A/N: A couple of things to say before we get into it. First of all, a massive thank you to those who favourited, followed, and reviewed this story- there was definitely some ecstatic arm flailing happening!
Secondly, I quite struggled with this chapter- this story is quite jumpy in my mind, but after the first chapter was up, I realised I might need to give some more background into Edward's character and I don't know that I'm confident enough in putting words down on paper (or screen) to weave the background into the story as cleverly as some people can, so this chapter will be a bit of an insight into where Edward is coming from before we get too far into things.
That being said, I really hope you still enjoy this chapter, and I would love any constructive feedback!
(Also, ten points to anyone who read that whole A/N- I promise I won't ramble at the start of every chapter!)
Wednesday. In the few days since moving in I had not seen the pale blue house residents again, leaving me to unpack my life without distraction, other than the blue bell laugh still tinkling in the back of my mind. This was at the point in time when the young woman across the street was yet to take up every spare corner in my mind, and was yet to be in every breath I took, so I didn't pay too much attention to the laugh that would occasionally drift through along with other errant thoughts.
Unpacking was a more arduous task than I imagined, especially since I had declined Jasper and Emmett's repeated offers to help me reassemble my furniture- it turned out that I had forgotten what most of it looked like during the two weeks I kept it in storage. Possibly a sign it was time to get better furniture.
Unpacking was not, however, strenuous enough that I didn't lie awake each night, thinking about everything that had led me to be an unemployed 27 year old who had just, for some reason none of his friends could understand, bought a family home for himself-by himself- in the suburbs he had spent his early 20s avoiding like the plague, much to the dismay of former girlfriends hoping to "rein him in".
So, as I lay in my new bedroom on that night, with my air mattress and sleeping back in their boxes, once again tucked into a downstairs closet, I thought over the last five years that had led me here. I finished college tired, having finally broken up with Tanya during my final semester, so while my friends were all excited to finally be out in the world looking for that dream job they had worked four years for through college, I was ready to finally do something that felt easy, something that I didn't have to wear myself down to the bone for.
That's how I found myself in a 9-5 office gig, wearing a suit every day, something I never imagined for myself, and having the same crappy takeout for lunch each afternoon before dragging myself back to a job I hated. It wasn't all bad though; Jasper and Emmett, my closest friends from college, and I, had stayed in touch, and caught up every week, eventually along with their girlfriends- although I should say fiancé now in Jasper's case- Alice and Rosalie. My job was pretty cushy, too, so money wasn't something I had to worry about, and I had a few brief but good relationships.
Somewhere along the way though, I found myself caring less and less. My post-college funk turned into five years, and one day I found myself stunned into silence at walking into my apartment full of friends that, with a few exceptions, I didn't really like that much, ready to celebrate my 27th birthday. Thankfully, everyone just thought they had pulled off the best surprise party ever, even though Emmett had spilled the beans a week earlier, and that it wasn't just the shock of seeing the big 2-7 balloons floating above everyone's heads.
Regardless of actually having a decent time that night, once I could escape the masses and just chill out with a beer on the balcony with a few friends, I decided then and there it was time to make a change. Enough drifting through life, taking whatever came my way- I needed a fresh beginning so as to give myself a kick start into actually doing something with my life, and not let this feeling leave me once I went back to work that Monday.
Which is how I found myself spending a Sunday two months ago writing my resignation letter. Since then, I had gone to every house inspection I could, packed up my life, spent two weeks crashing at Jasper and Alice's, replaced the crappy key board I never used, and now finally moved into the suburbs, waiting for my piano to be delivered the next day.
To some it might seem like settling down and doing the opposite to making a fresh start, but to me, having a solid foundation under my feet- far from the junk food outlets I'd been living off of and the equally as crappy bar that I didn't actually like that much but found myself at just as often- meant that I could finally let go of the little things, and start focusing on the big adventures I'd been putting off for five years, and the first step to that was getting back to my music- I now had a place to compose on a proper piano without worrying about disturbing the people in the apartment next to mine through the paper thin walls.
As I woke on Thursday morning, I found an email lighting up my phone screen- the first in a long time, for which I was thankful for- from the tracking service on my piano, letting me know it would be delivered today. So, with a feeling of excitement greater than I had felt even as I drove away from the apartment that I had occupied since moving from college to the city, I got on with the day.
It was around 2pm, just as I was getting out of the shower after my midday run, that I heard a truck pull up outside. After quickly drying off and pulling on the closest pair of jeans I could find in the mess of boxes my bedroom still was, I ran down the stairs, stumbling at the bottom as I finally pulled on my t-shirt and wondering why there had been no knock at the door yet.
As I wrenched open the door, I found my answer; though the truck was parked firmly in front of my house, I saw two delivery men standing on the porch of the pale blue house across the road, talking to what sounded like a thoroughly confused someone. The "PIANO MOVERS" printed on the side of the truck in big black letters confirmed that I was right to be darting across the road towards the three figures on the porch, one of which, I saw as I approached them, was none other than a blue bell laugh.
"So there isn't an Edward Cullen at this address? Damn it…" Blue bell shook her head as she bit her nail, and the other moving man, who had not spoken, sighed in frustration. I had meant to let the two movers know I was there immediately, and not linger, but there I was, suddenly stuck.
Blue bells had me glued to the spot, my hand halfway raised on the way to tapping one of the men on the shoulder; I was struck by this beauty up close. From my position on the porch, I could see big black lashes framing deep brown eyes, just as multifaceted in colour as the chestnut hair tossed up in a bun on top of her head, with small wisps of it floating down across her milky white face. Between her petal lips sat a small pink tongue, just peeking out to sooth her pinkie where she had bit down on the end.
But that wasn't all I saw; I saw light blue circles under those Bambi eyes, and the smudge of sleep sitting in the corner of her left eye. I saw her tap out a beat against the wooden boards beneath her, and I saw her right arm wrapped protectively against her front. After what felt like an eternity of staring, but I hoped was only seconds, I saw her eyebrows draw down towards her eyes, as she said "Well, I don't know what to tell you. This is number 46, but nobody by the name of Culling lives here…"
"Cullen." It seems I had finally found my voice, and three pairs of eyes turned towards me suddenly. "It's Cullen. And it should say 45, not 46."
"Oh, it does too!" said one of the men, and as he turned around to say goodbye to the woman in the doorway, there was the click of a door shutting and she was gone. "So you're right across the street, or..?"
It took me a moment to respond, my eyes now boring into the door behind the movers, where blue bell had been only seconds ago. "Yeah…right across the… street. The white one with door open."
"Right, we'll get to it then." The movers got to work quickly now, and after gathering myself, I followed them back across the street to direct them where I wanted my new grand piano.
In all the hustle of getting the piano in through my doors that suddenly seemed tiny, thoughts of the woman across the road had been tossed from my mind. It wasn't until much later that day, when the sun was setting and I heard a car pull into the driveway across from my own, that thoughts of her came rushing back; deep brown eyes and petal lips, a nervous rhythm and sleep stuck in spider leg lashes. Suddenly, I couldn't get her out her mind; just as suddenly, the music flooded out.