Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight, Stephanie Meyer does. I do however own a very dusty piano on which I am attempting to learn Bella's Lullaby!
A/N OK so I've never written anything in my life before, except in English lessons at school, which was long enough ago for me to not tell you when it was! I have no idea whether this is any good but I've been asked to put it up so here it is.
I should warn you that I'm English, so if you think it's spelled wrong let me know, cos I don't know the American spellings for most things! If it's spelled wrong even in English apologies, I don't have a beta and my grammar etc is truly appalling!
Big thanks to CatMasters for walking me through the uploading process. It would be almost impossible to describe in words how technologically inept I am! She is my forum angel, making the pretty pictures appear under my posts and everything!
So this is set two years after Edward left Bella in New Moon but assumes that they never returned and Jacob never befriended Bella.
"You used to captivate me by your resonating light
Now, I'm bound by the life you left behind
Your face it haunts my once pleasant dreams
Your voice it chased away all the sanity in me
These wounds won't seem to heal, this pain is just too real
There's just too much that time cannot erase."
My Immortal - Evanescence
I felt a familiar sense of detachment coursing through me as my head slammed into the wooden door hard enough to leave a dent in the white paintwork. The strong hands around my arms were throwing me around like a rag doll while I disappeared inside myself, the way I always did.
His breath smelt strongly of stale beer and cigarettes, a smell now so familiar to me that it no longer made me cringe. My mind took itself away from the pain in my body, taking me to my Edward, to the meadow, to the happiest time of my life. Those beautiful topaz eyes, gazing into my very soul, filled with love. This was my happy place. My safe haven, taking me away from the horror that my life had become.
I forced myself back to now, back to the hatred filled hazel eyes only inches from my face. I couldn't be absolutely sure what it was that had brought on this particular rage, but I could see from the look in his eyes that we were nowhere near done yet.
I didn't even flinch as his fist made contact with the side of my head. I had enough experience now to know that flinching or pleading just drove him on. He liked me to beg him to stop, to cry out when he hurt me. So, stubborn as ever I kept completely silent, taking the beating and silently willing it to be over soon.
My head swam dizzily as I felt the thick blood pouring from my head where his fist had been seconds before. Even in the midst of this nightmare, my aversion to blood was strong enough to make me pass out. My last thought before the darkness took me was of my Edward, of those cool strong arms embracing me, so gently that I could barely feel it. Then nothing.
Leaving Forks so suddenly for the sake of my son was one of the hardest things this family has ever done. My poor Esme mourned the loss of Bella the way she would have mourned any of our children leaving us. Her heart broke into thousands of tiny pieces that day, and the pieces continued to shatter apart every time she looked into Edward's empty, expressionless eyes. To see our son so broken was almost to much for either of us to bear, and Alice's pain at the loss of her one and only ever human friend was just about killing poor Jasper.
We relocated to our home in Ithaca and I quickly secured a job working in the emergency room in the local hospital. As selfish as I knew it was to leave Esme to deal with the pain of our home situation, I found myself throwing myself into my work more and more, and spending less and less time at home. The pain and grief that shrouded our home was overwhelming and the staffing situation in the hospital gave me an easy escape.
I had never seen anybody, human or not, so broken as my poor son. Edward, for so long the light of our lives, before our other children arrived with us, now just sat and stared. Not even staring at anything in particular, his eyes rarely focused on anything. His beautiful piano sat, unused since we left Forks. When he left Bella behind that day, I truly believe he left himself behind with her.
Now, two years later, the situation had not changed at all. It almost felt like it had become worse, not better. He never spoke to anybody, not even Esme, he hadn't hunted in who knew how long, and I feared that my beloved family were starting to fall apart. Alice and Jasper spent so little time in the house.
Poor Jasper felt everybody's pain so acutely that I could hardly blame them for wanting to get away, but their continual absence just broke the pieces of Esme's heart a little more. I knew I had to do something, but I couldn't think how to be of help. So I worked. And worked. Dealing with my patient's pain meant that I could leave my own at the door. I knew it wasn't helping anybody, but I just couldn't see how to do that.
I was sitting now, in a rare moment of quiet in my office, thinking about the things I tried so hard not to think about, when the shrill sound of my bleeper pulled me from my thoughts. I was out of my seat and to the door before I had even thought about it, there must be some sort of emergency case coming in and I would be needed to lead.
A chart was thrust into my hands as I re-entered the ER, a nurse walking swiftly by my side giving me important information about the patient they had just brought in.
"Young girl, a student we think, looks like she's been beaten. The neighbours called the police after they heard banging and shouting. Multiple injuries, unconscious at the scene…."
My mind could no longer listen to what I was being told about my patient, as my eyes scanned the chart. If it was possible my heart would have skipped several beats as I registered the name across the top of the chart. I forced myself back to concentrate on the matter at hand, thinking how many Isabella Swan's there had to be in the Continental US, and what would she be doing here in Ithaca anyway?
I froze as I walked into the treatment area and saw a mess of dark brown hair and pale skin, hidden by horrific injuries.
"Oh God Bella no!" I exclaimed as I ran forward at a barely human pace to try to confirm that this was somebody else's child, and not the beautiful girl I loved as a daughter. One look at her poor battered face confirmed my worst fears, and for the first time in my medical career I had absolutely no idea how to proceed.
"Doctor Cullen?" One of the nurses tried unsuccessfully to pull my from my horror. My mind was going crazy, thinking about all the ways that she could have picked up these injuries. I refused to even consider the idea that somebody could have done this to our dear Bella deliberately, as everybody around me seemed to think.
"I'm… sorry." I hesitated, "I can't take this case, Doctor Brown, please…" My eyes pleaded with my colleague as the realisation hit me that I wasn't capable of treating Bella. My mind could only focus on my horror at seeing her this way after our long painful separation.
Doctor Brown swung into action, immediately doing what I could not, to help Bella. I stood, just staring at her broken body, ignoring my colleagues attempts to help me.
I felt kind hands on my shoulder, as one of the nurses steered me carefully from the room.
"I'm sorry Doctor Cullen, do you know that poor girl?" Her face showed concern and confusion at my state of mind. I realised quickly that none of my colleagues had ever seen me unable to cope with a medical situation before.
"Ah, yes. At least I used to. It's been two years but…" I trailed off. How could I explain to this nurse that I had once thought of this girl as a member of my family. That in actual fact, the paternal feelings I had for Bella never truly went away.
"I sure am sorry doctor, it must have been quite a shock seeing her like that." Her kind eyes seemed to understand how much Bella meant to me, even though I couldn't put it into words for her. She reached out and lay her arm around my shoulders, comforting me. I allowed her to pull me into an embrace as tearless sobs started to shake my body, releasing all the pain and grief I had been feeling for two years, and the horror I felt at seeing Bella looking so broken.
Suddenly, I felt the shame of what I was doing. Wallowing in my own grief while Bella lay in the next room needing my help. I steeled myself for seeing her again, then marched back into the treatment room to take over her care. I had got barely beyond the door before I realised her condition had changed. Doctor Brown had clearly done a good job and Bella was awake, sitting up, and staring right at me, her mouth hanging open in shock.
"Alice, Alice baby, what do you see?" I clawed at her hands, trying to pull them from her distraught face, as it went blank again. Her vision, whatever it was had filled her with anxiety, guilt and pain, making her tremble with the force of it. A small squeaking sob escaped her before she collapsed into my arms her whole body shaking with the tears that she couldn't cry.
"Alice, please." I pleaded with her to tell me what she'd seen.
"Oh Jazz, " she forced out though the heaving sobs she didn't seem to be able to control. "It's Bella!"
I stiffened at the name. Edward had specifically asked Alice not to watch her future, and as far as I was aware she hadn't been doing so.
"Alice, I thought…" I started before she interrupted me.
"I haven't been watching her Jazz, honest I haven't. It's Carlisle, he's been so sad, and spending so much time at work, I've been watching him, just to make sure he's ok."
I sighed, that was my Alice, always thinking about everybody else, even when she was suffering herself. She was a lot like her old best friend in that sense.
"Jazz, he's treating her!" She cried out, causing me to freeze on the spot. My mind ran through all the possible things that could be wrong with her.
"Alice, she's probably just tripped over her own feet or something, you know how she is." I tried to make light of the situation, while I knew that Alice wouldn't look so pained if it were just a sprained ankle or another cut requiring stitches.
The thought of stitches took me back to that day. Her birthday, when I had single handedly ruined our wonderful family's happiness forever. I would never forgive myself for what I had done that day, and for what I had forced Edward to do. The whole family had suffered because I hadn't been able to control myself in the face of a tiny little paper cut. Alice had told me time and time again that Bella hadn't blamed me for what happened, and I believed her, Bella was selfless enough for that. But I constantly saw the accusation in Edward's eyes, when he actually managed to focus on my face long enough to express anything through his piercing glare.
"No Jazz, she's been hurt, her face is all messed up and she's not opening her eyes, Jasper, what if she…" The incomplete sentence lingered in the air for a moment as the horror of the idea hit us both. Without another word we were both up and running for the hospital, not able to go near the house and warn Esme in case Edward read our thoughts. Who knew what the thought of Bella in this situation would do to his already fragile hold on sanity.
Halfway to the hospital, when we had started moving at a more human speed due to the increasing number of passers by, Alice suddenly froze again. Her face went blank as my hands held onto her, rubbing what I hoped were comforting circles on her back. A look of intense relief flooded her face as she came back to me smiling.
"She's awake." Relief swept over me until Alice's next words, "and she's seen Carlisle." I couldn't help but wonder how Bella would react to seeing one of us after the long separation she had been effectively forced into. Instead of asking Alice for details, I continued on towards the hospital, desperate to ascertain that the girl who I thought of as my little sister was going to be ok.
My head hurt. I could feel the throbbing pain before I opened my eyes to the world again. Something within me was disappointed that I was waking up at all. There was so much pain filling my life these days that it had almost been a relief to sink into oblivion and feel myself drifting along in a peaceful place. The hole in my chest didn't hurt half as much when I was out, and for that I was actually grateful to Jack for providing me with the oblivion. The pain of the injuries was rarely as bad as the jagged edges of that hole, threatening to pull me apart all day every day.
I had learned the hard way, that the saying 'time heals all wounds' was just that, a saying. Nothing more. Because for me, time just gave the wound more time to fester. More time to pull me apart at the seams until there was nothing left but an empty shell for Jack to play with.
Jack wasn't a friend, never had been really. He was just a man who needed a room mate, and I needed somewhere to live while I was at college. He offered a low rate of rent when I went to look around the flat. I should have known then that there was something not right about him, but I was too caught up in my own pathetic pain to really wonder too much about this guys motives for taking in a young female room mate. I'd found out pretty soon though.
Only two weeks after I moved in he showed himself for what he really was. He switched overnight from the perfect gentleman, to a monster. My first instinct was to run after his first drunken night time visit, but run to where? I literally had nowhere to go. I couldn't bear to return to Charlie after what I put him through in that first year after He left. Now when I looked into his eyes I could see that pain that I put there, and I couldn't bear it. The physical pain that Jack inflicted was easier to take than the realisation of how badly I'd hurt my parents. I wouldn't.
No, I couldn't drop out of college and disappoint them again, and all the other affordable places were taken already. So I had no choice but to stay. I dreamt often about a strong pair of marble arms lifting me up and taking me away from the pain. But I kept those thoughts where they belonged. In dreams. Because he didn't want me anymore. He had made that perfectly clear when he left me in the forest that night, and by his continued absence from my life ever since.
I had stuck it out in Forks until graduation before the pain of the constant reminders of him drove me to New York, to Ithaca, to attend Cornell college. I had no great desire to study, or to get a decent job afterwards, or even really to breathe in and out anymore, but I owed it to Charlie to at least make a pretence of living a normal life.
I forced my eyes open now into the dazzling overhead lights of a sterile white room. This wasn't the living room where I remembered being last. A concerned face loomed above mine, the stethoscope around his neck betraying his status as a doctor to my confused brain. So I was in the hospital. How did I get here? Surely Jack didn't suddenly have an attack of conscience, he never had before.
"Hello Isabella, my name is Doctor Brown. Do you remember what happened?" His voice was kind and soft, but his eyes flashed with something that looked like anger.
"Um…" I didn't quite know what to say here. I couldn't tell him what happened, I would pay for it if I did. But I couldn't sit here acting like a mute either.
"You were hurt sweetheart, you're in the hospital." Another voice, female this time. I put a face to the voice as I looked to my right and saw a nurse staring at me with concern all over her face.
"Are you in any pain?" The doctor again. I murmured something incoherent about pain in my head and saw the doctor nod to the nurse, who immediately went to inject something into a drip bag.
Oh my, I thought woozily, I must have a needle in my arm. I pushed that thought away quickly, refusing to look down to have it confirmed. The last thing I needed right now was to pass out again. I struggled to try to sit up, and the nurse, realising what I was trying to do, helped me and put a pillow behind my back to make me comfortable.
My whole body ached, suggesting to me that Jack didn't stop having his fun with me when I passed out. I didn't remember him going for my ribs, but there was a definite ache there now. I was just about to ask the doctor whether Charlie had been called - hoping desperately for a negative response, the last thing he needed was to see me like this after all the other pain I had caused him - when the doors swung open and an all too familiar face entered the room.
I gazed across the room, my mouth falling open at the sight of the perfect face in front of me. I felt the jagged pieces of my chest spike painfully as I looked into the eyes of one of the family I had once dreamed of belonging to. I winced at the pain in my chest and saw him move towards me his face full of concern.
"Bella, honey are you ok?" His question registered with me, but I could do nothing but stare at his perfect features, and let the pain have me. I knew I would pay for this moment of joy later, when he was gone again, but for now, here was a member of the Cullen family, right in front of me.
"Bella?" More insistent now, his face creased with worry.
"C-Carlisle, what are you…?" I managed before the tears started.
Seeing Bella's face contort with pain as she stared at me broke my heart just a little bit more. I rushed forward to find out where she was hurting and to make it go away by any means necessary. She started to ask me a question, before breaking down into heart rending sobs.
I immediately rushed forward and gathered her up into my arms. Trying to be gentle because of her injuries, I cradled her in my arms as her tear ducts ran dry. The other staff subtly left the room, not wanting to intrude on what was, quite obviously, a private moment. The tears that Bella was crying seemed to hold in them a whole world of pain, not unlike the dry tears I had cried only moments before. Was her life now, as hard as Edward's seemed to be? Was she really hurting as much as he was? Or were these tears merely the result of the trauma she had clearly been through today?
I held her close, her face buried in my shoulder, until her body stopped shaking with the tears, and she mumbled something into my chest. I couldn't hear what she was saying so I tried to pull her away from me to ask her to repeat herself. At that she clutched at my shirt, almost hysterically, not allowing me to move her away from me without using force, which I had no intention of doing.
"Bella honey, what did you say? I didn't hear you sweetheart." She pulled away from my chest just far enough to look into my face, her eyes red with the tears, the purple circles under her eyes all too visible.
"I said I'm sorry." Her words confused me entirely. Why would the poor girl be apologising to me. Hadn't we been the ones who had left her behind?
"I don't understand Bella. What are you sorry for?"
"Everything." She cried out. I was more confused now. Not wanting to push her when she was clearly so fragile, I merely looked enquiringly at her.
"I'm sorry for being here, for ruining you shirt, for everything, but I'm so happy to see you."
"I'm glad to see you too Bella, you don't know how I've missed you. But I do wish I could be seeing you in different circumstances. Do you want to tell me what happened to you today?"
Her eyes wandered, for the first time, from my face to the blanket that was covering her.
"I guess I fell down the stairs again or something. I don't remember." The blood rushed to her face, the blush giving away her lie as easily as ever. The fact that she felt she needed to lie about what happened to her caused my concern to increase, but I knew better than to push her when she was feeling so vulnerable.
She sat then, in silence, chewing her bottom lip, the way she always did when she was nervous. I didn't want her to feel that way around me. I wanted her to trust me the way she once did.
"Bella, I'm sorry too honey, I don't believe for a second that you fell down the stairs today, but I won't push you. Just know that if you want to talk about it I'm here for you, and I want to help. Please don't feel alone Bella." She looked as though she was going to start to cry again, which was not what I wanted, but then she seemed to think better of it, and spoke instead, her words whispered and shaky.
"I am alone, and I fell." Then, detaching herself from me entirely she lay back down on the bed and turned her face away from me. I reached out to pull a stray hair away from her face, but froze as she flinched away from me.
"I'm sorry Bella." I whispered before walking quietly from the room.