DISCLAIMER I do not own anything from the Twilight universe that the wonderful Stephenie Meyer has created.
AN - The terms 'trauma major' and 'trauma minor' are used by my hospital to designate the severity of the anticipated arrivals. Minor is non-life threatening injuries - broken arms, legs, etc - major indicates possibly severe injuries like blunt force trauma to the head or multiple injuries spread throughout the body. The phrase 't-boned' refers to when one car is hit on the side by another car head on. A 'pnumo' refers to when the lung is collapsed due to air or blood flooding the space the lung should occupy.
Also, I think the only point to this story is a bit of Carlisle/Bella interaction. Fluff and pointless, but still demanding to be written. shrugs I only do what the characters demand. Now maybe they'll let me get some sleep.
The vibrating of the pager at my waist was a welcome distraction. I had finished my only surgery case before noon. Even after meeting with the patient's family and then checking on his status in the ICU, I still had three long hours before I could head home. Alice had promised a thunderstorm this evening so the family had planned another baseball game. It would be nice to do something as a family without Alice constantly going on about wedding plans.
The message flashed across the screen. Trauma minor, ETA one minute. Well, not what I was looking for, but it was something to break the tedium. The pager went off again, repeating the above message. Two traumas or simply a repeat? I would head down to the emergency room just in case.
"Anna, I'll be in the ER. It seems there's a trauma or two coming in," I explained to the Surgery department's secretary. She simply waved me on, intent on her typing.
The pager sounded again in the elevator, this time with a trauma major, ETA five minutes. Perhaps a car accident, I mused, knowing that the steady rain had made the roads slicker than usual. The first trauma was already rolling through the door by the time I arrived downstairs, the face familiar. I flipped through my memories, finally remembering the girl from the graduation party Alice had thrown. Her name was unknown, so I listened as the EMT started to give report to the nurse.
"Angela Weber, age eighteen, driver. She was t-boned-" The words lost focus as the name hit home. Angela Weber, the girl who was good friends with Bella. The girl that was supposed to be driving the two of them to Port Angeles to do a bit of shopping today.
The doors behind me opened, the scent of her blood hitting a fraction of a second before the sound of her heartbeat. Everyone in the family was now attuned to Bella's scent from long familiarity. I could smell the blush rising on her cheeks as she caught sight of me, her sigh only audible to me.
"Hello, Carlisle," Bella greeted me, her face crimson. Once more she was on a stretcher, neck brace on. Her right arm was held tightly to her chest, the splint from her punching Jacob visible on her hand. I could smell the blood oozing from shallow cuts to her scalp and arms. Luckily those seemed to be her only injuries. I sighed to myself, imagining Edward's reaction when he found out she had been in an accident.
"Bella," I replied, walking next to her stretcher. "I hadn't planned on seeing you till after work. What happened?"
"Um, I'm not really sure," Bella lowered her eyes, picking at the blanket spread over her lap. "Angela and I were headed back from shopping when we were hit. I'm not sure what happened after that," she admitted. "I think I blacked out for a minute."
"Witness reports a loss of consciousness at the scene for both women," Brett, one of the ER's nurses, interjected. "Bella seems to only have a few shallow lacerations to her face and arms, not sure about the arm though. She says she broke it a few weeks ago."
I turned to Brett, smiling in answer. "Yes. I'm the one that put her in a brace. Bella is my future daughter in law," I explained, seeing a few of the ER staff's heads turn in my direction. Bella, for her part, simply flushed again, scowling down at her lap. I chuckled, pulling on a pair of gloves before I began my exam. Bella did have a few cuts to her scalp, only one needing two stitches.
It was as I was finishing up that the third trauma rolled through the doors, this one obviously much more serious than Bella and her friend.
"We're crashing!" The paramedic helping to roll the unconscious man into the emergency bay yelled, instantly garnering the attention of the entire staff. The crash cart was pulled to the bed space in seconds, drugs being calmly drawn up by several nurses while others assisted with moving the patient to a bed.
"Stay here," I absently ordered Bella, already pulling my gloves off to exchange them for a fresh set. My mind was already focusing on what would be needed to do to save this man. His vitals continued to drop, requiring further medical intervention.
"Alright, start compressions," I ordered, standing back a few feet to give the staff room to maneuver. Chris, the ER attending physician, was attempting to intubate so I took over running the code, ordering doses of drugs to be given. Seconds only passed before he was announcing, "I'm in." The man's vitals weren't recovering even after several rounds of drugs. I pulled my stethoscope from around my neck, moving forward to listen. "Decreased breath sounds on the right, good on the left," I stated. "I think we've got a pnumo. I want a set up for a chest tube."
Two minutes had now passed. I was prepping the patient's side for the chest tube insertion, my thoughts only focused on saving this man's life. It didn't matter to me at this moment that he had endangered my daughter's life. The job of a physician was to save lives, not be a judge. I slid the needle smoothly between the patient's ribs, my head already turning to ask a nurse to hand me the tubing to connect the chest tube to suction.
The spray of blood across my chest came as a complete surprise. I thought how I had once explained to Edward that focusing intently on what I was doing allowed me to distract myself from the smell of blood. Sometimes that plan backfired, I acknowledged, sighing. "We're going to need face shields," I called, using one of the field towels to mop at my chest. I looked up at the monitor, seeing man's heart rate stabilize.
"Alright, let's get him to the scanner. Rose, call upstairs to tell them we've got one coming," Chris ordered, shooting me a look. "Sorry 'bout the shirt, Carlisle."
"Not a problem," I assured him, turning back to Bella. Her face was covered with a sheen of sweat, a look of horror on her features as she followed the progress of the man out of the room. She turned to look at me then and I saw tears spilling over her cheeks. I was at her side in an instant, one hand already reaching out to offer comfort. "Bella?" I began softly.
"Carlisle," Bella interrupted, swallowing hard before continuing. "Can you...change your shirt, please?" The words were so soft I doubt anyone else could have heard them.
"Oh," realization dawned and I took a hasty step backward. "Of course. I'll be back to check on you in a minute."
I stepped in to the staff area, moving to the scrub closet. I pulled out a top not only for myself but for Bella as well. Her white shirt had several smears of blood criss-crossing the fabric, ruining it, I was sure. It was less than two minutes later that I stepped back in to the triage area. Bella was leaning back against a pillow, a washcloth over her eyes.
"Sorry," came the soft mutter. "I just...your shirt...seeing, that..." Bella trailed off, shuddering before taking a deep breath and removing the covering over her eyes. "How can you do this?" she wondered.
I had to laugh. "The rest of the family feels exactly how you do. How are you feeling?" I asked gently.
"Okay, I guess. That man - will he be okay?"
"I don't know. I'll check on him later," I promised. "I'll also check on your friend."
My words snapped Bella from her thoughts. Her face paled then flushed, her heartbeat tripping over itself. "Bella?"
"Angela," she moaned, scrubbing a hand over her face. "I'm a horrible friend. I didn't even think-"
"You just watched something most people only see portrayed on television," I interrupted, patting her knee in comfort. "I'm sure your friend would be more than understanding of your preoccupation." I walked over to where her chart sat, scribbling discharge orders. "I'm sure you're going to refuse further medical treatment?"
"Yes," she grinned at me. "I have a pretty good in with a doctor - I happen to be engaged to his son."
I laughed, taking one of her arms to help her off the stretcher. "I hadn't heard that. I hope the young man in question treats you like a queen."
"He tries," she sighed, leaning in to me when I put an arm about her shoulders. "Can I use your phone to call him?"
"Of course," I assured her, walking towards my office. "First though, why don't we stop at the bathroom so you can get out of that shirt," I suggested, handing her a scrub top. Bella flushed, ducking in to the bathroom, emerging a minute later. Even a small top hung off of her petite frame, causing her to look younger than her eighteen years. I directed her down the hallway towards my office, imagining the phone call that was about to take place. We reached our destination in short order, Bella looking around in interest as I ushered her in to the small anteroom. Anna glanced up, smiling automatically at my guest.
"How were the trauma's?" she asked.
"Personal," I answered wryly, gesturing to Bella. "Anna, I'd like you to meet Bella Swan, Edward's fianc?."
"Oh! You're Edward's Bella!" Anna stood up, making her way around her desk to hug Bella. "You're all Edward ever talks about whenever I see him. It's so nice to finally meet you."
The sincerity in her voice had Bella blushing, looking at me sideways.
"You are all Edward ever talks about," I confirmed. "Speaking of which, we should probably call him before he hears about it from other sources."
Bella sighed again, shoulders drooping. I gestured and she proceeded me in to my office, smiling to myself as I pictured Edward breaking down my door to ensure that Bella truly was well. My son had finally found his love and I would gladly endure his neurotic behavior over her safety. Not to say that the entire family wouldn't be relieved when Bella's mortality was no longer a concern, but I would consider this just another part of the journey of life.
I motioned to my phone, hiding a smile as Bella bit her lip before dialing the number.
"Bella? Why are you calling me from Carlisle's office? Is everything okay?" Edward's voice was perfectly clear to my ears. I was already moving Bella's side as she attempted to respond, the tears thick in her voice.
"I'm fine," she choked out. "Really."
I took the receiver from her hand, pointing to the box of tissues on my desk. "She's fine, Edward. A few cuts and scrapes. She'll heal in no time."
"Carlisle, she was just going to do some shopping today. What happened?" The frustration in Edward's voice was more than evident.
"A car accident. She and Angela were t-boned, but nothing serious. Where are you?"
Edward growled. "Fifteen minutes away. My errand took longer than expected. Will you stay with her till I get there?"
"Of course," I assured my son. "We'll be here waiting for you."
"Thank you. May I speak with Bella again?"
Wordlessly I handed the phone back to Bella. "I'll be there soon," I heard Edward promise, his tone soft. "I love you."
"Love you too," Bella sniffled, hanging up the phone.
I stepped out to have a word with Anna, asking her to check on Angela and the unknown man's conditions. When I came back Bella was seated on my couch, angrily scrubbing at the tears trickling down her face. I sat beside her, pulling her against my shoulder. Her tears soaked my shirt, her sniffles coming irregularly.
After a few moments I pulled her on to my lap, one hand going to her hair to brush it away from her face. "What's wrong, sweetheart?" I asked softly.
"I heard the paramedics talking at the scene," Bella began hesitantly, fingers restlessly plucking at my shirt. "They - they said there was an open container in the man's car."
It wasn't a question but I responded anyway. "I can't tell you why some people do the things they do," I started, my fingers continuing to stroke through her hair. "People sometimes have a false sense of security in their abilities and that leads them to do things that are...unwise. I'm sure the man would be horrified to know that his actions caused harm to others."
A moment of silence followed before Bella spoke again. "Does the world ever start to make sense?"
I chuckled, dropping a kiss on her forehead. "No. Four hundred years and I'm still surprised by humanity."
Bella continued to sniffle, occasionally wiping her eyes. For my part I simply held her, murmuring senseless nothings in to her ear. Such a tender heart. How would she survive if she slipped and took a human life when she was finally one of us?
Anna peeked around the door, shaking her head at me with a sad look on her face. So the man hadn't survived then. I sighed, deciding to keep the information from Bella for the time being. The action caused Bella to look up, frowning.
I sighed again, shaking my head. So perceptive. How much further would that perception sharpen when she was a vampire?
"Carlisle, what's wrong? It isn't...Angela, is it? Is that what Anna was telling you just now?" Bella's breathing was speeding up, her heart pounding in her chest.
"No," I assured her, pulling her back down and tucking her head against my shoulder. Could she really be that comfortable leaning against stone? "Anna was telling me that the man didn't survive."
I felt more tears fall on to my shirt. Bella continued to stun me with her compassion and selflessness. Not many would cry over the fate of a man that had endangered their life in such a reckless manner. I thanked god again for introducing this wonderful young woman in to our lives, especially Edward's.
Speaking of my son, I could hear Esme and him entering the hospital, my wife cautioning Edward to slow his pace. 'Edward, she's okay' I thought. 'A little shaken by what happened, but physically okay'
They were in the elevator now, the only two occupants of the car.
"It's her emotional state that has me more concerned," Edward replied, knowing full well I could hear him. "And she's probably more worried about the state of Angela's car then her own safety."
I smothered a laugh, agreeing with Edward in my head. The door to the office suite opened, Edward breezing past Anna and ignoring her greeting. Bella was just starting to lift her head when Edward knelt beside us, worry etched in his features.
"Edward!" Bella launched herself out of my arms and in to Edward's waiting ones, wrapping her arms about his neck and burying her face in the crook of his shoulder. Both took a deep breath, visibly relaxing as they held on to each other.
Edward pulled back, his eyes swiftly cataloguing every scrape and abrasion that peppered Bella's skin. I could see the effort it took for him to smile, his face showing only relief.
"If you wanted to visit dad at work, you could have just said so," he teased, bringing another blush to Bella's cheeks. "I'm sure he would have been happy to bring you a pair of scrubs home too."
"Edward, don't tease her," Esme admonished, pulling Bella out of Edward's arms and in to her own for a gentle hug. "You're alright, darling?"
"I'm fine," Bella insisted, smiling up at my wife. "Nothing worse than what I usually inflict on myself."
Edward sighed, shooting his mother and me a dark look when we chuckled at her statement. He rose to his feet and reclaimed his fianc?, twining their hands. "Let's get you home before something else happens," he muttered, pulling her out of my office.
Esme and I followed them out to Anna's desk where she was offering her congratulations to the couple. Bella's blush had to be painful and it only deepened when her stomach rumbled loudly. Edward immediately jumped in to caregiver mode, demanding to know when Bella had last eaten.
"Um...what time is it?"
Edward sighed, leaning down to place a chaste kiss on her forehead. "We'll stop by the cafeteria after we check on Angela," he stated, frowning down at Bella when she made a face. "You need to eat," he murmured.
A sly look came to Bella's face. "I'll eat the cafeteria food - if you do."
The look on Edward's face had all of us laughing. 'It's not like you can actually taste it' I teased.
"Ha ha," Edward muttered quickly and softly so that only Esme and I could hear.
"We'll stop somewhere and get you something then," Edward compromised, making a face while Bella laughed. He pulled her out the door but didn't go far, close enough that the three of us left in the office could see the couple through the window.
"You swear you're alright? You aren't hurting?" Edward asked softly, leaning down so that his and Bella's forehead's touched.
"Promise," Bella whispered. She reached one hand up to cup his face, smiling as he placed a swift kiss on her palm.
They stood like that for a moment, oblivious to the audience they had. Esme and I were admiring the picture they made, and apparently so was Anna.
"Such a beautiful couple," she sighed, smiling over at us. "I know you don't want to hear it, but they'll make absolutely beautiful babies together. And you'll think your family is complete until you're handed that little bundle and that's when you'll realize the whole reason you had kids was to have grandchildren."
Esme flinched, the action invisible to humans, as did Edward.
"Please, I'm too young to think of being a grandmother," my wife admonished Anna. We steered the conversation to safer topics then while our children went to visit their friend.
It was a year before I thought of that conversation again. The house was quiet, Esme and I being the only ones beside Ness that was home. My grand-daughter was curled up in my arms fast asleep, the movie she had insisted watching continuing to play in the background unheeded. She slept like her mother, I thought to myself, smiling. I smoothed an errant curl away from her face and placed yet another gentle kiss to the crown of her head. In a few years I would send Anna an email with a picture of Renesmee as a baby so that she would know the Cullen family was now complete.