Back in 2015 I finished writing The Girl In The Meadow after a long break from Twilight. I enjoyed being back in that world and had an idea for a story, so I started writing it with the encouragement and support of Gredelina1. I lasted maybe a month before my new fandom — Supernatural — pulled me back in, and I left the story with only a handful of chapters written. I came back to it in 2016 and IamTheAlleyCat began to beta. I got another handful of chapters written before Supernatural summoned and I left the story behind again.
Jump to Autumn 2019 I realized it was time to finish for Gredlina1 who has been so supportive and patient with me as I flip-flopped on this story, even though she was more eager to see it finished than anyone. I sat down again and got to work. This is the result. IamTheAlleyCat has signed up to continue to beta and Ncsupnatfan has pre-read. Thanks to those ladies and Gredelina1, there is now a story for you to read.
I gifted this to Gredelina1 as an eBook for Christmas, and now she's had a chance to be the first to read, I can start posting here.
Happy New Year to you all. I hope for a blessed 2020 for us all xxx
A calm voice called me on via the intercom. "Doctor Cullen to the ER."
My shoes whispered against the carpet as I crossed my office and hurried into the hall. There was no need for me to concentrate in order to keep my pace human; I had been playing the part now for so many centuries it was second nature for me.
This was one of the moments that I enjoyed most—the mystery of not knowing what I was heading into. It could be anything, any injury or illness. There were negatives to my vocation, the worst being the loss of lives that I was unable save, but the multitudes of lives I had saved outweighed the negative tenfold. There were people out there that had mothers, fathers, grandparents, children, and siblings because I had saved their lives with my knowledge and experience. These people could continue with their lives and become college students, teachers, or a multitude of other things due to the great power of medicine.
Even before I reached the Emergency Room, I could hear the patient I was sure I had been summoned for. He was making a great deal of noise. Other voices were reassuring and trying to calm him, but his was the loudest by far.
"Morphine, dammit! I want morphine! And not that watered down stuff you give to the uninsured. Give me the real deal. That bitch will pay when I sue her ass!"
I walked into the ER and caught the eye of one of my favorite nurses—Amanda, mid-thirties and one of the kindest people I had ever had the good fortune to meet. I gestured toward the second trauma bay, where the majority of the noise was coming from, and she nodded. "Yes, we've got our very own Billy the Kid in there today."
I smiled. "Thank you, Amanda."
I opened the sliding door of the bay and entered. The man was thrashing around, despite the handcuff that shackled him to the bed by his left wrist, and shouting. I could tell by the pinched looks of the staff trying to help him that they were running out of patience. There was also a police officer standing by the door, hands at his sides and a look of perfect professional indifference on his face.
"What have we got here?" I asked.
"No name given," the intern running the room said.
"It's Max Briers," the officer said.
"Injury sustained to the right scapula," the intern continued. "Bleeding stopped before patient regained consciousness. Morphine administered twenty minutes ago upon complaints of elevated levels of pain."
"I heard," I said dryly. "Well, Mr. Briers, I need you to calm down so I can get a look at your injury."
The man on the bed scowled up at me. "I would if I wasn't in agony! Do you know how much it hurts to get shot?"
"I don't," I admitted. "But I imagine it would be painful."
"It is," he said. "These bastards gave me the weak crap. Tell them to bump it up a little. I have money."
I glanced at the intern. "Is he maxed out?"
"We gave him four IM."
"Perhaps we should give him just a little more," I suggested. "Add five milligrams to his IV."
"That's the stuff, Doc. Someone competent at last." He grinned at me.
As the intern injected the morphine into the IV, I addressed the patient. "Now, I am going to examine your injury. It would be easier for me and better for you if you could stay still."
"Don't touch it though, okay?" He sounded a little afraid now.
I nodded. "I will do my best to avoid it." I moved along the bed to his side and gently removed the gauze pad covering the gunshot wound. "What do you see?" I asked the intern at my side.
"GSW to the axilla," he said confidently. "Possible nerve damage to the brachial plexus."
"Very good. What is our next step?"
"Electromyography for the muscles and nerves."
"Good," I nodded. "You arrange the EMG and an x-ray to exclude bone damage, and I will organize a neuro consultation."
He hurried from the room, and I continued to examine my patient for more wounds. After a few moments, I asked if there was still pain. He was calmer now the opiates were working and answered civilly.
I turned and spoke to the officer standing by the door. "Is this cuff strictly necessary? It will complicate things for us."
He shrugged. "It's not down to me. You'll need to speak to Officer Swan."
I raised an eyebrow. It was not a particularly common name, but there was more than one Swan family in existence. Just because this name meant something to me, it didn't mean it was Charlie. From what I understood, he had been born and raised in Forks, never leaving for a prolonged period of time. What could have made him relocate to this small, Oregon town?
Then I heard the door sliding open behind me, and the room was filled with the most familiar scent. Had my heart been beating, it surely would have stuttered. As it was, I felt a jolt of shock pulse through me like electricity.
I turned slowly, taking it all in—brown eyes, mahogany hair, and ivory skin. For a moment, I froze, my natural reaction to stress, and then I forced myself to relax.
She beamed at me. The smile lit up her face. "Hey, Carlisle."
I felt my lips curving into a returning smile. "Hello, Bella."
"Doc wants to know whether we can lose the cuff," the officer asked Bella.
The officer. He was asking Bella!
I was not stupid. I had had an above average intelligence even as a human, and now I was a centuries-old vampire with an enhanced intellect, so why, why had I not seen the uniform Bella was wearing? The navy shirt and pants, the metal badge, the gun on her hip. The gun!
My eyes widened.
"We need to keep the cuff on," she said calmly, professionally. "This man is a flight risk."
The man on the bed blinked drowsily at her. "Hey, if it isn't Officer Goose. You getting your story straight with the good Doc so I can't sue?"
Bella ignored him and turned to me. My eyes were still wide. "Yeah, things are a little different now," she said with a hint of amusement. "We should catch up."
I nodded. "Yes. Yes! We should. That is exactly what we need to do." I was babbling. I never babbled. I was a doctor in my work setting. I was not acting like myself. I blamed the shock. It wasn't every day you saw your son's reason for being; the sweet, innocent girl she had been, toting a gun and dealing with a criminal as if it was any other day.
"Great," she said cheerfully. "I'm guessing you'll be busy fixing up Max here for the next while, and I have a bunch of paperwork to fill out. Shooting a man means a ton of work."
"Shooting a man?" I asked dumbly.
"Yeah," the man on the bed slurred. "Bitch shot me."
I looked to Bella, expecting her to argue, to deny, to defend. She just shrugged and turned to her colleague. "Matheson is coming to spell me. You want company here?"
He responded, I was sure, but I did not process what he said. My mind was caught up in what was happening. After five years apart, Bella was back. Bella was back, and she had shot a man.
Things had really changed.
I took a deep breath as I stepped out of the hospital doors before walking to the patrol car. There were many things that had changed in my life, but my discomfort in hospitals wasn't one of them. I still hated them. But when it was necessary, I sucked it up and got on with it.
The roads were quiet, and I made good time, despite the fact I was going under the speed limit. The ride over had been a thrill, lights running and sirens blaring as I followed the ambulance, but now I drove at a more sensible pace. It was a shame. My love of speed was something else that had developed in the last five years. Stemming from the motorbikes and quiets roads around Forks and La Push, it had overpowered the fear from before.
I pulled up at the station and climbed out. I wasn't sure what my reception would be when I got inside. The adrenaline was now seeping out of my veins, and it was leaving nerves behind. I was better than to show it, though, even when I opened the door and walked inside to find almost absolute silence greeting me. The station was open planned with the cells and the Chief's office being the only exceptions. Almost all the desks behind the reception area were manned by officers, and they were working in silence; the only sounds were the rustle of papers and the clicking of keyboards.
Sophie, our secretary and my friend, was behind the front desk. She glanced up as at me as I entered then quickly looked down again.
"Hi, Sophie," I said in a falsely cheerful voice.
"Bella," she said, without looking up again. "The Chief asked me to tell you to go right on in."
My heart relocating to my polished boots, I rounded the desk and weaved my way to the back of the room, where the Chief's office was located. He had said to go right in, but I knew better than to do that. I knocked and waited for him to reply.
"Enter," a gruff voice called out.
I went in and clicked the door closed behind me. He didn't look up from his desk. He was writing on a piece of paper, and he finished what he was doing first, giving me time to cross the room and come to attention in front of his desk.
With a fierce jab of his pen, he marked his last sentence with a period and then, finally, slowly, he raised his eyes to mine. There were two chairs in front of the desk, but he didn't invite me to take one.
"Swan," he said.
"Chief," I said without inflection.
He narrowed his eyes. "I just got off the phone with Astoria Memorial," he said. "They told me Max Briers is in surgery for a shoulder injury."
"And I spoke to Officer Green."
Frank had been with me on patrol with at the time. He was a good man, and we got on well, but he wouldn't have had a choice but to tell the truth of what I had done.
"Yes, Sir?" I framed it as a question.
"Yes, Swan. He gave me his version of events, but I would surely like to hear yours, too. So, go ahead, tell me what happened."
Keeping my eyes on a spot above his head and my stance stiff, I began. "We got the call over the radio for a robbery in progress at Mark's Mini-Mart. We reported as attending and ran the code. Upon arrival, I observed what I believed to be four civilians in the store with Max Briers. Our priority was to protect the civilians, so we each took a point of entry—Officer Green taking the rear and me the front. The suspect was armed with a knife that he was using to threaten the salesclerk. Upon entry, I called out a warning, and the clerk and civilians dropped to the floor. Judging them safe, I approached the suspect, directing him to drop the knife. He did, but pulled a gun as soon as the knife was on the floor." I drew a breath. "I judged myself and civilians to be in danger, so I took my shot to disarm him."
"Where did you shoot him, Swan?" he asked in a cold voice.
"The right shoulder, the gun arm. At the same moment, Officer Green arrived. The suspect dropped the gun, and Officer Green retrieved it while I read the suspect his Miranda and restrained him with handcuffs. Officer Green arranged medical assistance while I dealt with the civilians. Sir," I finished respectfully.
He sighed tiredly. "You know what an officer-involved shooting means, don't you?"
"You're on administrative leave until we conduct our investigation. Tomorrow, I want you back here to give a statement, and then we'll do a step-by-step at the scene."
He looked up at me at last, and I thought I saw some give in his expression, a small quirk of the lips. Knowing now wasn't the time to return it, I kept my expression blank so he could find no fault.
"You're dismissed," he said.
"Thank you, Sir." I made for the door.
"Oh, and Swan," he called after me.
I turned reluctantly and then smiled as I saw the wry smile on his face. "Well, done, kid. Your father will be proud."
"Thank you, Sir."
The main office was as quiet as I had left it. I crossed to the cabinet to get the forms I needed to fill out, feeling like I was doing the walk of shame. Then I heard someone humming. A few notes in, someone else started, until the whole room was humming a tune I recognized but couldn't name.
Confused, I looked around the room to see every person smiling at me, and then Lewis, one of the older cops in the department, stood up and started to sing at the top of his voice. "Hit me with your best shot. Why don't you hit me with your best shot? Hit me with your best shot. Fire away!"
Loud applause and many wolf whistles followed their song.
Laughing, a blush warming my cheeks, I glanced back at the Chief's office and saw him standing by the window. His image was distorted by the frosted glass, but I thought—or perhaps hoped—that I could see his shoulders lifting as he laughed, too.
There was a huge amount of paperwork involved in a weapon's discharge, even more when the discharge included a suspect getting shot in the shoulder. It was well into evening by the time I pulled up in the driveway in front of my small two-story house. I threw myself down onto the plush couch soon after walking inside and leaned my head against the back.
My mind was buzzing with thoughts. Now that the tension of what had happened at the Mini-Mart had faded, my thoughts turned to what had happened at the hospital.
I had seen Carlisle Cullen again.
It was incredible. I had never imagined I would see any of them again, ever. It was a big country, and they were just seven people among millions. What were the odds we'd end up in the same town again, let alone in the same hospital at the same moment?
Stupidly, I had expected him to have changed as much as I had in the intervening years. Perhaps he was different, but not physically. He was as handsome as he ever was, with the face of a movie star and hair so blond it was like a halo around his head. If there was one Cullen that the image of an angel fitted, it was Carlisle. He was one of the best men I had ever known—gentle and kind, open and honest with me always. He was the kind of person I had wished I could be. I had since learned that I could model myself on no one. I had to make myself into the person I wanted to be without influence. To do anything else was to pretend.
It had been a shock to see him again, but I thought I'd done an admirable job of hiding it, aided by the fact my thoughts were busy processing what I had just been forced to do.
I chuckled as I remembered his face when his gaze had fallen on the gun at my hip. It must have been an incredible shock for him. Bella Swan armed. Bella Swan admitting to shooting a man.
The thing was, I was different now. I had lived through five years since I had last seen him, years that had taken me from a teenager on the cusp of adulthood into a woman. I was a cop now. I was a college graduate. I was not the girl he had known. The girl I had been would have crumpled had I seen him again.
There was a time when seeing Carlisle or any other Cullen would have brought me to my knees, back in those dark days after they left, before Jacob, but that time had come and gone. Back then, I had yearned for them in the most incredible way. I would have given almost anything to see them, him¸ again.
It wasn't that I didn't want to see them now—they had once been like family, and I still held affection for them—but it didn't control me anymore. Now, I could enjoy the moment, embrace the reunion and possibility of more, the others, my once beloved family.
I was jerked from my thoughts by the ringing of my phone. I leaned over the arm of the couch and checked the caller display. It was Charlie. I should have expected the call. He and my chief were buddies from a while back. They'd met on an interstate cop-training retreat, and their friendship racked up a notch when I took the job in Astoria. By now, Charlie had to know what had happened.
Knowing it was better to have the conversation now rather than later, when he'd had more time to worry, I answered, "Hey, Dad."
"Bells. How was your day?"
I smiled to myself. It was better than I expected. I wasn't Isabella at least. "It was intense."
"Do you want to talk about it?"
I closed my eyes. "How about you tell me what you already know to save me repeating?"
He drew a breath. "There was an officer-involved shooting. You were there. Someone pulled a gun on you." I realized his voice was unsteady. I had been preoccupied with thinking of him as another police chief that I hadn't remembered he was also a father dealing with the fact his daughter had been in the sights of a gun that day.
"I'm fine, Dad," I said. "The only shot fired was my own. No one else got hurt but him."
"And how do you feel?" It was an unusually solicitous question from my father, and it brought home just how worried he must be.
"Honestly, I'm okay. There's a bunch of hoops I'm going to have to jump through with work before I can go back, but that's okay. What matters is that there was a gun pulled, and no one was killed."
"You're right," he said. "Of course you are. You did good, Bells. I'm proud."
I smiled. Charlie wasn't verbose at the best of times, which meant praise wasn't often given. Not that I minded. I didn't need reassurance from someone else that I had done the right thing. I already knew that in my heart. Still, it was nice to hear I made him proud. I'd only heard that a couple of times in my life from him.
"Anything else happening for you?" he asked.
"No," I said quickly. "Nothing at all." I didn't even think for a moment about telling him I'd seen Carlisle. I had no idea what his reaction would be seeing as he'd suffered almost as much as I had in those dark days after Edward had left. He might not take the reminder well.
Besides, there was no guarantee I would see any of them again. No. It was better to wait. If I did see Carlisle again, or any of the Cullens; I would tell Charlie about it. Not yet, though. It could wait.
So… That is Bella the cop. I know this has been done before, but I've not read or done it myself, so this is my take on the trope. I hope some of you are willing to stick around to see where I take it.
Until next time…