Author's Note: I really enjoy stories where Edward suffers… love the angst on my favorite Twilight character. So I wrote a story where Edward's past-human life is that of a tragic tale. I really hope you enjoy it!
Summary: There's one date that always has Edward somber. Will Bella persuade him to tell her and his family the truth about that date? What tragedy occurred?
Disclaimer: I DO NOT own Twilight or its characters. Stephanie Meyer's does. I only own this story and the characters: Dr. Richard Mitchell, Maggie, and Gracey.
Title: Angel Gracey
Carlisle sighed as he glanced over at the calendar hanging on the wall. It was July 28, 2007. It wasn't the year that bothered the entire Cullen family and Bella, no it was the date: July 28th. Since the first time that date came around in 1919 – the first time Carlisle had been with Edward – the usual content, anxious, and depressed Edward always became extremely somber and locked himself away in his room away from everyone. After having spent close to a century with Edward, never did that boy mention what had occurred on that date to make him so somber.
"This is becoming ridiculous. It's been nearly a century for him, whatever happened back then – it's about time he's just come clean and stop moping around on this day," grumbled Rosalie as she sat on Emmett's lap glaring up the staircase.
"Rose, don't," Emmett warned, "But she does have a point. Carlisle, has he never mentioned anything to you that might clue us in as to what might have happened on this very day?"
"Not a word." Carlisle ran a hand through his hair as he glimpsed over to his brunette-haired daughter, "Alice, have you ever seen anything?"
Alice shook her head desolately, "No. God knows I've tried… but even after several decades nothing has shown itself." Glancing down at the strong hand that was entwined with hers, she asked, "Jazz, what are the emotions you're feeling coming off of Edward?"
Jasper sighed and moaned; his face tight, "He's in intense pain. I feel confusion, guilt, utter despair, shock, loneliness, and an extreme amount of sadness. Obviously something terrible happened back in his day that he has managed to remember… vividly, might I add."
Silence echoed off the walls as the Cullens and Bella let the information Jasper had provided set into their minds.
"What I don't get," Esme began breaking the silence, "is how this is affecting Edward so greatly? I mean, Carlisle, you said so yourself – Edward recalls basically nothing of his humanity… just his mother really and his last couple hours in that hospital bed. Besides the pain from the transformation, Edward's mind is full of memories from his life starting at the transformation and beyond. How can one date, from an existence he doesn't even remember, affect his mental state this dramatically?"
Carlisle sighed and took a moment gathering his thoughts before answering, "Whatever it is that he is recalling must have been held dearly in his heart. We all have that one memory that sticks out in our minds from our human lives, which we held very close in our hearts. I think that is what is happening to Edward, only this memory isn't a happy one; it's devastation."
Bella stayed quiet throughout their conversation but gasped as her heart clenched as she thought about the pain Edward must be experiencing. What had happened during his human life that would cause her strong, invincible boyfriend to be succumbed to the state of depression he is in now?
Bella sighed and lifted her eyes to the people starting intently at her, "Umm, I'm going to go up to Edward's room and try to get him to talk to me. I know it will probably be useless but I can't standby here any longer knowing he is suffering alone up there."
In a flash Edward was downstairs standing at the entrance of the family room glaring at the members of his family. His gaze softened when it met Bella's but turned dark when it returned to his family.
"Why must you guys always pry? Why can't you just leave well enough alone?" Edward spat as he folded his arms across his chest.
"We're just worried about you, honey. You always seclude yourself on this date."
Edward softened his body posture as he stared at Esme but stayed silent.
"Son, this has gone on long enough. We're your family. We just don't want you to hurt anymore. Please let us in." Carlisle pleaded; Edward was his firstborn and he hated seeing him suffer.
Edward shook his head, "No," was his simple whispered response. "I'm sorry but there are some things that need to be kept secret. And this is one of them."
Bella made the motion of pulling Edward over to the sofa and he obediently sat down as Bella sat down, curling up beside him. Taking his hands in hers, she pulled them up so they were leveled with her chest and kissed them as their eyes locked.
"Please, Edward, open up to us. We're going to be married next month and I can't marry you knowing you're in pain but won't let your family in on it. Whatever happened back then – we won't be angry or ashamed of you. We might feel terrible about what happened to you but we'll all get through it… we're in this together… together as a family. We love you, Edward. And nothing you have done will change that." She gave his hands a gentle squeeze as she emphasized, "Nothing that occurred back then will ever change my feelings for you. I love you, Edward… always. Will you please share with us what happened that makes you so sad now?"
Edward gazed into Bella's eyes for a few minutes trying to read her mind through her eyes. She was being truthful… she would always love him. Glancing at his family members and hearing their encouraging thoughts, he knew he could trust them as well. Sighing, Edward began his tale…
"Well, you know how you all think of me as naive when it comes to girls and relationships? Yeah, well, I'm not as naive as you think I am. The inside joke of me being a 106-year-old virgin? Yeah, not so accurate either." Edward stopped there and glimpsed at each one of his family members and was satisfied when he noted their looks of bewilderment. "When I was twelve, back in 1913, a new girl moved in with her family across the street from me. Her name was Margaret Jewel Smith, better known as Maggie. We, being the only children on the entire street, hung out every day. We would walk to school together in the mornings, eat lunch together and play together during free period, and then we would walk home together. After we'd finish our homework, Maggie and I would play together outside or at one of our houses until supper time. Then that was it until the next morning. Well when we turned thirteen that next year, we were beginning to experience strong feelings for one another… much deeper than that of hormonal teenager puppy love. No, the sparks were flying and we eventually told our parents that we were courting. Our parents at first thought we were a bit too young to be involved in a serious relationship but the levels of our maturity overpowered all other uncertainties and we got blessings both from my parents and hers. The following year as we turned fourteen our relationship blossomed so high that if I was old enough to have proposed to Maggie, I would have. On her fourteenth birthday, she and I agreed to make our Thanksgiving evening more extraordinary and we consummated." Edward silenced his family's thoughts and held his hand up to halt their exclamations and questions, simply stating, "Just let me finish this first part and then you can ask a couple questions before I finish the story. "Well on Christmas day of that year – 1915 – Maggie was seriously ill, vomiting up days' worth of meals. My parents, since the Smith family didn't own a telephone, called up Dr. Richard Mitchell. Rick was on-call every day of the week at anytime of the day. He was over at Maggie's house within the half hour. Maggie described her symptoms and Rick nodded simply drawing some of her blood. A week later, on New Year's day of 1916, Maggie and I were outside sitting on a bench watching the snow begin to fall when we noticed Dr. Mitchell coming up the hill in his buggy. He had a grim, disappointing expression on his face. I'll never forget it… he looked ashamed of us, embarrassed to be seen associating with us. Maggie and I just glanced at each other and just shrugged. Rick cleared his throat and quietly spoke, "I have your test results, Miss Smith." We nodded and she told him to continue." I gazed at Bella before continuing, knowing what I was about to say next could completely destroy any last string holding our relationship together. The look on her face knowing that I lost my virginity at fourteen to Maggie was of silent, but, furious rage. "He looked at the ground as he said "Maggie you are six weeks pregnant." Then he mumbled quickly, "You are to come see me every three weeks for check-ups, if you can't make it call me and I will come here." Then he left hurriedly on his buggy leaving us standing in shock. Back then, if a baby was born out of wedlock the child was considered a bastard child. Our parents were disappointed but turned supportive which helped us handle the pregnancy and birth better. My father and hers, myself included, worked for a month straight and built a small house in my parents' backyard for us to stay in once the baby was born. It just had the necessary bedrooms and a room to place a metal tub-bin in. Our meals were still at my parents' house or hers. And the toilet was still located in the outhouses. Maggie's pregnancy wasn't a smooth and easy one… no, she had quite a few scares. But eventually on August 16, 1916, our daughter – Grace Bethany Masen – was born." Edward took a deep, long, un-necessary breath, and then said, "Okay, feel free to ask or say whatever before I continue…"
Holy cow, Edward you sly dog, you've done it before! Hell you even had a child. At fifteen!? – Emmett
So whatever Edward is feeling, it must have to do with this Grace or Maggie… I can't believe our innocent Eddie really is the opposite of what we've thought. – Jasper
Well, well, well – I bet the little human can't even begin to comprehend that the love of her life is not a virgin and was even a father nearly 100 years ago… Good job, Edward! That's a way to get rid of the annoying little human. – Rosalie
I can't believe you, Edward! How could you deceive us all like this? How could you continuously lie to Bella like this? I won't blame her if she calls off your marriage! This was wrong of you... – Alice
Wait, wait, wait – my little boy was a father? He was blessed with a wonderful girl and child and then he disappeared from their lives? Edward, what happened? Oh, please tell me you didn't leave them alone? His tragic tale must have to deal with them... – Esme
Edward, why did I never know anything about this? When you were ill, neither you nor your parents ever mentioned Maggie or Grace. Why would you keep them a secret? There's more to this story than what you're telling. Finish it now, Edward! – Carlisle
After listening to each of my family members' thoughts, I cringed at some of the words they spoke silently. I then, cowardly, turned my head and stared at my angel. Bella's face was as hard as stone; I couldn't read her emotions through her eyes if I tried. Inhaling, I began the final part of my hidden tale.
"With Maggie and I still at school, having loads of homework to place on top of taking care of a baby and, I myself, working down at the lumber yard ever day after school from 3 to 7 in the evening, there was no way that Maggie and I could marry to knock off the vicious nickname that was placed upon our daughter. Bastard child was the worst insult of that time… When a person was called that, it normally stuck with them for life due to their parents' faults. But seeing as I was just being paid minimum wage and barely bringing in the money, just enough for bills and necessary food, shelter, and clothing on our backs… there was no spare money for a wedding. So we decided to marry in January 1919, once we had enough money saved up for it. Also, Maggie planned on finding a job at a local clothing factory after finishing school to help bring in additional money for the family. My mother and hers were more than thrilled to take turns caring for Gracey while we were out working during the day. Mind you, most people finished school at the age of sixteen back then. So we had one year left after Gracey was born. That year flew by and we were still struggling with the little income I was bringing in. Only four months into that job, I begged them to work me longer on Fridays and Saturdays. There was no work on Sundays. So on Fridays I worked 3 to 9 and on Saturdays I worked from opening to closing which was 7 in the morning to 9 at night. Once Maggie and I graduated school, our money situation became better as we now had two incomes coming in. We could actually afford toys for Gracey now… Before we knew it, we were celebrating our daughter's first birthday. My mother had sewed her a cute little pink dress; she looked like a true princess. Then she began walking and would never stop exploring. The one negative aspect to our situation was we barely got to see our little baby. We got to see her maybe an hour in the morning and an hour or two at most during the evenings before we put her to bed. My hours now that I was out of school were Monday through Saturday from 7 in the morning to 9 at night. Except on Wednesdays, then my day was cut short, meaning I worked from 9 in the morning till 2 in the afternoon. Maggie, ironically, had my exact same schedule at the factory. Fortunately my mother and Maggie's were doing an excellent job in raising little Gracey. It was a blessing for Maggie and I come Sunday… we got to spend all day with our baby! Let's just say we cherished every minute we had with Gracey on Sundays. Her second year was flying by so quickly… She could speak just a little bit saying "Dada, Momma, Baba, Dank oo, and her favorite word was NO!" On a not too sweltering summer day, Maggie and I decided that we had saved up enough money to treat Gracey to some ice cream and toy of her choice. So we went into town as a family outing. We didn't get to do much of those… Gracey was now 23-months old, only about three weeks until her second birthday."
The Cullens and Bella noticed as Edward paused, swallowing hard, and taking a deep breath before continuing; realizing he was about to reveal what must have been the tragedy that caused him such pain on this July day.
"It was July 28, 1918… the day was perfect. It was sunny, just warm with a cool, gentle breeze, and not a cloud in the sky. Gracey chose to have chocolate ice cream and we topped it off with a cherry on top." A flash of pure happiness crossed Edward's eyes and that pained his family members. Edward chuckled lightly at the bittersweet memory. "By the time she had finished, there was more ice cream on her face, hands, and dress than in her tummy. But she just giggled and smiled, clapping her little chubby baby hands together in content. After we cleaned her up we headed to the toy store. We must've been in there for over an hour before Gracey decided on what she wanted to bring home. She was so overwhelmed with all the toys that she could select from that she tested out each one before she decided on a simple little brown teddy bear. She hugged and squeezed that teddy bear so tightly that Maggie and I thought the fluffing would come exploding out. When she gave him a kiss, our hearts melted. Gracey knew what affection and love was, and knew how important it was to show it and share it. Maggie and I taught her that. We told her there was no greater power than love… she never forgot that and we began telling her that the day she was born. She was quite the intelligent little girl. We had just paid for the bear when a friend of ours stopped by at the store to pick something up for his little brother's birthday. We had seen Gracey sitting on one of the rocking chairs on the porch so we stayed in the doorway chatting with Christian Roberts. We hadn't seen Gracey get up from the chair, but according to a witness she had begun dancing with her bear spinning around in circles on the porch teetering dangerously close to the edge." Edward took a breath and his expression was of pain. His eyes, if he could cry, would be filled with tears right now.
Go on, son. You will feel better once you have this secret out in the open.
Carlisle truly did have words of wisdom. Everything he ever told me was truthful and correct. I nodded my head slowly and gestured a thanks to Jasper as I felt a wave of calmness overwhelm me.
"Gracey must've got dizzy from spinning and she slipped off the edge. Maggie and I whipped around when we heard the shrieks of the wooden wheels attempting to come to a halt of a stop, but our minds froze as we saw Grace right in the center of the path of the oncoming horse and buggy. Then all we could see was the buggy and horse and the horrible fading sound of the painful scream that erupted from Gracey. Gracey had been run over. This all happened in mere seconds; I know there was nothing we could've done. But it's still our fault. One of us should've been sitting on the porch with Gracey rather than talking to Chris. Her blood splattered the wagon. I ran out and grabbed her limp body… she was dead. Dead as soon as the buggy ran over her little body. I cried… I couldn't let go of her. Maggie tried to take her from me but I just cursed at her and she backed off. That night when we got home, we both held each other and cried. Our lives had finally gotten on track. In a few months time, we'd be married and Gracey would've been rid of that horrible title. All I know is that when we laid Gracey in the ground, I felt a part of my soul die then. I wasn't complete anymore and neither was Maggie. All we had left of Gracey were the three or four photos we had of her, her blanket and pillow, her clothes, and her teddy bear. Maggie and I stayed together, but it was rather difficult in the beginning to even talk to one another without thinking of Gracey."
"What happened to Maggie, Edward?" Emmett asked quietly; for once serious with no sign of laughter or sarcasm in his voice.
"Well, the influenza is what happened. She got infected with it in the first bout of it just like my father. Both of them were gone hours after they got it. Even if nothing had happened to Gracey, our lives would've been shattered due to the influenza any how… I expect there was no happy ending for us, because in the people's eyes, there never should've been an us yet. I guess that was my punishment. First I lose my daughter in July and then my fiancé in early September. Her parents also died that first week. Then at the end of September, my mother and I die from it." Edward shook his head and sighed disdainfully, "Even back when I was a human, due to one wrong sin, God lost his faith in me. He punished me by killing off every single person I loved starting with the one wrapped around my finger and lastly killing the one woman who would forever be my strength… my mother. Now can you understand why I believe God could never forgive us who are condemned to eternal damnation?"
Everyone in the room stayed silent as they digested their brother, son, and fiancé's tragic tale. What they had been expecting, whatever it was, most definitely was not this that was laid out in front of them.
"Edward, I… God, I'm sorry!" Rosalie exclaimed as she ran out the front door, horrified at the tragedy that had befallen her younger brother.
"Man, how did you get through it? You lost everything… I'll never bother you on this day again. You deserve a day of peace and quiet to remember your lost ones." Emmett stated sincerely as he followed his wife out the door to go comfort her.
"God, Edward… I am so sorry you had to go through that. If you have any of her things left, you should share them with us. I would love to see a photo of Gracey. I'm sorry," whispered Alice.
"I have to go outside, man. You're emotions are making me feel ill. But I am so sorry about what happened. No one should have to experience that," moaned Jasper.
Jasper and Alice left the house and would come back once Edward's emotions were back on track.
Esme stared at her son for a few moments before walking over and throwing her arms around him and dry-sobbed against his chest. Edward returned the embrace and let himself relax in his mother's embrace. Esme pulled back and placed her hands on her son's cheeks to force him to look at her.
"Edward, you are not alone. I know what it's like to lose a child. It's not something you ever get over. But do remember you have to try to let them go. They are in a better place… a place where they are safe and forever loved. I love you, honey. If you ever need to talk to someone, please come talk to me."
"Thanks, mom," Edward choked out.
Carlisle took a few strides until he was right in front of his son. "Don't you ever feel as if you and Maggie made a mistake. You didn't! You were blessed with a miraculous gift… it's just a tragic accident occurred which was not your fault. And son, God was not punishing you. It was just a series of tragic events that occurred back to back that happened to occur weeks within each other. If God honestly wanted to punish you for becoming who you are today, don't you think he would have taken away the memory you just shared with us? If God truly had no faith in redemption for you, don't you agree that you never would have remembered this?"
Edward pondered his father's words and realized that for once they made absolute sense. Nodding slowly, he clarified, "You've got a point, Carlisle. But I still am not sure on the whole God taking our damned souls into heaven once we die. I doubt that view will ever change… It's just what I believe."
"I wish I could get you to think differently. You're a good person, Edward."
Edward smiled sadly and leaned in to his father's embrace. He always felt safe and loved in his arms, "Thanks, dad."
Carlisle simply nodded. He and Esme then left to go to his office upstairs leaving Edward and Bella alone to talk. Edward simply glanced at Bella wanting her to take the first step.
Bella shocked Edward as she threw her arms around his neck and held him tightly, "I am so sorry about everything! Maggie, your parents, and good-god your daughter. The pain you must have gone through… I am so sorry, baby!"
Edward cuddled her head and whispered, "Thanks, love. But it's all in the past."
"You should have told me. I don't care if I'm not your first love in both senses, but you should've told me about Gracey. She's a huge part of you, Edward. She was your daughter for Heaven's sake! I can't believe you were so young… but that doesn't matter, it was different times."
Edward looked at her astounded, "You mean you're not angry with me?"
Bella shook her head, "No, not at all. We all have a past. What matters now is the present. Do you feel better now that your story is out in the open?"
Edward nodded, "I just don't want to be pitied. Like you said what happened is the past. I can never forget them, but what matters now is you and my family."
"I have an idea for now on when this date occurs…"
"Oh yeah, and what would that be?"
"Why don't we head down to our meadow and walk the length of the lake with a photo of Gracey and maybe her teddy bear with us. Just you and me." Bella saw the incredulous look Edward was giving her, "Don't give me that look. I know you well enough to know you kept Gracey's belongings with you before you and Carlisle left Chicago."
"You're right. They're up in my room."
"Could you show me them? Now?"
Edward sighed, hesitating, "I haven't took that stuff out for nearly fifty years…"
Bella gave Edward a look of sympathy, "Well then, tonight's the perfect night to start again."
Edward and Bella were upstairs in his room in a flash. Edward took out an old, small, wooden box and carefully removed the lid. Inside lay the only contents of what remained of Gracey Masen. Edward picked up the teddy bear and held it close, inhaling the sweet scent of his daughter.
"She smelt like roses and cinnamon."
Bella smiled gently. She was then handed the four photos that were taken of Gracey.
"How old was she in these?"
"One week, nine months, her first birthday, and the last one was taken three days before her accident."
"She looked just like you, Edward."
"Except for her eyes… she had gorgeous chocolate eyes like Maggie."
"Gracey was an adorable little girl, baby. You and Maggie did a good job."
"It's still hard to see this stuff without feeling the need to cry."
"Come here," Bella said as she started to cry. To her surprise and relief she felt Edward shaking against her, dry-sobbing. "That's it, Edward. Let it all out. You'll feel so much better." When Edward pulled away, Bella whispered, "I love you."
"I love you too."
"Let's set out her teddy bear and frame her photos and placed them around your room. That way Gracey will always be near you."
Edward didn't reply; he just stared in awe at Bella, "What would I ever do without you?"
Edward and Bella smiled back at each other, though it was bittersweet. Now that Edward's past was out in the open, Bella could help him heal. Edward needed to forgive himself before he got on the path to mending a broken heart. But with her help, Bella knew Edward would be all right and that she would stop the past from haunting him for eternity…
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Author's Note: Well I hope you enjoyed this one-shot. I am pretty sure that is all it will be unless you guys want to see more of this story. You let me know! And please, it only takes 30 seconds tops but please push that little button in the middle of the page and REVIEW! Reviews keep me enlightened and motivated to read more! I love Twilight with a passion, so I did try doing this story justice keeping the characters as realistic as possible. Let me know how I did! Happy holidays to everyone!