Hi everyone, I was re-reading some of my older stories when I came across this one. I had started writing it last year and then put it away. I'd like to thank "Trying To Put Pen To Paper" for giving me the inspiration to get back to writing this story :) Hope you all enjoy it :)
19th September 2008
I rested my head on my arms, which were braced against the steering wheel, as I took one deep breath to calm myself after the long drive here. I lifted my gaze slowly from the speedometer to look out my windscreen, seeing the greenery I wished could only exist in Phoenix. If I focused my gaze, I could see the oak trees and shrubs that looked scenic here but would have withered from the heat in Arizona, taking their life and beauty. Coupled with that fact was the added bonus that a person, such as myself, could not wear a pair of jeans comfortably there. It was either shorts or skirts, at least it had been when I had left a couple of days ago.
I sighed as I glanced up to the grey sky, knowing it would begin to rain soon. As if I had summoned it myself, the rain hit the windscreen quickly, obscuring my view of the small white-washed house I had parked outside of. The gentle pitter-patter of the rain reminded me of Mystic Lake, and how beautiful it could look when you had all the time in the world to watch the droplets ripple the lake's surface. On that thought, I was reminded that I should pay my grandparents a visit before I returned to Phoenix and to the responsibilities I had yet to complete. I allowed myself a chance to savour this moment, as I raised one of my hands to touch the windscreen, feeling the chill of the rain through my leather glove before sitting back in my seat, my head temporarily cushioned against the leather headrest.
Time waits for no one, so with a sigh, I lifted my hood to cover my head before opening the door of my car so I could step out into the rain, which had eased off considerably since it had first started. I locked up my car as I adjusted my hood, feeling the water run through the material and into my hair. I put my keys in my pocket and closed my eyes, lifting my face so the rain could wash away the last of my make-up. I hadn't seen a point in replacing it on the drive here, considering as it was for show anyway. There was no one here to impress, no one who cared what I looked like. The only person who cared for appearances was the co-captain of the cheerleading squad, a girl named Edel Henry. Image meant everything to her, only second to a dark competitive streak. She never entered competitions where our victory wasn't guaranteed.
Her image of the perfect cheerleader was tall, thin, bronzed, platinum blonde (whether naturally or artificially) with dark blue eyes (achieved with contacts). She was only two of those things, she was bronzed (from a bottle and had looked like an oompa lumpa when I had left) and blonde (bleaching powder). The contacts she bought special for us which we only wore for competitions or getting fitted for our new outfits. There was no girl on the squad who fit her aesthetic naturally, each girl was different. Edel was a natural brunette with light blue eyes. I had light blonde hair with green eyes…the list went on. We had twenty members of the squad, and no one fit her description without some help. I was her co-captain and I only wanted a group who could do the routines, who could hold a flyer up without letting them fall. With the group currently, I had recruited six of them, one of which was a good friend of mine. That same friend had been targeted by Edel about five days ago when she came out to training in her shorts. Her reason was that her skirt was a little tight and her mom had brought it to be altered for our next competition. Edel had thrown a tantrum (of which she was famous for) and called my friend the fat princess of Arcadia.
That was only a few of the problems I saw with our squad. I would try and work through Edel's shit when I got back, considering she had thrown another tantrum when I told her I had to drive here for "personal reasons". I lowered my head slowly and opened my eyes, knowing the sooner I dealt with this task, the sooner I would be back on the road to Phoenix, not that I was enthusiastic about returning to an empty house. I took a deep breath and reminded myself that I was here for a specific reason, one I was rather reluctant to see through. Even though my house was empty, I would have rather stayed at home instead of driving most of yesterday and some of this morning, to be here, outside the white-washed house. It had aged considerably since my last visit, which had to have been three years ago at least. I had been brought here to spend two weeks of my summer with my friend, who had hated this place. She had adored Phoenix weather, and despised anything that was cold, wet or in general…Forks. As the years had worn on, my friend had thrown tantrums, similar to Edel now that I thought about it, in order to remain where she was and for her father to spend some time with her in Arizona. I really wished she hadn't, and taken the break from the sun. I wished I could have been as lucky as to stay in another state for two weeks of a summer to relax, considering I now spent the majority of my time in Phoenix, under the blistering sun.
I took another deep breath as I pushed my hands into my pockets so I could begin my slow walk towards the house that my friend had called home for a few months prior to her untimely departure from our lives. I glanced up along the panelling to see the first floor windows were blocked by curtains too thick to see through, and below a bedroom was the living room. I could see a light lit inside and with one window open, I could hear football statistics being called. I turned to my right to see a too familiar burnt orange Chevy that I had been shown photos of from time to time. My friend had varied those messages with sound recordings which were captioned with the words:
"Guess what died in the engine today…?"
Behind the Chevy was a Forks police cruiser, one I knew my friend's father used for everything, down to picking up groceries or going to work. I had to admit, it looked a lot nicer than the ones back home. I shook my head to loosen the stray thoughts, knowing they would do me no good. I could miss her later, and our random conversations about cars, the weather she hated or the school she attended. I could do all of that later…I had 25 hours before I was back at home.
I focused my attention back on the living room window, hearing that one team was either winning their match or ahead in the charts. Unfortunately, the voices of the presenters were choked by the rain and made it impossible for me to hear. Perhaps, along with knowing he was at home, he was distracted at the moment. I didn't want to disturb him, to bring back those painful memories he had witnessed a couple of months ago. I had been told by my dad that he rarely left his home these days, only removing himself when he had to go to work or do shopping. I knew it was hard on him, it would be hard on anyone to lose their daughter the way he had. She had been a reason for him to get up in the morning, she was someone he had felt responsible for and when she died, he had lost that reason. I knew the feeling of being lost, but I'd had people near me to help me through the worst of those emotions. I wasn't sure Charlie Swan had had the same support system in place as I had. If he truly wanted to get out of his grief without my help, he would need to pack a bag and travel somewhere he had never been to before. But had that been an option, I wouldn't be here today.
When I had first found out Isabella Swan (Bella to those who knew her) had died, I had been inconsolable. I had moved away from Phoenix to stay with my grandparents in Montana, much to my father's disapproval. I had refused to leave the house unless it was important and required my immediate attention. Bella and I had been good friends for as long as I could remember, having started our friendship during middle school. We had then managed to get through to the same high school, of which we had been together for two years. We had shared a few classes together, such as AP Biology, PE and English, and differed on subjects, in which I took up like AP Chemistry and AP Latin. I wasn't sure what I could use Latin for, but I'd find something, having enjoyed the challenge so far. That thought reminded me of one of our conversations that we had shared during lunch, discussing our futures and what we wanted to be once we graduated.
"I'm not sure yet," had been her response, "what about you?"
"Medicine," I remembered saying to her, "I want to help people…"
"Don't you already do that, Addie? Why do you need a doctorate to prove you can?"
She hadn't understood why it was important to me, so I had shrugged it off and returned to eating my food before I went to Chemistry. About two months after that conversation, she told me she was leaving Phoenix. Her step-father Phil was a minor league baseball player, and her mom wanted to support him. But instead of following him on the road, she stayed at home with Bella. Bella had felt guilty about that, and told her to follow Phil and she'd take some time away and live with her dad, here in Forks. I had helped her pack her things, noting how little she actually owned that she wanted to take with her. I had then gone with her to the airport and waved goodbye, promising to visit her as soon as I could. She had called me later that night to tell me she was safe and that:
"It's raining so loudly, I can't sleep!"
I had laughed at her, telling her she was lucky she had the actual thing to listen to. I had a sound machine with a rain soundtrack to help me sleep, which she had considered a waste of money. I had defended it by saying the sound of rain could be very soothing to the soul, and she should embrace it, considering she was now living in what she classed as the "rain capital of America." That had been met with a laugh before she told me goodnight. We had spoken often after that, holding the opinion that if we stopped trying, we would lose what friendship we already had. So every two or so days, we dropped everything to talk. If she was going to bed, she stayed up another hour to tell me about her day. If I had training, I stepped away to talk to her, ignoring Edel's meltdown about my "inconsistent" leadership. Those phone calls became a reprieve from the madness that was our normal lives, up until she met the love of her life, Edward Cullen. I had heard it in her voice that she loved him, long before she told me they were dating. Our phone calls grew a little more distant but I didn't hold it against her. We each had our own lives to live now, and if hers was with Edward, I would not put a wrench in her relationship.
I had been in the shower when I heard my phone ring after what felt like two weeks without her speaking to me. I had gotten out in a hurry, rushed to my phone to answer and as I placed it to my ear, I heard the sound of her laughing. This was before she noticed the call had been accepted by me. She wanted to tell me everything that had happened to her from the last time she had called, and shared with me some of the information I had on her boyfriend, Edward.
"He plays the piano, like you do. When he plays…it's like I never left Phoenix…"
"He wrote me a song, and named it Bella's lullaby…I'll have to get him to play it for you someday…"
"I wish you both could meet. I know you'd have so much in common. Perhaps you could come over for the summer, Addie?"
But all those friendly plans went out the realm of possibility not long later. I had just finished practise and had been on my way to my car, when my phone rang. I had answered it expecting her to give another of her Edward updates. It wasn't to be. Her tone had been deadly serious, distressed even as I greeted her as I normally would have.
"Adelaide?" she had asked, which had made me freeze to the spot. She never used my full name unless something was wrong.
"Bella, what's wrong? Are you alright? Where are you? Did Edward hurt you?"
"No…he didn't hurt me," she had replied, ignoring my other questions, "but I'm about to hurt him."
"Wait…why?" I had asked her, thinking they were in a good relationship at the moment.
"Because shit has hit the fan. My mom…" her voice had sounded distressed, and I knew I needed to talk her out of whatever plan she was forming.
"Where are you? I'll be over as soon as I can and we can talk about this," I stated as I got into my car, my intention to drive to Forks if it was needed. I'd call her back, stay on the phone with her for the long drive and talk to her.
"I need you to do a favour for me," she had said in a low voice, ignoring my questions once more, "if I don't make it out of this."
"Bella, please don't do anything reckless! Look, I'm on my way-"
"Don't let Edward suffer over me," she had whispered, "help him the way you've helped everyone else. Can you do that for me?"
"Please," she had said gently, and I felt certain she was crying.
"Of course," I had replied, "I promise to be there when I'm needed…but I'm not, right? You don't need me there right now, do you?"
"I hope not," she had whispered in response, "tell him I loved him. Tell Charlie and Mom that I'm sorry this all happened…and Addie?"
"Yeah?" I had whispered, fighting my own tears.
"Promise me you'll smile more…and don't let people dictate how you live your life. Life is too short for that crap."
"I promise, Bella," I had responded.
"Thank you," Bella had said gently, "goodnight Addie."
Her final words to me were etched into my memory, her voice replaced by my own one as the months had gone by. That day, I had gone home and tried calling her, to ask if she was alright, if she needed to talk, but she hadn't answered her phone. I had been confused by her words, confused by her requests. I only hoped that by calling her, she could help me understand them.
Unfortunately, I understood what she meant the next morning at half five, when I had received a rather early phone call. I had gotten into the habit of keeping my phone on during the night in case my dad called, so I was a little surprised to see an unknown number pop up on the screen. Had my dad lost his phone? I had answered, not sure who was calling, but it had woken me up. The caller was Charlie Swan, and his words had served to act like a knife to my heart.
"Adelaide, it's Bella. She's in the hospital, in Phoenix…"
"...there was an accident…and she's not doing well…."
"…I thought I'd call you and let you know, in case you wanted to say goodbye to her…"
I remembered the feel of tears running down my cheeks, of putting my hand to my mouth to cover the scream I wanted to vocalise as I clutched my phone tighter. I should have driven to her, I should have talked her out of any plan she'd had. I grabbed my car keys and ran out of my house, dressed in a pair of pyjama shorts and a camisole, in order to get to the hospital. I had arrived, asked where she was and walked through the wards, feeling numb to everything that others in the hospital felt around me as I located her room. Once there, I dropped my phone to the floor and raised my hands to my mouth to hold back the scream I wanted to voice, one that took a lot of restraint on my part to hide. Bella, my best friend, was lying in a bed, her back propped up as wires and tubing hooked her to numerous other machines. I could identify a ventilator and heart monitor, but everything else remained nameless. Charlie had told me she couldn't do anything for herself, she was dependent on those machines to stay alive. But was that really living? Her face had been drawn and paler than normal as she lay there unconscious. I had wished her a final goodnight before the doctors returned and disconnected her, the sound of the flat-line still echoed in my ears to this day.
I had then left the room, feeling lost and numb as I stared at nothing, my eyes refusing to stop crying as I collected my phone and took a seat on a bench near the nurse's station. I vaguely remembered someone sitting beside me, but I couldn't have described them even had I wanted to. They were a shadowy blur in the corner of my eye. It was then, as I stared at a nurse putting a blanket over Bella's head, that I had finally broken. I had howled in pain, making a nearby doctor worry for me. I would never again receive a phone call from her, never again hear her laugh or her reports on Edward. She had promised me a photo of them both, that she would introduce us over the summer when I came to visit. I had been entirely catatonic, Charlie had to call my uncle to collect me and I was brought to Montana, where I placed myself in isolation. That was where my friends Meredith and Alistair had found me. They had gotten me through the worst of my pain, and informed me that Bella would never want me to be like this over her.
"Promise me you'll smile more…"
With my promise to her still echoing in my head, I agreed to return to Phoenix on a full-time basis, going back to school for everything and not just what I had classed as important. I had thrown myself into my position as co-captain, deciding to keep myself busy so I wouldn't dwell on my grief.
"It was my fault she was dead; I should have driven to see her…I should have stopped her…"
It was around that time that I started questioning what I wanted from my life, what I wanted to do once I graduated.
"Don't let people dictate how you live your life…"
I decided that I wanted to help people, and the only way I saw that working was by becoming a doctor. I picked up other AP subjects, and found my memory was considerably better than what it had been before I had arrived at Arcadia and started those insane driving trips for my dad. I studied every night, so as to make sure my grades stayed high. As I read the books that hurt my back, I pondered if I would have been able to save Bella. But as she had passed away, I made a promise to myself and her. Once I was a doctor, I would do everything in my power to help someone who may have been like her. I would ensure they returned to their families or friends the way I wished Bella had been able to do.
With that goal in mind, I caused myself stress on a daily basis, and had recently pulled back from my role in the cheerleading squad so as to focus on my subjects and the tests that went with them. I had been told by my guidance counsellor before I left, that to go to any college and become a doctor, I needed to show them I meant business, and that I was serious about taking on medicine. I had informed him that I would contact a doctor that lived near me and ask if I could shadow them, to get a feel for the job. Before I went to the doctor, I knew I needed to adapt my ability so I wouldn't be consumed by the emotions of all those around me, or I'd never be able to survive. I barely survived though each school day, considering there were at least 1700 students there, and they each had their own set of emotions, memories and struggles to get through. As I currently was, it felt like someone had called an assembly and every student was in, before placing us all in the gym. Everyone wanted to speak at once, to tell me their problems and it was overwhelming. My only reprieve, since Bella had died, was sitting in my car and turning the music up loud to calm myself. On the drive down here, I had pondered moving to a new school with a lower student population.
With a gentle shake of my head and another deep breath, I knew I could think on my plans later. I pushed forward along the stone path. The rain was still falling down and my hood was soaked through, making me feel cold all over. A shiver ran down my spine and I started to sneeze. I needed out of these wet clothes before I went to see Edward Cullen. Maybe I could ask Charlie for a loan of a shirt or something else to get me through the rest of this trip.
"Don't let Edward suffer over me…"
"I'm sorry it took this long, Bella," I whispered to myself as I reached the stairs, only to freeze at the sound of a car's exhaust backfiring.
The sound drew my attention away from the white-washed house to a dark grey truck. I guess I had been wrong to assume the sound had belonged to a car. The truck was a little bigger (and newer) than the Chevy, and was parked facing the front of my Mercedes. I took two small steps away from the stairs so I could see who had arrived, only to be greeted with a view of a blacked out windscreen. I couldn't see who was sitting in the cab, but figured there had to be a driver. It didn't look like the truck was self-driving. The passenger door opened, and was facing the house opposite Charlie's, making it impossible for me to see who was there. No one exited the truck immediately, which made me worry for a moment. If there was someone else here to see Charlie, I would come back later. I knew better than to crowd a grieving person. It was similar to cornering a rat…
I was pulled from my thoughts as the driver's door opened nearly as slowly as the passenger's had before a man stepped down. He was tall, a good couple of feet higher than I could ever wish to be. His skin was a clear russet colour, and his hair was black, cropped short to his skull, reminding me of my uncle's recent shave. Considering the weather, he had decided to wear a pair of cut-off shorts and a vest, which exposed a tribal tattoo on his arm. Was that a gang symbol? Should I be concerned for either my safety or Charlie's? As he closed his door, the rain dropped down quicker, soaking through his vest and revealed wash-board abs. His hair glistened as water ran through my clothes and stuck my skirt to my legs. I watched as the man turned to glance at me before venturing to the back of his truck to retrieve a wheelchair. He clearly didn't require it, which suggested the passenger did. It explained why they hadn't gotten out when the door had opened originally.
The driver pulled it from the bed of his truck, before setting it carefully on the ground near him, and in full view of me. He pushed down on the seat to flatten it before adjusting the leg rests. He quickly moved it to the passenger's door, which I took to mean there were only two guests here. With a mixture of wheezing and muffled conversation, someone was lifted out of the truck and into the wheelchair. I moved some of my fringe out of my eyes, only for water to run down the bridge of my nose. The truck was locked up and the pair made their way up the path, towards me. I wasn't sure why I had remained rooted to the spot, perhaps my curiosity had gotten the best of me as I watched the driver stop the wheelchair a metre from me. I picked up on a sense of apprehension from the driver, which was a little higher than that of the passenger's. They both possessed similar emotional states, with underlying currents of curiosity, confusion and worry. I took the confusion to be directed at me, their eyes suggesting they were wondering what I was doing outside Charlie Swan's house or the fact that my attire was definitely not from around these parts. I glanced down to see my skirt was peeking out from under the bottom of my coat, a black cotton mix that was now stuck to my legs. Maybe, considering how short the skirt was, they thought I was a stripper…?
When I saw it from this angle, I could understand why some of the students believed we dressed like prostitutes, but if only they knew that we wore these outfits to limit how many injuries were caused. I lifted my gaze from my skirt to see the driver was hunched over the wheelchair, clearly too tall to operate it like a normal person. The handles were double wrapped by his hands, which suggested he had long fingers, and he had a body which suggested he used steroids for the fun of it. I could see his abs quite well now, and wondered how old he was. Was he training for some upcoming event? I looked away from the bodybuilder to see the passenger had nearly the opposite appearance. His hair was dark and long, which he had left loose around his shoulders and now was stuck to him. He had dressed as if he had prophesised the weather and had a pair of jeans on with a plaid shirt and a raincoat over them. They both shared similarities such as skin tone, dark eyes and their posture, which suggested they were ex-soldiers. I had seen that stance too often with my uncle, and knew it was one of the first things they taught new recruits. As I looked over the men, I decided they must be related in some way, and I was leaning towards a father/son pair. The passenger kept his gaze on me while the driver glanced away to view the living room window and the sound of the football game beyond.
"You're not from around these parts," the passenger stated after a moment of prolonged silence.
"I'm only visiting," I replied, not sure I wanted them to know where I was from.
"What brings you to Forks?" he questioned.
"I'm here to see Charlie Swan," I answered, "what about yourselves?"
I had only asked so I would know where I could go from there. If they were here to see Charlie, I would go see Edward first and then return. I didn't want Charlie to feel cornered or trapped in his own home.
"We're here to see him too," the passenger replied, "we're good friends. How do you know him?"
"He's a friend of my dad's," I answered, not sure if that still held true, "look, if you're here to see him, I can come back. Could you let him know that?"
"Sure," the passenger replied, "who should I tell him the message is from?"
"Adelaide Carmichael," I said as I put my hands in my pockets.
Saying that I was there because I was Richard Carmichael's daughter was only one excuse I could use, the other being I had been Bella's friend. It didn't matter really, as the driver didn't look too impressed with my answer, returning his gaze from the living room window to me so he could glare. Even with the pounding rain, I was certain I could hear faint growling, though if it was coming from him or not, was uncertain. I wasn't impressed either which way, and crossed my arms across my chest and forced my expression into something similar to neutral. He let go of the wheelchair, pushing it slightly as he stalked towards me. His arms swung at his sides and the passenger was only given a moment to catch him, pinning him in place before he reached me. My heart felt like it was racing inside my chest, adrenaline was coursing through my body as I held my ground. Why did it seem like he was trembling? Was he cold? I noted that his earlier emotional state of confusion had been replaced by anger, and it didn't take a genius to sense it was directed towards me. Had I antagonised him in some way unbeknownst to me?
"Jacob! Calm yourself!" the passenger shouted.
"How can we be certain she isn't one of them?!" Jacob demanded, keeping his focus on me and nowhere else.
"We would have sensed it by now!" the passenger replied, forcing Jacob to break his focus.
The man in the wheelchair let go of Jacob's arm which he did nothing with. He instead looked at the passenger who placed his hands in his lap, and I realised Jacob was still trembling. I wondered what the pair were talking about as Jacob took a few calming breaths, the trembling easing considerably in an effort to relax. I took a step away from the pair, and then another, putting as much distance as I could between us. My mind was screaming at me, telling me that Jacob posed a danger to me, and that I should get away.
"You know they have ways to disguise themselves! The rain could cover their smell!" Jacob snapped before his gaze shot up and focused on me, noting I was further away.
I cursed under my breath, having hoped to reach the stairs before he noticed me, and knowing he would catch me if I didn't run, I turned on my heel to race up the stairs before that happened. I got two more steps before an arm snaked around my front, pulling my body against a hard, hot chest as another hand caught and held up my left forearm above my head. I used my right arm to hit the hand at my waist, trying to break free as he squeezed tighter, putting a lot of strain on my ribs. I stopped hitting as I was lifted a little higher, my feet could no longer touch the floor. I tried pulling on my restrained arm, only for my captor to clamp down tighter. I lifted my head, seeing Jacob's face was neutral, his breathing was deep as he looked down at me. His emotions were consumed by anger and hatred, as a smile creeped across his lips, reminding me of Edel as he tightened his grip. The skin on my left wrist was beginning to turn white from the lack of blood flow to my fingers, along with numbing my arm. My own breathing was being restricted by his hold on my chest, forcing me to take shallow breaths that were only making me light-headed.
"You are not getting anywhere near him!" Jacob growled, his body trembling as I attempted to pull free once more.
"Let go of me!" I wheezed before staring toward the open window, "CHARLIE!"
"What was your plan?" he demanded, "to lure him out?"
"What the hell are you talking about?" I coughed as I tried to break free again, "CHARLIE!"
He knew I couldn't pull away, that his grip on me was too tight. But he didn't stop there and clamped down tighter. I felt the pressure on my arm and my ribs protested, felt my nerves screaming at me that I was in pain as I looked up at my discoloured wrist. I pulled once more before a sickening sound reached my ears, surprising me out of my raw fear. From what I could see beyond my tears and the rain, my arm was broken, but I couldn't tell how bad considering the sleeve of my coat went to my wrist. My arm felt warm as I screamed at the top of my lungs. I struggled to pull free from Jacob so I could cradle my arms as he squeezed on my ribs again, hurting my lungs and making it near impossible for me to take a deep breath. During my panic, and Jacob's smile, the front door was pulled open, to reveal a haggard Charlie Swan. A shotgun rested in his hands, ready to fire as he looked over the three of us gathered on his lawn.
"What the HELL is going on?!" he demanded, before taking a note of who was standing in front of him, "Billy? Jacob? What are you both doing here? And…is that you, Adelaide?"
"Hi Charlie," Billy stated, taking attention away from Jacob and I.
"Jacob, what are you doing to Adelaide?" Charlie asked, "let her go."
Jacob did as he requested, releasing me and letting me fall to the floor. My feet connected first, followed by the rest of my body as my ribs hit the floor and winded me. My hand knocked the path and sent a shock up my arm as I turned my head to the side to take a shallow breath. The world was starting to spin a little, as someone touched my shoulders to help me up slowly.
"Jacob, I didn't mean to drop her," Charlie muttered as he helped me to my feet.
I no longer felt scared. I was now angry with how the bastard had treated me, so I used my right hand to curl the fingers of my left, deemed my arm a lost cause, before I turned and punched Jacob in his jaw with all the weight I could put behind a broken bone. Admittedly, it was not the smartest move I had ever made, considering this mutt was taller and heavier than I was, or ever could be. But a part of me, the part who was howling in pain now with the rest of me, wanted him to feel something. Only problem was, the punch had the opposite effect. Instead of hurting him, it felt like I was hitting a concrete wall which resulted in my knuckles begging for mercy as the pain in my arm spread up to my shoulder. I cried out as I dropped to my knees, my body demanding I stop hurting myself. My ribs protested as I wrapped my right arm protectively around them, wondering how bad the whole situation was. I tried to distract myself by thinking of all of the curse words I knew, ranging from languages that I had glanced at over the years.
"Hey now!" Charlie said as he moved to put himself between us, but with Jacob standing and my being on the floor, the act was rather redundant.
"Serves her right for trying to hit me," Jacob muttered as I lifted my gaze from the floor, making sure he could see what he had done to me.
"You stupid mutt!" I croaked, rain concealing my tears, "you bastard! What the fuck did I do to you?!"
"You lied," he commented dryly.
Tears obscured him from my view and I didn't have the strength to wipe my eyes. Charlie went behind me and helped me to my feet once more, holding my waist as I winced. The world had stopped spinning for the moment, for which I was grateful.
"Right, Jacob, you go inside with your dad. Make yourselves at home," Charlie instructed, "Adelaide, I'll bring you to the hospital and get you fixed up."
"I bet she's putting on an act," Jacob muttered, "playing up her injuries."
"Jacob," Charlie stated coldly, "go inside. Adelaide, go over to my car. I'll get my keys."
I nodded, no longer seeing a point in fighting with Jacob. It was a losing battle. Charlie only wanted to help me, and right in that moment, I felt like I needed it. I walked away slowly, moving my right hand to cradle my left arm while still protecting my ribs. This wasn't how I had planned my trip to Forks. I had thought it would be a lot easier than this. I reached the passenger door of the cruiser and waited for Charlie, who took a few moments to escape his house with a raincoat on, another thrown over his arm, and a small sandwich bag, along with his keys. He reached me and opened the door, helping me inside before putting the coat on my lap. I could feel the rain that had clung to me and my clothes, soak into the upholstery of the car. Charlie knelt down and placed the sandwich bag in my right hand, showing me there was ice in it.
"Might help with the swelling," he said gently before placing it on my left arm, closed my door and walked to his side to get in.
I looked to the front of the house, seeing Jacob was on the stairs, his gaze focused on mine. I heard the hum of the engine as Charlie reversed, and we started our descent down a hill towards town. The stereo played music from a local radio station, which Charlie turned down in case I needed to speak to him in relation to my injuries. As we reached the town, I spotted a bear carved out of wood, a fish dangling in its mouth like a trophy. A man looked proudly at his work, and gave a small wave to Charlie who returned the gesture. The shops we passed appeared to be family-run and I could barely make out the shape of Bella's old high school in the distance. I remembered her telling me there was nothing here, you would have to travel to Seattle or Port Angeles to get anything. However, in my head, I let the limited shops add to the town's charm. I looked over at Charlie, feeling the familiar emotions of concern and worry coming from him. I could also sense an underlying current of grief, which reminded me that I had a reason for being in Forks.
I returned my gaze to the shops, spotting a small clothing shop. I'd drop in once everything was done and grab some new clothes, considering I had been in this uniform for the last few days. I took a shallow breath, knowing that I wasn't here for leisure and started looking for somewhere Charlie could pull over safely. I spotted a sign that stated the hospital was only about a mile away, set near the outskirts of the town to avoid immediate traffic. Only a short distance past that sign, I noticed a gravel shoulder, one I had a feeling a lot of frustrated mothers had stopped at as their children complained of being sick. For now, that was the best I could hope for.
"Can we pull over for a moment?" I asked and ne nodded, turning on the indicator before pulling over onto the shoulder, the gravel crunching under the wheels.
"You feeling sick?" he asked and I shook my head, keeping my face forward so I wouldn't have to look him in the eye for the next few moments.
"My dad asked me to come and see you, since he heard you hadn't been doing too well here."
"You've been a recluse since her funeral," I clarified, "I know it was hard for you when you realised Bella wasn't coming back. I think you took it the hardest, and you're still not out of it just yet. I know she wouldn't want this life for you. So I'm here, at dad's request, to give you a reprieve from your grief, to allow you to move on and be the happy man we remember you being…"
"Adelaide," he whispered gently, "there's really nothing you can do for me…"
I looked down at my hands, hearing him tell me about how he should have stopped her from leaving his house that night, but I didn't want to hear it anymore. I knew I should have gotten into my car that night and stopped her from being reckless, I should have been there to prevent this all from happening. I would have that hanging over my head for the rest of my life, knowing I could have saved my friend, but Charlie didn't need to feel it anymore. I lifted my right hand to my mouth to bite on the fingers of my glove so I could drop it to the floor. My left hand was considerably more awkward, but I managed it, seeing the damage I had wrought on my knuckles. They were skinned from where the punch had chaffed my skin, allowing a few droplets of blood to flow free. But what worried me most was the slow stream of blood that encircled my wrist and was now running down my hand. I took a shaky breath, not wishing to worry Charlie any further as I turned in my seat and caught his hand in my right and lifted my left hand to rest on his cheek, my nerves screaming at me while I did so. I only hoped that I didn't leave a bloody handprint on his face when I was finished.
He closed his eyes, and I did too, feeling the rawness of the emotions he was experiencing. The memory he had on repeat was the one of Bella lying in her bed, the doctors disconnecting her while he thought of how he could have saved her. As he had mentioned, he could have stopped her from leaving the house that night after a fight between her and Edward. The memory had shifted to a more recent event, a home video of Bella playing with me in Forks on a summer vacation. She had been bought a new one piece and I had refused to get out of my summer dress to get into the paddling pool with her. Scattered across the floor of the living room were discarded beer cans, having built up over the last few months. The memory returned to the instant Bella had hurt him, telling him she didn't want to end up trapped like Renee in Forks. Those words still hurt him, and he wished they had parted on a happier note than that. He showed me a memory of a letter, his name written on the unfranked envelope which Bella had written to him. She had written to tell him how much she loved him, how sorry she was for saying those words. He would trade that letter to repeat that evening, to run after her and tell her he loved her.
The memory changed to one of the police station, of missing persons' reports and books in front of him as a light flickered to his left. He didn't want to go home, didn't want to open the front door to such an empty place. A takeaway dinner was resting near his right hand, his only source of food since she had died. He didn't know how to cook much beyond bacon and eggs, and as he had no intention of starving, he ordered his food in. When he did eventually go home, he made sure to go straight to his bedroom and when he woke up, he grabbed a coffee and left without spending a lot of time in his own home. He didn't want to be alone, and hated when he put people out, such as Jacob and Billy, who visited him nearly every other day.
One place in his home he refused to disturb was Bella's room, which remained as she had left it prior to leaving. He didn't have the guts to sort through her things, knowing she would never come back to claim them. The final memory was one of a rainy morning, of a brown casket being lowered into the ground. Charlie was standing near Renee and Phil as they both cried, and he lifted his gaze to see I was standing across from him, dressed in a black dress and matching coat for the event. He remembered me saying a small speech about Bella, but the words had gone in one ear and out the other. He could only focus on the fact that it was his fault that Bella was in that casket, that it was his fault she was dead. If he had stopped her from running away, maybe, just maybe…. she'd still be here.
I pulled myself free from his memories, feeling more tears running down my cheeks and over my hand as Charlie himself cried, his tears stained pink once they followed the trail of blood. I let out a breath I had been holding as I took on Charlie's grief, and his misery so he could return to how he had been, the man Bella would have remembered. I felt the burden that was his rest on my shoulders, a heavy weight I would gladly take on so he could be happy again. I pushed back his memories of Bella by a decade, seeing them fade and become withered photographs in his mind. If he thought about her, he'd remember she died but would not be capable of falling into his previous state of grief again. For him, the time would have passed for mourning. I gave him a little hope for the future before letting my hand drop onto my lap, where I hid it under his jacket so he wouldn't see the blood.
"She wanted to tell you she was sorry for what happened, and that she loved you," I croaked before glancing back at his face, grateful to see there was no bloody handprint there. I waited for him to open his eyes, which were now a clear chocolate brown. His emotions were still filled with concern and worry for me, but there was no longer an undercurrent of grief. He looked confused, raising one of his hands to wipe my eyes before turning away. He wasn't a man who dealt with emotions, rarely expressing them himself. I raised my right hand and wiped my eyes slowly. Charlie started the ignition and put the car back on the road, forgetting why I had asked him to pull over.
"We're nearly there, Adelaide," he said as he looked over at me, checking to see if I was alright.
This was the Charlie Swan that Bella would have remembered, that was the one she would have wanted to exist. She wouldn't have wanted him to feel lost in Forks, unable to function properly as a person. A small part of me only hoped that Edward wasn't nearly as bad, as I was starting to feel tired and a little weak, as if I hadn't slept or eaten anything in a couple of days. I raised my right hand to touch my forehead, and I could feel the start of a fever. I couldn't comprehend how I had become this drained in such a short amount of time, which worried me further. Normally after I helped someone, I was hungry or a little tired and a nap would fix me…but this was different. I had never faced anything quite like this. I glanced down at my left hand which was still hidden and wondered if my injuries had something to do with my lack of energy. I coughed, covering my mouth after a moment with my sleeve as I soon found it impossible to stop. Charlie cast me a glance as he turned into the main entrance of the hospital, parking his cruiser near the front door of the A&E. I could see two ambulances waiting to be called out, and as I blinked, one of the ambulances' sirens started as they drove off the property at speed. I hoped that the person involved in the emergency wasn't too badly hurt and that it was something an EMT could fix. I took one moment to send up a silent wish to whoever was bothered to listen.
A gentle breeze encircled me and I turned my attention towards the door, hoping to close an open window, only to see Charlie had opened the door to peer in at me. Why did he look so worried? He put his hand to my head and shook his after a moment. He put his hand under my right elbow to help me out of the car, but I couldn't stand upright or keep my balance. I swayed slightly, everything around me appearing to move in the opposite direction. Charlie closed the car up and locked it.
"Woah there, kiddo," Charlie said from beside me before my feet were scooped off the floor and my eyes were now staring at the logo of his raincoat.
An arm was at my back while another was underneath my knees, which I took to mean he was holding me., but I couldn't understand why. My arm began to flare up and my ribs were protesting once more against the abuse they were receiving. I moved my right hand to cover my mouth as I coughed, before the sound of automatic doors opening focused my attention elsewhere. Everything smelt sterile to me…which made me feel nauseous. The coughing wouldn't stop and I found it hard to catch a breath now. My eyes felt heavy and I wanted to go to sleep. Everything would be alright…if I just closed my eyes for a moment….
The rain pulsed down overhead, echoing throughout the emergency department as the water ran down the windows, reminding me of a waterfall I had seen a century ago. Perhaps I should bring Esme on a vacation, show her more of the world than she already knew of. I glanced down at the chart in my hand for one Agnes Nielson, a patient of Dr Snow's who had only been discharged on Wednesday. Her husband had contacted the department, seeking assistance for her when he had found her unconscious in their apartment. Dr Snow had only recently completed a report on her cystic fibrosis, had checked on her ventilation to make sure it was in working order for her. As he was off today, as I myself should have been, I was stationed in the emergency department. I'd have to make sure I had a grasp on her condition prior to her arrival here.
But one thing was certain, today at the hospital was considerably busier than normal. We would have had about thirty patients in with various problems, most often than not a child had a cough and we gave them some Calpol. I had heard a few of the residents discussing the possibility that due to the poor weather conditions, we may have an influx of patients with severe injuries. I only hoped that weren't the case, as our beds were two-thirds full already and we'd have to send them on to St Matthew's for their care once we had assessed them. We weren't a big hospital, which added to the appeal this small town had. Places such as Phoenix, their hospitals would have been bursting at the seams from early morning until late at night. I had seen as much when we had brought Bella Swan there on the night she had died, setting the scene to look like she had died from her injuries. That reminded me, I should phone home and check on Edward before I was caught up by Mrs Nielson…
"Help!" a voice called out, and I lifted my gaze from the chart to see Charlie Swan.
He was standing in the doorway of the emergency department, the doors uncertain whether to remain open or close as he stood on the pressure plate. He had a young girl in his arms, and he lifted her up to support her weight as he walked closer. Her breathing was shallow and her heart was beating too rapidly to be considered normal. One arm was resting across her stomach while the other lay dangling from her side, only for a moment as she raised it to cough into. That sound echoed throughout the room as the faint smell of blood permeated the air. I glanced over her briefly to see if I could spot any visible injuries, but due to the rain that had been absorbed by her clothes, I couldn't determine the source. Those seconds I took to analyse the situation were minimal as I pushed away from the help desk to assist as a nurse, Jillian, pulled away a curtain for one gurney so Charlie could place the girl down carefully.
"What happened to her?" I asked as I turned my attention to Charlie, who looked genuinely terrified for the girl.
"I don't know," he replied, "something is wrong with her arm and she's been coughing since we drove in…"
I looked back at the girl to see she was unconscious as I opened her eyes slowly. I ran my penlight over them, determining her responsiveness to the light in a hope to eliminate a head injury. I was surprised by the vivid emerald green of her eyes, oddly mystical, reminding me of ones I had seen a century ago. Ones I could no longer see, as their owner now possessed golden eyes like myself. But I could ponder the similarities at a different time as I realised that without the girl telling me of her injuries directly, she'd unintentionally made my job of saving her all the more difficult. But who didn't enjoy a good challenge?
Jillian had already put on a pair of gloves and cut the material of her right cuff up to her elbow, her intention to stick her with an IV and give her fluids, keep her hydrated during this process. It would also avoid causing her further distress should we need to give her other medicine or injections. I could sense Charlie Swan standing at the end of her gurney, looking over her as he worried. I wondered briefly what this girl was to him, but knew better than to question him. Perhaps there had been a road accident, not that I would wish that upon anyone. I could hear Charlie's heart beating quickly inside his chest, remembering hearing the same beat before he saw Bella in her hospital bed. I didn't wish to cause him any further distress, or bring to the surface memories that I had heard caused him pain, so I waved to one of the newer nurses, Ivy. She jumped at my wave and ran to my side, her eagerness only second to her terrible bedside manner.
"What can I do for you, Dr Cullen?" she asked, her voice breathy.
"Ivy, I want you to take Chief Swan to the waiting room to fill in a statement of what he remembers of this incident," I stated simply, catching a glimpse of her rolling her eyes prior to complying.
"Chief Swan, will you please follow me?" Ivy asked and Charlie nodded, his eyes still on the girl before looking at me. His eyes appeared clear, unlike what I had seen over the last month when he had brought in detainees who had broken the law. Those eyes had appeared haunted, and I had put it down to his daughter's death, but now…had he finally finished grieving?
"Take care of her, Carlisle," he said to me and I nodded, watching as he left to follow Ivy.
What an odd sight! I wondered what had finally broken him free, and perhaps…Edward could follow suit? I wished for him to become responsive, to answer our questions as we asked them. I wanted to see the man I had known, the person to whom I remembered. But something told me, whispered it insistently in my ear, that Edward couldn't break free from his grief. I'd ponder solutions once this girl was taken care of as I checked her lungs with my stethoscope, finding it hard to hear anything from her right lung. I put on my gloves and retrieved a pair of scissors, cutting up through her coat and setting the sides apart to see the uniform underneath. It looked almost like a soldier's gear as I removed the rest of the cut section of the coat, dropping it to the floor quickly. Jillian joined in cutting away her uniform, which we found to be backless. She was wearing an adhesive bra that didn't seem to do anything as I noted bruising along her right side. I checked it once, feeling the swollen skin. Jillian handed me an ice-pack to put on it, to reduce the swelling before we could wrap it.
I'd need an x-ray to determine the extent of the damage to her lungs and her ribs, but until then, I needed to stabilise her breathing, which was shallow and at this rate, would only cause her distress, and possibly lead to a chest infection. Before I was given an opportunity, she began coughing once more, and I watched as blood spilled over her bluish lips. Once that subsided, I retrieved a resuscitation mask and placed it carefully over her nose and mouth, hoping it would keep her oxygenated while we worked over her. I moved my stethoscope over her heart, and though it was not required and was merely for appearances' sake, I could hear her heart as it fluttered, beating rapidly inside her chest. I was still wondering where the smell of blood had come from, noticing small scratches on her knees and palms that marked her skin, but didn't match the smell I was picking up.
"You must be a cheerleader," Jillian whispered as she took a seat near the girl, soothing her, "you're a little on the thin side to be a base…so perhaps you're a flyer?"
"A flyer?" I asked, unfamiliar with the terms of cheerleading. The hospital rarely received any such patients.
"They perform the aerial acrobatics," Jillian explained, "but I can tell you right now, that black uniform is not a Forks High one."
"Hopefully she won't mind losing it," I said gently as I looked down at the remains on the floor.
"Dr Cullen," a voice called and I turned to see Kathleen Edgeworth, another surgeon, looking at me, "Mrs Nielson just arrived."
"Can you take care of her?" I asked, "her chart is near Ivy's computer."
"You owe me," she said with a smile before running off to another bed, "Mrs Nielson…"
I looked back to my patient, still wondering where the blood was coming from as I looked to her ribs, seeing nothing had broken through her skin. I picked up my stethoscope again and placed it over her right lung, still finding it difficult to hear it as she took a breath. It was quite possible a rib had pierced her lung, causing it to collapse.
"I need an x-ray of her right lung," I stated and Jillian nodded, as I glanced over at her right hand.
There was a small bit of blood visible from where she had been stuck with the IV needle, but that was normal and the mark had only been made while within the emergency department. I looked to her left hand, spotting a few broken lines of blood running across her fingers. I could see the broken knuckles, but the skin was grazed, not torn. I retrieved my scissors once more and cut along the sleeve of her left arm, cutting to her shoulder to remove the material before I located the source of the blood. Her forearm was broken, one fragment of bone piercing through her skin, allowing blood to flow freely.
"Jillian, call up to the OR. Find a spare room immediately," I stated as I placed her arm carefully at her side, and put the bars up around her.
"Certainly," Jillian replied as she got up to move to the nurse's station, dialling upstairs.
"What did you do to yourself?" I questioned the unconscious girl as Nancy, a senior nurse, moved to her right side and set up a line for anti-biotics and a tetanus shot.
"The third OR is free, Dr Cullen," Jillian said as she returned to the end of the gurney, "Dr Callaghan will complete an x-ray on her arm and her chest for you while you get ready. We'll deliver her to the OR."
"Thank you, Jillian," I responded, "Nancy."
I turned on my heel, running quickly for a human and called for the elevator. The nurses arrived as it did and I nodded to them before running up the stairs. They would clean out the wound while I prepared for the surgery.
I just knew it was going to be a long day…
I glanced through the glass that separated the OR from the prep room as I washed my arms before putting on my gloves. The x-rays were up, the ones concerning her arm were near where I would be working and I could see that both her ulna and radius were broken, at least three pieces per bone. I'd need to cut into her arm and set the pieces so they could heal, perhaps with a pin or plate. Another x-ray showed me the state of her ribs, five of which were broken and her right lung was collapsed. She'd need a chest tube before she left the OR, and I would work through that once her arm was repaired.
I left the prep room as Nancy put me in a gown, adjusting the mask to my face as I took my seat in front of her arm. Jillian was sitting near her head, keeping the air flowing into her good lung as Nancy kept her eyes on the readouts. A heart monitor told me her pulse was at 90 which was considerably high for a girl who appeared to be in her mid-teens. If what Jillian said about the possibility of her being a cheerleader, her heart rate should have been between 49 and 55 beats per minute. I looked over the girl quickly, noting one of the nurses had covered her chest with a blanket, to maintain a small piece of her dignity. The bruising on her ribs would require my attention as well, and something told me she would be staying with us for at least a week to mend.
"Did Chief Swan give any information in regards to her?" I asked as I started working on her arm.
"Her name is Adelaide Carmichael," Jillian replied, "and she's from Phoenix, Arizona."
"What is she doing so far away from her home?" I queried as I glanced up at the x-ray.
"That was one thing Chief Swan couldn't explain," Nancy stated as she looked over at me, "she arrived on his doorstep this morning to end up in this OR by noon."
"She must have left her cheerleading training early," Jillian suggested, "in order to have remained in that nightmare outfit for a drive."
"Certain she drove?"
"Chief Swan told us her car is parked at his house, empty bottles of water and protein shakes littered the backseat," Jillian answered, "this girl must have been on the road for at least two days, and if what Chief Swan says is correct, as he had to call a friend of his to check her car, she hasn't eaten anything solid in that time."
"She's not going to enjoy waking up then," Nancy muttered, "Jenny is back from maternity leave."
"Her casserole making a reappearance?" Jillian asked.
"This morning," the senior nurse answered, "two residents are currently stuck in the upstairs bathroom, puking up said casserole."
"Carolyn and Ricky as far as I know," Nancy sighed, "I've let the other residents know the hazards of eating the casserole…but that will only postpone the illnesses."
"Have you tried speaking to Jenny or the managing staff about this?" I asked them, having not eaten in the cafeteria, choosing to instead bring food from home, which I picked at in my office.
"Jenny gets defensive, not that I blame her…completely," Jillian replied, "and management is short staffed at the moment."
"Just be careful, ladies," I said gently, returning to work.
It took six hours to repair the damage to her arm, considering the extent of the work that needed to be completed before I could stitch the incision point. She was very lucky that the bone hadn't become infected, and none of her soft tissue had been damaged as a result. I had then moved onto her lung, inserting a chest tube in order to remove the excess air in her chest cavity and allow her lung to return to its previous state. Once the air started exiting her body, her heart rate dropped from 90 to 70, keeping steady. It would remain high like that until her lung was recovered, which could take a day or two. I wrapped her ribs, having Jillian lift her carefully so I could in order to give them some support while she recovered, but giving her enough room so she could breathe properly. Once that was done, I returned to her arm to place it in a cast, buddy taping her little finger and ring finger when the x-ray showed she had broken both. Once she was bandaged, I undid my gown, mask and gloves in order to help Nancy and Jillian move her to ICU.
Someone had placed Ivy with Ryan to keep an eye on the patients while two other nurses took their lunch break. I stuck by the office to look over the monitors, making sure everything was alright as I noted Mrs Nielson had been moved up here for observation. I walked into the room slowly to see Jillian attaching Adelaide to the machinery, her heart rate being picked up first before her blood pressure and her temperature. She had a fever, which may have been a result of her injuries. Nancy hooked up her IV once more with antibiotics as I made sure the chest tube was still working. Once we had ensured everything was attached to her, I returned to the office and put "A. Carmichael" down on the monitor. I was still curious to know what had caused such damage, and informed Ivy and Ryan to contact me once she had woken up.
With that done, I went up to my office and retrieved my phone from my coat. If I was staying here to make sure the surgery went well with Adelaide, I would need to let Esme know. With my decision made, no doubt Alice was aware and had already informed Esme, but I preferred to inform her myself. I knew she liked our phone calls, considering how much communication had improved over the last two decades. I dialled home and leaned against my desk, waiting for her to pick up the phone.
"Carlisle? Is that you?" my wife asked, "are you alright?"
"I'm fine, Esme," I answered, "I wanted to let you know that I'll be staying late in the hospital tonight to keep an eye on a new patient of mine."
"Hopefully everything went well for them," Esme said softly.
"How's Edward?" I questioned and heard my wife sigh, "Esme?"
"Alice, Emmett and Jasper went out hunting, so Rose and I are looking after Edward tonight," she answered, "he hasn't moved from his spot, and hasn't acknowledged us. You don't think he'll go to the Volturi, do you?"
I remembered the Volturi as if I had spent yesterday with them. Aro, Caius and Marcus, the self-elected leaders of our society and the enforcers of our laws. I doubted that were Edward to pay them a visit, they would comply with his request should he ask for death, but considering his current mental state, I wouldn't have been surprised were he to break a law in order to earn their wrath. It was when I thought about how Edward was now, that I wondered if I had done wrong by encouraging the relationship between himself and Bella. What would have happened had we intervened? Would things have worked out for the better or the worse? I guess that answer would always elude me…and something whispered to me that Edward's days were numbered. He had been sitting in the living room for the last five months, refusing to move or feed, or even interact with us. His eyes had long since lost their glimmer of hope, and now they appeared clouded. What I would give for the man I remembered to be returned to us.
"I think the thought has already crossed his mind," I answered, "considering it has crossed all of ours."
"I'll ring Alice, ask her and the boys to come home sooner. If he tries anything, we'll stop him. I'm going to redesign our English home for the next few hours, so you take care of your patient. Love you, Carlisle."
"Love you too, Esme," I replied as we hung up, and I placed my phone by my side on the desk.
I clenched my hands tight, feeling the bite of my nails in the palm of my hand before I relaxed my grip. I opened my right first before opening my left, finding that my lashes stuck to my skin for a brief moment. The room I was in, was dark, the only light was coming from a bulb overhead and the window which allowed the moon entrance. A glass pane was open to allow fresh air to flow around the room, which only added to my chill. I could see the moon for a moment before it was obscured by clouds, reminding me of an oversized baby blanket, the stars mimicking night lights in a child's bedroom. I returned my attention to my room, wondering where exactly I was, remembering vaguely being on my way to the hospital with Charlie Swan but if we had arrived, that was the question. From the bars on the bed that I was resting on currently, I assumed we had arrived. My uniform had been replaced by a standard hospital gown that made my skin uncomfortable as it partially exposed my right side for some unknown reason. A blanket was wrapped around my waist and I could hear the faint sound of a heartbeat. I lifted my gaze from a moveable tray to see what looked like a heart monitor was set up to my left. Why was I attached to one of those things? I had come in with a broken arm…was something seriously wrong with me? Was I now like how Bella had been…?
I watched as my heartbeat increased, edging towards the seventies rather quickly as it picked up on my distress. I didn't want to be attached to anything like this, not even the oxygen mask on my face that was currently helping me to breathe. I was terrified of becoming dependent on something like this, losing my independence.
"Check on Ms Carmichael, won't you?" a detached voice asked before I heard the sound of footsteps making their way to me.
"I don't get why I'm the errand girl now," a woman muttered before she came into my field of vision, focusing her gaze on my open eyes with a look of surprise colouring her expression, "you're awake?!"
"Is she alright?" the detached voice asked.
"Call Dr Cullen! She's awake!" the woman called before leaving my sight, my right hand posed to lift the mask off my face so I could ask her what was wrong with me.
I tried to calm myself, to bring my heart rate down, but no sooner had I attempted to, I found myself picking up on the stray emotions of those who were also patients at this hospital. They were scared, angry, confused, depressed…the list went out, ranging from person to person and I could feel it slowly eating away from me. I wanted to curl up in a ball and protect myself, form a bubble that could block out the emotions so I could focus on my own. Why was I alone?
"I'll be alright," I whispered to myself as I tried to put myself in a more comfortable position, tears running down my cheeks, "everything will be fine."
"Are you alright, honey?" a voice asked and I sought it out, seeing a young woman with mousy brown hair, an oxygen mask held up in her hand as she looked at me.
"I'm scared," I answered and she nodded, "I came in with a broken arm…"
"Must have been serious then," she replied, "my name is Agnes, what about you?"
"Adelaide," I replied and she smiled, "what are you here for?"
"Cystic fibrosis," she answered simply, "my dog disconnected my oxygen tank from the tubing."
"Sorry to hear about that," I said and she shook her head gently.
"Don't be," she stated, "I've had a good life. I'm married to the most amazing man, we adopted a little boy a few years ago, we have a dog named Bono. If my doctor came in and told me I had an hour left, I wouldn't have a single regret."
Her emotional state was calm and relaxed, telling me that what she said was her true feelings of the situation. I knew cystic fibrosis could be a death sentence, with people not expected to live very long and as they aged, the disease only became more debilitating. For her to be so care free on the matter, suggested she had made peace with her problems. I wished I could be as calm as her, but with everyone's emotions screaming for my attention, it was rather difficult.
I sensed a new person, their emotions gentle and content. There was an underlying current of worry and concern for another, someone who wasn't in this hospital now. I had learned over the years that if a person felt concern for someone else in the vicinity, their underlying emotions started to consume their main feelings. They were moving closer, and I took a deep breath to focus on those calm feelings, wishing I could be calm myself. I closed my eyes and tried to imagine somewhere peaceful, the beach at night was one of my favourites. I opened my eyes as I noticed a shadow standing near me, looking over the monitors by my left.
It was a man, the source of the calmness I had felt before, and he was handsome. He had dressed in a blue shirt and grey trousers, a light blue tie loosely wrapped around his throat which suggested he had been in the middle of his work before he had come down here, wherever here was. Thrown over his "casual" clothes was a white doctor's coat, a black stethoscope hanging from his neck. A nametag hung from the pocket closest to me, giving me a moment to see the passport photo that had been stuck on the card, allowing security to identify him as a doctor. He wrote something down on a piece of paper that looked like a chart before looking down at me.
The light showed me the golden colour of his eyes, which I hadn't known could be a real colour for eyes prior to today. His hair was a light blond, the colour I remembered mine being before I had started bleaching it into oblivion. His skin was pale, a shade of alabaster, as he took a seat in a visitor's chair underneath the monitor so he could look me in the eye. He was tall, considerably taller than I would be as I had stopped growing only recently. This was the man who felt concern and worry for someone who wasn't here, and I wished I knew who they were.
"My name is Carlisle Cullen," the man stated, "I'm your doctor here at Forks General Hospital."
"Nice to meet you," I replied, moving my right hand so I could put it out to him to shake, which he did, "my name is Adelaide Carmichael."
"I have to ask you a few general questions," Dr Cullen said and I nodded, "do you know why you were admitted?"
"I had a broken arm," I replied, looking down at the cast, "I really don't know why I'm still here though."
"Had it been a simple break, you would have had your arm put in a cast and sent on your way," he answered, "unfortunately for you, you had an open fracture, which means-"
"The bone broke through my skin," I stated as I looked down at the baby pink cast, "how bad was it?"
"You required surgery to repair the damage, realign your bones with the aid of a metal plate and pins. No soft tissue was damaged by your bones," he replied, "have you had an open fracture before?"
"No, I just read about them in passing," I answered truthfully.
"You broke two of your knuckles," he continued and I nodded, "which is called a brawler's fracture."
"I should have guessed that would happen," I stated simply.
"Five of your ribs were fractured. They were wrapped to allow them to heal and improve your capability to breathe. One of your lungs collapsed due to a rib puncturing it. I've attached a chest tube to remove the excess air, which will let your lung return to its full size."
"Okay, so I have a broken arm, two broken knuckles, a collapsed lung and five broken ribs," I summarised and he nodded, "how long do I have to stay here?"
"I'd suggest a week to make sure there are no complications from your surgery," Dr Cullen replied and I sighed, "I'm assuming you're not a fan of hospitals?"
"Nope," I replied, "absolutely hate them. What about you?"
The question appeared to have caught him by surprise as he looked first at me and then at Mrs Nielson.
"Hospitals can be depressing places," Dr Cullen answered, "some patients come here looking for a cure we don't have. But the work can be quite rewarding, knowing what you're doing could possibly save another person's life."
"Sounds good," I replied and he smiled.
"Do you know how you sustained your injuries?" he asked, having returned to his previous line of questioning.
"Got on the wrong side of someone who really didn't like me," I replied, still not exactly sure how a man could break five ribs and my arm without running out of breath, and being able to do so while I was struggling.
"Do they look worse?" Dr Cullen asked and I found myself smirking.
"Nope, he got away scott-free, not a single injury to his stupid name," I answered, "but once I'm better, I'll change all of that."
"Perhaps you shouldn't pick fights with those bigger than you," he suggested and I shrugged my shoulders.
"What makes you think he was taller than me?"
"I have a feeling that had he been shorter than you, you would have left a mark," Dr Cullen replied, "are you in any pain at the moment?"
I had to think on the question, considering the emotions spiralling around me, but could quite happily say the drugs they were giving me were keeping me blissfully painless.
"Nope," I replied as he got to his feet.
"Good to hear," he answered, "now it's late, almost two in the morning. I'd suggest you try and get some more sleep, and I'll check on you first thing in the morning."
"Goodnight, Dr Cullen," I said.
"Goodnight, Ms Carmichael," he replied as he left my bedside, dropping my file near the moveable tray and moving out of my field of vision.
I looked to Agnes to see she had fallen asleep already and seeing her made me yawn. I closed my eyes slowly, moving my body slightly to make myself comfortably before falling into a deep sleep once more. My dream consisted of a beautiful beach, of water that lapped across my feet as I watched the sun rise. I promised myself that I would visit the beach before I left for Phoenix…but that could wait until I felt better…
I hoped you all enjoyed the first chapter and my new OC, Adelaide :) I know there are people out there who love Bella's character, and believe she should be with Edward. But when I read the books and then watched the movies...I always wondered what would have happened had she not been around? How would Edward act...? So hopefully you'll stay and read the rest as I update it, and if you can let me know your thoughts by a review or even PM me :) thanks so much for reading :)