Welcome to my world! This is my 4th story - hope you enjoy!
Disclaimer: SM owns Twilight and all the characters assocaited with it. I, sadly enough, only own the craziness within my mind that puts them in these situations.
After delivering the third baby of the day, I wanted nothing more than to go home to my quiet little neighborhood nestled into a hillside outside of Montecito and relax with a good book – albeit probably some sort of medical field related writing, but reading nonetheless. However, I needed to check on my newest patient and then return to the medical office for the final two appointments of the day.
I am not required to check on the newborns, as they were now in the care of the nursery staff, but I am just never able to stay away. And that's how I found myself standing in the nursery holding the newest bundle of joy in my arms.
The little girl wriggled closer into my chest and gripped my white jacket with her little hands. I looked at the girl and smiled. I really do love my job, but long for the family life. Being in the field of medical care that I am, I know all too well the chances of getting pregnant after the age of thirty-five, and that deadline was approaching within seven months. I want a child of my own so bad that I've started considering the possibility of insemination. Although I'm nowhere near being decided on it.
Trying to stay optimistic that I would find the right guy was getting harder with each passing day. I've all but given up on dating based on how much of a disaster my last one turned out to be. Mental note to self – never date a local restaurant owner. Most of my dates in the past few years have been pretty much worthless. A couple times they at least made it to the second date and managed to get into my bed. The last time that happened was almost six months ago. Like I said, I'm over men.
I sighed as my gaze drifted back down to the small, alert face of the newborn I was holding. How utterly innocent this little girl looked with her small rose-bud mouth. How warm and responsive and…flirtatious?
While I know the infant's unfocused eyes can't see into the hallway beyond the observation window, I still glanced curiously to where she was staring. On the far side of the glass, framed by red hearts the North Montecito Medical Center staff had posted for Valentine's Day, I caught sight of a pair of broad shoulders and a head of perfectly messy bronze hair.
I didn't immediately recognize the man, but my body flushed with heat instinctively and out of my past a name entered into my clouded mind.
Oh who am I kidding, no woman ever forgot Edward Cullen. And lord knows I've tried.
He was turned halfway towards me and I just couldn't stop myself from admiring his profile. He hadn't changed one bit in the ten years since we were both med students at UCLA sharing a study group.
Hell, last I heard he was practicing in Los Angeles, just a little over an hour away from Montecito but a totally different life. The perfect city for the perpetual bachelor.
So what was he doing here?
He shifted his position slightly and revealed a brunette nurse he was conversing with. Judging by the far away glazed expression of her eyes, Edward's spell on women hadn't diminished any in ten years time.
Against my shoulder the infant uttered a contented sigh. Oh, surely the little one's happiness couldn't be because of Dr. Cullen, even if back in college our classmates teased him about being the ultimate babe magnet.
Annoyed with my reaction to seeing Edward, I placed the baby back in her bed and without a last glance towards the visiting doctor left out the back door of the nursery.
Once in the halls of the hospital there was no sign of Edward. Perhaps he came over to pay a visit to his cousin, Seth? I'll have to ask him when I get back to the office.
The clock on the wall in the employee break-room indicated it was just after three in the afternoon. Perfect timing. If I leave out of here now I will get back in plenty of time for my 4:00 and 4:30 appointments. I had to reschedule quite a few appointments today in order to deliver the babies and I really dislike doing that but someone has to deliver the little ones. Seth was supposed to be in the office all day covering any emergencies but apparently he had left for the hospital at some point. It was the only logical explanation for Edward.
Once I arrived back at the office my receptionist, Jessica Stanley, who was working her way through undergrad nursing, greeted me. She was a perky little thing. Would make a good nurse some day, if she could pull her head down out of the clouds long enough.
"Dr. Swan, it's been a rather peaceful day. You only have two messages from patients with questions or concerns." Jessica said handing me the messages.
"Thank you Jess. Please let Angela know that I'm back and I will be in my office returning the calls."
Once in my office I happily answered the messages and had just wrapped them up when a light knock sounded on the door. Angela Cheney, my assisting nurse, poked her head in smiling like she always did. Pregnancy sure did suit her well. Angela and her husband Ben had been trying for years to get pregnant and were finally successful. Of course I was more than happen to take the couple on as clients.
"Good afternoon Ang." I welcomed her into the office with a wave of my hand.
"Hey Bella. How were the deliveries today?"
"Perfect. Is my 4:00 here?"
"Yes she is waiting for you. Also, your 4:30 just called and cancelled so you're free to go as soon as you've wrapped up with Mrs. Cope."
"Great news." I smiled as I jumped out of my chair and grabbed the file out of Angela's hand.
As luck would have it, Mrs. Cope had questions and since my last appointment had cancelled I was more than happy to sit and answer them all in detail. After I walked Mrs. Cope out of the office and locked the door behind her, Jessica stopped me. The girl was nearly bouncing out of her seat.
"Oh my goodness…Have you seen…Oh, I wish they'd explain…Well, I guess they're waiting for you." Jess babbled almost incoherently.
"Um…excuse me?" I asked as I tried to sort through the rush of words that came flying out of Jessica's mouth.
"They're in Dr. Clearwater's office. Can I be completely honest with you Dr. Swan?" She asked obviously flustered. I nodded, clearly intrigued by my young receptionist's actions. "The hottest man I have ever laid eyes on is in there."
Well I now had my answer. Only one man could evoke this kind of reaction from a woman and it certainly wasn't Seth. Although he was a good looking young man. Just not him.
"I assume you're referring to Dr. Cullen."
Jess just nodded her head dumbly for a second.
"Do you know if…well he's not wearing a ring but…"
"I have no idea if he's married or not Jess." I had avoided asking Seth any personal questions about his cousin. It was part of my attempt to forget he existed.
Jess shrugged then went back to her desk as my mind began racing with the possible reasons for Edward's sudden visit. I know that his Aunt Elizabeth passed just the week before and I wonder if the visit today has anything to do with that.
Before I reached Seth's office I ducked into the bathroom to straighten my hair and freshen my makeup.
Up until today I really had thought I moved past my misplaced attraction and the one night I had let my stupid emotions lead instead of my head. But clearly after my response to seeing him in the hospital and the fact that my heart is rapidly beating now, just proved that I have in fact not gotten past the elusive Edward Cullen.
As I raised my hand to knock on Seth's office door a shiver ran through my entire body from head to toe.
Get over it, Swan. Jesus.
I rapped on the door and not a second later it swung open revealing my business partner's smiling face. Seth and Edward were complete opposites and it was always a mystery as to how exactly they were related. It had to be by marriage solely. Seth clearly had Native American blood in his background, with his dark skin and black hair and coal black eyes, whereas Edward was pale with that indescribable bronze colored hair and the most piercing green eyes you'd ever seen.
"Good to see you Bella!" Seth enthused as he ushered me into his office. "You remember my cousin Edward."
I finally looked directly at him, even though his masculine scent had demanded my attention the second the door swung open. The reaction my body had to the smell of him made me feel like a first year med student again, trying not to gawk at the man. All he was doing was sitting there for Christ's sake but somehow he managed to change the entire feel of the office. The smoothness of his youth seemed to have been replaced by a hint of roughness but yet his eyes reflected a hint of vulnerability.
It made him almost irresistible. Almost.
I extended my hand towards Edward which he eagerly took within his.
"Of course I remember him." I said rapidly. "In fact, I saw you at the hospital, Edward. Sorry, I wasn't able to catch up with you there to say a quick hello."
"It truly is a wonderful facility." He said finally releasing my hand. "The new birthing center is very impressive."
"You sound like you are evaluating it. Surely you're not thinking of moving your practice out here." I said but realized how terse that sounded. He blinked slightly confused and it was confirmed that my words were taken as slightly unfriendly. "Our little med center couldn't possibly measure up to what you're used to in Los Angeles." I quickly added to smooth over my blunder.
The two men exchanged meaningful looks. Now I know for sure something is up and it most assuredly involves me and not Aunt Elizabeth.
"Well, see…actually, Edward's doing me – doing us both – a huge favor." Seth blurted out while looking down at his feet. "Bells, I just found out that Aunt Liz left me quite a sum of money. Enough that I am able to finally pay off my horrid student loans and then you know how much I've wanted to join Doctors Without Borders and now I have the money to do it."
I admit I had a hard time absorbing everything he just told me and figuring out what exactly this turn of events meant. I know Seth has been planning on doing DWB but it was envisioned years down the road.
Apparently with Aunt Liz's large legacy he was able to finally take the time off he wanted and climb out from under the huge debt associated with a doctor's degree. Something I can positively identify with. If it wasn't for the money that my own grandmother had left me upon her death I would likely still be paying mine off as well and I would undoubtedly not be living in the home I live in.
Then I remembered Seth's beginning '…doing us both a huge favor.' He planned to work here, with me.
Not that I can't handle working that closely with Edward, but it was a conundrum as to why, Edward – the man who loved research and challenges – would move to a small town to practice. Even if to help out a family member.
I realized then that both men were staring at me awaiting a reaction of some sort. Right now I just look like a fool standing here.
"Well congratulations Seth! This is great news." I spoke only looking at Seth. "When do you think you'll go?"
"Looks like I'll be leaving the first of March."
Two weeks. "You must have gotten lucky with finding a position available this short of notice."
"Truly I did. It's meant to be and the fact that Edward offered to fill in here for me. Everything has just worked out perfectly for everyone."
That verdict is still out…
"It sure has." I smiled although it felt more like a grimace to me. I'll admit that once I got past that it was Edward, finding a replacement that was Seth's equal was a stroke of luck. I turned to Edward before speaking again. "But how can you relocate on such short notice? And more importantly, why would you want to?"
"That's my Bells." Edward said tenderly. "Blunt as ever. Always just speaking whatever comes to mind."
His Bells? I never knew he thought of me that way.
You're reading way too much into this Swan.
"That wasn't an answer." I calmly replied. "What's going on here?"
"I've been looking to move up here for personal reasons." Was all he offered.
Personal reasons, huh? Nothing like being overly vague with someone. He did have the right to privacy though and since I definitely want to keep this relationship strictly professional I opted not to push any further.
"So you start in two weeks then?"
"That's the plan. If it's okay with you of course."
Yeah no problem at all except I've been uneasy around him since that night ten years ago and even now my body insisted on vibrating with the nearness of him.
"Who will notify your patients? Transitions can be hard on some people. Will Charlotte do it?" I asked Seth trying to move my mind on to other topics.
Charlotte White is Seth's nurse; an extremely kind older woman who loved her job. Apparently she would be staying on as Edward's nurse, which I am internally grateful for. Charlotte's bedside manner is impeccable and something I think should balance out Edward's persona well.
And although I've never socialized outside of work with Seth, I would miss having him around. We'd shared a common goal with the practice and had grown it from scratch into one of the most successful OB-GYN practices in Montecito. Yes, I would definitely miss him.
Seth merely nodded that 'yes' Charlotte would handle everything, leaving the tiny office quit.
Then realizing I hadn't exactly welcomed Edward, I turned to him. "I'm sure we'll make a fine team."
"I can always count on you." He said then turned to Seth. "In med school when the rest of us were pulling our hair out and going crazy, Bella would reign us in and get us to focus. She was a god send."
Obviously not enough to be more than a one night to him, I thought to myself and almost snorted at the thought. I remember that night like it was yesterday. It was third year med school and we had been studying for an exam together. One thing led to another and even though I knew of his reputation I was powerless to stop it, I didn't want to stop it. When it was done Edward made it clear that he enjoyed himself and that he wouldn't mind a rematch.
A rematch?! The cocky arrogant son-of-a-bitch asked me for a rematch. Was it just some sort of sport to him? Fucking random chicks for fun? Of course I was a fool to think he actually had feelings for me. I knew better! Edward Cullen didn't have long term feelings with any woman. Let alone the poor girl from Forks, Washington.
"She's full of all kinds of off the wall knowledge. She worked her way through college doing odds and ends, including a nanny." Seth said.
"Before med school, that is." I added quickly. I had never mentioned my jobs to the rest of study group afraid they would look down upon me for my lack of family funds. Charlie, my father, was the chief of police in the small town where she grew up in Washington while my mother, Renee, was a stay at home mom.
"She's also full of knowledge about Montecito. If you need to know anything at all about our quaint town, just ask Bells here." Seth continued.
"As a matter of fact…" Edward started in fixating his smoldering gaze on me. "I'm in need of a house. Would you happen to know of…?"
"One of my good friends is a realtor. She and her husband have their own rental properties as well as they sell. Here let me give you her information." I said as I reached over Edward to grab a pen and paper. It was hard not to hear his sharp intake of breath when I leaned over him, but I managed to outwardly ignore it. "Her name is Alice Whitlock. Her husband's name is Jasper. The company is Whitlock Realty. Give her a call."
"Thank you." Edward said obviously trying to control his facial expression as he met my eyes.
"No problem." I said dismissively as I walked out of the office.
After dictating my notes for the day I headed to my modest home in the Palm Circle neighborhood.
Ugh! I still can't believe that Edward Cullen, the Edward Cullen, was going to be my partner. The same Edward I was sure I was in love with back in med school. The one who womanized every girl he came in contact with, including myself.
The one who I just couldn't get out of my head.
Maybe a brisk run around the neighborhood would help to calm her nerves and clear her cloudy head.