A Peek in the Dollhouse.
Stephenie Meyer owns the Twilight characters.
This story will be confusing at first, but if you're confused imagine how Edward feels!
I pulled up to the old brick building. It had an aura of despair and I dreaded walking into the place. I got my identification out and walked toward the guarded entrance. I forced myself to put on a smile and tried to greet the men cheerfully.
"Hello, how are you today?" I said.
"Good, Doctor Cullen, have a nice day."
I nodded and headed down the long corridor toward my small office. My father worked in the administration office. He gave up practicing psychiatry a few years ago, but remained at the State Mental Hospital in an advisory role. I didn't think I would be able to last nearly as long in this droll place as he did.
I pushed the button and the nurse on duty let me in. I nodded at her and picked up the stack of files left by the night shift and went into my office. I put my lunch in the small fridge and sat in my chair to go through the files.
A flash caught my eye and I looked over to see Bella leaning against the doorway. I smiled to myself and tried to ignore her. She made a noise by hitting her small shoe against the wood, but I continued my reading. She finally came into the room, her long dark hair a knotted mess, and her cotton dress stained.
"Good morning, Bella," I stated, and continued looking down.
She walked her fingers, which were soiled, across my desk and placed her hand in front of my papers. I looked up and she smiled with dirty teeth. "I can't read if you block my view," I said, and she laughed with a hoarse voice. I frowned and sat back in my chair. "Were you screaming again last night?"
She ignored my questions and began clapping her hands together in a beat only she could hear and walked over to my window and looked outside. I continued to watch her, wondering what had happened to condemn her to this awful place at such a young age.
Bella was only twelve and had lived here since she was eight. She spoke seldom and usually shied away from people. But she seemed intrigued by me and hung around often. I was desperate to break through her foggy mind and help her to really heal.
I looked for Bella's file and opened it to see what had gone on during the night. I sighed to see she was in a state of hysterics through most of the night. "Bella," I said and she turned to look at me. "Did you have a bad dream?"
She touched her lips with her finger, meaning yes. I was about to ask her about it when a nurse looked in my office and said, "Dr. Cullen, Eric needs his medications examined."
I got up and headed to the young man's room. Bella came into the hallway and followed behind me. I found Eric lying in bed as he stared forward. I felt his pulse and asked to see his chart. I groaned when I saw the level of meds he had been given. "Don't give him anything today and see if he'll drink extra fluid. I'll check on him throughout the day."
The night shift was always over medicating the patients so they could have eventless nights. I was angry as I left his room and the sight of Bella's dirty face kicked up my anger. I picked her up around the waist and headed right to the showers. She kicked and screamed, having only a little voice left, knowing where I was taking her.
I grabbed a rubber apron and put it over my head before I started a tub of water. Bella was trying to bite me but I managed to stay out of the way of her teeth as I pulled her dress from her body. I left her t-shirt and underwear in place and dropped her into the water.
I tied the apron and then knelt next to the tub as I washed her face, hair, hands and feet with soap. She growled and grunted the entire time. One of the nurses, Angela, came running in with a large towel and said, "Dr. Cullen, let me do that."
I stepped out of the way and said, "I want her hair combed, and if you can't do it cut it off."
I threw the apron onto the ground and walked back to my office. I was growing to loathe this place and it caused me to make obvious mistakes. I sat back down at my desk and ran my wet hands through my hair. I took several deep breaths and then pulled the files back to my eyes. I made notes in several and when I heard someone sniffing I looked up to see Bella glaring at me. Her hair was wet, but combed smooth.
"Come here," I said softly.
She walked over to the desk with her bottom lip sticking out. I reached out and touched it with my finger and she covered her mouth with her hand. "Now I can see your beautiful face," I said with a smile. "And look at how pretty your hair is."
She picked up a strand of her hair and played with it as she rocked back and forth. She looked over at my window and walked over to look outside. I watched her with intrigue and wondered how anyone could hurt such a sweet spirit.
Bella was found living alone in a rat infested house. She was malnourished and so traumatized she couldn't speak. The state took custody of her and tried placing her in foster homes. Her constant screaming and violent outburst ended her up here.
I saw a soft innocent side to Bella, but she only responded that way with me. Nobody else could keep her attention the way I could. "Do you want some candy?" I asked her.
She smiled and came running over to my desk. I got a sucker out of my drawer and said, "What's in your hair?" I reached for her hair and then I pulled the sucker from my hand as if performing a magic trick.
She scrunched up her nose and felt her hair to see if anymore suckers lurked. I held the sucker out and Bella took it and stuck it in her mouth. Angela walked into my office and sighed when she saw Bella with candy. "She hasn't eaten breakfast yet," she complained.
"Go with Angela and eat," I told Bella. She looked over at Angela but refused to take her hand she offered. Angela turned and walked out as Bella followed her.
I picked up my phone and called my dad's office. He answered and I said, "Hey, do you know if Bella has ever been taken out of here for day visits?"
"She doesn't have any family," my dad reminded me.
"I know, but a nurse could take her and keep notes on her reactions."
"You're the only one who has any control of her, and that is only if you don't cross her," he said. I could tell he didn't like what I was thinking, but it wasn't fair for a little girl to be deemed too difficult to have any contact with the outside world. It wasn't her fault she was an orphan.
"I might try taking her for a walk," I mused, and my father launched into a lecture. I quickly cut him off and said, "She isn't having any effective therapy in here, I have to try something."
"Keep me apprised," he said, giving up any hope of changing my mind.
I began making my rounds on the unit and when I noticed Bella following me and knelt down and spoke directly to her. "Bella, would you like to go outside with me?"
Her eyes darted to a window and then back at me. I could see the fear growing and I said, "I'll hold your hand, and we'll only go for a short walk."
I held out my hand and had to wait several moments before she would take it. I walked slowly to the security door and had to show her it only led to a hallway so she would come through the door. When we made it to the main door she stopped dead in her tracks and pulled back on her hand. I let her go and walked over to open the door. I pointed to the steps and said, "I'll sit right here, you can come out when you want."
I left the door open and sat on the top step, refusing to look back at her. It was close to fifteen minutes before she rushed to my side and held onto me with all her strength. I looked down to see her eyes shut tightly. I wrapped my arm around her and spoke softly, "I'm so proud of you. Today is a new day for you, Bella."
Her head was tucked into my chest and she looked up at me with terrified eyes. I smiled at her and she gave me a wary smile in return. "I'm your friend Bella, I would never hurt you," I promised.
She looked over at the parking lot and then around at the grounds as she clung to me tightly. I pointed at my silver car and said, "That car right there is mine. I bought it new when I graduated. Someday you'll go to school, too."
I knew it was a huge leap to think Bella could ever do something as normal as attending school. I wanted her to find some inner strength even if she only took a small step. "Do you want to go back inside?" I asked her.
She nodded emphatically so I held her tightly and stood. She remained clinging to me until we got inside then she let go and took hold of my hand. I went on with my day and Bella was my constant shadow the entire time. When my shift came to an end she climbed into her favorite chair and curled into a ball. She did this every day when I had to leave.
I knew better than to talk to her so she wouldn't go into a rage. I got my backpack and headed home for the evening. I unlocked my condo door and walked in to find Tanya in my kitchen. I wasn't in the mood to deal with her tonight, but I walked over to offer her a gentle kiss. "I'm not hungry," I lied, trying to punish her for taking the initiative and cooking for me.
She tossed the spatula into the pan harshly and turned off the heat. "Are you in a pissy mood again?" she asked.
I headed to my bedroom and she followed. I turned my stomach even though I knew it wasn't right to treat her this way. She was five years older than me and in a rush to marry. I had spent the last ten years of my life taking advanced courses so I could be a doctor by twenty-five. I needed some time to myself, without the pressures of a wife and child.
"I have a free night," she said as she watched me for a reaction. "Jane is with her father."
I had a flash of inspiration and turned to look a Tanya with wide eyes. "Hey, would you be willing to let Jane meet a girl from the hospital?"
Tanya laughed and then grew angry when I didn't give the indication I was joking. She folded her arms harshly and then said, "You expect my baby to be around those crazies?"
"Bella isn't crazy," I said angrily. "She was destroyed by something or someone and she needs help to heal."
"Well, you help her, but don't expect me to help."
I groaned loudly in frustration, wanting just one thing to be simple today. I increased the volume of my voice and said, "Jane wouldn't have to come inside, just play on the grass and see if Bella will play with her."
Tanya finally knew exactly how to handle me. She walked up slowly and began to unbutton my shirt. She smiled with her perfectly straight, a bit too white, teeth. "I'll consider it, if you change your mood."
I knew she was blackmailing me, but I would do it for the chance to help Bella. I pulled her to my mouth and kissed her aggressively, not worrying if I got too rough.