Written for the Weathering Heights Challenge at Part of Him on Livejournal using the prompts fog, The Walker Brothers, "Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore" and cloud picture. My first Twilight fic.
It wasn't the first time that Bella had this thought. After many nights lying beside him while she was drifting off to sleep, she couldn't help but wonder what attracted Edward to her, besides the intoxicating smell of the blood pumping through her veins. What was it that made him be with her, Bella?
She wasn't able to see what made this extraordinary person want to be with her, an unremarkable human. She wasn't the ugliest, dumbest or meanest person in the world, but there were so many that prettier, smarter and nicer than she was. She couldn't see what made her different from the masses of mediocre girls in the world. What was it that made her stand out to Edward? To be the first to capture his attention in decades? She had asked him this before, multiple times, but he had always responded with the same smile, and the same guarded expression and said that it wasn't something that he could explain in a way she'd understand.
Suddenly, it was if the fog had lifted in her brain and Bella could suddenly see what should have been obvious to her since that first night in Port Angeles after their very first vampire discussion.
Just how loud was it inside Edward's head?
Was part of him with her for the promise of silence? An escape from the ongoing chatter and noise that must be constant? He had once said that he could hear the thoughts of people within a couple of miles. How many people lived within three miles of Charlie's house? They weren't in the middle of town, so there couldn't be more than twelve houses nearby. What a sanctuary it must be, to be surrounded by nothing when one was used to constant mental claustrophobia. What had he described it as? Sitting in an auditorium full of people with everyone talking at once? That had to be maddening. Surely he must relish being at Bella's, with only a few people's thoughts running through his head.
"You have that look again."
Startled by his voice, she looked up to see him grinning at her. They had been lying on her bed for the past hour, with Edward flat on his back and Bella curled up around him with her arm across his stomach, head resting on his shoulder. He reached up to her face and brushed her cheek with the back of his cold hand, "It's incredibly frustrating not to know what you are thinking."
Once again, if Bella hadn't known better she would have thought that Edward could read her mind. "Funny you should say that. That is what I was thinking about. Partially, at least."
Edward took his arm out from underneath her head and rolled onto his side so that he could look at her directly in the eyes, puzzled, with the look in his eyes encouraging her to explain herself further.
"You hear all these thoughts. Every day from everyone. What's it like? I mean, don't you ever get a headache listening to all these people?"
"When Carlisle first changed me, it was unbearable," said Edward softly. "Not only had everything that I come to believe in the world been turned upside down, but I could hear every single thing passing through everyone's minds. I often found it hard to decipher what was spoken word and what was thought. Carlisle was supportive and told me stories of other vampires that he knew who had different abilities, but in the end it was something that I had to learn to deal with on my own, as he was only able to offer theoretical advice. Much like other things in my life," He smiled and reached down and took Bella's hand "it's all about control. It took me quite a long time, years actually, to gain full control over it. What used to be an angry mob now sounds like a background radio. I can always hear it, but I have to focus in to listen to the lyrics." Edward sighed and rolled back onto his back, still holding Bella's hand, and stared up at the ceiling. "It's quite lonely."
"How can it be lonely? Your head is full of people."
"It may be full of people, but none of them are talking to me or know I'm even there. It just emphasizes how different I am from others. Even amongst my own family, who know I'm listening, it's hard. I could hear their happiness with each other. Carlisle with Esme, Rosalie and Emmett, Alice and Jasper, then there was me; the one who didn't come in a unit. Although I wasn't generally maudlin and I couldn't feel what they felt towards another person, being able to hear them complete with only their partner was difficult."
"Now I know what all the fuss was about. I understand those thoughts and what I was missing out on." Edward's eyes drifted away from the ceiling and found Bella's once again, and she felt her insides melt into a puddle with his words. "Did that answer your questions, love? If you weren't impervious to my gifts, I'd know, but as it is… I'm clueless."
"You'll think it's silly."
"I think many things you do and say are silly. That doesn't change anything."
Bella stuck her tongue out in response, making Edward laugh quietly. "I was just wondering if perhaps that's one of the reasons you like being with me so much – the quiet must be a bit of a relief from the constant buzzing. I mean, we are pretty much in the middle of nowhere, there can't be too many voices for you to hear."
"You were right," Bella's breath caught in her throat, but Edward continued. "That is silly."
"It's a challenge for me, not to be able to hear your voice. I hate to admit it, but much of how I interact with people relies on what I learn in their thoughts, and without it, I feel slightly blind. With others, I can say things to make them more at ease, give them the answers that they want to hear to make them obliviously happy. With you, I simply have to wing it and that's frightening. What if I am to guess wrong? How am I supposed to know if you are upset or scared if you don't tell me?"
"You do realise that this is how it is for everyone else, right?"
"Yes. I don't like it." Edward grinned sheepishly back at Bella. "Is it always this hard to be normal?"
"I never thought I'd see the day – Edward Cullen calling himself normal."
"When I'm with you Bella, there are times that I feel more human than I could ever dream of – even before I was made the way I am now. It's as if I'm a normal 17 year old who has fallen head over heels for a girl who is far to good to be with him, and utterly terrified that one day she'll come to her senses, have that 'oh' moment, and then she'll run completely in the other direction, taking my heart and mind with her as she leaves. It's as if you are a piece of me, a small and delicate, but completely essential part. The thought of losing you…" Edward trailed off and Bella could see the look in his eyes, the same that she had seen when he had found her on the floor after her attack with James – pain and horror. Edward stroked his thumb on the back of her hand, "No, I'm not here for the silence. I'm here for you. For us."
Upon hearing these words, Bella crawled up closer to him, gently kissed his smooth, cool cheek and resumed her earlier position cradled in her arms. She could feel his arms tighten around her into a firm hug, and felt a touch of his lips on her forehead bringing a smile on her face. He hadn't been been able to completely describe what is was about her that made her so special, but she was beginning to realise that it really was the same as what she felt for him, and it didn't matter that neither of them could explain it
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