Dear lovers;

I suck balls. Yes, I know that. I haven't updated in forever. Half of the time you've been waiting was procrastination, but half was the point in which the stupid skyinternet people in this new country claimed to have delivered three effing internet routers but did not.

Anyway, I've been super horrible. But I love you guys.

Oh, good news is that from all my free time on word, I've started writing a for serious story that I'm fifty single-spaced pages into. Except it'll never get published. But still, it's freaking fun.

But for good news, there is bad news: I lost my iPod. Yes, I did lose my bright green baby second edition nano. I miss it very much, and hopefully I'll get it back. So I'm running a little low on muse. Forgive me for my suckish-ness.

a;skjf;alskj. This chapter's inspiration? Why, it comes from "When I Go Down," by Relient K, the best Christian band that ever was.


Bella's POV

I was not at all comfortable.

Yes, the chair I was situated in was heavily padded, causing no pain against my tender back. But it did not take away the fact that I was in a too breezy, too papery hospital gown, and was sitting directly across from a man who was, though incredibly gorgeous, not making me happy right now. As far as I could tell, he was the devil come to put me back in hell.

"Well, Isabella," the man said quietly. "The situation you're in is quite complicated."

"Who are you?" My voice was cold, flat--rude.

"My name is Dr. Carlisle Cullen. I was present when you and Mr. Masen were almost killed by an oncoming car."

Ah. So this had been the man who had graciously given us a ride to the hospital. I didn't comment, though my anger eased up a little. I moved on to the next question. "What's so complicated about my 'situation?'"

He sighed and looked away from my face, pressing his fingers to his right temple while he studied a stack of papers in front of him. "You're a runaway," he stated.

"So, what?" I said bleakly. "You're just going to call Gabe"--I made the name sound like a dirty word-- "and send me back to New York. I don't see what's so complicated about that."

Something in my tone seemed to interest Dr. Cullen. His eyes moved back to my face, and they narrowed slightly in confusion at what he saw there. "So, you would simply allow me to send you back to you and your friend home--you would not even put up a fight, press me with a pity plea?"

I did not understand where this was going. If he was going to alert my damned father, why wasn't he doing so already? What if he had already called Gabe? My pulse jumped slightly in fear, and the bruises on my back throbbed sickeningly as my body anticipated what was to come.

I gritted my teeth. "First of all," I said in the calmest voice I could muster. I wasn't mad at this man, my brain reminded me. I was mad at myself. "Yes, I would put up a fight if you wanted to send Edward home, too. If it was just me, it would be a different story. But second, I don't see why we're even having this discussion. It doesn't even make a difference." My voice melted into desperate sadness at the end. What was going to happen to me?

The doctor extended a hand toward me, almost as if he wanted to soothe me. After a moment's thought he lay it back down on the desk. Maybe he just didn't want to encourage me, to make me to think I was going to get out of this mess.

"Isabella..."

"Bella," I corrected. It was best to avoid confusion.

"Well, Bella," he continued. "I'm not quite sure I want to send you back to New York."

My expression did not change; I must have misheard the words. "Excuse me?"

Suddenly, Dr. Cullen's eyes seemed to burn, but with what I did not know. His gaze bored into me, and I could not look away. It would give me no escape from the intensity radiating from him. His voice was low, but still passionate. I did not understand it.

"There are bruises covering almost every inch of your skin. Your shoulder, back, and left arm have been burnt to the point where infection would be highly hazardous to your health. You have been cut in countless places, and obviously hurt in several other ways. Would you care to explain to me how this happened?"

I was ashamed; I stared down at my hands in my lap while he spoke, my eyes burning with tears. No response came through my lips, and by the end of his speech the liquid had overflowed onto my cheeks. How could I have been so careless? I should have prepared an explanation for this beforehand. I had known the real reason would otherwise be obvious. Soon, I was sobbing quietly, my head in my hands. What could I say?

A hand descended carefully on my shoulder. The doctor's voice was closer this time. "I can't send you back to an abusive father, Bella," he told me gently. "But I can't send you out on your own, either."

I turned my head to look at him from the side; he was kneeling down beside my chair, a tender expression on his appealing face.

"I don't understand," I moaned, pushing my hair back from my sticky face. "You don't have any other choices. We're in a hospital. Other doctors are involved, obviously."

"Actually..." he said hesitantly. "I have unimaginable resources in this hospital. The rooms I put the pair of you in are under the names of Elizabeth Chester and Jackson Rittel. According to your charts, your car accidentally rammed into a tree, and the back end swerved to hit 'Mr. Rittel.' The both of you were injured in the incident, in which a small fire broke out and your windshield was shattered."

Shock strangled my mind. Who was this man, and why was he going to such lengths to help me? My chest started to inflate with hope, but the balloon of my heart was popped by a sudden realization. My pessimism refused to go down without a fight. "There's only one problem," I sighed. "There aren't any crashed cars or fires."

"Your accident happened on an unmapped road outside of the city. I took you here personally and called the fire department."

"But--" I started to protest again, but he knew what I was going to say.

"We're in a hospital. In Seattle, a big city where there is no shortage of crime. No one would study your cases carefully enough to find anything amiss."

The hope was back again, expanding carefully in my ribcage. I was hesitant with it, careful. Happiness was only reality over expecation. "You don't want to send me out on my own," I said slowly, tilting my head slightly to the side. "But I don't quite understand what you plan to do with me." If he was going to put me in a special home, then I would most certainly be gone.

"Well, Bella," Dr. Cullen murmured as he moved into the chair beside me. "This is the point at which you get to choose. If you would like to, my wife and I would be more than willing to take you and Edward in."

I snorted. "You can't be serious." The idea was ludicrous; I laughed out loud. I hardly knew this man. What reason did anyone have to be so kind? This guy couldn't be real. And what if he didn't really have a wife, but was some creepy murderer or something along those lines. But no, we--well, I--had clearly seen his family in the car. Some of their names were still unclear to me. But if the thought was close enough, then this Dr. Carlisle Cullen was a very good actor.

The doctor nodded his head, his eyes never leaving my face. "Oh, I'm very serious, Bella. Esme and I both have had experience with children--though, judging from your maturity level, you're hardly a child--who have had parents who aren't exactly ideal."

I was thoughtful for a moment while I pondered the possibilities. If what this man was saying was true, then I would have no objection if Edward was okay with it. Edward, I remembered with a stab of pain. I would have to ask about his condition later. But on the other hand, we could just get away if our rescuer was a fraud. Sort of a win-win situation, I guessed. "The others in your car. Were they your family, too?"

"My adopted children, yes."

"What do they think about it?" I thought it was safe to assume that less problems would be caused if the other teenagers hated me.

He shrugged, and I raised an eyebrow, signaling him to continue. Dr. Cullen was hesitant for a minute. "Ah. Well, they don't know quite yet," he admitted. "But they're all very well-mannered. I'm sure they wouldn't mind."

Well-mannered. I thought about that for a moment. Something about his tone suggested he was not entirely sure what his family's verdict would be. Just because someone was well-mannered, it didn't mean that they didn't have opinions. I swallowed hard, wanting so bad to say yes to the kind offer. But I knew that, logically, it was a bad decision to make, as spur-of-the-moment, as altering as it was. For heaven's sake, I had known Carlisle Cullen for all of Fifteen minutes! Now I was being offered to live with him?

Life isn't always rational, I reminded myself. If it was, then ice would be denser than water. There were exceptions to every rule.

"If Edward's okay with it..." I started.

"Yes, we'll get Mr. Masen's opinion, too." Dr. Cullen's gentle smile was a mix of everything I needed to see: kindness, reassurance, concern... With a ton of luck, this man could actually turn out to be real.

"Okay," I whispered, combing my fingers through my hair. "But how long until Edward wakes up."

"Not long, now. The drugs should be wearing off."

"And his... injuries?" The word was alien in my mouth; I had to swallow as I spoke it.

Dr. Cullen did not appear to want to answer the question. "Two fractured ribs, a concussion, and heavy brusing," he told me, then added quickly, "Really, though. It's not as bad as it sounds. The concussion is only minor, and your own deep muscle bruises are as bad as his."

"Two fractured ribs," I repeated in a moan, ignoring his reassurances. "A concussion. Deep muscle bruises." I clenched my teeth. "Just when I thought I couldn't screw him up anymore."

A crease appeared in the doctors forehead. "I don't..." he began, but then shook his head. "Nevermind. Right now, I think the best thing for us to do would be to wake Mr. Cullen up and depart. This is supposed to be my day off, after all."

Though he grinned at the last sentence, I flushed a light pink, slightly embarassed. On an emergency room doctor's vacation, I had managed to make life a whole lot more complicated than it could have been. Maybe, though, maybe it was just fate.

Maybe someone up there really did want us to pull through this.


Okeydokey, that's the end of the chapter.

Yeah. Be proud of me. I actually got it up, guys! Let's have a freaking party.

So please read and review. I've been taught my lesson with reviews, though; reviews are like a sex addiction. Pretty soon you're whoring around for them. [Thanks, Queen Annie-Ferny Cullen]. (:

Alrighty. I love you guys. I'll try to update soon.