A/N: Hi all- this is an AU where Edward is the human, Bella the vamp. I know its been done, and some of them are really good, but I wanted to make my own attempt, trying to pay special attention to keeping Bella's and Edward's characters as true as possible, making only minor adjustments for their natures. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I definitely don't own Twilight- I wish I was cool enough for that- only Stephenie is that ballin'.
The trees blurred together along the side of the road, still appearing nearly black due to the lack of light at the early hour. Not that I was really looking out the window of the yellow taxi cab- I was too busy trying to keep my mind thought free so I could stay numb. Unfortunately, I couldn't help but think about why I was in this cab in the first place. Under normal circumstances, there would be no way I would be leaving Chicago. Especially not for Forks, Washington, the tiny little one-horse town all the way across the country from the only home I'd ever known. As if its size weren't bad enough, it rained all of the time there- and, really, what kind of town is named after a kitchen utensil?
If I was honest with myself, deep down I knew it was definitely for the best, despite how my very inner being revolted at the idea. It was impossible for me to stay in Chicago- there would be too many painful memories of what my life was before- before the accident. I sighed as I continued to stare at the glass without really seeing past it, feeling reality worm its way into my consciousness, past the superficial complaints. I leaned my forehead against the cool glass, trying to keep the images of that night in the dark recesses of my mind. Unfortunately, it was too late.
It had all started earlier that evening when my mom, Elisabeth Masen, had convinced my Dad, Edward Masen Sr.,that it would be a good idea for the three of us to go out to dinner that evening. She had offered the excuse that she didn't particularly feel like cooking, but I could tell that she was only attempting to divert any argument between my father and I that evening. We had been getting into it quite a bit lately, and she thought that getting us in public would force us to be civil. Ever since I had brought up the idea joining the marines in about a year and a half instead of attending college, it had been the source of many heated debates, nearly every night. I felt the need to fight for my country and pay my dues, though, truthfully, dreams of glory and honor also influenced my decision. My Dad had not understood the urgency I felt, and was insisting that I consider waiting until after college- being a self-made man and a lawyer, education was his religion. My mother had wanted me to wait until after I finished my education as well, but only because her great love for me wouldn't allow her to bear the thought of her son being in danger, and she hoped that with time I would change my mind. However, being the kind and non-confrontational being she was, she had only voiced her opinions once or twice before, and this evening, she was trying to prevent the possibility altogether.
The restaurant she picked was both my father's and my own favorite. She knew that neither of us would fight there- at least not much. Of course, as mothers usually are, she was right. Most of the evening it felt like the old days, and I remembered how much I actually liked my father, beyond the nearly mandatory love that bonds parent and child. My father was sincerely one of my favorite people in the world, and by the time dinner was over I had decided to take it easy on him and consider his points the next time the subject of college vs. the marines came up. After all, I saw how much it made my mother happy for us to get along again. She was smiling angelically, her arm around my father's waist, his around her shoulders, as we walked across the parking lot. I realized I was a little ashamed for what I had been doing to her over the last few weeks- she was so incredibly loving, putting her family in front of everything else in her life. Though I still knew what I wanted, I could make life easier for us all, and stop losing my temper and try to appear less headstrong.
We all climbed into the black Lexus the firm had given my father when he made partner a couple of years before, and as we pulled out of the lot, the mood of dinner continued with our conversation. We were all laughing at some joke Dad had just told when it all happened. We were rounding a large curve just a few miles from our house out in the suburbs when a huge Ford truck came barreling towards us. It was the kind that no one who doesn't run a farm needs and certainly didn't belong outside of Chicago- it looked large enough to pull a house. Before I could register more than its size and extremely bright lights, it swerved into our lane, coming too fast to avoid. I heard my Dad curse loudly, jerking the wheel vainly, as my mother simultaneously shrieked in terror. A moment later, I heard and felt the impact of metal on metal. Then all the noises rushed together in a ghastly symphony. Glass flew with a shatter, tires squealed on the asphalt, brakes locked, and various sickening crunches came from the hood of our car as it interlocked with the truck, trapped just under its chrome grill. The two vehicles skidded as one entity off the road. Then, the truck stopped, having transferred all its force to our Lexus, and the noises quieted.
But the violent movements of the car didn't. As the car went into the ditch, the angle caused it to disengage from the truck, then fly into the air as it flipped.
All the while I was being wildly jostled, hitting my head with each turn, hearing only the creak of frame of the car, along with some further crunching, coming from the top of the car each time it made impact with the ground. Suddenly, the world came to a quiet stillness as the car landed, rocked one last time, then slammed back down with a final crash. With nothing else comparable to the last minute or so to process, my senses, so keenly heightened from the adrenaline, shut down, leaving me in the black.
I struggled to pull myself back to reality as the cab neared the airport- these were exactly the thoughts I was trying to avoid. Little else mattered from that night- I had ended up in the hospital, where the doctor had found shockingly few injuries. I had a few bruises, and some cuts that resulted in numerous stitches. I had stayed overnight for observation due to the concussion I had acquired as well.
But my parents had been gone- dead. Mom had been ejected from the car on impact- she was dead before she really knew what had happened. At least that's what the doctors said- but I knew she hadn't been oblivious- it had been in her scream and face when the truck had come at us. Maybe she didn't physically feel anything, but I knew that mental agony was far worse- I should know, I dealt with it every day now. If I hadn't been constantly instigating disagreements in our house, we wouldn't have gone out that night. We wouldn't have been anywhere near that truck, or the driver who had fallen asleep at the wheel. Dad had died later, at the hospital. He had sustained intense injuries- crushed both legs when the front of the car had collapsed, cracked his skull, and broken several ribs, one of which had punctured a lung. Before the paramedics showed, he had already stopped breathing for several minutes, went into shock, and lost way too much blood. The doctors never had a chance.
And now here I was. I took a week off after the incident, then struggled through the final week of school, before staying in Chicago over my holiday break as things had been gotten in order. I was an orphan, at sixteen. Dad, being a lawyer, had arranged everything in a will, just in case. I'm sure he had never believed it would be needed so soon.
Unfortunately, it was, and on some level that was still being reasonable within me, I was grateful for his foresight, even though it seemed morbid to have such thoughts. An attorney took care of everything with the funeral arrangements, and had executed the will. That hadn't been so difficult- everything had been willed to me, in liquidated form, put in a trust fund. While that may have been predictable, since there really wasn't much other family, my parent's emergency plans for me where not.
"I'm going where!!?" I had yelled at the lawyer who sat at the desk in front of me, as I stood from my chair after hearing him read the final clause of the will, vaguely picking up that it was directions about what to do with me.
" Forks, Washington. Mr. Masen, I realize this may be a shock, but your parents obviously felt that your uncle, Mr. Charles Masen, was the appropriate choice for your guardian. Now, I've spoken to him, and he'll be here for the funeral in a couple of days, and then he would like you to finish with school here, after which you can make the trip back to Washington…"
Charlie- my father's brother. The one who insisted on being called Charlie because he couldn't stand the "stuffy" names their parents had given them. The one my Dad never talked to- at least not in the past few years. The one who had never wanted to leave their tiny hometown and lived there as a bachelor and worked as the chief of police.
"I can't believe this!" I had screamed. "I don't need a guardian! Can't I just stay here on my own?"
I realized as soon as the words were out of my mouth that such a thing was impossible- of course not, I had no money, and the trust fund was to be handled by Charlie. The attorney said the same things I was thinking, along with explaining that I needed someone, and that my parents had thought this was best. I had just nodded, knowing it wasn't avoidable.
Charlie had arrived two days later. We talked after the funeral, and he agreed to let me stay in Chicago until it was time for school in January, and then I could make the move. At least he had listened to my pleas to spend a little more time in my home. He had been reluctant at first, not wanting to leave me alone any longer than necessary, but I had convinced him that a couple more weeks wouldn't hurt anyone.
But now it was January, and my cab had stopped outside the airport. I paid the cabbie, grabbed my suitcase out of the trunk, and went to catch my flight.
A few hours later, I landed in Seattle where I caught another, smaller plane. An hour later I was in Port Angeles. It wasn't hard to spot Charlie- the terminal where I landed was tiny. Charlie grunted a hello, took my bag, and led me out to the police cruiser.
"So, how was the trip?" he asked, obviously a bit uncomfortable.
"Fine, I guess." I replied, with no real interest in my voice.
"Good…" he said, looking like he wanted to say more. I didn't know Charlie so well, but I could tell that he wanted to say something about my parents and attempt to make me feel better about being here. But I could also tell that he wasn't going to say anything- if my appraisal was correct, as they usually were when it came to people, Charlie was not a man of many words.
I waited a few more minutes in silence as we drove by the limitless green of forest on the narrow backroads. When no conversation started up, I put in the earbuds to my ipod. At least I wasn't going to have to worry about Charlie feeling like he needed to be my personal shrink.
About a dozen or so songs later, we drove by the Welcome to Forks sign. It wasn't long until we pulled up a brick driveway to a small two-story house. I climbed out, pulling out my earphones as I surveyed the house I had seen just two or three times. Though there had been little contact with Charlie recently since my father had gotten so caught up in his career, my parents had brought me out with them to visit for a couple weeks at a time every summer for a few years. Charlie was, after all, the only family either of them had left. Nothing much was different from what I remembered, except the faded red Chevy truck in the driveway, obviously from the 1950's. I looked at Charlie, who was opening up the trunk to the cruiser, raising my eyebrow as I walked over to help him with the bags.
"I don't remember that." I said, gesturing toward the pickup.
"Yeah, well, I figured you might need your own car out here, and Billy Black had this one, newly rebuilt engine and all…" he trailed off.
I looked over the truck. It was thoughtful of Charlie to get it, and I vaguely remembered Billy was a friend of Charlie's. He probably had gotten a pretty good price- I should be grateful.
"You're welcome, now let's get these in the house- starting to rain." He said gruffly.
We walked up the drive, into the house. The place was small, but nice enough on the inside. The living room was off to the left, with a small couch, recliner, coffee table and a TV. I could tell the kitchen was through the doorway over to the left at the back of that room, but couldn't see much else before we went up the stairs. Charlie led me to the left, into a plain room with dark paneled walls. The bed was in the center of the room, with a dark navy bedspread. There was a desk over by the window, with an ancient looking computer on top. Charlie left the bag he was carrying by the door as I went in, sitting the largest suitcase on the bed.
"The bathroom is just down the hall- do you need anything else?" I could tell by his body language- standing by the doorframe, looking tentative- that he would be more than happy to leave me alone.
"No, I think I can handle it."
"Alright then…" he said, turning around and leaving the room. I could hear his footsteps as he walked downstairs, and the soon the sounds of the television wafted their way up to my room. I began unpacking my bags- something that didn't take so long. Once my clothes were in the closet and the dresser, with my CD collection lined up along the top of the dresser, there wasn't much left to do. I placed a picture of my parents on my desk, the final activity I could find. In the emptiness, a fresh wave of grief went through me. This wave was different though- I still grieved for my parents, but I was adjusting. This grief was the feeling that I had been entirely uprooted, left my life as I knew it behind. Sitting here in this foreign room, it was almost as if I was finally leaving my parents in the past- I couldn't grip onto them anymore in the same way without the familiar surroundings. Denial was no longer an option. Thinking those thoughts, I stripped off my jeans, and lay in my bed. The percussion of the rain against the roof kept me awake as I picked out beat after beat, until I finally blocked both the rain and my own thoughts with random music from my iPod.
Like it? Hate it? Let me know, because it will matter as to whether or not I continue this story- I'm still not sure if the story even works if their roles reversed. Try to be constructive please- but otherwise, don't hold anything back :)- review people!