Thank you Rinda Roo for proofreading this for me and helping me fix the flaws. I hope you recover quickly!
'Good things come to those who wait' right? There is a lot of character development to get through to make this story make sense so please read well and enjoy getting to know our new characters and get a feel for some of our favorite older characters. All of our favorites and some of our not so favorites will be in the story just have patience.
In this story Edward never comes back for Bella and Jacob pushes her away forcing her to find a way to heal on her own. After 45 five years the Cullens return to Forks. (Hope this little note helps avoid any confusion in the story.) This story wipes out New Moon after the point of Bella cliff diving and disregards Eclipse completely. Taking Bella down a different path.
I hope you enjoy reading this and please leave reviews!
All of the Cullen family, the beautiful Bella Swan, and always the annoying Mike Newton belong to the fabulous author Stephenie Meyer, I just get to keep myself busy by messing around with her story and characters. I am so glad she does not mind that we do this!
My first memories of Granny Bell always brought a smile to my face. Of course there were all the family anecdotes from Christmas and family vacations. But those were memories that belonged to others, memories from other minds inserted into mine. Those types of memories just do not hold the same sweetness as the ones we make for ourselves. I started coming out to Granny Bell's house for visits on my own when I was eight. Mom was in the hospital again and Dad was not handling it well. I was still naïve enough to believe that everyting would be fine, mom would be healthy again when I got home. After all Mother had told me it would be okay, and promised that my visit with Granny Bell would be the best six weeks ever.
The thrill I had when Dad put me on the big airplane all by myself was so intense. I felt like a grown up, I was no longer some silly little kid that had to be babysat at all times. Funny, I did not realize what the flight attendant was really doing when she asked if the seat next to me was open. When ever she was not serving drinks or taking people pillows and blankets she was sitting next to me. She must have been the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. Her long blonde hair was spun up into a perfectly messy bun; fingernails painted in a meticulous French manicure, even the very plain flight uniform looked marvelous on her. She read me stories, taught me how to play gin rummy, and even held me when the turbulence became rough enough to frighten me. How I wanted to grow up to be just like her! I can remember exactly the smell of her perfume, the shades of her hair, even the sweet smell of her breath, but I can not remember her name. I am sure she wore a name badge, but I guess at eight names did not hold the same fascination for me as they do now.
When it was time to get off the plane in Seattle Washington my new best friend, the nameless beautiful flight attendant, asked me if I would mind walking with her down to the greeting area. She claimed it made her lonely to leave all the people in the airplane and go home by herself, so a few more minutes with a friend would make her day much brighter. Of course I could not deny my new friend anything. As we approached the greeting area I saw my Granny Bell waiting nervously for me. She ran forward and swept me up in her strong arms and spun me around and around laughing and kissing my forehead. As a very mature eight year old; I was of course terribly embarrassed by this childish display, until I saw my new friend smiling with a look of pure joy on beautiful face. She came over to Granny Bell and gently squeezed my shoulder thanking me for keeping her company. Then she told Granny how lucky she was to have such a beautiful granddaughter and to enjoy every minute she had with me. I will never forget how my friends' golden eyes locked with Granny's soft brown eyes. Granny silently nodded to the flight attendant and thanked her for keeping me safe during my travels as a single tear quietly ran down her cheek.
"Well lady Lenai, shall we go hunt down a trolley to fetch your bags or shall we buy you all new clothing? You know I do believe they donate anything left behind to very needy children. I laughed at Granny's silliness; Daddy had warned me that Granny hated shopping.
"Granny I have my precious things in my bags, I wouldn't be able to live without Henry or Ellie! I replied in my most serious of voices trying to sound just like my mom when she really wanted someone to agree with her.
"Oh of course, I would not dream of abandoning such priceless treasures. How absurd of me to suggest such a thing." Her voice was pure business but the smile that lit her face and the wink she gave me told me she had only been teasing me.
After getting my bags from the luggage round we headed out of the airport to find Granny's car. She let me ride on top of my luggage on the cart. "Hold on tight Lenai these carts can be wild." I grabbed the edges of the suitcase I was sitting on tightly as I heard Granny laugh. I felt the cart speed up as we went down a low hill. I looked over my shoulder to see Granny's feet planted firmly on the bars of the trolley, her hands above her head as the breeze created by our speed blew her hair back from around her face.
"Granny!" I yelled shocked and a little scared by her behavior, "We are going to wreck!"
Seeing the panic on my face she quickly put her feet back on the asphalt to bring our speed back to normal.
"Sorry Lenai, sometimes I forget I am supposed to be the grown up" I could not understand why Granny looked so sad when she said that, but it made me feel sad too. I loved Granny's smile and wanted more than anything to never make her sad again.
That visit to Granny's apartment in Seattle had been filled with wonderful memory moments. Now sitting once again in an airplane on my way to visit Granny Bell I let myself stroll down memory lane as I closed my eyes and ignored the two people on either side of me. Who were crowding me into the center seat and claiming both armrests so I had to cross my arms tightly against my torso to not touch them. Oh if only flying was as fun now as it had been then.
Soon I had watched the screen play of memories in the private theater of my own mind. I opened my eyes and reached for the service call button, waiting patiently for a flight attendant to come.
"How may I help you?" The young man asked.
"May I have a pillow and blanket please." I asked trying to use my most polite voice which was difficult since I could see he really could not be bothered. He really did not want to be working today, if ever, from the look on his face. I smiled as sweetly as I could before he walked back down the isle. He returned shortly with not only a pillow and blanket but also a couple of magazines and a set of headphones.
"If you tune to channel four there is quiet classical music, channel seven is jazz, if you prefer modern music though channel three is popular artists, and channel five is country. If you do not like the magazine selection feel free to place them in the seat back pocket in front of you and I will take them away my next time by." He smiled a genuine smile and met my eyes before he walked away. I felt good thinking that maybe he just needed someone to be kind to him to brighten his day. He seemed a nice enough guy; I hoped his day would be a good one.
I tuned into the classical music channel and smiled as Chopin filled my head. This was one of Granny Bell's favorite songs. My mind drifted back to the Christmas when I was nine and sent to live with Granny while Dad put himself back together after mom's death. It had hit us both hard but Dad just was not dealing with it well, and Granny told him she would love to have me for a while. She reassured him school would not be a problem. She had recently moved to the little town outside of Seattle where she still lived today so Dad did not have to worry about crime rates or educational standards. Forks elementary school was the best in the state Granny had assured him. After all she was the principal. Dad almost did not let me go feeling like he was abandoning me when I needed him most. The nights that I had cried myself to sleep alone in my room though, while he sat in the living room unable to even look at me without seeing my mother had made up his mind in the end. Dad was loosing a major battle and he did not want to grab me as he went down.
The months I spent with Granny Bell that year were not light hearted fun months; however, the memories were still good ones. Granny brought me through the sorrow of losing mom, and also helped me understand that Dad still loved me, and that he would be back again. I grew up in those short months and never again looked at life through the eyes of a child. I could now feel other people's pains; I understood the grownup, complex mix of emotions most children did not even know existed.
I received highest marks in school, and made friends easily that year. My music teacher Mrs. Phillips saw my love for classical music and offered to give me free piano lessons every day after school while Granny finished up her work. The music I learned to play and love became the release of my soul. Three weeks after I started lessons Granny gave me an electronic keyboard so I could practice at home as well. Mrs. Phillips came over and showed Granny and I how to hookup the keyboard to a program in Granny's laptop so that I could compose written music simply by playing it. I could also keep track of the music I was practicing that way and compare the sheet music for any mistakes. I became so obsessed with the piano that in three short months Mrs. Phillips declared that she could teach me no more. At first I thought I had been a bad student, until she showed me a violin. "I can teach you no further on the piano Lenai you are better than I am. In fact I think you are better than most pianists alive today. I would love to teach you my second favorite instrument if you would let me." She offered timidly.
My excitement flowed over and showed itself, to my shame, in an immature squeal of delight while I jumped up and down clapping my hands.
"I will never have my own children Lenai." she shared with me sadly one day shortly after we had started our new lessons. I felt her sadness as my own, as I understood what loss was deeply. "I was wondering if I could give you the violin I kept from childhood to give to my own children someday."
"I would treasure it, I will take very good care of it for you, and I will play it every day, I promise" I hugged her as tightly as my small arms would let me and I kissed her wet cheek before letting her go. Mrs. Phillips went to her closet and brought out a 3/4size violin case. The leather had been meticulously cared for, it shone with years of massaged in leather oil. When she opened the case I saw the most beautiful handmade violin.
"My father had this made for me by an old master violin maker in Berlin for my eleventh birthday. It may be a little big for you right now but you will grow into it." Tears filled her eyes as she handed it to me.
I tightened the strings and tested its tone. Smelling the wood and wax as I held it close gently under my chin. She tightened and rosined the bow before handing it to me with a delicate smile. I played a simple tune, it may have even been twinkle twinkle little star, but she applauded as if she were at the New York Symphony Orchestra. I knew at that moment I would learn how to play the violin better than anyone else could and one day I would give her a concert she would never forget.
No one could ever replace my mom, but Granny Bell and Mrs. Phillips taught me that the love of other women could fill my heart so that I could go on. Dad did eventually get better. There were six months that I did not hear from him at all, but then the emails and phone calls resumed. Looking back I think he had gone into some rehab center and that had helped him turn his life back around. Almost 12 months after moving in with Granny I was back on an airplane by myself going to live with my dad again.
I had spent nearly every day of every summer vacation at Granny's house since then. Many Christmases Dad and I would both come down to visit during the two week school breaks. Dad and Granny had such a wonderful relationship. I grew to realize that no matter how old a son gets they will always be a child in their mother's eyes. This helped when a couple of years ago I tried to break away from Dad a bit, and met with firm resistance. Granny had stepped in and reminded him I would always be his baby, but I also had to be allowed to grow up. She had taken me to the mall in Seattle that Christmas and bought me a whole new wardrobe including makeup and helped me introduce the new more mature styles to my dad. 'You look so beautiful Lenai' Granny had beamed in the fitting room, 'just like a model.' I could not argue with Granny she was biased. But I had no doubts that my plain auburn hair and eyes that changed from hazel to green with my moods were anything more than average. No, you could not argue beauty with a woman who let you go to school dressed up as Cinderella after some rotten little boy had called you an ugly hobbit. You could not argue beauty to a woman who even in her early sixties could still grace the covers of magazines, if beauty had ever mattered to her. If I could only look like Granny and less like my dad I would not have to fight tears when she told me how beautiful I was.
A shift in altitude broke me from my wonderful reverie. The flight attendants were making final rounds for trash. Hmm, Alex, that was his name. I saw the flight attendant who had been struggling with his day approach from the front, glad that his name badge was plainly visible. As he approached our aisle I raised my hand to get his attention, and took off the head phones. "Thank you Alex, for making my flight so pleasant. I enjoyed the classical channel immensely. I am sorry I did not get a chance to even look at the magazines you so kindly brought for me, I'm afraid I get completely absorbed in music and everything else begins to fade. Thank you again for the blanket and pillow." I said as I handed the items he had brought for my use back to him.
He smiled a sweet smile and blushed lightly pulling something out of his pocket with his free hand. He handed me a United Airlines envelope. "There is some interesting information in there you may find useful if you are staying in the area for long." He told me quietly his blush deepened and he tripped lightly over the foot of the very tall heavy set man seated next to me. "Oh, so sorry sir." He mumbled and moved on down the aisle.
"Useful information my foot, fifty bucks says it's his phone number in there." The heavy set man harrumphed. I decided my first impression of this man was right. His words did not even warrant acknowledgement. Alex was kind, even if he was years to old for me I would not stoop to opening the letter in front of him to see if his guess about it's contents was correct.
The plane pulled into the terminal and the fasten seatbelts lights went off. I stood to stretch and was knocked back into my seat by the large arm of my heavy set neighbor. Oh the rudeness of some people knows no bounds; I thought to myself as I sat back in my chair to make myself the smallest target possible. I decided to wait till the other passengers had exited before trying to stand again.
My bags were still stored directly above my seat since I had been one of the lucky ones to board in the first group I did not have to search up and down the aisle to find my carry on bags. I grabbed my medium sized roll on that had everything I needed for my few day stay in Seattle and then the drive to Forks. Stowed safely behind that bag was my most precious belonging. The one thing I never went anywhere without. The antique violin case Mrs. Phillips had given me. As I pulled it down out of the overhead bin my thoughts wandered to her. I hoped she had received the letter with tickets to my performance in Seattle tomorrow night. There was a special song I had started composing several summers ago at her urging I had finally perfected. I would be dedicating that song to her tomorrow as I played it for the first time in front of an audience.
As I was exiting the airplane I realized the wheel of my carryon suitcase had been damaged severely and it would no longer roll. Exasperation filled me as I realized I had heard my not so friendly seat neighbor swear under his breath as he took an over stuffed roll on out of the same bin and then say quietly "Oh well no one will know". Ugh some people were just down right rude.
"Are you having any trouble, um M'am?" A quiet voice asked from behind me. I laughed lightly realizing it was Alex.
"Did you just call me M'am?!" A crimson blush quickly moved over his face as I turned and gave him a playfully incredulous look. "M'am is for old ladies and easily angered mothers my name is Lenai." I joked with him as I reached out to shake his hand.
"Oh!" he replied embarrassed but shaking my hand. "Can I help you with that then Lenai?" His eyes lit up when he said my name. I worried that I may be giving him the wrong impression but there was not much I could do about that. I did need help. The bag was too heavy for me to carry.
"I would really appreciate that Alex, thank you. I can get a trolley just outside the greeting area right?"
"Oh, no worries. This was my last flight for today, I can walk with you if you would like."
Once again I worried about leading him to form false impressions, but I really was grateful not only for the help but also for the company. I was still a bit angry at the man who sat next to me, and anger always gave me a headache so the distraction of idle chatter would really do me good right now. "That would be lovely. So how many flights have you done today?"
" Technically this was my third" that would explain a lot. How he could put up with the rudeness people throw around at those they feel below them never failed to get me down. I had rarely been on the receiving end but it was plainly visible on the faces of many every day. He had a hard job.
"That must be hard for you. I would not think your job is easy. Were most of the passengers kind?" I asked truly interested. In all the summers flying to Granny's house I only remembered the one flight attendant. With shame I realized I too was one of those people who tended to overlook those who served me throughout my days.
"No actually, you were the first polite person today." He smiled shyly up at me from under his bangs. "Most days are not this bad though. Thursdays are always the worst. I have been on flight duty for four days now and I am afraid my patience is gone. I can't wait to hit the beach tomorrow." His face lightened as he mentioned the beach.
"Hey, do you like the beach?" I could see an invitation in his eyes and knew I had to find a detour to our conversation's direction. At least I did not have to lie my way out of this. Everyone I had ever known had told me I am a terrible liar.
"No, actually I am terrified of the ocean. I stay as far away as possible. I even get scared when I have to drive along cliffs overlooking the sea." I admitted.
"Wow, how can anyone be that afraid of something so beautiful?" I could tell this was meant to be rhetorical but decided to answer anyway.
"My Gran nearly drowned when she was just a little older than I am now. She shared her memories of that experience with me when I was little and she was trying to coax me into a life vest while I played near a cliff where men were cliff diving when I was about ten. I have been terrified ever since. I never have learned how to swim. Not being able to breathe is one of my worst fears, and swimming does not do much to alleviate that fear."
"I don't mean to be rude; I hope I do not offend you by asking. I would not ask but I think I better find out now before I make a fool of myself. How old are you?" The blush I was quickly coming to adore rushed to his face. I have never seen a man blush before and yet Alex could not seem to stop blushing.
This was the question I had been hoping he would ask. This one question could save me from worrying about inappropriate ideas being formed about where this conversation could lead. "I turned 16 three months ago." Even though I was not embarrassed by my age I could feel my face heating up. My blush was caused by my guilt for leading him on up to this point.
"Ah, that's embarrassing. In my defense though you do not look or act like 16." He laughed lightly as he finished escorting me to the waiting taxis. "Oh still if you are staying in Seattle long you should check out some of the information I gave you. There is a classic orchestra performance tomorrow at the University of Seattle opera hall that you might enjoy. My kid brother is playing percussion; this is his first time on stage. He just made first chair three months ago. He is going into his sophomore year there and is so excited. I promised him I would not miss it for the world."
A light smile formed on my lips as I thought about the surprise Alex would have at the concert tomorrow. I felt a small twinge of regret about our age difference. Maybe if he were his brothers' age this conversation could have gone down a different path. He really was a very nice guy, and I enjoyed his company. "I may have to check that out, thank you again for everything Alex. You take care; maybe I will see you around sometime." I honestly doubted that, at least not after tomorrow night. Even then I probably would not see him among the thousands who would be at the performance.
He shut the door behind me as I fastened my seatbelt and gave the cabbie my instructions. My mind immediately drifting to the concert tomorrow night.
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