Sorry but I could only dream of being the amazing and wonderful Stephenie Meyer. Don't be too disappointed about it though; I'm dismayed enough for all of us combined. All in all, these are not my characters and I can't take credit for them. Tear
A/N: I was going to make this chapter a basic summery of what happened between 1918 and now, but I figured it would be rather boring and mopey… so I'll just work all of that into the rest of the story, not quite like the flashbacks in my other story, but more as just random thoughts. Anyone have a problem with that? Good.
EPOV- Present day
I touched a key on the piano gently, playing that first note but ignoring the urge to play the rest. We would have to leave soon, and the last thing I needed was to be pulled into the music again. I closed my eyes and listened to the sweet hum that I could still hear in my head, the beautiful voice that still lingered just out of reach on my subconscious. I could almost reach out and touch her face, though I didn't remember exactly what she looked like. The change had wiped most of my past away; the only thing that remained with amazing clarity was that song, that voice.
"Edward? Are you ready?" Alice asked, walking into the room and looking at me as I sat in front of my piano, my finger still touching the key.
She was by my side less than a second later, looking at me with curiosity. "Are you okay?"
"Fine." I looked up into her eyes, my hand pulling away from its favorite place and falling into my lap. "Where is everyone else?"
"Already in the car. Come on!" she sang, laughing as she took off toward the garage. I followed obediently, grabbing my keys off the table before running to the car. I was sad to see that she hadn't been kidding; everyone was already there. I climbed in and started my Volvo, taking a deep breath as I pulled out.
Alice, sitting next to me, was staring out the window, and I could hear her wondering if everything was going to go as well as they were supposed to today. I vaguely wondered what 'things' she was referring to, but decided that I would find out eventually, no need to further invade her privacy. My eyes traced the road, hardly absorbing the images as I tried to get myself to get my mind out of the past.
"Edward, are you okay?" Rosalie asked from the backseat, her eyes meeting mine in the rearview mirror.
"I'm fine," I said again, pulling my eyes away. If I didn't stop thinking about her soon I was going to get too distracted. As it was, I had no reason to think about her other than to torture myself. She had been gone for decades. I had searched for her for a long time after Carlisle had changed me. It was in the forties that I had finally found a record. She had died of the influenza five years after I supposedly had. There was no way I would ever have her back; there was no way that I would be able to ever feel her or see her or listen to her sing to me again. I closed my eyes for a minute, clearing my mind and focusing on nothing but the road. I could vaguely hear a little hiss just outside of my own thoughts - the minds of the others - but ignored it. They already thought that I lived in their thoughts. There was no reason to prove them right.
We arrived at that school, and I saw that we were earlier than normal. Only a few cars were parked, one of which was a decrepit looking truck that I didn't recognize. That wasn't a surprise. There was little that I noticed now. A parked near the front and shut off the engine. The others got out quickly, no one saying anything, though there minds were quite busy, switching from math to science to graduation. I heard Emmett wondering exactly when it would be best to make Rosalie his fiancé again.
"Edward, are you sure your okay? You're more distant than normal today," Alice said. I looked down at her, her eyes wide as she met mine. There was a little tilt to her lips that I hardly ever saw. I reached out to her mind only to find that she was extremely focused on Spanish.
"I'm fine, Alice. Really." My voice was as light as normal, giving her no reason to not believe me. "Just thinking about going hunting tonight."
"Okay." She obviously didn't believe me, but with nothing to call me on, she just walked away. I closed my door and pocketed my keys. The building was practically empty, the halls echoing my footsteps as I went to my locker for my books. By the time I reached it, I could hear people beginning to fill in the emptiness. There was a buzz to everyone's thoughts. Something about one Isabella Swan. Not recognizing the name, I blocked out their thoughts and just went to my class to wait for school to begin. At least that would distract me.
The bell rang nearly twenty minutes later, and people poured into the classroom, sitting on the opposite side as me. I had to smile a little at that. They could feel that there was something not quite right about me. If only they knew. Of course, they had no way to know that I wasn't going to be much of a threat.
Mr. Varner walked in, looking around and scribbling in his book before starting his lecture about some useless advanced trigonometry function. Sadly, I did know it was useless, no matter what he told the class. I had lived for ninety years and had yet to have a good use for it other than to waste time when I had nothing better to do. But I listened closely, taking unneeded notes to keep my mind at strict attention.
The bell rang and I moved on to my Politics, again taking close notes for about half of it. Then I let my mind wander, needing to find a way to distract myself without being so unbelievably. I listened to everybody, a lot of them only thinking one name; Isabella Swan. Who was this girl that was causing such a buzz. I vaguely recognized the name, but I couldn't place it. I saw a few images of her from a government class. Most of the guys staring at her were really checking her out, but it was mostly just little glimpses of her. She seemed cute in a little girl way, always hiding behind her hair so I couldn't get a good view of her. Not that it mattered; I was just wasting time.
The bell rang again, then again, and finally the one that released us for lunch. Now the entire school was buzzing. No longer was it just the ones in her class. I shook my head as I got into line, waiting to collect my food. I blocked it all out as I piled food onto my tray and went back to my table. Alice and Jasper were already there. "Edward."
"Jasper." I said, nodding back at him. "Alice."
"Look at her. She's beautiful." I heard clearly in my head. It was Eric Yorkie. I knew whom he was thinking about of course. The same one he had been focused on all day, since his English class first thing this morning. I let my mind sweep across the crowd, searching for this Isabella's mind, just as I had been all day. It was strange not being able to find it.
I caught another thought then - "If Mike looks at her like that one more time…" - and I saw Isabella Swan with her brown eyes and hair as she sat down, a blush on her cheeks. Jessica's view was a little distorted, making her face a little warped and blurry - probably because of jealousy - but what did it matter? I searched a little at that table, trying to pick up on her mind without having to look up at her, but I just couldn't seem to find her. I went back to Jessica's head, a little aggravated, as I tried to find her exact position. "The Cullen's. Bella is staring at the Cullen's. Of course, who else would she be looking at?"
It made my head spin around quickly without command, my eyes landing on Jessica before flicking to the girl beside her. I felt like I had been punched in the stomach. That hum sounded in my head as she swiftly looked away at the same time I did. I took a deep breath. I had been seeing things. I know I had been seeing things. I let the breath out slowly, neutralizing my face as I tried to push away the lullaby. I glanced over again without making it obvious to anyone and the word was whispered from my lips before I could even think about it. "Clara."
His eyes had turned to me, and I had the oddest feeling that he knew what I had asked. As if he had heard, which, of course, was impossible considering their position on the opposite side of the room. No, he couldn't have heard me. When his dark eyes locked with mine, I dropped my head almost instantly, but I could see an odd look as he did the same, only quicker. My face went red instantly, embarrassment flooding my system.
The girl next to me laughed a little nervously, as if she too was embarrassment. She explained to me that they were Edward, Emmett, and Alice Cullen and Rosalie and Jasper Hale, though she didn't indicate which was which. I glanced up from under my eyelashes and saw that the one that had caught me staring was saying something to the others though they neither appeared to be listening or did his lips seem to be moving very much. She went on to explain that they were the children of one Dr. Cullen and his wife.
"They are… very nice-looking." I muttered, still looking at them from under my eyelashes, afraid of being caught again.
Jessica agreed with a giggle, a wistful look on her face. Then she told me that, though they all lived together, they were all together. Well, all but Edward. I had to admit that it was rather odd, but I didn't like the way she said it, as if it made them mutants. Trying to keep myself from pointing this out I asked a little more about them, which were the Cullen's to be more exact, and pointed out that none of them looked at all alike.
"They aren't." she said simply. "They are all adopted. Well, the blondes are, they are the Hales'. Twins. They're foster children." I nodded, only half listening while I continued to stare at the table. Then something she said caught my attention. The Hale's were 18 and had been taken in by Mrs. Cullen when they were eight or something. She was their aunt and couldn't have kids of her own. It made me soften toward the woman already, but the way that Jessica said it, you would think it was a sin.
I thought over the years I had visited here. I didn't remember them. I wouldn't have been able to miss people that looked like that. When I pointed that out, Jessica nodded and told me that they had just moved here two years ago, which explained it perfectly.
I continued to examine them when the one that had looked up before looked over again with a masked face, but an odd look in his eyes - maybe curiosity? I looked away swiftly again. I took a little breath. "Which is the boy with the reddish brown hair?"
"That's Edward." I had the urge to repeat it, just to hear it from my own lips. I shook my head, listening to her again. "But he doesn't date." The tone in her voice let me in on the fact that she had clearly been turned down. I had to bite the inside of my cheek to keep from smiling or asking any questions.
I just nodded and looked out at him again to see he was turned away again, but there was a clearly frustrated look that was evident on his profile. He glanced at one of the girls at the table (maybe Alice? She didn't seem nearly as much a Rosalie as the tall, blonde beauty sitting beside her) before they all rose and walked out of the cafeteria with a grace that was unnerving. From the pixie to the giant, brawny Emmett (which I only figured out after deduction) they walked in languid, dance-like movements.
The others looked at me quickly after the word left my lips. They didn't know the meaning of it, of course, which served as my only solace in the situation. Alice was the only one with the nerve to speak. "What did you say Edward?"
"Nothing," I said, looking down at my uneaten food. The others looked away from me as if that was what made me uncomfortable. Deciding to let them in, so I wouldn't have to deal with the guilt of lying to my family, I told them, "I can't read her."
Without looking away from the spot on the table, Alice asked, "What do you mean?"
"I can't hear anything. At all. It's not like she's not thinking anything, I just can't break in."
"The new girl Isabella Swan." I said, again glancing back just in time to see her looking back at me again. I turned to Jessica's thoughts again, having no other preferable method of deciding what she was thinking. "Oh, she's asking about Edward. I wonder what he would do if I asked him out again? He keeps looking at her though. Does he like her or something? No, that couldn't be it. He doesn't date anyone. Yet." She spoke for a minute, basically putting her thoughts into words.
I turned back to my family, meeting Alice's eyes. "Maybe there's a reason for that, Edward."
My throat tightened as I looked at her. What did she know? Her thoughts were again focused at an extreme level on her choice of clothing for the next day. Why did she keep blocking me out? I just sighed and, with the rest of my family, rose from the table and left the hall. The entire time I had to all but close my eyes, so I didn't look back at the Bella Swan that reminded me so much of Clara it was shocking.
A girl named Angela had the next class, Biology II, with me and walked by my side. We were silent, and I let my mind wander over lunch. There was no denying that Edward and the rest of his family were completely gorgeous - almost unearthly so. And the way the others in the room seemed to stay away… like they were outsiders. But that couldn't be. With looks like that they could run the school. And why had Edward looked so… odd when he looked at me, like I wasn't giving him something that he wanted. I felt my stomach tighten a little as I looked at the room. I had already had a teacher force me to introduce myself to the class. Would this Mr. Banner do that?
I walked in with Angela who hurried to a lab table that already had someone sitting at it. Obviously she already had a lab partner. Actually, I noticed as I started up the aisle, that all the tables appeared to be full with the exception of one that was next to the center aisle, a copper-ish, messy head. The only open seat beside him.
My eyes stayed on his back as I walked up the aisle just a little quicker to introduce myself to the teacher and have the slip I had been given that morning signed. I was just a few steps behind him when the door opened again and a gust of wind swept past me.
His back went completely rigid. He turned to me, his eyes locking with mine. At first his features were extremely… soft - like he had been thinking an extremely warm thought only moments before. But his eyes peeled soon enough and he hardened, his lips setting into a deep frown and his every ounce of muscle of his body tightened. The real thing that caught me though, making me freeze, was his eyes which were an unfathomable black. My head flew around, looking forward again just as my foot came in contact with a book in the aisle, causing me to trip and nearly fall.
How could anyone look that much like her? I closed my eyes and tried to just breathe as I sat down in my chair, the first person in the room. How did I even recognize her? Just this morning I had thought about my inability to recall her image. But, the minute my eyes had landed on this girl, on this Bella, I could remember her face with perfect clarity. I could see the soft curve of her cheek, the deep brown of her eyes, the tight bun in her hair the day that she had said goodbye. And this Bella…
I shook my head, forcing myself to wake up as people began to walk into the classroom. I was just glad I wouldn't have to see her until tomorrow. 24 hours to talk to Carlisle, ask him for help, for answers. I took a deep breath and watched as Mr. Banner checked off names as they walked in. He had just set down his notebook when yet another gust of wind swept past me. I froze at the scent it carried on it. So… beautiful. So mouthwatering and amazing and divine. A smell of blood like nothing before.
I turned to look at her, my eyes locking with hers, my Clara. No! No, she's not Clara! The smell wafted across my nose again, making me breath deeply as she froze, her gaze locked with mine. Her eyes held… fear. She looked positively terrified as she pulled away from my look. Oh dear god. What had I done? I closed my eyes and tried to stop myself from breathing, to stop my limbs from tightening as if I was about to attack her.
After a second the chair next to me was pulled back. Of course she had to sit next to me, this temptress in blood and body. That made me shake myself awake. I was stronger than this. I would not fall because of one person. I would not disappoint my family like that, and I would not hurt her like that. I turned away from her slowly, trying to get away from her amazing scent. After a minute the smell wafted over again, a mixture of her and strawberries, and I saw that she had let her hair fall forward like drape between us.
My fist on my leg tightened and I could feel my nails digging into my palm as I watched the teacher and tried not to stare at her. My posture was stiff, and I tried not to move too much as I focused on not leaning over and whispering to her. Every minute or so I had to look away again, finding myself staring at her. She was writing in her notebook, taking notes on the lecture it seemed, and all I could do was remember the warmth and softness of the hands on my face while I had been sick.
When the bell finally rang, I was out of the door faster than I should have been. In the open air I took deep breaths, trying to forget that absolutely amazing smell and the urge to walk back in to beckon her to follow me. It was the hardest thing I had yet to do.
The rest of the day was a blur of listening to people's comments, thoughts, and whispers about Bella Swan. I didn't know if it was more amusing or irritating. It was the oddest thing, a small comment from any male in the student body population about her made me want to punch them. The jealousy was totally uncalled for. By the end of the day there was only one thing I could do; I had to get out of Biology.
The minute the bell rang, I went to the office. The woman behind the desk saw me and smiled, before standing up. "Hi, Mr. Cullen. What can I do for you?"
"I need to get out of Biology II for Sixth hour. It's extremely important," I said, trying to keep my voice low and panic free. If this didn't work, there was only one other solution.
"What's your reason?" she asked, looking up with concern. "Is everything okay?"
"I'm afraid it's extremely personal. I really don't think I can talk about it. Can I please just switch it? Any other hour is fine."
She went back to her computer and typed in some things quickly. Her eyebrows were still pulled together as she shook her head. There was a little sound behind me, like a foot falling, but I was too focused on the woman to really care. I had to get this change. She shook her head again and stood up. "I'm sorry. There is no class for you to switch to. And the schedules are set."
"Please. It's extremely important. I can take any other class."
"I'm sorry," she said, shaking her head. "I just can't."
The door opened behind me, and a cold gust of wind swept over me, pulling with it the same beautiful smell that had intoxicated me only a little while ago. I froze, the smell suddenly filling the room and enticing me again. I whipped my head around, looking at the girl while I again tried to stop breathing, but finding it impossible not to smell it. She was staring at me meekly, as if apologizing. I again wanted to smack myself; why did I keep scaring her like that? I could only imagine the look on my face. I turned back to the woman. "Never mind, then. I can see that it's impossible. Thank you so much for your help."
I again kept my eyes glued forward as I hurried out of the room that was much too small for such an enticing person. When the door was closed behind me I walked a little, glad that I had told Alice to take the car. I really needed a good walk right now. After a minute of walking I was by the cafeteria. I stopped and threw my back gently against the wall, making the wall make an odd crumbling sound as it shook a little. I closed my eyes and laid my head back. How long could I take this? I had only just seen this girl a few hours ago and I was already going out of my mind. I had to get out of here. I had to talk to Carlisle and then get out of Forks.
I sat there, taking deep, unneeded breaths as I tried to focus enough to start to walk again. Before I had finally decided that five minutes was more than enough time, I saw Bella again. She had come out of the office, her face down as she walked toward the old truck I had seen earlier. He face was the cross between anger and sadness. Did I do that? Had I upset her so much? No, it mustn't have been me. She didn't know me. My eyes followed her as she got into the truck. Through the windshield I saw her staring blankly out at the wall in front of her. I tried to again to find her voice, her mind, but I still couldn't. I stared at her hard as she sat there, first just searching, then finding myself just looking at her. The same shape in the eyes, like almonds. The same soft turn of her cheek, even with such a sad look. And that soft hair, falling across her shoulders. She could have been Clara's twin.
Eventually she started her truck, the loud noise making me jump out of my thoughts. When she was again out of my sight, I searched for a moment for anyone watching, then took off the woods, running as hard as I possibly could. It was invigorating and amazing. It hardly took anytime to reach the hospital.
I walked up the receptionist and smiled kindly. "Is Dr. Cullen busy?"
She looked up, recognizing me. "No, Edward. He's in his office. Go on up. I'll let him know you're here."
I nodded and went to the elevator. It seemed to take more time to get up to the fifth floor than for me to get to the hospital. It probably did, actually. I knocked on his door gently.
"Come in, Edward." I opened the door and walked in, closing it behind me before turning back and leaning on it. Carlisle studied my face closely. "What's wrong?"
"You wouldn't believe me if I told you." I said, walking to the chair in front of the desk.
"You wouldn't have come to me if that was true," he pointed out in typical Carlisle fashion. "You know you can tell me anything."
"I know. Its just… going to sound crazy." I took a deep breath. "You remember Clara. Probably better than I do too." I waited for his nod, which came slowly, as if he knew what pain it caused me. "Well, I saw her today."
His eyebrows went up at my statement. "Edward, you know that she's been-"
"Of course I do. But a girl started at my school today and I swear to you, she's a twin. The same hair color and porcelain skin, the same eyes and cheeks."
"I didn't think you could remember what Clara looked liked."
"I couldn't! This morning I was thinking about it. I really couldn't remember at all. But when I saw Bella… I can't even explain it. It pulled everything back out. It's her to look at. I mean, I know that it isn't really Clara, but, at the same, I can't believe it. And her scent." I shook my head helplessly. "I don't know what to do."
"Edward, only you know what you need to do." Carlisle said gently, reaching out and touching my hand. "And I trust you."
I sighed and nodded. Then I met his eyes. "How is it possible that she looks so much like her?"
"It's possible that she's a great-great-granddaughter. I mean, it's not unheard of for someone to look so similar to an ancestor."
I felt a twinge of jealousy suddenly. I knew that Clara had gotten married, but just the idea of her having a child with someone else… "Yeah, I suppose so."
"Edward, I know that it's hard, probably worse than anything else you've had to face yet, but you can get through this. I know how much you felt for Clara, even after that miniscule amount of time, and I know how she felt about you. I was the one who had to tell her that you were dead. I believe that you two held a bond like nothing I had ever seen. But you need to remember that this Bella is not Clara. No matter how much they look alike, they are not the same person."
I nodded, not looking at him. "I'm leaving tonight."
"Okay. Go home quickly, no one is there yet. I'll let them know as little about what is going on as I possibly can. Just keep in contact. And remember, you always have a place in our house, no matter how long you feel you must be gone."
"Thank you Carlisle," I said before I left the room without a second thought.