Beyond the leaded glass panes of the rustic cottage, the sky lightened to a dull grey and a thick fog rolled across the windows as if seeking entrance. The darkened hearth did nothing to dispel the gloom or banish the chill that seemed to settle in the man's bones.

A mantel clock ticked the measurement of time as he sat shivering in the eternal grey, lost in his thoughts.

"Hello, I'm Bella, may I pour for you?"

He broke from his reverie to gaze into soulful, dark eyes. She wore a blue calico print whose skirts danced around bare feet, with long mahogany hair draping her feminine curves. Though of similar age, he felt worn and ancient in contrast to her vivaciousness.

She smiled kindly and he felt warmed through to his soul.

He found his legs draped snuggly with a blanket. His eyes danced around the warm, golden room transformed by the glow of the fire crackling in the hearth, taking in the table now covered with welcoming tea things, and then back to the woman waiting, hoping.

His austere face softened to a genuine smile.

"I'm Edward—and I would like that very much, Bella."