That Girl by u2shay
Chapter One—Paging Dr. Carlisle
Synopsis: Bella Swan is trouble; her very life may be in danger. It has been four and a half months since Edward left her alone and broken. Desperate and with no other choice she seeks out the one person she knows can help her: Carlisle Cullen. New Moon AU, Canon Pairings, characters may be a little OOC and there is some divergence from canon. It is rated M, NC-17 for language and lemons. (POV's: Bella, Edward, Carlisle, Alice, Jacob, Jasper, & Charlie)
Disclaimer: All characters, recognizable plots & ideas belong to Stephenie Meyer, of course. I'm just sullying her campground. I'll try to remember to pick up after myself when I am done. That said, this story is mine and cannot be recreated or distributed without my express written permission. Copyright 2009, u2shay (Shay)
"Dr. Carlisle Cullen, please," I stated with a confidence I didn't feel. I waited for a response without hope, knowing that I would be crossing another possibility off of my list in mere seconds. Two and a half months ago, I had started my quest.
"Just one moment," a pleasant voice replied.
My breath caught. Had I finally found them? I had been calling every hospital in the northern U.S. for what seemed like an eternity. It was a very long list and until today, it had been a fruitless endeavor. I began to question if I would ever find them. Maybe they weren't even using the name Cullen. What if they weren't in the United States? And who's to say that Carlisle was working in a hospital? I had started with Washington, then Oregon, before finally moving on to Alaska. There were an amazing number of hospitals and clinics in Alaska.
I kept a special cell phone just for this purpose. I had found a plan with unlimited minutes—it was costing me a fortune, but it was worth it. Thank God for the useless college fund. It was beginning to run low, and I was beginning to run out of time.
Had I found him? I gritted my teeth and tried hard not to think his name. It was just too painful. I didn't want to think too far ahead. I didn't need him. I needed Carlisle. I closed my eyes and tried to wait patiently on hold, while the mantra flooded through my mind. I will not think his name. I will not think his name. I will not . . . Edward. Damn it!
I groaned with the agony, closing my eyes to keep the stinging in them at bay. Even four months later, my chest was ripping open with the staggering pain of his loss. It hadn't lessened one iota. I felt the same as I had when he had left—empty. Dead, but breathing, it was an apt description, but I didn't have the benefit of being a vampire.
Damn him! How could he leave me like that? I wiped a tear from my eye angrily. I wouldn't cry for him anymore—not one more damn tear.
I missed them all, Alice—my breath caught in my throat and I choked back a sob as I thought of my erstwhile best friend—Emmett, Esme, Carlisle, Jasper, and even Rosalie. How on earth could I miss Rosalie? I didn't know, but I did.
I was so alone. Well, not completely alone. I corrected myself. It was just that the people I really needed around me were gone. I had Charlie, but Renee was so disappointed in me that when my dad had suggested I move back in with her, she had hesitated, stammering and making excuses. Way to go, Mom! Thanks for all the support!
So, I decided to stay in Washington. The memories were masticating, shredding my heart and soul, but I wouldn't force myself on my mother if she didn't want me. It would have been better for me—on so many levels—if I had left this place, left the memories, the daily reminders behind, but I didn't know if I could've. I needed the connection. I needed to know that he was still real, still out there somewhere, even if it wasn't with me.
Charlie had taken to drinking more and speaking less. He just mumbled a lot under his breath. Dinnertime was especially horrendous since he couldn't just ignore my existence and watch sports. I had finally started eating in my room. He didn't complain as he might have once. That was a good thing. It almost destroyed me every time I heard him hiss a certain name under his breath. His mumbled sentences usually started with "damn" followed by a lot of grabbled speech, the occasional name or two, and ended with the word "prick." Charlie had never been one to express his emotions very well.
I wished he would just yell at me already. The silent treatment was getting old. It was almost as bad as the way he avoided looking at me.
He was upset with Billy again and I was glad. I hated the glances my dad's best friend kept shooting my way. They were speculative, wary, and somewhat expectant. I couldn't help but wonder if he knew. He did take the tribal legends seriously, after all.
I remembered the day he left me clearly. I remembered his painful words. The numbness I had felt when he told me he didn't want me. What I wouldn't give for a little of that numbness, today? Even now, I couldn't help but want him. I wanted him beside me. I needed him to help me through this.
After everything that he had put me through, after all that I had suffered, I still wanted him. I still longed for his touch, the feeling of his mouth on mine. I still loved him—the insufferable bastard! He should be here!
I was angry and broken, and even as I loved him, I hated myself. I hated myself because I knew if he walked through that door right now, I would take him back. I hated myself because I still loved him, maybe even more than before—I always would. But mostly, I hated myself because I hadn't been enough to hold him. I hadn't been enough to make him want to stay. I hated myself because I wasn't worthy of his love.
"Dr. Cullen," a cultured and familiar voice said.
I fought to keep myself together. It felt like pieces of me were shattering off like shards of ice on a glacier. It really was Carlisle! I would know that voice anywhere. They were in Alaska! What was I going to say?
"Um . . ." I gasped for air. "Carlisle?"
"Bella?" His eloquent voice was incredulous. I pictured his brow wrinkling in consternation.
"I'm sorry, Bella, but I really shouldn't be talking to you. I promised Ed—"
"Please," I said desperately, cutting him off. I couldn't handle hearing that name right now. Just breathe, I told myself. Just keep breathing. You can fall apart later. Shaking and unsteady, I wrapped an arm around my middle tightly.
He was going to hang up any second, and then I would lose him forever. They would leave Alaska, and I would never find them again.
"I need your help, Carlisle. Please! You have to help me!"
"You owe me!" I cried frantically. "I wouldn't have called unless I had no other option! This is not about—" I closed my eyes and squeezed my gaping chest harder "—Edward!" My breath rushed out on a gasp, so the name came out no louder than a whisper. My foolish heart leaped at the sound of it flowing from my lips. I gritted my teeth against the rush of emotion, knowing it would be closely followed by unceasing agony. This wasn't going to lead to us getting back together, I told myself. I needed Carlisle. Just Carlisle.
"I need your help, not his. I don't even want him to know I called you!" God, could I bleed to death emotionally? I was panting, the agony of my loss ripping through me. Come on Bella, concentrate! Just Carlisle, don't get your hopes up. No Esme . . . no Alice—Stop it! Don't go there; you can't deal with that right now!
There was a long moment of silence on the other end of the line. I wondered if he had hung up the phone, then I heard a troubled sigh. "Okay, Bella."
"I need to see you, Carlisle. Is there somewhere we can meet?"
"That is not possible, Bella." His voice was full of censure.
"Yes, it is! Can you fly into Seattle? I will meet you at the airport."
"Can't you tell me what this is about on the phone?"
No! I can't! This is something you have to see for yourself, Carlisle. Otherwise, I don't think you would believe me!
"No, I need to meet you in person." My mind was processing desperately. How could I make him understand? How could I convince him to come? I didn't know if it would work, but I needed to manipulate him a little bit. Play on his emotions. Not that I was sure he even cared about what happened to me at all. . . .
"Listen, Carlisle, I'm terrified and only you can help me. I'm just asking for a little bit of your time. Once we meet, if you can't . . ."
The rapid, raspy inhalations stalled, stuck in my throat as I considered the possibility of failure. It was better not to think that way. I swallowed back a wave of nausea, hating the way my voice trembled. "If you can't or won't help me . . . then I guess . . . that . . . I'll just try to live with it."
There was the sound of a door shutting in the background, and then the low murmur of muffled voices. It sounded like Alice. I wondered if she had seen me calling. My lips moved silently. I was beseeching whatever benevolent being was listening that it would have Alice help me, that she would convince Carlisle somehow.
I waited impatiently for him to speak.
"My flight lands at 7:05 this evening. I'll meet you in the Alaska Lounge. It's at the beginning of Concourse C."
I felt unwanted tears gather in my eyes. Thank you, God. Thank you, Alice. I was so relieved. Everything would be all right now. Carlisle would take care of me. I had to believe that.
"Thank you," I said quietly, fervently. "Goodbye, Carlisle. I'll see you soon."
"Take care, Bella."
I managed to snap the phone closed before the shaking enveloped my whole body. I laid my head on my pillow and curled into a tight ball just as the first sob was torn from my throat.
"You owe me!"
She was right. We did owe her. How could I deny this girl, my daughter? Even though giving into her demand meant betraying my son. I considered her request that we not tell Edward about her call. I felt my eyes narrow. He was in such torment. It sounded as though Bella was as well.
She was his entire reason for existing now. This rending, this anguish was all of his making and stubbornness. Every one of us understood his reasons, his desire to keep Bella human, but it was killing him.
My fists clenched on my desk in frustration. I had tried to reason with him. We all had, with the exception of Rosalie. I had never thought I would see the day when Edward would agree with Rosalie. Maybe Hell had frozen over.
"Okay, Bella." I could at least hear her out. I resolved to help her in any way I could. Edward would just have to deal with it. She sounded desperate and anxious. Compassion welled up in me, and the suffering in her voice pierced my heart.
"I need to see you, Carlisle. Is there somewhere we could meet?"
I sighed, tapping my steepled fingers together. Edward was going to throw the proverbial hissy fit when he found out. And no one could throw a tantrum quite like a vampire—things got broken, big things.
I needed to dissuade her from a face-to-face meeting, no matter how much I longed to see her again. It was difficult being separated from any member of my family, and I considered Bella to be just that, family.
It was even harder on Esme and Alice. Esme had cried for months, first for Bella and then for Edward, after he had left us. Now, she weeps for them both. She'd had such hope when Edward found Bella, we both had.
He had been alone for so long. It was agonizing for me to watch Edward pass the decades so solitary and introverted. I had worried about him so much, thinking that something vital was missing in his make up.
But when I watched him with Bella, I knew that I was wrong. He glowed like a flame was lit beneath his skin when they were together. His joy had been palpable. And amazingly, she had loved him in return. She accepted him. I had been so proud of my son, of his self-control. Every one of us had loved her for what she had done for him. She completed him, healed him. He was a better person with her, but without her . . .
I often wondered if it would have been better for Edward if he had never loved Bella Swan. The life that he had lived before her was so much better than his existence without her. Finally, he ran away, leaving us; the pain and the loneliness had just been too much. She had been like the sun and the stars to our family, bringing blinding light into our dim world. I couldn't bring myself to resent her presence, but her absence was unbearably painful.
I couldn't meet her. If I did, Edward would never forgive me. "That's not possible, Bella." I struggled to make my voice stern, disapproving.
"Yes, it is! Can you fly into Seattle? I will meet you at the airport."
I looked up as the door of my office flew open. Alice stalked through the opening and slammed it shut; her usual light step was weighed down with concern and foreboding. Her face was determined. I didn't need to be psychic to know why she was here.
"Our flight lands at 7:05 pm. Tell her that we will meet her in the Alaska Lounge, it's at the beginning of Concourse C."
"What are you thinking, Alice? We can't do this! Edward will go ballistic. You know that!"
Her smooth brow wrinkled and she clenched her fists in frustration; her golden eyes were narrow and pained. "I will handle Edward, Carlisle."
"Alice, he asked us not to interfere."
"I am going with or without you, Carlisle. I would prefer that we go together."
"Edward . . ." I sighed, my gaze dropped from hers. I thought about Esme for a moment. She would want me to do this. She would want me to help Bella, her daughter.
"She's blurry. I can hear her, but I'm having a hard time seeing her clearly. Something is very wrong, Carlisle. I'm . . . I'm afraid for her." Alice's voice was low and clipped and her hands were trembling slightly.
A sinking feeling rushed through me. We trusted Alice. If she believed that something was going to happen to Bella, then I had no choice. Edward might hate us afterwards, but he would hate us more if some tragedy befell Bella and we did nothing to prevent it. I was sure that if he were here, he would have gone himself.
I spoke quietly and quickly to Bella, relaying the information Alice had given me and rang off.
"I hope you know what you are doing, Alice." I fixed her with a hard, paternal stare. It was going to hurt me to see Bella again. Mentally, I began to prepare myself.
"I do, Carlisle."
I wasn't convinced that Alice would be able to handle the pain of meeting with Bella. I didn't know if she would be able to walk away when it was time. She might try to do something drastic—like take her home with us. She considered Bella a much beloved sister, and the pain of being separated from her was considerable. Time hadn't lessened it.
"Did you tell the family what happened, where we are going?"
"Yes. Rosalie was upset and Jasper didn't say much—" Her lips quivered a bit and her eyes darkened with pain "—Esme just hugged me and told me to bring her baby home. Emmett was hunting, so he doesn't know yet. I tried to call Edward, but he is refusing to pick up his phone." She sighed. "Why does he have to be so pigheaded?" Her elfin face twisted in agony.
I stood and pulled my daughter into my arms to comfort her. We stood like that, with her arms wrapped around my waist, for a short time while Alice struggled to hold back her sobs. I thought about why Esme wanted us to bring Bella back with us. It wasn't just for Edward's happiness, but it was for Alice and Jasper also.
My daughter felt like she had left behind part of herself in Forks. Edward wasn't the only one that was suffering. This thing was destroying Alice's relationship with Jasper. He was having a hard time being near her, and it was breaking both of their hearts. I didn't know how much longer they could go on like that.
I feared that Jasper's guilt and Alice's depression were going to destroy their relationship. I suspected that Jasper had been contemplating leaving, running away for a time. I couldn't risk him doing that. It would devastate Alice and without us supporting him, humanity was too much of a temptation for the bloodlust within.
Esme was going out of her mind with worry. She was agonizing over the possibility that her children would go through the soul rending agony of mate-splitting. It was a rare and horrific thing. A creature was just as likely to seek out destruction as they were a mindless existence. Very few who had experienced it had ever recovered. It affected us the same way a death would. The thought of Alice or Jasper living in such a way or entering into rest—and eventual collapse—to avoid the pain was unfathomable.
"We need to get going. I don't want to miss our flight," she said quietly.
Alice fidgeted while, for once, I didn't lie about having a family emergency in order to get out of working the rest of my shift. She was practically bouncing once I got off the phone. We walked out to my Mercedes at an excruciatingly slow human pace. Without a word, she held out her hand for the keys. I didn't argue. She would just get her way anyway.
A/N: Thank you for reading! If you feel so inclined, I would love it if you left a review! :) Thank you, as always, to Katmom for beta'ing!
Preview of Chapter 2: EPOV
"You're wrong, Alice. She is better off without us. I want her to live, Allie, because I love her. And I need you to love her too, by putting what she needs before what you want. If you involve yourself in her life again, you know I won't be able to stay away. Please Alice, don't do that to me. Just leave her alone, it's the best solution—"
"Screw you, Edward!" her voice was high and ringing with anger.
My eyes widened with shock and rage. "What did you say to me?" I asked, my tone neutral and flat, like ice.