Author's note: This is my second fan fiction. I didn't plan on writing another one, but I just couldn't get rid of this idea.
The story is set seven years after New Moon. Bella moved away from Forks, went to med school and now lives in Pasadena. She's moved on with her life, but when someone from her past shows up, everything changes…
The story will be told from both Bella and Edward's points of views. It just offers more possibilities.
My knowledge of American geography is limited, as is my knowledge about medical procedures. If you come across a mistake feel free to tell me. But, of course, you can just ignore it.
Those of you who read my first fan fiction (Cross Your Heart) know I'm not a native. If you find any mistakes language-wise, please tell me. I always strive to get better.
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters or the idea for the Twilight Saga; their all property of Stephenie Meyer! I'm only borrowing them!
The dream was surprisingly normal.
Revolving slowly around myself, I floated in space in orbit around Earth. The sun was a bright patch of light hundreds of thousands of miles away, and yet I felt its warmth which was good, because I was wearing nothing but a nighty. I propelled myself forward for a closer look. You didn't get the change to see Earth from above too often, after all.
Grinning like an idiot, I watched the white swirls of clouds wander over the blue and green surface. From up here Earth looked like a marble, a child's toy.
I stretched out my arm to touch the clouds. This was a dream after all, so maybe I was able to touch them. I'd always wondered what they'd feel like.
But I was too far away, and my hands could only reach the outmost layer of the atmosphere. What was it called? I tried to remember. Stratosphere? No, that one was farther down. While I was racking my brain, I felt a gentle tug. Surprised I glanced down. Nope. Nobody there. But I was picking up speed and was moving forward faster now than I liked.
What the hell?
And then I suddenly realized what it was. Gravity! Shocked, I tried to swim in the opposite direction, but it was too late. I was already plummeting down, and plummeting and plummeting and plummeting…
I woke with a start, heart pounding. My cell phone was ringing.
I grabbed the phone and hit the call button without checking the caller ID, and the ring tone, a version of Drops of Jupiter by Train and most likely the reason why my dream had taken such an unfortunate turn, died mid-sentence.
Who the hell was calling me at three in the morning?
"What?" I snapped as I fumbled for the light switch.
"Geez, Bells, it's just me," Jacob said, and I could almost see him rolling his eyes.
I was about to ask him why he was calling, then remembered that I'd asked him to call me when he left for the airport and my anger evaporated. If he wanted to be here by noon, he had to leave right about now.
"Sorry," I muttered, blushing as always. "I forgot." I finally found the switch, and the lights came on. Propping myself up against the headboard, I tried to clear my head. It had been a very long day, and I'd only gone to bed two hours ago.
"Guess I'm just not that important to you," Jake said in mock disappointment. "Maybe I shouldn't come after all."
"I don't think you'd get a refund," I said, rolling my eyes. Would he ever stop trying to tease me? Probably not.
He laughed. "You're probably right about that." His voice was softer when he asked, "Long day, huh?"
"The longest." I sighed. "Pile-up on the interstate. I'll tell you about it later."
He didn't argue. Jacob was used to me telling him bloody, revolting stories from the ER – Charlie didn't want to hear them, and I couldn't blame him – but he knew it would give me nightmares if I told them right before going to bed. Even after all this time.
"Can't wait to hear it." He sounded as if he meant it, which he probably did. Jacob was weird that way. The bloodier the better. "Anyway, I have to go now", he said. "Embry's driving me and he wants to get back before sunrise. See you later, Bells!" He hung up.
I tossed the phone back on the nightstand, but as usual my aim was off and it thudded on the floor instead, probably leaving a dent in the parquet.
I turned off the lights and tried to go back to sleep, but sleep wouldn't come. Ever since he'd left – seven years ago to the day, I realized; I'd turned twenty-five two days ago – I had trouble sleeping. Sometimes I even dreamed about the night he'd left me in the forest and still woke sweating and screaming at the top of my lungs.
But I'd accepted he'd never come back, and so I'd left Forks, went to med school in sunny California where no vampire who wanted to blend in and go out during the day like any other human – like they would want to – would ever move and eventually settled in Pasadena. Since I wouldn't return to Forks even for his or Charlie's birthday – too many haunting memories – Jake flew over every other weekend. He missed me although he'd given up on the idea that we'd be ever more than friends some day a long time ago. I did love him, but I wasn't in love with and, and I often wondered if I'd ever fall in love again or if, in that respect, I'd been damaged beyond repair.
Eventually I got up and took a hot shower. It was four in the morning, and I might as well get back to work and start my shift early. Maybe I could surprise Jake by picking him up from the airport. By now he knew his way around Pasadena – his sense of direction was a lot better than my own, probably because of the werewolf thing – and he had a key to my apartment, but I wanted to see him and talk to him now and not tonight.
I missed him, too.
Linda, the head nurse, shook her head as I entered the ER, but didn't say anything; she was used to me working late, which I usually did when I couldn't sleep. Sitting at home alone at night was kind of depressing.
"Did anything happen while I was at home?" I asked, eyeing the charts in the tray next to her.
"Kid came in with head trauma," she replied. "Fell down the stairs when he wanted to say hello to his parents who'd just come home from a business trip. Danvers took care of it."
"I see," I said, indecisive. Should I go home again? Linda raised her eyebrows at me, and I quickly said, "I'll be in the doctor's lounge, doing some paperwork. Page me if you need me."
"Of course," she answered. I saw her glance at the doctors' directory when I turned and I felt my face go red. I knew she'd call around and try to find someone willing to trade shifts so I'd be able to leave at eleven. I'd never asked her to. She was just trying to make my life a little bit easier, and I was glad to have her on my side. She didn't seem to get along well with any of the other doctors in the ER, but I was probably just imagining things.
I strode into the doctor's lounge, tripping over the threshold as usual. Automatically extending my arms, I managed to regain my balance within seconds. I still tripped a lot, but I seemed to get better at avoiding the fall. What choice did I have, really? There was nobody here to catch me, hadn't been since I'd moved away from Forks.
Olivia, one of my few friends, was curled up in one of the armchairs. She was fats asleep and didn't so much as flinch when I entered noisily. Smiling, I tucked the blanket she'd swaddled herself in back under her arms before I sat down to get started. I knew people accused me of working too much, but Olivia was worse. I didn't think she ever went home.
We'd met at med school and had been friends ever since. I'd never told her about my past – what could I tell her? Well, I was dumped by my vampire boyfriend because he didn't love me anymore… Sure, and right after I'd told her she'd personally escort me up to the psych ward – but she was one of those people who were very perceptive. Just by watching me she'd figured out that I'd been through a lot, emotionally speaking. One night she'd offered me to talk about it, I'd refused. She hadn't broached the subject ever again.
In a way she was like Angela. Sometimes, more often than I'd like, I regretted that we hadn't stayed in touch. But just as I would never return to Forks I wouldn't speak to anyone who might remind me of what I'd been through there. Except Charlie and Jake.
I'd been able to get a scholarship for med school. I didn't know what else to do, and I needed something which would keep my mind busy and allow me to get away from Forks and into the sun. When I got the acceptance letter, Charlie had almost burst with pride.
Of course, half-way through the first semester I'd remembered that he'd once told me that he held several medical degrees as well – but I had changed. I still loved him and I probably always would, but I wouldn't allow him to govern my life anymore the way he had before, and so I stayed.
I'd made the right choice.
Nobody paged me until it was well after eight. I shoved the stacks of finished paperwork aside and stretched, yawning. Joints cracked audibly.
"You shouldn't be working all night, Bella," Olivia said, and I turned to find her wide awake and watching me. Her tone was disapproving, her blue eyes narrowed.
"That's the pot calling the kettle back," I replied, and she stuck her tongue out at me. Sometimes she reminded me of Alice, which was probably why I liked her so much.
"Do you want to have breakfast?" she suggested.
"Sure." I glanced at the watch. If Linda found a doctor who'd trade shifts I'd be able to leave in three hours. I'd have to thank her later. I didn't know why people kept looking after me the way they did. But maybe they thought I needed looking after. Jake would certainly agree.
I often wondered what people saw when they were looking at me. Did they see a young successful doctor? Or did they see the girl who'd been broken and stitched back together?
So much time had passed. I'd gotten older, the thing I'd dreaded most when we were still together, and it seemed to help. I wasn't happy, but I was content, and maybe, if more time passed, I could even be happy again.
We went upstairs. The cafeteria was unusually packed. It was Friday, and normally all hell broke loose in the ER just around sunrise. But maybe the accident yesterday had thrown everything out of balance. I didn't believe in those things, but I was glad I didn't have to face dying people and mutilated bodies again. Once a week was definitely enough.
A doctor from Oncology, short with red hair and sparkling green eyes, sat down with us. I didn't know her name – I'd never been good at making new friends, and for some reason it was even more difficult now than it had been in high school – but she seemed nice enough, and we even exchanged a few sentences.
My pager went off at nine. "Sorry," I said and left them alone. I went back down, remembering to grab my coat from the doctor's lounge, before I returned to the ER.
A nurse, the same, I realized, who had talked to Linda earlier that morning, handed me a chart as I passed the reception, and I briefly glanced at the first page. Fifteen-year-old Allison Lloyd had been hit by a car. The EMTs believed she was OK, but had decided to take her in just to be sure. I found a post-it attached to the second page. Driver says she just ran into the street. Thought I smelled alcohol. Want to go to dinner on Monday? Paul G. I tore the note off and flipped it in the trash. Paul, one of the EMTs was a nice enough guy, but I didn't feel like dating.
To be honest, I hadn't had a single date ever since Jake asked me out six years ago. The date had started out very nice, but things had gotten out of hand when he'd tried to get me to talk about him, and I'd spent the rest of the evening crying while Jake had tried to comfort me, apologizing over and over again for bringing him up, and I didn't feel like going on a date – any date – after that.
Pathetic, wasn't it?
The nurse – I finally remembered that her name was Carol and that she'd worked in the ICU before she'd been transferred into the ER– had read the note, too, and already ordered the necessary tests. She didn't say anything about Paul when I asked her where the girl was, probably because she hadn't been here long enough. Everybody else knew he had a crush on me.
They though we'd make a cute couple.
"Hi there," I said as I pulled aside the blue curtain which hid the girl from view to give her some privacy. The teenager turned her head, raising an eyebrow. She was wearing black like most teenagers seemed to these days. Black boots, black tights, a black skirt so short Charlie wouldn't have left me the house in, and a tank top which barely reached her belly button. Her eyes were rimmed with black eyeliner, and her pale hair was greasy.
Yep, seemed to me like a typical teenager. But maybe she'd surprise me.
"You're a doctor?" Her voice was sullen. She was in shock – or should have been – and being rude was obviously her way of dealing with the fact that she'd almost died. But, then, being a hormone-ridden teenager, she was probably just rude, period.
"I am," I told her and decided not to humour her by offering her to show her my diploma as I sometimes did to convince elderly people that I only looked like seventeen, but was, in fact, a real doctor and had been for some time.
Surely I hadn't been like that as a teenager, had I?
"I'm Dr Swan. Allison, right? Can you tell me what happened?"
Allison rolled her eyes. "I already told the EMT, and that nurse who took, like, a gallon of blood. What did she do that for, anyway? I was hit by a car!"
I shrugged as I put on a pair of gloves. "Procedure." Most teenagers who came in these days were, I'm sorry to say, completely wasted, and the number had increased steadily since I'd started working here. Checking blood alcohol levels was mandatory if there was cause to believe the teenager had been drinking prior to whatever incident had landed him in the ER. If the test came back positive, we were obliged to inform the parents or the police if we couldn't get a hold of the former. Teenage drinking was a serious problem these days, and patient-doctor confidentiality didn't apply if the kid in question was underage.
I didn't know if Allison knew. She didn't throw a fit when I told her we'd been trying to reach her parents, so she either didn't or wasn't drunk. We'd find out soon enough.
While I examined her carefully she glared at me for no apparent reason. She didn't want to be here and she clearly considered the fact that she was to be my fault. I could have let her go, now couldn't I?
The EMTs had been right. She was fine except for a small bruise on her left knee and some superficial scratched on her palms she'd sustained when she'd tried to catch her fall and her pupils reacted the way they were supposed to when I checked them, so she didn't have a concussion, either. I didn't smell alcohol, though.
Maybe Paul had just needed an excuse to write me a personal note.
"You look fine," I told her after I'd cleaned the scratches. I snapped off the gloves and tossed them in the trash beside the bed. Of course I missed, but luckily Allison didn't notice.
She muttered, "Told you so," and hopped off the bed, grabbing her bag, ready to go.
"Hold on," I said, catching her by the strap of her pink bag just as she was about to walk off.
She turned, glaring. "What?"
"You need to be X-rayed. Just to make sure nothing's broken."
"You just said I was fine." Her tone was accusing, and I shrugged again.
"Sorry, but unfortunately I don't have X-ray vision. You're going to have to wait a few hours, though, so you'll should probably call your school and tell them you're not coming today."
Her mood brightened considerably at my last remark. "Well," she said eventually, with a very generous air, "I guess I'll have to stay then." She made herself at home on the bed again, her expression smug.
Rolling my eyes, I turned and went to drop off her chart.
Jake's flight was late. But for some reason it always was, so when I pulled into the parking lot thirty minutes after its actual time of arrival I was right on time. Grabbing my purse, I locked the car, a blue Dodge Jake had picked out for me because he hadn't trusted me not to buy another beat-up Chevy even though I'd promised – at first he'd wanted me to buy a Volvo, which had been out of the question for obvious reasons – and hurried inside. I found the right terminal and pushed my way through the crowd.
Fortunately, Jake was easy to spot; he towered over almost every other passenger. Waving madly, I tried to get his attention, and a grin spread across his face when he finally saw me. I smiled back at him while he made his way towards me. Jake was two years younger than me, but because of the werewolf thing he looked like he was at least thirty. I didn't care, though. He was still my Jacob, no matter what he looked like.
"Hi Bells!" he shouted, his deep voice drowning out every other noise. He heaved his bag which looked so heavy that I probably wouldn't have been able to lift it half an inch off the ground off the baggage conveyor with ease. I sighed, and wondered why hanging around with such extraordinary people all the time when I was anything but extraordinary hadn't given me complexes yet.
"Jake," I said, smiling, as he dropped his bag in front of me and gathered me into his arms to swing me around. "How was your flight?" I asked, wiping sweat off my forehead. It was already hot outside, and Jake was always running a higher temperature than other people. The heat radiating from his body seemed to burn right through my clothes.
He put me down and laughed. "Uneventful. How come you're here to pick me up? I thought you had to work this afternoon."
"I managed to trade shifts," I answered, evasive. He and Linda would get along just fine.
"You didn't go back to work after I called you, did you?" he asked suspiciously. He followed me outside and loaded his bag in the trunk.
"Well," I said eventually, "I did. But it also means you're going to have me all day."
He rolled his eyes. "Guess I'll just have to carry you back to your apartment when you fall asleep."
"I won't fall asleep," I replied with as much dignity as I could muster. It had, after all, happened before. "Get in."
Grinning, he opened the passenger door.
We had lunch at our favourite restaurant like every other Friday. Exactly thirty seconds after we'd sat down – and by now we didn't even have to wait for a table anymore – the owner came out to say hello, followed by the chef who were both delighted to see Jake. I just shook my head as they greeted him like old friends. Jake ate like a horse. Of course, they loved him.
We ordered the usual, and while we were waiting Jake filled me in on what was going on in Forks and La Push.
Charlie had promoted him. Jake hadn't told me over then phone because he wanted to surprise me, and I leaned over the table to hug him tightly. I was proud of him. So was my father. He trusted Jacob a lot, enough to hand him the reins when he wasn't there, which made me even prouder. Besides, he knew how expensive plane tickets were. I'd offered to pay for it, but Jake wouldn't hear of it. I was glad my father had found a way to help.
He was still convinced we'd get together one day.
Leah was pregnant, and I was happy for her because she'd thought she would never be able to conceive. She was due in March and had Jake asked to forward an invitation for her baby shower. I told him to tell her I'd come. La Push I could handle. It was just Forks I wanted to get away from.
He showed me pictures of Sam and Emily's second son who'd been born two months ago and was probably the cutest baby in Washington State. Russet skin, chubby face, blue eyes and tufts of black hair. Would he turn into a werewolf, too? Maybe, if a vampire decided to come to Forks. But that wasn't very likely. The nomads didn't get too close, and if the Cullens ever came within a hundred mile radius Jake would bite their heads off for what they'd done to me.
I'd told him he didn't have to. They'd had their reasons, but he wouldn't listen.
It didn't matter, though. They wouldn't return. If they'd wanted to, they would have by now.
It was too late.
We spent most of the day in the sun, talking about pack stuff. Jake wasn't allowed to share everything, which was fine with me, but what he was free to tell me was still interesting enough. I was the only person outside La Push he could talk to about these things, and I think he was glad that he could.
I told him about my week, about the car crash, all the people who'd been air-lifted into our ER. Many of them had survived relatively unscathed, but others hadn't been so lucky and had sustained severe injuries. Some of them had died last night.
I got to me, though I knew it shouldn't. People died. There was only so much you could do about it, and we'd done all we can.
When we finally got to less personal topics – politics and economy – it was almost evening, and we went to have dinner where Jake ate just as much as he had at lunch. It was fascinating to watch, and a little bit disgusting.
After dinner we walked back to my small house in silence. Jake took my hand, and I smiled, but it was a sad smile. I wished I'd loved him the way I loved him. I knew Jake did. And I was sorry that I didn't return his feelings.
"Did you make plans for the weekend?" Jake asked while I was sitting on the red quilt on the bed, watching him toss his stuff in the guest room closet. The gift he'd brought – he always brought me a gift – a wolf carved out of wood stood already on the shelf in my bedroom next to the others.
I shrugged. "Not yet. We could drive to L.A. and go to the beach."
Jake grinned. "Do I get to see you in a bikini?"
I tossed a pair of jeans at him, which he caught before they hit him in the face.
"I need to check in with Sam," he said when he was finished unpacking. "You'll be OK for a few minutes?"
Why was it he still thought he had to babysit me?
"Sure," I said, smiling despite the urge to throw something at him again. "Go." I shoed him out, the remembered that my neighbours weren't exactly animal lovers and called after him, just loud enough for him to hear, "Make sure the neighbours don't see you! They shoot on sight!"
I decided to take a shower while he was gone, but just as I was about to turn on the hot water the lights went out. "Shoot," I muttered, feeling my way out of the bathroom, down the hallway and into my bedroom to get dressed again, all the while hoping Jake wouldn't pop his head back in to see what was going on and see me stark-naked. The house was old and the fuses blew at least once a week.
I slid back into my clothes. I knew I had a Maglite somewhere, but I figured it would take me longer to find it than to feel my way to the breaker box. It was in the hallway, right beside the door Jake had left open. I opened it and carefully touched the tiny porcelain switches. All of them were down. Weird, I thought, that they would all blow at the same time. I flipped them back up, and the lights came on instantly. I shook my head, determined not to let this bother me and turned to return to the bathroom and shower before Jake came back.
I froze. A scream built up in my throat but never came out as I was struggling for breath.
How could I've been so foolish? How could I've ever believed she'd leave me alone after Jake's pack had chased her halfway across the country? I hadn't seen her in over seven years, and I'd told myself over and over again that I'd never see her again, that Jake would keep me safe.
I'd been wrong.
She stared at me, her crimson eyes glittering with rage.
Jake, I thought, where are you? Had he gone deeper in the woods because of my warning? He was too far away to hear or smell her, otherwise he would already have been on top of her. If I screamed… Would he hear me if I screamed? I opened my mouth, but no sound came out. Helplessly I stared at Victoria's face and knew that I was about to die.
Some strangely detached part of my mind noted that she must have kept her distance as to keep Jake from knowing she was after me again. If he'd known he'd have personally packed me on a plane to Seattle to have me back in La Push within less than twelve hours.
"So," Victoria said, her voice not what I'd expected. It was girly, almost child-like and didn't match her murderous expression. "Finally."
I swallowed. My heart started racing. Run, I told myself. Run! I knew I couldn't possibly outrun her, but if only I got closer to Jake…
Victoria seemed to know she didn't have much time. She pounced suddenly and her hands closed around my shoulders like claws, hard enough to draw blood. We crashed into the wall. Plaster fluttered down and got caught in her fiery hair.
Finally, as my brain registered the pain, I screamed.
I didn't know if she'd planned to torture me. She probably had, but once I felt hot blood seep through my shirt I knew she wouldn't be able to go through with her original plan. My blood was too appealing, too hard to resist, and Victoria, just like her mate James, couldn't. When she sunk her teeth into my throat I was almost glad. Death would come quickly then.
Then Jake was there, snarling and roaring. He slammed into Victoria like a russet-coloured cannon ball, his claws scratching at her perfect, marble skin, marring it. She let go of me almost instantly to defend herself.
But the damage was already done.
Jake was charging at her, trying to sink his teeth into her to tear her apart, and Victoria was doing what she did best. She ran. Jake's body was tense. His tuned his head at me, then back out the door, not knowing whether to go after Victoria or stay with me.
He chose the latter. He stared at me as I feebly tried to stop the bleeding. I knew I had only seconds left before the burning would start.
"Jake," I whispered, and he lowered his big head down to me, his eyes sad. He knew what was happening to me, knew that Victoria's venom was already spreading through my bloodstream and turning me into a vampire, the very thing he despised. My hands were trembling when I buried them in his soft fur. "Jake… Kill me."
And then I burst into flames.