Disclaimer: I do not own the Twilight saga or its characters. That right belongs to Stephanie Meyer.
Warning: If you ain't old enough to buy a pack of cigs, I suggest you turn elsewhere. Mentions of cigarettes, alcohol, and sex are included in this story. I don't condone any of the aforementioned. I just enjoy rebellion.
The Good Doctor
January 16, 1921
"What's eatin' you, Ralph? All day you been yappin' like a wet blanket."
"I ain't a force you want to reckon with, Jim, so show a guy some respect. Today is a day of remembrance."
"Says you! The war has been over for two damn years, you sap. Everythin' is copacetic and spiffed."
"Pipe down, kiddo. You know nothin' of nothin'. It has been a year since those damn temperance birds won over Congress and passed the 18th Amendment…I haven't been on edge in so long. I need to hit a juice joint—"
"Unless you want to be pinched by the bull, Jim, I suggest you keep that kisser of yours for your woman."
"Ah, only owls are up at this time o' night…"
Snapping the latex gloves from my hands, I strolled out of the emergency room after spending the last few hours stitching up factory children. Why in God's name they allowed kids to work in such a dangerous environment was beyond me.
"Yeah, it's a wonder how our President supports Prohibition yet allows innocent babies to kill themselves workin'," my head nurse muttered in her thick, Brooklyn accent, reading the disgust on my face. The poor girl lost her older sister, when she was younger, to the factories. "It just ain't right."
"There's not much right in this world, Victoria."
She smiled, snapping her gum, giving me the same stare when she got into her passionate fits. "But here ya are, makin' things a little better. Openin' these free clinics all 'round town, savin' these poor babies. Not even chargin' a dime, no you aren't." A genuine smile graced those angel cheeks of hers. "You doin' a good thing here."
Chuckling, I shook my head at the broad, staring at the clipboard in my hands. "Don't make me out to be some saint."
"Wouldn't dream of it, Dr. Masen."
"Enough out of you. And shut off that radio, will you?"
"Yeah, yeah, boss," she hollered, ignoring my request, still listening to the two goofs on broadcast.
Victoria O'Callaghan was an interesting woman. At first look, one would interpret her as a deb from the South, but once that mouth of her opened, her character was much more apparent. Raised in Brooklyn, she lost her father to the war and sister to the factories. With a lush of a mother, she had been forced to find her own means of living, finding work and experience from local hospitals.
Her cynical behavior never failed to make me laugh. I loved Victoria deeply, but in a brotherly manner. She and I met nearly a year ago when I overheard her trying to find work. Needless to say, she thought I had been making a pass at her and slapped me, but all's well that ends well, I suppose.
"Ya headin' out, boss? Quarter till closin'."
"Is this a way of asking if you can leave early, Victoria?"
The Cheshire cat-like grin on her face gave away her intentions. "You know me too well. I got me a date tonight. A real looker, too!"
"Found yourself a daddy, did you?" I asked, raising an eyebrow. She nodded, babbling on and on about some banker. "Attagirl. You knock him dead, doll."
"Like that's hard," Victoria deadpanned. "See ya tomorrow, boss!"
Shaking my head, I resumed my work in the office, filing my paperwork in the appropriate folders. Today had been a busy day, and tomorrow would be no different. Every day people were getting sick and hurt, and in these hard times they needed all the help they could get. To be honest, the main reason I opened these clinics is because I knew the position these people were in. It kills me every time I see some an ill woman with her kids. There were enough orphans in this damn world.
Locking the doors to my office, I did my daily runs through each and every room, checking to see if things were properly put away. It wouldn't look so peachy if someone were to injure themselves in a doctor's office.
"Now that would be a trip." Securing the doors shut, I made my way down the bustling streets of Manhattan, seeking 45th and 52nd street on the avenues of 5th and 6th. I was in desperate need of a shower and change of clothing before the night; after all, my city never slept.
After greeting my neighbor, I unlocked the doors to my home, welcoming the rush of warm air. It was a relief from the bitter chill of winter. I tossed my snow covered jacket and hat on the rack, reading through the post I received today. Bills, letters from charity events, etc. Some things never changed.
Mulling over Victoria's words, I snorted and stripped myself of my shirt, throwing it to the floor. Yeah, I was doing a good thing by offering these people some help with their wounds. Any honest person out there would. Sure as hell didn't make me some sort of martyr. That's for damn sure.
The hot spray of water put my nerves at ease, relaxing my muscles from the constant weight they carried. Tonight would be one helluva night, just like every other night was. I shut off the water before the room filled with mist, and wrapped a towel around my waist. Once I finished drying, I buttoned up my shirt and vest, put on a pair of pants, and threw a fedora on my head, cocking it to the side. Was it my fault that I'd been told I was a looker, on more than one occasion?
I ran down the stairs just in time as three sharp knocks came to the door. Just on time. Throwing it open, I saw the same two people I've seen for the past year. The first was a real hard boiled man, taller than me, a guy that only a moron would mess with. The second was a slick fellow who knew his hooch from his gin.
"Emmett, Jasper." We shook each other's hands as I welcomed them into my home, having them follow me around back.
"Did you get a chance to try the latest import? That's some fine tasting brew you got there!" Emmett exclaimed, walking down the steps to the basement. He was a real character. I first met him after he came with a few busted knuckles, complaining about the fights he got in from keeping away some thieves from his booze. Of course, Emmett was drunk when he blurted out his business to me. I later learned, after becoming acquainted with him, he was a bootlegger who escaped from Chicago when a deal went bad. He supplied some Gin Mills who couldn't handle the business, and in return they ratted him out to the cops.
"I haven't had somethin' as fresh since I left Paris." Jasper was an interesting man as well. He grew up in Bible Belt Houston, Texas, but the kid didn't give a damn about authority. He cursed and swore, drank till dawn, and smoked like a chimney. Lying when he enlisted for The Great War, he joined the ranks and made it as a fly boy. I think God spared him from the war because they knew he was worth something in this life. Quite frankly, so did I.
"Yeah, I'm actually saving it for the costumers, you lousy drunks," I yelled, flipping on the switches to the lights. The room was big, spacious and idyllic, given the situation. Jasper and I pulled the chairs down from the tables and set things up while Emmett stood behind the bar to prepare the stash.
Jasper lit a ciggy, taking a few drags before he spoke. "I need a stiff hooker of whiskey before these guys and dolls start pourin' in this son of a bitch." Turning to Emmett, he shouted for him to prepare him a shot and inquired. "Still seein' that snow-bird, McCarty?"
"Fuck off, Whitlock! Rosalie is cleaner than the whores you be puttin' your smarmy hands on."
"I ain't denyin' my exploits, partner." He downed his shot of whiskey, shaking his head like a beast. "Oi, Masen, you anticipatin' more folks tonight? We gotta go out with a bang."
"This isn't called a speakeasy for nothing, kid. I'll be sorry for the joint that has to keep you around."
Rolling my eyes, I sat back in my usual seat, allowing for things to unfold before my eyes. Within the hour, the basement was filled with nearly fifty costumers, yet the night was still young. I was expecting at least fifty more. Harlem jazz infiltrated the smoke filled room, setting up for the mood. Kicking up from my chair, I greeted the fresh round of people, before settling behind the bar.
Emmett stood at the door with his gal, keeping watch for any suspicious characters. Of course no one would expect me of anything. I knew all the policemen at the nearby station. Hell, I treated their flesh wounds on numerous occasions. No. No one would expect Dr. Edward Masen of suspicious conduct.
Like I said, I ain't no saint, but people sure as hell made me out to be one.
A low whistle brought me make to the present. I turned to see Jasper's eyes wide open, and I could've sworn a trail of drool ran down the side of his mouth. "You okay, Whitlock?"
"Dear Lord, I don't know if I'm scrooched or what, but hot damn I think I just done gone fallen in love," he swooned. Literally. Mr. Charles-Lindenbergh-Can-Kiss-My-Texas-Ass Whitlock sighed into the liquor glass in his hands, paying no mind that it was meant for the costumer before him.
He probably was drunk, Seemed as though this kid fell in love every damn day. I slid a drink to the angry costumer, turning my gaze to where Jasper was gawking at. A short, petite brunette stood at the door, gabbing away to the girl on Emmett's arms, who I only could assume was Rosalie. Her body was adorned in some fancy glad rags, and I knew this girl didn't belong here.
Tired of hearing him whimper, I told Jasper to get lost, which he gladly did. I could man the bar myself for the time being. Better than hearing the kid whine like a bitch. Things began to settle, and I could tell everyone was having a good time. How? No one was at each other's throats. Give a crowd some alcohol, and they are all keen. Jasper came by after an hour with the girl he exclaimed that he was going to marry and yapped on about how Emmett refused to let her in because he thought she was a child. Apparently her mouth was dirtier than Jasper's. I didn't quite get the chance for a conversation, but I did catch that her name was Alice. Cheers to her for taming the fly boy.
I bent down to grab more liquor, seeing that we went through a few crates tonight, and we were running close to short. The boozehounds would have to hit up another joint if they wanted more within the next hour. Grabbing a dishrag, I began wiping a few glasses clean, but was interrupted by a feminine voice calling for my attention.
Turning around, I nearly dropped the glass I was holding to the ground because damn if this gal wasn't the most gorgeous thing I rested my eyes on. Her dark, brown hair fell to her chin, framing her beautiful heart-shaped face. Deep, bourbon colored eyes stared back at me, a hint of mischief beneath the innocence her persona held. She was pale like the moonlight, and shit, if I sounded like a pansy for my words, I could care less. I would recite sonnets for this woman and of the mountainous curve of her gams. It was obvious what this girl was, with her tight blue dress that fell daringly to her knees, legs bare from stockings.
"Hey there, good doctor," she said, her voice rich and sultry, that of a singer. "Could you prescribe me somethin' strong?"
Grinning, I pulled out the strongest whiskey I saved only for myself, and poured two glasses. Knocking glasses with the beauty, I watched as she tipped her head back quickly, swallowing the liquor without flinching. Repeating her notion, I placed my glass back down, staring into her eyes once more.
"Thanks, doc, I think you might have cured me," she laughed, pulling out a few clams. "What do I owe you? What's your poison?"
I leaned over the edge, the grin remaining on my face, raising my eyebrow. "Money, I don't need. Alcohol I have. Tell me your name."
"Bella Swan." Leaning back, I almost worried I frightened her, but she pulled out a cigarette instead. "Got a light for a lady?"
She leaned back over the edge of the bar, cigarette between her lips. I struck a match, cupping one end, and held it close to the ciggy's tip. Bella breathed in a few puffs, and then offered me a drag. I gladly took two hits before handing it back to her.
"So what are you doing up so late, doll? Pretty thing like you might be giving her poor man a heart-attack," I said smoothly, wiping down the already clean counters.
Bella breathed out a stream of smoke, cocking her head to the side with a lazy smile. "What a line." Tapping the ashes into an empty class, she began taking small sips of the other drink I prepared for her. "I don't have a man to fret after me. 'fraid I'm a bit too much for a nice, young fellow." She began toying with the ropes of pearls around her neck, staring up at me with heavy-lidded eyes. "And what of you, good doctor? Are you the personified Dr Jekyl and Mr Hyde? This doesn't seem like your type of scene."
This broad sure had a way with her mouth, and I intended to find what else it could do. "Long story, gorgeous."
She turned to her left and to her right and then back to me, shrugging. "I ain't see no one, and I ain't goin' no where."
What the hell. Might as well tell someone my life story. I started from the beginning of my childhood, explaining how I was the son of a lawyer and a pianist. My father wasn't too high up, but he made ends meet to support the family. He died when I was five from a carriage, after being pushed in the street by some pillager who wanted more than a few clams. My mother did what she could do to raise me, working in factories while the neighbors watched over me, but contracted some sort of illness from one of the workers. When she felt ill, she went to the hospital, only to be told that she had a slight fever. She was declined a proper examination due to the inability of paying doctor's fees.
I told Bella how I found my mother that night she came home from the factory, cold and motionless. Being only six-years-old, I didn't understand what was wrong, and figured she overworked herself. When I couldn't wake her up in the morning, I walked to the local hospital, asking for a doctor.
He looked like an angel, I said, the ones my mother always spoke of when we attended church. He was kind, unlike the others, and excused himself from the hospital to follow me home. To say he was surprised was for certain, but he didn't treat me like a foolish lower class boy. When he went to check my mother's pulse, he explained carefully that she wasn't going to wake up, that she was with God. He asked of the whereabouts of my father, and I responded that my mother was with him now.
Dr. Carlisle Cullen took me home that day, and he introduced me to his wife, Esme. They allowed me to stay in their home, treating me kindly, feeding me, and went in search of any family members. If any were living, they sure as hell didn't want me. But that didn't matter because Carlisle and Esme cared for me like I was their own son. I soon found out that Esme was unable to have children after a terrible accident that rendered her inhospitable for children.
I explained how these factors, my mother not being able to pay for doctor's fees and being cared for by Dr. Cullen and his wife, led me to open the various free clinics in the area. I spoke of my plans to open them all throughout New York, wanting to help every child and mother and father. I couldn't bear to see another person go into the factories; it was like sending sheep to slaughter. Bella agreed whole-heartedly, soaking every word I said, touching my hand at certain points, absentmindedly stroking it with her delicate fingers.
"Very honorable, good doctor." She sipped at the mixture of gin and vermouth, her cheeks flushed from the quantity consumed. I didn't take her as a lush, but then again, I didn't think she drank as much as she did tonight. I haven't had this much liquor myself. "But it doesn't explain why you have all of…this." Bella waved her hand around the room, and I couldn't help but chuckle.
"I need something to fund those free clinics, Swan," I teased, taking a drag of her cigarette. The last song of the night played, a favorite jazz of mine, and I walked from around the bar, holding out my hand. "Dance with me."
She grasped my hand, allowing herself to be pulled to the dance floor. "I'm warning you, Masen, I'm a shit dancer."
"You know me?"
"Of course, doc. You treated me a while back for a wound I received after being attacked." She placed my hands around her waist, pressing them tightly against her back. "Some drunk cut me up pretty bad on my back."
I thought for a good few seconds, remembering the gruesome night when she stumbled into the clinic almost a year ago. "Yes, I remember. Are you…better?"
"Good as new," she grinned, her voice dripping with sincerity, snatching the fedora from my head and placing it on her own. "A few scars, but I'd rather them mar me than be lyin' in a pile of dirt." Bella lifted her head up, her gazing boring into my own. I'd be damned if the girl couldn't have me begging on my knees for her. "I owe you."
"You don't owe me—"
"Cash or check?" she asked breathily. Kiss me now or kiss me later? She wantonly taunted.
Taken aback, I stared at her for a few good minutes. Her face was firm, full of intent, and God how I wanted to lay one right on her kisser. If this was what Jasper was feeling, I didn't blame the kid. "Cash," I responded, pulling her towards Emmett and his woman. I threw the keys to the backdoor at him, patting Emmett on the shoulder. "It's Jasper's night to clean up. Don't let him weasel out of it. Lock up when you're finished."
He plastered a shit eating smirk on his face. "Nice one, Masen."
I stared at Bella, hoping she wasn't offended, but she only smirked back. My heart felt like it would pop out of my chest at any moment.
Tugging on her hand, we made our way up the stairs, walking through the door. I locked it to assure that we weren't intruded upon, and led her to the second floor, into my room. A single lantern was lit, seeing as how I only used electricity in the house when the speakeasy was closed. Electricity bills were a bitch. Candles didn't cost much.
She stared at me, her lower lip in between her teeth, her arms winding around my waist. "I gotta ask, doc, are you married? I mean…I should have asked before, but if so, this ain't playin' right with me—"
"No, Bella, I am not married." This woman could do some serious damage to me with her humor alone. I intertwined my hand with hers, pulling it to my face, brushing my lips against her knuckles "Not one woman has caught my eye quite like you have."
"What a line," she breathed for the second time tonight. "Is this your way of handcuffin' me?"
"No," I said honestly, "not yet, at least." Cupping her face into my hands, I pulled her face towards mine, pressing my lips firmly against hers. She was warm and soft, tasting of sweetness and liquor, smelling of flowers and smoke. A few of my favorite things. She was perfection. Her arms ran up my back, weaving into my hair, her body pressing tightly against mine. This woman was a bearcat, fiery and delicate.
She pulled back slightly, her fingers wrapping around my tie, tugging and leading me to my bed, both of us toppling upon the bouncing mattress. I necked her, long and hard, enjoying her squeals and giggles, and hell if she didn't do the same shit to me. She had me squealing and giggling too. Boy, was her touch something that I could only describe as heaven.
I didn't remember when I had lost my shirt, or when she lost her dress. I didn't realize that her one-piece undergarment now lay across a lampshade, or that my fedora was thrown in the corner, forgotten. This woman was everything my mother warned me about, but everything I wanted. She was beautiful.
Bella was neither a Gibson Girl nor a Flapper. She didn't wear a corset or petticoat like a proper young woman, but she didn't flatten her chest to achieve the rebellious look either. She was her own woman, stocking-clad and brazen. I loved her for it.
A gasp escaped her lips as I kissed down her chest, enraptured by the swell of her breast, paying them close attention. I groaned as the flesh between her thighs brushed mine, warm and inviting. I ground against her, eliciting a delicious moan from her as she threw her head back. Her eyes briefly opened, catching my own, as she spoke. "Edward…"
Fuck if I was going to let my girl beg.
I kissed her soundly, over and over again, taking in the blush of her cheeks, as I pulled her flush against mine. Slowly, I eased into her, feeling the sharp sting of her nails biting my back, groaning at the sensation of her wrapped around me, but stilled my movements. Her breaths were rapid at first, lulling to a normal rhythm after a few minutes, and she whispered for me to continue. She didn't have to tell me twice.
I entwined my hands with her once more, raising them above her head, kissing her everywhere and anywhere I could reach as we moved with one another. Her breathing picked up once more, only to be turned into gasps.
I wasn't a real experienced man, say as much as Emmett and Jasper were, but I knew my way around a woman's body. I knew the touch of a lady. Bella, however, had been a virgin, but hell if she didn't make me feel inferior to her touch.
The preaching of carnal desire in church didn't seem to faze me much. If being like this with Bella was a sin, God could strike me down dead, but only if she came with me. I was a selfish bastard.
A thin sheen of sweat formed on our bodies, slick and wet, as I made Bella a woman that night. Four times, to be specific. Again, the woman was a bearcat and God if I didn't love her for it. We lay in my bed in those early hours of the morning, sleeping for an hour, until we were back to sinning again. I laughed after the first time, noticing her heels were still on. I bent down, removing them one by one; slowly kissing up her leg…needless to say, it ended pleasurably.
She turned in my arms, climbing on top of me, resting her head against my chest. "If you need money, for your clinics that is, my grandparents left me a hefty sum…"
"You are a real sweetheart, you know that, Bella?" I pulled her face closer to mine, kissing her softly. "But I am fine. You keep your money."
"But, a speakeasy can only make you so much."
"You'd be surprised what a man can make," I said, offering her my lit cigarette. "Tonight was our last go, actually." She almost broke my heart as those bourbon eyes of hers flashed with worry. "Don't you be bothered, darling. All is well."
"Baby, before Carlisle and Esme passed, they made me sole beneficiary to their estate, money, and titles. On his deathbed, Carlisle told me I was his son, blood or not. He made me feel like I had a family again." I sat up, pulling her with me, cradling her body in my arms. "Their passing took a real, hard toll on me. But with you, love, I feel at home."
"When will the lines end?" she giggled, pressing a kiss against my cheek. "So what about your friends? What will they do?"
"Jasper's been bitching about going back to Texas, but I don't think they will let him back in." I chuckled, smiling as she joined me as well. "Emmett has been thinking about opening his own joint elsewhere. A few speakeasies have opened down the street alone. People now realize it is a profitable business."
Bella scoffed. "Of course. Who doesn't want a good swig of hooch and be all liquored up."
"You are one of the classiest women I have ever encountered, Swan."
"That ain't much of a compliment seeing as how I haven't met many classy women."
"Says you!" She pouted. I moved to place a kiss on her lips, only to have her push me away. "Bank's closed, pal."
This woman had nerve.
And I would be a lying son of a bitch if I didn't appreciate her for it.
"But, Madame, if I don't bless you with the healing powers of my lips, I think you may perish," I deadpanned.
Her eyebrows rose, piquing with interest, as she leaned forward and whispered, "Then, heal me, good doctor."
Authoress Note: A fond hello to all you guys and dolls! I couldn't help but write this little one-shot deal right here. I've been carryin' the torch for this here era, for I love me some Roaring 1920s! Perhaps if I receive some incentive, I may write some excerpts of our favorite bootlegger and fly boy!
I also have to express my undying gratitude to the spiffiest doll in town Leiahlaloa for beta-ing this fic. Check out her work because that girl is seriously the cat's meow!
*Bird—term for a man or woman. Can be used to describe an "odd" person.
*Juice Joint—A speakeasy
*Pinched by the bull—arrested by the police
*Owls—someone who is up late at night
*Daddy—a young woman who finds herself a rich, older man
*Hard boiled—a tough, strong guy
*Stiff hooker of whiskey—A drink of strong liquor
*Snow-bird—A cocaine user
*Gams—a woman's legs
*Cash or check—a kiss now or later. (Cash means "kiss now")
*Handcuff—an engagement ring
*Bearcast—a hot-blooded or feisty woman
*Bank's closed—no more kissing