Well, I finally have an update for you! I've had most of it written for over a month, but I have my final assignment due very soon, so I've done very little writing of any kind until this week. I hope it was worth the wait!

Chapter 32

Morning Chill

Bella had remained in bed until the last possible moment after her father had left, before jumping up and taking a hot shower. She was still… sticky from the previous night's antics, though she didn't feel so. She liked knowing a little part of him remained on her and in her afterwards. It had also helped her to fall asleep straight away after he'd left, though now she was awake; all she could think about was seeing him again.

She had little time to dwell on her thoughts as Alice beeped her horn outside as Bella was finishing her breakfast. She dumped her dishes in the sink and ran out with the last of her toast, dropping ungracefully into the passenger seat and Alice giggled at her.

"What?" Bella said, before munching on the toast, crumbs dropping down her top.

"You're just so… you!" Alice said, chuckling.

"Who else would I be?" Bella asked, her mouth full of the chewed up toast.

Alice simply shook her head and stepped on the accelerator. They were at school in no time, and as they climbed out of the car, Bella was keenly aware of all the teenage couples milling around, reminding her of just how lonely she now was without someone to share her school life with. She Alice would be with her whenever she could, but with Carlisle often working long hours at the hospital, part of her questioned just how they had managed to come together. Would it have happened without the mating instinct? Would Carlisle still care about her?

"Stop that!" Alice admonished as the entered the building.

"I wasn't…"

"I know what you were thinking!"

"You a mind reader too now?" Bella scoffed.

"I don't have to be! The distance will do it. Makes you doubt the connection. It happens when it's all new. Trust me, it'll get easier, and you have nothing to worry about," Alice reassured her before they parted ways to their first classes.

Bella tried to ignore the cold and lonely feeling that had settled within her. Logically, she knew Alice was right, that it would get easier as time went on and their bond deepened, but part of her couldn't help both dwelling on the forced circumstance, and desperately wanting to be near him again.

As it was, Carlisle was having similar troubles, though thankfully, his many centuries of experience meant that he would be highly unlikely to make any mistakes, no matter how distracted he was. It was becoming easier. It was no longer painful, but the coldness within his chest was still unsettling. He felt disturbingly incomplete.

He had little time to dwell on his thoughts as the Senior Consultant opened his door without so much as knocking. Technically, he was Carlisle's boss, but in reality, Carlisle knew that the middle-aged man could never hope to best him for skill and knowledge.

"Carlisle. I trust you heard?" said Dr Denham.

"Heard? About what?" Carlisle answered.

"The yearly fundraiser of course!"

"Ah. I knew it was soon. When is it?"

"In two weeks. It's in Seattle as per usual. Bring your lovely wife! She's always a delight!" Dr Denham said enthusiastically.

Carlisle inwardly rolled his eyes. Of course, Esme had always been happy to go along with him and be the beautiful woman on his arm. Carlisle hated using Esme in such a way, but she had always insisted on doing her part to keep his career in the spotlight. It helped build connections which would further help them when they needed to move around.

"I am no longer married," Carlisle replied.

"Oh? Since when?"

"A few months back."

"Oh. Well, as long as you do your part, I'm sure we'll get the yearly funding we need," Dr Denham said before turning on his heel and marching out.

Carlisle shook his head. He knew he had little choice but to go. He was essentially their star surgeon and any funding they got would sit solely on his shoulders by wowing the big wigs at the fundraiser. He could go alone, but as soon as he thought about it, he knew he wanted Bella to go with him. He would ask and explain the whole situation, and he wouldn't blame her if she thought that it would be too much for her. He would never expect her to go. He simply wanted to be with her, and he knew no one would recognise her in Seattle, especially if Alice made her up to look a few years older.

Alice drove them back to the house and Bella wasted no time in bounding up the stairs to Carlisle's study. Inside, she'd known he wasn't there as the warmth hadn't returned, but she just felt the need to be around his things until he got back. Alice left her to it and went hunting with Jasper.

Bella curled up on the sofa with another of Carlisle's books, but she couldn't concentrate and kept having to read the same passage over and over.

Carlisle shoved his foot down on the accelerator as soon as he was off the main road. Alice had text him to say that Bella was waiting in his study, and he'd finished up early just to see her sooner. He felt slightly silly for being so controlled by his instincts, but with their bond still relatively new, he didn't want to waste any time.

He raced into the house, dumping his stuff inside the door before rushing up to his study. Bella had felt the tingling warmth spread as soon as she'd heard his car and she'd immediately put the book back and waited by his desk for him.

As soon as he burst through the door, she leapt into his arms, sealing her lips against his and pulling at his shirt. He hugged her tightly as he manoeuvred them to his chair. Bella's hands were pulling insistently at his tie, but he stilled her hands and pulled his lips away.

"Bella, wait. I need to ask you something," he breathed out as he held her back.


"I have a fundraiser I'm required to attend in two weeks. I wondered if you'd like to come with me?"

"But, we can't be seen together!" she exclaimed.

"It's in Seattle, and no one there knows who you are. Alice can help with what to wear. You don't have to of course. I simply wanted to be with you," he said, stroking her cheek.

"Do I need to do anything?"

"No. It has always helped with funding to have someone with me, especially someone so beautiful, but it isn't a requisite," he explained.

"I'd get to be with you? Really with you? As a couple?"

"Yes. As we will be one day."

Bella grinned and nodded emphatically. Carlisle returned her grin and hugged her to him, chuckling as her hands found his tie again. As they undressed each other, he made a mental note to finally oil his chair.

A/N: Next chapter, the fundraiser!