Disclaimer: Characters belong to Stephenie Meyer
This story was last published on 6/20/10.
There are 24 chapters in this story.
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I climbed onto the crowded bus and the heat was so oppressive I felt sick to my stomach. I looked around for a place to sit and noticed another American, a woman. She looked at me and smiled softly so I nodded to her. She was pretty, naturally pretty, and had a nice body. I was hoping we were headed to the same village; I could use some female companionship.
I sat next to a woman with a small boy. Her child was dirty with a runny nose and I tried to scoot further from them. The American woman pulled her dark hair into her hands and lifted it off of her neck, trying to find relief from the sweltering heat.
I looked at her white moist skin and had a desire to blow softly across her long neck. She glanced around and saw me looking at her, so she quickly dropped her hair and began to blush. I smiled and when she looked up once more I winked at her. She widened her eyes and I chuckled. Surely she had many men flirting with her, her large dark eyes held a bit of mystery that was captivating.
A scuffle broke out at the front of the old bus and two men began arguing loudly. I glanced at the two drunks and went back to staring at the pretty girl. She watched the men closely and when they began throwing fists, she jumped up and headed towards them.
I wanted to grab her hand and pull her back to her seat, or onto my lap, but she moved quickly. She spoke softly to the two men and pulled a rag from her pocket and began wiping blood off the face of one of them. The bus continued to crawl slowly down the dirt road and I closed my eyes to keep the dust from burning them.
It was an hour later when the bus pulled up to a rickety shack and opened the door. I grabbed my duffle bag and made my way with a few other riders down the front steps. I moved out of the way and dropped my bag to stretch my arms high into the air as I yawned.
The pretty brunette stepped out of the door and I locked eyes with her. She smiled softly and headed to the other side of the wooden building. I grabbed my bag and walked around to see her trying to decipher a hand drawn map.
"Can I help you find something?" I asked her, using my best smile.
"Thank you, I'm looking for the medical clinic," she said and I wanted to throw my fist into the air in jubilation.
"I'm Dr. Cullen, Edward Cullen; do you have a medical issue?" I asked.
"I'm the new nurse," she said and extended her hand for me to shake.
"No shit," I laughed. "I didn't know I was getting a nurse."
She gave me a wary look and said, "I'm here for as long as you need me."
"And you are?" I asked, wondering what name this angel possessed.
"I'm Sister Mary Isabella," she said and my smile instantly fell.
A nun, they sent me a freaking nun? I wanted to scream in frustration. They could have at least sent me an old lady with breast to her knees and covered in a long thick habit. I groaned loudly and began walking to the small cement clinic.
"Is there a problem, Dr. Cullen," she asked as she quickly followed.
I looked back at her thin body and perfect breasts and shook my head as I picked up my pace. She was struggling with her luggage and I knew I was being rude, but why did she have to be so fucking gorgeous? Her presence would torment me and I needed to convince her to leave.
I finally stopped walking and waited for her to catch up. I grabbed her bag and huffed loudly as I began walking again.
"I'm a good nurse, Dr. Cullen. I work hard and I don't require much," she said trying to convince me to be happy she was there.
"I don't doubt it, but did they tell you the hospital has one doctor and now one nurse?" I asked.
"Yes, they told me I would work all hours and stay in a small room at the clinic," she said as she finally began jogging to keep up with me.
I stopped and turned to face her. "Did they tell you I am a single man?" I asked her stunned face.
She raised her chin and crossed her arms as if my question angered her. "I don't know why that would be an issue, I am about God's work and…."
"Fine, go work with God and leave me alone," I said rudely and began walking again.
"I have been sent here to help, Dr. Cullen. Are you really going to send me away because of some massagonistic ideas you have regarding nuns? These people need a nurse; you need a nurse, so I'm here."
"I haven't said anything about you being a nun, hell I don't care if you're mother fucking Teresa. I was only pointing out the fact we will be living at the same place and I am a single man, so the possibility of seeing my dick is pretty realistic," I said without watching for her reaction.
"Oh please, you think I haven't seen a man's penis before? I have a newsflash for you Dr. Cullen, your dick is nothing special," she said to bring me to a quick stop.
I looked at her and she went right back to her determined stance, raised chin with arms crossed. I would have bought her tough girl routine if she wasn't blushing so badly. I laughed a little and when I licked my lips she looked away.
"Well, come on Bella, I'll show you to your room," I nodded to the small cement building in front of me.
"My name is Sister Mary Isabella, Dr. Cullen," she corrected me.
I looked her up and down and chuckled, "Naw, I can't see it, you look like a Bella. I'm not a Catholic and you're not my sister, so you answer to Bella or Nurse," I offered her.
"Fine, call me Nurse," she said and headed inside the building.
"Your room is down the hall on the left, Bella," I yelled after her and noticed how her hands pulled into fists. I was sure she would be begging to get out of here by the end of the week.
Dr. Cullen was the most infuriating man I had ever met. Surely he was a good doctor to be sent to this remote village in Africa. I was top of my class in nursing school and still had to wait in line for an assignment like this. I wanted to help people, good, decent people, who couldn't afford something as simple as healthcare.
I walked into my room and felt it was too much for such a poor area. I couldn't stand the thought of others having so little when I had so much. I turned to face Dr. Cullen as he sat my bag in the room and said; "I don't need all of this."
He glanced around the room and said, "All of what?"
"The dresser, the night stand, the shelf," I said as I pointed out various things in the room.
"Then don't use them," he said with a shrug.
I watched him walk off and I began putting my things away. I hung up my clothes and placed my crucifix on the wall. I washed my hands thoroughly and walked around the small hospital clinic to see what equipment and supplies it held.
I was looking through the drawers of an exam room when a small bell over the front entrance rang, signaling a patient had arrived. I hurried to the front and found a young woman, largely pregnant and holding her abdomen in pain.
"Oh sweetheart, come with me," I said and led her to a back room.
I placed her on the table and began taking her vitals. Dr. Cullen walked in and spoke in Swahili to the woman. He felt her stomach and pulled out the stirrups for her feet. She began to cry and held her stomach with both hands.
Dr. Cullen put on some gloves and pulled up the woman's dress to examine her. He looked at me and smiled, "Glove up, she's ready to push."
I scrubbed up and got clean towels ready. The woman was crying and moaning but I couldn't speak her language to comfort her.
"Does she have family?" I asked Dr. Cullen.
"No, she has already lost three babies, her husband will disown her if she can't have a child," he explained and began speaking to the woman in her native tongue. I raised the back of the table and pulled her forward to push.
The baby was born with relative ease but I could tell by Dr. Cullen's face it was not going well. He cut the cord and placed the baby in the clean towels and I saw it wasn't breathing. He cleared the nose and throat and began breathing in the baby's mouth with small puffs of air. The blood and mucus surrounded his mouth but he continued to work as he added chest compressions.
"Let me," I said and he went back to finish with the woman.
I said a quick prayer and began massaging the baby's chest as I blew in his mouth lightly. "Come on little guy," I coaxed and kissed him gently. "Come on, breathe."
The baby finally began to cry softly and the woman let out a joyful cry herself. I wrapped him in several blankets and placed him in a box and set it on top of the old stove in the kitchen. It was an awful substitute for an incubator but I remembered one of the sisters telling me about her mother doing that many years ago to help a baby retain body heat.
I hooked up a mask to an oxygen bottle and placed the air in front of the small baby. I watched him breathe in and out for hours. Dr. Cullen finally came into the room and checked the baby's vitals. "He needs to cry, to clear his lungs," he said and used a pressure cup to pound on the baby's back.
The little guy cried and coughed, so Dr. Cullen handed me the device and told me to clear his lungs every half an hour. I was diligent and watched the baby throughout the night. It was early the next morning when Dr. Cullen returned to check the baby again.
"You need sleep," I told him, but he only shook his head.
"His lungs sound much better, you're a great nurse," he said and I smiled.
"How's the mother?"
"Scared, none of her babies ever made it through the night. She has hope but it worries her to get too excited."
"Will you tell her I'm praying for her and her baby?" I asked him. He turned to look at me and I could see how tired he was. I decided to add him to my prayers, too.
He shook his head lightly and said, "You're a good nurse, and that is what will save her baby, not some repetitious mumbling."
"Just because you are not a religious man, don't discount other's belief. It may comfort her to know I'm praying for her, can you please tell her?" I begged him.
"Tell her yourself," he said hatefully and walked away.
I was shocked at how creative Bella was with caring for the baby. I found myself growing hopeful this one would actually make it, but I wasn't telling the mother. I couldn't raise her hopes and have her lose another baby.
I lay on my bed and felt my tired muscles begin to relax. I had only planned on sleeping for a few moments but woke up when the sun began filtering through the dusty windows. I tried to listen for the sounds of a baby crying or Bella moving around, but I heard nothing.
I groaned as I pulled myself off of the bed and let my feet shuffled on the hard floor toward the kitchen. The box was lying on the stove but it was empty. I sighed and ran my fingers through my hair. I headed down the hallway to talk to the mother when I heard laughter.
I looked in the room and saw Bella teaching the mother how to breast feed her baby. They were speaking the universal language of women. I walked into the room and smiled at them both. I put on my stethoscope and listened to the baby's lungs. I told the mother he was doing well and she cried and kissed my hands.
I told her it was Bella, who saved her son and she grabbed her hand and kissed it, also.
"You have to be exhausted, Bella, get some sleep," I told her.
She exhaled loudly and gave me an irritated look, but I refused to call her Sister Mary Isabella. She was too young and too hot to be a nun. I wondered what made her choose that life. I watched as she walked out of the room, her long legs moved gracefully and I wondered what she would look like in shorts.
Bella slept most of the morning and when our patient walked out the door with her son, I promised I would give Bella her best. I headed to the kitchen and fixed a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I pulled my instruments from the autoclave and pulled the sheets from the bed used by the woman.
After placing them in the washer I returned to the kitchen to find Bella making herself a sandwich. I sat down and opened a bottle of water. Bella sat across from me and smiled when I offered her the water.
"Thanks," she said softly.
I took a bite of my sandwich and she watched me chew. It flustered me so I leaned back in my chair and crossed my arms. "What?" I asked knowing she was thinking something.
"I was only wondering why you came here," she said and I laughed.
"I was thinking the exact same thing about you."
"I'm doing God's work," she reiterated.
"I'm doing a physician's work," I offered.
"There has to be more," she said as she continued to stare.
I shrugged, "I want to work for the CDC. Coming here will give me experience with communicable diseases. What about you, there has to be more?" I said and watched her reaction.
She began biting on her lip and her eyes refused to meet mine. I found the action enticing and I had to fight the urge to reach out and touch her full lips. She had perfect porcelain skin and her dark eyelashes gave her a sultry look.
"I'm sure you want to hear some big miraculous story about how a spirit came to me in a dream or I was raised by nuns in a convent, but the truth is, I want to be something, something good."
"You're a good nurse, why isn't that enough?"
"I'm a woman of faith, I'm sure you can't understand," she said and continued to look away from me. I wasn't buying it at all. There was some story behind Sister Mary Isabella, and I was determined to get to the bottom of it.
I couldn't believe I was going to be stuck here with Dr. Cullen and his arrogant ways. He was pushing me to confide in him, and he has done nothing but ridicule me. There was no way I was going to spill my guts to him.
I began to wonder why a good looking young doctor would willingly come to the middle of nowhere without a wife and family. I began to think there was something not quite right with Dr. Cullen. I stood from the table and began cleaning up. He went to his office and left me to explore.
I glanced into his bedroom and noticed there were no photographs or family memorabilia. The room was neat and the bed was actually made. I chuckled and had to admit I was judging Dr. Cullen too harshly. The sheets finished washing so I put them in the small dryer and made my way back to my room to pray.
I kneeled on the hard floor and placed my hands on the edge of the bed. I prayed for Dr. Cullen and for the people who would walk through the clinic door. I asked God to keep us safe and for our minds to be sharp and know how to treat those who come our way.
The sudden pounding on the front door startled me. I crossed myself and stood to see Dr. Cullen walk past my door. I followed him and watched as he glanced out the peephole on the door. His hand rose and he waved me forward, his face looked terrified and he grabbed my arm roughly.
"Don't speak, and do not act like a nurse, understand?" he whispered.
I shook my head back and forth, I had no idea what he was talking about, but his fear caused my own to surface.
Surrogate a/n...would love to hear what you thought of this story. Reviews are love...and I'm sure that Sandi would like to see some!