Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight or My Sister's Keeper
I briskly walked over to my chair, Sam following me. Sam, my service dog began to lap up water in a mug I'd set on the floor earlier. My name was printed neatly across the countless certificates and recognitions on the walls of my office; they all stared at me, bleak and apathetic as I. I continued to observe the oppressive dark green that my walls were painted, and the inch that Sam's paws had sunken while standing on the absurdly thick Oriental rug the firm provided. Straightening the name sign on my desk - that once again printed out the words 'Edward Cullen', I let out an unnecessarily loud sigh, which caused Sam to momentarily cease his lapping to stare curiously at me.
"It's alright, boy," I murmured while stretching out a hand to ruffle his light brown fur. Almost immediately after, Jessica, my secretary buzzed in on Line 1.
I picked up the phone in a swift manner and held the receiver to my ear.
"Yes, Jessica?" I apathetically inquired. Her sharp intake of breath and brief pause of silence caused me to impatiently clear my throat.
"Oh yes, Mr. Cullen, a client is here to see you." It was incredulous that this woman still fantasized about me, after months of her working under my employment. Did she have no professionalism? A moment later, a thin girl just beginning to knock on puberty's door glided into my office. I straightened the jacket of my suit and spoke in an irritated tone,
"I don't represent minors." This was ridiculous. What was this naïve child doing in my office? I was immediately bothered that this girl had the nerve to waste my time with Girl Scout cookies, I was far too busy to succumb to such nonsense.
"I don't like cookies either," I quipped. I flicked a nonexistent dust particle off the cuff of my jacket and raised my chin a fraction of an inch to look at her for the first time. I saw her petite yet round face immediately go from timid to angered in a matter of seconds; her pale blue eyes narrowing, accompanied by the creasing of her forehead matted with plain, light brown hair.
"Do you like anything?" Her voice, hardened, questioned. She crossed her arms and began to drum her fingertips against the sides of her torso. I almost expected her to begin tapping her foot along with steam rolling out of her ears – like most angry women. I laughed internally at the thought. How cynical had I become?
No emotion washed over my face, as I responded, "No." I had things to do. Didn't she have things to do? Like baking cookies or whatever it is girls her age did. I was in a dire need to call Alice back; Jessica had left me a note saying she called five times. Five. Yet, I suppose it is logical deeming that my sister is hyperactive and overzealous about even the pettiest things in life. I should be phoning her now but this was sitting in my office.
"What's your dog's name?" Her curious eyes now danced, yet this didn't faze me. My mind still wandered to my priorities, namely Alice because anything pertaining to snubbing her ended up in death or potentially worse.
"Sam," I nonchalantly replied as I flipped through some files in a cabinet. I flicked another nonexistent dust particle off my jacket cuff. The girl walked over to my companion and outstretched her hand as I said in an even voice,
"Why?" Because you should be walking out of my office.
"He's a service dog," Now leave.
"You're not blind," She pointed out, stubbornly.
"Oh? Thank you for informing me. He tells me when people are being irritating." A smile played at the corner of her lips but in a nanosecond any trace of a smile was now miles away. She turned fully to face and looked me directly in the face. I was a bit unsettled at how deep her eyes bore into mine as she spoke softly,
"Mr. Cullen, did you really sue God?" Now it was my turn to contain a smile – a half one anyway.
"I sued the Diocese of Seattle on behalf of a client who required experimental fetal tissue, which supposedly violated Vatican II," I informed in a bored tone. There was a sliver of curiosity settled deep in the pit of my stomach as to why she wanted to know, however.
And then, her blazing eyes subdued and they turned from mine to stare at the Oriental rug. Barely audible, she squeaked, "Sir, my sister has leukemia. And-d… I-I need your help."
I felt a twinge somewhere from within my body. Was that pity? Great, Edward, you know you've reached the peak of cynicism when you can't distinguish pity from a twitch. "I'm truly sorry to hear that, but you can't just sue God because you, or your sister, got the short of end of the stick."
"N-no, i-it's not that. I want to sue my parents for the rights to my own body," She stood up straighter as she declared this, and her stammering transitioned into confidence. I raised my eyebrow an eighth of an inch.
"What's your name?"
"Elizabeth Black." She stared right at me without blinking.
"Elizabeth, you cannot seek out an attorney to litigate against your parents because they refuse to get you contraceptives," I say coolly.
In opposition, she seethes hotly, "My sister is, has, been dying of acute promyelocytic leukemia. You think I'm only involved psychologically because she's my dying sister, but oh, here's the catch hotshot, my parents want me to donate one of my kidneys to her," I was floored yet my face did not fall out of its frozen composition. No hospital in the country would make a girl donate an organ without voluntary consent, nor would any court. Her case held some potential wheels.
I immediately pull out a legal pad and scrawl out the date. "Continue."
Still on her mini tirade, she angrily spits out, "Cord blood as a newborn, drawn lymphocytes, three times, when she relapsed, bone marrow for a transplant, granulocytes for her infections and peripheral blood stem cells for her second relapse." I was once again rammed, but this time by her intelligence. Her medical knowledge was impeccable for that of – how old was she? Twelve? Thirteen?
"It's apparent you've donated to your sister before," I point out.
"So? No one asked for my consent." She crosses her arms once again and juts her right hip out. "I'm tired of it."
"How old are you Elizabeth?"
"Well, your parents technically don't need it – they have medical rights over you until you turn 18." I state while furiously tapping my pen against the legal pad.
"I know, that's why I want to sue them for medical emancipation." She runs her fingers through her hair. After emitting a sigh she looks directly at me again. I straighten out the name sign on my desk for the second time today and stare directly back at her.
"You realize that your sister will die if you litigate against your parents." Uncomfortable silence – not because I said the wrong thing but because I laid the truth out on a platter.
"Well… I was conceived for this. I'm tired of being useful for only one purpose – saving her time and time again." Her timid voice returns as her eyes avert from mine and dart around the room. Of course, she was conceived as a matched donor, a stem cell baby. Her trial would spark immense controversy and media coverage, yet I felt somehow obligated to represent her. Her high voice pierced through my thoughts though as she stated in a clear tone, "But I'm here, aren't I?"
After another uncomfortable round of silence, I spoke, exasperated, "I charge two-hundred an hour." Refusing to meet hers, my eyes locked on Sam's and then averted to the note Jessica neatly wrote that spilled out 'Alice called five times!!!'
She blushed a furious shade of red and stared hard at the white mug my German Sheppard had stopped lapping out of awhile back. "Oh…"
"We'll sort it out. Maybe you can change my office light bulbs for the next year. Possibly wash the windows as well," I sighed. "Oh, and since you're only thirteen, the judge will assign you a guardian ad litem. It is a person who is trained to work with children in family court and decides what is in the child's best interests. Of course, the trial will commence if they reason so otherwise, it will just be more difficult for us to win if your guardian ad litem is sitting at the witness stand opposing the entire case."
She nodded in comprehension and directly after her face lit up as she bounded up to my desk. After scrawling her name and number onto a piece of paper, she brightly thanked me and strode out of the room. I buzz Jessica.
"Jessica, I need you to file a case with family court by tomorrow. I'm representing the girl for medical emancipation."
"Seriously? Wow. Well, okay, Mr. Cullen. I'll be sure to do that."
Elizabeth Black's flip-flops had left track marks in the Oriental rug, causing me to ponder: maybe some things are meant to stay sunken in, locked in place - not to be raised and disappear forever.
"Bella, I'm telling you. You need to try this skirt on it'll go fantastically with that blouse." Rosalie stared at me, completely serious with her left hip jutted out, the black pencil skirt in her outstretched hand.
"Ugh Rose, leave me alone." I flopped down onto the loveseat and in the same second her phone began buzzing. I snatched it up from the coffee table and pursed my lips as the caller ID displayed 'Emmett'. I swiveled my head toward her and wiggled my eyebrows in a suggestive manner, indicating who it was.
She laughed freely and grabbed the phone from my palm. Before she turned to go have some privacy she gave me a stern look. "You're off the hook this time, woman."
I began to get up to venture into the kitchen to prepare dinner, for Rose couldn't cook if her life depended on it. Poor Emmett, I had no idea how he survived. I giggled at the thought and took two steps before my phone began to ring. I flipped it open without checking who it was.
"Isabella! Hello dear it's Judge Masen."
I was shocked that Judge Masen was calling me, but any thoughts of hesitance of speaking with him were immediately erased because quite frankly, I'd do anything for him. I owed him for that time he pulled some strings while I was in law school and managed to land me my current job.
"Judge Masen, how are you?"
"Fine, fine. But listen, I have a case that needs a guardian ad litem and I was wondering, well hoping, that you'd be able to help out."
"Of course. What's the information?"
Judge Masen informs me on the client's name, background information on the case and the client's family, and the attorney's name.
After actually wearing the skirt that Rose suggested, I was sitting in my car outside of Elizabeth Black's house. I took a deep breath and smoothed the skirt as I placed one black heel on the ground, followed by the second. Of course, the heels were compliments of Rose as well. I began grumbling to myself that heels didn't help the uncoordinated, but before I could reach the front door a tall boy of seventeen or sixteen stepped toward me.
"Are you Jacob Black?" I politely smiled.
"What's it to you? Say, you're really cute. We could always take this inside, Miss…?" The under aged brother of my client unleashed a large toothed smile at me, but I internally shivered. He smelt of whiskey and God knows what else.
"Swan. Hello, I'm Bella Swan. I'm the guardian ad litem for your sister's case." I kept the small smile on my face as I nervously shifted my weight around.
"Oh, yeah," He slurred. "My mom through a huge fit over that. You have no idea. She's been way out of it and just been with Leah at the hospital the entire time – won't come home. Whatever though, I'm glad she's not here so drives us all loco." He twirled his index finger in a circular motion near his temple, the universal sign of signifying someone's insanity, while swaying is body and rolling his eyes.
"I'm, um, well, I'm sorry to hear that. Is Elizabeth here?" I bit my lip, I habit I have when I'm uncomfortable.
"Yeah sure. She's somewhere around here… So I'll see you around Bella, baby. Aha! That rings, it's alliteration too." He grinned at me again.
I furiously blushed and nodded my head once. "Nice to meet you, Jacob." I turned around and began heading back toward my car when I heard a high voice call my name.
"You were looking for me?" I turned around to face a girl standing about five feet away from me. She had large blue eyes and thin light brown hair, which framed a small face, accompanied by a gaunt and awkward body slowly transitioning into womanhood. She cocked her head to the side, awaiting my response.
"Yes, hello Elizabeth. I'm Bella Swan, your guardian ad litem for your court case." I smiled at her and tucked a lock of hair behind my ear.
She narrowed her eyes at me and crossed her arms. "What if you're going to kidnap me like they do on TV? That taught me in health that talking to strangers could potentially be burying your own grave."
I bit my lip and then pondered how I could remedy this. "You can call up my friend and ask her if I'm an axe murderer."
She gave a close-lipped smile and took my phone from the palm of my hand. I gave her Rose's number and a couple of rings later, she picked up.
"Hi, this is Elizabeth Black," The girl greeted. "Oh, fine thanks. Yes, I was just wondering if Bella Swan has any track record of kidnapping and murdering."
Even I could hear Rose's laughter reverberating from the phone. I had to muster a giggle back myself.
"Okay, thank you." Elizabeth snapped the phone shut, handed it back to me and skipped to my car.
"Cool. Let's go drive somewhere," She trilled.
After returning from the movie theatre with Elizabeth, I dropped her off at her house. I had learned that she was incredibly witty and intelligent, but mostly she was tired of having no life outside of saving Leah's. She wants to be a ballerina, her brother, Jacob, is completely juvenile, and her sister is her best friend. She's either going to lose her sister or herself. Elizabeth is an independent girl living a dependent life. But the ace in the hole is that her mother is a civil attorney.
I snagged a spot in the parking lot, and after locking my car and walking up to the third floor I reached his secretary's desk. I took one glance at her and clumsily ambled past her to his office door.
"Hey! You can't go in there without an appointment!" She objected. The secretary, who didn't look more than twenty-three, began to stand but I was faster than her.
"He'll be expecting me." I muttered and turned the handle of the door.
I strode into his office and let my heels sink into the Oriental rug splayed across the floor. I crossed my arms and looked at Edward Cullen. He had his shirtsleeves rolled up to his elbows, his left hand holding a phone to his ear and his right furiously scribbling something onto a legal pad. His teeth were gritted and he was speaking into the phone in an irritable tone. After slamming it down, he emitted a sigh and ran his hand through his gorgeous bronze locks. The locks that I'd wanted to run my hands through, to kiss…
"Edward." I greeted, coolly. He froze in place. His head snapped up and I had to suppress a gasp. His emerald green eyes, beautiful as ever, stared at me. But they weren't the twinkling eyes I once knew. They were now vacuous and dull – frozen over; just like him. We stared at one another before I bit my lip and looked away. He slowly rose and that's when I noticed the dog sitting next to him.
"Bella." He responds, just as cold.
I nod toward the dog. "Since when have you taken a liking to canines?" I want to ask him a thousand more questions. Eight years full of questions. Did he still play the piano? Did he ever donate that ridiculous CD collection he owned?
"It's a service dog," He states sourly. "I have SARS, he tells me how many people I infect."
I can't help but smile a bit. At this, he relaxes and runs his hand through his hair again. My stomach drops and the urge to smooth his cheek, to kiss his jaw line, to do anything overwhelms me. I immediately cross my arms again and clench my fists, but not without biting my lip. He leans against his desk and clamps on with both hands.
"Can I help you, Bella?" He inquires in a musical voice – well, what sounds like music to me. Yes, you can grab me and take me back. You can fix the pieces and we can run away…
"I'm the guardian ad litem for the Black case. Judge Masen appointed me so, I suppose it looks like we'll be working together." I scoff.
He steps around the desk and takes a few paces toward me. I avert my eyes to his dog when his voice goes soft and I snap my eyes back to his.
"Your hair is longer," He points out softly. I nearly died inside. "What have you been doing the past eight years, Bella?" Something changes in his eyes and he tilts his head to the side slightly. I notice he says my name twice in the past two questions, which sends my heart into a beating frenzy. I run my fingers through my hair, causing the small space between us to momentarily smell of strawberries.
"I went to law school. What have you been doing? Well, Edward, I'm disappointed. I thought you'd have been President by now. Or at least running the state." I knew what he'd been doing. He went to Harvard on full scholarship, moving back to Seattle to become one of Washington's top attorneys.
He gave me my favorite crooked smile and I was eighteen again.
The Hamden School, a prestigious school designed to mold and perfect students and spit them out into the high places in the world. We were products for the country - the future lawyers, doctors and politicians. Charlie and Renee emptied their pockets and change drawers in order to send me here, purely because they wanted the best opportunities for me. It was run and occupied by superficial robots - every single one of them being wealthy and beautiful. I, however, the outcast had to throw my sloppy hair into a ponytail every morning and get myself and my shabby, non-couture bag to class. I'd straighten out my blouse and sit there nervously, watching all the gorgeous heirs and heiresses robotically answer in perfection. I was sick of this world, sick of the people and the system. I'd do my homework at the edge of the forest everyday, just to escape. One day, I let my hair down, took my blazer off and kicked off the silver flats my best friend, Alice, lent me. I lay down and heaved a sigh, letting the sun absorb and have me. I heard a rustling sound and my eyes snapped open. Standing above me was an angel. His oddly colored bronze hair splayed about in disarray, his emerald green eyes twinkling and alive, his crooked smile holding a perfect set of white teeth, everything. All he needed was the set of wings. I gasped and blushed pink while I shot up. But then, I narrowed my eyes at him. It was Edward Cullen. He was everything I wasn't, the epitome of one of them. My best friend's brother.
"What do you want?"
He grinned at me. "I needed some help with homework. I was wondering if you could possibly tutor me." He brushed his hand through his hair and my heart sputtered.
I hesitated. This was probably some kind of dare. "You could probably hire a tutor with your trust fund." I was incredibly stubborn and I wouldn't change for him.
He ignored me. "The question is, 'If you came across a horrific car accident, would you be obligated to stop?' Even if you legally shouldn't because you could get sued." He stared at me, his eyes piercing my soul. It was quiet for a long time before I whisper,
"Yes. Yes, I would stop." He quietly sits down next to me and traces his fingertip against the paper. He turns to look at me and I do the same.
"You are so beautiful. You don't even realize, Isabella." My heart stopped, my breathing, the world. The world stopped just for the two of us.
Thank you for reading. I'll try to update quite frequently!