Disclaimer: I do not own Twilight or anything familiar. Look for a more detailed disclaimer at the bottom.
Author: The Nervous Rambler.
Summary: AU. AH. A/B E/J Em/R. 'Why won't you let me help you, Bella?' 'Because you can't help me unless you believe me!'
Mercy Hospital, Forks Washington.
You know that mini panic attack you have when you first wake up and you don't know where you are? Your heart starts pounding so hard you're sure it's going to explode form your chest and slap you in the face, your thoughts flying by a mile a minute, so fast you don't even register any of them, and breathing becomes a more difficult task than it should be. I always hated those little freak outs, mostly because I got them more than the average person. I had been traveling all my life, never staying in the same place for more than a year. Well, that's not completely true. The past two and a half years I had a permanent location. Not one I liked though.
Anyways, after the whole panic attack, I furiously looked around to gather myself. Another white room. That was another thing I had grown to hate over the past two and a half years. The colour white. White tiled floors with scuff marks from wheels and shoes, white walls so clean you could almost see your reflection in them, and the single window. Strangely enough, this one didn't have bars over it like I was used to.
What I wasn't used to, however, was being hooked up to every damn machine you could think of. An IV in my arm, a white sticky square with a wire on my left temple, a big white clip on my finger with a cord running to another machine and a clear white tube across my face and in my nose. The thing was damn itchy and if I knew what it was for, I would have pulled the sucker out. As it was, I didn't know if pulling it out could be lethal.
Speaking of lethal…
Where the hell was I? And why?
Moments later, the previous night's events rushed back to me, blurry and vague. The car and the booze, the red light, headlights, and the crash.
Ironically enough, I wasn't the cause of the accident either. It was the douche bag in the truck who ran his red light. But something else came with those memories. I had bounced back and forth from conscious and unconscious. I could still hear the sirens, remember the lights rushing by overhead as the paramedics and doctors rushed me down the hall of the hospital, the blonde doctor…did he have golden eyes or was that just my buzz? But there was also a voice… I think.
The voice sounded frantic. High, like bells, soft as the wind blowing through the trees.
"Double stitch, or it won't hold, and be careful!"
But again, that could have just been my buzz.
Hesitating slightly, I lifted my hand to my face, gingerly touching the bandage above my right eyebrow. Stitches. Hmm, perhaps it wasn't a buzz.
The door cracked open then as someone walked in. The blonde doctor from before walked in, studying his clip bored as he walked over to the side of my bed. Now, I wasn't into the whole older guys thing. It kind of creeped me out actually, 'cause who could find someone old enough to be your parent attractive in that way? But there was no denying that this man was handsome. I was sure he turned more than a few nurse's heads. His hair was blonde, like wheat, and slicked back, his face pale and smooth, wrinkle free. He wasn't super old or anything, but you'd think he'd have at least one wrinkle. He's a doctor, for crying out loud, stress was their life. But the most eye-catching thing of all, was the colour of his. A warm golden, swirling with genuine kindness as he looked up and me and smiled. "Hello, miss Swan."
Even though I cleared my throat first, my voice was still rough and scratchy as I looked up at him. "Hello…" I glanced at his name. "Doctor Cullen."
His smile widened. "Please, call me Carlisle."
Nodding, I adjusted my glasses on my face. The white sticky was making them sit funny since the frames were bold black ones. "Only if you call me Bella then, Isabella makes me sound old." I made a face.
Jeeze, I must have been a little buzzed still. I wasn't this friendly sober. I was kind of a grouch, actually.
"Very well, Bella. How are you feeling this morning?" He asked, getting down to business though his voice stayed friendly.
I shrugged. "Good, but I'm sure it won't last much longer though."
He nodded, writing something down. "Indeed. The alcohol will have left your system in an hour or so."
Carlisle's smile faded slightly. "Bella, we contacted your parents." He said, frowning when I cringed. That was a pretty blunt way to start things, but it had to be done. "Your mother called and said she would be here by the end of the week, but your father is in the waiting room. Would you like him present while we have this conversation?"
Scowling, I crossed my arms over my chest, conscious of the IV still. "Might as well kill two birds with one stone." I grumbled.
Carlisle left and moments later returned with Charlie Swan. The years had been good to him, he hadn't changed that much since I had seem him last. My previous birthday. More irony; my birthday had been three days ago, and I would have seen him then if I hadn't ran. His hair was short and dark, a darker brown than mine, though the tips at the back were starting to grey. His moustache was starting to grey as well, his brown eyes an exact match to my own, though his were surrounded by laugh lines. Relief filled them as he rushed over to the side of the hospital bed. "Bells! Thank God, you scared the crap out of me." He said, running a hand through his hair.
"Sorry." I murmured, looking down at my lap.
Charlie sighed, shaking his head. "What were you thinking, Bella?" A shrug was my only response as I continued to look everywhere but at him. "I thought you said they were helping you. I thought the meds…didn't they help?"
I nodded meekly. "For a while. It didn't last."
Charlie grunted, shaking his head again before patting my hand. "You could have just called me. I would have taken you out of there if you had just called me. You didn't need to turn this into a…a whole production."
Snorting, I looked up at him. "A production? I like to think of it as more of a service. Thanks to me, they won't make the mistake of keeping their keys lying around anymore." I laughed.
Charlie's eyes narrowed as he gripped my chin, making me look up. Gently though. Charlie wouldn't ever hurt me, but he was still my dad and he was still upset. I could see it in his eyes, and apparently he could see something in mine as well. "No. You're drinking again?"
"It helps." I whispered, my eyes filling with tears. That was something I never liked either. I was what I liked to call a Bi Polar Drunk. Highs and lows, no middle ground. Happy to sad to angry to anything in a split second.
Carlisle cleared his throat, making his presence known once more. Charlie jumped slightly and I grinned. "If I may," He said, looking to Charlie. "The hospital in Phoenix informed me of Bella's illness and the trouble she's been having at their facility these past few months. I suggested to them, the possibility of Bella staying here in Forks with you." I sputtered while Charlie reeled back, furrowing his brows. "We think it is in your daughter's best interest, Chief Swan, that Bella live in a more free, but quiet environment like Forks, here with family. Where she can be supervised but not feel caged."
"What about her medication, her sessions?" Charlie asked, playing with his moustache.
Carlisle ran a hand through his hair, looking to me and back to Charlie with a professional face. "I also have a Ph.D in Psychiatry and serve as one of the Psychiatrists in Forks, and I'd be more than willing to have Bella as my patient. We could work to find a prescription that would work for her."
It was silent for a few minutes while Charlie thought this over, looking down at me. "I'd love to have you come live with me again, Bells. And it does seem better than that hospital, though the food might be worse." He smiled. "But it's your choice."
Hospitals with white everywhere and bared windows? An orderly following you if you wanted to step outside for fresh air? Communal showers?
Nice cozy house, my own bed, private showers, and Charlie?
"I want to live with you." I agreed, nodding furiously. I looked back over at Carlisle who was also smiling. "Can I go home tonight?"
Carlisle nodded. "Yes, Charlie just has to sign you out and you could leave in a few minutes. I have some…disappointing news, though." Great. Was there never just good news? "Your wrist tag, I'm afraid we won't be able to take it off today." Wrist tag, that's what the doctors called the thick plastic wrist band. It had your full name, age, birthday, allergies, diagnosis, and other medical information on it. The thing was too thick to try and chew through, I found out after almost chipping my tooth, and too tight to cut off. I'd end up clipping a vein, most likely, in the process. You needed a special doohickey to take the thing off.
"Is your doohickey broken?" I blurted out, unable to stop myself.
Carlisle smiled a small amused smile. "No, our…doohickey isn't the right size. Your hospital used a much larger size than we have. I'll have to order a new one, so in the mean time you'll have to wear that."
Sighing, I glared at the thing on my wrist. "I've been wearing it for two and a half years, what's a couple more weeks?"
Carlisle placed the clip bored on a desk, moving next to my bed again. "Well, I'll just unhook you so you guys can go get settled in."
The whole process of signing out of the hospital was a lot longer than Carlisle made it out to sound. Charlie had to sign paper after paper after paper, and then a nurse had to check me over one more time before I had to be wheeled out of the building in a wheel chair. I always found that odd, how you had to be wheeled out of you were injured or whatever. I guess it took so long though, because I was very aware of all the people staring at me while I waited for Charlie. Locals, I figured, wondering what Chief Swan was doing with this girl. Well, until they got a look at both of us together. The family resemblance wasn't strong, but the eyes and mannerisms gave it away.
I giggled when Charlie led me to his car in the parking lot. His very own squad car, and as lame as it sounds, that 'moving on up' song started playing in my head, and I was unable to stop the giggle. Charlie gave me a look as he got into the car, but left it alone as we drove off to the house.
My eyes stayed glued to the scenery outside, taking in all the trees. After living with nothing but the rooms and the halls of the hospital for so long, seeing all these woods and trees was like a man seeing a giant pool of crystal clear water after wandering the desert for a week. And I took in everything else, the people, the streets, the buildings, trying to memorize my way around the small town of Forks.
After a long while, I looked over at Charlie and cleared my throat as I felt a throb in my head. "So…what do you have to drink at your house?"
Charlie glanced at me out of the corner of his eye. "Our house now, Bells. And we've got water, milk, and soda."
He grunted, shaking his head. "And my beer, but I don't want you drinking, Bella. Carlisle's is a good doctor, if anyone can find you meds that will work, it's him."
The throb turned into a lasting pain as I sighed, shifting in my seat. "And in the mean time?" He grimaced, looking away out his window. "Ch-dad, you know I need it. It's the only sure thing that blocks them out and numbs the pain."
After what felt like years of waiting, the pain in my head making itself more known, Charlie backed down, nodding. "Fine. Just till he finds you something." He relented, his voice doused in disappointment and sympathy. "Just…just try to cut back as much as you can, for me?" He asked.
My heart clenched and it was moments like those that made me want to just toss everything to the ground and promise Charlie or Renee that I wouldn't touch another bottle ever again. I couldn't imagine what it must be like for them, having to watch their only child, their only baby get smashed every day. But all it took was that pain and those voices to rear their ugly heads for me to remember why I couldn't say that. Why I couldn't do that.
And I knew they'd understand. They'd rather see me hammered than in that dark and dangerous place again. Neither of them were going to risk losing me to that again.
"I'm going to need something with a little more kick than your beer, dad." I murmured, fiddling with my wrist band as Charlie pulled into the parking lot of the liquor store. He came back a few minutes later with two big brown bags full of different bottles, looking embarrassed and red. "Uh… I thought you just asked me to cut back?"
He cleared his throat, setting the bags in the back. "I wasn't sure what you'd like and then I thought I'd get a bunch so I wouldn't have to keep making a pit stop every night. That'd look back, being the Chief of police and all." He said, continuing back to the house again.
"Stock piling. That's using your noggin." I murmured, looking over my shoulder and into the bags in the back. But when I felt Charlie's eyes on me, I forced myself to turn back around and stare out the window, trying not to think about the liquid relief in the backseat while I chewed on my lip.
The rest of the afternoon and night was quite busy. Busy enough that I didn't have time to have another drink or even think about the pain that was gradually building in my head. Charlie was on the phone all night with the School District Administrations Board, arguing and talking into the late hours of the evening until he could get me registered and ready for class. It wasn't that big of a deal since I had still been taking classes with a private teacher at the hospital, so I wouldn't be behind or lacking in the education department. But I think both he and I were more worried about the social part of school than the academic. Then he took me out to go buy some clothes in Port Angeles, some things for my room, shampoo and soap that I liked, and other stuff.
By the time I was settled into my room, scheduled to go to school the next day, and we had eaten, it was late. I was exhausted and called it a night, hoping sleep would prove to be an escape from the monstrous headache for a couple hours, and Charlie did a little while later as well.
The next morning I was awoken by my alarm clock that was pressed right up against my ear. Well, it felt like it. The thing was loud and had the same effect as someone shoving a piece of broken glass into my head and shaking it around. It felt like my skull was going to explode and I furiously searched for the little time device, grabbing it and whipping it at the wall across the room where it shattered. My bloodshot eyes took in the little pieces on the floor by the wall while I waited for the guilt to sink in and pulled myself from the bed and over to the mess to clean it up.
What a great way to start things, Bella. Smash up all Charlie's stuff. Brilliant.
Glaring at nothing, I grabbed a pile of clothes and headed for the shower, my mood picking up only slightly without the knowledge that I'd be showering by myself for a change. The hot water did wonders though, soothing my aching body from the accident and momentarily putting the pain in my head to the far reaches of my mind. I stayed in there as long as I could, scrubbing and washing and relaxing.
When I was completely relaxed and on the edge of falling asleep again, I got out and dried off before getting dressed. Black jeans, a white tank top and a black, grey, and white plaid button up left undone and the sleeves rolled up to my elbows. Quickly slipping on my glasses, I took in my image in the mirror. It had been a couple days since I had seen my reflection.
Pale skin, even after living in Phoenix for two and a half years, long mahogany hair, and chocolate brown eyes. I wasn't overly tall, but I wasn't quite short either, and the "healthy meals" and daily exercising that we had to do back at the hospital kept me fairly fit.
Deeming that nothing had really changed, I ran a brush through my hair before slipping on my black beanie and headed downstairs. Charlie was down there at the kitchen table with a cup of coffee, in his uniform and the paper in his face. Nothing had really changed there either over the years. Back when we still all lived together with Renee, this was basically the scene every morning. Minus Renee burning the toast at the kitchen counter.
Charlie glanced up at me, then my wrist, before his brows scrunched us together. "You're not going to try and…um, hide that?" He asked, trying not to sound he had a problem with it.
I knew what he was concerned about though and shook my head. Grunting, I shrugged my shoulders as I perched on the table chair. "No. Secrets like these never last long, someone always finds out and I'd rather just get it over with all in one day."
"Aren't you afraid it'll chase people away before you can make friends?" He asked, in a curious manner, not a hurtful one.
Shaking my head, my eyes traveled over to the fridge. "Nope. I'm thinking my social skills will do a fine job of that before this will have the chance."
Charlie got up to put his cup in the sink as I searched through the fridge, grabbing a bottle of whisky. "Listen, I spoke with the administration about your condition and even sent them a copy of your medical papers, but they still don't want you carrying that around the school casually. They-"
"I got it, don't worry." I grunted, grabbing a tin water bottle from the cupboard and started pouring. "There, might as well be water for all they know."
"Right." Charlie murmured, stalking back over to the kitchen table to grab his keys and make sure he had everything. "So, you want a ride to school? It's only a fifteen minute walk but it's your first day and all. I wouldn't mind giving you a ride until we figure things out."
"Walking's fine. Haven't exactly been able to take a stroll by myself in a couple years, this'll be a nice change." I replied, shoving my hands into my pockets.
He nodded, heading to the front to lace up his boots and grab his gun belt. "Alright, well I'll be home by six and then I was thinking we could go out for dinner and pick up a phone for you or something."
My brows furrowed. "Why?"
Charlie cleared his throat. "I don't know, thought you'd like one. Isn't that all the rage these days? Teenagers texting and whatnot?" He asked.
"I don't know. But okay, thanks." I replied, rubbing my forehead as it swelled with pain. I didn't even have to finish the thought before the lid on the water bottle was off and I took a swig. Charlie frowned, waving before he headed out the door and to his cruiser.
I waited around the house for another half an hour, sitting in the living room in the dark. It had been a long time since I had worn jeans, and I spent most of the time appreciating them. But soon it was time to leave if I was going to make it on time and get my schedule. So with that in mind, I went to top off the water bottle, grabbed my fingerless grey gloves, a black leather coat, and a pair of converse before scooping up my backpack and heading out.
Like Charlie said, it was only a short fifteen minute walk to school. Much to short for my liking, I would have rather spent the day outside even with the good chance of rain. I paused briefly at the edge of the student parking lot, looking around at all the other people. I was never so good with social interaction or being near other people, so going to public schools over the years had never been my favourite thing. But alas, I had to endure.
Besides, the people around here seemed normal enough. There were no distinct cliques as far as I could tell, which would make sense seeing how small the population of Forks was, and that calmed my nerves some. There was, however, one shiny, expensive looking car there. A sleek silver volvo, parked up close to the school, the spaces on either side of it free while the rest of the parking lot was crammed full.
Three guesses as to what kind of person it was who owned that.
With great reluctance, I began my trek through the parking lot, ignoring the people who paused to stare or turn to whisper to their friends, and headed for the office building. The woman at the desk had a giant white grin for me as I entered, her hair red and pouffy, all pinned up like a big bun/ball on top of her head with giant purple glasses. And strangely enough, it seemed to suit the woman and work for her. "Hello there!"
"I received a message this morning when I got in; you must be Isabella." She said, excitement in her voice. I nodded meekly, slowly approaching the desk. "I never knew Chief Swan had a daughter, though I guess that would explain all the trips he makes every year, wouldn't it? Birthdays, Christmases, Thanksgivings, all those kinds of things? I bet he's so happy to have you living with him now though. I know I couldn't go more than a week without seeing my son…" And so it continued for the next five minutes as she dug around for my schedule, a school map, and a paper for my teachers to sign. "Have a good day!" She called on my way out.
Even more people were staring when I walked back out, not even bothering to hide it. Kids clustered together, their eyes trained on me, turning to whisper to one another, some of them pointing as their friends searched for what everyone was looking at. Shoving my hands deeper into my pockets, I briskly walked off to my first class where the kids would glance over their shoulders every now and then, wondering who I was.
And so was the rest of my day up until my last class, photography. Charlie had took under the advisement of my previous hospital, of having me in a creative, "expressive" class to help with my illness or some crap like that. But I had to admit, I liked photography, so there was no complaining on my part.
I said in the very back corner of the room with my bag under my desk, my tin bottle clutched tightly in my hands, nearly empty by now. Like in every other class, there was the one odd person who'd catch a glimpse of my wrist band, eyes going wide as they spun around to spread the word. It only furthered their gossip when I'd grin at them or chuckle and wink before taking another swig of my bottle.
So colour me surprised when desk next to mine was taken while there were still other free ones around the room.
But before I had the chance to release the slightly witty, mostly offensive remark on the tip of my tongue, the girl turned to face me as well with a smile. And all thoughts flew off out the window. The girl was small; both short and petite. Her hair was also cropped short, spikes sticking out in every directions while her bangs brushed her chin, the colour such a dark raven brown that it looked black, and silky. Her skin was alabaster, looking like porcelain and completely blemish free; not a single freckle in sight. Her blood red lips pulled up in a smile revealing pearly white teeth. Her clothes suggested she was more wealthy than the average Joe; designer, and I briefly wondered if that volvo was hers out in the parking lot, dark wash skinny jeans, black high heels, a white T shirt and a black vest. But it was her eyes that had my very thoughts crumble and fall out of my head; an intense golden, like deep honey with speck of lighter gold, surrounded by thick black lashes. They were captivating, pulling me in deeper and deeper until I forgot my name.
"Hello." Her voice was light and high, like chimes, tinkling. It sounded so familiar but I couldn't place it anywhere…
Right. I should probably answer. "Oh, um, hey." I replied lamely.
Her smile seemed to brighten even more as she held out her delicate pale hand. "I'm Alice, Alice Cullen."
"Bella." I replied, shaking her hand. It was cold, colder than mine, and felt like she had been outside all day. "Nice to meet you."
Alice propped her elbow up on her desk, resting her chin in her palm as her eyes roamed over me. I felt a blush creep up my neck. "You're Chief Swan's daughter, right?" I nodded, the wrist band on my wrist suddenly feeling shame-worthy. As subtly as I could, I folded my arms to hide it, but she picked up on it, frowning. "You don't need to hide it, Bella. I already know; word spreads fast around the school and…well, my dad mentioned you in passing."
My brows furrowed. "Your da…oh! Carlisle?" Cullen. Man, I was slow today.
Alice nodded. "Yes."
Watching her curiously, I lifted my hand up, fiddling with my wrist band. "And this doesn't bother you like the rest of them?"
"You shouldn't be ashamed of who you are, Bella." Alice said seriously.
"And what if who you are is dangerous?" Alice raised an eyebrow. "Mental illnesses like mine are dangerous, otherwise they'd let me run around like all the rest of you." I tried to keep the bitter resentment from my voice, but it was hard. I… really didn't care for the system sometimes.
"You're sitting in this class with me, are you not?" She asked.
"And that doesn't frighten you?"
An amused smile pulled at her lips. "I assure you, I can take care of myself."
The teacher came in then, greeting everyone and introducing me to the class. Apparently the class was working on their landscape portfolios, pictures mostly of Forks, or Seattle and Port Angeles if you went out there with your camera. It was a partner project, and luckily enough, for me, Alice was the only one in class who didn't have a partner so we were paired up. The pictures she had were…breathtaking. Black and white, in colour, faded and unfocused, of ponds or different shots of the woods, in the woods, a fallen tree with moss over growing it, the cliffs… no one else's could compare. She seemed pleased that I liked them, though warned me that this meant I'd be expected to go hiking with her for the pictures from now on.
The in class work was mostly just developing their pictures, or doing research on famous photographers or famous works. Alice and I made more small talk all throughout class as we worked, and I genuinely liked her company surprisingly. Now and then though, I'd catch a slightly frown from when I'd sip from my bottle, but there was no way she could tell what it was. I'd been popping tick tacos all day.
She waved after walking out to the parking lot, skipping over to the silver volvo where the rest of her siblings were waiting. They were too far away for me to get a look at, but I was sure one of them was glaring. I could feel it.
And that's how the first day went.
Overall, not too bad.
Perhaps Forks wouldn't be that bad.
Alright. So, School Ties, my other story…I don't know, I'm not really feeling it and I apologize. I haven't given up on it completely yet, seeing as I've written almost another chapter…but I don't know.
This one however, I have big plans for, so hopefully you'll stick around for it.
With that in mind, I shall take my leave.
Reviews would be greatly appreciated.
Annnd, I can't really give all the disclaimers right away because then it will spoil the story, so I'll try to put them in at the end of the chapter where they're needed but if I don't remember; my bad. So I suppose the best I can do at this point is say that anything in this story at any time that you recognize from somewhere else (TV, movies, stories, etc) doesn't belong to me but belongs to their rightful owners.
That works, right?
-The Nervous Rambler.