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Following the Halloween decorations from one hallway to the next, the young boy lost track of time, lost track of where he was going. The decorations were so captivating to the wide-eyed boy. His parents never decorated for such a holiday, let alone let him out to get all the candy his little heart desired. His daddy said it was because real monsters came out that night, and it wasn't safe to walk around town. That, and he didn't need that much sugar. But he loved candy!
He was able to go to some trick or treating events around town the day of Halloween, luckily, but to him, it just wasn't the same. The shopping center wasn't scary, and he was able to get a little bit of candy and play a few carnival like games. It was fun but just wasn't as fun as he'd imagine going to get candy at night time.
His daddy needed to talk to Grandpa, and he was just so bored. And hungry. He had yet to eat dinner since daddy had to stop here before going to his favorite place to eat - McDonalds. He didn't want to wait there forever, again. He knew he shouldn't have explored so far, but he couldn't help it. The pictures of happy pumpkins were just so exciting to his bright eyes.
Now, as he looked around himself, he knew without a doubt that he was truly lost. This place was so huge, and he never once explored this way before. He couldn't help but take in how there were happier Halloween decorations in this part of the building, though.
Listening to sounds around him, just like how his daddy taught him, the boy tried to figure out where he was at for sure. There were sounds of coughing and crying, more so here in this part of the building than where he left his father and grandfather. It also smelled nicer, but only slightly. After all, a hospital could only smell so good.
Pausing by a closed door, the boy took another look around the area he had wondered into. More pumpkins hung on the doors of each room, a number of happy-go-lucky ghosts hung from the ceiling. Nothing was scary at all, so unlike what his daddy said things would be. It was so many things to take in all at once.
Across the hall, a pretty doctor exited the room, closing the door softly behind her. She happened to glance up, and saw the lonely lost boy looking around. She knew without a doubt that this boy wasn't one of her patients, nor had he ever been one. She hated seeing kids sick or hurt, which is why she was one of the best doctors in the town. She knew how to keep children calm in almost every circumstance.
Having a job like she did was hard, but rewarding. It certainly took a special type of person to do what it takes to keep things running smoothly, which is easier said than done on any given day. So many people most days don't care about the people that come in here at all hours' day and night. It's hard. Hard to keep ourselves distant to each person that walks in through that door. Harder when it was a child that was brought through.
It had been a fairly calm shift for a change. Maybe it was because today was the first day of autumn, or maybe because she was in a good mood after having a few days off to catch up on some much-needed sleep. Working here in the children's ward was a blessing and a curse at once.
She stopped dead in her tracks as her brown eyes looked at the boy as he stood in the hallway. Her doctor instincts kicked in; it was just a natural thing. There was a small cut on his forehead just underneath the edge of his reddish-brown hair that was scabbed over. Light blue eyes peeked up at her in hope as he spotted an adult. He was adorable with a little button round nose. She guessed that he'd be quite the catch when he became an adult. She briefly wondered what his father could possibly look like if the boy looked so sweet and cute at such a young age.
His bright orange shirt almost matched the colors of the pumpkins that the nurses had put up around the children's ward just earlier that day. It was the first day of autumn, after all. His jeans had a few holes in the knees, showing that he fell more often than not. To her, the child was the typical version of any kid.
She took a few steps towards the boy, a soft smile covering her face so he didn't feel frightened. She'd had more than enough practice knowing how to handle almost any child.
"Hello there," she greeted, kneeling down to his level. Her dark brown hair fell over her shoulders in the process, as it never would stay in place no matter what she did with it. "I'm Dr. Swan. Can you tell me your name?" she kept my voice motherly, a way she had learned to adapt years ago when working with children.
"Conner," he answered after a moment, his voice strong despite the way he looked. He couldn't help but like this adult right away. She was happy and talked to him at his level. Not many people did that at home. He always seemed to be in the way more often than not.
"Do you have a last name?" she asked, assuming his parents had to be somewhere within the hospital. It happened a time or two before with having a small child wander away.
"Cullen," Conner answered without a beat. She sighed out in relief. Dr. Cullen was a fairly easy person to track down most of the time. She assumed that the doctor was this boy's grandfather since the man in question had talked about having a grandchild.
Dr. Swan couldn't help but feel drawn to this little boy. "Can you tell me how old you are?"
"Five," he said brightly while holding up five fingers. "Yesterday was my birthday!"
"Oh wow!" she said. "Did you do anything fun?"
"No," he pouted. "Daddy had to work. He always works."
"I'm sorry," she said, feeling for the small child. "That tends to happen often. I work a lot myself. But you know what?"
"What?" he asked, tucking his hands into his pockets.
"I bet you mean the entire world to him," she said. She hoped it was true. "Where is he at?"
"With grandpa," Conner shrugged, his eyes trailing to the decorations once more.
"I'm sure he's worried out of his mind for you," she smiled at him. "I certainly would be if I couldn't find my kiddo in this big place."
"Daddy was grumpy and I'm hungry," Conner spoke again.
"So you ended up here?" she asked, just to make sure she was able to follow along with his story.
It happened once in awhile. Sometimes parents got busy and a kid or two would sneak away to find something to keep them entertained.
"How about you hang out with me for a bit, then?" Dr. Swan asked, seeing as there weren't many nurses that had any free time at the moment in the children's ward tonight.
"Sure!" he said, instantly taking a hold of her offering hand as she stood without a second thought. It was as though she knew exactly how to take care of children, being able to connect with little words between them.
"I'll call around and see if we can find Dr. Cullen," she said once they reached the counter like desk that she spent her time when she wasn't with a patient.
Conner couldn't believe that she was so nice. No one but his family was ever this nice to him. Everyone was scared of him because of his daddy.
"Daddy is gonna be soooo mad," Conner said, making himself at home in her office chair as she grabbed him one of the apple juices that was kept under the desk in a silver mini fridge.
"I can't blame him," she said with a soft smile. "You shouldn't run off like you did. You could have gotten very lost."
"I know," he sighed with an eye roll. "But I was bored. Daddy and Grandpa take forever!"
"You seem to be the kind of boy that gets bored easily," she mused, leaning her backside against the countertop. She shot him an amused grin, letting him know that she wasn't upset at him. He seemed like a sweet boy so far.
He simply shrugged, having no reply to such a statement. He was content to take the apple juice and a package of crackers from Dr. Swan after she opened them for him.
"I'm going to give Dr. Cullen a call while you eat those, alright?" she said, picking up the phone from the countertop.
"Okay. Grandpa is better than daddy. He won't yell at me," Conner said, wide green eyes peering up at the doctor that seemed to be so kind.
"I won't let daddy yell at you," Dr. Swan promised, sure that she could handle the little thing such as this.
Dialing the number that she knew all too well, she waited for Dr. Cullen to answer. It only rung a few times before his rough calm voice came through on her end.
"Dr. Cullen speaking," spoke the man that was only a few long hallways from the children's ward in the hospital.
"Hello, Dr. Cullen. Dr. Swan here," she started out, polite as always. "I have a little boy named Conner down here. He says he got lost while waiting for his father."
"I was wondering where he got off to," Dr. Cullen chuckled out, not seeming to be upset. In all her years here working, and getting to know the surgeon, she had never seen Dr. Cullen out of his zone. Nothing seemed to bother him. "His father should be finished up shortly and will be there to get him."
"Conner is perfectly fine at the moment, so it's not a problem," she replied. "Although he does seem hungry."
"To my understanding," Dr. Cullen said, his voice dripping lower, most likely a hint towards the father, "Conner hasn't had dinner yet."
"No wonder he's so hungry," Dr. Swan laughed. "I have some dinner here he is welcome to eat."
"That would be so nice of you, Dr. Swan," Dr. Cullen sighed out. "We'll be down in about half an hour or so if that's alright?"
"That's fine. It's been a slow shift so far so it's a problem," she said. She was happy that the children's ward wasn't too demanding of her time. In a day or two, that could easily change.
"Thank you, see you soon," with that, Dr. Cullen hung up.
Putting the phone back in the cradle, she turned and grabbed her packed dinner from underneath the counter. She would easily get something from the cafeteria later on at her break.
"Here you go. Go ahead and eat whatever you'd like out of that," she said, setting the dark blue lunch box onto the countertop and unzipping it.
Conner's eyes lit up as he saw his one of his favorite meals ever. A simple peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a bag of chips. And a cookie too!
Dr. Swan laughed out, seeing how thrilled the boy was about such kid-friendly food. She had been running late for her shift due to a laundry malfunction in her apartment, and the food was the easiest to grab and take with her on such short notice.
"I have to go check on another patient, right over there," she said, pointing to the door he had stopped by just a few moments ago where she had noticed him. "Then I'll be right back. Please don't wander off, okay?"
"Promise!" Conner said around a mouthful of sandwich. Dr. Swan shook her head, happy that he was content and happy.
Yes, she was worried he'd wander off, but hopefully, the food would keep him still long enough for her to check on another patient. Dr. Swan didn't mind Conner tagging along to do her rounds, but this patient would be too much for little eyes to see. It was tough enough on her, who was used to it. There were days that such sights got to her, no matter how much she was around it.
Opening the door quietly and with one last look at Conner, Dr. Swan entered the child's room, seeing her fast asleep. Her breathing was labored, which was expected. There wasn't much else that could be done for her that wasn't yet done.
The small girl was barely hanging on, which was the reason she had this room closest to the nurse's station. Her heart transplant two weeks ago wasn't taking and her body wasn't fighting off the simple cold easily. It was now only a matter of time before Stacy took her last breathe.
Stacy had been born with a heart defect, causing her to have to go through her very first, and possibly only, heart transplant at the age of six. Her body wasn't able to hold on this time. All the other surgeries had been a success to fix her broken heart, but once it gave out due to a seizure, it had been a downhill battle since.
"Hi, Stacy," Dr. Swan greeted, not expecting an answer as she stepped up to the end of the bed to check the charts.
Dr. Swan looked over every connection and device hooked up to the girl, talking soothingly to her all the while. She found that talking to her patients, no matter the age, helped keep them soothed and settled. She strongly believed that someone like this could hear as well as anyone else. The nurses may have thought her insane a time or two, but the young doctor didn't care. It was how she did things.
"What's wrong with her?" Conner asked as he slipped into the room, his voice quiet. He had finished off his food, it was just so good he couldn't help himself. Then he had wondered what his new friend was up to, because to him, Dr. Swan was just taking too long.
"Her heart is sick," Dr. Swan said, not the bit least surprised. The kid seemed to tag along to anyone that gave him any sort of attention.
"Can you help her?" he asked, cocking his head to the side like a dog would.
"I have been doing everything I can," she answered sadly. "I can only do so much to make her comfortable now."
"Oh," he said, thinking. "Daddy gets hurt a lot, but he always get's better. Grandpa fixes his owies."
"Well, that's good," she stated, giving the boy a soft smile. "Dad's can make hurt things better, no matter what."
"My daddy got hurt; that's why he came here," Conner stated as though it was a normal occurrence.
"Oh?" she asked, filling out a few things on the chart for the girl.
"He had blood all over. Daddy wouldn't tell me how he got hurt, though," Conner replied. "He doesn't let me see his hurts, but I was with him when he got hurt. A man was very angry at him. My asking made daddy grumpy."
"Maybe he didn't want to scare you," she said, ushering the boy out of the room so Stacy would rest as much as possible. That and Dr. Swan didn't want Stacy to code while Conner was nearby.
"Maybe," Conner said. "But I think he was scared. He kept looking out all the windows while we drove here. Daddy says someone was following him, but he said he wasn't scared. That's what he said at least. I was scared."
"How about we go find a coloring book?" Dr. Swan asked, hoping to detour the boy from his thoughts. She had no idea why his father was hurt, or even who he was.
"Okay!" Conner said, all too happy.
After finding the boy a coloring book and some markers from the play center that wasn't far from the desk area, Dr. Swan let Conner sit at her desk while she cleaned up the food.
It wasn't much later when Dr. Cullen, and who had to be Conner's father, showed up into the children's ward. Dr. Swan didn't know what the Cullen family was capable of, nor would she anytime soon, they wanted it that way, no matter what or who came through the doors of the busy hospital.
Dr. Cullen was put together as always. A nice clean lab coat pressed shirt and tie, and nice black pants. His white-tipped hair was combed just perfectly as his blue eyes took in everything around him. He always watched out for anyone that could do harm to his family and to the people he cared about.
Dr. Cullen was known for more than his looks or skills in the Windy City of Chicago. He was one of the well-known mafia leaders. His family wasn't into everything as books and movies always made the families into. He was respected everywhere, even while being deadly. Running this hospital under a bunch of false names and legal documents, Dr. Cullen was much more powerful when needed to be. Right now, he was just a concerned family member.
He considered Dr. Swan family, just because he knew her family. Dr. Swan, or also known as Bella, didn't know her own family's going on, and for good reason.
The other man looked much like the doctor, but a younger version. Same face structure, although his nose was slightly bent from being broken a time or two. His hair, much of the same color as the boy Dr. Swan had been watching, was wet from a shower. His blue scrubs he wore, obviously from his father, were nearly too small on his taller frame. His left arm was wrapped around his chest by a black sling. A tattoo sleeve covered parts of his other arm.
The man was just as powerful as his father, if not more so. He did a lot of the dirty work, making sure gangs didn't get the entire town killed because of their reckless choices. He was a threat more often than not, which caused his arm to currently be in a sling. The bullet had hit him in the arm, just deep enough to be a nuisance.
"Daddy!" Conner nearly shouted as he spotted his father, his coloring forgotten. "You all better now? You're all clean!"
"Hey, little man," the man spoke, his voice raspy but smooth at the same time. His bright green eyes looked tired with rings underneath but happy to see his son safe and well.
"Are you mad?" Conner asked, looking at his father guiltily.
"No," the man said slowly. "I was scared, though. You can't just run off like that, okay? Not after what had just happened on the road."
"But Grandpa knew where I was," he said. "Dr. Swan gave me dinner!"
"That was nice of her," the man said before turning his attention to her. "I'm Edward. Edward Cullen."
"Nice to meet you," she replied, taking his hand in her own and noticing how much bigger it was. Her hand was small, she was small, but yet it always amazed her just how small she really was. Her heart made up for it, always.
Beside the handshake, she felt a spark of attraction at the simple touch. A spark that she would never in a million years allow to take any form between the two.
"Sorry, my son wandered off. He knows better than that," he went on, his eyes quickly taking in how her shoulders stiffened in response to him.
"He was perfectly fine, Mr. Cullen," Dr. Swan stated, still polite despite her gut feeling.
"Edward, please," he said, giving her a charming a smile. A smile that would win over any woman easily.
Well, all but one.
Edward knew a good looking woman when he saw one, and right in front of him was one of the most prettiest girls he'd seen for years. He would never go for a doctor, at least he didn't think he would until now.
She grimaced, knowing exactly what he was aiming for, and Bella knew that would never, ever happen.
"Edward, then," she said tensely, her eyes warning him to back off.
"Dr. Swan is one of the best children's doctors on our staff here at the hospital," Dr. Cullen said, making himself known. He couldn't help but brag about the most sought out doctor. She could easily go to a center where her hours wouldn't be so long, but she had refused every offer thus far.
"Thank you, Dr. Cullen," Dr. Swan said, trying her hardest to not blush as the praise. "Bella, please. I've known you since I started working here."
Dr. Cullen had known Bella Swan for much longer than that. Of course, he couldn't ever let her know that not wanting to risk her life again. Her mother's husband already did that.
"Of course," Dr. Cullen said, giving her a smile that did cause her to blush. He knew he looked good for his age, and he often used it to his advantage while working here in the hospital, much like his son. The only difference was that he was married, and Edward was not. "Then Carlisle, please?"
"I'll try," Bella laughed, knowing she'd never call him by his given name.
"How is Stacy doing?" Carlisle asked.
"Not good, I'm afraid," Bella said sadly.
"Her heart's sick," Conner spoke up, demanding the attention of all the adults once more. "Right, Dr. Bella?"
"That's right," Bella said with a smile.
"Is she gonna die?" Conner deadpanned. "My mommy died, so maybe Stacy can have a mommy up in heaven then."
"Conner," Carlisle said before Bella had a chance to do so. Edward stood back, a look of pain on his face at the mention of the passing woman. "Stacy has been sick for a very long time now, and she will die. We all do one day in some way. Like how your mom died because she couldn't get treatment when you were in her tummy. Stacy's body can't handle her sick heart anymore."
"Oh, okay," Conner said as he processed what was said to him. He seemed as though he understood most of the reasoning.
"He takes things pretty good," Edward said with a one shoulder shrug. Then, his eyes took Bella in from head to toe, right where he stood next to his father. "So, Bella, have you died before?"
"No," she answered, squinting her brown eyes at the man. It was an odd question.
"Just wondering, since you look like and angel," Edward said smoothly.
"Daddy!" Conner exclaimed, not thrilled. "Dr. Bella is a doctor, not an angel, silly."
"He's right, you know," Bella said, giving Conner a pleased smile for breaking the ice there. "I am a doctor. But to let you know, I don't date."
"Are you taken?" Edwards asked as Carlisle coughed beside him. Dr. Cullen knew Bella well enough to know that answer and her reasoning.
"Nope. I never will be," Bella said. "I'm off limits to anyone and everyone." The last words were spoken in a heated threat. She would never date again. She refused to see someone else she loved with her entire heart die right in front of her. Bella wouldn't be able to handle it again. Working here was part of her reasoning to make the world a better place. Children were easy; adults were much harder to deal with.
"Alright," Edward said, giving up the fight of trying to win her over. For the time being, at least. "Alright, Conner, let's head home. It's past your bedtime."
"Okay. Bye Dr. Swan! Maybe I can come see you again," Conner said while giving her a tight hug before he ran around the counter to his father.
"By Dr. Swan," Edward said. "I'm sure I'll be seeing you again myself."
"Don't count on it," she replied sweetly.
"Come on," Carlisle said with a laugh and a small nod my way in understanding. As they left, Bella couldn't help but think how different her day was. It had started out with looking out the window at the changing leaves, to a broken washing machine and leaking water all over the apartment. Then, she ended up meeting a boy who wasn't sick who was one of the sweetest and most adorable boys ever. His father was good looking, but they'd never be more than acquaintances.
She wouldn't date Edward, no matter how hard he chased her, and he would. That was who Edward Cullen was. Bella Swan didn't fall for charming men. But she'd enjoy the chase nonetheless.
"I like Dr. Bella," Conner said as he walked out between his daddy and grandpa.
"So do I," Carlisle said with a grin before turning towards Edward. "Don't try to get her into our issues. She has enough on her own."
"I think that's a challenge then," Edward said with a wink at his father, knowing just what he would do to win over the pretty doctor, warnings be damned.
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