June 3, 2013
Ashley was on the property. She was just caught by Rogue, of all people. Those were the thoughts whirling around in my head. We were thinking of running out the door to go see what was going on, but we were stopped by Amy. She walked into the room and, without saying a word, moved her arm in circular motion. Right before our very eyes a light appeared, which turned into what looked like a TV screen of sorts. We could see Rogue and Ashley facing off against each other. Amy was showing us what was happening through a portal. Not only could we see what was going on, but we could also hear them.
Rogue spoke first. “What are you doing here?” Her voice was as cold as ice.
“I—I . . . was waiting for Carlisle.” Ashley’s voice faltered. She’d never called me by my first name before.
“Oh, really? Well Carlisle isn’t expecting visitors.” Rogue’s face was solid ice. She betrayed no emotion other than that of an ice cube. We knew that expression all too well.
“Well, he’ll want to see me,” Ashley said confidently.
“I highly doubt it. I think you’ve caused enough trouble.”
“And what are you, his guardian or something? I don’t remember ever meeting you. You don’t seem like family,” Ashley said cockily.
“No, I’m not family. Nor am I his guardian. I’m the last person on planet earth you want to meet. The fact that I caught you here out of everyone else is actually too bad for you. You may have gotten away easier if it were someone else,” Rogue sneered.
“Gotten away? From who? You? Please!” Ashley looked at Rogue as if she was speaking to a child and laughed. This was going to hell in a hand basket by the minute. Rogue was in her face in under a second. Ashley gasped by her super speed. Rogue towered over her. I had forgotten to mention that she was about six-foot-one. Alexander towered around six-foot-five.
Rogue then spoke through clenched teeth, her voice getting lower with each word. “Well, actually, I won’t do anything to you. Physically that is. Though it would be incredibly satisfactory for me—and for Carlisle as well—if I crushed your fucking throat, you insane piece of shit. But you will get yours in due time. So while you still can, and before I change my mind, get the hell out of here!”
Ashley stared at her with wide eyes, as if she was staring at someone who was possibly even more insane then she was. Of course Ashley didn’t really understand her own insanity. I was just hoping and praying Rogue’s eyes didn’t flash orange because at that point all hell would break loose. Ashley wouldn’t stand a chance. Hell, she didn’t stand a chance now! No one did. If we were all honest with each other, if we were ever to face off against Rogue, we’d be toast. Corin actually told us that one time Rogue got so pissed that she made a volcano erupt. Plus when Jacob asked what would happen if Rogue used all of her powers to their full potential, Amy said that she could destroy planet Earth. So no—I don’t want anything like world destruction over someone like Ashley.
What was the most mind boggling was that Ashley was not leaving. She continued to stand there, staring at Rogue. Though to her credit, with Rogue’s last speech, she took a step back. But then she did the dumbest thing anyone could do. With a wild cry, she hauled back and swung a punch at Rogue.
We all gasped.
Of course Rogue caught her fist without even really moving much. She then wrenched Ashley’s arm behind her back and pushed her hard enough to have her hit the ground hard. Ashley fell with whimper. She looked at Rogue with real fear for the first time.
“GET THE HELL OUT OF HERE!” Rogue bellowed at her, pointing toward the road. Ashley scrambled to her feet and ran away from the property as fast as her legs could carry her. She looked back to see if she was being followed. And she was, but not by Rogue. To make her point, Rogue whipped up one hell of a wind that chased Ashley all the way back to her car and didn’t abate until she jumped into her car and peeled onto the road back into town. Good Lord.
With a sigh and a shake of the head, Rogue floated into the air and flew toward our house, arriving just in time to see Amy close the portal. We all looked at her with round eyes. What the hell just happened?
Emmett and Jasper and the others had gotten home, and after everything was explained, they went into the garage and brought a huge amount of large garbage bags into the house. We each walked around the living room and picked up a flower arrangement and threw them into the bags. We wanted them out and gone as fast as possible. However, before we destroyed them, Rogue took a photo of them all with her phone and asked to keep the stacks of cards that came with them. She said she’ll explain later. As we were cleaning the botanical garden out of our house, Rogue’s eyes lit up and she snapped her fingers.
“Wait what’s the number for what’s-his-face?” she said.
Amy looked at her blankly. “What’s-his-face? That narrows it down dramatically,” she said sarcastically.
“You know, what’s-his-face at the FBI?” Rogue said digging through her purse to find her phone.
“Oh, you mean Scott Kramer?” Alexander supplied.
“Yes! Him! I have his number! Bingo!” Rogue said triumphantly. We all looked confused as she dialed his number then looked at me.
“Hey Carlisle, what is Ashley’s last name?” she asked.
I had to think for a moment, clear my head, and focus. “O’Donnell. Her name is Ashley O’Donnell,” I told her.
“Thanks!” she said and continued to dial. Just then the house phone rang. Esme went to field it and when she picked it up, she put her hand over the receiver and said that it was for me.
I went to pick it up. “This is Dr. Cullen.”
“Carlisle! It’s Bill! Listen we need you at the hospital as soon as possible.”
“Charlotte was attacked; stabbed in fact! She’s in surgery right now. And there are more FBI agents here than in the whole Silence of the Lambs movie. Another patient nearly died but he was able to survive; the best part was that he was able to ID who had tried to kill him! Carlisle . . . it’s bad. It’s really bad!” Bill sounded heartsick.
He was about to get even worse news. I told him everything that happened at my house between the botanical garden, creepy as hell notes, and Ashley’s whole showdown with Rogue. Well I left a lot about Rogue out and said that Ashley got into an altercation with one my neighbors and close friends right on my property. I heard Bill gasp over the phone. I started to get nervous; Bill was hardly sleeping and really anxious over this whole mess. The last thing anyone needed was for him to have a heart attack or stroke. I told him I’d be right there. Just then Rogue got off the phone with her FBI friend.
Her face looked concerned. She said, “Carlisle, if you don’t mind, I’d like to ride with you to the hospital. Scott is actually one of the agents at the hospital. I think the shit has finally hit the fan.”
Alexander, Amy, and Corin asked to tag along. We all piled into my car after I kissed my wife and hugged my family goodbye. I reassured them I’d let them all know what was going on as soon as I knew. They also knew that nothing would happen to me considering who was accompanying me to the hospital.
Meanwhile, Bella herself called Michelle’s house and asked for her to come over to our house because Nessie was very scared and she needed extra reassurance. Michelle flew out the door as soon as she hung up the phone.
We drove in mostly silence. I couldn’t wrap my brain around everything Bill had told me. It was almost midnight at this point. We reached the hospital in record time and saw that he was not exaggerating about the amount of federal vehicles in our little parking lot. You would think you were on the set of Law & Order or something. We all jumped out of my car and walked swiftly to the front of the hospital, which seemed like it was being treated like a crime scene of epic proportions. But we were able to get through. As Bill was waiting out front for us, I introduced those with me, while Rogue introduced herself as Rose Melanides. She mentioned she was a friend and former colleague of Agent Kramer, which made me raise my eyebrows. Rogue worked with the Feds? Alexander mumbled that she would explain later. I didn’t even bother to question. Bill then nodded seriously and led us into the hospital where a chunk of agents were milling around.
Rogue noticed and waved at who we figured was agent Kramer. He smiled and walked over. Once all of the introductions were made, we got down to business. We started by explaining to agent Kramer about what happened earlier—the same story that I told Bill—plus about all the other insanity between the coding and dying patients, the poisoning of the medical staff, and me being the object of a crazy stalker’s affections.
We went up to the patient who nearly died that evening. Bill and I walked into the room as I was his actual doctor, and the others stayed outside the room in order to not spook him.
“Mr. Yang, how are you feeling?” I asked quietly.
“Oh, much better, Dr. Cullen, thank you for asking. I wasn’t so sure a few hours ago though.”
“Can you please tell me exactly what happened and what you saw?”
“Well I was just napping when this pretty nurse walked in. She told me that she was giving me medication in my IV, but I remembered what you told me: that I didn’t need any other medication until the following morning. When I told her this, she smiled and said that the doctor was mistaken and that this medication would help me sleep. She then put the syringe with whatever the substance was into my IV and walked out. Seconds later, I felt like I couldn’t breathe. I started gasping for air. I couldn’t yell but I had my cane nearby and after using what strength I had left, I reached out for it and grabbed it, then I started banging on everything I could with it. I knocked a lot of those machines over and they started beeping loudly and then I remember passing out just as a bunch of other doctors ran in and started screaming to get a crash cart. I don’t remember anything else.”
Bill and I looked each other. I’m sure Bill was feeling the same thing I was but we weren’t going to show that to the patient; he’d had enough trauma for one day.
“Tell us, Mr. Yang, what did this nurse look like?” I asked gently.
“Well, she had blue scrubs on, her eyes were blue-green and her hair . . . well it was brown but like a strange brown. Sort of like it wasn’t her natural color and it was done poorly. I know all this because my wife regularly gets her hair done and I have to sit and wait for her for hours in that salon, so I have seen bad hair jobs and good ones, and this woman’s was done pretty badly. She was probably about five-foot-seven. I hope that helps you, doctor,” Mr. Yang said and yawned.
We left his room to let him get some rest. He described Ashley to a T. It also explained why Rogue was able to tower over her being six-foot-one, if Ashley was only five-foot-seven.
We reconvened in the hallway along with agent Kramer, but Bill’s pager went off and he went to find a phone, returning only a few moments later telling us that Charlotte was out of surgery, awake, and talking. I all but jogged down the hall toward the ICU. The others followed suit. When I entered the room, my heart seized. Their lay our vibrant, happy Texas cowgirl, all bandaged up and looking as white as the pillow she was laying on. Her boyfriend, Ben, the resident from Gastroenterology, was sitting by her bedside clutching her hand. I was already told her parents were called and they were taking the next flight out. He looked up at me with eyes that looked out of their mind with grief. He loved her. I touched his shoulder and he nodded. As if she felt us all in her room, she opened her eyes and smiled.
“Howdy . . . Dr. Cullen . . . ,” She whispered then cleared her throat.
“Oh my dear. What happened? Who did this to you?” I said leaning over her asking while also checking her vitals.
“She’s crazy. She’s absolutely psycho,” Charlotte said. I didn’t need to ask any more. But why would she go after Charlotte?
“Ashley did this?” Bill said incredulously behind me.
Charlotte nodded then spoke again. “She followed me into the parking lot after my shift finished. She called my name and when I turned around, I saw her brandishing this large butcher knife. She started screaming at me that I was stealing you, Dr. Cullen, away from her. That you were her’s and no one else’s. I said I had no idea what she was talking about and that you were married and that I had a boyfriend that I loved very much. She said it was all a lie and that she saw how you made a house visit to me when I was sick, and even gave me a hug on the way out. She said that I wouldn’t do it to her. I wouldn’t take you away from her. I tried backing away but she lunged at me and just started stabbing and slashing. I begged her to stop . . . she finally did when she saw other people walk out and stare at her. At that point she ran away. Those people saved my life. They ran up to me and got me back inside into the hospital. I lost consciousness. They told me I lost a lot of blood and that I was lucky I was where I was.” She was sobbing by the time she finished speaking. I hugged her. Poor girl.
At that point her boyfriend came around and held her after I let go. Rogue then turned to agent Kramer and said that she wanted guards posted by Charlotte’s door until Ashley was caught. He nodded and made a phone call. Just then I saw Jacob, Nessie, Michelle, Bella and Edward walking down the hall toward us. I was puzzled until I saw that Nessie was holding the bear Charlotte gave her when she broke her leg. We all let her pass as Nessie walked into the room alone and walked up to Charlotte who looked up at her in surprise.
“Hi Charlotte. I’m sorry that crazy witch hurt you. Here, I brought you the bear; I named him Courage. He will make you feel better. I don’t need him anymore. I also made him a cute cowboy outfit just for you. My Auntie Esme taught me how to crochet.” She then gave Charlotte, who by this time had tears streaming down her face, the bear while everyone who could cry—including Nessie—did. My granddaughter was an angel upon this earth.
“Thank you, darlin’. That’s so sweet of you,” Charlotte said through her sobs. Nessie hugged her. Ben was crying, too.
“All right Nessie, let’s let Charlotte rest. Thank you for doing this but you guys need to go home now. We have a lot to figure out here.”
She nodded softly, and left with the others who came with her after hugging me as well as the other Watchers.
Just in the nick of time, a nurse walked up to me and gave me some paperwork. As I looked at it, things started to fall into place. Charlotte’s blood work had finally come back from her food poisoning. I let Rogue and agent Kramer look at it. They looked at each other then at me, and then stepped away for a moment as I processed what I was looking at. Charlotte had been poisoned with arsenic, as were the other 4 nurses that were out that day. It would explain all of their symptoms: the horrible stomach pain, the sweats, the vomiting . . . .
Rogue and agent Kramer then gathered all of us together and decided to tell us what they had found out. For starters, Rogue had given agent Kramer that stack of cards that came with the hundreds of arrangements—thankfully no longer in our house—as well as sending him a photo of what our living room looked like before we tossed that stuff out. Hell we even burned it!
But I digress. It turned out that Ashley had a few warrants for her arrest in several states. To make matters stranger, her name wasn’t even Ashley O’Donnell; it was Carrie Cunningham. I honestly didn’t think I could take any more surprises. The one thing my mind lingered on was how ironic it is that her real last name has the word “cunning” in it, all things considered. So now the only thing that was left was to catch her.
At this point agent Kramer had called all the other agents into the lobby where we were and a strategy was put together. They decided, with my permission, of course, to use me as bait. She wanted me, and she would have me . . . well, sort of.
We all imagined she was more or less in hiding and wouldn’t answer the phone to just anyone; she might be insane but she wasn’t stupid. She knew the walls were closing in on her. But perhaps if I was to call and coax her to come to my house to talk, the agents could nab her in my front yard. I would have to be the best actor I could be. So we decided on that. I would drive home with the Watchers where they and my family would stay in the house while the agents would surround the entire perimeter of the property. They would wait for a signal from me. I would try to get a full confession out of her, or as much as I could, then I would scratch my head with my right hand and at that point they would surround her. Lord I hoped it would work.
Rogue told me that if that didn’t work, she herself would take her down. Oh boy. I don’t know what is worse. For Ashley or Carrie or whatever her name was, I imagine Rogue was worse. But they also told me to not slip up and call her Carrie because then the jig really would be up. So it was decided. I went home. I actually asked the Watchers to drive my car home; I wanted to run. I needed some air before I was going to do what we just decided on. I got to our house before anyone else anyways. My family knew what was going on, as well as what was going to happen, and waited anxiously inside the house along with the Watchers. Rogue told me when the agents were all in their respective places and then I picked up my house phone and dialed Ashley’s number.
She picked up on the second ring.
“Ashley?” I said, trying to keep my voice light and calm.
“Oh Carlisle, it’s you! I knew you were going to call!” she said breathlessly.
“Yes, of course, I was very worried about you,” I lied. The feds were recording the call.
“Why?” she asked.
“Why? It’s been a pretty wild day. I know about Charlotte,” I said.
“Oh, that. She’s alive, I take it.”
“Yes. Listen, I wanted to talk to you in person. Not over the phone.”
“In person?” she asked. I was hoping she wasn’t getting suspicious.
“Yes, phones are so impersonal. I want you to come to my house.” I told her, holding my breath.
“No! You have that crazy neighbor who nearly killed me! And all I wanted to do was see you,” she screeched.
“Oh, don’t worry about her, she won’t bother you again. I told her you were a friend of mine.”
“Just a friend?”
“Yes. Please come to my place, Ashley. I care about you and I don’t want you to get hurt.” I put some sort of inflection of passion into the plea even though all I felt was extreme revulsion. It worked.
“Oh yes, I’ll come now. See you soon, sweetie,” she said in a very tawdry voice.
We hung up.
Everyone got themselves ready in their respective locations. I have never prayed in my life or at least not in my vampire life but I started praying that this worked and ended well without anyone getting hurt. Soon enough I heard her car pull into our driveway.
I left the house and walked over to the front yard and she followed me there. We stood a few feet apart. She threw her arms around me and tried to kiss me. I held her back.
“What’s the matter? Don’t you want to?” she asked, confused.
“Later. We need to talk first,” I said.
“About everything that has been going on in the hospital. I don’t like secrets in any situation.” I couldn’t bring myself to say the word relationship.
“Well, I’m guessing you know I stabbed Charlotte. That little bitch was trying to get between us. Like hell! I wish I fucking killed her! She’s too cheerful. She has no idea what a hard life even looks like. Stupid blond bitch!” she spat vehemently.
“All right, what about the others?”
“OK, so I poisoned a few others here and there—big deal! They lived, didn’t they? Pathetic parasites!”
“What about the patients, Ashley?”
“What about them?”
“We’ve had a serious increase in deaths and coding patients.”
“Yeah so? I saved them! I was always there and I saved them. They should give me a fucking raise or promote me to fucking doctor.” She laughed, but it was a crazy laugh, like someone on the verge of losing control of reality completely. It was getting dangerous.
“Enough about the hospital and all that garbage,” she said, “when are we going to be together?” At that point, I scratched my head with my right hand giving the agents the signal.
“We’re never going to be together, Ashley,” I said and stepped back.
“Wha—?” She started saying as all of a sudden agents swarmed from all sides.
“Freeze! Hands in the air! Get on the ground now!” they yelled at her.
As I stepped even further back, one of the agents physically face-planted her into the ground when she failed to comply. They quickly searched her, determined she didn’t have any weapons, handcuffed her, and lifted her off the ground as she stared at me with wide eyes, her mouth hanging open.
“You set me up. YOU SET ME UP?! WHY? I JUST WANT TO BE WITH YOU FOREVER!HOW COULD YOU DO THIS TO ME? I LOVE YOU!” She screamed and howled.
“Carrie Cunningham, you have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You are allowed to an attorney, if you cannot afford one, one will be provided for you.” Agent Kramer read her Miranda rights.
At the sound of her real name she stopped screaming and went sheet-white, looking at me with wide eyes. At that point I think she realized it was over and no amount of yelling, screaming, or insanity would get her out of this one. At that point, Esme, Rogue, Alexander, Bella, Edward, Emmett, Rosalie, Jasper, and Alice walked out of the house and came to stand beside me in a show of solidarity. Jasper, Emmett and Rogue, looked at her like three giant cubes of ice; especially Rogue, who was grinning the most evil grin you could imagine. Esme wrapped her arms around my waist as I put an arm around her shoulder and held her very close to me. Here was the only, real, eternal love of my life.
It was at that point that agent Kramer came forward, shook hands with Rogue and told her he’d fax her the whole story when he had it from Ashley, aka Carrie. Rogue thanked him.
Ashley, meanwhile, was trying to catch my eye and I refused to look at her as she was being led away surrounded by four agents. I turned around and with my family beside me and my wife in my arms, walked back toward the house and up the stairs of the porch, into the house, and closed the door without looking back. She had taken more away from my family, friends and coworkers, and I wouldn’t give her the satisfaction of taking any more of our time that night. I was interested in that final report, too, and Rogue promised she would tell us everything when she got it. I wanted closure already. As we all sat in the living room, now devoid of the flower arrangements from hell, we realized the sun was coming up. What a night. People started to disperse. I made one final call to the hospital to tell Bill all went off without a hitch and he breathed a palpable sigh of relief. After that, I went into the backyard and lay down on the hammock with Esme. That’s where we stayed as we watched the sun come up.
It was finally over.
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