The Underside of Earth - Chapter 3
Edward POV

I don’t know why I let Alice drag me to Port Angeles in this weather, but she wanted to go shopping. I told her I was NOT going shopping with her. She said fine, but asked if I could drive her. I caved in and agreed to drop her off, en route to the library.

So here I am, at the library. I grab a few books from the history and biology sections, and return to the atrium part of the library so I can see the rain. I truly love thunderstorms; I love Washington. There is something about the rain when it comes down, soothing in its monotonous roar and when thunder accompanies it, it seems as though things just fall into place, nature feels true and intact.

Much of the seating in the front part of the atrium is taken up, so I find a seat facing toward the check-out desk. I prefer to face the storm, but that option isn't open at the moment.

I pop the ear buds of my iPod in and lose myself for a while, reading and absorbing the music. After a while, boredom sets in with the biology book, so I move on to the history book. The storm outside is really raging now, the thunder shakes the old building and the window panes rattle with each boom; I couldn't feel more comfortable.

When I first dropped Alice off and got to the library, it was raining pretty good but it is nothing compared to the torrential downpour out there now. There is no way I will be making it to pick up Alice any time soon.

I take out my phone to call her, she won’t mind shopping for just a bit longer…she never does. The call connects.

“Yes, Edward?”

“Alice, the sky is spewing water. You’re going to have to shop a little longer. There is no way I am leaving the library in this. I’ll be drenched in seconds.”

“That’s fine. I’m not quite done here anyway. Just call me before you leave so I can hurry up and pay. Then we have to go eat somewhere. I’m starving.”

“Fine. I’ll talk to you in a while.”

I snap my phone shut just as a tear-streaked face blows by me and out into the insane rain shower.

I look around; other people sitting in the atrium stare at the door, wondering what is going on. Most of them shrug and go back to their reading, but a few still watch the door, like me.

The door is pulling at me and questions scream in my head. What just happened?

I contemplate it for no longer than a second, and then I move. I leave my iPod, phone, books and car keys behind, sprinting out of the door and into the downpour. I search for the body that just fled the library and see nothing, no one, close by.

I squint my eyes a little tighter, trying to see. Finally, about a block down and heading toward the beach front, is the person, a woman. I’m sure of it from the dark long hair that clings to her neck and from the bun it escapes. I can't tell for sure from the thickness of the rain, but I see her bend over, and then straighten again. I wonder why she bent over as I stand there for a moment and take stock of the weather. I weigh my options for just a second, to leave her be or go after her; I run after her.

As I run, I become nervous. What could she be doing? Is she crazy? The rain and air are cold; she's going to get sick...we both are. I’m not sure what else this storm is going to blow in, but I know it won’t be good. Dad told me that it is supposed to get ugly later tonight. These thoughts make me push my legs faster, harder.

Why in the hell am I running through this, and after a complete stranger? I don’t know, but I refuse to stop. I can’t stop.

It is only after four in the afternoon, but already, it’s quite dark out. Every once in a while, the sky flashes bright with lightning. It actually helps me find my way and follow the girl.

After running what has to be close to eight or nine blocks, I can see the pier. The girl runs down the steps and into the sand. I push myself to run faster, still a block behind her. Just as I am going down the steps, I see her enter the ocean. What the hell is she doing?

“HEY! STOP!” I yell as holler as I can. I’m not sure that she can hear me with the rain pounding so loudly; the thunder is also coming more frequently and it too, drowns out most sound, momentarily deafening me.

“PLEASE STOP! MISS!” I yell as loudly as I can, which in turn, is enough to hurt my throat.

She moves farther into the water, waist deep, while I am still on the sandy beach, still some forty yards or so away from her.

I watch her move in further, now chest deep and she keeps going while I am finally at the water's edge. I don't think, but just plunge right in; I try to run to her through the crashing tide but the waves are quite large and push against me. The water is freezing, and I know that I don’t have much time, neither does she.

As the water hits my waist I gasp as it completely soaks my shirt. Her head goes under and I immediately panic; I dive under the icy water and open my eyes, looking for her. I feel the immediate assault of the burning salty sea water, but keep them open and search for her.

The lightning flashes above us once again and finally, I see her; she floats with her arms wide, like she is waiting for an embrace. Her long hair has completely escaped its enclosure and slowly wisps around her head, locked in the silence of the water. Her back is to me, but all at once, I can’t see her again; the sky has gone dark. I keep swimming in the straight forward path and wait for more lightning to illuminate my way.

As I swim toward her, part of me thinks that maybe I shouldn’t be saving her life. Maybe she went into the cold ocean on purpose. What if she wants to die?

I come up for air and go back down. I can no longer see her, so I begin to flail my arms in an attempt to find her.

Lightning flashes above us once again and I see her no more than an arms length away from me. I quickly grab onto her but I’m only able to get a hold of her by the neck of her shirt, but it has to be good enough. I hold on as I claw us back to the surface and break through, gasping. She lies limp as I bring her head back against my shoulder and kick our way back to shore.

I’m completely aware of the tingling that begins to fill my limbs, what I am not sure of is if it's from the exertion and adrenaline, or the cold of the water. I kick harder in an effort to both get us to the beach and then more quickly, to keep my blood flowing. Every once in a while I kick the girl; part of me feels bad about it, but not bad enough since I am trying to save her life

I feel my legs beginning to slow, but not of my own doing. In my mind I am trying to push them faster, but know that the water is beginning to affect me. I’m not sure how she was able to get so far out as quickly as she did, but we ended up just past the end of the pier; I'm sure the water carried us out fast. My arms are also beginning to feel like jelly and my legs feel quite numb. The tide crashes forcefully into us and I figure I better change my technique or we are both going down. I move, trying to grab around the girl's waist, as I attempt to move onto my side, but then I feel big arms loop under my own arm pits, pulling us out of the water.

I kick as hard as I can to help my helper but quickly realize I don't need to as we are on the sand. The tide still laps up at us and I reach for all of my reserved energy to pull the girl further up out of the water and lay her down; I check her vitals, nothing, so I immediately begin CPR. She had been under quite a while.

"Do you know what the fuck you are doing?" A large deep voice booms directly into my ear.

“I’m a doctor. Shut up so I can do this," I reply hastely.

I work on her no more than thirty seconds and she quickly begins to expel the water; she took in a lot more than I expected.

She takes a deep breath and rolls to her side, away from me and looks up. She sees the hulking man that pulled us out and immediately starts sobbing.

“I’m…s-s-sooo…s-ss-ssorrry Em.” She sobs and her shoulders heave. The large man that pulled us out shushes her, then picks her up under her arms and knees.

As he picks her up, I finally get a real glimpse of her face. She is beautiful, but gaunt. Her lips are blue and her eyes have big, purple shadows under them. She can’t weigh more than one hundred pounds, if that. The man looks like he could easily toss her thirty feet in the air. And her hair is long and brown with the ends curling in its wetness.

“Shhh. Bella sweetie. It’s okay. Shhh. I’m going to get you home now. ROSIE! GET THE CAR!” The large man hollers.

He starts running for the stairs that lead to the pier and I run after him.

“You know this woman?”

“Yeah, I do,” he huffs out as he runs.

“You need to get her to the hospital, she’s showing symptoms of hypothermia.”

“I planned on it doc. And thanks. Truly.” He looks down at the woman again. "Oh shit!"

"What? What's wrong?"

"Her eyes are rolling around. What the fuck, doc?"

I look at him, seeing the deep sadness and fear in his eyes.

“I’m following you to the hospital. I’ll be right there. Drive FAST!”

“No man, I’ll get her there. You don’t have to come.”

“NO. I’m coming.”

He looks at me, nods, and then runs towards a jacked-up Jeep. I immediately run the eight blocks back to the library and inside. One of the concerned readers is standing by the door with my iPod, phone and keys in his hand. I grab them from him.

“Thanks.” I run to my car and jump in, hitting the “2” to speed-dial Alice.

“Where are you Edward, it has been an hour?” Alice asks, sounding a little miffed.

“Alice, I have to go to the hospital. I’ll explain later. Can you take a cab to the hospital? You can take my car from there.” I’ll be surprised if she understands any of that at all.

“Edward? What’s wrong? You’re scaring me!”

“It’s okay Alice. I’m fine, but I came across a woman in the water. I told the man who was with her that I'm coming to the hospital. I’ll leave the keys at the nurse’s station.”

“I’m getting a cab now. I’ll see you there, Edward.”

“I gotta go, Alice, I’m just pulling up, and I see them in the ER drive-thru.” I hang up, not waiting for her to respond.

I park the car and run into the ER, looking for the big man. He is pacing over by a sofa; a blond woman sits on the couch, with her head in her hands and watching him. I clear my throat, gaining the man's attention.

Just as he is about to speak, the ER doctor walks over to him.

“Mr. Black?” The doctor asks.

“McCarty. Emmett McCarty,” his voice quakes with emotion.

“Ah. Mr. McCarty, your sister’s body took quite a beating and she started to go into shock, but we were able to quickly get her warmed up again and she is stable. We knocked her out so that she can rest and so her body has time to bounce back. Do you have any idea how she got into the ocean?”

Still trying to get past the fact that the large man was that little woman’s brother and just before he was about to tell the doctor that she ran in, I cut in. I don't know if he saw everything that went down, but if he did, it won't help his sister to tell anyone that.

“She fell in. I was standing inside a shop and saw her on the pier. I think she was chasing after something, and she slipped and fell in. I ran to help as soon as I saw her.” The lie oozes from my mouth easily.

The doctor nods and looks down at her chart. I lock eyes with the brother, a silent conversation, begging him to stay quiet.

“Okay, well if you have any questions for me, Mr. McCarty, please don’t hesitate to ask. If you can’t find me, just let a nurse know and he or she will find me. Oh, and your sister is in room 227.”

“Thanks, Doc.” The brother replies in a soft voice and sits down by the blond.

I lift a finger at the girl’s brother, asking for a moment, and run after the doctor.

“Excuse me, doctor? I’m sorry, I didn’t get your name.”

“Oh, I’m sorry. I’m Dr. Oliver Marcus. And you are?” He sticks his hand out for me to shake.

I take his hand and offer a firm hand shake. “I’m Dr. Edward Cullen, of Seattle Children’s.”

“Aren’t you a little young to be a doctor?” He asks.

I smile; I get this reaction from people a lot. “Technically, yes, but I went to college at a young age.”

“Wait, Cullen? As in Carlisle Cullen? Are you his son?” His eyes rake over me, reassessing me.

“Yes, I am.” I reply.

He looks me over, appraising me and smiles. “I’m happy to have you in the hospital, Dr. Cullen. If there is anything you need, please, just say the word.”

“Thank you Dr. Marcus. I will only need the information on Bella Black, for her family of course.”

I hold my breath while he eyes me, sizing me up. I assumed her last name is Black when Dr. Marcus tried addressing her brother as Mr. Black. I didn’t get a funny look from him using that name, thankfully.

He nods at me. “Of course you can have the information that is released to you, as you know I can't give you much more than that, Dr. Cullen." I give a small nod in understanding and Dr. Marcus turns and heads down the corridor. I turn around and walk back to the brother, Emmett; he stares at me, as does the striking blond beside him.

The woman looks a little pissed off, but Emmett just looks confused.

“So, Cullen, as in Carlisle Cullen, of Forks?” Emmett asks me, cocking his head to the side ever so slightly.

“That’s right, he's my father. You know him?”

“Carlisle is a good man; he worked on my father, well, step-father several years back.”

“What is your step-father’s name?”

“Charlie Swan. He was the police chief of Forks.” The man’s eyes look away from me when he says the name.

I narrow my eyes. “You’re Charlie’s son? My dad was torn up about your dad for a long time.”

I couldn’t be sure, but his eyes almost appear to go a little glossy. The woman with him softens up a bit and lays a well-manicured hand on his shoulder.

"I wasn't always close to Charlie, but he was a good man, and he took very good care of Bella. Excuse me a moment." He walks over to the nearby ER station and grabs a tissue. I take that as my cue to introduce myself, and to give Emmett a few moments to compose himself.

I offer my hand to the woman. “Hello, I’m Edward Cullen.”

She takes my hand, shaking it, rather firmly I might add. “Rosalie Hale-McCarty. A pleasure. And thank you for saving our Bella.”

Our Bella?

Emmett rejoins us and I address them both, “Look, I hope you don't mind me speaking up like that, but I did it for the sake of your sister. I don’t think she or you really want to deal with a psyche evaluation right now. And if I had let you tell the truth, that is where it would have gone.”

“No man, I appreciate it. That is not what Bella needs right now. She’s just having a really bad year,” his voice is back to booming and loud.

I nod, but then feel a tap on my shoulder. I turn around to see Alice looking up at me, her face is one big damn question mark.

“Hey Al.” I'm relieved to have her here.

“Hey yourself. What’s going on, Edward?” She asks; she still sounds a little peeved.

“Alice?” Rose asks from behind us.

Alice peers around my shoulder at the calling of her name.

“Rose? What are you doing here?” Alice looks confused. Heck, I’m confused. She knows them?

“Dr. Cullen...” Rose begins to say.

“Edward,” I cut in.

Rose nods. “Edward helped us tonight, with Emmett’s sister.”

Alice looks at me, and then at Emmett. “What happened, Edward?”

Now they are all looking at me.

“Why don’t we have a seat and I will tell you, she will probably be sleeping for a while. Actually, I am going to get us a private lounge to wait in. I’ll be right back.”

I approach the nurse’s station and introduce myself. The nurse practically falls over herself when she hears my last name. My father is that well known. We have a private waiting room in minutes. We all grab something to drink, coffee for me, and sit down on the two sofas that face each other. Alice pulls a blanket off the back of the couch and places it over my legs. I hadn’t paid attention to it until now, but the cold really is settling in on me.

“Okay, first I have to ask how you two know each other.” I motion between Alice and Rose.

Alice looks at me. “Edward, this is Jasper’s second cousin, Rose.”

I haven't met much of my future brother-in-law’s extended family, but now the features do look familiar. “I see. Okay.”

“Alright. I’m just going to start at the beginning.” And so I tell them what happened from the beginning; I was in the library when I saw a crying person flying by me and out into the rain. I couldn’t NOT do something. So I went after them, and only realized it was a woman after I followed her for some eight blocks. I told them how she ran all the way to the pier and down the steps to the shoreline. I told them how I yelled, begged for her to stop, and how she gradually went under water.

I could feel my hands shake, and Alice must have seen it, as she grabbed my right hand and gripped it. I looked down, trying to gather myself.

Looking back up, I found the tear filled eyes of Emmett. I kept going. “I’ve never been that scared. Ever. I thought she was gone. And then the lightning flashed when I was under the water, looking for her, and she was right there, floating in the stillness. So I grabbed her and pulled us to the surface. I don’t think I had ever been so thankful of lightning, especially when submerged in water.”

I look at Alice, and she gives me a limp smile.

I look over to Rose to see the tears doing their free fall down her porcelain cheeks, and then back to Emmett, as he finally loses the battle with his own tears. I take a deep breath and let my head fall into my hands, and then before I know it, Emmett has me up off the couch, hugging me in his bear hold. Sobbing.

“Thank you. Thank you so much. She would have just…she would have died. I can’t lose her too,” Emmett mumbles into my shoulder.

He lets me go and grabs onto his wife.

I look at Alice again and even she has tears streaking down her cheeks. I sit down and wipe them away with my thumb and hug her.

“I’m going to call mom and tell her that we are not going to be home tonight. Maybe I could run back to Forks and get clothes and such for everyone?” Alice looks to me, and then to Rose.

“That would be great Alice, thanks.”

“Al, is the weather okay to drive in? I don’t want to be worrying about you all night.” I say. I have had enough worry to last me quite a while, thank you.

“No, the weather is fine now Edward, back to a drizzle. I think it is supposed to pick back up, but not until later on,” Alice says as she hugs me once more and turns to the McCarty’s. “Would you like to me to get something for you?”

Rose fishes their keys out of her purse and hands them to Alice. “That would be great of you Alice.”

As Alice gets the directions to their house, I walk over to the windows that overlook the ocean and stand beside Emmett. He looks at me and nods, deep emotion shining in his eyes. I simply nod back, not sure what to say.

“I’m going to go and see what I can find out,” I say to him as I stare out the window at the drizzling rain.

Emmett nods again. “That would be great, thanks.” He turns back to gaze out the window as Rose comes to stand beside him, she slips her hand into his. I quickly turn to leave the room and give them privacy.

Whatever it is they are going through, I can help them. I want to help them, I want to help her.

The doctor told us earlier that Bella is in room 227, but before I go in there, I want see if I can find out anything about her. I'm not allowed to look at her file, but I wonder if I stand around the nurse's station long enough, if someone will say something that I can eavesdrop on. Pathetic, I know. There is just something about the look I saw on her face, and on her brother's as well. It seems like there is something else going on. I am sure that if she was ever treated for anything in Forks, it was either under the care of my father or Dr. Gerandy.

I locate the nurse's station close to Bella's room and find it empty. I look around a bit, attempting to locate a nurse, but the halls are quiet. I don't even hear voices coming from any of the patient's rooms. I walk back to the station and wait a few minutes, but still, no nurses show up. My hands begin to fidget so I pick up a pen to play with. I twirl it around my fingers for a minute and think about the day; what a crazy day. The pen drops back onto the station desk and lands on the corner of a file with her name on it. I look back up and around myself, checking the halls for anyone, but it is still quiet. Really, I shouldn't look. Getting caught wouldn't result in anything good, but I need to look. I quickly snatch it up and dart down a hall to find a dark corner to hide in. The folder flips open to the first page, it shows the usual stuff: her contact info, her address, date of birth and such; regular stats and any of the notes the nurses want acknowledged. The second page is related to today’s admission and I read a little, but it says what I already know. Her file is thick, much thicker then I expect. I read a few pages and see that she must have been a clumsy child, and on the next page, I see some photos. It looks like her upper arm and some stitching done on a large gash. I flip to the next page, but then I notice that she has a surgical procedure tab.

I steal a glance around, feeling slightly guilty, but then I look. I can’t help but look. Just as I open up to it, a nurse walks past me and turns into the nursing station. She thumbs through folders and papers on the desk, looking for something and muttering under her breath. Not finding what she was searching for, she quickly strides down the far hall toward Bella's room. I dart over to the station and set the file down. I don't have permission to be reading it, and thankfully, wasn't caught doing so.

Taking a chance, I flip back to the procedures tab one more time and now, it opens up closer to the middle. There are x-rays, CT reports and pictures of a surgery while in progress. It’s quite sobering, and suddenly, I don’t want to read her file anymore. I want as far away from her file as I can get, and closer to her in that room. I close the folder and put a few papers and other folders over top of it in case that is what the nurse was looking for in the first place.

Just like the pull to run out of that library and towards her, I feel that here, now. And before I realize I even took a single step, I am standing in front of room 227. My heart thunders in my chest as I put my hand on the door, and slowly, push it open.

There she lies, her small form the large hospital bed. The bed sits in the center of her private room, and only the muted light from a lamp lights her face. Besides the usual beeping of the machines, the room is silent. She only has an IV hooked up to her and several thick blankets covering her to keep her temperature up. There is no foil over her, so she must be retaining her body heat well.

I walk to the foot of her bed and lift the covers to check her feet, dragging my finger from heel to toe, up the bottom of her foot; it twitches, as does the other. Circulation is fine. I was worried about that after the cold of the water. I grab her wrist, and check her pulse. Golden.

Why do I feel so nervous? I saved this woman’s life, just like the many others I have saved. I haven’t ever been nervous around them in the quiet of their room.

But you’ve never felt like this about any of the other lives you’ve saved. Have you?

And now I’m hearing voices. But it's true; I've never felt the need to go against the rules and sneak peeks at other patient's files. Why do I feel like this?

As I look at her, it feels like my heart is clenching in my chest and like my stomach has gone to live in the upper part of my esophagus. This woman stirs things in me that I haven’t felt for some time, and never before with this magnitude. I don’t believe in love at first sight, but what exactly is this?

I pull the chair over closer to the bed and sit down. After just a few short minutes, I notice that her heart rate has sped up a little bit. And then she starts panting, like she is running again. She starts making little whimpering noises, and it has to be the most heartbreaking thing I’ve ever heard.

Not thinking, I take her hand, and a jolt goes through her, making her back arch of the bed a little. My eyes go wide, and then I feel my hand begin to tingle, but she calms a little. I hold her hand a bit longer, and when she has completely calmed and her heart rate is back to normal, I put her hand back on the bed.

She begins to whimper again, but her vitals don’t change. She lets out a little gasp then her eyes fly open. That shouldn’t be possible as heavily sedated as she is.

She sits up in the bed.

“JAKE!” It comes out of her breathy and she takes a weird chesty inhalation and falls back to bed, back to slumber.

It scares the shit out of me. Really, what was that? The look in her eyes was indescribable, like she was here, yet vacant.

I run out into the hall to find Dr. Marcus. I search for a while, then finally find him and tell him what happened.

"Dr. Marcus, I was just in to see Bella Black. Something odd happened."

"What has happened, Dr. Cullen. Is something wrong?" He makes to move toward her room, but I grip his arm to stop him.

"She is okay, but oddly enough, she sat up and said someone's name. I think she was dreaming, but you said you sedated her."

He nods, "I did, heavily at that. She must have been having one hell of a dream. I will check on her soon, and after that, her family may see her. I will come to the lounge and let them know when."

I take my time on the way back to the lounge, once again, plagued by the days events. I mostly wonder what the woman had gone through to push her so far over. When she ran out of the library she looked vacant, kind of how she looked when she had screamed out just minutes ago. What happened to her? And who is Jake? Questions run rampant through my brain, but there is one single question that scares me the most. What if I hadn't been there to go in after her? Would someone else have gone after her, or would she be gone, to the bottom of the deep ocean to never return.

I reach the door and pause before turning the knob, a shiver goes through me. I feel cold from the inside out... What do I tell her brother?

All of a sudden, a hand grips my shoulder and I jump, not expecting it. I turn to see Rose behind me.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to frighten you, Edward. Are you alright?” She asks me, the concern apparent in her eyes.

I let out the breath I had suddenly taken when I was startled. “It’s alright, Rose, and yes, I’m fine. How are you holding up? How is Emmett?”

“He’s scared shitless, and so am I. These are the greatest two people I have ever known, and what they have been through already, just isn’t fair. I love them both more than you can attempt to measure,” her voice begins to tighten up in emotion.

I hear the tears in her voice, and simply nod my head. I open the door and usher her in.

“After you.” She dips her head at me and walks in. I follow behind her.

Emmett is across the large room in a few strides, standing in front of me. “Edward, how is she? What does the doctor think? Is she awake?” The words tumble quickly from his mouth.

Rose touches him on the upper arm, silencing him. His eyes plead with me, but I can’t help what comes out of my mouth.

“Emmett, who is Jake?”
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