I. Fifteen

Dr. Edward Cullen was doing his rounds like every normal day at the hospital where he worked in Phoenix when the nurse directed him toward a young girl. She was pretty, but she looked worried and she was all alone, something that drew concern from him. She was but a child and no one was with her. This was highly unusual.

He slowly approached the girl's bed and drew the curtain partially around them to examine her; first introducing himself to put her at ease. "Hello, Miss Swan," he said, glancing at the chart. "I'm Dr. Cullen. What seems to be the problem today?"

She looked at him for a mere second and then looked around the room, as if she was scared of something. "Umm… I fell. I think I might've broken my wrist or something."

It didn't take a genius to tell that something was a little off with the situation; her eyes were darting around, looking everywhere but him, not to mention her clothes. It was summer in Phoenix and yet the girl was covered from head to toe, jeans, a long sleeved tee, and a baseball cap. The last thing he wanted to do was scare her more, though. He wanted her to feel comfortable with him, comfortable enough to tell him the truth – hopefully. "Okay," he said with a nod. "Let's take a look at that wrist then, shall we?"

Edward reached out for her wrist, but waited for her to bring it away from her body. When she did, he handled it gingerly, rolling up her sleeve and testing the injured area. She winced when he gently touched around her wrist and he felt sorry for her. He didn't want to hurt the girl. He just wanted to help her. He felt some strange need to protect her, but he pushed that thought away. It wasn't good to think like that.

"It appears to be broken, but we'll need an x-ray to be certain," he told her calmly. She just nodded. "Wait here and I'll check on when we can get you an x-ray. Is there anyone I can call for you in the meantime?" he asked.

She just shook her head and he seemed to understand. Then he left to schedule her x-ray, leaving her alone again. Bella leaned back against the pillows again, feeling the strong desire to disappear. He's so gorgeous, she thought. Sighing with exasperation she closed her eyes and tucked her arm back into her body, naturally protecting it from more harm.

Edward came back about 30 minutes later to take Bella up to radiology for the x-ray. As per hospital regulation he brought a wheel chair which she disdainfully looked at for a full minute before asking him "Are you serious?"

He nodded. "Its hospital regulation," he said with a shrug.

Bella grumbled a "fine," and started climbing out of the bed. Edward came to her aid and helped her with a hand at the small of her back to guide her off the bed and into the chair. Then they were off, Edward wheeling her down the hall to the elevators where they rode up a few floors. He stayed with her the entire time, an unusual occurrence for her.

Edward continued speaking to Bella, trying to put her at ease while the machine was taking pictures of her wrist. She remained silent for the duration of the x-ray though. When they were done he took her to the cafeteria. "Are you hungry?" he asked, his voice full of concern. "I don't know how long you've been here, but you've certainly missed lunch."

Bella just looked at him incredulously and remained silent as he got a tray full of food. She could only assume that the food was for both of them because she knew she wouldn't be eating all of it. Her appetite was limited even on a good day and this wasn't exactly what she'd call a good day.

The hospital was a regular destination of Bella's. She often "fell down" or "ran into a door" and needed stitches or an x-ray. The Phoenix City Hospital was where she always came too, but she had never met this doctor. Maybe he's new, she thought. She didn't ask though. Instead she just munched on the sandwich he had gotten her and sipped on the orange juice. By the time she was finished she felt a little better.

His beeper went off and he looked up at her. "Your x-rays are ready."

Edward threw away what food was left on their tray and took her back to her room where they looked at her x-rays. While Edward looked at her x-rays, nodding and mumbling, Bella just stared into space disinterestedly. Finally Edward turned to Bella with a frown and said, "It's definitely broken. We'll put you in a cast. You'll have to come back to have it taken off in a few weeks and we'll probably put another cast on it."

All Bella could do was nod quietly. She knew it was broken. She knew how it had happened too and it all came tumbling down on her suddenly. Tears started welling in her eyes and she couldn't stop them. Before she knew it, tears were streaming down her cheeks and she was trying to catch her breath between the sobs.

"Bella, what's wrong?" Edward asked softly. He didn't understand what had come over her. She had been so quiet and calm all day, but now she was suddenly near hysterical. He'd grown up with a sister and brother, but this was something he still didn't know how to deal with. Cuts, bruises, bumps, and broken bones he could fix, but a girl crying was something that made him feel completely helpless.

Bella just shook her head and continued to cry. Why had she let him push her around? Why didn't her mom notice what was happening? Why was this happening to her? She didn't deserve this, did she? Her thoughts began to quiet when two strong arms encircled her. She cried into the comforting shoulder as the hands began rubbing soothing circles on her back.

"Shhh now. It's going to be alright," Edward whispered, trying to calm her down. Her sobs began to quiet, but he didn't let her go quite yet. She felt so good in his arms and he knew that was a dangerous thing to be feeling, but in that moment he didn't care. He just wanted to comfort her.

When she picked her head up from the now wet shoulder she realized who had comforted her. Edward. As he wiped the last tears away from her eyes she looked up at him and wondered why he cared about her. He barely knew her and he was taking care of her. No one took care of her. "Why are you being nice to me?" she asked.

Edward arched a brow in question. "Bella… why wouldn't I be nice to you?" he asked, confusion coloring his face and voice.

"No one is nice to me," she said softly.

He just looked at her for a minute. "Bella," he started carefully. "How did you really break your wrist?"

She shook her head. "I told you. I fell down."

"Did someone hurt you?" he asked, remaining cautious.


He left it alone then. He didn't want to scare her off. Perhaps in time she would tell him the truth. "Let's go get your cast," he said softly.

About an hour later Bella had on a navy blue cast and a prescription for some pain pills in her good hand. She signed her discharge papers when a nurse brought them to her and walked out of the hospital without saying goodbye to Edward. He had gotten too close to the truth and she couldn't let him know that.

Bella went home that night and took some of the meds before going to sleep. She didn't even bother eating dinner. Her mother wasn't home as usual, so Bella locked up the house and locked her bedroom door. No one bothered her that night, much to her relief.

The next day she got up and left the house, wanting to get away without being noticed. Somehow she managed both and went to her favorite place, a park a few miles away from where she lived. She had her cell phone in her pocket and was wearing her normal outfit of jeans, a tee shirt, and baseball cap. The only difference was she was wearing a short sleeved tee today because of her cast.

The day went by without event, as did many other days in her life. The eventful days were the ones that overshadowed the quiet days though. Bella had realized there were things worse than boredom. She was happy in her quiet, monotonous life. She longed for the quiet moments that she had to herself.

For years Bella Swan had gone unnoticed by her mother, Renee. It wasn't that her mother didn't love her. It was more that Renee didn't know how to show that love or to take care of a child, or so it seemed. She wasn't very capable of taking care of herself either. That was why her daughter had learned how to cook and take care of the house. Over the last few months something had changed though. Renee had found a nice, stable boyfriend, or so she had thought.

It turned out that her nice, stable boyfriend was abusing her one and only daughter. Phil was a nice enough guy when he didn't drink; but he drank most of the time. When he drank he lost his nice guy exterior and became something else. He pushed Bella around, even groped her when he had the chance. Bella didn't know what she could do about it though. She thought her mother saw what he was doing. She thought her own mother saw it and let it happen. If her mother couldn't protect her, who could?

The days wore by and before she knew it, it was time to get her cast taken off. Bella took the bus to the hospital for her appointment. She checked in and waited in the waiting room for about an hour before a nurse came to get her. The nurse took her to a room and then left, leaving her alone again.

About fifteen minutes later Edward walked in. Bella looked down, avoiding his gaze. He was as gorgeous as ever too, wearing a blue button up shirt and tie with his doctor's coat over it. She couldn't help but ogle him a little as she glanced up to see him looking at her too. It just didn't make sense for a guy like him to care about a girl like her.

He approached her, looking her over appreciatively. He really shouldn't have, but he couldn't help himself. "Let's see how your wrist is mending, shall we?" he motioned toward the door and led her upstairs where they would cut the cast off to look at her wrist.

They ran some more x-rays to see how the bones were doing. He had her wiggle her fingers and flex her hand to see how it felt. She said she felt fine, but that it felt a little sore. He nodded and talked to the other doctor before telling her. "We're going to put a soft cast on for the next few weeks. I want you to come back in another month so we can see how you're doing."

Bella nodded and said "Okay."

The other doctor left the room and Edward led Bella into another room on the floor where he wrapped up her wrist. He was very tender with her, something she was not accustomed to experiencing. Every once in a while he would look up at her and smile a little, hoping to get her to smile in return. She was somber though and it bothered him more than he liked to admit.

"How are you?" he asked.

"I'm good. I just wish I was able to use my arm more. I haven't been able to do the cooking since I broke it."

He nodded and asked, "Do you do most of the cooking?"

"Yeah. My mom's not home much."

"The nurses seem to know you pretty well. Do you make a habit of coming to the hospital?" he asked, quirking a brow.

"Umm… I'm clumsy," she said quietly. This was true, but most of her accidents lately weren't related to her clumsiness.

"It happens. Are you home alone a lot?" he asked.

She just looked at him for a second before nodding. "Yes. My mom is out a lot of the time and I like to get out of the house."

"Where do you go?"

"There's a park a few miles from my house. I like to go there," she admitted shyly.

"It's good to have a sanctuary," he said.

She nodded.

"Is that what it is? A sanctuary?"

She just stared at him.

"I don't mean to pry, but I get the feeling that you don't like to be at home much," he said, carefully tip toeing around the question he wanted to ask.

"No," she said quietly.

"Why not?" he asked. When she didn't answer right away he continued, "I care about you Bella. I want to help you, but I can't help if you don't tell me what's going on."

"No one has ever cared enough to ask," she said softly, looking at her lap.

"Hey," he said, lifting her chin with is finger. "I care. You make me feel things I've never felt before… the need to protect, for one." A soft blush tinged his cheeks at his admission.

"Can we go somewhere else to talk about this?" she asked.

"Sure. Where would you like to go?"

"Somewhere quiet," she said. "And safe," she added.

"My apartment is just a few minutes walk from here," he offered.

She nodded and looked up at him expectantly. Then she seemed to realize something. "When are you off?"

He looked up at the clock. "I just have to check on a few patients and then I'm done. Can you wait in the waiting room?"

"Yes," she said with another nod.

"I'll see you in a few minutes then," he said, opening the door for her to leave.

They rode the elevator downs together and then parted ways. Bella went into the waiting room to wait for him to finish his shift and Edward checked on his last few patients. It didn't take him long, only twenty minutes or so. When he was done he changed clothes in the locker room and met Bella in the waiting room.

The walk back to his apartment was made in silence, but it wasn't an awkward silence. It felt more like a rushed silence. There was no need to fill it, but there was so much to say that couldn't be said there. When they finally arrived at his apartment Edward unlocked the door and held it open for Bella, following her inside.

"Do you want something to drink?" he asked. He was beginning to feel slightly uncomfortable with having her in his apartment. If anyone found out he could get in a lot of trouble.

"No thank you," she said politely, looking around the apartment. She walked around the couch and started fingering his collection of music. "You have an eclectic taste," she said quietly, glancing back at him where he stood between the kitchen and living room.

"Thank you. I try to listen to a little of everything, but it really depends on my mood."

"I'm the same way. Music is a form of expression. When I listen to something it has a way of bringing out my emotions." After looking through his CD collection she moved to his stereo and turned it on then hit play. The music stylings of Debussy filled the room. Bella smiled softly when she heard the tune. "Claire de Lune," she said softly.

He was somewhat surprised that she knew the artist, much less the song. "This is one of my favorite songs," he said, moving to sit on the couch. "It's so peaceful."

Bella nodded and followed him to sit beside him on the couch. "This song always makes me feel better."

Edward gave her a reassuring smile and moved his hand over hers slowly, trying his best not to startle her. "Talk to me Bella."

For a moment she looked down at their hands, unsure of how to proceed. "I don't know where to begin," she confessed, looking up to meet his gaze.

"How did you break your wrist?" he asked.

She bit her lip, hesitating telling him the truth. The look in his eyes told her that she could trust him though. "My mom's boyfriend Phil," she said quietly, almost too low for him to hear.

"What did he do to you Bella?" The truth startled him a bit, but he wanted to know more. He needed to know more if he was going to report it.

"He pushed me." She quieted for a moment, mulling over her words. "He was drunk and he was trying to… touch me again. I tried to push him away, but I wasn't strong enough and when I tried to pull away he pushed me. I tried to catch myself, but…" She motioned toward her broken wrist.

"Oh, my Bella…" he started, catching himself a moment too late. "Has he hurt you before?" he asked, quickly getting back to the matter at hand.

She looked up at him and nodded, tears starting to well in her eyes again. She caught the 'my' before her name, but pushed it aside. He couldn't think of her that way, could he?

"Has he…" Edward swallowed, unable to say the word. "Raped you?" he finished, holding his breath for her answer.

"No!" she said emphatically.

"Oh thank God," he sighed. "I don't know what I would've done if he had." His hand moved involuntarily up to stroke her cheek, brushing back a strand of hair behind her ear. "You're special to me Bella. I couldn't stand the thought of someone hurting you."

The tears that had only previously threatened to spill now ran down her cheeks. "Edward… don't say that."

"Why not?" he asked alarmed.

"Because if you say it, I'll believe you and then it'll hurt that much more when you leave me."

"I'm not going anywhere, Bella. I promise."

"You can't promise that though," she sniffled.

"I can and I am. I'm going to help you Bella."

"How?" she asked meekly.

He had to choose his words carefully. For all he knew she wouldn't be up for everything that reporting her mother and Phil to social services would entail. "Bella, do you have any other family besides your mother?"

"My dad, but he doesn't live around here and I haven't seen him for a couple years."

"I'm going to help you Bella. I promise but to do that I'm going to have to report your mother and Phil to social services. Do you understand?"

She nodded, trying to take in his words. "What will happen to me?"

"You'll have to find somewhere else to stay," he said softly.

She just nodded, unsure of what she would do without her mom around. "Maybe you can call your dad and see about moving in with him," he suggested. Bella just nodded, attempting to take in all that Edward was saying.

"What about tonight?" Bella asked, fear crossing her face.

Edward didn't know what to say. Having her stay with him wasn't the best idea. "Do you have a friend you can stay with?" he asked. She just shook her head. "Bella, I don't think you can stay here," he said sadly.

"Don't make me go home," she said pitifully.

An invisible hand squeezed his heart at the sound of fear in her voice. How could he send her away? "Okay. You can stay here," he said.

"Thank you!" she exclaimed gratefully as she flung her arms around his neck and hugged him.

His arms carefully wound around her back, holding her close for a minute. Then he thought better of it and pulled back slightly. "I'll take the couch and you can have my bed," he said.

"Oh no! I couldn't," she said, shaking her head.

"I insist. It's no trouble."

"Are you sure?" she asked hesitantly.

"Yes, so don't argue with me," he said, smirking at her. "Do you want to take a shower or anything?"

"No, I'm okay. Do you have something I can sleep in though?" she asked, glancing at her current apparel. "This isn't really sleepwear."

He nodded and smiled a little. "I'm sure I have a t-shirt you can sleep in," he said, standing and leading her into his bedroom.

There was a queen size bed on a box spring in the middle of the room, a bedside table off to one side, and bookshelves lining the walls. The bedding was all shades of blue, most dark. It was all very masculine and comforting at the same time. Bella went to study the books while he went to the dresser to find her a shirt.

"So many books," she said, more to herself than to him.

"I've collected them over the years. I pick up books from places I visit. My dad usually gives me books as gifts every year too. He knows I like to read. I just don't have as much time for it with all my shifts at the hospital."

"I try to read as much as I can. I love the Bronte sisters and Jane Austen and Shakespeare, of course," she said with a demure smile.

"All good," he said, nodding his head in appreciation of her reading choice. He watched her as she continued to finger through his books, admiring her beauty. She was small, and so very young, but he saw her beauty. She was strong and independent, both traits to be admired in a young woman. He soon found himself wondering what she would look like when she was a little older, when her body had matured a little more. It didn't take long for him to mentally kick himself for letting his mind go down that route. "Here's a shirt you can where to bed," he said, handing it to her quickly and exiting the room.

Bella stared after him, thinking he was very peculiar. Part of her wanted to go after him, but she thought better of it and changed into the shirt he had given her. It was long enough that it covered all of her naughty bits, but it only fell to her mid thigh so it was still rather short. When she was decent she poked her head out the bedroom door to look for him. "Thank you for allowing me to stay the night, Edward," she said softly.

He looked up and met her gaze, his breath catching inaudibly at the sight of her. Clearing his throat he was able to get out a quick reply of "Don't worry about it. It's my pleasure."

"I'll see you in the morning then?" she asked uncertainly.

"Yep," he said his voice a little husky.

She gave him an inquisitive look, but said nothing as she slowly turned and walked back into the bedroom. Climbing into the bed, she slid between the sheets and settled in for what she hoped would be a comfortable night. Her nights at home were usually restless or filled with nightmares and she rarely got away. She didn't easily make friends or bond with other kids, so she didn't do sleepovers.

While Bella began to fall asleep in his bed, Edward tried to find sleep on his couch. As he closed his eyes he started to drift off, but a deep, restful sleep was not meant to be that night. Instead he awoke a few short hours later to the sound of a girl whimpering in the next room. Startled out of his own dreams, he cautiously approached his bedroom. He watched her toss and turn as she continued to whimper. When he heard the word 'no' several times accompanied by stronger sounds, he decided to wake her up.

Edward carefully sat on the edge of the bed and put his hand on Bella's shoulder, gently shaking her to try to get her to wake up. "Bella," he whispered. "Bella, its Edward," he said a little more firmly when she didn't awake at first. "You're having a nightmare," he said, leaning in closer as he shook her again. "Wake up," he said firmly.

Bella wriggled beneath his hands for a few more seconds before her eyes shot open. She looked around, her eyes full of terror as she pushed at Edward. He grabbed her hands and tried to calm her down by shushing her. When that didn't work he tried talking to her soothingly. "Bella, you're ok. It was just a dream. You're safe," he told her.

She looked around, trying to figure out where she was. She was confused and scared. "Where am I?" she asked meekly.

"You're at my apartment, in my bed," he said.

"Oh, right…" she said. It slowly started coming back to her. She tried tugging her hands out of his, but he wouldn't release her. Instead he pulled her to him and wrapped his arms around her in a comforting embrace.

"Bella, you're safe. No one is going to hurt you anymore. I promise."

The tears came unbidden and she let herself weep. She clung to his bare shoulders as the tears continued to stream down her cheeks. There was no sobbing this time, just silent tears, tears of release. Bella was finally beginning to let go of her fear.

"Shhh. I've got you know," Edward said, his voice soothing her as he rubbed circles on her back and ran his other hand through her hair. "I'll protect you," he said softly.

Bella just clung to him desperately. Her tears began to subside, but she didn't let go of him and he continued to hold her. She wasn't sure how long they stayed like that, but eventually Edward tried to pull away. Bella held on though, looking up at him as she plead with him. "Don't leave me," she begged him.

"Bella, I can't…"

"Stay with me," she tried again. "I don't want to sleep alone."

He weighed his options for a moment and somehow managed to justify staying with her. Perhaps he convinced himself he was just going to stay with her until she fell asleep. That's not what happened though. He lay down with her and held her while she fell asleep, but he couldn't tear himself away and soon fell asleep with her in his arms.

When morning arrived Edward looked down at the sleeping beauty in his arms and knew that he had crossed a line, but he couldn't bring himself to regret it. He had helped her sleep last night and that brought him more comfort than anything else at the moment. For a few minutes Edward just lay there, watching her sleep so peacefully. Eventually Bella awoke though and when she did her eyes landed on Edward.

"You stayed?" she asked incredulously.

"Of course I did, I told you I would," he said.

"I know. Its just… most people don't keep their promises to me."

He shook his head sadly while bringing his hand up to touch her face. "I make a habit of keeping mine," he told her.

Bella smiled, a light blush coloring her cheeks as she looked up at him. She gazed into his eyes and he looked back down at her. There was something between them, some undeniable feeling that she couldn't quite name, but as she looked up at him she felt like he was going to kiss her.

Edward gazed down at Bella. He felt something too. He couldn't quite put his finger on it, but there was a pull toward her. Before he could convince himself not to, he leaned down and kissed her softly. His lips caressed hers, gently moving over them while his arms held her close. It was about as perfect as you could get for a first kiss.

They hesitantly pulled away from each other, but continued to gaze into the other's eyes longingly. Just as Edward was about to say something Bella put a finger to his lips. "Don't say anything. Don't ruin the moment," she said and for whatever reason he listened to her. Then Bella kissed him again, chastely.

Edward had no idea what to do. He had left Bella alone in his apartment while he went to the hospital for his shift that afternoon. There was no way he was letting her go home, but he knew it wasn't the best idea to have her at his place or to be kissing her. While he tried to get through his shift she was constantly flitting through his mind. He couldn't stop thinking about her.

Even the nurses were noting his distracted attitude. It was already midnight and while Edward was looking over the charts of a few of his patients, Irina, one of the nurses, gave him a sideways glance. "You seem distracted tonight. Something goin' on?" she asked.

"You're perceptive," was all he said back, giving her a smirk.


He ran his hand through his hair, a nervous habit, as he signed off on a few charts and put them back in their places. Looking at his watch once more, he sighed rather dramatically.

Irina motioned toward Edward to one of the nurses, pointing out that the good looking doctor indeed had something on his mind. The other nurse, Kate, smiled and approached the good doctor. "Edward, are you okay?" she asked, concern lacing her tone.

He barely looked up at her as he nodded and said, "Fine."

That wasn't exactly true though. He had someone waiting for him, a beautiful girl probably asleep in his bed. He hoped she was sleeping peacefully with no nightmares to disturb her rest. No matter how much he tried to focus on work that night he couldn't stop thinking and worrying about the girl that would be waiting for him in his bed. Even telling himself how wrong it was to think of her as more than just a friend or a patient couldn't stop the feeling he was having about her.

Edward had already called and left a voicemail with the hospital social services representative, Tanya, telling her he needed to speak with her about a patient. All he could do now was wait for Tanya to call him back and schedule an appointment so he could go over Bella's file and tell her what he knew – leaving out the fact that he had crossed a line with his patient, of course.

When Edward finally got off work at 2 am, he hurried home to check on Bella. Walking into his apartment he found her sound asleep on the couch. He tried to be quiet as he walked in, but she was already stirring. "I'm sorry," he whispered, squatting beside the couch so he was at her eye level. "I didn't mean to wake you."

"It's okay," she said softly. "I was waiting for you to get home."

He watched as her small mouth opened and she yawned. She was utterly adorable and he couldn't help himself; he leaned in to brush some hair off of her forehead. "I missed you," he murmured.

She gave him a warm smile. "Really?" she asked in wonder.

He nodded. "Really, truly," he replied.

"I missed you too."

Then he leaned in and kissed her gently. He made no move to deepen the kiss, just as he hadn't last night. That was a line he wasn't ready to cross yet. She was so young, so innocent. He didn't want to be the one to corrupt her. He just wanted to be the one to take care of her. "Let's get you to bed, sweetheart."

Edward scooped her up in his arms and carried her into his bedroom. Bella nestled her head in the crook of his neck as he carried her. "My knight…" she mumbled sleepily.

"Shhh now," he murmured, laying her down on the bed. He pulled the covers up around her and stepped away.

"Aren't you going to stay?" she asked, her eyes going wide with the fear of rejection.

"I'll be right back, Bella," he said, kissing her on the forehead. He turned and walked to the dresser, pulling out a pair of pajama pants before heading to the bathroom.

When he came out after changing and brushing his teeth, Bella was still awake and waiting for him. She smiled again at the sight of him and watched as he climbed into bed with her, snuggling close when he slipped between the sheets. Edward wrapped his arms around her and held her just like he had the night before.

"Did you grow up around here?" Bella asked softly.

"No, I was born in Chicago, but my parents died when I was about five."

"Oh. I'm sorry Edward," she said, looking up and into his eyes briefly. "I had no idea."

"It's ok. It was a long time ago."

"What happened to you?"

"I was adopted by a nice couple, a doctor and his wife. They couldn't have children of their own, so they adopted me and four other children over the years. We grew up together as a real family though, for better or worse." He spoke softly, remembering his childhood memories while rubbing Bella's back soothingly.

"Sounds nice," she said smiling. "Tell me more."

"We moved around some since my dad was a doctor. He would take a new offer from a new hospital every few years until my brothers and sisters and I were in high school. We finally settled down then. My parents still live up north now. They finally found a place they could make their home.

"My brothers and I were always getting into trouble. Emmett was the real troublemaker. Jasper was the strategist. And me… I was the oldest. I was supposed to be the voice of reason, but most of the time I was just along for the ride." Edward smiled at the thought.

"What about your sisters?" Bella asked curiously.

"Alice was the youngest, the baby of the family. She was also a bit of a matchmaker and quite the popular girl growing up because she was friends with everyone; very well liked. Rosalie on the other hand was always a bit standoffish, but her beauty was what garnered her all the attention from the boys. Granted there was only one boy she ever cared about.

"Some people found it strange that Rosalie and Emmett started dating in high school. It wasn't like they were blood related, but people still talked. We lived in a small town so people didn't have much else to do." Edward smiled again at the memories of his family and when he looked down at Bella he found her sound asleep. He kissed the top of her head and laid back to wait for sleep to claim him as well.

A few days passed and Edward went into Tanya Denali's office to meet with her and discuss Bella's file. Tanya did not know anything about the case other than what Edward had told her in his previous message. All he had said then was that he had a patient that he was concerned about and wanted to discuss with her. Naturally Tanya was curious and concerned for the well being of a patient. She also wanted to see Edward.

"Tanya," Edward said politely as he entered her office and sat down.

"Edward," Tanya said sweetly. "How are you?"

"I'm doing well," he said. "You?"

"Pretty good. Trying to stay busy." She gave him a small smile.

"Me too."

There was an awkward silence for a minute, both unsure of what to say next. The last thing Edward wanted was for his past with Tanya to get in the way of helping Bella now. He didn't want this meeting to be uncomfortable, but it was obviously turning out that way anyway.

"I'm sorry," Tanya finally said. "I didn't want this to be awkward." She took a deep breath. "So, what can I help you with Edward?"

He nodded and brought out Bella's file. "I have this patient," he began. "And I believe she's being abused."

"How old is she?"

"Fifteen," he said, glancing at her information.

"Has she told you anything about the abuse?"

"Yes. I finally got her to admit what had happened." He sighed, running his hand through his hair nervously.

"You're really worried about her," Tanya said.

"Yes," Edward admitted.

"What's the situation, Edward?"

"It would appear that her mother's boyfriend has been hitting her and sexually harassing her. I'm not sure that her mother is aware of it, but from what she has told me her mother is, at the very least, neglecting her," he said bitterly, as if neglect was the least her mother was doing. "She came in about two months ago with a broken wrist. I thought it was strange that a 15 year old had come in by her self and she told me there was no one I could call for her. I had her come back in about a month ago to change her cast and I finally managed to get her to tell me what was going on at home."

"Well, I'm going to need to talk to her and then contact an investigator to look into it further. From the sounds of it there should be no problem getting her removed from the home. Do you know if she has other family she can stay with?"

"She mentioned her father. I'm not sure where he lives, but I think she said she might be able to stay with him."

"Does she have a safe place to stay right now?" Tanya asked.

"Yes. I made sure she was staying with a friend," he told her calmly.

Tanya nodded. "Good. At least we don't have to worry about that." She made a few notes on a piece of paper and then looked up at Edward again. "Can you arrange a meeting for me? I think it would be better if you were the one to approach her since she was able to confide in you in the beginning."

"I'll give her a call and see what I can do," he said, standing. "Is there anything else?"

"Nope, I think I have enough to start looking into it."

He gave a nod and said "Goodnight, Tanya."

Then he walked to the door. When his hand was on the knob she spoke again. "Edward, wait. There's something I wanted to say." He turned to look at her and hear what she had to say. She took a deep breath to steady herself. "I just… I miss you," she said.

Edward looked down at his feet and took a deep breath. "Tanya, we can't. We broke up for a reason and I don't think that trying again is going to change anything." He looked at her apologetically as he said, "I'm sorry, but goodnight." With that Edward opened the door and left Tanya's office.

When he got home he found Bella munching on some chips and salsa. She smiled brightly as Edward entered the apartment. She'd been staying with him for about four days now and her mother hadn't even called to see where she was. It concerned Edward to say the least, but he was glad she was safe at home with him.

Sitting down on the couch with her, Bella noticed that Edward looked tired. She ran her fingers through his hair tenderly and gave him a reassuring smile. "Are you okay?"

He sighed and looked at her, forcing a smile. "Yeah, it was just a long meeting," he said.

"Do you want to talk about it?"

"Actually, the meeting was about you." Her brows furrowed in confusion as Edward began to explain. "I met with the social services representative for the hospital to talk about your case. She thinks there are grounds to have you taken out of your mom's home for your safety, but she's going have someone look into it. She also wants to meet with you and have your statement go on record. Do you think you're up for that?"

Bella wasn't sure what to say. Edward had said he was going to talk to someone about what had happened to her, but she didn't know that it would be so soon. She thought that she'd have more time before her world would be turned upside down. "I don't know…" she said hesitantly.

"Hey," he said softly. "What's going through that head of yours sweetheart?"

Taking a deep breath she looked up at him. "I guess I just thought we'd have more time. I knew this was coming, but I didn't expect it to be so soon."

"We'll still have time, Bella. This just means that you won't be living with your mom anymore. That's a good thing, isn't it?"

"It is, but that means I'm going to have to move."

"Where do you think you're going?" he asked, arching a brow.

"I thought… well, I thought I'd have to go live with my dad," she said.

"That's what I was thinking too."

"But that means we don't have that much time," she said sadly.

"I'm afraid I don't understand Bella."

"My dad doesn't live around here," she said with a serious look.

"Oh, well he has to live within a few hours right? You probably visited him frequently as a kid." Edward was starting to get the picture, but he was also afraid of that picture.

"Not exactly. I'm sorry, Edward, but if I move in with my dad we won't be able to see each other anymore."

"Don't worry about that now, Bella." Edward spoke gently, moving his hand up to stroke her cheek lovingly. "We'll make the best of what time we have left."

All she could do was smile softly. He was being sweet and optimistic, but she knew that she would miss him terribly when she left. She wasn't holding any hope that she could stay in Phoenix with him even though that was what she desperately wanted to do. It just wasn't practical. In reality Bella couldn't be with Edward. It was dangerous enough just staying with him until she could move in with her dad.

"Thank you," she said.

"For what?"

"For being such a great guy. You've been perfect, really." She reached out for his hand, lacing her fingers with his.

"Don't mention it," he said, feeling slightly uncomfortable.

Bella knew in that moment that she was falling in love with Edward Cullen despite their age difference. How could she not fall in love with him? He was intelligent, protective, sweet, charming, and successful. He was the dream guy, Mr. Perfect. She was just afraid of getting her heart broken. She couldn't stay with him and they both knew that, so it really wasn't going to do any good to fall in love with him. Alas, you don't get to choose who you fall in love with. Your heart chooses for you.

When Bella woke up the next day she was dreading going to the hospital to talk to Tanya. She and Edward had talked everything through the night before and he had called Tanya to set up the appointment. They both knew that what was best for Bella was to go live with her dad and they understood that meant they wouldn't be able to spend much time together. Still, Bella was avoiding calling her dad to tell him what was going on.

Bella was quiet while she got ready for her appointment and her silence worried Edward. He didn't like it when she retreated into herself. Crying was even preferred to the silent treatment and he hated to see her cry. He didn't know how he had gotten in so deep, but he was quickly falling in love with this beautiful girl.

Instead of pushing her to talk to him he just went through his morning routine and got ready to take her to the hospital. He wouldn't be able to go into the meeting with her, but he told her he would wait for her in the hall. She trusted him and that put a certain pressure on him, but he was glad to be her rock through this ordeal. Part of him wished that they had more time though, that things could work out for them.

Edward decided to drive them to the hospital. He had something planned for after they talked to Tanya. Bella didn't even question the car. She was really distracted. For the moment Edward just let her be, not wanting to disturb her from her thoughts and upset her.

She went into her meeting with Tanya and Edward waited outside like he had promised. He paced the hall impatiently while he waited for her to finish talking to Tanya. There was no way that Tanya would say anything inappropriate to Bella, so he wasn't worried about that. He was just concerned that Bella would get emotional and he wouldn't be in there to help her through it.

Needless to say he was relieved when Bella walked out of Tanya's office. She didn't look happy, but she gave him a small smile and moved to sit down on the bench while Tanya spoke to Edward for a moment. "I'll be calling a social worker to take Bella's case. Bella and I also called her father, Charlie, and he'll be coming down in a few days to pick Bella up. If enough evidence is gathered and the state prosecutor wishes, charges may be brought against Renee and Phil for child abuse and negligence. That's all I can say for now."

Edward just nodded wordlessly. He wanted to reach out for Bella, to comfort her in some small way, but he couldn't let Tanya see that. "Thank you Tanya," he said. "I'll make sure Bella gets back to her friend's house."

"Of course," Tanya said with a smile. Then she turned to Bella and said, "It was nice to meet you Bella. I hope things start to get better for you now."

Bella looked up at Tanya with such emptiness, as if she didn't know what to do with her life now. "Thank you for your help," Bella said quietly, no feeling in her voice.

Edward was getting progressively more worried about Bella today. He walked with her out of the hospital, opening the passenger's door for her to slide in his car. He drove to a little deli shop and parked the car outside. "Wait right here," he told her. She didn't even look at him. She just continued staring out of the window.

He came back outside with a couple paper bags in his hands. Bella still didn't look at him. Starting up the car, he glanced at Bella and drove them to a picnic area at a local park. He frequented the quiet spot when he needed to think. Edward parked the car and helped Bella out.

She was still a little absent, but he could see her looking around curiously. "This is a spot that I come to when I need to think. It's kind of my sanctuary." He gave her a little smile and was happy to see her return it with one of her own. Taking her hand, he led her to a spot behind some trees.

Handing Bella the paper bags, Edward spread out a blanket he had grabbed from the car and sat down. He motioned for Bella to join him on the ground and she did, giving him back the paper bags. "When did you plan all of this?" she asked, watching him as he unwrapped the food.

"This morning, while you were getting ready. You seemed so distracted. I wanted to do something for you, something to take your mind off of all that's going on."

Bella leaned in and laid a careful kiss on Edward's lips. "You're a good man, Edward."

"I love you," he said suddenly.


"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to say that. I just…"

He ran his hand through his hair; something Bella had noticed was a nervous tendency. She couldn't believe that he had just said that, but she was happy that he had. It was only that morning that she had realized she was in love with him too. It was sudden and soon, but love was love.

"Edward, don't apologize and don't take it back. You said it and you meant it, didn't you?"

He looked down, hesitating for a moment. "Yes," he said honestly, meeting her gaze once more.

"Good, because I love you too," she said with a real smile. "And I'm not just saying it because you did."

Without another word Edward leaned forward and kissed Bella passionately. He wrapped his arms around her and leaned them back onto the blanket. With her under his body, her arms around his neck and her fingers weaving into his hair there was no where else he'd rather be.

They continued kissing for a few more minutes, Edward's body pressing against hers until he realized the compromising position they were in. He couldn't allow himself to get carried away with her. It just wasn't right even if they were in love. "We need to stop," he said huskily.

He stared at her swollen lips and felt the desire to kiss her again, but he pushed it aside and watched as she sat up. After catching their breath and putting a little distance between them, they went ahead with their picnic. The conversation was light. Neither of them knew what to say at the moment. They'd admitted their feelings, but their time was also limited.

The picnic was romantic and thoughtful and Bella appreciated it more than she could say. She didn't want this day to end; she didn't want her time with Edward to come to an end. "Edward," she said quietly, breaking their silence.

He looked up at her, into her eyes and he saw something there that made him think twice about letting her go to live with her father. Then he pushed that thought aside. He had to let her go. He loved her and he had to do what was best for her. Letting her go, letting her find love with someone her own age was what was best for her.

"Hold me," she said hesitantly.

How could he deny her that much? He moved their trash off to the side and lay down on the blanket, pulling her with him. She curled into his side and he held her. "It's all going to work out," he whispered.

"You don't know that," she whispered back, closing her eyes and enjoying the feel of him.

He ran his hand over hair, trying to comfort her. "Maybe not, but I believe that you and I will both go on to have happy lives. I have to believe that Bella. It's what will get me through when you leave. Promise me you'll try to be happy, that you'll let yourself fall in love again."

"Edward… you can't be serious." She pushed herself up to look at him. He sounded serious and he looked it too. "How can you even think about asking me to love someone else?"

"Because I want you to be happy."

"I'm happy with you."

"But we both know that it's never going to work with us," he said regrettably.

Bella looked down at her hands, placed on the blanket to support her. Sitting up a little more she met Edward's gaze as she spoke. "I love you, Edward. Can't we try to make this work?"

"Bella, we can't. I love you too, but this…" He motioned between them as he sat up too. "Us… it's illegal. I could lose my medical license. Hell, I could even end up in jail. So, as much as it pains me to say this, I think that we shouldn't keep in touch when you go to live with your dad."

"You can't… be serious," she said, tears starting to well in her eyes.

"Oh, sweetheart, please don't cry."

He tried to wipe her tears away, but she pushed his hand away. "Don't… just don't," she said, sniffling.

"Bella, please. You have to understand." He was really trying here, but it seemed she wasn't having it.

She just shook her head and stood up. "I'll be at the car," she said with another sniffle.

If Edward thought that Bella had given him the silent treatment the morning before she met with Tanya, then she was giving him a world of silence over the next few days. Her dad, Charlie, was coming to pick her up and Bella hadn't said one word to him for three days. He had tried talking to her, but to no avail.

He didn't want things to end this way, but apparently he couldn't do anything about it. He didn't want to give up, but he was running out of ideas. Charlie was supposed to be arriving today and she was planning on meeting him at the hospital. They would go from there as to what they would do next.

Bella had plans to go and live with her father. She had talked to him on the phone a few times while Edward had been at the hospital. Edward had been working the night shift and every night when he came home Bella was already in bed with the bedroom door locked. Maybe she was being childish, but she was angry. She didn't want to talk to Edward. She couldn't believe that he was letting her go like this.

When he had said 'I love you', Bella had believed him, but now it felt like that love was inconvenient for him. Love was supposed to be worth the risk. It was supposed to be something more. At least that's what she thought love was supposed to be. She'd never been in love before, so maybe she was a bit naïve.

The last thing Bella wanted to do was to have some big, emotional goodbye with Edward. She didn't know how to say goodbye to him. It was early and Charlie would be meeting her at the hospital in a few hours. She could hear Edward moving around in the other room, but she had one thing left to do before she could leave. So she sat down at the small desk in his room and wrote him a goodbye.

When she had finished writing the letter she placed it on his pillow and grabbed her bags. Her mother and Phil had already been arrested, so Charlie would be taking her to the house later to pack up her belongings and have them shipped to her new home. After the last couple of months, her life was finally about to change. She knew that when she met Edward that he was going to be someone important in her life, she just didn't know who.

She grabbed her bags and left the bedroom, walked through the living room, and out the front door without a word. Edward wasn't even there to stop her. Maybe he was in the bathroom or maybe he had left the apartment. She didn't know, but she hoped he would find her letter and read it. She hoped that he would understand.

Bella went through the motions with her dad. She packed up her things and then they had movers come to ship them. They were scheduled to fly out the very next morning. Bella hadn't heard from Edward, but she figured that he had to have come home by now and found her letter.

Edward had been watching from across the street when Bella left his apartment. He had left the apartment because he couldn't bear the thought of watching her go, but he had realized he couldn't not watch either. When he entered his apartment later he felt her absence keenly. Looking around the few rooms he noticed that she hadn't even left anything.

"She's really gone," he said to himself. He ran a hand through his hair and sighed. He knew he had to get on with his life. That was what was best. He just had to keep reminding himself of that.

The End

A/N: So, when I'm adding this because I usually forget when I first post. Lol I really hope you enjoyed this. It is a 3-shot series. I have Part II back from my wonderful beta Vampire Extraordinaire and am editing it now, so it should be posted in a week's time, if not faster! Please review! Let me know what you think of my little fic. Part III of this series is with my beta and I'm still trying to think of what my next writing project will be. :) Ideas? Send them in a review! ;)

Also, the letter that Bella wrote to Edward saying goodbye... I'm posting it in "Twi Updates & Teasers"