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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.


7. Carlisle - Bella's Injuries

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I wasn’t sure what to do about Bella. I knew she had her pride, and I also knew that she felt that we just abandoned her when Edward ended their relationship and would be loath to take what she considered to be charity from me. But I couldn’t do nothing when I could do something to improve the quality of her life. I owed Bella. I had let Edward talk me into doing something that I knew was wrong. I decided it was time to call in some markers from my old friend Andrew. I wondered why Bella did not ask me to change her. I knew she had wanted to join our family before. Did she think that she would feel too old since she would be the eldest in human years of us all? Did she expect that all the replacement body parts meant that she would not be able to change effectively? Or did she know that her heart could no longer take the strain of the transformation and she would die? Or did she just not want to join us anymore? Whatever the reason, I was determined to do what I could to make her life more comfortable now. I got home to find no one there. I was disappointed, but not surprised. It had only been three days, but I missed having some alone time with Esme. I knew why everyone wanted to spend every minute possible on the house, but I thought that I was going to have to put my foot down and insist that everyone have a break. I was no mind reader like Edward, but it looked to me like Rosalie and Emmett needed some alone time together even more than I did with Esme. I went to the house to find everyone hard at work as expected. The sense of optimism, enjoyment and purpose that they had started with three days ago had been ground down by the relentless pace of the work. “I want everyone to finish off the bit of work they are doing and then to stop for at least twenty-four hours. The work will still be there when you get back. We need time to relax, have fun and hunt.” I found Esme and added “And I need to kiss my wife.” Esme giggled as she enthusiastically returned my affections. “You two will have to wait until Esme has finished hanging the doors” Emmett interrupted. “So if you want to hurry home, you had better help her. I’m just going to finish laying the floor.” I noticed that Emmett was not his usual exuberant self. He definitely needed time to recuperate. If he hadn’t improved by Sunday, I was going to have to talk with him. “We’re going to Denali!” Alice declared. A bit of a surprise since I wasn’t aware that anyone had any reason to go. “And Edward is laughing! Not sarcastically, but real, honest to goodness laughing. I wish I knew why.” I thought we all wished we knew why so that we could share in the joy; but it was good to know that Edward could still laugh. Esme and I were cuddling in our room when we heard “Carlisle, Bella said ...? Damn it, where is everyone? Oh, oh, sorry. Catch you later.” Edward had at last switched on his mind reading. “You may as well go and see what Bella said” Esme suggested. “At least he didn’t arrive half an hour earlier; that would have been a real mood killer.” “Thank you, love.” I quickly grazed Esme’s cheek with my lips and got dressed again. “By the way, I was thinking of inviting an old friend of mine for a visit. He’s a cardiologist, one of my former students. Andrew might not be world reknown, but he is eminent in his field. We can talk over old times, do some case studies. Would you mind?” “A cardiologist? Not your usual field, but I don’t expect it does any harm to broaden your horizons. Just let me know when he is coming and I’ll prepare a room for him.” I realised I was a very lucky man. I had work that brought me happiness, a wife who brought me peace and joy, and a family who brought all three, plus a share of worry. “And what did Bella say that has allowed you to start tuning in to other people’s minds again?” I asked Edward. “You didn’t have to leave Esme, it could have waited” Edward said. Then he smiled the old smile that I hadn’t seen in twelve long years. “But since you are here, Bella said that you could tell me all about her injuries. She told me today that she lost the ability to have children and I asked her what other injuries she had since it seemed I learnt of a new one every night. She said that she would prefer you told me than she did. You should have got a message from her.” He sounded worried at the thought that perhaps Bella had changed her mind. I went to my communications pad. There was a message from Bella giving permission to talk to Edward about her medical history, prognosis and treatment, or at least I assumed that she meant Edward when she typed ‘him’. Part of me wished I had left this conversation until later since it was not going to be pleasant. At least the others were likely to be too occupied to listen in. “Are you sure you want to know? It isn’t pleasant listening.” “I have to know. If I’m going to look after her properly, I need to know the extent of her injuries.” As Edward was speaking, Esme came down and sat besides Edward and hugged his arm tightly in a show of support. Bella had to know that I could not avoid others hearing if they were of a mind to so I let Esme stay. “The left hand side of her body took the full impact. Every bone was completely shattered with some of the pieces lodged in various muscles, organs and bits of tissue. Every organ on the left side of her body suffered damage, including her brain and heart. Every piece of bone on the left had to be removed, including her back bone and much of her skull.” I stopped at that point because Esme looked like she wanted to be sick, and Edward looked like he wanted his life to end there and then. “Bella’s bones, for the most part were replaced with carbon fibre, except her hand that has riveted steel. She has limited flexibility in her foot because the bones in her toes were replaced by single pieces of carbon fibre unlike her fingers and she has a severely damaged Achilles tendon. Replacing the back bone also means that even if she had suffered no muscle damage she would have limited flexibility there. But the muscle damage means that every little movement of her spine is extremely painful. Most of Bella’s teeth have been replaced with implants so she has to be careful about what she chews, and her eye is resin so naturally she has no sight on that side. She lost the hearing in her ear, but that was later restored surgically. She has just one kidney which is not a problem per se, but the one lung is and she is always short of breath. The stomach is nearly half the size it should be as are the gut and colon so, again, she has to be careful what she eats and fights a constant battle with malnutrition.” I paused to draw breath and to look at how Edward was taking it. It is hard to imagine that a vampire could lose all their colour, but Edward had. He looked like white marble. I hadn’t got to the worst parts yet. A sound made me turn around. Rosalie, Emmett, Alice and Jasper were sitting on the stairs taking in what I was saying. Perhaps Bella should have rethought her permission for me to speak. “The tendons and muscles were all badly damaged, mainly by bone fragment impact and any and every movement is very painful for her. But if she doesn’t move, the muscles seize making later movement even more painful. Bella would greatly benefit from a programme of physiotherapy, but there is no suitable therapist closer than Anchorage. She already told you that she can no longer have children. It is because her left ovary and fallopian tube and her uterus had to be removed.” I had to pause again. The next part was the worst part. “Luckily, instinct made Bella protect her head as the train struck so the brain damage was relatively minimal, but she is subject to intense headaches. But the human body is remarkable and constant brain training has allowed Bella to repair much of the damage to her brain but she still struggles with logic and mathematical based problems. The damage to her spine was so great that I still cannot believe she was ever able to walk again. Every step is agonising for her. And so, the heart. As you know, there is enough damage to make it very weak. She really should have a heart and lung transplant but is too low down on the list. I am investigating various possibilities about what we can do to improve her prognosis on that front but the chances are she will always have to avoid stress or she will die. I am surprised that her heart has lasted this long. “None of that includes the damage to the rest of her body. All the large bones were broken in numerous places, but they were put back together again. The bone from her right shoulder blade is still re-growing and is pushing on her carbon fibre spine and left shoulder blade. That is why her back seized the other day. Similar events are likely to get more frequent until the pressure is removed and she will be in more pain as the pressure increases with the bone growth. I will do the operation at the end of the semester. Bella lost her appendix and spleen, and suffered damage to her liver, thyroid, diaphragm and pancreas - the latter leaving her diabetic, and her body is a road map of scar tissue, but they do not have serious long term consequences. The upshot is, Bella should be dead and is now living on borrowed time unless she gets a new heart and lung.” There was silence as everyone digested my words. “Why won’t she have the operation now?” Esme asked. “She won’t risk her job by taking time out of work unless she has no choice” Alice sobbed. “Wow, I bet she’s real glad she got to stay human. Don’t you wish you had been so lucky Rosalie?” Emmett was, for him, unusually snide. He got up and stormed off up stairs. Rosalie looked devastated. I didn’t know if was as a result of my words or Emmett’s. Alice was crying into Jasper’s shoulder “I should have seen it. I should have stopped her.” I went to sit by Edward. He was the one I was most worried about at that particular moment. “Now you know. Do you have a plan for getting Bella to accept our help?” I had to get Edward to focus his mind on something positive rather than just burn in agony and be of no use to Bella. It took a while, but Edward snapped out from where he was. “Bella said that we need to explain to Irina what happened to Laurent because Irina will just wonder and wait and suffer otherwise.” “So that’s why we’re going to Denali. When should we go and is Bella coming with us?” I asked. “How about the Saturday after next? And yes, I want them to meet Bella and regard her as part of the family and I want her to be used to spending her time with us. Although I suppose that I ought to ask rather than just assume that she will want to come with us.” “And the help?” I reminded Edward of my question. “I need to train as a physiotherapist quickly because Bella wouldn’t accept help from a professional who she knew I was paying for, but I can’t leave her. Does anyone have any ideas, please?” “I could go and learn” offered Alice. “It would be better if you could stay at school to keep an eye on her there, but it’s an idea, thanks Alice” Edward said. “Or I could arrange for a therapist to come to the hospital to teach some of the staff some basic remedial therapy and ask if they would teach you more thoroughly as an extra that I would pay them cash in hand for” I suggested knowing that offering the right amount of cash usually allowed one to get what one wanted. “Once she is out of that apartment things will immediately be better for her” Esme pointed out. “But getting her out will require lots of tact and diplomacy” Jasper reminded us. “I have a plan for that” Edward at last managed a half smile. “Good, but I want you all to remember, Bella gave me permission to tell Edward, not all of you. Edward, no one is working on the house for a while. Everyone is taking a break including you.” It hadn’t been that long since Edward hunted, just a week, but it would be as well to give him something to do that was not about Bella. “Go and hunt.” “I’ll come with you. I need to do something physical, and since we’re not allowed to work, hunting is the next best thing” Emmett said, not in a good mood as he stomped back into the room. I hoped Edward would be able to tune into him enough to be able to find out what was wrong. Edward looked like he was about to argue so I gave him the look. The look that all parents learn that tells their child that the matter is not open for discussion. “Alright. Alice, will you tell Bella where I am and that I’ll see her on Sunday morning, please?” “Okay. You know it probably won’t do any harm for her to miss you for one evening.” “Why do you think I’m not arguing with Carlisle?” and Edward gave one of his half smiles again. Alice and Jasper went back upstairs. Edward and Emmett left to hunt. Rosalie still sat on the stair looking devastated. Emmett had not spoken to her, or touched her since his outburst. It looked like there really was a problem there and I didn’t think it should wait. “Rosalie, what is wrong?” Esme, as usual had picked up that one of her chicks was suffering. “I don’t think he loves me anymore” Rosalie sounded heartbroken. “You know that is not true. He can’t not love you any more than Edward could not love Bella.” “It’s Bella that’s caused it. Ever since she came back to our life, Emmett hasn’t looked at me except with dislike, nor has he touched me.” I looked at Esme. She was smiling at our daughter with fond exasperation. We loved Rosalie dearly, but we were not blind to her faults and her complete self absorption could be very wearing at times. “Rosalie, how much happiness have you had with Emmett over the past twelve years?” “What do you mean? Emmett and I have had lots of happiness.” “Yes, I know. Now how much happiness has Edward had over the past twelve years?” “But that’s different. He chose to involve himself with her, then he chose to leave her.” Both Esme and I sighed. It was not going to be easy to persuade Rosalie to look at things from another perspective. “You know why he chose to leave her. In fact you were his most vociferous supporter when we discussed it. You were also the most vocal in agreeing with Edward that she not be changed. Alice may have been able to persuade Edward to accept that the whole family should not just abandon Bella if you had not argued so much.” “I was always against his relationship with her, if you remember.” “Yes, we remember. But can you remember what it is like to love someone, to want to be with them so much that their absence is a physical pain? If you can, why can you not have sympathy for Edward who suffered so much trying to stay away from Bella in the first place, and how he has continued to suffer since he took himself out of her life?” “Because I don’t get why he loves her! I mean she was never more than ordinary, and he could have had Tanya who is one of us, but he didn’t want Tanya, he wanted some stupid human who has thrown away everything good that she had.” “If you had met and fallen in love with Emmett when you were human, would you have chosen to leave him so you could have babies with some other man? Don’t answer, because I’m sure you don’t really know. Bella loved Edward more than she loved the idea of having children. We should have respected her choice. You might think it the wrong choice, and it may have been for you, but you are not Bella. Anyway, even if you don’t care about Bella’s pain and sorrow, don’t you think Edward has suffered enough? Can’t you wish to help him gain some happiness now?” “I’m working on her stupid house aren’t I? But I still don’t understand why her?” I had to laugh. “Rosalie, why do any of us love the one we love? That’s just the way it is.” “You need to talk to Emmett” Esme said. “He’s jealous of Edward. He thinks you don’t love him anywhere near as much as Bella loves Edward and he envies him that.” Once again I was struck by how lucky I was to have Esme. She was right, that was Emmett’s problem. He knew Rosalie wanted him, but he saw himself as second best in her eyes. He wanted to come first. He saw how I was most important to Esme, how Jasper was to Alice and now how Edward was most important to Bella. He felt he wasn’t loved as much as we were and it hurt him. Rosalie looked as struck by that revelation as I had been. I had real hopes that she could repair their relationship. “I’m going out.” Rosalie left the house. I didn’t know where she was going, but I hazarded a guess that it was to somewhere she could think. “Well love, it looks like our children are suffering all sorts of angst at the moment” I said. “I know. It doesn’t matter how old they are either, I still want to put it all right for them. Since we can’t, why don’t we concentrate on us for a little while so they can at least try to put their lives back in order without more interference from us?” “Good idea. Now where were we before Edward interrupted us?”