Chapter Twelve

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So, none of this is mine. I wrote the first chapter for a contest and now, I'm expanding it. What I own ... a condo and too many books. What I don't ... Twilight and all its characters.

Originally, I'd planned something different for this chapter, to be honest ... but I like this version. I hope you do, too.

Chapter Twelve


"Bella, you're dragging," Jacob said as he carried my bag. "You can barely keep your eyes open. How are you going to get through your hours for your internship?"

"I have no choice, Jake," I yawned, feeling achy, tired, my chest too tight and just plain worn out. Taking a full course load plus the internship was kicking my ever-loving ass. I think I spent more time at school than at home since I went back to class on the Wednesday after New Year's. "Can we stop at Starbucks on the way to the hospital?"

"You should just get the coffee as an IV, Bella," Jacob snorted.

"Is that possible?" I quipped.

Jake rolled his eyes, dumping my stuff into the back of the car and helping me into the passenger seat. We went through the Starbucks drive-thru. I picked up a venti triple espresso thing, along with another one for Alice, who was also working tonight. Jake parked the car and he followed me inside, ducking into the staff lounge where he changed into a pair of scrubs, acting like an orderly while I completed my internship hours. He blended into the natural habitat of the hospital. Blended, my ass. I put on my ID, checked in with the triage nurse and went in search of Alice. "I come bearing gifts."

"Oooh, I need this," Alice sang, greedily taking the coffee from my hand. "Exactly how I like it. Strong as fuck."

"Glad I could help," I snorted. "Any admits for me?"

"Nope, but Maureen left a stack of files for you to read over," Alice chirped. I groaned, knowing that I was about to pass out if I had to read another passage. My head was hurting and I did not want to read. "Bella, I love you like a sister, but you look like crap."

"Thanks, Alice. I feel the love," I deadpanned. "I'll take that coffee back."

She gave me a glower, her hand pressed to my forehead. "Seriously, you look awful and you're running a fever." She swiped an ear monitor, stuffing it into my ear. I hissed. "Yep, 102. Did you get a flu shot?"

"It kind of slipped my mind when I was pummeled back in October," I deadpanned. "It was next on my to-do list."

"Come here," Alice grumbled, putting me onto a gurney. She slapped on some gloves and felt my glands, looked down my throat and checked my eyes. "You're fighting something, Bella. Something big. A fever, swollen glands, that deep, nasty cough ... You're useless here. I'll let Maureen know that you won't be in for the rest of the week. Perhaps next week, too."

"But, I have to get my hours in!" I wailed, before coughing. "Ouch."

"I talked to Maureen. You're essentially done with your required hours for the entire semester," Alice deadpanned. "I know you're dedicated, but not at the risk of your health. Go home, Isabella or I'll tattle on you. Tell Edward that you're sick."

"What's he going to do? He's on a business trip to New York," I retorted.

"He could always fly back and handcuff you to the bed," Alice smirked, sticking out her tongue. "I'm still ordering a chest x-ray. You've got crackles."

"Alice ..."

"Stop. You're family," she chided, waving her finger at me. "In fact, I think that while you're sick, you should go stay with Carlisle and Esme. You need to be pampered. You've been burning the candle at both ends and in the middle, Bells. Do you have class tomorrow?"

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