Disclaimer: The original plot and characters of Twilight belong to Stephenie Meyer. No copyright infringement is intended.

This will be mostly lighthearted and fun but will have some angsty moments. I'll try to keep them to a minimum though.


Chapter One

Encounters

Why did I always find myself in dark alleys, hallways, and back woods where predators lurked? Danger followed me like I had some sort of target on my back and I found ways to unknowingly welcome it with open arms. 'Here she is, Bella Swan, the girl famous for her ability to attract all sorts of maniacal minions to her very presence.' Life seemed to mock me with her high-pitched voice reminiscent of carnival crooners luring people with promises of revealing the most shocking creatures they would ever seen. The handsome man standing in front of me now had approached me minutes before and revealed his intentions completely shocking me. He was an epitome of a wolf in sheep's clothing. I had trusted him for years and now, apparently, that was going to get me killed. As I steeled myself against the inevitable, I forced my eyes to shut tight. This was an occurrence I did not wish to witness. Although I had come to terms with my mortality some time ago, death was not something I was looking forward to experiencing. So, I waited in the darkness for the never-ending light or whatever followed this life.

Too much time passed but I did not dare to open my eyes. I could hear his breathing so I knew he was still standing a few inches away. My fellow med student and former friend had assured me that my death would be quick and painless. He claimed to respect me way too much to make me suffer any more than absolutely necessary. Yet, here I was being tortured by his lack of action. I really should not have been surprised by this latest twist of fate and I should have been hoping that he had somehow changed his mind about killing me. But, my life never gave me miracles and I knew better than to give into the temptation of hope. My life should have ended a long time ago. In fact, I had once longed for my heart to stop beating. I had been young and in love with a silly vampire boy who I thought wanted me for all eternity. I had just recently started to truly step out of the shell of protection I had formed around myself all those years ago, thanks to the persistence of my best friend, and it was all going to be for naught.

I focused on the thought of how much I appreciated the one person in my life who knew exactly what I had gone through my senior year in high school but had refused to give up on me when I retreated into myself with no intention of ever reemerging. He was the reason I had gone to medical school and worked so hard to be at the top of my class. Jacob motivated and pushed me to do great things. I planned to repay his kindness and his perseverance by working at the hospital on the reservation where he lived. He wanted to marry me and grow old together. And I was almost ready to say yes to him. He was not my Romeo but he could be my Paris. He could be enough. He loved me enough for the both of us and we could be blissfully happy spending the next 60 some odd years in each others arms. We could have been.

Apparently, however, I had waited too long to tell him about my intent and there would never be another opportunity to do so. This epiphany made me angry and suddenly I realized what I had to lose. The man who stood in front of me threatened to take away my chance to make things right with Jacob. He was stripping me of the ability to repay Jake for everything he had given me these last nine years. My best friend had asked for nothing except to be allowed a place in my life. My eyes flew open and I readied myself for the fight of my life – literally.

My attacker stood in front of me with a terrified look on his face. His hands were frozen in midair reaching out toward my neck. His stare was focused behind me but I could not move. I was too afraid to face whatever had scared the large assailant that had just been hell bent on ending my life. I focused on my friend turned would-be murderer. I had once thought so highly of him. Gregory and I met on the first day of medical school just over four years before and I had liked him instantly. He had immediately sought me out in every class we had that required a partner. When I almost fainted on the first day we worked on a cadaver, he caught me and kept anyone else from noticing. Being squeamish did not earn respect in the medical community. The smell of a mere drop of blood used to send me spiraling to the ground but I had worked hard to overcome my aversion. I thought I had been prepared to handle working on a dead body but I had not anticipated the smell. Formaldehyde was the worst thing my nose had ever had the displeasure to breathe. Gregory spent hours with me after classes to help me get used to the horrible stench. His excuse was that he did not want me to do it alone in case I fainted again. I had been grateful for his friendship. My gaze wandered back to his face.

Gregory's bright blue eyes were still focused behind me and my legs began to shake. I knew there was a good possibility I was going into shock but I fought against my fear. If I had any chance of getting out of here alive I needed to act fast. Without looking back I sprinted around the stone still body in front of me and headed toward the door that would take me to a busy hospital hallway. I was just a few feet from escape when I heard my name. The voice calling me was not Gregory's but it was just as familiar and almost as unwelcome. The velvety smooth voice stopped me instantaneously. My feet refused to keep moving. I turned to see Gregory held tightly by hands that I knew from experience would feel unnaturally cold. The world started spinning and I felt a well known dizzying sensation accompanied by the clamminess that always preceded the darkness.

My first day of residency had turned into a nightmare. When I graduated from medical school I had every intention of returning to Forks to complete my four to five years as a resident physician. I was excited about the idea of going home and being close to Jacob. Not to mention how much I missed Charlie. Even though my dad and I had hardly known each other before I moved in with him halfway through my junior year of high school, we had grown close during that year and a half I lived with him. Most of the money I had managed to save during college and medical school was spent on traveling home to see him. My mom constantly questioned why I made her go to Forks if she ever wanted to see me when she thought I should prefer to go to Florida to visit her and my step-father, Phil. I loved my mom very much and she was an important part of my life but neither Phoenix nor Florida ever felt like home to me the way Forks did.

By some weird twist of fate, I ended up in Seattle instead of Forks as I had planned. Northwest Hospital was near the top of my request list but I had been so certain that I would be assigned to my top pick, Forks Community Hospital that I put little to no thought into the rest of the hospitals I listed. Forks wasn't exactly a popular choice for other members of my graduating class. When I ran into Gregory that morning I wondered briefly if he had anything to do with my being there. But, during our encounter in the stairwell he informed me he was pleasantly surprised when he found out we would be working together.

My thoughts were streaming all over the place and I found concentrating on the scene unfolding in front of me extremely difficult. I studied the topaz eyes that were watching me with so much intensity and wondering. He seemed almost afraid at what my reaction would be to seeing him again. Gregory whimpered and drew my attention back to him. He was obviously very frightened and I could not help the smirk that crept onto my face at the sight. Just seconds before I had been in his place. I would be lying if I tried to say I did not find a small sense of satisfaction in watching him suffer. But I knew his life would not end in this stairwell. His captor would turn him over to the authorities and I would be subjected to the horrors of being a victim. The thought brought a new round of tears to my eyes. Maybe dying was a better alternative.

"Bella, what do you want me to do with him?" The velvety voice was asking me but I doubted he would give me what I really wanted. Of course, I also knew that guilt would accompany me for the rest of my life if I allowed Gregory to be killed.

"I never want to see him again but I don't want to have to deal with the repercussions of his actions either. I will let you decide what is best. I trust your judgment." With those words I turned back to the door and left. I walked back into the throng of people meandering their way through the maze of corridors and headed toward the parking garage, my first day as a resident was behind me. Tomorrow had to better.

With a book in my lap and a cup of hot tea at my side, I curled up on my new sofa to enjoy a nice relaxing evening. I figured I deserved a little down time after the events of the day. This was the first night in months that I allowed myself such luxury. My nights and weekends typically consisted of studying medical journals at my dining room table trying to keep up with the latest developments and technological advances. Tonight, however, I was going to get lost in Jane Austen's world. Mansfield Park was the only one of her novels that I had not read and I was excited to finally have the opportunity to do so. A loud knock on my door disturbed my revere. I sighed and got up to find out the identity of my intruder. Immediately after opening the door, I regretted it. The topaz eyes that met mine from the other side were even more unwelcomed now that I was not in any danger. My first response was to slam the door in his face but his foot caught it and pushed it open again. So, I did the mature thing and ignored his presence. Walking back into my living room, I resumed what I had been doing without giving my uninvited guest a second glance.

Much to my surprise, he simply sat down next to me and began reading one of the medical journals that was on my coffee table. I refused to give into temptation and ask him what the hell he was doing in my home but I was no longer able to focus on reading. This infuriated me so I got up and went to the bathroom to take a nice long relaxing bath hoping he would leave while I was thus occupied. When I finished, I decided not to go back into the living area to find out if my visitor was still lurking there and headed straight to bed. Certainly, he would be gone by the time I awoke.

Scents of a hot breakfast brought me back to reality and out of the dream I was having. I stumbled into the kitchen and was shocked to find a vampire cooking me a complete meal. There were scrambled eggs, fried eggs, biscuits, toast, sausage, bacon, ham and orange juice all laid out on the table. I wondered if he really expected me to eat all of this. My eyes avoided his though because I did not want to look forward to the possibility of having any member of his family become a part of my life after they all abruptly left me nine years earlier. I did not want to hear excuses for the rejection supposedly fueled by their self-sacrificing justifications. I knew if they had loved me enough – if he had loved me enough – they would have stayed. The silence was consuming us but I would not be the one to break it. I had nothing to say to him anyway.

"I wasn't sure exactly what you liked so I made a little of everything." His hopeful expression almost crumpled my resolve.

I sat down at the table and opened the paper before I started shoveling things onto my plate. The truth was that the food looked and smelled delicious and I was starving. The last thing I had eaten was a bowl of cereal the morning before. I was also aware that I did not have all of this food stocked in my kitchen. The fact that a vampire had not only cooked this amazing meal but had gone to a grocery store and purchased all the items first was a very perplexing thought indeed. And I was curious as to why he was going through so much trouble to be nice to a human; a human with abandonment issues thanks to him and his family. No bitterness here, nope.

The paper had only a few interesting articles to keep my mind occupied while I ate. My visitor sat on the other side of the table and watched me without a word. His attentions made me self-conscious as he was seemingly entranced with me stuffing my face in a very unladylike fashion. This was going to be a long morning. After I finished filling my stomach to its utmost capacity, I headed to my bathroom to take a shower and get ready for another long day. Luckily, since I was just starting my first week, I would have normal hours for now. I fully expected to be thrown into the fire after a brief period of acclimation. My first day had been filled with paperwork, tours, introductions and a death threat. Every new resident had met his or her attending physician except for me. Apparently, my mentor was not available to meet me then and had requested the honor of introducing himself so I was not even provided with a name.

"Isabella, may I drive you to work this morning?" His voice startled me. When I walked back out of my room I had not seen him and assumed he left. Apparently, he had been in the kitchen cleaning the dishes from this morning.

"Umâ€ĶI guess that would be fine." I tried to think of a reason to turn down his offer but I hated riding the bus and I had not yet purchased another car after the demise of my old truck two weeks ago. So, I accepted his offer and promised myself I would go car shopping that evening.

"Thank you." He was thanking me? I guess I couldn't really blame him for being so old fashioned. He had been raised in a completely different time.

"You and I don't have to be friends or talk or whatever." Great, now I was rambling. "Just because we work at the same hospital doesn't mean you have to talk to me or anything. Really, I would understand." I just could not make my mouth stop moving and spitting out words.

"I do not wish to pretend we do not have a past, Isabella. Please, allow me to be your friend at the very least." He sounded so sincere. But I knew first hand how adept his whole family was at lying. It was part of their existence and essential in keeping their secret.

"Maybe it would be best if we were not friends. I'm sure that we will be forced to work together and I promise to remain civil." The irony of this conversation was certainly not lost on me. Only last time it was the vampire telling the human that friendship was not in either of their best interest. I had been too fragile and he had but one rule to obey.

"I sincerely hope you will reconsider." As he said this we pulled into the parking garage of the hospital. We walked in and I immediately headed to the residents' locker room. I noticed that Gregory's locker was open and empty. I wondered if he left voluntarily and if he would be given another residency where he would be able to attack another unsuspecting female. Maybe I should have requested his death. The thought that he might hurt someone else had not crossed my mind until just now. He claimed that he loved me and my rejection was too much for him to bear. He would not allow someone else the pleasure I denied him. I shivered as the memory of what happened in the stairwell replayed in my mind. At least working next to a vampire helped me feel safe. Even if I never spoke to him again he would never permit anyone to hurt me. Of that I was certain. Of course I would have to ask him about Gregory's potential to repeat his actions from yesterday.

My second day was filled with more paperwork and more introductions. Nametags were my friends. After lunch I was instructed to go to one of the conference rooms to meet my attending. I sighed as I walked away from the group of residents who were heading to observe a complicated surgery. I hated to miss out on that but I was anxious to see who would hold my career in his hands for the next four or so years. Gaining his respect was essential to my future as a doctor. One mistake and he could banish me from the world of medicine forever. I had heard enough horror stories throughout school to know that a residency was tough enough without having to worry about getting a decent referral. My mind was thus occupied when I walked into the room and came face to face with the licensed physician I would be working under. I'm sure my jaw hit the floor. Suddenly, the reason I had been assigned to Northwest rather than Forks Community Hospital became very clear. Thank you, Cullen family for once again determining what was best for my life and making decisions on behalf. Welcome back to hell, Isabella Swan.


A/N: Thanks so much for reading this crazy first chapter. I know it's a pretty ambiguous but it's meant to be. I would love to hear theories regarding which Cullen man is currently wreaking havoc in our dear Bella's life. I think one of them is easily eliminated, maybe two, but I'm curious how obvious I've made it.

Warning: This is not a Bella/Jacob story. He will actually play a small part in thrusting Bella into the arms of his enemy though. Silly wolf-boy.

Reviews - good, bad or indifferent - are very appreciated!