Penname: Tufano79

Beta: Christina Downs

Prereader: N/A

Title of Story: Il Donna e Il Dottore

Rating: MA/NC-17

Pairing: Bella/Edward

Fandom: Twilight

Genre: Romance/Crime

Word Count: 10,620

Story Summary: Isabella Swan is the only daughter of Charlie Swan, the leader of the Swan Mafia Family. While out with her father, they are attacked by a rival family, The Wolf Pack and her father was critically injured. The family doctor was unavailable, and Bella is scrambling for a replacement. She called the person she'd least expect to help her.

Dr. Edward Cullen is working as an emergency room physician when he got a phone call from the girl he'd secretly loved all throughout college, but she kept him in the friend-zone, save for one drunken night. After that, she disappeared, and he hadn't heard from her. Until this fateful night … And he found her much changed, hardened, scarred and angry.

Charlie Swan's life hangs in the balance, and the only person who can save him is Bella's former friend and one-time lover. Will Edward be able to save Charlie and stay away from the girl, who is now a woman and far more beautiful, despite the scarred and hardened exterior?

Standard Disclaimer: The author does not own any publicly recognizable entities herein. No copyright infringement is intended.

La Donna e Il Dottore

"Isabella, we have a meeting tonight," Charlie said. "We're inspecting a shipment of some new weaponry. We need to make sure that they meet to our exacting standards. Then, we're meeting with a potential buyer shortly afterward at Cigno."

"Understood, Dad," she replied, checking her phone and seeing that there had been a large shipment delivered to their secured warehouse overlooking Puget Sound. She was upset since she wanted to go out, have some fun with her few girlfriends, Rose and Alice, and find a guy to have her wicked way with. She'd made plans to go to one of the gambling clubs, Black Jacks, owned by her family, under the management of Emmett McCarty, who was a trusted and valued member of the organization, but work was more important than a quick fuck or losing more than a normal person makes in a year. Besides, most men she found were too drunk to really make any of her conquests meaningful. It was all about getting off, being fucked.

She never cuddled.

She never stayed.

Emotions were never involved.

It was biological act for pleasure – namely hers.

Love made people weak, distracted. It's how she got her most distinguishing and horrific feature … an eight-inch long scar from her hairline, down her nose and to her left cheek.

The night she got that scar, her life changed forever. She was in college, floating on a high of amazing sex. She'd been infatuated with her biology tutor, Edward Cullen, in college and one night, after a fraternity party, she allowed her heart to win over her mind. They'd had a magical night, fucking for what felt like days and made her body sing, but a phone call from her father made her wriggle out of the security of his arms. He pouted when she left. She kissed his lips, leaving his apartment, with promises of a future relationship and making her way back to her own apartment.

Her head had been in the clouds and she didn't see someone following her. Two strong arms had wrapped around her body, tossing her into a dingy alleyway. She kicked and fought against her attacker, Embry Call, from their adversaries, The Wolf Pack. She'd sliced at him with her knife that she kept at her ankle at all times, but he overpowered her, using her own blade to cut her face. "No one will want you now, bitch," he growled. "I can smell him on you. I should take you, remind you of your place …" He punched her ribs, reaching for her jeans.

However, laughter stopped him, and he got up, running off into the darkness. A couple of students found Bella bleeding, drifting in and out of consciousness in the alley and called 911. She was brought to Harborview Medical Center, where she had over one hundred stitches in her face, four cracked ribs and a lacerated liver. She stayed in the hospital for two weeks. After that two weeks, she withdrew from the University of Washington and continued her recuperation. Once she was cleared by Dr. Banner, her family's private physician, Bella began her training to become a stone-cold killer. She was known as 'Scar' because of her jagged scar on her face and she played up the deformity. It made her scarier and feared by her enemies. Her favored way of killing was with knives, drawing out her kills, and scarring them in the same fashion she was injured. But, she saved that for her arch enemies. Jacob Black would definitely get a matching scar on his face. It was his lackey who imparted the scar.

Asshole.

"Bella," Charlie said. "We need to go. Are you protected?"

"Always, Dad," she responded, strapping her Kevlar vest to her body. "Are you?" He nodded, showing her his vest, and they walked out to the bullet proof SUV. Harry Clearwater, Charlie's second in command and private bodyguard, drove Bella and Charlie to the warehouse. Arriving at the warehouse, Charlie and Bella checked on the shipment, happy with the quality of the product. However, Bella noticed something on the crates. "Dad … what is this?"

He smirked, shrugging a shoulder. "Harry told me of a shipment to the Wolf Pack. He said that the guns were excellent quality and I jumped at the chance. Minimal casualties on our part, Bella. A lot of casualties for the Pack."

"Why wasn't I informed?" Bella sneered, pulling out her knife and pushing her father against the wall, holding the knife to his neck. "I'm to be in charge of this organization, Dad. These types of decisions are important – something I need to be privy to!"

"Calm down, Isabella," Charlie said, quickly disarming his daughter and flinging the knife into a nearby crate. "I'm still your father and the leader of this family. Keep your temper in check." Bella shot him a look. "It all happened quickly. I made an executive decision to go through with the proposed plans."

"Did you think about the repercussions, Dad?" Bella snapped, walking to the crate and seeing that her father had hit the center of the Wolf Pack insignia burned onto the wood. "The Wolf Pack are ruthless. Each time we've stolen from them, their form of retaliation is brutal. Did you forget the night I got this?" Bella pointed to her face, narrowing her chocolate brown eyes. "That was right after you gave the cops a tip about the whore house the Pack had running near one of our gambling clubs. If it weren't for those college kids, Embry would have raped me."

"Well, he paid for his indiscretion," Charlie smirked. "He has a matching scar and he can't rape anyone with anything he has below the belt."

"Not the point, Charlie," Bella snapped. She slipped the knife back into the holster at her back. "Are we good? I'm afraid if we stay here any longer, the Pack will realize what happened and try to retaliate."

"You're probably right," Charlie nodded. He walked to the man in charge of the warehouse, speaking to him briefly before heading back to his daughter. With a cut nod, Harry, Charlie and Bella got back into the SUV and made their way to a restaurant in Seattle to meet their new client. As they drove along I-5, the SUV was boxed in by older trucks and vans. "What's going on, Harry?"

"I don't know, Boss," he replied. "I'm trying to move past them, but …" Harry slammed on the breaks and the SUV careened, almost tipping over. The SUV stopped, the smell of rubber and brake residue filling the cabin of the car, and Harry took out a gun. Charlie did the same. Bella was shaking, but she got out of the car, two Desert Eagles pulled, aiming at the decrepit cars surrounding their SUV.

"Isabella!" Charlie growled, scrambling to follow her. Gunshots rang out and bullets went flying. Bella was a killing machine, slaughtering the men who were trying to kill her and her family. Charlie joined her out in the highway, but his shots were not as lethal as his daughter's. He was older, slower and left himself vulnerable to attack.

Soon, the gunshots stopped, and Bella lowered her weapons. She looked at Harry, seeing that the men who'd attacked them were dead. She nodded, turning to face her father with an invigorated smile on her face. He was ashen, leaning against the SUV. "Dad?" She ran to him, seeing his body riddled with bullets. She pressed her hands to his belly, trying to stem the bleeding. "Harry! Dad's been shot!" Harry helped Bella drag Charlie into the back of the SUV.

As they did so, another vehicle began racing in their direction. Bella turned and leveled her gun, aiming for the car's gas tank. She took a breath, shooting her gun twice, hitting her mark and the car exploded, bowing off highway. She got into the car. Harry took off, leaving the dead men on the ground and the burning car in the center of the road. Bella took out her phone, dialing a clean-up crew. She cradled her father's head in her lap. "We're going to Banner's, Dad," she whispered. "Stay with me."

Looking down at him, she saw his injuries. He'd been shot several times in his chest. Two of the bullets were in the vest he wore, but two more had pierced below the vest in his lower belly and there was damage to his neck and near his left eye. She wiped away the blood, but it kept flowing. Bella whimpered, and she tried not to cry. Crying didn't do anything. It was another form of weakness, but Charlie was all she had.

Her mother had left when she was a little girl, not fit for the life as a mob wife. As far as Bella knew, Renee Higginbotham, after she'd divorced her father, was living in Jacksonville, married to a minor league baseball player named Phil Dwyer. They had a child, a boy, named Ryan, who was now thirteen and never knew he had a half-sister who was a killing machine. She never reached out to Bella or Charlie, closing that chapter in her life. She didn't exist to them and they'd forgotten all about her, moving on with their lives.

"Miss Bella, we're at Doc Banner's but it's … something's wrong," Harry whispered. Bella blinked up, seeing the storefront that Banner used for his clinic had been shot up. "I'm going in. We have to assume that something happened to Doc Banner. Your dad …. he'll die without a doctor." He slipped out of the car, locking Bella and Charlie inside.

Bella took out her cell phone, scrolling down to a name she hadn't thought of in almost five years. Harry came back, his face grim. Bella blinked up at him. "Well?"

"Banner's dead," he choked out. "Your dad … he's going to die."

"No, he's not," Bella snapped, pressing down on her cell phone. She held it to her ear, praying that the person on the other side would pick up.

~o~o~o~

Dr. Edward Cullen dragged his exhausted body into his condo. He'd just finished a grueling shift at Virginia Mason. He was the chief resident in the emergency department, focused on his job. It was the only thing that he could rely on. So, he poured himself into his work, taking extra shifts and he was well on his way to be an attending physician within a year.

Collapsing on the couch, he blew out a breath. Edward was so tired, but he was also hungry. "I wish I could … food just appear," he said, clapping his hands twice and held out his palms. He grimaced. "Damn it." He rolled off the couch, stumbling to the kitchen, he swiped a bagel, cream cheese and some water. He really should eat more, but he knew that he had to be back at the hospital early tomorrow morning since he was covering for a colleague.

As he nibbled on his bagel, his cell phone rang in the pocket of his scrubs. He picked up the phone, sliding his finger across the screen, not looking at the caller ID. "Dr. Cullen," he barked.

"Edward?" came a hesitant, raspy female voice.

"Yes?" he said. "Can I help you? How did you get this number?"

He made it a practice to keep his cell phone number unlisted and he very rarely handed it out, since no women had held his attention since the girl he'd tutored in biology almost five years ago. His mentor and long-time friend, Dr. Masen, had paired him with a student who was struggling in his introductory biology class. Edward was trying to balance his hours at the hospital, completing his final year of medical school, as well as working on his own classes. The student, Isabella Swan, was very bright and undeniably beautiful. However, science was not a strength. He worked with her, tutoring her and giving her tips on how to remember the concepts in Dr. Masen's class. He was, however, distracted by her beauty and her quick wit. Despite the age difference and her sometimes aloof nature, they'd formed a friendship.

Sometimes that friendship was flirtatious. Other times, they were at each other's throats, yelling at each other for now apparent reason. Their relationship was contentious, fiery and filled with unresolved sexual tension.

That tension came to a head one night when Bella, as she preferred to be called, texted him while she was at a frat party. She was in a flirty mood and Edward was over studying, living and breathing medicine. He changed, got into his car and met up with Bella at the party. She was drunk, and uninhibited. Their flirtations bubbled over and they ended up spending most of the party, kissing, making out and working each other into a sexual frenzy. Bella suggested that they get out of there and he drove them back to his apartment, where they had the best night of sex. She was receptive, sexy and eager to try anything.

After four rounds between the sheets, Edward collapsed and held her tightly as he slept. He vaguely remembered her getting a phone call. She kissed him and said she'd talk to him soon, leaving him in his apartment. He rolled over, curling around her pillow with a sated smile on his face. However, when he woke up the next morning, Bella was long gone, and she hadn't contacted him. A couple of days later, Dr. Masen informed Edward that she had withdrawn from University of Washington with no reason for her withdrawal. Edward was heartbroken, but it wasn't meant to be. The next year, he began his internship and residency at Virginia Mason. He poured himself into work, trying to forget the girl who'd invaded his dreams, even five years later.

"I repeat, how did you get this number?" Edward growled when the woman hadn't answered.

"I know you," she said, her voice stronger. "Or I knew you. I need your help, Edward."

"Who is this?" Edward asked, his patience wearing thin.

"Bella," she answered. "My dad … he's been injured and …. If I send you an address, can you come?"

"If your dad is injured, he needs a hospital, Bella," Edward said, his voice cold. He heard a choked sound over the phone line. She sounded like she was crying. "Send me the address."

"Thank you," she breathed.

He heard a click and he scrubbed his face. A text message came through from a blocked number with an address a few blocks away from his condo. He made some coffee, changed his scrubs and grabbed his medical bag, riding down the elevator and hopping into his car. He drove to the address, parking behind a black SUV. Edward's eyes widened when he saw the SUV. There were pock marks in the metal. "Bullet holes?" he whispered, his fingers gliding over the cold car. He shook his head, fearing what he was going to walk into. Gulping down his fear, he walked to the storefront. It also looked blown out by bullets. "What the fuck?"

Everything in his mind told him to get back into his car and leave. He actually started to turn when he heard his name. "Edward?" He blew out a breath, turning slowly and walking toward the voice.

"Bella?" he asked.

She was hidden in the shadows of the storefront, but he saw her nod. "Please, come inside, Edward. My dad … he's …" She grabbed his hand, pulling him inside and locking the door. She moved past him, heading toward the rear of the building. There was a full medical clinic, with state of the art equipment. On the floor, there was a man. His body was covered in a sheet, soaked in blood. On the gurney, there was another man, hooked up to leads and his vitals were barely registering. Bella walked over to him, her hair covering her face and she took her father's hand. "I can't lose him, Edward. He's … please, help him."

Edward walked to the other side of the gurney, seeing Bella's face for the first time. His eyes widened as he saw the jagged scar moving down the length of her face. Her body was lithe, muscular and she looked hard and tired. Her eyes shot to his, narrowing angrily. "I'm not your patient. He is!"

"Of course," Edward nodded, looking down at the older man. He had dark hair, with gray at the temples. Despite his age, he was in stellar shape, but he'd had two gunshot wounds in his abdomen, bruises on his chest from more bullets, but had been stopped by a discarded Kevlar vest and ricochet wounds on his neck and near his left eye. "Bella, he's been shot. He needs a hospital, around the clock care and surgery."

"That's what you're here for," Bella said.

"I can't stay here. I've got a job ... Look, I don't know what's going on or what you're dealing in, but I can't help you," Edward said, shaking his head angrily.

Bella reached behind her back, pulling out her gun and releasing its safety. "He's not going to the hospital. My father cannot die. You need to fix him," she said, her voice flat, monotone. She raised her gun, pointing it at Edward's chest. "You don't help him, you die."

Edward held up his hands, his heart stammering at how heartless Bella had turned. Clearly not heartless, since she loves her father and would do anything for him. "I'll help you," he said, swallowing down the bile that threatened to make an appearance. "But, there's only so much I can do. His injuries are serious. I'm not a trauma surgeon."

"Yes, you are," Bella said, putting her gun down. "I've followed your career, Edward. You can save him. This clinic is fully stocked with whatever you need."

"Not nurses. No CT scans," he argued. She huffed out an angry breath, her arm unmoving and her gaze unwavering. "But, I'll make do." He looked around and found some gloves. He began working on Charlie Swan. He found an ultrasound machine, running it over his stomach. "It appears that your dad got lucky."

"How so?" she asked.

"It appears that the bullets missed any vital organs, but they do need to be removed. Is there a surgical suite in this clinic?" Edward questioned, eyeing the body on the floor. Bella nodded, and she pointed to a closed door. Edward walked into surgical suite, finding all he needed. "I'm going to remove the bullets, but I'm not going to put him under. I'll use a local anesthetic." He also checked Charlie's neck and eye. "I'll suture his other wounds, but after that …"

"Just make him better," Bella said, her voice sad and broken. She put her gun back into a hidden holster, walking out of the treatment room. She slid down the wall, her head pounding and her heart thumping against her ribs. She felt tears stream down her face, but she wiped them away angrily. "No tears. Leaders don't cry." As she sat there, her cell phone rang, and she picked it up, stepping into Doc Banner's office. It had been trashed. This place would need to be cleaned, as well. "Swan," she answered.

"Miss Bella," came the smooth southern drawl and baritone voice of Jasper Whitlock, the weapon's specialist and head of the clean-up crew. "I wanted to touch base with you."

"Do you know who attacked us?" she asked.

"The Wolf Pack. All of the men had that tattoo," he replied. "There were no survivors of the men who were on the highway, but the man who had tried to run you over, he did make it. We saw evidence that he left the scene of the crime, getting into another car."

"Were the cops there?" she whispered.

"We saw them as we left, beating them by the skin of our teeth. But all evidence that could implicate you was removed," Jasper nodded. "How's your father?"

"I don't know, Jas," she muttered. "Doc Banner was killed, and I had to call another doc."

"What?!" Jasper shrieked. "And you're still there? At Banner's clinic?"

"I can't take Dad to the hospital. They'll call the cops!" Bella growled. "After my father is treated, and stabilized, this clinic will need to be cleaned out and the medical equipment moved to a secured location, preferably at the house."

"Bella, you should be out of there. Now," Jasper hissed. "If Banner was offed, it means that the Wolf Pack knows where he is and could …"

"Where could I go? My home? Another secret warehouse? My dad was bleeding out," Bella snapped. "I've got a doctor working on him now. Hopefully by dawn, we can move him back to the house."

"And what about this doctor?" Jasper asked, his voice wary. "How can you trust him?"

"I just can," she argued. "If he proves to be untrustworthy, he won't live long enough for us to know." But, Bella's heart clenched at that prospect. Seeing Edward Cullen, even tired and disheveled, woke something up in her. It brought her back to that night before she was scarred, before she knew of the true darkness of her father's world. It was the last night she felt free, happy and normal.

Bella must have dozed off. Gently, she was being shaken awake. Without thinking, she pulled her gun and cocked the hammer. "Whoa," Edward said, holding up his hands. "I come in peace."

Bella blinked, her mind catching up with where she was. She looked down the barrel of the gun, seeing Edward. His scrub top was covered in blood and his hair was covered with a surgeon's cap. "My dad?"

"He's resting. I removed the bullets and stitched up his wounds on his neck and eye. I'm concerned about the damage to his eye. I think some sort of shrapnel may have gotten into his eye. That's beyond my knowledge. Eyes kind of squick me out," he chuckled, but he stopped. "Could you put that down?"

"Oh, sorry," Bella stuttered, putting her weapon down and scrubbing her face. "Can he be moved?"

"He can," Edward nodded. "But, he needs care. He needs medication and his wounds to be cleaned by medical professionals."

"You do it," Bella said, standing up, brushing off her pants.

"Look, Bella, I have a job. I'm due to work at Virginia Mason in about two hours," he said, checking his watch. "I'm the chief resident. I can't shirk my responsibilities." Bella narrowed her eyes. "I promise not to say anything about what happened."

"You can still care for my father," she replied stubbornly. "When you're done with your shift, you will be picked up at your home and you will provide his medications, clean his wounds and see that he recuperates fully. I promise you that you will be paid handsomely."

"Bella, what happened to you?" Edward asked, reaching for her hand.

"Nothing," she snapped, tearing her hand away. "Now, if I'm not mistaken, doctors usually have twelve-hour shifts. I'll see you tonight, Dr. Cullen. A car will be waiting for you." She blinked up at him, her eyes frozen solid, almost empty. "And it's Ms. Swan." She turned on her heel and made arrangements for her father to be moved from the treatment room, to their home.

Edward rubbed his eyes. They were dry, and he was confused. A man came out, holding a cell phone. He was older than Charlie, but also in excellent condition. "Who are you?"

"Your new best friend, Dr. Cullen," he snorted. "Harry Clearwater. This is for you." He handed Edward the phone. "I also did some research on you, Dr. Cullen. You have some vacation time saved up. It would behoove you to take it."

"I'm not … I have a job," Edward argued. "Look, I'll help, but I can't not go to my job. I'm hoping to get an attending physician position."

"Miss Bella said that you'd say that," Harry sighed. "Well, you hear that phone ring, you answer it."

"If I'm elbows deep in a patient's belly, I'm not answering my phone, Mr. Clearwater," Edward growled. "Whatever she's involved in, it's clearly dangerous, but …"

"But, she obviously trusts you," Harry said, arching a brow. "Do not betray that trust. I like you, Doc. You make her more human." Edward was confused. "Bella hasn't had an easy life."

"That's blatantly clear," Edward retorted. "Who cut her face?"

"She'll tell you, maybe. It's not my place to say," Harry replied. He looked at the young doctor. "Now, Miss Bella trusts you. I, on the other hand, do not. Your condo is now bugged, as is your cell phone, your car and your place of employment. You say one thing to anyone about what you saw tonight, and your family wouldn't be able to find your body." He gave Edward a sinister smile. "Have a good day, Doc." Harry clapped Edward on his shoulder, walking back to the treatment room. Edward blinked, confused as fuck at what had happened. Shaking his head, he picked up his bag, pocketing the cell phone Harry handed him, and walked out of the storefront. He slipped into his car, driving to the hospital and dragging his weary body to the call room. He set his alarm on the cell phone, hoping that he'd be able to get some rest before his shift started.

However, it was highly unlikely.

Whenever he closed his eyes, he pictured Bella, with her scarred face and empty eyes.

What happened to you?

~o~o~o~

By that evening, Charlie had been moved to the house, and was set up in his bedroom. Bella had gotten some sleep and she'd come up with over a hundred different ways to bring down the Wolf Pack. None of them were legal, and all of them would land her in jail. She kind of enjoyed her freedom, if you could call her life free. However, she couldn't do anything about the Wolf Pack. Not without her father's consent. He was still in charge of the family. Further investigation needed to be done before anything could be planned.

Doc Banner's clinic had been emptied and the medical supplies had been brought to the basement of the house. The doctor had been taken to local funeral parlor, where he was cremated. His remains would be scattered in the sound, as delineated in his will. They were without a doctor, but hopefully Edward would be willing to help.

Bella scoffed at that. He was so good. He was an innocent. Just by calling him, she invaded his goodness with her darkness. "Why did I do that?" she hissed, her lips pursed. She paced the length of her father's office, angry at her lapse in judgement. There were other doctors she could have called. Why did she call on the man who had made her feel? It brought back all of those emotions from that night, memories of their friendship and flashes of their bodies moving against each other.

"Miss Bella," came the gruff voice of Harry. She turned, glowering at him. "I apologize for disturbing you, but Seth is on his way to pick up Doc Cullen." Bella bit her lip, picking up a glass of scotch and sipping it. "Are you questioning his involvement?"

"I'm questioning my decision to draw him into this mess," Bella said. "He's not a part of this life, Harry. He's a good man, a phenomenal doctor."

"Handsome, too," Harry chuckled. Bella's cheeks flushed, and her lips curved upward. "You like him, trust him."

"No, I don't," Bella argued.

"Bells," Harry sighed, walking and taking Bella's hand. She stiffened, not comfortable with any sort of affection. "Look, I know that you knew him. Dr. Edward Anthony Cullen attended University of Washington Medical School and was your biology tutor." Harry gently tipped her chin up and smiled gently at her. "You were with him that night, weren't you?" Harry's eyes cut to Bella's long scar.

Memories of that nightmarish night came rushing back. Bella felt the pain across her face, the agony of hearing the skin being ripped apart. She remembered the fear of the possibility of being raped by Embry. She didn't want him to touch her, especially not after what she'd just experienced with Edward. The laughter of the college students and the relief she felt when a young woman comforted her as they waited for the ambulance to come.

"Bella?" Harry asked, shaking her.

She blinked, her mind coming back into focus. "Seth should leave him alone," she snarled. "He …"

Harry felt his phone vibrate and he slipped it out of his pocket. "Seth's here," he retorted. "Which means that Doc Cullen is here."

Bella removed her hand from Harry's. "Please escort Dr. Cullen to my father's room when he arrives." She walked away, heading to her father's room, where he was resting. He was uncomfortable, clearly. He needed pain medication and Bella didn't feel comfortable handing her father some random pill from Doc Banner's pharmacy. There was a quiet knock on the door. Bella blinked up, seeing an exhausted Edward standing just outside. His eyes were red-rimmed, and his face was covered in reddish-brown stubble. He was dressed in a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. "He's in pain," Bella whispered.

"I can imagine," Edward said. "I'll examine his wounds, administer some pain medication and then leave. I've been up for almost forty-eight hours straight."

"I've prepared a room for you, Edward," she said, her voice tired and hesitant. "I'm afraid that my calling you has put you at risk. You're protected here."

"I can take care of myself, Ms. Swan," he replied, coldly.

"If something happened to you, I'd never forgive myself," Bella choked out, brushing her father's hair back from his forehead. "And I'm sorry about this morning." She looked over at Edward, trying to keep the prickly exterior, but seeing her former friend and one-time lover standing so close, looking so handsome, despite his exhaustion. "Stay the night? It's late and you look like you're about to collapse."

"Considering I'm at the whim of your minions, I'll accept the invitation to stay," he answered. He walked into the bedroom, gently pushing the covers down and lifting the t-shirt Charlie wore. He put on some gloves, running his hands over his belly. Charlie moaned when Edward pressed on his wounds, checking the sutures. "Sorry," Edward grimaced. "I'm not feeling any swelling and the wounds are not infected." He blinked to Bella, smiling when he saw the look of relief on her face. "If you step out, I'll do a more thorough examination."

"Please, Bells," Charlie said, his voice weak. "There are some things a daughter should not see."

"Dad," Bella argued. Charlie gave her a pointed look and she huffed, leaving the bedroom.

"Mr. Swan, are you experiencing any pain lower than the gunshot wounds?" Edward asked.

"I'm fine. Just feel like I've been punched in the gut, by a glock," Charlie deadpanned. "What happened to Doc Banner?"

"From what I saw, he was killed," Edward answered, redressing the wounds. "His clinic was completely destroyed." He tucked Charlie back into the bed and picked up a water bottle, shaking out a few pills. "I knew Bella when she was in college and she called me to help you. She was very upset."

"Do you know anything about her? About this?" Charlie asked as he took the medication and water from the young doctor.

"I know that she's changed from the girl I knew from five years ago," Edward answered. "I know that she's hard and dangerous."

"She threatened you, did you?" Charlie snorted.

"With a gun to my face," Edward said.

"She likes you," Charlie said plainly. "If she didn't like you, you'd be dead." Edward gulped. "Look, I can't tell you much, but I know that this way of life is forcing my daughter into an early grave. Hell, I'm shocked I'm still alive." He looked at Edward, the medication starting to kick in. "Take care of my baby girl."

"Sir, I'm … I'm just here as a physician," Edward sputtered.

"Doc, a blind man could see the sparks between you two," Charlie slurred.

Edward shook his head. "You're my patient, Mr. Swan. It would cross too many boundaries." Besides, that ship has sailed. Has it? "Why don't you get some rest, sir?"

"You need it as much as I do, Doc," Charlie said, his eyes fluttering shut. Before Edward replied, Charlie was snoring, his mouth open and his head drooping to the left.

Edward got up, picking up his bag and walking out into the hallway. Bella was outside, pacing nervously. Edward cleared his throat, making her look up. Under the bright lights, he saw the full damage of her scar. It was clear that she had an excellent plastic surgeon, but the monster who did this to her caused irreparable damage to her face. She was still gorgeous, with alabaster skin, curled chestnut hair and full, pouty lips. "Your father is resting," he said.

"Good," Bella nodded. "Is he still in pain?"

"No, he's not," Edward answered. "Look, I'm exhausted. Can you show me where I'm sleeping?"

She gestured in front of her and they walked down the hall. She put him in a room across the hall from hers. "If you need anything, I'm right here, Edward," she said, her voice quiet, tentative. "Thank you for helping my dad."

He smiled and opened the door, finding it beautifully decorated. "I'm off for a couple of days. My boss took pity on me. She saw how shitty I looked and …"

"So, you can stay?" Bella asked, a kernel of excitement flickering in her eyes.

"I'll stay, but I have to go back to work at the hospital on Sunday. Your father, barring any sort of infection, should be in good condition by then," Edward answered. He looked at her, reaching for her hand. She flinched when he touched her. "He's going to be okay." Her eyes slid shut and a single tear ran down her cheek. He reached up, wiping it away with his thumb. She pressed her cheek into his palm. "Good night, Bella." He stepped back, slipping into his room. He closed the door, pressing his back against it. Her vulnerability shattered his heart and he wanted nothing more than to take Bella into his arms. Hearing her quiet sobs across the hall twisted his heart even further.

Detached, Edward. You must remain professionally detached.

Stripping out of his clothes, he slid into the crisp white sheets and closed his eyes, falling asleep as soon as his head hit he pillow. His sleep didn't last long. Screams pierced his subconscious, making him jump from the bed. He slid on his jeans, opening the door. Harry was outside of Bella's room, his face torn. "What is it?"

"Night terrors," he answered. "Usually, only Charlie could …"

"But, he's not available," Edward sighed. "Why don't you help her?"

He raised his shirt, showing a six-inch long scar. "She cuts first, asks questions later," he retorted.

"And you want me to go in there?" Edward growled.

"Like I said before, you make her more human," Harry said softly.

He opened the door and Edward peered inside. The sound of the screams were loud and gut-wrenching. He walked inside, making his way toward the bed. He turned on the bedside lamp. Bella's body was tangled in the sheets, revealing her long limbs and slender torso. He could see more scars on her stomach. These were neater, more like scars from a surgery. He crouched down on the floor, taking a deep breath. "Bella," he murmured. She sobbed, tears streaming down her face. She looked so scared, so broken. He reached for her and her eyes flew open. She reached to her right, pulling out a large knife. "Bella, listen to my voice. You're okay." She swiped blindly. He easily disarmed her, tugging her from the bed and hugged her tight. "Bella, please?" He rocked her gently, tucking her under his chin.

"Don't touch me," she cried, her fingers scratching his bare chest. "Embry, no!"

"Listen to me, Bella," he said calmly. "You're safe. Embry's not here." He cradled her, humming quietly and she eventually stopped squirming. Her body was heavy, and he blinked down, seeing that she was sleeping. Years had been erased from her face. He gently traced the scar, running his fingers along her cheek. Her eyes snapped open, fear the most predominate emotion. Edward retracted his hand. "I'm sorry." He moved to let her go, but Bella stopped him, moving closer to his body. Her cheek rested on his shoulder as she snuggled between his legs. He leaned his cheek against the crown of her head, hugging her to his body. "What happened to you, Bella? When?"

"That night," she choked out, her fingers gliding along his collarbone. "After …"

"Did he? Did Embry rape you?" Edward asked, his voice tight and angry.

"No. Some college kids …" she replied. Sitting back, Bella looked at him. He was so much more handsome than her memory. His eyes were the color of jade and his hair was a mess, completely in disarray. "That was the last time I felt happy … when I was with you." She reached up, her fingers tracing down his jaw, gliding to his lips. "I dreamt of a future. Away from this." Her hand moved away abruptly. "But, that will never happen." Scrambling out of his arms, she stood up, smoothing her mussed sleep clothes. She stumbled away, leaving Edward on the ground.

"I still think about you," Edward said, getting up. "It may have been a one-time thing, but I worried about you. Even now, almost five years later." He walked to her, sliding his fingers down her arm. She flinched. "Why do you do that?"

"What?" she snapped, her eyes fiery and angry.

"Flinch whenever someone touches you?" he pressed.

"Who would want me?" she asked. "I'm deformed, a freak. Best to keep everyone away. No need for affection. Affection is a form of weakness." She blinked back to him, sighing. "Thank you for helping me with my nightmare. I'm fine, Edward." The wall went back up, protecting her heart. She walked to the door, arching a brow. Edward shook his head, leaving her room, but before he left, he slid his arm around waist. His lips found hers and she practically melted against his body.

He broke the kiss, panting heavily. "You're not a freak, Bella." He caressed her cheek. "I still want you. Despite whatever it is you do …" He brushed his lips over hers. "If you want … if something happens, I'm right across the hall." He turned, heading into his room, a crooked smile spreading over his slightly swollen lips.

~o~o~o~

Bella hid in Charlie's office. She checked on the sales of their acquired shipment, sent an email to Emmett about some possible ways to pad their coffers and called Rosalie, Alice and Leah. She needed their guidance. Dr. Edward Cullen had sent her into a tailspin. She felt safe, protected and secure in his arms. And his lips, moving over hers and bringing back the memories of their one night together.

"Bells, the girls are here," Harry announced.

"We're not girls, you idiot," Rose snapped. "We're women."

"Sorry, Dad. Rose is on a feminist kick," Leah, Harry's daughter, snorted. She kissed his cheek and gently pushed him out. Leah was the computer whiz behind their illegal dealings. She kept the authorities off their case. "Alright, Bella, what's going on? How's your dad?"

"Healing, I guess," she muttered. "I've kind of been hiding in here and avoiding the doctor."

"Hot doc?" Rosalie quipped. "Emmett showed me a picture of the guy you called to replace Banner. Huge upgrade, chickadee." She looked at her friend, her brow arched. "You fucked the hot doc, didn't you?"

"In college," Bella answered. "It was the same night I got this."

"I get it," Alice said. "I understand why you're hiding. All those emotions. You're not used to them. You're used to being a killing machine." She shot Bella a smirk and Bella rolled her eyes. "And now? You're afraid that he'll be ashamed of what you do."

"I'm ashamed of what I do, but I have no choice," Bella argued. "And Dr. Cullen is a good man. He shouldn't … I shouldn't have called him." She shook her head. "I should just let him leave, never to see him again."

"I don't think you want that, Bella," Alice said. "You want him. Is that so wrong?"

"But, I can't be what he wants me to be?" Bella grumped. "You said it. I'm a killing machine. I can never be soft, nurturing. If he becomes involved with me, his life will be constantly in danger."

"He's already involved with you, Bella," Leah pointed out. "Girl, I'd tap that." She smirked, leaning her chin on her hand. "Live a little. Drop the full-body armor. Get fucked. Hard."

"For the first time, I agree with Leah," Rose nodded.

"Shocker. We agree on something," Leah snickered.

"Well, it's the first time and more than likely the last," Rose smirked. "You do a lot of shit that make my job very difficult, Leah." Rose was the family attorney, covering their asses in the legal realm. "Bella, I love you like a sister and I hope that you can … Things are okay."

"My dad is recuperating from an attack by the Wolf Pack, having been shot. Twice. Things clearly are not okay," Bella argued. "Dr. Banner is dead, and his clinic was trashed."

"Poor choice of words," Rose said, making a face.

"What she's saying is that you need to focus on you," Alice translated. There was a quiet knock on the door and Edward walked in. He was still in his jeans and t-shirt from the night before.

"Um, Seth is going to take me back to my condo. I need some clothes if I'm staying here for a few days," he said, his voice velvety, smooth and calming. "I'll be back in an hour or so." He smiled crookedly, ducking out of the office.

"Girl. Tap. That," Leah said. "If you don't, I will."

They stayed until Edward returned, freshly showered and his face shaved. He also had a duffel bag in his hand, with a computer bag slung across his chest. Bella nodded at him and focused her attention on the laptop on her father's desk. She stayed away, eating in the office and checking on her dad. She saw evidence that Edward had been there, with prescription bottles of antibiotics, supplies to redress her father's wounds and a box of sterile gloves. After kissing her father's forehead, she went to her bedroom. Edward's door was closed, but she heard the television. He was inside.

"I can't," Bella said, shaking her head and closing her door tightly. She showered, scrubbing her body and methodically counting her scars. She shook her head, slathering on body lotion and blow drying her hair, allowing it to fall into natural curls. Climbing into bed, she lay down and tried to sleep. However, each time she tried, she saw Embry – his evil gaze, his sneering smile and his seething anger at her for just being a Swan. She bit her lip, slipping from the covers and went across the hall. She knocked but didn't wait for him to answer. She walked in.

Edward was bare-chested. His eyes widened as he saw Bella inside the door. She shook her head, walking toward him and clambered onto the bed. She crawled up his body, straddling his hips. Her fingers traced his jaw. "Make me forget," she whispered before kissing him, her lips moving hesitantly over his. He stopped her, his hands holding her face. "Please, Edward?"

"What happened to you?" he asked.

"Edward, just help me forget. Everything was good when I was with you," she said, her hands gliding up his shoulders and taking purchase in his soft hair.

He wanted to be noble, but her body was so inviting, so soft against his. Everything in his mind told him that this was a bad idea. A horrible idea, really, but seeing her again made him yearn for what could have been. His fingers danced along her bare arms. He wanted to know what happened, but he kissed her. His tongue slid into her mouth, snaking his arms around her tiny waist. She moaned, rocking against him. He rolled them, falling into the cradle of her thighs. He brushed her hair back, kissing down her neck. She arched against him. He kept kissing her, nudging the straps of her nightgown down over her shoulders. "Edward," she breathed.

"Just feel, beautiful," he said, his teeth nipping at her collarbone. His hands tugged on her nightgown and it slipped down, revealing her pert breasts. His lips moved from her collarbone, suckling on her skin. He wrapped his lips around her nipple, flicking the dusty rose bud with fervor. He cupped her other breast, twisting her other nipple with his fingers. Bella mewled, begging for more. Edward gladly gave her more. It was worth it, being able to taste her, touch her. He dreamt about being with her like this for five years. He had been worried about her, even though she'd disappeared. His hands, warm and soft, slid down her ribcage, easing her nightgown over her hips. She was bare, save for a pair of simple white panties. He crawled up her body, staring into eyes. They weren't empty. They were shimmering with desire. He pressed tender kisses on her forehead, eyes, jaw and ending with her lips. "You're exquisite."

She opened her mouth, ready to argue.

"No arguments, Bella," he said, arching a brow. "You were beautiful five years ago and now? You're beyond gorgeous." He kissed her, his tongue sliding into her mouth. She moaned, pushing on his shoulder and straddling his trim hips. Her tongue tasted his neck, sucking on his pulse point. She marked him, claiming him as hers, even if it was just for one night. Her hands slid down his muscular torso and she palmed his hardness over his scrub pants. He grunted, stilling her hand and flipped her easily, caging her with his body. "Tonight, is about you." He slithered down her body, tugging her panties off. His hand eased down her belly, through her neatly trimmed curls and he circled her clit. Bella whimpered, her lip being gnawed by her teeth. Edward kissed her, pulling her lip from her teeth and nibbling on it with his own.

Bella's legs spread apart as Edward's fingers toyed with her body. She was wet, and she needed her release. "Edward," she gasped. "Fuck …"

"Soon, Bella," he said, making his way down her body and spreading her legs further. He nipped at her hip bones, making her squeak. He smiled against her pale skin, burying his face between her legs and attacking her pussy with fervor. His tongue ran along her folds, tasting her spicy, earthy flavor. It was one of the many things that he remembered about that night – how she tasted, and he loved her essence on his tongue, coating his lips. Being between her legs, devouring her delectable body brought back the memories for that fateful evening.

Pushing two fingers into her heat, she bucked against his body. He kept his mouth on her as he slowly pumped his fingers in and out of her core. She was so wet, so tight. Her arousal spilled out of her, unhindered and covered his tongue and lips. She rolled her body, moving sensually and making him harder than he'd ever been, save for that night. He growled against her, flicking her clit with his tongue and curling his fingers inside her body. Bella's hands wove into his hair, tugging on it harshly, and holding him between her legs. "Oh, God. Edward … don't stop," she pleaded.

He gladly obliged her request, sucking her clit between his teeth, nipping at it gently. She rocked against his face, babbling incoherently as her arousal increased. His pinky grazed her rosette and she moaned, loudly. He sucked, nipped and thrust into her, feeling her body clench around his hand. She was still as responsive as he'd remembered. Her lithe body undulated, like a lazy wave on the ocean, moving in concert with each thrust, each stroke of his tongue. His teeth nipped at her clit and her orgasm zipped through her, making her body arch of the bed and she screamed, waves of pleasure washing over her.

Edward kept his mouth on her, reveling in the sweetness of her release. He kissed her pussy and crawled up her body. She was panting heavily, her eyes closed, and body covered in a delightful flush. His fingers glided over her pale skin, tracing nonsensical patterns on her belly. She blinked over to him, a sated smile spreading over her face. "I haven't felt … I mean …"

"I'm the bomb?" he quipped, a crooked smirk spreading over his lips. Bella giggled, but stopping abruptly and, covering her mouth and her eyes widening. He pulled hands away from her mouth. "Why did you stop?"

"I don't know," she shrugged. Bella looked at him, kissing his lips and tasting her essence on his mouth. She pulled back, a wicked glint in her eye. "You're not done, are you?"

"Not by a long shot, beautiful," he said, shimmying down his scrub pants. He reached to his wallet, which was on the nightstand, and pulled out a condom. Bella expertly put it on and Edward maneuvered himself, so he was in the cradle of her thighs. Brushing his lips with hers, he slid into her tight body. "Fuck, Bella."

"Yes, fuck Bella," she pleaded, her fingers splayed on his ass. He smirked, thrusting up into her body and making her moan in pleasure. He relentless as he stroked inside her, filling every inch of her tight, sweet pussy. He crashed his lips against hers, nibbling on her lips. She whimpered, pushing down and wanting to feel his hardness, completing her. "God damn it. Your cock is hard, Edward."

"I haven't been this hard in years, Bella," he snarled, sucking on her neck before sitting up, back on his haunches. His hands gently squeezed her breasts as he pounded into her. She snaked her hand down her body, rubbing her clit and feeling his arousal as he easily stroked into her. "Fuck, baby. Your hands look so good as they rub your pussy. I can feel your fingers on me."

"Harder, Edward," she pleaded. "Fuck me harder, Edward."

He draped one leg over his arm, spreading her legs further. He looked down to where they were joined. He watched as his cock disappeared within her pussy. He eagerly thrust into her harder, pushing his body deeper into hers. He saw her arousal coating his cock. The sound of his thighs slapping hers were the only sounds in the room. Her whimpers also broke through, rocking her hips with his. "Bella, keep rubbing your clit. I'm so fucking close."

"Yesssss," she hissed, her fingers circling her clit quickly and looking up at him. He moved so quickly, pounding into her relentlessly. "Edward! Oh, GOD!"

"That's it, baby. Come for me," he snarled, moving his hips so his cock could stroke her g-spot. He watched as she threw her head back, her breasts bouncing with each powerful thrust of his body. He gripped her hips and felt his balls tighten. Her mouth fell open and she bucked uncontrollably. "Fuck, Bella, you're gorgeous when you come."

"Ed-ward," she moaned as her body shattered. "Don't stop." Don't let go … stay …

"I won't Bella," he choked out as his own orgasm swelled. His cock hardened, making it difficult to move inside her. She was so tight, so hot. "Fuck! Fuck! I'm …" He grunted with each thrust and his stomach clenched with his impending climax. With a low snarl, his cock twitched, filling the condom. He kept thrusting until his body softened and he collapsed in exhaustion. He lay down, trying to catch his breath. He pulled Bella into his arms. She was stiff. "Relax, beautiful."

"I don't cuddle," she whispered.

"Tough. I do," he answered, nuzzling her curls and kissing her neck until her body slowly relaxed. He moved his mouth to her lips, brushing his mouth over his. "Don't go, Bella."

"I don't know," she said.

"Please, stay. I want to take care of the condom. Don't leave," he said. She bit her lip and nodded, knowing that she couldn't leave even if she wanted to. He kissed her, deeper this time before getting off the bed. He quickly took care of the condom and went back to the bed. Bella hesitantly moved, putting her head on his chest. He held her close. Blinking down, he saw that Bella was already asleep, her naked body suctioned to hers.

~o~o~o~

Edward stayed for the rest of the weekend and while he was there, Bella had softened. She didn't flinch when he touched her. She even seemed to want it. She would find him, reaching for his hand or sliding her arms around his waist. He gladly gave her the affection. It was something that she needed but hadn't gotten for a long time.

Charlie was recovering but would be laid up for at least another two weeks, if not longer. Edward wanted Charlie to come to the hospital for further tests, but Charlie was as stubborn as a mule, saying he was doing fine. By the end of the third day, Edward had to go back to the hospital. Bella was distant, preparing for their inevitable separation. They'd had three days of affection, hot sex and happiness. The sad reality was that Edward was not a part of her life and never could be.

However, since the night that Bella and Edward made love, Bella hadn't had a nightmare since. She'd felt safe, protected. His arms were the best dream catcher, stopping the night terrors from coming. His lips were a welcome distraction, soft and pliant against hers. And his cock? Eight and half inches of perfection, reminding her that she was a woman who had desires, needs and wants.

Charlie was on the couch when Edward walked down from the room he'd stayed in. He was dressed in a pair of scrubs, with a stethoscope around his neck and an ID hanging from his pocket. "Now, if there is any discomfort, Mr. Swan, please, call."

"I know. But, I've been shot enough times to know the drill," Charlie grumped. "Can we rely on you in the future?"

"No, Dad," Bella answered. "Dr. Cullen has a life and he's … it would be best if we find another doctor, not associated with a hospital." Edward hid his disappointment but understood her reasoning. From whispers, he knew that Bella's family dabbled in illegal activities. Bella turned to him, her face hard once again. "Seth will take you to your condo and you can drive to work. We'll keep someone nearby, just in case."

"Should I be worried?" Edward asked.

"No. We kept you protected," Bella nodded. She reached into the desk and pulled out an envelope. "Your payment …"

Edward took it, but he let his fingers graze along her wrist. She shuddered. "Walk with me?" he asked. Bella blushed, walking him to the garage. He pressed the envelope back into her hands. "I can't take this."

"Why? You helped my father, even after I …" she muttered. "You didn't have to."

"Bella, this became more than just a doctor and his patient when I kissed you," he said, his fingers gliding along her chin. "Yes, it was a unique situation."

"I threatened to kill you," she said, her eyes wide. "I'm sorry."

"You didn't," he snorted. "And as weird as it sounds, you looked hot with that gun."

"You're weird," Bella deadpanned.

"I've been called worse," he shrugged. "I just can't, in my right mind, take this payment. Perhaps, donate it if you feel so strongly about paying me."

"Where?" she asked. "I'd rather pay you, but since you're being so stubborn."

"Takes one to know one," he quipped, dropping his face and kissing her. She squeaked indignantly. "And donate to the American Cancer Society. I lost my mom to breast cancer."

"I'm sorry," Bella whispered. "I didn't know …"

"Not many people do. It's why I became a doctor. I wanted to become an oncologist to help heal the cancer-ridden patients, but I loved the excitement of the emergency room, and hated the sadness when a patient lost their battle," he shrugged. His hand slid down her arm, threading their fingers. "I hope that I see you again."

"I don't know," Bella said. "I can't have something happen to you."

"And it will happen to me if I'm with you?" he asked.

"Yes," she replied, her eyes hardening. The wall was going back up. She looked at him, memorizing his face. "I can't let you be snuffed out because of me, Edward. I could never forgive myself." She threw her arms around him, kissing him powerfully, wanting to feel his lips against hers. He held her tightly, his hands gripping her hips. Breaking away harshly, she stepped back. With one more look, she turned on her heel and left.

Edward stood there, holding his fingers to his lips, reveling in the feeling of her mouth moving with his. It wasn't until Seth clearing his throat that he moved. He blew out a breath, following the young man out to the massive SUV that dropped him off at his condo, where he picked up his Volvo.

The overnight shift at Virginia Mason was dragging. Edward used the time to catch up on his charting and reading medical journals. As he worked, his mind kept drifting back to Bella. It was the taste of the forbidden fruit. Now, that he'd had it, he needed more.

"Cullen, you're up," said one of the attending physicians. "A man complaining of abdominal pain."

"Where?" Edward asked, taking the proffered chart.

"He's a VIP. One of the trauma rooms."

A VIP was a patient who usually had a history of complaining about everything. They were kept sequestered from the other patients since they didn't want their venom to be spread. Edward walked into the trauma room, blinking up. "Mr. Call?"

"That's me," said a young man. He was in his early to mid-twenties. His face was covered in sweat and he gripped his stomach. Edward had never seen him before.

"What seems to be the problem?" Edward asked, walking toward his patient. "It says that you're experiencing abdominal pain?"

"That's it," Mr. Call smirked, hopping off the bed and pushing Edward against the doorway, a knife to his throat. "Strangely enough, I feel much better. Don't. Fucking. Scream." He flicked the door locked and moved Edward so he was against the wall. He pressed the knife against Edward's throat, causing blood to spill out. "You had her, didn't you?"

"Had who?" Edward asked, trying to keep his voice calm.

"You fucked Isabella," he sneered, inhaling deeply. "I can smell her on you. My boss won't like that." Mr. Call kept his elbow to Edward's neck and he dragged the knife down his torso, ripping the scrub top and leaving a trail of blood in its wake. "Boss said I could have fun with you. My knife hasn't had a chance to play. I'd love to gut you like a pig." He flicked his wrist and skin near Edward's ribs was torn open.

The door was slammed open and Seth came barreling in. Bella was on his heels, her eyes dark and cold. "Oh, look, Miss Mafia is here." He released Edward, thinking he could come back to him. He fell forward, gripping his bleeding wound. "I can finish what I started, five years ago."

Bella was shaking, caught in a flashback. She felt the pain of that same knife being dragged across her face. Embry crossed to her, his knife, which was covered in Edward's blood, ripping her shirt open. "I bet your pussy is so tight."

"No," she hissed, reaching behind her and stabbing him in the chest. "Never!"

"You cunt!" he roared, pulling the blade out from his stomach, causing the wound to bleed freely. "You're going to die." His face turned an unnatural shade of puce. "God damn it, I can't kill you. But, I can kill him." Embry turned, flinging his knife and caught Edward in the bicep, making him cry out, collapsing to his knees.

"You don't call the shots," Bella said. "I do. Now, why can't you kill me?" She walked to Embry. Seth stood behind him, holding his arms taut. "If you tell me the truth, I'll consider keeping you alive, if only to torture you." She pressed her knuckles into his bleeding stomach wound. "Answer me or I'll pull out your intestines through your navel."

"Jacob Black wants an alliance," Embry hissed, his russet skin paling to a sickly gray. "He wants you as his wife, combining forces with your family and the Wolf Pack."

"And by wife, you mean a hole to fuck," Bella sneered. Embry's eyes widened. "Then, I assume, I'd be shared by every man in the Wolf Pack. The word no would not exist for me. I would be raped daily. I'd rather die." She smiled, cold and wicked. "No deal, Mr. Call." In the blink of an eye, she used two knives to cut across his neck, efficiently cutting his jugular. His last words were a disgusting gurgle as he fell forward.

Edward watched, in a haze of pain and confusion. Bella blinked to him, her eyes still evil, cold. She blew out a breath, walking toward him. He pressed his back against the unforgiving wall. "You …" he wheezed.

Her brows furrowed, and she nodded. "This is who I am," Bella said. "I'm the Donna of the Mafia Crime Family. I should have never involved you." She opened her mouth, shaking her head. "But, you are involved. You're as much of a target as I am." She walked to him, whispering, "Forgive me. I need to do this to keep you safe." She injected a sedative into Edward's neck and he collapsed. Seth picked him up, placing him on a gurney. Bella called to the cleaners that were on staff at Virginia Mason, telling them about the mess in trauma room two.

In the span of a week, Bella's father had been shot and nearly killed. She'd been reunited with the man who made her feel safe, secure and even loved – but not anymore, not after today. She'd fought and killed her worst nightmare in Embry Call, the man who disfigured her for life. Her mind was a jumble of emotions, fear and shame the most predominant ones.

As she left the hospital, Edward's unconscious form in the backseat of the SUV, with his head cradled in her lap, she prayed for his forgiveness and understanding. Maybe, with his goodness, his light, her soul could be redeemed. She needed his gentle healing.

Il donna e il doctore …

Could it be possible?

Bella hoped.