Carlisle Cullen groaned as he slid behind the wheel of his Mercedes. His body protested being asked to move any more than was necessary. He was coming off a forty-eight hour shift at the hospital and all he wanted was to go home, crawl into bed next to his wife, and sleep for the next two days. Of course, first he had to make it home. The hospital had been slammed. One tragic accident after another, and he was feeling wary.
His eyelids struggled to stay open as he buckled his seatbelt and started the car. Knowing he'd need help making the twenty minute drive, he rolled down the window and hoped the cool, Seattle air would help. It was barely three in the morning, and traffic was light as he drove through the streets. He stopped at a red light, and reached for the radio, scanning through the stations for something that wasn't going to make him even more tired. He needed something loud, something vulgar, something his wife never let him listen to. Finally, he found the perfect song and drummed his nails against the steering wheel. Just as the light turned green, he lifted his foot off the brake, but before he could shift it to the gas pedal, a girl ran out in front of his car.
"Holy fuck," he snarled, slamming his foot on the brake.
The girl fell against the hood of his car with a thud. Her dark hair hung around her face, but as she tilted her head back, he could see that she was young—not more than sixteen, maybe seventeen. Carlisle shifted into park, but before he could open the door, the girl took off running.
"Hey, wait!" he yelled, leaning out the window.
Carlisle wasn't sure why, but he found himself leaping out of the car and following her as she ran down the alley between buildings. Left and right, left and then another left, the girl was quick, but Carlisle managed to stay behind her. The girl turned right again, but stopped when a ten-foot chain-link fence ended her path. She pushed away from the fence and turned back toward Carlisle, who'd stopped a few feet away.
"Are you okay?" he asked. "I didn't hurt you with my car, did I?"
The girl just stared at him, her dark-brown eyes wide and full of fear.
Carlisle put his hands up to show that he wasn't going to hurt her as he stepped toward her, but when she scooted away from him, he stopped. "I'm not going to hurt you. I'm a doctor. I just want to check that you're not hurt."
Then, once more, he took a step toward her. The girl moved to her right, but didn't move backward so Carlisle kept going until he was standing right in front of her. He barely managed to hide his disgust. She smelled like she'd been swimming in a sewer, and her hair was tangled and matted with so much grime, he suspected it would take a full bottle of shampoo to get it clean. Her skin was dirty and oily and there were several scratches along her left cheek that he knew had nothing to do with his car.
Slowly, as not to startle her, Carlisle placed his hands on her shoulders, watching as she tensed from his touch. He quickly gave her a once over, noticing that her clothes were torn and two sizes too big, but he didn't see any visible injuries.
"Well, you seem okay," he said.
The girl pulled herself away from him.
"Are you hungry?" he asked, unsure why he felt the need to help her.
Her eyes widened, though she didn't utter a sound.
"I was going to get some pancakes. Would you like to join me?" he pushed, holding out his hand to her.
Her eyes shifted from him to his hand and back up to his face.
"I promise not to hurt you," he told her. "But I'd really like to buy you some pancakes."
The girl nodded, but didn't make any effort in grabbing his hand. Carlisle smiled and stepped out of the way, gesturing for her to go first. She kept her body angled toward him, almost like she was expecting him to jump her. Maybe she was.
Carlisle led her back to his car, but the girl refused to get in when he opened the passenger side door.
"How about if I bring them to you?" he suggested. "Will you stay here while I go get them?"
The girl nodded.
"Okay, don't move. Just . . . just stay right here," he told her, rushing around to the driver's seat.
Though he had no reason to expect her to stay, Carlisle found himself driving to the small diner he often stopped at after a long shift at the hospital. He ordered two pancake platters to go, and while he waited, he called his wife, who answered on the third ring.
"This had better be important," Esme grumbled, thickly. "I just got the baby to sleep."
"Sorry," he murmured. "I, um, I kind of hit someone with my car."
"What!?" Esme screeched and he had to pull the phone away from his ear. "Oh, my God, Carlisle, are they okay?"
"I think so," he said, quickly explaining everything that had happened with the girl. "I doubt she'll be there when I get back with the food, but I just wanted you to know where I was."
"That poor girl," Esme whimpered. "What are you going to do if she's there?"
"I don't know," he admitted. "Try to get her to go to the hospital, maybe? A shelter?"
"Yeah, maybe," his wife said, but the sound of a baby crying in the background caused her to sigh. "And she's awake again."
"Sorry," he muttered again.
"It's okay. She's been up all night," Esme rambled. "Do you need me to meet you? Edward could stay with Beth."
"No, it's okay. I'll, um, call you when I know something," he told her. "Thanks, though."
"You're welcome." Esme paused. "Be careful, okay? I know you want to help this girl, but be careful."
"I will." Carlisle looked over as the waitress placed his order on the counter. "Gotta go. I love you."
"Love you, too." And with a sigh, Esme hung up the phone.
Carlisle shoved his phone into his pocket before turning back to the counter and dropping enough cash on top to pay for the food. Nodding his head in thanks, he grabbed the bag and headed back out to his car. The girl was still standing in the middle of the road when he pulled up next to the curb. She watched him as he climbed out and grabbed the bag.
He held his hand out of her once more, and said, "Come here."
She walked over to him, but didn't take his hand. She shifted her attention between him and the food and her tongue snaked out of her mouth, swiping across her bottom lip.
"Guess you're pretty hungry, huh?" Carlisle laughed, placing the bag on the hood of the car.
He pulled out the first foam box and held it out to the girl, who nearly ripped his arm off as she took it. She sat on the curb with her knees up in front of her as she opened it and stared at the handful of pancakes, bacon, and hash browns.
"Want some syrup?" he asked, laughing when the girl grimaced. "How can you eat pancakes without syrup?"
The girl shrugged her shoulders before picking up one of the hot cakes and bringing it to her mouth, stuffing at least half of it inside.
Carlisle cleared his throat, pulling her attention to him. He held out the plastic fork and knife, along with a napkin. The girl took them but didn't use them as she continued to shove food into her mouth. Carlisle sighed, but opted not to push the issue. After all, it wasn't like they were in a restaurant.
They ate in silence, just the two of them. Not a single car drove by, and the streets were all but abandoned. Carlisle had so many questions that he wanted to ask her. Who was she? Where was she from? Why was she running? How'd she end up on the streets? More than a few times, he had to stop himself from asking. She wasn't the first homeless person he'd dealt with, but there was something about her that drew him in. Almost like he knew her, somehow.
When they were done, Carlisle gathered their trash and tossed it into the backseat of his car. He turned back to the girl, who stood fidgeting with the hem of her shirt. "Did you get enough to eat? I could get you more."
The girl shook her head and looked down the street, almost as if she was expecting someone.
"Let me take you to the hospital." The minute the words were out of his mouth, the girl's relaxed demeanor changed and she became tense and ridged. "Please, just to make sure that you're not hurt."
The girl shook her head vigorously and took several steps away from him.
"Please!" Carlisle said again, but the girl took off running down the alley. By the time Carlisle got to the other end, she was gone. "Damn it."
Frustrated, he returned to his car. He drove around the area for a bit, trying to find her again, but the girl was gone. Vanished just as quickly as she'd popped out of nowhere. With nothing else to go on, he drove home.
Esme was laying on the couch with Beth, their three month old daughter, laying on her chest when Carlisle walked into the house. He kicked his shoes off and walked over to them, kneeling next to them. Placing his hand on Beth's back, he leaned in and kissed Esme softly on the lips, smiling when he felt her lips move against his.
When he leaned away, he found that she was awake. "Hey."
"Hey," Esme whispered. "I wasn't expecting you back so early."
"Yeah, well, things didn't work out the way I had hoped," Carlisle grumbled and shifted so that he was sitting on the floor. Carefully, he lifted his daughter into his arms, sighing when the baby snuggled against his chest. "God, I've missed her."
"She's missed her daddy, too," Esme replied, turning onto her side. "What happened with the girl?"
"She took off after we ate. Refused to let me help her." Carlisle pressed his lips on top of Beth's head. "You should have seen this girl, Esme. She was filthy. Just covered in grim, but she looked at me and . . . I don't know. There was just something in her eyes."
"Maybe you should call Jasper. See if he can help you find her," Esme suggested, placing her hand on his cheek. "After you've showered and slept. You look exhausted."
"I am," he admitted, leaning into her touch.
Esme smiled and shifted so that she was sitting up. She held her arms out for the baby. "Here, let me put her to bed. You shower and then we'll get some sleep."
With a sigh, Carlisle agreed and half an hour later, he slipped into bed next to his wife, wrapping his body around hers, and drifted to sleep.
Surprise! A new story! Hope you're ready for a crazy ride! First couple of chapters will be from Carlisle's POV.