I stepped off of my plane into the loud, bustling airport. Looking out through the windows stepped high against the walls, I could see the wind and rain swirling around in a chaotic dance against the dark gray backdrop that was the Seattle cloud cover. Of course, I sighed; if it's this bad here then it'll be no better in Forks. Sighing again, I began scanning the crowd for my father, Charlie. I spotted him by a nearby pillar: and, of course, he had the same concerned, sympathetic look that all adults gave me. Hmm… maybe I should explain. I have leukemia. My doctor found it three months ago, and as it turns out, Forks hospital offers a doctor who specializes in my treatment.
I didn't want to burden Renee, I kept reminding myself, like a never ending mantra running it's course through my mind. I loved her too much to make her go through that with me, so I insisted that she stay behind in Phoenix with her newly wed husband, Phil. To be honest, I hated the cold and the wet, so it was a mark of how much I truly cared for my mother when I refused point-blank to let her come with me. Instead, I'd be toughing it out in Forks with Charlie, my dad. Speaking of which…
" Bella!" he stepped quickly up towards me, standing awkwardly; he seemed to be appraising our 'relationship' before he finally decided to hug me gently. "How was your flight?" he inquired.
"Fine" I responded, nonchalant.
He hurried me across the storming parking lot (once we got out of that hell hole of an airport) and opened the door to his cruiser for me. Then, he grabbed my one suitcase from where it stood on the ground next to the car and slid it neatly into the back seat of his cruiser. The hour long drive to Forks was quite and uneventful. I was okay with that, though: I could tell that he felt a bit awkward, to say the least, about the entire ordeal of my coming to live with him. However, he didn't feel the need to fill the silence with small talk chattering as Renee normally did. For that I was grateful. So, instead I was free to pull my legs up to my chin, curling up into a warm ball on the car seat.
"So…" Charlie began, barley above a mumble, "I know that you'll be needing a car for getting to school and…other things." He paused. I knew that, by what he left unspoken, he was also talking about my appointments.
" Yeah, I've been saving up my money for awhile now, I'll probably start looking tomorrow," I murmured in response, my eyes closed. I felt Charlie shift in the drivers seat, and he responded, as we pulled up to the front of the house:
" Actually, I took the, ah, liberty to buy you a truck" My eyes snapped open as I saw it parked in the driveway. It looked old and was a rusty shade of red. I loved it immediately.
"Um…thank you Ch-dad." I said, a little flustered. It wasn't something that I suspected, and I certainly didn't like surprises, but it certainly was a welcome thought to know that I didn't have to walk a mile everyday in the rain just to get to school. For that, I was thankful.
As I had sat staring lovingly at my nee truck, Charlie had gotten out of the car, gotten my solitary luggage, and was just opening my door for me. He still had the same tense look on his face, I noticed. I knew that this was as strange for him as it was for me. I rarely came up to Forks, let alone saw my father, seeing as we only got together for two weeks in California during the summer holidays every year. I walked up the porch and into the house, following Charlie up the stairs to what was presumably my room; I scanned it in silence, taking in the bed and computer, not to mention the wooden rocking chair that remained from my childhood years, when I lived in this house full time with both my mother and father.
"Well, I'm going to order something for dinner… pizza sound good?" he asked. I nodded mutely, then responded with "I think that I'm going to take a quick shower, just call me when it gets here". Charlie nodded back and clumped down the stairs to the phone. I unzipped my suitcase and grabbed a pair of sweatpants, a t-shirt and my bag of toiletries. Then, I headed to the bathroom. The warm water spouting out of the shower head relaxed my muscles and the familiar scent of my strawberry shampoo calmed my nerves. As I got out of the shower, I wrapped a fluffy white towel around myself and pondered my reflection in the medicine cabinet mirror: pale skin, brown eyes and hair. However, ever since being put on medication, I had lost about ten pounds and too much sleep to count: the result was an unhealthily thin body and dark, bruise like shadows under my eyes. I sighed and quickly pulled on my pajamas and raked a brush through my wet hair. I grimaced once more at my reflection and attempted to hurry down the stairs; however, I only got three feet; you see, I am notoriously clumsy and I've landed myself in the ER with no more help that my own feet. In my rush, my foot got caught at the beginning of the banister. Lovely, I thought fleetingly, trying to make a quick grab at the banister to catch myself. Of course, I had no such luck and went tumbling down the stairs with a thud.
I heard an anxious voice shout "Bella!" before everything went black. (AN: AHA! You thought that I'd stop here, didn't you? Even I'm not that cruel…)
I tried to open my eyes, but it felt as if I were trying to lift 800-pound weights with my lids. I became more aware of a faint beeping sound and the scuffle of quiet footsteps. I slowly opened my eyes, blinking heavily as the ceiling, walls, and starched white sheets came into focus. I let out a soft groan as my little scene came back to my memory and the pain in my legs came in full force.
"Bella?" I heard a voice ask softly. I jumped at the musical sound and heard my heart rate hitch on the monitor. I looked quickly to my left and felt my pupils expand in wonder. Before me stood at tall man, no older than thirty; he had soft blond hair and pale white skin, with amber eyes that shone with worry. His perfect brow was creased slightly and his perfect lips were graced into a gentle smile. I realized with a shock that this model must be a doctor, seeing as he was wearing a white lab coat. I blinked slowly at him, taking in his appearance. I vaguely wondered who this man was. As if hearing my thoughts, he answered me before I had to ask the question.
"My name is Dr. Carlisle Cullen. Your father brought you in a few hours ago. He said that you feel down the stairs in your house. Fortunately, you didn't do too much damage; you sprained your knees a bit, but they'll be fine in about a week. But you really should be more careful, Bella.". He chuckled softly at my bewildered expression. " Don't worry, you'll be able to go to school tomorrow… if you feel up to it, that is."
He knew. He knew about my 'illness', for lack of a better term. He must have seen the tension in my expression, because he suddenly became serious. "Bella," he began. I marveled vaguely at how he knew that I preferred 'Bella' to my full name. The thought was pushed aside by what he said next.
"I'm going to be your doctor while you receive your… treatment here". I nodded my head weakly in response.
"Yes, well, you're free to go right now, your father just went down to the cafeteria about ten minutes ago- oh, never mind, he's already back." Dr. Cullen said brightly as Charlie came in the door.
"Bella!" he rushed over to me as I sat up and unclipped the heart monitor…thing from my finger. " Are you alright? Do you-"
"I'm fine, dad." I cut him off, sliding down from the bed.
I gave him and Dr. Cullen a reassuring smile and reached out to shake hands with the doctor. He seemed slightly taken aback, but hesitantly grasped my hand gently but firmly. I quickly hid my shock, but I couldn't help wondering: his hand felt like ice, like he'd spent hours with his arms in a snow drift. Dr. Cullen left behind us, saying that he would come with my me and my father to sign me out. I could tell that Dr. Cullen was truly dedicated to his job, seeing as how he made sure that his patients were fully taken care of up until the time they left. My dad signed me out as Dr. Cullen handed me a slip of paper, saying that they were the dates for my next few appointments. I felt my stomach flip and my heartbeat speed up erratically. I was grateful that I was no longer hooked up to the monitor and that no one besides myself could hear my nervousness. But, for some strange reason, Dr. Cullen looked at me in slight alarm, almost as if he could hear it…
(AN: This is Bella's first day of school. To avoid redundancy, I'm going to skip to the Biology scene, which will be only slightly different. Everything up to that point happened as it did in the book.)
As I scanned the classroom, I saw that the only available seat was next to a pale boy with copper hair.
Edward Cullen, I thought.
Great. Really fabulous. There wasn't a doubt about it: he was just as pale and just as handsome as Dr. Cullen. They had to be related, there was no way that they weren't. I stumbled slowly to the seat next to him. I sat down and looked up, glancing at him through my pereperal vision: what I saw made me jump and stare at him. He was glaring at me, like I was… Diseased, I thought bitterly. Dr. Cullen had told him that I was sick. And Edward thought that I was disgusting and that he would catch it. I noticed him scoot his chair away from me and lean as far as he could in the opposite direction of myself. I saw him clench his fist on his knee and glare malevolently at the board. I took my hair and moved it to the side of my face, making a curtain between Edward and myself. It did no good; I could feel his hate for me, radiating off of him like heat. I could feel a familiar burning at the corners of my eyes. Stupid!, I shouted at myself. I hated it, my tear ducts seemed to be directly connected to my anger. I stared ahead at the board, blankly praying that there would be a fire drill, an earthquake, something to get me out of here. Instead, I started to feel the familiar ache in my stomach.
"Great…"I mumbled. Edward turned his head ever so slightly in my direction, still glaring at me with… black eyes? I stared back, as though entranced. Luckily the bell rang right then, and Edward stood up and left in a movement so fluidly fast that he was out of the door before anyone else could comprehend that the bell had rung. Blinking back my tears angrily, I pushed my way right after him, slamming into the door frame as I went. I could fell the bruise forming as I stumbled down the hallway, but I didn't care. All I knew was that I wanted to get out of this school.
I rushed to the gym and practically jumped into my PE clothes. I rushed out to the gyms to discover I was the first in there. As more students filtered in, Mike waved at me and called me over. I smiled weakly and went over.
"So, what was up with Cullen in Biology? I've never seen him act like that towards someone before." he said nonchalantly. I shrugged. "Well," Mike responded to my silent answer, "if I'd sat next to you, I wouldn't have acted like that."
"Thanks." I said nervously. As it turns out, we were playing badminton . Thankfully, Mike volunteered ( very gallantly, I might add) to be my partner/protector, seeing as I'm a danger to not only myself put everyone in a ten foot range when I play sports. When PE was over, I rushed back into the changing room and jumped back into my clothes again before bolting to the parking lot.
As I slid into the cab of my truck, I let out a sigh of relief: finally, something familiar that didn't hate me. As soon as the relief came, it was replaced by anger. I can't believe that my own doctor would tell his family about me! He must've known that we'd be going to school together, he just had to feel the need to expose my secrets! Does he think that I want the world to know? The absolute nerve, I can't believe this. I am so sick of…
I went off on my tirade, safe inside my own head. Thank god no one could expose what was in there… (at least, not without my consent). Unfortunately, it was right about then that I remembered that I had to turn in that slip to Ms. Cope. I reluctantly slid out of my seat, slamming the door behind me. I hurried up to the office, wind and rain lashing at my face. As I stepped into the office, I froze: there was Edward, trying to persuade a flustered Ms. Cope into switching him out of fifth period Biology. The wind from the shutting door made my hair fan out around me, and Edward seemed to somehow sense my presense. He turned around slowly, glaring at me. He turned, muttered something unintelligible to Ms. Cope, then pivoted around and left, all in one lithe movement. I muttered a "here" to Ms. Cope, pushing the form into her hand and spun around, storming out of the small office. I stepped out into the cold again, seething. Then, it was replaced by resentment and fear. Why did he hate me? It wasn't my fault that I was sick. And why did he look at me like he was contemplating ways to kill me on the spot?
Edward wasn't there for the rest of the week.
Tuesday through Thursday passed by in a dull grey swirl, Edward's absense being the only thing that caught my attention. Thursday night, I was sitting at the desk in my room, fidgeting, still pondering over Edward's hatefulness. I'd long ago finished my homework, and dinner had since come to pass. I'd taken a shower, and yet it was still only 9:05. I looked up from my little self-game of thumb war, to see a pink slip folded neatly in the center. I picked it up curiously, feeling my stomach drop when I realized what it was: it was a list of my next three appointments, the first being tomorrow evening around six. I barely noticed what happened at school the next day, let alone what people said to me. When I got home, I didn't know what to do with myself. I'd finished my math and science in class, and I'd already read the book set to us in English (Romeo and Juliet); so, I made dinner (tacos) and ate mine. After I put away the supplies, I proceeded to stare out the kitchen window until I heard Charlie at around 5:30.
"Hey Bells!" he called from the living room. I heard the clunk of his boots as he took them off and the scrape of his vest against the door of the hall closet as he put it away. "Did you make dinner? It smells- what's this?". He'd walked in to see me putting on my coat and picking up the keys to my truck. I started buttoning up my jacket.
" I made tacos, the meat and stuff is in the fridge", I responded without looking up.
" But… where are you going?" he asked, looking pointedly at the keys clutched in my hand. I flushed at him, seeing that he didn't know where I was going or why.
"I…h-have an appointment with Dr. Cullen" I winced slightly as his expression turned to first shock and then back to the usual tense-sympathy that I normally received from adults who knew about me being sick. Which, as I had concluded on Monday, was all of my teachers. I caught them all shooting me furtive glances that held the same tense-sympathy that Charlie was demonstrating this very moment.
" Alright then… ah, I'll leave the porch light on for you"
"Thanks." I muttered, looking at the ground as I walked out of the suddenly stuffy kitchen.
I hopped into my truck and cranked up the heat. You can do this I kept saying to myself, willing my eyes to not tear up. I drove on the freeway, only the sound of my truck punctuating my thoughts. I found the hospital easily, but I sat in the parking lot for ten minutes before I actually felt ready to face the doctor. I trudged across the lot and into the automatic-doored building. Looking at the map, I saw that Dr. Cullen was on the second floor. I got into the elevator and punched the number two rather forcefully. Dr. Cullen's office was only one of five on the second floor, so it wasn't too difficult to find. I found it and walked into the waiting room. It was empty. For some strange reason, I had this sneaking suspicion that others' appointments had been planned around mine. This only increased my trepidation, despite the kind disposition of the secretary who smiled at me when I told her that I was there. I was about ten minutes early, so I picked up a magazine, flipping through it without even noticing that it was Sports Illustrated. I was too nervous about this, I could taste the bile that I was trying to supress.
" Bella?" I jumped when the motherly-looking nurse called my name. She smiled tentatively and stepped aside so that I could pass through the door. I went down the small hallway and entered the office as the same nurse said, "The doctor will be with you shortly." She closed the door with a small click and I sat down on the chair. I looked around to see that the walls were painted a warm burgundy with a warm beige carpet. A painting of a moonlit river scene was on the far wall and the black pleather cot was already covered in issue paper. The sink and cabinets were a polished-looking brown, as was the door. When the door opened, my eyes flashed to the person who entered. Blonde hair, pale skin, graceful movements: yes, it was Dr. Cullen, and there was no doubt in my mind whatsoever that Edward was his son.
"Good evening Bella, how are you?" he asked as he closed the door softly.
"Fine." I responded automatically, my own voice almost as soft as the closing door. We went through the usual: apparently, this first appointment was just a check up, we wouldn't be starting the actual treatment until the next appointment. I started to shake, however, when he toke some blood from my arm. Dr. Culen smiled a bit at that, but I hardly noticed as he wrapped the tourniquet around my upper arm and took the blood. In fact, it was the fastest blood test that I'd ever taken, I didn't even noticed it was done when he said that I could look. I saw the band aid on my arm and shakily got down from the cot, Dr. Cullen stepping to the door to help me out. When we were in the waiting room, I stopped. Dr. Cullen looked around at me, curiosity playing in his golden eyes. I spoke up, my voice a little shaky.
"I…" I paused, and then continued," I.. well, did you tell anyone about, erm, me?". I could tell that he understood what I was talking about.
"No, of course not" he answered, "doctor-patient confidentiality, you know. Why do you ask?"
"Well… you have a son, Edward, right?". He nodded." Well, he was.. I dunno, looking at me like I was-diseased, I mean, even though I am. But he just looked like he hated me, like I should die, and I--" I forced myself to stop, I was rambling." And, see, I wanted to know if you… told him."
"No, of course not, Bella." he told me, but I could sense that something seemed to be troubling him.