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"Mr. Cullen, why did you take those pills?" I asked as I cried standing in his room where I could see he didn't want me to be at all. I couldn't help it, and I tried to stop the tears before I got into the house, but I couldn't help myself. After every fucking thing we'd gone through for him to end it that way? I couldn't contain myself.
"You screeching harpy! I didn't try to kill myself. I took the pills you left on the counter. If anything, I believe you tried to kill me. You put too many of the white ones in the case. That shows criminal negligence on your part. I'm calling the authorities and getting you arrested for attempted murder," he snapped at me.
I turned to Esme and saw the tears on her face. "What happened?" I asked.
"He started acting funny at dinner after he finally agreed to join us in the dining room. After he ate half of his meal, he became ill and threw up. Carlisle counted the pills left in the bottle and saw he'd double dosed on the Demerol," Esme explained.
"He's on half pills. He'd have had to…" I began explaining.
"Do not fucking talk about me like I'm not here! I took the pills you left on the counter. You tried to kill me, you fucking cunt! It's not the first time you've drugged someone," he yelled.
"ENOUGH! That's enough!" Jasper yelled. Luckily, Edward remembered Jasper and Alice. They'd been married for three years, so their relationship fell outside his amnesia.
"Jasper, this is my fault…" I began.
"No, Bella, it's not. I can't sit back and watch you put this woman through this shit any longer. I can't…" Jasper snapped just as Alice placed her hand over his mouth.
"Oh, so now my own family is on board with her trying to kill me? Well, fuck you all. I apparently have some sort of money, so I'm just going to move out and take care of myself. I'll get my own healthcare worker and be done with this farcical attempt she makes at providing care. Truly, the volunteers at the Humane Society take better care of stray dogs than that bitch takes care of me. If you're my family and you love me, why do you allow her to work here?" Edward shouted.
I sunk to the floor and cried. I was just at the point where I couldn't take it any longer. The bitter man in front of me wasn't the man I fell in love with instantly, and I just couldn't do it another day. I needed the happy memories of the short time we were together or I'd be the one guzzling Demerol.
"Fine. I'll have the papers drawn up, and you tell me who you want named as your conservator. I'll leave you alone. You'll never have to hear anything from me again," I whispered.
"Bella, honey, you're family. You don't mean it. Take a week off. We'll take care of him, and try to jog his memories," Carlisle implored.
"No. We can't rely on the maybe. He wants nothing to do with me, so I have to let him go," I whispered as Alice wrapped her arms around me.
"Let me go? LET ME GO? You have no hold over me, you stupid moron. Quit crying!" he shouted again. He began throwing things, and if Carlisle and Jasper wouldn't have grabbed him, he'd have totally torn up his room, likely hitting me with some of the shit he was throwing my way.
I thought about when he asked me for our first date, and I sobbed.
"Your father will be fine. He's going to be a miserable patient, you know," Edward offered as we stood at the desk so I could get the prescription for pain pills he was going to write for Dad. My father, the big tough chief of police, was just as bad as a seven-year-old girl when it came to pain. A stupid fall from a ladder as he was cleaning the gutters of our little house had given me insight into a dad I never knew.
"Yeah, I know. Hell, I'll keep him drugged up for a bit so I can have a little peace. How many of those can I give him before it appears to be attempted murder?" I teased.
He laughed that gorgeous deep laugh. "They're only five-milligrams, so you might run out of pills before you kill him. Is there anyone who can help you with his care? Maybe my parents' cook, Katie, could stop by and keep him company so I can take you for dinner," he offered.
"Why, Dr. Cullen, are you asking me on a date?" I teased with a smile. He was incredibly gorgeous, and I didn't know how any woman could have said no.
"Obviously not very well. Miss Swan, I'd love the opportunity to take you out for the meal of your choice on any day and time of your choosing, as long as it's within forty-eight hours. You're a beautiful woman, and I'd be a damned fool if I didn't hit on you while I have your father's pain pills as leverage," he joked.
As I thought about it, it occurred to me he'd made the comment it wasn't the first time we'd discussed pain pills. "Mr. Cullen, why do you think I've tried to kill anyone with pain pills before?" I asked as I stood to my feet.
"Because you told me, you crazy bitch. You told me," he shouted as Carlisle and Jasper held onto him. I could tell he was itching to come at me, and if he was remembering anything, I needed everyone to leave.
"All of you get out," I demanded.
"No, Bella, we're not leaving you here with him. He'll hurt you," Jasper responded as he slammed Edward onto the bed and held him down, him struggling the whole time.
"Let him go before he hurts himself. If he hurts me, it's fine. Get out," I commanded loudly.
"Edward, get into bed right now. If you lay a hand on her, you'll have to deal with me. I know you remember how unpleasant that can be," Esme issued orders of her own.
"Yes, Mommy dearest, I know your wrath. I wouldn't dare lay a hand on your precious Miss Swan," he seethed.
I tried to hide my smile because I knew the hold she had over her son, and apparently, he did as well because he climbed into bed and crossed his arms over his chest in defiance. He looked out the window, refusing to look at anyone in the room.
"We're leaving the door open. You get out of here before you let him lay a hand on you, you hear me?" Jasper instructed sternly. He was such a great guy. I'd always loved Jasper. I remembered when I met him and Alice.
Edward and I were on our second date, and they happened to stalk us to the pizza place where he and I had agreed to meet for a quick dinner because our first date had gone very well. That night, I actually became a statistic. I was the girl who put out on the first date, but I'd challenge anyone who met the man to be able to resist him. On our second date, I didn't fare much better.
"God, Bugsy, can't we get it to go? I swear I'll heat it up after I have my randy way with you. I can't get out of my head how good it felt to be inside you," Edward whispered to me as we sat on the parking lot of 'Paolo's Pizza', making out like teenagers. I'd had to work late that night at the stupid designer drapery store where I'd landed a job, so we wouldn't get to spend too much time together.
"Elmer, you're a smart man," I commented as I he sucked on my neck over the console. Just then, there was a knock on his window.
"Fuck," he hissed as he hit the button to roll down the window.
"What?" he snapped at the cute, young woman standing outside his window with an umbrella and a bright yellow rain coat.
"Who's the hottie you're making out with on the parking lot of a pizzeria like you're still in high school? Hi, I'm Alice, Edward's sister. You are….?" she asked, causing me to laugh.
"Aren't you supposed to be in Tacoma?" Edward snapped at her before I could answer.
"Jasper has a gig out here this weekend. Mom and Dad said you took a pass on dinner, and Mom mentioned you had a date. Thankfully, there are only about three decent places in this town to eat. So?" she taunted.
"I'm Bella Swan," I introduced as I leaned over the console to see her beautiful face.
"Bella Swan, I'm Alice Cullen-Whitlock, and that handsome man over there looking very hungry is my husband, Jasper. Since we're all here, should we have dinner?" she suggested with a bounce.
"How the hell did you find me?" Edward complained, though I could see he wasn't really pissed.
"Brother dear, you drive an Aston Martin in Forks, Washington. It's not difficult to find you at all," she responded as she walked over to where her husband stood under the awning.
We had a lovely dinner, and we went to 'The Lodge' that Saturday night to see Jasper play. Date three was a wonderful evening as well, and the fantastic sex at the end of the night left me breathless and in love. Yes, I was in love with Edward Cullen by the end of our third date. That thing he did with his tongue…ah…
Jasper was an accomplished musician, though he was a historian by trade. He was also a big guy, and completely dedicated to our family. He didn't have family of his own, and when he married Alice, he adopted the Cullens just as I had. I was fortunate he was so protective of me.
"Jasper, I'll be fine. He won't hurt me," I assured. I had a feeling in my gut Edward wouldn't hurt me. He was angry and bitter, but I knew deep in my soul he'd never, ever lay a serious hand on me.
Somewhere inside him, buried deep, was the love we shared. We were passionate, and I took the hatred he spewed at me every day as his way to release the feelings. He didn't understand why he felt so strongly about me because he didn't remember loving me, and it frustrated him beyond reason.
He couldn't comprehend it, so he lashed out. In my heart, I knew…I knew…that our love was festering inside him like a splinter in one's finger, and even though it was infected with hate and frustration at the moment, it would eventually surface. I wasn't giving up on it by any stretch of the imagination.
I began cleaning up the books and broken lamp in the room as he stayed firmly planted on the bed. "Are you hungry, Edward?" I asked, remembering he'd thrown up at dinner.
"Excuse me?! You are to address me as Dr. or Mr. Cullen," he snapped.
"I apologize. Dr. Cullen, are you hungry?" I asked softly as I stacked his books on the nightstand where he liked them. I wondered if I should slip his birthday gift in between two in the stack. Would he notice it? Yes, he'd notice because he only wanted paperback books. He deemed the leather bound editions lining the book shelves of his parents' home likely carried "god knows how many years of disease." The first edition I got him was a beautiful burgundy leather bound book. It would stick out like a sore thumb.
"Of course I'm hungry. You didn't bring me dinner as you were supposed to do. You just left me, you heartless bitch. You just selfishly left. You're worthless," he complained. I ignored his outburst.
"Did you take those pills to get me back here, or were you really trying to kill yourself?" I asked.
"Oh, Miss Swan, if I was truly trying to kill myself, I'd find a much more creative way to do so. I'm a doctor, after all, and I know exactly how to kill myself. Do you think for a second I'd ever consider killing myself over the likes of you? That's ridiculous," he scoffed. I took a deep breath because he was in a mood, but I wasn't leaving.
"Then why am I here, Dr. Cullen?" I asked cautiously.
"You're under my parents' employ to do my bidding, and you abandoned your responsibilities. I wasn't exactly sure how many of those pills I was supposed to take because there was no list. If you're going to abandon me before I take my pills in the evening and you're not going to leave instruction, how am I to be held responsible?" he chastised. I tried to keep from smiling because I could tell that he was acting out because I was gone. As fucked up as it was, it gave me a little hope.
"I apologize. What would you like to eat? Maybe something light? Perhaps some fruit and yogurt?" I asked, remembering it was his usual breakfast before the accident.
"I don't like yogurt," he bitched.
"Are you sure? You haven't had it since I've been working for you," I prodded.
"Fine. I'll try it, but I don't want that horrible woman delivering it. You'd better bring it yourself," he ordered.
"I will. Would you like tea or perhaps juice?" I asked patiently.
"Peach tea," he snapped as he reached for a book on his nightstand.
I took the broken lamp with me to toss it, and I closed his door behind me. I went to the kitchen, finding the family sitting at the table. They were worried, and I knew it, but I saw it as a breakthrough I wanted to explore, and he was now actually calmer than he'd been in months.
"Hey, why the frowns and hand-wringing?" I asked as I went to the fridge and pulled out the yogurt and blueberries, raspberries, and strawberries, cutting it up exactly as I'd done for him in the mornings while he dressed to go to the hospital before….
"Bella, you can't continue to allow him to talk to you in that fashion and treat you so horribly," Alice stated. I could tell she'd been crying, and I hated it.
I stepped back into the hallway, seeing his door was closed because I didn't want a repeat of the afternoon. Once I was certain he wasn't skulking around, I walked back into the room, working my way around the table and hugging everyone in my family.
"Look, he had a breakthrough tonight. He remembered a joking discussion we had when he asked me out for our first date. He remembered me joking about doping up Charlie so I could go out with him. He teased me that night, saying I wouldn't have enough pills in the prescription to kill Charlie. I know you don't see it as a big thing, but I can't help but believe it's a big deal.
"Carlisle, place a call to Dr. Banner and tell him about it. See if he wants to see Edward or if there's anything we can do to encourage it. He took those pills on purpose to get me back over here because he was pissed I left early. He knew what the hell he was doing because he only took enough to make himself nauseas, not do any serious damage. That's gotta mean something," I whispered hopefully.
I quickly assembled a tray for him, turning to the family with a reassuring smile, and I made my way down the hall to his room, remembering to knock because he got really pissed off when anyone just burst into the room without his permission. He'd pegged me with that damn rubber ball he used for PT many times to convey his dislike of me coming in without knocking.
"Come in," he called. When I opened the door, I saw him with his glasses in place because he couldn't wear his contacts any longer, reading in bed.
"What's up Doc?" I called without thinking. I saw him stiffen, and I knew it was the wrong thing to say.
"I'm sorry, Dr. Cullen," I quickly followed up.
"I assume that was your attempt at a poorly executed joke. Clearly, witticisms elude you," he replied dryly.
"I guess it was," I answered as I placed the lovely breakfast tray over his lap, having flipped down the legs. I pulled the bottle of water out of my pocket for myself and pulled up a chair because we were going to have a discussion.
"Why do you think I tried to kill someone else?" I asked cautiously. I really didn't want to wear the yogurt home.
"I don't know. I remember a conversation I had with you or overheard you have with someone, likely when you first began annoying me while I was in the hospital. You're not really a healthcare worker are you?" he asked as he ate his yogurt and berries.
I took a deep breath. Another truth to reveal. "No, I'm not. I'm an interior designer," I confessed, flinching a bit and waiting for all hell to break loose.
"Why on earth would my parents hire an interior designer to take care of me?" he asked. It was a legitimate question, really.
"They didn't, actually. I volunteered for the job," I answered honestly, remembering the fit I pitched at the rehab facility when Carlisle insisted we should hire someone to take care of my husband. I waved the paperwork in front of them that gave me power of attorney, and I resisted vehemently.
"Great, so my parents sought out a volunteer. I was a doctor. I assume I have some money. Couldn't they at least spring for a professional?" he asked harshly.
"Yes, Dr. Cullen, you're very well-heeled when it comes to finances, but I pleaded with them to allow me to do this. You took care of my father when he was injured, and I wanted to repay you for what you did for him. Do you remember my father? Charlie Swan? He's the Chief of Police here in town," I offered, trying not to push him too much.
He finished the yogurt and berries, and placed the bowl on the tray. He didn't say he liked it, but he didn't complain. He picked up his tea and took a sip.
"He doesn't ring a bell, though I don't remember many of my patients. So, tell me about this suicidal husband of yours," he insisted.
I fought the tears, but I took a deep breath. I could get it out. I knew I could. I just couldn't show any emotion about it.
"He wasn't suicidal, Dr. Cullen. He was a doctor just like you. He was on his way home from work and was in an accident. We were set to go visit my father, as a matter of fact. It was an unfortunate thing that happened," I responded, resisting the urge to tell him the rest of the story.
"Oh, where did he work? Would I have known him?" he asked. I pondered my answer because no good would come of me telling him anything else.
"No, you didn't know him. So, would you like something more, or are you finished?" I asked as lightly as I could.
"Where do you live?" he asked with a bite in his voice. I didn't want to get him wound up because it was getting late and he needed to sleep.
"I live in town. I live in my husband's house. I actually decorated it myself. When I moved in, he was living like a bachelor…couch, lamp, big TV, bed. He always said it was because it needed a woman's touch. I moved in and I gave it that woman's touch, and now I live there alone with my memories," I whispered.
"He sounds like a pussy if he let you come in and change everything," Edward snapped.
"Don't. You can call me every name in the book and be as nasty to me as you want, but you can't make comments about my husband. I won't allow it. I'll put you…I'll quit. My husband…he was perfect. You, of all people, don't get to demean him, do you understand? I'll leave you to the likes of random nurses who won't put up with your bullshit. They'll cycle through here like commuters through a turnstile. My husband was a good, loving man, and you don't get to talk about him," I shouted as I grabbed the tray to walk away.
He grabbed it and held it so I couldn't remove it. "I'm sorry, Miss Swan. I was out of line. I can tell you loved him very much, and even an asshole like me can appreciate that. I'm sorry for your loss," he stated softly. I looked into his eyes and saw the sincerity I'd seen so many times.
My Edward…the man I loved…he was just inside, under the surface. I needed to talk to his doctor because there had to be a way…there had to be a way to find him and pull him back. I loved him too much to give up.
"I gave you strict orders I would only agree to one doctor's visit at a time. Why am I going to see that idiot today?" Edward complained from the back seat of the Mercedes. It was at his insistence that when I took him to his appointments, he'd ride in the back and I'd drive. I was the help after all. I laughed about it, but wondered if he remembered the accident at all and wouldn't ever want to drive again.
"I'm sorry, but Dr. Banner is going on vacation, and he'll miss your appointment next week. If you behave, I'll take you for ice cream," I offered hearing him huff from the back seat.
"Miss Swan, I'm not ten. I don't need a bribe. I want to get home. Just…let's get this over with. The sooner I get this bullshit behind me, the sooner I can go back to work," he snapped. I felt my heart clench, because my darling husband wouldn't be able to go back to work, but if his memory came back, he might be able to consult. That was what I was holding out for. I had faith.
I had the radio on in the background, and when I heard Al Green, I turned it up a notch. It was our song, and I hoped maybe, just maybe, some familiar things could jar something loose. He didn't complain as he usually did when I had the radio turned on. He actually hummed to it.
I remembered our fourth date. That was the first night I danced with Edward Cullen.
"Oh, I love this song. I remember my mom loved this song," I gushed as we drove to his penthouse. It was strange to me he had a penthouse in the only quasi-high rise building in Forks, but he did. It was damn near bare, but, as he teased, it had the essentials…a kitchen, a bed, and a bathroom. He stated that anything else was perfunctory. I laughed.
When we arrived at his place, he parked and led me into the lobby to grab his mail. "Dr. C, how are you? Miss Swan," Jacob greeted. I smiled and waved to him. I didn't know him well because we'd only been dating for two weeks, but he seemed to know me.
Edward stood over the trashcan in the mail alcove chanting "bill…junk…bill…junk." I felt a tug at my skirt and saw a gorgeous little girl standing there.
I stooped down. "Who might you be?" I asked.
Edward looked down and smiled. "Miss Black, how are you this fine and lovely evening? This is my girlfriend, the beautiful Bella Swan. Bugsy, this is your competition, Miss Vanessa Black. Oh, do I? Why, I just might," Edward hedged, pulling two Hershey's kisses out of his pocket and handing them to her.
She lit up. "Thanks Dr. Edward. Your girlfriend's pretty," the little girl announced.
Just then, a beautiful woman appeared around the corner. "Vanessa Black. You get yourself back to that kitchen right now. You know better than to run out. Dr. Cullen, I'm sorry. You give her candy, and when she sees you, she just gravitates to you. Hi, miss. I'm Carlie Black, this little pest's mother," Carlie introduced.
"Oh stop. I bribe her because if I Bella refuses to marry me, I'm hedging my bets, though I'll have to wait a while," Edward teased. It was the first time he brought up marriage, and I was breathless.
"Mrs. Black, it's a pleasure to meet you, and Vanessa, you feel free to pester Dr. Cullen any time you'd like," I stated. We all laughed and Edward kissed the little girl on top of her head before he led me to the elevator.
Once we hit the top floor, he opened his apartment, pinning me to the door. "God, Bugsy, I couldn't eat fast enough. I've missed being inside you. Come on," he announced as he carried me back to his bedroom.
He flipped open his laptop and pulled up YouTube, much to my surprise. He typed in a query, and when I heard Al Green singing over the speakers about staying together, Edward pulled me into his arms and smiled. "Dance with me, Bugsy."
"Oh, so you like Al Green?" I asked as we gently swayed against each other.
"I've only heard this song a few times, but I listened to the words in the car, and I believe it's quite relevant to our situation. Let's stay together whether times are good or bad, happy or sad. I'll stay with you, my sweet girl. Will you stay with me through good times and bad times?" he asked as he picked me up and did a little fancy step because I couldn't dance worth a shit.
"Good or bad…happy or sad…" I pledged, meaning every word to the bottom of my soul.
"We're here," I announced as I pulled into a parking spot in front of Dr. Banner's office. Good or bad…happy or sad.
"Lovely," he commented sarcastically. We walked into the building and took the elevator to the second floor. Edward had his cane, but I noticed he was less dependent on it, which gave me hope.
We walked into the colorful waiting room, and he sat down as I signed him in. When I joined him on the couch, he turned to me. "Why does he talk to you first?"
I scrambled because I didn't know how to answer him. Suddenly, something popped into my head. "I have to report your habits over the week so you two have something to discuss because you're never forthcoming with him. If I don't give him a report, he doesn't know what to talk to you about," I lied.
"Well, today, I want to be present when you give your report. I'm tired of the lies and deceit you portray, Miss Swan. There's something else going on, and I'm going to figure it out. I'm going in with you," he ordered.
I worried, but it seemed important to him, so I agreed. When my name was called he rose from the couch and followed me, never touching me. He never touched me which killed me, but to him I was an employee, so I could see the logic. I wasn't important. I got it.
E/N: You're all perfectly wonderful! Thank you for your reviews and I promise, all of your questions are relevant and will be answered. I'm not a doctor, at all, so if there's something blatantly wrong with my research, I apologize. I realize I'll be asking you to perhaps give me a little creative license as we move along. I appreciate it.
Thanks to Scorpio11 for pre-reading the first chapter, and Southern Heifer for reading the whole thing and encouraging me to post it (with the caveat that if it was too sad and she did bodily harm to herself, I'd move in and take care of her family. I'm happy to report I'm still in my own home and she's likely celebrated a wonderful holiday with her loved ones). Love you ladies!
Can't wait to hear from you. Thank you for reading.
Till next time…xoxo.