Disclaimer:All things Twilight belong solely to Stephenie Meyer. No copyright infringement is intended.
A second disclaimer:
I'm not a professional writer. I write Twilight fanfic simply because I love this fandom.
I apologize in advance for any errors.
This is my contribution for The Babies at the Border Fiction Compilation.
Thanks to Fran and K for their help with the story. A huge shout out to MarieCarro for the beautiful banner.
Isabella closed her eyes as she listened to the rhythmic roar of the surf. Sitting on the deck, she felt the warm sunshine soak into her skin. The only thing missing was a glass of wine, and the moment would be perfect.
Rising from the aged, teak lounger her father had built, she entered the set of double, French doors and went into the kitchen. After pouring herself a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, she headed back outside.
As she ran her fingers across the arm of the chair, she felt the deep grooves of the wood grain and thought about her parents. Memories of vacations spent at the small bungalow flitted through her mind. She and her mother used to stay the entire summer at their family beach home while her father, who worked in the city, would drive up each weekend to join them.
She sighed as she recalled gathering sea glass each morning with her mother along the shore. It had been her favorite activity, and if she thought hard enough, she could still picture the small, green pail they had used to collect their treasures. During their time together, her mother would ask her about her future dreams and aspirations. Isabella had always responded that she wanted to have a life like her parents and one day spend her summers with her own family at the beach.
As she reminisced, a man jogging along the shoreline caught her attention. Barefoot, he wore only a pair of dark swimming trunks. Jumping over an incoming wave, a boyish grin crossed his face. When she giggled at his antics, he suddenly turned and met her gaze. As his green eyes bore into her brown ones, he lifted a hand in salutation and mouthed, "Hello."
Isabella blushed. The man was beautiful; the sea breeze ruffled his reddish-brown hair as he stood watching her. After taking in his smooth, tan skin and chiseled abs, she studied his features. Even though he looked familiar, she couldn't quite place him. Deciding she must recognize him from around town, she returned his greeting.
A few seconds passed before he gave her one final glance and continued on his way. Overcome by the intensity of the moment, she took a sip of her drink. As she observed him run further down the shore, she felt a pang of loneliness and a strange sense of yearning. Not wanting to dwell on what was missing from her life, she made dinner.
Opening the refrigerator, she removed all the ingredients needed to make a small salad. Grabbing lettuce, she went to the sink. After carefully rinsing each leaf, she used her elbow to turn off the faucet. Picking up a knife, she cut the head into bite-size pieces. As she sliced through the vegetable, she heard water drip beside her at a steady beat.
Setting down the utensil, she walked back to the sink and adjusted the faucet. No matter how hard she tried, the water continued to trickle at a constant pace. Rubbing her hand across her forehead, she dashed into the garage and searched through her father's old toolkit. After finding a flashlight, she returned to the kitchen.
Because she had always tagged along after her father as a child, she had learned how to make a few minor home repairs. Finding the main valve beneath the sink, she turned the knob clockwise and shut off the water.
That will have to do until I can get someone here to fix it, she thought as she returned to the task of making her supper.
After eating and reading a few chapters of a novel, she adjourned to her bedroom and called it a night.
The next morning, Isabella showered and dressed before entering the kitchen to make coffee. As she turned on the faucet to fill the pot, she remembered that it was broken. Opening the fridge to get a jug of water, a knock sounded at the door.
Her brow furrowed as she made her way to answer it. Since guests were few and far between, she didn't have a clue who could be visiting.
After turning the knob and pulling it open, her eyes widened at the sight before her. It was the man from the beach, however, this time, a tight, white T-shirt accompanied his black swimming trunks. When she noticed the small toolbox in his left-hand, she raised an eyebrow.
"Hello," he said as he offered his hand. "I'm here to fix the leak."
Isabella's forehead scrunched in confusion. She didn't recall phoning a plumber, but after deciding she must have, she wrapped her fingers around his and welcomed him inside.
Taking him to the kitchen, she described the problem.
After placing his tools on the counter, he released a chuckle. "I'm going to need both hands in order to get this fixed."
Isabella's cheeks flushed scarlet as she looked down and realized she still held his hand. In fact, she hadn't released it from the moment she had met him at the door. "I-I-I'm so sorry," she whispered as she bit her lip in embarrassment.
Grasping her chin, he gently lifted it and met her eyes. "No worries. Believe me, if I could do this one-handed, I wouldn't ever let go."
Her mouth dropped into the shape of an O, and he shot her a wink before turning away to begin the repair.
Isabella finished making the coffee as the man tinkered at the sink. Studying him out of the corner of her eye, her body filled with heat. As he bent below the sink, the cotton of his shirt stretched across his shoulders and prominent muscles.
When he rose to grab a wrench, he caught her stare. Grinning, he gestured toward the coffee. "Can I have a cup when it's finished?"
Snapping out of her daze, she mumbled, "Of course." Once it finished brewing, she opened the cupboard and removed two mugs. After adding a bit of cream into each, she filled the remainder with the hot beverage.
Picking up the mug she had placed next to him, he brought it to his lips. After taking a large gulp, he moaned. "Perfect. Just the way I like it."
Isabella's mouth went dry as she observed his throat constrict with each swallow. Confused by the effect he was having on her, she took her cup and headed outside. "I'll be on the deck if you need me," she mumbled not meeting his eye.
As she exited the room, the man watched her leave. "Oh, I need you," he muttered before adding, "I always have."
An hour later, he suddenly appeared beside her. Startled, she jumped before placing her palm across her heart. Laughing, she said, "You frightened me."
He chuckled before apologizing. "Sorry, I'm finished with the sink; it's good as new."
Standing, she said, "Thanks so much. Let me get my purse, so I can pay you."
After retrieving her bag, she removed her wallet. "So, how much do I owe you?"
"Dinner should cover it."
"Huh?" She met his gaze with a confused expression.
"Dinner with me," he replied taking her hand. "Tonight."
Isabella had difficulty thinking with the feel of his skin against hers. For the first time in a long while, she felt complete...whole.
After gaining her composure, she licked her lips before saying, "Sure, I'd love to."
His face broke into a huge grin before he said, "Great! I know just the place."
-Later that afternoon-
Isabella sighed as she observed the beautiful scenery around her. When he had said he would return later that afternoon for their date, she had assumed they would go to a restaurant. Instead, she had been shocked to find a small picnic awaiting them on the beach. As he pulled small containers of food from a basket and set them on a checkered, linen blanket, she said, "This has always been my favorite spot. I used to sit here as a teenager and write in my journal."
He hummed in acknowledgment as he handed her a wrapped sandwich. Her mouth watered as she uncovered it and discovered a chicken salad croissant. "Oh, I could just kiss you!" she exclaimed before taking a bite. After swallowing, she said, "I haven't had one of these in ages."
He beamed as he watched her eat. Seeing her happy, brought him a sense of peace. Once they both finished their meals, he cleaned up before reclining on the blanket. Offering his hand, she joined him, and together, they lay staring at the deep blue sky.
After a few moments of silence, he asked about her life. Instead of asking the typical questions about what she did for a living or her family, he wanted to know about her hopes and desires.
Turning to face him, she paused briefly before answering, "I suppose I want the same thing as anyone else; a family of my own...love."
He caressed her cheek. "That sounds pretty perfect."
As she stared wordlessly at him, her mind drifted. Visions of a young girl with auburn hair and brown eyes along with a slightly older boy with brown hair and green eyes flashed through her mind. A soft sigh escaped her as she imagined tucking them into bed before returning to her own room where the man who was now beside her waited.
"What are you thinking about?" he asked as he played with her long, dark tresses. The feel of him running his fingers through her hair sent a pulse of longing throughout her body.
"Mmm... nothing," she muttered. "Just dreaming."
Time passed quickly, and before they realized, the setting sun sent streamers of purple and orange across the sky.
As they walked hand in hand toward Isabella's house, he said, "Can I see you again tomorrow?"
"I would like that," she responded before adding, "how about coming over for lunch?"
"I wouldn't miss it for the world."
As they halted at the base of her stairs, he said, "Did I tell you how beautiful you look today? In fact, I can't recall a lovelier sight."
Color spread across her cheeks as she glanced down at the simple blouse and jeans she wore. "Thank you."
Taking her face into his hands, he whispered, "There's something I'd like to try." She nodded before he softly kissed her. Neither were prepared for her response, her fingers knotted in his hair as she clutched him to her. His kiss deepened, and she moaned as a sense of belonging crashed through her.
Hesitantly, their kiss ended. With their foreheads pressed together, they gasped for breath.
"See you tomorrow, little one," he said before giving her a last final peck on the cheek.
Once Isabella reached her door, a frown marred her delicate features. Turning around, she called, "Hey! I realized I don't even know your name."
Turning to face her, he eyed her steadily before saying, "Are you sure? I'm certain you do."
And with that, he continued on his way leaving a puzzled Isabella standing in her doorway.
The next morning, Isabella awoke with a feeling of contentment. Thoughts of the time spent on the beach yesterday filled her with a renewed sense of hope. Eager to begin her day, she sprung out of bed and showered.
After checking the fridge, she made shrimp tacos for lunch. As she reached inside to grab the seafood, she suddenly changed her mind and grabbed a package of steak instead.
Just as she finished making a bowl of fresh guacamole, a knock sounded. A tremble of excitement rushed through her as she dashed to the door.
Outside on her porch, he stood. He wore his signature white T-shirt and dark swimming trunks. Her breath caught in her throat when she noticed the intense look he was giving her.
"Hello, little one." He handed her a bouquet of fresh tulips.
"Oh! Thank you," she said as she accepted the flowers. "I love tulips."
"I had a feeling," he responded before leaning down and giving her a gentle kiss. Groaning, he sighed. "I can't describe how much I've missed this."
She swatted at him before giggling. "It's only been a few hours." Gazing up at him, she added, "But I understand, I missed you as well."
They walked into the kitchen. After smelling the delicious aroma, he rubbed his stomach. "Did you make tacos?"
"I did," she said as she picked up a dish from the counter. "I hope you like steak; I was going to make shrimp, but changed my mind."
He followed her after grabbing a couple of plates off the stove. "I'm glad you did; I'm deathly allergic to seafood."
Once all the food was out on the deck, they sat and ate. They discussed their favorite books and music. It surprised Isabella to find they had many similar interests.
"I can't believe we have so much in common," she said as she took a sip of her wine. "Especially about movies. It's so rare to find someone who appreciates foreign films."
"Oh, I didn't always," he replied as he popped a grape into his mouth. "Someone special took me to see Wild Strawberries, and from that day on, I was hooked."
"Wild Strawberries?" she gasped in an amazed voice. There wasn't a film she adored more; it was her favorite as well.
"Yes, have you seen it?" he asked with a smirk.
"Oh yes, many times."
After they talked about the genius of Ingmar Bergman, he placed his hand gently across hers and stroked her fingers. "Let me help you clean up, and then I need to go."
Disappointment flickered across her face. "So soon?"
He chuckled. "It's almost six o'clock."
Looking at her watch, she smiled. Time passed so quickly whenever she was with him.
Once everything was back in its place, she walked him to the door. As he ran a finger along her lips, he said, "Did I tell you how beautiful you look today? In fact, I can't recall a lovelier sight."
"It's just a simple blouse and jeans," she said as she turned pink.
"But on you, it's exquisite," he replied before placing a tender kiss on her forehead.
As he walked outside, panic filled her. "Will I see you again?"
Turning, he said, "Nothing could keep me away."
She stood on her porch and watched as he disappeared into the evening sky.
-Later that night-
Sleep eluded Isabella as night faded into the early morning twilight. After several hours of tossing and turning, she got out of bed. After making herself a mug of warm milk, she went out on the deck.
The Earth was still; the only sound was the roar of the impetuous ocean. As she looked upon its vastness, a wave shot through the air with a rebellious force.
Gasping, a powerful memory surged through her.
A little girl running along the warm sand.
Her older brother laughing, following closely behind.
"Look, Mommy. Look at me," the girl's small voice called before a huge swell hit, pulling her deep into the murky water.
"Alice!" a scream filled the air. A man appeared. After yanking off his white T-shirt, he dove into the ocean.
The sound of glass shattering snapped her from her thoughts. Staring at the ground, she saw the shards of her broken mug.
Overcome with grief, she buried her head in her hands and sobbed.
The next day, Isabella remained in the chair on the deck.
When she hadn't answered the door, the man had become concerned and let himself in.
Discovering her outside, he slowly made his way toward her. Bending beside her chair, he noted the tears, which streaked her beautiful face. "Little one? Are you okay?"
Raising her head, she gazed into his eyes. They were the same eyes she had fallen in love with as a young girl along this very same beach. The same eyes as the father of her children. The same eyes as her deceased husband.
"Edward!" Launching herself into his arms, she wept. He ran his hand across her back and whispered soothing words into her ear.
"I've been waiting for you to remember," he said, his voice gruff with emotion.
"You died! You died saving Alice! Oh, Edward! I've missed you so much! My life has been so empty without you!"
He ran his hand tenderly across her forehead, pushing away a loose strand of hair that had fallen across her face. "Oh, sweetheart, I've missed you, too. But I was always here... always watching."
"Y-you were?" she stammered between her tears.
"Of course, I was; I could never leave you." Lifting her chin in his hand, he added, "And I saw everything. I can't begin to tell you how proud I am; you did such a wonderful job raising the kids."
Isabella released another sob at his admission. The children had been the only thing that kept her going after Edward's sudden death. She had often wondered if he would have agreed with the choices she had made during their upbringing.
"Oh, Edward. I wish you could see them. Charlie looks exactly like you, and Alice has your heart."
A sad smile crossed his face, "I wish so too, my love, but that wasn't in the cards for us."
"But, I don't understand, how are you here now?" After touching his face, she asked, "Am I dreaming? Is this real?"
Grasping her arm, he planted soft kisses along her wrist. "I'm very real. This is real."
"I've been waiting for you."
Guilt crashed over her. He must have been waiting for her at the beach house. But after his death, she had been unable to return.
"I'm so sorry. After you died, I just couldn't… I just couldn't bear the sight of this place... of the ocean."
"Oh, sweetheart, I understand. That's not what I meant."
Confused, she said, "It wasn't?"
Standing, he walked to the side of the deck. Resting his forearms against the railing, he said, "It was so difficult being patient... so difficult being away from you for so long. But, at the end of it all, I'm glad." Turning to face her, he ran a hand through his messy locks. "I'm so thankful you were there to help the kids grow up; so happy to see you live a long, full life."
"Edward... I don't understand."
His heart broke at the sound of her voice. More than anything, he wanted to tell her the truth, but he couldn't. It was something she had to realize on her own.
"Think, little one, think." Was his only reply.
Isabella screwed her eyes shut and thought about everything that had occurred over the past four days. It was several moments before something finally hit her.
What was she even doing at the beach house to begin with?
Even though she hadn't spoken the words aloud, he answered, "Yes, why are you here, sweetheart?"
And then she remembered.
Pain radiating from her chest.
Sitting in the car with Charlie, they were driving to the hospital.
"Just hold on Mom; we're almost there."
"I'm so tired," she said.
"I know you are, but please hold on. We love you so much."
Smiling, she caressed his hand, "I love you all too. You... Alice... the grandchildren have been my life, but I miss your father. It's time for us to be together again."
Tears rolled down his cheeks.
"I had a dream last night he was waiting for me at the beach house. He had on those old, black swimming trunks he always wore."
They smiled at the memory.
She glanced down at her outfit; she was wearing a pair of faded blue jeans and a simple, cotton blouse. "I hope I'm wearing something a bit nicer than this when I see him again," she teased.
Lifting her hand to his mouth, he kissed her fingers. "Oh, Mom, I don't think it will matter."
After wiping away the wetness from her face, she met Edward's gaze and nodded.
Now, she knew.
Standing, she walked across the deck to reach his side.
Gathering her in his arms, he gave her a gentle kiss and said, "He was right, you know. You look beautiful today. In fact, I can't recall a lovelier sight."
She smiled at his statement. They were the same words he had said to her every single day of their marriage.
After returning his kiss, they turned to face the endless horizon. Together once again, they basked in the knowledge that their forever had only just begun.
Like most of fics, this story was inspired by a picture of Rob. Yeah, I'm shallow like that...
To my It's Time readers, I will not be posting a chapter this week. After giving it some consideration, I need to tweak the next couple of chapters. I apologize for the delay.