Bella’s eyes fluttered open and she wondered exactly what had happened. She searched for her link to Spock in her mind and found it, there, in the back near the core, warmth and worry and desire and sadness slithering through into her thoughts.
Her throat constricted in fear and she felt the worry increase.
Taking a steadying breath she felt her body. She was wearing her Orion silks, the wedding ring that Spock had slipped onto her finger heavy on her hand. However, she smelled antiseptic and there was that beeping that reminded her of a hospital—an earth hospital. In terror, she sat up and looked around her, seeing that her robe had been rolled up and there was an IV in her arm.
She glanced up at the ceiling and saw fluorescent lights. That were flickering. This was not Terra—she was elsewhere—and she felt so utterly alone.
Attempting not to hyperventilate, she tried to remember what had happened. She had been on a shuttle, traveling to the other Iowa to see the USS Enterprise, when they had hit turbulence and she had fallen on the floor. Immediately, Spock had been leaning over her, reaching for her hand—and then he was gone.
Having been so absorbed in her thoughts, she didn’t realize that someone had entered the room. She turned to see a man who was neither human nor Terran. Nor Vulcan. He had pale skin, bruises under his eyes, and golden eyes—just like the other Cullens.
Then the realization struck her. There were extraterrestrials on Terra, and they were for some reason hiding out in Forks.
“What’s the date?” she asked in confusion, looking around her and then down at her arm again.
“March 30th,” he told her as if this were a standard question, looking to his paper file. He wasn’t using a screen. He was also wearing a shirt and tie under his labcoat. This was a nightmare. “You hit your head during an accident at Forks High School yesterday.”
Yesterday. It had been just a day when nearly a week had passed on Terra. How was this even possible?
Searching her memories, she recalled the van, the ice, Edward and then—“So I was in a car accident.” There was a moment of silence. “I don’t remember it hitting me.”
The doctor looked up with a small smile, his golden alien eyes setting her on edge. “You were quite lucky, Miss Swan. In all the confusion, it took people over an hour to realize that your body had been flung a good twenty feet from the accident, and you only seem to have suffered a concussion.”
She let that information settle in her mind and searched out Spock, feeling instinctively that he was well and that he was waiting for her—and she wondered if her life would always be waiting. Bella knew they would see each other again. He had met her on Vulcan when he was a child, they had married when he was twenty-one, and he had the memory of her going cliff diving of all things.
Her eyes skated to her ring, a bright metal native to the Planet Vulcan, forged in the Southern Provinces, beaten until it was so thin that it seemed to be made of paper, and inscribed in Vulcan characters. Spock had told her it read, ashayam. It fit. She loved it.
She was so lost in her thoughts, she didn’t realize the doctor was also looking at her hand.
“That’s a beautiful ring,” he responded.
“Thank you,” she told him, putting her hand down. “My—boyfriend—gave it to me. He’s down in San Francisco.” Not quite, but still, it had the same name. Strangely. Perhaps the alternate dimension theory bore thinking about.
“Is it a promise ring?” he asked casually, setting aside his notebook and taking what appeared to be a small flashlight from his labcoat pocket.
She remained still as he shone it in her eyes, clearly running a medical test.
“Yes,” she responded instinctively.
“I don’t recognize the symbols.”
His voice was unassuming, soft, pleasant, and yet she didn’t trust it.
“No,” she agreed. “It’s not Standard—is it?”
The doctor stepped away, his brows furrowed, but didn’t respond, going back to the clipboard. He was scribbling notes. “Your father will be glad to see you. My son Edward is also waiting.”
Suddenly the thought of Edward was unappealing. “I just want this IV out so I can go home,” she told him, wishing she could somehow fly to another planet entirely. “I’m—tired,” she realized, for the first time since she woke up.
Looking concerned, the doctor walked up to her and had her follow his finger with her eyes without moving her head. Frankly, it gave her a headache. Dimension travel seemed to have taken a lot out of her. And how did she always end up in the hospital after she had done it?
“Where are you from?” she suddenly asked, and the doctor looked at her in bemusement.
“I’m originally from near London,” he told her, “though I’ve lost the accent. My wife is—”
“No,” she interrupted, a little suspicious. “Before that.”
He paused and took her in with those strange alien eyes of his. “I don’t think I quite grasp your meaning.”
Licking her lips, she looked at him long and hard. “You’re not from earth,” she told him quietly, “or Terra. I would know if you were from Vulcan. So—where?”
Her words made him clearly uncomfortable but after a long moment, he shook his head in bemusement, looking more like a supermodel than a doctor, and went back to his clipboard. “You have a vivid imagination, Miss Swan.” Then he paused. “Terra is also an alternate name for Earth.”
“And yet they’re two separate planets—out there in the wide expanses of space. They have the same place names but they’re very, very different places.”
His pen stilled. “I think you are suffering from confusion, Miss Swan, brought on by the accident. It should clear up in the next three days, but if it doesn’t, I’d like you to come back in.”
She merely hummed. “Where’s my veil?”
The doctor nodded toward the corner where Bella’s sandal-boots were sitting on the floor and her light blue and violet veil was folded on a chair neatly. “You have an interesting choice of fashion,” he commented. “I’ve never seen material that—refined—before.”
That was because it was Orion silk and Earth had never heard of Orion—except for the constellation, come to think of it.
Bella didn’t answer but when he seemed to be busy, she got up and then realized she was still connected to the IV.
“I’ll have a nurse come and help you with that.”
“Right,” she answered, settling back onto the bed.
As soon as he was done, Charlie was let in and he took her in, worry etched on his face. “Bells,” he whispered as he came up to her, not touching her but just looming protectively. “I’ve arrested the boy who was driving the car.”
She looked at him and frowned. “I don’t think I was hit by the car,” she responded carefully.
“You were thrown twenty feet from the accident, Bells,” he nearly growled. “You could have been killed if you had landed wrong.”
“But I didn’t,” she responded carefully.
“That Cullen boy broke his hand,” he told her. “He’s waiting to see you.”
“I don’t want to see him,” she responded sharply, thinking of how he had suddenly been beside her, how his eyes tried to pierce her mind as if he had a right to know what she was thinking instead of Spock, her husband, who was somewhere on another planet. “I just—I wanna go home,” she admitted softly, all the while thinking of that room she had shared with Spock, how she would sleep in his eyes as she felt the warmth of her skin against his.
Charlie, fortunately, nodded. “What are you wearing?”
Bella looked down at the expensive Orion silks she was wearing and grimaced, trying to think of an answer. “Clothes?” she suggested, not looking her father in the eye.
Sneaking out of the hospital—after she had signed out—was fortunately simple enough. Charlie had visited enough witnesses and suspects over the past twenty years that he knew all the ins and outs, all the doors that were left open by nurses and doctors so they could smoke.
Of course, it was strange when Charlie suddenly noticed the wedding ring on her finger, and she seemed to have almost the exact conversation she had dreamed up. Maybe there was something wrong with the space-time continuum, Bella thought to herself as they pulled up to their small house, her truck noticeably absent. She had a sinking feeling.
“It got destroyed, didn’t it?” she asked quietly as she got out of the police cruiser.
“Insurance is paying,” Charlie told her as they walked up to the door and Bella realized her feet were cold in the sandal-boots. “We won’t be able to get you much to replace it because, well, your truck wasn’t worth more than its rusty paint, but we’ll see what we can do.”
Not sure what to say, Bella only nodded and walked into the house. It was with a twist of her stomach as she took off her robes and stood in her silk undergarments. Closing her eyes, she let her mind reach out for Spock, and she felt a quiet answer. She hugged herself, her fingers touching her bare skin, and she sighed as she imagined her husband running his fingers against her.
A bang from downstairs jolted her out of her musings, and she glanced out of the window, wishing she were far away in the stars.
She carefully took off and folded her silk undergarments, putting them under her pillow so she could put them back on when she slept.
As she slowly put on sweats and a long sleeved shirt, ready to suffer pizza—and strangely she hadn’t missed human food at all once she had discovered the Vulcan options available at Starfleet—she suddenly felt as if she was being watched. Bella slowly sat on the bed and closed her eyes, centering herself, and just let the sensations move over her.
Spock often watched her, especially when she was sleeping or dozing. He told her that Vulcans required much less sleep than she appeared to—preferring to meditate—but he always wanted to hold her in his arms. It seemed to be the norm between them, he would rest beside her, calming her dreams if any should arise through their emotional link.
But this wasn’t like that. This was something else.
Outside, she heard a car drive up and realized it was the pizza.
Sighing, she opened her eyes and went downstairs, only to be handed two aspirin (she was to take two every six hours for the next three days in case she had a lingering headache or confusion) and be handed a slice of pepperoni. At least, because she was sick, she got to choose what to watch instead of some horrible sports game.
At least Terra didn’t seem to be prone to baseball, unlike twenty-first century America.
She soon made her excuses and went to bed, after being reminded she wasn’t allowed to go to school for the next two days, and she switched into her Vulcan underwear again and huddled into the sheets.
That night she didn’t dream of anything. She didn’t dream of Forks, of Earth, of the accident. Bella didn’t dream of San Francisco, Vulcans, Orion, or Starfleet. However, somehow she knew that Spock loved her through all of it, and it was with a sigh that she woke up, feeling cold, and glanced around the room, wondering exactly which planet she was on.
Light from the moon—and didn’t Terra have a moon?—filtered through the window and Bella was met with the frightened face of Edward Cullen. Immediately she sat up, her blankets falling to her lap to reveal her strange bedclothes, and they just stared at each other.
Without blinking, she asked, “Do you belong to the United Federation of Planets?”
Edward, in all his unearthly beauty that she found wrong in so many ways, looked confused and then shook his head.
“What planet are you from?” she demanded. “How did you get here?”
“I climbed in through the window,” he answered, his voice melodic and alluring.
She closed her eyes in frustration and demanded in a harsh whisper instead, not wanting to wake Charlie, “I meant, how did you get to earth? You’re not human.”
His eyebrows furrowed slightly and then realization lingered through his golden eyes. “You saw.”
Instead of asking—saw what?—Bella instead just stared at him. She took a deep breath. “I am aware of other planets, I am aware of certain other ‘races’, and you’re definitely not human.”
He leaned back against the wall and took her in, “I think you have a concussion.”
“I don’t have a concussion,” she returned just as easily. “You’re not denying that you’re not human.”
There was a long silence when he took her in, “Maybe not. But neither are you.”
That, of course, surprised her. “Why would you say that?”
“You were next to me as the van rushed at us, and then you were gone. You appeared hours later dressed—strangely.”
“Maybe I was abducted,” she joked. “I’m going to say this once and only once, even if you pretend that I dreamt all this when I see you in Biology next week.” She let her dark brown eyes meet his golden ones. “I am married under Federation law. You being in my room is mildly creepy.”
“You’re married?” he asked in shock.
Grateful for not the first time that Spock had suggested they ‘replace’ her wedding ring, she lifted up her left hand and wiggled the fingers, hoping the thick ring caught the moonlight. “It’s not the custom—there—but it is here.”
“You weren’t wearing that at school yesterday,” he stated slowly, pushing off the wall and stalking forward, as if angry and yet wary at the same time.
“Wasn’t I?” she teased. “No, really, I’m in my underwear and this is my bedroom. Get out.” Her voice was serious and she tossed her hair in her frustration. When Edward didn’t move, she asked in confusion, “Is this a custom on your planet? Stalking innocent girls.”
She must have blinked because all of a sudden he was in front of her, his skin ashen white, unnatural, almost gleaming, his eyes a deep black that was so frightening she gasped and shoved herself back against the headrest. They stared at each other for several long moments, his dark alien eyes searching hers before dipping to her lips. Just earlier that week, she wouldn’t have known what that meant. Now, though, now when she was used to Spock staring at her and kissing her as if she were precious, or as if he were going insane, depending—now, now she understood. Without even thinking, she screamed at the top of her lungs.
Shock registered on Edward’s face and then he was no longer there, the window open and the wind causing the curtains around it to blow inward.
Bella didn’t even have time to register what had happened when Charlie ran in, wearing plaid pajama bottoms and a black sleep shirt, his eyes wild.
“He—” Bella pointed at the window. “Edward Cullen came in through the window—or he was already here when I woke up—and—and—I swear I’m not dreaming.”
Charlie quickly ran to the window and stuck his head out the window, looking, before closing it and rushing out of the room. She heard the front door slam and then the police cruiser start up, full siren blaring.
The breath was sucked fully out of her and she tried to slow her heart, feeling for Spock, before braiding her hair absently and shifting down so she was lying down on her bed, facing toward the center, imagining that someone was there with her.
Bella took in several deep breaths and realized she had a headache.
She tried to focus on her breathing, having watched Spock meditate when he thought she was busy looking up starcharts, and yet the pounding in her head—probably from the stress—was hard to ignore.
After what seemed like hours, but was probably more like twenty minutes, she got up and found a loose sweater that she pulled over her camisole, her legs still bare, and shoved her feet in her slippers.
The pills, she remembered, where downstairs in the kitchen.
She padded downstairs and counted out two, realizing that her hand was shaking, and swallowed them dry.
When Charlie finally arrived home, she was sitting, reading Wuthering Heights at the kitchen table.
“You should be asleep,” he chided, running a hand over his face. “You’ve been in an accident.”
“How can I sleep after that?” she asked rationally.
He sighed and came to sit next to her and Bella put down the book.
“Well, Edward wasn’t home when I spoke to Mrs. Cullen.” Oh, yes, Bella remembered. Doctor Cullen supposedly had a wife. Perhaps she was an alien from outerspace, too, Bella thought wryly to herself. “Nice woman. She couldn’t seem to rouse any of her children, strangely. There’s something off about that house. I never believed the rumors, but there is definitely something off.”
“Huh,” she responded. “What happened?”
“I put in a call to Judge Turner for an arrest warrant, and he faxed it over to the station. There’s an APB on that kid.” He looked down at his hands. “What did he do?”
“Edward?” she asked in obvious confusion. “He was just staring at me—and I confronted him about it—and then I said that was kind of creepy that he was in my room in the middle of the night, wearing my underwear.”
“That’s underwear?” Charlie asked in confusion, but then motioned she should continue.
Bella glared at him for a moment, and decided to let it pass. “And then I told him I had a, well, boyfriend”—slight lie or, rather, understatement—“so it was definitely creepy.” She took a deep breath, not sure how to relate what happened next. “He seemed to get angry. He was all of a sudden in my face, and I—I just reacted. I screamed.”
“You should have screamed as soon as you woke up and saw him,” Charlie told her seriously, leaning forward on his forearms. “Your safety is first, Bella.”
She nodded, slightly chided. “I think I was kind of in—shock—when I first woke up. I knew I wasn’t dreaming—it just—” She ran a hand through her hair, upsetting the braid slightly. “I just—he—I—” Bella was absolutely confused. “You’re not going to call Mom, are you?”
“Not until this is concluded,” Charlie decided. “She knows about the accident” (Bella groaned) “but I told her you would call her when you were up to it. It took everything in me to convince her not to come up here immediately. I wouldn’t be surprised if she appeared on the doorstep.”
“Well, I’ll call her in the morning”—Bella glanced at the clock—“in a couple of hours,” she amended. “I’ll see if I can talk her out of it.” She took a deep breath. “I don’t suppose there’s any hope of getting back to sleep.” It was about six in the morning.
“Get dressed,” Charlie decided, standing up, “though not in that dress thing you somehow managed to wear to school.—We’re going to the diner, we deserve some TLC.”
He placed a rough, calloused hand on her shoulder, and Bella realized that her father might actually love her. He didn’t do emotions, he didn’t do feelings, but he cared. When it mattered, he was there. Renée would have told her that either it was a good thing that Edward was creeping on her, or told her she was being fanciful. Charlie took her at her word and went after him, probably with his personal shotgun.
The diner was quiet and had only been open for a matter of minutes when father and daughter walked through the front door, Bella wearing a thick sweater and jeans, her trainers on her feet. Her favorite pair were on Terra, unfortunately, but that couldn’t be foreseen, she supposed. If her interstellar travel proved to be a regular thing, she’d have to get a job to pay for extra clothes. It seemed like Spock had her covered on Terra and Vulcan, with a full wardrobe of Orion silks. He was, after all, one of the wealthiest aliens in the galaxy, which was strange that Bella somehow married into money.
She sat down and was grateful for eggs and bacon. From what she could tell, Vulcans were vegetarian if not vegan. She’d seen Captain Pike eat something that looked like meat, but everything Spock had provided her with had been vegetarian at the very least. She’d have to ask him about that next time she saw him.
Bella was on her second cup of coffee when people started to trickle in, and everyone was gawking at her. She didn’t know if it was because of the accident or because of what happened the night before, and she wasn’t going to ask.
It was half past eight when Charlie dropped her off with an unexpected kiss on the forehead, reminding her to rest and to call him if Edward turned up.
She was prepared to spend a long day on her slow internet connection on the hunk of plastic known as her computer, looking up the stars and theories on extraterrestrial life, when there was a knock on the door.
Bella looked at the clock, and saw that it was only about eleven. Confused, she nonetheless hopped down the stairs, careful not to trip, and opened the door to the girl she thought was Alice Cullen. The girl was thin, pale, unnaturally so, with those golden eyes, perfect features, and brown hair in a pixie cut. The tell-tale bags were under her eyes, marking her as other—as alien.
Leaning up against the doorway, Bella opened with, “I don’t think you should be here.”
“I should definitely be here,” Alice offered in a melodic, though higher-pitched voice. “There’s been confusion with Edward.”
“No confusion,” she responded. “He snuck in my window—thinks I’m not human—and then frightened me nearly to death.”
Alice looked down, clearly thinking, and then glanced up again. “Let me explain.”
“Only if you tell me where you’re from,” Bella bargained. “And how you got here.”
She looked confused.
“I know you’re an alien,” Bella responded, as if it was obvious, and really—it was. “I just want to know where you’re from and how you got here.”
“We’re not aliens,” Alice told her carefully, “but really Edward should tell you. He’s—he’s fascinated by you.”
That was certainly confusing, and Bella reared back just slightly, a nonetheless visible reaction. “Why?”
“He can’t hear you,” she told her.
Bella blinked. “He can hear me. We’ve had conversations. He’s—responded. He can hear me.” She was repeating herself, which was probably not a good idea.
“May I come in?” Alice asked again, but Bella shook her head, standing her ground. Alice looked hurt, which was strange because the two had never spoken before, and then took a deep breath which somehow seemed staged and not really necessary for the purpose of breathing.
Wait—did these aliens have gills on their wrists or something completely weird like that? The thought shocked Bella and made her a bit dizzy, so she leaned against the doorframe and just took a steadying breath herself.
“Edward thought it was—gallant,” Alice explained. “He was being a romantic hero, the epitome of a gentleman.”
“What, is he from the 1800s?” Bella asked, shocked, the thought astonishing. “That’s not possible. I mean—no.” She took a step back and shook her head when Alice just stared at her imploringly. “I can’t—” she began to try to explain, emotional turmoil running through her, and she shut the door in Alice Cullen’s face.
What the hell had she gotten herself into?
With a determination matched only by the desire to return to Spock and Terra, she found where Charlie kept the hammer and nails and nailed both of her bedroom windows shut. Well, that would hopefully help—unless Edward Cullen was as strong as Vulcans. Then, this would definitely be a bad thing.