A/N: This is my first ever fanfic. I hope you find it interesting and that you enjoy my characterisations.
Stephanie Meyer owns all things Twilight, I just get to mess with them.
Chapter 1 A beginning
"Yes Mom, I'm at the hospital now. I'll make sure Dad is home in time for the celebrations. Don't worry." I snapped my cell phone shut and pushed open the double doors leading to the ER.
My father, well, the man I called my father, Carlisle Cullen, was a surgeon at this hospital. I liked coming to collect him. I enjoyed the fast pace of the ER and the interesting cases that came through the doors. Not every case was interesting or exciting of course, but any break with the norm in my otherwise mundane routine was exciting to me.
"Hello Edward dear, your father is in with a patient. Go on through to his office and wait for him if you like" said Nurse Ruth smiling at me over her glasses as I approached her desk.
She was an older lady with a wide smile and was always happy to see me. I had hung around a lot these past few years and we'd grown to like each other a great deal. She had often let me be in places the children of the staff would normally not be allowed and I appreciated the fact that she treated me as an adult, despite my pretending to be a 17 year old high school junior.
I say pretending to be a high school junior not because I wasn't in school, I was. I say pretending to be because I am actually a 95-year-old vampire that cannot age or grow older.
"Thank you Ruth" I said with a smile as I headed back behind her desk and towards my fathers office. The corridor was blocked with gurneys and patients in various degrees of pain. The ER was always busy on Friday nights.
As I was passing a curtained off cubicle a yo-yo came rolling out from under it and hit the toe of my shoe. I bent to collect it and cleared my throat outside the curtain of the cubicle it came from.
A voice said, "Come on in" and I recognized it as that of my father.
I heard a giggle as I slid the curtain shut behind me.
On the gurney was a raven-haired child of around 5 years.
Carlisle was standing to the side of her bed his hands covered in sticky white plaster of Paris, obviously setting the child's arm after a break.
She had wide brown eyes and she was staring up at him and then back to her arm, then back to his face over and over as his hands smoothed out the cast.
A woman of around 25 was seated opposite the bed and she sucked in a breath when I entered. I was used to this type of reaction. Humans often felt wary, uneasy even, in my presence. It was a natural reaction. The flight or fight instinct usually kicked in when I was in an enclosed space with one.
I did my best to smile the kindest smile I could muster at the woman to put her at ease. She sighed once again and sunk back into the lounge chair, but was careful to put her hand on top of the hand of the small girl in the bed. It was a comforting gesture to the untrained eye. To me it was nothing more than a proprietary movement designed to show me, however subconsciously, that she'd fight to protect this child. It was a mother's instinct above all else.
"Hello son. I am almost done here. Edward this is Mrs Swan. Mrs Swan this is my son Edward. And this little beauty is Isabella."
"Hello Mrs Swan, hello Isabella" I said absently as I held out my hand to the girl showing her the wayward yo-yo I had rescued.
Her high-pitched giggle was bouncing around the room as I leaned over the edge of the bed and placed it in her upturned palm.
"There you go little lady. I hope you'll still be able to play with that with your arm in that cast." I smiled down at her as it plopped into her tiny hand.
The yo-yo toppled once again out of her hand and onto the bed. I quickly scooped it back up and reached for her wrist to steady her hand this time.
The instant my skin touched hers a spark of electricity passed from my fingertips to her wrist. I was sure I had seen it, felt it, but she sat wide-eyed and giggling without seeming to have noticed.
I sucked in an involuntary breath and stepped back towards the curtain once again.
I looked down at the fragile, tiny girl and stared, wide eyed.
In all my 95 years I'd never felt anything like it.
It was as if there was a string attached to my gut pulling me toward her.
My every nerve ending, every thought, every desire reached out of me and towards this tiny child. It was as if for the first time I was truly seeing. Truly feeling.
She was what I had been waiting for.
"You're pretty," she said as she looked up at me through thick brown lashes.
Carlisle smirked and Mrs Swan grimaced, "Bella, behave" she said and dropped her eyes to the bed once again.
"Well he is." Said Isabella with a pout.
I couldn't speak. I was rooted to the spot. Unable to even gesture that I'd heard her. Carlisle searched my face for an answer and I heard him say in his mind "Edward, son, are you alright?"
I nodded imperceptibly. I knew Carlisle would catch the small movement. Carlisle and I often had these silent conversations. I had the ability to find Carlisle's mental voice in amongst the tangle of mental thoughts ringing through the busy hospital. I was able to hear his thoughts and answer them as though he had spoken them aloud.
Carlisle recognized that I was having some difficulty though he had no idea about what. He turned to me and said that perhaps I could wait for him in his office as he would be finished momentarily and then we could leave for the evening.
I nodded again and withdrew through the curtain once again.
I didn't understand what had just happened. I stumbled down the corridor towards the door marked Dr Cullen, opened it and slipped inside. I stood against the door for what seemed an age.
Who was this impish child? What did this mean? Why did I now feel ill having left that cubicle? What had she just done to me? Was she some sort of witch? Was I ill? Properly ill, feverish perhaps. Was I having some strange reaction to something, or someone? Was I having a mental breakdown for some reason? And what did it have to do with Isabella Swan?
I heard Carlisle before he entered the room.
"Edward, son, what's happening. Are you hurt?"
I moved away from the doorframe and perched on the edge of the sofa that ran along the wall inside the office to await Carlisle's entry. I hung my head in my hands and raked them through my hair.
He closed the door carefully and sprang to my side at once, leaning down to get a closer look at my face.
"Edward? What is it? You looked positively ill just now. What happened? Is it Esme, did Alice see something?" He was searching my face for answers. Looking hesitantly over my body to see if I had sustained some type of injury.
But of course it was nothing like that. I wasn't harmed. I wasn't ill. I was changed, surely. But not hurt.
I shook my head once to clear the fragments of thoughts away before I lifted my head and looked Carlisle directly in the eye.
I drew a deep breath I didn't really need and stated simply "Isabella Swan. She's mine." And returned my hands to my hair.
"Ahh" was all he said.