TWILIGHT REFLECTED IN BROWN EYES
Bella Swan is in for the shock of her life when Edward Cullen comes back into her life 7 years after graduation. Can the scars from her past be healed by the reclusive musician or will she shut him out like she has everyone else since the fateful accident four years ago.
Rated T (but I reserve the right to change it to M in later chapters)
Disclaimer: I don't own Twilight – The lovely Stephanie Meyer does – I on the other hand own an accident prone dog and a degree I'm not really using.
A/N – this is my first Fanfic – so please be kind. I don't mind constructive criticism, but don't flame. It's just not nice. The story will move along very quickly, this chapter is just setting some background info for you all.
HUGE THANKS to my lovely betas Tara & famouslyso for correcting my sucky grammar & tense issues. Any errors that are still in this chapter are mine alone.
B/E, Canon, slightly OOC, AU/AH
Just this morning
I took a big long look around
I've lived it up and loved it up
And done it in this town
Life goes on
Look like it's time
For moving on
I'm Moving On / B.B. King
I took one last look at the tiny little apartment that had been my home for the last year. It was cozy enough for one person, but lacked the warmth that would have made it home. It had high ceilings with curved archways reminiscent of the era it was built in - old Hollywood with all the glamour and dazzle that seemed to have been wiped away with the grime and smog of the now bustling city.
I was moving on up, I thought wistfully to myself. I smiled and continued humming the old Jefferson's theme quietly to myself.
"Bella, are we all set?" I jumped at the sound of Alice's voice shaking me out of my reminiscing. "Jasper is waiting in the truck and you know how impatient he gets. So shake a tail-feather and let's get out of this dump." I looked over at my tiny friend and smiled.
"I'll be there in a second, just want to do one last walk through to make sure I didn't leave anything," I called over my shoulder as I stalked down the long corridor leading to my old bedroom.
I glanced around, opening the closet to make sure I was only leaving a little dust. Comfortable that I had taken everything, I walked back down the hall to the family room to look at the lovely view that I had of CBS studios from the window.
"Well, I sure won't miss this," I said, rolling my eyes at the obnoxious billboard that was touting the newest and dumbest reality show scheduled to start in the Fall.
When I had first moved to LA almost a year ago, I never would have thought that my life would be going so well. I had a successful career that I loved and was finally figuring out where the heck I was going in the sprawling city. I never expected to like this place, but for some reason I did. I loved the sun, the cement sprawl and the heat. I also didn't mind that everyone here was gorgeous, as it kept people from really noticing me. I liked to stay under the radar, which is probably why I got into radio in the first place. I was basically anonymous except for the few fans that would come out to some of the promotions that I was required to do.
I had met my friend Alice the first day of work and she had told me not even five minutes later that we were going to be best friends. I knew from that moment on to never bet against Alice.
Alice produced for my morning show, B-Girl in the AM on KDLE, an adult contemporary, indie station. I started working there a year ago after they picked me up from their Denver syndicate. Rumors were that I replaced Tyler Crowley after an incident one morning when he was interviewing some recovering porn star named Lauren who had written a book about turning your life around. Tyler was a notorious drug user and womanizer. He supposedly thought snorting a line of coke off the chest of the lovely Lauren while on the air was a brilliant idea. Needless to say the higher ups were not pleased and fired him on the spot. So I was called up from the minors.
Jasper played the part of Alice's' devoted husband. He was a famous music producer who worked with the likes of everyone from Gomez to Gwen Stefani; from Eminem to Eve; the list went on and on. He really was a genius and a very well regarded one at that. I loved looking around their house; it was like a rock and roll museum with all of the guitars, drum sticks, platinum albums and photographs of the who's who in the music industry.
They lived up in Pacific Palisades in a gorgeous terra cotta Spanish tiled mansion. I think they were even once neighbors with the Shriver/Schwarzenegger's. I was intimidated by them as they really were like two peas in a pod and all the other lame clichés that were out there. He completed her and she him. Alice didn't need to work, but was never one to be a trophy wife sitting at home working on a charity board and getting her nails done every other day. Alice was alive and needed to stay busy as much as she needed to breathe. Her enthusiasm also made her hard to say no to, which was why she was so good at her job.
I shook my head a little, shaking the foggy memories of my time here and shut the door on the last year of my life. I walked down the paint chipped hallway and descended the stairs. I knocked on the manager's door hoping that he would be out and I could just slip my key through his mail slot. Unfortunately for me, the door creaked open to the stench of stale beer and rotting food. I stepped back reflexively as Mike Newton, the manager of my building, leaned up against the door in a ratty white tank top and dirty jeans. His eyes were bloodshot and his hair looked like it hadn't been washed in over a week.
He sneered at me and asked, "What can I do for you Bella babe?" Inwardly groaning, I held out my key and dropped it into his open palm.
"I'm just dropping off my key. The place is all cleaned out, so you can go check it out when you can. I left my forwarding information with the property management company," I mumbled, backing slowly away from this creepy man. "You can have them send me my security deposit there." I shouted over my shoulder heading for the door, never looking back.
The sunlight was brilliant as I stepped down off the entry way and onto the sidewalk where my rental truck was waiting with the only two friends I had in all of LA. I grabbed the tortoiseshell Gucci sunglasses out of my purse; a birthday present from Alice, placed them on over my squinting eyes and headed for the U-Haul where Jasper was waiting impatiently.
"Hey Bella, we good?" Jasper shouted as I rounded to the passenger side, yanking the heavy door open to find my two friends beaming at me.
"Yep, we're good. Thanks so much for helping me move, you have no idea how much longer it would have taken me if it was just me. There's some beer back at the house and I'll order some pizzas when we get there."
As if that would make spending a day loading and unloading all of my worldly possessions worth a precious Saturday to them.
"No worries, Bella. You know we're always here for you," Alice stated truthfully. Alice really was my best friend and had been there to help me acclimate to the city when I arrived.
"I wouldn't want you killing yourself trying to move your book collection down those stairs!" She giggled gleefully knowing full well that would probably have been a likely scenario.
Jasper started the truck with a rumble from its engine and we turned down Beverly Boulevard and headed west towards my new home in Santa Monica.
Thirty minutes later we were pulling onto 9th and California and into my new driveway.
"Oh Bella, it's so cute!" Alice exclaimed, pushing me out the door so she could get out and look around.
"Thanks Alice. It's a bit of a fixer upper, but with the location and my budget, it was the best I could do for now," I said walking towards the front door. "Thankfully the owner was a lovely older woman who only wanted to sell it to someone who wasn't going to knock it down and build some large monstrosity in its place."
I remember meeting Mrs. Cope, the charming frail woman who used to live here. She had made a stipulation to her realtor that she wanted to meet all potential buyers and speak to them privately. She quizzed us all about what our intentions were for the home and wanted to know a little more about each one of us. I must have passed the test, as she sold it to me for about $50,000 under the market price. She had to move in with her son now that she was too old to take care of the place. I doubt the son was pleased that his mother sold it for so much less than what she could have gotten for it had it not held sentimental value to her. She was so easy to talk to that I spilled all about my past, even things that I hadn't told anyone else since I left the Pacific Northwest for Denver 3 years earlier.
I put the key in the lock and pushed open the heavy wooden door and held it for Alice and Jasper to proceed ahead of me into the tiny bungalow. The sun was shining in through the foyer window, basking the room in a lovely amber glow. Alice scurried off to see the rest of the currently empty house, while I slowly slid my hands lovingly over the old intricately carved wooden hearth that adorned the wall above the simple fireplace in my living room. The room was small but cozy with a large picture window facing the front yard with a window seat right below it that I figured would be my favorite place to spend the evenings reading my favorite books. The room was painted a lovely robin's egg blue that would actually go quite well with the furniture I already had. It had beautiful white crown molding and golden hardwood floors. I heard Alice and Jasper circling around back to where I was standing and gushing over my new home.
"OhmygoshBellathishassomuchpotential. It'ssoquaintandcozyandisjustperfectforyou," she exclaimed all in one breath.
I smiled and asked, "So what's your favorite part?"
"The master bathroom actually. I'm a sucker for a claw foot tub," she grinned back at me.
Before I could respond, she was glancing over my shoulder and out the window in the kitchen.
"Jasper, did you see the yard yet?" She squealed before heading out the back door. Jasper and I slowly followed her out the door and smiled as she twirled around the middle of my tiny lawn like a 5-year-old.
Jasper nudged me and said, "I think she likes it," and gave me a little wink.
If there was one thing about Alice that everyone loved, it was how infectious her enthusiasm was. You just couldn't stop smiling when she started going off on an excited tangent.
Three hours later we were sitting on the floor drinking the remains of the 12-pack that was in my fridge and the barbeque pizza that the local pizza joint was known for. I looked around my home and realized that I had a long day of unpacking ahead of me tomorrow.
"So Bella, what are you going to do first?" Alice asked as she got up to throw her plate away.
"You know, I think I may start by unpacking the kitchen and bedroom - the rest will probably have to wait until next weekend. I have some promotional events I have to attend this week, so I don't think I'll have time to do much around here before then," I said picking up the pizza box and setting it on the counter.
"Are you planning on painting? Because I think your bedroom would look heavenly in pale yellow with all the dark wood accents."
"You know, I'm not sure about painting really, Alice. You know me; I'd probably stick my foot in the paint can and have to have it surgically removed." I grimaced just thinking about how true the statement really was.
"Oh Bella, where is your sense of adventure?" she giggled, leaning down to give Jasper a quick hug. "We need to head out, as Jasper has a session tomorrow morning with some hot new thing," she continued as she grabbed Jasper's arm and pulled him up from the couch.
"Bella, the place really does have a lot of charm. Please let us know if you need any help; painting, wiring, moving furniture, anything. I don't want you hurting yourself," he said giving me a quick hug before grabbing Alice's hand and heading for the door.
"Alright Bella, be sure to call me if you want decorating ideas, I'm chock full of them!" she said tapping at her head. "Jazz and I are only 15 minutes away. I'll see you bright and early Monday and don't forget to read up on our guest for Monday's show. It's an exclusive and could really give us a jump in the ratings," she said, waving her hand over her shoulder as they walked out of my house. She turned back and whispered, "I'll have to thank Jasper properly later," giving me a sly wink and walking into the darkness.
"Thanks Alice! Thanks Jasper! I wouldn't have been able to do all this without you! " I shouted after them as they started to pull out of the driveway.
I wonder what Jasper had to do with this? It's probably just one of his clients, I thought to myself closing the door and locking it behind me.
I looked around my little bungalow, amid the stacks of boxes and furniture that were scattered about waiting to find their new place in my house and grinned to myself knowing that I was finally home.
Suddenly realizing I was bone tired, I walked slowly to the back of the house and fumbled through some boxes until I found the one that held the sheets to my bed. I lovingly picked them up and rubbed my face into the soft creamy material. I knew Alice was a fashion plate, but my heart belonged to fine Egyptian 1000 thread count sheets. I stood up as if standing in front of an AA meeting and said, "Hello, my name is Bella and I'm a sheet whore!" I laughed at my own inside joke and quickly made the bed and threw on one of the blankets that I found in the same box. I pulled my cell phone out of my pocket, set the alarm for 8 AM. Throwing my clothes off into a heap at the side of the bed, I slid under the covers and fell asleep as soon as my head hit the smooth silky pillowcase beneath me.
I couldn't believe the moving company was now over an hour late. As if I had time to spare. 'My only free Saturday for the next month and I'm sitting around waiting for a fucking moving truck, I grumbled to myself.
I looked around the condo that I'd had since I moved here for college seven years ago. My parents had purchased the place knowing that Southern California real estate was a pretty good investment. They said that if I wanted to purchase it from them after finishing up at UCLA, they would sell it to me for what they paid for it. I never took them up on their offer. I was only moving now because I wanted to get a bigger place, one that was a bit more secure and I had longed to live at the beach for too long now. I could have moved sooner but had gotten busy and lazy. I hardly spent much time there aside from sleeping so it didn't seem necessary until, well… it did.
I looked up when I heard the rumble of what was hopefully my moving truck. I watched as three burly men got out and ambled towards my front door. I opened it before they even had a chance to knock.
"Hi guys, it's about time you got here," I said gruffly, a little under my breath but loud enough for them to hear.
"Sorry about that Mr. Masen. We ended up going the wrong way on Robertson and had to turn around. No easy feat with the truck," he explained looking somewhat sheepish.
"Well, let's make up for lost time. I need to get this done today." I waved at my surroundings, telling them to start where they like. I took my newspaper and cup of coffee and sat on the deck that overlooked Cheviot Hills Park and watched an older man wandering around in the tall grass probably looking for his stray golf ball based on the bag slung over his shoulder.
I leaned back against the side of the building and thought back to when I moved in. I had just flown in from SEATAC airport earlier in the day and took a cab to my new humble abode. Although for most college students being able to live in your own apartment was a perk not many could afford, especially in Los Angeles, my parents wanted me to be focused and not have to compromise my studies or my music because I had distracting roommates. They had always been very understanding like that. I went to UCLA to study medicine, and I was proud that I was able to say I did graduate pre-med, but I never went on to medical school; my life took a totally different path after my junior year. I remained diligent in my studies though, as I knew that I would regret it if I never finished undergrad.
I heard a crash from upstairs, shaking me from my thoughts. I stood up, sighing heavily, to see what the movers had already broken.
When I walked back into the house, the smaller of the moving men came running down the stairs as if knowing I would be less angry if he fessed up to his error right away.
"Mr. Masen, I'm so so sorry," the man panted, obviously out of breath after running down the stairs. "I lost my grip and now the nightstand next to your bed has a crack in it. I'm so very sorry, and obviously Atlas Moving will cover the damages, it wasn't an antique was it?" he asked looking up with apologetic eyes.
"No worries, it wasn't anything sentimental. I'm sure I can pick up a replacement for it to match the rest of the set – it wasn't overly valuable. Thanks for telling me though," I stated, remaining calmer than I thought possible. Perhaps knowing that I could easily replace the whole set if I wanted to now made me more forgiving than if I had still been the same starving student from many years ago.
I spent the rest of the two hours working on my laptop, trying to work out my schedule for the upcoming week and answering e-mails that I was trying to avoid.
The moving truck pulled out of my complex around 1 p.m. saying that it would be about two and a half hours until they reached my new home in Malibu. I wondered why it would take them so long, but shrugged and decided to finish picking up the final remnants of the last 7 years.
Placing the cooler filled with my refrigerator's contents into the back of my car, I turned to look one last time at my first home away from home. It stirred a lot of memories up for me; most I cherished and some I would be glad to forget once I pulled away from the curb.
I pulled the door shut and sat for a moment before turning the key, lost in all the memories that I was now leaving behind.
I remembered cooking my first meal and washing my first load of laundry – of course I turned all of my white towels pink. It took me a long time to live that down with the buddies that came over for our weekly poker night. I remember losing my virginity after one of our keg parties and I remember coming home to a naked stranger in my apartment waiting to attack me. This was when I decided that I needed to move somewhere that could guarantee me a little more security than my condo complex could. Thankfully the woman was more mentally dangerous than physically, but it still shook me to the core that someone could access my home so easily.
I turned the key to my Audi R8 and heard the engine purr to life. I was sad when I had to trade in my beloved Volvo, but after serving me well for eight years, it was time to let the old girl go. I peeled out of the cul-de-sac where my condo sat and didn't once look in my rearview mirror.
I cruised down to I-10 and headed west, toward my future. I drove down the Pacific Coast Highway, cursing the slow moving traffic that always plagued the road on a beautiful Saturday. It finally cleared up once I made it past Will Rogers State Beach and I looked out the window towards the deep blue Pacific Ocean. I had the windows down, letting the salty air clear my mind from the disturbing images that I couldn't help but remember about my attack. My therapist had said that it would take me a while to get over the loss of security that I once held so easily and now I wondered if I ever would get it back. It's not like I could turn back time and go back to being an unknown med student.
Thirty minutes later I pulled up to my new home. I quickly punched in the code to my security gate and pulled up to the four car garage. I hastily got out and pulled the bags and cooler that were in the trunk inside. One of the many reasons I picked this place was that it was private…well as private as you can get in Malibu. The house sat on a bluff overlooking the ocean with a narrow staircase the led down to a private cove with a small sandy beach that was miniscule during high tide. Luckily I didn't have any neighbors since the bluff jutted off the PCH by a few hundred yards. It was a Spanish style hacienda with sweeping views of the ocean, covered in large arched windows and doorways. It was absolutely breathtaking and after all the hard work my mother had put in decorating – it really felt like home. She decorated it according to my own aesthetic style, but with more… well, style, I thought to myself. I headed to the large gourmet kitchen, placing the bags of food and items from my refrigerator away. I loved to cook and this room was another reason I purchased the home. The kitchen had beautiful Spanish tile in a mix of different patterns covering the backsplash that was eclectic, but also magnificent. It was a bold contrast to the black and gray swirled granite slab countertop. I was looking forward to inviting my family down for holidays and being able to accommodate them all in my new home. I missed them all so much, but I knew that I would see my parent this weekend and I'd see Emmett on Thursday when he came in for the Laker game.
My phone buzzed in my pocket. Glancing down I saw that it was the moving company. I quickly picked up, anxious to see where they were. "Hey, where are you guys?" I asked, slightly annoyed.
"We're about 5 minutes away. Can you open your gate for us so we can pull right in? Turning left off the PCH is kind of a bitch," he sighed.
"Yep, no problem. I'll go do that now," I said, striding out the front door before walking back into the garage. I punched the security code and pressed the hold button so that it would remain open for the movers.
I stood in the driveway waiting for their arrival so that I could shut the gate as soon as I reasonably could. I was still feeling anxious from my earlier thoughts and tried to take a few calming breaths just like Dr. Banner suggested when I started feeling the panic well up inside me.
Sure enough, five minutes later the truck pulled up the drive and circled in front of my garage.
Pulling the hatch open, the movers quickly started unloading all of my worldly possessions, or at least the ones that I was bringing with me. I had given much of my old college furniture to Goodwill, thinking that perhaps someone new would appreciate it – that and it didn't really go with the new décor that Esme had created.
I handed them a little map that I had drawn up earlier letting them know where each of the rooms in my house was so that they could put the boxes in the correct area of the house. They looked at me a little incredulously and I smiled, "Just a little anal retentive." I shrugged and walked back inside.
I was antsy as I wasn't used to not helping, but I was aptly reminded by Jasper when we talked on the phone the other day that "that's what you're paying them for dude." I smiled remembering how Jasper always knew how to manipulate me so that I was in the mood that he wanted or needed me to be in.
I was mentally kicking myself that my new piano wasn't going to be delivered for another week, but knew that I could go and play on my keyboard that was packed away and if the movers followed my instructions, it would be headed towards the solarium in the back of the house, facing the ocean. I had decided to make that my music room since it had some of the best views from the house. I figured if inspiration were to strike, that would be the best place for it to arrive.
About an hour later, the moving truck pulled out of my driveway and I walked back inside to survey the damage. I walked up the sweeping staircase that overlooked the foyer and headed for the master bedroom. The setting sun was just starting to stream in through the sheer, gauzy curtains that blew away from the open windows. Pulling them back, I stood before the awe-inspiring view that was now all mine. I grinned and thought about the busy week ahead of me. I only had one day to try and unpack as much as I could before all hell broke loose. I walked through the French doors and out onto the veranda. I sat down on one of the plush chairs and gazed out over the sea, pondering this next chapter in my life.
"Ready, set, go," I muttered leaning back and closing my eyes, basking in the warmth of the setting sun.
Brown eyes bore in to my soul. I searched and grabbed, longing to see the rest of the face that went with those expressive eyes. I started running through thick woods filled with lush moss and ferns, trying to catch up to where I had seen them disappear. I tripped over hidden roots jutting up out of the ground. I fell hard down onto the ground and searched to see where I was.
Suddenly it morphed into a desert. It was dry and sandy and I was being hunted by something unseen. I crawled desperately through the thick hot sand trying to escape, searching over my shoulder to see if it was gaining on me. I saw a shadow looming and coming at me faster than I was crawling away from it. I begged for the shadowy figure to leave me alone, that I didn't know what I did wrong to deserve its wrath. The shadow was now almost on top of me now with black eyes peering menacingly down at my trembling body. I saw an arm shoot down towards my trembling body and crouched trying to protect myself from what I knew was coming.
Then I heard a buzzing noise like that of an annoying fly or bee.
I didn't know how long I had sat there until the phone in my pocket buzzed once again. I opened my eyes, shocked that the sun had now set and feeling the breeze coming off the ocean was cool and refreshing. Shaking my head to clear the dream that had felt so real, I picked up the phone and answered gruffly still half asleep, "Yeah?"
"Is that any way to speak to your mother?" Esme chirped in my ear.
Running my hands through my thick, unkempt hair, I sighed and answered calmly, "Hi Mom, sorry, I dozed off for a minute. How are you?"
"Edward, you sound tired honey," she said with concern. "Why don't I call you tomorrow? I just wanted to check and see how the move went."
"The move went fine, delayed a little, but no issues that I know of," I said, thinking for a second. "Oh, except that they cracked the nightstand in my room, but that's easily replaced. It was going in to the blue guest room anyhow. Maybe you can help me find a match or something close this weekend" I droned on, my exhaustion slowing creeping in to my voice.
"Well, at least it wasn't anything too sentimental. I'll ring you in the morning. Go get some sleep."
I muttered a sleepy goodbye and headed back into the house suddenly realizing that I was starving. Making my way down the stairs and into the kitchen, I pulled open the refrigerator to see what I had that didn't require a lot of effort.
After a little searching I found my leftover Chinese from the night before. I poured my garlic chicken over rice in a bowl and microwaved it until it was steaming.
I sat at the bar along the island and quietly ate listening to the waves crash onto the beach below. I felt calm and serene for the first time in a long while. It wasn't that I was miserable before, but I didn't really understand how content you could really be when you were where you were meant to be.
My phone rang out again, interrupting my thoughts. I saw that it was Rosalie, my publicist, and picked it up not really wanting to speak with her right now. Rosalie Hale was a ball buster – you had to be in order to make it in this industry – and she really had done a great job, even when I didn't want to admit it.
"Hey Rose, what's going on?"
"Edward, love, how did the move go? You better be getting your butt settled into that house because you're upcoming week looks to be a bit of a bitch."
I groaned knowing full well what my schedule looked like. I said I knew what I was getting myself into, but now that I saw the schedule that Rose had sent me last week, I was beginning to have doubts.
"I'll have a car come and pick you up at 6:30 sharp tomorrow morning and it will be taking you around for the rest of the day. I'm glad you finally came to your senses and agreed with Jasper. It's going to be great publicity, so rest up and I'll speak to you Monday. Bye Edward."
She hung up without me even getting in a word edgewise. That was Rose, she didn't mince words and I liked that about her. I knew I wasn't an easy client and appreciated that she was still able to deal with all my eccentricities and allowed me to be me – no easy feat.
I realized that I was exhausted and decided to go to bed now, thinking that if I did, I could wake up really early and get a start on my day.
I saw that my bed was already made, something that I hadn't noticed earlier when I came upstairs, and was thankful that I didn't need to make it. I pulled my shirt over my head and stripped off my jeans before climbing between the cool sheets. I turned out the light and saw that the moonlight was billowing in through the windows, casting shadows against the wall as my sheers blew in the cool night breeze. I smiled to myself knowing that I was finally at home before nodding to sleep.