Ever since I entered puberty, this five-letter word has been accompanying me. I had never given much thought to how I would die. My parents knew it, I knew it, and my friends knew it. Eventually, I would give up the fight, not because my body can't, but because I don't see the reason. Eventually, I would let it take over me, drag me under.
But death was never so bad when you've got an angel with you.
With hope, I attempted to flatten my wild hair, but it was done in vain. Sighing, I walked out of the car, and walked into the hospital, to meet my father who was waiting for me.
School work had always been something that came naturally to me. There never was any difficulty, which made everything boring. I finished high school when I was sixteen, and had just completed my oncology major. There was something about medicine that was fascinating to me. Surprisingly, I was sent to a small town hospital for work experience, unusual, considering experienced workers are always sent to bigger cities. I suspect my adoptive father Carlisle had something to do with that; my adoptive mother Esme had always wanted to keep me close.
Today was my first day at Forks Hospital. I was to pick up a folder from Carlisle, and it contained information about the person I was assigned to. I would have someone to assist me occasionally, but mostly, he or she is under my charge. I quickened my steps, excited to finally apply my knowledge to someone who's in need of it.
"Edward!" Carlisle called, approaching me with a folder in his hand.
"Hi dad," I smiled at him, hardly hiding my excitement.
"Can you come with me for a second?" he asked. "There's something I need to discuss with you."
"Of course." I followed him to his office.
"Take a seat Edward," he said. "Now, I want to talk to you about who you're assigned to. You were originally assigned to Nicole Richard, but there's another girl, who might be quite challenging, but I believe you can do it. And her father is desperate."
I smiled; I like challenges. I voiced my thoughts.
"I know you do Edward," he said, smiling. "But you really have to listen to this one. I know your major is oncology, but I want you to deal with her, mentally."
"So you want me to be the shrink?" I wasn't quite sure where he was heading with this.
"Yes, she's seen about all the therapists in the area, starting from when she was diagnosed, and that was when she was twelve. She's seventeen now."
I felt slightly panicked. "But Carlisle, I didn't major in Psychology."
"Oh don't give me that, I've seen you how you are with people. And," he added "I don't think she needs a medically trained therapist. And you must know that if you're choosing this girl, you're choosing the harder option." He looked at me. "But I have faith in you son; I know you can do it."
I sighed. On one hand, it would be more practical for me to choose the first girl, but it wouldn't be as challenging. "I'll… be the shrink."
Carlisle's smile was full of encouragement. "Thanks son, here," he handed me the folder he was holding "her name is Bella. She's dying of breast and lung cancer."
I felt completely sorry for this girl. "Did it spread?" I asked.
He nodded sadly. "Yes, it was breast cancer first, than it spread to the lungs. Uncommon, but a lot of things just happen to this poor girl. If you look at her record, you can see that she's very clumsy." He smiled fondly.
"And you grew attached to her." I guessed. It wasn't a hard assumption to make; it was written all over my father's face.
"Yes, Bella was a lovely girl. She's so kind, and caring. And I'm sure she still is, deep down inside. This is where you come in, son. She has completely closed up to everyone, including her father. She lived with her mother for ten years in Phoenix, then the last five here. Her mother moved with her to Phoenix when she was two, but she remained married to Bella's father."
"What caused the move?" I inquired.
"Work purposes. Bella's mother died five years ago, also to breast cancer. Her mother's job was near a radio wave station. We think this is what caused their cancers. Bella has about a year left, and we don't think her chances of surviving are too big. But her father would like her to leave happily."
Her folder was full of notes made by previous therapists, most of it noting that they've ended in tantrums made by this Bella. I swallowed, suddenly uncharacteristically nervous. "Dad," I said, throat tight, "what if I stuff this up?"
He paused. "The best advice I can give you is this, don't be her doctor. Be her friend, and keep it that way. And be patient." And he left me to muse over his words.
AN: Let me know if I should continue, ok? This story practically wrote itself.
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