Summary: Isabella Swan had a tragic and abusive childhood. Everyone knew it. But not everyone knew of the bronze haired boy who visited her in her dreams. He was the only one who knew the true Bella. But Edward wasn't real, was he?
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the authors. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.
MY WINTER HIATUS IS OVER. HERE IS YOUR CHAPTER. *Bows*
It was the last day of college. Bella could hardly believe that it was here already. It seemed like only yesterday that she'd been a lost freshman, overjoyed at the reunion with her best friend from, what felt like, another lifetime. Though the years leading her there were greatly full of suffering, she wasn't totally sure if she was happy or not to see them behind her, as no one could see the future and no one knew if the years in front of her were going to be any less insufferable than the ones she had left behind. Regardless, tomorrow was the start of a new beginning, starting with her trip to Europe to gain inspiration for a book she was trying to write.
She was to be spending one week in Italy before returning to the States. She wanted to get a feel for the romance that lingered in the air there and of the spices that floated through the wind. All in all, she was excited for the trip, though she felt a little guilty for wishing that her last days of college, the ones which represented all that she had worked for over the last four years, were finished and that she looking forward to her trip over the Atlantic so dearly.
Vampire Weekend, Alice's favorite band, burst through her eardrums, giving her a spring in her step as she climbed the staircase that lead to her dorm. First checking for the lack of sock on the door knob—she had been unfortunate enough to walk in on Alice and her cousin "in the act" not long after they had first got together and since then had been very cautious to not repeat the mistake again—she slid the key into the lock and proceeded to open the door. As she pushed it wide open, a refreshing gust of wind blew over the bare skin of her arms, invigorating her in the recent heat wave that had hit the university.
However, as gooseflesh began to spread across the tops of her arms, she felt along the wall beside the door for the light switch before briskly walking toward the window. Closing it to with a resounding creak, she spotted a flutter of white in her peripheral. She turned quickly to her bed, noticing immediately the startling white of an envelope in contrast to the multicolored rug Alice had insisted upon as an addition to their "bland" dorm room.
She picked it up, perching herself on the edge of her bed, the envelope in her hand reading just one word: Bella. The script was familiar, and she immediately braced herself for the worst, knowing that no good could ever come from a letter to her from Rosalie Hale. She took a deep breath before sliding her index finger through the slit and roughly tearing it open. Unfolding the piece of note paper inside, she was met with more of Rosalie's script, and she closed her eyes tightly for a second before beginning to read. The letter was not addressed to Bella, but instead just ran straight into something that sounded more like a child's fairytale than a formal letter.
Once upon a time, there was a girl who had everything. She had a caring mother who was always there when she returned home from school, a benevolent father, and a kid brother who loved and adored her. They were rich, living in the town's more privileged neighborhood, and she could have anything she wished for with just a snap of her fingers. But, one day, something went wrong.
She started to become uninterested in her coveted lifestyle, rebelling against the family who loved her and had cared for her for so long. She'd met a man, a man who had convinced her to run away with him so they could be happy away from high society and judging eyes. The same night, she broke into the family vault, taking whatever she could get her hands on.
She left but a short, cryptic note, explaining nothing about her whereabouts and just expressing a want to not be searched for, for them not to try to find her. As suspected, this fling or 'marriage' didn't last long, the only output a young girl - you.
Your mother returned to our grandparents pleading her case that she was sorry and that she never meant to hurt them. They accepted her apology, taking her in their open arms and giving her and you a sanctuary with them. They should've never trusted her. Not after what she'd already done to rip apart our family.
But, of course, they never expected her to repeat her transgressions. Alas, several months later she left again, you with her along with several hundred-thousand dollars.
Ten years later, word reached Carlisle that your father was dead and that you had been left with no other relatives than him, Jasper and me. Once again, we were asked to take you in, and my brother and father didn't question it, didn't think it possible that these things traveled genetically, in blood.
I had sense. I knew you would do the same thing to us as your mother did, just that it would take time.
This letter isn't an apology. Nor do I ever plan to make one either here or in person, as I am not sorry for the way I distanced myself from you. Some part of me thought that maybe you deserved an explanation. It's probably stupid, but I guess this would be the last chance I would get, as it's unlikely that you will ever choose to visit the family when I'm around.
Bella was in shock, her eyes continuing to rake over the words before her over and over, trying to find some hidden meaning that meant something different than the plain words her cousin had given her. She only realized that tears were trailing down her cheeks when they fell onto the paper, blurring the blue font. She tore her head up, taking in a mouthful of air, before tossing the letter onto her bedside table.
She raised her hand, scraping her face aggressively to wipe away her tears. She'd come up here to pack, but as she rested herself over her comforter, she didn't even feel like going to Europe now. She felt like staying in this cramped dorm forever, mulling over her thoughts, bathing in her tears, and watching as the rain pummeled against the windowpanes in a rhythmic melody.
She wanted Alice, though she knew she couldn't call her. Alice had gone on and on about how she and Jasper were having one last date before they moved to Chicago together. Apparently, Jasper had been planning a big night, and Bella couldn't take that from them. She wanted Esme, though she knew she was hours away and she was in no condition to drive and didn't even feel like lifting herself off her bed. She knew she could never ask Esme to drive all this way just to console her.
She wanted Edward. She wanted Edward so much it hurt. Every moment of the day she wished that it was possible for them to be together like a normal couple, instead of only being able to be together in some bizarre other-world that she wasn't even sure existed. She wished that she was Alice and he was Jasper and that their relationship was just as simple as one plus one equals two. She wished that they had bumped into each other on the street, at a coffee shop. She even wished that they might've met at some rowdy college party Alice had dragged her to.
At some point, she realized she had fallen asleep, the sound of a door creaking open awakening her. Instead of moving, she stayed stock-still, listening to Alice as she moved around the room. She heard as she walked up to her bedside table, picking up the letter that had caused her so much grief in the last couple of hours. Couple of hours? she asked herself. She had no idea how long it had been. In fact, judging by Alice's presence, it must be at least the early hours of the morning.
"Bella?" she called softly in a voice that wouldn't have awoken Bella had she been asleep. She didn't feel like talking to her at that moment, discussing the words that Alice had found, so she stayed silent as Alice waited for a response. When none came, she heard the rustle of fabric as Alice bent over her, pressing a kiss to her hair-covered temple before retreating to turn off the light. Immersed in darkness, Bella fell comfortably back into slumber and into the arms she had been craving her whole life.
Almost since the moment he had been born, Edward had always acted older than his age. He'd never joked around like the other children did, preferring to sit on a bench with the adults and watch the other kids his age in the park instead of playing with them whenever his parents had taken him as a child. His expression was always one of thoughtfulness, or maybe it was just emptiness, indifference to the world around him.
Elizabeth and Edward Sr. had taken him to a psychiatrist to begin with, and Edward had been given innumerable medications over the years for many different disorders, though none of them ever helped him stray from this… detachment he seemed to harbor. They brought other side-effects to his psyche, sure—ones of violence or anxiety—but they never solved the problem at hand.
There were times when the symptoms he was showing could be nothing else but grief at the loss of another person, but Edward and Elizabeth always dismissed the diagnosis. Who could he have lost? He had never been close to anybody, not even them.
His only passion was music. Other than that, everything he seemed to do was just an obligation. He never truly enjoyed anything else. There had been a stage when Edward was about ten years old when his parents had put him through all sorts of courses and classes at the suggestion of his therapist, trying to help him find some activity to vent his frustrations or whatever it was he was hiding. Music was the only output of their efforts, but it was something.
His fascination with music was more concentrated than any other hobby or interest shown by children his age and rarely even other adults. It was as though he poured all his passion into this one pastime, making it all the more powerful. He was naturally talented, and from the time he was eleven, it was hard to have a moment of waking silence where no Chopin or Beethoven resonated through the house.
Around the time he was thirteen, his sound changed. He began playing a new tune, one very different from any of the others he had played before. It was flowing and graceful, several harmonies joined together in a vision of beauty and sound. It had no firm melody. It was more like there were hundreds, all intertwined into one, weaving stream of Technicolor light and happiness.
Elizabeth had tentatively joined him in the front room where he was playing. She leaned against the wall beside the door, closing her eyes and tilting her head to the ceiling, allowing herself to wholly absorb the music floating around her. When the sound stopped, after a slowing of the melody which stretched on for several moments, she let herself be known.
"That was beautiful, Edward. Who wrote it?" she inquired.
"I did," he answered cautiously, not wanting to get into a discussion about it. In surprise—he had never even tried to compose anything before—she walked to him and the piano. At about a foot away, she skimmed her eyes across the scored paper in front of him, almost completely covered in black ink, whether they be musical notes or an annotation in his elegant scrawl across the margins.
"'Bella?'" she asked, curiosity beseeching her tone as she noted the name of the piece. For a second, a burst of hope rose within her. Maybe he's met a girl? She knew he was young—well, at least physically—but she welcomed anything that could bring him out of this eternal stupor he was immersed in.
After a few seconds of silence he answered her. "Yes 'Bella'." It means 'beautiful' in Italian."
At seventeen, Edward Sr. saw Edward smoke his first cigarette. He knew, as a father, he should go out and reprimand the boy, though something inside himself stopped him. Instead, her chose to look away, to pretend that he had seen nothing out of the ordinary, and turned instead to the brewing coffee pot on the surface to pour his morning drink.
At eighteen, Edward got into Harvard Music College. His parents were thrilled and even Edward managed a small smile.
At twenty-two he graduated early in the spring and returned home for a few months to Chicago, getting a job playing piano at the Green Mill Cocktail Lounge to help fund his impending trip to Italy in the summer. As he got on the plane that would fly him across the Atlantic, he looked over his shoulder and down the steps, across the building and the skyscrapers behind him. Somehow, he knew he was heading in the right direction. Though he had no idea what would meet him in Italy, he felt like it was something important, something fundamental that would change his life from then on.
It won't be such a long wait until the next chapter. I hope this one revealed some things to you :) Probably opened a load of questions too, but oh well. For those of you who are interested, I just recently on the Best Dry Hump in the Slash Backslash awards which I've been inwardly smug about since the results were released. But, eh, hope you enjoyed this chapter. See you in the NEAR future (hopefully) :D