Joss and Stephanie own all the characters I just own the plot!
Dawn looked up from her magazine as a throat cleared above her. She smiled at Carlisle who was beaming down at her, looking for all the world like a proud parent.
“Sorry for the wait, I had an emergency surgery.”
Dawn just shrugged her shoulders and stood to follow him out of the waiting area.
“Since it’s your first day, I’m just going to give you the duty of meeting some of our long term patients. They’ll be the ones that you’ll be helping for the time being.”
Dawn followed Carlisle as he wound through the hallways to an elevator. She tried to remember the exact rout that they were taking, but finally gave up and figured that if she got lost she could just ask someone. It was nice to be out and about even if it was a hospital.
“All of our long term patients are one the fourth floor.” Dawn listened as Carlisle told her all about the eleven different patients that she would be caring for. It took them a few moments to reach the first room, just as Carlisle was about to knock, his pager went off.
“Sorry Dawn, this is important. Why don’t you go in and get acquainted with Ruth. I’ll be back as soon as I can.”
Dawn nodded her head in agreement, she watched as Carlisle walked away down the hall. She turned back to face the door. Taking a deep breath, she raised her hand to knock.
A small voice from inside invited her inside.
Dawn pushed the door open and was met with the sight of a woman hooked up to what seemed like a million different machines. She had one for everything. She plastered a big smile on her face and entered the room.
“Hello,” the woman said, a genuine smile on her face.
“Hi, I’m Dawn,” Dawn said awkwardly.
“Ruth,” the woman answered, still with that wonderfully bright smile on her face. “Can I help you?” she asked.
Dawn smiled a real smile, “I think I’m supposed to be asking you that.”
Ruth laughed quietly, “Come sit down, child. You must be new.”
“Is it that obvious?” Dawn asked, sitting down the chair that was next to the bed.
“Yes dear, it is.”
Dawn blushed deeply, and got comfy in her chair.
“Today is my first day, and the trainer had to run off because of some emergency.”
“I see, “ the old woman murmured. “Well, you might as well make yourself comfortable. I know how long emergencies can take around here. Who was supposed to be showing you around?”
“Doctor Cullen.” Dawn said shortly. She was curious what people at the hospital thought of Carlisle. At his old hospital people practically worshiped the ground he walked. It was always humorous to Dawn how people reacted to her vampire family.
“Oh, Doctor Cullen, he is such a kind man. How do you know him?” Ruth asked.
“I’m his foster child,” Dawn answered automatically. It had been their story at their old home too. Though she was technically and adult it was just easier to pretend for now that she was still underage. Easier to keep up appearances.
“How wonderful, I have not had the pleasure of meeting any of your brothers and sisters yet. Though I have heard a great deal about you all. Doctor Cullen sometimes sits up and talks with me when I cannot sleep, like I said, such a nice man.”
Dawn smiled at Ruth. “Yes his is wonderful. So generous.”
Who was she kidding, it was no wonder that everyone always liked Carlisle he was a wonderful man. Dawn spent the next hour or so talking to Ruth, learning everything she could about the woman. That she had been married, but her husband had died a few years earlier. She loved to garden, she had four children and ten grandchildren. She was dying of lung cancer. She only had a month or two left. Green was her favorite color and pizza her favorite food.
Ruth was just telling her about holding her first grandchild when there was a soft knock on the door and Carlisle ducked inside.
“Good afternoon, Ruth. How are you feeling today?”
Ruth smiled, and looked over at Dawn, “Much better since you sent this lovely girl to keep me company.”
Dawn smiled and nodded her head. “Ruth and I have gotten to know each other, she is and extraordinary woman.”
“She sure is.” Carlisle said with a smile. “Unfortunately I need to borrow Dawn, but she will be back on Tuesday if not sooner.”
After saying goodbye to Ruth, Carlisle and Dawn exited her room.
“I’m sorry Dawn, I did not want to leave you alone, but I am glad that you got to know Ruth. She is a very lonely woman. Her family rarely visits, and she is in a lot of pain most of the time.”
Dawn nodded her head and listened to Carlisle give her a bit more information about the next two patients that she was going to meet.
Vlad stood in front of Stephan, glaring at the other vampire. It had been long enough. He needed to talk about what had happened. Vlad had given him space, but this was the end.
“Tell me,” Vlad said simply.
Stephan did not answer, he simply continued sketching on the parchment in front of him.
“Now, Stephan, you need to tell me what happened. How did you mess this up so bad.”
Again Stephan did not answer, but the pencil in his hand suddenly shattered. He simply brushed the pieces on the floor and grabbed a new one. Vlad walked around the chair to look at the sketch. It was clearly Dawn. She was sitting on a blanket holding on to Blue. There was a horse grazing in the background and Dawn looked happy, so happy. In the sketch she was smiling right up at Stephan.
“You could have that. For real,” Vlad said softly.
In the blink of an eye Stephan was standing face to face with Vlad.
“No,” he whispered in a deadly voice. His face was a mask of anger and hurt. His emotions showing raw. “No I can never have that,” he hissed, pointing at the sketch. “Never, because of you!”
Vlad took a surprised step backward.
“Brother,” Vlad breathed, “I would never….I did nothing except let her go. She wished it, I could not stop her without using force.”
“You convinced her, that is the only explanation.” Stephan spit out.
Vlad closed his eyes and prayed for patience. “Listen to me. I found her crying on the steps. She told me that you had told her to go. That you wanted her gone before you got back. She had already called her family.”
Stephan sat down on his chair and seemed to be thinking hard. “I never told her to leave. I gave her the phone and told her that she was not a prisoner any more. I told her that she could leave if she wished. But……I…..” he trailed off and Vlad stood still waiting to hear the end, but it never came. Instead the chair that Stephan was sitting in suddenly crashed into the far wall.
Vlad sighed, and put his hand on Stephan’s shoulders. “Don’t ruin the library too. Please just tell me what happened. We can fix this. She loves you, she will forgive what ever happened. Did you hurt her on accident?”
“I would never. No I….she must have misunderstood. I said that I expected her to be gone when I returned. She must have…..have thought that I meant I WANTED her gone.” Stephan groaned and settled down onto a different chair, dropping his head into his hands. Vlad would have normally laughed at the human gesture, but in this moment his mind was occupied with thoughts on how to fix this mess.
“We can find her, you can explain.”
“NO! We cannot find her. I tried. I looked for weeks, do you really think that her family would have left her open to being found by me again. The future seeing she will be watching for me, the mind reader too. They have already moved, their old home was empty. No one in town knew were they had moved to. There was not one clue. They will be hiding her.”
Vlad’s mind was racing. “It is true that WE cannot find her, however, we know one who can find her.”
Stephan looked at him in confusion.
“He only finds mates.”
“My mate,” Stephan murmured.
“Listen dear, you have been coming and sitting with me for months now. I’m going to pass any day now. Will you please bless me with the story of why there is sadness in your eyes?”
Dawn looked at Ruth with tears in her eyes. The old woman could barely get out a sentence without having to cough. Her time would come soon, and there was nothing that anyone could do, but make her comfortable and keep her company. Carlisle had told her a week or so ago that he was surprised she had lasted as long as she had. Dawn had been visiting her almost everything, they would talk sometimes, but lately Dawn had mostly been reading to her.
“I lost someone,” Dawn whispered, clutching at the old woman’s hand. “I never even got to tell him I loved him. He didn’t love me back. I thought…..but I was wrong. I just…just…I just can’t get over it. I don’t know why. It seems dumb to be pinning after someone who probably doesn’t even give me a second thought.”
Ruth lifted the oxygen mask off her mouth and nose. She took a breath and said, “Sometimes there is a reason why we cannot get over someone. Perhaps he does feel the same. You should find out, if not, you’ll never be able to move on.”
That night Dawn thought again and again about what Ruth had said to her. The woman had proved again and again how wise she was to Dawn. A knock at the door had Dawn lifting her head from her book and calling for whoever it was to enter.
Carlisle opened the door, and Blue’s head also poked around it. He trotted up and set his head on Dawn’s lap, looking up at her. She smiled and patted his head gently.
“Dawn, Ruth passed a few minutes ago.”
Dawn felt her stomach drop. She gripped onto Blue’s head and looked at Carlisle with wide eyes. “Oh,” was all Dawn managed to say.
“I am sorry, Dawn. I know that you had grown very close to her. She passed peacefully in her sleep.”
“Just like she wanted to.”
Carlisle nodded his head.
“I’d like to be alone if that’s okay?” Dawn murmured.
Carlisle nodded again, brushed Dawn’s cheek and then exited the room.
Dawn grabbed Blue’s leash off of her desk.
She looked down at her dog. “Let’s go for a walk.”
Blue barked, to show he was up for a walk.
She made it to the back door, before any of the Cullen’s approached her. Edward walked up to her, touching her shoulder gently. She nodded her head at his silent question. She knew that she couldn’t walk by herself outside in the dark. There were bears in the woods here and bob cats and mountain lions.
Edward held open the door for her. She clipped Blue’s leash on and walked out into the warm air.
They walked in silence for a long time, until Dawn suddenly stopped and turned toward Edward.
“I’m ready,” Dawn whispered.
Edward nodded. Dawn closed her eyes and remembered. She thought about the day that Stephan had come to the wedding. She remembered him walking with her, talking to her, telling her that she smelled good. She thought about the shopping trip, him showing up, taking her away. She thought about yelling at him, kissing him. She thought about the long nights of talking, his gifts. Ridding the horses with him. The wonderful picnics, the poetry, the kisses, the fun, the beauty, the love. She remembered every memory she could, and then she remembered that night. She remembered the cell phone, him telling her to leave, Vlad talking to her, the Cullen’s coming, driving off into the night. Then she thought about how much her heart had been hurting since she left. And how much she was hurting from Ruth’s death, and the last advice that Ruth had given her.
Edward stood still and silent while Dawn sent all everything his way. He had seen bits and pieces over the last few months, but now that he was getting the whole story he was paying close attention.
Dawn sighed and wiped a few tears off her cheeks. She was surprised when Edward wrapped his arms around her and pulled her in for a tight hug. Dawn cried softly into his chest. They stood there in the woods, and she let go. She let go of everything.
“I think that Ruth is right. There is a reason that you are still heart broken. You do need to find out, but only when you are ready. When you’re ready, I will help you. No matter what you decide.”
Dawn looked up at him with watery eyes and smiled.