This is a one shot of Edward's past from my story "In Time". If you have not read what is posted of "In Time", then you most likely will not get the full effect of this. It can be read out of context, but I think it would be appreciated more if you knew the story that prompted this. With that said…I hope you all in enjoy this!

The Clock Unwinds


The piano keys were slick under my fingers. The sheet music sat before me spread open, but my eyes were not concentrated on the lines of Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata." As my fingers gently hit the notes of the slick black baby grand, my eyes were glued to my mother. She sat in the corner, slumped in an over stuffed arm chair. Her eyes had closed only a few seconds into my rendition of one of her personal favorites. She was appearing frailer as the days passed. My heart ached as I realized that I was losing her. Her once bright red hair was gone, replaced by a bright pink scarf I had given her when I first found out she was ill. Her green eyes that held a brilliant gleam in them were now tired, empty, and most of the time closed.

My stomach filled with acid and I found myself becoming bitter and angry. Why was my mom suffering? Why was she being taken away from me? Unconsciously, I began to hit the keys harder, my fingers drifted from the notes of Moonlight Sonata and my anger began to take on a life of its own. The room filled with a melody I had never heard before but some how knew how to play. My bitter emotions were coming alive and were further fueling my anger. I continued to let them flow through the music. It was the only release I allowed myself. I never cried. I wanted to be strong for her. Normally I chose music that matched my mood, but today my mood was setting the music. I had never composed music before, but as I sat there, allowing my emotions to consume me, my fingers took on a life of their own.

My eyes remained fixated on her, watching for any small sign of pain. As I continued to play my mood began to shift. While I was angry at what was happening, I was also being ripped apart by agony. I wanted to do something, wanted to help her. But I couldn't. Sure, I could play the music she requested. I could get her medicine and keep her comfortable. But I couldn't save her. I couldn't take away the pain. And now, with the hope being dashed with no chance of a cure, I got to watch her die a slow and agonizing death. Each day she grew worse. She spent most of her time sleeping from pain medication and had begun to drift in and out of states of consciousness. The few moments that she was awake and lucid were becoming few and far in between. Today, however, she had been herself for a little while. She felt like getting out of bed and she had asked me to play for her. I hadn't played for her in days.

The melody took on darker notes, sad, slow, consuming notes. The tune wrapped itself around me and smothered me with the sadness that had produced it. The overwhelming agony started to get the best of me and I felt myself begin to lose control. My hands stopped moving and I stood up from the piano. The melody hung in the air in a silence that resonated. My heart ached. She was dying. She was dying and I couldn't change it.

"Edward," she spoke.

"Yes?" I responded. I closed the distance between us and stood at her side.

"Why did you stop playing? That was lovely," she asked, looking up at me, her tired eyes meeting mine.

"I thought you were asleep and didn't want to wake you," I fibbed.

"Music puts my mind at rest, you know that. What's the matter?" she asked.

"Nothing," I answered. There was no way of hiding feelings when she was around. She could easily read people; a trait she had handed down to me.

"You know you can tell me anything," she prompted.

"I just got a little tired and I'm worried about you," I answered.

"There's no need to worry, it won't change anything," she replied.

"I know, but I can't help it," I said, my voice slightly cracking. My emotions were full blown, far beyond the bounds of control. I felt my knees become weak and I sunk down on them in front of her.

"Shh…now come on. Everything will be fine Eddie," she whispered as I rested my head on her lap. Her frail hands petting my hair, I felt incredibly weak as tears poured from my eyes, wetting her lap.

"But mom, you're, you're…" I started.

"Don't say it. I know. Edward, you can't tear yourself apart like this. I'll never leave you. I may not be able to hold your hand and wipe away your tears, but I will be with you," she sighed. It was amazing to me how strong she could be in spite of the circumstances. Her time was literally ticking away, she was approaching the end, and yet she held her head strong and kept face for me. I was yet again angry with myself, I was weak. I had crumbled. I had let her see the pain when she needed someone to be there for her.

"I'm sorry mom, I'll be ok," I said as I stood up, quickly wiping away my rogue tears.

"You will be, in time," she sighed.

"What would you like me to play?" I asked.

"Play whatever you were before, it was unique, I don't think I've heard it before," she smiled, looking up at me, a glimmer of light in her eyes.

"I haven't either," I laughed.

"I figured as much," she laughed lightly.

"I'll see if I can play it again," I replied, knowing full well that I could. The melody was a part of me, ingrained in my emotions, my being.

I walked back to the piano and sat down. I looked over at her and saw the content expression on her tired, hollow face. Although it was a long way from her old joyous expressions, the memories of all the good times we had spent together filled me. As I began to play, the music took on a lighter, happy note. The same sadness was always present, but it was like my burden had been lifted for a moment. Looking at her and seeing the radiance that still existed within her, warmed me.

The melody that I had created was a tune reflective of the emotional rollercoaster I had been on for the last year. It began with bitter rage, transitioned into sadness, and became lighter, almost as if my spirits could be lifted from the smothering grief that almost always consumed me. I allowed my emotions to continue to speak. The notes began to turn from the light happy notes to heavier ominous ones. My mother sat in the corner as tears welled up in her eyes.

Standing on wobbling legs, she walked to me and sat down on the bench next to me.

"You're music speaks for you Edward. I'm sorry you have to go through this. But time will change things and I will always be there when you need me most. Just think about me and I will come to you," she promised, placing an icy cold hand on my arm. I was momentarily startled. Did death already have its icy clutches on her? Was her time more limited than I thought? Was days, now hours? Was hours just minutes? A hard lump rose in my throat, but I wouldn't break down again.

"It's ok mom. I will be fine," I said, maintaining composure.

"I know you will," she sighed. My hands became still and although I wasn't convinced, I was willing to by into it for the time being.

"How about we play a few tunes?" I suggested. I needed a break from the ominous future that lurked at the door step.

"I think I could manage a couple," she smiled.

"What do you want to play?" I asked.

"How about we start with Moonlight Sonata, you never finished it you know?" she replied. I smiled, realizing she had been there with me the entire time I thought she had drifted away. Maybe there was some hope in that? I nodded and gave her room to play as together we filled the room with music.

A few tunes turned into five and we had drifted into more silly music. The theme song to "All in the Family" filled the air as we sang along.

"Mister we could use a man like Herbert Hoover again…" my mom crooned in her best expression of Edith as I tried not to laugh.

"Didn't need no welfare state…" my dad's voice chimed in as he walked into the den, his brief case in hand. He was smiling widely, an expression I hadn't seen in months.

"Everybody pulled his weight.." my mom sang.

"Gee our old Lesalle ran great," he sang as he stopped in front of the piano dropping his suitcase.

"Those were the days." We all chimed in. We were silent for a few moments and then we all began to laugh.

"That was horrible," my mom laughed.

"Yeah it was," my dad agreed. For a moment, it was like all of our cares ceased to exist. But then, we were brought back to reality. My mom clutched her side and all of the happiness dissipated.

"Are you ok?" my dad asked, his voice panicked.

"I..I..j-just need to get back in bed," she sputtered.

"Help me Edward," he said as he took her up in his arms. I walked ahead of them to the guest bedroom that had been turned into my mother's sick room. Going up and down the stairs was too much of a task and she had voluntarily moved herself.

I opened the door of the bedroom and turned the light on. Dr. Holland had suggested that we buy a hospital bed, but my mom wouldn't hear of it. She didn't want to die in a hospital bed, in a hospital or otherwise. She wanted to sleep on the plush sleigh bed. My dad didn't argue. He would have given her the world if she asked for it.

"Get her medicine son," he instructed as he gently put her down on the bed. I walked to the bathroom and opened the now overflowing medicine cabinet. She was on a new round of stronger pain medicine and I quickly located the white bottle. I took it to my dad who dispensed the pills to her. She remained crumpled over, clutching herself she accepted the medicine and the water to chase it down with.

"Go on to your room Edward," he instructed.

"No!" my mom exclaimed as I started to go. I looked at my dad for direction.

"Stay," he said. I stood close to the bed, watching as she was overtaken with agony. She held her hand out and took my hand in hers.

"I love you Eddie with all my heart, don't ever forget it," she said, her voice tired.

"I love you too," I choked.

"Don't talk like that," my dad said, his voice angry.

"Edward, darling, don't be angry," she sighed, looking up at him. She patted my hand, released it and held hers out to him. He took it instantly and looked down at her.

"I just can't stand this. Don't talk like this," he sputtered, he was on the verge of break down. Big tears welled up in his eyes and I felt myself crumple to the floor. We were losing her. This was it.

All the joy that had filled the house left faster than it came. The gripping sadness returned. The grief, the agony, filled the air.

"Eddie," she addressed me.

"Yes?" I responded.

"Go play that song from earlier," she requested.

"But.." I started. I didn't want to leave.

"Go!" my dad instructed. There was no room for negotiation. I stood up from the floor, wobbly legged, and walked to the den. I heard them murmuring as I left them room. I heard desperation in my father's voice as he seemed to be pleading with both her and God at the same time.

I sat down at the piano and summoned the melody, but all I could play was sadness. There was no joy.

I had no grasp of time. I could have been playing for thirty minutes, an hour, or maybe just five minutes. But when my dad came to the den, I knew it was over.

"She's gone," he cried as he sunk to his knees. My fingers stopped, my heart burst forth with a flood of pure acid. Tears poured from my eyes and I didn't try to stop them. I got up from the bench and walked to my dad and put my arms around him. Nothing would ever be the same again. The light, the joy, was gone. It had been sucked from not only the house but from the two of us when she died. All that was left was the anger and the agony. Two emotions that I would get to know well.

(A/N: I know I have neglected the both "In Time" and "In the Arms of an Angel", but multiple issues have come up and if you have been waiting on either to be updated, I'm sorry. First, the flash drive I used to store the stories on has been destroyed by a book bag and hand sanitizer accident..yes, I'm dead I had chapters finished and waiting to be posted, but have since lost them. This helped me lose motivation along with the fact that I have no real time to devote to either of them. This semester and the last have been very stressful. I spend most of my time writing papers for classes and thus do not have the time, energy, or really the want to write anything else. I was prompted to write this for a competition, and I was originally going to ignore it, but was inspired and had to write. I hope you all enjoy it and I'm sorry to have not posted anything for a long time. Maybe when things slow down I can get inspired to write again. For now, I just don't have the time. But I hope this one shot suffices for a while…sorry!! And, if you enjoyed this you should definitely go vote for it on Chazzibabes' profile! And please ignore any grammatical errors, This was not beta-ed!)