Summary: The residents of Bennett Circle are being terrorized, and none of them have been able to catch the culprits. When they take aim at Edward Masen, he makes it his mission to find them and bring them to justice. What he finds and who he finds isn't anything he ever expected. Oh, and their mother…she's not anyone he ever expected either.

AU/AH. OOC. Canon couples with a few surprises. Rated M. There's language and there's a lot of fun…well, I hope you have fun.


A/N: Yep…it's me…with another story. Hope you like it.

SMeyer owns…I don't, I borrow.



As Edward Masen turned onto the cul-de-sac of Bennett Circle, he was singing happily with the radio. The day had been a great one, and in his opinion, nothing could have brought him down from his high. He'd landed a request-for-proposal for a big account that he'd been chasing for months, and he was set to get a nice big bonus from the firm where he worked if he landed it. It would be his first solo client since he'd started, and the euphoria had him happier than he'd been in a long time.

Splat…splat, splat…splat. He slammed on the brakes of his new Mercedes before he hit something, and he jumped from his car just in time to see the two little neighborhood villains riding old Huffy bikes for the hills. He had no idea who they were or exactly where they lived, but they'd egged the windshield of his car as he'd casually driven down his street, making him their latest victim in the reign of terror that they'd delivered to the inhabitants of his block.

He'd heard complaints from his neighbors that had begun two weeks prior. Stories of missing yard gnomes, uprooted flower beds, and a painted cat had circulated through the usually docile neighborhood like wildfire. The cat, Pablo, belonged to his next door neighbor, Mrs. Cope, and it was equally as much of a menace to the neighborhood with its digging in the trash and getting stuck in trees, but Edward didn't think the poor thing deserved to be painted day-glo pink and green.

Then again, if he thought about it, it would make it easier to spot in the tree when Mrs. Cope begged him to climb up and get the fucker out of whatever neighborhood tree it had climbed. If Mrs. Cope's chocolate chip cookies weren't so damn good, Edward would have pretended he wasn't at home when she knocked.

No one on Bennett Circle had been able to catch the boys in the act because they seemed to strike when everyone was otherwise occupied, and none of the neighbors knew where they lived because they were quite cagey with their getaways, but Edward was pretty sure that his neighbors were taking up a collection to offer a reward for the whereabouts or capture of the little bandits.

He turned on the wipers of the Mercedes and squirted fluid on the windshield before the mess dried and became like paint, and when he could see reasonably well, he turned around and slowly drove around the neighborhood looking for any sign of the boys or their bikes. He didn't know exactly for who he was looking, but any boy between the ages of eight and twelve was fair game for the interrogation he planned to conduct.

He circled the neighboring blocks for an hour, and when it started to get dark, he gave up his search and went home. He pulled into his driveway, parked his car, and got out to survey the damage. It was a huge fucking mess, and he knew if he didn't get it off soon, it would take hours of scrubbing to remove the offending residue. Edward walked over to the side of his house to grab the garden hose when he noticed his neighbors, Emmett and Rosalie McCarty, carrying out a large area rug and dropping it at the curb.

He was certain that everyone in the neighborhood heard Rosalie's tirade, but he had to know what had her so worked up that afternoon. "Hey, what's with the rug?" he called as he turned on the hose and began spraying off as much of the mess as he could while it was still fresh. He knew he'd have to clean the driveway after he was finished with his mission, but his new car was his baby, and he didn't want it to sit with egg goo all over it overnight.

"Those little bastards. I swear, when I figure out who they belong to, I'm gonna beat somebody's ass. If you can't keep your kids in line, you have no business having them," Rosalie yelled. Edward noticed her husband, Emmett, laughing behind her as the two of them walked over into his yard.

"Damn, they got your car but good. I haven't egged a car since I was about fourteen. It was the principal at my high school who suspended me because I'd gone into the girls' locker room with a camera to get some shots for the school paper, or so I told everyone. I believe I proved my point about making me stay home from school for two days wasn't exactly the best punishment to levy. Anyway, the Bennett Circle Bandits put duct tape over our dog door today, and Brutus couldn't get out of the house to do his business. He shit all over the dining room. That was the rug from under our table. I told Rosie to be nicer to him," Emmett related with a smirk on his face.

"Hell, you're a cop, why can't you catch 'em?" Edward asked smugly.

"Seriously? Until this shit…pun intended…hit my yard, I thought it was funny and not worth my time," Emmett answered as he looked at his watch.

Edward could see Emmett's wife was fuming mad, so he decided against teasing her about the loss of the rug because he'd witnessed her explosive behavior on more than one occasion, and he certainly didn't want her wrath misdirected at him instead of the cause for all of the consternation that afternoon…the bandits. "Yeah, well, I tried to find 'em, but they disappeared between the Newton's and the Mallory's. I think we need to have a block meeting to see if anyone else has seen which direction they go when they take off. Someone's going to be responsible for painting my car if this egg shit does any damage," Edward lamented to his neighbors.

"As the block president, I'll set it up. I'll also call the other block presidents on Abingdon Place and Cameron Run. Maybe they know something about it," Rosalie determined. The three chatted for a few more minutes and then the couple went inside their house, leaving him to consider the fact that the egg mess wasn't going to rinse away as he'd hoped.

He went to his garage, grabbing a bucket and a sponge to wash the car with soap, hoping that he'd at least removed most of it. Once it was as clean as he could get it by the flood light over the garage door, he picked up the broken egg shells and went inside to fix something for dinner and work for a while on the new advertising strategy that he was formulating for his new client.

At 10:00 PM, there was a knock on the front door, and as he looked out the window of his study, he saw Mrs. Cope pacing with a plate in her hands which meant that the nomadic cat, Pablo, was on the loose again. He sighed and slipped on his flip flops before he went to answer the knock, knowing that he would be climbing a ladder in a yard somewhere on the block within a few minutes.

"Mrs. Cope? He's gone again?" he asked, dreading her answer.

Mrs. Cope thrust the plate of cookies at her handsome young neighbor and smiled at him, quite happy that he was such an agreeable fellow. "He is, but I've narrowed down his whereabouts. He's over on Abingdon Place in the big oak tree in the Harmon's old yard. I walked the neighborhood calling out to him, and found him over there. I've got an extension ladder in my garage if that will help. I think he's up too high to climb the tree," she offered. Edward took the cookies and put them on the table by the front door and grabbed his keys, mentally cursing his parents for instilling a strong sense of empathy in him during his formative years.

He crossed his yard and went into Mrs. Cope's garage to grab the ladder, following her to the Harmon's old house on the next block. All of the lights were on inside the house, which surprised him because he didn't know that anyone had moved into the house.

As the pair approached the yard, Edward could see a woman lying on the ground with two tall men standing there looking down at her. One of the men reached out a foot and appeared to kick her on the hip, and then the other guy actually picked her up from the ground.

To Edward's untrained eye, the woman didn't appear to be unconscious, but she certainly did appear to be in pain based on the sounds she was making. Mrs. Cope and he walked faster until they reached the yard where he was met with the sight of what he'd spent an hour seeking earlier in the evening. He believed it was the Bennett Circle Bandits, as the boys had been aptly named, and the woman standing there with them appeared to be their mother. Swift justice was about to be served, Masen style.


"Finally! You guys were supposed to be cleaning that crap out of the garage. Where'd you take off to, yet again?" Bella Uley demanded when her two sons came tearing into the garage on their bikes. She noticed that both of them looked worried, and Jared, the younger twin by three minutes, kept glancing toward the street which led his mother to believe that they'd definitely been up to no good.

The oldest, Jacob, quickly shut the garage door, leaving the three of them standing amidst the remaining unpacked boxes and all of the plunder that the boys had brought with them when they moved across town. She noticed two yard gnomes in the corner of the garage that weren't there the last time she was in the structure, but she was actually afraid to ask from where they'd come.

"Aw, Ma, this is all good stuff in here. If we get rid of it, what are we gonna do when we need it?" Jake whined. It wasn't something that Bella was unaccustomed to hearing from her sons. She quickly scanned the garage and noticed that there were two bikes and two pieces of bikes, which the boys had claimed they were using for parts though she was at a loss as to why. There were two skateboards, various balls of all types, bats, football pads, broken toys, and God only knew what else amidst the sea of unpacked boxes.

She didn't like to admit it, but she wasn't exactly the disciplinarian that she should have been, so it wasn't a surprise that they didn't listen to her when she'd instructed them to clean out the garage after their grandmother dropped them at home from school. Having eleven-year old twins was going to make her gray before she even hit thirty-one, in her opinion.

"I don't care what arguments you have for getting rid of all of this crap. We've only been in this house for two weeks, and you guys brought all of that junk with you when we moved. We're not starting out like that in this house. Where were you, by the way? I've been calling you for an hour," Bella complained.

The boys looked at each other, and their mother could tell that she wasn't going to get a straight answer. Every day since the family had moved into the new house on Abingdon Place, the boys had disappeared right after Bella's mother dropped them off in the afternoon and only reappeared when the grumbling in their stomachs became unbearable. Their excuse for their absences was always that they were exploring the new neighborhood and meeting other kids. Bella highly doubted it, but she didn't have the energy to fight them that evening.

"Fine, lie to me. Dinner, homework, showers, and bed. No arguments, or you won't play on Saturday, got it?" she threatened. It was the only real leverage she had at her disposal to get her sons to fall in line. She was going to miss the upper hand when soccer season was over, but fall brought football, so she was hoping that she'd be able to use it to her advantage for the school year. All she had to do was figure out how to get through the summer.

The family ate dinner, and Bella helped them with homework as she cleaned up the dinner dishes and folded laundry. After the twins had finished their homework, they went to shower without argument, for once, and while they were busy, their mother went into the "pits," as she referred to their rooms, and pulled out more dirty laundry.

"Of course," she remarked out loud to herself as she discovered that the hampers in their rooms were empty because all of their dirty clothes were on the floor. How they couldn't take the extra two steps to put their dirty shirts, shorts, or socks into the hampers was one of life's great mysteries to her, but it wasn't something with which she was unfamiliar because their father, to whom Bella had been married for three years before the couple threw in the towel, was extremely slovenly. That had been a major complaint in their brief marriage. It wasn't the reason they finally divorced, but on her list of top ten's, it was in the top five.

Once her sons were finally settled into their rooms that night, Bella sat down with the bills to work her magic of staying one-step ahead of the bill collectors. She made a decent salary at her job, and the child support she received from the boys' father helped, but it was still expensive to feed and clothe them. With the two boys growing like weeds, it seemed like she was buying new clothes for them every week. She didn't even really want to consider the amount of money it took to feed the pair on a weekly basis.

She was eternally grateful for taking a medical transcription course at the community college while she was still married to Sam. The couple's financial status, or really, lack of one, allowed her to attend the classes for free. She was grateful that she had a skill to cobble out a career to take care of her family that didn't require her to wait tables or compromise her morals.

As she was about to play eenie-meenie-minie-moe with the electric and the phone bill, Jared flew into the kitchen, surprising the hell out of her. "Mom, there's somebody outside screaming," he told her with a look of panic on his face. Bella walked into the living room and heard exactly to what he was referring.

She went to the front door and turned on the porch light, looking around for anyone in pain because the sound was so horrible that she determined someone had to be mortally wounded. She happened to glance up in the huge oak in the yard where the sound seemed to be located, and she immediately saw the culprit.

A cat, which appeared to be painted pink and green, was high up the tree and apparently, it couldn't get down. The only way Bella even noticed it amidst all of the leaves was because it actually glowed in the street light.

"Dammit. It's a cat. Get me the step ladder from the garage, Jacob," Bella called as she slipped on shoes and a sweater to go outside. Jacob ambled into the garage and plodded back out with the tall stepladder that her father, Charlie, had dropped off earlier to clean her gutters.

She placed it against the tree and started to climb. "Uh, Ma, I think you better let me go. You'll fall," Jake responded sarcastically. She chuckled, thinking he was probably right in his assessment, but if either of them were going to get hurt that night, it was going to be Bella and not her eleven-year old son.

"Just hold the ladder and the sarcasm," she instructed as she began her ascent of the ladder in an attempt to retrieve the animal. When she was nearly at the branch where the cat was completely freaking out, back arched up hissing at her as if she was planning to set it on fire, she reached out to grab it.

Suddenly, the animal seemed to decide that it knew how to get down…it was going to cling to her shirt, claws digging into her chest and hanging on tightly. Of course, being the balance-challenged woman that she was, she lost her footing and slid down a few rungs before she fell off the ladder completely, landing on her back with her left arm painfully wrenched behind her. Thankfully, the cat released her flesh and hopped off her chest as she lie on the ground with her eyes closed for a moment having had the wind knocked out of her.

"Think she's dead?" Jared asked his brother. Bella felt a shoe nudge her and opened her eyes to see Jared standing next to her gently kicking her hip with his bare foot. She tried to sit up and the pain set in immediately causing her to shriek.

"FUUUCCCKKK," she swore. The pain was so intense that tears immediately sprang into her eyes. She rolled onto her right side and pulled her arm from behind her, knowing that she'd done something horrible to it.

"Mom, you're not s'posed to swear. We get our mouths washed out for it," Jared reprimanded as he held out a hand to help his mother up. Jacob moved behind her and wrapped his arms around her waist, picking her up without much effort which surprised her.

It really shouldn't have been a surprise because both boys were very much like their father…tall, dark, and would eventually become very handsome. She was pretty certain they were both going to be ladies' men, much like Sam, and she was going to make damn sure that they didn't make the mistakes that she and Sam had at such a young age.

Bella met Sam when she was working at a sporting goods' store during her senior year of high school. She was shy, and God knew, he was good looking. He was working for a construction company at the time and had stopped in to buy some waterproof coveralls. The two started talking, and Sam asked her out for dinner and a movie. She went, and they began a relationship that got pretty heated, pretty quickly.

Six months into the first serious relationship of her young life, Bella found herself pregnant with twins. The couple wasn't in love, but between the families, it was decided that they were going to get married, so they did without much argument. They lasted three years before they just couldn't do it any longer, but as far as she was concerned, there was no malice between them.

That had been eight years earlier, and miraculously, they'd been able to remain friends and co-parent their sons until Sam had to move to Alaska to take a job. He'd remarried, and he'd even offered to take the boys with him, but they were the center of Bella's universe so she put my foot down that they were staying with her.

Sam called the boys as often as he could, but he wasn't able to see them on a regular basis, the last time being a year earlier when he and his wife, Emily, came to Washington to visit his family. He took the boys to his mother's for a week, and while they were gone, Bella was a lonely mess. Without her boys, she truly had no life.

"Lady, are you okay?" she heard called her way as a man and an older woman approached the yard with an extension ladder between them. The lady reached down and picked up the cat, holding it to her chin and whispering to it as if it would understand the scolding she was obviously giving it. If she didn't have her boys, Bella was pretty sure she'd be doing the same thing at some point in time.

"I've hurt my shoulder. I think I need to call my mom to take me to the…excuse me, but who are you?" she asked nervously. The man didn't look familiar to her, but the family had just moved into the house two weeks prior, so it really wasn't a surprising revelation.

Bella felt blessed at having been lucky enough to find the two-story, Cape Cod-style house that was in a better school district and neighborhood without having to spend any more money than she was paying at the small two bedroom apartment she and her sons shared on the other side of town. She still had to drive the boys across town to their old school, but there were only a few more weeks of the school year left, so it was a small trade-off for the prospect of the better school in the fall. The old school was on her way to work anyway, so it really wasn't anything unmanageable.

"I'm Edward Masen and this is Mrs. Cope. We were just coming to get her cat out of your tree. Um, maybe you should call someone to come take you to the hospital. I'd guess that you've dislocated it," Edward informed her.

"I'm Bella Uley, and these are my sons, Jared and Jacob," she introduced awkwardly. She saw the man giving the boys the once over, and as much as she wanted to know why, she decided that she needed to get her arm looked at more than she needed to satisfy her curiosity regarding his scrutiny.

"Um, maybe we can get better acquainted another time when I'm not about ready to shoot myself in the foot with a nail gun so I can forget the pain in my shoulder. We just moved here a few weeks ago, so we don't really know anyone, but um, maybe another time would be better," she suggested.

"Yes, we definitely need to talk. I'll drop by another time now that I know where they live," the man responded cryptically. Everyone said good-bye and then Bella went inside to call her mother to come take her to the hospital. She knew her dad was on duty, so she was going to have to rely on her mother, Renee, unfortunately. It wasn't a secret in the Swan/Uley family that her mother wasn't the best night driver on the planet.

An hour later, Bella was sitting in the ER with her mother while her father dropped by her house to check on the boys and ensure that they went back to bed.

The women were sitting behind a curtain, the injured party on a gurney with her less-than-stellar chauffer, Renee, in a chair next to her. "What on earth made you climb a tree to rescue a cat?" Renee asked quizzically, feeling it was a good question given her daughter's uneasy history with balance.

"It was shrieking like a banshee, and I climbed a ladder, Mom, not a tree. The boys were scared, so I had to do something about it, or we'd never get to sleep tonight. What would you suggest I do, pull out a BB gun and shoot the damn thing out of the tree?" Bella asked feeling the pain pill beginning to take effect. She certainly wasn't going to bitch about that…because, in her opinion, the pain was worse than child birth.

Carlisle Cullen, her boss and personal angel of mercy, breezed behind the curtain with his usual good looks and a bright smile on his face. "Well, well, well. My favorite patient, yet again. What happened this time?" he asked with a lot of sarcasm in his voice. Bella determined that if she didn't like the guy so much, she'd have decked him with her good hand.

"I fell off a ladder after getting attacked by a cat in a tree. Can we just get on with this?" she asked impatiently. She wanted to be home in her bed, though, when she thought about it, she wasn't sure that she'd be any more comfortable there. At least some of the pain was subsiding.

"You, my friend, have no business climbing a ladder. Now, we're going to send you to x-ray and see what, exactly, you've done. Then we'll know how to proceed. How bad does it hurt, one to ten," Carlisle asked as he shined the small penlight into her eyes for likely the hundredth time since she'd first encountered him in the emergency room years prior. She knew that Carlisle knew her medical history better than she did.

"Right now…six. Half hour ago…twenty," she answered, feeling a little loopy. Carlisle laughed at her assessment and left the room.

Forty-five minutes later, Bella was back behind the curtain in the ER waiting for the x-rays to be read and the verdict to be delivered. Carlisle strolled back in and shoved the film onto the light board flipping on the switch. "Right here. You did it up right this time, Bella. Four separate fractures. If you weren't as young as you are, I'd suggest surgery, but I think it'll be fine. We're going to give you a sling, and then I'm going to send you to Port Angeles to an ortho next week. You don't do anything half-assed," he teased as he pointed out each separate fracture.

She looked at her mother who had a brace on her wrist, having fallen down the stairs at Bella's old apartment building when her mom and dad were helping her move. She didn't have to wonder from where she got the klutz gene. Her mother could make fun of her all she wanted for falling off that ladder, but Bella was convinced that she got her grace…or lack thereof… from her mother, hands down.

Unfortunately, between the two of them, they only had two good arms after the sling was in place. Not the best case scenario, in Bella's opinion. She silently prayed that her mother wasn't still consuming those pain pills she'd been prescribed because she was their ride home.

After a quick discussion with a frazzled nurse, the women walked out into the bright hallway to see Carlisle standing by the nurses' station with what she assumed was her chart, based on its size. He was talking to a very, very good-looking guy, and they were both laughing. Said good-looking guy was dressed in a pair of shorts and a t-shirt, and man, did he look good, in her opinion. She reasoned with herself that she could have been slightly impaired with the pain medication coursing through her system, but the man looked like the most gorgeous guy she'd ever seen in her life.

"Ah, here they are. So, Bella, I believe you know Edward?" Carlisle asked as he closed the chart and handed it to a nurse.

"Edward? Do I know Edward? Surely, I would have remembered meeting Edward," she quickly thought.

"She, uh, had just fallen out of the tree when I introduced myself. We happen to live a street apart. I was on my way to get Mrs. Cope's cat out of her tree when I happened upon her and her sons in the yard. How bad was it? Dislocated?" Edward asked.

"Oh, that Edward. He certainly looks better in the light than he did in the dark," she thought.

"Fractured in four spots. I'm Renee, Bella's mother. It's nice to meet you. So, is your wife with you?" her mom asked quickly.

"Very subtle, Mom. Sorry I didn't recognize you, Mr. Masen. It wasn't the best circumstances for an introduction," Bella responded, feeling her face flush.

"Edward is Esme's brother. So, that's where you moved, Piney Woods? That's a nice area," Carlisle remarked to Bella. She was still stuck at the part where the handsome man standing in front of her was Esme Cullen's brother.

She had been working for Carlisle for a little over five years. She knew his wife and his daughter, but she didn't know anyone else in their family. Aside from seeing them when they came into the office or seeing Carlisle during her all-to-frequent visits to the emergency room, she didn't socialize with her boss and his family.

"Oh, well, it's nice to meet you again, Mr. Masen. Mom, I really need to get home before I pass out right here and do more damage to myself. Dad needs to get back to work, and if I know my sons, they've got him watching some stupid video instead of going to bed like they were supposed to. They've got a soccer game in the morning, and they'll both be too tired to play," Bella urged, eager to get away from the scrutiny of Edward Masen. She felt like he hadn't taken his eyes off of her since she'd stopped to speak to Carlisle.

"How are those guys? I guess I won't see them again until physical time in August," Carlisle asked. Bella noticed that Edward seemed to smirk at Carlisle's mention of her sons, and she wondered what that look meant.

"Um, yeah. Their dad is supposed to come down for a week after school is out for the summer and take them to visit their grandparents. Hopefully, they won't have a reason to see you before August," Bella responded groggily.

"I really need to talk to you about your sons, Mrs. Uley. Right now might not be the best time, but when would?" Edward asked curtly. She had no idea to what he was referring, but whatever it was, he needed to say it fast because she was about two steps away from passing out.

Without waiting for his answer, nor offering him one in return, she began making her way to the sliding door at the Emergency entrance to get to the car. Suddenly, she felt her knees get wobbly, and then they buckled beneath her. Before she hit the floor, she was out cold.


Curiosity simply got the best of Edward Masen late that Friday night. He knew for a fact that there was only one hospital in town, so he drove there to check on the woman he'd briefly met earlier in the evening.

From what he could tell in the dim light from her porch and the dusk-to-dawn lights that lined the street, she was a pretty girl, and she really looked like she was in a lot of pain. He justified his unusual behavior as being a good neighbor as he turned into the parking lot of the hospital.

He strolled into the ER and found his brother-in-law, Carlisle, standing at the nurses' station and writing on a rather thick hospital chart. "Hey, Carlisle. How's it going?" he asked nonchalantly. Carlisle looked up from his instructions, appearing quite surprised and quickly looked down at his watch.

"What brings you here at 11:00 PM on a Friday night? No date?" Carlisle teased. He was aware that Edward was on a dating embargo since Becca and he had called it quits, once and for all.

The on-again, off-again nature of the friends-with-benefits arrangement that Edward had bartered with an old college friend had lasted one year before it reached its end with the pair no longer friends, nor were they engaging in any benefits of any kind.

After some soul searching, Edward decided to take some time to step back and re-evaluate his priorities. He was currently a year into his soul-searching expedition, having not reached any conclusions, but he determined that until he had a better handle on what he actually wanted for his future, it was better to be alone than be a party to yet another meaningless relationship.

At twenty-four, he wasn't actively looking to settle down, but he was certain that if the right girl came along, he would probably give it some serious consideration, which was the reason he wasn't dating. He actually wasn't ready to take it into consideration.

"I'm here because of Bella Uley. She's new to the neighborhood, and I actually met her just after she fell out of the tree. I guess I was kind of worried about her because she looked like she took a pretty good spill. So, how is she?" he asked nonchalantly as he leaned against the desk.

"Well, you can ask her yourself because there they are. So, Bella, I believe you know Edward," Carlisle commented with a smirk on his face when he looked in Edward's direction.

Seeing her in the humming fluorescent lights of the hospital corridor, Edward could see that she was much more than just pretty. She was gorgeous. And, she was absolutely out of it. He saw her swaying on her feet, and he was afraid that she was going to pass out on the spot.

The group spoke a few minutes longer…Edward taking the opportunity to remind himself the real reason for seeking her out was to discuss the two fugitives she was harboring and not to get a handle on her relationship status. Just as Bella and her mother…who had actually quizzed him about a wife in the first fifteen seconds of their meeting…were leaving, Edward could see Bella sway a little, and he knew she was going down.

He quickly caught her before she hit the hard hospital tile and picked her up being mindful of her arm, and he turned to Carlisle, seeing him look as if he'd expected it. "Can she leave?" Edward asked his brother-in-law with an added eye roll for good measure.

Her mother had already left the building to go get the car, Edward assumed, and clearly the unconscious woman in his arms couldn't maneuver on her own.

"Yeah. Um, you might want to help her inside her house because her mother has a brace on her wrist from where she broke it two weeks ago. I'm not sure how she'd get Bella inside," Carlisle volunteered. Edward nodded in understanding and carried the small brunette outside to the car that was waiting at the curb.

Her mother opened the passenger door, and he gently placed Bella in the seat, buckling the seatbelt around her. He looked at her mother and said, "Give me the prescription, and I'll stop and get it filled. I won't be long behind you, and I'll get Bella into the house when I get there." Without question, the woman nodded in affirmation and drove away.

Edward stopped by the twenty-four hour pharmacy in the neighborhood and had the prescription for Vicodin filled after lying to the pharmacist that the person for whom the prescription was written was his wife, and then he went to the Uley house on Abingdon Place, finding a semi-coherent Bella and her mother actually arguing in the car. He was relieved that the woman was awake.

"…I don't need a man in my life. I'm doing just fine on my own, thank you," he heard Bella complain.

"Baby girl, I hate to break this to you, but you need a man in your life more than I do. You need a role-model for those boys, and you need a man to climb a ladder to scare a cat instead of you. You can't do everything by yourself, and your dad and I aren't getting any younger," her mom replied. Edward cleared his throat as he walked over to the open passenger side door, picking up the beautiful woman from the seat without a word.

"Ouch! What the hell are you doing?" Bella asked him as her eyes blinked quickly.

"Sorry. I got your prescription filled, and I'm going to take you inside because between your shoulder and the pain pills, I don't think you should be trying to get around without help. Now, point the way," Edward demanded as he carried her up on her porch and waited while her mother opened the front door.

The three walked into the living room, finding a man who Edward assumed was Bella's father asleep on the couch and the desperados nowhere in sight. Her mother woke her father, who surprisingly was a cop, and she whispered to Edward, "Bella's room is at the end of the hall upstairs. Thanks for helping." With that bit of instruction, Edward observed her parents wasting no time in leaving the premises.

He glanced down to see that Bella was asleep again, so he followed her mother's directions and carried her upstairs to the room at the end of the hall. He gently placed her on the bed which he found with the aid of a night light, and he covered her with a blanket at the end of her bed after he slipped off her shoes. He set the prescription bottle on the bedside table and went back downstairs to leave.

He looked around her house a little, seeing that she wasn't exactly unpacked, but what he could see was that she appeared to have nice things. As he stood in her living room covertly taking in the sights, it occurred to him that her mother had no problem leaving her daughter and grandsons at the mercy of a stranger, and he wondered exactly what kind of people they were. Her mother had spoken to him for all of about two minutes, yet she didn't hesitate to get the hell out of the house, taking the cop with her and leaving him there alone.

He wondered if he should wake her sons and explain to them exactly who he was and what had happened with regard their mom's hospital visit, but from what he remembered, they were pretty big kids and he was a stranger who didn't really relish the idea of getting his ass kicked at midnight in a virtual stranger's home. He decided that they'd figure it out in the morning, and he went through the house to shut off lights, leaving on one in the kitchen in case anyone came downstairs.

As he was about to leave, it occurred to Edward that the woman didn't have any way to get the lid off the pill bottle, nor did he leave her any water to take a pain pill if she woke up before her sons. He didn't feel comfortable that she'd be able to get up on her own and get to her bathroom, and he seriously doubted that her kids would wake up if she called out in the night.

He determined he needed help because Bella Uley didn't really know him from anyone, and after all, it really wasn't his place to help her but her own parents hadn't hung around so he was at a loss of what to do with regard to the conundrum.

He pulled out his cell phone and called the only person who came to mind…his sister. He briefly thought about contacting Rosalie McCarty but quickly dismissed it because he assumed that if Rosalie figured out that the boys sleeping upstairs were the same ones who'd caused her to lose her favorite area rug, he was sure she'd go ape shit.

After another moment's thought, he didn't see that he really had a choice in the matter, so he hit the call button and was glad that his sister was a night owl when she answered on the second ring. "Edward? What's wrong?"

Esme Cullen was substantially older than her younger brother because their parents had Esme when they were young, and they never thought they'd have another child. There were twenty years between the siblings, and from what Edward had been told his entire life, he was a complete surprise. His parents never made him feel like he was an unwanted surprise, but they were always adamant that he was most certainly a surprise.

"Um, I've got a bit of a situation here. See, Bella Uley fell out of a tree and fractured her shoulder, and well, I just met her this evening but I'm here at her house. It's a really long story, but I'm afraid that if she wakes up and finds me here, she'll have my ass arrested for trespassing or breaking and entering. She's pretty hopped up on painkillers, and I'm afraid that if she tries to get up by herself, she'll get hurt again. Would you consider coming over? Carlisle seems to know her pretty well," Edward explained with fingers crossed.

"Bella actually works for him. Um, yeah, give me the address because I know she recently moved. I'll come help you out," Esme called over the line like the good sister Edward knew her to be. He walked out the front door to get the house number from the porch, giving it to her quickly, and then turning on the front porch light after the two hung up.

Fifteen minutes later, there was a soft knock on the front door of the Uley home. Edward opened it to find Esme and his niece, Alice, standing there in their pajamas with bags in their hands. "You owe me a lengthy explanation for this," Esme whispered. He had no doubt about that.

"I know. Look, she's asleep upstairs. It's the last room on the hallway. I believe her sons are asleep as well. Her parents just took off when we got back here. I didn't know what to do," he explained.

Alice chuckled. "Florence Nightingale suits you. Never fear. I know Jacob and Jared Uley, and I'll be happy to help them out. You're coming back in the morning, right?" she asked.

"I, uh, hadn't planned on it," Edward answered having determined that his obligation to the family was fulfilled.

"Oh, he won't need to come back because he's not leaving. You're going to have to be here to help me explain this sudden invasion of her privacy, little brother. Bella's a very private person, and I'm sure she's not going to appreciate finding near-strangers here in her home when she wakes, so you're staying. Now, I'll go upstairs and check on her. Alice, see if you can find us some blankets and pillows. You and I can sleep on the couch and Edward, you can have the floor," Esme announced authoritatively. Edward hated to admit it, but he was actually afraid of his older sister, and if she was demanding that he stay the night, he was pretty sure he wasn't going anywhere.


E/N: Thanks for reading…xoxo