This is my first story in a long time, so forgive me if I'm rusty. This is set during New Moon, after Bella's bike accident. When she discovers that Carlisle has stayed behind to protect her as Edward wished, she finds comfort in a a familiar face. When she discovers that the family leaving had to do with more than Edward, though, her world is changed forever.

World & Characters are owned by Stephanie Meyers! I just own the storyline! Please review, I love feedback. Let me know what you think!


Exam rooms are always freezing, as if they do it to help ease patient's fevers with no regard for those without them. Alright, I was being a little inconsiderate. I'm sure that the staff got overheated running around all day, too. Two to one, they win, it stays cold. I adjusted my pull-over, trying not to look like a shivering chihuahua as I waited to be seen for my now non-bleeding head. It had stopped a few minutes ago after I applied pressure, but I still needed to see if it needed stitches. Me and stitches, friends to the end it seemed as of late.

My head throbbed as I cradled it in my hands and heard the door 'click' open. Looking up, I felt a hot wave hit me like a brick wall, as if I'd swallowed boiling water and it was slowly cooking my fingers and toes. It took me a moment to steady myself, to blink and realize what I was seeing was real.

"Carlisle?" I didn't mean for it to come out like a question, but I guess thats what the past few months had done to me. He just stood there for a moment and smiled, flipping through my chart as he closed the door behind him and came a bit closer.

"Bella... Nice to know not much has changed. Let me see that cut." He leaned in and I held my breath for a minute, trying to remain calm. Where the hell had he been? Had he really been in town this entire time and just not said anything? His hands brushed back my hair for a better look at the wound, and while it only took him a second it felt like forever. I'd never been comfortable with people being too close, but it was a different sort of comfortability with Carlisle, a tension of some sort that always seemed like a glass of water just about to spill over. I suppose that'd be normal though, considering the man looked like a god.

He finished and I looked up, shrugging as a caught my breath,"Yeah, still a klutz. It doesn't hurt too bad now, just a headache. I debated coming in but---"

"I'm glad you did." He cut me off, "This doesn't seem to be too deep so you should be fine, but I'm more concerned about how it happened. Motorcycles?" He sat down beside me, his hand on my knee as he sighed. "Bella..."

I held up a hand, "I know, just stop. I know. I'm a big pathetic walking mess, but thats okay. I'm starting to accept--"

"No, obviously you're not," he cut me off, his expression dripping with sympathy. I'd gotten tired of sympathy, it did no good whatsoever. It sure as hell wasn't going to bring Edward back, which was all I wanted. "Bella, I won't pretend to know what you're going through but this has to stop. Edward wouldn't want you to be like this."

I almost wanted to growl, I was so angry, but I just didn't have the strength with Carlisle. Something about him oozed serenity, calm, peace. That was just him. Sometimes I wondered how he did it, but right now I didn't care, I was just grateful for it. I looked down, really not wanting to tear up for the billionth time over this. I just couldn't, it was so much easier to just be angry.

"He's being selfish, wanting me to just stay put and not be 'reckless' while he's away, but claims he doesn't even want to be with me anymore!" my hands were shaking, but at least I had someone to vent to. I sighed, "I'm sorry. It's just too much." Carlisle's hand never moved from my knee but instead rubbed it therapeutically, and I felt the tension begin to ebb away. A knock at the door broke the rhythmic massage and I looked up, nearly ten minutes had passed since he'd come in. They probably needed him in another room.

He removed his hand, standing as a feminine voice said, "Dr. Cullen, you're needed in Room 4." Yup. His head dropped for a moment as if he were tired, though I knew that wasn't the case.

"I'll be right there, thank you." he responded, turning back to face me with a solemn expression. "I understand that you're angry, you're hurt, but please... if you're angry with him, this isn't the way to go about showing it. Think about everyone else you're hurting in the process. I--"

"You? Where have you been this whole time, Carlisle?" Then came the tears, just like before, no use fighting them. I'm sure that I looked completely unstable, a total wreck, but I didn't care. "You've been here, right here! You've been going about your business like nothing happened, when everything has happened! Everything has changed and I seem to be the only one who cares!" I broke down, that was it. I buried my face in my hands and winced as my fingers touched the open wound. Fantastic, I couldn't even be miserable gracefully. I felt Carlisle move closer, and when I looked up he had knelt down to be at eye-level with me. Again, my breath caught in my throat.

"Of course I care, Bella." He looked at me like he had never meant anything more than he meant those words. "I know we may not have gotten much time together, but that doesn't lessen how I feel about you. I could never forgive myself if something happened to you... especially if it was because of all of this." He rose, and I was able to breathe again as I watched him gather his clipboard and turn towards the door. He paused, "Before you call Edward selfish, imagine how your behavior seems to those who love you."

He wasn't getting the last word, no matter how right he was. "If you cared about me so much, why haven't you called? Why haven't I seen you?" There was no noble excuse for that, at least I didn't think so until he turned back and met my gaze.

"Edward asked me to watch over you, but not to see or speak to you. He felt it would only make things harder." My anger towards him softened with those words, but hardened towards Edward. So it would make things harder for me to have some kind of support after he just left like that? Nothing would have been harder than what I'd been enduring, and for him to be so presumptuous as to think he knew what was best for me after leaving me...

Taking a deep breath, I stood and let Carlisle open the door for me. I turned back to face him once we were out in the hallway and said, "I'm sorry I took it all out on you. You were just respecting his wishes." He smirked as if nothing had happened, leaning on the door frame as I turned to leave.

"Bella, wait," He grabbed my arm gently, turning me back towards him as he began writing something on his prescription pad. I shook my head,

"I don't need any pain meds, I'll be fi--"

"I insist you take this, and call me in the morning." He interrupted with a quick wink, turning on his heels as he continued his day. I folded the paper and put it in my pocket, walking out of the waiting room and into the parking lot with no intention of filling the prescription. It was dusk and the evening chill had started to settle as I got into my truck and headed home. Even after a year, I still hadn't adjusted to the temperature. Couldn't take much longer, right?

I sighed, the streetlights casting orbs on my sprinkled windshield as I turned into my driveway and shut of the engine. I sat back, closing my eyes for a moment as I replayed the day in my head, frame by frame. I didn't want Charlie to see me so frazzled, not again. Maybe I could pretend a little better today, for him. I got out of the truck, trying unsuccessfully not to slam the door, and headed inside.

Charlie turned partially, not wanting to miss whatever sports highlight was on, "Hey Bells, how'd your day go?"

I shrugged, letting my hair fall over the cut, "Not too bad, just went out and about. It was good to just get out." Okay, it wasn't a complete lie. It had been good to see Carlisle again, but that was the extent of the day's 'goodness'. Charlie gave a small smile and nodded, he believed me.

Running upstairs, I stripped off my damp jacket and pulled my hair up into a clip as I collapsed back onto the bed with a long, tired groan. I rolled over and curled up, exhausted beyond belief. Shifting, I heard a crackling and looked down. Oh, the prescription. I took the piece of paper out and unfolded it, curious as to what you give someone with a chronic case of klutz.

"I've already seen and spoken to you, so my promise is broken. I'm here." it read. I put it aside and laid back down, then laughed as I remembered his 'call me in the morning' comment. I'd have to take him up on that.

Thats when I felt it again, that same hot wave smash into me, threatening to cook me alive if I fought it but relieve every care in the world if I went with it. Maybe I was finally adjusting to this chilly temperature.