Story Name: No Turning Back

Rating: M or NC-17

Genre: Drama/Angst

Word Count: 10,880

Summary: Happily married, Dr. Carlisle Cullen has the perfect life. Or so he thinks. Until one patient comes into his clinic and changes everything.

All copyrights, trademarked items, or recognizable characters, plots, etc. mentioned herein belong to their respective owners. No copying or reproduction of this work is permitted without their express written authorization.

The buzzing of the alarm clock alerted me that it was time to wake up. Groaning, I rolled over and slammed my fist against the annoying machine; my hope being that it would be destroyed and I would be allowed to stay in bed.

No such luck. Nine minutes later, the fucker went off again, and this time I knew it was time to get up and start my day. Sighing, I climbed out of bed and headed straight for the shower. Twenty minutes later I was walking down the stairs, buttoning my shirt.

In the kitchen, Esme stood, cooking me my usual favorite breakfast of sausage and eggs. Her back was to me when I stepped through the doorway, and I bit my lip as I watched her ass sway side to side while she shifted her weight.

Stepping up, I wrapped my arms around her waist and kissed her neck gently. "Mmm, it smells wonderful, baby."

She tilted her head to the side, exposing her neck to me, and I took full advantage. "Good morning, Doctor Cullen."

I smiled against her neck and turned back toward the table, sitting down and picking up the paper—local news this, stock market that. After a few minutes of pretending to care about the world outside my little suburban home, I dropped the paper to the table and picked up my BlackBerry. Angela had been successful at making sure my entire day was packed with business. I had eight appointments just in the morning. Not to mention the fact that at one o'clock the office opened up to walk-ins.

Moments later, a plate was set in front of me, causing me to lose interest in the schedule. I would deal with all that when I got the office. For now, however, my focus was on the wonderful breakfast my wife had made for me. She took her seat across for me, her face shining.

"Did something happen?" I asked, suddenly curious about the look on her face.

Nodding, she said, "Dr. Felix called this morning. We're ready for another round of IVF!"

I smiled happily, and nodded. "That's great! I'll work it out so I can take tomorrow off, and we'll go to the clinic."

The look on her face made my day.

I finished up my breakfast, kissed her on the cheek, and headed out.

Alice, punctual as usual, was waiting on me when I arrived. I didn't know how this girl managed to be so perky in the morning, but watching her bounce on her toes had me already wishing I'd had more coffee. I would need it to get through this day.

"Morning, Alice," I said as I slipped past her and unlocked the door.

"How goes it, Dr. Cullen?" she asked, in her cheery voice.

Holding the door open, I motioned for her to enter. "Same as always."

"So, balls to the wall?"

I slipped in behind her and let the door shut. "Do you ever expect anything different?"

She eyed me over her shoulder, her ice blue eyes shining. "I've worked for you for almost four years now, Dr. Cullen. I quit having expectations by the third day."

I laughed and patted her on the shoulder. "Good." I pointed back toward the waiting area. "Go ahead and unlock that door. We've got a busy day ahead of us."

Without waiting to see if she was listening, I pushed past the three little exam rooms to the back where my office was. Sighing, I stepped in and closed the door behind me before removing my coat and setting my briefcase on the desk. I opened my top left drawer of the desk and pulled out an energy shot, swallowing it down before slipping on my lab coat and walking out the door. Angela was already behind the desk, and I was surprised to see that for once, Rose wasn't primping in front of the mirror.

"Good morning, ladies," I said as I walked up to the receptionist's desk and looked over the stack of charts waiting for me.

"Morning, Dr. Cullen," they said in unison. I smiled and shook my head as I heard the bell on the door ding, indicating someone had just arrived.

"Ang," I said, setting down the chart in my hand. "I'll be out of the office tomorrow, so make a note and don't page me unless it's a dire emergency," I said, with an eyebrow quirked.

Nodding, she scribbled a memo down and said, "Sure thing, Dr. Cullen."

I smiled and patted her on the shoulder before turning my attention to flow of patients that were entering the clinic. It's going to be a long day, I thought.

Six of my eight patients managed to make their appointments. Of those six, four were standard check ups. The last two were a bacterial infection that should have gone to the emergency room, and a three year old with an ear infection. By the time lunch rolled around, I was already feeling tired again. Stepping back into my office for the first time today, I walked straight to the mini-fridge and pulled out the makings for a chicken salad sandwich.

Sitting down behind my desk, I popped open the can of chicken and began mixing my lunch. I glanced up at the clock and decided to give Esme a call while I ate.

My hour long break passed by far too quickly and by the time I looked up at the clock again, it was time to get back to my patients. Just as I was pulling a bottle of water from the fridge, I heard a knock on the door. Before I could announce whether to come in or not, the door opened. I turned to see Alice closing the door and turning to face me.

"I'm so sorry to just barge in, Dr. Cullen, but we have a new patient."

I shrugged, taking a huge swig of my water. "So?"

Her cheeks flushed and she bit her a lip a little as a dreamy look came over her face. "Um, yeah. He's one of the patients that missed his appointment."

Grumbling, I shook my head and stuffed my water back into the fridge. "Jesus, Alice. You know how to handle this. Work him up and get me his chart."

"It's already done," she said sheepishly. "I had Rose do it."

Confused, I pushed past her and out of the office. What was the big deal about a new patient? Whatever it was, Alice certainly seemed interested.

I walked right up to the receptionist's desk and grabbed the chart, thumbing through it. The patient's name was Edward and apparently he was having a knee problem. Turning down the hall, I came to third and final door on the left. I knocked once and then stepped inside.

Sitting there, on the exam table, in one of those God-awful gowns was Adonis himself.

For the slightest of moments, my breathing hitched, but I managed to get it back under control as I took in the man before me. His head was down, and his arms were folded in his lap. His hair was the oddest color of dark bronze mixed with slight streaks of copper. It had to be fake. There was no way hair like that came naturally.

When he lifted his head and saw me standing there, he sat up straight and squared his shoulders. He was toned, but not overly buff, with striking emerald green eyes. What I didn't expect was the piercings. His left ear was pierced as well as his eyebrow and his bottom lip. The smile he flashed me was dazzling. He had perfectly straight, pearly white teeth.

Taking him in fully, I could see why Alice had asked Rose to take his chart. Rose was gay and while she may have appreciated this man in all his glory, she certainly wouldn't have turned into a congealed mess on the floor the way Alice would have. I couldn't say I really blamed the girl. This man was gorgeous.

Pushing that unwarranted thought from my head, I cleared my throat and began thumbing through his chart once again. "Good afternoon, Mr. Masen," I said, once I was finished examining the notes. I walked up to him and offered him my hand. "I'm Dr. Cullen..." My eyes locked onto his green ones, and I suddenly forgot what I was supposed to be saying.

He took my hand in his, his long fingers wrapping around it. A warmth shot from his hand to mine, and up my arm, causing my heart to race. Smiling at me, his eyes, never leaving mine, began to dance as he ran his tongue over the piercing in his lip.

"Nice to meet you, Doc." The way the words rolled off his tongue just had my heart racing even faster. His voice was like the finest silk, caressing my skin.

In an attempt to regain some semblance of control, I cleared my throat, yet again, and pulled my hand away, turning my attention back to his chart. "Do you play any type of sports, Mr. Masen?"

"Call me, Edward," he said, his voice sending a tingle down my spine. "And, yeah. I play baseball."

What the fuck is wrong with me? I wondered as I nodded and made a note in his chart. "All right. When did the pain start?"

"About a week ago. I was practicing with the team. I didn't really notice any pain until later that night. It just hit all of a sudden. I was sitting down, reading, and my knee started to ache. I figured it was stiff and started walking on it, but it hurt like hell so I stopped. I've hardly been able to do anything since."

"Hmm." I made some more notes in his file and then tucked it under my arm and rolled my stool over to the table. Sitting down in front of him, I could already tell that his right knee was red and swollen. "Did you try anything to take care of it?" I asked.

He nodded. "Yeah. I took some aspirin and put an ice pack on it, but it didn't really help any."

Leaning forward, I set his chart on the table next to him. I wasn't sure, but I think I might have heard a tiny groan come from him. Ignoring the oddness of the situation, I began examining the affected knee. As I pushed on different parts of it, I heard him hiss quietly. "My apologies, Edward. Just trying to confirm what I believe this is." Wrapping my hand around his calf, I began to lift it gently. His fingers curled around the white paper on the table, and I glanced up to see him biting his lip, his eyes full of pain. Nodding to myself, I eased his leg back down and released him.

"Is it bad?" he asked, as I scribbled some more notes onto his chart.

After tucking the pen into my pocket, I laid his chart across my lap and met his gaze. It took everything I had to keep my composure. The intensity of his stare was so strong it took my breath away. I gripped as tightly as I could onto his chart, and forced my brain to focus solely on the pain in my fingertips rather than the strange feelings this man was eliciting in me.

"It would appear you have a knee effusion. Basically that means you've got fluid around your knee joint. I'm going to run a few tests to see if I can discover the cause of it. I'm also going to set you up with an appointment for a doctor who specializes in sports medicine."

"What could have caused it?"

Shrugging, I said, "There are many possibilities. You could have torn a ligament or a meniscus. The menisci are the two pieces of cartilage that wrap around the knee to help cushion and keep it stable. It also could just be overuse."

"Is that all?" he asked.

I turned my gaze away from him, back to his chart, and shook my head. "No. Um...the knee could be diseased."

I glanced up at him and his eyes were large and scared. "What?"

I stood and put a hand on shoulder, squeezing gently. "Let's run some tests and find out what it is, alright?"

He nodded and I let my hand stay on his shoulder for a moment longer before I turned and walked out of the exam room. Without stopping, I walked straight past Alice and Rose and into my office, shutting the door behind me.

"What the hell is wrong with me?" I asked as I exhaled and attempted to reign in my composure. Sitting down at my desk, I ran my hands through my hair and closed my eyes. Behind the lids, I saw a pair of dazzling green eyes. "Motherfucker," I whispered, slamming my fists on the desk. What was going on with me today? What were these odd feelings that were coursing through me?

Completely frazzled, I stood and began pacing around the office. Somehow, I needed to get control of myself. It was ridiculous that anyone, especially another man, would be able to affect me this way. First off, I was happily married. Secondly, and this was the kicker, I was straight. And finally there was the issue of him being my patient. Even if I was gay, nothing could happen. But I'm not gay, I thought, as I continued to pace the room.

After several minutes, I felt better and decided I needed to get back to my patient. Stepping out of my office, I bumped right into Rose, who was waiting for me. "Everything, okay?" she asked.

I nodded. "Uh, yeah. He has a knee effusion." I handed her his chart. "Do a draw and get it down to the lab. Also, take him and get an x-ray of the knee for me. Find me when you're finished and I'll do the arthrocentesis."

"Sure thing, Dr. Cullen." With that, she turned and walked to Edward's room.

An hour later, as I finishing up with a blood pressure patient, Rose approached me, carrying a manila envelope with a small stack of papers on top of it. "Here are his labs and the x-ray films."

I nodded and handed her the chart for my current patient. "Give this script to Mr. Demetri for me. I'll take care of this."

She nodded and took the paperwork from my hand. I walked down the hall to the lightbox so I could look at the films. Reaching into the envelope, I pulled out the two films, placing both on the box before switching the light on. As soon as I saw them, I nearly dropped to my knees. There was no way this could be the cause of his knee problems, right? I had to have the wrong films.

I flipped the envelope over to double check the name. It was his. "Shit," I mumbled. Turning off the lightbox, I removed the films, and slid them back into the envelope before turning my attention to the labs. After reviewing them, I sighed and turned toward Edward's room, grabbing his chart along the way.

I knocked once before stepping in, to find him laying on the bed, his left arm draped over his eyes. When he heard me come in, he sat up straight and folded his arms into his lap. I closed the door behind me and met his gaze, and by the way his face changed, I guessed he read in my face that I had bad news.

"Fuck," he said, dropping his head.

Sighing heavily, I moved to sit on the stool in front of him. "Edward, look at me."

He lifted his head, his devastated eyes meeting mine. It took all my strength not to break down and cry at the look on his face. "How bad is it?"

Without thinking, I grabbed his hand and squeezed it gently. "Your x-rays showed a mass around the knee joint. Do you have anything scheduled for this afternoon?"

With watery eyes, he shook his head. "Is it cancer?"

I squeezed his hand again. "We won't know for sure without further testing. I've got an oncologist friend up at the hospital. I'm sending you to her. Today if you can make it."

The tears he'd been fighting were now falling as he nodded. "What are the chances of it being cancer?"

Pulling my hand away and shaking my head, I said, "I can't give you statistics. It could be several different things. We simply won't know until further testing is done."

Wiping the tears from his eyes, he nodded. "All right. So what happens now?" he asked.

Rising to my feet, I patted him on the shoulder. "I'll leave you to get dressed while I call my friend at the hospital. Her name is Isabella Swan and she's one of the top oncologists in the state. She'll take care of you."

He rose to his feet, offering me his hand. "I appreciate everything you've done for me, Doc."

I took his hand and was surprised to find that the warmth from earlier was still there. "It's not a problem at all, Edward." After another moment or two, I gave his hand a final shake before withdrawing my own hand and leaving the room.

Back in my office, I sat down at the desk and picked up the phone receiver. I hadn't talked to Bella in about two years, since Esme and I got married. Bella had always had a crush on me, and I'd tried to give her a shot, but there had literally been nothing romantic there for me. Once I'd met Esme, my friendship with Bella took a nose dive. Apparently our closeness had been too much for Esme to handle.

Now, however, personal feelings didn't matter. I knew that Bella would take good care of Edward and, really, that was all that mattered. With that thought in mind, I picked up the phone and dialed her private number.

After three rings, she answered. "Hello."

"Hi, Bella. It's Carlisle," I replied.

"Well, well, well, Carlisle Cullen. Does your wife know you're calling me?"

"I wish this was a social call, but I'm afraid it's not."

She let out sarcastic laugh. "Of course not. And here I was hoping you were going to take me out to dinner, just like old times. Well, a girl can dream, right? So what can I do for you?"

"Well, Bells, I've got a patient here by the name of Edward Masen. He came in with a knee effusion, and his x-ray showed a possible tumor on the bone."

"Wow. Okay, well send him in. I wonder why he came to your clinic instead of coming to the ER."

I shrugged, not caring that she couldn't see it. "I'm unsure. Maybe he didn't feel it was an emergency. Anyway, will you be in today?"

"I'm not scheduled to be, but for you, I'll make an exception," she said in soft voice.

Feeling a bit guilty, I decided to end the call. "All right, well thanks, Bella. Keep me posted on his condition."

"Anything for you, sweetheart. I'll give you a call once I know more." And then the line was dead. Sighing, I set down the receiver and rubbed my temples for a moment. It was going to be a long afternoon.

As I stepped into the house, I was greeted with wonderful aroma of Esme's lasagna. It's good to be home, I thought as I stripped off my coat and headed for the dining room.

The scene before me caused my breathing to stop. Esme had used our special dining ware tonight, and the table was set with a beautiful bouquet of roses and silver pillar candles. The lights were dimmed and there was bottle of red wine sitting in a bucket of ice. I smiled at the scene, walked to my seat just as she was entering the room with two plates of food. She set one down in front of me and the other at her place setting before sitting down herself.

"This is amazing."

She shrugged her shoulders and smirked innocently. "I wanted to say thank you for being so patient me about the baby thing. I know it's got to be frustrating to deal with my constant nagging."

I reached across the table and took her hand. "You're allowed to be frustrated. We'll get through it."

Smiling at me, she popped open the cork on the bottle and poured each of us a glass. "You're such a wonderful man, Carlisle."

My cheeks flushed at her comment and I dropped my gaze, taking a long sip of my wine. As I set the glass down, my mind wandered to a pair of emerald eyes. I sure hoped he was going to be all right.

His gentle touch glided down my bare chest, and he followed the trail with his lips. I hissed and arched my back off the bed, causing him to smile against my skin. He gazed up at me from under his eyelashes, his eyes piercing my very soul. "Do you like that?" he asked in a gentle whisper.

All I could do was nod as he began his path down my chest to my abdomen. Moaning, I bit my lip as his lips moved lower, until he was at the edge of my boxers. Without hesitation, he pulled the material down my legs, releasing my straining hard on. And then his lips wrapped around my shaft as he took me into his mouth. The contact was an onslaught to my senses. I'd never experienced anything like it before, even with my wife.

Achingly slow, his head dropped, taking more of me into his mouth. It took everything I had not to push my hips up and meet him. Finally, he had me fully into his mouth and I laid on the bed, panting. Looking up at me once again, he winked and began to move his head up and down, his cheeks hollowed out with the force with which he was sucking.

Unable to control myself, I began moving my hips with him, and we fell into a perfect rhythm together. He reached between us and began gently rolling my balls between his strong fingers, causing my toes to curl. Slowly, he pulled me closer and closer to the edge, and even though, in the back of my mind, I wanted to feel guilty, I couldn't bring myself to. For an indescribable reason, this felt right, perfect. Smiling at that realization, I reached down and ran my fingers through his hair, amazed at how soft the strands were.

He increased his speed, wrapping his hand around the base of my cock, squeezing as he moved his hand and mouth together. Moments later, all movement ceased as I exploded into his mouth, my body trembling with the force of my orgasm.

Panting, my eyes popped open. "What the fuck?" I whispered, climbing out of bed and heading straight for the bathroom. I was covered in sweat and had a hard on from hell. I needed to calm the hell down before Esme woke up and saw me in such a state.

My dick was so hard it ached, and I was desperate to come. I knew there was no way I was going to get back to sleep unless I could take care of it first. Reaching into my boxers, I hissed as my finger wrapped around my sensitive shaft. I could tell this wouldn't take long. I closed my eyes and flashes of my dream came back.

"Shit," I mumbled, opening my eyes. "What the fuck is this?"

I stared at myself in the mirror for several long moments before sighing and closing my eyes. There he was, behind my lids, his green eyes blazing as his lips wrapped around me. Pushing aside all my discomfort, I focused only the feeling as I imagined it was his mouth and not my hand moving along my dick. It was tongue that swirled around the head, licking off the slight moisture there. As my body tightened, I gripped tighter onto the counter. Moments later, my orgasm hit me and I had to bite my lip to keep from waking Esme. My knees buckled and my legs turned to jelly causing me to drop to the floor.

As I came down from my high, a strange feeling crept in. I'd just jerked off to thoughts of a guy, my patient no less, sucking my dick. Uncomfortable, I pulled myself to my feet and cleaned myself up before changing my boxers and climbing back in bed. It took me another hour to get to sleep, and the whole time I couldn't help but feel guilty about what I'd done.

Finally, I resolved to push the incident aside and never think of it again. It had been a one time thing, and just because I'd done it, it didn't mean anything. It had just been a device to help me get off so I could go back to bed, that was all. Satisfied with that, I was able to get back to sleep.

It had been nearly three days since I'd met Edward Masen, and for some reason I couldn't understand, I was unable to get him off my mind. He haunted my dreams each night, leaving me feeling awkward and uncomfortable. Even when I'd been with Esme doing the IVF my mind was solely on Edward. When I should have been thinking about my wife and the future of our family, I was instead thinking about a patient. I felt like I was losing my mind.

By mid day, I decided to take my lunch. I needed a break. Walking into my office, I sighed and headed toward the fridge to pull out the meatloaf sandwich Esme had made me. I was just sitting down to enjoy it when the phone rang, causing me to grumble.

Not waiting for Angela to pick it up, I reached over and grabbed the receiver, bringing it to my ear. "This is Dr. Cullen."

There was a brief pause followed by a soft voice. "Carlisle?"

Leaning back in my chair, I let out a deep sigh, happy I'd answered. I'd been waiting on this call all week. "Hello, Bella. What can I do for you?"

"I have the results of his biopsy in my hand. You told me to call you when I knew more, so I am."

Tapping my fingers on the desk I asked, "What's the results?"

"It's a synovial sarcoma of the knee joint," she said simply.

Closing my eyes, my head feel back on the chair. "Damn it," I mumbled. Cancer, just what he'd been afraid of.

"It's fairly advanced," she continued. "It appears to have originated from popliteal artery, but it's progressed into the bone itself."

"What's the prognosis," I asked, although I was fairly certain I knew.

She sighed on the other end before speaking. "At best, a knee replacement and chemo. Worst case..." She didn't continue, and I didn't need her to. I knew what the worst case scenario was.

After banging my fist on the desk, I leaned forward, resting my head in my hand. "Have you spoken with him yet?"

"I just spoke to him. He's pretty torn up. I'm having him come in first thing in the morning for further testing."

Sighing, I said, "Thanks for getting back to me, Bella. Keep me posted?"

"Of course. I'll talk to you later, Carlisle."

"Goodbye, Bella."

Hanging up the receiver, I sat back in my chair, running my hands down my face, my lunch all but forgotten. While I'd never personally seen a case of a synovial sarcoma, I had done research on back in med school for my oncology rotation. That had, of course, been years ago, so I wasn't sure how much had changed since then. Still, I knew the basics. As with any cancer, he'd have to have surgery to remove the tumor from his knee. Since it had spread to the bone, a knee replacement was the only option to ensure they entire tumor was removed.

He'd have to endure chemotherapy and radiotherapy to kill any remaining cancer cells and help protect against recurrence. However, I also knew that unless the tumor was five centimeters or smaller, there was a high risk that some of it could be missed and he'd have a recurrence. Really, though, it all depended on the doctors. If they could resect the tumor, no matter its size, and the chemo was successful, then he'd survive.

A knock on the door pulled me from my thoughts, and I looked toward it before saying, "Come in."

The door cracked open and Rose poked her head in. "Dr. Cullen, Edward Masen is here to see you."

My brow furrowed in confusion, but I nodded. "Send him in."

"Sure thing," she said, smirking like she knew something I didn't.

The door shut, and I decided to wrap up my food and save it for later. I was just getting back to my seat when the door opened again and in stepped Edward. His eyes were dark red and puffy, and he looked like he hadn't shaved in several days. When his eyes met mine he smiled weakly and took a seat in front of my desk.

After running his tongue across the piercing in lip, he spoke. "I know this isn't really the norm, but I just wanted to stop in and see you. I assume Dr. Swan called you?"

Nodding, I said, "Yes, she did. How are you handling the news?"

"Not good," he said, and then his head dropped and I saw his shoulders begin to quiver. Without thinking, I stood and walked around the desk, to kneel in front of him. "I don't wanna die," he cried, burying his face in his hands.

Gently, I grabbed his wrists and pulled his hands away. "Edward, look at me." He lifted his head slightly, his green eyes full of pain. "Bella is going to do everything in her power to make sure you're okay. She's not one of the best in the state for no reason. Have some faith in her."

"I'm just so scared," he said, wiping his tears away.

I turned back to the desk and grabbed a box of Kleenex, handing it to him. He took one and blew his nose before wiping his eyes. I stood and leaned back against the desk, crossing my feet in front of me. "Do you have someone who can sit with you through this?"

He shook his head, blowing his nose again before looking up at me. "I haven't talked to my parents in twelve years."

"You should give them a call. I'm sure they'd be willing to support you through this tough time," I stated with sympathy.

Shaking his head again, he let out a single, dry, chuckle. "Trust me, they won't."

My curiosity was piqued, but I knew it wasn't my business, so I didn't bother to inquire as to why his parents would just leave him to suffer through this alone. The thought, however, was very unsettling and, as seemed to be the norm when I was around him, I spoke without thinking. "You shouldn't have to go through this alone. If you'd like, I can go up there and sit with you." When I realized what I said, I wanted to kick myself. Why had I just offered to do that?

His eyes met mine and a small spark lit them up just a bit. "You'd do that?"

Unable to say no when he looked at me with that hopeful look, and not wanting to be a liar, I nodded. "I don't mind."

He smiled and before I could react, he was on his feet, with his arms around me in a tight hug. His embrace was warm and comforting, and I couldn't bring myself to resist wrapping my arms around him and hugging back. Pulling away, his eyes locked onto mine and now they were full of hope instead of despair. I returned his smile, glad to see that he was willing to fight. He squeezed my shoulder before dropping his arms and turning to leave the office. I'd see him again tomorrow.

Esme cleared her throat and I looked up to see her eyes were red. She walked over to the bed and climbed in next to me as I set my book down on the bedside table. "Are you all right?" I asked, taking her into my arms.

She buried her face in my chest and broke down, her sobs rocking me to the core. "How many times do we have to go through this before it actually works?" she asked, sobbing.

"I don't know, honey. Maybe it's just a sign that we're not ready."

She glared at me with her tear-stained eyes. "Well when the hell will we be ready? I'm sick of waiting," she yelled.

"Esme, sweetie, you have to be patient and give these things time," I said in a gentle, soothing voice.

Scoffing at me, she climbed out of bed and headed downstairs to the spare room. I sighed and got comfortable, knowing I wouldn't see her again for the rest of the night.

"What kind of testing will they do?" Edward asked.

I glanced at him from the corner of my eye as we walked toward the hospital entrance. "Well, the diagnosis is pretty much set, so I'm going to guess all she's going to do is an MRI."

"That's it?" he asked, shaking his head.

Nodding, I responded with, "Yes. If surgery is an option then you'll probably have to stay over night and go in tomorrow."

Walking in, we headed toward the elevator and began the ride to the oncology floor. Now, I turned to face him fully and saw that he was pale as a ghost. "Edward, look at me." He turned to face me, swallowing hard. "I know it's hard to think about, but surgery, if it can be done, is going to be your best option."

"Will I be able to walk again?"

I half smiled at his question, knowing the answer, but not wanting to give him false hope. "It depends on how much of the bone is infected. Bella just looked at the x-ray you had here and took a biopsy. The MRI will give us a much better idea of what we're dealing with and she'll be able to answer you for sure on that one."

He nodded and we rode the rest of the way together in silence. I knew that under normal circumstances patients who'd had knee replacement surgery generally did very well. This, however, was different. The bone was diseased with cancer, and I couldn't say for sure that it would be the same for him.

The morning passed, and sure enough he had to have an MRI. Despite his fears and worry, I stayed with him the whole time, talking through his claustrophobia in the tube and answering any questions he had about what may be coming up.

It was several hours later when Bella finally walked in with the results of the MRI. "All right, Edward. I've got some good news for you."

He looked at me for a moment before turning his attention back to her. "Surgery's an option?" he asked hopeful.

She nodded. "It is. You will have to have a full knee replacement, and you'll have to undergo some chemo, but it looks like the prognosis is good."

"Is there any chance I'll get it again?" he asked looking between the two of us.

Bella was the one that answered him. "Assuming we don't run into any surprises while you're on the table, the chances of recurrence with this type of cancer are very slim, about two percent. Chemo and radiotherapy will give you the best chance of kicking the cancer completely."

He smiled hugely, his tongue flicking across the piercing in his lip. "What now?"

"Well," Bella started. "We'll get you set up with a room and first thing tomorrow morning you'll go in for surgery. Is there anyone you'd like me to call?"

His smile dropped just a bit as he turned his attention to me. There was something underlying in his eyes that I didn't quite understand, and there was part of that was happy for that. I smiled back at him a bit and gave him a single head tilt, indicating that I would stay if he wanted me to.

He turned his attention back to Bella and shook his head. "No. There's no one."

She eyed the two of us questioningly, her eyebrow quirked, but said nothing. Instead, she offered Edward hand and promised to see him again tomorrow. Once she was out of the room, Edward turned his attention back to me, his face looking relieved. He wrapped his arms around me, hugging me as if I were his life preserve. When he pulled away, his hands stayed on my shoulders, our eyes locking.

I didn't understand it, but for some reason there was connection between us. One so deep that the weight of it felt like it was crushing the breath out of me. And then he bit his lip, his eyes darting moving to my lips. I liked my lips as he looked back up at my eyes and slowly began to lean toward me. Mere inches separated us and I could feel his hot breath dance across my face. It smelled amazing, like a cool spring morning after a rain.

What the fuck am I thinking? That thought spurred me out of my trance and I pulled away, rising to my feet and rushing out of the room so fast I didn't notice the people around me.

In the bathroom I splashed my face with water and stared at myself in the mirror. "What's happening to me?" Closing my eyes, I saw Edward's face. Opening my eyes, I turned and walked the foot or so to the toilet, sitting down and running my fingers through my hair. For some reason I couldn't understand, this man had power over me. I just wasn't in control while he was around.

And then it hit me, like a ton of bricks to the head. Edward was gay. It seemed so obvious now that I knew, and yet I was unsure how I'd missed it. I laughed as I thought back over the short time I'd spent with him. It all suddenly made sense now. Something I'd said or done had led him to believe that I was gay as well. With a short laugh and a sigh of relief, I dried my face and went back to his room.

When I stepped into the room, he looked up at me, his eyes red as if he'd been crying. "Dr. Cullen, I..."

I held up my hand to silence him. "You don't need to say anything. This is completely my fault. Edward, I'm not gay."

He stared at me for a long moment before a smile I didn't quite understand spread across his lips, and he looked away from me. "Oh, my God," he said in a voice so low I almost didn't hear it. He met my gaze again and then said, "You don't know, do you?"

Confused, my brow furrowed. "What are you talking about?"

"You're either in denial or you really don't know that you're gay. I can't believe I didn't pick up on it before. I just assumed, with all the signals I was getting from you, that you were aware of yourself. I'm such a shit," he said shaking his head.

It seemed like he didn't quite understand. "Edward, I think you've gotten the wrong impression. I can't possibly be gay, I'm married."

"So," he said, shrugging. "Lots of people are married that are in closet. It's more common than you think. Have you ever felt like you're not living the life you're supposed to be living? Do you feel like you're trapped being someone you know you're not? How many times have you really thought about how much you love your wife?"

Angry and glaring at him, I held my hand up to halt him. "Whoa, whoa, whoa. Back up! How dare you question me like this? None of that is any of your business!" Scoffing, I turned to leave, but at the last minute I turned back to him. "Don't even think about coming near me again! I'm finished with you, you hear? I'm done!" Turning back to the door, I stormed out, prepared never to think of or see Edward Masen again.

It was three days later, and I sat in my office, dazzling green eyes the only thing on my mind. I felt lost, and I was unable to make out exactly why I felt that way. Esme had picked up on it and had tried to find out what was wrong. I'd been unable to talk to her though. What would I say? Yes, honey, I'm thinking about another man and I can't explain why. That wouldn't go over very well.

I stared at my half eaten salad, unable to bring myself to finish it. Tossing the box into the trash, I ran my fingers through my hair and sighed heavily. Maybe I just needed to know how he was doing. Perhaps, if I checked up on him and found out how he was, I'd be able to get him off my mind once and for all. Grabbing the phone, I dialed Bella's number and waited for her to answer.

"Hello," she said on the other end.

"How is he?" I asked.

"Well, well, I'm surprised you are calling," she said in an icy voice. "You know that poor guy has no one! He's here all by himself, facing fucking cancer, and the person who told him he'd be there isn't! You're a real douchebag, Carlisle."

By the time it was my turn to speak, I was seething. "How dare you judge me! You don't know what you're talking about!"

"I know that this poor guy, for whatever reason, has feelings for you. And I know that you're conflicted about the situation. But most importantly, I know what you don't; that maybe, just maybe, you might actually feel something for him, too."

I ground my teeth as I tried to come up with a retort. In the end, though, all I could say was, "It can't happen. I'm married."

"Oh that doesn't fucking matter! And I'm sorry, right now your feelings don't matter either. What matters is that this man is here, all alone and the person who told him he'd be there, abandoned him."

"I'm done with this conversation," I said. "I just called to see how he was doing, but I can see that you just want to sit on your high horse and judge, so I'm finished speaking to you."

With that, I slammed the phone down and stood, grumbling. The man had made a pass at me. What the hell was I supposed to do? Sit there and let it happen just because he's sick? And furthermore, whatever reservations I had about him, they weren't her business. Pacing around the office, all I could do was grumble and run my fingers through my hair. This whole situation was a ton of fuck that I didn't know how to handle.

The knock on the door grabbed my attention, and I stopped and turned toward it. "It's open," I said in sour tone.

Rose stepped in, closing it behind her, and crossed her arms. "Everything okay?" she asked, her perfectly sculpted, blonde eyebrow quirked.

"It's fine. Why?"

She sighed and sat down in the chair in front of my desk. "How is Mr. Masen?"

Rolling my eyes, I shrugged. "Fine I suppose. Why are you asking me?"

"I've been working with you for a long time Dr. Cullen, since before Dr. Black left. I've met your wife numerous times, and I'd like to think that I know you pretty well." Her gazed moved from me to her hands—folded in her lap. "And I see things that maybe you don't notice. For instance, I noticed how your face got worried when you looked at Mr. Masen's labs and x-ray. I saw your face light up when you heard he was here to visit the other day." She looked back up at me, her eyes watery. "But I think the one thing I've picked up on that you haven't is the connection that the two of you have. I haven't seen you two together but just twice, and even I know that there's something there."

Her words didn't sink in immediately, so I found that I was angry just then. "Why is it so hard for everyone to accept that I'm married?" I yelled, my fingers running through my hair. "First, Edward himself, then Bella, and now you. I don't have feelings for him!"

It was at this point that everything crashed down on me at once. From the first moment I'd met Edward there had been a strange pull to him that I couldn't explain. My mind tried to deny it but my heart had already picked up on it.

Then, I'd had the dream and I'd thought it was just a strange coincidence. That is, until he continued to show up in my dreams night after night. The fact that I couldn't get him off my mind, the strange warmth whenever we shook hands; it all made sense now. I had feelings for him. As the realization hit, my anger faded; replaced with shock, then guilt.

"Oh my God," I whispered.

Without a further word to Rose, I grabbed my jacket off the coat rack and flew from the office. I had to get to the hospital while I still had the chance to fix this. Rushing to my car, I slid in and was headed toward the hospital before I even registered what was going on. I'd spent so much time denying this that, now that I had finally accepted it, my brain was in overload.

The world flew past and I didn't even notice. My mind was on one thing—Edward. On any other day, Seattle traffic would have been horrible at this hour. Today, however, the streets were clear. Obviously, the universe was on my side.

When I arrived at the hospital, I parked in my reserved spot and rushed in. I knew exactly where to go, I just hoped he was still here. As I raced toward the elevator and rode to his floor, my mind wandered to Esme. What would I tell her about all of this? If I were to be honest with her, how would she take it? Would I even tell her?

As that question entered my mind, I pushed it aside. I couldn't just lie to her, and I knew that once I admitted my feelings to Edward, there would be no turning back. I would have to tell her the truth. She would wonder if I'd always had an attraction to men, or if this was new. I suspected she'd also wonder if something she'd done had caused me to go after someone else. More than anything though, she'd feel betrayed, and I honestly wouldn't be able to blame her. I just hoped that once all was said and done, we'd be able to maintain a friendship. It was a futile thing to wish for, but I couldn't help it. Esme and I had known each other for three years and our history couldn't just be erased.

The pinging of the elevator pulled from my thoughts as I arrived on the surgery floor. The doors opened to me and I bolted out of the elevator heading straight for recovery. Stopping at the nurses' station, I asked where Edward was, and couldn't help but smile when I heard he hadn't been discharged yet. With his room number in the forefront of my mind, I thanked the nurse and headed toward it.

His room door was shut, and I stopped, staring at it. I wasn't quite sure whether to knock or just go in. If it wasn't a personal matter, I would have knocked without a doubt, but there was a part of me that wasn't sure how he'd react to me. I wasn't sure if he would even want to see me.

A pang of sadness ripped through me just then and it was almost enough to make me turn and leave. Instead though, I swallowed it back and resolved myself to at least tell him how I felt. Even if he didn't want to see me again, he needed to know how I felt about him.

With that thought in mind, I took a deep breath and opened the door, stepping in. He was asleep. Gently, I closed the door behind me and swallowed back the lump in my throat. Now that I was standing here, my nerves were kicking in and it took a great deal of concentration to get my heavy legs to move.

Finally, I arrived at the side of the bed, and I leaned down, gently touching his shoulder. "Edward," I said in a light voice. "Edward, wake up. It's Carlisle."

Slowly, groggily, he opened his eyes, the dazzling green standing out against his pale skin. "Carlisle," he said in a hoarse voice. "What are you doing here?" He shifted as attempted to sit up, and I couldn't help but notice the bandages on his knee. Another pang of sadness hit me followed by guilt. I'd promised him I'd be there for him and instead, I'd left him to face the surgery alone.

Determined not to let him down again, I helped him adjust the bed so he was sitting up and then pulled a chair up to the side of the bed so that I could sit and talk to him. "Hi," I said. "Um, I'm sure you're pretty upset with and I'll understand if you never want to see me again..." I looked up to see him staring at me, his face completely blank and unreadable. Swallowing hard I continued. "But I had to come up here because...well, you see..." I stopped, not sure how to say what I needed to say. Closing my eyes, I took a deep breath and looked back up at him, my eyes locking onto his. "Edward, I'm so sorry for what I've done to you. I shouldn't have left you to face all of this alone."

Hesitantly, I leaned forward and placed my hand on top of his. Feeling the IV under my palm did nothing to decrease the guilt I was feeling at leaving him. I swallowed it back, keeping my eyes on his as I opened my mouth to speak again. "Edward, you were right. I do have feelings for you. I'm so sorry it took me abandoning you to figure that out."

His hand turned up and he wrapped his fingers around mine, squeezing gently. "Carlisle, I forgave you the moment it happened."

Tears spilled from my eyes as I took his words in. He'd forgiven me. I squeezed his hand gently, and on an impulse I stood and knelt down over him, my lips gently touching his. He kissed me back and it was gentle and chaste and perfect. Breaking the kiss, I laid my forehead against his and brought my free hand up to gently stroke his cheek. "I swear you won't have to go through this alone anymore. I'll be here with you every step of the way."

+++++One Year Later+++++

"Pacing is not going to make the call come any faster," I said, as he strolled back in forth in front of the phone.

"I know that," he said, letting the bolt in his tongue run across the front of his teeth. "I just wish she'd hurry the fuck up. I hate waiting."

Standing, I walked up to him and grabbed his forearm gently. He stopped and my fingers glided down to his hand, our fingers intertwining together. He turned to face me, his eyes full of worry. "Can you pull some strings? Maybe make this happen faster? I just want to know that everything is going to be okay," he said, his eyes filling with tears.

"If it'll make you feel better, I'll call." He nodded and leaned in, kissing him gently before walking past him to the phone.

I knew she'd hate me calling her personal phone, but I sure as hell wasn't going to let the love my life sit here and worry. Dialing her number, I brought the phone to my ear. It rang just once, which shocked me. "I was just about to call you," Bella said. "I've got the results right here in my hand."

"And," I asked, anxiety bubbling up in me.

Her momentary silence nearly had me screaming, but then she spoke, "He's still in remission. There are no signs of a recurrence. Congratulations!"

Breathing a sigh of relief, I closed my eyes and said, "Thank you so much, Bells. We owe you."

She chuckled lightly on the other end. "No problem. Are we still on for dinner tomorrow?"

"Yes," I said, still completely relieved.

"Awesome," she said. "Get off this phone and go hug your man. I'll see you guys tomorrow."

Nodding, I hung up the phone and turned to see Edward staring at me. He must have read the smile on my face because his own smile spread across his lips and ran at me, his arms wrapping tight around me. "Oh thank God," he said as he buried his face in my shoulder.

"Everything is fine," I said, as I kissed his ear and ran my fingers through his hair.

He pulled back and wiped the tears from his eyes as he stared at me happily. "I'm so lucky to have you," he said with a smile on his face. I returned his smile, and he leaned forward, kissing me passionately before he pulled he pulled and turned toward the liqueur cabinet. "Let's celebrate."

I smiled as walked over and sat down on the couch. "Want to get me drunk and get into my pants, eh?"

He gave me a sidelong glance, a crooked smile gracing his lips. "That's the plan. Will it work?"

I bit my lip and quirked an eyebrow at him. "What do you think?"

Running his tongue over the piercing in his lip, he turned and strode toward me, like a panther on the prowl. Handing my drink, he sat down next to me and placed a hand on my thigh. "I'm thinking I don't even have to waste the booze. I think I could get into your pants without it."

Scoffing at him, mockingly, I said, "I'm not that easy, Masen!"

He leaned forward and his hand glided upward, the tips of his fingers running across the bulge in my jeans. "Want to make a wager on that, Cullen?" he asked, his tongue running along the outer shell of my ear, the metal causing me to hiss.

"You're evil," I said, pressing myself against his hand.

"But you love it," he whispered, as he placed a kiss against my neck.

Gasping, I grabbed the glass from his hand and leaned forward, setting both of our drinks on the table. He rose to his feet and grabbed my hands, pulling me toward our bedroom, his eyes dark and hooded with lust. My heart was racing, my body aching to feel his touch. In our short time together, he'd learned my body so well that it was almost as if I were a part of him.

He released his grip on my hands and nodded toward the bed. Biting my lip, I walked slowly toward the bed, stripping off my shirt and unbuttoning my jeans along the way. Sitting on the bed, I looked up at him and he was wearing a smug smile, one that told me he was fully prepared to prove his point from the living room.

He came toward me, his own clothing entirely discarded. My eyes immediately locked onto his erect cock and I couldn't help but moan as I thought about how much I wanted him inside me. He walked right up to me and before he could make a move of his own, I leaned forward and took him into my mouth, sucking hard.

Gasping, he pushed his hips forward so that he was fully in my mouth. I groaned and sucked hard as I began stroking my own dick. With my free hand I reached up and wrapped my fingers around his shaft moving my hand and mouth together as I sucked long and hard. His fingers ran through my hair as he watched me, our pace slow and rhythmic.

He pulled away and motioned for me to lie down. Knowing just what he wanted, I crawled up to the top of the bed and laid on my stomach. I felt him crawl up behind me and he grabbed my jeans, pulling the down my legs and off completely. Covering my body with his, I felt him slowly slide into me and I groaned, biting the pillow gently.

Lacing our fingers together, and kissing my neck, he began moving inside me at a steady pace. "God, you feel so good," he moaned against my skin.

I could do nothing more than moan with each of his thrusts. Bringing out right hands to my lips, I kissed the top of his before pulling my hand away and reaching down to grab my dick. "Harder," I groaned.

He acquiesced and pounded into me harder, and I closed my eyes as I squeezed my dick tightly, my hand stroking it. As he drew me closer and closer to my orgasm, I squeezed his right hand tighter and tighter, my grip on my dick also increasing. "Come with me," Edward whispered in my ear before he gently flicked his tongue along the lobe. Nodding, I began pushing my hips back against his, causing him to cry out. The added pressure pushed me over the edge, and I felt by dick twitch before I came with a loud yell. Behind me, I heard Edward cry out my name as he thrust into me one final time, his cock throbbing as he came, too, his grip on my hands so tight I thought he'd break my fingers.

We laid there in post-coital bliss for several minutes before he pulled out of me and stood, walking to the bathroom. I rose to my feet and followed, my mind on the past year. Starting the shower water, I climbed in and thought about how much had changed. If someone had asked me a year ago where I would be today, I would have probably told them that I would be with my wife and we'd have a child.

Now, a year later, if asked if I had any regrets, I'd have to say that hurting Esme is my biggest regret. I had hoped that, after I told her, we could retain some kind of relationship. That hadn't been the case, though. Esme was heartbroken when I confessed my feelings for Edward, and like anyone would probably act, she wanted to know if it was because of something she'd done.

It had been hard to tell her that, while she was the perfect wife, I just didn't love her, and really, had never loved her. She'd cried as I told her that I'd never truly been happy with our life and that I'd always felt like I should be living differently. Although honestly, I'd never expected that differently meant living with a man. Still, I regretted hurting her. After the divorce was finalized, she and I parted and we haven't spoken since, and while I was happy with my life, there would always be a part of me that would feel guilty for what I did to her.

My life now was great, though it had taken a lot to get where I was. My biggest fear had been losing Edward. Even though there was a high probability of survival after his surgery, I couldn't help but worry. I'd seen too many patients who just couldn't handle the chemotherapy, and had just given up. I refused to think that Edward would do that.

It had been painful to watch his beautiful hair fall out and to see how thin he got from the procedure. Hell, he still hadn't fully recovered from it. And yet, despite all of it, he kept his optimism, even while enduring the physical therapy to help him walk again. He never gave up and I was more proud of him than I ever thought possible.

As I stood under the hot spray of water, I thought about how I'd had to tell my parents about Edward. That had really been hardest part. Mom had broken down and wanted to know what had happened to her precious baby. Dad had simply glared at me, told me I was no longer his son, and then stormed out of the room, yelling that he never wanted to see me again.

The experience brought up something I'd completely forgotten about. Back in junior high school, I made friends with this guy named Jasper. He was handsome, with a strong jaw, deep brown eyes, and blonde hair that came down just below his ears. I'd discovered that I had a crush on him and I wasn't sure why. My parents had always preached that only a man and woman should shares those kinds of feelings. So, confused, I approached my parents about it. My father, who was a minister, had begun reciting bible verses to me and telling me that if I didn't get those sinful thoughts out of my head, I'd burn for eternity in the fires of Hell.

He'd then proceeded to beat my ass bloody with his belt. From that moment on, anytime I found myself feeling anything for another boy, I forced the feelings aside. I'd been so scared to admit that I was gay because I didn't want to go to Hell. When I'd told Edward about the event, he'd suggested that I visit a therapist. Through those sessions, I learned that the same thing had happened more than once.

According to the therapist, those events had been so traumatizing that I'd repressed them and forced myself to deny who I really was. Yet, despite my denial, Edward had found me out. The secret that hadn't even known I was keeping was revealed to him the moment we'd met. It explained why I never truly felt right with Esme, and why, in the middle of the night, I felt like I was living someone else's life.

By meeting Edward, I rediscovered myself and was finally able to feel comfortable in my own skin. And though I'd lost a lot in the process– my parents, Esme – I'd gained a lot more. I didn't know what laid ahead for Edward and me, but I knew that no matter way happened, I was a new person. There was no going back to person I was before. And so, as I rinsed the shampoo from my hair, I closed my eyes and basked in the feeling of seeing dazzling green eyes behind the lids.

For once, I was beyond content. I was truly happy, and I wouldn't want to change it for the world.

The End