Oh but it's been a LOOOONG time since I've updated this fic! So many apologies to all! The kicker is that I had this sitting on my hard drive ready to go for months. It just needed to be edited then beta'ed.
If you're still following this story then MANY thanks! I hope I haven't put you all off with the horribly long wait. Thanks to those of you who reviewed/favourited/alerted this story! I love you all.
Katmom is my lovely and amazing beta to whom you should all bow down. Much love to you, Kathie! Check out her story "Dragon Stones" it's a truly amazing read.
For those of you waiting for Elevators from EPOV I haven't given up on it. I got side-tracked by the fic I submitted to the Haiti compilation.
And on to the story!
Across the Years - Chapter 10
Bella was at home, savouring the last letter that Edward had written to her.
She had sent off a note as soon as she'd realized the Edward at her party and the Edward she was writing to were one and the same.
Why in the world didn't you tell me that YOU
were the one at my birthday party?
I spent so much time wondering just who you
were and why exactly I felt as strongly as I did.
I'm not one to go around kissing men I barely
know at parties.
I broke it off with Jake, a few weeks later. I
wasn't the one for him, I'd known it for
awhile but that party was the push I needed
to break things off.
I wish you had told me who you were. I
liked you a lot.
p.s. Was that your girlfriend you brought
that night? She's very pretty.
That had been two days ago, when she'd gone to the house today she'd found Edward's response waiting for her.
I would have given anything to be able
to tell you who I was. You know as well
as I do that it was impossible. You'd have
thought I'd lost my mind. Though I was
still tempted, even knowing all this.
I can't lie and say I'm sorry to hear you
broke things off with Jake, selfish as it is
for me to say it. At the same time, I
hope you're not lonely.
Tanya was never my girlfriend. She's
a sweet girl, but, like you and Jacob,
I knew I wasn't right for her. I tried to
like her, but I couldn't.
She isn't you.
Bella read the letter over until she nearly had it memorized. Although it really had been none of her business, she was glad to hear the attractive red-head had not been attached to Edward.
She remembered the feelings that he'd evoked in her. The sensations he'd created when he kissed her, the feel of his mouth, firm upon hers, how she'd fit in his arms as if they'd been made for each other. The memory still had the power to make her blush, and her breath come faster.
Her thoughts were interrupted by the ring of her phone. Reaching over, she picked up the receiver and put to her ear.
"Bella? I finally caught you." Her mother's voice floated out from the other end.
"Hi, Mom, why didn't you leave a message?"
"You know I hate speaking into those things. I never know what to say. In any case, I have you now. How about coming over for dinner this weekend? I haven't seen you in a while."
It was true, between work and her new fixation with letter-writing, Bella hadn't seen Renee in over a month.
"That sounds good, Mom. Should I bring anything?"
"Just yourself, Bells. I can take care of the rest. I'll call you to confirm a time later on."
"Okay, talk to you soon."
Bella hung up the phone. Perhaps Renee would be a good person to talk to about her unconventional pen pal. She was sure she was exhausting Alice with her talk of Edward.
Renee might sometimes be flighty but she knew when it came to important issues, her mother would lend a ready ear.
Yes, she'd see what her mother had to say about it all.
That Saturday Bella carefully placed all of Edward's letters into a large envelope which she put into her purse. The letters were her most prized possessions, she didn't know what she'd do if she lost even one.
Despite her mother's assurance that she had everything under control, Bella had still opted to bring a small dish, knowing Renee would appreciate the gesture.
In the car, Bella mused over how she'd introduce Edward into the conversation. She wasn't sure how she could bring it up without it seeming like she'd gone off the deep end.
By the time she reached Renee's small house, she still hadn't come up with any good openers.
She killed the engine, grabbed the dessert she'd prepared, and walked up to the front door. Finding it open, Bella swung open the screen door and stepped inside.
"Mom! Are you in here?"
"In the kitchen, come on back," her mother called out.
Bella found her mother slicing vegetables, with a few pots on the go on top of the stove.
"Hi, Mom. This all looks great," Bella said, peering into the contents of the pots.
"I told you that didn't need to bring anything," Renee said, but she smiled. "Though you always could beat me when it came to baking. Dinner's about done, would you mind setting the table?"
Bella went to the cutlery drawer, taking out what was needed for the two of them. Renee dished up the food onto two plates, bringing them over to the table.
As they started to eat, Renee looked hard at her daughter.
"You look different, Bella," she said.
"Do I?" Bella asked, startled. "I haven't changed my hair or anything else since the last time you saw me."
"No, it's not that. It's just a change in you. You look as if you're glowing. You've met someone, haven't you?"
Bella stared at her mother, wondering just how she came to that conclusion so quickly.
"I'm right, aren't I?" Renee continued, plucking a tomato from her salad and popping it in her mouth.
"Uh...well, sort of," Bella stammered.
"Sort of? Is it that Jacob again?" Renee frowned, knowing why Bella had broken it off with him before.
"No!" Bella denied, vehemently. "Not Jacob."
If ever there was an opening to talk about Edward, this was it. Bella took a deep breath, putting her fork down.
"It's a strange kind of situation...we're sort of long distance."
"Go on," Renee encouraged.
"Well, remember the house I rented by the sea?"
"Yes..." Renee looked confused as to why Bella was bringing it up.
"There's a mailbox that can..." Bella paused, trying to figure out how to continue. "I can use it to communicate with...a guy."
"That's a nice, cryptic way of saying you send letters to each other," Renee said, bemusedly. "How old fashioned! Is he not from here?"
"Well, that's just it. He lives in Vancouver but..."
"Then why the letter-writing?"
Bella couldn't think of a way to describe who Edward was without it sounding ridiculous. Instead, she took the envelope out of her purse. Drawing the letters out, she thrust the pile at her mother.
"I can't explain it," she said. "Read those, and be careful with them please."
Putting down her own fork, Renee reached for the pile, plucking the top one from the stack.
She diligently read, exchanging one note for the next, her eyebrows raising as she studied the contents.
Bella watched as her mother kept reading, immediately going to the next letter in the pile as she became more engrossed in the words.
Renee put the most recent letter down and gave Bella a warm smile.
"Crazy, isn't it?" Bella said, laughing nervously.
"Yes, but...did this really happen?" Renee went back and found the letter and map of the walk they had taken.
"Yes, and he left me a message in the concrete by the library in Kerrisdale."
"What did it say?"
"Bella, I'm here with you. Thank you for a lovely afternoon."
Renee's expression softened. "And this book you're talking about?"
"It was supposed to be a gift for you. He...he says he found it."
"He also says he saw you. And you saw him?"
"I...I did, but it was two years ago...at a birthday party that Jacob threw for me."
"What was he like?"
"Charming, kind, beautiful..."
"He's the most striking man I've ever seen," Bella admitted. "But, cliché as it sounds, his looks are really the least of it." She dropped her head into her hands. "Oh, Mom, what's happening to me?"
"If I didn't know better, Bella, I'd say you were in love with this man, or well on your way to it."
"But he's two years away! I mean, when has this ever happened to anyone else? Leave it to me to find a man who is completely unattainable. Maybe I'm making this all up, maybe this guy is pretending and not who he says he is at all."
"Do you really believe that?"
"No." Bella's shoulders slumped. "I don't. You must think I'm insane. Do you think this is real?"
"It's hard to believe," Renee acknowledged, "But I trust your instincts. You said you interacted with this man and judging from the letters, he's as affected by this as you are."
"What do you think I should do?" Bella asked, wanting a concrete answer.
"I think that, as your mother, I should tell you to throw out these letters and forget him, but I've never been conventional that way. I think something like this," Renee gestured at the letters, "Doesn't happen every day. This is something special between the two of you. And I think if you're meant to be you'll overcome the obstacles."
"Do you think so?" Bella wanted badly to believe her.
"I do." Renee smiled at her daughter. "Which one of us is crazy now?"
"Thanks, Mom." Bella took Renee's hand.
"You said this man's name is Edward? What's his full name, out of curiosity?"
"Cullen. Edward Cullen."
"Cullen?" Renee's brows furrowed. "And he's an architect? I wonder if he's related to Carlisle Cullen?"
"Who is Carlisle Cullen?"
"One of the best architects around from what I understood. I remember his name being mentioned a lot at the office."
Bella recalled that her mother had worked at an architectural firm as a secretary for a number of years. Renee would have heard a lot of the well-known names.
"I can ask Edward."
"Actually, that might not be a good idea." Renee suddenly looked troubled.
"He died...in a plane crash. If I'm remembering right, it was just about two years ago."
Bella had spent the rest of her visit at Renee's trying not to look at the clock. She wanted to know more about the man who could possibly be Edward's father. Renee, not being technologically savvy, had no internet so initiating a search wasn't a possibility until she arrived home.
Renee, noticing her daughter's distraction, had shooed her away on the condition she would return again the next weekend.
Once she was back at her apartment, Bella switched on her laptop and waited for it boot up.
She logged onto the internet, typing 'Carlisle Cullen' into a search engine.
To her surprise, a number of hits showed up both about his death and his accomplishments, indicating Renee had been right. Carlisle Cullen had indeed been well-known in his industry.
She scrolled down the page until she came to a link to a newspaper article about the man.
Clicking on the link, Bella settled down to read.
Head of Cullen Designs passes away at 59.
Carlisle Cullen, well known for his contributions to
many of Vancouver's most prominent buildings, was
killed in a plane crash, yesterday. Cullen, who had been
right in the middle of his largest project to date, the
design of the new downtown public library, was on his
way back to Vancouver following a presentation in
The pilot of the small Cessna 170 was also killed
in the crash.
Cullen, who has twice been awarded the RAIC Award for
Innovation in Architecture, had been working on the library
project since February of this year. The news of Cullen's
death has saddened Vancouver's business community where
Cullen was well known.
Bella skimmed the rest of the article until she came to the end.
He is survived by his two sons, Emmett, a lawyer, and Edward.
Edward, an architect of promise in his own right, will take over
the library project and is to be assisted by the team his father
She stared at the screen, trying to process what she had just read. Edward hadn't made much mention of his family, neither of them had in their correspondences to each other. She wondered what kind of relationship he had with his father.
Her eyes fell on the date of the article. She sat bolt upright, bringing her face closer to the screen as if assure herself she was reading it properly.
June 16th, 2007.
That was only a month from now for Edward. Bella bit her lip as she pondered what to do. She couldn't tell him his father was going to die, but she didn't feel she should ignore it either.
Giving up on agonizing over what to do, Bella grabbed her pad of paper and pen and began to write.
You have no idea how relieved I am
to hear that Tanya was never your
girlfriend, selfish as it is to say it. I
don't want you to be lonely either,
but...I want to be the one that's
On a different note, I had dinner
with my mother this evening and
she mentioned hearing your last
name before (yes, I told her about
Is Carlisle Cullen a relation of yours?
I was curious and realized that we
haven't really talked about our
I think I wrote before that I'm an
only child. My father died when I
was very young and it was just my
mother and me growing up. Her
name is Renee. She can be flighty
but I love her and can talk to her
about almost anything. I think
she'd like you.
I wish so much I could sit with you,
and talk with you. They're such
simple things but so hard for us.
Thinking of you always.
Bella looked over her note carefully. She knew there wasn't anything more she could say about his father.
With a heavier heart than usual she sealed the note and grabbed her car keys.
She'd never wished she could travel to the past more than she did now.
A/N: Don't forget to review! Cheers to you all!