Disclaimer : Stephenie Meyer owns Twilight and all its characters. No copyright infringement is intended.
Author's Note : If you've read Grass Is Always Greener, then you will recognise the opening paragraphs of this story. For those that haven't (and there is no need to), Bella and Edward are living with their baby daughter in a small cottage, set in the grounds of a larger house owned by his parents.
This is a short story with short chapters, all uploaded and ready to post.
Edward loved to be able to wander off into the forest whenever the mood took him and usually came home with new drawings in his sketchbook and a bag full of greens or chanterelles for our dinner. After our daughter was born, he would take her with him, strapped to his chest, so that I could either rest or write.
It was on one such occasion that I realised we weren't the only ones living in our cottage. As I sat at my bureau, looking out of the window and waiting for inspiration to strike, I noticed a movement out of the corner of my eye.
I turned my head fractionally to the right, just enough to witness the apparition of a young woman in a long, grey dress kneeling on the floor. She used her fingernails to raise a loose floorboard and pulled out a bundle of letters tied with a brown, satin ribbon and promptly vanished.
For a moment, I sat in a daze, staring into space. I couldn't quite believe what I had seen, but before I knew it, I was walking across the room and crouching down beside the exact same floorboard the ghost had raised.
I studied the plank of wood. It was somewhat shorter than the surrounding boards, it's edges chipped and dented, but it stood out from all the others, and that had me wondering how it was that Edward and I had not noticed it before.
Placing my left hand on the floor for balance, I reached out with my right and attempted to lift one end of the board. I felt something sharp pierce the tip of one of my fingers right under the nail and withdrew my hand abruptly. Wincing, I eased the splinter of wood out with my teeth, spat it to one side and sucked my finger into my mouth. The coppery taste of blood on my tongue had me feeling a little nauseous.
As I was beginning my second attempt, the front door slammed shut downstairs, thus halting any further exploration. I stood up, brushed myself down and then crossed the room to tidy my things away and close the wooden flap of my bureau.
Edward was calling for me, his voice getting gradually louder as his socked feet padded up the wooden stairs. He poked his head around the bedroom door. "Bella? We've got mushrooms for dinner!"
His face displayed the same boyish excitement that always accompanied a successful forage in the forest, and I found him totally irresistible. A cheerful gurgle drew my attention to our daughter, still strapped to her father's chest, her chubby little legs waggling vigorously.
I stepped forward to kiss the top of her head and breathe in her scent before placing my mouth on Edward's full lips. His arms wound around me, pulling me in closer so our daughter was sandwiched between us. My arms wrapped around his neck, my fingers working their way into his hair, and soon all thoughts of the ghost and her letters had left my mind.
When our daughter squealed, we broke apart and stared into each other's eyes, grinning stupidly before we headed downstairs to the kitchen to cook our dinner.
The next afternoon, as I sat at my bureau doodling in a notebook reserved specifically for that purpose, the ghost in the long, grey dress appeared to me again. This time, I turned toward her fully and watched carefully as the scene played out in front of me, exactly as it had the day before.
Once the woman had disappeared, I skirted the room, eyeing the loose floorboard. My sore finger was still throbbing a little from the splinter. Eventually, I knelt down beside the bed, and with the fingernails of both hands, tentatively lifted one end of the short plank of polished wood. There underneath it, in a small well in the floor, was a dust covered bundle of letters tied with a faded brown, satin ribbon.
In truth, while I had hoped, I hadn't really expected to find anything, so I was a little surprised by my discovery. I sat back on my heels for a minute, my eyes flitting back and forth between the loosened floorboard and the well in the floor until I gave in to temptation and retrieved the letters from their hiding place.
I perched on the edge of the bed and blew off the dust before placing the letters on my lap. With forefingers and thumbs, I slowly pulled at the two ends of the ribbon until the bow was unravelled, watching as the ribbon fell from my fingers to drape over my thighs.
Only then did I dare to read the name on the uppermost envelope, the name that had, just a second ago, been covered by loops of satin ribbon, the name that now had me gasping in horror: Isabella Swan.