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Sunset

Summary:
Twelve years ago Edward left Bella thinking she would be safe and happy away from the dangers of his world. She wasn't. How can he make it up to her? Each chapter written from a different POV with some overlap as the same incident is seen from a different perspective. Some new characters of my own imagination.


Notes:
You know, all the recognisable characters are not mine. They belong to Stephanie Meyer and I hope I've used them in the spirit in which she created them.


30. Bella - New Parts

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I was getting very nervous. I had planned Edward’s birthday presents and there was always the possibility that they wouldn’t mean as much to him as they did to me. My head actually knew that they would mean more to Edward than me, but the rest of me thought I was a dipstick and he would wonder why I would give him such naff gifts. But, the deed was done, the gifts were wrapped and his birthday cards were written. Just four more days to go before he received them. Actually, four days was plenty of time to get him something else, if only I could think of something to get him. My musing was interrupted by a ‘phone call from Carlisle. “Bella, how do you fancy being a guinea pig for Andrew?” “You’d better explain further Carlisle if you want me to actually give you an answer.” “Andrew has FDA and AMA approval to trial a new procedure on humans. It has worked well in animals but so far it has not been used on humans at all. Andrew wants you to be the first and for that honour it won’t cost you a penny.” “Tell me more about it please.” I was interested but I wasn’t going to commit myself. “Basically a small pump is attached to your heart to pump the blood through your vessels at a steady rate. It can’t adapt its rate to changing circumstances which is where your heart comes in. It won’t need to work much for normal activities, but when you need more blood pumped it can work a little harder. Even if your heart stops altogether, this pump will be enough to keep you alive for a while which it where it differs from an LVAD. It is a trial so your heart will need regular monitoring for six months but it may, in fact it should give you more energy. Of course if there is a problem at any time it would be removed immediately.” I was torn. I didn’t like the sound of a mechanical pump being attached to my heart, but I did like the idea of more energy. But ... “What about the fact that I only have one lung? Won’t that affect the usefulness of pumping more blood through my arteries? And will it affect my chances of getting a donor heart?” “Oh no, if a new donor heart become available you would get that and lose the pump. As for your lung, did I not tell you first, I do apologise, a new lung is being harvested in Cleveland if you are interested in having that. The heart I’m afraid is not usable.” I wasn’t sure that I had heard him correctly. “Did you just say that a new lung was available if I wanted it?” “Yes, but you would have to come into hospital now. Do you have any plans to cancel? If you say yes to Andrew’s pump he can put it in at the same time.” I knew I ought to think about it but I didn’t want to so I just said “Let’s go for it and have them both done. I have to tell Edward and change some plans I had for next week. Should I call Esme to take me straight to the hospital as soon as I’m ready?” “Yes, as soon as possible come to my office, but there is just one more thing: as well as taking a lung, we are harvesting an Achilles tendon if you are interested in having that too?” My Achilles tendon was the main reason it was so painful to walk up and down steps. “Yes, please!” Time had run out to do something different for Edward’s birthday. Edward was out in the back yard finishing off the new bed frame. I went through the pool house and called him. “Yes? What is it, love?” “I have to call Esme to ask her to take me to hospital. Carlisle has a new lung and Achilles tendon for me and Andrew wants to try something with my heart that Carlisle can tell you about later since both of you will understand the mechanics of it.” I looked at Edward and if vampires could cry I swear he would have been crying then. “Bella, I am so pleased for you. Come on let’s get you packed while you call Esme.” We walked to the bedroom together. Edward got my case out and started putting things in it. I put in the bag of his birthday surprises. When he raised a questioning brow I just told him to mind his own business. While we were waiting for Esme to arrive to take me to the hospital Edward reminded me of my bruises and how it was a good job that they were no longer obvious hand prints. “But they will still miss the after care they received from you, as will the rest of me I hasten to add.” I got my lesson plans for the two days that I would be missing before the end of the semester so that I could ask Esme to take them to the Principal and to explain why I wouldn’t be in school for the next two days and that we would have to wait and see about after the spring break. Esme arrived. “Well, this is it. I have my ear clip for my ‘phone. Hopefully I can talk to you while the operation is going on. If not I’ll ask Carlisle to call you.” “I’ll listen to his thoughts if you can’t be on the ‘phone.” “Just like being back at school except it’s Carlisle instead of Jessica Stanley” I grumbled as I got in Esme’s car. I was starting to get nervous. “I will find a way to see you later. I love you.” “I know, but I would still prefer for you to be able to be with me all the time. Still we deal with what is. Me and my bruises will miss you. I love you too.” Esme could tell that my mind was elsewhere. I was not able to make small talk. It was never a talent of mine, but usually I could fill in silences with people I knew, but this time, I couldn’t think of a thing to say. Part of me was wanting to scream at Esme to turn around and take me back home to Edward. I didn’t need a better Achilles tendon and could manage without another lung. And who needed a stronger heart? But I knew that, certainly on the latter points, I needed to have the operation to improve my long term prognosis. But it would be so much easier if I could have Edward with me all the time. Hopefully by the time I got a new heart he could be. I was admitted and prepped. The bruises on my backside raised the brows on the nurse. Perhaps it was still clear that they were caused by hands. If so, my reputation would no doubt become interesting again. All we were waiting for was the new body parts and for Andrew and his team to arrive with the pump. Edward had volunteered to collect them from Anchorage. I did hope that they all had strong stomachs or they enjoyed speed. Edward and I were talking on the ‘phone. “Principal Skerrit says that you are not to worry. Your lesson plans are excellent and he was sure that they would manage according to Esme.” “I was always conscious that I could drop dead at any second so my plans had to be good. Whenever I’ve stepped in I’ve always found that provided the lesson plans were good enough it was easy to do. I’ve even covered for American History and Chemistry at times.” “Why didn’t you want to call Renee and Jacob?” “I didn’t want the discussion that would come with it. I’ll ask Andrew to call my mom after the operation and you can call Jake or Lizzie. I’ll E-mail them later. It will be nice to be able to do my step exercises without so much pain and getting out of breath.” “You will be able to make love with me for longer too!” I thought it was so typical of a man to think of sex at a time like that! Andrew arrived and introduced his two Residents who would be keeping a very close eye on me and were at my beck and call all the time they were in Carcrix. They were on call twenty-four hours a day until they left, sleeping, showering and eating in the hospital. Looking at the eager young faces I felt sorry for them. It was going to be a long few days for them. I asked Andrew if he would speak to my mom after the surgery. “Carlisle met her thirteen years ago and well, on the off chance that she remembers him I’m sure she would feel better if a senior surgeon talked to her.” Andrew realised that if Renee had met Carlisle thirteen years ago she would notice that there was something odd about him since he looked exactly the same as he did before. “Of course I can do that for you.” “Please don’t let her even entertain the idea that she should come and visit me, or that I should visit her. I love my mom dearly, but she drives me nuts even when I’m not convalescing. I couldn’t cope with her while I was.” Andrew told me more about the procedure of attaching the pump to my heart. “We also harvested some blood vessels which we will use to graft the pipes to your blood vessels. We had to wait to do this until a lung was available for you. It would not have been a feasible option with just the one lung. You will be awake while Carlisle attaches it. It will be distressing for you since your heart will probably skip some beats. We will warn you when it’s about to happen so that you are prepared and don’t panic. You may lose consciousness for a while. But that won’t be a problem. Carlisle is going to cut away part of your rib cage but when it is replaced it will be hinged – your idea I believe – so that when we need to go in again we won’t need to keep cutting. It is possible that we won’t be able to close you up until some of the swelling has gone down in which case you will be wrapped in steri-wrap and will have to remain in isolation – but you will still have a ‘phone!” I wasn’t sure that I had taken it all in. “Just do what you have to, Andrew, and tell me all about it during the operation. I have total confidence in you and Carlisle.” I was on the table listening to Edward talk to me about what he would like us to do at the end of the school year. My left Achilles tendon had been replaced and my foot and ankle were in a cast. It suddenly dawned on me that he had no plans to go to college. “What about next year? What do you plan to do?” “Be where you are of course. If you think I shouldn’t be idle, I could just take a gap year. But I think one job I have to do is to teach you how to dance.” “You’ll need more than a year to do that. Yeuch! I should just close my eyes as well as block my nose. How can anyone be a doctor or nurse?” I closed my eyes and just listened to the music of Edward’s voice. I think I was close to dozing off when Edward said “Bella, I think Carlisle is trying to get your attention.” “Oops, sorry Carlisle, but he has such a lovely voice.” I heard Edward’s soft laugh. “You will feel some pressure in your chest now. It might even be a little uncomfortable but you need to remain as still as possible.” Carlisle was right; I could feel the pressure as he put my new lung in place. No doubt over the years my other lung had moved across and had got used to all that space because it did feel decidedly squashed. My breath was even more constricted than usual. I was starting to hyperventilate, my heart rate increasing. “Bella! Breathe steady and slowly. It is a little strange, but it will settle. Breathe steady, in, out, keep the rhythm. Masen, if you can hear me, talk Bella through a steady breathing pattern.” Edward could hear Carlisle so he kept saying “In and out. In and out” in a steady rhythm and everything settled again. “Now I’m going to get ready to attach the lung. This will be the first cut. It is essential that you remain as still as humanly possible while I cut. I need you to take a breath, breathe out as much as you can and hold it for five seconds. Ready?” I breathed out and nodded. I counted the seconds in my head and had only reached four when Carlisle said I could breathe again. “That wasn’t so bad was it?” Carlisle asked. “Nope, but I have a feeling that was the easy one.” Everyone laughed softly at that, but none contradicted me. “Bella, soon I’m going to ask you to breathe out and hold for twelve seconds.” Carlisle did that a few times and each time he said I could breathe before I counted to ten. Either I was slow or Carlisle was giving himself a little margin for errors. “This time Bella I will need you to hold for fifteen. Blink when you’re ready.” This, I knew, was it. After this, the new lung should be fully attached and the next breath should be the biggest breath I had taken for nearly twelve years. “Do I breathe deeply after that? Will I feel the difference?” “However you feel like breathing, and you tell us.” I took few breaths to steady myself then I breathed out as much as I could and blinked. I had actually got to fourteen when Carlisle said I could breathe again. I could feel the difference! I took a really deep breath. It seemed to go on forever! “It’s amazing! I don’t have to take so many breaths! I’ll be able to increase my step exercises.” Edward laughed in my ear “We’ll see. Don’t try to run just yet! I’ll have to get used to your new breathing patterns again now.” “And don’t forget I’ll have a new heart beat for you to get used to as well. It’s a good job that you’ve got excellent hearing and memory.” “Bella, your new lung appears to be working perfectly. I’ll have to tell Cleveland because they weren’t sure about the value of a single lung transplant especially since it is another right lung inserted back to front.” “Can you ask if I can write a thank you letter to the donor’s family please? It might be some comfort to them to know that their gift will make a big difference to my life and recovery.” “I’ll do that. Bella, this is where you might find that your heart skips beats. Don’t let it worry you even if you pass out. Masen, talk to Bella about her new exercise regime or something.” Edward suggested some exercises that he wanted me to try, but I was so not interested that I didn’t take in a word he said, I just listened to the music of his voice. I think I actually must have gone to sleep. It had been a long day and was well past my normal bed time so I shouldn’t have been surprised. I opened my eyes to realise that the ear piece for my ‘phone had gone. “Don’t worry. I told Masen that you had fallen asleep before I disconnected it. So tell me about him, what’s he like from your perspective?” Carlisle asked tongue in cheek. I had to think about my reply. I knew Edward would be listening in through Carlisle’s thoughts. “He is patience personified with me but he can be a right pain in the backside at times.” I hoped he found it funny. “He’s also a very good cook and much better at the house work than I am. But what really annoys me about him is that he is a know it all, never play Trivial Pursuit against him, and he doesn’t need as much sleep as I do – perhaps he has ADHD.” “With your new lung, and this little pump, you should have more energy as well. Perhaps you’ll be able to keep up with him now” Andrew suggested. “What, and let him know that I don’t need to be carried when I’m tired, or that I don’t need all the help with the housework? Even if there was a chance that I would be able to keep up with him, I would never let him know. I love the way he looks after me all the time.” Carlisle and Andrew laughed at my words. But one of the residents didn’t like it. “And what does he like about you?” she asked, inferring that there probably wasn’t anything. “He likes that I don’t give up, that I’m not dead when I should be. He likes that I’m not a greedy money grubber – his family is wealthy and I’ve turned down their money. He also likes that I don’t give into him when we argue and that I can hold my own in, discussions, with his family.” “Bella, I hate to contradict you, but he does not like that you do not take an allowance from his family. He respects it, but certainly doesn’t like it” Carlisle said. Everyone laughed except the resident who had clearly decided not to like me. “Doctors, what sort of recovery time are we talking about here? Please bear in mind that I’m already missing two days of work and really don’t want to miss any more unless absolutely necessary. I’ve got eighteen days before I’m due back.” My rib cage was re-attached. Carlisle swung it open to check that the hinges worked. “The good news is that we will be able to close you up. This is a new attachment which is slightly larger than the piece I cut off so your body shape will be slightly uneven, but I doubt it will be noticeable to normal human eyes, although I have no doubt that you will be able to see every little difference. Do you mind if one of the residents sews you up? It will be some reward for standing holding retractors for all this time.” I didn’t mind, so my wound was divided into two so they could each do half of the stitches. I only hoped that the one who didn’t like me wouldn’t let her personal dislike overcome her professionalism. But I noticed that no one answered my question. “Miss Swann, are you ready for your medication now?” Dr Marsh wished she could tell me to take my medication like she wanted me to so that she could go to sleep in the on call room. “Not yet. There is no need for you to keep asking me. I will press this wonderful magic button when the pain becomes too much. In the meantime I have no intention of pumping my body full of narcotics unnecessarily – something that as a doctor I would think you would agree with. So you are quite at liberty to get some sleep” I was snide. She finally left with a big huff so I could get back to my conversation with Edward. “She doesn’t like you, why?” “Because she thinks I’m taking advantage of Masen’s lovely nature and am an ungrateful bitch.” “Masen, that lovely man with infinite patience but who happens to be a pain in the backside? And I thought that they didn’t hurt.” “They don’t, I just wanted to make sure you were listening. Did you hear that they put a hinge in my cage now? It should make it cheaper to do my operations if they don’t have to keep replacing broken bits. My chest feels really cramped now. It should soon get better when everything has moved around a bit and got used to their new quarters. I’m going to write a letter to the donor’s family. Should I type it or handwrite it? Handwriting is more personal, but you know my writing, they might not be able to read it.” “Well, love, I don’t think it will matter if they can’t make out all the words as long as they get the gist of what you want to say. I think a handwritten one would be so much more personal. I’ll bring writing materials when I come in to see you tomorrow, no, today after school. Alice is coming with me. Do you know when you’ll be able to come home?” “No. When I asked everyone made a point of not looking at me or even trying to give me an idea. When Andrew and Carlisle come round I’ll press for an answer then. Have you spoken to Lizzie or Jake yet?” “No. I wanted to wait until it was all over but it was too late. I’ll call later when they’ll be up and about. When is Andrew calling Renee?” “The same as you. I hope he’s careful and doesn’t forget not to mention Carlisle. I know it will be a pain but would you mind if I went to visit her sometime in the summer break? Unless I’m having my transplant I don’t think I would be able to get out of it without making her suspicious and the last thing we want is for mom to take it into her head that she should come to Carcrix for a visit.” I could hear that he wanted to tell me that he wasn’t letting me out of his sight for long enough to make such a visit but he knew the logic was right. I needed to go and visit unless he could think of something that I hadn’t. “Actually I think you should invite her to stay with you. You could say you need to stay in Carcrix in case a heart becomes available and you’re at hand. You know how Renee doesn’t like the cold so she won’t want to stay long and she’ll miss Phil unless they both come.” I thought it was worth considering. Talking to Edward helped me with the pain control. I was in quite a bit of discomfort, but nothing that I hadn’t lived through before. I was getting tired though and I didn’t know how long I would be able to stay awake. My words were starting to slur and I’m sure I was repeating myself. “Go to sleep Bella. I’ll stay on the line so if you start talking and saying things you shouldn’t I’ll wake you up again. So go to sleep love. I’ll still be here when you wake up. Sleep now” and I gave up the fight and closed my eyes. “Bella! Bella! You have to wake up now! Bella!” Edward was shouting down the ‘phone. “Edward, is that you? Why are you shouting at me?” “You were talking in your sleep love and it wasn’t about Masen.” “Oops. How long was I out for?” “Just a couple of hours. You need to sleep some more. Can you close your eyes again or is it worth waking Dr Nasty?” “It’s nearly five so she’ll be in here shortly to take my vitals. I’ll get another couple of hours before Carlisle and Andrew visit. So what was I saying? Anything interesting?” Edward didn’t get a chance to reply. Dr Marsh walked into the room and put the light on. “I would prefer that you knock before coming in just so that I have time to cover myself if for any reason I am uncovered.” I heard Edward’s soft laugh at my rebuke of the doctor. “I’m here to take your vitals, usually a nurse’s job I know but I do what my boss tells me. I’ll also look over your surgical field too.” “Since you’re here, could you help me to the bathroom first please, or should I call a nurse?” I admit it, I was a little snide. “I’ll help or I could get a bed pan.” She was snide in return. “Bathroom, please.” I sat up and gingerly got out of bed. I hadn’t eaten for hours and as soon as I stood it felt like all the blood suddenly whooshed out of my head. I was grateful that the doctor was there to help. We reached the bathroom and I dismissed the doctor with “Thank you. I won’t be long.” When I had closed the door I muttered “Can you pretend that you’re not on the line while I have my human minutes, please?” “Bella, you’re silly. I know exactly what humans do in the bathroom. I have even assisted you when you were unable to do everything yourself in Denali remember?” “Yes, but I would rather we were both able to forget that little incident” and I sincerely meant it. I used the hand rail to help me stand and gingerly made my way to the basin. “Crap, my hair is a mess. It’ll take forever to get all these tangles out.” I should have followed Lizzie’s advice and gotten it cut. “Alice can do it when we visit so don’t panic.” I grunted at that because the chances were that Alice would not stop at getting the tangles out. She was forever trying to use me as her personal life sized Barbie doll. I washed my hands then brushed my teeth. I immediately felt better. “Right, let’s make our way back to bed” I said. “Careful love. You could always call Dr Nasty to come and help you from there.” “Over my dead body. I’ll get to the bathroom door and then we’ll see.” I got to the bathroom door and felt okay so I started to limp to my bed. I made it! I sat on the bed then swung my legs round, the way I got into bed at home, but the extra weight of the caste on my foot pulled at my other leg muscles, and I pulled the sheet over me. “There, I did it!” Even I heard the pride in my own voice. “Well done, love. Just make sure you don’t overdo it. The doctor doesn’t seem too impressed with your achievement, though.” “Well Dr Marsh is probably used to her patients achieving a lot bigger milestones then being able to hobble back to bed on their own after little operations like mine.” “Who are you talking to?” Was there a touch of panic in the doctor’s voice? “’Phone, ear piece so you don’t need to worry that I’m losing my marbles. Dr Marsh tapped some data on an I-pad, muttered under breath a couple of times. “Could you arrange for me to have some food please? My diet information is somewhere in the file.” I tried to make the effort to be pleasant. “Breakfast should be around about eight” the doctor sounded gleeful. “But that is hours away and I don’t think ...” “Perhaps your boyfriend can arrange to bring some then. I’ll be back with Doctors Campbell and Cullen later. Everything seems fine at the moment.” I was gobsmacked. “Breathe Bella. I’ll tell Carlisle what she just said. He’ll be there with some food – scrambled egg sound good?” Edward asked from far away. “Bella, scrambled egg?” “I didn’t think she would let her dislike of me affect her professionalism but she just blew it. Scrambled eggs – two please – sounds good with some toast.” “You still need to be careful not to overdo it” Edward was always looking out for me. “The doctor said Bella had to wait until breakfast for some food. She hasn’t eaten since yesterday mid afternoon and she’s hungry. Will you take some to her or shall I?” clearly to Carlisle. “Not you, you idiot! What if someone sees you?” Although the way I felt at that moment I probably wouldn’t have cared too much. “You make it and I’ll take it. I’ll wake Andrew up as well.” It wasn’t often Carlisle sounded cross but it was coming down the ‘phone so perhaps I was hearing things. “Great, just what I need, two senior doctors riding to the rescue. She’ll hate me now.” “I’ve made more than enough for two if you want some as well Andrew” I heard Edward say. “There’s hot chocolate and coffee too. Bella prefers the hot chocolate.” It wasn’t long before there was a knock at my door. “We bring food and hot chocolate Bella” Andrew said jovially. “For that, Andrew, I will swop my allegiance.” “Hey” Edward said down the ‘phone, “I offered to bring it and I did cook it.” “That’s true. Sorry Andrew, he’s just reminded me who prepared it. So, how am I doing and when can I get out of here? One of you can talk while I eat. “Actually Bella, do you mind if we have this conversation when my two Residents get here? I’ve asked a nurse to wake them. They should be here in about thirty seconds.” It wasn’t long before the door burst open and the two Residents entered the room. “Knock before you enter someone’s room. Respect your patients and their privacy. Now, which one of you two can tell me what I said, and what the file says about Miss Swann’s nutritional requirements?” Andrew was not happy and I bet the two Residents knew it too. “Miss Swann should eat every three to four hours if awake so if she wants food and it is not hospital meal time we should go and get it for her” the young male doctor said. “Well done Robbins. Why is it important that she eats that often?” “Because she has a small stomach and a reduced gut and colon so would otherwise be malnourished since she can only eat small amounts at a time.” “Another correct answer Robbins. Now who can tell me why Dr Cullen had to come here at this time of morning to bring the patient food when you were clearly instructed to get it for her?” “Tell me, is she looking at the floor or you?” Edward asked me. “The floor. But the other now. Clearly my prediction was accurate. Oh well, c’est la vie. ‘Phone, ear piece” I explained when I received some funny looks. “I’m going to ask you to hang up now because when you’ve eaten, you need to get some more sleep. I’ll sit with you for a while and go over some charts while you sleep. You can call him later again.” Carlisle said, very much in charge. “Okay, love. I’ll call you at lunch time. I love you” Edward said. “Love you too, bye” and I disconnected the ‘phone. I bet Edward was now trying to focus on Carlisle’s mind to hear what was going on. “Bella asked how she is doing and when she can go home. Marsh?” Andrew asked. “Miss Swann appears to have recovered from the surgery remarkably well. She has not asked for any further pain medication and her vitals are good. She walked with assistance to the bathroom, suffering what appeared to be a rush of blood from the head when she stood up which soon normalised. She was able to complete her ablutions and return to her bed unaided.” “Excellent that is ..” “However” Dr Marsh interrupted Andrew, “as she was returning to the bed I saw some marks on her body that could be indicators of physical, possibly sexual abuse.” Crap. That was not good. Carlisle was livid, I didn’t know with whom. “Bella, is this true?” Carlisle asked. “I have never been physically, including sexually, abused ever.” “We need to see the marks Bella” Carlisle insisted. “No you do not.” “Bella, we’re doctors and we need to see the marks.” I could tell Carlisle was now starting to get worried, but unless he really insisted he wasn’t going to, but that didn’t mean I couldn’t try and make the Resident regret her pushiness. “The first casualty from that encounter was my heel – I got a large splinter in it. I don’t know which piece of broken furniture I trod on to get it since I was too busy enjoying myself. I also got covered in feathers, well we both did. I have no idea what happened to the pillow to cause the feathers to fly. Once again I was too busy enjoying myself. I do know how I got the hand prints on my backside though. And although I did say he could be a pain in the backside, he wasn’t. I had my legs wrapped around his waist, something that six months ago I never thought I would ever be able to do. He was standing up, I have no idea why we weren’t on the bed, perhaps because feathers were flying everywhere, and he was supporting me with his hands, holding me as he moved me. I promise you there was no abuse, not unless you count the fact that he had to support all my weight at so critical a time, we weren’t even leaning against a wall, and so I was abusing him. Carlisle, you know how easily I bruise. Satisfied now or do you want more details of my sex life? And I remind you, you were told this as my doctor so you don’t talk to him about it.” We both knew he wouldn’t have to. “That was more than enough to make us all jealous thank you Bella” Andrew said humorously. “But how were you able to have such an active life with only one lung and a weak heart?” “By letting him do most of the work. I can’t wait to try out my new equipment. So when can I get out of here?” “Dr Robbins?” “We will begin checking for signs of rejection. We’ll have to monitor every three hours for the first twenty-four, then four hours for the next twenty-four, if everything is good it will be six hours for twenty-four then we’ll go to eight hours. Provided everything remains good, and we are happy that the after care at home is satisfactory she should be discharged in five days time. If there are complications then we will have to keep her in longer though.” “That sounds right. Bella?” “Carlisle, can I stay with you again?” “Esme and I rather took it for granted that you would. Your room is already prepared.” “If all I’m going to be doing is lying here taking up space between the whatever hourly checks, couldn’t I be at your place and just come in for the checks?” “If you can walk to and from the bathroom, have a shower get dried and dressed into your pyjamas by yourself and feel that you don’t need pain medication above level three, which you will soon need because you are going to be in agony as all your muscles start to seize, then you can come to us in two days time so you need only be here for your six hourly checks. Dr Marsh can make sure you come to no harm while attempting to bathe, first attempt after lunch. In the meantime Dr Robbins will look after you. Let’s hope he does a better job than Dr Marsh this morning. Even though we don’t need to see your bruised backside we still need to check your surgical sight.” I lifted my hospital gown so that the doctors could see the truth of my words about bruising easily. I was anticipating the tender care that they would need. “We’ll need to add something to take care of those bruises to your prescription” Andrew said. “No you won’t. He takes care of my bruises a lot better than anything you could prescribe.” Carlisle and Andrew chuckled at my response. “Fine for when you’re discharged, but until then you let us treat them. How were the breath sounds Dr Marsh?” Andrew asked. “Almost equal, slightly less to the left. I’ve suggested that particular attention is paid to that vital in case it turns out to be a symptom of a problem.” “Only the most gentle of exercises for a while I’m afraid” Carlisle said. “I don’t want you to undo the good work I’ve just performed, you know the drill. Do you want me to bring in your step? And I’ll get Edward to come in twice a day to do your physiotherapy – not ideal but better than nothing, don’t you agree?” “Thanks Carlisle. I just hope he doesn’t ask for something outrageous as recompense. And, provided there are no complications, does that mean I will be able to return to work at the start of the semester with the usual precautions?” Carlisle and Andrew looked at each other with a conspiratorial smile. “Actually, provided there are no complications you should be able to return without the usual precautions, just a few different ones. Your heart data will be sent automatically to the team via a monitor that will be taped to you later when your wound has healed a little. You need to wear it all the time you are not in the shower or bath and I’ll need to carry out a daily check on your lung and tendon for a while.” Carlisle stayed with me for a while to make sure I didn’t say anything I shouldn’t in my sleep. He woke me when Dr Robbins came to do the first three hourly check. “Where’s Andrew?” I asked. “He’s preparing his first draft of the latest surgery on Jamie Somers. I’ve agreed he can take all the credit for the whole operation since he will be doing all the writing for the article.” I grinned because I knew that the real reason was so that Carlisle’s name wasn’t noted in the medical journals. Carlisle asked me if I wanted anything to eat and reminded me of the need to keep drinking. I didn’t want anything much, but I knew I would need something so I just asked for a banana and a drink of milk, or better, a banana milk shake. All it took from Carlisle was a raised brow and the poor Resident rushed to get me what I wanted. Carlisle’s prediction about my muscles was proving very accurate. I was seizing and it was painful despite having had some pain killers. I called for the Resident. “I need to move. Can you just make sure I don’t fall over, please?” I asked desperately. I got out of bed, still wearing the revealing hospital gown. It wasn’t until the doctor smothered a laugh that I remembered. Giving him a dirty look I slowly made my way to the chest with my clothes and took out a pair of briefs. I walked slowly to the chair, giving him an excellent view of my bruised bum, and sat down to don the underwear. It took longer than I thought it should, but it was hard to move. I really needed my physiotherapy. It wasn’t worth trying to put on clean pyjamas since I could do that after my shower. But even that limited amount of movement made me feel a little better. “Miss Swann, can I ask you a personal question?” At least he was polite about it. “You can ask as long as you don’t mind if I decline to answer if it’s too personal.” “Did you really get those bruises as you said? If so he must be incredibly strong!” I had to laugh. He was jealous of my lover! “Yes, I’m afraid I did get them exactly as I described. As well as being incredibly strong, he has amazing self control. Don’t forget, until recently I could barely walk and was in constant pain. My heart meant I could die at any moment. Regular physiotherapy has made a remarkable difference to my life so I decided I was going to enjoy it no matter how long or short it might be.” “How long have you known Dr Campbell and Dr Cullen?” “I only met Andrew recently through Carlisle who was a student of his. I’ve known Carlisle and his family for years.” “He seems very attached to you.” Ah ha, now we’re at the point of the conversation. “His whole family are. You’ll meet Alice and Edward after lunch if you’re still around. Alice is enchanting. She could always wind me round her little finger and still does even though she’s eighteen now. Edward is typical teenage boy. He can be charming or surly. I think he also wanted to be a doctor but he doesn’t like all the blood so he did a short course in physiotherapy, something that is part of the medical profession without the blood. He might take it further when he leaves school. I hope he does because he is actually very good at it.” “We met him when he collected us from Anchorage. So you and the doctor aren’t, you know?” “Is that why Dr Marsh doesn’t like me, because she thinks I’m using Carlisle?” “She made a play for him and he brushed her aside. She doesn’t often get that response.” I could understand why. I hoped that one day she would get to see Rosalie and then she would feel plain. “Carlisle doesn’t see any women that way except his wife. Esme is beautiful. She’ll be in later today as well so Dr Marsh can get to see why Carlisle isn’t interested.” “It will help if she can see that it isn’t personal to her. I know it’s an imposition, but would you mind if I did a thorough physical exam of you so that I can feel the skeletal structure and the muscle tone? I’ve never come across someone with as much damage as you’ve sustained and it would be an amazing learning opportunity.” The young doctor sounded eager, and I liked him so I agreed. “But my underwear stays on, you don’t need to see those bruises again” and he laughed.