A/N: I know I said The Kept Men's Club would be next, but this little plot bunny hopped into my head and the outline was written in less than an hour. I expect this to be fairly short chapters and quick updates. It's been pre-read by the loverly Roselover2, but has not been technically beta'd. THANKS Kimpy0464 for her input as well. If there are any glaring errors, please let me know!
Yes this will have a "While You Were Sleeping" vibe to it.
This story is dedicated to GinnyW 31. She'll know why in a chapter or two. Thanks for reading! Reviews are welcome and appreciated!
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. No copyright infringement is intended.
While You Were Knocked Out Cold
He walked out of the jewelry store carrying the little striped bag like it was a bomb about to go off. The lead weight that had been sitting in his gut seemed to grow exponentially as he walked down the street toward the restaurant—toward his doom.
Marrying Tanya wouldn't be that bad, he tried to convince himself. It wasn't working. He felt more and more panic bubbling up inside of him as he continued his dead-man-walking march to the Ristorante Voltorini. She was waiting there for him. In all likelihood, she already knew what he had planned.
His family had been pushing him to propose for ages. Her family was just as eager for the match but for reasons he didn't understand, Edward just couldn't generate feelings any deeper than friendly affection toward his intended.
He pressed the crosswalk button and waited. Cars whizzed by and he was vaguely aware of the normal city noises but still more focused on the task at hand. He really should not be proposing to her. Not if he felt this way. She'd probably hate the ring since she didn't get to pick it out. High maintenance—the thought flashed through his mind on a loop.
The light changed and he took one step into the crosswalk. On his left a horn blared a second before the crunch and screech of metal split the air. A huge, black SUV backed away from a sleek, silver sports car, turned and then sped off in another direction. Edward was so stunned by the driver's depraved behavior-a hit and run!-he didn't even think about getting the license plate number. By the time the thought entered his mind, the vehicle was too far away to see the plate clearly.
He called 9-1-1 as he ran to the car. The woman driving was slumped over the steering wheel. For some reason, the airbag hadn't deployed. At least she was wearing a seatbelt. That was probably the only positive part of the whole situation.
The driver door was mangled and pushed in, but hadn't intruded too far into her space. Chunks of glass from the broken window lay strewn in her hair. He gingerly reached in and felt for a pulse. A heavy sigh of relief passed his lips as he relayed to the 9-1-1 dispatcher that she was unconscious but had a pulse and seemed to be breathing.
She was turned toward the window and even though her features were covered in dripping blood, Edward couldn't help but notice how beautiful she was. He was captivated. With tentative fingers he picked a few of the bits of glass off of her face.
Just before the ambulance arrived, the woman groaned and tried to move. Edward placed his hand on her shoulder and spoke as calmly as he could. "Hey, don't move. You were in an accident. The ambulance is on its way."
She grunted. Edward asked, "What's your name?"
She stopped shifting and managed to crack one eye open. "Bella," she said. Her voice was rough and garbled like she was talking halfway under water.
"Is there anyone I can call for you?"
"No," it came out even quieter than before. "Please, don't leave me," she said with a slight desperation. She lifted her hand to Edward. He took it in his own and felt her weak squeeze. That simple connection seemed to hum appreciatively though his entire being. He returned the squeeze and said, "I'm not going anywhere."
Her lips lifted into a hint of a smile and then her body slumped forward even more. Panic flooded his mind as he reached his hand to her cheek. "Bella! Bella, hey beautiful, wake up please."
Just then, the paramedics pulled up and started doing their thing. They put a collar around Bella's neck and monitored her vitals as best they could. It was several minutes before they were able to pry the door away and transfer her to a stretcher. An officer took Edward's statement. He wasn't sure how helpful it was since he couldn't really describe anything about the actual accident.
Finally they were loading Bella into the ambulance. Dread overwhelmed Edward as he thought about the possibility that this would be the last he ever saw of Bella. "I need to go with her. I promised I wouldn't leave her."
"Sir, we can't let..."
"Please, I promised her."
The paramedic sighed and reluctantly waved him aboard the ambulance.
"Here is Ms. Swan's purse. If we find anything else in the wreck, we'll bring it by the hospital." Edward nodded in understanding. "Thank you, Mr. Cullen," the officer continued, "for your help. If we have any further questions we have all your contact information." The police officer pounded the back door of the ambulance twice and then walked away.
Edward sat awkwardly as the medic checked Bella's eyes every few minutes. The man looked up and said, "You can hold her hand. She's stable for now."
"Oh. Okay. Thanks." Edward wrapped his hand around hers and tried to understand how he'd gotten so completely sucked into this situation.
Before he knew it they'd arrived at the hospital and he was being escorted to a bland waiting room. A clerk shoved a clipboard full of paper work into his hands. "Where's Bella? Where are they taking her?"
This level of worry for a complete stranger was disconcerting to him, to say the least.
"Are you family?"
Even though he'd had time to think about it, he still hadn't come up with a reasonable reason for him to be with her. He'd asked her if there was anyone he could call and she'd said "no," so he answered the clerk as truthfully as possible. "I'm all that she's got."
"She's being treated as we speak. Someone will let you know if there's any change. What's your name?"
"She's in good hands. Just get as much of that paperwork filled out as you can."
The forms blurred together in front of him. How was he supposed to fill all of this stuff out? He didn't even know who she was.
Reluctantly he opened her purse and found her wallet. He leafed through the various cards and bits of paper shoved into the bill fold compartment. The pen shook in his hand as he copied information from her insurance card onto the forms. He used her driver's license to list her address and date of birth. He couldn't fill in the social security section, but he did manage to get her phone number by calling his own phone with hers. The battery level on her phone was low so he powered it off until he'd had a chance to take it home and charge it for her.
He'd just gotten to the part of the forms where it asks about personal medical history. The allergy card that was tucked into the wallet came in helpful at that moment, but the rest he had to leave blank. He didn't know this woman at all. And that thought bothered him more than it should.
He'd finished all that he could and set the clipboard down. His phone rang. Tanya. He'd completely forgotten about her. He was supposed to have met her hours ago. She was going to be pissed that he'd stood her up, and frankly he just really didn't want to deal with her at the moment.
He silenced the call and turned his phone off. The little bag from the jewelry store, now crumpled and sitting lonely on the chair next to him, called to him. He reached in and retrieved the little velvet box.
The diamonds sparkled and shone but he knew it really wouldn't suit Tanya's tastes at all. She was so much flashier than the simple ring he held. Maybe he should be looking for a woman who fit the ring?
"Oh, dear. I'm sorry this accident ruined such a special day for you!" The clerk was eyeing him with pity as her gaze flicked from his confused expression to the ring and back again.
"Oh, it's not. . ."
"Tut tut. I won't pry. But I'll let the staff know that she's your fiancée." She picked up the clipboard and cursorily flipped through the forms.
"How is she?"
"The doctor will be out in a moment to talk with you." Her face was a mask of calm as she escorted him to a private meeting room, but Edward was pretty good at reading people. Whatever was going on, it wasn't good. She patted his shoulder and walked out, closing the door with a soft click.
A moment later—which meant an hour in medical speak—a doctor in scrubs and a mask pulled down around his neck walked into the waiting area. Edward hadn't really noticed that he wasn't the only one in the room.
"You are here with Ms. Swan?"
Edward stood up and walked toward the Doctor. "I'm Edward Cullen."
"Right, the fiancé. Is there no other family we can call?"
The doctor's incorrect reference to his relationship with Bella didn't even faze him, in fact he was grateful for the clerk's error. "No, there's no one else. How is she?"
The physician frowned. "She has a punctured lung and experienced closed head trauma. We need to get her to surgery immediately to control the pressure that's building in her brain. We'll continue to treat her, but it'd be helpful if you can locate one of her immediate family members in case things take a turn for the worse before she regains consciousness."
"Sure. Yeah. Whatever you need."
"She's in critical condition; we'll do all we can."
Edward slumped back into his seat and again wondered how on earth he'd gotten into this mess.
A/N: I'd love to know what you think!