Wanting the car to be as warm as possible, Carlisle had it started, the heater cranked up and was back inside the house just seconds after leaving the bedroom. To give the girls time to get Bella dressed, he slowed to a human walk and headed into his office. Stepping behind his desk, he opened the built-in safe and removed some papers. In his hand was the license and passport Jasper had ordered for Bella back when Edward expected to run with her in order to keep her hidden from James.

He hadn't told Bella he already had a new id for her ready to go, because he didn't want her deciding she was an unwanted burden to them and attempting to strike out on her own. It was clear she already expected to be sent away, he and Esme would have to tread carefully in that regard. At least until they'd cleared the air between them all.

He didn't expect to need them at the hospital – it was normal for him to x-ray his own patients when things were slow in the emergency room – but he wanted them with him just in case an administrator happened to realize Bella wasn't in the billing system. This too would not raise flags beyond the need to present ID (administrators normally entered patients after they'd been triaged and could be missed as they were moved for tests). But if she had no id to present, then questions would be raised. Since Bella was 18, Charlie would not have been able to issue an Amber Alert for her, but he could use his police connections to get her picture and name out through other means. The less questions they raised, the better off they would be.

Tucking the id in his pocket, he headed back downstairs to the foyer closet. After bundling up in his own winter props, he chose a matching women's scarf and hat, but grabbed a pair of men's winter gloves. Taking the items to the laundry room, he tossed them in the dryer to ensure Bella would be extra warm. After a few minutes, he stopped the dryer and brought the items, as well as a winter jacket, up to the guest room.

He knocked on the door and then waited until Esme instructed him to enter. Bella sat on the bed, dressed in a fleece lounging set that he knew belonged to Esme. Poor Bella already looked exhausted. He would do his best to make this outing fast, then get her back to bed.

Placing the gear beside her, he held a glove out for Bella to slip her good hand into. Then he gently lifted her broken hand and guided it into the other glove. The task done, he and Esme worked together to guide her into the jacket, minimizing any movements Bella would otherwise need to make. He gently tucked the wool hat over her head and wrapped the scarf around her, ensuring her nose and mouth was covered.

"You can remove this in the car if you like and we'll fix it when we get to the hospital, but as cold as you were last night, I don't want you directly breathing the chilled air when you are outside. Your lungs will need a break after the hypothermia you've suffered."


Seeing the doubt in her eyes and interpreting it as concern for Charlie with this hospital visit, he gently reached out and brushed a lock of hair away from her face, "It'll be ok Bella, just a quick visit to the x-ray room, then you and Esme can wait for me in my office. No one will recognize you or have a chance to realize you aren't a patient in the system."

Bella nodded her head and quietly said, "I'm ready".

Reaching one arm behind Bella's back and the other under her knees, Carlisle picked her up as delicately as possible. Still, he heard her heart rate increase from the pain of her bruises pressing against his body. Turning to his wife, he instructed, "Esme, I'd like you to sit in the backseat, I'll set Bella next to you so you can help hold her still."

"Alright dear, I'll run on ahead."

Bella felt a small breeze and heard the front door close. She knew Esme was already waiting in the Mercedes for them, yet Carlisle followed at a human pace and managed to keep her impossibly still. She was grateful for this, as it took all she had just to deal with the continuous pain of her injuries.

As they stepped out the door, Bella burrowed herself into Carlisle's chest to avoid the cold, but only a moment passed before she felt him lowering her into the car next to Esme. A heartbeat later, the passenger door was closed and Carlisle sat in the driver's seat. Esme reached over and buckled her in, then buckled herself into the middle seat.

Wrapping her arm around Bella's shoulders to help brace her as necessary Esme said, "We are ready Carlisle." As the car glided into motion, Bella felt torn. On one hand, Esme's embrace definitely stabilized her and prevented additional aggravation of her injuries, but on the other, it reminded her of when she thought there was love for her in Esme's embrace. The emotional pain was nothing compared to whenever she thought of Edward, but it was enough to make her almost prefer bumping around the car instead.

In an attempt to distract herself, she focused her gaze outside on the snow still falling. Now that she was warm, she could appreciate the beauty in the white landscape as they passed at a speed slower than the Cullen's usual pace but still dangerously fast for the conditions, had the driver been human. As exhausted as she was, she felt herself start to nod off within minutes.

Thanks to Carlisle's unnatural skills, it wasn't long before Esme was gently nudging her awake. In keeping with appearances, Carlisle went to grab a wheel chair while Bella & Esme waited in the car. Bella took the time to make sure the scarf was in place over her mouth.

Knowing Bella was still concerned about Charlie finding her, Esme tugged the hood of Bella's jacket over her head, "There honey, keep your gaze down and no one will be able to get a good look at your face."

By now Carlisle was returning with the wheel chair. Esme unbuckled Bella as he opened the door, gently reminding her, "remember honey, let us do the work for you". Nodding her head, Bella sat patiently as Carlisle leaned down, and gave the appearance of struggling to lift her out of the car, rotate in place and then lower her into the waiting chair. As he moved the chair away from the car, Esme climbed out and walked around to the driver's side, "Where should I meet you after I park the car Carlisle?"

"I'm taking her up to my office first, meet us there" his reply was little more than a whisper, but he knew Esme heard him as she settled in the driver's seat and the Mercedes pulled away.

Wanting Bella out of the cold, he continued into the hospital. As expected, the hospital was fairly quiet today and they only encountered the odd patient or nurse as they made their way up in the elevator and then down several hallways until they reached his office. Intent on their own destinations, no one they passed took any undue interest in Bella. Still, it wasn't until his office door was closed behind them that he noticed the tension leave Bella's shoulders.

"Alright sweetheart, let's get you unbundled, then I'll check on the xray lab schedule. We'll slip down there when the technician is on break and get the images we need." As he spoke, he helped her out of all the winter gear she was wearing, then grabbed the blanket off his office couch to drape over her legs.

Once he had Bella settled, he instantly had his own winter props replaced with his lab coat and settled himself in a chair directly in front of his daughter. Slipping into doctor mode, he began filling out a blank chart with the information from Bella's fake passport as a precaution. Then he moved on to updating her medical history already stored in his memory.

"I need to ask you about your medical history over the past several months sweetheart. With my memory, I have perfect recall of your history prior to that. Is that alright with you?" His chest ached as he watched her wince, presumably at the reminder of their leaving.

"Sure, Carlisle," came her soft reply.

He continued on with the typical questions, "Have you been out of the country at all?"


"Any injuries, illnesses or hospital visits? Other than your current injuries of course?" Oddly enough, Bella's heartrate increased with this question and she wouldn't meet her eyes when she responded.

"I hit my head on a rock last month. No concussion or anything, I just needed a couple stitches to close the wound. Before that…," here she paused and took a deep breath, "before that I was treated at home for exposure. That's all."

That gave Carlisle pause, depending on how recently this was, it could predispose Bella to complications from her current condition, "How long ago was this honey?"

Now Bella's gaze dropped to her chest, and he would never have heard her reply had he been human, "three nights after my birthday". Esme had slipped in the room and settled herself on the couch during their question and answer session. He heard her strangled gasp and knew she had connected the same dots he had. Three nights after Bella's birthday would have been the very day Edward had told Bella of their departure and then left Fork's behind for good. There was no doubt in his mind that the two events were connected.

Forcing himself to save any non-medical questions for when Bella had further recovered, he continued on, "Did you experience any complications or illness as a result of the exposure sweetheart?"


"Any chance you may be pregnant?" Here Bella's trademark blush lit her face before she replied, "No."

Feeling bad for embarrassing her, he explained, "I had to ask that before we could do the xray, sorry sweetheart."

Sighing, she finally looked up, "I know, it's alright."

Moving to his desk, he pulled up the x-ray lab schedule on his workstation. They were in luck, only another 10 minutes before the technician would take his lunch break, and no patients currently waiting for x-rays.

"Alright Bella, we will head down to the x-ray lab in 10 minutes. It won't take me long to get the images I need of your wrist, then you and Esme can wait back here while I load the car up with the supplies we will need. If you're willing, I'd also like to take some chest x-rays while we are here. Just to make certain there aren't any splintered bones in danger of puncturing your lungs."

He watched as Bella glanced at the door and the tension returned to her shoulders. Gentling his voice, he assured her, "I won't let anyone realize who you really are Bella. I promise you, Charlie will not hear a single suspicion as a result of today's visit."

Bella look at him and searched his eyes before she finally nodded and her shoulders relaxed once more. What he wouldn't give to have Bella's unwavering trust back.

Sighing, he unlocked his desk drawer, selected a bottle a pain medication, and poured out two pills. Grabbing a bottle of water, he walked back over to Bella. "Here you go sweetheart, these will be more effective on your pain than anything over the counter, while not making you further drowsy."

Once she had swallowed them down, the three headed down to the x-ray lab together. Wrapped in the blanket and wearing a baseball cap Esme had brought from the car, Bella was almost as hidden as she'd been in the winter clothes. With her two inhumanly gorgeous escorts, anyone who took notice of the trio, was not focused on her.

It wasn't long before they slipped into the empty x-ray lab and Carlisle got to work on the images he needed. Thankfully the pain pills he had given her were already taking effect, because rotating her wrist to get the angles he needed was no easy task for her.

As the images were digital, there was no need to wait on them to develop. Once the chest x-rays were also completed, they were headed straight back to Carlisle's office.