The next three years were the happiest of my life. I went to visit Frannie or she came to visit me so I saw her every day after her work was finished. Our families were pleased at our friendship and didn’t mind seeing us all the time. Edward grew to like her as a friend after getting used to her, even though he still resented my affection for her. Even my father didn’t resent me this, he liked Frannie a lot, and she was a likeable person. She loved to hear me sing and play, I think I might’ve given up if she hadn’t. Frannie loved to draw and paint. Her work was exquisite and she painted me little pictures. She embarrassed me once by painting a miniature picture of me and having a picture done of her. She went and bought a beautiful silver locket for my thirteenth birthday and put the pictures in there as a surprise. I was touched immensely. I took it off only when I needed to wear my circle casting necklace, but even then I keep it on me. For her twenty-first I bought her a charm bracelet. Each charm had a different precious stone in it. It cost a lot but I’d saved and saved until I could get it. I could tell it had meant a lot to her because she had to wipe away tears. Frannie never took that bracelet off unless forced to. We learned a lot about our blood-tie, we could tap in to the other’s emotions whenever we wanted. We always knew where the other one was and we could communicate telepathically over great distances.
It was when I turned thirteen things started to go bizarrely out of control and hectic. That was the year I found out the truth, which was the year I changed.
It was the summer holidays and Frannie had a holiday from work. Frannie had taken it upon herself to teach me. Not just about Wicca but normal things like math and science. She taught me Latin and Greek, at which I had a flair for. We were sitting in the garden going over some math equations but we stopped for a while and Frannie was talking about her work. The sun was shining (no chance of a vampire being out – they sparkle like crazy and they must keep their secret) and I was soaking it in. Sure I personified night but I still loved me some sun. Felix, Edward and Thomas were playing football. Everyone was so calm and ordinary, strange since you would’ve thought there’d be panic. War had just broken out in Europe between the French, Russians and British and the Germans and Austro-Hungarians. At the moment though, it was inconsequential. Felix kept throwing glances my way and was showing off a lot. I’d grown to adore Felix, not quite love, but I was fond of him nonetheless and he adored me in return. I smiled at him whenever he looked over and he grinned. He told the other two he needed a minute and ran over to me, flopping down next to me
“Beautiful day isn’t it?” Felix said
“Sure is,” I agreed breathing in the scent of the grass. I was hyper aware that he was less than a foot away. Frannie had tactfully excused herself to get us some more lemonade.
“You look very pretty today, if you don’t mind me saying so,” Felix said
“Thank you,” I smiled and looked down. I was strangely embarrassed… but pleased. His hand brushed mine, as softly as a moth’s wings
“I… I,” he began but stopped and took a deep breath
“Felix!” Edward called, “Come back and play. Willow prefers to be alone these days or with Miss Marksons, she hasn’t got time for anyone else,” his voice was bitter. I was startled, hurt and angry. I looked at Edward from where I sat keeping my face naturally blank but for the first time in months Edward could tell what I was feeling. He looked startled himself, stunned at my emotions. I was just deciding what spell to put on him when suddenly Frannie was there. She simply sat beside me and put a hand on my shoulder
No, Willow. You don’t want to do it. He’s your brother, just let it go. You’ll regret it if you do. Keeping my gaze on Edward, I replied
Can’t I just make his next shot wide? Frannie’s mouth twitched
What is his problem? Why’s he being a jerk?
Jealousy. He fears that your affection for Felix will grow. I have already intruded and taken some of your attentions for him. He is jealous that Felix will take the rest that you two will marry and you won’t have any time left for him at all. I pondered over that. That would never happen. I loved Edward more than anyone other than Frannie (but that is slightly affected by the blood-tie). I turned to smile at Felix
“Go on,” I said brightly, “I’ll just watch and hope that you’ll beat my rude brother’s rear end,” Felix laughed
“I always beat your rude brother, but doing it for you will make it more satisfying,” I laughed at that. Felix jumped up and bounded back tackling Edward, dodging Tom and scoring a goal. He glanced back at me grinned and winked. I smiled back then looked at Frannie. Her eyes were twinkling mischievously.
“You like him don’t you?” I flushed, “Don’t worry, he likes you too,” I flushed even darker but this time in pleasure
“Sometimes this blood-tie is just a pain. Can’t keep anything a secret,” I grumbled and Fran laughed
“Too true,” she agreed. We sat in silence for a while. In fact the boys were packing up and the sun was setting by the time she spoke again
“Have you heard about the hospitals newest employee?” she asked randomly
“I’d heard they had hired a someone new to work nights but details about him I do not know,” I replied confused
“He’s very interesting,” Fran looked at me significantly and I got it. I glanced at the boys who were playing chase. I faced her again
A Supe? I asked silently and she nodded
Vampire she responded equally silent but like no vampire I’ve ever seen or heard of I raised an eyebrow
“His name is Dr. C. Cullen. I work in his ward. He’s very efficient although young,” I snorted and she smiled. He looked young but for all we knew he was hundreds of years old, “He had golden hair and was as pale as a sheet. He looked in need of sleep,” I rolled my eyes
Get to it I urged
Be patient she retorted
“He has cold hard skin although he is more gentle with the patients than most of the other doctors. Blood doesn’t affect him,” I kept my surprise off my face with difficulty. When did blood not affect a vampire?
“Wouldn’t be a doctor if it did,” I said out loud
“Indeed,” Frannie continued, “you should take the time to meet him. He’s a very interesting… man. Oh, and his eyes are gold colored too,” now my mouth just flopped open, gaping at her. Her eyes flashed a warning and I composed my face the best I could
“He enjoys his work immensely,” Frannie concluded, “I asked him why once. He said ‘I enjoy helping people. Saving their lives, makes me feel humane. It makes me feel good’. I liked him,” she admitted, “He’s a nice… person”
“Come on Willow, Miss Marksons,” Felix called, “We best be going in,” we indicated we were coming and followed them inside. As Frannie left, I hugged her as usual
Dr. C. Cullen?
Carlisle, Carlisle Cullen
I’ll look out for him. Thanks for the heads up.
He’s sparked us Wiccan’s curiosity. If anyone can find out more about him, it’s you, Night, but be careful. I thought maybe you could come into the hospital next week? I’ll say you’re looking for some experience because medicine has interested you some.
Alright, I’ll be there Fran squeezed me and let go, “See you tomorrow, Willow”
* * *
Curious was one word for Dr. Cullen. When Fran went back to work she officially invited me with the hospitals consent. I learned a lot about the work Fran did. It was a cloudy, foggy day. Our weather Wiccan predicted there would be a thunder storm soon. Fran told me that Dr. Cullen worked two day shifts a week and she’d worked it so I could visit when he was working. Her ward was quiet but as we entered the ward (I felt silly in my little nurse outfit and I felt very, clean) there he was. The vampire. He walked up to us and smiled at Fran, filling her in on the work needed done before turning to me. Fran had told me about his eyes but it was still a shock
“Who’s this beautiful friend of yours, Frances?” he smiled at me. He had a kind face. Made kinder by the beautiful golden eyes
“I am Willow Masen, sir. I’m visiting for some experience. I am young but able and willing,” I laughed. Fran and Dr. Cullen laughed too
“She’s my closest friend, Dr. Cullen,” Fran explained, “She’s a sister to me. A true sister and old for her years”
“Pleased to meet you, young Miss Masen,” Dr. Cullen held out a hand to me and I shook his cold, hard marble skin, unsurprised by it. I didn’t know he would be startled that I wasn’t surprised at how his skin would feel. I did know he saw the chagrin cross my face as I realized that. We both gathered our composure quickly and I let go of his hand. Almost reluctantly, he released mine.
We set to work. I followed Fran, watching, absorbing and learning all I could. You never know when it may come in useful. Fran excused herself for a break, I told her I’d stay and keep an eye on things… and I was left with Dr. Cullen. I watched him closely, observing his movements, checking his breathing but he seemed exceptionally in control. He resisted the blood from the wounds of some patients. Eventually he caught my staring and I smiled ruefully at him. I walked over to where he stood. I looked up at him. I had grown considerably, I was now five foot five, taller than Frannie, but I still had to look up a way. He was probably six foot two. He studied me warily as I approached
“You’re a good doctor,” I said without preamble, “How many years of practicing?” He smiled his easy smile, clearly thinking there wasn’t actually anything unusual about me. He clearly thought I was simply curious
“Many years,” he replied, he wasn’t actually lying since he wasn’t specific
“You must have studied science, to be a doctor,” I stated
“Yes, I studied science”
“Do you believe in God?” I had always been curious if vampires believed in God. After all, they were meant to be damned
“Yes, I do. I believe in God, I believe in Heaven and Hell. It’s why I’m a doctor, I am trying to do all the good I can… for Him. Maybe one day, He’ll let me in for the healing I’ve done. Plus saving lives, it’s very satisfying and makes me feel good,” he cocked his head curiously, “Why do you ask? Do you believe in God?” I laughed, it sort of burst out. I stopped as suddenly as I started, sobering quickly, it really wasn’t funny. I turned my face away when I answered
“No,” I muttered, “No. I do not believe there is a God. I used to but now…” I shook my head, “now I don’t. I stopped believing”
Dr. Cullen just searched my face then opened his mouth
“Three years ago, round about,” I answered anticipating his question, “My Grandfather died. I didn’t blame God,” I hastily said, “I blamed myself. I could’ve saved him but I didn’t. I tried though, of course I did,” I took a breath, “Anyway, I figured God wouldn’t curse me like that. I’ve never done anything wrong. I couldn’t believe God would do that and that was when I realized, God truly wouldn’t do that, so he can’t exist. When I realized that, I stopped believing,” I smiled a lopsided grin to myself, “I also didn’t want to tempt myself into using Him as a scapegoat also look at it this way, if you don’t believe in Him; you’re not damned to Hell,” I laughed bitterly, “Just kidding,” I glanced at Dr. Cullen he was staring at me thoughtfully, “I can’t believe I just told my pathetic story and one of my biggest secrets to someone I don’t know,” I was rueful. I could tell Frannie was returning, “Fran is coming back,” I told him. He snapped out of his thoughts and nodded
“You are old for your years. Frances wasn’t exaggerating,” he said seeming unsurprised. I turned to leave but something prompted me to turn back and ask one more question
“Dr. Cullen,” I called and he glanced at me and seemed to get fixed in my gaze, “Do you believe in magic?”
“I suppose I do. I believe in the unusual that’s for sure. Do you mean do I believe in special powers?” I nodded, “Yes, Miss Masen, I definitely believe in special and unusual powers,” he smiled at me, “I think I’m going to like you, Miss Masen. You’re a… philosophical thinker, almost. Talking to you is very interesting. We may even be friends, which is dangerous for us both, though your danger is more perilous”
“Please, Carlisle,” I laughed, “One, don’t tell me something I already know because I find it very annoying. Two, if we were to be friends; call me Willow. Three, I am aware of many dangers and can take care of myself”
“You do not know of these dangers,” he seemed sad
“Don’t I?” I said and left, nodding to Fran as I passed.