Bella sat in the Emergency room in her police uniform, unsurprised by the attention it drew to her. First it started with surreptitious glances across the room, until curiosity crushed any notion of social norms and people started to question outright what had happened.
'Oh honestly,' she gushed reassuringly, 'it's not as bad as it looks, I just tripped over, it's my own fault really.' She had been forced to untie her left boot as her foot swelled beyond its confinement, but found she was unable to remove the garment due to the excruciating throbbing in her ankle that caused her to grumble frustratedly every time she moved too quickly.
'Stupid curb,' she muttered angrily, as more people flooded into the Emergency room, heads craned in her direction.
Policing Forks had been even duller than she had anticipated. Twenty three year old Bella wanted action, arrests and car chases but instead she was forced to sort out the parking issues at Mike Newton's store every weekend. I just can't seem to catch a break, she thought idly, tapping her functioning foot inside her pristine, polished footwear.
The fact that her Charlie was also her boss had not been particularly helpful either. He seemed to have settled into his Chief's role, entirely comfortable with the incremental pace at which the town moved forward, which drove Bella crazy because she would much rather be working in the city. He also worried about her unnecessarily, checking on her at the end of every shift to see if she had been hurt.
'Be serious, dad,' she had responded sarcastically, 'I'm more at risk in my own living room than I am here at night.' He had chuckled deeply and patted her on the shoulder that very evening before she left and, confirming the truth in her statement, tripped over the sidewalk on the way to her car, effectively landing her in this hopeless situation. Unwilling to tell him the truth and deal with his constant worrying, she had instead called Jake from her mobile and instantly secured a ride to Forks General.
Her werewolf friend had found her recollection hilarious, which only infuriated the already-tired Bella further, and she had been thankful when he left immediately after dumping her unceremoniously into a wheelchair and pushing her haphazardly into the waiting room. Patiently she had signed herself in and spent a little under an hour enduring indefinite boredom.
Her thoughts continued their disdainful path, and it was for that reason that she almost missed the commotion that started to stir behind her.
With exceptional speed, the middle-aged woman behind her had gotten to her feet and suppressed a scream. She was exceptionally plain, slightly chubby with a shoulder-length bob and a navy knee-length dress. Her sandals clicked against the cool flooring as she moved away from her chair, heading towards the exit.
Bella saw the glint of metal as the younger man moved closer behind her. She recalled every detail she possibly could, storing them mentally until she could later recall them to her colleagues. Blond hair, 6'2, skinny build, missing tooth, black tee, dark jeans, white trainers. She repeated each one so she knew she would be able to recognise him if he left.
The woman whose midriff he now held securely had turned ashen; clearly she had noticed the weapon pushing into the small of her back. Rising from her seat instantly, Bella rushed over to the scene, the pain in her leg temporarily forgotten.
The attacker saw her sudden movement and paused, absorbing her attire with a shocked expression. Clearly he hadn't been aware of the presence of the Chief's daughter when he had made his move. The delayed reaction was all Bella needed to push the unknowing woman forcefully out of harm's way. Now she only had the knife-wielding maniac to contend with. Her breath came quickly and her heart thudded almost audibly inside her chest as she calculated the course of action most likely to cause the least number of casualties. Adrenaline gave her a boldness she usually lacked and coursed through her small frame relentlessly, causing goose bumps to raise all over her cold skin.
'Put it down,' she ordered, in a tone that was clearly unwilling to negotiate, 'nobody needs to get hurt.' She raised her hands in front of her in a gesture that suggested surrender, but was actually that of somebody who was preparing to fight. Ignoring her command, the scrawny man lunged towards her, throwing all of his weight into the attack. For a second time froze, and it was uncertain what the outcome of the horrific situation that unfolded before her would be. Pushing herself into action, she responded without even thinking about what she was doing.
Bella responded instinctively. Kicking the blade from his outstretched hand, she retaliated with full force and pushed him into the wall. Forcing one hand behind his back, she pulled out her handcuffs and proceeded to restrain him, pausing only to push the emergency button on her radio so her colleagues would come and assist. The radio was a cacophony of voices as her friends demanded to know what had happened and she recounted an eerily accurate course of events, including every tiny detail that she had made a point of remembering.
Breathless, she made the arrest and forced the man to the floor as he continued to struggle. They were a jumble of cries and flailing limbs as each fought for dominance, though Bella quickly gained control of the situation. The room was suddenly flooded with Fork's officers as they immediately picked up his writhing body and dumped him in the back of the van they had parked directly outside.
The atmosphere palpably relaxed as soon as the man had gone, and relieved sighs filled the air around her as Bella tucked a stray strand of hair back into her tight bun.
She was at the victim's side, coercing her out of the corner with hushed, friendly assurances as soon as he had been dragged out of the room. Wiping the tears from her sodden face, Bella guided the woman through to a private room where she would be taken care of by some of the other officers that had arrived. There was an outburst of applause as the citizens of Forks realised the true extent of the risk they had been at as their victor re-entered the room. All of them wanted to thank Bella personally, but she just wanted to get her ankle looked at so she could go home. She knew now that she would have a stack of paperwork to complete before her dream could become reality. Modestly, she deflected the admiration that was directed towards her with a flick of her wrist and an 'it was nothing,' before making her way back to her seat, the pain in her left leg having returned with a vengeance.
Unbeknown to her, the pale doctor had stood behind the transparent emergency room doors while she had dealt with the attacker. Unwilling to identify himself, he had watched with visible admiration as she willingly risked herself to save a woman she had never met. Not only that, but the compassion she had shown the terrified casualty struck his very core. Summoning the self-control to hold himself together, he had pulled the door ajar and shouted in a deep, melodic voice.
'Swan, Miss Bella?' She tried to stand in reply but found weight-bearing agonisingly impossible. Slumping back in her chair, she was required to let him wheel her through the department until they entered a more secluded area where he could assess her injuries in private. The embarrassment hurt more than her ankle. Just as he was about to gently remove her boot, Bella's radio blared intrusively.
'Stage one, stage one,' the caller shouted, 'can we get some medication for the prisoner?'
Bella rolled her eyes as she realised her colleagues had forgotten to check why the man had been in the hospital in the first place, and now he was fitting. Chugging some painkillers in a most unladylike fashion, she explained briefly,
'I gotta go.' Wincing as she forced herself upright, she was surprised when her decision was not met with unwanted advice that she stay in hospital. Instead, the handsome doctor stood up alongside her.
'I've got his medication; I can administer it personally if you take me to him.' They rushed outside, as quickly as Bella's throbbing limb would allow and shouting a quick exchange over the wailing sirens of the cruiser.
'Buckle up, Doctor…' She frowned as she realised she didn't know the man's name.
'Cullen,' he filled in helpfully, drawing his seatbelt across his broad chest, 'Carlilse Cullen.'