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. Stephenie Meyer created this little world I like to play.
Many, Many thanks to angelgoddess1981 for her excellent banner making skills, and Mina Rivera for the use of her wonderful Docward Manip. ;) In addition, my good friend, Amber, sent me another banner. I just love them both!
And to AngelycDevil for helping me to write this story. We posted this together as ContentDevil for the Fandom for Oklahoma. Because I love messing with Edward's mind, I wrote his chapters, AngelyDevil wrote Bella. She is also posting over on her FF sight, so feel free to give her a read and a review!
Also, to my bestie, Sue, who gave this a beta's eye. You are an amazing person, and I just can't wait to see your book come out! I'll be able to say I know someone famous!
The emergency radio went off in the nurses' station, the blare drowning out even the constant sounds of heart rate monitors and other life-saving equipment.
"The National Weather Station in Oklahoma City has issued a severe thunderstorm warning for the Oklahoma City metro area and surrounding counties until 1 a.m. Doppler radio indicates a line of severe thunderstorms approaching the metro area from the southwest, traveling in a northeast direction. Straight line winds of up to seventy five miles an hour have been reported in counties to the south. Radar indicates the presence of rotation in several cells, but as of yet, no reports of tornadic activity has been recorded. Residents are advised to stay indoors and away from windows until the line of thunderstorms has passed. Residents are also advised to monitor the weather in their local area and at the first sign of increased intensity or tornado activity to take cover in interior rooms or shelters.
"Again, the National…"
I tuned out the repeated warning, as the other doctors around me in the break room groaned. It was going to be a long shift. The weather was already bad; I'd just finished putting notes into the charts from a minor surgery I'd completed on a car accident victim. The parents had taken the highway despite warnings of flooding. A bad decision, they'd totaled their Toyota Camry, and their nine year old had paid the price. Fortunately, he'd only broken an arm and cracked several ribs. The majority of my time had been spent in sewing up several long gashes on his arm and neck from the flying glass. The parents were lucky; another inch and one of the large shards would have cut his carotid. Danny wouldn't have made it to the hospital alive if that had been the case.
The alert from the nurses' station, just feet away, had told everyone that our craziness had just begun. Severe weather always brought it out in people.
"Edward…why do we need a house with a basement again?" Bella asked, her soulful brown eyes twinkling in humor.
She was teasing me about my overprotective nature. I was a little paranoid. Okay, maybe a lot. I'd grown up in Oklahoma City, and I'd been through too many tornado scares in my short life. She was frustrated with me. We'd been looking in the Crown Heights-Edgemere Heights area for several weeks, but nothing really sparked my interest. Bella, however, had fallen in love with every single house we'd visited. One day, she loved the Colonial Revivals; the next, she was determined to go with a Tudor. Despite having been a neighborhood since the 30's, not many of the owners had gotten smart and added storm cellars.
Storms brought the crazy out in me.
My grandfather had died when I was just a toddler, my brother, Carlisle, going into kindergarten. Pops had been away from his and Grammie's house, visiting a friend to the south of the city. An unexpected thunderstorm had intensified into a tornado. Pops' truck had overturned, and he'd died in the accident.
So, yeah… I was a little neurotic.
The house my grandparents lived in since their marriage in the early 30s had been built with a storm cellar. Carlisle and Esme had gotten Grammie's house after her death, as I didn't want it. I was determined the home Bella and I settled into would be as safe. But it was proving difficult, and I knew Bella and the real estate agent were entertaining dreams of throttling me.
Lucky for me, and them, we inadvertently passed our salvation. It was an old storefront, that stood empty, but the architecture of the building had character.
"Hey stop!" I blurted out, then apologized to Irma, our agent, for my lack of manners.
"Edward?" Bella turned to face me as I moved out of the car and looked at the building. Just down the street was the elementary school, and I knew that one of the most highly regarded private schools in the city was not far away. Yeah…I was already thinking that far ahead. But still, the building seemed to "call" me.
"What was this place?" I asked Irma, as she got out with a questioning look.
"An old department store. Zack's was the name, I think."
It was three stories, which was unusual in the area, but again, it had character.
"It's for sale?" I nodded to the old sign in the window.
"I think so."
"Can we take a look?"
At my question, Bella's gaze jerked back to the building, and I saw when she fell in love with it, the artist in her seeing the potential. I was imagining the concrete parking lot being torn up for a nice yard. In addition, one of the main streets with shops and restaurants was in walking distance. Like most of the area, it had an old time neighborhood feel. I could imagine people in the 50s walking to the store for their goods, then home down Main Street, passing neighbors on the way, only to stop and talk. You could take a girl out of Forks, but you couldn't take Forks out of the girl. Bella loved to feel like she knew her neighbors. It was why we were looking for a place so close to Carlisle and Esme.
"I love it," Bella mouthed before she stepped up to me, planting a mind-drugging kiss on my lips.
"Not gonna work, angel…not 'til I see inside."
"Angel…" I purred, guiding her back into the car.
A week later, our decision was made. It was perfect, with high ceilings, quirky architecture, and old oak hardwood floors scuffed by decades of use. But it was the innocuous door at the end of the hallway on the main floor that had sealed the deal for me.
"That leads to the basement where the old heating system and storage was. It is going to cost you a fortune to update everything…" Irma rattled on about the costs, even though I knew the sale would make her a mint in commission. She was, at least, attempting to be realistic with us. She'd taken on a kind of grandmother role with Bella and me when she saw how "young" we were.
While she continued to talk, Bella looked to me and smirked, waving her hand toward the door, knowing I was dying to go. The basement was absolutely filthy, covered in cobwebs, and the thing of horror movie fame…and it was perfect. Sunk into the ground, the walls were concrete. There was more than enough space for what we'd need to do to set up the heat, air, water, and electricity… and a place for a safe haven.
Two weeks, my inheritance, and a load of rattled nerves later, we were the proud owners of a "dump," as Emmett put it. We'd at least bargained down to a price where we had Bella's inheritance, from her half of Charlie's life insurance, to fix the place up. Thank goodness, Jake, my best friend, knew all kinds of people in construction. He had a large family of cousins and uncles who could fix us right up… well, if they could be bossed around by Bella, because I knew my duty was done. How the house turned out was all up to her.
And it had turned out beautifully, I thought, as I poured a cup of the stuff the nurses jokingly called coffee into my thermos. Jake's cousin, Sam, had led the crew and convinced Bella to turn the bottom floor into several apartments, with separate entrances, to rent out. It would help us get on our feet financially while she finished off her Masters in Art Therapy, and I finally caught up with the "benefits" of being a doctor. The way they'd designed it would make it easy to convert the apartments into a play area for all the kids Bella wanted to have "when the time was right." Half of the second floor held our large family room and kitchen; the other side was the spacious studio apartment that Alice and Jasper lived in.
The top floor of the large building was Bella's and my personal sanctuary, her artistic flair turning the space into a home. Our bedroom occupied the entire space with an overlarge, custom made bed on a platform, a large walk in closet, a sitting area with couches, chairs, and bookcases, and an elaborate bathroom with tile shower and large garden tub. Bella's "domain" occupied the space near the large windows… her art easel standing in the natural light, a multitude of paintings leaning against the walls to dry. I loved watching her paint, often lying in bed to admire the scene as the sun fell over her… the brush poised mid-air as the ideas formed in her mind. My favorite, however, was the large stone terrace. We'd done some research and found that Zack's had used it to hold "teas" for shoppers as a way to bring in business. It overlooked a small park behind the building, where I imagined kids played while their parents shopped… it had been a different world then. But now, it served as my and Bella's personal relaxing spot.
Insisting on one area of influence, I turned the basement into a shelter for my family, complete with emergency kit. I smirked down into my coffee, thinking of how Bella had harassed me about it. I'd been so proud to show her the large tub with provisions. The space had been immaculate after Sam's crew had installed all the new plumbing and HVAC stuff, so I'd had little to do other than buy the stuff to put in it. Jake had, of course, suggested I should make it into a man-cave to escape to when I was in trouble. He and Nessie had a relationship as strong as any, but it was volatile. She put him on the couch at least one night a week, and he usually deserved it. But with Bella's and my schedule, I rarely had time to get into that much trouble… just the typical boxers on the floor and toilet lid shit. I chose to be a lover not a fighter. Besides, I enjoyed Bella's bed too much to get kicked out of it.
Another loud warning signal blaring from the radio brought me back to the present.
"The National Weather service has upgraded the severe weather warning for Oklahoma County to a tornado watch. Conditions are right for a tornado to form…"
Speaking of the basement… the area around me exploded in preparation, nurses running to bring patients, as much as possible, into the center of the building, I reached into my scrubs pocket and pulled out my cell. Thankfully, even with the storms, I still had service.
"Hey, babe!" Bella chirped, and I could imagine her tugging at a brightly colored strand of her hair.
"Angel, will you go get Ali and Jazz and get down to the basement, please." Visions of Wizard of Oz were spiraling through my mind. I heard her huff a little at my over protectiveness. So, sue me.
"I'm not at the house, babe. Had to go drop off my research paper at the prof's office."
My heart froze. "Bella, I need you to go home immediately, okay. The weather is turning nasty, and they are issuing watches for the area."
Another huff. "E, I was going to go by and pick some things up at the store, kind of a celebration for the two of us when you get home…"
Her tone was full of innuendo, and the huskiness made my body react. My damn cock had a way of getting me in trouble at the most inopportune moments. I turned toward the wall, attempting to calm down before I embarrassed myself. The nurses teased me enough about how Bella led me around by it.
"Angel, please…" I pleaded. Usually it didn't work, but she heard the panic in my voice.
"Okay… okay… I was going to go to that little shop we like for some chocolate, but I guess I can skip it." She giggled before sighing dramatically.
She was so unfair! I knew exactly what she had in mind for that chocolate. Pinching my nose, I thought of a ton of unsavory images, including Emmett's last streak through the park and the sight of his white ass.
Um, yeah... issue handled.
"Just get home before it gets worse, okay?" I wasn't above begging.
She hesitated for only a second, before making me feel better. "Okay, babe. I will."
She teased me for a moment before we both said "I love you" and hung up. I knew she thought I was an overprotective, crazy man, but she hadn't lost people like I had to storms like this. If it hadn't been for Grammie getting sick and needing Carlisle, Emmett, and me, I don't know that I would have moved back.
I'd barely made it through medical school before I had to come back again to help when Grammie had suffered a stroke. It was the first time that Bella and I had been separated since we'd begun dating. We'd made it only a semester before she'd transferred to school here at the University and moved in with me. I was grateful, because she'd gotten to spend time with Grammie before she died.
A page had me running toward the ER room; another victim of what I was beginning to believe was going to be a very busy day had been brought in. When I saw the blond haired woman holding a baby in her arms as the paramedics rushed her husband into the ER, the scene reminded me of my mother, Elizabeth.
I used the term mother in the loosest terms.
A knock on the door had me going to answer it, even though Grammie had warned me a hundred times to not open it to strangers. But the woman outside seemed familiar, so that made it okay, right?
I decided to play it safe.
"This is Edward Cullen, may I help you?" I asked in all my four year old glory into the door speaker.
The blond haired woman leaned over to press the button to the speaker outside. She was beautiful…I could see her through the glass. Long blond hair fell over her shoulders onto the thing she was carrying.
"Edward, this is your Mama. Open the door, please."
Mama? I knew I had one, but she'd left me with Grammie when I was just one and a half. It was when I'd met my older brother, Carlisle. He was three years older than me. Having heard the doorbell, he came bounding down the stairs, to take control. At seven, he thought he was the grown up.
"She says she is our mama," I told him. Grammie was out back, so I didn't know whether or not to go get her.
"Pfft…we don't have a mother." Carlisle threw open the door to glare at the person on the other side.
She looked at us with big eyes. I saw her start to cry, but then the thing she was carrying yelled loudly.
Without saying anything, she thrust it at Carlisle and then turned to run back down the stairs. He started to yell at her, almost dropping the baby.
It was the last time we saw our mother… Elizabeth.
I shook my head at the memory, still amazed I remembered it at all. Carlisle and I had laughed about it much later, saying that our introduction to Emmett scared us too much to forget. He'd bellowed for hours before Grammie could get him to the doctor. We named him Emmett after our favorite Dallas Cowboy football player. We should have known by the way he came into the house that he'd be a pain in the ass. Now twenty one, Emmett was living in the garage apartment at Carlisle's. He'd taken an EMT course right out of high school and was working part-time at it while he went back to school. He wanted to be a physical terrorist… visions of torturing unsuspecting souls dancing in his head.
"I'm not going to be a doc like you and grump (his name for Carlisle). Too much work. I've got ladies to chase."
The baby in the woman's arms let out another squall, as I ran past them into the room. Unfortunately, not even the miracles of modern medicine could save her husband. My mood was already black when I walked into the nursing station less than an hour later, so the renewed blare of the weather radio had me envisioning throwing the damn thing up against the wall.
"The National Weather service has upgraded the tornado watch for Oklahoma County to a tornado warning. A tornado has been spotted on the ground approximately twenty miles south of the city limits, heading in the direction of the city. Residents are advised to take cover immediately."
"Shit!" The word came out of my mouth at the same time as several others in the room.
My thoughts went crazy, and I reached for my phone again.
My only salvation was the text that had come through before I lost it.
E – At home. Don't worry. Kisses. B
Would love to know your thoughts!
As you can probably see, this is going to get a little angsty.