Disclaimer: The Twilight Saga and its inclusive material is copyright to Stephenie Meyer. No copyright infringement intended. This disclaimer applies to the entire story.
Summary: Edward is a lonely struggling farmer, his ranch being the only thing left from his parents. Living in a valley and keeping horses is what keeps him away from his former dreams, but he is determined to preserve the secluded place he inherited. Bella is a successful actress, trying to stay true to herself in the indistinct world she lives in. As a consequence of the high expectations in her career, she finds herself lost in the knowledge of who the person she used to be, is. A road trip leads the girl – trying to stay away from the world, to the man – trying to find his way into it. Not knowing anything about Bella's career, Edward finds himself lost in Bella's captivating nature. What will Edward do after finding out who she is? Could they be together? AH
A Cry for the Moon
Heavy dust flew around, particularly noticeable in front of the unwashed windows where sunbeams cast into the wooden bank-house. The incessant sound of distant cheering was only interrupted by a few sneezes and coughs, but without the occasional sound of cellular phones and computers in front of bankers, one could easily think that the scenery derived from nineteenth century.
The bank should not have been opened, but the inhabitants of this small town in Wyoming had acquaintances who helped them out when necessary. Word got around easily and those few who thought they were the only ones to need bank services were followed by a few others, which soon formed an actual line in front of Edward.
On a holiday.
Edward, a twenty four year old inhabitant of a tiny – in population, not in size – village near Jackson, thought of himself as a relatively simple man. He lived a secluded life by circumstance, not by choice, and being alone had started to bother him more than he cared to admit. While farm-work was far from satisfying, it kept both his body and mind occupied, and he was grateful for that.
He considered his chances of creating a family pretty slim, not only because of his appalling appearance, but because Edward had nothing to offer… or he felt like he owned nothing but his heart to give and – in his eyes – that wouldn't be wanted unless he could earn enough to raise a family. Until the age of eighteen, Edward was certain that he could devote to his chosen occupation, and he had a Master's degree to show for it, but unfortunate circumstances brought him back from the University of Wyoming, back to where most of his childhood friends had stayed, where his brother lived and where an empty broken house he'd inherited waited for him.
Piece by piece, he took it down to build a new one.
Edward's date with Jessica hadn't been as bad as he'd feared, but not nearly satisfactory, either. Jessica, a blonde woman a year older than Edward, was fairly nice, single, didn't make his screwed-up face an issue and loved animals. But she didn't know what she wanted from life, was painfully self-conscious, air-headed, easily offended and loved gossip more than life itself. Edward had asked for her number because he'd reminded himself that he was in no position to be picky, but he knew he wouldn't call her. Edward wasn't waiting for love, but that didn't mean his hopes to find a person he could spend time with had vanished.
Edward started to tap his foot after glancing at his old white horse from the window. Indra let out a horselaugh, shaking her head fiercely.
Edward sighed as he found himself in front of the counter.
"Hello, sir. How may I help you?" the woman behind the counter hesitated, her eyes lingering on the scar on Edward's face longer than it would've been necessary. Her nametag read 'A. Webber.' The fact that Edward's appearance shocked her proved that she was new in this town. Surely, one couldn't know all the faces in town, but most of them became familiar. Especially a face like Edward's.
He offered the cheque in his hands. She excused herself and returned with the money after a few minutes. Edward raised his hand to grip the money, but grimaced from the pain his wrist caused.
"Thank you." Edward attempted a nonchalant smile.
"Yeah. Thanks again." Edward shrugged it off; it was not that big of a deal. His wrist had been particularly painful for a month, but it had ached for a few years. Edward didn't think much of it.
Edward opened the front door. Hot dry air blew on his face, setting sun still high enough to give off heat.
He clasped the hat-brim to cover up the sun and lost the gap between him and Indra. Edward had had her for a long time, almost twenty one years. She was three years younger than Edward. He untied her from the fence, soothing her skittish mood with his calming voice. Indra was soon pacified enough for Edward to straddle her.
He made the sound of moving, and the horse obeyed as she started scurrying with light steps. She looked fragile and old, but the stamina and speed of her was something rare. Edward had been mocked by his new neighbours at first, but they learned quickly. When they realised Indra's real potential, they even wanted to buy her. But she wasn't for sale.
The streets of Jackson were filled with cheering people and celebration, and Edward was not the only one with a horse. He would celebrate the fourth of July in his own way – working, just as he always did.
The sound of a ringing phone startled him from within his thoughts.
"Yes?" Edward chose a path more secluded so that Indra's legs wouldn't be contused later on. Asphalt coating tended to do that.
"Edward, did ya get the money?" Emmett got straight to the business.
"I did. We can finally put the roof on my house; we're behind schedule way too much."
"We have a schedule?"
"Oh, come on, you know we have no time to waste. I'm actually intending to get this over with before I die." Edward stretched his hand to feel the pain in his wrist. It hadn't gotten worse since yesterday.
Emmett sighed. "Jeez, just askin'. Unfortunately I have my own errands to run..."
"Sounds like fun."
Emmett let out a quiet laugh and made Edward remember all the things he had yet to do.
"So did ya get that chocolate for my wife? Ya know she'll kill me with the hormones if she can't get her daily doses of sugar. She's turnin' rather grumpy already," Emmett sighed. Emmett's family – just like Edward – lived far from... well, everywhere. If someone went to town, it was inevitable to bring necessities to others.
"No?" Edward stated carefully.
"Ya didn't?" Emmett asked, surprised. "But ya don't forget things that easily, did anythin' happen?"
"Not particularly," Edward answered, avoiding the subject.
His strained voice was disappointed. "Well, I'll just live with my moody pregnant wife then."
"Sorry," Edward retorted as he pulled the left twine, the horse changing her movements more according to Edward's thoughts than actions. They'd been together for so long that the slightest touch made them aware of what the other one wanted.
"I'll survive. But does 'not particularly' entail a certain girl in itself? Because, ya know–"
Edward cut in. "I don't. And don't give me that crap about 'you're made for each other.' Stuff like that doesn't exist."
"Just sayin' it'd be time to settle down already. She's not that bad."
"That's the problem. Lack of love I could deal with. Lack of personality – that's another thing."
Edward heard him chuckle. "Alright, point taken. But please don't hide yourself under your work, ya need to lay back and have fun, too."
"Oh, I will," Emmett responded.
"See you soon."
Edward put the phone back to his pocket and re-settled the broad-brimmed hat. The weather hadn't changed been for months, it was hot and completely sapless. He gently urged Indra to ride faster.
Emmett had helped him keep the farm working at the beginning, but Edward was entirely on his own now. He wouldn't put the weigh of keeping a farm on his brother's shoulders, especially since Emmett had a family to feed.
Edward admired the mountains as he let Indra drink from the small river. The place was beautiful, even with drought, and Edward felt proud of his home valley. It was far away from densely inhabited areas, and while he didn't mind being back home, Edward would've never thought he'd have to uphold a farm at this young age.
But then again – Edward never thought he'd lose his parents before he was at least sixty.
He shrugged his shoulders, trying to dispel the course of his disarrayed thoughts. Edward patted Indra's neck; she got his message and finished drinking. They continued their journey through the valley. He could have bought a car as Emmett constantly badgered him about not owning one, but Edward didn't want a car even if he had the money... which he didn't.
But Edward was perfectly fine with his horse.
They reached the small serpentine river and crossed it without Edward coming off of Indra. The body of water wouldn't have been as diminished without the drought, otherwise he would've gone all the way to the narrow bridge.
Edward was lucky to have a deep artesian well in his backyard. Although taking the last money he owned, it made him more determined to keep this place going. Real estate agents had bothered Edward ever since his parents' death, but the place was legally his, and it would be sold only over his dead body.
Indra's calm pacing turned into a canter after Edward had grown tired of their slow pace. They moved along the riverbank, dodging away from it a few times to go along the path. The sun cast its last orange beams on the branches before disappearing behind the mountains. Indra continued to canter before the path lead them to the forest.
Edward heard laughter and immediately stopped the horse. His home was secluded, people barely wanted to come here with a map, and Edward hadn't seen anyone on his land for longer than he remembered. Was he hearing things?
The sound of a crash made Indra rear, but Edward managed to not fall off of her. The horse was still restless as Edward made her trot to the place he heard the crash. They went straight through the forest, uphill. Edward held his head low so that they could move faster.
Edward made it to the grovel road, and the situation a few hundred feet away from him made him urge Indra to move even faster, galloping their way there. Edward got off the horse as soon as she was close to the car crash.
The yellow Toyota was almost unrecognizable under a small tree. Pieces of glass were everywhere and smoke emitted from the engine.
Edward tried to open the front door to get the driver out of the car, but it wouldn't budge. He observed the insides of the car, and the girl in the front seat was the only person in there. He felt slightly relieved.
The girl in front of him was leaning against the airbag, her face not seen. Edward carefully put his head into the car to hear if she was breathing. Edward exhaled as he realised she was alive.
"Are you awake?" Edward inquired quickly, giving nervous glances to the amount of smoke around them. They didn't have much time.
She moved her head slightly and stuttered something.
"I'm sorry?" Edward said absentmindedly as he tried to, once again, move the door. It wasn't a successful attempt and still wouldn't shift.
"It... my leg – it hurts," the girl whispered as she turned her head. Even with the situation in front of him, Edward thought the girl seemed systematically neat. Her eyes were closed and there was a rash forming on her cheek, but her features suggested a beauty – not entirely classical, but all the more interesting.
More smoke came from the front of the car.
"Is it broken?" Edward asked, wishing she were conscious enough to answer him.
"I-I don't... think so," she retorted almost inaudibly while trying to open her eyes. Feeling her legs meant her back wasn't broken while not feeling them at all would've made Edward's job meaningless, because then he wouldn't be able to do what he thought of doing.
"Can you raise your arms?"
She grimaced, but obeyed. It became more difficult for Edward to see her face through smoke. He gripped her from under her arms and mildly pulled her up, testing if this could work. His wrist wasn't in the best condition, but it wasn't as bad as Edward thought.
She mumbled something. Edward didn't have the time to apologise, he could already see small flames coming from not too far from them. He heightened her body and angled it so that he could pull her out of the window. Her lightness made the job easier. Edward took her fragile body into his arms before flames heightened.
Edward started to run toward Indra.
The car exploded. The force of it threw them into the air for short a moment. Edward placed his arms behind the girl's neck and head to protect her from the impact. They landed on grass, a few feet from a tree.
"You alright?" Edward held his weight on his arms not to crush her. Her eyes were still shut and she started coughing.
Edward took that as a "yes" and lifted her body. He called Indra closer and placed the girl on her, straddling the horse a moment later. The girl was still weak and Edward held her on the waist to keep her steady. Edward lived so far from town the ambulance would've taken ages to get here, so he decided to take her home.
The car – or what was left of it – would stay there until Edward would think of what to do with it.
It had visibly darkened, the nightfall had already passed. But Edward didn't need light to find his way home, and neither did Indra.
The horse turned aside to a smaller path. It was a shortcut to Edward's farm. Edward tightly held on to the strange girl in his arms and took a breath to smell if she had an odour of alcohol on her.
She didn't, instead, she smelled like unnecessarily expensive perfume. But why had the girl crashed if she weren't even drunk?
Edward saw the outlines of his farmstead – five buildings altogether, the most important house unfinished, only walls and the floor done.
Where would Edward put her? She looked like the kind of girl who had everything perfect in her life, and he was about to keep her here overnight? Edward leaned forward to see her face. Her eyes were shut and breathing even. He smiled; the girl had felt comfortable enough to fall asleep on the horse.
They arrived home. Edward carefully slid down, not letting go of the girl meanwhile. She mumbled something incoherent, but he was cautious with her legs. He didn't want to cause any more pain than he already had, and he didn't want to wake her up, either.
He carried her to the house, which – although unfinished – was the only place he felt he could put her. Edward placed her on his old king-sized bed and meant to work overnight himself. He didn't want her to think he was using this situation, and he couldn't deny he had more than enough to occupy his mind. He tucked her in, made sure she would stay warm as he put all the blankets he owned on her, and sat beside the bed for a moment. Edward stared at the sky, hoping she wouldn't freak out seeing she was actually outside. The stars were beautiful.
The girl stirred and opened her eyes, sparkling in the starlight.
"Thank you," she uttered before shutting her eyes. Edward didn't think she would remember it later, but her words made him smile.
"Anytime," Edward answered before her heavy breathing insisted she had fallen asleep again.
Edward exited the house, locking the door after him. He knew nobody was around, but being careful never hurt anybody.
Indra stood still at the same place, just next to the lonely green ash. Edward took his bag, checking if his gun was safe, and put it in the granary before directing his mare to the other horses. Most of them were standing still, a sign they were sleeping.
Edward needed to clean the wood to make a reliable fence, so he went to the woodshed. Unused logs were filling the place; it covered everything except for one corner, where pieces of art could be found. They were the only thing left from his mother, and Edward still didn't know if he was going to use them.
He started to work on cleaning the logs, one by one. Electricity was brought by extension cord in this house, in granary and in the barn. Cleaning was rough and tedious, but it had to be done in order to continue renovating the sheds and barn.
Edward's thoughts lead him to the girl he saved today. He wouldn't forget her eyes that easily even if she left this place tomorrow. But what was she doing here?
He cleaned at least quarter of the logs before deciding it was enough for one night. He ate in the granary before checking on the electric fence. Back in the house, he locked the door and figured he could use carpets as a mattress and sleep on the floor. He pulled a few rugs out from under the bed, dismantling them before lying on the ground.
"Cold... so cold..." the girl muttered. Edward sat next to her to see her eyes.
"So cold..." she restlessly repeated, eyes still closed.
He put his hand on her forehead to feel her temperature. Cold sweat covered her heated face.
Edward put all his rugs on her, but the girl didn't stop shivering, so he couldn't see any other way to warm her than with his body heat. He laid down next to her, under the rugs but still above the blankets. Hesitant, he gently placed his arm around her. If she were upset in the morning, he'd let her. It wasn't as if she wouldn't be scared of him anyway.
Content to feel another body beside him, Edward drifted off to sleep.
"A musical? Ali, you have got to be kidding me!" Bella argued with her friend, hands-free phone in her ear as she turned left from the main road. She'd passed the dark wooden sign: 'WELCOME TO JACKSON, WYOMING' a few hours ago, and now she simply improvised. The road led her to forests, riverbanks and meadows. As long as it lacked humans, it would be perfect for her.
"Why? I think it's a wonderful idea!" Alice chirped to the phone.
"Have you ever heard me sing? I mean, actually heard me sing?" Bella pulled a hand through her hair, trying to feel cooler in this hot climate. She thought she was used to this kind of weather, but apparently, she wasn't. Bella decided to open the window. The wind made her feel much better.
"No, but I'm sure you'll do great, just as always."
"No." Bella imagined the horrified people who'd be forced to listen to her. "The audience will want to rip their ears off after hearing me."
"Bells, Bells, Bells... for a person as famous as you, you surely need a serious confidence boost. After years of success in the business, how can you be so insecure?"
"I'm not being insecure, I'm being real. I can already see the headlines: 'Gullible public turned deaf by the former actress, Isabella.'"
Bella heard Alice choke on her drink before laughter filled her ear. "Bella, amazing press material!"
"You wouldn't!" Bella laughed.
"You know I wouldn't. Speaking of press, where exactly are you?"
She was on her every-year trip to a place she wouldn't plan, a journey to somewhere secluded. Bella didn't plan out the whole trip; she only picked a state and summoned up necessities. Nobody knew where she was, and Bella had every intention of keeping it that way.
Bella's reply was intentionally vague. "Just... away."
"Like last year? Like the time you disappeared for two weeks, simply to tent in a random forest in Michigan?"
Bella tilted her head on the side, but it dawned on her that Alice couldn't see her gesture. "Kind of."
"But why? Normal people – though not so normal in your case–" a hint of a smug smile was in her voice, "–well, other people just fly to Hawaii or Bahamas and sunbathe until their skin comes off, why do you feel the need to torture yourself?"
Bella made an effort not to sound upset. "Ali, we've talked about this before. I need to be away from people, even if it's just for a few weeks. It's necessary for my sanity."
"Fine," she muttered, not sounding agreeable at all. "But promise you'll take good care of yourself and let me know how you're doing, alright?"
"Yes, mom," Bella retorted, glad Alice couldn't see her, rolling her eyes.
"Don't you dare 'mom' me, young lady. I'm surprised the scientists haven't affirmed you as a new species yet with all that gawkiness. You could make history, you know: 'Homo Sapiens Isabellus.'"
"That sounds more like seaweed." Bella couldn't help but laugh wholeheartedly along with Alice. She put sunglasses on to cover the settling sun, shining straight in her face.
"Oh, I almost forgot, how was your date with the new guy? Jacob Black? The hunk from Washington."
Bella growled from the memory, but mostly from her own stupidity.
"That bad, huh?" Alice giggled. "I told you he was determined."
"You have no idea."
"You didn't give him your number, did you?" Alice asked matter-of-factly.
"I kind of did..." Bella said in shame. She felt like an idiot.
"You did what? But-but from your talk I understood you didn't like him that much. You do realise that will give him ideas?"
"I know. But he was so nice and kind to me, I felt bad for leaving him just like that. He's a great guy, but I just... I don't know. I see him more like a brother than anything else."
"You're going to have to say it to him, not me. I'm only concerned for your own well being, and if a lucky guy once wins your heart, I'll approve whoever that might be."
"Take a seat in that case, 'cause you have hundreds of years of waiting ahead of you."
Alice laughed. "They're just a tad afraid to approach you, that's all."
"A tad? Yeah, right," Bella said, voice only a little bitter.
The asphalt ended and a gravel road started as Bella neared a river. Mountains entailed a breath-taking view and the river glistened a few hundred feet under her. Just next to the river moved a horseback rider, cantering with his horse more gracefully than Bella had ever seen anyone ride before. Their cooperation was so smooth it was hard to tell if the man was giving instructions to the horse or if it was the other way round.
"Bells?" Alice's voice brought her back to Earth. She was unhappy to see that the forest covered the rider; it had been such a capturing motion to hold. She would find the perfect place for her tent and amuse herself with the memory and how far away real life had been from her.
"Did you hear a word I just said?" Alice challenged, knowing her wondering mind.
"Something about press... and music?" Bella guessed.
"Nice cover," Alice chuckled. "I actually wanted to know what I should tell the press about the place you are. It's the opening of your new soon-to-be blockbuster, and I have no idea what to tell them."
"Just tell them–" Bella hesitated. "Tell them I'm away. I don't want you to lie for me."
"Vacation would be bending the truth too much?"
"No, that's perfect."
"Also, think about the musical. Just sleep on it and give me the answer tomorrow," the manager in her revealed herself and Bella grimaced.
"I only need you to think about it," Alice said determinedly.
Bella sighed. "Okay, I will."
"Please don't let the last time happen again and come back in one peace, agreed?"
"Be careful! Love ya!"
"Love you too."
Bella took the uncomfortable thing in her ear off. She couldn't even remember the last time she'd had a phone-conversation that would last for almost an hour. Bella usually didn't even have the time to answer her phone herself.
She knew it was rude not to go to the premiere of the film she was starring in, but she could afford to be rude just this once. The director of the film was hesitant to let her go, but Aro had become a friend who understood.
Bella loved acting, but it had made her such a workaholic she didn't think she could hold up the quality of her acting if she didn't do this. How could she be able to embark on being confident without knowing who she was? It would be like filling a plastic bag with air to make it bigger – only to find it empty afterwards.
She knew it was silly of her to take a journey alone just to find herself in a strange place. This was the fifth summer for her to do this, and she was grateful she had found a way to escape her world.
Bella had been in the business for a long time, but her career was still beginning. She had landed on a few serious parts lately, getting respect from more experienced actors and people she deeply respected. Critiques were not always nice, but there wasn't an actor who hadn't gotten a single negative review, so it was normal. Of course she loved making people happy with her work, but she had learned to find art in what she did, and improve by doing so.
All she needed was to find herself again.
Bella hadn't noticed that the sun had already gone, and took her glasses off. They slipped from her hand to the floor, just behind the gas pedal.
Damn. She started to reach for it, and laughed as she remembered Alice's words. She would definitely win the contest for the clumsiest creature known to mankind.
Bella heard her laughter echo in the valley, but still couldn't get her glasses. She decided to reach for it with her right hand, but it just went farther. She leaned forward only a little more before successfully gripping them.
Only too late did Bella realise she had let go of the steering-wheel, but not the gas pedal. Back in the seating position, the only thing she saw was her car's direction, a tree.
The sound of the crash hit her at the same time the force of the air bag did.
A/N: Special thanks to my lovely beta cascsiany. I love feedback, both positive and negative. Thank you for reading!