*I in no way shape or form, own these characters, or any rights to the unbelievable fortune that Stephenie Meyer is surely raking in due to the invention of these characters.

*Thanks to all of the very kind reviews and critical, that I have received. I love them all, for the encouragement, as well as the teaching. I love you all!

Chapter One


Carlisle Cullen sat in his study, head in hands, trying to wrap his mind, his emotions over the last year. Hell, the last twenty years. A fire crackled behind him as the moody, unexpected crescendos and sudden soft, but vivid emotions of Chopin rang loudly throughout the room, trying to drown out the very sounds, the knowledge of what was going on underneath this very roof. It had finally come to pass and he felt his heart crushing to dust under the actualization, the physical recognition of a house-wide understanding of what was finally coming to fruition.

It had been lying, not so dormant, but pulsating, living just below the surface of his marriage. His mind drifted to the introduction of what he thought, may have been the saving grace to all of this. The day that Edward had brought Bella Swan to meet the family. There seemed to be somewhat of a glimmer of promise there. It was apparent that Edward was infatuated with her, how couldn't he be? She was so awkward in her own world, yet so at ease in theirs.

During this time, he had felt a spark of hope in his own marriage to Esme, that things might have been returning to normal after twenty years of friendship, but the absence of passion. From the time that Bella was brought into their lives, Esme had seemed to throw herself into recreating the passion that they once had. Carlisle had never been so hopeful. It seemed that dawn was just on the horizon and the torment that had been his most secret and constantly painful existence over the last twenty years, was finally coming to an end.

Everyone knew that it had been there, yet didn't speak of it. To Esme and Edward's credit, they fought it with all of their might to keep the family together. For years, Alice had been pained with visions that she would only share with Jasper. Worry and sadness seemed to etch into Alice's sweet, normally carefree, pixy like freshness. That is, until Bella came along. Few were happier to see Edward reaching out to Bella, than Alice. She had regained her youthful vibrancy and zeal for life that was truly her. She had welcomed Bella into their lives with open arms and warmth, seeing a light at the end of a very secret, yet palpable tunnel. A vast tunnel, like a giant purple elephant always in the room.

The family had returned to normal for a time. Carlisle and Esme had seemed to recapture the fresh, dewy, romance of their younger years together. But tonight, all of that was crashing down upon Carlisle, seemingly burning his home and family around him. Had he been able to cry, his face surely would have been soaked with tears. He suddenly jumped up from his luxurious and beautiful, Spanish leather office chair and opened the nearest window, jumping out into the chilly autumn evening and ran for his life. He ran out into the night, possibly fifty miles into the wilderness, turned his face up toward the sky and for the first time in his life, screamed with all of the might, terror, hurt and rage in his body. Dropping to his knees, he sobbed into the whistling wind and icy rain, clueless to the fact that somewhere in the forest, Bella lay, sapped of anymore reason to exist, on the forest floor.

Edward had led her into the woods, only to tell her that she wasn't good for him and that he should have ended this relationship that they shared, long ago. A relationship to which Bella had been ensured was true love. He invaded her heart, her soul, her mind, yet he had dropped her in the blink of an eye. Edward, in one conversation, had punctured her heart, causing a swell of love, never to be returned, to build up in her chest. Her mind went numb except for the only question that burned into her thoughts like a skipping record player. Why? Why? Why?

He didn't love her, after all. After all of the intimate times that they lay in the meadow together, the touches and kisses stolen in secretly shared moments. Her heart, already full of love, not quite ever completely requited. Seemingly always just out of reach, it felt as if her heart was filling even now, without an outlet to pour its contents into as she had helplessly tried to follow him. She didn't care that she lay on the forest floor, or that icy rain fell upon her. She didn't care that her human body was losing feeling, due to the combination of exposure and icy rain. She was just thankful for the soft patch of mud that she had landed in after hours of chasing after Edward. Her throat burned from calling his name. Her mind was in confusion and twisted torment over the utter and complete halt, to what was to be her forever. Why, why, why?

Numbly, she felt herself being lifted and carried. She didn't care by whom or to where. She only cared that her love had dropped what they shared in the wet forest. In the Fir tree and earth scented air.

She took little notice of Charlie, nearly in tears as he carried her up to her room and covered her in blankets, sitting by her bedside as her eyes stared into nothing. Nothing was what she felt and nothing was what she did.

Unable to hold back what had been brewing for some time, Esme had made her way, her eyes darting this way and that, down to Edward's room. She knew that he had made the decision to leave Bella. She knew that she could no longer resist the pull that had been brewing for years and felt drawn to him after the knowledge of what he had just done in the forest. Knocking on his door, he opened it, their eyes meeting, recognition of the fruition of the inevitable in Edward's eyes as he stood aside, allowing her in. They stood in silence for a moment, staring at one another and then it happened, like a frozen branch snapping. They were in one another's arms, heated touching, taking in every sense that they could of each other. Years of secret and forbidden passion, not even spoken of to each other, unleashed itself upon them as their clothes were shed, there passion being unleashed and the rest of the family be damned. They were locked in one another's embrace and the trance had taken over. The inevitable could wait no longer. Edward had let Bella go, knowing that he couldn't hurt her with the truth. He knew that this moment would come and he knew that it affected everyone in his household. He just didn't want it to touch Bella as well, though Bella quickly retreated to the back of his mind as for the first time, he touched his beloved's skin and breathed in her smell as their mouths and scents mingled. There was no going back now. The pull had finally won over and the yearning would be consummated.

Carlisle now sat in silence, in the clearing, unable to bring himself back to his own home. He couldn't bear to hear what was happening even now. Betrayal, by those who had been the two people that he had always held most dear to his heart. He begged for a distraction and to his relief, just then, his pager went off, showing the Swan's number. Choking back another sob, he finally realized who would be suffering the pain that only he understood. Bella.

Picking up his phone, he returned the call, only to hear what wracked his already shredded heart. Charlie's voice was strained with emotion.

"Please, Dr. Cullen, you've got to do something. Help her, please!"

"Charlie, what exactly is going on?" If Carlisle had had a heartbeat, it would have skipped one, because he knew that something was desperately wrong with Bella. The realization kicked in that Edward may have told her the truth, or suddenly broke up with her. He knew Bella's heart for Edward and suddenly he was on his feet in a flash, hands shaking.

"She won't talk, Carlisle. She just stares straight ahead. It's like she's not even there. Sam Ulee found her laying on the ground deep in the forest and she is freezing. Should I take her to the emergency room? I mean I hate to, this is such a small town, she's been through enough of the town gossip, but, oh hell, what do I do, Carlisle?"

Carlisle took a steadying breath, focusing on not allowing his voice to waver. "Just sit easy, Charlie. I'll be right over." Quickly texting Alice to bring his Mercedes out to the road, he couldn't bear to be in the house right now and she was there in record time. Her face was drawn and there were a million questions in her mind, but Carlisle waved her off. "Not right now, Alice. I'm sorry. I just can't."

She answered him, voice quavering. "I've already packed an electric blanket, fluids, an I.V. rack and an I.V. heater, Carlisle. Go to her."

Carlisle stopped for a moment, taken aback by Alice's thoughtfulness on a night such as this and gently rubbed the side of her face with his fingertips, then jumped into his Mercedes and sped off toward the Cullen's house. He was now, focused only on Bella and salvaging whatever mess that Edward had left behind in Bella's life. This would be his saving grace for the moment. A welcome distraction.

Screeching to a halt near the curb in front of their house, he unloaded the equipment from the truck that Alice had packed, at vampire speed, not caring anymore who saw at the moment. Not bothering to announce his arrival, he rushed into the open door with his arms full, nearly careening into the tall, russet form of Jacob Black. They stopped for a moment and stared at each other. Jacob's emotions were clearly visible in his eyes. Fear, gut wrenching hurt, and smoldering anger stared back at Carlisle. He watched as Jacob drew his fist back, never losing eye contact with Carlisle and punched a hole in the wall next to where Carlisle stood in the doorway and then ran out, into the night. Quite suddenly, he heard a wolf cry into the darkness, very near the house.

Coming to his senses, Carlisle rushed up the stairs, only to see an apparition of what once was Bella. She lay on her bed, lips purple, huddled and shaking violently as her mouth formed silent words. Her eyes stared into nowhere. Nodding at Charlie, he took a shuddering breath and raced to save Bella from the icy depths of hypothermia. Plugging in the I.V. warmer, he shoved in a bag of fluids as he spread out the electric blanket over her and plugged it into the wall socket under her end table. Bella's shivering continued as did her mindless, soundless muttering. Looking at his watch, he waited for the fluids to heat up as he stood that I.V. rack next to her bed. His face screwed up in pain as he watched Bella, sinking into insanity.

Finally he grabbed the bag of fluids out of the warmer and hung them, neatly and swiftly inserting a central line into her hand and plugged the warm fluids in, to heat her body from the inside. It was just then that he noticed Charlie, standing off to the side, arms folded in front of his chest, face distraught with worry and eyes as wide as humanly possible. Trying to control his emotions, he managed to compose his voice somewhat, though it still came out strained and quivering. "I'm here now, Charlie. Physically, she is near hypothermia. I can take care of that, but it's what is going on in her mind, that will take time to decipher."

Just then, Bella's eyes grew wide and she clutched her arms around her middle and cried out a loud, hoarse keening scream into the night. Carlisle nearly fell to pieces, his knees buckling. Not caring that Charlie was in the room, he gathered Bella carefully in his arms. Rolling her in the electric blanket and held her to himself, rocking back and forth. He understood her pain, yet his body would not allow him to go into shock. His gut twisted while she continued to scream as he began to rock her back and forth, slowly, wiping the mud encrusted hair back from her face and whispering calming words to her. Words that not only seemed to sooth her just a bit, but allowed him as well, to sooth himself with the rocking motion. It was clear that Bella would need to be sedated, so he gently rose and laid her carefully in her bed, keeping her wrapped in the blanket. Grabbing for his medical back he scrounged through it, finally finding a vial of an intravenous tranquilizer. Measuring it out carefully, he didn't hesitate before injecting it into her central line, as he held her thrashing arm, pinned to her side. Seconds later, she began to relax as her body loosened its desperate grip on herself. He watched as her eyelids fluttered shut, relieved to see the color of her lips changing into a more healthy pink as the heat of the fluids coursed through her body and the heated blanket warmed her without.

Turning to Charlie, he pleaded with his eyes. "I don't know what happened, but she is physically out of the woods now."

"Charlie's eyes held some relief, as he looked as if he were about to hug Dr. Cullen, but suddenly took his hand in his and shook it vigorously. "I can't thank you enough, Carlisle. I was so afraid. . . . so afraid that I was going to lose my baby girl." Charlie was on the verge of breaking down.

Carlisle used his most calming voice. "You need to rest, Charlie." Stopping Charlie as he tried to protest, he continued. "I'll stay with Bella tonight. I won't leave her side."

"This is Edward's doing." Charlie seemed to say to no one. It didn't sound accusing toward Carlisle, merely as if it were a revelation to him.

"Charlie, go get some sleep. I'm here. For now, Bella needs her rest and I'll keep her sedated for tonight. We'll begin working on putting the pieces together in the morning. We will have no answers tonight. I'll call Alice and she will help. For now, get your rest. Bella will be alright, now."

Charlie seemed to nod absently at this and as if in a daze, he walked out of Bella's room. Carlisle heard his door shut and reached for his cell, only to have it beep in his hand. Clicking his phone to accept the text, he smiled a weary smile. "I'm already on my way. Alice." Carlisle looked down at Bella's tiny form, huddled up in a fetal position in her bed and he once again lifted her into his arms and held her. Rocking her gently, he began to feel himself settle down a bit. Emotionally drained, he hummed gently to Bella. Nothing that has been done could be undone now. There was only the picking up of the pieces and moving on. Shifting Bella into one arm, he reached into his pocket once again and dialed Jasper.


"No time to talk now, son. I'm sorry. I just need for them to be out of the house, tonight. Understood?"

Suddenly Jasper's tone turned into that of the major that he had been, so long ago. "Yes sir. They'll be gone when you return."

"Thank you, Son. I have to go, now. Bella needs me."

"I understand, Dad."

There was a pause and then Carlisle flipped his phone shut, unable to do anything else, but cradle Bella against him and try to hold on to the last vestiges of hope that he could at least save her. Hope that he would be able to fix her. Hope that he would be able to fix himself.

Just then, Alice appeared, walking slower than normal. She slipped her designer handbag onto the floor, next to Carlisle's medical bag and dropped down on the floor next to Bella's bed. Reaching out, she grabbed Bella's free hand. She was only able to look at Carlisle for a second, his own eyes staring out into an invisible abyss. Resting her head on the side of Bella's bed, she sobbed, a tearless cry for the pain and betrayal in and by the one's that she loved most in this world.

And so the night passed with Carlisle and Alice ever vigilant, rushing to soothe Bella as she cried out in her sleep.

Bella awoke the next morning, groggy. She looked around, confused for a few moments, realizing that she was in her bed. Memories of the night before came flooding over her and she began to weep, sucking in ragged breaths in between sobs. Carlisle, who had been sitting in the rocking chair jumped to his feet and stooped down beside her.

"We're hear Bella. You're not alone. We will not leave you."

Her eyes seemed to register his words. Her voice was small and raspy as she answered.

"But Edward said that you were all leaving."

"Edward does not run our household, Bella, and we do not desert family." Bella seemed to cling to these last words, as another round of sobs began wracking her body. She nodded her understanding at Carlisle as she closed in on herself once again. Carlisle pulled a handkerchief out of his coat pocket and began to wipe her face, only to find that it left wet, dirty tracks. He knew what had to be done.

"Bella, I am going to keep you under a light amount of sedation. It will help with the shock and allow you to relax a bit, but I need you to do something for me." He turned to load the syringe with less of the sedative this time, not wanting her to sleep for the moment, only to calm a bit. "I need you to let Alice help you clean up. She'll help you with a nice hot shower." He injected the sedative and watched her reflexes relax a bit. "Do you understand, dear heart?" Carlisle's voice was so calm, so soothing. It hurt to move, but she nodded her understanding, feeling her hair itchy with dried mud. Slowly, Carlisle helped her to a sitting position as he unplugged her central line and removing it from her hand. She seemed unphased by the process, which was most uncharacteristic of her. Usually, she fainted at the slightest sight of blood. Carlisle had treated enough of her wounds to know that. As he carefully ministered to Bella's central line, Alice gathered up a pair of pajama pants, a sweatshirt and underwear for Bella. Seeing Charlie at the door, Alice stepped quickly toward him and wrapped him in a hug. "We'll take good care of her Charlie. Don't worry. You can go on in to work if you like. I was just about to help Bella with a shower."

Charlie studied Bella for a moment. Even though he seemed disturbed by her nearly catatonic state, he felt that she looked a far cry better than the night before. Charlie looked tired, but he nodded his head in agreement, anyway and headed downstairs to make his coffee. Once Charlie was out the door, Alice helped Bella into the bathroom and out of her clothes as she adjusted the shower to a hot, soothing spray. Bella felt so fragile as she lifted her over the lip of the bathtub and helped to steady her under the water. Bella looked for one moment into Alice's eyes, with such an agony and then turned to absentmindedly bathe herself, routinely. Washing the caked mud out of her hair, she scrubbed her scalp hard, wishing that she could wash away the events of last night completely from her, but sadly, reality had hit her like a speeding bus and fate had cruelly allowed her to survive.

Thank you so much for reading. Please review as it helps me to stay motivated. Go ahead. Let me know what you think so far.