A/N: So one morning I got up and for no reason at all started thinking of the movie Return to Me. I got a PM the same day from Leeshaann suggesting I write a Twilight fanfic based on that movie - I decided it was fate. So here goes. I'm attempting to write in 3rd person, so we'll see how that works out. I wrote my last story without a Beta, but I would like one for this story if anyone has some spare time they would like to spend critiquing and proofreading PM me. This story will not have any serial killers like the last one, but hopefully it will be warm and fuzzy and worth reading!
"Bella, why don't you take a break?" Emmett said using his authoritative big brother voice.
"I'm fine," she waived him off and continued to roll the silverware for the evening's dinner service.
"Come on Bells, I think granddad needs your help with something upstairs. I'll finish that up."
Bella sighed in resignation and stomped up to the apartment she shared with her grandfather above their little Bistro. When she got there, he was sitting on the couch enthralled in his favorite game show, Jeopardy.
"Granddad, Em said you needed my help with something?"
"I don't know Bella." He scratched his head trying to come up with something. Emmett and their grandfather were always working together to make sure she didn't over do it at the restaurant. "Well what do you know about Modern Art and Existentialism? I'm no good at these yuppie categories and the big words." He said and patted the seat next to him. Bella fell with a thud onto the couch and pouted.
"Who is Pissaro?" she answered the next question with an eye roll.
Bella couldn't help but be annoyed. Ever since her surgery everyone tip toed around her like she was breakable. In fact it had been going for years even before that, but she thought once the surgery and recovery were over, that things would be different. Instead it seemed worse. In the eyes of her family, Bella was fragile. Bella must not over exert herself. Bella must be protected.
Bella's mother had died when Bella was just thirteen. She developed the same heart condition that Bella's grandmother had died from, and like her mother before her, passed away in her thirties. Bella had always believed she was cursed to suffer the same fate, but her grandfather had never given up hope. When at age 24, Bella started to develop symptoms of the same heart defect, her Grandfather and brother convinced her and literally dragged her to the best specialists around the country. After three long years of waiting and several disappointments, Bella had finally reached the top of the list for a transplant. She had been given a new chance at a long life.
Despite her irritation with the over protective men in her life, Bella appreciated her family. She adored her grandfather. He had made the pain she felt over losing her mother bearable. After her mother died, her dad never quite could get it together. He was no good as a single dad, and the pain of losing his young wife was more than he could cope with. Bella had resented his decision to send Bella and Emmett to live with their grandfather at first, but now she saw it as a precious gift. Her granddad's love, stories, and constant optimism had pulled her through the darkest of times. He was in every way her hero.
Bella had graduated from college with a degree in English, but had never been motivated to look for work in her field. When she got sick, she didn't make plans for a life that stretched far enough for to bother being ambitious. She had resigned herself to enjoying the time she had with her grandfather and her brother. These two men, the restaurant they ran, and now Emmett's wife and two kids were her entire world. She convinced herself that they were enough. She had given up any other hopes or dreams for the future including falling in love and having a family of her own. She would never dream of starting a family, and making her own children suffer through losing their mother like she had.
Her family members weren't the only ones having a hard time adjusting to the fact that Bella wasn't sick anymore. She struggled to admit to herself that she was now faced with possibilities she never fathomed before. She could do anything, be anything, love, feel, experience life without fear. The thought of this terrified her.
Bella yawned, and her grandfather looked at her with concern in his eyes. "Darling why don't you go take a nap?" he suggested.
"Granddad, I'm a healthy vibrant young woman. I don't need a naaaap." She covered her mouth as she yawned out the last word.
"Of course you are dear," her grandfather chuckled.
"I think I'll go for a walk in the park instead. I'm just bored really. The fresh air will be nice."
"Oh, should I go with you?" He glanced longingly at the game of Jeopardy, obviously torn.
"No I'll be fine. I'm a grown woman, and I am perfectly capable of going on a walk alone." As the words came out of Bella's mouth, she stubbed her toe on the coffee table and started jumping up and down in pain.
"Don't even say it," she warned, scowling at her grandfather.
"Have a nice walk," he shook with silent laughter careful not to arouse her stubborn anger further.
Bella kissed him on the head and headed downstairs. She grabbed a sweater and buttoned it up to the top careful to make sure it covered her scar. With a quick look in the mirror, she went outside and in the direction of the park.
It was the kind of day that made her want to hum while she walked. Bella took a deep breath of the fresh air, and had the urge to skip. She quickly realized that skipping could be lethal for someone as clumsy as her. She giggled when she pictured the headlines, "Woman Survives Heart Transplant and Dies Skipping to the Park." She didn't want to throw away everything her family had done to make sure she lived, so instead she walked carefully and soaked in the warmth of the sun on her face. She loved this time of year in Boulder. When most people think of Colorado, they think of snow and skiing. She could live without the cold, and she detested the snow, but she loved the spring and summer. It was definitely worth all the cold toes and window scraping to be able to enjoy the greenery of late May.
She sat down on a bench in the park and took her time looking around at the flowers, letting herself be awed by the majestic mountains in the distance, and listening to the birds. She loved the sound of the stream in the background, and felt peace wash over her. Bella pulled the piece of bread out of her pocket that she had grabbed on her way out the door. If she sat there long enough, a chipmunk might come right up to her and eat it out of her hand. She glanced over at the playground and laughed at a little girl chasing a little boy with a wild look on her face. Just then an enormous black dog jumped on Bella's lap with his front paws and grabbed the piece of bread out of her hand. Bella let out a scream that would have shattered glass inside the restaurant. She had always had an aversion to big black dogs that could eat her face off. The ferocious animal just wagged his tail and ran off through some bushes.
Filled with anger over the loss of her special moment with a chipmunk, (she loved feeling all Snow Whitish) Bella jumped up and started to run after the dog. His owner should have better control over that humungous bread stealing canine. She got to the other side of the bushes, and stopped when her feet felt suddenly cold and wet. She looked down and found herself standing in the stream that wound around the park. Bella felt like moron. She had been to the park a million times over the past fifteen years, and knew the stream was here. She was surprised she hadn't slipped. The stones in the creek bed had always been super slippery… splash! Bella lost her footing on the rocks that were indeed very slick, and ended up sitting in the stream. The water was shallow, it didn't even cover the top of her legs in this spot, but her lower half was soaking wet just the same.
She looked around with renewed fury for the monster that caused this to happen. Her eyes snapped to the left when she heard a dog bark, and that's when she saw him. The dog was licking the face of a man, probably in his early thirties. He had unruly auburn hair and a smile that immediately made Bella's new heart beat wildly. The dog barked again and started to run back towards Bella. With speed and determination she did not know she possessed, Bella raced out of the stream and dove behind the bushes. She could not let this man, this God's gift to women, see her in this state. How could she explain that she fell in a stream while planning to murder his dog who had stolen her chance to be Snow White? He would probably just think she was lying trying to cover up the fact that she peed her pants.
Bella panicked as she saw the auburn haired man of her most unmentionable dreams start to follow his dog in her direction. The dog ran straight up to the bushes she was hiding behind, and started barking while wagging his tail fanatically.
"What is it boy?" Bella heard the man call to his dog.
She tried to think of anything she could possibly say to get her out of what was bound to be the most humiliating moment of her life. She considered playing dead. Maybe then he would give her mouth to mouth. "Think Bella!" she scolded herself.
She was about to pretend to be blind, when she heard a woman's voice yell, "Eddie!" She carefully looked over the bushes again to see the man and the dog both now focused on a woman running toward them with a huge smile on her face. She was petite with short dark hair. When she reached the man and his dog, she jumped into his arms wrapping her legs around his waist and squealing. Bella's mood quickly changed from panic to disappointment. She rolled her eyes at herself for even thinking twice about a stranger who was obviously happy with his beautiful wife or girlfriend. She pulled herself up out of her hiding place, turned around, and ran directly into someone. She looked up and locked eyes with a man who looked both a bit concerned and amused at the same time.
"I noticed you back there, and thought I would come see if you were alright," he said to her. The man was tall with blonde hair and blue eyes. Bella wondered to herself if the park was hosting some kind of event for Boulder's most beautiful people that day.
"I'm uh…" blind? Dead? Really really stupid? "I'm fine. I was chasing after this wild rabid dog that stole some food right out of my hand, when I slipped and fell in the stream. I didn't want anyone to see me looking like I had wet my pants, so I ended up hiding." She felt all the blood rush to her face and mentally slapped herself for talking so much.
The man laughed loudly, and held out his hand, "I'm Jasper, and I'm glad you're ok. I was worried you had escaped from some mental institution and were stalking my brother-in-law."
"Oh, no. Sorry if I scared you. I'm Bella." She replied and shook his hand.
"No problem. That dog never did grow out of the puppy stage. He seems to wreak havoc wherever he goes. We were just about to have a picnic. Do you want to join us? It's the least we can do since my brother-in-law's dog seems to have ruined your trip to the park."
"Oh thank you, but I think I better head home and change into some dry clothes. Just try and keep that monster on a leash from now on," she teased feeling more relaxed. There was something about this guy's personality that immediately calmed her.
"Ok well, it was nice to meet you." Jasper said shaking her hand again.
"Have a good afternoon," Bella replied. She started to walk back towards her home, but took one last glance over her shoulder at Jasper who was making his way up to his smiling brother-in-law. She could just imagine the conversation they were about to have.
A/N: Next up we meet the man Bella described as God's gift to women.