A/N: So, if this sound familiar its because it is. After years away from writing I have decided to pick it back up. Starting by re-writing a bunch of my old stories and hopefully give them new life and make them better. I would love to hear your thoughts.
The sleeting rain beat heavily against the wind-shield as I sped my way down the winding Washington road. It had been a painful 4 years since I left my heart behind in Forks, and it still hurt every time I had thought of her. My only solace was thinking of her happy, healthy and most importantly, alive.
As a rounded another bed I saw the silhouette of a girl, walking dangerously on the shoulder of the skinny road. She had a hood up over her head and she was hunched against the cold rain. Hearing my car approach she stuck out her arm, thumb raised. I sped past her and then I paused.
I slowed and my eyebrows furrowed as I saw the girl in my rear view mirror. If I left this loan human in this weather she could die from the cold. Decided I pulled over to the shoulder.
The girls head perked up but I still couldn't see her face from under the shadow of her hooded coat. She sped to a brisk jog as she closed the distance quickly. Without a single word she opened the door and slipped into the leather seat. I was momentarily worried about the girl. Who would, without a second thought, get into a strangers car in the middle of the night, in the middle of no where, alone?
Any curiosity and concern immediately left my face as she roughly closed the door and her scent filled the small enclosed space.
My amber eyes darkened and looked incredulously at her.
"Thanks, you wouldn't believe how many assholes drove past me out here." She grumbled, her voice heavenly music to my ears despite her frustration.
"You're very welcome." I choked out, as I put the car in drive and pulled onto the road. From the corner of my eye I could see her take off her damp hood and look at me for the first time. I waited with baited breath for the realisation to dawn on her face. For her human heart to quicken in surprise and maybe anger.
But none of that happened.
"Whats your name?" She asked, as she fiddled with the heating vents so they would blow on her damp hair.
"Excuse me?" I stuttered. Of everything she could have asked me, I was not expecting that.
"Your. Name?" She repeated, this time slower, pronouncing each word carefully.
I snuck a glance at her from the corner of my eye, and she was just looking at me expectingly. When I didn't answer her eyebrows furrowed over her beautiful brown eyes.
I cleared my throat, "I'm Edward." I said "Edward Cullen." I clarified.
I looked at her again. Waiting for the sudden moment of realisation to dawn across her delicate features. It didn't come.
"Well, Edward. I'm Izzie." She then muttered under her breath, "Not that you asked."
I pretended I didn't hear the snarky comment, since I was obviously not meant to.
Bella pulled a damp duffle bag into her lap and started to ruffle through it. I tried not to be obvious as I watched her more than I watched the road.
The past four years had changed Bella. She had slight lines at her eyes and around her mouth, and her previously pristine ivory skin now had a spackle of freckles across her cheeks and nose. As she continued to rummage through her bag, my eyes lowered from her face to her neck.
Quickly I snapped my gaze back to the road, and then slowly dared another look.
Peaking from the collar of her coat I saw something that made my dead heart sink. Raised red and pink, was burn scars. Webbed and writhing I could see that they made their way around the back of her neck and disappeared. I tried not to think of the terrible thing that had happened to her to cause those marks.
My fingers clenched around the steering wheel. I had left her so she would be safe, and I had failed at even that.
It hadn't occurred to me that not even 30 seconds had passed. My thoughts were racing and my brain and body where working over time, attempting to absorb every moment of this chance meeting.
Bella produced a crumpled packet of cigarettes, "Do you mind?" She asked, waving them gently. I tried not to let my face betray the disgust. Of course I minded, I did not want the stench of tobacco to sink into my car seats. However I couldn't bring myself to deny Bella anything.
"No, of course not. Go ahead." I waved my hand dismissively.
"Thanks" She muttered, a cigarette already between her beautiful lips. She pulled a cheap plastic lighter out of her pocket and lit the offending item.
Bella rolled down the window a crack, and after she drew in a deep breath, she blew the smoke out the gap. My eyebrows rose slightly in shock, as the scent of the smoke lingered in the car.
It was not tobacco as I had originally thought. Rather it was marijuana.
Bella took another long draw of the joint, before holding it in the space between us, "Want some?" She asked tightly, the smoke still in her lungs.
"oh, uh" I stammered, "No. Thank you, though"
Bella released the breath she was holding in with a puff of smoke and laughed. If my dead heart could beat it would have been hammering out of my chest. I never thought I would that amazing sound again. "Relax. It's just weed. And this is Washington,"
I still didn't truly know what was going on. Bella looked and behaved so differently, and she had no reaction to me what so ever. It was like she had no idea who I was. I wanted to ask her a million questions, but I knew how to read a room even if I couldn't read her mind. So I settled for this question. "So where are you heading? Is there anywhere I can drop you off?" I asked.
Bella sighed as she stubbed out the joint on the wrinkly packet of cigarettes, placing what remained of her vice inside. "As far as you can take me a guess." she shrugged, "I don't have anywhere I need to be," she chuckled humorlessly.
"Is there a friends place I can drop you off at?" I offered, "Or family?"
Bella's expression turned sour, "You would know that just as well as I do."
I looked at her from the corner of my eye again, thinking this was it. She finally realised who was in the car with her. But she wasn't looking at me, rather gazing out the window.
"I'm sorry?" I asked, my eyebrows furrowing.
Bella gave me a rueful smile, as if to apologise. "I don't really remember much." she shrugged.
"Remember about what?" I asked, trying not to give away my eagerness in figuring this mystery out.
"I was in an accident, when I was 19. I was driving with my dad, or at least that's what the doctors said." Bella pulled a worried hand through her dark hair and the movement was so familiar that I wanted to reach out and do it myself. Bella continued, oblivious to my yearnings. "I don't really remember much of my life from before waking up in the hospital. My dad died in the crash, and no one else came to get me from the hospital." Bella's shouldered shrugged tiredly, "All I really have is," She paused as if feeling around her muddled brain for the right word, "A sensation. A feeling. It's like a void, deep in my chest. Something that was there, but is missing now. Someone I loved, deeply." her voice was shaky and I could see the tears that welled in her eyes, threatening to fall.
"I'm so sorry," I rasped out, trying my best to remain calm.
"Oh god," Bella covered her face with her hands, "I'm the one who should be saying sorry to you! I mean I don't even know you and here I am burdening you with all this bullshit. And after you've given me a ride and everything." Her hands waved around the car. "Its all such bullshit. I don't even know what I am talking about. I don't even know his name, or if he was even real."
I opened my mouth to say something to reassure her she wasn't crazy, but she continued before I had the chance, "What I should have said," she took a calming breath and my eyes darkened more at how her scent wafted around me. "Is that I am heading to Seattle. So I would really love it if you could just take me as far as you're going."
I wanted to tell her that I would drive her the entire way there if that is what pleased her. Even though we were a good 5 hour drive away from the city still. Rather than that I said "So you have no where to stay tonight?"
"Nope" Bella replied nonchalantly.
My brows furrowed in concern, I didn't like the thought of Bella, my Bella, alone and unprotected in the cold night. "If it's not too presumptuous you could stay with me and my family?" I phrased it as a question,
"You don't even know me," Bella laughed in surprise, "You sure your wife would be okay with you bringing home a strange woman?" she jested,
I baulked at the insinuation "I'm not married." I said plainly,
"Oh," Bella raised her eyebrows, "You mentioned your family, is all" she shrugged.
"I meant my siblings and my parents." I clarified.
"Well then," she hummed, "You don't look like a serial killer. And I would prefer a warm house instead of the alternative." She continued, "But I don't want to put anyone out. Shouldn't you check with your family?"
I knew I didn't need to do that. I knew that the moment they saw Bella that they would all be overwhelmed with happiness. But she didn't know that, so I reached into my pocket for my phone, dialling Carlisle without looking away from the road.
I lifted the phone to my ear and gave Bella a friendly smile, Carlisle quickly answered, "Everything okay, son?" he asked,
"Uhm yeah, I was wondering if it would be okay to bring over a house guest tonight?" I then whispered, far too fast and far too quietly for Bella to hear me "It's Bella. It don't really know whats going on Carlisle, but she doesn't remember me, or any of us, at all. She mentioned an accident but I don't have anything else."
There was silence on the other end of the phone, and I worried that the line had dropped. But then Carlisle answered me, "Of course Edward, there is no need to ask. Is there anything else?" he asked,
I gave Bella another smile, letting her know it was okay, "Her name is Izzie, we will be there soon, about 15 minutes."
"Alright son, I will let the others know"
I pressed the end call button on the phone and slipped it back into my inside jacket pocket. "Everyone is okay with it." I assured her.
"Whoa" she pulled her duffle bag close to her, "Seems like you have one really kind family." she said softly.
Her eyes looked so sad as she looked out at the rainy night that was passing us by. I wanted nothing more than to pull over the car and tell her, that this family was hers too. That I would never leave her like I had four years ago. I wanted to hold her in my arms and run my hands lovingly through her hair and beg for her forgiveness for the unforgivable agony I had caused her.
Instead I stayed quiet and continued the drive to my home. I was not going to let Bella go again, I would make her remember. I would get my heart back and together we would be whole.
I just had to figure out how.