Harley: Here you go guys! I made this one longer for you!


Chapter 5


"Friendship is unnecessary, like philosophy, like art... It has no survival value; rather it is one of those things that give value to survival." - C. S. Lewis


Bella Swan

"Sorry, but I think I'd rather eat alone," I told her as politely as I could.

All I could think about was how awkward it actually would be to go over and eat with her and her siblings. That and how I could practically feel their eyes drillings holes in Alice and I from across the cafeteria. Either they were banking on me following their sister over like a lost puppy, or they just really hand nothing better to look at.

Alice didn't flinch at all. Her face didn't crumble with insult or anger at my rebuff; instead she just kept up that knowing smile.

"Okay, that's fine!" She said, golden eyes twinkling, before pirouetting on the tips of her flat-clad feet and gracefully walking away.

Raising an eyebrow, I slowly went back to my book. What a strange girl. I was definitely right when I first made the notion that there was something strange about the Cullen coven. Not necessarily bad, but they seemed like a very private family. And, judging by the scandalized looks being passed at the tables around me, it wasn't normal for them to extend an invite for someone to come and socialize with them at lunch.

Just as I was about to start the last chapter in my book, I was almost scared out of my skin when someone unexpectedly sat down in front of me; their tray making a soft clatter as it was placed on the table in front of them.

I looked up, surprised to see that Alice had returned, this time with a tray of food.

She was moving things around her tray, preparing to eat, and acting like she couldn't feel my stare. Something felt a bit weird, seeing her stick a fork-full of lettuce into her mouth. It was almost mechanical, which was a strange way of looking at it. I don't know when my life had become so stale that I had come to notice eating mannerisms, but I knew that if I didn't quit getting so caught up in how different the Cullen's were I would soon turn into Jessica Stanley.

Alice didn't say anything at all; she didn't even look me in the face. Instead, she chose to look out the large window to the side of us, just watching the green scenery as she ate her lunch. I nearly asked her why she was sitting with me, a question that her startled looking family seemed to want to know as well, but I wasn't so bold as to be that rude when she hadn't done anything to me to deserve it. It wasn't like I could just claim a whole table to myself, and she was free to sit wherever she pleased.

I waited a few moments, and after no attempt of contact from her I simply went back to my book. It was hard for me to read, knowing that she was right there. It was just so weird. She asks me to eat with her and her family, gets rejected, and then decides to eat with me anyway without even initiating any conversation?

Strange, indeed, but it did allow me to finish that last chapter before lunch ended.

When the bell rang, Alice simply rose from her seat with her still rather full tray in hand and left, throwing a jovial, "Good-bye, Bella!" over her shoulder as she danced away.

Still startled, I shook off the feeling and went on about my day as normal.


The next day, at lunch, I saw Alice sitting at my table again. She had a tray of food already, but had something else with her. It was a book of her own, and she was about three-quarters of the way through it. She seemed to be intently reading, her golden eyes bobbing as she read over the lines.

When I sat down, she greeted me happily, but then went back to her reading. I waited for her to speak, start a conversation, extend another invitation, anything, but I was just met with the sound of her turning the page in her book.

I looked around, seeing several pairs of curious eyes from different tables quickly averting their gaze. This definitely wasn't a normal thing.

Pursing my lips, I pulled out the new book that I'd checked out of the library that morning and started to read. It was still really strange having someone sit across from me, especially someone who didn't mind my silence and actually participated in it. I didn't know what game Alice Cullen was playing at, but as long as it let me finish up a few chapters I was okay with it.

Each day at lunch after that, I would come to find Alice already sitting down at the table, in the same seat she always sat in, with her tray and a new, nearly finished book. She would greet me upon my arrival and bid me good-bye when the bell rang. Her family stopped staring after the first day, and the other students seem to realize that nothing interesting was going to come from gawking at two girls reading and had turned their attentions elsewhere on the third day.

Sometimes, if passing me in the hall between periods or when in the parking lot, Alice would greet me and give me a smile. Her boyfriend, the teen with wave blond hair that just went below his ears, intense golden-eyed stare, and rather intimidating stature, would be with her at those times and would normally incline his head in a short greeting, as well. It wasn't long before I began to return them, slowly becoming used to her small presence in my life.

It was like she was giving me company while giving me my space and privacy at the same time, as strange as that sounds.

About a week later was when our routine changed, and surprisingly it was me who changed it.

I couldn't help myself, not after seeing her new book that day upon entering the cafeteria. In her hands was the school's copy of Wuthering Heights, my favorite book. She was nearly finished with it, like she was with each book she brought each day.

"I've always liked Wuthering Heights," I commented fondly as I sat down at the table, shocking myself but not Alice.

She looked up from the book, her golden eyes twinkling. She didn't look surprised in the least to hear me, finally, speak with her after a week of mostly silence. She tucked the bookmark she always seemed to use for her books in between the crisp pages, and I guiltily looked at my own dog-eared book. I knew it was something that drove people up the wall, dog-earing pages, but I always thought that it gave the book a bit more character. A couple bent edges here and there meant that it was lovingly read.

"Me, too. Though, it's not really my favorite, I've always enjoyed reading the older classics like it," Alice said, smiling.

"It's my favorite," I admitted, "I have a pretty beat up copy of my own at home. Whenever I can't find something to read, I always go it for rereading."

"What's your favorite part?" Alice inquired, leaning forward in her seat.

Something happened that day. Though I'd never thought I'd ever be able to do it, I'd made a friend. Though it made me feel a bit strange, I wanted to have this. I never really knew how hard it was to be alone until I had a friend to shine a little light on the situation. I wanted to not be alone. I wanted to be friends with Alice Cullen.

And, so, I was.


I felt a better. A couple days after striking up my small friendship with Alice, I noticed that I felt a little better about just life in general. Though we weren't super close or anything quite yet, it was nice talking with someone who didn't seemingly want something from me. I actually started feeling a bit guilty about brushing off her offer and not speaking with her soon, because she truly had just wanted to befriend me.

We started walking to the parking lot together after school and we would talk, before parting ways for her to go to her waiting family and boyfriend and for me to go to my beat up truck on the other side of the lot.

"I have so much homework," Alice griped softly, adjusting her backpack strap. "It's like all of my teachers chose to assign homework on the same day."

I chuckled at her scandalized face, especially after her backpack just slipped down her shoulder right after she adjusted it. "I guess that's what you get for being in all of those AP classes."

Alice pouted, and then protested. "You're in some AP classes, too, Bella!"

"Only History and English," I replied, "And that book report for English will be super easy."

Alice shot me an accusing look. "That's only because you picked Wuthering Heights. What're you going to do for your report, recite the whole book by memory?"

We paused for a short second, before dissolving into laughter. A part of me stung a bit, because that comment sounded exactly like something Keith or Tim would've said.

'Stop it. Stop comparing everything to them.'

While my own laughter had stopped because of that thought, Alice's laughter stopped because of a sudden look of being lost passed over her face. It was like she suddenly entered a deep daydream, or she had a sudden, attention-capturing thought.

"Alice?" I questioned softly, reaching forward to touch her arm. I remember this look, because it was the same look I'd seen the first time I'd ever seen Alice. That day nearly two weeks ago, when she'd been staring at me from across the cafeteria, she'd had the exact same look on her face. It was a bit startling to see it up close, and I was afraid something might've happened to her. Maybe she went into fits?

Just as my hand touched her forearm, we both jumped as though shocked. She seemed to pull out of whatever was happening to her, while I was recoiling from the startling rush of cold coming from her skin. It was just as cold as her adopted mother's skin had been that day in the store, but even more so since I touched it with my bare skin. It was startling, almost like grabbing a block of ice.

Alice looked at me with startling worry, before composing herself. She looked to the side, seeing her family watching us intently from one side of the parking lot. Her boyfriend, who I learned was named Jasper Hale, was walking towards us.

"Hey, Bella, uh, be careful when you get home, okay?" Alice asked, watching her boyfriends approach. "Don't rush too much?"

"Uh, alright?" I agreed, too confused to do anything else.

Jasper reached us and wrapped his arm around Alice. His eyes met mine, and I froze slightly. He'd always been intimidating the few times I'd had contact with him, but it always struck me a bit when he fixed his eyes on me. I could tell just from that look that Jasper was not someone to be messed with, but I didn't fear him. No man that had captured Alice's heart could be bad.

Right?

"'Scuse us, Bella," he said tightly, "We gotta get going. Family trip coming up tomorrow and all. Good-bye."

Alice called a quick farewell as her boyfriend pulled her away, and I slowly ambled to my truck. My head was nearly spinning. All of that had happened so fast, I was having a hard time catching up with all of it. I started my truck and started driving home on auto-pilot, while my head was frantically trying to sort through everything that had just happened.

Alice was strange, and she was hiding something. So was her family. I wanted to know, but it wasn't my place to go putting my nose where it didn't belong. But I was just so curious. The last thing I wanted was to become like Jessica Stanley, so I didn't intend to start prying into Alice's secrets, but it didn't stop the curiosity.

The Cullen's were all pale skinned, golden eyes that would sometimes change, and, from what I'd felt from two of them, had ridiculously cold skin. All of them, from what I'd seen from their mother and the teens themselves, they were all extremely beautiful. This was strange, very strange. It was hard to believe that no one else had made these connects, but, then again, no other kids seemed to be close with the Cullen family.

My thoughts were still trying to wrap around everything, so I was pretty quiet when I entered my house. Apparently, quiet enough that Charlie didn't notice I had gotten home. And he seemed to be in a very heated argument on the phone, loud enough that I could hear his angry voice floating out of the kitchen.

"I told you that I am not going to force her to take that damn medicine. She's doing just fine without it."

A pause.

"Yes, she is. She's even made a friend… No, I haven't met her. Renee, don't even bring that up."

I inched closer to the kitchen, my heart thundering and my mind suddenly void of anything but panic. It was wrong to eavesdrop on my father, especially when the conversation was obviously one that was supposed to be between my mother and him. But I couldn't help myself. I'd known that she'd been calling more and more frequently, after hearing a message she'd left for my father on the answering machine one day that he'd come home from work late.

I wanted to know why she couldn't leave me alone, couldn't leave my father alone.

"No, I'm not going to let you talk with her… Because, if she wanted to talk to you, she would call you. She can make that decision on her own, just like the medicine. No, you're not. Renee, I do not want you coming here without permission. She needs space from you."

My throat was suddenly tight. Renee wanted to come to Forks. I wasn't out of her care for even a full month and she wanted to come and start dictating me again. And, even though Charlie was telling her no, I knew that wasn't something that would dissuade her. I prayed it wasn't so heavily set, that she would just let it go and let me breathe.

I needed to breathe, I needed room. Everything was closing in, no room, no air. I couldn't breathe. Breathe, breathe, breathe.

Black spots danced across my vision as I struggled to find air. I was crying, panicking. She was going to come back. She would take me from my refuge, my new home, my new friend, and from my father again. She would tear apart all the recovery I'd been trying to salvage together.

I backed away from the kitchen, stumbling for the stairs. I tripped into the wall with a loud bang, both my body and my backpack making a noise as I crashed into the wall, my hand grasping for the banister.

Charlie's voice suddenly stopped in mid argument, and I heard him call out, "Bella?"

Sobs suddenly started heaving from my chest, and I wanted to go up stairs. I wanted to make it to my bed, to curl up into a tiny ball and remember how to breathe again. My lungs were burning, taking little relief in the small gasps of air my sobbing was providing.

I tried to climb the stairs, tried to make it to safety, but my sight was blurry with tears and it was just too hard to move. My vision was swaying, dancing in front of me as gravity took the lead in our dangerous waltz. Chest heaving, heart drumming in my chest, and my stomach suddenly feeling nauseous, I felt myself falling.

Blackness swam at the edges of my head, and I vaguely realized that the shape of the stairs was getting closer.

"Bella!"

My head hit the stairs, and then I felt an intense pain hit my shoulder. Everything around me suddenly stopped. Someone was shaking me, yelling. But, I was calm. Calm, and oh so tired.

Caius Volturi

"Why must you always bother me when I'm most busy, Aro?" I questioned with annoyance, having heard my brother's approach to my study long before he actually breached the entrance.

Aro laughed, only fueling my annoyance even more. "Brother, you're never too busy for news on your mate."

I raised a brow, placing down my brush and turning away from my canvas. This was strange, because usually Aro just sent Alec or Jane to tell me any news we received on my mate. If Aro himself had come to tell me, then it must've been something decently substantial. He always was one for theatrics, and he enjoyed getting a reaction out of anyone he could squeeze one from.

Aro was standing just a few feet off, a large manila envelope clutched in his left hand. He had his hair tied back and was surprisingly without his robe, showing his attire underneath. Black trousers with glossy, black dress shoes, and white button up with a red tie, a black waist coat buttoned over. He must've gone out earlier, because normally Aro would stick to simpler attire and would be wearing his robes.

He waved the envelope in my direction teasingly. "It seems that the Cullen Coven finally got all the information of her around. And, if I do say so, she is quite striking. Very lovely for one so young."

Aro was baiting me, I knew.

Growling, I stood and moved forward. "And who gave you permission to look at what is mine, brother?"

He tutted at me, only fueling my anger even further. "Now, now, Caius, don't be so excitable. I simply took a glance at some of the pictures. I didn't read any of her files."

I fixed him with a sharp glare. The only reason he didn't, was because he knew that he would be able to see all of it in my head the second I was finished reading all of it myself.

Taking the envelope from his hands, I ignored his presence, and Marcus's as he joined us in the room. I broke the seal and quickly removed the contents, placing all of it out on my desk. There were papers, looking like school transcripts and medical reports, along with a few stray pieces here and there. But that wasn't what caught my attention.

Three pictures came out last, and I dropped the envelope so that I could hold them in my hands. The first picture seemed to be a standard school picture, with the straight-forward posture and the pastel shaded background generated from a computer.

If my heart could start and stop again, it would.

Long, dark mahogany hair fell down her shoulders in waves. Her face was heart shaped, with high cheekbones and a gentle jaw line. Her brows sloped just right over her large, deep brown eyes. Her skin was pale, but not sickly so. She nearly matched our kind in shade, and though she noticeably didn't have vampiric beauty attributing to her, she was still shockingly attractive.

I flipped the picture to the back before moving on to the second, seeing a small caption written there in decent penmanship: 'Bella, Junior year, 17'.

The second picture was her and three other people, two boys and another girl. The four of them were tangled in each others' arms, grinning at the picture taker widely. My mate looked to be the same age as she was in the school picture, but her friends looked a shade older than she was.

The girl at the end had pale hair, nearly as pale as my own but hers had more shades of blond in it then mine. Her eyes were as green as an apple. The girl was a bit on the heavier side, but not overly so. If anything, the extra weight just gave the girl more curves. Her hair was wild, like it couldn't really decide what it was doing. It was long, about to the girl's bottom, and was a mix between curly and straight.

The boy to right, the one I noticed almost instantly had his arm wrapped around my mate's waist, was very tall and thin. He had cropped dark hair and facial scruff that really couldn't be called a beard, but also wasn't the simple peach-fuzz that many teens were barely able to produce. He had hazel eyes, with a bit more green than brown.

On the other side of my mate was the second male, who had an arm wrapped around her neck and the other girl's waist. He was a strong looking one, tall and built. He almost reminded me of one of the Cullen coven, aside from his hair. There were dark blond curls sticking out from underneath the cap he had on his head, and his blue eyes were reflecting the large grin on his face.

Then, there was my mate. She was much paler then her friends, considering she was nearly as white as paper and they all had sun-kissed skin. Her dark hair fell about half-way down her back, and her chocolate colored eyes were full of life. Her lips, not too full and not too thin, were curved like Cupid's bow and crafted into a large smile. She was clinging to her friends and looking like the epitome of life.

I flipped this picture around as well. Written on the back, this time in four different messy scrawls, it seemed each person in the picture had signed their name on the back.

Keith Langley

Lolly Heath

Tim Gore

Bella Swan

I took a short moment to look at my mate's disastrous signature, before switching over to the third and final picture.

Right away, one would be able to tell that this picture was taken in secret, without my mate knowing. It was also extremely recent, it seems, because Alice Cullen was walking next to her in the shot. They appeared to be a parking lot, talking to each other as they walked.

My mate was dressed rather plainly in some sort of flannel button up and jeans, I noticed with slight distaste.

I knew that with the changing generations, women had adapted more modern dress and, in most cultures, it was perfectly acceptable and normal for them to wear pants. In fact, it was more normal for them to be wearing pants then it would be for them to be wearing a dress or a skirt.

I, myself, preferred to see them in something more flattering. Hopefully my mate would be able to understand that within our castle, the mate's of the kings were to dress like royalty. It had taken Aro's mate, Sulpicia, a while to understand that. She'd grown up in poverty, so the sudden transition in wealth and power had been a big culture shock to her. For the longest time, she had been uncomfortable with Aro showering her with gifts of the finest silk dresses and jewelry. She had been even more uncomfortable wearing them in front of others, but eventually the title of queen sank in. She still showed a few strange quirks now and then, but was more natural with her position.

Marcus's mate and Aro's birth sister, Didyme, had taken to it all in stride while still keeping her happy, humble personality. Sometimes, her happiness was a little too much for me. Considering that it was her gift, being able to make others happy, it was sometimes irritating to be around her when one just really did not feel like being happy. But, as said, she had managed to keep a gentle and kind personality even with all the perks of being a queen.

Hopefully, the same would be able to be said for my mate.

I examined the picture a little more, able to make out her gentle curves from beneath her baggy button up. Her jeans actually fit her figure nicely, and I was able to make out the lovely curve of her hips. She needed to age just a bit more. She was not yet an adult and not yet at her full prime. Having been changed at twenty-four, only a few days shy of twenty-five, I wanted to wait until my mate at least reached eighteen before I changed her.

"You're purring a bit, Caius."

Aro's voice broke me out of my thoughts, and I noticed that he was right. I had been thinking on my mate's body and how changing her would feel a little too intently, and a small rumble had began building inside of my chest.

I had been very skeptical of all of this since we'd gotten the phone call from the Cullen's, but seeing her then, I knew. Something about her drew me in and I wanted to go to her. I couldn't feel the mating pull from such a distance away and we had not met yet to prove the bond so there was no pain, but there was a certain… emptiness.

All vampires without a mate felt this emptiness. It was small for most, just a little reminder that you didn't yet have your other half. Having Athenodora around had made it completely ignorable, but since her absence and all this talk of my mate, it had gotten much more persistent and hard to ignore. And, now, after looking at those pictures, it was nearly unbearable. It was like an itch deep down in my soul, and I wanted to go and find her now that I knew that she was out there.

Clearing my throat and calming myself, I hand the pictures to Marcus, who had his hand outstretched. Aro peered over Marcus's shoulder, looking again even though he'd already seen them once before.

While those two looked over the pictures, I picked up a couple of her papers that the Cullen Coven had been able to get a copy of. One of the medical records caught my eye, and my brows furrowed. I placed down the school transcript I'd been glancing over, and just as I was about to pick up the medical record to read it, the sound of running feet caught my ears.

Aro and Marcus discarded the pictures on my desk with the rest of the papers and the three of us turned towards the door as Felix came running into the room.

"Masters, the Romanian Coven, they're attacking," he rushed. "They've gotten into the castle."

Eyes wide, Aro stepped forward. "Sulpicia and Didyme, are they-?"

"Santiago and Afton have gotten them out of the castle, Demetri saw them leave," Felix said with a nod of his head. "We need to get you out, Masters."

Aro shook his head, his eyes full of rage. "No, not when they dare attacks us so forwardly in our own home. We fight at your side today, Felix. Have there been any incidents in the city?"

Felix shook his head. "No, not that I know of. Nothing began until they got inside."

"How did they manage to get in if they did not fight their way in from the city?" Marcus questioned, his brows drawing together.

"Are you daft?" I snapped, pushing past my brothers and heading for the door. "It means someone from our side let them slip in. We have already found one snake in the grass this month; it should not surprise you that there is more. Now, let us move on to the fight before it gets too out of hand and they get all of us exposed."

At my words, the four of us began to run. After a short moment, I could hear the vicious sounds of clashing marble and ripping metal; the sounds of a vampire battle. Only it was multiplied, more than just one. It wasn't a battle, it was a war, and it was right on our doorstep, threatening not only the existence of our coven and the vampire world, but threatening to expose our whole race.

Unclasping my robes, I let them fall so that I could move more freely. The second we breached the throne room, a female not of ours lunged at me.

I caught her by the neck, and crushed it within my grasp. I threw her to the ground, hearing the marble flooring crack beneath the force. She was still growling, but it was wheezy; full of raspy air and gurgling venom coming from the wound.

Stepping on her chest, I held out my palm in wait. A torch, completely ablaze with bright fire, was placed into my hand by one of my personal guard that had been hovering close.

The woman's eyes reflected the flame closing in, and the horror she felt as I lowered it to her, flammable, venom covered neck.

Bella Swan

When I woke, all I could notice was how extremely bright it was in my room. Everything was so bright and lightly colored, which was weird considering my room didn't have many bright colors. Mostly earthly colors, but even the purples and blues in my room were gentle and controlled.

Then, I noticed that my alarm clock wasn't the same pitch or tune. It was beeping constantly, but not as loudly as it usually did and it sounded a lot different then it normally did.

After a few moments of blurred vision and sleep slowly ebbing away from me, I realized that I wasn't even in my room at all. I was in a hospital room, staring at the white walls with opaque blue borders. The machine that was beeping wasn't my alarm clock, but was actually a heart monitor that I was hooked up to by an IV on my hand.

I lifted my hand to my face so that I could rub the crust and sleep away from my eyes. Right after I moved my hand I noticed that my arm was in a sling, so I had to carefully use the hand connected to the IV. Once my eyes were clear I looked around caught site of the clock. It was around eight at night.

Someone to the other side of me cleared their throat, telling me that I wasn't the only one in the room. My head lolled over to the other side, looking for the second party in the room.

Instantly, I knew that I was looking at Dr. Carlisle Cullen. He looked just like his wife and adopted children did; pale skin, gold eyes, and utterly gorgeous. His hair was a golden blond, slicked backwards on his head, and he had a very kind, handsome face. He was tall and decently built, but not as big as Alice's one adopted brother, Emmett.

"Bella? I'm Dr. Cullen. How are you feeling?" He asked me slowly, coming forward and taking my now free hand.

His hand was freezing, just as cold as Alice's and Esme's had been.

"I know," I blurted stupidly, and mentally beat myself as my face began to flush red. "I mean… uh. I'm okay."

"Are you thirsty?" he asked, kindly, ignoring my rudeness and taking note of the dry crack in my voice.

Swallowing dryly, I noted how thirsty I really was. My mouth was thick and dry feeling, while my lips were chapping a little.

Nodding slowly, I watched him reach for the stand next to my bed. He picked up the plastic cup of water there and helped me sit up so that I could properly drink from the blue straw sitting inside. The water instantly helped, making my mouth not feel so stuck together and helped me get my lips wet without them drying up and getting irritated.

"Thanks," I said softly, going to place the cup back on the stand and felt a jolt of pain go through my shoulder. I gasped and nearly dropped the cup, but Carlisle somehow managed to catch it before it spilled, setting on the stand and carefully helping my get back into place without aggravating my shoulder any further.

"What happened?" I asked softly, not remember much aside from coming home from school and feeling very upset about something.

Carlisle pulled up a free chair, sitting next to the bed so that he could be closer to my level when he spoke to me. "You fell, and hit your head on the stairs. Do you feel any pain in your head?"

Stupidly, I reached up and felt my forehead. The jolt of pain I felt, accompanied by the gruesome feel of stitches in my skin, made me grimace and recoil. "Ahh… No, not until I did that."

Carlisle chuckled, and then continued. "When you fell, you landed, you hit your head and then jarred your shoulder pretty badly. Luckily, you didn't crack your skull. Charlie said you tried preventing it at the last second, which is probably how you ended up with just the cut on your head and taking most of the force to your shoulder."

"Where's my dad?" I asked him, knowing fully that Charlie wouldn't just leave me alone at the hospital without a good reason.

"Charlie was here until about a half-hour ago when I managed to get him to go home and relax and get some rest. He was really worried about you hitting your head. He wanted us to check again after we confirmed that you didn't have a concussion, just in case we missed something. He worried so much that he really wore himself out, so I convinced him that he needed to go and get some rest so that he could bring you home tomorrow," Carlisle answered.

Happy that my dad wasn't going to subject himself to sleeping a hospital chair for the night, I moved on to a new question.

"Why can't I leave now if I don't have a concussion?" I asked, trying not to sound rude again, but I just couldn't stand being in hospitals.

"We're going to want to monitor you through the night, just in case somehow you did manage to injure your head worse than we've seen. So tomorrow morning you should be able to leave. We'll need you to keep your arm in a sling for a while, so that you don't injure your shoulder further," Carlisle explained.

"I won't be able to drive to school, then," I noted, and just prepared myself for the week or so of walking to school I would have to do.

However, Carlisle smiled. "No, you won't, but when my daughter, Alice, found out what had happened to you, she volunteered her brother to pick you up in the mornings and take you home after school."

"I couldn't ask him to do that for me," I said quickly, wondering which brother it was that Alice volunteered. Both of Alice's brothers intimidated me; Emmett with his size and Edward with his strange, intense hostility and aversion to me.

Carlisle shook his head, his kind smile still in place. "It's no problem for Edward. He already takes Alice and Jasper with him, and your home is on their way to school. It's the right thing to do, and he shouldn't have a problem with it."

"I… okay," I gave up, knowing that my side of the argument wouldn't win hold over this seemingly determined man. "As long as it won't bother him."

After glancing at the clock, I remember something. "Alice told me that your family was going hiking tomorrow. Shouldn't you be with them?"

Carlisle nodded his head, looking humored. "Ah, yes. But when I called Alice to tell her that her new friend was in the hospital, she made me extend my shift until you awoke so that I could tell her the news on you once I got home."

Flushing with embarrassment, I began to ramble with apologies.

Before I could get too far, however, Carlisle shushed me politely and offered me a breathtaking smile. "It's no problem, I had some work to catch up on anyway and the extra time allowed me to finish it. No harm done. Besides, it's difficult to go against Alice once she has her mind set on something."

'Don't I know it,' I thought to myself, noticing how the way Carlisle said it, accompanied by his face, suggested that there was more to that statement then what I knew.

"I'm going to leave now that I know you're doing well. If you need something you can use the call button; the night nurse is very nice. You should try to get some more sleep. If you're having trouble with it, the nurse is allowed to administer some sleeping aid for you. I hope to hear you're doing better once you come in to get those stitches removed, Bella," Carlisle said, patting my hand as he stood to leave.

"Thank you, Dr. Cullen. Tell Alice thank you, too, if you would," I said, watching him go.

He smiled, and nodded his head. "Will do. Goodnight, Bella."

"Goodnight," I said as the door closed, before turning and looking around the room.

Sighing softly at the predicament I'd managed to get into, I could only be grateful that my dad hadn't know that the reason for my tripping had been due to an anxiety attack. God only knows what other stipulations my stay in the hospital would've included if they'd discovered that. Thankfully, though, everyone just passed it off to me being my clumsy self.

Laying back on the pillows, I closed my eyes, willing sleep to come to me without me having to nearly crack my head open.


Harley: Thanks you guys so much for reading!

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