Title: The Neighbor
Summary: After Dr. Edward Cullen fails to save a woman's life, her grieving husband vows to take revenge. Too bad he confuses Edward's new neighbor for his girlfriend.
Disclaimer: Stephanie Meyers owns Twilight.
Chapter Fourteen: Meeting the Neighbor
Edward was back at the police station. It was two days after the death of James Witherdale, and he was due for questioning. He'd given his official statement the day before, but Detective Aro had called him in for one last follow-up. He had plans to meet up with his family at Alice and Jasper's house once this was over.
It was in the waiting room that he saw her. The receptionist was on the phone paging Aro that he had arrived when he happened to look up and see a woman walking with Detective Marcus. They were passing a window between the lobby and a back hallway, but even at this distance Edward recognized her.
Bella Swan. His neighbor. The girl he had met only once, but who he had still shared the extraordinarily bad last few days with.
She disappeared out of the view of the window.
The morning that police had stormed the cabin she and Alice had been held hostage in, Edward had been beside himself with worry. He had insisted to everyone who would listen that he be taken to the hospital to see her, he wanted to assure himself that she was really going to be okay.
But it was wasted effort. There were all kinds of questions to answer, things had to be made official. Eventually he was told that his sister had been picked up by forest rangers nearly two miles from the cabin. She'd actually been found before Bella, but the news had traveled slowly.
When he was finally released from custody that first day he and Esme had gone to see Alice at the hospital. It was not the same hospital that Bella Swan was taken to.
Alice was checked over, she gave her statement, and the family was able to take her home that night. Edward had all but collapsed onto his sister's sofa for a solid twelve hours.
The next day had been spent entirely at the police station as the detectives crossed their t's and dotted their i's.
It was all happening rather quickly, he was assured, because James had made things simple by acting alone and then dying. It had been quite considerate of him really.
"Mr. Cullen you can go on back now. Detective Aro is waiting for you."
Edward nodded his acknowledgement and headed to the now familiar office.
He was done two long hours later.
He hung around for a while anyway, quite at home now in the station waiting room. He drank three coffees and kept watch at the door. But Bella Swan never emerged, and when he finally built up the courage to just simply ask the receptionist, who had been eyeing his strange behavior for a while now, he was informed the woman had left nearly an hour prior.
Disappointed, Edward left.
He made it all the way to his car in the parking lot when a beep of his phone drew his attention. Checking the display, Edward smiled as an idea began to form.
Bella was having a bad day. She was on day four of a temporary leave of absence from work, and bored out of her mind. She couldn't work because she was on enough painkillers to sedate a horse and had trouble focusing her eyes on just one thing at a time, not to mention the trouble walking required.
But after several days sitting at home metaphorically twiddling her thumbs (she couldn't even twiddle her thumbs for real, as one was sprained), she was driving herself crazy. The term 'cabin fever' had never seemed so descriptive.
Charlie had stayed with her the first few days, but eventually he had needed to go back to work. Renee had offered to come stay with her for a while, but as much as Bella loved her mother, she was in no condition to handle being 'taken care of' by Renee.
Now with nothing better to do, Bella was reclined on her couch attempting to watch movies. She had put on an old, six hour long version of Pride and Prejudice—she had the time, after all—but was having trouble keeping her eyes focused on the screen.
At least she knew the story, though, so she was able to follow along even with her fading attention.
Just as Elizabeth overheard Mr. Darcy insulting those present at the country ball, there was a knock on her door.
This was the most exciting part of her day so far, and she hurried to grab her crutches and lever herself up to a standing position.
It took three tries of falling back to the couch like a big dizzy toddler before she was able to remain standing up. The knock repeated.
"I'm coming!" She called, desperate for whoever it was to not leave the door. She thought it might be a friend who had gotten off work early, or heck even the postman. At this point she'd even take one of those door-to-door religious people, just anything to break up the monotony.
She crossed the apartment faster than was strictly wise, and balanced awkwardly on her crutches to free up a hand to open the door.
She wrenched it open too quickly, and it dislodged her right crutch. Bella had only time to gasp in surprise before she began to fall.
Her torso slammed unexpectedly into a warm body, and arms curled reflexively around her waist.
Shocked, she looked up and suddenly locked eyes with a man, her face no doubt bright red even as she lost herself inappropriately in his green eyes. She took in his strong jaw, his flushed face, the bits of hazel in his green eyes. She had no lucid thoughts.
"Uh…hello." She said finally.
A sudden wide grin broke out across his face.
"We've got to stop meeting like this."
A wet nose pressed into her palm, and Bella looked down to see her dog, alive and happy looking, staring up at her.
"Would you like to come in?"
Author's Note: And things come full circle. I hope everyone enjoyed this story. It was certainly fun to write despite the crazy long break and all the lost chapters I had near the beginning. I'm working on something new already, but I might just wait until it's done before posting anything.