Chapter One - Healed Heartache
Alexandra Cullen crawled into her full size bed, feeling the coolness of the sheets as she slid onto them, the darkness of the room pulling her further into her state of exhaustion. She stared out the open window beside her, the streetlight casting shadows on her walls and illuminating the silver dress slung over her desk chair. She hated looking at the thing any longer. Tonight, the fall dance had taken place, and she was the only one of her friends without a male escort. She had spent hours picking out the strapless silver dress, combing her long bronze curls and twisting them into a fashionable knot and making sure every inch of her face was perfectly covered with makeup. But as always, dances at her high school left much to be desired and spending time on such frivolity was, as always, a disaster. Knowing the last dance was to be the most heartbreaking… the father-daughter dance. She had stood on the outskirts of the ballroom as the girls in her class lined up with their dads, and wished that as if in a fairy tale; her father would be there, to sweep her off her feet. It never happened, no matter how hard she prayed at night, begging that if God was listening to bring her father home. She didn't understand why he left, or if he did in fact leave.
She was a straight A student, star of the girls track team (she could run like the wind), as gorgeous as she was brilliant and the girl next door everyone adored and wanted to be friends with. Guys didn't even have the courage to ask her out even though every single one of them wanted to. She was the daughter any father would have dreamed of…
But it was lately she noticed a certain change in her other parent, her mother, Bella, was acting peculiar and it was rare that she would ever look her daughter in the eyes anymore, her stunning…topaz…eyes. She didn't care; let her mother do what she pleased Maybe the fact her father was absent was finally taking its toll on Bella, Lexi doubted it. Her mother never had much to say about him… It didn't matter.
A loud knock on the wooden door aroused the teenager from her thoughts. Bella Swan entered, pushed her auburn locks over her shoulder, spilling light from the lamp in the hall into her daughter's bedroom.
"Lexi?" No response.
"Oh come on, I know you are awake…" Bella smirked, crossing her arms and kicking the door shut with her foot, shadowing the room once more. Lexi groaned, throwing the pillow over her head to block out the chat about to take place.
"That bad huh?" Bella inquired, perching herself at the end of the bed, messing with the tassels on the comforter. Lexi nodded slowly. Bella sighed.
"Lex…you care to share?"
"If I do…do you promise never to make me got to another school dance?" Lexi's voice was muffled from the obstruction of the down pillow.
"No…" Bella replied honestly and Lexi sat up, frustrated.
"It just sucked, ok? Please don't make more of this than it is!"
"Alexandra Cullen, one thing: nothing sucks unless it is a vacuum cleaner! Second of all, I thought you like going to dances! It's the fall ball of your junior year…" Bella was cut off.
"And like every other dance it ends with the same thing…" Lexi glared at her mother for making her spill her innermost hurt. Bella stared at the ceiling.
"Mom, tell me about Dad! Tell me where he is! I can't sit here and pretend like you that he doesn't exist!" Lexi begged, folding her hands desperately. Bella shook her head violently, as if she were trying to rid herself of a bad memory.
"Good Night, Lexi…" Bella started across the room to the door when Lexi jumped up, glaring intently at her mother with those topaz eyes, Edward's eyes.
"Mom, you promised when I turned seventeen that you would tell me anything I wanted to know about him. You only have three more days until my birthday…" October 31st.
"Lexi, you have three more days of innocent bliss, let that be enough." Bella whispered, reaching for the brass doorknob. In a flash, Lexi was in front of her, blocking the way. So much like Edward. Bella felt a twinge in her chest. Heartache.
"Mom…where is he?" Lexi persisted. Bella leaned forward, kissed her daughter on the forehead, and as if that was all it took, Lexi moved away.
"When you need to know, you will know…" Bella replied, leaving Lexi alone. She descended the stairs slowly, ridden with guilt. All this time, as much as Bella ached for Edward, so did Lexi.
"How do I explain this to her?" Bella mumbled, collapsing onto the living room couch and burying her face in her hands. A gustful wind burst through the open window, the night air cooling the muggy room. Bella crossed to the window, sitting down on the quilted bench beside it and looked up into the stars. You couldn't see the stars in Forks, it was amazing you could see them in Fairfield, hours from the place she once called home. All of a sudden, Bella felt something strange, a certain sensation she hadn't felt in…nearly eighteen years. She jumped up, alarmed, nearly kicking the cat as she rushed to the front door.
"Bella, do you really think after all this time, I would still need to use the door?" an enchanting voice wafted through the air like a melodious tune. Bella began to hypervenalate, clutching her chest.
"Edward?" She hissed, barely able to say his name, it hurt so much.
"Bella… I finally found you. And you are still as beautiful as ever, time has only improved you." Edward Cullen appeared out of thin air and Bella had to cover her mouth to keep from screaming. It was him, her Edward. Beautiful, perfect…hers.
Bella rushed into his embrace, feeling frail and thin compared to his muscular build. He wrapped his strong arms around her tightly, inhaling deeply taking in her scent.
"You still smell…floral." He chuckled, before kissing her on the head. Bella couldn't believe it.
"Edward…" She whispered happily. Suddenly, she hit him in the chest as hard as she could, not that it was going to do much.
"You idiot!" She fumed. "You made me run from there, away from you, you told me to run and that you would find me, just go as far away as I could get! You never came! You never came!" She hissed, knowing that if Lexi upstairs heard her, she was finished. She stepped away, her temper rising. Edward remained surprisingly still.
"That day has haunted me for years, Bella, but they knew! Those other vampires knew you were…you were…"
"Oh good grief, Edward. Honestly, pregnant is not a swear word!"
"Bella!" Edward warned, she stood her ground.
"Bella, any chance to kill you would have been enough…but knowing that a child was involved, fathered by a vampire. Neither of you would have survived. The news was spreading too quickly. Hundreds of vampires were flocking after us, realizing the Cullens were peaceful and associated themselves with humans. To some covens… that means treason. We were done for, and there was no way I was going to let anything happen to you or…" Edward trailed off.
"Lexi…" Bella finished. Edward stared at her.
"You understand why I sent you away… alone. I had too. Alice told me she found you a couple months ago, thanks to an unbelievably long series of visions. But I couldn't bring myself to come, until well Alice threatened me…"
"Remind me to thank her…" Bella's voice was calmer now.
"Your scent was everywhere…" Edward noted. Bella smirked.
"I drove all over the mountain range…trying on purpose to lose them if they were following. I even dove in a couple lakes, thinking that would help. Lucky I didn't drown…that would have solved a lot of problems though." Bella giggled. Edward didn't.
"Bella, don't say that! I am surprised you lasted all this time… we hunted them for years, finally we rallied enough on our side to take them out… it was a blood bath, literally."
"And Esme, Carlisle, Rosalie, Emmett, Jasper, Alice? They are all okay?"
"Each one, safe. They miss you…all they could do was worry and wait. But I kept asking myself, how do you keep getting yourself in these predicaments…being hunted by the bad guy? This time was the longest hunt… ever…" Edward walked towards her, his arms outstretched. Bella crawled into them.
"You got me into that one… that's how." Bella laughed.
"Shut up" He shook with silent laughter.
"Edward?" her tone was serious again.
"Do you want to see her?" Edward pushed Bella away, arms length. But her expression was mere amusement. She even grinned.
"What is so funny?"
"Edward Cullen, meeting his daughter for the first time at one hundred thirty…what is it now? Eight?" Bella couldn't help but laugh now, despite how hard she tried to be serious.
"In the body of a seventeen year old…" he murmured.
"Edward, I'm sorry…I know this is hard for you. Trust me, I know. I went through it alone..." Silence.
"She's just like you…" Bella tried to cheer him up, setting her warm hand in his cool one.
"Really?" Edward was skeptical.
"Come on, you." She hissed, dragging him along up the stairs. She crept to Lexi's door and with a gentle push, it opened. Not a sound. Edward remained in the hallway as Bella strode over to Lexi's side. Carefully, as she did every night, she pulled the quilt over her daughter, pushed the stray bronze hairs from her forehead and made sure her alarm was set. Bella turned, and acknowledged for him to come over. Inch by inch, Edward moved soundlessly. Bella rolled her eyes.
All of the sudden, Edward's expression dropped, his eyes blank, and his face etched in horror. Bella rushed over, her steps quiet and pushed him to the hall.
"I could hear her thoughts… she's only half-asleep." Edward was angry. Bella was confused.
"You've told her nothing?" he hissed.
"She thinks I abandoned her! She is miserable! Something about a father-daughter dance!"
"She wants to see me, know me, the least you could have done was at least told her my name!"
"Bella, my own daughter knows nothing of me?" Bella had never seen him so angry over something so…human.
"Are you bi-polar?!" Bella hissed, pushing him further across the hall into her dark bedroom, and shutting the door. "When I begged and pleaded for you to tell me all about you and your secret life, you got angry! Months of questions, Edward! I have had to endure years. I could have told her all about you being a vampire, about your family, about everything! But giving my daughter a chance at a normal childhood, oh my Edward! How awful!!" Bella was livid, her eyes narrowed and her fists were clenched.
"Our…" Edward replied coolly.
"What?" Bella was taken aback. What had he said?
"Our daughter…" he added. Bella was about to speak but froze as a light knock echoed throughout her room. Lexi.
Bella's eyes flashed to Edward's. He knew what to do. Edward crouched in the darkness, as Bella opened the door. Lexi stood zombie-like on the other side, her comforter wrapped around her.
"Honey, what are you doing?"
"Mom, I'm sorry about earlier…" she whispered. "Can I stay in here with you?" Bella nodded, leading her over to the bed. Lexi climbed in, crawling on the opposite side of her mother's. Bella sat down as Lexi laid her head gently on her lap.
"Hush, Lex. You need to sleep…" Bella soothed, stroking her daughter's curls.
"One question first…" Lexi insisted.
"What color were Dad's eyes?" Lexi's energy was fading, her own eyes drooping closed. Even in the shadows, Bella could see Edward's smoldering glance. She grinned, tears clouding her vision.
"The most gorgeous shade of gold at times and then at other times, deep charcoal black that could take your breath away at the sight of them…" Bella stared intensely through the darkness, Edward's and her eyes locked in a passionate gaze. Lexi said nothing, she had drifted off to sleep in her mother's arms.
Edward stood, his frame blocking the light from the cracked window. He crossed the room, kneeling beside Bella and taking her warm hand in his cool one again, kissing it.
"Come back to Forks…" he whispered intently.
"You still live in Forks?" she was shocked. "Nobody noticed in eighteen years that your family wasn't aging?!"
"Most of the townsfolk moved away during the hunt, too many deaths and not a logical assumption. It was for the best…the battle was awful. But that was not even the most surprising thing of all…" Edward paused. Bella was curious.
"You never once told me not to fight, to escape with you…leave it all behind. Why?"
"Would you have listened?" Bella inquired.
"Not the point…"
"It was time I realized being selfish wasn't going to get me anywhere, your family needed you…and I had to accept that. Edward, I have never loved anyone more than you, and it almost killed me driving away from you that night but I knew that I had something more important to do…" Bella smiled down at Lexi, stroking her hair.
"You didn't go to…him" Edward mumbled. She knew he meant Jacob Black, her once upon a time best friend.
"I wouldn't have, you know that."
"You came back to your father's funeral, didn't you?"
"Yes…" her voice cracked. Talking about Charlie pained her. Her father always thought Bella left due to a fight with Edward, never knowing it was because of an all out vampire rebellion. Charlie had understood, watching her drive away. He would come visit Bella and Lexi in the summer, just as all those summers Bella had visited him in Forks. She lost him to a heart attack a few years prior and only came up for the funeral with Lexi for the day.
"Will you come home with me, Bella?"
"Edward, she has school…"
"For a week…let her have a little vacation…" Edward pleaded.
"Bella, I want to give her the best birthday present ever… only in Forks…" He flashed the bright smile he knew would make her go weak in the knees.
"It's time I told her the truth…" Bella admitted.
Edward reached up and stroked Bella's face, staring at her for a moment. He leaned in and kissed her, more passionately than Bella ever remembered, moving from her neck to her lips. Her heart fluttered, resurfacing longing she had had for years. It had broken her heart to leave him, but being in his embrace softened the ache. She had had to be strong for Lexi and it was the only thing that kept her sane. She leaned her head into his chest after they broke apart, wrapping her arms around him.
"So how do you exactly tell your child that her father hunts grizzlies for breakfast?" Bella smirked.
"Well, I would recommend not saying it like that for starters…" Edward replied, his tone hushed but the slumbering teenager did not stir from her sleep. Lexi Cullen could sleep through a fire alarm.
"You think? That was going to be my opening phrase!" Bella answered sarcastically. Edward rolled his eyes before sitting on the edge of the bed beside her, taking in her scent again. He had missed it.
"Edward, how can you be doing this? Isn't it hard for you not to…?" She cocked her head towards Lexi. Edward gazed down at her, seriousness written throughout his expression but softness all the same was there too.
"She is not as tempting as you were, the scent is similar though…but if she ever wanted that life…I could always…" Edward muttered, flashing a grin bearing his sparkling white teeth, chuckling a little not to Bella's amusement. Bella hit him the chest, once again not even fazing him.
"That is so not funny! And that is so not going to happen! Do not give her that option!" Bella hissed. Edward gave her a look, not even having to call her a hypocrite.
"Suppose your mother had said that to you…"
"It wouldn't have mattered…you didn't anyway…" Bella looked away.
"You still have the option…" Edward's voice was low, serious again.
"Yeah right…I could pass as your mother now more than Esme!"
"I like older women…" Edward dodged another blow.
"Shut up…" Bella whispered, smirking.
"But you do, not that I would ever want to take you away from Lexi, ever."
"You want to know something else?" Edward inquired. Bella stared curiously at him, anxiously waiting.
"I've never stopped loving you, Isabella Marie Swan… not one minute and I won't, not even if you stopped loving me… a long time ago..." Edward stopped himself. Bella leaned into his chest again.
"You are an idiot…if you ever thought I would stop," Bella whispered matter-of-factly. "I love you so much, Edward Cullen."
" So…To Forks?" He asked hopefully.
"To Forks…" She replied.
"I should get some sleep though…" Bella noted, yawning curling up closer to him. He pulled the blanket over her carefully.
"Do you want me to leave?"
"What do I always say?" Bella inquired and Edward grinned.
Bella was soon asleep, and Edward pulled himself out from under her, gingerly setting her head on the pillow. He headed to the other side of the bed, where Lexi had spun around to face the window, sleeping softly. He smirked at how much she reminded him of Bella, she had slept in the same positions as a teenager. As he turned to climb out the window for some "dining" time, he heard her speak.
"Dad, come back!" she called quietly, obviously having a nightmare. Bella did not awaken. Edward cringed but shuffled over, setting his hand on her arm. It soothed her as she fell back into a deep…silent sleep.
"Don't worry…I'm not going anywhere…" he whispered, before as Bella had, pushing her hair out of her face. He swiftly climbed out the window and into the night. He would pack the bags later… he had to have something to do while they slept.
The change in plans alerted Lexi something was up, as her mother hurried about, throwing their luggage into the car. How had she not heard her packing?
"Mom?" Lexi stared as her mother loaded their things into their silver Volvo, the one once belonging to Edward, Bella's getaway car from years past.
"Get your bags, sweetie, they are on your bed." Bella ordered, smirking at the thought of Edward going through Lexi's clothes. She was probably ready to be dressed as a nun… but hopefully Edward had taken it into consideration that his daughter was just about as fashionable as Alice or Rosalie.
"You packed my stuff too? Should I expect turtlenecks and long underwear?" Lexi groaned. A hushed voice called to Bella, and Lexi heard nothing.
"Give me a little credit… I think you'll be surprised." It whispered to her…Edward.
"Check if you must…" Bella insisted. "But hurry and get ready, we got to hit the road!"
"Lexi, all your questions…" Bella said calmly, taking her daughter's hands. "I can answer them if you just trust me…"
"I'll go…if you let me drive…" Lexi smirked. Bella heard a distant musical chuckle and as before, Lexi heard nothing.
"Deal," Bella reluctantly handed over the keys and Lexi excitedly rushed back into the house.
"She's your daughter…" Bella called into the wind, feeling ridiculous. Edward chuckled again. He swept up behind her, wrapping his arms around her waist, kissing her neck. Bella squirmed.
"She's going to see you…"Bella noted, and Edward stopped.
"Kill-joy…" he mumbled.
"I'm going back to Forks to tell the others. I'll meet you there. In the meantime, I think there is some stuff you need to mention…" Edward gave her a look, the serious one. Bella sighed.
"Easier said than done…"Bella whispered, and Edward kissed her on the cheek and disappeared into the woods beside the driveway as Lexi lugged her bags out and threw down the hatch after loading them.
"Where are we going exactly?" Lexi asked, as they climbed into the car. Bella smiled.
"Somewhere to get some breakfast…I'm starved."
"But you never do that…go out for breakfast…" Lexi couldn't figure it out. "Is there something you would like to tell me?"
"Today is going to be filled with me doing things I never do…" Bella replied, as she reached over and turned the key in the ignition for her daughter, ready to get this show on the road.
"Head west, for Washington." Bella noted, and Lexi did as she was instructed, curious but obedient.
Hours later, they were still driving, taking in the scenery.
100 miles to Forks…Bella realized. It's now or never.
"Lexi, I have to tell you something…"Bella started.
"It's about your father…"
"But my birthday is not til the day after tomorrow…"
"I know that…but we are going to see him today…" Bella prepared herself, Lexi did nothing, her eyes remained pointed at the road. Her mouth didn't move.
"You waited until now to tell me this!" Lexi hissed, pounding the steering wheel angrily with her left hand.
"Pull over…I'm driving…"Bella insisted. "I'm not dying in a car wreck today…" Lexi reluctantly pulled over and switched sides with her mother. Lexi slumped in the passenger seat, in mortal shock.
"Your father's name is Edward Cullen; I met him in Forks when I was seventeen. When I was living with Grandpa Charlie." She paused. "We fell in love with each other instantly…"Bella was cut off.
"Don't get into any details of that, please?" Lexi pleaded and Bella chuckled.
"He and I became inseparable…but Lexi," Bella paused, not knowing how this was going to go. "He's a vampire…"
The next two hours, Lexi sat in silence while her mother explained the entire story. Every detail of his appearance, his diet (obvious that would be addressed right away), his family, his story.
Lexi hadn't been ready for this…her whole life wondering about her father. Now this? Her mother had to be losing it. She had to be.
"He was going to turn me into one too…" Bella whispered. This got Lexi to reply.
"Lexi, we wanted to be together forever…the thought of growing old without him hurt so badly, you have no idea. After a lot of compromise, and I do mean a lot, we decided that if by my twentieth birthday, it was still what I wanted, he would change me…" Bella trailed off.
"Why didn't he?"
"I was having you…" Bella smirked.
"So it's my fault?" Lexi exclaimed.
Teenage syndrome, Bella thought.
"Don't be a martyr…Edward probably wouldn't have done it anyway." Bella answered. "Let me tell you the story…" Lexi stared out her window as her mother relayed the tale of her escape. It was more that self-control that kept Lexi from screaming in disbelief.
Dusk was falling over the small town as they entered Forks. Instead of pulling up the main street, Bella turned, zooming down a narrow dirt road, to the Cullen Family Estate. Lexi gasped. Bella remembered seeing it for the first time. It was gorgeous, candles lit in every window, flowers still blooming in their beds even in late fall… obviously they knew they were coming. Edward had made it home. Bella felt her heart began to race as if it were going to fly out of her chest.
"So he's my age?" Lexi blurted out, horrified, as if really understanding it for the first time that second.
"Lexi, I know its crazy but you need to understand, I would never let anything happen to you…" Bella whispered, climbing out of the Volvo. Lexi hesitated, following suit. Bella took her daughter around the shoulder, and lead her up the front steps. Before she had a chance to knock, the front door swung open and a gorgeous, black haired beauty flew out at them, more like danced Lexi noticed. Lexi flinched but Bella screamed with excitement.
"Alice!" Bella cried, wrapping her arms around her dear friend. It was as if the two had become schoolgirls again, gabbing excessively.
"Bella, you haven't changed a bit, I mean it honest!" Alice's voice was melodious. She looked Bella up and down, before hugging her again. Lexi was astonished; this girl was no older than she was…
"Lexi, this is Alice. Edward's sister, well you know what I mean!" Bella explained. Lexi nodded. Alice seemed stunned for a moment as she stared at Lexi. Bella knew why. Lexi's appearance was that of a Cullen, she could have easily been part of this beautiful family from the start without a question asked, unlike herself who still glowed lovely in her simplicity. Bella smiled. Lexi was a Cullen and nothing in the world could change that.
"Welcome Lexi, you have no idea how long we've waited for this…" Alice gushed and Lexi turned scarlet.
"You don't have to be afraid…we don't bite." Alice tried to make it sound like a joke, but Lexi was terrified. "Come on, sweetie." Alice extended a hand and Lexi obliged, feeling a sudden likeness for her…aunt. Lexi shook off the idea for the time being, too soon to be dolling out family placements.
Alice led the two into the beautiful house, and Bella couldn't believe it, she was finally here, back in Forks, back… home. Everything seemed the same, nothing in the world felt better. Well except being in Edward's arms of course.
"Lexi, I want you meet the rest of the family." Alice pulled her into the living room, past the grand piano and to the conservatory. There they all sat: Carlisle and Esme, Rosalie and Emmett, Jasper…and no Edward. Bella searched around. The others jumped up, even Rosalie, and greeted the newcomers.
"Bella! Lexi!" they jumped up, embracing them whole-heartedly, so to speak.
"Lexi, meet Jasper, Emmett, Carlisle Esme, and Rosalie…" Bella smiled.
"Very nice to meet you…" Lexi mumbled. Esme and Bella exchanged glances.
"Sweetie, do you want a cookie? I made them fresh this afternoon…" Esme led the girl to the sofa. Lexi shook her head.
"They aren't poisoned…"A voice called from the family room.
"How did you know I was…?" Lexi was caught off guard.
"I'm your father, I know everything…" Edward turned the corner. He was dressed in his nicest clothes, and Bella knew what he was doing. Trying to look older. It worked. But he was still perfect. Lexi looked down at herself, feeling sorely out of place next to all of them. Her dark jeans, fitted sweater, sneakers and her hair in a simple ponytail made her stick out like a sore thumb compared to the sport coats and high heels worn by various members of the family.
Bella stood up and strode over to him, not caring.
"Edward…" she leaned into his chest and he kissed her on the temple. Lexi sat like a statue, and all of the sudden she felt two hands pulling her up. Alice.
"This can't be right…" Lexi mumbled. Alice chuckled.
"You don't have to be scared." Edward didn't have to know what she was thinking to know she was.
"You're my father?" Lexi inquired as Alice drug her right over to him. His appearance almost made her faint. Her hair, her eyes…they were his. There was no mistake. Edward reached out to her, and she gave in, taking his hand. It was cool; in a surprising way…Lexi didn't budge.
"In the flesh…or so to speak…" Edward laughed his perfect laugh.
"Does anyone else get that this is so weird?" Lexi inquired. She heard laughter from behind her.
"Do I not even get a hug?" Edward mumbled. The start of a smile was on his lips. Lexi felt a surge of emotion as she embraced him, burying her face in his chest. She seemed like a little girl again, her 5'3 frame against his 6'1 height. She sobbed uncontrollably, happily though. She looked up at him, questions filling her brain. Edward began to speak on the thoughts but Lexi stopped him.
"Can't I ask them?" Lexi questioned. She knew what he was doing. Bella laughed. Edward agreed.
"Were you really going to turn Mom into a vampire?" Lexi's bluntness and anticipation caused Alice to laugh uncontrollably. Emmett faked a cough while Jasper and Rosalie hid the smirks crossing their faces. Esme occupied the awkward moment, arranging the cookies neatly on their plate.
"Alexandra!!" Bella scolded. "New question!" Edward gave Lexi an understanding look which caused her to come up with a plan. She focused.
"Later? When Mom isn't around? Then will you tell me?" Lexi thought. Edward nodded slowly.
"Stop it you two…" Bella warned, turning her attention to Lexi. "I'm not stupid, I know what you are doing, young lady!"
"Try a different question…" Carlisle suggested, fighting the urge to laugh himself like the rest of the family.
"Where to start?" Lexi was full of intrigue.
"How about favorite time of day?" Edward suggested. Lexi complied.
"Ok, what's your favorite time of day?"
"Twilight…or dusk, depends on your preference of the word…"
"Mine too…" Lexi beamed.
(Author's Note: I know it was long and a little fast paced but... did you like it?! So many unanswered questions will be announced in the second chapter. LOL, I hope to get some feedback. Chapter Two is in the works. Look forward apperances from Jacob, Leah, Seth and some new characters as well. so everybody sit back, hit the blue button for me and send in a review. Flames welcome if nessacary. Peace.)