Bookward "Off The Page" Contest

Pen Name: Dalia907

Title: Imaginary Love

Book/Written Work: Sundays At Tiffany's by James Patterson & Gabrielle Charbonnet

Summary: Edward had been Bella's salvation, her imaginary friend. But imaginary friends can't stay forever, and soon she'll forget all about him…right? Written for the Bookward "Off The Page" Contest.

Word Count: 3,784 words (including 181 words for the header and A/N)

Edward = Michael (imaginary friend/angel)

Bella = Jane Margaux

Rosalie = Vivienne Margaux (Bella/Jane's Mother)

Disclaimer: I do not own "Twilight" or "Sundays At Tiffany's"

A/N: At the beginning of the story, Bella is an intelligent little girl who is just about to turn nine years old. Edward is her imaginary friend - part of an elite group of imaginary friends. He can reveal himself to anyone if and when he chooses, but usually only does so with Bella. Rosalie is Bella's mother, a big shot Broadway producer who can barely be bothered with her only daughter.

Bella's ninth birthday is a pivotal one.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

PART 1

With a heavy heart, Edward trudged down the familiar New York City sidewalk. His clothes - the classy pinstriped suit, the white Oxford shirt and the shiny patent leather shoes - gave off an air of dignity and hinted at celebration. That's the look he intended when he'd first picked out the garments. He wanted to look good for her on her special day. But the closer he got to his destination, the more he realized that his clothes wouldn't make today any easier.

Bella, his latest and greatest - at least in his mind - charge was turning nine years old today.

Nine.

Never before had Edward hated that word, that number…until now. Because the day that his charges turned nine years old was also the day that he had to say goodbye to them forever. He didn't know why. No one had ever told him. He had simply awoken one day, knowing that he had the power to help a child in need cope with the stresses of their lives, and that this power came with rules and responsibilities.

Edward never questioned anything he had been intended to do…again, until now. Bella was different from any of his other charges. She was brave, selfless, kind, smart, witty - above and beyond what any normal nearly nine year old girl should have been.

She was unique. Extraordinary. And after today she would on her own.

He was about to reach her town house - where Bella's mother, Rosalie, was also holding an opening night party for her latest Broadway production - when Edward realized that his posture and expression would certainly upset his dear little friend. He sucked in a deep breath and ran his fingers through his messy bronze hair, closing the lids over his piercing green eyes to try and erase the negative thoughts that were swirling around his brain.

Pull it together, Edward. You need to be strong for your little angel.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Rosalie tugged at the hem of her little daughter's midnight blue dress. "Bella-sweetie," she droned as she often did, "this dress fit you last week when we tried it on at Bergdorf Goodman's. Were you into those dreadful sweets again? Ugh, I told you to be careful with your food intake, didn't I? Well, I suppose you'll have to go like that for the party tonight, no time to change now," she rolled her eyes as she flicked her hand through the air.

"Thanks, Mommy," Bella said with a hint of sarcasm. "Maybe it was the coffee ice cream with hot fudge that Edward and I shared on Sunday at the St. Regis," she trailed off as head hung down in a guilty expression.

"Bella-sweetie, who's Edward?"

"He's my friend, Mom. You remember him, right?" she asked with only a flicker of hope. She knew her Mother was only really concerned with remembering those details that concerned her life's work with the theater, but she hoped that there was a part of her that could remember someone as special as Edward.

"Oh, right, your imaginary friend," her Mother nearly spit with disdain. "Bella-sweetie, you should really consider outgrowing that childish little tendency of yours. You're far too old for such frivolity." And with that, Rosalie spun around and clacked her Minolo's down the hall with authority.

Bella stood there in the hallway, twirling her fingers through her frizzy chocolate locks. Her eyes - which were the exact same shade of deep brown - were cast downward as she listened to her Mother's dramatic exit.

Bella contemplated her Mother; the same Mother who was throwing an opening night party for the cast and crew, not a birthday part for her little girl. Bella had always understood the busy and important life that Rosalie led. People would initially flock to her beauty, and they would stay because she had brow beat them into submission with her intellect.

Bella loved her Mother, wholly and unconditionally, reveling in every touch and embrace all the same; loved her with all that her tiny heart could muster…

…even if she did forget her own daughter's birthday.

While errantly tugging the same spot on the hem of the dress that her Rosalie had just released, Bella heard the floorboards creak behind her in the hallway. She whipped around in her miniature heels to see what was coming, and in her haste her trademark clumsiness was nearly her undoing. That is, until two strong, familiar hands with long pale fingers caught her up in a gentle embrace. She knew exactly who it was, and she was never happier to have him with her than she was tonight.

"Edward!" she exclaimed as she wrapped her chubby arms around her friend's neck.

"Happy Birthday, love," he smiled into her hair, smelling the familiar strawberry scent of her shampoo.

Each time he was near his special little friend, Edward was enamored with just how much love the little girl possessed, even though the return on that love from her family had been wanting. He knew that there was nothing more pure than a child's love. It filled his heart with joy to know that his job was to ensure that love was nurtured properly. It was the best job in the world.

Or at least he thought so. Until tonight. Until Bella. There was something about her that made his once joyous heart break to pieces at the thought of hurting her, as he would surely do this night. Feeling her arms loosen from around his neck, Edward tried to wipe the sadness from his face before she could notice.

"Thank you, Edward," she replied politely. "I missed you today. I thought you had forgotten my birthday, too. Where did you go?"

Edward internally winced. He didn't want to tell Bella that he nearly couldn't drag himself out of bed today, that he was trying to avoid the inevitable.

Instead he set her down and replied, "I could never forget you, angel. I had to go get your birthday present. Are you ready to see it?"

The little girl's eyes danced and her toes twitched involuntarily, but her strict schooling and Mother's scolding kept her firmly planted on the ground.

"I would love to see my present now, Edward," she tried to say in an even tone, but it was completely marred by her excitement.

He took her tiny hand in his as they briskly made their way through the crowded rooms full of cast members and party goers until they reached the sanctity of her bedroom. Edward opened the door and gestured for her to enter with a wave of his hand. She quickly bounced through the door and then slid to a halt in the middle of the room.

Bella was immediately immersed in the fresh scent coming from the huge bouquet that was situated on her night stand. Freesia. The arrangement was beautiful and perfect and she loved it at once. She ran over to them, barely stopping in enough time to keep from knocking the whole thing to the ground. She reached up to caress the delicate petals and stood on her toes in order to inhale the wonderful fragrance.

"Do you like them?" he asked as he stood in the doorway.

"Oh, Edward, they're perfect! I love them," she gushed in the way only a child can - full of hope and enthusiasm. "I knew you wouldn't forget. You never disappoint me."

Her words hit him like the proverbial ton of bricks. His chest felt each and every one of those bricks, as if they were being strategically dropped where they would do the most damage. But Edward knew what had to happen next, even though he was praying that it wouldn't. He could already feel his form starting to drift.

"Bella, love, I need to talk to you about something," he finally said solemnly.

Her jovial gaze instantly broke from the flowers and settled on her imaginary friend. "What is it Edward? You can tell me anything, just like when you told me that I can tell you anything."

His heart was being crushed at that moment. She was such a good person, a true loving heart. Why does this have to happen to her? Why now? he thought.

"Angel, I have to go."

Her face dropped slightly, but she quickly recovered, hiding behind a mask of acceptance. "That's okay. I'll just see you tomorrow morning before our Sunday trip to Tiffany's with Mommy."

It was getting difficult for Edward to breath. This was going to be so much worse than any of the other charges he had left.

"No, Bella. You're nine years old now. When I go tonight, I won't be coming back. Those are the rules," he tried to explain.

"What?" she asked, completely horrified at the idea of losing her friend. "Wait! You can't go tonight! I still need you, I'm not ready for you to go, not yet!"

Huge crocodile tears began streaming from Bella's face. The lump in Edward's throat thickened as he tried to swallow down the tears that were beginning to brim in his eyes as well. He didn't want to break down here, not in front of her. It would be hard enough for her without being witness to his sadness as well.

"I need you to understand, love. I don't know why, and I don't like it, but this is just how it works." He reached out to her and pulled her tiny frame to his broad chest. He felt the sobs racking through her body and he ached to take away her tears with a joke or a song, the way he always did. But not tonight.

"Bella, I'm going to tell you something that I'm not supposed to tell anyone, ever. I promise that by tomorrow morning, you will have forgotten all about me. It will be as if I never existed."

"No," she rebutted. "I won't ever forget you, Edward. Why won't you just stay here with me? Please, I need you."

At that precise moment he could feel himself begin to drift even further. There was precious little time. His mind searched for the right words, words that would comfort her, even just a little. Then he remembered what Bella herself had told him when she was only four years old - so wise for her age.

"Angel, do you remember what you told me a long time ago? You said love means you can never be apart. I love you so much, Bella. You've lit up my life like no other person has ever done. You're a special person, one that deserves all the love in the world. You have my love, and because of that I'll always be with you, and you'll always be with me. I'll love you forever."

And with that, Edward began to slowly fade away, in the way that only imaginary friends can do.

"No, Edward please don't go! I'll never forget you! Never! I love you, Edward!"

-----------------------------------------------------------------

PART 2

23 YEARS LATER…

Neither Edward nor Bella could believe their eyes when they met again at the St. Regis hotel that day. Edward had been staring at a much older, much more beautiful Bella that he had ever known, yet he was sure that it was his Bella. She was no longer a child - he hadn't thought of her as a child in a long time - and she was absolutely stunning. He found himself wanting to hold her, to kiss her, to be with her and share the most intimate kind of love he knew.

Bella had never forgotten her best friend. He was exactly the same, and those green eyes made her heart flutter with excitement, only this time it was infinitely more than just a child's adoration. He was supremely attractive. She could now appreciate the tone of his muscles, his chiseled facial features, his utter magnetism. She wanted him in every womanly way.

It was the very same hotel - the St. Regis - that the two of them visited on Sundays where they found their unexpected reunion taking place. They could both see the past clearly in their minds…While Rosalie was busy fraternizing with various clientele, Bella and Edward would gorge themselves on ice cream - coffee ice cream with hot fudge sauce to be exact. Then Mother and daughter would find their way down the street for their weekend ritual at Tiffany's.

Bella and Edward had instantly known of each other's presence before their eyes had even connected. And now, they were together, as a man and a woman were meant to be. They riddled each other with questions about their lives, walked, talked and got to know each other all over again. It like they had never been apart, and their once innocent love had blossomed into something far greater.

They were in Nantucket now, enjoying a gorgeous bed and breakfast with vibrant scenery, drinking in the simple pleasures in life. They had wined, dined, danced, kissed and done all of the things two people in love were supposed to do.

It was as if they were destined to find each other again. Fate was cruel the first time around and had torn them from each other too soon. And yet it seemed that fate's master plan had been greater all along, because there they were, the dim light of the moon cascading through their suite's window, creating the perfect atmosphere for what their bodies and their hearts were willing them to do for their first time together.

Edward walked up behind Bella. She was standing at the window, taking in the glorious view of the Nantucket skyline. His heart was aching for her in ways he didn't think possible. He didn't know if right now he was an imaginary friend, an angel or a regular person - no one had told him - but he didn't need verbal consent to know that this night with her was right. He could feel it in his bones.

Bella could feel his gentle touch as he ran his fingers from her shoulders all the way to her trembling hands. All the questions in her mind were making her shake.

Is it okay to be in love, to make love with your imaginary friend? Surely the purity of such a love makes it justified, right? It must be all right, nothing this full of love could ever be wrong.

With her mind now set, Bella's trembling ceased. She allowed herself to be assaulted by Edward's reverent touch, his sweet kisses on the back of her neck, his warm breath by her ear. He gently pulled her around to face him. She looked deep into the pools of his greens eyes, finding only adoration swimming in their seas. Her hands found their own will and made a path up the front of his shirt, undoing each pearl-like button as they went.

They never took their eyes off each other as Edward repeated the motions on Bella's midnight blue blouse. He loved that color against her milky skin. He had loved that color ever since the day he had to break her little nine year old heart - it was the color of her dress then, and that shade was engrained into his memory forever.

Their shirts were now pooled on the floor, and before realizing it, their pants and the rest of their clothes had slowly and smoothly met the same fate. Both of them traced the other's bare skin with their fingertips, exploring, learning, memorizing. Edwards hands found their way to Bella's back, and he couldn't help but press her whole body against his. He wanted to feel all of her on all of him. The actual sensation of it was overpowering.

Her hands snaked around his waist and her head found the crook between his shoulder and his chest. It was as if that spot had been molded for her. She felt so perfect standing there naked in his arms.

He bent his head to kiss the top of her head, taking a deep breath as he did. Her scent was the same - the strawberry shampoo. But now it was mixed with something else, something floral. It took him a moment until he could remember.

Freesia.

She smelled of freesia, the same flower that he had given to her himself on that dreadful day twenty three years ago. His eyes began to water at the shear emotion coursing through him, but he fought them back.

Instead, in one quick motion he bent down and scooped her up, carrying her to the bed. He laid her down gently and settled his weight over top of her. With one hand he held himself up slightly, and with the other he brushed her thick hair away from her face.

"You are so beautiful. Bella, I love you. I'll love you forever."

She swallowed hard, hearing the last words he had spoken before his last departure. But he was here now, right in front of her eyes, laying with her. She blinked the tears away, never breaking their gaze.

"I never forgot you, Edward. I need you. I love you," she whispered.

Then he kissed her - deep and hard and full of the passionate love that was consuming them. Their tongues were stroking each other with a desire that their bodies would soon match.

Without breaking the kiss, Edward reached down and positioned himself at her entrance. He could feel her warmth, her wetness. It was just for him and he knew it, he reveled in it. He broke their kiss, resting his forehead on hers and keeping his eyes trained on the brown depths in front of them. Their breathing hitched as he slowly slid himself inside her.

When he was fully within her, both of them let out a delicious groan and neither could keep their eyes open any longer. Together they knew this was what heaven must feel like. He began to languidly move within her, keeping the friction slow and almost torturous for them equally. Her fingernails grazed the planes of his back, holding onto him so he could never leave again.

Their movements increased, hearts beating wildly, breath short and shallow. The friction and the heat was building to an intense crescendo. He could feel the walls of her core start to tense. He wasn't far from the edge himself.

"Bella, I love you so much," he whispered.

"I love you, Edward," she breathed.

And with their declarations, they were simultaneously pushed over the edge. She clenched and jerked and moaned his name. He tensed and let himself go, fire flooding through his veins as he emptied himself into her. Their love literally poured from their bodies, mixing together as one.

Edward collapsed on top of her, peppering her lips, her jaw, her neck with fervent kisses. Bella's arms had fallen to her sides as she was completely blissed out of her mind.

He finally lifted his heavy body from her and laid on his back, pulling her to mold alongside him. Her head was against his still heaving chest, arms wrapped around each other in a tight embrace.

They didn't need to say anything. Everything had already been implicit between them, as it always would be. The only sound that broke the silence that had settled over the room was Bella's increasingly deep breathing. Soon, she was completely content and fast asleep in Edward's arms.

Edward, however, couldn't bring himself to lose one second of his precious time with Bella with sleep. He wanted to take her in, all of her, for as long as he had.

That was just it - he didn't know how long he had with her this time.

His job as an imaginary friend had been easy. He knew the rules, and knew what to expect. When a charge turned nine, he would fade away from them, only to find himself magically transported to wherever his next charge may be. He just knew who they were, knew about them and what they needed. If he needed money, he simply snapped his fingers and it would appear in his hand. Same went when he needed a taxi on a rainy day. He had never questioned it and never abused it - he was a man of simple means after all and modestly accepted whatever God had seen fit to grant him.

But after leaving his last nine year old, Edward found himself back in New York, and he found himself with Bella. This thought both excited and frightened him. He had heard from others in his profession that sometimes imaginary friends were called up to perform other duties. Sometimes they were asked to be guardians for a particular person in need. Sometimes they were asked to be angels, helping a dieing soul make amends and cross over to the other side.

This was what Edward was fearing. Was he here to help end Bella's life? Could he handle losing her again? He didn't know. He didn't want to ever know. The only thing he wanted to do was to hold her forever, to be with her as a man, not some mythical being.

Casting his eyes to the heavens while still clutching his own person heaven to his body, he desperately sent out a silent prayer.

Please…please don't take her away from me. I love her. I love her so much it physically hurts. I will cease to exist without her. I beg you, whoever's out there, just grant me this one request.

I'll love her…forever.

-------------------------------------------------------------------

A/N: Hope you enjoyed my entry for the Bookward "Off The Page" Contest, hosted by Bronzehairedgirl620 and Leon McFrenchington

Please go to: www (dot) fanfiction (dot) net/u/1981556/ to vote!