ONCE UPON A TWILIGHT CONTEST
Title: Nature Boy
Author: magan bagan and StarLightSuccubus
Rating: Rated M
POV: Bella's POV
Word Count: 14,992
Summary: Edward is alone, invisible and chained to the forest. Invisibility is a curse until he meets Bella. But who would save who? The alone or the lonely? Written for the Once Upon a Twilight contest. A collaboration between StarLightSuccubus and magan bagan.
This story is being submitted as an entry for the Once Upon a Twilight Contest, hosted by wishimight and staceygirl aka jackbauer. For complete contest details, to read the rest of the contest submissions, or if you are interested in entering, please visit the contest community at:
Entries accepted until 8/20/09
Voting begins 8/22/09
Disclaimer: Twilight is not ours, it belong to Stephenie Meyer.
"There was a boy that lived in this forest… And he liked to read, A LOT.
One day, as his mother was picking up apples, the enchanted Monster of the Wolves came to take her, because he was very much in love with the mother. She resisted, because she was still in love with her dead husband.
The Monster saw that her little six year old son was there, and as a punishment to the mother, he cursed the kid, because he loved to read… The kid disappeared from the mother's side, and so, the kid walks around the forest at night, killing all the kids, all the little bookworms that camp on this forest, so he can take THEIR BOOKS AWAY! "
He had a flashlight placed at the bottom of his face, the reflection making him look like a monster of a horror movie.
"Emmett, you are scaring your sister!" shouted my Dad as I buried my face into his jacket. Emmett was being mean to me as usual. He was always teasing me, because to him I was a bookworm.
Emmett was two years older than me, and in school he the guy who always bullied the younger children. He would always tease me because I loved to read, something that I'd inherited from my mother.
I didn't have the age to read any book from my mother's collection, because they were for grownups. So I always carried my favorites: "Tales of Beedle the Bard" and "The Pokey Little Puppy". I loved getting inside a story and imagine myself being the main character.
I loved to fantasize about castles, and princesses, and dragons, and love. But I knew that life was not that way. My Mommy had passed away when I was born, and even though I didn't know her, I still wanted to have one like every kid in my school. I had needed my Mommy when I fell off a chair last Sunday, or when I won the English contest in school.
Tears were sliding down my eyes because stupid Emmett knew I hated wolves and monsters. Was there really a murderer kid in this forest?
I hugged my Dad tighter, snuggling and screaming into him.
"Emmett enough for tonight!" snapped Daddy with a tone of finality. I tilted my head, my eyes wide open with fear, my lower lip was trembling as I spoke.
"Is that a true legend Dad?"
"Yes Bella, but it goes differently honey, no kid is a murderer and there's no monster," He said, looking at Emmett with narrowed eyes, "and there's nothing wrong with reading, so don't pay attention to what he's saying."
My stupid brother roared and Dad just rolled his eyes, immediately looking again at my tear strained face, "Don't worry honey, there is nothing out there."
I nodded, drying my face with my sleeve. Somehow, knowing that we would all sleep in the same tent had me feeling more at ease. Daddy told Emmett and I that we should get into our sleeping bags to try and sleep. Nevertheless, I was curious about the real legend. It was dark, but I was so energetic because of all the s'mores I had eaten. My stupid brother couldn't sleep either because he couldn't stop laughing. Dad told him to be quiet at once and murmured something about not giving kids candy at night.
I felt my chest swelling from the excitement to know about a new story. I wished the sun would come up so I could ask Dad about it.
It was 2:56 a.m. and I wanted to wake up my Dad, but knew he would get upset that I was not sleeping. I sighed, thinking about the new Disney movie, and lots of other fun stuff. But my mind would always return to the enchanted boy.
"Rosaly 'Ale is ve'pree," Emmett mumbled on his sleep, causing me to giggle.
The minutes started to pass by slower. When the sun started to rise, my eyes were still wide open and my heart was beating faster than ever. What would happen if I explored the forest by myself? It wasn't so dark anymore and I wasn't afraid in the morning. I could handle it because I was not a baby anymore, I was a big girl.
Pushing the purple covers aside, I got up and grabbed my pink jacket and Hello Kitty slippers. I made my way outside, trying to make as little sound as possible as to not wake up Emmett or Dad, but they were sleeping like rocks.
Once outside, I felt the dampness from the grass seeping through my slippers. I moaned as I saw that the white Kitty was going to end up all dirty, but there was nothing I could do.
I took in my surroundings and my mouth opened in awe. The forest was so green and mysterious.
For a second I hesitated, wanting to go back, but I decided to go on. I had to find the boy; Daddy had told me that he was not a killer. Maybe he was all alone and needed a friend. I could be his because my bestest friend in the whole world, Angela Webber, wouldn't be jealous.
Walking, I felt the wetness of the soil, but I dismissed the uncomfortable sensation. The trees were so thick and their branches interlaced on top so that they didn't allow sunrise pink and orange to penetrate into the heart of the forest.
My eyes were wide open, looking for any sign of the boy; but there was none.
Had all of this been a lie that Emmett and Dad had built just to get me to sleep? Had Dad told me the brief "real" version so I wouldn't be scared?
Suddenly, I felt something hit me on the head. It fell to the ground and I bent down to pick it up just as I felt another one of those objects strike me again. I looked at said object and saw that it was a berry. My eyes traveled all around, looking for the perpetrator of this joke; but I couldn't see anybody. Just as I was giving up, another berry hit me in the back. I turned around real quick to find…
I groaned, closing my eyes and sighing. "Emmett, I know it's you."
I was startled when I heard a boy's chuckle. I moved slowly, trying to be quiet because at any moment, my brother was going to attack me. I scrunched my nose as I stepped onto a stick, making an very loud cracking sound.
Again, I heard the chuckles near me, but no one was around. Alarm and panic were rising to my chest. I wanted to be under my covers next to Dad. Another berry was thrown my way and I'd had enough.
"Em-Emmett?" my uncertain voice trembled. What if it was the enchanted boy and was a killer?
"Come out!" I shouted, this time a little more confident. "Emmett, this is not funny!"
Was I alone? Was my father leaving me here forever? What if I never saw Dad, or stupid Emmett?
A tear started sliding down my cheek as I realized that leaving the tent had been a bad idea because I couldn't remember my way back. Sniffing, I plopped down to the ground, crying and wishing that my Daddy would find me.
I was sitting Indian style, my face buried in my hands and my hair surrounding my trembling frame. I closed my eyes tightly and repeated in my head, "I don't want to be alone!" over and over again.
I was startled when I felt a warm hand in my back, patting me gently. I was about to yell at Emmett at how much panic he caused me, when an unfamiliar guilty voice said, "I didn't mean to scare you!"
That was not Emmett.
Shocked, I straightened my back and twisted my waist to look behind me.
"Who are you?" I asked curiously, "Where are you hiding?"
Suddenly, I screamed as the owner of the voice pinched my cheek. But there was no one in front of me and yet, I felt the touch of a hand. I must have been wearing a horrified expression, because the panicked voice said, "I am sorry, don't be frightened, I am not dangerous!"
I relaxed a little; believing in the honesty on the boy's tone. "Where are you?"
He remained silent for a few seconds, allowing me to listen to his breathing, "You won't be able to see me."
I couldn't help but notice his sad voice; I felt gloomy because of it. Was he lost, too?
"Where is your mommy?" I asked him, worried that he might not have his parents with him. At least I had Dad and stupid Emmett.
"Autumn is approaching, so she has decided to retire early," he stated, confusing me even more than I already was. Again, he might have seen my face because he continued jokingly, "You could say she doesn't like the cold or the ice."
"Oh," was my only response, not understanding what he meant. Also, I felt very weird because I knew from the sound of his voice where he was standing, but I was uncertain if my eyes were focused on him. "Can you see me?"
"And why can't I see you?"
"Well, I... I'd rather not talk about it now," he sounded sad. Trying to change the subject I extended my hand to the space in front of me, again, not sure if I was aiming right, "Oh, by the way, my name is Bella."
"Nice to meet you Bella," he said, enthusiastically shaking my hand. It was an odd sensation to see my hand moving frantically, gripping an invisible one. I noticed that his hand was sweaty as James' was when we played London Bridge.
"So, what do you usually do in here?" I was trying to be friendly as he let go of my hand reluctantly.
"Umm… I play mostly with my friends, but not much," he commented, and I imagined him shrugging. I realized at that moment that being with this boy could be fun. I would use my imagination to create his movements and appearance.
Wait a minute?
"Yeah, want to meet them?" I nodded and he took my hand again, dragging me towards some trees. I felt really confused as I walked without knowing where I was going or who was taking me. But somehow, I trusted this boy.
We stopped in front of an old tree; the trunk was the thickest and most beautiful. Concentrating on the sounds of his heavy breathing, I turned my head where I guessed he was standing. He chuckled at my confused expression.
"Well, he's Carlisle," said the kid, his hand still on mine. "He usually wakes up at night."
My eyes widened in amusement as I saw Carlisle. His mouth was opened in a smile and his eyes were closed, the lines and indentations on his trunk showed his wisdom. I stifled a giggle because he was friends with a tree. Although, the moment that thought entered my mind, I realized how lonely he was.
I gave a startled scream as a heavy animal landed harshly on my shoulder. The kid laughed quietly and placed his hand on my shoulder. I was reminded about how boys in my school would never touch me; James said that it was because girls had cooties. I liked that my new buddy wasn't afraid of that. He was a really good friend.
The animal nuzzled my neck and I relaxed. I saw that it was a very cute skunk, his little paws digging into my jacket as he gathered balance. The kid laughed louder again, amused about this animal and I couldn't help but smile at his happiness. Suddenly, my eyes widened as the skunk jumped and climbed to what I guessed was my friend's outstretched arm. The boy let go of me completely as he helped straighten the little skunk. My mouth opened as I saw the coolest thing ever.
The skunk was floating in midair, standing on the invisible head of the boy.
"His name is Jasper and he's also a very good friend of mine," The kid commented.
"Hi, Jasper," I started giggling, as he talked to him as one would to a BFF.
"Jazz, where's Alice?" I could see Jasper's head was being pet, a wave ran over his fur as he made a funny noise as a response. My smile grew wider as the reality of what my new friend was sunk in.
"Call her, she'll like Bella," ordered the boy happily. Even though I didn't know him, I was getting the impression that he was having a blast today. It must be rare to find a human here.
Jasper nodded and leapt to the ground, disappearing through the foliage. My eyes widened as I pinched myself to see if I was dreaming, the sharp sting telling me that I wasn't. I was dancing with joy on the inside; fairy tales existed. However, I was brought out of dreamland as he spoke again, "So Bella, tell me what you like to do?"
I was hesitant before answering his question. What if he was a murderer as Emmett said? What if he was befriending me to steal my books? Shaking my head, I realized it was mean. He just wanted to have a human friend so making up my mind, I answered, "Well, I play with my doll, but what I really love is to read."
I heard him gasp and for a second, I froze, "What?"
"Nothing, it's just you remind me of someone," he replied sadly. I looked down and saw that the grass had indented, so I assumed he was seated and I followed his lead.
Now that we were comfortable, I continued with our conversation. "Remind you of someone?"
"Yes, a friend that I had a couple of years ago. She used to read to me, you kind of look like her," he answered, emotion heavy in his voice. "She had big brown eyes and she was…" he trailed off as I just looked at where I assumed he was.
Just then a thought occurred to me, "Hey, you haven't told me your name yet!"
However, he never got the chance because at that moment, I felt an insect fluttering all over my face, tickling my nose. I laughed at the energetic movement of what seemed to be a butterfly.
"Alice, let Bella breathe!" said my invisible friend between chuckles. The butterfly immediately flew away from my face and landed on my bended knee. I looked at her wings and they were black, but had green, yellow and blue stripes and spots all over them; the bright colors shining against the dark hue.
"This is Alice, another good friend of mine," he said, introducing me to the beautiful butterfly. I waved at her, earning another rapid flutter. Moments later, the skunk appeared again, hopping into the kid's lap. Did Jasper realize that he was "flying"?
I squealed as I felt the kid's hand on mine again. I closed my hand in his and we stayed like that. It was a relaxing moment, my mind telling me that it was finally time to sleep.
"You look tired," a sheepish smile visible on my face as I nodded. He sighed before speaking again, "How about we lie here just for a moment?"
"Yes," I whispered. At hearing our conversation, Alice flew to a nearby leaf and Jasper stepped onto the grass again. I lay on my side, assuming that I was facing the invisible boy because of the larger indent on the grass. I could hear our breathing and the sound of the trees and animals.
"Would you hold my hand again Bella?" he asked timidly. I smiled sleepily and stretched my arm, waiting for him to hold me again. His hand was warm and soothing, but it was no longer sweaty. He was finally comfortable with me, not nervous as he was at first.
With that knowledge, I closed my eyes, happy about my new friend from a fairy tale.
I was at home, my doll and new books forgotten, as a new precious possession lay in my hands.
Ever since meeting the invisible boy, I couldn't stop thinking about how fun everything had been.
Obviously, when my Dad found me lying alone in the forest, he had been both worried and mad. He scolded me for leaving the tent, saying that he would never bring me here if I misbehaved. It still felt bad to be yelled at that way, plus Emmett laughed at me, too.
Truth was that the tears slid from my eyes because my friend was going to be alone again. I didn't have the time to say goodbye to him, as we packed immediately after getting back. I also regretted that I never got his name. I had been so amazed by everything that I hadn't remembered to ask again. So as a token of our friendship, I left behind the two books that I was carrying with me, hoping he would find them.
My dad had been silent all the way home so I didn't dare ask him about this legend. But once we were at home and things calmed down, I did. He smiled at me and stood from the couch, walking over to my mom's bookshelf and taking out a leather book with a big emerald encrusted in the cover. He handed it to me.
Not only was I happy to be reading one of my mom's books, but also because it was the story of my new friend.
The book wasn't only about him; there were other stories, too. Some were funny, others were sad; but all were hand written. And so for the eighth time, I opened the book and started reading his story; "The Tale of the Invisible Youth and the Dancing Waters" said:
This is the story of Edward from the land of the Cullen.
This is my story.
My father died in the war against the Four Sages when I was only two years of age. Some of the wisest men from our settlement said that the noble warrior lives in the forest as the cleverest of beings; an old magnificent tree.
I would go everyday and visit the grand tree that I named Carlisle. We became great friends and so every time my mother would go and pick berries for my favorite pie, I would accompany just so we could be together again.
The three of us as a family.
However, one day darkness ruled over the forest as foreign mystic creatures traveled all the way from the north. They were the family of the Noir, also known as the Wolves. They came from a great kingdom; the King of their species their leader.
One bright day, as my mother and I went to pick berries for a pie for the celebration of my Day of Birth, the King of the Wolves found us and fell in love with my mother. He commanded for her hand in marriage, offering a comfortable and wonderful life; a kingdom of her own. Nonetheless, my mother refused, as she was still mourning the death of my late father.
The King became so enraged at her refusal that a curse was brought upon us. My mother was to remain in the enchanted forest for eternity. She was to be the guardian of it and if she were to leave the land, all living things would diminish and finally, cease to exist.
All living things including me, for I was chained to the numinous forest, too.
Nevertheless, to lengthen the punishment, I was to become invisible and lonely for eternity; my homeland becoming my prison.
Hope was in my favor, for youth and innocence became eternal, too.
My beautiful guardian mother created her new home.
The Dancing Waters.
And so, this is the story of my mundane existence. I travel all over the land, wandering from the brightest of meadows to the most remote corner of the Woods of Forks. Always unseen, always lonely, and always full of sadness.
All because of the refusal of false love.
False love that was disguised as an illusion.
Because unrequited love is a curse in itself and unfortunately it was brought upon us…
A tear slid from my eyes, dampening the old parchment. This was the saddest story in the book; the sad story of my invisible friend.
I closed the book and turned off my lamp, pulling the bed sheets and covering myself with them.
That night, I had nightmares about wolves and cursed forest. I went to sleep with my Dad.
It was not fair.
He was too young to leave.
Leukemia at forty-two.
I had my face buried in my hands, sitting at one side of the hospital bed, watching my father in his last seconds in this world. He was connected to many machines, vulnerable. I couldn't contain the tears anymore. It never crossed my mind that my father was going to be leaving me at the age of fourteen.
To some people he was the chief of police, or a policeman. To me, he was Charlie Swan, my father, all I ever had.
I was going to be alone.
Emmett was at his other side; his skin was pale and his expression one of apprehension. But at least he had Rosalie, his high school sweetheart.
I had no one.
Just the man who had changed my diapers, the one who had taken me to my first day of school, and had played Santa Clause every Christmas. I remembered how he blushed furiously as he explained about my monthly visitor.
And I couldn't take the pain of seeing him here, lying on a sterile bed on the verge of dying.
Life was not a fairy tale, it was cruel and cold.
I remembered on reading a book of my mother's. Ironically, it had been a fairy tale; it was about a boy who was always alone and invisible. His name had been Edward and he had been my imaginary friend when I was a child. I felt exactly like him because I was lonely, with no one at my side to protect me, or console me.
Charlie was never going to see me graduate from college or walking down the aisle in white, if I ever did.
"Emmett, son," said my dad weakly, breaking me out of my thoughts. Emmett was at his side instantly, holding father's weak hand in his.
"Dad." He sounded fearful, unlike his usual playful demeanor.
"I need to talk to you before…" my father trailed off, clearly not ready to have this talk with us yet.
"Don't talk like that Daddy," I cried, my voice breaking. He turned to look at me and gave me a weak but amazing smile. I grasped his other hand in mine and I realized that this was the moment, this was it; the last time the three of us would be together as a family.
"Emmett, before I go, I want to say that you have made me so proud, son. You have accomplished so much in your life so far and I couldn't be happier to see you doing so well. You have great grades and are the captain of the football team. You are an honorable and decent man, despite your jokes…"
He laughed faintly at the memory of the times he had been to the Principal's office. But it was not the time for mockery, he was growing weak as he spoke to my brother.
"Dad, no, no… Please no, don't talk, we already know all of this, I-"
He cut me off, squeezing my hand and continuing with his speech.
"I want to give you my last piece of advice, please always treat women well, be a gentleman, be a good husband and father. Also, please take care of your sister."
Emmett squeezed my dad's hand, his eyes full of tears. I cried harder as I saw my brother breaking down. My father turned to look at me, again.
"Bella, you have made me the happiest man in the whole world. You and your mother were the most important women in my life. The day you were born, although I lost your mom, I was so happy that I got you in return. You have made me so proud, too."
"Daddy," I gasped, placing his hand against my cheek, kissing his palm.
"You are the smartest and most beautiful girl in the world and the man who wins your heart will be a lucky one. Find the person that will love you above all else, and when you do, I give you my blessing. Also, cling to your mother's leather book, the one I once gave you," he winked knowingly at me. I was confused but just nodded, because I would do everything he asked of me.
"I'll be watching from up above."
"I love you, Dad."
"I love you both so much. I have lived my life whole, you've made it that way." His voice was coming out weaker with each word, but those words were the most important I would ever hear. Finally, Emmett and I looked at each other, bending down to hug him. He smiled once again, only this time it was wider.
Because he was already in heaven.
Uncle Phil was somewhat hesitant when I told him that I wanted to return to Forks for the summer. He saw what a difficult time Emmett and I had adjusting to life without Charlie, which led us to Phoenix to live with him. Starting fresh, leaving behind all of the painful memories and move forward.
At least that's what the psychologist said.
It seemed to work for Emmett though. He flourished in Arizona; joining the football team, excelling in school and moving past his grief. His girlfriend, Rosalie, even moved down to Phoenix.
I, on the other hand, went to school, made a few friends, but never really found my niche. There was always something lurking under the surface, a pull or desire for something that I longed for, but couldn't quite touch.
So when I found an advertisement for counselors at a children's camp, I jumped at the opportunity. Graduating from high school in a matter of weeks and starting college in the fall; this was an opportunity that I really needed. Finding a way to convince Uncle Phil was the difficult part; to prove to him that I would be fine returning to my childhood home.
I hadn't felt such an enthusiasm for something in a long time, and the desire to return to Forks prompted me to continue. I found ways to slip into the conversation at dinner and left brochures around for him to find of the beautiful Olympic Peninsula.
When he finally agreed, he made me promise to call him and if at any time it got to be too much, I should come home. I kissed his cheek. We handled all of the details before I left, buying plane tickets, shopping for camping necessities and making sure I was set up for the fall with dorm arrangements.
After my graduation, Emmett and Uncle Phil both tried one last time to convince me to reconsider my summer trip. I knew that they meant well, but this was something that I needed to do. I politely declined their offers.
Once I arrived at the SeaTac airport and climbed into the camp van, I felt the pull lessening. It was still there, but not nearly as dominant. Once I took in that first deep breath of musty wet air of Forks, I immediately relaxed. It was also the closest I'd felt to Charlie since losing him.
Everyone at the camp was nice and very helpful. They had us participate in "get to know you" games and learn the camp rules. There were going to be two summer sessions, each a month long and we would each have a group of kids to look after in each session.
During that time, the kids would participate in camp activities, group crafts, anything to keep them active and interested.
I met most of my fellow counselors and was surprised to find Jacob Black was one of them. His father had been best friends with Charlie, making for some very interesting play dates.
The kids arrived a few days later. I had a group of about ten, boys and girls, and they wanted to participate in every activity that they could. One of the little boys, Mike, took to me immediately. He followed me around, clinging to my side and unwilling to be parted for long lengths of time.
A rare sunny day finally presented itself and I was able to take my group down to the pond. We had a free afternoon and I desperately needed some time to read and relax. They were thrilled at the prospect, chattering excitedly as they changed into their swimsuits.
"Okay, I'm going to be sitting right under this tree. Please don't go too far out into the water and keep close to your buddies." I smiled at them.
Jessica, a curly haired little girl, raised her hand. "Can we bring out our toys?"
Nodding, I couldn't help but smile. "Of course you can. This is free time so have fun, just stay where I can see you."
They squealed and ran toward the pond, each holding the hand of their "water buddy". I made sure that they were within my line of sight.
I settled against the rough bark and began reading my book. Randomly, I would raise my eyes to check on them, making sure that they weren't getting into trouble.
As I continued to read, I felt as though someone was reading over my shoulder. I turned around and I saw there was no one there; my group was all accounted for in the water.
Ignoring that feeling, I turned my attention back to the book. As I flipped to the next page I felt something warm brush up against my neck. It was too warm and light to be the wind, which only left someone's breath. But that was impossible, right?
Darting my eyes over the shoulder that I felt the breath on, I searched in vain for the source. Again, nothing.
Embarrassed at behaving irrationally, I turned my attention back in front of me and prepared to continue reading. "Ghosts aren't real, Bella," I chuckled to myself.
Just as I was getting back into the story again, yelling came from the kids.
"Help!" Tyler called. He was jumping up and down, waving his hands. "Miss Bella, help!"
I rushed to where they were all standing, counting over them mentally as I neared. One child wasn't accounted for; Mike. Turning my attention to the water, my stomach plummeted as I saw him frantically trying to stay afloat.
"Everyone stay here." I quickly stripped off my tank top and shorts, diving into the water. I swam to the spot where Mike had been splashing, but didn't see him. Taking a deep breath, I dove under the water, searching for him. Eventually I found him floundering, kicking his legs in a fruitless attempt to reach the surface.
As quickly as I could, I swam to Mike and grabbed him, making my way toward the surface with him once I was sure we were in a safer area, only to find my attempts blocked. I released Mike so that he could get out.
My foot was caught in some kelp. I tried to remove it, but couldn't and my oxygen supply was running low. I tried desperately to swim to the surface , kicking frantically. Frustration was getting the better of me as my consciousness slowly began to slip. I was going to die in this water and in my weak state of mind, I welcomed it.
The next thing I was aware of was a burning in my throat. Water came sputtering up and I heaved a few times.
A snort made me aware that I was not alone. Sitting next to me, his long gangly arms wrapped around his legs, was a dry Jacob. "Man, Bella, you look… awful."
"Such a charmer, Jake. It's a wonder you don't have a girlfriend," I groaned, after processing his words.
With chuckle, Jacob rose to his feet, pulling me up in the process.
"Are you alright?" I nodded and he scooped me up into his arms. "Let's get you back to camp and cleaned up."
Later that evening, the directors and counselors had a bonfire for the kids. Everyone repeatedly asked me if I was alright. I told them that I was fine, hoping against hope that they would believe me.
I helped the girls gather the ingredients we would need for the s'mores, and carried everything down to where the fire was set up, sitting with our groups once the fire was burning. It took awhile for all the kids to successfully make their s'more and settle down to eat it.
Some of the counselors decided to tell "scary stories". I found myself amused by the kid's responses, hugging onto each other and gasping when one of the stories would reach the scary portion.
My thoughts began to drift off as Jacob took his turn. He had a deep husky voice, comforting in its low tone. I remembered what felt like a lifetime ago, listening to Emmett telling me a scary story.
Remembering that night made me smile, thinking of Charlie healthy and happy.
I was brought out of my reverie by someone clearing their throat. All expectant eyes were focused on me. Feeling my cheeks redden, I tried to figure out why they were staring at me.
Oh, that's right. Jacob must have finished his story. Scrambling through my thoughts, the only story that came to mind was the one I had heard from Emmett. I decided to change it around a little, figuring it would have to do.
"Well, there's this legend about a boy. He lived in the forest and loved to play games, practical jokes." I bit my lip nervously, hoping that I got the basic plot correct. "One day, as his beautiful mother was picking apples, the enchanted Monster of the Wolves came to take her with him, because he was very much in love with her. But she resisted, because she was still in love with her late husband." The kids began hugging onto each other.
"The Monster saw that her little six year old son was there, and as a punishment to the mother, he cursed the boy. The kid disappeared from the mother's side. Now he walks around the forest at night, crying for his mother and creeping around to scare all the pranksters that camped on this forest, so they can never have fun again."
To my surprise, all of the kids ran screaming from their spots. The counselors ran after them to make sure that nothing happened to them, I was the only person to stay put besides Jacob.
He didn't say anything at first, which I was grateful for. The entire day had been nothing but one strange event after another.
"You know," Jacob finally broke the silence, "there's actually more to the story than that."
I turned my head to look at him, surprised by the glow the fire created over his skin. "Oh really?" I tried not to sound too interested since I already knew the story.
He scooted closer to me until our arms were touching. "Yeah. The King of the Wolves had fallen in love with the mother and did everything that he could to pursue her. But, when she broke his heart and refused him, he wanted her to understand the anguish he felt."
"And, since he figured it would be even more painful, he cursed her and her son to the forest. To live a life unseen and forever trapped among the trees." His tone became smoother, huskier.
"How exactly do you know all of this?" I kept my eyes trained on the fire, my tone indifferent.
Jacob huffed, obviously irritated that whatever plan he had concocted hadn't worked. "My father is said to be a descendant of the wolf clan. That tale is well known amongst the tribe."
I gave a quick nod. Something about that part of the story made me uncomfortable. How could anybody justify the reasoning of the King to curse the boy and his mother?
When Jacob finally had enough of my silence, he scrambled to his feet and stormed off. "Stay here if you want, I'm going back to the camp. You're going to go blind if you keep staring at the fire like that," he called over his shoulder.
Part of me felt bad for being so rude, but I was glad to finally be alone. I adjusted my position so that my head was resting on the log I had been sitting on previously. I closed my eyes and thought over the events of the day.
At some point I must have fallen asleep because the next thing I knew, I was sitting up, rubbing the sleep from my eyes.
"Good morning, child." A deep rumbling voice spoke from behind me.
I stopped mid rub and turned to see what had spoken. My surroundings were completely different; everything appeared blurry and almost magical. The voice I had heard came from a tree.
"It's wonderful to see you again, dear Bella." The tree acknowledged.
He knew my name. How did he know my name? "You… how… how is this possible? Who are you?"
"My name is Carlisle." There was a hint of amusement in his voice, as though I was missing an inside joke. "You are able to see us, to see this world because you are special. Most people are blinded by their thoughts. They never see anything beyond what is right in front of them. You are able to see more, to look past the surface and see what is really there."
I could feel my thoughts reeling as he finished. How could he possibly know that about me?
Quickly, two creatures moved into my line of vision. One was a fairy, shimmering as she floated in the air, her wings flapping rapidly. Her skin was pale white and her wings were black, yellow, green and blue. She reminded me of a butterfly.
The other creature was a centaur. His human half was also pale and he had beautiful honey blonde hair. However, his horse half was a shiny black with a white stripe along the back, like a skunk.
For a moment I couldn't decide if I was losing my mind, or if this was all really happening. Before I had a chance to contemplate it, the fairy motioned for me to follow her.
She was leaving colorful dust in her wake, while the centaur spoke softly, putting me at ease.
"You must follow, there is someone beckoning you." Hesitantly, I rose to my feet, my heart racing.
Cautiously I followed after them, all the while still feeling as though I was dreaming. I tried my best to keep up, doing everything that I could not to fall. I barely had time to observe my surroundings, but the little I saw was beautiful. Trees had a distinct shine, as if they were encrusted with precious stones, their leaves dancing.
When we came to a stop near the pond. A beautiful woman was emerging from the water, her hair a unique shade of caramel, the curls piled on top of her head adorned with familiar emeralds. The clothing she wore seemed to match her surroundings, green and brown and beige. Everything around her was serene and calm.
"You must be Bella." She spoke as I moved closer to her.
Blushing slightly, I nodded my head. "I'm afraid I don't know your name, ma'am."
A pleasant smile graced her features, her voice carrying a melodic tone. "My name is Esme. I'm afraid that I must make a request of you, Bella. It is terribly important. My son..." The pain behind her words was evident, heartbreaking. "There is a curse on my boy. He has been alone for far too long. I have watched him wander these woods, yearning for more." Esme reached for my hand, gently pulling me to stand before her.
Everything happened so quickly, my mind could barely keep up. She had a son, a young boy that was alone. What did she think I could do for him? She did say that there was a curse?
"Please, you are the only one who can break it." The pleading behind her voice hurt me. She was too sweet to be in such pain. "I am bound to this forest. The trees, the wind, even the water are protected by me, enchanted. That is my curse, just as Edward's has been to wander alone."
Edward? Where had I heard that name before? Oh! He was real. Edward from the book, the invisible boy from my childhood. That day, Alice and Jasper, everything, it was all real. He was the breath behind my shoulder that afternoon and the one who had saved me from drowning. It was all Edward.
"Please, Bella," Esme pleaded with me once again. "You must help me find a way to break the curse from him. I don't want him to be alone anymore."
"I will try my best Esme. I promise." I assured her.
Making my way back to the fire, I couldn't tell how I managed it; I had no memory of returning to the camp. The events of that evening were a blur, yet felt so real. Something had to be done.
A few days passed since my encounter with Esme.
I was shocked and excited.
Edward was real.
Thinking back about my childhood, I realized that I knew him; that he wasn't a figment of my imagination.
I could save him.
He had been with me throughout my life. He was in the book that I clung to as if it was the most precious of treasures. The one that had been my mother's.
Edward was alone, suffering as he remained unseen. Just thinking about that, my heart ached.
Then another terrible thought occurred to me, causing an emptiness in my stomach.
Was I making this up?
Was Edward's existence part of that dream? Was he part of my childhood fantasies from my subconscious, as a result of keeping my mother's book and my father's last words fresh within my heart?
The dream was so tangible, that I was sure I had witnessed all those fabulous things. To convince myself, every night I would go into the forest. I was on a mission of finding this magical world yet again.
My eyes widened at the realization that maybe the pull I felt when coming to Forks was so I could help Edward.
Tonight, I found myself walking through the rain, sometimes feeling that indefinite "stealthy" presence following me. Did he want me to find him? Was it Edward? He could use the rain to his advantage because it would muffle his steps. However, I was facing a problem since I didn't know how to start a conversation with him. I didn't even know if the presence was real.
As I was distractedly walking, my foot caught on a root. I was falling, stretching my arms in front of me to brace my fall, when someone grabbed me by the waist.
"Jake?" I asked, grabbing his arm from around my waist. As I exhaled, an alluring scent invaded my senses. I let go of him as the aroma of pine, water, nature, and something wonderful filled my nostrils. However, the feel of a naked humid torso pressed against my back, my body stiffening. At the realization, the stranger let me go, giving me the opportunity to turn around and face him. I gasped as there was nothing.
My lips curved into a smile at this fact. More confident than ever, I opened my mouth and uttered the name I'd been dying to say.
The only sound was of the drizzle turning into a downpour. I was getting wet and my flashlight was lost somewhere, but I was not alone.
My vision was blurry due to the rain, preventing me to see any indents. Just as I was about to speak, I was interrupted by the most amazing voice I'd ever heard.
My heart beat faster because it was him; the person, that unbeknownst to me, had been in my mind all these years. He knew my name; had I been present in his thoughts all of this time, too?
"Edward," I uttered, not knowing if I was looking at the right direction or if my voice was muffled by nature. However, I was startled when I felt a quick impact, as he crashed his damp body against mine. His arms wrapped tightly around me in a friendly hug, but his fieriness betrayed his excitement.
A tear slid from my eyes, because he was hanging on to me, a human. I couldn't help myself as I stretched my arms, wrapping them around air, but in reality I was embracing him. To Edward this was more meaningful than it was to me; he didn't have human contact, whereas I'd taken for granted every touch of the people that surrounded me daily.
My chin was placed against his shoulder, his resting against my head. I could feel that he was wearing some kind of invisible pants and no shirt. His naked chest felt warm against my torso, his breathing increasing as the blood pumped through his veins. Being in the dark was easier for me, as I didn't have to use my sight, just my intuition.
"God, I thought I'd never see you again," he whispered, his arms gripping me tighter still. I smiled against his skin at the confirmation that he was indeed waiting, though I felt a tinge of guilt at the knowledge that I had thought of him as fictional. He was tangible; as tangible as my senses allowed me to feel at this moment, breath to breath, heart to heart, beat to beat.
"I am here."
He must have realized that I wasn't used to the rain and outdoors and separated from the embrace.
"You're really here," his warmth was radiating from him; his face was close. The forest wasn't as I had seen it in my dream, but Edward here made it enchanting.
"Bella, do you trust me?" He asked, uncertainty coloring his voice. I wanted to roll my eyes at the absurdity of his question. He must have been so insecure because he lacked social interactions. I needed to reassure him that our friendship was not fragile, even though this was our second encounter.
"Yes," I needed to make sure that the message would sink into his beautiful mind. All his short stories came to my mind in a flash. They were amazing, insightful, and genius; just like his six year old author.
In spite of this revelation, I laughed to myself.
"Why are you laughing?" he asked, making his presence known.
"Nothing," I looked distantly at the black silhouette of a tree trunk.
"Oh," was his only response, not wanting to push me farther. I rolled my eyes this time at the treatment he was giving me.
"Well, what were you going to show me?" I asked, getting us on track again.
"Give me your hand."
I stretched it, waiting for his warm touch. When I felt his calloused hand holding mine, my body eased. As we walked, it was strange to see the leaves and branches parting to let me through, but I knew it was Edward. I had a billion questions to ask him and this was the right moment to do so.
"Why didn't you say it was you?"
He stayed in silence for a minute, something was bothering him as he mumbled, "I was afraid of your rejection or… I thought you had forgotten about me."
I gasped, because even though I had thought him imaginary, he had somehow been part of my life.
"No, I didn't."
We continued walking in silence, the pouring rain making my clothes wet and heavy. I looked back at all those days that I felt lonely and alone, not realizing that Edward had been somewhere in the world, too. Growing old and alone.
At that instant, I blurted out my question. "Why are you grown now?"
"See that pond?" he chuckled, coincidentally halting in front of it, and I nodded. "Well, my mother gives life to it. If men were to discover the most precious secret of the Woods of Forks, they would start a war and destroy each other, for these are the Dancing Waters."
He chuckled once again as he spoke, "They have healing powers and also, they give eternal youth. If you were to drink those every day, you would remain your age for eternity."
I gasped at the implications. Was this real? And if so, had he stopped drinking? The answer must have been a positive because he was a young man now.
The rain ceased gradually as we were walking at an even pace. I was content; this had been by far the best night of my summer vacation.
"How is your mother?"
"Renee, how is she?" he asked curiously, our pace decreasing.
"She is, uh, dead." I spoke as my grip lessened, but his tightened.
"I'm sorry, I didn't know." he uttered timidly, and I knew he was once again hiding under that solid wall of unsociable skills. I ran my thumb against his hand, reassuring him that he hadn't offended me; just surprised me. But the hell did he know her?
"Edward, did you know her?"
"She was my first human friend; she used to read to me. In exchange, I gave her a book that I wrote."
I gasped. The book! My mom had known Edward and he personally gave it to her? My lack of oxygen at this knowledge made me dizzy. I lost my balance, but Edward caught me by the shoulders.
"Are you okay?" He was concerned and I just nodded. So my mom and Edward had been friends, too. Now I appreciated him more because aside from Uncle Phil and Emmett, he was the only person who had known her, that I knew of.
We stopped for a while so I could get air. Edward was asking respectfully about my mother's demise. By the time we got to the destination, my skin was dry, but my clothes were still very damp.
I gasped as I saw that we were standing in front of an old wooden house, like one from a horror movie. It was the opposite of what everything in this forest was. Edward must have seen my expression because he burst out laughing.
"This, my dear Bella, is home," he announced. I was perplexed at the discovery. Edward's home?
He explained that the reason his house was like that, was because it wasn't appealing, so many people would avoid it. The nearest town even thought it was haunted.
I thought the idea was clever. Once inside, I saw that everything was packed but clean, unlike the façade. There was a small kitchen, a door that leaded to a bathroom, and a small individual bed. He also had a desk and a chair, but I was astounded by the surrounding walls of bookshelves. Thousands of books were visible, and I craved to reach for one and see the title. However, there was a bookshelf that looked hand carved. I reached it, looking at all the titles; they were kids' books. I felt his presence behind me, looking over my shoulder.
"This is where I keep my favorites," he whispered against my neck, his warm breath creating goose bumps on my skin. He didn't know the effect his actions had on me, and I was surprised to discover it, too.
Reaching around me, he removed two thin and tattered books and handed them to me; I couldn't believe it.
"Tales of Beedle the Bard" and "The Pokey Little Puppy".
He found them, taken them with him and they were his favorites. My father had read these to me. A tear fell from my eyes, because this was the most wonderful thing he had shown me today. It wasn't the fact that I had my books in my hands, but that he really had thought of me all these years.
I turned around, knowing Edward was still behind me and I hugged him with all my might.
Then a thought saddened me as I realized that he had been alone. He had his mom, possibly Jasper and Alice, but was that enough? Was it enough to make his life whole?
I sobbed hard for him, my trembling body pressed tightly against his frame. It hurt to think about his lonely and long existence without human warmth. He was unseen and so beautiful. He didn't need to be seen for me to know that. I already knew it; he was unique.
"Why are you crying, Bella? Did I do something wrong?" he mumbled shyly, unsure how to react. I was experiencing a swirl of intense emotions so I didn't know whether to laugh at his wrong assumptions or to continue crying for his doomed fate. Containing my tears, I gave him a wet smile. He squeezed me, letting me know that the gesture had been returned.
We released each other hesitantly. I walked around his house, looking at this possessions and stopping in front of his desk as I fingered the surface of every written paper, until one phrase caught my eye.
"The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return."
I searched for his presence and saw an indentation on the bed. I smiled at the direction of where I supposed he was sitting. After a moment, I kept on looking at his things, my mind wondering about that little phrase that stirred something within me. However, all of a sudden I realized how late it really was.
"Edward, I need to get back." Panic was evident in my voice, his steps sounding louder as he came toward me. "In a few hours I have to wake up the kids."
Stepping outside, we walked, joking about Alice and Jasper. It was when we neared the camp that the rain started to pour heavily again. Quickly, Edward dragged me towards a thick tree. The raindrops weren't falling as much here underneath it. Taking in my surroundings, my legs almost gave out. The light from the camp was visible from here, illuminating everything.
And what I saw made me hot and cold, happy and nervous, afraid and encouraged, because it was Edward. My mouth opened and closed at the most beautiful sight; him.
When I first saw him, it was raining, blurring my vision. Then we arrived at his house, our skin was dry, but now that he was wet and there was no drop falling around us, I saw a miracle.
He was invisible, but the raindrops and water were illuminated by the light, creating the most stunning of illusions; his face and is appearance. The water outlining every one of his features, the light accentuating all the ridges and curves of him.
I stepped closer to him, my hands instantly going to his soft hair. His heavy breathing and trembling frame encouraged me to continue. My hands slid to his forehead, my fingers tracing every expression. Then I traced his thick brows, his eyes lids and cheek bones. His skin soft and hard and warm and cold. One of my fingers traced the contour of his nose until it landed on his lips. They were also soft and rough at the same time, warming as I felt his breath.
The water was slowly fading as I touched every inch of his form, but I didn't care. I wanted to make the most of this moment. And as if he was reading my mind, we both started to lean into a kiss.
My fingers ran through his wet locks again as our lips brushed gently, exploring the feel of our lips touching; our first kiss. When his arms wrapped around my waist, our lips pressed firmly.
My heart was racing, my blood was rushing through my head, and my knees were weak. His lips parted gently, moving against mine. I tentatively parted mine, too. His tongue made an explorative move against my lips and a soft cry erupted from me, his own muffling my sound.
As my fingers began caressing his scalp, he pressed me tighter against him. I couldn't see every particle of him, but I could feel it. He felt hot and alive and so excited. I decided to be daring and pressed myself completely against him. He groaned, but once again I muffled the sound when my tongue made a daring move too.
We were so lost in our own world that when I was starting to get lightheaded, I broke the breathtaking kiss. He pressed his forehead against mine as we remained wrapped up in our embrace.
I hadn't realized how close Edward's lips were as he spoke again, sending tingles through me as his mouth brushed against mine with every word he uttered.
"Bella, I…" He shifted uncomfortably, his fingers playing with the hem of my shirt. "Thank you."
I smiled and reluctantly let go. "I need to get inside."
"Let me take yo-" I interrupted him by placing my whole hand on what I could see was his face.
"I can take it from here," I said, leaning into him for one last kiss, pressing my lips against his skin. I felt his hot breath in on my chin as he started laughing, and I groaned as I realized that I had missed my target.
"Sorry, I tried," I apologized, a sheepish smile adorning my features.
"You kissed my nose."
"I know," I said, blushing furiously. He startled me by placing a quick peck on my lips. I was content, so waving at him I said, "See you tomorrow?"
"Yes, see you tomorrow."
With that, I walked towards the camp, the stupidest grin plastered in my face because I shared my first kiss with the most incredible person.
Every night, once the kids had fallen asleep, I would sneak out to meet Edward. Being unable to see him never seemed to hinder us either. I could feel his touch when he'd hold my hand or kiss me, his warm breath when we'd sit beside each other.
After that first night, I knew how lonely he felt and I wanted to fill that void. He asked me questions about my life in Phoenix, wanting me to describe every insignificant detail of my life.
I would get embarrassed monopolizing the conversation, but he seemed to enjoy it. He would run his fingers through my hair, along my collarbone, over the inside of my wrist and hands. Edward had spent such a long period of time without human contact that even though it tickled, I never told him to stop.
Our nights together were amazing, every conversation and kiss.
When it was time for me to head back, I found it difficult to say goodbye. Though playing with the kids helped to pass the time, I would count the hours until it was time to see Edward again.
During lunch on our last afternoon, I found my thoughts drifting to Edward. We had gone to his house the previous night and I ended up cold. He took a blanket and wrapped it snugly around me.
I shivered at the thought, remembering how he took care of me and watching the indentations his hands made on the cloth as he tried to warm me. He always worried about me, making sure that I was warm and safe. I wanted him to feel the same things that he made me feel.
Safe and happy and… loved? Is that what this feeling was? Did I love Edward?
I loved Edward.
Those words sent a thrill throughout my body. His tender kisses, this feeling of wanting to be near him all the time. Those moments where I would reminisce every detail of his wet contours and his innocent way of looking at things.
I felt like my chest would explode from the emotion he invoked in me. He made me weak in the knees without him knowing, made my heart beat faster and slower at the same time. He made me be me, Bella Swan.
I had been falling in love with him from the beginning, but it hurt that I felt helpless when it came to his cursed life.
I needed to do something, anything.
That's when I remembered Esme's request from me. You must help me find a way to break the curse from him. Edward deserved happiness as much as anyone.
I thought over whom I could ask, darting my eyes around the lunch room.
He tried to tell me some of the legend before. Maybe he knew how to break the curse. I anxiously awaited the lunch hour to be over, tapping my leg nervously and fidgeting with what was left on my plate. When the kids were dismissed, I approached Jacob.
"We need to talk."
I dragged him to my cabin. Once we got inside I paced around nervously, trying to form the best way to ask him about the legend.
"Are you okay, Bella? You seem a bit on edge." He walked through the room, maneuvering his way around bags.
"Sure." I bit my lip. "Jake, umm… can you tell me more about the legend?"
Letting out a loud snort, Jacob plopped himself down on my bed. "Yeah, I'll tell you more about it." I grinned, until I noticed the mischievous glint in his eyes. "If you kiss me."
Caught off guard at first, my mouth just fell open. Was he serious? I became angry. He really thought I would make that kind of trade? I narrowed my eyes at him .
The grin that had been across his lips faltered. "Bella, I… I'm sorry. I was just joking."
I continued to glare at him.
"Okay, uh, I guess you want to know about the little boy?" He rubbed the back of his neck for a moment. "Legend has it that he is doomed to live his life alone. But…"
"What?" I moved to sit beside him, "But what?"
He let out a sigh. "But, there is supposed to be one person who can see him."
My heart plummeted. "Who?"
"His true love. The legend says that when he finds his true love, she will be able to see him."
Neither of us spoke, his words sinking in. If Edward found his true love, she would be able to see him. That must mean that…could it? Could that really be true?
I was running toward Edward's house.
Today was supposed to be special; it was my last night. Throughout all our "dates" this last month, we've always avoided the topic of my departure. I couldn't delay my flight because I needed to prepare for college, and had a lot of explaining to do to Uncle Phil and Emmett. At first, I planned to attend the University of Seattle, now it had changed and I wanted to wait a semester to apply for the community college at Forks.
As I knocked the door, I realized that I was two hours early. He opened immediately and I could sense that he was worried.
"Bella, are you okay?" His voice was full of concern. I nodded and heard his sigh of relief. I went to his bed, Edward sitting beside me and throwing his arm around me. This last month, I had become more perceptive to his movements and expressions. I had learned to read him well, but not perfectly.
"Why are you so early?"
"I just… I just wanted to be with you. This is our last night together, and I want to make the most of it," I explained.
Edward placed a gentle kiss on the corner of my mouth before getting up. He grabbed a folded blanket and a basket. He said he was taking me to his favorite site in the forest, and I was very much looking forward to it.
"Well, let's get going, my lady," he said and my heart skipped a beat. The basket was floating midair, offering his arm to me. I took it, stepping outside and walking the path.
We talked about everything, but my desire to ask him about the curse was forgotten for a while. As we were nearing our destination, he asked me if I trusted him. I rolled my eyes at his typically absurd question. He laughed as he blindfolded me.
He led me through the unknown, making sure that I stepped on firm ground. As he came to a halt, he removed the silk from around my eyes and the sight took my breath away. We were standing in the most beautiful meadow. The pink and orange hues from the sunset were visible on the horizon, the first star shining high and proud. He set the stuff on the ground and wrapped his arms around my waist from behind.
We stayed like that, watching the sky changing colors and the stars appearing.
When the midnight blue covered the sky, Edward extended the blanket on the ground. We sat down, taking the contents of the basket out. So far the night had been beautiful. My eyes widened as I saw that Edward took out a bottle of champagne and some elegant crystal flutes. He snorted at my expression as he took out cheese, grapes, and strawberries. Even though I had learned his ways, I was still amazed at how it appeared when he moved things; it was as if everything was levitating around with magic.
"So Mr. Invisible, how did you get the champagne if you don't even have an I.D.?" I asked jokingly and he snorted.
"Well, I have contacts, you know."
"Should I be concerned?"
"Nah, Jazz likes to visit nearby towns, I asked him to sneak some back to take to my darling." A skunk carrying a bottle of alcohol?
We continued joking, avoiding the topics that were the hardest to talk about. Edward had trouble opening the bottle, but once he did, we drank the sparkling liquid. The combination of the assortments and the champagne put our stomachs at ease, nervousness and tension lifting.
Relaxed and content we lay on the blanket, looking at the full silver moon, our hands interlaced. I squealed when I saw a real shooting star traveling through the infinite sea. Feeling my way around his shoulder, I nuzzled my face against his neck, planting kisses on his skin. He shivered at the contact and shifted uncomfortably. I smiled to myself as a thought occurred.
"Edward?" my voice timid.
"I want you."
"I want you, too, Bella," he said as he played with my brown locks.
"No, you don't understand. I want you, completely."
"Bells, you have me, I… I love you," Edward said firmly and a tear slid from my eye at the realization of his statement; he loved me too.
"I love you too, Edward," I whispered above his ear, missing an inch. As the intensity of my words and the brushing of my lips against his ear lobe registered in his body, he shivered again.
However, something was off.
"Edward, what's wrong?" I sounded worried, looking at the indentation that was his head.
"Bella, I don't think we can…" he trailed off and I didn't know exactly what he was referring to, but I knew we could. Was he referring to making love, staying together, or loving each other?
"Edward, of course we can, I love you so much." He was stupid, of course we could. "I am leaving tomorrow, but I'll come back. I did it once, didn't I?"
"Bella, that's no-" I cut him off, placing my hand over his face.
"Yes, I am already looking into applying at a college here at Forks. I'll move once the semester is over, and we can be together," I knew he was being selfless, but I didn't care.
"Bella, don't you see? I cannot give you the life you deserve, the life you are used to. I would be an awful person to take that away from you." He was starting to sound frustrated, "I made a mistake."
"You are wrong, we love each other and will be abl-" This time he cut me off.
"You are delusional, you should find someone to love you as much as I do, or more, but that is able to give you the life of a proper human. You are blind if you don't see that love is not enough!"
I gasped, my frame trembling and my eyes widening. He immediately realized his mistake as he rushed to my side, wrapping his arms around me and whispering apologies. I wrapped my arms around his neck, once again nuzzling my nose into his neck and smelling the comforting scent of him.
However, I needed to be heard, so I spoke, "Hear me out."
He nodded and I continued.
"I love you, Edward. I've always felt alone, as I am sure you have, too. The thing is, I don't care about a degree, or college, or human friends, or anything. I've lost too many things in my life to let you go. You are the only thing that I have in my life, and to me that's enough. You might think that I am blind, but quite the opposite. The people around us are. They overlook all the wonderful things in life, the most important ones."
I paused for a moment, desperately craving for the words to register in his head. His grip around my waist tightened and I smiled because I knew he was realizing that we were meant to be, that this was enough.
"And there's a haunted house in the forest and I once read this amazing phrase written by an enchanted boy. The greatest thing you'll ever learn is just to love and be loved in return."
"I love you," uttered Edward against my face.
"I love you, too." I placed a kiss on his shoulder. "I love you so much." I placed a kiss on his collarbone.
He lifted my face by the chin, meeting my gaze with his. I couldn't see him and the stupid curse was still there, but I wanted to be with him, close to him. He leaned into me, his lips brushing gently against mine. The torture was too much to bear, so closing my eyes I drove my fingers into his hair, bringing him closer to me.
He slowly laid me down on the blanket, his elbows making indentations at my sides to support his weight. We'd never kissed while lying like this and it was extremely different from anything I'd experienced with him.
His lips gently moved against mine, as one of my hands traveled from his hair to his neck, and down his naked back. He shivered again, and I smiled to myself as I felt him unconsciously pressing himself against me. I gasped as I felt the effect I was having on him. My hand traveled against his warm back, his lips caressing my neck.
To an outsider, I knew this sight must have looked strange, but to me, these sensations were the most intense I'd ever experienced. When he couldn't take it anymore, one of his hands rested on my abdomen, playing with the hem of my shirt and caressing my bare skin.
In my bold tipsy stupor, my hand moved lower, resting against the hem of his pants and caressing the curve of his behind with my fingers. This caused him to suck and nibble gently on my sensitive skin.
"Edward, please," I begged as he moved hesitantly to my pleas. Finally, I removed my hands from him and pushed against his chest, sitting up again. I couldn't see his expression, but I heard his intake of breath as I removed my shirt and bra. I smiled to myself as I unbuttoned my shorts, sliding them down my legs. I knew he was as new to this as I was and wouldn't dare to undress me; so I did instead.
I was sitting there in my panties, waiting for a response. I squealed as his arms wrapped around me, pulling me towards him onto his lap. My eyes widened at his wild move, but I was glad that once again, he was showing me the effect I had on him. His lips attacked my body at once, our torsos coming in contact, making us both moan in unison.
Molding into his body, I wrapped my legs around his waist. It was my turn to grind my hips against his, feeling a foreign sensation between my legs.
I yelped when suddenly I felt his two warm hands tentatively grazing my breasts. The unexpectedness of not being able to see him was intensifying my pure and unadulterated feelings.
Separating my lips from his skin, I saw his transparent hands making waves against my breasts, his movements bolder with every sound that erupted from my mouth. I moaned as I saw how my nipple was pinched and teased. He half laughed, half groaned as I ground myself over his lap.
All of a sudden, the unexpectedness caused me to gasp as Edward lay me on the blanket again. I was aroused by the surprise that was every touch and every kiss, but as he took longer to return to me, I began worrying.
"Edward?" I asked timidly, startled when I suddenly felt his warm body against mine again. Only this time, he was completely naked. My level of awakening heightened as his hands started traveling all over me, his fingers playing with the elastic of my panties.
"Bella, you are so beautiful, I am so lucky." He whispered against my ear, my hips shifted at the huskiness of his tone. I stretched my arms, indicating that I wanted him against me. Wrapping my arms around him, Edward resumed his previous position.
I could feel his obvious hardness against my abdomen. Curious, I closed my eyes, instinct guiding my fingers down his body until they closed around him. He felt soft and hard, velvety and uneven, foreign and familiar. I stroked gently, wishing that I could see but at the same time scared. I smirked as Edward started to move against my hand, his guttural sounds muffled by chin and lips.
"Bella, stop love, I…" Knowing what he meant, as I had heard countless times in school, I released him. At that instant, his lips traveled from my neck to my collarbone and halted on my pebbled nipple. I gasped because I wasn't expecting that move. Then the suddenness of it all won when his hand slid over my stomach, moving beneath my underwear and finding the damp spot where I yearned to be touched.
"Is that okay?" panted Edward through clenched teeth. I placed one kiss on what I knew to be his forehead. His calloused fingers were swiftly teasing and rubbing, my hips moving in unison with his hand. As the feeling was getting more intense, he stopped abruptly.
"Bella, I love you," he whispered against my chest.
"Me too, please Edward, now."
With that, he removed my panties and parted my legs. His breathing was erratic at the sight before him. I was vulnerable and giving myself completely to him, trusting him blindly with my body. He placed a kiss to my forehead, repeating words of love as he entered my slowly. It hurt and burned, my muscles stretching like never before. My nails dug into his back and my teeth were clenched. As if sensing my pain, Edward stopped.
"Bella, I don't wan-"
"It's normal, it's supposed to be this way," I gasped painfully, pushing my hips towards him, letting him know I wanted him completely within me.
When he was entirely inside me, we stayed like that for several minutes. I was adjusting to him, he was containing himself. Slowly and gradually the pain was lessening, but not disappearing completely when I started moving. Edward groaned and whispered "I love you" once again as we moved in unison, finding a rhythm.
At that moment, I was the closest I could possibly be to Edward; but somehow it wasn't enough. I wanted to crawl under his skin and never leave his side.
He was moving gently, repeatedly thrusting into me. Suddenly, he slid one of his hands in between us to where we were joined, caressing me again. I moaned and responded enthusiastically, the blindness I was feeling heightening my senses.
"Does it feel okay?" His voice was raspy, a drop of sweat falling on my cheek. I realized the effort he was putting into not letting go before giving me pleasure, his fingers caressed me tenderly. I placed a kiss on his collarbone once again; he was doing perfectly.
"Edward," I said his name as he touched a particular spot that I liked. Repeating the motion, he was rewarded by my moaning. Gradually, as he grew closer, the pace increased but it was never too fast or hard; just enough for us to feel this overwhelming sensation of being joined.
As he kept on touching, pinching, and thrusting, the unanticipated wave began. It felt amazing as a rush of blood traveled through me, and for one second I had the distant impression that my soul was leaving me, reaching an amazing height. Wave after wave crashed as Edward arched his back, his eyes tightly shut and his untamed bronze locks plastered on his forehead, as he released himself within me.
However, when I was brought back from my high, I was hit by another.
I saw Edward.
My eyes filled with tears because I saw Edward and his beautiful bronze hair, his perfect squared jaw, his straight nose, and pale skin. However, when I opened t, he was transparent again. He had collapsed next to me, pressing me against his sweaty and relaxed body.
"I love you." he whispered but I didn't answer back, too preoccupied with wanting to see him again. "Bella?"
"I saw you."
"You are beautiful and I saw you, now I can't."
"You saw me?" he sounded exhausted and worried. I closed my eyes, fatigue getting the best of me. The moment that my lid was shut, I saw green. An intense green looking back at me. The penetrating, loving and intense green gazing at my face, at my soul.
The green of Edward's eyes. And I had my eyes closed, and this was the only way that I could see him. I was the only one that was able.
My heart was beating rapidly, the sensations and intensity of the night catching up with me. However, I didn't have to worry about keeping my eyes open, for I no longer needed them; the only thing that mattered was that I could see him.
"Your eyes are green." I muttered as he nodded, a beautiful smile with white teeth adorning the most beautiful face I've ever seen. He kissed me one more time on the lips before hugging me to him, thanking me for the wonderful night and repeating his words of love for me again.
I closed my eyes, falling asleep with the sight of green.
When I woke in the morning, I couldn't help the bright smile that formed across my lips. Remembering Edward as he had taken my breath away. I finally saw his dark green eyes. Edward truly was beautiful from the inside and out.
Still grinning widely, I stretched my body. As I moved, arching my stomach up slightly, I noticed I didn't feel the pressure from Edward's arm around my waist.
I sat up on one elbow. There was no forest around me, and most importantly no Edward. However there were kids sleeping soundly; I was back in my camp cabin.
Did I imagine everything that had happened last night?
Falling back onto one of the pillows on the bed, I let out a sigh and covered my eyes with my arms. Something slid down the pillow, tinkering onto my shoulder.
I glanced down, a gasp escaped my lips as I picked up the small object.
A ring. Edward had left it for me as a reminder. A single tear fell down my cheek as I took in the beautiful sight. The face was set with a white oval stone, a pearl perhaps, right in the center. The band was gold forming vines like you would find in the forest.
My heart was fluttering as I held it. Edward had really left it for me.
Flashes from our night together came back to me; his kisses, his gentle touch. We had shared something magical.
Someone... that is able to give you the life of a proper human. What he had said before finally allowing himself to give in came flooding back to me. He didn't think that he was good enough for me. Selflessly, he was willing to let me go, but he was the one that could make me happy.
He was my true love and I was his as well.
Then why hadn't I been able to see him with my eyes open? The curse should have been broken. I didn't understand.
Pinching the bridge of my nose in frustration, I thought about everything; the legends, Edward, the curse. When I couldn't recall a piece that didn't make sense, it became clear that I needed to consult with someone.
Jacob had already told me everything that he knew.
Who else was there?
Jacob's father. He was a direct descendant so he probably knew even more.
I scrambled out of my bed and changed my clothes. Grabbing my messenger bag I went in search of Jake. He was just coming out of his cabin, scratching his chest and yawning sleepily. "Morning, Bella."
"Good morning, Jake." I composed my features into a smile, trying not to alert him to my frenzied state of mind.
"Are your kids still asleep, too?" He ran a hand through his long black locks before twisting it back with a tie.
Chuckling, I nodded briefly. "Of course. I figured since they'll be heading home today they could use a little extra sleep."
"Yeah, I was thinking the same thing." Jacob stretched his arms, letting out a satisfied groan in the process.
"Jake," I said nervously, "can I ask you a favor?"
"Sure, but we'll have to find a secluded area in the forest. Wouldn't want any kids walking in on us now, would we?" He winked, a snarky, satisfied smirk playing across his lips.
I glared at him. Raising one of my hands up to punch his arm, he decided to take up a defensive gesture. When I didn't hear another comment from him, I asked my favor. "I need a ride to La Push. Could you possibly do that for me?"
He didn't say anything at first, waiting to see if I was serious. "Bella… you really want me to do this? Look at the time."
"Please, Jake. I wouldn't be asking this if it wasn't important. Please." I puckered my bottom lip and looked up at him through my lashes.
Continuing to watch me, Jake remained silent and then finally let out a low growl. "Fine, but you owe me for this."
We left the camp and drove the short distance to the reservation. He brought me to his house and remained in the driver's seat.
I made my way up to the house. Just as I was about to knock, Billy came into view motioning for me to enter. "Isabella Swan, how nice to see you. It has been a long time."
Billy's eyes and even the set of his mouth held mysteries behind them that I couldn't begin to imagine. There was sadness and pain behind his gestures.
Ducking my head shyly, I stepped inside. It had been a long time since I had been here and images of Charlie assaulted me. Before the tears could form, I shook my head to clear my thoughts.
"You've come to ask about the curse." It was a statement rather than a question. Billy kept his concerned eyes on me, waiting for me to respond.
I took a moment to decide how best to answer him. "Why hasn't the curse been broken? He has my love and I have his, shouldn't it be void now?"
Billy was deep in thought for a moment. "You are eighteen years old Bella, what do you know of true love?"
Something inside of me was ready to snap. "I know a lot more than you'd think, Billy." I did my best to keep my temper under control, now was not the time to yell. "When you were my age, would you have listened if your parents had said that about Jacob's mother? Would Charlie?"
Again, I was met with silence. Billy studied me for some time, a silent battle waging within him.
Finally, after what seemed like hours, Billy let out a tortured sigh. "There is no way to break the curse."
"But, I thought that Edward needed to find his true love and then she'd be able to see him. Wouldn't that mean that the curse would be broken?"
"Yes, his true love should be able to see him. Can you remember when you realized it, weren't you able to catch a glimpse of him?"
I thought over each of the events of last night. I had been able to see Edward, really truly see him. My eyes had been tightly closed and I caught my first glimpse of him. "Is there anything that can be done so I can be with him?"
Billy continued speaking. "In order for the boy and his love to be together, she… would have to be cursed as well. Then the boundaries that held you back before would no longer be in place."
There was no way to break the curse. I was confused and hurt as that realization sunk in, but then rest of what he had told me began playing through my mind. If I were cursed to, then we could be together finally.
"What do I need to do to become cursed as well?" I blurted out.
"You'll need his book," he closed his mouth as I pulled the book from the messenger bag across my shoulder. I never went anywhere without that book.
I took a few deep breaths to calm the fluttering in my stomach. When I was sure that my body was under control, I handed the book to him and watched as he removed the emerald from the top. I knew then that my life was about to change, but couldn't bring myself to regret it.
I was walking through the forest, unbeknownst to all the kids that were saying their farewell to it. I passed by them, transparent and unseen. This feeling of being invisible was frustrating because I was no longer a part of this world. I was relieved that Billy promised me that he would look after Emmett, keep him out of trouble.
As I got deeper I realized that animals were more perceptive. They felt my presence, shying away or getting closer to me. I started laughing when Alice fluttered her wings against my cheek and Jasper tried climbing up my leg. They were happy.
As I neared, I saw Edward talking to Carlisle about me, my lips curling as I heard a conversation. He was telling him about the horrible feeling he was experiencing at my departure; he was in for a surprise. I started sauntering towards him, but wasn't as stealthy as I would have wanted, because Edward turned towards the newcomer. His eyes widened as he saw me there, standing around the green of the forest.
We both ran toward each other, happily reaching for eternity. When I was a step away, I couldn't wait any longer so I jumped, wrapping my legs around him and crashed our lips together. I was going to live in this fairy tale, in this magical forest and with this enchanted boy.
We broke the kiss, our gazes locking for the first time and then his eyes widened at the realization.
"Bella, can you see me with your eyes opened?" he asked, astounded. I nodded happily. "Can everybody else, too?"
"No, sorry." Disappointment was written in my voice because I would had loved for him to experience the ordinary life.
"It's okay." He dismissed the sad feeling quickly, replacing it with a wide amazing smile. "But Phoenix?"
"Not anymore, I cannot leave the forest, or your side." His face was incredulous, his green eyes sparkling with excitement, "I have been cursed."
He gasped as I giggled, leaning for a kiss. I had found my significant other a long time ago, and even though we had an eternal life together, I was greedy.
It wasn't enough.
We would like to thank the awesome kyla713 for taking her time in betaing this story. We really appreciate it. *MWAH*
We also like to invite you to vote. The poll opens on August 22, 2009. You will find it on the profile page of "Once Upon a Twilight Contest".
StarLightSuccubus: I would also like to thank my super beta magan bagan for working with me. I had a blast doing it with her. Also, I want to dedicate this to ObsessingOverEdward for inspiring me to write a HEA. Another thanks to ericastwilight for listening to me in times of need, Jasper's skunk bb!
magan bagan: This was all SLS's vision and I feel very privileged that she asked me to write this with her. Thank you for letting me join you on this adventure.
Please don't forget to review.