn't my boyfriend.

He was a patient.

One I had been completely inappropriate with, but still a patient.

I thought about the quiet words he had uttered. "It was, without a doubt, something I'll never regret. It wasn't just sex. It was more."

No one had ever said anything so powerful to me. No one had ever made me feel the way he did last night. I had never felt that burning desire he seemed to spark in me.

I was surprised to see tears on my cheeks.

Why was I crying?

I was being silly. I wiped my eyes and headed back to the clinic, ignoring the small voice in my head that was telling me I should be heading back toward Edward. Something inside me, told me he needed me.

I shook my head.

I comforted him when he needed someone. Simple as that—if it had been more, he would have stopped me from leaving.

Right?


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