Just wanted to say a quick thanks to lstvry, Liv, VampirateCarrie, Just4Me & marmiexx for their sweet reviews
A short while later a nurse arrived and helped change Esme's clothes. Esme was shocked by how much pain the nurse's movements caused her; even when Dr. Cullen had carried her inside from the carriage it hadn't hurt so much.
"I'm sorry dear," said the nurse when she had finished, "I'll go find Dr. Cullen and perhaps he'll bring you some pain medicine when he comes to bandage you up."
When Dr. Cullen returned a few minutes later he seemed to have overcome his bout of exhaustion and was all business.
"I fear this will hurt, but once we brace your leg hopefully everything will heal smoothly." With nothing more to say and quietly he began his work. But Esme's brain was swimming with questions. She wanted to talk; she wanted him to look at her the way he had not twenty minutes earlier. But what could she ask? Every thought that came to her mind seemed so trivial. There was nothing remarkable to ask; nothing she could say that would draw him in. He was extraordinary and she was just another patient. Flirting would do her no good—it was obvious that his good looks attracted the eyes of many women much more beautiful than she. But she couldn't sit there silently. She had to try or she would hate herself forever for not doing anything.
"How long have you been working at this hospital?" Dr. Cullen glanced up at her and she noticed that his expression was hesitant, as if he was considering the implication of more than just the words he chose to answer with.
"Eleven years," he focused on the bandage he was weaving around her leg. She was surprised at how painless it was—he was jostling her much more than the nurse had, yet it hardly felt like anything.
"Oh—you don't look that old."
He grinned, "No?"
"How old do you think I look?"
"Oh, um," Esme blushed, remembering the countless times her mother had told her never to discuss a person's age because it was rude, "Well I don't know…"
"I want to hear what you think," he had a large, beautiful smile on his face and he looked up and held her gaze, "You don't have to be embarrassed. I'm just curious."
"Well, I would guess 26 or 27, but you must be older if you have been working here for so long."
He looked down at his work again, still smiling.
"How old are you, then?" Esme waited for a moment but he said nothing, "You're not going to tell me, are you?"
"No," his eyes flicked up to meet hers.
"Because this way is more fun—I have to keep you intrigued somehow."
Esme laughed. Even if you told me you would still have all my attention, she wanted to say.
"Why do you laugh?"
"Just annoyed I won't get an answer," Esme shrugged, "I'm too curious for my own good."
"Well I don't want to frustrate you more—you're in a very delicate condition right now."
He was teasing her. She smiled and rolled her eyes.
"Fine, I don't really care," she lied.
"I'm 246 years old."
Esme looked at Dr. Cullen waiting for him to laugh or wink, but he simply stared back at her.
"Is that some sort of riddle or something? You know, remove the last 6 on the number and you're actually 24?"
Dr. Cullen shrugged, the corners of his mouth turning up.
"Fine, I'll let it go." For some reason, it suddenly didn't matter what age he was.
A minute later she was bandaged up and Dr. Cullen was packing up his supplies.
"Are you almost done with your shift?" she asked.
"You seem to work really long hours—I bet your family doesn't like that very much," Esme glanced over to the window. The question was a shameless test. Even if she couldn't have him, she had to know if he belonged to someone else.
Dr. Cullen looked at her for a long moment and it dawned on her that he knew what she was doing. Esme suddenly felt ashamed for being so bold, and glanced down at her hands while her cheeks lit up with red blush. How many girls—women even—had tested him in this way? He probably hated it. Just because he was gorgeous; just because he had the power to save lives, woman crumbled at his feet. No one—including her—knew him any better. It was the surface level things that had prompted her to ask. Acting shallow was never going to attract his attention for long.
"I don't have a family," he finally said. Esme was surprised by how gentle his voice was, but she couldn't look up. She was too embarrassed and worried about what his face would tell her. Even though she could feel his eyes burning into the top of her head, Esme fixed her gaze on a wrinkle in the bed sheet.
"Its better this way," he continued, but she wasn't exactly sure what he was referring to. Just at that moment a nurse hurried into the room and begged Dr. Cullen to come away quick—a patient had gone into shock.
Esme didn't even look up as she heard him leave the room.
It must have been 3am by the time Esme was able to fall asleep. There were so many noises in the hospital; so many people crying out for help. So many nurses and doctors bustling about. But once she was asleep she slept until mid-morning.
When she woke up, the sun was streaming in through the windows and she immediately felt a pang of sadness for not being able to run into its warm rays. She was already ready to climb a tree again.
At around 10am a nurse scurried in, followed by a different doctor.
"Where's Dr. Cullen?" Esme blurted out before she could stop herself.
"Out," the Doctor looked tired and she realized that all his female patients were probably asking the same question that morning.
The doctor went about his business, poking and prodding and scribbling things down on his notepad. Unlike Dr. Cullen, this doctor's touch caused her immense pain. But soon enough he was gone and Esme's day grew boring. The window in her room looked out at the front of the building, so as she lay bored in bed she watched the people come and go and the sun climb slowly across the sky.
At around 1:00pm, clouds began to roll in and the sun became hidden. No more than 20 minutes later a beautiful car rolled in to the parking lot. Esme recognized it from a picture Margaret's boyfriend Tom had shown them the week before. It was a 1911 Rambler 65, Tom's dream car. Esme felt her breath catch when who should step out of it was none other than Dr. Cullen.
She laughed out loud, Of course. It seemed to only make sense that Dr. Cullen would not only be gorgeous but also have a fancy car. She watched him enter the building then pass by her door. He didn't stop or say hello.
A short while later, the same doctor from that morning returned to check on her. Esme felt her heart drop in disappointment—perhaps she was no longer under Dr. Cullen's care. This doctor began poking and prodding once again, and when he got to the spot just above her ankle, she couldn't help it—Esme let out a small shriek of pain. It was more of a whimper, really, but the doctor looked up and frowned at her as if to say "control yourself."
But he kept doing what he was doing and it hurt so badly that Esme began to wonder if he were re-breaking her leg. She closed her eyes and bit down on her index finger to keep from crying, as she would have done with a pencil if one had been lying around. Biting down on something seemed to help lessen the pain. Deep breaths, she told herself.
"Dr. Roberts, do you mind if I take a look—I'm curious to see how she's coming along."
"Oh, hello there Dr. Cullen."
Esme's eyes fluttered open and found him in a second. Beautiful Dr. Cullen was standing there, a frustrated look on his face. Dr. Roberts was still at work on her leg, but somehow the new doctor's presence eased her pain.
Esme couldn't look away, though she knew it was rude to stare. Dr. Cullen looked exceptionally fresh today, and she wanted to drink in every inch of him: from his blond hair, perfectly combed back, to his blue eyes and pale flawless skin. The suit he wore was well tailored and showed off his muscular body. He was intently watching whatever the other doctor was doing to her leg.
"I am just about done—," Dr. Roberts suddenly twisted or pulled, forcing another whimper out of Esme.
In a flash, Dr. Cullen had crouched to the level of Dr. Roberts. Esme watched at he made eye contact, staring the other doctor down in a frightening way.
"I'll take it from here," he said. Dr. Roberts nodded and stood without any hesitation, almost as if he were in a trance. A moment later Dr. Roberts was gone, and Esme and Carlisle were alone in the room.
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