At the Cliffs

My take on New Moon / Eclipse - written from Bella's perspective

← Chapter 17: Argument      Chapter 19: Graduation →

Chapter 18: Decision

I couldn’t sleep and sat up that night for a long time. On one hand, the fight had left me sick to my stomach. Jake was right. It really had been our first real fight. We had fought once before, when Jake had disappeared after his transformation, but that wasn’t quite the same as what happened yesterday. And yet, on the other hand, the fight didn’t end so badly. We hadn’t exactly made up, but it was clear that we would at some point. So there was an overwhelming sense of relief mixed in with a healthy dose of uncertainty, since I still didn’t know where that left us on the Cullen thing.

It didn’t matter where that left us, I decided suddenly, as I pulled myself out of bed and padded over to my desk to turn on my computer. I was going to contact them. I didn’t care if Jake was going to flip out when he found out. I had to do this. I had to help in the only way I could help. I wouldn’t let him die if I could do anything about it.

I turned on the desk lamp and turned to make sure that my door was firmly closed. The last thing I needed was for Charlie to be woken up and wander in wondering what the heck I was up to in the middle of the night. The computer booted up and I opened the internet browser. But then I paused, staring aimlessly at the Google homepage, as I wondered how I was going to do this. Contacting him had sounded so easy when I suggested it to Jake. But it was easier said than done since I no longer had their contact information. Edward had made sure of that when he left.

I knew this for a fact because in the first few months after our breakup, I had tried to email Alice just to see how things were going, only to find that her email address and all of their email addresses had been disconnected. And their cellphone numbers had been changed to. I didn’t even know if they were in the country. Their cover story had been a move to California, but I knew there was no way that they were hanging out in sunny L.A.

I stared aimlessly at the screen as I pondered my options. And then, as if another cartoon light-bulb went off above my head, I started to search on Carlisle Cullen. After all, there was no way he wouldn’t be practicing medicine. He was too good of a doctor – and a person - to not want to be helping people. So he had to be working somewhere in the United States. And doctors were licensed and accredited so there had to be a record of him working somewhere. Plus, every hospital in the nation had a website nowadays.

It only took me ten minutes to find him. Dr. Carlisle Cullen, adjunct professor at Cornell University’s School of Medicine, and practicing physician at the local community medical center which served the low-income farm workers and immigrants that worked the farms that dotted upstate New York.

It was so easy. I couldn’t believe how easy it had been. I also couldn’t believe that I hadn’t thought of doing this before, back in the days when I was so distraught and so desperate to find any trace of him. I secretly wondered if perhaps I had known all along that I could have tracked him down if I wanted, but some sense of self-preservation or self-dignity had prevented me from doing it.

I continued googling and found a year-old property sale record to a Carlisle and Esme Cullen. It was for a historic house in Newfield Hamlet that was located right on the edge of the Hill State Wildlife Preserve. When I pulled up the location on Google Maps, I knew I had hit jackpot. The house was way out in the forest with no neighbors, but the wildlife reserve would offer a lot of animals for hunting. And aerial shots of the house showed a huge compound that had recently gone through some extensive renovations - exactly what I would have expected from Esme.

I jotted down the address and began googling to try to find an associated phone number. No luck. I would have to try the hospital. I looked up at the clock and saw that it was almost 2 am. There was no point in calling now, so I decided to go to bed and try first thing tomorrow morning before I left for graduation.

I hibernated my computer, but not before scribbling down all the information that I had found on Carlisle. I felt bad for a moment that I was doing this even though I knew Jake would be upset, but I pushed that thought away as I slipped back into my bed, the sheets now cold from the brisk night air flowing through the window. No matter how warm the summer days got around here, the nights were always cool.

I snuggled into my sheets deeper, trying to will myself to get some sleep. Renee had called earlier tonight while Charlie and I were having a late dinner. She hadn’t been able to come up as planned to attend my graduation because Phil had broken his leg. I was secretly relieved since it was just one less person that I had to worry about getting hurt. Renee had made us promise to take a million photos for her.

I vowed to get some sleep so that I wouldn’t be too puffy-eyed in the photos the next morning – it was the least I could do for Renee - but I kept tossing and turning, until finally, I got up again and padded over to the desk drawer. I pulled out the post-it that Jake had left me last night and placed it back onto the pillow next to me. The post-it was losing its adhesive power, but seeing it there made me feel better. And finally, just before dawn, I slipped into a deep but restless sleep.

*******

I woke up the next morning with a start. There was a knocking sound and for a moment, my heart was in my throat, before I realized that it was just Charlie knocking on my door to make sure that I was awake and that I wouldn’t be late for graduation.

I flopped back down on the pillow with a sigh. My dream had seemed so real that I was sure it had been. Edward had been in my bed, the way he used to hang out there, watching me as I slept. In my dream, I had been sleeping and I woke up to find him lying there, with Jane Eyre propped in his lap as he tried to read it – for the tenth time unsuccessfully – because it was one of my favorite books. I had barely wiped the sleepyness from my eyes when he had turned to me and smiled, that brilliant dazzling overwhelming smile of his. Then he kissed me softly, his lips cold and unyielding against mine, and whispered, “Happy Graduation!”

My dream self had smiled as I snuggled into his chest deeper, cradling into the crook of his shoulder where my head fit so perfectly, holding on to the moment as long as it would last. We heard Charlie begin to make noise in his bedroom just across the hall, but I continued to lay there, content and comfortable in his arms, even though I knew that any minute, Charlie might be knocking on my door to wake me up. Edward seemed just as content to lie there. And so we stayed there happily until Charlie’s knock – the real knock – had woken me abruptly from the dream.

I looked around me in confusion as if I half-expected him to actually be there. It was so weird. For almost a year, I had been unable to conjure up his voice or his image without resorting to crazy things. I used to have dreams for nights on end where I chased him through the forests, but could never see his face. And now, for the first time in months, I dreamed about him. As if he were back in my life again. I didn’t know what to make of it.

But a quick glance at the clock told me that I didn’t have any time to waste if I wanted to make that call to Carlisle before the graduation festivities started. I heard the shower in the bathroom turn on. Perfect timing. Charlie would not be poking his head into my bedroom any time in the next fifteen minutes.

I grabbed the phone, a purple plastic one with white stars all over the receiver that Charlie had bought for me when I was ten, and dialed the number that I had jotted down the previous night for Carlisle’s office at Cornell. I didn’t think he would be there. It was Sunday after all, but it wouldn’t hurt to try there first. The phone rang a few times, but then went to voicemail.

“You’ve reached Dr. Carlisle Cullen at the ….”

I slammed the phone down. Hearing Carlisle’s voice after so long was like a caffeine jolt of biblical proportions. My blood was racing through my veins now and I could barely hear myself think over the pounding in my head. I had been so intent on finding him that I had no idea what the hell I was going to say once I did.

I forced myself to breathe. It was just Carlisle. I called back and this time, left what I thought was a calm and professional message, explaining that I had an urgent situation in Forks that I needed their help with and asked that he call me back ASAP. My hands were shaky as I put down the phone, but at least that was done.

Now it was time to try the hospital. I hadn’t expected to find him at the office on a Sunday, but knowing his workaholic nature, I thought there was a good chance that he might be at the clinic on a Sunday. I dialed the number and it rang twice before someone picked up.

I asked for Dr. Carlisle Cullen and waited as I was transferred to the East Wing. The phone rang a few times again before someone picked up. It was a nurse this time who redirected me to the Emergency Room, which is where Dr. Cullen was actually staffed as an ER surgeon. All of this waiting frayed my already over-wrought nerves. I was sure that any minute, Charlie would come barging through my door wondering what I was up to – even though he had never done that in his life before – or Jake would come through the door after finishing his patrol early and would freak out about what I was doing in.

I was so jumpy that I almost toppled off my chair when a pleasant female voice answered the phone on the second ring, “Emergency clinic. How may I help you?”

“Oh hi,” I mumbled trying to get my bearings, “I’m looking for Dr. Carlisle Cullen. Is he in today?”

There was a slight pause before she answered. “I’m afraid he’s not here today. Can I ask why you need to talk to him?”

“Umm, it’s a personal matter. I knew Dr. Cullen from his old job,” I lied glibly.

“Well, I’m afraid you’ve got some bad timing,” the woman continued, “Dr. Cullen left just a little while ago on an unexpected leave of absence and I’m not sure when he’s expected back.”

“Leave of Absence? For how long?” I stammered, unsure that I had heard correctly.

“Honestly, I can’t tell you more than that. Dr. Cullen informed the Clinic Director this morning that he needed to take an immediate leave of absence. You’ve got impeccable timing I must say. I just got back from his house – they sent me out to collect some paperwork that he forgot to turn in - but the place was empty.”

“Empty,” I said as I felt myself slumping over like a hot air ballon that had suddenly been deflated. This meant they must have moved on. Maybe they had gotten bored. Maybe something had happened. Either way, it might take a few weeks for them to resettle and for me to track down his new place of employment. We didn’t have weeks. We had days. If even. The Cullens had been my last hope.

“Yes, I’m afraid so. It was very strange. It was like they disappeared into the night.”

“Right,” I said stupidly as I wondered what to do next.

“Would you like to leave a message for him in case he checks in?” the woman asked affably.

“No, no,” I replied mechanically, “It’s okay. It doesn’t sound like he’ll be back in time.”

“Well honey, if it’s an emergency, you can always talk to another doctor on staff …” the woman continued, her voice worried now as she took in my robotic responses.

“No, it’s okay,” I responded more firmly now. “Thank you for your help,” I said before I hung up and dropped the phone to the floor with a clang.

So much for that plan.

← Chapter 17: Argument      Chapter 19: Graduation →

About Me

I'm a Twilight fan who believes that Jacob Black is better for Bella than Edward, so I wrote these Team Jacob fanfiction stories to try to convert as many people to my side as possible. :)

I've tried to stay as faithful to the original books as possible up through At the Cliffs, which is when I break off from canon and write out Eclipse the way I wish it had happened!

So ... what do you think? Good? Bad? Ideas for other stories?

Please let me know!

Jane

All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the intellectual property of their respective owners. No money is being made from this website. The original characters and plot are the property of Stephenie Meyer. No copyright infringement is intended.

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